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 The Sun and the Sword

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Selathorn

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PostSubject: The Sun and the Sword   Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:31 pm

Port Garland, MY 2287

Colonel Atticus Thill was pacing the corridor leading up to the secured private terminal, with a small contingent of his Peacekeeper Elites behind him. Every few moments he stopped and checked his datapad, which displayed the ETA of the vessel carrying Grand Admiral Kirrin. Though not exactly impatient, he was, in the way of many Centauri, somewhat neurotic, and very compulsive in making sure that nothing was out of order. At that precise moment, though, everything seemed as should be, and the Grand Admiral would be arriving in only a few minutes. Soon enough, the notification that the vessel had engaged the airlocks appeared, and Colonel Thill quickly composed himself, and headed towards the lock. Then, in a brief moment, the door had opened, and Colonel Thill could see the Grand Admiral.

With a respectful bow of his head and a salute, Colonel Thill said, "Salutations, Grand Admiral Kirrin. I am Colonel Atticus Thill of the Peacekeeping Forces, and it will be my pleasure to receive you and escort you to UN Headquarters, where you will be able to meet with Governor Lal in a short hour or so. Please, follow me: there is a private shuttle to the surface reserved for us, and we'd best not keep the shuttle waiting."
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:26 pm

Grand Admiral Adelei Kirrin returned the salute.

“Thank you for your welcome, Colonel,” he said.  “I take it then that I have permission to come aboard?”  His tone and manner were highly amicable.  Behind him, several armed guardsmen advanced and began securing the bay.  “I don't think that will be necessary, Jeffery.”

“Sir, we haven't verified their security.  There could be danger-”

“What you mean is that you've a nasty, suspicious mind and think that regardless of our relations with them, the Centauri mean to take this opportunity to assassinate me.”  The guardsman swallowed uncomfortably.  Adelei turned back to Colonel Thill with a mirthful chuckle.  “Forgive him, Colonel.  Guardsmen are chosen for their fanatical loyalty and paranoia about my safety, not their social skills.  I doubt very many of them will be able to relax until I am safely back in Kirburg Castle where I belong, isn't that right Lieutenant Haden?”  Determining that discretion is the better part of valor, Lieutenant Jeffery Haden, the senior officer of the security detail forced his face neutral.

“If you say so, sir,” he responded in a respectful but emotionless voice.  Adelei shook his head.

“That's the other big problem with the State Guard.  They are too well trained to respond to my jabs.  It denies me quite a bit of fun.  Personally, I think its their way of punishing me for not spending all my time in a bunker three kilometers beneath a mountain.”  Lieutenant Haden declined this jab as well.  Adelei sighed.  “Well then, shall we be about it, Colonel?”  The Chief of State stepped out into the bay was followed by a small entourage, mostly in full dress blacks except for a beautiful woman in fine civilian wear and several teens and children in student dress blacks.
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:46 pm

Colonel Thill smiled very slightly, but says nothing about the guards. It seems that he's all too familiar with such a mindset, and with all the Grand Admiral described about being inside constantly. While leading the entourage towards the shuttle, he said to Grand Admiral Kirrin with a slight chuckle, "Very well, then, now that we've gotten that out of the way. The shuttle bay is just down this hallway, and we should be arriving on the surface in, ah, thirty minutes. After that, it's just a short magtube ride away to UN Headquarters, and then we'll make our way up to the government chambers."

Soon enough, they arrived at the shuttle bay, and Colonel Thill waited outside the entrance of the shuttle, waiting for all of the Herakleans to board. Once they do so, he follows along with his Elites, and the shuttle closes, beginning to head towards the surface. Within moments, it entered the atmosphere, allowing for a breathtaking view of the Peacekeeper territories from above the clouds. Gesturing towards the windows, Colonel Thill said, "This is a particularly scenic route that the shuttles take. If you look down, you'll be able to see the Monsoon Jungle, and not far from it UN Headquarters. We'll be there in just a few minutes more, after we land at the proper terminal."


Last edited by Selathorn on Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:19 pm

“It's beautiful,” said the woman in civilian attire. “It reminds me of one of the reservation worlds within Heraklea, Dendrobatea. Do you remember when we visited it, Addie?”

“How could I forget?” replied the Chief of State and affectionately ruffled the hair of one of the children. “It is a very beautiful world, Colonel. It has a gigantic tropical zone surrounding its equator, all the way out to the sixtieth parallel in both directions. Most of the land mass in that region is a rain forest with as diverse fauna and flora as you like. Out side of a handful of installations on small islands, the world is maintained as a natural preserve. There's even a race of ape-like primitive sentients that inhabit it. We keep contact minimal to prevent from destroying their early semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer society, limiting it to anthropological researchers and the like.”

“And it's a good thing we do,” interjected one of the teenagers. “Prior to its annexation, the Kedengi were being hunted for their pelts by poachers. Imagine! Intelligent, feeling creatures being killed for furs. It was worse than barbarous.”

