It’s great being Captain so far. I suggested that we rename the ship to something else and am voted down. I order that we remove the listening devices from the ship given to us (I’m still trying to get my head around that idea) and am voted down. On my orders, Thomas started researching the Metal Plate we found so long ago on the Turtle and the rest of the crew steals it as soon as he starts making progress. But as soon as there’s paperwork to be done and fees to be paid, I’m their man. Yes, it’s great being the Captain. I wonder when my crew will actually obey an order for a change.
Colton wanted to go to Osiris to investigate the message that he found on the ship’s computer that suggested one of his old school chums was in trouble. We all thought that sounded okay except Jack who started muttering about “purple bellies” again. Are they some kind of bugs I haven’t heard of before?
So the crew immediately told me to get a cargo. I found a great deal on some of the biggest “horse apples” on Greenleaf but the crew decided that they didn’t like my cargo and got another. Seems that what I thought was a fruit was something else and my crew just shoved me aside. It’s truly great to be captain of your own ship with a loyal crew. Perhaps someday I’ll find out what that feels like.
Thomas’ experiments have probably proven my theory about the metal plate we found on the Turtle. It seems to be some sort of battery that can put out a LOT of energy or draw it back in from the surrounding environment. Wonder who made it.
So we got to Osiris, landing at a decent spaceport not far from the “Desolation Point Minimum Security Prison” where Colton’s friend is being held and I’m descended on by more gol-dang paper pushers than you’ve ever seen in your life. And each of them needs to be paid a fee for the joy of dealing with them. Out in the dark were I come from, the leaders are more honest and less expensive about their shake-down. Good thing the crew got us a cargo with a decent resale value.
Rory and his not-quite-real wife went on a tour went through the city. There’s something a bit scary about that relationship. Colton and Doc Gong went to the prison (the Doc spent the trip to Osiris rebuilding her online credentials to make it reasonable for her to be there and Colton was her driver). Jack went a bit nuts at the thought that he couldn’t be with Colton and followed them in spite of orders not to do just that.
They said that Desolation Point was a mighty peaceful but really hot place out in the middle of nowhere. No phone calls, no paperwork, sounds like a nice place to visit for a few days. Colton got to do most of the detective work while the Doc did a bunch of interviews with the prisoners er guests. They found out the following things:
1. The prisoner (Tristram Briggs) didn’t send the message to be rescued. As a matter of fact he was due to be released in a week.
2. Tristram didn’t want to leave the prison. They figured out that he had been drugged and understood things about as well as an eight year old.
3. All of the prisoners and guards eat the same food (and drink the same water) which contains a drug that lowers intelligence and aggression levels Most of the guards and prisoners weigh a lot more than they did before coming to the prison, probably because of a side effect of the drug.
4. Two guards who were recently introduced do not seem to be affected by the drug yet. One of them, Len Beckett, was actually a private investigator hired by the Briggs family to find out why their son has been sending letters to them in crayon. He sent the message requesting the extraction because he was frightened by the other guard, a woman he identified as possible ex-Alliance Special Forces who had made threats if he interfered with her and Tristram.
5. Colton, the Doc, and Beckett kind of shanghaied Tristram when they left with the woman guard hot on their heels but she didn’t have a vehicle and the prison didn’t have any walls so they left her behind in the dust.
6. Jack trailed the group in his own vehicle, not noticing that a prospector he’d seen earlier was behind them. Doc Gong fixed that problem and requested that Jack deal with the person.
7. Jack slammed on the brakes and the other person didn’t react quickly enough to avoid a car-mule collision. The mule lost badly and the other person was knocked out. Jack frisked the person quickly and discovered a radio and a high-powered single-shot laser pistol, which he took.
8. Jack used the radio to sow a tremendous amount of confusion in the enemy ranks (they used a lot of Alliance Special Forces lingo) and the group got away clean.
Fortunately Rory was back from his date and I had picked up some low-tech (for Osiris) “educational materials” that will sell well anywhere on the Rim or Border planets. Colton got another wave from his mysterious friend suggesting we go to Persephone and meet a dodgy fencer called Boxer. Sounds like my kind of guy, sort of.
The Doc asked if she could take Colton and the shuttle to some sort of personal meeting. I don’t know why she wanted that meeting but she wanted it really bad and I’ve never seen the Doc that upset and anxious. She wasn’t even a little bit sarcastic. Since they’d made a clean get-away at the prison I didn’t see any reason to not grant her wish. Jack sure did, as he wanted to tag along. Nobody could convince him otherwise and the Doc finally had to trick him into letting her go without him. Jack spent the entire time they were gone playing with his new pistol and muttering darkly. Hope this doesn’t end badly.
Booster checked out Tristram while they were gone and found out that he’d been given some very powerful drugs that pretty much wiped his brain permanently. This doesn’t sound like something the Alliance prison system did. Also Booster found out that Tristram was not arrested while breaking into an office, he was arrested at home, minding his own business.
The next day we filed a right proper flight plan and flew the short distance to Persephone to drop off Becket and Briggs. The sight of the family meeting their once proud, smart, strong son was not a pretty one but there was still love and where there’s love there’s still hope. Tomorrow we meet Badger, sounds like an interesting guy, I think I’ll bring my gun.