Overview (No Spoilers)
Brief Summary (Minor Spoilers)
In the beginning, the Castithans are holding a Casti ceremony to allow the cleansing of Elah Bandik, who was a coward during the fight against the Volge, in the defense of Defiance. His cowardice has disgraced every Castithan in all of Defiance and he is to be punished and cleansed of his sins. However, Irisa and Nolan disapprove of their religious acts and desire to break it up, only to be told by the Mayor to let it stand.
Elsewhere in Defiance, Ben breaks loose and has stolen 20 lbs of Gulanite, while escaping down towards the underneath of Defiance - where parts of St. Louis remain. Nolan, Rafe, and some people under Rafe's payroll venture down into the tunnels to chase after Ben.
While Nolan is occupied with chasing Ben down for questioning, Irisa disobeys orders and attempts to break Elah Bandik free of his bonds - only to anger the crowd into throwing rocks at her! Tommy soon breaks up the crowd with a single shot from his shotgun and arrests Elah Bandik on a misdemeanor.
Nolan and Rafe soon catch up to Ben and realize that he intends to blow the Gulanite as a bomb inside of a Nuclear Reactor! Meanwhile, Irisa and Tommy wait while Datak prepares his strike with the intentions of reclaiming Elah Bandik for the Casting ceremony to be complete!
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Detailed Description (Major Spoilers)
It is 24 hours after the battle between the town of Defiance and the Volge. Elah Bandik is fleeing through the forest in terror, repeatedly looking behind himself in fear of being pursued. In flasbacks, he is seen at the battle. He is issued a rifle and stands staring down at it in confusion, until Datak Tarr comes over to demonstrate and instruct him in how to use it. When the Volge are attacking and their position comes under heavy fire, a terrified Elah drops his weapon and flees the defensive line along the edge of the cliff. Datak witnesses his desertion and shouts the epithet "shtako-coward" after him. After leaving his post, he trips, falls in the dust, and looks back horrified at what he has done. He stands in the forest breathing heavily, frightened by the noises in the dark, and uncertain which way to go. Turning to run back the way he came, he runs straight into the grip of Datak's Sensoth employee, who grabs him by the neck, until the other CCstithan's can: circle, seize, put a sack over his head, and half march-half drag him back to town.
Irisa is crouched on the deck which is on the roof of the Lawkeeper's office. In her journal, she looks at the picture postcard which reads, "Welcome to Antarctica". She hears chanting. Looking over a silver trailer, she can see a gathering of Castithans in The Hollows.
A line of Castithan priests, also known as Shigustaks, stand masked, robed, and hooded, and all the Castithans in the courtyard stand with their arms held before them palms inward. The high priest, Shigustak Kurr, whose armor-like mask has a descending row of chin and neck pieces, is chanting in a sing-song voice which the crowd repeats. He identifies Elah Bandik as being of the Yuke Liro. The priest charges that the honorable Datak Tarr of the Shanje Liro has accused him of cowardice. Elah is attached spread-eagle to a rusty metal truck frame that is held up in the air by a metal brace. His ankles are shackled to the frame, but his wrists are held by ropes which extend behind him. When asked, he admits to his guilt. He says that seeming is being and how he acts is how his Liro is perceived. The high priest announces that the cleansing ceremony will then begin, and he resumes chanting.
Deputy Irisa has come leading Lawkeeper Nolan toward the gathering. He explains that it is a Casti cleansing ceremony, but agrees when she thinks it looks like torture. He says that he thought they left that stuff behind in the badlands. As the ceremony begins, it is Elah's wife and children who must come forth first. They have been standing just to Elah's left, looking up at him with great sadness. Now, they must walk behind the frame, pick up rocks from a pile, and throw them into a large metal basket which is attached to the ropes on Elah's wrists. His wife and daughter pick up small rocks and lightly drop them, but his son picks up a largish rock and throws it in. The combined weight of the rocks hits Elah all at once, and he cries out. Nolan makes his presence known and calls a halt to the precedings. He orders Elah to be cut down at once. Datak Tarr saunters out of the crowd, removing his sunglasses to put them in his pocket, and confronts Nolan. He proclaims htat Elah, who is now weeping, is a deserter who threw down arms and ran from the Volge. Nolan says that Elah was brave to have taken up arms in the first place, and plenty of soldiers lose their nerve during their first time in combat. Datak says that this doesn't apply to Castithans. Deputy Tommy Lasalle had been watching and seeing an argument brewing between the Castithans and the new lawman, he abruptly leaves. Datak goes on to explain that in the laws of their god Rayetso running from battle reflects badly on all of the brothers of your Liro or caste. Therefore, Elah Bandik has taken the honor of every Castithan in Defiance. Nolan questioned that this one little man could do that, while Datak questioned the need of his people to explain their religion. However, he goes on to say that what they do is for Elah's own good, as without the ritual his Fesho will be denied passage to the afterlife. Nolan isn't interested in talking anymore, he says to a fuming Datak that he doesn't care, and he moves to Bandik with the intention of cutting him down. But Elah begs him not to, explaining that he has no choice and must do this for his family. One of the priests tries to stop Nolan, who pulls a gun on him, Nolan threatens to arrest every one of them, starting with Datak, unless Elah is released.
