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RP [Star Army] Nataria Tour

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Reikan Park, Kyoto
Planet Yamatai
Day 1 of the International Relationship Conference

Sitting in the lush green grass that lined one of the numerous patches emanating from the conference center as the center of embassy park were a pair of light blue-gray "Kuma" shuttles behind a painted white sign staked into the ground that said "Diplomatic Excursion: Star Army of Yamatai" in bold black stencil letters. On the side of the shuttles, there were marked, "YSS Intensity - NJ-S1-201."

It was a pleasant day with lots of sun and a steady light breeze, so the shuttles had their side airlocks wide open to let the fresh air flow through them. Inside each shuttles, there were six heavily-cushioned gray fabric passenger seats ready for diplomats who accepted Yeoman Nishimura-Taii's offer for a tour of Nataria, as well as a coffee machine and a stocked mini-fridge.

A pair of Nekovalkyrja pilots waited nearby in the shade of a large cherry tree, dressed in their fancy blue duty uniforms with medals and wearing the matching flat caps that read "STAR ARMY" in yellow-gold.
"Aw. A shame," Nibbi seemed positively crestfallen for Nishimura's soon-to-be departure as she started following the levitating Yeoman. She was looking at her feet, floating off the ground and simply being lifted by forces without. "Best wishes for your continued tour guiding, Taii Nishimura," she bowed to the Yeoman as her retinue of Helashio and Bodyguard were the first into the shuttle. "You've been a gracious host."

Once Nibbi stepped aboard the shuttle and found somewhere to sit down comfortably with her retinue beside her, she looked at her datapad again and typed the single phrase to her Nepleslian colleague and fellow conniver: 'Nuts!' Her expression remained calm - there were plenty more Neko in the box figuratively speaking.

She left an empty seat to her left for that endearing and dangerous rapscallion. If they were going to sit close to each other, they could just talk or whisper rather than having to transmit little messages to each other's datapads. Of those two options, she didn't know which one looked more suspicious - she didn't think the others participating in the tour would be so open to the saucy dialogues between the Nepleslian and the Lorath.

"So," she observed with nobody in particular whilst waiting for takeoff, "an interesting conference so far."
Washran smiled when Asri arrived and with that followed Nakamura towards the shuttles. "I may not be able to appreciate it as well as you will be able to," he replied to the Commodore, "However, I hope you will help me in that area as we go."

Upon entering the shuttle, the old Azorean made sure to pick a seat across from Nibbi to ensure a decent view. That said, he maintained an image of paying more attention to his compatriot - giving her a chance to seat herself first before taking his own.

"It has been, Middlewoman," the Elder replied, "Many have managed to make a splash - with ripples going every which way. I only hope it proves to clear the water for further improved relations down current."
"Damn, it's a real shame," he admitted to the Yeoman. "Still, thanks for leading us the rest of the way." The way he said it, it really did sound like he meant every word.

The senator's footsteps followed in her wake, watching Nishimura as she glided through the air. Despite typically being shorter, their legs always did seem to be so long and slender. Pretending to tip a hat to her, he added, "It's been a real pleasure to be with you Nishi-kun - keep bashing squid heads for me while you're not gifted light duty," before snapping a wink and stepping through the threshold of the shuttle. And just like that, she was gone. Yes, she was just on the other side, but, she was well and truly gone. "Glad you're coming along too Commodore - it can't be easy being the new kids on the block, so this'll let you see some of the hardware that everyone else is using," he remarked. Though his tone of voice was light hearted and friendly, Johnathan simply didn't look at her as he sat down by the Middlewoman, eyes staring off into the distance.

"It's a real shame - I can't figure out who or what you are underneath all that," he spoke to nobody in particular, still vividly recalling those slender legs. And the detachment sprinkled with the too-sparse expression of emotion. If only if she'd been walking - he wanted to see how she moved too. Despite all that, he couldn't help but do one last thing as he reclined into his seat. 'Hey, Nishi? Stay safe.'

