Artesielcha and Willie work to get the ship’s engines repaired. They spend a lot of time fixing a fault in the cooling system caused by corrosion which causes the ship to spray coolant like a whale.
Darion, Daphne, and Rex go to meet with Rakesh Devji, the salvor who responded to their job posting. He is currently on a different salvage crew, but his racist coworkers are making his life difficult. He and his brother Hajit need to keep working in order to send money back home to help support their family, as their father is disabled and not able to work. Rakesh would be willing to quit his job in exchange for work on a different ship that will treat him better. Darion explains that theirs is a mixed crew and totally non-judgmental – they can’t pay very well, as they are just starting out, but the profit will be fair. Rakesh agrees. Darion gets Rex to grudgingly agree to hire Rakesh, despite the latter’s relative inexperience. Darion tells Rakesh to meet them at the spaceport tomorrow, and gives him the berth they have reserved.
Darion decides to reward his crew’s hard work by taking them for a night on the town. They head to a club after dinner for some drinking and dancing. Some (like Rex) are only interested in the former. Well into the evening, a dance-off is thrown down between Daphne and Fennel and Darion and Lukas. Losers owe the winners a lap dance. They pair off and dance two songs, with the audience determining the winner. Lukas has some dance skills picked up from university parties, while Darion relies in pure stubbornness in not letting Daphne one-up him (even though she is getting well into his personal space after having taken off her shirt). Crowd claps determine the winner – and it is Darion and Lukas. Darion puts his arm around Daphne, and doesn’t break contact for the rest of the night. The crew stumbles back to the ship, stopping only to pick up some liquor on the way.
On the ship, everyone staggers back to their quarters. Daphne tells Darion to come to her room – when he gets there, she has changed into some sexy red lingerie. She sits him down and gives him a drawn-out, sultry lap dance, ending up straddling him in the chair, looking into each other’s eyes. She whispers “fuck it”, and kisses him. They make love.
Meanwhile, Lukas defers when Fennel also offers to make good on their bet. They each go to their own rooms for the night, with Lukas trying to sort out his feelings and Fennel wondering why Lukas rejected her – isn’t he always going on about how much he likes anthromals?
The next morning, Artesielcha gets up early to test the engines. The cooling system fix holds up, and she gets the engine fully running and test-fires the main thrusters. The deafening roar shakes the entire ship. Lukas jolts awake and hides under the bed; Willie and Corey both wake up unconcerned and nonchalantly get ready for the day.
While Artesielcha, Lavender, and Zelysithea chat in the kitchen, waiting for breakfast, poor hungover Fennel wanders in wearing a t-shirt over her underwear. She mumbles about coffee and starts drinking straight from the pot. Willie and Corey come in and say hi – Fennel realizes she didn’t get dressed and leaves embarrassed, running into a very awkward Lukas along the way.
Meanwhile, Darion and Daphne enjoy warm morning snuggles. They both realize yep, that happened – although they both enjoyed last night, there will be no hiding their liaison from the crew with so many keen noses. Daphen gets up to shower, and tells Darion to bring them some of Fennel’s chocolate bacon pancakes. In the galley, Fennel is not around; Corey notices and gives him a look, while Lavender points out that he is bleeding and asks if he needs medical attention. Zelysithea doesn’t appear to notice anything, as she lost her sense of smell in the mining accident. Fennel arrives and starts making pancakes; she asks Darion if there is something wrong with Lukas and why he is avoiding her, but Darion can only shrug and say he doesn’t know Lukas that well. Darion takes pancakes and coffee back to Daphne; he tries to camouflage one cup of coffee against his chest to make it look like he is only carrying his own; he flubs it and spills scalding coffee all over himself, but his pride will not let him show pain. He returns to Daphne’s room where he can finally show pain. She emerges from the bathroom all floofed out from the dryer and starts licking the coffee off his chest, which soon turns into more sex. Afterwards they have pancakes. Darion clumsily tries to tell Daphne that last night meant a lot to him; she tells him to stop being mushy, kisses him, and smacks his ass towards her door. He pulls her tail.
Arakawanne is missing again. Darion asks Fennel find her after breakfast, as he would like to call an all-crew meeting. A while later Daphne shows up; Fennel shoos her into the kitchen and demands details.
Artesielcha searches for Arakawanne, rather than Fennel. She finds Arakawanne lying stretched out on top of the ship, over the engineering section. She is warm, happy, and says she loves how the ship sounds and feels when the engines run. Artesielcha sits with her and they talk; Artesielcha offers to bring her some breakfast and says that the captain wants to speak with her. She brings Arakawanne some breakfast.
