The Captains’ Ball is in the very impressive Dancing Chamber, entirely of metaglass. Head in, fashionably late. Lady Aurora is already there, with Thordis, receiving gifts! Start to mingle – Leander meets Luce, the Guild spokesman – who has heard the rumours that Leander will marry the Lady Aurora! Watching this exchange are Goran Atreides, Head of Shipyards and Captain Selsia Shaw, of the Tranquility. Nicholas meets Kostus, head of the arenas. There will be a big gladiatorial event tomorrow. Kostus asks if he would like to book an execution. He and Warren refuse. Saskia tries the BG way on a young man: Captain Darius Keel; he’s cold! – cyber-arm and hearing – they dance well together. Captain Mario Puicalare – a Trajaran local (large, brawny) is present. Warren dances with Tunna (young, pretty, long white hair), but she doesn’t reveal why she is here. Leander dances with Lady Aurora – Thordis looks daggers (she is very protective). Aurora is wearing a strange, chunky antique necklace. She is very happy to be governor – she gets to stay. Mavern spots Renata Evangelos – very regal, skimpily dressed. She says that this planet is unstable, the core is heating. She implies that this is due to whatever caused the planetary change, which is now under the oceans. She has discovered that all the Old Trajarans may not be dead. Huh?
There are audible sighs when Thordis is grabbed by a small tubby man. She brushes him off – Captain Aliantus Masta – with smiles. He goes for a beer – Rona follows. He is a merchant captain, and blusters well. He swears that pirates are as much of a myth as the dragons. Rona asks if she could view his ship; he is at her disposal.
Saskia fails to approach Thordis, who is far too disdainful. Instead, she reminds Mavern that Leander needs to dance with Tunna. Nicholas finds out that Thordis is a convicted criminal (murder? She became a bodyguard after gladiator. In her first fight she killed Ryan Manndrach’s gladiator).
Mavern calls a leave to the ball early, as he has some correlations. He mentions about the planet’s ‘self-destruct’, but not the time period. He reckons that the Old Trajarans live hidden and use gene manipulation to make dragons; keeping themselves going by smuggling. They may be responsible for the planetary warming, and even the death of Ryan. Either the O’Garee put them in after payment from the Old Trajarans, or because they always do, and the Old Trajarans found out. Leander recommends that Mavern prepare a report for Aurora.
However, Nicholas finds that Aurora would normally go back to Calypso with the rest of her family before the Ball. Why did she not this time? Also, how much has Ryan (The CHOAM liaison) apprised her of up until now? How does he feel about her in general?
Taran checks the contracts for the Mantis machines – they were bought 10 years ago, and are due to be upgraded at the end of the year. Time to look for other suppliers?
The security patrol reports back from the maintenance base – the Commander and all the staff are dead (poisoned), except for the specific mechanic supervisor, who has checked out a Dragonfly and disappeared.
Next morning, Saskia tries Prescience – moving shadows in a confined space, dripping water. An older woman stands, waiting, by a pool. Her reflection starts to rise – in water- out of the pool. The pool is still there, but the woman has gone.
Breakfast, then to the arena – by boat.