First Scout Terrllss-rr was glad to be away from Earth after the problematic mission to destroy an old scoutship found in Mexico. Deep in space, he is intercepted by an Orieli Technic Union survey cruiser. Their presence sends ripples of concern throughout the Serrll Combine, but there are those who seek to turn that to their advantage. The Orieli send an Observer to study Earth, but the mission goes horribly wrong. Terr and his Wanderer brother Dharaklin are set up as rogue cargo traders on Askaran in an attempt to establish a link between a raider network an the AUP Provisional Committee, engineering the Sargon/Palean merger. Before Terr can complete his mission, his cover is penetrated and Dharaklin is placed in mortal danger. To extricate themselves, both have to raise the hand of Death.