Carpe Fustis, Part 2.

360 - 1121

Corina invites Mr. Blaelok to tea at the Tea House. He of course accepts.

Mr. White decides he wants to join one of the higher end clubs, but he's not sure which one, so he takes a long walk through the park. He hears the rumor about Victoria Aledon, Ghaer, and the Solomani; he's leapt to a conclusion about who the "unidentified male human" is.

Ghaer also hears the rumor about himself and Victoria, etc. Needless to say, he's not pleased. And on top of that, he's getting "Race traitor" comments when he walks by some Vargrs he knows. He's trying to figure out how to make this a "learning experience" for others.

Mr. White goes to the police station to check on the investigation into the murders at the Palladium Group. He speaks with the detective in charge of the case, Det. Hollin, who tells him that they have no current leads. Hollin tells White that they are looking for some one large, who is very good with a sword, and does White know anyone like that? Well, the only person that White knows that would fit that is this producer guy named Behrel something, but as White had no association with him, there's no reason to suspect Behrel. And White was not privy to the cases his now deceased partners were working on, so that's a dead end. All of the equipment in the office will have to remain in police custody until the investigation is complete. Fortunately, Commissioner Globber has seen the site, and has noticed the "ritualistic elements" of the crime scene, and there is a group of cultists on Up Port currently, and cults are into ritualistic violence....so, that would mean the Macenites will need to be rounded up for questioning.

Mr. White is bored, so he goes down to level five, to the A & B Detective Agency, which is really jumping as people are hiring bodyguards left right and center. White takes a missing dog case, and goes to speak with the wealthy owner.

Corina and Blaelok meet at the Tea House, and after a discussion between Blaelok and the tea master, Blaelok orders and pours a special type of tea called Stygian Bliss. It's very invigorating, and delicious, but Blaelok tells Corina that it's a lovely tea, but you can only drink one cup of tea a day, or it's fatal.

Corina: "I've heard that Victoria is staying with you."

Blaelok: "... Yes, she has sought the protection of the Solomani government."

Corina: "I'm not sure that a 10 year old is capable of making this kind of decision..."

Blaelok: "Oh, of course, of course. This is merely temporary. Incidentally, some people have evidently been filling her ears with the most dreadful poison about you - she blames you for the deaths."

There is an offer of assistance to help Victoria get over this problem, and be returned to Corina in the "correct" state of mind, and when Corina tells him that no, "she'll be coming home very soon", Blaelok asks if she would like "another convenient accident?"

Corina: "I was the driver of the vehicle, but in no way was I responsible for the other deaths."

Blaelok: "Of course, of course."

Several bio-sculpted goons bring in a slightly sedated Victoria.

Blaelok: "We like to keep friendly relations with our megacorp neighbors. I'm afraid duty calls me away, but please enjoy your tea."

He leaves, and Corina leads Victoria to the limo. There are a couple of camera flashes as the get to the limo. Corina goes to the Duke Dome. She has tried to get the girl's nanny to meet her, but she's not having any, and has run off. Corina speaks with the butler about who Victoria might trust, and is told Ghaer, Mikie, and Mr. Black, although the butler is somewhat concerned about the "rumor" that Ghaer and Mikie were the ones that took Victoria. Corina sends her limo after Mikie and Ghaer, calls Black, who tells her that they've "picked up" the errant nanny, and will "convince her", per Corina's request, to be more reasonable.

Mikie and Ghaer go with the driver, as he's polite, and are taken to the Ducal estate. They inform Corina that no, they did not "turn over" Victoria to the Solomani, they took her out of the estate after the Solomani showed up en masse, for a forced sanctuary offer. Corina tells them she promised the Duchess to take care of Victoria, and she intends to do so. She would like Ghaer and Mikie to help with Victoria's emotional state, and they agree to do this. Corina is planning on adopting Victoria, but she's not sure what to do next, maybe a boarding school where she can be around children her own age. Once she recovers from the drugs, Victoria will be asked what she wants.

While they are having this conversation, one of her men comes in and tells her that there's something on channel 6 Corina should see. As it turns out, the brilliant Commissioner Globber has managed to tie the murders at the Palladium Group, the "sabotage" of Corina's car, and the murder of the Duchess to the Macenites. Unfortunately, no one knows exactly who the cult members are, but the police are working on rounding up members. A bit later, a public service announcement comes on to show people an example of what the cult robes look like, and then show what they don't look like; for example, the robes like the Carthusian monks that were beaten up were wearing. Well, that settles that.

