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Last Updated    October 12 2017
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The Day After The
    Circus


The Stark Light Of A Nasty Morning

     As the morning light firmed up after the end of the fire drill, Mikah's nearly breathed fire herself, making warnings against any more practical jokes involving ANY ships systems.  After that,and the fading of port services, the crew returned to their own plans.  Brian hit the rack again, hoping this time it was for real.  Zach also wanted to sleep, but agreed to cook breakfast before that, after Mikah ordered him to.  Emkir re-docked the cutter and then racked out in the spacecraft as Bagg Hai resumed watching the prisoners.  Aiden heard word of food and worked on a few relaxation methods he'd learned in the service until chow was ready.

Zach finished cooking and went to sleep as Ms. Vik prepared for her morning meeting in the Directors office, repeating the various answers she and the crew had come up with.  She'd memorized them as she showered, dressed and prepared for the coming storm of questions.  Choosing to eat after the meeting was over, Ms. Vik requested a stim pad from Mikah, who had also taken one along with Rol.  Rol waited for the food with Aiden while Mikah checked on Zimzod, before heading back to the cutter to check on the prisoners.  Zimzod had spent the entire time since the return to the ship blissfully out cold in the med-bay.  The more she gave out stims, the more Mikah reminded herself she needed to refresh her medkit.

After satisfying herself with Zimzod's condition and overnight progress, she injected him with medical slow drug and added that to the shopping list.  Knowing this would speed his recovery by raising his metabolism and slowing the world to his perceptions, she hoped it would cut significant real time from his recovery.  Thankfully, she had a nurse to provide Zimzod care while it affected him.  As Ms. Vik left for the ground car she called, Rol examined the puppies and decided he needed to risk a call to Mikah to have her revive them for questioning.  He wasn't really interrupting her, and soon she arrived in the cutter with her medkit so they could discuss bringing the prisoners out of their drugged state.

Rol chose to start with the Sorrngerz prisoner, because he had been part of the team securing the warehouse. Hoping to get the best information on what was going on in the warehouse, Rol hog tied the vargr securely.  He then stepped back and out of the way as Mikah, not really caring for the long term effects of the drug mix on her current patient, injected a harsh but effective stimulant.  The wounded vargr was soon awake enough for Rol to be effective.  When he was brought around, the vargr was brash and arrogant despite his pain and situation.  Rol was able to find out his name was Knurkangthaeon and that he was no more than a lackey in the gang.  He was sent to the warehouse to do anything he was told to.  Despite being armed during the fight, Rol learned that the vargr really had no skill with any weapons and was best fighting up close with claws and teeth.  Both Rol and Mikah, who was watching the interrogation, made a note not to get too close without need.

Meeting The Executive Director

     Once Inger arrived in his office, the Director's first questions concerned the "fire drill".  But it quickly became apparent these were a replacement for pleasantries before he got to why he really wanted to talk to her.  Past the prank and its results, the Director asked how Port Security Administrator Wyss came to be shot and undergoing medical treatment aboard the knight's ship?  Taking a breath, Inger fed him the story about following a lead on Administrator Vougazgi.  How, when they'd learned about the lead, Wyss asked to come along.  As she continued, she added in details about tracking the lead when they were ambushed in an alley in the city, and both Wyss and Sir Zimzod were shot.  Niebel allowed her to finish, and considered her words before pulling out some hardcopy and addressing her.

As Ms. Vik examined the page, Niebel asked why the knight's cutter left the port's air space twenty minutes after port security logged out their air raft?  And then he asked why it hovered over the city?  Reacting to the data and question, Ms. Vik said the cutter had only been there in case of emergency, and saved their lives in the end.  Ms. Vik was caught by surprise when Niebel brought up the gunfight at the warehouse, saying he'd learned about it on the morning news.  He'd had his traffic controllers check into it out of curiosity.  But the period of time and area of city in which the police reported the shootout matched the cutter's activities almost perfectly.  And that included what the controllers believed was a possible landing made by the cutter.

Ms. Vik just gave her best innocent, "go figure" in response, and hoped to slide by on that.  Without real proof, which Niebel didn't provide if he had it, there was little the Director could do.  But he did what he could, and ordered Ms. Vik to prepare to have the wounded transferred to a proper hospital in the city.  To that, employee or not, Ms. Vik could only say "Yes Sir" and she did.  After that, Niebel told her he still had significant reservations about the entire incident, but was reserving judgement, and excused her, suggesting she return to the ship.

Once the port notified the ship about the ordered transfers, Mikah did what Ms. Vik couldn't, by refusing to surrender custody of Sir Zimzod Egosion.  He was a knight of the Imperium and her charge as his doctor.  Knowing no one on the planet, short of the Marquis of Inthe, could gainsay that without proper legal orders and authority, Mikah made her stand.  The port was only able to enforce the transfer of Administrator Wyss.  While Doctor Samuleson didn't protest the move, he and two of the nurses accompanied the transfer as Mr. Wyss' medical team and were quite able to enforce their will as the team in charge of his treatment.

