Part I: The Station
The House of Lilies was busy tonight.
Jax sat in a corner booth watching the activity around him. The large, dimly-lit room was filled with his brothers-in-arms, Saurellian warriors enjoying the charms of the newly conquered women of the mining station. The pleasure house, with its lush red fabrics and gold accents, was a place designed to make a man forget his cares. Jax was ready for that forgetfulness, the kind that only came in the arms of a beautiful woman. He sighed with satisfaction, sitting back, sipping his drink and thinking about which one of the many pleasure workers filling the room would be his that night.
It was good to be here. They had been fighting for months, beating the Emperor’s troops back star sector by star sector. Their forces had taken almost a quarter of his vast territory before a truce had been called. The Saurellians hadn’t started the fight, but by the Goddess they’d finished it. Now Jax and his comrades had been assigned to this remote system, babysitting the troublesome Discovery station. In Jax’s opinion, “Discovery” was too optimistic a name for the grotty outpost.
There were millions of asteroids surrounding the small sun at the center of the system, containing enough ore for a thousand ships; all of them had to pass by Discovery station sooner or later. Losing the system had been a crippling blow to the Empire’s economy, and there was little doubt that they’d try to re-take it if the peace talks fell through. They’ll have to get through me first, Jax thought savagely. A scowl momentarily marred his near-perfect, olive-toned face.
One of the waitresses at the table next to him caught his expression. He watched as her eyes widened in surprise. She made a pretty, pouting little moue of concern with her mouth. Never one to disappoint a lady, Jax flashed her a quick grin, then ran
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