Lady Lavinia calls together senior staff to discuss their current choice: go to get the quest plant via a Vau ship while the Hyperion is refueling with most of the crew aboard or refueling and going with the Hyperion and Vau help. During this discussion, the issue of Catherine Decados comes up. Asking Lucky Liam to be escorted out by Archer, Lavinia informs the others about her lineage. Apparently, she was born around the same time as the twins causing Graeme to have a coronary. He suggests several times to just forget she exists and have her disappear. Lavinia stoutly refuses this and continues on. Sorami Sun and Alex are suggested to go talk to Lady Catherine and find out her threat and usefulness.
A fully armed Phoenix Guardsman is outside the Decados’ door. He lets the two pass to knock on her door, which is answered by a “come in.” She knows Sorami but does not know Sir Alexander Danaher. She seems entertained by his lack of house and black knighthood. Sister Sorami explains that they do not wish to have her cooped up, but since she may be a security risk they need to ask her questions. Thus her story goes:
One of the Lady Catherine’s companions suggested she go to the Engineers. They also, like the Almatheans and Apothacaries before them, could do nothing. So she and her companions stole a ship and flew it as far as Manitou. The group had to sneak onto the Vau continent, and the Eskatonic used an artifact to cloak their presence (though an impure artifact. There was a fight, though she was quite feverish and unaware of much, and she knows not their fate. There was a compound they needed to bring back (surprise surprise).
Alex believes her, and of course wishes to privately console her, while Sorami Sun believes that she is a possible danger to her quest. Sorami’s hands begin to glow as she directs her theurgy at Catherine. The Decados picks up Sir Alex and slams him into the Sister. Alex holds up his hands and begins to yell at everyone to stop, if Catherine goes out of the door he cannot guarantee what will happen. And what was that Sorami? “She is pulling Decados tricks and lying!” Once Alex has both women settled, Catherine requests that Lavinia see her at her earliest convenience.
Meanwhile, Lady Lavinia is speaking on comm with a Mandarin. The two most viable options he proposes is: go on the Hyperion with fuel or allow a Vau expedition to retrieve it for them. In return for the fuel and support, they want the Xeno-Engineer and all information on the Known Worlds that can be gathered, especially on Symbiots. After asking questions of the Mandarin on his intent with the information, Lavinia agrees. With a compliment for her calm and peacefulness, the call ends and the Captain goes back on the bridge to be told that Alex was not the cause of Sorami Sun “bad mood.” Lavinia, Graeme, and Alex retreat to her quarters. Alex fills them in on what happened in the discussion with Lady Catherine. Before going to speak with the Decados herself, she goes to talk to Sister Sorami.
Graeme and Lavinia find the Sister pacing in the Medbay. She is obviously agitated and disheveled. Dismissing the Pentitent, the Captain asks Sorami Sun her take on the situation. The Sister adamantly believes that she is a liar and a danger to the mission. With this is mind, the two continue on to talk to Lady Catherine. Her first statement is that withholding the whole truth is not lying. Lavinia makes it known that she does not see it that way, but understands that many nobles do. In the end, her actions and lack of escape and not fatally harming the Almathean gives the Decados a chance at proving her worth. She will be allowed to roam the ship with an escort, one being Sir Alex and the other being Max Foss. Lavinia discusses with Alex that he should be her friend, in hope that she may reveal some of her true self to him.
Sir Alex goes to meet the Lady, and she asks him for something for self-flagellation. They finally agree on wire and move to Engineering. Corbin comes forward to introduce himself. She grabs his hand, “This one is not cybernetic.” She grabs his other and finds it is not as well. “I know what is!” and she grabs his crotch. When that does not yield a false member, Catherine seems impressed. She asks if perhaps they could dine together and speak of his uniqueness. The Lady tells him that she finds she likes men that can handle tools, causing him to stutter a bit. Catherine begins to rub his upper arm and Linsay steps over, “Please kindly remove your hand from him.” Corbin protests but the Decados removes her hand and moves away from him.
