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Episode 21

Opening Narration

When Jace and Addax finally moved, he’d watch them from the busy shores of Vox, his sight reaching where his own voice no longer could. They moved, an asymmetrical pair. Peace, gigantic, a city-state on wings above the banks of magma and steam, stomping and gliding in mechanical oscillation. A fortress of power. And then suddenly a bird of prey on the thermal wind and all around it Jace’s panther. A rigger broken into pieces, but not like glass, like an inverted puzzle. Only complete when taken apart. Its core dancing balletic between incoming beams of light as its dozen metal feathers  - black and shining - return the violence twelvefold.
Each slept soundly that night and from the busy shores of Vox Ibex watched. And later he would watch them again, so still in the air. Together a crisis, a solemn vow, above the sea of Counterweight.

Episode Synopsis

The Kingdom is in the midst of deciding whether or not to take aid from Wreath, or face a fleet-wide military strike. Natalya confides to Sokrates that she can secure the fleet supplies using her Rapid Evening connections if they can just get to the next planet after Wreath. Later that day, Sokrates is banned from the Seventh Sun by Ibex.

Ibex wants to take supplies from Wreath, but is ultimately outvoted by Sokrates and Addax. The soldiers in the fleet start to see through Ibex’s nice-guy ruse, and blame him for the military strike that starts during the month long trip through dark space from Wreath to the next planet. The only soldiers still on his side are the Gambit, having found a de facto leader in Ibex after feeling betrayed by Tea in the strike.

The Diasporans receive intel that a shield protector has been built on Apole that’s broadcasting protective technology to Apostolosian infantryman and Colossi so that they cannot be damaged in battle. Vox is slowly dying to these buffed Apostolosian fleets, but the problem with trying to eliminate them is that they’re being operated by Apostolosian prisoners. The Kingdom must decide whether or not to destroy these prisoner operated shields, or lose the entire population of Vox.

A month later, Orth starts to suspect that he’s been taken advantage of by Ibex. Jace confronts Orth about his meetings with Ibex, and Orth admits that he might have made a mistake. Jace tries to make the best of a bad situation by telling Orth that now they can leverage the situation to take control back.

In the commissary, Tea walks up to Ibex and punches him in the face, giving him` a black eye. Someone from the Gambit had stenciled in “King” above the “Queen” on a Queen’s Gambit mech. Tea threatens them to stay away from her people and spits in his direction before she’s dragged away.

Ibex holds a meeting between Orth, Jace, Addax, and himself and proposes a plan to destroy the shields, in spite of the casualties that will happen to the prisoners. Addax offers an alternative plan to turn the attack into a small strike by him and and Jace alone. Later that day, Addax allows Sokrates onto the Seventh Sun to specifically undermine Ibex’s order, and has a meeting with them, Natalya, and Tea to determine if Addax’s plan has a possibility of working. They also talk about alternative ways of dealing with Ibex. Sokrates proposes that they make it a condition that, if they destroy the shields, Ibex must stay on Vox to look after the people; he has the opportunity to position himself as the “savior” of Vox, which forces Ibex into position where he can’t refuse this condition without looking bad.

Sokrates contronts Jace and Orth about the arrangement with Ibex. Sokrates is frustrated by Orth’s indecision, and orders him to take his power back from Ibex, or else Sokrates will intervene on his behalf. Orth argues that he isn’t Sokrates, and will never be; he reveals to Sokrates and Jace about the fleet being only a suicide mission. Jace is pissed at Orth for giving up. Orth kicks Sokrates off the Kingdom Come.

The next day, Orth doesn’t show up for their daily meeting, and Ibex brings a plate of food up to his office. Orth tells Ibex their arrangement is not good anymore, and that he’s no longer going to tell him how to decide. Ibex says he’s proud of Orth for learning to say no to him, and that he should be careful of who he lets influence him in the future, very clearly alluding to Sokrates by naming everyone but them as a trusted confidante. Ibex says that Sokrates has no stake in the war, and that he suspects their motivations are false. Orth tells Ibex he can’t stay on the Kingdom Come, and Ibex and Righteousness move onto Peace.

