Ah, so it's going to be one of those days....

5 - 1122.

Nicolai returns Up Port, carrying a small mallet, wooden stake, silver bullets, a crucifix, and some holy water. Damned people are just not staying dead on Regina. Also, he wanted to check in with Christi, see how she was doing.

Kahn Zephès has returned to Regina after a year and a half (more or less) away. He's had to deal with discovering he was an AP, and meeting "Father" - Evan Sontag (at this point, Kahn is not aware that Sontag is dead). He's come to grips with who, or at least what he is, but he wants to find Father, to ask him for what purpose/mission he was originally made.

Kahn doesn't remember Regina being this busy. Lots of people, and lots has been happening. He keeps trying to find people he knew, but most have either left (like Viktor), or died (like Mac and Jennifer). Kahn decides to walk through the park and see grass, and trees, and flowers. Then the smell of fresh brewed coffee (deliberately vented by the Bread and Bean) wafts across his nose, drawing him to the coffee shop. He's helped in his coffee selection by the barista, and so he ends up with a large Turkish coffee. (Well, he won't be falling asleep!) Kahn spots Nicolai, and the way he moves, and his old AP reflexes kick in. Fortunately, he just twitches slightly, and does not actually go for his gun. But he's watching Nicolai, from the smoking section, and Nicolai notices this. He's watching Nicolai in "an uncomfortable way", from Nicolai's point of view. Nicolai just looks over, and asks "Can I help you??".

Kahn: You move like some one I know.

Nicolai: But you don't look like anyone I know. So perhaps you should look for him. Is he on Regina?

Kahn: I don't know. Maybe you know him?

Nicolai: What's his name?

Kahn passes Nicolai a piece of paper, with the name "Evan Sontag" on it. Nicolai has absolutely no clue who this guy is, and tells Kahn so. At this point, Mikie and Theresa come in, as they were out of coffee, and in desperate need of caffeine. Theresa, being the incredibly friendly person she is, spots Nicolai, and bounces over to ask if they can sit with Nicolai and his "friend". So, everyone ends up sitting together all chummy like. Kahn does not tumble to it, but Mikie's cop detector goes off. He tells Nicolai and Theresa this when Kahn goes to get a replacement for the coffee he poured Chartreuse into (Nicolai offered him his flask, and Kahn didn't know better). Shortly after Kahn returns to the table, the temperature drops, and Blaelok oozes in. Kahn does notice Mikie tense up. Unfortunately, Blaelok spots them and Kahn invites him to join them (oh boy!).

A fascinating conversation ensues, especially between Blaelok and Kahn. The subject of exactly what Kahn used to do comes up, including that he used to be in the "bladerunner" section (the AP eradication unit). Some comments are made about this, and one of Kahn's makes Mikie wonder about him, so he does a surface "scan". Kahn does not feel exactly like an AP (psionically speaking), but he's not exactly normal human - kind of like a combination of the two almost. Kahn does feel "something", and Mikie is looking at him really intensely, so Kahn lowers the shades to look at Mikie, who comments on his nice shades. Blaelok is interested in Kahn's skills, and asks him to call at the Consulate later. Then Blaelok (thank God) leaves.

Very shortly thereafter, a very large man at another table gets upset because he recognizes Kahn as having killed his créche-mate. Mikie gets Theresa down, other patrons move out of the line of fire, Nicolai triggers, the AP leaps, and Kahn draws. Nicolai meets the AP part way, breaking his arm and giving Kahn time to finish drawing his weapon. Kahn is definitely a good shot, and shoots the AP in the left eye with his 12 mag, killing the AP deader than hell, and spattering brains everywhere. [Eeewwww!] Blaelok, outside the window, sees this, and "toasts" Kahn. Theresa is okay, but really, really, really wants to leave right now. So she tells Mikie to stay with his friends, and she'll just go ahead to work. So she dashes out, trying not to throw up, and unhappily wiping "bits" off her shoe. She dashes by Ghaer on her way out.

Ghaer enters, checks out the mess, and decides to get his coffee to go. Nicolai, Mikie, and Kahn have also switched to paper cups. They leave, Ghaer is introduced to Kahn (he's the one who made the mess), and are heading to somewhere less icky. Along the way, Nicolai and Kahn are speaking, and Kahn tells him that he no longer kills APs, because he is one. Nicolai immediately puts distance between them, and makes him walk in front. They accidentally run into the crowd of people who are being "handled" by Corina's security people. She decided to walk to her meeting with Black at the Jasmine Club (after the latest edition of the Democracia, he was kind of in need of a conversation), and Kahn was lucky enough to be one of the people to shake her hand. He was sort of confused and a bit "stunned", so he sort of hung onto her hand (he had no clue who the hell she was), and when Corina passed on by, Jack Armstrong stopped to have a bit of chat with Kahn, just in case he was getting any of the wrong "ideas".

