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RP Chapter 4: Of Talk and Treaties

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Ametheliana

Sensei
Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
FM of Nepleslia
FM of the Iromakuanhe
Game Master
Lady of the House
Space
Bukor 3, 942
14:00, Commonwealth Standard Time


"Commander. We are detecting....signals from Azorea that aren't of Azorean make." Tam opened his eyes and looked up at the overhead holographic progection on the spectrometer. The dark haze of the bridge seemed to sweep aside from Commander Tam as he sat forward and looked. "Analysis." He commanded softly with his raspy voice.

The communications officer was female. Her hands danced over the controls of her station. "Not Yamataian. Or Nepleslian. The signals appear to be...The Core suggests organic in nature."

Tam's brow furroughed. He had heard rumors of a species that used such technology.

"Alright. Navigator. Plot a course that takes to the Azorean home world."

Aaki's Office
Kyopelinvuori
Sudran in System Azorea


Eternal storms wrought their havoc on the water world of Sudran, as they had the day before and as they would in days to come. Aaki did as she had a habit of doing and was sitting facing the window, watching the rain while deep in thought. The elevator light behind her, in the center of her office, pinged and the light above it shone, denoting a visitor. The Iromakuanhe politician moved her wrist and flicked her datarod's commands to text Mahsa, her secretary, to come as soon she was done escorting the Nepleslian senator around the city.

Aaki turned in her chair, a smile already on her face as she stood up and walked towards the elevator doors to greet them.

"Miss," an Azorean man said as he stepped into the office, still dripping wet. "I have news of a ship of Gartagen make heading for Azorea.

"Military?" Aaki asked.

"No, not quite."

"Civilian?" Was Aaki's next question.

The Azorean man said, "Not that, either."

"Hail them," Aaki said. "I want to see what they want to see."

"We can do that, but be advised—" he began, but she cut him off by raising a hand.

Lady of the House
Space


A chime rang out accross the bridge. "We are being scanned." The tactical officer called out. Tam shut his eyes and leaned back in his chair. "Send out our identifier."

The instrument used to scane the Gartagen ship would receive back an identification transmission. USC D'jehendrazade (Lady of the House). Kevish Class Assault Cruiser---deep range military patrol.

The ship was on the smaller side. A stout frigate sized ship with heavy armor, and engines, and light weaponry. Though the Kevish was if anything infamous in known space. The ship stood apart from the rest of the Gartagen fleet. It was not massive or intimidating like the famed Prosecutor battleship, which were known to face down NMX war ships with little fear. Nor did the Kevish act as a supporting ship for others. No this was the one Union Navy ship that worked alone...or in pairs. It was one of the most dangerous, and the one most suited for long patrols.

"They are hailing us." The communications officer said looking at her Senior officer. Tam paused and sighed softly. "XO?"

The second in command loomed over the holographic projector displaying Azorea. "Seems like protocal, Sai Tam."

Tam then stood up and approached the projector. "This is Commander Tam of the Gartagen Union Star Ship D'jehendrazade. We are receiving your hail, and great you in the name of peace and civilisation."

Aaki's Office
Sudran


Aaki smiled, amused at the sudden turn of events. She wished she had her assistant or the Nepleslian to help her decipher what it was the Gartagens could want in Azorean space, but she did not have them to lean on.

Instead, she leaned on herself and opened up communications on her volumetric display to replied in kind.

"This is Aaki Loleth of the Iromakuanhe Astral Commonwealth's Conclave and I am in Azorean space on a political tour. I would like nothing more than to have your nation's people to talk about our relations, our culture, and above all else, the future. Would you join me?"

Lady of the House
Space


The bridge crew had their collective eyes on Tam. Tam took a moment to consider what was said. Usually first contact in the cluster was...tense. The Nepleslians were famous for having threatened the early Gartagen greeting party. Yamatai and the Lorath nearly blew each other up in orbit of the Gartagen home world. The Abwherans sent a fleet to the Gartagen border demanding trade. The NMX just started shooting.

"Commander. This may be one of the only instances of peaceful contact we have encountered." The XO said with her soft, chilled voice. "We have been in space for months. Perhaps a little furlough is in order for the crew?"

Tam smirked. "Agreed."

"Madam Aaki Loleth, as a representative of my people, I accept your invitation. We will await landing coordinates and instruction. My crew and I have been in space for a rather long time and request permission to come planet side as well."


Aaki's Office
Sudran


The Iromakuanhe woman looked up and to the Azorean politician, who nodded tersely and, so, she opened up communications, as well.