At that moment, Tommy returns with Mayor Amanda Rosewater, whose arm is still in a sling due to her injuries in the battle. She looks at Nolan, seeing his seriousness, and demands to know what is going on. Datak hopes that she has come to put a muzzle on her new Lawkeeper. He states that there has been an understanding, dating back to the town's founding, and wonders if she intends to dismantle the understanding that they had with her predecessor, after only three weeks in office. There is a pregnant pause, as she thinks before she says that she respects Castithan tradition, as Mayor Nicky had. She instructs Datak to keep this ceremony confined to The Hollows. When Datak assures her that he will, calling her Amanda, she, feeling more confident in power now, tells him to call her mayor. She orders Nolan to drop his gun and come with her, as the chanting resumes.
Tommy notices Irisa looking upset and staring intently at Elah. When he surprises her by putting a hand on her shoulder, she grabs his arm and twists it. When he apologizes, explaining that she had seemed upset, she disputes that by saying that she has seen worse. Before she lets go of his arm, Tommy sees the old scars around her wrists. She pushes him away.
On the next street, a furious Nolan is demanding to know why Amanda is letting the Castithans torture a man to death. Her assertion is that he is an outsider and doesn't understand, and he questions the relevance of her point, when she asks him if he has wondered why so few Irathients live in town. She explains that when the town was founded, eight years before, they had a population of well over a thousand. Irathients didn't believe in vaccinating their children, and Mayor Nicky seeing kids die needlessly, wrote mandatory vaccinations into the town charter. Deputies went from house to house inoculating Irathient children by force. Irathients took up arms, and there was an uprising. As the Irathients only had clubs to take on the town force's vo-tech blasters, they didn't stand a chance. Some of them were killed, and the rest left town. After that, the town council "informally" decided to allow the eight races to honor the traditional values of their own people. Nolan tries once more to ask her if she believes that what is happening is right, but he can only sigh in resignation when Amanda replies that it is necessary.
In the courtyard, the basket is filling with stones and Elah writhes in agony. An intensely upset Irisa confronts Nolan, as he returns, with the fact that he isn't going to stop this. Nolan tells her that he is not prepared to shoot up an entire town to rescue a man who says that he doesn't want to be saved. And besides, the lady mayor had promised that she would try to fix it. Irisa doesn't believe in promises, saying, "Promises are shtako." However, Nolan says that depends on the person making the promise, and they should wait and see what the lady's word is worth. A seething Irisa is not convinced.
At the hospital, a deputy is seated outside guarding the door. A man in dark hat and coat comes up behind him and covers his mouth with a black gloved hand. He then presses a taser-like device to the guard's neck and administers an electric shock, before letting the unconscious guard tumble to the ground. Inside, he tells the comatose Ben Daris that it is time to wake up. Putting a hand on Ben's forehead, as he lay with his severely lacerated head on a pillow of moss, he administers an injection directly into his brain through the top of his skull. Ben violently sits gasping, gets off of the table, and crashes about the room, which is hung with bunches of medicinal herbs on the walls and ceiling. Stumbling back to the table, he grabs the hypodermic and is appalled to realize that Mr. Birch injected him with Vri -Tex, which could have killed him. Birch, laying out clothes for Ben, says that his priority was to ensure that Ben didn't talk. Ben assures him that he wouldn't have betrayed him, and Birch replies that this is good, given what would happen to Ben's family if he did. Then he adds, "Or if you fail a second time." A confused Ben doesn't understand, as he did everything that he had been told to do. After Birch takes Ben's hands and cuts through the handcuffs with a glowing retractable vo-tech blade, he explains that, even though Ben blew up the stasis net, the Volge were defeated and the town still stands. Ben is stunned, but Birch goes on to ask him if he remembers the old plan. Ben does remember the plan involving the mines, but questions whether this could also destroy the very thing he is trying to find. Birch says that he has faith, and Ben should do as he is told. When Ben tries to back out of it saying that he never signed up for this and can't go through it again, Birch counters that Ben signed up for whatever it would take, and he walks out the door, leaving a groaning Ben still gasping. Ben is then seen furtively leaving the hospital in the coveralls that Birch laid out. He limps down the stairs shielding his eyes, and then quickly moves with purpose through the back streets of Defiance.
