|Date aired||April 15, 2013|
|Ratings||2.727mil Viewers |
|Writer(s)|| Rockne S. O'Bannon|
|Guest stars|| Peter MacNeill as Garret Clancy|
Dewshane Williams as Tommy Lasalle
Trenna Keating as Doc Yewll
Justin Rain as Quentin McCawley
Jesse Rath as Alak Tarr
Nicole Muñoz as Christie McCawley
Fionnula Flanagan as Nicolette Riordon
|Recurring|| Noah Danby as Sukar|
Douglas Nyback as Ben
Tiio Horn as Rynn
Carl Bauer as Rupert
Kevin Shand as Dog Walker
Rob Archer as Bio-man
Steven McCarthy as Mr. Birch
Jessica Nichols as Bertie
|Next||"Down...Dead Men Go"|
Overview (No Spoilers)
In the beginning of the episode, you are given a clear perspective on the relationship that Joshua Nolan and Irisa have with each other. They are Ark Hunters - people who scavenge through Ark Falls in search of valuable and significant finds, in an effort to turn a profit. They owe someone a great deal of money and have a dream that their eyes are set towards - paradise. Throughout the episode, you are given explanations of more in-depth events that brought them closer together. For example, you are described how Irisa became Nolan's adopted daughter. Their bond is what determines the strength and integrity of Defiance, in the present and future, as they play a huge role in Defiance's upcoming throughout the season.
Sooner than later, they find themselves involved in a love affair between rival families, a murder that has taken place in Defiance, with multiple suspects in question, and they find themselves stuck between having to choose to stay and fight the incoming Volge or to leave and pursue their dream of paradise. Loyalties, honor, and defiance are called into question, heavily, throughout this episode.
In the end, you may be expected to have a feeling of accomplishment, heroism, justice, plotting schemes, and the remembrance of our past that defines our future. These feelings should allow you to welcome many new episodes that are yet to come!
Brief Summary (Minor Spoilers)
Nolan and Irisa stumble upon an Ark Fall wreckage in the hopes of salvaging something worth enough money to pay off their debts and go to paradise, as they had always dreamed. While searching through the wreckage, they are ambushed by Spirit Riders - a gang of outlaws that end up taking everything that Nolan and Irisa have, while threatening to kill them. Fearing for their life and recently acquired precious cargo, they attempt to flee, only to have Irisa injured in the process.
They (Nolan and Irisa) discover Defiance by accident, by having Defiance's Lawkeepers rescue them after Irisa had been injured, Nolan had been carrying her for hours throughout the night, and finally stumbling across a pack of Saberwolves. Upon arrival of Defiance, you are shown the remarkable survival of St. Louis's Arch that astonishingly survived the terraforming events that ran amok after the Ark Fall event occurred. The survival of the arc is a symbol in the town of Defiance, as well as the actions of the "Defiant Few" during the Pale Wars. The result of these actions and consequences are what gave way to Defiance's name.
The episode focuses primarily on Nolan and Irisa's involvement in the incidents and events that occur in Defiance. At first, they visit the local NeedWant bar/hostel to have a cold drink, while searching for information on how to make quick, easy money (scrip). Of course, this leads to The Hollows, where a fighting ring takes place in a wager for 10 times the pot. It is through this fighting ring that Nolan and Irisa first meet Datak Tarr, the local leader of a Castithan gang in Defiance.
He is one of the few people in Defiance that hold a great deal of power and influence's Defiance's everyday life. Other powers-that-be include, but are not limited to, Rafe McCawley, Mayor, Amanda Rosewater, and Nicolette (Nicky) Riordon. Rafe McCawley is the owner of Defiance's mining operations and is responsible for bringing large quatities of money into the town. The Mayor, Amanda, is the recent successor of Nicolette Riordon, after Nicky had served 8 years as the acting Mayor of Defiance.
Unsuccessful in the acquiring of the amount of money required for them to leave Defiance and continue to their dream of paradise, they decide to stay for a night, having a good meal to eat, a warm shower, and a bed to sleep in.
Elsewhere in Defiance, as the night falls dark, a heinous crime has been committed. Rafe McCawley's son,Luke McCawley, has been murdered. As such, an investigation is opened in search of the murderer; however, Rafe, filled with rage and vengeance, mistakenly believe this to be the work of Alak Tarr, the son of his arch enemy - Datak Tarr. It is up to Garret Clancy to get to Alak Tarr before Rafe does. Fortunately, Nolan was already there as he woke after a long night of glorious sleep and other activities. Nolan, attempting to be the local hero, decides to step-in and stop Rafe and his men's lynching of Alak Tarr.
As expected, a fight breaks out in the bar, injuring Garret Clancy and collapsing him into a comatose. This soon leads to the town being in need of a skilled tracker and Rafe is willing to dish out a large amount of money to acquire one. Sure enough, Nolan happens to have good, past experience in tracking and offers to take on the job, for a price.
The investigation soon leads to the discovery of the person responsible for the murder - Ben Daris, but it soon becomes a race against time as Ben has much more sinister plans in mind. He has planted a bomb and intends to take out the shield array that is currently Defiance's main defense against incoming intruders. Preoccupied with the capturing and questioning of Ben, leads to the destruction of one of Defiance's Stasis Nets. Immediately after, they soon learn that the Volge - a race of beings bred to destroy planets - are coming to destroy Defiance.
Irisa and Nolan are forced to decide: either to stay and help Defiance fight the Volge, or run with their precious cargo and head to paradise. A decision must be made, but that decision causes conflict between Nolan and Irisa, causing them to split apart and go their separate ways.
Be sure to watch the Pilot of Defiance to get the full information and find out what happens to the town, and whether Irisa and Nolan find each other, once again! The Full Episode is shown below.
Detailed Description (Major Spoilers)
At the beginning, we see the ships of the Votan entering Earth's atmosphere. A young boy is in a park having a picnic with his family. He throws a tennis ball for a golden retriever to fetch, while his mother, father, and little sister are on a blanket with the picnic basket. The ground shakes and a Votan Ark descends through the clouds, as an utterly dwarfed 747 veers out of its path. The boy stands staring at it, as his alarmed mother tries to draw him away.
This is revealed to be a dream that Irisa, the adopted daughter and side-kick of Josua Nolan, has had of his past. She remarks that her dreams have returned and are becoming more vivid. She goes on to talk about how she was born later on this world: after the ships that carried her people here were destroyed, after the terraformers changed his world forever, and after the arkfalls began. We now see the terraformed earth of 33 years later, surrounded by the debris field of the destroyed Votan fleet. Two large ship pieces collide, sending one of them plummeting to earth. It breaks up into meteors that streak across the sky.
Irisa and Nolan are on a roller traveling through a terraformed landscape. She is writing in her journal that Nolan liked to tell her when she was a child that as the Earth that once existed is gone, just as the dead star system of the Votan, that this planet has no natives and thus belongs to everyone. She looks at a postcard of sunny Antarctica and writes about how Nolan has told her that it will be paradise, but that she is afraid to believe this. She loves her father, but has been disappointed too many times, and his promises usually turn to shtako.
As Irisa puts her journal away, Nolan asks if she is giving him the silent treatment or is just being a little more silent than usual. He goes on to apologize for having put her in a compromising situation and promises to never do it again. He explains that he did not know that the woman was married, as aliens don't wear rings, and he was not born with the ability to smell the tell-tale pheromones. Irisa sighs heavily, unimpressed by his promises, and taps on the radar screen that he is navigating by. Nolan confirms that they are in a matching approach vector with the arkfall, and it is projected to impact in 20 clicks. As they see the arkfall passing overhead, Nolan says that it will finally be a guaranteed payday.
