Chapter 1: The Prologue

What is a hero? In the olden times a hero was tough and every inch a true man. He was big and strong and could rescue the damsel in distress with ease. That's a hero. He's a man's man. Other men admire him and desire to be like him. Women become heated and wet at the mere mention of his name. He's not some snowflake girlie-man, but a real man. He's a problem solver. He doesn't cry for help, but comes to the aid of any who cries for help. In another era, I would have made this story a western and at the end of the book there would have been a wondrous gunfight where the hero in the white hat guns down the villain in the black hat. Since fantasy is the choice genre of today's world – this story will be a fantasy and not a western.

Our story begins in a high court of the grand king, Timothy Thompson, and he is angry at his greatest enforcer the High Marshal Orson Orion for not deporting enough illegal aliens and sending those jerks back to their own home of Meckono, because Deckono is for Deckonoans and there isn't enough wealth and resources to share with the Meckonoans. It's not that Orson is lazy. It's just that there's too many of the bastards for Orson's office to handle.

Orson sat at a table beside his deputy Janice Jettison. She wore the same uniform that Orson wore, but wore a star with the word deputy on it, while Orson's star had the letters: H.M. on it. Janice had a short hair cut in the butch style and her uniform hid what little figure she did have. Deputy Janice did not have ample curves, for she lifted weights and ran miles on the treadmill. She was the best workout partner that Orson ever had and it gave the High Marshal comfort that she was sitting beside him.

The king was sitting in one of the high seats with the other members of the tribunal. They were old fossil people compared to the large king, who kept his weight up enough to give him a false appearance of solidity. But, Orson was not falsely solid. Everything about Orson suggested power. He had broad shoulders, a big barrel chest, and a waist that tapered down. The king spoke as the other members of the tribunal sneered and glared at the High Marshal. "High Marshal Orson Orlando Orion, you know why you have been summoned here. The Meckonoans are pouring into our spaceports at an alarming rate and your office has done little to stop this threat. What do have you to say for yourself?"

Orson looked the king in the eyes and answered, "Sire, our offices have limited personnel. The House of Ladies is blocking the bill of the House of Lords to provide us with a shield to place around the planet."

Janice poured Orson a glass of water from a pitcher sitting on the table. Orson took a sip of water and gave the fossils and the king a moment for his words to sink in. Government worked slowly in Orson's time mainly due to the fact that those who ran things were so old. Finally, the Leading Lady answered Orson's complaint. "Sir, a shield around the planet would cut us off from the rest of the solar system. It would punish our friends and hurt our free trade agreements."

Orson wanted to roll his eyes at the old crone. He was sure if he threw his glass of water in her face that the old witch would just melt. And he knew that the Leading Lady's husband was hiring illegal aliens to work their farms and factories. That was the kick in the nuts about this whole affair. The very people demanding action were the very people who were causing the problem. Some of the Ladies and Lords claimed to be liberal and wanted to help the Meckonoans, but the reality was far different. Their real agenda was to exploit the Meckonoans for cheap labor. The Leading Lady was a slaver and it disgusted Orson. But, his job was to enforce the law and obey the orders of the government. One of the flaws of a republic was the fact that those who held the high offices in government often had a conflict of interest. How could one who owned or controlled most of the land and businesses pass laws that were fair to anyone besides the people who owned the businesses? The king received his position through hereditary succession, but over the years the wealthy merchants and nobles set up the House of Lords and the House of Ladies in order to pass laws. The founder of this system argued that since the merchants and businessmen paid taxes they deserved a say in government. So he, along with his wife, set up the House of Lords and the House of Ladies that way men and women would have an equal voice in government. At first these houses of government could only suggest laws for the king. In time the houses became more powerful and it became their job to pass the laws. The king could no longer make laws. He could only sign the law into effect or veto it. The houses of government came up with a solution to this problem and that was by creating a way to override the king's veto. Yet when things went sour, the people blamed the king and not the houses of government. This made the king a very unhappy man when things went wrong, so he took it out on people like the High Marshal.

"Do you blame the lawmakers for your shortcomings?" asked the king.

"No, sire. I blame the system. It doesn't work effectively in situations like this. We need more personnel or a shield around the planet."

The Leading Lady sneered and the Distinguished Gentleman booed at Orson's response. "Mr. Orion, we have already told you that a shield around the planet would hurt trade. As for an increase in personnel that is highly out of the question. It would cause us to have to raise taxes and a tax hike never sits well with the voters," replied the Leading Lady.

Orson did roll his eyes at that comment. The Distinguished Gentleman saw this. "Sir, you will refrain from making rude gestures at this tribunal. It is clear that you are trying to blame us for your shortcomings."

Orson was becoming angry. He counted to ten and tried to calm his mind. "I am not the one who lives in fear of the mindless mob. If you had to deal with the hard cases that I have to deal with you would shit your pants . . . "

Janice pinched Orson's thigh under the table in an attempt to calm him and to remind him of the delicate situation that they were in, but the High Marshal had worked too long and been pushed too hard.

"Sir, that will be one month's pay for your insubordination. I suggest you show proper respect to your government from now on," roared the Distinguished Gentleman.

"Sir, you are not the government. The king and the citizens are that which you claim to be."

The Distinguished Gentleman and the Leading Lady's faces turned beet red. The old crone yelled, "How dare you!"

Orson ignored her and addressed the king. "Sire, under the circumstances I suggest that we tear the two houses down and give your office the power that is rightfully yours and try all these old fools for treason."

The room grew quiet at his words. It was understood that the king could make an end of the two houses of government, but he was too fearful of the merchants and nobles. So the king replied, "Guards, seize the High Marshal and his deputy. They are to be taken to the jailhouse and held over for trial in Judge Roy Rowan's court for treason. This tribunal is over."

The guards had tears in their eyes at the order, but they obeyed their king and escorted the pair out of the King's Hall.