Servants of Trade (Uyter)
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Oct 28 2013 10:00am
Visdic, Ulyter

Her warm brown eyes across the fields of the agri-world, watching the stalks of grain ripple in the cool zephyr. Drinking the scenery, she strode through the outskirts of the city into deeper city of Visdic. Rural plains abruptly turned into towering skyscraper jutting out from constrained duracrete roads and paths. Here and there, a tree, doubtlessly planted by the city's maintenance team droids, attempted to break free of its planter. Landspeeders of various makes and models droned through the streets, fighting with the crowds of peoples in a contest over streets and sound. Yet she paid neither of them much attention, although several peoples including a little boy gawked over her. Nearly a hour, she had finally reached the Visdic Commerce House, but she enjoyed every bit of her hike: she had been stuck cooped up in a starship for nearly two weeks straight. A golden-hued droid swung the door open for her.

“Thank you sir,” remarked the Confederate women, stepping inside.

“Certainly my lady,” replied the droid.

She strolled over to the counter where a young man and a cohort of droids directed visitors and workers around the building. She approached the first available droid which disconcertingly appeared to be a 3PO unit of some variety. The CMF woman forced herself to smile for the droid.

“Hi, I'm Brevet Line Captain Nevaere. The undersecretary of trade is scheduled to meet me here.”

“Ah yes, mi lady,” replied the droid, looking at a data screen, “I have a note about your meeting...”

Tell me it's delayed...

“...It says here that it has been cancelled.”

“What?” blurted out the Soroyan woman, “Did he offer me a new date? It is soon, hopefully soon, isn't it?”

“Mi lady, I do have some more information for you. The undersecretary of trade is not here to see you, but rather a different official: Mr. Logan will be seeing you himself. You should feel honored.”

“Uh, thanks.”

“He is currently waiting for you on Level Twelve, conference suite 1202,” noted the droid dryly.

“Thank you sir, I'll be on my way then...”

Logan...Logan...where have I heard that name before? She strode into the turbolift shaft, nearly oblivious to all those around her. Joren Logan, that's where I've heard that name before...but it can't be, can it? The Onyxian Commonwealth and the Coalition have never been here before, nor would he likely be a civilian official of any variety. Still, it sounds vaguely familiar...She strut through the now opened doors of the lift and into red carpet woven with a complex series of golden lines. It took her several minutes to find the door, on which she rapidly knocked. It slid open, revealing an athletic-looking man wearing an usually dark ensemble of designer clothes. His hazel eyes observed her carefully underneath an immaculately-styled jetblack bangs. Rising the, the man offered her a short, but gracious bow, and stretched out a hand.

“Mr. Logan, President of Uyter.”

Frak. That's where I've heard that name before. She weakly grasped his hand but offered a relaxed smile to him. Her eyes briefly glanced around the room before focusing back on his. No-one else here at least. No holo-cams to record my screw ups and plaster them all over INS...Nevaere disengaged her hand from his.

“Line Captain Nevaere of the Confederate Merchant Fleet.”

The Brevet thing is temporary right? Omission of that shouldn't hurt too much. Besides, it lends a bit of incredibility that I don't really need right now...assuming I don't get in over my head...As her thoughts lingered, the man waved her over to an empty chair next to the window which showed a vista of a mostly blocked view of the city around them.

“You're wondering why I'm here, and not the Undersecretary.”

She nodded, “Mr. President, the CMF has never before had to meet you for last minute amendments to our trade deals.”

“First time for everything,” replied the man, edging towards a liquor cabinet, “care for a drink?”

“No thank you sir.”

He turned to face her, “You're making this difficult, how can I be expected to enjoy the complementary wet bar when my guest won't. Come on, just a quick sip out of a glass of champagne? Or perhaps that's too formal for you...there are a couple of really nice local craft beers here if you'd prefer, not enough for you to get intoxicated or anything like that. And I didn't tamper with them, not yet anyways, I promise. I'll swear on my planet's constitution that I didn't, if that'll persuade you.”

“That's reassuring sir. I guess I'll have one of those beers.”

The man returned, passing her a bottle of some unknown beer. She briefly thanked him and popped off the cap. She took a quick sniff. Smells ok, not that that's any guarantee. The man in the mean time was pouring little shot glasses of an aged bottle of Churbian brandy. He offered a curt smile.

