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RP [Day 1] IRC YE 36

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An invisible field surrounded the gallery where Johnathan sat; with his outbursts now silenced, Yuumi noted in her mind that she needed to meet him.

She also thanked Kohaku with an open palm in her direction, but she didn't look away from Coast.

What the hell was that? she thought. Besides an ominous threat.

Coast wasn't a subtle man; Yuumi'd gathered that. But the glance at the Middlewoman was so purposeful, Yuumi felt faked out. Was Coast just trying to pressure Yamatai? If so, for what?

And the Middlewoman, not to mention her. The number of KS was meaningless, and Nibbi was not such a fool to think otherwise. Yamataian currency might give the Lorath something other than their own uncommon currency to purchase goods on the galactic market, but it also had a very unsecretive point about it: it was worth nothing, especially in numbers so large.

Flooding the market with all that currency was a problem by itself, but moreover it was how KS was used as a trade medium for Yamataian goods and services. It had worth on the galactic market because it was tied to Nepleslia's currency, the DA, as an exchange rate situation. Yamatai kept its KS worth two DA, no matter what, and added or subtracted money to the financial sector to make sure it stayed that way. Yamatai's goods and services acted as the "backing" of it, with all Yamataian companies taking it and all Nepleslian currency changers accepting it.

Getting all that currency at once would upset the exchange balance and throw off the amount of money in the system. Lor would end up with a bank full of worthless electronic credits or bonds that had no value.

Which was why Nibbi added that "other forms" of payment were acceptable. Lor wanted just one thing — territory.

Yuumi worked over a map in the back of her head as she spoke.

"This isn't a time for isolation," she said. "My nation has done that for years. Decades. We isolate ourselves at the point of a sword, and swing it on occasions just and unjust.

"We must learn to shake hands and trust one another. That's why I'm at this table, hosting this conference, admitting to mistakes and preparing to make amends."

She looked to Kohaku, then to Ryantax, and finally to Nibbi. "And here I wanted to talk about visas. Seems so small now."
That's one way to phrase it, Valken visibly scowled as the thought crossed his mind. He was willing to concede one thing to this Premier. She was honest. But all the honesty didn't help the fact that she served a weak Empress and a power hungry Ketsurui Clan. More like decades telling everyone else what to do.

The Cat person seemed to be an idiot. No. That was unfair. His ignorance wasn't a sign of his competence. But if the Cat was so blinded by his, Valken wondered if the pronoun "It" was better, own cultural lens, then the Cat People government was incompetent. What worked for one culture does not do for the other. And the way they were so ... trusting of Yamatai was worrisome. But for now, as acidic as his thoughts were, Dominic Valken was also quite ready to put it down to misunderstanding. If they could be blinded by their own cultural lens, so too could a Nepleslian. Whether that Nepleslian was wrong would have to be solved by more substantial dialogue.

Valken also questioned the point of muting the Senator. On one hand, Yamatai wanted to address things. But it appeared to be on Yamatai's terms, not on the other nations'. The action was telling. It proved that Yamatai still considered itself the leader. Arrogance. Pure arrogance. The Cats were still trying to dictate to the Nepleslians after all these years. An honest Premier this Yuumi might be, but she clearly had not learnt from her predecessors. One does not simply snub a Nepleslian and expect that not to be permanently added to the list of grievances.

The Grand Admiral pulled out a datajockey and typed a few words onto it. If none of their delegation could read Nepleslian, someone in their government really needed to be shot. It was, after all, the trade language of the entire bloody sector.

"We should talk later. GADM Valken" and slid the datajockey across to the weird Cat people.
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Ahrim had sat mostly in silence after his brief introduction. He'd appeared stoic, eyes half-lidded while gazing at the glass of water before him. In truth he'd been listening to everything being said by the other delegates. But there was more. Emotional clouds. Emotion wafting off each individual like a incandescent multicolored haze he read like a primitive shamanistic cloud reader of old. Greed, Ambition, Bias, Grief, Anger, Suspicion and Paranoia. All were written in cumulus of emotional outpouring.

