Subsubsection: 14 July 2016 (up the Columbia) Up Subsection: Operation Hard Sell Subsubsection: 17 August 2016 (end of Hard Sell) 

3 August 2016 (the Hard Sell base)

Tiri Tal casts about for tracks: it looks as if the edeinos were also heading north, until they heard the group behind them and set an ambush. The group heads on upriver, keeping an eye out for any sign of travel – but in this jungle even a well-worn path doesn’t last long.
A single-engine light aircraft flies overhead, and they’re able to work out it’s going roughly to the north-east; the engine note changes in an odd way before it fades out. When they find a tributary leading from that direction, they follow it, and find the ground rising steeply; patches of dead vegetation, suggesting a powerful defoliant has been used, lead them to a huge tunnel in the face of the hillside. Following this leads them through the side of what’s clearly an extinct volcano into the crater, which is less misty than outside; there’s an airstrip in line with the tunnel, and a walled compound.
There are watchtowers, with guards but no mounted weapons, and the team sneaks up to and then over the wall, taking cover between buildings. One of the buildings is clearly larger and more complex than the others, with a communications antenna; they enter the first available door, to find a gas-turbine generator; there’s no access to the rest of the building, though Stephen’s able to see through ductwork to spot a comms room under the antenna with a guard watching monitors. They move round outside; David picks the lock, and Stephen and Thorfin move in quickly with knives, quietly stabbing the guard before he gets a chance to hit the alarm button. David disables the alarms, and they glance through the monitors: lab workers and guards are getting ready for their working day.
They move into the main body of the building, which is on two levels; the lower is a large biochemical lab area, with fume hoods and isolation boxes, while the upper has offices. Searching through archives reveals a CD-ROM with the executive summary of the Hard Sell project, and David’s deck can read it; it gives the release time, in a few hours, and the rough location of the facility from which the poison will be dumped into the river.
The team hears a guard shouting in Japanese in the comms room, pressing the alarm button, then shouting some more when nothing happens. They head out for the other tunnel, which leads down to the river.
This ends in a heavy door, and it’s not immediately obvious what’s going on; Tiri Tal thinks a pile of rocks looks “unnatural”, and it turns out to contain a lift door. Thorfin pries this open, and the lift is waiting; the team rides down for about thirty seconds.
On the far side is a suiting room and a large hatch secured with a handwheel. They put on protective suits and pass through into a large room with various industrial machinery dotted about; a trio of guards on the other side challenges them, and David, Stephen and Diamond shoot them down. The sound of someone whose plans are being interfered with comes round the corner: “My servants have failed me. They did not stop you, but these servants will!” Smashing through a partition wall ahead, and the back of the lift behind, come two large figures in classical Japanese armour: very possibly, gospogs similar to the ones the party fought in Portland.
 Subsubsection: 14 July 2016 (up the Columbia) Up Subsection: Operation Hard Sell Subsubsection: 17 August 2016 (end of Hard Sell)