"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."-- Alfred Adler

91 - 1121

Just before midnight, Malcolm and Trevor head out to meet with Mr. Ritter. Trevor is wearing concealment armor to this meeting. Smitty's is crowded, dark, and out of the way. It's part of the 'new' Rainbow. The Rainbow with an edge. Malcolm feels right at home, being from Regina. Although 'crowded' in the Rim is a lot more crowded than in the Marches. Trevor helps Malcolm move through the crowd more efficiently, clearing a path. Ritter isn't hard to find, since he apparently has not bathed yet, and people are commenting loudly about his lack of hygiene. Ritter is standing at the very end of the bar with a beer in one hand, a shot on the bar beside him, and a cone pressed to his wrist. Just to give him that edge. This is not a man with his life under control. There are no empty spaces at the bar near Ritter, so Trevor asks two men who are sitting by themselves that he is looking for a table, and they are more than willing to move to another partially occupied tables. Trevor uses the terminal at the table to pay for a round of drinks for the polite people. With such a high population density, the populace of the Rim is nothing if not polite in public.

92 - 1121

Malcolm takes a seat while Trevor goes to the bar to fetch Ritter. The word "jumpy" comes to mind. And he really should do something about his personal hygiene. Trevor goes over and takes him by the elbow, and Ritter assumes a position of a man who's about to be arrested, but Trevor says "easy", and points over to Malcolm. Ritter goes over and sits down at the table, offering a stim cone. Trevor carries the drinks over. Ritter: "So, ready to do some business?" Malcolm: "Yes, Mr. Ritter." Ritter: <looking around nervously and touching something under his coat> "Who are you calling Ritter? My name's Pogey." Malcolm: "Of course." Ritter: "So, you got the money?" Malcolm: "In time. We need to arrange for the delivery of our five tons of cargo." Ritter: "Five? The deal was for four." Malcolm: "Our principal arranged for five." Ritter: "Well, I can probably get more, but it'll cost extra." Trevor: "Do you have five tons?" Ritter: "I can get it, but it will take time." Trevor: "You don't understand. We need it in 24 hours." Ritter wants proof that they have the money to make the buy. Malcolm: "You have a key?" Ritter: "Yeah. Let's have the envelope." Trevor: "Not until we see the product." Malcolm: "I didn't bring it with me. You get the payment when we meet to take delivery." Ritter isn't happy, but that's just too bad. Ritter: "I have to let my people know you're coming - security issues, you understand. You can pick it up in three hours." Trevor: "Let's say eight. We don't want to be moving around when no one else is, and have some one ask awkward questions." Ritter: "All right. I'm in Bay 2. Don't screw with me. I've got back up, and we're not pushovers. We've got guns." Trevor: "Yes, I know." Trevor leans over and pats Ritter in the area he was reaching earlier. Ritter: <eager to leave> "All right. I'll see you at eight." He leaves. Malcolm: <to himself> "Now all I need is some magnesium bar stock..." As soon as Ritter leaves, another man sits down in the empty chair, and introduces himself as Jim. Jim: "Amalgamated Shipping. I couldn't help overhearing part of that conversation, and I thought you might have need of some shipping help, and I may be able to provide you with what you need." Jim lays a flat photo face down on the table. Trevor looks, and it's a photo of a small arsenal (from the locals' viewpoint, at any rate) of guns on a table. There are a couple of revolvers (a Dick special or an M10, shotgun (model 37 pump), rifle (a cut down sporting gun, model 35), etc. Jim: "I can rent or sell." Malcolm: "And the ancillary equipment?" Jim: "It depends on what you're looking for. I have connections. I hear things. Times are changing, you have to look after yourself. Any of these would be perfect for self-protection." Trevor: "How much for this?" He taps the shotgun. Jim: "$1,500." Trevor: "How about if I borrowed it for two days, and brought it back in good condition - could I get two thirds of my deposit back?" Jim: "Five hundred for two days? Yeah, I can do that." Malcolm: "There would be no problem clearing that with the CFO." Now they learn about the underground economy. Jim writes a note and passes it to Trevor. Jim: "Purchase these items and have them delivered here." Stuff like ship components that would be of interest to itinerant ship's captains, and some liquor. That's fine, and Malcolm wants the M10, which is another $500. Then the argument over ammo ensues about how much ammo comes with, and what's available. An agreement is reached, and the items are ordered legitimately, over the terminal. Jim leaves. A few minutes later, a man comes over wearing a trenchcoat. He orders a drink, takes off the trenchcoat, finishes his drink, and leaves the trenchcoat behind. Trevor carries out the heavy trenchcoat when he and Malcolm leave. They go to check out the docking bay.

A reconnaissance allows Trevor and Malcolm to check out the docking area, ships and such. Malcolm: "Trevor, how do you get rid of Borloi?" Trevor: "What do you mean?" Malcolm: "When it's confiscated. Do you burn it, dump it, what?" Trevor: "Usually you just drop it into an industrial furnace. It depends on the volume." The five tons they're going to be dealing with (in, whatever) is in oil form, about the consistency of honey. Wouldn't burn well. Malcolm doesn't want to let the Borloi get out there, no matter who's supposed to take delivery. His thought is to destroy it some how, or taint/poison it rather than fulfill their 'contract'. Trevor: "I think it would be very bad for your health to deliver something that had been tainted." Malcolm is really unhappy about the Borloi, doesn't want to be around it, and would rather it not go anywhere, but he's not yet sure what to do. Trevor would prefer to rent a truck in Gerard's name, but you need to show ID. There's no actual truck to be had, but they get a lowboy, hand controlled sort of pallet thing with a crane, that's about a foot off the ground on the lowest setting. Trevor: "You know, even though it's just going from one docking bay to another, I'm sure our patron would prefer that we not take the cargo directly from one dock to hers, in case we're being watched." Good point. They rent a storage locker that's big enough to park the pallet in, with extra space for them and the cargo. A 5 D(isplacement) Ton locker should be fine. Malcolm wonders, since Borloi (in any form) is illegal on all of Vantage and in most of the Rim, why meet in a docking bay? Why not somewhere more covert? Trevor's suggestion is "this is the Rim. People here don't like to be out of range of navigational beacons, and hiding in the haystack with another needle is probably the idea here. And this doesn't sound like a regular occurrence - just this one big deal, and that's it. Maybe they're going to flood the market, or use it for some sort of political reason." There's no way of knowing.

Now that things are set up, they return to the Silver Rainbow in time to see Randolph being poured into his limo. Malcolm uses the 'information appliance' (i.e., poor excuse for a computer) to try to find "Mrs. Kinder". Nothing under "Kinder". He sets the box to just run, and to find people who's name start with K or C, and fit the general physical description, in the social pages, etc., then he goes to grab some sleep. Trevor, before going to bed, goes up and knocks on Mitchell's door. Mitchell answers it, thinking it's Phillippe, and the 'owner' isn't back yet. Nope, it's Trevor. Trevor: "We're back. It went okay, and we're supposed to meet this morning at 8:00 to make the exchange. Do you want to get together at 7:00 to go over any details?" Mitchell: "Yeah, that would be okay." Mitchell calls Phillippe and leaves a message for him to get Tabitha up at 6:00 a.m., to take over the 'night' shift while the casino is closed., then he goes back to sleep.

