Dec 5 2013 1:39am
Styria-class Galleon Adventure, in orbit via Makem Te, Nilgaard Sector
“Should be enough for Emmer's factories for what, a month?”
Captain Vor'en Reglia interlocked his stubby fingers together and politely smiled at the ensign's remark. He's probably right. But he's a little too quick to dismiss the value of this ore shipment. It's all well and good to have some pride in your world, but when it obscures the values of who and what's around you, it's dangerous. I'm going to have try a different tack with this one. Reglia turned his eyes from the ensign and gestured out of the viewport to their arid world below them.
“How long do you think the foodstuffs we traded for the ores will last them? How long do you think this world has done this trade before, of ore for food?”
The younger man turned turned to face Makem Te, the ancient homeworld of the Swokes Swokes people. It seemed littered with arid plains and rocky valleys that had proven to be inhospitable to traditional large-scale agriculture methods. But supposedly, some Swokes Swokes lucky enough to own some of the more moist (by Makem Te standards) had managed to tend small, ancestral desert gardens. Yet their population had far outstripped their ability to produce food with those small plots. Reglia guessed that this was likely because fringe groups like the adherents of the Beautific Razor opposed use of foreign technology. Because of this segment of the Swokes Swokes population, and the cheapness to simply buy foreign goods, their native technology as a whole hadn't progressed much further then when they had been originally discovered. The ensign turned his eyes back to the CMF captain.
“Well, um, I guess the foodstuffs should give a couple hundred of them food for a couple of months.”
“I'm sorry sir, I just don't know enough about them...”
“So you don't know it's truth worth to them,” suggested Reglia, “how can you hope to become a good merchant if you only know the value of what they have to you, and not how much your goods are worth to them?”
“You don't. A merchant who only knows the value of one of the goods being traded is more likely to have his shirt taken than make a profit. It's the trader who knows both sides of the trade that can begin to make a good profit. Once you can begin to tell me what goods are actually worth to both sides of the trading partners, you'll be ready to start some of the smaller-scale trading, assuming you keep your studies of negotating and language skills up.
When you go grounside, I want you to see if you can figure what everything is actually worth down there in the bazaars before markup, without cheating.”
“Ah, define cheating...”
“Without consulting any kind of electronic sources. Be among the Swokes Swokes and see what you can learn from them. I know they're a little offputting if you're not used to them, but once you really get to know them-”
“Sir,” interrupted a young lieutenant, “were you expecting visitors?”
“Well, I was, but not for several hours...why do you ask?”
“Because there's several dozen ships headed directly towards us from the surface.”
Dec 6 2013 5:52pm
Mercatus-class Space Station Commerce Port 4, in orbit via Makem Te
“I mean really, who the hell thought this was a good idea? Don't get me wrong, I get that the budget's tight...”
Captain Reygrl smirked at the Administrator Arthe's ranting. He really does like it though, as much of a mess as it is. Commerce Port 4 had been the only station the CMF had been able to persuade the native Swokes Swokes to allow in orbit. The base station had quickly evolved due to a myriad of demands made by a series of CMF and government bureaucrats back on Genon. One arm of the station jutted off to form the scaffolding of a small repair yard along with the boxy superstructure which contained the various means to produce repair parts and even produce replacement small craft. Another arm of the station sprouted out to form a platform on which a Protector-class Flak Tower sat on. Underneath that same platform, a small spire jutted down towards the arid surface, but the clusters of more traditional space weapons branched off it like a entangling vine. The last arm of the station grew out into what appeared to be gigantic box filled with massive cargo bays, hydroponic gardens, state and bedrooms for Confederation personnel passing through, and more shops and hotels for visitors and station personnel to patronize. One could almost live here indefinitely. Never had a Mercatus been forced to fulfill so many roles, and the various mix of people it brought into it produced a neverending source of conflict to Arthe. The two paused before a large viewport on the station's “saucer”. Makem's bright rays glinted off the large polar ice cap on Makem Te's northern pole and bounced off to bathe the silver station in an offcolor gold.
“Well administrator, I hope I can get my ship out of your repair yard soon.”
