Beauty, and Beasts.

48 - 1122.

As soon as Corina hears the Imperial announcement, she calls Black to warn him to expect trouble. He already has his agents in place, ready to "nip anything in the bud". Or anyone. And Corina authorizes any overtime for the police force. Oh, and by the way, a Mr. Solati has been waiting for about an hour... Oh??? Well, Corina was busy, so they had him wait. She'll see him after she speaks with Mr. Scalese to make sure all is kept calm on the docks. The newsfaxes have come out with Grey's press release, and the Imperial announcement, but nothing is actually said about Corina being made an Imperial citizen again.

Now Corina gets to speak with the other Mr. Solati. You know, the one with the anger control problem... So she gets to meet Jacques Solati, who is here to look into his brother's death, both personally and officially. Corina asks if he really is sure he wants to know what happened to his brother? Evidently yes. Unfortunately, both witnesses to the events have since succumbed to death by "natural causes" - a heart attack and a choking death, while in the custody of SuSAG security. So that means that any issues here are on SuSAG's head.

Corina tells Jacques that she and Anton were part of rival megacorps, and that while they did business with each other, she also tried to kill Anton (for poisoning her workers). But while Corina was making a move against Anton, some one else (one of Solati's constructs) killed him first. Or he did get that part but, as he comments, he is "not about to do anything in your (Corina's) office that could be used as an excuse by your security people to kill me". Corina points out that this is not the first one of SuSAG's constructs to run amok, one of Anton's former employees, Andrew, was killed while attempting to kill Solati. Jacques asks about Michael Griffin, and is told Griffin is the one who was killed after he killed Solati. Jacques asks, "so he was not connected to the Michael Griffin who lives on level 2"? Corina says no, and goes on to discuss the incident in the park, which was connected to SuSAG's tech (bio-weapons, etc.) and included the assault of Viper. et al.

Solati listens, and then tells Corina: "You'll forgive me if I call you a liar, and tell you that I intend to find out the truth." He's not about to do anything in her office, as he's not stupid though. He leaves, she tries to phone Mikie, but of course he's in the Ambassadore still, although she does not know this. She tries the apartment, and a woman's voice answers then hangs up when she hears Corina's voice. And Mikie did not take his cell phone to the hotel. Corina calls Ghaer, waking him up, to tell him that Solati's brother is on Port, he didn't accept her version of the truth, and he mentioned Mikie. Oh, and some unknown female answered Mikie's phone and then hung up, and it wasn't Theresa. Damn.

Behrel is out and about, and is approached by two young male fans from Jenghe. When he's autographing one of the kid's t-shirts, he's shot with an energy weapon, in the chest. Very bad. The other "fan" brings up a suppressed weapon, to finish off the prone Behrel (his heart is not exactly working normally), but Behrel is able to fire one of his whippet guns, hitting both of them. Then he is able to do the same with his other whippet gun, taking out one of the kids. He draws his pistol to fire on the remaining, fleeing target, but the gun has been rather severely bent, so he drops it, watches the guy run off, and signals his med-bot. When the 'bot approaches, Behrel sees that there is something lumpy attached on the underside of the 'bot, and it will not stop approaching. Behrel does manage to crawl under a car before the explosion goes off.

From his table in the Bread and Bean, Nicolai pauses briefly as he hears a somewhat distant explosion. Ah, Regina. He goes back to his book, then something hits him in the chest, knocking him backward, and unconscious. Viper is out and about, and sees some kind of flash go through the window of the Bread and Bean. She's on the outside, so she sees a man in combat armour that has additional armour layers on top, carrying a 50 caliber sniper rifle, and walking steadily toward the Bread and Bean. Viper tries shooting his weapon, which does distract him momentarily as he comes around toward her, then appears to be getting a radio message, and then he turns back to his original target. Viper calls Viktor to inform him of a "situation" at the Bread and Bean, and she needs "heavy artillery". So the ready squad is sent out immediately, with Viktor monitoring. The shooter eventually is taken out by one of the marines using a ram grenade, although he is hit himself. Then the medics move in, and Viper checks out the inside of the Bread and Bean, and finds Nicolai on the floor, surrounded by blood, with a not exactly small hole in the front, and "chunks" behind him. He's alive, and very lucky, although he is extremely injured.

