Dec 2 2013 12:18am
Tréville-class Cruiser Tréville, in orbit via Nizon
“What a jalopy. Who the hell is going to hunt Nadirs in that piece of junk?”
Captain Dynba Endac peered out of the viewport at the cobbled together transport that most of spacers would have called the ship an ugly. The stern appeared to be the rear of a Corellian Corvette, but the bow appeared to be that of a Gallofree GR-75, complete with the control pod. Elongated Laser scouring dotted the hull amidst the slapped on weapons turrets. She guessed that the mismatched gunship had seem some action sometime in the past, though whether it was before or after the conversion, the blonde woman had no clue. It drifted past her to join the menagerie of other vessels that would be taking part in the hunt. The Tréville itself was the Confederation's entry; supposedly an act of goodwill on the Confederation's part to the nearby nation. Yet she couldn't help but notice the timing. Supposedly some higher Confederate diplomat had recently arrived at the world to further expand relations between the two nations.
Others had told her that it was code for persuading the nation's leadership to join the Confederation, but she thought otherwise. There are plenty of other ways we actually do stuff with other nations, fromt rade agreements and mutual defense arrangements to simply exchanging students and medical care. And the Reavers now have only added to that mix. I'd bet it's about that, even if he didn't say so. Dynba lazily strolled over to her command chair of her vessel and plopped herself into it, before calling up the hunt's other participants. The ugly gunship she had seen earlier popped up as being registered to a mercenary named Seti. According to those betting on the contest, Seti's vessel, the Survivor, Endac's Tréville, and a DP-37 from the world's defense fleet were among those thought the most likely destroy the nest. From what she had been able to gather, Nizon sponsored an annual hunt to rid themselves of some local spaceborne nuisance. Apparently last year, it had been a flock of specially tagged mynocks. At least these spiders should be more entertaining. Assuming their acid doesn't go through our hull plating...A man to her side cleared his throat.
“Incoming call from the freighter Mecan Falls. Do you want to take it ma'am?”
“Not really,” sighed the woman, “but patch it through anyways. We can't go around simply pissing people off. Our diplomat groundside would lose his pretty little head if we did...doubtless if will some other idiot wanting to make an alliance with us on this hunt. You really need to stop me from on these rambles, Joshi.”
“Sorry ma'am, it's just good to hear you feel the same way. Here we go.”
The bridge's holo-projector lightly hummed before displaying the wispy image of a endomorphic man with an aquiline nose peering out at them. Judging by his clothes, she guessed the man to be of Corellian descent or at least culturally influenced by them, not uncommon given his profession, but the background of the ship itself suggested that he wasn't on a Corellian-built vessel. But she couldn't guess the model or build of the vessel itself.
“Captain Endac, I'm guessing?”
She nodded, “I am.”
“I know you must have many offers to form an alliance during the hunt...”
So far, this one is smarter than the last...
“...and I won't attempt to make a normal one with you. You know, some funny things have happened in the past to many of the competitors. Some of have disappeared. Some have had unusual mechanical failures. Wouldn't it be fortunate if something like that were to happen to your opponents?”
“I really hope you're not implying what you think you are, because if you are, and I ever see your ship near my ship, there won't be enough of you left for even a hutt's bounty hunter to find.”
“No, no, of course not...”
“Then why are you talking to me?”
“I just wanted you to know that dimension of the Nizon hunt's, just as some friendly beginner's advice.”
“Thank you for your advice, and good luck hunting. Good day, Captain.”
She lightly tapped a button on her console, cutting the connection between their two vessels. Douchebag. I swear to the almighty maker above, if I ever have to deal with these idiots again, I'm going to have get relieved from command. Even if that means my new commander is frakking Ewok that comprehends space like a 3 year old...
Dec 5 2013 1:52am
“Thank you, for inviting me to this meeting.”
Grunting something incomprehensible to the kashan woman, the nazren chief led Christina Thorn deeper into the rocky corridor. Despite preliminary terraforming started once the world had been liberated from the Trandoshans years ago, Nizon primarily remained a barren ball of mottled brown and gray stone. Only several cities, like Naezona, produced enough of an atmosphere to have something called it, though it was far too thin for most species to breathe. Only mynocks and several other spaceborne creatures could relish it without the aid of supplemental air. An actual alliance as a central government. I always wonder how these things manage to last as long as they do. Especially on a place like this. Sure, life isn't easy, and their neighbors and the neighboring space beasts probably provide enough of a threat to keep them together, but I just don't see how after years of peace, they haven't managed to go beyond the structure of an alliance of tribes; especially after throwing out the outsider slavers. She ducked behind the nazren chief's hulking form to dodge another nazren striding down the opposite direction. Trailing behind her, Thorn's silver 3PO unit briefly flapped his arms like a stricken bird. But the nazren just managed to slide past the silver robot. The droid let out an exaggerated sigh of relief. She rolled her eyes.
