Episode Three


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 Sex, White Lies and Bioscans


The crew was heading towards the fair when suddenly Gau Bau Lim's eyes rolled in his head and he began thrashing about wildly. The others rushed to him as he dropped to the floor.

Young Bau was playing when his mother came bringing a strange white man wearing a tweed suit with her.

"Bau its time for your tests again. Go with Uncle Harland sweetie." His mother said.

Bau followed the strange man, slightly intimidated by him to a room with a single desk in a trailer. Uncle Harland tried to talk to Bau nicely in that strange intimidating way that some adults have.

"Now Bau I'm going to take a card from the deck. I want you to tell me what it is without looking." He said.

"I don't know - Six of Spades" young Bau said quickly. The man shook his head and placed a wooden block on the table.

"Now I want you to move this without touching it, just using your mind." Uncle Harland said. Bau desperately wanting to get out of this place put on a show of struggling to try and move it without success.

More tests later and Uncle Harland was filling crosses in all the columns on his clipboard.

"It looks like you're not developing as we expected." Uncle Harland said. "Still another ten to check."

Feeling a failure Bau left crying...

Cue Music ....

Bau awoke at the fair lying on the ground in the recovery position. Dr Wu was advising the others what to do, and Captain Flint was worried for her crewmember.

"He's just had a fit. I assume its something he gets regularly." Dr Wu said. Bau confirmed that he'd had fits intermittently throughout his life and that he soon recovered from them. Captain Flint commented quietly to some of the others that they would need to keep an eye on this when Bau was in a dangerous situation as it could jeopardize things.

The crew headed on to the fair and Pinto was soon at the rifle range showing off his prowess with the gun. Even with the sight skewed slightly to the right he was able to notch up a more than respectable score and win a huge stuffed turtle. Nathaniel and Joe also showed that they too could shoot well and also won themselves large plush turtles. The crew took a further look around the fair and then Pinto, Eleanor, Dr Wu and Nathaniel decided to head further into the town and try and find something to drink. There was a large inn in the town and on going in Pinto ordered a whiskey. The barman poured him a shot and he took a gulp. Eleanor asked the barman what else he had. Not being used to being asked this question he tentatively said they had water as well. So it was that the others all ordered a whiskey each. Eleanor and Dr Wu were not used to whiskey and the less than smooth vintage they served at this bar was quite a shock to them both. Pinto began chatting to one of the local girls and seemed to be doing fairly well.

Meanwhile outside near the outskirts of the fair by the speaker’s platform Captain Flint, Bau and Nathaniel lined up to listen to the opening speech by Captain Wildheart under the large banner proclaiming “ALLIANCE REWARDS THOSE WHO REWARD THEMSELVES".

“Thanks to the good Alliance people of Verbena, our shoe factory is opening ten days ahead of schedule. Verbena was scarcely surviving, barely more than a piece of barren rock, but now with the Alliance factory opening you and your families will be able to lead full and satisfying lives.

Then a huge massive explosion blew out the factory. Debris flew all over the place and people were running around in panic. Those that could stomach the whiskey quickly downed it before racing out of the bar to see what was going on.

"Damn treacherous Browncoats," shouts came from the crowd.

Captain Wildheart seemed to be urgently ordering men around, some to set up a field hospital for the injured, and others to try and settle down the crowd. Captain Flint found Nathaniel and suggested that he go and warm up the engines in case they needed to leave. Captain Flint edged closer to try and hear what the officers were talking about and learnt that they already had a suspect. A deputation around Captain Wildheart was baying for Browncoat blood as they'd ruined the chances of a recovery on Verbana now that the shoe factory was destroyed.

Captain Wildheart stood up and told people not to panic and that they would have everything under control soon. Louis Wu headed to the field hospital and made his services available as a doctor. Several of the injured were being ferried in using Alliance troops, and Dr Wu did his best to save them.