Darion calls the crew meeting. He tells the crew that they will be moving the ship to the spaceport, and that they will be doing a job for Sakidanaraya after that (retrieving some cargo from a farming village). Rex asks if they will be doing recovery; Darion says no, but they’ll still get paid their share and be expected to help with the work, even if it isn’t salvage. Holly asks what kind of cargo; Darion says they will know more after they land at the spaceport. For now they have a deadline to keep. Darion gives a speech about how this is an opportunity for them all to come together as a crew; it goes over well. Afterwards, he gives out marching orders and tells everyone to report to their stations. He asks Rex to check up on the greenhorns to make sure that they know how to stow everything for flight. Lavender tells him she has found some medication she would like to try for Zelysithea – it is an aerosol that she breathes through a face mask, which improves her lung function and over the long term can encourage regeneration of damaged lung tissue. But it is expensive. She has a report on his desk. Darion begins to think Zelysithea will cost him more than she will make. He spend some time talking with Arakawanne and Zelysithea. Darion reiterates that Arakawanne will be treated well and won’t be forced to have sex. She hugs him. He tells her he wants her to take over communications; she is hesitant but willing to try. He also gets Zelysithea to observe on the bridge so that she can hopefully learn how to pilot some day.
Darion gets to the bridge. He asks Holly to check that all the airlocks are closed; he also asks Lavender to check outside the ship and make sure nothing got left. Corey and Daphne are in the two pilot’s chairs, going through the pre-flight checklist (rather, Corey is doing it while Daphne is complaining that it isn’t necessary and they should just go). Darion takes the captain’s chair while Zelysithea and Arakawanne take the two consoles beside and behind him. Holly radios back that the ship is secure; Lavender comes back with a bag of dog feces, saying the ship next door left them a parting gift that they would have burned into the warehouse floor if they’d taken off without removing it. Darion says it’s too bad they don’t have time to toss it under their ship instead.
Darion radios to the warehouse that they are leaving. He also contacts aerospace traffic control and tells them they are transiting to the spaceport, and gets instructions. Corey and Daphne bicker about going through the checklist a second time – Darion tells Corey to cut it down to the essentials. After more bickering, he gives Corey 5 minutes to wrap it up. 7 minutes later, Corey is willing to be finished. The engines are warmed up by now, so Corey engages the belly thrusters and hovers them up, then eases them out of the warehouse. Outside, he fires up the thrusters and they gradually rise out of the city to 20,000 feet. Then he fires the mains and off they go.
A short flight later they are above the spaceport. Talking back and forth with ATC they find their berth and begin descending through the clouds. There is a lot of traffic around them and a strong crosswind. Corey finds their berth and begins lowering them; however he doesn’t like how their approach is looking and aborts, rising up to reposition and try again. This doesn’t meet his standards either, so he fires the thrusters and repositions again. Once more, he doesn’t like how they are positioned and doesn’t think it is safe to land, so he lifts back up and repositions again. ATC radios them and asks if they are having mechanical trouble, since they are going up and down without landing. Darion says no. ATC says they have to get on the ground in two minutes, or else abort and return to cruising altitude because another ship needs that airspace. Darion acknowledges and tells Corey to get them on the ground. Corey goes in again, hesitates, and is about to lift again when Daphne snaps, grabs the thruster controls, and slams them back down. The ship falls the last few metres with a heavy thud, throwing everyone and everything against their restraints (or against the ceiling). In engineering, warning lights come up across the landing gear’s systems – hydraulic ruptures and possible structural damage. Corey is angry at Daphne, and she fights right back – Darion tries to get them to calm down, but Daphne storms out. Darion stays and talks with Corey while he shuts everything down – Darion tries to tell him he doesn’t need absolute precision and pretty flying, he just needs Corey to get them on the ground. Corey says he doesn’t want to compromise safety. Darion tells him he can’t do three attempts for everything and asks him to come up with an abbreviated preflight checklist, and to do safe but less perfect flying. Corey says he’ll try his best.
Holly radios for Artesielcha and Darion to come to the cargo bay. There, some ground crew are standing by an open airlock. They are here to do the hookups and fuelling. Darion approves, and Artesielcha signs for them (she reads the work order at Darion’s urging, and gets the ground crew to remove a useless anti-corrosion treatment). The crew gets to work, and Art starts on the landing gear. Darion goes to talk to Daphne about the fights in the cockpit. Willie goes to sickbay to get checked out (he hit his head on the console during the landing).
Lukas unbuckles himself and checks his bruises. He gets a call from Tasha Quentin with the Anthromal Liberation Front protest group. She is calling to check on Lukas after seeing him on the news coverage of the hostel shooting. She is convinced it is a speciesist terror attack. When he says they seemed to be shooting at him, she remembers the writing on the wall and asks if this could be about last August’s protest outside the UW Ministry of Natural Resources over the treatment of anthromal miners, in which Lukas participated (and chained himself to a statue of Minister Park, earning himself a night in jail). She tells him that while he was on a spaceship, the new regs came down with improved living conditions and safety requirements for anthromal miners, due in part to public outcry and political fallout from the protest. Possibly the merchant’s guild went through the Humanist gangs and put a hit out on Lukas? She says the ALF has Lukas’s back if he needs help.
