Datak jauntily returns to the Tar household (and greets their new handmaiden) to find Stahma arguing with Pilar. Pilar is outraged at the idea of Stahma raising her family, Stahma rather thinks that Pilar lost the right to decide who raises the family after she abandoned them. Datak breezes in suggesting dire consequences for insulting Stahma under her own roof – and backs down when Stahma says no offence was taken (I could grow to love this dynamic). Pilar insults the Tars bringing up their past poverty and humble beginnings, basically setting herself up for me cheering when Stahma stands triumphant over her defeated body.
In town, the E-Rep is harassing everyone – which seems to be just standard procedure rather than a reaction to New York. Pilar tries to convince Christie and Alak to leave Defiance – it’s not a free city any more and E-Rep will never treat their mixed-species child as equal. Christie isn’t a big fan of the Votanis collective, but Pilar points out there are 7 different Votan races who manage to get along (except, not without inequality – look at how the Sensoth, Irathient and Liberata are treated by the Castithan). She want to take them to a “harmony collective”. Christie is enthusiastic, Alak suspicious (so am I when Pilar reveals it’s a “research facility” with classified tech. And how does she know about it anyway, she’s been in a virtual slave camp for the last few years?). They do things like use technology to bring back extinct species apparently – like horses. When they leave (Alak learning his dad has moved back in) Quentin rather astutely guesses his mother is lying through her back teeth.
Alak and Christie go home to find Datak in place and Christie is outraged and disgusted that Datak is back – she leaves, saying he will never know the child in Casti, after he decides to bring up her “dropping a whore off the arch”. Alak follows Christie and Stahma upbraids Datak for making it difficult.
They go to Pilar, planning to go to the camp she thought about, but Irisa’s woo-woo causes light in the skies. While Alak is worried about travelling through a possible Arcfall, Pilar keeps pushing which both Christie and Alak find suspicious – so Quentin knocks Alak unconscious and Pilar pulls a gun on Christie, kidnapping them both.
At the Need Want, Amanda talks about receiving no word from New York – which they hope is a glitch. Berlin is there and a complete wreck over Tommy’s death – which she tells to Amanda. Which is also when they both get news that New York is gone. Annoying Ambassador Mercado rushes into town – he was on his way back to New York when he got the news and wants to set up a command post in Defiance.
Nolan and Mercado return to town then and Nolan tries to convince Niles that Irisa is the one who used the Kaziri and it’s not a Votanis Collective weapon – E-Rep thinks they’re at war. He’s not very believable (and Mordechai isn’t all that believable as a saviour). But Mercado speaks up – Belize City has also been destroyed, a Votanis Collective city. He believes Irisa is the cause but doesn’t understand why Irisa was made a deputy when she was on a “watch list”. Amanda speaks up in defence, Niles says it was for the good of the town and Mercado unpleasantly snarks about Niles “paying for sex like a normal person” presumably rather than falling for Amanda’s wiles. Mercado kicks Niles out (the two don’t get on anyway).