Family Matters

A nervous visitor to the station is abandoned by his bodyguard. Will you step in to help?

Level: 13
Start: AGS Contractor 265, Interstellar Shuttles, L 726-8 Jump Gate

Introduction

Passing through the cacophonous sound mix of a busy Jump Gate's Port, your ears prick on detecting the unmistakable intonation of a raging squabble. Two voices, one deep and steady, one rasping and skittish, jab and deflect at each other in a tense verbal duel, apparently over some sort of payment. You cast a glance to see a straight-backed, well-armed soldier of unknown affiliation arguing pointedly with a short and stubby fellow. The altercation is reaching a climax.

The short one shouts: Money shmoney! How bout a little professionalism, eh?

The larger man, whose outfit suggests a mercenary of some sort, sucks in a sharp breath, readying a salvo of angry syllables on the tip of his tongue, before seemingly thinking better of it. He exhales slowly, then turns and walks away, heading back towards the Interstellar ticket terminals, shaking his head and muttering angrily. The stout chap shouts a few parting words, gradually losing gusto as the soldier disappears into the bustling crowd.

He hollers: Quit? More like… you're fired, pal! So, there! Shove that in your reactor pipe and smoke it! Ol' Wendell can look after himself…

Despite his shrill defiance, the squat Colonist seems perturbed by the turn of events, kicking an adjacent bulkhead in frustration before angrily tossing a small object in the direction of the retreating soldier. It skids to a halt a few steps from where you stand.

  • Ignore it. Continue on your way.
  • Pick it up.

Ignore:

You watch the small man scowl for another moment before leaving him to his problems amid the hustle and bustle of the Interstellar terminal.

You have failed the "Family Matters" mission. You can retake this mission and try again.

Pick it up:

You stoop to collect a small, hard-cased, rectangular item with a slate port at one end and a small LED display that reads 'BALANCE ERROR'. It's a credit chit of sorts, but the design is ever so slightly unusual. You turn it over, trying to catch more light from the ceiling tubes of the Interstellar lobby, when suddenly it's snatched out of your hand!

A voice says: My credit chit, you found it! Much obliged, Ser.

You turn to spot the scowling little man, stuffing the credit chit into his overall pocket. He still looks somewhat peeved, muttering inaudibly in the direction of the now absent soldier.

Find out what's bothering Wendell Briggs in Interstellar Shuttles on L 726-8 Jump Gate.

You have accepted the "Family Matters" mission.

Next NPC: Wendell Briggs, Interstellar Shuttles, L 726-8 Jump Gate

  • Talk to Wendell.

Me: You're welcome… Say, that sounded like a heated debate you and your friend had—

Wendell interrupts: Friend? Me, and that… mercenary?! You're knocking on the wrong airlock, pal. Strictly business, is all it was. Or all it should've been, if he hadn't bailed out on me… Let me tell you, Armure Security Group sucks! Unprofessional. To the max! Am I right or am I right?

Wendell's ranting, in a less than dulcet voice, is somewhat grating. But he's clearly keen to let off a little steam, gradually contorting his small mouth into a grin as he warms to you.

  • "They have a good reputation…"
  • "You're not wrong."

Good reputation:

Me: They have a good reputation…

Wendell snorts: Fancy marketing is all that is, friend. What's that slogan they got? "Never off duty" Well take a look at my guy, looks like he's VERY off duty right now, no? And right when I needed him most… Bloody mercenaries!

Not wrong:

Me: You're not wrong, I'll say that much.

Wendell grins again: Glad you concur, friend. Never trust a mercenary, that's my advice!

Either choice continues:

Wendell shakes his head, flashing another gap-toothed grin at you. The shoddy state of his dentures suggests someone who's fallen on hard times. He gestures angrily again in the vague direction of his departed bodyguard.

Wendell adds: Not to mention his personality. I didn't hire him for chat but Jeeeez… Nuthin. Zilch. You'd get more out of a black hole! Rode in from Taungoo. Longest few days of my life!

  • Ask Wendell about the purpose of his visit.
  • Ask Wendell why his bodyguard quit.

Why quit:

Me: Your mercenary… The Armure guy. Why'd he quit?

