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John Ostrander
Cover Artist: Torstein Nordstrand
Ranger Lanoree Brock is sitting in on failing negotiations between Dessain Mining and the manual laborers who want a voice in the running of the company. There had been a compromise where Brom Santos, the oldest son of the workers representative, would marry Oma Dessain, the youngest daughter of the head family of the company, but Oma had been kidnapped and now the Je'daii were trying to find here and end the difficulties. While Lanoree attempts to calm the negotiators, her partner, Ranger Hawk Ryo suspects that he has found the missing girl. Using the dark side of the Force, he manages to work his way into the building where the girl is being held, where he learns that the kidnappers have a traitor in the Dessain family who intends to kill Lanoree. Hawk kills the guards and rescues the girl, hoping he can escape in time to warn Lanoree. Back at the meeting, as Lanoree is about to take a drink, she senses that something is off about it. Questioning the servant who brought it to her, she finds the traitor just before Hawk manages to contact her again. With the girl rescued, they learn that she doesn't want to get married to someone she doesn't know, so the Je'daii suggest the practice of fostering, where each youth will spend 6 months living with the other family, learning about the other side in order to bring peace. With the crisis averted, both Rangers move on to their next assignments.