Serenity PP 004
The next morning, Travis heads to Niska’s station for bomb-removal. The rest of them go to the rendezvous with Leng at the chinese game parlor. The Marksman goes with Travis “to make sure they keep their side of the bargain.”
At the Qai Loh parlor – Leng finishes his game and then joins us. He does have cargo that is “legit” as cargo from Ezra can be. Which means, of course, that it’s not traceable. The cargo is ceramic goods that need to go to Persephone to a buyer by the name of Badger. It’s not “urgent” cargo, but useful. They head to the warehouse to check out the goods.
At the station, Travis and the Marksman are disarmed. They’re told that Mr Niska wants to speak with Travis before the surgery. As they head towards a room, Travis hears someone screaming and runs to help…. a dude being tortured by Mr Niska’s doctor. Mr Niska is in the room and they have a brief discussion.
Niska: “I want to give you a gift… This man!”
Travis: “Uh… This man?”
Niska: “Yes! He tried to kill you during the match. He looks like a punching bag, yes?”
Niska: “His compatriot I keep for myself.”
Travis: “So… I guess wrap him up and I’ll take him with me?”
Niska: “Ah. Interesting. You do not wish to punish him?”
Travis: “Uh. Did he say why he did it?”
Niska: “Ah, yes. It was all part of plan to make money.”
Travis: “So, uh, yeah. No one ever gave me a person before….”
Niska: “You are more merciful. His compatriot worked for me. For him there will be no mercy.”
They are both completely puzzled by each other – Niska not understanding why Travis didn’t beat the man to death and Travis completely unsure as to what to do with the gift of a person.
Travis goes in to surgery.
And back to Leng at the warehouse. They look through all the crates – ceramic table ware, knicknacks, armor plates, knives, etc…. After some wrangling and a sob story with tears and all, they come to an agreement on the price for the cargo. Plus Shortbread lifts some tobacco from one of the other crates.
Travis and the Marksman head out and there’s Niska’s goon and the trussed up dude.
Travis: “Can I ask you a personal question?”
Goon: “Uh… I guess.”
Travis: “If someone gave you a person, what would you do with him?”
Goon: “Depends on the person.”
Travis: “Say he tried to kill you.”
Goon: “Oh, well, I’d probably kill him.”
Travis: “Well, I’ve never killed a person on purpose before.”
Goon: “Look, if it’s a problem for you, I can just space him when you leave.”
Travis: “Naw, I’m good.”
So, Travis brings a trussed up person to the ship. There is much discussion. First they deliberate letting him ransom himself, and Shortbread and Mirela go to his flat and clean it out of the cash (he told the group where his hidden cash was) and usable weapons. Shortbread leans towards killing him; Mirela leans towards just leaving him on Ezra, as the memory of the last time they had an enemy on board is still very, very fresh in her mind. Then Travis pulls the I did everyone else a favor with the whole bomb in the head thing, do this as a favor to me.
After some deliberation and much thought, everyone agrees to let Travis keep the guy. Travis’s plan is to leave the guy at the next planet they stop at. There are many threats given to dude should he show his face while they’re in transit.
One of Lynx’s contacts show up with information about her parents, so she decides to head off and investigate. She insists that she go alone. She promises to send Mirela a wave often.
The transaction with Leng is concluded and the group heads to Persephone.
En route they discuss what their plans are. They end up deciding to take the stuff to Persephone, pick up some cargo, and take that to a friend of the Prof and lay low there for a while to figure things out as to their own future. Options: Start their own carnival/show? Take shipping jobs as they come?
2nd night dude sees Clementine and freaks out.
4th day out Shortbread is chilling in the pilot’s seat when the sensors go off. He sees an Alliance cruiser (called Dortmunder) and they make an unscheduled trip to Santo (a nearby moon). Oddly, they spotted the cruiser before it seemed to spot the ship, and they never seemed to even notice the ship…. Another of Clementine’s mysteries….
So, on the way to Persephone, Shortbread runs some tests on the sensors and discovers that they are phenomenal, as good as government issue.
They also learn a little about Shortbread’s past, as he is originally from Persephone. In fact, he’s wanted there. Apparently some rich dude named Alex Taylor struck his (Alex’s) girlfriend. Shortbread got mad and dumped hot soup in Alex’s lap. Alex challenged Shortbread to a duel and then had his friend drag him to the duel. Shortbread pulled out a hold-out gun and shot Alex in the leg and runs. That’s when he joined the Pandemonium, ten years ago.
They start teaching Ariel the tricks of the trade.
On Persephone, they led dude go. Mirela checks him out for a long, uncomfortable moment, and senses no animosity. Actually, this experience may have made a difference and maybe even have turned his life around….
