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RP [Essia Occupation] Snakes and Ladders


Convention Veteran
RP Date
Early YE 41
RP Location
Essia Orbit
ICSS Endeavor
Iskaru Combine Flagship
Essia System

Noro Deilfir Iskaru (R) waited in his office for the Freespacer envoy with Lissar, his favorite from his harem, and Ananta, a member of the Essian Conclave. Iskaru didn't trust Anata, but the fiction of Essia being a ally of the Kuvexians was useful. He had his intelligance officer get Anata's soul transfer backup and sleaved it into a clone several times. They had tested the clone and the backup in every way that they could imagine before desposing of it and she had been if not perfectly loyal, then loyal as possible given the cirmstances. Her belief in Nagashun was the only weakness that they had found. Iskaru doubted that the myths of a primitive society would do anything to hurt their objectives in Essia. If anything, they would be able to use it given the Separa'Shan he had sent to their religion research facility so that they could 'shape' their beliefs into a more useful form.

The office was richly appointed with deep soft carpet, on the walls hung original paintings that were worth a great deal of money in Kuvexia. The walls were paneled with a rare purple wood. Everything from the chairs to the desk, to the bookshelves that lined the rome was intricately designed using only the best materials, hand made by master craftsmen. The books that filled the shelves were all valuable first editions. It was a room designed to impress on anyone entering it that Iskaru was a man of wealth, power, and taste.

From the information he had gathered, there was little love lost between Yamatai and the Freespacers. The genocide a decade ago had caused deep rifts to form between the two cultures. A rift he hoped to take advanatage of.

As he waited, he read the latest reports. Despite their small numbers and the cooperation of the goverment of Essia, the resistance was still making it nearly impossible to get anything done unless they did it themselves. They always seemed to know exactly where to strike and how to fade away into the jungle like ghosts. They never seemed to act on the false information that he leaked, only the accurate information. It was infuriating and unsustainable. The home office demanded that they produce better results. That would require infastructure, infastructure that didn't exist in Essia. However, he couldn't do it with the fleet he had. He needed help, and that was why he had asked the freespacers to join him.

When Linelayer Hammerhead arrived, it was with much less pomp and ceremony than one might expect from the de-facto buisness leader of a species. The bronze robot was six and a half foot tall, bearing a sideways oblong head strewn with sensor devices, and a long black cloak of guilded silver iconography and shining brass talismans.

He silently bowed with a great messure of respect after entering, but continued to move as silently as his tiny nomad transport craft had upon docking with the immense flagship.

Truth was that he found both the outfit and the atmosphere of the bureau rather stuffy, but it was fitting for stepping back into what Freespacers saw as the 'old' world. He wasn't really sure if finally gaining an audience under the Kuvexians was any better than the Yamatai, but it had been a long string of involvement with dysfunctional, failing alien economies had led him to this point.

He certainly respected the continued cultrual independence of the Separah'Shan, but in dealing with a goverment this new, he really had no idea what to expect.

"Greetings Sir Noro Deilfir Iskaru. Miss Ananta. And your honoured servant. I trust this day meets you well?" His electronic voice hit a sort of basal vibration, somehow soft spoken yet also resoundingly clear at the same time. "My name is Linelayer Hammerhead Eight Eight, network administrator. I've come to discuss potential infrastructure development opertunities between our species, as requested."

Iskaru nodded, moving to shake Linelayer's hand. "Thank you agreeing to meet with us. I hope that we can arrive at a mutually benifical arrangment. I can't say I've met a society similar to yours before, but the information I've been able to gather is fascinating. I personally can't see how what appears to me to be complete anarchy is sustainable, but you have made it work.That says something about your society. You make things work, and that's exactly the kind of people we need to have as allies."

Ananta also moved to shake Linelayers hand, she had read a lot of research on freespacers, but this was the first one she had met personally. "I'm pleased to meet you as well." She said.

"We scrape by." The tall automata shook Iskaru's hand gratefully, and then moved across to that of Ananta's. "Essia has a long and proud history in it's establishment, so I'm sure we can make that work for both our benefits... with a little sideways thinking, of course. Currency can be devalued by changing govements, but basic resources are always valuble in times of strife."

"Besides, it's a beautiful planet with lots of genetic diversity. That gives it a value all of its own." He nodded slightly, as if stifling a laugh. "I guess the real questions are, what scale are we speaking on here? Are you just interested in trade convoys, or are spacer civillians and work junkers welcome on the planet's surface? Are there any religious or Kuvexian-applied arrangements that will limit our involvement with each other in these ventures?"

