Chapter 2.1 - Virtual Reality: Boat Party
Virtual Reality: Extravagant Passenger Boat, Great Hall
An unofficial party between the Galaxy Federation and the Immigrant Fleet is taking place. On a platform, the Immigrant Fleet’s Patriarch Julius is addressing the invitees and gesturing dramatically.
Julius: Up until this moment, there has been a great wall between us. Even though we are both seeking the way to a better world, feelings of distrust caused us to turn away from one another. In you, we saw persecutors, and in us, you saw heretics. But I am going to swear something to you, here and now. Those things we saw in each other were only illusions.
There’s something I’ve heard people say - that we have been keeping the wealth to ourselves. And I'll admit it's not entirely untrue. We are beginning to recognize our own weaknesses. Together, let us recognize that we are all people who desire peace!
At the Pilgrimage Council we will share in a historic moment. The way to a common good is now opening up in our souls. And this neutral Abraxas will be known throughout all the cosmos as the land of peacekeepers!
In a corner of the hall, Jan and the others are watching.
Lactis: Pretty melodramatic speech…
Jan: It does seem like there’s something beneath those apparently kind words.
Melisse: Now he’s shifting the topic to the Torres Foundation. Why?
Lactis: Do you know anything about the Foundation?
Melisse: I hear they do various kinds of charity work, and that they have particular interest in refugee relief and providing provisions for the Immigrant Fleet. But... they also seem to get special priviledges, for some reason.
Lactis: It’s because the Torres Foundation is the bastard child of the Federation and the Immigrant Fleet.
Melisse: What do you mean?
Jan: The Torres Foundation quickly gained the confidence of the Federation by offering political mediation services from an objective, independent standpoint. However, their roots extend all the way to the heart of the Immigrant Fleet. Looking back on the history of this planet, it’s not all that surprising… This meeting might be for the benefit of the Fleet.
Lactis: But lately Voyager, who we should be pursuing, has shown quite an interest in politics. As far as he’s concerned, this momentous event is the perfect opportunity to get VIPs from both sides in one place… Right, Captain?
Jan: Indeed. And holding the ceremony in the U.M.N. of all places. You’d have to be pretty oblivious to danger...
Melisse: But that’s our chance. If we can stall him here…
Jan: That's the idea. Still, this mission is completely unofficial. Officially, we’re just here to defend against any unforeseen circumstances. Exercise discretion.
Melisse: The VIP he's most likely to target is Irene Torres, 47 years old, female. She’s the president of the Torres Foundation.
Jan: So the civilians are just decoys?
Lactis: Almost certainly. Mikhail has created an anti-hacking protection program. If Voyager so much as touches that woman, it will open a bypass and we’ll intercept him directly. If we’re lucky, we won’t have to worry about a confrontation at all…
Jan: That’s good. Let’s make it our top priority to avoid combat. Mikhail! We’re going to track Irene closely. If you detect any signs of hacking, start up the bypass immediately and run a trace if possible. Have Erich prepare the level six armament for Bugs. Lactis and Melisse, you’re with me. Look carefully for any unusual behavior in the partygoers!
Jan begins patrolling the party hall and recognizes one of the attendees.
Sharon: Oh? Hello there, Captain. Are you here on business today?
Jan: Doctor Rozas… you were invited too?
Sharon: They invited the doctors who saved the lives of the ambassadors the other day. Since it's work-related, I couldn’t really turn it down.
Jan: You should leave as soon as possible.
Sharon: Why? Do you think something is going to happen here?
Jan: I’m sorry, but I can't really answer that.
Sharon: Something involving the party? Wouldn’t it be best to evacuate?
Jan: I'm not certain that anything will happen. However, I think it would be best if you weren’t here.
Sharon: You’re worried about me?
Jan: No… it’s not… I’m just indebted to you for my subordinate…
Sharon: Your face… it’s surprisingly expressive right now. Actually, I’m glad I ran into you here. I…
Sharon: I’m worried about something.
Jan: Ah, yes, the incident with Erich…
Sharon: You already know what I’m referring to?
Jan: You… you’re right. Well then, what is it that you’re worried about?
Sharon: I heard about the child cultivation plant on the news. Is it related to what happened with the goodwill ambassadors?
Jan: You’re referring to the incident at the plant? We’re still investigating, so I’m not really at liberty to say.
Sharon: I see. It’s okay if you can’t talk about it. But something was nagging at me, so I thought I’d mention it. There are hundreds of government personnel who were born in cultivation plants. But the one in Draper seems to be special.
Sharon: The plants that produce government personnel use only the best genes, selected from all over the galaxy.
Jan: So I hear.
Sharon: But the embryos in the Draper facility were made from the genes of natural-born Abraxian donors.
Jan: The Goodwill Ambassadors were also all Abraxians…
Sharon: The common denominator among the victims…
Jan: …is that they’re all Abraxian children.
Sharon: It's just a feeling, but I hope I was able to help. Now, I think I should get back to my colleagues.
Jan: Thank you. I want you all to log out as soon as you can.
Sharon: Thanks for the warning. It wasn’t that great of a party anyway. I’ll go ask my coworkers if they want to go out for drinks.
After seeing Sharon off, Jan continues patrolling. Then, in the middle of the party, Irene suddenly grabs her head with her hands. A number of other people begin to do the same.
Melisse: …! Voyager?
Lactis: Calm down. We have countermeasures…
Jan: Hey! Stay with us!
Frank: You! What the hell are you doing? Police investigators? What do badges like you want… huh? Ah…ahhhhhhhhh…!
Irene: "T-The bowl… "
Irene: "The bowl... upon the rivers… and fountains of waters…"
Jan: …What is she saying?
Irene: “The bowl… was poured… upon the rivers and fountains of waters… and they became blood.” [Revelation 16:4]
She collapses, still muttering the strange phrase.
Jan: Hey! Are you okay!?
Lactis: …Captain. These words…
Jan: It’s Voyager! Mikhail!
Jan: Did you construct the bypass?
Mikhail: Of course!
Jan: And the trap?
Mikhail: Good to go! As soon as he started hacking I closed off his escape routes… I expect less than 30 minutes before he arrives at the dummy logout point at B-254-328!
Jan: Alright, we’ll head towards point B-254-328. How long before he notices the trap?
Mikhail: You should have about 40 minutes.
Lactis: 40 minutes. That’ll be tight.
Jan: Then let’s hurry. Mikhail, what’s his original access point?
Mikhail: Currently finding the origin of the trace logs. 5 seconds, 4, 3, 2, 1… okay! Got it! It’s close. A suburb of Archon, ward B7, A31!
Jan: Relay that address to the Archon police! When we perform the compulsory logout, take him into custody immediately. You and Erich, provide assistance!
Mikhail: You won’t be disappointed! I got a copy of the party hall program beforehand and analyzed it carefully. Voyager’s playing right into my hands!
Jan: Good. Commence pursuit of the suspect immediately.