Read an Excerpt
Oh, you are very good, Señor Seynoso. My compliments.
Not all of us were fooled. I had a friend, a very dear friend, on the Hierophant's nuclear chemistry committee. She doubted the decay chain you provided us even before we committed your load to space.
She led me along the chain of isotopes as you had outlined the order of their appearance. Perbladium 462 would indeed transmutate to morghium and protactinium, but only under very idealized circumstances.
Her calculations said your load would turn to unmarketably small amounts of junk isotopes. She was afraid you didn't know what you were doing.
She need not have worried on that score. Between you and our ship's high-speed navigator--whose services you cheaply bought--you knew precisely what you were doing.
No, don't apologize. I am congratulating you: Well played, Sir.
I was chief to the crew that packed the target material for your load. I spent ten hours with it, hauling it out to its own special quadrant of the starboard vane, injecting it into a section of lead and boron-lined target ampoules; sealing each dram over with paraffin, to control the speed of the particles bombarding your treasure.
If anyone should have known what you were doing, it should have been me, yes? I was the perfect foil. Like all cuckolds, my confidence in my own ability was paramount.