Irisa is still not talking and, with a smile, Nolan puts on what is obviously a favorite song, "Jackson" by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Irisa cannot resist joining him in a duet to the song. Soon they are both smiling, with Irisa particularly relishing lines like, "Go play your hand, you big-talking man, make a big fool of yourself."
When they reach the arkfall, there are only a few small fires around it, and they go inside to see what they can salvage. They take off their oxygen masks, when Irisa's scanner shows that the air is not dangerous. The ark is filled with hypersleep pods that hold dead Votans. Looking at their remains, Irisa muses on the irony that after hundreds of years in space they died in their sleep.
Deeper in the ship, they find a still intact Terra-spire. Carefully placing a glowing piece of alien technology, that Nolan refers to as the whatsit (later revealed in the series to be the Libera Nova Gem stolen from Varus), into the base, they are able to activate it. It is glowing and humming with energy, and they are able to draw down the Terra-sphere. Nolan informs Irisa that Earth republic pays top jaja for Votan tech and that they can probably sell a pristine terrasphere to them for 3 million. Irisa is overjoyed, as that will allow them to pay off Varus. She hugs Nolan as he tells her that they will have enough money to get passage to Antartica, where they can lay on a beach until the arks rise again.
As they walk back to where they entered the ship, raised voices and vehicles can be heard outside. Nolan has Irisa hold back as he goes to look out. He sees that night has fallen, the fires are still burning, and Irathients are tearing past on motorcycles. Nolan identifies them as Spirit Riders and turns to tell Irisa that they must stay in the ship. However, when he turns around, it is to find Irisa being held by Sukar the leader of the Spirit Riders, who cocks a gun to her head. Nolan tells him to be at ease and calls them friends, while one of Sukar's three companions, Rynn, relieves Nolan of his gun. Both of them taunt Irisa for being the partner of a human, instead of riding with her own kind. Rynn asks if she is Nolan's pet. Irisa replies defiantly which earns a growl from Rynn, but Sukar admires her spirit, saying that she is a true Irathient
Sukar orders them all outside. Nolan and Irisa are shoved along and find their roller being ransacked by three Irathients. One approaches Nolan and searching his pockets finds the Libera Nova. Nolan is indignant, as he says they had to go through a great deal in order to get it. Nolan then attempts to persuade them that the roller isn't worth taking, as it gets lousy mileage and the heater never worked, to no avail. Leaning in the cab he takes the picture postcard of Antarctica, pointing out to them that it is worthless.
Sukar then orders him to empty his pack. Nolan tries to bluff that the valuable stuff is still on the ship, but Sukar emphatically demonstrates that he still has the gun to Irisa's head. Nolan kneels and slowly begins to comply, but seeing Irisa trigger a knife to lower into her hand, he gives the signal, and they both attack. Irisa stabs Sukar in the thigh, pulls the gun out of his holster, and tosses it to Nolan. He catches it and fires to ignite an explosive that he has pulled from behind his back and thrown into the air. The blast throws everyone to the ground. Nolan lays down cover fire as Irisa runs for the trees, telling her to forget the roller. One of the spirit riders fires an automatic weapon after them. Sukar far from being upset at being stabbed is even more impressed by Irisa; pulling the knife from his thigh, he again calls her a true Irathient.
As they run through the woods in the dark, Nolan tries to encourage Irisa to go faster, as dangerous things inhabit this forest. He tells her that he saw a settlement of some sort on the scanner in this direction, but that he doesn't know how far away it is. He sees that Irisa is unsteady and panting heavily, but she insists that they cannot stop. As she rests her hand against a tree trying to catch her breath, it is revealed that she is bleeding, when she leaves a bloody hand-print. Nolan tries to push on, but Irisa cannot keep up. She falls and is then unable to rise.
Irisa finally tells Nolan that she has been shot, and he sees that it is bad. He apologizes in advance that this is going to hurt. As he lifts and begins to carry her, Irisa screams, but he encourages her to be strong, saying "that's my girl." He carries her all night and dawn is beginning to rise when Nolan, still walking toward the direction of the settlement, cannot go on any further. Exhausted and in pain, he is barely able to set her down without falling on her. He hears something coming and quickly removes the terrasphere from his pack. He buries it under a fallen log. Things are growling and moving swiftly in the woods around them, and Nolan pulls his gun and prepares to defend the unconscious Irisa.
Suddenly behind him is a Saberwolf, which looks like a cross between a bear and a spider. Giving a great howl into the air, it approaches. Nolan fires and kills it, but they are soon surrounded by others moving in like a wolf pack. Nolan fires until his gun is empty, but five are still left in the pack and Nolan faces his certain doom.
At that moment shots ring out, and the remaining saberwolves are shot or are driven away. Garret Clancy, lawkeeper of the town of Defiance pushing back his hood walks up with two deputies through the light rain. A relieved Nolan tries to rise to greet him, but he is too exhausted, and Clancy must prevent him from falling. Clancy assures them that they are safe and, with the deputies on either side of Irisa, they are walked the short remaining distance to the huge blue grid-like energy field stretching across the pass that is the stasis net which protects Defiance. There is a flock of huge bat-like creatures in the air and strange large insects on the ground. Over the loud electric hum, Clancy hails the control booth that they are coming in and for them to drop the net. As it goes down, Nolan catches sight of the arch and realizes that this was once the city of St. Louis.
The city of Defiance is a mixture of structures, some made from old tractor trailers, with windmills and solar panels. Amanda Rosewater mayor of Defiance is giving a speech in front of her office in city hall. She is on a podium in front of the Darby Building, which looks to have been mostly buried; only the top five floors are above ground. She is dedicating the statue which stands in front of the podium. The statue shows a human and Votan soldier with their backs to each other, holding children and helping people up from the ground. The plaque reads, "THIS STATUE IS TO COMMEMORATE THE BRAVE, THE FALLEN, THE DEFIANT FEW". She goes on to tell the story of the end of the Pale Wars, when soldiers of the opposing armies, fighting in this city in the Fort which was burning down around them, disobeyed their officers by refusing to fight further, putting down their arms, and banding together to help free the trapped civilians from the wreckage. She describes how news of this seminal event spread and others of the eight races around the world followed suit and stopped fighting. Today's dedication is to celebrated the 15 year anniversary of the armistice that was declared and that ended the Pale Wars. The crowd applauds and the mayor gives them the salute with right arm across her chest and closed fist over the heart.
She dedicates the statue and then goes on to thank and introduce those seated behind her on the podium. Acting Mayor Rosewater explains that it has only been three weeks since she was appointed to her position by her departing and much beloved predecessor Mayor Nicolette Riordon, who was the one who initially commissioned the project. Over the applause, Nicolette raises her voice to remind them all that she is the ex-mayor, and she says that Amanda is welcome to it, as it took her eight years to quit the lousy job. Laughter follows her remarks, but she then must take a breath from the portable oxygen canister that she holds. Amanda then introduces the financial benefactors who donated the money which made the day's festivities possible. Castithan Datak Tarr who rises and bows to the crowd to mild applause, his wife Stahma Tarr looks proudly at him, while his son Alak Tarr looks bored. Amanda then introduces the owner of the MacCawley mines Rafe McCawley and his children Luke McCawley, Quentin McCawley, and Christie McCawley. He rises to rousing applause being led by the large number of large men in mining helmets. Rafe encourages further cheers by giving the raise the roof signal and leading the call of "Defiance". A fuming Datak muses that applause seems to mean a great deal to Rafe, who counters that if Datak wants applause he should announce that he is leaving town, as he would then get a standing ovation.
Behind them, Alak Tarr and Christie McCawley have leaned forward in their chairs to smile at each other, as they are seated on either side of the podium. This is noticed by Luke who also leans forward imposing himself between them and scowling at Alak, who looks away.
