"Behind every great fortune there is a crime."-- - Honore de Balzac


Geoff wakes up with a headache. Small wonder, considering all he's been through. Everyone did survive their first night in the clutches of the Mustache, although there are many hungover people. Robert is suppressing last night entirely. Franz is fine, although really unhappy, which is one reason Samantha doesn't mention someone having changed her clothing during the night.

Most of the day is spent with the pirates getting reorganized after the previous day's attack. The Mustache wants the party to provide their full names, and the names of their next of kin, or whoever they want contacted about the ransom. He also wants everyone's word of honor to not try to escape, or cause trouble. Geoff will go along, but he doesn't have anyone who'll ransom him. The Mustache agrees to throw in Geoff and the other staff as freebies as long as their employers are ransomed. The working out of ransom details gets a bit awkward when it comes to Samantha, but Marguerite steps in, gives her information, and then informs the Mustache that "Lady Telford is my cousin". That does the trick.

Letters are written, then eventually it's time for dinner with the Mustache. Plates are laid out, gold and silver dishware, lots of food, candelabras. Laid out like a person who'd watched a lot of soap operas, and read a lot of romance novels would have done.

Ezbeki has been hobnobbing, and shares intel. Ezbeki : "Not bad guys, or girls. Most of them are here because of getting into trouble Not really different from us. Decent enough, trying to get by. They don't know much about the Mustache. He has a couple of strange quirks for a pirate though." Samantha: "Define strange." Ezbeki: "Well, they're supposed to not kill anybody. Anyone valuable is taken, the rest are set free in boats. Check this out." He hands Geoff a pulp novel about the Old Mustache. Amongst some people he's known as a pirate with a sense of honor. Geoff decides to read it at dinner. Franz gives him a disapproving look. Kaeth is jealous, because he doesn't have a book. The book describes the Mustache as a "roguish person who is hiding some sort of past pain", it's written in the first person, by some one who's ship was taken. Samantha and Marguerite get a chance to get a word with Samantha. Marguerite: "Considering the local women, either you or I should have no problem cozying up to our host. God gave us certain advantages over men, and it would be irreverent to not use them. Why do you think they call them the weaker sex?" She's not above using her feminine wiles; neither is Samantha. The women are seated at either side of the Mustache.

Mustache: "Major Thompson, isn't it?" Geoff: "Yes." Mustache: "Are you enjoying your book?" Geoff: "This is actually quite interesting. Was it ghost-written, or was it really written by one of your former hostages?" The Mustache looks upward, but does admit that he has "dabbled in a bit of writing". Oh. A little spin-doctoring of the old image, hmmm?

In spite of the Mustache's somewhat rough table manners, he serves a fine table, with excellent wines. Kaeth asks about the attack on his people earlier, and who might have been responsible. The Mustache doesn't know, but of course he has enemies. He doesn't seem too concerned.

After dinner it's into the drawingroom for port and walnuts. A distinctly nautical theme in here. Many charts and maps, and a big globe. There's a painting on the wall above the desk, and Samantha asks the Mustache about it. Mustache: "Oh, do you fancy art?" Samantha: "I do, actually." Mustache: "I keep most of the really good pieces in a safe place. I could show you if you're interested?" Samantha: "I'd be very interested, yes." Mustache: <to the others> "Please excuse me. Make yourselves comfortable." Franz starts to make a move to follow, but Marguerite distracts him. She even swoons appropriately. Franz: "Major, if you would help me, we can move her to the couch." She stirs. Franz: "Here, take this brandy to revive you." When Franz isn't looking, Marguerite winks at Geoff.

Meantime, Robert and Kaeth check out the swords on the walls, and the maps. Josef is outside the room on guard, so they have time to look. Robert looks through the book titles, hoping to find books on the local myths and legends (i.e., electricity) of the planet; tricky, since all the books are shelved by color, rather than subject.

Franz: <to Kaeth> "You're the one with medical training, shouldn't you be checking on Lady Roarke?" Kaeth: Could you get me about three or four ounces of cold water?" Franz: "Of course." He goes to the door to request this of Josef. Kaeth: <to Marguerite> "Perhaps you could complain of having felt lightheaded." She smiles at him.

