"Not that they die, but that they die like sheep." *

204 - 1122.

Mikie has returned Up Port, and is at Eli's thumping on something (since Blaelok isn't available). Nicolai goes looking for Mikie, and considers it his main mission in life (and Nicolai doesn't fail his missions). He leaves a trail of lightly beaten Weseli's, and word gets out. The next Weseli just tells Nicolai where to find Mikie.

Nicolai finds Mikie, beating on the heavy bag. Nicolai comes over, tells Mikie they need to talk, privately. They go off to a discreet corner, by the speed bag, and one look tells the man currently on it to move on. Nicolai: "If there was ever a message I did not want to give, this is it." He hands Mikie the auto-injector ampoule. Mikie takes it and looks at Nicolai. Mikie: "This is...what?" Nicolai: "A counter agent for a "less virulent" form of the virus Theresa has been given. Blaelok says she needs to get this every two days, not more than every 48 hours. He says he will arrange for you to get one of these every two days." Mikie takes the ampoule, without saying a word. Nicolai: "He's gone too far, Michael." Mikie: "And what's your part, besides playing messenger?" Nicolai: "The pawn, or one of them. I don't like what he's doing." Mikie asks "Do you know what he's doing?" Nicolai: "I know what he's doing." Nicolai is looking pale and sweaty. Mikie sees Nicolai's reactions and states: "He wants to make sure you don't say anything to the wrong person, right?" Nicolai: "Exactly. It's time for it all to come to a screeching halt. Do you remember the time you couldn't do or say certain things?" Mikie: "I know what's going on." Nicolai is looking really unwell. Nicolai: "Michael, do you remember my codes?" Mikie: "Yes. "Nicolai: "It may be our only choice. I need to be free to act, and right now you're the only one I can think of who can help me. There's more at stake here than you, me, and Theresa." Mikie: "I know. I know what's going on, I know what he's doing, and I know how, at least partially. He's using the flu shot clinics, but that's just part of it." Nicolai takes out the two auto-injectors Blaelok gave him, and tells Mikie that "You may be the only one who can do this." Mikie: "Do what?" Nicolai: One of these is for Viper, one is for her husband. They'll protect them." Mikie: "That's what he says?" Nicolai: "He doesn't want her husband cutting a swath to the Rim." Mikie: "He can't do that if he's all happy, either." Nicolai: "He hasn't been exposed yet. And neither has Viper." Mikie suddenly worries about Viper getting a flu shot while she's on Regina. Nicolai: "I need to be free to act. I already know what you want to do, and he's expecting it. Shall we go somewhere?" Mikie: "Yeah."

Meanwhile, in the Hall of Justice. The inquest is proceeding, slowly. Currently the members are looking at tons of papers, lots and lots of printouts, computer readouts. Etc., etc., etc. After hours of this, interrupted only by Globber hand delivering the police reports Viper requested, Viper decides to call it a day and go get dinner. No one argues with that sentiment. Viper asks Terry if the Griffins have been contacted about dinner, and is told a message was left. Terry calls again, and this time Theresa is home. Viper speaks with her, and Theresa is not as awestruck as before, thank heavens. Theresa says that "Mikie is out, but his gym bag is missing so he's probably at Eli's." Theresa invites Viper over for dinner tonight, and suggests Mikie can cook up something. It gives Viper a chance to kick back for a bit, and just relax. Viper likes that idea.

Theresa calls Mikie on his cell phone to ask if he'll be coming home soon, as she's invited Viper for dinner. Mikie says okay, and after a quick shower he and Nicolai head off to pick up stuff for making dinner. Theresa wanted to round out the number of people at dinner any how, so it's a legitimate excuse to bring Nicolai along.

Shiv is discussing her problems with Junior. Primarily how to deal with Nicolai. Shiv tells Junior that "Nicolai's been hanging out with another unpleasant off-planet type who's been in the bar a few times. They were really friendly. Can you find out who he is?" She describes Blaelok. No problem. Junior will gear up and go look for a Weseli; there are several pre-bruised ones on the street. Junior finds one with a large hand print on his throat, and offers money to find out who Nicolai hangs out with. Eventually, Blaelok is adequately described, and the Weseli says that yeah, he knows who Junior is referring to, but not his name. He's some kind of diplomat. But the Weasel can find out, for a price. Junior agrees, the Weasel walks over to a public data terminal and looks up Solomani diplomats on station, which results in Blaelok's name. As Junior is reading the entry about the Solomani ambassador, several large shadows fall across the terminal. It's two gentlemen with foreign accents, who want to speak with Mr. Weseli. Junior moves to the side, the Weseli starts to protest that he hasn't said anything, one of the Solomanis picks him up and slams him into the corner of the terminal. The sharp corner. A bit too hard. "The boss won't be happy." They look at Junior, and make the "You didn't see anything, isn't that right?" A bit of verbal jockeying here, and the goons use a device of some sort and tell Junior his name. He's so impressed. Junior: "You're goood. Now take your spook toys and go away. Shoo. " They leave while Junior is checking out the downed Weseli, while holding a grenade in his hand (just in case, he's removed the pin). Then Junior notices a small crystal-like ball thing fall at his side. He moves the Weseli between himself and the ball just before there's a real bright flash. His eyes take a while to adjust, so he can't see where the Solomani are. The Weseli and Junior's left hand and part of his lower arm are gone. A passerby helps Junior replace the pin in his grenade, and then Junior heads home to find some one-handed weapons. He's going Solomani hunting.

When Shiv sees what happened to Junior, she wants to know if it was Nicolai who did it. No, but Junior does tell her it was a couple of guys with Solomani accents, and they may be connected to Blaelok. Shiv is really angry. "Those damn Solomani. They hang together like the stuff I keep finding under the bar." She tries to convince Junior to go to the hospital, but Junior convinces her to just help him patch himself up for now so he can go after the Solomani. Shiv agrees, but she's going along to help.

At OmniMart, Mikie and Nicolai are shopping for food. Mikie is taking a short cut through the women's clothing section when he sees Blaelok at the lingerie counter with Kirrhl, sort of stroking her behind the ear. Mikie gets closer, and although he can't hear what's being said, he's concerned about Kirrhl so he reads her emotions. Kirrhl's feelings are complex, and mixed; she's conflicted, but not terrified of Blaelok or anything. Mikie heads that way. Junior and Shiv are outside OmniMart when Shiv sees something in the window she has to have: it's a sort of chainmail lingerie. They go in, and Junior points out the man by the lingerie counter as Blaelok. Blaelok turns around as Mikie approaches and Kirrhl runs off. Blaelok: "Ah, Michael, what a pleasant surprise." He looks at Kirrhl's retreating figure. "I suppose she must be feeling a bit awkward, having betrayed her friend Theresa, but that's what she gets paid for. Picking up something for the little woman?" Mikie tells Blaelok "I got your message", holding out the ampoule. Blaelok says: "I thought I'd give you the option. If you'd like to keep her as she is. It's up to you. After all, think about it - she'd be the perfect wife and mother: devoted, obedient... None of those disruptive, negative emotions. Who knows how far back the species has been held because of emotions? It's time people moved on to the next stage in evolution." Mikie: "If you're the next stage, it's not a trip I want to take." Blaelok: "That can be arranged."

