"Lust and force are the source of all our actions, lust causes voluntary actions, force involuntary ones."-- Pascal,


Robert and Kaeth go to OmniMart, in search of Robert's vaunted rollerblades. They don't have those, but they do have glideboots (almost frictionless soles) - very big with the kids. On the tip of the toes, and the end of the heels they have friction pads - the rest of the soles are coated with a special very low friction material and rechargeable, high tech lubricant that magnetically adheres to the shoes (sort of like wet, leather-soled Oxfords on ice). They're in really cool colors. Robert buys a pair in mostly black with jagged yellow stripes, and several recharges. These will take some time to get used to. There's a 12 year old looking at glideboots at the same time Robert is, so he gets to question the expert. The new deconstructed area has a makeshift glide-park in it that's very cool. Kaeth: "Are you having your second childhood early?" Clerk: "Will you want some protective gear?" Robert asks the kid, who thinks pads are for wimps. Kaeth suggests the helmet, elbow pads, and gloves since "you can't fly with broken arms". Robert takes the protective gear. He'll practice on the ship before going onto the high-speed slidewalk or anything. Kaeth notices the clerk - big hair, gum in the corner of her mouth, large tracks of land - watching Robert's butt as he tries on the boots. Her name tag reads "Melinda". She makes sure Robert has a very good view when she bends over to get the bag. She makes sure Robert has the receipt, just in case, which of course has her phone number on it. He puts it into the bag. Melinda: "Hey, see you around!" Now they can go in search of the pickpocket who lifted Kaeth's wallet. Okay, this will be easy.

Robert suddenly has an idea. Robert: "Oh! I know who we should call about that Kiffin girl - the art dealer guy. Mr. Black." They can't find a number for Black, so Robert calls Globber. Globber: "Oh yes, Robert! What can I do for you?" Robert: "Commissioner. I know this is sudden and unannounced, but there's an art dealer on UpPort I'm trying to locate, and I was hoping you could help me. His name is Black." <lengthy pause> Globber: "Uh...<looks around nervously> No, no I don't believe I know an art dealer by that name." Robert: "Well, my friend and I found a friend of his, a young woman, in the park..." Globber: "Yes, well. I'm sorry, but something's come up that needs my immediate attention must go terribly sorry do call again." <click> That's was interesting. Not terribly useful, but interesting.

Just after Robert gets off his phone, one of the local Weseli's pops up. Weseli: "Hey! Did I hear you say you were looking for an art dealer named Black?" Robert: "Yeah, we're looking for Mr. Black." Weseli: "You're in luck. I just happen to know the man you're looking for. In fact, he's a close personal friend." Robert: "If he's such a close friend, why don't you give him a call?" Weseli: "Sure, I can do that." He takes out a cell phone, and dials a number. Weseli: "Mr. Black, how are you doing'? I've got someone here who wants to talk to you." He hands the phone to Robert, and an unknown voice says "Yeah?" Robert disconnects and hands back the phone. Robert: "Nice try." Weseli: "Well, I'm sorry that wasn't the guy you wanted, but since I've got you here..." The watches come out. Not interested, but Robert does mention his missing watch and the reward, and Captain Melberne's phone number. The Weasel will keep his eyes peeled. He leaves, but doesn't get very far before Robert discovers his wallet is missing, and the fight is on. Robert tackles the Weseli and they go over. Weseli: "Help! Help! I'm being attacked!!" Robert: "Where's my wallet?" Weseli: "I don't know what you're talking about!" Kaeth checks the man for a wallet, then Robert is suddenly left holding only a coat. But it does contain Robert's wallet, sans cash. Oh well, after paying cash for his new toys, he didn't have much left on him any way. There are a number of other wallets in the coat as well. The coat has a label on the inside that reads: "If found please return to Sal Weseli" and an address. Good grief. Robert goes back to OmniMart to buy an instant camera. He then takes pictures of each wallet on the coat, with the ID card on the wallet, right by the label on the coat. He mails the wallets back to their owners, along with a nice souvenir photo for each one. The coat is turned in to the starport mall Lost and Found.

Meanwhile, Kiffin is coming down off her euphoria. She goes to take a long shower in the obscenely nice, voice-activated shower with multiple pulsing jets of water. Then a warm air blow dry. Okay, that's better. On the other hand, she has 65 hours to live. In theory, that is. Oddly enough, she's not inclined to believe Mr. Sturvigant, he'd be crushed. She goes into the living room. The picture is on the table still, with the contents of her purse - glass eye thing, keys, etc.

