Prologue: Simple Desires

I had never planned for it to go this far.

I had only wanted a simple promotion. Just a goddamn promotion. No murders, no backstabbing, no theft. Nothing like what is happening right now.

I took a left.

How could all of this have happened? The information was accurate, wasn't it? I mean, it came from the General himself. Of all people, he should know what's going on with the insides of the military. "Do as I tell you, and they'll be calling you Colonel Adarek before you know it, little brother." That's what he had told me. That's what my brother had told me. He assured me that it would work.

I took a right.

Had it all been a trap? Did he resent me for falling in love with the girl he dumped? No, that can't be it. My brother would never let such insignificant things control his actions. But how could he have been mistaken? He knows more about the military than any other single person on the planet. Why, then? Is there perhaps something he didn't know about going on in the military? A resistance, maybe? That had to be it. But what resistance would be strong enough to allow for all of this?

I stopped dead in my tracks. Could it be that the rumors are true? No, that's absurd. A Serillian still on this planet? That's completely impossible. But then, what if it isn't? If so, then that would mean…

I turned around and began to run back to the base, but before two steps touched the ground I found myself pinned against a wall, a man's heavy breathing tickling my neck and filling the air with a retched scent.

"I've finally caught up with you," I heard a coarse voice say, "You damn traitor!"

Traitor? But I had only been doing what my brother had told me to do. How could that make me a traitor?

Suddenly a sharp pain rose along my back, and I felt something cold rubbing up against my flesh. A dagger.

"Not so impressive now, with a piece of metal digging into your skin, are you?" said the man. What was he talking about? "Hopefully that will show you how serious we are. Now, I'd say it's time you return to the base. I'm sure Judge Knowlton would love to see what's goin' on inside your little head."

I would have screamed at that point, but a bundle of cloth was shoved into my face, and all I could do was cry a few meaningless tears as I slowly lost consciousness.

I had only wanted a promotion.