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RP Session 2: Trade

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Yuumi prickled some. Even if her ally wasn't interested in the concept, she didn't need the Lorath, of all people, defending her nation or their war effort. Though he made many points she had kept in her hopper.

"There is an upfront cost involved in terms of constructing or repurposing a station," Yuumi said, "but stating it would cost more in the long run is not true. We need only establish the stations along our existing shipping lanes. It might take longer, but there are enough benefits, I believe, to advocate for it.

"Those benefits include what the High Priest discussed, as well as letting all customs officials of our nations be in one spot, able to check cargo at a safe location instead of at the port of entry or, worse, along the route. I don't know about you, but I'd like someone to make sure my 10 cases of whiskey are actually what I ordered before it arrives at my doorstep."
Vishta's eyes drew into slits as the Lorath Ambassador spoke to her. "I am sure this whole proposal appeals to you and your people!" Vishta said smiling and looking directly at the Lorath. She then turned and to make her point.

Vishta was avoiding rail roading her Yamataian Counterpart. She truly had no ill-will towards them, but after a glance at her pad and some consideration she continue her press.

"My family gained its wealth through shipping. Not many political families under stand the concept. As I under stand it Yamatai has been at war for nearly 30 years almost non stop. Indeed many of you here have been involved in conflict almost constantly. So Leave it to one who understand the consequences of what you are trying to do. Shipping is not something that is easy. There is a lot of work, time, and money that goes into it. Plus these check points will result in the changing of shipping routes, which costs more money per trip. If there is an up front cost I do not see it.

Vishta paused and sipped her water. "Now I want to know where these pirate reports are coming from. The reports from the Union's scanners have indicated that over all piracy is at an all time low, probably due to the conflict at large, and to the heavy Mobilization of our respective fleets."

"My dear Yuumi I can see your intentions are good, but you are a nation at war. A nation fighting for its life. Guns, tanks, troops all are nice, but you will never win a war if a food or ammunition shipment to some hellish world is late 56 hours. Logistics win wars. When dealing with logistics you keep them as cheap, and easy as possible, that away the most money is made, the least money is spent, and it happens at the best speed possible. I have little interest in seeing any of us wasting our time, money and resources on an inferior and inflated enemy. The Gartagen Union won't abstain, we simply will not participate in this proposal if it is allowed to pass."
"Princess, I'd like you to tell that to the Abwehrans." chimed Pyros, the bluntness of his remark rather obvious. The Sky Marshall was back over his cane again, gently sobering up to his mild discontent. "Their people fought a declared war against piracy due to the mass and coordination of the outlaw's numbers; A war, mind you, that lasted forty of our years."

He turned to the Abwehran delegation, raising his cane, and giving a respectful nod of his head. There wasn't much of a smile, but a firm recognition of the the iron-boned people. His attention, however, quickly returned to the table.

"Though their lawless enemy was defeated, I doubt they'll see any sort of piracy as an inferior and inflated threat. Anyone that preys upon our people's trade is to be dealt with swiftly. Space is vast, and even giving a small proponent portion of illegal privateering the area to organize is a fatal mistake." The old man, likely the oldest person in the room, leaned back into his chair, laying his cane across the knee. "Nepleslia doesn't dole lightly in its judgement of pirates, and neither should anyone else. Safety should be the top priority of any inter-nationl station, especially so in these odd times."
"As you said, the Abwherans defeated them." Arta snapped.

"Now I am not the type to say what it is you should do, but militarization over a *CURRENT* non-threat is rather preposterous considering the fact that you have the NMX hitting you at every corner. This may be a different discussion, but the war is still very real. When the NMX threat is over then perhaps we should put resources fourth to deal with minor domestic problems like piracy. As of now my objection stands, this proposal will only cause much more cost, and time for supplies to reach the front lines. If Pirates are such a fear, then perhaps operating merchant ships in convoys escorted by military vessels would be a cheaper alternative."
"So stubborn." Velor spoke, as he frowned in the direction of the Gartagen. "Fine, if you want to know more about the impact of piracy, let me show you."

With Velor's words, the second volumetric projector which the Lorath brought with them flared to life, as a manifest was brought up listing cargo which had been determined as lost to piracy. Items on the list included weapons, sensors, first aid supplies, and religious relics, at least, those were the items highlighted in a bold red, the other items listed were in a deeper shade of red, and spanned a wide range of materials. Simply, the Yugumo Cluster was a pirate haven it seemed.

"We've confirmed that these goods have been lost to pirates, and not just dumped or lost in accidents." Velor explained, as he frowned in the direction of the Gartagen. "We could take you on an expedition to the Yugumo Cluster if you would like, and we could show you some pirates as well, if you're still skeptical. We'll even provide you a comfortable civilian ship, to make the point clearer."
Iris remained calm on the issue of piracy. She knew other nations did not share the Abwehran's almost 'single-minded hatred' for anything pirate. Though the Gartagen Princess' naive view on the dangers of piracy was disturbing at best.

