“We will need factories.” Zothustro lectured, guiding Hannibal through the decrepit remains of the Quill family estate. “I know of several that have been abandoned and can be refurbished. Much cheaper compared to...”

Hannibal lost focus of what Zothustro was saying as they passed by a door that had been left ajar. Out of the corner of his eye, Hannibal saw what appeared to be a pedestal in the center of a barren room. Perched atop that pedestal was an ominous, miniature pyramid. Red in coloration, it gave off a dark sort of feeling, but Hannibal was transfixed. He stopped walking, now staring into the room.

He parted the door a little further, offering him a better look into the room.

“...Before any of that, we’ll need products designed. Blueprints, schematics, whatever you call them. Investors will need to be secured...”

Zothustro kept on walking and talking, oblivious to the fact his single listener had fallen behind. Something had struck Hannibal regarding that little pyramid. Like it was calling for him, beckoning him forward. It was also giving off all kinds of bad mojo, which was why Hannibal stood anchored in the doorway. It’s call was strong, however, preventing him from simply walking away.

“Mr. Oryen?”

Zothustro had cast a glance behind him and noticed Hannibal had focused on something else. The X’ting hobbled back up to the Fondorian, leaning on his cane for support. Hannibal scarcely heard Zothustro approach or address him. Cybernetic eyes remained locked on the pyramid.

“Mr. Oryen.” Zothustro clicked again.

No response. Hannibal could swear he heard some indecipherable voice in his head, roaring at him to come closer. That would have been crazy, though. Granted, Hannibal was a man who willingly gave up a promising career to pursue a life of high risk, high violence, and generally low pay. Hannibal probably had just a little bit of sociopath in him. He was almost prepared to enter the room and get a closer look at that holocron.

Zothustro’s cane made a dull smack as the elderly X’ting knocked the Fondorian upside the head with it.

Hannibal recoiled, grabbing the back of his head where he’d been struck. “Ow! What the hell-”

Zothustro took that opportunity to shut the door to the room with the pedestal. “You were distracted.”

“Just for a minute.” Hannibal attempted to justify, only to be put back in his place by the X’ting shortly after.

“Stay away from that contraption, Mr. Oryen. Two of my cousins went mad attempting to open it. Ended up killing themselves.”

Zothustro produced a key, locking the door. Hannibal hadn’t seen any other entrances to the room from where he stood. It was likely this was the only one. Hannibal was curious as to why Zothustro held onto it if it had slain two of his relatives. Hannibal ultimately decided it was best not to pry.

“Sorry. Continue, please.”

With that settled, Zothustro continued to lead Hannibal through the mansion, discussing matters of restoring Cestus Cybernetics. Even though it should have been the furthest thing from his mind, Hannibal’s thoughts kept wandering back to that same red pyramid, perched on a pedestal in an empty room.