Alex shows her around the ship a bit and finally find their way to the MedBay/Chapel. They greet each other coolly, and Catherine asks if she can pray here especially since she needs some purging. The Lady begins to pray and soon will remove her robe to flagellate herself. Alex looks away but stays in the room. Alaine looks on and asks if she is to join her. Sorami does not believe that is necessary since she has done nothing to deserve it. The Sister notices that the Lady has beaten herself into a bloody mess. Finally, the lash slips out of her hand and is gasping for bandaging. Sorami motions for Alaine to take care of the woman. So she applies analgesics, salve, and bandages to Catherine’s back. When asked what troubles her by the Sister, she replies that she lost her companions when she swore to them she would never loose them.
Before leaving, she suggests to the sisters that Alex may make a very good paramour. Sorami smiles a bit, “Let us just say we may have to get in line.” A bit surprised, she smiles knowingly. With that she leaves to her quarters to recuperate. When asked for alcohol, Sir Alex goes to Henrietta and returns to her quarters. Next she asks for dermal adhesive, though she will not tell him why. As he goes to find Max Foss, he runs into Graeme. When he tells the XO about the self-flagellation, the Hawkwood is stunned. “Damn Lavinia, should have let me throw that woman out of an airlock.”
Alex goes to the Phoenix Guard Quarters and asks after Foss. Since he is asleep, he talks to Radha who offers to wake him. Alex and Max begin to talk about his assignment to the Decados. Alex finds out that he is to keep her from harming others or the ship, which was acceptable though highly unlikely. The biggest warning he has for Foss is to watch out for her getting into his head. If she does, Alex will take care of it. When he leaves the Guardsman, he goes to wait for the Thruster Jockey Sarah to get off of rotation. The two begin to talk about what happened on world and on the ship. Sarah is awfully bored with no corrections to make, and she also insinuates she would like to spend more time with him.
Archer comes up and asks if he can talk to Alex. Sarah scurries off, and Archer asks if there is something he should know to protect the ship. Alex can not tell him any more information than Graeme or Lavinia can give him. Archer makes a comment about remembering that nose somewhere, though he cannot recall where. The conversation moves on to Sarah and how she is smart and has promise, but the scuttlebutt says that she is involved with more than one man, one being a complete SOB. He is concerned that if Alex sticks his head out for her that he may get burned.
Seath will return and reports to Lavinia. When asked about his status, she finds out that he is no longer acknowledged by the warrior caste. He will be sent to a lesser populated planet to spend his days wandering. Lavinia feels an anger at this misuse of a great warrior and ask perhaps he can stay with her. She will show him Vera Cruz and he could see the Known Worlds with Vau eyes to help the Hegemony. He does not think this will be possible, but Lavinia will hear none of it. Something inside wants to save him from this mistreatment as she sees it. Finally, Seath announces that he has a gift: schematics for a new console that will make the ship more maneuverable, removing the need for thruster jockeys. She tells him to take that down to Corbin, where it will be of most use and make him very happy. Corbin is ecstatic and asks what he can do in return and is told that he needs a refrigeration unit for his fruit.
The next shift, Max Foss goes to escort the Lady Catherine around. She tells him that she will not be out much today, but perhaps there is a place she can work out. He points out the sparing area to her, and she accepts that she may have to go easy because of her tender back. The Decados begins to ask him questions about himself, which he seems none to eager to answer. Foss watches her eat, and then she goes to pray. After her prayer, she gets her bandages changed and talks to Alaine. Soon after Catherine goes in the sparing room to take in some light exercise. Returning to her room, she again begins to ask him about himself, such as his native planet and history. She begins to talk about her hopes of one day having an orchard on an out of the way planet. Using an earlier comment, “So how many wives should I have sergeant?” Quite glibly he says, “I once heard an al-Malik say it was a waste to have more than the days of the week.”
Once he goes off duty, Archer tracks him down. He asks about his day escorting the Lady around the ship. Foss states that it was enjoyable to see different bulkheads. When he mentions the number of wives, Archer blushes a bit. He tells him that the XO is concerned that she is not to be trusted, and Archer is concerned that the officers are keeping things from them. Max just shrugs to that and says he got into the Guards to get away from the politics…
*Note: Need to have literate crew recollect knowledge of home world’s flora, fauna, and general knowledge.