|First published||5 December 2012|
|Era||Dark Age era|
|Timeline||7 August - 3 November 3132|
|“||When the HPG grid goes down on Gray Monday, a down-on-his-luck civilian must choose sides in the approaching conflict.||”|
Like his childhood friend Gaspar Reynes, Luc Baptiste immigrated to the planet Sadalbari in Prefecture III of the Republic of the Sphere from Federated Suns space during Devlin Stone's resettlement programs. Unlike Gaspar, who has a spotted biography with a multitude of jobs in his past, Luc has a comfortable income as a broker.
However, in the aftermath of the Gray Monday communications blackout Luc witnesses how tensions and anxiety on Sadalbari spring up again, fueled by general insecurity about the situation which gets worse daily. Agitators on the streets are quick to demand the planet to abandon the Republic, and join one of the established Successor States instead. Meanwhile, Luc is laid off because his firm is facing bankruptcy, being unable to work without interstellar HPG communications. This in turn pushes his relationship with his girlfriend Irina to the breaking point; when she loses her job too she eventually leaves him to return to her family on Tikonov.
Gaspar, on the other hand, seems to thrive in the chaos. He has been hired by Bannson Universal as a security man. He reasons that Luc should be able to hire on as well. Four days later, Luc is caught up in a riot on his way to the Bannson Universal interview. A militia Panther BattleMech joins the pro-Kurita faction, causing a battle within the city before going to ground. Under the subsequent curfew, Luc cannot return to his apartment and is forced to sleep over at Gaspar's place. On the next day, he finds that his apartment and his remaining belongings were destroyed in the fight with the Panther. With his life in shambles, Luc's attention is drawn to a man with a megaphone and a Davion patch on his jacket, and he goes on to join the agitator.