Overview (No Spoilers)
Brief Summary (Minor Spoilers)
Detailed Description (Major Spoilers)
The radio broadcast begins by wishing the city of Defiance a good morning. Alak Tarr introduces himself on Raider Radio, broadcasting from the top of the arch. He says that he doesn't care if his listeners are Castithan, Irathient, human, whatever. This music is for them. (Ride Captain, Ride by Blues Image begins to play) Alak sitting in his chair begins to move to the music in the style of castithan dance. He is distracted by a beeping noise coming from a radar monitor. Below in the city streets a large rusty white truck with a huge luggage rack, water barrels, gas cans, bars on the windows, and a front end that could be used as a battering ram has pulled up in the center of town where people rush toward it. In the arch and having moved away from the small windows, Alak breaks in over the music to announce that he has just received radar and visual confirmation that the land coach has arrived. He jokingly hopes that he gets his raisins from Fresno. He describes its stay in Defiance as just a quick stop to unload cargo and pick up new passengers, before it then heads on to Calexico and points west. So, Alak says, if you have business with the big, bad outside world, you need to move it or wait another two weeks. At which he drops the microphone on the table and runs for the door
The liberata driver of the Land Coach Ugarti climbs down from the cab. The sign on the driver's door reads "Overland Transport: Safe and Fast", the last part written in several languages. A folding set of stairs is extended from the side of the vehicle to then be pulled down and anchored to the ground. Two men open the back doors to reveal the back of the truck stacked with cargo and passengers rising from their seats. Heavy clothe sacks are being handed down to people waiting, and a woman descends the stairs to be embraced by the two women waiting to greet her. Alak Tarr has arrived in the street to receive one of the sacks. Inside to his great delight is a milk crate half full of record albums. As Alak has stopped by the side of the street to look through the albums with a castithan friend, Irisa, Tommy Lasalle, and Sukar stand near-by next to a stoic Rynn who is in shackles. Sukar is wishing a safe journey to his foster daughter, who he describes as the child of his spirit. Still angry that he had helped in her capture, Rynn pulls away as he goes to put his hand on her shoulder. Rafe McCawley and Quentin McCawley have also come out to meet the land couch, and as Rynn is led past them, by Tommy who holds the end of the chain, she lunges toward Rafe and hisses, as she blames him for indirectly causing her parents deaths. Rafe calls her a crazy bitch, and Quentin agrees, since she had made an attempt on his sister's life. Sukar does not follow, he watches sadly from the background. Lawkeeper Nolan is climbing out of his car with a suitcase. Ugarti asks Tommy where the prisoner is going. Consulting his clipboard, Tommy tells him that she changes coaches in Yuma and boards a transport to Vegas prison. The driver asks them to make sure she is chained up good and tight as he doesn't want any trouble with this one. Tommy tells him not to worry, as the lawkeeper is going to escort this one himself. With the driver's ok, Tommy moves to put her on board.
Nolan stands with the suitcase he is carrying as Amanda arrives also loaded down for a trip. He remarks to her that mail call is quite an event around here, which Amanda says will change once they get their railroad line. She tells him to remember that he is carrying the hopes and tax receipts of all the folks here that are footing the bill. Looking down at the suitcase in his hand, Nolan comments that he better keep it safe and sound, until they get to Calexico. They then hear a woman remarking that the town is a lot bigger than she remembers. Amanda is perturbed as she recognizes Olfin Tennety, an E-rep ambassador whose correspondences she has been ducking for weeks. Tennety standing by the coach with two men suddenly notices Amanda Rosewater and calls out to her. Calling her a naughty girl, she chides Amanda for not responding to her letters. Amanda tells her that she hasn't been ignoring them, she is just not interested in her offer. When one of the men clears his throat, Tennety introduces Amanda to her husbands Kaspar and Ziggy (the throat clearer), who are keeping her company while she goes to do some e-rep business in Calex. When she introduces Amanda to them, she tells them that she used to be an assistant at Republic HQ. Ziggy asks why she would leave New York to come here, what with the washed out roads, shoddy vehicles, and bandits. Kaspar looks exasperated at Ziggy, and ignoring the insult to her town, Amanda tells Tennety that her husbands are lovely. Amanda chuckles as Tenetty confides that she was drunk when married them. It is then that she notices the Overland Transport ticket that Amanda holds between her fingers. Seeing that they will be sharing the same land coach, Tenetty calls it the perfect opportunity for her to sell Amanda on the benefits of working with them. However, Amanda tells her not to bother, as the town has raised the scrip themselves to fund the railroad. Tennety sees the case that Nolan who stands to the side is carrying and guesses that that is what is inside it, which Amanda does not confirm. Turning serious, Tennety warns her that the Votanis Collective will come calling eventually, and when they do Amanda can trust her on the fact that they will not be offering cash incentives. She tells Amanda that it is a really dangerous world out there and the Earth Republic is a good friend to have. Amanda not bothering to argue with her only smiles. Ugarti announces by bullhorn that the land coach departs in 20 minutes, and Tennety moves to board with her husbands in her wake. Inside, Kaspar carefully removes the coat from her shoulders. Nolan has Ugarti lock his case in the coaches safe which is barred and padlocked. A man in a black suit and hat is leaning into