A Coalition of the Compassionate: Stronger Than the Storm (Buchich)
Posts: 791
  • Posted On: Feb 27 2016 11:07pm
Buchich System, 25 ABY
Buchich, Foreman's Office
Following the Battle of Dac, Dragon-Coalition War

“What do you mean, 'nothing'?”

The old Quarren behind the desk didn't look up from his work, just kept tapping away on his datapad. “They brought it on themselves; we leave them to their fate.”

“But Foreman, we have an obligation -”

“We have a trade contract, Chief,” the old Quarren snapped, pressing his hands flat against his desk as he locked eyes with the adviser. “By the letter of that contract, it is the Mon Calamari who have failed in their obligations, not we who have failed in ours.”

“They were attacked!”

“They provoked an attack,” the old Quarren dismissed the claim, returning to his work.

“And what of our brothers among them?”

A faint gurgling sound issued from the old Quarren, but he didn't return his attention to the Chief. “They chose their fate long ago, when they sided with our would-be masters.”

“And our people's home? What of Dac?”

“If the Dragons do not claim it, the tides will.”

* * *

Chalacta System, 25 ABY
Chalacta, Presidential Office
Following the Evacuation of Dac, Dragon-Coalition War

President Borosh waved his Chalactan friend into the room, standing to extend a hand across his desk. “Senator,” he said, cracking a smile.

“President,” the senator returned lightly, still finding it hard to believe that the grizzled old general had turned himself into a proper head of state. “It's been too long.”

The president gestured for the other man to take a seat, then returned to his own. “What's this about, Brand?

“I'm drafting plans for a new project that I believe is essential to the success of a united Chalacta and Sneeve, and I want you to support the bill that will make it happen.”

“I'm not budging on Delaya, Brand.”

“This isn't about that,” the Chalactan senator reassured. “The Cooperative just secured the admission of Chadra into the East; they've committed to rebuilding the Mon Calamari Shipyards there.”

“Aren't the Chadra-Fan pacifists?”

Brand shrugged. “Supposedly the shipyards will only be used for humanitarian and economic development projects, but we all know they'll be pressed back into service the moment the Dragons resume hostilities.”

“Don't you men 'if' the Dragons resume hostilities?”

Brand stared blankly in response to the question.

“Right, well then I guess I should ask: what does this have to do with us?”

“I want to give them our shipyards for conversion.”

“You've got to be kidding me,” Borosh snapped back, leaning forward, his intensity surging as he realized the magnitude of the implications here. “You want to disarm us?”

“It'll buy us goodwill with the Cooperative, demonstrate our commitment to a broader Eastern collaboration, and get us some leverage on the Chadra-Fan for that inevitable future in which we have to push them and their facilities into war.”

“But you want to disarm us!” The shock was wearing off and the fury was coming out now.

“We can't move forward as a nation with these symbols of the war that almost destroyed us hanging overhead. We have to move out from beneath the shadow of our past cruelties if we truly wish this peace to last, and this nation to prosper.”

“You're a war hero, Brand!”

“So are you.”

“But you unified the Chalactan and Sneevel resistances! You orchestrated the revolution, stitched this nation together out of all its broken pieces. That war is the only thing holding us together! You know that we can't disarm, especially not now.”

“That's exactly why it has to be me, and you. We led our two peoples, together, to stand under one banner against the oppression that our past wars fostered. Now we have to lead our people to earn their place in the East, both for the military protection of our worlds, and for the political stability that our new government requires. Together you and I can move the United Republic to a position of influence and power in the East, a place of hope and vision for our people who have known despair and loss for too long now.”

Brand was playing the same game on a larger board; Borosh could see that now. His path to ensuring the United Republic of Chalacta and Sneeve survived and thrived despite the bloody history that brought it about wasn't through local, internal projects. He wanted to forge an identity for the United Republic in the Provincial arena, create something for which both the Chalactan and Seevel people could be proud to count themselves among.

It might just work.  
Posts: 791
  • Posted On: May 3 2016 12:57am
Sneeve System, 27 ABY
Sneeve, URCS Social Services Headquarters
Rise of the Reavers, Year of Cataclysm

Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S, bananas.

