In which Commander Vepal finds an ally.
The drinking establishment named “The Headless Yxtrang” echoes an established pattern on Earth — there have been, for example, several taverns that commemorated some soldier’s deeds in the Crusades by being named “The Saracen’s Head”. Vepal sees a more metaphorical resonance with his own situation: the problem he is trying to solve is that the Yxtrang are collectively headless, in the sense of lacking the leadership they need.
As an alternative to simply getting as far away from Perdition Enterprises as possible, finding out who they are and what they’re up to is probably Vepal’s best option. It may even be a better option than simply trying to get away, depending on how determined Perdition Enterprises are to acquire his cooperation.
He would have to do it anyway, but doing it in association with Commander Sanchez offers some additional benefits. She mentions the possibility of solving the cashflow difficulties that brought them here; there is also the possibility of Vepal getting to communicate with Sanchez’s comrade who knows the secrets of others, and who might also know something useful to the embassy’s main mission.
The reunion with Commander Sanchez means that this is set after The Gathering Edge, since that’s when they first met.
I don’t believe we have heard of Firge before.