(55b) Addendum to (55)

The Misha Campaign (to 295-1121)

Background on Korwin

Marquis Vanderfield arrives on Wonstar on 293-1121.  Local date is 61/2876, and he arrives before dawn.  He's met by a Wonstar Development Corporation representative -- Grace Wilhelm -- and an unmarked limousine.  She will not be drawn into discussing the WDC, and seems to know nothing about the conference subject matter.  She does give you a good briefing on the town you're heading for, however, including nightspots, entertainment, and so on.

Starcom is 60 km southeast of the city of Down Port, and is where the WDC has its head office.  It's a commercial center for companies that do business offworld, as well as the home of a lot of on-planet trading and shipping companies.  There's a large warehouse district just a couple of blocks east of the main nightclub drag, and it supposedly gets a lot seedier in that direction.  She says the town itself is safe, but not to go very far into the warehouse area.  There's a light rail system for commuting, but for getting around downtown she says that taxis are the primary transport.

Agriculture is the main driving force of the world.  Politics are stable and conservative, the interests of the farming industry being uppermost in policy decisions.  Alcohol fuels the internal combustion engines of the surface vehicles, but aircraft and ocean ships are fueled by geological petrochemicals.  There's an increasing push towards nuclear power, but it has yet to take hold generally.  Solar and wind generators provide small-scale power for farms and so on.  Hydro power is not readily available because the suitable terrain for such generation is nowhere near population centers.  The upshot is that any armored forces will have to handle their own logistics -- there's very little infrastructure to support a supply line.

The Grand Imperial Regency Hotel in Starcom is the best of the best, a TL7 expression of the finest hotel standards in the Imperium.  Everything has been set up in advance -- Korwin has a penthouse suite, and staff have been briefed so that he doesn't even need to sign for anything.  All is automatically charged to his account which will be billed directly to the WDC.  In addition, several major stores in town can charge purchases to the hotel account.  The conference will run from day 63 to 66, then resume for 70 to 73.  There is a mutual option of extending his stay on the same terms for up to a month if the WDC wants to retain him as a consultant.  All expenses are handled by the WDC, along with 1000 Cr a day cash "spending money" while he's here with the company -- that's in addition to his usual contract rates.

The evenings are his to spend as he wishes, although it's clear from Grace Wilhelm's briefing that he'll be expected to spend amply in the local nightspots.  Bringing in an offworld noble for a conference is seen as a public relations coup for the WDC, and they want to be sure everyone knows it.

The WDC clearly has money to spend.  There is no indication where that money comes from.  The company runs several experimental agricultural and fishing locations around the world, and supposedly is in the business of enhancing the development of Wonstar's native industries.  They have no obvious substantial income to match their spending.

As an aside, Wonstar has a very fine Irish style whisky tradition.  It's practically unknown offworld, and that's intentional -- heavy duties are levied on whisky export.

Korwin In Starcom

    Grace Wilhelm -- single, attractive, and clearly with good taste -- is happy to accompany Korwin on his nighttime partying.  She's a very pleasant companion, and Korwin certainly has money -- his per diem -- to spend.  Wonstar is proving a most enjoyable experience so far -- and the conference hasn't even started yet!  They didn't keep the limo -- it just delivered them to the hotel and left.  Korwin hasn't taken any special precautions, other than carrying his hidden gun.  The WDC want him to be out in the open, mingling with the crowd, so that's what he does.  Korwin considers it his duty to partake liberally of the quite fine Irish style whisky that's produced locally -- it's virtually unknown offworld, and obviously intentionally so as it's subject to heavy export duties.

    Towards the end of the evening, Grace and Korwin get into a taxi to go back to the hotel.  Immediately they enter, a couple of guys with submachine guns slip into the cab with them, guns trained on the pair.  The taxi doors lock.
    Korwin first tries to assess the situation.  Is this a random robbery, or is it planned?  He hadn't noticed anyone following them or anything, but these two guys look professional, as if they're doing a particular job.  This looks planned.
    He tries to pick up some surface thoughts.  To his surprise, Grace is not panicked -- she's thinking "Oh, shit!" with a sigh rather than with alarm.  The boys with the guns are thinking along the lines of, "Ok, we've got the guy.  All we need to do now is deliver him.  Hope he doesn't freak."  It's enough to convince Korwin that they're not in immediate danger, and that he's the one they're after, not Grace.
    Korwin strikes up a conversation to put the guys at ease.  He asks Grace, "Does stuff like this normally happen on your planet?"
    "No, it doesn't," says Grace, "This is quite unusual."
    To the men he says, "You guys want to stop and get a beer?  Just as well make this trip enjoyable."
    "No," one replies pleasantly, "We'll be able to get you a beer when we get there."
    "I was going to buy you guys one."
    "No thanks, we're at work at the moment."
    "Get off duty soon?"
    "As soon as we deliver you."
    "Well, maybe we can hook up for a beer later."  Korwin keeps the mood light, and it seems to be working.  They're clearly pros, and have been put at ease.  He sits back and assesses the tactical situation.

    The taxi pulls off the main drag and into the warehouse district.  It goes about three blocks in, then pulls into a warehouse.  Men inside the building open and close the door for them.  Armed guards with submachine guns stand ready inside.
    The cab doors unlock. One of the men inside the cab says, "OK.  These guys will show you where to go."
    Korwin says, "You know, you guys could have asked me to come along without the guns.  I probably would have come anyway."
    "Hey, we're paid to do it, OK?  We do our job."
    "I'm here to visit this fine world.  This is something I can take a look at and learn more about it, so..."
    "Yep.  As long as nobody freaks, we're good."
    "It would have been better to formally invite me, but hey, we can deal with this."
    Korwin and Grace are motioned out of the taxi.  The next set of guards take them to a lounge or waiting room.  The guards tell them that there's a bar and refrigerator, and some whisky, and as long as they don't try to use anything as a weapon, they'll be fine.  There's newspapers, magazines, a TV, and if there's anything they need they're to ask.
    The two of them settle down to wait.  Korwin checks out the room, seeing what could be used as a weapon, what the situation is, and so on.  The room is fairly soundproofed.  There's frosted glass in the single door, but no other windows.  There are two guards in the room, and he saw them leave two other guards outside the room too.  The guards assure Korwin that they will be here just a matter of hours -- if nothing's happened by dawn, they'll release the pair of them back to their hotel.  They've not even been searched -- they're the nicest kidnappers Korwin's ever come across, anyway.
    Grace and Korwin relax and wait for dawn.