Episode 219: Rendezvous

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Episode 219.0 Rendezvous -- 08 Dec 2009
Present: Maer, Terri, Andy, Bobby, and Rick

We show up at the Gift under cover of darkness and eyeball her from the outside. Our ship looks quiet, no one moving on the outside…and then we see something on the top of the hull. A shaft of light shoots up into the sky as one of the aft hatches opens up and the Lenore crew eel out and slide down the far side of the hull. A few minutes later, they show up at the crest of the circular earthen berm that surrounds our ship. They are armed and their body language tells us they are suspicious.

They know we’re here.

Mi Tian Gohn.

We’re on the other side of the berm from them and that gives us some cover. Rick decides to climb up the hull to the topside hatch, get inside that way while Rina and Arden go up the airlock stairs. Rick has a tense moment when he slips, but manages to catch himself. Joshua and Nika go around the berm to the Lenore crew, to hail them and parlay.

Rina has her vest on, so she takes point with her pistol at the ready and Arden brings up the rear. The airlock is empty. Rina does a quick peek up the treads and sees someone at the top of the stairs. She fires a warning shot up, aiming for the ceiling to make whoever is up there duck, and runs up the stairs. A shot from above hits her square, her vest takes the damage, she staggers and keeps moving. She meets the person at the top of the stairs. It’s Fei Li Kahn and he has a gun. So does Rina. He puts his gun down and assumes a martial arts stance. Rina holsters hers and puts her dukes up.

Rick gains the top of the hull and slips down into the aft transverse corridor. He’s got a choice—he can take the portside corridor or the starboard corridor to get to the fore of the ship. He takes starboard, it being closest to his hatch.

A pity.

Had he chosen port, he would have come up on Fei Wu Ling from behind.

The hand-to-hand between Fei Li Kahn and Rina is short, brutal and bloody. Hits are traded but neither refuses to back down and the punishment gets dished out in turn. Fei Li Kahn has martial arts experience over Rina, and Rina has two weeks of frustration and captivity to work out of her system. She lands a solid blow that practically plants her fist inside Fei Li Kahn’s gut and he goes down. Filled with blood rage, Rina ignores the obvious threat of Fei Wu Ling and considers for a moment whether she should ensure that Fei Li Kahn is dead. The feeling of blood trickling down her back causes her to flashback to her days in the War when covert operations meant no witnesses could survive. Never mind that Li Kahn holstered his gun to fight her. The idea of a fight with survivors doesn't even cross Rina's mind. She draws her pistol and prepares to shoot the man, ensuring he doesn’t get up…and hesitates, thinks the better of it, and before she can do more than holster her gun a knife flies right into her shoulder from behind.

Fei Wu Ling saw everything while coming up the portside corridor. And now she is armed and dangerous and at the moment, intent on felling the bitch that put her brother down on the deck. Rina pulls the knife from her shoulder and holds it left handed while drawing the gun with her right.

Bring it!

Rick hears the screams of Wu Ling from the lower deck and moves to another aft hatch dropping down into the lower deck. Rick runs down the hall to intercept the fighters.

Rina takes a wild pot shot at Wu Ling and attempts to dodge her knives. She takes a hit and pauses to catch her second wind. Arden joins her in the fray, they both take shots, and miss as Wu Ling flips away from them. Despite the engineer being the one bringing the gun to the knife fight, four more knives find their way into Rina before she can gain the cover of the upperdeck stairs. And the shock from the damage puts her on the deck, much like Wu Ling’s brother. Out for the count and fading fast.


Outside the rest of the Lenore crew approach the ship guns drawn. Joshua, unarmed, bravely stands in their way.

Joshua: Let me tell you why you are not going to kill me.

Nika, from the shadows, keeps her gun aimed at Cooper waiting for anything.


Rina remains conscious though bleeding, at the base of the stairs.

Rick: Arden, Rina is down and she looks bad!

As Rick arrives on the scene, the Fei sister runs. Rick gives chase. Arden races to Rina's side and provides first-aid. He succeeds in staunching her wounds.


Meanwhile outside the ship...

