Episode 409: Deadwood BBQ

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Bowing to the inevitable. This is it. If y'all want the dialogue verbatim, I'll be happy to send you the sound file. Sorry, folks, but I need a break.--Maer

24 Jul 2521
Brisbane, Meridian

Dyson is not as put out by the long near-2 week delay as we’d feared but once we get everything squared with Burnham Corp he’s eager to get to Deadwood. And quite frankly, we’re eager to go. We find a cargo—ale, bound for a tavern on Deadwood—so as to make a little money getting there. It’s a two day journey to Deadwood and we burn atmo off Meridian for it.

26 Jul 2521
Parliament, Deadwood

We land at Parliament’s spaceport—in reality just a clear patch outside a town of maybe 60 people. But it’s terra firma and we make it there uneventfully. We get off ship and go to the tavern, Lovely Lynn, to deliver the ale and start asking for the whereabouts of Dyson’s lead, one Mr. Carson Collins, Ensign, ret., of the Alliance Navy. The woman the tavern is named after tells us a little bit about Collins and we find out that he’s known as a rich man. Well, kinda. Man went on about some sorta treasure that he knew the location of, but didn’t exactly have.

Where is he?

Oh, he’s been captured by the local bad guys and shakedown artists. Actually, the ale is to go to these guys and it’s not long before the second in command of the gang shows up. So, here’s the thing. The lead to Dyson’s son is being held by our cargo client and it’s clear the second the guy shows up that he and his gang are bad news. Bad for the folk hereabouts, keeping people one step from ruin from their depredations.

Is there a way we can take care of them as well as spring Collins loose?

Since we only brought half the shipment to town, the second in command drives to our ship to pick up the rest. Lynn lets us know that the gang is run by a really bad dude and his second is just itchin’ to take the man’s place. We thank her for the info and head back to our ship.

We decide to take the second in command hostage, get the intel we need to mount a rescue op, and if his boss decides to take it out of his hide later, we don’t really care. Kiera goes over and shines the man on, leads him to her container and gets him into her chair with the promise of a pre-nooky massage… and tranks him. She’s got him strapped down in a second and he’s not going anywhere. He’s also completely at our mercy.

Joshua goes to Nika with an idea on how to best use our captured asset: Borrow him. It would be perfect. Joshua impersonates the lieutenant, goes back to the gang’s hideout with the beer shipment, fresh food from our stores, mechanical parts, and us three female crewman—just as if the lieutenant had decided to throw a party for the gang with food and women and booze.

Of course, Joshua will have to transform his face with the plastic surgery device and Kiera will be the one best able to do it. Which of course means letting her in on the secret. Nothing can be done for that at the moment so that’s what we do. The procedure takes up a good portion of the night, as does the planning of our infiltration op, and we plan to head out to the gang’s hideout in the morning.

27 Jul 2521
The Victoria

Before we leave, Joshua goes before the lieutenant and engages the man in conversation, to get a better chance to assimilate and mimic him. The man is still strapped to Kiera’s chair and is woozy and can’t quite believe he’s talking to his doppelganger. Joshua is very convincing at the strapped-in slimeball and once he’s observed enough, he leaves. He’s as rude and crude and brusque as the man he’s imitating and orders us into the man’s truck for the ride out. Rina rides shotgun. Nika and Kiera ride in the back with the cargo.

The gang hideout is The Victoria, a beached cargo ship—the maritime variety—grounded in the bed of an enormous dry lake. The gang numbers only 6 men, plus the Boss. Joshua drives up as the Lieutenant returning with supplies and women and the gang enthusiastically hail us. Joshua’s Borrowing of the lieutenant has completely taken them in and they follow his orders readily.

As for the women, there is no going in as themselves. They all assume roles of women from the ship looking to party or cook for the gang. Kiera’s the cook, Rina’s sorta her assistant, and Nika’s the bombshell blonde. The gang are excited at all the goodies the lieutenant’s brought back and once everything and everyone’s aboard, we get started. Kiera and Rina haul the food to the kitchen of the hideout and start cooking. The plan is to drug the food to knock the gang members out, then take care of whoever’s still standing, then bust out Collins. Joshua will stand to the side in his lieutenant’s role and keep an eye on things.

The boss isn’t too happy at his lieutenant’s initiative and he pulls Joshua aside. He tears Joshua a new one, saying he’d sent him to pick up just the booze he’d ordered, not all this other stuff and certainly not women. Women are nothing but trouble.

Which sorta proves the case—just as we’d planned—once the meal is served. Three of the men succumb to the drugged food, three men are still awake and getting frisky. Nika, Rina and Nika take one apiece and start off by dancing. And drinking beer. There’s some groping and pawing going on and the women lead their respective men off separately to do a little private partying. Once alone, they overpower the men and knock them out with trank patches or just plain fists to the jaw.

Before the last man is taken out, an alarm begins to blare all over the ship. On the bridge, Joshua and the Boss see from the sensors that someone is approaching. Topside, Rina can see the cloud of dust of someone driving toward us. Joshua and the Boss square off and scuffle. The Boss draws his gun and manages to graze Joshua with it before Joshua gains the upper hand.

The party arriving so precipitously at the hideout is none other than Oliver Dyson. He’s driving our flatbed mule for all it’s worth, toting one of our assault rifles, and looking a bit … wild-eyed. When we see him, there’s something about his manner that reminds us of the terraformers from Perdido Station suffering from nitrogen narcosis … and indeed, Dyson’s Williamson’s disease has him in the grip of an episode. He’s gung-ho, loaded for bear, and it’s with some care we rein him in and search the ship for Collins. We find him in the lowermost deck of the ship, in the storage area in the bow.

Collins is ragged and unkempt but otherwise unharmed. The daylight makes him blink and squint, but he stumbles out thankful to be free. We don’t waste any time with going through the ship for booty. We disable the lieutenant’s vehicle by letting the air out of its tires. We bundle up the Boss and throw him in back of the mule, take ourselves, Dyson, and Collins back to town. We leave the Boss to the tender mercies of the townfolk he and his men terrorized, go back to the ship and fetch his lieutenant to join him. Also, Rina makes good on her promise of repairing a manure/fuel converter, the coin with which we agreed to pay for the intel given about the gang.

Back on the ship, we get ourselves and Collins cleaned up. And in getting Collins to talk about Dyson’s son, Collins tells us of his treasure. He was with a group of people some time back, a captain and a Quan-Fu ship, and they’d run into a derelict just filled with an Alliance payroll. The ship literally had boxes and boxes of money. Collins wanted out of the group and he got a box as his departing share—20,000.00 credits. He’s hidden it and run, hoping to draw the group away from it. He seems to think they’re kinda/sorta after him. But if we could get him to his box, he’ll pay us a sweet 5,000.00 to take him away from here afterward.

Of course, when Collins mentions the class Quan-Fu, Rina and Nika share a look, suspicious. As Collins continues, their suspicions solidify into conviction. So it’s not a surprise to either of them when Collins tells us the captain of the Quan-Fu is El Raton. The same El Raton that the Lenore crew tangled with.


So now we’re in a position to get involved in that whole can of worms … again. But this time it’s different. We aren’t chasing the treasure so much as a person involved with the people behind it. Collins confirms that Dyson’s son Kim is with El Raton’s crew. And as our contract with Dyson involves helping the man find his son, to say nothing of having something of a moral reason to help him, we agree to help Collins so as to get near enough to El Raton.

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