Downstairs, the Mustache takes a key from a chain around his neck, turns it several revolutions in the old lock, and then opens a door. The room is dark until he enters with his lamp, and then it glitters. This is definitely the treasure room, full of gold, silver, gems, the whole shebang. Wow.

Samantha's eyes get wide. Mustache: <smiling> "I told you there's was a lot of art down here." Yes there is art here as well, tacked all along the walls. Lots of it. Mustache: "It's a bit musty maybe. Let me show you some of the better pieces." He goes over and starts flipping through some of the paintings. He stops when he reaches a certain painting, of a female. He's had a bit to drink, and he seems to get sort of misty-eyed and odd. Mustache: "Marissa, I miss you." He's running his finger over the figure's hair. It's a young, willowy, blonde. Or at least that's what the painting is of. Maybe its of this Marissa person, or someone who reminds him of her. Samantha lets the Mustache continue talking to himself, and looks through the other paintings for the one she needs. After a few minutes, the Mustache comes over to her. Mustache: "Marissa, what are you looking for? There's no time for that, the horses are ready. We must leave before your father comes back." Before Samantha can't think of a response to that he takes her hand. Mustache: "We don't have much time. What is it you seek?" Samantha: "A painting, a small one." She describes what's on it. Mustache: "Yes, I know the one. Its safe." He stops and clutches his head. Samantha: "Are you all right?" Mustache: My head, it burns." He searches through his clothing, takes out a small vial and drinks some of it. Mustache: "Come my love, we must fly." He leads her away from the staircase they should be taking to go back upstairs. Mustache: "Come, quickly!" He leads her over a little 8" natural rock bridge over a deep chasm. Samantha decides not to fight him under these circumstances. Once across he takes her in his arms. Mustache: "There, there, its all right. I knew you weren't dead. I knew it was all a lie." Oh dear. Mustache: "Even when your father's men came out and did this to me, <that explains the scars> I didn't leave. I knew we would be together." This is a bizarre turn of events!

Upstairs, Franz has obtained the water which Marguerite drinks, while sitting up looking fragile. Kaeth: "Keep an eye on her. Just in case." Marguerite smiles faintly. The Mustache has been gone with Samantha for some time. Kaeth hopes she hasn't killed him, found the painting and taken off; not that she'd do that. Suddenly, outside in the hallway there are dull sounds of full-auto fire, then screams. Kaeth: "We've got to get out of here." Robert: "Why?" Kaeth: "Because I think the people who were here yesterday have decided to come back, and we don't know whose side they're on." There's knocking then pounding on the door as flecks of wood burst in. Some one yells "Break it down!" Geoff: "I think we should leave. I don't really want to be known as a guest of the pirates." They go behind the arras, staking it down with the letter opener. They're heading down as the door splinters open. Kaeth: "Theses are not hostage rescue people." Geoff: "No, these are pirate killing people." They head down and down, then find a door open. There's a lamp reflecting off many shiny things. Muffled voices from above. Voice: "Down this way."

The Mustache has been pulling Samantha along then stops. Mustache: "Shh! Your father's men! I won't let them kill you again." Oh good grief. Mustache: "You must go this time! Listen to me this time." Samantha: "No, you don't understand, it's all right." Mustache: "I understand. You do not wish to leave me. Very well, we will face them together, my love."

The others get to the edge of the chasm. Franz: "Go ahead! I will hold them off." Geoff goes back, intending to pick Franz up and carry him across. Not necessary. Once he admits to not being thrilled about heights (unless he's in an airship) Franz is able to get across with the others. They come running around a corner, and see a couple of people up ahead. They've been cut off! Mustache: "Come you devils, I'll send you to hell myself!" Geoff: "This is not a good time for this!" Samantha: "No - these are my people. They're friends. They're here to help." Mustache: "Are they loyal to you then? Your servants?" Samantha: "Yes. That's it." Geoff: "We need to get going." Kaeth looks around where they stopped and finds something odd. Small charcoal briquets. Artillery powder? Kaeth's heard of black powder and picks one up. Franz: "Good thinking!" He helps Kaeth set a charge then lay a trail, and Franz has a box of Lucifers. It's lit and everyone runs like hell (those who hadn't started already). There's a big boom, and people are knocked off their feet. That should make it very difficult for anyone who was down in that cavern, and impossible for anyone to follow across the chasm.