the driver's compartment, and Ugarti tells the man who seems curious that it is off-limits to passengers. A man in a grey uniform who had been offloading cargo stands by and holds out a clipboard for Ugarti to sign. After doing so, the liberata returns the red and white pen to his brest pocket. Irisa is leading Rynn to her seat, and as she passes Ugarti she takes the pen from his pocket. He stops to tell he party which stands in the center on the coach to keep the aisles clear, and Rynn takes the seat next to the man in the dark suit, while Irisa attaches the chain leading to her shackles to a ring embedded in the wall of the coach behind her. The man looks pleasantly at Rynn, as she pushes the pen in her hand up into her sleeve. The man notices how Rynn is carefully watching Nolan, as he places his gun on an overhead shelf. Finishing her attachment of the chain, Irisa approaches Rynn and trying to engage her as a friend remarks that her prison sentence of two years will pass quickly. Rynn says "screw you" in Irath back to the woman who captured her. Irisa seems hurt and Nolan tries to lighten the mood by saying that Irisa wasn't expecting a good-bye kiss, was she. Telling her to come here, he wraps her in a big bear hug. Rynn has looked away. Nolan asks if he can trust Irisa to be a good girl and behave herself while he is gone. When she replies probably not, he pats her back and says there's my girl. With one more look toward Rynn whose eyes remain down, Irisa goes.
Outside in the street, Irisa passes a castithan man primly dressed in a grey suit waiting by the side of the land coach for his case to be brought down from the roof. Taking his case, he gives a tip to the smiling man in gray uniform who thanks him. Pointing in the direction of the NeedWant, the castithan asks if he can get a drink there, and is told yes, it is just a block and to the right. Irisa passes, but then stops and slowly turns to look back at the man. As he walks past her, she sees memories of a castithan man in a mask which covers his lower face and a hissing coiled snake ready to strike. She stares at him until he enters the bar. Tommy then approaches her and asks what is wrong and who that guy is, but Irisa quickly says that he is nobody, and she had only thought that it was someone she once knew. She then quickly walks away, but once out of sight she runs around a corner and leans against the wall, scared, panting, and visibly upset.
As they coach is leaving town, Kaspar is wondering aloud what crime Rynn committed and why they would let her ride in the coach with them. When Ziggy prompts him to say something, Kaspar holds up his hand and calls out to the Lawkeeper. He asks if his prisoner is dangerous, but Nolan tells him to just steer clear of her, and he should be just fine. Rynn sees Ziggy staring at her in alarm, and she smiles at him. Ziggy then remarks to Nolan that she stinks and asks if she can ride up top strapped to the roof or something, which wipes the smile from her face. The man in the black suit and hat then tries to make peace by quoting from the bible "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of god" Romans 3:23. He wears a clerical colar which is hard to see as it is black not white and a purple scarf which hangs around his neck. He introduces himself as the Reverend Sy Preston of the Church of Harmony, who has just been out here spreading the good word. He asks Amanda and Nolan, who sit opposite him, if they would be interested in a bible, calling it a traveler's best friend. Amanda tells him that frankly she prefers scotch, but she thanks him anyway.
The coach is travelling throgh a wasteland of wreckage. Further on as they drive down a road through a wooded area, they pass a young saberwolf and a bat-like creature who share the carcass of some road kill. The saberwolf raises his head and hisses as the coach drives by. Ziggy is reading the Yuma Herald and sees that Yuma has a restaurant which features Votan-Mex cuisine. Kaspar votes instead for the old-world ribs. Tennety who has been doing paperwork, again refers to her husbands as "boys" and says that the can hit both places. A delighted Kaspar and Ziggy high five each other over the table and say that they can't wait. An amused Amanda who has been watching says that she has to hand it to those two, as they have actually found a survival technique that works. Nolan who sits next to her with his feet propped up on the back of the seat in front of him agrees, observing that they have hooked up with a powerful woman who pampers and protects them. Hearing his derisive tone, Amanda asks if he doesn't like polygamy or if he is against men in subservient roles. Nolan denies this saying that he gets the allure: two sets of hands, two mouths, and two... Amanda stops him before he can go on by saying that she gets the picture. They share a laugh. Nolan explains that he just thinks that it is hard enough maintaining a relationship with one person. Amanda then shocks him by saying that she has actually thought about a group marriage. Putting down his legs and sitting up to give his full attention, he asks if she is serious. Amanda says that in the world they live in it seems practical, but Nolan starts to laugh. Amanda goes on saying that they all have different sides to themselves and multiple husbands might give her the opportunity to be all that she can be. And anyway, she doesn't buy into the whole find-one-true-love fantasy. At Nolan's look, she asks him what he is thinking. Nolan says that it is nothing, just a feeling that he has about her. Amanda encourages him to share it. Nolan tells her that he thinks all of that talk is just a smoke screen, and that he thinks that if she doesn't believe in love, it's because she has been in love and she got burned. Amanda doesn't answer, she looks away, and their conversation dies out on an awkward note. Rynn has been observing that Nolan has his attention elsewhere, she pulls the red pen out of her sleeve, unscews it and carefully removes the metal pen clip, which she tucks down the front of her shirt.
