Episode 404: Crucible

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Air Date: 06 July 2010
Present: Kim, Maer, Terri, and Andy

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Thursday, 26 Jun 2521
Lorngaard, Highgate
Blue Sun (Qing Long) system
0830hrs, local time

We’ve landed on Highgate and first things first. We buy vests enough for everyone. Joshua does the buying, Rina goes with. She wears hers out the store, much to Joshua’s exasperation. On the way out from the ship, Joshua and Rina encounter a group of people in cowboy hats and Browncoat-y gear at a not-quite tail gate party on the starport tarmac. They’re a group of vets from Shadow to represent their faction’s views in the coming trial. Joshua questions them—strictly out of curiosity—and it comes out that a lot of people are here to ‘represent’.

Kiera is out shopping for a vest too, but she’s at a high-end weapons store and as she’s taking care of her purchases, she notices 5 men in long beards walk in, get five pairs of boots and gear and there’s something about their transactions that piques her curiosity. Like the way the boots are just handed over and parceled out and no one tries them on. They just slap the boot soles to the bottom of their shoes to compare the fit and move on.

She tails them out of the store and under the guise of shopping, she follows them to a laundry where one goes in to retrieve 5 garment bags. They go off in the direction of the spaceport tarmac and she has to turn away before it becomes obvious that she’s tailing them. The last thing she sees them do is buy a personal grooming kit from a stall vendor. Hmmm….boots held for them in a high-end weapons store and handed over without trying them on first, garment bags waiting for them at a laundry and a personal grooming kit for people who obviously haven’t seen a razor in quite a while.

Something’s brewing!

Meanwhile Nika’s arranged a meet-and-eat with Kramer on Decatur. After some discussion we decide to burn the 10 credit/week cost for our berth and give it up to fly the Gift to Decatur rather than leave our ship behind on the ground. Kiera makes the decision easier for us by paying the 10 credits to make up for the loss.

We get clearance to approach and dock in Decatur’s massive hanger bay. We are met by Harry and taken to the officer’s club to unwind before dinner. Introductions are made around of Kiera. Rina notices that paired fighters scream by the lounge’s windows every minute or so, and that there are two flights of them doing the duty. And a little while later, an Aught-3 Firefly comes barreling in for Decatur airspace and several warning shots are fired off the Firefly’s bow before it is repelled by fighters and escorted away from Decatur’s no-fly zone. Some of the seasoned officers barely bat a lash at this action and when Rina asks them why, they say it happens quite often. Enough that it’s obvious that it’s just people testing their mettle—nothing threatening is really meant by it.

It jives with the sort of thing that we’ve seen groundside on our shopping expedition. People from all over are coming to Highgate to represent their political side and support of the issues surrounding the assassination and upcoming trial of Mike Carter.

Of course, it’s not long before Rina’s paranoid imagination makes her say something regrettable and a fight nearly occurs between her and one of the officers. She thinks they don’t have enough security on their perimeter—what if that Firefly was aiming for the bridge? Just one kamikaze ship would suffice to take out the command deck and Decatur would be done for. Joshua and the rest of the crew jump in, avert disaster and Joshua pulls out a deck of cards to distract the engineer.

At which point Kramer arrives. The rest of the officers make themselves scarce—either to give their Captain privacy or maybe because they just can’t relax around the Captain. It’s not entirely clear. Kramer leads us to a smaller lounge off to the side. It’s got club chairs and coffee tables and it’s all very cozy. It also has its own bar and Kramer unlocks the liquor with her ID badge. She plants her hands on the bar and leans forward.

Kramer: (to us) What are you having?
Joshua: A beer.

Kramer serves it right up. Nothing flashy, just a personal touch from the Captain of the ship. She serves the rest of us our drinks, beer mostly though Rina gets a shot of vodka. The booze is military grade and as such the beer is pretty much piss water and the vodka... Rina downs it in one fast toss and slaps the shot glass on the counter. Done!

Kramer settles in a chair and sighs.

