Episode Ten


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 The Spice of Life


Bau is in the engine room and a slinky machine like and obviously female being comes from out of the engine. The being is very greased up with glistening oil and has funnels covering its breast areas. Bau asks the creature what it is.

"You know who I am, silly" the thing replies "I'm Serendipity and I need your caress on my parts!"

Bau drew his gun and said “Who are you?”

"You know darling, you need to find the third part of me as well so I can be whole again" Serendipity said in a voice dripping of honey.

Suddenly a large boiler tank like being with pistons for arms comes out and pushes Serendipity off Bau.

"Oh no you don't" he says in an annoyed tone. "I'm not having him back. He's a menace and we got rid of him for a good reason!" With that he begins pummelling the Vortex Inhibitor. "And I'm not going back there, I'd rather die!"

"No Herodian don't, we need to be together again!" Serendipity cries.

With that Herodian breaks the Pressure Inhibitor and a great clanking sound is heard as the engine stops.

Bau awakes to find the Captain asking over the intercom if there is anything wrong and wants to know what the hell has just happened.

Cue music….

Bau gets to work on the making a temporary fix on the Pressure Inhibitor, letting the Captain know whilst he was welding it that this was number three on the parts that needed replacing on the ship. He tells the Captain that the repair should get them to Hera, but he doesn’t guarantee it beyond that.

Joe goes and talks to the Captain telling her that Hera is the home to a Tong called Chew Ho Fung who would rather see his breathing privileges taken away and he’d rather not head out on the planet. He volunteered to act as a co-ordinator back on the ship.

As they approach Hera spaceport the Spaceport Controller asks Thomas how long they are staying. Unused to being asked such a question he says he’s not sure. The Spaceport Controller tells him that in a couple of days time there’s going to be a Hurricane coming through here, so they will need to take that into account.

Bau started doing some research into the origins of the Serendipity and scoured the ship for all hull markings from other ships. He took some time over this and then compared this list with a list of the 20,000 Mark I Fireflies that were built by Iskellian Technologies between 2464 and 2469. Only one ship’s name came up from this comparison and that was called the Busani.

Haidar Malou (Roger Malou’s eldest son) tells them that the Warehouse is just by the Spaceport about 5 minutes by mule around the corner and suggests that they go and have a look. A quick reconnaissance in the mule showed the Warehouse was one of six prefabricated units two stories high with a barbed wire topped fence around it. Haidar explained that the units were fairly well prized, as they were so close to the Spaceport.

Haidar then took them across the cornfields to the town of Drystone Gulch nearby to meet with their lawyer Grant Beasley as he’d already booked an appointment there. Grant outlined the history of the case to the crew.

Solomon Lissau, the brother in law of Roger Malou, was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and died five months ago and left him the warehouse in his will. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about five years ago, although he’d had it for ten years. The warehouse became less used during his lifetime Solomon’s lifetime as the business became more run down. He had disowned his son five years ago and changed his will in front of his solicitor and three witnesses (Dr Bruce Nagel, the family doctor, Yvette Cooper a business friend and Hewell Morgan a customer who made widgets). His son Benjamin contested the will and got the family doctor to say that he was not in his right mind when he made the new will. The son is reported to connections to the Tong Chew Ho Fung. In court the Benjamin brought forth neighbours as witnesses to testify that the old man would often rant and rave showing a deranged state of mind whilst he played the loving yet misunderstood son.

Eleanor asked to borrow the local law books and was invited to come back and read them when she needed to. She was also given a full copy of the case notes to work with and Thomas promised to look through them as well. They decided to make an appointment and go and talk to Dr Nagel.

On the way over to see Doctor Nagel Thomas spotted his former partner Detective Easley coming towards him down the street. Thomas calculated the options in his mind before deciding to walk past her. Bea had other thoughts on the subject however and stopped to talk with him demanding what he was doing here. He said that he was here in business. She told him that she didn’t want him messing things up here for her again after she got busted down when he got fired. This was her big chance and she didn’t want Thomas messing it up. Thomas told her that he wasn’t guilty before and that he would keep out her way. She gave him a stare and carried on.

