Albion, York, Ordonlea Police Headquarters Boreal York upon Albion was an auspicious place to magic users of all stripes throughout Aleph Null and beyond. For its rich history intertwining Albion's first monarch - it was his meditations beneath a waterfall where he gained insight on how to turn the tide of the rebellion against the Tyrants during the Old War. Here and now, the residents of York were living and working beneath the watchful eye of Orbital Object: Null and the dim glow of a Winter Solstice. Celebrations had been taking place throughout the night, and the next few days would see a flock of magicians from near and far congregate at the major universities to share ideas, insights, and trade knowledge and money for wares and insight. Such an influx of people also brought a series of unknowns to the town as well - as not everyone who visited York necessarily shared its values. Some visitors made an effort to respect the local customs of the boreal city, while others could be forgiven for not understanding the nuances of a law-based constitutional republic dressed as a monarchy. Even so, the truly belligerent cared not for laws, nor order - seeking to use the city as a nexus for illicit wares and knowledge considered abhorrent in their nature and existence. Spells that flayed people alive and made it as painful as possible, incantations that raise the dead, Weirds with an appetite for destruction or were destructive by nature, and knowledges best left unknown brought to blinding light. Such acts didn't gel with the police department, who were working overtime to monitor and react to infractions in York's legal code. Detective Inspector Genndy Malkov was pigeon-holed in a meeting room, poring over photographs of evidence seized from a bust in a warehouse in Trader's Run. A pin-board with photographs of the arrested suspects loomed behind him, newspaper clippings and notes connected with white strands. The wares themselves were undergoing a quarantine by the force's subject matter experts on magic, while Genndy was piecing together the next plan of attack. No black-market operation worked alone - and connecting each ring's intersections together was crucial. He didn't want. Genndy's train of thought was paused as the door to his temporary office opened up. It was the shoe-in from Sargasso via an exchange program - assigned to work with the experienced York detective. He had a folder under his arm, and a tropical shirt with the sleeves rolled up beneath his vest. The new arrival was also half an hour late, and such idiosyncrasies rankled Genndy. "Davies, about time. Did you find anything at the warehouse?" He asked, looking at the folder - a photograph was poking out the front. Constable Alexander Davies was much more laid back than his Albion overseer - a culture of focussing on solving social crimes and home disputes, coupled with the automation of punishments for petty and overt crime by Traveller's Units meant his skillset was remarkably different to the hard-bitten Malkov. "You betcha - Constable May and I spoke to dozens of workers around the area." Davies put his folder down on the table, in a clear spot away from where Malkov had spread his information. Genndy was grateful for the acknowledgement of space. Within Davies' files, there were the photographs he'd been showing the stevedores of York, and a local area map of the Ordonlea docks, with routes originating from the warehouse the bust took place in. "I pieced together the movements of buyer suspects Ildib, Reece, and Talrus." Genndy seemed pleased with the outcome - the out-of-towner had some use after all with their soft touch. "Show me?" He asked. Davies nodded and leaned in, tracing the freshest routes with his finger. "Interesting, interesting..." Genndy said, pointing at a hotel. "Reece and Talrus are staying at this hotel, the Blue Diamond. They must be together." "That's what I thought. When I went to the hotel to observe their motions, Talrus is staying at another location - possibly laying low to distance himself from Reece," Davies noted, looking over at the photos of the suspects on the board. "I haven't tracked him down yet. Someone at the hotel's agreed to keep an eye on Reece." "In return for what?" Genndy asked, sceptical that a hotelier would divulge such details without a catch. Davies tilted his head. "What do you mean?" Genndy's hard-bitten experience had taught him some harsh lessons when dealing with people, especially those with access to many assets and a desire to acquire more, like a mid-range hotel. "Who's to say that the hotel isn't on the take with the black marketers?" Davies blanched, raising a finger in protest. "No, but-" "Did you consider that they're leading you on?" Genndy had his hands down on the table now, eyes level with an incredulous Davies. "That they've tipped off the buyers and scared them off?" The Sargasso constable put his hands up, clenching teeth and shaking his head. "Settle; I didn't ask the front of the house. I asked the bellhops - all they see is people coming in and out and for a little extra tip money, one agreed to be my lookout." He held up a concave, semicircular coin, minted from electrum. Worth five units of Albion Currency. One could buy a loaf of bread and a carton of milk with it, with some change left over. This revelation defused Genndy, and the detective raised his eyebrow in confusion. "Pardon?" "I gave him a banana, and now he's helping for a day or two." Davies replied, sticking his tongue out. Genndy rolled his eyes, grimacing at his previous assumptions. "In that case... he'll keep you posted?" "It's all gravy, and just in case, Constable Benjamin is undercover, keeping an eye on the premises as well." Genndy still wanted to cover his ass, looking aside before returning to his partner. "And if any harm comes to the bellhop...?" He let the question trail, gauging Alexander's reaction. Davies folded his arms, nodding confidently. "Then Benjamin reports, and we act." So he isn't a total wash-in. This could make some meaningful progress. Genndy thought before speaking. "Excellent work. Anything further to report?" Davies shook his head. "Then keep me posted on our suspect's movements, and any other events - I'm still waiting on the results from the boffins at the labs - until then we can't establish a signature on where these illicit materials came from." Genndy explained, as Davies was nodding along - Davies hadn't much experience with dealing with magic artifacts. "Dismissed."