A spiderlike submarine is lifted from the water. Smoke rises from one of its shattered windows.

The Squashed Spider

Chapter 8

Cynthia Mitimbe

Psst! Keep your voice down, don’t want anyone to hear us...

Here’s the long and short of it: Just after the crew set off on the expedition last night an explosion rocked the docks - blasted a hole right through Elena Vezérel’s submarine! Greyson Clough managed to escape - and he didn’t do it alone. Stranger still, Elena’s vanished into thin air, too. Could’ve been taken hostage... I’ve got a few solid leads, but as far as I’m concerned, everyone is a suspect.

It all went down like this: Bill led Rens and his crew into the mine this morning just before dawn - maybe just after… lack of sunlight in this damned place makes it tough to keep track of time. I’d just gotten back to my cabin to finish up the weekly report when I heard the explosion.

I’ve worked the beat before, I know the drill: grab a camera and hoof it towards the story. But this one smelled weird from the start - and it wasn’t just the stench of gunpowder. By the time I arrived on the scene nothing was left but the wreckage of Elena’s submarine. Greyson was nowhere to be found - no sign of Elena, either… almost like she was never there at all. I’m starting to wonder if the Voltagraph broadcast even came from her in the first place.

I had just snapped a photo of the crime scene when Tatsumi swooped in and carted the entire submarine back to her lab. Gave me some hogwash about keeping the riffraff from tampering with the evidence before she locked me out! Emiko usually tells me everything… I would trust her with my life - hell, I have! But she’s never acted quite like this.

She’s not the only one, either. Rens was acting… different. Looked like he hadn’t slept in days, and before the mission he was acting, well - mean. This is a man who nursed a wounded bat back to health in a shoebox. It gave him rabies and he still fed it from a bottle. Meanness just isn’t in his character.

Explosives were involved, so Wyatt must know something. TNT, gunpowder, nitroglycerin; none of it comes in or out of the island without passing through his grubby mitts. Might be able to shake him down for some information.

If I could just get a look inside the submarine, I know I would find something of interest. Maybe I could sneak into Emiko’s lab when she’s not around?

We need to keep our investigation on the down low, only the deedholders can know. I can’t do this without some help, and there’s no one else I can trust. We won’t be able to talk to Rens until the crew gets back from the mission - but I can start digging into one of our other leads. What’s your take?

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Wyatt always has the inside scoop on the misdeeds happening around town. We should shake him down while we can still get to him.

Shake Down Wyatt

I don’t like thinking that Emiko would be involved in something this shady, but she’s definitely hiding something...

Search Emiko’s Lab

The Inside Scoop

Outcome

Cynthia Mitimbe, Atlas Enquirer (Undran Local Affiliate)

Penned by: Cynthia Mitimbe, Atlas Enquirer*

Deedholders, over here! I’ll admit, I was surprised that so many of you chose to search the lab, but boy, I’m glad you did!

I’ve had some time to investigate the explosion, and I've unearthed some very concerning information. I can’t say for sure who blew the ArachNaut, but Tatsumi is in it up to her neck. I’m not about to accuse her of anything - yet - but she knows a lot more than she’s letting on.

Emiko was on the scene of the explosion almost as quickly as I was, before towing the ArachNaut straight back to her lab. When she refused to let me examine it, I knew something was up… she’s usually so upfront with me, I was left a little stunned!

A suspicious bootprint sits on the desk of Emiko Tatsumi, surrounded by investigatory tools including the magazine 'Boots and Shoots' including a feature on Scandinavian steel-bottomed boots.

Last night I waited until she left for the evening and was able to pick the lock and gain access to her workshop. The place was a mess, not only had Tatsumi gutted the ArachNaut’s interior, but she’d also made a cast of a bootprint from the scene. It’s obvious that whoever this boot belongs to is involved in some way.

Clearly Emiko has been conducting her own investigations, I was able to find her notes, but she’s written them in some kind of code. I snapped photographs of everything, but I still need to decipher what it all means! Don’t let her know I have them.

I haven’t ascertained any evidence of Greyson Clough’s whereabouts, or whether The Arachnid is his prisoner, jailer or co-conspirator! I’m continuing my investigation, but you’d be wise to have a stern word with Tatsumi!

*Undran Local Affiliate

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