"Only those with passion will ever change the world for the better. But only those with passion can destroy it."
- Gaius Telemon, AS 1829
New Light -> Tyrell's Folly
Well, that's somewhat startling. Elite Gerard says he picked them up on Pierogi, as Jayla suggested they would need a ride. Sentinel Therive introduced the three graduated Elite (Gerard, Deirdre, and Corwin) to the jump gates and now they can open them as he does.
Ruehan reports on their talks - they have about a dozen moderately powerful Vertaki, and some Architects, and a loa called Stormbreaker, all of whom are on Crux now. Then, they stopped at Vircus, and the three graduated Elite will be at their service, as well as the next class and the Chain, Blades, and Glass. Ruehan is curious why the Hippocrates didn't come to pick them up - the whole problem with Klothos is explained.
Sharra, having studied up on Materials Engineering, reads the entry in the Book of the Hegemons about how to build a device to write on the pages of the book. Gerard asks to accompany the party to meet Hegemon Donella.
The group considers whether they should bring the Book of the Hegemons to the meeting with Donella. She's probably not going to treat it as hard and fast evidence if they just wave it and leave. But it's probably better than nothing.
Akito stays on the Hippocrates to make sure that no one steals it; everyone else (Sharra, Ruehan, Eva, Jim, and Gerard, plus the Book of the Hegemons and Dr. Kye's letter) head to talk to Donella. All the people who make sure they're suitably attired also make sure to tell them to be very polite, and not to set off the Hegemon. Most of the servants seem quite paranoid about her moods and make several passes at warning the crew to not anger her. Gabriel also checks to make sure they're ready for their meeting, and advises against getting her "riled up." The aura of doom seems pervasive. Jim and Ruehan compare their relative tidinesses - Jim is very neat and tidy, but not preturnaturally tidy like Ruehan. Eva reminds Gerard that if they ask him to give up his weapons, he should, or else not come. He nods that he understands, though he doesn't actually seem to be leaving his weapons behind. The guards at the door check IDs and weapons, but somehow Gerard gets through without incident.
Donella, seated on a somewhat imposing (but not quite Baltar-like) throne, orders everyone else out:
"Leave us." -DonellaAfter a bit more glaring at them, the guards leave, whereupon Donella runs forward to collapse onto Eva's shoulder: "Oh, cousin, it's been terrible!" Everyone is being obstreperous, Eva's brother is leading a rebellion against her, she was betrayed at Riden, and now she'll never succeed in what she's here to do.
"My Hegemon?" - the worried guards
"I am not accustomed to repeating myself."
Well, this isn't quite what the group was expecting, but they improvise. Eva starts by explaining that they've figured out the purpose of the old Hegemony - oh, Donella says, the one they're rebuilding. Things go on from there, as Eva explains about the Tamorai and the Flames.
"And this wave of sentience-destroyingness is why none of my generals will listen to me?"No, the Tamorai didn't turn into the Deciders - though one did turn into the Omphalos Dust Worm. That's somewhat confusing. The bloodlines get explained, and the ritual, and the Decider bloodlines, and the dust nebula being noisy. And there's a page for Donella in the book of the Hegemons, which she reads and finds quite interesting.
"Oh, so it's like what happened on Pierogi..."
While all this is interesting, it's still a bit confusing, and the actual plan is beginning to be lost in the assorted additions. And Donella is still upset - yes, the old Hegemony was for this, but it fell, and she's trying to put it back together, and nobody will help her! Clarifications ensue: actually conquering everywhere isn't necessary. Sharra points out the focus on the leader, and Ruehan brings up the Terrans as a problem. But to get to Gateway, they don't need to conquer Red. Donella is dubious that the Pretender will help her. Speaking of which, did Jim really try to kill him?
The ritual is explained - the party says it has the Star. Donella starts worrying about tracking down the other bloodlines - no, they've done that too. And psis are assembling in the outworlds. But who is the fourth Hegemon? A Tinoori. Donella thinks that's no good - they'll never get a Tinoori to help now that the war has started up again. Wait, what?