Wendell replies: Why? A merc's only got one motive, pal. Loot! Goddamn gravy, that's all they care about… Must've got a better offer elsewhere! Course he don't say that… Finds an excuse, like it's all my fault. Says my chit's not valid payment! Ain't that funny, right when we're getting to the crux of the job? He didn't turn his nose up at my deposit back on Taungoo…

Wendell exhales noisily, in pantomime exaggerated annoyance.

  • Suggest that Wendell tries an alternative bodyguard company.
  • Ask Wendell about his unusual credit chit.

Suggest alternative:

Me: Can't you try another company? There's the Kestrel Minority, the Vangarian Guard, Athena…

Wendell shakes his head: Nope! That shmuckus blacklisted me as a non-paying client. I got a full ban… Dang! Came all the way from Taungoo, and now what? Maybe this was a bad idea…

Wendell looks exasperated and tired, but your questions seem to be perking him up somewhat. The more interest you show, the more he regards you with a curiously intense stare.

  • Ask Wendell about his unusual credit chit.
  • Ask Wendell about the purpose of his visit.

Credit chit:
(Social check)

Wendell looks exasperated and tired, but your questions seem to be perking him up somewhat. The more interest you show, the more he regards you with a curiously intense stare.

Me: It did look a little strange, that credit chit. Seemed like it had a bug or something…

After some delicate probing about the credit chit's unusual design, which Wendell evades with decreasing gusto, he eventually gives you a straight answer.

Wendell says: You're nosy, anyone ever tell you that? Look, I'm not doing too good right now. Hard times, ya get me? I paid Armure for the deposit, legit… But then, for today's fee-

Wendell turns his baggy, but empty, jumpsuit pockets inside out.

He continues: No more gravy. Hoped a fake chit would buy me a little time, til I had the funds again… But they were wise to it. If there's one thing a merc knows, it's money.

Wendell shrugs again. His stooped posture seeps resignation and despair, but your presence seems alleviate his mood a little. He regards you thoughtfully.

  • Ask Wendell about the purpose of his visit.

Me: You mentioned Taungoo… That's quite a journey. What brings you here?

Wendell says: Well, you might not guess, cos I don't dress like the weirdo locals, but I lived here once, for a time. Left it all behind cycles ago, but now I'm here to pick something up, something I left behind. Maybe sell it on… Turn my fortunes around, even.

Wendell glances up as a pair of locals saunter past. Their idiosyncratic fashions prompt a baffled shake of his head, before he returns his increasingly-focused gaze to you.

  • Ask Wendell why he needs a bodyguard for his visit.
  • Ask Wendell what he's here to collect.

What to collect:

Me: So, this thing you're collecting… What is it?

Wendell says: Don't get too excited, s'only Ruins junk. Sorta like a… electro-radio, thingy-ma-bob. Some kinda receiver. Lotsa folk here got one, Ruins used to be full of em. Pretty, but useless, I think… Anyhow, lately I hear there's a market for em. Buyers are taking an interest. And I could use some funds…

Wendell turns to look in the direction of his absent bodyguard once more, but there're only passersby dressed in the typical faux old Earth garb which is so popular on this station.

He continues: Should've taken it back when I left but… well, back then I just wanted a clean break, yaknow?

  • Ask Wendell why he needs a bodyguard for his visit.
  • Wish Wendell luck and leave him to his task.

Why bodyguard:

Me: So, what's the danger? Why the bodyguard?

Wendell shudders and winces as he musters a response.

Wendell replies: How do I put it? I left here on er— bad terms with some people. Ex-wife, twins. Pretty sure they hate my guts. And I mean hate with the sort of um— let's call it 'passion', that only a 320 lb Mall can generate… So, picking up my stuff is… how can I say… a delicate matter. Best case scenario, I'm in and out and they're none the wiser. Worst case scenario… Well, that's where the bodyguard comes in.

You look Wendell up and down, imagining him face to face with an angry 320 lb Mall. It's not a favorable match-up for him. In the momentary silence, you realize Wendell is also looking you up and down, perhaps evaluating your own prospects in such a situation?

  • Wish Wendell luck and leave him to his task.
  • Ask Wendell why he's staring at you so intently.

