IP and PJ bail on the Cognite prisoners, leaving them drugged in the brothel after they disassemble the server and ego bridge setup. They link up with Fred and Alpha, sleeved in their new morphs and getting adjusted to them. The Scum Swarm known as The Stars Our Destination has arrived in orbit, and people are shuttling back and forth freely. Ben Johanssen tells them to get aboard, and enjoy the 4 month journey to Mars, where they are to go gatecrashing.
Having dealt with the AWE threat (for now at least), they are cleared to leave Venus with no expected repercussions, and it might be best to get aboard ASAP in case Cognite starts looking, or Nine Lives comes looking for Pran. They look into influential figures aboard the swarm, and each picks a promising target to get in good with. Iskra parties hard, as is her wont, which fits right in with the scum.
IP get in good with a chimp uplift named Jane Erdos, and helps out in her med-bay, after failing at a few different social attempts: it seems like her socialite and criminal connections aren’t the best for gaining passage. She also makes contact with a petal/drug dealer named Barking Dog, who seems to have purposefully uglified her expensive morph. PJ claims sanctuary with uplifts in the swarm, who are tied in with both Erdos and the avian art critic Francois LeClerc. He gets assigned to a wrecker/salvage ship.
Fred joins up with intellectual anarchists aboard the swarm flagship, members of the EDF Collective, the original Chinese agitators who organized the swarm with a large number of vac/dockworkers. As a proud Barsoomian he is seemingly welcome essentially anywhere aboard the swarm, which has smuggled supplies to the movement, and even provided discreet transport for Barsoomian hit squads on occasions. Alpha gets a job on the factory ship in the swarm, and gets involved with nanofacturing and cracking hypercorp schematics. He eventually gets a meeting with Lena Andropov, the main engineer aboard the swarm.
With all aboard, they link up with their Firewall contact Amrita Shah, and get the lowdown on some possible jobs to do while aboard. Some various low pressure threats and issues, but nothing major/pressing yet. They agree to check stuff out and see what they can get done, and stay in touch. Shah makes Fred incredibly uncomfortable due to her extremely open sexuality. Pran, fearing 9Lives pursuit, swaps for a synth morph in the creepy cargo container lab of Dr. Mindfuck, who seems like a real nutjob.