"The man that finds he has nothing left to do with his life is soon embarked upon the task of dying."
-- - Li Tsevernal, Court Mocker, Highguard, AS 2581
Riden -> most of the other Linked Worlds
Max talks to Grady Hollimon, the pilot of Omninet Benthic Researcher Two (the Anglerfish). (The explosion of the Dancer, the appearance of the Anglerfish, and other excitement, is covered in Looking Out the Windows). Omninet is definitely interested in the "weird bit of hyperspace" that's stuck in the Dancer's airlock. Max and Watts try to brief her on the "hyperspace monster", which she resolutely refuses to believe in. They brandish their tapes and recordings at her. An Omninet specialist comes and takes a look at the airlock, and says that it isn't technically "hyperspace" but is merely very hyperspatial. She demonstrates: if you change your configuration while walking the airlock (such as picking something up or putting something down) you take damage. She thinks it'll fade as the Dancer goes through hyperspace some more - though by "fade" she means "diffuse out", so it could make the Hippocrates shuttle bay hyperspatial.
Omninet offers to buy the Dancer for 20,000 asters. The party declines. Well, how about just the airlock, for 10,000 asters? Watts haggles the price up to 12,500 plus all the expenses of doing the replacement.
Sharra and Leonora think that replacing the airlock isn't a very hard technical challenge, and won't be a problem for the Dancer, but it would be kind of fun to turn the hyperspatial area into an anti-theft vault - if you walked in and picked something up to steal, you'd take damage when you walked out. Of course, so would the item you were carrying, and it couldn't be set to only work on bad guys (and Watts points out you could also get around it by throwing objects in and out of the vault). Having a vault that only really works on non-fragile items and damages everyone doesn't seem to be popular, though, so the idea is nixed.
Max sends DaVinci email, hoping to set up a bidding war between him and Omninet over the price of the airlock.
Kith finishes resisting the lure of Glitter! Yay!
Evil Sharra is offloaded to the Outworlds embassy, who (it is believed) will take the idea of her having eerie convincing-people powers more seriously, and who will then turn her over to the Riden police for murder of her clone.
Maury turns up for the last of the Clear tube experiments, separating Leucria (a cat/dog chimaera created by Cain) into something more like a Jellical and a dog. One Set-like mechanic later, the party has done 150 points of damage to Maury, but their healing technology is strong and he doesn't fall over.
Towards the end of the mechanic, one of the cards mysteriously changes color, allowing them to finish up the sets in fairly close proportions; the pseudo-Jellical is an approximately even mix between cat and human, and the dog has all the dog bits that it should. Maury has to spend a karma, but the clear tube passes with flying colors! Kaufman Degeneration is cured!
Max notes that the card changed color at the same time as the sublimity meter on the sensor console went up a notch. When did someone install a sublimity meter? That seems to be new. Hmm...
Sure enough, Xanthippe has arrived. Her ship docks with the Hippocrates, and she strides down the gangplank, looking fierce. She frowns, puts her hands on her hips, and announces "I have come to put you back on schedule." Everyone dutifully looks worried, and she laughs and announces "There's not really a schedule, I just always wanted to say that."
Anyhow, she's noticed that she can't really see the future past some sort of event about a year from now. That could mean the universe is being destroyed then, or someone has put up a barrier, or someone is mucking with the timestream. The party summons First Frost of Autumn to see if he can see the future past a year from now. He's somewhat alarmed by this request - they want him to perceive the future of things that have not happened and might not happen after he perceives them? Hmm, put that way, it might not be a good idea. Does he think it's too dangerous for his worldview? He says that he has been warned that such things are dangerous, but he cannot definitely say that it is a certain threat to his worldview. The party decides that maybe he doesn't have to look after all.
Xanthippe says that she needs to get the crew focused and ready for whatever it is that's coming. Their auras are "like wwwoooooong" (she says, waving her arms). Watts, schooled in the theory of video games, sees what she's driving at:
"You need to finish all the side plots, hello!" -WattsMirris decides this is like what Akito was talking about, with her chi being disordered.
