Business as Usual - Regina style.


The night passes without much incident, aside from Treal's little accident with the mousetraps Theresa had set in front of the door. A well-dressed man named Mr. Fraley, according to his Palladium Group business card (oh goodie, another investor!), who is unshaven and upset, comes to see Mr. Blaelok or Mikie, but sees Mr. White. Fraley tells him that they have already gotten Smith and Green (other investors), and Mr. White must stop them, since they seem to be rolling up the operation. Mr. Fraley get very nervous when Mr. White offers him an M and M from the dispenser that Fraley recognizes as being Blaelok's (so White must have killed Blaelok!).

White manages to calm down Fraley enough to find out that Smith and Green were "sliced up". And now that Andrews has also been killed. This is not good, since Fraley is the only one left in his "cell", and White must protect him because White's Operations, and that's his job!!! Evidently whatever they were up to involved transferring really large amounts of money around. Fraley panics after White admits he's only been on Regina for a couple of days, and runs out of the office.

Fraley has his splinter gun out, and is trying to get out of the locked hallway when Mikie arrives and unknowingly opens the door. Fraley brings his weapon up, and fires just as Mikie slams the door shut, which results in ricochets and Fraley injuring himself, so Ghaer is sent for to at least stabilize the idiot; Treal comes along. The wounds are not fatal. An envelope is found on Fraley's person, and White opens it in his office - millions of creds in bearer bonds, and some kind of small computer or electronic disk of unknown origins. Mikie is able to find out that Fraley really is confused and scared about the operation being rolled up, and doesn't know who's behind it. When Fraley is asked about Smith and Green, Mikie finds out that Fraley found what was left of Smith smeared all over his office, and that Charlie (?) found Green in the same state. Charlie turns out to be one of the Weseli clan, so he should be easy to locate, if he's still breathing. And some one has done something to Fraley to block some of his memories, against just this kind of thing.

The Discreet Ambulance Service is called, but only one of the people that shows up is a regular, and he's really nervous. The other guy is very calm, and Treal gets one of his "weird" feelings about the calm guy, and whispers to Mikie that he thinks that guy is a psionic. Mikie shields, Ghaer is planning on tranqing the guys outside, when Treal leaps out just after the calm guy presses an auto-injector on his arm. He tackles the bad guy, who somehow manages to make Treal fly off him through the air. Ghaer rescues Treal, and the big calm guy is trying to pop the door open with his mind, as near as anyone can tell. The bad guys take off before the cops arrive.

White stays to speak with the authorities, and the others (including Natasha) meet Sal and Shelley at the Bread and Bean for breakfast. Blaelok comes into the coffee shop at the same time, but does not acknowledge the group. Meanwhile, a secret meeting takes place between White and the GM (so that the scribe-designate does not know with whom or what happened). When Blaelok leaves, he drops off his reading material - the current issue of Free Thoughts, which "outs" a whole bunch of people on Regina who they claim are psionic. Mikie and Joe Lee are on the list, as are a lot of people that Mikie does not believe should be. This is a lovely way to start the day.

Sal decides to call in a new tip to Free Thoughts that Commissioner Globber is a psionic too, as is his PR man, which is why psionics are tolerated , and how Globber manages to solve all those crimes so fast. Mikie warns Theresa, who is at work, to be careful.

When Mikie returns to the office, he finds an unsigned letter of resignation on his desk. White wants him to resign, because of the Free Thoughts article, Mikie tells him to get stuffed - if he wants him gone, fire him, which he does. Mikie takes his stuff and leaves. Ghaer resigns too, out of principle. Mikie goes to OmniMart to let Theresa know what had happened. Things get even worse when the staff of Free Thoughts are killed in a fire, and the Psionic League (?) claims responsibility. This group releases a statement that there are more psionics than are on the list, and many of the people on the list aren't even psionics. Psionics are all over, etc., etc.

Since the powers that be do not want the mess that another psionic pogrom would produce, so they make sure only the real loonies appear on the news to scream about the psionics. This helps somewhat, but still does not explain most of the mess, like who killed Nathan, who's been messing with Mikie, and who demo'd Shelley.

The group (Sal, Shelley, Ghaer, Mikie, Treal) go to have a meeting in one of the back rooms in the Cadaver. Mikie invites Nicolai, and takes the opportunity to update him on what's been going on at the Palladium Group. They decide to go shake a weasel - Charlie Weseli, to be specific. Sal finds him, and the group gets to him just before two cars with four bad guys each show up. Nicolai makes a new door on the side of the building for emergency egress. Much shooting and running and general mayhem ensues, before the group goes down a grate to get away, and end up in the air system. Charlie only saw the killer's shoes (expensive), and heard him say: "The existent circumstances require that a sacrifice be made". His victim tried to tell him that he hadn't "told them anything", followed by scream, snick, slash, thump.

The group goes to D.S. to look at the tape Irving made. The tape actually doesn't show the killer, but they can see that the movements are inhumanly fast - rather like the late Pamela Blaelok. This just gets better and better. And Blaelok's at the bar. He's offering Mikie his "help", as he feels some affection for Mikie, and in his position as consul he has even more needs for some one with Mikie's abilities. And Blaelok can make sure that the people who are rolling up certain parts of the Palladium Group "cast a smaller net" rather than a larger one. And a larger net would include people like Mikie's friends. Mikie and Blaelok come to the same sort of agreement as they had before, which was that Mikie will not do certain things for Blaelok (or anyone). Blaelok gives Mikie $10,000 cr. for "expenses". He also makes a comment about how he's happy to be back in the Marches, but the Rim does have certain benefits - Blaelok has his hand resting on his drink, and as he says this, a blade extends from one of his fingers and skewers the cherry at the bottom of the drink. Mikie says nothing, but remembers that the last person Mikie knew with enhancements was Pamela, and she's now an M and M dispenser...

Nicolai turns down Blaelok's offer to give him a commission at the consulate, but will be maintaining a relationship with Blaelok. Naturally, since they are both superior beings, this is to be expected. Blaelok also provides Nicolai with an address of interest, with regard to the Arkadians who blew up Nicolai's house.

Mikie accepts Sal's proposal to work as a bartender at D.S., at least a few nights a week. Theresa tries very hard to console Mikie, because she's convinced that he's upset over being fired; he tries very hard to convince her he's not, especially after she bakes a cake.

And life on Regina goes on.