The Garissian scientist permanently banished to Tranquillity. She seeks a way to get off the habitat, supposedly to retrieve the Neutronium Alchemist she invented and proceed with retribution against the Omutan government for annihilating her home in the Garissian star system 30 years ago. She is under constant surveillance by eight different Intelligence agencies. Dr. Mzu is enraged as the 30-year sanctions placed against Omuta by the Confederation come to an end.
She is systematically contacting captains of blackhawks and starships about the possibility of hiring them to transport her to a destination in the New California system where she intends to pick up some unmentioned cargo and jump to another destination. Her efforts are being closely monitored by Tranquillity’s security. In the past 20 months, the doctor has approached some 63 captains, each time explaining the same mission.
Finally, she makes good her escapes from Tranquillity on the blackhawk Udat thanks to a brilliant exhibition of flying by Meyer. The ship swallows in and out again of Tranquillity’s southern hemisphere, making its exit before Dr. Mzu is securely inside, but she survives the ordeal and makes it to freedom. By wearing a SII spacesuit, she is shielded from the harshness of space. She is safely hauled inside the spacecraft shortly after emerging from ZTT. She brings a backpack aboard with her, which she does not allow anyone to touch or carry for her.
After paying her fee, she exits the Udat at the asteroid Narok. Unbeknownst to the crew, she also planted a device that creates an oscillation in the ship's distortion field upon its next jump. This destroys the Udat. Dr. Mzu does this out of revenge. The Udat was among the mercenary ships that intercepted the Beezling thirty years ago as it attempted to deploy the Neutronium Alchemist against Omuta.
She charters the Samaku, an Adamist starship, for 250,000 fuseodollars to get to the Darados as soon as possible. Arrives on the ship at the Dorados Asteroids. Due to the Confederation ban of civilian spaceflight, she is initially refused landing rights. But when she, on a whim, uses the name “Ikela” and threatens to tell him of her inconvenience at being granted docking permission, that permission is quickly granted.
It turns out that invoking the name of Ikela was the right move for Dr. Mzu. The wealthy founder of the T’Opingtu company is well known and his wrath is somewhat feared in the Darados. But, his wealthy aspirations have been at the expense of the partisan movement, which, though still existing, is lackluster at best. This enrages Dr. Mzu. Ikela promises to do his part. He will find her a combat worthy spaceship and will call together all the remaining partisan leaders to meet with her.
After meeting the five heads of the Garissan partisan movement and leaving them to debate their future course regarding her mission to retrieve and deploy the Alchemist, she runs into Voi once again. Voi has discovered that recently arriving Edenist ESA agents have infested Ayacucho with affinity-bonded spiders in search of Dr. Mzu. Voi offers the support of her young, inexperienced group again. Dr. Mzu ponders her situation for a moment. Then she decides that if the original five decide not to help her she will take Voi up on her offer.
Even though she remains undetected on Ayacucho, her alleged presence is enough to set off sort of a cult following among the Garissan’s who view her as a symbol of their former planet’s power and independence. Several MF bands perform a benefit to raise funds for her legal defense, should she ever need them. Holomorphic stickers are placed everywhere featuring a young cheerleader shouting “Run, Alkad, Run!”
Voi arranges for herself and Dr. Mzu to be placed in T’Opingtu cargo pods. Wearing SII spacesuits, they are placed on one of the company’s inter-orbit craft. From there they transfer to the Tekas and manage to escape undetected from Ayacucho. Prince Lambert takes them to Nyvan, some 130 lyrs away.
Prince Lambert takes her to Nyvan where she will attempt to find a combat capable ship to complete her retrieval of the Alchemist. There she receives assistance from Gelai and Ngong, two victims of the Garissan genocide that return from the beyond. But, the Capone organization locates her before she can escape the planet. They offer her and her companions a way off Nyvan in exchange for her cooperation in locating the Alchemist. The choice is either to go with the organization or to die on the planet in the escalating warfare that is engulfing it and become a possessor. Seeing that she has little choice, she agrees to be picked up by the organization’s spaceplanes at the ironberg foundry.
She plans to activate the Alchemist when it is retrieved under escort of the Capone organization, thereby destroying the device, killing herself and all organization members accompanying her. As she approaches the foundry, the organization’s frigates begin to shoot up the place in retaliation for their spaceplanes being destroyed in a decisive dogfight with ESA flyers. The situation becomes intense and complex as Joshua, the ESA, Tonala’s police, Baranovich and the organization’s frigates all converge simultaneously at the ironberg foundry.
At the last moment, Gelai and Ngong rebel against Baranovich and assist Dr. Mzu in escaping. In the process she runs directly into Joshua who is, in turn, intercepted by Monica Foulkes, who momentarily takes control of the situation. She barely escapes from Nyvan in a spectacular rescue by the Lady MacBeth’s spaceplane.
It is generally agreed to take her back to Tranquillity for confinement, but she tells Joshua and the ESA that she has to first retrieve the Alchemist because it is no longer safe where it is. She realizes that a number of the possessed probably know its location by now.
She is reunited with her former lover, Peter Adul, when the Lady MacBeth locates the Beezling near a desolate star. When the captain of the Lady MacBeth is outmaneuvered by two Capone organization frigates that followed him there, she is forced to datavise the blueprints for the Alchemist to Joshua. Threatened with destruction, Joshua uses the Alchemist as a weapon to facilitate the Lady Mac’s escape. As the Alchemist is deployed, Dr. Mzu explains to Joshua how it works. She discovered a way to “combine a zero-tau field and the energy compression technique which a starship jump node utilizes. In this case, just as the energy density approaches infinity the effect is frozen.” The result is that the Alchemist creates a massive gravitational force that draws energy into it like a miniature black hole.