Viper and her bodyguards have arrived at the Griffins' apartment. Theresa wonders what's taking Mikie so long, so she decides to give him a call. The phone goes off just as Shiv notices who's in the store and yells "Hey! F**k face!!" This is directed vaguely in Nicolai's direction. Nicolai triggers, and steps towards Blaelok, he considers doing something to Blaelok that should have been done a long time ago, and is hit really hard with the conditioning pain. He redirects his attention to the unknown person behind him.

As Mikie flips open the phone, a cry of pain comes over the phone. Theresa and Viper both hear it, and Mikie immediately says "It's okay, it's not me. I'll be home soon." The last thing they hear is Shiv yelling at Blaelok. Theresa decides that Mikie is in trouble, so she's going to go help him. She takes a gun out of the cookie jar (that's where she keeps one of them). Viper insists on going with Theresa, and they take off, hitting the slidewalk at a run. Viper's security men spot her and run after, at a disadvantage because of the falling people Theresa has knocked out of her way. Do not get between this woman and her man. Not safe.

Shiv strides over to Blaelok, and says "Yeah, you", while thumping Blaelok in the chest. Blaelok raises an eyebrow, and says "Doubtless this is one of your friends, Michael." Shiv: "Are you with him, Mikie?" Mikie: "Not. But he's not as harmless as he looks Shiv." Junior is looming directly behind Shiv, glaring at Blaelok, and he informs him he has come to "get a hand back. Yours will do." Blaelok: "Nicolai, this man makes me uncomfortable. Please ask him to leave." Nicolai: "Sir. Please leave." Junior: "Tell me what kind of people go around killing people and not their clothing?" Brief pause as everyone attempts to filter that through their brains until it makes sense. Mikie: "Big bright flash?" Nicolai: "An L5B?" Blaelok: "Very well, you leave me no choice." Blaelok extends his right hand toward Junior, there's a blur, and some kind of shockwave sends Junior sprawling into the lingerie. Nicolai sweeps Shiv down the aisle, to get her out of danger. Junior looks up to see Blaelok moving toward cover.

Nicolai is surprised to find Shiv with her legs wrapped around him, and stabbing him repeatedly (fortunately he has on armor, but it's not preventing all the damage). Nicolai uses a wall-mounted fire extinguisher to knock Shiv off him, and unconscious. Shiv is out cold, but not dead. Nicolai checks. Junior isn't sure exactly where Blaelok is, but he thinks he sees him. So, he starts dumping pepperspray into the general area. Oh, great. It's getting really confusing, and just at this moment Theresa and Viper come in through the employee entrance into the lingerie department and the pepper mist. Viper runs into some one. It's Blaelok, who gets her down, and is trying to "save" her. Oddly enough, as he's pulling her back away from the "maniac with a gun", he's making sure to keep Viper between him and Junior. Junior is still on the ground, and trying to hit Blaelok with an E-Tool. He hits him in the leg, and the cloth armor goes rigid. Viper is not thrilled to be "rescued" by anyone, and besides, she looks down to see an enraged, berserk Junior swinging the E-Tool. She tries to move Blaelok away from Junior, but Blaelok is more in control, thanks to his unarmed combat skills.

Mikie finds Theresa (easily - he can recognize her mind anywhere), and then they head for Viper (boy is her aura recognizable - she really glows psionically). Nicolai pounces on Junior, squishing him like a bug. Oh damn - Nicolai hit him too hard. Just as Blaelok gets Viper outside, his security and her security people show up. Nicolai yells "Medic!" Security people head over (yes, they have medical). One of Viper's people checks out Junior and shakes their heads. The Solomani guys, after getting the nod from Blaelok, make the "oh please", face, go over, and ram a large bore needle attached to some electronic device into the back of Junior's neck, that brings him back to life (if not consciousness).

Then the real police show up, wanting to know just what the hell is going on here. Blaelok tells them: "I believe I can explain officer. If you review the security tapes, I think you'll find that this young woman [Shiv] mistook me for some one else. I understand she blames my associate here [Nicolai] for her current misfortunes, although he has been cleared. I'm uncertain as to who this gentleman here [Junior] is. " For some reason the tapes have no sound. How odd. But the pictures seem to back up the story. Blaelok declines the invitation to go to the station, flashing his diplomat ID. Blaelok tells the arriving paramedics to "see to it that this man is treated, so that he can stand trial for his assault on my person." Nicolai goes along to get the holes in his back patched up.

Once Blaelok leaves, Mikie quietly asks Viper if her security people can scan the apartment for surveillance. Can do. Once they arrive back at the apartment, Viper's security sweeps the place. There are three kinds of devices in the apartment: one high tech, one extremely high tech, and one is a simple fiber optic loop above the bed that feeds to the apartment above (the neighbor will be dealt with later). All the devices are disabled or removed. One of the really tiny devices is removed from a wall, placed into a metal tube, and the security guy's pocket. A few seconds later, there's a bang, and the security guy has a hole in his pocket, and a surface injury even through his armor. Not life-threatening, but painful. He will go to the doctor, per Viper's request. He's been meaning to see the doctor any way, and get a flu shot. As soon as he says "flu shot", Mikie says "No!" Viper: "No??" Mikie: "Trust me." Okay, Viper will make sure any one in her party getting flu shots will be getting it from medical supplies brought with them.

Nicolai is at Regina Trauma, waiting to see a doctor. Christie comes in, doing triage, and glares at Nicolai. His injuries are superficial, but painful. The Emergency Room is backed up, but Christie is able to take care of cleaning (a bit overzealously) Nicolai's wounds, and putting suture tape on them. Nicolai asks Christie to make sure Junior is covered under the same medical coverage as Nicolai is. She will do that, but she recommends that Nicolai go straight home to her place, and get some rest.

Mikie orders groceries delivered for the now larger group (Viper's five bodyguards will be staying inside now, thank you). Viper hangs out in the kitchen to visit while Mikie cooks, and Theresa discusses guns with the bodyguards. When Viper asks Mikie how everything has been going, he tells her "pretty good, up until the last couple of days. It's been down hill since then." Mikie doesn't want to elaborate yet.

