Monday, June 17, 2013

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VI: Cackle Bladder Cock-Up

22:30 hours, 18 summer 1926
Detention cell 3, Hotel Bravo
Southern District, KAD

18:45 hours, 18 summer 1926
InterWest leased warehouse
Western District, KAD
“Good morning,” the Doc said in a way that
left Billy believing that only half the statement
was factually correct. “Do you feel able to
answer some questions?” 
“Where am I?” Jimmy asked, wincing as
he righted himself on his cot.
Billy grunted. He knew he was pretty heavily
medicated; his hands felt clumsy and alien
to him but they still slowly poked at a tender
spot on his stomach. He concluded he was
better off doped. 
“Enjoying the fruits of your labours,” Lukas
answered sarcastically from a few meters away.
They were in cage, three meters on each
side with two cots and a bucket between
them. Beyond the grey bars, the small cone
of light quickly dissipated into complete

Jimmy pulled his tattered shirt open to
reveal a freshly bandaged wound. “I hate
getting shot,” he said matter-of-factly. 
Then after moment, more emphatically,
“Yes, and you have another one through
your leg. I assume that wasn’t part of the
plan?” The Doc said dryly.

“No. Where’s Jimmy?” Billy asked, his
mind suddenly clearing. 
“Hey, where’s Billy?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing.”
“He was still in the control room when I, uh,
passed out,” Lukas summarized. “We’re
alone, or they’re keeping us segregated
from any other prisoners. I've examined
the cell.  I don't think we'll be letting
ourselves out.”
Billy sighed. “Fuck.” 
“Grand,” Jimmy squeaked as he shifted
again, his face contorting from the pain.
“What does Kinross want with him, other than
to tie up loose ends?” The Doc asked coldly. 
Reading Billy’s expression, the Doc continued:
“Not exactly the way I’d planned it.”

“So there was a plan?” Lukas asked,
clearly controlling his anger.
“Yes, I know about Kinross, I know about the
con, and I know the Quicksilver isn’t real. What
I don’t know is how you thought events were
going to transpire last night.”
“Sorry, Quinn me lado, this went straight
to Hell, so it did. Kinross hired me to pull
the con on the Doc. He wanted to know
more about the blessed Quicksilver, so he
hired me to find out what I could and then
make sure that whatever the Doc knew
went up in smoke.”
“We hired the mercs, the Jarlson fellows to
come in and crash the party and do us in.
They were to take Quinn, Kes, Grimm, and
Mads prisoners. No one was supposed to
get hurt.” Billy spoke freely, concerned by
what might be happening to Jimmy.
“So that wasn’t the real Quicksilver?”
Lukas didn’t like being shot, didn’t like
getting knocked out and defeated, but
most of all, he didn’t like getting played.
“I assume you don’t know where Kinross is
operating from?” The Doc asked doubtfully.
“No, not really. But I wager it was a damned
good facsimile 'cause your friend the Doc
went for it. Say, I guess I’m rich.” Jimmy
managed to smile and Lukas wondered if
he was delusional. There had been no
confirmation of the transaction's completion.
"No. I don't know anything. You're money's
gone, so's my brother. We've both lost. Its
been a complete disaster." Billy croaked
“It was all going so well. You were playing
your part like the fine lad you are. Anyway,
we were supposed to sell it to the Doc, get
our money, and then get shot and killed in a
glorious gun battle. By the time the Doc knew
it was a fake, we’d be two corpses buried
under the sand without a trace. A beautiful
cackle bladder. I wasn't supposed to get shot
for real.” Jimmy even managed to smirk
between winces.
“Why the con?” The Doc pushed.
“So this was a con, all of it, and we were
just a couple more marks.” Lukas said flatly.
The pieces fit.
“We didn’t have a choice. Kinross has our Da’.
He’s a bad gambler, you know? Da’s into the
Kolsons for half a mil. Jimmy and I had to take
this job to get him out of hock.”
“No. Well, yes, I conned you, but I wasn’t
going to screw you, Quinn. I was going to
make sure you and your crew got your cut.
I swear to Jesus I was. The rest went to
Kinross, to pay off a debt.” Jimmy said.
“Jimmy was hired in Port Arthur by Kinross
for this job, but Jimmy came up with the
specifics right? Kinross doesn’t have the
background for this kind of scam. Did
Kinross tell Jimmy to use Quinn’s team?”
“So you honestly though Kinross was going
to let you go, after this?” Lukas asked
incredulously.  He mentally re-ranked
Kinross to the top of the kill-on-sight list.
“No. Like you said, Jimmy managed all the
"It was all going to end in a cleverly directed
finale, with no one harmed save for hard
feelings," Jimmy concluded.
"Except the shooting at WestEx last night.
Right?" The Doc countered and Billy nodded.
"Alright, tell me about the Borodin Package"
"But people got shot for real, Jimmy. People
died. They died at the Hammer, they died
on the train--Geddy killed some and stuffed
them into columns.  They died at Western
Expedition,” Lukas said accusingly.
“It’s real. The genuine article. Quinn, Kes,
Doc Grimm, and I took if off the Gamma
Maglev from a courier team. That was the
hook, we needed it...”
“The train was a complete shambles, I’ll
grant you that. I didn't expect there to be
the NGIS on board or that bloody terrorist
outfit. The damned Deathwatch, they’re the
ones who caused all the bloodshed. Not me.
I had nothing to do with them.” Jimmy said
defensively. For the first time he seemed
clear and lucid. 

