…arrive successfully, and commandeer 3 ground cars to lead up to the mine. Arrive at the office. The supervisor’s assistant, Olivia, summons him. He is only mildly put out, and shows Mavern the last 10 years’ output records. They produce significantly more than successfully arrives for processing – about 25% of shipments are going missing? The fact that the mine’s records show this suggests that they are not the primary dishonest operators. On questioning the supervisor, he reveals that he did not request improved mining spares. They just started appearing ~5 years ago. These machines looked larger, so he reduced the maintenance periods. Mavern then reviews the spares records; they are all properly House Manndrach authorised, by Sevastini at Ilemun. So where are the dodgy spares being supplied or substituted? Olivia also shows us her recent research on the burial chambers; they appear to be ~320 million years old, and exactly cubic to the nearest millimetre! Almost all contain a glass statuette, which they sell to the shipping manager and use the money for bonuses.
Head back down the track, then off to the port; a small town, 5-6 ships moored at the quay. Park and persuade the guards to let us in. Mavern examines the records, and soon notices that they match the arrivals and NOT what left the mine! Leander questions them; he is aware of the incongruity. The Dawn Rose pirates have 25%, he has 50% and Callisius the shipper has 25% (remember our combat accountants?). Callisius supplies the spare parts. Leander accuses him of assassinating the previous governor when he discovered the truth. He is genuinely surprised at this! As Taran goes for his gun, one of the 6 guards shoots him! We go for our shields, as Rona smacks one in the throat. Nicholas gets hit, as Saskia dashes at the guard at the back, and punches him out. Mavern dives for cover, and Warren kills one with a single shot from his lasgun! Unfortunately the 3 remaining guards shoot at him, hitting twice but inflicting no damage. The 6th guard swings at Rona, but misses. Leander lunges at the manager, wounding him. The poisons start to take effect…
Leander takes the manager down. Rona kills her guard with a driving kick and Saskia charges another , taking him out. Leander impales another right through the heart. The one remaining guard explains that we have ~15 seconds before the place explodes! Then he and the techies dive out of the window! Nicholas grabs the manager as Saskia, Rona and Mavern go for the fire escape. Nicholas goes for the lift and the rest go for the windows. Leander sees Nicholas leave the lift then collapse, so runs back and picks him up, aided by Rona. He is in a bad way, but they cannot help him without an antidote. As they reach cover, the top of the tower explodes. Warren searches the manager’s body and finds one anti-toxin capsule. He dashes over to Nicholas with it, and it seems to work.
Soon, the emergency services arrive and start to deal with the chaos. Leander notices a man in a boat observing the proceedings. Warren summons him and Rona questions him: he is Adolphus (tastes similar to Max Lund, the architect of the palace). He has travelled this world (not his own) for many years. He has no direct interest I this incident.
There is enough evidence remaining to back up Sevastini’s confession. He was receiving normal replacement parts and selling them on. He also received the improved parts from someone offworld, and supplied them to the mine. Callisius and the Dawn Rose are heavily implicated. Return to the landing pad. Taran checks over the Dragonflies; some are also sabotaged.
Return to the capital, just as the next Heighliner arrives. It carries a message; Ryan Manndrach was murdered 9 days ago!