Ariana calls Robert to tell him that "some guy named Melberne called about your watch." Robert: "Thanks." Kaeth: "Ask her about Black." Robert: <to Kaeth> "I'm not going to ask her about Black!" He thanks Ariana and calls Melberne. Yes, it looks like they've recovered Robert's missing watch. He'll be right over to pick it up.

While Robert and Kaeth are on their way to the police station, Robert runs into (almost literally) a sort of familiar female. Melinda: "Hey you!" It's Melinda, and obviously on her way home. She's wearing a different sweater with fewer buttons done up, a neo-vinyl microskirt, and spiked heels. Melinda: "Hey you, you're the glideboots guy. How's it going?" Robert: "Fine, but I've got to go, I'm on my way to the police station." Melinda: "Oh, that's too bad. I was hoping we could get some coffee." Robert: "I'm sorry, but not right now." He extricates himself as well as possible. Melinda has to squeeze past really closely to Robert on her way. Robert and Kaeth continue through the change of shift crowd, both getting jostled. They check their wallets. Robert's is intact, but that tall blond man who just passed by smiles back at him. Apparently Robert is having a very attractive day. Kaeth's wallet is...back?!? Boy, that guy was good!

Nothing else of any import occurs on the way the police station. Robert is greeted by the waiting Captain Melberne. Melberne: "Ah, Mr. Shelzie. A pleasure to see you. I believe this is yours." He passes Robert a small box. Robert checks, and it is his watch from Planet X. Robert pays the $1,500 credit reward, and tells Melberne "I'm sure you'll see this gets to the right person." He also donates $250 credits to the actual Widows and Orphans fund. As he and Kaeth exit the station, they see a couple of men in dark suits wearing dark glasses. Yeah, they're inconspicuous. Agent: "Mr. Shelzie? Robert Shelzie?" Robert: "Yes?" Agent: "We understand you've been asking around about Mr. Black?" The other man has moved between Robert and Kaeth. Robert: "Yes, I was concerned about Mr. Black's friend, who I met at Clairidges the other night. We found her in the park, escorted her home, and we just wanted him to know she was all right." Agent: "What friend would that be?" Robert: "It's the blonde girl, uh, Kiffin?" Kaeth: "Kiffin Brevette?" Agent: "We'll make sure he gets the message. <to his partner> Bob - let's go." They walk off. Robert messes with one of the refills for his glideboots, trying to figure out if he could open it up and use it as a defensive weapon in case other people show up to annoy him. Kaeth hears a familiar voice, then turns to see a small pack of suits walking their way. Four or five serious-looking people, then several more behind them with a 40ish, serious woman with a younger female. Robert and Kaeth stand off to the side, but one of the security men notices them, and passes on the alert. Maybe they're attracted to Robert too! (Is he wearing Ariana's cologne or something?)

Suddenly, there are gunshots, people diving for cover, running... Robert and Kaeth look up to see the late middle-aged woman laying on the ground in a widening pool of blood. And it's not "late" as in her age. Kaeth heads that way. Security: "Down! On the ground!" Kaeth: "I'm a trauma medic." Robert: "He's a good one - I'll attest to that." Kaeth is allowed to go over, and finds the woman was shot several times in the head. There's grey matter splattered around. She's a goner. One of the bodyguards is staggering, but he just has a really bad bruise on his chest thanks to his body armor. The authorities arrive but quick, and people are taken in for statements. Globber hears that Robert was one of the witnesses, and he comes down to take Robert's statement personally. When he finishes making his statement, Robert drops his hand in his pocket as he stands up, and finds a warm (literally) gun in his pocket. Oh-oh... Globber: "Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Shelzie. It's good to see a citizen willing to cooperate with the authorities. We need more people like you." Robert: "Commissioner, if you have a moment?" Globber: "I'm afraid I'm a bit busy right now, as you can imagine, what with the governor of Jenghe being killed practically outside our door." He excuses himself.

The governor of Jenghe? Oh boy. When Robert comes out into the hallway, he overhears a couple of detectives discussing the crime scene. Detective: "Looks like the murder weapon was a10mm." Robert: <thinking> "Yeah, that's about right." Detective: "We think it was probably a Ling Standard Pocket Lightweight." Robert: <thinking> "Yeah, that's about right too." Not that Robert is touching that thing again. Robert wants to talk to Globber, but it's nigh onto impossible. Then his phone starts ringing. It's in the same pocket as the gun. They can just leave a message. Robert goes to the nearest mailbox store after locating Kaeth. Robert then buys a box and some wrapping paper and manages to discreetly move the gun into the box while Kaeth stands in a covering position, without knowing why yet. Robert wants to go back to the ship. Now.

