Kris and her crew capture a pirate vessel and escort in to Chance for the prize money. Upon arrival, she encounters Georg Krätz of the Greenfield Navy and his newest ensign, Victoria Peterwald, who is still under the impression that Kris killed her brother.
Wasp stops at Xanadu, a planet ruled by a religious cult called the Abdicators. Kris and company and less-than-politely told to leave the planet alone. As Wasp is leaving, the Abdicators send some of the youth on a mission.
USS Wasp proceeds to Pandemonium, where they find that planet under attack by a force funded by "investors" and led by a former commander, William Thorpe, in space and Colonel Hernando Cortez on the ground.
Kris and Jack Montoya lead a mixed force of Marines and local settlers on the ground in a delaying action designed to not cause civilian casualties. In orbit, Bret Drago provides intelligence from USS Wasp and, when directed by Kris, threatens Thorpe's vessel, causing Thorpe to flee the planet and desert his ground forces. Cortez surrenders his forces to Kris. Many of his troops opt to remain on Pandemonium. Cortez becomes Kris's prisoner but soon converts into a military adviser while remaining a prisoner.
Kris and company return to Xanadu where they pick up a man who has been exiled and who tells them that the mission the Abdicator youth undertook was a suicide mission. Kris realizes that the suicide mission is designed to cause a war between the Greenfield Confederacy and the United Sentients. Kris takes Wasp and her crew to intervene and save the life of Henry Smythe-Peterwald XII. Kris and Victoria come to an understanding about life as children of very different politicians.
Wasp departs on a voyage for scientific research.