The party are up at a reasonable hour for breakfast that Autumn prepares, not completely healed from their injuries.
A little before noon, they head into the truck, smuggling all their hardware in with them, making sure that they are not seen by the SPA workers. The back of the truck is filled with new filters for the large life support systems, offering plenty of hiding spaces for the weaponry. They then change into the MinCol overalls before Will takes over driving duties as Max is still in a coma and Autumn is still taking care of him.
Following the crude map that Keebles provided them with, Will drives the truck out of the starport and through the streets of Egypt. The settlement is not a large one and so, some twenty minutes later, they pull up outside the entrance to the dome where they are stopped by some black uniformed SuSAG security officers. They give cursory glances to the party members’ ID’s and then open the barrier to allow the truck entry.
Grim, riding shotgun, gives directions to Will to head to the vicinity of the warehouse, although they leave the truck a good kilometre away from the warehouse according to the map to make sure that there is no danger of arousing anyone’s suspicions. The surrounding area is covered in agricultural land, which provides ample soft cover for them to creep up upon the warehouse unseen through the rows of corn.
After half an hour of carefully moving through the cornfields, they finally see the warehouse ahead of them. Cautiously they move up to the edge of the corn and peer through to see what is before them. They see that the warehouse is a small one with two main entrances, both of which are guarded by a guard. They notice that both of the guards are wearing combat armor and are carrying gauss rifles. There must be something pretty important inside in order to warrant such serious levels of protection.
The party members spend a while watching the warehouse. They notice that, in addition to the guards in front of each door, there are six cameras which cover 360 degrees of the approach to the warehouse and, as they look closer, they see that there are also two other guards on the roof, both wearing grav belts.
Once they have studied the warehouse carefully and seen all there is to see, they retire a safe distance from the warehouse to discuss their plan of attack. They decide to wait until evening so try and make a stealthy approach under the cover of darkness.
By 20.00 it is completely dark and so the party members make their move. While the bulk of the party keep watch on the front of the warehouse, Taeva and Arvor head to the side of the building and wait in the corn for a while. Taeva then breaks cover and sprints across the open area before stealthily climbing the wall of the warehouse with her climbing exoskeleton. She manages to make it onto the roof without an alarm being sounded and crouches behind the raised skylights out of sight of the two guards on the roof. She drops a line for Arvor and he too manages to get onto the roof without the alarm being raised.
Once the pair of them are in position, Taeva and Arvor react. Taeva silently garottes one of the guards with her bolas while Arvor takes down the other with an aimed shot from his gauss pistol. The roof now belongs to InterSol.
Back on the ground, Will takes out the guard at the front of the warehouse with a shot from his gauss pistol. Unfortunately, whoever was watching the feed from the cams must have seen the guard slumping to the ground as the alarm goes up.
On the roof, Arvor and Taeva smash the skylight and quickly each take down a couple of the guards inside the warehouse before they know what hit them. One of the other guards inside manages to get a lucky shot on Arvor though, which knocks him down.
As Taeva jockeys for cover, Jie and Grim run for the entrance of the warehouse and open the door. The remaining guards are all racing for cover now. Jie gets hit as she enters the building, but she manages to soldier on. Grim enters and quickly takes out one of the guards on the staircase with a volley from his grenade launcher – he also takes out the entire staircase with his impressive pyrotechnics display.
Jie manages to take out another as she exchanges fire with the remaining guards, but she manages to get taken down in the process. Another guard fires at Grim from inside a doorway. Grim retaliates with another volley from the grenade launcher which splatters the guard everywhere.
There are just two guards remaining now – one up on the raise gantry hiding in cover and another behind a harvester covering the area where Grim is taking cover, with everyone waiting for the other to make a move. It’s down to two on two now (without counting Will who remains in the corn, knowing that he is well and truly outclassed in this firefight).
Taeva pops up and exchanges fire with the one watching for her, they are both injured in the exchange, but neither of them are felled.
Taeva moves along the roof to take the guard by surprise from a different skylight while Grim and the other guard exchange fire. Grim is hit, but manages to take down the guard. Once Taeva is at the other skylight, she fires at the last of the guards, finally taking him down.
The guards are all dead now and they secure the area, calling Will up to come and join them. They look around and it is only then that they realize that it was the warehouse office that the guard that Grim totally fragged came out of – and that the office is now well and truly fragged along with him.
Once the coast is clear, Will emerges from his hiding place and immediately sees to the wounded. After a couple of minutes, Jie is back on her feet, feeling rather battered and bruised (again) but able to walk at least. Will then ascends to the roof and sees to Arvor. He too is back on his feet again a short while later.
They all hobble their way towards the office to view the carnage that Grim’s RAM-page caused. It’s highly impressive. But is not incredibly useful for trying to locate the source of the narcotics.
“What now?” asks Grim. “Should we tell Keebles? Don’t know if we have a choice…”
“Look guys I’ll check out our exit route," says Taeva. "Maybe one of these goons has a handcomp or something-might be worth you checking the crates too. I’d take any hard drive/ disc fragments anyway you might be able to extract something. I’ll be back in five minutes.”
While Taeva heads off to check out the surrounding area, the other party members start to search the bodies. As Will is searching the body of one of the rather less shot up guards (i.e. one that Grim didn’t blow up) he hears a groan:
“Hey guys,” he says. “Looks like we still have a live one here.”