“It's my favorite vintage,” opined the man, “it's only too bad it's not more chilled. But you didn't travel here for a beer and to watch me savor my booze. Let's get to the point. You're expecting to hand over to credit authorization codes to pay for the maker knows how many tons of grains that the Confederation seems to be short on these days, and then you're going to pick them up, right? That's after the undersecretary adds some last minute ammendums about reselling the grain and adjusting for actual market price and any potential duties we put on it. That's usually how it goes, or something like that, right?”

Nodding, she pried the cap off the bottle and began to drink.

“Not today,” replied the man, “I'm suspending our usual trade deal. No grains or foodstuffs for you, not yet.”

Her mouth would have dropped, if she hadn't been taking more than a sip of beer. Instead, she nearly inhaled an ounce before unleashing it back into the bottle. What the frak? What the frak? She shook off her shock.

“The price isn't acceptable to you?” questioned the woman, “because I know we've been paying more than fair share for it...”

“And that's the problem,” replied the man, taking a shot of brandy, “because now my people are getting a little too use to that price. And you and I both know that's not going to continue. I read the Genon Financial News a week ago; there seem to be a lot of articles on foodstuffs in it for some reason. More importantly, current projections of the Audacian harvest are looking promising, even if they are months away. But when the harvest comes in, grain prices are going to drop, and hell, the CMF might not even come out here to trade for some measley grains. Let's face it, the Audacians can supply most of your Central Prefecture, and your own worlds near here, what do they call it, the Western Expanse? They can pretty much provide for themselves soon. Which means no-ones going to pay extra to haul all that grain from here to there. That mark-up is going to make our grain unprofitable for the CMF to continue to buy. So it's going to be a bit of disappointment for my people, really, that I, their great president, wasn't able to keep their prosperity up.”

“Might as well take the profit while you still can then,” suggested Nevaere, eying the man.

“No,” replied the man, “because I see the dozen galleons up there, all expecting a good harvest from down here. The CMF is expecting it, and so is the Confederation. You need us now, and so I'm going to hold that harvest hostage until I get what I want. And it's not just credits.”

What the hell...

“What do you want?”

He smiled, “I was hoping we'd get that far.”
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Oct 30 2013 2:12am

Revanche-class Star Defender Revanche, in orbit via Genon

“He wants a what?”

The younger Lucerne wiped his eyes yet again and rested his hands back on the hem of his Confederate-issue gray undershirt. The Kashan man grasped his rank cylinder dangling by a chain to his neck and sighed. His blue eyes stared hard at the woman on his cabin's holo projector. Wearing a gray duty uniform not unsimilar to that worn by the Confederate Starfighter Corps, the only things that gave her away as a CMF officer were the fleet rank insignia and the edges of the blue CMF patch peering out on her left shoulder. He glanced at her name plaque again. Nevaere. Another name I don't know...but then again, that's Costigan's area of operations, not mine. But he's not there now...The brunette shifted slightly in her seat light years away and looked up to meet his eyes.

“He wants a space station as part of the deal, to act as a trade platform. All of his demands seemed to be based on improving the world's economy. I don't think it's too terribly unreasonable. I mean, if we go through all of this, Uyter will be one of our worlds. So really, we're just helping ourselves.”

“No,” replied Lucerne tersely, “this sets a bad precedent. In my most gracious estimation, and this is what I'm assuming some councilors would think, is that we're setting a precedent of giving worlds various items to get them to join the Confederation for our benefit. I'll be more blunt. This is black-mail pure and simple, even if in the long run, it may, and I stress that word may, may be to our benefit. We're not investing in a world, we're investing the in the president of Uyter's future. Maybe he'll be able to do what he says he will, maybe he won't, even if the tries, and then there's always the option that he's simply milking the situation for what it's worth.”

“I won't deny that he's an opportunist,” started the woman, “but agreeing that as each demand is met, he's releasing foodstuffs at the baseline price is not a terrible idea. At the very least, it means we can get at least some of the foodstuffs...”

“No, it's just that he needs a carrot to keep us going with that plot,” sighed the Rear-Admiral, “but there aren't many options that we have, and I'd guess the Council will take it. I will see what I can about getting a space station there, and to answer your other concern, helping out I that little operation should be legal since it is their sovereign territory, but don't do anything stupid. Do you have any further concerns, line captain?”

