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RP: 188604 To Curse a Generation

Edto Xar'Sivaree

Lizard Freak!
Khelena sat in the command chair of the Princess Class Yacht, thinking about what she was doing. The Gartagen Union, their neighbours to the Galactic South-West. She had been informed, that they had information that would benefit them and that they were strikingly similar in many ways. In her mind, this was either a good thing or a bad thing. They could get along, or their similarities could cause friction. This was going to be a delicate game. It certainly didn't help the Garts were numerically superior to them. They dropped out of FTL just outside the system, using STL to make it the rest of the way. There were certainly benefits of there being on a fast ship. This would have been boring otherwise.

Now she thought about what she should wear. She could wear nothing... That was common. She rarely wore clothes. She thought about wearing her EVA Combat Suit, but she knew the Garts dd not wear clothing often, or at least a minimal amount. Her formal wear? Too glittery. Flashy. She didn't know if they would appreciate that. It was a political meeting and these were first impressions, but there were something things she should do.

She stood up, making her decision. She would wear her formal wear. Glittery be damned, she didn't get to wear it near enough, and she enjoyed the attention she often got wearing it. Morioka had even adopted it, but she doubted she wore it all the time. Likely a show piece. "Inform the Gartengen once they hail us, that Khelena Het'Laderen of the VDTF is here ready for this meet and greet. However, be a touch more professional about it. I would rather my crew not make me look a fool before I even step foot on the station. I will be getting ready for the initial meet," She ordered, walking into the back of the ship to her quarters to get ready, followed by Alexis, her personal assistant. She had ended that trip short, wanting her bedwarmer back. She returned shortly, to see nothing had changed.

Khelena would then see on her view screen, an ebony coloured space station orbiting a very cold blue gas giant world in a yet unnamed star system just out side of Gartagen space. It was a part of the contract that she had signed for. It was for lack of a better term, massive. 3 miles long, 2 miles tall, it was shaped like a thick squat mushroom. Construction of the facility had been completed rapidly enough. It was something of an unsaid thing amoung the Gartagens. Their warriors got all the fame, but as a people, they were far better builders and engineers than fighters when it came down to it.

A simple unmarked text-based message came through. "Docking port four. Step out alone." When Khelana arrived she would end up on the deck of a sterile white loading bay, and greeted by an elderly peach coloured gartagen woman, her tenticle like hair grey as stone, and her face mottled to the point it was amazing she could even see.

Khelena tilted her head slightly at the woman, looking around. She did not like the idea of stepping out on her own, but this was their territory. Simple as that. Why would the Garts bring her all the way out here to kill her? "Well... How are you this fine... Whatever time of day it may be considered here. Are you the only one here to greet me?" She asked, looking around. "Also, I like the colour. Many Gartagens coloured in such a way?"

The scientist eyed the monstrous alien. "Yes." was her response to the question she said beckoning Khelena to follow her. "My Ethnic group is by and large the most numerous of my people. " She said walking down a corridor towards and elevator. " It is also some time in the morning, around 0200 hours in Nepleslian Standard."

"But we are not here for a tour of the station, nor admiration of my skin colour. You are here because you paid us to do this...monumental task. Well, as the head of this project, I have been by the share holders tasked with showing you the product."

Khelena chuckled. "Well, I have not seen many peach Gartagen, so you would have to forgive me. Though yes, progress on this project would be a nice thing to have my dear. A pleasure to meet the one in charge of this task, and I hope secrecy is... as important as I was told it would be," Khelena sighed, now feeling substantially overdressed.

"With this kind of task, secrecy is difficult. Which is why you have acquired more debt than most nations." She said showing Khelena the actual number for the cost. "There was more added. Which you were informed of. In fact, the cost...has delved into political favours at this point. But. After doing the work you ask for I now understand why."

"Yes yes, the cost is of little concern to me. If I have bodies, there is little I cannot do to alleviate the debt," Khelena stated in a bored tone.

The elevator began thrumming taking them to the proper level. "Indeed. Well, the cost is not my concern either. My concern is for your kind."

