Chapter One

Newark Station, New York System:

The monolithic station stood watch over the trade-lanes leading towards Planet Manhattan. Each day, hundreds of ships would make their way through the station, bringing goods and people into the station for further distribution to other locations within the house, while at the same time loading these ships with Liberty's commodities. The station also served as the headquarters for Interspace Commerce, the largest of all the house corporations. Interspace Commerce insured high value cargo within the Sirius Sector, while also funding the construction of jump gates and trade-lanes. Within the past few years after the crisis that saw Kusari and Rheinland go to war and the arrest of President Jacobi of Liberty, Interspace Commerce maintained a positive growth as new construction projects were awarded throughout the Sirius Sector. Economic chiefs of various corporations across the sector gathered at Newark to hear the Interspace Commerce CEO's speech at the anniversary party for the company.

The CEO of Interspace Commerce, John Williamson, fumbled with his speech notes as he awaited his introduction. After a huge round of applause, he motioned towards the podium, glancing around at the thousands of people that looked towards him for news of positive economic growth. Taking a brief sip of water, he began his speech.

"Ladies and gentleman, honourable guests, and to the board of directors I welcome you to our annual meeting. Over the past 10 years, we have witnessed a vast decrease in piracy among the four houses, as well as increased security in the border worlds. I am proud to announce that profits within the company are up by 60 percent compared to this quarter last year," adding a pause for the audience.

As they applauded, he took another sip of water, ready to continue his speech.

"Interspace Commerce has funded many new developments, such as increased colonization in the Hokkaido system in Kusari, new investments within Rheinland mining operations, the clean-up of the Leeds System in Bretonia, and here within Liberty Space the construction of a new ship-yard in the California system. Humanity is on a bright path towards success, with Interspace Commerce leading the way, torch in hand."

The audience broke out in further applause, happy with the news that their stock shares would be increasing in value the next morning when the markets opened. However, the applause was cut short as a large explosion tore through the room, killing many in the room. As alarms went off around the chaos in the room, two squads of Outcast fighters de-cloaked in front of the station, shields up and weapons armed.

"Newark Station to Outcast fighters, stand down immediately and prepare to be taken into custody. Failure to obey will result in your destruction."

The fighters ignored the command, and began their attack. With their advanced ships and weaponry, they began to tear apart the station, destroying the command bridge of the station with a well placed torpedo, while the other squad engaged the freighters and their escorts that attempted an escape from the station. As ships were destroyed everywhere, one of the Outcast fighters launched one more weapon, and then proceeded to follow his comrades away from the station, where they re-engaged the cloaking devices and slipped away.

On board the station, Lieutenant Edward Keynes of Newark Station security looked around as his men bravely fought the fires that threatened to destroy the station. None of them would expect the killing blow to come in the shape of a nuclear warhead. The weapon struck the hull of the station, and exploded in a brilliant flash of light that easily could have been mistaken for the sun on planet Manhattan. The station tore itself apart in the titanic explosion, and began to drift towards the gravity of Manhattan.

"Outcast Gold Leader to Gold Team, mission accomplished, report back to Malta immediately, Operation Angel de la Muerte has just begun."