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RP [Day 1] IRC YE 36

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"Our official position, ma'am, is that the Nekovalkyrja are living weapons." Coast responded to the Hidden Sun Clan's delegate, pushing his now empty glass of whiskey to the side. Whether the Hidden Sun Clan truly was or wasn't aware of their position, it really did not matter terribly to the Nepleslian Premier.

Then the Abwehran delegate spoke up, to whom Coast softened up to a little bit. "The Yamataians have done an admirable job in demilitarizing their Nekovalkyrja, however they still pose a serious security concern on our planets. Your average NH-31, I believe, is much less of a threat when deactivated from military service." And so I'm classifying any Nekovalkyrja as a threat.

"Tell me this, now. It's no secret that most Nepleslians have lived their lives behind a weapon. A majority of my people have been born into violence and tragedy. Would you not take appropriate security measures should you find a shuttle of Nepleslian tourists coming to one of your cities?"

I'm well-fuckin' aware of how bigoted this situation sounds, but I will not allow deactivated Nekovalkyrja bodies, still able to manipulate gravity and having greater baseline strength than your average Imperium citizen, the opportunity to walk among our people.

"That being said, we would not be opposed to providing a secure location for tourists and visitors, but it would be an impossibility to allow such bioweapons as Nekovalkyrja onto the surface. However, I see no reason why they would not be allowed on orbiting stations designated as vacation spots. With the proper security protocols in place, of course."

Gerhard said:
"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?"

Coast looked almost puzzled at the Abwehran diplomat. "Nothing really," he stated rather plainly. "However, why would we restrict other synthetic species if they give do not give us a reason to?"
Hands clasped before him, Ahrim twiddled his thumbs absently, the drink's mild mood-enhancing effects having finally taken hold. He couldn't help but unintentionally agree with Coast. He did indeed sound bigoted. In fact it sounded down right racist, if not beholden to a decades' old grudge so thoroughly laced with paranoia and resentment he found the situation palpable.
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As the Abwehrans, Hidden Sun, and Nepleslians conducted their discourse, Snider the token Helashio went about adjusting the way in which he fit into the jeans he wore. Certainly, for him, the prospect of wearing genuine pants was just a bit too stifling, and it left him rather uncomfortable, but what left him more uncomfortable than the constricting and restricting attire which made his nether regions nag at him, scolding him for the simple notion of wearing something more than a loincloth, was the sheer stupidity of those which did not understand the nature of the Nekovalkryja.

It's so obvious a savage like me can understand. NH-22 was never classified as a 'Nekovalkryja' model, thus was never deemed a weapon, the strength of the model is much lower, and their general ability range is actually inferior to that of a cybernetically enhanced Nepleslian, hey I wonder what Coast was drinking? Was that whiskey? I could go for a drink, a good one, maybe something sweet, though that'd make me look like a Yamataian, oh, Yamataians, right, that's what I was thinking. Hell, even I can likely move better than most of them. All models outside of the NH-22, and the NH-1 Geshrin are weapon models. Actually, the NH-1 is just a Nepleslian with all the 'bad stuff' filtered out. All the others though are stupid to allow to roam about... what kind of idiot would let someone into their country with a body that even when 'de-weaponized' can go about performing feats that a Nepleslian would need a full chassis augmentation to manage? Hey, I wonder what I could do with a full chassis augmentation... what is a full chassis augmentation? I mean, I read about it, but I don't know what it is exactly. I'd like to look it up, but that dummy in the big chair over there blocked out my network link with those stupid ass walls, those stupid ass walls that they opened for the Garts, Garts smell funny...

Outwardly, Snider stared vacantly down at his own feet, thinking a chain of thoughts which was entirely unrelated to the discussion at hand, mainly because his services as a data repository for Nibbi's references were simply not needed at that moment. Thoughts about smelly feet, then thoughts about toes, then thoughts about fingers, then thoughts of hands with four fingers, then thoughts of how the Nekovalkryja had four fingers, then about how they transfer--- Oh hey! THAT'S AN IDEA!

Snider picked up his data pad, before scribbling on it a suggestion to Nibbi; "What about making visitors switch into 'tourist' bodies, while their originals are stored for retrieval?"
As the others talked, Johnathan settled back into his seat and rubbled his temple. 'I really wish I could say something to back you up right now, but I guess that's my fault for not realizing how short Yuumi's temper could be,' he messaged Coast.

He then rubbed out another for Kohaku and the Hidden Sun delegates.