Marguerite: "There is an exit at the end of this tunnel, right?" Samantha: "I sure hope so." Eventually they hear water sounds. Its dark, and Geoff suddenly plummets down fifteen into the water then gets out of the way. According to the Mustache, this is the only way out. The underground water is really… cold. They don't have to worry which way they're going – they're going where the water takes them. Its in an old lava tube - just think of it as a water slide. Its an exciting ride, followed by zero-g. There are stars above, and the sound of water hitting land, in a distance. Once again, when Geoff hits the water he swims out of the way of the others. Everyone survives the drop. The count is the last to emerge (he's not a strong swimmer), and he comes out coughing and hacking.

Off in the distance, well above them, there's light and smoke coming out of the side of the mountain. No major injuries, just bumps and bruises, except for Geoff's apparent concussion (he hit something on the trip down). The Mustache is a bit out of it, sort of operating on automatic, glassy-eyed. They're all wet and cold and tired, and after about a half hour they're able to get up the bank and into the trees. Up the way is shouting and running around in an orderly fashion. The night is getting colder, and everyone is huddled together for what warmth they have.

Franz: "We must get the women somewhere where we can get them warm, build a fire." Kaeth: "Those men are not asking questions first." Franz: "If we don't get the women warm…" Kaeth: "Then we keep them warm as best we can. This is survival, it comes before civilization." Franz: "Where exactly are you from, Mr. Kaeth?" Kaeth: "The Land of Practicality." That's one way of describing Regina. The men are wearing a number of layers – coats, vests or waistcoats, etc. What can be removed, is. Franz removes his wool coat , wrings it out, and offers it to Samantha, since she's just in a wet silk dress. Franz: We must do something. Even a dark fire." Robert: "If we make a fire, it will bring those –" Franz: "A shielded fire. If we don't… <to Kaeth> Doctor, see to your patient <Geoff>, and the ladies. Mr. Shelzie and I will collect some kindling." Kaeth puts the women on either side of Geoff, and covers them up as best he can using Franz and Robert's coats. Franz: "We'll return within 15 minutes." Kaeth cuts some branches to try to make a shelter.

Franz and Robert go a ways from the camp then Franz motions Robert down. Franz: "Your spyglass. See what you make of those shapes down there." Robert looks, sees several sort of banana –shaped objects pulled up onto the bank. Robert: "Maybe boats." Franz: "We should take a look." They sneak closer, stopping when they spot a couple of men watching the boats. Sentry A: "Sounds like they're having fun up there." Sentry B: "Better them than me."

Franz: "Get ready. I'll distract them." Robert: "And then do what?" Franz: "We charge them." Robert: "Okay..." Franz: "Decisiveness of action, I have found, often takes the day." They get closer, Franz tosses a rock at a point beyond the sentries and when they turn he charges, Robert following. There's a brief fight, but the good guys prevail. The sentries are left unconscious, but not dead, and Franz and Robert check the boats out further. There are actually quite a few boats along the shore, made of some sort of rubberized material, and inflated. Each of the boats can hold about twelve people. Franz and Robert puncture several chambers in all but one, and push them off. Franz: "These are small boats. They must have come from a larger ship. We'll have to watch out for it." They move the good boat away from the original spot, up into the trees. Franz: "Wait!" He goes back, then returns with something large in his hands. Robert can't tell what it is, but it's giving off heat.