Back in Defiance at the Need Want, Irisa sits at a table observing the castithan businessman who got off of the land coach as he sits at the bar. Tirra bounces over to sit next to him and calls him handsome, asking when he blew into town. He tells her that he just got off of the land coach from Cedars. When she asks if he had a pleasant trip, he says it was murder on his back. Putting her arm around his neck and getting closer, Tirra asks if he wants to come upstairs for a hot oil massage. She offers to straighten out his kinks and teach him some new ones. Calling her a young lady, he thanks her for the offer but tells her that he is married. When she runs her hand to the inside of his thigh, he pulls her hand away and adds with a laugh that he is happily married. When Tirra asks the lucky lady's name, he not only tells her that it is Gaya and she lives in New York with their daughter Daimya, but he also pulls out his worn wallet and opens it to show her their picture. He laments that he doesn't see nearly enough of her, as he has been travelling so much for work. He says that everytime he sees her it seems as if she's grown another couple of inches. He laughs, but it is forced. When he says that it feels like he is missing her childhood, Irisa who has been watching closely sees his left eye twitch. Tirra calls him a poor baby and again encourages him to come upstairs, where she can make it all better for him. He thanks her, but says that it is time for him to go. Finishing his drink, he picks up his case, rubs his back, and walks away. Tirra drops her smile and seems put out. The table that Irisa has been sitting at is now empty. Irisa is waiting for him in the street. He is whistling as she walks up to him. She places herself directly in front of him as he tries to walk past. When he politely asks if he can help her, she suddenly and brutally kicks him between the legs. He cries out and doubles over. He looks up at Irisa in fear as she takes out her gun. After she uses it to pistol-whips him to the side of the head, she stands looking down at him.
When he wakes, he is in a dark cluttered room with black tape binding him to a chair and over his mouth. A bare light bulb in a portable lamp on the floor on an extension cord gives the only light. Hearing a door open and footsteps approach, he tries to yell for help, but the tape muffles his cries. It is Irisa walking down the stairs to this basement room. She walks up to him, bends over, smells his hair, and says, "Hello, Daigo". His eyes dart wildly around the room. Picking up the light from the floor to shine on his face, Irisa sits on his lap straddling his legs. Sniffing his hair again, she sees a frightened and disoriented Irath child. Seeing the nasty cut she made when she hit him with the gun, she pushes on it with her finger causing him great pain. She predicts that it will leave a scar. Their faces are only inches apart as she stares at him. He tries to say something to her, but can't because of the tape, so Irisa rips it off of his mouth. He tells her that his name is Thesho Zajino. When she slaps him, he says that he doesn't know who she thinks he is. Irisa grabbing his arm and squeezing again calling him Daigo says that he is lying, and she knows it is him. She can never forget his smell, which she compares to a pig in filth. She says that he tortured her, and he is going to confess. She sees in her memory a man's hands holding a snake. He says that is crazy and he has never even seen her before. She again strikes him and then insists that he tell her why he did what he did to her or he is going to die here. Looking into her eyes he sees her absolute seriousness.
On the land coach, everyone has dozed off. Seeing her opportunity, Rynn uses the pen clip to open the handcuffs on her shackles. She quietly lowers the chains to the floor, and then she moves to the overhead shelf where Nolan has stowed his gun. She has only just put her hands up on the shelf to find the gun, when she hears the click behind her. Nolan has his spare gun and is directly behind her. He says that he doesn't know what is going through her head, but he knows what is about to. She calls him lawkeeper scum, as he pulls her back and pushes her down in her seat. Everyone is awake and staring. He asks her where it is, threatening to strip search her in front of all these fine people if she doesn't tell him. She says bandage which seems to be the alien term for a bra. She smiles up at Nolan as he must reach down the front of her shirt to retrieve the penclip, all while still holding a gun on her.
Suddenly there is an explosion in the driver's cab and the truck veers out of control. Everyone is thrown about except the reverend who has a firm hold on the arms of his seat. When they come to a stop, Nolan runs from the back of the coach calling out to the driver Ugarti, but he finds him dead slumped over the steering wheel. Amanda kicks open the rear doors to let out the smoke from the explosion. Rynn uses the distraction to pick up a paperclip which has fallen to the floor. Amanda calls Nolan to the rear door, as she can see something coming. Nolan arrives to witness two vehicles pull up behind the disabled coach. He realizes immediately that they are being jacked. Nolan knows that the blast came from inside the driver's compartment, but nobody has been in there since they left. He has only just remembered that one other person was in there, when he hears the click behind him and turns to find Reverend Preston standing there with a gun leveled at him. Preston says to put down the gun and step away from it, lawkeeper. Nolan sees the other two vehicles stopped and their human and large castithan drivers emerge armed and sees that he doesn't stand a chance. Taking out his gun he drops it to the floor.
