To Boldly Go

Knives at Midnight, Part II

Dr. Twitter Morgan and Max Petrobras knock on the door to Steve Walmart‘s room. After a moment he opens it up. Echo 417 is standing beside him, a rumpled bed behind them. Max explains that they need Steve’s help to get Zeus to let them use Lares 12 in a mind emulation experiment. Meanwhile the two women have a frigid staring contest. Twitter’s voice fills with irritation.

Steve asks Echo to excuse them. She goes to the bathroom to freshen up. As the two finish briefing Steve (while leaving out the part where the device will destroy the subject’s brain), Rho shows up. They fill her in and discuss the situation. There is the matter of paying for property, both Lares and Echo, who Steve has agreed to help get free. Twitter worries that Lares may be close to death already. Rho and Steve seek out Zeus while Max and Twitter to check on Lares. Echo goes back to her work.

Max uses the ship’s systems to find Lares. he directs Twitter to him while he investigates a suspicious shipment that occurred a few hours ago. It seems two new Lares models boarded along with some wine. Filing this away he heads to Twitter’s chambers to set up the device.

Rho and Steve find Zeus in his library. The book are for show but Zeus is well read. Steve leads the bargaining. Zeus seems willing to sell his slaves, especially Lares as he is dying. He wants his prized koi back as well as the earth apple. Steve counters with the offer of the apple and a reproduction of a Van Gogh. The debate takes some time as Steve impress the paintings value on the Mythweaver.

Twitter burst in to say that Lares is dying. Zeus, absorbed in the debate, gives them Lares and uses Steve’s feelings for Echo against him. In the end however Steve convinces him of the deal.

The team assembles in Twitter’s chambers to help her upload Lares. The bioroid is near death. With no time to spare, she injects the nanites and processes his mind while Rho helps. Max oversees the digital reconstruction. Lares regains consciousness in the computer as his body dies. Steve calms the new mind as he adjusts to his new condition. Distracted by images from the ship’s bow and with the microphone off, Steve makes the security protocols for this new entity clear.

The team retires for the night. As Rho opens to the door to her room, she hears a noise within. She strikes out knocking a two headed dog aside. Pulling her combat knife, she stabs the raging beast. It lashes out with foaming jaws but she lops off one head. As it lies dying, servants and the rest of the team arrive. The servants identify it as the master’s favorite hound. Max detects evidence that it was drugged. she shows it to Zeus as he arrives. Checking the security footage, they find that two Lares models placed and drugged his pet. Zeus orders a search for them.

The rest of the night passes uneventfully. Max attemtps to trace the Lares models path back but loses them at Olympus station. Rho calls the Columbia to warn Captain G. W. Teregan. She learns that the ship has received visitors from the Federation.

At breakfast, the team and Zeus are joined by Xanthus and Myra. There has been no progress on finding the culprits. Xanthus suggests eliminating all of the Lares models just in case. The diners all begin to feel ill as the poison in their food takes effect. Suddenly two Lares models enter the room with knives.

Max and Rho jump to their feet while Steve slides unsteadily to the door. Rho and one assassin spar back and forth while the other chases after Steve. Max tips the balance by throwing a syringe of nanites to Rho. She injects him. He is instantly wracked by pain as the devices tear his brain apart cell by cell.

Twittter meanwhile doses the diners with an antitoxin before heading after Steve.

As Steve flees down the hall, the assassin shots at him. A fortuitous wave keeps it from hitting him but he is still grazed. Steve momentarily loses him when Max kills the lights throughout the ship. He then trips the first assassin while Rho goes to save Steve.

Zeus calls his six legged lynx to him and orders it to kill the assassins, Max warns it not to kill the dying assassin.

Rho, Steve, and the final assassin move in a distant hall seeking each other out in the darkness. Steve sets up an ambush, hiding behind a statue and calling the bioroid to him. Max suddenly directs the lights at the bioroid’s eyes. Even so the assassin manages to stab Steve severely. Steve topples a statue onto him while the lynx savages him. Steve dodges a final knife throw, bruising his skull at the same time. Rho finishes him off.

Twitter patches Steve up and Zeus thanks all involved for their help. Steve returns Zeus’s koi as a symbol of goodwill.

The team returns to the Columbia and learns that the Federation want them to proceed to New Earth to entreaty with Samsung and their competitors, the Hite Corporation and ICP (Interstellar Consumer Products).


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