The McCawley house stands quite a distance from the arch, and a mining tower can be seen between the two structures. Quentin McCawley is in the kitchen watching Christie McCawley make breakfast. She greets her father when he enters, to which he notes that she seems to have decided to come home. She apologizes for not having spoken to him at the service for Luke the day before. She says that she was wrong for ducking him, but that she hadn't known what to say. Also, with Luke gone, they need to set aside the small stuff and pull together. A stern Rafe McCawley questions the fact that she considers her agreeing to marry Datak's kid as the "small stuff" that he is just supposed to put aside. Quentin urges him to accept the olive branch and sit down to breakfast. However, Rafe asks how he is supposed to eat, when all he can see is that "haint" (when Christie takes exception to that word he replaces it with Castithan) putting his hands all over her. When he asks her if she thinks that is what her dead brother would have wanted, she says that it doesn't matter what Luke wanted. What matters is what they want, and she is in love with Alak Tarr and wants to marry him. But Rafe says that what he wants is for the wedding to be called off and for her to come home. She asks what he will do if she doesn't, as she walks to the door. An angered Rafe calls out that if she walks out that door again there is no coming back, but this doesn't stop her. A frustrated Quentin points out that since their mother died, Christie has been the only one holding the family together, and the one time she does something that he doesn't like, he turns on her. When he starts to contrast this with the way their father treated Luke, Rafe takes exception. To Rafe's statement that Luke was a good man, Quentin wonders why then was he meeting with Ben, the guy who brought the Volge down on them, in the woods in the middle of the night. Rafe has no answer to give him.
Later, Rafe walks into Luke's room with its cluttered shelves and rumpled sheets. He is staring at a picture which he has picked up off the desk when his hailer buzzes. He responds to the call, then, dropping the picture on the bed and walking from the room, he calls out to Quentin to get the roller, as there has been an explosion at the mine.
At the hospital, Doctor Meh Yewll is telling Nolan and Amanda that the deputy will be fine, as she puts a dressing on the burns on his neck. Nolan thinks that the guilty party took a hell of a chance busting Ben Daris out in broad daylight. When Yewll tells him that Ben was "jumpstarted" using the dangerous drug vri-tex used in combat medicine, Nolan wonders if the culprit could be ex-military. Just then, Tommy pushes through the curtain of plastic strips to tell Nolan that McCawley had hailed about the mine explosion, and they leave Yewll to her work.
At the McCawley mines, heavy equipment and towers surround the main concrete entrance. They are met by an angry Rafe who blames Amanda and Nolan for Ben having escaped and for still being alive, to be capable of: attacking one of his guards, stealing 20 kilos of gulanite and blowing the I-9 shaft behind him so that he could not be followed underground. He can't believe that they let Luke's murderer get lose, but Nolan assures him, as they walk to main entrance of the mine, that he will be recaptured. The mine entrance is filled with smoke, fallen debris, stalled vehicles, and two miners who seem to be arguing about how to initiate the clean-up. Two injured men sit to the side being looked after. Still, Rafe informs Amanda that there were no men in the I-9 tunnel, as it is abandoned, being the tunnel that leads down to Old St. Louis. Nolan is surprised to hear that the city still exists.
