During her morning meditation, Chou notices a new thread violently thrust into the weave. She goes to breakfast and then goes to wander in the forest to settle herself. While in the forest she has an encounter with the Demon Lord of the Hell of Fiery Immersion . She finally reaches safety inside Whateley's wards. She has nightmares that night.
Erik Mahren wakes in the infirmary and discovers she's now female. She has a flashback to another Artificer who made the staff she destroyed earlier. Nasty stuff. Discussion with Mrs. Carson about what to do. Discussion with Gunny Bardue.
Harlan "Reach" Sawyer messes up his rush test to get into the Spy Kids. Meanwhile Jenny "Spark" has her prototype Engram State Inducer stolen and Reach offers to help her get it back. Eve "Heartbreaker" Hilton mentally overhears a snatch of his thinking and draws the exactly wrong conclusion: he's trying to steal it. Harlan takes the problem to Holdout and Rez, two of the Spy Kidz , and they discuss ways and means of discovering the thief. Meanwhile, Heartbreaker talks to Charge, who talks to Spark, who set up a trap.
NOTE on dates in The Big Idea: the first few dates are wrong: November does not have 31 days. I've backed the dates in November up by 1, which leaves them on the same day of the week. The dates in December are the same as in the story.
In New York: Bishop Spengler tells Rev. Englund that he can't turn over protection because the Vatican has taken the matter out of his hands. In other news, Kerry's mother manages to shake some answers from Kerry's friends. Rev. Englund tries to get Kerry to tell, and then drops the brick on Father Carmody .