24 Hours Earlier
Bandick arms himself in preparation for the attack on the Volge. Datak shows him how to fire the gun when the time comes. However, during the battle itself, Bandick turns and runs into the forest.
The elderly Castithan is running through the woods when several of his own people grab him and drag him away.
The next day, Irisa is looking at her postcard of Antarctica when she hears the Castithans chanting. She goes to investigate and discovers that they have strung Bandick up. The speaker informs him that Datak accuses him of cowardice and asks of Bandick denies the charge. He does not and says that his actions speak for themselves. They begin the cleansing ceremony as Nolan and Irisa approach. Bandick's wife and children place rocks in a basket, which is fastened to the rack that their father is mounted on, and he screams in agony. Nolan tells them to bring the ceremony to a halt, and Datak steps out and explains that Bandick is a deserter. When Nolan points out that he was brave enough to volunteer and then lost his nerve, Datak insists that in the view of their god, Rayetso, Bandick has dishonored all Castithans in Defiance. Nolan prepares to shut it down anyway but Bandick speaks up, asking the Lawkeeper to let the cleansing ritual continue.
Nolan is forced to draw his gun when the Castithans prepare to resist. Amanda arrives and Datak reminds her that her predecessor let them follow their own religion. The new mayor considers and tells Datak to keep the ceremony into the Hollows, and then orders Nolan to come with her. Meanwhile, Irisa watches the ceremony continue and Tommy notices that she's upset. She says that she's seen worse and he notices the chain marks on her wrist.
Amanda tells Nolan that their current understanding is based on an incident when the Irathients were forced to inoculate their children. When the Irathients resisted, they fought back and some were killed. The rest left and the town council voted to let the eight races honor their own traditions without interferences. Amanda insists that it's necessary every if she doesn't agree.
The cleansing ceremony continues as Nolan returns. Irisa asks if he's going to stop it and he admits that he won't save a man who doesn't want to be saved. His daughter clearly isn't satisfied but Nolan tells her that Amanda plans to do something to fix it.
At the infirmary, a deputy is standing guard when Mr. Birch man tasers him unconscious and then goes inside and gives the comatose Ben an injection. Ben wakes up, startled, and Birch reminds him that the Indogene's family is in danger if he fails a second time. The assistant is surprised that they beat the Volge, and Birch tells him to go with their secondary plan involving the mines. Ben warns that it could destroy the very thing they want to save, but Birch says that he has faith and tells the Indogene that he has to do whatever they say. Once Birch is gone, Ben limps away into the alleys of Defiance.
At the McCawley home, Rafe comes in and asks Christie if she's finally come home. She admits that she avoided Luke's burial and says that they have to put the small things aside. Rafe is unhappy that she's engaged to Alak, and asks if that's what Luke wanted. His daughter insists that she's in love with Alak, but her father tells her to call off the wedding and come home. When she walks to the door, Rafe tells her that there's no coming back if she leaves. Christie goes without a word and Quentin reminds Rafe that Christie is the only one who has been holding the family together. He reminds his father that Luke was meeting with Ben and they don't know why.
Rafe goes to Luke's room and looks around. He gets a call on his hailer and tells Quentin that there's been an explosion at the mine.
Nolan and Amanda have learned about Ben's revival and escape, and Yewll tells them that the intruder used a dangerous combat drug to revive him. Tommy arrives and tells them about the mine explosion. When they get there, Rafe explains that Ben stole gulanite explosives and blew the shaft up behind him. He tells them that the shaft leads down into Old St. Louis. Quentin explains that the terraformed earth formed over the city and hardened without crushing the city. Nolan wonders why Ben didn't escape and they realize that Ben still has plenty of explosives after bringing the shaft down. When Nolan learns that it will take four hours to clear the shaft, he says they need to find Ben sooner than that. Rafe offers to take them on an alternate route but Amanda worries that he'll shoot his son's killer. Nolan says that he'll go with him and insists he can handle the descent.
As Nolan and Rafe go to the alternate tunnels, Irisa tells her father not to risk his life for the people. He says that some of them are worth the risk and tells Irisa to work with Tommy to find out who set Ben free. Nolan also tells her to stay away from Bandick, well aware of her feelings on the subject.
Datak is at home in the bath when Stahma points out that everyone is talking about the Bandick situation. He doesn't want to discuss it, but Stahma points out that the humans find their rituals unseemly and their opinions matter. She says that they need the townspeople to respect them so they can take over the McCawley mines, and reminds Datak that he was a lower-caste member on their home planet. Furious, he says that now that he's on top, he plans to stay there. Alak comes in and says that Rafe is messing with Christie's mind, and worries that they may have to call off the wedding. Stahma assures her son that she'll take care of everything and hugs her.
Rafe, Nolan, Quentin, and two miners begin the descent and get a fix on Ben. They come to the city, buried deep underground.
