A murder was committed to bring the Cuians into disrepute. One Cuian, in particular: Councillor Korrs Verntinus. The plan was to disrupt the Cuian application for membership in the Mainnstaad.
However, while Alton Rhizikh – Chief of CenBioTech – had thought to kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes, when he’d instigated a murder and gathered samples of a potentially valuable truffle, things didn’t quite work out as he’d imagined.
Someone from the Empire’s Provincial Investigative Bureau was assigned the case, to determine whether it held ramifications for the Empire’s Mainnstaad. Given the evidence he’d planted at the crime scene was aimed at a Cuian High Councillor, he shouldn’t have been all that surprised.
But he had imagined the Bureau would go straight to the Cuians. But it hadn’t, thanks to an over-zealous PIBian. And, if that wasn’t tiresome enough for Rhizikh, the biomedical researcher, Ryndeel Drinns, whom he’d given the potentially valuable truffles to, to research, found something no one expected. She tried to cover up her finding, but was oblivious to CenBioTech’s anti-sabotage measures, which alerted the biotech company’s Chief Director to a potential disaster.
Now Dr. Ryndeel Drinns finds herself at odds with the man who had given her the job of a lifetime. She wants to prevent him doing the unthinkable, but is clueless as to how. She and her friends now play a game of cat and mouse with Alton Rhizikh in downtown Llantan.
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Maxil Thynnes emerged from a doorway and walked a few metres along the parapet. Stopped and surveyed the work going on down on the spaceport. He’d promised to support Rhizikh’s campaign against the Cuians. He’d suggested airships as the delivery system for his solution. The airships were an ancient dirigible, filled with gas. To make them would require special materials and specialist labour. No problem; his commercial interests were measured in years with the suppliers of the necessary materials, and the right people to make them. He now worked hard to deliver them all on time.
The work in toto would astonish. The cost involved would stagger. He knew … no, believed that he’d be more than compensated for it by Rhizikh’s largesse when his war without blood was complete. He’d be elevated to a new position of political power and status in Rhizikh’s new government.
He’d heard Rhizikh say he would be called a Powhatan in his new regime. Imagine. A Powhatan. But he didn’t know what that was. Even though Rhizikh had provided an explanation, it had gone over his head like a huge spacing-guild transport as it hurled itself into space. He knew very little about the history Rhizikh drew on when he spoke of the Powhatan. He cared very little where Rhizikh got his inspiration. If it helped him make money, the rest mattered less than the other. Well, that and the fulfilment of a promise, which he’d willingly agreed to years ago to help Rhizikh bring to fruition. Screw the Cuians. The overtime and energy expended on the preparations for Rhizikh’s bloodless war … war without blood, he corrected himself, as Rhizikh had spoken of it, would soon be realised.
He watched workers as they busied themselves; they worked to assemble one of the airships about a hundred metres away. Others spread out along the length and breadth of the spaceport. The construction proceeded under bright spotlights. From where he stood, on the parapet of his makeshift Administration building, on the edge of Bhuluse’s old spaceport, the workers were like busy ants.
The work was undertaken on the disused spaceport because it was the perfect location to do the construction work. It wasn’t so far from Lled – in light-years – that he couldn’t commute between the two locations, but far enough away so as not to draw any unwanted attention. Or be affected by Rhizikh’s solution; he was human, after all. And the local governor, Dannihan Bains (he called her ‘Danni’), his lover of many years, could be trusted to not speak of it. She’d be well compensated for her discretion.
But he kept her in the dark about the true purpose of the airships, Alton Rhizikh’s status as the head of the LFF and his plan for emancipation. He’d tell her everything when it was all over. When the time was right.