Xanthippe produces a set of cards that have some ideas for 'side plots' that the group could resolve - the more they resolve, the more they will focus themselves and get points which Xanthippe thinks will be useful in the upcoming Weird Event. (Okay, technically, Mike produces the deck of cards - Xanthippe just has some suggestions for planets).
"That's the deck of loose plot threads? That's so cool." -MirrisThe first contenders are New Light, Juice, and Tyrell's Folly - as planets get resolved, then new planets appear as possibilities.
New Light is the first planet to score a visit. Upon arrival, the crew receives an invitation to a Pronouncement to be made at the palace. (Dr. Kye and his women disembark).
Leonora and Sharra drop in on the Wade parental units, shocking everyone. Her mom adapts reasonably quickly to treating them like different people, and a shopping and haircut trip is had in which Leonora gets a more stylish look. Sharra's dad disapproves of Sharra having accidentally cloned herself, but seems to think of them more as the same person. Vance thinks it's totally cool and wants to know if they can split apart and recombine. Sharra is forced to admit that having a clone doesn't come with any new superpowers. Vance starts looking for a second ninja suit.
Max (with Mirris) meets up with Tom Corum and arranges to endow a "new paradigm of archaeological institute" which focuses on science instead of rivalry, and will be supported by the new shipping company Max is building.
Kith arranges to spend some time with Peter (the kidnapped Hegemite) and squashes his brain quite thoroughly. He will be showing no signs of Terran sympathy, triggers, or even ambition any time soon. In the long run, Kith is sure he'll be happier this way.
Hippocrates meets up with General Hornberg, and gives him (as the new "Interim Strategos") the Strategos collar pips having belonged to Ambros Nomarche.
At the palace, Donella makes her pronoucement to a packed audience. She talks for a while about stability and prosperity and more stability and moving forward and so on (much cheering!). She will be marrying in a year and a day (much cheering!). Then there's more talk about stability and peace (much cheering!). Then she announces that she will be marrying Viktor Marchant (much chee- wait, what?)
Xanthippe says "ah-hah!" as it becomes clear that the event she can't see past will be the wedding.
As the loose ends on New Light are cleared up, another card is added: Lendt.
"Can we ditch Ruthie there?"Instead, the Hippocrates heads for Juice. This time, Seeker isn't sure why they're visiting - he says he's been having some difficulty with his proleptic faculties lately. The crew takes a boat over to the Cetacean Institute, to visit Seeker and the whales. Tumble and Tiny are there right now - Scoot is apparently off giving lessons to the Isinglass (which the crew is allowed to know about).
It requires some sort of sonar hearing to properly hear whales - Max rigs up something with his tricorder, and Hippocrates has natural sonar. The CI provides them with translation programs - they're actually speaking a very slow dialect of dolphin, rather than original whale. The dolphins say they are in need of a genetic engineer to suggest some modifications to the genome to allow more diversity, without keeping them from being whales. Kith provides some suggestions.
The whales ask Kith if she's going to get married; she says "no" quite firmly, and notes that there are many paths to happiness. The whales agree, but say that the paths to happiness are only among other people. Kith points out that she works with many other people, so the whales decide that's good.
Max gets a fix on where to look for Stone - it's very, very deep. Hippocrates checks if the whales can dive that deep - alas, no. Since whalespeak can be heard for miles and miles, Hippocrates is promptly hailed by Hero, the flying dolphin, who hears he is in need of a deep-sea diver. Hippocrates explains the basics about a fight with a bad guy, whose body needs to be recovered. Hero is happy to assist.
People check the news, just to be sure - Swimmer, as well as most of the other dolphin terrorists, was captured in the aftermath of the Stone incident.
Hero heads off to dive for Stone's body, while Tumble and Tiny ask "Do you want to meet the little ones? Come to the secret cave with us!" Again, as whalesong travels for miles, the dolphins all wince and wish the whales were better at keeping secrets. Are there any baby whales? No, the whales are all male. (Hence the questions about genetic diversity). None of the whales are married, they are very sad.
