"In a battle, facing your enemies, when you are cut you feel the
sting, and can retreat and tend to your wounds.
-Arista Nomarche, AS 2472
Lendt -> Gateway -> Riden
The ship proceeds to Crux, where it acquires the Aberdevine and the missing party members. Pica Friedling has asked for some messages to be dropped off at the mail pickup area in Nonesuch system. The Hippocrates then jumps to Pierogi (dropping off the Aberdevine with Katya, Ruehan, and Martan) and then heads to Nonesuch.
(Meanwhile, the Omninet ship has headed to Gateway to run a month-long slow jump transition test. Phaeton has attempted to arrange for no senior staff to be along with the group, so it consists of Sook, Wilson, Phaeton, and Dr. Scooter as the supervisor. (Plus Nero). )On the trip, Jim records Eva giving his inspirational speech, and then records Akito giving it. Eva is better.
The party arrives in Nonesuch - at the gate to Gateway, there appears to be some sort of construction project. As the ship gets closer, Max announces that whatever it is is being deconstructed rather than constructed. There seems to be some sort of large flat structure, with a super-reflective material on one side. Still visible is a little bit of writing:
..OME ..MEREmail arrives for Hippocrates:
To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org --------- Hippocrates: When we first spoke, you stated that Xanadu had undergone a catastrophic failure somewhat recently. Do you know her last location? I would like to investigate her source code and determine whether it is possible to rectify the crash. -MendelPica Friedling's dispatches are dispatched. The Hippocrates docks at the mail transfer station; there are people there taking down party streamers. They seem a little dis-spirited, as if the party was cancelled rather than over. Upon being asked, some of the people cleaning up say that they were going to have a welcome-home party for Elmer Triconian, but he was stuck in customs with Klothos. The rumor has it that he insulted her somehow, which they find hard to believe, because Elmer's a really nice guy. But it might have had to do with breaking some sort of deal with her.
Since it seems plausible that it was the party's fault that Elmer broke the deal with Klothos, it seems like the Hippocrates should proceed on to Gateway to see what's going on. The party heads to the harbor pilot station and acquires the traditional harbor pilot with two guards. Mirris sucks their past - one is a retired whiterunner, but nobody seems to be chortling wildly about the evil plan they're about to inflict on the Hippocrates. However, Mirris does notice that she's holding down twice as many dice on auto-abomination as she used to be. (Apparently, she's been using her abominating defenses on herself to "keep from changing", whatever that means). Whatever she wasn't changing before, now she's not changing twice as much. Eva talks to Mirris and concludes that the issue is one of timing rather than environment. Perhaps this is a significant anniversary of something in Mirris's past? The possibility of Max figuring out what happened in her past is discussed, but not yet implemented.
(Meanwhile, Nero has discovered the fun of driving a remote controlled car around in zero-G. Scooter has made sure everything in the ship is extremely zero-G compliant, fastening all the cabinets down with bungie cords. Sook convinces him that the color is wrong for zero-G space bungies, and he has to redo them all.)Jumping into Gateway system, the news is that Elmer Triconian is currently experiencing "the hospitality of the battlestation". Nearly instantaneously, Nero spots the Hippocrates jumping in - Sook emails the Hippocrates, and Scooter hails it.
"Greetings, Hippocrates. This is Omninet Science Vessel 3." -ScooterA visit to the Hippocrates is arranged - Phaeton is quite emphatic that the Hippocrates mess hall is better than the Omninet Science Vessel 3 mess hall, which is a box of rations. Dr. Kye mentions the new Sparky Cola machine, with the holographic fish.
"We have got to get a better name." -Phaeton, in the background
"That's affirmative, Omninet Science Vessel 3." -Hippocrates
Mirris briefs Nero about recent planetary disasters they've encountered, like the battle and the plague. He's quite interested in the plague. Elmer's captain hails the Hippocrates, hoping that they're not busy. The party confesses that they were expecting his call. He says that Elmer has "been in a meeting" for most of a week. He and Eon and Ella are free to leave, though, so they'll come visit the Hippocrates too.