Afterwards, food is being handed out and an Irathient band singer is entertaining. Amanda and Nicolette are descending from the podium. Amanda is saying that she feels like throwing up, her speech was stilted, and that she is genetically incapable of inspiring people. She reminds Nicolette that as her assistant she could do little more than making the trains run on time. Nicolette's reply is "Balls", she tells Amanda to trust her and that she has an eye for talent and believes that Amanda is a natural at leadership. Amanda's assistant Ben stands by to hold Amanda's speech and Nicky's oxygen. The ladies pose for a picture in front of the statue, and then Amanda asks how long Nicolette will be staying at Cedars. Nicolette explains that her niece insists on living there, even though all the color has been drained out of it, since it was taken over by the Earth Republic. She describes it as being regimented, with the people walking around like robots. Amanda tells her that an e-rep has been snooping around, willing to allow Defiance to share their resources. Nicolette emphatically advises against this. She says that once Earth Republic have their hooks in you, they never let go, and "Remember grasshopper, around here people value their freedom". Amanda doesn't understand the grasshopper reference, which Nicolette says makes her feel old.
In the hospital, Nolan wakes to find himself handcuffed to the bed. He sees Irisa in the next bed and the bored deputy that is seated in a chair guarding them. He closes his eyes again. Clancy walks through the door asking how the patients are, causing the deputy to jump up. Indogene Doctor Meh Yewll comes over and tells him that they will both be fine, that she is prepping the Irathient for surgery, and that the human is trying to make them think that he is unconscious. She demonstrates this by pushing on Nolan's solar plexus, causing him to reflexively jump up, whereupon she hands him a glass of water ordering him to drink, because he is dehydrated. Nolan gruffly thanks her and follows her instructions.
Clancy tells his deputy that he was told to watch, not handcuff, Nolan, and that the patch on his shoulder, which identifies him as one of the Defiant Few, shows that handcuffs would not stop him. Nolan demonstrates this by removing them and handing them back to the deputy, who Clancy introduces as Tommy Lasalle when he and Nolan shake hands and exchange introductions. Nolan recognizes that Clancy is a fellow soldier, and Clancy tells him that he was in the 31st division, the Yellow Jackets. This impresses Nolan, as the jackets stayed in until the end, but he brushes over talking about the ninth division, the Defiant Few for which the town is named. Nolan only remarks that every damn thing was named after that battle. Clancy tells the now dressed Nolan that the mayor wants to see him, but Nolan is concerned about leaving Irisa. Yewll assures him that she will be fine, as soon as she cleans and closes the wound. Yewll has approached Irisa with a charge-blade, when Irisa suddenly jerks up, grabs it, and points it at the doctor. An indignant Yewll furiously tells her that if she doesn't hand it back, she will be tossed into the street. Irisa is sweating and disoriented, but sees Nolan's signal to comply and does so.
As he is being escorted through town, Clancy tells Nolan that it is a celebration day, and he points out the Darby building as their destination. Scaffolding near the top surrounds damage to the top floor. Through the bustling streets of merchants mechanics and stray dogs, Datak and Stahma Tarr are walking home, followed by his Sensoth employee. Datak is still furious that Rafe, described as a smug shtako, filled the audience with miners to insure that his applause was louder than Datak's, which he finds juvenile, petty, and beneath contempt. He says it is unkind when Stahma correctly points out that Datak is only annoyed, because he didn't think of it first. Stahma points out that Rafe's applause was not so much greater than Datak's. To Datak's charge of this obvious untruth being empty flattery, she responds that it is not empty, but filled with promise, as Alak is out for the evening.
Datak hopes that Alak is not with that gang of his. Stahma says that he is merely young and pushing boundaries, but Datak thinks that his running wild reflects badly on all of them. He has worked hard and done many unpleasant things to achieve legitimacy and respect. He points to his co-sponsoring of the day's events and how he had to appear on stage next to Rafe, presented to these "humans", he says with a hint of contempt, as if that man were his peer. He does this so Alak can aspire to a better life than that which was available to Datak himself when he was young.
An anxious Castithan, Elah Bandik, rushes up with a handful of money. He explains that Gelick hasn't come to collect on the debt he owes Datak, and he didn't want Datak to think that he was late. As Elah's children rush up, an understanding Stahma intercepts and distracts them with candy, so they do not witness her husband's anger at their father. The children greedily stuff the candy in their mouths. The Sensoth grabs Elah by the hand squeezing it until it breaks, while a seething Datak tells Elah that someone will come for the money, and if Elah ever presumes to approach him personally in the street again, he will have more than his hand broken. The Sensoth pushes Elah over to land on the ground, where his children notice and run to him.
An exasperated Datak points this episode out to Stahma as one of the painful encounters that he must endure, so that Alak never needs to. When Alak rebuffs this "gift" of Datak's, it breaks his father's heart. Datak asserts the necessity, when Stahma says that she will speak to Alak, as he doesn't wish to speak of it again.
In the mayor's office, Amanda is being briefed by her assistant Ben Daris. He informs her that Mayor Nicky departed on the ground coach as scheduled, and a driver dropped off a proposal from Ambassador Tennety. Earth Republic was offering to replace the town's antiviral meds along with the fuel rods for their Vo-tech weapons, in exchange for a mutual securities package. Amanda denies this proposal, without even waiting to hear the details.
Ben then informs her that the ark hunter who came in with the wounded Irath is still waiting outside. Amanda wants to know if there are any indications that she was abducted, as she doesn't want problems with the spirit riders, but Ben tells her that Yewll didn't see any tribal markings, and that Nolan fought with the Defiant Few. Amanda is not impressed, as it is more important to know what he has been up to lately. Clancy waits outside as they meet. Amanda, still uncomfortable with power and still trying to imitate Mayor Nicky, tells him to call her Amanda rather than Madam Mayor. He very much enjoys when she offers him the single malt scotch, which she says that she traded for with some scavengers who were using it to strip paint or something. Amanda asks about the lawkeepers finding him and the Irathient girl nearly dead outside the stasis net. She doesn't know if the girl is his partner or lover, but she wants assurances that the girl is not abducted or some kind of bounty, as Amanda doesn't want trouble, and Irathient spirit riders and humans don't have the best of relations in this area. Nolan says that they are just passing through, and then clarifies that Irisa is his daughter. Amanda is surprised, as Irisa seemed to be pureblood, but Nolan explains that she was a war orphan that he found abandoned in what used to be Denver. He tells her that he rescued her, raised her, and that she is a good girl. Though Amanda questions this, since Irisa nearly cut her doctor's throat. Nolan carries the glasses and decanter to the chairs and pours himself another scotch, while he questions Amanda about Clancy "just doing his job" and having taken their weapons. Amanda first confirms her opinion that he is not the kind to want to be setting down roots in town. She says that after Doc Yewll patches up his "daughter", while he waits, he can grab a drink at the NeedWant, which he can pay for himself (she takes his glass). When Irisa is healed, the lawkeepers will return their weapons to them, when they escort them to the nets, to send them on their way. As for his point that the lack of his weapon will make it difficult to earn money they need to leave town, to replace the roller, heavy weapons, and supplies that the spirit riders stole, she suggests that he try the brothel, as a big handsome guy like him could clean up. He doesn't seem to know what to say to that and leaves without answering.