The other nurse stayed at Mikah's disposal, as Zimzod would likely not significantly recover for a week or so and then would have continued healing to do.  Mikah estimated he'd be at 50% after two week's time, and have to continue slowly recovering after that.  As for Wyss, she estimated he'd be in bed for two weeks at the least.  When the transport carrying Wyss and his "medical team" left, no one was really certain what would happen next?  One thing was sure, the port director wasn't the only one who had information on the cutter's activities.  And though everyone was exhausted from the two nights if intense activity, the coming day was gonna be a bitch when they had to face it.

From one Kind Of Questioning To Another

     By 9:30, the Director was finally done with Ms. Vik, even though she knew he left a great deal unsaid.  But it was over for the moment and she returned to the ship to eat a cold breakfast before letting the stims wear off and getting sleep.  By the time Inger returned, Mikah and Rol decided Knurkangthaeon was useless and Rol knocked him out with a rap to the back of the head.  Following that, they shared a brief meal with Ms. Vik before returning to the cutter for the second vargr.

This one, "Aeassogaeghz" of the Ksuenorra gang, had been found wearing cloth armor and had dropped a revolver.  After a few more tiring hours, this vargr turned out to be worth just as little as the first, and was disposed of in the same way.  Feeling tired and annoyed, they woke Emkir to take the watch while Bagg Hai headed to Emkir's stateroom to sleep.  Rol and Mikah headed to the galley for food, where they found Brian and Ms. Vik, who managed to sleep during the second interrogation.  They listened to Rol and Mikah discuss their lack of progress.  Ms. Vik offered them her shock cane, which Rol accepted figuring it couldn't hurt.  Brian, who'd listened while eating reheated food from Zach's breakfast and got up from his seat to get the flame thrower from his stateroom.

Brian offered to help the interrogations by standing by with the weapon and being "menacing".  But Rol asked him to put it away for now.  About this time Zimzod began to wake and struggled with the straps holding him safely down.  The noise he began to make got Mikah's attention and she went to the med-bay with Rol following as Brian returned his flame thrower to his stateroom.  Zimzod, still under the effects of the drugs, was very confused as Mikah seemed to enter the bay in very slow motion.  Rol watched as Mikah began checking Zimzod's condition.  While Brian passed, unheard by all, Aiden yelled, "Hallow" in his stateroom as he woke up.

Zach also woke up and, after doing his morning routine, decided to get in some gunnery training.  As Aiden got up and went through his morning routine, Brian put his flame thrower away and headed for the engineering deck.  Mikah finished checking on Zimzod while he finally recognized the effects as slow drug and leaned back to "enjoy the trip".  Mikah wasn't as happy, because the ship's comms began to buzz in the middle of her exam.  To add further insult, no one made any attempt to answer the insistent device leaving it up to her to stop the examination and answer the call.

The call was port control asking them to prepare to move the ship to a more secure "VIP" section of the harbor, able to contain the insanity that tends to surround celebrities!  Mikah asked them to hold and hit the all ship requesting Ms. Vik handle the business with the port.  Once Ms. Vik picked up a comms, Mikah finished her examination and was satisfied with Zimzod's progress, but didn't unstrap him.  She asked Rol if he'd go with her back into the cutter to deal with the last prisoner?  When he said he would, they headed aft.

Aiden had dressed in light ship's clothes with his snub pistol on his belt.  When he heard the port was calling to move the ship, Aiden headed for the bridge as the Admiral greeted Rol and Mikah on their return.  At the same time Ms. Vik was still dealing with the port as the ship's flight crew started taking positions and Brian started checking engineering systems below decks.  Zach woke in his stateroom thanks to the all ship broadcast.

Rol looked over the remaining vargr and the unconscious forms of the first two.  He hit the cutter's comms and asked Brian to come to the cutter with his flame thrower after all.  Again, Rol hog tied the vargr before Mikah woke him.  She stepped back as Rol stepped in.  Shortly after the vargr came around, Brian rushed in past a somewhat bemused Emkir with his flame thrower kit hastily thrown on.  As Brian arrived, the vargr looked around as best he could and saw the other vargr bodies.  Despite any and all intimidation and pain Rol inflicted, the vargr was certain he was going to die, so he gave up nothing more than his name amid many curses and pain-wracked boasts.  Brian got the nod to try to scare the dog to no avail, and was excused to put his flame thrower away again and return to his duties.  Mikah considered using truth drugs but just had Rol shoot the last prisoner in the head.

Getting On With The Day

     Once done in the cutter, Mikah spent much of that afternoon searching through her kit and mixing a cocktail which should work on vargr.  Of course, in the early stages of the interrogation, most of the others aboard were dealing in one way or another with the move of the ship.  The ship had been cut off from port electronics and umbilicals for some hours anticipating the move.  The transfer went off without a hitch and the ship was reconnected to the data networks at which point a flood of public contacts resumed.  No longer having a litter of puppies to watch, Emkir returned to his duties as public contact for the knights.