Irisa is ransacking the case of the man she holds captive. It is filled with a wide variety of jewelry which she tosses across the room. He protests that he is just a merchant, buying and selling precious stones and antique pieces. Irisa stops when she finds one particular piece, a pendant of a skull ringed by two snakes, and she stares at it. Thesho says that it is just something he bought at an outdoor market. He likes the symbol which is unique, though he has no idea what it means. Irisa says that he should know as he taught it to her. It is the devouring mother, possessor of both womb and grave. He again insists that he is just a jewelry peddler, with a 3:30 appointment with Cadmus Reilly in the hollows. Picking up the case and violently throwing it across the room, Irisa angrily again says that he is lying. She slaps him across the face until he starts to cry. He says that he is sorry for whatever happened to her, but how can he confess to something that he didn't do. Irisa grabs him by the bottom half of the face and squeezes in fury, but then lets him go and stalks away, up the stairs and out of the basement. Thesho's cries to wait and to please let him go follow her.
The highjackers on the land coach are using bolt cutters to remove the padlocks on the case, revealing it to be filled with scrip. The other human thief Lash Dolworthy tells Sy Preston that he was right and it is quite a haul. Preston says to Ambassador Tennety, "That wasn't all we came for , is it Ambassador". When he says that the same source that tipped them to the case told them that she was also loaded, Tennety tells him to get a better source. All the passengers on the coach stand with their hands on their heads. Sy asks Lash which one of the pretty boys he thinks the ambassador fancies most. Lash looks them over and then reaching down he surprises Kaspar by grabbing his private parts. Smiling, he announces that it is this one definitely. Sy promptly shoots the terrified Kaspar in the heart. Ziggy runs to Kaspar's side and is with him as he dies, saying no repeatedly and deeply grieving which contrasts with Olfin Tennety who shows little emotion. Preston then moves forward and levels the gun on Tennety's remaining husband Ziggy. Saying please, Ziggy begs him not to shoot as an angry Nolan can only look on. When Ziggy implores Tennety to stop him, she breaks down and says allright. Showing Preston that her hands are empty, she crouches by the fallen Kaspar and pulls something from his sleeve. She explains that it is a scripchip which any E-rep bank will pay up to its cash value. Preston tells her to bring it to him, and she slowly moves toward the back of the truck. However, Ziggy still by the dead body of Kaspar gets angry at Tennety when he realizes that Kaspar had it on him the whole time and had not even known. Even though she had not turned it over immediately, he could have; Kaspar died for her money. Grief for his friend overwhelming his sense of self-preservation, he calls Tennety an evil bitch and rushes toward her and thus the men with the guns. Lash goes to push him back as Ziggy struggles to pass him and attack Tennety. She has reached Preston and is handing him the scripchip. Nolan who has been carefully watching sees his opportunity, pulls the knife from his boot, and stabs Lash in the stomach. Nolan takes Lash's gun and holding Lash in front of him as a human shield begins firing. Peston tries to shoot Nolan, but Nolan hits Preston first in the leg. Preston's shot goes wild and hits the water tank on the roof of the coach. The large castithan hits Ziggy in the side. Preston grabs Tennety and holds her in front of him as he attempts a retreat. Nolan continues to fire from behind the nearly unconscious Lash, while Amanda goes to pull the back doors closed. Dropping Lash to the ground outside Nolan helps her to do this. Gunshots ricochet off the sides of the truck, as Ziggy holds his bleeding gunshot wound.
In Defiance, Tommy is taking down information from a plantseller, when he sees Irisa walk by carrying a sack which appears to be moving. Curious he proceeds to follow her. When she enters the basement, Thesho still taped to the chair says that he has to relieve himself. She tells him to go right ahead. When she sets the bag on the floor he asks her what she's got in there. The metal door to the basement can be heard opening, and walking out to the stairs Irisa finds Tommy descending and asks him what he is doing there.Thesho begins screaming for help, saying that he is being held prisoner. Tommy asks who that is and what the hell is going on. Irisa blocks his path, pushes him back, and tells him to get out, as it is none of his business. She is trying to shut the door on him, but the sounds of Thesho's terrified screams cause Tommy to push in past her. A snake has slithered out of the bag, Thesho yells for Tommy to help him, saying that she is crazy. As Tommy starts to free Thesho, Irisa pulls a gun on him and says don't.
Nolan has assessed the damage to the truck and says that they would need a repair shop to get it rolling again. The next coach isn't due through for 11 days, and without water they will be dead in three. Rynn says that it would be fewer in this heat, and she gives a large grin. Outside Preston begins calling for the lawkeeper, saying that he knows that he can hear him. He has tied Olfin Tennety to a pile of debris in full sunlight. He says that if they will give them the scrip, they can part friends. He says that the ambassador will have a bellyful of suffering before she dies, unless they are smart. Nolan sees that Preston is staking out Tennety as bait, so he must be in a hurry to finish this thing. Amanda says that they can't just let her die out there.
