Few of Days and Full of Trouble

Episode XIII: Corporate Retreat

led-lights-modern.jpgThe next morning on Summerfair, Jasper sends out a wave to Dr.Mitchell, his boss and supplier of Miracle Elixir, asking how business is going. Dr.Mitchell immediately replies, inviting Jasper to the corporate retreat for his Miracle Elixir salespeople being held on the planet, Pelorum. Jasper inquires if he can bring his friends to the retreat. Dr.Mitchell proclaims that it’s an exceptionally good idea for Jasper to bring them along, since he’ll get a bonus if he can convince any of them to drink the crazy kool-aid and sign on as representatives of the Miracle Elixir company. He hurries to the lounge area, where Lucy, Bix and Mo are hanging out, and talks up the retreat with such enthusiasm that eventually Bix says it sounds good and Lucy agrees to go along too. Jasper makes a point not to invite Mo, since she holds his Miracle Elixir in such disdain, but Mo would rather not wind up stuck at a retreat full of swindlers.
Milan is still in the infirmary, hovering worriedly over his comatose little brother Angelo, so they call him into the lounge area. As soon as he arrives, Jasper goes on about how free and wonderful the retreat they’ve been invited to will be. Milan finds it all highly suspicious, saying that it’s probably some sort of trap set up by the Alliance reeling them in, but none of the others share his suspicions. He asks Mo about his brother’s chances of survival and whether or not his consciousness can be restored. Mo says there’s nothing she can do to help heal him or awaken him from his coma, but he seems stable, all they can do is wait and see at this point. Jasper says he has a brother who is a doctor, but is doubtful whether his brother will want to help them, as there has been bad blood between them. Lucy asks Bix if he knows anyone, but he doesn’t think the doctor he knows will help at all, since it’s his dad, head of Spartoi Tec and most likely the reason Angelo is in a coma in the first place. None of them suspect that their former crew mate, Dr.Torbert will be of any help, since he was always too drugged up and strung out to function. After much deliberating they finally decide to go to Pelorum and have a nice little vacation.
They reach Pelorum after a couple of days flight and are given clearance to land on the club med type planet. While Milan lands the Jia Li, Lucy asks Jasper,”Aren’t there a lot of doctors in your company?” “Oh, why Yes, of course!,”says Jasper, proudly,”Everyone’s a doctor! I’m a doctor, Dr.Mitchell is a doctor, even the newer ones are doctors, really we’re all doctors!” Lucy looks extremely doubtful, realizing that none of them are legitimate doctors of anything but quackery. Jasper goes on to explain that he’s the highest rated salesperson in the entire company, therefore he’s unsure about how many younger, less accomplished paeons are running around these days.
After breaking atmo, Milan is directed to land the Jia Li near the fancy beachfront estate where the retreat will be taking place. After setting their ship on the landing strip, they walk up to the swanky main building together, where they meet Marcel, the events organizer. He shows them to their own personal vacation mansion and asks if he can get them anything. Jasper asks for a stiff drink and swimming trunks, to which Marcel replies they’ll have a tailor made swimsuit done up for him. Lucy requests a tankini and he says he’ll send tailors to make a custom swimsuit for her, that they’ll have finished in about an hour. Looking uneasy with all the decadence, Bix asks for swim trunks and a bottle of whiskey. Jasper bellows,“Your Best Whiskey, my good man!” Marcel hurries to comply. Once telling them of the poker tournaments going on in the main mansion, Marcel begins listing different prizes that can be won, including a single person shuttle that’s incredibly fast as the top award available and after some consideration, Milan decides to wander over and check out the game.
Lucy runs off to take a bath in one of the huge, decadent bathrooms, leaving Jasper and Bix to peruse the rest of the house while downing glasses of whiskey.
As she’s bathing, Lucy logs onto the Cortex from the feed in the bathroom, searching for any news on their Academy Prime raid. However, all she is able to find is local news and tidbits that she couldn’t care less about. Despite her better efforts, she can uncover no pertinent information.