It comes out that the Tinoori have broken the cease-fire, and invaded the human holdings on Conalia, reports say. Perhaps the group should talk to the Tinoori, or Mr. Higgins (a volunteer Jayla found to be tested for sentience, though all the humans find him somewhat annoying). The Tinoori "ambassador", Moonlit Snow, is heading back for Tyrell's Folly again.
What about the other bloodlines? Jim and Ruehan say "They're safe," nigh simultaneously, but she'd like to know a little more than that. Well, one is on the ship and one is on Vircus. Donella asks if the one on the ship is a Telemon. No, a Nomarche. Donella would like to meet him. The group says she's indisposed. There's some discussion about how much danger said Nomarche puts herself in. Vircus is also explained in a bit more detail, from an old map.
Now that Donella is settled that the party is working for her, she instructs them to go and pick up the spare Hegemon, and stop the war on Tyrell's Folly so that they can get their Tinoori. Eva points out that she should also learn Power Projection. Ah - can she learn that from the book? No, someone will have to teach her. The book is carefully extracted again before they leave.
"Tell your Nomarche I command her to take better care of herself." -Last Heir to the HegemonyDonella says she'll work on a way to get herself and everyone to Gateway (the party quickly squashes the idea of taking her entire Cabinet, and suggests using her double). Remember - this needs to be a secret from everyone, because of the Terrans. Donella points out that she can't make plans by herself - she can't just sneak off alone to Gateway. The crew offers to transport her secretly, but she still thinks going AWOL will worry the rest of the government. Everyone considers how to convince her not to tell people - Jim realizes with a tac psych roll that one reason she's so cranky is that everyone she deals with is trying to convince her of things with tac psych. Sharra and Jim bluntly help Eva convince her to not tell anyone yet, with a ridiculous total of 21 successes.
And, oh, Vance is probably brainwashed. Well, that somewhat deflates the Hegemon's cheer. Ruehan endeavors to cheer her up by telling her he's a Vertaki - that interests her some. Are they really vampires? Ruehan says that's neither wholly accurate nor wholly inaccurate. Everyone heads out again, though Eva does eventually remember that when they went in, they had Gerard, and now they don't. As the doors shut, it's clear that Gerard is standing one step beside, two steps behind, the Hegemon's throne, at attention. (Eva mentions this to Gabriel, so nobody panics, as well as briefing him and teaching him power projection).
Meanwhile back at the ship, a pair of Tinoori have shown up, asking for transportation to Cabry. They are introduced to Moment Before Dawn as Moonlit Snow, and Elegant Simplicity of Motion. Moment Before Dawn has Akito sit in on the meeting, as she preceives that Elegant Simplicity of Motion is quite well trained in the arts of comabt, and isn't sure what the news of the war starting back up on Cabry portends. They serve refreshments while Elegant Simplicity of Motion and Akito discuss martial arts, while awaiting the captain's return to see if they can change destinations to go deliver Ambassador Moonlit Snow to his home.
After the Hegemon meeting Jim heads back to the ship to talk to them, while Ruehan, Eva, and Sharra head to Sharra's sister's house to talk to Minister Wade. Moonlit Snow seems barely willing to talk to Jim and just isn't interested in talking to any other humans, but the main story that the human have broken the cease fire and swarmed into Tinoori lands bringing death and destruction convince everyone that it's time to head back to Cabry.
Meanwhile, as it turns out, Minister Wade has in fact been briefed about the brainwashed guy, and the fact that Vance might be held by the same people. So they're ready for a possible enemy infiltrator, if Vance mysteriously returns. The visit is a somewhat depressing one.
That group returns to the ship, and meets the two Tinoori as well. Human news reports that the Tinoori have broken the cease fire, not the humans, so it seems clear to all that there is some misunderstanding somewhere. Well, it's unlikely to be investigated from here. The two "Humanoori" prisoners are readied for transfer to Tyrell's Folly as well, though not via the Hippocrates.
