Chapter VII

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Cenerea, 3rd planet from the star Letria. Regalius, The Homeland, Central Region,

The Capitol City, Chancellor Santum's Office,

Five and One Half Cenerean Years Ago

The elderly Connor Santum stood in front of the information monitor that hung on his wall and observed the moving images flashing over its surface. Taking a sip of tea, he mentally wrestled with the massive hangover headache pounding in his skull. The old man grumbled as he observed the food and work availability numbers stream across the bottom of the glowing screen. "Ah, time for Ray to come on and kiss my ass a bit," he said aloud, eying the panel.

The HIA's logo appeared on the screen in tandem with its accompanying musical fanfare. The stern face of a dark-haired reporter followed. "This is the Morning Report of the Homeland Information Agency, Rey Carell reporting. In today's news, Mother Arcturis of the former Arcturan Empire, devoted and obedient follower of our wonderful leader, Chancellor Santum, announced today that her daughter, Lucenda Arcturis, first daughter in line for the Motherhood, will marry a rather unknown Homeland Military scientist. For many, this arrangement seems..."

Click!

"Wow, I need to call the HIA's information director. I don't recall approving that story," Connor said angrily and turned to limp across his office.

"Sir?" the intercom rang out from overhead with the sound of a woman's voice.

"Yes?"

"Your meeting with..."

"Cancel it!"

"Yes, Chancellor," the woman replied.

"I need to find out what Mother Arcturis is up to," Connor thought to himself and pressed the button on the surface of his desk. "Elysia?"

"Yes, Chancellor?" issued the lovely voice over the intercom once more.

"Will you send for the HDF's Intelligence Minister?"

"Yessir."

Within an hour, a handsome man in his mid-40s strolled into the Chancellor's office adorned in a silver-gray, well-pressed HDF uniform. His dark eyes were barely visible beneath the shiny brim of his uniform dress cap. He stopped in front of the Chancellor's intricately carved T'choulian Darkwood desk and snapped to attention. "Intelligence Minister Kolorius here at your request, your Excellency!"

Connor nodded and lifted his hand, indicating for the man to relax. The chancellor was seated, leaning back in his chair with his feet propped up on his desk. "Thank you for arriving so quickly, Minister. Would you like a drink?" 

"No sir, thank you sir!" the man said sharply and removed his cap. He located a nearby brown plastileather chair and sat down. "How may I help you today, Chancellor?"

Connor sat upright with a wince, placing his elbows on the desk's gray marble surface. He laced his fingers and stared lazily at the very intense officer. "What do you know of this sudden Arcturan wedding?"

The Minister smiled. "May I?" the man asked, reaching into a pocket.

Connor waved a hand dismissively. "By all means."

Retrieving a small digital panel from his pocket, the Minister cleared his throat and swept a finger over the device. "Lucenda 'Elle' Arcturis, oldest daughter to Mother Arcturis..."

"I know all of that, get to her slave! What makes him so interesting to those women?"

"Yes sir, sorry sir," the man replied, his cool demeanor clearly shaken. "Um, one Jay Levant. Mother killed herself when he was nine. At eleven he was discovered by the HDF Intelligence Ministry..."

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