Episode 619: Maskirovka
Air Date: 29 Nov 2011
Present: Kim, Maer, Terri, Andy, and Bobby
Part 2, 3, 4, Special Features
Saturday, 24 Apr 2523
Durance class Equinox
In Orbit over Persephone
It's been a somewhat eventful trip from Red Sun, what with Nika and Rina engaging in some therapeutical fisticuffs … the beneficial results of which are still under debate. Nika's nursing a black eye, a split lip, a cracked rib, and a sprained elbow. Rina's got a split lip to match her Captain's, a bloodied nose, and some bone-deep bruises on the torso. They get patched up, take the heat from Kiera and Arden over it, and carry on. Their injuries pale in significance against the body the crew is carrying in cold storage—Kuo Sun-Li—murdered en route by Emile Grand, who we've got under lockdown. A second passenger, Valerie Fleming, is still clinging to life, a victim of anthrax poisoning.
It'll be one hell of a thing to turn over to the authorities when we arrive at Persephone, which we do right on schedule. The airspace around Persephone is much more heavily secured since our last visit the previous October. There is much back-and-forthing on the comms with traffic control and at the mention of anthrax, they quarantine us in space and a systems defense boat docks up with us. They conduct a cursory investigation and we are individually brought in for decontamination for the anthrax. Everything on board is subjected to the process, up to and including our ship's cat. The cat survives just fine. The same can't be said for some of the more delicate plants in hydroponics and Joshua sucks it up and writes off the loss. At least we didn't lose everything like the last time we'd gone through decon, way back in December, 2518. Apparently anthrax, though deadly, is easier to kill than the virus that Potemkin sabotaged us with.
Of course, once we see the bill for the decon, the sticker shock is like to kill us anyway. It's 500 credits. It's nearly half our wage for transporting our passengers, but we pay it.
Speaking of our wages … we net 1100 for the passengers (minus the decon bill) and upon delivery dirtside, we can expect another 1000 for the cleaning supplies and smaller bit of cargo from Badger. It's a four day journey to Sihnon from here but as we find out from the authorities, all the Core worlds are on restricted fly zone status. Unless you have legitimate business on the planet in question, no one will be given permission to land. Since we have cargo to deliver on the dirt, we have our ticket to land. Which we gratefully do at Eavesdown Docks. Once settled in our berth, we cast about for work that will take us to Sihnon. There are also supplies that need restocking, mostly food and meds.
Knowing that we are going to need to arrange for cargo bound for Sihnon before we take off, we look around for work and there isn't really much for unflagged vessels such as ours. The matter of flagging our ship comes up again.
Arden: What are the downsides to getting flagged?
Nika: They can track us wherever we go.
Rina: They can take over our controls of our ship and fly us wherever they want us to go, so long as we're in range of their ... take-over-the-ship thingy. And power you down.
Arden: How hard is it to disconnect this flag?
Rina: Depends on the engineer.
Arden: Well then it's easy. We have the best one in the Verse.
Rina: Why thank you Arden.
Kiera: You are such a suck-up, but awwww…!
Arden: But I'm taking it's the Captain's decision whether we're flagged then, or not.
Rina: (quietly) Damn straight.
Nika: And I've already said we didn't want that.
Rina: I know I don’t want it.
Arden: Then we're going to be flying the Rim and the Border for the rest of our career.
Nika: Then you'll have to book passage. That doesn't bother me a single little bit.
Arden: It's just that the more profitable jobs are here in the Core and it's where the medical center is and all the stuff that's knda important to modern life.
Nika: Ah, no. That is absolutely not true and if you would like to go to the Core, that's perfectly fine. But I'm not going to flag the ship just so you can get your head scanned because you're losing your mind.
Whoa. There's something going on here and the undercurrent off the Captain is … tricky.
Arden: I'm not saying that. I was just … I'm fine with us not being flagged. I'm fine with that. I was just wondering if the payoff from being flagged is worth the hinderances of being flagged.
Nika: Not for me.
Arden: And that it was a cerebral exercise, not one that I was seriously considering.
