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RP Session 2: Trade

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Doshii Jun

Perpetual player
Retired Staff
Yuumi was outside the conference room, waiting for Miki to return.

The other delegates and their aides were inside, waiting for her to return. She assumed they were less patient with her than she was being with Miki.

The session was going to be about trade, barring unforeseen things that would wreck everything. She imagined something would come along to toss sand in the rice bowl, so-to-speak, but she was confident she could handle whatever headed her direction.

It wasn't like she had a choice. Trade wasn't as vital to Yamatai's economy as it was to other nations, so Yamatai had less weight to pitch. Companies such as Tamahagane and Origin already were free to ply their civilian wares to whomever wanted them, save the NMX. The Yamataian banking system was as solid as any of the other nations, and currency exchange was painless.

General transportation and trade agreements could be had between nations, but they likely meant little when it came to Yamatai. She suspected many nations would follow Nepleslia's lead when it came to the restriction of Neko on their territory. Sad as that was, Yuumi understood.

"Where is she," Yuumi said out loud.
"I dismissed her, Premier."

If Yuumi were to look to the side, standing near one of the mosaics of a fleet of ships preparing to jump, blue aether beginning to spark around their broad drives like so many specks of stardust, she would see the sort of sand that had ended up in her bowl; from the look of it, it was also a lot of sand.

A white-paneled bodysuit uniform had made the soldier look signifigantly less important than she was; enough that, at a glance, she had seemed to be only another one of the wandering military personnel stationed on Pieces. But when she spoke, Yuumi realised there could be no mistake - the sing-song honeyed quality of her words, the chocolate dark skin, and the thick blonde cream-colored hair, loosely braided but well groomed. That particular air of poise and beauty was unique to just one person.

Shosho Morioka Naoko, one of the twelve Vice-Admirals of the former Second Draconian Fleet, who had once been answerable to Chujo Kasami Erika and now likely answered only to Yui herself, tossed Yuumi a warm and winning smile.

"I am your new Aide-de-camp."

" ... "

Morioka was a known quantity. There was a blue-blood feeling to her. The kind of self-confidence that made people blanch at her, in a way that was meant to project, "What the fuck did you just say/do?"

Yes. This is what she needed. Just what she needed. Miki, her best aide, her ace, her go-to girl? Nope, she was "dismissed." Now she had this Neko in front of her. Militant but not unreasonable? Hard but not unyielding?

She hoped those things held up.

It was at that moment, as if Morioka had been reading her thoughts, that the Admiral produced a slip of paper - actual hardcopy, as opposed to digital - and offered it to Yuumi.

"You may not like this," the Admiral warned, coming close and folding her hands in the small of her back, amicably preparing to read over the Premier's shoulder without any real consideration for personal space. "In fact, I think you may very greatly dislike it. But, I can't do very much about it, when she gets angry."

"No," Yuumi said. "I suppose you can't."

Her sister always did find a way to win. Great thing to have in a Taisho, bad for a diplomat.

"You know the rules, I take it? You don't speak to anyone but me in that room. And you keep it silent."

She crunched up the piece of paper and slipped it into one of her pockets.

"You've grown steely, Yuumi." Morioka clucked her tongue, gave a vague and vacant shrug, "I am here for a purpose, Premier. Those orders are absolute. The Taisho is watching your conference and nearly urinating all over herself in indignation, but as times have changed I have discovered I may be very flexible in my interpretation of her wishes."

"I suppose, what I'm trying to say, is that I don't answer to you."

Morioka offered another wan smile; the blue-blooded, baronal, almost unintentionally condescending smile of apology. "Of course--"

Yuumi cut her off. "Those troops, outside the door? They aren't a part of your fleet. They're a part of my detail. And I have plenty of them here. You want in that door, you play by the rules. You listen to me. And you do. What. I. Say."

The Neko was almost on the balls of her feet. Morioka had the problem of not listening. Some people thought that, in an Admiral's case, this could be an endearing quality - but they were people like Yui, or the original Emperor Uesu; old Imperialists with bloody minds who didn't seem to consider failure as a possibility, even a remote one.

So when Morioka gave Yuumi an arched eyebrow and a bright smile instead of an argument, it was somewhat unexpected. Yuumi had been expecting some sort of display of force, some sort of indignant 'Fuck off', or something.

