||After the newly-refitted USS Highlander arrives in the Delta Quadrant, her crew observes the construction work at Iota Command Facility, gradually turning a small outpost into a larger home for Starfleet ships beginning their explorations of the Delta Quadrant. Following a meeting with the task force commander, Captain Williams is tasked with helping to make the task force more self-sufficient; relying less on shipments from the alpha quadrant through the catapult, as a precaution against it ever becoming unusable. Scouting ships have detected an otherwise uninhabited moon which is home to a mining company extracting valuable resources from beneath the lifeless oceans. Their technology is low-grade compared to the Federation, and their outpost appears to not yet be established long enough to attract any large clients. The Highlander's mission is to make contact and negotiate a trading partnership, and the crew are authorised to assist in improving the miners methods and technologies in order to achieve that goal, within reasonable restrictions on the technology that can be shared.
A few days into the mission however, the miners become cagey, and less cooperative towards their Federation guests. As it turns out, Starfleet aren't the only ones seeking a relationship with the mining outpost, and a group of Vaadwaur have arrived, promising to be able to ship the miners' deuterium to far-off worlds, expanding their reach into regions they could never have considered before, but only if they refuse all links to the Federation and Starfleet. What could lead the miners to agree to such a deal, especially considering the cost of the Vaadwaur's services? The crew will have to investigate covertly as the miners begin to restrict access to their operations whilst they decide their course.