Just as predicted, Addax and Jace’s mission is successful and Ibex is going to be left to stay and look after Vox, but not before he can get his revenge on Sokrates. Ibex notices that a rogue message from Sokrates’s ship has been sent to an enemy Apostolosian. While the message is harmless, Ibex uses this mistake to implicate the entire ship as traitorous. Righteousness uses its access to Peace to plant files that incriminate Sokrates in the creation of the shield generator. The entire fleet is now distrustful of Sokrates and their soldiers, but Sokrates can’t do anything to prove their evidence, as they’re unwilling to make a scapegoat out of the soldier who sent the offending message, knowing they’d be sending that person to certain execution for treason.

The Kingdom arrives at Counter/weight and learns that half of the super weapon has moved to a facility underneath an island on the planet. The Kingdom must decide between three different plans of neutralizing the weapon: The Diasporans want to take the super weapon and protect it, OriCon wants to use the superweapon on Apostolos, and Sokrates wants to destroy it completely. Though they cannot decide which of the three plans they will choose, a strategy is devised among the six of them that Jace will be the person to retrieve the weapon during the strike against the facility.

Addax and Orth confront Sokrates about the rumours going around about them. Sokrates, having nothing to leverage, responds badly to the questioning, causing Addax and Orth to suspect them more. They argue there’s not a logical explanation why they’d be a traitor after defecting from Apostolos in the first place; Orth says that they’re much less concerned about Sokrates being a traitor than they are their crew being traitors. Sokrates blames Ibex for this whole thing, but Addax reminds him that Ibex didn’t make their ship send off a message. Addax decides to cease the ship under Diasporan control, taking the handful of Apostolos soldiers as prisoners, effectively stripping Sokrates of all power. Sokrates sends a video message to the Kingdom saying that they are willingly cooperating with Addax by handing over his ship to dissuade fears that they and the Apostolosians are traitors. Privately, Addax contemplates taking out the Apostolsian ship - Sokrates included - to protect the fleet.

It’s time for them to attack the Apostolosian facility, and decision has still not been made on what the Kingdom is going to do with the superweapon when it’s apprehended. The only sure thing is that Peace has predicted that pursuing any of the three plans will continue the war indefinitely.

The battle starts in the space around Counter/weight, its massive scale of destruction and combat very apparent. Amidst the explosions, the soil of the planet has been torn in pieces, and the oceans are being ripped out of the ground. Jace goes after the weapon as the Kingdom fights around him. Tea, reunited with the Queen’s Gambit following Ibex’s leave, is overwhelmed by the Apostolosian forces and attempts to flee with the Gambit, only to be stopped by Orth who tells her that he will think nothing of her for leaving after everything she’s taught him.

The half of the superweapon is a glowing sphere with a fog-like aura surrounding it. Having safely apprehended it with The Panther, Jace goes to Addax and Peace as the war goes on around them. He doesn’t want anyone else to have the orb. Addax tells him that Jace has to give it to him, and that Addax knows he can stop the war with it; he says that Peace can’t be beaten, but Jace doesn’t believe him. Even as he says that, Jace knows that something is changing - Addax heard himself say “Peace”, but what Jace actually heard was “Order”. Jace refuses to give the weapon to him, so Addax takes it.

An explosion occurs, much bigger than anything seen before; the superweapon has activated. When it fades, and the armies look above the space of Counter/weight, a planet sits where it didn’t before: Weight.

Post-battle, Sokrates gets away, fleeing to the ex-Apostolisan world, Torru. Tea and Orth go their separate ways. She’s thankful and upset with Orth for making her stay, and she still gets dishonorably discharged from OriCon for failure to obtain the weapon. She and Orth last speak to Jace in a hospital room. Addax and Natalya are nowhere to be found. Ibex and Righteousness are in the midst of building an empire in the south of the Golden Branch; far away from Counterweight, he realized that he tried to move too fast in the pursuit of power. He needs to slowly undermine Grace, while letting her think she’s in charge.

In the present day, The Chime wakes up. Ibex is still slowly approaching. Natalya, on Ionias, prepares a Rapid Evening report about Rigour. Jillian Red emerges in the flesh, her body rebuilt, with no memory of the last three years. As the Chime begins to get their bearings back, Orth regresses to his old self, being overly anxious, and doting on everyone to make sure they’re okay. It feels like they’ve been gone for months. Today, it’s the ten year anniversary of the truce.

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