He even gave thought to the massive payout suggested by the Lorath representative. While he had no way of knowing Yuumi's own thoughts on the matter, his however took a more creative, yet direct approach. Territory was all well and good. For a crop to grow it needed space, sunlight, water and verdant soil in which to flourish. Such was the way of nations and burgeoning populations.

However this was different, or at least to him. The amount suggested in the Yamataian currency was enormous. Bought and paid for in the lives lost in the conflicts which had erupted within the sector for decades. From his own study of the dossier concerning the economic and industrial stability of the sector the Guardsman had noted one fundamental constant. One KS equaled two DA. Two DA equaled one KS. It was like an economic coldwar between the two nations. Yamatai having to keep pace with the growing juggernaut that was Nepleslia. If the Lorath were given such a payout in KS, and they flooded the market with the currency (This is where both his, and Yuumi's thoughts intersect concerning the issue.) it could upset the current economic and exchange balance between the two intergalactic powers.

And it could. In theory render the KS the second most dominating currency in known space. With the DA replacing it. Giving Nepleslia the opening it needs to become the economic superpower of the sector. Thereby toppling Yamatai off its pedestal of economic and industrial superiority. If it were true, it would have been a masterful powerplay. However, how the Lorath would have benefited from such a thing remained to be seen if it were true. But the telling glance toward both the Colonials and Gartagens suggested the possibility of closer ties than were blatantly obvious. Then again he could be wholly wrong.

All the same, the talk of lumping lives in with the desire for restitution in the form of currency or possibly other definable 'goods' was distasteful. Even insulting in his eyes. To marginalize lives into numbers on a calculator, then sum them up as a price tag for the benefit of a governmental regime. Only opportunistic animals, carrion eaters picked at the carcasses of the leavings of predators. They were 'sharks', (an animal Ahrim had learned of, an ocean-bound predator with a nose that could scent blood from miles away before closing in and clamping down on unsuspecting prey between their jaws) circling potential war-wearied prey.

Opening his eyes fully, Ahrim brought forth a small packet from beneath his cloak. Tearing an end off, he proceeded to dump the contents into the glass of water and watched as the powdery substance turned the crystal clear liquid a vibrant Egyptian blue. He'd done a similar thing during the last conference. The packet being a flavoring and mood-enhancing agent. Except he did so this time with the audible sigh of a parent watching naughty children get up to their mischief.

Once the substance had fully dissolved, the Iromakuanhe took a measured, yet appreciative sip from the glass.
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Amongst all of the things that Ahrim sensed, perhaps the one thing he didn't notice, was amusement. Even with the soundproof energy barrier up, the Nepleslian Senator could still be seen laid back in his seat with a smug smile on his face. Considering everyone was going silent for the moment after what Yuumi did, he'd make the most of it.

'Having just felt a few of them up, I gotta say, these IRC's are pretty funny - glad you brought me along,' a message to Coast from Johnathan began. 'I don't know how much you've picked up from watching me mess around with them and toss a few cheap chips in for the hell of it, but I'll just put it as short as I can I guess.' His interest wasn't in the actual reparations, or the play that Nibbi was making. Even if the Yamataians couldn't see past her reason for wanting them and see the Real Reason behind it, it wouldn't have flown anyways. The synths were just too 'I'm a High and Mighty Space Elf' for that. Not that this was any new news of course. That was why Johnathan wasn't interested in the little monetary game going on - it just sat in the back of his mind like a fluffy, unprocessed puff of cloudlike cotton. Or, sat in him like a gut feeling with a pinch of brains to it. Nepleslians' preferred gut feelings of course, so that's what it was like for the man. Basically, nothing put into concrete words, but a vague idea of what it could be. Emphasis on 'could be' of course. That's why it didn't matter in his opinion; it just wasn't tangible enough yet, so his interest was elsewhere.

The people themselves.

