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RP [Day 1] IRC YE 36

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Standing up from his seat, the Gerhard didn't bother buttoning his suit jacket back up, which made his belly stick out even more so than before. "I am the duly appointed Minister of State for the Abwehran Star Empire, Gerhard Stoffleth. Greetings to everyone of you. It is my purpose here to foster a new understanding and friendly ties with every one of your societies for the betterment of us all." he stated with a grin.

With nothing more to say, the old Abwehran sat back down and took a sip of his water glass.
"Now we can hopefully start some discussion on whatever matters have been brought to this." she said leaning over to speak to Legos. Kohaku then took a sip of Damuisa and savored the flavor. She looked around at the other delegates as they waited for the proceedings to begin now that introductions were done. After a moment or so she turned her direction back to the Premier.
"Thank you, everyone," Yuumi said, leaning forward some in her seat. She placed her elbows on the table and folded her hands together on it.

She paused for a moment, as if considering her words.

"This conference is not about my nation. It is not about any one of our nations, but all of them, together, surviving in this piece of the galaxy we call home. Alliances exist between some of us; states of conflict between others. That we all sit here today is a step in the direction toward peace. With luck and effort, there will be more.

"I wished to update you on the war against our most vicious adversary, one who has threatened all of our nations at one time or another. The NMX, thanks to each of our efforts, has been driven back to the outer reaches of our known space. They are not defeated, but they are beaten, and we can expect a time of peace in front of us.

"But it does not right the wrong of how it started. Citizens of my nation embarked on an endeavor to master the source of the NMX, and we unleashed it upon us all. My nation rightly is distrusted for this, among other actions we have taken. I did not apologize for this before. I do so now, on behalf of my government, my empress and my people, for what we have done to you in our name."

Yuumi rose. She did not look at anyone in particular, but her natural line of sight was toward Coast. She bowed once, her nose nearly to the table, then unfolded herself and sat down, taking up the same position as before.

"Last we met at this conference, I proposed an alliance of mutual goals, primarily to crush the NMX. It was not accepted, and the blame for that solely rests with my people. So it is my hope here today to see an opportunity for all of us to see friends in each other, if not more formal ties."

She sat back in her seat, only her the edges of her clasped palms touching the table. "I cede the floor now to whoever requires it. For now, we shall speak of war and peace."
Nibbi didn't usually crack her knuckles, but when she did, the little snaps and pops from each of her fingers could be heard. Perhaps it was the whiskey in her system that was leading her to make the first punch. "It is a wonderful thing that you are able to accept responsibility, and that we have a common foe."

As Nibbi started to speak, Snider had a gut feeling where her words were going to go, and that led him to begin crunching numbers, crunching numbers from over the bulk of the last Yamataian decade.

"However, to fight a common foe, we have had to be properly equipped and prepared - and the Lorath populace has endured many upsets in space. The Moon Drop on Lor Prime, the dissolution of the United Outer Colonies, the Asura altercations, swiftly contained by Taisho Morioka,"

Snider turned, holding up a data tablet, and upon it the words Don't forget our Xiaah were scrawled upon the display, for Nibbi to take a look upon.

"The... recent sacrifice of our beloved Xiaah," she sighed and paused to mutter a quick prayer, audible on the microphone, "may her soul find rest with the Goddess..."

Snider gave a short nod, before continuing to crunch numbers, it was a mere moment before he held up the data pad again, and at the bottom line of it there was a huge number, measured in KS, there was also another number beneath it, in vibrant red; a casualty count which numbered in the billions. It was clear, Snider had crunched all the information available; including the Occhestian deaths at the hands of the Matriarchy itself; every death, loss, and blunder which came about thanks to the SMX and NMX, including, the times in which Yamatai used them as an excuse to exploit or subjugate the Lorath.