"I want nothing more, Commander Tam. By all means, make yourselves comfortable on the planet. I am sending landing coordinates and will meet you at your ship."

The woman set down her datarod on her desk after a moment's deep breath after she had walked back to where she had been sitting. She put a hand on the chair and then, all at once, moved her body to pull off the long overcoat on the rack next to the expansive window of her office and took out an umbrella from beside her desk, moving briskly towards the door.

"You are coming with me, are you not?" Aaki asked the Azorean.

Lady of the House
Landing


The Ship's descent into the atomsphere was to say the least a spectacular sight. The thick atmosphere and heat friction caused quite the light show as it breach the atmosphere.

Following the coordinates, the ship would come to its designated landing zone. It would then suprinsingly nimble for its sledge hammer like design, present its aft section to the landing pad. Then spend the next several moments deploying its landing gear and touching down. Prow to the stormy sky, the ship's supply hatches depressurized and poped open.

Whome ever was there to great the Gartagens in the rain would see first, not Tam, and his men, but armored soldiery step out. They then formed a peremeter around the ship. They were clad in thick plate armor, and held energy rifles in their gloved hands, though they did not aim them at any on the pad. Aaki would note these people were not big. The tallest stood around 5'7" with the average height of the group being about 5 feet tall.

After the guard had been set, Tam, and the rest of the crew would disembark.

The heavy rains pelted the crew as they advanced down the pad. None of them had umbrellas. Tam spoke to his first officer. "There hasnt been rain on the home world in 600 years. Here on Azorea it never stops."

The first officer shrugged. "It makes for symbolism. These people are likely different to us, the way this world is different to ours..."

Landing Pad


Just as Tam had said this, Aaki was telling the Azorean, Romule, "Remind me to get myself a few hired guns, as well. I'm beginning to think I'll need a show of force in the future."

"I'll let you handle that in the future, for now," Romule said, "let's focus on the task at hand."

Doing so, Aaki Loleth took several steps forward and extended her hand to the Commander and began to greet him in her own language, Saalsari, before switching to Trade.

"Dreamer's greetings," she said twice in either language. "May our ancestors awaken and smile on our meeting today."

Tam was not handsome. He had some weight on him and was clearly older. His greying locked hair was tied to a tail behind his head, and his round face was stoney, and lacked smile lines. Though his blue eyes were kind and wanted to match his skin, the blue hue was fading, and giving way to the grey of his hair. The skin on his face was forming craters as his age showed, and he looked up at the Iroma woman and took her hand. "May they indeed, madam." He said then lowering to one knee, and bowing his head to the top of her wrist."

"I am honored to meet you, as are we all."

Tam then stood up and released her hand. "And...you should. Have hired guns. The cluster is a very dangerous place. Sending my RRF detachment out was a precaution...learned from time in the void. I hope I did not offend."

Aaki jutted her chin out and her own blue eyes looked out to the sea as he took a knee. She motioned with one hand for him to raise himself up after a moment and then looked between him and his assembly of those with energy rifles and armor.

Aaki said to Tam, "I ask of the saints for them to protect me as well as they have protected you, then, in case of a catastrophic event I do not wish on any of us. Come," she gestured calmly with her free hand as the other held her umbrella stiffly overhead. "Let us convene in the city proper, unless you would like to go to my offices instead of taking the tour."

Tam nodded. "I respect that." he said with his raspy voice. He him self was spitirual, even religious to a degree. He venerated the Star god Shara. "My own god is not so protective. Shara dictates we are to stand for our selves and those who can not. At the end of it, I feel we will be fine in present company, and I shall follow your lead into the city."

"Then there is where we shall go," Aaki said to him as she motioned towards the city, which was crested with high-rise, twisting buildings of glass and metal that glistened in the overcast light of mid-day.

Tam turned to his crew. "Make a vacation of it. Be on your best behavior. We are guests here."

"Ay Sai" They cried in rehearsed unison."

Tam would walk at her side and speak. "Truth fully I was initially alarmed. Azorea was always a system under threat. For a moment I had feared our aquatic neighbors had been subjugated."

The Azorean that stayed next to Aaki and Tam chuckled and let out a low, "That is far from the case. Aaki is one of the diplomats sent to Sudran to begin peaceful and political talks between our nations, as well as those of other nations that do not fall under either of our Commonwealths' flags."

Aaki mused, "It would be pertinent to say now that I have little to know information on your species, the Gartagens. My partner here would like to tell me more about you, but I have stifled him in telling me in order to hear from you, instead, about your species. Your Union."

