The first scene of the campaign involves Theodorus, and to a lesser extent Xaria and Phabio Phait. Theodorus, as son of the head of state for the Illustra system, is invited to represent his father for the ceremonial signature of the renewal of a trade agreement with the backward nations of Ariel. They set out for Ariel on board the ILA Crane, a diplomatic vessel with a full complement of press, notable citizen and other dignitaries. They reach the slipknot in 6.5 days and switch to the Ariel system where they are intercepted by two Darkrian destroyers. The Darkrian clear them for entry into the system, although they couldn’t have done much to stop the Crane had the Illustran diplomats decided to fly pass the archaic space ships.
The transit takes place without trouble and the Crane docks to an orbital stations on the 13th day. The Illustrans are taken to the surface in a rugged shuttle ship (T-1) and flown to the seat of a parliament where the Nations of Ariel are represented. The first sign that there may be complication appears early as the representatives of the Economic Nations (EARTHA) usher Theodorus into a meeting room and brief him on the problem at hand. The Darkrian have decided to exercise their veto power and oppose the renewal of the trade agreement. The Darkrian have nothing to lose as they are not benefiting from the lucrative recycling contracts with the Illustran corporations. Many nations in the isolationist camp, representing about 30% of the Nations on Ariel, are advocating to re-negotiate the treaty anew. As Theodorus enters the assembly, the crowd is noisy and the representatives are shouting. The Darkrian embassador is asked to yield the right of first speech to Theodorus. Theodorus reminds the Nations that the deal is finalized and ratified and only need to be signed, throwing it away is not acceptable (Obstruction attempt with Oratory, fails). The Darkrian embassador manages to get the nations under EARTHA to agree to at least reopening the treaty before signing. The Darkrian empbassador then launched into a tirade in an attempt to expel Theodorus from the floor, but the Illustran brushes the criticism aside and gather ammunition for a later comeback (got spin). He makes a clear case for the immediacy of the signature of the treaty and sway the EARTHA nations to agree to sign against the vote of the Darkrian. The crowd is angered by the about face of the Economic Nations and begins to jeer. The EARTHA nations attempt to defend their new stance, but innefectually while the Dakrian leverage the upset to get the Isolationists to agree that no negotiations could lead to an acceptable treaty. Theodorus attempts to placate the Darkrians by arguing that trade with a body as rich and economically powerful as himself (Asset argument) is foolish and laughable. The argument falls flat, the parliament is exhausted and breaks for lunch.
During lunch, the head of the secret service ushers Theodorus and his retinue (including Xaria and Phabio) to a spaceport. They meet in a conference room with the representatives from EARTHA and sign the treaty against the Darkrian veto. A clause is added that EARTHA take full responsibility for the domestic disagreements that this may cause. The Illustrans then rush to the shuttle and return to the orbital station.
On their way up, they learn that three Darkrian destoyers have move into the sector, one of which has boarded the station. Once that the shuttle has docked, they are lead to private questers and sequestered without the opportunity to consult EARTHA officials. The Illustans are prisoners! They learn that the Darkrian navy has relocated the ILA Crane to another station. They are told that they are to remain in their quarters and are denied diplomatic privileges.
This situation is going to last for the next 8 days when the AMA Sparrow will approach the orbital station with a plan of their own.