The Mice Will Play

"To judge someone's character, judge not what they say to you, but what they say about you when you are not there.
I am a particularly good judge of character, having access, as I do, to an advanced suite of surveillance devices."

- Citizen Ghalredi, the Well, AS 2482


Much of the crew is off the ship, either looking for leads to Eva, or investigating Bay 15, or on personal errands, when Dr. Spruinz and his assistant arrive to start asking questions about efficiency. Luckily, the person he wants to talk to first is Cassandra, as she's the person who's been on the ship the longest. Unfortunately, Cassandra appears to have gone out of her way to not worry about the ship's operating parameters, which isn't so helpful for Dr. Spruinz.
"Bridge shifts: scheduled?" -Dr. Spruinz
"Oh, I'm afraid I have no idea." -Cassandra
"Scutwork and grunge tasks: assigned by officers, rotation, volunteer?"
"I'm afraid I'm not at all sure who does the chores. Passengers don't seem to be required to tidy anything but our personal quarters."
< with some frustration >
"Knowledge of function of home ship: any at all?"
"I'm terribly sorry, I'm just not very mechanically inclined."
Martan and Twig commiserate about captainlessness. A passing comment by Night Blooming Wisteria causes them to fixate on the idea that signing the complicated NDA with Dr. Spruinz was happening at the same time as Eva was going missing - perhaps it was a distraction! And the whole Dr. Spruinz / assistant thing is very weird - why did the assistant do all the talking?

Meanwhile, Linnet has been somewhat nervous about the addition of a second Treemonster to the ship, so Linnet, Ruthie, and First Frost of Autumn are all in the Jeffries tubes, watching Dr. Spruinz and Cassandra drink tea and eat cookies. Linnet finds this suspicious, but First Frost and Ruthie think that this is possibly normal Brochoah behavior.

Meanwhile, however, Martan and Moment Before Dawn decide to give Spruinz's assistant a tour of the ship. Martan makes sure to show off the mess hall several times, having seen this trick demonstrated, and keep him out of Dr. Spruinz's range for quite some time. Geoffrey Oxford is brought into the tour to chat with the assistant, to try and figure out if he's mind controlling Dr. Spruinz, or possibly vice versa, but Oxford sees no evidence of either.

At the end of the interview, as Cassandra is shaking Dr. Spruinz's hand, she faints! Linnet is convinced that this is evidence of the Treemonster's wickedness, but Ruthie and First Frost of Autumn try and convince her that Cassandra is sick sometimes. And First Frost didn't percieve Dr. Spruinz doing anything offensive, or any poison.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kye has arrived at the Hippocrates airlock with a wounded and unconscious Eva draped over his shoulder. Twig meets him at the door. Dr. Kye says "I managed to get her out - I'm going to go lead them away from the ship" and runs off, handing Eva to Twig.

As Twig carries Eva to sickbay and Dr. Spruinz carries Cassandra to sickbay, Linnet decides that the perfidy of the Treemonsters has gone too far, and the monsters in the movies she's seen are always capturing women. She dutifully calls for help to a grownup (Deirdre) before convincing Ruthie and First Frost of Autumn to leap out of the Jeffries tubes onto the Brochoah.

The Brochoah are beset by children for a bit, but then Deirdre and Martan and the adult Tinoori arrive and put a stop to it.

Dr. Spruinz is convinced that this assault is a violation of some part of the agreement that he's entered into with the Hippocrates, and grumbles that once he has found the appropriate clauses, he will be bringing action against the crew. Twig warns him that if he does that, it might have to come out in the legal proceedings that Dr. Spruinz is doing military efficiency research, and not general efficiency research, and nobody wants the Blue military to know about that, right?

Dr. Spruinz is patched up a bit, and retires back to his home (taking his apparently hapless assistant with him) to consider his data and prepare more carefully for any subsequent interviews.

As Eva is quite badly damaged, she's stuffed into a tube but because of the combat on the way to the medbay, Twig puts her in his portable tube instead of the general Kaufman facility.

"Medical treatment: contractually due to Twig from Hippocrates crew. Non-standard fees applicable." -Twig
Cassandra is revived - she says that due to the recent circumstances, she hasn't taken her regular Kaufman treatment, and faintness is one of the side effects. She doesn't think it was Dr. Spruinz's fault, though Linnet is unconvinced.

Now that the fuss has resolved, the party wonders what happened to Dr. Kye. His radio locates him (though he's broadcasting at extra power) from a local gambling den, but he's not answering. Hmm. That's somewhat suspicious. Twig, Martan, Deirdre, Geoffrey Oxford, and the Tinoori head that way, leaving Cassandra and the kids to watch Eva in case she wakes up.