Hero turns up:
"It is I, Hero! I have returned, with sad, but strangely relieving news. I have found a body in the armor you describe, but IT HAS NO HEAD." -HeroKith checks the DNA of the body, and confirms its paternity as the father of the Hegemites. Max tries to locate Stone's head, and is hit by a huge bitey-shield - though not, he thinks, Stone's own bitey shield.
Dunh dunh daaaaaah... -Hero's theme music
People check the status of the monitoring station at the North Pole - there's an Elite there. That's probably good.
Then, it's off to the Secret Cave. Kith contemplates whale DNA and what weirdities it has - there's definitely a non-psi stat in there. (Eventually people recall that Ciernan asked the Communion about the sixth stat, and it's Connection).
The whales ask for help with their lesson plan:
"Doooooooooooes anyoooooooooooooone telepooooooooort?" -ScootScoot has set up a rock and a boulder - he pushes the boulder in front of the rock, and then away again, demonstrating that the rock is still there. And again. And again. But then the whales have Max remove the rock while it's blocked. It's unclear how well the isinglass understand, but Kith definitely thinks that there's some sort of influence (a little like projective empathy, but not) from the whales to the isinglass. Mirris helps them with their lesson plan.
"I do, sort of. Why?" -Max
"Weeeeeeeeeee're tryyyyyyyyying tooooooooo teeeeeeeeeeeach enviiiiiroooooonmentallllllll peeeeeeeersiiiiiiiiisteeeeeeeeeeeence."
"Why does teleporting matter?"
"Iiiiiiiiit's aaaaaaaaaaaa cooooooooounterexaaaaaaaample."
Hippocrates chats with the whales about teaching the isinglass - they say it'll be a long time before they're useful for much. Hippocrates says he hopes to have a long time. The whales look back and forth between Hippocrates and Mirris, and Tumble "whispers" to Tiny (which means it's only audible for a quarter mile or so) "I dooooooon't thiiiiink sheeeee's gooooing tooo liiiive aaaas looong aaaas heeeeee iiiiis. Thaaaat's veeeryyyy saaaad. Dooooon't teeeeell theeeeem."
As a new loose end to be generated, the group takes Hero's contact information to suggest to Katya as an Emerald Knight.
Then, it's off to Highguard, to see how Alexandra (neo-Shoshana) is doing. (Sharra notes that she has new sympathy for Alexandra). The Hippocrates lands at Evensong Castle, which appears to be infested by rabbits. Trails of Blood starts hunting them. A letter is sent off to Nikolas asking after Alexandra; he replies that he has a regular mail drop set up with her, and she's travelling around the countryside, usually staying a fair ways away from the capital. He sends her a letter inviting her to Evensong.
A few weeks later, Trails of Blood has made rabbit fur mittens for everyone, and Sharra has installed a fox urine irrigation system to chase away the remainder, when a blond guy on a horse shows up. No, wait, it's Alexandra, dressed as a guy and wearing armor. She wants to know what they want. Mirris explains that they're going around the Linked Worlds knocking off little things. Alexandra is not pleased - so she's one of the little things they need to knock off? Er, no, no, the rabbits are the little things, but while they're here knocking off rabbits they wanted to visit with her. Mirris manages to cover her gaffe reasonably well, and the fact that nobody seems to be mind-reaming her makes her a bit happier than past visits.
Anyway, how is Alexandra settling in? She says right now she's being a bit itinerant, looking for something. Max wants to know if that's what she wants to be doing? She gives him a very Eva-like look and says if she found something that she liked, then she'd do that. Is there anything she needs that they can get her? Well, if they have a small hideaway stunner, that'd be good. People quiz her as to whether she knows that's illegal on Highguard and what the risks of being caught are. She points out that she does live here, and doesn't plan to get caught. Max gives her a stunner.
Mirris asks if she knows anything more about GeneoSingular, but she doesn't have much more information. There were some boxes from there at Cain's lab, but she and Cain didn't really talk. Mirris wants to know if Alexandra needs any help or advice on managing unusual memories? Ah, no. Mirris wonders if Alexandra is looking in their heads right now, but nobody can tell.
Hippocrates tells her, if she needs anything from elsewhere, let them know. She'll says she'll be sure to let them know if she needs a ride. Well, that's not a great reconciliation or anything, but it's as good as can be expected.