Joshua: All right. That seems reasonable.
Nika: Have cerebral exercises with him.
Arden: If it makes you feel any better, I made her sit next to the anthrax patient.
Joshua: Don’t go there—don't.
And in that odd way that long-term crews have, the conversation goes sideways and everyone is able to follow it, despite. It's obvious Nika and Arden are talking about Head-Valerie. It's also obvious that Nika is still pissed off over the situation with Arden and …. other stuff. Apparently Rina's ploy to get her Captain to blow off steam and clear her head by using her engineer as a punching bag didn't work as well as hoped. Not that Rina's going to give up. She jumps in the loaded silence with an olive branch.
Rina: I could get in touch with Omar and see if he can't arrange something for us. I'm sure he's got connections. Anybody want to go for a walk?
Joshua: All right. Let's go see Omar.
Rina sends a wave to Omar Tennison, her former employer, asking if he knows of anything for us in the way of work. He tells her to come over, bring the whole crew if she'd like. Rina confirms the visit and tells the rest of the crew they're going for a little walk. It's not far, really. She'd spent nearly four years after the war here. She knows the neighborhood. It was a touch sketchy the last time we were here and we still didn't get the ident cards we were ordered to get done—shucky-darn—but it should be safe to walk to Omar's garage. And for reasons entirely her own, Rina walks off the ship without her usual suspects. Instead she dresses like a civilian, and in a skirt no less, and puts up with the ribbing from the crew. Joshua's appreciative of the change, however, and they walk off Equinox's ramp hand in hand. The rest of the crew follow, still wondering just where the body-snatching aliens have taken their engineer.
Even before we landed on the dirt we could sense the changes wrought on the place by the increased security and the fed presence. In person, it looks even worse. The energy of the docks is subdued, the people are less hustle and bustle and more … listless. The walk to Omar's shows us that the vibe we caught coming in isn't something we imagined. It's real. Nika watches Rina and Joshua walking ahead of them and then leans over to Arden and Kiera.
Nika: Does it look to you that this entire street's been … dosed?
Arden: I don't think it's just the street.
Nika: (eyes widening) Wow.
There are less people on the streets in Rina's old neighborhood, less places open for business, and on the way there we see a relief center where people are turning in ration coupons for food. We don't waste time sightseeing and make it to Omar's only to find it shut up tight.
Knowing Omar would not have told her to show up when he wouldn't be there to receive her, Rina buzzes the door and we're let in. The garage floor is actually busy: several employees are working on vehicles and various machines and at least here, things look close to normal. Omar greets us and leads us to the rear quarters at the back of the garage where we can talk in private. He shuts the door on the garage floor and gets us seated and fills us in on what's happened since we were last here.
Joshua: Give us good news.
Omar: How long have you been out of the Core?
Nika: A year?
Rina: No, not that long. Months.
Actually we last visited Omar in October, when Bradley Sims vetted us with that fake intel gadget. But really, who's counting?
Omar: Well … (clears throat) … You might thing that the population of the Core has been suffering a sort of wave of manic depression. There were riots, civil unrest, and then it became this malaise and then it just … faded.
Arden: They adjusted the dosage.
Omar: Some people believe that that's what's going on.
Omar: No one knows—none of our people know if it's in the water or in the air.
Rina: It could be both.
Omar: We've been careful to filter our water as best we can.
Arden: Well your people seem to be less affected than the othrs we've seen in the street.
Omar: Perhaps we have more motivation. It's not like the people in the street are asleep. It's not like Chempliant.
Arden: It's like one-tenth of Chempliant.
Omar: Perhaps something like that, a very low dosage. But it seems to have taken away their motivational structures in the brain. We have very strong motivations so perhaps that's made us …
Omar lifts a palm to the sky and shrugs in that universal gesture: who knows?
Arden: You know, when Pax was originally used, was it one out of ten people people who became Reavers or one out of a thousand.
Arden: I wonder if there's a correlation between the dosage and what happens to you mentally.
