The haul from the beached ship the other day combined with the haul recovered from the Slaver’s island south of Vesper have combined for…
… well, quite a haul really. There’s a lot of valuables of course, and it’s worth quite a bit. Some of it has been stolen from the Falstead Expeditions Company so that’ll probably have to go back to them but there’s a lot left.
And then there’s data from the ships computers and a communications set. Both of them are likely to hold data relating to the recent attacks on Vesper shipping. The trouble is that some pretty delicate technical expertise is going to be needed to recover that data. And Vesper… isn’t really the city for it.
So what are Wraith, Slaine and everyone else who has been mixed up in this going to do?
A key point of interest for her and Slaine is the attempt to identify whatever it was that Croup and Vandemar (and presumably the Nighthand) had paid to have aboard at least one Falstead Expeditions vessel. Checking for any sign of that would seem sensible, before either selling or returning anything (especially among the Falstead loot, since it seems most likely to be with items taken from their ships).
But data-recovery… somewhat scarily, Maddy might be the closest they have to an expert, at present. But a trip to Dogwood or to a techno-wizard in Vesper seems to Catriona like it might be necessary.
Slaine isn’t convinced it’s the Nighthand that Croup and Vandemar are working for, but with little else to go on, that’s the working theory at the moment.
“Maddy…” she looks at the mecha pilot in a concerned sort of way. “… are your, or is Tits, able to look at the data? If not, we’ll have to find someone to help us.” She can ask Sterling, a techno wizard in Vesper but if needed… the mystic will take a trip to Dogwood.
Dangerous as that might be for one of her ilk, she’ll do it.
Maddy has been rather dazzled by all the booty on display…and confused why it is all going back to the original ‘owners’. What if they had stolen it in the first place? There should be providence checks…right? Maddy’s mind wanders off to a big court case where she will brilliantly prove it all belongs to her…until someone is talking in her ear. “Huh?” it seems to be Slaine. “Oh…hey. Umm, sure, I can have a crack at it” she grins – her enthusiasm may be greater than her talent.
Maddy cracks her knuckles and turns to face the others. “So what would you like…ow…that hurt. Future reference, don’t crack your knuckles.” She shakes her hands loose before trying again. “So what would you like me to look at?”Catriona can do some data-investigation of her own – poking her head into crates, and using her darksight to examine the contents without need for opening anything currently sealed. But that’s not really going to help with the data-chip she holds up, while trying not to wince at Maddy’s over-enthusiastic crunching. “This is what I could salvage from the Horune ship that ran aground, that you helped to capture,” she explains to Maddy. “And we’ve also got the really fancy-looking communications gear we salvaged from the cave. I’m wondering if that might tie into the Atlantean connection that Valeska identified. If it does… this might not be compatible with Tits. Maybe even risky. You’d have to be careful in investigating.”
Slaine sighs as Maddy only seems to be half with it. Hopefully this won’t mess with it – and they’ll still get something worthwhile.
She’s picking through a set of crates, trying to work out what the infamous might be interested in … the data and the Atlantean connection is a big concern, but messing with Croup and Vandemar might prove fatal.
Maddy snatches the chip from Catriona’s hand and looks it over with excited glee. “‘Careful’ is my middle name” she beams; though ‘Never’ may be her other middle name. She spins on her heels and heads over to Tits. “I’ve got chip readers of all kinds” she assures the pair. “You have to when you’re trying to find music files.” Clambering into cockpit she rummages around in some boxes before pulling out a couple of data readers. “One of these may be able to help” she notes, trying to jam the chip in until it finally finds a suitable attachment. Then she really gets to work.
Maddy’s eyes narrow as she starts reading the information and finding a decryption key that will make sense of it all. “Sheesh…there’s a lot of stuff here” she frowns, tilting her head to take it all in – it helps! “Someone called ‘K’…odd name…is the link between Sunaj and Horune by the look of it and…ooh…inside men at something called ‘Falstaff’? No…’Falstead’. And who are the ‘Nighthand’? I think this may be easier if I just print this out.” (re)Catriona listens with evident interest – having watched with no small degree of trepidation. “Mmmm.” She looks to Slaine. “That sounds… promising. Do you remember coming across anyone with a ‘K’ name in connection with this?” Turning her gaze back to Maddy, she offers a rueful smile. “The Nighthand are apparently the biggest and most fearsome criminal organisation in Vesper. Caitlyn Falstead is the owner of Falstead Expeditions, who initially hired me to investigate why her ships were being attacked.”