Next, the group heads off to Tyrell's Folly. Economy of Motion (who used to be Elegant Simplicity of Motion, but he's been promoted) is warned that the Hippocrates has landed, but it is not known whether the Great Criminal is aboard. (It turns out, she's not.) The crew ponders whether there is anything they should be doing about the Tinoori Secret. First Frost of Autumn points out that he knows the secret and travels and is sane (he thinks). He just needs to bring the other Tinoori around to perceiving things the way he does. Well, is there anything the crew can do to help with that? Not help spread information, he thinks. If they could suggest a strategy, though, that could be useful. All the strategy that people can think of, however, is that he really needs to live on Cabry among the other Tinoori to start building up their respect, and not travelling around with humans being considered eccentric.
Also, it really is getting past time to make First Frost of Autumn genetically a Hegemon, as opposed to the last of his kind. Economy of Motion finds some non-travelling very good Tinoori geneticists; Max pokes around and finds a genetic engineer who travels, though not as good as the non-travelling ones.
The party decides to cash all the money and favors owed them by the Stannis Law biotech company, to get them to bring their tech to Tyrell's Folly. (This will probably get First Frost more perception-of-clout than doing it on Stannis Law, too). The genetic transfection is successful, and then all three Tinoori disembark, with much sadness all around and a goodbye party.
Next stop: Creek, where Michael Firebrand is one of the Skalds on duty. While there are no more active volcanoes and hurricanes, that's because there's a Skald enclave keeping them under control. The "fixing" appears to not be permanent, so that any time they let up on their magery, the hurricanes start up again and start to rebuild a monster hurricane.
Well, is there anything that the Hippocrates crew can do to help with that?
"Because I'd really like to get off this stinking planet... er, sorry, ma'am. -FirebrandWell, really what they need is some way of creating an acausal anti-hurricane. Whatever that means. Hmm. Well, they do have a tupperware of the mordenverse (at least, Xanthippe does), so could they stuff the hurricane in there? That requires some thought. Max finds a past ghost who can "purr" (that is, subtly tweak someone else's shticks) so that Mirris's gathering can add dice to someone else instead of Mirris. That lets her (with the help of the Skalds and the Grandmothers) throw another fifty dice onto Firebrand, and then Kith buffs him into next Tuesday (she holds down way too many dice, so the next two planets are "really easy" for her and she doesn't bother to spend skill on any rolls). They decide to hit the opposite side of the planet from the hurricane, so Firebrand condenses the earth effect down into a small rampaging poison-ivy-mountain elemental, which Xanthippe drops in the tupperware.
"That's quite all right. That's why I'm on the Hippocrates and not here." -Kith
After the mountain side is gone, the hurricane side gets cleared up with some normal Skald work and doesn't come back.
While they're out here, then, it's time to visit Rupert's Hole! Whee! And loot the warehouse!
Kith looks for something for Hippocrates, and finds a Skyguard academy yearbook that has Captain Bellarion in it. Max looks for something for the casino ship he wants to build, and comes up with a big roll of gold mylar.
Mirris contemplates whether it would be better to look for something for the Mysterious Events at Viktor and Donella's wedding, or to look for something that might increase her longevity or ability to upload herself. Her "hunch" shtick suggests that it not be the first, with prejudice. That is, really really do not look for something for the wedding. Xanthippe briefly looks over at Mirris, frowning, but then decides she's not a problem.
So Mirris looks around for something to help with the longevity of sentience, and trips over Max's PDA, which he's dropped. Hmm. Is anyone in Sinclair Holdings researching the uploading of humans to computers? Well, he does make computer chips, which might be related, but... hmm. He turns on the PDA, which still has Omninet's address on the screen, from when he was trying to find a hyperspace expert back at Riden.
Sharra finds a brass ring. Watts picks up a piece of jewelry for Juliana, and then earns the everlasting respect of the GMs by being the first player to ever think to put something into the warehouse: he unloads everything he doesn't need right now. Hooray! Go Watts!
