Killjoys Round Up Students On An Escort Warrant, End Up Getting “Schooled” Themselves
It seemed like a simple warrant: track down some kids on Westerley, escort them to prodigy school, maybe find out what Khlyen’s crazy-huge data dump contained—seeing as its destination was (weirdly) the aforementioned school. But when the first task requires literally ripping a kid from his lonely father’s arms without so much as the promise of a holiday visit things stop being so simple.
But Dutch and her team don’t find out how difficult the situation really is until they arrive at the elite scholastic space station to find that all but one of its students have been liquefied inside their cryopods—by nothing less than the digital overload caused by Khlyen’s Red 17 data transmission.
The one kid who manages to make it out of his pod alive develops a sudden (very understandable) distaste for authority, believing that the kid-melting was intentional, rather than just dumb and accidental. Using a hologram of the school’s now-deceased headmaster, he lures the institution’s benefactor/chief exploiter of Westerlian children (oh hey, Delle Seyah Kendry’s back!) into a confrontation meant to serve as a distraction.
Confrontation is what you expect whenever Delle shows up on screen—she manages to make enemies wherever she goes. Pawter, along for the mission after Johnny shows up to watch her rescue herself from some nomads on Westerley, is an old nemesis. Dutch is a relatively new one, but she’s going to be forced to work with the powerful Qreshi leader now that Khlyen appears to be messing with both of them.
Back to the kid: what he really wants is to quit space school and make a run for it with his little brother—and Lucy. But brotherly bonding is a topic Johnny is well-versed in and he navigates the crisis by appealing to a big brother’s obligation to set a good example for his little bro. Stealing a spaceship = bad example. Little brother guilt card: it works every time.
That leaves the data that Khlyen sent as the only remaining problem (this week). Things would be much easier if it was saved on thumbdrive or something. Instead, it’s in a kid’s head, and both Delle Seyah and Dutch want to know what it says. But DSK has been running her human seed bank project under the radar of the rest of the rich and powerful on Qresh and Dutch uses that secret as leverage to keep the kid with her, promising to share whatever she learns from him. So this makes Dutch and Delle…. Allies?
Unlocking the data inside the kid’s brain (and doing it discreetly) means dropping him off at a monastery with Alvis, who’s back to being a monk (does this mean he can’t be Dutch’s almost-boyfriend anymore?). Never mind, she’ll be too busy for a relationship anyway—Fancy Lee just unfroze Khlyen and the two of them are headed for D’avin and Johnny’s home planet… to do what, though?