"Apologies." A small turn towards Ananta, respecting who they reprosented. "It is rather difficult to find information about laws on this side of the 'curtain', as it were, during this present conflict..."

"Rest assured, I represent the Essian goverment, our allies in the Kuvexians have agreed to help us pay for sorely needed infrastructure improvments. While Yamatai did help us make some improvments, their contributions were unfortunantly lacking resulting in the production problems that we have now. Essia is rich in resources, but with little capaibility to exploit them at the present time." Ananta explained.

"In terms of scale, we want to be able to fully exploit the resources that our home provides us so that we can assit our allies in defeating our mutual foe. While we would prefer to keep the scale limited, some freespacer presence on Essia will be needed beyond the spaceports. However, the majority of the infrastrucutre that we wish to construct is in space, where you have a lot more experiance then we do. We don't want to take advantage of just your construction ability, but your knowlage as well. While we expect that much of your workforce will be freespacers, we would you like to hire and train Separa'Shan in your activities." Ananta continued, she motioned towards a volumetric display.

"There are four primary projects that we want to undertake. First, two space elevators, one for each of the planets in the system, to more efficently deliver bulk goods from the surface to an orbital space station. Second, we want to develop addtional framing infrastructure in space. Essia is a net exporter of foodstuffs, but our population and demand is growing. If we don't establish farms in space, then we are going to have to cut deeply into the jungles and lose some of the biodiveand lose some of the biodiversity that we are known for. Third, we want to develop our ability to mine and refine resources from the asteroid belts. This would entail the construction of mining stations, ships, and refining facilities. Fourth, we want to build shipyards so that we can produce our own spaceships. There are of course many side projects that will be nessicary, and our objectives may change due to changing circmstances. However, this is a broad overveiw of what we would like to accomplish. " As she talked about each of the projects, images and statistics appeared on the volumetric display.

"Lets talk briefly about what we can do for you. First, our Kuvexian Allies have provided us with refined rare resources that we can provide to you in exchange for your services. Second, I believe that our location is close to several worlds that you used to hold before the freespacer genocide. Our allies in the Kuvexian fleet are working to take those worlds away from Yamatai, and we will be able to provide you access to those systems again. Third, at the moment, we have an abundance of agricultural products. Part of the project is going to be expanding our production capability for these products to meet future demand. Fourth, your workforce will need to be housed in stations around the system to work on the project. We are willing to offer you defacto control over these stations going forward. We understand how much you value your freedom. What are your thoughts?" She asked Linelayer.

The machine had been repressing their input since the mention of Yamatai's negligence. Spacers actually did receive some aid from the empire, but the net result was pretty much the same total afterthought that these repilians had apparently suffered. He didn't even know if trading that tyranny for another one was even such a good thing... Fortunately he had a perfect poker face, though, so he could keep the conversation on the subject of potential positives between their races.

"...On both the subject of re-establishing our old worlds, as well as improving your trade routes, I do beleive there is an immediate step we can take to achive both of these goals. Have you ever heard of the layline transport gate system, Miss Ananta?" Linelayer sounded a little magnanimous, though it might have been because this system was exactly what kept them one step ahead of the cat androids during the great war. It was the closest the Freespacers had to a symbol of national pride. "We still have many starship-sized gates established throughout the Nepleslian empire, the old worlds, and both the west and northern frontieers... If we built another gate station in this system, it would not only allow you fast, cheap and instantaneous access to new trade markets, but we could also create even more gates in the independent eastern systems..."

"Yes..." An elongated look over to the stately rows of paper media, internally wondering for a moment if the use of an outdated medium was a tradition or just a decoration style. "Of course, your military would be given complete physical control over the station, including the policing of vessels allowed to pass through... But in order to prevent dangerous reverse engineering, a large-scale AI infrastructure would also be given self-destruct authority, too... It is acceptable to train technicians of your species in this system, so long as they are also willing to be granted mindware and become freespacers themselves..."

"Forgive us if that seems a little demanding, but I do think this kind of joining of ideology is quite a fair deal."

Iskaru leaned forward slightly, the millitary and trading potental of the gate was huge. If the map was correct, it could allow them to extend their reach beyond what they currently had. He wanted it, even if they couldn't use it to move millitary ships around, the logistical benifits could be very useful.

