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"Sects, Drugs and Octopi"
Season 3, Episode 22
Air Date: May 13, 2015
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A smuggling operation goes swimmingly thanks to Howard and Higgins pitches the idea of The S.S. Swan Song reality TV show

Short Summary Edit

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Detailed Summary Edit

The date is October 11, 3200. Previously on Swan Song, Mr. Sicarian and Wilbur Higgins III had been given the keys to a delivery van that has a talking octopus named Howard in the back of it. Currently, Mr. Sicarian and Higgins are driving back to the Swan Song, but first, they need to get the octopus past Thoe’n customs.

The Customs OfficeEdit

Mr. Sicarian pulls up to the customs office and says that he came to pick up his auntie’s therapeutic pet octopus. The officer there tells him to pull his vehicle off to the side and that someone will be there soon to check on his cargo. Mr. Sicarian parks the vehicle, opens the trunk where the aquarium is kept [the aquarium is relatively large in size], and tells Howard to be quiet until the humans are gone; Howard responds with silence. An officer walks over and talks with Mr. Sicarian for a little while about the ways that the octopus brings his auntie spiritual wellness, and afterwards, the officer tells him that he will need to wait for someone from the science division to come down and check on the octopus to make sure it is clear for extraction.

After some time passes, a science officer comes down and after a preliminary look, says to Mr. Sicarian that the octopus is good to go and that all he will need to do is hand over the proper documentation to the customs office before leaving. Mr. Sicarian then contacts Piani Pic and asks her to forward some fake documentation to the customs office. Struggling to find a planet that actually has an octopus on it, let alone paperwork for that octopus, Piani eventually finds some documentation that she quickly edits together and then sends off to Mr. Sicarian. Mr. Sicarian then hands over the paperwork and it passes through without any problems. He and Higgins (and Howard) then leave customs and drive to the Swan Song.

Howard the OctopusEdit

While Higgins unloads the aquarium, Prosper Trudeau is yelling at Mr. Sicarian, telling him that he believes the technology provided to Howard is unethical and that a creature of such intelligence should not be given such advanced technology. The crew decides to keep the transport vehicle that oddly enough has a bumper sticker that reads ‘My other car is a grav-tank’ as well as a license plate that reads ‘grvtnk’.

Howard has changed color from orange to gray as he pokes Piani with his tentacle. When contact is made, Piani gets an image in her head from the perspective of Howard in a laboratory surrounded by Thoe’n people. Howard retracts his tentacle and tells Piani, “Hey, you can do the thing. They taught me to do a thing. My brain is special...” Piani asks if she can do it again. This time, Piani gets an image of Howard putting colored rings onto colored pillars. Once contact is broken, Howard tells Piani that she told him she’s from Majid with her mind [Piani was not aware that she did this].

Say Goodbye to HowardEdit

It takes 12 days for the Swan Song to travel from the Protagoras System to the Vafa'i System. During the trip, Mr. Sicarian spends a full 20 hours talking with Howard about his new gun, Mjolnir. Prosper also goes down to see Howard and touches his tentacle as Piani did. Prosper is shown a past memory of Howard in a lab. Howard tells Prosper that sometimes he sees things from the past, things from other people’s minds, or even things that are very far away. Prosper then introduces Pi to Howard and the two of them play the holo-chess game that both Prosper and Piani have played with Pi in the past. Howard learns very fast and quickly becomes the second best player behind Pi.

The crew are now in orbit over Majid. Higgins sends an email to captain Saito, saying that they have his cargo and that he can come pick it up whenever he wants. Higgins also gets an expected email from a man named Vincent Pollard from the Radderman Group who introduces himself as a public-relations guy for a large media company. The two of them chat and Pollard tells Higgins that he has footage of him with the Viking clan and that “people” will eat that footage up. Higgins then sets up a time to meet with Pollard on Majid.

Before sending off Howard, Mr. Sicarian goes up to his tank and tells him that they are going to be saying goodbye soon and that he has a gift for him. Mr. Sicarian then pulls out his monoblade and drops it into the aquarium and into the hilt of the blade is etched the word ‘Howard’. Howard says very proudly, “This is the greatest thing I have ever owned.” Mr. Sicarian tells him to treat it carefully and Howard says that the first time he will kill a man, he will dedicate it to Mr. Sicarian. Howard then tells Mr. Sicarian that he has a gift for him too and touches Mr. Sicarian on the finger tip. All of a sudden, Mr. Sicarian can see a spaceship that he has had nightmares of, The Sigfried, Mr. Titan’s flagship. Once the connection is lost, Howard tells Mr. Sicarian that everything will be okay and that he is sorry about his family and that ‘it’ was not his fault. Mr. Sicarian then says to Howard that his gift might have been the best thing that he has ever been given. Howard is then handed over to fleet captain Saito and his crew.

