Nicolai's Revenge.


Blaelok has provided Nicolai with the address of the Arkadians responsible for blowing up his house (not to mention Nicolai). Nicolai cases the place - it's an isolated house on Regina proper, with a rather effective kill zone. When Nicolai returns Up Port, he is questioned by the police about the explosion (for extra realism, Sparky acts as the interviewer). It's a long list of potential enemies, plus questions about the explosion, his relationship with his neighbor lady (the one who was killed in the explosion), his bank accounts, why he left planet, etc., etc. Very thorough. The only surprise was when the police asked if he was aware that the neighbor lady was an artificial person. No...

When Nicolai is done with the police, he goes to the Palladium Group to see Mikie and is somewhat confused to see a new receptionist (Michelle), a new boss (Mr. White), and no Mikie. Hmmm. When he asks, Michelle tells him he may be able to find Mikie at Discarding Sabot. Nicolai finds Mikie there, and asks if he has any free time, as Nicolai wants some help checking out something on planet. Could be arranged.

Joe Lee overhears a couple of men at the park discussing the reappearance of "our Solomani friend" who won't "stay dead". "What does it take - a silver bullet? Stake through the heart?" The older man directs the younger to take care of the problem at his leisure (no rush), but to make sure it's permanent this time. And some references are made about the "shipment" and "the doctor". The older one, after they part company, throws a crumpled piece of paper into Joe Lee's basket (as Joe's working). When Joe reads it, it has a docking bay number, and a time.

During all the above, a strange man in a white toga and foil-covered motorcycle helmet keeps following Joe Lee around and scribbling notes. When Joe asks him what he's doing, the man tells him he's documenting Joe's "crimes" for when the evil psionics are brought to trial. Okay, he's a loon.

Joe Lee goes to DS to find Mikie, as he figures he'll know what to do about the overheard conversation. Since Nicolai is there, Joe recounts the story, as Nicolai is probably the "Solomani friend". Joe is concerned that the references to "product" and "the doctor" may indicate organ leggers. The S.S. Bonaventura is scheduled to dock at the bay on the note, at midnight tonight, per the shipping schedule. Nicolai is able to identify the ship as a private vessel, a 500 ton Far Trader, with the equivalent of a Bahamian registry.

As Mikie is currently working the morning shift, he's off at 2:00 p.m., so he's available after that to help Nicolai with his planetside project. Nicolai, Joe Lee, and Mikie take the shuttle down, then bus to within in about a mile of the house. It's in one of the expensive neighborhoods - all the houses have gates and long drives, etc. The house in question has a lot of security, even more than would be expected (from Mikie's point of view). There's a pool, with extremely attractive women in and by it, and an older gentleman in a lounge chair. Also near the pool is the older gentleman of the two Joe overheard. While the group watches, a man in scrubs comes out and speaks with the grey haired man. Also, a large man comes out that Nicolai recognizes as being one of the "brothers" (aka AP) from the previous adventure.

As they are leaving, a car drives up onto the sidewalk at speed, and hits Nicolai. Then the doors burst open and guys with guns pop out. Mikie managed to dodge the car, and then do a fast fade when the gunners showed up (the benefit of a misspent youth). Nicolai triggers and takes off, with the thugs trying to shotgun him. Joe Lee is bouncing in and out of the bushes with sword in hand, and skewers one of the two bad guys, and then disappearing back into the hedge. He encounters a thragr, who wraps his tongue around Joe's leg. Joe thwacks off the thragr's tongue, who takes off after Joe as Joe goes after the second bad guy. Joe lops off the guy's arm, then jumps into the car and takes off. As the arm flies through the air, the thragr grabs it, then tries to bash its way into the car en route.

Nicolai untriggers, and catches the bus. Joe ends up being pursued (at least briefly) by both the thragr and the police. Mikie also catches the bus, when it pulls over for the police car. Joe Lee is "arrested", then driven to the big house Nicolai was interested in. The main villain (the grey-haired man) says "Well, well. More than just a gardener...". Joe is taken to the basement and thrown into a concrete cell. There were "inhuman" sounds coming from the other cells. Nicolai gives Mikie a high tech locator, and goes off to get his equipment. Mikie goes back to where Joe was last seen, and does manage to locate him psionically.

Joe's "host" visits him, through the slit in the door, and welcomes him (by name) to Arkadia. Uh-oh. A civilized man, he does send tea in to Joe though. A second set of eyes looks in on Joe - the doctor. Joe drinks his tea, meditates, floats a bit. Mikie checks out the security as best he can, then goes to a coffee shop to await dusk and Nicolai. Meanwhile, back at the basement laboratory, Joe hears his host having a discussion with the doctor, that does not bode well ("they're very rare....", "...if it could be extracted...", "...no use for him, as far as I'm concerned he's raw material for you..."). Then the doctor opens the little slot on Joe's door, and tells Joe he is going to be "part of the future, part of history". Well, which is it, man?

Nicolai meets up with Mikie, who tells him that Joe is in the basement of the house. They go to further check on the security, and it is very good. The only good thing is that the guards on the inside are relying really heavily on the external security. Two limos pull up, and the guard is thinking that he's not going to check under the cars, there's never anything under the cars. Too good to pass up. Mikie manages to stow away, and hears the host welcome Mr. Solati (eek!!), who is taken to the basement to see the telekinetic. [ Solati, a really creepy guy, is one of the upper level people at SuSag, and tends to look at everyone like they're bugs under a microscope. ]

What Mikie does not hear, is the conversation that Solati has with the host about Joe Lee being a friend of Mikie's, and the fact that "Michael's father" had been involved in similar "work", and isn't it interesting how the projects are "overlapping". Oh <expletive deleted>!

