By merging, Sargon and the Paleans seek to become a dominant political force within the Serrll Combine. Pizgor’s three systems are the only thing that stands in their way. Palean raiders are used in a clandestine operation to disrupt Pizgor’s commerce to a point where it will be forced to succumb. Pizgor makes a desperate plea for help from the Serrll government on Captal. Second Scout Terrllss-rr is tasked to find the raider base and eliminate the threat to Pizgor. While escorting a bulk carrier, Terr confronts a Fleet ship that is secretly working with the raiders. In the ensuing battle both vessels are badly damaged, but the encounter leads Terr to an eventual capture of a raider and the unmasking of the Palean supported base. Thwarted, the Paleans risk everything on a bold move that could destabilize the Serrll, forcing Terr into another encounter with an old enemy.