The trip to New Earth goes smoothly. The newly repaired FSV Columbia makes the jump from Midnight with no problems. They find themselves on the edge of a moderately settled system, rich in asteroid belts and with a crown jewel, a small blue world.
As they make their approach, they get increasing communications from New Earth. The Hite Corporation and ICP are eager to meet them. Max connects to their local internet once within orbit and hacks into Alpha City’s grid, gaining access to their cameras and databases. They learn about the planets massive bioroid operations as well its strange language. Rho studies up on it.
Babbage and Twitter decline to visit the planet. Babbage asks for a sample of the native life and the Doctor is disinclined to go with Steve and Echo. The team plus Echo and some ensigns descend to the planet.
At the starport they are greeted by [[:ceo-donald-hite | CEO Donald Hite] and a delegation from ICP. They usher them inside and present their desire of removing Samsung as the dominant player in New earth’s market. Language difficulties make the conversation difficult from both sides but their point is made. Rho also realizes that these delegates are practiced liars.
The delegation breaks up with a planned tour later in the day. Max rigs up a bioroid identifer for everyone. Rho uses the time to visit a local bar and learns the mood of the citizenry. While watching a news program about recent civil disobedience at a bioroid factory, someone bumps into her. It turns out to be a Helot series in a rain slick. He asks her to follow him outside.
Outside the bioroid informs her about the a resistance movement that wants to meet with the Federation. She is given an address to be at in 2 nights. Max overhears this over the comm, overriding the fugitive’s primitive jamming equipment.
In his searches Max hears about a local market at the starport. Steve and Echo join Max in investigating it. Much to Steve’s distaste they find lots of contraband being sold by Space Gypsies and other riffraff. Then they find a merchant demonstrating a weapon with no visible beam: a gravity gun.
Recognizing technology beyond Federation’s means and against every regulation, Max convinces Steve to buy it, to keep it out of the hands of others. They learn the weapon was sold to the Gypsy at Pepsi Can Station on the edge of system. Taking it back to their rooms, Max disassembles it and learns that it was built by the Federation. Steve is shocked.
The corporate delegation takes the team on a tour of Alpha City, focusing on the factories. They see bioroids being assembled and their R&D facilities. It is clear they are trying to impress them. Steve is not swayed and probes them about what is behind the bioroid freedom movement. Hite claims it was the result of a flaw in Samsung’s conditioning.
After the tour, the team returns to the columbia to discuss what they have learned. They decide to reveal the gravity weapon to Captain G. W. Teregan. She is unsurprised and when pressed ushers Steve and Max into a private chamber. She reveals that she has orders from Federation to use the secret weapons on level 27 against the Samsung Corporation if necessary. The weapons are black hole bombs, tools of mass destruction that rendered Mars uninhabitable. Max is intrigued but Steve and the Captain both hate the idea. Teregan agrees to keep them apprised of any further communications.
Afterwards Steve suggests using a disabled weapon as a tool against Samsung but Max shoots that plan down. For now they will look at using social manipulation against him.
Once they return to the planet, Steve takes a hard line with the delegation and forces them to accept his terms: the Federation will help them, but they will play by its rules. The black market will be shut down. Intellectual property will be exchanged. I this deal ceases to be advantageous, the Federation will abandon them.
Max meanwhile hacks Samsung’s systems. Security is tight but he breaks into their skill database and also sets up a tracker on the CEO himself. Max begins to plan how to sabotage the bioroids being built now. Each day tens of thousands are being made…
Rho attends the Bioroid Liberation Movement meeting along with Echo. There she meets the nonviolent but overly trusting Sand and his violent revolutionary of a rival, Sea. Rho questions Sea’s plans, pointing out the flaws in a violent approach. She also learns about the agonizingly slow leadership of the group. She leaves Echo with them, promising to discuss helping the movement with their influence with the others.
On the way back she runs into the Primate Liberation Army or “Space Monkeys” as she calls them. Rho flees and loses them at the starport. she then warns the others.