"Some species have a genetic bottle neck. Yours is a literal pinhead. Unlocking your genome to obtain the past coding was.... art rather than science. It was difficult, to say the least," The Gartagen stated.

"Though you managed it, and I sense a little pride in that accomplishment?" Khelena asked with a sly smile.

The elderly woman smirked. "Pride. That is an understatement. This was the work of gods. " she said as the elevator opened into a small darkened room.

"I would merely put it to the work of talented individuals. I do not put much stock in gods," Khelena explained.

"No my dear. This was no simple feat. We had to invent techniques, we had to dissect and reconstruct well...It doesn't matter. This is what matters. I would take stock in the divine because this is well..."

The woman walked up to a console and pushed a button with. Several window panels would open revealing a massive cavern. Walls and pillars lined with jars of fluid all illuminated by a dim blue light. Technicians and service personnel moved about cleaning and maintaining the countless jars. Khelena would see with in those jars were embryonic Vekimen. The thing was it was all so organic. The walls, the jars for lack of a better term. It appeared as flesh. Vekimen flesh. The internals of the Vekimen form had been repurposed for this breeding chamber.

"The womb as we call it. We took the genetic material and synced them into a matrix, and with the growth of the womb, we were able to engineer and design a massive incubation nursery. You have over 500,000, children.

Khelena let out a whistle, looking at the chambers. She hugged her torso in an impressed manner, cocking her hip. "500,000 Vekimen? What is the male to female ratio?" She asked, moving to get a better look.

"Yes. Individuals. No two will be identical. The womb was elegant. As was your stunted genetic code. It yearned to be released. Your species...for lack of a better term was in a genetic prison. Unable to break free, but unwilling to die. The ratio is typical of the average we have surveyed. 35% male 65% female, to the number. As well as the ethnic group ratio. Most of these are the workers you requested, others will be warriors and scientists. With a .01% being exceptional. Though the fun will be in finding this one. Think of it as a freebie on us. "

"We are a tenacious bunch, for sure. Good. So the population majority is Kiraten?"

"As per the request."

"Good. Though, if I am to understand you correctly, these are just Vekimen Children? They will grow at the same rate as if they were born of my own kind?" Khelena asked, tilting her head.

"They are born of your own kind. Technically. We merely guided. The flesh you see in the womb is vekimen. We merely shaped it. As I said, your species' biology is elegant, most receptive to suggestion when it comes to progress."

"Fascinating. I am more concerned with how long it will take for me to get practical use out of them. I need workers and soldiers, and I need them fast. I simply cannot support 500,000 children as it stands.

The old woman turned away. "I had a feeling you'd be saying this. So. This is why you are here. To hear this." The old woman presented small vial from her jacket pocket. "I held off on the growth accelerant. Because. it comes with a price. Your species simply does not age. This is common in reptiles and other creatures. You are functionally immortal. However, when you disrupt the natural order, there is a price. We kept to the natural order as best we get perfect results. Accelerating their grow will take that perfection and remove your greatest gift. The beings will have a predicted life span. They will live, breed, make children. work, then die."

The old woman smiled. "Which, the concept of death and dying and leaving a legacy that tends to breed dynamism, as well as a sense of immediacy. Such a thing would likely make these children...something if not unpredictable."

"If you wish for slaves, slaves will much like your fresh yearn to be released. I have learned much of your people. Slaves to life, slaves to death. They will lust for more than they would if they were blessed with immortality as you are."

"That does rise a problem, doesn't it?" Khelena frowned. "The Vekimen have never been the type to laze about. We mined our previous planet to the point of collapsing as we are now, and I would rather that not happen again. Though, I need an army now... I need my planet colonised properly... Now."

The old woman frowned. "This is not an army. This is something more. This is the door way to the thing that sustains armies, colonies, nations. This is a people."

"The Vekimen themselves are an army," Khelena stated.

"Armies die. I feel that you are not understanding my warnings. Or heeding my advice. This is more than a batch of clones, this is your genetic ascendancy. You may need to rethink your priorities and views of the universe, my dear."

