With Moya immobilized in Tormented Space, Crichton, Aeryn, Chiana, D'Argo and Sikozu seek temporary respite on a planet inhabited by historically warring clans who are now experiencing a fragile peace. The crew's arrival coincides with preparations for the election of a new ruler, or 'Prefect'. Incumbent Prefect Falaak is at the end of his half cycle in power, and reluctant to concede it. Popular clan leader Gashaah looks the likely successor, but faces a strong challenge from the Chieftan of the Jabuka Clan.
Aeryn begins experiencing strange hallucinations, then without warning opens fire upon a meeting of the clans; when it is over, Gaashah lies amongst the dead, D'Argo wounded. She escapes during the confusion, leaving her crewmates under suspicion.