On to Cabry!
The automatic warning sounds throughout the ship: "We are about to enter jumpspace. Please shut down all perilous scientific experiments." The two new Tinoori are a little disconcerted that this is necessary. Elegant Simplicity of Motion perceives for danger, and notes that some of the people on board can do things to bring more peril. Eva summons the most likely suspect, Ruthie, to the bridge. Ruthie climbs out of one of the Jeffries tubes, and starts playing with the sensor console, which Sharra disconnects. Elegant Simplicity of Motion clarifies that it's the crew in particular who have this ability - the little girl is not particularly dangerous, but the ship itself is. Moment Before Dawn has the ability, but Night Blooming Wisteria (a consultant) does not. This is considered very strange.
Moonlit Snow asks to be delivered to the headquarters of the Philosophical Guidance Council on the Continent of the Hunt (in hex 3).
A brief digression on the map:People with tactics survey the situation - it does look like there was an initial advantage to the Tinoori, but that's starting to fade. Each division of troops is about a thousand guys. Jim's eyes gleam - he's been looking for a big tactical exercise. First Frost of Autumn is left in charge of the ship, with Ruthie as backup, and instructions to keep her out of trouble, while everyone else, including his parents, goes to see the Philosophical Guidance Council.
Landing on the Tinoori side of the line, everyone realizes that all human actions are at +3 difficulty (and -2 difficulty for Tinoori). Similarly, in the human governmental headquarters (10), Tinoori actions are at +3 difficulty and human actions at -2. In non-command hexes behind Tinoori lines (brown), humans are +2 difficulty and Tinoori at -1; in non-command hexes in human territory (green), the reverse is true. In the war zone (striped), all fighting is at -1 difficulty, while all talking and diplomacy is at +3 difficulty.
Moving betwseen hexes is tricksy - in the air is anti-aircraft, on the ground are patrols.
A number of Tinoori want to know why Moonlit Snow has brought spies or prisoners back with him. The status of the humans is clarified. Moonlit Snow says he will not be needing Elegant Simplicity of Motion unless and until he leaves the planet again, which he will not do while the war is in progress. So Elegant Simplicity of Motion may do whatever he likes, which in this case is hang about with the humans. Jim and Ocean Sunset, one of the philosophers on the PGC, share their perceptions. Ocean Sunset has high personal and evidential confidence that the recent attacks were begun by humans. Several Tinoori settlements were attacked by human artillery, while doing nothing particularly offensive. Investigators were sent to ascertain what had happened, but they did not return. Eventually, military command was given to Overwhelming Tactical Superiority. The PGC would be pleased to see the hostilities end, but find that unlikely, given the unpredictable behavior of humans.
Jim says that the humans claim that the Tinoori attacked first; perhaps they received false data. The Blue Hegemon did not order the attacks - Jim perceived surprise and irritation regarding them. Ocean Sunset says that in order to believe that the general population of humans has received false data, they will need proof and a consistent explanation to integrate into their worldview.
The party agrees to investigate. Jim asks whether Overwhelming Tactical Superiority could have been responsible. Ocean Sunset says that Overwhelming Tactical Superiority has been reminding the Philosophical Guidance Council of the rue he promised, on a daily basis, and that yes, he has been prosecuting the war more harshly than is necessarily required. But he has said that he was not responsible for the breaking of the cease fire, and Ocean Sunset is sure that he is not mad enough to have framed the humans for it.
The initial attack was at hex 8. The Philosophical Guidance Council cannot provide an escort, but will provide a Tinoori vehicle to use. Akito tries to drive it, but between the general hostility of the environment and the lack of an appropriate number of limbs, he isn't a very competent driver. Elegant Simplicity of Motion takes over.
The group reaches the rubbled Tinoori town without incident. It has the rounded buildings common to Tinoori areas, but many of the buildings are broken open or collapsed. Elegant Simplicity of Motion suggests that he speak to the local Tinoori first, and explain that they're investigating: "Introducing this information into their worldview will appease those who would not already want to kill us."
