COUNTER/Weight 33: A Fractal Garden and an Intercepted Message

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Episode description[edit | edit source]

After a near death encounter with a mysterious shooter, The Chime finally makes its way onto the seaside campus of the September Institute. Mako Trig leads the team's investigation, guiding them down hallways real and virtual, old and new. Meanwhile, Cass manages his concerns (and his temper), Aria deals with a surprise reunion, and on an mechanistic instinct, AuDy plants a seed more important than they know.

This week on COUNTER/Weight: A Fractal Garden and an Intercepted Message

When you speak, who listens?

Opening[edit | edit source]

OriCon Expeditionary Group Chief Strategy Officer Trentin Blackford was pacing. He realized recently that he was always pacing when he was with the Minerva twins, but knowing that didn’t ease his anxious gait. How could it, with the Steiger siblings glaring at him like this?

Crystal broke the silence first, each word as sharp as it was blunt. "As far as we can tell you’ve already lost Ionias and Joypark."

"And Tetrakal and Vyshe," added Colleen.

"Kaffe too."

The twins spoke with a ping-pong rhythm, and it left Blackford off balance, just like it had each of Minerva’s corporate rivals before.

“Is Archon secure? Is September? Whatever confidential programme you claim is at work there, has OriCon Expeditionary left that at risk too?”

As Blackford responded he took six steps along the far end of the conference room, turned, and repeated the nervous trot again. "No, no, no. The Institute is fine. It’s fine. I’m sure it’s… Why are you looking at me like that?"

Blackford stopped pacing. Why even go through the motions of fleeing when they’d already caught him?

"The Institute? Now that is interesting. Tell us more about this institute."

But they knew enough already. They knew where to look and who to send. Colleen shot her twin a look, and with a few small gestures, they put their agent in play.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The Chime heads for Student Affairs, which is empty due to the storm and the late hour. When Mako jacks into the Mesh, the rest of the Chime can see and feel the Mesh around them as though they were Strati too. Mako calls up Larry, and they look into Maryland, who has been gone long enough that her last appearance was giving a guest lecture three years ago; she had some kind of ideological disagreement with Twelfth and the current leadership.

They go toward the communications servers next. The door is hot. AuDy tries to examine it and gets caught up in the deep part of the Mesh, a sort of garden made of fractals, where something tries to soothe them. AuDy opens the door for the others and Mako cuts off the ICE backlash. Mako tries to follow whoever created the garden and sees a light coming from Twelfth’s office in the strati lab. He finds a message sent from Natalya on Ionias, trying to warn Ibex about Rigour, which Twelfth intercepted and used to call Rigour to September. Mako also finds Maryland’s location, out in the woods in a cabin being monitored by Twelfth.

Liberty and Discovery leave a backdoor (that may become “other things”) in the Mesh garden. Rigour is alerted, and everyone hears a sinister announcement over the intercom, as the gates to the Institute close. Outside, they see Paisley Moon. He’s managing to stay out of the Mesh somehow, and didn’t hear anything scary. The Chime are conflicted about how much to tell him, but in the end everyone joins him in a cafe, except for AuDy. Paisley explains he’s here for the Steiger sisters, and the Chime somewhat confusedly tells him about Rigour and the sniper. Paisley says the Tzadik unit used to be working for Twelfth until recently, but something happened; he offers to let the Chime stay with him until the storm dies down.

AuDy leaves campus and picks up the sniper rifle they hid. They can now see past the Mesh facade over Mode City that makes it look nicer than it really is. They find evidence of a gunfight, and the body of M. Declan, whose ID card Aria found in the hangar. He was clearly killed by Orth and Jacqui. AuDy goes to the path in the woods, and is stopped by an armed Maryland September. She hears that Ibex sent them, and brings them deeper into the woods.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Other Characters[edit | edit source]