Ghaer is en route to Mikie's apartment, when he suddenly gets one of those "something is not quite right" feelings. He looks down, sees several dozen hair-thin trip wires, that are also sticky, and connect to the planter. He tries to carefully disarm it, but he didn't want to endanger the innocent bystanders. He's leaning over the planter trying to disarm the device when the incendiary and fragmentation device goes off with a whoosh of flames. Fortunately, Ghaer is carrying the ball of wisdom, which mostly protects him, although he is singed and somewhat burn damaged.

Viktor sees smoke, and hears the boom. And Viper gets a call from Grey, who has just received an odd phone call. Some man called, and said: " The Duchess is out of play." Does Viper understand what this means? Oh-oh. Viper figures it has something to do with the freezer conversation, and he might want to get cover for the other people who were there, although evidently she's not a target.

Viktor calls Corina to tell her that the Viper was under fire, and what the heck is going on here? Corina tells him it's evidently related to the "freezer meeting", but Viktor doesn't remember everything, so he asks what she means. Corina figures, fine, if they want her to actually repeat the names for the record she will, and she does.

Then Corina's secretary comes in to tell her she needs to see what's on the tridee. It shows the Dick Salamander set, a burned out Denzetti, and a covered body. Then they play the videotape of Dirk leaping into the Denzetti, starting it up, and a boom. Corina calls Dirk's cell phone, and an unknown male voice tells her to "enjoy the time you have left". Click. She calls Black to let him know what she does, and he had been hoping that Solati would be reasonable, but evidently that is not the case.

Grey wants Viktor to hold off sending in the marines unless and until the local authorities request it. Viktor is in touch with Corina and is trying to get in touch with Globber. Globber shows up at Corina's office, Black is there as well, to go over what is going on. She tells him who she believes the targets are, including Mikie. Globber makes a comment that they have to keep Dirk Savage out of the public eye as the bad guys think he's dead. ??? Turns out, to Corina's relief, that Dirk's double was in the car when it exploded.

Viper is concerned that although she's "out of play", her husband may not be, so she calls to tell him that. Grey wants Viper with him, so he's going to Regina Trauma to fetch her. She'll wait there with the marines for Grey.

Corina accepts Black's offer of his car and driver to take her to the Trauma center, along with Jack. It's a heavily armoured limo, but they haven't gone 200 metres when the driver goes into a bootleg 180 in an attempt to avoid the guy with the plasma gun. This only partially works. Corina dives to the floor, Jack dives on top of her, and the plasma round hits. Fortunately, it's Black's personal car, so the passenger compartment is heavily armoured and protected from the rear by now glowing tiles. And the guy with the PGMP is on his way. Corina pulls the lever that blows the doors off, and they go out. Jack shoots the guy repeatedly, but he's too armoured, so Jack switches to the weapon, and hits it repeatedly. The shooter then looks unhappy, and frantically tries to rid himself of the pack and weapon, but not quick enough. BOOM! Then it's off to the slidewalks, and quickly into Omnimart. Jack puts her into a changing room, and then throws in some clothing for her to change into.

Viktor can't get in touch with Corina or Black, but he does get Globber. Globber tells him that they will be kept informed, but for now it is a planetary matter, and they do not require assistance from the Imperial forces. At this time. The PGMP blast is not making anyone happy either. He's en route to Regina Trauma, to deliver Viper's armour, personally.

Corina emerges from the changing room. Jack takes her communicator and his own, and smashes both of them. She's not carrying anything else electronic, and she hasn't been given anything recently. Jack gets into the changing room with Corina, apologizes, then checks her very carefully. He ends up having to remove the underwire from her bra, which has been "modified" with electronics. What kind of fiend messes with a woman's underwear???

Grey arrives with four people in black CES's. He tells Viper that it's evidently SuSAG that's doing this, and he's trying to make contact with them to try to come to an agreement that will put an end to this. He wants Viper to go back to the ship, but she wants to stay at the Trauma Center so the marines can stay to make sure her friends are kept safe. Grey agrees, but only if she promises to stay put. She does, and he agrees to take the guys in black with him.

Behrel wakes up in the hospital, with Jai in the room, and an IV line to Lord Kalarin. The Kaesthra evidently would not want Behrel to "go" just yet. And it was not exactly honourable combat he was involved in when he was injured. Behrel is told to go and "take his revenge", and he asks for the loan of some Sengi to guard his wife while he's involved in the revenge thing. This is granted, and they leave with Behrel, who's heading home to get armour.

