The Ghosts of Eden

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Session 35

The next morning is the first of June. The interview with Dallas Collinwood starts late in the morning in his quarters. His rooms are not quite as posh as Antares' (incidentally Guillaume's name is is pronounced Gwillam by everyone except by Guillaume). Unlike Antares and Greenburg, Collinwood is married. His wife dismisses the servants on the team's arrival and then goes into an interior room and where she can be heard talking to several men, one of whom is Antares. The entire team get the feeling she is feeling protective and is ambivalent about the men in other room. She also thinks "poor people, how quaint".

The team are ushered into this room where Collinwood is sitting at a table. With him are Guillaume Antares and Oliver Xu. Robert tries mind-reading Collinwood, who is much more upfront mentally but still has plenty of self control. He looks haggard. Antares asks if the team mind if he and Xu sit in on the interview. The excuse suggested is Collinwood's health. The team suggest interviewing Xu and returning to Dallas only if necessary or his health improves. Antares considers this, meanwhile Robert realises that Collinwood has been gagged and he intensifies his probe.

Collinwood's dreams have recently got worse (although he has never been a good sleeper). He has been dreaming specifically of one person/event and Robert picks up the phrase: "She was dead, she was dead, I checked, I used the equipment I had". Robert manages to visualise the scene and can tell that the equipment was perfectly adequate for working out whether someone was dead or not. Obviously she wasn't dead. He can't understand how he could have got it wrong. He's trying not to think of the name. Again Robert picks up a phrase: "I warned them, I warned them, why didn't they listen?". Robert gets a mental image of a very pretty, borderline beautiful, voluptuous, woman. Her limbs are a bit skinny suggesting an off-world environment. She has very dark hair but it isn't black. The style of her clothes dates from decades back. She is lying in an antiquated autodoc with blood on the side of her head. Seymour Greenburg is there. Robert can detect that Collinwood fancied her and he was jealous of Seymour because she was Seymour's "bride-to-be".

After a pause Antares agrees to Xu's interview. Collinwood says "I must speak". The team suggest Collinwood should be allowed to speak but Antares says he's not right which he obviously isn't. Mrs. Collinwood comes in to mother him. He still tries to talk but Mrs. Collinwood prevents him and orders everyone, including Guillaume Antares out. Antares appears satisfied with how things have turned out and offers lunch. The team say they want to talk to Xu. Xu sends Antares away, politely. Xu takes the team to lunch at the Executive club. Miho is fairly sure their alcove is not bugged.

The team run through their agreed procedure. They offer condolences and ask about the evening with Guillaume, Dallas and Seymour. Robert starts reading Xu's surface thoughts. Andi and Miho ask if his sleep was disturbed and he dismisses the question "old men don't sleep very well". Robert picks up that he is also suffering from bad dreams though not to the extent of the others. They ask whether past lovers came up in the conversation. Xu says he doesn't recall. They put forward the agreed theory about psychotropic drugs. Xu misinterprets the question and says they weren't using drugs. Andi and Miho correct him and return to the suggestion that a particular woman might have come up in the conversation. Robert picks up that there was one woman but Xu thinks the events occurred too long ago to be important. He's sure she can't be the one we're talking about even though she's the one he's been dreaming about. Robert tries a few seconds of mind probe to get a name - "Eva". Like Collinwood, Xu thought she was very good looking and she had an allure beyond her looks, he fancied her and was jealous of Greenburg.

The remaining questions elicit no interesting further information, although there are plenty of anecdotes and one garbled story about someone trying to sell Antares a news story from Kurrita. The team do learn that the four men used to be styled the "Four Muskateers". Xu is the executive in charge of news dissemination in Antares' division. Xu thinks Antares was the power behind Greeburg's throne and that Antares could probably become president if he really wanted to be, although his tendency to rub people up the wrong way would be a problem.

