Strange things were happening on Everus Harbor. Secret meetings, people disappearing, and Hadanite not working out either.
After the hack of the communication satellite I stayed in the planetary system Hurston. I regularly flew to the satellite to download the recorded communications. The Star Runner’s computers were powerful, but I could not analyze this amount of data. For analysis I brought the data to Marsden Analytics.
So far, there was only one interesting communication. Constantin Hursten had sent a message to an independent dealer. “Contact for escort. Meet at Everus Harbor. Personal arrangements and secrecy still in effect.” Attached to the message was a picture of a person. It looked like Hurston Dynamics was doing secret business with an independent dealer. But why escorts? Was the trader just a middleman, transporting something valuable for Hurston Dynamics? Did it have anything to do with the killer satellite? Or with the joint venture with Microtech? I had no idea. I stored the message and notes with encryption on the Star Runner servers.
To make some money during my stay in the Hurston planetary system, I mined Hadanite on the moon Aberdeen. The activists had set up a secret sales point on the orbital station “Everus Harbor”, in orbit from the planet Hurston. This saved me the flight to Port Olisar to sell the Hadanite to the free peoples.
The sun was low over the horizon. The dense atmosphere of Aberdeen was enveloped in a warm brown light. Warm was a merciless understatement. The heat on Aberdeen was deadly. As far as heat was concerned, I had learned my lesson on the moon Arial. This time I was well prepared and used a heat suit.
I was deeply relaxed, enjoying the evening sun and calmly mining the Hadanite. There were increased pirate attacks on Miner on the Arial and Aberdeen moons, but I was not worried. I was far from an outpost. Who would find me here. Briefly I paused. Was I being too reckless and underestimating the danger? A grin flitted across my face. No, the moon was big, it couldn’t be that big a coincidence that pirates stumbled upon me here.
By now the sun had set and the planet Hurston appeared over the horizon. I turned my attention to the last chunk of Hadanite. The hold was as good as full. This one more stone and then I would fly to “Everus Harbor” and sell the Hadanite. By now I had practice keeping the energy of the mining laser in the green range. The stone was quickly broken and the Hadanite collected.
After the ROC was stowed in the Star Runner’s cargo hold, I flew to Hurston’s orbital station. On the way, I checked for new messages. I still hadn’t heard anything from Brubacker. Probably he was again on the trail of some dubious matter. But it was unusual that he did not contact me at all.
Arriving at the station, I took the elevator to the cargo deck. The door opened with a squeak and I stepped out of the elevator. There was a bustle of activity. It was amazing that the activists had managed to set up a secret outlet in this anthill. But the hiding place was well chosen.
I went to the right to the warehouse with the large containers. An announcement echoed through the air. In front of me was a dark black passage between two containers. Without hesitation, I stepped into the darkness. The cargo deck swallowed me like a black hole. The sounds of the warehouse could only be heard muffled.
After a bend, a faint light could be seen. It came from a passageway into a container. This was where the activists had set up the hideout. I entered. It was pretty chaotic, but also seemed kind of cozy with the wizened sofa. “Sam, I got a load of Hadanite!” I called out. No answer. There was no one there.
It was strange. Usually there was always someone in the room. Irritated, I looked around. In the chaos I could not find anything that explained why no one was there. Worries sprouted in me. Something was wrong here. With a groan, I dropped onto the sofa and waited. No one came. I remained alone in the silence of the hideout. It was an oppressive silence. Something must have happened. The activists had disappeared without a trace. The possibility of selling hadanite at the station was gone.