Kramer: So. Quite the carnival going on planetside.
Nika: Are we having fun yet?
Kramer: Mercifully, I’ve been up here not getting to enjoy all the festivities below. (a beat) Yeah. I’m not going to ask you if you know what’s going on, ’cause I really don’t want to know. I’m happy to answer any questions you have but I don’t …

She trails off and it’s obvious she’s stuck between the ties of friendship and the constraints of her position in the PDF.

Nika: To settle your mind, the answer is no.
Joshua: (quietly) We don’t know squat.

Kramer continues, her speech careful as she chooses her words.

Kramer: Yeah, I’m … kinda surprised, to be quite honest. I’ve had more than one occasion since we last … chatted to speak with Mr. Carter—or to be in the presence of Mr. Carter. I wouldn’t say I had spoken with him. He seemed to have been … readily accepted into You Ge’s … entourage. But perhaps that was all part of the plan. In retrospect—
Nika: Or maybe he wasn’t as well off mentally as we had hoped when we … departed.
Kramer: (sighing) I saw … your friend, Mr. Allen. Allen?
Nika: Rick?
Kramer: Yes. His wave. From Colchester. I assume you were involved in that.

It isn’t much of a question and Nika snorts.

Nika: If it’s a wave, we’re sort’uv in the middle.
Kramer: I can tell you there have been many staff meetings where I’ve had Harry and others develop contingency plans in the event some Manchurian Candidate mole’s aboard this ship and there’s not a heck of a lot we can do about it.
Joshua: (agreeing) Nope.
Kramer: So I’ve been sort of… pretending it’s not a real concern. But…It should be, right? I think you’ve proven that.
Nika: Yeah.
Joshua: Yeah.
Nika: I’d say that was pretty much proven the last time we were here.
Joshua: (nodding at Nika) The Captain here lives with the danger of a Manchurian Candidate on her ship every day, right?
Nika: What?!
Joshua: (chuckling) Nothing. I just find it amusing …

Yanking your chain, Nika. But Kiera remembers that scene she’d walked into at Shepherd’s Hope. Manchurian Candidate? Yeah, she can see it in Joshua. She keeps her mouth shut on her speculations, however, knowing this is not the right time or place or crowd to air them. Rina doesn’t have any such reservations.

Rina:: (murmurs) Don’t think I haven’t thought it.
Kramer: (eyes narrowing) But… ah … yes, perhaps you’re right. Perhaps he didn’t have any control of himself. I mean it would be remarkable if he were able to … in such a short time ... you know, that he was in captivity by the Alliance…
Nika: He was in captivity for months.
Kramer: Was it months?
Rina:: Sixty days.
Kramer: I’m surprised they were able to do that kind of work in so short amount of time.
Nika: There’s a lot of drugs out there now that … especially the drugs he was exposed to could cause a lot of problems.
Kramer: Do you think—what would you … What do you mean, Nika? Give me your theory.

Nika takes a deep breath.

Nika: Well we know that he was exposed to the Chempliant, the mega-amped up version. And we know what he was like when we picked him up.
Kramer: (quietly) So what do you think?
Nika: I think it’s possible that they essentially programmed him.
Kramer: “They” the Alliance.
Nika: Whoever had him. I’m not entirely sure.
Kramer: During the few weeks that they had him.
Nika: If they had someone skilled at it and they had the drugs at their disposal, it’s possible.
Joshua: They’ve had practice. Not that I’m saying it’s the truth in this case, but they’ve had practice.
Nika: Hell, for all I know, Shyla, he did it on his own and he was fully in control of all of that.
Kramer: Yeah, well, there’s a number of theories. But when you brought up the not-in-his-senses possibility I thought maybe you knew something more about it.
Nika: I wish. I wish I had something that would positively say that he wasn’t in control.
Kramer: I don’t know if that would save him, but that would…
Nika: That would mitigate some of the consequences.
Rina:: Too bad Valerie can’t vouch for him.
Nika: Yeah, really.