Ananta nodded, "I've heard of the gates, but I don't know much detail about them or the trade offs involved." She admitted.

"Positives... They can transport ships instantaneously, to untracable locations, with zero possibility of being halted by enemy dimensional drive interdiction methods." The machine folded his hands behind his back. Kinda difficult not to sound like a used ship salesmen, but he was genuinely sure they could both profit. It was best to just be honest. "The negative is that you have a large, power-intensive megastructure that requires both ballistic and electronic defence. This is to say nothing of the gates on the other end."

"As for your need for space elevators... We unfortunately are not as experienced in this matter, since it is not within our normal scope to build megastructures on high gravity worlds..." Another look back and forth between the two delegates. "But we certainly could transition asteroids into both planetary orbits with great accuracy, which could then be used as achoring points for such constructions. Using mass drivers to propell materials from the asteroid belt into the inner system would also be advantageous."

With a slight change, the bronze machine folded their fingers before them, now wondering if they had gotten a little carried away with the functional details. Planet-dwelling politicians always seemed to get a little shaken up when talking about 'astronomical body re-arrangement' in his experience. It was generally news to them that their venerable, local deity-contructed solar system not a constant, unchanging thing. Just a rather large selection of constantly moving, accidental space vessels.

But is was standard practice for constructing a space elevator.

"Maybe a mothership or two on site would be advantageous!" A nervous laugh was once again repressed. "If you are not combfertable with the unguided materials being given fired inwards, I mean."

Ananta was a little shaken by his suggestion that they shoot things at Essia. Regardless of how precise they were, it was the kind of thing that would be a very hard sell. Motherships sounded better to her. She opened her mouth to say something, but Iskaru spoke first.

"If you don't mind me asking, what kind of armament do your motherships have? While I'm sure you have the best of intentions, having two large well armed ships along with an escort fleet in the system is something that would be concerning for system security. I'm sure that using mass drivers will be fine." Ananta shut her mouth. Iskaru didn't know precisely what motherships were, but he would bet that they came along with a well armed fleet. In his line of buisness, a little trust went a long way, the less you used, the farther you went. He didn't trust the freespacers, but if he couldn't work with people he didn't trust, he would have never become an CEO or an Admiral. Having two fleets of uncertain allegiance was a recipie for trouble.

Motherships were technically pretty much unarmed, especially in modern post-Yamatai contact terms. But Hammerhead didn't feel like pushing the point when the things were also basically ancient relics, each their own unique mobile ecosystems. They could do heavy lifting because of their sheer scale, but were also comparitively fragile, and radioactive anathema tomost other kinds of ecosystems. It was probably best to keep their use to a tightly controlled minimum.

"They aren't warships, but as the old saying goes... Mass is mass." He was very careful with this answer, vocalising it quite calmly. They didn't want anything they said to come across as unintentionally threatening or sinister. "That is to say, there is no real differance between a manned rocket and a guided missile, in truth."

"Yes, the preliminary work can be done with some rather more lightfooted Nomad Solarfoils and Junkers, if you prefer. Then we can work out some kind of larger scale sub-light barge or construction craft for our communal use." A small turn back to Iskaru in perticular, clapping their adds for a little extra positivity. "Unless there is a local vessel you would prefer to utilize? One that is available in large numbers? All that really matters is low running cost and a high mass-pushing capibility."

Ananta regained her sense of things quietly, "No, and that is one of the issues that we are hoping to address. We have little orbital manufacturing capability. While we could certainly use mostly your ships in the initial stages of the project, we would like to be able to manufacture our own variants. Early bootstraping shipyard capibility would be preferable due to the snowball effect."

"Of course! The Nomad's design is completely open to you!" The spacer made that same head movement again, somehow smiling without a mouth. They didn't exactly have copyright laws, so it amused them a little whenever capitalists assumed they would be blocked out. "The only thing that might take some work is, erm, well... Compatibility with your race's rather unique mobility method. I must confess I have a great deal of curiosity about how you move around in low gravity enviroments! A creative team of engineers from both of our races should perhaps be arranged to enter into an organised consultation over the subject."

The visual image in a robot's mind was of a Venis mechanic twisting and curling their body around some scafolding, like an ancient primitive snake might coil through the branches in a jungle canopy... But they weren't really sure if the delegates would take kindly to a animalistic comparision like that.

Ananta nodded, "We can arrange that."