Aug 10, 2018
Once, floating in the sunset-hued safety of the Twilight Mirage, the Divine Fleet hummed and pulsed, its ships bright beacons of culture and technology in an age when both were under threat.
All through the fleet, organic and synthetic citizens worked side by side to protect a utopia that the universe thought impossible. But today, in the wake of Independence, and Volition, and the Miracle, and Our Profit, and Schism, many who once called the fleet home have now found their idealism grounded. It has been complicated by contact with others, by paralyzing self-doubt, by wavering faith, by the promises of others, and by the simple desire to survive, together.
And some still dream yet, and those who do now confront a hard dilemma: What does a more perfect world truly look like? And how might we get there?
It has been one month since the Feast of Patina, 300th Divine of the Resonant Orbit’s fleet. In that time, tempers have cooled, though borders remain firm. While the NEH and the Divine Free States maintain their status as the system’s most major powers, Seneschal’s Brace--now backed by the pirate republic of the Rogue Wave--has gained official recognition as a third sovereign state, giving Even Gardner, Fourteen Fifteen, and the excerpt ⸢Tenderness⸣ one more chance to unify the fractured Mirage.
The Qui Err Coalition, meanwhile, continue to push for decolonization of the system, and they have gained allies in the fight: Allies like Gig Kephart, Echo Reverie, the Sailors of the Ark, and, perhaps surprisingly, the Waking Cadent, whose own efforts to leave the system have been foiled, thus far, by the sheer impermeability of the Mirage’s interior walls. But with the recent arrival of ⸢Signet⸣ to Kamala’s court, doors once thought permanently sealed now creak open.
The boundaries of the Mirage had not been a problem for the plunderers at the Advent Group, whose special catapult can launch goods (and, as Grand Magnificent knows well, people) beyond the borders of the Quire system.
But in the wake of Our Profit’s attack on the Rapid Evening, and with connection re-established with Crystal Palace during the attack on Schism, Keen Forester Gloaming authorized the group’s final contingency plan.
The message was sent, and, of course, before it could be received, the plan was already set in motion: A blockade of specially armed capital ships patrols the border of the Mirage, destroying any vessel that tries to escape. Each day, their weapons become more accurate, their patrols more precise, their strategies more prophetic.
All of which can mean only one thing: Crystal Palace draws near.
Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)