The long strange trip

The investigation

The stakeout:

Your bribery attempt at monorail security got you a still of one of the fellows who picked up your money (but left the bag containing Ari’s bug):

And Khel’s comm unit got a quick, but full-face snapshot of the other:

That night, a couple of oo-jays, lured by the promise of money, appear out of the shadows and hiss at you. Perhaps antagonised by the canine teeth fused into their jaws, you don’t handle the encounter particularly well, but even so they spin you a story about trailing and hoping to roll someone in Surprise Crescent a few nights earlier – they backed off when they saw the glint of a weapon under his coat. He put something at the door of each residence on the Crescent. Under the light, one of them recognised him; for a fee, they tell you he runs errands at the downport.

Khel and Sar do the rounds at Starlight Plaza, flashing the mugshots they have, and spinning their own tale. From a group of stevedores gossiping over lunch they learn that several crates of valuable imported electronic parts disappeared from a warehouse last night. Roupan Pete and Tin-hand Terry, two notorious thieves, are assumed to be behind the theft. They’ll probably stash the loot in their secret hideout (“somewhere in Big Warren on East Hill”) until the heat dies down.

At one establishment, Superior Comestibles, the owner Olivia Purbeck seems to suffer a migraine attack when they show her the ACR round. Khel’s brusque approach doesn’t help matters but Sar manages to calm the situation.

Olivia Purbeck

Merchant, the owner of Superior Comestibles, a gourmet food store
o age 42, 5’10", 155 lbs.; tanned skin, red-bronze hair, hazel eyes
o She wants help tracking down a missing crate. She gives you the description & serial numbers.
o “It’s a crate, destined for me, that went missing somewhere between here and the downport.”
o “Well, why do you think I’m not going to the Starport Authority? Or the Startown Police?”
o “(Sigh) Guns.”
o “It was a crate of ACRs, if you must know. And it has to have been someone at the downport who diverted it, because it wasn’t hijacked – I’d know.”
o She thinks it was stolen by someone who operates between the Downport & Startown
o She will offer 1 ACR each to the people who track and find the lost crate

  • Meanwhile you hear that more fires have been set in Startown overnight, and that the dead body of another young woman was found early that morning in a back alley. Police suspect foul play.

The older sister of one of the oo-jays comes calling…

It’s not clear if she’s trying to protect her little brother, or just muscle in on his action, but she leads Jan and Ari to Tent City in Shacktown (after uneventfully staking out the downport with them).

  • On the way, a shabbily dressed middle-aged man sidles up to Jan and confides in a whisper, “Luke the Hook, the pawnbroker in Rat Alley, will pay 25 centicredits on the credit for Imperial credit notes with no questions asked and no checking of serial numbers.”

‘Tent City’
• A large tented structure, on closer inspection is revealed to be several large marquees and smaller tents, occupying perhaps a couple of acres, connected or overhung with tarpaulins, lengths of plasboard, mockwood or corrugated iron. Abutting it are several shacks, stalls and other semi-permanent structures. Some of it appears to built from or around old ship’s cargo containers. Rising from it in a couple of places are towers of wooden and metal scaffolding, with other tarpaulins hung from and over them. The structure appears to be open to the sky in some places, as smoke curls upward from a few locations. From what you can see, it is floored with sturdy sections of disassembled plasboard cargo crates. There are innumerable entrances and exits, leading into its gloomy interior, some merely flaps of hanging canvas, a few others being larger open entrances with small knots of people passing through or loitering in them.

The oo-jays aren’t much use in Tent City (they’re clearly not welcome), and it’s very difficult for you to follow people in Startown – crowded spaces are chaotic, so it’s hard to keep people in sight; in more open spaces, obvious offworlders really stand out – doubly so, in Tent City. Nevertheless Ari fashions another transponder bug and you pay some oo-jays to plant it on one of the suspects as he walks the Boulevard, who turns out to be Roupan Pete. Sar tricks a mapgrid overlay onto a satellite feed and Ari uses her Navigation skill to figure out roughly where in the structure Pete is holed-up. Merv takes you on a morning fly-over and you notice that the level of activity at this time is far less than it was later in the day. You also notice there are a couple of points open to the sky (above large, communal cooking fires), close to where the transponder stopped its journey.

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philbobones

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