Arthe curled his lips, “Assuming you don't run into any more pirate ambushes.”
“Part of a spacegoing life.”
“Well,” muttered the other man, flipping a long strand of dirty blonde hair, “I still don't-”
An artificial voice poured out of the station's loudspeakers.
“Warning, Code Green. I repeat Code Green. Intruders on Bravo Tower, Deck Eight...”
“Where's that?” frowned Reygrl.
Arthe frowned, “The shop's area on the commerce tower. If it gets to Alpha Tower, that the repair yard branch, then you'll have to worry. I'm sure security can get it though-”
“Warning, hostile ships approaching-”
The pair glanced downwards to catch glimpses of hundreds of small craft rising up from the surface of the desert world, surging towards the Confederate station. Batteries of turbolasers, autocannons, and quad laser cannons fired on the oncoming craft. Maneuvering thrusters on the station abruptly turned the station's core to give the defensive tower better fire arcs against their enemies. Clusters of crude missiles came out in large volleys at the Confederation's infrastructure. The anti-concussion field stopped most of them, and the electric reactive armor reduced their effectivness even further. But the attack was not as devastating physically as was it was tactically: it had redirected the weapons fire to attack the nearest threat, the missiles, allowing most of the shuttle-sized craft to slip past their fire vectors and into the contested commercial space hangar in Bravo Tower. Reygrl swore. Got get back to the ship...His hazel eyes made contact with Arthe's wide-open eyes.
“Who are they?”
The other man continued clutching his comlink closely to his hear.
“Swokes Swokes,” muttered the administrator, lowering his comlink, “the Razor Penitents.”
Dec 7 2013 5:14pm
Styria-class Galleon Adventure, in orbit via Makem Te, Nilgaard Sector
“Sure sir, I'll repeat it again. The ion tags aren't doing jack against the Penitent...ships.”
Reglia winced. We've really got to work on formality with this one, but now isn't the time for it. The CMF captain rapidly flipped through a series of holo-screens, all of them showing the dozen conical starships of the Razor Penitents jetting about the galleon, attempting to find a place to board the heavily armored starship. Many of the rocket ships had meter long spear-like objects sticking out of them: ion tags. Bursts of emerald laser fire reached out to swat those rocket ships that dared get to close to the point-defense batteries of the galleon. Those batteries alone had already managed to nearly halve the number of Razor Penitent transports circling the galleon. Vor'en bit his lip. What we're about to do may constitute an offensive gesture, maybe even an act of war, but I can't keep my gunnery crews here forever...
“Launch the Prowlers to intercept those transports,” ordered Reglia, wagging a stubby finger, “and if they don't run, destroy them. Helm, set a course for Commerce Port 4.”
As the Adventure spun on its Y-axis, two flights of Prowler heavy fighters dropped from their external racks. Pairs of the Confederate starfighters surged towards the Adventure's harassers. Sporadic missile and slugthrower fire errupted out of the Razor Penitent craft. The Prowlers returned in kind, easily destroying the primitive craft with steady streams of emerald laser fire. Frowning, Reglia watched the Confederate starfighters pull away from his vessel to pursue and destroy the other offending Razor Penitent craft. Perhaps if they were open enough to use modern technology, they might have succeeded in their attack on us. But things will be different groundside. I wonder how many they have killed down there. It's not as if all the tourists and merchants down there carry weapons with them. Things are about to change for the worse if they succeed down there... The Adventure's escorts finally returned and docked with the galleon, providing Reglia with some measure of relief. The three-armed Mercatus-class space station began to grow in his viewport. Despite the number of other galleons and light confederate starships swarming the station, he noticed a fair amount of the crude Razor Penitents flying in and out of the civilian arm of the station back and forth between the world and the station. Reglia frowned. That's not good...
“Helm, bring us in line with the Tryall. We'll launch the Prowlers and try to keep the intruders from boarding our station.”
Dec 7 2013 5:47pm
Bravo Tower, Mercatus-class Space Station Commerce Port 4, in orbit via Makem Te
“It's worse,” decided Reygrl, ducking behind a crate.
