It is a little after midnight when Arvor, Jie and Grim are called in for questioning over the incident with the naked and high, Frix. Not wanting to tell the Inspector the truth about the dustspice, Jie and Grim give him some bullshit story that the Inspector doesn’t buy at all – it just makes his more angry. Fortunately Arvor has a little more experience of police procedure and manages to calm the Inspector down.
The Inspector admits that Frix is a known felon, a known member of a criminal gang and that he is the one at fault here. He agrees to release the three of them, but fines both Jie and Grim Cr. 500 for wasting police time.
Grumbling quietly to themselves, they pay the fines and head out of the police station where they meet up with Will and Taeva. They realize that they need to find out the location of the Sharks’ base now so decide to head into some bars in order to ask around to see if anyone knows where to find them. After an hour of asking around, they have managed to find out that the Sharks are based somewhere in the shuttle docks, but no one knows exactly where. They decide to head to the docks to see what they can find there. Firstly, however, they realize that they are going to need some transport to get the dustspice away. Taeva calls Max a call to come on down with the air/raft. Max is quite drunk after celebrating getting such a good price for selling the grav/modules but is more than happy to get away from Sunny-minding duties.
The party members stay drinking in the bar until, some 90 minutes later, Max arrives with the air/raft.
They all manage to cram into it and Max heads for the docks, parking near the entrance so that he can keep an eye on anyone coming in and out. Cautiously, they send Taeva in to scout out the docks. As it is the middle of the night now, there is little activity at the docks. Taeva spots that one of the docks is being guarded by a couple of thugs armed with shotguns, which immediately gets her attention. She calls over the others and tells them to come to dock 42. Once they are close, she saunters up to them. Women are a rare sight at the docks and so the bored guards immediately pay attention to her. As soon as their attention is diverted, the others get into position. Jie quietly comes up behind the second guard and takes down the guard with her pneumatic hammer, while Taeva takes down the other.
The two guards fall silently. It looks as if they weren’t able to call out an alarm. The door to the bay is locked, but it doesn’t take much of an effort for Taeva to get through it.
Taeva quietly opens the door and peeks in. She sees two bored guards should be watching the doors, neither of which are too attentive.
The party members come up with a plan. Will knocks on the window to divert the guard’s attention while everyone rushes into the building. Grim fires his stun carbine at one of the guards, but it fails to bring him down and the thug fires his shotgun at him, wounding him slightly. Arvor manages to take out the other guard quite quickly.
More shotgun-armed thugs emerge from the building, which the party members are able to take out for only minor wounds in return. The thugs seem to have stopped coming now, allowing the party members to regroup before they advance further into the dock.
The remaining thugs have set up an ambush at the entrance to the main bay. Jie and Taeva are both slightly wounded as they get through the ambush into the bay to get some revenge. Arvor and Grim are in straight after them. One them hits Grim at close range wounding him quite badly. Grim is now pissed and unleashes both barrels at the thug in response, practically blasting the thug in two. Finally all of the thugs are down. Will applies first aid to the injured and then they begin to search the premises for the dustspice. It doesn’t take them long to find it in the storeroom.
They call Max to bring the air/raft to the bay so that they can start loading the dustspice into it. They have just got the second of the four containers onboard when there is the sound of sirens and flashing lights approaching.
As soon as she hears the sirens, Taeva /Roberta realizes that it’s best if she makes herself scarce and so hides between some crates. Max, realizing this situation is not going to look too good to the police, immediately ducks down in the cab of the air/raft and makes a quick call to Star telling her the situation and that she had better come down because she will probably be needed to bail them all out.
Once again, the party members are taken back to the same police station where they were held just a few hours earlier. The weary Inspector starts to interrogate them as to what is going on. Once again, the party members are evasive about the whole matter.
Some 90 minutes later and Star arrives with Rock and Catch in tow. Star immediately asks to speak with the Inspector. As Star spoke to the Inspector in the afternoon to try and report the goods as stolen, the Inspector is sympathetic to Star’s story. He requires proof that the dustspice belonged to the Aslan in the first place and then asks for all of the evidence that the party has which shows that the dustspice ended up in Frix’s hands. The Inspector, by this time, already has a statement from Frix admitting his part in the theft and so the Inspector is able to close the case and both the party members and the Aslan are free to go on their way, taking the dustspice between them. They divide the dustspice between the two air/rafts and then head off back up to Banfi Highport.
