(Dorothy refit, about Aonghus, about Houre Despalt. Hostile connection with safari company that brought the Prokoetaal officers to Hueng. Blurb about poor frontier colonies like Narsa and how they survive relatively undisturbed by the decades. Inset about Narsa itself.)
While planning how to best distribute their psi-drug, the crew contemplate a trip back to Biscuit's home system, Leynar. They make a connection with a Shipwright's Union heavy named ?, who offers to be their connection in Aonghus and Leynar.
The crew are introduced to a patron named Marius Morrison, a thick necked, no-nonsense ex-con from Narsa. Morrison claims that he used to be Chief Operations Officer in charge of the poor, hardscrabble mining colony. He was taken down and framed for the murder of his boss, the CEO and matriarch Andalade Du Bujac. He claims he was set up by the colony's current boss, a slick operator and nephew of Andalade named Stephen Du Bujac, along with the turncoat sheriff Isaac "Dizzy" Dempsky. The conspiracy, he claims, was executed and legitimized by offworld criminals trying to muscle in on the action. Specifically, a guild operative from Leynar's Five Credit Gang named Manrique Kosta came in to make the arrest and arrange trial on Alvarez, using the smuggling ship Naga, captained by the notorious and venerable pirate Kaleb. Morrison considers these outworld influences the real problem: seducing the impressionable Stephen Du Bujac with money and power in the face of Morrison's stubborn resistance to their schemes.
Morrison will pay double hazard for himself and two friends for one-way transport to Narsa. He is looking for more than just transport, but has little to offer besides the loyalty, gratitude, and business of a small-time frontier mining camp. The crew experience his moral resolve, and work to abate his deep mistrust of the pirates and gangs that he fought his whole life. His stated goal is to regain power over Narsa bloodlessly, "... except one," presumably but not stated, his nemesis Stephen Du Bujac. He sees the crew as the pirate outworlders he needs to fight fire with fire. Their insistence that he sign a draconian contract placing the colony under 75% take for the Dorothy crew for ten years confirmed everything Morrison thinks of outworlder criminals, and yielded an angry rebuttal and appeal for help from Morrison. It became clear that any attempt to strongarm Morrison will be met with disgust and will likely end the patronage. The Captain
The crew researches Narsa and finds Morrison's story checks out, as far as it goes. Narsa's obligation to Yang AG ended two generations ago, and Yang AG has no records of the colony. Information from Narsa is five years stale in Aonghus, but the news of the murder and new management corroborates Morrison's history. Research also reveals the involvement of Kosta and the Naga, a connection that resonates with Biscuit and the crew.
As the Dorothy concludes flight preparations and the passengers embark, a sniper appears three stories up on the landing bay wall, and fires a 400m headshot, taking out the Captain. As he lay in an expanding pool of blood, Nara goes out to try to retrieve him, but is unable. Biscuit deploys the security robot, which releases fog. But as the fog provides cover, the sniper takes a long bead on Nara, pulls off and fires three shots showing the pinpoint accuracy of a trained military sniper. Audience reveal that he has the telltale tattoo of the Prokoetaal invasion of Yhro and Mohan, the Prokoetaal Expeditionary Forces (PEF).
Captain Quinn is sent to the Aonghus downport hospital in critical condition. The Dorothy delays launch for three days while Quinn stabilizes.
An active duty scout named Capra Matchke has contracted with the Dorothy for middle passage to Stabyl. She reveals that she did some research after the shooting, and found out that the officers of the Dorothy have prices on their heads, 100k credits plus golden Middle Passage and concessions in Prokoetaal space.