Episode Six Pt 2


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 High Stakes Part 2 - Aces High


The smoke washes over the battlefield as Bau lies beneath a piece of heavy machinery lying on top of him. The machinery has fallen on his head and he is badly bleeding on the side of his head. He cannot lift the machinery even if he wasn't in his groggy state. Lying there hopeless he awaited death. Out of the mist though can striding Sargeant Drew Frost gun at the ready to fight off any Alliance troopers. Seeing his Private in trouble he strained and lifted the heavy machinery off Bau and tended to his wound. In his wounded and delierious state Bau murmered.

"Thanks, you saved my life. One day I must repay you..."

Cue Theme Music .....

Delores finds Eleanor and gives her she has the money for Pinto's vet bill for his horse and asks if she could give it to him. Eleanor tells Delores that Maxwell is around somewhere and gives Delores his adopted parents address. Delores determines to go and look for him in town.

A man comes in dressed in Khaki and calls out for Thomas Flynn. It seems that his ship has been sold and that the man from the spaceport has the money order for him. He just needs to sign the forms and the money is his. Thomas signs them and transfers them to his bank to clear the loan for his entry to the Poker tournament.

Two 12 year old kids enter the bar area with guns drawn and are preparing to shoot them at people in the bar. Both Pinto and Joe draw their guns and Joe orders them to put their weapons down. As he does the kids fire their cap guns and no one is hurt. The kids start to run and Joe catches the nearest one rugby tackling him to the ground. The Sheriff is called from the security control room and Captain Flint comes out to give chase to the other kid who has a head start on her. A deputy arrives and takes the kid away for a severe telling off. Fey eventually catches the other kid after a long run and gets him to confess that he was paid to do the stunt by John and Juliana Hemp. She eventually lets the kid go telling him how stupid he has been.

Later Pinto leaves the security room to do his rounds of the building. As he is in the bar the Sheriff enters with two deputies and arrests his as Maxwell on the charge of murder. Pinto tells him that he is not Maxwell but that he is called Harrison and shows him his ID. The Sheriff asks Pinto why he lied earlier and pretended to be Maxwell but Pinto plays dumb to the whole thing. Eleanor enters the bar and tells the Sheriff that she is his lawyer and that if he is arresting Harrison (Pinto) then she will accompany them. Pinto initially plays dumb at the questioning, but the Sheriff tells them he has a witness who saw Pinto and three others enter the warehouse with guns drawn. Spotting Pinto's gun on him, the Sheriff takes it off him and gets one of his deputies to take the gun to ballistics to check whether it had been fired and whether it matched any of the bullets at the scene. Realising that the Sheriff had a substantial body of evidence Eleanor changed tact and came clean on the fact that Pinto his associates had it fact "rescued" her after she had been kidnapped by the Hemps henchmen. They had acted in self defence when fired upon by the Henchmen in the basement. Sheriff Houseman told them that it was not clear that they had acted in self defence so Pinto would have an arrainment hearing next morning to determine if this would go to trial. The Sheriff asked for the names of the other individuals involved, but both refused to co-operate on this.

Bau walks across the bar area and notices his old Sargeant, Drew Frost, drinking there. He nods to him and indicates that he will be back in a while to talk. Bau returns and buys him a drink and talks to him. Frost tries to get Bau to rejoin the cause but he refuses to get involved saying that the time to rekindle old fights in not now. Frost says no more and they part having finished their drinks.

On hearing of the situation with Pinto from Eleanor, Captain Flint she decided that she must act in an honourable way and went to the Sheriff to inform him of the people involved on the raid on the warehouse and the noble reasons that they had done it for. She did this with her comm open so that all could hear her doing this. The Sheriff told her that he didn't care for her reasons in that he didn't approve of vigilantees in his town and that they should have come to him first. He therefore arrested Captain Flint as well. She then in desperation tried to bribe the Sheriff, which he took with poor grace. He then put her in the cell with Pinto. Captain Flint told him that they were needed to prevent a robbery at the Casino and that only they could prevent it. The Sherrif told her he would send a couple of deputies to the Bruins Casino to sort things out there.

On hearing their Captain's confession and the fact that two deputies would be heading to the Casino, Joe and Bau decided to leave quickly and went across town to another inn. They spent some time searching for John and Juliana Hemp but to no avail. Bau moved the Serendipity and took a shuttle back to a location close to the town.

Thomas decided to try and do some of his own investigation at the crime scene in the warehouse before the Poker tournament started again, but he found the warehouse guarded by one of the Sheriff's deputies. He left and headed back to the Poker tournament.

Denny came out looking for Captain Flint and Eleanor lied that she was dealing with Security matters elsewhere.

The tournament was therefore guarded by Dr Wu in the tournament room and Eleanor in the security office. Craig McDonough was kncoked out early and in a very aggrevated state stormed out. To everyone's suprise Betsy Li got into a high stakes hand with Orson Blake which she lost and was knocked out of the tournament. Thomas Flynn was knocked back a bit, but still in and it was Miguel and Orson who remained ahead. Later on Babette Fontaine was also whittled away, leaving just four competitors in by 10:30pm.

