With Smog and Rolfball still rotting in Mount Safeco’s jail, and new blood in the form of ex-fishermen refugees, things were returning to normal.
The Cygnet Committee continued to grow, causing some in the tower to become concerned that they were becoming TOO powerful, particularly Cali, the young woman effectively running the cult on behalf of Rhyme. Silver especially had some words of caution for Rhyme, as well as some words for Cali herself.
As Rhyme was helping/preaching to some of the newcomers, one of Rhyme’s committee members came with cookies, and offered some to Rhyme. Before Rhyme could bite into a cookie, however, she found her arm mysteriously jerked by some unseen force, causing her to drop the cookie. She got the impression that the spirit of Dustwich had somehow taken action, and suspicion arose around the cookies, which it turned out were poisoned.
An investigation ensued which led to Committee Member Danson, who did not remember poisoning the cookies, but was having memory lapses and strange episodes of missing-time. Rhyme’s facility with seeing beyond the surface discovered that Danson, who had earlier admitted an addiction to the Silence Fruit before the Committee started forcing him to stop, was suffering withdrawal and other symptoms, and in that moment of weakness, something else inhabited him, possessing him, causing him to poison the cookies. Rhyme got the impression of a three-lobed burning eye, an image that matched the symbols various members of the Tower had been carving into themselves in moments of stress.
A member of the Academics arrived to see Mizz Stockton. Professor Novell was his usual arrogant, insufferable self, but lodged a formal request for extradition for Rolfball. It seems, as a former Academic, that they had an interest in him, and they assured Mizz Stockton that if she handed him over she would never see him again. Stockton gave him a nice room and told him to enjoy his stay and she would take it under consideration. She then spoke over his offer with the Regents, who were all under the opinion that it was a bit of a coincidence that they lost power right as Rolfball’s multi-pronged attack hit.
The mysterious Smith, and her albino mutant walking-hive companion Number Eleven, continued to hang out in the Supper Club. Beckett continued to develop her relationship with Mice, while Rhyme sang, and Sunny guarded things. A gruff, scarred man sporting a sniper rifle and grenades showed up. He seemed to know Sunny. He was a mercenary named Navarre that Rolfball’s conspiracy had tried to recruit to attack the tower. He turned them down, but showed up to see how things went. He seemed to fit in well enough.
Rhyme noticed honey-bees flying about and speculated that they were alien insects of some sort. She was only partially right, as they belonged to Number Eleven.
Smith made "her"self useful by noticing a number of strange and unusual things about the tower that few others aside from Rhyme had ever detected. So intriguing was Smith’s knowledge, that Mizz Stockton was even convinced to allow her down into the chamber of the hoard, where Smith immediately noticed that it was leaking psychic energy and was somewhat broken. With the aid of Rhyme and the ghost of Carver, Smith began repairing the Hoard / psychic antenna. As Smith did so, Rhyme sat and contemplated the three-lobed burning eye that had tried to kill her… and found herself pulled through the instability of the Hoard’s room into… another place, where a burning eye, vaguely born by the sense of flapping wings, swooped down on her. She tried desperately to summon up an Elder Sign to defend herself, but failed and felt searing pain as…