Read the full story here. Summary follows.
The Glory's Blaze has just recently left the Britannia Sector, hoping to avoid squabbles and rising tariffs, after its recent departure from the Galactic Terran Federation. Capt Sodon has elected to take a circuitous route to the far end of the Eridanus Sector, in hopes of re-establishing contact with Eridani Space Command.
They are three hops into uncharted space, the first part of their long road around, when the ship halts near an asteroid belt. When reconnaissance teams report that several asteroids contain thamium27, an element critical to the operation of the hyperdrive, Capt Sodon gives the order for excavations to begin.
A man named Equus awakens in the wreckage of his space shuttle. A distress signal near the asteroid field attracts the attention of Lt Cmdr Odeysius Loran and his fighter squadron, as well as Robert Frazer aboard his Celestial Splendour. Meanwhile, Lt Cmdr Sarah Atwell and Wakanite refugee Aedrich O'Kenon investigate another sighting of the mysterious Other Engineer in the latter's restaurant.
Robert is ambushed by an unknown craft while investigating the signal, but he is rescued by Odeysius Loran's squadron. While they investigate the crash afterwards, they are themselves ambushed – Robert is too late to warn them about a cloaked ship – and Odeysius' Twinspark fighter is destroyed.
The fighter group investigating the crash is decimated by the sudden ambush, but Odeysius Loran manages to escape the wreckage of the shuttle via the Celestial Splendour - albeit clutching the ship's wing, rather than aboard the ship. Robert then flees the asteroid field while hotly pursued by their unidentified assailants.
Meanwhile, Equus managed to sneak aboard the Glory's Blaze via an exterior access tunnel. His explorations of the ship brought him to Aedrich's diner. Finding the diner empty, he set about sampling the diner's cabinets, but he was soon confronted by Aedrich and Fred. Equus' attempts to bluff his way out of the situation only confirmed any suspicion laid against him, and Aedrich attempted to detain the stranger personally.
Robert and Odeysius continued their desperate flight back to the battlecarrier, but Zol Krana, the Other Engineer, observing the proceedings, realized that multiple cloaked ships were in the area and preparing to ambush the fleeing travel agent's shuttle. Breaking his long silence, he activated his own weaponry, unleashing a powerful energy blast that disabled all of the cloaked attackers. Robert and Odeysius landed safely, if roughly, aboard the Glory's Blaze.
Aedrich is distracted by this display long enough for Equus to flee the scene, but he was quickly stopped by a mysterious Wakanite-Frogan. Having suffered one too many shocks for one day, Equus fainted.
After the sortie, Captain Sodon has Robert Frazer brought in for debriefing. Yet what Robert expects to be an interrogation turns out to be something else entirely, as, in recognition of his heroism, the captain offers Robert a commission to join the crew of the Glory's Blaze.
The story continues to unfold!