“My daughter is becoming quite the advocate for the natives. She went to one of the mainlands during a family vacation. Without permission, I may add. Nearly caused her mother an apoplexy. When we finally found her a week later, she had been fairly well adopted by one of the tribes. She's wanted to go back ever since. Think that says something about my parenting, Colonel?” Adelei asked as the young woman rolled her eyes as teens across the galaxy do in response to their parents.
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:17 pm

Stroking his chin, Colonel Thill replied, "Sapient hunting, eh? It never ceases to amaze what the scum of the galaxy will do when they aren't under the control of a proper government. The rapid degeneracy of the sophont under uncontrolled conditions is astounding, and I am sure that both of our peoples know that all too well and have suffered too much from such degenerates. As for your parenting, well who am I to say?"

With a shrug, he continued, "The education of my two children is entrusted to the Creche administrators and the educational expert systems used to guide and monitor them. I see my son and my daughter every week with my Companion, though I believe you would use the term husband to refer to him. They're as well behaved as they can be, and really, most children I've met are. The Creche administrators have always been good at making sure children are raised with the proper values. Both of them are on the cusp of entering their apprenticeships - my son's on the track to become a borehole engineer, and my daughter's on the research track. Bless her heart, the little Talent."

Then, he pointed outside of the window, and said, "Ah, we're preparing to land. If you look now, you'll see UN Headquarters a short distance away. We'll be taking the magtube into the base, and then up into the government sector."

UN Headquarters, once viewed from close distance, appeared to be a collection of massive domes and towering spires, and was a single structure of immense height and size. Though the area around it seemed to be mostly a collection of agricultural areas, mines, and thermal boreholes, the base itself definitely seemed densely populated, perhaps somewhere near the hundreds of millions. Additionally, the defenses on site appeared to be formidable, with deep perimeter defenses and a tachyon field surrounding the base, used to defend the base against enemy attacks. Soon the shuttle landed inside a covered terminal on the ground, and the entrance opened once more.

"Follow me," Colonel Thill said. "We shall arrive in a very short moment."

Soon, he led the group deeper into the complex, and it was clear from the sloping path that the group was entering an underground area. They then are led into what seems to be a very smooth and elongated pod, and Colonel Thill explained, "These magtubes have become the basis of most land transportation here on Chiron. Normal roads have been largely obsoleted, as the monopole magnets used in these magtubes are infinitely more efficient and provide for much more rapid transport. Blink and we'll be in UN Headquarters."

Sure enough, it only took a few seconds before the pod came to a sudden stop, and then the entrance opened once more. Leading the way out, Colonel Thill led the group to what seemed to be an elevator. Briefly flashing his datapad at the scanner, he then ushered the group inside, and said to Grand Admiral Kirrin with a respectful nod, "Well, this is the elevator to Governor Lal's office suite. Grand Admiral Kirrin, after you've introduced your family to the Governor, and perhaps have some refreshments, it'd be my pleasure to offer them a tour of the base as you commence your talks."
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:42 pm

“Thank you, Colonel. I'm sure they will avail themselves of your offer.”

* * * * *

The elevator's doors opened and released the Heraklean party into Governor Lal's suite. The senior-most officer of Heraklea's demeanor shifted as he strode forward. Where earlier he had been playful, he now assumed the disposition of a great statesman with a change as abrupt as it was dramatic.

“Brother Lal, it is a pleasure to finally meet you,” his deep voice veritably boomed though he spoke at a conversational volume. “As is the opportunity to visit the mother colonies. Please allow me to introduce my wife, Miriam,” the woman in civilian clothing came forward, “as well as several of my children: Deborah, my fourth oldest, Barak, my fifth, Avner, my sixth, Jael, my seventh, and Saul, my youngest.” Each of the children came forward as they were introduced. “There are as well,” he said and then proceeded to introduce all the other members of his delegation and staff, including the silent guardsman who stool at parade rest at the perimeter of the room.

“In honor of these talks, allow me to present to you a gift from the State of Heraklea to the Planetary Governate.” With that, two Herakleans came forward carrying a finely crafted polished wood case. Adelei Kirrin turned to the case and opened it, revealing a longsword in its scabbard. He lifted the sword from its resting place and presented it to the Centauri. “This sword was crafted by Lieutenant Hikaru Akira, one of Heraklea's finest sword-smiths. The blade,” he said as he unsheathed several inches, “is made from an alloy unique to Heraklean metallurgy. The hilt is made of the same material, with gold crafted around it and silver inlaid. As you can see, the guard is crafted in the shape of two olive branches meeting in the center on a Governate crest. The sheath is crafted from Sonoman bison leather and inscribed with the words 'A sword keeps another in the sheath.' Please, accept this gift on behalf of your people from mine.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:15 pm

With a bow as he received the sword, Brother Lal said in return, "I was my pleasure to meet you, your family, and your entourage, and I am honored and humbled to receive such a gift. The craftsmanship is nothing less than exquisite, and I can scarcely fathom the man-hours necessary to produce such an item. Please send Lieutenant Akira my warmest regards, for there is no doubt that they are deserved. I am afraid that my reciprocal gift might pale in comparison, but I humbly request that you accept it."

Then, producing a thin metal box from on top of his desk, he continued, "Inside this box is a piece of the past, that which had given rise to both Alpha Centauri and Heraklea. It is part of that which had brought your ancestors and myself to Chiron. It is a piece," he paused, "of the UNS Unity. It has some considerable sentimental value to me, and reminds me of a distant time, one of hope and of fear, before all that surrounds our lives came to be. Please, open it."