"May I show you something?" Morioka asked, pleasantly. Without waiting for a reply, and with a quick, sharp wave of bravura, she changed the display on one of the station's windows.

Oh, there it is.

It was a Super Eikan Heavy Cruiser. It was docked. In the station. Right there. A military vessel fully fitted and staffed, docked at an intergalactic peace conference. It was in addition to two Urufu, currently navigating their way through several smaller civilian craft and minor station traffic.

The starships didn't faze Yuumi. Morioka loved a grand entrance, after all, to match her grand presence.

"So? Gonna have your troops stun me, haul me away like a criminal, and take my place yourself? If so, hurry up. They're waiting in there."

Morioka laughed musically, one of her furred ears flitting back gently, as if it had a mind of its own. "No, no! Jumpy, aren't you? You can relax; I am not foolish or foolhardy.

"I just wanted to show you my new command. It's my fleet. Very small, isn't it? That's really all there is; that's all I have been given to carry out the audacious, whimsical orders you saw on that paper. Half of me thinks that she is trying to get rid of me. You know, send me somewhere to die, instead of retire. What a way to go!" she exclaimed, wistfully. And then, with a hint of glum revere, as if the years had weighed on her - and Yuumi knew they had; "What a world we've created for ourselves."

As the window faded back into a view of regular space, the Vice-Admiral pulled her braid over her shoulder and thoughtfully ran her fingers over a few of the thick strands. Already, a couple wiry hairs had worked themselves lose, but overall it was still smooth, still beautiful, and the preening was elegant and pensive. Morioka wasn't so much wearing a uniform as a costume; she was an actor, playing herself, and she accomplished it expertly.

"I'll talk only to you, I promise," she conceded, in a tone that was much more practical and less distant, "But I do have a request that you must address in return. Yui is wroth with the Lorath delegate and wishes that we should confront him on the issue of the Lorath who remained in the Outer Colonies after the evacuation. I have come here only to confront them, and not to interrupt your proceedings.

"You see, I would rather confront the Lorath, here, where there are not a thousand of their sloops just behind them on the broad star ocean, than in the area where they have their strength. So even though Yui, I think, did not intend for me to come here - perhaps she was even hoping I would provoke war; you've really put her in a mood, Yuumi - I thought it prudent to talk from conference tables where the worst that can happen is someone spilling their water, as opposed to the bridges of command ships, where rash action may produce much worse, more quickly. I must think of my soldiers, Yuumi - for I have very few, now."

The golden eyes - eerily, they reminded Yuumi of a fox's eyes, or something else a little inhuman - shifted back to Yuumi. Morioka was not demanding, but asking, honestly, for help. She just wouldn't say it.

Shit. The plea was just impassioned enough to rope Yuumi's heart into supporting it, and the practicality of it was present too.

Passion and practicality were her stock-in-trade, though. She knew them well, knew how to manipulate them to her needs. Morioka, an admiral of yesteryear, wasn't so practiced. It didn't really show.

It didn't come down to those things, however. In diplomacy, it was all about trust. Looking at those foxy eyes, Yuumi had to decide if she could trust her. Not to behave — that would be stupid — or even to play by any of her rules. Rather, she had to trust she meant what she said and that she would act upon it accordingly.

She had to trust that Morioka would act like herself and not as a proxy of Yuumi's elder sister.

"We're going to be talking trade," she said. "I can introduce the topic — "

"Say that we will be policing the former Outer Colonies region, and that will draw the Lorath out," Morioka interrupted immediately, with a confidence that was reflexive and clearly absolute. "Then, that is when the confrontation will happen; if they do not speak, they are hiding their presence from the conference, but I think they will jump at the opportunity to make us look foolish, with our terrible, terrible lack of intelligence. Wouldn't you say?"

Yuumi waited for her to finish, then held up her hand.

"It doesn't work that way, Mori-chan." The suffix was purposeful, but not unkind. "Everyone at that table is going to see such a statement as bald and off-topic." She paused only half a heartbeat; Morioka would jump at any chance she could take. "I can introduce the topic as a matter of trading locations between the Lorath and the Empire. We do buy some of their goods, but it's in a limited fashion, and we could use others, especially their stonethread. If we bring it up in that light, we'll have to talk protection routes, and at that point, the UOC and our policing of it can come up. From there, it will be us working together."

"Yes," the Admiral decided after a moment. There was an awkward couple of moments where it seemed as if Morioka were going to continue; she was petting her hair, as if the feel of it were pleasant or calming to her. But when she didn't say anything, it left an uneasy gap.