Sharra and Leonora have found a smeerp, which they really want to bring with them, but Hippocrates won't let them. Dire tales are told of how smeerps are born pregnant and reproduce far faster than rabbits, though the captain may be confusing them with some of Harry Mudd's stories about tribbles.
That's it for Rupert's Hole, so it's off to Lendt, to visit Talia's dad. He's back at his house and smithy on the mountain. He thanks the party again for protecting the honor of his family. Various people wonder if Talia will be staying on Lendt, then?
"No, Talia and Akito have unfinished business." -MikeHe also presents Hippocrates with an enormous two-handed sword - larger than any normal man could wield, though it is possible that Hippocrates using auxiliary power could use it. More likely, it is for display; Sharra rigs a stand for it.
"They'll keep having 'unfinished business' until the whales get to them." -Mirris
The party also drops by a meeting of the local Milesians, who are thrilled beyond measure to see the real Hippocrates crew. The "second Sharra" is an exciting new twist they hadn't heard of yet - they're curious if she's the evil Sharra from the Mirror Universe. Watts makes up some requirements that the crew has to have - such as fresh blueberries - that the Milesians scurry to fulfill.
Done with the outworlds, the Hippocrates heads back in and to the Well, to get GeneoSingular. Whatever that means. They run into Phil Rogers (though it takes a while for people to remember who he was - the party gave him a ride from Rupert's Hole, where he was learning the deepest secrets of fortune from a master Smeerp wrangler). He recalls that Lily, Jasmine, and Dahlia were from GeneoSingular too. Max has seen some of the marketing from the place - you give them an obscene amount of money, and they give you a person designed to your particular specifications.
Hmm. How can the group get the information about Mirris from them? It probably won't work to have her infiltrate them - surely they're defended against their own work. And even Max can't just push them around too much - they're owned by a trust of three Citizens. Phil suggests making some sort of bet with Citizen Aramis, one of the owners who tends to gamble in Joyous Gard - though if he's a serious gambler, he'll probably have heard of Phil.
Meanwhile, Kith investigates the conditions among the drudges. Incentives for drudges is all the rage - if you give a reward to the hardest working 50%, then you get enough more work to cover the rewards. So conditions have in general floated upwards, though not for the less hard-working. She commissions another propaganda piece/study to try and spin it as "when you give people rewards they work harder", which does possibly reverse the causality but has the effect she wants.
The business types (Phil and Max) realize that it might not actually be so expensive to get the information about Mirris from GeneoSingular after all, since Citizen Archibald is dead. That makes it less a matter of client confidentiality and more a matter of advertising. Max arranges to talk to Citizen Aramis and explains that he wants Mirris' file because she's frequently around him and he wants to know her capabilities. Max manages to haggle the price down to 8,000 asters; Mirris puts in 4,000 asters and Max matches it.
The file has been carefully redacted and highlighted - Max reads it first just to see what it says. Basically: Mirris is a discontinued infiltration model. While they had fabulous success in boosting her power, the circumstances of doing so created a somewhat unstable personality. They are, however, proud of their power-boosting technique: instead of creating a single person with that much power, they created ten people each with the ability to absorb other people's power, and then let them compete against each other, winner absorb all. So, unfortunately, Mirris's brother didn't survive after all. The file also details particular types of psi jammer that are effective against her abilities, and a comment that she was designed to not have any particularly obvious and memorable features, though she isn't explicitly nondescript as a power.
Max tells his steward to keep tabs on Compatriot Giambrone, and set up a plan for reprisals should he try to get Juliana. He suggests that Watts and Juliana permanently sign on as his people, which would make it easier to protect them. Juliana is a little suspicious - why is a Citizen so keen to get them under his thumb? Max says Watts is good, and he assumes Juliana is too.
"Ask Ace how good she is... no, I did not say that, la la la la la" -WattsJuliana, though, is pretty unwilling to go back to being owned by a Citizen again, now that she's legitimately gotten off the Well, and Watts decides that makes sense; in the end, they sign Stannis Law business contracts to work for Max, so they can still quit any time they want.
Max throws another party at his Holdings to celebrate the expansion into the shipping industry, and talks to the Architect about the casino luxury liner. The Architect is certainly interested in such a thing, though the legal details still haven't been arranged.
