Previously, seemingly everyone showed up at the Blackwell mansion at once including Winston. Tension was high and grew considerably with the arrival of Diamond and Ruby Dancer. Words were exchanged as Diamond refused to be patronized by Junior. Junior called the cops and Lucy managed to get Diamond and Ruby out of harms way before the cops arrived or Winstons blew a gasket. We continue on now as Tenaya meets with Harpster's layer and friend, Q to discuss what moves to make next.
Q's residence wasn't far from the Blackwell mansion. Tenaya pulled into his driveway before Lucy had even arrived at her own apartment with the girls. Chief Sandoval was still three or four blocks away, enjoying a false sense of security, while Winston fantasized about what his head would look like mounted in his den.
Q answered his door, already expecting her. He had never developed the pretentious air that afflicted most of his community. He had a butler, but he treated him like an employee and even enjoyed his company. He extended his hand and said, "Q".
Tenaya couldn't resist, "You look much different on television."
"As do you, Captain Janeway." Q smiled broadly. Fellow trekkies delighted in encountering one of their own kind.
"Well, we're going to get along. You know the Continuum is observing, right?"
"Killjoys, aren't they always? Please, come in. I must say, that was the most shocking, but best, news I have ever received. How can I help?' Q looked happy and intrigued.
"Well, we need a lawyer we can trust."
They both burst out laughing at that.
"Can I offer you a drink? Some Klingon Ale, Talaxian Brandy or just some coffee, perhaps."
"Coffee would be fine."
"Guinan! Two American coffees."
An extremely deep voice answered, "Yes, Captain." There was an audible sigh.
"Now, pretending that I am a trustworthy lawyer, how can I help?"
"Well, I know you have detailed knowledge of Harpster's business dealings. Winston has his hands on vast sums of cash. We need to find out where he is getting it. It appears Junior is clueless. And then…I know you aren't a criminal attorney…but we have a few ideas how to go about nailing these fools, especially Winston. We think we know who did what, but we don't have much in the way of solid evidence to present in a courtroom. There is something more serious at stake too. Winston is planning to sell military secrets to the Chinese, and apparently anyone with the cash. We don't know what secrets he has, but he is scoffing at Harpster's money, like it's chump change in comparison."
"From what you told me on the phone, you have a lot of criminal activity, but not a lot of good evidence to pin it on anybody. You have my crazy buddy, the Bard, who might not look to good in court. You have Lincoln, who is worthless and may not be around much longer. You have a body in a fireplace. Now, that is the most solid. If Lincoln has that on tape. But, you have to get that tape. That is evidence. A lying, bribe-taking fool like Lincoln is no witness. You have great evidence that Harpster was murdered, but he's screwed that up by being alive."
Tenaya stopped Q there. "That is one of my off the wall ideas. What if he stays murdered? By the way, you are now my attorney. Congratulations. Most of the world thinks he is dead. Only Winston, the Bard, Lucy and I, Diamond and Ruby and now you, know that he is alive. Well, my aunt Angela too. The point is that all the people that matter, Junior, Lilith, Chief Sandoval, the insurance company the coroner's office, even the doctor, that is in on it, all think he is an ice cube at the cryogenics institute. What in hell is Winston going to say if he is indicted? Is he going to say that he didn't do it? Hey, he's alive; I just kidnapped him so I could get money to help me sell secrets to foreign governments. I'm not a murderer, I'm a traitor. Could you execute me now…pretty please? See what I mean?"
"Wow. That is wild. Damn, the Bard has affected your mind. That's what I love about him. That is just wild. Did I mention that it was wild? I love it. But, listen. We need some big guns. I don't mean local cops, no offence. I mean flame-throwing, bazooka types. This is National Security we're talking about. This Winston's no joke. the Bard may be nuts, but I know what he can do. Hell, he rescued Harpster from an army of mercenaries all by himself. Winston is the same kind of animal and he has a pack. We have to get more information. It sounds easy. Call the FBI; they go slap on some cuffs, good night Irene. Winston and his men could wipe out the west coast while we try to do that. There is no telling. We need the kind of help that doesn't have stand-offs on television that end in blood baths."
"Where do we find people like that? You're telling me that the CIA & the FBI aren't the way to go. Then what is the way to go? Who can we get?"