In the streets of Defiance, the celebration continues into the night, with music and dancing. Christie McCawley grimaces as she is taking a swig from a bottle, while watching the slow undulating motion of Castithans dancing. Alak Tarr comes up slowly behind her and asks her to dance. She thinks that she should just watch, as she dances like a human. Alak tells her a lengthy old Castithan proverb, which she translates to the much more succinct English expression "Seize the day". She agrees to dance, but he better not laugh at her moves, which he assures her he would never do. He takes her hands and guides her through the graceful movements. As he wraps her in his arms, Luke Mccawley is suddenly there, and he pulls them apart. He uses the derogatory term for Castithans, "haints", and says that he doesn't let them touch his sister. Alak says that he didn't ask, and Luke knocks him to the ground. Christie tells Alak not to fight and that Luke is drunk, but Alak tells her that the fight will be over quickly and tells Luke that he is a dead man. Over Christie's and Quentin's protests, they both draw weapons. Seeing the imminent violence, Quentin and one of Alak's friends, Merrin, pull the combatants apart, urging them to stop, and break up the fight. To Luke's comment not to cut himself with that knife, Alak says that Luke is the one that he will cut. Alak retracts his glowing Castithan energy blade, as a shaken Christie looks on, and as Quentin at Christie's urging drags Luke from the square.
Quentin berates Luke for mixing it up with Alak, as Luke knows who his father is, and those people are dangerous. Luke questions why Quentin isn't pissed off as well and considers what will happen if their father finds out who Christie is hanging out with, but Quentin says that will not happen. Luke gets a message on his hailer. Quentin asks for the tag so he can drive, but Luke looking at the message tells him to get a ride with Christie, as he has an appointment and has to be somewhere. Quentin asks him what is going on and where he has been disappearing to at all hours, but Luke only says that he will be home for dinner, before turning and walking away from a concerned Quentin.
At the hospital, Nolan looks at the healed scar that is all that is left of Irisa's wound and compliments Doctor Yewll on her work. Yewll appreciates the compliment and also would appreciate prompt payment. Nolan tries to pull the little money that the spirit rider's left them out of his pocket, but, as he fishes around, an exasperated Yewll firmly tells him to keep it in his pants, pay her when he can, and buy the girl a meal. Nolan thanks her and elbows an anxious to leave Irisa into doing likewise. After they go, Yewll mutters to herself, "frickin' deadbeats".
As they walk toward the NeedWant, Irisa says that she doesn't like towns and that they should leave. Nolan tells her that he is not going to head into a storm divide on foot and also not to talk about the terrasphere, as it is like a loose-nuke, and they will be strung up if caught with it. They need to quietly earn, buy a new roller, and dig up the terrasphere on their way out of town. After going through the purple gauze curtains into the main room of the NeedWant, Nolan is approached by both a male and female Castithan employee offering their services. He politely tells them "maybe later". The building is built around a large spreading tree, the branches, a few feet overhead, send down pale mossy tendrils and are hung with lighted globes that seem to be part of the tree. The bar is built around the trunk of the tree, which is wide enough that it would probably take two people to circle it with their arms. Underlit shelves for the liquor are built right into the trunk of the tree. Proprietor Kenya is at the bar serving miner Rupert a drink. He slams it down, puts money on the bar, and says to Kenya "let's go". Kenya acts affronted. She asks what she look like to him. She says that she works hard to make this brothel a warm and inviting environment for her employees (she shares a smile with her muscular Castithan bartender) and her clientele. She looks after the Digba tree, she painted the walls, and she even taught herself to sew to make the curtains. She is offended that he has come in stinking of the mines, as it is insulting and disrespectful. Rupert looks contrite and apologizes. Drawing him close, she tells him to go back to his quarters for a shower, shave, and a decent shirt. Afterwards, in the unlikely event that she is not otherwise engaged, they can revisit his desire to conduct some sex business. She kisses him gently, whispers in a husky voice for him to go, and then playfully slaps him. Whereupon she giggles and in an alien tongue brusquely tells him to get the hell out of here. Nolan has been amused watching this exchange, He watches her with a big grin, and a disapproving Irisa watches him watching her. After Rupert leaves, Kenya comes over laughing, and explains that Gulanite miners have to be trained. She fills three glasses, but Nolan takes the glass out of Irisa's hand and drinks it himself, while Irisa pointedly ignores their flirting. Kenya knows everyone in town and not having seen Nolan before, recognizes that he is new here. She tells him how lucky he is to be in the NeedWant, which is the best party this side of the storm divide. After introductions, Nolan asks where he can go to earn some money, which he clarifies to be fast money. Kenya advises him to go to the Hollows.
They end up at a fighting match where the house champion, a very large Castithan, is taking on challengers at 10 to 1 odds. He is currently kickboxing a human and beating him mercilessly. Nolan is confident and says that he likes this place. When he says to relax and that this will be just like Kansas City, Irisa reminds him that he was knifed there. When the Indogene fight promoter asks who among the spectators has the skills and the stones to take on the house champion, Nolan volunteers. He tells Irisa to take on side bets, while he carries the bum for as long as he can. He strips to the waist, hands his clothes and dog tags to a disapproving Irisa who maintains that this is a bad idea, and agrees when she says that he is an idiot. Datak Tarr lounges in a gilded chair to the side on a raised dais, he had given Nolan a considered look when he had volunteered, and now he gives a signal. The fight promoter announces that the house exercises its right to substitute a new champion. A suspicious Nolan watches as a huge blue man with the number 537634 on his chest walks forward. Nolan expresses shock that they want him to fight a Bioman, but the promoter smugly explains that if Nolan wants to quit, he forfeits his stake. Betting is fierce, as Nolan cricks his neck and agrees to the fight, saying, "let's do it".
In a surrounding suburb, a Sensoth, in a blue checked bathrobe, carries a flashlight while walking his excitable Jack Russel terrier, named Tito. He hears raised voices and sees a flash of light from inside a stand of trees. The dog runs toward the disturbance, ignoring the Sensoth calling him back. He finds Tito sniffing and barking at a dead body. Running the flashlight over the figure on the ground, the Sensoth says "Oh, no." as he recognizes Luke McCawley, having worked with Luke at Rafe McCawley's mines.
Amanda is working late at her office when Ben puts a pledge for a new well on her desk to sign. As he walks away, she notices that he is limping. Ben amusingly comments that an Indogene should never play Castithan 12-ball. He explains that he tried running up a wall and now has a cramp that won't quit. Clancy comes to the door and refers to her as madam mayor. She reminds him of the many years they have known each other. He then ominously tells Amanda that she needs to come with him.
Irisa is furiously taking bets at 10 to 1 against Nolan, while Nolan is being pummeled and repeatedly thrown about the ring. As he is pulling himself groaning back up to his feet, Irisa, starting to look concerned, asks how much longer he intends to carry him, but Nolan assures her that he is just getting started. Nolan delivers a flurry of blows that seem to have no effect, and is again battered, thrown, and knocked down. Even when Nolan lands a direct punch to the groin (saying that it is nothing personal), the Bioman seems unaffected (though the audience collectively groans). The crowd is shouting for the Bioman to finish it, when suddenly, sliding through the Bioman's legs, Nolan punches him in the lower back. The Bioman's eyes roll up, he freezes, and falls over with a great thump. Datak sits forward surprised, the fight promoter raises Nolan's hand to proclaim him the winner, and the crowd roars. Nolan grabs the wad of bills from the promoter's fist and pushes him away dismissively, while Irisa smiling at Nolan gets payment on the side bets. Datak looks on fuming.
As an aching Nolan walks outside, Irisa counts the money at his side. To her question of what took him so long, he explains that he forgot where they put the off switch on the 2037 model. Nolan takes the money from her and announces that he will go and find them a decent roller, while she goes and gets supplies, and they will meet later at the NeedWant. Datak comes up with two of his Castithan thugs. He is clapping and congratulating Nolan on an exciting match. He introduces himself and explains that he has an interest in this establishment, along with many others in the hollows. He points out that Nolan deactivated his Bioman. Nolan agrees, but says that it is only temporary. If Datak puts a few thousand volts through him, he will be as right as rain. Datak explains that Nolan's actions amount to a low blow and is thus a violation of house rules. When Nolan asks if that means Datak's rules he only smiles and tells Nolan a Castithan saying, "The fruit of a misdeed leaves a sour taste." At this implied threat, Irisa triggers the knife to again lower into her hand. One of the thugs draws his coat out of the way of a holstered gun. Nolan doesn't like the odds and says "easy", to tell everyone to back down. Datak smiles and holds out his hand for the money, which Nolan hands him. Datak skims through the stack of money from the pot and the side bets. He counts out a small amount and hands it back to Nolan, "for his trouble". He hands the money to one of his thugs to carry and he goes. When Irisa points out that it isn't enough for a roller, Nolan agrees, but says that it is enough for a bath and a change of clothes. Irisa rolls her eyes, knowing what his plans are now.