For the first time, he looked rather downcast. "Yeah, it has been an interesting first day, hasn't it?" A glimmer of what was there before started to creep back as he replied to Nibbi, turning his head slightly and looking at her out of the corner of his eye as a wry grin slowly started to return.
Nibbi nodded back to the Azorean cadre. "Definitely." It had been an interesting day by hers and Coast's hands, and it'd occurred to her that she seemed to be downplaying what could be galactic history. As the shuttle closed up with its last occupant ready for the ride, she sensed something off about Johnathan.
Could it have been attachment? The way he stared right through the hatch at Nishimura. Could he have found someone he couldn't read?

She leaned forward to watch him walk and sit down beside him. The way his steps were heavy and he just collapsed into that chair - something was weighing on his mind hard enough to affect his motor functions. "Something bothering you, Senator?" she asked, shuffling a little closer to him and watching him sit back up. She looked down on the armrests of the civilian-style refurbished seats and found his hand resting upon it. She tugged her left index and ring fingers and started pulling her glove away, scrunching it in her right as her bare hand rested gently atop Johnathan's.

It's Nishimura, isn't it? she thought 'aloud' as the man felt a vaguely electric sensation jolt through his hand and up his arm, waking him. Johnathan could hear her voice in his mind's ear, watching Nibbi's lips remain still with a small smile on her face. I don't mind; it's okay to be fascinated. Perhaps you'll meet again some day during this conference. She lifted her hand away and put it back on her thigh and breathed as the telepathic connection was gone.

As far as telepathic transactions went, it was one of the most pleasant she'd experienced in a while. She felt her heart flutter. "Today would've been just another day; without you," she whispered quietly to Johnathan.
As he felt her touch, Johnathan didn't shrink from it.

There was the initial surprise - there always was - but as soon as he realized who it was, he relaxed, giving the Lorath woman a flickering glimpse at what was on his mind. Like any other person, there was a swirl of emotions, and not always pleasant. For her to say what she did? "That's just plain flattering," he replied, downplaying what was on his mind. Another moment, another minute spent thinking about them. "Neko. They really always bother me," he elaborated a little bit. What he said seemed to contrast sharply with what she felt - like black and white, the two didn't seem to mix quite right at all. His eyes moving between each of them, Johnathan asked, "So, what do you all think of Neko anyways? Nibbi's been on the scene a while, so I'm guessing her opinion's going to be close to my own, but what about you two?" he asked the Azoreans.

"I don't think either of you want to go in blind. Course,that's up to you," he playfully snarked at the two.

"As a non-scientist, I am sure I would be unable to appreciate the finer details," Washran replied, "However, if I recall correctly, they are engineered from a genetic stock not too dissimilar from your own, Senator. The overview that I managed to get my hands on is that they are an 'improvement' on said stock - though in what way I could not find out more. Military secret, I suppose.

"From there, I seem to be noting that they are the Yamataian's primary soldier type - if our hosts are any example - and many have become civilians. Some of them are responsible for our first contact with the greater ocean, and thus our presence here as well. One could say we owe our space age to them, though there are some whom would question how positive that may be for us. Even our delegation's presence here is classified back home."

The old Azorean then stretched long and hard to avoid his joints from locking up and sighed. "Why? What would you and the respected Middlewoman wish to tell us?" He asked rather evenly, recalling their comments from the talk.

A wide-hipped cream-colored Nekovalkyrja pilot with cryptic teal eyes and parted dark brown hair boarded the shuttle, dressed in her orange Type 35 Duty Uniform with a pleated skirt and gloss black boots. "On behalf of the Star Army of Yamatai welcome aboard. My name is Kunihiko Kaieda and I am a shuttle pilot with the rank of Nito Heisho from the YSS Intensity of First Fleet, assigned to bring you to the . We will take off in just a moment. Due to the short duration and atmospheric transition you are requested to remain in your seats with your safety harness correctly fastened for the duration of the flight and do not attempt to use the coffee machine or the shuttle's shitter. Also note there is no smoking permitted anywhere in Star Army facilities, vehicles, or anywhere on planets Yamatai or Nataria. The exit is the airlock on the left that you came in. In the event of an emergency, the shuttle is equipped with survival gear including spacesuits, which you will find in the lockers above and to each side. In the event of an extreme emergency, the lockers also contain bodybags. If you have to barf, there are bags are located under your seats. Use them. Don't soil my shuttle. Or again, bodybags." She grinned.

