Han Yojimbo flees from the clearing and releases Johneric, a notorious but charismatic pirate captain, from the ship’s brig. He instructs Johneric to take the ship into orbit over Aleafinctus and, once the other members of the crew ask what is happening, proceeds to scour the ship’s computer for any mention of the aliens he saw below. He finds mention of a hostile encounter with a heavily damaged vessel crewed by the same aliens.
Lucius-555, the ship’s gunner then attempts to scan the planetary surface with the ship’s weapons targeting system, looking for any sign of the alien presence reported by Han Yojimbo, in the process setting off defensive alarms all over the planet. Concerned hails begin to pour in from Aleafinctan stations all over the moon. Shadow, the uplifted squirrel monkey, arrives on the scene after having been awakened from a monkey-whiskey-induced slumber. Shadow promptly scans the surface and detects the holographic cliff face reported by Han Yojimbo. A landing party is assembled, with Han Yojimbo stating that as bodyguard for Ulysses E. Li, he could not permit his charge to enter such a dangerous location. Instead, those two remain aboard the ship, as Ulysses E. Li executes a daring drop-and-fly maneuver.
A battle ensues as two of the aliens emerge from the holographically camouflaged cavern while an Aleafinctan in a bipedal land walker goes bounding away from the cavern into the jungle. The landing party, which consists of Shadow, Johneric, and Lucius-555 are able to overcome the resistance and enter the cavern.
Braving the depths of the dark and mist-filled tunnels, the landing party begins to hear whispers in alien language. When they attempt to run the words through their universal translator discover that there is no actual sound. They find a large chamber filled with numerous branching tunnels and hear echoing Aleafinctan screams. The chamber is filled with alien computers and technology, and at the center of it is a large squid-like, tree-like fungoid. The whispering became louder near the tree and Shadow opened her mind to it, attempting contact.
Shadow succeeded, apparently tapping into the collective consciousness of the aliens. The intrepid squirrel monkey engineer was rewarded with visions of conquests and tortures, and of a vague, nefarious plot against Aleafinctus. However, as a result, Shadow was rendered temporarily mad by the incessant babbling of alien voices in her head and the aliens were alerted to their presence.
The landing party could hear the stilted running of masses of aliens coming in their direction. Lucius-555 blasted the alien tree into green goo, prompting disoriented shrieks and screams, and the party fled back to the surface, collapsing tunnels behind them and had the ship blast the entrance closed.