A burst of slugs from a Razor Penitent's slugthrower flew over his head. The slugs continued past him to smack into the durasteel walls of the hangar bay. Alongside him, Arthe continued yelling into his comlink. Across the bay, the station's security personnel and a handful of Confederation battle droids fought to keep the continuing hordes of Razor Penitents from getting further into the station. So far the Confederates had managed to keep the Penitents pinned down in the hangar bay, almost single-handedly the result of a massive Paladin II unleashing wave and wave of heavy weapon's fire into their ranks. But Reygrl guessed the droid would soon be running out of ammunition for its heavy weapons. Reygrl crawled past the station's administrator towards the main doorway leading back to the station. He peered past one of the crates and brought his blaster pistol's sights to align with the large, stocky form of the Swokes Swokes who had originally fired on him. Without fully completing the aiming process, he squeezed the weapon's trigger. A flurry of emerald bolts caught the alien in the upper chest where the swollen body morphed into the alien's head. One bolt went through the Swokes Swokes' gaping mouth and passed out through the other side. The alien fell flat forward in a jumbled heap. The CMF captain spared a quick glance at his blaster's power level. Getting a little low here...
Streams of orange-red blaster bolts errupted from the nearby hallway and lashed out against the next charge of Swokes Swokes. While the charge floundered and fell back from the new fire, the confederate captain frowned. We don't use that type of blaster gas in our guns...The spindly forms of several dozen ancient B1 battle droids trotted out of the hallway and took up positions around the crates adjacent to those of the already embattled Confederates. Reygrl turned to Arthe.
“What the hell is this?”
“It's not my fault,” replied the station's administrator, “it's what the bureaucrats on Genon gave me. They said we weren't a high priority area. I've got the one Paladin there, and a bunch of B1s they found in a storehouse on Metalorn.”
The sound of more engines of starships entering the magcon field caught the CMF's man attention back to the fight. But instead of the cylindrical Swokes Swokes craft that had seemed to come in waves before, it was a quartet of Confederate Centaurs. The gunships opened fire, sending streams of blaster and laser fire among the crouching Razor Penitents. Under the steady stream of fire, the gunships lowered their ramps, disgorging a mix of gray-clad CMF troopers and black Paladins onto the deck of the hangar. He allowed a brief smile to flicker across his face. They are done for...
Dec 7 2013 8:55pm
Facing heavily armed Confederation reinforcements from the rear, and fortified station security forces to their front, the marauding Razor Penitent's lasted almost ten standard minutes against the overwhelming firepower of their technologically superior foes. A variety of battle droids and Confederates now searched the battleground, fishing out survivors and gunning down combative Razor Penitents. Even missing multiple limbs, several of them had tried to attack Reygrl. But Reygrl didn't even have to life a hand: a pair of B1s older than himself trotted behind him, gunning down the survivors. I'm beginning to almost have a problem as seeing them as intelligent life, equal to mine won. They seem to have such a careless view for life, both ours and their own. When does emotion and belief twist us from beyond being rational, intelligent peoples to becoming these animals?
Reygrl continued to stroll among the hundreds of dead Swokes Swokes littering the floor. A stench of rancid meat and burned ozone permeated the room in undulating cycles which almost made the man throw up. Glancing downwards, the CMF captain kicked a heavy iron blade out of one of the combatant's snowy white hands. He slowly picked the weapon up and appraised it. The chiseled engraving on the blade of this weapon is actually quite fine. Clearly it was handmade by a true artisan. I bet there are art gallerys out there that would take it and sell it a piece of art, not even guessing that it had actually shed the blood of innocents. What does it tell you when a culture can make such wonderful artifacts for such maccabre purposes? He dropped the blade; it fell onto another dead Swokes Swokes and lodged itself deep in the distended belly of the alien.
Wincing, Reygrl quickly walked away from the bodies towards Administrator Arthe. Leaning up against one of the duraplast crates that had shielded him during the fire fight, the aging man clutched his comlink tightly to his ear. Probably doesn't have his hearing entirely back yet after that explosion. Nonetheless, the administrator quickly spotted the approaching captain and offered him a grim smile.