When Morioka noticed, she glanced back to Yuumi again, and smiled easily.

"What, you expected me to argue?"

"No," Yuumi said, perturbed. "I'd be glad if you wiped that damn smile off your face. Goodness knows Flint is going to start firing aether beams at your head."

The Premier huffed. " ... You're so easy to look at, Mori-chan. Why can't you be as easy to talk to?"

At that, Morioka looked a little hurt. "I'm not easy to talk to?"

Yuumi bit her lower lip, red eyes focusing on a spot below the Neko's chin.

"Oh, forget it," she said, throwing in the towel. "Just don't get in front of me, alright? You're distracting."

Morioka placed a hand on her collarbone, theatrically, and bowed deeply. Her hair spilled over, what few strands had been left out of her braid for style by whomever had done it. When the Admiral straightened, she smoothed it all back again, leaving just one or two.

"My deepest apologies, Premier."

At least I have something I can look forward to thinking about when we quit for the day, Yuumi sourly thought, glad she remembered her toy bag. Morioka fussed over her damn hair so much it exasperated Yuumi, but the results ... and how that old-school, white-heavy, skin-tight uniform clung to the Neko's brown skin. Every little movement seemed to accentuate her curves.

She milks it well.

"Wiseass." Rapport, understandings, needs based off of desires from those higher than them. Things would work out after all. Maybe. "Let's get in there and get things done."

"After you," Morioka hummed, swinging her head in a well practiced and graceful motion that slung the braid over her shoulder to hang down against the center of her back, instead. "You're the Empress's representative. It would be unseemly for a mere Shosho to appear more forward."

And that was how it went.
Outside Of The Conference Room

"Aannnrgh... what could be taking those wretched cats so long to discuss?" Aegis spoke in her native dialect to Dico, the New Tur'listian that was seemingly there just as tech support, at least that was just how it seemed. As she griped, they sat upon a bench, well out of earshot of the two Yamataians, just waiting to enter the conference room, as they should be.

"If they're needing to talk about things in private, that does not bode well for anyone else." Dico spoke, stating the seemingly obvious, as he sat with his elbows propped against his knees, and his hands clasped between them. "I don't like how they operate, they say things, which have no relation to their actual meaning, the last thing they are doing here is actually working in the direction of peace."

"Well congratulations, you just earned yourself a spot on the Diplomatic Division, whatever would we have done without you? Dumbass, that is what these conferences are all about." Aegis spoke, before plucking a feather from Dico's wings.

"Yeeargh!" Dico exclaimed, before he thrashed his arms a bit in a flailing gesture. "Don't do that!" he whined, as he scooted away from the Fyunnen woman.

"Then don't sound like a dumbass, dumbass." Aegis spoke, frowning lightly at the matter as she reviewed what was due to be discussed; "Trade... trade is up next. After the talk I had with the Abwehran, we have something up our sleeve. We've had a good trade relation with the Nepleslians, nothing to fret about there. Our trade relations with the Free State are also stellar. That just leaves the Gartagens and the Iromakuanhe... the Gartagens we can care less about, the Iromakuanhe, they're a mystery, and their goods may pose an advantage. As for Yamatai... they're going to want things from us, their thieving Shosho is an excellent example of that. They'll want to trade us for our specialty goods, while also trying to take advantage of us somehow, that is how they operate." Aegis spoke, nodding in a resolve. "I don't know what they'll dare to want, but really, it is up to the High Priest to fend them off... especially since he is currently Chairman of the United Manufacturing Cooperative..." Aegis trailed off as she gave Dico a nudge. "I think its time to go in." she spoke, before the pair would get up and head to the conference room.
When the Lorath were seated, Yuumi bowed to the table and then sat down herself, with Morioka sitting behind her.

"I hope everyone had a pleasant recess," she said. "We now move to session two of this conference, where we discuss matters of trade. Yamatai has limited levels of trade with other nations, and with a source of food secure, our civilian corporations' desires simply are to have a chance to ply their wares — many common household items, of course, but also many forms of transportation.

"If it is not too much trouble, I'd like to hear from everyone what their chief exports are, so these discussions can be carried out in an informed manner. No doubt we've studied each other, but it helps to get it out in the open."
Vishta sat silently, and pondered the question. She rather enjoyed the study of economics, and understood that many politicians were not economists. The Shara star system at this point was currently at war, so one of their main exports was food.