Tam halted. "Im familiar with Azorea due to the politics of our first contact. At the time, the Azorean government was...rightfully fearful of NMX invasion of their world. Our initial diplomatic team proposed we send a defense fleet to the system to ensure that didnt happen. An attack did come...a skirmish...and interestingly it resulted in a detachment of your people showing up. It was a clumbsy defense. One I am ashamed to say I was apart of..and defacto commander of.

Though I objected to absorbtion of the Azoreans. We managed to hold off the NMX incursion. Though we had no official video communications, Your ships and commander did salute us and we for their selfless valor. We then spent the next three years chasing the NMX away from Azorea. In the end the vote came, and Azorea chose to remain automous. Ultimatly we respected this."

Tam nodded to the Azorean.

"This is my first time viewing an Iromakuanhe. I must say, as member of your species, you are a vision. I pray you are the standard example."

"My people are...I'd describe them as quiet. Tinkerers. We generally try to mind our own affairs, and maintain a policy of non imperialism. Our ships are for defense, as well as the preservation of the species. Aiding other species falls in that line and influences our doctrine."

"Grace is bestowed in your words, Commander Tam," Aaki told him. "I have small recollections of this so-called skirmish. From what reports I saw, both your side and my side fought together against a common enemy well and without that event in our history, perhaps I would have been holding a gun, myself, upon greeting you."

"Ive never seen such bravery in another species for the defense of another species."

"Id have awareded your commander with every medal and honor, if I had the power."

"That makes me proud of who I serve and why I do," Aaki told him.

She led them into a fully windowed tunnelway that led them upwards and went on, "I find relations between our two nations beyond that battle is lacking, as I'm sure you do. Is there anything you would like to come out of a budding acquaintanceship between the two of our nations?"

Tam stood, and placed his hands behind his back. "Your people are insular. I do not mean to be so blunt. But I am under the impression you do not like aliens. I will say I see the wisdom of that philisophy."

Tam followed but spoke in earnest. "My people's philisophy is one of pragmatism. We do not wish to step on our neighbors field. Nor are we interested in subjugating or exploiting our neighbors. However, there are dangers...evils. My people are currently in turmoil due to alien influences."

"So making allies. even unlikely is in our interests. So, What I wish for? I wish for this initial meeting to bring about a lasting friendship. Perhaps even an alliance for the safety, security, and prospetiry of both our peoples."

At the prospect of alien interference in their Union, Aaki was noticeably perturbed as she said, "And what alien influences are those?"

"A threat of Annexation. By an alien nation. One we have addressed. But has, had a lasting impact. Standing alone...which we attempted resulted in aggressive neighbors making aggressive gestures."

"I can promise you now that as long as your gestures towards us remain peaceful, out gestures towards you will remain so, as well. There is no reason for any kind of aggression." Aaki was resolute in that decision, knowing she could make it on behalf of the Commonwealth as they walked into a large domed building with a glass ceiling hundreds of feet above them and a sprawling open-air metropolis underneath it. The rain splattered against the clear ceiling and Aaki looked up at it for a moment with a smile on her face, forever able to be entranced by something as simple as the weather. She wasn't a simple woman in many regards, if any at all besides her love for the rain. She was well-suited to this wet world she found herself on.

"An alliance, I can not promise, but something else much more minimal I can indeed give you. We are looking to expand our reaches into our neigbors' territories —and I'm not talking about BEST KEBABS and Treasure Trove stands," she muttered with a cheerful grin before her face grew serious again as she led them through the marketplace.

"An alliance is something to work towards, I agree." Tam said closing his heavy eyes and taking in the sound of the rain. The smells of the market were all ready filling his sensitive nose.

"Typically on first contact...and we have the paper work. We offer an open trade agreement. Your merchants are free to operate in union space, and trade openly...if the goods are hand crafted there is no importation tax."

The second part of the charter is a pact of non-aggression, and a pledge not to violate your soverignty.

The third provision stipulates Union Military assets wont violate your borders, or attack your ships so long as you do not do the same."

The fourth is new. We have laid claim to a large void of space upspin of our territory. It is open for colonization. The Abwherans, our neighbors have taken on this. We patrol the region, and keep these new colonists safe. Open access to the colonial zone would ensure regular contacts.

As well as the offer of land for your people to open and maintain an Embassy on our home world

Tam passed through the market, and noted his people were already examining the wares. But. It appears tensions will continue to grow high in the region. So while an alliance is something to work for.