"I am Elegant Simplicity of Motion! We are here with the Philosophical Guidance Council's permission on a fact-finding mission. This human <indicating Jim> wishes peace between humans and Tinoori. These others profess to do so as well, and I mostly believe them."The local Tinoori permit two human representatives - those with tactics think that that's a number that the Tinoori think they can take. Elegant Simplicity of Motion also heads in, claiming (with accuracy) that he is not a representative, he's a Tinoori. Eva and Jim look around - the town has definitely suffered from artillery fire. Not pinpoint tactical, more like a standard barrage pattern, Jim thinks. Like carpet bombing, but with artillery.
"Humans are known with high confidence to be treacherous! Humans destroyed our houses."
"Artillery destroyed your houses. We do not know yet who was at the controls."
Looking around further, Eva finds pieces of an exploded shell in a building, and Jim finds a little pile of electronics, clearly human-made, but smashed to bits. Elegant Simplicity of Motion looks for inanimate threats, and finds an unexploded shell.
Eva and Jim ask about taking the electronics and bits of shrapnel. The Tinoori suggest that perhaps selling it is more appropriate. Eva gives them 100 asters from her pocket money. Did any of the local Tinoori see the attack? Yes, it came from the human direction. Jim brings Sharra the electronic stuff - Sharra thinks it was a radio transmitter of some sort. Do any of the Tinoori know anything about it? Those who lived in the nearby house were the elders of the town, and are dead now. They traded with the humans, but no one perceived them with this device in particular.
Akito and Jim, flanked by Elegant Simplicity of Motion, go to look at the unexploded shell. No one is particularly good at demolitions to start with, and this is still the land of extra difficulty for humans, so it's a bit scary. It looks like the shell landed the wrong way on a rock, jamming the firing mechanism somehow. It's definitely human - serial number 374/under-the-rock. Sharra provides some good insulated wire clippers, and Jim braces for disarm.
Elegant Simplicity of Motion announces to the other Tinoori that they're going to try and disarm the bomb. "You may wish to be farther away, and you may wish to not startle us." The other Tinoori contemplate startling the humans, if that will make them explode. Jim manages to disarm the primary detonator, but this leaves him holding the bomb, while the secondary detonator tries to fire. Akito swaps out with Sharra, who disarms the secondary detonator with ninja-like swiftness (and six karma). Now it's evidence!
Now where? To the human side! Jim would really like to drive through the war zone, for his merit badge, but this could be dangerous. On the other hand, flying through isn't less perilous, just differently perilous. After much argument, the party drives back to the ship, and starts flying to the human zone. Several automated warnings say to veer off or be destroyed, and a missile barrage ensues. Happily, Jim dodges most of it, and Sharra repairs the rest, before Eva convinces the human military to stop shooting. The Hippocrates lands in hex 10, the human political headquarters.
Governor Vandemeer's people claim that the Tinoori came over the border unprovoked, but the date is two days after the Tinoori town was shelled. None of the artillery attacked until afterwards, they're sure. The party brandishes the unexploded shell. Well, there's no date on the bomb, but it would have come from the artillery unit currently in hex 11. Again, the party is tasked with providing a coherent explanation and evidence. Well, it's obviously the Terrans, but that's not to the level of evidence yet.
Elegant Simplicity of Motion notes that the governor isn't as prejudiced as the general; the governor was somewhat pleased by the cease-fire being on his watch. He then tries to perceive if there is a connection between the electronics and the unexploded shell? There does seem to be, but he can't pin it down.
