"Life is a continued struggle to be what we are not, and to do what we cannot."-- William Hazlitt
Geoff, true to his word, has gone in search of a lawyer for Kaeth. He inquires with the hotel concierge. Concierge: "Do you need a solicitor, a barrister, or an advocate?" Geoff: "I don't know. One of my party has been taken to the Admiralty court." Concierge: "Well, normally you'd want to find someone who specializes in Admiralty law, but since they enacted the Special Powers Act, I don't really know." Geoff: "Okay, then who would know?" Concierge: "I don't know sir, but I can make inquiries for you if you like?" Geoff: "Yes, please. How long will that take?" Concierge: "I don't know sir, I will make the inquiries. Shall I send the information up to your room?" Geoff: "Yes, please. "
Geoff has just turned the key in his door when Robert comes barrelling down the hallway at him like some huge over-excited puppy. Robert: "Geoff! Look!!" Geoff: "Yes, that is my name." He steps out of Robert's way, so as not to be run down. Geoff: "What?" Robert: "Take a look at this article!" Geoff looks at the article about the steam-punk riveted rocket thing. Geoff: "There, see, in a hundred years or so, they'll be capable of getting out of the atmosphere." Geoff looks at the other headers on the inside by the article. "Well-known scientists scoff - Human beings unable to breathe at speeds in excess of 100 m.p.h. - Dangerous effects of the ether on the human body." Robert: "At least it might be a good way to get a message out." Geoff: "Yes, that's true. But what would you say? Doing fine, but don't come get us or you'll be stuck here too?" Robert: "Well... Oh! Any way, any way, I've also got this other thing, that Franz gave us. I got it from Ezbeki." He shows Geoff the letter. Geoff: "Ah! Now this is useful. I'm looking for a solicitor. Come on." They go downstairs to rustle up directions to the solicitor's office, or get a cab if it's a long way from the hotel. A cab is hailed, and Geoff buys a copy of the newspaper that has the Special Powers Act in it. Apparently the Special Powers Act went into effect very recently. Lord Rutherford, the Prime Minister of Albion, rammed it through the parliament just a couple of days ago. The police and military can now hold people indefinitely, without having to charge them. Kaeth's timing is perfect.
Into the hansom cab, the they bounce over to the solicitor's office. Clerk: "May I assist you gentlemen?" Robert: "We're here to see Mr. Epstein, or his representative." Clerk: "May I ask what this is in regard to?" Robert hands over the letter, which gets immediate action. Mr. Epstein, a bald, middle-aged man waddles out and invites them into his office. Dark wood, big books, large leather armchairs. Epstein: "May I offer you gentlemen a cordial?" Geoff: "Sure." Epstein: "Sherry, or brandy? Or perhaps some whiskey?" Geoff: "Sure." Mr. Epstein chats about the origin of the sherry as he very carefully pours the sherry. None of it really has a point, but it does fill the time. Then the sherry can be served, and tasted, and discussed. Mustn't rush things. Geoff is willing, but... Geoff: "A member of my party is in need of legal advice." Epstein: "Is this in connection with this draft?" Robert: "Only peripherally." Epstein: "Did you need to draw any funds?" Robert: "We don't know yet. Maybe." Geoff: "One of our party was picked up by a couple of sailors. I don't know that this is the legal term, but it is the practical term, he was taken into custody by the Naval authorities, and was being transferred to the Admiralty. We need to know what it's going to take to get him out." Epstein: "One would not know, unless one knew with what your friend was charged. But he can be held under the Special Powers Act without charges, under certain circumstances." Geoff: "Where exactly is the Admiralty? Where would they be holding him?" Epstein: "It's not quite that simple. You see, the Admiralty maintains, well it is more than just one place. It is made up of several buildings. We will need the services of a barrister with experience in these matters. I believe I know just the man. I will write him, with your permission?" Geoff: "Go ahead." Epstein: "I may be able to obtain information more quickly through, shall we say, less than official channels." Geoff: "I'll leave that up to you, but I don't have any objections. The quicker the better." Epstein: "And should that information result in expenses...?" Geoff: "If the expenses are reasonable, then that would be fine." Epstein: "Excellent. Is there any other way in which I can be of service?" Robert: "Where would we acquire, um, tickets to get to Zenda? We'd have to go by boat of course, and then take a train?" Epstein: "Yes, that would be one way. One would not want to travel by a Fredonian vessel, as the ports of Albion have been closed to Fredonian vessels. Travelling by sea would perhaps not be the best method currently." Robert: "That would mean what? An airship?" Epstein: "Now would not be a good time to travel by any method." Robert: "We would like to draw on the letter of credit, for daily expenses." Geoff: "Not we, kemo sabe, you." Robert: "Not all of us have your ready supply of cash." Geoff: "What the hell would that mean?" Epstein: "How much would you require?" A brief discussion about hotel rates and the cost of living in Whitehaven follows. Robert: "About £50?" Epstein: "Would you like that in pounds or sovereigns?" Robert: "Uh, what's the difference?" Epstein: "Would you prefer paper money or gold?" Robert is now trying to figure out how heavy £50 in gold would be. He'll take whatever is easily at hand. The assistant returns with a leather folding case; literally, a wallet. Clerk: "Very good sir, if you would sign here? A receipt of the amount withdrawn." The wallet is very heavy, and contains gold as well as big bills.