The first call that came through was a message from the Inthian military, who had apparently received a claim the knights were involved in a misuse of their weapons the night before.  They requested a meeting to review the situation and possibly reconsider the weapons permits.  Emkir told Mikah of this as he saw the next call was from Jefferds.  After the interrogation, Mikah called Jefferds back.  When she asked about the weapons complaint, he told her that, during his day job, as a police Sergeant, he learned the Police Chief was trying to get the knights in trouble with any information he had.  The Mayor seemed to be fighting the Chief, and trying to protect the knights and their team.  Jefferds told Mikah they had to 'lose' the armored car because it was seen the night before.  As a result, he used it and some vargr evidence to plant a red herring for investigators.  When she asked, he was confident the car wouldn't be traced back to his team and he suggested he had friends inside the investigation.

When Mikah asked about one of his friends turning on him, Jefferds said it wasn't possible any of his people had been turned by the police or any other organization.  In any event, he assured her he'd checked every one of his people since the warehouse event.  Mikah thanked him, and asked him to both keep her appraised of events and to keep throwing out red herrings as long as he didn't implicate himself.  Zach put aside his learning and listened as Mikah talked with the various people.  While she was on comms with Jefferds, she parsed through the messages to the ship seeing one from Doctor Samuleson.  The message told her that, while a hospital doctor had been assigned to Wyss' case, he remained the primary physician and had his nurses in Wyss' room around the clock.  He left the message just after waking and closed saying he'd be checking with his nurse and would call if there were any problems.

Satisfied with that, Mikah ended her call with Jefferds and called the Mayor's office.  When she identified herself to the operator, her call was routed to the mayor.  His manner was very friendly, but he asked her to help make sense of the many reports by telling him what really happened the night before?  Mikah gave the best story she could, based on everything the crew agreed on and some additional details to mitigate what Ms. Vik reported from her meeting with the port director.  She could tell he didn't believe her completely but he remained supportive.  Mikah explained they were on the ground near the warehouse getting info on Vougazgi's disappearance, with the cutter as rescue.  She then said everything would have been fine but the gang they were meeting with was hit by another gang.

When the shooting started, she said some Vargr were hit and her team bugged out.  The mayor accepted that and asked her to hold while he got the Police Chief on the call.  Happy at this turn of events, Mikah waited as the Chief came onto the call.  But the Chief refused to discuss any evidence he had while the knights were part of the conversation, saying he'd send it to the Office of the President of Inthe.  After the Chief left the line, Mikah had Emkir call the President's office and they were transferred to an NSA Cabinet member who'd already been made aware of the police department's concerns.

Mikah had that call conferenced with the Mayor, and they discussed the incident with the minister.  He eventually accepted Mikah's explanation, which grew in detail during a retelling and prompted more 'fit in' details to make it sound more sensible.  Eventually the minister told Mikah he was going to sign off on the investigation of the issue and tell the military the case was just paranoia on the part of the local PD.  Once they were done talking to the minister, the Mayor told Mikah that he had recorded the entire set of phone calls, as that was automatically done in his office.  He also said he'd be setting up a meeting for 10am the next morning with the Police Chief, to end this competition.  That hurtle dealt with, Mikah updated a very surprised and pleased Jefferds on their efforts.

Mikah also got a call from a Major of the Inthian military saying they had changed their status on the question of the warehouse incident, but still wanted to debrief the knights and their people.  Mikah said they would set up a visit to the orbital platform management office so the military could debrief the crew at that time.  The major accepted that and signed off.  Then Mikah called Doctor Samuleson, who went over the reports from his nurses with her, including the fact the police department had Wyss in a guarded room.  She told the doctor she would call the mayor and fix that and planned to call Jefferds about that too.  While she was finishing the call with Samuleson, she asked Ms. Vik to try to learn if that was standard in these types of cases in the Republic.

Inger called port security, getting the second in command, who said the policy was normal for someone suspected of a crime but refused to second guess events.  He didn't seem sympathetic to Inger, the knights or 'their version of events'.  After completing her call with the doctor, and getting the information from Inger, Mikah called Jefferds again explaining about the guard on Wyss, and the port security attitude.  Once done with Jefferds, she called the mayor about the guard on Wyss.  He assured her calmly and confidently that she shouldn't worry about it.  Once done with the locals, Mikah took a breath to prepare herself before calling for the Marquis, in answer to their request.  The office of his Seneschal requested they reply to explain news of the events and complaints they were receiving.

After Playing Politics Pool

     After that lengthy call, and after providing her comms data to the Inthian NSA, Mikah was finally done chasing administrative tails and relaxed.  As Zach started cooking dinner Rol asked him to research if Sternmetal Horizons or LSP had any dealings in-system?  Specifically, he asked about weapons related corporate units.  Taking a moment from cooking, Zach pulled the standard port services and sales listings.  He told Rol his question was fairly broad and he'd need limits to not pull hundreds if not many hundreds of contacts that were related to weapons.