"The Lorath, and perhaps the rest of the universe require repirations, a wage of sorts, a payment for our assorted battles with the NMX, SMX and the usurpers who'd side with them from within, or revolted against us for our loyalty to your Empire years past." she cricked her neck after referring to the Occhestians, looking down at the datapad. The number was large. "Of course, payment need not be immediate. Installments are fine," she said, as if to sweeten the seemingly lopsided deal.

There was a moment in which the Helashio turned the data pad back to himself, before working it in his grasp, then turning it back around for Nibbi to see; Don't forget to include that reparations can be in other forms!

"Or we can take payment in kind from whoever wishes to cast the first gift." She smiled and nodded after looking back to Snider. "We are not fussy, only that a just due is met, as are those of the rest of us-" she shot a knowing glance to the Nepleslians and the Gartagens - she'd seen news reports on commercial and government releases earlier that morning, "who've dealt with the SMX, NMX and their menace."

Nibbi shuffled and rolled her shoulders as she remained standing. She didn't even realise she'd gotten out of her chair and sat back down carefully, almost as though she was nestling an egg that she'd just laid to the conference - though not literally like it was in the second Relations Conference - home office was laughing about that for weeks. Now let's see how they do a reach around. Nibbi pondered.
Xiaah - there was a reason why he wished Fate was here right next to Nibbi, and not her.

That obviously being that the former just couldn't...come here. He really didn't want to think about it. Tough Nepleslian or not, pretty ladies never coming back home like that made him feel queasy. And even though Johnathan only knew of that name, that person, because he was a man completely without shame in regards to certain aspects, he honestly felt a little sick at the thought of what had happened. That was just one person. A lot of people had died thanks to this whole mess. And the worst part? It wasn't the Mishhu's fault.

"Yeah, what the pretty lady with winglets said," Johnathan spoke up, voice somewhat laid back as he was still kicked back and with his feet on the table. "What they went through from getting dragged into this mess was bad," he gestured towards Nibbi, " - and it's the same thing for us. A lot of people died out there, nearly our entire senate included, and this war had dragged on for years. I already don't want to think about how many of our guys and girls who were actually lucky enough to only die, and I still have to think about the people who weren't," the Nepleslian senator emphasized, his usual playfulness turning serious. As his arms rested behind his head, a lone finger tapped the hard edge of the chair as he grumbled to himself a little in thoughts. It was hard finding the right words. He looked relaxed, but deep in thought as he sat there. "Look, I don't want to look like a dick, but I'll try and cut the crap; we've all gotten in this mess because of...well, I really don't want to say 'you' because it's not your fault Yuumi, and I don't want to say 'Yamatai' since that just carpet bombs everybody that lives here, but you know what I mean. For all that, could you spare us a bone here? Some resources and stuff to rebuild with maybe?" he asked her, finger and thumb just a millimeter apart from touching as he asked, a faint hint of pleading in his voice.

It was obvious what he was getting at, no matter how softly he tried to put it - this was all Yamatai's fault. He knew it, Coast knew it. Everybody knew it. And now, they were all looking at the person who lit the whole entire forest on fire after getting burned to put it out. Not literally of course. Johnathan himself trusted Coast to know exactly what he was doing of course. Otherwise, the man would have never made it to where he was now.

That was why he didn't bother sending a message to his own Premier - they knew what kind of guilt trip of an avalanche they were setting up.
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Yuumi said nothing to Johnathan; he was in the gallery, and it wasn't her place to talk to him, let alone his to talk to her. That he wasn't telling Coast this was beyond her, but Johnathan lacked manners as well as sobriety.

It didn't matter. He had his say, and he had his chance to pile on. That was the point, after all; it was time for everyone to shit on Yamatai and get it over with.

Yuumi had to know what they wanted if she was going to be able to help anyone.

She waited for more statements.
Gerhard frowned when talk of reparations became the first instance of diplomacy to be brought up. That was something for Yamatai and the Matriarchy to deal with --- not the interstellar community at large. To speak of it aloud in the midst of a conference was just begging the community to put pressure upon the Yamatai Star Empire. Politically, it was cunning --- if boorish. Diplomatically, it was intolerable, at least in Gerhard's mind. Already he could hear the excuses that would have been used in his home nation's political arenas.