Mikie goes around to the back of the house, to the kitchen entrance. A male servant type comes out back to smoke a dope stick, and is joined by a female in the traditional "housemaid" outfit; she's extremely attractive, and has an AP tattoo. From their conversation, his name is Jules, and hers is Suzette. After Jules goes back in, Suzette turns to where Mikie is hidden in the shadows, and asks if she can help him. He mentions Jules, she assumes he's one of Jules' "friends", and leads him to Jules' room. When Jules comes in, he's obviously expecting some one else, and sort of panics when he sees who it is, and starts to stammer apologies to "Dr. Trygaer". As this is the real name of Mikie's father, he's rather shaken up by this, but manages to project calm to Jules, and get him to believe there was a misunderstanding, and that Mikie (or whoever he is) really wanted Suzette's room. He takes Mikie there, and then Suzette comes in, for the Doctor's "use". Fortunately, it's not well lit, and she's willing to just do something for the viewing pleasure of her guest. She also believes Mikie is Dr. Trygaer. Mikie is trying to not come unhinged over this.

Mikie finds the security control room, and manages to keep them calm enough to continue to watch the gravball pre-game show (thanks to psionics), and not get too weirded out that the Doctor is down there with the "help", while he turns off the security stuff between Nicolai and the house long enough for him to get to the house, then turns it back on and leaves.

Nicolai dashes to the house, then untriggers. As he stealths around the house to locate a way in, he sees the dinner party, an Mikie at the big table! Obviously, he's sold Nicolai out, damn his eyes, so Nicolai has his surf gun in hand when he enters the house and encounters the big AP. Much gunfire, yelling, screaming, blood everywhere, divers are alarmed, and so on. When Mikie gets the guards who are trying to get the Doctor to safety, he ends up running into himself. Literally. Turns out dear old Dad tried to hedge his bets, and when he thought his wife had terminated her pregnancy, he had a backup embryo. Michael Griffin, meet Michael Trygaer (I guess Dad really liked the name). Mikie decides against his first instinct to try to take out the other (psionically). The guards get really confused, and Trygaer orders them to stand down (so to speak), as this is obviously his brother. Trygaer is taller than Mikie, more tan, and is not as lean, but other than that, the two are pretty much identical. Comments are made about Mikie having "missed a few meals" in his youth, and "is the destructo-matic with you?" The latter was referring to Nicolai. Mikie explained that Nicolai was there to get back at the Arkadians who blew up his house (with him in it). Trygaer looks at one of the Arkadians, who is looking uncomfortable and guilty, and says "Richard, is this true?". Disparaging remarks about Richard's lack of negotiating skills are made, and then Trygaer has one of the APs with him take care of Richard. Trygaer apologizes about Mikie having to have seen that. Mikie tells Trygaer that they have a friend of his, Joe Lee, and that's why he's there. Trygaer says, "Yes, he a telekinetic you know, they're very rare." That's nice, but Mikie wants Joe out of there. Trygaer first suggests that Mikie needs to get new friends, but then agrees to letting him have him, as a gesture of goodwill; after all, they are family, and he's always wanted a brother.

They take the elevator up, while Nicolai, who has gone down one of the elevator shafts, found a level full of flammable material, set it to blow up, and returned back upstairs. Trygaer introduces Mikie, as his brother, to Mr. Solati, who asks Mikie if he's a telepath too, and looks at him like a specimen. There is evidently no real love lost between Solati and Trygaer. Mikie and Trygaer go to the security room, so Mikie can try talking to Nicolai. They locate him on camera, running full tilt away from the house. Mikie takes one look, turns to Trygaer and says "We should leave. Now." This they do, in Trygaer's car. Shortly after they leave, the house blows sky high. Very spectacular - flames shooting up into the night sky, heaven knows what kind of chemicals going off.

As he doesn't know Regina, Trygaer asks Mikie where they should go. At Mikie's suggestion, they take the shuttle Up Port. Nicolai has done the same, but they do not bump into him. Joe Lee goes home once Up Port, Mikie takes Trygaer to Claridges for a room, Nicolai goes home, calls Blaelok, and informs him that Mikie has "gone over to the Arkadians", and may have been blown up with the house. Blaelok suggests that Nicolai get medical attention first, and then they will "reason with" Mikie, who Blaelok knows is not dead as he just checked in to Claridges. Nicolai agrees to the medical suggestion, but "reasoning" is not what he wants to do with Mikie, as he is stone cold pissed off about Mikie betraying him and drinking champagne with the Arkadians while Nicolai was waiting for all that time outside. Nicolai never considers that Mikie doesn't drink (he could have been lying about not drinking), and would have had to go inside, make a deal, and change clothing. Not to mention the fact that Nicolai was the one who wanted Mikie to go to the house in the first place. Superiorily paranoid, these Solomani.

Trygaer wants to "talk about things" with Mikie, and as Theresa is out with her father, and Mikie doesn't think he'll be able to sleep any way, he agrees. Trygaer evidently envies Mikie's "freedom", as he was never allowed to decide for himself what he wanted to do. He wants to know about Mikie's life, and he's always wanted a brother.

So, the night ends with Nicolai ticked off, Blaelok concerned, the Arkadians down one house and a lot of personnel, Joe Lee safely home, and Mikie pretty messed up emotionally over this whole mess.

To be continued...?