After passing through several more tunnels winding deeper into the subteranean city's depths, the trio finally approached a set of thick blast doors guarded by a pair of nazren guards. Their blasters they wielded seem rusty, prompting the Pro-consul to think that they had been donated to them by the rebels decades ago. Both of the guards offered brief half-bows to the trio. But even then, the guards still managed to tower over the woman. They're all so tall and built. No wonder the Trandoshans went after them. They probably thought they'd make great laborers...but I'd bet they're more like the Wookiees than the Trandoshan's originally thought, at least in spirit. With a buzzy hum, the blast doors slowly slid open to reveal the Alliance of Nazren Chiefs' complex. The trio walked through several more doors, down a set of rough-hewn stairs, and finally into the actual conference room. At first it appeared to be as roughly hewn as the rest of the city to her eyes, but upon closer examination, she noticed that the walls had actually been sanded and embedded with many smaller stones, creating a distinctly unnatural pattern. But she couldn't figure out what it was supposed to depict, if anything. A couple of other Nazren chiefs rose from their stone chairs around the circular table to greet her.
“Welcome Councilor Thorn, of House Thorn,” murmured one chief, “we were wondering...are you related to House Organa?”
A smile blossomed across her face, only managing to half-hide her discomfort. The council didn't fully think this one through. They might superficially like Alderaanians because of House Organa's work with their liberation, but I'm not related at all to the specific house they admire. Except very distantly..
“Only very distantly, chief,” replied the woman, “our bloodlines diverged hundreds, maybe thousands, of years ago.”
She felt the disappointment in his voice. Not that she could have blamed him for his thoughts. Christina had even bothered to wear one of her mother's ceremonial white dresses, actually made on Alderaan years ago. It had taken no small amount of restoration work to make it presentable enough to wear in public. Yet while she had bothered to present herself as almost an Alderaanian princess, she was not one in actuality. And transitioning from the culture overtones of her Alderaanian ancestry to the reality of the Confederation around them would likely prove to be one of the greatest challenges to her on this mission. But hopefully Captain Endac will be able to help us out on that part, linking our past to present...
Dec 5 2013 1:57am
Tréville-class Cruiser Tréville, outskirts of the Nizon's outer orbit
Captain Endac had been impressed by the odd assortment of native Nizons, fringers, suspected smugglers, mercenaries, and other random spacers that had gathered in orbit of the world. Among the almost countless ships, an old shuttle painted white and crimson launched a volley of flares, announcing the start of the hunt for the Nadir spiders. The starships immediately scattered, with many of the contestants actually trailing the hunt's three favorites. Endac guessed that they were hoping to suddenly swoop in and steal the larger ship's kill. While the Tréville was swift enough to outrun many of the larger vessels in the contest, she wasn't swift enough to outrun half a dozen of the tramp freighters trailing in her wake. Endac turned her almost turquiouse eyes from the holo-screens depicting the departing hunters to Lieutentant Nash, the ship's flight controller.
“Go ahead and release the Shadowcasters. Let's see what we can find in the belt,” declared Endac.
Three dozen interceptors shot out of the warship's ventral hangar bay to scatter across the starry field. With a wry smile, she turned her eyes to vultures lazily trailing in her wake. Let's see them try to track our seekers...if they even notice that we've released them. It's almost cheating, but really, normally the prize money for the hunt wouldn't even really pay to operate a ship as large as this. Lieutenant Joshi only managed to suppress a chuckle. Dynba raised an eyebrow.
“What's so funny Joshi?”
“I'm listening to the comm traffic of our stalkers,” informed the man, “a couple of them got a little testy with each other...Anyways, there seem to be some hints in there that suggests that they're going to work together to try and steal our kill, if we can find that.”
“Is that so?” smirked the redheaded woman, “perhaps we should start playing games with them.”
“Joshi, activate the Erebus array and start localized jamming. If they want to follow us, they can do so without talking to each other.”
“Ah...anything you want to jam them with specifically?”