After all, if any doctor would best know what was done to Mike Carter by the Chempliant, it would be the doctor who came up with a medical treatment to get around it. Knowing Joshua’s feelings on the woman’s death, Rina is quick to reassure him.

Rina: (undertone) That wasn’t your fault.
Kramer: I don’t know how long you were planetside, but you may have discovered that this isn’t just about him anymore.
Nika: Oh, definitely not.
Joshua: No.
Kramer: There’s stuff going on and there’s a contingent that thinks that he was probably framed or forced or something. Those that know him or of him. And there are people who still recall what happened after his captivity, the Alliance Intelligence being able to break him, but… People who worked Intelligence know that everybody breaks. Whether they use drugs or not, it’s always possible to break somebody and eventually you shouldn’t be dependent on that sort of stuff. So there are people who … who wonder what …
Nika: There’s some amount of understanding there.
Kramer: There are some wondering about what … what was this about? Why was he sent against You Ge?

We have no idea and therefore cannot answer. Kiera sits quietly with the others, listening in and taking notes. Her knowledge of pharmaceuticals on both sides of the law is extensive and she knows a little something about Chempliant and Chempliance. Aside from the medical profession’s concern that though when used as intended Chempliance is probably fine, what if massive doses where applied to an individual? Could it create a truth serum or maybe a robot making dose? And after the Colchester Wave hit the Verse, this concern has gotten more explicit. She knows that Chempliance is used for crowds in riot control and that it makes you compliant, willing to go along with what you tell them. It’s like an aerosol form of rufies. It makes you kind of dumb and obedient. Knowing that, Kiera wonders if after suffering a massive dose, it is possible to attune the victim’s body to respond to the drug using a subsequent smaller dose? If so, how massive, how small? Unfortunately, there haven’t been any human trials to discover if this is possible and she’s got nothing to go on. Furthermore, it’s possible that there are several different varieties or grades of Chempliant, from proprietary to generic. Each would affect a person differently. How could she tell which version had been used on Carter?

Kramer: There’s been tension brewing between factions, of course. This experiment in democracy is rapidly becoming a “my brother’s bigger than yours” kind of thing. Various politically minded people have been touting their numbers, “people who support my position” sort of thing, rather than there been a whole lot of substantive votes by the democracy. Which is probably a good thing, because the few votes that have come in have been xenophobic, parochial… So people want what’s good for them, by and large.
Nika: One of the reasons pure democracy works.
Rina:: So 51 people can take away the rights of the other 49?
Kramer: Nobody is going to challenge my Independent credentials I don’t think, but I’m not 100% sure what we should do now that we’ve gotten what we’ve been fighting for. It’s kind of a puzzle. (a beat) I will say that despite many opportunities to have me replaced, as far as I can tell Nguyen hadn’t made any overt attempts to replace my executives. He hasn’t sent me off on fool’s errands or wild goose chases or anything like that. So … I’ve felt reasonably respected by him.
Nika: Is he a case of better the evil we know?
Kramer: You keep saying “evil”…
Nika: Well, in terms of the kind of leadership he might offer being a better option than what is potentially to come up in his place should he not be the leader.
Kramer: I don’t know.
Nika: I might have some minor ideological differences in terms of, you know, blowing up a factory for him...ehnnn-unn, it wasn’t what I was intending to do but whatever … I don’t quite know enough about his particular leadership skills to say whether he’d make such a good leader of such a large … region versus being, you know … A military dictatorship versus a representative democracy.

Kramer thinks it over.

