Thursday, July 5, 2012

MIsplaced Hero - Episode 18

The Case of the Misplaced Hero
by Camille LaGuire

Episode 18 - The Hospitality Committee

AS THE FRONT hall emptied, Captain Rozinshura cast a glance toward the parlor. He did not want to talk to Colonel Pookiterin yet.  Not until he knew more about his spy, and the spy's mysterious student friend, Alex.

"Tralkulo!" he called.  The clerk appeared instantly.  "Your book of notes, please.  And get more paper, you will interview every one of them again, to get a full list of who is here, and who is missing.  Also, do we still have that brandy we took from the smugglers?"

"We were going to trade it for a truck."

"Now we trade it for cooperation. Where is it?"

"Upstairs, in the front room."

He looked up at the stairs and his bad leg throbbed at the very thought of hobbling back down with a heavy box.

"I'll get it, Kinchin Captain," she said with a slight smile. "My notebooks are up there too."

She handed him the little book where she'd been taking notes, and he thumbed through it.  There was no Alex, or any name like it, listed among the survivors or the missing.  He also found no mention of Professor or Doctor Artemus Thornton.

When Tralkulo got back, he traded the notebook for the box, and sent her to the parlor to account for the ladies -- and also to see that the ladies were not in conflict with the security men.  Then Rozinshura lugged the box into the tavern.

He was immediately set upon by several men, all talking over one another.  He nodded gravely, as if he could make out what they were saying.

"All of your questions will be answered," he said loudly.  "But first we will have a drink. We sit. Kinchin Tralkulo will go over all the information with everybody to see that there are no discrepancies with our reports from the wreck, and we will all have answers together."

"But my cousin--" began one particularly aggressive young man.

"Is your cousin missing?"


"Then she is not here, and shouting for her in here will not find her. Sit. We will make a plan."

He had almost the exact same conversation four times before he made it to the bar, though their worries varied: Missing people, injured people, missing luggage, hunger, a more comfortable chair, a cleaner table.

And while the masters complained, the servants began to scurry about to please them, even though some were injured or shaken themselves.  Rozinshura restrained his disapproval, and limped behind the bar.

There he found a manservant inspecting the glasses disdainfully.  The man began to pump water to fill the washing tub.

"No, no," said Rozinshura.  "You are not a servant here. You are equal. You sit."

The valet drew himself up and looked on Rozinshura like king looks on an insect.

"If we are all equal to drink from a filthy glass, sir, then I decline the privilege."

Rozinshura would have been insulted, but the glasses were dirty.  He sighed and set down the box of brandy.

"Perhaps I can help you with your equality," said a female voice.

A woman stood behind him.  She was well-dressed, with pearls and a pretty little hat marred only by a broken feather.

"Lady Featherdale," she said, and she flicked a the broken feather, as though it were her trademark. "A little dishevelled, but reporting for duty.  Shall I play mother? You seem to have enough to do."

She took a bottle of brandy and began to pour a small amount into each glass as the valet washed them.

Rozinshura, finding himself useless, took one of the glasses and drank. The brandy was very good -- mellow and warming.  It was better to drink it than trade it for a truck.

He took a bottle and slipped it into the large pocket of his coat.  He remembered that the spy's book -- with its dangerous bit of paper -- was in the other pocket.  It was time to seek the owner of that paper.

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