Meanwhile back at the hotel. Silence follows the departure of Heinrich. Franz gives Samantha a very friendly hug, after which there is an embarrassing pause. Franz clears his throat and straightens his waistcoat. Franz: "I...must apologize." Samantha: "No...There's no need to." Franz: "I did not, when I last saw you, expect to see you again. Perhaps there were things in my letter that should have remained unsaid." Samantha: "Did you mean them?" Franz: "If I had not, I would not have written them. But the fact remains that I am married and you are a woman of quality." She's not sure how to respond to that one. There's yet another lengthy pause. Franz: "I suppose you might think it selfish of me, but I wanted to see you again. In any case, I will now take my leave of you. I have a rather tricky escape to plan." Samantha: "If there's any way I can help..." Franz: "I would not want to place you in any more danger than you've already been in." Samantha: "What of Dr. Jurgen?" Franz: "The doctor is safe. And now I cannot place you in any further danger. In another life, perhaps." He takes her hand, presses it lightly and goes to leave. The room doesn't look like it was being used at all. Samantha: "Franz, this is your room, not mine. It doesn't make sense for you to leave." He stops. Franz: "Yes, you should go to your room. It would not do for you to be found here." He'll make sure she gets safely to her room. Just as they get out into the hallway, Heinrich comes running up. Heinrich: "Excellency! They come. We must leave now." Franz lingers for a moment, with Heinrich dragging him off towards the back of the hotel. Footsteps can be heard coming up the other way. Samantha hurries to the top of the stairs, where she meets a group of armed police officers on their way up, in a hurry. Samantha manages to be highly inept at getting out of the way, tangling herself and the men in her skirts, and taking everyone down. These big skirt things have some use after all. After several minutes (giving Franz and Heinrich time to get away), everything is mostly sorted out, and Samantha is set back on her feet. Officer: "I'm terribly sorry ma'am, official business. You might want to go back to your room, or downstairs." She's helped up, and there is the crunching of a door being kicked, and the basic room entering noises. Samantha goes back to her room.
Meanwhile, on board the train. The train whistles as it passes in and out of tunnels. Two shots have rung out, then darkness as the train enters another tunnel. Kaeth goes to one side of the cabin. He hears moaning, then two thumps. He tries to get a sidearm off of one of the sailors, fumbling in the dark. But then it gets light. One of the masked humans is already back up the trapdoor, and the other is motioning for Kaeth to follow. Man: "Hurry, there is not much time." From above: "Come on!" Kaeth hears tromping coming down the hall and decides he shouldn't be in the room right now. Kaeth allows himself to be pulled up onto the train. On the train is not a good place to be while in motion. He follows the men towards the rear of the train, one man leading, the other covering Kaeth's back. He hears a shot from behind him, then a scream and someone plummets off the train and over the cliff. Another shot, and wood splinters near Kaeth. Some people at the caboose are now climbing up onto the train in front of them. Men in uniforms. The man in front of Kaeth fires and drops several men in uniform, then runs out of ammo. He's shot in the thigh. Man: "Turn around, go back!" Back has several men in khaki uniforms, with rifles. In front are men in khaki uniforms with rifles. Hmmm. Man: "We'll have to jump for it!" The hell he says! Man: "Right after this next tunnel!" Everyone drops down as they go through the tunnel. They come out, about 100 yards before the next tunnel. Man: "Now!" He jumps, Kaeth hesitates then jumps, getting shot in the arm for his trouble.
Kaeth falls about 40 or 50', into hard, very cold water. He doesn't hit bottom, kicks his way up. The river is not moving too swiftly. Kaeth sees his escort in the water nearby, floating face down. Kaeth swims over to check him, and he'd be just fine, aside from the broken neck and being all dead. Kaeth drags the dead human with him to the shore, which is quite the task. He drags himself and the man out, removing the man's clothing while he's still in the water and easier to move. The clothing is set off to one side, with the stout pair of shoes. He has no ID, but does have some bank notes and some coins, which Kaeth takes. Kaeth searches the man, hoping for some sort of clue as to where to go, or who's behind this. The man is wearing a punched coin around his neck, the hole set so it hangs upside down. The coin has a two-headed eagle on it. Fredonian? "We sell to both sides"? Kaeth hates begin rescued against his will. The river flows back in the direction of Whitehaven. He ties up his wound - wrapping and binding it up; good thing it's his left arm, not his right. Note to self: Next time do not be good citizen. Wet, cold Vargr, and it's starting to get cold. Hmmm, hypothermia. He takes the dead man's coat, his money, and his upside-down coin (he's going to carry it, but not wear it), and he shoves the corpse back into the river for some one else to find. There is some area of light ahead, some sort of compound. He'll head that way. Could be a stable or estate or something with a nice warm haystack.