'Hey. Don't take any of this the wrong way, ok? I'm pretty sure we're looking like assholes right now, but just keep in mind we're like this because of all the stuff that's gone down. We act. But for a reason, you know? The stuff between ourselves and Yamatai is pretty thick and goes back a ways. It's kind of a 'no duh' that all that is pretty important to know before doing anything, especially here on a stage as high up as this. A lot of people say 'bygones be bygones', but I think those people forgot that today is pretty much built on yesterday's back. I'd actually explain all of it to you guys, but, I can't really say much right now.'
Nibbi's eyes had widened involuntarily and her nose wrinkled in disgust as she heard what the Hidden Sun Clan's representative had to say. Had they been insulated? Lied to? Misled? Bribed to look the other way? It was almost like grooming. Being taken advantage of naivete to play into the most comfortable looking hands while being fed misinformation about their true identity and that of those around them. On a personal level it was abhorrent. Must be a good reach around...

All of the personally contained disgust and rage was making her mind wander - fortunately the topic of visas didn't seem too enticing nor was she called upon to add her two cents or see if anyone wanted to come to Lor. The topic had been stolen by the Nekovalkyrja, the girls off the assembly line. Their rights. The Abwehran delegate that any person in this room could potentially be a weapon simply because of their body, trying to mitigate and downplay the topic for everyone. Am'ikka looked at Nibbi from behind her, Fyunnen being one of the species named, normally expressionless face raising an eyebrow at the ambassador then back to the Abwehran.

Am'ikka stood back at attention while Nibbi leant forwards in her seat, now intrigued by the Abwehran's words, chewing on them. At this rate nobody will be allowed to travel because everyone's got the potential to be a weapon. Perhaps we could outlaw the human fist as a lethal weapon while we're at it. She wondered idly. At its extreme, we'll probably have to get our hands replaced with mittens if we are to travel. Sounds like something ... kinky. She wondered again, grinning to herself as if at a private joke. Her detachment from the topic was letting her mind slide into the gutter.

The gutter appeared to be the correct direction for her train of thought to travel as Snider put his datapad against her. She blinked and looked down at it and examined the contents, eyes shifting left and right. She let out an 'ah' and raised her eyebrows, nodding in some agreement. Unwieldy plan, but it could hold water - and the potential to keep them tracked to ensure they were honest was just ripe.

"I propose a possible solution," Nibbi said, finally piping up after pitching nothing to the conversation prior. She cleared her throat and took a drink of water. "What if a Nekovalkyrja is comfortable with getting a body transfer when they land planetside to a non-weapon body, such as a Minkan. The body would be available to pick up once they are prepared to leave."

"That way, we do not have to worry about the 'decommissioned' Nekovalkyrja being reactivated when planetside by a criminal third party, and the bodies can be stored safely and securely." No piece of software was perfect. She acknowledged, and the Nekovalkyrja had its own set of problems. Fyunnen had their own too when not treated correctly. "Otherwise, they can leave their previously weaponised body back home and make the switch, safe and sound at home and travel safely. And if the worst comes to pass and you have a Soul Transfer backup handy, you can return home quickly."

She never said anything about monitoring though, but that could be a ripe exploitation for those who read between the lines. Yamataians changed bodies like they changed coats - she didn't see any potential issues: Just leave the hazardous luggage at home.
Yuumi took Nibbi's proposal as one aimed at her, so she responded.

"While I see the purpose in that, I'm not sure it gets you what you want, Middlewoman," Yuumi said. "Citizens using the Minkan body can be militarized just like those in the Nekovalkyrja body. If the intent is to avoid sudden reactivation of possible weapons, I'm afraid all Yamataians should have that classification."

She looked to Coast, outwardly unperturbed by his racism. "I think the Premier's idea about special zones is a good one, though I can't say we'd disarm Nepleslian citizens legally armed in their home nation. Once we were under one flag, and trusted each other with our lives. Why should that change just because we have two flags now?"
"It's just as you said, ma'am. We are under two different flags. Halna, your hand in creating the Mishhuvurthyar. We have seen what your empire is capable of at its worst. Time will heal all wounds, but the memories still remain. Forgive us if we are still cautious of your people. We will need time and a damn good reason to be able to fully trust you again." Coast looked down at his datapad for a second, then looked back to Yuumi.

"It's easy to say 'let bygones be bygones,' and personally I truly wish it were so easy. However, today is built upon yesterday's back." Coast said, paraphrasing the words of Igzimmer. It might be that Coast looked like he was stealing the senator's words, but really the premier just wanted to be able to get the senator's opinion across.