A quick trip on the slidewalks later, they're back safely on board the Ruby. Ariana: "I was wondering when you'd get back." Robert: "Well, there's been a problem." Ariana: "By the way, have you seen my 10mm? You know, the Ling Standard Pocket Model I picked up." Oh-oh. Robert carefully lifts it out of the box. Robert: "Is this it?" Ariana: "Oh, you should have told me if you were going to borrow it." Robert: "I didn't." He tells her what happened, they check the serial number, and yes - it's Ariana's gun. Ariana: "Who got killed?" Robert: "The governor of Jenghe - some woman named Banks?" Ariana: "Oh shit." Robert: "Do you still have the crystal?" Ariana: "Of course. It's in a safe place." Robert: "We may need to use that. I don't think I have enough pull to get us out of this. In fact I know I don't." Ariana: "Well, let's not panic. Let's see, who would have set us up?" Kaeth isn't saying anything, just watching. He decides to go for coffee - Ariana scares him sometimes when she gets all cold.

Robert and Ariana are talking in the common area, and a couple of workers come out of the bridge, say hello, and comment on the nice gun. "Isn't that one of those new Ling Standard models?" They wander off toward the engine room. Ariana: "Even if that is the gun, they can't prove you did it. They'll do that test, you know." Robert: "Ariana, I've touched the gun. And all that test would tell them is if I'd fired a gun recently, and that's if they don't assume I was wearing gloves."

The station is abuzz over the murder. The Great Oz himself (Osbourne Banks) calls Will in on the case. Oz: "We must find the miscreant responsible and high him to justice. Do whatever is necessary." Will gets dressed and goes down to the morgue. Cause of death, three large caliber rounds through the head. Nice group, from more than 10' away. Will recovers the slugs - MilTech Safety Slugs, he recovers the jackets for the police, so they can do the ballistics stuff. Will isn't the guns and tool markings expert, so that's not his problem.

Robert: "They're going to know you bought the gun. Have you been on board the ship all day today?" Ariana: "The only time I left the ship was to get lunch." At exactly the wrong time, it turns out. Robert: "Where did you go?" Ariana: "I was going to go to a restaurant, but then I went to the park and bought something from a food vendor." Robert: "Which food vendor?" Ariana: "I don't know! I don't remember - some sort of furry guy."

Will dictates his report before he leaves and e-mails it off. Bunny calls to tell Will that Hunter Banks was assassinated. And no one has been caught yet. Will, being a bright boy, asks his wife what she knows about the deceased. Bunny: "Well, she was the younger sister of Osbourne Banks." Will: "Where did he come from? Is he from this planet?" Bunny: "I'm not sure. There's not a lot of information about him." Will: "Have you ever met him?" Bunny: "Once, when he was at the Countess DeMille's party. He captured some sort of spiders there and was showing them off to the guests. It was quite awkward." Will: "Did you know the Brown Recluse Spider has only six eyes, and not eight?" Will reads too much.

Robert: "Can you get ahold of Mr. Black?" Ariana: "I'm worried about that. What if he's behind this? What if because we were involved in that Mind Sifter thing he's cleaning house?" Robert: "It's possible." Ariana: "Well, what if we get rid of the gun? No, if they find out I bought it yesterday, then it'll look bad." Robert: "It has your fingerprints on it, and my fingerprints on it." Ariana: "Maybe we should leave planet." Robert: "And go where?" Ariana: "I don't' know. Coreward. Any where. It wasn't in my pocket, it was in your pocket." Robert: "Yes, it was in my pocket." Ariana: "I'm not going down for this." Yup, she's starting to panic, all right. Robert: "Neither of us is. You get Black here, and I'll get Globber here."

Phone calls are made. Globber would like to help, but he's far too busy right now. Robert: "I understand, but this is a very delicate matter, and requires your personal touch." Globber: "Can't it wait until after all this is sorted out?" Robert: "Absolutely not. If you know what I mean." Globber gets that something is up, and agrees to come to the ship. Unbeknownst to him, Ariana has gotten Black's agreement to show up as well. Robert goes to have a chat with the Marines he's got doing security, after giving the workers the rest of the day off. Robert: "We are expecting two guests. One of them is Commissioner Globber, the other is an art dealer named Mr. Black. They are the only people you are to let on board the ship." Marine: "Yes sir."