1st day, they go sight seeing.
Next up, Badger….
JB tells the Prof that the Hydrolic Stabilizer exploded and we’ll need to buy the part and repair before they can leave.
Shortbread makes the arrangements to meet up with Badger at his office. He is told that “there may be a line.” Oh, and Shortbread keeps some of the ceramic armor plating.
So they head down to the docks where Badger’s office is. They also see several Alliance cops who are stopping people to question them. After a brief discussion, they decide to continue to Badger’s and find out what the cops are about later. They arrive at Badger’s office and have a very short wait. The Prof makes small talk and then they show Badger the goods. The Prof starts bargaining but seems to annoy Badger. Whoops. But the deal keeps going and the Prof figures out how to work Badger. Final negotiations: Badger will buy the shipment off of them for 2000 cred (the group paid 1000 cred). Whee!
On their way back to the ship, Margie and Mirela deliberately get stopped by the Alliance cops and find out that they’re looking for some fugitives – a brother and sister named Tam.
Then the group has some time to kill on Persephone.
So, the Prof and Mirela start brainstorming a short con, when suddenly Travis shows up with some girl named Sarah. She’s a maid of some rich dude who needs a chef because he has a big party the next day and his former chef was killed. Apparently, according to Sarah, the former chef offended some guy named Taylor who killed the chef in a duel. Taylor has a thing against chefs. So they agree to forward the information to Shortbread and he can decide whether or not to take the job. They have an impromptu party and then Travis escorts Sarah back to her work.
They deliver the message to Shortbread and then go work their con. He decides to take the job and immediately goes over to the rich dude’s place to prep for the dinner.
They also take Ariel who will pose as the Prof’s niece.
The Con: Margie and Mirela having coffee or tea or whatever in a nice cafe al fresco when the Prof just happens by. And turns out that he’s met Mirela before – “Lady Serena” a Famous Fortune Teller who gave his sister such meaningful, wonderful, useful advice (the Prof is effusive and loud) and the Prof begs Mirela to help him. Mirela is “reluctant” as of course it’s not the time or place for that kind of thing, but he gives her a “gift” of 100 cred so she reluctantly agrees to help. Then with low voices and tarot cards and exclamations she gives him a “reading.” He leaves relieved and happy. Hopefully some of the spectators have taken the bait and approach Mirela to have their own reading. (And they did, heh)
Ariel watches and learns and by the last con, she even helps some. Afterwards, she asks if she gets a cut, so the group cuts her in. With her cut, she buys a roll-out keyboard for herself. They also buy some gifts for Shortbread and Travis but let Ariel pick the gift – a “Kiss the Chef” apron for Shortbread, and stuffed animal for Travis.
Shortbread skims some supplies (expensive spices, etc) off top.
Back at the ship, the Prof makes an announcement: He got a wave from Mr Universe (live this time) who tells them that “the hounds are closing in” on them and that Valentine (the guy who bombed their ship!!) is still alive and looking for them.
As she is sitting in the loading dock watching Ariel, Mirela feels something call to her from outside the ship. She wanders out and around and sees a teenage girl staring up at the bridge of the ship. The girl is talking quietly to herself… “She’s not here, but not there…. She’s dreaming and she can’t wake up…. She is so sad…. misses her father. I miss mine sometimes, too.”
Mirela walks quietly up to the girl and murmurs, “So you can hear her, too?” Mirela looks at the girl. “She doesn’t talk to me much.”
The girl, after a moment, realizes that someone is speaking to her and turns to look at Mirela. “I heard her crying,” she says quietly. They both look up at the bridge, standing in a comfortable silence. After a moment, a well-dressed young man comes up and looks at Mirela with concern on his face. He puts his arm around the girl, and Mirela knows they’re brother and sister.
“Come on, River. You know you’re not supposed to leave the ship.” The girl’s face twists with a look of affectionate exasperation and rolls her eyes as she glances up at her brother, but she allows him to guide her away.
As they’re leaving, Mirela says, “It was nice to meet you, River.” She smiles slightly and looks at the brother. “I’m Mirela.”
He glances around, then mutters, “Nice to meet you, too.” They disappear around the end of the neighboring ship, and Mirela stands there silently for a moment, gazing up at the bridge. She wanders thoughtfully back to the cargo bay.
Shortbread’s evening dinner is a huge success. The rich dudes are sad that Shortbread won’t stay on as their permanent chef but he makes excuses that he travels the ‘Verse looking for all the different foods for the arte, etc.
On their way out, the Marksman looks up and says, “Looks like it’s a night for old enemies….”
The group looks up the street and there are several dudes on horseback, blocking the road. One of them nudges his horse forward and says, “Mister Smith! I believe we have unfinished business!”