“So the Borodin Package wasn’t part of
the con?” Lukas asked, dubious.
“To screw me, I know. Listen Billy, Kinross
has your brother. Stop prevaricating. You
have no sources to protect, no long-term
interests left to save. There is no plan B,
no fallback position. You cooperate
completely here and now or your brother
dies and you will soon find him in your
heaven. Your source.”
“Of course it was part of the con. I had to
find something that would entice the Doc,
and my information came up with the
Borodin Package. Also, it was the only
money I was going to make out of this con;
the rest went to Kinross. That’s how I was
going to pay you, with half of what I took
off the Doc for the Borodin Package.”
“It was one of Major Stone’s officers in Korp
intelligence. We had pictures, compromising
stuff. He told us about this genetic
information being shipped South for analysis.
Lucky for us he also snitched to the SRID
and before long both the officer and the
SRID fellow got stabbed. So nobody was
left who knew he had the intel except us.”
“But the Deathwatch...”Lukas began

“Not me. I didn’t ask for any theatrics on
the Gamma. I figured the PX courier guys
would be challenge enough. If you doubt
me, remember, I sent my own brother in
with you.” Jimmy shot back. 
“So Kinross didn’t point you towards it? Do
you know where Stone got it from?”

This gave Lukas pause, but he wasn’t
convinced. “We interrogated one of the
guys we caught from the Hammer, one of
the Deathwatch. He said they found out
about the Borodin Package travelling on
the Gamma Maglev through a Swanscombe
information broker in Port Arthur.”
“Oh.” Jimmy shifted again, this time his
discomfort was only partially due to his
wound. “Well, yes, perhaps. Before
Kinross hired me, I had heard about the
Borodin Package. I might have passed
on that information for a fee. But I swear
Quinn, I never told Kinross about the
Borodin Package. It was my angle, my
profit margin.Sorry, that was my error,
but I didn’t realise I was selling the
information to a bunch of bloody
terrorists.” Jimmy said, apparently
“For fuck’s sake, what do you mean
interesting? My brother’s out there, probably
with a murdering lunatic.”
“So how does Geddy fit into all this?”
Everything else made sense to Lukas,
confirming as it did some of Todd's
paranoid theories. Though maybe paranoid
wasn't the right word. Lukas’ question
interrupted Jimmy’s thoughts in the most
unpleasant way.
“Yes, let’s talk about him. What do you
know of Geddy Jay Gordon?” The Doc
“Fuck, Kinross and me were working out the
final details a couple days ago, before the
fundraiser. He was procuring a passable
proxy for the Quicksilver so I could finish
the con, which meant I needed to get some
more data just to make sure."

“Kinross said he was his new contact. Jimmy
panicked. we had to wrap up the con
A-fuckin’-SAP. Geddy knew Jimmy from
the gulag. We had to get away before he
came looking for us.”
“What data? What are you talking about?”
Lukas demanded. He wanted to make
Jimmy admit what Lukas already knew,
that Jimmy had raided the Lucky Shot.
Even in the midst of an admission, he
wasn’t telling the whole story. Which,
under normal circumstances would have
been par for the course, but here and now,
facing imminent death at the hands of a
psychopath, Lukas had to admire Jimmy’s
ability to continue dissembling.
“Thank you, Billy. That’s everything I
needed to know.”

Jimmy didn't want to go into that part of the
con. But given the circumstances, he buckled.
“Alright, alright. It was a unique opportunity.
Security was light at the casino. It was the
perfect chance. Kinross said there were
some smuggled bombs in the place we could
use for a distraction.” 
It was just after siesta, and although Hotel
Bravo never truly slept, activity doubled as
well-rested Badlanders continued their
day-to-day chores, trades, and travels.
Lyta still hadn’t slept. She’d be up for 36
hours straight when Karen found her.
“The Doc wants to see you,” she said,
looking hopeful.

The Doc looked tired but alert; apparently
having Lukas in mortal danger stimulated
the cold bastard.
“You cold bastard. You planned on bombing
the casino?” Even though it confirmed what
Lukas had already concluded, he vacillated
between anger and incredulity. The complete
and utter irresponsibility....