As he moves closer, Kaeth sees no sign of animals. The lawn is very well manicured, and has some chairs out. Not a farm or stable. Maybe a resort? Or a tuberculosis sanitarium, or an asylum for the criminally insane? Great. The sign says it's "Cheltham's Home for the Disturbed". Kaeth's feeling quite disturbed right now. He has no identification, and no one knows he's there, he could be there for a while if they decide he's just wandered off. Oh, and the locals aren't going to want to take in strangers, knowing how close they are to the home. It just gets better.
Man: "Hey, what cha doin'?" Kaeth: "Looking for a warm place to kip." Man: "I'm from another planet." Kaeth: "Oh really? Which one?" Man: Oh, you wouldn't know it. No one believes me, any way. Time for dinner. They're having soup. It's chicken noodle, it's good. Want some?" Kaeth: "You go ahead and save me some." Man: Okay. I miss Regina." Kaeth: <sotto vocce> "Go Rottweilers." Man: Are you from outer space too?" Kaeth: "No, I'm just trying to get around the local laws." Man: There are quite a few of us from Regina." In the dim light, Kaeth believes the man is wearing...pajamas. All rightie then. Another voice rings out. Charlie: "You there! <opens little door on lamp> What are you doing over there?" Man: "It's okay Charlie. He's from another planet too." Charlie: "You better come in here, it's not safe to be wandering around. You look wet. You better come inside and get warm. I'll let the Doc know there's someone here." Kaeth: "I'd like to pay my way. I can chop wood or whatever." Charlie: "We'll find something for you to do. The locals won't let anyone in around here." They go into a small room, where it's nice and warm, and Charlie brings in a man who looks like someone took a180lb person and sucked the juice out of him. He has puffy white hair, and spectacles stuck to his nose. He asks Kaeth a number of questions, and Kaeth gets the impression that this is one test he'd better not fail. Apparently he answers correctly. Doctor: "You can't stay here, for your own safety, because of the patients, but the least we can do is get you a warm meal." Kaeth: "Thank you."
Mid-way through the meal, a carriage rolls up. A couple of orderlies come in and ask for help. Orderly: "Get the special room ready, this one's not going to cooperate." The orderlies and their reinforcements go outside and return shortly thereafter with a female in a straightjacket who's putting up quite a fight. Woman: "I am not insane!" She looks vaguely familiar. In the sense that she looks exactly like Robert's main squeeze, Ariana. She's screaming her name, and where she's from, and that she came here on a ship, and she was with some friends. Ariana: "You bastards! When my lawyer gets a hold of you, you are dead meat! When my robots get here they're going to kick your asses!" They manage to get her locked into a room. Doctor: "Well, if she doesn't calm down in the next 15 to 30 minutes, we'll give her something to calm her down." Orderly: "Kind of strange, don't you think that all these people have the same delusion?" Doctor: "Oh, not really."
Charlie comes back in to where Kaeth has been eating. Charlie: "Look, the doctor's going to go to sleep now. You can sleep here by the fireplace tonight. We'll be sending in a wagon for supplies tomorrow, and if you can give us a hand loading up in the morning, you can get a ride into town." Ariana does calm down, after a visit from the doctor and his syringe. Nothing like a large dose of Thorazine to quiet you right down. Kaeth is exhausted, and falls asleep really quickly.
While Kaeth is having his little adventure, Samantha hears the rumors about the "Fredonian spy" loose in the hotel. The ladies are swooning, and the men are talking about getting their guns. It's all the talk of the salon downstairs. Obviously, it must have been a gentleman spy, staying as he was in the best hotel. All in good fun. Female: "I heard on good authority that he came here to visit his lady love, risking death to cross the channel." There's not much else to talk about here. They speculate on who he was there to see, and of course he must of been handsome. Female B: "I heard he was the bastard brother of the Emperor, here to visit a very high lady in the court." The general opinion shifts from espionage to forbidden love. Perhaps even a member of the royal court. About this time, Marguerite shows up.
Marguerite: "I can't find Robert any where. He didn't answer his door, and I heard there were soldiers. What's happened?" Samantha: "First, sit down." Marguerite: "All right." The "what happened" is a cue for everyone to come over and tell Marguerite all about it. It eventually gets to the gentleman spy or secret lover bit. Female: "Well, I have it on excellent authority that he was a Fredonian noble, here to meet a lady of the Albion court." Most of the men drift away as the subject moves on to true love.