Suddenly three men and a woman burst into the Casino at 10:30pm and shot the two deputies on the door. Eleanor from her safe position in the security office noted that two of them were John and Juliana Hemp. She was supirsed when a minute later they were followed down the corridoor by another two men and a Chinese lady. Eleanor set the Fire alarm off and ordered an evacuation of the building. She then radioed Joe and Bau for help, but they were 5 minutes away. She called the Sheriff for back up.

Dr Wu and Thomas filed out with the rest of them, noting a man outside the hotel with a rifle guarding 6 horses tied to a rail. Dr Wu considered scaring the horses but thought better of it.

Meanwhile inside the safe room Eleanor watched as one of the Casino security guards murdered the other two. The Hemps and their henchmen came in and started to try the safe combination but were frustrated as it had been changed. They got some dynamite out to blow it, but were interrupted by the second group shooting them. Eleanor watched as the Hemp's and their henchmen were taken down in a clinical manner and the group entered the room. A shorter man with glasses was accompanied by Drew Frost and Jade Zho. The short man (nicknamed "Moleman") pulled out a stethoscope and cracked the safe in less than a minute. They put the loot in a bag and then blew the window in the next door office and started to get in a waiting hovvermule.

At this point the Sheriff and his two men were entering the front of the Casino with Joe and Bau waiting by the rubbish piles at one end of the back alley. They shot the driver as the others were climbing out and then shot Zho, but Frost managed to get the mule to start to climb away. Bau with his knowledge of machinery shot at the underside of the mule and managed to hit a coolant pipe. The mule rose away but started to stutter. Seeing this Thomas did a lightning calcultaion in his head and he estimated that the mule would come down some 400 yards away. He relayed this information to Eleanor through the barred security office window. Bau and Joe ran after the mule, looking for an oppotunity to shoot, but only caught up once it had crashed just outside the town. They spotted a figure still behind the mule and headed off to find cover behind a neighbouring building to the right of the trail. The Sheriff, his two deputies and Dr Wu arrived a short while later and Sheriff Houseman radioed to the Spaceport for them to lauch the Interceptor to come and get the men.

Joe sneaked closer in the dark to the crahsed mule with Bau following on a bit behind. The Sherrif ordered his deputies to sneak round the other side whilst he directed operations. Dr Wu followed the deputies round. Joe to a shot at a figure in cover behind the mule and the man fired back shortly afterward. The participants could soon here the noise of engines and this turned out to be a Firefly that had come to pick up the criminals.

A gun battle ensued during which a deputy was shot, the Moleman escaped up the ramp of the Firefly. A sniper in the ship was firing back at Joe and he got hit in the armour a couple of times. Drew Frost made it up onto the ramp before he was felled by a bullet, although his armour meant he was not killed. Jade Zho made the run to the ship last as the Incerceptor came into sight. She was felled in a hail of bullets from Joe, Bau and the remaining deputy. She was hit in the side of the face before being stunned unconscious at the base of the ramp. The Firefly was forced to take off and Jade Zho's body fell off the ramp.

Bau and Joe backed away as Dr Wu did field medicine to try and patch up the deputy and Jade Zho. He was concerned about her head injury and Sheriff Houseman ordered a horse and cart come to take the injured back to a doctor's in town. The doctor unfamiliar with such serious injuries let Dr Wu do the analysis and surgery on Jade Zho. He estimated she should not be moved for another 8 hours and informed the Sheriff that she should not be taken to jail until then. Her injuries would mean she'd be unconsious for at least 12 hours.

Eleanor checked the dead in the office and found John Hemp was still alive, the bullet not having hit a major organ and having gone straight through. She arranged for him to be sent to Dr Wu who patched him and had him transferred to the jail.

The Sheriff returned to his jail with the wounder John Hemp where he started to consider letting Pinto and Captain Flint go. However just as he was Captain Flint said he could have avoided this and called him an incompetant idiot. This changed his mind and he determined that they would still go for arrainment next morning.

Overnight Pinto got a stone sent through the cell bars. He looked out an saw a shadowy figure by the jail cell window. The figure shone a torch on Pinto's window and said

"So it's true - you do have my face."

Pinto asked his twin Harrison if he'd met Delores and Maxwell confirmed that she had indeed found him. Maxwell asked if Harrision wanted him to bust them out of jail as he like pissing of the Sheriff, but Pinto declined as he didn't want to be on the run. He asked Maxwell to get his mother to try and help if she could.

Next morning Eleanor arrived at the Sheriff's office as Jad Zho was being transferred unconcious to jail by the last man. The Sheriff was getting a call from someone telling him that the Firefly had been downed in an outlying region and that they were pursuing the criminals. Eleanor asked for the evidence file against her clients and then they went to the courthouse, noting the Sheriff looking at the reward poster for Jade's capture with a 20,000 Credit bounty.

