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"Straitlight One to Moonrunner, we've boarded. Please show them that their god is mortal."
Four weeks after Rigour clawed its way from an accidental tomb, Snowtrak Senior Researcher Natalya Greaves has hidden herself away so that she can begin to piece together the puzzle:
What is Rigour? and how many weeks will follow this one?
She looks to the past for an answer: quad-hashed history DAT's, quantum redacted service records, propaganda vids from the old days—when they only offered you a single layer of lies.
It was forty years after Rigour first came online all those years ago that it took control; that it assigned us tasks for every day, and every hour, and every second of our lives, and to disobey was not simply impossible but unthinkable because it had removed those thoughts and closed those pathways which ran through our minds.
And it was four hundred years later, when the Autonomists and their fledgling algorithmic demigods left the Orion Spur and its bitter populace—which could not bring itself to follow, it could not help but to hate those who left them behind.
And then time stopped. It stopped being as we know it now, because with no one to keep track of it—with so many stars destroyed in that violent flash of desperation—the calendars all stopped making much sense.
And then four hundred, or thousand, or million years later, something—a hero or two she guessed—or more or luck or history or God or something else; she wasn't quite sure. Someone or something gave us time again—freed us from the chain of Rigour.
Natalya Greaves, Snowtrak Senior Researcher, clears her calendar. Four days. Four weeks. Four months. She knows that none are long enough to save us, but she can't but try. And to do that she'll need more time.
"Dear Ibex," she writes. "I hope you are well. It's been too long."
Tensions rise throughout the Golden Branch star sector. OriCon megacorporations maneuver for advantage, striking with deniable operatives, market manipulation, and the finest in advertising campaigns. The remnants of Apostolos hope to find a secret strength on the seemingly abandoned planet of Torru. Horizon Tactical Solutions, stretched thin but no less hungry for retribution, strikes at the Odamas Fleet, itself in motion towards vengeance at Kalliope. And in the orbit of Sage, the Divine Grace comes up against a force that does not recognize her holiness.
This week on COUNTER/Weight: "A Candle in the Sun"
Be careful not to burn out!