It's taken a bit longer than fifteen minutes when they head back to join the others. Kaeth and the others are definitely showing signs of hypothermia. Franz: <to Robert> "Here, drink that, it'll warm you up." It's a steaming cup of liquid. Robert drinks it. They come up the hill without wood, but with a pot of hot coffee and a cup to pass around. Robert: "We also brought a small boat." Samantha: "A boat?" Robert: "And some rifles. The boat's kind of heavy, but we can bring it up here to use as a shelter. We'll need help." Franz: "I think that even given the current situation it would be best to drift downstream and get away from this area and the other boats." Good idea, since now the bad guys will know that some one got away. Franz: <looking at the Mustache> "What about him?" Kaeth: "Bring him. If nothing else, he's a reward. Or a source of intelligence." Franz: "He'll at least know the area." Kaeth: "Exactly." Franz: "If nothing else he still has our parole. We are technically still his prisoners." Technicalities. They go down to the boat. Nothing in it for supplies, just the boat and the oars. They get past the spot where the other boats were left. There are still the occasional shots from above, but nothing regular.

They go with the current. No sign of a ship, but they could have come from another island. They travel along the coast, avoiding trouble. They get quite a ways before false dawn. At one point the Mustache rouses a bit. Mustache: "Marissa. My love…where are you?" Samantha: "Shhh. It's all right. Drink this." She gives him some coffee. Franz looks at her quizzically. Samantha shrugs, too tired and cold to explain.


They find a good place to land, get Geoff and the Mustache out of the boat and off the sand, then lift the boat up and carry, not drag it into the tree line. Kaeth goes back and erases footprints as best he can. They dig in, using the dull black boat. Robert takes his spyglass and does a quick check. Nothing.

Watches are thought of, but that doesn't happen. Everyone is too exhausted. After some number of hours, they awake to sun and blessed warmth. Geoff is better, and resting. The Mustache is unconscious, but not in distress. Franz searches him and removes a small bottle, which he examines. Franz: "Laudanum." He passes it to Kaeth.

Franz takes Robert with him to forage. Fortunately, Franz is an old hand at this, and a naturalist, which should cut down on the potential risk of poisoning. They return some time later with armfuls of fruit that Franz assures the party is edible. Franz: "And this bark is said to soothe pain. It has an alkaloid with analgesic properties." Probably willow bark. Kaeth will steep some nasty tasting tea in the coffee pot, after he finds fresh water.

At about this time, looking out to sea, they see steam or something fountaining. It's a submarine. A submarine? Samantha: "Oh look, something we haven't crashed, blown up, or sunk in yet." Kaeth: "It's supposed to sink. With our luck it'll start levitating or something." This is certainly unexpected. Franz: "What a magnificent machine. A ship that travels under the water." There are men who come up on deck wearing dark oilskin coats, and dark caps. Franz has read about these things, but he was not aware that anyone had built one this large. Franz: "I can't think how anyone could have kept something like this a secret." A deranged scientist maybe?

Robert: "What now?" Franz: "We can stay here, try to figure out a way off without supplies, and if that fails we can live the rest of our natural lives here on this island." Samantha: "I'm against that option." Franz: "We can wait for another group of pirates and hope they send us on our way." No one likes that one. Robert: "Or we can make contact with the submarine guys and hope for the best." Franz: "I am certainly out of my area of expertise. Well, as I use to say to Heinrich – see to it. Perhaps we could seize it by stealth?" Samantha: "And then what?" Right. Robert goes out onto the beach, takes a lens off his goggles, and flashes it at the sub. He signals an SOS. This seems to work.

Men come out of the hull, there's some discussion, then they board a rubber raft remarkably like the ones they saw last night. The raft approaches and the crew get out. They're in tunics, trousers, hobnail boots and helmets. They're armed with rifles and subguns. Corporal: <to Robert> "You. Stop. Do not move. Identify yourself." Robert: "Robert Shelzie." Corporal: "Pirate scum." He looks around. Robert: "No, no, no! We escaped from them. We were being held for ransom." Corporal: "We? Where is your friend?" Robert calls Franz, who comes striding down the beach. Corporal: "And who do you think you are?" Franz: "I, am Count Franz <insert a variety of middle names here> Von Hollenstein." Officer: "Sir!" They all snap to attention. Corporal: "Baron Von Manstein will be pleased. He heard you had been taken captive by pirates, sir." Much saluting and the like, then some men come up to their camp. Corporal: "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have been asked to escort you to our vessel." Four strapping young men are there to help with the injured, which is good.