Spreading out rolls of underground maps on to a surface, Quentin explains to Nolan and Irisa, as Rafe and Amanda stand with them, that when the alien terraformers went crazy most American cities were obliterated, but something strange happened here. Using the edge of one of the maps to demonstrate, he shows how the terraformed earth folded over the city and hardened before the buildings beneath could be crushed. This left some sections of the city still intact, more or less. Nolan doesn't understand why Ben would trap himself underground. It makes no sense, with the stasis net down there was nothing to stop Ben from escaping through the pass. Rafe estimates that it would have only taken him 2 kilos of gulanite to blow the tunnel, which means he has 18 left, which Amanda points out could make a really big bomb. However, Rafe doesn't see how an explosion from so deep down there could in any way harm Defiance. Nolan must capture Ben in order to learn who was behind the Volge attack, but says that the 4 hours minimum that Quentin says that it will take to clear the tunnel is too long to wait, and they need another way down. Shuffling through the maps, Nolan finds a confusing cluster of tunnels in one corner. Quentin identifies it as the Rat's Nest, which is an unmapped maze of razor-sharp rocks and steep drop-offs, unused as the I-9 is bigger and safer. Rafe points out that that the map is in his head, as he discovered the Rat's Nest, and he agrees that it is their best chance to get ahead of Ben Daris. He orders Quentin to go find Nak, Levon, a couple of other miners, and the rappelling gear. Amanda tries to countermand this as she is still worried that Rafe will shoot Ben when he finds him. Rafe points out that this is his mine, his men, and his rules, and that she has his word, but Nolan announces that he will be going too and can prevent Rafe from taking revenge. Irisa is startled and looks up in alarm at Nolan's announcement. Rafe calls Nolan a topside flatfoot and not a miner; he says that it is too dangerous for Nolan and that he would be a detriment. Nolan points to his war experience, and his many rough descents looking for underground bunkers. He bets Rafe 20 scrip that his boots hit the ground first. An exasperated Rafe walks away telling Nolan that it is his own ass to risk. Amanda reasserts that Rafe must be prevented from killing Ben. The town is their first priority, and they need him for questioning. Nolan tells her that he empathizes with Rafe and would want to do the same if it had been his son, but promises to bring Ben back alive.
Nolan is following Rafe and the other four miners down the tunnel when Irisa rushes to catch up with him. As the others stop ahead to adjust their equipment, Irisa holds Nolan back and tells him not to risk his life for these people, as they aren't worth it. Nolan disagrees and says that some of them are. He instructs her to stay with Tommy and help figure out who set the fugitive free. When he orders her to stay far away from Elah Bandik, she does not respond but continues to look worried, as Nolan rejoins the miners.
Datak Tarr is relaxing in his bath as a servant massages his shoulders. Across the very large sunken bath Stahma Tarr, his wife, has her hair brushed by another servant. She delicately brings up the subject of Elah Bandilk, which she says everyone is talking about. Datak tells her not to start with him, as this is one of their old laws. Stahma twirls her hair and points out that this is a new world, and the humans find this sort of thing (Elah's public ritual torturing to death) unseemly. Datak doesn't care, but Stahma says that they must worry about the human's opinions, for if the humans are against them then they will never be able to carry out their plans for taking over the McCawley mines. It is Alak's future that she is thinking about. As for the old laws, she reminds him of his life back on Casti, when he was at the bottom Liro of the lowest caste. His was a life of degradation and poverty, and she asks if this is the Castithan way that he is so eager to preserve. However Datak begins to laugh, he stands and defiantly proclaims that it is, now that he is on top pissing down on those below. He slaps the water, and Stahma looks disappointed, as she must think of another argument to make. Just then Alak walks in (obviously their culture being unconcerned about a parents nudity). Alak is moving around the room moody and preoccupied until Stahma asks him what is going on. He tells her that Rafe McCawley is messing with Christie's mind, and Alak is worried that they will have to cancel the wedding. Stahma is concerned for Alak and comforts him by calling him "honey", but Datak says that Rafe McCawley needs a bullet to the head. Alak is shocked at this statement, but Stahma tells him that Datak doesn't mean it, the hot water having this effect on his disposition. They both ignore Datak's assurance that he meant what he said. Stahma kisses and embraces Alak assuring him that she will take care of everything. Datak smiles at her, knowing that with her powers at scheming she will probably succeed.
Under the city in the Rat's Nest, Nolan and the miners are in an enormous overgrown cavern. They are repelling down the side of a building which has fallen over in front of an impressive waterfall. The rubble of other fallen buildings can be seen around them. Later, walking along the floor of the cavern, Rafe checks his beeping scanning device, while Nolan with his flashlight ironically finds a battered paperback copy of "War of the Worlds", next to the statue of an angel. Nolan asks Rafe if he has a fix on the gulanite that Ben is carrying. Rafe does and the reading is not far away, so he leads the way to "go nail the bastard". They all follow him, with the only comment being a growl from the Sensoth. At the edge of another even more immense cavern that stretches before them, Rafe welcomes Nolan to OLd St. Louis. Buildings, billboards, and even barren trees fill the huge space before them, in the murky light.
