For centuries, paid hunters in the famed Orion Guild have pursued their prey using the ancient technology of gunpowder and bullets, even as the rest of civilization has taken starships across the galaxy to new planets. On these planets, pilgrims often encounter animal problems they are ill-equipped to handle, and The Orion Guild is called to intervene. Humanely if possible, with deadly force if necessary.
Lansing is the Guild’s sole Grand Marksman. Returning to his homeworld with his rifle and his time-honored hunting code, he sets about tracking and putting down an infected herd of native beasts. This species, comprised of three separate herds, is exported and valued for the aphrodisiac properties of its meat. It is the planet’s only industry.
Lansing is joined by other hunters from the Guild: One is a bitter rival out to rob Lansing of his title; another is the Guild’s youngest woman, unpredictable and uncontrollable.
Also arriving on Lansing’s homeworld is Bledsoe, a former Grand Marksman exiled from the Guild for breaking its most sacred law—that no member shall ever take a contract hunting people. He’s been hunting alone for the past 10 years, seething with anger over his very rude and very public banishment.
Recently, a new guild without rules or scruples has been bankrupting freelancers. Bledsoe has no choice but to audition for a post on their roster. He piggybacks on Lansing’s contract with a chaperone who will grade Bledsoe’s performance.
What better way for Bledsoe to strike at the Guild than by outperforming its current Grand Marksman on his own homeworld? What better way to get his revenge than by secretly sabotaging the entire hunt, thereby destroying the planet’s fragile economy and ruining The Orion Guild’s reputation forever?