“We got the best of it,” informed the aging man, staring into Reygrl's eyes, “We still don't know the amount of casualities on the surface. But I can tell you, there will be more...hundreds more.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the Razors have been performing minor raids here and there now for decades. But apparently we've done it now: we've pushed them to all out war.”
Reygrl frowned, “We?”
“The station itself. Apparently it is too big from them not to notice as an obvious sign of foreign presence. Too big for the Razors Penitent to ignore. I bet that's why the Congress of Caliphs were so hesitant to allow us even one. It's funny how such a simple piece of innocuous machinery can inspire hundreds to fight to the death, just because it changed their view of the night sky. It's like it's sacred for them or something.”
The CMF captain snorted, “Peoples have died for less. Is that what are man is telling us on the ground?”
“He's dead. The ambassador is dead, captain,” informed Arthe, “one of the Pentinent Razor's first acts was to storm our embassy. We eventually got all the battle droids activated down there, and they drove them off the property, but not before the ambassador's death, or that of most of our diplomatic staff down there. There's probably more deaths than we know. Supposedly the Congress of Caliphs is still fighting the Pentient Razors on the streets of Thousand Thousand itself. There's fighting elsewhere across the world, but I can't quite get the detailed newscast on them yet. Everyone on the comlink networks is still talking about Thousand Thousand.”
Arthe mutely nodded. Thousand Thousand is bound to be on everyone's mind. If the Congress falls, the legitimate government dies with it. The Penitent Razors will be all set to take control of their world. Aside from their vicious intolerance, I'm not even sure if such self-determination would be a bad thing...but that's to assume the silent majority don't support the Congress itself. But the Swokes Swokes are far too traditional to not do that; even the Penitent Razors have to go back hundreds of years to claim some legitimacy from a few Caliphs...
“So what are we going to do?” muttered the captain.
“The Swokes Swokes bodies over there, and I should specify the Razor Penitents ones, are going to be thrown into the vacuum. We're going to have to have a mass funeral for the rest of us and the other survivors in a hour or so. Hopefully we'll have enough room to make a temporary morgue to hold them all.”
“And then we go to war.”
Dec 8 2013 12:02am
T4a Lambda-class Shuttle Contegorian Courage, somewhere in the Maldrood Sector
“You knew,” decided Thorn, raising a hand to support her chin.
I hate arguing with him when he's not actually here...but there's no other way to do this now. Even if I were back on Genon, he wouldn't be there...Thorn gazed into Lucerne's eyes. While she couldn't tell exactly where he was, aside from being onboard the Revanche, she could tell based on the complete lack of transmission lag they were probably in the same sector. It was unsettling. A small knot of worry crept up in her stomach. If we are so close, why isn't he here in person?
“I did not know for certain,” replied the wispy visage of Admiral Lucerne, “I only could see the possibilities that Brasck hinted at. So I dispatched the quickest fleet I could to the area in anticipation.”
“You dispatched our fleet. You realize that the Emmerians aren't going to take this well when they realize the real reason for the KDF orbitting their world. Not that they ever really thought you were the kumbaya type of person.”
“But it's also there for that. In fact, some of the ships will still remain there.”
Christina shook her head, “I don't know how you've managed to convince the rest of the council of this idea of yours, but when I talk to Tier...”
“I've already talked to him.”
“And he's onboard with you?”
“He is,” replied Corise, “because he trusts my methods. What info Brasck provided us was solid, we were only missing some certain specifics. This looks like the first wave of what he was talking about. The only thing left is the matter of the triumvirate presenting a united front if the council on Kashan questions us.”
“You owe me one.”
“I owe you nothing,” sighed Lucerne, leaning back on his chair, “it's for the public's good...”
“You owe me for not consulting me, Corise. We promised we'd get better about this.”
“This is my job.”
“Kashan's people are part of my job too, I might remind you. Even if they are our service people. I've got to pick up Chief Zonzen soon and introduce him to the rest of the Contegorian Council. But once that's all said and done, I want in on everything you've got planned. Fair?”
Corise hesitated, “As long as it stays with you.”
“What are you hiding?”
“Time will tell.”
