Lance Captain Cotton and his protege Smalls, tasked by Talon from Mason’s Marauders to find and secure a missing heir of Zathras, team up with three members of MacKenzie’s Magnificent Mechs traveling performance show against a bounty hunter called The Huntsman.
Aboard the dropship Half Pint, mech pilot Smalls is less than thrilled to be left behind. The rest of her lance has gone off on an escort mission leaving her behind once again. She complains to the lance commander, Cotton, reminding him that she has literally been training her entire life for the chance to get into combat with her mech. Cotton is hesitant to let her join in even though he admits that she is a very competent mech pilot, in the simulator at least. While they talk a comm comes in for Cotton’s ears only, much to Small’s indignation. Once alone in his ready room, Cotton opens comms and is greeted by Commander Cameron Coyne of Mason’s Marauders aka Talon. Talon has news, the Emperor of Zathras is dead whether from the official cause of illness or the more suspected cause of assassination remains to be seen but the Marauders have made it their mission to seek out and secure all the remaining heirs. Talon suspects that Cotton knows the location of at least one of the heirs which Cotton confirms. While it won’t be easy he agrees to go and collect the errant heir and keep him safe until he hears otherwise from the Marauders.
Meanwhile on a nearby planetoid, the members of MacKenzie’s Magnificent Mechs have just finished up a combat simulation performance. The star of the show, Jackrabbit, is a little worse for wear for drink and is spending his time greeting his fans after the show. He comes face to face with a beautiful woman who expresses an interest in spending some quality time with him in his dressing room, all alone. Jackrabbit doesn’t take much convincing and arranges a meeting with the mystery woman. At this point the rest of the team, Kade and her cousin Mac, come up to have a little talk with Jackrabbit. Kade is annoyed because as the mech tech of the group she has to fix all the damage Jackrabbit does to his mech but Mac is willing to deal with the headache because as the money manager he knows that their star brings in enough money to make up for his other short comings. Jackrabbit returns to his bunk and is greeted by his mystery date who soon reveals herself to be more of a femme fatale, especially when she pulls a gun on him. She has been sent to kill him but she doesn’t get a chance to before Jackrabbit coldcocks her and leaves her tied up in his room. Running back to his friends, Jackrabbit relates what happened and also lets them know that this is not the first time that someone has tried to kill him. In fact it has happened twice before, though not successfully of course. Mac and Kade decide that the team needs to leave the planet as soon as possible and then they will try to figure out why people are trying to kill Jackrabbit.
Before they can make their escape in their dropship Renegade, several mechs are spotted coming over the horizon. At the same moment Cotton and Smalls arrive above the planet and also spot the incoming enemy mechs. Smalls is delighted to learn that she not only got her first mission but that she will be hot dropping in. Kade, Mac, and Jackrabbit are horrified to learn that four mechs are converging on their location and the rest of the mech pilots are off the ship having a drink at a nearby bar. With only three of them left to pilot mechs, they receive a hail from a man calling himself Sukalov or The Huntsman. Sukalov has come for Jackrabbit whom he intends to collect alive or dead. During the battle, the inexperienced trio are aided by Cotton and Smalls. Thanks to Cotton’s advice and some dumb luck Kade, Smalls, Mac, and Jackrabbit manage to stay alive and score hits on several of the enemy mechs. After severely damaging at least one of Sukalov’s mechs, Cotton strikes a deal with the bounty hunter. He allows Sukalov to leave the battlefield with his mech in exchange for half their ammo and some information. Sukalov reveals that Jackrabbit is being hunted by someone or something called Karma. The newly formed Renegades regroup and begin to try to figure out what to do with this information as they decide where to go from here.