The Missed Interview
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 issue.
- Initial location:
- Any Class A or B starport in the Sword Worlds or Border Worlds
The travellers are approached by a freelance journalist, Wallis Bodsson, who has been investigating the apparent disappearance of Professor Musush Biisana. Professor Biisana recently completed a fellowship, sponsored by the Imperial Border Office, at the University of Fœrstaberg on Sacnoth. The professor, on sabbatical from the Lunion School of Economics, was travelling through the Sword Worlds and Border Worlds and had agreed to an interview five days ago with Bodsson at the local Travellers’ Aid Society lounge at the starport. When the professor failed to show for the interview, Bodsson tracked the professor to her hotel where she had failed to return, without having checked out, the evening before the scheduled interview. Biisana’s belongings, including substantial travel baggage, remain at the hotel.
Bodsson has had no success in getting local police to initiate a search for Biisana and is prepared to offer Cr4500 for successful assistance in locating the missing professor.
Possible Directions to Take This Scenario
Efforts to locate Biisana will suggest she had been engaged in typical tourist and social activities. Service personnel will place her at assorted tourist sites the day before she disappeared and at multiple eateries and pubs that evening. She did not appear to have been accompanied by anyone else and no one at the last place she visited can remember when she left.
Ten days after her disappearance, Biisana will reappear at her hotel, unharmed and at ease. She will make arrangements through the hotel staff to travel off-world at the soonest opportunity, headed in a direction which would lead back to Lunion. She is reluctant to discuss her “disappearance” but assures the travellers that she is in no peril. When pressed, she will admit to having forgotten the scheduled interview with Bodsson and mention that she had been engaged in a brief, unexpected liaison with a local person (whom she refuses to identify). She assents to a second appointment with Bodsson. Bodsson pays the offered fee once the new interview has been confirmed.
As in 1, but Biisana returns to the hotel in the company of another woman who can be identified from a check of publicly available records as a wealthy local entrepreneur. Biisana checks out of the hotel after collecting her baggage and departs with her companion. If pressed by the travellers she will admit to having forgotten the scheduled interview with Bodsson but will assure the them that she is in no peril—without providing any details about her recent whereabouts or future plans.
Biisana declines the opportunity to reschedule the interview with Bodsson and departs with her companion. Bodsson pays the offered fee upon receipt of the news of her return.
As in 1, but witnesses at the last establishment where Biisana was reported suggest that she left late in the evening with a group of individuals whom she didn’t seem to know. Some of these witnesses believe she had been unwilling to leave with this group.
Further investigation will lead to assorted unsavory types and petty criminals who begin to paint a picture of a fringe group of radical Aesirists. Information available on obscure public social media databases suggest this group was outraged by early public reports of Biisana’s research. Eventually, a petty criminal not connected to the Aesirists will provide information which leads the travellers to a wastewater treatment facility outside the startown area where they will discover Biisana’s body in the facility’s wetlands.
When notified of the discovery of Biisana’s remains, local police initiate a homicide investigation but seem uninterested in any information about the potential connection to the Aesirist group.
Bodsson pays the offered fee upon receipt of the news of Biisana’s death.
As in 3, but the investigation leads the travellers to believe that Biisana is being held captive by the Aesirists at the rural estate of a local petty noble. If approached, local police are skeptical of this information, especially of the involvement of Aesirists, and refuse to make inquiries of or visit the noble’s estate.
Subsequent events must be determined by the referee. (Bodsson will not pay the offered fee without confirmation of Biisana’s location.)
As in 4, but shortly after concluding that Biisana is being held at the noble’s estate (and any failed efforts to involve the police), the travellers will be approached by Sharik Mapur, an Imperial covert agent. Mapur rescued Biisana from the Aesirists in a daring, one-person raid on the noble’s estate and now has her in hiding at another location. Mapur became aware of the travellers’ efforts as she planned her rescue and has approached them now seeking off-world transport for herself and Biisana. She offers Cr45,000 upon arrival at Biter and insists that the travellers do not contact Bodsson if they accept her offer.
Subsequent events must be determined by the referee. (Bodsson will not pay the offered fee without confirmation of Biisana’s location. On the other hand, if the travellers do contact Bodsson, Mapur—and Biisana—will disappear without a trace.)
As in 5, but Bodsson is not a journalist but actually a member of the Aesirist group seeking to recover Biisana after her rescue by Mapur.
Subsequent events must be determined by the referee.
In all cases local police will be reluctant to engage in efforts to find, rescue, or protect Biisana, especially if there are allegations of Aesirist involvement. If the Aesirist plot is exposed publicly, local Aesirist officials will deny any connection to the Aesirist fringe group, dismissing them as heretical radicals whose activities are counter to Aesirist beliefs.