Nicolai wakes up in the hospital, with a blonde nurse injecting something into his IV tube. He recognizes her as Pamela, and pulls the tube out. She tells him not to do that, as he "needs the second dose". Nicolai needs to help himself and his friends, and she needs his help for later. It's a trade. And then she'll be out of his life forever. She'd better be. She gives him a vigilante, and then a massive dose of some kind of hyped up Regen. He convulses as his wound heals itself. Then she helps him up, and tries to leave with him. A marine interferes and is drop kicked across the hall. He'll recover, but oh boy. Down the laundry shute, out to a car, and she hooks him up to some Section 9 medical tech en route.

There are lovely pictures of Ghaer, with hands raised, and a slight glow around him in the news. Very otherworldly. Is it his hyper-fur that protected him, or something else? Could it be the Maceneil?

Pamela tells Nicolai that "it's that bitch Liu who's behind this." There is a Solomani ambassador on Rhylanor, and her name is Liu. Hmmm.

Mikie and Theresa are in the Ambassadore, and room service shows up with breakfast. He pours Theresa a Mimosa, and himself an orange juice, and takes them to bed. Just as they are about to drink, Mikie notices something around the rim of the glasses, both of them, so he goes to get the other ones, but they have the same sort of coated rim too. So do all the glasses in the bathroom. Shit. He calls home to see if there are any messages, and besides the congratulatory stuff, there is a message from Corina saying that Solati's brother is on station and he's pissed, and one from Ghaer telling Pamela that Mikie's in trouble and she's to call Ghaer. Mikie deletes the last two.

Pamela has dropped Nicolai off in front of MilTech, in his hospital gown, with a handful of money. He goes in and equips himself. "So, Nicolai, escaped from the hospital again have you?" He's feeling much better now.

Behrel goes home to get equipped and check on Kitty. There are a lot of Sengi there, and a Var-Sengi female. Kitty doesn't understand her, but they seem to be having a good time. Behrel tells Kitty he has people who need killing, and the female tells him to go off and do his "man thing", they're just fine.

Mikie calls Ghaer, who tells him that Jacques Solati is on Regina, but Ghaer doesn't know what's going on. Mikie tries to get a hold of Solati, but he's nowhere to be found. Damn. Mikie leaves his name and phone number with SuSAG for Solati, just in case. Then he gets a cloned phone from the main office, and tells Theresa they need to get dressed and leave.

Corina and Jack go to a warehouse in Old Port. This had been previously set up by Jack as a safehouse, and contains several cars, and some food, etc. As soon as the door closes, the dome light comes on in one of the cars. Brief panic, but it's Mr. Black. And he's brought a present - Mr. Solati, and he's all trussed up. Black tells her that unfortunately Solati was very uncooperative, and hardened, so they were not able to get any information on his hirelings. Jacques is no longer among the living, which will mean repercussions, but fortunately Black has the following potentially incriminating documents in writing from Corina: written orders to "detain" the Solomani Counsel (Blaelok) and have him brought to her, dated prior to the expulsion. AND a letter of carte blache, "The bearer of this document has done what he has done for the good of Regina, etc." signed by Corina. It would probably be the latter that Black would use to get off the hook for Solati's death should Susag make waves, even though his death was not ordered by Corina. (Not that she's unhappy about it mind you.)

Mikie takes Theresa to Blaelok's old apartment, for which he has the key. Then he hears voices inside, with Solomani accents. Blaelok's voice is one of them! What the hell? His voice is very calm, and quite pleasant, and he's speaking with a very upset Solomani (LaBland, though Mikie doesn't know). Neither is shielded, but it's obviously not Blaelok's mind, it's a shiny happy person. The other guy is really irritated because Blaelok can't remember anything useful. At one point it sounds like the annoyed person slaps some one, and Blaelok tells him calmly that he is exhibiting antisocial behaviour, and perhaps he should report to the medical personnel? Mikie thinks there must be three people in the apartment, as he knows Blaelok is in there, but the only minds he reads are definitely not Blaelok's, so he must be shielded. LaBland is concerned because he needs to find something. He has apparently told Ambassador Liu that he already had what he was looking for, when he really doesn't. And he's looking for a chest. Ah, it's the chest Mikie saw in the vision, but LaBland doesn't know it's contents have been switched, and he's not sure what it actually looks like anyway. Then he tells Blaelok that he's absolutely useless, and to go for a walk in Old Port, and maybe some one will kill him. Blaelok leaves, sees Mikie and Theresa in the hall, says "Excuse me", with not a flicker of recognition, and leaves. Oh boy - evidently they've "scrubbed" Blaelok. Ewww. A couple of minutes later, LaBland leaves, walks by Mikie and Theresa, thinks unkind thoughts, especially about the "runt", and leaves. Once he's gone, Mikie goes into the apartment (which has been inefficiently searched), and into the Blaelok's hide.