After being gently handed to Grand Admiral Kirrin, the box automatically began to open. Inside the box was a chunk of the several hundred-year-old alloy hull of the UNS Unity. There was an intricate inscription on the surface, as well as an etching of an angel with burning wings before a gate pointing a flaming sword in every direction, but especially at what appeared to be Chiron. The inscription read, "Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden. He drove out the man; and placed at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."

"Now, of course," he interjected, "it hardly would seem like anything would come from me, given the ideology which we Peacekeepers follow. This is a creation of Sister Miriam Godwinson of the Believers. At the end of the Progenitor War and the signing of the Planetary Armistice, we faction leaders exchanged what keepsakes we held closely as a gesture of peace and unity. I gave her a silver kirpan that I had worn on my person since my early twenties - that was more than three hundred years ago - and she gave me this, and somehow, I found myself treasuring it more. Now, we have done the same."
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:50 pm

Adelei held the hull piece and gazed on it with reverence.

“It may surprise you to learn, Brother Lal, that many Herakleans still look back to our source. Because of our long separation, such elements of our past have become almost legend to many Herakleans. This relic of the First Flight shall be kept dear to the hearts of our people, I assure you.” One of the Grand Admiral's subordinates moved forward and received the hull piece from Adelei's hands, lifting it with the same awe and worshipfulness as his superior. “Thank you for gift of our history. It is most cherished.”

OOC: Heraklea is a largely secular society with a majority of its citizens being atheists or agnostics. Many of these do however practice a form of pseudo ancestor worship, and Alpha Centauri as the mother colony holds a special place in their hearts (even if it is rather romanticized).
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:12 pm

(OOC: I expected something like that. The main reason I picked that particular motif was that it's the introduction quote to the game my nation's based on, besides just being all-around cool.)

Lal smiled, and said in reply, "Grand Admiral Kirrin, it was the least I could do. With so much space and time separating your people from the history of the UNS Unity, it is only right to offer you a literal piece of your past. For we in the mother colony, the Unity is living history. Of the million who came, there are still somewhere near four hundred thousand of us left. For me, it is simply a keepsake from a distant time, but, as you have seen, it takes on a second meaning in your hands. Now, with that, I believe we can proceed soon to business?"

Then, he looked towards the direction the Grand Admiral's family, he said, "Also, I believe that Colonel Thill offered your family a tour of UN Headquarters, did he not? He knows this base better than almost any man out there, and I'm sure that he will be able to offer you an excellent tour while the two of us begin our talks." As he spoke, Colonel Thill smiled and gestured for the others to follow him back into the elevator.
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:12 pm

"Indeed, he did. Thank you again, Colonel. Please take care of them." With that, the Centauri officer guided off the Chief of States family. Adelei watched as they went. As they disappeared behind the elevator doors, he let out a sigh.

"It's been over two years since we last had a family vacation. I wish I had more time to spend with them. Alas, members of my family are as equally cursed as we are blessed." The Adelei turned to Brother Lal. "It's no coincidence that members of my family so often find themselves in positions of authority. It is not just that our people expect it of us, but that we expect it of ourselves. Children of my house are constantly pushed to exceed. We live up to it, but our identity is so bound up in duty that many of us are not able to appreciate the results of such pressure. I was born the fourth of five children and yet my first born never met a living aunt or uncle, and sadly I lost my second born in service to our people and our state as well. We have no choice in the matter, to our own minds. Duty is bred into us." Adelei shook himself.

"But enough on such somber topics. Come, let us engage as friends and make stronger our bonds."
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:49 pm

"Yes, yes," Lal nodded. "Perhaps a drink to start us off? Academician Zakharov has just sent me the latest batch of synthivodka, and from what I've heard it's quite good from the man himself. If he says so, then I'm not going to be one to question him. Afraid I haven't had the chance to have any myself, but it is always better in the company of equals, is it not? It just isn't the same drinking with your subordinates... it lacks, a certain touch, if you understand me at all."

Opening the glass flask, he poured into two shot glasses, and slid the other across the table to Adelei. "To a long life, and to continued friendship, both of our polities and of ourselves."

Then, after downing his own shot, Lal chuckled, and said, "You know, if we were drinking this in the University style, we'd be doing it in lab beakers. I'm not sure how much you have read of the University of Planet, but really, the way they drink their synthivodka says so much about them. Anyways, feel free to fill your glass at any time, though it is very strong stuff. I'm not a particularly heavy drinker - the effect of alcohol is quite dull for me, with all my years of longevity treatments, and I have rather strict dietary intake requirements."

***

"So," Colonel Thill said, as he led Adelei's family into the elevator, "I figured I'd show you all the Centauri Preserve first. It is a quite beautiful site - it is a hybrid ecosystem of Centauri and Terragen life, and it is considered to be one of the best... barring that of Gaia's Landing and of a few other Gaian bases, unsurprisingly. Mrs. Deborah, I believe you were interested in conservation, yes? The Sith War Memorial is also not far from it, and that, I believe, would be an interesting site for you all to see. The last war fought on Centauri soil, to date. I myself had fought in the war, and... well, I'll talk more about it when we get there."