"That being said if you wish for the growth to be accelerated, I have given you the choices."

"Will the accelerated growth carry over in the children?" Khelena asked, titling her head.

"Yes. "

"Hmm... Then I think I would like them to have something special... Something unique to them, as it were."

The elderly woman squinted her eyes at this, barbarism. Khelena could sense the disdain. "Then that is something you will need to subject them to. Just remember, children, are often the ones who judge their parents harshly."

"I beg your pardon?" Khelena asked, turning to the woman.

"These are your children." Was how the woman responded.

"I am aware of that. The Vekimen, however, have a way of doing things. A society much older than the station or our current problems that I wish to bring back."

"Then that way must change, or the Vekimen will pay for these children are about to pay for their accelerated more ways that you will fathom."

"Yes, I am fully aware of that, but each Vekimen has a group. If I were to change that I would face riots. Do not speak to know how my race acts better then I do," Khelena stated coolly.

"Your race came to mine looking for a tomorrow. You have it, and you seek to brutalise it."

The woman, looked at the womb and studied it. "your choice today will either damn your people or make them ascend.

"Who ever said brutalise? Are you making an accusation? Based on what premise?" Khelena snapped, obviously offended.

"You think you are the only elder race? You think others have not trodden this ground? My people have paid penance for similar ideas. "

"What idea? I was going to bestow a gift upon these children

"The idea that one group is superior to another. What is this gift you speak of?"

"I beg your pardon but I have no idea what gave you that assumption. Do you have any idea what I am facing at this moment? Do you have any clue that if I cannot get this group and more like them ready to do a job as soon a possible this would all be a mere waste of time and resources?" Khelena snapped.

The woman smiled. "Children are not responsible for their parents, their parents are responsible for them. That being said. Everything has a price. Make your choice. We can accelerate their growth and steal from them their birth right. Or let them grow, naturally. "

"I'll be perfectly honest, if I were to listen to your morality right at this moment I may as well walk along and put a bullet through each of their heads and be done with it. I can settle morality when I am not on the brink of facing an extinction."

"Bullets are the weapons of barbarians. But as I said, I have been hired to do this task. You wanted to discuss possibilities and I have laid them out for you."

"You are correct. You have been hired, and you have not discussed anything. You have ignored what I have said to lay your personal opinions on me. Ones that even if I wanted to, I could not listen too. You obviously don't care about my people. You only care about these you have created and I will not stand for that."

"I do care about your people. I do not care for what these innocents are to be subjected to. As I said, children will judge their parents. Often, harshly."

"I will assure you these children will suffer no less than their parents. No single Vekimen will be allowed any less until we have dealt with what we face. Now. I know what I will be doing."

"You have not answered a question. What is the gift you wish to bestow on them."

"Eyes to which they can see the future. Blue, as was the sky of our Origin. If you must know." Khelena said. "But only those who have been cursed. I want to know who I should be thanking when I look upon them," Khelena stated clearly.

The woman nodded. "I see."

"We can adjust the growth accelerant to change the colour of the eyes. How many do you wish for the accelerant to be used on?"

"I need to know how long it would take for one to breed. Vekimen breed fast, how much faster would this Vekimen breed?" Khelena asked.

"Well. Your people already have a swift maturation time. Though we did for your sake increase multiple spawnings... twins, triplets. So that will happen. Your maturation time in this accelerant would mean that physically those with accelerated growth will Mature with in the standard solar year. At which point they will have to obtain sexual maturity.

"And can these Vekimen support multiple children? Vekimen do not have something like that," Khelena asked.

"With sufficient medical techniques, the birthing of multiple young should be a trivial affair. The generation produced by this one will be non-immortal and will rapidly grow as well, though it will begin to slow down, and maturation will be twice as long as these...then normal to your species typical maturation rate. Though if the immortality is gone, it may be gone."

"So I will experience diminishing returns?" Khelena asked.

"You will have a sustainable population at the end of it."