Cooper: You better talk fast.
Joshua: For one thing, the ship is already under our control… And.. for another thing, starting a fight is only going to end badly for you whether you win or lose. I know about the Unified Reclamations Folk, I know about the Buttercup, I know about Vane, and there's a reason why I know about all this. And the reason is why you're not going to kill me.
Mary: Come forward.

Tom holds his gun towards Joshua in his trembling hand. Mary seems a bit more together, her gun out but lowered. Annie and Cooper scramble up the berm to provide a crossfire. Nika takes a warning shot towards Annie kicking up dirt a few feet from her.

Nika: (Shouting) Mary, call 'em back!

Tom is mumbling to his gun trying to enchant his bullets to seek out his enemies.

Nika: (Shouting) Mary, call 'em back, or this will turn bloody!
Joshua: I would prefer for it not to be bloody.

Nika slips closer keeping Annie in her sights, doing her best to keep out of the sights of Cooper.

Joshua: I'm Blue Sun property, I might as well have it stamped to my forehead. There are only three ways that this can go: a fight where everyone can die, most likely I will die, in which case Blue Sun will hunt you down, they don't like people destroying their property; or you can take me hostage, and Blue Sun will hunt you down and kill you, and probably me …
Mary: You talking about the cola company?
Joshua: Yes, the cola company. But they're not just a cola company, do you really not know what they are? It doesn't matter what you think, the point is, I belong to somebody else, they will come after me sooner or later.
Mary: Call off your crew mates, and I'll call off mine.


Rick en route to the bridge, finds Wu Ling in Arden’s med bay with a hypo to her neck and her finger on the plunger.

Wu Ling: Not again (distraught, in Chinese) Not again.
Rick: I'm not here to hurt you.

She seems in a semi-crazed state, but Rick just tries to be calm and gentle. He just repeats his mantra "I'm not here to hurt you." She doesn't seem to hear him, she is somewhere else.


Outside everyone’s on edge and at first, it’s the classic John Woo stand-off: guns up and no one budging an inch.

Mary: So you going to call off your people?
Joshua: I don't see your people stepping out.
Mary: You're the ones a shootin'.
Joshua: I'm pretty sure that's a warning shot.

The standoff doesn't feel any less tense.

Joshua: Count of three, everyone steps out?
Mary: Soon as I see your people walkin out guns down, I'll...
Joshua: No, no. I don't want this to end bloody and violent, but I am not putting anybody at risk.

Joshua can faintly hear through the buzz on Mary's headset, or is he reading her mind? Cooper's voice, saying "I've got'em."

Mary: Hold your fire Coop, we're gonna try to work this out all peaceful like.
Joshua: You've got us, we've got you. There's no way that is going to end well. Remember we've got the ship.
Mary: No you don't.
Joshua: No I don't? Why would that be? I'm pretty sure most of our group is on the ship.
Mary: You're inside the ship, but you ain't got the ship… We took a little bit with us.
Joshua: Alright, so we're gonna talk then?

Mary looks a bit resigned, Then she holsters her pistol.

Mary: Okay.. There's my show, you give me something.

Nika steps out from the berm, gun at her shoulder.

Mary: Tom, put the gun away, you're gonna hurt yourself.
Joshua: Cooper? Annie?
Mary: Cooper. We’ve been here before. You did it for me, now let me do it for you.

Cooper stands up and makes himself visible.

Mary: Where are the rest of your people?
Nika: They've already taken the ship, they're aboard.

Mary taps her comm, but speaks aloud.

Mary: Annie, what's that thing called? (Pause) We got the Teaser Chip.(Thruster Synchronizer Regulator—TSR--Essential component for stable flight)
Joshua: Okay, you've got the chip, now what?
Mary: I reckon we ought to talk about it. Who speaks for your crew?
Nika: (somewhat uncertainly) I can do it.

Mary hands her gun to Tom and turns to Nika.

Mary: Hang up your weapon and we'll talk.

Nika hands the weapon to Joshua who holds it like a dead rat, far from himself. Then Mary leads Nika under the ship out of ear shot, and gun shot, of the rest.

Mary: We appear to be at a stand off, what do you offer?
Nika: (Menacingly) I offer your people on board, if you want's. What do you want?
Mary: I'll settle for the ship…

Nika throws up a hand in frustration.

