Pewter Simms takes her boyfriend John Jaqobis to Qresh to meet her parents. The father is accommodating but the mother is a bit disappointed. Pewter's parents have a mansion on an island in the middle of nowhere compared to a lake. John tries to get used to all the customs of when to stand, when to sit and finds it a little hard. Also there is Pewter's sister Sarah with Sarah's boyfriend who seems to be a little over friendly.
When the butler enters the room, he is covered in frost and then breaks up like an icicle would. John has to discover what is going on. Outside a cloud is surrounding the island and it is the cause of the death of the butler. The cloud is getting closer and closers. John devises a way after discovering that Pewter's mother is behind it to disperse the cloud by blowing it up. Pewter's sister is hit by the cloud and is going to die soon but Pewter chops off her sister's hand. John goes down to the tunnel under the house and about to plant an explosion when he's stopped by Sarah's boyfriend but the boyfriend comes out worst. The explosive can now only be activated manually meaning someone must set it off. Pewters father takes the decision to do it so that John can look after Pewter as his wife is now dead. The ensuing explosion disperses the cloud.
D'avin Jaqobis has a memory link to Khlyen and find out that Khlyen is with the Jaqobi's father on Telen. Telen is not one of the four planets of the Quad. During an explosion, the two swap (D'avin, Khlyen) consciousnesses where Dutch gets to question her foster father. She doesn't get to ask much before the swap returns both of them to their respective bodies.