Dec 8 2013 10:21pm
CG-10 Centaur Adventure's Spirit, Makem Te
The gunship and dozens of its sister craft plummeted towards the most ancient city of Makem Te. In the cockpit of the boxy craft, Captain Reygrl clutched the backseat of the pilot's chair, watching passing layers of clouds. It seemed like ages to the man before they finally pierced the last set of clouds. Clusters of pinprick lights immediately gave away the location of Thousand Thousand. He deeply inhaled a lungful of the heavily recycled air, and exhaled. The craft began to shake a little as the pilots kicked the repulsorlifts in. He watched a little bobble-head doll of a famous holo star glued to the dashboard of the vessel (in violiation of CMF protocols) nearly shake itself apart. A far more deafening rattle from the hold of the vessel penetrated through the cockpit's thick doors. Let's hope they don't break lose. Then all hell with come with it.
The lights steadily grew in the viewports. He could begin to make out the stony buildings of the capital city. On the left side of the viewport, Reygrl could make out the lights on the Swoken Spaceport. Well, that's a good sign. At least the Beatific Razors haven't managed to take that yet. Hopefully we can use that soon...His eyes darted to the left, past the stone quarry to the Southeastern district of the capital city, the stronghold of the Beatific Razors in the city. He could make out a small column of grayish smoke rise up and dissipate into the vast darkness of night. I wonder if the Caliphs were bold enough to hit one of the Razor's temples there...The squadron of gunships surged over the quarry and into the city limits. He blinked. Some of those lights aren't electric at all; they're bonfires. Has the city gone to hell so quickly already? Nearing a towering monolithic spire of black granite, Reygrl could see there were still large groups of Swokes Swokes wandering about, many carrying torches and large iron blades. Dozens of them waved and pointed their swords at the craft, though the CMF captain wasn't sure if the actions were either a challenge or a salute. The black spire grew in their viewport. Coming under the spotlights of their starships, the black spire immediately become recognizable to the man as Thousand Thousand's Security HQ. Looking down below, he could see ranks of Swokes Swokes wearing the uniforms of their security branch beating back Beatific Razor adherents with modern clubs and riot shields, while the religious zealots came charging back with stone, torch, and sword. The pilot's voice interrupted his observations.
“We have Caliph Turino requesting to talk to you sir.”
“Now? I thought we were about to just speak with him...”
“Apparently he's out there personally, along with many of the other Caliphs, fighting the Beatific Razors in armed combat.”
Reygrl arched an eyebrow. They're frakking crazy. Sighing, the CMF officer grabbed a headset comlink off of the transport's dashboard. He tapped a button on its left side.
“Captain Reygrl speaking.”
“Captain Reygrl, this is Caliph Turino. Things have changed since we have last spoken. There are more of them than we thought attacking the HQ. I would appreciate if you would deploy your forces to the entrance of the Headquarters. Once it is secured, we can call all go back inside and start the talks.”
“Do we have authorization of lethal force?”
“You need authorization for that? Your culture is foreign to me Confederate. Of course you do. It's not as if they aren't trying to kill you too.”
“See you soon Caliph.”
Reygrl took off the headset. He was about to order the pilots, and immediately blushed. The crew of the transport was already taking the craft downwards to the arches that served as the main entrance. Of course they heard everything, and it looks like they've already relayed it to the other transports. He slid out of the dimly illuminated cockpit into the harshly lighted hold of the troopship.He tapped several buttons on the ends of the rows of deactivated battle droids. A hum filled the craft as the droids came to life. And I'm the only here to lead this motley mess of them. The craft shuddered as its landing pads made contact with the arid world's surface. He slapped a button on the bulkhead wall, lowering the craft's main ramp. Drawing his ultrachrome dresssword and blaster pistol, the man began to jog out the ramp. Cylindrical objects quickly rolled past and then with him as he hit the stony roads of Thousand Thousand. He narrowly dodged a rock thrown at him and fired a bright blue stun blast in the direction.
