Storms on Trajaras

Chapter Two

Truth and Lies

Leander questions Warren and Nicholas about their progress in finding Paramina. Warren goes back to question Jasmine again. The note arrived four days ago, but has now decayed. Rona attempts some prescience; she can see a flame, burning underwater.

Rona then goes off to talk to the servants about Lady Aurora’s parents. Pieter was well liked, his sister Leona less so. Sylvia was also liked and she was the first, but accepted Amelia Helena when she arrived. Amelia and her daughter left the palace 12 years ago, when Pieter died. The staff assumed that they left the planet. Sylvia, however, is still alive on Caladan. Rona sends word to the Bene Gesserit on Caladan to question her.

That evening Warren goes over to Porthaven to scope out Callistus’ house. Unfortunately, as he disembarks he is shot by a high-velocity rifle from the direction of the palace. It is poisoned. He radios back to the palace as he returns. The medical team are waiting for him, as Sisyphus orders a sweep of the palace; all is secure. It is most likely that the sniper was on the cliffs above the palace. The pellet they dig out of Warren is ovoid, and most likely came from some kind of rail-gun. Nicholas identifies the weapon (via Major Heinz) as a House Manndrach Special Forces X-gun (remember, Claudius Scaevolla was ex-Special Forces). Heinz suspects that any sniper would then just go down the cliffs to the lagoon.

Sisyphus gathers the evidence to charge Callisius with tax fraud. Nicholas goes down to visit Callisius, only to find he is dead! He immediately calls Sisyphus. The security record shows that Nicholas visited him at 11 o’clock, but Nicholas was talking to Sisyphus about the sniper at the time! As Nicholas is leaving the prison, a lasgun fires in his direction from outside the building, slicing through the Atreides personnel carrying the stretcher with Callisius’ body. The House Manndrach security return fire; one hits, as Nicholas spots him. He switches on his shield, then throws a grenade. Nicholas charges him, drawing his sword; it clangs off his shield and slides away. He draws a slip-tip and hits! The assailant dies, but strikes Nicholas with his dying shot. Nicholas is poisoned, so checks the body for antidotes. There are several vials. He also had strange armour. Nicholas requests a medic, and rests there.

After he is healed, he escorts the bodies back to the palace for examination. The assassin could have passed for Nicholas in a bad camera light. He has lots of poisoned equipment. He is later identified as Claudius Scaevolla! Callisius died of a stab wound to he heart, except that he was not Callisius, but some unknown! The body is not the same one that left the building. Is Callisius dead? We decide to officially declare him dead anyway.

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