Bodysnatching a grand minister
Queen Marathi Shiva (a.k.a. Pingyang) resolved to attend the supper with the russians scouts. She assembled a group of mentors in her contemplation room, and initiated a Para-kaya pravesanam ceremony. While she drifted into a trance, her consciousness shifted into the mind of Grand Minister Narayan. She took him over while he was pacing in an antechamber, a few minutes before the diplomatic supper began.
Attending were the Grand Minister (possessed by the Queen), Devasheesh as a russian translator, Sojiro as a novelty, 5 aides to the minister and the three russians. Devasheesh recognized their ranks as Rittmeister Tikhonov (Captain), Sub-Lt. Stroyev and trooper Zaytsev. All from the imperial cavalry. Stroyev was the only Hindi speaker, and couldn’t hide his contempt for his hosts.
The Queen emulated the minister perfectly such that none were the wiser (critical success on acting role). She dodged questions on the royal guard and the city’s defense. Tikhonov specified that the Tsar had no claim on Alwar. Through the mouth of Minister Narayan, the Queen was exacting and incisive. This suprised the aides, but not enough to raise suspicion. Tikhonov tried to get Narayan to reveal whether he was aware of the whereabouts of the Europeans, but the Queen kept her story straight, resulting in the frustration of the envoy.
Upon his decision to leave the table, the Queen informed the russians that they were’t allowed to wander and could leave only with the permission of the Queen. Tension rose, but the Queen stood firm and cowed the officers into their quarters. By evening’s end, they knew that the russians were looking for the refugees from Delhi, to be tried for theft and subsersive activities.
If only they learned that the europeans lived in a small ghetto some 300m from the palace… Minister Narayan remembered the evening as if he had been railroaded through supper. Since the outcome had been good, he pat himself on the back and went to sleep.
Keeping safe from harm
Devasheesh reported to Nathan, who passed the news to Gene. Gene delegated to Dr. Hensby the task to ensure that no caucasians roam the streets until the scout had gone. Since Hensby was contesting her leadership, she figured out that keeping him busy and “on the inside” was a reasonable course of action. Hensby deferred to Maritje the task to communicate to all others via her English language newsletter. Maritje made a well written case for following these instructions, and printed enough copies to be passed along to all household in the ghetto.
Devasheesh rushed to the ouskirts of town to deflate the gas envelope of the Jita-Da. If the russians were to ride around Alwar, they were bound to notice the airship. Gubdan moved his machining work indoors and the voronod engines were covered with rubbish. Devasheesh also convinced Lt. Elwood of the Lancers to setup an ambush/watch on the road to Delhi in case that the russians were to escape with too much information.
Gene appealed to Minister Narayan to ensure that the royal guards would interfere or stall the russians if there were to wander around town. Minister Narayan, now feeling like himself again, acquiesced. Gene then proceeded to run down the list of propsperous merchants in Alwar. She was looking for telltales of organized crime which characterized her former associate in Delhi: Rafi Jahan III. She made contact with Pradeep Vishnish, a transportation Moghul in Alwar. Vishnish was most interested in dealing with Gene and entering a mutually beneficial relationship where he’d peddle the Europeans mobile assets and provide eyes, ears and arms in case of need.
Drinking with slavic fiends
Life in Alwar had been quiet for Sojiro. In Delhi, the russians had taken away his family’s katana. For months, he wallowed in shame about this. He purchased a decent cavalry saber so that he could resume his Ken-jutsu training on the grounds of the royal palace. When the sun was at its highest on the day after the supper, he spotted a human shape in the shadows. It suspiciously was sneaking behind pillars. He followed the man into the palace and eventually came head to head with Trooper Zaytsev. The russian didn’t speak a word of hindi, while Sojiro’s hindi was minimal anyway. However, Zaytsev beckoned him to follow him to the russians’ quarters.
There, Stroyev encouraged Sojiro to drink along. Sojiro was hesitant, but eventually caved under their insistence. Unfortunately for the russians, Sojiro drank them under the table (Being Japanese and all). Sojiro knew that they were helpless, yet a jolly bunch. He planted the seed that the Queen possessed untold wealth, hidden somewhere that could only be discovered after a hunt for fragments of a map. The officers, admitting that they were after the reward for finding the Europeans, became very fond of the treasure tale. Sojiro tried to forge one of the fragment of the map, but Tikhonov knew that it had been scrawled while they were out to the latrines. They all laughed, made plans to include Sojiro as part of their hunting team, and parted as friends.
Branching out (players making their own fortune)
The russians were to be released for as long as they left without snooping. The crisis had mainly been averted by the Queen’s devious possession of the Minister’s body during the diplomatic negociations. As sighed in releif, planning for their next step resumed. Life in Alwar wasn’t Delhi, let alone Britain, but it was their new normal.
Maritje was curious to discover what happened to her sister who was awaiting trial for espionage when the russians invaded. Was she free now, was she rotting in a damp jail cell? She made contact with a Chili pepper trader and arranged to visit Delhi under the disguise of a maid. It will be dangerous, but stalling in Alwar was at this point of limited use.
Devasheesh planned with Gubdan to power-up the propulsion of the Jita-da. While Gubdan would work out the design, Devasheesh decided to leverage his credits within the Royal guard to offer special marksmanship training. The Queen was supportive of the initiative: the stars were aligning for Devasheesh to assemble a new group of underlings.
Sojiro resolved to leave Alwar with the russians in hope to locate and retrieve his family’s katana. The Queen had guards to protect her, and had drifted aloof of his company in the last few months. He felt no big attachment to this place.
Gene resolved to make room in Alwar for English presence. This would start with a shrewd partnership with Vishnish, and ultimately turned the establishment of England in Alwar as a fait-accompli.
The Queen decided to go through with her plans for an out of town retreat. There was a temple in the hills to the North with had not been visited by royalty for centuries. Her Hindu mentors and astrologers proposed to her to pay a visit to the ancient site. The place, of course, turned out to be within the hunting grounds of the Dratis (raptor-like creatures observed earlier by Devasheesh and Gubdan).