Trevor then goes to tell Malcolm about his conversation with Mitchell. Trevor: "...as an insurance policy that we're not getting caught up in some sort of sting, I'd like to have my friend Ken Oshida join us, without telling him any details. He can bring a drug test kit, and act as backup in case the locals show up when we're making a transfer. If something goes down, then I can tell Ken that we're working for someone who's on really good terms with his boss' boss." Malcolm thinks this is kind of cruel, but he's willing to go along with the idea, although he's nuts for agreeing to invite SolSec to join them. Trevor will call Ken, who's most likely back on Freemantle, so he'll have time to get to Rainbow, but first Trevor checks out the firearms. They're evidently very old police issue. Malcolm also checks his weapon and ammo, and his gun has odd foreign markings; who knows where it originated.

Trevor goes back to his hotel room, calls Ken's office and asks to have him paged, as it's an emergency. They can't page him, and won't specify where he is, but they will take a message and flag it as urgent. Trevor agrees, and then he gets some sleep.

Gabrielle wakes up with a start at 5:00 a.m., having had a nightmare about Dr. Neil, and Marco that she doesn't quite remember (thank God). Her hand falls to the gun on the bed beside her. She's awake now, so she gets up and puts on a robe. There's a light on in the sitting room and when she goes in, Dr. Neil is sitting there and reading a book. When he hears Gabrielle, he snatches up his little blue glasses. Gabrielle: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." Dr. Neil: <standing> "Not at all." One of the Condor Legion types is cleaning his rifle on the nearby desk (on a cloth, of course).

When Mitchell gets up, also around 5:00 a.m., he showers and dresses with Naval efficiency, then goes to his office. He looks into Malcolm's office, and checks on the computer that's running. He sees that the information appliance has found a large number of possibles, including two named Kellerman - the mother and aunt of Ian Kellerman, and there are photos. Mitchell: <to himself> "Of course." It's the worse possible scenario, so naturally it turns out to be Hitler's auntie. Mitchell calls Phillippe into his office. Mitchell: "You have some local sources of information, do you not?" Phillippe: "That depends on what you mean, sir. One hears things." Mitchell: "I need to find out what this key belongs to." He shows Phillippe the key he found in the dead blonde assassin's car. Phillippe: "It looks like the key to a starport locker." Damn - too generic, they all use the same color and key type around here. Mitchell: "You didn't recognize Mrs. Kinder when she came in last night did you? Had she been here before?" Phillippe: "No her, sir, but the man she was with had been in before, on several occasions." That would be Mr. Generic. At this point Malcolm joins Mitchell and Phillippe.

Mitchell: "Good morning." Malcolm: "Well it can't help but get better, now can it?" Mitchell: "Do you know how to get in touch with Miss Vanek?" Malcolm: "She's staying at the Horizon Hotel, like we were. On an upper floor." Phillippe: "Actually, sir, I understood that she's staying at a suite of apartments not far from here." Malcolm: <somewhat surprised> "Really?" Mitchell: "Do you know how to get in touch with her?" Phillippe: "One could phone her, I presume sir." Mitchell: "Do you have the number?" Phillippe: "I believe I can get it, sir. I have become acquainted with Dr. Neil's chauffeur." The phone number is acquired, and Sophia (looking tired) comes into the den with coffee, and to inform Gabrielle. Sophia: "Is madame taking calls at this hour?" Gabrielle: "Who is it?" Sophia picks up the vidphone in the hall. Sophia: "May I tell her who's calling, sir?" Mitchell: "Mitchell Taylor." Once Gabrielle knows the caller's identity, she takes the call in the den, after turning the screen away from the rest of the room (and Dr. Neil and the big guy with the gun), and turning on the privacy setting. Mitchell: "Good morning, I hope I'm not calling too early?" Gabrielle: "No, I've been up for a while." Her voice sounds slightly muted. Mitchell: "Have you had breakfast yet?" Gabrielle: "Just coffee." Mitchell: "Would you care to join me for breakfast?" Gabrielle: "All right." Mitchell: "I'll call you right back with the location, once I've made reservations." Mitchell hangs up. Malcolm: <looking at the computer> "The Ephor's aunt wants five tons of Borloi oil?" Maybe she thinks that will calm him down? Maybe that's how she controls him?

Gabrielle: <to Neil> "Mr. Taylor wants to meet me for breakfast." Dr. Neil: <to the Legion man> "Mr. Scott, go with her." Scott: <standing> "Yes sir." He throws his coat on, puts a big knife in his belt, and a couple of baseball sized objects in his pockets. Where does this man usually go for breakfast - Regina? Mitchell searches out a nice place to have breakfast, somewhere with some style. He makes the arrangements and calls back, asking to meet her there at about 8:00 a.m. That gives Gabrielle time to change into something other than her robe, and still get there in time.

Malcolm: "We're in bed with a politically astute woman whose nephew is the local equivalent of Adolf Hitler. Does that make you just a bit nervous?" Mitchell: "No. Facing down the spinal mount on a 5000 ton cruiser makes me nervous." Mitchell, Malcolm, and Trevor meet at 7:00 to discuss their plans. Once they have possession of the 'package', Trevor is going to contact Mrs. Kinder's ship (she left a number with the security envelope) about delivery, as Trevor doesn't want to have possession of it for longer than is absolutely necessary. Mitchell: "I think we should hang on to it for as long as possible, and not deliver it until we have to." Trevor: "That's easy for you to say, you're not the one who's going to get caught with 5 tons of illegal narcotics in their possession. It's definitely not personal use." They agree to disagree, at least until they take delivery.

Trevor finally gets a call back from Ken Oshida. Trevor: "Ken, buddy! I need a really huge favor here, bud." Ken: <on alert now> "If you're in jail, I can't help you. What have you gotten into?" Trevor explains that he is not in jail, under arrest, or anything like that. He just wants to know if Ken can provide some "backup, and some equipment - 50 rounds of shotgun ammo and a couple of Borloi test kits." Ken: "The test kit is no problem, but I don't know where the hell I'm going to get 50 rounds of shotgun ammo. We don't use shotguns, haven't for years." Trevor: "Well, just bring an smg then." Ken: "This is accountable property, and I don't know how I'm going to explain to my boss that I'm checking out a firearm to turn over to a civilian for unknown reasons!" Trevor: "You don't have to turn it over to me, just bring it with you. You do have to qualify on it don't you?" Ken: "Yes." Trevor: "Then sign it out for the range if you need to give a reason. I'll explain everything when the time comes." Ken: "Okay, I'm doing this as a favor, but after this, buddy, you are going to owe me." Trevor: "We'll discuss who owes whom later." Ken: "Where do you want me and when?" Trevor gives him the address of the storage locker, and asks him to meet him at 8:00 a.m., with the smg, the test kits, and a thermos of coffee.

Before he leaves to meet Gabrielle, Mitchell writes a note, seals it, and goes to slip it under Tabitha's door. When he leans down against the door, it pops open - it wasn't latched. No Tabitha, no where. The clothes she was wearing the night before are on the floor, and the closet doors are open. Mitchell finds Phillippe and asks him if he or any of the other staff have seen Tabitha. Phillippe: "She left a few minutes ago, sir, but she didn't say where she was going. She seemed to be in a hurry." Mitchell tapes the note to her mirror. Malcolm sends a note for Gabrielle with Mitchell. It reads: "Alexandra, or some one who looks like her, was holding the leash. Pass that on to Dr. Neil, or Marco, or whomever."

