"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there."

After the Flames game ends
The next board

As the Flames pass, the sky is ablaze with swirling lights. Eventually it goes dark again, and then after a moment, there are words written across the sky:

Final score: 960 million points. Game Over.
Would you like to play again? (y/n)

"I don't think we want to play it all again..." -Ciernan
"I'm tempted to say yes." -Sophia
"Yes: accepted. Starting new game."
The game starts up: a new game, with three players. They may exit when ready. Then, the world goes away again, leaving only a set of doors open at the other end. Everyone heads for the doors, and finds themselves exiting from the holosuite in the Dancer.

"If it turns out this was all a hologram, I'm going to be pissed." -Kith
Ciernan notes that his hand still doesn't work. The trio proceed to medbay to check it out again, when they see a vaguely humanoid figure quickly crossing the corridor in front of them. They chase the figure into the gravlift and to the bridge, where they find Artemus, wearing a vest and pocket watch, who complains that they are late late late. He starts flipping switches on the navigation console to make the ship go, but doesn't actually know how to fly it. Everyone else looks at each other, having little idea how to pilot either. Ciernan wonders where the other two mice are, but Artemus just repeats his complaint that they are late, and dashes off again.

Kith checks with Hippocrates - is he there? Yes, but he doesn't have any extra information about where they are, other than "in space". Kith wonders if Hippocrates has any ancient stories, such as the old Creekian tale about a girl named Alice. Alas, ancient literature isn't one of the things Hippocrates has a database of.

Ciernan gets mail from Jayla, telling him that she's running late but expects to be to the end on time. Kith gets mail from Katya, saying clock-with-hands-going-forward, exclamation point. Sophia gets mail from Donella saying yes, she knows she's late, please stop sending people to tell her. She'll be there!

Ciernan tries to drive the ship forward, using the solar wind, but there's a "bong" noise and it doesn't seem to work. Checking the sensors, they seem to be in Space, in Sector 4. Sophia tries to pilot the ship to Sector 5, but that also doesn't work, with another "bong."

The group heads back to medbay, as Ciernan figures if they can't get anywhere, they might as well work on his plot and get his hand fixed. Remus, in medbay, tells them that they're late late late! The party argues with him - they tried to go forward, but it didn't work! Remus enquires if they all tried to go forward at the same time...

Hmm. Ciernan tries to go forward, and Sophia tries to go to Sector 5, and Kith tries to go somewhere. They go!

The Hippocrates is immediately hailed: "Greetings, Hippocrates! It is I, Elmer Trqiconian!" Elmer wonders what they're doing on Crux. On Crux? Yup, apparently they're not in Space any more.

More email arrives for everyone - the three Hegemons want to know what to do. Donella is only a little more informative:

"I'm waiting" -Donella
"For what?" -Sophia
Meanwhile, on Crux, Elmer needs their help: he has too much money and has had some troubles counting it. Off they go to Elmer's money bin, where he shows them his office. He was trying to count the last of his money, but apparently there is more than he thought. He demonstrates, picking up an aster coin from the pile and moving it to another pile, counting "one." Then two, then three, and so on - but as he moves one aster at a time to the new pile, a small white mouse is running back and forth behind him, moving asters from the new pile to the old pile, so that the old pile never gets any smaller.

As Elmer's count tops 400, Ciernan animal-controls the mouse to stop moving the coins, and Elmer finishes at 409 asters. He puts his new pile into a bag, labels it "409", and thanks the noble Hippocrates crew for their help. Is there anything he can do to help?

Well, does he know where the Hegemons are? He thinks all three are in Space - Jayla in Sector 2, Katya in Sector 5 (like the Hippocrates), and Donella in Sector 7. Does Elmer know where the end of the board is? That's the Palatium Tamarch - only the Hegemons go there. He also mentions that there are Deciders in Sector 6.

Ciernan sends email to Jayla and Sophia sends email to Donella, telling them to come to Crux. Kith sends mail to Katya with an arrow and a picture of Crux.