At this time, Geoff and Robert arrive. There's obviously some sort of trouble, and there are men in uniforms outside. They go in, and the concierge tips his head to them. Robert checks for messages, but the afternoon post has not arrived. He sees Marguerite and Samantha in the salon, with a bit of a crowd. Robert: "What happened?" Concierge: "Nothing to worry about sir. Just a precaution, I'm told. It would not be proper for me to speculate further." Robert and Geoff go into the Salon.
Woman: "Well, I heard it was Count Von Hollenstein." Younger woman: "The richest man in Fredonia? I don't think so. Besides, he's much too old." [No he's not.] Baron Manstein is mentioned too, being young and good looking. It proceeds from speculation to casting. Robert arrives. Younger woman: "...and oh, those blue eyes." Marguerite: "Oh! Robert, you're well. Thank goodness." Robert: "Yes." Marguerite: "You wouldn't believe what just happened." Robert: "I'm sure. Lady Telford, I have some matters that need your attention." Marguerite: "Oh, do you need my help?" Samantha: "Not at the moment, but you might stay down here, in case some one comes in. Like...Kaeth, or...Corporal Ezbeki." Samantha and Robert leave, under the watchful eye of Marguerite. Samantha decides they had better not go to a room, and they take seats in an area where a mixed gender couple can talk without causing scandal. Marguerite was looking at Samantha very oddly. There is no love triangle here, for Pete's sake!
At the table, Robert shows Samantha the letter from Franz. Robert: "I've secured a small sum of money, and Geoff has secured the services of a barrister to look into the matter of Kaeth. And..." He passes her the magazine article. Robert: "This may be a way off this rock." Samantha looks at the magazine. Robert: "It's a bit primitive, but it might work. At least to get a message to Ariana." Samantha looks at the inside article, and the little dog they're sending up. Samantha: "Yeah, if you're about <holds her hand 6" off the table> yay tall." Robert: "It's all we've got right now." Samantha: "All right. It's a start." Robert: "I didn't say it was perfect, but it's all we've got to work with right now. All we have to do is get fifty miles above the planet, and we're out of the field and can signal Ariana." Samantha: "First things first. We need to find out what the hell's going on with Kaeth." Robert: "What's going on with Kaeth?" Samantha: "But I thought you just said Geoff got him a lawyer?" Robert: "Yeah, but I didn't ask why. He's a Marine, I don't know that he could have explained it. I didn't ask." Samantha: "Okay. I saw Kaeth being escorted out of the area by two, I don't know, does the Navy have MP's?" Robert: "Sort of. Shore Patrol." Samantha: "Two of those." Robert: "Oh? This could be bad, because Geoff was talking about the Special Powers Act, and he could be held, God knows where for however long." Samantha: "We'd only been here a few hours. What could he have done in a couple of hours?" Robert: "Where was he going originally?" Samantha: "Out to get some local newspapers, I think. He wanted to get information on the local political situation and that sort of thing. We're at a major disadvantage here - we have little or no idea who's who, or what's going on. Marguerite's been here before, and I tried to get some useful information out of her, but all she could talk about was you." Robert: "I'm sorry, I tried to dissuade her." Samantha: "She's watching us right now." Robert goes over to fetch Marguerite. Robert: "Would you care to join us?" Marguerite: "I wouldn't want to intrude." Robert: "No, no. This is business." Marguerite: "Between you and Lady Telford?" Robert: "Yes." Marguerite: "Oh. <pause> Of course, if I may be of any assistance."
Now, with Robert, Samantha, and Marguerite all at the same table, Geoff has gone in search of Ezbeki (before they end up having to bail two people out). Samantha: "Remember when I told you earlier about Kaeth being escorted off by two sailors?" Marguerite: "Oh, yes. What word? Have you heard anything yet?" Robert: "No." Marguerite: "What? Nothing?" Robert: "Not yet. That's why Geoff was talking to the solicitor. All we know is Kaeth's been taken to the Admiralty for some reason." Samantha: "Our two main concerns right now are Kaeth, and the fact that none of us have any documentation, what with all the shipwrecks and everything." Marguerite: "Well, give me a few minutes to send a letter to my solicitor, and to my brother" Robert: "Your brother?" Marguerite: "Yes, he's stationed at the Admiralty. He may be able to find out what's happening with your Mr. Kaeth." Robert: "Oh. All right." Robert goes to check on the mail, again.
