|Author||Craig A. Reed|
|First published||14 July 2009|
|Timeline||12-14 October 3069|
|“||Arboris was a hotbed of resistance before the world entered the Blakist Protectorate, but simply changing flags and masters did not solve the problem. In every society there are those who react against authority... and those who are forced to react in turn.||”|
After eight months of resistance on Arboris against the Word of Blake occupation, a resistance fighter cell calling themselves the Arboris Freedom Army has attacked the Gilden building which houses the government, killed at least thirty-two people, and took almost two hundred hostages including most of the planetary council and important administrators.
Precentor Gazael, a Manei Domini troubleshooter, arrives at the Gilden building on 12 October 3069 with his aide Adept Nancy Madoc to take over from Precentor Bowman Franks who failed to make progress in the negotiations so far. Madoc enters the building for negotiations (in truth to survey it with her cybernetically enhanced senses, in co-operation with similarly cybernetically enhanced Adept Kenyon who is operating undercover as terrorist number Twelve), which seems to anger Colonel Roland Pike, the leader of the terrorists. To demonstrate his resolve, Pike shoots one hostage—Adept Gary King of the Protectorate Militia—before Madoc's eyes for firing on unarmed civilians and killing ten of them during a demonstration back in January. He then annonces that they will kill a hostage every hour after the twelfth from now until the Word of Blake have left Arboris. This action earns Gazael and Madoc the ire of Precentor Franks.
Gazael and his team learn that Franks has close connections to Councilman Trellem, who was not present when the building was stormed. Franks evidently protected Trellem from corruption charges to the point of destroying evidence and making critics disappear.
Faced with unreasonable demands on the part of the terrorists, Gazael resolves to have the building stormed. He enters the building with Madoc and confronts Pike with the information that Pike's daughter was among those killed in the January demonstration—Pike isn't out to free Arboris, he wants revenge. While battle armor troops are already accessing the building, Gazael has the power cut and, using their cybernetic implants, he and Madoc decimate the terrorists while preventing them from detonating their bombs.
On 14 October, Security Administrator Precentor Franks is debriefed. Gazael bruskly informs him that Pike's daughter was a collateral death in the January shootout, with a fake ID that would easily have been found out if Franks had bothered to check. Trellem apparently set Pike up to storm the Gilden building and wipe out the government so that Trellem could take over—and Gazael's team also found the account that Trellem had set up for Franks. As Franks pleads for one more chance, Gazael declares he intends to give him the same chance as Trellem once he finds him and crushes Franks' throat, killing him.
- Adept Lee Angeni
- Precentor Bowman Franks
- Precentor Gazael
- Demi-Precentor Holman (referred to as Adept Holman at one point)
- Adept Kenyon
- Adept Nancy Madoc
- Colonel Roland Pike
- Councilman Trellem