Locke & Load

Job offer
10/29/2517
After delivering the military salvage to Shen on Angel, the Britannia heads to Beaumonde to pick up cargo. Since the last month has been particularly hectic and the crew has some cash built up, Captain Windsor decides on some shore leave and they pick Gonghe. Cid finds a cargo of fresh fruit and they depart. En route to Gonghe, Ruan receives a call from Niska. Niska informs him that his bodyguard Crow is dead and he is looking for a replacement. Also, Ruan still owes him so Niska has a job for him, a combination of paying off his debt and showing his worth. Niska has been having some issues with rivals and wants Ruan to go to Persephone and kill Fei Zhan, a member of one of the tongs. Niska wants him and some of his men publicly assassinated in the tong owned restaurant they use as a base of operations. Ruan says they are on the way to Gonghe, Niska says he will arrange for Windsor to receive a job offer to pick up a cargo on Persephone so the crew does not know they are doing a job for Niska.

The ship arrives at Gonghe and unloads cargo and the captain gives everyone 72 hours leave. Silas ends up in a low key bar, drinking and playing tabletop gambling games. Windsor, Cid and Junior go out drinking, gambling and patronize a high class whorehouse. Ruan takes Naomi out for dinner and dancing and they end up in a hotel for a romantic evening. The next day Windsor gets a call from a Rufus Hughes on Persephone with an offer to pick up a cargo bound for Boros. The captain agrees, but it will be a couple days since they are having shore leave. Hughes says its no rush and agrees. Naomi and Junior go out shopping in Shuttle 2 and come back with a small milling machine/lathe for making parts, and… a dachshund. There's a great deal of fuss over the ship having a dog, but everyone agrees eventually. Second night of leave, Windsor, Cid and Junior sign up to fight in an amateur night. Windsor is knocked out in the second round of his first match and eliminated. Junior makes it through his match, but is eliminated on points. Cid wins his first two matches, but is knocked out in the third and eliminated.

Tong Strike
After shore leave, Cid finds a small cargo heading to Persephone and they lift off. On arrival, Windsor contacts Hughes about picking up his shipment. Hughes apologizes; the cargo is not ready, there will be a couple days delay. He offers to pay an extra 10% for the delay. Ruan goes out to check out the tong's establishment, and is followed by one of Badger's men. The rest of the crew notices the ship is being watched. Windsor and Cid approach the watchers while Silas sneaks out the rear airlock and comes up behind them. While Windsor distracts them, Silas grabs them from behind and intimidates them. Cid recognizes one of them as one of Badger's men. Windsor tells them they are just laying over to pick up cargo and then they'll be gone, so they should just move along.

Ruan returns from his investigation, changes clothes and makes a dinner reservation for two at the tong restaurant. When he leaves the ship, he is followed by one of Badger's men again. He ducks into an alley and ambushes his watcher and kills him with a head shot from his silenced pistol. When he arrives, he tells the maitre'd he is waiting for a date. Time passes and Ruan gets up to check the bathroom and look around and spots his target in the VIP section. He returns to his table and plays the part of a naive person who doesn't want to admit his date has stood him up. Eventually, Zhan and a bodyguard go to the bathroom. Ruan times it to meet them in the hallway and opens fire with his silenced pistol. Zhan goes down but the bodyguard takes the hit on his armor and returns fire. Ruan shoots him again, knocking him out, then finishes off Zhan with a second shot and runs for the fire escape door, but its locked. Ruan shoots the lock off, but a bodyguard disguised as a waiter catches him and shoots him, knocking Ruan out…

Ruan wakes up handcuffed and tied to a medical table with a tray of surgical tools and torture instruments positioned nearby. His armored coat and some of his gear is piled in a corner, but there is no sign of his pistol. Two of Badger's men, two tong guards and a tong interrogator are waiting, the interrogator tells Ruan he WILL talk and picks up a scalpel and begins to cut Ruan. Ruan is initially irritated that he has been caught and starts thinking about escape. This is immediately interrupted by another very different feeling. There is a presence in his mind, something unknown but familiar, trying to control him. Ruan knows he has felt it before, on Gonghe and Persephone and knows he needs to run, but he can't. As Ruan begins to struggle and beg his captors to let him go, the interrogator slices a crosshatch of cuts into Ruan's leg, he feels the presence coming closer…

Rescue Mission
Its late on the Britannia and Ruan isn't back yet. Windsor gets a call from Niska himself who tells the captain that his spies on Persephone report that Ruan has been kidnapped by some of his local rivals, including Badger. He gives the location and description of the tong safehouse where Ruan is being held. Windsor realizes the cargo job here was a ploy to get them to Persephone so Niska can use Ruan. They begin to plan the rescue, Naomi looks up the house on the cortex and tries to get any information about the floor plans or construction. Its a two story single family dwelling in a mixed residential/light commercial zone. Junior improvises a door breaching charge and the crew heads out to the rescue with Junior driving the captain, Cid and Silas in the MULE and Naomi riding her motorcycle. Naomi will drive past and scout it out, Junior will drop the others around a corner and drive up to the door, blow it in with his breaching charge and follow up with flashbang grenades. Hopefully they will assume the crew is doing a frontal assault while the crew really comes in the back door. Its after midnight when they head out.

