1. A system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.
2. Pure evil.
So began one of Chief Ambassador Carillion’s favorite literary works, the Big Purple Book. The book was, obviously, a criticism of the communist system, and Carillion, being the anti-communist that he was, loved every minute of it. He was just settling down on the couch in his city residence on Scarolinos to read a few chapters (he needed a rest, due to the stress caused by the Great Cyrannus War) when his holocomm beeped. Sighing, Carillion put down the book and looked at the holocomm. He had an incoming transmission from Karadril, his cousin and the GIE’s Emperor. Carillion pressed a button and a shimmering, miniature version of Karadril appeared in his hand.
“Carillion, there’s been a development in the V’eldrin situation,” the Emperor said without preamble. “I need you to pay a visit to their President at once.”
The V’eldrin were a humanoid species from the planet V’eld, located on the edge of GIE space. A fledgling empire, with only nine systems under their control, they were nonetheless of great import to the GIE, since their worlds were incredibly rich in resources. GIE ambassadors, including Carillion when he wasn’t on the front lines in the Cyrannus Galaxy, had been trying for months to negotiate a treaty that would bring the V’eldrin Empire into the GIE, but the V’eldrin were being very difficult about it. The GIE could have simply conquered the V’eldrin, but attacking an empire that had absolutely no chance of fighting back didn’t seem right, so diplomacy became the name of the game.
“What’s happened?” Carillion asked.
“The President insists on seeing you in person. He says they’ve almost reached an agreement, but he wants you there while they put the finishing touches on the treaty.”
Carillion frowned. “That’s rather vague.”
“Well, he seemed somewhat flustered during the transmission,” Karadril replied. “Perhaps he’s nervous about finally joining our empire.”
“Perhaps,” Carillion said, although he still thought the President’s behavior odd. “Well, I’ll get ready to leave, then.”
“A ship will be there to pick you up in fifteen minutes. Good luck.” Karadril cut the transmission.
Carillion shook his head. “Vague statements, flustered transmissions… they just don’t make Presidents like Apollo anymore.”
After a long trip through hyperspace, Carillion’s transport arrived at V’eld. He disembarked at the President’s personal landing pad, entered the Great House, as the President’s residence was known, and found his way to the President’s office.
The office was large, with a proportionally large panoramic window opposite the door, looking out over the rest of the capital city, Des’en. A hovercar floated past, piloted by security guards, patrolling around the Great House. More security guards stood along the office walls.
In the center of the office was a large desk, and at it sat the President of the V’eldrin Empire. He smiled at Carillion, but Carillion could detect a trace of nervousness in the smile. Walking forward, he extended a hand to the President.
“Mr. President. It’s nice to see you again.”
The President stood, took the hand, and shook it. “And you, Chief Ambassador. Please, have a seat.”
“Thank you.” Carillion sat down in a chair opposite the President. “So, I hear that work on our treaty is reaching its final stages.”
“Yes indeed. Would you like to see the latest copy?” The President extended an arm, holding out a piece of paper. The arm was shaking slightly.
Carillion took the paper. “Mr. President, are you all right?” He asked. “You seem a bit on edge.”
“On edge?” The President laughed shakily. “No, no, I’m fine. Perfectly fine. I’ve never been better.”
“If you’re sure…” Carillion wasn’t convinced. But he was very curious about how the treaty had progressed, so he looked down at the paper in his hands.
But instead of seeing a treaty, he saw only a single word, written on the page in black ink.
“Mr. President, what-?“
But Carillion didn’t finish his sentence, because at that moment a number of other things happened all at once. The President drew out a small pistol and pointed it at Carillion’s heart. The security guards along the walls suddenly aimed their blaster rifles at Carillion and closed in on him. And from a hidden door near the window, a figure stepped into the room, wearing what seemed to be a jetpack on its back.
“Hello, Chief Ambassador,” the figure said, grinning widely at Carillion. “Long time no see.”
“You!” Carillion snarled. He knew that grinning face. He had seen it before, albeit without the grin, in a bar on Orbispira many months ago. That, time, this being had tried to kill President Apollo, but Carillion had managed to stop him. He’d only glimpsed the face then, and had been unable to put a name to it, but staring at it now, he knew who he was looking at.
“You recognize me!” Gauisa’s grin broadened. “Excellent. Now, if you’ll just hold still, we can put these stun cuffs on you and this whole affair will be over.”
