The morning following the now-named “Night of Fire,” Small Change meets most of the group at Viktoriya’s bookstore to show them a news recording of the night prior. On the first segment, they identify the behemoth warstrider of (a Neosapien) Police Chief Irons arriving on the scene to put out the columns of fire, heedless of the nearby Syndicate gunfire. The second segment addresses casualties of the night: 68 dead, 95 wounded, and a list of names.
Desiring to learn more about the mysterious person that gave Small Change his crucial tip, the group retraces SC’s steps back to the D Club, the place where he met said person nights ago. A brief questioning of Booker, the bartender, reveals that Small Change didn’t leave that night with anyone – perhaps further evidence of a Neosapien instigator. The only other substantial hint they discover is the forcible removal of the D Club’s exterior camera, likely after being preemptively jammed.
With their lead dried up, the group returns to the parking garage to head home only to meet a man, Fixer Polaro, apparently waiting for them. Fixer quickly cuts to the chase: his employers have hired him to take out those who ‘caused’ (indirectly, in their case) the Night of Fire and dissolve the tentative, relative peace between Syndicates.
Barely a second into combat, Fixer (a Wood aspect Neosapien) plucks out Small Change’s pistol and turns it on him, gunning him down – likely fatally. A collective initiative sweeps across the group, inspiring them, mere mortals, to go head to head with a Neosapien. After a mostly ineffective group offense, Marc lunges with his knife and lands a significant injury only to be effortlessly flung off the 8-story garage.
Two members out and on the cusp of losing more, they illuminate, they renew, and they exalt.
“To all those present, it’s a feeling without any parallel in the lexicon of human experience. It’s the lifeless puppet, being occupied and animated by the puppeteer’s hand. It’s a slow sheet-lightning enema while huffing a thousand magic markers. It’s waves crashing against a sand castle of experience and obliterating it to its barest components. It’s light – literal, physical, blinding light that doesn’t hurt your eyes, silver and gold. It’s being thrust, face first, into the sun, your eyes pinned open and forced to watch – and it’s exhilarating.”