"One that will eventually die regardless," Khelena muttered.

"As I said, not all of them have to have the formula used on them." The woman said. "I can use it on the entire brood. Or some, or even just one."

"Fine. How many broods will I get?" She asked. "How many times will you make a new set?"

"The facility will remain here. You need only summon us through your contacts. Your assigned observers to the facility may remain to protect it, as will our personnel to maintain this place. Keeping it safe, means this facility is known only to us. Those here, do not tend to leave it." She said calmly. "they know what is asked of them."

"Alright. Then that settles it. The first two batches are to have the syrum, and after that, I do not want the syrum to touch a single Vekimen. I will heed your warning... But I am in a situation where there is no right or wrong answer. Merely a challenge I must face."

She nodded. Placing the vial back in the jacket pocket, she waved her hand over the computer consol. Another vial appeared, sliding out of a small door on the computer. The woman held her hand beckoning to it. "The actual vial. I...can not do this to them I am afraid. However, you can. Merely push the button next to the formula."

"Are we playing games now?" Khelena asked, arching an eyebrow. "Making me push the big red button that will doom these Vekimen to a life that is sure to end?"

The woman looked up visably weeping. "No. This is no game. I have watched them grow. Monitored them, checked in on them in the evening. I will see them when they awaken in the womb, and when they are born. I can not take from them such a thing."

"Regardless of what I choose, a species will die. Either a part by nature or the whole thing. Do not think you understand my reasonings."

"I understand things such as war, and survival. But I have never had children. Until now."

"In the future, I would advise to not get so attached until you learn of the world they will be born into," Khelena advised.

"That is impossible. Parents birth their children into this...brutal universe not even considering. I knew what I was getting into when I was tasked with this assignment. However, I did not expect to see such purity of form. I did not expect them to be so precious."

"What I have done, is nothing short of love. You have to love something to go into such detail. You have to love in order to create. You have to love your creations or else the creation will fail on completion."

"Life is precious, but sometimes it must be lost. I personally know this all too well," Khelena said, walking over to the consol and hitting the button without even flinching.

"We agree on that. But is the truth of the matter." The woman said. "I need to go grieve now." the woman then faded away before Khalena's eyes. A holographic projection. "I would show you out...but. I'm sure you understand. If you have trouble an escort has been tasked to you," Her voice said from within the room. "The birthing will be in about a week, thanks in part to the accelerant. Please try to attend."

Khelena stood, looking around the room. Holograms. Always with the holograms. "I will be sure to make time to witness it."
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Edto Xar'Sivaree

Lizard Freak!
Seven Months Later

The time had come. The time for Khelena to witness her knew people. Little conversation had happened between the last time she had witnessed this station and the scientific miracles that it harboured, and while she had made stops previously, this was the most important. She had dumped as much power she had into this place. As many teachers, handlers, Drill instructors, specialists, everything at her fingertips she could freely provide without raising suspicion, done to the best of her abilities.

She marched off the Princess class which she had adopted as her personal ship long ago, flanked by several of her own personal guards. Six, to be exact. She had no concern for her own safety here, but there was a demonstration to be had. For centuries the Vekimen people could be counted in triviality. Less than a hundred thousand in existence. A laughable number. Something that had caused her no end of problems in the past. In just this short year and a bit in this sector with a planet, her paltry numbers have forced her to make arrangements that she would not have normally agreed to, and this infuriated her.

Currently, her status as a protectorate under the Gartagen Union left her some shred of decency. She didn't need to bow, she merely needed to agree to accept that she did not control her own international policies. Such a removal of control to her would have been unacceptable, if it were not for the Empress, either out of wisdom, or coincidence, allowing her the ability to step away without hassle, should the Vekimen be capable of standing on their own two feet.