In the doctor’s office the receptionist showed them to Dr Nagel’s office past the rows of sick patients in the office. Dr Nagel seemed nervous and was smoking very nervously as they spoke to him. He told them that he felt that Solomon was not in his right mind when he wrote the will although he attended at the time “as a favour” to the old man. When Thomas accused him of lying Dr Nagel threw them out and would not let them see Solomon Lissau’s medical records.

Bau took his findings on the ship’s origins to Captain Flint and together they tried to trace more of its history. They sent a wave to Benjamin Tang asking him if he knew whom Josiah Flint bought the ship from. He told them the following tale….

“Josiah Flint won a share of the ship in a poker game. As part owner he travelled on the ship “until the war came with its bounteous opportunities”. During the war the previous majority owner was killed in a highly risky venture and the ship was damaged. His share of the ship went to the fella’s brother who ‘didn’t want to be anywhere near that hunk of junk’. So Flint borrowed the money and bought him out, repairing the ship as well and became its Captain. They made good money during the war and his repayments were going well, but shortly after the war Flint told me he got ‘hit by a double whammy’. Flint had known me for a while as one of his contacts for parts and since he mainly trusted me he offered you a 35% stake in the ship in exchange for money.”

They tried looking for records of the Busani and found the original owner was a man named Merryk James. A search of the records for the Busani found only one record of the ship. It seems that the ship was destroyed somehow in an explosion in 2474 near to Shadow. It appears that the Captain Andrew Givens of the Alliance Cruiser S.V. Dominator was the first on the scene of the explosion and wrote a report on what he found. Captain Flint searched for Andrew Givens and found he was now in a retirement home on Londinium.

Joe comm’ed Fey and told her he was having problems getting parts to repair the ship as the dock workers were short of people as so many people were reporting in sick. They were struggling to get people to help sort out the ships they already had in the Spaceport, let alone take on any new work.

Eleanor decided to look up the ex-staff of Solomon Lissau’s company and get an impression of the man’s competence to help prove her case. She sent a wave to his Warehouse Manager, Mick Hutton and spoke to his wife. She told Eleanor to come round after dinner and they would talk.

Eleanor, Thomas and Pinto went round to talk to Mick Hutton and were invited to have coffee. Mick Hutton told them he liked the old man Solomon and although they didn’t always see eye to eye he respected the old man’s judgement. It was only three years ago that the old man’s judgement started going and they stopped picking up new clients when the business started going downhill. He also told them that he’d been let go now by the son Benjamin and was working on a new job now. Benjamin had also let most of the other staff go and had sold off two of the three company ships. He assumed that it was because Benjamin needed the money to pay off debts.

The crew decided that they would stay in the Spacefarer Inn Hotel by the Warehouse that night. Thomas got a room overlooking the warehouse and decided to stay up till midnight to observe it, but he didn’t see anything interesting. Next morning Thomas was heading to breakfast and a shifty looking guy called Splodger offered him some Bliss in the morning. He refused but it was not a drug he’d heard of before, so it had to be something new on the streets.

Eleanor tried to send a Wave to Benjamin’s sister Layla, but got no reply so she left a message. She then sent a Wave to Yvette Cooper who ran a refuelling company out of the Spaceport and agreed to meet them for lunch.

Since they had not heard back from Layla Pinto was dispatched to Layla’s house. On the way there he spotted Thomas’ friend Detective Easley surreptitiously following a Policeman. He contacted Thomas and told him as such, but Thomas decided not to intervene.

