After dinner, Wyoming, Argyle, Mason, Puck, and Loyal take a walk. They discuss their options. Wyoming reminds Mason that the Simvan are, after all is said and done, raiders. The only reason everything is so friendly at the moment is because they’re in the company of a medicine man. The possibility of absconding with the egg and delivering it to the Legion is discussed, but no one is happy about the idea of all three factions pursuing them.
Argyle, Mason, and Puck go to find Ug so they can speak to the chief. Argyle asks if the chief would be agreeable to the Legion having a presence in the camp. The chief asks if the Legion is interested in taking the dragon for themselves, and Argyle says absolutely not; so long as the Simvan do what they claim to want to do and raise it right, the dragon would be theirs. Argyle asks to sleep on it, and he’ll give a final answer in the morning. Ug radios to Anderson and Ellisandre to let them know that there will be a meeting at Big Rock at first light. Argyle decides to meet both factions at the same time, so he will only have to give a speech once, and everyone will hear his decision at once, and there will be no time for one side or the other to run off and make other plans.
The next morning, they all head out to Big Rock. Sanchez parks the wagon at a comfortable range and gets on the railgun. Argyle and Puck approach on Argyle’s bike, while Wyoming and Mason ride on Strong with Ug. The Federation mages are already there again. With Ellisandre and the six combat mages they saw earlier is another figure, in full armor and wearing a surly expression, whom Ellisandre introduces as Harick.
Within a few minutes, there’s the sound of the Coalition unit approaching. The robot armor takes up a position at range, and figures emerge from the APC and approach the gathering. Captain Anderson and the rest of his personnel are visibly surprised to see additional people in attendance. Harick’s expression changes to one of pure disgust.
Argyle addresses everyone, and gives them all a rundown of everything that has transpired up to that point. He’s not just filling time, he wants to make sure everyone is on the same page, especially when he realizes that Anderson didn’t know about the Federation contingent until that moment.
Wyoming politely excuses herself with a story about needing to take care of something, and heads back to the wagon. Argyle lays out everyone’s agenda in detail. He relates the meeting with Captain Anderson and his intention to destroy the egg before the dragon becomes a threat, and what they’ve offered the tribe in exchange. Then he runs down the meeting with Ellisandre, and the Federation’s intention to raise the dragon, and the offer to supply the tribe with TW weapons and troops.
Argyle announces his decision to allow the tribe to keep the egg and raise it properly. Anderson says he’ll have to stay in the area to keep an eye on it. Argyle says he won’t be alone, that he’s contacted the Legion to have someone come out and keep an eye on it as well. Ellisandre accuses the Legion of having aims to claim the dragon for themselves, and Argyle flatly denies it; the Legion’s only interest is in ensuring the dragon isn’t a threat. He says he understands why she would immediately jump to that conclusion, since she probably has difficulty comprehending why the Legion wouldn’t want to possess the dragon.
Harick angrily asks why they’re even bothering to talk. With perfect timing, Argyle points over his shoulder just as Wyoming’s Glitterboy stomps out from behind the wagon and takes aim. Anderson actually laughs, while Ellisandre looks livid. Argyle sees that he has the Coalition on his side, and presses the matter. He tells the Federation to leave, and Anderson has his back. Ellisandre and Harick give everyone a look that makes it clear that this isn’t over, and they stalk off without another word. Once they’ve gone about twenty feet, they shimmer and disappear.
Once the mages are gone, Argyle calmly makes his way behind the wagon, and promptly pukes. After he’s composed himself again, he reappears, and Captain Anderson congratulates him on his gambit. He says that it was a good play, but they’ve made some enemies on the other side, and it’s almost certain that they haven’t heard the last of Elissandre or her people. Argyle says that he’s made peace with the fact that there was no way to make everyone happy. Anderson gives the crew the coordinates of a nearby town, and says he’ll be glad to meet them later for a drink.
The crew heads back to the camp, and Argyle tells the chief what happened. The Simvan are very happy, and there is much rejoicing.