The group is contacted by Glorinna Firella, daughter and sole heir of a planet on the fringes of the Imperium. Her father, Alexandro, is king, a constitutional monarch with a representational parliament. Although a good ruler, Alexandro is not overly popular with his people, and a number of groups in opposition to his reign have risen in recent months. The most dangerous of these, although by no means the largest in number, is a collection of middle echelon military officers and businessmen. Alexandro is surrounded by corrupt and incompetent advisors, and will not believe the extent of popular dissatisfaction with his rule. Glorinna is worried over the possibility of a popular uprising, and suspects that the colonel of the Royal Companions regiment, Kang Ladro, is secretly in sympathy with the rebels. Glorinna is seeking a mercenary contingent to protect herself and her father in the event of revolution.
The contract is for a company-sized unit to protect Glorinna and her father. Glorinna, however, has seriously underestimated the extent of unrest, and the rebellion will begin shortly after the unit lands, before any real steps can be taken to secure the situation. Glorinna and the mercenary unit will manage to escape the capital to one of the royal estates, but Alexandro will refuse to come. At the estate, Glorinna will be able to conclude arrangements with the owner of a merchant ship to transport them off-planet. In a week, the vessel can refuel, and enter orbit over the estate. The ship's owner has also promised to arrange for a shuttle to be available to transfer Glorinna and the company to the ship.
The royal estate is several kilometers from the capital, where fighting is still going on between loyalist army units and those units which have joined the rebellion. The planet's small air force has chosen to remain in barracks for the duration of the emergency. The former Royal companions regiment is heavily engaged against the loyalists, but Ladro considers it important to capture Glorinna in order to further his scheme to gain power. Ladro aspires to set himself up as king and marriage to Glorinna would strengthen his position. A platoon of the former Companions and two companies of the rebel army have been assigned the task of taking Glorinna alive.
The estate itself is not well suited to defense. It is located in the midst of a lightly wooded region, and is protected on two sides by a small river. The buildings are old stone structures intended to blend aesthetically into the region, not to withstand an attack. In the defense along with the mercenaries are a scratch collection of about forty estate employees and local peasants of doubtful fighting value, armed with a random assemblage of civilian hunting weapons and farm implements, with a sprinkling of military weapons such as auto rifles and a grenade or two. In addition, a platoon of local reservists (a total of thirty-two effectives, equipped at TL 6) has rallied to the princess' side. The defenders will have one day to prepare their defenses before the attackers arrive. If they can survive the next six days, the shuttle will be able to provide sufficient air support to drive off the attackers temporarily. During this time, the defenders will be able to be ferried to the orbiting starship.
The attacking forces are a platoon of ex-Companions, forty men, equipped to TL 9, and two companies of regulars, 116 men each, equipped to TL 8.
Glorinna will escape with enough of her personal funds to pay the mercenaries Cr750,000. She will ask them to stay with her, and form the core of a counter-revolutionary force.