En route to Persephone, Mad receives notice from her bank that 700 credits has been transfered into her account. Attached to the transfer is a note of thanks from Esposito. The crew is pleased, but a little puzzled. Sebastian sends her a wave asking about the money and how things are going. Esposito sends a return wave that she is paying them for a job well done. Additionally, she is officially retiring from the Federal Marshal’s service with commendations. She is considering setting up her own private investigator’s business in Calhoun.
After almost a month, Acorn finally touches down in Eavesdown Docks. Mo and Colt leave to meet with Mo’s fence, Gaffney. From there, they will head directly to Badger’s. Mad and Sebastian remain behind to watch the ship. Mo and Colt make their way through the noisy throngs of people, often having to push their way through the crowd. The bazaars of Eavesdown are an extremely busy place. As they move, they find themselves moving into a distinctly Chinese area of the docks, with the Chinese character for “9” marking a lot of the alleyways and structures—probably a Tong sign.
Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a hooded figure rises up in front of Colt. Surprised, Colt barely has time to react as a gloved hand slams into his head. Colt is briefly stunned from the impact. It is almost as if he was hit by a piece of steel, not a human hand. The smell of rot trails in the air.
The next few minutes flash by in a blur. Barely pausing, the figure turns from Colt and stabs Mo in the side with a wicked combat knife. Colt quickly pulls his gun and aims it at the mysterious assailant’s head. Mo is stabbed again, although he is trying to pull away from his attacker. Before Colt can pull his trigger, he hears the sound of a gunshot from the quickly dispersing crowd and the assailant jerks as he is hit in the shoulder. Colt fires his own gun, point blank to the cloaked figure’s face, and the man drops to the ground.
Colt quickly turns his attention to Mo, who is barely standing and clutching his side. A young Asian man approaches them, asking them if he can help. Colt has a brief glimpse of a gun in the back of his jacket, but is more concerned with saving his friend. Colt tries to use what medical knowledge he has to help stop the bleeding, but he knows it’s not going to be enough. Upon surveying the scene, the young Asian man quickly moves away and returns with another man whom he introduces as Malcolm, a doctor. Malcolm pulls out a med pack and starts immediately tending to Mo’s wounds. During the process, Mo passes out completely.
As the street doctor works on Mo, Colt calls back to Acorn on the ship phone. He tells the rest of the crew that Mo has been stabbed and asks them to call for help. Sebastian promptly contacts the local emergency services and explains the situation. Then Sebastian and Mad load up on the mule and head for their friends.
The young Asian man introduces himself as Bojing. When Colt thanks him for his help, Bojing replies that he “happens to belive in Karma,” maybe Colt will be able to help him one day. Colt turns his attention to the body of the mysterious attacker. The body is already surrounded by people picking over the corpse, but they scatter when Colt approaches. Colt flips back the figure’s hood. Even in death, Colt can easily identify the man. It is the body of Jubal Early.
The sound of an approaching siren causes much of the crowd to disperse. Even some of the stall merchants quickly pack up and disappear. Colt returns to Mo‘s side and notices a datadisc tucked into his friend’s waistband. He quickly pockets it as Bojing and Malcolm take their leave. Bojing offers to be in contact, indicating that he is staying at a boarding house called the Three Moons. As the ambulance pulls up, Colt’s last glimpse of the now-dead assassin is as a couple of Tongs pull his body into a nearby alley.
The ambulence crew loads Mo into their vehicle and Colt climbs in with them. On the way to the hospital, one of the men records Colt’s statement of events. Colt relates only enough of the recent events to be believable—though the emergency services technician is still clearly skeptical, he also seems to be cynical enough to have heard it all before. The incident is labeled as an “unprovoked assault”. Colt asks what hospital they are going to and is told “Central Hospital.”
Meanwhile, Mad and Sebastian arrive at the scene. The crowd is noticably thinner here and a sizeable blood spot is visible on the street. In the distance, they can hear the sounds of a distant siren moving away. Before the two have time to figure out what to do next, Colt contacts them and tells them which hospital Mo is being taken to. Mad is able to convince a nearby pedestrian to give them directions and they take off again.
The crew is finally reunited in the emergency room waiting area at Central Hospital. Colt quietly tells Mad and Sebastian what happened. Anxious, Mad approaches the reception desk and asks about Mo‘s status. The nurse tells her that Mo is out of surgery and has been moved to a bed. He is allowed visitors, so the crew heads directly to Mo’s room. Upon entering, they find an unconscious Mo lying in a hospital bed. A doctor enters the room and introduces herself as Dr. Vanesh. She explains that Mo is just sleeping on his own at this point, but that she wants to keep him at the hospital for the next 24 hours. He will need plenty of rest to recuperate from his wounds.
After the doctor leaves, the crew discusses their next plan of action. It is decided that Colt and Sebastian will take the mule back to Acorn to check out the mysterious disc while Mad will wait and watch over Mo.
When Colt and Sebastian arrive back at Acorn, a hooded monk in saffron robes suddenly appears. He approaches the two men, and tells them that he has a business proposal for them. It is Laramie, disguised. He asks if they can speak privately on the ship. Once on board, Colt asks Laramie to turn over any weapons he may have. Laramie hands him one pistol, saying he’s “traveling light these days.”