The party heads to the hills of Hex 6, the military command HQ. Major Mason (who the party last met as Captain Mason) is in command. The artillery shell is brandished again. Records indicate that it was issued from Central Supply to the Second Armor division six months ago. What was Second Armor doing the day the Tinoori claim to have been shelled? They received an A+ on their fitness and targetting drill on a section of uninhabited scrubland. The Major's XO, Lila Nunez, observed it. Everyone's ears perk up - XOs are traditionally the Terran traitors. How long has Nunez been with Major Mason? She's come up through the ranks. According to her records, she's been something of an unassuming wallflower until two months ago, when she came back from a long weekend she was out sick and started working really hard.
An intelligence analysis on her track record: she's been very efficient, moving people around, increasing efficiency. The moves seem to be based on their tactical evaluations and psych evaluations - the ones who are more trigger happy are closer to the front. The group shows the broken electronic device to Major Mason, but he doesn't recognize it. He says most of the military techies are in Hex 14, with the refugees and medical camp. Maybe someone there can take a look.
The group heads, first, to the hex of scrubland that allegedly had artillery tests. Nothing seems to have been blown up here any time recently. Well, that's suspicious.
Next, to the medical camp. Jim finds the techies, working on something. Eva, on the other hand, spots Andrej Kestrel helping with the medical tent. Light begins to dawn. Nunez wasn't brainwashed... she was... replaced by Dylanna... who is trying to destroy the cease fire... because Jim helped broker it. Jim begins to explode, and Elegant Simplicity of Motion notices that everyone suddenly looks much more terrified than they did a few moments ago (one Dylanna is apparently deemed far worse than a pile of Terrans).
Eva strikes up a conversation with Andrej. She thought he had gone off to look for Dylanna. He had, but he couldn't find her, so he's helping out here. But he's really not a very good liar. He tries to disengage from the conversation and head off, but the group is having none of that. Doesn't he want to talk to Katya? She's in the ship waiting for him! A large pile of persuasion keeps him around for a little while, but that doesn't last through too much discussion of how to get Dylanna, so Ruehan mind controls him to get into the van, and Akito sedates him with Turquoise.
The argument over tactics continues. At issue is the fact that if they take this all to Major Mason, he will probably want to run the show of grabbing her, and he probably won't be subtle, and she'll escape. Or get killed, which Jim doesn't want. Can they disguise themselves as MPs with fake credentials? That's not popular with Elegant Simplicity of Motion or Jim.
People think to wonder where Geoffrey Oxford is. Oops, maybe they shouldn't have knocked Andrej out. He gets tied to a chair and handcuffed, and then woken up. Needless to say, he's something of a hostile witness at this point. He doesn't know where Oxford is, though. He says Dylanna's gotten tired of all this, if they let her go, she won't do it again. Nobody believes him. But he thinks he's the only person who doesn't want her dead. What would he do if they were him? He doesn't have a good solution - take him captive and shoot her, he supposes, which is what they seem to be planning. The angst continues, until Akito can bear it no longer.
Akito sedates Andrej again, bringing the conversation to an end - Andrej tries again to escape before the drug takes effect, but Elegant Simplicity of Motion webs him. Akito drives the van back to the ship, and Andrej's unconscious body is smuggled in and deposited in a locked stateroom. Then, it's back to arguing.
On the one hand, there's "let the Major do it." This will cause her to run or die, presumably. Sharra points out she's definitely committed enough crimes to be executed. Akito wants to know why people keep saying "executed" as if it's a bad thing. Well, no, it's just Jim who doesn't want her executed. Akito starts to write this off to girl cooties, until Jim points out "I haven't even met this woman...", and then Akito loses it. It's auto space cooties, and they've gotten in Jim's brain.... The rest of the party helpfully points out that it's probably auto interdimensional cooties, and that Jim is probably secretly smitten by her Evil Twin. Well, her Good Twin, actually.
Right. Back to the plan. We had our first hand of "let the Major do it." Other hands are "Sneak in" and "Do something deceptive" and "Full frontal assault." Again, Jim and Elegant Simplicity of Motion can't do anything extra-deceptive. How about sending in Eva to distract her, or get captured? The discussion seems to go on for ever, and Akito starts going through the van's glove box looking for any spare Turquoise, in the hopes that sedating Jim will make it faster. Alas, he can't find any, though when Jim hears he's looking for some, notes that there's some in his backpack. Akito can't quite bring himself to sedate Jim with his own Turquoise, so things do not degenerate into intra-party combat at this time.
