Having been captured by the Hand of Sorrow on the edge of Imperial Space, the crew of The Owl (as well as Lady Blackbird and her bodyguard) have been imprisoned in the brig while the captain checks their identification via wireless.
After breaking free from their cells with a mixture of subtlety (Kale) and extreme violence (Naomi), the prisoners retrieve their tools and weapons from storage lockers and make their way to the engineering deck, where Cyrus bamboozles two barrels of fuel (sky squid ink) from the crew as Kale disables the Hand’s engines. Sneaking up to the main deck, Snargle and Kale clear a path through stealth and distraction, leaving Cyrus and Naomi free to escort Lady Blackbird to The Owl, start her engines and maneuver away from the paralysed Hand and away to freedom!
The flight to the Free Worlds and Haven takes the better part of a day, during which Kale confronts Lady Blackbird over the meaning of love, the crew of The Owl weigh their next move and Lady Blackbird advises Naomi that they will look for new passage on Haven.
Reaching Haven, Naomi and the Lady head into the city while Cyrus and Snargle meet with a local fixer, Bluth, looking for knowledge of the true course through the Remnants. Bluth can’t help them, but advises them to meet with a contact of his, Jezebel Canter, on the outlaw world of Nightport – and that there is a hefty price on Cyrus’ head. Meanwhile, Naomi and the Lady discover the intricacies of Free Worlds cuisine in a local tavern – but the Lady is kidnapped by someone impersonating a waiter!
Naomi pursues the kidnappers’ crocodile-drawn carriage, but they escape, leaving her lost in Haven; Kale and Snargle prepare The Owl for a fast getaway; and searching for the Lady, Cyrus meets an old flame, Karla Duran, now a captain in the Imperial fleet, and runs away from her entourage of marines…