Joshua: (quietly) You could ask my mom.
Arden: Yeaaaah. That would be one of the questions I'd ask her.
Joshua: Yeah, I'm sure it would be.
Arden: I'm surprised you even brought her up.
Joshua: I know. It's on my mind.
Because Joshua's mother is not universally liked amongst the crew. Rina keeps her mouth shut. The woman will soon be her mother-in-law. Omar watches this from his chair, leaning back and mapping the over- and undercurrents running between the crew.
Omar: But, um, well as you know there's been greater restrictions on travel across the planets. I think they're relying more heavily on local police forces to maintain discipline so they can send more military out to the Rim and the Border.
Nika: Are all of the Core planets like this?
She waves a hand at the outside.
Omar: As I say, from what we can gather, there seems to be not perhaps this bad on the other ones. It seems to vary too with the economic level. People who are poor and perhaps unemployed seem to be hit the most. People in the more wealthy districts appear not to be affected.
Joshua: Of course they aren't. There's your variable right?
Arden: You mean money? It's spread by money. The more money you have, the least likely you'll be affected.
Rina: (thinking aloud) Then that means the atmo can't be the vector.
Arden: There's probably more than one vector.
Joshua: Like poor people are more likely to eat the tofu.
Arden: Like the, um …
Rina: TSE. The texturized protein.
Arden: Maybe the TSE was the precursor to this. Actually, I think the prion disease was a mistake or something that went too far. I don't think they would have spread—whoever the mythical they are—
Nika: I hate the mythical they.
Arden: Do you know who the mythical they are?
Joshua: I'm keeping my mouth shut because …. I need to keep my mouth shut on this.
Arden: Do you know who the mythical they is?
Joshua: No. Not specifically.
And Omar's just taking all of this in. God knows what we've just managed to hand the man on a silver platter.
Omar: We don't think this is an intentional plot but it's a double-edged sword. While they may discourage the civil unrest that makes it into the papers and draws immediate resources, it is a further drain on the already weak economy. So it's not … (shrugs)
Kiera: It's not self-serving.
Omar: It's not self-sustainable.
Arden: You're probably not an economist but what is driving the recession the Core planets are having right now.
Omar: Part of it is the blockade.
Arden: They're not getting the supplies they need from the Rim right now, then?
Nika: From what systems? All of them or is there a particular one?
Omar: Well, the Independents have been trying to make it difficult and expensive to get food in. Part of it is an economical plan, even if you could get a ship laden with food, say from Red Sun in here, if you have to send three escort ships along with it, it becomes a significant burden and a huge amount of money. Especially for the lower value goods. Relatively easily obtained, but if loaf of bread goes from two bits to a credit, it changes the whole picture.
Arden: I never studied the balance of trade between the Rim and the Core, but I wonder how the Rim is faring with the embargo in place.
Omar: Everyone has privations in time of war.
Arden: Yeah, but it's not officially a time of war. Officially.
Joshua: I was about to say.
Omar: Funny you should say that. There is … I'm not sure if I should speak confidentially to you about this …
Arden: You want me to step into the next room?
Omar: There's talk of a war council of the various Independent groups. They've been speaking to each other but not in a collective. Where and when I can't …(shrugs again).
Nika: They haven't reached a quorum yet.
Omar: There's been a lot of speech about it but so far understandably people have been interested more about their own circumstances and making sure the actions of others have not come down harder.
For example, if you're a small planet that was able to scoot under the radar with your independence because you weren't that important, but now that all of Blue Sun has declared its independence, all of a sudden the Core needs to strike at someone but cannot strike at Blue Sun … well, it will strike the little planet.
Arden: Just to show that it's still the biggest kid on the block. No wonder they're being so restrictive about their airspaces.
Omar: There's a bit of that, but if the forces can be—I hesitate to say easier aligned—if the confederacy of these planets can be—
Nika: They can find something to rally behind.
Joshua: They're going to need something.
Nika: They're still going to need someone. It's going to need to be a charismatic someone who can rally them behind a particular idea or ideal.