I am familiar with the capabilities of your fleet. And judging by its composition you are set up for defense and like us disinterested in conquering the galaxy. But there are larger empires at work in the cluster. So I can lay an offer of a mutual defense pact. Not as binding as an alliance. It would be on that stipulates if any invade Iromakuanhe territory, or a holding, they could call on the union for aid. As well as like wise. Wars of aggression would naturally be exempt. But with such a defense provision, it would promote mutual cooperation on the military level, and allow free access of Iroma assets through union space. As well as granting you the ability to establish trade routes. What do we get? A new friend. New oppertunities, as well as a step towards deterring aggression from other space fairing nations."

Tam reached for a kebab. Hoping to obtain a sample. He did not smile at the vendor, but studied the alien intently.

Aaki had been listening intently, looking about the market as he did, seemingly capable of both listening and looking with a focused air about her. The market vendor studied Tam right back, then Aaki cracked a smile towards the vendor and the Azorean man then made a motion to take the kebab Tam was reaching for.

"The head of state is the Makuzhar and we have a house of representatives and a conclave, which I am a part of. This mutual defense pact is not something I have the ability to comment on, myself, but is something that will assuredly be going up the levels of bureaucracy immediately."

Aaki shivered a bit as she spoke, her senses alighting to the prospects laid open to her and her people. She wanted so much to make the decision for him on the spot, but that she couldn't do. That she would never do. And, so, she stayed quiet for a moment.

Tam nodded. "I understand. I was not expecting acceptance right this instance. Merely presenting the options the Empress Vishta her self tasked with me. She is young. Merely a girl many say. But she is one of the better leaders we have had."

"Now, it is my turn to listen. I wish to know of your offers, the desires of you and your people. I have spoken more than what an old man is accustomed to. Many call for my retirement...but the Empress has denied me..and sent me into the void for....security is what she said. She needed the best of her world in space, and speaking for her."

Bronzi took the Kebab, and offered a silver, coin with waved patterns on it to the shop keeper. "Though I was unprepared. Typically when entering the home of another we offer a gift."

Tam looked at his officer's great coat. "Usually a weapon. But as a show I did not bring my blade or pistol for his meeting..." He grumbled. He then reached to the left breast of his navy coat, and took the medal he had pinned to his lapel. The object was gemed with rubies, and made of the metals that comprised the armor of their ships. The seal was th bust of a beautiful young woman.

He offered the trinket to Aaki. "The seal of the empress. The Symbol of her authority, rewarded to me for valor in service to the union. I am not a rich man. I come from humble origins. This is probably one of my most prized possessions. Take it, on behalf of my ship, crew, and people. To you, and yours."

"There is nothing in the universe I would rather accept than that which you hand me, Commander Tam." Aaki reached out and graciously brought the seal of the empress into her hand and held it at eye level for a moment. It did not look like she was appraising it or eyeing it for its worth, but rather was apprently humbled and there was a misting of emotion in her eyes as she studied the seal.

"For you," Aaki said after she had meticulously pinned the seal onto her dress robes. "For you I have very little, but I would hope you will accept this from me." She then brought from her pocket what looked like lightweight leather straps. "Hlaraian clothblades. To use them one must be strong of will. I do not expect it to work for your species without a great deal of practice and work. They are derived from a barnacle-like cephalopod known as the Arma."

Aaki looked around the mall and motioned for him to follow her down an entranceway and brought the two of them so that they were close, fighting the eyes of passerby with their body.

It was then that Aaki activated the clothblade with her will, neurally interfacing with the empathic piece of seemingly innocuous cloth. It straightened and stiffened until it was knife-like. Quickly, she relaxed it and when it was limp, handed it to the Commander.

"It is yours," she said. "Since you have no weapons on you, I can see it being beneficial."

Tam followed Aaki dutifully, like a young man out on the first date with a cherished lover. He stood, with his hands behind his back and watched her carefully, and listening to every word she was saying as he observed the item brought from her pocket. When the blade flashed to life Aaki would see Tam's blade shaped irises widen. He did not move or react. When the tool was offered to him he bowed and took it.

He then studied the weapon intently not saying anything. "Barnacle? This weapon is...a living organism. This galaxy and its inhabitants never cease to astonish and amaze. I am honored."

There was a ceremonial air to the way Aaki returned the bow the Gartagen showed her and she and Tam were both seemingly on the same level of respect for one another as she watched him hold the now-soft weapon. Walking back towards the main thoroughfare of the shopping center, she spoke again.

"My duties are fulfilled if I am able to astonish or amaze. My day is made if I am able to do both at once. I do need to sit down and write out a formal desctiption of our first contact and your propsed alliance for my people."

