December 6, 1973 – Let’s take a tangent from that tangent to tangent this tangent over here

Dan and Xu eventually did show up back at their armored RV or whatever that monster is.  Dan immediately freaked out because he thought I was following him.  That guy needs to lay off the coke or whatever he’s on that makes him so paranoid.  Once Xu and I peeled off and hit a couple bars, she gave me the information I was after regarding Baron Orlock’s Island.  I wrote it all down so Martialla and Blue wouldn’t get on my ass for not having “complete” information, it was boring so I knew I would have forgotten most of it. 

I assumed that Maggie had just returned to the CS after the hotel incident or moved to another hotel at the least, but Xu told me that no one has seen her since that day when I “destroyed” the Goodwhatever Hotel, which for the record was more than a month ago.  I’m starting to feel like the protagonist of a mystery novel series – does everyone I meet end up getting kidnapped or murdered?  Maggie had said that her husband had been up to some underhanded dealings, but what kind of criminal dealings that result in a kidnapping could you have when you’re in the business of making pipes for industrial cooling?  Or was it coolant for industrial pipes?  It definitely had something to do with pipes or cooling or coolant.  Or engineering? 

I was eating ribs out of a garbage bag (not BBQ ribs, some kind of vinegary rib dish they make around here, I don’t even know what animal of ribs they’re made of) while Blue and Martialla passed my scribbled notes back and forth and made various astonished and disgusted noises. 

Blue waved one of the cocktail napkins at me like a flag “Are you serious?  Gun emplacements?  How are we supposed to attack this place?”

When I just shrugged, Martialla cast a suspicious fish eye on me “Why are you being so quiet?”

I sighed “A friend of mine has gone missing, I think I need to look for her.”

She made a gross fish-face “What friend?  You don’t have any friends other than us, and we’re not really your friends either.  More importantly, NO!  Bad Ela.  We just talked about this!  You do this every time, we just start down one path and then you flutter away.  You’re like a butterfly!”

“I think you mean I’m like a kid chasing after a butterfly if you’re implying that I have a short attention span.  Saying someone is like a butterfly means they’re beautiful and fragile, which I guess is also correct.”

“Whatever, the point is . . .”

“She’s rich.”

Blue leaned in “What’s that now?”

“Her husband is the owner or CEO or something of Kruger-Donovan-Miter Industrial something or other.  He was here doing some business stuff with Derecktor and she tagged along.  They’re loaded.  Now, doesn’t that sound like the kind of person we want to have on our side if we’re going to attack an island fortress?  You’re always crying about how we don’t have any resources.  How much do you think saving a wife is worth?  And keep in mind she’s a good looking one and I bet she really tries in bed, too.  That has to be a million at least right?  Then you can buy all the guns you want.  This is Madirpoor, you can probably buy a god damn attack helicopter.”

Martialla continued to scowl “A helicopter costs more than a million dollars, Ela.”

“Yeah, that’s the important thing to focus on.  I’m suggesting that if we find Maggie we’ll be rewarded handsomely and that money could be put to good use in rescuing your niece.”

Blue sat back and flicked his tongue thoughtfully “How long has she been missing?”

“About a month.”

His tail twitched in surprise “A month?!  Ela, she’s dead.  You’ve got seventy-two hours to find someone at the outside.  No one would hold a person for that long, it just doesn’t . . .” His head swiveled to look at Martialla “I mean I’m sure . . . your niece is fine . . . sometimes . . . uh . . .

Martialla rolled her eyes “Nice recovery, Lucien.  The good news is you don’t know what you’re talking about.  This isn’t a serial killer we’re dealing with, I was held captive for six months by Pecos terrorists, it all depends on what they want.  When was the last time she was seen?”

“Well, remember that last time Mr. X sent his merry band of murder girls after me?  The second time I mean, not the first or third time.”


    1. Good question, the production cost of a Huey Cobra in 1995 was 11 million. How much is the mark-up for illegally buying an attack helicopter on the black market? And what about inflation? From 1973 to 1995 it average 3.8 percent. Given the givens, assuming the assumptions I’ll say that a death copter in 73 cost about the same as the budget for the movie MASH.


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