Buck and Hawk are sent to pick up the survivors of a planetary disaster and transport them to a new home. Before departing, Buck rescues a young woman from a group of Dorian thugs. Later, while enroute to the planet, the Searcher is attacked by a Dorian craft, which demands that the woman be returned for the murder of a warlord's son. As the Dorians persist and subject the Searcher to a severe pounding, the refugees begin to rebel, insisting that the woman be turned over. Eventually, Buck discovers that truth about the woman and the startling reason why the Dorians always wear what at first appear to be merely ceremonial face masks.