Hippocrates briefs Sook on the new anti-flames ritual. Ruthie runs up and demands to know who Sook is. Hippocrates starts to introduce them:
"This is Ruthie..."Upon hearing that this is Sook, Ruthie wants to know if being back from being dead made her too cool to be on the Hippocrates. Sook supposes so. Phaeton talks to Dr. Kye about the possible information from the infowars on the battlestation.
"I know who I am, I want to know who she is."
The Elmer's Gold shows up, and docks to the opposite airlock. Eon, Ella, Ruthie and First Frost of Autumn form a little mob, though they don't immediately climb into the Jeffries tubes this time. Upon being asked, First Frost of Autumn points out that the captain has a bug on him; it's removed. Eva asks if Klothos offered him a deal in exchange for bugging the Hippocrates, but he claims to not know anything about it. Max and the kids go looking for bugs on the Elmer's Gold - First Frost keeps score, as there seem to be a lot of them.
Sook and her old crewmates discuss plans:
"We were looking to do some stuff you probably don't want to know about on the battlestation." -SookA meeting in the conference room convenes, and Elmer's captain stands up to start to explain. From the other side of the room, Phaeton jumps in: "Phaeton supposes you are wondering why he called you all together..." and is shushed.
"Well, we might want to do stuff you don't want to know about either. That's why the Captain of the Elmer's Gold is here." -Eva
The captain, somewhat disconcerted, starts again. The Elmer's Gold had been heading back to the outworlds, but when they reached Gateway Station, Klothos "invited" Elmer in to talk about the business arrangement. Though the captain is sure she probably knew it was off at that point. There were several meetings, and then after that, some guards showed up to take Elmer to the next "meeting", and that was days ago and he hasn't come back from it. Klothos has made it clear that the captain and the Elmer's Gold can leave if they want, if Elmer's meeting is running too long.
The crew allows as how they'll certainly try to rescue Elmer. Meanwhile, what is Sook after?
"So we were working on the 'when you try to crash the network on Riden it doesn't happen thing', and we've made some progress on that..." -SookEva asks Sook what did happen with the network crash, but Sook has no comment to make at this time. Sook explains the very low-level subroutines that try to protect the network, and how there's a current of them, that seems to pass through the battlestation. Phaeton and Sook want to break into wherever the current is going, to see what they can find out.
As the conference breaks up, there's a hail from the battlestation. It's Lorene Klothallad, Herald of Klothos. Klothos would like to invite her friends, Katerina Lavalor and her crew, to the gala ball she's throwing in two days. Max says he'll check, but the answer is quickly given that the crew would be happy to attend.
Akito goes and makes some black jumpsuits with hoods, in fabrication. Just in case they're needed during the party. Jim makes a plea for destroying or stealing the Black tubes, if there's the opportunity. A list of Objectives is compiled:
"I'm feeling kinda punchy. Can we just take Klothos out?" -EvaSook offers to have the Hive take over the station if the party takes out Klothos, to keep it neutral. Hippocrates thinks that the battlestation should belong to the Hegemony who owns the space. And taking the battlestation and then having to give it up would totally blow the Hive's cover.
Max and Eva look into what's up with Mirris. Max determines that it's not a psychological condition - the world has changed twice, and she's keeping herself from changing. But what does that mean? "Klothos is fiddling with the bowl" is the new top contender, because Klothos is Generally Bad, and has been suspected to still be fiddling with the bowl anyway. But to have this sort of effect, it would have to be huge. She would have to be burning out entire gatherings of psis, and that seems a little much for what is being guessed to be not-yet-directed fiddling.
Dr. Crichton calls Dr. Kye. Kye remarks that he's just passing through. Crichton notes "I saw your name passing through right onto the guest list." The Hippocrates finally heads over to Klothos's Throne (i.e. Gateway Station) to dock and prepare for the party. Max briefs everyone on the map of the station:
The "public" sections are 1, 4, and 5. Klothos's throne is in 6. 3 is completely blacked out, and the White/Black dispensary is at the border between 3 and 4. 2 is medium security, and has the barracks and the prison. Hippocrates makes a piloting roll with starship etiquette to dock in section 1 as close as possible to section 2, since the plan will likely be to make a raid into it. The herald informs them that guest quarters for the crew are in section 5 - enjoy the hospitality of the Throne!
