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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:31 am 
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Destroyer Escort Bellerophon
Day 288, Morning

“Sir?” Corporal Garvin, the Belle’s MarDet clerk, came to Major Duncan’s office hatch.

Duncan paused with a throwing knife in his hand. Several knives were already bristling from the target on the bulkhead near the hatch, but Garvin was long used to the Major's knife throwing and ignored them. “Yes, Corporal?”

“Specialist Ronovy from Supply is here…” Garvin moved back and Ronovy appeared in the hatchway.

The supply specialist had a crate in his arms, and he gave the target board a nervous glance. “Aah, sir, we were clearing out a supply locker and found this.” He stepped in at the Major’s gesture, setting the crate on the corner of Duncan’s desk; it thumped then rattled slightly as he put it down. “We thought it might be yours,” the specialist finished.

Ronovy's Aquarian accent reminded Duncan of Benoit, Laffitte, and DesChamps, and he gave the supply specialist a smile. He got up from behind his desk and circled around to regard the crate, the knife in his hand vanishing. The case was a reinforced wooden shipping box, about half a meter square, with the words ‘Scorpia Mining Company’ stenciled on it, the label repeated in flowing Iri'shèè script under it. “It’s not mine,” he said with curiosity. The crate looked as if it had been opened and hastily re-sealed, the cover screwed firmly in place.

“There were other crates stuck in there, too, sir, but this was the only one with the clan words on it,” Ronovy explained.

Scott ran his fingers over the Iri'shèè script. “It says the same as this,” he told Ronovy, tapping the Colonial stencil. “Scorpia Mining Company. What’s on the other crates?”

“Nothing, sir, they are unmarked,” he replied. He frowned. “It is a bit odd, oui?” he ventured. "There is not even a stock number on them."

Duncan nodded agreement. “Show me?” he asked.

Ronovy led the Marine Major to the passage outside the command berthing compartments, stopping at a storage locker just down from Colonel Cole’s cabin. Another supply specialist was there and had dragged two other crates from the locker. One was the same size as the ‘Scorpia Mining Company’ crate still on Duncan’s desk, one was larger—and the largest one was still in the locker.

“That frakker weighs a ton,” the other specialist said to Ronovy, pointing to the crate still in the locker, then she noticed Duncan and added, “Er, sir.”

Duncan stepped up to look into the locker, and the two specialists scooted the other crates further out into the passage. The Major crouched, studying the crate still in the locker for a moment.

“We did not think it was anything dangerous, sir,” Ronovy explained. “This is just a locker for laundry supplies.” Evidence of that was the collection of cardboard boxes a few paces down the passage, marked Detergent, Laundry, 6bx 7930-01-418-1436, Paper, Toilet, 1case 8540-17-117-5850 and Towel, Paper, 12pkg 7920-01-389-2271.

Duncan put one knee on the deck, twisting to look at the two crates already in the passage. They were also wooden and looked as if they’d seen rough handling, but there were no suspicious odors or stains on the wood. Like the one sitting on Duncan’s desk, their lids were firmly screwed in place. Duncan turned his attention back to the crate in the locker and shrugged, thinking If it was anything dangerous, it would have blown up long before now. He grasped the sides of the crate and with an effort slid it out into the passage. His sharp hearing caught a soft clanking sound, but it wasn’t the sound of munitions.

He stood and frowned at it. “Weighs a ton is right, Specialist,” he said mildly. “How about those two?”

“They are as heavy as the Scorpia Mining Company one, sir, each of them,” Ronovy explained.

Duncan surveyed the three wood packing boxes thoughtfully. “How long has it been since this locker was inventoried?” he asked calmly.

“No idea, sir,” Ronovy answered frankly, hearing no sign of censure in the Major’s voice.

“I didn’t even know we had a locker here,” the other specialist offered.

With the history this ship has, who knows how long these have been here… or what’s in them. The Marine nodded and bent to pick up the two lighter crates, standing and shifting them in his arms to hold them comfortably. “Could you please get a hand truck and bring that other crate down to my office?” he asked the specialists. “I’ll figure out where they belong.”

“Yessir,” they said in unison.

Scott put the two lighter crates on his desk, sweeping aside paperwork, then rummaged in his desk drawers for a screwdriver. He didn’t find one, though, and went to the hatch, asking, “Garvin, would you have a screwdriver out here?”

“Yessir,” the clerk nodded, getting one from the top drawer of a file cabinet.