Back in Defiance at the Darby Building, former Mayor Nicolette Riordon is telling Amanda that it is about time she came to remove her clutter from Amanda's office so that she can make it her own. She places books, a statuette, and a snow globe in a cardboard box. She announces her intention of taking up golf in her retirement. She says that she once had a 3 handicap, which no-one can dispute, as she is the only one who still remembers the damn rules of the game. Amanda tries to share a smile with her but is distracted by the sounds of chanting and the continued cries of Elah Bandik which she can hear from her window. Looking out, she can see the ceremony taking place in The Hollows, and Nicky comments that the poor bastard has been undergoing torture for three hours now. Amanda says that she hates and wants to stop this. She remarks on the fact that they have a town charter, but haven't followed it for years. Nicky disagrees, as dealing with Castithans is tricky, for they are obsessed with their pasts, who their ancestors were, and what Liro they were born into. They build their lives around ancient traditions that may once have had a purpose, but none of them can agree on what it was. Amanda doesn't think that this sounds too different from human culture and customs. Nicky adds that the Castithans lost their past when their planet blew up, and these sad little displays in the street are all they have left. She predicts that if Amanda tries to take that away from them, it will be like the Iraths all over again. Amanda is not just accepting Nicky's judgment anymore, she refuses to believe that, as Defiance has changed a lot in the last five years. Nicky scoffs, but Amanda reminds her that they came together to fight the Volge and won. Amanda thinks that the town is building a bigger identity, greater than Human, Irath, or Casti. There is a sadness in Nicky's face as she comes over to Amanda, pulls on her braid, and then cups her cheek. Amanda smiles, but there are tears in her eyes when Nicky says that she is going to miss her and walks away. (This has greater meaning when it is realized that Nicky has a plan to empty Defiance that will result in great loss of life. Amanda, who idealistically will not just flee, is not likely to survive.)
Mr. Birch is waiting in front of the Darby building with the car, smoking. a frustrated Nicky carrying the cardboard box has almost reached the car by the time she calls to him to come to take it. Waiting for him to put his glasses away, she asks facetiously if chivalry died in the Volge attack? As he puts the box in the trunk, he tells her that Ben is underground, it should only take him two more hours to reach the target, and therefore they must leave town now. Nicky, still wiping tears from her eyes after her meeting with Amanda, worries that an injured Ben might fail, but Birch assures Nicky that he made sure that Ben was motivated (referencing his threats to Ben's family). Before they leave, Nicky has a few more people to say goodbye to. As he holds the door open for her to climb into the car, Birch tells her that she has let herself get too close to these people. Nicky indignantly says that she grew up with them and saw their babies being born and raised, but what she does now must be done and is for the benefit of all of us. Birch says he knows when she is adamant in the fact that she takes no pleasure in it. She explains her actions by saying that she just ran out of time, and no matter how much you get it is never enough.
Rafe is getting winded from the non-stop trek and is leaning against a piece of rubble. Nolan is concerned and wants to take a break, but Rafe doesn't want anyone to stop on his account. It is only when Nolan says that he needs water that Rafe tells the other miners (two human-one possibly a woman, one Castithan, and one sensoth) to take five. Nolan sits down in what seems to be an old playground and Rafe exhales heavily in relief, as he takes a seat next to him. Looking around at the climbing playhouses and slides, Nolan identifies the place as Jefferson Park and tells Rafe that he hasn't been here since he was 9 years old. Rafe is surprised to hear that he was a local. Nolan admits that his memories are hazy. He tries to remember if the place where he and his parents used to eat was around here. Rafe guesses that it was Golden's on the far side of the park, which served the best toasted ravioli in the state. Drinking from his flask, Nolan feels that is right and is certain when Rafe mentions their pretty good gooey butter cake. Rafe chuckles as he calls it one of mankind's greatest inventions, next to penicillin. Rafe remembers taking Luke there when he was approx. 3 years old. Nolan asks Rafe what his family did before Arkfall. When Rafe admits that they made dog food, Nolan suddenly makes the connection with the name McCawley. He realizes that Rafe's father was "Chow down Brown" McCawley. Rafe looks like he wishes that he never answered the question and flat out refuses to sing the jingle. But a laughing Nolan remembers and sings it. "Healthy pups can't get enough; they never wear a frown. 'Cause it's chow down time, it's chow down time, it's always chow down time." When Nolan can't see him in the dog food business, Rafe says that he wanted to be a photographer and did mostly sports stuff, with some bikini stuff just for fun. After the Arkfall, he tried to keep it up doing terraformed landscapes, but found it too depressing and gave it up. Because all it did was remind him of everything that the aliens took away. Hearing the hostility in Rafe's voice, Nolan reiterates that they need to bring back this Votan alive, but Rafe says that he knows no such thing and reminds Nolan that Ben killed Luke. He leaves saying that predicting the future is a sucker's game, and he can just look around to see proof of that.