"I'm sorry Your Highness, but you're gravly mistaken if you believe my people stopped every Pirate." the Minister spoke up and nodded towards both Pyros and Velor. "Piracy is not a parasite than can be stamped out so easily and there are always more individual who fancy piracy ready to take the place of those that died." the older woman continued.

"And convoys are already in place on Abwehran Trade Lanes, Your Highness. But many traders need to leave said lanes to reach other worlds. There are a finite amount of ships suited for anti-piracy duty as well, since you don't use Battleships and Battlecruisers to reign in small warships that can outrun them." the Minister of State continued.

"Yes, the NMX are a much larger threat than Piracy. But don't let that fool you, Your Highness. A small threat easily grows into a large threat given time to grow. We Abwehrans learned this the hard way during the Pirate Wars. Some of those piratical elements still inhabit the Asteroid Belt of our own solar system too, which forces use to purge the asteroid belts every year or so."

There was a moment of silence as she ponder pointing out that scanners could only detect so much, since a good pirate would have some method of lowering the chances of them being detected. However, Iris did not want to embarass, only to state a fact. Thus, she leaned back in her chair and rested her case on the matter. "Anyway, I believe most of us have agreed that the Freespacer's proposal is a wise one."
Vishta observed the Lorath's list, then she sensed an opportunity. Vishta did not agree with the method for handling the pirates, but Gartagen honor stipulated that they could not allow others to suffer.

Vishta put the tips of her claws together, her eyes looking at Iris. Vishta chose her word's carefully. "I would like to make a counter proposal." Vishta said.

"Clearly the feelings about piracy are strong among all of you." Vishta's claws parted presenting her palms. "So as a gesture of good will, and as an attempt to meet all of you in the middle, I have a far simpler proposal."

"I propose that the Union Navy be devoted to dealing with the pirate threat. This will save cost on all respective nations, and possibly even lives from our forces, while still allowing us to contribute towards the greater good of all races and nations present in this negotiation."

Vishta looked at Yuumi. "Essentially you will win the fight, and we will keep the pirates off of any nation interested in taking a Union escort."
Flint Vanderhuge appeared at the door and quietly approached his seat next to the Premier, looking quite satisfied with himself.
Pyros tilted his head aside to see Flint return, the Premier pulled out his datapad, and fiddled with it a bit, before looking up to speak to the rest of the group.

"That would be ideal, Nepleslia will manage the space ways in their own territory. We've got enough ships to manage an assault and cover our own asses." noted the Premier, looking back in the direction of the others, "War leaves a lot of opportunity for those seeking fortune, we can't let our guard down, even as the Mishhu start to withdraw. The very least we can do is boost the strength of our economies, and manage our own problems."

Ding went Pryos' datapad.
Yuumi quickly took to the idea. "With the Freespacers' drones and the Gartagen Navy working in tandem to protect our shipping, we should see things improve greatly along the spacelanes. A splendid idea."

The map repurposed again to show the Gartagen Navy, along with the Freespacer drones, working to protect the major lanes between the nations. "This as well will get the Gartagen Navy more experience combating the threats that face nations in the galaxy today.

"However, I ask that we could please turn back to the station proposal. I think that is one we must at least consider."
Velor listened to the urging that they return to the topic of the stations, however, he did have to put his two cents in. "Only once more on the topic of convoy protection then I shall move on... I will have to say, that the Union Navy, while ever so kind to provide its ships, may be spread too thin once they head as far south as the Yugumo Cluster. I would feel comfortable with the Lorath Self Defense Force covering our own cargo. We have a surplus of fighter craft for the task. For the sake of goodwill and peaceful interests, we will refrain from applying any substantial military assets to escort duty however, since it would undoubtedly cause a degree of discomfort."

After he spoke on that matter, he went in the direction that the Yamataian host gently nudged the talks into; "The Lorath Matriarchy is supportive of the proposal of multi-national stations, and will be glad to provide assistance in constructing these locations. One of our industrial firms has been itching for the opportunity to undertake a project of such a caliber." Velor spoke with a smile, before he continued on the topic; "Though, I do see an opportunity here as well, to improve the overall security of civilized space, by perhaps using these proposed stations as forward observation posts by providing these proposed stations with sensor equipment which would be available to invested parties. Perhaps basic supply and repair services for military affiliated ships as well, and hospital facilities, these stations could save lives."
Vishta smirked slightly. "Well since we can all cover its convoys and freighters, then surely the pirate threat does not warrant check in stations."
"You're wrong, Princess, with fighter coverage comes a need for logistical support. Munition resupply, prevention of pilot fatigue, maintenance, repairs, and fighter groups will need command and control which can be provided by a station with proper sensor and communication equipment." Velor explained, as he presented a patronizing smile to the Gartagen before he continued. "Furthermore, an extended chain of checkpoint locations would be advisable. Simple automated outposts which could provide an emergency shelter for freighter crews in distress, serve as a hub for sensor relays, provide navigational references, and can serve as a foundation for an international communications network."
"That same works for warships as well, Your Highness." Iris continued where Velor left off with fighters. "While they can carry supplies with them, as opposed to fighters, there's still the need for repair facilities in case of emergencies or drop off points for prisoners and rescuees." the Minister explained.

