|Author||Steven Mohan Jr.|
|First published||7 May 2010|
|Timeline||16 October 3068|
|“||The first stage of any attack is the most complicated, as invaders pit their forces against those of an enemy commander... but if you can take out the enemy commander early, so much the better.||”|
The story describes the first seventeen minutes of the Word of Blake's attack against the Magistracy of Canopus through the eyes of Senior General Haji Doru and security detail chief Commander Lisa Bretton:
As Magestrix Emma Centrella is delivering a speech on a pier on Canopus IV on 16 October 3068, nearby General Doru is informed of "Condition Crimson" on 10:22 local time. An operative on Lockton contacts him through realtime HPG transmission and warns him about actionable intelligence of a threat, but the transmission is interrupted. While mobilizing the military, Doru learns that Royal Foxx was also cut off, and according to the Word of Blake Precentor all incoming traffic to Canopus is disrupted, allegedly because of a technical issue.
Meanwhile, Bretton's security team are nearly overpowered by two eerie assassins (implicitly Manei Domini) from the crowd who attack Emma Centrella. The Magestrix narrowly survives and ends up shooting one of the attackers with a dead bodyguard's sidearm.
As the dust settles, Doru informs Bretton that the Magistracy as a whole seems to be under attack by the only agency who can disrupt communication, the Word of Blake. The interrupted call was probably an EMP burst from a nearby pirate point, placing invaders mere hours from planetfall. They decide to forgo the VTOL vehicle to evacuate the Magestrix. As they pull out, Doru checks his comm and notes that it only took seventeen minutes for everything to change.