Right after he leaves the apartment, Blaelok goes past Ghaer, who has met Behrel in the park there, and Blaelok doesn't recognize Ghaer either. Ghaer is surprised. Then LaBland comes by, using a handkerchief on the slidewalk handrail. Ghaer, for some reason, has decided to go to Blaelok's old apartment, so he and Behrel go there. Mikie and Theresa are in the hide when some one pounds on the door, really hard. Mikie waits, then hits the destruct button, destroying everything in the apartment. Ghaer and Behrel are eventually able to open the very hot door, and examine the ashes. Oh dear. And in one of the closets, Behrel finds what is evidently human bones. Theresa and Mikie take the opportunity to grab armour, weapons, flashlights, and goggles, and go out the escape route.

All of a sudden, the Up Port sort of shudders briefly and then all the lights go out (except in Old Port, oddly enough). All hell breaks loose in the Trauma Centre as the emergency lights do not come up. Nicolai has come back to the Centre and joins up with the Duchess' group, who are trying to get her to safety. Then something sort of snatches up the marine in the back, and dumps him back down in pieces. It's something big, dark, and really fast. This sort of Predator-esque picking off of marines continues for a while. Behrel and Ghaer are heading for the sound of gunfire, so they head that way. The creature is about seven or eight feet tall, hideously misshapen creature that was maybe once mostly human.

The creature goes for Viper's flashlight, and Viktor takes a "tendril" for her. Right through, and then the barbs stick on Viktor's armour, so it can't disengage. Viper leaps on and tries to cut the tendril or tentacle or whatever, and gets yanked into the wall repeatedly. She drops her knife, and goes for the gun. With help, the tentacle is eventually severed, and the creature takes off into the ceiling. Nicolai tracks it above him, and fires a demo gun into the ceiling, sending it straight up, and blowing out the air duct that Mikie and Theresa were crawling through. Mikie falls to the floor and Theresa gets hung up on her dress halfway out. Nicolai pops up throw the hole after the monster, knocking Theresa all the way out when her dress rips. So Mikie and Theresa end up in the darkened corridor, she in a kevlar vest, lingerie and stockings. Not a bad look actually, but then Theresa is a looker.

Corina and Black are in the warehouse when the lights go out. Black gets a call, and tells Corina that the power is out, and there is quite a commotion going on at the Trauma Centre. Perhaps they should check it out? Yes, but what do we do with Mr. Solati? They decide to toss him into the trunk and take him with them. Off they go to the mess, blinding people with their headlights along the way. They arrive on level 2 just in time to see through the front glass windows the creature heading up through the ceiling with Nicolai in hot pursuit. So, they head upstairs so to speak.

After a great deal of confusion, the group does end up all together, inside Regina Trauma, in the dark, somewhat confused (at least), and rapidly running out of marines. Since they don't know where the creature is, Ghaer asks Mikie if he can find it. Mikie tries, and does makes contact with the creature, but it's not pleasant - it's in pain (although not because it's been actually damaged by the group's attempts to stop it), terrible pain, it's mind is definitely not right, and all it can think about is that if it kills, it won't be hurt any more. Mikie shields fairly quickly, and leans against the wall for a couple of minutes to recover before telling the group what he knows, besides it's approximate location. It's not actually heading for a location, it's after it's targets, so that whoever sent it won't hurt it again. As this information is considered, and planning is attempted, the creature suddenly drops down right in front of Theresa, who freezes. For some reason the creature looks at Theresa, but doesn't hurt her. It tentatively extends an "arm" towards her, like he wants her to do something, then touches her tentatively; the arm has a shunt in it, and Mikie takes a chance and scans the creature again. Apparently Theresa reminds the creature of a female tech or nurse in the lab, one who gave it pain meds and made it feel better, which is why it hasn't hurt her. Then some one moves and makes noise, and the creature screams and darts off again. Theresa held up remarkably well up to that point, but then she needs help getting to a bathroom. Mikie helps her to a room, and she is able to find some scrubs to put on there.