At the bar, Twig finds out that there are back rooms to be had "for illicit purposes" for a fee. A back room is acquired, and the group proceeds there, from whence they try to figure out how to look in all the other back rooms. Twig convinces a local rat to poke about, and reports that Janzur and Dr. Kye are two rooms over. Dr. Kye is in bed, bandaged, and Janzur is guarding the door.

The group heads over to knock on the door, which Janzur answers. Everyone wants to know what happened. Janzur says that he was tracking the Bibblers here, and managed to rescue Dr. Kye, gesturing to Kye's unconscious form on the bed. There's some brief panicking at this point, since Ciernan went to Gateway to (among other things) meet and possibly get captured by the Bibblers, but the immediate issue is why they were after Kye. Twig speculates that they were after Kye because he got Eva away from the Terrans. Janzur's confused - Kye got Eva away from the Terrans? Then where is Eva now? Safe at the Hippocrates. Right. Janzur tells them all to wait here with Kye, he has to check on something, and heads out.

Meanwhile, back at the ship, Jim shows up. Ruthie asks what happened to Smeerp Patrol. Jim says they're fine - he came back because he heard about Eva. Ruthie shows him in. First Frost of Autumn says "Don't listen to him! It's another Jim impersonator!" and combat promptly ensues. As it turns out, Ruthie, Linnet, First Frost of Autumn, and Cassandra are (even together) no match for Jim, though Cassandra surprises everyone by pulling out the emergency smoke grenade Max had given her, and getting several free hits for herself and First Frost on Jim before he gets out his infrared gas mask. Victorious, Jim steals Eva (with Twig's portable tube) and leaves.

Meanwhile, back at the gambling den, Deirdre tells the others to wait there - she's going to go help Janzur. She catches up with him as he meets up with Sophia at the starport, who is waving her arms about wildly and pointing at her watch. Janzur gets a radio call and he and Sophia head to a different ship (the Freon Dream), where Jim and Ace are loading a tubed Eva onboard. Deirdre overhears something of an argument between Jim and Janzur over whether tracking Kye or hitting him over the head worked better.

Back in the room with the unconscious Dr. Kye, another Dr. Kye says "psst!" from outside the window. It seems quite unfair to be inflicted with two Dr. Kyes, of all people, but he quickly makes it clear that this new one is "Saint Kye", from the Mirrorverse.

"Wait, is it our Eva or their Eva that we had?" -Cassandra
"If we have their Eva, does that mean the Terrans took our Eva to the Mirrorverse? How are we going to get her back from there?" -Martan
Saint Kye says one of the recent missions of the Hector went horribly awry (not that he admits to having anything to do with that) such that Eva was captured again by the Bibblers. They adjusted her to make her more inclined towards Peace in the Linked Worlds and Good Will to All Men and such, which has also made her more inclined to work with Kye instead of the rest of the Hector crew.

Anyhow, Kye knew that the Hippocrates had a cure for Black addiction, so they tricked Sophia into letting them through with her experimental dimensional projector. But Janzur is always watching Sophia, so he found out about that, and came through after them. They had a long chase from New Light to Nurl, looking for the Hippocrates.

Martan explains that since they put Eva in the tubes, then that plus Chartreuse is kinda a cure for Black, but Kye mourns that the projection method won't let them take equipment back. That's not so helpful. The group picks up the unconscious Dr. Kye and heads back to the Hippocrates, just as the unconscious parties at the Hippocrates are waking up and reporting Jim's badness, and that Eva is missing again. Dah!

Deirdre calls and says that Jim and Janzur and Ace and Sophia are loading the portable tube into the Freon Dream and what the heck is going on? They tell her that those are the Mirror people, kidnapping Eva (well, it's actually the Mirror Eva, but they forget to say that). She charges in, and is quickly cut down by Janzur, who takes her aboard as a hostage.

The Freon Dream takes off, with the Hippocrates in pursuit (Oxford piloting), with messages for the rest of the crew left behind. The crew calls Commander Branch - remember that system-wide APB on Eva? There's a ship that has an Eva aboard - get it! They don't go into details as to what "an Eva" means right now - there's no time to explain!

Once the ships of the Planetary Defense Force start chasing it too, the Freon Dream goes to ground in the Nurl asteroid belt. Ships start searching the belt, but the Dream is pretty well hidden. Unfortunately for it, though, First Frost of Autumn and Ruthie (!) are pretty good at spotting things, and they flush their quarry out of the hole in the asteroid where it's hiding.

