After debriefing in the Weyland simulspace, RTK is egocasted and regains consciousness in their original sleeves. But alas! Those sleeves now seem to be onboard a small shuttle with only a few other passengers on ice, and no conscious crew.
Their muses supply the relative time and their location, and put them in touch with a beta fork of Mr Magu whom is riding along on the shuttle with them. The fork (an infomorph, though he does have a clone on ice aboard the shuttle) informs them that they are on their way to the Souvlaki, an old spaceliner which has been repurposed as a pleasure barge.
This is to be a “company sponsored vacation” and they will be arriving with some other VIPs whom are scheduled for well deserved time off. The Souvlaki has a number of special rules, including a strictly controlled population. New guest are only admitted as others leave, and there are a number of small craft waiting for a chance to dock. The SEP shuttle seems to have some clout though, and is bypassing the line.
While approaching the Souvlaki (and only thanks to the higher moral bearing of Kulu and Karls) RTK takes pity on a ship that has been waiting too long in line and is running low on life support. While the rest of the team debates why the Souvlaki and the other ships in queue haven’t responded to the distress call, Kulu and Karls brave mouldy space-scum coated hatches to rescue a sad and matted pair of scientists in cat-boy morphs. They check with the Beta of Magu and get SEP to sponsor the cat-boys’ admission to the pleasure barge in exchange for a term of indenturement.
The Souvlaki has a large gravity ring and is full of themed areas for a variety of fetishes or preferences. It has its own internal rep system, and if your rep drops to 0 through negative interactions with other guests, you are wiped and your memories of the stay are destroyed. All menial tasks and labor are handled by small troglodyte creatures, seemingly without any orifices or any facial features.
Kulu and Zaius both try to lay low, while Tasha’s incomprehension of the place confuses other guests. Mabuse loses some local rep, but starts gambling big by playing on his new Remade’s pull with some Ultimate guests. A pit fight does not go as well as it could.
Magu asks RTK to recruit a pair of VIP guests, one being a Jammer and the other being a scientist. The group is successful in this regard, although the Jammer turns out to be an Alpha fork who brokers a deal to provide SEP with a time-limited Alpha for their own use. The flippant disregard for another Alpha fork’s sense of individuality or identity seems a little alien and disconcerting, but the job is done.
Through a local 9-lives connection, Tasha and Mabuse secretly pocket a copy of the scientist’s ego for their own purposes…
After the rest of the trip passes in relative peace, Magu reveals that they actually have a job to do. The entire voyage was cover to get them close to Reha undetected, and the Kronos Cluster habitat specifically. An Ultimate faction operates the docking spire there, and they are the same faction that hit The Geisha back in Episode 1. This will be a reprisal operation, the other ships in queue to visit the Souvlaki are actually assault boats, and they will screen RTK from the local kill-sats as they dock with the spire.
Tasha brings them in hard and fast, and the attack goes about as well as it possibly could. The C&C section of the spire is captured by RTK, and the automated defenses are turned against the Ultimates.