“Sir, I do not.”

“Then good night, and good luck,” said Corise, “keep me updated.”

“You too sir. Nevaere out.”

The holo-projector clicked off, taking with it the last vestiges of light from his cabin. He tapped a button on the console, lighting up the room in a dull blue haze. Maybe I can talk the Soroyan commander into letting Uyter take one of their stations, but first I need to talk to Howe. Maybe CSIS can get us out from underneath this mess...The younger Lucerne rapidly typed in a series of commands into the projector until the projector displayed a static version of the CSIS crest. Several minutes passed before the crest faded to show an angular view of the Intelligence Director saying some last remarks to a fuzzy holo projection on the side opposite of Lucerne's. The man's dark eyes turned to face Lucerne's.

“Good morning Admiral, or should I say evening,” contemplated the man, “I'm assuming that you're also calling about the Uyter situation.”

“I am. I take there are other people with some of my concerns as well.”

“Why don't I make this a conference call, since I'm discussing the issue with a couple other people, with your permission, sir.”

Corise nodded, “Might as well.”

The visage of the intelligence chief began to shrink while the space it had previously dominated began to fill with the images of other Contegorian officials, mostly councilors from the Central Prefecture, but Lucerne also noted the Chief operating officer of CMF. Next to his image stood Lucerne's own father, Matthew Lucerne, who apparently was sitting the Lucerne Mansion's atrium. Yet another figure sat next to his old man in his family's house. She stared briefly into Lucerne's eyes before glancing downwards with a quivering lip. Thorn. What is she doing with my father at the mansion? Their two families went back far enough, as their respective house founders they were shipmates, friends, and then allies during the House Wars. The older Lucerne had even been the one of the last people to see Lord Thorn's first son before his death during the war. The younger Lucerne leaned forward.

“Well, this has certainly become a full house, gentle people,” muttered Matthew, “are we waiting for anyone else to join us, esteemed councilors, director, son?”
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Oct 30 2013 8:43pm
Styria-class Galleon Warley, on outskirts of the Uyter System

The armored galleons continued to plod away from Uyter like a herd of unruly bantha. A variety of snubfighters from the planet's own defense forces swarmed around them, while the world's only somewhat large ship, the CR90 Courage of Uyter, tugged away at the tip of the formation. But President Logan seemed to care little about the presence of his own world's forces, and instead gazed at the internals of the armed Confederate merchantman. The man jabbed a finger at a moldy gray glob slowly engendering itself at the tip of the viewport. Nevaere squinted, trying to make out any features on the distant space rock. It looks better in the holos. I'm almost surprised anyone would fight to settle there, or fight to keep it. Her helmsman, a salmon-skinned Mon Calamari from Hast, swiveled on his seat to face the two humans.

“Ma'am, and Mr. President, Sidrid's Folly is less than five minutes away.”

“Thank you Mr. Akular,” smiled the Soroyan woman, “all crewmen to battle stations. Launch the drones.”

Across the Confederate convoy, crews enacted the next set of protocols, bringing their warships into battle ready status. Ray shields were raised, weapons powered up, all doors locked down, and crewmen ensured they were ready for any damage control. Yet hardly any of that was visible to outside, but the hundreds of Piranha drones spewing out of the galleons designated as escort carriers were. Between Uyter's fighters and our own, I'd really be surprised to see these squatters put up much of a fight, even if they are supposedly hardened mercenaries...but how did we ever get forced into doing grayer and grayer things like evicting people...President Logan turned his inquisitive eyes towards the woman.

“Might I be able to use your private communication's chamber for the negotiations?”

“Sure, right this way Mr. President,” replied the woman, ushering him out of the ship's bridge.

The two leaders passed by sets of Paladin II droids stationed throughout the warship in case of boarding, which the man could scarcely keep his eyes off. Several corridors and doors later, the two passed through a checkpoint manned by a pair of the droids and into her small, but secure, communication's chamber. A single Unitas crest in a dark blue on a gray field rose up from the holo-projector and endlessly spun around its vertical access. She cleared her throat and stopped in front of the partially automated holo-projector.

“Nevaere, Lydia. Activate open communications channel on broadband designated by communication's officer,” ordered the Line Captain, who then turned to the politician with a microphone in her hand, “It's all your's sir, just click the button on the mike right here, and step in front of the holo-cam right there.”

The man did so.