Mary: You're asking me what I want, that's what I want.
Nika: No. What you want is to go after your little buried treasure.
Mary: So what are you offering?
Nika: Passage, with some conditions attached.
Mary: There'd have to be some conditions, because…
Nika: Oh, there would definitely be some conditions. My ship. You don't have weapons. you stay…
Mary: No one has weapons.
Nika: That's fine, we can lock all the weapons in the weapons locker. And that would be just fine by me.
Mary: Two codes, so no one person could get'em.
Nika: I could probably sell that. It would probably require a discussion with the rest of them.
Mary: Well, yeah, my people won't be happy with the no weapons thing.
Nika: Why don't you tell me exactly what it is that has you so spooked about your old captain? Who took the other vessel without you.
Mary: That was just your actor friend pulling one over on ol' Tom, which ain't exactly hard. That man has some serious leakage.
Nika: No. Your captain took the blackbird and went off on his own.
Mary: Now how do you know that?
Nika: Because my little actor friend is not an actor… It ain't important. I don't care about your buried treasure, don't want it. All I want is fair pay for passage and no shit on board my ship I don't want no fights between our crews, I don't want anybody trying to take over my bridge. I will even potentially concede that on the last leg of the trip Tom can take over and fly.
Mary: So what you're offering, if I understand correctly... We all go together to Blue Sun. All weapons are locked away. No hiding no gorram knives in the secret places. Everyone has the same access to the ship.
Nika: Within limits yeah.
Mary: So no one's gassing us in our sleep.
Nika: There'd be none of that goin on. I'll have to put a tight leash on Rina, but no one will gas you in your sleep.
Nika: And we have to everyone in agreement that there will be no foul play, no one is going to try to take over MY ship again, because if it happens again, somebody's gettin spaced.
Mary: Right, were that to happen again, that would be the end of our agreement.
Nika: I'm not entirely sure of your word here. So I am warning you ahead of time. I'm not going to fight about it, If you want to go to Blue Sun, I've got no issues taking you there… and bein' as we're in sort of standoff point here, I got not issues taking you. I will run the blockade, I will take you in. I will even concede and let Tom fly the last leg. No one has weapons. No one is trying to take over the ship.
Mary: There'd be no need, since we'd all be in this like partners.
Nika: And you pay us fair passage.
Mary: Well we ain't got nothing to pay you with right now, not until we get to Blue Sun.
Nika: So long as you don't mind us pickin' up cargo long the way.
Mary: I don't think we want to perpetuate this relationship any longer than necessary.
Nika: We don't have enough fuel to get to Blue Sun.
Mary: We have enough money to fill your tanks and get us some food.
Nika: If you can manage fuel and food all the way to Blue Sun, without having to pick up cargo. And then at the end of the trip you pay us for passage...
Mary: Assuming that works out.
Nika: Fine.
Mary: But I need to know how you know about Jack.
Nika: I told you.
Mary: You didn't tell me anything, you told me a fairy tale. Let's talk to your magic mind reader, if you won't talk.
Nika: Talk to my magic mind reader, knock yourself out.


Wu Ling is looking bad as though she were living through something in her past, perhaps Li Kahn had been injured before, or she faced interrogation. Or just watching her brother getting bludgeoned to death may have affected her. Rick can't tell, but he knows she isn't there any more.

Meanwhile on the deck below, Arden renders enough first aid to keep Rina shuffling off this mortal coil and he brings Li Kahn up to MedBay to see what he can for him, When Wu Ling sees him she screams out his real name, falters and throws the hypo away from her. With Wu Ling and Rick to help him, Arden gets both the injured up to med bay and he starts working to save Li Kahn. Rina’s in better shape, despite the five holes in her, and stabilized in the ward room. Arden will get to her when he can.

This will take some time, so once his presence is no longer needed in Med Bay, Rick goes and brings Rina up to the Wardroom to act as second surgery.

Rick: Since I am saving your life for the second time, I am really hoping you won't try to stab me as I carry up stairs. (He brings her up there)
Rina: Okay. Put me down, anyone on the bridge? Do we need to secure the weapons?
Rick: Rina, I mean this in whatever way it will keep me from getting killed. You are staying here, and that's an order. If that's okay with you.


