Log 10

 

On departing Verbena, Chan ensured, despite the hard times, that everyone got to take part in the lift day feast, a day out, Chan detoured slightly to stop at Skyplex Reno.  Knowing the crew faced a serious challenger in reaching Keystone, and possibly needing to beach a Blue Sun facility Xavier had to replace her lock picks sized on Athens. The Reno Skyplex was known for casinos, but it also had a discrete black market where items of interest to the Alliance could be purchased. Docking just after 8 pm station time on 17 May 2518

 

Li Ming went to find a hot table, with Marsh tagging along so that everyone was in pairs.  Willis stayed with the Ghost to coax the maximum possible efficiency out of the engine to conserve their critically short fuel supply. William and Chan went looking for any equipment that caught their eye that might help. Cindy and Xavier went out for the replacement lock picks. Willis increase efficiency enough to stretch their ten-day fuel supply to eleven days. Chan located half a dozen frag grenades to supplement the crew’s firepower. 

 

Cindy managed to find and purchase standard lockpicks, but could not locate electronic lock picks. Li Ming went all in while gambling (ALE D12 Gambling D12 +D4 for talent, D4 for allure, and four plot points for a D8) First roll was 25 things don’t go smooth re roll 27 takes 25 and wins 90 knowing not to push her and was ready to leave, when a pair of local toughs made comments about her attributes.

 

Marsh took exception and after some heated comments, Marsh starts a fight. Two troublemakers are joined by a woman that attacks Li Ming forcing Marsh to fight two toughs alone. Li Ming spotted the woman closing in from the flank and Li Ming threw a palm smash at the woman’s nose, which she managed to deflect into a forehead strike that stunned the woman for a split second, but that was long enough for Li Ming to deliver a bone crushing spinning back kick that flattened the woman before she could recover.

 

Marsh charged in fast and low throwing a punch at each of the men. The toughs were so unimpressed by the small man that neither even bothered to try and block his attacks, choosing to absorb the punches. The first thug had a gut like stone taking almost no damage. Marsh immediately adjusted his second blow lower and his small stature allowed the punch to slide under the second thug’s guard delivering a punishing impact to the thug’s naughty bits. The two thugs were easily dodged by the nimble Marsh. Furious and hurting, the second thug made things personal and drew a knife. 

 

Li Ming spotted the knife and, with her excess of confidence, charged the first thug so Marsh could concentrate on the man with the knife. Li Ming’s first punch rocked the man slightly, enough for her to think she would repeat the spinning back kick again. However, the thug anticipated this attack and managed to catch her foot and using brute strength pulled her upside down off the ground.

 

Marsh managed a successful strike at the thug’s arm that sent the knife spinning, but sustains a powerful backhanded blow in return. As Marsh struggled to focus, the thug grabbed his weapon rearming himself. Li Ming used the remaining momentum of her failed kick to snap into a back flip that took her out of the thug’s grasp. The dimwitted thug managed to track her move and attempt a punch, but the quicksilver fast gambler easily blocked the attack. Marsh failed to disarm the thug, but this time dodged out of the way safely. The thug facing Li Ming roared forward like a charging bull. Not willing to directly confront a man that outweighed her by 80 pounds, she rolled onto her back and drove both her feet into the man’s gut crushing the charge right out of him. Staggered by the unexpected attack, Li Ming had time to roll back onto her feet.  Marsh sensed the fight was nearly over and attempted another disarming attack just as the thug lunged with the knife. Li Ming struck at the second thug with an all out attempt to knockout the staggered man facing her. 

 

As Marsh attacked, he hit the thug’s arm just hard enough to knock the knife arm to his left. Li Ming’s two lightning fast chops drove the nearly unconscious man to her right. The two blows caused the thug to collapse into the second thug. The two thugs go down in a pile as station security finally arrived. Marsh had stepped forward to ensure the troublemakers stayed down and was thus standing over them as they unstacked and the man that pulled the knife discovered, to his horror that his comrade had been stabbed and was dead. 