Clearing his throat loudly, the Abwehran stood up to his full height and smiled. "Gentle Middlewoman, while I can appreciate your candor and bravery for stating what you believe needs to be said , we of the Abwehran Star Empire came to this conference to speak about matters of interstellar concern and not diplomatic matters solely between two stellar polities." the Minister of State replied frankly. "If reparations are needed, they need to be done between the affected parties with mediation, if need be. If you'd like, the Abwehran Star Empire would gladly mediate such discussions later on," Gerhard continued in that accent-less Trade he had introduced himself with earlier.

"I also believe that members of the gallery are to be advisers to their chosen Representatives. Please refrain from breaking the policies set by the Conference." he continued without looking towards the source of the issue, before taking his seat. He would make the statement he wanted to make after this matter was settled.
Kohaku listened to the others, she was about to speak when Gerhard did and chose to remain silent. Legos made a soft clearing of his throat and then leaned towards her and said softly his nostrils flaring showing disapproval.

"Emissary, why are we listening to such mewling from these vonai'bu. It is disgraceful what they are doing, dishonoring their dead by speaking of payment. There is no price one can name for a life. What gives a life value is how it is lived, and how one dies.

The dead care not for such compensation. Asking for it these vonai'bu cheapen their sacrifice. "

Kohaku put a hand on Legos' shoulder and replied softly. "I understand your sentiments. This discussion is more about making Yamatai look bad than it is about currency."

She turned back to the table., "I agree with Gerhard Stoffleth. If this session is going to be turned into a discussion best left between the supposed aggrieved parties. Then kindly table the matter and handle this in a private manner."
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Snider listened to the remarks from the Abwehrans as well as those of the Hidden Sun, and could not help but to wonder just how little they had been bled by the war, and just how little they had invested at Yamatai's side over the last decade. There was a cultural concept embedded amongst the Helashio and Lorath; the concept of compensation and debt. His people were a living example of the extreme of the concept, in being indentured to repay the wrong which they had carried out against the Lorath several thousand years prior. Snider also knew of the way which the Lorath were fixated on repaying their debts, such as their unflinching commitment to the formation United Outer Colonies in response to the way in which the 5th Expeditionary Fleet had committed themselves to protecting the Lorath from the SMX, not as part of an Empire, but part of a group of people which had lost their own home. Settling debts was a way of life for the Matriarchy and all her citizens, and to hear two groups speak so insensitively toward the concept, left Snider's tail swishing as he resisted the urge to make a single-fingered gesture which he had learned from Nepleslian media.

Instead; Snider vented his frustration by writing a big note on his data pad, which he displayed to Nibbi; Yamatai brought it up, damn it! Fuck them for even beginning to accuse us of being petty! When someone comes bowing at the waist crying sorry, you tell them what they do to earn it! Snider's face was one of positively fuming, unknown to the others, he was still very flustered over the cultural botch-up which had happened outside of the conference, and to have another bout of having something culturally ingrained dismissed, it left him rather riled. If he were an ordinary Helashio, it would have resulted in an outburst and likely some sort of embarrassing incident, however, Snider instead crossed his arms and scowled darkly in the direction of what he was thinking of as the 'four-armed-anchors' and the 'flavor-of-the-day felines'.
Yuumi had heard enough. She had what she needed.

"My nation is prepared to talk of compensation, Premier, Middlewoman," she said, nodding to each in turn. "We owe you. And I welcome speaking of it later. But this is about all of us right now, and I don't wish to become bogged down in this now.

"Besides which, Premier." She looked to Coast. "You've not contributed yet."
It was hard for the Abwehran delegation to get used to variety of pheromones being generated in the room. Gerhard took most of it in stride and took a sip of water, even as he felt hostility rise in the air from the Matriarchy side of the table. His bodyguard's hawk-like eyes seemed to zero in on the wafting sense of frustration and irritation, the violet eyes narrowing at the Matriarchy representatives as she focused on every little movement they made. However, besides that, the Oberbootsman's body stayed almost statue-still.

