Canopus Situtation Report
Whilst Canopus Station dig’s in to fortify its tenuous position, Commander Ritter and the crew of the USS Resolute venture out in pursuit of the crew kidnapped by the alien slaver Gastarox. They are tracked to a strange place, a tormented neutron star held within the cage like arms of a Prior machine. This machine seems either to be the cause or cure for a pocket of ‘tortured space’ that wraps around the star, where whispers and promises of great power attempt to lure the unwary into crossing over.
Within this pocket of space, clinging to the spars of the bone white cage of the neutron star, a place called The Mire, is a facility known as The Sleepers Bazaar. Owned and operated by the macabre biomechanical entity called the Harbour Master, the crew of the Resolute are drawn into the sadistic pit of villainy to bid on the lives of their crewmates. There they come face to face with the charming but ruthless Myriad, as well as take the measure of the Concordance whom they have only met through their deeds. The former control the lives of billions, whilst the latter have sterilised whole planets in a mad crusade.
Winning the bidding by the skin of their teeth, and by gaining the ire of The Concordance, the crew retreat to the Resolute to make good their escape. But whilst violence near the Sleeping Bazaar is forbidden under strict penalties, the Concordance battleship now leaving the Bazaar need only wait outside the portal from tortured space to make amends for it sligh.
But as the crew prepare to depart, Commander Meilin Jiang discovers the truth behind The Mire. A three-dimensional cage constraining an extradimensional life form of immense size. Determined to free it, and by that means uproot and break up the slave market of the Harbour Master, the crew debate the dangers and outcomes of this choice of actions...
...And at Canopus Station, the sound of war drums can be heard just beyond the heliosphere as a weary Traveller returns home.