Mikah put the two remaining puppies into a deep drugged sleep, in case she needed them once she had her truth drug, then hit the rack.  Rol also went to bed as Aiden took a shift guarding the vargr.  Emkir ate and checked through the press calls and requests.  He also caught a call from the real estate group Zach had identified as renting out the warehouse.  The message suggested the knights should contact the corporation's liabilities insurer as soon as possible.

After cooking and eating, Zach left the rest of the food out for the others and did his exercises.  Emkir finished looking over the messages for anything else important, then checked his port message board.  As soon as he logged in, he saw his response to the mysterious job offer had been answered!  Opening the reply, he read:

             "We would like to meet with you.  Name a time and date."

There was no other information included in the email.  Considering that for a second, Emkir emailed back that 10am the next day would be good, expecting he'd be able to name the location later.

Brian called the team's contacts in the NSA, asking if a feed could be opened for their "port regional" satellite observations in the name of security?  He hoped to improve ship's security by watching those getting close to the ship.  But he was disappointed when they said that they couldn't set up a laser comms relay for a secure transmission link.  After Brian's conversation with the NSA, Emkir asked him about designing and building a subtle tracking and recording device.  Brian felt that was more Rol's area of expertise.

Emkir decided to follow up with that the next day when Rol was awake, and hit the rack.  Failing to get NSA surveillance, Brian returned to maintenance work on the engines hoping they'd soon be able to complete the mission on this rock and get out of the system.  So the drives would have to be in order.  With most of the crew asleep, Zach gave up digging deeper into the port database for the night and racked out after setting his alarm for 8am.  Bagg Hai eventually woke and relieved Aiden, who he found had nodded off.  The former scout headed off for real sleep.

Mikah woke during the night and tried to get back to sleep, succeeding only until around 4am.  Giving up sleep, she did her morning routine and checked on Zimzod before deciding to read the news.  As she did, Mikah found an item about an organization called 'Van Izzard Entertainment', which was claiming to have hired the knights for an entertainment venue!  Annoyed at this she buzzed Emkir, waking him to ask what the hell was going on with the claims?  A bit fuzzy at first, Emkir figured out what Mikah was on about and said he hadn't hired them out at all.  Mikah growled at him to fix it before killing the comms line.

Emkir said he'd fix it, with a pistol if needed, before he realized he was speaking to dead air.  He considered how appropriate that thought was.  Leaving his rack for the stateroom comms, Emkir reached out to Van Izzard, saying he was the lone person representing the knights and was calling to investigate their claims.  For all his claims, he was routed to a voice mail.  Having his blood up, Emkir decided he could play that game too, and started calling the top five news agencies in order.

Once proving his identity by opening a video link, provided it was off the record and not for public release, he got to the entertainment editor of each organization.  He then released a statement that Van Izzard Entertainment was spouting false claims about hiring the knights.  He then said, "Such organizations had better have better lawyers than the knights and their patrons had access to."  When asked about the word 'patrons', Emkir said, "Those we report to have no comment at this time, being some x-boat hops away."  That done, he reported to Mikah and did his morning routine before checking his comms for an update on meeting his 'employers' before going to the galley and cooking his own breakfast.

As he cooked, Emkir considered getting someone to stand watch for him when he went to the meeting.  Mikah continued reading the news before going into the med-bay to wake Zimzod.  She was pleased, as her reading included 'breaking news' of a statement from the knights countering the claims from Van Izzard Entertainment.  It included threats and had a bizarrely large number of commentors for a news story so early in the morning.  She watched as one source insanely escalated the threat of 'our patrons' speculating the knights were under the direct instruction and support of Emperor Strephon himself!  Even being in the middle of the whole thing, Mikah couldn't help but find it funny.


Everyone Joining In For The Morning

     Beside that issue, Mikah noted the media groups she thought were responsible tended to cast the knights in a negative tone because they were blacked out.  They still stated that they wouldn't simply make up news as 'other venues did'.  Concerned with this, she buzzed Emkir again, with the order, Fix it!  Some time later, Rol woke and did his morning routine, including the cleaning of his weapons before getting chow.  As he was doing this, and Mikah was prepared for her day after releasing Zimzod from the medbay, Zach's alarm went off and he began his morning routine.  In some discomfort, Zimzod, with instructions from Mikah to keep it light, showered and prepared for the day.  Mikah's instructions had included, "mess up my work and I'll shoot you."  Knowing better than to think that was a joke, Zimzod took proper care while considering his day.

Mikah said they'd be going to the Mayor's office to screw the Chief of Police.  The glint in her eyes gave Zimzod just the lift he needed to 'not really feel the discomfort from his wounds much' as he hummed a happy tune.  Not an experience to be enjoyed by any music lover that!  Once he was out of the shower and dressing, Zimzod did buzz Mikah for some pain killers so he could put his best foot forward, or into the Chiefs crotch.

Zach hit the galley and started cooking breakfast for anyone who wanted it.  Both Ms. Vik and Brian woke at about the same time and took part in breakfast after their morning routines.  As the ship came alive, Rol volunteered to take Emkir's shift with instructions from Mikah to try further interrogating the surviving two vargr should they wake.  Mikah also agreed to drop Emkir and Zach at the port to head out for their morning entertainment.

