Brilliance 3.2

Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 1

SHU: How long since we last convened?
QUI: I can still recall the Dawn Calamity, so not long enough.
BER: I've got consistent and strange reports coming in from across the system.
SHU: Try me.
BER: A few Guardians in the field report being swarmed by some kind of electronic mite. The first few after visiting the Dust Palace on Mars, but the rest from all over.
SHU: How bad?
BER: Fantastic, apparently. At least, that's what they're yelling over comms. Is happy shouting a medical issue? Do we take this to the Vanguard?
QUI: Ikora first. The Hidden might know something.


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 2

SHU: Berriole's deployed on Mars, Quist is whimpering in the corner—
QUI: Slander.
SHU: Correction to the record. Quist is curled up in the corner, making noises of outrage—
RAM: Officially, the Vanguard suggestion of quarantine was implemented and shortly afterwards reversed due to irreparable ineffectiveness. Unofficially, they laughed at Quist. Refer to Quist’s notes, which will be released to all of the Owl Sector after appropriate redactions. I remind the Sector that public records can be read by children; please word reports accordingly. Next steps?
SHU: Segregating affected Guardians is impossible at this time. But limiting civilian exposure is still possible. Critical, in fact.
RAM: Guardians are more likely to respect exclusion from the City than confinement to our hospital wing.
SHU: I don’t want to see the effects of this tech mite on those without the Traveler's Light. I’ll talk to Ikora.
QUI: She still talks to you?
SHU: I’m Liaison to the Vanguard. It’s my job. Besides, I’m irresistibly charming.
RAM: Even if?
SHU: Even if.


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 3

RAM: Berriole found a trove of laboratory notes in a locked section of the Dust Palace. Some dead scientist named Shirazi. Some forgotten experiment under the auspices of Willa Bray.
QUI: She's good as a bloodhound for secrets.
SHU: You could use a bit more sheepdog, yourself.
RAM: Our Guardians will honor the ban on City travel. This has been relayed on all channels as far as Saturn.
QUI: They might have honored the quarantine.
SHU: They're Guardians, Quist. Means the Light has cooked their brains. Haven't you seen them dancing in the Plaza, for no reason, with no music at all? We'll take what we can get.


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 4

QUI: Did you see this dispatch of Berriole’s?

Z. SHIRAZI CB-PZ-1.2
Regrettably, Patient B entered a coma minutes after injection with Brilliance 3.2. Vital signs remain normal. Homeostasis preserved. While cause for concern, I do not think it necessary to table this study and will proceed.

RAM: If that's the effect on civilians—
QUI: It might have been temporary. But—
RAM: The decision to lock down the City was wise.
SHU: Thank you, thank you. Really, it’s too much.


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 5

QUI: I’d forgotten how heavy and sweaty these were.
RAM: Truth be told, I’m braver with the suits on.
QUI: A hundred separate pieces, requiring buckling and zipping, though?
RAM: We’ll improve the design. Eventually. But they work. Berriole’s got the most delicate tasks, and she manages.
SHU: Speaking of our codebreaker. She sent a sample scraped off the sand. And this log.

Z. SHIRAZI CB-PZ-3.2
This is the second day that Patient B continues comatose. Hydration and nutrition support have been enabled. Vital signs are good. Green particles appear to be accumulating on his lips and nostrils. I have not observed similar consequences for other patients and am wondering if this was an idiosyncratic reaction.

QUI: Wait, what are you doing? Shun, where are your gloves?


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 6

QUI: He's been transferred to the hospital wing. Stable for the moment.
RAM: We’ll have to be more careful. What's Berriole's latest?

Z. SHIRAZI CB-PZ-5.2
Yesterday, with a wild yell, Patient B sat up, then started singing and dancing. Tried to calm him but was unsuccessful. He has not stopped since regaining consciousness. I have heard all the songs of his childhood, half the pop hits of the past century, and improvised ballads about his life. He's owned two dogs and six cats and I know all their names.

RAM: There's hope, then.
QUI: Trust me, you don't want to hear Shun sing.


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 7

Z. SHIRAZI CB-PZ-6.2
I ran into his room at the sudden silence, but he was already gone.


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 8

RAM: Ikora Rey has granted the Owl Sector full use of the Hidden's resources. We have opened negotiations with Petra Venj for assistance from the Techeun Witches.
QUI: What could we offer the Reef?
RAM: Good health, whatever countermeasures we develop, and aid when the mite reaches them. Reef denizens are likely to be susceptible. And they see plenty of Guardian traffic.


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 9

RAM: Promising notes from Berriole. Mid-experiment, this Dr. Shirazi changes course. Her logs describe the development of a cure. A complicated, lengthy, but noninvasive cure.
QUI: So what's the hitch? Where’s Shun?
RAM: We tried it. Didn't work. The Hidden are working on it now.
QUI: And?
RAM: They said they were close. Then they muttered about unit conversion, physiological changes post-Collapse, and diminished chances of survival.
QUI: When will they be ready?
RAM: Soon.


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 10

QUI: Good to have you back, you hair-grayer, you cleft of the Traveler. Don't do that again.
RAM: You don't know how happy I am to see you.
SHU: What did I miss?
RAM: Nothing much.
QUI: Everything. You missed everything. Eva’s cooking, dancing Cabal, the man in the moon setting up shop in the Traveler.
SHU: Hm. I'll have to ask Ikora for an update.
RAM: Wait until you're walking again.
QUI: So she can cut you down at the knees.
SHU: Ha. Ha.


Owl Sector Internal, OS-I6 12

RAM: Welcome back, Berriole. We're closing this incident.
QUI: Good riddance.
BER: I'll put the final reports into the system and return the Owl Sector to standby.
RAM: Before you do—for our records—any success to report, Liaison to the Vanguard Shun?
SHU: None whatsoever. Warlocks are all mystery and power one minute, business as usual the next. Ah well.
BER: Why are you all laughing?
RAM: I'll brief you later.