The elevator soon reached the correct floor, and Colonel Thill led the group down another hallway, and soon the light in the hallway began to transition from artificial light to natural sunlight. Once they left the hallway, the group entered an enormous sundome. The flora there is a mixture of deciduous trees, long grasses, and flowering plants from Earth, as well bright pink Centauri xenofungus. The very air in the room seemed to be alive, and indeed, Centauri Preserves are often foci of the Planetmind's psionic energy.

"How do you like it?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:10 pm

“All good Herakleans pride themselves on their constitution.” Adelei downed the shot synthivodka. “Ooh. A strong constitution may not however protect me from all effects of the drink. I think I'll pace myself. And I am familiar with the University of Planet. The information you and my representative here have sent me on the memeplexes was extremely interesting, and helped to flush out the much cruder picture we had from our historical records. The University of Planet's dedication to scientific discovery is quite admirable, though to tell the truth I harbor a few concerns on their lack of restraint. Still, they serve their purpose I'm sure.”

* * * * *

“Wonderful,” said Miriam as she followed the children into preserve. Deborah Kirrin, though initially attempting to keep a composed manner, quickly lost herself in the natural beauty around her. Her younger siblings rushed forward to explore with sole exception of young Saul, who stood beside his mother with his eyes closed and his head cocked. Miriam looked down at the boy and frowned lightly. “Is everything all right, Saul?”

“Just fine, mother,” he responded. “I'm just talking to Chiron.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:42 pm

Lal chuckled at Adelei's reaction to the synthivodka, and said, "It gets better after a few hundred years, I assure you. Pacing yourself is wise, of course. It was also my pleasure to share the information on the memeplexes of the galaxy. Generally, it is not too widely circulated, as such information is valuable, but it seemed remiss not to inform you what you're dealing with in the galaxy. As for the University, their questionable ethics policies have been a point of contention for me in the past, but they definitely do have their place, yes. In recent years the University of Planet has become one of the foremost research institutions of the Korel galaxy, and many of our recent developments could not have happened without them. Such are the benefits of the continued autonomy of the factions. Although our system may be alien to more unitary states, there is nothing like constant competition to keep a polity from going stagnant. There are of course significant drawbacks I'd like to do away with, but if it was so I would not have the benefits."

Then, taking another shot of synthivodka, he continued, "In any case, I'd like to transition into discussion on more current matters. As you know, we have privately pledged our aid to any future actions you might take against the Christanans. Normally, I would not be willing to enter into any type of offensive pact, due to delicate internal concerns, but I feel that the nature of the Christanans and your own involvement in the matter should allow me to do so with relative ease. I would like to know this: what are your current plans for dealing with them? At the moment, we are practicing diplomatic isolation with them, and we have barred any trade flowing into Christana from our sphere of influence. Additionally, if you are carrying any maneuvers, then the PDF will gladly coordinate with your own navy. Though we lack the raw firepower at the disposal of other powers, our vessels are extremely capable capital-killers."

***

In Saul's mind, he would experience a brief, and rather one-sided exchange with the Planetmind. Being dispersed over the entire native life of the planet and lacking a particularly high degree of focus, the Planetmind is incapable of any long exchanges, but it definitely is a unique experience to be contacted by it. The Planetmind "says" to him:

<pop>

earthsaul, i welcome your return to planet, to see what your fathers of fathers left. feel the breath of life around you, as earthtree, earthgrass, earthflower, earthhuman, and planetfungus join in eternal song. though the flowering shall come one day, earthhumans have been made welcome. the darksith they fought and the darksith they beat, and so planetmind remains to speak again. remember what you have seen! you might call upon it one day!

<pop>

As the other children explored the Preserve, Colonel Thill stood back with Miriam and Saul, watching him with some interest and occasionally checking his datapad. Once the exchange ends, he looks back at Saul, and says to him with obvious interest, "If you would forgive me for my curiosity, young sir, what did the Planetmind say to you? It is a rare occasion when it speaks to anyone. The Governor's had a few exchanges with it, but they are rare and far in between. They tend to come at inconvenient moments, if anything."
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:54 pm

“For the time being we are applying a strategy of diplomatically containing the Christanans.  There are a number of minor polities between ourselves and Christana which we are beginning to court in order to help keep them from spreading their influence.  Additionally, though we have levied no embargos or sanctions against the Christanans, we are not actively engaging them in trade, nor are any of our minor allies.  We are allowing innocent passage of Christanan ships through our sphere, though no warships are permitted past our frontier, and my commanders have been instructed to excise their right to inspect any ship within our sphere when it comes to Christanan vessels.

“Some of our efforts to contain the Christanans will likely result in some sort of military incursion into the minor polities, and we will keep you apprised of such occurrences.  In particular, there is a state that practices slavery that we believe to be on the verge of a slave revolt.  We're preping overtures to the abolitionist movement on that world.  There is also war of succession we may get involved with.  It is our hope to gain the allegiance of such worlds along the border regions to deny the Christanans influence, as well as use them as springboards for operations if our peace with Christana should fail.”

* * * * *

“It's just saying hi,” said the young boy.  “It's telling me to 'member what I see.”

Re-member, dear,” said Miriam.

Re-member.”  Miriam smiled at her son who ran off to begin playing with the other children.  She turned to Colonel Thill.

