Brothers in Arms
Who’s that creeping through the market stalls? It’s a Castithan criminal. And who’s that pursuing him? Why, a bounty hunter, of course. But not just any bounty hunter – Nolan’s old comrade-in-arms and confirmed racist (xenophobe?), Eddie. In one breath, the man condemns Iraths and embraces Irisa, whom he last saw when she was just a traumatized kid with a snake bite. She neither remembers him nor likes him, but he barely notices, since he’s busy arguing with Nolan about what to do with the captive criminal. Amanda wants to try him for his crimes against Defiance, but when she learns that he’s Pol Madis, an inventor of weapons of mass destruction and one of the most wanted war criminals on the planet, she realizes she can negotiate an extradition agreement with the Earth Republic and get that maglev right-of-way she’s had her eye on.
It’s hard to say who’s angrier – Eddie when he finds out he won’t get his bounty because a tiny city-state wants leverage against the mighty E-Rep, or Nolan when he finds out Eddie lied to him about who his bounty was. Eddie moves to hire Kenya for the night – awkward! – but senses something’s up between her and “No Man”, as he keeps calling Nolan. Is it OK with Nolan? Yes, is it OK with Kenya? Uh… sure. Why not. But in the privacy of her room, Kenya can’t pull the “trigger”, and offers Eddie two of her finest ladies in her place. She suggests they try the six-legged monkey crawl, so hopefully Eddie’s been limbering up. She apologizes and slips away.
Speaking of slipping away, where’s that war criminal?! He was here just a minute ago, I could’ve sworn I put him right in that jail cell… Somebody slipped the chemist an explosive agent and he blasted his way out of the building. Could it have been Yewll? He whispered something to her about her own war crimes that had the ring of blackmail to it. Nolan’s first interview is with the man with the motive, Eddie. That explosive is his favorite recipe – it got them out of Calexico years back. Big Ed swears it wasn’t him – if it had been, he’d be out of town by now.
An envoy from the Earth Republic who happens to be Amanda’s heartbreaking ex-beau, Connor Lang, comes riding through promising retribution if Defiance doesn’t deliver the man. Sexy retribution, but still retribution. Amanda offers her sexy refusal and her deal: Pol Madis for the Mag-lev rights. Lang offers his sexy threat that if Defiance doesn’t comply, ERep will tear the city-state down, brick… by… sexy… brick.
Oh, you know who else is in town? Mayor Nicky, aka Killer Grandma. She’s got her eye on Quentin, who has a strange, gold artifact that his research shows could be related to a major earthquake and a possible colony of underground dwellers, and is the very thing she and her slender henchman were trying to secure last time they almost blew up the town. If at first you don’t succeed, eh, Grandma? Rafe tells him not to mess with Killer Grandma, but throw the artifact in the subterranean lava pit. Luke’s ghost (remember, Luke is Quentin's dead brother that Nicky had killed) tells him to hang on to it – maybe the thing makes you hallucinate? – so Quentin does. If Luke’s ghost told you to jump off a bridge, would you? Probably, because when Luke’s ghost tells him to strangle the slender henchman when he arrives at the McCawley house, that’s exactly what he does.
When Datak arrives home, he’s surprised to find Pol Madis has made good use of his freedom by sneaking into the Tarr house and making a meal, which Datak samples. Madis calls upon Datak’s alliance with the Votanis Collective to get him out of Defiance and Datak refuses, not wanting to jeopardize his high standing. Madis has a plan B, however, in the form of nano-tablets in the food Datak ate that send excruciating jolts of pain to his nerve endings by remote control. Datak covers when Nolan and Eddie show up looking for the bomber and the two slip away. They’re soon run off the road by the lawkeeper, who knew something was up when Datak smiled and treated him with respect. Datak goes to jail in the care of Tommy and Irisa while Nolan has a final goodbye with Eddie, who plans on handing over Madis to the Earth Republic for a bounty. Madis spits in his face by telling him that he won’t be executed – the Earth Republic put a bounty on him to FIND him. In the inevitable coming war, everyone wants Madis on their side, and he was only evading Eddie and the E-Rep because he knew he could get a better deal from the Votanis Collective.
This provokes Nolan’s trigger finger. In a heartbeat, he shoots Madis in the head. In the next heartbeat, Eddie unravels. His bitterness at serving six years in prison for a crime he committed to keep Nolan free, to keep Irisa from spending her life in a refugee camp, comes spilling out with his outrage that “No Man” Nolan is back, leaving no man alive on the battlefield. Eddie was like a second father to Irisa, but got none of the joy of raising a child. It’s his turn, he says, to have a normal life.
Nolan agrees. He rolls over for his old friend and allows him to collect the hefty bounty placed on his head from a long-ago theft. But when Sexy Boyfriend arrives in a heavily-armored truck and flips out at the murder of Madis, Eddie once again becomes his altruistic (if a little crazy) self and says that he killed Madis. He boards the truck to his trial, knowing that the little packet of strafing powder in his boot can change everything. Nolan slinks to the NeedWant, where Kenya, shaken by the strength of her own feelings, calls it off with the lawman. Nolan knows better than to argue, but misses his friend more than ever, and catches up with Irisa to tell him just how much Eddie did for her – and him.