'The horned guy from the Commonwealth, fishpeople from their waterworld and the Abwehrans are probably all about the same even though they haven't said much. Which is still saying something,' Johnathan pointed out. I'm guessing they all can likely be just lumped together somewhat since their interests are probably all about the same - they just want to handle whatever actually deals with them, then leave,' the Senator explained. 'No interest in the big game and all that. I'd love to be wrong since that sucks, but so far, they haven't made much of an impact,' he added. 'They're basically boring.' Text messages just didn't hold emotion in them as a tone of voice, so it was hard to tell just how Johnathan really felt about this. Was he bitter? Or was he laughing his ass off inside? Or was he carefully thinking, analyzing and planning? Nobody could really say. As the Nepleslian Senator sat there, watching the rather muted quietness - they probably couldn't have a party without him, though he'd love to be wrong on this too - his eyes briefly drifted up and down Kohaku.


'The cat things, they don't seem to be very bright. We already know that they want to lick Yamatai's stick taco but they want to do it really bad, and that's pretty crazy. They're being biased-out-the-ass by having their representative be a Yammie instead of one of their own....ok, she's one of the new Minks, but you know what I mean,' Johnathan began. 'It's a little hard to gauge if the real Not-Kohanian-Cat-People actually approve of what she said based only off of looking at them, but I'd bet a grand that they do considering what that one Cat-Guy said earlier. Damn shame they don't know what responsibility is - bet that's another 'cultural difference' or something.' In Nepleslia, if some guy accidentally drove his company into the ground, costing millions of people their livelihoods, everyone would understand it was unintentional. But he'd be up to his eyeballs in debt, and lose his position - for Nepleslians, the word 'Responsibility' included trying to right the wrongs. Undo the damage. Or making sure the person responsible could never have an epic-fail like that again.

From Johnathan's point of view, Yuumi admitted it was Yamatai's fault, which was fine. What wasn't fine, was that so far, nothing was going to be done to fix or undo all the horror that happened because of that massive, massive Clusterflux. Nothing. Not even some effort. Because without that, how could they even tell that the 'Sorry' was honest?

'Obviously, Nibbi is interested in having her people come out on top after being pounded into the ground thanks to the Yams, intentionally or not. Out of everyone here, she looks to be potentially open to cooperation. Since they're more paranoid than a man with dementia who thinks everyone stole his cookies though, I'd be careful. And the Garts? Opportunistic sand-lizards. They're just waiting for something, I know it. If the Mishhu were gone, I'd bet they'd be the next big threat in a decade or two. Everyone would appeal to them to calm down, while they screw and make babies like mad in the back room. Gobble up planets and all that. The rest are either neutral, or sided with the synths by the looks of things.' Johnathan then briefly eyed the soundproof barrier and turned his gaze right at the woman responsible. 'Yuumi may have a lot about herself that's different from Yui, but they're still sisters - they naturally share certain habits. Oh! I almost forgot - all this has me cracking up inside by the way. Hard not to laugh and only smile. Politics here are really different than back home. Again, thanks for the invite.'

To Johnathan, it was now obvious that even here, they were now divided into 'you matter' and 'you don't matter' groups, and that the people that were just set up to actually matter couldn't even hear what he said. This was amusing. "She didn't even bother to say 'please'," he spoke aloud with a smile. They really were sisters, whether they liked it or not.

And this, was hilarious.
Kohaku looked around the room, collecting her thoughts and opinions of the other delegates. This conference was pretty much a variation on Hatakur'a Jujal. The Lor were quick to pounce on the opportunity to cite their desired reparation when Yamatai apologized. From what she could see the Lorath were pretty much blaming everything including an uprising of their own people on Yamatai. Yamatai offered a differing view on some of the issues. However, they only had access to public records. Any such records were automatically deemed to be biased. In Hatakur'a Jujal the opening moves can sometimes give insight into the players, a brash start can signify confidence and assurance, or a brashness. The Lorath were not taken by surprise, so they obviously expected that Yamatai would make such a move. So what was their true agenda.

The Nepleslian emissary was rather quick to also bring up the desire for reparations. So either they also knew that Yamatai was going to make this statement. Although his approached seemed to be to ask for a materials rather than currency. Was this in an attempt to make it seem their demands were more reasonable.

Kohaku suspected that there was something going on between the Lorath and Nepleslians, perhaps there was some sort of alliance between the two. Or if not an actual alliance, perhaps a collusion to a mutual benefit.