"Guarding convoys is much more complex than just group them together, set up an escort, and sail the void." There was a pause however as Iris leaned back in her seat again to contemplate.

"However, funding these stations is the main question. Is it going to be funded and maintained by the territory it borders or sits in? Maybe a seperate council to run them and gather funds? Stations are not built for cheap, they require lots of upkeep to maintain them as well. Wouldn't it be more cost-effective to allow these ships to dock to existing stations rather than build new ones? After all, we use the same style of communications systems. Each nation involved in the convoy escort system would just have their own docking slips with their own materials and logistics personnel."
"Many existing stations have military components," Yuumi said. "My intention, with my suggestion, was to avoid having our respective militaries suffer the discomfort of excess civilian traffic clogging their ports. Building a small number of civilian-focused stations, just at the start, will let us see just how plausible the idea could be.

"If the Gartagen Navy is allowed to commit some limited resources to escort duties around the stations themselves, with our respective militaries providing escort to a certain radius around the stations — combined with the drones, that should be more than enough to make pirates think hard before making a run on our ships."

The main projector listed out the ideas so far. While rudimentary, it was helpful for Yuumi to see everything in front of her, instead of cycling it in her mind.

Shipping considerations

Freespacer drones along shipping lanes to act as 'line' defense

International shipping stations

Gartagen Navy providing protection duty for convoys
- Or for international shipping stations, within certain radius

Lorath starfighter groups
- Escort duty?
- Roving patrols?

Continued military escorts, as available
The condescension from Velor irked the Freespacer representative on a personal level (which was of course relayed to the Polysentience audience along with all supporting data on why such a response was evoked and the ensuing argument between UpSpin and DownSpin for and against the rationale for that response). There was nothing to be done about it here, though. At best, it would be a tangent that would reflect poorly on the Lorath representation; at worst it would fracture the conference. The consensus between both Up and Down was that an attitude that attempted to lower another being in such a manner was not befitting a diplomat...

The notes Yuumi put up were of more immediate interest. "While that is one of the proposals, and a large portion of other options, our contribution may be more than just unpiloted craft." The Freespacer looked toward Yuumi, then the adjacent diplomats. "Also, the stations may not be needed. Idealy, and carrying your suggestions to an absurd conclusion, a solid tunnel equipped with repair and supplies at any point from one system to the next would be the true ideal, providing protection and convenience to the convoys. However, that is of course not feasible, on any scale. Until the arms race is concluded or materials are costless, convoys and shipping will never be free of risk.

"The idea behind volunteering the Free State's hand in transport protection is simply that certain parties do not want or need anything being shipped, if we already provide it. Biologicals can be bribed or become greedy. One idea is to minimize or heavily monitor the interactions between shippers and escorts.

"The Lorath have been kind enough to donate ships to the Free State. At current time, we have more than we are able to use. A set of SI, if installed on such ships and provided with materials, could cover all routes and at the same time provide repairs and resupplies as needed. The Polysentience would allow coordination between them where their sectors overlapped and intelligence regarding warring enemy and pirate movements."

The Freespacer looked around. "This would be an arrangement free of any government oversight, and free of aid requirements, though such may be volunteered. The ships would be self-sufficient and self-sustaining, as Freespacer vessels have been since the beginning of the State's long journey. These would essentially become new motherships assigned the protection of the space lanes from any..." The representative paused. The ships likely couldn't handle encounters with the NMX, much less any organized attacks by other factional militaries, only pirates. "...independant threats. No more." Yes, that would have to do. "With such ships, would that satisfy your checkpoint and support option? While every convoy wouldn't be able to be personally escorted by them, they are mobile, unlike a station, and would be able to travel to a ship in distress or assign further assistance as needed.

"Wouldn't you agree that this is much more cost-effective?"
Vishta looked at her military advisory who seemed to have a very stony expression on his face at this discussion.

The Advisor spoke to her, then went back to his rock solid posture. "Logistically speaking, this will not be a military campaign, but I assue the Lorath ambassador that Union forces are more the capable of adapting to a change in tactics or logistics if the need arises. I believe the Nepleslians have an expression? We will blow that bridge up when we get to it."

She then allowed her peers to speak. "Over all we stand willing to commit our forces to defending against pirate incursions, but I digress; The Abwehran point supports the one I was making, the cost of constructing said stations would prove to be a drain on resources. Perhaps a harder look needs to be taken?
Yuumi nodded, closing the main projector for the moment.

"While we do not agree on stations, it appears we can agree on the use of Freespacer craft to help protect shipping lanes. For now, let us agree to that in principle, until such time that the Free State can develop a more thorough proposal."

The former Empress smiled as a strand of teal hair poked its way across her face. She brushed it aside. No. 10 on Yui's list would not happen in full this round, but at least good relations were fostered, and a plan for spacelane protection was established in principle.

"For now, let us take a second, shorter recess before we move on."
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