The group settles on the "Send Eva in first", with backup Akito. The pair heads in in the van, pretending to be on a surprise inspection - though it's really very orderly - while everyone else sneaks down towards the army base. Sharra has given Eva a wireless microphone, so Sharra can patch in any conversation to the base PA system.
The surprise inspection inspects along, until they get to meet Nunez. Eva introduces herself, which Nunez (okay, yes, it's Dylanna, but well disguised) recognizes. "And this is?" she asks, indicating Akito. "This is my bodyguard," Eva explains, leaving it at that. The Hegemon has sent Eva to ask about the war. Dylanna invites them into the command carrier to discuss it, and flips a few switches. Sharra's mike goes dead.
Dylanna didn't expect to see Eva here alone, or with Akito. She would have guessed her other bodyguard was more Brave. Eva doesn't take the bait, and says she's here on behalf of the Blue government. Dylanna says Eva can tell the Blue government that it's going to win its war now. She's been reorganizing, and they're going to push the Tinoori right off the end of the continent. Ah, but the Hegemon didn't want a war right now, now with the war with Red. Dylanna mocks the idea of the peace - a temporary truce brokered by a Sparky Cola playboy - how long could it have lasted?
Sharra, one with the night, climbs up to a PA loudspeaker and starts trying to patch the neutrino radios in. Jim sneaks around preparing cover hexes, and Ruehan comes in, using some "don't look over here" mind control for cover.
Eva keeps trying to goad Dylanna.
"Why are you doing this? Don't the Girl Scouts have ethics? Do they like starting wars for petty vengeance?" -EvaDylanna wants to know what Eva wants. To end the war? To turn her in to Eva's precious Tinoori, or General Vandermeer? Well, what does Dylanna want? Dylanna suggests letting her leave. Eva is scornful of that as a solution - let her leave to just start a war somewhere else? Dylanna says she's probably done with that. "Probably?" Eva thinks she has a lot to atone for.
"Girl Scouts don't start wars, they survive them." -Dylanna
"You seem to have wandered a bit far from your ideals, though I assume you intend to survive this one."
"Perhaps those ideals are from a time that no longer exists."
"No time like that will exist again if you forsake them the way you have."
"No time like that will exist again in any case."
The conversation veers into talking about Jim. Dylanna is incensed that so many people are kowtowing to Mr. Powell, in this absurd farce that he's the "savior of Tinoori-Human relations, the Boy Scout that can't lie." She points out "Check their oath carefully. "Can't lie" isn't in there."
On top of the barracks, Sharra finishes wiring her own headset in, and starts broadcasting.
Dylanna is tired of the fencing. If Jim has blinded Eva, she doubts she can talk Eva out of it. So why don't they get on with it? Eva asks if she'll confess. She shrugs - she can leave a signed confession, if Eva makes sure that Jim and his kind never bother her again. Well, just Jim - he's the only one of his kind left that still "believes." Wait, what about Geoffrey Oxford? Ah, well, they've been discussing things for several weeks, so he's not so much a problem anymore. Where is he? That's information she's willing to trade for. What about the real Lila Nunez? Dylanna laughs bitterly - Eva probably won't believe her, but she didn't do anything to Lila. She had an accident, poisoned herself.
Dylanna notes that there is beginning to be a fuss outside from the PA being on. Ah, the distraction must be finishing up, then.
"Is it that time already? I hoped we'd talk a little longer" -DylannaDylanna continues: "Give me Andrej, and I will be generous in all these things you have asked for. This is the last time I am saying this." and gives Eva an action. Eva offers to bring her to Andrej. Dylanna, exasperated, says "Fine. Let's go," and they head out.
