"Well if it is illegal, then I must hide it. No one must see illegal things. I am going to need a very big tarp. And tarps are expensive."
— J-M 27
When you leave the memory farm, you emerge into streets brimming with the strange energy of a long weekend and a compulsory celebration. In just a few hours, under pseudo-cerulean skies, the citizens of Counterweight will celebrate the sheer fact of their existence. But now it is dark and laborers are in the final stages of preparation. Neon cloth banners roll out over freshly cleaned memorial archways. Firework display configurations are programmed into the ballistic systems of decommission riggers. Twelve year olds practice the opening bars of our national anthems and wonder what it is they're supposed to happy for.
“You've two and a half days,” Orth says, ”Finish your business and get ready.” His vision drifts past you, up to a blinking satellite in near orbit. “It’s time to leave Counterweight.”
As the members of The Chime awake from the memory farm, they return to a world that has changed without them. Corporations may have restructured, empires may have fallen but the threat of Ibex remains and so there is no time to react, only to prepare. Cassander receives their inheritance, Aria turns a rival into a follower, AuDy trades a tray for a pilot's seat and Mako catches glimpses of himself everywhere.
This week on COUNTER/Weight: "An Astonishingly Illegal Ship"
The ducks are getting in line...
As the people of Counterweight prepare for the celebration of the ten year anniversary of the Golden War ceasefire, the Chime spend some time catching up with the rest of the world after re-emerging from the simulation of Jace Rethal's memories and preparing for their next mission - to escape Counterweight's orbit and deal with the Righteous Vanguard.
AuDy takes a visit to Cene Sixheart, who worries for how they'll manage to keep themself in working order while off-planet. Cene offers AuDy a choice between checking up with them weekly, which would require a connection to the Mesh, or taking a piping bag-like device that can be applied to heal them if they are damaged. AuDy accepts the healing device.
Aria spots Tea Kenridge in the corner of a coffee shop sporting a new robotic eye. The two of them talk, and Tea explains that The Weightless have been re-legitimized by Oricon as The Queen's Gambit once again, and she's now expected to pilot The Panther (Jace's old mech) for the upcoming ceremonies. She worries that this re-legitimization is a position much like the one Orth was put in during the Golden War - that she is going to be sent back out into a war to fail and serve as a symbol for the rest of Oricon. She gives Aria a pass card to the hangar where the remaining mechs that belonged to the Weightless are held.
Cass is faced with the death of the Apokine, and the conversion of The Apostolosian Empire to The Golden Branch Demarchy thanks to a coup staged by their older sibling, Sokrates. Koda requests their presence at the embassy for Apostolos on Counterweight, where they could virtually attend the funeral for the Apokine. They agree, sharing the room which projects the event with Koda and several members of The Netted Wave, recently re-instated as an official group by the Demarchy. Cass stands beside Euanthe, wearing the heir's sash in protest, and Sokrates, who gives them a small, sad smile in acknowledgement. In thanks for their attendance, Cass is gifted their inheritance: the late Apokine's personal colossus - the Arete.
The group then travels to the Rethal-Addax Spaceport. AuDy and Mako meet up with J-M and convince them to help conceal the Kingdom Come with the help of a bribe of two credits (tarps are expensive, after all). Meanwhile, Cass and Aria go to the hangar to pick up their new mechs, and Aria fits the Regent's Brilliance with new weapons from the parts. Mako and Cass also chip in to buy a cargo upgrade for the Kingdom Come to fit the crew's new mechs.
While walking through the Kingdom Come and inspecting the impact of the new upgrade, AuDy finds Orth asleep in the cockpit. They wake him up and he explains, then insists, that he plans on helping them pilot the ship out in space.
Mako fogs a waiter robot at the spaceport to hack into the database, searching for information on a safe route off-planet. The robot explains that there's a window of opportunity two days from now, and its screen switches to show Mako's face. When he questions why it looks like him, it responds with confusion, then shuts down.