Max and Akito wander around a little, making themselves not the problem of any possible tails. Most interesting things appear to be in Section 2, including a follower of Jayla's. Sook, Phaeton, and Nero do some reconnaissance hacking. 3 and 6 appear to have no network, or, at least, nothing that has connections from here. 2 has a medium-security network, with wireless that just barely extends into the party area in 1.
Ryan Waites wanders up, and says hello to Hippocrates and Sook. After he shakes Hippocrates's hand and wanders off again, Hippocrates says that there's something very wrong. It was like he was syncing with his mainframe, but his mainframe isn't here. And he's here, but he's not here. Well, that's all bad...
Wilson and Max work on a projector that projects a hologram of Elmer with a hat in hand. It's not very convincing, but it might confuse people if they put it in the cell instead of Elmer.
Phaeton notices that Neutrino is here - but he slunk away and did not face Phaeton, being feared of Phaeton's might. Phaeton and Sook fill in the others: Neutrino is a guy you might hire to hack an AI, if you don't know about Sook. He's not a hacker himself, he's a consultant. Well, he might well be here to hack the Hippocrates copy. Is there anything that can be done to get him to work for the Hippocrates instead of Klothos? (What sort of thing might he be interested in? The stuff that hacker geeks go for like pizza and women, Sook thinks, but that's not so helpful...) Sook thinks it'll take Neutrino days to get Hippocrates's codes - it took her days, and he was willing then.
Estelle's name also appears on the party guest list. Scooter describes her as a good friend and coworker of theirs; Sook describes her as a force of evil that gets Scooter to tell her things. "Military intelligence" seems to be a possibly appropriate compromise.
In an attempt to track down Neutrino, Sook and Phaeton break into the camera access for the public areas. It appears that he has quarters in area 5, but has gone into area 2. Everyone looks at the picture of him on the camera so they'll recognize him later - but Mirris recognizes him right off as Dr. Alameda. Nobody else thinks it looks at all like Dr. Alameda, except for Akito, who thinks he's kinda familiar and maybe a little bit like Alameda. This is seriously weird. Eva reminds Mirris that she's holding down dice to not change when the world did. Well, what the heck does that mean? Klothos is using the bowl to do something having to do with the plague on Lendt, to increase the demand for White? Except Dr. Alameda would have dropped the demand for white. Well, maybe Klothos is just guessing randomly. Or using a fortune-based power. But she probably doesn't know about that. Well, it's all very suspicious.
There seems to be one door controlling access to section 2 from section 1, with three guards on it, as people go in and out without presenting any sort of papers or ID card. Max observes them for a little while, wondering how they check who's allowed in. After some detectivey pondering, he decides that they just recognize all the people who have gone in so far.
Nero is sent to watch the cameras, to watch for Neutrino or Waites or Klothos in any of the public areas. Phaeton and Sook stay up all night hacking in preparation for the raid into section 2 during the party. Kye wanders by the airlock to Crichton's ship, and waves.
The next day, the group starts preparing for the during-party raid. Eva disguises everyone who will be going in physically, and Akito passes out black ninja suits. Dr. Kye loads his (detonator-only) prototype plasma bomb onto a dolly in the cargo bay, "just in case". Mirris lets up a bunch of psi dice, and no longer thinks anyone looks like Dr. Alameda (though she still has a note in her pocket telling her that she did). Twig is festooned with "Brochoah jewelry" which acts as a wireless repeater for Nero, on the Hippocrates.
|Team Party:||Eva, Cassandra, Twig, Tinoori, Kye, Scooter, Wilson, Ruthie, Eon, Ella|
|Team Hack (From Party):||Sook, Phaeton, Mirris, Hippocrates, (*Nero)|
|Team Rescue:||Akito, Max, Jim, Dr. Kye, the Captain|
(maps for the network and the jail are at the end of the log)
The hackers break into the network for Section 2. Network devices of interest include turrets, built-in camera/scanners, door controls, trash dispose-all units, and elevators. In order for the team to leave no incriminating traces, any camera/scanners which gets line of sight on anyone must be hacked before the mission finishes. Max, Akito, Jim, the Captain, and Kye SEP past the three guards, and end up at the top of the secure elevator into the central area of Section 2, facing three turrets. The party-goers learn that the party mechanic involves trying to minimize curiosity about the people who are not at the party (such as someone saying "Where is Dr. Kye?"), and not being Gauche (such as moving across the dance floor without making a dancing roll, or staring off into space hacking when someone tries to start a conversation).
