The light lance returned from the Night Extraction tired but victorious with their new prize, the damaged Awesome. Before bed they gathered with Hera, Betty Boop and the other pilots in a room in the airstrip terminal that they’d made into a briefing room. Hera asked what had happened to Outpost’s Scarabus, which he seemed to answer to her satisfaction. She was pleased with the acquisition of the Awesome and decided to shuffle some mechs around, taking the Awesome for herself, giving her Rifleman to Junkyard and Junkyard’s Wolfhound to Outpost. Junkyard raised no objections. Junkyard would be moved to the heavy lance and Catalyst would be moved permanently to the light lance.
After the briefing, Betty Boop caught Junkyard deleting some contract notifications in the company account. He stammered out something and she seized on it and more or less convinced herself that he was allowed to do that as part of his logistics duties.
Hera was still thinking about the lost unit crest and she dragged King Louie out to the Gravity Well to find Squadron 6. They found Werewolf, Fastlane, and some other pilots celebrating Fastlane’s fifth kill. Werewolf was surprised when King Louie bragged about Junkyard’s cockpit shot against the Awesome. He tried to antagonize King Louie or Hera, but they didn’t rise to his bait and instead delivered a challenge to duel until system damage the next day. The terms were the unit crest against talking Catalyst into a date with Werewolf. He accepted the challenge.
Outpost cornered Junkyard in the bathroom and harangued him about his performance on the battlefield, complaining that Junkyard had been sluggish to advance when he was ordered to. He demanded an apology, which Junkyard eagerly gave.
During the weekly wargame Junkyard was called on to take control of the lance in a theoretical ambush and talk through the response. His timid answers were all second-guessed by a hard-charging Betty Boop, who was sure he was sandbagging. The wargame devolved into a dogpile on Junkyard with Hera, Betty Boop, and Outpost all standing around him shouting, trying to get him to sack up and take charge, and King Louie pleading with him to rise to the occasion.
Catalyst was hiding in the back of a truck to get some privacy while she read and she overheard King Louie talking to Doc Ahmed. Doc Ahmed told King Louie that his body was absorbing too much radiation in his career as a mechwarrior. He said that King Louie was over 1,800 rads and if he reached 2,000 his decline might be irreversible. He urged him to quit, but King Louie said he expected to die in battle anyway.
Catalyst phoned Werewolf and asked him to have King Louie shot in the leg before the duel so that he would not be able to fight. She called in an old favor to make him say yes, and he grudgingly agreed. They’re even now.
Junkyard approached Catalyst and Outpost in the hangar to show Outpost the paint job he was doing for him on the Wolfhound. Outpost complained that it wasn’t his style and started criticizing Junkyard again. Junkyard retreated to the utility cage where Outpost cornered him and Junkyard finally snapped and punched him. Catalyst said it was the first time in a long time that she respected Junkyard.
Hera, Catalyst, King Louie, and Junkyard went to the Catfish Cafe on Loch Glenmorangie for breakfast before King Louie’s duel. While they were there the gunman that Catalyst arranged with Werewolf approached and shot King Louie in the leg, shouting “Death to Katherine Steiner-Davion!” King Louie wrestled the gun away from the attacker and Hera grabbed him, but the man shucked off his coat and escaped across the lake. Hera made a full report to the police.
Since King Louie had been shot, Outpost substituted for him in the duel, which was televised by Mary MacMorn. Outpost borrowed another pilot’s Enfield and Werewolf fought in his Hercules. The duel was evenly matched, but Werewolf pulled out a narrow win by virtue of his slightly heavier mech, fusing the joints in the Enfield’s leg. After the battle, Mary MacMorn showed concern for King Louie’s injuries and she invited him to come to her family’s farm for a couple days. He accepted.
The morning after Catalyst’s mandatory date with Werewolf she was just arriving home and she was spotted by the pilots as they were jogging. Hera and Betty Boop followed her, asking questions about the date. Betty wanted her to dish some details, but Catalyst refused and retreated to her room.