|Type|| Sourcebook fiction|
|Author||Loren L. Coleman|
|First published|| 2005 (as sourcebook fiction)|
28 May 2009 (as standalone short story)
The unnamed first-person narrator is a veteran ex-soldier who is now an arena fighter in the Solaris VII arenas. The Word of Blake has invaded Solaris VII, and the narrator is the true driving force behind his friend and business partner Erik Gray who organized local resistance with the Solaris Home Defense League as the "Gray Ghost".
The narrator was captured out of his Cavalier battle armor suit during a a battle, handcuffed, blindfolded, slightly drugged, and brought into a warehouse in the Kobe district of Solaris City. He is greeted by a council of yakuza presided over by none other than Connor DeLon of DeLon Stables. Uncomfortable at having DeLon's connections to organized crime shoved in his face so openly, the narrator finds himself in negotiations for their support to the Solaris Home Defense League—parts, personnell, money, logistical support. In turn, they want him to lead an attack on the local HPG so that the yakuza's established smuggling ring will beat the Word of Blake to the punch smuggling out news on courier vessels (the narrator has established connections to the Sun Times' Adam Kristof during the fighting). They show the narrator a holovid of Kelley Metz's execution in a lopsided 'Mech "duel" and suggest the same would happen to his friend Erik Gray if the Word of Blake somehow learned of his whereabouts.
Shrewdly realizing that the yakuza need him, the narrator declines the staggering offer of one percent of the revenue. When he is offered five percent he dismisses the offer as so absurdly high that he would not live into the next year. Instead, playing by yakuza rules, he demands satisfaction for his own and Erik Gray's situation and would then accept the original offer. His gamble pays off when Connor DeLon proceeds to cut off the end of his left hand's little finger. Honor served, the narrator feels he has bargained for a fair blood price, and could not ask for more.
- The story is undated, but Kelley Metz is described as "last year's champion". She was Champion of the Solaris Grand Tournament in 3067, thus establishing the story to be set in 3068.