From the introduction:
Salvage Rights is the second adventure in the Grendelssaga (after Rescue Run), a series of three adventures set on the rogue world of Grendel, in the Queen Alice’s Star system. Grendel is largely unexplored, an uninhabitable world in the next orbit out from the human colony world of Beowulf.
Salvage rights are a concept in maritime law, that were later extended into outer space. These laws state that a person or organisation who recovers another person’s ship or cargo after peril of loss at sea or in space is entitled to a reward commensurate with the value of the property.
In popular culture, salvage rights are thought to means that the recoverer, or salvor, is entitled to the actual property itself. This is incorrect. They are entitled to fair recompense, up to the actual value of the property itself. In special cases, this can mean possession of the property, but this is rare.
In the case of alien artifacts, all are automatically the property of whatever local government holds the balance of power, though in theory alien artifacts should be returned to representatives of their species.
Not all species share this point of view.