Gleise 900.1 Liberals  General Headquarters – Leckie Gateway – Gliese 900.1.

Liberal ambassador Russe Jenker sat alone in the sparse but functional office of Agner Muxx, Chairman of the Gliese 900.1 Liberal group. He fidgeted anxiously in his seat as he awaited the arrival of his superior. The meeting was scheduled for 0830 local time and after arriving a few minutes early, he had been directed to the room by Muxx’s secretary, who offered him a seat and a mug of Azebanian coffee, which, in his nervousness, he had declined. Jenker had been employed as official envoy to the Liberal party for over a decade and had seen many instances of political upheaval during his time. Nothing, however, came close to the events that now ensued in Gliese 900.1 since the arrival of the Imperials. Despite their best efforts in keeping the Empire at bay, four new Imperial factions had arrived in the system over the last three years, the most prominent being the new owners of Lewitt Port, Emperor’s Grace. A recent rise in piracy and illegal activity, poor productivity and mass unemployment throughout the sector had shaken the Liberal party at a foundational level. Public opinion had dropped and support for the Empire increased dramatically over the last few months as a result.

Jenker had not been informed of what todays meeting with the chairman was about, but he had received orders to prepare for a diplomatic summit between Liberal party officials and Axius Lucretius of Emperor’s Grace on planet A8 in less than 48 hours. He was under the impression that Muxx had wanted to discuss the proceedings but he didnt have long to wait to find out otherwise.

At precisely 0830, the door to the office slid open and in marched Agner Muxx, Chairman of the Gliese 900.1 Liberals. His perfectly laundered grey uniform was decorated with various medals and honours across the breast. The large man possessed an intimidating bulk, something that Jenker had never grown used to in all his years with the Liberals.

“Good morning, Ambassador. I trust you have received your latest briefing?” Muxx said, taking a seat behind the obsessively tidy desk.

Jenker clasped his hands together and took a deep breath before answering. “Yes sir. I will leaving for A8 tomorrow. The negotiations with Imperator Lucretius are to be held at 6am local time.” he replied.

“And what, Ambassador, do you expect the outcome of these talks to be?” asked Muxx, staring intently at Jenker, who cringed internally at the big man’s unrelenting scrutiny.

“Well…I…I hope that we can come to a satisfactory resolution in which both parties are…”

“Silence!” bawled Muxx. Jenker visibly jumped at the outburst. “Have you ever had dealings with the Imperials before ambassador? Let me tell you something. You cannot parley with Imperial dogs. It is their way or no way, just as it has always been since the days of old Henson Duval back in the early 2300’s. Nothing has changed. If you think for one moment that you can arrange a mutually beneficial agreement with Emperor’s Grace, then you are sorely mistaken. You can consider the briefing you received void. “

“So…so what do you have in mind sir?” enquired Jenker. His palms were sweating profusely.

Muxx sat and glared at the smaller man momentarily before activating a switch built into the desktop. A holographic screen immediately popped up over the surface. Muxx made a gesture and caused the screen to swing around allowing Jenker to see the displayed data.

“What do you know of this 8th Dragon Squadron, Ambassador?” he asked.

“I believe they are a mercenary group, sir. Recently established in the system of Eta Draconis where they were employed by Vidar Vondell of the Gold Vision Company. I recall seeing a news report in Galnet a few weeks ago.” answered Jenker, glad to have been able to supply an answer of sorts.

“Very good. Now, are you also aware that said group are now in the employment of Emperor’s Grace? And that they are the main cause of our ‘situation’ here in Gliese?”

“No sir. I was not informed of the arriv….”

“They must be stopped.” Muxx interrupted. “They must not be allowed to continue operating in this system. No negotiations with Emperor’s Grace will be forthcoming until this threat is removed. Without 8th Dragon support, Emperor’s Grace will cease to hold the power they have so quickly amassed in such a short period of time.”

“Our Security Forces on Leckie Gateway are weak, sir.” answered Jenker. “How can we hope to cleanse the sector of these Dragons? The majority of our pilots are green, still in training. If this group managed to overthrow the Union of Eta Draconis Labour, they must have more savvy and firepower than other groups of their ilk.”

“Indeed.” replied the Chairman. “Mythology from ancient Earth tells us that to kill a dragon, you must cut off its head. We all have a weakness, ambassador, even dragons. You only have to find it. And this, Jenker, is where you come in…”

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