Arden: Events don't motivate people.
Joshua: (quietly) Yes, they do. It has to be the right event.
Arden: For a short period of time, anyway.
Nika: Oh give me a break. Miranda didn't motivate anybody.
Joshua: Miranda is way off in space. I'm not saying it's going to happen but I'm saying if there was some really obvious, really brutal and really well advertised strike by the Alliance against the Independents, something to give them a rallying cry to get behind, they won't need a person.
Nika: My concern here is exactly what you're saying. They're gonna sacrifice a planet full of innocence to enrage their own Independents to rally them behind it.
Joshua: I don't think they'll go that far.
Arden: You think the Independents are going to do that?
Joshua: I don’t think so.
Omar: You think we'd let one of our own to that to a planet? Wow, that's not the way we operate here.
Nika: Here's the thing: Is the Alliance actually capable of doing it?
Like Shadow. During the war.
Nika: They know it would rally people against them, so they wouldn't do it. Unless their military leaders are entirely ridiculously stupid.
Joshua: I'm not saying they're stupid but people have done all sorts of things that turned out to be stupid because they thought it was a good idea behind it.
Nika: I suppose but I don't think the Independent movement is going to step forward and sacrifice that many people for it, either.
Joshua: I don’t think so either.
Arden: I don’t think so either but I thought you were saying they were.
Nika: No, no. What I was saying is the only way that that's going to happen is if the Independents were willing to sacrifice their own because the Alliance won't make that move because it WILL rally the Independents.
Arden: It depends on how they do it.
Joshua: Anyway—. I'm sorry. I diverted us.
Dragging us back on task, people. Omar nods at Joshua.
Omar: If I may? That's not our strategy. Our strategy now is to not try to capitalize on this feeling of resentment. There's plenty of that.
Nika: Yeah. There's way too much of it.
Omar: We need a victory. To show that it's possible to be taken seriously.
Arden: So is there anybody rallying an idea that might work for that? Floating any idea?
Omar: It will happen soon.
Omar: Soon there will be a strike that will be the beginning of something.
Joshua: And I don't want to know.
Arden suggests perhaps they could start a whispering campaign using the destruction of the central database at Colchester as proof. Nika mentioned that there had been, back in the day, and we all know how well it worked. Which is to say … not too well or at least too much. Arden is undeterred and brings up that man-made transmission point we'd spotted out at an improbable distance off the Verse's system ecliptic—back before the turn of the New Year. Joshua opines we haven't the capability to do anything about that. Beglan looks at Arden.
Beglan: We'll talk about this later.
There's something in Belgan's tone that hints at secrets and secrecy. All eyes turn on our quiet and unassuming Irishman and you can see it go through the crew's collective mind: what does he know? Rina privately thinks that perhaps this was the reason Beglan took off for two days in Lagniappe with his telescope. Stargazing was the reason agreed upon at the time but perhaps it wasn't. Again, Joshua drags us back on task.
Joshua: So we're heading to the Core or we're trying to.
Omar: It's difficult. It's unlikely you're going to get flagged at this stage.
Joshua: And it's unlikely we're going to want to.
Omar: There's not a lot of traffic for the flagged ships so they will object to having additional ships being brought in. Unless there's some kind of airlift, then I suppose you could get one. It's possible you could get a priority or an emergency package. I'll see what we have lined up but unfortunately we don't have a lot of that. You might—if you have any contacts on the … darker side … they might be helpful where you're going. I'll look and see what I can find.
Joshua; If we manage to make it into the Core, is there anything we can do for you while we're there?
Joshua: If there's not, that's fine.
Omar: Well …
He shifts in his chair.
Omar: We've been hearing some stories … and haven't been able to get confirmation yet. We're looking for another rallying point. There's been a fairly heavy conscription plan. I shouldn't say it's a conscription paln. It's not a full involuntary draft, it's a voluntary thing. But there is this … there's a rigorous recruitment and it seems to be targeting the unemployed and in some ways the misfits, people who don't seem to fit in well. At least as far as we can tell.
