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Dec 21, 2017

It is a moment of crisis, with many threats coming to bear on the residents of the Twilight Mirage all at once. Sui Juris, a separatist movement, has kidnapped the Divine Fleet's human leader—the Cadent Under Mirage—and is demanding the fleet recognize The By and By as its new capital. Meanwhile, military perils from the outside—including military vessels from both the New Earth Hegemony and the Rapid Evening—charge towards the fleet at speed. And as they race closer and closer, the Twilight Mirage itself collapses inwards, towards the Quire System, where every major remaining ship in the fleet rests... and where the Iconoclasts' machine god Volition threatens to shatter the walls of reality.

And now, in this moment, the divine Indpendence—driven by pulsing Heart and housed in crystalline Body—has landed on that false moon, searching for its Mind. If it is successful, it will join with Volition and bring on an impossible age, where even materiality itself is threatened.

But unlikely heroes race towards Volition too: The excerpt ⸢Signet⸣ and her recently revived Divine, Belgard, who seek to confront hopelessness itself. Korrin Kim, mercenary recently released from Contrition's Figure, determined to make right by the world. ⸢Blooming⸣, who has spent the last six months hiding the death of the divine Empyrean. The technologist and soldier, Even Gardner, who wounded Independence and took from it its pilot. The Saint hunter, Cascabel, who gave him the tools to do it. And Grand Magnificent, the artist who built Independence's Body, pristine and powerful, a perfect mirror of personal accomplishment and failure.

It's hell on Earth and the city's on fire.

This week on Friends at the Table: The Miracle of the Mirage: The Dragon

Count Nideo: 'We must make landfall with or without The Cadent.'

Thousands of evacuation ships launched today from the lowest levels of THE BY-AND-BY, carrying over 100,000 citizens of the Divine Fleet towards the surface of the planet Quire.  The ships are expected to land and establish preliminary camps within the next three days, per a statement released by the evacuation committee, and millions of additional refugees will be transferred across the next week.

Yet, given the occupation by Sui Juris, such an effort will face many obstacles which will challenge the speed or efficiency of the operation. Note Shimmering Sea, interim leader of The By-and-By, addressed these concerns during a press conference earlier today, stating that “Any evacuation that leaves behind the Cadent Under Mirage would be a failure that dooms the future of the Fleet. Like the Cadent Herself, we must be clever, wise, and careful in this moment.”

Note Sea has reportedly split her resources between three internal teams: One in charge of evacuation, one which readies an active-responses to Sui Juris’ actions, and a third which prepares for an unspecified “external threat,” which may be connected to recent phenomena observed on the edge of the Quire system—phenomena that the Signal believes to be related to confidential military action.

Critics say this is not enough, though. Count Aram Nideo, who has sprung into prominence in the days since the Cadent’s kidnapping, has argued that Sea’s primary concern should be the evacuation: “We must remove every lock—budgetary, bureaucratic, or otherwise—from this effort. This evacuation effort must be funded and supported with everything The By-and-By has to offer. Every other vessel in the fleet is giving its all. As much as it pains me to say this: We must make landfall with or without The Cadent.”

Others in the government have gone further, calling for an investigation into Note Sea’s actions. “By failing to support the immediate needs of the people during this crisis,” said By-and-By Level 2 Alderman Brisk Bronze, “the Note is offering credence to the terrorists who have taken her Ship and our Cadent hostage.”

Whether Alderman Bronze’s accusations hold water or not, it is a reminder of the open-endedness of action in crisis. As the Signal continues to report from the front lines of this emergency, we vow to bring you the truth as best as we can find it—and to consider our own culpability, potential, and reach as we do so.

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring Art Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart), and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

A transcription is available for this episode here.

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