Meanwhile back outside.

Mary: So we are in agreement to talk to our crews about this.

Joshua considers reading Tom, but looking at the man, he decides better of it. Mary returns to her group and they retreat to the edge of the berm and begin to discuss the offer. Joshua heads into the ship and visits MedBay and goes to figure out what is happening.


Joshua watches Arden in surgery and begins to 'borrow' some medical talent and goes to help Rina. He explains the situation to Rina, and attempts to convince her that he needs to take care of her. Meanwhile, Nika tries to organize a plan, and tries to secure the ship.

Both crews wait nervously as their respective crew members are in surgery. Joshua works feverishly until Arden finishes with Li Kahn, he moves to take off with Rina (and the two people work together).


Mary and Cooper return to the ship.

Mary: This might work, but we need to know what happened to the Fei twins.
Nika: That's what we've been looking into.
Rick: Wu Ling is fine, and her brother is currently in surgery as is currently one of our crew members.
Mary: I guess we are agreeable as long we all agree that everyone is on equal footing.
Nika: Obviously I can't speak for the one in surgery, but everyone else has agreed that that is acceptable.
Mary: If the Fei twins decide they don't like this, we can drop them off.
Cooper: No big loss.

So the two crews go through the steps of the armistice. The two do a sweep of the ship from aft to fore checking every room, every nook and cranny for weapons and anything else that might be a problem (locks, etc.) They both grudgingly take their weapons to the locker (which is now bursting with armaments) and code the locks to two separate codes (Annie and Nika know theirs respectively). Then Annie replaces the Teaser chip in the engine room. Rick notices that they seem too quick to surrender their one trump card (the Teaser) and calls them out on it.

Rick: Is there anything else you have on the ship that we should know about
Cooper: "Well, as we were acting as pirates, there might have been some, err looting and such previous to our friendly reconciliating, as such.

Sure enough the crew finds that the agents of redistribution has lightened their wallets considerably. No one has more than €20, and those with less than that, find the same €20 there.

Eventually they finish up sweeping the ship, recoding the locks and the various surgeries. Nika briefs Rina on the agreement and warns her against spoiling the negotiations. The lot of them gather around the big table in the lounge, including wheeling Rina in on a rolling bed, to discuss their pasts and futures. Only Li Kahn is absent, as he is still unconscious from his surgery.

Mary: I don't know how it is you know all that you claim to know. But I want to say that we appreciate what you are doing. And that we have been in a situation like this before, and it didn't turn out so good. And that set us on a course doing what we've been doing.
Joshua: The Kingston.
Mary: That's right, the Kingston… So we talked about it, and agreed that you folks sounded reasonable so we were hoping to avoid doing that again. Blood was spilled, but we stopped. We stopped it from going further. So we're letting you know that we're sincere about this, now whether you believe us or not.
Arden: I'd like to say that even though I am not 100% certain about all this, I am willing to let bygones be bygones, as long as nothing else goes sour.
Joshua: I think we can both get what we want out of this. You can get whatever it is your looking for in Blue Sun, we can get our ship back and be on our way. And no blood has to be spilled, and all's good.
Mary: It will take some time for wounds to heal, but I appreciate that, you (Arden) seem like a straight up fellow.
Arden:You mean I can't lie worth Mi Tian Gohn."
Rina: Me neither.
Mary: Well, I don't know about that, maybe you're just that good. Now, when Tom said that he was talking to Captain Jack. He seemed might convinced, but we knew something weren't right about it, which is why we left the Feis in the ship to protect it. And took some precautions on our way out. Now you say you've got some kinda way of sensing the Captain's thoughts? This all sounds pretty crazy.
Joshua: I can see how it might sound that way. But since you took my drugs away, I started dreaming, and what did I start dreaming about? The Kingston? And why was I dreaming about the Kingston? I dunno. Maybe because it was on your minds. I saw you standing around your former captain deciding what would be done. Turning to Mary, and asking if she was okay with it. Now whether you believe it or not, that is up to you. But I heard it well enough, dreamed it well enough, to do his voice. (He makes a passable imitation).
Annie: How do you do this?
Joshua: The dreaming or the voices?
Nika: How are you so good with engines?
Annie: I ain't that good. (Nods from around her crew)
Nika: Alright, how does Tom fly as well as he does? It's instinct, it's something hardwired in him. Certain people have a talent. It's just like music, just like medicine.

