As planned, the party made a visit to “The Mall”, the main meeting place of the planet’s rich and powerful. Thanks to Hat’s TAS connections, the party arrives in style with a limo and security detail. The party entered the “Mall” which, from the outside, appear to be an unremarkable, if large, grey industrial building. The external looks, however belie the interior… for the party emerges from the tunnel into an elegant arboretum with marble walls. The clientele is quite upscale in dress, to the point that the party feels somewhat under-dressed, despite utilizing all the finery it can muster. The party spots several areas of interest, including an amphitheater, a dining area, and a significant gathering of people near the lower level. The party decides to split up at this point. Rav, Xavier, and Phineas head to the dining area to gather information there, while Hat and Khuil move to check out the large gathering.
Rav, Xavier, and Phineas chat up some of the locals. They find out that the major news among the upper-class is the ban on all commercial exports out of the Brotherhood of Knives, recently put into place by the Council of Shadows, the Brotherhoods government. The ban is ruining many businessman, especially the particularly rich ones. This is because the Brotherhood has had a distinct export/import relationship with the Imperium. The Imperium received raw goods from the Brotherhood, and exported finished goods to the Brotherhood in return. The local businessmen can’t understand the Council’s reasoning behind the ban. The Brotherhood’s economy isn’t set up to convert its own raw materials into finished goods. While the Imperium is still exporting finished goods to the Brotherhood, without the sale of raw goods, the citizens of the Brotherhood won’t have the money to buy the raw goods. This situation is mostly likely the situation that Alexandria wants the party to investigate.
Hat and Khuil move to investigate the gathering, which centers around a grouping of the “Cult of the Ancients”, a religious group that worships the incredibly ancient race know colloquially as the “Ancients”. The cultists seem to be engaged in an argument with a group of Vargyr. As the pair closes in on the gathering, Khuil reveals an uncharacteristic interest in the Cult’s ideals. Hat pulls the leader of the cultists aside to get a better understanding of the Cult’s ideology. The Cult believes, like other groups, that the Ancients seeded the galaxy with life, and are ultimately responsible for the existence of most sentient life. This Cult differs, however, in their belief that humanity is the ultimate creation of the Ancients, and is therefore genetically destined to rule the galaxy, with all other sentient lifeforms subservient to it. It is this belief that summoned the ire of the Vargyr group arguing with the cultists. To Hat’s shock, Khuil seems to agree with the Cult’s ideals, and allows himself to be classified as a member of an “inferior” race. Hat gets himself and Khuil away from the cultists as quickly as is possible without being obvious about it. As soon as the pair gets a decent distance away from the group, Kueil reverts to his normal self, and claims to have no memory of the time that he acted so strange in.
The party heads back to the TAS hostel and compares notes. It is agreed upon that the trade situation found earlier is most likely the incident that Alexandria wishes the party to investigate. Hat theorizes (with his secret background as a good basis to build on), that a significant psychic presence was in effect in the cultists location, and that this presence was what was causing Khuil to act so strangely. The party is not yet able to ascertain what the point behind the manipulation was, and their attempts to theorize are further stymied by the somewhat more lax laws regarding psychics in the Brotherhood, which allows for a greater variety of psychic activity than the Imperium would normally allow. Several members of the party make arrangements to have psy-blocking gear made for them.