You know, when I try to get this all down, it seems sort of ridiculous.
After the ship crash, Kanda and her merry gang of misfits happened upon the native peoples of Graceful End: The Cleoxi. These massive beetle-like natives possessed a strong sense of honor and desire to negotiate. It seemed that they had made a deal with the Bright Ones nearly a million years ago regarding their coexistence.
At this point, Dylan took the lead, and learned of the Cleoxi culture, in which honor was not just an ideal but a measurable currency, earned through productive and/or dangerous work. Honor was recorded via a line of bugs on one's hands.
I arrived with Chuck Sterling and Mickey and discussed Kanda's political future. She was not polling great on Ardin but her numbers were through the roof on New Bigsby so she decided to just run there. Of course, a successful first contact negotiation would look great on her resume. An unsuccessful negotiation would mean political immolation.
The Bright Ones arrived, hoping to negotiate with the Cleoxi, but the Cleoxi seemed nervous to work with the Bright Ones. Something to do with a previous agreement being broken. So, they decided to deal with Kanda's people.
Many Hands expressed that all Kanda needed to do was get the Cleoxi to agree to sit down with the Bright Ones. But Dylan learned a disturbing fact that the Bright Ones had voted to put a massive gun ship in orbit, ready to destroy the Cleoxi hive if things went south. Tensions were high.
It seemed the Cleoxi had some special place in their culture for Spanner. "Untouchable." He was unable to possess or use Honor. But he was revered. This all because he was unable to have sex. So he was declared arbiter and the Cleoxi sat down with Kanda, Sledge, Mickey, Dylan, and Drottr.
Then, Mother arrived. The Cleoxi worship this entity called Mother, a sentient (and seemingly ancient) swarm of bugs.
Mother sat at Spanners side and watched the negotiations.
The talks started out fine, with Kanda explaining that these new Bright Ones were very different form the old ones. Mother was helpful, talkative, and just a tad condescending.
Then, the Cleoxi expressed their deal. They would end all hostilities and let the Bright Ones settle on the land, in exchange for hostages. They wanted several Bright Ones to be "Mother's Children." When Dylan asked what it means to be a child of mother, they explained that it meant that Mother had power over you, just like the Cleoxi. Mother then demonstrated this power, by controlling Dylan like a puppet.
So it seemed the deal was peace, in exchange for slaves.
Everyone went back to their camps and Kanda had a mild meltdown, wondering if these Bright Ones she had spent so much blood and sweat saving were really worth it at all. They seemed so willing to kill all the Cleoxi. But the Cleoxi themselves were not so benevolent. Then Many Hands explained that the Cleoxi had surrounded their settlement. Tensions were rising.
So the Bright Ones went to negotiate with the Cleoxi and Sledge, Micky and Drottr went into orbit to attempt to neutralize the Bright One weapon. While Micky put an EMP in the aiming system, Drottr made an impassioned plea to lay down arms and be honorable. While the captain of the ship could not defy orders, some one else heard Drottr's plea: Mother.
Back on the surface, Mother invited the group back and explained that she had watched them attempt to defuse the Bright One weapon. She believed them honorable and, more importantly, of great value to the Bright Ones. So, the Cleoxi offered taking some of Kanda's people as hostages instead.
But who would volunteer to be a permanent hostage of the enslaving bug swarm?
Spanner, of course. The untouchable, unaffected by mother's grasp, venerated by her people, loved by the Bright Ones for being their savior, and of course, built by Bright Ones; a shining example of the good they can create, if given a chance.
It was damn poetic.
Then, we left, heading to New Bigsby and a new chapter in Kanda's life.