About a week after the resolution Psychip infestation, several of the crew members become too ill for Arala to nurse back to health, so they are sent over to the more advanced medical facilities aboard the Crowd Control. Several crew members are sent over to replace the ones that took ill. Among them was Axandra's Brother, Kaizer.
Kaizer's attempts to go unnoticed on the new ship falter as he stumbles directly into his sister not moments after boarding it. Having spent so many years apart following the incident that had led to Axandra's exile, they had much catching up to do. Lt. Cmd. Kaitakoa has a reunion with her own brother, though this leaves her more stringent than before.
During the long voyage, Axandra spends some time consoling Matios. She learns more about the string of past tragedies which led him to turn to Psychips and join the expedition, and promises to reunite him with his son.
After a few more months of travel, the party finally nears its destination. Just in time too as the food processor on board the ship was beginning to malfunction and the ship's supplies are rapidly dwindling. Jormunde is able to hunt a few birds and fish to supplement the meager meals, but not enough to feed the whole of the ship. Hester's connection to the datasphere grows silent as their ship approaches Sovehles,
Lt. Cmd Kaitakoa announces to the passengers and crew that she and the other captains have decided to stop at a nearby port to resupply. Upon arrival at its supposed location, however, they and the party are shocked to discover that the port – along with the rest of the coastline – had vanished. The captains of the three ships convene quickly to determine a course of action, and opt press on ahead up the coast to the outpost in spite of their lack of sufficient supplies.
Hester taps into the unusually quiet datasphere in an attempt to gain more insight on the situation. Datasphere responds with a loud, unclear warning about a nearby containment breech. He falls into a hysterical panic and tries to convince the party members and the captain that they need to change course. The former are wary of his warnings given his past behavior, and the latter refutes them both, saying that diverting course could lead to further starvation.
The storm picks up intensity, and amid the torrential downpour, Axandra spots a coral-encrusted, metallic ship on a collision course with the Impromptu Herald. She convinces the captain to change course, and not a moment to soon as it scratches against the side of their ship. Large chunks of coral detach themselves from the mystery ship, unfold into humanoid shapes, and proceed to attack the ship and crew. The mystery ship then crashes into the Dignified Response.
The party leaps into action. Hester and Kaizer stay on deck to defend the ship from the coral 'hunters' with the Roland and the captain. Hester attempts to gain more information from the data sphere, while Kaizer faces mixed success in his skirmish against the monsters. Axandra goes below deck and is greeted with a scene of chaos. The coral hunters managed to claw their way into the ship's lower decks, and were tearing apart the passengers and crew alike. She manages to rescue Velee and her family, and comes across Matios propping up a door against the encroaching monsters. She joins him against his wishes to prevent him from martyring himself,
In the cargo hold, Clymene faces problems of her own as the coral monsters burst through the corridor. She attempts to fight them off, but it quickly becomes clear that she is outnumbered and out of her depth. Jormunde comes to her rescue, and tells her to run while he holds the monsters off. She passionately kisses him (her very first kiss too), then heads off to the upper decks help wherever she can.
Meanwhile, Kaizer struggles the fend off the hunters as he is unused to fighting ambulatory coral monsters on a ship in the middle of a storm. One of hunters manages to smash him halfway through the floorboards. He manages to kill it before it can finish him off.
Hester helps him back to his feet, just in time as a larger, more powerful coral monster crawls its way onto the deck. Hester's uses the data sphere to identify it as a Suzerain-class growth, and the captain stuns it with a sort of electrical detonation cypher.
Clymene finds Axandra, and Axandra uses her stoneguts cypher to seal to door behind her. She then goes off to seek medical aid for the wounds that she and Matios sustained while holding back the monsters. Kaizer heads off below deck to find his sister, leaving Hester, Roland and the captain to deal with the final coral monster. After a long fight, Roland critically wounds the monster, but is devoured by it before he can finish the job. In a moment of mad panic, Hester charges the enormous creature and kills it with his trusty table leg.
Over the course of the tense battle, the Impromptu Herald drifted away from the rest of the expeditionary convoy. Worse, the storm has intensified. With most of the crew dead, the party takes their place and attempts to regain control of the damage ship. A massive wave crashes into the side of the ship, and everything fades to black.