Nicolai, Universe, Stick...


Nicolai takes a job doing "grunt work" on Up Port, to pass the time, make a little extra cash, and to keep an eye on the ship the Dragons had come in on. After a couple of days, during which time no one actually left or arrived, the ship does depart.

Mikie actually does get a couple of days of calm, before reality kicks in again, so that's nice for a change. Unlike Mr. White, who is tranq'd, wakes up feeling roughed up, in his office, with what turns out to be his nose lying on the desk blotter in front of him, and blood everywhere. Fortunately, it's just uncomfortable and expensive, and then he's back pretty much back to normal. When he returns to his office, Mr. Black (with a couple of his men) is in his office, having a cigarrette. Black just wanted to make sure Mr. White was okay. He was concerned, as Mr. White had been "sticking his nose" into places he ought not have.

Shortly thereafter, once Black has departed, one of White's operatives limps into the office looking like he's been efficiently beaten with baseball bats. He tells White that Mr. Black is not a good person to be asking after, as he 's a rather private person, and he's been dead and come back, so not messing with him would be good. Evidently Mr. Black must think that White is potentially useful, or at least entertaining to have "just" cut off his nose. And, no offence, but that's one operative that will not be working of White again.

White has been casting about for information on all sorts of people: Christopher Blaelok, Mr. Black, Mikie, Michael Trygaer, Theresa Blake, Theresa's father, Rick Walker, Ghaer Raller, Victor Androchev, Katya Androchev, Nathan Andrews, and Randy Kyle. Some people are going to be very unhappy about family members being investigated, so White had better hope they don't find out... Evidently, some one also wanted to either make sure White was in his original packaging (no corejob), or wanted a DNA sample, as the "bug bite" on the back of his neck was evidently a spinal biopsy. Hmmm.

In pursuit of Katya, White heads out to attempt to track her down. Possibly in Old Port? Also, his checks on Blaelok gives him rumours of connections with SolSec, Imperial Naval Security, and who knows what else; everything eventually contradicts everything else, so it's hard to tell just what is true, let alone prove anything, but it certainly does make one suspicious. For now though, White is going to concentrate on one case at a time, so it's going to be Katya's.

Word gets back to Mikie that some one has been asking questions about him, so he hires a Wuzelli to find out some more info. The weasel is able to tell him that the guy who had been asking about Mikie, and his brother, left planet rather suddenly (buying a last minute ticket with his good hand), after reporting to the Palladium Group. And speaking of the Group, Mr. White had to have a little something regrown, and then had a visit from people in cars with blacked out windows and no hubcaps. Mikie wants the weasel to keep an ear open as to who else has been asking questions, and about whom. There's also a rumour that some one hacked into Captain Midnight. Yeah, right.

White is in the Cadaver, and manages to make contact with an organ legger, who he pays to generate a description of the person whose DNA he has info on. With the description in hand, he eventually is contacted by a weasel, who tells White that he knows where the person is, and for $2,000, he'll tell him. They settle on $1500, half in advance, and White is given an address in a really seedy part of Old Port. He goes to the apartment complex (so to speak), picks a really old, rusted door lock, hears a woman's voice, waits, and then goes in. As soon as he steps into the room, the door slams shut, the lights pop on, and Mr. White discovers he's in a room with two large men, and a fairly butch female, all of whom have large metal weapons, and demand the $750 credits they know he has on him. White palms the Eggsterminator with the cash, and shoots one of the big guys (blood and money bits everywhere). A fight ensues (of course), the other big guy is staked to the floor with rebar, White is almost skewered through the face, and the female is injured severely. Not wanting to kill the woman he's looking for, since he's not sure whether or not she's Katya (it's possible), White grabs her, gets to where he can grab an auto cab, then goes to the A and B Detective Agency, where he storms in, covered in blood, carrying a bleeding woman. Eventually, one of the people at the Agency recognizes White, so they now know the new boss is a raving lunatic. White stabilises the woman in a back room, bandages himself, then calls for a limo, a change of clothing, and a paper suit from Michelle at the Palladium Group. The limo arrives, with Natasha, then White goes back to the Group, finishes stabilising the female, then calls for a plastic surgeon. White ends up going to the doctor's surgery, so he can do a proper job.