Jasper hears from Marcel about the coming up retreat activities, most notably a meeting with Dr.Mitchell’s top associates and warnings about changes that may be happening in the near future. Jasper tries to get in touch with Dr.Mitchell, but winds up only speaking with his receptionist, who schedules a meeting time for him, along with directions on how to get to Dr.Mitchell’s retreat mansion and informs him of the mandatory company party being held that evening at Club Lush.
Lucy emerges from her bath, dressed in all the spa clothing she could find in her bathroom, including soft flip flops and a fluffy, white bathrobe. Jasper tells the others that he has to meet with his boss, and instructs them to bring a bottle of booze for him along to the mandatory party, because he’s definitely going to be coming down off his alcoholic buzz by then.
Milan instantly perks up at the mention of Club Lush, since the resort just happens to be owned by his old girlfriend, Cascada Pearl, to whom he would greatly enjoy paying a visit.
Everyone gets ready for the meeting. Lucy finds a bunch of clothing in her bedroom wardrobe that fits her perfectly, so she gets all dressed up in a corset, skirt and blouse. Jasper gets handsomely dressed up in his now beautifully pressed three piece suit. Bix wears the usual, since he really doesn’t give a shit about dressing up. Milan dresses to the nth degree, in his ruffled shirt, waistcoat and frock coat, he looks utterly fabulous. Finally ready, they are lead in a procession with other attendees to a separate area, where everyone is welcome to indulge in the night’s entertainment, except for Jasper, who is suddenly whisked away to Dr.Mitchell’s home.

At Dr. Mitchell’s, Jasper finds Dr.Norton and Dr.Shelby, his rivals, both glaring back at his amiable greeting. They whisper amongst themselves, Jasper looking down upon them, since he’s the best in the whole company, and they’re nothing more than a couple of amateur hacks, not fit to work with him. At long last, all three of the salesmen are lead into Dr.Mitchell’s study, with Jasper in front, while the other two try to elbow their way in front of him. The room reeks of cigar smoke and expensive wine, Dr.Mitchell sits at the head of a huge, ornate table in the center of the room. He bids them to enter with a jovial smile and greeting. He says,“Gentlemen, Thank you for all the work you have done in the company. I’d like to reward you with not only shares in the company, but also territory therein.”
Dr. Mitchell makes a motion towards Jasper, who steps forward, brimming with pride. Dr.Mitchell pulls out a medal and goes through a long drawn out speech about Jasper, explaining how he’s the best in the whole company and Dr.Mitchell owes him a great deal of thanks for his loyalty and trustworthiness, while pinning the medal to Jasper’s suit jacket. Jasper thanks his boss profusely, then asks about the territory that is up for grabs. Dr.Mitchell replies that Jasper is to have first pick of the territories. Audible groans issue forth from both Dr.Shelby and Dr.Norton, annoyed at the obvious favor their boss shows towards Jasper. Jasper takes the Georgia system and the Lux system for his base of operations. The others agree to split the core planets, which Jasper saw as too safe and not enough of a risk. They both call Jasper a fool, but Dr.Mitchell steps in as the peacekeeper and stops them from picking a fight with his most treasured employee.
As they leave Dr.Mitchell’s office, he pulls Jasper back and asks him to come see him tomorrow morning. “How early?” asks Jasper, looking doubtful for a second. But when Dr.Mitchell says,“Noon” Jasper nods, relieved, and wholeheartedly agrees to the meeting.
Jasper continues off to Club Lush, making sure to get a separate cab from Dr.’s Shelby and Norton. There he finds the rest of his crew, all pleasantly tipsy and milling around outside the Club while waiting for him to turn up with their tickets. The four Jia Li crew members gather together, as Jasper confides with them that he can’t stand this part of his job and would much rather hang out with a bottle of whiskey and a lounge chair, than be social and partake of wild dancing and partying. Milan wanders away from their group in the direction of the poker tournament proceedings. Jasper reluctantly leads the others into the Club, taking the bottle of whiskey offered to him by Bix and tossing back a healthy swig, he searches out a table for them. They have a confrontation with a man who doesn’t want to let them take away his table. Jasper and Bix manage to convince the offending man and his date to give up their table through menace and threats. Lucy, Jasper and Bix sit down at the champagne table after chasing the asshole away. A waitress shows up and offers them everything under the sun to drink and/or drug themselves with, including Chrysanthemum Blonde, which Lucy and Bix back away from instantly, sporting looks of extreme distaste. Bix winds up ordering another bottle of whiskey, while Lucy starts downing champagne, delighted to discover it’s free.
