Baby, Face Killer
We're back on Utopia! And we're trying to figure out this mystery of the mixed up memory! (How's that mnemonic for you?) Dutch and Johnny have procured the services of a memory miner, and he's identified the one over which there seems to be a discrepancy: the assassin. And Delle Seyah is getting hella maternal with her new next of kin before she has to go back to Qresh. She's teaching him all about fish forks and berry spoons — royalty stuff. She's also given him a name, Ozzman, and a little gewgaw that will allow him to notify her if he's ever in trouble. But it's got to be their little secret.
The assassin who Dutch remembers happens to be a woman, which contradicts Johnny's memory. Johnny does some digging and finds that... there's not much to dig up: the woman's history has been all but scrubbed clean. It's like she never existed at all. But if that's the case, why does their sleuthing alert another professional assassin in a far-flung part of the universe?
Meanwhile, Zeph has sedated Pip, and is tirelessly trying to figure out what's wrong with him, what would make him kidnap a kid. It's just not like him! But whoever it is, if Zeph doesn't figure out the problem soon, Dutch and D'av are going to exile Pip from the ship... or worse. So it's a rude awakening when Zeph finds that parasite probe has burrowed deep within his brain stem — a devilishly hard place to reach without killing the host.
And Dutch is getting a beating. Not her own. She's feeling the reverberations of Aneela's ass getting kicked by the Lady back in the green. Time is running out. Meanwhile, the new assassin has wound his way into the memory miner's office, KILLED him, and used his body to transmit a message to the Killjoys, luring them into a trap. Oh, he's good.
And back in the Quad, Pree finds the human who's been abetting the Hullen (marking doors with Hullen kids for them to kidnap). He knows next to nothing, even after a good beating. So Fancy Lee tags him with a bio marker, so they can track him.
D'av is back on Utopia for all of thirty seconds before he's confronted by the assassin, and knocked out cold. But before the assassin scrams, he takes D'av's comms, and uses them to track Dutch. Dutch uses the time to train Ozzman on some fighting and general defense skills on Utopia. She's not getting very far. But he surprises her when his superhuman instincts tell him to duck. And he's right. That stranger has emerged from the office, intent on killing Dutch with a dart across the room. The two are being pursued.
It's not long before Ozzman runs straight into the stranger's arms, and is taken hostage. But the stranger has no use for the kid — he wants Dutch. Just then, Johnny and D'av arrive, and D'av shoots the stranger in the side. Before taking off, the stranger tosses up the kid to Dutch, who bounces him back to D'av — it's a father-son reunion.
Zeph has taken Pip on a black root ship back headed to the armada — far from the kid, and close to her medical supplies. In the interim, she can operate on him, and try to kill the parasite. But it's damn hard, and she might even end up killing Pip. Back in the Quad, Pree has volunteered to be bait for the Hullen that are kidnapping kids. The scout from before put up a false flag, where the Hullen were lured. The Hullen arrive, alright, but end up prodding Pree and taking him away.
Knowing this stranger is a trained, professional assassin like the one in her memory, Dutch invokes the rules of the White Blade — a parlay type truce. In talking with him, she comes to realize that the organization he works for might be in the employ of the Lady. That's when the truce is cut short, and the stranger starts to stab the air. Dutch is in a pretty compromised position, and about to be taken out, when young Ozzman comes up behind her assassin and... stabs him in the back. Looks like he's ready for Killing 202.
Well, Zeph succeeded in disrupting the spider probe's communication, but not in removing it from the brain altogether. That's because it's actually fused to Pip's brainstem. More bad news: the spider has a short half life, which means that when it dies, Pip might die too. There's a slim hope that if they can get back to the armada, Zeph can use her more advanced equipment to fix this. But again, slim hope.
Dutch is planning to torture their captured assassin for information about the Lady when Ozzman interrupts them. Dutch decides to use this as a learning opportunity — weird, OK — but D'av shows up, is rightly infuriated, and puts a stop to the whole thing. While D'av was chastising Dutch, the assassin's cyanide pill kicked in, and his suicide took effect. Whatever information he had about the Lady is lost to them now.
And the Hullen have taken Pree back to the RAC, where all the others are being held. Fancy Lee and Turin are watching through Pree's eye camera, but it's not easy viewing: it's a carnage carnival. And D'av is pretty fed up with the way that Dutch has been training Ozzman. And so is Ozzman. He's freaked out that he seems to be able to see the future (he knew about the attack on Utopia, he knew the assassin was going to kill himself). And he also wants to change his name to Jaq (short for Jaqobis). Well, those were the magic words, because D'av decides to, without telling anyone, take Jaq off the ship. To where, though?