The Ghosts of Eden
In the aftermath of their day trip the crew indulge in research as best fits their character. Robert and Miho read up on Pentapods. They learn that the Pentapods can detect the presence of drones (which are about 4ft long) and "fade" into the background when one approaches. They are able to study footage of this.
Miho discusses her idea of showing certain "Ancient" symbology tot he Pentapods. The idea is to pick images which illustrate recurring themes in ancient based/inspired artwork. Komiko agrees with the idea. It will take about a week to modify a submersible with a display screen.
Andi tries and fails to construct a program which can extract recurring patterns from Pentapod communication. However Pentapods communicate at high speed, there is relatively little footage, and she doesn't have long. Moreover Pentapods see five colours where humans only perceive three. The existing imagers and the submersible camera are not equipped to detect the full range.
The crew discuss inconclusively whether they should try to talk to the scientist who was attacked by Pentapods when trying to communicate with them with flash-cards. At any rate this would have to take place once they leave the island.
They agree that in future they will all wear recording headsets when in the field in order to increase the footage of Pentapod communication and, hopefully, actually have footage of both sides of a conversation.
Antonio talks to Kamal, Stern and Rolf. They discuss Pentapod attack strategies and whether these have become more sophisticated, in particular whether they now take firearms into account. The consensus is that they have generally stuck to soft targets. Rolf reveals that there is considerable local resentment against the research base for revealing Pentapod intelligence. He mentions terrorist attacks on the mainland and seems to anticipate that there will be trouble at the research centre. He also mentions that he is convinced the Pentapods have some means of transportation.
March 6thMid-morning there is a radio message that causes much excitement. Everyone gets into uniform or smart clothing. It transpires that Ichiro del Fuego and his entourage are going to visit.
Komiko, never good at concealing emotion, is clearly anxious and suspicious. She spends the morning closeted with Professor Zeng. She marshals the crew to a separate location to the base staff. Everyone is present except Kamal who Antonio suspects is in the security cabin.
Antonio spots a boat coming round the headland from the mainland. He then realises there are two small fast boats. The jet is coming in. Everyone switches on their imagers and headsets.
The Helijet touches down. Houston emerges first looking entirely like security. Ichiro follows. It is clear from their gestures that Houston is concerned about the approaching craft but Ichiro is dismissive. Suddenly Rolf starts shouting about guns, at the same instant Antonio notices that the boats have plasma guns (good mortar guns). Antonio calls to the crew to follow him which they do and heads to the most sheltered point between the buildings. Sangeev covers Komiko. There is a loud bang and everyone hits the dirt. It looks like the second boat has exploded in some fashion evaporating some of the water. The first boat blows up too, seconds later.
As everyone gets up Sam Houston and Ichiro del Fuego can be observed arguing. They both look shocked. Antonio leads the Joyous Venture crew to comparative safety, pretty much where all the civilians are heading at the centre of the buildings on the island. Komiko is shaking.
More people emerge from the aircraft and Ichiro starts organising the hunt for survivors. Stern is despatched to inquire about Komiko on Ichiro's behalf. Kris and Robert agree that Robert should not have got out of bed.
Martin and Antonio go up in the helijet with Stern's big gun to check for "hostile survivors". They find a body in the water near the remains of the front boat which is less damaged (about half remains). The survivor appears to be breathing and is returned to land with them. The general conclusion is that the plasma guns were probably black market and exploded when they were fired.
Ichiro, Houston and two others are to stay at the research centre. They plan to sleep in the refectory - Ichiro has brought a camp bed.
Kamal and Stern are convinced that the attack was an inside job and want to interrogate the survivor.
Attempts to discuss the situation with Komiko are futile. She is incommunicado in her room, possibly crying. Sangeev, clearly exasperated, describes her as a "flake". The crew therefore must await a decision on whether they will stay or leave immediately and are left to their own devices in terms of how they intend to behave towards Ichiro.
General conversation at dinner reveals that the survivor is now dead. However before he died Kamal and Stern managed to "establish" that he was from Taghuding and was targeting a rumoured Forethought VIP. The terrorists had a lot of guns, including a first generation plasma. Kamal and Stern suspect that poor ammunition was to blame for the explosions.
Ichiro is keen to help everyone relax after all the excitement and improvises a cinema. He shows his favourite Anima which are essentially road-runner moves 150 years on. These were made by an actual ACME company and Wile E. Coyote gets to win about 50% of the time in order to promote the brand. The Anima themselves are all CAD generated. Miho gets to sit next to Ichiro and have all this explained to her.