Back in the safehouse, Ruan's torture contains. Then there's a crack downstairs and shouts. The interrogator tells his guards to check it out, but before they clear the door, a teenaged Asian girl in body armor and helmet glides through the door with a silenced pistol in hand and kills them all in moments. Ruan recognizes his type of gun in her hand and she moves with the same training. Then a man in body armor and a full helmet follows her in. He is wearing a holstered pistol of the same type and is carrying an advanced assault rifle with an underbarrel grenade launcher. He calls the girl "Three Six" and tells her to stand down. She lowers her gun and stands listlessly in the corner, a vacant expression on her face.
The man removes his helmet and begins speaking to Ruan calling him "Two Nine" and asking him questions like he knows Ruan. Things like "why did you leave?", "what do you remember?", "how did you escape?" Since Ruan's earliest memories are waking up in the middle of murdering a family in their sleep, including the children, its not something he wants to remember. Ruan recognizes the man psychically and he looks familiar though Ruan is not sure why.

Naomi pulls up outside and spots the damaged front door and warns the captain. The front door feint becomes an actual assault, and Silas leads Cid and Windsor through the front door. Junior drives around back and heads for the back door with a light machine gun. Upstairs, the man gets an alarm and re-dons his helmet and begins speaking verbal commands to drones. He turns to the girl and tells her there are attackers down stairs, take them. Ruan knows the crew is downstairs recognizes that he is telling her to kill them. She raises her pistol and glides out as Ruan begs the man to make her stop, explaining that these are his friends and why they are good people; how they took him in. Instead of listening, the man seems confused by the fact that Ruan is talking at all.

At the stop of the stairs, Three Six opens fire on Silas and he dodges heroically (superchip!) to avoid two shots that would have killed him. He and Cid open fire and wound the girl, she continues to shoot, focusing on Silas and he goes down, mortally wounded. Knowing the extent of Silas' injuries, Ruan struggles harder to free himself, shouting that he's the medic and he has to help the crew. Junior rips a burst from his machine gun through the floor forcing her to dodge. Cid hits her again with his Auto Lock and she finally goes down.

Outside, Naomi has climbed a nearby warehouse to provide sniper fire. She spots a fancy aircar parked on a roof down the street and fires her gauss rifle at the car's engine, but the round ricochets. Realizing its armored and therefore special, she climbs back down and runs that way, but has to stop and attempt to stabilize Silas. Upstairs, the man questioning Ruan begins to panic when the girl assassin is killed. He throws a grenade into the hallway as Cid and Windsor approach. Cid grabs the girl's body and throws it onto the grenade to muffle the blast, but fortunately its only a flashbang and they are just stunned. Inside the man raises his rifle and uses the grenade launcher to blow a hole in the wall; he climbs out the hole and jumps up out of sight. Before he goes, Ruan Reads him and discovers the truth about the Academy. He learns that this is "Locke" a name he remembered and that worried him, but he wasn't sure why. Ruan reads Locke's memories, disconcertingly learning about his own life at the Academy through the memories of another person.

Cid and Windsor get to Ruan and Windsor spots the handcuff keys on one of the corpses. They free Ruan and get him moving. Ruan grabs his stuff and the girl's pistol, ammunition and helmet since his gun is missing. Naomi is having trouble stabilizing Silas. Ruan tries to help, but as he is wounded also, he is too distracted to be of any real use. Naomi finally gets Silas safe for transport and they get ready to flee. A self destruct incendiary device in the girl's body armor ignites and burns her body and sets fire to the house. The fancy aircar is heard flying away into the night.

Returning to the Britannia, they don't know what to do with Silas. They can't take him to a hospital and they don't have anyone they can trust on Persephone. They call Niska, but he cannot help them either. Junior finally calls a friend in the Syndicate and he tells them there is a street doc on Paquin who can help. Skipping the cargo, the Britannia lifts off and hard burns to Paquin. Junior's Syndicate contact comes through for them and Silas is saved. The doctor takes care of Ruan and the rest of the crew's wounds also. Once everyone is back on the ship, they sit down and discuss what happened and they let Junior in on Ruan's psychic secret. Ruan now knows some of his history and that the Academy is real. The crew is very concerned that this will bring the Alliance down on them, but there's a good possibility that Locke himself is now on the run. The Academy has refused to believe Ruan could still be alive, even when Locke detected him on Persephone last year. They may not listen to him now that he has screwed up and gotten someone else's Agent killed. But Locke himself may come after Ruan again.

Silly Quotes and Smart remarks
Getting caught up on paperwork, Jim tells them they have earned two paydays since the last one
Lee "I didn't authorize that"
Raleigh "What, the passage of time?"

Lee "I always have lee-way"
Raleigh "Except at home"
Lee "That's true"

The crew is partying on Gonghe
Matt "I'm going to get the captain drunk"
Lee "That's not very hard"

Emily's character Ruan is taking Naomi on a romantic date to seduce her
Michael "Do it in the engine room, engines make her hot"
Emily "I don't think engines would do it (Naomi is interested in all kinds of high tech), I think I would have to take her to a server room"

Talking about some of the crew is looking for prostitutes and some are looking for underground fighting rings
Raleigh "Maybe you can find an underground prostitute fighting ring"

Discussing why they work for Niska
Raleigh "We accept money from Niska in return for not making him angry"

Junior has bought a dog without asking and Emily says Ruan doesn't want to share bunks with Junior AND the dog. Since Ruan and Naomi have a thing going on, Emily suggests someone could share Naomi's bunk
Raleigh "I will totally take the dog"

Talking about assaulting the tong safehouse to rescue Ruan
Kevin "Did we ever think about walking up and asking nicely?"

Junior uses his Friends in Low Places asset to find a Syndicate doctor for Silas. The bill is moderately high
Raleigh "This is the price of not going to jail"
Lee "I'm going to give him a good review on Spelp"

Discussing Ruan's history and being trained as a teenager psychic assassin
Lee "This one time, at assassin camp…"