After a few months of quiet travel, the fleet ratifies an official accord, a treaty between the Sikarians and the Starfleet, Klingon, and Romulan crews. As a surprise part of that ceremony, Commander Sebastian moves to utilize an obscure Starfleet regulation to promote Captain Tchang to Commodore, representing her seniority amongst the captains of the fleet. The new Commodore gives a brief speech, then returns to duty.
The fleet winds up in range of a new planetary polity named the Rilnar. After a little time watching their subspace broadcasts, the crew learns they have a strong affinity for medical technology and have developed a cellular regeneration process that could repair all manner of serious injury. The Odyssey goes in with the Alanel to learn more of the Rilnar firsthand, and perhaps trade and have shore leave. All of this is established, along with and invitation for Commodore Tchang, Commander Sebastian, and Lt. Annira to attend a luncheon with First Speaker Gennal.
At the luncheon he speaks of their journey, learned via the Odyssey sharing it’s logs, and offers the three senior officers an opportunity to have their scars and injuries, like Annira’s leg and Sebastian’s spine, repaired. He leaves them to ponder the offering, and the officers seek out information. Tchang involves Selveth to examine the procedure, who seems it safe. Sebastian goes and finds a bar, talking to the laypeople of Rilnar. He learns that the cellular regeneration tech is used well now, but social pressure to remove scars and disabilities is moving the Rilnar to a dark place.
Sebastian and Annira work out an arrangement for two thousand of the fleet’s most injured to receive treatment, paid via matter conversion of raw materials to building materials for the Rilnar. And of the three free offers, the Commodore and Annira agree to the process. The Commodore’s symbiont, damaged from all the warping of time behind them, was restored to physical fitness. Annira’s neural pathways were healed fully from the trianic energy attack, and her lost left leg was restored. But she struggled with adapting to her renewed body, especially after growing accustomed to her prosthetic she had programmed herself.
With only a minor hiccup when other Rilnar saw the Klingons and Starfleet on shore leave with scars and injuries abounding, the fleet refugees who warranted the most care were treated by the Rilnar over ten days. The Odyssey also took on medical supplies for the journey. Before they leave, First Speaker Gennal visits Sebastian in his quarters to ask him why he refused their gift.
Sebastian provides the speaker with a heartfelt speech underlining the need for bodily autonomy as a right, and how their society borders on turning their miracle into eugenics or worse. He asks Gennal for a different gift – to hold a place for those in their world who do not want to conform. Cowed, the Speaker agrees, and leaves to let Sebastian ponder the stars.