Mirris and Hippocrates angst about her past, and Mirris has Kith generate ten little bonsai trees from Hydroponics. She plants them on a hillside on Max's estates - his gardeners are given instructions to tend the grounds around the trees but not the trees themselves.
Then, their business on the Well done, the group heads for Tinara, to check out what Omninet is up to. Slatifant Beeges happens to be there, and makes sure there are press conferences for the Emerald Knights set up.
"I didn't think it was possible for Sharra Wade to become more beautiful, but two of them does seem to do the trick..." -BeegesPeople give Beeges a card for Tom Corum and talk about his New Paradigm of Archaelogy. Beeges is dubious - ever since the IPX / Memento Mori feud turned Dr. Kye into a wanted criminal on Stannis Law, Sparky Cola has been a little dubious about archaeologists. Max and Mirris explain that Tom is the kindler, gentler sort of archaeologist, but Beeges just thinks that means he'll get eaten alive.
The crew drops in on Omninet - which now has the top half of their building, instead of just the thirteenth floor. Sook is off on business, but Phaeton is there, and AI Phaeton, otherwise known as Autonomous Daemon Phaeton. Nero has his own office, which mostly has orchids and a box in it. He seems to be doing well, and is excited by the idea of earning money. Is there anything Nero wants? Well, he can't seem to get a Creek swamp orchid. Happily, Max happens to have a box of dirt and rotting vegetation from Creek, so swamp orchid shoots can be extracted from that.
Now the floor is filled with the scent of rotting vegetation, though, which everyone but Nero notices. Sharra rigs up a mad air ionizer across the doorway. Max asks Nero if he knows when Omninet will be extending to the Well. Nero is dubious about that - he thinks they might be permitted to extend to Blue after the wedding, but he's still not sure that the Well will be on the schedule. While the fast-network system is definitely profitable and the Well would be a good source of money, it's also a military asset so Red mil gets to veto expansions.
Beeges recruits Omninet to be an experimental Sparky Cola testbed - they're all psyched to get the free Sparky Cola. Phaeton is declared to be In Charge Of The Cans. All will submit to the will of Phaeton!
Hippocrates asks Phaeton and AI Phaeton about the uploading technology. He says it was provided by you-know-who, but it doesn't seem to be repeatable. But Sook and AI Sook (who claims she's immortal now) seem to think, Phaeton thinks, that the party will probably screw up the next Flames, so she's working on implementing new technology. The crew considers whether they have experiments of computer stuff to donate to the cause. Ahah! Gel chips! That project gets turned over to the Omninet Uploading Team (that is, Phaeton on their behalf).
At this point, Omninet's purchasing and acquisitions descend on them. Can they get the ship with hyperspace in it? How about just the airlock? Eventually, the party settles on selling the airlock, for 6000 asters to be given to Ace and a discount for Sinclair Holdings in Omninet traffic they send from Juice, if and when Omninet ever expands to there.
Nero comments that they'd be getting their main projects done faster if everyone wasn't off working on their own classified Secret Projects. Phaeton is trying to take over the universe, of course, with the "subNet" they were experimenting with on the Gateway battlestation.
Beeges shmoozes with Phaeton, who happily explains his theory on "Net Angels", which he does in fact want to try and take over. Beeges wonders about a timeframe - Phaeton suggests that he come back and interview Phaeton in a couple years.
Secure in the knowledge that the rest of Omninet can't be as scary as Phaeton, Beeges shmoozes with them, too. As it turns out, he's wrong. A little while later, Estelle delivers Beeges to Hippocrates with a request:
"Can you please keep your spies away from my researchers? There are ways that these things are done." -EstelleMax points out that there's a pair of designs for computer memory and computer processors that Mirris and Hippocrates got from the Crystal Forest - those get licensed to Max, which will be an income stream for Mirris and Hippocrates in the future.