Aaki went on, "Please, would you mind greatly walking me back to my offices now that I am weaponless? I am not inept nor incapable of defending myself, but the company is what I seek, if I am to be honest.

Tam gave Aaki a soft small smile. An expression few if any have ever seen. "It would be my duty to escort you, and my privilege." He said as he held the now soft blade in his hand. It took moments as Tam' shifted his eyes to the inert weapon. It flashed to life. Hardening in his grip. Tam stood observing the small being. "Thank you..." He whispered...speaking to it. His gravely voice dulling down to a bassful soothing rumble. "Astonished indeed." He then allowed the device to go inert. Fastened it to his coat's leather belt.

"Tell me more of your people. My people have a saying: Judge your enemy by the arms they keep. Then you have their measure. Same works for people you just met in my experience. Weapons can be ceremonial. Or even precious heirlooms. This piece, this being is unlike anything my people have ever produced."

Tam observed Aaki, looking up at the lithe, taller, gentle Iroma. Were he a younger man by about 30 cycles. He probably would have initiated romance. But here he was, a stony aged veteran. Hundreds of battles, worlds, and difference species. Yet he had no home other than his ship. No wife. No off spring to carry on a legacy.

"I would much like to hear about you...if that is not too much."

"I have lived a life many Iromakuanhe lead. Lives on our worlds, colonies, and airships do not stray from being full of wonderment. Life for us does not lack in anything. We have had strife within the last five AR that has brought a black cloud over some facets of our living. We do not want more because of it. We do not struggle because of it. I fear the time that the future may hold in which we do, though, and do not look forward to finding its approach on us at any point in time." Aaki had spoken at length and with thoughtful pauses while she did. She had little to regret in her choice of words, but she regretted that she had to say the latter half of her statement at all.

She went on, "I do not hope for you to tell me all the answers I seek in this universe and the next. Saints, no! But can you tell me what your people would do when some of your people choose to live outside of the flag your nation flies?"

"My people understand. As do I." Tam said understand something of the situation she described. For all of their differences, and uniqueness as respectivly difference species...the problems that came with civilisation were there. There was common ground.

"The threat of Annexation caused, what many have named a civil war. Hundreds of years ago, before my world developed faster than light drive systems. We sent out sub light sleeper ships into space in the hopes of colonizing new worlds. To spread amoung the stars in an effort to presearve the race. Well it worked. Those people settled a new world. They built cities, ships. But during their long sleep to their new home...the scientists changed their biology ever so slightly...to make them compatibale to the new world. They changed to fit the planet."

Tam, with his stoney expression, and warmth, seemed to show emotion. His eye shifted down. "We found that world. It was named Ghal, and there were billions of people living on it...a fully developed world that rivaled my own. My people aimed a gun at them and told them Join the Union. Or else. A black mark on my people."

"Those people waited, bode their time and when they saw a chance they sought their revenge."

Tam then looked back at Aaki. "I dont have the answer. I simply meditate, and debate with my self about things I can not change. But what I can say is that, my people made a mistake when we forced those who did not wish to live under our flag...those who felt abandoned by that flag to do so."

"Ive been a voidsmen for...most of my life. I was born in space. I've seen wonders and horrors. None of it strikes fear into me, quite like the thought of what my own people can do to each other."

"You have given me much to think about," Aaki said to him. "Too much, I do not think. But certainly not too little. Thank you for that, Commander."

"My pleasure."

"My job is thinking. Sometimes the mind is the greatest challenge." He said with a soft nod, and locking his eyes on to Aaki's

"There are many challenges in life without the challenge of thought. But, somehow, when thinking is added into the equation life gets a little easier." Aaki said, "Now, I have told you of my own home and a bit of myself. At the same time, you have told me of your lands and people, but not about yourself. I am curious, you see."

Tam lifted his chin slightly at the inquiry. "Pardon?" He said not showing emotion. But the truth was in all of his diplomatic, professional dealings, he had never in all honesty been asked about who he was out side of his uniform.

"I was the only child to voidsman who mopped the deck of a tugship the Angia. My mother and father werent wealthy, and devoted the majority of their wages to having me educated. I stayed with them, and then, I was sent to a Union prepatory school. They instilled in to me, as a child military discipline. I learned the finer things. etiquette, manners, history, even poetry. But there I was essentially a scholarship boy, learning with the scions of the wealthiest families on my world. While I was there I kept to my self, focused on my education. But my eyes always drifted up. Space was my home. My world was just an idea to me."

