On Hopewell, miners, builders and industrialists have transformed a rich land into dumps, slag heaps, pavements, waste outlets and a poisoned river. Few colonists protest because they have room to live elsewhere and because Abdallah Enterprises controls the planetary government, at least until the Free Hermetian Navy destroys the company's centrum.
Although the Baburites cannot immediately restart production on Mirkheim, they do let Stellar Metals have already stockpiled ingots on a profit-sharing basis and Stellar contracts with Interstar Transport for transportation. Free Hermetians board the freighters, dispatch their crews in lifeboats and confiscate the ships with their cargoes. Stellar, Interstar and Timebinders Insurance make massive losses.
Free Hermetian commandos land on Ramanujan, rendezvous in Maharajah, overcome the guards at XT Systems and set explosives to wreck equipment and destroy data stores. Consequent unemployment, bankruptcies, dislocations and civic upheaval generate demands for politicians loyal to the planet, not to XT, and Parliament dissolves.
Union bosses are bribed to call a technicians' strike in the Sanchez Engineering project on St Jacques on the ground that the war makes work too hazardous.
Two independent companies, Sindbad Prospecting and the Society of Venturers, raid and loot Galactic Developments' entrepot on a Germanian moon, thus enriching themselves while punishing the Seven for their alliance with Babur. Germanian police do not intervene and the government, claiming to have been taken by surprise, appropriates Galactic Developments' remaining local assets.
The Seven, helped by Babur, attack the bases of hostile companies which, however, have been evacuated. Independents want a share in Mirkheim, reduced competition from the Seven and meanwhile plunder so they regard their losses as an investment. Hermetians and privateers, unlike Baburites, can resupply, attack and hide anywhere. The Commonwealth, seeing the Baburites driven back, begins to attack and intensifies its attacks when they are not resisted. When Timebinders Insurance stops payments, the Seven must negotiate.