"I know how terribly 'species-ist' this sounds. I assure you that this is truly a security concern of ours, at least on the governmental level. Your Nekovalkyrja represent a potential threat that can apparently be re-activated by your military. Until the day comes when we can fully trust your country, your bioweapons remain a potential threat on Nepleslian soil. This is why I believe the creation of special zones is what we will pursue in order to at least be a little accommodating to the idea of cultural exchange." Done, Coast sat down and looked at his datapad, then back to Nibbi.

With a dull sense of excitement sitting in his stomach, the premier looked over the contents of what was displayed on the screen of his datapad. Satisfied, he pressed his thumb on the screen of the pad, then waited a few seconds for the pad to buzz in acceptance. With a few swipes of his fingers, Coast finished his business and placed his datapad away.

Unwilling to really hide it, the Nepleslian Premier glanced over at Nibbi and then back to Yuumi. Under his stone face, a smile barely cracked the surface for but a few moments.
Legos picked up his datapad and ran a query on Nepleslia, specifically dealing with races that live within it. With no formal channels with Nepleslia he was going the only route available. He noticed that the population of Nepleslia was a conglomeration of species, subspecies of human. He saw one entry that stood out to him as a contradiction to their stated stand. He put down the datapad, and stood to his full seven feet.

He cleared his throat, and spoke in his deep resonating voice. "Premier, the information we have available about your Empire and its laws are minimal to say the least since we have had no formal communications.

But speaking as the Poku Wotanu'ka, I can appreciate your concern for the safety of your general population. I just now took a moment to look at some general information about your Empire. Which has raised a question that I wish to give voice to.

Since your people are concerned with genetically engineered lifeforms being a threat to your general population. Does this mean that should we come to visit your planets, that we would find your ID-SOL's confined to specific areas as well? After all they are bioweapons, and are significantly stronger than your general population."

He then took a seat to wait for an answer.
Legos said:
Does this mean that should we come to visit your planets, that we would find your ID-SOL's confined to specific areas as well?

Coast raised an eyebrow at the Hidden Sun delegate. "Why would we confine our own citizens to specific areas? If you are attempting to equate our position on ID-SOLs to the Nekovalkyrja, you seem to forget that we have a larger degree of control over them as members of our Imperium. It is not the same as the Nekovalkyrja."
"Really cute," Johnathan spoke to nobody in particular. He was quite glad Coast was listening, but it wasn't like anyone else was.

'It's pretty much what Coast said,' the Senator's message to everyone began, 'Even though ID-SOL are supersoldiers, there's still a lot more control over them than the Neko. With them, what's in their head is pretty mundane, but with a Nekovalkyrja? Well, this is a really, really old phrase that I don't even know the origins to, but any of you know what a "Manchurian Candidate" is?' his message asked them all. 'Yuumi is probably one of the nicest, most decent Nekovalkyrja out there, but the problem is that ever single Nekovalkyrja, herself included, run off of a proprietary operating system. One that's a Black Box - we can't look inside. Nobody can. And if there are orders in there for them to reactivate and then carry out certain tasks? We can't stop that. That's why we don't want Nekovalkyrja on our planets. And that's pretty much why we don't want to hand out Visas for Neko. We really got no idea if there's a killbot switch.'

He stole a glance at Kotori, before nervously adjusting his tie. And realized she wasn't there. She. Wasn't. There.

The Senator wracked his brains hard - when did she leave? Where did she go?! Panic began to grip him, and in its firm hold, he messaged Coast, 'I have to ask, where did Ketsurui Kotori go?'
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"The process is a little more complicated than that, Premier," Yuumi said, but didn't stand. She'd caught the smirk, and the datapad, but had no context to puzzle out what they meant. Something was going on between Nepleslia and Lor, but what was it?

"To militarize our people takes more than a computer command. It requires a medical visit that only our clinics and medical centers can perform, and it requires authorization from our military. But I digress."

She shifted in her seat. "It's a matter of trust, as you said. Trust that starts here, between all of us. If you need to section off citizen Nekovalkyrja to feel safer, until we again earn the trust that we had when we fought together before? I see no reason to object. Would the system I proposed earlier suffice in screening those Neko, as well as our other citizens, Premier?"
Legos looked back at the Nepleslian delegation. "I was merely trying to ascertain if the restriction on genetically engineered life forms was universal or not. You have answered my query most satisfactory. Thank you."