The Administrative Aide tried to ignore it by concentrating on recording the proceedings with her touch-computer. The Chief Aid sat stoically and proceeded to tap something out onto her touch-computer, which caused Gerhard's computer to buzz almost silently. His eyes glanced over the screen to view the message before tapping upon it himself to reply.
Yuumi's manner of speech reminded Washran of how learning Trade had initially bothered him - particularly the more polite forms that had been identified as more common to Yamatai. Different cultures, different ways indeed. He had worked to learn why such forms were so often taken in a positive light with all its inefficiencies to ensure he would manage discussions with them without being as perturbed by it as most of his compatriots might be. Though the Elder did not like such speech, he at least understood their necessity in the broader seas of the galaxy.

When the Lorath Representative started into listing some reparations her nation wanted, the aged Azorean continued to require effort to maintain his presence of being, understanding that she was only expressing a need. However when one of the seated Nepleslian delegates spoke up, it was like a break in the muddy waters to hear things delivered at least somewhat more plainly. It made some of the discussions Ryantax had with him about their close southern neighbours make much more sense and pleased him greatly.

Then the Abwehran Representative spoke his need for procedural order and desire for, possibly, a more inclusive discussion topic. A sentiment the Hidden Sun Clan seemed to mirror, though one of the delegates seemed to remind him of one sick shadowfang from the zoo back home - the poor thing got so sick that it eventually needed to be euthanized. Washran, however, was sure the delegate in question was more irate instead. A perceived insult? He would need to find out later.

The very grey Azorean soon picked up his data pad and worked on a message which he sent to Ryantax and Asri:

Keep calm, especially once they start talking to us.
Ryantax sat there watching the spectacle before him. It sickened him that such things were being thrown about, it was all about tainting this conference and turn it into a frenzy of accusation and betrayal. 'And to think I fought our own Senate to send us to this, maybe all those years of isolation was better for us.'

Taking a sip of his water he started wondering if the Azoreans should just leave. This wasn't anymore about coming together in friendship and goodwill. It was all about slinging as much dirty water around as they can. This was all a joke, plan and simple. If this line continued nothing worthwhile would happen and they would all leave here just as de-unionize as they were when they first all came in this room.

Tapping one of his webbed fingers on his glass he looked down at the tablet before him with the message from Washran flashing slowly.

I get that. The question for you two is, Do ether of you two feel there is a chance that this conference will turn from this, to something worth the time and effort?
All the while the big cheeses had been talking, Valken had sat back, drumming his fingers and listening inattentively. His wasn't to negotiate settlements or anything like that. His job was to simply provide the purely military. Compensation wasn't directly a military matter. But the remarks by the ASE and these cat people? No, that was a military matter. It was something the military needed to address. This was a political issue Nepleslians would go to war over.

He sat upright, looking at Charlie Coast. The man knew the imperatives. He knew what Nepleslia had suffered during the Rok'Veru Offensive just as well as Valken. There was a principle at stake here. Yamatai couldn't be trusted to back up its words. Not with a spineless Empress and the Ketsurui Clan basically running every damn thing from the military to the government. No, these idiots who wanted to ignore this needed to be part of the process. They needed to witness how Yamatai played its reparations. They could dig their heads under the ground and pretend big things weren't happening. But then, if that was their goal, they shouldn't be here.

Yamatai, or its Premier specifically, had actually acknowledged that Yamatai owed a debt. Instead of paying off such a thing in secret like some scandalous deal, the thing was best done in full view. Valken would even have wanted media coverage of the public statement! That would go a way to addressing some of Yamatai's issues. Not all, not even close to all. But these fools who wanted it tabled were about to dilute the significance of these verbal concessions. The point had to be rammed home. The galaxy needed to know whether Yamatai would pay off its blood debt or not. Because the very stability of the galaxy depended on that answer. Would Nepleslia continue to be snubbed? Would the Lorath become the victim of another genocide? If these fools were going to sit by and not participate in something they all had indirect stakes in, they should be tossed out an airlock and replaced with someone more competent. This discussion was a power play between Yamatai and its strongest political opponents. Deferring the confrontation would only result in nothing important happening until this was fully resolved.