The main thing that Estelle wants to know is if the "secret security system" that Phaeton is trying to subvert actually exists, since no one really beleives in it except for Phaeton. People point out that the room is bugged. Estelle says yes, by her. Anyhow, the crew tells Estelle that the project to subvert them was originally started by Ambros Nomarche, but he didn't finish it. Presumably now that Red has a more solid control of the battlestation, they can find out more. Additionally, Estelle isn't sure what Sook's private agenda is. Uploading consciousness, people tell her. Estelle is puzzled - didn't she already do that? Well, she hasn't perfected it yet. Estelle heads off again.
Beeges points out that Estelle didn't mention the hyperspace bomb, the faster communication without satellites, the gateless jump (there's a pool about whether it will work or destroy the universe), and... um... something he forgets, that has to do with the project that rescued Viktor.
Then, it's a quick trip back to the outworlds, to check on the Orphanarium. Elmer TRICONIAN is, as always, overjoyed to see the Noble Crew of the Hippocrates. Max finally finds an orphan who's interested in learning to summon elementals. Michael Firebrand is back on Sparta again, and has been doing some mentoring at the Orphanarium. There's one kid, Bryce Waigne, who's he's noticed, who would be perfect for a Skald. His parents were murdered in front of him, so he's dedicating his life to fighting that sort of thing. Unfortunately, when he took the Skald training tests, it turns out that he's smart and he's athletic, but he has really no psi potential - he might as well be an inworlder.
Firebrand is pretty impressed by the kid - he's twelve, almost a man grown, and a Scout First Class. Too bad about his psi disability.
"You should see him sit a horse." -FirebrandThe crew heads to talk to Bryce. He'd like to move somewhere where he can be a policeman, or that sort of thing. People ponder his situation - does Blake Amon need a ward? They can't guarantee that without talking to him, though. Sparta really isn't the place for a psi-null prodigy.
"A horse? Is he from Highguard?" -Kith
The crew talks to Elmer about Bryce. Oh, the boy that Jim was taking an interest in? He's athletic, but kind of a loner. Elmer is pretty impressed with him - he excels at pretty much everything but psi. Firebrand is a little worried that he might decide to do something like take Flash to try and get psi.
The Orphanarium counselor assigned to Bryce does agree that he'd do much better in the inworlds, given his abilities and disabilities. Then they talk to Scoutmaster 'al Fareed. He'd be sad if Bryce were to leave, but he does think it would be for the best. The Scoutmaster talks to Bryce, who then comes to talk to the crew.
He's interested in the possibilities of the Inworlds, and understands that the Hippocrates might be able to provide him with some opportunities. He would want to keep doing Scouting, and he would appreciate it if there was work he can do on the ship to earn his passage. (Scoutmaster 'al Fareed provides the crew the details of the foundation supporting him, to arrange that that be transferred).
Also while they're here, Hippocrates changes the locks on Command Base Omega under Blackwinter Mountain: Sook and Kye are removed from the access controls, and Katya and Jim are added.
Finally, the crew heads to Nurl. Feeling left out that everyone else got to poke hyperspace in looking for Viktor, she finally gets permission from Hippocrates to look out the window too. She senses emotion on hyperspace (rolling for 7s), and discovers that it's very Nice and Comforting, and that she'd probably be happier out there with it. Hippocrates grabs her in the airlock before she goes any farther, and says she can keep looking out but can't go out. Mirris, sent to drive the ship, notices that hyperspace is closing in around them like a comforting fluffy blanket. Eventually, Kith decides that she's making Mirris sad, and stops sensing hyperspace; the closing-in stops, and the ship manages to exit.
Once on Nurl, Hippocrates commissions a total redesign and refit. No longer an old fashioned boxy wedge, the new Hippocrates will be a sleek curvy ship, (something like a cross between a Klingon Bird of Prey and a Centauri fighter). Mirris reassures him she likes the way he looks now but if he wants to look different, that's good too.
"... it's become obvious over the past few zed, that the interior is a deathtrap. " - HippocratesBanyan Bonsai handles the overall refit design, with the major reconstruction being done by DaVinci. Through some monetary hand-waving and use of the refitted Hippocrates in Banyan's advertising, the final payment from Red for the licensed medical tech is deemed to Just Cover the project.
"No! Think of it as a lifetrap!" -Mirris