"Katya can read." -Sophia
"Oh, right." -Kith
Katya comes to Crux - when the party returns to the spaceport, they find her banging on the door of the Hippocrates, which does not open. She shrugs, and then returns to Space. Email arrives shortly for Kith, with a picture of Katya and a picture of Hippocrates crashing into each other. Jayla does seem to have moved forward, though, and is on Pierogi.
"Aha. We can't occupy the same square."
There is some consternation about how Katya is managing to be in Space without a spaceship, but it doesn't seem to have hurt her yet. And the Diversity is the only ship in the shuttle bay, so maybe she does have a spaceship after all.

Ciernan checks his room to see if he left himself directions for how to get to the Palatium Tamarch - Artemus is there with his pocket watch, and chastises Ciernan for being late - it's time for move five already!

Ciernan wonders what sort of "piece" Artemus is, and finally manages to see the board. There are three pawn-type pieces in red, green, and blue for the Hegemons, and a black Knight for the party (which is why they couldn't move until they tried to go both forward and one sector over). The opposing forces seem to be a number of white go stones, an Ace of Hearts, a d20, and behind the last rank of the board, an Arkanoid paddle.

Kith urges caution:

"We don't know how the opposing pieces capture. It would suck to lose the Hippocrates en passant."
The Hippocrates heads forward again, and tells Donella to move forward as well. They travel to Cabry, where someone pounds on the door - it turns out to be Jim. He's glad to see them - they can help him save the Tinoori! There's some sort of plague going around, sometimes a Tinoori will just flop over and wave its legs in the air.

Jim points out a Tinoori in the corner of the sapceport, waving its legs in the air. Ciernan asks it what it's perceiving, and it babbles "Blue? Blue?" He scolds it: "You're not supposed to be blue, you're supposed to be perception."

Kith detects influence on him, and notes that he is both influenced by something else, and influenced by itself.

A nearby Tinoori says "What?" and flips over, babbling "Pie? Pie?"

Kith tries to counter influence on the "Blue" Tinoori - lightning comes out of her hands, and she unflips him. Everyone asks what happened - he says that someone whispered in his ear, "Roses are red, violets are blue... or are they violet?" But this gets him thinking about whether violets are blue or violet, and he flips again. Oops. Kith fixes him again.

Ciernan tells the winds to whisper nearby conversations to him, while Sophia looks around for sneaky people and Kith senses for people who aren't visible. (Jim is busy looking through his manual for pictures of violets to show the Tinoori what color they are).

Ciernan hears someone whispering to a Tinoori "I always tell the truth... except right now, when I'm lying" and that Tinoori flips over too.

"These aren't real Tinoori." -Kith
This is silly. The Tinoori should be able to cope with contradictory information from unknown sources - but apparently not. Sophia wonders if Ciernan can make a really loud wind so that they can't hear the mysterious speaker.

Another Tinoori flips, babbling about who picks pickled peppers. Sophia spots a distortion effect near that Tinoori, and tells Kith to concentrate on sensing emotion in that area. Kith notes an invisible life form sneaking towards another Tinoori, and indicates where, to Ciernan, who creates quicksand underneath.

The party fishes the culprit out of the quicksand - he's all covered in mud and thus visible, with a mask and cowl. Ciernan unmasks him - it's Jim! Wait, what? Jim unmasks himself and it's Dylanna. She curses that she would have gotten away with it if not for those meddling Hippocrates people.

Right. Well. The Hippocrates leaves Jim (the good Jim) to put things right on Cabry, and continues on, while urging the Hegemons forward. The Arkanoid paddle launches a guy/ball across the board, and blows up one of the back squares. The Deciders continue to advance forward.

The first Decider is met, on the Well. The Decider ship snakes over a conduit to link to the Hippocrates, and the bridge screen displays:

When I am filled
I can point the way,
When I am empty
Nothing moves me,
I have two skins
One without and one within.
After much argument, the party settles on "gloves", which is in fact the answer. The Deciders look grumpy, and expectant. Sophia offers them a riddle of her own:
A hill full
A hole full
You cannot catch a bowl full.
The Deciders look baffled and guess "Snargs", which is not the correct answer. They flee from the Well in defeat.

