The Yggdrasill dropped out of FTL in Azorea's star system, though from a different direction than before. Going through Nepleslian space wouldn't normally be an issue, but the Commodore wasn't sure of anything since the NMX started their assault on Nepleslia...he got the radio ready, and started transmitting. He'd had time to brush up on his Sudran, rather than relying on translation capabilities alone. "This is the SRSS Yggdrasill to Sudran, requesting permission to land on the water's surface...I'd like to speak to a representative of the government and a few engineers as well, if it's alright. I'd rather not discuss the nature of my visit over open channels, however."
It had been two years since he first found Azorea, and though the resulting first contact was less than optimal, the Azoreans had been understanding of the situation.
The transmission pinged off of a communications satellite to a manned relay node just under the surface. Seeing the urgency in such a message, the relay node forwarded the message to the Senate Spire in Edel Citystate immediately.
The senate hall itself was mere chaos. Judges from all over the world had arrived in order to make decisions on the most important of topics. However, it seemed that this time would be no more fruitful then the last meeting. Viceroy Raytim sighed, wishing that the system could run more smoothly. Thoughts of retirement sprang unbidden into the ancient Azorean's mind. "I'm getting too old for this..." he mused dryly.
"We require your cooperation to maintain our kelp crop! Without it, hundreds of thousands could starve!" exclaimed a fairly loud-spoken female judge from Henatu Citystate, but her statement was countered by a weathered judge from Treya Citystate, one of the larger mining citystates, "How dare you! Just because you don't have to work in the muck and filth of the mines doesn't mean that you get a higher status then us! We have required new mining equipment for almost 5 cycles! Eventually, the equipment we have will break down for good, and then how will our economy susta-"
"That's enough." It seemed like almost a whisper from the Viceroy's lips, but it carried with such purpose and command that it drew the attention of the arguing judges. Raytim closed his eyes, enjoying the sudden silence in the hall. He barely noticed the messenger arrive until the young adult coughed lightly to get his attention. Raytim opened his eyes and accepted the verbal message. Every judge heard the message transmitted by the legendary Toshiro, who came to Sudran nearly 3 cycles before. Every one of them knew that the Viceroy himself wouldn't be floating here today if not for his and Hanako's speedy assistance after an assassination attempt.
The Viceroy looked out at the other judges, knowing that all other matters will have to be put on hold. "Brothers and sisters," Raytim spoke everyone's thoughts, "We must answer the call. Ambassador Aqueniss and Judge Neoryi, will you join me in greeting our guests?" To the messenger, he said, "Send our approval, and give him coordinates to land." At that, the messenger bowed his head and swam away to send the reply. It took about 30 minutes for the message to get to the senate, but only approximately 20 minutes for the reply to relayed out.
The message was received and Toshiro sent a confirmation, then came in to land. After re-entering the atmosphere, the ship slowed down and gently landed on the water, the green and white ship dipping onto the surface of the water carefully with another similar-looking ship in tow. Thankfully, his landing was far more gentle than the first re-entry into the atmosphere of the planet, in which chunks of a Nepleslian ship rained down into the oceans.
While the message was being sent, Raytim and his delegation wasted no time in getting to the landing coordinates. They waiting about ten feet under the surface until Toshiro's ship finally landed. Cautiously rising to the surface, the Viceroy and the two female aides looked at the ship. It was Neoryi's first time seeing an alien spaceship, so she seemed like a spawnling in a candy market.
Toshiro opened the hatch, and stepped out onto the hull. He'd grown a little bit from when he first arrived, but was obviously the same person who'd visited before, and initiated first contact. "Hello everyone. Nice to see you're doing well, Viceroy. Sorry about the sudden appearance and the need to call you out instead of sending my intentions over the communications channels, but I think your government should have the right to decide how to approach the issue rather than my announcing it straight to your people. As I remember, you had sent out an expedition to look for another planet suitable for your needs, right?" Toshiro said, after greeting the Azoreans.