Before leaving for breakfast, Gabrielle speaks with Dr. Neil, explaining that Malcolm and Mitchell were concerned about something, although they haven't told her any specifics yet. Gabrielle: "But since they were put in charge of the casino to look into Marco's interests, I believe he'd like to see them assisted." Dr. Neil: "Shall I drop by to look into things?" Gabrielle: <relieved> "Yes, I would appreciate it very much." Dr. Neil: "I'll take care of everything. You shouldn't worry yourself about this at all." He walks her out to the car, helps her in, and stops just short of fastening her seatbelt. Did Gabrielle's psycho boyfriend have one of his episodes, tell Neil that he'd be held responsible if anything bad happened to her, and get really graphic about what would happen to the doctor if something did? Or does Neil just have some sort of odd thing for Gabrielle?

Mitchell arrives at the restaurant, and sees several people he knows - Admiral Tengatsu is there, and next to him is a person who looks vaguely familiar - the man who killed the blonde assassin a while earlier. As Mitchell is being shown to a table, Tengatsu sees him and waves him over. Tengatsu: "Mitchell! Join us." Mitchell walks over. Mitchell: "For a while. I'm meeting a young lady." Tengatsu: "An attractive young lady, no doubt?" Mitchell: "Of course." He looks at the other man. Tengatsu: "Oh, I'm sorry. Have you met Commander Holloway?" Holloway: "Captain." Mitchell: "We haven't been properly introduced." Holloway: "We may have bumped into each other." Gabrielle is escorted in by Mr. Scott, and sees Mitchell at a table with an older gentleman, and Mitchell is shaking hands with a man she recognizes from the incident involving the blonde. Mitchell makes his excuses, and goes over to Gabrielle.

Mitchell: <indicating Scott> "One of the General's?" Gabrielle: "Yes." Mr. Scott takes a table with a good field of fire, and Mitchell and Gabrielle are escorted to an intimate table. Mitchell: "How is the new residence?" Gabrielle: "It's very nice." Lengthy pause as Mitchell glances back at the Admiral's table. Gabrielle: "You wanted to speak to me about something?" Mitchell: "I'm sorry, I'm a little distracted this morning." Gabrielle: "What's wrong? Malcolm was obviously upset about something last night, but he didn't elaborate." Mitchell: "Oh. That. Did he tell you we found out who was holding Brizzk's leash?" Gabrielle: "Yes. He said it was a woman calling herself Mrs. Kinder." Mitchell: "But that's not really her named, it's Alexandra -" Gabrielle: "- Kellerman. Yes. I know." Mitchell: "The aunt of the Ephor of -" Gabrielle: "- Polyphemus. I know who she is." Mitchell: "You're from Aquitaine, right?" Gabrielle: "Yes." Mitchell: "Just how well do you know the Kellerman family? Or for that matter, the Queen's family?" Gabrielle: "I know who the Kellermans are, and who Queen Marie's family are. It's not as though I travel in the same circles." Mitchell: "Did Malcolm also tell you what she was here for?" Gabrielle: "No, he said that she was the one who was holding Brizzk's leash, as you put it." Mitchell: "I really would like to know why the aunt of the Ephor of Polyphemus wants with 5 tons of super refined Borloi oil, worth about $250 million Solars. If you could shed any sort of light on this, I would appreciate it." Mitchell and Gabrielle see Admiral Tengatsu and the killer pay their bill and leave. Gabrielle: "I have no idea why Alexandra Kellerman wants 5 tons of Borloi oil." Mitchell: "It would be really interesting to know General Capeletti's take on this." Gabrielle: "Marco is not on planet right now." Mitchell: "Where - uh, you don't know where he is, do you?" Gabrielle: "I know he's a week away." Mitchell: "Oh. <pause> What do you think Capeletti's reaction would be to hearing this information about Kellerman? I just want your best educated guess, as it were." Gabrielle: "I think that would depend on whether or not he knows them. But I don't think he would care who was responsible for the Borloi, considering his feelings about drugs." Mitchell: "No, in his mind, he would just be dealing with a drug dealer, but being as Aquitaine and Polyphemus have such a volatile political situation... what would happen if he took down the aunt? Maybe some one is trying to set him things up so he'd do something without thinking about the consequences." Gabrielle: "Marco is a very... passionate man, but he is not politically naive. He couldn't be and be in his position." Mitchell: "Could you arrange a meeting between me and Dr. Neil?" Gabrielle: "I think I already have."

Now, on to the drug deal. And the end of Ken's career. [Just kidding!] Trevor meets Ken, and asks for the test kit. Trevor: "You can come if you want, but you probably don't want these people to see you. I have to pick up a truck load of stuff from the ship in Bay 2 over there, bring them back to this storage locker, and then I'll tell you all about it." Ken: "And how does this relate to the Borloi test kit?" Trevor: "To make sure I'm getting what I've been promised." Ken: "You're running a fucking drug deal?!" Trevor: "No, I'm not running a fucking drug deal. I'm driving a pallet. The people who are running the fucking drug deal are on good terms with your penultimate boss, who is he...? Oh yeah, the Prefect." Ken: "What!?!?" Trevor: "The person we are delivering the goods to had dinner with the SolSec prefect yesterday." Ken wants to call his superiors and get them in on this. Trevor: "If she's dining with the Prefect, who do you think you could call? Who could you trust?" Ken: "Couldn't you have kept this to yourself?" Trevor: "Hey, you can leave the jockbag and thermos here, and walk away." Ken: "You know I can't do that." Trevor: <grinning> "Thought so."