Reparations were the issue but the principle was whether or not Yamatai would follow through its words with meaningful action to heal the rifts it had created with its neighbors. Or would it continue on its proud, bellicose path?

Dominic Valken's eyes implored his friend and Sky Marshall to speak, or to let him speak. He leaned forward, the golden cord hanging off his right shoulder bouncing off his jacket. Hit them hard, Charlie. Or let me wipe the floor with them!
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Charlie Coast sat there, content to let the various representatives speak their cases on the issue of reparations. Far from an act of laziness, it was his way of getting to know the positions of each representative; where they stood on the issue, in order to get a baseline as to their general prejudices or mode of thought for the rest of the Interstellar Conference.

On one side were the Lorath, aiming to force the issue in a public setting where there was no possibility of it being shelved and then disregarded later. On the other side were those from the ASE and Hidden Sun Clans, attempting to diffuse the situation and not let it turn it into a pure attack on Yamatai's pride.

And there's nothing worse than a giant who has their pride damaged...

Coast's eyes met Valkens, and the Sky Marshall finally stood up.

"I sent untold numbers of Marines into a meat grinder, so that our loved ones would not know the horrors of war with the NMX. As far as I am concerned, the NMX were a blight on all of us, and as the Premier rightfully stated, the source of our collective suffering started with the nation she represents." Coast paused, locking eyes with Yuumi.

"It's pretty ballsy of you to admit such things before an interstellar conference, ma'am. We of the Democratic Imperium of Nepleslia do have such reparations to talk about, however..." Coast loosened the fist his right hand had inadvertently balled up into. "...I admire this attempt for you to gain credibility that your government has lost. I believe just as you have an obligation to repay our nations for the terror you unleashed into the interstellar community, we all have an obligation to have faith that you will actually back this attempt up with concrete, visible action." Coast unclenched his jaw.

"Otherwise, well...a nation that cannot back their words up will never be trusted by the rest of the interstellar community, and soon you may find yourselves short of friends in your darkest hour. We will not have the same problem."

Coast would let those final words hang for a moment, before taking his seat and looking in the direction of the Matriarchy.
Nibbi had looked at the reactions from the other stellar nations, and quietly wondered if in exchange for fiefdom, the likes of the Hidden Sun Clan and the Azoreans were buttered and given a comfortable rock to hide under, oblivious to the wars of the SMX and NMX and not being told where Yamatai had flailed or fumbled. The Abwehrans didn't bother her however - they had just been fortunate enough to stay out of the way of the Mishhuvirthyar war machine. A lot of their news reports from their state media scarcely addressed the issue.

She let the smouldering dictum of the Imperator linger in the air, knowing that his words carried weight. In any language, in any situation, making ill on your heavy promises would leave you untrusted. "Indeed, Premier Coast." She looked back to the people at large. "All we have done is follow up what the Yamataians have bought up on their own accord." The smile on her face towards Yuumi showed that, deep down, the apology after all the years of indifference was appreciated - but words were words.

Nibbi looked back to Premier Coast again before casting her gaze to the rest of the assembly, treading between aloofness and foolishness, "None of us have to discuss this immediately, a different session in this conference would be ideal." She clasped her hands and rested them against her belly. She hadn't raised or elevated her voice, nor had she mumbled as she felt the eyes of the universe look to- at her. She alone could not play victim; she was merely the Middlewoman. "Like all things in this, it is a stepping stone to interstellar peace, even if old skeletons have to come out of the closet to be laid to rest."
Johnathan couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at the Abwehran before leaning forward to rest his head on a hand. It wasn't until several others spoke that the Senator made to do so again from the gallery.