There are some very confused men on board the ship as the group is brought over. A higher ranking officer is awaiting on deck. Officer: "What is going on, corporal?" Corporal: "Sir, allow me to introduce Count Von Hollenstein." Officer: "Franz Von Hollenstein?" Franz: "Yes." Officer: "Welcome aboard, your excellency." Franz: "Who is your captain?" Officer: "Rupert Von Manstein." Franz: "Ah, Rupert the Younger. I knew his father. Is there somewhere the ladies could freshen up?" Officer: "Of course sir. This way ladies." They're taken to the captain's "closet", and warm water is brought in so they can at least do the spongebath thing. The only dry clothing is crewman's clothing, but oh well. Hot coffee and soup follows.

Up the coast for a while, then they stop. XO: <to Franz> "I have a signal from the captain. He invites you to join him on board the Retribution." Franz: "We'll leave our wounded in the care of your physician then? I wouldn't think it would be a good idea to move them." XO: "Of course sir. We'll have our medic tend to them." Kaeth: "I'm afraid the older gentleman is a bit confused." XO: "Yes sir. I shouldn't wonder, having been a captive of that scum. Poor man." Yeah, that's it.

They go out over to the motor launch, and are piped aboard a very nice ship. Manstein: "Excellency." Franz: "Ah, you must be young Rupert. I knew your father; I was most sorry to hear about his death." Manstein: "His murder, sir." Franz: "I was not aware." Manstein: "I was surprised when my men told me you had been found on one of the islands." Franz: "Yes, we were able to escape from the pirates, but couldn't get beyond the island where we were found. We are very fortunate your men came along when they did." Manstein: "It is an honour to have you. I'm sure you'll be comfortable on my ship." Franz: "What of the pirates in the area?" Manstein: "The pirates we found have been taken care of. And we are well enough armed to be able to fend off any others. I had heard of the accident with the dirigible. How have you come here?" Franz: "We can discuss this later. I'm sure my companions would like to rest, it has been quite an ordeal." Kaeth: <sotto vocce> "Our gear? The stuff the pirates had?" Franz: "But I forget my manners. Allow me to introduce my companions. This is Lady Samantha Telford." Manstein: "Madame Telford?" Samantha: "No." Franz: "Mademoiselle. My particular friend. <pause> And Miss Roarke. Marguerite Roarke." Marguerite: "Charmed." Manstein: "I'm sure you're all tired. And in need of attention. I will send my physician to attend to your injured." Franz asks that they later be allowed to look for their belongings amid what has been recovered from the pirates. Manstein agrees.

True to the barons word, the doctor checks out the injured. There is much tongue-clucking and shaking of head, foul-tasting potions, and vitamin shots. Then everyone gets the chance to rest, until the "ground is made suitable" for a landing. Later in the day they can go out and look for their belongings. Rupert of course doesn't recommend that the ladies go. Samantha makes sure the others know that the Mustache recognized the painting when he described it, and said it was safe.

Speaking of the Mustache, Kaeth inquires with the doctor as to the condition of his patients. Doctor: "They should recover. I've given the one gentleman something to make him sleep. He woke up briefly, claimed he was just fine, and insisted on getting up, so I gave him something. He'll be all right, but he does need to rest." Kaeth: "Thank you doctor. That sounds like something Major Thompson would do. And the other man?" Doctor: "He was obviously suffering from some sort of hysteria." Kaeth: "He seemed very confused when we found him." Doctor: "The man has apparently been subject to some sort of barbarous cruelty during his captivity. It's no doubt that he has suffered emotional damage as a result. There's no way to tell if he will recover, but his physical injuries are not life threatening at the moment." Kaeth thanks him.

