An excerpt from the journal of Addax Dawn, member of the Rapid Evening, Archangel of Counterweight:
I have lost a dozen agents in the last two days, and tomorrow I’ll lose a dozen more. Our work here has failed, yet I am joyous. It made a mistake! It doesn't see it yet, but it made a mistake.
In the eons since the first Divine was tricked into slumber, the galaxy learned that with enough variables in play even gods make miscalculations. Now, Rigour will learn that lesson too. That machine breathes power. It compiles its psychographics, it leverages all of post-humanity’s post-industrial acumen, but with the voice of the Evening in its ear it has learned too much. It sees the pieces and their movements and the board with a truly blinding clarity, and so it misses the character of these things. It collects its pawns, one and then another, but fails to consider the weight of their number. It predicts the long arc of the Bishop, but discounts her loyalty. It depends on the strength of the Rook but underestimates the allure of her ochre skin. It obsesses over the Regent's authority but misses her brilliance.
This is how I know the Golden Branch will survive. Because for all its attention to detail, all it’s efficient algebra, Rigour can never imagine the impossible, necessary future of these beautiful radicals.
With the newly formed Righteous Vanguard closing in on them, the Chime makes final preparations for escaping Counterweight. AuDy winds up working as a pawn in a much larger game while Cassander examines the state of the board. Mako faces an uncannily familiar opponent and Aria Joie finds herself in an unexpected (but not unwelcome) rematch.
This week on COUNTER/Weight: "It's still Dark Out"
Even the heart can be put in checkmate.
The Chime continues legwork on their mission to get into Counterweight's orbit, having learned that there will be a brief window for launch when the airspace is cleared for fireworks.
AuDy and Cass consult Benny BABS for information on space travel, and are given a set of procedures similar to what smugglers use to travel through dark space undetected. In exchange, Benny requests four cred and a delivery of a shipment to some theaters nearby.
Aria tries to call Jamil Quartz-Noble to say some goodbyes, and gets no answer. She goes to Jamil's office and is told by a secretary that she didn't come into work, but gives her Jamil's home address. In the glass elevator headed up to Jamil's apartment, Aria sees another elevator going down, containing Jamil, Jacqui Green, and two additional armed men. Aria gets out on the next floor and rushes down the stairs to meet them in the street. She calls out to get their attention and Jacqui turns around to engage with her, setting off an explosive on the table she was standing on and punching her in the stomach.
Meanwhile, Cass goes to a library to research Detachment and learns about its defense systems, Mako sits in the Kingdom Come and connects to servers trying to track down his digital doppelganger, and AuDy delivers their promised shipments (containing doctored EarthHome films made by Minerva to sabotage the company).
Back in the conflict, Aria pushes Jacqui aside and rushes to Jamil. The other guards aim their guns, and one fires at Aria and hits her. Jacqui catches up and grabs Jamil by the throat, but Aria convinces her to drop her (completely to the ground with a foot on her to keep her from escaping) to talk. Assessing the situation, Aria realizes that Jacqui isn't really enjoying this job, and decides that the best course of action isn't fighting. She smirks despite her wounds and asks Jacqui out to drinks, and Jacqui responds by walking off toward the other guards, patting them on the backs, and setting off the explosives she left on them, then agrees to meet Aria at the spaceport later. Finally freed, Jamil expresses concerns about the state of the sector and her own safety after this event and losing communication with a contact on Ionias. She informs Aria that they'll both be leaving Counterweight.
Everyone returns to the spaceport. Cass tends to Aria's gunshot wound, Jacqui stores her armor in a mech pod, and they chip in to buy engines for the ship that can get them into space. As the Kingdom Come takes off, Mako remains in his room, connecting to a strange base that shifts his room into a cramped storage space filled with boxes in the digital space. His doppelganger walks into the room and introduces himself as Larry, explaining that Mako made him (much to Mako's confusion). The scene ends with Larry putting an arm around Mako's shoulder and asserting that they're both Larry.
- Ali had rolled multiple failures up until rolling an 11 while asking Jacqui out on a date, single-handedly saving the gays and proving that anything can happen if you insist an NPC is your girlfriend enough times