The Travelers get off to a rocky start, but no rockier than the locals are dealing with: Within the week, the plan is for everyone on Gehenna to be off-planet. Citrine is quickly making herself indisposable to the Empress of Moths’ crew in the absence of a captain (at least, to those members of it willing to talk to others, unlike the engineers); meanwhile, Bela’s finagled captaincy of the Corona, later taking a moment to help Ari brush up on his combat techniques, and Zand has taken the step of encrypting its computer systems to guarantee himself a place there. Kyan is working his rocky butt off trying to learn as much as he can about the impending tachyon storm before it’s too late. Lydain is having a rough time of emerging from cryosleep; for that matter, so is poor Armin.
Folks with outriders - Elphaba, Dan, Melissa - are scrambling for berths on the outside of one of the big ships. Meanwhile, some Questing Country reunions are taking place - including a few Travelers finding themselves with a little explaining to do.
Speaking of the Travelers, Leo starts the traditional check-in, having quickly determined via Bond group that the Travelers have been split again. On the check-in, Hajime explains his BRILLIANT PLAN to run a Malik Gambit in his Bugman form (and promptly gets told it’s a terrible idea). Nothing could possibly go wrong! Wash and Zoe set themselves up with an outrider while they’re at it.
After a bit, Phillip provides an update, including the fact that Questing Country is a thing in this setting-at-large, and the fact that he’s invented a race to serve as a cover story. Phillip and Zatanna have also speculated that the psychic network might not stretch across whatever vastness of interstellar space ends up splitting the two ships…
At some point, Jade assumes command of the Empress of Moths, or at least, organizational responsibility.
Liftoff goes… well, both ships achieve escape velocity, you can say that much for it. Between the Corona’s shaky liftoff, the Empress’ steering issues once in flight, the outriders quite literally gunning for docking space, the satellites trying to keep them down, and the tachyon-induced hallucinations giving all the synthetics and cyborgs problems, it’s a bit of a faff.
On the Empress, Jade seems to be acquitting herself nicely as captain. Lapis is certainly keeping busy, what with everyone coming to her for systems checks and repairs; eventually she devises an input filter that can at least dampen the hallucinations, though it doesn’t stop them entirely. Plans are underway to get a schematic to the Corona. Ridic gives his all to keeping the girl flying - good thing Diabolins don’t need sleep - and poor Citrine’s a mess, between the guidance the ship’s sails need and all the imaginary alarms. Valosi does… something to ease the load on the engines; whatever it is, it works, exhausting her in the process.
When Kyan gets some down time from active navigating, he has a look at his tachyon data, and finds something as interesting as it is ominous: the patterns the tachyons are coming in are a little too neat to be a random space-weather event… Later in the week, he closes in on it: The tachyon storm isn’t just a storm, it’s information. Information about what, exactly, is still unclear.
After a run-in with one of Lapis’ bots proves to be a fruitful use of Orange magic, Phillip decides to try talking to the Empress directly, which nets him some very interesting information; afterward, he takes some questions to the network about what he learned. Late in the week, Citrine does something similar.
MEANWHILE ON THE CORONA: Bela deals quite ruthlessly indeed with the attacking outriders and boarding parties, and Pearl has her hands more than full trying to keep the engine together. Luci introduces anyone on the bridge during liftoff to Vodyanoi swearing. Souji (Okita, that is), Zand and A-Lie try to hold their own amidst the tachyon-induced hallucinations. Brose attempts to break up a fight that isn’t in fact happening. Zoe’s outrider docks, and she takes a well-deserved break. Gale and Lupa have an argument.
Well, at least Ryo enjoyed liftoff. The Wolf-Bear of Doom, on the other hand, is rather less impressed.
Braig puts out an alert to the investigators about the hallucination problem, as his clockwork eye from Nova Venezia is giving him trouble. Fortunately, for now at least, the folks on the Corona and Empress are still in touch via the network. The fact of Hajime’s accidentally passing Ryo off as his son comes to light (great job, Lord of the Bugmen), and Cassandra identifies the winged flamey figures present in some of the hallucinations as Starmovers.
