D'Argo has a bad case of Luxan hyper-rage and heads for the planet Sykar looking for someone to vent it on. Three days later, John, Zhaan, Aeryn and Rygel follow him. They find D'Argo in a state of euphoria due to a dose of the local food, a turnipy-coconut thing called tannot root. The entire planet is spaced out on the stuff. D'Argo tries to convince his shipmates to stay and enjoy seemingly idyllic lives as farmers. Before they can persuade him to return to Moya with them, Rygel finds himself in the middle of an "assassination attempt" - a series of explosions that occur while he's relieving himself.
Since the planet's weather is quite hot, Aeryn, who is intolerant of heat, goes back to Moya with Rygel. Zhaan and John spend the night in D'Argo's apartment hoping that, since the next day is a rest day, they'll be able to convince him to return to the ship with them. In the morning, D'Argo goes off to work, telling them that tomorrow is a rest day.
John is accosted by a group of the planet's residents who implant a worm in his belly. This renders him immune to the effects of the food and keeps him from turning into a zombie like nearly everyone else on the planet. H e learns that the plant was brought to Sykar by another race, and that everyone on the planet works for them.
Volmae, the leader of the Sykarians, approaches John with her plan to fill Moya's cargo bay with stolen tannot root that she plans to sell somewhere. When she brings him to the storage facility, John realizes that it's the Peacekeepers who have planted the tannot root and who are keeping the Sykarians enslaved.
Meanwhile, Aeryn discovers that poor Rygel's body fluids have become explosive. She and Pilot work together to isolate the problem and remove the toxin from Rygel's system. They learn that it was the tannot root combined with Hynerian physiology that caused the explosions, and Aeryn is very proud of her newfound aptitude for science.
The Peacekeepers use the root to make chakan oil, the substance that fuels their pulse weapons. Thanks to Rygel's demonstration, the planet's residents believe John and Aeryn and plan to rebel, making their own weapons to fight the PK and try to return their planet to what it used to be.