Wish luck:

Me: Sounds like a tricky situation… Hope it works out for you. Bye Wendell.

You part company with the portly stranger, leaving him to mull his dilemma as you continue on your way.

You have failed the "Family Matters" mission. You can retake this mission and try again.

Why staring:
(Strength check)

Me: Have I got ration crumbs in my teeth or something? Why're you staring like that?

Wendell replies pensively: Well, I got an issue and you seem pretty interested in it, so… I got an idea.

Wendell is silent for a moment, stepping back to eye your physique. Somewhat oddly, he then tests your calves and biceps with a finger poke.

Wendell says: You've got some heft, I'll give ya that… So, why don't you be my bodyguard? Just while I go visit the old residence to pick up my stuff. If it comes to rough stuff, I don't reckon you'd take the twins, not both of em… But maybe you'd slow them down. That might be enough. Whaddya say?

  • "I might be interested. Tell me more…"
  • "Nope. Not interested."

Nope:

Me: Nope. Count me out. This doesn't sound like my sorta thing…

Wendell replies: Ah that's kinda cruel. Just as I was getting my hopes up… Eurgh. S'OK. Don't blame ya. I wouldn't help me either. I'll figure something out…

With that Wendell turns and trots off in the direction of the Residences, evidently keen to keep a low profile as he weaves along the corridor's less well-lit edge. Within units, he's vanished back into the murmuring hubbub of the Interstellar Shuttles terminal.

You have failed the "Family Matters" mission. You can retake this mission and try again.

Might be:

Me: I might be interested. Tell me more… Where exactly do you need to go?

Your response is clearly giving Wendell hope.

He replies keenly: Township of Little Earth. That's where we lived… I'm hoping they haven't moved since. Find the old digs, wait for wife and kids to go out, then slip in and get my… thingy. If we run into the fam at any point, well, that's where you come in. Stop em squishing my brains. I make it out, with my stuff, you get yourself 200 credits… Not much but s'all I can afford. Any more questions?

  • "Are you gonna pay me with a fake credit chit too?"
  • "I've heard enough. No more questions."
  • "How do I know this isn't just theft?"
  • "Tell me more about your family. Why are you on such bad terms?"
  • "Tell me more about this gadget we're after."

Fake credit chit:

Me: Are you gonna pay me with a fake credit chit too?

Wendell gasps dramatically

He says: What do you take me for, <name>? I'm a normal guy having a tough time, not some cheating scammer! I was gonna settle up with Armure, just needed a little time is all…

Wendell takes a breath to compose himself.

Wendell continues: Look, you keep me safe and I'll pay. That's why I'm only offering 200… That much, I can actually afford. I swear. That put your mind at rest?

  • "Tell me more about this gadget we're after."
  • "How do I know this isn't just theft?"
  • "I've heard enough. No more questions."
  • "Tell me more about your family. Why are you on such bad terms?"

Gadget:

Me: Tell me more about this gadget we're after.

Wendell answers: Well, my pop pulled it outta the Ruins, cycles and cycles back. Always had it round the house since then. Never knew what it was but it looked pretty and we were poor… Ruins junk was all the decoration we could afford. Anyway, now I heard folks here been powering them back up, taking an interest… Even buying them for real sums. So, I figure I'd come for mine, since it turns out to be worth something…

  • "How do I know this isn't just theft?"
  • "Tell me more about your family. Why are you on such bad terms?"
  • "I've heard enough. No more questions."

Family:

Me: Why are you on such bad terms with your family?

Wendell looks down at the regocrete floor, crunching a boot against the dust as he mulls the question.

He says: I left kinda… suddenly. Traumatic maybe, for them… But it was the only way. I couldn't take no more. They're Roswell kooks, y'kno? Like most of the locals here… All howdy doodly, guys & gals, fungi-apple pie for supper and swell daddy-O this n that. Gives me a shiver just thinking back on it.

  • "Your family are Roswell weirdos? What's that mean?"
  • "I've heard enough. No more questions."
  • "How do I know this isn't just theft?"

Roswell weirdos:

Me: Roswell weirdos?