The Lenore crew looks dubious.

Joshua: Let's just say a lot of money went into this, and there are a lot of things outside my control.
Annie: I am confused...it sounds like you were reading this from us, not from Jack.
Joshua: Right, not from Jack.
Annie: So what makes you think Jack is alive?
Joshua: I don't know he is, but Tom thinks he is.

All eyes look to Tom. For some of them, the mystery is over what with Tom being a complete loon For others, they are still perplexed.

Rick: Calico Jack can't die...
Nika: Let me ask you this, was there another ship in the belly of Lenore?
Mary: We had three ship's boats, but they were all destroyed in the explosion.
Nika: Possibly, possibly.
Joshua: The hangar was intact.
Mary: But it was open. And the Raven was out by the other ship.
Joshua: Let's put it this way, once you are out in the Black anything can happen, we can't really know. Maybe it got destroyed, maybe Jack took it and left. They are equally likely.
Annie: Jack wouldn't leave me.
Mary: If Jack were to have abandoned you for some reason, it means he has days and days of a head start.
Joshua: Let's think positive and imagine that he is dead. Well, I guess that isn't exactly positive. Let's just say that is the case, and there isn't much we can do about it if we are wrong. It doesn't matter if he is five, ten or twenty days ahead of us, it doesn't matter to what we do, does it?
Nika: What Jack would or did you is really your concern, not ours. Frankly we don't want to worry about it. None of our business. and we don't want to give you reason for turning on us and killing us later.
Joshua: Whoa whoa whoa, let's not talk about killing us later. The less we know, the better for us and you. We don't know whatever is at the coordinates, and if Tom is flying we don't need to know.
Mary: Well...we don't exactly have the coordinates either.
Nika: Well that is going to be problematic.
Joshua: Do you have any sort of idea? You just planning on looking around all of Blue Sun? Last I checked, it is a pretty big place, spec.
Mary: It ain't all of Blue Sun. It is in the Oroborus... somewhere.
Joshua: When you get there, do you have some way of figuring it out?
Nika: Landmarks?
Rina: Buoys?

They all look over to Tom.

Mary: It's all up to him.
Tom: It's all up here. (Pointing to his head)
Nika: That's going to be helpful."
Rick: Oh so Tom knows? You know what the thing looks like?
Tom: Looks like?.. more.. feels like. I could spot it on the sensors.
Joshua: More importantly if we get to Blue Sun, you think you can find it?
Tom: It would… help.. to have Jack if he really is alive… (A little crestfallen) Yeah Jack, he helps me, he gets me to see things better. When I do it, it's all confused.
Joshua: We can talk about it, I might be able to help. I'm not Jack but I might be able to help.
Cooper: (Speaking up) Listen, since we're all coming clean here. I don't want to make anyone here (looking at his crew mates) but Jack had spoken to me once or twice about possibly, um, reducing the number of 'shares' in the treasure once we got closer.
Arden: That doesn't sound very friendly like.
Cooper: Well it's a big crew. Even a lot of money gets split six ways.
Arden: It's still a lot of money.
Cooper: And hey! This is nothing personal. (looking at Wu Ling) We figured we'd set you and your brother down somewhere. I'm sure things would work out okay. We'd get you something, maybe not the full share the captain had talked to you about.

Wu Ling just stares without surprise or emotion at her crew mates.

Arden: Well, once we get there, if we get there, I want it perfectly clear that there will be no further redivision of shares. I don't want anyone dead.
Joshua: Nobody is going to kill anybody else.
Arden: I just want it perfectly clear. I'm not talking about us, I'm talking about them.
Joshua: The trick is that one of the Feis is not exactly mobile, isn't that right Arden?
Rina: Wheel me over there, and I can make sure he never is.
Nika: Rina!
Cooper: Well, hmm, um, it weren't just the.. uh Bobbsy Twins over there. Is was.. yeah. Girls… Jack weren't exactly quite as dedicated as he may have made it seem.