Corina asks Ghaer and Mikie to please stay until Victoria comes out of the drugged stupor, as she was quite agitated (according to Blaelok). They agree, and then she tells them about the nanny and Black, and could they also please make sure she's all right. Sigh. Corina is going to have to see Globber, as he has requested to see her, to give her an official update. Maybe they should take Victoria somewhere that she can be safe, but will not have bad memories, so maybe the Ducal estate is not the best place; or maybe the servants' area? Corina suggests maybe the housing development (near the old Enclave) on Rhylanor - she can buy a condo there, etc. and if the governess is amenable, she can go along.

Mr. White is successful (sort of) in finding the lost dog. Or more accurately, the lost dog's collar and skin. Outside a restaurant... He is able to resuscitate the client when she gets the bad news, and keeps her going until the ambulance arrives. Hmmm, not exactly a great start here. He is able to get the equipment back from the police, and gets new office space so he can reopen the Group. He gets a real customer, who asks him to help her get justice. She believes the Macenites have been framed, and would like the real guilty parties to be exposed. She gives him a contact number, and a large envelope full of money. When she leaves, White calls the Commissioner's office and leaves a message that he may be able to assist in the matter of the Macenites.

When Mikie returns home, Theresa meets Mikie at the door, and tells him some strange woman wanted to see him. When he asks what about, she says "Why don't you ask her?", in a sort of tense, unhappy kind of way. It's Natasha. [Gee, you'd think being clairvoyant would be handy for situations like this, but noooo.] Natasha is panicked because Regina Security is after her, and she doesn't know what to do. She's going to meet Mikie at a nearby convenience store, and she takes the inner ceiling route. Theresa doesn't say anything, but she doesn't have to - Mikie figures he is so dead. When Mikie gets to the store, no one is there. He does see some drops of blood, then looks up and sees blood on the corner of the ceiling. Then he hears a faint cry, and finds Natasha behind the counter, bleeding profusely. She's been shot, repeatedly, probably by the clerk who's been stuffed up into the ceiling. Blood everywhere, and Natasha can barely move. Mikie gets an auto-cab, and they head for the Consulate. Mikie calls ahead, and gets Blaelok. As he's on the phone with him, a Regina Security car pulls up beside the cab, and Blaelok asks to speak with Natasha. Mikie is reluctant, but he does it, and shields. Natasha, as expected, is given some kind of code by Blaelok, and she dies. Then the cab is stopped and the Regina Security guys jump out, and throw open the doors of the cab. "Shit! She's dead!" They take Mikie and Natasha's body with them. Along the way, Mikie hears a high-pitched whining coming from the trunk area. Fortunately it's not a bomb, but there is a trace of a bright flash. Ah, Mikie knows what that means.

Sure enough, when they get to the big grey building with no windows and open up the trunk, it's clean enough to eat off of! The dress is still there, with several bullet holes in it, but no blood, or any other biological matter is left in there. The guy who opens the trunk calls his partner back, because he needs a witness. Oh boy, no Natasha, no body, and Black is already in a foul mood. So they take Mikie in to see Black, because they are not going in there with nothing. Black is stone cold pissed, and is sure Mikie is somehow to blame for this, but because of their "past history", he's not going to kill him. He tells his underlings to let Mikie go, after they explain to Mikie just exactly how unhappy Mr. Black really is.

After being beaten (literally) to within an inch of his life, by experts, Mikie is dumped out of the car. The cars still moving, but at least they slow it down slightly as they're going around the corner. Mikie does not remember getting home, but he does manage to get to the door and sort of scratch at it. Theresa throws the door open ready to rip Mikie a new... and finds him on the floor just before he passes out. He wakes up in a hospital bed some time later. Fortunately, Black hadn't wanted him dead, and his people knew what they were doing. The only good thing was that Theresa forgot about throttling Mikie. He'll recover, which is more than he can say for Natasha. Damn Blaelok.

364 - 1121

The state funeral for the late Aledon family takes place. Victoria by this time has seen the news on the investigation, and has spoken with Corina, so she no longer believes that Corina was responsible for her family's death. Victoria is happy that Corina is going to adopt her, but does not yet want to be sent away to school or anything. Blaelok, of course, attends the funeral, and is quite concerned that Mikie appears to have "injured himself". No, actually, Mikie has never had any problems finding other people to hurt him thank you. Blaelok offers to pay a visit to whoever was responsible for Mikie's condition, and Mikie would be only too happy for Blaelok to go to the big grey building, gee thanks. Theresa keeps her distance from the evil Blaelok (very perceptive girl).

The eulogy is delivered brilliantly, and Corina impresses a lot of people. If it hadn't been a funeral, she probably would have been cheered. But she's not Duchess yet, and she still doesn't know who killed the Duchess or why, or if some one actually tampered with the brakes on her car.

Next will come Holiday, and then the big party at the Solomani Consulate. Such fun.