The Hegemons move forward, and the Hippocrates continues on to Gateway, which is also in something of a panic - the madman, Dr. Cain, will kill them all! The group heads for the throne room on the battlestation, where the madman is, and try to threaten him.

Dr. Cain claims that their weapons will avail them not, because "I'm down in a well, I'm up in a tree, I am a monkey, you can't catch me!" No one is quite sure what to make of this, but, in fact, Dr. Cain seems quite spry and monkeylike, and not at all catchable.

Sophia (who has a cardboard box and a magic marker) decides to set up a monkey trap with the box and a stick and a banana.

"Do you know how hard it is to grow a stick on a spaceship?" -Kith
"I have plant control. I didn't know you wanted to grow sticks..." -Ciernan
Dr. Cain is tempted by the monkey trap, but then declares himself to be the wind, which can blow the monkey trap over! He blows on it, and, in fact, it falls over. Ciernan uses his weather control abilities to calm the wind, so Dr. Cain declares himself to be a hot babe (like Bugs Bunny, he is an improbably hot babe). Ciernan's eyes go all whirly.
"Hey, baby, want to see my deathtrap?" -Dr. Cain
"All right!" -Ciernan
Kith attempts to counter influence on Ciernan, and, what with looking like his mother and all, Ciernan loses much of his interest in going off with the hot babe in front of his mom. Dr. Cain tries to figure out what beats Ciernan's mom, but is somewhat at a loss. He retreats in defeat.

Kith reads the tea leaves from her pomegranate tea, which has spilled all over the throne room, and notes: "To dream is to stand in the real world and gaze into the unreal. To create is to stand in the unreal world and gaze into the real. Madness lies in both directions, but without any unreality, things stagnate."

The Deciders have cut off Jayla's advance, so the crew heads back to Cabry to fight more Deciders.

If a man carried my burden
He would break his back.
I am not rich,
But leave silver in my track.
This is easily guessed as "Snail". Kith offers a riddle in return:
Thirty white horses
Upon a red hill.
Now they tramp
Now they champ
And now they stand still.
The Deciders guess "A chess set" and are defeated. Then, another battle with Deciders on Gateway:
My tines be long,
My tines be short
My tines end ere
My first report.
What am I?
After much waffling, the party guesses "A trumpet". The Deciders are victorious! The party asks what the right answer was, and are told "atmospheric electrical discharge". Oh, right. Lightning. Ciernan feels a little embarassed. The Hippocrates is driven back to Space.

Meanwhile, Donella has gotten to the Palatium Tamarch, and Katya has been castled there by the Ace of Hearts. Jayla demonstrates that she can take Deciders like a pawn, now that the Hippocrates has cleared out the blocker.

The Hippocrates heads forward again, this time only as far as Pierogi. Ruehan complains that there are do-gooders corrupting the Artak. The crew heads to a big meeting hall, where there's a guy speaking to the Artak, waving a red book and telling them about the wonders of communism.

At a break in the speech, Ciernan heads forward to talk to the speaker, and asks if he can see the book for a minute. The guy shows it to him. Ciernan puts it in his pocket, and flees, while Sophia grabs his briefcase. The guy leaves, vowing to be back in a week with more books. In the meantime, the crew holds a book-burning and destroys all the copies of the red book on a bonfire.

Deciders start to surround Katya back at the Palatium Tamarch. Uh oh.

The Hippocrates keeps going forwards, and encounters the Ace of Hearts at Crux. Stone is there, having taken Elmer hostage. A somewhat confusing dialogue ensues.