The Wuzelli gets back to Mikie that others have been asking about Blaelok, Black (only once though), Mikie, and his brother the biologist. That's all so far. Damn. No one really knows why, or what's up, or if any of it's connected. Mikie ends up visiting his brother, and they discuss the fact that Andrew only has the money he had on his person, so he needs a place to stay, clothing, a job, etc. Then there's a rather awkward conversation about what kind of work he could do, and what he used to do, and the fact that APs have rights on Regina (how bizarre!), and that kind of thing.

White leaves a message for Mikie to get in touch with him. They meet in the park, and White hires Mikie to look for Katya, as she may be in the Warrens. There is a certain amount of verbal fencing, but Mikie agrees to attempt to find Katya, and take a tissue sample.

Mikie is able to track Katya, and she was in the Warrens, but had a falling out with the gang she was with, so she left and ended up in the Dark Side of Old Port. Mikie finds out who she was working with (a guy named Bruce), and is able to piece together what actually happened. During the process, some one tries to mug Mikie, and the guy's head suddenly falls off - no apparent cause, or culprit, but....

Mikie goes to the Palladium Group, can sense where Katya is, and asks White to go to that back room. He then tells White that the female there is, in fact, Katya. White asks Mikie if he wants to stay, as he will be waking Katya up, but Mikie declines, takes his money, and leaves. He does not want to be around when Katya wakes up, restrained or not, and really, really pissed off.

Mikie finds a note from his brother, saying that he has gone to a job interview, at the Solomani Consulate. Eeep. Naturally, Mikie goes directly to the Consulate, where he finds Andrew with Blaelok, sipping brandy, all friendly like. Mikie convinces Andrew to not make a definite decision about the job offer right away, and they leave to discuss it. They go to the Bread and Bean, to a booth with sound-dampers on high, and Mikie attempts to explain to Andrew why he's concerned about Blaelok (he's evil!), and the other job offer from a government agency that is actually one of the fronts for Regina Security. It's really difficult for Mikie to get across to Andrew the reasons for his concerns, without coming off as a completely paranoid lunatic, and in fact Andrew does express concern about Mikie's mental health. (Well, okay, so Mikie's under a lot of emotional stress right now.) Andrew can tell Mikie is genuinely worried, thanks to their "connection", so he agrees to be cautious. Mikie tries to get Andrew to think about what Andrew actually wants to do with his life, instead of what is expected of him.

Blaelok has a little conversation with Mikie later, without other people around, about how disappointed he was that Mikie took exception to his offering his brother a job. After all, Blaelok was just trying to help look after Mikie's family, and besides - other groups/individuals might not care whether or not Andrew actually wants to work with them. Gee, was that a threat, or a threat? Nothing was really decided, as Andrew is still looking into his options.

Mr. White makes sure Katya is okay physically, takes a good DNA sample, gives her mem-wipe, and also implants a tracking device, so he can always "pick her up later". He returns her to Old Port, with $100 in her pockets, so she's not completely broke.

For some reason known only to himself and the Devil, White has a message sent to Andrew, asking him to lunch. Andrew calls Mikie, as he has no clue who the heck this White guy is, or why he would ask him to lunch. Andrew accepts the invitation, but arrives with Mikie. White is somewhat surprised, but spends lunch on pleasantries, and never gets to any real point, so both Mikie and Andrew have no clue what the heck is going on. White asks after Theresa, and goes on with more pleasantries - everything but the weather. Very odd. White's parting remark as he leaves, is to tell Mikie to say hello to his father next time he sees him. Andrew gets the cold look, and is none too happy. Now Mikie is going to have to explain about their father, sooner than he wanted; he would have preferred to have spoken with their father first. This is going to get awkward...