“Gentlepeople on Sidrid's Folly, I am President Hunt of Uyter. You are currently illegally occupying Sidrid's Folly, and are now being asked to leave before it comes to blows. I would like to discuss the terms of your departure with your leaders. If you do not comply and make contact with me in the next half hour, I will enforce the law with force if necessary.”

He released the button on the mike and stepped out of the way of the holo-cam's view. Wiping his brow, the man slipped the mike into its little nook and leaned up against the wall next to Nevaere. His dark eyes met Nevaere's.

“There are always uncomfortable decisions to make,” said the middle-aged man, “but the benefit of the many outweigh the needs of a few, particularly when those few aren't my citizens, or yours.”

“So how did they come to take over the place?”

“It's an abandoned mining colony,” replied the president, “didn't have more than a hundred miners in its heyday, but it's remained pretty much intact. We left it open as an emergency stopping point for nearby spacers, thinking it'd encourage trade or at least goodwill. But spacers just started hanging around it, not apparently doing much in general. At first we thought it'd be a temporary thing, And maybe it was, but now it's become as if it is almost permanently settled, and it's attracting the kind of people who aren't going to help our trade. I know if I were a merchant, I wouldn't get near a system like this, not one crawling with heavily armed, private ships just happening to be laying around the system...but I suppose not all of our actions have their intended effects...”

The projector began to ring. Hopefully that's them. Then I get this little schemester off my ship and stop worrying about getting pushed into battles by local political issues...Logan picked up the mike and slid into the chair in front of the holo-cam. With the tap of a button, the holo-projector whirled up to an aged Gran wearing a loose-fitting tunic embroidered neatly with a number of patches of an unknown design. The alien's three eyes bore into Logan's two.

“You brought, or perhaps I should bought, some friends, I see, Mr. President...”

A little too close to the truth...

“...but we're not interested in dying over a chunk of rock. How long are you giving us to pack up our lives?”

“Four days,” stated the man, “and if anyone is left after that, so be it. If they want to stay for the colony's destruction, so be it. They might end up as permanent fixtures, unfortunately.”

The gran leaned back, “You're evicting us to destroy it.”


The two stared at each other. Well, that's some smooth negotiating. You can almost feel the bounds of hate and disgust bubbling up to the surface...The creature let out a grunt and glanced downwards.

“You don't give us any other agreeable choices, but I will try to get people out of here as soon as I can.”

“Excellent. We shall return in exactly 4 days to dismantle this outpost then. You are free to take anything off it that you want.”

“How very generous of you,” spat otu the alien, “do you know much work we put into this place making it more habitable?”

“No,” replied the man, “but it's not my problem now, is it? Goodbye.”

President Logan severed the connection between the two. The president leaned back in the chair and let out of a sigh of relief.

“You have no idea how many times we tried to convince them to leave, but it looks like this finally might have worked,” stated the man, “and maybe traffic won't be as uneasy entering the system from this angle at least.”

Nevaere pursed her lips, “You are deadset on turning Uyter into a successful trading world, aren't you?”

“Galactic economy almost requires it, regardless of what your people do,” replied the man, “it's not as if my people are unconnected from the rest of the galaxy living like hermits, like your people of Kashan.”

“I'm from Soroya.”

“Good,” replied the man, “then at least you know more about the outside galaxy than they do. But there's more to it than that, you've known all along that was my plan to offset this little wrench your Confederation threw into my career plans by inflating the value of our foodstuffs. but what's the setback that's on your mind? I can read your face as clear as an INS report. It's not entirely right or straightforward, but there's something obvioulsy going on...”

“My home planet's representative has blocked any progress on acquiring a space station for Uyter, at least from the Council's position. They are worried that you might be making a play for the trading niche they've been dominating for years now.”

“What? One station is suddenly going to make the dozens of your stations obsolete or something? Well, it's too bad for the rest of your Confederation then...”

“I wasn't finished,” replied the woman, “the Kashan have figured a way around going through the council, sort of. A couple of their houses are willing to set up such a trading station in orbit of Uyter as an investment.”


“Not even if one of those Houses was House Lucerne?" mused Nevaere, "Don't you think it might be a little to your advantage if the Supreme Commander of the Confederation had a stake in your planet's well-being?”

“Admiral Lucerne, isn't it? He isn't the leader of the house, though, is he?”

