Report by Kai
There were two parallel plotlines this time. Harriet and Bishop followed the trail of the missing Prof. Pournelle and his protege Reynold Rains, both of whom were searching for a Fall-era ice base called ABLE COIN, created by the Jovian military to find traces of Extraterrestrial Intelligence in the equatorial ice of Europa. The team had opened talks with the HLF, who asked to end their rivalry with the Transhumanism Committee in exchange for an information trade. Harriet also found that Rains had bought a long-range submarine and docking facility just outside of Conamara waters, and the two took the Grampus to check out the dock, finding traces of meteor dirt from the ice pack, as well as traces of tools for exploring the ice.
Meanwhile, Quill and Mitsuba had to effectively take over the T-Birds. Judah and Eve were still getting used to their new bodies – especially Eve, who seemed quite out of it – so the Fastball Express team had negotiate on behalf of their confused Parade Foundation/T-Bird allies. Most T-Birds were still missing or offline due to the hack attack, leaving a hapless intern named Darrow to act as their T-Bird liaison.
When the Customs agents came to town as part of a Special Investigation, there was just too much cosplaying from Quill and Mitsuba. Quill started acting like some sort of Parade Foundation spokesperson, only to find that Captain Connolly merely wanted more snitching from Eve.
Once Eve was revealed as the snitch who had been key to Major Stackhoff’s bloody crackdown on the Condors a year ago, Quill simply ousted Eve entirely. Following advice from the delta fork Eugenia, Mitsuba ended up buying off an entire Condor criminal tribe with Night Cartel money, and suddenly most of the gang war was over!
Hours later, Harriet and Bishop arrived beneath the ice at ABLE COIN, and managed to sneak aboard Rains’ submarine, where they found out that Rains was already inside the ABLE COIN base, a pressure worm tunnel network grown into the ice to link above and below. Harriet and Bishop proceeded to break into the base in hard suits, but their approach made Rains’ team so panicked that they started powering up an old Jovian warbot left at the base.
Ms Banks, the Xenobiological Fund/Toucan Tribe spokeswoman, called Quill on suspicion that the T-Birds were behind Harriet and Bishop, and displayed similar levels of panic as she demanded that the Fastball Express back off from Rains’ expedition. But it was too late – the warbot went berserk and blew away the entire Rains expedition. Mitsuba made a call to Mother of Battles and got Colonel Mannheim/Saeko to send deactivation codes. At ABLE COIN, Bishop stopped the warbot with his HERF gun and transmitted the deactivation codes, ending the threat.
The team was able to find Prof Pournelle’s frozen body in the base, and cooperated with Rains’ submarine crew to recover all the brainstates of the slaughtered expedition. The ice was starting to shift, so they all retreated to the submarines even as the warbot came back to life.
The mystery of ABLE COIN was not yet solved, but now all three tribes of Europa owed the Fastball Express a favour. If not for the deepening Jovian meddling, you’d almost think the team was almost done…
To be continued.
No rep changes – yet. But that will change.