“All my children are powerful psions in their own right, but Saul is in a class unto himself.  He outstrips at least half of the psions in Heraklea already, and he is only four years old.  Imagine what he'll be like when his brain finishes developing.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:58 pm

"Hmm... interesting. We might be of some help in dealing with these minor border polities. If you wish, we can deploy some of our probe teams to infiltrate the systems of some of these polities, which should provide ample opportunity for our memegeneers to passively subvert them over time. As such, military action may not be necessary, though I assure you that we will provide what military assistance we can in dealing with them. What of the other galactic powers, then? Although I believe the OrdenReich has backed off from defending the Christanans, there are still the Burnites and Rheans to consider. Though I believe we both see the questionable nature of engaging in another military conflict against the Christanans any time soon, the contingency must of course be prepared for. Still, I believe that's something best left for another time, when the front has solidified, so to speak.

"Also, I apologize for changing the topic, but I have some intelligence to share with you, concerning some of the other powers. Specifically, the Veridian Domion. I am unsure how much contact you have had with the Veridians, but in generally I would advise against further dealings with them. Though there are no outright hostilities between our polities, our relationship has cooled in recent years, and for good reason."

Then, he takes out a holodisk, and continues, "This is a holodisk containing some intelligence given to us by a source within the Veridian Dominion which shall remain unnamed*. Not all of the information is necessarily current, but these are all things that have happened in the past. Do you know of the Veridian practice of 'collaring'? If you do not, it is fairly similar to the atrocity we know of as nerve stapling, in that it will remove almost all personality from an individual and make them compliant with any orders given to them. You will also read of what exactly the Veridians do with their 'collards', which besides unsafe industrial labor includes the practice of placing them state-run brothels. This is in addition to a wide variety of other atrocities that I cannot list in its entirety. Consider it well."

*The unnamed source is the Ninth Tribe, a rebel group later defeated by the Veridian Dominion and scattered throughout the galaxy following the Cassia Affair.

***

(OOC: Going to take some liberties with your characters to transition to the next scene a little more quickly, if that's OK with you.)

Colonel Thill mused, "Impressive. I can't imagine the magnitude of his potential to already be so powerful at a young age. I'm not exactly well versed in the ways of psionics, but it is part of my training to learn how to defend against psi attacks, and having seen what they can do I've developed a healthy respect for psions. That is, of course, in addition to what Empaths can do as far as psych treatment goes. Still, I've seen some forms of psionics that are not contained to the realm within the mind. The Sith... well, I suppose I'll talk about them, once we get to the Sith War Memorial."

For a good hour or so, he was content to watch over the children and read reports on his datapad. After that, however, he noticed that most of the children, with the exception of Deborah, looked like they had seen their fill of the Centauri Preserve. Although he didn't exactly want to rush the tour, there were plenty of other sites worth seeing, and as such he said to the group, "I don't mean to interrupt your tour of the Centauri Preserve, but might all of you be interested in moving on towards the Sith War Memorial? It's just a short walk away, and it should be a relatively quick stop, all things considered. After that, I'd be willing to bring you back to the Preserve or perhaps show you the Recreation Commons, depending on what your mother would prefer."

Soon enough, the others followed, and the group arrived at the entrance to the Sith War Memorial. There they see synthmetal statues of two men, standing proud, with swords made up of plasma held towards the sky. Gesturing at them, Colonel Thill said to the others, "These two men are the greatest heroes of the Sith War, and they aren't even Centauri. I do not believe that the Sith War had ever reached your people, but we were unfortunately caught by a Sith invasion shortly after we made contact with the rest of the galaxy. We've since learned that they were interested in exploiting the energies of the Planetmind. The Sith, as you must understand, were powerful psions, who could manipulate the physical world around them with something called the Force, which we believe to be a physical manifestation of psionics. They are a depraved group, seeking power for their own ends only, and distantly related to the Rheans. Those two men you see? They were Jedi, the group which opposed the Sith.

"As I may have mentioned before, the Sith War was the last war fought on Centauri soil. It was unlike the Progenitor War in that they did not intend to settle and eradicate, only to occupy and conquer. They invaded when we were most vulnerable, before we had a space fleet or gained experience in interstellar warfare, and jamming all communications. They managed to seize much of our land very quickly, and soon two of their leaders - very powerful psions - made it their mission to capture UN Headquarters and our leader, Brother Lal. What they had not taken into account, however, was the fact that Morgan Industries had rented a Corvette from the Rheans prior to the onset of the war. Two Jedi warriors were assigned to the Corvette as part of the lease. Well, when Morgan caught wind of what was happening, he dispatched the Corvette to rescue Lal and send for aid from the rest of the galaxy.

"Well, here is where my own story intersects somewhat with the greater narrative. I was not a Colonel in those days, no, just an average solder. We were assigned to guard the halls leading up towards the government sector. Although we closed off all of the elevators, the Sith leaders cut their way ruthlessly through our defenses, and before long we were one of the last forces standing between the Sith and Brother Lal. Although my comrades fought bravely and sacrificed themselves trying to stop them, we had been beaten. The Sith leaders were just too powerful, and we were bested. I was the last one alive of my squad, and I was backed into a corner, facing one of them alone. I believe he was called... Darth Lanius, though there's another complicated story about him that I won't talk about. With my tachyon rifle I was ready to take my last shot at him, but before I could do that my arm was severed. I drew my sidearm... he severed my other arm. With no other choice I lunged at him, and he pushed me back with an unseen force. Soon, my legs were severed too.

