The group climb up to the surface, Foss going first and the Pilgrim last. They find lots of Manshogo bodies and no ship. Come to find out that the shuttle is orbiting and waiting for communication from the land team. When they land the story is thus: there was a fight with a group of Manshogo and though the natives got the worse end of the deal Nigel came out the a crystal spear in his guts, Hikatsu lost legs and part of face, and Medic Vasilov is missing an eye! The Sister hurries aboard and takes over the care of Nigel, managing to stabilize him, as well as Sara who was also impaled by a throwing spear. Meanwhile Corbin finds that the shields are fried and all other systems are at 50 percent or less. As the Gargoyle climbs from the earth, the shuttle manages to take off and limp its way back to the Hyperion.
It seems the Hyperion has also been assaulted by Manshogo forces. Master Lo is bandaged and missing a hand. The infirmary is filled with crew and guardsmen. Even worse, Archer is still MIA . Corbin and the comm officer coordinate to calculate where the crew members were spaced. While searching the area, one of the gunners thinks she sees a body and when they move in closer they see the body of a large person. Alex and Max suit up for a space walk, with Alex in the Pilgrim, and manage to grab the body, an alive but pissed Archer. His thrusters are nonfunctional, his faceplate is cracked and one arm shoulder is crushed and frozen.
With crew in the infirmary and the group recovering from an encounter with a Gargoyle, the Hyperion meets up with five Vau ships at the rendezvous. That morning, Lavinia wakes up to see bright yellow cat’s eyes staring at her in the mirror, and when Graeme awakes he is graced with snow white hair. Marching out to the bridge she examines Alex, finding nothing changed, so she orders him to sleep while taking over watch. She summons Corbin up and looks him over closely and also notices nothing. He has also not slept since the Gargoyle, and she sends him to check on Sorami and Alain.
Medbay is full, and the Sister and Alain performing surgery while the medic takes care of first aid and minor injuries. Corbin does not wish to disturb them and leaves a message for them to report to the Captain when they are free. He decides to go find Lady Catherine. She has not been able to sleep either and has seen no changes to herself, although she admits, “I don’t know much about Gargoyles but strange things have been known to happen.” Corbin leaves her to go see Foss. He seems to have napped but only feels a bit nauseous. They report this to the Captain, and Lavinia tells Foss to visit Medbay when he has a chance.
In the Medbay, Sorami glances over at a table and thinks, “I need that.” Soon after that thought the table comes crashing toward the two. The Sister dodges out of the way but Alain takes a table to the face. Sorami Sun calls up to the bridge to see what has happened only to have it reported that nothing has occurred. After some discussion, Lavinia calls Graeme to go check for invisible assailants and tells Corbin to check for damage to the gravity netting. While Corbin is down at Medbay, Corbin asks Alain if she has developed any new psychic powers that may explain the table. When she tries and fails, Corbin continues to flirt a bit with the initiate. He also notices a nice floral scent coming off of her, though to Sorami it smells like incense.
Alain sends Corbin off and gives Sorami her side arm. The smell of incense is a theurgic stigma and that means she needs to be subdued. She is an Abomination. Theurgic psychics are know to go crazy, and Archer is called to escort her and Sorami to the Captain. An incident ensues where Alain tries to commit suicide through Archer and Lavinia has to subdue the Guardman and have a talk with everyone else. The Captain also begins to have suspicions that the flying table may have been triggered by Sorami, not Alain. Meaning the Sister may be an Abominiation as well. She send the two to the Medbay under guard to continue their care of the crew.
Alex and Sara are having “relations” in his quarters when he begins to see the ebbing power of the conduits glowing and pulsing through the walls and ceiling. When Sara asks what is wrong, he tries to explain and the two get into a minor fight about “it’s not you, it’s me.”
After about 8 jumps and a 1 ½ weeks of Vrilya repairs the breakdown of powers is as follows: Lavinia can find Chaos, her ferret; Alex can see energy fields. While visiting Alain, Corbin shows her the odd discoloration on his side and she asks, “Did you get drunk and get a tattoo?” When he says no, she scurries off to find Sorami. It seems that the Master Engineers skin has darkened into the symbol of a Jumpgate. When the Sister thinks about finding a mirror, one flies at her head which she catches. A bloody nose ensues.
Lavinia calls a meeting of everyone touched by the Gargoyle to have a talk. Apparently Alex, Sorami, and Max may now be psychics, while Alain and Corbin may be new theurgists. YIPPEE!! For now, Graeme only has white hair. With this new information the group arrive at Cadiz and dress the part of a noble entourage and leave the Hyperion to acquire a less-assuming transport to Byzantium Secundus.
When they land they go to see the Duchess, Catherine’s mother, in hopes of curing her disease. She is being brought out of stasis while the Sister scans her. She finds a micro-charge on her brain, while Corbin and Max see someone attaching something to her pod. Corbin goes to inform Catherine while Max tackles the man messing with the bed. Foss breaks the bad tech, but the chamber that the Duchess is in is now cooking her. Alex uses his new abilities to troubleshoot as Sorami opens the pod and uses theurgy to save the woman’s life.
Catherine rushes to her mother’s side and carries her to the surgical suite for Sister Sorami Sun. They work on her with elixir and theurgy until she has regrown her skin and can stand again. In the coming days the Duchess gets stronger and the group gathers strength in order to board a couple of ships to go to B2 and save the Emperor.
They land on Byzantium Secundus, a huge group of Lavinia, Sorami, Alex, Max, Corbin, Alain, Brea, Henrietta, Catherine, Gabby, and the Phoenix Guardsman make their way to the palace while the Duchess and her entourage of Hironem and Seath distract the city. Archer is able to help them make their way past two groups of Guardsmen into the Imperial Chambers. There the Emperor lies old, drawn and full of tubes. Sorami inserts the plant extracke into his lines and after a long wait behind a barricaded dorr, the Emperor Alexius awakes.
After a lot of talking, a surprise daughter, and a meeting with six Order of the Phoenix (one being the Count Vladmir of course!), there are many gifts to the group to be spoken. He excuses all but the Order of the Phoenix there and will speak the the group each individually over the next few days…
FOSS: becomes a Colonel and a Knight with an island on Rampart, arranging the personal security of Catherine. When he goes back to his new rooms, the Duchess Salandra is awaiting him, “ My daughter seems to like you, this concerns me.” She wants no harm to come to Catherine or to have any men use her.
SEATH: serving as a Phoenix Guardsman.
SORAMI: goes to a secret lab and finally heals Duchess Salandra. She offers the sister a bishop-hood on Cadiz, but Sorami still feels wanderlust. Instead, she asks that the Duchess can always show her appreciation by funding the brothers and sisters on Grail.
CORBIN: meets with the Emperor in the basement of the palace. His “Librarian” has seen a dark possible future for him, so he has changed Corbin’s position from Weapon’s Master to an assistant to Hamad the Librarian as well as a manager to household logistics. The state has the shields and PTS weapons to maintain as well as some artifacts to study, Vau artifacts. He only need provide a thesis to the guild who will expedite the promotion. Hamad also has seen some potential he wishes to tease out of Corbin (theurgy maybe?).