Elah Bandik has lapsed into unconsciousness, he hangs from the ropes with his hands beginning to discolor. An increasingly distressed Irisa has stood watching Castithans continue to place stones in the now full metal basket. When a small Castithan boy is putting a piece of rubble into the basket, Irisa pulls it from his hand tosses it back down. He stares blankly, as she tells him that this is no place for a child. The crowd begins to grumble, as Irisa pulls out her knife, places it between her teeth and starts to climb the metal frame up to Elah. The priests rush forward in alarm, with Kurr raising the faceplate of his mask and with increasing volume ordering her to stop. Irisa cuts through one of the ropes holding Elah, and then snarls at the angry crowd, as they begin throwing rocks at her. Things look to be escalating into violence when a shot rings out. Deputy Tommy Lasalle stands in the opening to the courtyard with his rifle pointed up; the Castithans all around duck at the sound of gunfire. As the priests and Irisa stare at him, Tommy announces that Elah Bandik is under arrest. When an indignant Kurr wants to know what for, Tommy pauses and then nonchalantly says loitering.
Underground, the search party is passing a large statue of a man holding up his arms, like Atlas holding the world, but his hands are empty and it is half buried in rubble and covered in foliage. Broken pillars and an Interstate 40 / Interstate 70 East sign which identifies the City of St. Louis Nuclear Power Station in 2.5 miles stand nearby. They come to a dried up harbor filled with ships and pieces of broken bridges. There is a reproduction river paddle boat at a dock. The signal on Rafe's scanner tracking the stolen gulanite is getting stronger and he says that wherever Ben is it is close. Across the river, there is a structure with two large round towers which Nolan comments on not remembering being there. Rafe identifies it as the nuclear power plant that was built during the war. Mechanical noises sound and the lights at the nuclear power plant begin to go on. Rafe and Nolan stand stunned as they simultaneously realize that if Ben detonated the gulanite in one of those nuclear reactors the radiation would get up through the tunnels of the rat's nest and would kill everybody in town.
At the Chez Renaldo diner, Christie is clearing plates as a Spanish version of "Night and Day" is playing. She is cleaning a cup next to the coffee machine and seems preoccupied. Suddenly someone offers "a penny for her thoughts". It is Stahma Tarr sitting at one of the tables. Seeming shy and uncertain that she is using the right expression, she holds an empty teacup, and Christie comes over to refill it. Christie comments that Luke used to collect very old pennies. He said that the copper was worth more than the coins themselves, and Stahma understands that it was Luke that Christie was just preoccupied thinking about. She tells a sad Christie, as she pulls her down to sit with her at the table, that it is their duty to live their lives to the fullest. It is how you honor those who have passed, which is why Stahma says that she was surprised to hear that Christie is having second thoughts about the wedding. When Christie says that she wants to slow things down, Stahma realizes that is because of Rafe and how much pressure he is putting on her. When Christie says that her father is a bit of a jackass, a smiling Stahma sipping her tea remarks that most men are and it is a characteristic that transcends species. When Stahma tells her that she can fight him if she wants to, Christie doubts that she can. Stahma begins to relate her own past. Just before she left her homeworld, her parents went to great lengths to ensure that she married a man that they deemed suitable. At her side was a not very handsome stranger, but he came from the very highest Liro and he was a man of great honor. (She continually calls him a "man of great honor", in a way which increasingly seems like disdain. Being unquestionably honorable does not seem to be a trait that Stahma values in a mate.) Stahma says that her parents believed that he would keep her safe. However, Stahma had met someone else. Christie correctly guesses that it was Datak, when Stahma describes a scruffy, young nobody who was beautiful and dangerous with a wicked smile. Stahma says that he won passage to Earth as payment for a gambling debt, and he pursued her aggressively, and her betrothed was furious. Stahma tells Christie that her betrothed challenged Datak to a Castithan blood duel, but that they never got a chance to fight as, on his way to the duel, her "man of great honor" was accidentally flushed out of an airlock into space. When Stahma smilingly refers to it as a tragic accident, Christie asks how someone could be accidentally flushed out an airlock. Stahma quickly side-steps the question to say that she knew that Datak was a man who loved her beyond scope of reason and that he was a survivor who would stop at nothing to keep them both safe. She understood the man she needed in a way that her parents could not. When Christie asks if this is a true story, Stahma smiles, giggles, and kisses Christie's hand. She and Christie give beatific smiles as Stahma announces that it will be a beautiful wedding.