Mikie then has to explain to the group why Theresa wasn't ripped apart, which he does. Ah. Now the group at least has an idea they can use - maybe they can lure the creature to a better position. Mikie asks Ghaer to find tranq and painkill, which he does, and puts it into an IV bag with saline. He shows Mikie and Theresa how to use the thing, should they need to.

Much argument ensues between Viper, and Nicolai, and Black, and Corina over what they should do, and how. Mikie's only concern is Theresa, but he feels that the best way to do this is get the creature under control, and just running around and shooting at it has not worked so far. The group heads out of the Trauma Centre, into the park, by climbing and rappelling out a window. Then there is some discussion of gee, do we have a large enough caliber gun here? Black suggests perhaps they get more weapons, and there are some nearby stores (Black's key will, after all, open any door on Up Port) that happen to deal in weapons.... Then Ghaer sees the fire glowing from inside the Club Zambezi, and takes off for there. He finds the owner, Peter Corbett-Bell, with his foot up on a table. When Ghaer comes in he asks if the lights will be on soon, as he appears to have "twisted his ankle". Well actually, he has a compound fracture of his lower leg, but ye gods is this guy tough!

Ghaer tells Corbett-Bell that he, or rather the Duchess of Rhylanor needs to borrow a "big gun". Yeah, right. No, really. Corbett-Bell tells Ghaer that if he's there on behalf of the Duchess, then he should bring her in, as he's always wanted to meet her. Well, okay. Ghaer calls Viper over, and lo and behold it really is the Duchess of Rhylanor! Corbett-Bell is more than willing to help out, so large guns are acquired. Ghaer sets Bell's leg, using only alcohol as a painkiller, and he comes along with the help of one of the restaurant's wheeled carts, as he's the best shot of anyone in the area. Although he is a bit leery when the "target" is described to him

To make a long story not quite so long (too late!), This is not the best group of people for cooperation, but the creature forces the matter when it appears right in front of where Theresa and Mikie are sitting on a park bench, near the IV unit Ghaer set up. Everyone stays mostly cool, including Theresa (with a little empathic calming from Mikie) who is able to insert the IV tube into the creature's shunt, and then turns up the flow at it's urging. After a few minutes the creature begins to relax as the pain meds take effect, finally laying down on the ground and falling asleep (thanks to the sedative at least in part). Theresa and Mikie carefully back away, and Corbett-Bell takes out the creature with two perfect shots to the head; accompanied by shots from most of the rest of the party as well. Jack discovers that firing a large-bore rifle once is more than enough. Black walks over to the creature, and curiosity almost proves fatal as 'something' leaps out of the creature's chest - only to be sliced in half by the always-prepared Behrel. Okay, now it's really dead.

Ghaer, concerned about Theresa, tries to tell her that the creature was out of pain and at peace now. She tells him she knows. And while at one time she would have been just completely freaked out by everything, she's somewhat bemused to find that what's foremost on her mind at the moment is that her favourite dress has been ruined, and total strangers have seen her in her underwear. Ghaer points out that anyone who saw her should consider themselves very fortunate, which only makes her blush more.

The late Jacques Solati is brought out of the trunk, untied, and arranged artfully by the dead creature so it appears that he was killed by it. Once again, one of SuSAG's "experiments" runs amok and turns on its masters. Serves them right. And now Black will not have to waste his "carte blanche" from Corina on this little mess, as it looks like SuSAG will not be able to make a fuss now.

Viktor and the other surviving injured are attended to, and as the lights come back on line Viper's communicator starts functioning again, so she is able to reach her husband, who joins the rest of the party at Club Zambezi, as Corbett-Bell's guests. Once Grey arrives, Viper learns that he has been in touch with SuSAG (turns out William is a major stockholder) , and as long as it is understood that Jacques was acting entirely on his own (which he apparently was when he had the creature smuggled on board Up Port), they will foot the bill for repairs, etc. Bell does go off and get his leg properly set, but then returns to join the group. The Club is closed, and it's a very private party for people who feel very lucky to be alive. Nicolai amazes everyone with his ability to consume food, and Theresa ends up boring Nicolai's flask of Chartreuse and then falling asleep on Mikie. Viper takes the opportunity to brush Theresa's hair off her face and "accidentally" snag a few strands of hair on her ring (for analysis on Rhylanor later).