The ancient leader prayed for the former, though it did seem the more likely. Were it the latter... Then she was concerned about any future commands she may receive. Though, it seemed the Empress was taking every step she could to be friendly with the Vekimen, which pleased her. Access to the entire strength of the Gartagen Union was a boon Khelena could not have hoped for, from any other government, even the government of one of her own Thyva's, which was an issue Khelena would soon have to address. Morioka would be in a difficult position, and she hoped the elf was far too prideful to look what Khelena was soon to have in the face, and scoff at it. Khelena hoped Morioka fully understood how dangerous the Vekimen were, or else, alliance or not, she would very quickly find out.

Everyone... Would find out, and in her many centuries of life, she considered that time to be soon. Very soon. She could nearly taste it.

The talons of her soldiers clicked through the halls of the station, heading to the atrium, each step in perfect unison. Years of training and drilling had formed these six, and the many thousands like them into an image of violent discipline, and that was her expectations for what was awaiting her just on the other side of the doors she was standing at.

Doors she had been standing at for a minute or so now. She had never considered herself an emotional person, but after the hell, the Vekimen had been through for over a thousand years, what was on the other side of this door would make, or break her dreams of the future. It was something she had not witnessed in too long.

When she finally opened the door, she was shocked at what she was a witness of. Hundreds of thousands of Vekimen, standing in formation, not moving save to breath and the occasional tail twitch. Closer inspection noted some eyes were turning to look at her, but these were young Vekimen. Rapidly grown. The accelerant had worked splendidly, as only a half a year ago all these Vekimen were but fetus's in an artificial womb.

It took Khelena's breath away completely. She felt layers of stress she was never before aware of starting to melt away. Despite the breathtaking image, Khelena felt as if she could once again breath properly, no longer crushed by the weight of her species' possible extinction. They still were not out of the woods, but they were out of the grave!

"I need a better view." She stated, looking around, and seeing an observation deck. On the ground they were formidable, but she wanted to see them in their entirety. She walked, keeping her eyes locked on the wall so that she did not spoil her own surprise as they walked up the stairs. She reached the top, and she could feel her hearts beating like machine guns. On the ground they were formidable...

... But the truth was they were glorious. The Vekimen did not cry easily, but she felt she was close. She had grown so used to what she had, what she had to endure to keep her species alive... The things she had to do, that now she realized a large part of her never thought she would ever live to see this day. That nothing like it would happen.

She was glad for the size of this station, and she was glad for the size of the station's Atrium, as it allowed her to see such a beautiful sight. Several hundred thousand Vekimen. Her jaw opened, and she started laughing. She laughed like someone who had gone through a terrible experience, only to realise that she was okay. It wasn't maniacal, or harsh, but light and joyous. It was a laugh of pure, relieved, joy, and it was a joy she had never felt in several thousand years.

"Yes!" She shouted, clenching her hands tightly. They shook with excitement, staring at the young, clearly capable Vekimen before her. The Vekimen who would bring their species back from the brink of extinction. To other nations, this was laughable, but to her, there was no greater joy. No. They could not appreciate this. They could never understand this. They could not hope to fathom the emotion that Khelena felt, the urge to go down and witness each on individually. Time be damned, she had been waiting for too long, but she still had to do something. She had to inspire these Vekimen. She had to solidify their loyalty and their purpose. It was time for her to reveal a secret.

"My people!" She started, staring at those below her. "My, children... For over a millennia, your ancestors have been oppressed, conquered by the cold, empty expanses of space. 1300 years ago, I promised that I would return us to the mantle of our prime and beyond, and I can finally return on that promise!" She continued, snapping her hand up in a silent command. A single screeched order and every head turned to look at her in unison.

"I will need all of you, the youth of our people. The pride, of our people," She cooed, her voice smooth and sultry. "To make this promise a reality. Your ancestors embarked on the greatest exodus in the history of the Vekimen. An exodus for freedom, of prosperity.

"Yet we believed the crippling expanses of space had broken us. At first, it weakened us! It tore from us what we believed to be our strength, but in fact, we were growing… stronger..." Khelena stated, the joy in her voice clear but controlled.

"Now, I ask you for your strength. The strength that flows through each and every one of you. The strength that will be required to further our goal. There will be no job too small. There will be no meaningless task. Each and every one of you will be the reason the Vekimen people carry on in this galaxy, and you will be spoken about in legends for millennia more to come!