Kramer: I don’t think the people will countenance a dictatorship if it were made.
Nika: But that means he would have to give up power and is he likely to do that? If or when a representative democracy should come into play.
Kramer: I don’t know what’s going to happen, to be quite honest.
Nika: Were he and You Ge actually working together well enough to make it work?
Kramer: It was working pretty well. Given the chaos that’s been going on elsewhere in the Verse, I’d say that we’ve done reasonably well. We have a working Cortex. We have relative law and order if you don’t count the pirates and Reavers and their attacks. Not to mention there’s lots of just normal bad people out here.
Nika: (agreeing) Oh sure.
Kramer: I don’t… This is a situation that I’d be happy to be a foot soldier following someone’s orders if I thought they were reasonably reliable.
Nika: Mmm. Cuz bein’ the boss doesn’t seem to be whole lotta fun just about now.
Kramer: No, there’s not a whole lot of good choices to be made. And I’m not sure who I would trust to make all those choices. I don’t know much about You. I’ve met him and talked with him many times. He seemed ambitious in a way that was beneficial for us. He clearly wanted to build Blue Sun in his idea of what it should be. And his idea wasn’t horrible. It was self-sufficient. It was … not completely isolated. Which I think is probably ultimately in its best interest.
Nika: I know. You really can’t just assume that independence means isolation. It will fall. There’s no way to make that work for very long.
Kramer: And he was fond of referencing the American Revolution, as a sort of short-term animosity, long-term friendship, but with our interests leading our policy instead of someone else’s interests. Which I think a lot of people agreed with.

Kramer tips her chair back.

Kramer: Now I think he being an industrialist thought that the plutocracy of the Allliance would see the sense of cutting its losses and accepting this compromise. I don’t think Nguyen is convinced of that, that they would say “it’s not worth our effort”. I think Nguyen believes that the Alliance is biding its time. We’ve already seen what they’ve been doing in the other systems. They haven’t been here, directly. But in Georgia and Red Sun—well, Red Sun is pretty much Alliance anyway—but in Georgia and Kalidasa they’ve been showing off the benefits of membership.
Nika: Yeah. We just came from Kalidasa and Georgia.
Kramer: They’ve been touting the stability of the credit, the benefits of higher technology. You go to Boros and they always have the newest things there compared to one planet over where things are looking bad. From what I’ve heard. And Nguyen is convinced that this is just an effort to sort of isolate us politically.
Nika: Well on some levels he’s probably right.
Kramer: And to make sure that the war—if there’s going to be a war— is just going to be fought in Blue Sun. Which, once again, all the destruction is heaped on the Resistance or the Independents and not the Alliance. So I think Nguyen’s … I don’t know. I don’t know who’s right.
Nika: I don’t think there is a right.

We all consider that for a beat.

Kramer: Well, I can tell you this much. Carter is being held in some sort of underground medical facility on Highgate. I didn’t even know they had underground medical facilities on Highgate, but it’s tied to the main army base down there.

Nika and Rina take that in and trade a single look.

Nika thinks: Oh? Underground medical facility? Tied to an army base? Like … Dr. Gordon’s surgical bunker attached to Nguyen’s army base? THAT underground medical facility? Really?

And Rina’s already there with: Getting Mike out of that one is going to be one helluva bitch.

Joshua: Who’s holding him?
Kramer: The PDF are holding him. That’s Nguyen. I say Nguyen at this stage but the PDF is bigger than him. To his credit he has… it’s like the old days at the beginning of the war.
Nika: Yeah. Each ship had its—
Kramer: No-oo. It’s like …

Kramer crosses her arms and scans the ceiling, searching for the right words. Elsewhere in the lounge, there is the gentle clink of drink glasses and the murmur of conversation. In our corner with Kramer, no one moves or speaks.

Kramer: It’s like … you know, uniforms and regiments and given … Back before we realized we were just a bunch of punks fighting against an impossible foe, there was this belief that—or you guys had the belief, I should say … Well, you saw it: there were Generals, field officers and all this kind of stuff, and from what I’ve heard, he is doing his best to make it all very official. It’s green still in many respects. A lot of the people who are officers are not really tested but it is very … It’s not his out-in-the-jungle little camp. It’s a real army. Not a big army, but a real army.
Rina:: Regular army now.
Kramer: Yes. And with that there’s this sense of duty, loyalty, code of behavior, and all that. Which I find refreshing.

Kramer puts her chair down all-fours to the deck and her tone goes brisk.

