Back on Acorn, the crew tries to come up with a plan of action. Tempers flare as everyone tries to voice their opinion. Although Sebastian insists it is a bad idea, even Mad thinks that they should take Chapman up on his offer. The general consensus is that the crew needs all the help they can get in order to take down Rejovic. And Chapman has equally strong reasons for wanting revenge. There is a bit more arguing in regards to Laramie’s proposition. Eventually, everyone agrees that it is not a good idea to take him on board. In the heat of the discussion, Colt makes a few comments that cause the rest of the crew to make clear that all consideration of torture or murder is unacceptable.
Leaving a still-recovering Mo behind, Colt, Mad, and Sebastian head to meet Chapman at the Three Moons. As they get closer to the hotel, the graffitied “9s” of the local Tong gangs becomes more obvious on the sides of buildings and along the street. When they ask for Chapman at the front desk, the young clerk says that he is out. Mad jots a quick note containing Acorn’s wave frequency and slips the young man some money to make sure that the note gets to Chapman. Colt also gets directions from the clerk on where to find Malcolm.
As they leave for Malcolm’s, both Colt and Mad notice a figure about Chapman’s size slipping into the Three Moons. It doesn’t take long for the group to arrive at Malcolm’s place of business. He invites them inside his small practice. He is very surprised at the offer of payment, but gratefully takes it. Everyone heads back to Acorn to wait for Chapman’s response. It doesn’t take too long before Acorn recieves an incoming wave. It is Chapman. He agrees to meet everyone at a local tea house at 7:00 that evening. With all of the recent excitement, the crew decides to rest up until it is time to head out again.
Later that night, the crew heads to the tea house and secures a booth. Chapman arrives soon after. The situation is a bit tense, as each party keeps a close eye on the other. Chapman asks if they have thought about his offer. Colt responds that they have. He assures Chapman that the crew “will not seek revenge” for any previous encounters. Colt makes it clear that he is a man of his word. After a bit of discussion, Chapman seems convinced and agrees to meet back at Acorn. He leaves the group to gather up his belongings from the Three Moons.
Before heading back to the ship, the group makes a detour through the marketplace where many more stalls and vendors have appeared now that night has fallen. The crew moves through the market until they find Boris, their black market contact. Boris is willing to sell them crates of ammo and a suspension field generator that he had found for Sebastian. The product will be delivered the following night.
The crew heads back to Acorn and waits for Chapman to show up. He arrives with just a single bag over his shoulder. When Colt informs him that all weapons are to be locked up, it takes a few minutes before Chapman agrees to surrender a handgun and knife. Colt goes over the ship rules, then everyone heads for the Common Room to discuss the Rejovic situation and try to come up possible plans.
Chapman shares that when he and the crew of Ellandri’s Dagger were still working for Rejovic, their main means of communication was through a dedicated source box. Additionally, he thinks there is a good possibility that the box may still be on the wreckage of the ship as the box’s location was hidden in a fake escape pod. The Dagger is currently floating in the Federal shipyard that is in orbit of Beylix. Beylix itself is in the Penglai system which is surrounded by an astroid field. If the group can obtain the source box, then its logs could be used to triangulate the point of origin from any communication sent to it. During the conversation, Chapman admits that he “dabbles” in computer programming.
Colt asks Chapman about the name Dante, but Chapman doesn’t have much information, other that he has heard the name before, but not in any work context. Chapman has also heard that Dante is a pretty heavy hitter. Sebastian next questions him about Rosen Group. Chapman says that he suspected that Rejovic was involved with someone on Persephone, but he doesn’t personally believe that Rejovic is actually hiding on that planet. Chapman says that he and his crew had a contact, Torval, who passed on information at Rejovic’s orders. This is how Ellandri’s Dagger was waiting for them outside of Rio. Chapman tells the crew that the mission was to secure Acorn, or, if that couldn’t be accomplished, to destroy it. Rejovic wanted to make sure that their ship was gone.
Trying to get a sense of Chapman’s talents, the crew asks him about what his role was on Ellandri’s Dagger. Chapman says that his duties were mostly tech in nature, although he picked up some other skills in the war. He is a fair long shot and is good at not being seen. Sebastian realizes that Chapman was the person who wrote the computer virus that was supposed to shut down Acorn. Chapman tells them that he has been waiting for Acorn to arrive at Eavesdown for quite some time. He dearly wanted revenge on Rejovic, but with the loss of his ship and crew, he didn’t have any assets to hire outside mercenaries. He was hoping that their common hatred of Rejovic would be enough to bring everyone together.
Trying to plot where they might head next, Mad estimates that it will take 87 days to get to Beylix. Colt, who is still trying to find ways to alert his sister about Rejovic’s message, wants to know how long it would take to get to Ezra. Mad tells him that it will take 84 days. Once the crew reaches Beylix, it would take an additional 128 days to get to Ezra from that point in space. A bit disheartened about the long distances, and still not having a firm plan, the group turns in for the night.
The next day goes by fairly quietly. Everyone keeps mostly to themselves. That night, a group of men come to drop off crates of “processed meat” from Boris. As Colt gets the crates stored, Mad takes some of her finished leather belts and vests to try and sell to passersby. She doesn’t have any luck, but soon a figure in saffron robes approaches. It’s Laramie. Mad leads him inside the ship and lets the rest of the crew know he is there. Colt tells Laramie that he will need to find an alternate way off planet, but, hopefully, the crew will be able to help clear up his name. Laramie agrees to share some of the information he knows.
Everyone, including Chapman, gathers in the Common Room. In order to help protect their privacy, Chapman and Laramie are not introduced to each other. When questioned about his assisant, Torval, Laramie says that she is a “dead end” and that all the information possible has been gleaned from that source. Colt and Mad understand what Laramie is really saying, but Sebastian presses Laramie for why he thinks Torval won’t have any more useful information. Finally, exasperated, Laramie says that he isn’t going to answer any more questions on that matter. Sebastian finally catches on that Torval is most likely dead.
Laramie tells the group that Torval was receving orders from someone named Dante. She had an apartment of her own in Demeter, but it has possibly been searched by the authorities at the point in the course since Torval is now part of a current missing persons investigation. He gives them the address of the apartment. Laramie also tells them he finally discovered Torval’s betrayal because funds were being siphoned from his accounts. While he won’t tell them how much money was lost, (or, when Sebastian asks, give them his account numbers), he does reveal that the total amount of money stolen was a lot more than what was found at Biggby’s home.
As there seems to be no more information that Laramie can, or will, tell them, the conversation draws to a close. Colt escorts Laramie out. By the next morning, the crew and Chapman will need to have a plan of action. Time seems to be running out.