The police attempt to speak with Junior, but he's too loopy. They'll try again later. A very pretty nurse comes in later that night, and injects something into Junior's IV line "to help him sleep". She smiles, says "You rest easy now," then Jessica pats his arm and leaves. Another person comes in, replaces a canister of something Junior is hooked up to (the painkill), pulls up a chair, and sits down beside Junior, whose fingers and toes are getting numb. Blaelok asks "How are we feeling, Mr. Christophe? We have a little something for you. Think of it as an object lesson - one should not meddle in the affairs of one's betters. The drug is not only a paralytic, but once the painkill wears off I think you'll appreciate the sense enhancer." Blaelok then bids him good night. Later, Junior would scream if he could. Good thing there aren't any empaths around.

Nicolai shows up for dinner. It's a lovely meal, everyone is very well-fed and mellow (well, okay, at least well-fed). One of the body guards drops off to sleep. Theresa will entertain the bodyguards, and watch grav-ball while Mikie, Viper, and Nicolai go into the spare bedroom to "talk".

Viper wants Mikie to explain what he meant by the comment about things having gone badly the last few days, and especially the cryptic remark about the flu shots. First thing Mikie does is give Nicolai his command code, which causes Nicolai to suddenly go blank, grab Mikie by the throat, and start to throttle him. Viper helps pry his hands apart enough for Mikie to quickly gasp out the "backoff" code. Nicolai comes back to himself, realizes he's strangling Mikie, and lets him go. Viper: What was that?!? Mikie to Nicolai: "He's f***ed with your command code." Viper: "He has a command code? What is going on here?" They explain about Nicolai being a CRI (something Viper is not unfamiliar with), and that Blaelok has compromises Nicolai, who leaves the room, just in case. Mikie: "If I tell you what I know, I'd be putting you at risk." Viper: "Like not telling me is going to keep me safe? I don't think so. Who did you mean by "he"? Mikie: "Blaelok." Viper: "The Solomani ambassador??" Mikie: "He's SolSec. And he's evil." Viper: "Evil... Like Sontag?" Mikie: "People keep bringing up this Sontag guy, but I don't know who he is." Viper: "Okay, on an evil scale, how does he compare to Mr. Black?" Mikie: "I know what Black's capable of, but I don't think of him as evil." Viper: "Well, that answers that question." Mikie tells Viper about Blaelok, the "flu", the making happy sheep experiment he's testing on Regina, etc., including what Blaelok has done to Theresa, which makes Viper very unhappy (Theresa is family!), and about the theoretical antidote Blaelok gave Nicolai for Viper and Grey. Mikie recommends Viper not take Blaelok's word for it.

In the living room, Nicolai notices the tri-dee flicker, so he goes to the kitchen for a glass of water. Shortly thereafter, the front door opens and Blaelok walks in followed by two of his goons (well-dressed ones though). Nicolai yells "Gun!!" but there's no response from the bodyguards. Nicolai then runs to the spare bedroom, and tells Viper and Mikie to run. Mikie dashes across the hall into the main bedroom, leading Viper. He shows her the hatch under the bed that the Pikhans put in, tells her he doesn't know where it goes, but it's a way out. Blaelok calls from the other room for Mikie to bring the Duchess and come out, as "there's some one here who wants to see you." Theresa calls Mikie's name. Nicolai gets the auto-injectors of vaccine (in theory) to Viper, who doesn't want to just run away. Mikie tells her "some one has got to get word of this out". Damn. Viper hates it when people use logic against her. She jumps down the tunnel. It's too big for Nicolai to get into, but he wants Mikie to go too. Mikie: "Not a chance." Nicolai: "Go!" Mikie calmly tells Nicolai he's not leaving Theresa. End of discussion. Mikie leaves the room, and walks towards the living room. Nicolai stays to try to secure the hatch on the 'escape' tunnel.

Viper hurtles (well, it's a controlled hurtle, as the tunnel is small enough that she can easily control her speed) along the tunnel, trying to get her comm device to work, but there's too much interference. Eventually, after a rather nerve-wracking descent straight down, Viper pops out of the end of the tunnel. She is in a small room, evidently near the old reactor, with multiple tunnels heading out of it. She is trying to figure out which tunnel to take that would get her to a phone or something, when she spots a small wooden door in the wall. ?? Viper knocks, but there's no answer, so she goes in. It's obviously not a human-sized dwelling, so it's a good thing Viper isn't very big. The entry way leads to a sort of den, complete with fireplace, and stuffed mutant animals on the wall. Viper then gets to meet the person who lives down here: a greying Pikhan named Stewart Pondoro Granger. Mr. Granger is more than happy to help when he hears that Viper's friends are in trouble, especially when he finds out it could be dangerous. Jolly good! There are no phones down there, as the shielding interferes with everything. Granger tries to convince Viper that it's not safe to go out into the tunnels after dark (evidently that's when 'they' come out), but she insists she has to get a message out to save her friends. After some consideration, Granger decides that he can perhaps get a message out for her.

Granger takes Viper out into the tunnels, once they are both well-armed with small rifles (big hole in the business end though). She is taken to a "tribe" of feral Pikhans, and Granger acts as interpreter for her. They don't use jungle drums, but it's the next best thing - they bang out the message on pipes. Egad. It's the only chance Viper has for the moment, so what the hell. (No one is going to believe this though.)

Corina is sitting in the library of the DukeDome, when she hears tapping behind the bookcase. She moves the bookcase to reveal a pole going down, and some sort of tube running along side it. The tapping is coming from the tube. How bizarre. A servant lets Corina know that Commissioner Globber has arrived, and she asks that he be shown right in. Globber enters to find Corina staring into the secret chamber behind the bookcase, which is certainly intriguing. He listens to the tapping and says "That's Morse code." Which, as it happens, Globber understands! Corina will write down the message, if he translates it.

Globber listens to the code, dictating: "B-L-A-K no, scratch that, L-O-K" Corina: "Blaelok!" Globber continues: "'Duchess in trouble, send help'. Then something about 'in hunt camp'. Corina calls Peter Corbet-Bell, and asks if there is any place on Up Port called the "hunt camp"? There's a pause. Corbet-Bell: Well... There is a fellow hunter with a spread down below. I get him a few boxes of ammo every once in a while. Corbet-Bell doesn't know where exactly the "hunt camp" is, only that it's on level 20. Corina gets as much info as she can, informs Globber that "Duchess in trouble" has to refer to either herself, or Viper, and either way she needs to find out what's going on. Globber is sent to get some good men, and to meet Corina at her private docking bay. Globber leaves. Corina calls Black, and tells him she needs as much Purple as he can get her, to her ship. Problem: Black is on planet, and can't get Up Port for about 20 minutes, at the soonest. Well, then he'll just have to find some one he can trust to deliver the Purple. Black: "I'll send my second in command. No, wait that won't do...I know just the person." He rings off.

