The now all but stranded crew of the Antares takes Kel-Rik’s decision pretty well for the most part. Scorpio retires to a good night with Hope, making plans to take the year off and maybe even visit his mother. Liz spends the night chatting with her sister until they both fall asleep on her floor. Ivan goes to clean his office and ends up falling asleep himself mid clearing out. Liz gets up super early to talk to the admiralty council about some of her discoveries on Archangel and to request some mission time. The younger admiral she talks to is fairly compassionate about her discovery of her friend and explains that there was a time lag between when the known survivors of the horrific attack were picked up and when they glassed the planet. This did leave some time for any vulture types to go in and clean up anything the scouts might have left behind. When Liz requests a guide job he says he’ll look into it and let her know. Meanwhile Scorpio calls Ivan to go with him to the Calypso II and talk to Kel-Rik about leave time. As they enter the ship and start talking with Calypso, her alarms go off. She immediately disappears to consult with Kel-Rik and prepare evasive action. Scorpio and Ivan turn and start running back to the Antares, Scorpio desperately trying to get a hold of Hope. As Liz is exiting the admiral’s office the compass starts to go off violently in her head. Confused, she tries to ignore it until the stations own alarms start going off. She rushes to a control station which is showing a ship larger than any seen before appearing to come out of an unknown wormhole above them. It looks like it’s made from some kind of crystal. A general call for immediate evacuation is delivered and Liz starts to run for the Shadowmark, contacting the others as the pressure in her head begins to relax. The Cystalid ship begins to fire before it’s even through the gate. There’s utter chaos and terror as several ships perish and several more take off for the other wormholes. Plans are made for Hope to meet Liz on her ship and for the guys to take off in the Reaper to meet them outside. Hope reaches the Shadowmark about the same time as Liz, thankfully with a bag of the parts they’d been collecting this whole time. Scorpio and Ivan grab their gear and exit the Antares with the Reaper just as the Mary Celeste begins to move away. There is complete destruction and little resistance. Just as the Crystalid ship finishes entering, another starts to come through and fire as well. As soon as the scout station is gone, they start to fire on Dorado itself. Liz picks up the Reaper and starts heading towards a wormhole that leads away from civilized space; the way the compass is pointing her. Transmissions on the way report a scout charge on the first ship lead by Chelsea and the Defiant. Their transmissions are lost as they crash into the ship and it stops firing. Liz jumps out of system. A couple of ships are mulling about on the other side and a few more come through, but all they can report is that the planet is burning and many ships have made it out; though exactly who is unknown. The last one coming through reports the Crystalid ships moving on towards other parts of civilized space. Scorpio and Ivan come up into the Shadowmark and Liz points the ship up and out towards a long chain of jumps that lead to nowhere, yet the compass is insistent. Everyone is exhausted. Hope is absolutely terrified as memories of her people’s own destruction in the very same manner begin to surface. Scorpio puts her to sleep and then he and Liz start tag teaming as together they take the little scout ship deeper into space. Memories and concern for what’s going on at home, along with little to no sleep, begin to seriously wear on them until Simon demands they land on a small asteroid and rest. The next morning they discover the closed end of a closed wormhole that the compass is pointing straight towards. The relatively three day jump takes both Scorpio and Liz to get through. One the other side they find an undiscovered system, and orbiting one of the planets is a very large space station that doesn’t look like anything they’ve ever seen before, forerunner or otherwise. But Liz’s compass is definitely pointed directly at it.