Space combat ensues! While Oxford is a good pilot, he's nothing to match Ace (well, Bishop), who is terrifying (and has two attack pools). Plus, none of the kids are very good with the guns yet. The Hippocrates starts leaking air, and Twig isn't sure he can patch the holes in the hull at the rate at which Bishop and the Mirror guys are generating them.

Martan, who's been trying to get Gloryweb and the PDFs to converge on the battle, starts panicking.

"Mayday! This is the HMS Hippocrates! We need help! Someone please respond! Anyone!" -Martan
"Fear not, noble crew of the Hippocrates! For it is I, Elmer TRICONIAN, come to save you from your plight!"
" Anyone else?" -Martan
"Well, he's aboard the Inopportune Moment. Will that do?" - Grimblemaury
"The Inopportune Moment! We're saved!" -Ruthie
The battle quickly turns again, and the Freon Dream is disabled. The Inopportune Moment sends the Painted Ladies as a boarding party to take the ship, but they're up against Janzur, so it doesn't go so well. Grimblemaury starts evac'ing the boarding party, and Martan pulls the portable tube out one of the holes in the Dream and back to the Hippocrates' shuttle bay. Bishop throws Deirdre out the airlock:
"You can either catch us or save her!" -Bishop
"Nooooooooo!" -Saint Kye
Twig leaps from the shuttle bay with the Calvinball, and gets Deirdre into it before she decompresses too badly. The Dream takes off in a burst of Mad Plasma Fusion, and is quickly out of sight. Deirdre is rushed to sickbay where Kye goes to work on her.

The Brochoan Protectorate fleet shows up and secures the area, late though it is. Over the course of the next several hours, mirror-Eva comes out of the tubes, though Saint Kye has already told the essentials of the story.

Unfortuantely, the cure is not so useful without Chartreuse, which has to be made from Green. That's not so helpful - only Kith or Sophia could make more Green, and neither of them on the Hector is likely to help with that. Twig notes that his portable tube is all blackish now. Grimblemaury helps replace it with green goo. Twig agrees not to charge for the damage to his tube in exchange for Grimblemaury not charging for fixing it. Grimblemaury points out that he's not technically crew right now, but won't tell anyone he fixed it for free, if Twig doesn't.

Ahah! Martan points out that you don't have to make Chartreuse with science - Grandfather Cass made drugs with psi powers! Maybe there's a Mirror version of him who can be bribed or badgered into helping. Eva gets everyone to tell her everything they know about Grandfather Cass, and resolves to try and "deal" with him (Maybe he'll do it just to get back at Kith). The party shoots Eva up with a whole bunch of Chartreuse, too, so she'll have samples in her bloodstream.

The crew finally gets around to asking for more details about dimensional travel - apparently the projector can be used from either of the two "holes" at New Light or the Well, and Sophia's been looking into it for a while. Eva and Kye don't understand all the physics, but Sophia keeps going on about causopotentiality and retributive reality inversion, which (Eva thinks) is why it's important to Eva/Kye that they not be captured by the Mirror Janzur at the point at which they fade.

"Fade? Fade how?"
"Like this."
-Eva (vanishing)
"Wait! What time is..." -Kye (vanishing)
The Hippocrates crew chats with the Inopportune Moment crew - they expect it'll be going on to Vircus now? No, actually, it's come early - they have an invitation by Dr. Spruinz to talk about ship efficiency, in exchange for a full refit.
"Ahah! I knew Dr. Spruinz Treemonster was behind it!" -Linnet
"Behind what?" -Ruthie
"Everything!" -Linnet
Dr. Spruinz has arranged for temporary non-pirate status for the Inopportune Moment, though Commander Branch is somewhat cranky about them having a "stolen Skyguard ship".


  • On Gateway, Ciernan applies to drain the Bowl, and heads to the recommended Bibbler service. He gets to meet Dr. Trine, and successfully escapes an invitation to meditate in the Quiet Chapel.
  • Davinci and Hippocrates go through the old office records for Bay 15.
  • Katya and Martan send a letter to Lord Stannis with an idea for the wedding site, and rings are commissioned from a Stannis Law jeweler
  • Mirris takes Linnet out for ice cream.
  • Max and Jim poke about at Bay 15, and then at the starport. They find a ship.
  • Jim goes shopping and looks for theater tickets.
  • da Vinci pokes about on the Nurl internet for things like the current state of shipbuilding.
  • On Gateway, Ciernan stakes out the Bibbler church for several days.
  • Katya, Akito, and Deidre head out in the Genetic Diversity to talk to Viktor and/or Shaddam about the Deciders and/or Eva. Kith sends a copy of the Decider briefing back to Creek, for reference.
  • Jim runs in a local marathon, and does pretty well.
  • Jim and Ruehan and Twig (maybe others) go see a Brochoan production of Hamlet.