Mikie has returned to the living room, where the stunned bodyguards and everyone else is. Mikie's cell phone rings, Mikie asks Blaelok if he should answer it. Blaelok nods. Surprise, surprise, it's Black, who wants Mikie to "run an errand" for him; it's important. Mikie: "That's nice, but I really don't have the time for this Mr. White. Don't bother calling back." Nice try, but Blaelok takes the phone and says: "Mercer, hello. How are we? ... That's very special. ... Well, I'll bear that in mind. Good-bye." Blaelok hangs up, and turns his full attention to Mikie. Blaelok: "You've made things very difficult for me Michael. I wanted to keep the Duchess out of this, but now... Tell me where she is." Mikie looks at Blaelok and says, with complete honesty, "I have no idea where she is." Blaelok is none too pleased with this turn of events. And Nicolai isn't helping any by blocking George in the hallway.

Blaelok's demand that Nicolai get out of the way results in a verbal altercation, and Blaelok not understanding why Nicolai is taking the side of the "lower lifeforms" over that of his fellow Solomani. Nicolai (pretty angry at this point): "I don't know what you've become, but you're no longer Solomani. You've betrayed our race, our beliefs." Blaelok (losing patience): I'm Section 9. Who do you think decides all that?" Nicolai: "You are the lowest form of life."

Blaelok tires of this, and orders the robot "George, after I leave, I wish you to disable Nicolai." Blaelok steps outside with Alex (the other robot). Nicolai says "Mikie, command code!" Mikie calls out the code, then takes Theresa into the kitchen to take cover. Nicolai has drawn his surf gun, and goes after George since George is between him and the person he has to kill (Mikie). George is shot up, but not disabled. Nicolai is slapped into the wall and hurt, but still conscious. Nicolai shoots George again, with his second surf gun (New York reload). This slows George down a bit, and he makes a scraping noise every time he moves his right leg.

First Alex, then Blaelok takes a peek into the apartment. Alex: "George has been damaged, but is still functional. Nicolai Volkov is operational. " Blaelok: "Thank you Alex." So polite.

Nicolai draws his 12mm. George takes a step forward and grabs Nicolai. Nicolai puts the muzzle of the 12mm against George's head, and keeps pulling the trigger. George starts leaking white fluid, grabs Nicolai's gunhand and squeezes, crushing the gun and the hand. Then George picks Nicolai up by his damaged hand and flips him over his shoulder, doing additional damage to Nicolai's hand. He keeps hold of Nicolai, dangling him over his shoulder. Then he yanks really hard, horribly fracturing and dislocating the elbow, and almost ripping it right off. Using his other hand, Nicolai takes his CRI knife and drives it into one of George's leaking seams, hard. George starts sparking and crackling in a warranty-voiding kind of fashion, as the knife blade melts and fuses with George. Nicolai has been dropped rather unceremoniously, so he is lying on the floor at the end of the hallway, just where it enters the living room.

Blaelok and Alex have come back into the apartment. Blaelok: "Alex, bring Michael." Alex heads straight for the kitchen. Mikie stands up, putting himself between Alex and Theresa. Alex says "Come with me", and takes Mikie by the shoulder. All of a sudden, shots are fired from behind Mikie, hitting Alex in the head. All six rounds. Theresa reloads, fires six more rounds into him, reloads, does it again. Damn, she's good!! Pity Alex is a robot. Theresa, out of ammo, leaps up and informs Alex "You're not taking him!" Mikie (afraid Alex will hurt her): "Theresa, please." Theresa: "If you go, I go with you." Mikie: "No, Theresa." Theresa: "You wouldn't leave me, would you? Would you?" She's in the no talking her out of it mode, so Mikie gives up and they head out of the kitchen with Alex. Just then, Nicolai uses the only weapon he has left: a grenade. Unfortunately, that is the last straw for the damaged robot. There's a bright flash as George blows up rather spectacularly. Mikie is knocked unconscious, Theresa is mostly okay, George is toast, Alex and Blaelok are ...??

Nicolai untriggers, and loses consciousness. Mikie eventually comes to, in Theresa's arms. It's pitch black, cold and wet, as the lights are out and the fire suppression unit is on. Mikie is severely concussed, and has minor shrapnel injuries. Theresa's clothing took most of the blast, so she has just been knocked about a bit. She is holding Mikie and telling him it's all right when he wakes up. Theresa finds a flashlight, and manages to get the unconscious Nicolai over closer to Mikie, then she pulls up something to keep them from being further dripped on by the burst water pipes and sprinklers. Mikie checks in his pocket for the ampoule of viral inhibitor for Theresa and finds only liquid and small splinters of glass. He doesn't say anything, but holds onto Theresa.

Black contacts Corina again, and tells her "Apparently Mikie has fallen prey to our favorite Solomani." Corina: "Well, find some GS5 to make the delivery." Black: "Right. I'll make sure it gets ... " The connection is lost. Corina turns to Globber and says "Commissioner, call your men, and send them to my ship." Globber makes the call, and goes with Corina to her ship. They meet up with Globber's SWAT team, and a messenger from Mr. Black, who explains to Corina "Sorry it took so long ma'am. All the data links are down, the computer system is messed up, communications are down, and they're losing lights all over the place." The delivery is made - one needler, neatly packed with a separate magazine of Purple, chilled to the proper temperature. Corina arranges for clear passage for her ship, and they go down and dock with level 20. Granger hears a ship docking, and recognizes which airlock it is, so he takes Viper there. After a small incident with the police drawing down on Granger, which Viper defuses, Viper goes on board Corina's ship.

Corina tells Viper she got her message, but it was a bit cryptic. Viper cuts right to the chase: "You have to get to the Griffins' apartment. Blaelok is there, things are bad, you need to help them. Now!"

Corina gives the needler to Commissioner Globber (she remembers all the marksmanship trophies in his house) and tells him "When you see Mr. Blaelok, kill him." Globber, somewhat taken aback by this, replies: "I can't do that, he's the Solomani ambassador!" Corina: "I'm ordering you to kill him. If you can't, give me the gun, and I'll do it." Globber: "I can't let you do that. I can't permit you to put yourself in that kind of danger. I'll do it." He takes the weapon.