The stunningly beautiful Cascada Pearl strolls up to a podium and makes a little speech about the history of Club Lush and how she got into the business of pleasure, then invites everyone to party on. As she leaves the podium, the festivities really kick off.
At a nearby table, two salesmen start fighting about who’s made the most money in the last year, drunkenly, they draw their guns, but then Jasper calls out, “No! Don’t, it’s not worth it!” They both turn their guns on Jasper. An argument ensues, Jasper talks the two into punching each other’s lights out, instead of shooting anyone. They holster their guns and try duking it out with their fists, but it looks more like they’re slapping each other than punching.
Annoyed with the amateur display in front of him, Bix yells, “That ain’t how you fucking fight!" He glances over at Lucy, looking gorgeous in her corset, then suddenly he jumps up and throws a punch at the nearest salesman.
Another salesman, sitting at an adjoining table, turns towards Jasper, saying,”That little Asian friend of yours can’t possibly take both of them!” Jasper replies,”Oh, you’d be surprised, I’ll bet you 500 credits, he can take both of them at the same time.” The bet is on. Bix punches one of them in the face, and then gets hit for three bashing damage from behind by the other salesman. Whirling around, Bix kicks him in the stomach. The kick lands making the salesman double over in pain, wheezing he tries to punch Bix back, but misses completely. The guy stumbles back, almost crashing into Jasper. Lucy sticks out her foot, nonchalantly waiting for one of them to get close enough to trip. Bix glances over at Lucy again, swings a punch and wildly misses the erratically stumbling drunken salesman. Luckily Lucy manages to trip the salesman instead. He trips, falls backwards, and crashes through a glass table, behind him, which shatters into a million pieces. His rival salesman staggers back, horrified and starts shouting,“Police!”
Jasper points his gun in the guy’s direction, who immediately stumbles from the room while crying and clutching his bashed up face. 500 credits is promptly handed over to Jasper for winning the bet.
Meanwhile, Milan meanders through the ballroom on his way to the tournament floor, walks up to the stairs and, looking, up finds Cascada Pearl walking down the stairs towards him. Her mouth drops open in surprise.“Milan!” she gasps, “What are you doing here?!” He tells her that he’s just here with some friends. She wants to know where his friends are, and he says “They’re probably getting into trouble somewhere, if you’ve heard any crashes, it’s them.” There comes a loud crash from somewhere out on the floor, the sound of a salesman falling backwards through a glass table, and Milan rolls his eyes, completely unsurprised.
“What was That?!?” Cascada jumps, startled, she looks around trying to see what caused the crash.
Milan shrugs,”Yeah, that’s them, my friends” She’s curious why he’s not currently with his friends, but he answers that he wanted to be alone for the time being. Her brow wrinkling with concern, Cascada asks him what’s wrong. Finally he opens up about Angelo and tells her about their raid on the Academy Prime ship and of Cy’s death only a couple weeks prior. She is horrified that so much has happened to him in such a short period of time, but Milan says that he’s going to go play in the poker tournament, so he’s busy right now and can’t stay to chat further. Cascada lets him go, but only after she’s gotten him to agree to meeting up with her later.
While the others are waiting for someone to come clean up the salesman/glass table mess, Lucy conspires with Jasper to steal some ID’s. She manages to swipe the ID card of the salesman who fell into the table, since the fall knocked him unconscious, and discovers that he’s the head guard for Dr.Mitchell’s corporation database. After a few minutes of work on her laptop, she’s able to set up a system so that it looks like the head guard is siphoning money from his rival, but actually the money will end up in Lucy’s account and in Jasper’s account. She splits it 60/40, but doesn’t tell Jasper the way in which she’s split up the amounts. Neither of them bother to let Bix in on their scam, since he’s only interested in eyeing Lucy in her corset, while drinking copious amounts of booze, and he couldn’t care less about extra money.
