After shaking down the locals, the crew get a few leads and continue their investigation for the thieves who stole Soimah’s sensie console. They decide to hole up again in the abandoned store front to let Claudia do some more hacking.
As they pass a cafe, a patron notices them pass, and upon seeing Claudia, has a sudden premonition of impending pan-galactic doom. While he has no real details, he just knows Claudia is instrumental in some grand and terrible event to come. He tails the group for some time, although his amateurish attempts are easily spotted by Ranso.
The rest of the crew sneak into the abandoned store front through a back alley, while Ranso stays behind, waiting just around a corner. The tail turns the corner and runs right into him, and a wrestling contest ensued. After a few moments of struggling, a station security officer ‘happened’ to round the corner and loudly asked what was going on. The tail played drunk, and both he and Ranso managed to convince the officer that it was nothing he needed to worry about.
After the cop left, Ranso dragged the tail into the store and made him explain himself. He introduced himself as Rory Mercury, and with crazed eyes said he was sure that they were all entangled in some great event yet to come. While the crew were debating what to do about this stranger and his wild tale, Claudia noticed a group of suspicious persons forming up casually outside the bakery.
After a few minutes, they all grouped together, and a large man with heavy gauntlets stepped forward, calling for Finch. The crew stepped outside to meet the gang of thugs, except Rence and Claudia who slipped out the back way to try to get help.
The thugs began posturing, but Mercury and Finch managed to talk a good number into standing down and running away. Finally, realizing his support was quickly deteriorating, the lead thug charged forward. The crew engaged the thug, with Ranso again making good use of his shiv. Mercury joined the fray, and between his quick knife work and Ranso’s shiv they managed to cut him down.
During the fight, Ranso had dodged several swings from the gauntleted fists of the thug. The gauntlets sparked with power and Ranso’s implants reacted negatively to them. Curious about their effects, Mercury claimed them after the fight and with some fiddling figured out how to operate them.
Tracking the remaining thugs back to a seedy bar, the crew wandered in to get some answers. Claudia and Rense stayed outside, with Claudia disabling the local cameras to hide what was happening from security while Rense nominally watched her back.
After numerous threats, and Mercury singing some people with the gauntlets and acting like a rabid madman, the crew learned that they had been hired by a confidential contract to ‘get’ Finch. They didn’t know the identity of the person hiring them, and implied that the Nebayans were behind it. They also spilled the beans that Soimah’s gear was supposed to be brought to a particular bay (bay 87) at a particular time and that the thugs who originally stole it were long gone.
The interrogation was cut short, when Claudia looked up from her hacking and realized that Rence was gone. Looking back at the camera logs, she saw Rence wandering around the area, and pausing at the window of a lingerie shop. As he bent over for a closer look at something in one of the windows, hands reached out from a nearby alleyway and dragged him into the dark.
Claudia contacted the rest of the crew in the bar, and they quickly left to find out what had happened to Rense. With her access to the security system, Claudia was able to track Rense through the maintenance areas, and quickly realized they were headed back towards the Mafdet.
On returning to the ship, they discovered Rense’s kidnappers had forced him to let him into the ship, then taped him to the ceiling. They forced their way through several interior doors, beelining directly for the compartment Ranso had used to store the lockbox. They took the lockbox and left, touching nothing else on the ship.
On questioning the security personnel at the entry ramp to the docking area, they were told that Rense had come by with ‘some guys’ but the guards weren’t really sure who they were and seemed confused about the whole incident. Likewise, Rense seemed to have trouble remembering exactly what happened.