The party arrives on Rampart Station. Terekka is contacted by Senator Aerena Drayson, who wants Terekka to investigate any hidden corruption on the station, and entrusts her Ryn agent K’mata to help. Meanwhile, Rep and Gibit are contacted by the local Trade Federation franchise; a saboteur has been rigging cargo pods to explode.
Terekka finds his warning about alien invaders has gone unacknowledged; someone blocked the message. He finds Oneewa, a Jawa Jedi on the station, who is looking for another Jawa who has gone missing. He meets with the Trandoshan military, who are guarding the station, but they are unreceptive, being preoccupied with the exploding cargo pods; the Duros military, also serving as security, is similarly preoccupied with stealing lucrative defense contracts from the Trandoshans.
The sabotage trail leads to Dev, a young Trade Federation programmer, who immediately confesses. However, it turns out he’s been blackmailed by a Kage woman named Tuda Poli. The party uses Dev as bait to lure Tuda out, confronting her as she runs to her speeder. They stun her and interrogate her; she says she was working alone, fighting the corrupt Republic and its lackeys on behalf of her people. The party gives her to the Trade Federation’s custody, and receives a bounty for bringing her in alive.
The party then decides to track down Oneewa’s missing Jawa friend Hacha. He used to work for three merchants on the station, Etaras, De Roh, and Ferth, so the party begins interviewing them; all of them used Hacha to spy on the others, but De Roh used a droid to follow the Jawa and saw him go into Science Module 26, which has been recently shut down by computer glitches.
The party enters Science Module 26, which is cut off from the rest of the station by vacuum, and finds a carbon-freezing chamber holding a cargo container full of lamprey-like aliens in stasis (like they encountered on the empty Ithorian herdship), as well as several people partially frozen in carbonite. Inside is another lamprey-like alien—a Lugubraa—as well as an alien the same species as Etaras, with rubbery skin and two mouths. The party switches off the lights and easily dispatches the two. On capture, the alien identifies himself as a Vagaari—a largely unknown slaver species from the Unknown Regions—and mocks their respect for life. Just then, Senator Drayson contacts them, alerting them that the station is under attack by an unknown fleet—the Vagaari.