"At present our chief export is raw materials such as ore, and food. The Abwehrans..our closest neighbors have been taking in luxury items, such as spices, precious stones and metals at a slow but steady pace. Our main imports are consumer goods; we are trying to advance our culture, and weapons."

"At present our market is largely untapped by the respective nations in this room, though we have no qualms about agreeing to free trade at this conference."
Once again, it fell to Dico to stop in and turn on the transceiver, thus bringing the High Priest back to the conference. Once he was 'present', Dico stepped out, leaving the Matriarchy with their third representative slot open once again, it seemed, they were remaining ready for possibly calling in a pinch hitter for advisory, or, for show.

Velor listened to Yuumi, as his projection was clearly seated upon a plush and comfortable looking chair, with a glass of some sort of beverage perched upon his hand. It seemed, Velor was still on his recess, while still being very much in attendance. When he finished listening to her request for information, Velor smirked softly before he spoke up. "Mm, Former Empress, I am sure that the Empire is quite aware of our exports and production, however, for the sake of the others in attendance I will state a short list of our primary exports."

One of the secondary volumetric projectors flickered to life, before a muted commercial from the United Manufacturing Cooperative began to play, seductive imagery of goods and women played out as Velor spoke. "While the United Outer Colonies is dissolved, the corporation which came about from the spirit of the colonies is still very much active, and works with our government as a production hub for consumer goods. Both our government, and private sector firms, have a surplus of food for export, alcoholic beverages, drugs of various varieties, and an assortment of entertainment related goods. As for goods outside of the average consumer market, we produce a large number of small starships, large power armor, guns, and raw materials. However, due to current trends set by private operators, prices may vary by consumer."

Velor's smirk widened, as his eyes narrowed softly at Yuumi; "Our prices will especially be steep, in regard to those which have acquired our wares through unauthorized vendors, this mark-up extends to members of the individual's affiliation, most specifically, their clan. It is simply the price which must be paid by those which support piracy and grave robbing."

"Oh, and before I forget..." Velor continued, almost as an after thought; "My people are still invested in ensuring the 'welfare' of the Helashio which are without homes, and we are willing to export select Helashio as adopted workers in exchange for material goods which would serve to offset the cost for housing and moving other Helashio which would be in need. Though, we also can provide personnel to specific criteria, including synthetic personnel, such as our civilian-model ARIA units."
"Very elegant," Morioka observed, verbally and audibly, to Yuumi. She leaned forward just the slightest bit, worked her lips gently around the words as she turned her attention to Yuumi's light-furred ear. "I think he's attempting to imply we are grave-robbers and thieves, though I am not sure what we have stolen!"

Morioka's honey-colored eyes were on the image of the High Priest, but she was still speaking directly to Yuumi, in mock quiet. There was a strange glitter to them. If Yuumi wanted Morioka to be Morioka, she wasn't disappointed. The Vice-Admiral was faintly smiling, voice as sultry dark and provocative as her skin.

"Perhaps we should help them by offering to free and house some of their slaves with our vehicles and civilian hardware as trade? That seems extremely fair. It may stress our food reserves, Premier, but I have read about these people and their pain at the hands of their masters, and their suffering touches me."
There was a flutter in the image, as Velor sat up in his seat, as his wings shifted upon his back, puffing out a bit, it seemed that the newcomer did not do so well at soothing the situation, but instead did an excellent job at ruffling the Lorath's feathers. "You would do well to know the behaviors of one of your Shosho, and to at least show some respect to your Mistress which you sit beside and keep your tongue from wagging when it is not permitted." Velor spoke, a harshness to his tone as he stared firmly at Morioka, it was clear, he had no patience for showboating officers of the Star Army of Yamatai, though, that was as far as he allowed his agitation to go, as he made it clear that he was not going to take well to continued words from Yuumi's support.

Though, his gaze did not leave Morioka, as he continued to speak; "As for a trade of goods in exchange for immigrant workers, certainly something could be arranged, we are not an unreasonable people. However, I do feel uncomfortable sending workers into an unsecured and vulnerable destination, in which the Matriarchy would be uncertain of the capabilities of their protectors. More so, we can not even be sure that you'd be able to feed them. Even the most ill suited employers within the Matriarchy are known to do that much reliably, and even then, they receive the scrutiny of our regulatory agencies."

