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“Theft, to put it bluntly,” said Hennex. “A group of mercenaries has constructed a base somewhere on Certhion, a moon on the other side of Markazia. They have been routinely attacking our transport vessels … killing crews and stealing shipments.”

“Why haven’t you just blown them off the moon?”

The governor smiled as if mildly embarrassed. “To be honest, Jak, the thought has crossed our minds, more times than I’d rather admit. Simply put, we can’t find them. It’s a big moon with a lot of places to hide. Besides, we don’t have a war fleet. We are businessmen, with few ships aside from our cargo transportation vessels. Our skills lie in negotiations and salesmanship, not fighting. This is why we’ve decided to make use of the business your friend Dodge Stonewall provides. With flight experts like Commander Stonewall and yourself running our shipping lanes for the next while, we expect the bandits will see they can’t afford to continue their attacks toward us.”

“We’ll see what we can do,” said Jak. “Dodge is a great captain.” Dodge still had a hint of a scowl on his face from earlier comments and Jak hoped a few kind words would soften him up.

“Splendid.” The door hissed open behind them and Hennex gave a quick nod. “Now gentlemen, I’m afraid I have a few official matters to take care of, but I will be in touch shortly. These men will show you to your rooms.” He motioned to the two pages in the doorway. “We have full suites reserved for you both, and I want you to make yourselves feel at home while you’re in our company.”

“Sounds nice,” said Jak.

Both Jak and Baxter thanked the governor and started toward the door with Dodge.

“Oh, Dodge,” beckoned Hennex, “Would you mind staying behind for just an extra minute? I need your input on one small matter.”

“Sure,” said Dodge. He turned back and waited with the governor. “Jak, I’ll come and get you guys tomorrow morning at 0700 hours.”

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