Captain Wildheart ordered that all ships would be used for the pursuit of the suspect who had made off in a small shuttle. There would be a CR 5,000 reward for the capture of the suspect. Bounty hunters would be assigned to each of the ships to assist in the search. Captain Wildheart gave Lieutenant Hunter a picture and pointed to the Serendipity. Lieutenant Hunter came over to Captain Flint whilst Captain Wildheart disappeared away towards the Spaceport.

"Since your ship is the closest I'll be coming along on it in the pursuit. Captain Wildheart will be monitoring the progress from the base. Oh and we'll have a couple of local bounty hunters along for their local knowledge." He stated as though there was no argument on the subject. He handed Captain Flint the picture of the suspect - one Alleyne Hill. The two bounty hunters Gunter and Mather seemed to be local men who wanted revenge on the suspect. Gunter chatted happily to Pinto about their guns and showed not a scrap of good sense. Captain Flint questioned Lieutenant Hunter further about the suspect.

As soon as Louis Wu was aboard from the field hospital, Lieutenant Hunter gave the vector co-ordinates of the shuttle to Nathaniel Grade - with a number of snippy comments about following his orders. Nathaniel found that his head was starting to throb slightly. Captain Flint shared the information she had with her crew and they determined they needed to ditch the two bounty hunters as soon as they could. It seemed that the suspect Alleyne Hill had been taken on as an electrical engineer in the factory. The explosion happened in an area that she had been working and what is more she had stolen the shuttle and taken off south soon after the explosion. Further she had a record with the Alliance for graffiti and stealing and had spent some time in a young offenders institution. Lieutenant Hunter was clear in his mind that she was guilty.

Nathaniel noticed despite his headache that the shuttle had started to follow a regular pattern and he determined that it had in fact been put on autopilot and that the occupant had probably ditched earlier. He tracked back the course to the shores of a large lake where she probably had ditched. He notified the Captain, who told him to continue, as she wanted to ditch the bounty hunters. The shuttle continued for a while until it eventually ran out of fuel in a forest. They landed the Serendipity nearby and they went to explore the shuttle remains. They found little as expected, and suggested that perhaps Gunter and Mather remain here to try and see if they could track the culprit whilst the ship backtracked on her trail. Lieutenant Hunter agreed to this, but disappointingly said that he would stay with the ship and fill in Captain Wildheart on progress.

The lake had at its centre a huge Cathedral on an island. As they flew over Nathaniel noticed the instruments behaving strangely and he determined that there was some kind of interference coming from the island. Since the tide was low now the causeway that was available to cross to the island. Joe, Bau, Pinto and Eleanor went across whilst Captain Flint, Nathaniel and Dr Wu stayed with the ship and the Lieutenant. Pinto determined that tracks on the beach into the water headed to the Cathedral. They crossed and were met at the door by a Priest who requested that they leave their guns at the entrance. They complied and headed into the Cathedral to be met by Father Allesandro Valerio. He told them that there was an enclave of Bishops going on at present but that they were welcome to come in and pray or take confession should they wish.

Eleanor asked about the young girl who had recently come here and was told that she had requested Sanctuary, which had been granted. She was currently getting changed, but they could talk to her later. Eleanor explained to the others the legal situation revolving around the principle of Sanctuary in a church and that the Alliance could not come in here and storm the Cathedral to get her. Bishop Lorenzo Marques came out to talk to them in a friendly manner. Bau spotted a man in Church robes sneaking around the top balcony and decided to go and check out the "Ninja Priest".

Joe tried to communicate back with the ship but found that the comms were being interfered with somehow. As he took them to visit Alleyne, the Priest Father Valerio explained that the Cathedral was built on the site of a miraculous healing that took place here some 100 years ago and that as a result was a holy place. The healing was attributed to God although scientists had determined there was a strong natural magnetic field here, which interrupted communications.

