Author : S. Clough (Hrekka)

“…you see, the Commonwealth is actually a net exporter, primarily of unprocessed ores and foodstuffs…” Michael Struss was the regional ambassador for the Nomad Republic. His job had been easy in the past, just a simple admin job on a backwater world. But it had grown into a nightmare ever since Sierra “the butcher” Novo arrived. She’d come to try and resolve the growing war between the Commonwealth and the Alliance, for the good of the Nomads.

“This early in the morning, Michael, imagine how much I care,” Sierra sighed, and got up from her seat. She rested a hand on Michael’s shoulder. “No, I’m sorry. It’s not your fault.”

She walked over to one of the cluttered desks in the tower room, picked up a stack of paperwork, and began leafing through it. “We’ll never get out of this swamp unless somebody does something. We can’t leave without our transmission towers intact. And the Commonwealth refuses to admit defeat. What’s the word on their military?”

“Most of it is pinned down on a peninsula about three kilometers down the coast. The rest of the Alliance has them covered by those dirty great siege weapons. They can’t move, and they’ve got no artillery. As far as we know, they’ve only got three regiments and one clipper squadron loose,” Michael said, checking the notes he was holding. “Yes, that’s right. The Alliance holds all their major cities. We don’t know where the Commonwealth is getting recruits and weapons from, but all our allies seem to want to do is to establish their hold on what they’ve got.”

In the window behind Michael, a dark shape appeared, tapping at the outside surface. Michael quickly swung it open, allowing Sierra’s pet access.

“Blackie!” Sierra cried, holding out an arm for the little bird-like construct to perch on. Stroking the back of the construct’s neck, she gestured for Michael to pick up a small bowl of meat that had been sitting on the side. Carefully, he began to pop small chunks into the construct’s mouth. After a few seconds, he reached down, and plucked a tiny canister from Blackheim’s leg.

“How did you get them to give you raw meat, Michael?” Sierra asked, still looking at the construct perched on her arm.

“I told them that you eat it, ma’am,” he replied.

“I don’t think it could be doing my reputation any harm, do you?”

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