I was looking for the people behind Project ENOS. The first pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. Someone was not pleased about my investigations.
I hoped that the access code would work and not trigger an alarm. Carefully I pushed the card into the reader of the security door. There was no turning back. I closed my eyes and waited. The last few days passed me by. In search of those behind Project ENOS, I did some research on Microtech. Some information was publicly available, the really interesting stuff was under lock and key. Especially when it came to high-ranking people like Thane MacMarshall and Xedan Thormento. Fortunately, even the highly polished New Babbage had its dark places. There I was able to illegally organize an access card to the secret archive. The archive that officially did not exist and was not connected to the data network.
The reader took an unusually long time. I doubted that the access card would work. Then suddenly there was a BEEP BEEP BEEP. A red light was flashing. I flinched, startled. Then a hiss. The security door opened. The way was clear. I glanced at a small storage room. The archive looked unspectacular, shelves and a few boxes were visible. No technology, no computers. In the boxes were data carriers, tons of data carriers. Finding the right information could take time. With a groan I started to read the data carriers. I could only hope that no one would come and notice me.
Hours later, I was in the Quantum flight to Grim Hex. On board the ‘White Rabbit’ I evaluated the information from New Babbage.
Xedan Thormento was not a blank slate. He was a bigwig at Microtech and the son of an influential business family. Xedan once dreamed of a star corporation, a merger of the 4 megacorporations of the Stanton system. This would be a demonstration of power and could become a threat to the UEE. Xedan failed, however, and asked to be released from the Microtech corporation. That was earlier this year, not long before all this crap started. He also had something to do with the development of the MTX1 chips.Thane McMarshall’s past was also interesting. His parents had worked, for Microtech, on biotechnology and nanotechnology. They were killed in a Metroloop accident. This accident occurred shortly after the accidental death of Professor Mobi, the initiator of Project ENOS. Mobi died in an explosion in his lab on Clio. Was this a coincidence? Were they really accidents? And were Thane’s parents working on Project ENOS? Did Thane know about it? And was Xedan interested in ENOS? Did he want to use it to realize his dreams of the star corporation. Was Xedan a victim or a perpetrator? I was not sure.
After landing in Grim Hex, I walked through the hangar lost in thought. Another lead to the backers, led to Grim Hex. I had indications that the A.M.C.Y., the Asteroid Mining Corporation of Yela, and the Nine-Tails were interested in Project ENOS. It was time to use my contacts in Grim Hex to learn more. I paused to consider where to start. “Hey, don’t stop there. Keep moving.” A guard murmured at me. My goodness, what was going on here. The company in Grim Hex had always been rough. But something was different. There was an irritable mood in the air. People seemed to be on edge.
It was no different in the main hall. No one sat relaxed at the tables. Like prey animals, everyone was on guard. Glances roamed nervously. As I walked through the hall, it was as if a thousand eyes were on me. Something was going on at the old decommissioned mining station. I went to Wallace first. As usual, he looked unhealthy. Fumes from his drug kitchen wafted through the air. He propped himself heavily on a table and began to narrate.”Ever since an incident at Security Post Kareah, the Nine-Tails have been on edge. They’re worried about Crusader Security invading Grim Hex. Among themselves, they’re not completely at peace, either. Different splinter groups pursue their own goals. Some even let themselves be paid by the UEE as bounty hunters. There is talk of a Red Banner. This sucks what’s going on. It’s bad for my business. Speaking of business. I have a package. Could you deliver it for me.” “Later Wallace. Thanks for the info.” I replied and headed back down the hall. The incident on Kareah had to have been the skirmish between the Helldivers, Yellowhands and GBC. The escalation where Xedan disappeared and the attempt to smuggle him out of the system failed.
Pondering, I walked through the main hall. Nine-Tails working against each other and partly for the UEE. No wonder the mood on Grim Hex was testy. I had to be careful not to get caught in the middle. “Hey man, watch where you’re going.” I had walked right into a guy. So much for being careful. In a hushed voice, I apologized. “Sorry, my mind was elsewhere.” “You better be on your game. Times are dangerous.” I said another quick hello and kept walking. Past the flickering neon lights and the parcel station. At the Admin Office, I learned that the A.M.C.Y. no longer existed. The founder Daston Rim and his advisor Ignotus had disappeared without a trace. But the Tiari, the fighting group of the A.M.C.Y., had apparently not completely disbanded. Possibly they were now operating under the name Versipellis Sica. There was another connection. The A.M.C.Y. once terrorized the area of Grim Hex and the moon Yela. With the help of the Nine Tails.
That evening I met up with Kjeld at the “old 38 Bar’. I wanted to find out what else he knew and share my information with him. There were a surprising number of patrons in the bar for the late hour. We retreated to a corner where we could talk undisturbed.Kjeld reported that Xedan had been kidnapped by an Eris and taken to a slave ship, during the battle on Kareah. Kjeld and TYR had freed Xedan from the ship. Apart from Xedan, however, there was no one else on board. The ship belonged to a radical splinter group of the Nine Tails. A killer unit that was feared even among the Nine Tails. The name of the unit was Versipellis Sica. The leader, Scorpio Lycosi and Eris had interrogated Xedan.
A piece of the puzzle was falling into place. Eris was the client of the Yellowhands. Versipellis Sica possibly the successor unit of the Tiari. the fighting group of the A.M.C.Y. Kjeld still told about a Thiago lobby. They were somehow involved in the whole thing, had a lot of money, organized parties and financed various enterprises. Probably also Shubin Interstellar. My glass almost fell out of my hand. “Shubin!” it burst out of me. “I’ve done some not-so-legal jobs for them before. They’ve got a lot of dirt on them. Wouldn’t surprise me if they were in on the whole conspiracy.”
After Kjeld and I had said goodbye, I was too upset to go straight to bed. I had to process all the information first.
I looked through the picture window at the asteroids and tried to sort out my thoughts. The red light of Grim Hex’s racetrack was reflected in the glass of my whiskey. Suddenly, a guy stood next to me. He was shaved bald and a head taller than me. His whole appearance was menacing. From above, he looked at me insistently. “Don’t stick your nose too deep into things that don’t concern you. It might get dirty.” he said in a rough voice. I looked up at him and smiled. Before I could say anything he walked away and just left me standing there.
I looked back at the asteroids. The threat had arrived. But I couldn’t just stop now. I was already in too deep. I had to find out who was behind it all, where the threat was coming from. It was the only way I could protect myself.There seemed to be two sides to this. One side was helping us unravel the mystery of Project ENOS. This side knew a lot about the project and was scattering breadcrumbs for us. I suspected that Ignotus was behind it, perhaps Daston Rim, the founder of A.M.C.Y.. But why were we given a riddle and no definite information? Did Daston and Ignotus have to go into hiding? Was Ignotus perhaps an acquaintance of the influential family of Xedan?
The other side was the dark side. They had continued Project ENOS and wanted to gain power with the bioweapon. Much pointed to the Nine Tails or the radical splinter group Versipellis Sica. Both the Nine Tails and the former leader of the Tiari, were once supporters of Project ENOS. But did the Nine Tails or Versipellis Sica have enough money and influence? Or was there another power in the background? What was the role of theThiago Lobby and Shubin Interstellar? Maybe I should stop by the Shubin Mining outpost on Daymar. It wouldn’t be the first time I hacked into the systems there and found valuable clues.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)