“Not so fast,” Carillion said. His mind was racing. He was surrounded by armed foes and had no weapon himself. He had to stall, to think, if he was going to get out of this one. He turned to look at the President. “Mr. President, how could you do this?”
The President looked sadly back at him. “I’m sorry, Chief Ambassador. But he took my family hostage. I had no choice.”
“Exactly,” said Gauisa. “And neither, Chief Ambassador, do you. So just stand up without making any sudden movements, and we’ll be done with this in no time.”
Carillion remained firmly in his chair. “Where will you be taking me? And who’s paying you to do it? And why do they want me alive?”
Gauisa ticked off his answers on his fingers. “Somewhere far away, I can’t tell you who but they’re paying quite a bit, and I have no idea why but I really don’t care.”
At that moment, another hovercar floated into view, and suddenly, Carillion had an idea.
“Perhaps it has something to do with my ability to do this,” he said, and using his innate Psionic abilities, he grabbed hold of the hovercar and dragged it towards the window.
“Ability to do what? Stall for time?” Gauisa asked mockingly. But then, suddenly, he seemed to understand. His eyes widened, and he opened his mouth to shout something. But it was too late.
With a resounding crash, the hovercar smashed into the window. Glass shards flew everywhere, slicing into the guards, the President, and Gauisa. Carillion was unharmed, using his telekinetic abilities to deflect those shards that came at him. The hovercar slid along the floor, smashing into some of the security guards. Taking advantage of these two distractions, Carillion leapt up from his chair, jumped over the desk, ran to the window, and threw himself over the edge.
Throwing oneself out of a window requires trust. You have to trust a friend to catch you, or you have to trust your rocket boots to work, or, if you want to kill yourself, you have to trust that the ground will be there to hit you. However, when Carillion jumped out of the window of the President’s office, he wasn’t trusting any of these things. He was trusting Ѐaltar Gauisa.
Carillion was familiar with Gauisa’s reputation. He knew that Gauisa was very skilled, very smart, and that he almost never failed a mission. Thus, Carillion knew that Gauisa would jump out of that window as well and come after him, and that was exactly what the bounty hunter did.
Using his jetpack to speed up and reach Carillion, Gauisa grabbed the Chief Ambassador’s outstretched hand just a few stories above the ground. He tried to pull out of his dive, but Carillion’s added weight meant that instead of shooting upwards, Gauisa was only able to adjust himself enough to put them on a course that was parallel the ground. They were now flying very quickly, but they were losing altitude due to Carillion’s presence.
“Thanks for the lift!” Carillion called up to Gauisa. His eyes glinted with amusement; he could only imagine how being forced to help his own quarry escape a trap must feel to the bounty hunter.
Gauisa said nothing. He simply reached with his free hand for the stun club on his belt.
“Oh no you don’t!” With his free upper hand, Carillion grabbed Gauisa’s wrist. He then glanced down with one of his eyestalks, and saw that they had lost enough altitude to bring them within a safe distance from the ground. He let go of Gauisa’s hand and wrist.
Carillion rolled as he hit the ground a second later, bringing his eyestalks close to his head to prevent damage. Completing his roll, he stood up to see Gauisa, who was now a few dozen feet away, due to the jetpack’s high speed, turning about to come back for him. Carillion pulled out his communicator and opened a channel to his transport ship.
“I need the ship at this location now! V’eldrin security forces are now hostile, I repeat, V’eldrin security forces are now hostile! Security team, be prepared to engage enemy forces upon your arrival.”
“Yes sir,” the transport pilot replied calmly. He was trained not to waste time asking questions at a time like this. “We’ll be there momentarily.”
“Good. Carillion out.” Carillion dropped the communicator just in time to avoid a flurry of stun bolts from Gauisa. He raised the stolen pistol, now in his upper hands and set to stun, to fire back, but suddenly had a better idea. As the bounty hunter shot towards him, Carillion could see where the clips on the straps of Gauisa’s jetpack connected to the jetpack’s body. Using his Psionic telekinetic abilities once again, Carillion undid those clips.