They can't get back into the station, due to all the power outages. Corina puts Viper into the cockpit to make contact with the Navy before they panic ("Oh my God, we've misplaced the Grand Admiral's wife!!!"). Contact is made, Viper let's them know where she is, and that she can stay on Corina's ship for the time being. Corina is going with the cops to Mikie's apartment. Viper has already passed on the information from Mikie (re: virus, etc.) while they were en route (or at least the Reader's Digest condensed version), so Corina is definitely going to kill Blaelok this time.

Corina and the police make their way to the Griffins' apartment. It's easy to identify, what with the bulged out Mosler door. The explosion (Blaelok, damn him, was evidently quick enough to get to the far side of the door and into the hallway, with Alex) bowed the door, bending the cross bars in the lock, so it can't be opened. A cutting torch is brought up, and the door is cut off. The police shine lights into the room, which is littered with debris, robot parts, bodies, etc. Mikie and Theresa are the only ones not obviously dead. Medics come in, check out Theresa and Mikie, and reassure them. Mikie tells them to check on Nicolai, which they do, but say it's too late. Mikie insists they check again, but it's still "I'm sorry." They are zipping him into a body bag when Corina comes into the room. Mikie tells her Nicolai is in survival mode, and Corina insists Nicolai is not dead, don't argue, just get him to the hospital.

205 - 1122.

The nurse comes in to check on Junior in the morning. Amazingly enough, he's still sane. The doctor is called, and they bring in a new pain unit, since that one appears to have stopped working. Oh, much better. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, Junior doesn't remember anything after Shiv's display of promised 'favors' earlier. He has no idea it was Nicolai who squished him flatter than crock-brewed beer. Just as well.

Shiv comes in to visit Junior, and she's very sorry he was hurt. She didn't see what happened to him (since she was unconscious herself at the time), but she wants to make sure Junior gets all better. She does a quick check under the sheet to make sure he isn't missing anything vital. He's not.

Corina has had enough of this nonsense, and is going to go see Blaelok, now that everyone has been medicked, and the station has been put under quarantine (they're using the old "Jenghe fever" ploy, for now). She and Globber take a drive to the Solomani Consulate, where Globber reminds her of the possible repercussions if they try to force their way in there. Corina explains that it would be perfectly normal for her to go to the consulate - she did, after all, make sure to start a friendly relationship with the new consul. The car stops in front of the Consulate, and Corina tells Globber "If you want to come in, that's fine. If you don't want to come in, give me the gun." Globber: "I can't let you go in alone." They go up to the consulate, and Corina asks to see the Consul. She is told that the Consul is not available at this time. Corina asks to use the phone, gets Claire on the line, and asks if Ambassador Blaelok is available. For Corina, he is. Claire gets him on the line.

Blaelok: "Hello Corina, may I help you?" Corina: "Aren't you going to invite me in?" Blaelok: "Of course." Corina and Globber will be admitted, but first the guard asks Globber to hand over his sidearm. Globber gives the guard his issue sidearm. Guard: "And the other one, sir." Globber draws the needler, Corina says "Shoot him!", so Globber does. Ewww. Corina takes the 9mm from the guard, and shoots the other guard. They run in as the alarms go off. They have to dive under the door as it drops, barely making it (my goodness Globber is agile for such a large man). A couple more marines show up, with weapons drawn. Shots are exchanged, Globber is hit repeatedly, passes the needler on to Corina. She runs off, trying to get to the consul's office, which she does. The door is locked, Corina shoots off the door knob, which dissolves. Corina comes in, to meet Claire, who tries to stop her. Corina: "I need to see Christopher." Claire: "With a gun??" Corina: "Yes." She pushes past Claire, to the inner office doors, which open automatically for her. She walks into the room, sees Blaelok calmly sitting at the desk ahead of her, and she brings up the needler and fires straight at him. Blaelok doesn't even blink and eye as the needler round is stopped, seemly in midair. Actually, it's stopped by the bulletproof barrier that shields the entire far end of the room.

The doors behind Corina shut and lock. Corina tests just how high up the shield goes by firing a round into the ceiling, just where it meets the barrier. The Purple eats through part of the ceiling, and drips a few inches down into the middle of the sheet of 'glass'. Hmmm. Blaelok smiles, and says "Well Corina, you seem to have gotten yourself into a pickle." Corina: "Not as big as the one you're in. It's called mutually assured destruction. It's a Terran concept." Blaelok: "Even if I die, the work survives." Corina: "Oh no, it doesn't. I will make absolutely certain it doesn't survive, or spread. If that means blowing up the whole station, then that's what I'll do." Blaelok: "I could give you the antidote. You could rule with a level of control no ruler has ever had. And you'd be doing your people a favor. It doesn't make them mindless automatons, it just removes their aggression. Their 'dark angels' so to speak." Corina: "Nice offer. And what do you get?" Blaelok: "To leave. With the work." Corina: "I think I prefer the part where we all die." Blaelok: "Pity."

Firing ports open up in the walls, and Corina shot in the chest, where it hits an artery. She fires two more shots into the shield, making a large enough whole to fire at Blaelok through, which she does. She manages to hit him in the hand with the Purple, just as he is diving for cover behind the desk. Blaelok: "Bitch!! ... I'm afraid that our friendship is at an end." Several men burst in. "She's out of ammo", one of them says. Wrong. She has a second gun, and a couple more rounds of Purple. Blaelok sics Alex on Corina, and the marines back out of the room. Corina takes out one of Alex's legs with a round of Purple, making it hard for the robot to get to her. Then there is a very loud bang (as in .50 caliber sniper rifle )! Corina sees something impact on the shield directly in front of her, then looks down to see the large, bleeding hole in her abdomen(the size of the and Holland Tunnel). Oh no.


Corina wakes up, strapped down to a table, in a very sanitary, very high tech room. Blaelok: "Ah, Corina. How are you feeling?" His arm, what's left of it, is bandaged. "I'm glad to see you're still with us. It was touch and go for a while, for you and the little one. " He taps a cylinder containing a fetus on life support. "You and Jack must be so proud. I must be going, but I want you to know that your son will receive the best education Section 9 can provide." Corina tests the bonds, and informs Blaelok "there is no where you can go that will be far enough. I will find you. If you're already dead, I will desecrate your grave."

At Regina Trauma, Mikie goes in to see Nicolai. The doctors don't really want Nicolai having visitors right now, but he has been asking to see Mikie since he was brought in. Mikie goes into the room, and sits with Nicolai. They both know what needs to happen next. Mikie carefully threads his way past Nicolai's shield, and gets the information on what Blaelok told Nicolai about the virus, and what Blaelok did to Christine in order to get to Black. Mikie can't fix the command code problem right now, all he can do is tell that it wasn't that it was changed, just trip-wired. Mikie leaves Nicolai's room, tells Theresa to wait there at the hospital, that he needs to deliver a message to some one. Theresa is a bit concerned, and gives Mikie one of her guns to take with him, but she doesn't really argue about it. Mikie isn't sure if it's the virus at work, or if he's just so concerned about it that he's seeing subtle changes where there aren't any. He leaves the hospital. Nicolai leaves shortly thereafter, checking himself out against medical advice. He goes home to Christie's, and puts on his CRI combat armor.

