The Sacred Gift
It's a new day on the Nightflyer. Lommie is porting in deep with the ship's computer, and Thale is having hideous nightmares. Matheson encourages him to get out of his room and make friends, since Eris has given him permission to roam the ship at will. And the crew reports signs of organic compounds outside of the ship, so Auggie heads to the captain's quarters to discuss it with him.
The crew finds a lost ship named Eagle 16 that has been long considered missing and must have been drifting for 14 years out in the void. Rowan asks about survivors, and is told they had only 40 months of food on board. There can be no survivors. But the ship is run on a crystal matrix, the same as the Nightflyer. D'Branin suggests that they swap Cynthia's consciousness off of her ship and onto the lost, drifting Eagle.
Jhirl, D'Branin, Auggie, Rowan and Lommie head to the Eagle 16 and board the lost ship. It's in rough shape, as clutter and debris fills the damaged halls and there are tarps and possibly-blood smears – lots of smears – all around. The group is then shocked to find some residents on this old, abandoned ship. Who are they? This motley group looks a lot like the old, haggard women in Thale's nightmare. It's all older women scientists who take credit for bringing peace to the ship and lasting so long by farming self-sustaining resources. And there are no men. It's a bit spooky. What are those resources, exactly?
Lommie and Auggie look for the ship's crystal matrix. Rowan tries to get a message back to the Nightflyer – because, of course, the communication went down as soon as they got onto Eagle 16. And Jhirl is much-admired by the scientist crew that was part of the team that engineered her.
Auggie shockingly smashes the crystal. Apparently he is not on board with the plan to transplant Cynthia to the crystal. Suddenly a group of women circles Auggie yelling "fresh seed." Oh god. Turns out, the scientists are a post-apocalyptic crazy cult using men's semen to build clones and eat them. And they needed some new men on board.
Lommie is able to break out Auggie and Rowan. Lommie then tricks the leader, kills her, and she and the rest of the group race to disembark and escape the hell ship. They leave a few dozen screaming crazies behind them on Eagle 16. Oh, and while all of this went down, Thale was on the bridge of the Nightflyer using his telepath powers to investigate what was happening.
Back safe on the Nightflyer, the group thanks Lommie for saving them all. Auggie says the Eagle 16's crystal matrix was long-broken and Lommie back him up. Auggie pledges allegiance to a picture of Cynthia Eris while the crystal on the Nightflyer hums. And D'Branin cries post-coital bloody tears – so Matheson suspects Thale was "watching," telepath style. Oh man. What's next?!