Elsewhere... When Kiffin looks at the picture of Hunter again, she notices in the people around her is Sturvigant. Kiffin turns on the tri-dee while she tries to think, and there's nothing but reports on how the interim governor of Jenghe was just assassinated. All sorts of reports. Live action pictures on some channels, computer animation on others. Announcer: "Let's see that from another angle." Kiffin sees Sturvigant in the one of the shots, he leans over and whispers in the ear of another security man, then looks around. He was apparently watching a Vargr go by. Oh, that's Kaeth over there, and Robert Shelzie. Then the shots are fired. Unfortunately, Mr. Sturvigant emerges unharmed. Damn.

Robert is waxing all nostalgic for Planet X now. He's never happy. Maybe he should go back to Rhylanor? He and Ariana await the arrival of Globber and Black, after telling Ariana to get the crystal, just in case. Globber arrives first, sweating a bit. Robert gets him a glass of cold water to drink. And then they wait. A couple of men come in, followed by Mr. Black. Apparently the Marines didn't follow the instructions as well as Robert had hoped. He does hope they're not dead though. The agents take up their usual support positions. Black: "Ah, Ariana, Mr. Shelzie." Robert: "Mr. Black." Black: "Commissioner." Globber chokes slightly. Black sits down comfortably, crosses his legs, and lights up. Robert: "I'm sure you're both aware of the assassination of Hunter Banks." Globber's eyes flick to the gun on the table. Black does not look at it. Robert: "I believe that may be what you're looking for." He indicates the gun. Black: "I'd think we'd be more interested in the user of the gun. If that is the murder weapon." Robert: "Well, let me tell you what I know...." He does.

Black: "So you think that someone planted this gun on you?" Robert: "I believe so. Considering the number of pickpockets around here... Kaeth was with me at the time." Black: "And where is Mr. Voeguae?" Robert: "I don't know, I think he's gone to dinner." Black: "Phillip, please go find Mr. Voeguae." Phil leaves, he must be feeling better.

Black: "It's a bit of a predicament for you, I'd say, being in possession of the murder weapon." Robert: "But I'm not a killer." Black: "All of us are killers. Any human being is capable of killing, given the right circumstances. Commissioner Globber, I'd think it would be a good idea to take the weapon into custody and see if it is in fact the murder weapon. I believe that is police procedure." Globber uses pencil, handling the gun like he would a poisonous snake. He takes it outside, presumably to one of his men.

Black: <to Robert> "I'm sorry, didn't mean to interrupt." " Robert: "I'm done with my story." Black: "Well, I'm sure the police investigation will be handled as efficiently as always. I am somewhat concerned about your safety however. Not everyone would be reasonable enough to accept your version of what happened, and in any case there are some people who might react negatively even if you were the person who was just carrying the weapon, or if they found out that your companion were the weapon's owner. I would suggest protective custody." Robert: "And where would that take place?" Black: "That would be up to the Commissioner." Robert: "As long as our names can stay out of the press, and we can stay together, I have no problem with that." Black: "I have no reason to give your names to the press. It is a police matter." Robert: "And we're trying to help." Black: "Bear in mind I answer to the Ministry of Justice. There is a complication, in that the victim was a relative of the minister." Robert: "Oh great." Black: "To a certain extent, my hands are tied. But I will do what I can." Robert: "We did go to the authorities. We came forward because we are innocent." Black: "Please, don't get me wrong. I do not mean to imply anything to the contrary. At the very least, as a courtesy to Ariana, I'll do what I can." He gives her an odd smile. Black: "Yes, certainly. It would be my pleasure to do this little favor for you." Black looks at Ariana. Robert looks at Ariana. Ariana looks at Black and Robert, and appears to want to squirm. Black: "I think it would be best if we just left this in the capable hands of the Commissioner for now. I'll do what I can at my end." Robert: "Thank you." Black: "Not at all, as I said, it's my pleasure to do a favor for an old friend." He's not looking at Robert." Black: "As I say, if neither of you is involved, then you have nothing to worry about. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they turn. <stands> Ariana, a pleasure as always. I hope to see you again under other circumstances." Black and his minions leave. Something odd going on there between Black and Ariana, or was he just pushing her buttons?