Samantha: "Now that it's just us, I'd like to prevent any misunderstandings. I'm not interested in Robert. I have never been after Robert, and I am very unlikely to go after Robert in the future, so I am no threat to you in this regard." Marguerite is a bit stunned by Samantha's directness; it's almost manly. Marguerite: "Do you know who it was who came into the hotel? I would make a guess as to who it might be, if it were not for the tragic events of that day... Oh! I'm sorry to remind you. I know that you and Count von Hollenstein had formed a friendship." She puts her hand on Samantha's arm, in a sisterly fashion. Robert sees this, and is concerned; are the women talking about him? Marguerite: "Are you holding up all right? Rather frightening events. The last few weeks have been very stressful." Samantha: "I'm definitely not myself." That's an honest answer. Marguerite: "Why don't I take you upstairs, get you some tea or sherry, and you can have a lie down?" Samantha: "All right." Anything to keep Marguerite focused on helping out the group, and not stalking Robert.
Later that evening they all (the party, and Sophie and Lady Patricia) have dinner, and it's lovely. Nothing bad happens. A letter does come from the solicitor, but just to say that nothing's been found out yet.
Kaeth is awoken by the smell of fresh bread. After breakfast, he helps load the big wooden boxes onto the carriage. The big, wooden, sort of 6' long boxes. Charlie: "Yeah, it's kind of a shame, but the medical school pays for them."
Kaeth pokes around a bit, as much as he dares. Orderly: "Hey, you want to go see some real nutters? I've seen you looking around." Kaeth: "Yeah, sure. I've heard about these places." Orderly: "Now these patients? They're boring. They caused too much trouble for the docs and they had the operation." Kaeth's taken to see the feces-flinging nut bars, and the really calm, normal appearing people who don't know why they're here, but "when my brother the king finds out..." The orderly is reasonably competent, and as far as Kaeth is able to determine it's only the really violent people who get the special operation that makes them not fight with the other puppies any more. Ariana is sleeping in her room, in a straightjacket, curled into a ball, and without any visible lobotomy scars.
After an hours ride to Whitehaven, Kaeth shops for a few things in the early morning. He buys some used clothing, and does the working class Vargr delivering a package routine. He brings a package around the back of the hotel, and is told to leave it, which he does. There isn't any working class place near the hotel, so Kaeth has to go further afield, near the railroad station.
He writes a note, puts it into an envelope, and delivers to the hotel, for Samantha. "Urgent see you. Very important. At Smith's Booksellers, as soon as possible." Then he purchases some oil to clean his watch, and hangs out around the shop, sweeping with his used broom. He also buys a working class, local knife, using the coins he picked up from his erstwhile rescuer.
Marguerite calls on Robert in the morning, knowing he was waiting for the morning post. He suggest they do breakfast, an idea that is well-received. Marguerite has received news. Marguerite: "My brother has warned me against inquiring further into this matter. Apparently your friend the Vargr is involved in a spy network, working for the Sultanate, and en route to the Admiralty he escaped. The Sultanate may be working with the Fredonian Empire." Robert: "Isn't your brother Kanaidian?" Marguerite: "Yes. He's attached to the Albion Royal Navy currently." Robert: "Oh, that explains it." Marguerite: "Apparently they have information that some high ranking Fredonian, my brother doesn't know who, may have been in contact with a member of the Sultanate. Probably more than he should have told me, but he never could hold anything back from me." Robert: "I don't know anything about any Fredonians, but Kaeth isn't working for the Sultanate." Marguerite: "There's more." Robert: "More?" Marguerite: "My brother warned me that I should steer away from...Apparently the people from the Admiralty, in security, believe that this Fredonian agent had confederates. In this hotel. The last line read be careful of your friends. I'm not sure what that means, but it struck me as kind of odd. Do you think Samantha, Lady Telford rather, could be mixed up in this?" Robert: "No." Marguerite: "She seemed to...I can't believe it, she seems like such a nice person, but she seemed to have formed a bond with Count von Hollenstein before the tragedy." Robert: "I think that what occurred between her and the Count was more of a romantic attraction." Marguerite: "Oh, the poor dear." Robert: "And I think that because Kaeth was travelling with us, they suspect all of us. So, I believe your brother was warning you off the rest of us." Marguerite: "I see. So Lady Telford and Count von Hollenstein were romantically...?" Robert: "I think there was something of that nature growing between them." Marguerite: "Well, what do you recommend?" Robert: "I recommend that we move on as quickly as possible. I have no doubt that they'll probably want to talk to the rest of us sooner or later, wanting to know what we can tell them about Kaeth. I think we should distance ourselves from him as much as possible. But I believe Lady Telford's first concern was getting our identification papers reconciled." Marguerite: "All right. Well, what shall we do next?" Robert: "I think we should wait for Lady Telford." They finish their breakfast.