Kramer: Though it’s hard to say. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know why Carter’s not speaking. If he has some deal with Nguyen to do this, either Nguyen’s changed the deal or something. Because he could have easily just reported Carter was killed when he was apprehended. If that was the plan. But for whatever the reason, they’re staging this trial. So I don’t know what the story is.
Nika: Is it to solidify a leadership position? It would let the populace see that he is a leader who will allow the government, such as it is, to do its job and that it is not a military dictatorship. It is a government run by the people. And later on it will be just as easy to report him dead. If he wants to get him out.
Kramer: Well, it might be a little more difficult now. If he were to say oh, he died in captivity, people would be—
Nika: Yeah but if he were found guilty and chucked in prison, he can just as easily say he got knifed in prison.
Joshua: If he’s found guilty, there’s going to be an execution, isn’t there?
Kramer: That seems to be the going suspicion.
Nika: Is it going to be immediate?
Kramer: No, not immediate—.
Nika: (her point exactly) See?
Joshua: If they’re going to execute him, getting him knifed in jail seems a little bit excessive.
Kramer: There is some fear that there will be people who will attempt to assassinate him before the trial, which is why he’s being kept outside the regular jail system.

Kramer slides Nika a look.

Kramer: Of course, this is where it gets all very speculative. But one thought is that it’s in some people’s interests that whatever his actual motivations for doing this, that those remain in question. If he could exonerate Nguyen it might be in their interests for him not to be able to. If he could condemn Nguyen, that would be some reason for them not to want that ordered.
Joshua: The mystery is much more malleable than the actual facts.
Kramer: Yes. So he is in danger. And there are some who are afraid that some foolish people might try to rescue him.

And there’s no need to speculate who those people might be. Nope.

Kiera: Now I have a question, since y’all seemin’ to know him and I’m the one person who doesn’t. (off Joshua’s look) Oh, all right, at least the three of you seem to—the women seem to know him—
Kramer: (Murmuring) Oh, yes. They’ve all known him.

Nika totally gives her old commanding officer The Eyebrow.

Kiera (squick!): Is there any of you all that—oh dear God.
Joshua: Well, I haven’t slept with him.

And we laugh. We’re going through the wringer, here, and for God’s sake we need the release.

Kiera: Based on what y’all know, why would he accept what’s a suicide mission? Is he the kinda person who would’ve accepted a suicide mission? Cuz why would you assassinate somebody and not have a pretense of being able to get the hell out. Unless he’s just stupid. But I’m kinda curious because you all seem to know him, so why would he—? I mean if you’re going to assassinate someone, you would assassinate him where you would least likely get caught and he seems to have been caught quickly. Rina:: Well, three years ago, I would have had the answer. Now? I don’t know.

A lot has happened in the last three years. People change. Politics change. So many changes.

Kramer: He had many of us believing that … he had … run afoul of Nguyen, which is why I think You Ge thought he was not an agent of Nguyen. He’d done a pretty good job of getting captured by Nguyen, allegedly doing things that Nguyen would be unhappy about. And this is somewhat classified, but you may know that Nguyen had a contract on him, in part to satisfy the demands of other factions that were out there who hadlost personnel in addition to the ones that Nguyen lost when Carter revealed his intelligence. Which apparently was quite extensive.

By Mike’s own admission to Rina, thirty five sleeper agents lost their lives. And those were merely the deaths the intelligence community was able to confirm.

Nika: There’s certainly a whole lotta pissed-off between the two of them.
Kramer: (going carefully) Well, there was some … yeah, well I think that there was some concern that … that this … It really altered the battle plan for Nguyen. It flushed him out into the open which he wasn’t happy with. He spent pretty much since the War carefully building a network of considerable intelligence and preparedness to do a major strike against the Alliance, but it became impossible based on the information that Carter revealed. (a beat) Now to be fair, if you put all your eggs in one basket, you should certainly expects something like this to happen.