Nicky returns to her office to pick up her things, and notices Amanda at the windows listening to Bandick's screams. Amanda admits that she hates it and points out that they haven't followed the town charter in years. Nicky warns her that Castithans have built their lives around ancient traditions that they can no longer remember the reason for. She warns Amanda that if she tries to take away what they have, the same thing will happen. Amanda doesn't believe it and insists that Defiance has changed since they came together to fight the Volge. Nicky looks at her affectionately and says that she's going to miss her, and then walks out. Birch is waiting for her and tells her that Ben is on his way. He advises Nicky to get out in the next two hours before Ben reaches his target. Nicky says that there are a few people that she has to say goodbye to, and insists that she takes no pleasure in what they have to do. Birch agrees and they drive off.
Nolan and his people continue toward old St. Louis until they stop for a break. As they take some water, Rafe and Nolan talk about their time in St. Louis before Arkfall. Rafe says that his family made dog food before the war, and Nolan sings the company jingle. The miner admits that he wanted to be a photographer, but he was too depressed when he took landscapes of the terraformed lands. Nolan reminds him that they're there to bring Ben back alive, but Rafe says that he can't guarantee anything.
Irisa goes back to watch the cleansing ceremony and watches as the Castithans continue putting more rocks on the counter-balance. When a child puts a rock on, Irisa grabs him and says that it's no place for a child. She then climbs up on the scaffolding and cuts Bandick free. When the Castithans stone her, she snarls at them until Tommy fires a warning shot into the air. He then informs the crowd that Bandick is under arrest for loitering.
The miners home in on the signal and spot a nuclear plant that went up during the war. The plant lights up and they realize that if Ben sets off the explosives there, the radiation will spread to the surface and kill everyone.
At the diner, Christie is working as a waitress when Stahma comes in. She realizes that Christie is thinking of Luke, and tells the girl that it is their duty to honor those who have passed. Stahma then asks about her second thoughts concerning the wedding, and Christie says that she wants to consider things slowly. The Castithan tells Christie that she can fight her father if she wants, but Christie isn't so sure. Stahma explains that her parents arranged a wedding for her with a man of the highest caste. However, she met Datak, who pursued her aggressively and had bought passage to Earth. When her betrothed challenged Datak to a duel, he "accidentally" fell out of an airlock on the way there. Stahma had chosen the man who would do anything to protect her, even if her parents didn't know. When Christie wonders if the story is true, Stahma simply tells her that it will be a beautiful wedding.
The men enter the plant and make their way to the reactor. Ben opens fire and they shoot back, wounding him. Before he can reach his bomb, Nolan gets the drop on him. He defuses the bomb and Rafe prepares to kill the Indogene. However, Nolan reminds him that they need to interrogate Ben and find out who is trying to destroy Defiance. Ben speaks up, telling Rafe that Luke betrayed the town to get enough money to leave for good. Nolan tells Rafe to make his choice: his dead child or his living ones. After a moment, Rafe gets control of himself... and Ben throws himself at the miner. Rafe fires and Ben tells them to tell Amanda that he was sorry before he dies.
At the Lawkeeper office, Tommy waits for Amanda to come. Irisa realizes that the Castithans will come for Bandick and tells Tommy that he was stupid to back her up. Datak and his people break in, accompanied by a Bio-man, and the crime lord tells them to hand Bandick over.
Nolan and the others return to town just as Amanda arrives at the Lawkeeper office. She tells Datak that she has pardoned Bandick, and dares Datak to attack her if he disagrees. Nolan and Rafe come in, and Amanda asks if Datak is going to work out their differences peacefully. After a moment he takes Amanda's hand and says that her compassion has touched him and they'll reassess the situation later after they bury their dead. Datak kisses her hand and then orders his people out. As he leaves, Datak tells Rafe that he'll see him at the wedding.
Rafe warns that things would have gone better if there had been a fight and then leaves. Nolan warns Amanda that the matter isn't settled, and tells her that Ben is dead. He passes on Ben's apologizes and says that the town is safe... for the moment. Once the mayor leaves, Nolan asks what happened and Irisa says that she doesn't like chains. He admits that she did the right thing and Irisa reluctantly admits that Amanda helped after all. She asks if they're ever going to make it to Antarctica, and Nolan tells her that it may not be real but he's sure that Defiance is.
Later, Amanda conducts the burial ceremony for the 41 people who died in the Volge attack. Afterward, Rafe goes back to Luke's room and searches for anything that can tell him what his son was thinking. He finds a hidden compartment containing money, a map of Old St. Louis, and a gold artifact.
Datak gives Bandick some final time with his family. He then leads him out and pulls out his dagger.
At the jail, Irisa is looking at the Antarctica postcard when she hears a scream. She and Nolan run out and find Bandick's corpse in the street.