Robert checks, and the Marines are gone. He calls to have them sent back. Ariana turns the recirculator on high to get rid of the smoke. Ariana: "I hate that man." Robert: "The advantage is you still have that crystal, and he's going to want it at some point. Go put that back wherever you keep it." Ariana: "Yeah, we've got a trump card." Robert: "I'm thinking, stress relief." Ariana isn't up for that sort of stress relief. No, that's not what he meant. He gets out a bottle of Narcoleth and pours them each a stiff drink. "Ariana: "Robert, I don't' like the way this is going. The port has been sealed off, which means we can't boost unless we shimmy the locks." Robert: "Our ship isn't repaired, so we weren't going anywhere." Ariana: "I think you're right. Someone has it in for us. Then that bastard shows up here, all friendly and everything. You saw how Globber reacted." Robert: "Ariana, I asked him to come, remember? The point was to give both him and Globber the information at the same time, so they could balance each other." Ariana: "We can't stay here." Robert: "On the ship?" Ariana: "Right. We need to go somewhere we don't have to check in to. Can we stay with Kaeth?" Robert: "I don't know." Ariana: "I'm scared." Robert: "I know. It'll be all right." She's not really listening. Ariana: "If our bodies turn up dead somewhere, no one's going to care. They'll just say we were the people who killed the governor, so yay! That man never says half of what he knows." Robert: "We'll be fine." She'd probably be more panicked if she didn't have ten ounces of Narcoleth in her. Robert decides it's time for some good news, so he goes to their cabin and comes back with the small jewelry box, which he hands to Ariana.

Ariana: "What is this?" Robert: "Open it." She does, revealing the ring. Ariana: "What does it mean?" Robert: "What do you think?" <pause> Ariana: "Is it for me?" Robert: "Of course it's for you." Ariana squeals and throws her arms around Robert. Ariana: "Let's do it. Right now, while we still have a chance." Robert: "All right. Let's figure our who we want for witnesses, get something to eat, then get married." Ariana: "Let's get married first." Okay, but someone's going to pass out during the ceremony due to low blood sugar. Robert: "We went to get that painting for Mr. Black on a red zone planet, and he knew it was a red zone planet. Maybe that can be used as leverage too." One must be careful when applying leverage.

Elsewhere, earlier, men in suits show up and call for Kaeth by his full name, including his middle one. His mother's here??!? The men have proper ID, he's taken for a drive past the STA, and to the big grey building with no windows. And not through the executive entrance either. Kaeth is escorted in, searched very, very carefully, then put into an armorcrete room with a drain in one corner and an uncomfortable chair. A man in a nice suit enters a few minutes later, along with several friends.

Suit: "We're not interested in you, Mr. Voeguae. We're interested in Mr. Shelzie and the woman called Ariana. We know you weren't a participant." Kaeth: "It was an unsuppressed weapon, and nothing boomed right beside me where Robert was." He's politely interrogated, very thoroughly. Kaeth: "...Well, there's something odd, but I don't' know if it's connected. The guy that I saw, one of the security guys, looked at me, then talked to someone else." Suit: "Can you describe him, or point him out?" He signals one of associate, who brings over a unit so they can play the video, and Kaeth points out Sturvigant (not that he knows him by name), Kaeth: "...and then the shots rang out. That was the strangest thing that happened today." Suit: "Well, thank you, very much. As I said, if you think of anything else, give us a call." He's given a card with just a number on it, and politely ushered on his way.

The late breaking news around station is that police have a couple of suspects but are not releasing any information. Globber is asked, he's evasive, the Duchess' office releases a statement expressing outrage and concern.

Mr. Sturvigant reappears (pretty much literally - what is he, an amateur magician?) in Kiffin's apartment, in the kitchen making himself a drink. Kiffin: "Is there something I can get you?" Sturvigant: "Not at the moment. I've been having a bad day. And I thought I deserved a little break." She starts to leave the room. Sturvigant: "Stick around." He grabs her arm and pulls her back and closer. Sturvigant: "I'm going to get something out of this job." Kiffin: "Let go of me." Sturvigant: "Now, that's no way to treat an old friend. Besides, nano-toxin. Right now I'm your only hope. Now, make me another drink. And one for yourself." The bump on her hand has receded, but there's a red mark on the palm that's much larger. Does that mean he's telling the truth? Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe it's a good idea to not piss off the large violent man for right now. She makes him a drink, heavy on the scotch, and one for herself, heavy on soda. She takes them into the living room, where Sturvigant has gone.

