COUNTER/Weight 27: An Animal Out of Context

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Episode description[edit | edit source]

As Ibex’s Righteous Vanguard lands on Counterweight, the Kingdom Come drifts away in a slow arc towards September. The trip is long and cold and quiet, and with a surplus of free time on their hands, The Chime turns towards introspection. Aria Joie is led into a new musical endeavor, Mako Trig unearths new truths about the history September Institute, and Cass considers both of his families.

And in the cockpit, Automated Dynamics Unit 227 scours their databases, looking for an answer to the question: Who are Liberty and Discovery?

Episode 27: “An Animal Out of Context”

Remember: You have beaten your worst days.

Opening[edit | edit source]

Day 1. As the Seventh Sun breaches the astringent atmosphere of Counterweight, the Kingdom Come flies away through the dark, through the smuggler lanes and hidden ways that will slowly take it towards September. The Chime rests in tense silence.

Day 6. The quiet remains, but it is calmer now. In the cockpit, Orth Godlove rises from the copilot chair, resting a hand briefly on the one remaining shoulder of Automated Dynamics Unit 227. He moves through the ship, past the crew quarters where Mako Trig rests his head softly against the metal of the cabin wall, shined to a mirror’s polish.

The old soldier moves past the common area where Cassander Timaeus Berenice sits, plotting for unexpected eventualities, and towards the ship’s ruined hold, where Jacqui Green and Aria Joie start the long work of repairs. Orth grips the hand railing and starts a smile he cannot finish.

Still at the helm, AuDy finishes a process they started long ago. They scan one file, then another, then another. It’s a catalog of their past, a collection of actionable information, a self they never knew they were. And then they see it — Rigour.dat.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Tens of thousands of years prior to the main story of COUNTER/Weight, a nameless pilot of a Juggernaut Mk. 7 lumberjack rigger encounters the Divine Liberty and Discovery; this is framed through, in the present, AuDy accessing their memories of this encounter while comatose aboard the Kingdom Come. Meanwhile, Aria composes a song while hanging out with Jacqui; Mako hacks his own brain to find information on what he had discovered at the September Institute; Cass looks at the news and makes a lot of squid ink pasta.

Ibex's speech[edit | edit source]

People of Counterweight, people of the Golden Branch, I am here today to tell you two things. First, your leaders are cowards. In the wreckage of the Golden War, there arose a new war– a silent one. It is fought in the markets and over cocktails. It is fought on proxy battlegrounds and with deniable assets. But because our leaders refuse to fight openly, it is you, the people, who suffer. Elsewhere, people prosper.

He smirks a private smirk.

Young Sokrates has reformed a dilapidated empire, and made the hardest of choices, so that its people may again live good lives. But not here. Not on our worlds. Across the sector, there are billions suffering. They suffer on the abandoned worlds of Gemm and Sage. They suffer in the manufacturing hells of Slate and Minerva-12. They suffer on Ionius, where millions move to find work, only to freeze, or vanish, or both. We cannot be sure, because no one knows.

And here on Counterweight, you suffer, too. And they use your suffering as a testbed. As a way to develop new ways to lie, and to control, and to convince you that things are good when they are awful.

The camera is eye level with him now. Strange lights spark behind him in the sky.

All of this, because the Divine Grace and her Candidate, Vicuna, are so committed to stability that they cannot see that mere subsistence is not the same thing as living. All of this, because the technocrats of OriCon worry what more open conflict might do to their bottom lines. Listen close. I am not afraid of a little instability, and you are my bottom line.

There is applause, and below it, some distance away, the voice of Aria Joie blares from a hacked media spot– human, and vulnerable, and excited. A new sound for a revolution that she has no idea that she’s inspiring. The camera moves lower still, and the lights in the sky begin moving. They are lines at first, and then hexagons, the sky itself cut into base geometry. And then the people gasp, and Ibex speaks.

The second thing I’m here to tell you is that you lead now, not them. And that–

He points up behind him, and the sky itself reveals something they’d already forgotten– Weight, beautiful, and precious, and perfect, and he says–

Theirs. That is yours. And we’re going to take it.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Other Characters[edit | edit source]