The time for hyperlight travel comes rather sooner than anyone expected, but with the sudden loss of communications from Gehenna, there’s no other choice. Hyperlight means an end to the hallucinatory troubles that have been plaguing the Synthetics and cyborgs… but it brings its own problems.
Matic comes back online, now merged (not… quite successfully) with Elphaba’s outrider; he and the Messengers have a little adjusting to do. (He doesn’t exactly make new friends, either.) Istas performs carnage on the hapless apple monsters in Liminal Space, revealing them to be full of brass stars held together with duct tape. Kyan is hit hard by the apparent total loss of the one place he’s ever been able to call home, crappy though it was. Jules is doing his best to dismiss the sensor intrusions from other people’s cybernetics as Just Another Hallucination.
While Eren is far from the only one to notice that these portals to Liminal Space seem to be open to everyone, he is the one who raises the alarm on the network, especially since infiltrators who use them are still infiltrators. Jade entertains the idea of stashing infiltrators and Travelers alike in Liminal Space to help take the load off the ships, but no one’s sure how feasible that’s going to be. Liara recommends against unnecessary use of liminal skills, in case that just destabilises the portal situation further. Shuu makes a couple interesting discoveries about the portals and the Empress both.
As for the portals leading from one ship to the other, Bela’s not best pleased with the resulting interlopers. It seems interlopers in general aren't welcomed anywhere though, despite Shuu's best efforts to sneak into the reactor room of the Empress.
Will nothing settle down, or are our intrepid Travelers doomed for more shenanigans?
Yes. Yes, they are doomed for more shenanigans.
Ridic and Luci are rather frustrated with the problems inherent in piloting their respective ships when one’s in hyperlight and the other’s having a major engine problem. Lapis gets Kyan to sleep for a while, promising him a robot to help make sense of the tachyon
Perhaps more importantly, for a Synthetic aspiring to more closely resemble natural life, she blinks.
Steph gets the wrong end of the heat blast in Liminal Space resulting from the portal opening in the Empress’ engine. Matic and Nikias reach a troubling conclusion about the hallucinations, namely the fact that they’ve included the portals - so what else of these dire non-events just haven’t happened yet? Istas begins to doubt the wisdom of Hajime’s Malik Gambit, especially since she’s the one who can’t actually talk to infiltrators.
Working on the theory that the portals to Liminal Space aren’t helping matters even if they’re not necessarily hurting, Souji Okita asks if anyone’s had any luck closing portals when they pop up. Unfortunately, before there’s much chance to investigate that line, things on the Corona go south FAST, prompting Bela to evacuate as many people as possible into Liminal Space and the Empress via said portals. During the chaos of evacuating, Gale and Lupa resolve matters.
And in the midst of all this, Kyan starts to wonder if they even should be running from the tachyon storm… Phillip passes this on to the investigators once he catches wind of it.
Our intrepid crews have done everything they can to outpace the tachyon storm. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough. Kyan, despite being willing to embrace the tachyons himself, feels pretty cracking horrible for dragging everyone else into this mess; fortunately, his friends are there to knock some sense back into him. Lapis adapts one of her robot army to send a message back to whoever’s behind the song; it’s a long shot, but it’s worth a try. Claud tries to put out some goodbyes to people’s families, not really expecting it to work - but hey, a shout into the void’s better than nothing. Souji Okita decamps to Liminal Space, having finally had enough of the hallucinations.
Zoe keeps her bunker from the Corona evacuation open, eventually wondering if a return is safe. Hajime tries to burn off his restlessness by cooking for everyone who’s in Liminal Space.
When the tachyons catch them up, Jules doesn’t take the song very well (but what else is new). The twins answer the door, with Citrine following suit. Kyan and Lapis’ attempt to reach out gets some attention.
Between Lapis and Kyan’s efforts at communication, and Alsion and Valosi opening the reactor door, something - presumably a Starmover - emerges from the ship and goes about its business, in the process freeing the Empress and Bela’s outrider from the grip of the tachyon storm.
On the heels of this success, and the discovery that the Empress has enough reactor function to limp along to a nearby system, the Trumps call it a win, replacing evacuated NPCs in Liminal Space with the people who belong there.
If you have any addenda to the jaunt summary, please drop them in the comments!