Kiffin hands him his drink and remains standing. Sturvigant: "Well, now that things are totally fucked up, at least I'll have more time to enjoy myself." Kiffin: "You keep telling me I don't have much in the way of time." Sturvigant: "Oh, don't worry. I like you, you're cute. Treat me right, and I'll see that you're taken care of." She takes his now empty glass and makes him another drink. He sips it, more relaxed, and he's, uh, obviously thinking of other things now. Sturvigant: "I bet you're a real looker." He leans forward. Sturvigant: "Show me." It's not said like a request. He loosens his tie and leans back in his seat, not taking his eyes off Kiffin. Having seen just how fast and strong the man is, she doesn't feel she has much of a choice. Eventually they end up in the bedroom. Sturvigant has apparently been working a lot, and hasn't been getting out much or getting any. He's very, very strong, has quite the endurance, and he takes full advantage of everything.

Back on board the Ruby, inspiration has struck. Robert: "Oh! I know - a church. Sanctuary!" Ariana: "Does that really work?" At least they wouldn't have to check in, and they should have a place to stay. Robert is Traditional (or at least was raised as such). Off they go, to the mission in Old Port. Yes, they can find a place for them, and yes, they will make arrangements for the wedding. Robert gives his watch to the church as a donation. Fr. Thompson: "This will feed many hungry people. Thank you, my son." They're given places in separate rooms as they're segregated by gender, and the priest asks each of them separately if there is anything they want to confess. They're feeling very mortal, and it's been some time for both of them. Quite some time. That would be a yes, from both. The priest is very calm and listens quietly. He does, besides the usual penance, suggest that Robert find some unfortunate person and try to make their life better. He wants him to think about that. What Ariana tells the poor man would be very interesting, if it were anyone's business, that is.

Robert and Ariana can eat together. Fr. Thompson gets them some food, and does the down and dirty marriage counseling thing. After all this, damn straight they'll raise any children in the faith! They part company with a kiss on the cheek, then go to their separate rooms to sleep.

After his little side trip, Kaeth has double pods with his meal at UbiFoods. He goes home, locks up, and decides to lay down for just a few minutes before getting out of his clothes and into his jammies. He'll wake up in the morning with the mother of all wedgies.


On the other hand, at least Kaeth doesn't have the forced chumship issues that are going on in another apartment, across the UpPort. Sturvigant: "See, that wasn't so bad. Admit it, you enjoyed it." He finishes getting dressed, reaches inside his pocket, and tosses a small bottle of pills onto the bed. Sturvigant: "Just make sure you take one of those every day, and you'll be fine." Kiffin: "For how long?" Sturvigant: "Until you get the antidote." Kiffin looks up at him in a stricken sort of way. Sturvigant: "Don't worry, I'll be sure to check up on you and make sure you're doing all right." He brushes her hair back, caresses her cheek. Sturvigant: "Well, I'll be seeing you later. Maybe tonight. We'll have to see how things go." If nothing else, the man is insatiable. He leaves, and Kiffin will be spending the next few hours in the shower.

Robert and Ariana will be woken early, to help out. A man named Ron recruits Robert to help out in the kitchen. Ariana ends up repairing the microwave oven while Robert helps with breakfast. Robert and Ariana will be married at the 7:30 a.m. mass, as they did request as soon as possible, and the priests here are used to people who may not live much longer. The women find something for Ariana to wear, the ceremony is lovely, the certificate is signed, the whole shebang.

Kiffin eventually decides she has to get out of the apartment, and she really should eat something. When she opens the front door, there are flowers outside on the doorstep. No card. They couldn't be from...? She takes the dozen roses inside to put them in a vase with water. When she's filling the vase with water in the bathroom, she notices the bottle of pills she put on the counter earlier. She takes one, just in case the bastard was telling the truth, then leaves. She doesn't want to eat, but has to at this point and goes to the Ambassadore.

