Episode 13 - Looking for Factions in All the Wrong Places

It will be 15 days before NeVaga has a day off and is authorized to leave the fort again; she makes an appointment for this date with Manager Jalla Sivver, and plans on looking up the local Scraver contacts as well.

In the mean time, the Queenfish goes out again, escorted this time by two patrol boats and a mine-sweeper. It's a very tedious methodical process of sweeping a grid to locate artefacts, and making descents to examine any intriguing echos. During that time, she gets to see the Emir's sumptuous pleasure barge.

When she finally gets her day off, NeVaga goes to visit Manager Sivver at the Isfahan docks. She is pleasantly greeted, and explains she is looking to learn better the relationship and agreements between the Muster and Scraver Guilds. She learns that about 18 years ago, when the Muster won the contract for sole administration of the day-to-day affairs of the Satrapy, it also traded a monopoly of labour contracts in Isfahan to the Scravers in exchange for Scraver control of security contracts in the capital, Acheon. From her scars, NeVaga can tell that Sivver is definitely from a pro-al-Malik clan. She is not a traditionalist, but she seems to care for the Ukari people; she suggests that NeVaga avoid certain areas alone at night, but otherwise thinks she will be protected by her guild status.

At the Amalthean clinic, Aquilegia has seem many more wounded independent and yeomen fishermen in the last two weeks, and all their boats in Isfahan have been seized and impounded. The victims are hardly able to feed their families anymore.

But Emir Shereen Gull al-Malik has heard that Oblate Sen and his new guest the Questing Knight love poetry, so she extends an invitation to them and their entourage to one of her events on her estate out on the coast . Aquilegia takes the opportunity to bring in NeVaga as part of her entourage. There is much oneupmanship among the noble guests, and many of the al-Malik try to show Aquilegia in a bad light, as the uncouth lordling they believe her to be. But she shows good grace and thorough knowledge of the classics, and wins the favour of the Emir and the assembled guests.

The Emir shows her much interest and talks about her dream of founding a university of the arts here in Isfahan; she asks Aquilegia whether she would be willing to use her contacts at the Emperor's court to help find patrons. Aquilegia readily agrees; she also makes the acquaintance of several of the local notables, including Bishop Lonzo Jonadab, Baronet Qays al-Malik, and Sir Yazeed Keddah.

In the following days, she questions Oblate Sen on his opinion of the people she met, and also contacts some former Masseri retainers who ended up on Criticorum after the fall of Daishan, some of which are now yeomen fisherman, but finds little useful information from them.

Meanwhile, NeVaga contacts the Scraver's Guild. She asks some questions about the arrangement between the Muster and the Scravers, but learns little that is new, so she visits the Ukari neighbourhood of Tada-Town in Acheon. There, she gives discrete indications that she is looking to speak to the local boss and is directed to Boss Raul Fissik, head of Acheon syndicate. He indicates that the Scravers are content with the current arrangement and have nothing to gain in interfering with the Muster's activities, but it's also clear that he knows something is going on in Isfahan. He asks NeVaga whether she really wants to stick her knows in this, and she leaves it at that.

NeVaga and Aquilegia put their heads together to figure out who would have the wherewithal to plant artefacts and mines for the Muster to find on the ocean floor. NeVaga's previous examination of the objects suggests that the mines are electronic, with approximately a 3-month power supply. They have a pressure activated arming switch, which seems to be set for around 100 meters. The detonation switch is also pressure sensitive, and is set for when the mine rises above 50 meters. It has a 5 minute time delay on it. The mines are made of a very sophisticated explosive, capable of damaging a large ship or sinking a small one. However, they are badly designed for use in Naval warfare, since once you recognize them you can easily simply not bring them aboard, or hang them off the boom of a crane until they blow up. By the standards of the Known Worlds, they are technologically advanced, but not ridiculously so. They can easily be produced by people with technological know-how. Engineers could easily build them, as could the Muster, the Scravers, or even some nobles with a technological bent. Brother Battle could also make them. Depending on how fast you wanted to make them and how many you want, a small workshop to medium warehouse would be sufficient. It's the casing that is the most advanced. It will read as a Second Republic artifact due to the purity and composition of the metal.

At this point, they are unable to locate an obvious source for all this, so once again it comes back to the likeliest supplier of such goods — the Scravers' Guild.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License