He picked up his datapad and made an entry in his personal log. This was the first bit of information that he felt was actually useful to him in his capacity as the leader of the Defense Force.
Grand Admiral Valken looked around in shock. Ghosts were appearing around him. That feeling of helplessness was around him. Dominic Valken had never seen these phantoms and clearly Senator Izgimmer wasn't seeing them. But he could tell who they were. Freespacers and Jiyuuians. Men, women, and children started gathering in their hundreds around him, staring.

Valken looked around, saw things were still progressing, confirmed he wasn't ill and then watched them watching him. They wanted something. What they wanted, he could not say. Dominic stopped himself. No, he wasn't supposed to say it. His duty was military and security. Not morality and the justifications behind Nepleslia's position. Those areas belonged to the Senator and Charlie.

But damn it, they didn't have ghosts haunting them! Dominic Valken was a soldier, not a politician. He didn't encourage speaking, he wouldn't have said anything here. Charlie could do it all for him until the damn Ketsurui got off its high horse and lifted this gag shield. Funny how it somehow didn't affect the cat people when they were in the same gallery.

He pulled out a datajockey and recorded. This is why the Ketsuruis are the worst thing to happen to Yamatai... Valken sighed. Dominic spoke for the first time, quietly and with restraint. But there was bitterness in his voice.

"You say that, Premier. But unless we can verify that, it's merely words. For all we know, you are programmed to give that response when the truth is a completely different answer. We can see how our brains work, Geshrin, ID-SOL, Fyunnen, Kohanian, even the Vordachibeans. Nekovalkyrja deny anyone access into how their brains work and how their Operating System, that is, I believe, still the current phrase, functions. From a security perspective, you will never earn that trust because we will never know what really is going on inside your head. All of those things I just listed, they are all flesh, perhaps changed by robotics or synthetics or artificial genetics. A Nekovalkyrja is a robot clad in flesh. One that will not tell us how it works and one that will not let anyone whose name is not Ketsurui control the Empire. That in the underlying difference in our views. But it isn't the most important."

"Do you remember the Species Restriction Order? I believe your Army issued another such order a while back. I was interested to hear that there was a quiet mass of resignations and the deactivation of your 12th Standard Fleet as a result. It confirms something for me. That your Empire is built on a lie. That lie, Premier, is that you believe in equality. Are the Nepleslians in Yamatai allowed to rise to the highest levels of government? You may say yes but I do not see that. After all, when was the last non-Ketsurui monarch? Why, if equality is your core principle, is your military imposing arbitrary restrictions on its soldiers? I know you people. Your body type is like clothing, what you wear is who you are. Yet that fundamental right to choose your own body is now regulated by the military. You say you are democratic but serving military officers are in the Senate. The Elysians are prevented from regaining their independence. If the Kodians, Phods or Separans asked for independence, would you let them go if they said they were going to join the ASE or the Lorath Matriarchy? If it is convenient for you, will you revoke Nepleslian independence like you did to the UOC? Where were your vaunted fleets? Sitting back and waiting for the NMX to win. You could have deployed immediately but you didn't. I was there. It took my decrepit mothball force days to reach Tange after crossing your Empire. It could have taken any of your fleets a fraction of that time to be at Jiyuu. You could have saved the UOC but you let them die."

"Nepleslia gives voice to the voiceless, Premier, and we guard that voice by the strength of our military. We view each opinion with equal measure, though we may condescend upon the speaker. If you ask, right now, I can tell this entire delegation about what Jiyuuians in Nepleslia think. I can tell you all why the IWL is so fervent about its cause. All of them have had their voices silenced by the Star Army and so the only way for us to hear them is violence. I have done nothing yet I cannot speak. The Senator voices what our citizens feel but you silence him. You wrongly bombed the Freespacers, killed millions of them, and what did they get when you realized you were wrong? An apology. Nothing to actually symbolize or show you felt regret. Just words. We gave the Jiyuuians a voice, representation in the Nepleslian Senate. A planet to call their own and maintain their way of life. Your Empire annexed them to become part of something they didn't want to be in, regardless of their opinion. We have pledged to defend every Freespacer and our warships actively patrol their systems with their agreement. Nekovalkyrja are the symbol of the Empire. Your Empress is one. As a result, they are the symbol of what kills off the weaker, dissenting voices. The IWL is a monster of your own creation, one with very justifiable grievances but do you invite them here to speak and change relations? Do you invite the Free State? No. And you know, my own Chief of Staff says that what I just said is Neko-pandering. She says I still hope to see Yamatai live up to its ideals rather than hide behind them. When was the last time your Empire didn't strip someone of its voice but instead amplified it?"

