…and looks even more unhappy as she eyes up Eland. Sisyphus joins the group, but then gets grilled by the Reverend Mother and compared to the House O’Garee mentat. Sisyphus backs away gratefully, leaving the other mentat standing there. He appears to be calculating. She appears to be reading him carefully.
The female O’Garee engineer is very uncomplimentary about Taran’s engineering abilities – unfortunately he is not there to defend himself so Leander does his best to defend him. Rona thinks that she actually does believe that she is right.
Mavern notices that a boat has arrived. Is this Osiron? He continues to talk to Renata. She already knows that Leander will take charge of the battle fleet. She asks for his assistance; she wants an escort to survey a certain area. Just then Sisyphus is approached by a servant: “Six are waiting for entry to the party – some women and three Captains: Keel, Raina (Masta?) and Sta”. He goes down to meet them, and they are somewhat rowdy. A kilted man is dancing, while the others watch and grope the girls. The last man is Osiron who promises that the others will behave. One of the others is looking forward to meeting the Truthsayer.
Sisyphus goes to check with Aurora. She approves it, so he lets them loose. The O’Garee delegation ask Leander who they are, and Sean drags Simone over to talk to Keel. Aliantus Masta (droopy moustache) heads straight for Thordis. He kisses her, and she playfully pushes him away. He turns, and heads straight for the Reverend Mother. He hands her a glass of wine, which she takes and then includes him in the conversation. This leaves Osiron to lurk, unnoticed at the back with Sisyphus. He offers him a transcript of Warren’s meeting with Turina Principio. Sisyphus offers him his spying job back, and he is happy. Rona notices that two people are paying attention: Major Heinz and Renata Evangelos. Rona goes over to distract Renata. She says her jewellery is very old. Modern Trajarans believe that this particular volcanic stone is the outpourings of Mazaranus, and hence unlucky. She, of course, pays no heed to this.
Osiron reveals that Manius Sta is a spy and a smuggler. The girl accompanying him, Sophie, is a spy for House Principio! The girl with Masta, Lucia, is a spy for House Evangelos. Darius Keel is a pirate, whereas Masta is just an opportunist. Osiron has engineered it so that Turina Principio thinks this is her idea. She owns The Sign of the One-Eyed Sailor bar in Porthaven. Aurora goes there once a month, to meet with three other ladies, who fly into Porthaven for the day (24 hours). He has no idea what they do…
Just then, Nicholas and Sisyphus’ alarms go off – Paramina is missing! Two of the security officers from the dock are also missing. Nicholas goes to see Jasmine. She is worried. Paramina went to her room to get some clothes, accompanied by one of the guards, about 1.5 hours ago. Jasmine raised the alarm. Meanwhile, at the dock, five security guards have arrived when the two that should have been there didn’t report in. Five minutes ago – they were there (50 minutes?). They came down to investigate. Sisyphus notices that Osiron’s boat is missing, so orders a boat out to search. Nicholas searches the girls’ room: there is a lot of jewellery. There is also a broken jar on the floor, a spot which might be blood, and a deep scuff mark by the door. He contacts Sisyphus and they compare stories, then recheck the room. Sisyphus finds a faint stain in the far wall. Somebody fired a stunner from the door, at the person at the desk. The target knocked over the jar, and was then dragged off (suggests assault?). Nicholas calls Taran to analyse the stain. It is Paramina’s blood. Sisyphus checks the security tapes. One of the guards falls off the dock, then the other (stunned) then a hooded figure drags a body onto the boat. The boat belongs to Captain Keel. Nicholas recommends recovering Callistus, Callisius’ brother, who has received a tax demand for 125 million, but Leander isn’t keen without evidence.
Could it have been the security guard? Osiron knows that the guards all visited The Sign of the One-Eyed Sailor every week and this one had a preference for Lucia. Sisyphus tries a mentat projection; he doesn’t believe that the guard kidnapped her, so we are still looking for a body. Mavern agrees: If Callistus was involved, then he would be in league with House Evangelos. This is unlikely. More likely, this is associated with Claudius Schaevola (the clerk responsible for the destruction of the Dragonflies, and coordinating the smuggling). Of course, this is all presuming that Paramina is not a Moritani-trained assassin!
Masta finally leaves the Reverend Mother and heads straight for Simone O’Garee. She immediately summons Rona. She wants to know more about Masta as he is human (he must be re-incorporated into the breeding program).
Sisyphus explains to Osiron that they are sure that Paramina is being held in Porthaven (as no boats have left the harbour according to harbour masters). He bets she is being kept in one of the old mine tunnels.
The party ends. The ‘’Garee return to their chambers, the captains leave together. Sisyphus contacts Captain Shaw, to tell her that her ship’s boat s missing. She is more surprised that Keel stole it! She suspects Captain Lithian, as he has the keys to the back door of the palace!