The story takes place after Disruptive Selection.
The story starts with James Zanasiu driving to his cabin in Santa Barbara, until he's stopped by a police officer, who looking for him. Using the fake name 'Nigel Munroe', James talks his way past the officer and stays in a dingy motel. As he prepares to go to sleep, he gets a call from Werner Donitz asking him for help. Hans has gone missing, and Werner faxes James a letter that states that a 'Ricky' asked Hans to meet him on the Red Dune Mesa a week ago.
James agrees to assemble a team to help find Hans. The team turns out to be himself, Werner, Aisha Tennes, Rudyard Shelton, and Cale. They drive to the Red Dunes Mesa, in the desert near the spot where Pelvanida was. Cale infiltrates the base set atop the mesa, and finds it completely abandoned.The team searches the base, and discovers the Einstein-Rosen bridge in the uppermost cave. James, Werner, and Cale travel through.
They find themselves on December 8th, 1990, at the bottom of the mesa. Re-infiltrating the facility, they discover that Ricky and his men were using an Intraorbital Tri-Dimensional Gateway to travel around the world and steal other countries' items. James and Werner are captured, and placed in a holding cell, where they meet the anti-matter Shelton, Dr. Joe, and Zachary. They explain that when they reemerged in the matter universe, Ricky found them, captured them, and forced them to fix the bridge for him.
Hans frees James and the others from the cell, and the group splits up. James and Hans heads for the bunkers to pick up men allied with Hans, Shelton and Zachary head for the infirmary to get medical supplies for Werner, who's injured. James and Hans meet Yuri Kerzach and the other allied men, and head for Ricky. Shelton and Zachary are captured and taken to the ITG room, where Ricky plans to escape with his remaining men. However, Cale arrives and kills every man except Ricky, who escapes through the wormhole. James follows him into the wormhole and they engage in a struggle for Ricky's knife in zero gravity. James wins, killing Ricky, and everyone returns to the present.
- Zachary Johnson (voice only)
- Bill (mentioned only)
- James' cabin was mentioned previously in Card of Ten.
- The way James stayed in a dingy motel at the beginning of the story inspired the similar plot device in Disruptive Selection.
- Dr. Kerzach was inserted into the story at Serris' request. Originally, his role was performed by unnamed men who allied with Hans.