When Nolan returns to the NeedWant, he is freshly groomed. He walks up to Kenya and pulls out a yellow flower from behind his back. She takes the flower, smells it, and smiles at him. They are next seen in the room upstairs tearing each other's clothes off, before engaging in vigorous sex.
At the McCawley House, Rafe and Quentin are just sitting down to dinner. Bertie, the housekeeper, puts the food on the table, while Quentin is telling his father that now that he has the new hopper online, they will be able to increase their capacity, by 60 cubic yards a minute. Rafe is impressed by Quentin and pleased, as they need all they can get. As Rafe is pouring himself a drink to the sounds of soul music, Christie arrives home late. Rafe points this out and calls her little one. Christie apologizes and says that she was at the festival and lost track of time. She kisses her father cheek, but then lies and says that she didn't see Luke. She and Quentin share a look, as Quentin says that Luke said he would be home for dinner. Bertie interjects that he is a grown man, and they should just eat. Rafe picks up a green from his plate and facetiously asks Bertie if it is a relative of hers. Christie chides him on his joke, then Quentin hands him the specs on the new hopper. Christie thinks that Rafe is too preoccupied with work and needs a vacation, but Rafe rebukes the suggestion, not knowing what he would do on a vacation. When the doorbell chimes, Bertie jokes that everyone should not get up at once to answer it, but Rafe says that is why she earns the big bucks, which everyone smiles at. Clancy and Amanda enter the dining room looking very somber.
In the hospital morgue, Doctor Yewll draws back the curtain to display Luke's body. He has horrible burns running down his right side. Rafe gasps. Yewll explains that Luke suffered a puncture to his right kidney, probably from a knife, but what killed him were cold fire burns from a Votan weapon. As Rafe realizes that Luke was murdered, Clancy promises him that they will find the killer. However, Rafe choking back tears corrects him to say that he will find him himself. Quentin calls to his father and seeing his face, Rafe realizes that Quentin knows something about what happened. Rafe goes to Quentain and calmly asks him what he knows. Quentin tells him that there was a fight and someone threatened to kill Luke. When Quentin doesn't quickly give the name, Rafe snaps, shakes him, and loudly demands to know who. When Quentin says it was Alak Tarr, both Clancy and Amanda implore Rafe not to take the law into his own hands. They promise that Clancy will find the culprit, and, if it is Alak, he will be tried and punished. Rafe tells Clancy that he loves him like a brother, but not to get in his way. Rafe storms out, and Amanda takes Clancy by the arm and tells him to find Alak Tarr first.
In the NeedWant, Irisa is doing a sketch of Alak Tarr into her journal, as he smokes what appears to be an electronic cigarette and plays cards with his friends. Kenya and Nolan are leaving the upstairs room, and Irisa sees them laughing and kissing on the second floor walkway. Kenya says that was so fantastic that she kind of hates to charge for it. He counters that he kind of hates to pay for it. Irisa sees Rafe come in with a bunch of his miners and focus his furious gaze on Alak. Alak, Merrin and two other Castithan young men are sitting around a table, as Rafe comes up and orders Alak to get up. Alak calls him grandpa, and asks why he would go anywhere with him. Rafe becomes loudly insistent. Upstairs, Kenya tells Nolan that that is Datak's son, Alak. Rafe tells Alak that he can't just sit there and pretend not to know what Rafe is talking about. He accuses Alak of having murdered Luke, which brings silence to the bar. Kenya tells Nolan that she has to get down there. Alak is shocked to learn that Luke is dead. Alak explains that he and Luke got into a fight, but Luke left right afterwards, and Alak has been gambling with his crew all night. Rafe questions the validity of anything Alak's friends have to say, and he tells Alak to get up before he drags his narrow ass out of that chair. Kenya comes over and tries to get Rafe to let Clancy handle this. When Alak starts making threats about what his father will do if Rafe lays a hand on him, Rafe has had enough. He pushes Kenya violently out of the way and grabs Alak, telling him that his father will get the same.
Nolan seeing Kenya tossed about, chooses to intercede (even though he owes Datak's son nothing, after having his money unfairly taken). He pulls one of the Castithan youths away from the card table and tosses him aside like a sack of potatoes, thanking him for keeping his seat warm. He sits down and puts his money on the table. Rafe lets go of Alak to ask who the hell Nolan is. Nolan pointing at Alak says that he has been gambling with this young Casti bonehead, who is into him for 200 scrip, and he would just as soon not break up a winning streak. So he asks Rafe to postpone his lynching, until after he collects his money. Alak looks confused at Nolan, who he has never seen. At Rafe's signal, a miner grabs Nolan, who punches him in the groin, slams his head on the table, and then apologizes that the man had startled him. The other Castithans at the table rise to get away from Nolan, and Irisa sighs and puts away her journal realizing that Nolan has probably gotten them into another fight. Rafe disputes that it is a lynching saying that he just wants to ask this kid some questions, but Nolan still expresses doubt. Done talking, Rafe tells his man Hak to get rid of Nolan, but as Hak starts to move, Irisa puts her knife to his throat. Nolan warns Hak that Irisa is good with edged weapons (bottles, knives, even his broken teeth would do in a pinch).
At this point Clancy walks in with Christie who yells, "stop" and tells her father not to do anything stupid. Clancy tells Rafe that he has the wrong guy, and prompts Christie to explain. Alak tells her not to, but Christie goes on to say that Alak could not have hurt Luke, as he was with her all night, until she came home for dinner. Nolan sighs realizing what will happen now and sets down his cards. Rafe slowly shakes his head and then turns and pulls his gun to shoot Alak, over Christie's screams. Nolan hits Rafe's gun and disables it. The miner behind Alak shoots at Nolan, but Irisa slashes his arm and then pins his hand to the table with the knife. Clancy pushes Christie out of the way of the gunfire. Nolan and Irisa dispatch the other miners, while Alak sits scared in his chair with his hands protecting his head. People are fleeing the bar, as Nolan, who has finally gotten a gun, levels it at the table for everyone to stop fighting. Christie gives an piercing agonized scream to stop, which draws everyone's attention. She sits on the floor cradling Clancy who is bleeding from the head. "He's dead." she cries. "The Lawkeeper is dead." Rafe looks down with sadness in his eyes.