Duncan waited to open any of the crates until the supply specialists brought the heavy one, asking them to leave the hand truck, as well. Once he was alone in his office, he unscrewed the lid on the ‘Scorpia Mining Company’ crate, pulling it off and gazing at the contents.

It was long moments before he could do anything but stare; then he breathed, "Wàtenahì!"

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:50 pm 
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Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Day 288, Morning

Theron Kyklades used a different tactic to get on board the Harvest Moon, this time. The shuttle from Nimbus had several families with kids on it, and he'd made a point of befriending a couple of the younger ones while they were all waiting to get on the shuttle; and then he'd continued to joke and play with them during the flight. Once they landed on Harvest Moon, he just followed along with the group through the security checkpoint and no one even looked at him twice.

He tagged along with one of the families as they followed the posted directions to the "Recreation Deck". He'd been on that deck, although the recreation area was just a small part of it, with fruit trees and grass, benches and playground equipment. The path to that deck was up a wide ladderwell, the elevators reserved for movement of crops, equipment, and supplies. People visiting Captain Kalrk's vessel would not be permitted to interfere with the duties of the crew and agricultural workers.

As the parents with children continued on up the ladderwell, Theron ducked out a lower hatch, pausing a moment to get his bearings. He'd also been on this deck during his earlier visit, and this one was wholly devoted to raising crops, with swaths of trees that both sheltered birds and provided nuts, and the deck also had banks of beehives. He paused to inhale the aroma of plants and dirt, looking around to see if any of his "friends" were in the area. He didn't see anyone, and the muted voices he heard in the distance were adults, not kids his age.

Theron wasn't worried. He knew that a school schedule of sorts had begun, but he'd also learned that the traditional form of classroom instruction he was used to on Oasis was different here. On the Harvest Moon, many of the lessons were done hands-on; and with kids his age, according to their interests and abilities. Theron wasn't interested in farming or ranching--I was forced to do way more than my share of that--he thought. What did interest him on this deck was the bees... and the snakes and other insects and reptiles, especially the venomous ones kept in reinforced glass tanks along a bulkhead wall. He had time before his mission here began, and he knew what he wanted to do.

Armed with a notebook and pencil, he made his way to the beehives, watching intently as the bees flew back and forth, crawling in and out of the hives, then he walked down to the big reptile tanks. The first tank held a large snake, but the snake was sleeping... or else just not moving, so Theron walked on.

The next tank had several lizards in it, darting around on the sandy soil in the bottom of the tank, crawling and climbing on the twigs of a dried bush. The lizards were a mottled brown color, blending in so well with their surroundings that Theron had to look closely to see the ones posed motionless. He flipped open his notebook and made a rough sketch of one of the reptiles, then counted how many he could spot.

"Six," he murmured to himself, then a voice at his shoulder startled him.

"Six, you say," the man chuckled. "There's nine of them in there, son! Look more carefully!"

Theron gazed at the man a moment; he was old, the teen guessed, Maybe even forty! He had sandy brown hair, blue eyes, and a creased face, as if he'd spent a lot of time outdoors. He was dressed in worn work clothes but it was a ship's uniform, his name 'J. Miller' over his shirt pocket; and he had dirt on his knees and hands. He seemed harmless, and Theron didn't recognize him or his accent, so he hoped the man wasn't also from Oasis.

"Nine?" Theron played along. "Are you sure? I can only see six!"

J. Miller pointed each one out, counting, and sure enough--there were nine, but the three Theron had missed were very small. "Are they venomous?" Theron asked, hoping they were.

"Nope," Miller said, shaking his head with a grin. "But I heard the place they came from was pretty poisonous! One of our military folks got them from some planet they'd been on, a nasty smelly place." He made a gesture, out to the crops. "There's a few of 'em loose out there that'll probably end up as bird food!"

"Hm," Theron said, writing under his sketched lizard: 'not venomous'.

"You like the venomous ones?" Miller asked. "I can show you venomous!" He led Theron to the next tank, one that was over three meters long.

The boy was nodding even as the man said, "These are scorpions from Oasis... ah, so you're from Oasis, too?"

"Yessir," Theron agreed. "I've seen these before. I didn't know they brought any here, though."

Together the two regarded the scorpions. Like the lizards, their tank had been outfitted to replicate their natural environment, and they blended in well with the sand and smooth rocks. There were fourteen that Theron could count in the large tank, and he confirmed the number with Miller.

