An away team including Captain Waltas and Commander Blueheart heads to the surface of the planet, Kjenta II but the highly ionized atmosphere of the planet renders all electronics nonfunctional and the Captain’s yacht USS Cook carrying the away team crashes. On the high-G planet surface, the team encounters some of the surviving crew of the Columbia (still alive due to the restorative properties of the planet) who have been sending out a distress signal via the trans-atmospheric, monofilament antenna, led by Dr Treng, Columbia’s former first officer. A confrontation between the Discovery away team and Dr Treng’s henchmen results in the death of Commodore Moretti and a pursuit into Treng’s heavily guarded underground command center. Aided by one of her former loyalists, Irina Pavlova, the team makes their way into the compound via an underground tunnel, where they are ambushed.
Meanwhile on board the Discovery, with no means of establishing communications with the away team, Lt Jorus Cogud, left in command, is conflicted between abandoning the team and leaving the planet to focus their attention on finding their way back to the Avalon sector, and staying behind to mount a rescue of the away team. For every moment they spend in this uncharted region of space, the higher the likelihood of encountering a hostile enemy. This leads to a heated debate amongst the crew with a potential mutiny brewing on the horizon.