“I can't think of anything particularly amusing. Whatever suits you, just use some good judgement. I don't want to have our ship jamming the airwaves with INS broadcasts...”
“How about the other extreme? I've got some of a certain GC minister of ethics...”
“That's almost funny. Let's keep it almost civil, rebroadcast the live CCNS feed from Genon. Maybe they'll enjoy a free news broadcast...”
She turned her attention from her trailing competitors to the actual hunt for the spaceborne Nadir spiders. Supposedly each one was roughly the size of a Piranha Drone on average. That meant that groups of them would typically pose a significant threat to most of the hunters present because of their ship's small size: a dozen streams of highly caustic acid would have little difficulty melting away most civilian grade hull plating. Endac doubted that the spiders would simply be floating in deep space: they did need to have a solid habitat, typically asteroid belts or abandoned structures, somewhere. Dynba closed her eyes. If it's actually been a pest to them, it would have to be because they're somewhere close to Nizon or the space traffic itself. Any of the nearby moons would have to ruled out by gravity; they're all far too large that the spider's couldn't have likely escaped their gravity...and the fighters are already scattering throughout the system's Oort Belt to try and find them there. Where could we go that'd be useful? She flipped through her holoscreens of the system's star lanes. Aside from the Oort Belt, there were few areas where the lanes were near any object that could provide a habitat for the pests. She ruled out the stations and structures super close to most of the well-travelled lanes. If they were present there, everyone would already likely know where the spiders were, so it wouldn't be much of a hunt. Her eyes settled on an outlying station, supposedly used a mining platform years ago, but now abandoned near the outer reaches of the outside of the Oort Belt. It's not too far away for them to go out to the Oort Belt to feed or attack nearby starships, but far enough out that many people probably wouldn't visit it, unless they're using it a rendezvous point. Wouldn't be a bad place for smugglers or other criminals to meet before venturing further into the system. She highlighted the station on her station and sent a quick IM to the helmsman directing her to take the ship out of the system before doubling back in a micro-jump back towards the station. Hopefully that'll throw off our little vultures permanently...
Dec 6 2013 9:47pm
“Now that we are all here, she should leave.”
The nazren chief opposite of the the kashan Pro-consul glared at her, or so she thought. Offering a shy smile, Thorn's eyes darted briefly downwards before resting on the chief that had brought her there: Chief Zonzen. His dark eyes quietly appraised her before gazing down towards the other chief. To Thorn's eyes, the two seemed to almost at peace with each other by their body language. A few seconds of silence passed before Zonzen opened his mouth.
“She is here as my honored guest,” declared the chief, “it would be dishonorable to turn her away after travelling so far to attend our meeting.”
“It's not personal,” replied the opposing chief, a shorter nazren named Barzen, “outsiders have never attended these meetings, not in years.”
“You mean not since the rebels. She is one of their kin...”
“She is not a rebel. Miss Thorn is a Confederate, even if she is related to House Organa. The rebels were our allies, not the Confederates.”
“She offers us a hope, just like the rebels once did,” defended Zonzen, “like her ancestors before her. I wonder if our fathers would have been successful without the rebels' help if our fathers had never known them or their people before...”
“My fellow chiefs,” started another nazren with a jagged scar running across his left cheek, “it is not wise for us to reveal our internal divisions to an outsider. Let us talk with her about what she has to offer our peoples, and discuss our internal affairs when she is not here.”
“A solid compromise, Fezren,” said Barzen, turning his orb-like eyes back to Zonzen, “will you accept it?”
“Good,” stated Fezren, “I regret to force you into this so quickly, Councilor...or is Pro-consul?”
“Both,” informed the brunette, “though the titles are almost interchangeable for the offices which I hold. Chiefs, I have no intention of drawing you into conflict which each other. I admire how long you have managed to keep your Alliance together for the betterment of your people. From what I have read, it is only by your united wisdom and cooperation that your people have been able to recover from the atrocities you have faced.”
“No thanks to some of your peoples,” spat out Barzen, shifting in his stone chair, “we know the trandoshans are part of your people. I will not have them come back here...trandoshans...”
“And so the wookiees, which the trandoshans also enslaved at the same time, but they now work together, as does the rest of the Confederation members with each other, regardless of what species they may be. They have learned, just like your tribes, that peoples have to band together to resist oppression.”
“There is no oppression here.”
“Thankfully, there is not,” admitted Thorn, “there is only the spectre of it looming over world. The Imperials have been active in the area...”