Then she also looked at Yummi, the Premier from all she could tell, did nothing by happenstance. The rulers of Yamatai were a calculating sort. So what was the real reason behind the 'apology'. Was it a move designed to see who would respond in a fashion such as the Lorath and the Nepleslians. The alliance with Yamatai served the needs of her people. It established their formal borders, and an opportunity to trade and to make contact with the other known species. The clan people had no use for most of Yamatai's more impressive technologies.

So what was the end game goal for Yamatai, Nepleslia and Lor; that remained to be divined. To learn more she would need to see more interaction between those three and the others.

She turned back towards Yummi. "Premier, among my people we have a saying; you and the others may have a similar one.

From small beginnings, great things may emerge. A seed planted in the ground may be tiny, but with time can become a large tree. Perhaps we should start with something small like visas, to see if this body can come to a consensus. If we can then perhaps that will lead to progress in another area." She offered.

Kohaku took the datajockey that had been slid over to them from Tesgi. She read the short message. 'Interesting.' she thought.

She typed a simple response to the offer and handed it to Tesgi to pass down to the Nepleslian delegate. "I would enjoy the opportunity to talk with you. Kohaku Syali"
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"I think you're right, Emissary," Yuumi said with a smile. "That is something all of us can at least speak on."

A volumetric map of inhabited galactic space slowly descended from above the table. It stopped just low enough that everyone still could see each other beneath it. It formed a globe, a strange sight to the usual 2D maps usually employed in the civilian world. Yuumi always liked to see what she was talking about.

"Because we are in this time of peace, allowing our citizens to travel across known space, to share ideas and cultures, seems appropriate, yes? Yamatai has civilianized its Neko population in part to allow them more freedom of travel, but we respect a nation's sovereign right to choose who passes its borders."

It was a calculated move to bring up the Neko ban of Nepleslia, and the de facto ban of the Lorath. It was a test of sorts, but it was meant for everyone.

"I personally know many of my staff would love to visit your planet, Ambassador," she said to Ryantax. "All of us could do with some tourism money."
"Which would be an impossibility." Ryantax replied. He sat there for a moments letting the words settle on the table. In that time he glanced up at both his other Representatives up in the audience section.

His gaze returned to Yuumi and the rest of the group. "At this time the Azorean people do not want Non-citizens to have access to the main areas of Azorea." He took a breath as if the next set of words were a challenge to get out. "Though, we have a council working on a project that would allow peoples from any planet to visit a.. what was the word you all would use..." he looked down at his note and skimmed quickly. "Ahh yes a resort... A floating city that would anchor above our capital city. Which would allow everyone to come and see our culture without having to worry the rest of the population that doesn't want others about."

He looked at each of the delegates seated around the table. "It isn't that we distrust you or feel that you would be unworthy to come, it is just as a people we have been isolated as a culture up until just a few years ago, and we would like to cushion the resulting culture shock on our populace.
Skirting around the issue. Hm. Yamataians always annoyed Nibbi for their indirect approach to shifting the topic. She was always, always aware of their great paradox - incredible abundance at the cost of assimilation. Wouldn't a true utopia, not grown upon the blood and bone of the conquered like the Elysians be willing to share their infinity? Not when the apples were rotten at the core.

When a Yamataian set foot upon Lorath soil, there was a reciprocal reaction. Nibbi had heard countless reports of Lorath being browbeaten to a bloody ego pulp by Yamataians, edged out, not allowed to truly partake in their wealth and abundance without feeling scorn from those around, even in professional settings like the Yamataian Star Army. Nibbi had let it all slide, why let the Government do the work of an unwieldy ban when you can let the resentment of the citizens do it for you?

And Yuumi had tossed a large, marinated, medium-rare steak in front of the Lorath snarling dog - it'd be something the sabre-rattlers would take and chew up quickly. 'No! No weh-pawns, not even de-kermissoned ones!' an invented figment in Nibbi's head yelled mockingly in a thick Trade/Lorath accent, 'We do not let weh-pawns in!' She instead decided to see what the Nepleslians were doing and watched them to follow their lead. They didn't just settle for a brow 'beating' when it came to Neko in their soil.

