Charlie, the Old Man of Cenoth, is a caring individual who knows most of the teams he organizes the traveling routes for – at least one of them he considers family – so when he sees something going very wrong for a newcomer to a relatively new and unknown team, by his very nature, he wants to help.
Aleisha has come to Zumaridi to join Stephen’s team, but now there is some indication that murder has taken place there. It seems it happened on a whim, or for a reason even more obscene, and that worries Charlie very much.
His first thought is to face the team leader about it, and when that doesn’t give him any solution, Charlie takes it to the local constabulary, only to find there is not much they can do, either.
The problem is, on a newly colonizing world, independent villages and towns have the police force they can afford, with only local and limited jurisdiction. Small communities simply don’t have the reach to do anything about crimes hundreds or even thousands of miles away that have nothing to do with them. The population is too sparse.