"For a few seconds, he gloated, and then he left me to die. Back upstairs, the two Jedi had arrived, and they entered into combat with the Sith leaders once they arrived. They fought well, from what I heard, but they were bested. Still, they bought enough time for Lal's escape, and then he gather help from Rhea and Burnination. Without their help we could not have survived the war. Of course, you notice that I stand before you alive with all my limbs, so let me finish my part of the story. Although the Sith had now begun to occupy the base, one of the medics stumbled on me just in time, and put me in a stasis pod. That's where I remained for a few weeks until UN Headquarters was liberated. Later a Rhean surgeon put a new set of limbs on me, and there I was, back to the fight."

"So," he paused. "How was the story?"
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Heraklea

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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:19 am

“I will. Our relationship with the Veridians as yet is limited to small amounts of trade. That is partly due to intelligence my own spies have been able to get me on their society. There are many aspects of their society that apes our own, and yet those aspects seem almost a bastardization. We both emphasize heroism and glory, and yet to them such things are not about service honor, but rather about personal gain. Their society is built on a decadence we find distasteful, and the way they treat their underclasses is entirely too resonant of the Kingdom of Sonoma. I might command a man to do something he truly does not wish to do, but I only do so because of the needs of the State and our people. Such things should be minimized, not embraced as they do. I do not intend to more closely align us with the Veridians.

“We are, however, currently engaged in dialogues with the Ordenreich, who I am given to understand have somewhat close ties to the Dominion. Despite our recent difficulties, the similarities of ours and Ordenreich societies make us, I believe, natural allies. In time, perhaps, we can turn them more closely to ourselves and away from such... unsavory partners.”

* * * * *

(OOC: As long as you consider turnabout fair play)

“Very nice,” said Miriam. “Almost makes me yearn for my marine days again.” She noticed the mildly surprised look on Colonel Thill's face. “What, did you think I've been a housewife all my life? No, Colonel, I used to be a Heraklean Marine. 9th Division, Archangels. Oh, those were days. My armor's wings, my helmet's halo, and Mikha'el's name on my shoulder. I was good, too. Top ten marksman for the division, number one for unarmed combat. Don't get me wrong, I was never the Abaddon*, but I couldn't have been too far down the list. Might have stayed with it if it wasn't for a long standing policy against fraternization in Heraklea. It is forbidden for officers and enlisted or for people ultimately in a supervisory position over the other to liaise in that manner. When he became the CNO, I transferred to Supply, and when he became Vice Chief of State, who is senior to everyone but the Chief of State, I retired and began seeing to our home as means to pass the time.”

*The Abaddon is a honorary title given to the Archangel marine who is considered the most deadly.
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:35 pm

"That is good," Lal nodded. "The very nature of the Veridian Dominion is an affront to every civilized polity in the galactic community. The fact that they have obtained crude mastery of memetic engineering only serves to further our fears. Nevertheless, I do not feel that dwelling on them is a particularly productive use of our time. As for the OrdenReich, you are quite welcome to engage in diplomacy with them and partner with them, although we ourselves have been hesitant to do so in the recent past. When they first entered the galaxy, we had extended our hand to them, but they had a culture of xenophobia and distrust I found distasteful, and that ultimately culminated in the atrocities at Nova Silesia not long ago. The change in government following the Hildenburen War, and the purge of their most xenophobic elements have alleviated this concern somewhat, though their alignment with the Veridians has been the cause of some concern for me. Nevertheless, if we can turn them as you have suggested, then perhaps there is some hope for them."

***

Colonel Thill shrugged, and said, "Well, I could tell that you had something to say from your expression that you had something to say. And heaven knows that people like ourselves always find a way to start talking about our field experiences, eh? Anyways, that's an impressive track record. Can't say the same for myself - I didn't qualify for the Garrison Elites because of my marksmanship or close-combat, though I'm no slouch in either. No, it was my 'urban combat aptitude', as they so put it. Like you might have heard before, I know every little detail about this base, and heaven knows that I've spent just as much time examining the building plans as in training. Still got quite a few years behind me - it'll be a decade or two before age really gets to me. Unless I'm promoted further, I'll probably enter re-education. Construction's probably what they'll retrack me for."

Once he's finished talking, he turned back to the others, and continued, "Well, now that you've heard all that, let me show you the inside of the Sith Memorial. There isn't quite as much to tell as of the outside, but there's still a bit I can say. See those two steles, up front? Those list all of the foreign soldiers who died on Chiron during the Sith War. There's quite a number of them, somewhere near five thousand, though of course that's nowhere near the number of dead Centauri. Still, we cherish their sacrifice all the same, especially one for a people and a planet that wasn't even their own. Those steles, though, are dumbtext. Those inscriptions were etched permanently, and there's nothing interactive about it. The others, though..."