Samantha goes downstairs to get breakfast, and sees Robert and Marguerite. Robert waves. Samantha goes to the desk and has the painting tube put into the safe. She checks for messages, but there are none. She goes over to Robert's table. Samantha: "Good morning." Robert: "Please join us for breakfast." Sam glances at Marguerite, to make sure that's all right. Marguerite: "Lady Telford, do join us." Samantha: "Please, Samantha." She sits down. Marguerite: "Samantha. I just wanted to let you know, that if you need anyone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on. I had no idea. I'm so sorry." And now Sam has no idea, since she wasn't privy to the earlier part of the conversation. Samantha: "Thank you." Robert: "Marguerite received a letter from her brother." Marguerite shows Samantha the letter. Among the things she didn't mention to Robert was that they found a body, and believe Kaeth fell to his death from the train.
Then the messenger shows up with Sam's letter from Kaeth. Hmm, she seems to be meeting a lot of dead guys of late. She looks to Robert, who takes a hint and tips the boy, who leaves. Kaeth meanwhile, has moved away from the bookseller, and the man in the bowler hat and black leather gloves, towards the hotel. Kaeth writes a note, stating "Ariana is in Cheltham's Home for the Disturbed", which he palms.
Samantha folds the note up and puts it in her bag. She has tea and a croissant, then goes to the Ladies Room. And one of the things that proper ladies never do is smoke, so of course they're smoking in the girls' room. Sam bums a cigarette off one of the women, who are still discussing the dashing Fredonian. She goes to one of the stalls, burns the note, completely, and disposes of the ashes. She emerges, and returns to the table.
Samantha: "Marguerite, are there any bookstores in the area?" Marguerite: "Of course. Smith's is just down the street..." She names a couple of others nearby. Samantha: "I'm just going out to get something to read. I won't be long." Marguerite: "Do be careful." Samantha: "I will. <to Robert> I won't be long." Robert: "Perhaps Marguerite and I should go attend to straightening out our papers?" Samantha: "Good idea." Robert: "Then we'll meet back here in, what? Half an hour?" Samantha: "Maybe a bit longer." Robert: "Say an hour?" Samantha: "Perfect." She leaves for the bookstore, Robert and Marguerite go to the solicitor's, where things are "in motion".
Samantha goes to Smith's, as it's the closest. En route, Kaeth passes, and tips his hat to Samantha. She notices the bowler hat man, who's watching them and signals to some one over her shoulder. This is going predictably badly. Bowler: "Excuse me, Lady Telford?" Samantha: "Yes?" Bowler: "I was wondering if we could have a word with you?" Samantha: "And you would be?" Bowler: "With the Ministry of the Police." He shows her his ID. "Perhaps we could have a talk in your hotel? No need to cause a disturbance." Samantha: "Why would I cause a disturbance?" A couple of men stop on either side of Kaeth. "Would you come with us please, sir?" It's not really a question, but there you are. Sam goes with the nice men into the hotel. Robert sees this, as he's just returned. Then he sees Kaeth come into the hotel, with two less nice men. Robert: "Oh dear."
Bowler: "Mr. Shelzie? Lady Roarke? I was wondering if you would be so kind as to go with us to assist with our inquiries?" Robert: "Of course." They're taken up to the floor where their rooms are. Apparently the cops have searched the rooms. Samantha: "I hope you haven't upset Lisette." Bowler: "I'm told by our medic that it's nothing serious. You must be commended. It's rare for an employer to engender that degree of loyalty in a servant." That would explain the man with the scratches on his face and neck. Poor big policemen had problems fighting off the little Lisette; lucky for them they haven't tangled with Marguerite or Samantha yet. Bowler, who the others have been referring to as "lieutenant" is the highest ranking person here. Bowler: "I apologize for any inconvenience, but we are conducting an investigation. We've been told that you and your companions are travelling companions of Count von Hollenstein." Robert: "We were." Bowler: "Were?" Robert: "It is my understanding that the ship he was on did not survive." Bowler: "I see. Can you think of any reason that the Count would visit this hotel? Yesterday? Lady Telford, we don't wish to charge you." Samantha: "With what?" Bowler: "Well, Count von Hollenstein is an agent for a foreign government, a government with which Albion is involved in a cold war. Of course we don't blame you, we believe that you were an unwilling dupe. We want the Count, not you. Where is Count von Hollenstein?" Samantha, for one, doesn't like being called a dupe. And is Franz an agent because Bowler and his people know something the party doesn't, or just because he's Fredonian? Or is it just a convenient reason to get rid of as many witnesses to Captain Cutler's actions as possible? Marguerite is standing next to Robert, holding his hand. Samantha: "The ship that he was on, the Retribution, was destroyed by the Repulse at the order of her captain. Apparently for no more reason than it was a Fredonian vessel. Count von Hollenstein was on board the Retribution." Bowler: "But it is possible that he was not on the ship at the time it