After Thomson, their lawyer, left the group sat back and stared at each other for a while in the upstairs room of the safe house. So, what was next? Now that Viktor was safe, all they really wanted was to get off planet. But based on what Thomson said, it seemed unlikely that the legal system was going to move in their favor. The three policemen downstairs had confiscated most of their weapons and equipment, but they still had a few things left: Chez still had the receiver for the bug she had planted on the black hoodie gang, and she had a hidden holdout stunner. And Cleopatra had concealed one of the surface-to-ship communicators in a vacuole within her body.
Tying some sheets together and climbing out the window didn’t seem like too good an idea. The spaceports were almost certainly not going to be available to them. And there was no way that Ziggy could land the ship in an urban area. So they simply HAD to find a way to move. Then Chez heard something more over her bug… it was a little unclear but it sounded like the hoodies had just learned where the safe house was. And a few moments later they were told NOT to go there because it was being “taken care of”.
It was at this point that Joseph had a simple plan. “We should try explaining the situation to our captors.” he suggested. He headed downstairs to have a chat with the police. He told them that they had been set up on the debt charges. He told them that Eagletown Corporation was a front for the Rail Engineer’s Guild. He told them that they had made off with some information from the Templars. They knew there was something fishy going on (their boss, the detective, had made that clear) but this story was a bit of a stretch. He tried to tell them about Star Protector, but that was just TOO MUCH for him to believe. Joseph told him to get on the net and look it up.
Within a few minutes, everything changed. Thomson’s Eagletown Corporation evidence was easy to verify. And by a stroke of astounding luck, the policeman managed to come across an amateur posting of “secrets of the Templars” that showed an image looking very much like Star Protector with the caption “One of the Ancient Races?”. Then they received the call from detective Quik!: the department had caved to political pressure and ordered him to turn over the location of the safehouse. Someone would be arriving any moment now and the protective custody prisoners were to be turned over to them with no questions asked.
It was enough — they believed it. And, glancing between each other, the guards made a fateful decision. They hurried up the stairs and asked Joseph to promise to get a rail line run to Harconan if he could. Then they handed the prisoners back their weapons and said: “Okay, you’ve taken us hostage. And someone will be here any moment. Where do you want to order us to take you?”
Cleopatra immediately got on the communicator with Ziggy. With Viktor’s help, it convinced him to make an emergency landing. They needed a location outside of town; one of the guards suggested his brother-in-law’s farm and gave the coordinates. Then they hurried down to the pickup truck belonging to one of the guards and took off.
Chez shouted out directions to the driver, heading for the location of her bug since it was reasonably close to the way out of town. As they pulled up in front of the building, they saw one gang member sleeping in the driver’s seat of a van and then two others came out of the building. They spotted Chez and, unfortunately, recognized her. She waited just one moment for her bug to return, then sprinted back to the truck and leaped in as it took off. The gang members started to follow in the van, but with careful shots Viktor shot out the tires on the pursuing van and they sped out of town.
However, the escape had been noticed by the powers that be and very quickly there were a trio of squad cars (with sirens) following them at breakneck speed, and a ‘copter overhead. Mindful of the dangerous speeds and the hostages, they simply followed and didn’t attempt to stop the fleeing truck. Meanwhile, Ziggy managed to set down the Tanoran Sun in a field with only minor damage to the landing gear, and he got the gangplank extended.
The truck squealed to a stop right next to the ship, with the police in close pursuit. Viktor sprinted inside at full speed and immediately began to prepare the liftoff. The rest followed rapidly. The police stopped and took a few shots at the final one up the gangplank (Chez) but they missed. The instant she was aboard, Viktor lifted off.
He made it into space and began the 12-24 hr trip to a place safe enough to jump to null space. But within an hour they were being pursued by a military vessel broadcasting Harconan identity codes. The pursuing cruiser, having a military drive, could out-accelerate the Tanoran Sun and was closing rapidly, although Viktor could still maneuver faster because of his lesser speed. But to no avail: within another hour the cruiser was near enough to fire a warning shot across the Tanoran Sun’s bow and demand that they stop to be boarded.
Stalling for time, Viktor did, indeed stop, and while the military prepared a boarding party and sent them out, he got the crystal ready for a drop into null space even though the risk of complete disaster was much greater this close to a planet. Just before the boarding party began to approach, he did it: he sang the crystal and sucked the ship right into null space. Amazingly, he managed to compensate for the not-so-distant planet, and they made the first jump unscathed.
They all breathed a sigh of relief, and discussed where to go next. They needed someplace that would have older equipment — perhaps a university, they thought. But at the same time, they wanted to stay well away from the reach of the rail engineer’s guild. At first, of course, they would be well ahead of the news, but eventually it would catch up with them. They got Randall to forge a new transponder for the ship: re-christening it “The Null Fiche”. Then, drawing on it’s extensive knowledge of sentient species, Cleopatra suggested traveling to Quaternion, the home-world of the Quarterions, a race that had always strongly respected and looked up to the Dralasites. So off they went.
[Peter and Andrew could not attend this session.]