Something about the Hidden Sun Clan representative bothered her though, diverting the topic. Did she suspect that the Nepleslians and herself had colluded in secret? The answer was no: They just had coincidentally parallel goals and were playing to each other's outbursts and running with each other. Some of the best comedy and drama came from improvisation.
"I take it the Fraulein is speaking of standardizing visas among the lot of us, correct?" Gerhard spoke up calmly. "Some nations might have their own visas currently in use, since the management of visitors and immigrants is something all nations would have had to deal with at some point in time." the Abwehran continued before glancing at his touch-computer for data the Oberbootsman of his party had sent him.

"I believe Nekovalkyrja could easily be permitted on Abwehran soil for tourist purposes --- if they abide by all the standards we set in order to protect our visitors from harm." he concluded with a sip of water.
Lux, of House Belas, tilted her head, more out of confusion than any spite, trying to make sense of a quick escalation in discussion.

The cowl she wore did not disguise the stenches. They were overwhelming, and conflicting – purfumes and odors, with hatred, bias, and unmitigated and unprecedented hostility hanging in the air like waves of heat off a desert. The words were polite, but the undertones were questionable. Confounding her discernment, there were a few species here that Lux had not yet encountered, and it was a good thing she wore her robes because her nose wrinkled.

It would take a long time to determine what that sort of smell meant.

But the rest seemed elementary by comparison, and Lux had been well briefed on the relationship between their allies. Clearly, this was not the time for a proposal; it would have to wait until after these animals had been given time to worry at each other.

Folding her arms within her heavy garments against the near-unbearably chill temperature in the room, Lux stayed silent, watched, and waited.
"The courtesy is returned by my people, Minister," Yuumi said, "but I propose something greater. A kind of standardized visa, something that could more quickly encourage the spread of cultural knowledge between all of our nations. Especially with the NMX mostly absent, and the spacelanes so secure, it's a chance for our peoples to know their neighbors, if we, their officials, find a way to get it to them."
As the other delegations spoke and chattered on visas, the Helashio of the lot, Snider, went about fiddling with the data terminal before him, and not his personal data pad. His interest was quickly becoming diverted, as he began to watch a Yamataian sitcom on the screen, with the audio muted and captions in place. Though, his amusement soon faded as Yuumi explained her concept, and he could not help but to look in Yuumi's direction with a distinctive gaze that spoke volumes in the lines of 'What are you even saying?'

Snider was no fool, even though he came from rather questionable genetic stock. To make a universal visa, meant to make a universal immigration requirement. Simply, the Matriarchy would never go for such a thing, considering just how much of a liability it would be to allow visitors in without a far more elaborate process than what would likely be proposed. Beyond that, the Lorath already had a rather suitable visitor policy and really, Snider could not figure out why they were even bothering with the topic of visas, considering just how often members of the various gathered groups gallivanted about the territories of another.

Snider's wide gaze returned to his data terminal, as he changed the channel, and began to watch a Yamataian animation show about a socially awkward shut-in Geshrin girl, and the obstacles in her path to popularity.
Kohaku looked at Yummi, trying to discern what she meant by her proposal. "Would you care to provide some more specifics. The Poku Saeruo Degonjo already have two forms of Visa's that we issue; Work Visa's and Travel papers. Which we issue from either our embassy or the Way Station. Are you proposing some sort of universal visa that can be issued by any government? Or a standard format that can be issued by each government? " She knew that the the Mui and the Tonai would not approve of a visa to enter their territory that was issued by another government. At least not without them still having to pass through the Way Station.
"We may not agree on certain things, but, as long as our laws are respected, we have already experienced a certain level of limited tourism. And we are much and very curious about other cultures."

The whole statement was little more than a platitude; Lux knew the idea was doomed immediately. The Empress could not legitimately control all of her space at every given time, though House Belas - and many others - tried to help best it could. Most Houses did their own business on the side, so the idea of a visa seemed nominal at best. De facto, Gartagens had already begun to proliferate in the far corners of the galaxy. Few for now, but it was becoming a trend among the young, as such things always seemed to.

