As the team discusses EbisuTech and weaponsmiths, the pilot’s voice cracks into AR with an update indicating they would soon begin their descent into the Shentang atmosphere. A few minutes later, you feel the slow turbulence of the outer atmospheric layers and then see the warm amber glow of the heat shields carving a contrail through the afternoon sky.
Thirty minutes later, you are on the ground at Imperial Service HQ in Yián Xiáng, squat surface buildings, brutally functional in appearance and hinting that much of the complex is underground. You are met by a military escort led by a dour sergeant who appears only able to speak in grunts and monosyllables. From the tarmac, you are whisked away in an IS Fiend transport to a hangar where you are waived through security and led to an elevator that takes you down to the 8th level.
Here you enter a quiet and finely decorated series of conference rooms. At the door of one you are greeted by a lean woman who introduces herself formally as Aowen Shouzhen, your Shentang Ye Ji handler for the current inquiry. She motions to a full bar indicating you are free to help yourselves, then she sits, waiting patiently as you each grab a drink of your choice.
As you take seats she says, “Welcome to Shentang,” and calling each of you by name she begins her briefing.
"I do not need to explain the purpose of your Inquiry - I trust that the Emperor has made himself clear to you. I am here, however, to ensure that you are prepared for the task ahead, with both intel and matériel. We will see to the latter momentarily. We will first turn our attention to additional detail you will likely find useful in your investigations.
At that, information begins to scroll in AR. She continues, “Hong Monovithya, a promising young mind, dead of a heart attack at 32. You have the autopsy, pathology, and toxicology reports - nothing seemingly abnormal. And, it should be pointed out that there is no bias intended here. By all accounts, he died of a heart attack. But, that’s not exactly the point, is it?”
“As you are aware, Imperial Service intelligence has reports of cube anomalies and procedural irregularities. I can confirm for you that the ‘irregularities’ are within both the local coroner’s office and the police force. It is suggested that you seek to understand the exact nature of those irregularities.”
“He worked for EbisuTech here on Shentang, in Sambor Duk. You will be flown there tomorrow morning to begin your investigation. His employer is one Gorō Uekusa, who may or may not be a known name to you - he made a name for himself some 20 years ago with a few successful drug therapies that made him very wealthy. He has since managed to turn that large fortune into a much smaller fortune with several failed ventures. His latest company is backed by a small group of VC funds, all Yu Jing, betting that he can find his magic again.”
“EbisuTech has no products but was formed with some intellectual property that they are hoping to monetize. It is our understanding that the company’s initial line of research is of . . . military application, hence the location in Kambu, in proximity to specialized chemicals and arms factories.”
“You will depart tomorrow morning 0700 from this airfield for Sambor Duk. You do not need to let me know what meetings you want and when, but these can be arranged by this office if you wish and you will have the usual IS remit and investigative powers. Beyond that, you are on your own - do what you need to in order to answer the inquiry. Failure is not an option. I expect local authorities to cooperate with your investigation. If they do not, please do report the exception to me and we shall bring them into . . . compliance.”
“You will housed here at this facility tonight. Finally, what questions, if any, do you have for me and I will endeavor to provide answers.”