It’s a little before noon before the party members arouse from their slumber. After a quick breakfast, Max takes the new AGC out for a spin. The party members pile in with him and he sets if on ground level so as not to violate any of the city’s overfly laws. They then make the address that they were given as belonging to the Powell family.
Following he GPS coordinates, they find themselves entering one of the most rundown parts of town. Max brings up the vehicle outside a very simple wooden building that has obviously seen better days.
They all head up the cinder path to the house and Max knocks on the door.
A weary female voice calls back to them, “If you’re the media or the police, I have nothing more to say to you. I’ve told you all I know already.”
Max calls back, “No, Mrs. Powell, we ain’t no filth nor press, we’re … errm .. grief counsellors – sent by the city to make sure you’re OK an’ stuff.”
The door opens to reveal a thin looking woman in her late-twenties. She looks as if she used to be attractive, but obviously the stress of the past few weeks have taken a heavy toll on her.
“You better come in then,” she says, leading them into the lounge filled with old furniture. A couple of toddlers are sat around in the room.
It’s a heart-rending scene.
“Tea everybody?” she asks politely.
The party members all nod.
“Make yourself at home then,” she says. “I won’t be a mo’.”
Taeva and Arvor take Mrs. Powell at her word and start rifling through the room while she is distracted. The only thing that they find of interest is an envelope from Elliot’s sister, Hannah Graveson, who is now living and working on a mining colony in the out-system, the moon, Eca IV. Taeva quickly scans the contents – it’s obvious that Elliott and his sister were very close. She takes a picture of the letter with her camera then quickly replaces the envelope as Mrs. Powell arrives carrying a tray of tea.
They spend a while chatting to her, but she really has very little that’s new to tell the party members. Elliott has not tried contacting her since he escaped, knowing that this would be the first place the cops would come looking for him. She is at her wits’ end with worry not knowing where he is and whether he’s alive. She’d almost rather that he got locked up – at least she and the kids would be able to see him every couple of weeks.
She confirms that they have no one to support them – both her and Elliott’s family are dead and her sister-in-law is the only relative either of them have.
The party immediately take pity on Mrs. Powell and tell her that they believe that Elliott is innocent and that they will do everything that they can to try and prove his innocence and reunite him with her. Grim gives her a little money for her and the kids. Max gives her a little grope as they say goodbye.
They return to the AGC. Taeva takes another look at the copy she made of the letter – it’s the only lead that they have at the moment. They head back to the starport and check the records of ships departing the starport over the hours following Elliott’s arrival there. They immediately see that a shuttle departed for Eca IV some three hours after he was seen arriving.
The party members decide that the lead is well worth checking out as it would be a good hiding place for him. But first Arvor is determined to check out the scene of the crime, even though Chief Round told him that there was nothing there for them to see and that they shouldn’t waste time on it.
The party members head out for an early dinner while they wait for darkness to fall – and a very good meal it is too. They then head over to Lazarczuk Storage where the murder took place. They see that there are a couple of cops guarding the only entrance to the building. This immediately strikes Arvor as being suspicious right from the start. Why bother to guard a crime scene after a trial and sentencing has already taken place?
They make their plans. Taeva and Arvor get into position to make their way up onto the roof of the warehouse while Jie and Grim create a diversion. Jie and Grim are relatively successful in distracting the guards, acting as a married couple having a domestic while walking past the guards.
Taeva gets into position, preparing to enter through a skylight. She makes a rare fumble, however, and the glass of the skylight breaks as she stands on it. The cops immediately realize that something is up and immediately call for back up. Arvor, who is standing on the roof next to the second skylight realizes that he needs to act quickly. He quickly secures his rope to the roof, cracks open the skylight and shimmies down into the warehouse.
At first glance the warehouse appears to be totally empty, but he scan the corners and sees that there is a small filled sack which has fallen between a stack of pallets and the wall. He can hear the sound of sirens approaching now and so he quickly snatches the sack and climbs up the rope before making his escape, managing to get out just before the cops arrive.
They quickly leap into the AGC. As soon as all are onboard, Max hits the accelerator and takes them all back to the starport, with Arvor hiding the sack under his jacket.
It is only once they are safely back inside the Princess and the doors are firmly secured that they stop to investigate the sack. It is made from course hemp, stamped with the name of the world of origin, Egypt, and the consignment number, 57894/896.
Arvor carefully slits open the sack. Inside it is filled with flour. But then they see that’s not all that the sack contains – hidden inside the flour are several small baggies of a grey powder.
They investigate the powder carefully.
They head to Will’s Med Bay where Will carefully sprinkles some of the powder onto a glass plate. He then readies his microscope and begins to find the Encyclopaedia of Pharamcology on his handcomp. He needn’t have bothered, however. While Will was getting ready, Max casually rolls up a crisp Cr. 50 note and snorts up all the powder on the plate.
“Mmmmmmmm, grey, or Berrozine as it’s known officially,” Max reports with a snort.
“It’s fackin’ good shit as well – best I’ve ’ad for a long time.”
The others are staring slack-jawed at Max’s unorthodox research methods.
His eyes start watering.
“Fack me – this shit is good.”
He stares around him, pupils dilated and starts laughing. “The lights – they’re beautiful. They’re singing to me – in four dimensions! Hahahahahahahahah!”
But then he gets paranoid.
“He’s after me – Chief Round’s gonna get me for this.”
He runs off screaming, then laughing, the screaming again.
Grim sighs a deep sigh. He loads a single tranq round into his snubbie and heads to the Passenger Common Room where he finds Max cowering behind the sofa.
He shoots Max in the butt.
“Grim, you fackin’ bastard – you’re messin’ wiv my …. zzzzzzzzzzzzz.”
Grim holsters the snubby and then carries Max to his bed where he can sleep it off.
He joins the others and everyone decides that it is time to head to Eca IV. Will asks for clearance from Lorton Control and gets a departure slot some thirty minutes later. Shortly before midnight, the Princess takes off from Lorton Down, heading for Eca IV and the out-system.