Back at the Consulate, Blaelok, unimpressed by Corina's threats, tells Jessica to "bring my son", and leaves. Jessica says "Nice meeting you," to Corina, and follows him out as Blaelok tells the remaining robot "Alex, Mr. Volkov has left the hospital, and I'm sure this will be his first stop. Take care of him."

An eternity later, from Corina's point of view, she hears the sound of some one entering the room. She's strapped down, so she can't see who it is. Globber pulls himself up into view on her table. Corina looks at the bleeding commissioner and says "We're not quite dead yet, are we Seymore?" Globber: "This is the first time in my life I've been grateful that I'm so...cuddly." He manages to get Corina unstrapped. She's able to get up, and looks for some Regen. She finds a single dose of Regen 1, which she gives Globber. That helps, even though he was shot six times with a gauss rifle. That's one tough cop.

Mikie has gone to the big grey building with no windows, and asks after Black. One of Black's men that Mikie knows from a way back, known not affectionately as "Trunk Boy" is there, and lets Mikie in to wait for Black, who is expected any time. A few minutes later, an angry Black comes stalking in, muttering about the "Goddamn electric cars". Mikie says "I need to talk to you, alone. It's important." Black takes Mikie in to his office, gets rid of everyone else, and asks if Mikie knows "how long it takes to walk from the shuttle bays to here. When the slidewalks aren't working. " Black is not thrilled. Mikie isn't going to make his day any better. He tells Black that "Blaelok did something to Christine while he had her." Black: "I know. I just haven't figured out exactly what yet." Mikie: "I've found out what." Mikie then repeats what Blaelok told Nicolai about Christine, Black, and the 'mutated tertiary syphilis'. For the first time in Mikie's life, he sees an expression of real concern on Black's face. He sends for his doctor, and a fully charged car. Black: "He may not know it yet, but he's a dead man." Mikie: "I think that's what he said about you." Mikie tells Black about Theresa, and what Blaelok has done to her. He also tells him that Nicolai is headed for the Solomani Consulate, since that's probably where Blaelok has headed, although he may have a ship. When the car comes, Black takes Mikie with him to look for Blaelok. They'll go to the diplomatic docking area first, then back track to the consulate if necessary.

Corina and Globber make their way out of the consulate proper, to where a truck is being loaded with office supplies. The driver goes back in to get something, and Corina checks out the back of the truck. She moves several boxes out into the bushes, then goes in to check out the back of the truck. Unfortunately, the driver picks this moment to come back and close the back door of the truck, which he locks. Then he drives off. With Corina inside.

Nicolai is approaching the consulate when he sees a truck go by. As it passes, Nicolai sees a bloody Globber on the back of the truck. Nicolai knows Globber was with Corina, so he runs after the truck, triggers, and manages to grab a hold of the back and pull himself up, with Globber's help. Nicolai isn't sure what exactly is going on, but if Globber is hanging on to the back of a moving truck, odds are it's relevant.

To the diplomatic docking bays. The cargo container box on the truck is put into place to be hooked up onto the tracked crane for moving to the ship. Nicolai and Globber get up on top of the container, just before it's picked up. Then the fun starts, what with the smart grenades, the Solomani marines, and all. Explosions and shots exchanged. The container car plummets as it's blown off it's tracks by Nicolai, who just doesn't want it loaded onto the waiting Solomani ship. Corina is knocked unconscious by the fall. Globber is not moving, either unconscious or dead. Nicolai hears a distant whining noise coming from one of the nearby ships, and his radio peg is running out as he watches. Not good. He gets himself and Globber behind hard cover, trying to avoid being baked alive by the ship's radar dish. Now what?

Nicolai sees that there is an Arkadian ship and a small Zhodani ship in the diplomatic bay. He radios the Zhodani ship, but the first person he raises doesn't speak Galanglic, and Nicolai doesn't speak Zhodani. A second voice comes on, and he does speak Galanglic, heavily accented. And he's rude. (Evidently the Zhodani descended from the French.) He won't listen to Nicolai asking for assistance, and cuts the connection. Nicolai tries the Arkadian ship, and they are more reasonable. He convinces them he's calling on behalf of the Solomani ship (well, the accent is right), and that they need assistance with their radar dish - they can't get it to shut off, and they have personnel in the bay. The Arkadians say they'll send over a couple of engineers in hard suits, to assist. When the Arkadians get close to the Solomani ship, they are fired upon, naturally, as the crew of the Solomani ship aren't expecting them. The Arkadian ship fires at source of the transmission (Nicolai), misses, the ship's missile goes right through the cargo container (with an unconscious Corina in it), and hits the Zhodani courier ship, splitting open the unarmored ship like a lobster. Oops. Alarms, blast doors closing, massive chaos. Nicolai makes it out with Globber, who is still clutching the 12mm. Corina is still inside, in the cargo container. Black and Mikie are also still inside, with some of Black's people, having arrived just in time to crash the car into a Solomani marine. A couple of Solomani crewmen come out of the ship and start dragging the damaged cargo pod towards the ship's cargo bay. Black and Mikie don't know what's in the pod, but the Solomani obviously really want it, so Black and his men try to keep them from getting it. The Solomani ship opens up on with the VRF gauss gun, and since their gun is bigger than everyone else's, they get the pod. Corina regains consciousness, and opens the door of the container just as the cargo doors are closing. She doesn't quite get out, but Mikie sees some one trying to get out, does a quick read, and it's Corina. Oh boy. He tells Black, who is concerned that Corina not fall into the hands of the Solomani, so he orders one of his men to radio the Navy, and tell them to fire on the ship if necessary. Black: "I'm willing to sacrifice Corina if it means not letting them have her."

Outside the bay, emergency personnel have already started to arrive. Nicolai gets help for Globber, then asks where the Director of Regina Security is? A marine says "In there", pointing at the cargo bay. Nicolai goes with Globber to the hospital (again), to make sure he makes it in one piece.

Shortly thereafter, Black and his people get out. Black gets on the commo unit with Starport Authority, and tells them to "Blow the magnetic docking clamps in level 2, the diplomatic section. Oh bugger, wait, that will only effect the ships on the outside, and there are people in the bay too. Damn" They are going to have to rely on the Navy to prevent the ship from leaving.

