(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
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
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
Korwin strikes up a conversation to put the guys at
ease. He asks Grace, "Does stuff like this normally happen on your
"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
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
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.