A Well Respected Man
Nolan isn’t communicating with Amanda. The city council isn’t communicating with Amanda. Kenya has no problem communicating with Nolan, but Amanda’s upset that Kenya’s “communicating” with her lawkeeper, and so many other men. Communication is rough! Lemme break it down for you.
Nolan is super peeved that Datak left a dead body on his doorstep, and in retaliation, he’s cracking down on the extensive crime syndicate the Castithan has going. But Datak was brokering an arms deal with the big bad Votanis Collective, which is either a government institution or an even bigger crime syndicate, depending on who you’re talking to. Defiance is vulnerable after losing the stasis net, and the tons o’ guns the VC could provide would’ve been a big help. The trouble is, no one on the city council seemed to think Amanda (who’s only an appointed mayor, after all) needed to know about this deal. When Datak busts in on their meeting and informs her, she’s furious. On her way to the NeedWant to find Nolan, an angry wife asks her to tell Kenya to stop shtupping her husband and gets a slap as a response.
Amanda is shocked to find Nolan in Kenya’s room, where Kenya has just given Nolan the age-old talk that she wants to be more than patron and supplier. Amanda feels like a failure as a parent, which she was to Kenya when their mother died. But Kenya doesn’t have much time for sisterly conflict because she has to chase down one of her girls who just stole a bunch of scrip from a client. She finds the girl, Tirra, in The Narrows begging Ulysses for drugs. You may remember Ulysses from such roles as The Bioman Who Fought Nolan On His First Day in Town, and The Loyal Flunky of Datak Tarr. Kenya rips the girl away, but as they leave, the truck that Ulysses is guarding pops open, revealing bound and gagged humans. The women run and Ulysses pursues, knocking them out and knocking Kenya’s necklace off her neck.
Nolan and Amanda find a kid who stole Kenya’s hailer and necklace, a token she never removes. After their mother deserted them, Amanda found the necklace on a soldier named Finnegan. She gave it to Kenya saying that their mom had died bravely and had wanted her to have the necklace of St. Finnegan, patron saint of lost children. The kid tells them Kenya and her girl were abducted by Ulysses, but when Nolan rips into Ulysses’ owner, Datak, for abduction, he gets spit and vinegar in return. Amanda knows that The Narrows are Datak’s turf and they need his help to get Kenya back, but Stahma whispers in the mayor’s ear that a spot on the city council should garner Datak’s aid. Amanda’s stuck between a rock and a Castithan. She agrees.
In a desolate outskirt of town, Ulysses is driving his chosen mode of transportation for moving semi-conscious human cargo: an ice cream truck. And yes, that annoying song is playing, because Biomen don’t give a WHAT about a bumping sound system. Biomen just like to be happy. But Ulysses’ new boss, a junkie dealer of a drug crafted from human adrenal glands, is not happy that Bioman nabbed the mayor’s (appointed mayor’s!) sister. Someone will come looking for her and then their whole operation will be squashed. Bioman doesn’t feel happy anymore. “Oh Ulysses,” says the boss, “I didn’t mean to yell, little guy. Just put them in the maze, and then will split town.” So Ulysses puts them in the maze and feels a little better.
Datak plays power games as he “helps” Nolan in the Narrows, but they get Kenya’s location and head out. Kenya and her girl are running through the maze, chased by a Volge intent on toying with them rather than killing them. Kenya clutches her necklace and asks for strength until she realizes she dropped her necklace. But if she dropped it, how can she be wearing it? She realizes it’s not real – this trap they’re in is a simulation, and she’s able to detach the nodes that create the vision, which is great. She offs her captor, making the Bioman VERY angry. Nolan gets there just in time and kills the Bioman (R.I.P.).
Kenya decides to give Tirra her St. Finnegan necklace to let her know that she’s safe, but the girl tells her there’s no St. Finnegan, news that crashes down on Kenya like bricks. She approaches Amanda, who finally tells her the truth of their mother’s abandonment. Kenya feels like a fool, but Amanda’s like, “No worries, sis. It’s what I do.” They hug.
Nolan also has a realization: the one to look out for in the Tarr household is string-pulling Stahma, getting her husband appointed to the council as payment for being a decent person and not letting Kenya die.
And what of the McCawleys, you ask? Well, Quentin grew irate when Rafe wouldn’t let him work in the mine that Luke abandoned when he, y’know… died. Rafe considers this, then finally lets him in on a secret, or a mystery, or a secret mystery – there are unexplainable relics and drawings in that mine shaft (Rafe shows Quentin the mysterious artifact Quentin had). Rafe thinks that those mysterious secrets are what got Luke killed, and it’s his very fatherly love that doesn’t want Quentin meeting the same fate. But together, they make a family outing to the shaft, and it’s true – there’s some really freaky stuff down there….