Upon arriving on Hera, the crew decides to find a place to land somewhere outside of Yuva. Mad puts Acorn down in a clearing about five miles from the small town. Their cover story will be that the crew experienced mechanical difficulties en route to Sanguine Grove, the closest settlement.
With Mo and Sebastian staying behind to watch the ship, Colt, Mad, and Esposito take the mule into town. Yuva consists of a scattering of buildings nestled in avalley overlooked by a large mansion. There is also a security station, a railyard, depot, and landing strip. The group comes across a canteen and decides this is a good as place as any to start gathering information.
With the exception of the bartender, a good looking bald man in his 20s, the only people in the place are two grubby-looking workers who keep to themselves. The group heads to the bar to order a round of drinks. Mad begins chatting with the bartender. He tells her that if she is looking for a part for their ship, then she should ask at the company office. The young man also tells her that she should stay away from the depot.
While still at the bar, the group notices a new figure enter the building. The man is of average height and build and has a slightly scholarly air to him. Epsosito recognizes him as Kit, an INTERPOL agent that she met at a while back.
The group pays their tab and heads to the company office. Armed guards intercept them as soon as they draw near. The situation is explained and one of the guards relays this information back to some unseen person. The group is given permission to enter the office, but all guns have to be left on the mule. Inside, a pretty young woman sits at the receptionist’s desk. Her name plate reads " Gloria Byers. " Mad asks Byers about the replacement part for their ship. Byers agrees to ask the foreman if there is an extra part (and if they can have permission to buy it), but she won’t have an answer until the next day. The office opens at 8:00 am.
Mad thanks her and leaves the building. Colt, however, remains behind for a few more minutes, flirting with Byers. In doing so, he happens to notice a familiar face on a capture on Byers’s desk. When he asks, Colt is told that the man in the capture is Mr. Sarkaya, the owner of the mining company. Colt, however, knows the man to be Colonel Filo Bursa, a fellow Browncoat and his personal mentor. The man was supposedly lost after the Battle of Serenity Valley. He arranges to meet Byers at the bar later that evening.
The group heads back to Acorn to discuss the situation. It is decided that Esposito will try to slip an earbud to Kit. She wants to make contact with him to find out what the situation is and why he is here. Colt is going to try and get information out of Byers. The entire crew and Esposito head back into Yuva and to the canteen.
Mad heads immediately to the bar and starts flirting heavily with the bartender, who introduces himself as Mark. Colt meets up with Byers and begins working his seductive charms on her, trying to gather information about her boss. Esposito is unable to pass off the earbud to Kit, however, she does manage to catch him as he leaves the building. The two quickly arrange a place to privately meet. Epsosito and Mo head for the meeting place. She tells Sebastian that they should be back within an hour.
Meanwhile, Colt, after plying Byers with quite a bit of alcohol, finally mangages to convince her that they should go back to her apartment. The apartment is actually a dormitory on the company grounds and, as such, is guarded by company men. Colt is required to sign in as a guest and uses his real name.
Back at the canteen, Esposito and Mo return. Esposito mentions that while they were out, she heard a couple of buzzboats overhead (“Buzzboats” are small, open-roofed skiffs often used by paramilitary or police units). Before taking the others back to the ship, Mad tells Mark that she will be back, then leans over the bar and gives him a big kiss. Among the hoots and catcalls, a few workers laugh that the “boss’s boy” is going to get lucky tonight.
Once safely back on the ship, Esposito relates her conversation with Kit. The agent is in Yuva as part of an 8-month investigation into Sarkaya’s involvement in human trafficking. He is undercover as an analyst for the mining company. There is only one week left of his investigation, then Kit expects the entire case to be wrapped up. He doesn’t mind helping Esposito, as long as she or her friends don’t mess up his case.
The crew formulates a loose plan: Esposito will slip into one of the many ramshackle buildings in the town and try to suss out which building Jakeson Grant is staying in. Once they know that, Sheila can contact the crew and they can slip him out either while moving from work to home or from the building under the cover of night.
Mad heads back to town with Esposito, who slips off into the darkness. Mad stays the night with Mark, who has a room at the back of the canteen. When asked why he’s living in the middle of nowhere, Mark tells Mad that his family came to Yuva a while back, and he just stayed on.
The next day, Mad hangs around the canteen chatting with Mark until Colt shows up, after his evening with Gloria. The two take the mule back to the ship. The group discusses their plan to rescue the boy. Colt relates his discovery that Sarkaya is his old mentor.
Mad heads to the company office to continue the charade about the needed part, where she must again leave her weapons on the mule. Byers is not sitting at the receptionist’s desk. In her place is an older, stern-looking woman. When Mad asks about the part for the ship, the woman tells her that the foreman is still looking. She asks Mad to take a seat and wait. When Mad tells her that she can just come back in a bit, she finds her way blocked by guards. The woman repeats that Mad should just sit down and wait.
Colt, dressed in dark clothing, leaves the ship with his bag of explosives, hoping to create a diversion so Esposito can ferry the boy unhindered to where Mad will be waiting with the mule. As he makes his way towards the pre-determined spot, the distinctive sound of a buzzboat comes into range. Colt quickly hides, but, thinking that the danger has moved on, re-emerges after a moment or two to find himself face-to-face with the buzzboat…
TO BE CONTINUED