was destroyed, is it not?" Samantha: "If he was not on the ship, I have no idea where he is." Bowler: "I understand. I will have to pass this on to my superior." Samantha: "And that would be...?" Bowler: "Captain Cutler has been put in charge of this investigation." Samantha: "Has he? Well, isn't that convenient. I think you'll get a different version of the incident from your superior. I believe the official entry in his log says that he destroyed a pirate ship." Bowler: "I wouldn't know." Kaeth: "You do now, I'd watch your back." Bowler: "Sir, I would remind you that you are the one who is under arrest. Should it be proved, unfortunate that it may be, the state would not hesitate to execute even one as lovely as Lady Telford. Extreme circumstances necessitate extreme measures. But that is not my decision. Captain Cutler will be arriving soon. In the meantime, consider yourselves my guests, and I shall not insist that you be treated as prisoners. You understand that the current emergency necessitates certain.. well, less than optimal situations. If there is in any way I can be of assistance, please let me know. Some one will be available should you wish to change your statements before Captain Cutler arrives. <looks at Sam> I would recommend you consider that option carefully. All of you." Robert: "You realize that you'll have to contact the Kanaidian embassy?" Bowler: "In 72 hours. But Lady Roarke has her own problems." Sam's thinking, yeah, and so does her brother no doubt. The "guests" are to be separated. They don't expect Captain Cutler until tomorrow morning. Kaeth, before the separation, tries to pass a note to Samantha, but fails. This is followed by one of those moments reminiscent of when your grade school teacher catches you passing a note and reads it for the whole class to hear. Bowler: "I see, what's this? 'Ariana is in Cheltham's Home for the Disturbed'? What does this mean?" Robert: <looking at Kaeth> "What does that mean?!?" Kaeth: "I believe I saw Ariana in Cheltham's Home for the Disturbed. She seemed confused as to where she was." Robert throws himself at Kaeth, yelling and beating on him. (These Navy guys seem so nice and reasonable, then they just go off.) Bowler: "Stop that! Stop it at once!" No one listens. Bowler: "I said stop it! <pause> Corporal, shoot for the legs." Samantha, having had enough of this crap, walks over to a side table, takes the flowers out of a large vase, and dumps the water on Robert and Kaeth (while taking care to not put herself in the line of fire). That does the trick.
The fight stops, amidst sputtering. Robert: "How dare you leave her in a place like that!" Bowler: "Silence! If any of your try that again, regardless of your rank or position, and you will be in chains." Robert: "If we were back on my ship, you'd be the one in chains." Bowler: "There's no need to become irrational. I understand that the home is quite nice." A couple of the guards stifle laughs. That went over well. Bowler: "Ah well. I'm sure you have a lot to think about. Perhaps you'd like to re-state your previous statements. Cooperation would be viewed favorably." Samantha: "And no doubt arrangements could be made for Ariana's transfer out of that facility, in return for that cooperation." Bowler: "That would be up to Captain Cutler." Samantha: "I'm sure it would be." They're taken to their rooms.
Robert's still angry, trashes his room, then pounds on the door and demands to speak with the lieutenant. Bowler: "Yes, Mr. Shelzie? You have something to say? Shall I bring up a stenographer?" Robert: "You want the count?" Bowler: "Captain Cutler is interested in the count, of course, and anyone else in his organization. <pause> I do have the option to grant immunity for anyone who chooses to cooperate. But not for everyone. This is a first come, first served offer. You should think about that, Mr. Shelzie. The penalty for espionage in times of war or national emergency is quite severe." He walks over to the window, overlooking the rear courtyard of the hotel. There are a number of soldiers there, doing their firing squad practice in an attempt to intimidate the prisoners. Since most of the prisoners come from or at least have been living on Regina, it's not going to be too effective. Bowler: "At any rate, you were saying?" Robert: "Beyond the people I was travelling with, I don't know anyone else he associated with." Bowler: "But they were his associates?" Robert: "They were only his travelling companions, as far as I know, but I will help you find the Count." Bowler: "You know where he is?" Robert: "At this moment, no. But I can help you locate him. I do have a request though - I want to see Ariana." Bowler: "I'm afraid I can't make that decision. You'll have to speak with Captain Cutler. I might be able to get a message to her, although I can't promise anything." Robert writes a quick note: "I'm all right, and I will do everything I can to get you out of the situation you're in. I'm doing everything I can to get to see you, and I will do so as soon as I can." Robert: "Lieutenant?" Bowler: "Yes, Captain Shelzie?" Robert: "If anyone is able to deliver this message to Ariana, please make sure she's unharmed." Bowler: "I will do what I can." Robert: "She wasn't travelling with us, she knows nothing of this." Bowler: "As I said, I will do what I can. Good night, Mr. Shelzie." He leaves.
