The team found that the time on the clock was ticking down before SJG information was completely compromised by who they assume is Abel. Shu decided to take a stab in the dark and attempted to use a number to get in contact with Abel. Miraculously, that managed to work and Abel did pick up, though he said he was in a hurry and could not speak very long. Shu tried to get a tracking program on his location as the two talked, though it ended very abruptly after Shu asked why the team should trust him over Baker. While it did not connect to his exact location, they were able to see that he was in the general vicinity of the Spaceport.
The group split up to see if they could track down where Abel was hiding, asking physical security if he was spotted anywhere and also using security cameras. They eventually find out that Abel is hiding in the underground service tunnels, with his computer decryption devices next to the liquid oxygen facilities. Through watching footage, they also found people that they assumed to be bodyguards entering and exiting certain tunnels, wearing normal maintenance gear and carrying supplies down. Shu also looked over the camera surveillance in the tunnels and found that the most probable exits had faulty cameras, making it more difficult to spot their escape.
The team mulled over for awhile on what to do due to the dangerous situation. Eventually they came to the conclusion that they should alert Spaceport Security that there are some terrorists hiding down in their tunnels, planning their next attack on innocent Martians. Kit began her work falsifying some of the IDs belonging to Abel’s bodyguards to fit the bill, and once Spaceport Security was notified, they immediately got to work gathering their security guards to go down into the tunnels and stop them.
Shu then received a message from the SJG on Earth. Suspicious, he took his computer to a coffee shop and opened the message there. The shadowy bald man popped up on the screen, appearing to be contacting him from an airplane. He let Shu know that there was some infighting between Abel and Baker’s people. Apparently, Abel’s people did an attempted coup on the SJG, though they managed to subdue it completely, capturing all of them. Shu could suddenly see one man pleading behind the Bald Man before being shoved off of the plane. Shu let them know that they were hot on Abel’s trail, and they told him that Abel must not be allowed, under any circumstance, to leave Mars.
Drew received a message from Kit, who asks him why a carrier pigeon was pounding on the window. Recognizing it, Drew told her to let it in and read the message, along with rewarding it with breadcrumbs. The message opened with a warning, saying it will self destruct in two hours after being exposed to oxygen. The message continued, saying, “There’s a lot of activity under the tunnels. Do you trust Spaceport Security? – F”.
Despite Foxtrot’s warning, they thought it best to continue with the current plan of having Spaceport Security take care of chasing Abel and his men out from the tunnels. While they were down there, some of the security team did turn on the others and shot them in the back, but they managed to completely chase them out of the tunnel. Abel and his bodyguards jumped into a car and drove off. While Shu found Abel’s getaway car completely unhackable due to modifications they put on it, he managed to get control of some street cars to crash into them as they drove past, making it easier to find.
The cars were tracked to a warehouse, which was found to be owned by the “Interstellar Import-Export” company. When they realized that this was their own personal front company, the team made sure that there wasn’t anything of danger in there, and also pulled up a map with possible exits. Seeing that there were two, Danny took one of the exits while Callahan, who was assisting with the operation with his men, took the other exit. Once the tunnels were smoked out, Abel’s men made their way out of one of the tunnels where Danny and some cops were waiting for him. They made quick work of a couple of them before the others surrendered. The Spaceport Security members also confirmed that the computer equipment that was in the airport tunnels have been destroyed as well and that everything has been secured at that point.
Drew then received a quick message from Kit that simply said “Boarding Party”. When Drew tries to contact her back, there was no answer at all. Drew and Shu look over the surveillance, and the last footage from the ship that is available was four strange people dressed as Septic workers boarding the Blackadder before going black.
Abel contacted Shu at this point, saying that he would like to talk. Shu asks Abel what his goal is – he is in an extremely tight situation right now and has nowhere to go. Abel says that he does have a winning strategy and the two of them do are not necessarily on opposite sides. The Bugs have infiltarted the SJG and he was trying to uncover it.
Shu said that he would like the ship’s crew to be released before he’d even consider going on the ship. Abel said that would be difficult – the ship’s crew was hit by sleeping gas when they boarded, so they’re unable to move at all. Shu retorted that they could still be carried out – either way, he will not come on the ship until the safety of all of the crew was guaranteed. Abel tells him that he will be able to move all but one person – she managed to lock herself in a room and is threatening him with a thermonuclear device. Knowing exactly who that could be, Shu sold him on the lie that it was real and promised that he can talk her out of it when he arrives.
Shu takes Drew over to the ship, and find that the crew is all accounted for outside. The two of them then board the ship and make their way to Kit’s room, announcing themselves. They say that everything will be fine, and that she will just need to leave the Blackadder for the time being. She opens the door and is holding a device with a big red button on it. Shu takes it from her and Drew escorts her outside of the ship.
After the two of them hug, Drew asked Kit how she managed to escape the sleeping gas. She tells him that she actually has her own ventillation system separate from the rest of the ship, that she set up with permission from the ship’s captain. Once she saw the crew drop one by one, she immediately rushed over to her room and had been there ever since.
