"Any tool that accomplishes the task at hand is the right tool."
-- Daubert Grimm, AS 2452, holding a pipe cleaner and a large rock.
Gateway -> Mirror Tinara -> Gateway
The Throne of Klothos calls the Hippocrates - apparently "Sentinel Therive" says that they'll clear him for docking. There is some consternation - what if it's the evil Mirror Janzur? Ruehan calls him and fishes for details on their travels together. It seems to be the correct Janzur. Ruehan clears him to dock.
After docking, Janzur comes on board with three other elite. Corwin they've already met - Benedict and Sand are new. After pleasantries are out of the way, Janzur asks if they have any more details about Gerard opening the gate. They show him the movie. (People with a lot of perception and psychology note that Janzur is secretly pleased by the comments about him.) He'll be relieving Gerard of duty and leaving Sand for Donella. Oh, and he's officially committing the Vircan fleet to the fight if Hippocrates needs them.
The other thing that he's going to attempt to deal with is the situation with Jayla. Apparently, just as Hector was appearing in Tinara, mirror Jayla showed up on Vircus and struck down Jayla. She's alive, but in some sort of psychic lock. No, mirror Jayla probably isn't also in the psychic lock - mirror Jayla won the psychic battle. Janzur will be meeting some psi experts from the outworlds here, to take them back to Vircus to look at Jayla, before Janzur goes to try and take on mirror Jayla. The fact that Jayla is out of commission shouldn't be made too public, though they're telling the Jaylaists that Janzur knows about.
Ruthie says Akito could take Janzur, but neither Akito nor Janzur is interested in fighting just yet.
Janzur also brought the plasma bomb for Dr. Kye, in case its needed. He heads off to deal with Gerard, while the party contemplates the perfidy of the Mirrorverse. Kith gets Linnet and Ruthie to start making tinfoil hats.
The airlock doorbell rings. It's Viktor, and several guards. Off to the conference room again! Viktor, being not quite as smooth as his elder brother, is visibly a little worried by the fact that none of the others (Hippocrates? Ace? Jim?) are available. In any event, he has a mission that he'd like their assistance with.
All the viable scenarios for retaking Tinara involve severing the dimensional rift first, because the Mirror fleet is being supplied and reinforced with all of the resources of the Mirrorverse. Janzur has agreed to lend some of his Elite to open the jumpgate to allow a counter-offensive through. It isn't intended to be a victorious counter-offensive, but it needs to be somewhat credible. The counter-offensive will be cover for an intelligence-gathering mission. Probes will be launched that will try to contact any remnants of the Red fleet in the system, and survey the general layout of the Mirror fleet. Meanwhile the intelligence-gathering operation will be cover for a very small mission that will sneak through the dimensional rift and destroy the gate. Viktor is hoping that the Hippocrates crew will be able to pull off this last mission. Sophia is the only one likely to be able to tell how to shut down the rift safely, and the Mirrorverse is possibly full of people who are loyal to people who look like the crew, which might help. They can supply a shuttle that looks like one of the intelligence-gathering probes, but people decide the Dancer is probably a better ship to do the sneaking with.
Various supplies are requisitioned. A box of bombs, suitable for exploding rift generators. Sophia gets a box of mad science components - she can't get an omnihedron, but does get most of the other things she needs. Linnet and Ruthie provide a large set of aluminum pirate hats and aluminum baseball hats, and one aluminum beret. Sharra takes the beret. Akito gets a barrel of small rocks, while they're requisitioning things. Max wanders around with an empty box and a requisition form from the Science Council, plus 100 asters. He also looks for random stuff that the group might need, and finds Sharra's Remote Robot Doobie #2, tangled in a closet with some brown robes. He takes the robot and the brown robes, just in case.
The group takes the spare dose of glitter. Sophia points out nobody should tell Ace they brought glitter onto his ship.
"Hah! We're smuggling Glitter on Ace's ship" -AkitoTwig is in his portable tube, so it would be somewhat unreasonable to bring it with him in it. Extra Chartreuse supplies are laid in. Janzur offers the services of Corwin, to open the jump gate to get them back, and to watch out for Sophia. That is, to protect Sophia, not to protect the party from Sophia. Max updates his will.
Then, the mission is off! The Tinara system is full of massive space fleets. There are some by each of the jump gates, and some by the dimensional rift, and some near Tinara. Max not-a-problems as many ships as he can, and the Dancer's sneaking mostly avoids being noticed by the rest. Then, it's a crazy slingshot past the sun (closer than Akito meant) before heading into the rift.
"Jesus!" -Akito, noticing the ship is on fireThen, the Dancer plunges through the rift. Mirror Tinara is similar, but the fleets are in different places, and the third moon of Tinara seems to be projecting the dimensional rift. Everyone puts on their tinfoil hats.
