Blue Moon Episode 106—Proof, Part 4
Saturday, February 16, 2008

In which the plan goes off without a hitch—except for the hitch. And the other hitch.


Several things happened at once. A servant looked up into a blinking light fixture as it went dead. The security guard monitoring the estate's cameras scowled as they winked out. With a nod from Mariah, Mona flipped on the radio. "It's done. Go!" Rachel nodded, hooked the line on the harness to the edge of the shuttle's airlock, and shoved the door open. And Dex blinked. "Oh, no." Saul's eyes narrowed as he came up behind the mechanic. ""No, no, no nononono…" "What, what's the—" Dex's device exploded with a blinding flash, sending him flying as Saul dove for the catwalk. Mariah practically jumped out of the copilot's seat as the blast flared to life on her monitors. "Whoa! What was that?" Mona strained to make out the edge of the platform through the top of Artemis' cockpit. "Dex, Saul, what just happened up there?" Rachel spun herself around in the harness until she could look, upside-down, through the panoramic window of Hamer's parlor; the blood was starting to rush to her head, but she could make out that the room was empty. With a satisfied nod, she twisted back around and began her descent. Dex tried to tighten his grip, but he could feel himself slipping, both hands trying to find purchase on Saul's straining arm. "Saul! Gorrammit, Saul, I need your other hand!" But Saul was pressed up against the catwalk plating, eyes squeezed shut. "I can't!" For a moment, Dex almost forgot his predicament; he had never heard the bounty hunter's voice sound anything like that. But then, his hand began to slip again. "Saul! Wo bu yao qi shi!" The cook's eyes snapped open and, with a roar, he extended his other arm over the platform to be met by Dex's grasping hand. As soon as he did, his breathing began to quicken, the vast expanse of ocean and the distant hull of Artemis spiraling away beneath him. He swore he could already hear the overwhelming roar of the water echoing in his ears—Dex's desperate pleas to pull him up barely even registered. "Bu neng xi…bu neng xi…" "Saul!" Dex tightened his grip. "Saul, look at me!" Dex thought he could see Saul's eyes shift. "Ge ge, I need you to pull me up!" Saul's breathing relaxed as his vision tunneled in on the young man clinging wildly to his grasp. With a determined nod, the cook began to pull. "That's it, just keep lookin' at me." As soon as Dex's feet began to scrabble for purchase on the underside of the platform, he lurched up , sending them both careening into the spindle wall. Panting, the mechanic leaned his head back against the cold metal. "Artemis, this is Ground. We're good, we're comin' down." Dex spared a glance for Saul, eyes squeezed shut and practically shaking, beside him. "In a couple o' minutes." Rachel stopped her descent at the bottom of the window, suspended just above the rolling sea that stretched out beneath the estates. Her hand went for the torch on the equipment belt, then stopped when she noted the panel that had been left open, probably to admit the sea air. She grinned; finally things were starting to look up. She walked across the surface of the window, dropping through the opening and unhooking the rope from the harness. "Mona, how much time we got left?" The pilot cast a glance at Mariah, who shrugged. "Hard to say, Cap'n. They ain't started bootin' emergency power yet." Rachel nodded distractedly, her focus already on the pedestal at the center of the room. The weapon was clunky, antiquated, and downright ugly, but the sight of it brought a smile to her lips. "Saul, you okay?" With a grunt, the cook nodded. "Mona, we're comin' down." "Roger that. We'll—" "Mona…" The teenager turned toward the screen at the tone of Mariah's voice. "Zao wu zhu pei wo men…" "Cap'n, we got a problem!" Rachel winced as the sound of the radio penetrated the silent room. She had the Lassiter in hand, and wasn't too keen on anyone stumbling in on her just now. "What is it?" "That explosion musta caught someone's attention. We got—" "Explosion, what explosion?" "—inbound local security patrol. We're gonna peel off; y'all gotta sit tight 'til we can get back." Rachel cursed under her breath, then made her way for the window; at least she could get the thing out of the room before the security system came back online. Dex scrambled over the edge of the platform as Artemis began to pull away from them. "Mona, what the—" "We got inbound, gotta make ourselves scarce for a while. You two find somewhere to lay low for now." The cook ground his teeth and cast a glance over at the mechanic. " There maintenance access?" "Yeah, but that's where they're gonna be comin' through to figure out what's wrong down here. Any second now." Saul shrugged. "Least it'll get us up into the estate, maybe find the captain." Dex couldn't help but notice that Saul had said all this with his eyes squeezed firmly shut. He sighed. "Follow me." She was so close. Rachel had her hand on the windowsill when she heard the telltale sounds of a cleaning crew rattling their way up the hall. By the time she had tossed the rope out the window and returned the pistol to its perch, she only had time to squat down behind a giant wooden box for…well, to be honest, she didn't know what half the Earth-That-Was artifacts in the room were for. As the two uniformed maids entered the room, their chatter caught her attention. "…heard that they're thieves or something." The older maid snorted. "Thieves? Wo you huai yi, who'd be stupid enough to try to rob Mr. Hamer?" "Well I heard it was them knocked the power out. Don't know what they were tryin'." "Didn't work, whatever it was. Came right up into the maintenance section." "What d'you think Mr. Hamer's going to do with 'em?" "Turn 'em over once security gets here, like as anything." As the maids finished their half-hearted rounds and bustled out of the room, still chatting, Rachel peeked out and cast one final despairing glance at the priceless artifact and the open window. She sighed. "Great."



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Blue Moon Episode 106—Proof, Part 6
In which, for once, everyone gets exactly what they deserve.

Blue Moon Episode 106—Proof, Part 5
In which Rachel surprises Daphne and Sir Anderson surprises everyone.

Blue Moon Episode 106—Proof, Part 4
In which the plan goes off without a hitch—except for the hitch. And the other hitch.

Blue Moon Episode 106—Proof, Part 3
In which the plan gets underway.

Blue Moon Episode 106—Proof, Part 2
In which a plan comes together, however creepifying a process it may be.

Blue Moon Episode 106—Proof, Part 1
In which the crew of Artemis gets a job that looks a little too familiar…

Blue Moon Episode 105—Free at Last, Part 6
In which the truth comes out.

Blue Moon Episode 105—Free at Last, Part 5
In which Saul, Dex, and Mariah's days all get significantly worse.

Blue Moon Episode 105—Free at Last, Part 4
In which Dex and Daphne each get a chance to relfect.

Blue Moon Episode 105—Free at Last, Part 3
In which Dex gets a second chance, Mariah gets a better offer, and Saul gets something else entirely.