The 'meet' goes down. Ritter is still really hyper. He opens the cargo door to reveal thirteen 55 gallon drums that read "Machine Lubricating Oil - Heavy weight" (aside from the smell - like freshly mown grass - it looks like oil). Trevor selects the drum, and runs the test. Boy, is it Borloi! It's amazing the test kit doesn't burst into flames. Ritter wants the envelope, which Trevor hands to him, but when Trevor doesn't want to be nearby when Ritter opens the envelope, Ritter unseals it with the key and insists Trevor take out the contents. Trevor doesn't want to, but Malcolm has work gloves on, so he removes the papers. Trevor sees it's some kind of official documents. Several pardons, signed, blank. Trevor loses it - he can't handle the thought of all the murdering scum out there who could get their hands on the pardons, and he just goes off, grabbing Ritter by the throat. Malcolm grabs Trevor from behind, yelling "Not now!" Trevor: "Let's give him to Oshida." Malcolm: "Let's not." Trevor: "We can give him and the pardons to Oshida, and give the stuff to the old lady." A male voice from behind says "Is there a problem here?" A couple of stevedore types are there, one of them with a clipboard. Malcolm: "Cousins. What can you do?" Stevedore: "We're here to off load the cargo." Trevor: "When we're done with our cargo, you can unload yours." Stevedore: "No, we're after that cargo." He indicates the barrels. The one with the clipboard now shows a pistol, and the other one has a gauss rifle, which he points at Trevor, who charges, leading with the pilot. This disturbs the man with the rifle, since when you point a gun at some one they have to do what you say. He's further distressed by the rifle going off as the gun makes contact with the pilot, shooting him in the liver. They go down in a pile, the pilot screaming and bleeding. And the fight goes on, with the pistol going off and missing Malcolm, but startling the shooter more than Malcolm. Ken is standing there, dumbfounded, as Malcolm hits the man with the pistol several times, breaking his arm with a small wrecking bar. The man with the rifle fires into the pilot, shutting him up permanently, and Trevor goes for him. Malcolm decides to shut up the screaming man with the broken arm by hitting him gently in the head with the crowbar. It's a glancing blow that only stuns the man, but there's blood streaming like crazy now. Trevor misses stomping on the man with the rifle, who fires, hitting Trevor in the calf. (Good thing he was wearing armor.) Now Trevor has had enough and just kicks the man in the eye, stunning him rather effectively, and taking away his rifle. As Tabitha (now a brunette) leaps into view yelling "SolSec! Freeze", with gun in hand, Malcolm hits the button to shut the door, but Ken flashes his credentials and hits the stop button. Malcolm: <to Ken> "Why did you stop the door?" Ken: "There's another agent here." Malcolm: "Yes..." Tabitha: "You're all under arrest!" Trevor: "For what?" Tabitha: "Possession of illegal drugs, with intent to distribute." Trevor: "We're the police." Tabitha: <to Trevor> "Put down the gun." Ken has put his credentials over the outside of his pocket, not knowing what's going on here, exactly. Trevor: "Tabitha, you don't understand, we're on the same side." Tabitha: "Put the gun down. Now!" Trevor whips up the rifle to shoot Tabitha, but the sling of the gauss rifle catches on the unconscious man and the rifle fires into the decking, and the ricochet hits the hydrogen feed line to the manuever drives, resulting in a 20' gout of flame that distracts everyone. Tabitha dives for cover, Ken is covering his face and backing up, the alarms go off, and the fire suppression foam starts falling. Trevor: "Can you fly a ship?" Malcolm: "I can pilot this thing." They shut off the line and put burn foam on Ken's face. Trevor picks up the pardons and stuffs them into his shirt. They close the cargo door, and use gravitics to maneuver out after Malcolm gets emergency permission for the Raw Deal to leave the dock, due to the fire. Trevor isn't sure what happened to Tabitha, but he thinks he may have burnt her to a crisp. They get permission to go orbital, to make sure the fire is out, and Malcolm gives Ken first aid - massive amounts of painkill. Trevor gives a call to the contact number, asking them to meet up with the ship in orbit, but no deal. Voice: "Circumstances require that the cargo be delivered to the docking bay." Trevor: "Fine, but you aren't going to want the attention we may bring." Voice: "That's your concern." <click> Malcolm gives a call to the Port Authority, informing them they are dumping due to the fire. They dump the pilot's body, and Malcolm asks "who else goes out?" They have two unconscious, injured men, and if they put them out, even in eeples balls, it's murder. They decide to medic and tranq the injured men (who have blunt trauma injuries), putting them on medical slow. They are given permission to use docking Bay 20, where they are met by medical personnel, the local police, and SolSec (some one in the docking area heard SolSec mentioned).

The story is this: No one knows what happened to the pilot; probably hiding, considering the shape the ship was in (definitely not up to inspection standards). One of the crew members was messing around with a crow bar, pretending he was a ninja or something, when it struck the hydrogen line, and all hell broke loose . Officer Oshida tried to stabilize the situation, but he was badly burned. Trevor and Malcolm managed to get the ship off station, the fire out, and the injured stabilized because they're good citizens. The police have shown up, SolSec, EMT's, you name it. And Trevor is viewed as the hero of the day for saving Ken. Solsec Officer: "You're a goddamn hero, the kind the Confederation needs." The flashbulbs go off, and people are asking for statements. Trevor gets Malcolm off to one side briefly, and asks if he wants the press distracted, which he does. Trevor goes off to do the press thing, and the starport authorities help Malcolm move the cargo so the ship can be properly inspected. Gosh, how nice of them! Trevor gets lots of good press, and is recognized as the real hero even though he's trying to give credit to Ken. Once more, Trevor Cavernon is on the cover of the paper. That should just frost Gerard.

Back at the lovely, calm restaurant, Mitchell is somewhat concerned about Gabrielle's connection to things, and asks why she left her home planet. Gabrielle: "I left Aquitaine for personal reasons." Mitchell: "I left the Navy for personal reasons. That doesn't answer my question." Gabrielle: "Why I left Aquitaine is not relevant to anything that's going on here now." Mitchell: "Why did you leave? Someone promise you to someone else's family? Tying up the family alliances, that sort of thing?" Mr. Scott, evidently reading the body language, and realizing Gabrielle is getting upset, moves towards the table with the look of a man who likes hitting people. Gabrielle: "No, it had to do with some one's wife showing up at an inopportune moment. Happy?" Scott: "Is everything all right, miss?" Gabrielle: "Yes, thank you." Scott glares at Mitchell before returning to his seat. Mitchell: "Look. I apologize if this caused you some personal discomfort, but I've got 5 tons of Borloi and problems with the Kellerman family and I'm a little concerned that we've gotten ourselves into something we really shouldn't have." Gabrielle: "I think that's fairly accurate, yes." Mitchell: "And I'm concerned that the Federation may end up going to war over this. I need to know you aren't involved in something I should know about." Gabrielle: "I didn't come to Vantage because I planned to, I came here because it was the first ship leaving, and it was suggested I take it." Mitchell: "I see. <pause> You didn't happen to notice the man who was at the Admiral's table earlier?" Gabrielle: "Yes, I did." Mitchell: "These are the sort of people we're involved with. Very dangerous people. I do apologize for having caused you any embarrassment. People have been lying to me since I got here - it's not that I thought you were lying, but you weren't very forthcoming. Do you wish to go to back to your residence, or do you want to come to the casino?" Gabrielle: "I think I'll go back to my residence. Thank you." They leave, Gabrielle with Mr. Scott.

Mitchell gets back to the casino and is met by a rather frantic Tabitha (brown hair, lightly singed); she pulls him into his office. Tabitha: "We've been fucked over by Trevor and Malcolm. They've made their own deal. I'd made arrangements with Malcolm to provide discreet cover, and next thing I know he's meeting with another SolSec agent." Mitchell: "Why did you leave?" Tabitha: "I don't know if you know, but Malcolm arranged with me to provide back up for the deal." Mitchell: "If you'd have stuck around this morning, we could have avoided this." Tabitha: "I'm sorry, I was just trying to keep you out of this." Mitchell: "Look, I'm already up to my neck in this, and I already told you, you don't need to protect me." There follows an argument over who needs to be out of sight for a while, and why, with Tabitha agreeing to go into hiding, and giving Mitchell (who asks for it) the password for her laptop. If needed, he can contact her via a newsgroup. She kisses him on the cheek, and tells him to "be careful. I've already lost some one I care about." Mitchell: "When's the funeral?" Tabitha: "I don't know. I'm trying not to think about that." Her eyes tear up. Mitchell: "Let me know. I'd like to attend. But yes, disappear. If I need you, I'll contact you via the newsgroup."