He stepped towards another one of the steles, the surfaces seemingly empty, and then he placed his hand on the surface. In a second, the very metal of the stele seemed to reshape itself, and soon a number of names and dates appeared. Taking his hand off the stele and gesturing, Colonel Thill said, "These steles have some biometric components as well as an internal system that retrieves persons of interest to whoever comes to them. These men and women include my comrades that I fought alongside with during the Sith War, but not all of them are military. A great number of them were civilians who lost their lives in the turmoil of war, and some of them had lived in the two Peacekeeper bases razed by the Sith from orbit to put pressure for our surrender. They were luckily stopped before they could raze anymore, but the loss remains quite significant."

Then, he stepped back, and said, "One of you are quite welcome to try it out. It should be able to recognize your biometrics and bring up some of your very distant relatives. The Kirrin lineage remains to this day, and it would not surprise me if some of them fought in the Sith War."
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:47 am

“The Order itself is very much in a state of flux.  The very Writ has been revised recently, a doctrine almost religiously held has changed.  True, it was only to limit the scope of their protective operations, but even that sort of change implies a move to a more pragmatist morality akin to our own.  Our points of commonality I hope will forge a strong friendship, once relations have normalized.

“To speak more frankly on international concerns, however, I wish to ask you how closely you are willing to bind our states together?  You have already stated you will join us in action against the Christanans, and I thank you for that, but I believe it is time for Heraklea to form more permanent bonds.  Not necessarily an agreement to assist all foreign adventures, though we are amenable to such a move, but a mutual defense pact to better ensure our collective security.  Would your government look favorably upon such an alliance?”

* * * * *

Barak quickly stepped forward and placed his hand on the stele.  The metal on the surface shifted again as names of distant blood relations appeared and covered the stele from top to bottom.  A tenth of them actually contained the name Kirrin, as either the last or middle name, but the relationship to others was more a mystery.

“I count at least forty names that bear my own family's,” said Miriam.  “Probably Peacekeeprs.  The original Yuvals from Chiron were, and they were among the first to defect to Piter Kirrin's resistance during Lambert's Betrayal.”


Last edited by Heraklea on Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:03 pm

"In truth, I do not know if the Writ is truly that important to them. We have studied their memeplex at a distance and we have suspected that the Writ was a product of a xenophobic backlash following the galaxy's first contact with them following a FTL experiment failure. I will agree, though, that they seem to be rather more pragmatic than before and less driven towards hardline xenophobia and racism, especially with the radical elements purged. As for a mutual defense pact, I would be amenable to the signature of such an agreement. If some other new threat was to appear in the galaxy or the other powers are driven to conspire against us, it would be quite useful to both of us. Though perhaps in past days we would have been more hesitant, we would gladly welcome such an agreement now."

***

Colonel Thill nodded, and said, "Fascinating. There is one of these names I recognize - Iskendar Yuval. I remember fighting alongside him after I had my new prosthetic limbs attached, and we were together at the liberation of UN Pillar of Rights. He died during the assault on UN Headquarters, when a Sith warrior impaled him with a lightsaber. It was a gruesome sight, but it was a worthy sacrifice - the warrior came down with a tachyon beam to the head. No fancy deflection tricks for that, I'll say that much."

"So, Miss Mirriam, what next? Shall we return to the Preserve, or shall I show your family the Recreation Commons? Or perhaps a Children's Creche, and perhaps introduce them to some of our youths and give them a bit of perspective?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:10 pm

“I am glad to hear that. We should establish a more permanent system of direct communication between our governments to ensure we are able to coordinate such efforts. What about our minor allies? Most of them enjoy a protected status with us. Would the Planetary Governate be willing to join us in their defense when need arises?”

* * * * *

“The Children's Creche, I think. It would be an interesting exploration of how child rearing differs in our societies.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:51 pm

Lal paused, and replied, "At this given point in time, we would prefer that the mutual defense agreement be solely between our two polities. However, you are quite welcome to request our aid in defending the independent worlds of your sphere of influence on a case-by-case basis, and I see little reason why we would not do so. Additionally, perhaps we could also establish a formalized trade agreement. I do not believe that we have yet had the opportunity to do so, and as such let me propose the following terms. We can strike down trade barriers between our nations, barring trade in certain areas such as weapons technology, and Peacekeeper freighters will gladly offer your merchants friendly rates on ore and metal. In recent years, our resource gathering base has by far exceeded our industrial capacity, and as such we are quite welcome to offer our metals at below market rates to your people. I am sure our subordinates can formalize such an agreement in their own time, should you choose to accept it."

***

With a nod, Colonel Thill unlatched his datapad his wrist, and then dialed a communication address in order to connect to one of the nearby Children's Creches. "Is this Talent Shi? Yes, this is Colonel Thill, Garrison Elite. I'm currently giving a tour to the family of Heraklea's Grand Admiral. If you could spare thirty minutes or maybe an hour of your instruction time for their visit, we'd be very grateful. Yes, you can? Alright, we'll be there in a moment."

Then, Colonel Thill led the group into the hallways of UN Headquarters again, leading them into another magtube which carried the group one stop forward before disembarking. With that, Colonel Thill led them down into another hallway, and then pointed out one particular chamber on the left hand side. "Children's Creche #029. This particular group of children were part of 2273's Birthing, which makes them about fourteen now."