"Know what, I really need to get this out of the way," Johnathan began. "No offense everyone, but us here? All of us?" he asked, gesturing to the conference at large with a single finger in the air going round and round, "This is as high up as it goes. Rules are great when it's just elementary school kids in the sandbox, but at this point, where we're at? If they're too stuffy, it's only going to get in our way of actually talking to each other - could you imagine me, having to talk to Coast about what I want to say, have him approve it, and then having him say exactly what I was about to say? All when I'm just sitting right here?" He raised his hands in defense. "I sure as hell don't want to put him through all that, and if he doesn't like what I say, he can obviously tell me to shut up," the Senator pointed out. "Sure, maybe it's breaking rules or something, but I don't mean anything by it. It's just more pragmatic - I mean, I'm sure the people with you all have something to say, right?" he asked them.

He shrugged, leaning back into his seat to sit upright again.

"Anyways, it's pretty much as those two said, so I don't need to repeat that bit," Johnathan continued, referring to both Coast and Nibbi. "But there is something else," he began, eying them all. "Every one of us knows, and probably even thinks, that it looks bad to be asking for something like Reparations. Honestly though?" the Nepleslian Senator asked them, "I really envy you guys that think it's bad form for us to ask. I really do." As he spoke however, his relaxed tone of voice began to change. "You've all had your brushes with the Squids, I'm sure, but if nothing else makes you realize just how bad, how horrible, how draining that the war has been, it should be us going so low to the point of asking for reparations." Johnathan's voice had shifted into utter seriousness as he addressed them all.

"Can all of you here imagine falling so low, that you'd do that?" The Senator kicked his feet up onto the table in front of himself again. "Maybe. Maybe not. But it at least makes sense, where we're coming from, right?" Johnathan let that sink in for a moment. He then quickly drummed a short, little beat on the table in front of him to break the moment. "That off my chest, it's probably best to put this off until later since it didn't involve all the people here - it's not fair to everyone to put this on the table first, yeah?"

No matter how thinly veiled the jab was at the rest, none of them could deny it - truth was the sharpest blade in existence, well beyond Zesuaium.
Kohaku had listened to the others and when they finished she chose to speak again. She stood up and took her staff in hand, the Siamaka on top glowing brightly.

"We of the Poku Saeruo Degonjo have had our dealings with the Siama'bu Soujo, the Defilers of Dead, or as you would call them the NMX. Over half of our fighting vessels were lost in our battles with them, not to mention a third of our support vessels. Over one million of the clan are no longer named among the living. Our losses may not be a great as yours in number, but then our numbers were not so great at the start.

Yamatai has already assumed responsibility for having provoked the Siama'bu Soujo. They have stated that it was their intent to neutralize the threat. We all know that they failed to achieve their objective. But it was not their intent to unleash the menace upon us.

All things being equal, we accept their apology. It is not the way of the Pokuvonai to seek reparations for unfortunate events triggered by unforeseen consequences. We only seek such things in the case of intentional events. Furthermore, it is against our beliefs to ever try and place a monetary value upon a life. But we also know that our ways are not your ways. We do not say that those who wish to pursue the matter have no right. We just ask that for now we focus on items that affect us all, and look towards the future."

She then sat back down and handed her staff to Tesgi.
Washran nodded at the response he got back as Coast started into his words. The Children of Talica had done much to many of the nations in the room, it seemed, and he accepted their need as just that. But he also understood that his leader also had a need, one to have a more inclusive discussion topic.

The Elder considered his words as further delegates spoke, however the Hidden Sun surprised him. They saw the Lorath and Nepleslian requests as putting a cost on life, and perhaps they did. Right, wrong; who could say definitively, as it all in the end results from what one feels they require.

The Conference is for days and we haven't finished an hour yet.  Besides, it looks like it shouldn't occupy too much more time.

And remember, it will be difficult to get what we want if we make enemies or walk out.
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