Wendell says: Yeah… Suki, my wife, signed up just after the twins were born… Goes by the name of Sandy now. Twins are Bobby and Sarah-Jane. Roswell Division through and through… Reckon aliens caused the Cat and they'll be back one day to finish the job… It was exhausting. I tried but… I couldn't do it no more. Had to get out…

Wendell seems a little downbeat recalling it all.

He says: I don't really like talking bout it.

  • "How do I know this isn't just theft?"
  • "I've heard enough. No more questions."

Theft:

Me: This sounds a lot like theft…

Wendell rolls his eyes impatiently.

He says: That's just how it looks to you! But I'm just picking up what's mine. Listen, it's residence unit 77B, there's a spare key swipe under a hydroponic plant box out front, the entry door only opens three-quarters then jams, inside they got the ugliest and least comfortable furniture you ever sat your ass on… Dang, I lived there for twenty cycles! Is it so wrong to go back to pick up one thing I left?!

The diminutive fellow has a somewhat pleading look in his eye now.

He says: Either you trust me or you don't. Anything else you need to know?

  • "I've heard enough. No more questions."

Me: I think I'm done with questions.

Wendell's demeanor brightens as you stand there, mulling everything you've heard from him.

He says: So, shall we go?

You hesitate for one final moment as Wendell, the keen-eyed, five-foot tall stranger, watches you expectantly.

  • Change your mind and leave Wendell. Go to warn the family about his visit instead.
  • Go with Wendell to collect the trinket from his old home.
  • End involvement in the matter entirely.

End involvement:

Me: Actually, now I think about it, maybe this isn't a good idea after all.

Wendell replies: Ah that's kinda cruel. You got my hopes up… Guess, I'm on my own.

With that Wendell turns and trots off in the direction of the Residences, evidently keen to keep a low profile as he weaves along the corridor's less well-lit edge. Within units, he's vanished back into the murmuring hubbub of the Interstellar Shuttles terminal.

You have failed the "Family Matters" mission. You can retake this mission and try again.

Go with Wendell:

You nod at Wendell and he motions for you to follow him as he trots off towards the Residences.

Follow Wendell to the Residences on L 726-8 Jump Gate. Protect him, if necessary, while he recovers the gadget from his former home.

Next NPC: Wendell Briggs, Residences, L 726-8 Jump Gate

  • Follow Wendell to his former residence unit.

You progress down the strange corridors of the Little Earth Township. Here, the Roswell-division influenced trends take on bizarre forms. The metallic facade panels of most residence units have been partially painted with rows of 1-meter high, thick, vertical white lines, running from the ground up, creating the odd impression of a picket fence. Some units also have a metallic tin with a thin horizontal opening, on a pole next to the entrance, marked 'POST'. Their usage seems unclear. Decorative ornaments perhaps?

Occasionally you pass someone dressed in the outlandish garb typical of the Roswell division; garishly-colored slacks, polka-dot skirts, polo shirts and hair stiffened with gel so it looks almost carbon-fiber rigid. Wendell shivers somewhat on seeing them, but none align with the description he gave of his family as far as you can see.

Wendell mutters under his breath: Bloomin nutters… Yeesh, look at them.

You continue along the walkway, navigating the signage until you're eventually faced with a unit marked '77B', which has both the white fence-style painting on the facade and one of those metallic POST tins, also stamped with the word 'Briggs'. Wendell hangs back a few meters behind you, eyeing the scene cautiously. There's no sign of there being anybody home right now.

Wendell whispers: Looks like they're out. My luck's in for a change… Ready? In and out. Nice n quick.

  • "Let's do it."
  • "Actually, now I think about it, maybe this isn't a good idea after all."

Do it:

Me: OK, sure. Let's do it.

< Wendell says: Right. Here goes.

Wendell reaches underneath a hydroponic plant by the residence's front door as he speaks, groping for something. When his hand comes back, he's holding a key swipe card.

Wendell says: And remember… You're here to protect ME, got it? If Sandy or the twins show up, keep em away from me…

Wendell swipes the card on the door and watches as it judders open, eventually jamming a little before it's fully open. He tosses the key swipe back to its hiding spot and steps inside.

Protect Wendell while he recovers his item from the Residences of L 726-8 Jump Gate.

  • Follow him inside.

