Subsubsection: 17 June 2015 (The Road to Khartoum) Up Subsection: Cassandra File 89: The Fatal Tanks Subsection: Fire over Khartoum 

22 July 2015 (Nagara Goods Factors)

The team gets hotel rooms, then watches the office; as often in hot countries, business goes on quite late, but by 9pm all the lights are out, and by 10pm they reckon it’s time to move in. Stephen and Thorfin look at the ground floor, Diamond looks in at the upper windows, and David keeps a lookout outside.
It quickly becomes apparent that there’s some large central room upstairs which doesn’t have any connection to the outside. Stephen breaks in through the back door, and he and Thorfin start looking around; since the upper windows are latched, Diamond joins them.
There are offices, typing pool and a reception desk on the ground floor. (A diary at the desk shows a delivery in two days’ time, which has been cancelled.) Upstairs, there are more small offices, surrounding a central block with corridors on all sides and no obvious way in. Stephen shines a torch along the floor to spot scuff marks, and Diamond locates a protrusion under the banister which opens a concealed door.
Inside is a throne room: the themes are red silk and gold, and it’s mostly empty, with some small tables along the sides. Behind the throne (more gold, more red silk) is a small changing area containing a set of robes in the same colour scheme. Going by the symbology, Diamond and Thorfin reckon this might be someone working for Wu Han. Stephen looks about the throne, the armrests of which seem to be very flexible… ah, that sets off the poison needles further down the room.
The team calls in David, who’s noticed a few more observers arriving while he’s been waiting. The base of the throne is solid, and apparently packed with rockets; David looks at the interconnections and components, and reckons they make no sense at all.
The others head downstairs to search for more paperwork, and are interrupted by flashing lights and a bullhorn: apparently the police have arrived. They don’t immediately charge, though, so the team continues to search, while David sets the rockets up to fire when he shoots the throne. Some more accounts show up, with a mention of a Wu Lin Tang as the one buying the tanks (and paying for the construction of the throne room).
David sets off the throne, which sets the throne room on fire before flying out through a roof hatch. Diamond and Thorfin head out at the back, with Stephen at the front, and David staying stealthy while the distractions have time to work; the place is surrounded by shocktroopers, who open fire with sub-machineguns and traditional levels of accuracy. One of them tries to pin Diamond with a carbon-arc searchlight mounted in the back of a truck; she shoots it out, and she and Thorfin descend on the vehicle. Stephen is able to pick out the fuel tanks for the generator driving the searchlight at the front, and shoots those; the truck explodes, generating a diversion which allows him to haul a startled shocktrooper out of another car. Both vehicles pull away, and the remaining shocktroopers load up to follow; David’s able to get away without too much trouble.
The searchlight operator tries to strangle Diamond, who’s driving; Thorfin breaks the back window and the man’s leg. Diamond’s able to shoot some of the pursuing drivers while at the wheel; Stephen, quickly donning a spare headdress and joining the chase, shoots at other cars. Even when the drivers aren’t hit, they’re often distracted enough to lose control and crash.
The chase enters the souk, where a tyre shot sends one enemy car spinning into a fruit cart; another heads down a parallel alley between stalls, and when the driver tries to dodge incoming fire from Diamond (shooting at the gaps between booths) he ends up ramming a poultry stall. Stephen shoots the last pursuer, who hits a butcher’s; he catches the goat sausage, then pulls up alongside the truck and transfers over. (Something about the Nile Empire seems to agree with him.)
When the team gets back to the hotel, having bought new clothes to replace the ones that have been through a gunfight, they find a note waiting for them (“to the Storm Knights”). Apparently, one Leila Ramatee wants help with the stench that’s surrounded her family’s bakery: she spoke to the ward boss, who threatened her if she didn’t keep quiet about it. It seems a bit small-scale, but perhaps too obvious to be a trap, even by Nile Empire standards?
 Subsubsection: 17 June 2015 (The Road to Khartoum) Up Subsection: Cassandra File 89: The Fatal Tanks Subsection: Fire over Khartoum