"That's 'Jayla'." -Kith
The Dancer sneaks around the rift towards the moon, monitoring communications. There is one reserve fleet by the rift on "emergency standby", with three farther out on one-day readiness. As they get closer to the moon, though, Max notes something odd.
"That's no moon! That's a space station!" -Max
"Now I want to go back and look at the moon in our universe." -MaxMaybe they could just blow the space station up with the plasma bomb? Sophia thinks if they do that, one of several things could happen:
"Perhaps we could do that later?" -Sophia
The disguised Dancer uses the ID of one of the other fleet ships, heads towards the space station. It's grabbed by the station's tractor beam, and dragged in to a docking arm. Several people disguise themselves in big brown robes. The group disembarks into the docking facility. Up the hallway are four guys in white Matrix armor. People take off their tinfoil hats, as they look somewhat suspicious.
Max puts himself, Kye, Kith, and Sophia in a no-one's-problem field. Ruehan strides forwards, and tells the troopers "Good job. Man your posts, and tell no one else we are here." With a bit of mind control help, they obey.
The elevator gravlift up to the main section of the station is key-coded, however. Ruehan tries to mind-control one of the troopers to let them through the door, but the white-armored trooper isn't authorized for that himself and so resists. Ruehan congratulates him on passing his test, and returns him to his post.
Sharra talks to the elevator control interface. Can it let them through without telling anyone? Yes, but it has to write it all down. Well, that's okay - but it should write it all down encrypted in the key that Sharra gives it. It thinks that's exciting, and starts happily encrypting other stuff, like the blueprints and the prisoner manifest.
Wait, blueprints? That could be useful for figuring out where to go. Unfortunately, having the elevator describe the blueprints to Sharra isn't so helpful ("There's a line, and then another line that curves a little..."). Happily, Sharra's #2 robot doobie has been practicing talking to things, and it can interface with the door and download the blueprints.
"She's here! She's here!" -Remote 2R2 beeps excitedly, and plays a message. It looks like Klothos, dressed in white samite.
"Voriig Kye, years ago you saved my father during the Outworlds Incursion, now I beg you to help us in our fight against the New Imperium. I regret that I am unable to make my request of you in person, but I have been captured by Hegemonic forces. I have information vital to the survival of our people which must get out. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Voriig Kye, you're my only hope." -Princess KlothosRuehan mind-reads the troopers - they're supposed to notify Control if there's any trouble or if the tractor beam goes off. Ruehan convinces them that these aren't the guys they're supposed to protect the corridor against, and everyone heads into the elevator. R2 displays the blueprints and what Sharra has been able to figure out - the Princess is in cell 1138 on the detention level, the tractor beam controls are at the station's edge, there are four dimensional rift projectors, a suite of cameras, and a suite of guns.
"I have to go rescue the princess while you go do the dangerous things." -KyeKith suggests freeing more than just Princess Klothos, though that may be a better distraction than a long-term victory.
Several of the corridors are outlined with yellow - they seem to need badges to travel, and the psi experts think that they have psi-feedback effects. People skulk cautiously near the elevator.
People with psi detection abilities think that there are people in most of the nearby rooms. Ruehan imprints one with a post-hypnotic suggestion to come out into the hall to go to the bathroom. The guy calls in to report, and gets chewed out for nearly going the wrong way across the badge-boundary. He goes around the other way, and as he goes past the corridor that everyone is hiding in, Akito yoinks him in while Max covers his mouth. The overhead lights flash from white to yellow, and Control yells at him over his headset. Ruehan mind controls him into saying that he tripped, while Akito takes the badge and headset into the corridor again.
"'I tripped'. We'll see about that. When you get out of the bathroom, report to your supervisor." -ControlRuehan mind-reads the hapless captive. He's a techie (Number Four) working on the station. There are several rules he has to follow: don't go from one color to another color without clearing it with central control, always wear his badge, and obey the guys in white suits.
Akito takes the badge and headset to the bathroom lest Control start to find the dawdling suspicious. The group discusses how to get around security. Sharra starts making more badges, though they all match this one guy's ID.
The party splits into two halves: Sophia, Max, Ruehan, and Corwin head towards the first of the rift projectors, while Akito, Sharra, Kye and Kith head towards the prison. Akito quickly zooshes back out of the bathroom and leaves the original badge on the floor before rejoining the group.
All the badges get turned on at the same time, which causes the lights to turn yellow again, and Control starts shouting at Number Four to report.
Once Sophia takes a look at a dimensional rift projector, she thinks the plasma bomb would be a very bad idea in the "merge the universes" sense. But conventional explosives should be able to blow up all four projector devices and that will do.
Down in the prison, Akito finishes kicking the door in. Princess Klothos stands up and throws her arms around Kye.
"Voriig! You came!" -Princes KlothosThe lighting all turns blue. This is deemed to be ominous. Soldiers start trickling out of the grav lifts to converge on the party.