At the nuclear power plant, the lights are still going on, as the search party is making its way across metal walkways, keeping together and watching their step. Rafe remarks that he hasn't been there in a long time, and though they keep their eyes open, they still have found nothing. While crossing the bridge over the large nuclear rod cooling pools of water below, shots suddenly ring out, and the Castithan miner who leads is struck in the shoulder. Ben stands at the end of the walkway, Nolan catches the falling Castithan miner and pulls him back, everyone ducks and draws weapons and Ben and Rafe exchange fire. Ben is hit and gasping he falls back against the reactor to slide slowly down until he is seated on the metal walkway with the beeping gulanite bomb next to him. He is reaching for it with a shaking hand, when a deadly serious Nolan arrives, puts his gun to Ben's head and says, "uh uh". Ben sinks back as he realizes that he has failed. Nolan has deactivated the bomb, by the time Rafe has made it to the end of the walkway. Assured that the bomb is deactivated, Rafe says, "good", and then raises his gun to finish the wounded Ben off. Nolan reminds Rafe that they need Ben alive if they're ever gonna find out who the hell is behind all this. Only Ben can give them the answers they need. He understands that Rafe wants to avenge Luke, but he reminds Rafe that he has Christie and Quentin sitting at home while someone is doing their damnedest to destroy the town they live in. Ben sees Nolan's words having an effect on Rafe and knows that he cannot afford to be taken alive, therefore he begins to taunt Rafe. When Ben says that Luke begged for his life like a little girl, Nolan slaps him on top of the head and warns him to stop unless he is trying to die for the cause. Ben asks Rafe if he wants to know why Luke was helping him. It was because he needed money, so he could get away from Defiance and away from Rafe. He considers it laughable that Rafe came down here to avenge Luke who hated his guts, after what he did to his mother. Shaking with rage Rafe yells at Ben to "shut up". Nolan repeats that Rafe can do what is right by his dead child, or he can do the right thing by the two living ones, but he must now choose. Slowly Rafe masters his fury and lowers his gun, but Ben jumps up, grabs the gun, and pulls it directly to his own heart, causing it to discharge. Looking Rafe in the eye, he says to tell Amanda that he is sorry, before he collapses and dies leaving Nolan and Rafe stunned.
Tommy looks out the front window of the Lawkeeper's office and sees that it is quiet outside. He has sent word to the mayor about the situation, and she said she would be right over, so he tells Irisa that they maybe will be alright. Elah Bandik sits at the table still in pain from his ordeal. Irisa knows that the Castithans will come for Elah and decides that rescuing him was a mistake. Her second-guessing leads her to try to pin the blame for their situation on Tommy saying that he was stupid to help her. Tommy explains that when she made a move he backed her up which is what Lawkeepers do and what Clancy taught him. Undaunted, Irisa says Tommy was stupid to listen to Clancy. Tommy lets this go, as he sees Datak and his bio-man coming. As Tommy and Irisa arm themselves with rifles, the can hear Datak instructing others to go around the side. The bio-man, Ulysses pulls open the front doors and Datak enters, while four other Castithan thugs enter through the side doors. Datak demands that they hand over the coward. Tommy says that they can't do that, referring to Datak as Favi Tarr, while Elah looks ashamed. Datak reminds them that this is a Castithan matter and will be handled by Castithans. He calls Irisa a charming girl when she says that if he takes another step her first bullet will kill him. It is a stand-off with Datak saying that they can go around them or through them, and the choice is theirs.
Outside the search party has returned from the mines. As the vehicles drive up the Sensoth stands with his head sticking up out of the open roof of the roller. Rafe orders his men to get the wounded Castithan miner, Levon, to the doctor. Nolan and Rafe look to the Lawkeeper's office just in time to see Amanda push her way in around the bio-man at the door. When Rafe asks Nolan what he thinks is going on, Nolan getting out his sidearm replies that it is nothing good. Rafe instructs his sensoth employee Nak to come with them, as he and Nolan start down the street. Nolan tells Rafe that it isn't his fight, but Rafe tells Nolan that he owes him one.
