After a thankfully quiet and uneventful jump, the Princess safely emerges from jump at 02.00 and starts on the four hour journey to Moffett Field. As the ship gets closer to the world, they can see that there are a lot of ships in system, many of which are in orbit above the downport, with shuttles hard at work transferring passengers from the ships to the surface.
Fortunately, as the Princess is relatively small compared to most of the ships in system, the SPA is able to allow them to land. As Will taxies towards the spot of empty tarmac on the edge of the downport, everyone looks around. They have managed to patch up the starport well over the past ten months since they were instrumental in defeating the rebel attack on the base and everything looks calm, although Jie notices with interest that there is still a large Imperial Marine presence and they are obviously on high alert due to the presence of so many important offworlders.
Customs is fairly strict here and so it is a couple of hours before Autumn and Max have gone through all of the paperwork and all of the passengers have disembarked.
Max immediately gets to work on trying to find a buyer for the trade goods, wanting them out of the way in case the Princess needs to make a rapid departure. While Max does his rounds of the merchants, the others try and get information on the Overbluff and his airship, the Baischormth.
Jie heads over to the bar and heads up straight to the first group of off-duty marines she can find. It only takes her one quick round to discover that there is not much going on here at Moffatt Field – all of the VIPs and the airships are to be found in the capital, Delis.
The party members decide that, this case, that’s where they need to be. They call Max over the commos and tell him that they are heading into town. Max asks them to pay the mortgage off at the Hortalez et Cie branch while they are there as it’s 10 days overdue now. He tells them that he will catch up with them in the evening.
The party members grab a couple of ground car taxis and make the short 25km journey into town, stopping off at the bank. While they are inside, they spot the manager, Sergei Petterson, who was the one who did the deal with them to buy the Princess off Kiimii. He remembers them well as a result of the party members saving the bank from the armed robbery. He invites them for a drink and a chat after they have brought their account up to date. He seems happy enough, avoiding asking any difficult questions about the fact that their payments indicate that they have not been keeping to the routes that they said they would be taking.
With the race not due to start for the best part of 48 hours, they realize that they need someplace to stay and so start looking for a hotel. Due to the number of VIPs in town for the race, all of the decent hotels are full, but they eventually manage to find room in a run down motel on the edge of town.
Once they have checked in, they ask where the race is being held and discover that it is being held in a field a couple of km out of town to the north of the city. They get back in the cabs and head over there to take a look.
They see that there are ten airships moored at the field – expensive machines which use a combination of helium and anti-grav technology to create vast, sleek craft. The Baischormth is quite easy to find, standing out among the others. It is being guarded by some members of the Nattichippin mercenary Company, while security for the entire event is being taken care of by Imperial Marines.
Realizing that there is no easy way onboard the Overbluff’s ship, Jie leads the party members to speak with the Captain who is in charge of security here. The Captain remembers the party members from last year and is generally very accommodating. Jie tells him what they have learned about the Overbluff’s nefarious plans. The Marine Captain is a little skeptical, however, explaining that they have checked each of the airships very carefully and there are definitely no weapons onboard any of them. When he sees that Jie is not backing down from her claim that easily, however, he tells her that they will check the Baischormth again closer to the start of the race.
With all of the airships being tethered some 50m off the ground and access only being possible from a tower, there are no easy ways of getting onboard the ship and so the party is going to have to try something other than stealth if they want to check the ship themselves. They ask around and find out that most of the dignatries are going to be attending a party later that evening at the Cobra Cabana – the hottest club in Delis.
Seeing no point in staying on site any longer, the party members head back to their motel in order to get changed into their eveningwear collection, realizing that they are going to have to smarten up if they are to be allowed into the club. Autumn gives Max a call and tells him where they are. Having had no luck in finding buyers for the party’s trade goods at the starport, Max heads over to join them.
They head down to the club at 21.00. They see that there is a long line of people trying to get in. It would appear that simply dressing the part is not going to be enough to get them in. The party members attempts to talk their way in does not get them past the bouncers and so it falls upon Max and his bribery skills plus Cr. 500 before the velvet rope is lifted.
Once inside, the party members start to mingle. After an hour, Jie comes up to the others sounding all excited:
“I found a guy who has some spare tickets,” she says. “And they are only Cr. 100 each!”
The others don’t share her excitement, realizing that there is no way that genuine tickets to such a prestigious event would be going so cheaply.
The party members ask to meet the seller and Jie directs them to a weasel-faced man. The other immediately shuffle him into a corner and start to apply pressure upon him. Once he sees what he is up against, he breaks down and admits that the tickets are faked. He is a forger – and not a terribly good one at that – he doesn’t seem to have any connection to the Overbluff.
While the others are deciding what to do with the forger, Taeva spots a familiar figure slipping out of the club – it looks like the Overbluff. She immediately decides to follow him at a safe distance. She follows him down a dark alley and watches on while he changes his identity before heading out of the other side of the alley and onto another main street. Here he hails a taxi and then heads off. Taeva tries to hail a taxi for herself to continue the pursuit. She is out of luck this time, however, as there are no other cabs around and so is forced to watch the Overbluff disappearing into the distance.
With a sigh, she returns to the club to tell the others what she has seen.
The party members hang around for another hour, but with the Overbluff definitely not there any more, there seems little point in staying longer. Having not gotten much sleep the evening before due to the Princess’s early arrival that morning, the party members decide to head back to the motel to get a good night’s sleep. After all, they still have another 30 hours before the start of the race.