Zach looked forward to getting the certification papers it seemed he'd requested years and years ago, though it had only been four action packed days!  Both he and Emkir had instructions, and a KCr 10 Chip from Mikah, to get breather masks for everyone on-board the ship.  Brian decided to do the tourist thing in the port and joked he'd do the, 'Pose with the Blue man' thing for cash if asked, much to Aiden's amusement.  Aiden said he'd relieve Rol at 8pm and returned to his research into the port database.  Meanwhile, in the regular street fashion of the Republic, Mikah and Zimzod lead Zach and Emkir to the air/raft and dropped them at the port terminal before heading off to the Mayor's office.  Once there, they were led to a meeting room where they found the Police Chief already waiting.

Zimzod took great pleasure in the man's discomfort, until they were eventually led into the mayor's office.  In that office they joined the mayor and two other men, one in a police uniform like the Chief's, who were introduced to the knights.  The first was the Municipal Attorney and the uniformed man was the Deputy Chief of Police.  Once introduced and seated, the mayor had the attorney hand the Chief a set of papers and was asked to read the opening statement to all in the room.  It turned out to be an assessment, written by the Inthian NSA, of the 'warehouse incident' and the speculation on the knight's involvement.  The opening statement made it clear the report would clear the knights completely.  The mayor then dressed down the Chief for his inappropriate treatment of the knights and his general paranoia.  He complained that had prevented the city benefiting from aid sent by, to quote the mayor, "The Duke of Regina himself!"  The Chief was then forced to sign a written notification of his failure to properly perform his duties.

Emkir's Mysterious Adventure

     At the same time, moved quickly Emkir from where the knights dropped him to get to the ground transport stands.  He pulled the slip with the address from his pocket while hailing an air-taxi.  He showed the driver the address and was told it would be a Cr25 ride as he got in.  Wearing street clothes with a hip holster and his scout buckle, Emkir tried to pay attention to the route covered in the half hour ride.  Emkir was surprised when they settled outside a corner eatery.  Seeing the address matched that on the door, Emkir went in and looked around to see if his contacts were already there or he should sit?

His actions were cut short when two vargr rose and met him, saying they were there to meet him.  As he accepted that, the vargr led him out the door as a ground car pulled up.  That vehicle was driven by a third vargr.  Emkir remained cool as they left the eatery and settled into the back of the car with one of the vargr while the other took the shotgun seat.  After a short drive to a nondescript but well kept building, they entered a garage and parked.  Emkir was searched before he was led to an elevator, and his gear and weapons taken from him with a promise he'd get it back.

The shorter ride in the elevator ended in a very well decorated and appointed apartment where he was led before a very obviously older male vargr.  To this point, very few words had been spoken, but Emkir was told he was being taken to his potential employer.  He figured he was being tested.  Once the older vargr looked him up and down, the older sophont asked him some probing questions before asking if he would kill for an employer?  Emkir said he'd consider it until clarifying it depended on if he was going to get caught when pressed for a firm answer.

Accepting this, the vargr handed him a pistol and picture saying, "You are to kill this sentient."  The picture was of a younger vargr shop keeper or stock boy as far as the Admiral could tell.  Emkir initially wanted to ask questions, but was led briskly back to the elevator and back down to the car.  In the car, he had one vargr sitting next to him in the back seat with the second driving.  The third vargr remained behind.  The ride was short and the company remained closed mouthed until they pulled up outside what seemed to be a "bodega like" shop.  Emkir used the trip to check out the weapon and rounds.  Once they arrived, the vargr next to him said Emkir should head for that bodega as he got out of the car himself.

Emkir shrugged and left the car, making a line directly for the bodega door, followed by the vargr.  On the way, Emkir's companion pointed through the shop's window.  As he looked inside, and saw a number of customers and workers, Emkir recognized one of the workers as the vargr in the picture.  Once inside, Emkir looked around to get a feel for the place as the vargr caught up to him.  Uncertain how to proceed, Emkir knew he couldn't "do nothing".  At first, he delayed as the vargr got impatient.  Finally, as he considered asking why this vargr needed to die, his companion urged him to just kill the target.  So Emkir shrugged and stepped forward with the pistol and pulled the trigger.

             "Click", And the weapon didn't fire!

Everyone suddenly relaxed, including the intended target, and the vargr with him led him out of the store as Emkir realized he'd passed their test.  The vargr took the weapon from him as they loaded in the car and rode back to the building and the older vargr.  On the way, they explained that the weapon didn't fire because the firing pin had been shortened.  It had looked completely normal to Emkir but was shaved back so it wouldn't strike the casing of the round in the chamber.  Once they were back in the apartment, the older vargr congratulated Emkir and handed him a Cr-Chit saying it held 1 KCr, as a retainer.

