A Newcomer is gambling, and losing, when a car pulls up and he gets scared and starts to run away.
There's another get-together at George and Susan's house and Cathy is again there. It's something called the "Day of Descent," the day the Newcomers landed on the Earth.
Someone special arrives that George was expecting. (Why do I have a bad feeling about this?)
There's something about a human that is honored somehow at the party and Sikes gets picked. (No one ever warns him about these things before hand, for some reason.)
Emily does a dance accompanied by music and Cathy's narration of the events on the ship just prior to its landing on Earth, including alarms (which indicate it was definitely a forced landing. This is the first reference in the series to what happened just immediately before the ship landed.) Meanwhile, something is bothering George while he talks to his friend.
George has a nightmare about something that happened on the ship.
Apparently it's part of the descent "season" to do something nice for the one being honored, the "dork" (revered one), which is Sikes.
George and Sikes are put on a case of two missing Newcomers (one of them the gambler from earlier.)
The missing gambler is fastened to a machine that is for something like Russian Roulette with a pistol, but it involves various chambers which will fill with water, while one chamber fills with water and salt, thus forming saltwater, The chambers spray the material at the Newcomer and either the person is not hurt or they are killed, the saltwater acting like acid on a Newcomer's body. (Not all of that is shown at this time; I'm just summarizing the procedure)
George remembers when he was on the ship and in a cage waiting to be selected for the saltwater murder game. George then goes to talk to his friend about what is going on.
Then they show the game being played in the present. The machine has the spigots that spray either regular water or saltwater. The player must press the button that activates the spigot.
George's "friend" is one of the players.
Sikes shows George some pictures he took which include the guy that is supposedly George's friend talking to a crook that Sikes is after. George explains how some Newcomers actually became addicted to playing the game, and that's what his friend has done.
George tells Sikes that he played the game and "watched the others die." George had lost a game and was going to die when the alarms sounded and the ship landed, ending the game.
George tells Sikes that one of the guys killed in the game on the ship was his brother. Meanwhile, they have both been pulled off the case by the captain. George knocks out Sikes so he won't get in trouble when he goes after the guy running the game (and he's the same one who ran it on the ship.)
George finds where the machine is.
George fastens the guy to the machine. George takes the opposite chair.
George takes the first turn and it's plain water. The guy takes the second turn and it's also plain water. George presses the button to take the third turn and it's plain water. Turn 4 is the guys and its plain water. (There are six turrets).
George's turn, a fifty-fifty chance of being killed. It's plain water, meaning the guy will get the saltwater the next time he presses the button. George rigged it so it wouldn't spray the salt with the water and Sikes arrives in time to arrest the evil Newcomer.
There's a small get-together at George's to celebrate the final day of descent ceremony.
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