As Nika, Rina and Arden already know, Nguyen had run a cover operation on Beaumonde, the Cordon Vert school, a culinary institute that trained chefs for high profile positions in government and amongst those who could pay for their caliber. Chefs who were also Nguyen’s intelligence agents. We found out about the set-up when Nguyen hired us for the Chempliant factory job… and it was also during that job that we encountered Carter and lost him to the Feds.

Rina:: Were any of the thirty-five killed chefs?
Kramer: Yeah. Quite a few of them.
Rina:: Figures.
Kramer: Yes, well the whole Cordon Vert—
Rina:: Yeah. I noticed that he’s not running that school out of Highgate.
Kramer: The school. I think it may have renamed itself, formed its own sort of thing, and it’s lost all affiliation with them. They’re carefully watched by the Alliance now. That was on Beaumonde, that’s where it was.
Rina:: Yes.
Kramer: It’s not a going concern anymore. And it was a huge blow to Nguyen’s efforts. As luck would have it, the various circumstances that led to a secondary thing—now Nguyen has denied being responsible for the Long Quiet, which is the Cortex shutdown. But there is reason to believe that he may have been behind that. Through whom we don’t know. He has—
Nika: He has certainly bought time.
Kramer: One of the things it’s made possible is for him to conduct more business in the open without fear of constant observation by the Alliance and he was able to set up this base on Highgate, past the Quarantine.

True enough.

Kiera: How likely is it that this Mike person would’ve actually cultivated the fight with Nguyen, exposed the network to rout out people that were actually had infiltrated the network form the other side. So it cleared out his network and effectively got rid of it. And then set it up that he could basically have this and eventually out of the kindness of his heart, say, in the new republic or the new government that the first thing Nguyen should have is … you know …
Kramer: (wryly) You’re friends with Rina, aren’t you?

Snorts and chuckles all around on that one.

Kiera: Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s just she’s got me thinkin’ Besides I don’t know this person and I’m tryin’ to play chess and …
Kramer: (grinning) Yes, well.
Rina:: (off Nika’s look) Not a word. I didn’t say a word.
Kiera: I was going to say, in my world, you always make a lot of flashy fingery things with your right hand specifically so you can pick them with a left-handed pocket.
Joshua: (low) Don’t shark my customers.
Kiera: (eyeroll) I haven’t done it yet.

Kramer watches this exchange, somewhat amused, and then continues.

Kramer: It wouldn’t surprise me if there were people who had the same thought, that it ultimately worked out to Nguyen’s advantage. Now I would say that’s giving Nguyen more credit than is appropriate. Or Carter.
Nika: He may have taken advantage accidental situation that happened before.
Kramer: You rescued Carter. Did he seem he was faking the Chempliant effect or ... ?
Nika: No, he was not right. He was not faking it.
Rina:: (feelingly) No. He wasn’t faking it, no.
Kramer: Unless he was that good a fake.
Kiera: Either that or they needed him and he just became a pawn in the game.

And the speculations and theories fly back and forth across the bar for a beat. Then:

Joshua: So it was You Ge and Nguyen—I won’t say they were competing, but they were basically balancing each other out—is there anyone else when You Ge’s gone who basically controls, quote-unquote, ships to Nguyen?
Kramer: There’s no official leader of the MZC. There are voices, most of them are probably vying to be lieutenants in the next leader’s run.
Nika: So there’s no de facto heir apparent?
Kramer: No, and the inheritance of You Ge is both figuratively and literally in much debate. If he had a will, I don’t know about it. It wouldn’t surprise me if people will claim they have his will. Where his wealth will go or who he would recognize for people to fall behind … (shrugs)
Rina:: (softly) That’s right…
Joshua: Would it be fair to say that one of the major differences between Nguyen and You Ge was that You Ge was moving toward peace and Nguyen is moving toward a longer conflict? I know obviously nobody is as cut and dried as that but if that’s the case I think the question to ask is who profits from the conflict being extended? Who doesn’t profit peace falling upon the system? I honestly don’t know the answer to it but I think that would be where—not that we’re actually investigating this, but I think that would be where we’d be willing to start. Following the money is always the place to go, I would think.
Kramer: (sighs) Yeah. I’m sure that there will be considerable interest in …Well, I’m guessing that there are going to be people trying to find out from Carter why he did this or who he was working with. The PDF has said they’ve not spent much time interrogating him.
Nika: That seems odd.
Kramer: They would rather this be in public, they say, rather than to have them torture him and say he confessed. Or that he confessed and it was guys we don’t like. If it turns out it’s guys we don’t like, they want it to come out in voluntary public—.
Rina:: Why not dose him with Chempliant and be done with it? From what I understand, it doesn’t leave bruises.
Nika: Again that puts him in a highly suggestible state and they can be accused of manipulating the results.