 

The man immediately howled that Marsh had started the fight as the Skyplex security took him into custody. Marsh quickly stepped forward to admit he’d been involved while giving Li Ming a subtle signal for her to stay out of the confrontation. She picked up on the signal, and distracted the senior guard away from the motion Marsh had made. The guard was suspicious, but Li Ming poured on the charm stating the half-truth that “This gallant man came to my assistance when these two brutes took exception to my doing well in cards.” The guard asked about the unconscious woman and Li Ming said, “She jumped me as the hero fought the two men. It was clearly self defense.” 

 

The guard was not up to trading wits with a better-armed opponent and fell back to a standard response that always worked, “Tell it to the magistrate”. The four survivors of the brawl were taken to the detention facility. Li Ming was able to sweet talk her way out of arrest, largely due to Marsh spinning a tale believable enough that the magistrate was satisfied to have one open and shut suspect in custody for manslaughter. Li Ming had to use every bit of her agility to avoid being seen to successfully reach the Ghost without incident. 

 

She sent a signal to get the rest of the crew back to the ship to report on Marsh’s arrest.  Cindy and Chan made a few discrete inquiries as William and Xavier made a few discrete electronic inquires. Cindy quickly discovered the Skyplex security was inept and extremely corrupt. The magistrate only cared about having a high conviction rate, the guilt or innocence being secondary. The station didn’t have an actual morgue, so the body is being held in a station doctor’s office. Xavier sliced directly into the station main frame (INT D12 hacking D12+D4, 4 plot points D8 +1 after fact plot point net 31) and easily located where the body was located, along with being able to insert an additional access code for herself for a later entry to the doctor’s office. 

 

According to the files already entered during Marsh’s booking that it was clear the magistrate considered Marsh guilty and that there would be no further investigation. Returning to the ship, the plan was for Cindy and Xavier to enter the doctor’s office to gain access and examine the body of the dead thug. The investigation by both Cindy and Xavier had already discovered that both the men have had several run in on the skyplex and had no shortage of enemies. The results obtained during the search of the doctor’s office would determine their next step.

 

The two easily entered the doctor’s office that’s to Xavier’s inserted access code. Using the office’s medscanner, Cindy quickly determined that while the stab wound was serious, and would have required medical treatment, was not the cause of death. The thug had been poisoned and according to the scanner, within 30 minutes of the fight. Carefully logging the data to a disk, the two women carefully returned everything to its place leaving the break in undetectable. The women returned unseen to the Ghost with more than enough evidence to challenge the case against Marsh. 

 

William clearly figured a barrister would be needed to find a way to enter illegally obtained, but illegally suppressed evidence. A check of the cortex easily found several barristers however; contacting them quickly ran into trouble. Three flat out refused, one wanted a staggering five thousand credits making that an impossibility. The fifth person contacted, Jeffrey Stoner, proved to be a cantankerous old man that agreed to represent Marsh just to “Stick to the Plexies”. 

 

When Marsh was brought into the courtroom Stoner hammered the prosecution with the evidence provided by the crew. The judge was livid, but the evidence was too powerful to ignore. As Stoner fought for Marsh’s life, Chan, William and Cindy continued to scour for who poisoned the thug. Initially running into a couple of Skyplex low lives, but a solid front got the punks to back down. Eventually Cindy discovered a waitress at the bar has a sister that was dating the dean man. The thug had beaten the sister quite badly three days earlier. Going to meet the waitress, she panics and draws derringer. William immediately began talking to try and calm the terrified woman. William came within an ace of getting her to drop the weapon, but he did distract her enough for Chan to snatch the weapon from her. Cowed now that she was unarmed, she meekly went with Chan, William, and Cindy to the courtroom, where Stoner was running out of stalling tactics. Confronted by the actual perpetrator, the magistrate had to release Marsh.  Stoner was extremely satisfied to have bearded the magistrate in his own den; he only charged the crew a hundred credits, which Li Ming gladly paid.