When Tabitha leaves, Mitchell goes to the Admiral's ship, where he's greeted by Commander Holloway. Holloway: "Ah, Captain. Come in." Mitchell: "Commander." Holloway: "The Admiral isn't on board right now, but some other people you know are." Mitchell: "I'm sure there are." Holloway: "The Admiral wanted to speak with you. I'd have you wait, but I don't know if it's a good idea for you to spend too much time here. For security reasons. You understand." Mitchell: "Of course. When do you expect the Admiral back?" Holloway: "Between 1300 and 1400 today." Mitchell: "Tell him I'll be back." He returns to the Silver Rainbow, sees Malcolm and says "Something bad has happened. Shall we go to your office and discuss it?" They go upstairs.

Malcom: "Is our favorite cigarette girl here?" Mitchell: "No... She said that you had asked her to show up as backup." Malcolm: "Not at this meet. I'm willing to cut her some slack if she thought she was supposed to be there, but that wouldn't explain her showing up with her badge out and yelling 'SolSec - freeze!'. She was trying to make this a major bust for her." Mitchell: "Are you still in possession of the ship?" Malcolm: "No. But we do have the cargo." Mitchell: "The Borloi?" Malcolm: "Yes, if that's what it is. It did test positive." Malcolm: "The Borloi is being used against somebody, I think." Mitchell: "Any idea who?" Malcolm: "Not yet. But it could be used against us. We deliver it to Bay 16, there are gunshots, a dead SolSec officer, dead Imperials..." Mitchell: "I'm not sure if it's something somebody is using to start a war, or what." Malcolm: "And we don't know for sure if it's really Kellerman, and not a lookalike." Mitchell: "Actually, we do have confirmation." [He means from Gabrielle.]

Trevor eventually decides to go back to the casino, rather than hang around with the reporters too long. He needs a doctor, but a bullet wound would be reported. Malcolm checks out the injury, and there's nothing he can do to make it look like anything else. Trevor: "I think I know where I can find a discreet doctor." Malcolm: "Keep an eye out for Tabitha." Trevor goes to the Hephaestus Club, where their doctor takes care of him. The members let Trevor know that it's customary to give the doctor a gift or tip. Trevor asks about what sort - expensive gifts, liquors. Hmm. Maybe some casino chips? Mitchell and Malcolm are discussing the disaster when Trevor returns. Mitchell isn't sure that Tabitha really is in trouble with her bosses; maybe it's all a ruse.

Gabrielle goes back to her place with Mr. Scott, and his large friend, Mr. Brown. She's at her wits' end about all this stuff, she doesn't know what's going on, and people keep assuming she does. It's very frustrating. Damn it all, she's going shopping. The two large gentlemen can come along to carry packages.

Gabrielle is in a very nice dress shop when she hears a woman speaking to some one behind her about "...she's about the same size as Elise, wouldn't you say?" There's a tap on Gabrielle's arm. Woman: "Excuse me, young lady." Gabrielle turns around and sees an older woman wearing grey and black, and carrying a silver tipped cane. Eep. That would be Alexandra Kellerman. Alexandra: "I'm looking for something for my niece, she's about your size..." Gabrielle is polite, and is willing to give her sizes to help with the shopping. Alexandra: "You have a lovely accent." Gabrielle: "Thank you." Alexandra: "Are you from Aquitaine?" Gabrielle: "Yes, madame." Alexandra: "I've travelled there rather extensively recently, I may know your family." Gabrielle: "I don't believe so, my name is Gabrielle Vanek." Alexandra: "Vanek..." She's obviously thinking about it. Alexandra: "Well, you must join me for tea, if you don't think me to forward. You can tell me all about yourself. <Her attention is drawn to another part of the shop.> Ah, Dr. Neil!" The doctor greets Mrs. Kellerman, then turns to Gabrielle. Dr. Neil: "Miss Vanek. I see you've already met Mrs. Kellerman." Alexandra: "Oh, is this Marco's new friend?" Gabrielle: "Yes." Alexandra: "Then you must join me for tea. Say, 3:00 o'clock?" Gabrielle: "Thank you." Alexandra: "Excellent." She chats a while with Dr. Neil. Alexandra: "...although I must say that I find this arcology rather intriguing..." Dr. Neil walks her out, chatting, and providing an arm.

Gabrielle is busy trying to compose herself, internally, when Dr. Neil returns. Dr. Neil: "There's been some excitement at the docks, did you hear?" Gabrielle: "No." Dr. Neil: "I understand that some of your friends were there, and the gallant Trevor saved the day yet again." Gabrielle: "What happened?" Dr. Neil: "A fire, I believe. Neither Mr. Edwards nor Mr. Cavernon were injured, apparently. Well, I'll see you for tea." He walks over to the girl at the counter and quietly explains (not for Gabrielle's benefit, but she does hear) that Gabrielle is associated with General Capeletti, and Dr. Neil gives the clerk a card to scan in. The salesclerk smiles broadly, and says "Of course, sir!" Dr. Neil leaves, and the clerk goes over to Gabrielle and offers to show her something from the spring collection.

From the dress shop, Dr. Neil goes to the Silver Rainbow. Mitchell greets him at the roulette table. Mitchell: "You enjoy roulette, don't you?" Dr. Neil: "It's mindless entertainment. It's all weighted in the favor of the house. Might as well burn money, but coinage doesn't burn well. Gabrielle indicated you wanted to see me, Captain?" Mitchell: "Yes." Dr. Neil: "What can I do to help you?" Mitchell: "What needs to be done?" Dr. Neil: "That depends. in any case, you wanted to speak with me?" Mitchell: "Perhaps we could go some where for lunch? The Carnivore Club?" Dr. Neil: "That would be wonderful." They go upstairs where Dr. Neil is greeted by Robert. Dr. Neil: "Robert! Good to see you. Is the veal fresh today?" Robert: "I just clubbed it to death myself sir." Dr. Neil: "Excellent!" Mitchell and Dr. Neil settle in at the table. Mitchell: "How is the General?" Dr. Neil: "The General is well, I assume, since he's off doing his general duties. Drilling, or marshaling, or whatever." Mitchell: "So what do you think about the Prefect stepping down?" Dr. Neil: "It's about time. He is after all, almost 90." Mitchell: "Several candidates have been mentioned." Dr. Neil: "There are any number of potential candidates, I would imagine." Mitchell: "I guess the question is what's best for the Confederacy. I'm hearing several differing opinions. On the one hand is the group that wants to maintain the status quo, and -" Dr. Neil: "I take it you have something to tell me? There's no need to beat around the bush. I know that you as a military man prefer the straightforward approach." Mitchell: "Why does Kellerman need 5 tons of Borloi oil? I'm speaking of Alexandra Kellerman." Dr. Neil: "Borloi oil? You're speaking of Kellerman as in the Ephor?" Mitchell: "Yes." Dr. Neil: "I'm having tea with her this afternoon. Perhaps I should ask her. Or perhaps you could come along and ask her yourself? There will be other representatives of your branch of service there as well. Admiral Tengatsu has been invited, I believe." Mitchell: "Why do I have a former Navy Admiral asking me to support his particular cause, who is also associating, rather closely, with the same Alexandra Kellerman?" Dr. Neil: "To be honest, I don't know." Mitchell: "I have so many questions, and so few answers, and I dislike being left out of the briefings." Dr. Neil: "As I said, why don't you join us for tea?" Mitchell: "I think I shall. And thank you for the invitation." Dr. Neil: "I'm sure that Alexandra will find your conversation scintillating." Mitchell: "To be honest, I'd just like to get back to doing what I do best." Dr. Neil: "That's always possible. Anything is possible. You wouldn't be the first officer to have his reputation rehabilitated. Mistakes were made, I'm sure. Guilt by association and all that. It does illustrate that one should be careful about one's friends. With the right kind of friends..." The conversation becomes more generic, and once the meal has concluded, Dr. Neil leaves, waving at Malcolm on his way out. Malcolm: <to Mitchell> "I don't know how close you want to get to tonight's activities." Mitchell: "I'm getting to the bottom of this, no matter what."