"Well, this is going to sound crazy, but you have the first person I'd call sitting over at your apartment right now, probably rewriting "Stairway To Heaven". Damn. If we could find some of his squad, I'd feel a whole lot better. I met one of his partners, though, and he was nowhere near as together as the Bard is. So, I don't know. The Bard is mentally ill, that's no joke. I've seen him turn into a panther though. I've seen him elude half a dozen cops with a chopper tracking him. He was in one of their squad cars."
Q started laughing at the memory.
Tenaya smiled. "In the car? What do you mean? In the back seat?"
"Hell yes. He laid down on the floorboard while they drove around in circles looking…for HIM! They finally gave up and drove all the way back to the station. They parked the car and while they're standing there, scratching their heads, he sneaks out and takes a seat by the fountain to the entranceway. He's got a newspaper up, hiding his face. He greets them as they walk by. Ha-ha. "Hello officers" The mumble some greeting and walk into the station. Bel Air's finest."
Tenaya couldn't get over that. "They had him in custody the whole time! Hello officers! Haaaa! I can hear him now. Oh God, we're all gonna die, aren't we?"
"Yep, it looks that way. Shall we go make plans with our leader?"
"Beam me up. Warped speed. We have to get him to stop smoking the dilithium crystals. That's the key."
The two Star Trek nerds headed towards Tenaya's apartment to make plans to capture a deranged, well-armed psychopath. A poetry-spouting-schizophrenic and a damned-good harp player awaited them. They felt upbeat and optimistic.
Q was genuinely thrilled to see Harpster. "God, I can't tell you how good it is to see you. My best friend in the whole damn world. l think your girlfriend and I have some bad news for you, though. We think you're better off dead. Nothing personal, you understand. It just works out so much better for all concerned ,if you remain in the slushee machine."
"Hey, I'm willing to wait. They may find a cure for this someday. What about my friend here. Does he get to live?"
The Bard wasted no time with his response.
I took that first breath as though my life depended on it
it became a habit
some say it was gree-d
I said the air was free
they said it shouldn't be
can't you see
but, they had bigger
endangered fish to fry
no time to cry
like a sparrow dreams
so do I
I wish to try
if I am the beholder it is in my
point of view
that was quick
I take that last breath
as though my life
depends on it
"Bard, we have a special forces soldier gone rogue. We need to stop him." Q looked at the Bard hopefully.
"Cigarette smoking is bad for your health. We're gonna have to smoke Winston. How's Lucy? Is she okay? When ya gonna bring Lucy by. I've got the diamonds, she is the sky."
"They'll be by before long. Which brings me to you, Harpster". Tenaya smiled. "It's none of my business what happened between you, thirty-some years ago, but that is one feisty woman. I need you two to get along until the dust settles. Then you two can go to WrestleMania for a cage match, whatever you need to do. If you want to tell me about it, I'm all ears, if not, just remember, we need to take care of business first."
"She caught me with a naked woman. Well, two of them actually. But, it wasn't my fault. I had a reputation and she wouldn't believe me. It was a couple of singers looking for a record deal. They were good too. They didn't have to do that. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. I only sign based on talent, in spite of what you read. I'm not saying I'm an angel. I'm just saying, I sign artists that are artists. I don't make or break anyone. Anyway, Diamond wouldn't buy it. She never spoke to me again. I heard she was pregnant. I knew it was mine…the timing and all. She said no. She had a man…lifelong thing…she was just angling for a record deal herself…turning the tables, you see. I didn't believe her, but she showed up where I was playing,, arm and arm with this big dude. What could I say? I couldn’t be sure. She never responded to anything I sent her. She told me she miscarried in her last letter. I didn't believe that either."
Just as he finished his sentence, there was a knock on the door.
Tenaya looked at Harpster, who looked like a nerdy high school kid, going to his first dance. "Well, I guess we'll find out if she's over it, now."
The door opened and Diamond Dancer stepped through. She looked like a diva. It was her natural look. It didn't need practice or honing. This is how Diamond looked every day of her life. Harpster felt everything inside of him surge forward. Nothing had dulled with age. There was nothing standing in front of him that diminished the fantasy that he held in his mind. This was the fantasy and it matched his dreams in every way. Diamond gazed at Harpster and managed an almost pleasant smile. Harpster's heart sang an incredible melody. Everyone in the room could hear every single beautiful note.