“You have brought them here in force...”
“They came because they knew the alliance of worlds coming together will eventually present a threat they cannot afford to ignore. And they are here to stay, a threat that you can no longer afford to ignore either. It is only a matter of time, once the wars between those who sacked Coruscant and the Reavers fade away that they will return here in force. Your people run the very same fate that befell them years ago, before the rebels helped you. I want to pre-emptively help your people before that fate befalls them again.”
“She is offering us full membership into this defensive Confederation,” announced Zonzen, looking around the table.
“Of course she is, and of course you're interested. Your infatuation with Pro-Consul Thorn here isn't surprising given your love of the rebels before her,” snickered Barzen, “but maybe she is right. Maybe the Empire will return, and maybe even regardless of whether our world has joined the Confederation or not. But tell me this, Pro-Consul Thorn: can you truly guarantee me that Nizon won't be enslaved again? Or maybe that it won't suffer like your ancestors' world of Alderaan?”
Thorn silently gazed at the alien chief as he spoke. This is one I'm going to have to talk to in private. Zonzen is going to get jealous...It's too bad Kitty isn't here to help with me this little mess. A little bit of extra influence could be helpful here...but I can only speak the truth. She slowly opened her mouth and stared hard at Barzen.
“I cannot, but I can-”
“But, did you all hear her? She said but....that is no word of certainty...”
Chief Zonzen, “You act as if the Empire, a ghost of itself these days, is the only factor we must consider into her offer. There is also economics-”
“There is,” interrupted Chief Fezren, “also that to consider. I regret Pro-Consul Thorn to cut you off, and I understand that you have travelled long to get here, but I regret that we have run out of time for you today. There are pressing local matters we must discuss today. I do hope, however, to hear the rest of what you have to say at tomorrow's sessions. I will try to schedule you in a solid block near the end of the day where we will be able to give you our full, undivided attention...”
She nodded in understanding. This is not good. Making an incomplete first impression. Now all the nazren chiefs are going to focused solely on the possibility of another war coming to their world without realizing the Confederation's true potential to help their world. Thorn let a smile slowly creep up across her face.
“Thank you for all of your time, chiefs. I appreciate that gift that you have already given me.”
“You are too kind, Councilor,” stated Zonzen, turning his head to gaze upon the woman with his placid eyes, “our thanks and my honor to you. I will see you in a few hours.”
Christina offered a polite smile, quietly rose and slowly shuffled out of the room, taking care to raise the hem of her dress so it didn't run the risk of being dragged on the floor. Just great. Her droid lightly clattered up to her, his bright photo-receptors gazing at her unemotionally. He characteristically made an exaggerated tilt with his body and cocked his head to the side, as if to ask: how did it go? Thorn offered a thin, pressed smile and the slow shake of the head.
“I didn't even get to present my entire offer,” replied the woman, “I don't think some of them were as impressed as I would have liked them to be.”
“Chief Zonzen seems to like you plenty, mistress,” tattled the droid.
“Perhaps too much. If Cor...if certain people saw how he looked at me, they might take offense.”
“I will not say a word of it, mistress.”
“Good,” replied the kashan woman, climbing up a set of stairs, “because if you do, I'll be sending you to act as my delegate to a very pissed off Rear-Admiral.”
“I have not heard anything of Admiral Lucerne ever being so threatening.”
“You haven't seen the man in private,” retorted Christina, rounding a corner, “he is a different person. He actually shows some emotions.”
“More emotions than me?”
“Admittedly less,” sighed the woman, “but I don't want to talk about him now. I want you to get every piece of info we have on Chiefs Barzen and Fezren. Summarize anything interesting to me and give me a report on each of them. I want to make them tick.”
“They are the other major chiefs aside from Zonzen, mistress?”
“For the moment. I am going to get freshened up for my dinner date with Zonzen. Reports ready by 2200 local time, ok?”
Dec 8 2013 12:23am
Tréville-class Cruiser Tréville, near abandoned Mining Station Besh-Five-Nine-Four
“There are a lot of lifeforms for something that's supposed to be unoccupied...” agreed Joshi.
“You mean, there are twenty-seven lifeforms too many on it,” snickered Captain Endac, “let's be clear on this: if we were normal, I'd just blow it all up into little bits, kind of like the first Death Star. But since we need proof-”
“I'm not volunteering.”
