The jump to Bernard is successful, and Agamemnon deploys her solar sail and begins the five-day charge of the K-F Drive.
Celebrations break out that evening across the ship. Chief Fagan is the star of the enlisted celebration. At one point during the party, she asks Corbett if she can stay in the specops bunk room – she says she really doesn’t want to stay in her private quarters. Corbett happily agrees.
The same night, Jameson and Summerville come to Colonel Becker with a proposal – Jameson, Rance, and Sims offer senior officer employment rates to Becker, with a plan to use Cooter’s two remaining Leopard dropships for recruitment and procurement operations to support the Agamemnon. Becker agrees.
Becker also transmits an HPG message to Natasha Kerensky offering to meet at New Samarkand in the Draconis Combine instead of having to travel the many months it would take to reach Outreach.
Fagan stays with Corbett for several days, until Janks discusses it with him and he agrees to try to move back to Fagan’s quarters. Fagan reluctantly agrees. In subsequent days, Corbett wakes with splitting headaches and Fagan continues to sleep extremely poorly.
Becker also begins to notice irregularities – at one point she notices writing on her arm that she knows wasn’t there a minute before. She checks the surveillance from the cameras she mounted in her quarters and sees herself make a change to the computer while the lights of her quarters flicker in strange patterns. She checks the logs on the computer and finds no activity logged. Noting a correlation with the lights, she has Captain Millet physically disconnect the lights in her quarters from computer control.
The K-F drive reaches a full charge and the ship jumps to Caleb. A civilian jumpship (Star Carrier 5) is charging at the HPG relay. It doesn’t respond to hails and immediately jumps away upon seeing the warship.
In the following week, Corbett continues to investigate issues with Fagan’s sleep, including attempting to switch quarters. Alternately, Becker begins to sleep peacefully for the first time in her memory after disabling the lighting control in her quarters. Further investigation into the Ares expert system continue to show it to be completely inept at what it’s supposed to do.
The K-F drive reaches a full charge, and the Agamemnon must make a dangerous jump to deep space in order to cross a 60 light-year gulf between Caleb and Jordan Wais.
Stella encounters the LSO – Captain Alexander in the officer’s mess and he appears to be extremely distracted and nearly catatonic. He stresses that he’s fine. She reports the incident to Cottle, and them Summerville, who see to it that Alexander is put on bed rest for a few days to recover from exhaustion.
Janks and Stella discover a sidearm missing form the specops armory, and the computer logs show it to be in-place. Corbett approaches Cottle in the hopes of borrowing the necessary equipment to conduct a sleep study on Fagan, and finds out that Alexander was having sleep difficulty as well. Cottle, Corbett, Janks, and Stella converge on Becker’s quarters and explain the evolving situations. Becker orders Millet to disable the lighting in Fagan’s quarters just like her own and also has Alexander monitored through the night as he stays in sick-bay for analysis by Cottle.
The following day, Fagan and Corbett are both feeling much refreshed, as is Alexander, who Cottle clears to return to duty. Becker gathers her council and lays out the recent events for all, deciding to cut off computer control for the ship’s lighting completely to prevent whatever hypnotic activity from affecting anyone else.
During the day, a call for maintenance to investigate lighting issues in the engine room goes unnoticed by those who it would concern.
That evening after standing post, Corbett is met by Fagan on his way out of the enlisted mess. She gives him a hug and a kiss, professes her admiration for him, slips his sidearm from him and takes her own life. Simultaneously, Becker responds to a knock at her door, assuming it’s Summerville, whom she had just called to her quarters. The door opens, revealing a figure raising a firearm in her direction.