Irisa has handcuffed Tommy to a radiator in the corner of the basement.She has put the snake back in the bag and places it on the table, which she moves in front of Thesho. Still trying to understand what is going on, Tommy tells "man in the chair" to speak. Thesho tells Tommy that Irisa has him confused with someone else. He asks Tommy as a lawkeeper to talk some sense into her. Irisa tells him to shut up and you're him, and that's a fact. She wants to know why before she kills him. Tommy is stunned that she means to kill this man, and asks her what she is doing and tells her that this is crazy. Irisa says to confess and that he can die easy or he can die painfully, and she rips the clothe of his shirt from his shoulder. Irisa tells Tommy that this man told her parents that she was special and that she had a destiny to fulfill, and he needed to prepare her for it, but it was just an excuse to hurt her, and her parents just stood and watched. In her memories she sees herself as a child being tied to a chair by her father, while her mother kisses her and touches their foreheads together. After her father must draw her mother away, as she doesn't want to let go of Irisa. Her parents wear cowls over their heads and shoulders, painted marking on their faces in the shape of hand prints, chalky white paint on their bodies, and abbreviated costumes that look like bandages. Her parents move back to stand behind her and a man with a mask covering the bottom of his face takes over. In the basement, Thesho tells Irisa that he has a daughter of his own, and the thought of somebody willingly having their child tortured is insane. Irisa interrupts to tell him that he is a good liar. She asks him if torturing her had turned him on, and if he got off on hearing her screams. He yells, "No, because I am not that man! Screaming in his ear she reminds him that she told him easy or painful. Tommy urgently asks how she knows it's him. Irisa says that she knows, she remembers his smell, the stink of him. When asked about his face, Irisa admits that he wore a mask when he tortured her. But she shows him the pendant that she had found in his case, which she says matches the symbol for his idaka church before she throws it at Thesho. Tommy wants to know if that is all the evidence she has: junk jewelry and his smell. She then sees the twitch under Thesho's left eye again and points it out to Tommy. She says that he had that before, she saw it. She calls Thesho zdaake and asks if he thought she would forget that, before she pushes the table with the snake closer to him. Thesho is incredulous, that she is going to kill him for a twitch. Tommy tells Irisa to come on, as she is better than this, and Irisa taking the snake out of the bag yells at Thesho that she knows what she saw. Having an idea Thesho squeezes his eyes tightly shut. He tells Irisa that she keeps talking about his twitching eye, but he bets she can't tell him what color they are right now. There is a long pause. Irisa has bought the snake quite close to his face. Tommy asks her in a steady voice what color his eyes are. When Irisa says blue, Thesho starts to laugh. He opens his eyes and reveals that they are orange. Irisa says "no" in a voice almost in pain as for the first time since all this began, she doubts herself. Tommy points out that he has ID and they can check it out. Suddenly, Irisa thrusts the snake forward and it bites him on his bare shoulder. Tommy tries to pull himself free from the handcuffs which hold him to the radiator, while Thesho screams.
Night has fallen in the badlands, and Tennety staked out is calling for help from Nolan and Amanda. Growls can be heard from outside and Rynn remarks that the wolves are getting closer. Amanda says that they can't just let her be killed. Rynn says that she was dead the moment Preston took her, and he is just using her to lure them out, before he kills her and the rest of them. Rynn starts to laugh at this. Nolan disagrees. He thinks that he tagged Preston pretty good in the leg. He is losing blood, and he needs a doctor. He says that is why they are having this little drama. When Amanda says that it is to force their hand, Nolan agrees. Amanda announces that she is going out to cut her loose, as someone's got to do it. She picks up the case and heads for the back door, but Nolan tells her to hold on. Handing her a rifle, Nolan remarks that she was pretty good with one of these fighting the volge. Amanda takes it. Nolan takes the case from her and sets it down on the seats, and rearranges its contents while telling them all his plan. Preston will come out to meet him. He tells Amanda that the big casti will go up to a ridge which Nolan points out to Amanda through the window. He has a handgun, so he will want to be high, but close. When Amanda asks if he thinks he is clairvoyant now, Nolan simply tells her that is where he would be if he was going to ambush somebody. He tells her that once he has distracted them, Amanda has to sneak out of the truck and get position. He tells her that when she spots that casti to not stop shooting. If they manage to kill Nolan, she will still have the money to bargain with. He closes the case and asks her if she has got it, which she says she does. As he is passing Rynn, she comments that she thought he had more sense, but Nolan says that she must have thought wrong. Rynn smiles as she realizes that Nolan is doing this for Amanda. When Amanda looks at him, Nolan does not deny it, instead he tells Amanda not to get a big head about it. Carrying the case, he opens the back doors and calls out loudly for Preston, telling him not to shoot, as he is coming out. He holds the case extended out to one side and his gun to the other, as he walks toward Ambassador Tennety. Once Nolan is far enough away, Amanda slips out of the back of the truck and staying in the shadows makes her way around the ridge. Once Amanda has left the truck, Rynn pulls out the paperclip and unfolding it begins to work on the shackle locks again. Ziggy, wounded and alone in the coach with her, sees her doing this, but makes no move to stop her. Having freed herself Rynn slowly looks up at Ziggy and makes a slashing gesture across her neck, warning him what will happen if he tries to stop her. He gives a barely perceptible shake to his head. Rynn jumps out the back of the truck and runs in the opposite direction from the path Amanda took, which leaves a scared Ziggy completely alone.