Corina gets a phone call from Globber, who informs him that he has three individuals in custody - the contractors Solati hired. They had mistakenly used the same safehouse they used eight years ago, which Globber remembered (hey, that's cheating!), so they were easy to pick up. Globber asks Corina if she wants to take them to trial, or if she'd rather they be "dropped off" somewhere handy (and maybe become regina suicides....?). Corina decides that a trial would be better, and members of the group agree; Behrel thinks it would be nice to see justice done for once. Everyone sits around and recovers, and eventually goes home.

And all this happened in just one day. Talk about overachievers. On the other hand, Astridi has been in his room at Clairidges, with Steiner, through all of this, and neither one of them noticed a thing. They must have been distracted.

49 - 1122.

The Greys decide that it's time to head back to Rhylanor. Among other things, they need to have William checked out to see if their "problem" is because of his exposure to radiation during shipboard duty, or something else.

50... - 1122.

Mikie and Theresa leave for Rhylanor on their honeymoon. They spend a week in a really nice resort, and Theresa makes several comments about how nice and calm it is on Rhylanor. And clean. No monsters, or giant crystalline creatures, or explosions. And a nice place to raise children. She just wants Mikie to think about it after they return to Regina. Several weeks with no disasters, no gunfire, nothing bad. This is too weird, but really rather relaxing. It would be better if it weren't for the fact that Mikie can't carry any knives. And he tries to not worry about the fact that the Imperium takes a dim view of psionics.

While at the resort, when Theresa goes out for a while, there's a knock on the door. It's Pamela, in a tan-through suit. Oh. She did tell Mikie she needed to speak with him, after all, he just didn't expect her to show up during his honeymoon! Sigh. She's come to Mikie because Christopher told her Mikie knew Regina better than anyone else he knew, and he had told her to go to Mikie if "something happened", and he could help her. Pamela asks if Mikie knows that Christopher is back on Regina, and yes, he does. He tells her about his encounter with Blaelok and the man she tells him is LaBland, so "you know they scrubbed him?" Oh yes. Mikie tells her what he got from LaBland, about what he's looking for, and the fact that he's really worried because he's already told some one named Liu that he had it (and he doesn't). Pamela explains that "Liu" is Veronica Liu, the Solomani ambassador to Rhylanor. Liu is a "party member", and Pamela explains that the Solomani government has three parts: the military, SolSec, and the Party. And she and Chris have ended up in the middle of the jockeying between the groups. "LaBland is a nasty, petty little man, who is trying to gain points, at Chris' expense."

Pamela tells Mikie that Chris had a copy of himself made at some point before leaving Regina, and needs help finding it. After what he did for Mikie... Yes, Mikie will help her; whether or not it makes any sense to anyone else, Mikie knows that Blaelok had nothing to gain by doing what he did for Mikie - the "backup" maybe, but not removing all the conditioning - so he feels he sort of owes him one. More to the point, Pamela (this version at any rate) has done nothing to harm Mikie, and he understands when she says she "would do anything to get Chris back." When Mikie asks what exactly it is he's looking for, and how big it would be, Pamela gives him a small cassette-like tape, and it has Theresa's name on it. Pamela tells Mikie that Blaelok had told her he felt that Mikie would have been "useless to him if something happened to Theresa" (well that much is true), so he had a backup made (WHEN???). The tape also contains genetic sequencing information that would allow the "hardware" to be made for the backup to be put onto (a clone, that is), and the Arkadians can do that if necessary. Then she gives Mikie his backup tape, since she thought he "wouldn't want this is some one else's hands." Boy is that an understatement.

Mikie agrees to help Pamela find Chris' backup tape, even though, as she puts it: "I know your relationship with Chris was sometimes strained..." Mikie tells her that "strained does not even come close", but he will help her. If she gets her Chris back though, it would probably not be a good idea to stick around on Regina; she agrees. She will be returning to Regina for now, but she'll be laying low to try to prevent the local authorities as well as her fellow Solomani from getting ahold of her. She gives Mikie a contact number, and he promises to give her a call as soon as he finds anything out.

