|Author||Craig A. Reed|
|First published||30 December 2012|
|Timeline||13-16 September 3071|
|“||After the Capellan Confederation attacks a Word of Blake HPG station, a special Protectorate Militia task force attempts to free the hostages.||”|
Manei Domini Precentor Gazael arrives at Phact with a Protectorate Militia force to ostensibly evacuate the local HPG that is under siege from Capellan forces. They secure the starport where they land their two DropShips, then escort a convoy of fifty vehicles out of the HPG. The convoy comes under heavy attack, but it eventually turns out it was a decoy with empty vehicles while the actual refugees fled through a secret tunnel directly to the spaceport.
Covered by the overall chaos surrounding the battle over the convoy, a Karnov UR transport flies Adept Lee Angeni's squad of Nighthawk battle armor troopers to their real target, a Buddhist temple where rogue Precentor Meridon Shument is being hidden by Maskirovka operatives and Death Commandos. Shument has sided with the Confederation and will provide them with secret HPG technology, something the Word of Blake cannot allow to happen. Gazael has Shument killed on his own authority; Precentor Rangel back on Stewart wanted Shument alive but Gazael figures he is not under Rangel's command and cannot afford to waste three months to transport Shument back for a show trial.
Confronted about the convoluted rescue plan by Precentor Hannan, who commanded the militia, Gazael refuses to inform Hannan about the Nighthawks' real mission but later points out to his aide Nancy Madoc that he wanted to use the opportunity to actually rescue the HPG personnel and their families.
- Adept Lee Angeni
- Precentor Gazael
- Adept Farris Hannan
- Sao-shao Sun Kwan
- Adept Nancy Madoc
- Precentor Meridon Shument