A second, enlisted solider, this one a large bear-like Kodian covered in cybernetic machinery and a duty uniform, lurched onboard and crammed himself into the cockpit. He had claws the size of bananas. "Exterior checks complete," he grunted before pressing buttons on the controls. The sounds of chirping birds and wind-rustling tree leaves were quickly replaced by the sound of blowing environmental systems and a dull roar of aether generator and the hum of electrical systems. They could hear him in the cockpit: "Star Army shuttle NJ-S1-201-10 requesting immediate clearance for take-off..."

"Is that everyone?" Kaieda asked the passengers, getting ready to close the airlock doors.
"Mmm, sorta, kinda, not really...maybe? That's just one reason why it's such a big deal actually. Nobody's really sure with all the crazy stuff that's happened," he casually replied. He made it seem like coffee talk. Or, whatever it was that the Azoreans had.

The Senator was the last one in, being polite enough to close the hatch, but soon enough, it was open as the pilots themselves arrived. Johnathan listened to the Neko pilot that arrived with his full, undivided attention. And then burst out laughing. It wasn't the type that came out of malice either - it was the kind born out of humor. The kind that filled up a person's chest and made them want to clutch at their sides. "You got it flygirl - your shuttle, your rules," he replied, wiping a tear from his eye. "Ow - damn eyelash."

He took a good look around. "Yeah, I think that's it for now really. The others looked too shy to come along," he grinned. "Nice augs," the Senator complemented the Kodian.
Washran was unsure what was being meant by soiling anything; however he did notice how soft his chair was and how much water it was taking from his suit. A large number of other idioms took their time to properly process in his head - from the crew and Johnathan. Some of them he managed to work out with a bit of effort, a few others, on the other hand, were just too difficult.

"I can only say I will behave as best I can for as much as I can understand," the old Azorean finally offered.
Nibbi nodded in reply to the pilots. She was reminded of that ruffian Kodian who'd terrorised Snider earlier, but this one seemed a little more diplomatic and understanding - at least, as diplomatic as a hulking bear person could be to her. Kodians were a footnote on Lorath's files on Yamatai. No matter though, here on this ship the pilot's rules were law if there was no captain. "Understood," she replied curtly to the pilots.

Something about the list of possible injuries that'd occur if the rules were not adhered to were comical to Nibbi. Sounded like Drill Sergeant talk, like she was addressing unruly soldiers. The senators and delegates in the shuttle were only unruly of motivation rather than lacking discipline. "He looks as though he could split the shuttle in half if provoked," she observed with Johnathan, looking at the Kodian's enormous claws and wondering just how he was able to co-pilot the thing with all thumbs. She watched the claws, waiting to see them move on the console.
Kaieda secured the shuttle's airlock door and turned to look at the passengers, making sure they were all buckled up. As she noticed Washran getting the seat soggy, Kaieda's face showed flash of disgust, followed by sympathy, and then frustrated determination. The seats really could have used plastic covers in this case but it was too late now. Since these were diplomats, she did not want offend them. "Thank you." she said, ducking into the cockpit. As soon as her back touched her seat, the shuttle lurched into the air with neither pilot touching the controls. Although the shuttle's internal gravity systems mostly dulled the forces of acceleration, they could still be felt and the diplomats were pushed back into their seats as the shuttle rocketed up through the atmosphere and into space.

The cockpit door was left open and through the forward window they could see glimmering specks grow into the shape of a Sharie-class battleship and its Eikan-class heavy cruiser escorts. "The Intensity is on the right," Kaieda pointed for the benefit of the passengers. "That's home for us. But we are taking you to the big one. That is YSS Illustrious from the First Expeditionary Fleet. It will take you to Nataria." As they approached the battleships, they could see it was bristling with turreted weapons and had a large landing area on the back.

"Hey, you got one job Mister Wash, and that's part of it," the Senator remarked to the older Azorean as the shuttle began its flight. "Hey, what do you expect?" he asked Nibbi. "If he couldn't, the guy just wouldn't be the kind of bear all the kids like," Johnathan added with a wry smile.

