Amber Nebula Campaign Log

4. The Long Arm of the Law


14 May, 2775. 01:32 UTC. Sunrise + 3:09 Lyrane time. Log entry by Spanners.

We have informed the Yandis police of our difficulties with Professor Smythe and his cohorts. Unfortunately, they have no jurisdiction over a clandestine landing in Lyratian territory, and the Lyratian authorities are ill-disposed to cooperating in an investigation and pursuit of our hijackers. We are unable even to determine if they entered the town of Gallorob, let alone where they may have gone from there.

02:26 UTC. Sunrise + 4:03 Lyrane time. Log entry by Serron.

While scanning the net for suitable cargoes and planning our next destination, I have stumbled across a news item:

News Item. Lyrane-net news service.
Yandis police are requesting information from the public on a suspected frozen body smuggling ring. Two former citizens of Earth, registered as having been cryogenically frozen after dying of cancer over 450 years ago, have been recovered alive - serving as slaves on the estate of business tycoon Emmett Rolson.

Mr Rolson has been charged with crimes including receiving stolen property, violation of personal rights, mental abuse, aiding criminal activity, and violation of several import and quarantine regulations. The people behind the operation have yet to be identified.

Police say that medical expertise is required in several fields to be able to revive a frozen patient, cure the cancer in the system, and brainwash the person into subservience. The two recovered individuals appear to have been revived only within the past few weeks, and checks are being made into any suspicious cargo arrivals from Earth within the past two months. Any citizens with information are requested to contact Yandis federal police immediately.

03:17 UTC. Sunrise + 4:54 Lyrane time. Log entry by Iki Piki.

Serron is spending the day "making contacts" amongst the local marketplaces and shipping distributors, while Spanners and Ogier attend to routine ship maintenance. We have also arranged for a registered letter to be delivered to Professor Smythe's home. If he retrieves it, we will be notified and so know that he has returned.

10:03 UTC. Sunset - 2:13 Lyrane time. Log entry by Serron.

I have spent around Earth$1000 loosening the lips of various importers, exporters, and the ship's crews they deal with. It seems Deux-Sevres, the original destination of our hijackers, has some reputation as being a place where import regulation enforcement is lax enough to allow a significant amount of smuggling of precious goods. Combined with a thriving black market and several suspected wealthy eccentric buyers of alien artefacts, it appears our friends had a good destination in mind to dispose of their ill-gotten gains.

On another note, I have secured a good deal for the purchase of a cargo of advanced bioplastics and plastex B, both in demand on the planet Bollux, which shall be our next destination. The expected profits should be higher than for any other world currently within our range. We are delaying purchase of more antimatter fuel until we arrive on Bollux, hopefully with a decent profit.

The net shows only one prospective passenger contract to Bollux - a honeymoon couple. However, I am wary of taking on any more passengers after both of our last two turned out to be more trouble than they were worth.

10:19 UTC. Sunset - 1:57 Lyrane time. Ship's radio log.

External voice: This is the Yandis federal police. We have a warrant to take all crew of the ship Legacy in for questioning regarding illegal body smuggling. Please open the door.

10:41 UTC. Sunset - 1:35 Lyrane time. Police evidence tape.

[Video shows crew of the Legacy sitting in a room. Two police officers, one human and one Sparrial, enter.]

Human Cop: Hi, I'm Detective Johnson, and this is Detective Marrinlirree. We'll be conducting this interview. Firstly, you are Serron, Ogier Spacebourne, Iki Piki, and Spanners, owners and operators of the Legacy, registered on Earth?

Serron: That's right.

Johnson: You landed at Sennier spaceport on 29 April UTC, outbound from Earth?

Iki Piki: Yes.

Marrinlirree: You were carrying a [refers to clipboard] Dr Phineas Rutherford as a passenger, plus luggage?

Serron: Yes.

Johnson: Were you aware that Rutherford's luggage contained cryogenically frozen bodies?

Serron: No.

[Johnson looks to Marrinlirree, who shakes his head.]

Johnson: We know you're lying.

Serron: No... he told us they were bodies, but we didn't believe him!

Johnson: So, he told you he was importing frozen bodies. Were you aware that importation of cryogenically frozen bodies to Lyrane requires a customs declaration and immigration control?