“He's the heir apparent,” informed the woman, “and I think that a person with your skills would be able to make such a deal more worthwhile than the Council simply tossing you a space station. Besides, the station they envisioned is probably better than anything you were expecting, it is, after all, a Lucerne designed station...”

“Tell me more...”
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Nov 2 2013 12:26am
Congressional Halls, Visdic, Uyter

“We have a proud tradition of staying independent in these calamitous times, Mr. President,” noted Representative Theb, “I see very little reason to submit our way of life to these Confederates.”

President Logan swept his eyes across the audience of politicians. Most of the representatives were of his party, along with a small smattering allied to him. But the opposition parties still numbered nearly forty percent of the house. Rallying enough of them to join his banner to approve the treaty would be difficult, especially with Representative Theb still leading the independent Freedom Party against him. But it matters not. I'll get enogh of them, or rather, I can also twist a few of their arms to get there, even if it isn't an entirely clean manner. He snorted.

“Our way of life rose because of them, and because of them, it's about to fall if we do not take full advantage of the situation at hand. I am not acting carelessly; we have avoided other popular galactic governments in the area, notably the Coalition, simply because I don't see our people gaining much and risk losing everything. But this is different, the times are changing. The times are becoming more chaotic between the rise of the Reavers, the attacks of the Cree'Ar, and the crumbling of traditional powers. War is dispersing across the galaxy and we will suffer soon if we do nothing. Our lack of defenses in both quality and quanity is painfully apparent: only with the Confederate's help were we able to finally evict those...outcasts living at the edge of our system, and with the rebellions going on to the south, and the Reaver threat coming from the West, we will soon be in the crosshairs of an opportunistic power if either of those threats don't overtake us. Only the Confederation gives us the most flexibility when it comes to home-rule than any of those other governments, and more importantly, they need us now. We can, and have, already dictated to them things that we needed from them.”

Theb, the leading opposition senator, cleared his throat: “I'll admit that if, and I say, if war comes to us, you may well be right. But that's a lot of freedom to sacrifice on what is best a circumstantial set of premises.”

“What do you want Representative?”

“I want to talk to a Confederate official,” replied the man, “someone in their diplomatic corps before I even think of entertaining such a membership treaty, and it is my hope that many of my colleagues feel the same way. Membership within the Confederation is not a decision to be made lightly.”

Logan threw up his hands in defeat, “There should be more than several Confederation diplomats and other officials present for the opening of the space station. Perhaps they will be able to sate your curiosity.”



Two weeks later...

Mercatus-class Space Station Uyter's Tradewinds, in orbit via Uyter

Senator Theb wove through a crowd of Visdic farmers, who seemed to gawk at every “advanced feature” as showed by a series of protocol droids hired by the noble houses of Kashan. While the move was designed to sell the station to the people, Theb found the droids more irritating than informational. He deftly dodged the flailing arms on one of the tour guide droids and slipped into a cafe of the food court's almost micro restaurants. No sooner had he sat down at table when an older woman sat down opposite to him.

“Senator Theb,” stated the woman plainly.

“Yes,” acknowledged the man, glancing up from his menu, “I presume you're from the Confederation's Diplomatic Corps.”

“Yes and no,” replied the woman, “the Diplomatic Corps informed me about your interest in contacting a Confederate official. But I'm not a regular diplomat. My name is Angela Caerellius, Councilor of Soroya. May I ask what you wished to see one of us?”

“Not a councilor specifically,” replied the man, “just someone who could make a dent in President Logan's plans.”

“What do you mean?” questioned the councilor, “the only plan of his that I'm aware of involves your world joining the Confederation. I tried to derail it within the council myself, but my efforts seem to have been in vain.”

“Maybe you misunderstand me,” drawled Theb, “President Logan is going to get at least part of what he wants. I know that I too won't be able to prevent Uyter from joining the Confederation. But I know the second part of what he wants. The man just served three terms as president, and now, conveniently, just as his term limit approaches, there will have to be another high office opened up that he can now potentially occupy.”

“Logan wants to be the councilor for Uyter,” surmised Caerellius, “well, given what I've ehard of the man, I shouldn't be too surprised. But why are you telling me this? Selection to councilor is an internal affair for each Confederation member...”

“Because,” stated Theb, “in this case, it's not in the best interest of the Confederation. There's got to be some way to block his nomination to the post, or from him taking his post as a councilor.”

