Machine, AI, being, God? The best guarded secret of the country of Egypt, Former Earth. One which secured them their galactic future and survival, at the same time, damning them in the eyes of every nation of the Republic for an eternity.
Five men are herding fifteen horses down the road. They won't be very talkative, but are willing to sell a horse, or more horses if the heroes are interested. These men are horse thieves. They are already sought by regional militiamen. Anyone with a stolen horse (all are marked) may get into trouble. If found guilty, horse thieves face prison or even a hanging execution. Similar thefts have happened only a month before, and a reward is offered.