It was all Rosh the Bimm could think as he saw and struggled desperately to avoid the shrieking, scrambling horde that had once been the administrative leadership for the United Republic of Chalacta and Sneeve's Social Services department.

There was a new symbol hanging at the front entrance, a new motto he hadn't quite caught scrawled underneath. Something was very definitely not right here.

“Ahh, Ambassador Rosh!” It was a strong, firm voice painted with an insincere joviality typical of the sorts of people Rosh often dealt with. Nevertheless it cut cleanly through the ruckus going on all around, and despite the chaos of the office a narrow pathway seemed to form between Rosh and the speaker.

The little alien shuffled between workers, desks, and cubicle walls until he made his way to the human standing in front of an office door, his form obscuring the diminutive creature's view of the plaque identifying the office. “Senator Brand,” Rosh acknowledged the man as soon as he recognized him. “What's a man like you doing in a place like this?”

“Step into my office,” he said, opening the door, a hinged thing made out in a classical style. “We have a lot to discuss.”

Rosh obliged, and as soon as he was through the door everything started making a lot more and a lot less sense. “This is the Chairman's office.” He'd been in enough rooms like this to pick up on the little tells. He was standing in the boss's office . . . Senator Brand's office . . .

“That title's no longer applicable,” Brand said, closing the door and crossing the room. “Please,” he gestured to a chair as he skirted the edge of his desk and sat in his own.

Rosh obliged, but not before pulling the offered chair closer. The little Bimm's head barely poked above the edge of the work desk, but he met Brand's intense stare without a hint of intimidation. Rosh was used to being underestimated and infantilized; he knew how to capitalize on that mistake quite well, if the need arose. “What can I do for you, Senator?”

“Not to bore you with local history or politics, Ambassador, but when Chalacta and Sneeve unified, the first order of business for President Borosh's administration was merging governmental services. We thought it was important to show our people that we were in this together, that the only way to rebuilt was as one, united people. Anyway, the Sneevel's Social Services apparatus was smaller than my own people's, but structurally it was better suited to our new needs, so it won out pretty quickly.

“That turned out lucky for us, because Sneeve used to be a Refugee Relief Movement member.”

Rosh gasped.

Brand smirked. “It turns out that the kind of people who spend their whole lives shuffling the destitute and displaced from one safe harbor to another are the same kind of people who take to social work when the Empire dismantles their multi-planetary relief charity.”

“You're taking on Reaver refugees.”

Brand chuckled, shaking his head. “You're thinking too small, Ambassador. At a press conference later today, President Borosh will inform the people of the United Republic that Chalacta and Sneeve are open to all refugees of the Reaver invasion who wish to permanently relocate to Coalition space, as citizens.”

Rosh sat forward, his chin all but resting on the top of Brand's desk. “Senator Brand, it was only a few short years ago that Chalacta and Sneeve were locked in a genocidal war against one another. You've made tremendous progress since then, admittedly, but you don't really expect Bimmisaari to support your plan to throw who-knows-how-many unacculturated refugees from who-knows-how-many species into this volatile and delicate environment, do you?”

Brand sank back in his chair. “The plan's already been reviewed and approved by the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees. The only thing I want to know from you, Ambassador Rosh, is whether or not you're going to do for us what you did for Kegan?”

The little Bimm's eyes shot wide. “Kegan? You're telling me this is a Kegan-sized move you're planning?”

Brand shook his head. “Kegan's just one world, Ambassador. We're two.”

Rosh hopped to his feet and slid his chair back. “I'll have to inspect the project outline before I can make a recommendation to the appropriate authorities back on Bimmisaari.”

“I'll make everything available to you through proper Refugee Service channels.”

“Right, then.” Rosh started for the door, then paused and cast a look over his shoulder as he suddenly realized what he'd been missing. “Senator Brand, when I go looking for your project proposal, who do I ask after? What is this place?”

“We're the Coalition Resettlement and Reintegration Service.”
Posts: 791
  • Posted On: May 15 2016 6:12pm
Buchich System, 27 ABY
Buchich, Diplomatic Shuttle Conference Room
Dac Return, Year of Cataclysm

“I still don't understand why they agreed to see us in the first place.”