"One of the Fleet's Marines brought these up from Oasis," Miller explained to Theron. "They're like the scorpions that are... were... well, probably still are on Scorpia. These bad boys are bigger, though, and even more venomous than the Scorpia ones."

Slowly, the boy said, "I know that a couple people... on Oasis... were killed by scorpion stings."

Miller nodded confirmation. "I'm not surprised," he said. He gave Theron an interested look. "You working on a school project?"

"Yessir," the teen lied easily, showing Miller his notebook. "There aren't a whole lot of reptiles here to study, though."

Miller smiled. "We've got more--what's your name, son?"

"Thad Kyler," again the lie came easily to Theron.

"I'm Dr. Jason Miller," the man shook Theron's hand solemnly. "I'm a herpetologist, that means I study reptiles. From Tauron originally. I was on the Catalina and transferred over here to take care of these critters. "

"So I ran into the right person," Theron grinned, some truth in his words. "Tell me more about the scorpions?"

"Sure," Miller agreed, happy to pass on knowledge. "You see those spikes on their backs?"

Theron nodded, sketching a scorpion in his notebook. "Twelve spikes," he said.

"Yep," the herpetologist confirmed. "Each one of those spikes is more venomous than the ones in their tails; and they have four spikes in their tails, see 'em all clustered together there? Each one has its own pouch of venom."

Theron looked closely, fascinated in spite of himself, and added more detail to his sketch.

"You've studied reptiles before, knowing the difference between venomous and poisonous," Miller commented with approval.

"Oh, yessir," Theron said, slightly self-consciously. "If I touch or eat one and I get sick or die, it's poisonous. If one stings me and I get sick or die, it's venomous."

"Smart lad," Miller said, nodding. "I heard that some of our Marines did cook and eat these critters and lived to tell the tale!"

Startled, Theron replied, "I never thought of eating them." He gazed into the tank. "We had plenty of other things to eat on Oasis."

"Those nomads from Scorpia, they eat all sorts of things, I've heard," Miller confided. "Myself, I wouldn't want to even try and catch one of these without thick gloves!" He tapped the steel lid on the tank; for the first time, Theron noticed that the lid was secured on the tank with hinged steel bands on each end, padlocked. "We need to be sure none get out, or folks that don't know how venomous they are try to let 'em loose," Miller added.

Theron told the herpetologist, "They were only out in the desert, on Oasis, and they're pretty skittish, so I didn't see them often. But I knew to stay away from them." He looked back into the tank. "What else can you tell me? What do they eat?"

Dr. Jason Miller, Herpetologist, was happy to entertain the teen until the boy had to 'get back to class'. And Theron was happy to have part of his morning spent doing something he wanted.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:23 pm 
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Battlestar Libra
Day 288, Morning

The scene on the port lower deck of the Libra was perhaps not quite as chaotic as usual. The ship's mechanics and engineers had been working non-stop to get repairs done to the combat planes, damaged in battle against the cylons just a week earlier. Many of the repairs were ongoing, but there was a cadence to the confusion now. The Raptors and Vipers were parked in neat parallel lines, the movement of knuckledraggers an intricate dance on the deck.

The purposeful activity gave Gunnery Sergeant Razorski a sense of satisfaction as she waited for a shuttle to arrive. Waiting with her was SSgt Ryan McCaughn, one of the Training Detachment drill instructors. They both stood motionless at parade rest against the bulkhead, rocks in the stream of workers flowing past them.

"Sir," McCaughn said in an awed voice, "What the frak is that?"

Razorski followed his gaze and internally smiled; outwardly, her expression remained impassive. "That," she replied calmly, "Is one of two Cobras we have in the Fleet. I imagine that's the Bellerophon's Cobra, based here while the Belle is being repaired." She gave the Staff Sergeant a sidelong glance. "It's a strike fighter, made for air-to-air fighting and close air cover for ground operations. The pilot and weapons officer are Marines, of course."

He snorted with humor. "Of course," he agreed.

"The crew of that Cobra has pulled my ass out of the fire," the Gunnery Sergeant remarked, thinking back to the action on Pythos. "I'll have to stop by the Officer's Mess and buy them a drink."

Their attention was drawn to a newly arrived civilian shuttle. "There are our dirtbags," McCaughn commented, striding smartly out to the shuttle while Razorski waited unmoving.