Comparing notes after the interview the team try some general searching but find nothing useful. They get hold of Komiko late afternoon who is unhappy following an official complaint from Collinwood's wife. The team give their report and insist they asked no questions and suggesting interviewing someone else. Komiko thinks this is irrelevant. They express concern that Collinwood is vulnerable to attack. Komiko reveals that a pre-cognitive in Psi Division has already foreseen a death in the form of a female assassin. It seems likely that Komiko will bounce a version of their report and concerns up to Marika Cosmos. It turns out the blogs were incorrect when they described the political situation as a three-way race between Marika Cosmos, Peter DeLavelle and Seymour Greenburg. In fact Cosmos and Antares were working together to promote Greenburg who was one of four candidates. Both Greenbury and DeLavelle has the support of two other board members. . The third player is Andromeda Solomon (Head of Resource Optimisation) and the fourth Chandrasekhar. Both of these had the support of one other board member. Much will depend upon which way Antares and Cosmos decide to jump now. If they maintain their alliance then whoever they back will gain the presidency. Given that they have apparently offended Antares, the team suggest they should be demoted and sent to Beta Virginis, Komiko is not impressed. It is agreed that Komiko (after checking with Cosmos) will warn Antares that the investigation thought Collinwood might be at risk, but that the official conclusion of the investigation will be that Greenburg committed suicide while of diminished responsibility. No further investigation will take place, in particular no further investigation of women from Greenburg's past. Komiko will also set clairvoyants to keep an eye on Dallas Collinwood. They discuss the extent to which they should reveal their full information to Greenburg. Komiko suspects he was initially unaware that Psi division were involved in the case and that his current hostility is based on discovering the team's affliation. In this case it seems advisable to play down the psionic angle and to suggest, for instance, that the concern over Collinwood arises from some general empathic reading of his emotions rather than specific telepathic examination of his mind. On the other hand, if Greenburg is aware for the nature of psionic talents (and given that although general knowledge is poor, the abilities of those in psi division is documented and Greenburg has both the seniority and alliances (with Marika Cosmos) necessary to access this information this is not impossible) this will appear a rather insulting ruse. Furthermore full disclosure of the facts might make Antares, Collinwood and Xu take more serious precautions to protect themselves. In the end it is left to Komiko to decide on the extent of the disclosure.

The team are convinced that a psionic is at work, Komiko is less so. They are also pretty sure something unpleasant happened many years ago to a woman called Eva, who may have been psionic herself, and that this was covered up by Antares, Collinwood, Greenburg and Xu. Assuming a psionic is responsible for Seymour Greenburg's death there would appear to be two possible motives either it is a political assassination which is unusual but not unheard of within Trilon or it is a revenge killing either by or for Eva. In the first case whatever happened to Eva is irrelevant to the case, she was just a weak point exploited by the psionic, furthermore Antares, Collinwood and Xu can be presumed to be at no risk. Although knowledge of psionics is limited its not unreasonable to assume that the bad dreams they have all been suffering are side effects of the attack on Greenburg and these will fade in time. The other candidates to the board may be at risk but uncovering the identity of Eva is unlikely to assist in protecting them. If, on the other hand, the culprit is acting out of revenge then Antares, Collinwood and Xu can be presumed to be at continued risk and uncovering the identity of Eva could well be critical to finding the culprit. Given the time elapsed since whatever happened to Eva it seems likely the culprit will be a young relative: niece, nephew or grand-child. However in this second case one of the potential victims, one who for practical purposes can be considered to speak for the others, appears to wish this particular line of enquiry dropped.

Robert retires to sleep, Miho to practice picking up concealed small devices (she works out it takes about 15 seconds to scan a room, taking a full minute pretty much guarantees success). She begins to practice identifying equipment, and telling if things are powered up. Andi briefly considers searching for Eva under the guise of Eve, but decides against it on the grounds that Greenburg is likely to know if Eve has been in the system and, given the team has just undertaken not to pursue the Eva inquiry, this would be unpolitic. She decides instead to create trouble for Roland or at least get information on him.

The team are awoken in the night by an alert from the clairvoyants supervising Collinwood.

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