On their table’s Cortex feed, Lucy can see Milan entering the tournament floor and taking his place at the table. The others at the table prove a motly assortment: Ricardo Montalban, the incredibly handsome host, along with John Castle,an ugly linebacker wearing teeny, tiny sunglasses, Lady Esmeralda Masterson, a frightening vision in black and pink tulle, and some guy named Sully O’Sullivan. John Castle folds almost immediately, then starts chewing a handful of ice, while watching the game because his jaw is bigger than his head. Ricardo Montalban folds shortly after John Castle, then leans back to watch the game’s proceedings while suavely stroking his exquisite chin. Milan winds up winning with a full house of queens and aces. He winds up raking in a pot worth 16,500 credits. Jasper, Lucy and Bix gather around to congratulate him. Jasper tells him that he never wants to play cards against him and Milan agrees that winning all of his shipmate’s money would probably make things awkward between them.
An announcement goes out over the loudspeaker instructing the guests to finish up their business, postponing the fun until after the vitally important seminar. They file into the seminar room, where they’re regaled by Dr.Mitchell with heaps of boring business information for his employees, including a long talk about their newest product, Miracle Elixir plus, which is a stronger and more concentrated formula that should be rolling out in a few months.
After the tedious seminar, Milan leaves to try meeting up with Cascada.
Bix yells,”Fuck it! Let’s go swimming!” He and Lucy run back to the mansion, don their new tailor made swimsuits and race to the beach, both still quite tipsy from champagne and whiskey.
Dr.Mitchell calls up Jasper, asking him to come to his mansion, saying it’s terribly important that Jasper hurry. Jasper rushes over to the mansion, as instructed, where he’s lead into Dr.Mitchell’s inner office. Dr.Mitchell explains that he’s had some distressing news: there is an assassination attempt out on him. He goes on to say that he’s heard through the grapevine about Jasper’s group being good, reliable bodyguards, and therefore, he’s interested in hiring them to protect him while he’s in Londinium for his annual business trip. Dr.Mitchell and Jasper discuss the logistics of the proposed job, as well as a payment amount for the task. After a lovely chat, where Dr.Mitchell admits that Jasper is the only one he can trust, they pat each other amicably on the back and then Jasper hurries off to find the rest of the crew.
Lucy is the first in the water, cavorting and splashing about. Bix stops at the water’s edge, watching her and looking concerned for a moment, but then jumps in the water where they have a splash battle. Jasper comes up and tells them about his talk with Dr.Mitchell. They’re both interested in the job, but decide that they should talk about it tomorrow when they’re no longer drunk. Jasper wanders back to the mansion, procures a bottle of whiskey and then spends the night walking around on the beach, drinking himself into a stupor.
Meanwhile, Milan manages to find Cascada again. They walk together through the gardens, talking about everything that’s happened while they’ve been apart. After hours of chatting, they go back to Club Lush, and cook dinner in Cascada’s personal apartment. While they’re eating together, Cascada asks Milan,“Why did we split up?” Milan is unsure, after some deliberation, he admits that he was just busy doing everything, but he greatly regrets not staying in touch with her. Suddenly Cascada leans forwards and kisses him, and then they have at.
After a few hours swimming and splashing in the water, Bix and Lucy finally emerge, no longer as insanely drunk as they had been and exhausted from cavorting, they sit on the beach wrapped in their towels. Bix asks Lucy why she’d stayed with him and Milan after Cy and the Edelweiss blew up, instead of leaving with Wager and the Doc. She answers that she didn’t really like Wager or the Doc, especially since the Doc was always opening the infirmary door to her while naked and stoned. She says that she signed on to serve with Cy, and not with either Wager or the Doc. Bix is completely enraged that he never got around to killing the Doc for being so creepy and nude at Lucy. He hadn’t known that the Doc was behaving that way towards her, and he swears a blue streak, furious at the disrespectful Doc pervert. Lucy rolls her eyes at Bix’s swearing, then asks him why he stayed with her and Milan, turning his question back on him. At first, he hems and haws, then says that he’s got shit to do and he might as well do it with them. Lucy looks skeptical, he stammers that he’s still got to teach her how to knife fight. Lucy becomes increasingly more annoyed with his bullshit answers. Finally, he admits,”I’m not done protecting you yet…” then adds ,”..and everyone else too, I guess.” For a few moments, they sit in silence, then, confession time over, they stroll back to the mansion and fall asleep in separate bedrooms.