On board the ship in question, Corina is out of the cargo pod, into the bay. A ship's officer is checking the tie-downs, and Corina just circles the pod and avoids him. Then he goes to the door, which operates with a retina scan. Corina goes out right behind him, setting off the intruder alert. Damn. She heads directly for where the bridge should be, and is intercepted by several guards. Corina is escorted to a cell. A while later a man in a dark uniform, with an armband comes in to speak with Corina.

Officer: "This is a bit awkward; we were not expecting a stowaway of your stature."

Corina: "I'm not a stowaway, I'm here to see Mr. Blaelok."

Officer: "Mr. Blaelok is not available."

Corina: "He has my son."

Officer: "I think that's a matter you should take up w/ Mr. Blaelok."

Corina: "That's what I'm trying to do. I think we're involved in circular logic here."

The officer steps just outside the door, and speaks with the ship's captain. "We don't need this kind of hassle. Just kill her and feed her into the drive."

Corina, hearing this, says: "Excuse me, there are people who know I'm on board. That won't work. Next option. I know, "let's give the crazy woman what she wants', and I'll leave."

Captain: "I assure you there are no children on board this ship."

Corina: "There's a fetus inside a stasis container, in a silver briefcase that belongs to Mr. Blaelok." The captain and officer exchange uncomfortable glances. Eww. Eventually, they decide to show Corina around, just to prove they don't have her 'child'. They open up a secure cargo container, and there is a silver briefcase in the container. Corina says "That's it." It's locked, they don't have a key, but it is cold, so Corina takes it. She wants to see Blaelok. The captain explains that all they took on board the ship was this secure cargo container, and some kind of really high tech medical berth, which they take her to see for herself. Corina can't see what or who is in the berth, but it is showing medical readouts like it has some one in it. A dark haired, blue-eyed female starts to step into the bay, but then immediately steps back. Aha - Jessica. Corina convinces the captain to let her leave with the briefcase, surrounded by his tallest crewmen just in case the "SolSec scum" (that's the captain's expression!) try to shoot Corina as she's leaving."

The ship leaves the docking bay, and begins to maneuver out to jump point. An Imperial Navy vessel radios the ship, and tells the captain to heave to, as the station is under quarantine. The captain informs them that this is an ambassadorial ship, and they do not have to obey the quarantine. The Navy people try to compromise: "We're going to have to perform a medical inspection of your ship before you are allowed to leave." No deal. The ship just continues to maneuver out, the Naval ship decides to fire on the ship and disable the drive. Target is acquired, the shot is taken, and the Solomani ship disintegrates rather spectacularly. Oh-oh. Lucky shot??

Corina meets up with Black at the dock. Mikie asks if Blaelok was on board the ship, and Corina responds: "Probably". But she admits she only saw the consul, and not Blaelok. Not good enough. No body means Blaelok is still on the loose.

To the hospital. Corina was very well medicked by Blaelok's people, so she has no holes. She's not feeling at all well, but she's healing up nicely. After she's been checked, the doctor has to tell Corina something serious. He's "not sure how to put this, as the phrase 'losing the baby' does not usually mean losing as in 'misplaced'..." Corina knows what happened, and fills the doctor in, somewhat.

Nicolai, also at Regina Trauma, checks up on the commissioner. Globber is awake, and tells Nicolai "You're behaving oddly for a man who kills bartenders for serving bad tea. We both know who did that, no matter what Mr. Black says. I appreciate what you did for me, but I still consider you a racist Solomani, a murderer, and an element that this station would be better off without. I hope I'm wrong. I doubt it, but I do hope I am wrong." Nicolai leaves Globber to his recovery, since they both have bigger things to worry about right now.

Mikie has returns Theresa's gun to her. There is no doubt the virus is effecting her now; Mikie can 'see' how the virus is destroying parts of her mind, and it's more than he can bear. He phones his father, and asks if he can come Up Port, maybe he can help. Dr. Taylor can tell something is wrong, and of course he's only to happy to help in any way he can. Mikie leaves to walk to the shuttle bay. As he's walking past the park, Mikie sees a van circling it. Very odd behavior for one of those food vans, and Mikie thinks he sees Blaelok in the front bedside the driver. Mikie does a psionic check to see how many people he can read in the van, and the answer is just one - some one who is very uncomfortable in the "suit" he has to wear, and very nervous about what he's doing. The van is venting what at first appears to be steam, but settles sort of like pollen on the people in the area. Including Mikie. He tries to make a phone call, but all the lines are busy, so he takes off after the van as it goes into a vehicle elevator and goes down one level. Nicolai is down the street, and when he sees Mikie run into an elevator, he figures something is up, so he goes after him.

One floor down, Mikie sees the van stopped in a Starport Authority service area. Two men in coveralls are peeling off the vendor's signs to reveal STA logos. Clever. Nicolai arrives shortly thereafter. One of the men takes a large canister of something out of the back of the van, and since he's wearing a biohazard outfit, it's not difficult to guess what's in the canister he's carrying over toward the main air circulation vent.

Elsewhere, Corina and Black are trying to figure out how to track down Blaelok, and discussing what possible vectors could be used to spread the virus - air? Water? Food? They eventually find a van that some one rented and then tried to make disappear from the system. Not quite. The rental cars all have tracking devices in them, so they are able to locate the van, and it's down on level 3, right near one of the main air intake vents. Oh boy. A team is assembled to go along with Black and Corina (she is not about to sit this one out), in haz-mat suits. They take off that way, after ordering the fan shut down.

Nicolai shoots (deliberately wounding) several of Blaelok's men, uses the grenade launcher to disable the van, and Mikie gets the canister away from the nervous guy. Nicolai is intent on doing more damage, but Blaelok comes up behind him and shoots him in the back with some kind of paralytic agent. Nicolai falls to the ground as the toxin starts to take effect, telling Mikie to run for it. Mikie takes off with the canister, not realizing that Blaelok is taking careful aim with the dart gun. Nicolai is unable to aim it, but he fires off a round from his rifle to distract Blaelok, which he does, and Blaelok misses. Blaelok sighs, switches weapons, and tells Nicolai "Now see what you've done - I wanted to keep Michael alive for now." Blaelok fires at the canister Mikie is carrying, hitting the valve. Recognizing that this is not a good thing, Mikie throws the canister one direction, and leaps the opposite, just before the canister blows, scattering the virus "pollen" around it in drifts.