Slaines eyes narrow as she listens to Maddy and shakes her head at Catriona’s question “No, noone starting with ‘K'” Of course, there’s also the fact that Slaine can’t read and write so it’s questionable as to whether she knows what ‘K’ really is. Although, she can match sounds. “Printing it out? I’m, uh … can you do that?” To the mystic that’s nearly unheard of – most people on Rifts Earth can’t read, so reading print outs is not really on her radar.
“Does it give names or say more about Falstead?”
Maddy was in the military, though it is a bit hazy, and she can read. And often forgets others can’t. “According to this, Falstead are in with Nighthand and that’s one of the reasons the Horune and the Sunaj are attacking them. No honor among thieves, right? And something to do with Atlantis in all this. Is that the Sunaj guys?” She purses her lips in concentration. “So these Horune are attacking anyone and everyone but especially groups with criminal connections. They have a base…north…yeah, north…of Dogwood but I wouldn’t look for it on land.”“A print-out would be welcome,” Catriona puts in. Along with being at least marginally Francophone, she can read. Just not remember much about herself or the Rifts world. “I can study it. And we know that at least one Falstead ship was carrying criminal cargo of some sort, though it currently looks as if Falstead herself has no idea about that. Falstead wanted us to find out why her ships were being attacked – and how it was being done so successfully. Intercepting every ship she sends out, when each one’s in open water, ought to be pretty difficult. So it did look as if there was at least one spy working against her, passing information to the pirates. I don’t suppose the inside men are named, are they?”
Looking up from the crate she’s looking in, Slaine lets out a soft sigh “It has to be someone in authority in Falstead Expeditions, though. Someone with access to the schedules and courses. Anything you can give us there, Maddy, will help.”
“According to Valeski, Sunaj are attacking Atlanteans, or was it True Atlanteans” she can’t recall, it was hectic earlier. The information on the Horune has her frowning, the specific focus feels a bit off, but she’ll let that roll for the moment.
“I wouldn’t look on land for a Pirate base. It will be a body of water – the sea or a river more like.” the redheaded mystic thinks furiously – trying to remember the maps that she’s seen previously.
“Just this ‘K’ person” Maddy replies them both. “They seem to be the spy. Though I suppose K /could/ be their name. So as far as I can tell, Suraj and Horone are in league against everyone else and everyone else seems to be in league with these Night guys. It’s a tangled web we weave…” She pulls out the chip and tosses it back to Catriona. “Might want to take it to a tech wiz anyway in case they find something else.”Catriona deftly snatches the chip out of the air. “Thank you. Really. That’s useful. And… sorry, Slaine. Yeah: Valeska said that Suraj was hunting *True* Atlanteans. They’re the people who held Atlantis before the Splugorth showed up. They’re a ‘wanted’ people, it seems. The new masters don’t want the old ones around. Anywhere. Never mind just ‘not on Atlantis’. But quite who Sunaj are specifically, I don’t know.”
“No problems, Maddy.” Slaine watches the chip fly through the air and sighs. “So, we’ve somewhere to look for in Falstead Expeditions, Catriona. We should speak Ms Falstead and see if any of this makes sense. Like an employee or contractor whose name starts with ‘K'”. It’s not much, but it’s something.
“We can also look for the Horune base up near Dogwood, but we need more information there as well. I can reach out to some of my contacts, see what they might know. If either of you have people to speak to, I’d encourage it – but be discrete, we don’t want to tip our hand.”
So, it seems that they’ve got more questions than answers but … it’s a step forward at least.
“Oh…there’s more than one group of Horune” Maddy adds as she starts packing away her chip reader. “Not sure if they’re working together like we are but they end up having the same affect.” She eyes all those crates and treasures once more. “Are you sure they all have to go back?” Maddy whines.“Not *all* of them, no,” Catriona says with a laugh. “But more than one? That makes sense. And might be helpful. Thank you. This has been *really* helpful. We’ve a lot to work with now.”
While checking the loot from the Pirates haul, Maddy decodes the data that was recovered
December 18, 2409