As the crew deals with various personal troubles, the captain is interrupted by an alert from the bridge. The Harge, the fleet’s colony ship, had its warp engines fail and is signalling distress. It needs a planet to set down on and will likely need its warp coils repaired. Domino finds two options a few light years apart – an inhabited planet, and one that was previously inhabited, according to the Banean star charts. The Odyssey opts for the uninhabited one, and tows the Harge there with the fleet following behind.
Once there, they find a planet with several ruined cities, reclaimed by time. The colony ship sets down near one and requests engineering support. Lt. Kalen and his engineering team report on the planet and determine the warp coils need to be rebuilt. Luckily, he’d stripped the Atlantis of her warp coils, and brings those spare parts to bear, quickening the repair process considerably. Separately, curious about the ruins, Domino, Selveth, Vulmos, and a pair of security officers beam down to investigate the buildings, guided to points of interest by T’ven using the ship’s sensors.
The ground teams’ work proceeds apace. The old warp coils are pulled with help from the Sikarian crew, and the Starfleet crew works on fabricating the replacements. Domino and team learn of unique, fungal/plant super blooms that are sprouting in many places in the colony site, and learn of new and unfamiliar elements used in the colony’s structural materials. The first problem arises when Crewman Jones asks Kalen to be relieved, citing not feeling well. He’s beamed to Sickbay and treated by the EMH. Plogh hears of this and beams back aboard from the Ves’Targ, learning upon examining Jones himself that the crewman was exposed to a slow-acting neurotoxin. He begins investigating immediately, seeing similarities to toxins he had previously seen in his work.
Now they’re on a clock. The captain is looped in, who seeks to control the information to prevent a panic. T’ven reaches out privately to the leaders of both ground teams and lets them know the situation. Kalen’s team continues working, but is losing ground as the team’s exposure starts to lay them out. It comes down to Kalen and the Sikarian crews racing the clock to try and get the Harge’s warp drive functional. Domino and her team realize that a toxin’s danger increases with duration of exposure, and so she rigs some of the team’s equipment to emit various containment fields, learning she can keep the toxin at bay via tetryon fields – not useful as a cure, but as a barrier to further exposure. Vulmos is able to get a scan of the neurotoxin, and secretly shares it with the other Romulans aboard ship. They look through their database of info and learn of a similarly made toxin the Romulans have seen – used by someone known as the Butcher of Adosia Station. Kalen and Selveth both seem troubled to learn this information.
As the ground teams work, a large, unidentified warship speeds into the system. Captain Tchang, seeing the danger, orders yellow alert and suggests the fleet retreat, keeping the Ves’Targ at hand. The unknown warship arrives and announces itself to every comm in the system – “You are trespassers in sovereign Cravic territory. You have one hour to leave, or be destroyed.” With the situation laid out to everyone, Kalen opts for drastic measures in order to get the colony ship running – he pulls out every extraneous safety feature, the systems that diminish the colony ship’s warp signature and limits its speed – he tears the complex Sikarian machine down to its basest functions, skipping more than three quarters of the work he would have to do in order to return the engine to function. Domino and her team retreat to the colony ship, preparing to leave. They realize though that their ascent will be after the deadline, though not by much. With most of the Sikarians afflicted by the toxin, leaving the surface falls to Domino, Kalen, and Selveth. Domino begins breaking all the proper procedures for powering up in order to get the Harge moving faster.
With warning, the captain orders a tactical assessment. T’ven learns the warship has nearly impentetrable shields, and extremely powerful tetryon-based beam banks. It’s dangerous, to be sure, but less so to the Odyssey than the Harge. Tchang tries one last attempt at diplomacy, pleading for only thirty more minutes, before the deadline. In response, at the moment time expires, the Cravic ship reorients and begins firing from orbit at the rising Harge. Options expended, the Odyssey joins the fight, interposing itself between the Harge and the warship and firing a spread of torpedoes. T’ven’s skills mean that a few of the torpedoes sneak through, doing some superficial damage to the warship’s hull. But in response, it fires repeatedly at the Odyssey, entirely draining the shields and striking the front saucer, damaging the sensors and injuring Skrillix in the Canteen.
The Harge clears orbit while the Odyssey spars with the warship, and working together, Domino gets the colony ship close while Kalen use’s the colony ship’s array of tractor beams to ‘punch’ the warship out of the way. The combined graviton beams are successful in pushing the warship away, ruining its kill shot on the Odyssey, and the two ships use the opening to warp away. The warship doesn’t give chase. In Sickbay, Plogh has ably found a retrotoxin to inoculate the exposed, and using the ship’s medical supplies and the EMH, synthesizes enough to return the Harge’s crew and all the exposed Odyssey crew to health.
The captain asks for a debrief in the observation lounge, opening the bar within to the senior staff for a relatively successful mission. On his way there, Kalen is pulled aside by Ulun, a biologist from the Romulan faction. He asks Kalen to inquire as to how Plogh solved the problem – neurotoxins aren’t cured in a day. Kalen agrees, and poses the question to Plogh, who cites his previous exposure as a surgeon to various horrible weapons over the years. Selveth talks about someone the Romulans knew as an enemy, who killed the entirety of a Romulan holding named Adosia station once using a very similar toxin to the one they were exposed to. The parallels have troubled her. But she was able to learn that the Cravic who attacked them were automated personnel units – artificial lifeforms, likely executing their last orders to protect the worlds of their creators. Dominos charts their course and has an idea of the warship’s patrol route, in case they want to avoid it.
Once the debrief wraps up, the crew retreats to their lives to process. Plogh works on a bonsai in his quarters, ending with throwing the shears in anger. Captain Tchang briefly connects with Kemman, who is having trouble adapting to life on the ship. Life continues, and the Odyssey does too.