Nolan still holding the case out in one hand and his gun in the other approarches Ambassador Tennety. While up on the ridge, the large casti crouched behind a rock trains his gun on him. Preston limps out from behind a dune, telling Nolan that he has some hard bark walking up here like this. As Nolan throws his gun away, Preston accuses him of putting a hole in him. Nolan says that it was obviously not in the right place and next time he will aim better. Nolan throws the case toward Preston. Tennety, her wrists tied together, is bound to a steel girder and looks drained and exhausted, ready to fall over. Nolan cuts through her bonds, as Preston is saying that there won't be a next time. Nolan whispers to the freed ambassador to go straight to the coach, and Tennety, as she rises on shaky legs, thanks him. Tennety begins walking with difficulty to the coach, the casti rises from his position to get better aim, and Nolan can just make out the outline of Amanda running across the top of the ridge. Preston kneels on the ground and opens the case revealing the stacks of scrip inside. Having made it over the ridge, Amanda walks along behind the crest looking for the place where the casti has set up his ambush. Looking up at Nolan, Preston calls it a noble gesture, but he says that Nolan has to know that he can't let them walk away from here. Tennety hasn't made it even halfway to the truck, Nolan reminds Preston that he said they would part friends, if they gave him the money. Quoting again from the bible, Preston says,"Trust not in a friend. Put not your confidence in a companion". Running behind the top of the ridge, Amanda has found the casti. She crouches and raises her rifle, but can not get a clear shot because of the surrounding rocks. Picking up a bundle of scrip from the case, Preston finds that there are only thin bundles of money in the case forming a top layer. Underneath, Nolan has placed the Reverend Preston's bibles. With venom in his voice, Preston holds a bible and asks what the hell this is. Nolan says "Ask and you shall recieve" Matthew 7:7. Preston tells him that's funny, and he should tell it to the almighty when Nolan sees him. As the casti raises his gun to shoot Nolan, Amanda yells, "Hey". When he turns, Amanda is finally able to get a shot, and she takes it. As the casti falls, both Nolan and Preston reach for their guns, but Nolan gets his first and shoots Preston four times. When Nolan reaches the fallen Preston he must still wrestle the gun out of his hand. He tells Preston that it looks like he is gonna see the almighty before Nolan will. He says he should go clean by telling Nolan the name of his source, the person who set this up. However, all Preston says before he dies is that he will see Nolan in hell.
Back at the stranded land coach, Amanda has set up a camp fire, and she stirs the embers with a stick. Ziggy curled up in a blanket is fast asleep by the fire. Ambassador Tennety looking very worse-for-wear dozes fitfully against the truck's front bumper. As Nolan is returning to camp, Amanda tells him that Ziggy is asleep and asks him if he found Rynn. Nolan tells her that he didn't. However, he did get the roller keys of the highjackers, so she's not going far. He also says that Preston's boys brought along plenty of water, and he had carried several bottles back with him. Nolan gives one to Tennety, and she practically groans in pleasure as she drinks it. Nolan after drinking from a different bottle, tells Tennety to go easy on that, as it's got to last them until they get back to Defiance. After half finishing the bottle, she sets it down, sighs, and says that not all of them are gonna be going back. Pulling a gun from under her blanket, the ambassador informs them that the rest of them are going to be staying right here. As Amanda rises from her place by the fire to stare at her, Tennety raises the gun to cover her. Nolan looks back at Amanda not having seen this coming. Pushing the blanket off from around her shoulders, she orders Nolan to drop the gun and the belt. Tennety says that now he is going to tell her where he hid the rest of the money. Ziggy has woken up, and he looks at his wife and tries to understand what is happening. As he drops his gunbelt to the ground, Nolan realizes that she was the source that Preston was talking about. Tennety says that even he has to admit that it was a pretty brilliant plan. Preston steals the money, Tennety would meet up with him later, and they would split it. Defiance would go into hock to the Earth Republic, and Tennety would get a promotion. She says that, if the two of them had played ball, they would have lived through it. Ziggy speaks up as he realizes that he was not supposed to live through it. Tennety confirms this, saying to him, "No honey, you were dead either way." Amanda realizes that Tennety's plan now is to take all the cash and claim to be the sole survivor. Nolan asks her if she really believes that her bosses are going to buy that, but Tennety asks why they would look a gift horse in the mouth. With the two of them dead, leaving the town of Defiance without a mayor or a lawkeeper as well as broke, the E-rep would have no problem moving in and (after a moment to remember how Amanda put it) sucking the town dry. Suddenly, a chain which comes from behind Olfin Tennety whips out bolo style and wraps itself around her neck, causing her to drop her gun. She wraps her hands around the chain and tries to pull it from around her neck, as she can't breathe. Nolan goes to grab her fallen gun, but Rynn, who walks up behind the ambassador tells him to leave it. She holds the gun which appears to be the one used by the casti sniper. Pushing Tennety's gun away with her foot, Rynn stands holding her gun on all of them.