Alleyne Hill was wearing an ill fitting Priestly robe over her slight frame. Her wet hair was now drying and she was slightly shocked to see the visitors enter the room with the Priest. The Priest spoke calmly saying that she was still under the churches protection and that these people merely wanted to talk to her. Alleyne declared that she was innocent and that she was being framed by the Alliance based on her past misdemeanors. Joe asked her why she had run and she told them that it was because she was fearful that the Alliance would try to pin this on her. The group left with the Priest and went back downstairs.

Meanwhile in the upper balcony the "Ninja Priest" sidled up to Bau who was looking for him. He introduced himself as Cardinal Santo Russo and told Bau that he was an abomination to God and that he was the enemy of the church. Bau asked the Cardinal to elaborate, as he was stunned at the sudden accusation.

"You are not born of God via a man and a woman. You are an abomination and should be killed." The Cardinal replied. When asked how he could tell this, the Cardinal explained that he was a special envoy to the pope specifically appointed to root out this evilness from the Alliance and eliminate it. Bau decided it was best if he got out of the Cathedral quickly and headed out to the shoreline to signal to the Serendipity.

At this point there was another explosion in the upstairs room. Joe was first to react and headed up to where Alleyne was. To his relief Alleyne was unhurt, but a room a little down the corridor had been destroyed. It was where Alleyne’s clothes were. Joe determined from his knowledge of explosives and the debris that there had been a small bomb, probably placed in one of Alleyne's shoes. Joe waved off the others and said that he wanted to talk with Alleyne alone. Joe identified himself as her cousin, citing his knowledge of the family to gain Alleyne's trust, and asked her if she really did it. At this point she opened up and told him that she had hated the Alliance for a long time since her mother had told her that father, Graham Suddenham, had been unfairly imprisoned and killed by the Alliance. This was why he had never married her and had left them alone. She had gotten into trouble, rebelling with graffiti and petty theft. She had broken into the high security Boros shipyards on a whim and stolen a disk, which she had gone to juvenile prison for. Once she got out she'd been met by a woman called Jade Zho who she'd met in a bar on Panquin and recruited her to strike a blow against the Alliance. She was surprised when she was told that people had died as she'd been told no one would be in the factory when it exploded. She was due to be picked up here by the resistance, but after her shoe exploded she knew that she'd been double-crossed. She now had little hope since she could not go back to the rebels - who obviously wanted her dead so that she could not tell the Alliance about them, and could not let the Alliance capture her.

Joe who knew differently who her father really was, told her that he'd see what he could do to help her. He went back down and told the others an edited version of what Alleyne had told him and convinced them that they ought to help Alleyne.

Meanwhile back on the ship Lieutenant Hunter had contacted Captain Wildheart and requested backup from a drop ship. These troops had come down and started exploring the perimeter. The tide had come in and covered the causeway meaning that the only way that they could get across was by shuttle. Captain Flint, together with Louis Wu piloted the shuttle across the lake, obstensively to pick up Bau who was signaling, but also to take Lieutenant Hunter and two of his men across.

Lieutenant Hunter headed to the Cathedral and was met by the Priest on the door. Hunter ordered the Priest to hand over Alleyne Hill who was a suspect in a terrorist outrage. The Priest calmly explained that the young lady was granted Sanctuary by the church. Lieutenant Hunter brashly told the Priest it was his civic duty to hand her over and if he didn't he was a traitor. After a few more of Hunter's threats the Priest told Hunter that he would not be allowed in the church with his men. Hunter threatened dire consequences.

Captain Flint having spoken briefly to Bau entered the Cathedral with Dr Wu. Joe apprised Captain Flint of the situation and there was some discussion on whether they should help Alleyne or hand her in for the reward. Pinto wondered if there was a secret tunnel out from the church and they determined to try and find out. Eleanor spoke to Bishop Marques and told him that they were in an awkward situation, citing the example of the previous case to back up her argument. It would be better all round if the crew of the Serendipity took the problem of Alleyne away from the church. She asked if perhaps there was a secret way out of the Cathedral. The Bishop said that indeed there was a secret tunnel that went out through the crypt under the water into the forest. A plan was formed whereby Joe would smuggle Alleyne out of the Cathedral via the tunnel. Joe and Pinto checked the tunnel out to see where it would come out so that they could come back across this way later.