Robert paces around his room. Robert: <to himself> "What would Dick Salamander do? No, wait - he'd need electricity! Damn." Kaeth is resting, since there's nothing else he can do. Marguerite manages to fall asleep, in spite of the stress - Robert will no doubt come up with a clever plan.
Samantha is sleeping soundly. She's dreaming that Franz is talking to her. Then she's lightly shaken (not stirred). What? She opens her eyes to see...Franz? She blinks, but he's still there. Franz: "Convention and all that be damned. I love you. If I can't have you with me, it's...I've come to take you away, if you'll have me. I can't offer you much, I'd be socially outcast, but I don't care about any of that. All I know is that I love you and I can't live without you." Samantha gets up, quietly, throws on clothing. Franz turns around and waits until she's decent. (Okay, dressed.) Doesn't take long, she just omits most of the underthings that no one will see any way (not skipping the body armor though). Samantha: "You know there are guards here." Franz: "I know you're here. That's the only thing that matters." Samantha: "You not getting killed matters. Okay?" Franz: "Being away from you is it's own death. Are you ready?" Samantha: "Yes." Franz: "You never answered my question." Samantha: "Yes, I'm going with you." Franz takes her hand and leads her to the balcony. Leap to their death? Nah, not high enough, and too sophomoric.
There's a gentle knocking on Kaeth's door. A hairy, unkempt man is there. Kaeth: "Yo, Corporal." Ezbeki: "You ready?" Kaeth: "Yes." Tapping on Robert's door. It's the monkey man. Ezbeki: "Anyone else?" Kaeth: "Marguerite?" Robert: "Yes." Brief pause while Ezbeki beats one of the guards back into unconsciousness. They get a sleepy, somewhat confused Marguerite, and then go to Samantha's room, where the balcony window is open and there's a ladder going up. Way up. Past the roof, to the gondola of a borrowed Albion observation blimp. Ah! Lisette has been roused and is taken with them. Ezbeki manages to arrange things so he goes up the ladder right after Marguerite. Ezbeki: <whispered> "Hey Geoff, she's a real redhead!" He feigns grabs at her along the way.
They all make it into the gondola, where Franz, Samantha, and Heinrich are waiting. Franz: "Heinrich, ahead dead slow." Heinrich: "Yes, your excellency." Franz is at the helm, his arms around Samantha. Kaeth: <to Robert> "I'll go after her." Robert: "I'll be going with you." Kaeth: "Are you a commando?" Robert: "No, but I'll keep up." Franz: "I apologize, but I have made you all fugitives from justice." Kaeth and Robert: "I wouldn't call it justice." Samantha: "Captain Cutler has managed to get himself put in charge of the investigation." Franz: "Captain Cutler?" Samantha: "The Captain of the Repulse, the ship that blew up the Retribution. I doubt we'd see anything even vaguely like justice." Robert: "Marguerite, who is your brother?" Marguerite: "Thomas Roarke." Robert: "Of the Kanaidian Navy?" Marguerite: "Yes." Robert: "I believe your brother is in a world of hurt for passing information to you." Marguerite: "We must help him!" She wraps her arms around Robert's waist. Marguerite: "I know you'll think of something." Robert desperately tries to figure out where to put his hands and arms, and such. Robert: "Uh, maybe we can get some more appropriate clothing for the ladies?" Franz: "You will observe that the wardrobe we are carrying is limited." Ezbeki: "There, there, it'll be all right." He puts his high tech jacket over Marguerite. Ezbeki: "Here, this will steady your nerves." He passes her his flask, and is impressed at the slugs she takes. So off they go. Just pray they don't run into an Albion Navy Warship. For the moment, they can celebrate a small success. Franz: "Cigar, anyone?" He nods at Heinrich, who opens a bottle of champagne. Kaeth: "Oh, how is Dr. Jurgen?" Franz: "Dr. Jurgen is well, and will be meeting us later. But for now we must get as far away from here as possible." Robert: "We need to get Ariana." The situation is explained, including the fact that Robert asked Lt. Bowler to get a message to Ariana. Of course they'll go help Robert retrieve his lady. Kaeth: <to Robert> "They know now that she's important to you. They might not have had time to get men up there, but they may be expecting trouble." Franz: "In that case, they'll be correct, won't they?" Robert: "Damn straight." Franz: "The ladies can remain on the airship with Heinrich, while we effect the rescue." Kaeth: "I don't know about that. We might want to take some one Ariana knows, another female." Franz: <to Sam> "And my dear, will you be staying, or coming? I'm afraid we have no Maxim gun for you..." Kaeth: "Well, darn." Samantha: "I'll be coming with you." They continue onward, in near silence.
Ezbeki: <loud whisper> "Hey Geoff, have you got a comb I can borrow?"