The small group of officials turned in unison to regard President Borosh. The Sneevel leader of the united Chalacta/Sneeve government had kept quiet throughout the briefing so far, and his simplistic question had caught more than one of his companions off guard. That wasn't good, because Ambassador Rosh's plan was banking heavily on the Chalactan/Sneevel tag team of Senator Brand and President Borosh.

The Ryn official at the table spoke up, albeit with some hesitation. “The Ryn Fleet has been negotiating with the government of Buchich since the Dac Council declared their intent to return . . .”

“I understand all of that,” Borosh dismissed the history lesson before it could go on further. “What I'm saying is, given what the literature indicates,” he made a point of tapping his datapad on the conference desk, “these people aren't going to help the Mon Calamari, period. They'd rather abandon their mines, their cities, even the most basic of modern amenities and become kelp farmers or seashell traders than help the Calamari return home. They've hated the homeworld government since before the Clone Wars, supported the Quarren Isolation League in its bid to seize Dac during that war, became a safe haven for holdouts after . . . hells, the most recent trade contract it had with the Calamari Shipyards was only in place because Palpatine's Empire imposed it on them during its subjugation of the region.

“So I want to know how the Ryn Fleet convinced them to sit down with us while we pitch using their resources to rebuild their homeworld on behalf of the government and the species that they despise?” He was staring daggers at the Ryn now.

“Well maybe they're more compassionate than you think,” Rosh piped up, but quickly sunk back into his seat when Senator Brand cast him a warning look.

Borosh was still staring. The Ryn fidgeted nervously for a moment, then finally blurted out: “We didn't tell them!”

Borosh sighed heavily, breaking eye contact and slumping back in his chair. “This is a waste of time.”

“It's a good plan,” the Mon Calamari at the table reassured.

“It's the best we're going to manage, at any rate,” her Quarren companion admitted. “My people are known as a hotheaded, foul-tempered, resentful race who do not soon forget past wrongs.”

The Calamari added: “And history has recorded mine as an arrogant, domineering one whose narrow view often misses the true needs of those we are most obliged to safeguard.”

“Sound like anyone you know?” Rosh asked earnestly.

Borosh shared a knowing look with Brand, and somewhere in there must have been a cue in that special shorthand they had with each other, because when Borosh said “Okay,” it had already been decided. “It probably won't work, but when's that stopped any of us before?”



Twenty minutes later, Borosh, Brand, and Rosh were stepping into what appeared to be some sort of converted break room for the miniature starport's maintenance crew. A pair of square tables had been pulled together in the middle of the room and chairs lined up on either long side, but besides that any furniture had been cleared out.

Somewhat reluctantly, the old Quarren who seemed to be in charge offered them seats. “I am Foreman Tarn. This world, its resources, infrastructure, and people are under my charge. What do you want?”

It was a little blunter than they'd anticipated, but the trio had a plan and their best bet was to see it through. “Well,” Rosh began, “the Eastern Province is interested in securing your services as a supplier of raw materials for . . . various projects in the sector.”

Rosh wasn't great at reading Quarren expression, but something was definitely not right with the Foreman's reaction. “Is it . . . the Reavers?”

“What?” Rosh balked, but before he could say “no”, Foreman Tarn was off.

“Our scouts didn't find Reavers any closer than Troiken. They were all heading Coreward. Have they turned back?” Something shifted in the Foreman, something . . . hopeful? “Did you turn them back? Can you stop them?”

The three Coalition officials were swapping disconcerted glances. Rosh was still trying to puzzle out what the old coot was even saying when Borosh muttered, “How could we have missed this?”

Rosh's attention snapped to the Sneevel, who mouthed the word “HoloNet”.

Rosh gasped, eyes darting to Brand, who was far more reserved in his reaction, though clearly surprised himself.

Of course! Of course Buchich didn't have HoloNet access! They had been inside of Black Dragon territory. Not only did the Dragons have their own network (which they did not share with neighbors and took with them when they disappeared), but they were strict isolationists. The HoloNet had been disabled or dismantled throughout their domain, “shielding” their subjects from the corrupting influence of outsiders. Short of a few brave scout ships early after the disappearance of the Dragons, these people must have been living in total isolation from the galaxy.

“Well, you see . . .” Rosh began, with no idea where he was going, but knowing he couldn't afford to sit with a silent stare.