"What will you do now?" -Stone
"Offer you tea." -Kith. <Stone shoots Kith>

"Would you care to try again?" -Stone
"Fog cloud!" -Ciernan
<Stone shoots Ciernan>

"I surrender." -Ciernan
<Stone shoots Ciernan>

"Hey, that's mean." -Sophia
<Stone shoots Kith>

"Should I try sense motive?" -Kith
"What do you think that would get you? -Stone
"Would you like some tea?" -Kith
"What kind?" -Stone
"Orange zinger!" -Kith
<Stone shoots Kith>

"So, we've made it past the Flames, so if you have a plan for the future for how you're going to get people..." -Ciernan
"Why don't you speak faster?" -Stone, interrupting
<Stone shoots Ciernan>

"... you're going to have to deal with the Tamorai Hand of Fate for another thousand years. Do you have any ideas for that?" -Ciernan
"What if I do?" -Stone
"I could tell you where to find a Tamorai to talk to." -Ciernan
<Stone shoots Ciernan>

"Things would be much nicer if we could just work together."

"Why won't anyone save me?" -Elmer
"Who do you think is going to save you?" -Stone
"They're going to save me." -Elmer

"Look. You know you want to talk about the whole thing..." <Bang>

"What am I going to do with you people?"
"Apparently, you're going to shoot us."
"Okay, that was worth it."

"We could all jump him at once."

"What do you want?" -Ciernan
"What could a man in my position possibly want?" -Stone
"More bullets" -Kith

Kith, hoping for inspiration, reads the tea leaves, but with only one success, the leaves have more questions for her than answers.
"But what are the questions?" -Kith
"What do you think they are?" -Stone
"You really don't like statements, do you?" -Sophia
"Why would you say that?" -Stone
"What time are you leaving?" -Kith
"Why should I leave? I'm winning." -Stone
"Oops." -Stone
Stone retreats in - well, not defeat, but a temporary setback.

Katya is finally surrounded by Deciders, and is captured and sent to the bar. Hmm. It's not at all clear how to get her off the bar.

Kith points out that she has some tea with chess piece pictures on it, and is convinced to brew a pot of Queen Tea for everyone. Now a queen on the chessboard, the crew starts cleaning up more Deciders.

As a whole, I am both safe and secure.
Behead me, and I become a place of meeting.
Behead me again, and I am the partner of ready.
Restore me, and I become the domain of beasts.
What am I?
The crew guess "Stable", which is correct. Sophia offers the Deciders a riddle:
Old Mother Twitchett had but one eye,
And a long tail which she let fly;
And every time she went through a gap,
A bit of her tail she left in a trap.
The Deciders guess "A mouse", which is incorrect, and are defeated. At the next battle, the crew is asked:
You throw away the outside and cook the inside.
Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside.
What did you eat?
Sadly, "Ribs" are not the correct answer, and the Hippocrates is driven back to Pierogi (as by this time the Arkanoid bar has destroyed most of Space).

As some time has passed by now, the guy has a new red book, and isn't so foolish as to let anyone take it away from him this time. Clearly, what the Artak need is a different distraction. Religion is a good opiate for the masses, but that might take a while. Opium is another good opiate of the masses, but that might not be the best idea. Wait, Sophia has a cardboard box! She writes "Movie projector" on the side, tilts it back, and shows all the Artak a film of the Three Stooges versus the Men from Mars. They find this more entertaining than the Communist Manifesto, and so the red book is defeated for another week.

The Hippocrates dashes forward, all the way to New Light. There's a celebration there, where everyone is welcomed to the park and directed to the religion of their choice. Come on down! The Starwayist group mind is this way, the Bibblers are that way, Reform Juridicists to the left, Orthodox Juridicists to the right. What will it be? They choose a sampler package, so Ciernan visits the Starwayists, Kith the Reform Juridicists, and Sophia the Orthodox Juridicists. Sophia comes away with a deep and abiding desire to smite the heathen and the Decider.

After a bit more of dodging Deciders, the group, plus the three Hegemons (Katya has gotten off the bar to the back rank again) all reach the Palatium Tamarch. However, in front of the ritual room, they find three foes: Kith in a witch's costume, Ciernan in wheelchair with cat, and Sophia, who claims "this is not my fault!". Evil Ciernan gestures languidly at the Hippocrates crew and says "Destroy them."

