Episode 7 — Undersea Quest

Fellow Adam gets back in tough the next day, says he’s put out the word for a Bio-Engineer but it may take time to find some one of that caliber. Aquilegia also requests an appointment from Lady Donalda Cameton, and finds an Amalthean confessor for Ling. Finally, she approaches Duchess Salandra Decados and asks for help in finding an expert in bio-engineering.

Duchess Salandra refers her to her personal artiste, Earl Denzzi Fascho Ehntanit Decados. He is quite enthusiastic about his art, but upon examining Ling declares “the canvas ruined” because the genetic damage is irreversible. The Amalthean confessor then informs Aquilegia that the modifications made to Ling’s body appear to be more than the 62% tolerable under Church law and her soul may have been destroyed.

Aquilegia meets with Lady Donalda, who is horrified at the thought of the potential for an Avestite investigation in the spaceport; Lady Donalda turns around and entreats Aquilegia, as a Questing Knight, to take the job of keeping this out of clerical investigations. Aquilegia accepts…

Fellow Adam sends word that he has located an expert in bio-engineering of aquatic adaptations, Dr. Finman. They return to question Ling and learn a bit more about the victims of the experiment. There seems to be only one man, the Doctor, turning abductees into Fish People and Ling only saw him once or twice. The only way to escape is to hide sentience and slip away during a foray; and even then, they have to escape parties of non-sentient Fish People hunting them.

Aquilegia decides that they must recover little Armand and the other sentients before they are caught by the non-sentients. She gets Sgt. Wilkinson and his team to back them up and, led by Ling, slogs through the sewers to find the escapees, including Armand. She talks them into agreeing to come with her — when the non-sentient Fish People show up and attack! NeVaga explodes into action and hacks at the attackers, while Aquilegia protects Armand. The attackers are repelled; some of the escapees are hurt, but none is killed.

Aquilegia asks Earl Denzzi Decados to examine little Armand, but there is little he can do to mitigate the modification. Next, she contacts Dr. Finman. He is a Manager who teaches at Tamerlain University, thought currently on sabbatical; he has successfully bioengineered more easily farmed and more nutritious varieties of fish.

When Aquilegia and NeVaga arrive to meet with him at his research station at the Agora, they spot a submarine docked in the harbour; a look of recognition comes over Aquilegia’s face. She sends NeVaga to sneak up aboard and investigate while she meets with Finman. The good doctor is tall and lanky, unctuous and oily. At first he tries to ingratiate himself, but he is angered when she refers to the fish people modifications as crude and unsophisticated, and refuses to cooperate any further.

Meanwhile NeVaga examines the submarine, copies the contents of its data logger, and temporarily disables the craft. Examination of the stolen data indicates that Finman has repeatedly taken the submarine to a location some distance outside Veridian Spaceport, near the border between Cameton and Imperial lands. There he swam out for long periods before returning to his submarine.

Aquilegia “requisitions” a submersible and troops from Lady Donalda to investigate and take what turns out to be a Second Republic underwater research facility. Some of the fishmen are killed or captured, others escape, but the base is secured and, after investigation, destroyed. Aquilegia calls on Sir Chamon Mazarin, chief of Imperial Intelligence, to ask him to capture Finman, but Mazarin wants all the Fishmen escapees including Armand. She talks him into leaving Armand in her care; then she convinces the others to willingly serve the Emperor as essentially Grayson troops. She takes Armand to the Masseri “embassy” and sends a courier to his mother Baronet Rhea with the sad news. Finman disappears as if by magic.


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