"Feel free to continue talking." -Eva
"Captain, the PA is on..." -from outside
"The important things have been said already. Give me what I want, I'll give you Oxford, you won't have to worry about this sort of thing any more." -Dylanna
"It will be difficult to let you walk off scot free after all you've done. What sort of proposals for atonement do you have?"
"This uncaring universe has taken enough from me that we can call it even."
<she opens the door>
"We have Andrej." -Eva
<she turns back, and shuts the door>
"Give him back or Oxford dies." -Dylanna
"He's with his sister." -Eva
"Give him back or Oxford dies. -Dylanna"
Once out in the compound, Dylanna shouts to the base that there are eight infiltrators - two are inside the command tent, there are likely two at the van... she conveys her estimate of the tactical situation nigh-instantly, but with one flaw: in dozenss of situations she has analyzed, every time the Hippocrates crew does something, they bring eight people. But this time there are only six.
Akito leaps to restrain Dylanna, and to use her as a shield aginst the machine gun turrets. One of the other officers orders Akito to release the captain, and gives him an action. Akito uses it to claim that the captain is an imposter.
Leaping down into the fray, Elegant Simplicity of Motion webs a guard or two, and Jim covers Dylanna's mouth with duct tape. Ruehan starts calling Major Mason, trying to convince him that Nunez is an imposter, but it's difficult from here in the extra-combat no-diplomacy zone. The officer arguing with Akito tells everyone that these people are Tinoori collaborators, and to shoot them! Some shooting happens, though much of it is at a bunch of illusionary Tinoori that Ruehan has produced. Eva finishes convincing Major Mason that Nunez is an imposter, as one of the officers assumes command and starts handing out actions to his side, including one for the artillery.
The major orders the newly in-command guy to take over (he's done that) and arrest the captain (well, okay). That means she gets taken away from Akito, though Jim adds some handcuffs.
Elegant Simplicity of Motion and Akito head for the artillery group, and manage to destroy their controls moments before they launch, though Elegant Simplicity of Motion is taken down by the soldiers in the process.
Dylanna keeps gesturing to Eva to take the duct tape off, and Eva finally relents. Dylanna offers: "They're going to drag me away and execute me now, so let Andrej go, and I'll tell you where Oxford is before I die." Jim says "Done!" but she wasn't talking to Jim.
Dylanna and Elegant Simplicity of Motion get brought to the military HQ, where Major Mason is briefed. Dylanna willingly types up her confession - she doesn't seem to care, which makes everyone very suspicious. Everyone uses all their psych skills to try and figure her out - she doesn't appear to care about the war, she just cares that when the Hippocrates leaves, Andrej isn't with them. But she's clearly as skilled as Jim, so if she's not escaping, she must be holding something back.
Eva tells Major Mason that Dylanna has a secret plan, and that he should ship her to New Light immediately. He wasn't planning to let her live long enough to be shipped anywhere. Eva offers to take her in the Hippocrates. No, if she's going to New Light, she's going in chains with a platoon of military. But he thinks they can just do a fast court martial.
Jim thinks that the party needs to have her in personal custody, or she'll just escape. And shooting her now isn't acceptable either.
"It's those space cooties again." -AkitoDylanna tries again: "You leave the planet while Andrej is on it, and I'll tell you where Geoffrey Oxford is before I die. I intend to be dead by tomorrow - how fast are you going to leave?" Eva decides that Dylanna must have some clever psychological plan to turn Andrej into a bitter psychotic Girl Scout if she dies while he's on the planet, and refuses. And points out that she has a failure of imagination if she thinks she has nothing to do but die. Dylanna asks for better suggestions. Go to Craterrock and rebuild society, Eva suggests. Okay, let's go, Dylanna says. There is no going. Oh, all right, Dylanna sees it wasn't a serious suggestion.
Eva says she can probably swing getting Dylanna transferred to Craterrock if it means giving up the vendetta. Dylanna shrugs - that was all finished. It's pointless, anyway. Maybe she really is serious about not doing this any more, Eva thinks. What does she want? Really, she says, all she wants is for the Hippocrates to set Andrej free and leave.