Before the Swan Song lands on Majid, Prosper goes to Piani’s room and asks if she can help him decrypt an email that he recently received from Cabral. Piani does so and finds that the message says “Come Home” and that it comes from somewhere in Cabral’s government. The Swan Song then docks on Majid and the crew [finally] upgrades the ship’s spike drive from level 1 to level 3 allowing them to not only travel three times faster, but also jump up to 3 hexes with a single navigation check. The total cost of the upgrade is 200,000 credits and will take a total of 3 weeks to install. For the remainder of their time on Majid, the crew all stays in the same apartment.

Vincent PollardEdit

To prepare for his meeting with Vince Pollard, Higgins purchases a 15,000 credit, made in Asa, pure denim suit as well as a matching hat and a single-monocle. Purity Initiative and Blue Fever [opposite standpoints] graffiti are dominant all over Majid. Higgins walks into a tall building and takes the elevator up a couple floors. While in the elevator, Higgins watches a news-feed of Nika Starlight being escorted into a police vehicle. The news changes to an image of the Strophios embassy on fire, looters can be seen pillaging it. Higgins walks out of the elevator and goes down a hall that is lined with platinum records. He eventually walks up to a door that has the letters ‘Vince P’ written on it. He takes a deep breath, and then walks in.

The far wall of the room is made of glass providing a large view of the not so great to look at mining planet of Majid. A mining facility can be seen in the distance and there are many refineries spouting fire up into the sky. The rest of the walls are lined with pictures of Vince shaking the hands of various famous people. In the middle of the room are expensive desk and chair furnishings and standing up next to them is Vince Pollard speaking mandarin into a phone. Seeing Higgins, Vince hangs up the phone and energetically says, “Wilbur Fucking Higgins”. Vince then grabs Higgins’ hand and generously shakes it before asking Higgins for a drink. The two sit down and share a drink and then Vince calmly asks Higgins if he would like to do some Blue Fever. Higgins declines and Vince pulls out an inhaler and takes a deep breath in. Vince then sits down at his chair and asks Higgins to pitch to him what he’s got so far. This is what Higgins says:

Imagine... Black screen, you see the twinkling of the stars right? And then all-a-sudden, you see some things fade and then it goes ‘swish’. And then it says, ‘The crew of the S.S Swan Song’. And then it shows me sittin’ there at the front, and I’m standing, looking outside the universe. And then we got Mr. S and he’s maybe in a hallway shootin’ some guns or somethin’, I don’t know, we’ll do somethin’ fancy with him. Prosper we’ll just do like a quick half-second pan, just real quick. You know, right over him... Just make sure he’s there in the intro. And then we’ll do like a long, slow, zoom-in of one Miss Piani Pic. And then maybe some quick snap-shots of some extra-terrestrial life. We got Howard the octopus... we had him for a little while. We’ll put a robot in there, maybe just put Pi, like a little name-card on there... we got some stories with him. And then at the end it says, ‘these are the stories and life of the S.S Swan Song’ and then it signs off and goes to the show.

Vince absolutely loves the pitch and tells Higgins that he is going to be a star. The two of them then go to an insurmountable number of bars and clubs and get drunk. Late into the morning, Vince hands Higgins release forms that the crew are to sign before they are able to ‘get underway’.

Working on Pi’s BodyEdit

The scene cuts over to Piani in an underground, run-down black-market. She has a turban over her head to keep out the dust that continuously flies through Majid’s thick atmosphere. A kid runs up to Piani, her eyes completely blue, and asks her for some credits. Piani hands her a 5 credit cred-stick. The kid bows and thanks Piani, addressing her as ‘older sister’, and then runs over to a larger man and hands him the cred-stick. The large man pockets the credits and then pushes the kid back out into the crowd. Seeing this, Piani walks to up to the man. He cautiously puts his hand on his gun holster and asks Piani if she would like some blue fever. Piani tells the man that she knows he is using kids to peddle drugs and that she understands his trade, that he is probably keeping the kid fed and maybe even feeding her family, but she is willing to look the other way so long as he can direct her towards a shop that sells ‘underground’ cybernetic parts. Noticing that Piani is from Majid, the man hands her the cred-stick and says that ‘they’ don’t hustle the locals. Piani hands the credits back to the man and tells him to give it to the kid. He pockets the cred-stick and says, “Yeah, I know a place.”