Endac half-mock glared at Joshi. I may not have a huge interest in keeping super strict order and decorum about my ship, but by the Maker, no-one interrupts me when I'm serious. The junior officer paled slightly under her gaze before quickly turning his face to suddenly scan communication channels again. I may need to give him a little crap about this later on. She slightly shook head.
“Unfortunately, since Lieutenant Joshi here has decided not to volunteer, I'm going to have send in the Paladins and Observers into this wreck. I want each of you to watch one of their feeds as they go in and supervise. If we're at the right spot, there should be a blue, trapezoidal marker somewhere in there. If not, and assuming there are spiders, we've done what the nazren really wanted all of hunters to do anyways: wipe out a bunch of pests harassing them. Lieutenant Joshi, since you were so eager to unvolunteer, you'll be supervising Observer Besh Eight during its little journey. Chief Newic, if you'd please give out the rest of the assignments.”
Joshi didn't look at her. She smiled. Besh Eight, one of the original production run of the droids, hadn't ever had its memory wiped, and had developed a rather temperamental personality. It was something Joshi had learned the hard way. Once, when he was trying to get into the ship's rec area, the droid had ran into the man and proceeded to curse him out, much to Joshi's chagrin.
The ship's security chief began to select the other droids and their supervisors for the mission. She only half-acknowledged that the kon'me had assigned her a Paladin II unit whose name she didn't recognize. Dynba stared hard at the feed of the droid, watching it shuffle out of the storage quarters had been originally designed as infantry barracks on the ship and join the stream of other battle droids moving to board the CG-10 that would take them to the station. She glanced at its readout information: like many of the newer Paladins entering service, B2332104 did not have all of the systems originally designed to be put into it. She supposed the omission of the repulsorlifts along with some other gear on a droid assigned purely to a ship's defensive complement did save on cost, yet she disliked the inflexibility that the cost-constraints were imposing on her tactics.
Some minutes passed before the collection of Confederate droids landed on the abandoned station and began to explore it. They quickly passed through the semi-functioning magcon field at the entrance to the station's sole hangar bay. Among the remains of a trio of stripped down ancient starcraft, she noticed loose strands of a silk-like fiber caught among many of the jagged edges of wrecks' metal. Looks promising so far...A small smile engendered itself across her face before a human-sized spider scurried out from behind a wreck and spewed out a stream of blue-green acid at nearby Observer. The liquid washed up around the shields before finding a tiny gap in it to melt away at the floating droid. The group of droids reflexively fired a motley array of weapons at the creature. Five seconds later, the corpse of the spider was marked with the char marks of blasters, a gaping hole produced by a KDI storm assault rifle, and searing burns of plasma weapons. She directed B2332104 to stand over the spacegoing spider's body, taking note to compare its dark chitinous body with the holograms found in the mission's briefing packet of the Nadir spider. Her eyes swept back and forth between the images. They're the same...
She tore her eyes from the droid's view, releasing it back to the control of its original core programming, and turned to a holoscreen of the surrounding space. A single, grayish blob of a starship plowed forward to board the station. Captain Endac refocused the FSTs to get a better view of her competitor: the Survivor. She hesitated before releasing Joshi's console from directing the temperamental Observer. He let out a sigh of relief.
“Joshi, I want you to signal the Survivor. I believe a man named Seti is running it,” mused the redhead, “tell him if he gets any closer, we're going to have to fight for the prize in ship-to-ship combat. Helm, take us right up to the hangar. Flight control, scramble all of the transports we still have onboard right now. They don't need to be fully manned, just out there.”
“Ah, yes ma'am,” acknowledged Joshi.
“Don't call me ma'am. You know better than that, Joshi.”
She stared expectantly at her left armrest, finally pleased when the built-in holo-projector displayed a well-built man with thin, straight lips. His hard face cracked into a warm smile. She neatly mirrored it.
“Don't tell me you'd steal a prize from a young lady like myself,” smirked Dynba, “particularly when I'm so close.”
“Unless you got the credits to pay for all the costs I've incurred here, and then some, I'm somewhat inclined to take a second look. Maybe you'll have missed it, since you don't have it already.”
“If it's here at all.”
“Well, you seem to think so,” muttered the mercenary, “and all the ships wandering around the belt haven't found many of the spiders, at least not in numbers large enough for the prize beacon to be around...besides, you can't fire on another contestant.”
“No,” admitted the woman, “but I can move where I want to be. For some reason, my ship seems to be suddenly blocking the entrance to the hangar. Huh, perhaps if you try and move dock it somewhere else, one of my ships will just happen to be there. And you can't fire on competitors, you've just said. I guess you'll just have to settle for writing an aria of revenge.”
