Storms on Trajaras

Chapter Two

Truth and Lies

Rona, Leander, Warren, Nicholas and Mavern are returning from the party, when they hear a grav-field hum, followed by a crack and a scream. All run down the corridor, meeting the House O’Garee security. They indicate a door, and as security are about to boot it in it is opened by Eland, holding a knife and a gun. There is a broken hunter-seeker behind him. He accuses Atreides but Sean arrives and persuades him to back down. They spend the rest of the night on their vessel.

Sisyphus reviews the security tape. It happened exactly as they described. Simone screamed when she saw the hunter-seeker, Eland burst in and threw a knife at it, cutting it cleanly in half.

Meanwhile, Taran examines the 2 halves. It was one of his and he has no way of telling who was controlling it! As Leander and Saskia return to their quarters, there is a flash of laser fire. Luckily neither of them is hit, but this gives Security something else to think about. Sisyphus sends men to check where it came from, but there is nobody there anymore. He orders them to search the surroundings. They are not allowed onto a couple of ships (Lithian‘s and Mahanun’s ?), but do find a cave with a lasgun scorch. Sisyphus and Nicholas take a squad down there to explore, and nearly get lost in the tunnels. They eventually stumble back into Porthaven, where they happen onto a scuffle between the security guards and occupants of The Sign of the One-Eyed Sailor. Sisyphus also finds that Claudius Scaevola was originally in House Manndrach Special Forces, then later employed by Callisius as a security advisor before moving to spares allocation.

Meanwhile the others attend the trade delegation with Lady Aurora and the House O’Garee representatives, plus the Reverend Mother. Sean O’Garee first asks for an update on the hunter-seeker episode. Leander gives him a fairly concise version.

They then move to the Dragonfly sabotage. Sean says that Simone has concluded that they are not of House O’Garee manufacture. She explains (with presentation) that they are made differently. You could not booby-trap those made by the standard House O’Garee method, since they are made with one solid bar pulled to relevant size. However, there are more than 12 Houses with this lathe capability.

Sean has a list of what House O’Garee shipped, and it does not match Lady Aurora’s records of what arrived on the planet. The crate weights are all different. They therefore ask for total exoneration. Leander agrees, with careful wording, and Sean then releases 500 new drive shafts.

The second point is the about the upgrades. Sean complains that some of the mining machines have been fitted with non-standard parts, contrary to the contract. Mavern then briefs them on what we know so far. The resulting discussion ends in a stalemate over whose fault it is, and Lady Aurora arbitrates.

Simone then puts forward the specs for the new mining machines, with a new jointing system which is a bit close to illegality (but not across the line) under the Butlerian scriptures. They expect a 5% increased profitability, especially since they use 3 people instead of the former 6. The upgrades will be gradual.

Sisyphus receives a report from Osiron, informing him that Scaevola is in Porthaven. So is someone else who worries him. Meanwhile, Nicholas is operating on an anonymous tip-off (from Taran!) that there are Sardaukar on the planet! They are headed by Colonel Magnus Schiavonna, Leander’s sworn enemy, and are guarding Callistus’ house!

Nicholas negotiates with him. Luckily he is here unofficially, and offers some of his troops to guard the planet. He will not leave the residence, therefore it remains Imperial territory and is consequently unsearchable.

At this point, Major Heinz arrives. He was aware of the Sardaukar presence, but it was supposed to be a secret training mission, organised about two weeks ago, while we were in Calypso.

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