"We will have enemies… There will be those out there who desire nothing more than to oppose us. Break us, make us kneel before them as common slaves to their will," The Srarlumee snarled, clenching her fists. "We will not bend to such oppressors. We will face those who wish to make such moves against us and we will make them pay! For every drop of Vekimen blood, they spill upon the ground, we will spill their blood one-hundred fold! I promise you that I myself would lay down my life and die for you!" She commanded, taking a few steps along the platform, watching every head turn to follow her. "I would die before I kneel to anyone who seeks to oppress us, as I would expect each and every Vekimen to do in turn!

The Khelena's face grew softer. "There will, also, be those out there who seek to see us strive, join with us and share in the vision that our people have," she explained, motioning to the Gartagens who were around them. "Even now, people flock to the Vekimen with desires to lend their aid to our goal, to join with us, and I will not turn away their help. This is the start of a new age, the age in which we take our faith and our passion in what was once a mere fairy tail and put it into something we can mould with our own strength. Today, the Vekimen Defensive Task Force, the Military and Government you all serve and put your faith in, will become something that will be respected, either willingly, or by force!

"Let the events this day has pushed into motion ring out through the Galaxy and resound with a single message. To those who wish to divide us, you will not hear our voice. You will feel our claws rend your flesh and our teeth devour your innards," She called, now starting to see the composure of these new Vekimen break, but that was good. She would not chide even a single one, as even she from her position could see the excitement growing. The tails lashing, the manes expanding. "But those who wish to aid us with hear our voice. They will hear our voice and it will bring with it words of prosperity and wealth for us to share in as we make our mark upon this galaxy!

"The people of this sector shall ignore us no longer! We, the VDTF, the defenders of this dream, and those outside who wish to see it come true, we shall act as one! No more will this be a dream. This, shall be a reality!" She grinned, smiling down at all the Vekimen. She could feel the electricity in the air. An electricity she had not felt in too long. Pride in a nation and a people that could not be devoured so easily. "I asked for time, but in the galaxy, our, time, is, now!"

And with that, the composure broke. She heard a scream. A primal, base scream, one lost for generations. Then, as if the floodgates were open, the rest joined in. The Gartagens looked concerned as the sea what many would call monsters shrieked, stomping their feet in a show of force, but none moved from their position.

She said no more. She merely enjoyed how these Vekimen seemed to return the life to her body. The life she had not realized she was without. This was the height of her existence. This was why she was made. This is why she endured countless years of agony to become what she was. This was her purpose.

Her moment was interrupted by one of the scientists. Something, that normally would bother her terribly, but this time it could be forgiven easily.

"Sraraluee Khelena? What are we supposed to do with them?" He asked, looking over the ledge at the still ecstatic hoard.

"Them? Whatever they want to do, within reason. Whatever you can give them. Allow them a time of relief, to celebrate this new purpose I have given them. I have brought with me an accompaniment of soldiers that will add to the soldiers already here. They will have order, but they will be allowed their celebration. Raise the temperature of the room. At first, it will excite them, but then they will start to grow lethargic as the heat seeps into their bodies and relaxes them," She explained, waving a hand to her entourage, motioning for the Gartagen to follow them out of the room.

"HAve you continued the project? This is only the first of the graduates, correct?" Khelena asked.

"Yes, we have another set of graduates in training, with a third in incubation. We have not been asked for any more than that." The Gartagen explained.

Khelena merely laughed. "I will not need any more than that. I thank you for what you and all of you have done for my people. You did an astounding job of it, keeping them true to what they are meant to be," Khelena sighed, still hearing the Vekimen on the other side, though faintly. "And as promised, I will provide what I can give you. As previously stated, what you ask for shall be done to the best of my abilities. All your project leader needs to do is ask..."

"I will inform her of that. If you have any questions, feel free to send us a message."

"I will be sure to do that..." Khelena sighed, turning and leaving the man behind. She had much to prepare for. Namely, she now had to prepare her people...