You step into a modest residential unit. Garishly-colored 'paper' from the station's faux-paper mill has been used to decorate the walls, giving the room a trippy and disorientating feel. The furniture is unusual, as if it's been hand-made, and badly to boot. It's clear that the family's tastes are not catered for with typical commercial trends, and so they've somewhat improvised their own solutions. Wendell pauses for a moment, glancing around.

He says: Y'know what? I don't miss this place one bit…

There's a kitchenette to the left and a lounge area, in the middle of which is a coffee table with a missing leg replaced by a strange piece of defunct-looking technology. Further off, through an open door, you can make out a bedroom and wash room. A strange static hiss is faintly audible, though you can't identify the source. It could be any one of the numerous half-broken appliances dotted around the place.

  • Explore living room.

You explore the living room, at once fascinated and puzzled by the unusual color scheme and brightly patterned walls. On a shelf, there's some sort of contraption with a large flat disc resting on it and a toggle labelled '33 RPM' and '45 RPM'. Next to it is some sort of family photo.

  • Look at the family photo.
  • Press the 'ON' button on the strange contraption sitting on the shelf.

Photo:

You notice a family portrait on a small electronic image display pad on the counter. It shows a family of four big-boned Malls; mother, father - with an arm in some sort of medical sling, and two kids, boy and girl. Only the mother is smiling. The rest look thoroughly miserable. Wendell notices your gaze and seems angered by the image.

He says: That's what an angry Mall can do. And back then, I was a Mall too…

Wendell watches as your face contorts in confusion, glancing from the towering Mall father in the picture to the stout Colonist standing before you. He ignores it and resumes his commentary on the unhappy family photo.

Wendell continues: Only person smiling in that pic is the one who didn't know the truth 'bout my sling. See, three days prior, I walked out, or tried to, anyway… but Bobby and SJ caught up with me, before my shuttle. Didn't want me to leave, on account of Sandy… She wouldn't have taken it well. So, what does my loving daughter, SJ, do? She breaks ol' poppa's arm in four different places til I agree to come home. We tell Sandy I did it in the Gym, lies on top of violence, that's the sorta glue that held us together…

Wendell sighs and trails off. It's evident that this is not a happy homecoming for him.

  • "This man in the photo is… you? You switched Genotypes?"
  • Press the 'ON' button on the strange contraption sitting on the shelf.

Switched Genotypes:

The family portrait on the upper shelf is still holding your attention. You look at the strikingly tall but rather despondent-looking father.

Me: This is- … was you, once? You switched Genotypes? Why?

He replies: Look. Don't get all confused. I told you, this was my place… and this ain't theft. That, in the photo, IS… OK, was me, back then. Until I realized Bobby and SJ would never let me leave the normal way, no matter how much I hated the Division life. Only way they wouldn't follow me outta here was if I left in a body bag. So I did. Suicide pill and a secret clone is all it took. Well, that and a pretty huge loan, which I'm still paying off… And yeah, I switched up my Genotype too. I'll take all the masks I can get… Woke up on Taungoo, three foot shorter but finally free. Apart from the loan repayments…

Wendell sighs, checking the time hurriedly on his watch.

He continues: Don't look at me like that. Imagine your family sign up to some crazy cult, tell me how long you'd stand it… I tried, for plenty long enough. Anyway, I don't regret it. Not one bit. We're better off without each other… Now let's get what we came for and get outta here. Sounds like they got it hooked up somewhere…

Wendell turns and trots off into the bedroom behind, pausing every few steps to listen for the odd hum of low-level static noise in the background.

  • Follow Wendell.
  • "This is messed up, I'm leaving." End involvement in this affair.

Follow:

The odd hiss of static which you heard earlier is back now, louder and louder, as you approach the bedroom door. As Wendell opens it, you realize that this is no ordinary bedroom.

You step into a darkened room, entirely empty except for some sort of electronic object, with flashing indicators, and countless tubes and dials, sat on a desk in the middle. Hooked up to it, and surrounding on all sides, there are dozens and dozens of unusual receivers, their LED displays all indicating different frequencies, ranging from "30 MHz" to "300 GHz". The whole contraption positively throbs with the noise of static hiss and hum. A multitude of electric cables run from a covered vent to the side, providing the whole rig with power. Wendell regards it with awe.