“Foreman Tarn,” Brand began firmly, sitting up in his chair a little, his whole demeanor changing to one of serious and weighty import. “I am Acting Commissioner for the Coalition's Resettlement and Reintegration Service, a federal agency tasked with relocating Coalition citizens after they have been displaced by war.

“The Ryn are rebuilding Mon Calamari.”

What? What. No! What was he doing!?

“Don't worry, they'll call it 'Dac' on all of the official reports and news blurbs while they do it, but that won't change what people like me know it as.” The Foreman's fury could not be missed, but Brand didn't stop. “Senator Rosh here brought me and my companion along because he thought that he could sell you on the idea of some kind of . . . reunification with your Mon Calamari cousins.” His tone had turned bitter, condescending, but was it Tarn or Rosh he was condescending to? “He thought that Borosh and I might move you with tales of our heated, bloody past, of the war our two species waged against one another over petty slights and pettier claims, that we might recount to you the way that we scampered and crawled through the muck and grime and blood left over by a war that never should have been and never in a thousand lifetimes should have gone so far.”

He paused briefly to regard little Rosh sitting at the preferred seat of their delegation, no doubt now on whom he was heaping his contempt. “This . . . man thought that because his people,” he pointed to President Borosh, “and my people,” he tapped himself on the chest, “weathered our storm, found a . . .” he shook his head, looking almost defeated, “a strength in unity buried under all of that hate, that we could convince you to do the same with the people that you most hate.

“But you and the Mon Calamari are different kinds of animals from his people and mine.” Once again he indicated Borosh then himself. He looked back to Rosh, waited until he had the Bimm's undivided attention. “You don't just get to connect the dots, color inside the lines, and walk away with a win for the 'good guys', for the 'A-Team', for whoever and whatever project you've tacked yourself onto this week.”

He held the little creature's quivering gaze for a long moment then broke free, his attention snapping back to Foreman Tarn. “The people of . . . Dac are returning to their home. The Ryn are helping. The East is helping them. It is my sworn duty to help them. You don't have to do business with us: the Coalition, the East, the Mon Calamari . . . me and the Resttlement Service. You don't have to; the Coalition isn't that kind of a player.” Brand leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. “But you should. You should take everything that you can from us, for your people. You should do it because you hate the Mon Calamari, and we are helping them. You should do it because the Dragons left you with no other options to exploit. You should do it because kelp farming doesn't suit you.

“You should do it because I can guarantee you fair market price for this planet's resources, restored and unfiltered access to the HoloNet, and the use of Coalition-secured hyperspace routes for delivery to third-party clients.” That piqued the Foreman's interest noticeably, and Brand began nodding as if he was reading Tarn's mind. “You should never be beholden to the friends of your enemies. Use your newfound trade options to secure more buyers for this world's resources; to expand your local manufacturing capabilities; to diversify into agriculture, or high technology, arts and crafts . . . sell sea shells by the barrel full, I don't care. But take this deal, because Dac is being resettled.

“You don't have to be a part of it. It will cost the Ryn more, it'll cost the East more; it'll cost the Resettlement Service more; hells, it'll cost Minntooine more. But it will happen anyway, and you will be poor and alone and on the brink of losing everything your people have built here, and the sun will still rise over Mon Calamari shores, and waves will still beat against Mon Calamari cliffs, and life will still flourish in Mon Calamari homes.

“Take what you can from us for as long as you can, because that is the only justice you will see.”

Rosh the Bimm could not believe what he had just seen. This man he thought he'd known, this hero – not of war, but of peace – had just transformed before his eyes, and the thing he'd revealed himself to be was something mean, and bitter, and petty, and cruel. What was more, though, was that when Rosh looked to Borosh for some reassurance that all was not what it seemed, that the Sneevel's closest friend and ally among the ranks of the Chalactan people was more than some monster in disguise, he saw only his own disbelief staring back at him.
Posts: 791
  • Posted On: Oct 9 2016 7:28pm
Chalacta System, 28 ABY
Chalacta, Front Steps of the URCS Senate Hall
Present Time

When President Borosh took the podium, he did so flanked by a mixed contingent of over a dozen Chalactan and Sneevel senators. The awaiting crowd, massive and split down the middle into “natives” and “immigrants” by a barricaded wall of URCS federal police and Cooperative Defense Force Guardian peacekeeper droids, quickly fell silent, their nervous energy palpable.