Franz, Kaeth, and Robert go out with some of the Baron's men to look for their gear. There are many forms draped with tarps. Looks like someone did a "we have guests coming, so cover up all those nasty bodies" thing. The troops are more relaxed right now. Officer: "Ah! You are the Baron’s guests?" Robert: "Yes." Officer: "This way please." They're taken to areas they recognize. Except there are bullet holes, splintered furniture, and "rust" spots all over the damn place.

One of the soldiers, a sergeant, is carrying a high tech looking automatic stuffed into his belt. That would be Sam's 9mm. Kaeth does find her little snub gun in the pile, and they find a 12mm auto with a MilTech mark on it, and nice night sights. If they can't find Robert's, this will sure do. Valuables are being brought out and onto the vessels. Including paintings. Kaeth finds a very nice local handgun and goes over to the sergeant. Kaeth: "Sergeant. I couldn't help but notice that sidearm." Sergeant: "Nice piece, is it not? Spoils of war." Kaeth: "Yes, but the idiot nobleman who owns it is going to be extremely pissy." Kaeth: "The only noble here is Baron Von Manstein, and it is not his." Kaeth: "And his guests." Sergeant: "Who are you speaking of sir?" Well, Kaeth can always point out the tall man with the look of eagles over there – Franz. Oh. That noble. He is able to effect a trade for Sam's gun, and compliment the Sergeant where Franz can hear.

Franz sees to it that some proper clothing is retrieved for the young ladies, and the medical and most of the other gear is retrieved. Kaeth sees the soldiers laying out fuse. Shit. Still no painting. Safe. The deranged pirate said it was "safe". Where would it have been "safe"? Too late now. They're taken down to the boats, and the place is blown. Franz has guessed at the woman's sizes, in his acquisition of clothing. He seems to have a good eye.

Once back on board, Franz meets with the party. Something is worrying him. Franz: "There is a certain factor in this. Well, what I have been able to determine is, our host is carrying on a personal quest to find the Mustache." Samantha: "Uh Franz?" Franz: "I realize this is ironic…" Samantha: "Has the Baron lost a female family member because of this?" Franz: "As I understand it, a family retainer went berserk, killed the father and the daughter, then fled." Samantha: "Oh dear." Franz: "And it would seem that Rupert has decided that this person, the Mustache, is the person responsible for the death of his family. Now I may myself have not had the best reaction to the man, but he was not barbaric, he treated us well enough. Now I find myself having not having turned him in, but I don't know why." Kaeth: "The doctor shaved him, I don't think he'll be recognized." Franz: "Regardless, he is the Mustache, and we should turn him over to the Baron." Kaeth: "The man is not well." Franz: "I would like to know more of this. If he is the man who is responsible for the death of the elder Baron and his daughter. Lady Telford, he seems to have formed some sort of bond with you. Perhaps you could speak to him." Samantha: "I think I already have." Franz: "I would like to know more." Samantha: "Franz, when we went to look at his art, he found a painting. He had some sort of I don't know, episode. He wasn't all there." Franz: "Habitual use of laudanum can have very unpleasant side effects." Samantha: "Do you know what the name of the daughter was? Was it Marissa?" Franz: "I believe so, yes." Robert: "I have an idea. While we have the opportunity, we can ask for transportation to the Spaniel. Then once we're away, we can turn him over to the authorities." Franz: "I will consider this." Robert: "It is not my intention to tell you what you should do, but..." Franz: "I understand, but there are larger issues involved." Robert: <thinking> "You have no idea." Kaeth: <to Samantha> "What did he say when you were in the cavern?" Samantha: "He was having some sort of .. flashback." Franz: "Flashback? Interesting. I must use that word. Do you mind?" Samantha: "Not at all. I read it in an article a few months ago. Something about flashing backward in memories." Franz: "I am somewhat concerned about the Baron's reaction to finding out we had concealed the Mustache from him. He is not so much a man on a mission, but on a..." Kaeth: "Crusade." Franz: "Exactly, thank you. He certainly seems to not care about certain niceties." Samantha: "He definitely didn't seem to care about any hostages the pirates might have had." Franz: "Quite." Samantha: "I'll see what I can find out later."