In the basement back in Defiance, Thesho, still taped to the chair, is slowly dying of snake venom. Tommy is telling Irisa that it is not too late. They can track down the people who hurt her, but if she lets Thesho die here he wins. Irisa says that she wants justice, and Tommy promises that they will get it, but they have to get him to Yewll's while there's still time. After consideration, Irisa says okay. But then Thesho says no. He tells Irisa with the hint of a smile on his face that he had been afraid, but the snake had brought clarity. He admits to Irisa that everything she said was true. Irisa and Tommy just stare at him. Daigo tells them that for years he fled the truth, just as she had. He sought refuge in the things of this world: a wife, a child, a home. But none of it matters now, because she has shown him that he was wrong. He suddenly laughs hysterically, and Irisa unsheaths one of her blades. He tells them that it is no accident that he came to this town, it was ordained that they should meet again. The hard stare that Tommy gives Daigo is dripping with hatred and revulsion. He gasps as Irisa puts the blade to his throat. She again asks him why he did all those thing to her: the snakes, tying her until her wrists bled. He swears to her that he took no joy in any of it. He tells her that it was all to test her and prepare her. He says that she needed the serpent in her veins, in order to embrace her true nature. He tells her that he sought her out and recruited her parents. Irisa in accusing tones remarks that they came halfway across the galaxy, and he exploited them, but Daigo replies that they gave her up willingly. Irisa remembers the ritual. Daigo in cowl and mask approaches her carrying the snake, as she is tied to the chair. He places it on the table and it crawls toward Irisa, coils, and then strikes biting her on the shoulder, while the members of the cult stand around her in a circle chanting. As she thinks of herself as a small child reeling from the snake venom, Daigo tells her that she was the only one to survive this ritual. That is how he knew that she was the one, and that the prophecy of the sacred texts had been fulfilled. He tells Irisa that she is Alekta the Chosen One. When Irisa still holding the blade to his throat asks, "Chosen for what? Who am I?" Daigo with a smile says, "The Destroyer, the Creator, the Revealer, the Devouring Mother possessor of both womb and grave". He tells her that it was the last leg of her journey, and all that was left was for her to kill the supplicant, and she would be complete. Irisa as a child had survived the snake vemon. Diago had cut her bonds, and she reeled in the chair rubbing her wrists, her parents still standing behind her chanting. Daigo carrying a dagger brings a thin, older cult member before her, while the others remain chanting. The man kneels, puts his head to one side, and pulls back his cowl to expose his neck. Daigo slams the knife onto the table before Irisa, and she crings away from it. While she cries, he forces her hand forward to grasp the blade. But just then, soldiers led by Josua Nolan burst into the tent with rifles. One of the soldiers yells for nobody to move. Nolan sees Daigo holding Irisa and the knife, and he tells him to leave the girl alone. When Irisa's parents both pull out guns and aim them at Nolan, he opens up with his rifle. Very few of the cult members are shot, most do not show resistance; they flee or huddle on the ground. A distraught and terrified Irisa still sits in the chair crying, screaming, and holding her hands over her ears. Nolan puts down his gun and approaches her. He says hi and tells her his name is Nolan. Then he tells her that it is okay, holds out his arms, and says come here (just as he did on the land coach). She throws herself into his arms, and he comforts her until she stops crying, before lifting and carrying her away. Daigo watches from an alcove behind a curtain with a look of sadness and fear in his eyes. To Irisa in the present, he describes how he fled like a coward, basely clinging to his miserable life. But he is not afraid anymore, because they have been given a chance at redemption. With joy on his face, he tells her that he is to be her sacrifice. His life is her forfeit (to complete the ritual of all those years ago). He understands that now, and raising his chin to further expose his neck to her blade, he tells her to do it, "Become". Irisa stares at him with tears in her eyes, and then only shallowly cutting him, she pulls the knife away from his throat. Daigo in alarm asks her what she is doing and then cries out" no" as he realizes that she is not going to kill him. He cries and begs her to please finish it. Walking over to Tommy, she unlocks his handcuffs. When Tommy asks her what she is doing, she replies, "Finishing it". Daigo is weeping. Tommy crosses the room and punches him until his chair falls over, whereupon he proceeds to kick him. He calls Daigo a piece of shtako, saying that she was just a child. Irisa comes over and pulls Tommy away, telling him to stop. When he asks why, Irisa says because it is what he wants (Daigo wants them to kill him, and she won't give him the satisfaction). They both stare down at him, until Irisa says let's get him to Yewll.