Viceroy Raytim and his aides formally greeted Toshiro in return. "It has been a while indeed, my friend. Your memory is correct, but the expedition proved unfruitful. The vessel had to return due to our first contact, and the project was scrapped based off of funding and logistics issues. Does this have something to do with why you are here?" It was intriguing if Toshiro could perhaps help the Azorean people once again. Raytim had put a lot of time and effort into the Nimiss Project, but to have it only fail because his fellow colleagues were too afraid of the unknown had nearly broken his resolve.
"It is. You see, there is an increased sense of urgency..." Toshiro said, trying to describe it as simply and as accurately as possible. "Interplanetary war has broken out again, and the enemy of my people has taken a very aggressive stance. They've begun attacking planets and star systems for resources, regardless of the races that live there. The Nepleslian Empire, whose territory has thus far stood between their territory and Sudran, have recently come under attack at their own homeworld. You aren't involved in the war, but that wouldn't help if this enemy came to find your world here...I can't do a great deal like a government could, but I CAN provide the Sudran government with this spaceship."
Toshiro gestured back to the spaceship he'd towed along with him, a Vampire-class craft which was colored with the same colors as Sudran's ocean with white panels matching those on the Yggdrasill. "It isn't capable of fighting the conquerors, as it's just a civilian model with standard weaponry for its type, but it is capable of traveling at thousands of times the speed of light...it might be useful for seeking out a new homeworld more distant from the fighting. Transporting your people would be a different challenge entirely, but you have to find a world first before even worrying about that. I hope this can help in some small way."
Raytim was speechless, to say the least. What Toshiro was offering something of impossible magnitude. This could open so many doors for the Azorean people. "How.." he finally managed to say, "How could we repay your kindness?" He was still in shock, but the Viceroy knew that this would have to remain a secret... at least, for the time being.
"It's not a major thing that needs repayment, Viceroy. Spacecraft are very common, even civilians can travel interstellar distances regularly in privately owned craft like this one. I've upgraded the Yggdrasill heavily over time, and between the left over parts and other available systems, I was able to assemble this model. It's stock, but it's in fine shape -- and I've added the Sudran language to its menus and made its components resistant to increased humidity. You may need to make changes to she crew quarters though. I've also included the resources, translated, to teach how to repair and maintain it." Toshiro paused a bit, thinking of how to parse what he'd say next...
"You will have to handle this with care though. Though it is of the old generation of ships, this craft is at least dozens of cycles more advanced than the technology you possess unless intervention occurs. If this technology is suddenly made available to your people, your culture WILL change. It's up to you how you'll use the technology, but I recommend that the existence of this ship be closely guarded for now, and its operators the most trustworthy possible. I also recommend not replicating it heavily. As your society uses more advanced technologies more often, it will be more detectable to the conquering Mishhuvurthyar race."
After pondering Toshiro's words of wisdom, Raytim finally nodded, "Of course. We will be most careful with this technology. I, and my people, thank you. By chance, will you be able to stay to help us understand this technology?" He felt confident that his engineers would be able to understand it for the most part, but there were certainly aspects of its design that will elude them.
"I can help a bit here and there so your people can get started, and its communications system will be able to contact me over interstellar distances for further assistance. That is one piece of technology you might wish to replicate. Though it's civilian, it will let you communicate with the ship in real time even if it's light years away, and myself as well. You will also be able to listen to civilian news outlets from the nearby space-going nations. Be careful of broadcasting too widely and openly, though. While the system is difficult to eavesdrop upon, stating your presence to anyone and everyone may not be in your best interests right now...I can help you construct one easily enough."
"I understand," Raytim nodded. "We thank you again for all of your help. Has anything else occurred in the outside universe that we should be aware of?" He had heard of the Mishhuvurthyar through Aqueniss' explanations upon her return from the UOC. Vile creatures indeed, thought Raytim as he pondered how soon they would need this craft to save the Azoreans from extinction.
