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Episode description Edit
It is a moment of crisis, with many threats coming to bear on the residents of the Twilight Mirage all at once. Sui Juris, a separatist movement, has kidnapped the Divine Fleet's human leader—the Cadent Under Mirage—and is demanding the fleet recognize The By and By as its new capital. Meanwhile, military perils from the outside—including military vessels from both the New Earth Hegemony and the Rapid Evening—charge towards the fleet at speed. And as they race closer and closer, the Twilight Mirage itself collapses inwards, towards the Quire System, where every major remaining ship in the fleet rests... and where the Iconoclasts' machine god Volition threatens to shatter the walls of reality.
And now, in this moment, the divine Independence—driven by pulsing Heart and housed in crystalline Body—has landed on that false moon, searching for its Mind. If it is successful, it will join with Volition and bring on an impossible age, where even materiality itself is threatened.
But unlikely heroes race towards Volition too: The excerpt ⸢Signet⸣ and her recently revived Divine, Belgard, who seek to confront hopelessness itself. Korrin Kim, mercenary recently released from Contrition's Figure, determined to make right by the world. ⸢Blooming⸣, who has spent the last six months hiding the death of the divine Empyrean. The technologist and soldier, Even Gardner, who wounded Independence and took from it its pilot. And Grand Magnificent, the artist who built Independence's Body, pristine and powerful, a perfect mirror of personal accomplishment and failure.
It's hell on Earth and the city's on fire.
This week on Friends at the Table: The Miracle of the Mirage, Pt. 1
DIVINE FLEET READIES WARSHIPS, LAUNCHES FIRST EVACUATION VESSELS
Count Nideo: 'We must make landfall with or without The Cadent.'
BY Activation Stevenson, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Thousands of evacuation ships launched today from the lowest levels of THE BY-AND-BY, carrying over 100,000 citizens of the Divine Fleet towards the surface of the planet Quire. The ships are expected to land and establish preliminary camps within the next three days, per a statement released by the evacuation committee, and millions of additional refugees will be transferred across the next week.
Yet, given the occupation by Sui Juris, such an effort will face many obstacles which will challenge the speed or efficiency of the operation. Note Shimmering Sea, interim leader of The By-and-By, addressed these concerns during a press conference earlier today, stating that “Any evacuation that leaves behind the Cadent Under Mirage would be a failure that dooms the future of the Fleet. Like the Cadent Herself, we must be clever, wise, and careful in this moment.”
Note Sea has reportedly split her resources between three internal teams: One in charge of evacuation, one which readies an active-responses to Sui Juris’ actions, and a third which prepares for an unspecified “external threat,” which may be connected to recent phenomena observed on the edge of the Quire system—phenomena that the Signal believes to be related to confidential military action.
Critics say this is not enough, though. Count Aram Nideo, who has sprung into prominence in the days since the Cadent’s kidnapping, has argued that Sea’s primary concern should be the evacuation: “We must remove every lock—budgetary, bureaucratic, or otherwise—from this effort. This evacuation effort must be funded and supported with everything The By-and-By has to offer. Every other vessel in the fleet is giving its all. As much as it pains me to say this: We must make landfall with or without The Cadent.”
Others in the government have gone further, calling for an investigation into Note Sea’s actions. “By failing to support the immediate needs of the people during this crisis,” said By-and-By Level 2 Alderman Brisk Bronze, “the Note is offering credence to the terrorists who have taken her Ship and our Cadent hostage.”
Whether Alderman Bronze’s accusations hold water or not, it is a reminder of the open-endedness of action in crisis. As the Signal continues to report from the front lines of this emergency, we vow to bring you the truth as best as we can find it—and to consider our own culpability, potential, and reach as we do so.
Cold open Edit
|“|| For a moment, we see the entire Fleet at peace, fixed as silhouettes against the ribboned iridescence of the Twilight Mirage. Gumption's Gambit, Thyrsus, the Ever-Forward, the By-and-By, Memorious, the Sky Reflected in Mirrors, the Tides of Harmony, Seance. They hover above the planet Quire, blue, and green, and brown, and more, too, its own white clouds reflecting back the brilliant colors of Empyrean's false nebula, and for this heartbeat everything seems certain. The Divine Fleet will fly forever.
And then, from the fifth moon of Quire, from the Iconoclasts' god Volition: a pulse, like brick into pond. And then the Mirage ripples and contracts, and Volition roars, hungry for all of its open-ended potential. And then we see the star sector from above, the stained ether retracting inwards with speed, chased by fleets from Earth and the Rapid Evening.
And then it holds, the insatiable gravity of Volition countered by something else. Not the empty shell of the dead divine Empyrean, nor Belgard, now alive, nor by Demani Dusk and Gray Gloaming, erstwhile agents of the Rapid Evening. It is Quire itself that holds the end at bay. And again we see the Fleet, holding firm. The Mirage not gone, not swallowed, but denser than ever, held together by a planet that believes in miracles.
Plot summary Edit
- Austin Walker (⸢Blooming⸣ and Belgard)
- Janine Hawkins (⸢Signet⸣ and Korrin Kim)
- Art Martinez-Tebbel (Grand Magnificent and Chthonic)
- Andrew Lee Swan (Even Gardner and Cascabel)