As the case was starting Delores made an enterance on the arm of Governer Ford and say at the back of the room.

The case was outlined to Judge Harcourt by the prosecution lawyer detailing the evidence they had against Fey and Harrison. Eleanor as defense lawyer outlined a clever and convincing arguement in their defence, and it seemed that the judge was swayed, but needed an excuse to release them. He suggested a recess of an hour where he would consider the evidence. There Eleanor and Delores tried to pursuade the Governer to intervene and pardon Fey and Harrison, but they did not manage to be their normal charming selves and he was not persuaded.

After the recess the Judge summed up that although the defence had a pursuasive arguement there was probably a case to answer. He started saying however when a note was handed to him by the Sheriff. The judge then said aloud.

"It seems the Sheriff is willing to drop the charges against the two defendents if he receives an apology for their actions." Fey gave a look of determination and Eleanor asked to consult with her clients. Fey was determined as a matter of principle she would not apologise, but after Eleanor stated that if he continued her stubborness she would refuse to represented her Fey relented and gave a grudging apology. The pair were freed but the case would be left on the records. Pinto went to hug his mother and whispered a quiet thanks in her ear. The Sheriff advised Eleanor that they probably should get out of town as soon as they could and not come back again.

Back at the Casino Denny reported that the Moleman (Peter Hemming) had been captured and that the money was being transferred back to Santo City that afternoon. The poker tournament could therefore continue, and the combination on the safe was changed and the place was cleaned up. Eleanor put in a claim for the reward on Jade Zho on behalf of Joe and Bau.

Dr Wu decided to go and check on his patients at the Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff was talking to some Alliance officials about their coming to collect Jade. It seemed that an Alliance Cruiser would be here in a days time. Dr Wu tried to get Jade to give him a message to take back to her contacts, but not knowing who he was she would not talk. Then Dr Wu mentioned that he knew Alleyne Hill and a though popped into his head "How does he know about her?". Dr Wu briefly checked John Hemp, then hurriedly left announcing they both looked well enough.

Before the tournament Thomas asked if he could have a drink and a chat with Betsy Li after the tournament and she told him she'd be delighted. Eleanor finally got round to giving Pinto the money from his mother and he went round to pay the Vet and collect Horse.

At the tournament Earl Daggerson got knocked out early, and then Orson slowed whittled away his advantage he'd built up until he too was knocked out. This left just Miguel Del Mondo and Thomas Flynn in, with Thomas eventually losing a large hand he was in the minority stakes and there was no coming back for Thomas. As the tournament was endeding Dr Wu accidently made a mental connection to Betsy Li and both were suprised to hear each other in their minds. They agreed to meet afterwards and talk with Thomas. Denny awarded the trophy and made an exaggerated speech to the audience about the tournament putting Bruin's Casino on the map.

Denny was pleased with the outcome despite the hiccup of losing the money as the place now had history with a double robbery and plenty of murders. He gushed about the tourist potential as he paid Captain Flint for their services. She told him that if he had another job (maybe not here) then they'd be willing to do it for Denny.

Thomas met with Dr Wu and Betsy and discovered that they both shared the same talent. Thomas noted that she deliberately lost and she said that she wanted to retire and not had endless young hot shots coming to challenge her. She wanted a high profile tournament to be seen to lose so a new champion could take on that role. She implied there were certain elements that she didn't want taking a closer interest in her. Seeing that eventually Dr Wu and Betsy were obviously communicating without him, Thomas politely withdrew leaving them to talk together. It seemed that Betsy had been tested by an "Uncle" until she was eleven just like Dr Wu and Bau, but that her talent had developed when she was 21. Dr Wu now 24 was deemeed to be a late starter and Betsy gave him some pointers. Dr Wu asked to a genetic sample and Betsy gave him a hair. Dr Wu said they should stay in touch and Betsy said she was moving back to Ariel to retire.

Dr Wu spoke at length to Bau about their childhood experiences and concluded that they were similar.

Captain Flint decided to have a word with Thomas whom she not only suspected of being a pilot, but also had been given a number of positive reports from her crew about how he had helped them. Fey Flint offered him a job as pilot on her crew and having now lost all his money and no way to get off the planet he accepted, taking a 4% wage.

Joe decided that since they weren't leaving until the morning he'd do a vigil across from the jail to ensure that any Browncoats didn't try a rescue attempt on Jade Zho. He waited all night, but whatever Browncoats were left here had gone to ground.

Captain Flint discussed destinations next morning with the crew. She had arranged to meet her sister in 3 days on Sihnon - a time they could just reach. There was an option to go to Athens, but that could wait a while. It was discussed trying to take Betsy Li and Miguel to Ariel as passengers, but the fares did not justify the additional time and detour so the idea was dropped. The Captain had a quiet word with Joe and said they should have a private meeting after they took off for Sihnon.

Dr Wu began testing the genetic sample from Betsy Li and concluded that her genes had been changed in the same way as his, different to Bau's. Also he concluded that they all had the same genetic father .....