Wendell says: There it is… My magic ticket. The hunk o' junk that's gonna clear my debts!

The multi-pitched static noise swells and subsides at seemingly random intervals, which then prompt intermittent bleeps and bloops from the unit on the table. Suddenly, Wendell throws himself at it, frantically pulling loose the multitude of connections which link to the central unit.

He mumbles to himself: S'all tangled… Humph… C'mon. One more… aaaaand done.

With the last cable disconnected, the static noise ceases and the room is suddenly silent. Wendell picks up the machine and tucks it under his arm with a gleeful grin. But before you can make your exit, there's a noise from the living space. Wendell emits a panicked gasp. Two voices approach! You glance quickly around the windowless room, with only one exit, leading to the living area.

Wendell implores: Oh sh—ucks! Time to earn your corn, <name>. Don't let em hurt me or I ain't paying!

  • "You could try just talking to them? Maybe you'll reconcile?"
  • Hide in the closet with Wendell!

Reconcile:

Me: You could try just talking to them? Maybe you'll reconcile?

Wendell looks at you in horror.

He hisses back: Are you outta your mind?! They'll pulverize me before I get a word out! Oh my— I can't believe I relied on an amateur—

Wendell cuts off, suddenly aware that the approaching voices are only a few steps away!

  • Hide in the closet with Wendell!

Still with the clunky object tucked under his arm, you usher Wendell quickly into a clothes closet in the near wall of the room. You scramble in after him, quickly sliding the slatted door across as quietly and silently as you can. The space is dark and cramped and your footing is uncomfortable. How long can you hold this? A small amount of light enters the closet through the airing slats - just enough for you to see that Wendell is now sweating profusely.

One of the voices gets louder and nearer and, through the thin slats of the closet, you see the bedroom door open. A towering young woman enters, whom you recognize from the family photo; Wendell's daughter, only now a few cycles older. Her conversation with the person in the other room ends abruptly as she surveys the scene in the bedroom.

Next NPC: Sarah-Jane Briggs, Residences, L 726-8 Jump Gate

  • Watch through the closet slats.

The woman hollers: Momma! It's g- gone… The Ear! We've been robbed!

Panicked, she rushes back into the other room. Wendell holds tightly onto the clunky apparatus in the darkness next to you.

He whispers: If— If they find us… You should— y'know… Remember what I hired ya for.

  • "What's she talking about an Ear for? What IS that thing?"
  • "You want me to hurt them?!"

Ear:

You demand to know more about the object that Wendell is still cradling in his stubby arms.

Me: What's she talking about an Ear for? What IS that thing?

As you speak, Wendell clutches it ever tighter. He hesitates for a unit before replying.

Wendell slowly whispers: Experimental Auditory Rig. EAR. Roswell wackos use em to listen for… a- aliens. Robert Lamb, the Roswell founder, built 'em way back. But nobody really even knows how they work… This is one of the biggest, one of Lamb's early prototypes… It's junk really. But, there's people that'll buy em- Listen, now's not the time, OK?!

Over in the other room, you can hear frantic banging as cupboards and drawers are checked for other missing items.

  • "Who's Robert Lamb? Answer, unless you wanna be on your own here!"
  • Make a dash for the vent.

Robert Lamb:

Me: Robert Lamb? Who's that? Tell me or I don't protect you.

Wendell looks exasperated by your questions and answers quickly, his voice quivering as snippets of the panicked discussion in the living area filter through. It sounds like Security are being called now.

Wendell says: Astronomer. Flare stars, that kinda thing. Posted here during the Cat. Whole Division thing was his doing… Said he found alien comms on the Mesh, right before. But nobody listened, at first. Then after Cat, whole bunch of people took an interest. That's Ros-Div. Lamb's dead now. But they still got the Ears he built so they can listen for aliens…

Suddenly, the angry voices get louder again and two figures enter the room now. Looks like the daughter and mother from the family photo. Wendell pants rapidly as the fear grips him. Through the slatted closet, you watch SJ and Sandy checking the disconnected wires in the middle of the room.

