The fact that Nolan was one of the defiant few doesn't buy him much purchase with Amanda, who's worried about human/Irathient relations and wants him and his daughter (adopted, war orphan) to clear out. They'll need money to do that, and Kenya, the owner of the NeedWant (the local brothel/bar), tells Nolan that he can earn some quick scrip in The Hollows at a bare knuckle fighting ring. When he enters the ring, owner Datak - who looks every bit the villain with his glossy white skin and severe features - substitutes the champion for a bioman. Just as it sounds, bioman = super-muscled android built to kill. Nolan barely manages to punch the bioman's off switch, but celebration is once again cut short when Datak calls him out on his low blow. Tarr leaves them with only enough cash to clean up and head back to the brothel, where Nolan gets biblical with Kenya.
They get out of bed just as Rafe blazes into the NeedWant seeking vengeance on Alak Tarr for killing his son, Luke, who tussled with Alak after seeing him dance with younger sist Christie. Luke was killed with a cold fire blade, a weapon brought by the Votans, and Christie's confession that Alak couldn't have done it because he was with her only gives Rafe more reason to shoot the boy. Irisa and Nolan knock weapons out of hands and heads against tables faster than you can say dynamic duo, but in the melee, someone shoots Lawkeeper Clancy, and he falls dead.
Penniless again, Nolan drops that he's a tracker and accepts Rafe's pay rate of 20,000 scrip to find the real killer. Soon, he discovers that the killer is an Indogene - a partly cybernetic Votan race - with a left leg injury. Amanda's assistant, Ben, matches this description. What do you know? Ben is just at that moment in the middle of killing a guard in order to lower the stasis net that protects Defiance from outside threats.
Nolan and Amanda chase down Ben in a car, with her snarling at him and him calling her sweetheart. He says "sweetheart" was his second choice (what was his first? Princess?) In a violent interchange with Ben, they learn that the Volge, a race of alien soldiers, is heading to Defiance, and without the stasis net, they'll be crushed.
Amanda prepares to rally the town to action, and the words of Kenya (her sister!), give her the boost she needs. Nolan's surprised to learn they're sisters (do I smell a love triangle brewing?), but Amanda's speech strikes a chord in him. Later, as he exhumes the soccer ball, he considers his options. The Indogenes in Defiance have the ability to make the thing into a bomb, but Irisa's having none of it. She leaves him to fend for himself. Nolan returns to a town unified under Amanda - even the McCawleys and the Tarrs fight as one - and Doc Yewll tells them to keep the Volge in the valley pass while she configures the sphere into a bomb.The Volge fire on the scaffolding where the doc works and it looks like the battle may be lost, but Yewll regains her footing and Irisa appears with the band of Spirit Riders from the first scene to fight along. Yewll releases the bomb and the Volge are destroyed! Nolan and Irisa reunite, and Datak allows romance to bloom between Alak and Christie, thanks to his wife Stahma reminding him a marriage between the two gives them access to the McCawley mines and money. Nolan accepts Amanda's offer to be the town's new Chief Lawkeeper, and it's not just because St. Louis is his hometown - the first place that he saw the Votan ships in the sky as a boy of ten (that kid in the beginning! It was Nolan!). But it's mostly because of that.
We end with ex-Mayor Nicky conspiring with a man named Birch. First, she's smoking indoors which clearly means laws are looser in 2046. Second, turns out NICKY is behind the Volge attack and promises to do something even bigger and badder to achieve her goals. But what are they?