Both Mary and Annie look at each other, and then at Cooper. Mouths agog.

Annie: No Coop, you've got it backwards. Jack and I we had something. You're just muscle. Once we get the money, we wouldn't need muscle like you.

The room bursts into murmuring and whispering, most of the Summer's Gift Crew claiming they did not want to be part of the drama.

Mary: Jack's gone. Either he left voluntarily, or his life were taken from him. So I'm captain now… Co-captain. (pointing to Nika) I think we have a stop to make before we make it to Blue Sun. I think we need to go back to the Lenore.
Nika: Why?
Mary: If what you've read is correct,a nod he's pulled something, he may have left a clue as to where he was going back on the ship we might be able to find. And the ship is mostly intact.
Annie: When the Navy ship showed up, Jack told me to erase the computers, sensor logs, communications logs, that sort of thing.
Joshua: Not that I am justifying going back to the Lenore, but there were two lifepods that didn't show life signs, so we didn't check, so we can..
Nika: Verify whether he is on one or not.
Joshua: If he's on it, he's dead. If he's not, we can't verify what happened, but we can make some guesses.
Rick: I'm fine with going back, but we need to drop off the Abergs' stuff and refuel here, get food, medical supplies.
Nika: We need to let our handler know we are going to be off the books for a while.
Mary: Alright we'll go to Malmo. We're okay. (looking at Annie). And then we'll go check out the Lenore.
Rick: We can make the Malmo trip short, we just need to check in with our people there and drop off their stuff. It shouldn't take long.
Arden: I'll make a list of medical supplies we need. Does anyone have any special needs?
Cooper: Uh yeah. I'm sort of like your boy Josh here. If I don't get the right amount of booze and drugs, I ain't right. Har har.

The crew goes into action planning repairs and resupplying the ship in preparation for journeying to the Lenore and then on to Kalidasa (and from there on to White Sun). When the get to Malmo, Fei Wu Ling says she is going to take her brother to the local hospital, she has no desire to travel with the crew. There is no love, no loyalty. They allow her to take her brother and go.

During the trip to the Lenore...

Joshua tries to befriend and put the Lenore crew at ease, releasing tension. He also tries to figure out from Tom what Jack was like. Apparently Tom believes that he taps into the cloud computing network of the resistance to help his navigation (perhaps via implant). He believes a bunch of conspiracy theories as well.
Rina has no interest in friendship and keeps her distance from the Lenore crew.
Rick is friendly to everyone, especially Marie, but he is keeping a cautious eye on them.
Nika is casual, reasonably friendly, watchful, but not standoffish. She gives special attention to Tom.
Arden is a bit competitive wanting to spar with Mary, play cards with Cooper, etc..

Fast forward to the Lenore.
There is enough mass in the wreckage, to speak of another ship.

The Lenore crew only found manufactured goods, when they were hoping to find crates and crates of alcohol. That doesn't jibe with sensor readings which suggest much denser materials, perhaps consistent with yet another ship, probably a small military craft. However, looking through the sensor logs, there is evidence of large quantity of powerful solvent. Very unusual. Even aerosolized it is dangerous, and probably dangerous to remain here too long. Odd because usually this sort of thing is carried by specialized tanker ships. It would explain why the Darkstar exploded so thoroughly. They will need to keep it short here with all the solvent.

  • Lifepods show no sign of life, but damaged (no bodies)
  • NavComputers data has been deleted.
    • Arden recovers a subject line message from 'El Raton Re:Darkstar'
    • Mary claims Jack may have spoken of an El Raton from his days in the war.
    • Rina finds a fragment from a Naval vessel dated a few days before the Lenore met its doom. From the IAV Alabama.
  • Nika thinks it is far more likely the Darkstar was destroyed by explosives, not a missile hit.

Nika: Somebody sabotaged that ship. the blast pattern is too evenly spread to be a missile hit, it had to be explosives.

The crew decides to go from Lenore to Aberdeen. They leave the caustic environment of space near the Lenore, the remains of the Darkstar and whatever other ship was there, and pulses for Aberdeen.

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