24. Light My Fire

Having escaped from the ruins of Genom Tower, the Knight Sabers and their friends have only one place left to go- K’s Garage. And for Sylia, at least, it looks like the fight is over- all she wants to do is stay by the side of the now unconscious Macky. But Sylia isn’t someone who can cope easily with being alone, and, having finally accepted the way they feel about each other, Priss suggests that it is Nigel who should comfort her.

Elsewhere, Nene has fixed up a connection to an NSA spy satellite in order to find out where Galatea is headed. The outlook is not good; it looks like she is making her way towards Genom’s space umbrella- the massive array of solar collectors intended to gather power for the Shohamm Project. If she reaches it, then she’ll have enough power to spread the voomer plague (rogue boomer phenomenon) to the entire world.

The Knight Sabers aren’t the only ones to realise this. Even as they watch from the satellite feed, the UN launch nuclear warheads at Galatea- only to watch as she breaks them down and absorbs them. If even a nuke can’t take Galatea down, then it may be that the next logical move will be to bomb the city itself. If the Knight Sabers can’t stop Galatea first, it could be all over for Tokyo.

Whilst Linna and Nene try to come up with a way to reach the umbrella, Priss enjoys some quiet time with Leon. She finally opens up to him, explaining how she always planned to leave Tokyo, but just couldn’t break with all the connections she made there- connections which are now mostly gone. Leon remarks that sometimes you need to shake things up in order to gain a new perspective. At any rate, the important thing for him is to be near Priss; and from the way she interrupts him with a kiss, it seems that Priss wouldn’t mind that at all.

Having been secretly watching, Linna and Nene enter to tell an embarrassed Priss and Leon that they have come up with a way to reach the space umbrella. The skyhook makes a regular cargo run between the umbrella and the Boso peninsula. If they can get aboard one of the unmanned cargo pallets at Boso, they will be able to hitch a ride all the way to the umbrella.

Leaving Sylia behind, Leon, Priss, Linna and Nene head off to Boso peninsula. Whilst Linna and Nene take the mobile pit out, Leon rides with Priss on the Moto Slave. In light of the advance in their relationship, Priss finally explains just why she hates the ADP so much. A while back, Priss was sleeping rough in an old building when a boomer went rogue there. The ADP showed up and destroyed the place, injuring her and destroying a disk of her favourite song. Trivial though it may sound, it was important to her, and she doesn’t take kindly to Leon laughing at her.

But there is bad news waiting at Boso. Thanks to the voomer plague, the cargo pallets are no longer waiting for the skyhook to pick them- instead everyone can only watch as they slide right into the sea! With no other options left, Priss outlines their only option- the skyhook will still pass overhead, and they must gain access to it by matching its speed with the Moto Slave- even if that speed is 780 km per hour.

Without a hardsuit, Leon reluctantly has to sit out on the action yet again, whilst the three Knight Sabers pile onto the Moto Slave. With the extra weight, it looks the Moto Slave might not be fast enough, but with a little encouragement from Priss, they reach the right speed, and by firing their hardsuit thrusters, manage to fly up into an open hatch.

The onboard boomer hasn’t gone rogue, but neither is it too happy to see unauthorised guests. After a little persuasion, however, it has to acknowledge that it hasn’t actually received any orders from the operations centre, so who’s to say that the Knight Sabers aren’t there to give him new orders?

With this little problem solved, Nene and Linna relax and look at the stars. Nene reveals that she once dreamt of becoming an astronaut, but couldn’t make it because of the height requirements. As the two discuss their dreams, Priss goes into the other compartment to talk to the Moto Slave. It may look like a bike, but there is a boomer inside, and she wants to thank it- as well as apologise for her earlier prejudices against boomers. After all, her hardsuit and Moto Slave have never let her down. And as Priss talks, a blinking red sensor acknowledges her words…

It will be another couple of hours before the skyhook reaches the umbrella- although as Galatea’s antigrav drive is so slow, they should still make it in time. So, as the Knight Sabers enjoy the calm before the storm, time moves ever onward towards the final confrontation…