Star calls them over the commos on the journey up to the highport. “Captain Hunter found out about the missing spice,” she says with a slight note of fear in her voice. “I have informed him that the spice has now been recovered. He says that he would like to meet you.”
The party members agree.
They bring the two air/rafts up to the hold of the Open Path and help to unload the spice and then follow Star as she leads them to meet Captain Hunter. Captain Hunter is another noble Aslan, a hint of grey around the muzzle showing that he is relatively old for an Aslan. The Captain is still pretty pissed that the cargo went missing in the first place and all the crew seem to be terrified of him.
The Captain speaks a little Galanglic and thanks the party members for all their help in retrieving the missing cargo. He still wants to know who was responsible for the exercise though. The party members ask to speak to him in private, which he agrees to. The party members think about telling the Captain their suspicions, but decide that they don’t really have enough evidence to put the blame on anyone’s shoulders, so this is what they tell him.
The Captain sighs in response to the fact that it will not be possible to find out who is the culprit, but thanks the party once again. He goes to his desk and takes two tokens from a leather pouch. The tokens are made from an ivory-like material and are etched with runes.
“This talisman is the Honourable Reputation with Aslan award, which will show to other Aslan that you have performed good services to our kind,” he says presenting the first. “The second is a Favour of Aokholkhtyeilik’al’soistsea award. It will allow you assistance from any craft from our merchant fleet, or assistance from our base on Dallia if you are ever on that world.”
The party members takes the awards in a suitably reverential fashion. They tell Captain Hunter about Sunny and ask whether they might be able to help out in arranging transport back to the Hierate. Hunter calls in Star to ask about him. When Star tells him that Sunny is from an associated Clan, he immediately agrees to take Sunny off the party’s hands – providing that they don’t tell him anything about the ‘dustspice dishonour’ fiasco. The party members agree and they say their farewells to Captain Hunter, wishing him well on their return to Dallia.
On the way out of the ship, Taeva uses her translator to say that she will text through the name of the culprit in ten minutes, hoping that this might reveal them.
Sure enough, as they head back to the Princess, Catch charges up to them, begging them not to say anything as it was he who was responsibly for the incident. Upon being asked why he did it, he reveals that he just did it to try and humble Rock who has become increasingly arrogant recently and ‘needed bringing down a peg or two’. Unfortunately his plan for making Rock look a little stupid all went horribly wrong when Frix stole the cargo. The party members decide not to grass up Catch on the promise that he never tries anything like this again. Catch agrees immediately, thanking the party members for their discretion. He gives everyone a hug and then dashes back to the ship before anyone realizes he is missing.
The party members return to the Princess where they find a tired-looking Autumn trying to remain enthusiastic about entertaining Sunny. Taeva tells Sunny that Star and Captain Hunter have agreed to allow Sunny on the Open Path in order to get back to the Hierate.
Sunny is overjoyed by this. He tells the humans that they have been so kind, generous and honourable, but that he needs to be with his own kind. Sunny heads down to the hold to retrieve his possessions and then says goodbye to everyone.
As she says goodbye to him. Taeva gives Sunny a small statuette of a wild horse, beautifully carved from some dark stone. The statue is solid, and small enough to be carried around in a pouch or pack.
“This is from my homeworld, Tarsus. These beasts are called Horses, and they came originally from the human homeworld on Sol many thousands of years ago. Humans have always trained and been friends with horses, and I grew up with them as a little girl before I left and started travelling. This is one of the things I brought with me to remind me of home. Please take it as a gift, and remember us. Good luck.”
Sunny looks at the small stone object for a long while and then puts it in his pouch that contain the runes honouring his ancestors. He then puts down his possessions and gives Taeva a big hug.
He then unfastens the 150cm thin highly decorative strip of leather from around his waist which he hands to Taeva. In his poor Galanglic, he tells her that it is called a fierah and show her how it can be used as a sling, a flail, a snare or bolas.
With a final wave, Sunny roars his final farewell and heads off to join up with the Open Path.
It’s early morning now and everyone has been up for well over 24 hours and so are feeling tired, not to mention the fact that many of the party members are still feeling fairly beaten up from shotgun wounds caused from the battle with the thugs. So everyone heads to their staterooms to get some rest.