Velor's gaze returned to Yuumi after his words to Morioka. "Former Empress, I would like to advise that you select aids that do not display their lust for saber rattling, nor their ignorance, so impulsively. We do not trade in slaves, we trade in willing personnel which desire to serve. We've made this distinction to the Empire before, we've made this distinction to the former United Outer Colonies, and I will make that distinction clear again; the individuals which the Matriarchy offers are willing to serve, we do not force anyone to take on a position which they do not desire. When your loose-tongued associate makes her ignorance of such matters apparent, it is offensive, not just to me, but to the others who are gathered here which are undoubtedly being spoon-fed a misrepresentation of our people."

With those words spoken, Velor returned to leaning back in his seat, light-years away, before he went on; "However, despite the ignorance which is still in full hold of the Star Army of your Empire, I do have a petition from a civilian agency within the Matriarchy's borders, which would like to take part in trade in your Empire, civilian grade and military grade hardware. If it would be possible, I would like to pass this petition on to you, former Empress, so you may make the proper entities within your government aware of what this civilian firm has to offer." With that, a message was sent along the proper channels to Yuumi's electronic in-box, an official message, with an attachment of data from the United Manufacturing Cooperative, as well as a sub-company within the cooperative, a 'Lazarus Consortium', which seemed to be the company which was making the bulk of the petition.

"With that aside, Premier, I would ask that we stop the games, and get down to seriously handling our business from here on." Velor spoke, as he set aside his wine glass, and folded his hands upon his lap. It was clear, just from his expression, and the cool gaze of the former Senator seated in person beside the projection, that Velor had indeed put on a show, to utterly mock the Empire during a moment of vulnerability which the Matriarchy perceived, which was caused by the out of turn dialog.
Wazu chuckled to himself, then quickly quieted himself before turning his attention to his datapad.

*th th th th... th th... th th th.....*

His fingers tapping against the pad making only the faintest of noises. He then sent his message to the Gartagen princess with a soft *beep*
"I am glad to accept this petition, High Priest," Yuumi said, calmly, smoothly and with an easy smile she did not feel.

Morioka had done what Yuumi had wanted to do, but knew would not help — tell the Lorath exactly what she thought of them, their form of slavery, and how they were in general not worthy of respect. For that, she gave Morioka credit for her ignorant criticism.

But Yamatai wasn't in any hole, no matter how thick the Lorath painted the room with tension. Velor made plain that he wanted to hurt Yamatai and enjoyed it. That was acceptable, as it gave her more ammunition to take the slap and continue smiling. Never miss an opportunity to look good.

"In the spirit of seriously handling business, High Priest, I have some free assistance. The Yamatai Star Empire, fulfilling part of its mission to restore territorial lands for our people and resources for ourselves and our allies, will send a task group into the former United Outer Colonies in the coming days. The group is small, but it will be led by some of the best soldiers our Empire has — including the Shosho as the group's leader."

She paused a beat, and looked at the projection of Tomoe.

"So, quite seriously, I tell you that instead of trying to bloody our nose at each turn, you should learn to get along and try again this diplomacy thing."

She looked back to the other delegates. "Part of this group's purpose is to lift Yamatai into being a better trading partner. The Gartagens especially deserve to benefit from new technologies and resources at our disposal, as they have helped Yamatai when the hour seemed darkest. As well, the assistance from the Iroma government deserves assistance in-kind beyond a shipyard. Yamatai will live up to those bargains. Re-establishing ourselves in the Yûgumo Cluster just makes it easier."

Yuumi took hold of the main projector, as no one was using it. Upon it, she showed a picture of the cloud-covered, tundra plain city of Natalia; below it, a picture of Ketsurui no Iori, locked into a valley, walls all around it and with a single gleaming spire in its centralized downtown — the former WickedArms manufacturing center, now used by Ketsurui Zaibatsu. Origin's and Tamahagane Corporation's headquarters then were shown next to those two images, giving a squared display of just some of Yamatai's industry.

"What we offer best is technological and industrial capacity, fellow delegates. The Gartagens, and now the Iroma, are able to take advantage of our capacity to create at steep discounts, but in this time of war, Yamatai is not in the business of profiteering. Though we need all the raw materials we can get for our own war effort, we want also to help our neighbors be ready for threats. Consider us similar to a furniture maker — pick out your material, bring it to us and we will fashion it to your liking."
"Ha-hah!" laughed Pyros, rather loudly. He had been sitting idly for the first few minutes of the proceedings, watching the Lorath and the Yamataians duke it out over words. There was a smug little look on his face, something symbolic of the entertainment he derived from both of their discomforts. The man was still a tad toasty from his earlier drinking, but appeared much more elegant for it.