An enraged Datak is in the NeedWant demanding that Rafe, who he describes as an animal, be punished for trying to murder his son. The body of Clancy is removed on a covered stretcher. Rafe is still angry that Alak has been screwing his daughter. Datak responds by threatening to screw Rafe with a Votan blade. As they each pull weapons on the other, Amanda orders them both to stop, and slowly lowers Rafes gun. Datak tells Rafe that if he had hurt Alak, it would be him laying on the floor. Amanda tells Datak to go home. Datak retracts his blade and then says that he would never have been able to get Rafe's stink off of it anyway. He then turns, needlessly knocks over a chair, and walks out. Nolan, as he sits at the bar with Irisa, brings up to Amanda the irony that they are allowed to carry weapons, while he has been denied. Amanda tells him to shut up, as he is responsible for this too. Amanda and Rafe discuss the need to find a new person to take over the investigation into Luke's killing, before the trail is cold, now that Clancy is dead. Deputy Tommy Lasalle volunteers to take over, but Rafe tells him that he is no Clancy and hasn't the skills or the balls to do what has to be done. Rafe says he will do it himself, but Amanda reminds him that he almost killed an innocent kid. As they discuss the need for a professional, Nolan informs them that he is a tracker by trade. Rafe is skeptical, but Nolan goes on to say that he brought in the Miami bomber, and presented Starren Dahrti with the head of his sister's killer. He will find the murderer for the right price. Amanda and Rafe discuss this, with Amanda mentioning that Nolan is one of the Defiant Few. Irisa leans over and whispers to Nolan that Starren Dahrti's sister is alive and hates Nolan's guts; he says that is just details and shushes her. Rafe agrees that if Nolan finds Luke's killer and proof of his crime, he will pay him 20k. Nolan starts to negotiate 25k, but backs off as Rafe, angrily asking if he heard him right, obviously isn't in the mood. Amanda adds the condition that he must be brought in alive to stand trial. Rafe agrees. Amanda then tells Nolan that to ensure Nolan's behavior while in this position of authority, Irisa is to stay locked up with Deputy Lasalle, as Amanda is fresh out of trust. Nolan seeing Tommy getting out the handcuffs recommends that he not to use them. Seeing Irisa's hostile stare Tommy follows Nolan's advice and merely points for Irisa to walk in front of him.
In the House of Tarr, Stahma is disrobing to join Datak in their bath. A servant helps her out of her robe and she presents herself before him. Datak is still angry and vows that Rafe will not get away with trying to murder Alak, and he expresses his intentions to gather up some chango and then pay Rafe McCawley and his whole family a visit. Stahma reminds Datak that Alak is in love with the McCawley girl. Datak wonders how Alak will love a corpse. Stahma adamantly defends Christie as innocent in all this, and reminds Datak that she risked her father's wrath to clear Alak's name. Datak insists that he must have justice, to which Stahma replies that there are many roads to justice. Datak is listening to her. Stahma ponders the possibility of Alak and Christie marrying after all of this has blown over. Datak accuses her of trying to ruin his bath, as he has little interest being in-law to Rafe McCawley. Stahma goes on to consider that mining is a dangerous profession and if anything were to happen to Rafe and Quentin, Christie who had already lost so much, would then have so much to take care of. She pauses to let Datak realize for himself that she is talking about Christie then inheriting the mines. And Stahma says that, as they would be her family, she would be able to come to them, and they would be forced to help her (making them the wealthiest and most powerful in Defiance). Datak agrees that they would have too, and that a wedding is exactly what this town needs. He says that he appreciates how Stahma sees things. Stahma smiles, and they begin to become amorous.
In the lawkeeper's office, Tommy places a dish of food on the floor of Irisa's cell, where she is staring. She has been giving him the silent treatment as well, and he wonders if she is going to sit there all day not talking. He finds her very, very disconcerting, but as long as they are both trapped there they might as well eat something. Irisa surprises him by saying that she isn't trapped. She explains that, if she had wanted, she could have grabbed his wrist, broken all of his fingers, taken the key card to the cell which he had hanging on his belt, and then separate his head from his body with one of her blades. Tommy is appalled that this is her idea of conversation. Tommy correctly deduces that Irisa is mad, because her scavenger friend left her here, and she is taking out her anger on him. He doesn't believe her when she insists that she isn't mad. Tommy asks about her relationship with Nolan. At first it appears that Irisa is not going to answer, but then she says that Nolan saved her. Tommy confides that it was kind of like that with him and Clancy, as he had been on a bad path, until Clancy saw something in him and gave him a second chance. He asks what Nolan did to save her. Irisa stuns Tommy by saying that he did something she couldn't do for herself; he murdered her parents. Irisa has continued eating and casually comments that the food is good.
Nolan is in the stand of trees where Luke was murdered, studying the ground. Rafe is getting impatient and wonders when Nolan is going to show them why he is such a famous tracker. Nolan tells Rafe and Amanda that before he figures out where the killer went, it might help to know what happened here. The site is trampled, but Nolan can detect two sets of prints coming from different directions, therefore Luke and his killer arrived separately, maybe for a meeting where they wouldn't be seen by townspeople. Rafe disputes these assumptions, but Nolan goes on to deduce that an argument broke out, as the dog-walker said he heard, and then a fight. Nolan sees the events of the night before play out as he studies the evidence on the ground. He finds the place where Luke was stabbed, and then realizes that the killer had lost the knife in the attack, as Luke had then stabbed the killer with it. The killer's blood, which Nolan finds on a plant, is not human. Nolan finds the trail that the killer ran off on after using the cold fire weapon. His tracks show that his left leg is hurt and dragging, but it isn't bleeding, which means that it is a cybernetic implant. Nolan says that they are looking for an Indogene with a bad left leg. When Amanda remembers that her Indogene assistant Ben told her that he hurt his leg the night before, Nolan asks where he is.
At the stasis net, Ben limps up to the guard, who unconcerned greets him. Ben explains that the mayor wants him to run some diagnostics past the big brains up top. He says here check this out, before pulling the cold fire weapon from behind his back and shooting the guard.
The spirit riders are on the move, with Sukar and Rynn in Nolan's roller, following the others who are on motorcycles. While driving, Rynn calls their scouts about a suspicious heat signature over the next ridge. They wonder if the heat signature, which is appearing on the roller's scanner, is an arkfall, but the scouts say that it is much bigger. Sukar orders them to check it out. It is the three Irathients who ransacked Nolan roller that arrive at the crest of the ridge to see an advancing army. Another contacts Sukar and says the word "Volge", just before all three of them are killed with an energy weapon by a Volge soldier that has come up behind them. Sukar immediately orders his people to turn their vehicles around.
At the stasis net control tower, Ben carefully places a device on the console. His hailer starts chittering, as Amanda calls him. From inside the roller with Nolan, she tries to casually find out where Ben is. She tells him that she is on her way to her office, as she has to prepare for the vidcon with Ara Shondu. Ben responds that he understands that she needs the revised specs for the mag-lev, which he says are on the side table under the geo-reports, but that he is out handling a few personal errands. Nolan hears the electric hum in the background of the call and spins the roller around to go in the direction of the stasis net. He explains this to Amanda, while an anxious Ben, suddenly on hold, activates the device which opens outward. Amanda tells Ben that her hailer slipped, but Ben, who says he knows her better than anyone, hears in her voice that she knows. He says that he didn't have a choice. The town is finished, and all they can do now is run. Ben exits the control room, leaving behind the dead bodies of the two stasis net operators. The device on the console begins to glow red. Amanda hails Rafe and tells him to get his men to the stasis net immediately. As Ben is limping to his roller, Amanda and Nolan arrive, and Ben begins firing at their vehicle. Nolan swerves away allowing Ben to get in his vehicle and attempt to flee. Nolan chases him. Amanda tells him to hurry, and he says that she is welcome to walk. She takes offense when he uses the term "sweetheart", which he says was his second choice. Ben's vehicle is suddenly shot and flips over. Rafe stands on the ridge with his men, lowering his rifle.
A severely injured Ben is still alive and crawls on the ground toward his gun, but Nolan reaches him first. He kicks Ben away and takes the gun. Rafe arrives and, finding Ben is alive, wants to finish him off, but Nolan insists that they need him alive. To Amanda's questioning, Ben answers that he had to kill Luke, because he was going to talk and ruin everything. Rafe refuses to believe that Luke had anything to do with Ben's plans and again moves to attack him. Nolan explains that it is urgent that they question Ben, because his cold fire gun is a design that Nolan recognizes as an Omec alloy, which only one Votan race uses and it is not Indogene. He grabs Ben by the collar and pushes down on his chest. He says that he realizes that Ben is in a lot of pain, but he needs him to focus. Ben, gasping through the pain, says that they all have to leave, as they are coming now and are planning the attack for right after dark. Before he can confirm Nolan's suspicions as to who is coming, the stasis control tower explodes and the net falls, which leaves the city unprotected. Ben is unconscious, and Nolan explains to Rafe and Amanda that it is the Volge who are coming. He says that he fought them during the Pale Wars, and, without the stasis net, Defiance doesn't stand a chance. The Volge army can be seen crossing a large bridge. According to the road signs, this is Interstate 40, and St. Louis is 125 miles away.
