The Alabama’s shakedown cruise reveals two critical pieces of technology – the first is a quantum entanglement communication system, presumably connecting many – if not all – of the Clan vessels. Becker orders the system disassembled and duplicated. The second is a K-F drive focusing coil that allows the vessel to jump from within a gravity well, and jump into the space created by the device found on Prinis Prime. Because of the utter strangeness of the technology of the device, the crew has little choice but assume it is alien in origin. If confirmed, it would be the first instance of intelligent alien life in mankind’s history.
The ships make the two jumps to Cerberus, and head into the well to the planet to accept Black’s invite to a celebration. They make an extravagant show of their arrival, heading to the planet’s one major city – Hole – in the Thermopylae with a fighter escort. They meet Black at his manor, in addition to the second most powerful man int he Outworlds Alliance – Caleb Jones. Over the course of the evening, the crew learns of rumors that Caleb is moving a lot of weapons, and there is a lot of tension among his people.
After a brief argument over what the people of the Alliance could possibly do against the Clans, Summerville calls down with news that some ships in orbit have run into similar gravitational anomalies as they discovered over Prinis Prime. The party immediately takes their leave and heads back through town to the landing strip escorted by two trucks from Black. On the way, they are ambushed by men carrying advanced weapons and are forced to fight their way free. Vail sends two Wasp LAMs to provide covering fire, and the party escapes, but Lev Arris is killed in the firefight.
Shortly after arriving back on the Agamemnon, dozens of warships begin jumping into orbit around Cerberus. The Alabama jumps away, and the Agamemnon moves to engage her transit drives. A massive, ten-kilometer-long mass-driver jumps in, and fires a slug that destroys Hole and everything within a thousand kilometers. Agamemnon collects as much data as she can before engaging her transit drives and speeding out Cerberus’ gravity well.