Refreshed after a good night’s sleep despite having to share beds, the party members are up early and continue with their journey right after breakfast. Max drives all of the way back with Billy-Bob watching him – he’s certainly picking up the hang of driving now, even though he’s still not ready to be doing any acrobatics yet.
After four hours of driving east, they take a break to have some lunch and then continue driving through the afternoon. It’s 18.00 by the time that they see Newland ahead of them. Once they are inside the city limits, they head for the hotel overlooking Newland Bay that they stayed in previously and check in.
Taeva is anxious to check out the address as soon as possible as there are still another 24 hours of daylight ahead of them and so everyone just drops their bags in the rooms and then head off to take a look at Newland Freight Services.
With the help of GPS, it takes just 20 minutes to get there, finding Southdown Industrial Estate on the south eastern fringe of the city in the direction of the starport. It’s a rather nondescript looking estate, featuring small industrial and commercial units which are all in pretty good condition – the estate looks as if it’s less than ten years old. The working day is now over, so there are few people about in the area.
Not wanting to draw any attention to themselves, they leave Billy-Bob and Clint with the air/rafts and make the last 200m of the journey on foot, stopping as soon as they see the unit ahead of them in the distance, not wanting to get too close at this stage.
Newland Freight Services is a two-storey building. The majority of it looks like warehouse space, with offices at one side of it. There are two doors into the warehouse, both of which have heavy steel shutters which are currently closed. There are no windows on the ground floor but it looks as if all of the offices are on the upper level as there are windows along one side. All the windows are protected by steel bars and there are blinds in the window hiding what’s behind them. There is no sign of life in the warehouse, although it would be hard to tell if there was.
The building seems to be well served with security camera – with a couple on each corner pointing in both directions. There’s no obvious way to get up close to the building without being seen by the cameras, especially as there is a relatively large car park surrounding the building which is currently empty.
But that’s not the most interesting thing about the building. What’s most interesting about it is the building which is adjacent to it, sharing an adjoining wall. The adjoining unit just happens to belong to none other than… SuSAG.
A closer look at the sign in front of the building announces that it houses the SuSAG’s sales, marketing and accounting operations for Tarsus. This building is just one floor and there are windows all around it, so it would appear to be all or mostly office space rather than warehouse. There are three doors into the building – two on one side and one on the opposite side and windows around most of the building. As with the other building, they are all protected with iron bars and a lot of security cameras. Again the building has car parking around it. There are a handful of cars still in the car park.
The group spends a while watching the two premises, but there is not a lot going on there. The vehicles in the SuSAG car park head off one by one as those working late at the office finally head home. There are still a handful of vehicles remaining though. There’s no sign of any activity at all from NFS.
Seeing that it’s not going to be an easy matter to simply sneak into either of the buildings and that they are unable to learn more out of work hours, they decide to head back to their hotel to discuss the plans for the following day.
Over dinner, Max and William do a little investigating on NFS and the Tarsuline business. Max discovers that NFS is registered to Jimmy-Joe Jefferson and his wife and was registered only around 18 months ago. Their accounts show only a very small turnover – too small to really justify a warehouse of the size of the one that they have. Max is unable to find out any details about their business, such as who their customers are and what products they specialize in. The information online about the company is scant.
William finds no more information on Tarsuline than the very generic information that he picked up about it earlier. There is no mention on the network of any commercial trade in the moss at all.
While the others are checking to see what information they can find online, Grim tries the offline approach, hitting the bars of Newland City. He draws a complete blank on finding out any information on Jimmy-Joe or NFS though. People just shrug at the mention of his name and have never heard of NFS either.
Naturally everyone has heard of SuSAG. They seem to have a pretty good reputation on Tarsus – no one seems to have any scandal or gossip about them – quite the reverse, in fact. It’s common knowledge that SuSAG brings a lot of money to Tarsus for renting the space on Rond and so they are happy that much of the local infrastructure is funded by SuSAG rather than by high tax rates.
After several fruitless hours spent trying to find some information that may be of use to the situation, Grim calls it a night and returns to the hotel, where the others have turned in for the evening already.