The team successfully takes out the crew of the Cognite shuttle, using their purloined/forged Nine Lives ID’s to fool the ship AI before disabling the sensors on board and taking off. Slen, feeling compelled, makes a bomb out of the precursor chemicals they are resupplying Thought with, after stuffing one of the unfortunate shuttle crew in a barrel and melting him. The rest of the crew end up in a simulspace time dilated to a much slower rate, so they all think they’re still stocking up/resupplying. Icepick and Pran stick around Octavia to manage that whole situation while the rest of the team heads to Thought.
They trash the ship AI and sensors after it gives the appropriate permissions to the station, and they dock. Most of them bypass the security station with no trouble, but Slen gets stopped and flagged for further inspections. Iskra tries to help, but maybe makes the guards more suspicious. She heads outside to pretend she knows how to do vacwork and try to figure out how to help. Slen tries to make some trouble, but gets ko’ed by the guards quickly after they try to question him about the half-assembled bomb and the body in the barrel on the busted up shuttle.
Fred and Alpha make their way to the server they’re “supposed” to be working on, and manage to secure some secret info about what Cognite’s been up to: namely, experimenting with the AWE virus in various forms, feeding it piles of egos much as Roland Nazon was doing on Legba. They also appear to be tracking Lost Generation survivors including Iskra, as well as continuing some sort of experiments along those lines. They also manage to falsify some evidence of system corruption coming from the “secret” hab core, and get approval to send Alpha in to check out the conduits.
Fred sneaks off while they’re getting Alpha situated, but gets spotted by a lab tech, who he ko’s with a surprise psychic stab. He manages to get some more info off the next server block before triggering an alarm, alerting the already keyed-up security to his presence. Fred manages to take out 2 researchers in stripped down bots in the central hub, after breaking in, and scores yet more proprietary data, including that they have some actual Lost Gen kids in lockup, 1 of whom is badly mutated. He also manages to overcome the AWE virus, which luckily seems to be a “younger” iteration, which seems to be named “Austin” or “Augustine.”
He trashes the isolated server it was running on to make sure it can’t be reloaded, and tries to make his escape. Unfortunately he finds breaking out is harder than breaking in, and poses as a cleaner bot using his flexbot morph. He gets the security to believe he’s a bot, but also believe he may be corrupted by exposure to the core, so they take him to be incinerated. Meanwhile, Fred gets ko’ed by the same guards, and Iskra manages to sneak back into the shuttle after welding a hole through the thinner airlock tube, and taking some damage from the explosive decompression.
Fred tries to scare the guard carrying him by starting to talk to him about how he’s infected now too, but it works a little too well, and the guard calls for an emergency cleanse in the docking bay, which is quickly flooded with plasma, killing them both. Luckily for Iskra, this causes the shuttle to flop loose and begin a completely uncontrolled descent into Venus’ atmo. Iskra manages to handcrank the airlock open and jump free before the craft vaporizes, and sends out an emergency signal. Ben Johanssen manages to get ahold of her before Cognite does, leaving her the lone survivor. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know exactly what happened aboard that station, having been blacked out on comms the whole time.
Cognite has Slen and Fred’s cortical stacks, Alpha’s was melted in the plasma burst, or lost in space presumably. They also might be on the lookout for Iskra, not exactly a subtle type, so Johansen asigns them to take a ride aboard The Stars My Destination to Mars, to look into some Pandora Gate issues, as well as scope out some potential x-risks aboard the swarm.