Corina and Black have a lovely chat, and Corina will - next time - make sure Black gets an advance issue of Democracia, especially if it's going to be something that inflammatory. And with the meetings that are about to take place, Black does not really want to upset everyone that much. Black also tells Corina about the driver of the car that killed the late Duchess being an AP, although he had lived as a "normal" human for years. He was evidently "triggered" by a conversation with some one. Interestingly enough, an AP of that type was used in an attempt on the life of the then Duchess of Mora, Viper, a bit over a year ago, and this person has just returned to Regina. Black has pictures of Kahn having coffee with Blaelok and Nicolai, and then shaking Corina's hand. Oh, I see. And then a picture of him with Ghaer and Mikie; considering that Ghaer is helping to protect Victoria, this is not comforting. Corina feels that it would be more useful to really carefully watch and follow him (already being done), to see who (if anyone) is that person that controls him. Black agrees, but there's some concern as to his potential target - Corina? Or the new Duchess of Rhylanor (Viper again)? The latter would be bad, as Black does not to want to be around if Grey gets throws a tantrum over his wife being harmed, as Grey has mulit-million ton ships available. Good point. Oh, and it looks like Corina will be offered a membership in the Jasmine Club, if she survives the next few weeks.

At the Escargot d'Or, Ghaer, Mikie, Nicolai, and Kahn have breakfast. Kahn is in seventh heaven, as it's real food! Not the food-processor crap he's been eating on the ships he's been working on. While they are there, Mikie is looking at the newsfax, and sees the picture of Viper and Grey, and then he remembers why Kahn looks so familiar - he's the one who shot Viper! Mikie does not say anything. When Ghaer and Nicolai are up at the breakfast bar, Mikie and Kahn see the two Sengi at another table. Kahn is concerned, as they are really big guys, and move incredibly well. He's very concerned when the Sengi look at his table, then get up and approach. The walk up to Mikie, say "Greetings, Oracle", and bow to Mikie. They are very pleased to see that he is on Regina, and will tell their Lord, so that he can get his vision [oh, just peachy]. Then they leave, and Mikie tells Kahn that if he sees any of these guys, do not mess with them, and do not touch them.

Nicolai, after they get rid of P.P. Weseli, tells Ghaer that Kahn has been asking about some one, and passes him the note with Sontag's name on it. Ghaer sort of grins, and says he very dead. Nicolai asks if he was CRI, and the answer is no, but he was one of the people who worked on their controls. And no, nothing is left of Sontag or his stuff. Ghaer goes to speak with Corina, after asking Nicolai for his services (at least on retainer) to potentially help protect or hide Victoria. Then he makes a call to the big grey building with no windows, and leaves a message "from Jennifer", that some one is asking questions about Sontag. Nicolai goes to check his "kit", but gets a call from Claire - Blaelok wants to retain him to take care of a potential problem; Nicolai agrees to that too. [Hmmm. Working both sides? Or making sure he has a job.] Kahn goes to his meeting with Blaelok. Mikie goes to the Japanese Garden to await the inevitable. Sigh. On the way out, he notices several of Black's people, who have been following them. Or Kahn.

Kahn has his meeting with Blaelok, who wants him to help look for Sontag (he gives him the same Solomani citizen, missing, family worried speech he's been giving everyone). Then Kahn notices the clock behind Blaelok has skipped ahead 20 minutes (and he knows what that means!!). Blaelok gives him his retainer, and they part company, with Kahn looking for signs of blood or something on himself, but he doesn't, so perhaps he hasn't actually killed anyone this time. He very carefully checks his guns and other equipment when they are returned, to make sure everything is the way it was, and the guns have not recently been fired.

Kahn is looking for a place to stay, and ends up in the fairly safe section of Old Port. Since he knew Grandma and Frank, Kahn decides to look them up (and maybe get a cookie). He goes to Grandma's house to find Frank and no Grandma. Frank brings Kahn up to date on Grandma, and agrees to Kahn crashing there for now. They bond over beer, popcorn and a Rottweilers game. Frank's adopted daughter, whose 13 years old now, also joins in. After the game, it looks like a popcorn and beer bomb went off in the living room. But everyone has had a wholesome good time. [Is that allowed here?]