Tam sighed. "When I finished my academic trial, I was offered an officer commission in the Union Solar Navy. I was then largely passed over for more well connected officers. Then first contact came. Then the call to war, and those well connected officers were thrust into combat against an alien foe with better technology than they had. Their worth showed, and other more qualified officers began to look promising."

"I then saw my chance, to shine...but I was an old man. In my youth I was louder and made enemies, so as a bit of a joke I was assigned that ship D'jehendrazade."

Tam breathed in pausing and looking at the living blade on his belt. "She is alive. As in the ship, she sings. Litirally. Our computer system is organic and provided for as a bit of a tithe my people have done to obtain and maintain out technology in this sector. Though unlike this beautiful creature, my ship is metat with a mind made of flesh. So, with the fire of war, and the back of my ship..I obtained a reputation as a Commander who can make the tough call, one who could take the fight to a superior foe and bring victory. Yet. To advance i'd have to give up the things I love. My ship, and my home.

"The citizens of the galaxy most of all."

Tam then looked up at Aaki. "I must say, That is the most I have ever spoken of my self."

"Thank you."

Aaki looked on, not pausing in listening intently at any time. She was made fully aware that Tam was a perseverent man, a capable one, and above all else, a thoughtful Gartagen that was ever-present minded. She wanted to know more. She wanted to gather up and be able to ruminate on just what it was that made up Commander Tam and release it back to him with gratitude and joy.

And, so, she went on to ask, "How did you give up the citizens of your galaxy? You mentioned in your civil war there was a position that you'd rather have not put people in. What was your hand in that?"

"I was offered command of the fleet that was dispatched to Ghal." Tam said after a breif pause.

He drew silent for a moment, but his expression wasnt obvious. He stood, hands behind his back, his heavy frame moving as he inhaled. "I turned the position down, because it would have required me to change ships, and maintain a planet side office. The man they chose behind me was....less than apt for the position. As a result, that choice has cost my people lives. It is one of the regretful choices ive made in my life. One i'd reverse"

"To save others does not always mean to save onself," Aaki noted. "It is a tough choice to make when you do not know the true consequences. Many of my colleagues find their sphere of influence to be a game to be played. Do you adhere to the same principles?"

"No. I beleive in service to others and making a difference. My birth has made me Gartagen. But I know the peoples that live in this galaxy arent inherently much different. So no, I dont find games to be played with lives. I avoided the position partly out of spitefulness, but mostly to avoid politics."

"And yes, we can always say a choice is good or bad, an unfortunate truth my lady." Tam said as he reached into his coat pocket an present a large bell shaped pipe. He then began calmly and with clear practice packing the contraption with his left hand, pulling a tuft of aromatic minty smelling down from a small sack on his left hip.

"We smoke a many substances where I am from," Aaki told him. "If that is what you are about to do," she added.

Then she began to muse as they walked closer to the office buildings of the downtown district, saying pleasantly, "I think there are so few limitations to what species can do together that the boundaries are limitless, so much so that they double in on themselves and become capable of being constricted by the tiniest breeze. I do not want to see constriction between our species. I want to see boundlessness. I want to know you have made a choice you will not regret. Nor I."

Tam lit the pipe and began effortlessly puffing. "Regret is what i'd imagine all thinking people do. I typically find I regret inaction, or not making a call. Taking a step to...boundlessness as you said is not something I would regret."

"I should like to visit your world and try many of the substances you have." Tam said as plume of thick minty smelling smoke filled the air.

"A treaty is a step towards that 'boundlessness' for both our people. What can come from it is limitless." Then, Aaki said, "This is my office, Commander Tam. I would like to see you tomorrow morning once I have heard back from the Makuzhar. Would you like to meet me again?"

Tam nodded. "I would. Though we will be departing tomorrow evening. So, I should like to see you again before we head back out into space."

Tam would bow softly. "Thank you for your hospitality. I look forward to my next visit Lady Aaki."

Aaki's Office
Bukor 4, 942
8:00, Commonwealth Standard Time


Unconcerned and quite calm, Aaki sat at her desk with her legs crossed and hands on her knees as her pink lips puckered and her blue eyes raised away from her book and shone as she watched the elevator's light turn on. The chime of an arriving guest made her lips draw into a smile and she closed the book and put it back on the shelf behind her after she had gotten up from her desk to place it there.

She walked towards the elevator doors centrally located in her office, ready to greet the welcome guest.