He had hoped there was a little more time before the pilots arrived and the flight began, but that just didn't seem to be the case. Johnathan wouldn't be surprised they were being monitored, but what he really wanted, was no interruptions. The privacy to have a chat between some new friends. Even if what he was saying was true, that didn't mean people wouldn't become offended. Like telling a fat person they were fat for an example. People just didn't deal with the truth well at all, and these pilots? He didn't know them, so it was safe to assume they'd become offended. Leaning back into his chair and putting his arms behind his head to relax, he went on, continuing from where he left off, "Going into more detail though, a lot of people are scared for a lot of reasons - for what's been done by these for starters of course. That's just the easy stuff anyone can look up in the records though," he pointed out. With the two pilots there, he had to keep the topic matter vague enough that they didn't guess what it was he was talking about.

"Really though, it's the details that most people don't think of that could make things get really nasty," the Senator continued, his tone of voice so relaxed and casual that he might as well have been talking about what smokes he liked. Not that it was allowed here. "Going off of what I said earlier? They're built so that nobody can take a look at the proprietary code. What kind of surprises could be tucked in there?" Johnathan asked them all, an eye lazily falling on first the Elder, then the Commodore with them. "Normally, it'd sound paranoid, but the maker just doesn't have a good track record. It's pretty much crap." Focusing on her in particular, he asked, "You got a good guess or two what could be put in, being military yourself, yeah?" Without a point of reference, the two pilots wouldn't know what the topic was unless they were briefed on who they were shuttling beforehand perhaps - the chance of making an accurate guess on their part wasn't all that good.

He let out a low whistle as the massive ship came into view. "She's nice and sleek, a pretty ship, wouldn't you say Kaieda?" Johnathan asked the pilot by first name - he was curious how she'd react.

Looking back to Nibbi however, he asked again, "What's your take on it, hmmm?"
"I suppose that could be rather disconcerting," Washran replied, having managed to recall what Johnathan was talking about, "I will, of course, need to look the rest of these things up at some point. If you are right, I may need to advise caution to my superiors."

The mention of the ships they were approaching drew the elder's attention out the window and his eyes widened some. All three made him go over the senator's words one more time as he finally got to truly appreciate their size with the decreasing distance. They were each larger than anything they had managed to build to date, and much better armed.

"Amazing," the Azorean managed to utter at the sight before turning back to the Nepleslian, "We... should discuss sources."
The sight of the enormous warship wasn't just there for display or intimidation. She'd heard of what those things can do when provoked. "A terrifying thing to be on the receiving end of, certainly, Johnathan." Nibbi clasped her hands together and crossed her legs before chipping in. She had to watch her words. "From what we've seen, others have made own. The others didn't fabricate them overnight, draw up in CAD and print or write and compile a program, it took centuries of craftsmanship and it's still open source." She looked over to the bodyguard sitting on her other side. She put her hand down on the Fyunnen's.

Hope you don't mind. Just words.
Not at all. Not my business anyway.

The bodyguard was six foot ten tall, considered average for a Fyunnen while her weight was at least two hundred and eighty pounds worth of muscle. The warrior had tanned skin, immaculately pressed uniform topped with a beret unable to conceal the knife points of her ears and her short white hair tied back and knotted neatly. By her side was a Lorath Handcannon, a sidearm to protect the Middlewoman in conjunction with the traditional Searing Blade.

"Didn't digitise; simply didn't have the technology at the time. Even now it's not necessary to go to far since it's open." She looked over to Washran, "You can't just send faulty products back to get a new one - you fix the problems yourself since the documentation's there. At the end of the day, you'll get what you want. It's all about choices." There was a minority that didn't participate in and they were respected rather than just tolerated - it was their choice after all.

She looked back to Johnathan, "Aside from careful selection there is no programming, no unnecessary digital leaks or possibilities for holes or such nonsense. Just talk - no need to click on a program and wait for it to run. The best work's always done by hand anyway."
"I... see..." Washran replied, not quite sure what the Middlewoman was attempting to communicate. It was possible she was comparing her bodyguard to Yamatai's soldiers; but assumptions rarely lead anywhere helpful.
"That's something that I definitely overlook," he admitted to Nibbi. When it came to Nekovalkyrja, he honestly stopped thinking about it - everyone just took the fact they fought for Yamatai like how water was wet. When the Azorean spoke however, the expression on Johnathan's face went from a relaxed, cocky smile to one of mild surprise.

