Oh what tangled skeins we weave. I can’t figure out if the whole mess was the most insane coincidence in history or the most diabolical set-up imaginable.
The Memoirs of “Gentleman” Jack Cartwright
23-24 June, WY602 – Demeter, Whistler
Tomoe’s revelation generates quite a bit of immediate shock and distrust, but Angelica’s condition required immediate surgery, so much of the consternation had to wait. Benny left for the lobby to “sit on Nadine” while the crew moved Angelica to the ground floor and began prepping an area of the kitchens as a makeshift hospital. Aiden and Tomoe, along with Daniel and Roland (because they were possible blood donors), sequestered themselves in the kitchen to perform the emergency surgery on Angelica.
Meanwhile, Benny and Andrea continued to monitor the approaching Dauntless with increasing consternation. The Demeter media had caught on that a Council destroyer was acting squirrelly and had gone on continuous broadcast monitoring its approach. Benny had secured Nadine and had added her phone to the collection of electronics that Din had secured. Both Cara and Dirk attempted to get information from Nadine, but they had no success besides Cara confirming that Nadine knew the name “Randall” – who she fears is her estranged partner Felicity Randall, who had not only served on Indomitable and known Lt. Daniels, but had become a vocal opponent to the Council’s campaign during the Unification War.
While the surgery continues, the moment of truth comes with Dauntless. Benny heads back to his room to take part in the Demeter response, and Andrea follows a short while later nearly in hysterics. Dauntless releases two assault dropships into Demeter’s atmosphere on the dark(er) side of the moon. The dropships with cover from Dauntless shoot down local aerospace defense craft in a brazen act of war. Neither the Council nor the WDF make any sort of statement, and the local Demeter government statements become very scripted. The dropships make landfall for roughly 45 minutes then take off again. The media reports they attacked a “military convoy”. Without much additional fanfare, the dropships rejoin Dauntless and she begins a high-G burn away from the moon.
There’s a collected sigh of relief that Dauntless wasn’t in pursuit of the crew, but this new mystery is unsatisfying. However, the surgery is very successful, patching up the worst of Angelica’s wounds so an AutoDoc the hotel had on-hand could take over. Within an hour, Angelica is conscious and the crew gathers in the kitchen to confront Tomoe.
Tomoe describes being tipped off by Becca that Basil had been the man stalking her for fifteen years and was responsible for the numerous attempts on her life. She describes how she retrieved Angelica’s stunner from it’s hiding place and used it to subdue and ultimately kill Basil in Becca’s room. There’s quite a lot of discussion about the legal impacts of her actions, as well as a whole host of trust issues. Tomoe shows everyone who cares to see her evidence, which Angelica validates as genuine and everyone finds appalling. When the discussion turns to how to beat the murder rap with the local authorities, Daniel becomes angry and storms out. Roland follows.
Eventually the crew concludes there’s not much to be done until they know where Benny stands, as he’s the only other one who heard Tomoe’s confession. They find him in the bar, looking extremely tired and disheveled, and ask him to join them in the kitchen. He does so, taking a moment to voice his relief that Angelica is on the mend.
Benny and the crew speculate together with some additional information provided by Benny that Nadine had been embezzling from Basil’s companies for years and at least some of that money had been moved into Council space to fund terrorists such as Daniels. The further speculate that her desire to kill Din and Angelica likely implicates her in the plot to destroy the Eriksson Station Elevator. The opportunity to use Tomoe to be rid of Basil seems like icing on the cake. Of course this is all speculation with little evidence, but in the moment, in light of the assault by Dauntless, Benny doesn’t seem to care that much.
Benny informs the crew that the Republic of Jericho is withdrawing their bid for Calliope, opening it up to be purchased by IBI as originally intended. He also assures them that they’ll be allowed to leave with it if they just tell him why Cartwright wants it. Aiden relents and informs Benny that they have a lead on a very big salvage opportunity and leaves it at that. Benny is willing to make the investigation of Tomoe never begin if the crew is willing to help him discover where Nadine’s money had been going. While Benny didn’t seem particularly threatening (whatever happened on the other side of the moon was a catastrophe, this was a distraction), the crew jumped at the opportunity to get off Demeter instead of going to jail.
The next day, the storm passes, the local authorities arrive and are mollified (and strong-armed) by Benny. Nadine and Felix are arrested, and the crew gets airlifted down to Thermasia to get the hell out of Dodge. They take possession of the Calliope AI (which is little more than a typical modular computer core with some biological maintenance equipment attached), and board Peach. Aboard, they find their naval auto-cannons, the dive capacitor, and many, many tons of parts and consumables. Otto lifts off in Explanations and Captain Herlihy receives a launch window an hour later.
While Peach is making her run out of Feldman’s well, Explanations is hailed by the WDF patrol boat Fidelity and Otto lets the crew listen in. They tell Otto his ship has been flagged by the Bureau and he’s to heave-to to be boarded. Otto immediately complies and cuts his engines, but Fidelity continues to give increasingly urgent orders, finally ordering him to power down his weapons (which Explanations most certainly doesn’t have). Realizing he’s being set up, Otto lights his engines and tries to escape, but Fidelity unleashes a barrage of missiles, destroying A Series of Unlikely Explanations.
The crew ensure the entire event was recorded, and Peach continues their run to dive distance unmolested. Fourteen hours later, a small device in Dirk’s possession chirps, and decrypts a set of jump coordinates and a recording from Jack. Herlihy keys the coordinates and dives Peach while the crew gathers to watch the message…