Pipe Dreams

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.

Oasis -> New Light

At the last that we saw our heroes, they had been heading into Certain Peril, and then were flung into the swirling mists of multi-dimensional spacetime, with Max's advice ringing in their ears: "If something goes horribly wrong, meet at the place we had the bachelor's party, or if it's not there, the nearest City Hall."

Kith, Jayla, and Sharra appear, in a grassy patch surrounded by hedge. Jayla considers how to figure out which dimension she is in, and tries to contact a follower. She reaches one on Crux, who immediately falls to the floor, crying out "How may I serve you, dread lady?" Well, that would be the mirror-verse, then. Jayla asks about current events. The Fleet has just returned from their latest foray to conquer the Deciders' realm. Order was maintained after the Hector left, through the adjustment period. Jayla picks up a bit of KS: Mirrorverse in the process.

Kith and Sharra poke around the garden. Are the hedges poisonous? Or carnivorous? No, but they probably have pretty flowers in a different season. Sharra tries to figure out if they're still on Sanctuary - no, that would be lower-G than this. This is more of a normal sized planet.

Katya shows up, and waves to everyone. Kith remarks to her that they haven't figured out where they are yet. Katya seems confused by this. Kith asks if Katya has seen the others. Kith finds herself mind-controlled to say "I don't know where Hector and Bishop got off to, but the four of us are here." It seems clear that it's Katya doing this. Creepy. Kith/Katya continues: "We're still waiting, I haven't heard anything yet. I expect they're around. Is something up?" Jayla says she's trying to figure that out.

Pondering the situation, Jayla notes that it's all shades of grey here. Nothing seems likely to Destroy All People. But telling Katya about the alternate dimension thing seems less of a good idea.

Hector and Bishop (who look much like Hippocrates and Ace) arrive. Hector notes that it's time for reconnaissance, and that Sharra and Bishop should probably be the ones to do it. Bishop is sure he has just the drug for that.

Jayla ponders following along, or trying to escape - following the plot seems to be higher energy. The group proceeds to the gate of the hedge maze. There's a sunny plaza (though Kith notes that the sky is actually a painted dome) - some people are painting, others are chatting pleasantly. There's a nondescript building nearby, with two guys in grey guarding the door.

Katya "suggests" to the guards that they head away from the crowd, to investigate, which they do. Kith notes the influence on them, but also notes that there's a pervasive influence on everyone within range - not very strong now, but subtle and cumulative.

Bishop picks the lock on the door, and he and Sharra head into the building. Sharra thinks it looks a little familiar, but can't place it. A sign identifies it as "Hanging Gardens Water Processing Access Port 2." Bishop doses himself with a hypo, and starts moving a little faster. Sharra also notes that underneath that effect, he has all the symptoms of being hyped on Black. She manages to resist wishing that she was hyped on Black.

Hector tells Kith to let him know "when we're at stage 2." Er. Jayla switches her dice to hold down Universal Translator, to try and figure out what he meant by that.

Inside the facility, there's a guard at the end of the hall - Bishop shoots him.

Kith asks about phase 2 - Hector reminds her that that's when they can install the machine. Jayla notes: "They appear to have broken stealth. Ace shot a guard." Oops. With the universal translator up, Katya notices that she said something odd, but doesn't quite catch what it was.

Jayla expects that there will be significant resistance at this point, and wants to know how long before Phase 2?

Back in the facility, Bishop searches the guard. He finds the ID card to open the next door, as well as noticing the camera that watched him shoot the guard. They open the door, and hear, on the other side, alarms going off.

"Race you to ten kills?" -Bishop to Sharra
Hector calls for the two to back out again - Jayla visits Bishop, and orders a withdrawal, which they do. More guards show up, and run in. The hapless guards at the front door claim that they've been there all along, but the dead guard inside is definitely a sign against it.

The party heads back to the ship (the Invisible Razor) for debriefing. It becomes clear as they exit the Hanging Gardens that it is the dome of Joyous Gard. The Razor looks a lot like the Diversity, but armored. There's no holodeck, and in the cargo hold is some sort of Large Contraption. Sharra takes a look: it seems to have something to do with nano - White, in fact - and she's not so sure about what without deeper examination.

Well, now it's time to wait for Stage Two to complete. There's some concern that Oasis security will be coming after them, since they have Sharra and Bishop's pictures. Hector, running some comm analysis, notes that there's some security chatter, but not yet a massive manhunt. Katya suggests new faces for Bishop and Sharra - Sharra looks briefly worried, as she's not sure whether this refers to disguises or some sort of instant surgery. Happily, Katya means disguises.

Sharra tries again: "So, I was paying more attention to the engineering - what were we going to do with all this White?" Katya rolls her eyes: "Are you taking other drugs?" Well, she was on a mission with Bishop, so the possibility isn't so unreasonable. Hector suggests that she sit down to let her system clear out. Kith pokes around the Razor, and finds a duty roster by the airlock, with some names. The roster includes Hector, Bishop, Sharra Wade, Kith, Jayla Telemon, and Katerina Vengeance.