Sheva herself was wearing a fancy hat now, a tall one, with an ice bag concealed under it. She looked a tad ragged, but was cleaned up proper for the most part. Pyros' booming declaration made her cover one of her ears in mild discomfort, but found herself surprised as the man continued to speak.

Tap, tap, tap. Went the Premier's Cane on the floor.

"When it comes to the market, Nepleslia has a great deal." he declared loudly, speaking in a volume greater than the two previous parties have disputed in. "Our chief exports include raw materials, specifically metals, though our factorys also manufacture a great deal of pre-fab parts. Companies like AwesomeCorp make civilian technologies that are bought by neighboring countries. A few worlds in our expanse are dedicated to farming and livestock, so we're nothing short on food. Yet, one export per se, is one we've been careful on, but have plenty of."

The Permier brought up a small volumetric display, showing several Nepleslian worlds still fertile and developing industry. Blue splotches dotted a good deal of their surface.

"As seen with our dealing with the Tamahaganes, Nepelslia has a good deal of land to rent out to those willing to build industry upon it. Those corporations who build on our land are offered a leniency with wartime tariffs since they may be exporting back to their home country." declared Pyros, before clearing his throat, "Though, they'll still be subject to corporate taxes that local businesses are subject to, of course."
There were no surprises in the moves on both Yuumi and Pyros parts, their approaches were actually expected by the Lorath High Priest. Nepleslia, ever seeking to make a buck while not really committing to anything, and Yamatai... gripping and grasping at their neighbors, infecting them with changes to their very lifestyles, tainting them with advancement that at one point may have been unwanted, and unneeded, altering the paths of entire populations with a welcoming smile, it was like encouraging a swine to improve itself by eating plenty and doing little, they were fattening up their neighbors, and preparing to bring them to the slaughter of pulling them into the fold and using them as a foil in their scuffles, that was what Velor felt in his gut, but his face did not betray that, instead he smiled softly as he listened to the two speakers of the largest nations.

Before speaking to the Sky Marshall, Velor took on the situation in the order of which things developed, and so, he took on Yuumi first, as a smile persisted on his lips; "A task force you say? We were wondering when you would show up. Our own military has been ensuring the safety of the independent colonists in the area, and has been taking part in a rich trade of materials and goods, we would be glad to extend such hospitality to your taskforce as well. However, we would certainly have to undergo a transnational period, we have a great number of assets in the area, which the locals simply depend on for emergency services and protection from intruders which would seek to exploit their vulnerability." That was it, it seemed, Velor was ready for the inevitable, and, he had set to maintain a presence in the area... but on behalf of the locals, more than his own government, and that fact was sealed with his next words; "If, the locals want a transition."

After laying down his words with the Empire, Velor shifted his gaze to the head of the Nepleslian Imperium "Sky Marshall, during the administration of Robert Davis, our peoples were able to come to a trade and friendship agreement, I would like to confirm that we still have that agreement in place with your administration as well. A simple agreement of trade between our peoples in regard to civilian goods, and limited exchange of military equipment. As well as an agreement of generally not screwing with each-other." Velor spoke, wanting to ensure that the position of the Matriarchy in relation to their long-time good neighbors was still in effect, though, he did want to bring things closer if possible.

"If our original agreement is still in effect, I would like to propose a positive modification. A semi-privately operated civilian producer of military and civilian grade equipment, the United Manufacturing Cooperative, would like to provide itself as a manufacturing plant for Nepleslian military and civilian designs in the stellar east, at only a ten percent cut from the income from the sales or production cost of the items or equipment manufactured. I would also be willing to extend the option to the Nepleslian government to produce some Lorath and former United Outer Colonies developed products and technologies as part of this potential deal. To aid in producing such equipment, our United Manufacturing Cooperative would be open to producing a manufacturing branch at a location of your choosing, to be convenient to your government, while providing jobs to a Nepleslian workforce, as well as the benefits of employment with the United Manufacturing Cooperative. Such designs and equipment, after an authorization review, can also be made available to be produced by your own manufacturing plants." Velor spoke, extending an offer which he hoped would provide a stable platform for prosperous expansion of trade between their people, and, which could undoubtedly serve to assist both their governments.