At the land coach, Rynn now holds a rifle on the other passengers. She announces that she is taking the rifle and one of the rollers, and if they follow her she will kill them. Nolan crouches on the ground putting handcuffs around the wrists of a subdued Olfin Tennety. Amanda asks why Rynn helped them (as they were sending her to prison). Rynn tells them that they have their laws, and out here her people have their own. In Irath she says that a man who risks his life for another cannot be left to die. As Rynn is turning to leave, Ziggy suddenly asks if he can get a ride to the next town. Amanda looks at him in surprise, as does Rynn. He is still moving with a bit of difficulty from the wound in his side, and he carefully walks around his wife Tennety not touching her, meeting her eyes, or saying good-bye. Walking over to Rynn, he reminds her that he kept his mouth shut when she bailed. She harshly tells him to keep it shut, as she doesn't like chatty passengers. Ziggy answers with a very quiet "okay". However, as he follows her he is already talking, asking her if she has ever thought about bounty hunting, as he thinks they would make a great team (Ziggy already looking for a powerful woman to latch onto). After they go, Nolan asks Amanda if she wants him to go after the Irath, and Amanda says that she has decided to let Rynn off with time served. Nolan wonders if Amanda has the power to do that, but Amanda says that she just did so let's assume, yes. Looking at Tennety, Amanda says that the big question is what to do with her. Pulling her head back, so he can look her in the eyes, Nolan says that he thinks they should take a play out of the ambassador's own book. When Nolan thinks that they should say that she died heroically defending her two beloved husbands, there is true fear on her face. Amanda agrees that this is what she deserves, but like Rynn said they have laws. To Tennety's relief, she tells Nolan let's take her back and prosecute her.
In the center of town, Amanda and Nolan stand by a land coach seeing Tennety off. A guard is puuting her in handcuffs. Nolan tells her that she is going to love Vegas Prison, and to make sure she catches a show at the Copa. When Amanda tells the guard to take her away, the woman pulls her by the handcuffs toward the door, hurting her wrist. As Nolan and Amanda walk away, A dejected Daigo beaten and limping makes his way to the coach. Watching from in front of the Lawkeeper's office are Tommy and Irisa. Tommy says that he doesn't understand why they are just letting him go. Irisa explains that he wanted to create a messiah, but now he has to go back to selling rocks. That is the worst punishment for him: an ordinary life.
As Daigo enters the land coach and looks for space on the overhead rack for his case, the guard is removing Tennety's handcuffs. She apologizes to Ambassador Tennety for cuffing her, but explains that she had to for appearance sake. Rubbing her wrists, Tennety immediately starts giving orders. She wants everything Headquarters has on Amanda Rosewater. She wants to know: where she was born, who her friends and family are, every man she's ever slept with, and what she's having for dinner tomorrow night. She wants it on her desk by the time they get to New York. Her guard says, "Yes, Ma"am".
Irisa and Tommy enter the Lawkeeper's office, Irisa pauses in the center of the room and sighs deeply. She seems to be softly crying. Irisa tells Tommy that Sukar said that she has a gift. Daigo believes this too, only he believes that it is a gift for destruction. When she asks, what if he's right. Tommy says that she just proved him wrong. Walking toward her, Tommy says that he doesn't think Nolan needs to know about all of this. Irisa realizes that Tommy would have killed Daigo, after defending him all that time. When she asks way, Tommy says it is because she is not the only one with nightmares. There is another reson, but he doesn't seem able to come out and say it. Putting out his hand, he brushes the hair off her face. She turns and looks at him until he meets her eyes. Then she grabs and kisses him, pulling him across the room and up against the jail cell bars. At the top of the arch, Alak is again broadcasting. After his usual opening, he tells everyone that he has a treat for them. He is going to mix it up with some old-world vinyl. He puts on Lovesong by The Cure and dedicates it to Christie McCawley, who is listening, as she waits tables in front of Cafe Renaldo. She looks up at the arch where Alak stands at one of the small windows looking down at her. And though it is highly unlikely that either one can see the other, they blow kisses to each other. In the NeedWant Tirra and Jered are dancing behind the bar, trying to do their movements in unison. When Jered starts to dance on top of the bar, Tirra is laughing. The other people in the bar are now dancing as well. A roller drives down a dirt road. It is Rynn and Ziggy. It is uncertain how long Tennety's trail was, but they are still travelling together. The roller has no doors, and Ziggy in the passenger seat as Rynn drives clutches his bag and looks worried that he will fall out. Amanda and Nolan sit in the NeedWant sharing a drink and a laugh. After tearing each other clothes off, Tommy and Irisa consummate their passion on the floor of the Lawkeeper's office. But afterwards, Irisa's eyes remain open.
- Joshua Nolan's first name was not used.
- Tony Curran (Datak Tarr), Jaime Murray (Stahma Tarr), Graham Greene (Rafe McCawley) and Mia Kirshner (Kenya Rosewater) were credited but did not appear.
- Jessica Nichols has portrayed all the Liberata who have appeared to date.
- Noah Danby (Sukar) only appeared in "Previously..." footage.
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