The ship You Sexy Thing has its own agenda! It is programmed to deliver the putated hijackers — the owner and staff of the Last Chance restaurant from TwiceFar Station — to IAPH (the International Association of Pirate Havens) but it has secretly decided: “not until I learn how to cook!”
Because, the whole time, Thing has been absorbing lessons from the chef and has been experimenting with meals, and then recording the emotions of the crew as they partake of its meals — hunger, pleasure — and this has become Thing‘s addiction.
Self feared, the first time she realized Thing had agency, that the book was entering HAL 1000/2001 Space Odyssey territory. Who knows, it still might veer that way. In the meantime, the crew has discovered that they have a stowaway: one of the twelve heirs to the Empress of the Hive Mind, a 17-year-old who was shipped to TwiceFar Station in a crate — Quel mystère! Good thing the chef decided to open the crate, just before the explosions that destroyed the station!