“Jesus, Quinn, haven’t you heard a word
I’ve been saying? I hate bloodshed. We
didn’t use the bombs, they just provided
enough of a distraction all the same. Billy
got in and out without hurting anyone
seriously.” Jimmy  concluded

“He wired a bomb around a friend of 
mine’s neck.”  Lukas leaned forward,
locking eyes with Jimmy.  "She could
have been hurt."  He clenched his fists.
The Doc started speaking as soon as she
closed the door and the light went green in
his office. “We have him, Lyta. I know what
Kinross wants. To sell Kinross’ con, Jimmy
needed something real. Kinross didn’t
understand cons, but Jimmy knew it couldn’t
all be fake”
“It was all just a fake! Your lady friend was
never in a real danger. Anyway, Billy
managed to download a description of the
Quicksilver by sending a worm through
the casino computer.”

“So you blew up Hotel Bravo to cover
your tracks.” Lukas summarized.
“Kinross and I both underestimated the
Swanscombe Swindler. He needed something
to hook me in, something that would have an
impact.” The Doc continued.
“Christ, you think I’m the source of all the
ills in the world, don’t you? I’m just a
matchstick man. We had nothing to do with
that. The worm erased itself; Mads made
sure of it. We didn’t need to blow anything
up.” Jimmy’s gut wound was clearly 
bothering him less than the threat in Lukas’
eyes as he questioned him.
“Kinross hired Jimmy to swindle me using
the Quicksilver. To do this Jimmy Stole the
Borodin package with your help. Except
Jimmy never knew who he was stealing it
“Tell me this: if the Quicksilver was just to
con the Doc and you were going to get
away with the money under the cover of
faking your own death, why take such a
risk to make it look real? You’d be gone
before he tested it.”
Lyta blinked twice, trying to think clearly
through her fears, sleep deprivation, and
concussion. “Tatsugoro,” she answered,
not appreciating that it was a rhetorical

“No. PX was just the courier and they were
just carrying it on behalf of Colonel Arthur
down to the Humanist Alliance for analysis.
Like I said, there aren’t too many people on
Terra Nova capable of unraveling the genetic
data at the center of this conspiracy.
Kinross wants the Borodin Package back.”
“That was Kinross. He said it was
absolutely imperative the Doc believe it
was real.”

“What do you mean, 'imperative'?”
“What do you mean, ‘back’? The Borodin
Package belonged to Kinross?” Lyta’s head
throbbed trying to figure out what was going on.
“I don’t know. I worked for him, not the
other way around.” Jimmy relaxed a bit.
He preferred Quinn confused to angry.
“JImmy wasn't the only one working for
Kinross. It’s a case of the right hand not
knowing what the left is doing. Lukas told
Bill that the guys you interrogated from
the Deathwatch had gone off mission, that
trying to kill Von Breslau was Frobisher’s
idea. That happened after you killed Virgil
who was keeping them in check.
“Mads said he made two viruses for you.
One to infiltrate and erase itself...”
"If you hadn’t killed this Virgil guy, they
would have kept going after you and the
Borodin Package, not pursuing a rogue
terrorist agenda. So then their boss had
to find someone to step in and continue
the search and clean up the mess: Geddy.
He did it as efficiently as he could and the
only way he knows how: simply cut off the
left hand.” The Doc said,  lighting a cigar.
“Right, we used that at the casino.”
“Billy said Geddy was after the Borodin
Package. He works for Kinross, so did Virgil
and the Deathwatch. The whole time Jimmy
had the Borodin Package to con me, Kinross
was looking for it. He wants it back. Which
means we have leverage to get Lukas back.”
“And one designed to crash a system
completely. Did you piggy-back that on
the worm?”
“So Kinross doesn’t want your money? Then
what was the con about?” Lyta asked, confused.

“No, the money was no big deal. He knew
even a large financial amount wouldn’t
cripple my operation. No...” 
“No, I gave that one to Kinross. He was the
one who’d asked for it.” Jimmy added,
Doc Chambers’ face tensed with
concentration and his gaze went nowhere
in particular as smoked billowed up. 
Lyta was starting to recognize his expression
when he looked inwardly, trying to play the
angles. She wondered if this man ever knew
what it was like to be manipulated, to be
powerless and afraid. Instead, he just kept
talking as though Lyta wasn’t there.
Lukas was quiet at last, digesting all the
information Jimmy had given him and
collating it with everything else he had
learned in the last days. Suddenly he
snapped to attention.
“The Quicksilver con led to the Borodin
Package getting stolen by Jimmy, so it had
its own purpose. He wanted me to get my
hands on it...Oh, no.”
“I know why the Quicksilver had to be
absolutely convincing. So Chambers would
analyse it. And I think we know where Mads’
second virus is.”
The look on his face was unmistakable.
Doc Chambers did know fear. 

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