"Yes, yes, I came; now we're getting out of here." -Dr. Kye
Sophia conceals a bomb on the first dimensional projector. Kith checks Klothos out with Diagnosis - she's mostly okay, a little malnourished. Sharra asks her if she has any useful information? She has crucial info on the design of orbital mind control lasers... but that's not so much help at getting out.
Things start getting somewhat more chaotic. Kye leaps over a deathtrap and heads out of the detention level, but Klothos isn't able to, so Sharra spends a while jimmying it open. Kye and Akito start taking down soldiers, while Kith stabilizes them before they die. Max spends some time reality-tunneling people into interior rooms to hide from the guards while they make their way to the other two dimensional rift projectors.
Kye comes back to the detention level to help the escaping group, which is still held up by the deathtrap. Princess Klothos is happy that he came back.
"Yes, just for you, my dear. Oh, and you too, Sharra." -KyeEveryone's HUD notes that Grimblemaury has just appeared - actually, Growltiger, the mirror version. Growltiger briefly appears next to everyone, looks around, and disappears again.
Meanwhile, Kith has run off alone to the tractor beam controls, and is flipping switches, but it's slow going. Growltiger claws everyone, everywhere for twelve points. The last of the bombs is planted, with the timers set for an hour. Growltiger does another round of claw attacks, and Sharra heals Klothos, who doesn't have so many hit points. A mere five successes of "not your problem" is not sufficient to keep Max and friends not Growltiger's problem.
Kith burns the last of her actions, and a bunch of karma, finishing the switch-flipping at the tractor beam.
"I plan for my spirit to follow Sharra around and give her advice at random intervals." -KithKye goes down under blaster fire and Growltiger-claws, but Klothos heals him with his heal-injector. Sharra instructs her robot doobies to mob the guards, but they're not very menacing in this universe. One of them is hit, and bursts into flames. Ruehan hits Growltiger with a mental attack, but this may have been a mistake, as now Growltiger's attacks are specifically aimed at Ruehan.
Several soldiers point guns at Kith and tell her to surrender. Foolishly, they give her an action to do so, and she sprints down the corridor. Ruehan turns into a bird, which helps him flee faster, and also confuses Growltiger's targetting. Kye, Max, and Sophia reach the elevator to the docking ring, and there's more shooting. Sophia throws her hands in the air and shouts that it's not her fault!
Back near the tractor beam, Mirris shoots two of the soldiers chasing Kith, and drags her along. This seems perfectly natural to everyone except Dr. Kye. Sharra is taken down by blaster fire - all her robot doobies say "Noooo!" but no one can hear them. Akito picks Sharra up to get her to the docking ring.
Ruehan opens the elevator door, flies down the corridor (as a bird) to behind the four white armor troopers. He mind controls the captain and the lieutenant to stand at attention and tell their subordinates to do the same. Unfortunately, as they were waiting for trouble, they shoot him first and apologize in a panicked fashion later.
Sophia continues to protest that nobody should shoot her, she's being kidnapped. Growltiger attempts to teleport in to claw Ruehan, but is foiled by Ruehan now being an energy ball.
A number of bombs that Max placed around the station go off, though Growltiger teleports out just before he's hit. The deathtraps stop working.
The party continues to flee. Kith and Mirris arrive, except that now it's Kith and Klothos's pilot, which convinces everyone. Corwin holds the line at the top of the elevator: "None shall pass!" and prevents any more soldiers from getting down after the group. However, he's hit, and falls down the elevator shaft.
Sophia picks up the unconscious Corwin. "I got one! I got one! It's not my fault!" Growltiger shows up in person to try and get Ruehan, no matter what form he is. People start leaping into the Dancer, but Ruehan has to go last, since he's mind-controlling the stormtroopers (er, guys in white Matrix armor).
Klothos's pilot says "Princess, we must go!" and gives Klothos an action to leap into her shuttle. Klothos takes a moment to soliloquize to Kye "Oh, my love, though we had such small time together, remember me! Parting is such sweet sorrow!" Kye tries his best to keep Klothos - people keep running off with his women! - but he's no match for Jessica's mind control, and they leave, after Klothos gives him the plans to the orbital mind control platforms. He consoles himself with the fact that he's probably had enough of an impression (due to some karma spending) that the other-universe Klothos should also be affected.
Akito defends Ruehan from the last of Growltiger's claw attacks. Kye decides that he has to rescue some woman, and gets Sophia off the map into the Dancer. She gives him a kiss and a "my hero!".
Then, it's a dash back through the rift, as it shuts behind them (when the explosives finally go off), and fleeing back through the jump gate to Riden (with an overclocked "Bat out of Hell"). Max scans the third moon of Tinara - it doesn't appear to secretly be a space station in this universe, though there is an orbital mind control platform being constructed nearby. Tinara sends an encrypted data stream as they leave, which the Dancer records.
The party declares that they have mocking rights over Viktor now, since they pulled off the mission without any of the big guns he wanted, and returns to Gateway, triumphant.