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When the Mesan Alignment initiated Operation Houdini and began to evacuate its core personnel from the planet Mesa, Arpino was assigned to escort three scientists, Gail Weiss, Zachariah McBryde, and Stefka Juarez. They travelled to the Balcescu System where they boarded the slaving vessel Prince Sundjata. However, before they could leave the system, the Royal Torch Navy arrived.
Soon after, they witnessed Zhilov's partner Seleven Arpino destroy Luigi Pirandello, the second slaver carrying Houdini subjects, to keep the Torches from learning anything about the Alignment. Doctor Juarez attacked Zhilov, resulting in him shooting her dead with his pulser; he then turned the weapon on the other scientists, but Weiss incapacitated him long enough for McBryde to get his hands on the gun and kill him. (CS3)