The party members assemble for breakfast wearing their semi-casual daywear and then head off to the Mayor’s Office in time for their 10.00am meeting.
Agent Silas meets Taeva in reception and she introduces him to the others. He then leads them up through the offices to the very grandiose offices of Mayor Joran Parkes. Although Mayor Parkes suffers a little from the arrogance and pomposity of the upper class elite of Lorton, he seems a likeable enough fellow and is happy to engage in pleasantries while waiting for his secretary to provide coffee for the party members. Once that has been taken care of, Mayor Parkes gets down to business – or at least he tries to get the party members to get down to business. The party members don’t want to reveal all their hands at once though, and so engage the Mayor in a game of verbal chess to see who lets down their defenses first.
The Mayor loses the game as he starts to lose patience in it. He then reveals all that he knows. He has heard rumours regarding Round’s methods and illegal activities and admits that he has probably spent too long trying to, “Sweep the matters under the carpet and hoping that the rumours were nothing more than rumours as, if they are found to be true, then we risk the biggest scandal that this city will have seen in the past 200 years”. But he admits that the rumours didn’t go away – they have just been getting louder and louder.
He admits that this is all he has at the moment – just rumours – and that for such serious allegations to be proven correct, he needs to catch Round in the act. He tells the party members that Round has more influence – and friends – in this city than anyone else with the exception of himself and so he cannot afford to bring Round to trial and lose, otherwise the Mayor’s career would be over.
He tells the party members that they have Round and his two main henchmen, Dawns and Dugarry, under observation, but it’s a struggle for their four agents to keep the three suspects under observation 24/7 and he says that he could really do with the party member’s help. Taeva asks for photos of Dawns and Dugarry. Agent Silas shows them photos on his iPhone 3. The party members immediately recognize them as the two who were with Round the night of the murder. The one who went back to the warehouse the following day was Dawns.
The party members agree to help the Mayor and his agents. The Mayor tells them that they have an observation post in an apartment facing the police station which Agent Silas is now manning. Grim and Will agree to accompany him. Agent Warner has been assigned to trail Dawns. Jie and Taeva agree to help him. Arvor decides, however, to pursue a different tactic, which is to go hunting down drug dealers in the hope that they can find some evidence that way, which the mayor is happy to agree to.
They ask if they can be provided with weapons. The Mayor authorizes each of them to carry an autopistol, saying that any non-concealable weapons would run too much risk of their getting spotted by one of the police.
The mayor breaks up the meeting, shakes each of the party members by the hand and then they get their autopistols from the locker that Agent Silas opens before heading off to perform their respective tasks.
The remainder of the morning and all of the afternoon are without incidence. Arvor and Max cruise the streets of some of the worst neighbourhoods of the city looking for dealers but, as Max explain, they are more of a nocturnal species and so are hard to find during the hours of daylight.
It’s just after sundown that they get a break. Agent Warner together with Taeva and Jie spot Dawns coming out of an apartment in one of the lower-class areas of the city carrying a briefcase before getting into his car and heading off. He seems to be heading downtown, in the direction of the police station. While Agent Warner follows him at a safe distance, Taeva calls the others to let them know what’s going on. Will runs a computer check on the apartment building. He finds that one of them is rented by the police as a safehouse.
Some 20 minutes later and Dawns pulls his car up outside the police station. Grim and Agent Silas see him entering the police station, but without the briefcase. The party members have a hurried discussion as to what they should do. Taeva wants to grab the briefcase from the car, but the two Agents are against it, saying that they really need to catch Round with it.
Everyone waits for a long and tense hour before Round emerges from the police station together with Dawns and Dugarry. They all get into the car and head off. Warner, Taeva and Jie immediately start to tail the car. Realizing that now is their best chance of getting Round, Silas calls Grim and Will to join in the tail. As soon as they are in the car and know which direction Rounds & Co. are heading in, Jie gives Max a call. Abandoning their still fruitless search to find a dealer, Max and Arvor leap into the minivan and head in the direction.
Warner, Jie and Taeva follow Rounds & Co. to District 13, the lowest of the low areas in Lorton. They see the car pulling up outside a run down apartment building. Dawns gets out and saunters up to a rough-looking character sitting on the steps to the building and has a word with him. The thug nods, Dawns gives a thumbs up to the car and Round and Dugarry come to join him, with Round clutching the briefcase tightly. The thug opens up the door and disappears inside the building with them.
No sooner have they gone inside than Agent Silas turns up along with Grim and Will, while Arvor and Max arrive in the minivan from the opposite direction.
The Agents and the party members draw their autopistols and enter the building.
It’s when Arvor leads the group up to the third floor and a shot rings out, narrowly missing him that they realize they’ve found the right floor. The others are right behind him. Agent Warner takes a bullet as he crosses the corridor but he is still up. Their appears to be thugs toting autopistols shooting at them from every doorway but the party members are better armored than the opposition. Grim takes a bullet from one of them as they try to get into the corridor, but his armor takes most of the damage. The two Agents are the type who lead from the front. with Agent Silas taking a bullet as he and the party members slowly clear the corridor as the thugs continue to emerge from room 315.