With the eyes of nearly nine billion Coalition citizens falling on him from the Two Worlds of the United Republic, the president of this patchwork nation began. “A little over a year ago, Senator Brand and I ascended these very steps side-by-side, committed to enlisting the support of the United Senate in a humanitarian campaign to integrate billions of refugees from Reaver Space into the Coalition, and to do so by offering our own lands not as refuge, but as home to them.

“We could not have then imagined the success of that campaign, still ongoing in the face of a Reaver threat whose end is nowhere in sight. Projections from the URCS Social Services Administration, the Coalition Resettlement and Reintegration Service, and the Eastern Provincial Salvation Network all agree: within six months, the combined population of Chalactan and Sneevel residents will be exceeded by the resettled population. As that population grows, the United Republic's policy of granting Coalition citizenship to these people while maintaining their status as 'foreign residents' within the United Republic's jurisdiction has been met with increasing criticism.

“Our successes thus far would have been impossible without the continued and extensive support of our Cooperative allies, whose experience repatriating billions of Coalition refugees from the former Onyxian Commonwealth has been invaluable here, both preserving the United Republic's existing economic viability within the East, and raising the standard of living for our new residents above the threshold set by the Refugee and Evacuation Service. They have consulted with us as the Senate has sought a policy solution to this disparity in population and political representation, and the possibility of instituting a Cooperative-style partition of the two populations with separate, fully-fledged representative governments has been considered exhaustively over the past months.

“Today, it is my duty and my personal joy to inform you all that the United Republic of Chalacta and Sneeve will not be partitioned from the resettled population; it will be combined with them. National elections will be held on time and without special circumstance, and all Coalition citizens who are residents within the borders of the United Republic will be eligible both to vote and hold public office.

“Our two worlds are not lands of division and strife: this is one land of hope and compassion, where time and blood have proven that we are truly stronger together. These Two Worlds are our people's birthrights, and as we have shared them with one another, we now share them with you.”

* * *

Buchich System, 28 ABY
Buchich, Foreman's Office
Present Time

“What are you doing here, High Commissioner?”

“As head of the Resettlement Service, it's my duty to ensure that all aspects of the Dac Restoration remain on schedule,” Brand answered coyly, not meeting the Foreman's gaze.

“You've made Buchich a rich world again, Commissioner. You've also, incidentally, safeguarded my position as its leader.”

Brand shrugged, glancing to the side at an aquarium made to look like a viewport, giving the whole room a sense of being submerged. “We could do worse for a business partner, I'm sure.”

“You're a pragmatist, Commissioner, like me. We understand the necessities of this age, the things we are sometimes required to do, for the greater good.”

Brand's eyes darted to the Foreman, to this alien outsider he thought he'd figured out. “I'm sure I don't know what you mean,” Brand answered, wary.

“I'll say this about you: you make good on your promises. It's amazing what one can find out about a man such as you with a simple HoloNet connection.”

Brand tensed slightly, ready to spring into action. There were worse outcomes available than the one in which a Coalition official strangled a foreign head of state in his own office.

“You single-handedly rebuilt Chalacta and Sneeve from two nations locked in perpetual war, into a unified, major player in Coalition politics.”

Brand relaxed. So he didn't know. “You give me far too much credit,” Brand said, feigning sheepish embarrassment.

“You would like me to believe that . . . and everyone else, too.”

This man was dangerous. Foreman Tarn was too good at feeling out the truth.

“So I ask you again, High Commissioner of the Coalition Resettlement and Reintegration Service: what are you doing here? What do your clever machinations want with my world?”

“I think I made myself clear enough last year, when I told you to take what you could get from us for as long as we had use for you.”

“Yes, yes,” Tarn nodded, a peculiarly human display for the Quarren-centric alien. “You told me exactly what I needed to hear, to do exactly what you wanted me to do. You salvaged the situation quite expertly, given the bright-eyed ineptitude of your companions. I'm asking you now for the truth, Commissioner; I'm asking you to stop playing games with me, and let us get down to business.”