The elderly vargr's 'assistants' returned the gear they'd taken from him as the elder vargr asked him to sit.  Finally much more comfortable, the older vargr leaned closer to Emkir and asked if he liked the idea of killing vargr?  Emkir said he'd do whatever paid the bills, which got a wolfish grin in reply.  He told Emkir he had a problem and needed "some help" getting some information.  He asked if Emkir thought he could help with the problem?  Emkir asked if that was all there was to it, and was told there was a time limit on the information.  It was needed "before tomorrow".  Emkir nodded and said he could do the job, asking how soon they wanted him to start?  The older vargr signaled the others and said, "Right now if you don't mind.  We need this information as soon as we can get it."

Emkir stood and checked his returned gear as he left with the other vargr.  The ride down to, and in, the car was much different now Emkir was "on the team."  While they only told him they were taking him to where they were holding the 'one with the information' they were much more friendly.  Eventually, they parked in an older section of "VargrTown", next to an older four-story building and led him inside.  A walk up three flights got them onto a landing where the vargr led him to a door.  That led to an apartment at the back of the building where one of the vargr knocked.

After some brief sounds of activity on the other side, it opened and they were let in.  On entering, Emkir saw there was one grungy room backing on the rear wall of the building with a window in the center of the wall.  To either side, doors led out of the central room and gave the overall appearance of a 'low income' living space.  Inside that central room, three vargr half-greeted, half-watched the new arrivals as one of his escorts began speaking to a vargr in the room.  The three new vargr appeared even more like bruisers than his escorts did.

Emkir was introduced as 'the interrogator' and two of the residents led Emkir to the door on the left.  Waiting to know where they had the 'person with the information', Emkir followed them through the side door and was surprised to see Administrator Vougazgi, sitting bound to a chair!  Behind him, his two 'escorts' stayed in the central room with one of the third vargr guard while two came into the room with him.  Thinking things looked a bit grim, Emkir realized he had to find some way of getting the word out that he'd found the missing port administrator without getting caught.

Emkir Learns The Need To Learn To Dance

     Arriving at the port, Zach made his way to the administrative hub to claim his broker/trader certification papers to work at the port.  As any paper chase through a bureaucracy did, Zach had to proceed from one place to another providing his ID, then receipt, while filling out paperwork to compete the process.  While his business was completely within the port, the knights were well into their meeting and Emkir was on his way back from the Bodega test before he finally had his credentials.  Zach then went back to the ship using the specialized transport for those in the "celebrities" section of the harbor.

Ms. Vik had also gone to the port, not ready to throw in the towel in working for them now she and the team were under many clouds of doubt and suspicion.  After she arrived, she began digging into the databases.  At that same time, Emkir was trying to figure out how to delay the outright torture of Vougazgi until he could get his comms going.  His comms were controlled by a unit around his neck, in easy reach.  But he was being watched closely by two vargr goons, and couldn't risk them seeing him do so.  Even worse, Emkir had no idea how much better vargr hearing was than humans.  So he risked them hearing any possible reply from the comms.  Emkir began by walking around Vougazgi, taunting him.  The administrator's immediate reaction was that the Admiral's appearance meant he'd been located and was being rescued.

But as fast as his ears rose, they dropped again when it appeared the Admiral was somehow working with those who'd kidnapped him!  Emkir hoped taunting him would get Vougazgi to react, argue or even begin offering deals while the second track in his mind was fully committed to activating his comms in some part of the room where the toughs might not see him try.  Eventually this gave way to kicking and slapping or striking Vougazgi around to get real reactions.  But his attempts to combine attacks with activating his comms failed.

Things were taking far too long and the watching vargr were not reacting well.  It was only a matter of time before he proved he was serious or they decided he was a fake.  And Emkir didn't want to know what the second option would lead to.  As a desperate idea struck him, Emkir returned to the central room to ask if he could move Vougazgi somewhere to "work on him" and what measures they'd prefer or not want?  He was simply told to get the job done.  As he asked, he could gauge his stock dropping in their responses.  Luckily for him, these actions gave Emkir a chance to switch on his comms as he returned to the room.

Finally connected to the crew's general channel, Emkir knew he had to do something to recover the rapidly deteriorating situation.  So he shrugged, drew his revolver and spun the cylinder.  That definitely got everyone's attention as he stepped forward and began to speak.  "So Vougazgi", Emkir described just exactly how the administrator had gotten himself at the wrong end of the gun by refusing to be cooperative.  And, as he was beginning to loose his audience again, Emkir kicked the chair Vougazgi was bound in on its side and started swinging violent kicks at the vargr.  Vougazgi snarled and howled around his gag as Emkir selected points on the vargr's body he hoped would cause pain without damage.  Not knowing if this was being broadcast, if anyone was listening or if the wrong people were possibly listening, Emkir tried to buy time as the vargr watching him finally relaxed, seeing things going more as expected.

While abusing Vougazgi, Emkir started taunting the vargr, describing anything he knew about the building and vargr, as if he were reminding Vougazgi just how bad his situation was.  Unknown to Emkir, his dialog was helping Mikah, Zimzod and those in the ship put the pieces together.  When the dialog began coming across the team's comm network, Mikah and Zimzod had been confused.  On the ship, only Aiden and Brian had their comms on.  But as they realized it was Emkir's voice, and began realizing what he was saying, Mikah had Zimzod change channels and raise all the rest of the team.  Soon everyone was hearing what was going on, including Bagg Hai.

