The action of this story takes place in Cyrus Ryder’s office in San Francisco. The Three Crows, Hardenberg, Strokher, and Ally Bazan, are ready for their next assignment, and are considering sailing to Point Barrow in Alaska where some Russians are hunting sea otters. Their skins can be sold to China for great profit. Ryder tells them that an agent of his named Dick Nickerson must accompany them. He used to be a Methodist preacher but he hit his head one day and, when he regained consciousness, he had no memory of his past. A month after this meeting the team departed on the Bertha Miller.