After the ancile is stolen, things start to get strange around camp, such as only oatmeal being served for breakfast, dead rats filling the bathhouse, ballistas attacking the legion, and the coliseum flooding. Praetors Frank Zhang and Reyna Ramírez-Arellano believe Claudia, a new recruit, is behind it as all the evidence points to her. However Claudia does some research and finds out about the amcile. She investigates on her own and recruits fellow probatios Janice and Blaise and the crafter of the shield's defenses Mamurius Veturius. She eventually lets the praetors in on her research and plan and the son of Mars and daughter of Bellona agree to it.
The following day the three sneak into the nearby scrap yard and find the shield and return it to camp.