Raising The Alarm And Organizing A Rescue

     As they started working to put the pieces together, Rol was tasked with tracking the contact to find where Emkir was.  With something concrete to offer, Mikah called the Police, going right to the Chief.  She said she had more evidence in the kidnapping of Vougazgi and needed help tracking an active communication from where he was being held!  The Chief leapt at the chance to grab what he felt was the first real thing the knights had offered him both in cooperation and progress!  He scrambled his people and promised that, as soon as they had somewhere to go, his people would be there to back the knights up.

While Rol worked, Mikah and Zimzod returned to the ship where everyone was either helping Rol or gearing up for a rescue mission.  As this happened, they started deciding what assets they had.  Mikah and Zimzod planned to take the air/raft with Bagg Hai while Sir Brian armored up and prepared to hold the ship in case this was a trick.  Zach would also pilot the ship's cutter with Aiden acting as gunner in the event they need aerial support.  Rol decided to ride in the cutter with tracking gear so he wouldn't overload the air/raft.  Ms. Vik headed from her office, after contacting port security, to the Port Control Center where the port's second in command demanded access to the team's comms.  Once he realized she was correct, he began organizing port assets to assist as needed.

As the the team were putting things together, Emkir had no idea what was happening outside.  The abuse he gave out had backed the watching vargr off but not by much.  Soon he'd have to step things up.  Again, Emkir held up his revolver and spun the cylinder as he said, "I don't have all day.  I am being watched and these guys want results.  I am gonna have to step things up if you are not going to cooperate."  Vougazgi simply glared back saying, "Kill me" as Emkir loosened the gag.  It was apparent Vougazgi had decided he wasn't getting out alive.  No branch Emkir thought he'd extended got Vougazgi's attention and he finally sighed and said, "OK, you are forcing me to do this."  He then pulled his belt off and made a show of pinning one of Vougazgi's legs in a more painful position while subtly fitting it like a tourniquet.

He then did his best to appear to casually fire a shot while trying to aim for a non-vital part of the vargr's right leg.  Vougazgi howled in pain and anger while squirming as best he could in his bindings, but couldn't get free.  The observing vargr relaxed more, though they had to wonder why they couldn't do the same thing and someone had brought in the Human?  As Emkir launched into another monolog of how Vougazgi was just doing this to himself he was praying for some sign of support.  While that was happening, Rol had located the likely source of the comms and Mikah had given that to the police.  They were now ordering significant numbers of units to surround the area and back up the knights.  Mikah reminded the Cheif to have them maintain a discrete cordon and prevent the bad guys panicking and killing Vougazgi.

She also made it known that the human on the comms was their 'man inside' and must not be hurt by police.  With things outside the building in 'full swing', Emkir wasted as much time as he thought he could before spinning the cylinder again and firing another round into the vargr's wounded leg.  Howling again, the prisoner showed no sign of submitting as Emkir returned to verbal abuse to burn more time.  Zach settled the cutter just northwest of the building by two blocks where the police had already created a cordon.  They were massing in a size he hadn't seen from civil authorities.  The assembled force was largely human with some vargr and almost completely uniformed.  All were armed to some point and there were some well armed teams in the process of armoring up for an assault.

Why Marksmanship Classes Are A Good Thing

     As they landed, Rol, who was unarmored in his trench coat and double holsters, opened the hatch and bolted for the building on foot to make a ground entry of the building!  Aiden, who was fully armored, secured the cutter hatch preventing anyone entering.  On the air/raft, Zimzod and Bagg Hai worked to decide which window was the right apartment based on Emkir's garbled descriptions.  Once they had one targeted, Zimzod and Hai decided to attack through the window, gaining an element of surprise.  Hoping to take down those unknown forces in the outer room before they could react.  They planned to move in fast enough to possibly save everyone else.

Unfortunately, Emkir felt things were getting to a point where he had to act on his own rather than guessing and being wrong.  He'd heard something that might have been a whisper on his comms, but had no guarantee of backup.  Zach was in the cutter's cockpit trying to gauge when the air/raft might be lined up for their assault.  He planned on whispering "Now!" over the comms when he thought the assault was imminent.  Unfortunately, Zach got his timing off and only added to the confusion as Emkir really couldn't tell what the sound was.

Rol was still charging across the distance as the air/raft made a circular route in the event someone was looking out the window.  They landed on the way, and Mikah ordered two police officers to board the air/raft.  Her plan was that Zimzod and Hai would assault through the window in their battledress.  She would then take the air/raft to the roof to start her attack, backed up by the police.  Emkir figured he couldn't just stand there shooting Vougazgi's leg to chopped meat and decided it might be time to try to do something to help himself.  He knew if he took out the two vargr in the room, he could close the door for some cover and advantage.  But he also knew he'd been spinning the cylinder each time he fired and had no idea which chambers were loaded and which were not.

