An Aegis operative, Strake, and his automech partner Streetsweeper have chased a Marauder convoy into the African desert, but ended up out of fuel. Just as Streetsweeper is about to process Strake into an emergency supply, they encounter an apparent escaped Marauder prisoner, a girl dressed in Marauder clothing. Not seeing any alternative, they process her instead.
The girl turns out to be laced with a nanite virus, shutting Streetsweeper down while Strake deals with an attack from human Marauder soldiers. Just as they bring him down, they are in turn taken out by a hovership and a motorcycle-based automech. It is piloted by a girl, Maius, who informs Strake that the girl he processed, Jiana, was her sister, and she has implanted bombs into both Strake and Streetsweeper that will go off unless they retrieve the Heartstar from the Lorduns.
With no choice but to cooperate, Strake and Streetsweeper undertake the mission.