Switching around, Sharra and Eva go to wake Andrej up and talk to him, while Jim goes to talk to Dylanna. Andrej doesn't really seem to be up to anything sneaky. They've caught the woman he loves and she'll be executed; they're on opposite teams, and he's sad about it, but he'd really rather not be a prisoner any more. He leaves.
"Tell Katya I'm sorry." -AndrejJim tries to get through to Dylanna. Does she think Andrew Prey made the wrong choice? She briefly considers whether to try to kill Jim flat out for saying that name, but then gives it up. "Has anything more obvious ever been spoken," she wonders. Jim points out that he didn't have a choice. Well, of course not, she thinks. But, he says, Geoffrey Oxford asked him, later, that knowing the chaos was coming and he might die, would he go, and Jim said yes. This "choice" does not impress Dylanna.
"I'm sorry too." -Sharra
"I could spend fifteen minutes talking to the guard outside, and he'd let me go. Has he chosen? And they had years on you."Jim says he's trying to make things better. Does that mean nothing? Dylanna thinks that Jim is too late. He claims it's never too late! One has to deal with what is here - that's only practical. She counters: his organization is about throwing away what is here, and dealing with what is not yet here.
Take here. She wouldn't have been able to start this war back then - now it's just "the pointless remains of a culture which your kind let fall." Jim wants to know how they let it fall? Dylanna says they're all about fighting the good fight - so what are they doing here, rather than back there, when the good fight was still happening? Jim wants to know, what if it couldn't have been saved? Dylanna thinks anything is possible if you don't jump ship.
Dylanna tries again: "Let Andrej go, and I'll give Oxford back to you." Jim is dubious - does Dylanna actually care about Andrej? He should have lived in a better time, she says. We should all have lived in a better time, Jim counters. About this time, Andrej shows up in the military HQ hex, having been released from the Hippocrates, and starts trying to snow the Major with his legal fu. They can't prosecute her without knowing her identity, for one. And since she was impersonating someone else, they don't have her identity so there's no filling out of forms, so no court martial. He dives in with a gusto in an attempt to completely gum up the works.
Jim, still baffled by what she's up to and why she's not escaping, thinks hard with all his tac psych. He thinks (though it's possible she could be fooling him) that she's committing suicide the slow, painful way, because she's way beyond anything that one can atone for. "That means we absolutely have to make sure that she does not die," Jim concludes. Everyone else backs away from the space cooties.
The battle between "She'll be dead by the end of the day!" and "You'll be in court for the next twenty years!" continues to rage in the Major's office. Jim suggests that there be no executing her without hearing from the General first. Well, sure, Major Mason wasn't in that much of a hurry to not actually tell his commanding officer.
The party hurries to talk to the General. He's pleased by their efforts in capturing the saboteur. Who knew one person could cause that much havoc? Jim pushes again for not executing her - bring her to New Light instead. Eva suggests that she's probably left something to blow up in their faces, so it would be better to not kill her right off.
Then, it's the Philosophical Guidance Council's turn. Once again, they're a little baffled by the non-existence of "And then, you killed her" in the story. Jim claims that his personal estimate is that the chance of Dylanna turning good are low but non-zero, and the chance of her turning bad again are low but non-zero. Elegant Simplicity of Motion thinks this means she should die; Ocean Sunset and the other Philosophical Guidance Council members are more concerned with retribution than atonement, but do find some irony in the humans having been deluded by a human falsegiver. Elegant Simplicity of Motion argues for having Dylanna held by the Tinoori instead, who are less easily duped.
Evidence is presented to both sides that the human side did attack first, and reparations will be made. Andrej calls the Hippocrates to tell them that Geoffrey Oxford is in the POW camp at Hex 13 - where the artillery had been misdirected to aim for. The group swoops in and rescues him - he is surprised to see them, but looks too tired and stunned to be anything like happy.