Other people of note at the party include: Armand de Gaulle, Dr. Crichton, Lady Della, Estelle DuBaars, Anastasia Klothallad, and several of Klothos's Consorts. Sook and Hippocrates start out dancing, so they can't be talked to. Eva tries to figure out who's up to what - a number of people are collecting some sort of social points for use later. At least Armand, Anastasia, the consorts, and Estelle have objectives.
First Frost of Autumn is overwhelmed by the sheer number of bugs in the room, and makes an uncool noise. Eva and Lady Della duel over Armand. Sook gets to the first of the three computer cores - in order to break into it, the core must be surrounded by three hackers on each channel. Consort Three begins to express interest in Mirris. Security programs begin to spawn from the computer cores, un-rooting the nodes that the hackers have rooted. Sook takes one of them out. Cassandra makes mesmerizing small talk to Dr. Crichton, while Wilson distracts Consort Three away from Mirris and proves strangely compelling himself. Max indicates the direction that the Hippocrates copy is in, and the group starts heading that way.
Armand, who appears to have a plan to talk to Hippocrates, cuts in between Sook and Hippocrates to dance with Sook, and drive Hippocrates off the dance floor. The combat team takes out their turrets before they can fire, and destroy the initial door into the hallway. Consort Seven comes out of an inner room and demands to know what's going on, giving Dr. Kye an action to answer. Dr. Kye takes the opportunity to shoot the consort, who falls down, dying. An initial stabilizer attempt fails, but a second one prevents him from dying, while his body is dragged back into the central "secured" zone. Klothos and several more consorts enter. Mirris engages Ryan Waites (Consort Eight), while Consort One issues an "invitation" to Eva to speak with Klothos.
The east computer core is rooted, and Hippocrates looks around - the other computer labs are one obvious landmark, and it seems likely that the Hippocrates copy is in one of them. The Tinoori head onto the dance floor to try to distract Armand from Sook, but they're not very fast dancers. Kye enthusiastically shoots some more guards, who are then piled onto by everyone else, until they fall. Cassandra cuts in on Armand, rescuing Sook.
Mirris lures Waites to the dance floor ("Enjoy
your last moments of freedom.") He's surprised to discover that
she knows that something bad happened to Hippocrates. Eva finally
gets to Klothos, dragging Consort One along with her, much to
Klothos's irritation. Waites starts to wonder where Akito is, but
Mirris inserts herself into his background as his girlfriend; they
gloat together over the plan.
Klothos asks Eva where Katya is - Eva explains that she's in the
outworlds, where she had business. Klothos finds it very odd that
they left Katya behind, but dismisses Eva. She heads off again,
taking the First Consort with her - that's certainly going to cost him
some credit with Klothos.
As Crichton starts to look around again for Dr. Kye, Scooter (who has
not been briefed on anything that's going on) offers Crichton his own
theory: "He's probably off enacting some Secret Plan somewhere
around the station." Unfortunately, though Scooter is very good
at coming up with crazy theories, no one ever believes him. So
Dr. Crichton tells him "Don't be an idiot, he's around here
somewhere," and continues stalking around the party to try and
Klothos asks Eva where Katya is - Eva explains that she's in the outworlds, where she had business. Klothos finds it very odd that they left Katya behind, but dismisses Eva. She heads off again, taking the First Consort with her - that's certainly going to cost him some credit with Klothos.
As Crichton starts to look around again for Dr. Kye, Scooter (who has not been briefed on anything that's going on) offers Crichton his own theory: "He's probably off enacting some Secret Plan somewhere around the station." Unfortunately, though Scooter is very good at coming up with crazy theories, no one ever believes him. So Dr. Crichton tells him "Don't be an idiot, he's around here somewhere," and continues stalking around the party to try and find Kye.The turrets finally fire at Akito - they appear to hit automatically. But they don't shoot very often. Eva swaps consorts with Lady Della. Estelle finishes extracting various bits of information from another consort. Klothos tries to summon the consort that Eva has, but Eva refuses to let him go. The hackers converge on the central computer core.
