While Elvis’s entourage made their preparations, the agents made a few final checks. Clarissa decided to check out the local Burger Queen Emporium to ask about the missing meat, but checking the length and breadth of Victoria’s three main streets she found neither a MacSaunders nor a Burger Queen. The biggest burger joint was a Wimpy, and there were a couple of small independents.
Checking the local directory she found that there was a Burger Queen office however, and making her way to this discovered a neat two storey adobe building. The brass business plaque has a discreet etching of the company logo, but there were no other outward signs of the famous company. A bit odd, she thought.
Answering the buzzer led her in to a pristine female secretary (at least, Clarissa thought she was female), and a direction to the manager’s office upstairs. In line with her frequent custom, Clarissa had covered up her third eye with a bandanna, though she openly wore her SD badge and equipment. The manager, in white company shirtsleeves and a logo tie, eyed her dubiously, though with some curiosity.
“I’ve come about your missing shipments” explained Clarissa, “We’re hunting several leads on planet and I wonder if you might give me any extra information.”
“The missing meat? You have a lead?” asked the manager eagerly.
“Possibly. We need to check it out first though.” explained Clarissa. “Do you have the bar and shipment codes? And can you explain to me how the burger business works on Little Sister?”
As the man ran of the codes he gave a quick rundown. It was impossible to keep large numbers of cattle on planet, and so meat was either imported or vat grown by the Aackermann Meat Company. They had a contract to supply Burger Queen, and other clients, with fresh beef. Burger Queen then shipped these to their outlets at Melville and Geriville. Two shipments had gone missing over the last three weeks to Melville, though an equal number had got through.
“Don’t you have outlets in Melby and Emmaton?” asked Clarissa. The man pulled a sour face.
“No. Those outlets are owned by those MacSaunders BASTARDS!!” he said with some venom, snapping his pencil in two. “Bloody MacSaunders and their bloody local sourcing strategy. We were here first!”
“Ah, I, er see” said Clarissa diplomatically, “It’s odd there are no outlets in the capital, here in Victoria?……” she let the words trail.
“Pah that idiot of a sheriff.” he started to rant, “Banned MacSaunders, fair enough, but he banned us too? Can you imagine the cheek of it? My husband nearly had a nervous breakdown, but thankfully he recovered as you can see.” He gestured downstairs.
“What happened?” asked Clarissa mollified, “To provoke this… very unreasonable reaction from the Sheriff?”
“Oh nothing much. A few piffling fights between staff- provoked by those MacSaunders scum I have to say. Only one shooting, a couple of burnouts. Nothing at all really.” The man ground his teeth at the unfairness of it all.“Oh, your details are on this datacube, here you go.”
“Thanks very much” said Clarissa, " Well I need to be going."
“One more thing” said the manager. “I need to run another meat convoy to Melville this week, and my staff are getting understandably nervous. Would you consider a little side job?”
“An escort job? How much? We’re very busy” responded Clarissa.
“CR 3000 per man, bonus on safe delivery. About two days work” he replied.
“Fine. We should be free in the next couple of days-definately not tomorrow or the day after. I’ll update you as soon as I can.”