Chapter 3

Shogun Ozai walked down the corridor at a brisk pace. As he glanced out the large palace windows, he saw the cityscape of New Tokyo sprawled out before him. Looking past the various ships and vehicles buzzing by the Royal Palace, he surveyed his empire and held the brilliant sight of the orange sun rising over the horizon. When he reached the end of the long corridor, he opened the heavy oak doors leading to his personal elevator.

As he stepped inside, he thumbed the control to take him down to his throne room. When the elevator finally stopped two floors down, the doors parted silently, and Ozai walked out into the vast chamber.

The chamber was adorned with expensive tapestries and relics from when Kusari was first settled. Crimson red carpets were complimented by the pale blue marble floors that the Palace sported. Many ancient urns lined the walls, each telling a different story of Shoguns past, and large canvases hung from the walls depicting great ancient battles long forgotten.

As the Shogun waltzed out onto the elevated dais, he studied the looks of his officials, and each of them doubled over in an instinctive yet respectful bow. Ozai seated himself in his large padded throne, and his senior military advisor, Admiral Shimi, approached him.

"Admiral, report please."

"Yes Shogun. Late last night, one of our secluded shipyards was suddenly attacked by a highly disciplined and organized attack group. We suspect the Blood Dragons are to blame."

"Well did you manage to apprehend them Admiral?"

"No Shogun, we failed to capture them before fleeing into the nebula cloud. However, we did manage to disable one of their ships."

"Is the pilot still alive?"

"Yes Shogun. We have been interrogating him relentlessly, however, he refuses to reveal any information regarding the assault as of yet."

"Break him. I grow tired of this sad attempt at a would-be coup that the Blood Dragons continue to wage against us."

"Yes my lord, it shall be done."

"Good. I wish to hear what this whelp has to say. Inform me of any progress the minute it happens."

"Yes my lord."

With that, the Admiral performed a crisp salute, turned on his heels, and marched toward the exit. Ozai watched intently as he left, knowing that the task would be finished with the speed and grace, not to mention brutality that catapulted Shimi into his current position within the navy. Shimi was the youngest individual to ever be promoted to Fleet Admiral within the Kusari naval forces, earning the title at the age of thirty one; however, he deserved the title. He was brutal and ambitious, and eager to prove himself to Ozai. Shimi was known as a brilliant tactician and pilot, it was rumored that he was unmatched in the cockpit of a starfighter.

Ozai continued his morning briefing, discussing the important issues of government with representatives of the Keiretsu. In Kusari culture, the Keiretsu was a group of highly respected, vertically integrated corporations that controlled whole markets and industries. These included the two highly successful mega-companies Kishiro Technologies, and Samura Heavy Industries. Theses two corporations were considered the very backbone of the Kusari Empire, supplying vital technologies and services to the government.

As the morning briefing came to an abrupt end, and the Keiretsu began filing out of the grand hall, Ozai rose from his throne and headed back to his personal elevator. As he stepped inside and the doors sealed behind him without a sound, Ozai's communicator beeped.

"Lord Ozai, forgive the interruption but I have news."

"Yes Captain Ihro?"

"Admiral Shimi has developed a breakthrough and requests your presence at the detention center."

"Thank you Ihro. Inform him I will be along shortly."