By Andrew Chapman
Rings of Kether is the second book by Andrew Chapman, after Space Assassin. In the book you play an undercover narcotics officer who is looking to infiltrate and stop a drugs exporting ring on a planet called Kether.
Weapon Strength: 12
Certainly not great personal stats there, that low luck score is going to come back to haunt me..
Before I left for Kether I was reminded to keep undercover in order to successfully infiltrate the drugs rings – this is something I kept in mind as I approached the system.
My first choice was whether I wanted to investigate some asteroids, the moon or the spaceport on the planet. Before landing I decided to take a gander at the moon. I stayed in orbit for a few days, watching some mineral prospectors but was told there was not much going on and decided not to land on the surface but instead to go on to the Space Port.
On landing at the space port, I had my “spy ray” confiscated. I’m not sure what a spy ray is, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t have one – odd. Not the best start to my undercover career… Then the customs officers leave me alone and I wander the space port looking for clues. This didn’t get me anywhere so I made my way to the Canteen and mingled with the clientele.
I briefly spoke to a deranged starship navigator who mumbled something about the moon and a fat lady playing cards at a table. As I had already been to the moon, I decided to join the card game. Her name is Zera Gross and she owns an import/export business. I must have some sort of verbal diarrhoea, however as I then blurt out the following: “More export than import, I’d wager, the nature of the drug business being what it is! Ha! Ha!” Unsurprisingly, this comment earned me a beating that cost the reduction of two stamina points permanently.
In the morning, I decided that a visit to the library would be a bit safer. I read a bit of the government transport stats and found that the figures seemed to be being fiddled somehow so I left to take a look at the State Computer File Centre. Unfortunately the public are not allowed to look at any of the information so I bribed the receptionist who let me take a sneaky peek. It seems that there are a huge number of spaceship flights not being recorded in the stats. This is enough for me to leave and investigate the Starport again.
First I go to the admin centre. Remembering the undercover nature of my mission, I ask some off duty pilots if they know anything about illegal traffic! Surprisingly they deny all knowledge and run off so I then head to the hangers. Here I find another pilot and am amazed when he answers that he has seen some illegal space traffic! He mentions a mysterious asteroid as being particularly dodgy. I am pleased for this info but decide against heading off on the say-so of one pilot so I go to the city itself to try and verify this information.
When I get to the city I am promptly kidnapped and taken to Zera Gross’ house. Unsurprisingly, given how subtle I have been, she seems to think I am a federal investigator… She then sends me on an errand to pick up some “documents” for her. Sadly this turns out to be a set-up and a sniper shoots us both, steels the documents and rushes off in a car. I go over to the woman I was meeting but she is already dead. The sniper has also just escaped in the car so I feel I have no other option to leave and investigate this mysterious asteroid.
On arriving at the asteroid, I enter through the emergency exit hatch and find myself inside. I stop to read an interesting poem to “Thuvald” before walking on. I arrive at a branch in the passage, and on hearing voices down one corridor, decide to head in the other direction. I enter the next room I encounter and the doors slam shut before a strange serpentine creature with steel teeth wraps some of it’s legs around me. Thinking of nothing else to say or do, I recite the poem I have just read to it. The creature then stops and in a bit of a Yoda type voice, informs me I have been misled and should be speaking to the customs officials. Next the creature screams at me to “Begone” so I decide it prudent to heed its advice and pay a visit to the customs officials.
On arrival in the customs area I decide to hide in a locker and wait for anyone to walk past blabbing about illegal activity. Then something quite strange happens. A customs guard starts searching all the lockers one-by-one. Before he gets to mine, I sneak out and hide somewhere else until he is finished and return to my hiding place. After a while, a helipilot arrives with some boxes that seem to contain drugs. The customs agent just passes after looking inside. I decide to put a stop to this law breaking and leap from my locker, baring my gun! This scares the pair into blabbing about an isosceles tower and a communications satellite. Ah, now I might be getting somewhere… I lock the two of them in my spaceship (surely that must be illegal??) and go to have a look at the satellite.
On finding the satellite, I decided to don my space suite and space walk over to it. This involved several tests of skill but I made it with fuel to spare. I find out that the satellite is receiving communications from an unknown asteroid and sending them to the top floor of the Isosceles tower. I don’t know where the asteroid is so I head off to the tower.
On arriving in the correct office, I find the door ajar so I sneak in hugging the right wall. I come to a small anteroom and get into a tangle with two thugs who I manage to kill. Unfortunately as the smoke from the fight clears I am attacked by a bureaucrat with a paperweight! I am unlucky and he knocks me out. I never wake up…
A bit of an inauspicious end there – I was hoping for my second success in this book as it is not supposed to be very challenging. I did not really get into this story sadly and I have to confess that it is not one of my favourites.