A Double Serving of Trouble

Bucking the Tiger

As the crew leaves their last job, they get a wave from Han’s old friend Annie Foy. Annie has just come into a bit of money and wants to pay Han back for all the help and cash from the past. She says that she has gotten a steady gig at the Shenandoah Rush casino on Renao near Persephone. She offers the crew a week’s stay at the casino as well as some money to pay off her debt to Han, which the crew readily accepts.

When the crew arrives at the casino, they find themselves face to face with Sheriff Cao who says that he is planning on keeping an eye on them because he has heard rumors of the trouble that they can cause. He reminds them that while this is a casino, they like to keep their family friendly atmosphere. After his friendly greeting, he sends them over to the front desk where the crew finds that Annie has them in one of the nicer rooms and that they already have dinner reservations for The Columbia Gem, which is the finest dining that the casino has to offer. The concierge suggests that they have some finer clothes tailored and sent to the room if they plan on going.

The crew heads to the room to clean up and learn more about what there is to do around town including checking out some of the attractions. They find that some fine garments have arrived at the room about an hour before they are scheduled to have dinner with Annie. They head down to the restaurant and do there drink orders while they await Annie, but time passes and Annie hasn’t shown yet. Finally Han gets worried and heads off to find Annie. When they arrive at Annie’s dressing room they find the door open and spot the blood on the carpet to find their friend on the floor. With her dying breath, she says a single word, “Faro” while her hand is gripping an Alliance Pin. They do what they can to save her but it is to no avail. Sheriff Cao arrives and immediately is suspicious of the crew and throws them in a cell.

The sheriff interrogates them and is able to show them a wad of cash which they tell him matches the amount that Annie was planning on giving them. All in all, it doesn’t look like a robbery and the sheriff doesn’t feel like this has been done by the crew, so he offers them the cash in order to buy in to the Faro tournament being held by Guotin Shen. His current guess is that is why Annie said Faro was that it was one of the players who committed the crime. The crew agrees to dig into this crime and vow to head off and meet with Mr. Shen to get an entry into the tournament.

John and Gus head down to see if they can dig up any information about the who’s who and happenings around the casino. They happen upon the blacksmith, Sheila, who while making John special knifing glove gives them quite a bit of information. Her biggest concern was that it looked like they were going to get rid of her exhibit which was more of a historical representation of the old west and used her two specialties which was smithing and history lessons. She also tells them that “Sharklip” Shen was part of the Triad and is the local Red Pole heading up the local contingent. Sharklip had been the one to hire Annie to replace “Moanin’” Lisa, who was the previous marquee act. Also, she had heard the Shen liked to use the Faro game as a way to conduct business.

Doc and Han head over to the Robber Baron’s, which is a restaurant built into a replica train where Mr Shen likes to take his meals. Han and Doc notice the triad guards outside his private dining car. Han does a fancy bit of fast talking and makes it in to talk to Shen and then proceeds to school him in the art of rapid talk as he buys his way into the game of Faro that evening.

The party meets up at the room but when they enter they encounter a group of men who immediately start shooting at the party. Luckily they are about remove the threat and interrogate the remaining gang member who they find out are part of Guiyang’s mercenaries and had served with the Browncoats. However they don’t know who had hired them and the last member refused to talk.

The party end up having dinner at Bunkhouse Vittles while they are trying to figure out what they need to do next. While they are eating they notice that one of the folks seem to not fit in with the normal dress and press of the tourist as she was dressed as a nurse. Doc and John head off to follow her as she leaves the restaurant, remembering that one of the Faro players was a retired Alliance commander who needed medical care. They are able to corner her in the hallway which scares her and she agrees to tell the Colonel that they were ex-soldiers who wanted to visit.

The crew contacts the sheriff to see about finding a new room to use giving the issues they had in the old room. He is able to find them a room and offers to post a guard just to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

In the morning, John and Doc are able to visit with Colonel Baines while Han and Gus work on Faro strategies. John and Doc have breakfast with the Colonel while the nurse works at preparing the room and medication. They talk of the battles that they had fought in and about the upcoming game. They are able to see that the Colonel still has his alliance pin while trying to dig up information.

Later on that day, the crew finds themselves ready for the game. They head over to the south tower of the casino and take the elevator up to the penthouse suite on the 20th floor which is reserved for Mr. Shen. They arrive to find 4 triad guards collecting firearms to store behind the counter before they are allowed in. Upon entering, they see Colonel Baines with his nurse, as well as “Sharklip” Shen. In addition to those two players, they find two other players ready for the game. One introduces herself Cassie who is surrounded by a gaggle of wealthy looking individuals. The other player introduces himself and Butch and has a group he is talking with that have the bearing and haircut to easily mark themselves as military.

The game of Faro soon starts up and Han makes a big initial play to try and push for an early dominance, but quickly finds himself short on chips while the rest of his crew begin to circulate and start talking to the different groups in the room to see if they can drum up some information. While the hands move forwards with some ups and downs for Han, they find that Cassie has a solid alibi in that she was having dinner at the same restaurant they were at during the same time frame. When Han talks to Butch during the break, he tries to get under Butch’s skin, but is able to spot inside his coat a ton of Alliance pins as well as a large Bowie knife at his hip, which matched the wound descriptions that Annie had. As they are starting to sit down for the game, Han quickly tells the triad guards as well as Doc who had been broadcasting the game to the sheriff this whole time.

Right as the game is about to resume, the guard comes over to Shen and whispers into his ear. Shen turns to Butch and yells, “You killed one of my investments.” Butch looks bewildered but says that he had heard that an Alliance agent was supposed to be trying to get access to this game. Shen replies that this show of initiative is going to cost him because he had personally vetted Annie. Butch flips the table and his mercenaries start tangling with people while he makes a break for the door. John makes to follow quickly, while the guards make quick work of the mercenaries. Shen then charges the remaining crew to take care of this problem and eliminate Butch.

Down the elevator and out the door of the casino, they see Butch leap on the back of the nearest horse and start yelling for help in his comm. The crowds of tourist cheer and clap thinking that this is some sort of show while the crew tries to shoot his horse from under him. They confront him outside their ship and are able to take Butch and his mercenaries down and turn Butch over to the Sheriff for justice.

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