Iki Piki: Yes.

Serron: But we never knew we were carrying frozen bodies.

Johnson: But he told you he had bodies, and you were aware of the import regulations, yet you declined to inform customs?

Serron: Because we didn't believe him! He told us all these different stories about what was in the boxes - we didn't know what to believe!

Marrinlirree: You knew the crates contained liquid nitrogen?

Iki Piki: Yes.

Serron: But lots of things need liquid nitrogen for shipping... er... AI cores!

Johnson: But you didn't think it was suspicious?

Serron: Well, sure, but we didn't know for sure what he was shipping.

[Johnson looks at Marrinlirree, who nods in agreement.]

Johnson: You are under arrest on suspicion of aiding in the smuggling of frozen bodies and the operation of a body revival and slaving ring. You may hire a lawyer or we will appoint one for you. Your case will be heard tomorrow. Be at the courthouse on Daryon St at sunrise plus 2 hours. In the meantime you are free to go.

However, we will be tagging you with radio transponders injected into your necks. These report your location half-hourly and on demand. If you leave the city, or do not appear at the courthouse, or tamper with the implants in any way, it will be an admission of guilt and you will be tracked and extradited to serve your sentences. The implants will be removed if you are judged innocent.

13:09 UTC. Sunset + 0:53 Lyrane time. Log entry by Ogier.

Well. It appears we are stuck on Lyrane for another day at least. Our cargo has been paid for but not yet been delivered, so if we skip the system we will not only be wanted criminals, but be broke as well. The only sensible option seems to be showing up for trial tomorrow.

We have only about $500 available after paying for our cargo, and a supply of sedative and truth drugs which Serron insisted on purchasing after our last two passenger experiences. The cheapest lawyers advertised charge around $1000 a day, so we are relying on the court appointed lawyer to get us free.

Spanners is experimenting with a device to mimic the effects of the radio implants. He says if he can succeed in doing that, we can wear jammers around our necks and wander freely with the police believing we are on board the Legacy all night. Serron has expressed a desire to investigate the residence of Prof. Smythe, but we think the police surveillance on his house may prevent us from entering the premises undetected.

16:24 UTC. Sunset + 4:08 Lyrane time. Log entry by Iki Piki.

Reading up on the Yandis legal system, I have discovered that the lie sniffing ability of Sparrials is inadmissable as criminal evidence. So even though Detective Marrinlirree may have known that Serron was bending the truth, this cannot be used in the court case tomorrow. This is somewhat comforting.

15 May, 2775. 19:46 UTC. Sunset + 2:54 Lyrane time. Log entry by Spanners.

After a long day in court, we are still unsure of where we stand. The evidence, such as it was, was heard for much of the day, and the jury began their deliberations late in the afternoon. We should have a verdict some time tomorrow, with any luck.

Despite the surprising appearance of Dr Rutherford as a witness, we believe the evidence against us is completely circumstantial. Dr Rutherford's testimony must hold little credence, since he is himself convicted of body smuggling, and it is essentially his word against ours.

Our cargo has been delivered, but we remain unable to leave Lyrane, lest we incur the admission of guilt verdict from Yandis' legal system. An extra day to clear our names is hopefully worth the additional spaceport berthing fee, though we have already run up more of a debt than we can pay from our available funds.

16 May, 2775. 23:14 UTC. Sunset + 2:10 Lyrane time. Log entry by Serron.

Finally, justice is served and we are free of the clutches and suspicions of the law. The jury reached a not guilty verdict this morning since the case against us was entirely circumstantial. Being a strong believer in the justice system I never doubted it for a second.

We have had the police implants removed and are now free to travel to Bollux. Anywhere but here will do fine, really.

I have scanned the net once more for suitable passengers. Our newlyweds were still awaiting a ship leaving for Bollux, and joining them was a three-man rock band looking for passage to their next gig. Reluctantly I am forced to admit that honeymooners probably pose less of a security risk than a band, so we have invited them to join our outing. Luckily they have paid us the $6000 they were offering up front, so we have enough to clear our docking fee debt without reselling some of our cargo.

I have the sedatives loaded into a hypo-gun and ready, though.

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