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The camera turns on with a hum. A closeup on an eye, blinking with purpose, as punctuation to a muted lecture. The shot pulls back slowly to reveal the imperious visage of Ibex—Candidate of Righteousness—as he makes his presence known to the crew of the Kingdom Come.
The shot pulls back further, and we see them too in a cutaway of the ship. A dioramic view that reduces it in size. A reduction helped by the sheer force of presence of Ibex, which does not shrink as the camera zooms out, but grows.
We see Mako Trig and Aria Joie laid up in the medical bay. AuDy—the symbol of the Iron Choir resting on their chest—at the ship’s helm. And the lost Apostolosian Cassander Timaeus Berenice in the glow of the comms screen. And then a shot of Cassander’s face—just their face—determined.
A wave of pale green static tides across this view, and the camera retracts further now, revealing a second screen, watched by Orth Godlove, leaning forward in his chair, his suit too tight, his eyes straining. It has been a long time since he’s seen Ibex, and he knows what he has to do.
It happens quickly. Moments after the Candidate vanishes from the screen, Orth’s face appears and makes it known with haste there’s no time to argue. That the Chime needs to know who is gunning for them, and that they should meet him in Mesa, the dome that houses the majority of Counterweight’s OriCon population.
The flight is long, and by the time you arrive you are all awake, and aware, and concerned.
Mesa is overcrowded and the BluSky Dome here does nothing to improve the cramped feeling this place has. Nor do the final preparations for the upcoming 10-year anniversary of the Golden War Armistice.
You’re guided through side roads and alleyways, and eventually you find a door down a flight of stairs and a building at the end of an alley. Then, you move through a set of door-lined hallways, each turn adjoined by a cough or a wheeze or a groan from behind one of the doors. And then you open a door, and there’s Orth, seated among a set of five medical beds, four of which are empty. And in the fifth, Jace Rethal, pale and bearded and asleep, and with Orth’s hand on his forehead.
He explains the situation quickly: “Righteousness and Ibex are threats, and you must learn what it will be to face them when they arrive. The last time anyone did such a thing was a decade ago—and now you will find out how that happened.”
He seats you in the beds. Attaches a wire here, a clamp there. And soon, your body isn’t. You’re someone else. Someone then. You are Jace, or Addax. You are Orth himself. You are Tea Kenridge, Queen-Captain of the Queen’s Gambit.
And you’ll find out what happened.
Orth Godlove wants to show The Chime the true danger of Ibex and what happened during the Golden War. Using a simulator hooked up to the brain of long lost OriCon hero, Jace Rethal, Orth is able to literally show them, and each member of the Chime finds themselves in the head of a different Golden War hero.
Orth Godlove, an up-and-coming OriCon officer and captain of The Kingdom Come, is the newly appointed leader of the OriCon/Diaspra joint-task force against the Apostolosian empire. The purpose of the task force is to neutralize the superweapon currently under construction by the Apostolosians. This information was brought to OriCon and the Diaspra by a Apostolosian defector, Sokrates Artemisios. The second-in-line to the Apostolosian throne, they fled when they discovered the superweapon with the potential to destroy the entire Golden Branch.
The superweapon is being built in two parts, with one part being built on Sigilia, and the other on Apole. The fleet, comprised mostly of OriCon soldiers, deliberates whether or not it’s better to travel through Diasporan space or OriCon space. Each way gets to a part of the weapon, but the Diasporan way has safer passage. Attitudes lean towards the Diasporan way, especially when word gets around that Jace Rethal, OriCon war hero, and Addax Dawn, Candidate of Peace and leader of the Diasporan force, are in agreement. They decide on that path, ignoring the warning of Natalya Greaves that the fleet will cross paths with Ibex.
The fleet arrives at the planet Gemm, a Diasporan planet recently devastated by an Apostolosian attack. A decision must be made over whether or not the fleet will transport refugees from Gemm to safety. Orth is hesitant. He confides to Tea Kenridge, leader of the Queen’s Gambit, that his rapid ascension of ranks and unexpected appointment are apart of a plot to make sure the joint fleet is a failure, meant to take out the entire fleet, Sokrates, and Peace. Tea and Orth come up with a plan to take the refugees to drop off on the planet Glimmer, which is a planet on the way to the superweapon. Addax agrees to their plan, but he knows that Executive Ibex is currently on Glimmer. In an attempt to get the upper hand, Addax decides not to send advanced word to Glimmer about their arrival.As the fleet loads refugees, an enemy Apostolosian ship attacks. The fleet fights them off, suffering a few casualties, but the experience is unifying, reminding both sides of the task force of the real enemy. They arrive shortly at Glimmer, where Ibex offers them an ultimatum: Ibex will let the refugees stay, but only if Ibex and Righteousness are allowed to join the fleet.
Who's Playing Who
|Ali Acampora||Aria Joie||Jace Rethal|
|Art Martinez-Tebbel||Cassander Timaeus Berenice||Addax Dawn|
|Jack de Quidt||AuDy||Orth Godlove|
|Keith J. Carberry||Mako Trig||Sokrates Nikon Artemisios|
|Andi Clare||Jillian Red*||Tea Kenridge|
|Andrew Lee Swan||Rigour**||Natalya Greaves|
* Jillian Red was murdered when Audi tossed her out of the Kingdom Come; this is her loose consciousness in space latching onto this simulation.
** Like Jillian, Rigour is hacking into this simulation unseen through its connection with Natalya.