Edto Xar'Sivaree

Lizard Freak!
On Komodo, several days later

Khelena sat alone in the Thyva Chamber, staring at her Datapad and the information she was being given. She knew the answer that she had to take, but so far her Thyva were being morons. She, like every other Vekimen on her council, wanted nothing more than to make the Vekimen a powerful force. To have them respected by the Sector and Galaxy at large, but so far, she had no support. Every Thyva wanted the new Vekime to become soldiers. Push them into a war effort, but they were young, stupid, brash, and naive.

So she had selected a random N'Thyva. She only needed one, and she hoped he would be better thought out than the others. Tuyok Fin'Laderen. She was interested in what he had to say, and so she invited him to the chamber to ask him some questions.

Tuyok walked up to the Sraralumee's chambers and addressed the guards outside her door. After confirming his expected appointment with the Sraralumee, the guards allowed him to proceed. The door hissed as it slid open and Tuyok took a knee and grabbed his horn in a very crisp, well-rehearsed manner. "Requesting permission to enter Sraralumee."

Khelena looked at the male, then waved her hand. "Of course, N'Thyva. Of course," She said, standing up. "Feel free to relax, but I don't plan on spending any time on formalities or pleasantries. The VDTF is suffering a possible issue in the future, and I was wondering if you felt confident in giving your own opinion. I was not pleased with the answers I was given by the Thyva, so why not go down the line?" Khelena asked.

The N'Thyva remained kneeling while Khelena spoke and only stood up after she finished. "I will give you my best effort Sraralumee." He replied as he stepped into the room and the door closed behind him. "How may I be of service?"

"Put yourself in my position mentally, for a moment. There are 100,000 Vekimen left in this Galaxy after the Mishhuvurthyar attack on our station. Let's say, for a moment, that we were to suddenly obtain around 500,000 more Vekimen. What would you do with them? All having previously received basic training, that is" The leader asked, looking the N'Thyva over a little more carefully.

"If we are speaking militarily Sraralumee," Tuyok said aloud in order to give him a moment of pause to consider her question. "I would use them to build up our support network."

"I am talking our people as a whole, but yes. We are a Military Government, after all," Khelena chuckled, amused in the redundancy of the question. "So you would place them in our support sectors? You would not set them to be soldiers and enhance our war effort against the Kuvexians, haemorrhaging resources from the Union to do so?"

"With respect, sending them to our support sectors would be enhancing our war effort Sraralumee."

Khelena nodded. "Explain yourself. Please."

"Soldiers do not operate independently Sraralumee." Tuyok began to say while trying to choose his words carefully. "A single soldier requires a great deal of support, from the food provided to the armour the soldier wears. They all need to be manufactured, transported, managed and paid for. Then there are extra-dimensional considerations like communication, informational warfare, and intelligence operations. That makes an average ratio of 10 support personnel required for 1 combat soldier. This is all assuming that the facilities and infrastructure are already in place to provide this support. It is far more difficult to set up and expand the support required for a war effort than it does to train a soldier. I can create a soldier in about 3 months, it will take years to get a proper support network in place."

"Now take into account this 500,000 will turn into over 1.5 million Vekimen over the next year. Does that change your mind?" Khelena asked. She was playing dumb, she needed him to say the words.

"The only thing that changes Sraralumee is the urgency for which we need to get the support in place."

The Sraralumee smiled, baring her teeth. "Well then, you have pleased me, Tuyok Thyva. I hope for a report in... Let's say a week, on what the Vekimen should start with, and how we should expand what we currently have. Do you think you are up to the task?"

What? Was the only thing that was going through Tuyok's head. What just happened? His eyes were wide in shock from the title he had just been addressed by. "I..." He paused for a moment before defaulting to what he knew. He immediately took a knee and grabbed his horn. "You are too gracious Sraralumee, a week will be more than enough time for me."

"Good! I look forward to your report! I hope it will be an inspiring read, but given this short, yet important conversation, I have little concern," Khelena smiled.