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Interlude Nineteen point One, Wanderer and the Mystic and Delmar Nautics

Around 11pm a knock on the door of Shar-Chi, Importer thumped quietly. The Wanderer was paying a visit to see if the Mystic was available to inspect Delmar Nautics.

Ragnar opened the door and bowed, "Welcome Wanderer." He led the Wanderer into the parlour and a moment later the Mystic joined him. "Good to see you, my friend. Shar-Chi will bring us tea, what is the plan?"

"I thought we'd go down to the main warehouse and see if there are any clues to the whereabouts of the MUSE. That business card didn't end up there by accident. They would need a place of substantial size to hide it, and what better than a warehouse that regularly receives cargo." the Wanderer continued, "I expect security to be standard, if it isn't then that may be our first clue."

"So be it, ah the tea. We do have time for tea?" he asked.

"Naturally," said the Wanderer as he slurped away.

Tea finished, the pair made their way toward the docks and Delmar Nautics. The establishment looked straightforward from the outside: a large fence surrounded a number of boats in drydock, and an enclosed pier area revealed another two heavy duty cargo barges. There was a small warehouse that looked like it probably included the offices.

The Wanderer pointed out the cameras he spotted to the Mystic and cautioned him about the possibility of a dog. "Let's get closer to the fence," he proposed. After casing the area, the Wanderer found a remote area of the compound that satisfied him and gently rattled the fence ever so slightly in hopes of attracting the dog.

"Shall I utilize the Bonds of Vieltoor to restrain the animal?" asked the Mystic.

"I think I can handle that," responded the Wanderer. "But have you anything in your bag of tricks to neutralize that camera" he pointed to a camera which would capture their trek to the warehouse.

"Hmm. Why trek to the Warehouse? Neither of us need cover that distance, we can simply appear atop the building if need be," said the Mystic.

"True," conceded the Wanderer. "That may be the most unexpected route, but I'm not sure there are stairs up there so we can get inside."

A bark announced the arrival of the watchdog, who proceeded to growl and yap. The Wanderer's eyes focussed on the middle distance and the dog's yaps turned to whines, then it fell to its knees then to the ground, then lay still.

"My method would not have killed the poor creature," reproved the Mystic.

"Not at all. This is one sleeping dog we should let lie," he said. "Come," he beckoned. "I'll meet you on top." And with that, the Wanderer appeared on the roof of the warehouse.

The Mystic wrapped his cloak around him and dissappeared into its depths. A soft sussuration announced the arrival of the cloak on the rooftop and the Mystic stepped out of its folds.

The warehouse was a relatively low structure, only about fifteen feet high. As the Wanderer suspected there were no stairs down or skylights in. There were windows just a short distance down from the roof to allow light in, and the heroes were able to hang their heads over and look inside. It was dark, but they were able to make out a few rows of industrial shelving, a restroom, and a couple of partitioned off areas that looked like an office and a small lobby.

"I don't see a MUSE, do you?" he asked rhetorically. "Maybe the office has a forwarding address."

The Mystic joined him. "No MUSE," he said. "Although, I think it would fit on one of those barges out there. We would have seen it, of course, but the size looks right."

"Then let's see if there is a manifest to tell where those barges last were, or are going? Shall we?" In the blink of an eye, the Wanderer was inside the warehouse making his way to what looked like an office.

The Mystic joined him. The office was a glassed in partition and provided no more of a barrier than the walls had. There was a desk a filing cabinet and a computer. A quick inspection revealed that Delmar Nautics was not in the business of hauling, but rather in the business of selling ships to do the hauling. There were, therefore, no cargo manifests, but rather sales receipts, loan information and so forth.

"It appears that Delmar Nautics may be the way to ship the MUSE out. Let's look for receipts and loans dated the day of the launch up through next week," whispered the Wanderer. Something as important as the MUSE would get a little risky to keep under wraps for long, they may want to move it soon. He opened a file cabinet. Hopefully there wouldn't be many scheduled usages of the barges in the timeframe they were concerned with and this would give them an idea of where to investigate further.

"Mystic," he called in hushed tones, "There may be some guards around, do you want to go take a look?"

The Mystic nodded and, wrapped in his cloak went to check the perimter.

The Wanderer's first pass revealed that Delmar didn't make short term rentals. They sold boats or arranged long-term rentals for industrial use. The Wanderer noted that several of the city's trash barges were leased from Delmar, for instance.

Interesting, he thought to himself. He looked for a schedule of current usage besides the garbage barges. Was there a hauling project looming soon, one that could have been scheduled months ago? The MUSE launch schedule was public knowledge and a heist of this magnitide would have taken months to plan.

There were no deliveries or anything along those lines scheduled for the next week or two, he discovered.

The Mystic returned. "There do not appear to be any guards in the area. I can only assume that the video feed is to a tape somewhere or an off-site monitor."

"That confirms my suspicion, there can't be anything incriminating if they are this lax in security." The Wanderer attempted to replace whatever things he had touched to not cause any unwanted questions. "Let's meet back outside," he said to the Mystic.

"Perhaps we are barking up the wrong tree, but it seems as though we may be missing something," said the Mystic, halting the Wanderer. "What are we looking for and what are we overlooking?"

"What connection is there between Delmar Nautics and the disappearance of the MUSE," the Wanderer spoke aloud in hopes that vocalizing it may trigger something. "It looks like the MUSE isn't stored here," he observed, "and since their business is transport..." he trailed off in thought. The Wanderer looked on the desk to see if there were any photographs of the manager and his family, could that be a clue?

"No," said the Mystic, as the Wanderer looked at the desk, "their business is selling transport to others."

"Exactly, " replied the Wanderer. "The city is the only customer I've discovered and there are no curious vendors scheduled soon."

The heroes transported themselves out to the barge on the pier. It was a large open-topped vessel and empty of cargo. It was of a size that would accept the MUSE, but clearly did not contain such a thing at the moment.

With a pair of matching sighs, the heroes left the area the way they had come and retired to the Mystic's Sanctum Condominium. A frustrating evening all around.

Last Updated 1 March 2002