1.03: The Murder of a Lady

Dates: 7/24/1999

Chronicle Day 4-14:  1 yr. Pre-ANH

Location: Lamuir IV, Gyle City Spaceport

Aleron, Daekun City

Tarsus sat in the lounge of the Cadriaan’s Hope, pondering their situation.  He knew of people that would be interested in that information Pyre had, but wasn’t sure if he could betray his cousin.  His honor as Knight of Callipsa was at stake here, but more than that.  His family honor within House Pelagia could be at stake.

They needed to talk to Sandos.  He had some kind of information relating to House Pelagia that would bolster its power.  However, from what they can tell, he has been framed for a murder on another planet, and is now being held in a Mecetti Prison in the Mecetti Province.

At the same time, Pyre was in possession of certain Mecetti files that could hurt Mecetti.  That was very attractive to him, considering the Callipsa factions Tarsus was loyal to.  He had to consult with his contacts in House Callipsa to determine their interest in the files.

They were told the two pieces of information could change the face of Tapani forever.  Now was the time for Pelagia…

Was it?

Adding up the information they had thus far, they knew that Sandos was wanted for murder; the murder of Lady Katrina Ilm of House Mecetti.  They a portion of information that Pelagia agents were going to use to hurt Mecetti, the other portion Sandos had and they wanted.

They had two routes of investigation, not including all the contacts they collectively had amongst them.

Beree Sandos, the sister to Barnes Sandos, was on Aleron busy running   the Sandos Mining Company, while her brother and partner was in a Mecetti prison.

Annora Calandra was the person who found the body, and reportedly saw Sandos at the site a few hours before.  She,  a Mining Guild Auditor, seemed to have a lot of mystery behind her story.

Both were on Aleron.  They had to leave Lamuir IV.

****

Brendaron was relieved that they had cleared the names of the others, and now were on their way to Aleron.  This little deal for information was turning out to be more complicated than he had gambled.  But the deeper they dug, the further he wanted to go.

Hyperspace once again flared outside the portals of the Cadriaan’s Hope, a welcome refuge from the real universe, even it was only few a week or so.  The ship was in night-shift when a message woke the crew up, as the ship suddenly dropped out of Hyperspace.

On the bridge, Jerik was receiving reports from his crew.  Pyre and Tarsus watched as he sorted through the information on his Captain’s console, waiting for a good moment to inquire.  The light from the screen lit up Jerik’s face maniacally

“Baron?”  Pyre said respectfully

Looking up almost as if he was startled, Brendaron paused with a sigh “Distress signal, verified by the local comm buoy, a local Freeworlder freighter in trouble in the middle of  an asteroid field.  It was apparently attacked by pirates.  Should be with in range of medium range sensors now.” he turned to a crewman “Bring it up on my screen.”

The screen flashed as it switched modes, “There she i…” a brighter flash lit up the bridge as a large explosion lit up across the derelict’s hull. “She’s breaking apart. Any life signs?”

An affirmative answer came back. “Two, ma’lord.  Fading fast.”

“Send out the boarding parties, and get them on-board. Prepare the medical droid and the Bacta tank.”

An hour later, they were departing from the derelict ship, with two new passengers.  A huge explosion marked the end of the vessel as the Cadriaan’s
Hope made it’s way out of  the sparse asteroid field.

One was identified as Baronette Raphaiel “Raphie” Kragar, of House Pelagia, and not very well to either noble on board.  The other was Janice Marks, of House Reena, a teenage Troubleshooter of sorts with a small reputation.  Both were treated and released a few days after entering Hyperspace once again.  They were promised free passage to Aleron.

Raphaiel or “Raphie”, as he requested to be called, turned out to have a common interests with the group.  He was looking for Sandos as well, for obvious reasons.  Pelagia was just late in sending a representative to the negotiations.

****

Aleron was a ragged rock on the surface, with a brown-red dusty mist   constantly flowing across the surface.  It has breathable atmosphere, after years of planet-engineering, but the dust-storms could not be controlled.  Below the surface was where the populace then moved, building vast underground cities, highways, and tunnels.  In-doing, Aleron has become a hub of mining ventures in the Freeworld region.