"Well, the United Outer Colonies, which is a large nation that gained independence from my own about three cycles ago, has gone completely silent...I don't yet know if they've been conquered or exterminated, I'm afraid. The attacks by the Mishhuvurthyar are worse than in the last war, even resorting to camouflaging themselves as friendly ships. The defensive line which my people and the Nepleslians managed to hold in the last war seems to be slowly breaking apart. You are actually in one of the better possible places, but it doesn't ensure your safety...they're known for going around territories for flank attacks and for their stealth. That and they are trying to take over the best buffer between yourselves and them."
"Hm..." Raytim nodded again. "Ambassador Aqueniss returned shortly before the UOC 'became silent', as you say. She said that the situation seemed dire, and that they had rushed her to safety before the.. 'fecal matter hits the fan', is that how you say it? Anyways, I hope that this vessel will be unneeded, but if it is as you say, then we may need it more then ever now. Aqueniss nodded silently, hoping that those she left behind in the UOC are alright. Neoryi was too busy looking at the ship. She was an engineer at heart from the Henatu Citystate, so this was her bread and butter... so to speak.
"I'm glad she returned safely then. Had they waited, she may not have survived for all we know. It's a very bad situation. I'll even have to move my own mining operations toward the Galactic North, so I'll keep my eyes open for a possible homeworld for you as well."
"Thank you again. As always, you have proven yourself a most trustworthy ally. I look forward to seeing how far our people may go with this help."
"You're welcome, and so do I. I just hope it won't cause any damage to your government or your society, having this technology. It depends on how it's handled and how ready your representatives are to step into space responsibly." Toshiro still had misgivings about the technology, should it permeate through Azorean culture before they were prepared, but their survival might just hinge on the ability to seek out a distant homeworld promptly...he couldn't just let a race he felt responsible for introducing to the interstellar community be destroyed by it, could he?
"I'm sure that we won't take on that responsibility until we know we are ready. I will take extra care in this matter. However, I must take word back to the other judges so that we may discuss this thoroughly."
"Of course. I'd like you to discuss this carefully with your people. This has to be approached very delicately. Also, just so you know, the ship doesn't yet have a name. I leave that to you."
Raytim nodded, "Alright, thank you again. I hope to see you soon before Nimiss calls me to her side, but you never know her mysterious ways." The Viceroy and Neoryi turned to leave, but Aqueniss lingered a moment. She swam closer to Toshiro, taking off a pearl necklace and offering it to him. "A little something for your trouble," she said with a sincere smile, "I hope we may meet again under more pleasant circumstances."
He took the necklace, not really aware of if this was an Azorean custom...this slight confusion showed, but he smiled in return. "Thank you very much, and I hope so as well. Since introducing you to the interstellar community, I feel some drive toward your peoples' well being. I look forward to seeing how your people grow."
"I as well," Aqueniss replied and turned to leave. Shortly afterwards, Raytim reentered the senate hall and informed the other judges of what Toshiro offered... after all others were removed from the area. It took a moment for the actuality to sink in. After hours of debate, the senate finally agreed to form a secret project to develop a plan of action as well as fully understand this new technology. The project, and ship in relation, would be named the "Nevah" after well-known poet who often wrote of the beautiful stars that rarely peek beyond the persistent clouds of this world. With that, matters came to a close for the day...
Toshiro would wait to hear the answer of the Senate, and aid Engineers in understanding and using the technology should they elect to use it. He had spent some of the time waiting by making an underwater-use version of the subspace communications system, complete with quantum encryption. It was simple and robust, and could be stored and used deep under the sea or in air.
Raytim sent Toshiro a response saying simply that the senate has agreed to his idea. He would also receive the name of the project, Nevah, but in a way that the messenger would not be able to figure it out. Toshiro, however, would understand.
Toshiro received the message and got the materials ready...he'd have to teach the engineers of the Nevah project the basics on Antimatter Theory and how the systems worked -- as well as their use. It would take a bit of time, at least a few days for them to get the basic theory down. Fortunately, this kind of ship was designed for the layman to be able to maintain and operate, though it had to be a fairly smart layman.