Korell is a planet stuck between eras. The Galactic Empire abandoned it, leaving broken monuments to its once glory, but the Foundation has yet to come and raise it up.
Basically, it's stuck in the monarch-type period that Anacreon was in during "The Mayors."
Mallow takes one look at the decrepit spaceport and knows good trading can be found here. Too bad he hasn't gotten to that trading, as his request for an audience with the Commdor has been ignored for over a week.
Mallow and Twer play cards, and Twer's attitude suggests they've been playing a lot of cards lately.
The two discuss their position. Twer thinks they're just sitting ducks waiting to be blown out of the water—or spaceport.
But Mallow isn't so sure; the potential reasons are too important. They might not know what he's there for, and he certainly doesn't know what they've got on the planet.
In short, Mallow's in a weaker bargaining position than he generally likes.
The watch sergeant contacts them and says they've found a Foundation missionary and brought him aboard. Mallow orders his men to battle stations.
Mallow is none too happy about the missionary's presence. He confines all the men who admitted the missionary to their quarters for a week and relieves the watch sergeant of all supervisory duties.
Why? Because they did not ask permission to bring the guy aboard. Way to go Devo and crack that whip, Mallow.
The two traders meet with the badly injured missionary. His name is Jord Parma, and he's come to enlighten the heathens of Korell in the ways of the Galactic Spirit.
They don't get much more from him before an announcement that enemy units are in sight. Hey! About time we had a good old-fashioned stand-off.
Mallow orders Lieutenant Tinter to see what they want.
Twer argues that Mallow has to keep the missionary safe since he's a member of the Foundation, but Mallow thinks he's got more important things to do than worry about some priest.
More to the point, Mallow can't save him, since both Korell law and Foundation law forbid missionaries from coming to Korell. What's a guy supposed to do? Drown with a man silly enough to jump into that whirlpool?
The missionary goes revivalist and preaches to Mallow that the Galactic Spirit is with them.
News also comes that all the Korellian soldiers want is the missionary and nothing more. So, Mallow, whatcha going to do?
Mallow concedes to the law and says the leader of the Korellians alone may approach the ship and have the missionary.
Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, Mallow draws his blaster. It's now clear to everyone what the punishment for insubordination will be.
Twer is upset but like a smart lad doesn't try anything.
The missionary curses the traitor Mallow as he's dragged out of the ship, presumably to his death.
Whew, fun times.
Mallow has Twer sit down for a man-to-man. He reminds Twer that on his ship he is in charge, although he'd really rather not have to use his blaster.
The two make up with a good old manly handshake.
By the way, did Twer notice anything suspicious in that whole fiasco? Like that that a missionary not only escaped but was lucky enough to find them at a nowhere spaceport? Or that the enemies gathered so quickly at their door?
Hmm. Maybe they were set up. Maybe someone wanted them to protect the missionary and start a row between Korell and the Foundation.
Twer thinks it's far-fetched, but almost immediately they get a call saying Mallow's audience with the Commdor has been granted.