Shu goes to face Abel in his own room, taking out the Kit Kat bar that was inside of the fake thermonuclear device and started eating it. One of the bugs suddenly materalizes in front of Shu, taking its place next to Abel. Abel tells Shu that he’s a contact for the Bugs and that they are an extremely valuable resource – why shouldn’t we work with them? When Shu questions that statement, Abel then insists that he has control over them. Shu demands that he proves it by ordering the bug to kill itself. When Abel says that he’s unable to do that, Shu compromises by asking that it cuts off four of its legs. The bug immediately starts cutting them off, one by one, in front of Shu.
As Shu is watching this, in his mind he first sends out a message to Danny to see if his communications are working. Danny confirms that he can pick up, and wants to know if there’s anything he could do to help. Shu lets him know not to come on the ship at the moment – while the situation is tense, busting in could get him killed. Instead Danny is to send a message to Evil Stevie at a special address given to him with the message, “Release the Kraken”. Danny does so, letting him know that due to the communication speed, it’ll take 40 minutes total to send the message and receive a reply.
In the meantime, Shu stalls while letting Abel talk, using his internal computer to record and broadcast what he is experiencing to Cathay Media. Abel tells Shu about the history of the Bugs on Mars – the species had lost a war in this area thousands of years ago and had been in stasis for the longest time, only recently waking up after the terraforming expedition started on Mars. The species wondered how to reintroduce themselves without causing fear and loathing, and about 75 years ago started making contact with certain individuals, intergrating themselves “to the betterment of socitety”. Abel also told Shu that the Bugs’ ships are powered by tortured psychics that have been kidnapped from society.
Shu then receives a message in head, stating “Evil Stevie is no more, welcome to the Kraken”. All communications simutanteously shut down at once as an AI called the Kraken began to integrate itself with the Mars network with extreme speed, looking for opponents. It eventually runs up agains the Bugs’ systems and start doing battle with it, causing an absolutely Titanic-level hacking war between the two systems shutting vital operations down across the planet.
Abel and his men, including the Bug, had no idea what was going on outside of the ship. Shu convinced them that what they had to offer was very valuable, and that he would be willing to work with them. Shu also convinced them to take the ship as collateral – there’s all kinds of valuable stuff on the ship that they can have, and they can use it to leave.
When the party agreed, Shu took his exit of the Blackadder and immediately went to Spaceport Security to tell them that the terrorists are on there, to not let anyone out of that ship and to blow it up completely. The ship was immediately destroyed with no survivors, including the bug that was with them. Shu then learned shortly after that Evil Stevie was losing the fight against the Bugs’ systems and everything was returning to normal. Shu went to work to see what kind of damage there was to the systems, gathering his hacker friends to collect as much information that was exposed as possible before the Bugs’ clean it up.
SJG Earth contacts the crew and congratulates them for the efficiancy of the mission, though they do regret the loss of the ship and will have to find them a new one. Shu tells them that it’s fine, it was extremely well insured (with help from Kit, of course), and that they will spend time on Mars in the meantime. They then ask about the strange communication event that happened on Mars – when it began, they received a message that “Evil Stevie is not dead” from a old satelite orbiting Earth. Shu tells them that he has no idea about it – Stevie was known for his showmanship after all, so it’s probably related to that. They agree, then tell them that they will let them know once a new ship has been secured beofre hanging up.
Foxtrot went to visit the site where the former Blackadder stood, congratulating Shu. He tells him that Evil Stevie, his grandfather, seems to only trust one person per generation, and he is glad that doesn’t fall on his shoulders anymore. Foxtrot then tells Shu that events like that had happened only twice before in history – unknown to others, Stevie had actually split himself into seven parts, and that must mean there are only four of them left. He doesn’t know where any of the other sites are, and would assume when the time comes, the next one will find Shu. Foxtrot warns them that they’re basically sitting on the equivalent of a nuclear device with it, and wishes him the best of luck before leaving.
Lim Chang from Cathay Media then contacts Shu and tells him that while the footage that he received from him was quite fascinating and baffling, he has no idea what to do with it. Shu tells him to publish it anyway. Lim is concerned that publishing this footage may help Drumpf with his xenophobic tirades during his campaign. In the end, the decided it may be best for now to share it privately with some people.
A mysterious man contacts Drew, telling him that he is a representative from a group calling themselves “the Rangers”. He lets Drew know that they are on the same side, and his organization too is fighting the Bugs, though within their team, the threat is known as “the Shadows”. Before leaving, he gives Drew a contact number where he specifically can be reached, though he lets Drew know that he’s not necessarily an important member – he’s quite expendable.
Morden visits Shu at his hotel room, bidding him well. He asks Shu what happened on the Blackadder. Shu simply shrugs, telling him that there were terrorists that took it over and that the ship blew up, leaving out the fact that he encountered one of the bugs on there. Morden wondered why they simply let him go, and Shu told him that they weren’t very bright. Not really finding anything else, Morden took his leave.
Shu then contacted Bester, telling him everything that Abel told him about Psychics being used to power the bugs’ ships. Bester finds it both interesting and troubling – he has reports of Psychics being able to feel intense amounts of pain from time to time, coming from the sky. The ships must be where those feelings are coming from, and the bugs are evoking feelings of pain on the psychics in order for their ships to move. However, Bester also figured that their ships would be easier to pinpoint if someone had strong psychic abilities – while they wouldn’t be able to sense the ship if it was in space due to the speed in which it moved, it would be easier to detect if they were landing in an area with a strong psychic nearby. The two hung up, trying to formulate their next step forward.