Meanwhile Louis Wu was startled by Cardinal Russo sidling up behind him. Like Bau he was told he was an abomination not formed by God and that the Catholic Church wanted to eliminate such abominations from the world. Louis Wu asked how he could tell that he was an abomination and the Cardinal took him up to a secret room above the entrance where he showed Louis a series of screens. One of them did a genetic analysis via a bioscan and showed anomalies in his DNA.

"You have been created by man's tinkering, trying to play God. The church will not permit this, and next time we see your kind you will be eliminated. I already have been absolved of my sins in this by the Pope himself." Louis did not wish to stay in the church and headed back outside. Captain Flint began to head out but was caught by the Cardinal who wanted a word. He could see that she was a good Catholic and it was her duty to obey the word of God. She had a number of abominations on her ship who were not born of God and she should search her conscience and remove them from the world before God's anger came down upon them. Shocked Captain Flint made no promises and left the Cathedral. She piloted them all back across the lake to the Serendipity.

Meanwhile Captain Wildheart had arrived to take control over operations here. Lieutenant Hunter wanted to storm the Cathedral, but Captain Wildheart said that they must use a diplomatic solution. She determined to take some diplomats across to the Cathedral to negotiate. Lieutenant Hunter was visibly not in agreement with the decision, but had to comply with the Captain's orders.

Meanwhile Joe headed back into the Cathedral to get Alleyne and Pinto prepared the mule with Horse's dung to take outside into the woods. The Alliance troopers took one look at the dung and let him go through. Pinto met up with Joe and Alleyne at the entrance in the woods and hid Alleyne under the dung. He then headed back to the ship in the mule.

Whilst Alleyne was showering off the stench of the dung, Captain Flint requested permission to leave since the Alliance now had control of the situation. This was granted and they took off. Then the debate began on whether they should give Alleyne up for the reward or should help her escape. There was some debate about it and Bau and Benjamin wanted to give her up for the reward. Eventually Captain Flint was persuaded to help Alleyne. Benjamin took this decision badly and said that he couldn't work on a ship, which made poor decisions such as this. He wanted out and was open to offers for his share of the ship. Joe had money stashed away and volunteered to buy out his share. They dropped Benjamin off in Verbana town and refueled where they decided what to do with the fugitive Alleyne. It was agreed that she could not stay on the ship and that she'd have to be dropped off somewhere. Initially it was decided to head for Athens to drop her off there.

Meanwhile Louis Wu and Pinto (who both fancied Alleyne) turned on the charm with her. Much as Pinto thought that he was a ladies man, his chat up lines lead something to be desired. The handsome Dr Wu however was much more of a catch and Alleyne fell for his charms. Pinto stormed off slightly disgruntled that he'd been beaten in the art of wooing.

Nathaniel's headaches were starting to get worse and Dr Wu did not have the equipment on the ship to find out what the problem was. He would need to get to a hospital on one of the core planets to get a check up.

Part way through the journey to Athens, Joe had his father to ask for his help with Alleyne. His father confirmed that both Joe's Aunt and himself were being watched. He said he'd help, giving Joe a contact on Panquin who could help Alleyne get a new identity. So the ship was turned around and it was decided to head towards Panquin. Captain Flint was interested about the disk and determined that it was a disk that was stolen from her father's office. She questioned Alleyne about the disk and found that she had hidden it on the top of a tower on Londinium. Alleyne said she had no need of the disk and that Captain Flint could have it if she wanted.

Captain Flint decided that they would go to Panquin to drop off Alleyne and try and get another job that would take them to Londinium. There they would recover the disk and Nathaniel could get his brain scanned at hospital.

On Panquin Joe soon made contact with the man his father had set up to meet him and he was able to get Alleyne set up with a new identity. Louis Wu did not seem all that upset that Alleyne was leaving him and happily set about looking at the flasks that were hidden in the compartment at the front of the ship....