Juho recontacts Vincent and tries to inquire more about the equipment Sybaris is using, but the officer is reluctant to share information and does not wish to co-operate. Instead, Juho is forced to contact Fuub-Ark in order to get in touch with BHI's agents, possibly to gain access to the corporations' spy network. While discussing this with the agent, the players are informed that BHI is naturally reluctant to share its information without a binding contract of co-operation. For this reason, the players are forced to again contact Fuub-Ark for a more serious discussion.
The setup is convenient in the sense, that while the players have been fooling around in VGT, Fuub-Ark's judgment and leading performance has been noted and he has been promoted to the higher BHi war council. As he has seen the players' performance first hand, he can offer a more lucrative deal than most of the competition. The players try to renegotiate a bit, because they feel that they should not be bound for too long in the current situation. Fuub-Ark is an experienced negotiator, however, and tries to secure the players for the duration of the conflict. The terms that end up getting accepted are:
* at-minimum 6-month exclusive contract, which continues until termination
* 3-month notice before termination from either party
* BHI offers technical expertise and difficult customization services without
Knowing the volatility of the situation, Alexander and Eurich are not happy about the contract, but the rest of the players feel that the last point is too valuable, as it allows them to have equipment on par with the competition without extremely high investments.
While this is going on, Huug-Gun continues his quest to find an upper class Awese courtesan, and Miziai's Exquisite Escort Service seems like the best bet. Heem-Lyeh joins him in this quest, but with more modest ambitions. Unsurprisingly, in addition to companions for various events on VGT, Miziai semi-openly offers to fullfill fantasies. Upon hearing Huug's request, she first seems a bit offended, but as a woman of considerable experience and age, easily sees that Huug is sincere and not part of any law enforcement agency. Regardless, she demands a considerable sum before agreeing to talk, and upon receiving the money, escorts the young men downstairs, where she discuss the terms. It soon becomes evident that an upper class female is sold as an item, and it is above Huug's pay grade, but the matron manages to finds an arrangement befitting him. Heem-Lyeh selects a more traditional (yet still exquisite) "Warlord Treatment".
After experiencing this bliss and negotiating the payment with Alexander, Heem-Lyeh goes down to the surface of the world and gets an artificial eye installed for an exorbitant sum. The process is fast, but the recovery period is long. However, considering the players' orders and the travel times, there is a sufficient time lag before anything happens, so that this isn't particularly problematic.
The Girya brothers, on the other hand, are visited by the translator awese they encountered earlier. He identifies himself as Kumat-Syp, brother of Kriat-Syp, who lost his sword to Josef. Kumat explains in his broken english, that it would be extremely important if Josef accepted Kriat's challenge and came to fight him on the lower levels. Kumat also promises that he will reward the players if this happens, regardless of the outcome, as he is concerned with Kriat's mental well-being. After being initially reluctant to join, Josef agrees after Ivan goads him into it and both brothers see the oppoturnity.
Josef, however, does not want to lose. This time, as his opponent is likely both more skilled and stronger, it is again a matter of choosing the fight and the tools. As everybody knows that Kriat is extremely proficient with bladed weapons, the brothers decide that hand-to-hand combat would be best. They also agree that facing the awese unenhanced would not be wise. After scouring the lower levels, they find a dealer with combat drugs that Josef ends up taking before the fight. He also bets all his money on himself, confident to win. The rest are not Ivan doesn't want to bet anything, as he alreay lost a lot of money on poker.
Drugged and forcing the awese to a style of combat it is not accustomed to, Joser manages to make the fight relatively even. The match is prolonged, but Josef gets in a couple of early blows that unbalance Kriat and eventually throws him hard on the ground, breaking a limb and forcing the awese to surrender. Kriat is devastated, but as Josef after all has a heart of gold, he hands the awese back his sword, which Kriat vows to repay the brothers with valuable information. The information ends up being a secret location of a weapons dealer and the passcode that entitles the players to negotiate with them. Kumat tells the brothers nothing further and indicates that this will also cover his end of the bargain. Josef is unable to secure all of his winnings from the better, who promises to get the money in two days, but ends up fleeing the first chance he gets. Out of respect, the Syp brothers also promise to keep their eye on him, but cannot promise anything.
Before the week is up, Vincent Barr delivers the Phoenix Hawk, which, however, has been sabotaged upon closer inspection. There are remote-activated charges in the leg joints and Heem-Lyeh discovers a back door in the software of the mech. Vincent ends up in the players' black list.
When the players investigate the address given by the suvak awese, it ends up being a hidden location in Sult, the first gas giant of Diave B. Upon reaching the area and broadcasting the key, the players are escorted to meet a dual mobile factory in a remote location in the rings of the gas giant. The factories are identified only as VGS, short for Valrig-Suvak. The owners of the place (only humans and Suvak awese) are secretive and the players are not allowed to leave the lobby (decorated by the Pioneer 10 probe, which seems genuine) of the first station. They are sold special weapons and equipment, and choose to invest in Snub-nose PPCs and Ultra-AC/10:s. Unsurprisingly, the Suvak connection of the place also allows Ivan to purchase melee weapons, which would otherwise be in rather short supply. No reason for being secretive is given.
By this time, Fuub-Ark is already pressuring the players to appear in Kersia, where a crisis is brewing. There have been several small skirmishes in the asteroid belt, as defenses are being tested, but the only bigger conflict seems to be an attack on a BHI refinement facility, from which a large supply of iridium and platinum has been stolen. Nothing specific indicates Teask-Dumar, but the relations are dense. Fuub knows that Teask-Dumar is already lowering troops into Vetakai, Kersia's moon, where a certain amount of industry takes place and which has large rare earth deposits. The players are tasked with intercepting and/or destroying a suspected enemy scouting outpost. BHI places an ECM information warfare APC under the players control and a long search begins.
Vetekai is an inert, lifeless rock with a thick cloud cover and atmosphere, so everything is relatively dark, even in daytime. However, the BHI engineers constantly fly drones and eventually the players find the outpost. After a couple of epic notice checks, the players see a remote sensor field before they themselves are seen, and manage to assault the base quickly enough that the defenders do not have too much time to prepare.
While the ECM APC blocks communication, Huug and Eurich manage to destroy the fleeing scout units and avoid a bigger conflict, while the BHI commandos assault the tent-bubbles and hack the computers in the outpost. Alexander is almost taken down by a combat hovertank, but together with Juho and Ivan, the enemy forces are eventually supressed. As the theatre of operations is assumed to be under enemy control, the players do not have time for salvage operations, but fortunately, one of the hovertanks can still be piloted. It is taken back to base, along with an APC full of prisoners.