There are Sengi at the park, but deeply involved in a game of J'la. Joe Lee is floating nearby. Mikie goes to DS, as he's been switched to night shift. And the embodiment of evil shows up, all excited like. Mikie gets Blaelok one of his nonalcoholic drinks. Blaelok asks about the little job - Sontag, then tells Mikie that he has a new project for him. Kahn Zephès, is a person of interest for Blaelok. And they might not need Sontag. Blaelok refers to Kahn as Mikie's "new friend", in a manner that makes it a command, not a question. Mikie is to get closer to Kahn, and find out as much about him as possible. Then Blaelok takes out a little PDA, turns it toward Mikie, the screen flashes, and Mikie loses several minutes. Again. Damn Blaelok. The last thing Blaelok says as Mikie sort of returns to consciousness is "I trust in your judgment to do the right thing when the time comes". Although he tries not to, Mikie can't help but think of killing Blaelok, so he ends of holding on to the bar while the nausea and chest pains subside. Blaelok doesn't want to keep Mikie from his work, so he just sits there at the bar with his drink. Mikie is working further down the bar when another Solomani comes in to speak with Blaelok. The acoustics in DS are really odd, so Mikie ends up in a spot where he can hear everything the Solomanis are saying. He can't understand everything, but he does get that they have the first part of some kind of code, but need the rest. But it did work, as "he" did lock up for 20 minutes, so they know the first part works. If they get what they are after, the one Solomani makes comments about the thousands of operatives at their beck and call. Blaelok explains that the other is not seeing the real potential in this. The controls can be implanted at a molecular level, genetically making people into the nice obedient citizens the Rim wants. And this would be passed on to their children. The unknown Solomani is impressed. Oh great - more information Mikie can't give anyone. The Solomani then discuss a potential problem - Alan, who may have to be taken care of, as he's been spending too much time around Pamela (???). When asked what about Pamela, Blaelok says that he still has uses for her - she's entertaining. Okay, so now Mikie knows that his nightmare may have some basis on fact. But Pamela's dead.....

Nicolai is approached on the street by Alan Darmin, the unhappy Solomani whose nightmare Mikie's having. Alan tells Nicolai that he didn't know who else to turn to, and Nicolai is on the Consulate's "suspect" list (well, isn't everyone?), so he decided to take the chance. Alan eventually manages to eventually get out that he wants Nicolai to help him rescue Pamela from Blaelok who's been torturing her. Alan is completely weirded out because Sol Sec is not supposed to be that way, and how can some one like that exist. Major conflict here. Nicolai hassles Alan, trying to get him to understand what he's asking, and why. Then Blaelok shows up, Alan freezes, and Blaelok tells Nicolai that Alan is the little problem that he wanted Nicolai to attend to; Regina is such a dangerous place, and of course the Solomani Consulate will demand that the local police bring the perpetrators to justice, and a lovely letter of condolence will be sent home to his parents. Nicolai declines to kill Alan right there, he wants a less public location. Blaelok leaves him to it, as Nicolai is the only person whose loyalty Blaelok has faith in. Right.

Nicolai takes the panic-striken Alan away, pleading and whimpering to the Warrens. Just inside the Warrens (because Nicolai is a smart man, and doesn't want to go into the areas he doesn't know), Nicolai cuts off Alan's little finger. Alan thinks Nicolai is "just as bad as Blaelok", but Nicolai eventually gets through to Alan that he doesn't want to kill him, but wants to make sure Alan really does understand the situation. Alan eventually stops crying, and shows some backbone. He does not want to go back to the Consulate, he wants to live a normal life away from those people. And he does want to help Pamela if he can. Nicolai tells him he has to "become a local" to survive this, and makes sure he isn't stupid enough to use his card. Alan has 50,000 credits in Dakars in a money belt, but he got them from the Consulate. Nicolai tells him the Consulate can probably trace them, so he takes the money belt, and Alan takes off.

Nicolai goes to the Solomani Consulate to see Blaelok. He gives Blaelok the money belt (after pocketing half the contents for himself, being the bright boy that he is), and Alan's finger. Blaelok takes a pair of tweezers out of the desk drawer, picks up the finger, looks at it, calls Gilbert (his terrier) over, and feeds him the finger like it was a doggie treat. [ All together now: EEEEEEWWWWWWW!!!!!] He then thanks Nicolai - he knew he could rely on him.

Everyone eventually settles in for the night, wherever they happen to do that. Not that anyone really believes that Blaelok sleeps in anything other than a coffin or some kind of weird chamber like thing.

End of 5-1122.