His eyes turned to see Caliph Turino, swinging an impressive two handed blade in a downward hack that nearly cleaved a Razor Penitent in two. Regyrl pointed his own sword at the alien and clicked a button on his comlink. Several of the Droideka Mark IIs rolled up around the Caliph and unfolded. Their blue energy shields popped up around the Caliph, producing a wave of murmurs and loud protests among the Beatific Razor fighters. A wave of the stocky alien fighters rushed up and smacked themselves onto the energy shields, only to bounce off howling. Turino's apparently grinning face opened up wider into a shout.
“That's it? Shoot them by your cursed Maker!”
Reygrl tapped another button on his comlink. Streams of blue stun bolts emanated from the phalanxes of Droidekas forming around the entrance of the building. The Beatific Razors staggered and fell in dozens under the streams of blaster fire. His lip twitched. If the Council wasn't worried about a diplomatic inicident, I would have liked to the blasters on full, normal power. But we're not the Empire, we can't go around simply kill our enemies...
“Now we can talk,” bellowed Caliph Turino, “please, follow me to the command suite. I regret that Caliph Ullu will no longer be able to meet us. He is no longer among the living.”
“You have my regrets, Caliph.”
“Bah. He will get his mourning. I trust you Confederates are aware of the proper procedures for his death?”
“We are,” replied Reygrl, “we will mourn and honor his death just as the Swokes Swokes around us.”
“Good. But come, let us talk and make council with the rest of the Congress.”
Dec 9 2013 10:22pm
Thousand Thousand Security HQ, Thousand Thousand, Makem Te
Captain Reygrl strolled alongside the gregarious Caliph Turino in the dark corridors of the building. Occasionally, a wrought-iron lantern suspended by a simple chain to the ceiling would light up their path. How can they all stand to live so simply when they have access to all the modern technologies of a galaxy? And by modern, I mean thousands of years old. I'd be willing to bet that Xim the Despot had more modern technology than this...The duo finally rounded a corner and ascended a primitive elevator to a large reactangular room. Despite only the light of the finely wrought iron chandliers, he could see that the other Caliphs present had also been fighting against the Razor Pentinents: blood splattered their garments, finely crafted iron blades and axes lay strewn about the chamber, and one Caliph was even boasting about having his arm hacked off when he was outnumbered in a fight. He winced. I know it regrews back for them, but still, one would have to think that would have reallly hurt...but the Swokes Swokes I've met and fought so far don't seem to go down without a hell of a lot of fight. It must be something physiologically different about them.
“My fellow Caliphs, the Confederates' ambassador is here.”
“Negotiator,” absent-mindedly corrected Reygrl, still trying to comprehend the culture around him.
“Negotiator,” acknowledged Caliph Turino, “he wishes to know if we will now join the Confederation; now that the peace is over again.”
Reygrl slowly swept his eyes back and forth among the Swokes Swokes royalty. For hundreds, if not thousands, of years, Makem Te had been a part of galactic society. Every now and then, the Razor Penitents would rise up and try to segregate the world from the galaxy again. Typically, the Caliphs themselves had been able to crush the revolts of the religious zealots, but every once and a while, they needed help from the outside. First the Galactic Republic, then the Separatists of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, and the then newly reformed Galactic Empire. The Confederation would seem to be only yet another multi-system government taking the Congress of Caliphs and Makem Te under its protective wings. The Swokes Swokes murmured among themselves in their own language, most of them nodding in agreement. Turino turned back to the Confederate and gazed at him with his orb-like eyes.
“We will, assuming the Razor Penitents can be stopped again.”
“The Confederation is not fully against using force to stop this problem,” announced the CMF officer, “but we would prefer to start a peace among your peoples.”
“The First Glorious Assassin would rather kill all of us than talk to us,” replied the amputee Caliph, referring to the leader of the Razor Penitents.
“Not if we don't give him that first choice.”
“What's your plan, Confederate?”
Dec 10 2013 10:48pm
Beatific Razor Temple, Thousand Thousand, Makem Te
“This is blasphemy. If you do this, hundreds, no thousands, will rise up and take our place.”
“Maybe,” considered Captain Reygrl, inspecting the various runic tiles embedded in the courtyard.