Yvette told them that Solomon was still lucid until 3 years before his death. As his lover for some years she knew him better than most, though the judge ruled out her testimony due to her relationship. Her opinion was that the judge was in the pocket of the Tongs and that any appeal they might make would likely fall on deaf ears. She also mentioned to them that Benjamin married the Tong Chew Ho Fung’s daughter Xu five years ago, which was one of the causes of the falling out between the two of them. The crew asked her if she’d be prepared to give them a statement and she was more than happy to, although she’d testified to that effect at the original case. She also mentioned that about 5 months ago (just after Solomon died) Layla was found having taken an overdose of Bliss and this unbalanced her brain. She was now in a psychiatric hospital.

Eleanor, Pinto and Thomas went to see Layla in the hospital and although she seemed mad in her unrecognisable answers, they detected she had some sense behind them. They called upon Dr Wu (who was busy chasing ladies) to come and help them make sense of her brain. Dr Wu eventually made a connection and was able to find that she overheard Benjamin telling his Tong friends about operations in the warehouse. She was caught however by Benjamin’s wife and she was the one who overdosed Lyla to ensure that she would not tell the authorities about the operation.

Thomas did some investigation in the Spaceport and discovered a ship called the Concordia that matched the type of ship that the Police used for undercover work.

Finally the crew sends a wave to Hewell Morgan who backs up what the others said about Solomon, but he is not prepared to testify to that effect as it will affect his business. The implication is that if he did the Tongs would retaliate against him.

Captain Flint decided that the ship would take off into orbit to ride out the morning hurricane whilst Thomas, Eleanor and Pinto ride out the storm below in the hotel. Thomas set his alarm for 1am and set up a camera to watch the warehouse. About 3am in morning a covered mule came out of the warehouse but Thomas could not tell what was in it.  

Next morning the hotel residents were awoken early to head down to the basement to ride out the storm. Thomas however formulated a plan to do a reconnaissance on the warehouse with Pinto with the storm as cover. He sent a wave to Captain Flint to tell her of his plans before the storm caused all long-range communications to be lost. An aircar was picked up by the wind a smashed through the fence giving Thomas and Pinto a way in to the rear entrance of the warehouse.

Pinto opened the doors and Thomas started taking pictures of the rows and rows of Bliss plants being grown here when two Tong thugs came around the corner. Thomas and Pinto cut their losses and decided to flee and were initially successful in avoiding the Tong bullets, but the wind took Pinto away over the fence as he was shot. Thomas meanwhile went around the corner and tried to get through the fence but was shot as he got snagged on the fence. He struggled to get off the fence and eventually decided to play dead. Pinto put a call in to Eleanor to ask her to call the police before trying to rescue Thomas. Thomas indicated that Pinto should leave him, and as he turned to go a sniper killed one of the Tongs. This enabled Thomas to free himself and get away back to the hotel. Pinto got Eleanor to wave the police and call them off. Thomas decided he would risk the storm to go round to the Spaceport where he knocked on the door of the Concordia. After several attempts Detective Easley opened the door and invited him in. Thomas explained that they had found the illegal operation in the warehouse and that they had evidence that the Tongs were using it to make drugs. Detective Easley explained that they had it under surveillance and that they were trying to get evidence against the big players. Thomas’ interference meant they would have to go in and arrest the minnows whilst the big fish got away. Thomas proudly said that they would have waited forever and that he’d helped clear up a crime. Bea was not pleased and told Thomas so.

After the storm finished the Serendipity came back down. Eleanor tried to lodge a claim for the warehouse and found that the Alliance had confiscated it as part of their investigation into Benjamin Lissau who had now been arrested. Eleanor would need to lodge an appeal with a federal judge who would arrive in a week. Layla now officially owned the last remaining ship and the crew sold it to help pay for some speech therapy for her.

Captain Flint contacted Roger Malou who was pleased with the result and asked Eleanor to put in her expense claim. He also told Captain Flint that one of his contacts had seen Dr Weir's ship on Tetrix, one of the small satellites around Lilac. Captain Flint toyed with the idea of going to Londinium to talk with Andrew Givens about Busani, but decided they would head to Tetrix to sort Dr Weir out once and for all.