He feared opening fire and not taking them out as they returned the favor.  To buy a bit more time he put his foot on Vougazgi's wounded leg and started applying pressure.  But the vargr just cried out in agony and defiance, daring Emkir to kill him.  The time had come to act or fail.  Taking a breath to prepare, Emkir spun as quickly as he could and answered the surprised cries of the vargr by opening fire.  He intended to fire shots quickly as he adjusted his aim point, to take out both before they responded.  And while his first shot was true, his aim was not.  The round hit the wall behind his intended target!  He pulled the trigger immediately again and got a click as the hammer capped an empty cylinder.

With only one shot off and no one down, Emkir was now in desperate trouble.  As the shock wore off and the Vargr reacted, things went from bad to worse.  Emkir had only luck for a shield as the first Vargr's shotgun fire slug went wide.  At the same time, all hell broke loose from the other room as it sounded like an explosion went off there!  Zimzod and Bagg began their assault through the window, which exploded in, under fire, and the three vargr in the central room were caught by surprised and unprotected.

As the knight and trooper made their entrance, and the three vargr died and the two with Emkir were caught between emergencies.  They brought up their weapons, one a submachinegun, as Emkir tried to fire again in the split seconds that felt like hours.  He heard another crushing click from his revolver before being brought up at SMG point.  Rol's apparent but unstated hope of taking out any 'ground level guards' on his way into the lobby ended up being a 'rush to nothing' as the action happened floors above him.  Mikah and her team also found no-one on the roof, and began making their way downstairs after shooting the lock off the door.

In full control of the room they were in, Zimzod and Bagg realized there was a door to their right and left.  They had no way to know which way to go.  Inside the side room, Emkir was helpless as the vargr with the shotgun turned to the door, opening it a crack and calling, "We have your man in here.  Put your weapons down or we'll kill him."  Zimzod and Bagg took advantage of the call as the knight put his rifle to 'full auto' and unloaded the remaining magazine into the door.  Bagg Hai had extended their line close to the center of the room and started putting additional bursts of fire into the door, reducing it to flying fibre chunks.  Dropping his raised hands to try for one more shot, Emkir got yet another click as the shotgun-toting vargr died in a hail of gunfire.  The SMG-toting vargr squeezed the trigger as he was hit in a case of true blind luck.  Bagg Hai's fire hit the vargr low in the back, causing him to be thrown forward at the belly and driving his aim high as SMG rounds chewed chunks from the ceiling above Emkir.  And with that, the shooting was done.

As the Dust Settled

     Both Rol and Mikah's team arrived as the dust settled and the apartment was secured.  Rol said he was going to check the floors below for any hostile activity, but the police had now flooded the building clearing the place room by room.  After medical crews and police brass showed up, with the entire few blocks cordoned off, things started to settle down.  Some sense could finally start to be made of the situation.  Once in the hospital and safe, Vougazgi decided to not only explain why he was kidnapped but, in exchange for relocation protection, spill all he knew.

The information he gave was very damaging, helping national and local authorities move on several organizations.  He also gave them actionable data to make arrests possible among one of the most mysterious of all vargr gangs!  The police were excited to be able to hit directly at a high level and very powerful gang they'd never been able to go after before.  Thanks to their actions and activities, the crew were praised highly and a great many sins were forgiven.

The Inthian Military contacted the crew telling them that, since their mission had ended successfully, their 'right to bear arms' was canceled as no longer needed.  This was eventually handled at customs out-processing before the crew launched for the Risek system.  The Port Director admitted to Ms. Vik he was beginning to have second thoughts about her and the crew.  But was glad they'd cleared the air with their success.  He had his Security Second augment local police arrests with planned arrests of port staff who'd been watched for a long time.  In a final parting with Ms. Vik, Director Niebel handed her a CrChit holding KCr 8 for her pay during the period of work.

The wave of police activity spreading out across the town not only encountered resistance from the gangs, but general resistance from the community and discontented social elements too.  Given the amount of unrest, it was suggested the knights and their team stay on the port until their departure.  They spent the rest of their time there settling accounts, preparing the ship and laughing at the hyperbole coming from the press about them.  The cut from the party at the club in-town ended up being KCr 22, which was delivered with a letter of thanks and a promise of some free drinks if the knights ever felt it safe enough to return.

The final accounts to close were a return of Cr 1,500 from the port in berthing fees for the next week, which went to Mikah.  Then a payment for services rendered by the city.  This was really a totaling of a large number of rewards offered for various crimes and some gang members.  These were cleared up as Administrator Vougazgi spilled his guts.  The total of this payment, which the crew had to decide on shares for, was KCr 105.  In addition, the crew were awarded a letter of commendation from the Marquis.  Additionally, the port provided breathers, as Mikah requested be bought, for all aboard the vessel.  They also made a gift of enough medical supplies to refill Mikah's medical kit.  Departure was planned for on Sunday 155-1112.

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Next: The Aftermath, and leaving the Inthe System