Promptly Tam slowly stepped in taking a look around the room. Something was different about him, he appeared to be a bit more, spit and polish then he was when he was seen the evening before. His heavy coat was pressed, and wasnt a faded color. His deck boots has an oily sheen, and his dreadlock like hair was organized and pulled back. He had taken more care considering this meeting was planned, as opposed to the impromtu meeting the day before.

The blade she had given him was at his waist, in what appeared to be a soft leather sheath, fastined to his duty belt. Tam would approach Aaki's desk, but would remain standing until offered to sit.

"Good morning Lady Aaki."

"Good morning to you, as well," Aaki said. "And dreamer's greetings to you." She smiled pleasantly and went to sit as she motioned towards the chair opposite hers.

"The Makuzhar, Conclave, and House of Speakers have all reached a decision on your proposal, would you like to start with that or are there less pressing matters to speak of first?" Aaki said, letting Bronzi Tam decide the route of the conversation.

"Well." Tam said hesitating.

Then he exhaled, letting his chest shrink. "I have received new orders." Tam's eyes were wary. A good judge of character could tell the other wise stone faced old man was clearly nervous about damaging the relationship he was attempting to cultivate in the name of diplomacy.

"I have been instructed to remain on station and patrol this region of space. Not out of suspicion. Yamatai is at war. The admirals wish to have a ship on stand by incase Azorea, or any of the civilian ships in this region come under attack."

"But I must confess, personally, I am worried about how it will look to your people. So...I will bend the orders slightly if you wish and head to the trade lanes to patrol the passing convoys. Ergo, I'll hug Yamataian space."

"Please," Aaki said, her pleasant smile not having diminished, "sit." She motioned to the chair.

Tam would then calmly sit down.

"There is no reason to think 'my people' would be upset by this action. This is an Iromakuanhe joint-territory with the Azoreans, which gives you a little less to be concerned with. Above that is the nature of this territory as a stronghold of diplomacy. We will in no way take this as a presumptuous action or one that negates the treaty we have in the works. If that is all...?" Aaki trailed off, letting him note her statement was also a question.

"I just wished to continue with directness and honesty, rather than park a warship on your door step. Off the record. The Union government and the Empress seems intent on keeping you safe. I'd argue they are being paranoid but events have made me see their wisdom. So I suppose they'd feel better knowing Azorea can receive swift help."

"I...am releived. A treaty?" Tam said smiling slightly.

"I am anxious to tell you of such things. Yes, a treaty. The govermnet of the commonwealth has gotten back to me about this." Aaki then slid her IroCom form the side of the desk and towards Tam. She opened it on it he could see the treaty they had come up with based on Tam's first contact stipulations.

"This isn't too... much is it?" Aaki Loleth asked.

Tam drew silent as he read over the treaty. "No. This is a very reasonable first step."

He looked up at Aaki. "I wasn't expecting a response so swiftly. Though I do not take the prudence for granted. I do not know much of your people, but I most certainly was under the impression, they did not act with out thought."

Tam paused. "Which could suggest..."

"That we perhaps have given this thought before this point in time, Commander Tam?" Aaki asked. "We have. You and the Azoreans are allies. That is no sercet. Knowing you would soon come seeking what we seek, as well, was no big leap of the imagination. What I want to know, Commander Tam, are what secrets does the Union have that we now are the bearers of?"

Aaki pushed her elbow onto her desk and rested her chin on the palm of her hand as she did. "What do I not want the weight of on my shoulders, but now must bear?"

Tam nodded. "As you said, our diplomatic ties are no secret. Our mistakes are not much of a secret either. But our ideas are. My people tend to be...insular when left to their own devices. But the secret is the formation of a United Council of worlds. Not just us, but for all the races of the Kikyo cluster to cooperate. It was a long term stragety. A bit of a secret. Something we did not speak of, but it was always hinted at during our lessons and training."

"And what are you trained to do to ensure this 'United Council'?" Aaki asked, full of questions, now. She did not lean forward, but it looked as if her head grew heavier on her hand.

"Speak first, shoot second. Defend those who cant defend them selves. Do what ever we can to foster positive inter species interactions. Speak to others out side of the union only about this concept.."

"It goes beyond defense. It is about building better worlds."

Aaki had a good deal to think about regarding this subject and her eyes drifted away from Tam and to the rain-studded windows. She only momentarily watched the water rush against and down the windows before looking back to him.

"What makes your Empress a good leader, Commander Tam?" Aaki asked, her words choice as if selected very carefully.

Tam with out hesitating spoke. Something he actually was not accustomed to doing. "I've been alive under 4 Emperors. Empress Vishta is exceptional. But what makes her a good leader? She cares about her people. About all peoples."

