Wait for the replacement security and medics to arrive, then head off to Porthaven to seek aid for Aurora. The trip passes uneventfully. All get healed and checked over during the voyage, except the 3 poisoned or burned – Thordis, Aurora and Saskia. Meanwhile, Mavern checks up on Sisyphus and the accountants. They are doing well, and have shifted several billion credits already. He then researches Caesar’s Drift: it’s the other side of the planet. Next evening, Thordis comes around. She is not pleased when Leander tells her what happened.
Fly by ornithopter to the Twilight Archipelago. As we land, we can see the Sinistratus Tower – the governor’s palace. Meet Sir Lucius Manndrach-Cole. Rona has a nap – she recognises the Porthaven lagoon. The city is in flames. Aircraft fly overhead. Towards her, a man made of fire approaches. An explosion shakes the palace. Mazaranus has woken up!
Mavern checks the records again. Most of the piracy seems to be down to a group called the Dawn Rose. The local governor has asked for an increased military presence, but it has been refused on pure economics.
During the Hour of Assassins that evening, Leander spots a hunter-seeker heading towards him. He puts on his shield, and waits. It lunges at him, but he dodges, twice. He attacks, as the others arrive, and it shatters. The others spread out to find its controller. Mavern (Taran?) arrives at the correct room, just as he leaves via the window! No sign of a splat, so he must have had a suspensor field. Mavern (Taran?) then analyses the hunter-seeker: it is a standard Harkonnen-made device, containing a type 1 poison. Rush down to meet the governor in the penthouse. He is ancient. His son, Julius, assists him.
He shows us a shigawire reel of the figures from Caesar’s Drift. They are identical to those we have seen before. Mavern realises the flaw in the standard procedure: no-one ever back checks, just adds up how many shipments arrive at the processing plant, not the number and quantity of ships sent! Julius honestly believes the truth of the figures, but his father suspects something more.
Fly out the next morning to Caesar’s Drift…