With those words, Velor hoped for an optimal result with the two big-hitters present, before he would shift his attention to the others gathered. Though, the truth was, Velor simply did not have to worry about the others, because the Lorath had been good neighbors. There was a pending agreement with the Abwehrans, the Iroma seemed more receptive to quiet dialog, the Gartagens were Yamataian lapdogs, and the Free State... well, no one made agreements with the whole of the Free State, and if anyone tried to think anything applied to their people as a whole, they'd be a fool.
Pyros rubbed his chin, appearing wistfully unattentive to Velor's offer for a few moments, before actually turning his attention on the Lorath. There were a few quiet moments of personal thought. The Premier seemed to be considering it.

"Everyone is free to trade with Nepleslia, and apply for use of land. Though..." The Sky Marshall put his cheek in his hand, his wispy chin-spike flowing in the movement, "I'd much prefer to meet with an executive representative of the company itself, before agreeing to anything. I talked extensively with Hikaru Tamahagane before giving the approval for his organization to work on Nepleslia. I'll make no exception for the Lorath."

Tap tap, went Pyros' cane, before being laid over his lap.

"But honestly." The Nepleslian Premier looked towards the rest of the table, "This delegation is for finding solutions that benefit all of us, right? No two nations should be the single object of discussion here, unless they're are under desparation. Truly, what we need is a center of trade, a place that makes the goods of smaller and larger nations easily accessible to all budding nations. Trade agreements between individual countries will only accomplish so much, and are often made with interests of the larger nation in mind. A much more neutral, more corporate entity would make such things easier. Like... Like an intergalactic retail store, but more of an exchange where goods are much more easily attained."
"Mmm, I'll arrange for a representative to be sent your way, or to contact you, whichever is more convenient on your end. However, it is Interesting you should mention retails Sky Marshall." Velor replied, as he summoned up a data readout on the spare volumetric projector which he had brought with him. When the display came to life, it displayed a text and image based listing of contributing organizations to the United Manufacturing Cooperative.

"The United Manufacturing Cooperative was envisioned with something similar in mind. The organization has been open to serving as a manufacturing and retail hub for all involved entities... however, I do think with your proposal, we would require a new brand, a new chain or retailers which will not handle the production end, but merely the sales end. Perhaps, a sales union, an organization which retailers can affiliate with for the purpose of providing a means of getting their wares out there to be seen, and to get their wares from point A to point B." Velor sounded quite positive about the notion, and in fact, he was rather enthused. "If we were to set down framework for such a multi-national retailing outlet, the Matriarchy would be glad to be involved."
Vishta fiddled with her own pad, but looked up. "As I said before, Yamatai owes us nothing. She responded to Wazu's message. "But we will turn down nothing that will advance us."

Vishta shifted a calm nod to Wazu, then resumed speaking.

"Weapons, metals raw materials are all nice and dandy. My nation has plenty of the above and they serve us well enough. I am inclined to go with what my esteemed adviser has stated in the past; this war is eclipsing everything. My people need to advance their culture. Their way of living. Our market is prime for consumer goods and merchandise.

Vishta was growing wry of the peen wagging, and the posturing. In her mind she wished the war would end, but in the mean time she aimed to increase the awareness that there was indeed money to be made in the Gartagen market.
Leaning back in her chair, Iris listened to the rest of the conference and felt like the eye of a storm. Her fellow representatives (some even considered national leaders) seemed be either avoiding the Lorath/Yamataian confrontation or seemingly gaining amusement out of it. The Minister of State for the Abwehran Star Empire only felt annoyance. The Lorath's Leader was only making her want to break off any promise of an arrangement with his blatant bickering with the Yamataian Premier. Even if he had a right to do such a thing, it wasn't proper in a conference to promote galactic agreement.

"The many companies in the Abwehran Star Empire do not sell weaponry to non-Abwehran organizations," Iris stated a bit louder than she needed to in a blatant attempt to break up the little squabble. "However, exports currently from our companies are in the manner of commercial/luxury goods and services. We also allow foreign companies both orbital and land space in our colonial region for their own development, though taxes will be levied like all corporations on Abwehran soil." Iris explained as her eyes moved between Yuumi and Velor with a mildly disapproving expression an older woman would give the young.
Yuumi absorbed the various products and services the nations at the table provided.

