The next morning, Janks was exercising on Normandy’s lower deck. His injuries from the previous day cause him to slip and nearly drop a heavy barbell on himself, but it was caught by Jeremy Blake.
Blake took a seat next to the stunned Janks and pulled the gold coin from Janks’ pocket. He observed it for a moment, twirled it in his fingers, and replaced it, saying “you people and your fascination with antiquity”.
Blake then continued, “We call them the Rix.” He went on to explain that the aliens that were driving the Clans back into the Inner Sphere were originally synthetic, and a fundamentally ruthless plague on the galaxy. He mentions that his own people developed ways to avoid them rather than face them in open conflict. When asked if the human race had any hope, he demurred slightly, but went on to say that humanity had a lot of “viciousness and cunning” going for it – he just didn’t know if they’d have time to prepare. When asked why he was helping, he said he wasn’t sure – that perhaps it was because of the identity he created. He did mention that he was breaking the rules, but wouldn’t elaborate.
When the bridge announced an upcoming K-F jump, Blake chuckled. He said that after forty-thousand years, the Consu had seen many ways to travel the galaxy “folding space, warp bubbles, and the like”, but said “Leave it to humanity to develop something so absurd, so vulgar, so accidental” as a means of travelling the galaxy. He mentioned that he cannot follow through the jump. Janks asked several more questions that netted him cryptic answers, and when the ship jumped, Blake was gone.
The same morning,having been plagued with repeated dreams of Liz Fagan telling him that “there’s something to the K-F drive that they don’t like talking about”, Corbett approaches Millet and asks for an explanation. Millet outlines how the K-F drive actually works – not by moving an object through space, but traversing parallel universes and probabilities until the ship is simply where it’s supposed to be. The distance of travel is essentially limited by the navigation computer’s ability to calculate the probability tree. Some speculation occurs about how an exponentially more powerful computer could conceivably move a ship through not only space, but perhaps even time and causality as well – in fact there are tales of mis-jumps that do just that. Agamemnon’s own mis-jump caused the human crews of the Marathon and Cynae to simply vanish.
A week later when Jack is out of intensive care, the party meets to discuss all they’ve learned, but arrive at no clear conclusions or path forward.
Three weeks later, Stella is helming Normandy when they make their final jump to rendezvous with the fleet. The emerge into a flack cloud and barely miss crashing into the side of McKenna’s Pride. The massive Clan battleship is raiding the fleet. Normandy makes a pass at the Pride, severely damaging its maneuvering thrusters, but the battleship fires off two large and extremely fast misiles at Kojiwa and Dire Wolf. Normandy intercepts the missile headed for the Dire Wolf, but the other strikes and destroys Kojiwa, killing most of her crew, including Admiral Lin.
The party meets in war council with Vail, Montenegro, Natasha Kerensky, and Prince Hans Davion of the Federated Suns. After some debate, the plan laid out involves a strike team sneaking back onto New Samarkand and releasing the Alexander AI for the purposes of disrupting the Clan communications and control. From there, a ground assault must secure the ComStar HPG relay and use the facility there to create a gravity distortion allowing the fleet to jump into orbit. A strike team will be required to take McKenna’s Pride off the battlefield, as no tactical simulation seems to be winnable with the Pride in the battle on the side of the Clans.
Vail accepts volunteers for the mission, and the entire original Agamemnon crew step forward.
“The Last Legion of the Star League makes its stand at New Samarkand,” Vail says quietly.