He actually shows us a few of the recruiting pitches he's recorded. And what we see is … disturbing in its implications. The out of shape, the nerdy, the physically handicapped and even amputees are encouraged to "aim for The Elect". They have before and after shots, testimonials form 98-pound weaklings being transformed into Charles Atlases by the process—which, we notice, is never fully divulged. Joshua starts to hum disapprovingly. No surprise there, considering what happened to him. But Rina and the other crew members don't like the looks of this either. Arden sums it up best.
Arden: "We have a perfect society and we need to get rid of the imperfections in it."
Nika: That's not what the ad is saying.
Rina: No, but that's what I'm getting from it.
Arden: And yeah, that's what it's doing.
Joshua: Maybe. Or maybe we're running into the Blue Sun Make-Us-A-Better-Human-Being philosophy.
The difference being, Arden asks? There's a difference between getting rid of the misfits as opposed to turning the misfits through biological interventions into your core fighting force. Arden disagrees, saying he doesn't believe biological sciences is up to that task yet. Nika is leaning more toward the idea that it’s a campaign for suicide missions, harvesting souls for cannon fodder. Arden persists in his assertion that science cannot do what the before and after pictures imply.
Arden: Think about what it would take to change the genome of a person. Every single cell would have to be rewritten.
Then again, what about those odd sinuous fighting ... things … we encountered in the tunnels on Beaumonde? The Seeker-Hunters. They were definitely no longer completely human, modified for combat beyond normal human ability. Joshua asserts that the Seeker-Hunters were totally … wrong … and that it wouldn't surprise him if they'd been made that way, perhaps by Blue Sun in yet another biological experiment. So maybe science is capable of doing what the ad campaigns imply, Arden wants to know? Isn't the existence of the Seeker-Hunters proof enough, the rest of us ask. Besides, Arden himself has an extra pineal gland. He's walking proof that humans can be modified. Arden doesn't buy it—he's had that gland since before he was born. It wasn't retroactively induced in him afterward. Just like Joshua's abilities were with him since birth—and Joshua cautions him that he might have possessed them then, or perhaps not.
Even so, there is evidence that whatever man can imagine, medical and biological science are not too far behind in their ability to make real: Faria has artificial limbs stronger than mere human flesh and bone. Nika has eyes, biological eyes, that are not her own that enable her to see and see well. And there are blastomere organs and those things that can be done to enhance a person. Again, the implicit promise behind the recruitment campaign might not be too far from the truth. To be sure, these modifications are normally reserved only for the very wealthy who can afford them but in a time of war when bodies are needed? Omar cautions us to be wary of further speculation.
Omar: We may never know because after they join the Elect force, nobody knows what actually happens to them.
Nika: (frowning) So none of them have ever resurfaced?
Omar: They end up going into this training—usually off-planet—and then nobody ever hears from them.
Kiera: Not even their families?
Omar: They may be communicating with their families but they're not seen again.
The word on the street is mixed. Some say it's a dark conspiracy. Others are saying it's not …
Rina: Is there a recruitment center here on Persephone that you want us to look into? Is that what you're asking?
Omar: No. I'm not asking you to do that. I'm saying if you happen to hear something or come across something as would qualify as proof that whatever's happening is happening involuntarily, that might be worth reporting back. But the evidence here may work depressing but we are, I hate to say it this way, in enemy territory. Bad news here is good news back home. The difficulties they face here is evidence that they're straining, that there are not infinite resources as people had thought. A lot of the raw materials necessary for infrastructure do not exist in the Core. For instance, they don't have any gas giants here. They have to bring a lot of their gas through biological means and that's cutting into their food resources. If we can just keep them at bay, as you've no doubt been hearing—it's been pretty successful, not 100% successful but they're going to have to make an effort, they're going to have to push their fleets further out. The further out the go, the more vulnerable they'll be, once they're out of reach of their supply lines to maintain all the things that are necessary. It's one thing to send out a quick-strike force out for a week and back. But if they've been out there for a year without being able to be resupplied … well. That changes everything.