Time for tea. Mitchell arrives at The Kjelgaard (one of the newer, upscale hotels), where Alexandra is holding court, so to speak. Dr. Neil is there, and there are a number of local 'characters'. Ruby is present, although dressed more conservatively than when she went to the casino. Gabrielle is there as well. No Admiral Tengatsu though. Dr. Neil introduces Mitchell to Alexandra Kellerman. Alexandra: <as if she's just meeting him for the first time> "Ah, the gallant Captain. We must talk." Mitchell: "I am at your disposal." After about an hour of tea, cucumber sandwiches, little tiddly morsels, and conversation that frequently seems to stray into pro-Solomani or anti-Imperial territory, the event winds down. Mitchell is invited to remain, as is Dr. Neil. Alexandra: "...And Miss Vanek as well. I understand you and the Captain are old friends." Only if you have a really odd concept of 'old'. Mitchell is offered something stronger to drink but declines. Alexandra: "I understand Captain, that you miss having a deck beneath your feet?" Mitchell: "As does any Naval officer." Alexandra: "Exactly. I've looked at your record. An officer such as yourself is too valuable to be in the private sector. My nephew, as you may be aware, has some influence with the Navy." Mitchell: "I was not aware of his influence with the Navy." Alexandra: "Oh yes, a word from him might be of assistance. The discharge may be undone, under the correct circumstances. If you are serious about wanting to return to duty." Mitchell: "The command of a Naval vessel is a duty that I take very seriously." Alexandra: "So I see." Mitchell: "You mentioned earlier that the Imperium still pollutes some of our worlds. That's something that many of us would like to see changed." Alexandra: "Yes, but we live in the real world. It's only a matter of time before we return those worlds to their rightful place, but that is in the future." Mitchell: "The foreseeable future?" Alexandra: "Perhaps. I have no doubt that the Imperium will eventually be pushed back, as it should be. Although I sense you are referring to more direct action than I am. How like a man, don't you agree, Miss Vanek? Men favor the more direct route. It must be the testosterone. <to Mitchell> No offense." Mitchell: "None taken." Gabrielle is keeping quiet and pouring tea through all this. Dr. Neil is, as usual, observing through his little blue glasses. Mitchell: <to Alexandra> "May I ask you a blunt question? I apologize in advance for my impertinence." Alexandra: "You're a direct man, I can appreciate that. Ask." Mitchell: "What does the aunt of the Ephor of Polyphemus want with five tons of Borloi oil?" Gabrielle sincerely wishes she were some where else. Dr. Neil doesn't react. Alexandra: "My, you are direct. You did warn me you might be impertinent. You deserve an answer, I suppose. I can think of several uses for 5 tons of highly refined -" Mitchell: "Ultra refined." Alexandra: "Really? I'll keep that in mind. <pause> I don't know about you, but I personally find the people who are addicted to drugs quite distasteful. Even on my home world, even with all the advantages given them, with all the support available, there are still addicts. If one were to release a large amount of drugs, in a very pure state, into the addicts' community, the result would be fairly easy to predict, don't you agree?" There's a bit of a pause at the table here - yes, it's easy to predict that the result would be a lot of dead drug addicts. Alexandra: "One way to get rid of the drug problem is to get rid of the addicts. Drastic, perhaps, although I'm told that as a way of departing this world, it's a rather pleasant way to go." Mitchell: "I wouldn't know, not having been a Borloi addict." Alexandra: "Of course not, because you are not a weak person. No one at this table is. We are people of strength. We have values." Mitchell: "I value the honor for those things that I serve." Alexandra: "The weak need to be winnowed out." Mitchell: "I can see your point of view. I understand." That would be the accelerated form of social Darwinism. Alexandra: "It's the kindest thing we can do for these people, don't you think?" Mitchell: "That is not really my decision to make." Alexandra: <nods> "Being a military person, you leave that sort of decision to the politicians." Mitchell: "Exactly." Alexandra: "It's dangerous when politicians try to interfere with the matters of war, and when the military try to do the same in affairs of State. Some of your fellow officers have seen fit to take matters into their own hands." Mitchell: "And I trust they have been taken care of?" Alexandra: "Taken care of? Surely we operate within the rule of law?" Mitchell: "Of course, but those people with traitorous tendencies..." Alexandra: "One could, perhaps, see to it that these people were taken into the care of the authorities for some other matter, so that they could receive the help they need." Mitchell: "This would be the second of the two options?" Alexandra: "Not an original plan, but the opportunity presented itself. All that remains is for one of the coconspirators, a loyal officer who only pretended to be part of the plot, to turn state's evidence. And naturally, in recompense, and as a token of gratitude, the loyal officer could be restored to an active duty position and appropriate rank." Mitchell: "I don't mind driving into heated combat, but I want to know the reason for it. One does not acquire the decorations I have by backing down." Alexandra: "Naturally." Alexandra makes her apologies, due to her age and infirmities, but the generic man (Mr. Soames) is left with Mitchell, Gabrielle, and Dr. Neil.

Speaking of conspiracists, the boys have been busy during all this tea and politics. Malcolm: <to Trevor> "I've got an idea. I'm going to need some one who's nuts, and can pilot a grav-vehicle." Trevor: "I can drive a grav-vehicle." (And he's apparently nuts.) Malcolm: "I have been pussyfooting around this, but there is no way I am going to allow that shit to go anywhere. I need some aluminum and magnesium, some wire and duct tape, and a counter that's visible on a security monitor." Malcolm's bizarre plan is to get something that looks like a bit bomb, attach it to the bottom of a grav vehicle, and run it off the edge of the dock in an 'accident'. He wants to put the magnesium shavings and other components into the Borloi oil. He doesn't want to burn the oil, he just wants it to appear to be burning, and to make it look like the grav vehicle has a bomb on board it because the missing pilot rigged it. That way an 'accident' has destroy the Borloi oil. Trevor thinks this is a bad idea, and if Malcolm doesn't want the Borloi delivered, they should just arrange for the authorities to get their hands on it, as opposed to a much more complicated plan. Besides, Mrs. Kinder (or whoever she is) probably won't accept the accident as a legitimate excuse any way.