McCaughn's voice was clear even above the constant noise on the deck, but his tone was more volume than deprecation. He saved that for Gunnery Sergeant Razorski. There were eight Navy and Marine recruits that the drill instructor herded toward Razorski, reciting safety rules as he did so. Several of them looked scared; a few were listening closely to McCaughn's lecture; and two were walking side-by-side at the back of the group, gazing from side to side, carefully observing everything around them as they made their way across the deck.

Very quietly, one of them said to the other, "Make of note of all you see… the smallest detail may prove important later on."

The other nodded. "For the cause," she murmured.

"For the cause," he echoed.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:11 am 
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Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Sub-level C, #2 Reactor Containment


The Necromancer's "nuke boys" were hard at work, preparing to swap out the LiFT fuel on Harvest Moon's number two reactor. One of their number carefully maneuvered a bright orange fuel tank into place. The 10-meter long cylinder was mounted on rubber crawler treads, powered by high-torque electric motors. Four workers monitored its progress as it was driven past the compartment's pipes and control systems. Another group followed, escorting another tank, though this one was labeled clearly: WASTE. Each worker was clad in a dark grey radiation suit, including a mask, gloves and an air tank and crowned with an orange hardhat. The suits bore the emblem of the Cardelli Corporation on the back, two capital-C's mirrored about a vertical bar.

One man watched the fuel tank closely, occasionally taking a reading with a handheld device or making a notation on the clipboard he carried. He wore a red hardhat over his radiation suit's hood, the letters RSO emblazoned in white on each side. A strip of tape crossed the front with the name BECK written in marker. As he monitored the transport of the LiFT fuel, he was interrupted by a transmission on his wireless.

[RSO, we're set to open the pyro.]

Vincent Beck signaled the fuel tank crew to halt and crossed over to the pyroprocessor. [Catch basin and containment dam look good,] he assessed. [You're cleared to proceed.]

Out of the way of the activity another grey-suited figure stood, accompanied by several members of the Harvest Moon's crew, also in radiation safety gear. This man's hardhat was white, though streaked with dirt, and stenciled on it in red paint were the words NUKE BOSS. He was Byron Ford, the chief nuclear engineer from the Necromancer. [Mister Coburn,] Ford said on the voice-activated wireless, [inform your captain we're taking Number Two off the grid. He may want to start rolling brownouts to adjust for the lost capacity.]

Coburn switched wireless channels and contacted his Operations Center. The Harvest Moon crew had been briefed that they would temporarily lose about 50% of their electricity generating capacity while changes were made to the pipes that fed the pyroprocessor, allowing the nuke boys to inject fresh fuel into the reactor while removing some of the old. [Stand by for one-half loss of power,] he informed them. [Expect two hours until we can throttle back up.]

Ford whistled into the wireless, while he raised one hand and circled it rapidly in the air. [Let's go!]

At the reactor control station, Coburn signaled for the control rods to be inserted to their maximum depth, absorbing the free neutrons that kept the nuclear reaction going, effectively idling the reactor. [Reactor idled. Still cycling fuel to remove residual heat. Pyroprocessor is offline.]

The nuke crew isolated the pyroprocessor by manually closing two valves on the large pipes the fed through it. They then removed the steel cap plates that were bolted onto the processor's access points. [Draining pyro supply and return lines,] one of them announced on the wireless. Other crew stood by, ready to attach the waste and fuel tanks.

[Let's move it, nukes!] Ford called across the wireless. [We just cut the power, and folks' ice cream is melting!] he added, his dark chuckle carrying clearly to everyone on the channel.


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:14 pm 
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Battlestar Libra MILINT
Day 288, morning

Major Duncan had called over to the Libra, asking for Major Dedrick, but he hadn't been available. Captain DesChamps was there, though, and although somewhat puzzled, had agreed to meet Duncan there on the Libra in the Ship's Purser's office. As Dedrick's second-in-command, Duncan knew that DesChamps was aware of the Bellerophon's checkered past, so he had skipped the details and said only that he was transporting "items of value".

When Duncan arrived, wheeling a hand truck with the four crates strapped to it, DesChamps was waiting with two Marine guards. DesChamps saluted Duncan, then proceeded to unlock the Purser's office. "No one's been in here in months," he commented as he pushed through the hatchway.

"No need for anyone to be in here, now that no one is getting paid," Duncan replied dryly.