The Shadowmark and Reaper separate and enter an airlock entering the giant station. They gear up and walk down a huge hallway that leads them into what seems to be some kind of security room. Ivan’s cybernetics starts to act up and burn unless he stays in the hall. Liz’s knife starts to burn so much she has to drop it. They assumed it must have been because they are made of some kind of crystal and the ship must be guarded against Crystalids. Ivan stays in the airlock and Scorpio, Hope, and Liz make their way to the center of the ship. Once inside the bridge, Hope places the missing pieces in their respective places. On the bridge there are two human shaped pods that Simon and Hope work out are for her and for someone else to control the weapon. Hope and Scorpio hook into the system and Liz jacks in to watch. Scorpio immediately experiences a sort of amplification of his senses that stretches beyond the ship, beyond the system, into the entire Nexus. Ivan notices several Empyrean ships entering the system and calls to them on the radio’s that are only going one way for the moment. Liz unjacks and sprints to the airlock, where she moves their ships out of the way while Ivan sets up a defensible place. Meanwhile, Scorpio starts to experiment with the ships senses and try’s focusing on different ships entering system. He discovers that he can influence the other ships systems and sends one ship into another and completely blows up another. To his horror, he can feel the deaths of each person on the ships he attacks. Ivan and Liz see the explosion from the one ship and Liz sprints back to the bridge to see Scorpio almost unable to continue on controlling the weapon. Hope appears far beyond their reach in the machine so Liz offers to give it a try while he goes back to help Ivan. Scorpio concedes, and Liz plugs herself in. Simon is almost no help in explaining what this machine can do and Liz tries focusing in on the massive ship itself to hopefully learn more. She activates much of the defenses and ends up accidently killing the captain of a ship trying to enter the station from the other side. She also gets the PA working so she can talk with Ivan and Scorpio and makes it possible for Ivan to traverse the ship. Scorpio ends up guarding their only escape route while Ivan starts making his way around the station to stop the battleship that was still trying to come through despite losing it’s captain. Liz turns her focus to outside the ship for a bit and discovers some interesting senses as she focuses in on individual ships. She can empathically feel the people on each ship and tries to carefully fiddle with the energies as well as some systems. She ends up popping one of the A.I.’s which turns out to work well, but as she widens her focus, she realizes that there are tons of smaller ships landing in and infiltrating the weapon. She starts to focus exclusively on defense while Ivan takes them out. He also end up finding the armory, takes whatever he thinks could be useful, and doubles back to Scorpio to replenish his supply. Scorpio continues to hold out the airlock against shuttles attempting to dock and people trying to get through. Liz continues to focus in on making things very hard on the troops trying to get in when she feels a determined presence coming up on her fast. She meets it and feels Sirius as he tries to will her to sleep; which she only barely pulls out of in time to warn Scorpio and Ivan who both start to make chase because he is headed towards the bridge! However, they cannot catch him. He is either too fast or he uses his mind powers to stop or delay them. Liz tries spacing the corridor in a last ditch effort, but he ends up blasting through the blast door onto the bridge and yanking her out of the pod before she can do anything about it. As he forcefully unjacks her, she manages to fatally stab him before he tosses her across the room. Scorpio and Ivan run in just in time to for him jack himself in and seal himself in the pod. All of a sudden, neither of the men can move as Sirius seizes control over them and the ship. Scorpio ends up being forced to run away, but Liz manages to knock Ivan out of it. Ivan immediately throws his boarding axe into the control panel, which opens the pod, runs up and violently pulls Sirius out. The weapon starts to break apart around them and Simon starts insisting that they leave. Sirius books it, but the three of them are unwilling to leave as Hope is still sealed in the chamber. Simon hysterically states that he can probably eject the pod, but they need to leave now! Liz grabs him. Once outside, the whole system is a huge cluster-fuck. Liz picks up the Reaper and Hope’s pod and runs for the wormhole hoping they can make it out before the weapon blows or they’re discovered. Scorpio get’s into the Shadowmark and jacks in just in time to help Liz get through the killer jump. They have to get somewhere to help Hope, but they are nearly a week out from anywhere. Scorpio and Liz push themselves way past exhaustion trying to cut down that time while Ivan is left to occupy himself with his weapons, his armor, and his inner demons. Eventually Liz finds herself flying through the now dead Dorado system while the others sleep. Nothing seems real as the horror and pain masks her judgment as despite her near inability to fly anymore she point the Shadowmark to the nearest wormhole. Luckily she is hailed by a Quor’den-than ship requesting information, and upon hearing Liz’s brief explanation and plea for help offer take them aboard. When she lands they almost immediately take Hope’s pod away for further study and upon seeing Liz, drag her to a regen chamber. Ivan is forced to follow and try to mediate as Scorpio furiously demands to see Hope. They finally agree to take him and they see Hope, eyes glowing green with her hands pressed against the glass of the pod, comatose and completely unresponsive to any of the scientist attempt to communicate with her. After meeting his demands the Quor’den-thon insist Scorpio and Ivan be put into a regen chamber and are lead away from the workroom.
Charge of the Defiant