True enough.

Joshua: So if the PDF’s in control of Mike’s custody, what would have to be done if we wanted to get Rina to be able to see him before the trial?
Kramer: Before the trial? Well, I suppose you could ask to.
Rina:: (to Joshua) Is that really a good idea?
Joshua: Do you want to?
Rina:: (quiet warning) I want to but I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get there.
Joshua: You will regret it in every shape and form if you don’t.
Rina:: I know! I’ve gone through this scenario a hundred billion times—
Joshua: I know you have. (softer) I know you have.

It’s a quiet and intense little exchange. Then:

Nika: (to Kramer) Is he even allowed vistors? Or would that require strings-pulling?
Kramer: I don’t know. I could probably pull enough strings to get you to the people who’d make the decision.
Nika: I’m not entirely convinced that pulling those kind of strings would be in the best interests of Mr. Carter.
Rina:: (to Shyla) Or you.
Kramer: I’m not worried about myself for the most part. (small smile) I’ve got this giant ship. I feel relatively safe up here.
Nika: Don’t leave much, do you? (chuckle) The Decatur suits you, as I’ve said before.
Kiera: (agreeing) This ship sure is a big gun.
Rina:: (muttering) I’m sure the Tohoku class ships felt the same way.
Kramer: (to Rina:) The what?
Joshua: (to Rina:) Okay. Paranoid.
Rina:: Yes.
Joshua: Let it go.
Rina:: I’ve got reason.
Joshua: I know you do but let it go.
Kramer: Let’s put it this way. If I wanted Lorngaard gone, I could destroy Lorngaard. Before they could do anything.
Joshua: Okay. Back to the point. It’s possible. It is possible.
Kramer: Yes. You can petition. Here’s the thing: He’s refused counsel. However, if you were to say you were friends of his my concern is not much for his case or for my reputation as much as the spotlight it will put on you.

She’s looking right at Rina when she says it but she means everyone in our party.

Kramer: If you go to speak with him you will definitely be—
Joshua: In the spotlight. Yeah.
Nika: I have some relatively serious concerns on that front anyway because we’ve pretty much alienated what remains of the Alliance, in its several forms.
Kramer: Well, that’s earned you some friends here.
Nika: Some. But I don’t know that Nguyen’s all that entirely thrilled with us either. (nervous chuckle) I’m not sure I want his spotlight on us.
Joshua: You really don’t like this guy.
Nika: (struggling) I have some … I … Okay, look. My antipathy for Nguyen has to do with the fact that we hurt some people at his behest because we were stupid. We didn’t ask enough questions.
Joshua: And what happened?
Nika: And we blew up a factory and killed most of the third shift.
Joshua: And he thought it was necessary?
Nika: I would gather, being that he sent us in there, yeah.

That Beaumonde factory job was one hell of a domino, considering the ripple effects.

Kiera: Well, what about me? Nobody really knows who I am and I have no affiliations. I’ve worked very hard not to.
Nika: Which means Mr. Carter won’t even look at you twice. You’ll walk in, he’ll go “Hm”, and he’ll go that way. (points) In any case, I do have some concerns about the idea about Nguyen’s particular connection with us. The last time we had words with Nguyen he was adamant that we declare our allegiances. Outright. And I’m not sure I have an allegiance at this juncture.

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