Rather than fighting the hundreds of Penitent Razors, the Confederation had simply dropped in a combination of Kashan Shock Troopers from the recently arrived KDF ships and the motley of array of battle droids to scout and secure the outer compound under the cover nightfall. Their overwhelming numbers and technology had quickly routed the few Razor Penitents guarding the temple and the First Glorious Assassin. By the time word of mouth had passed to the Razor Penitents fighting on the front against the government security forces, the Confederation had been able to land heavy armor off of the Audacieuse. Ares Heavy tanks and ranks of Paladin IIs formed an almost impenetrable phalanx around the captured headquarters. Rather than risk defiling the temple and incensing the Razor Penitents into even further of a fury, Reygrl had introduced a small contingent of local security forces into the temple itself to bring out any Swokes Swokes cowardly or crafty enough not to meet the Confederation in open battle. Reygrl turned his eyes to gaze back into the Swokes Swokes preacher.
“What do you think, First Glorious Assassin? How often do you think I could just keep sending in men or droids there to defile the temple? How many times do you think you could tear it back down, rebuild and it, only for us to repeat this cycle? All of this has happened before, has it not?”
“It has. But we would outlast you, this is our home.”
“As it is the Caliph's home.”
“Perhaps,” begrudgingly admitted the First Glorious Assassin, his eyes scanning the densely arrayed Confederate forces around him, “but it is not your home.”
“Our cultures have been intertwined for thousands of years, nor do I think all of the Swokes Swokes around you wish to see they to go separate paths. Tell me, how many of your people would starve to death if the outside world stopped shipping in food? Thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands before Makem Te would be back down to a population that could support itself. Does the First Glorious Assassin believe in their deaths?”
“For the better good...”
“Would all your believers? How many of them would like to die to prove that?”
“There would be some.”
“Good,” decided Reygrl, “because we are giving you the opportunity to separate the chaff and the grain of your people, the true believers from the false. I also intend to give you the means to prove to those Swokes Swokes that your people can thrive without foreign influence.”
“I have managed to convince the Caliphs to provide land for your peoples far away from modern influence for you to live as you would like. I have made sure that there are proper areas for your people to attend the small desert gardens. It will be a reservation, entirely off limits to foreigners and mining machines.”
“Trial and execution. But isn't a chance to prove the Caliphs wrong better than that?”
“It will take time,” muttered the zealot preacher.
“I think you will have plenty of it.”
“I will guess that you will force me to sign a peace treaty for this.”
“A ceasefire, a draw.”
“Very well. I accept.”
Dec 12 2013 1:45am
Pegasus-class Star Destroyer Audacieuse, in orbit via Makem Te
“They accepted,” reported Captain Reygrl, “ableit the First Glorious Assassin went back and forth and argued some minor parts with the Caliphs before finally sealing the official treaty which we had brought.”
The CMF officer's eyes swept across the assembled holo-images of the Contegorian Councilors. His eyes quickly darted to Thorn, the most politically powerful councilor present. She eyed him closely but otherwise remained still. Councilor Harding of Audacia nodded approvingly. His wispy eyes made contact with the Reygrl's.
“I'm trusting it wasn't anything significant enough to effect the parts of the treaty that the Council drafted, at least in regards to the rest of the Confederation. Or you would be telling us so, correct?”
“Correct,” stated Reygrl quickly, “It was a religious boundary of some sort, as well as guaranteed spots on the Tract, particularly hard to get.”
“Was there any luck in tracking down the Jackal that Brasck spoke of?”
“The First Glorious Assassin was not as helpful with that as I would have liked,” sighed Reygrl, “he would only say that he received a holo-mesage from an unknown man calling himself that. He did say it was a shrouded human male with a garbled voice. He offered intelligence on the Congress of Caliphs, very good intelligence.”
Thorn frowned, “Why would someone as xenophobic as the Beatific Razors accept foreign help?”
“I don't know. The First Glorious Assassin was being very guarded about the whole ordeal. Part of the immunity we offered him and his followers doesn't allow us to get much more closer on the deal. I imagine we won't hear much about it.”
“But the temple is now abandoned, now that they're on their reservation?”
“It is,” concurred Reygrl, “CSIS is trying to quietly sift through it without attracting any local attention. Perhaps they'll find something there.”
“Let us hope so...even at the turning of the tide.”