Jie, Arvor and Agent Silas lead the charge into the room where they encounter more thugs – bullets pinging off Jie’s armored carapace. Agent Silas takes a second bullet as they clear the room, with Arvor taking down Dugarry.
Silas leads the charge into the backroom – a brave but fatal move on his part as, upon entering the door, he is brought down by bullets from Round, Dawns and the main drug dealer. Arvor and Jie soon take retribution, bringing down Dawns and the drug dealer between them.
Grim has his autopistol aimed at Round who is now the only one left conscious.
“Drop it, Round,” Grim barks sternly. “The game’s up.”
Round, terrified by the ferocity of the party members does as he is bid, dropping his pistol on the table which is strewn with several kilos of Berrozine and large bundles of bank notes.
Agent Warner steps over the body of his fallen colleague as he takes his cuffs and slips them over Round’s wrists:
“You have the right to remain silent,” Agent Warner says without emotion. “Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney…”
“Yes, yes, yes,” Round spits back at him. “Don’t you think I know my fucking rights? I AM THE LAW HERE.”
Warner ignores this as he simply radios for his other two colleagues to come to help take Round away. Taeva carefully videos the scene while Will tries to see what he can do for Agent Silas. A sad shake of the head confirms what everyone feared. Agent Silas died in the course of duty. While waiting for back up, Warner hands the others some plasticuffs and asks that the others cuff up all the injured. Will tries to bandage up the injured as best they can.
Some 15 minutes later, the other two agents arrive and start to take care of the scene. Agent Warner asks the party members to help him get Round and the now conscious forms of Dugarry and Dawns into the vehicle so that they can take them to the Mayor’s Office. One of the agents says that he will get some beat cops to take care of the thugs.
“OK,” says Warner. “But don’t let any of them into the room where all of the evidence is. We need that room to be kept secure in case any of the cops try and stay loyal to Round.”
“Understood,” nods Agent Ross.
The party members bundle the perps into the back of the minivan where Jie and Arvor keep their guns on them as Max drives to the Mayor’s Office. The others follow with Warner.
It’s a little after 21.00 by the time they have got Round & Co. back to the small holding cell the Agents have at the Office. Will finds a medikit and sees to the wounded – the party members, Warner who was also quite badly injured during the fight and then Dawns and Dugarry.
By the time he has everyone patched up, Mayor Parkes has turned up.
“Good job, men,” the Mayor says. There is no pleasure in his voice as he thanks them though. The party members get the feeling that the Mayor is now in an awkward situation.
“Well, Mayor Parkes – there is the matter of Elliot being hunted as a fugitive by Delgado the bounty hunter," Arvor says. “He was hired on the same deal as we were, but he is, shall we say, ‘less questioning’ of his orders. He may arrive back here in a week or two with Elliot who last we heard was headed to Callia. Then of course, we need to get our colleague (Autumn) back – Round had guards stationed at the Hyatt Regency where he was keeping her hostage, and our cargo needs to be released – you can add kidnapping and extortion to his drug trafficking charges, if you wish,”
The Mayor nods.
“I will have a word with Head of Security at Lorton Down and ask them to detain the Delgados and Powell if they arrive here,” he replies. “I will make sure that they don’t release him out of the extrality zone unless it is to me or one of my … remaining agents.”
There is a touch of deep sadness. It’s obvious that he has been informed of the sad demise of Agent Silas.
“Agent Warner needs to get to hospital now,” the Mayor continues. “I don’t want to lose any more of my boys over this matter. I think that it is best if I come with you to ensure that there are no problems with your getting your colleague released. I don’t think that there will be any problems – I doubt that beat cops would defy my instructions, but you’d better keep your weapons and come with me in case the LCPD is even more rotten to the core than I currently believe.”
“I will arrange for your cargo to be released. Where is your ship?”
“Parlek Port,” Max replies.
The Mayor nods.
“There is also the matter of the Cr. 100,000 that was the agreed sum for your assistance in this matter.”
The Mayor looks pained and he reduces his voice to a whisper.
“This whole dirty business is rather a delicate matter, in case you hadn’t realized and needs to be handled with great sensitivity. If I arrange for your cargo to be freighted to Parlek Port immediately and give you the cash now, do you think that you can keep quiet about the whole sorry affair and depart from Lorton as quickly as possible?”
“Mr Mayor, discretion is our middle name at Intersol," Arvor replies. "You sir are a class act, and I hope that the rest of your time in office goes better than this. Lorton hardly deserves you.”
“Thank you very much,” he says.
“Here is the payment that I promised you,” he says passing a debit card charged with Cr. 100,000 to Max.