Darion has his talk with Daphne; he tries to impress upon her that she did something dangerous and possibly damaged the ship, and that she isn’t a one-woman enterprise anymore but she has to be accountable to and responsible for others. Daphne accuses Darion of being naive, and says she did what she had to do to stop Corey from screwing up the landing completely. She is angry that Darion is taking Corey’s side (she perceives), and tells him to get out. Darion is upset – they were in bed together hours earlier and now she is royally pissed at him! He tries to find Lavender but he can’t find her in the sickbay. So he goes to Zelysithea and asks if she wants to go buy new clothes. He also asks Fennel to come along; she agrees and goes to get changed. Darion and Zelysithea hang out in his quarters while he chats with Dawningdragon. Zelysithea makes Darion feel better.
Corey comes into the bunkroom where Lukas is working on his thesis. He grumbles about how Darion is going to fire him, how he doesn’t care about safety (just like Corey’s previous bosses), and accused Darion of favouritism because he’s sleeping with Daphne. Corey starts packing, then decides to go for one last meal in the galley.
Willie radios Artesielcha (who is fixing the damaged landing gear) and says he can’t find Lavender. Artesielcha comes inside and they both look. Willie says hi to Lukas (who is still shaken) and assures him that all landings won’t be this rough. Artesielcha hears something in the infirmary store room, which is a mess – lots of stuff was tossed around during the landing, and there are spilled and broken bottles all over the floor. She opens a cabinet, and Lavender pounces out and knocks her to the ground, and almost stabs her in the neck with a shard of glass. Artesielcha dodges, escapes, and tries to appear non threatening. Lavender soon comes to her senses and curls up into a ball and cries. Artesielcha waits for her to calm down, and realize that her hand is badly cut. When Lavender is back in doctor mode, Artesielcha asks her to take a look at Willie and herself (she has broken glass in her back from the fall). Lavender does so, being as curt as possible; Willie happens to walk in when his boss is topless (while Lavender treats the cuts on her torso), and does his best not to look. Afterwards, Art and Willie go back to fixing the hydraulics.
Darion tells Rex and Holly to take the deckhands and check the ship over for anything that was shaken loose. Rex agrees but says if Darion doesn’t have any salvage work for them then he can find some elsewhere.
Time to look for Arakawanne again. Darion and Fennel find Arakawanne sitting naked in the kitchen sink, wrapped in one of Darion’s sheets from the dirty laundry, her clothes arranged on the drying rack. Fennel freaks out at the crazy person; Darion tries to convince Arakawanne not to sit in the sink again. After convincing her to get dressed (at first she comes back having made a skirt out of his bed sheet, so he gives her his bomber jacket to borrow) the four of them go out shopping. First they stop by Jules’s military surplus shop and pick Darion’s spacesuit that his navy CO had reserved for him (and while they are there, they make a deal for 4 rock suits and 9 emergency bubbles), then they they go buy some clothes for Zelysithea. Lastly, they stop at a candy shop so Darion can buy apology lollipops for Daphne (and some treats for the other girls too). Then it’s back to the ship.
Lukas gets a call from Olavio while he and Tom are working under Rex’s supervision. Olavio wants news, and tries to impress on Lukas the importance of the game and how much money is at stake. Lukas says there isn’t much law enforcement out here and to bet on the long time. Olavio asks him to do more digging. After he gets off the phone, Tom thanks him again for keeping their secret.
Rakesh arrives, and Rex gives him the tour & orientation. Rex shows Rakesh where his bunk is, and Rakesh starts getting unpacked. He and Lukas chat about Lukas’s work; Rakesh thinks Lukas shouldn’t focus only on anthromals, since there are many humans who are exploited on the border ring as well.
Darion returns from shopping, and gives Zelysithea a tour of this ship before showing her where her bunk is. During the tour, Darion finds Arakawanne lying on the top shelf of the food storage room. He fails to coax her down, and eventually decides to just leave her up there since she isn’t hurting anything. Afterwards, he knocks on Daphne’s door, but there is no answer. Darion goes to his office to start the ship registration paperwork, now that Artesielcha’s forged credentials have arrived.
Fennel calls everyone for lunch (she is still trying to figure out the ship intercom). Daphne is not there. Darion asks Fennel to bring her some lunch. Afterwards everyone goes back to work; Darion finishes up the ship registration and files the paperwork, then sits down for some fuel efficiency calculations, but he doesn’t get far before flashbacks from the Halifax cause him to have a breakdown.
Lavender continues with the crew physical exams. She examines Lukas, Portia, and Tom – Lukas is very uncomfortable having an anthromal poke and prod him (she doesn’t even use a stethoscope; just puts her ear to his chest). Portia just doesn’t like doctors. Lukas and Tom chat while cleaning, about racism and speciesism. Meanwhile, Artesielcha and Willie finish repairing the hydraulics on the landing gear.
Fennel calls everyone for dinner. Daphne also doesn’t show.