The inside of Purser's office vaguely resembled a bank - there were a pair of teller windows, and beyond them was visible the door of a small vault. DesChamps instructed the two Marine guards to remain in the outer office, then unlocked the inner door and assisted Duncan with moving the hand truck through. Inside, he moved a payroll journal off a heavy table, leaving a rectangular void in the thin layer of dust.

The Marine Major had reattached the lids on all the crates, and now he unstrapped and removed the top three crates, setting them in a line on the table while leaving the largest heavy one on the deck, still on the hand truck's forks. He took the screwdriver from his pants pocket and told DesChamps, "These were found in a supply locker on the Bellerophon; I'm guessing that one of Rattler's Fiddà must have hidden them there before we re-took the ship." His tone made it clear that he considered "Rattler's Fiddà" to be completely different people than his own Spectres.

One-by-one he unscrewed and removed the lids on the crates, leaning each lid against the side of its crate. The Scorpia Mining Company crate held uncut texa gems, at least a hundred fifty of the Scorpian jewels. They glinted gold and amber, even in the indirect light in the office. The second crate, the same size as the first, held an equal number of gems--rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds, some cut, some uncut. They were so numerous, they almost looked like a collection of children's marbles.The third crate was packed with script, Colonial paper currency, untidily stacked to the lid. The fourth crate, the largest one, was filled with cubits of all denominations. The gleam of the gold almost make it look like the cubits were lit from within.

Captain DesChamps gave a low whistle at sight of the first crate, but by the time the fourth was open he was regarding Major Duncan with a raised eyebrow.

"That was my reaction, too," the Major nodded, again amazed by the small fortune contained in the four crates. "Mayer and Rattler undoubtedly got all this illegally. And maybe some of the former crew of the Bellerophon and the Patrocles... and maybe the Chiron, too, were in on it. If word gets out that we have all this--" his sweeping gaze took in the crates "--people in the fleet would flip out." He regarded DesChamps soberly.

"If I may, sir," DesChamps began, "I'm not so certain of that. We've been operating without money for a while... I can see some people having a reaction, out of long habit, but if they consider our reality..." DesChamps shrugged, "what's any of this really worth, now?"

Duncan pondered the Aquarian's words. Finally, he said, "You may be right. I could just be pessimistic, thinking of people's tendency to be greedy, or that they may think these could have value in the future." He picked up one of the texa gems with thumb and forefinger, turning it to catch the light, then dropped it back in with the others. "Among the clans, texa gems are more of a cultural symbol. Each family has some that are passed on from parents to children, through the generations. I have several, myself, that I got from my parents, but I'd never trade or sell them." He gave DesChamps a quirky smile. "We can't eat or drink them." Each of a nomad's gems had stories associated with them, but Duncan didn't see the need to explain that to the Aquarian.

"They are beautiful," DesChamps observed, "whether or not one measures their value against these." He stirred his hand through the top layer of gold cubits.

Duncan nodded agreement. "Could you see to getting these locked in the vault? I need to find out when Colonel Riley and the Admiral have time to take my report."

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:20 pm 
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Battlestar Libra
Day 288, Morning

The four men stood regarding the open crates in Libra's purser's vault silently a moment. Captain DesChamps had moved the packing boxes into the vault at Duncan's request, securing them there until Duncan needed him to re-open the vault for Admiral Rodrigues and Colonel Riley. Earlier, the Marine Major had reported to Riley and Rodrigues, telling them his hypothesis on where the currency and gems had come from. Unspeaking, Duncan waited for his superiors' assessment.

The Admiral slowly shook his head in disbelief. "Of all the frakking insanity we've gone through over the course of the past year now we're dealing with a pirate's plunder?"

Riley smiled, saying nothing. He reached down into one of the crates and picked up one of the texa gems. Rolling it around between his fingers he whistled softly. He tossed the gem back in the box and turned to Duncan. "Leave it to you to find this. Scott, you must have a golden horseshoe stuffed up your ass." Riley clapped his second in command on the shoulder. He then turned to the Admiral. "So, what you think we should do about this?"

"If it were up to me I would flush it out the nearest airlock. All we need is for the entire fleet to turn into a real-time map for a treasure hunt. To be honest though, I'm not exactly sure what we need to do with it. My guess is we just leave it locked up for now."

Duncan thought back to the conversation he'd had with Xen, about voting and political choice. "Maybe should President Meyers be notified?" he wondered hesitantly.