The daughter says frantically: Don't worry momma, we'll catch em. We'll get it back… Y'know I heard another Ear was stolen from the next street last tenspan. Ever since Department Z took an interest in us, every chancer sees a cred sign on our stuff!

As the daughter talks, you watch the mother nervously approach the closet door, reaching a hand out gingerly to the handle.

The mother says: I- is there someone.. in there?!

She reaches out and then, suddenly, the door is open, creating the strangest of family reunions. Sandy and Sarah-Jane Briggs stand frozen in terror seeing you and the small man clutching their "Ear" next to you, entirely unaware that he is their one-time father and husband. Sarah-Jane lunges powerfully at him!

Sarah-Jane shouts: That ain't yours!

  • Do nothing. Watch as Sarah-Jane batters Wendell to recover the "Ear".
  • Try persuading Sarah-Jane to calm down.
  • Step in. Pull Sarah-Jane off Wendell.

Step in:
(Strength check)

You watch as Sarah-Jane pummels the yelping thief in the ribs, until he rolls up into a ball on the ground. You wade into the fray, slapping your hands onto the back of Sarah-Jane's shoulders and pulling her backwards hard. She's a powerful woman, but somehow you manage to heave her backwards, enough to lift her weight off Wendell for a moment. He squirms free, away towards the corner of the room.

Suddenly, there's a lull. Everything seems to pause as Wendell, Sarah-Jane, Sandy and yourself catch your breath. You look around the room at the ragged and adrenaline-pumped Briggs family, your own thoughts racing.

  • Reveal the truth about Wendell's secret clone.
  • Snatch the Ear and make a run for it!
  • Say nothing. Keep Wendell's secret.

Reveal truth:

Somewhat dramatically, you clear your throat and point a finger at Wendell, suddenly commanding the attention of all three variously bruised, confused and scared members of the unhappy Briggs family.

Me: There's something you should know… This man is Wendell Briggs. He's been living on Taungoo ever since his 'death' thanks to a secret clone. Changed his genotype, but it's him alright. I suspect he used a suicide pill…

But you don't get to finish your sentence. Sarah-Jane is pummeling Wendell hard again now, angrily crashing thudding blows against his chest. You're pretty sure you hear one of them give way with a loud crack. Wendell wasn't joking about getting a hostile reception.

Sandy says: Wha— No. It can't be… My Wendell?

You turn to see Sandy tottering dizzily as she tries to process the information and violence overload confronting her right now. Then, wordlessly, she collapses forward into the debris scattered all about the floor! Before you have time to check on her, the thud of boots and chatter of urgent voices is heard, as two Security agents burst into the room, clamoring orders at the chaotic scene.

  • Comply with Security's orders.

A security guard says: Wendell Briggs. Back from the dead, huh? Come with us.

Wendell is pulled to his feet. He looks almost relieved as he's separated from Sarah-Jane by a Security guard. Security seem more relaxed about the whole affair once they realize it is essentially a family spat. Wendell's led away for questioning. Sarah-Jane stares at him intently, while simultaneously trying to revive her groggy mother from the ground.

Sandy says: SJ. It's you… I had… the strangest dream…

Sarah-Jane soothes her mother, still staring intently at the now empty doorway through which her father has been taken away.

Sarah-Jane says: So, he's alive… I shouldn't be surprised. Should've guessed. Only, it was easier, him being dead… What a scum-bag! He's the only person I ever met that'd stoop so low. His family ain't good enough for him, 'xept to steal from! No wonder aliens think humanity ain't no good…

Sandy interrupts: SJ, don't talk like that about your father!

A look of disbelief crosses Sarah-Jane's expression, before she apologizes to her mother. You wonder what the future holds for this unhappy family? Will Wendell be returning home? There's an awkward silence before another guard approaches.

He says: You're free to go, <name>. We're treating this as a family matter…

Then, turning to Sarah-Jane, he mutters something about Department Z. He packs up the clunky gadget, explaining that all of Lamb's original Ear devices are now to be stored in a secure facility, elsewhere on station. It's clear that however kooky the Division appear to be, external interest in their activities goes beyond only Wendell trying to make a few credits.

You have completed the "Family Matters" mission.

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