“Well, I could just accidentally-”
“I won't take as just very accidentally. You ram my ships, I will destroy you,” threatened Captain Endac, “I assure you, a purpose built warship like mine over four times larger than your ship is going to whomp your ship. You know, if it gets into a fight with me, I doubt it'll life up to its namesake.”
“You talk too much...”
She spared a quick glance to the side, before returning her gaze to the man, “And you slowed your ship too much while we talked. My crew now has the beacon. I wouldn't even think of stealing it.”
Scowling, Seti cut the connection. A minute later, his ship flashed into hyperspace. She sighed. Now we actually have time to find the beacon...
Dec 9 2013 12:57am
The next day...
“One of our ships did win the hunt. Isn't the hunt your traditional test of fighting prowess?”
Thorn's remark engendered a series of muted responses among the gathering of chiefs. Some acknowledged the accomplishment with a little praise and acknowledgement. Others, Chief Barzen among them, derided it as overkill or cheating, given the size of the Confederate forces participating in the hunt. Yet others still, mostly Chief Fezren and his subordinate chiefs, merely gazed at the woman quietly. That caught them off-guard. The news of the Confederation's win of the hunt had been broadcasted all over the planet yesterday. Yet most of them did not apparently expect her to bring it up as example of the Confederation's military prowess.
“It was hardly a fair contest,” argued Barzen, “pitting a large ship, a large crew, and all of those small craft against the other competitors.”
“Wars aren't fair,” reminded the woman, “I would like to have thought that your own people's history would have reminded you of that. If the Empire comes, it won't only be with the same number and type of ships and forces that you possess. They don't fight fair, because they fight to win. But we can offset that, if you're willing to help yourselves. But enough about such pursuits. I understand that Chief Zonzen discussed some terraforming reports with you all today...”
She eyed Chief Fezren carefully. Now she was fully aware about how much of the terraforming process was the Chief's pet projects. But Fezren seemed unmoved by the mention of the terraforming. Her warm brown eyes met those of Fezren. He stared back at her blankly. As much as I like the nazren, it's going to be pleasant to be among other people again who are easier to read...
“...I understand that you all have had trouble attracting quality, consistent terraforming companies working on your world. The Confederation would be able to help stabilize the terraforming budget, as well as provide our experts to provide a consistent supervision of the process, instead of all of the starting and stopping that has plagued the project so far. In addition, it is quite possible, if Nizon joins the Confederation, then it would be possible to provide the Confederation genetic facilities and experts at Almas to help recreate Nizon's fauna and fill the world again as it once was, before the Empire.”
“You speak confidently about this,” noted Fezren, tilting his bulky head to the side, “why?”
“We've done it with Genon's moon, New Hesiode,” replied the kashan woman, “although I'll admit that there are different challenges because it's a water world and obviously Nizon is not.”
“Let's be up front about all of this,” blustered Barzen, “what happens when your Confederation suffers another financial crisis, or if the Confederation falls apart. What then?”
“Hopefully our development of your starports as a free alternative to Centares on the Perlemian should fund the project indefinitely.”
“Thank you councilor,” noted Chief Fezren, “are we ready to discuss and vote on this, my fellow chiefs?”
A series of quiet agreements spread throughout the room. Thorn felt many of the chief's eyes on her, as if quietly appraising her instead of her propositions. Sparing a glance downward, she left the chiefs to their deliberations.
Dec 9 2013 12:59am
Some time later...
Lambda-class Shuttle Contegorian Courage, in orbit via Nizon
Thorn glanced at the floor of her starship, watching the sealed flatscreen underlay portray the world below as seen from the shuttle's sensors. Sparse patches of green broke up the marbled gray and brown surface of the world. Most of them originated around the nazren settlements, but some had been recently strategically planted by the new corporation hired to terraform the world. But her favorite part of the world remained Naezona. While the inside still retained the rustic hewn out stonework characteristic of the nazren culture, new architectual influences were rising to fuse with the old city. The stonework slowly evolved andmerged with more contemporary styles until it flowered into glistening white starport surrounded by a variety of saplings, grasses, flowers, and other plants reengineered by the genetic specialists on Almas. Dozens of craft fluttered in and out of landing pads like insects buzzing back and forth between flowers. It was almost a perfect vista. She only wished that it wasn't Chief, now Councilor, Zonzen, seating next to her...