The next morning Lucy gets up and checking the Cortex, discovers that Dr.Mitchell was found dead last night in his mansion. An investigation is under way and the conference is over because of the emergency.
Lucy runs to Bix’s room, and pounding on the door, she wakes him up to tell him that the horrible news. Almost immediately, Bix races to Jasper’s room and bangs on the door. There’s no answer, he yanks the door open to find the room empty. “SHIT!” yells Bix “Did Milan come back?” asks Lucy. Bix goes to Milan’s room and finds it also empty. They decide to pack up everyone’s stuff, dump it on the ship and then come back to find the others. Once they’re finished stowing everyone’s stuff on the ship, they come back to the retreat area and commiserate about whether or not they should go out and find the others or if they should wait for them to come back to the mansion themselves.
Meanwhile on the beach, Jasper wakes up to find his rivals, Dr.Norton and Dr. Shelby standing over him, laughing conspiratorially together. They tease him, asking how his night’s sleep was. Jasper brushes them off, even as they make jokes about how this might be his last good sleep for a long time to come. Not comprehending their bizarre remarks, Jasper stands up and, ignoring their taunts, he staggers back to the mansion. He stumbles into the kitchen to find a very worried looking Lucy and Bix waiting for him. Bix asks Jasper, bluntly, if he killed anyone last night. Jasper grumpily answers that he should have killed Norton and Shelby. “Oh no!” gasps Lucy, “you don’t know!" “I don’t know what?” puzzles Jasper.
“Dr.Mitchell woke up dead. I mean, he’s been found dead, this morning. And you’re the prime suspect.” Jasper looks stunned, then realizes that Norton and Shelby probably did it to frame him. They discuss the facts of the case, trying to figure out what to do. Jasper is positive that Norton and Shelby committed the murder, in order to get both Jasper and Dr.Mitchell out of the way, so they can take over the company.
Cascada wakes up, gets out of bed and tells Milan that she needs to go back to Club Lush for opening duties. Milan lays around, being lazy and sleepy while Cascada has a shower, eats breakfast and departs for a few hours of work. Once she’s gone, Milan immediately goes back to sleep for another hour. He doesn’t awaken until Cascada returns in a breathless huff. She tells Milan to get up and turn on the Cortex. On the news he hears about Dr.Mitchell’s death, along with the information that the prime suspect is Jasper Marmaduke. Milan says,“Oh No! I should have known they were doing something stupid.” He jumps up to leave, Cascada kisses him and he promises to call her as soon as he gets the chance. Once Milan arrives at the mansion they were staying at, he finds the others, and they discuss their horrible predicament. Jasper thinks he should go talk to the police while the others try to find proof that Norton and Shelby are the real murderers. Lucy, Bix and Milan all return to the ship and set to work on finding out what actually happened.
Jasper sends a wave to the police, explaining, as innocently as possible, that he just woke up and is appalled to find out that not only had the good doctor been murdered last night, but also that he is the prime suspect. The police officer warns Jasper not to leave, to stay in one spot and they will come within an hour to arrest him. Jasper says,“I wouldn’t have called you if I meant to run.” He sits down in the mansion and awaits the officers arrival.
Back on the Jia Li, Lucy hacks into the database to find images of Dr.Mitchell’s mansion the night before. She can find footage of Jasper entering the house, but for some reason cannot find any footage of him leaving the house after his meeting with Dr.Mitchell. She searches for the ballistic report on the murder, as well as information on Norton and Shelby’s whereabouts.

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