Time for some war games to see how D’avin’s army will do against the Hullen
The answer - they will be utterly destroyed because they’re completely outnumbered and outclassed. Also Johnny is giving D’avin shit for stealing Dutch’s army - because Johnny is so connected to Dutch it takes some time for him to accept that she basically abandoned the army. D’avin also didn’t expect that - he thought if he went in all critical she’d fight back, not cave. She never caves.
Meanwhile Zeph is still studying Dutch, Aneela and Hullen stuff and Dutch is avoiding everything.
But Johnny may have found a way to cheat - a signal that disrupts Hullen hive-mindness. They just need a big amplifier. Thankfully there’s a mine that has something like that. Unfortunately the security is through the roof and the miners are TOUCHY.
Dutch hears this and thinks old-timey heist just like the fun rollicking good old days and she’s super, creepily, chipper about the whole opportunity. Which sets off everyone’s worry radar
But an old timey heist - and I didn’t realise how much I missed the old hit of the week no grand epic meta episodes as much as I did. It’s a nice call back
Speaking off we go to visit an old friend, Borna, head of the wastelanders around Westerley who is willing to trade for information. She also has a new husband, Jelco (she says wife and he hurriedly corrects her which suggests a very different view of marriage beyond the multiple partners). Yes, Jelco, one of the Company people who we thought was dead. Still, no hard feelings and all that. They get lots of useful information about the scary scary scary miners and their scary security.
Step 1 of which requires an insider, which requires seducing a guard (Dutch fails. Johnny fails. D’avin’s big shiny gun sort of succeeds but only if drugging him unconscious counts. Pree doesn’t think it does).
The plan goes ahead with reminders of how brutal the miners are and how security conscious they are with dead people and handcuffed D’avin (apparently standard for their transport people). This means when they unleash the ambush there are also some issues they hadn’t anticipated but the biggest problem comes when Jelco launches his own attack to try and steal the crystals they mine (which Dutch doesn’t actually want). It all goes rather wrong - Dutch escapes with the sonic thing they need but Jelco and D’avin (and some extras are kidnapped)
Dutch wants D’avin back - and Borna wants her third husband back, he’s her “strategy husband”. With D’avin talking to Jelco it’s clear that Jelco also wants to return to Borna - that he truly loves her and he enjoys his place by her side. I’d be much happier with this (hey and a whole storyline with Borna and her three husbands) if there wasn’t also jokes about her punching him. And, for that matter, if all of Borna’s portrayal - of a big Black woman, wasn’t how strong and big and dangerous she is. Though I do appreciate an acknowledgement that he does love her and does find her attractive and we have something beyond the whole ”big and strong and dangerous”. Jelco also discusses not wanting to lead - and how D’avin, as another follower, needs to think on how he can best help Dutch
Naturally there’s a rescue and Borna and Jelco have their loving reunion. Everyone is reunited and it’s all shiny and they have their new weapon which may help them against the Hullen even though they have superior numbers still. Dutch has a plan - while they all distract the Hullen she can assassinate Aneela in person - because the Hullen don’t have the numbers, they have one person who runs a hive mind. Destroy the original and everyone else falls