Kaeth goes to the NQA Clinic to pick up his kit for the rounds he'll make today. Today he'll be at the mission, and while he's there helping with the medical issues he sees the people leaving the chapel after a wedding. Oh. That would be Robert? Kaeth: <muttered> "Oh please, let that be Ariana..." Yes, it is. Resume breathing. Right. Sister Mary Katherine: "Close your mouth, that's not particularly attractive." He can't help it, it's the shock. He takes his things back to the little clinic. Sister Mary Katherine: "Would you like some coffee?" Kaeth: "Yes, please. With Irish." Sister Mary Katherine: "Hmph. You'll have to speak with Fr. Dunlevy about that." She does bring him some regular coffee though. And no, she doesn't know who the married couple were when Kaeth asks. There's an impromptu sort of party in the dining room, with punch and cake and the like. Kaeth is in the kitchen getting a refill on his coffee and can't resist looking in.

Robert: "Kaeth." Kaeth: "Robert...Do I want to know? Congratulations by the way, Ariana was lovely." Robert: "Yes, she was. What are you doing here?" Kaeth: "We do outreach here through the clinic." Then the peace and tranquility of the mission is quite effectively shattered by a man in tan BDU's, who strides up the Robert and thumps him heartily on the arm. Ow. Hunter: "Jesus fucking christ, I can't believe you fucking did it! You fucking bastard - I didn't even get to give you a fucking bachelor party!" He's got a couple of people with him that Robert may have seen with Hunter before, and the lovely Mrs. Hunter. Angela: "So , this is your friend Robert? No bachelor party, huh?" Hunter goes over to the other table to dip and kiss the bride, who is really thrilled about this! Hunter: "What the fuck are you doing in this place? It's full of holy rollers. What - you get religion or something?" Robert calls the retreating Kaeth back, and asks one of the priests if there's a room he can use to speak to someone, away from the party.

Hunter: "Hey, padre!" Fr. Thompson: "Someday, Hunter..." Hunter: "Well, I did make an honest woman out of her. Okay, a married woman anyway." He puts his arm around Angela. Robert gets shown a small side room to use speak with Kaeth. Hunter: "Hey Ariana - he's already stepping out on you. <to Robert> You two have a good time in there!" Robert drags Hunter into the room, to shut him up if nothing else.

Robert: "Ariana and I are in trouble." Hunter: "You got her pregnant and that's why you got married?" Robert: "No, actually we're in a whole lot of trouble. You've heard about Hunter Banks being killed?" Hunter: "Yeah, they interrupted the fucking grav-ball game to tell me that." Robert: "Well, Ariana and I are the prime suspects. They think I shot her with the 10mm Ariana bought a couple of days ago." Kaeth: "No, you carry that fancy 12mm that you keep shooting guys in the crotch with." Hunter repositions himself out of Robert's line of fire. Robert: "Exactly. Well, not - never mind. The point is, some one took the gun from the ship, used it, then planted it on me." Hunter: "What, somebody's framing you?" Robert: "Yes." Hunter: "Fuck. I say we find the son of a bitch and take care of him." Robert explains that it isn't that easy, because Mr. Black or even Globber might be involved. Hunter: "Who's this Black guy?" Robert: "He's an art collector." Hunter: "Isn't' Globber that big cop guy?" Kaeth: "That would be the Commissioner, yes." Hunter: "You know, I'm thinking this isn't any of my business." Kaeth: "Why are you telling me this?" Robert: "Because you know people here." Hunter: "Is that why you're here? Shit, come stay with us, we've got plenty of rooms." Robert: "I'll check with Ariana, but I appreciate it." Hunter: "This place is discreet, let me tell you. Angie, the people she brings in, they like their privacy." Robert appreciates the offer of a place to stay, but he's more interested in getting some people to help figure out what's going on - detectives, or something. Robert: <to Hunter> "Don't you know people who do stuff like this? You fucking shanghaied me, got me drunk, took me to a planet I didn't even know about..." Hunter: "Hell, I didn't know where the fuck we were going!" Robert gets a key to Angie's place, just in case. Hunter slugs him in the arm again (that'll leave a bruise), and leaves. Kaeth: "Give my best to Angela." Hunter: "I always give her my best." He leaves. Robert: "You too Kaeth. If you know anyone..." Kaeth: "I'll see what I can do." After quick good-byes, Kaeth packs up and leaves too. On his way back to the clinic, Kaeth sees a man in a grey suit, and he looks familiar. It's that security guy, and there's just something not quite right about him. Robert and Ariana change into other clothing, dressing down is easy to do here. He was able to get someone to pick up some brown hair dye for both of them, so they're no longer blonds.