This act would never come to pass and, therefore, it was safe and easy to support; goodwill, without having to pay a ducat for it.
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"In a way, both," Yuumi said, keeping it vague. The proposal she'd had in mind was pretty modest, and relatively restrictive anyway, so she presented it as such — briefly.

Visas would be issued by the host country first, certifying that the person had been reviewed and was aware of the pertinent laws of the nation they wished to visit. The visas issued by the home nation would be good only until the main "gate", or customs station, of the visited nation. Once there, the visited nation could approve or deny the visa after reviewing it and any other information they wished. Secure databases would be swapped so customs agents could satisfactorily review each traveler. The passes would last up to 30 days, or less if the visited nation desired, and quotas could be issued if that was seen as desired by all parties.

Database information could include criminal records, basic family relations, occupation and so on.

"It would give power to everyone, while still allowing for that cultural exchange we all could use," she said.
"I'm pretty damn sure that the Imperium's opinion on bioweapons inside of our borders is well known." Coast had begun to sip from his glass of whiskey, absent-mindedly swirling the earthy liquid inside of the crystal-like container.

"However...we are planning on opening up avenues where certain outsiders can take guided trips from an orbiting station down to the surface of one of our planets, restricted to a very specific zone. Perhaps this would play well into our plans. Like the esteemed diplomat from Gartaga said, as long as our laws are respected, we will consider the possibility of such a visa."
Valken drummed his fingers again on the table. He was bored again. The talks had moved on. Certain outsiders, he smiled. Shang would be quite eager to be part of the vetting process. It was what the IPG was for.
Kohaku looked at Legos and then Tesgi, softly she spoke. "Why are they talking about bioweapons when we are talking about visa?" Her two companions each gave a shrug.

She cleared her throat, and turned towards Coast. "Excuse me, my delegates and I are a bit confused. And perhaps some of our other delegates who are not familiar with Nepleslian culture may also be. We are talking about travel Visa's for people to move within our respective territories. So how does your Imperium's view on bioweapons become a factor? Would not that be a better discussion dealing with weapon bans and the like?"
For the time being, it was all boring stuff. Things that were small, inconsequential and really just window dressing.

Naturally, this meant that the Senator just sat back and relaxed - until the Hidden Sun Clan representative spoke. What she said was completely and absolutely horrifying. 'I really hope she's just baiting us,' he messaged Coast. The woman - Kohaku - was a Yamataian, and going off what little there was on her history dossier, she had to know. She simply HAD to know. Didn't she? If she didn't, the implications were beyond terrifying. Perhaps it was just her, but if it wasn't, that would imply that Yamatai kept its citizens in a nice and happy little bubble where nothing 'complex and worrisome' got to them. In other words, state censorship. But that wasn't the case, was it? After all, Johnathan tried to reason with himself, he had just went about in the city himself. But the doubt. What if there was more to it? That all of it was far more subtle? The black box of the OS used in their bodies? Something put in it to make them simply ignore anything controversial?

The possibilities were terrifying, and what was potentially far worse, was that a nation's representatives came here...without knowing a thing about this complicated issue. Here, at the International Relations Conference to potentially make massive, alliance shifting moves or economically shaking actions. All without so much as a drop of information to make an informed decision. As Johnathan leaned forward in his seat, peering over his peers at the Hidden Sun delegation, he couldn't help but involuntary take a breath, and hold a hand over his mouth.

'Because if she doesn't really know, and they don't know, that means there's the chance that they've been played like rubes.'
Gerhard seemed just as confused as the Hidden Sun Clan Representative moments before his touch computer vibrated to announce yet another message from his Bodyguard / Military Attache. Glancing down at the screen, the elder Abwehran frowned at the information.

"I understand that your people's view on Nekovalkyrja is as such, Herr Coast. But does that even include those who are not serving? And do you see any difference between the standard Yamataian and their military personnel? I thought both peoples were more --- synthetic in origin." the Minister of State questioned curiously.

"And that brings up another point --- if you were to single out a single type of synthetic species, what's stopping your people from eventually expanding upon it to encompass other synthetic species?"
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