Blaelok walks over to where his men are. He's disgusted with their lack of competence, annoyed about fan being shut off, and he takes it out on them. One of them he kicks into the air vent (judging from his scream, it's a long way down), then he just shoots the other one. Blaelok messes with the doors, preventing anyone from closing off the area via computer, then walks over to the virus drifts, E-Tool in hand, mumbling something about having been "reduced to manual labor." Mikie comes up behind Blaelok, who is too quick and smacks Mikie with the flat of the E-Tool, knocking him out cold. Ouch. He dumps Mikie's unconscious body over by Nicolai to "keep him company", and goes back to shoveling the virus stuff into the air vent (it can wait until the fan is turned back on).

Corina and friends show up, and are unable to close the blast doors to isolate the area via computer. A radio call gets the information that if they cut the hydraulic fluid lines to the doors, they will close. They get some one to take care of that, but he's not careful enough and is hurt by the high pressure fluid. Brief pause to get past this distraction.

Blaelok, meantime, has pulled out a couple of power cables from their connections, and is dragging them over to the generator in the van, so he can get the fan restarted and get this over with. Mikie has regained consciousness, and when Nicolai manages to fire off a round of bursting obscurant, Mikie goes quietly to intercept Blaelok when he passes by the air shaft. As he does, Corina and her people get in, and there's a bit of a gap in the obscurant, so they get a good look as Mikie hits Blaelok, shouldering him into the air shaft. Blaelok does the normal thing, which is to grab onto Mikie. Blaelok is somewhat surprised when Mikie, expecting this and determined to put an end to this mess now (at any cost), just lets himself fall too.

Corina rushes in, and Nicolai is crawling forward, and they see that Blaelok has managed to grab onto the dangling power cable; Mikie has grabbed onto Blaelok. To make sure that he keeps his grip, Mikie pops a knife into his hand (wrist sheath, very handy) and stabs Blaelok in the abdomen. Thereby making a handhold.

Corina tries to get Mikie to grab a safety line, but he's not letting go of Blaelok. Blaelok starts using the live end of the cable to jolt Mikie into letting go, but it doesn't work. Nicolai uses his bayonet to partially cut the power cable, which does not completely sever the cable. On the other hand, it does melt the bayonet, and shorts out the power below the cut, so Blaelok doesn't have that to use as a weapon. Corina has decided she needs to rescue Mikie, so she ties herself off to the safety line they've set up, yells "Hold on!", and dives into the shaft. Good thing Jack isn't here, he'd have a fit. On the other hand, she's not endangering the baby at this point.

Corina ends up on the cable just above Blaelok, with Mikie dangling about half way down Blaelok's body and below. Blaelok has drawn a gun and is aiming it down at Mikie's head to make the irritating little bastard let go, but Corina cocks her foot back above Blaelok's head and says "Uh-uh Chris - he goes, you go." Blaelok lets the gun fall, and Corina yells for them to be hauled up.

Quite the fishing expedition. The men pull up Corina, Blaelok, and Mikie. Everyone needs to be medicked, including Blaelok - if he's dead, they can't question him. Before any one is taken off for treatment, Mikie tells Black "when you interrogate him, I want in." This is a surprise for Black, as it's not like Mikie. Black nods, and says "You have skills that might prove uniquely useful in this." Nicolai also requests to be in on this. Maybe that can be arranged too; Black is noncommittal.

206 - 1122.

Theresa and Mikie are staying in a hotel since their apartment has been trashed. Theresa is getting worse. Mikie is getting frantic (he isn't sure he can handle this, and what is he going to tell Theresa's father?) Everyone has been medicked, so Mikie goes to Regina Security when the time comes.

Black tells Mikie that Blaelok has been 'hardened' against normal interrogation (and torture), so Mikie's help will be needed if they are going to get any information. Mikie is willing, but Blaelok has a psi shield implant he can't get past. Black tosses a small black object onto the desk and says "under the scalp, base of the skull". Well, that takes care of that. Mikie asks Black how he's doing, and if his "doctor has come up with anything that can help?" Black: "Not yet. They're working on it. Right now I'm trying to track down anyone Christine may have been friendly with." Now there's a frightening thought.

Mikie is taken in to see Blaelok, who is strapped into a scary-looking chair like thing, and is looking somewhat worse for wear. He has obviously been interrogated the old-fashioned way first. Blaelok is missing a couple of teeth, and some sections of his hands have been opened up to reveal nerves, etc. The usual stuff. Mikie doesn't care if Black and whoever are watching, but he doesn't want the distraction of another mind in the room. Mikie sits down, Blaelok says hello, and Mikie starts carefully edging into Blaelok's mind. Not somewhere you want to go.

It's very convoluted and complex, and Mikie almost gets completely lost a few times, but he is able to get information that Blaelok tries to hide. Instead of trying to remember everything, Mikie just starts saying out loud what Blaelok is 'thinking', so that Black (and his recording devices) can hear it. Corina finds it kind of creepy that Mikie is speaking with a Solomani accent while he does this. Mikie is able to find out where the back up virus material is being kept, where Corina's 'son' is, and what was done to Nicolai with regard to the command codes (the latter, along with information that should allow Mikie to psionically undo the programming, is the only thing Mikie keeps to himself - for Nicolai's protection). Also, he finds out how to access the big safe in the Solomani Consulate (the code, plus Blaelok's retina print - they'll just borrow an eye) and what's in the safe: viral vaccine, viral inhibitor, a backup tape machine, and a whole bunch of tapes (including for Sontag, Mikie, and others). Also, Kirrhl was working for Blaelok as an informer about Ghaer and other important Vargrs, and she did it for the money. As Mikie 'dictates', Black sends people out to pick up things.

After an hour, Mikie has to back out. He's exhausted, and it's hard to even find his way back to himself. Black is pleased with the information, but is concerned about getting into the Consulate. Mikie tells Black he can get him in, but Mikie wants the inhibitor for Theresa. Black's response is "Done." Mikie arranges for Irving to get Black into the basement of the consulate, and Black takes care of the rest. One problem - Blaelok's backup tapes are not in their boxes, so they're somewhere else. One more thing to ask Blaelok later. Mikie sees to it that his own backup tapes are destroyed, and he now has eight weeks worth of the inhibitor. It's not enough.

Corina makes arrangements with SuSAG for them to start working on the viral vaccine and inhibitor, and later a cure (according to Blaelok, it is possible to make one, they just haven't). Mikie's father can help with this, since he's a bio-geneticist. The Regina system is under quarantine until further notice. At least until they can set up UV lights all over the station to kill what's left of the viral agent loose in the system (also according to Blaelok, this will do it). She gets her son "put back where he belongs", so to speak. The question is, what will she tell Jack?

There are times when a person's life splits into two parts. From that point on, everything becomes either 'before this', or 'after this'. For some people on Regina, this is one of those occasions.