It's a more subtle campaign than a full frontal assault, but history has shown it is possible to defeat a greater foe by starving him out. One could lay siege to his castle, instead of storming it. And on that unspoken thought, we all make ready to go.
Joshua: We appreciate the brief. We'll keep you in the loop as far as we can, as possible. Anything we find, right?
He looks at all of us and we nod back: right. Kiera faces Omar and bluntly asks:
Kiera: I have a very odd question as a completely disinterested third party.
Rina: (sighs) Well, yeah. That's you.
Joshua: Sort of. Anyway, go on.
Omar: I assume you'll keep an eye on her?
Joshua: We always do.
Kiera: Why are y'all rebelling?
Rina just stares at her friend. Why? Isn't it obvious? Kiera keeps on going.
Kiera: I mean, why? Just curious.
Joshua: (to Omar) Here's the chance to make your speech, sir.
Rina: She's our pet pragmatist.
Nika: She's our pet devil's advocate, don't mind her.
Arden: It's a valid question.
Omar: I have a granddaughter. And I'd like her to grow up in a Verse where she could choose what she wants to be when she grows up, where she can grow naturally. Not be forced to grow according to some plan. I want her to find places where she's not welcome, places where she's welcomed, but based on choices of those people and herself. Not some arbitrary force deciding for everyone else. It's not going to be a utopia or successful, but it won't be a dystopia. Which is what it will be if we fail. We've seen more and more evidence that Miranda was not an aberration but part of a plan, a plan for the whole Verse. It was a test bed. And I believe that most of the Alliance believes it was a failure, but—
Nika: No. They learned what they needed to know from Miranda.
Joshua: I can 100% verify that.
Kiera: What plan does the Alliance have?
Omar: The Alliance?
Omar: What do you mean?
He looks at her askance, a look echoed by Nika.
Omar: Are you a disinterested party?
Omar: We think of you as allies?
Rina: She's a party of one, which is a subset of this greater party called our ship.
Joshua: Rather than having her ask the question, what's the point? What are you trying to get at?
Kiera: The enemies of my enemy are my friends. I've always kinda wondered, cuz certain parties that we know of are on one side. And certain parties, although seeming on one side, would also make money fighting against other certain parties. I've always kinda wondered if … ?
Omar: Is money to be made? All wars have war profiteers.
Joshua: Yeah, and there's definitely money to be made.
Kiera: No, that's not what I'm saying. There's always money to be made but that would be their motivation but it would give you aid and I found myself wondering if you guys have explored that.
Nika: Trying to make it worth the while of people like … ?
Kiera If you take the people on the inside fighting other people on the inside. The Core corporations—corporation—won't be taken down and they're going to fight to keep everything. So it would make sense as the Independents to try and court smaller parts or other corporations that would be willing to take advantage.
Kick off a trade war? Set the little dogs against the big dog? Who would that be? Blue Sun? And who would she set on Blue Sun? Omar leans back.
Omar: In the Unification War there were …. I think most of our historians would say there were two big mistakes the Independents made. One was that they didn't bring it to the Core. Or far enough, anyway. The second was they didn't try to bring the corporations in, give them something to make them fare well. So both of those have been addressed. That said, the mega-corporations, the Wu Bah—the hegemons, the five corporations: Blue Sun, H2, and a couple of other ones—they are so closely connected to the government it is difficult to separate their interests from the interests of the government. It's not impossible but difficult. I will say that the Alliance itself is not a uniform body. There are factions. And those factions interested in a peaceful settlement eventually will gain more power as … stresses … hit the others. I think the evidence of what we accomplished with You Go is a good example that we're not doing this the old way.
Kiera: Okay. It was just a question in the abstract—
Rina: You were involved in that?
Omar was in charge of You Ge's assassination? Really?
Omar: No. We. The movement.
Arden: He's using the royal "We".
Joshua: Yeah. (off Rina's look) We'll talk about that later on. So yeah, we'll gather what we can, information-wise, I mean and ... We'll see how we go.
