|Written by Lois Tilton||Dell Publishing, 1995|
This story takes place between the episodes The Coming of Shadows and All Alone in the Night.
Susan is sent a message for help from an old friend, J.D. Ortega, requesting a meeting - but he does not turn up. Seeking Garibaldi's assistance, she learns that Ortega is a wanted terrorist. After leading Alpha Wing to protect a transport ship attacked by raiders, Ivanova returns to find that Ortega has been found murdered. A note has also been found: S.I. - hardwir. Sheridan tells Ivanova that the attacked transport was carrying the controlled mineral morbidium, a metal vital to the construction of plasma weapons.
After some investigation, Ivanova discovers that successful raids had been carried out on nearly all transports out of Mars carrying strategic minerals. As she presents her findings to Garibaldi, they are ordered to halt the investigation and surrender all evidence to special investigators from Earth - Commander Wallace and his two assistants, Lieutenants Miyoshi and Khatib. While they settle in, Garibaldi covertly heads Down Below to gather information of his own.
Ivanova is suspected of involvement in Ortega's terrorist activities and her duties restricted. Garibaldi discovers another death, a man identified as an enforcer for AreTech Mining. He also finds that Talia Winters has been enlisted by Wallace to perform illegal scans on suspects being questioned.
Ivanova rescues another ship from raider attacks, and learns from its pilot that Earth has been repeatedly ignoring their demands for better protection - and he is doubtful that their cargo even consists of the precious morbidium. Does Earth have an arrangement with the raiders to capture ships with worthless cargo, claim the insurance money, and sell the real item for profit on the black market? Ivanova's suspicions are confirmed when a representative of Universal Underwriters Corporation informs her that they have reached a similar conclusion: and that the scam primarily involves shipments by the AreTech Mining Corporation, stationed on Mars.
During another attack, Ivanova captures one of the raiders and learns from him that AreTech are indeed selling information on their shipping routes to them, and profiting from the insurance. Wallace is exposed as a special investigator for AreTech. Ivanova seeks help from Talia Winters and they determine that the note, "S.I. - hardwir", refers to information hardwired into the controls of Ivanova's Starfury. They discover that it contains the atomic composition of a new compound, supermorbidium, a powerful replacement mineral for morbidium, the common knowledge of which would ruin AreTech. Ivanova is restored to full active duty.