Hot showers are available. Ah, civilization! The women are in a cabin by themselves. Marguerite: "So, what did you think of the young baron?" Samantha: "A bit obsessive." Marguerite: "Not that. He's rather good looking.." Samantha: "Oh that. As eye-candy, not bad at all."

Samantha goes to check on Geoff and the Mustache. Geoff waves, and then lays back down to snore, sleeping soundly. The Mustache has bandages on his now clean shaven face. Samantha asks the doctor if it's all right for her to sit with the patients for a while. Doctor: "I'm sure they would benefit from your attention. If you need me, I'll be just down the hall." Samantha: "Thank you doctor." He leaves, she goes in and sits by the Mustache.

He wakes with a start when she touches him on the arm. Mustache: "What! Where am I?" Samantha: "Shh. You're safe.
What happened? Where are my men? What is this place?" Samantha: "Your men are dead." Mustache: "Where am I? How did I get here?" Samantha: "You're on board a vessel. Fredonian." Mustache: "Am I a captive?" Samantha: "Not yet." Mustache: "Surely you know..." Samantha: "I don't care about the price on your head. Do you remember being in the vault with me?" Mustache: "Not really. I remember having the dream. Nothing that concerns you." Samantha: "Marissa." <pause> Mustache: "Marissa?" Samantha: "There was a painting in the vault." He nods, holding a locket he's wearing. Samantha: "You weren't yourself. It was like you were remembering something." Mustache: "Yes. I knew a man once. A good man. Who entered into service in a noble house. And fell in love with a girl above his station. The daughter of the lord of the house. And she with him. Do you know this story? When the romantics write about it, they live happily ever after, don't they?" Samantha: "I wouldn't know. I'm not a romantic." Mustache: "The father, the master of the house found out about this and did not approve. He had this servant turned out, and had his men beat him savagely, mark him. <he touches his face under the bandages> Then the father beat his daughter, and locked her away as punishment. And he told her that her lover had met with an untimely demise. The daughter, in her anguish, threw herself out of the window of her room. And this servant did not give up on his love, and knew that she would wait for him. He returned to the grey house, to steal her away. And he learned that she had died, and that the father was responsible. And this decent man… The lord died that day. And the decent man became an outlaw. I personally don't believe in true love, do you?" Samantha: "I don't believe I've ever seen it. I can't honestly say if that's good or bad." Mustache: "I didn't mean to distract you from your purpose. What were you asking?" Samantha: "Things will sort themselves out, but we may need some time." Mustache: "Lady Telford. You seem like a woman very wise for your years. Don't you think that Count Von Hollenstein is having a little chat with the leader of this expedition even now?" Samantha: "The leader of this expedition, is the young Baron Manstein, who is on an unholy quest for revenge." Mustache: "Manstein. I never thought to hear that name again." Samantha: "The baron is hunting down the man who murdered his father and sister, then escaped to become a pirate." Mustache: "It wasn't like that at all." Samantha: "No, but was the young man present for any of this?" Mustache: "I remember Marissa saying he was away at sea. Nothing happens the way it was supposed to." Samantha: "That's often the case. Look. The count knows what the Baron says doesn't ring true. He isn't going to just turn you over to him." Mustache: "I admit I was angry with the Baron when I went to see him…self-defense." Samantha: "Say nothing . Feign confusion. But if there is anything about that locket that could identify you, you might want to give it to me for safekeeping." He's reluctant, but Samantha convinces him to let her hold onto it. Samantha: "I'll keep it safe." Mustache: "Thank you. How can I repay your kindness?" Samantha: "I described a painting to you when we were in the vault. You said you had seen it." She describes it again. Mustache: "It doesn't … I don't recall it specifically, but one of my men perhaps. I've never had a good eye for art. I know what I like but that's about it. I'm sorry." Samantha hears the doctor approaching and motions the Mustache to silence.

Doctor: "How are our patients?" Samantha: "Mostly resting." Doctor: "I'm sure they are the better for your presence." Samantha: "Thank you, doctor." She hides the locket deep within the multiple layers of clothing. Then it's time for dinner.