Dominic Valken sent the message to Charlie, as he stared at Yuumi. Years of bitterness rolled off him, lifting his shoulders.

Coast received it, glanced through the text, and got everyone's attention. "
This is from Grand Admiral Dominic Valken, who leads the 4th Fleet and led it during the NMX War. For those of you who don't know, he was a former Star Army soldier who left to join an independent Nepleslia. Since he is currently muted by our host, through no fault of his own, I think you might like to hear his perspective after having been on both sides."

He had watched the Freespacer Genocide with horror, ashamed at his powerlessness. He had watched helplessly as the UOC collapsed while he could only put together a scratch force that would arrive too late to save even a tenth of Tange's population. Dominic Valken had watched his daily mail acquire messages from the Jiyuuian survivors. Not electronic mail but handwritten notes or letters, many tear-stained. He had kept each one in a special drawer in his office on Nepelslia Prime. Some of them damned him for not arriving earlier. Some of them thanked him. Some of them simply had imprecise words or sentences that had no meaning. Dominic Valken knew that every man and woman who had been on the Tange operation had received things like that over the years. Something to acknowledge their role. But it didn't help the ghosts. No matter how hard he tried to reconnect broken families, no matter how much IPG resources he threw at the problem, he couldn't heal the deep, soul-rending destruction in the hearts of the Jiyuuians.

This time. This time the ghosts of the dead would be heard. That Yamatai would have to practice what it preached or it would finally feel the wrath of millions of souls extinguished by the Star Army's actions or inactions. And Nepleslia would be the avatar of that wrath. Valken was finally in a position of power, in a place of power and the dead would be heard. He looked hard at Yuumi, demanding she answer the voiceless dead. Dominic Valken tried hard not to look at them.
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'Whoh! Not in so many harsh words!' Johnathan broadcasted to them all, his earlier apprehension cast aside. Sitting up properly in his seat and steepling his fingers, he added to it.

'Staying on topic, it's what Valken is saying though - it's a big issue since we really can't tell at all. It's probably really nice to have a piece of hardware that can't be looked into and copied, but that's got its downsides too. It also means that nobody can tell if there's malware or something else going on inside. That's pretty much what it boils down to I think.' Looking at Coast however, he sent the man a separate message. 'Let's toss Yuumi a fish here - the idea's pretty much along what we were thinking up anyways.'

In all honesty, he had no idea how many others were 'listening' but he was glad Coast was.
Yuumi listened.

Each word, phrase and sentence. The inflections, the tone. She listened.

There was a lot to answer for, but with Yamatai, there always was more. She wasn't in the know on much of SAINT's operations, or even some of the fleets'. Part of being the civilian head of a weak civilian government.

Some of what Valken said was said out of ignorance, mostly about Nekovalkyrja. She didn't hold it against him. He either wouldn't know or couldn't know. The history with the Elysians was drenched in blood and anger; the species restriction order was overbroad, though that was the first time she'd ever heard 12th Standard Fleet was folded because of that act. The history of the fleet didn't back up his statement, but how would he know?

She didn't disagree on the point about a non-Ketsurui monarch, but the last non-Neko monarch elicited strong feelings. Besides, before that it likely was someone from Nepleslia running Geshrintall, like the Black Claw.

And the UOC ... she looked sad at the mention of them. Mistakes. So many mistakes. She had letters too, of grateful UOC citizens glad to be back in the flock of the Empire. But the military's failure to properly respond was one she couldn't deny. And the mistakes with the Free State, and the Lorath.

She could apologize for all of them, but would it mean anything? She wasn't Yui.

Older sister, if only you handle being here. But you always were the warrior, the fighter. It was my job to be the voice, the soft touch and sweet talk. How often would it have helped for me to be in the lead? How often would it have hurt?

Yuumi paused, considered her words, then nodded at the terminal that played Valken's voice. She didn't face him, but she did face Coast.

"The last time the Empire elevated a voice and left it elevated," Yuumi said, "was when it peacefully allowed you to fly your flag."

She could feel the pulse of blood in her arms beating at the table,. She only waited for three of them before slowly standing up.

"I think all of us have some conferring to do with our honorable delegations. Let's take an early break for ... 30 minutes? We'll meet back here at that time."

The lights came on in the gallery and the field around Johnathan's gallery dropped. The break meant everyone was free to move about as they liked, talk to who they wanted and leave the center conference room. The doors slowly unsealed and rotated away to drive the point home.

Yuumi didn't take her eyes off Coast.

((OOC: End thread.))
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