Hector suggests that Jayla try to contact the "other team". Assuming that they're on New Light, Jayla finds a follower there. (Meanwhile, Bishop heads out "for some air", and Katya accompanies him). She heads to Ela's Tomb, but doesn't find the party, either sort. From there, she Visits to Sophia, who shouts that she's not a traitor and then manages to dispel the Jayla visitation. This is, in fact, quite disturbing, and not supposed to happen.

Kith "fixes" Sharra's unclearness, and notifies Hector that if he explains everything again, it will stick. Hector thinks it was Kith's plan, and she should explain it. Kith parries: it would be better coming from Hector, who Sharra is more impressed by. Oh, all right - Hector finally explains the plan, which involves installing the White generator in the water reclamation plant for the Hanging Gardens. This will enable them to addict the population of the Oasis capital, giving them leverage to control the population even when the Hector isn't in system and running the orbital mind control lasers.

Sharra and Hector go over the blueprint one more time - this is the prototype device, and it's on its final destructive test. It looks like the main thing to keep in mind is to NOT RUN THE WATER THROUGH THE MACHINE BACKWARDS. Because that would make it explosively fail its final test and then the project would be very set back.

Jayla, Sharra, and Kith head out to get something to eat, and discuss their options. Jayla still thinks "stick to the bad guys' plan for a while" is the most promising plan, or, at least, has the best results for the people here. Sharra discovers quickly that the food doesn't agree with her, and Kith notes that everyone is chirally reversed. In her bag, Kith has Sparky Cola, and tea and honey. Hmm. Probably not a good idea to stay here for very long.

Digressing more wildly, Jayla ponders whether it would be a good idea to kill herself. If she did so, people could change. If she didn't, people could also change, and it might be worse. But it might not. She decides not to kill herself at this time.

Kith thinks the plan should be to pick off the mirror-people one at a time. Though neither Kith nor Jayla is really a combatant. Well, can Sharra take everyone herself? Maybe if she had more dice, she thinks...

More pondering: will killing Katya cause trouble? Yes, it could. In a sort of woozhy long-term way. The three good guys convince themselves that knocking everyone out but not killing them is the way to go.

(Meanwhile, Katya and Bishop argue about the radios Hector gave them. He gave both of them to Katya, but Bishop is the only one who can speak into them...)

"We could start a combat and distract Hector. By shooting him."
They head back to the ship, to prepare for leaping.
"Done converting the masses?" -Hector
"One at a time." -Jayla
Sharra suggests checking Hector's system - it's been a while. Has it really? No, actually, she gave him a checkup just before insertion into the Oasis system.

(Meanwhile, Katya wins a stuffed horse at skeeball, and makes Bishop carry it back towards the ship.)

Sharra starts shooting Hector, and Kith punches him not-very-effectually. Hector calls the others on the radio: "Katerina, Sharra's gone crazy, don't come back." They eventually pummel him into brokenness.

Katya and Bishop look at the radio, and decide maybe that means they should come back sneaky. They ditch the stuffed horse. The good guys plot how to make the whole affair seem less suspicious.

"Can we build a voice synthesizer that sounds like Hector?"
"We have one! You just shot him in the kneecaps."
Sharra cobbles together some control of Hector's voice synthesizer, and calls Katya and Bishop. "Sharra went crazy, but we have her restrained now." Katya says she better get back - they may need her to keep control. Unfortuantely, Sharra is necessary for installing the device, so it's going to have to be figured out. Well, that bridge will have to be crossed at some point, but Katya and Bishop are heading back.

The good guys ponder how to play this.

"Neither Kith nor I is very good at lying." -Jayla
"But if I say it, it's even less convincing." -Sharra
Katya and Bishop arrive, and the others try briefly to fool them, but quickly give up and start the combat. There's a lot of shooting, and a lot of mind control from both sides.

When Katya doesn't fall down at her traditional Small Amount of Damage, because she's at +3 body dice, the good guys take stock - the first of many to have similar thoughts over the course of the summer reversals.

"Why aren't we doing this [taking Black]?" -Kith
"Because people in the crew - those two in particular [pointing at the high-on-Black Ace and Katya]- have hangups about this." -Jayla
Eventually Bishop is tricked into taking the yellow patch with hints of it being a Really Good High. Alas, there go his extra +3 dice. Sharra takes Katya down, finally, just as Bishop takes down Kith (though she doesn't stay down). Bishop drugs Jayla and Kith with something that will later prove to be Extra-Addictive, but yellow will counter that too.

Jayla manages to get enough influence on the now smaller-minded Bishop to convince him to start taking more of his drugs - things that will make him happy and pass out.

"This is a bad scene and I need to go to the happy place" -Bishop, taking Drug 2.
"I inject myself with whatever's in my left pocket" -Pete
"Hopefully it's not a taser." -Andrea
The new Test Drug turns out to be "spicy brains" - Bishop uses the vast clarity provided by his new drug to figure out that this is some weird Jayla from another dimension, before sedating himself into oblivion.

Hooking the machine up to the water purification plant backwards proves to be trivial with no opposition, so the prototype fails its final test fairly definitively, setting back mirror-Kith's white production project for quite some time.

Then, it's off to New Light for the rendezvous...