Into the dining room. It's a well-set table, in a tastefully decorated room. With a rather striking painting on the wall. Manstein: "Excellency. Lady Telford, Lady Roarke, gentlemen." Samantha, Kaeth, and Geoff are momentarily dumbstruck by the painting of the Red Lady on the wall. Manstein: "I see you've noticed the painting. Rather striking, wouldn't you say? One of my men found it. It fits this frame rather nicely. The colors are so vibrant. And yet, I can't help but feel she's looking on us with disapproval. I've decided to present it to the Emperor as a gift." Oh good. Now they're on a ship with a cursed painting, and he's going to give it away. Rupert: "Well, the mission was not the success I was hoping. But the count has impressed upon me the fact that the safety of ladies in the party should take precedent. So, it is my intention to come within distance of the Spaniel, inform them of our intentions, and provide transport to Utuland, where they will be able to find passage on a dirigible to their home." Samantha: "We'd be very grateful, thank you." Manstein: "And I'd been informed that you lost most of your possessions. Please allow me to contribute to your funds so that you may return homeward." How lovely.


Robert is up on deck when he sees a figure come out of a closet, then drop quietly into the water, swim a few metres away, and then start yelling for help. Robert watches bemusedly as several sailors come over and throw Ezbeki a lifeline, then pull him on board.

The doctor is summoned. Ezbeki: "Oh, thank God! I've been floating out there for days." Robert: "Corporal!" Ezbeki: "Our ship... it was attacked by pirates...I was thrown overboard by the explosion..." Doctor: "Yes, yes. Bit dehydrated, exposure." And of course looks like he's been lost at sea for days, but the doctor doesn't know Ezbeki always looks like that.

Samantha has a chat with Franz about the Mustache, after dinner. She tells him exactly what the Mustache told her, and she shows him the locket. Franz: "Well, that may well be, but the fact is, he killed his master. The law may not be what we want it to be, but the law is the law. Don't think that I take the side of the Baron merely because he and I are of the same class. I am a man of scientific thinking. But I have seen the anarchy that comes when you try to create a single class. <pause> Still and all, it is one thing to judge events with the cool detachment of disinterest. It is another thing when people that you know are involved. I find myself in the awkward position of not knowing what to do to see justice served." Samantha: "Justice and law, are not always the same thing, Franz." Franz: "I know that. Give me time to consider this. Let us speak of it no more. This is a small vessel, with many bored sailors. I suggest you not discuss our conversation." Samantha: "Don't worry, I had no intention to discuss this with anyone." Franz: "I do not wish to, in any way, allow your reputation to be called into question." Samantha: "I'm not worried about my reputation." She does, however, insist on taking back the locket. Samantha: "I gave my word that I would take care of it." Franz: "Of course. May I say that it has been a pleasure to enjoy your company. Once we have returned to the West, I would like to call upon you. With your permission, of course." Samantha: "I'd like that." Damn – she means it. Got to get off this rock.


Kaeth is wondering about the submersible, and how it can stay down without air for the crew. Captain: "We use an alternative method of propulsion. One that does not consume the air." A flywheel? That would explain the high pitched keening noise that was driving Kaeth nuts.

They rendezvous with the Spaniel. Lord Lindsey is glad to see everyone back alive. Lt. Kerrie is very glad to see Samantha back. Very. Oh, and he's glad the others are all right too. Kerrie's a nice man. Very nice. Oh bugger, there really is something effecting Samantha's mind here.

Robert continues his research into the past stories. It sounds like there was a colonization, there was a split, and it was no longer a cohesive colony. For what reason, no one is sure. There is mention of some sort of ethos power. Something the gods had, and they lost their electros for their hubris. It may be related to the transfer of electric energy as on metal, but its a known law that electric force can only be transferred a very short distance. You can basically create a spark, and that's it. Nothing useful. Very restrictive. You can't propagate a signal over any distance. It's like someone talking about perpetual motion. A scientific curiosity, but that's about it. Obviously, there is some sort of electricity on the planet, as the human body uses bio-electricity. But. There's always a "but".