Alice Valent, an Officer Trainee in the Apex Program, is assigned to investigate a digital record of a young pilot, Noah Lucas. His callsign is Carnie, and he began his long story of survival after a virus infected most of the artificial intelligences in orbit around Iora, where he and the interplanetary carnival he travelled with were about to land to put on a show. Instead, they were wiped out, leaving him alone on a world where over a billion machines are destroying all human life. Alice has to relive his experience virtually and form a report on Iora, Noah Lucas, the people he encountered, and how it may have changed Carnie before he joined the fleet. Little does she know that this undertaking will change her as well.
This story takes place between Spinward Fringe Broadcast 10: Freeground and Broadcast 11: Revenge.