Nika: We still have contacts in the Core. We might be able to pull something out.
Kiera: You were saying that if we had some connections, we might be able to get … ?
Omar: There are certain kinds of missions that can get past the landing restrictions.
Kiera: You said something about street connections, underground …?
Joshua: Yeah. We're going to have to talk to Badger.
Omar: (brow raised) Oh, so you know Badger?
Rina: (unhappy) Way too much.
Omar: Our relationship has soured somewhat over the treatment of the local population.
Joshua: He doesn't seem like a real upbeat sort of—
Nika: (smiling daggers) He's such a prince.
Rina: I would have used another p-word, but okay.
Prick? Pizda? Pìgu? Those other p-words?
Rina: Go with what you like.
Omar: We also believe he's been facilitating the movement into the Elect forces somewhat. Purely for profit of course. He's not a partisan. As you say, there are people who don't care where their profit is from.
Kiera: But you might as well use them.
Omar: As I said, our relationship has soured somewhat. We tried to work a deal with him and he … ah … he turned on several of our people so be careful. He may promise you something but then—
Been there. Done that. Refer to Rina's word list.
Joshua: Yup. So unless Omar has more valuable information that he wishes to impart to us, we need to figure out a way to get to Sihnon.
Rina: Congratulations on your granddaughter.
Omar comes as close to grinning fatuously as Rina's ever seen. He glances down and looks up, sober again.
Omar: Well, I'm hopeful. I'd like to get her off world, but we'll see.
Rina: Yeah, but off world where?
Omar: That's the question.
Joshua: (to Rina) He's a smart man.
Omar: I don't want to draw unnecessary attention to her, as well.
Rina: Oh, hell no. (scrubs face) … God … Yeah.
Speaking of family ….
Nika: How's travel from here to Georgia?
Omar: It's unusual.
Joshua: That's one way to phrase it.
Omar: Unflagged ships, many of them headed there because it's a more stable environment than Red Sun or Kalidasa. They used to go to Blue Sun but when the Feds took over Pericles, that slowed that down a bit. Only the bigger ships could make that longer haul.
Rina: Any word from Pericles?
Omar: As far as I know it's still under Navy occupation.
Nika: But in the system itself, is Georgia still relatively stable?
Omar: It's been having actual live fire battles and such.
Rina: Remember? The Battle of Elphame?
Omar: So, stable in the sense that it's a war. No planets have fallen to one side or the other officially. It's not that organized yet. But it will be. Soon. Keep your eyes open for certain waves.
Nika: (sighing) People keep sayin' that.
Omar: Well this one will be important to pay attention to and be ready to take extraordinary steps if necessary.
Joshua: And we'll know when we get it, right?
Omar: All I can say is, it's going to be a big target. And if you're there, you're not going to want to be there.
Joshua: So we'll definitely know it when we know it.
Arden starts to laugh grimly.
Arden: I feel uncomfortable knowing as much as I know now.
Omar: It's okay. That much information is okay to slip out, because obviously the military intelligence knows that something is going on and we'd kinda like to have them running about trying to figure out what it'll be.
Rina: You know ….
Rina looks at Omar narrowly. He sends that look right back.
Omar: Are you questioning the strategy?
Rina: No., I'm … C'mon, Omar. How long did I live and work with you under this roof? You know how I tend to go off the handle on conspiracy theories.
Joshua: And I was about to say.
Rina: And I'm doing my best not to voice them.
Omar chuckles. Yeah. He knows.
Omar: And this is a real conspiracy.
Joshua: Okay, then we'll take the conspiracy theory or the conspiracy practicality or whatever you want to call it back to the ship. Or back to the vicinity of the ship.
Rina: (to Omar) Do you have anything you need us to do or to take with us?
Rina: You're sure?
Joshua: (whispers) I did ask him that.
Rina: Then give my regards to all the old friends here. (stands up) God help us.
Part 2, 3, 4, Special Features
Go back to: Murder on the Equinox Express | Go Foward to Hammerfall
Go back to Season Six: Franc-tireurs
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