Rodrigues frowned. The last thing he needed... no, the last thing he wanted was to have to bring the president in on something that mattered so little in the grand scheme of things. Their survival was what was really important, not a box full of gems. You couldn't eat them, you couldn't drink them, and you damned sure couldn't power the fleet with them. Still though, the admiral knew what they represented. These boxes represented civilization. They gave the people of the fleet the slimmest reminder of how their lives once were.

But they also had the potential of tearing everything apart for the people in the fleet were, after all, only human. And humans were sometimes the most evil of living creatures.

"As much as I don't want to allow anyone to know about this I don't really have a choice," he regarded Riley as he continued. "Take care of the notifications, Eric. If he wants to examine them he can come aboard and do so." Rodrigues leveled his eyes on all of the people standing with him. Under no circumstances, however, is anyone allowed to remove this from this vault. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yessir," Duncan responded. With relief, he thought, Leave this to someone else to worry about.

As Rodrigues turned to leave Riley paused and faced his second in command. "I think," he said with a smirk, "it's time for you to play politician Scott. You get to talk to the president."

Duncan felt a rock settle in his stomach. Here it comes, he thought. "Sir?"

"You started this, Scott," Riley chuckled softly and slapped Duncan on the back between his shoulder blades. "You get to clean it up."

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:15 am 
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Nimbus - broadcast studio
My Side, Your Side
Day 288 Late Morning


As promised, David Berns, the leader of the People's Liberation Army walked into the station. There were stares of shock and concern when it dawned on people who this man was. Russ Ryan, the executive producer of 'My Side, Your Side' looked at Berns and his three escorts. "I presume your are the guest I heard about?"

"Yes, David Berns of the People's Party." David offered his hand out for a friendly handshake.

"You mean the Warlord of the PLA" Russ said sharply, ignoring the friendly offer to shake hands.

"There is no more warlords or army, Mr. Ryan." Berns raised an eyebrow while retracting his hand, "I see your security team is here to check us out. They'll find nothing." As he was being frisked and having a metal detector waved around him, Berns saw some people in another room.

"Oh, I see the CBI and Fleet Intelligence has sent their representatives as well." He said in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear him. He smiled as he looked at Capt. Helen Goodland, Chief Intel Officer from the Perseus. "Good to see that you have recovered from that Cylon bombing of the old Intrepid political convention. Nice to see that you're not drinking so much these days, Captain."

It was as if everyone the main room stopped and looked towards the open door. Capt. Goodland, for her part, remained composed and politely responded after entering the main room. "Yes...and CBI Director Jack Fraiser and I would like to have a chat with you and your friends."

It was at this moment a member of the Berns' group stepped forward, "And we were expecting this. I'm Meredith Sinclair..."

"Let me guess, your his attorney." Director Fraiser stated as he frowned a little while joining the Captain. "It's amazing who you represent these days, Ms. Sinclair...didn't know you were taking on terrorists now."

"He has rights, just like everyone else Director Fraiser: Freedom of speech and due process, if you have anything on him. Do you or Capt. Goodland have a warrant or a court order of appearance for my client?"

Goodland looked at the attorney, continuing to show no emotion, "No, but we would like to ask him..."

"So, my client and his assistants don't have to speak to you since they are not under arrest or a court mandate." Sinclair folded her arms, "You can either go an get a warrant or you can leave and make arrangements to speak with my clients at a later time...and of their own free will."

Russ Ryan then interrupted, "Ms. Sinclair, Director Fraiser is also a guest in the segment after Mr. Berns. He is here to do an interview in the 'Ten Good Minutes' portion of the show."

"Okay, but the military goons will need to go, if you still want the interview. We're not under martial law, so they have no jurisdiction on my client...unless they can prove otherwise. There are other media outlets Mr. Berns can talk with. This is non-negotiable...and by the way, did security find anything on my clients?"

"Well...no." Russ admitted unhappily. If the truth was told, he wanted the PLA, or now People's Party members to go away.

"No need to make a scene" Captain Goodland knew the attorney had them beat for the moment. As she walked up to David Berns, she locked eyes with him, "But you'll be talking with me and MCIT...and your attorney will hear from us 'goons' soon enough. You can count on it, Warlord."

Berns smiled, "I look forward to matching wits with you, Captain. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an interview to give. Good day, Helen."

Russ Ryan quickly spoke up, "Mr. Berns, if you will come and wait in this side room? You'll be on in fifteen minutes..."

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