Cal watches as Maria spends more and more time with Phoenix on the trip back through Ruin to Reich V. Maria herself seems a little shell-shocked by the experiences of mission, and turns to Phoenix for comfort. Eventually Eden and Phoenix hatch a plan to follow through some of the expected rituals of Reich military life surrounding deaths in combat; they set out a table with empty places (with personal effects) and full shot glasses for each of the fallen, and proceed to sit and get drunk with Maria while Cal records things remotely. Eventually Phoenix and Maria stumble off to bed, waking late in the morning. Afterwards Maria seems to be happier and more stable.
Debriefing in Reich V space goes smoothly, and the crew says goodbye to Maria there.
Debriefing back on Mwenye is somewhat more strenuous. The team meets with Sara, who has been promoted to some sort of Vice President's position and is interested in continuing to utilize the team for high-risk situations. Phoenix and Eden propose that the team travel to Lorax to see if they can find any information about the Hummingfish Collective there, and Sara agrees, but it is requested that Cal stay behind to further discuss with Sara and some of her operatives information about his experiences with the exosuit.
Phoenix, Eden, and Tennan debark for Lorax, with plans to stop and do some investigating in New Greenland and Crystal 9. Their slip transition to New Greenland from Reich V goes badly, and they spin off into the system, bleeding heat. It takes a couple of extra weeks to limp into the High Fjord station near the planet, and they have engine trouble on the way in. They're assisted by a maintenance tug captained by a Haraal Masel. His mechanics, a crew of 3 crabs head out to try and fix the damage. One of the crabs, Mechanic First Class Reimann, calls in and explains the trouble, and they set about fixing it. Masel sends over an electronic pamphlet which discusses several of the different human subspecies that live in New Greenland, including the crabs, the Haraal, and the most-frequently occurring Rast people, who look pretty much like normal humans but who have matte-black skin and who can live in climates unmodified humans would find extremely uncomfortable and who require few calories to survive.