With the trail of the two metahumans cooling rapidly, the heroes decided to try another lead. (Dr. Blackwell had been called away to help at the New Seattle campus of the Institute of Technology and Design, leaving the three remaining heroes without an intellectual.)
One of the intended recipients for the stolen goods was a fence in Denver. He operated a legitimate business (if only as a front) and so following the lead would require tact and finesse. Fortunately, our party of heroes have tact and finesse in bucketloads. Lars put together a fictional order for supplies, including some hard-to-come-by pieces that had been in the lost shipments. The contact requested a week’s time to meet the order, and so Briggs turned into a puff of air and hung around the place like a really bad fart, to surreptitiously keep an eye on things. Yuvi took a delivery to Canada. Lars ordered some new parts for his suit and made the contact think of him as a legitimate customer.
The delivery of the stolen goods was made by a man with a suit and briefcase. The parts were verified as those stolen, and the contact decided to keep things quiet in the interest of maintaining his life. He spilled the news: he fenced for the Syndicate, a huge underground organization, in addition to his legitimate retail work. He didn’t know where the goods had come from originally.
In the process of following up on this new lead, Briggs got a hint from a different suited man that the contact “had been dealt with” and that the party of heroes would best avoid further involvement. The heroes managed to prevent their contact from opening a second, booby-trapped briefcase; a spectrometer was unable to identify its contents through the seals, and so the contact shot a hole in the briefcase from across the room to see what would happen. The back wall of his shop melted.
The contact defected to Eisenjaeger for continued protection, and, granted his information on the Syndicate, they decided to keep him safe. One of the leads that he was able to provide, combined with Eisenjaeger intelligence and resources, gave a warehouse outside of town as the location for a trade between the Syndicate and some of its independent contractors. At the warehouse, our three heroes found five powersuits and their pilots, and two familiar metahumans.
The battle did not go well for the bad guys. Three of the five pilots wound up dead, one terrified and one stuck in a powerless suit. As for the metahumans, the woman was crushed beneath a crate of weapons thrown by Briggs, even though, at the time, she was trying to flee without taking any of the goods involved in the transaction and was not presenting a threat to anyone. The man witnessed this brutality, and stopped fighting entirely to try to rescue her, and in return had most of his bones shattered – again, by Briggs. Foreshadowing.