"Thank you, everyone. I think at this time, with the war ongoing, it's too hasty to establish any kind of trading treaty amongst all of us, as we all have various taxes and tariffs we might want to impose. However, shipping lanes that remain patrolled at all times, for the use of all our peoples, might be prudent."

The main map reoriented itself to point out major shipping lanes for the galaxy, as established so far.

"Lanes such as the Jaspis Spaceway and the Nataria Spacelane intersect, for instance, so our ability to combat pirates along those lines must be solid. But the Lorath lack a direct route to the Abwehrans that doesn't involve crossing the Lonely Expanse. Our Spacelane already is patrolled, and we are testing a new starfighter that could greatly bolster patrols along the lane — to Mitsuya, for instance, to not intrude on your nation's territory, High Priest."

The areas Yuumi spoke about were highlighted along the map.

"Yamatai and Nepleslia already have a protected spaceway that could be used by your people, Premier, or yours, Princess. Might we start here instead: opening up our spacelanes to civilian traffic from our respective nations."
"Reasonable, however, we can debate a specific system at a later point." Velor spoke, as he gave a slight tip of his head to the proposed notions of shipping lanes. "However, for shipping lane patrol operations, I would like to propose that recognized civilian-accessible shipping lanes be open to patrol by low-end military craft of any organization which is in the process of receiving or sending materials along the given space-lane. Fighter craft seem ideal, and perhaps gunships and destroyers would be permitted, though anything cruiser sized and larger, I would begin to feel a sense of overkill."

A thought came to Velor's mind, as he looked upon the space-lanes which were marked, and the angled portions where he knew hyperfold would have to be disengaged for course correction... those were clear ambush points. "Premier, I would suggest that neutral defense outposts be constructed at key navigational points between destinations, locations where ships are forced to drop out of hyperfold to establish a new heading. As we all know, a ship in hyperfold is safe against any and all interference. However, the moments between fold jumps provide an ample opportunity for raiders to have their way with cargo hauling vessels." With that, an image appeared on one of the volumetric projectors adjacent to the High Priest, and upon the display came the image of a Gallus-Type defense drone. "Defense drones such as these could be utilized to great effect for the task." It seemed, that since the last exchange, Velor had moved on, and was focused on being productive with the Yamataians for the meantime.
Around that point, Morioka-Shosho yawned.

Propped as she was on her elbow, it looked as if she were about to nod off, but after her yawn - it was a good yawn - she cracked an eye open and fixed it on Yuumi.

"Denka, might I suggest that we designate a fleet to patrol these lanes ourselves? I believe it has been shown repeatedly at this conference that certain parties at the table are grasping for better leverage and I wonder if some of our shipments might go strangely awry, should their equipment be employed in their protection.

"And further, I know that we are able to pull ships out of hyperspace. The Nerimian Confederation had such technology, and we did it ourselves, as well, when fighting the Jaaq'tah. Deadspace interfereance - creating zones where faster than light propulsion is risky or even deadly - was one of our primary defensive strategies. So I would not place too much faith in hyperspace to protect our merchant fleet.

"Perhaps everyone at the table might feel safer if we pledged ourselves to this undertaking. After the war, we will have a lot of ships sitting around doing nothing. Over eight thousand I presume. A very piddling number, of course, compared to our former glory, but still more than any other nation can bring to the table. Don't we have an obligation?"
"Premier your pet fails to recognize that the Yamatai Empire is not entirely able to be trusted either, considering that one of your own royalty has obtained merchandise from illegitimate sources." Velor spoke, his jaw tightening visibly even through the volumetric projection. "What I propose is that we work together, to ensure that no individual nation has reign over the trade lanes. We could deploy our own drones, and you your own, and any other nation can do the same. Though, we vow that our drones will only target ships that are hostile to freight ships. As for pulling ships out of hyperfold by those means... you imply that it would be a prudent tactic to utilize transposition and subspace damaging weapons along shipping lanes? What kind of fool would cut off further prey, for the sake of a single haul?" Velor frowned softly, he could tell that Yuumi was assigned poor company. "What we want here is cooperation, what your child with a wagging tongue proposes is that suspicion and paranoia be applied to a situation which needs a degree of trust, and that shipping lanes become arteries for military traffic. Very counter productive, and, I ask you again to muzzle the animal."
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