Pamela leaves before Theresa returns, but not in time for Theresa to not see her leave. Busted! "Michael, who was just here?" Um. Some one he knows from Regina. "And she just 'happened' to be staying in the same resort?" "She just showed up and knocked on the door! I wasn't expecting anyone. Really." "And you just talked about 'old times' I suppose?" Sort of... "That's okay Michael, I believe you. I know nothing happened. You've had your chance to sow your wild oats, and if I ever thought you were fooling around on me..." "You'd kill me? Leave?" "I'd make sure you'd never be of any use to another woman again." (Ouch.) Mikie looks at Theresa, standing there in a summer dress that just barely conceals anything at all, and tells her she's "already done that." Then Theresa remembers where she'd seen the blonde before - that was Pamela Blaelok! Well, yes. Theresa is concerned that Mikie has gotten involved in something dangerous again, but he tells her that Pamela just wants him to help her find something on Regina that Blaelok left behind. Theresa thinks this is odd - what does she mean, that skull thing? Mikie hadn't thought of that, but thinks Theresa may have figured it out, and kisses her. And since they are, after all, on their honeymoon...

50 to 71 - 1122.

Ghaer decides to see if he can find Blaelok's pets, Gilbert and Sullivan. Since they have not been around, and since Blaelok is obviously not himself, Ghaer's worried the animals have just been dumped off somewhere by the new Solomani. He checks with the pound on Regina down, and finds out that a little while ago some one did come in with the kind of animals he's asked about adopting, but the owner said he was going away and couldn't take the animals with him, and insisted they be put to sleep. Ghaer decides that LaBland is a nasty, petty little bastard, who probably needs killing. There was no reason to have the animals destroyed, that bastard.

At some point (either before or after her trip to Rhylanor), Ghaer gets a visit from the lovely Pamela. She asks for his help in locating the machine she needs to "restore Chris" to his former self. She blames Veronica Liu for what has happened. Ghaer has a flashback to a past trip to Rhylanor where he overheard one of Ambassador Liu's people tell her "that was a Raller", and Liu states that that was a problem that would need to be "dealt with". So Ghaer is sort of predisposed against this Liu woman, so he agrees, under the conditions that once used, he gets to make sure the machine is destroyed, and that Pamela and Blaelok leave Regina. This appears to be a trend. Pamela agrees, and comments that it's "remarkable how much knowledge you seem to have picked up in your travels", referring to Ghaer's knowledge about Sontag, and Section 9, and other little tidbits. Ghaer generally just seems to pick up enough information to get him into real trouble, but never enough so that he actually knows what the hell is going on.

Before leaving Rhylanor, Theresa tells Mikie that she's really not intent on moving to Rhylanor, it's just an option. And she's not in a rush to have children; they need time for just the two of them, but she does want to have his children. Before Theresa met Mikie, she thought she'd meet some one, get married, have kids, and her job, and that would be pretty much it. She never thought she'd be "fighting monsters or saving the universe, but it certainly hasn't been boring". She does think it's time she learned to use a gun though. Theresa doesn't really want to have to use one, but "things have been done" to her, and she's never going to let that happen again if she can help it. Good girl. Maybe MilTech has classes?

Viktor has some personal matters that need to be attended to on Regina, so after he travels back to Rhylanor, sees his family safely home, and gets a clean bill of health, he heads back. There is still the matter of his sister Katya to deal with, preferably before he takes up his new position as XO and then CO of the 4417th.

Grey's doctor's put him through all sorts of lovely tests, and determine that it is in fact William, and not Viper, who is having the genetic problem. Due to all the time he has spent shipboard, Grey has been exposed to a lot of hard radiation, but it is treatable. Grey decides that he has a lot of sick time coming anyway, and what with the new treaty, a whole hell of a lot of paperwork to catch up on, so he will stay on Rhylanor, do paperwork, and receive treatment. And in the meantime, he and Viper can "practice"...

While her husband is busy with paperwork, Viper takes the samples of Theresa's hair to the lab for analysis, along with something of Grey's to use as a comparison. And the answer is yes, they are very closely related (i.e., siblings, or very close cousins). Oh boy. Viper tells the aunts, who convince her that they should keep this a secret just between themselves, and not tell William, or anyone else. Viper isn't sure about this, but the aunts get her to agree by asking if she really wants to drop some one (Theresa) into the middle of this family, knowing what Viper does now about what it means to be a part of it. So for now, no one but Viper and the aunts are aware of Theresa's relationship with Grey. Except for the lab guys of course, but they wouldn't tell anyone...