Colt, Sebastian, and Laramie sit down in the common area. Sebastian is noticibly cool towards their former business associate. Laramie begins by saying he had nothing to do with Biggby’s death or any shady financial tranactions. Since all the trouble began, he has discovered that his personal assistant was in the pay of another employer. Now, due to the current situation, Laramie needs to get off world. He has some favors he can call in until the mess sorts itself out, but needs to get to his stash of “liquid assets” in order to do so. He is willing to pay the crew 5,000 credits if they can deliver him to a specific Core planet (the name of which he will reveal once the crew accepts his offer). Sebastian asks Laramie who the mole was working for. It was the Rosen Group. However, Laramie also learned that Rosen Group has a silent partner known only as “Dante”.
Since no decision can be made without the full crew’s approval, Laramie agrees to wait for their answer. He will be in touch. Once Laramie leaves, Colt and Sebastian turn their attention to the mysterious disc that was found on Mo. Sebastian carefully inserts it into the Neccom. The disc contains an audio-only wave that has obviously been filtered through a voice distortion program:
You have all been busy, busy little bugs, poking your little faces into concerns that are not your own. The very thing that brought our paths to cross in the first place. But no matter.
I send my friend Early with this message—and I do hope he gave it the exclamation point I intended—to warn you to extricate yourself from my affairs. You have seen the consequences for young Travis. For Mr. Laramie. For Mr. Biggby. For those that failed to follow my instructions.
Until I decide you need another reminder, I bid you good day.
After the wave plays, the disc erases itself.
Colt calls Mad on the ship-phone, and the two talk briefly. Mad will continue to wait with the still-sleeping Mo, while Colt and Sebastian will complete their dealings with Badger. Deciding to leave the mule behind because of the crowds, the two walk to Badger’s “office”, making sure to bring along the disc containing the Reaver footage Along the way, they realize that neither knows the location of Mo’s fence. They will have to ask Badger. Once at their destination, the two are seen fairly quickly. As they are ushered before Badger’s desk, it is obvious that the man is not particularly happy to see them.
Badger bluntly asks Colt and Sebastian if they sold the information about the ship. Apparently the Snoats Brothers have already returned to Eavesdown and collected on their half of the salvage. Badger has also apparently already heard that the Evelle and Gale were given the information from Vargas. Colt protests that, no, they didn’t sell the information. For several minutes, Colt tells Badger what happened, with Sebastian adding to the story along the way. When Colt finishes, Badger is still not pleased, but only says that he better not hear about any else getting those particular packages or they’re going to have “words.” He and his men will meet at Acorn to finalize the rest of their business transaction.
They get directions to Gaffney’s place of business and head that way. It turns out to be a storefont in a slightly seedy part of the Chinese section of town. Upon entering the store, Colt introduces themselves as friends of Mo who are looking for a fence. Gaffney, looking slightly pained at the use of “fence” just out in the open and takes them into a private back room to talk business. They come to an arrangement and head back to Acorn so Gaffney can begin to appraise the haul from their job.
About the time that Gaffney finishes his appraisal, Badger and his men show up. When he finds out how much his cut of the profit turns out to be, Badger says a few choice words—often categorizing the haul as a bunch of luh suh and go se. Nevertheless, they load up their part of the haul and leave. Later, Gaffney returns with some help and takes his haul away after paying the crew in platinum bars.
Meanwhile, back at Central Hospital, Mo finally awakes as evening approaches. Mad gives him a careful hug and then quietly catches him up with the day’s events. A sudden knock startles them both. Mad cautiously approaches the door and opens it slightly. A young Asian man stands before her, who introduces himself as Bojing and asks if he may come in. Mad, consulting first with Mo, agrees. The young man asks after Mo’s health, then takes a seat in a nearby chair. Mad, still cautious, stands close to Mo.
The young man gives his full name as Bojing Chapman. He tells them that he was sorry he didn’t act fast enough to save Mo. Chapman had been looking for the crew because he knew that Early was in town. When he saw Early attack, he acted as fast as he could. Early, Chapman says, was a mutual enemy.
“A mutual enemy?” Mad repeats. Chapman nods. They have another mutual enemy. A certain Commander Rejovic. Chapman lost half of his old crew, including his brother, at the hands of Rejovic (through Early) and now he’s looking for a new crew to hunt Rejovic down. He looks at Mad, and says that her and her friends are going to need to deal with Rejovic as well.
Mad squarely returns his gaze and asks if his previous crew flew on Ellandri’s Dagger. When Chapman says yes, she coldly tells him that there is no lost love between his crew and hers. Chapman acknowledges this, but tells her that while the transactions between their crews were strictly business, it is now personal with Rejovic. He suggests they work together. They all want Rejovic, and Chapman might know of a way to figure out where he is. Mad asks about the rest of his old crew, and he tells her that the captain and pilot are under arrest. He’s the only one left that’s free. Chapman stands up to leave. He’s staying at a boarding house in the Chinese part of town, called the Three Moons. If interested in his offer, the crew can contact him there. After Chapman leaves the room, Mad turns to Mo to ask his thoughts on Chapman’s offer … but Mo has fallen asleep.
Mad immediately calls Colt and Sebastian on the ship’s phone. She tells them that she’s had a visit from a former member of Ellandri’s Dagger. Colt says he wants everyone back on the ship now. Mad replies that Mo isn’t supposed to leave the hospital until tomorrow, but reluctantly wakes him up. When the issue of being charged for a night’s stay at the hospital is brought up, Mo is instantly ready to go, wanting to make sure midnight has not passed so he gets charged an extra day. Colt and Sebastian pick them up in the Nut House so Mo doesn’t have to make the journey back by mule. Everyone breaths a sigh of relief to be back safely on Acorn, but there is quite a bit to discuss after the events of the day.