’Enery was giving George a bit of a break as he rolled a huge reefer. He decided to vacate the cabin as soon as George lit up, as the stuff only gave him a pounding headache.
After sealing Wylde’s remains in a casket and signing it over the SD Office on Veronica, they had been informed that the casket would be sent to the Doghouse straight away. The nasty looking amulet he had been wearing (which Clarissa had noted caused the ground beneath a nearby grave to shift uncomfortably) they had wisely decided to send on also- though as a precaution Anwyn suggested that it not be on the same flight as Wylde’s corpse-and also that it be locked up in a separate building. Not liking the look or feel of the thing, Veronica Security had complied.
Transport to Jupiter and onwards to Saturn had gone fairly smoothly, but then they had hit a snag. It had only been the purest luck that they had been able to get a lift on the “Lois Lane” on Saturn, after they had found that there wasn’t a scheduled flight on to Uranus for another few days.
It was then that ‘Enery had found himself peering at a middle aged man with fair hair, chatting at to a dreadlocked man in Pilot’s overalls, on the spacedock.
“’Im there” said ‘Enery, "Isn’t dat Tim Phillips?" He pointed.
“It sounds kind of familiar?” puzzled Clarissa.
“It’s ’Im- Phillips”, continued ‘Enery excitedly, "’Im wot rote ‘Zeroes’, ’an made them documentaries on the Kreelers!" Realisation dawned on Clarissa and several of the others.
Tim ‘Digger’ Phillips was a fairly well known investigative reporter, who had made a number of documentaries exposing the seedy underbelly of the British Establishment. In his youth his reporting during the Mutant Rebellion, and his secret inside footage of mutant concentration camps, had made him a minor hero of many mutants, and had perhaps also helped to turn the tide of public opinion against the excesses of the Kreelmann Regime.
His subsequent documentaries and books on Kreeler War Criminals, The New Church and many other anti- establishment views had made him highly unpopular with the British Government, and he had resigned from the BBC. His work was very popular in the US and Australia however, and was widely distributed off world. He made a very successful living as a freelance journalist/ documentary maker/ author.
“I wornt ’is autograarf” said ‘Enery excitedly. "’E can soin my corpy of ’Zeroes’"
Phillips had been fairly gracious, if somewhat bemused, about being approached by a bevy of Strontium Dogs, and had signed ’Enery’s book with good humour. He had casually asked, probably out of politeness, what they were doing on Saturn, and they had glumly responded that they were stranded waiting for a ship on to Uranus-in pursuit of a perp. Phillips had raised an eyebrow and looked at George-his pilot, and had offered them a lift on the "Lois Lane’.
“Bags I get an interview if it all goes well- I might be able to use it.” The agents had shrugged- it seemed like a fair deal under the circumstances.
George had just relayed their incoming to Titania control, when the controller cut in.
“Lois Lane I need you to assist, we have a situation here and you are in the closest proximity to help. " said the Controller.
“Hey no problem Mon,” said George, “Chill out and tell me your ’ting, nice and easy like.”
“We’ve had a Pan call from mining base ZZA-10 situated on Ariel: that’s only about two hours from your current intercept. We can’t get anyone there for at least 10.”
“And what’s the problem, Mon?” asked George.
“Something’s happened to their shuttle-lost with all survivors on a remote outpost. Captain Hanson, the base commander reports that the crash might have been orchestrated. Professor Kiddmann, the chief scientist also reports the situation as very serious, and they need a craft immediately. Go straight there and we’ll send another craft along as soon as we can.”