Ciernan complains: aren't they supposed to gloat before saying "Get them!"? Evil Ciernan rolls his eyes and says all right, fine, he'll gloat. "Now you have fallen into our trap, and now you will die. Okay, we've gloated. Kill them!"

"Wow. I suck as a bad guy." -Ciernan
"You're not the bad guy! We're the bad guys!" -Evil Ciernan
Sophia labels her carboard box "Sekrit Escape Route", and convinces Evil Sophia to jump into it to get away. If she doesn't do anything, it can't be her fault, right?

Kith targets Evil Kith:

"Wouldn't you like some tea?" -Kith
"During combat?!?" -Evil Kith
"Actually, that sounds delightful." -Evil Kith
Evil Ciernan is exasperated: "Enough fooling around, get back to the killing!". Ciernan makes his cat scratch him. Next, Ciernan tries to zap the bad guys with lightning, but wheelchairs are grounded, and Evil Kith is floating. Evil Ciernan calls in a bunch of minions.

Sophia uses her shtickinator gun to steal a "Criminal Mastermind" shtick from Evil Ciernan (it comes with the flaw "Absolutely no sense of humor.")

Evil Kith and Good Kith end up in a tea-flinging fight, as the Hegemons dance ring-around-the-rosy around the Palatium Tamarch throne. Ciernan tries to put himself and the Hegemons inside a wall of earth, but Evil Ciernan's wheelchair has a big drill and can knock holes in it.

Kith tries to positive-emotion-amplify Evil Ciernan's gloating tendencies. Gloating is the stuff! They had better keep the Hippocrates crew around for gloating purposes. This produces some more gloating, but they don't actually stop fighting. Sophia shoots Ciernan with the shtickinator, making him an Evil Mastermind and giving him brief control of the minions.

Sophia realizes that coffee is the anti-tea. She labels her cardboard box "Coffee maker", and pours a box full of coffee on Evil Kith, who promptly dissolves away with a cry of "Noooo! I'm melting! I'm melting!"

That leaves just Evil Ciernan to be dealt with. Kith finds some catnip tea, and with a piece of string, lures Evil Ciernan's cat away. Ciernan tunnels a hole under the wheelchair, but the wheelchair has superleap. Sophia relinquishes the Evil Mastermind shtick, and steals some of the wheelchair shtick. Her box is now a wheelchair, and she hops in to dodge the Evil wheelchair's blasts.

Ciernan interrogates Evil Ciernan about the setup on the Hector - who's in charge there now? Archon Thereve. Wait, he didn't go to Vircus? No, he's busy ruling the world.

Sophia tries to start a joke: "So these two guys walk into a bar." Evil Ciernan is distracted - wait, what bar? Hmm. There's something to that.

Kith and Sophia put together a joke: "A rope walks into the bar and asks for a drink. The bartender says 'Sorry, we don't serve ropes here.' The rope goes back out, and tangles and ruffles himself up, and then goes back in and asks for a drink. The bartender says 'I told you, we don't serve ropes here.' The rope says 'I'm not a rope, I'm a frayed knot.'" Well, that definitely distracts Evil Ciernan, but the punch line doesn't quite seem to be right.

Kith tells a joke: "A physicist, an engineer, and a chemist start discussing prime numbers. The physicist says: 'All odd numbers are prime. 1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is an experimental error... yup, all odd numbers are prime.' The engineer says '1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime... yup, all odd numbers are prime.'"

"But what does the chemist do?" -Sophia
"I forget." -Kith
Evil Ciernan declares that he can't take it any more, rolls out, and down the stairs.

Kith examines the tea which has been spilt all about from the tea fights, and notes that the tea leaves say "Sometimes it's necessary to embarrass yourself to achieve a greater goal."

At that last line, Ciernan, Kith, and Sophia look at each other, and have the dawning sense that this was what they were trying to remember... and then they wake up.