The rest of the crew races back to the ship to catch up with him.
The Phoenix departs Luparnas and races toward the Cassidan system. In the days between, Zimir researches, meeting with an old contact on the station, Isabela Fortuna. She informs him that several of her precious collection of ancient artifacts dating back to the Terran Empire were stolen from a secure vault. Zimir discovers evidence that Dirus and some of his followers were on the station recently. Out of leads, Zimir reaches out to other contacts for information.
The Phoenix arrives on the station a few days later, and they meet with Dane Foureyes. He doesn’t have much information for them beyond reports that the Ravagers have begun a series of raids in various sectors around the galaxy. He asks the Phoenix to hunt down and destroy the Ravagers in the Cassidan system, as they are disrupting his business.
Asena challenges and fights a quarterstaff-wielding man in the central arena, defeating him in glorious combat. They exchange words, and Asena is invited to train with him in the future. She also encounters Merik Ven’Toor, the SEU investigator whose ship she stole. He treats it with good humor and passed on some information indicating they should investigate the planet Ankhara, which is the site of many ruins belonging to an ancient civilization.
Qintin spends time tinkering and is found by his old army buddy, Kreeger, a destitute drunk in debt to a group of mercenaries. Qintin agrees to pay the debt for him. After he does so, he warns Kreeger that this is the last time he’ll intervene, and the man needs to get his life in order.
Petra discovers she is being followed by members of the Ravagers, who she has had run-ins with before. She corners one and intimidates him into giving up his leader on the station, a lieutenant in the organization. She finds him and browbeats him into telling her that the leader of the Ravagers has been watching her, because he knows that she has been looking for him. While Petra distracts, Asena steals the man’s datpad. Petra encourages the shaking lieutenant to get out, quickly, before she ends him.
Canis meets an old lupanian woman who speaks a sort of prophecy to him about the darkness rising and that Dirus will destroy the universe if not stopped. He ponders for a short time before tracking the woman down, snapping her neck, and whispering, “I choose Father.”
Qiui comes face to face with Amiran, the woman who practically raised her and trained her to fight. She hasn’t seen Amiran in years, since she realized she was being manipulated and ran away. Amiran acts very much like the aunt she pretends to be, but Qiui is cold towards her. Unperturbed, Amiran gives Qiui a datdrive with info on a duvan royal vault that contains a key which will unlock another vault only accessible to members of the royal family. It happens to be on Ankhara. Amiran implores Qiui to find the key and work with her to restore the duva to their rightful home: Luparnas.
They find Zimir and agree that Ankhara is the next stop. The Phoenix leaves the Hobbled Kragnar and heads for the Celerity Conduit. As they travel to Ankhara, Zimir visits Canis, asking him about Dirus. Canis offers him the soul of his father in exchange for loyalty sworn to Dirus. Zimir accepts.