Back at tea. Mitchell: <to Dr. Neil> "Whatever happened to the plutonium?" Dr. Neil: "Plutonium? I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. <to Gabrielle> Shall we go?" Gabrielle: "Yes, please." They leave. About a half hour too late as far as Gabrielle is concerned. Soames: <to Mitchell> "Just to flesh out what Mrs. Kellerman said. This <indicating papers he takes out of a case> is the statement you will make after the arrests. These are the papers restoring you to your command, with seniority. These are the papers giving you command of your ship. These are the papers promoting you to Rear-Admiral, after an appropriate amount of time has passed. We understand you would not want to be confined to a desk right away, so you're guaranteed three to four months in command of a heavy cruiser. Brand new, top of the line." Mitchell: "You'll pardon me if I'm just one question after another, but I got into this trying to answer a question asked of me by an associate. You may or may not know the answer to this question, but just how did Rebecca McNaughton die? Was it an accidental overdose or murder?" Soames: "My understanding is that she was viewed as a liability. You might speak to the Admiral about that. You see what kind of people they are?" Mitchell: "Thank you for the information." Soames: "I know that as a military man you prefer things to be spelled out beforehand, in a precise fashion." Mitchell reads the statement, and it basically states that Mitchell is aware that the Admiral and his coconspirators had arranged for the delivery of the Borloi, which they would have sold to raise money for their antigovernment activities. Mitchell: "Will there be a specific agent to take care of me?" Soames: "The agent in charge." Mitchell: "Do you know who the agent in charge will be?" Soames: "Not as of yet, but since we are speaking about SolSec, there is the issue of the former agent Hauks. She is a loose end." Mitchell: "I can take care of that." Soames: "You'll be provided with the means to this end. I realize this isn't the sort of thing you have experience with..." Mitchell: "No, but I understand what you're getting at. Thank you." Soames: <standing> "Well, I won't keep you. And it may be premature, but congratulations. I realize that your reinstatement and promotion are not yet a fait accompli, but Mrs. Kellerman's nephew will be making the recommendations himself, and as the Secretary General of the Party of the subsector, I'm sure his opions will be valued by the appropriate people." Mitchell nods and leaves.

When Mitchell returns to the Silver Rainbow he is greeted by Phillippe, who has something for him. Phillippe: "Ah, sir, a package arrived for you." Mitchell takes it, and it has no return address. He opens it in his office, and it's a 5mm, with a special coating that won't take finger prints or genetic material, toxic bullets, absolutely no markings, and a built-in suppresser. Some things never change. Mitchell then goes in search of Trevor, who's with Malcolm right now, discussing which of the local authorities they're going to notify, and when. Mitchell: "Ah. Trevor. Malcolm." Malcolm: "Mitchell." Mitchell: "I know what the Borloi's for." Malcolm: "Can you make this quick?" Mitchell gives them the short version about the Borloi being used to set up a group who oppose Tadeoshi's candidacy for Prefect. Malcolm: "And then what happens to the Borloi?" Mitchell: "It's confiscated. I don't know. Or it's sent to Polyphemus, which doesn't bother me too much, where it's distributed to the local addicts, uncut." Malcolm and Trevor bring Mitchell more or less up to speed on what has happened so far, including Tabitha's little cameo appearance.Mitchell: "This is going to sound strange, and I'm not sure when she did it, or why she did it, but I think she's on our side. As much as she can be in her position." Of course she didn't threaten to shoot him. Mitchell: "However, she might be the person they'll send to confiscate it. Trevor: "Well, we can give her the same information we're giving to the others." Mitchell: "By the way, I was made a very grand offer." Malcolm: "I'm sorry, all we can offer you is a few grams of paper." Meaning the pardon; there are enough five of them. They're planning on publicly expose the Borloi before the planned delivery. Trevor will go to Nagala, Malcolm to Ken. Trevor: "Tabitha can take credit within SolSec." Malcolm: "I suggest we do this now."

Gabrielle is brought back to her flat, and there are now about a dozen of the guards are now there. It's not bad news for a change, since besides all the Condor Legion boys, there's a large man sitting in the den drinking an amber liquid of no doubt Terran manufacture. Gabrielle: "Marco!" He stands up and kisses her. Marco: "I've brought you something." He takes a very lovely fur coat out of a garment bag, giving it to Gabrielle. [Note: The coat is made from the fur of some sort of small, surly mink-like creature - nothing sentient.] Gabrielle: "It's lovely." Marco: "Try it on." She does, and it's a perfect fit, but Marco looks at her and frowns. Marco: "Something's not right here. You're beautiful, so is the fur, but it just doesn't look quite right. I know - you're wearing far too much clothing." Since Marco's men did a rather quick fade once the fur was brought out, Gabrielle has no problem getting rid of the excess clothing, so the fur fits to Marco's taste.

The plan is being put into motion at the casino. Mitchell calls the contact number about the Borloi, and tells them "We'll deliver the shipment at 11:30 p.m., plus or minus five minutes. I don't want to hear about this again." He's trying to sound somewhat worried, which shouldn't be too much of a stretch, spinal mount or no spinal mount. Mitchell contacts Tabitha via the newsgroup, and tells her to meet him at the Usual Place, in one hour. Then he calls Megan. Mitchell: "Usual Place, one hour." Megan: "Yes sir." Malcolm goes to the hospital to give Ken the information. Malcolm: "We've managed to crack the case." Ken: "What case?" Malcolm: "The one you were working on. what do you remember?" Ken: "I'm not sure I know what the hell you're talking about." Malcolm: "Trevor sent me to tell you they're going to get the stuff, all of it." Ken: "Nice try, but Trevor would be smart enough to not send an Imperial I've met once." Malcolm: "Not smart, just desperate." Ken: "And I'm supposed to trust you?" Malcolm: "No, but if you suddenly get a lot of praise, just nod, and say it was mostly due to Trevor's stumbling onto it."

Trevor goes to Lt. Nagala, tells her there is a shipment of Borloi on the docks, gives her the location, and tells her "it's distribution weight, a huge amount." Nagala: "And how did you find out about this? I don't care personally, but SolSec is going to sweat my ass." Trevor: "I'm going to tell them too." Nagala: "How did you find out about it?" Trevor: "Ritter. The pilot." Trevor gives her a partially fabricated story about Mitchell recognizing Ritter as a drug runner he court-martialed. Trevor: "I cozied up to him, and met him in Smitty's ...." Mostly the truth, giving Ken the credit. Then Trevor goes to SolSec, to the Uniform Division, and give them the same info. They say they can have a team on Rainbow in ten minutes. No problem, there's plenty of time.

Several hours after his return (from the alternate dimension where he was in jail for 6 months apparently), Marco and Gabrielle have made it all the way to the bedroom, and are in the post-boinking, relaxed stage. Marco: "So did I miss anything? I hope you weren't bored." Gabrielle: "I wasn't bored. This is going to sound strange, but are you connected with Alexandra Kellerman?" There's a knock on the door, which Marco answers with "Come in!" [Men!] Gabrielle quickly covers up with the fur as Dr. Neil comes in with a file. Marco: "If you'll excuse me, I can see you're busy, but I thought you might want to be briefed on the current situation." Dr. Neil leaves, and Marco looks at the file back on the bed with Gabrielle. It's a run down of pretty much everything that's happened since Capeletti has been gone, but there's been a bit of judicious editing, and Gabrielle's involvement has been sort of glossed over. Marco leafs through the report then makes a call. Marco: "Tell my team to await my arrival....Yes....Yes, you'll receive what you need." He hangs up. Marco: <to Gabrielle> Something's come up. But don't get up, I'll be back soon." He gets up, throws on his uniform, and strides out.

