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Episode Seven: Unpunchable Problems Are The Worst Problems

This episode jumps forward three months from the end of the last episode. Hammer spent his time converting Muddy Reefs to his religion by drinking them under the table one at a time, then dressing them as monks while they're passed out, and imposed taxes to support this regime. Though unorthodox, this has been effective. Rabbit has set Brilliant Parakeet up as a sort of mayor of Muddy Reefs. Orchid went back to visit their home, and found it was largely rebuilt, and that people had been there asking about them. Third Monsoon discovered that if you offer enough money, fishermen will claim to be mercenaries, and also that fishermen do not make good mercenaries, and also that lemon-baked salmon is good. He was able to patch two of them up after though; that's similar to a good thing. He also wrote a threatening letter to the person who sprang him (back in episode 4, the not-so-mysterious lord who sprang them also agreed to look into where their friends had ended up). Ranger Brad went hunting.

So, three months later, they sprang into Rabbit's boat and sailed off for Coral to find out whether their benefactor had found their friends, and to punch him if he hadn't. They anchored offshore and sailed a banana in to avoid paying docking fees, then walked over to his house and tried to get in to see him, only to be told he was at a different estate, and wouldn't be back for a week. Rabbit got a room at a (female) whorehouse, and stayed inside for a week. Ironically, this was to stay chaste, due to now being in a committed relationship with a (male) NPC. Hammer and Brad went hunting. They eventually found a tyrant lizard (think T-Rex with spikes), but someone noticed it had a collar before they attacked, so they slipped away again, and, reasoning that they were likely on some sort of nature preserve, quietly went back to town. Orchid and Monsoon spent a bit figuring out about the town, and asked around about who this guy they're going after is anyway. It's really easy to find out, because he's a super-popular former Sea Lord, right out of the splatbook. They digressed briefly to wonder why two different influential characters are both trying to use them, but don't pursue that line of questioning for long (there are reasons). Even so, a week later, they show back up ready to beat up this guy unless he has solved all their problems.

This time, they don't have an appointment. Rabbit talks them in, but they're left cooling their heels for a while in a waiting room. Hammer goes and steals booze from the kitchen. Eventually Lord Girard has time to see them. He has found some of their friends, and will arrange for them to be delivered. Not good enough! They pressure him into telling where they are right now, then travel to that estate to demand their release. That turns out to be pretty easy, because their friends are working in the kitchen, where they have been employed ever since Girard found them, bought them, and emancipated them.

After transporting five of their friends (leaving one who wanted to stay) back to Rabbit's boat, the circle asks about their capture. they had been herded onto ships, then some of them got taken away. Then there was a fight, then they mostly got transferred to other ships. They headed northish for a while, and one of them who got too mouthy about his rights was pushed overboard to the sharks, so they didn't ask a lot more questions after that. Then most of them were taken and sold as slaves. Four of this group and the one who stayed behind had worked at some sort of textiles for sails, and one worked at building a seawall. Then they were bought by Lord Girard, emancipated, given jobs, and had been saving up. Orchid's brother was alive, but he and a few others had been separated from the main group shortly after they arrived at Coral (they speculated then that Orchid's brother was evil, and had led the pirates to the island originally. After all, they showed up in his boat).

Then the circle began investigating to find where everyone else was. They found an auction block where their friends had come through, and seduced their way into looking at those records, and found that three had been sold to some merchant, two to an innkeeper, and ten to the Sea Lord (which is about like selling property “to the crown”; it just means to the government). They tracked down the innkeeper first, and after some impressive bargaining, bought those two's freedom.

Then they figured out where government-purchased slaves went, and bluffed their way in there pretending to be investigators. It was a sort of clearing-house, where they brought people in and held them until sending them off to where that skillset was needed. They found two sets of records there, one a general set of receiving and transfer logs, and the other a detailed set of personnel records, organized by admittance date. Unfortunately, the detailed records from five to three months prior were missing; having been taken by an actual audit by the scary Coral auditors. Nonetheless, they determined that five men had been transferred to the department of public works, and five women to navy supply. I forget how, but they determined that the women had been transferred to sailmaking. After proclaiming their enthusiasm and love for sails to random sailors and wondering where sails come from, they eventually asked about sailmakers, and found a factory. They stared for a while, considering how to get in, then someone knocked on the door and asked to see inside. That may have been the wrong question, because they got a tour, and learned all about the history of sails. Eventually, someone described who they were looking for, and asked if anyone had seen them. Yes, they were here until two months ago, then had been bought by Lord Girard. They puzzled over that for a bit, then realized that the people they had already found had been working as sailmakers. Oops.

Backtracking, they went for the department of public works. One of those five, they had already found, leaving four more. They went around work sites asking after them, until they found a foreman who lied when he said he hadn't seen them. They intimidated him (“Are you aware of the homosexual agenda? No? Well, you're about to be.”) into revealing that two of them had worked there until some men had shown up with paperwork to take them away, and had threatened his family if he talked about it. “Err, sorry about that.”

Not much else this session. Some inconclusive attempts to track down the merchant, but he's from out of town and doesn't come through often.

Episode 6|Episode 8