After gesturing for the others to enter the room first, he shortly followed after. The group was greeted by the sight of perhaps fifty fourteen-year olds in the chamber. It seemed complete with sleeping accommodations, ration dispensers, and a large number of holoterminals used in education, with only a single adult present. This was somewhere children would live from birth onto their apprenticeships. All of the children seemed eager for the visit, and the educator said to the group, "Welcome! My name's Talent Julienne Shi, and I'm the caretaker here in Children's Creche #029. I've been with these young men and women for fourteen years now, and I'll be sad to see them go in a few years. They are all quite bright and well-conditioned, and if you have any questions, please ask. Now, class, what do we say to our visitors?"

In unison, the class said, "Welcome to Chiron, Miss Kirrin!"
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:09 pm

“Understandable.  However I would have been remiss in my responsibilities to our minor allies if I did not ask.  And an expanded trade agreement would certainly work in both our favors.  Which brings another point of consideration to mind.  Heraklea's research teams are exceptional, but there are a number of phenomena within our sphere that are beyond our abilities at this time.  Perhaps the University of Planet could aid us in further analysis of these phenomena, perhaps even to find useful applications of them.”

* * * * *

“Thank you very much,” Miriam responded to Centauri teens.  Barak began chuckling.

“It's a pecker,” he said, eliciting a small scowl from his mother and some giggles from the children.

“Barak, the use of that slang is entirely inappropriate.”

“But that's what it is.”  Miriam sighed.

“They're called Primary Education Commands, or PECs.  Some children give them a far more colorful name, however.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:18 pm

Lal nodded, and said, "Send me the coordinates and I'll forward them to the University of Planet. I'm certain that they'll be interested in new phenomena to research. Heaven knows that they've exhausted most of the ones already in our sphere - they might have a few of them figured out already, if they're similar to the ones we've got in here. Once they're done, they'll probably send some of the data in your direction. Say what you will about the University, but they're very generous when it comes to sharing data."

***

Talent Shi faced Miriam, and said, "Is that the equivalent of a Children's Creche in your nation? It'd be interesting to know how they compare between Heraklea and Alpha Centauri. Could you possibly describe what your children are learning, or better yet, let them do so themselves? I always find comparisons like those quite interesting."
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:05 pm

“Forgive me for being blunt of the subject, Brother Lal, but we will have to receive all of their findings, not just some of them. And anyone who is being sent will have to undergo a security screening before they transit to some of those facilities. Their location and what is contained within them are among our most highly classified secrets. It's not just Top Secret, it is highly compartmentalized.” Adelei calmed himself.

“A number of these phenomena are high dangerous. One of them necessitated nuclear carpet bombing of three worlds. We cannot risk them being gained by terrorists or hostile foreign powers. I assure you, this is not based on mistrust of you and your people. More of a case of 'trust but verify.' We don't even let most of our own citizens know about these facilities.”

* * * * *

“Somewhat akin, yes,” said Deborah. “From an early age Heraklean children reside most of the week at the PECs where they are housed in student baracks, with off site liberty allowed from the end of training Friday to the evening on Sunday. During the week the majority of their day is spent in training. Physical fitness, unarmed and armed combat, general training and, of course, scholastic education. The scholastic portion is the vast majority of their day. Mathematics, hard sciences and history are generally the largest areas of focus, but we also study arts and humanities, foreign languages and other pursuits that stimulate the mind.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Sun and the Sword   Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:51 pm

"Oh? I had expected something a bit less... severe." Lal raised an eyebrow, but he continued, "I will forward to the University, then, and make sure that they are fully aware of the secrecy involved. I am sure that they will respect the classified nature of the phenomena, and I do believe that any University systems that might later hold information on such phenomena will be in any major danger of being compromised, if you hold such a worry. The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm the University uses to secure their systems is incredibly effective and has held up against all manner of probe attacks for decades."

***

Talent Shi nodded, and said, "Fascinating. Education is a bit more specialized here: everyone will learn the basic curriculum to ensure the broad interdisciplinary literacy necessary in for functioning in modern society - a combination of native language, mathematics, humanities, and technology - as well as a specialized curriculum depending on the track they're assigned. Most of this is done through the expert systems, and I'm here to make sure everything runs smoothly as well as intervene when it's necessary. Besides that, I mostly just watch over them and make sure that they behave properly."

Colonel Thill then looked at the children, and said to them, "So, who here's on the military track?"

Eght of the children raised their hands, and Colonel Thill nodded, "Excellent. More than I usually see, anyways. Maybe one of you will see me again, if you work your way up to the Elites. It won't be easy, but it is such a rewarding experience being on the line of duty. That, of course, and knowing that you're there to make the ultimate sacrifice when you have to."

Then, he scanned the room again, and said, "How about the research track?"

This time, ten of them raised their hands. Again, he nodded, and said, "Talent Shi, you were right, this is a bright bunch. There's just five in my daughter's group, herself included. They say that you all will have to work yourselves to the bones, but if you do the right work you'll set yourselves up for a lifetime."

Scrutinizing the room carefully, he finally said, "And now, anyone in the political track?"

One of the teenagers sheepishly raised her hand, and Colonel Thill laughed, before saying, "Oh, young miss, don't be shy. Heaven knows you'll be the boss of most of us one day, I tell you, as long as you work hard and play your cards right."
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