When it came to dealing with new alien species, he had quickly found out that each one had their unique quirks. They simply weren't human of course. With these fish-folk, he noticed that they were all particularly young looking - borderline childlike with their faces. Except for Washran of course. But, that was just visual. How they actually were up in the attic was yet to be seen, he had thought. Now? Well, they were bright enough to build ships, but now he wondered if this kind of thing flew right over their heads. Like it would with children. That same relaxed smile came back to him as he reached for the datapad in his pocket and discreetly pointed to it, making sure the pilots didn't see. "In other words, not really, right?," Johnathan slyly remarked, silently sending Washran a message.

'Nekovalkyrja - they're dangerous. They won't hurt us personally right now, but on the grand, national scale? Be careful.'

The message was far more blunt than he wanted it to be, but, he'd make do with what he had. Coast wanted everyone to be all tied together, buddy-buddy it seemed, but there was one thing Johnathan was quite sure of himself - if they all trusted each other too much, it was all to easy for any one of them to backstab the other. It was best they were all weary of one another. Too much worry, and paranoia would sink in, but too little? It'd be a time ripe for rape. It honestly didn't even matter who was doing to do the deed - the fact that they'd all be vulnerable was bad enough. So, he thought, he needed to make sure that the newcomers were wary.

"Middlewoman, what do you think they'll be showing to us up there?" he asked. Playfully, he added, "I doubt they'd let us take a peek into their power armors for an example."
Washran chuckled at Johathan's jest and smiled before noticing the message. Upon reading it, his smile seemed to change slightly in quality, as if he needed to put a minute amount of energy into keeping it there.

'Few things in this universe are not dangerous. One must be cautious about anything new, but to be excessive in that direction keeps one burred in coral and soon starved to death.'

Soon after sending the message, the elder sighed and his smile became more relaxed again, though the 'power armor' thing was interesting. "What is 'power armor'?" he asked with genuine curiosity, "That is, if I said it correctly."
'"The Freespacers thought the same. Past tense for a lot of them,' came the Senator's reply.

"You're pulling my leg, right?" came his incredulous reply. "If I had to take a good swig of booze each time I hear another politician come into the scene not knowing what's what, I'd be either long dead from alcohol poisoning, or just finding out I knocked up another Neko while I blacked out fur the umpteenth time." He then shouted over to the pilots. "No offense Kai-chan!" Turning back to the Azorean however, he went on, "Didn't they tell you how we kill each other out here?" Johnathan raised an eyebrow. A hand reached up, pretending to take in a good amount of beer or hard liquor. It was fairly obvious he was just kidding and wasn't saying it to insult, yet at the same time, was still dead serious about the topic despite his jock-like tone. He handed the invisible drink over to Nibbi.

"Ok, just assuming you don't know - you guys wear armor, right?" Johnathan rhetorically asked Washran. "Have you ever felt like wanting to put even more on? Maybe something like a few inches worth of the toughest stuff you got? A power armor's pretty much what happens next - it's a suit that makes you strong enough to carry all that extra armor. And eventually extra guns. And then eventually an energy shield module. Plus a propulsion system," he grinned.

The way he put it all and smiled, power armor sounded absolutely and utterly absurd. Like a joke.
YSS Illustrious

The shuttle slowly hovered into the vast landing area, now surrounded by similar craft in hangars and maintenance alcoves, as well as hundreds of starfighters which were visible deeper in the bay. There was a lot of activity here as pilots and crew moved around in flight suits and maintenance coveralls.

Kaieda returned to the passenger area and opened up the side airlock. "The Illustrious will take over the tour from here," she informed the guests.

Outside of the shuttle, a welcome party lined up, consisting of a handful of escort guards and a particularly dashing and muscular Star Army Taisa. As the guests emerged, the man introduced himself, offering a handshake. "I'm Rufus Sydney, Star Army Taisa, Nepleslian, one quarter ID-SOL, one hundred percent man. This is my ship and you guys are welcome aboard. We'll be in hyperspace in a moment and on our way to Nataria where you can meet Yui. In the meantime, let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I figured we could go to the observation lounge. Oh, do you want to see a planet blow up? Because I totally got permission for that."
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