“It sounds like time to ‘extract’ info from the live one, no?” asks Arvor.
“Agreed,” nods Grim. “But how gentle or otherwise are you planning on being? While I don’t mind getting a little direct, heavy torture is not really my style.”
“OK,” Arvor agrees. “Let’s use the good cop/bad cop routine on him. You use your persuasive skills as good cop and I’ll use my powers of investigation as the bad cop.”
“Fine,” says Grim.
The pair of them drag the badly injured SuSAG guard into the remnants of the office in order to start working on him.
Taeva returns a few moments later.
“All is quiet outside still,” she says. “That’s one advantage of this warehouse being located in such a quiet, forgotten dome.”
While Grim and Arvor get to work on the guard, the others keep watch. Taeva climbs back onto the roof where she has a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area, while Jie and Will keep guard at the two entrances to the warehouse.
The SuSAG guards proved to be a pretty tough nut to crack. It comes as no surprise to learn that the guard – and all his colleagues are former Marines who are trained against giving up information too easily, even with Arvor’s threats. An hour passes, then two, with Grim and Arvor taking it in turns to try and work on him. Eventually, it is Grim that manages to get him to crack with his softly-softly approach, telling the guard that he has done a good job and will bring no dishonour upon himself by just revealing a little information as to who is behind the manufacture of the narcotics.
Trying not to act too smug, Grim assembles the other party members to tell them what he has learned:
“I couldn’t get him to name the guy at the top of the organization responsible for this place,” Grim explains. “My guess is that it is someone very high up in the pecking order in SuSAG’s Egyptian organization. I did however get a name – Professor Giles Singh – he seems to be the one who is responsible for the production side of the operation.”
“Apparently around once per month, Singh arrives with some Jonkeereen workers who use the harvesting equipment in the warehouse to harvest one of the crops that is grown in the dome – the guard doesn’t know which one – just that it’s some kind of green, leafy bush. Once the crop has been harvested, the Jonkeereen leave and Singh sets up some kind of chemistry lab here and works around the clock to produce a batch and then he leaves. Within 24 hours, the SuSAG mystery man turns up and waits for Ahmed, who is his main distributor. They then exchange the drugs for cash.”
“Singh works the rest of the time in the main SuSAG building located in the downtown area – that’s all that the guard knows about him.”
“He gave me a good description of Singh – tall, lanky, balding – a typical geeky looking guy aged around 50. He wears horn-rimmed glasses.”
“Do we hunt down Singh or inform Keebles first?” asks Grim.
“Keebles seems to be an alright guy," Jie replies. "Any information we give him now will put a big bulls’ eye on his back if he tries to hunt down this Singh guy. However, if we hunt down Singh and give Keebles the whole story on SuSAG’s dealings then he might be able to blow them out of the water before they harm him…or us for that matter.”
Jie re-checks the coupling feed to her laser carbine, looks back to the group.
“I vote we find Singh and make him sing.”
Will looks at his watch.
“It’s nearly midnight, so Singh’s probably at home in bed right now. We know where he works but now where he lives.”
“Is there any point in our staying here any longer or shall we get back to the ship, lick our wounds and start tracking down Singh?” tomorrow.
“There was no change of shift during the past 15 hours that we’ve been here and there’s camping gear and enough provisions to last a while over there,” Arvor says. “So it looks as if the guards don’t come and go from here on a daily basis. As a result, I think the chances of our raid being discovered in the next day or two are fairly remote.”
“I concur with Jie," says Will. "Or rather (intense stare at the woman), she concurs with ME.”
“Let’s go get him then!” agrees Grim.
“I find it hard to beleive that this guy Singh isn’t extremely well qualified and belonging to all sorts of professional institutes, on the board of organisations, etc. etc." says Taeva. "Will his address be that hard to find on the web? If it isn’t, lets strike now and fast and then be off.”
Jie clicks the last of the shot gun shells into her Mauler. She pats down her stealth blade then looks to Taeva:
“That sounds like a plan, let’s do it.”
Will nods and flicks on his handcomp before connecting with the ship’s computer. His fingers are a blur as he works the keys.
It takes him five minutes before he grins smugly:
“Professor Giles Singh, Unit 321, Luxor Mansions, Sector 3.”
“Here is a picture of him,” he adds, beaming a picture of a smiling geek being handed an award from some Pharmacological Institute."
“So let’s check the place out now,” suggests Taeva. “I guess we are done here?”
The others nod, then everyone packs up and heads back for the van where they change back into their maintenance workers and drive back to the main entrance.
The guards there are half-asleep and there has been a shift change since the party members arrived in the morning. As a result, they don’t ask any awkward questions, simply waving through the van.
Will drives towards the address while Grim gives him directions. After some 15 minutes, they find themselves outside a gated commune, with high walls to protect the cosseted ex-pats from the Jonkeereen riff-raff all about them. There is a barrier and security building barring entrance to the compound. With half of the party members still pretty badly beaten up from the fight with the SuSAG guards, they are in no condition for a major firefight and so decide to leave it until the next day when they are better prepared for a more subtle taking of Professor Singh.
They head back to the ship so that Will can change the bandages of the injured and everyone can get a little rest.