The culture of Aleron was different due to the subterranean existence.   It was somewhat closed to outsiders, and the language and use of slang was somewhat different from the rest of the region.  Most of the populace were, of course, miners, and the government was a conglomerate of mining corporations.  Jerik had connection with the Conglomerate, and had plans on attending a few council sessions.

The underground was like most other worlds, but perhaps murkier than most because of the subterranean nature of things.  The Nobles had some influence here, most were at least friendly to their presence if not respectful.  What talked here most was mining rites or cash.

Interstellar Shipwrights of Cadriaan, Jerik’s corporation. had a corporate port in Aleron, at which they docked. The employees there seemed surprised to see him, and he spent some time convincing them it wasn’t an inspection.

Settling in, the group found a place to stay, at the expense of ISC.   They immediately set out fishing for information.  The two new comers, after spending a period of time with the group in hyperspace, had chosen to at least help the group out until their interests conflicted.

As information came back, they found where each of their leads were and split up in two groups to investigate both; Pyre leading the Calandra group, Brendaron leading the one to go to Sandos Mining.

Brendaron, with help from Marks, and Lonell, found a struggling little mining operation, fending off take over and Mining Guild auditors.  Beree was busy, so they had to wait a long time before she arrived in the conference room of her corporate office, such as it was.

When she did arrive, she was covered in mine-dust and had a few visible bruises.  She was obviously a hard-working, hands-on leader, in her brother’s absence.

What she had to say did not help their situation.  Barnes Sandos was being black-mailed and used by Lady Ilm.  Barnes’ own mining company was in trouble a few years back, of being overtaken by a Mining Guild member, and in severe tax debt.   At the same time, Lady Ilm was banished from her family estate in House Mecetti for some unknown reason.  She saw the opportunity to bail out Sandos while at the same time keep him on a leash, use him for her needs until she could get her position back in her house.

It wouldn’t have looked good to the local authorities or the local Freeworlders that Sandos was bailed out of trouble by a House.  So he claimed he made a major doonium strike in one of his mines. In return, she was put on the payroll of the mining commapny and given a penthouse suite in a local complex, all at the expense of Sandos Mining Endeavors.

However, after a little over a year, Lady Ilm was trying to squeeze SME for more.  This was not fairing well for Sandos.  If the Mecetti investigators didn’t know this yet, they would soon and would have their motive in their hands.

The hunt of the woman that had reported found the body, a Ms. Annora Calandra of the Mining Guild, was even less helpful.  Pyre, Tarsus, Jo-Di, Kragar and Rex met her for lunch at a miner’s cantina, but were followed the entire way.  Two plainly dressed human males, with no discernible marks or characteristics followed them into the bar.  Tarsus and Kragar faded back to act as back up as they entered into the cantina.

When Pyre,  Jo-Di and Rex sat with her, she was under the impression, with Pyre reputation, that they were here top negotiate a contract for someone.  She new Rex, also, and thought it might involve something the Herglic might want to trade.   However, as the conversation progressed, she realized she was here for a totally different reason.  She kept peering over towards the plainly dressed men that had entered after the group did.  Jo-Di seemed to have some interest in them too.

The conversation turned ice cold as soon as the murder and Barnes Sandos came up.  She became nervous, and agitated as the conversation progressed, casting nervous glances to the plainly dressed men.  Pyre, sensing that the conversation was going no where, even with his extra edge, decided to cut his losses.

She left before Pyre could get up, and soon afterwards, they were visited by two uncharacteristic men in plain suits. They also had ISB badges out… Great, Imperials.

“We suggest you cease and disesit any further actioninvolving Ms. Calandra.  She is part of a murder investigation being conducted by House Mecetti, and should have no outside House contact at this point.” they said sternly.

“A simple business lunch meeting was all it was, sir.  Nothing more” Pyre said, batting an eyebrow towrds his bodyguard.

“Of course.  Just keep it in mind.”

They left after replacing their badges in their jackets, revealing at the last minute their well concealed blasters.

They later met back at the ship to discuss their findings.

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