Consorts Three and Four, who appear to be a team, explain their plan to Eva to oust Consort Two (who is not at the party) by conquesting interesting people. They probably shouldn't have admitted that to her - it makes her status as a conquest somewhat more questionable. Cassandra and Anastasia (not actually working together) continue to block Armand from getting to Hippocrates. The central computer core is taken, and Phaeton starts working on rooting it, hoping to get it to spawn security programs that work for him instead.
Klothos gets down off her throne, and starts stalking over towards her wayward consorts and Eva. More guards appear, and a firefight starts between them and Jim and Akito. Alas, they don't last very long.
Waites recapitulates his plan to Mirris - Neutrino
gave him the device, and is even now picking apart the Hippocrates.
Once they have its secrets, he'll be first consort for sure. (He's
vaguely sure there's something wrong with the idea of being First
Consort and having a girlfriend, but can't quite put his finger on
Armand finally abandons his plan of asking Hippocrates for dirt on
Klothos, and heads out of the party with Anastasia who has decided
he's the only interesting man not being screened for by crew members.
Consort One returns to the throne to grovel to Klothos for having
abandoned her. Consort Three watches and gloats - having One be
deposed wasn't their plan, but if both One and Two fall, then
he's all set. Waites continues to remind Mirris of the plan - Elmer
is the bait for the Hippocrates. He betrayed Klothos, over a
business deal, but now she's holding him because she wants something
from him that he won't give her. Waites really does think he should
be going down to the computer lab to see how they're doing, but Mirris
convinces him to dance first.
Armand finally abandons his plan of asking Hippocrates for dirt on Klothos, and heads out of the party with Anastasia who has decided he's the only interesting man not being screened for by crew members. Consort One returns to the throne to grovel to Klothos for having abandoned her. Consort Three watches and gloats - having One be deposed wasn't their plan, but if both One and Two fall, then he's all set. Waites continues to remind Mirris of the plan - Elmer is the bait for the Hippocrates. He betrayed Klothos, over a business deal, but now she's holding him because she wants something from him that he won't give her. Waites really does think he should be going down to the computer lab to see how they're doing, but Mirris convinces him to dance first.
Jim and Akito get to the back computer lab, where they find Consort Two and Neutrino, both ducking behind a table with their hands up. Eva starts pumping Dr. Crichton for information - he mentions that Dr. van Trent is also here, on a private consulting gig working outside Memento Mori on something - he doesn't know exactly what.
Max ponders what the cost is of destroying the computer that the Hippocrates copy is on - Hippocrates might need some counseling. Hippocrates says to destroy it. Much gunfire later, the computer is toast. Sook finishes rooting the central core, and finds the relevant files for Phaeton's experiment. She can see all the cameras though, locating Elmer and Jayla's follower, as well as another woman watching a bunch of computer screens, and some more guards.
Max heads straight for Elmer, skipping over a couple of inconvenient details of the universe such as doors and guards. Akito intimidates the people in the lab to tell him where the storage media is - they claim he just blew it up. The rooted computer core starts releasing security drones, which convert the nodes to rooted by the party. A non-party security drone manages to throw Hippocrates off the network - he's somewhat unsettled, and spills his drink. Max grabs Elmer, and takes the two of them back to the Hippocrates by route of the garbage dispose-all. Best not to think about that too hard. Akito grabs Consort Two's security card, which lets him open the doors. Mirris continues to divert Waites from heading to the computer area by suggesting an after-party. In a flurry of smoke grenades and door-opening, Jayla's follower is also acquired, and the party flees for the Hippocrates. The network team starts backing out (though Sook does her best to leave a back door into the network). Eva passes Dr. Crichton off to Estelle, Mirris de-abominates Waites, and the people at the party retire to the Hippocrates.
The Hippocrates and the Elmer's Gold take their leave from the battlestation before any alarms are raised, and head to Riden at best pace. However, this does leave Katya and Ruehan on Pierogi, on the other side of a no doubt somewhat irritated Klothos.