Tam wanted to ask Aaki a similar question. "I'd ask your question back at you. But, I'm not entirely sure that is relevant."

"I'm not entirely sure, either. But I will tell you our Makuzhar is a just one, though he is moreso a figurehead than a decider of state. We have the Conclave and the House of Speakers for that." Aaki nodded her head to the IroCom that the treaty was still shown on.

Aaki said, "That is how we came up with this proposal from your rights of first contact. Now, tell me more about the other species in this sector. I know little about them. There is a Nepleslian senator in this city that would love to speak with you, but beyond a Nepleslian, Azoreans, and a Freespacer, there are little other species I personally have met."

Tam nodded as she spoke. " Where do I begin." He said with a straight face.

"And to the Senator. I'd be more than happy to meet with him before I embark back into space."

Tam pulled out a small device from his coat pocket. A hand held data pad that projected an image to Aaki. The image was of a tall, flesh colored scalp haired male with four arms and two legs.

"This is an Abweheran. Heavy worlders. Very bearucratic people. They maintain a small military force and slowly develop their technology. Generally they keep to them selves. We trade with them, and maintain a peaceful treaty with them. Mostly we do not bother them and they do not bother us."

Another creature, similar to the Abwehran appeared, only it had wings, and was very powerfully built. "Lorath. Warlike and aggressive, but well intentioned. You make not like what they have to say, and they can be...antagonistic, they have to my knowledged not launched a war of aggression against any species."

Then a foxlike alien appeared spinning before her. "Species of the Kingdom of Neshatan, another neighboring nation. They threatened my people with annexation. But other wise are fairly new on the scene, and thus mysterious."

Finally a beautiful woman appeared. Well proportioned, perfect skin, body, face. Too perfect. "Yamataian, basic body. We call them synthoids. The species is biological....but a synthetic. They transfer their minds into fleshy constructs of their design. A large and powerful empire, warlike. Highly advanced. their ships are intensly powerful and well planned, their navy very well organized. Probably the best star ship crews I have ever seen. Fearless, brave. Beautiful. The Yamatians dominate the region with their might. They have also treated my people with absolute respect, and have been very courtious. We maintain an alliance and fought the NMX next to them.

The NMX...are yamatians who broke away and formed their own empire. They invaded the Empire of Yamatai and destroyed worlds, raped and pillaged, and the Empire of Yamatai managed to defeat them."

Aaki noticeably shivered and said, "I don't want to see NMX anywhere near my territory... I have heard stories. The Yamataians are an interesting group. Is there any way you could use your alliance with them in order to ask them to come to Kyope?"

"I, am friends with the Empress Vishta. I speak to her daily. The Empress of Yamatai and Her have a direct line of communication. So yes, I think we can, we would even be willing to host the meeting if it is your wish."

"No you do not. I know we do not have any military obligation to your people. But if the NMX came to Iroma territory, we send would ships and troops to aid you in your defense. No treaty needed, no questions asked. Those stories, are true."

"We would love to know that can happen. Both of those things," Aaki added. "I would like for that meeting to be made. Having some Yamataians on this planet would be more than beneficial to both parties involved."

"I agree. I suspect they will be most receptive to a formal meeting of you and your government. As I said, they have been very open and welcoming to my people. Immigrants to Yamatai and students as well as our military officer exchange program have reported nothing but positive experiences."

"They are probably the most alien people I have encountered, but they stand amoung the best."

"Which when speaking of Yamatai, you inevitably end up speaking of the Nepleslian. My people..have more in common with the Nepleslians than they do Yamatai. That being said, for a time, diplomatic relations between the Union and Nepleslia have disintigrated, they did not renew their nonaggression and trade treaty with us. That being said they are a passionate and dedicated people. Stubborn, hard. Unlike Yamatai they do not have perfection aiding them. Nor do they have the evolutionary advantages of my people or other species. They face the horrers of this galaxy with blood, and brave men and women. If Yamatai is the best people ive met, the Nepleslians are the hardest."

"That being said, the two nations are...siblings. Siblings quarrel. I am unsure of the current state of Nepleslian and Yamataian diplomacy. So be awares, you may have to chose one or the other...though Yamatai likely will not get their feelings hurt if you deal with Nepleslia. Nepleslia will. Passionate."

"That is of extraordinary help to me and my people, alike, Commander." Aaki bowed her head graciously, then said, "I thank you for your time spent here and thank you for all that you have allowed our people to have accomplished."

With that, she clasped her hands on her desk and the two of them adjourned for the day politely and with increased amounts of gratitude for one another.
 
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