On the way to Venus Xue became enthused about the upcoming “Venus Experiment” song contest and recorded and entry for the auditions. Toby stayed behind on Luna to help with the negotiations, but egocast into a used case morph to meet them when they arrived on Octavia. While Xue breezed through the auditions, the rest of the group spread out to do various stuff.
Rudy decided to be on of Xue’s backup dancer and used his scientist cred to get some interest from university students. One of them, a cute girl named Sarah, invited Randy back to the lab at night, however she had been hired by an ultra mercenary “Alpha” who wanted to interrogate him. Alpha explained that “Super Spaceship Randy” had mounted a massive attack against discord gate and passed through into the gate system. Alpha was surprised when Randy agreed to help with intelligence on SSR and let him go.
Meanwhile, Xue, Toby and Nara worked on the act, hiring a talented but out of favour fashion designed named Fujita Ito to design costumes and sets. The contest kicked off with a bang with some rather odd contestants, and the group foiled an attempted attack on the reformist rock band “Life on the Edge”. They later discovered that Life on the Edge were rumoured to be supported by the PC, but declined to get involved in rock band politics. Highest points in the first round were scored by Year Zog – a neo-hominid drum band from Moustier, but Xue wasn’t far behind after wowing the audience with cosmos-inspired operatic electronica.
Shortly before Xue’s second performance for the competition, the group received a message from the Toymaker that the missing boy was on a hidden aerostat known as Cloud Nine that was currently not far from Octavia. The Toymaker told them that other people may have the same intelligence, so they should hurry. Xue and Nara decided to hire bodies so the performance wouldn’t suffer, then they hired a shuttle and headed for Cloud Nine.
On approached to the rogue aerostat they realised it had been damaged and the cargo bay was torn open, so they decided to land. They found another shuttle craft already there and a battle going on between Nine Lives and an invading force of Pax Familia. After a tense stand-off, Claudia Ambelina (one of them) negotiated with the PCs to get Francis out while Nine Lives were occupied. She agreed that Francis could decide who he left with.
After sneaking through the station and gaining the trust of an indentured scientist, the group found Francis was attached with some strange hardware to a large server. Surmising that the server contained stolen egos, the group tried to use subterfuge to steal it but a firefight ensued, resulting in some injuries and a few dead Nine Lives members. Eventually they got Francis unhooked from the machine safely and took both him and the server back to the cargo bay by redirecting some of Nine Lives’ own defence systems. They talked to Francis and he told them about some of experiences on earth, including what they assumed was a Pandora gate hidden underground in colorado.
Francis decided to go with Claudia to her private space station, however the PCs left with the ego server, scientist and some other valuable stuff before Claudia destroyed the aerostat with a portable nuke.
Nara organised for the server to be hidden in a cargo bay on Octavia, then found out from a contant that a contract had been taken out on Xue and Alphonse for 250,000 credits each, presumably by the LLA. During the final performance of the contest the group had to warn off some mercenaries and do a bit of social engineering, thanks to this and a great performance Xue won the competition just ahead of year Zog.