A few days into the journey, Sebastian notices something “odd” attached to the ship’s engines. While he is not quite sure what it is, he knows it is not supposed to be there. Sebastian carefully removes the device and then immediately contacts Colt on his multiband.
Colt heads to the engineering room, where Sebastian explains the situation. The two look over the device again, determining that the object is a regulator, a device that will keep Acorn from using the full extent of her engine power. Immediately, suspicions turn towards “Miracle Mike” as the only person who would have had recent access to the engineering room. Colt tells Sebastian to lock himself in and start a full diagnostic search of the engine system in case of any other “surprises.”
Colt puts the regulator in his coat, then goes straight for the cockpit to do a quick search. Upon finding nothing out of the ordinary, Colt starts going through security tape footage. He also gets on the ship’s intercom system and asks Mad to come up to the cockpit.
Mad, although engaging in some “alone time” with O’Reilly in her cabin, manages to hear the summons. Murmuring apologies, she reluctantly begins to disentangle herself, but O’Reilly reaches up a hand and tries to draw her back down. Mad doesn’t resist for long.
Some time later, Mad makes it to the cockpit. Colt, still searching security footage, describes the situation to date. He asks her to do another search of the cockpit area. She does, not quite ready to believe that O’Reilly was behind the concealed regulator. Just as Mad completes her search, coming up with nothing unusual, Colt catches a bit of footage showing O’Reilly leaving the engineering room. The footage is dated from the day before they left Rio, while the crew was having an impromptu meeting. Colt calls Mo to the cockpit and shows the footage to Mo and Mad.
Suddenly, Acorn’s proximity alarms go off. The ship receives an incoming message from a man introducing himself as Captain Jackson Thibadeux of Ellandri’s Dagger. The crew is ordered to stand down or be disabled. The decision is made to try and escape. Over the intercom, Colt orders everyone to strap themselves in.
Mad throws herself into the pilot’s chair. She quickly pulls Acorn though an impressive series of evasive maneuvers. Ellandri’s Dagger fires two missiles at Acorn, but both go wide. Mad calls down to Sebastian to open up the engines. Acorn takes off in a burst of speed, quickly leaving the other ship behind. Ellandri’s Dagger gives chase, but soon gives up. When it is clear they are no longer being followed, Mad replots the course to Wayland Station. The ship is set to autopilot.
Colt calls Sebastian to the cockpit, then summons O’Reilly. When O’Reilly arrives, Colt asks him if he knows about the ship, Ellandri’s Dagger. O’Reilly says no, but Colt knows that he is lying. He then asks O’Reilly to check out some footage caught on tape. The tape is queued to show O’Reilly exiting from the engineering room.
When O’Reilly turns back to the crew, Colt pulls the regulator out of his coat and confronts the man with it. Although O’Reilly at first tries to protest his ignorance, Colt is able to use his military bearing to persuade the other man to tell the truth.
“No one was supposed to get hurt,” O’Reilly pleads, trying to meet Mad’s eyes. A week before Acorn arrived in Rio, a Knorr-class ship arrived. A man approached O’Reilly with a business proposal that would make him a bit of money, maybe even land him a ship. The man said that a Swan-class ship would be coming in and that O’Reilly needed to get on it and install the regulator. The plan was that the Swan-class ship would be hijacked and the crew dropped off on a rock somewhere. There was a beacon installed in the regulator so that the ship could be tracked.
Colt tells O’Reilly that he’d just as soon shoot him, but asks Mad what to do with the man. Arms crossed, Mad tells him to throw O’Reilly in the brig. Turning to O’Reilly, she tells him that he’s getting dropped off at Wayland Station; if he still wants to get to Persephone, he’s on his own. As he’s being led to the brig, O’Reilly tries again to protest that no one was supposed to get hurt. Mad just turns away.
Now knowing that there is a beacon in the regulator, the crew decides to jettison it out of the airlock. They also send a wave to Elias Wingate to appraise him of the recent situation. The crew starts to discuss how Ellandri’s Dagger could have known they were heading to Rio. They wonder if Laramie’s network is compromised somehow.
One day out from Wayland Station, the ship receives a wave from Felecia Knight. The crew is to receive reward money for their help with the kidnapped team members of Hands Across the Stars. Mad sends her bank information in return so that the money can be deposited directly into her account.
The crew then continues through the The Border Belt toward their destination.