At the Usual Place, Mitchell is joined first by Megan, then by a blonde (again) Tabitha. Tabitha: "Who's this? You've taken up baby-sitting?" Megan bristles, but Mitchell intervenes before things get ugly. Mitchell: "We don't have time for that. Megan, you need to get to the Admiral and tell him he's being set up. The shipment you're expecting isn't what you're expecting. You're being set up to get caught with 5 tons of Borloi oil." Megan leaves to take care of her mission. Mitchell: "Come with me Tabitha. We're going to intercept the Borloi oil, this is how you're going to get back in. You jumped the gun, and almost screwed everything up." They leave the bar.

Trevor phones the local news channel with a hot tip. Trevor: "It's Trevor Cavernon calling, and there's a big story going down on the docks. A big drug bust, and it's going down right now. Space 28, Cubicle 5." Trevor next calls Gabrielle. Trevor: "Hey, we're at the docks, come on down! And bring Dr. Neil - he's fun!" Gabrielle: "Have you been drinking?" Trevor: "Not yet." As soon as Trevor hangs up, Dr. Neil is back knocking on the bedroom door. Dr. Neil: "I thought you might be interested in seeing what's happening at the docks, but we'll have to hurry." Although certain people might appreciate Gabrielle showing up at the docking bays wearing nothing but a fur coat, Dr. Neil has brought her "something appropriate" to wear - a jumpsuit. He closes the door to let her change.

The announcement is made about the drug bust, with the primary spokesperson job being given to Tabitha. "As part of a sting operation, under the auspices of ...[naming her superior], and with the invaluable assistance of Officer Ken Oshida, and the local police..." Many pictures, reporters, SolSec agents. And Mr. Soames the generic man is with the SolSec agents, giving orders about loading the drugs on the truck. Mitchell takes Tabitha off to one side and warns her about Soames - he doesn't want him to get control of the drugs, but Tabitha doesn't think they can stop him. Then Capeletti comes strolling up, his goons - um, sterling officers in tow. Marco: "Fucking drugs. <to one of his men> Go to my car." Capeletti orders the barrels of Borloi gathered in a central area of the docking facility, away from anything that could be damaged since his man comes back from the car with a high tech flame-thrower rifle. Cool! Soames, who's been busily flashing his (?) SolSec ID tries to take back control of the situation, and the Borloi. Soames: "You can't do that. We have to take this into evidence and have it destroyed." Capeletti: "I intend to make sure it's destroyed. I'm not going to let it out of my sight until it is, and I wouldn't advise you interfere." Soames, fuming, turns on Mitchell when Capeletti ignores him.

Mr. Soames: "Captain Taylor, I just want you to know that you've made a very serious mistake." Mitchell: "Brizzk wasn't that good of a photographer." Soames: "What? What do you mean? Mitchell: "I found all the videotapes." Soames: "Is that supposed to be a threat?" Mitchell: "I don't make threats. Everyone makes mistakes. Guess I'm not making admiral, huh?" Soames: "I'd say that's definite." Mitchell: "I prefer a stand up fight." Soames: "That can be arranged. We'll meet again." Soames: "No doubt." He storms off, and Mitchell goes over to Capeletti. Mitchell: "General." Marco: "Taylor." Mitchell: "Nice you could make it."

Dr. Neil drives Gabrielle and himself, in his car. The doctor evidently does not usually do the driving, but he does seem to be under the impression that he's under the protection of God or the devil. They get to the docking bay in one piece, and in record time. No pedestrians were killed, but several were traumatized. Marco is pleased to see Gabrielle, and doesn't seem surprised. Marco: "You're just in time." Marco starts to step up to the barrels with the flame-thrower, then changes his mind and motions Gabrielle over. Marco: <handing her the weapon> "Here, you can do the honors. I don't think you had a chance to try one of these yet." He stands behind with his arms around her, and helps guide the flame-thrower. Marco: <to Gabrielle> "There's something romantic about a fire, don't you think?" It's quite the blaze, and the smoke will result in some pretty happy birds (and depending on the wind currents, some human residents). Marco: <to his men> "When the fire burns up, mix whatever's left with gasoline and dispose of it. And if anybody gets any bright ideas and tries to siphon some of it off - shoot them. That's an order." Scott: "Yes sir. Thank you sir."

The whole party eventually ends up at the Silver Rainbow, for a little post-bonfire get-together. Tabitha: "I owe you guys a lot." Trevor: "Don't try to shoot me next time. I told you I was on your side. Open the envelopes, go ahead." Trevor has filled out the blank pardons with names - for Tabitha, Malcolm, Mitchell, Gabrielle, and himself. No dates, so they can be used for any future emergencies. And he's kept a blank one, just in case. Dr. Neil: "There is one matter General. there are two people who are upset with our business associates." Marco: "Well, pass the word along Dr. Neil. these people work for me, and whoever fucks with them, fucks with me." Dr. Neil: "I'll do that sir." Mitchell: "We'll probably be hearing from the Kellermans at some point in the future." Malcolm: "Yes we will. Although they may have some problems at home - the spartans were extremely unhappy when one of their own failed."

93 to 107 - 1121.

Ritter's body isn't going to be found, and the rumor will be that he was working for SolSec, fell out of favor, and tried to cut himself a new deal. The Ephor, in his capacity of General Secretary of the Party will bring in Tadeoshi for questioning on the Borloi incident.

Tadeoshi's political career will be shot, and Aldemann will become the new prefect. No one can link anything to Tadeoshi directly, but if she didn't know about this mess, she should have - it happened on her watch. She'll probably be really pissed off about this. to Trevor will contact McNaughton, and explain about the Borloi oil and Brizzk, and the fact that Rebecca wasn't responsible for anything.

Mitchell goes to visit Admiral Tengatsu. Mitchell: "So. It appears that we get our way. This time." Tengatsu: "We were lucky." Mitchell: "Lucky. And some interesting information came to light through all of this. I happen to like Captain McNaughton, he's been a good associate. As far as he's concerned, Brizzk is the one who overdosed his daughter. As far as I'm concerned, it's still unsolved. I want to know if you killed her." Of course not, he's an admiral - that's what he has unpleasant people like Commander Holloway for. Tengatsu: "This is a war. The same as the one we fought against the Imperium, and unfortunately there will be casualties. Even innocents. Collateral damage. Unfortunate, but necessary." Mitchell: "I can accept collateral damage, as long as there's a just cause behind it." Tengatsu: "I won't deny it. I gave the order. And were I to be in the same position, I would do so again. I only hope that Captain McNaughton can find some peace." Mitchell: "As an officer, what we've said will not be repeated outside this room." Tengatsu: <nodding> "Carry on, Captain." Mitchell now has a better idea of the people with whom he's involved, and just exactly what they're capable of doing. The ends justify the means... Mitchell has kept the 5mm he didn't use on Tabitha, so at least he's not defenseless; good thing he doesn't have any children.

Trevor checks in with Ken, and tells him he's really sorry about the face. Ken: "Yeah, I'll be okay, but the doctors tell me I won't be able to grow a decent beard. Not that I ever could." Mitchell attends the official funeral for Colonel Hauks. Very touching, folded flag and everything. Tabitha is now a free woman.

Trevor's moving back to Freemantle, since Rainbow is too weird. Gabrielle is staying on Rainbow, although she'll have to do something about her few belongings in the apartment on Freemantle; Trevor is willing to help with that. Malcolm will just hang around and run his - um, Capeletti's casino, and Mitchell will continue to be the public image guy while juggling females. After all - what could possibly go wrong now?