Nolan and Irisa are loading their new roller (bought with the reward from Rafe) with supplies. An announcement is being made that all townspeople are to gather in Darby Square in ten minutes for an important address from Mayor Rosewater. As Nolan watches, others are packing their belongings into vehicles and leaving town. Kenya comes out of the NeedWant carrying a tray of sandwiches. She tells Nolan that he should come by and see her for one last visit, before he leaves town, as she will give him a half-price discount. At Irisa's look of disapproval, a smiling Nolan tells her not to start.
Kenya hands a furiously writing Amanda a sandwich, telling her that she has to eat. Amanda says that she can't, as she has to go out and convince people to fight an enemy that was bred to wipe out planets. They have no idea why they are attacking, and the only one who knows is in a coma. Amanda believes that she is in over her head, but Kenya is confident that Amanda can do it, as she always rises to the occasion, no matter how tough the odds are. Amanda just sees this as kind words. She says that her important speech is just words on a page, and considers what Nicky would say. Kenya tells her not to try to be Nicky, telling her not to give a speech, but just to talk to them. Tommy comes to the door to tell her that the town is waiting. Nolan comes in just as Kenya tells an exiting Amanda that she is proud to be her sister. He looks befuddled, finding this very surprising to learn, though he cannot explain why, when Amanda asks.
With Tommy at her side, Amanda walks across the street and through the crowd to the podium in front of the Darby Building. A plaque shows that the building construction was completed in 1932. She begins by saying that by now they must have heard that a saboteur has destroyed the stasis nets. A man in the crowd asks about the Volge. Amanda identifies him as Paul and confirms that an army is coming. Several people (such as Quentin McCawley, Paul, and Rupert) start asking where Mayor Nicky is and where is the real mayor, as they need someone who has experience. As everyone tries to talk at once, Tommy tries to restore order so that the mayor can speak. Finally, Amanda says loudly that "we are all going to die" into the microphone, the words and reverberating feedback silences the crowd. She asks if this is what they believe, and that they should pack their belongings and risk the badlands, as the town is done. Amanda calls on Paul, saying that three years ago he lost two sons and half of his farm to razor rain, which was a terrible tragedy, and yet he is still here. She then asks Rupert how many good men he lost when the 99ers collapsed the south tunnel. Rupert answers six, and then admits that he never once thought about quitting and leaving town to find a safer job. She says that they have all endured raiders, epidemics, and floods. and yet they are still standing, just like that big-ass arch up there. She praises their town as a great place, where human and Votan races live together as equals. They strive, sometimes forgetting themselves or falling short. Sometimes this new world kicks them in the teeth, but they stay, because this town is worth fighting for, and if necessary, it is worth dying for. Amanda says that she is going to stay, stand up to what is coming, and drive them out. And she hopes that everyone of them will stand with her, because they are stronger together. Rafe with a hand on the shoulder of each of his children, announces that the McCawleys stand with her, to scattered applause. Datak (seeing himself as being shown up again by Rafe) declares that the House of Tarr will as well (surprising Amanda and Alak); he then adds that the vig on all debts will be forgiven for each man who fights in the battle. This draws huge cheers, and even Rafe appears impressed.
Nolan has been impressed by her words and is looking guilty, as he turns away to go back to the roller. Men are saying goodbye to loved ones and loading vehicles with weapons. Nolan tells Irisa that these people are brave. When Irisa says that they will then die with honor, he says that sometimes she can be very cold. Amanda comes over carrying Nolan's confiscated weapon, saying that she is surprised that Nolan hasn't taken the reward money and run. He tells her that he couldn't leave without his gun, as he straps it on. He promises her that they well be out of her hair soon. She supposes that he has a lot to do in the badlands, but Nolan tells her that he has promised Irisa that they will head south to the beaches of Antarctica. Nolan has heard that it is paradise. When Amanda says that she is pretty sure that this is a myth, Nolan says he wants to see for himself. Amanda is going, but turns back, as she realizes that she never got a chance to ask him about the big battle. She asks him what it was like being one of the Defiant Few, and being a hero. He again ducks the question and will only say that "it was what it was". He salutes her and wishes her strength. She returns the salute and tells him to enjoy his reward. When Irisa says let's get out of here, he agrees that it is a good idea. As Nolan goes to climb into the roller, he watches grimly as a group of human and Castithan children are being led into a shelter.
Nolan is back in the forest trying to retrace his footsteps. He locates the fallen log and is relieved to find the buried terrasphere still undamaged. Irisa stands on the roller, keeping watch with binoculars. She tells Nolan that they got out of town just in time. Looking himself, Nolan sees the Volge army headed straight for Defiance. He estimates that they should cover the distance of seven clicks and hit Bissel Pass just after sunset. Irisa wants to go quickly to put some distance between them, as Nolan struggles internally. Making up his mind, he announces that they could make a difference. Irisa pauses, anticipating what is coming next. Nolan says that they have Indogenes in town who could work up a burkus rig for this sphere to focus the energy, and create a weapon the Volge wouldn't see coming. Irisa points out that this would burn out the sphere, and they would be left with nothing. Nolan says that he is sorry, but some things need to be done. Irisa says that he is doing it again. Angrily she shocks Nolan by pulling her knife on him, as he approaches, and berates him for the fact that every time they get ahead, he blows it for them. He tries to say that this is different, as there are little kids in town. Irisa insists that she doesn't care, an assertion which Nolan disputes. He tells her that he knows and raised her better than that. Irisa pushes him out of the roller doorway and tells him to go ahead and get killed. When Nolan says that he has no intention of dying, Irisa remarks that most people don't, but it still happens. To his question of where she is going to go, Irisa says Antarctica. She says that she would send him a postcard, but she knows that he already has one. Nolan stands stunned, as the snow begins to fall and Irisa drives away.
Tommy and Amanda are keeping a lookout from the top of a ridge, and they see the Volge entering the pass. Before passing the binoculars to Amanda, Tommy calls it a nightmare. Tommy spots someone climbing up, and Amanda smiles when she realizes that it is Nolan. To her question of what he is doing here, Nolan unwraps the terrasphere, holds it up, and says that he is "saving your ass, sweetheart".
Night has fallen, and Yewll prepares the burkus rig for the terrasphere on top of a large scaffolding. Nolan explains to Amanda that it has enough energy to wipe out the Volge, but Yewll will have to configure it to focus the blast. Once it is online, they must hold the Volge in the pass until they can blow the terrasphere. Nolan acts more confident about this than he feels. Amanda thanks him for coming back, and they share a look. Nolan then calls up to Doc Yewll to ask how she is doing. Yewll pauses to say that if they rush her or yell at her they all go boom; that's how she's doing up here. The Defiance forces are assembled on top of the cliffs that form the pass. Weapons are handed out, and Nolan explains that they will hold their fire until they get the order. Amanda adds that they have the superior position up here, but the Volge are climbers. Therefore, they must keep pushing them to the center of the pass at the bottom of the canyon, which is where the blast will be focused. Nolan assures them that the terrasphere will obliterate anything in its path. Elah Bandik is seen accepting a rifle and looking at it uncertainly. Nolan goes on to say that when they get the signal, they must take cover or they will get caught in the blast. Yewll places the terrasphere in the rig and her eyes turn red. The terrasphere activates, and Yewll is surrounded by rings of hexagon shaped control screens. Pleased she yells out that the blast will be in ten minutes. Nolan sets his timer, as the Defiance forces take up their positions. A steady Datak Tarr stands next to a shaking Elah Bandik. Kenya and Amanda take positions next to each other. Rafe gives a nervous Quentin a reassuring nod, while he then glares at Alak who shows Christie how to hold her rifle. Tommy, readying his shotgun, leads the men in vehicles which guard the end of the canyon in front of the terrasphere. Yewll alters and repositions the screens through hand movements.