Piani arrives at a shop that has a neon sign of a guy with a Confucius mustache banging a robot on the head with a hammer, and the sign reads ‘Most Prosperous Autonomous Servant Repair’. Piani goes into the shop and it reminds her half of a junkyard and half of a nerd’s apartment who has a hoarding problem. Behind a cluttered desk is an old man tinkering with what looks to be some kind of robotic hand. Piani goes up to the man and unravels a very rough set of blueprints for what she wants Pi’s robotic body to look like. Piani describes to the man what she wants built and what she already has and asks if he is able to help her get the remaining parts. The man looks at Piani and says, “Built from scratch? This? Ambitious Project.” Piani tells the man that she has a bunch of time on her hands, that her ship has a level 1 spike-drive in it and half of the time they are just lost. The man tells her that she needs a new navigator and Piani laughs and says that she doesn’t disagree. The man tells her to come back tomorrow and that he’ll try to have the parts by then. Before leaving, Piani pulls out the cybernetic eye that she had received from the one-eyed nomads, and asks the man if he has any knowledge as to what the eye does. The man takes the eye in his hand and upon closer inspection says that it’s Psy-tech and that it needs MES to function properly. Piani thanks the man and leaves.

She comes back the next day and pays 20,000 credits for the rest of the robotic body aside from the ‘brain’ which the man tells her that she may be able to get at Cabral.

The S.S. Swan Song Epic Movie TrailerEdit

Piani walks into Higgins’ room and Higgins offers her to sit down and have a drink. She hesitantly does so as Higgins flips on a 40-second video for her to watch [The video is as previously described by Higgins to Vince Pollard]. After the video is over, Higgins says that he has months of footage and that there will be a 2-year delay so that their enemies won’t get the upper-hand, and he asks her what she thinks. Piani says that she will be okay with it so long as the rest of the crew are okay with it.

Higgins then invites Mr. Sicarian to his room and goes over the same spiel. Mr. Sicarian says that it is a great film, but that it is a bad idea to be documenting everything because it acts as a history of the crimes that the crew has committed. Higgins insists to Mr. Sicarian that people in the movie business are above the law and that when they get famous then they will be able to get away with whatever they want. Mr. Sicarian says to Higgins that it is his job on the ship to keep everybody safe and that he does not want Higgins to air the show. Higgins does the same thing with Prosper and asks him what he thinks. Prosper asks Higgins how he was able to get all of the footage and he tells him that he has hidden cameras all over himself as well as the ship. Prosper tells him that he would like to go speak with Piani before making his decision.

Prosper walks into Mr. Sicarian’s room and immediately says that it is time that they kill Higgins. Mr. Sicarian asks him what he is talking about and Prosper explains how Higgins has been documenting their crimes. Mr. Sicarian then explains to Prosper that he had told Higgins not to go through with the show for that same exact reason. He then says to Prosper that killing Higgins is not the only option available to them and that what he said a very grave thing to say to someone. Prosper explains to Mr. Sicarian that he is literally a secret agent dealing with an Artificial Intelligence and that he would absolutely kill in order to protect his identity. Mr. Sicarian assures Prosper that they will make sure that Higgins doesn’t follow through with his plan. Prosper says that he’ll leave the killing as a distant third option and then leaves the room.

Piani later gets an email from James Honn and learns that he has become very wealthy, presumably through shady business. She then emails him back asking about if he can help with Prosper’s email from Cabral and James says that he may be able to help her out if they are able to shuttle some cargo off-planet for him.

Status Report Edit

Crew StatusEdit

  • Casualties:

Ship StatusEdit

  • Hull Integrity:

Criminal ActivitiesEdit

  • New Crime:

BusinessEdit

  • Credits Acquired:
  • Credits Spent:
  • Jobs In Progress:
  • Jobs Completed:
  • Debt Paid Off On Swan Song:
  • Current Debt On Swan Song:

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