Gauisa fell, a look of surprise on his face. But he recovered from his surprise enough to hit the ground with a roll, just as Carillion had. He quickly stood, and, stun club in hand, charged straight at Carillion. The Chief Ambassador, being unarmed at the moment, looked around, searching for a weapon. He spotted a sturdy-looking tree branch on the ground, and lifted it. He returned his attention to Gauisa just in time to block a swing of the bounty hunter’s stun club. He countered with a swing of his own club (of sorts), which was now slightly charred, due to the stun club’s electrical components. Gauisa ducked and struck back; Carillion dodged, parried another strike, and attacked again.
For several moments the fight continued like this. Both combatants fought hard, but neither could gain any advantage over the other.
Then, suddenly, the duel was interrupted. A small transport ship touched down behind Carillion, and just a few seconds later, another ship landed behind Gauisa. Carillion realized that his opponent had called for backup as well. It seemed that they had a skirmish on their hands.
Both ships lowered their loading ramps, and out charged Gjigantrox and V’eldrin security teams. They opened fire on each other, and immediately the superiority of the Gjigantrox weaponry began to show. V’eldrin after V’eldrin fell, and although some took cover and fired back, the Gjigantrox had gained the advantage. Gauisa, Carillion could see, understood this. The bounty hunter swung his stun club high, and as Carillion ducked, he delivered a kick to the midsection that sent the Chief Ambassador sprawling. Turning, Gauisa ran towards the V’eldrin ship, avoiding blasterfire from the Gjigantrox security troops and reaching the transport. It’s loading ramp closed behind him, and it quickly lifted off of the ground.
By the time Carillion had recovered his breath enough to speak, he gasped, “Get back into the ship! We have to follow them!”
The security team obeyed, quickly retreating into the ship. Carillion dashed in ahead of them, racing to the cockpit.
“Follow that transport!” he told the pilot.
“Yes sir,” the pilot replied again, and the ship lifted into the air. The V’eldrin transport was heading back in the direction of the Great House, and the Gjigantrox pursued it. However, in moments it had landed, and as the Gjigantrox ship approached, Carillion could see a figure running towards another ship on the ground. It was Gauisa.
“Destroy that ship, now!” Carillion shouted, pointing at it through the viewport.
“I’ll try, sir,” said the pilot, “But this is a transport ship. We aren’t heavily armed.”
“Just do it!”
The transport opened fire on the ship, but it’s hull was apparently strong, and the transports turbolaser shots had little effect. Gauisa had reached the ship by now, and in seconds it was lifting off the ground.
Carillion desperately wracked his brain, trying to think of a way to stop Gauisa. This bounty hunter was dangerous, and he might have vital information. It was imperative that he be captured. But there was no way to stop him from fleeing the planet.
Then, suddenly, Carillion had an idea. It wasn’t his favorite choice at the moment, but he was running out of options.
“Do you have any tracker missiles?” he asked the pilot. Tracker missiles were missiles that, upon impact with their target, detonated and sent shrapnel flying. Within the shrapnel were several very small tracking devices, which would stick to a ship’s hull and allow whoever fired the missile to track the ship’s movement.
“Yes, we do, sir” replied the pilot.
“Hit that ship with one. Now.” Carillion ordered.
The pilot pressed a button, and through the viewport Carillion watched a missile shoot from the transport, make contact with Gauisa’s ship, and detonate.
“Did one of the trackers stick?” he asked.
The pilot scanned one of the cockpit’s screens. “One moment, sir… Yes, one of them stuck.”
Carillion breathed a sigh of relief.
Half an hour later, Carillion was again talking to Karadril via holocomm. After chasing Gauisa until he jumped to hyperspace (so that the bounty hunter wouldn’t suspect that they had gotten a tracking device on his ship), the Gjigantrox transport ship had made a short trip through hyperspace, and then Carillion had decided that it was time to report to the Emperor.
Karadril listened silently to Carillion’s tale. When it was done, the Emperor’s face remained blank, but Carillion thought he saw a tremor of rage pass through his cousin’s body.
“The traitor will be dealt with later,” Karadril said. “For now, we have to find this bounty hunter and learn what information he has. I assume you’d like to handle this yourself?”
“You bet,” Carillion replied.
Karadril smiled. “Where is the bounty hunter now?”
“He’s in hyperspace. We’re waiting for him to drop out. Then we’ll go after him.”
Karadril smiled again. “Not in that transport, you won’t. I’ll send something better suited for the job to your location. Good luck, cousin.”
"Thanks," Carillion said. "We'll get him."