The Volge soldiers and artillery are now moving up the pass with heavy metallic clacking noises. As they pass under Nolan's position, he catches Amanda's eye and then gives the order to fire. And the fierce battle begins. The Volge stand in the open not running for cover, and when their commander orders the soldiers to climb the ridge, they fearlessly climb into enemy fire. Nolan orders his men to the very edges if the ridge to concentrate on shooting down the climbers, and his timer has reached 59 seconds. Yewll has nearly finished the configuration, with all the screens glowing blue. As the bright light starts to build around the burkus rig, the Volge commander tells the operator of one of the walking artillery pieces, that he doesn't like the look of the scaffolding and orders it brought down. The subsequent blast doesn't knock down the scaffolding, but it deactivates the terrasphere and throws one of Yewll's assistants to the ground below. She must reactive it and start over. Yewll yells that she needs more time. Even wounded Volge are still trying to advance, growling and crawling forward along the ground. Nolan's timer runs down and the blast does not occur. Defiance men standing on the edge of the cliffs shooting down at the climbers are taking heavy fire. Several are shot or pulled down by Volge who have reached the top, and Alak takes cover with Christie. Datak and Elah's position comes under fire, and Datak, who stands up to continue fighting, yells the charge of shtako-coward after a terrified Elah, who has thrown down his gun and run away. The cliff face in front of Amanda, is hit by an energy blast, and she takes part of the force. Kenya runs to her side. A disheartened Nolan sees that the blast didn't come and that their forces cannot hold much longer, but he takes out his sidearm and positions himself at the edge of the cliff to go down fighting. He doesn't move even when the man next to him is shot and falls to his death.
Just as all seems lost, Nolan sees a band of motorcycles ride into the pass. It is Irisa with Sukar's Spirit Riders. They ride through the Volge lines, hitting them from behind with automatic gunfire. Near the end of the pass, the volge commander suddenly turns, sees Irisa, and knocks her from her motorcycle. He stands over her and charges his weapon to shoot her in the head. A shot rings out, but it is the Volge commander who falls revealing Deputy Lasalle standing behind him with his shotgun. He helps her up and they run for safety. Yewll has finally finished reconfiguring the terrasphere, the screens are all glowing blue. Rechecking quickly, Yewll inserts the final command and the screens blink out as the sphere rises up. She and her assistant run to clear the scaffolding. Irisa, Tommy, the men at the end of the canyon, and the spirit riders rush to get away from the entrance to the pass. Nolan, seeing the building light, orders his men back to take cover. The Volge growl as they realize the danger of their position and try to run from the building blast, but it is too late. Caught in the pass, they are incinerated, ripped to pieces, and hurled at high speeds. The terrasphere burns out and falls, a worthless smoking husk.
The Defiance men come out from their cover to see the devastation of the Volge army. Nolan leads the cheers of victory. Alak lifts up Christie. While Nolan looks on, concerned, Kendra and Rafe care for a wounded Amanda, as the cheering continues. Irisa comes to the top of the cliff to find Nolan. He remarks that she seems to have made some new friends. Irisa says that she figured that the Spirit Riders hated the Volge more than they hate humans. She tells Nolan that she is still mad about the sphere. When he says that he will make it up to her, she replies that she has heard that before. Then she smiles and runs into his arms.
Amanda is on a cot in the makeshift hospital which is overflowing with patients. She tries to persuade Kenya to let her up, as there is so much work to do. Kenya insists that Amanda has to stay here until she feels better. She asks the passing Doc Yewll to talk some sense into her. Yewll proscribes bed rest for Amanda. Amanda tries to explain that see has a few thousand things to take care of. Yewll pushes her down with one finger to Amanda's forehead, then pats her on the head, and ends with "Good Human". Kenya promises to check on her later, kisses her on the forehead, and goes, just as Nolan walks over. He asks if Amanda is going to make it, and she replies that she thinks so. To her question, he answers that they had 41 dead. Amanda sighs and muses that someone tried very hard to wipe this town from the map. She tells Nolan that they must figure out who sent the Volge, and what they were trying to accomplish. Amanda asks Nolan to retrieve a cloth bag from the desk drawer. Getting it, Nolan removes the Lawkeeper's badge. He tells her that he is no lawkeeper. When she describes him as all she has available, he remarks that she really knows how to sell a guy. She smiles and tells him to think about it, as this town is a nice place to live. Nolan agrees that this is what he keeps hearing.
In a field of flowers, Alak and Christie stand with foreheads pressed together. As sunlight shines around them, he tells her that life is "Coy" and must be firmly embraced. As he places an engagement ring upon her finger, she says that it is gorgeous. Observing from a short distance away, Datak asks Stahma if he is correct in thinking that the ring signifies a pledge of betrothal. She confirms that this is the human custom, and that the actual wedding comes later, when they will swear vows before a Shigustak. Datak muses that this will (figuratively) kill Rafe McCawley. Stahma agrees that it (literally) will eventually, if they are clever and patient. Datak tells Stahma that he married well, and Stahma, in her way of appearing humble, replies that he flatters a poor woman.
Irisa is on the upper deck of the lawkeeper's office writing in her journal. Her red leather jacket showing many repairs. She writes that Nolan used to say that the two of them were children of the badlands, the wild open spaces where the weak fear to go. Irisa says that it is towns that scare her, with all the people jostling for space and sucking up the air, until there is nothing left to breath. Irisa wonders if they will stay here. She talks of the Irathient god Urzu, who has a path for each of us, and where it takes us is not always where we imagine. However, she says that there is a reason, which Nolan's people call fate.
Sukar and the spirit riders, having helped the town in its hour of need, are enjoying drinks at the NeedWant. Rafe is seen weeping at Luke's grave. Nolan walks through the bustling streets of pedestrians, vendors, and animals staring at the lawkeeper badge. He stops in the center of town and looks up at the sky. We see his memory of the day of the picnic in the park, when he first saw the Arkships descend through the clouds, and it is identical to Irisa's dream in every detail, down to the plate of grapes. His mother stands by his side, as his father lifts his little sister from the grass by the picnic blanket. Then we see the arch behind the boy in the park and realize that Nolan is now standing in the same exact place. He has come home.
That evening at the small diner called the "Chez Renardo" which seems to be an old subway car, the song "If I Didn't Care" is playing. A man seated at the back table is speaking to his unseen companion. He cleans his tinted glasses and tells them that while they were away everything went to hell. He says that your new mayor is tougher than anyone expected. Ben Daris is comatose, but if he wakes up, he could tie them to the Volge attack, as well as Luke McCawley's murder. With Luke McCawley dead, they have no idea where the Kaziri is buried, or where he may have hidden the key. Saying that he doesn't know what to do next he takes a drink. It is only when the other person at the table sets down the portable oxygen canister and begins to speak that it is revealed to be former Mayor Nicolette Riordan. She tells Mr. Birch to relax and not lose heart. She lights a hand-rolled cigarette and breaths the smoke in deeply. She explains that when the town is empty, they will be free to resume their search. Mr. Birch realizes that she is talking about their backup plan, which is brutal. However, she chuckles and reminds him that they are trying to change the world. She says to mark her words that, one day, the survivors will thank them. Outside a full moon shines down on the city and its arch.
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