Tarn wasn't the only one who could ferret out the truth. Brand had been dropping by Buchich off-and-on since the deal was struck, making sure everything was in order, that the Foreman was as happy as he could be with the progress of the deal, putting pressure on the appropriate Coalition officials to make sure everything stayed on schedule and that Buchich was given no reason to back out of their agreement. He'd hoped that at the end of the Dac Restoration project, he might have drummed up enough goodwill to renegotiate the contract with Buchich, supplying a new generation of Mon Calamari Shipyards with local resources and thereby increasing the regional security of the Coalition. His involvement in a deal like that would earn him serious support in the new administration on Mon Calamari, and ensure he'd have the kind of power at his back that he'd need to keep the Coalition moving in the right direction.

This was something else though. Tarn was fishing for information, and Brand could only speculate on the reason why. “I've come a long way in a short time, Foreman. Only a few years ago, I was a senator within a totalitarian regime, a token for representative government under one of the most oppressive dictators in this quarter of the galaxy. Now I'm the head of one of the most powerful organizations in the Coalition, with the support of worlds and governments across the galaxy. I told you the Coalition wouldn't compel your assistance because it 'doesn't do that kind of thing', but let me be clear: it should.

“You were right about my pragmatism, Foreman Tarn. We are in the midst of a galaxy that is tearing itself apart at the seams, facing dangers never before seen. The Dominion destroyed Varn and struck at the heart of the Coalition's military capacity: the Azguard homeworld. The Coalition was only just on the brink of war with the Confederation, the Empire is tearing itself apart with no indication of what will be left when the dust settles, or where their allegiances lie. And no appreciable progress has been made against the Reavers, even though they continue to spill out into new territories across the galaxy.

“So why am I here? I don't know anymore. I have so much work to do, and you've stopped being worth my time.”

Brand turned and left the office, and Foreman Tarn found himself alone, king of a world that meant nothing to the coming wars and offered nothing against the horrors that would be left in their wake.

He opened the drawer of his desk and retrieved the datapad tucked inside, staring at its blank screen and pondering its contents, willing himself to make an impossible choice.

The commlink in his hand clicked on. It was time.

* * *

Epilogue


This was the best. The best!

Rosh was one of three “honored guests” present, allowed to participate in this because of all his people had done for the Restoration of Dac. There was still a long way to go, to be sure, but this was a planet that dared to hope again, and that made little Rosh the Bimm smile.

The Mon Calamari Republic had been a founding member of the Coalition. This planet had served as that Coalition's capital until wartime necessity required the Coalition House of Representatives to move to a more secure location. Its loss in the Dragon War had all but crushed the Eastern Province, sapping their resolve and undermining the fundamental principles on which the Coalition had been built. To see it alive again, to see it on its way to a once-lost beauty, was truly inspiring.

The fate of this world had once been thought to herald the Coalition's fate. Then it was lost, and the Coalition had found a way to survive and grow again, to take on the great burden of Dac's displaced people and give even them a reason to hope once more. The Coalition had found itself stronger than the fate of any one world, and with that strength it had returned to Dac to give it and its people the fate that they deserved.

That decision had made them all stronger. The great edifice to the Coalition's potential that was being erected here was far beyond anything the East could have imagined when they first agreed to support the Dac Return.

It wasn't all sunshine and . . . whatever Dac has for roses, though. Rosh had quietly passed off an offer from the new Dac Council to Foreman Tarn of Buchich a little over a month ago. He'd thought maybe the Foreman was coming around, as the old Quarren had seemed moved somewhat by learning that Minntooine had not only joined the Coalition, but committed itself fully to the Dac Return. With all of the progress the unified Quarren and Mon Calamari had made in establishing this new government, it was hard to believe that the Quarren of Buchich still distrusted the motives of their former leaders.

But there'd been no reply from Buchich. Maybe one day, maybe soon. But not today. Not when it mattered the most . . .

Rosh's commlink beeped in his pocket, and he apologized profusely as he fumbled around, trying both to excuse himself from the booth full of “outsiders” and fish the commlink from his ceremonial robes. “Go ahead,” he said after he made it into the adjoining hall, glancing either way as if afraid he might still be disturbing someone.

“Message from Buchich, Foreman Tarn,” the synthesized voice of Rosh's diplomatic droid informed him before playing the brief audio clip: “'We're in. Have a seat ready for us.'”