“Thanks, mate … err … Mayor.” Max says, swiping the card to add the funds to the ship’s operating account. “That’ll come in ‘andy. We’re overdue a mortgage payment on the ship which would just about clear us out otherwise.”
“Very good,” the Mayor replies. “Right, let us go and release your colleague immediately as I am sure you want her back as quickly as possible and I need to start thinking about how to clear this mess up.”
The party members say their farewells to Agent Warner and then head after the Mayor. The Mayor’s driver is waiting outside in the mayoral limo. He orders the driver to head for the Hyatt Regency. Max and the party members follow behind in the minivan.
Twenty minutes and they arrive at the hotel. The doormen snap to attention as they see the mayoral limo arrive and they rush to the door to open it for him. The Mayor waits until the party members are all behind him before they all take the elevator up to the 16th-floor. The party members keep their hands close to their shoulder holsters as the Mayor approaches, but they soon relax when they see the guards also snap to attention when they see the Mayor approaching.
“Stand easy, officers,” the Mayor says. “You are hereby relieved of your guard duties by my direct orders. Please return to the Station and await further orders.”
“Yes, Sir,” the two guards reply, before turning on their heels and heading for the elevator.
The Mayor waits until the elevator is on its way down before extending a hand to each of the party members in turn.
“This is where we shall say out goodbyes,” he says. “Probably forever. Once again, on behalf of Lorton City I thank you for your actions here.”
“You can keep the autopistols with my blessing. I suggest you dispose of them before you get to Mareksport though as I have no jurisdiction there. And I will have to deny all knowledge of what went on here today if they catch you.”
The party members nod, say their final farewells to the Mayor and then turn their attention to Autumn’s room. As they do so though, they hear moans and yelps coming from her room.
“No, arrrrgghhhh, you’re hurting me. Stop. I can’t take any more of it.”
“Fackin’ bastards!” Max shouts as he draws his gun. “They’re torturing Autumn.”
Max gives the door a mighty kick. The gives a yelp of pain as he stubs his toe on it. The rest of the party members also have their weapons drawn. Jie takes over from Max and sends the door flying off its hinges. The party members rush through the suite into the bedroom.
Autumn gives a little shriek as the party members rush into the room. She is lying on the bed while a muscular masseur stands over her pulling on her shoulders. They look around the room. The 42" plasma screen is showing a romcom, there’s a bottle of pink champagne on ice next to her, the remains of a lobster salad on the table and glossy gossip mags strewn over the sofa.
“Oh … errm … thank heavens you came to rescue me,” Autumn stutters. “It was horrible – being caged in here like an animal. Just terrible – the whole 10 days.”
Max seems to be incandescent with anger as he shouts at the masseur.
“Get yer fackin’ ’ands off ’er,” he growls.
“Oh, Max,” Autumn sighs. “Stop being so jealous. You’re not my Dad.”
Max continues to point the gun at the now terrified masseur.
“Get away from her, now,” he shouts. “I warn you that I have bionic reflexes – like a coiled spring in a tiger. Or something. I’ve already shot one man today.”
“Was that before or after you nearly shot me in the leg?” Grim asks stifling a chuckle.
“Errm … just before, actually,” Max replies quietly. “Not that your shooting was much better than mine today.”
He then returns his attention to the masseur.
“So why don’t you take your regular-sized penis and get the fack out of here?”
“I’m going,” the ashen-faced masseur gulps before rushing out of the room.
Autumn sighs once again and rolls her eyes, then shakes her head.
“We need to go as soon as possible,” Arvor reminds everyone.
“Well if you could give me a little privacy, I’ll pack and be out of here in ten minutes,” Autumn replies, still clutching a towel to her bosom.
“OK, I’ll go and settle the bill then,” Max says, storming out of the room with the others following him, before heading down to the lobby.
“’Ow much!!!???” Max exclaims when he sees the size of the tab.
“Cr. 8,000 for Ms. Larsson and Cr. 2,500 for the rest of you.”
“That’s bloody daylight robbery, yer thieving bastards,” Max says as he keys over the amount.
Autumn comes down with her bags.
“Eight bleedin’ thousand in expenses?!” he shouts at her.
“But I was locked up – like a caged animal,” Autumn retorts, “While the rest of you were gallivanting around. You can’t begrudge me for making my incarceration a little less horrible.”
“OK, you two, stop your squabbling,” Arvor intervenes. “We need to leave.”
Still muttering to himself, Max leads the others to the minivan, which he returns to the car rental place. They then hire two taxis to take them out of the city centre and through the suburbs, asking to be dropped in the middle of nowhere seemingly. From there it’s just a ten minute walk through the trees to where the AGC is waiting for them, just as they left it.
They remove the branches and get in. Once everyone has buckled themselves in, Max takes to the air and follows the same course that he took to get to Lorton. He stops a couple of km from the border and hovers over a fast-moving stream so that everyone can dump their autopistols into it before the AGC crosses over the border into Mareskport just after midnight.