The three new Tiger Generals begin to receive their orientation. Dr. Lupine quickly splits off to investigate the gardens and greenhouses that will be opened to him. Valakar Doel and Gemma Fleetwind get to know their assigned guide and liaison, a Vesper named Kuro. Kuro offers to arrange lodging for them in Diamond (Doel accepts, Fleetwind declines). He then points out a skysled and volunteers to fly them on a tour of the city.
The initial part of the aerial tour of Diamond is pleasant enough. However, as they pass over a section of skydocks, Kuro notes that it seems Doel’s crew is involved in some kind of trouble. As they descend, they see that the crew is confronting a group of dockworkers who are attempting to unload a vessel as quickly as they can. The bosun Gorin, a rhino-Kin, has taken the spearhead in the argument, attempting to shout down the rival team’s leader. Once Captain Doel arrives, Gorin explains that the teamsters commandeered the crane while his crew were still using it. The teamster head insists that their need is greater, and refuses to have his men cede the equipment — he stubbornly insists that Doel’s crew can use it once they’re finished.
As the argument continues, Gemma takes notice of the crate dangling from the crane. She takes advantage of the distraction to dash over and encourage the crate to slip its hastily-fastened line, returning to her previous spot in a blur. The crate falls and spills open, and a great deal of chitin spills onto the ground — arms and armor made from daemonstinger shells. Pandaemonic contraband, and highly illegal.
The teamsters become determined to fight their way out. They draw empty sword hilts from under their clothes, and then focus their will. Reddish energy blades spring up from the hilts, something that Gemma recognizes as a weapon that draws partly on its user’s life force. With a shout of “For the Sword!”, the covert agents charge into battle. Unfortunately for them, they grievously overestimate their enemies. Doel drops one with a lightning bolt before they can even close, and the rest don’t last long against their paragon enemies. Only the one battling Gorin manages to last for more than a single exchange of blows, and he too falls after the angry Kin bosun puts his back into a final shot.
Valakar Doel takes charge of the interrogation. The chosen Conquering Sword soldier isn’t nearly as fearless as his doctrine would require, and he rapidly surrenders what he knows. The arms shipment was to go to the local cell — under a dojo that’s recently changed hands. Kuro volunteers that he knows the dojo in question, and he can get the Tiger Generals there.
Kuro quickly pilots them to the dojo. There they push past the ursine Master Gorbo, and find their way down a passage to a lower room, an old warehouse now commandeered by the Conquering Sword, by the looks of the banners on the wall.
Two ranking templars of the Conquering Sword confront them in the lower storehouse. One is a Pridefolk male with rune-tattoos on his neck just visible under his mane; the other a human female with a bright orange mohawk. As the Tiger Generals challenge them, they move to the attack. The woman, Vulkana, activates the Erebian jewel in her neck, covering herself in molten basalt that rapidly cools into armor. Seeing that, Gemma opts to challenge the Pridefolk, Ruja the War-Crier, reasoning that he won’t be too painful to punch. Valakar Doel braces himself against the woman, Vulkana, and the brawl begins.
After an initial pass or two, Gemma takes a hit from Ruja’s powerful roar, knocking her into the wall. Vulkana’s smoking basalt fist likewise sends Valakar back. But the two quickly reverse the battle’s momentum. Gemma kicks to her feet and leaps forward, catching the Pridefolk templar with a clothesline to the neck, knocking him senseless and draping him over one of the quintains. Doel aims a gauntleted fist at Vulkana, beginning to overcharge the weapon.
“This is your last chance to surrender,” he says.
“That’s against the rules,” she replies.
He nods and fires a supercharged thunderbolt into her. Her feet leave two burning furrows in the floor as she’s blasted back, then collapses.
Kuro comes down the stairs as the smoke clears, and congratulates the new Tiger Generals on their victory. He says that the guard has been summoned, and proposes that they celebrate with a drink. Doel decides this is a fine idea.