“Short of him breaking a significant federal law or being convicted of treason, I don't see that happening.”

“Ah, but do you know about his role in the Zong affair.”

“I do,” replied the woman, “and some Confederation diplomats have already used that knowledge against him. Just as I'm about to use your involvement in it against you.”

Theb frowned, “What do you mean?”

“Admiral Lucerne and several councilors weren't remotely happy with how President Logan started the membership process for Uyter,” replied the woman, “enough that he sent much of the CSIS task force assigned to the prefecture to find out a little bit about the seedier sides about the people in power. The president has been much more forthcoming and less demanding his role was exposed. Believe me, considering my planet's role in that affair, I would like nothing else but to punish Uyter and those people who were part of it. And maybe I'll get to punish several of you yet for turning a blind eye to the atrocities.”

“What do you want?”

“Before you moved to Uyter, you were a crop specialist on Balamak. One of the companies you worked for was Dorum International, am I correct?”

“Yes,” replied the man, “what of it?”

“Then you know about the Taldot testing stations.”

He shifted slightly in his feet, “Only bits and pieces. I never went there myself personally...”

“I don't need to know,” replied the woman, “but CSIS will want to interview you about that. My advice, give them what they want, and I won't be given the ammunition about the Zong Slaver's relationship with you that I'd want to use to sink your career; I imagine there'd be some legal complications from that too.”

Senator Theb frowned, “What did you get out of Logan for his part?”

“None of your business,” replied the woman, “nor mine. The council has already had their say on what they wanted from the man...”


Congressional Halls, Visdic, Uyter

President Logan watched the last of the votes roll in to finally approve Uyter's membership application to the Confederation. In a surprise move, Senator Theb had reversed his stance on the application issue after visiting the space station which KDI had recently brought into geosynchrous orbit with the capital city. Yet despite the station's impressive capabilities, Logan doubted that the station alone had been able to sway the man into voting for the Confederation. Nor was Logan convinced that simply talking to a Confederate official had allayed his concerns. Still, Theb's change of heart had caused the majority of the man's Freedom Party to vote to join the Confederation, resulting in an unusual landslide victory for the bill. Well, this should help burnish my credentials, assuming the Confederation decides to uphold its end of the bargain about the Zong affair. It's not like we ever had much of a choice on that issue. But the sector at large, or even the rest of our Confederation allies, wouldn't ever see it that way if the truth was revealed...but it makes me wonder, what kind of skeletons do our fellow Confederates have in their closets? He shook the thought away as the speaker of the Congressional Houses announced the passage the bill. President Logan rose and joined in the brief ovation that accompanied the passage of the bill. Holo-cameras swiveled to focus on the President with the passage of his bill; Logan gave them all his practiced smile for the crowds and waved. And now to see what the future holds for Uyter and myself...
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Nov 4 2013 11:31pm

Brandenburg, Genon

Councilor Logan strode through the streets of the neatly Confederation's capital. While the city had only existed for a few short years, there was something about it that reminded him of the older worlds. True, the nearly uniform architecture espoused by the city's planners and embodied in the city's notoriously strict building codes added a cultural uniformity that was supposed to harken back to old Alderaanian architecture: one of the few Kashan cultural influences in the Confederation that still held front and center. But few people from Kashan actually lived on the world now, and a city was its people, after all. He stopped by a quiet street cafe.

“Councilor Logan? How are you this morning?”

The former president of Uyter turned on his heels to face the voice. I know that voice...An older woman dressed in a plainly styled, pale jade dress hobbled over to him. A few months ago, Councilor Caerellius would have terrified the man, given what she knew about his past. Logan flashed his trademark smile towards the woman.

“I'm well. Yourself?”

“As well as I can be at this age,” muttered the woman, “Getting some food before the session? The Audacian cuisine here is certainly refreshing after so many meals in the hall...”

“Sometimes it's best to get back to the simple things,” agreed Logan, exchanging credits with the food vendor, “So what do you think Hardings up to?”

“You'd know better than me; you agriworlds seeem to be sticking together on more than a few issues as of late.”

“It's only what's been best for my world, or at least I think it has been,” contemplated the man, “but I know our region is too, after that.”

“Yes, there's that,” admitted the woman, “and getting some regional support is why I'd like to talk to, if you have a moment...”