In Brownsville's shabby terminal bar, Turpin waxes paranoid… Rateyes manic, as he lifts another flat ale…

“Nectar of Rassoul!” the gambler drawls.


“Ah… but soon, soon…” Rats promises, “we'll be drinking Hurtian champagne.  If that’s your desire, I mean… to get out of here…”

Goin' to Hurt?” Turpin wakes up.

“Depends.  Got a lotta skilk still tied up in Marina, and she’s a presto bird. I'm getting the hang of this captaincy business… can go back to Bezend without Kollucks, poor dank.  If Davey wants… 'nother ale, publican!”

He kicks the carpetbag at his feet, but gently.  The clock over the bar tells the time sixteen ways on sixteen planets, all of which make Turp a little more hincty.  Oughta be going!” he mutters.

“Let 'im wait. Want 'im grateful when we show up.”

Instead, a couple of jims in dark suits approach from either side of their table.

“Davey send you?”  Rats is, well, rattled.  Lemme finish my ale!” he whimpers

The Regency Men lay their badges down on the table

“What say we all pay a visit to this Davey fellow,” one of them says

“I know you?” Rateyes pretends not to have seen the badges.  “Jam off!”

“What's in the sack, Cap'n?” the other inquires, drawing his gat.  Both seem to find this funny, and the first shurt kicks the bag.

“None of your business,” Rateyes protests.

“Percy Ray Frobisher…” the first declares, placing an Official order on the table, where it soaks up a quantity of the bad ale and starts to disintegrate.  “You and your associates… we know of several, is this one?... are under arrest for violation of the ANUS-BEST-US orbiting ilaam, violation of a Regency Electromagnetic Preserve, larceny therefrom and certain other offenses we'll get into at a later date. Tell us about Davey…”

Rats looks up at the two shurts.  “Stuff it up your anus-best-us…”

The regency men cuff Rats and Turpin, lift up the bag of chimes and set it on the table.

“Found a funny little doll on that rawth you flew out of here in…” the first of the Regency men toys with his suspects, “I'd say you were lookin' at capital offenses. So why don't we begin with Davey, or this other member of your crew we have witnesses say cut outta here when you got back…”

“I ain't saying nothin'…” Rats shakes his head.  “And I want an attorney.”

Turpin, following his lead, echoes “nothin'!”

Which is why, an hour later, he finds himself in a yellowish interrogation room, hands and ankles laser-manacled but loosely; he still can reach up and pick his nose.  Behind a one way mirror, Detective Crandall and Officer Pimm watch with disgust.

“Frobisher was the organizational brains behind this…” Crandall nudges his subordinate, “Kollucks the tech brains…”

Pimm ain’t the sharpest killdart in the drawer, but even he can figure this out.  “The squashed guy?”

“Yeah. This other dank was the muscle… I hear things. This guy… don't know what the Johanna he was doing... well, let’s find out…”

They leave their observation post and enter the yellow room, slapping the door behind them for luck… one of those pointless Regency rituals.  Taking a seat opposite Turpin, Pimm slaps a folder against the table.

“Turpin, Timur… twenty eight soyears old, Hurtsman geneology… aspect, uh, miscellaneous… born Ursa Majoris… last known occupations: Klown, sailor, provisional with a QI of one thirty six…

This brings the prisoner up and complaining.  “Hey… I gotta two oh four!  I’m a legitimate snaker.  Guild said so…”

Crandall remains standing, hands folded in front of his clams.  “That was before this little adventure…” Pimm explains.

Ain't supposed to count gorls. Ain't been gormed of anything…

Gotta bag o' chimes and a corpse, witnesses…” Crandall recites, tiredly, “I think you're demattied! Plus whatever you were into at that sikken hotel, the night Lyca Arbatax died?” and he gives the prisoner a sikken little smile, lifting the carpetbag a few centis and letting it drop again.

“I was just doin’ a job,” Turpin whines.  “For a friend, he was working for Davey…”

“Davey Clegg, yes, that’s another one,” Crandall smirks.  “Queer thing happened, Clegg gets found darted in the City – back alley, no witnesses.  You, now, you’re the sort of jim as got mawts piling up all around your feet, maybe Frobisher ain’t the nog behind this rawth, maybe you are…

“You got all the rook, don’t you?  You're the jammin' shurt…”

“Detective, to you.”  Crandall wags a finger in front of the gorler’s face as if speaking to a naughty child.  “Long and short of it is… give up the fourth member of your crew and you might save your skin.”

This seems to unnerve Turpin and he recoils in his seat.  “I want a lawyer, faq?  It's my right…”

Pimm smiles, waving towards the door.  “Omar?”

A shriveled little turtley-man with a beard, Omar scuttles in… looking either drunk or very old and palsied…

“This is your lawyer. Omar.  Ohm, this chunk of rawth is Timur Turpin ordinary snaker, that’s bein’ generous, and… oh yeah,” Pimm adds, cruelly, “former Klown.  Kindly advise your veeb of a client…”

“Tell them everything they want to hear,” the turtley-attorney rasps, “and the Regency might let you live.”

“He's fired!” Turpin shouts at the shurts.  “I want Mushnovarian…”

“Can't do that! Mooshie's under suspension for a duration!” Crandall shakes his head.  “Bad acquaintances.”

“What duration?”

“The duration that lasts till we say he ain't.  You get one lawyer, that's all, and that’s Omar here. And a psychiatric evaluation, in case you try claiming you were insane when you went to the Bezend!”

“Don't want one!”

“Too bad, you're getting' one,” Pimm glances at the Detective. “With all the fixin's!”

“Tell the Regency what it wants to hear and you might get off with twenty years…” Omar the lawyer coaxes, then looks to the shurts for assurance, “uh, that's, uh, fifty something, Hurtian