Kaeth goes back to the clinic. Anders is there, and Reid is visiting. Oh, goodie. Reid looks at Kaeth like he knows he's up to no good. (He looks at everybody that way, he's usually right, though.) Kaeth tells Anders he's found out about something that bothers him. Anders is called away before he can get much out, but Reid hears enough about what Kaeth has to say (about the Robert-Ariana-Banks debacle) to let him form an opinion. Reid: <evenly> "This is something that's happening at a high level. I'd appreciate it if you didn't involve my wife." <pause> Kaeth: "Okay. Bye." He leaves. People just generally want to do whatever Reid suggests. If they're bright! Reid walks him out. Reid: "I appreciate you're trying to help your friends, but without Anders the clinic would die, and a lot of good wouldn't be done." He puts his arm on Kaeth's shoulder. Reid: "Watch out for a man named Sturvigant. He's dangerous." That's the most conversation anyone aside from Anders has ever gotten out of Reid, and anyone Reid Darcy considers dangerous is really scary. Kaeth leaves, a lot on his mind. This is way too much.

A teenager runs after Kaeth when he leaves the clinic. "Mr. Kaeth sir. I have a message for you, from Mr. Darcy." He hands Kaeth a piece of paper. Note: "If you want to find out more about Sturvigant, it looks like he has a girlfriend. Here's the address." It's a familiar address. Oh. He pays the kid the $5 credits he says Mr. Darcy told him Kaeth would give him, then he goes to check and see if the address is where he thought. If she's Sturvigant's girlfriend, that could mean trouble.

Kiffin has had a lovely breakfast. She's sure of it. Not that she tasted much of anything, but was nutritious. She walks past the park as the man in the Regina Parks Services finishes the 6'x3' raised bed, then leaves. That's the only person near by. Kiffin really doesn't feel like going back to the apartment.

Robert and Ariana slip away from the mission and head through the usual crowds towards Angie's place. Ariana is bit apprehensive about accepting Hunter's invitation. Ariana: "When he kissed me he tried to slip me the tongue." She's lucky that's all he tried to slip her. Ariana: "You don't think he's involved do you? Maybe he's trying to set us up!" Robert: "Hunter's too linear. He doesn't go for all the deep plotting. And he and I have been on a few adventures together." They go in, and it's late enough in the morning for someone to be awake. Ariana: "Wow, it looks like.. a French whorehouse." Actually, a very tasteful, very upperclass whorehouse. Nicely scented and all. The large man comes over to Robert. Robert: <looking up> "Ah, Hunter said we could..." Bouncer: "Yes, Mr. Hunter said you'd be coming by. This way, please." They're led upstairs to a big bedroom. Bouncer: "Well, I hope you'll be comfortable here. If you need anything, let me know." He leaves. Ariana partially unbuttons her shirt, and lays back on the bed. Ariana: "If you want to see any more, it'll be $20 credits mister." When in Rome...

Okay, it is, technically, their honeymoon, and they are in a bordello. The shelf in the headboard even has some of those cool prophylactics like Robert found in the limo and Globber's wallet. What the heck! It's made for her pleasure all right. It does something rather spectacular for Ariana. Hmmm, the Happy Sea Anemone really does live up to it's advertising.

Kaeth is dismayed to see that it really was Sturvigant's place he was at yesterday when he helped return the blonde. Damn. Kiffin doesn't know where else to go, and eventually returns to the apartment, just after Kaeth makes his walkby of the door, noting the package on the step. (In this neighborhood you can do that.) He hears someone behind him and keeps going. When he glance back, he sees Kiffin pick it up and go inside. Apparently someone has sent her some, expensive frilly things. Very expensive, and very revealing. Also perfume, silk stockings, and a sheer robe-like thing that's also made of spidersilk, and translucent. No card. Oh lovely, guess who it's probably from?

There's a message on her terminal: "I hope you got my presents. I'll be by around nine tonight and we can share some quality time." She deletes the message, grabs a small jock bag,, and heads for the gym on level 1. Kaeth follows until he sees where she's going then he keeps on going by so the doorman doesn't glare at him. Kiffin goes to swim and work off some stress.

Kaeth worries for some time, but finally calls the number to provide additional information. He tells them that "somebody named Sturvigant is hanging around level 1 at this address. I was told he's a majorly bad dude, and I've been warned off him. I'm taking that seriously." Man: "Do you mean Edvard Sturvigant, the head of security for the late governor of Jenghe?" Kaeth: "I didn't need to know that." Man: "Who is this?" Click. Kaeth hangs up and leaves the area.