Amanda tells Datak that that's enough. She informs him that Irisa and Tommy were acting under her orders and that she has decided to pardon Elah Bandik of all violations of Castithan law. When Datak disputes her having the power to do so, she tells him that if he wants to take Elah, he is going to have to shoot up this office and kill her. Nolan, Rafe, and Nak enter the office raising their guns. Amanda asks Datak what it is going to be, pointless bloodshed or are they going to work out their differences together peacefully? Datak looks around the office and especially at the sensoth who is giving a low growl. Putting his hand in his pocket he nonchalantly walks over to an uncertain Amanda, calls her Madam mayor, takes her hand in both of his, and with a smile tells her that her passion has touched his heart. He goes on to says that they are indeed one community and enough blood has been spilled, that tonight they will bury their dead with dignity, and that later who knows perhaps they can revisit these cultural differences with cooler heads. She seems unsure how to react as he slowly kisses her hand. Still seeming sure of himself, he calls to his men and tells Rafe that he will see him at the wedding on his way out the door. A relieved Nolan thanks Rafe for the help as that could have gone badly. Rafe, putting away his gun, who has always thought that the city would be better off without Datak and not sure that it is over says that it would have been cleaner if things had gone badly. Needing to go check on his injured man, he says goodbye to Amanda and calls for the sensoth Nak to go with him. Tommy goes to Elah and offers to walk him home. Elah is so jumpy he is startled when Tommy puts his hand on his shoulder. Nolan believes that this is not over with Datak, which Amanda knows. When she asks about Ben, Nolan tells her that he is dead, but that he did say to tell her that he was sorry. When she says, "aren't we all?", Nolan points out that the town is safe for the moment, which Amanda says that she will take. Later Nolan can give her the details because now she has 41 people to bury. When she goes, Nolan is left alone with Irisa. Crouching next to her, he guesses that this all happened because Irisa had busted Elah out. By way of explanation for directly disobeying his orders, Irisa simply says that she doesn't like chains. Nolan nods and tells her that she did the right thing. When Irisa gives some credit to Amanda, Nolan acts shocked and points out that they were right to trust her, which makes Irisa smile. When she asks if they are ever going to make it to Antarctica, Nolan calls her kid and says that even though he is not sure if the myths about it are true, for them Antarctica is not real. (It is not part of their reality). But he is sure that the town of Defiance is real, and Irisa realizes that they will be staying.
Leading all the different races that make up the townspeople of Defiance through the woods to a section where 41 trees have been marked by tying white ribbons around them, Amanda starts the memorial service. She says, "Tonight we gather to honor the 41 souls who gave their lives to save this town." She calls them heroes. Everyone is there: Datak and Stahma; Birch and Mayor Nicky; one of the shigustaks; Irisa, Nolan, and Tommy. Christie comes over to stand with Alak. As he puts his arm around her, she shares a look with Stahma who seems pleased that the wedding is back on track. Rafe and Quentin both stare with sadness at Christie standing with the Tarrs.
Rafe has returned to Luke's room, and he again picks up the photo which he had tossed onto the bed. It is of Luke, Quentin, and Christie who appear to be ages 8 to 14. Rafe then begins thoroughly searching the room: the nightstand, in the board games on the shelves, and under the mattress. On the floor, he finds a chip of wood from the dresser. Pulling out the bottom drawer, he finds that the chip is from a false back to the drawer which hides a hidden compartment. Inside there is a stack of scrip (money), a map of one branch of the mine with a circled star at one end and a notation that there is a possible cavern over DC-3, and a strange circular artifact. It is gold and appears metallic with a surface engraved with symbols. Small depressions have arms radiating out from them like a starfish. These are interwoven in possibly three layers. Rafe stares at it.
Elah Bandik sits with his children at the fire pit where they have been roasting the kabobs which are their dinner. It is behind the semi-truck trailer which is their home. There are drying racks holding possibly red and yellow squid. His wife passes an older Castithan man inside smoking a pipe and carries a tray of drinks out to them. Elah is drinking from his glass when he turns, as someone comes up behind him. Datak has come with his bio-man. As Elah limps away with them past his vending trolley, his wife turns away to sit on the sofa and take her children into her arms. Elah thanks Datak for letting him have some time with his family. He has accepted his fate and seems unafraid. Datak says "of course" and recognizes that what Elah is doing now is brave and honorable. As they walk away from his home with the bio-man following, Datak pulls his Votan blade and activates it into a blue energy dagger.
In the Lawkeeper's office, Tommy removes his black, possibly bullet-proof vest, folds it, and puts it on the table. Irisa is considering the postcard which welcomes the reader to the sunny beaches of Antarctica. Suddenly a woman outside screams. Nolan is the first outside and, seeing Elah's body on the doorstep with his throat slit, he walks out to quickly scan the street, but he sees no sign of the perpetrator. The human couple who found the body stand in the street with the woman sobbing in the man's arms. Nolan comes back to kneel by the body with Irisa and Tommy staring on.
- Mia Kirshner (Kenya) did not appear.
- Joshua Nolan's first name was not used.
- Jessica Nichols (Bertie) did not appear, despite multiple scenes in the McCawley house.
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