Soon the technical knowledge and cultural
information kept secret for generations was being spread throughout
North's organization. Three years of relative quiet passed. The steady
routine grew almost boring to North, while Morn relished the quiet,
slow progress he was making.
2 One day a Messenger entered Morn's office with an invitation. The
ship of the great Industrialist Blazing Comet, had entered Hades'
orbit; Morn, North, and most of their Staff were invited to a banquet
on the mysterious recluse's ship.
3 Morn had heard the stories about the financial wizard who had built a
considerable inheritance into one of The Empire's biggest industrial
networks. But the strange man did most of his business dealings through
his wife and never sat foot on a planet, instead, stayed exclusively on
his luxurious ship; one of the few private ships in The Empire allowed
to be fully armed. It was the equivalent of any battleship in The Fleet!
4 Morn was flattered at the invitation, but there was no way he could
squeeze time out of his busy schedule. He called North, explaining
about the invitation.
5 "I don't know what he wants," Morn explained, "but it would be very
impolite not to answer his invitation in some way. I want you to go up.
You will have full authority to discuss any issue on my behalf."
6 North hated playing Diplomat, but if it was Morn's wish, he'd do it.
A few days later, he and most of the other Officers invited beamed up
to the orbiting ship. They were greeted by the great man, himself, and
7 "Come this way, gentlemen," their Host insisted, leading them into a
gold-plated corridor. North was a considerable distance down it when he