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November 23, 3555 International Space Colony Tranquility Sol System (Neutral Zone)
The endless openness of space was a vast realm of possibilities for the ancient people who would look upon the night sky and wonder what was out there. A single person’s vision revealed so much, yet so little. Primitive telescopes opened eyes further, but that was not enough. New technology put man on the moon but that insatiable curiosity drove on and on. What could they find? Who could they meet? Where did it all lead to? The more practical among those ancients asked how could they get there? After that last question was answered with the advent of faster than light technology (a misnomer, the galaxy’s pedantic population kept insisting since the drive did not actually go faster than light but borrowed through space-time) answers for the rest were immediately searched for.
And answers were found. Life existed out there. Intelligent life. Life like humanity yet unlike humanity. Civilization that shared nothing in common beyond the galaxy they inhabited came in contact with each other for the first time. Like long lost family members they met at last, embracing in some cases, shooting in others. The Golden Age of Space Exploration began on that note and for hundreds of years it was so.
Humanity had gone to the stars to answer the questions of splendor and wonder, and thus it seemed fitting that humanity would return to the place of its birth to answer the inevitable follow up, “Now what?”
And humanity did not return alone. Their brethren from across the stars joined with them to discuss the practical matters of the universe. For every nebula explored there was a trade route that needed to be established. For every black hole discovered another species making first contact itself found being fought over for by established nations for spheres of influence. Supernovas became the focus of international relief efforts, asteroid belts the havens for pirates and smugglers. And so to expand knowledge and wisdom, with the hope that understanding and peace would blossom throughout space, the great nations formed the Galactic Nations.
The silent shuttle made its way across the black of space, until the colony loomed up ahead, the structure so huge is overwhelmed anything else in the view port as the ship got closer.
Councilman Lord Tebigon, Verandi Ambassador to the Galactic Nations collected himself as he prepared to disembark. The fate of the relations between his nation and the rest of the galaxy was upon him, entrusted by the throne to carry on their words. His hand massaged his temple and he stroked at his chin, neatening the beard that he had maintained over the past few weeks. Wanting to look dashing for his host he had tried to recapture his looks from before the war. The wrinkles had thrown that of a bit but Tebigon could settle for simply looking respectable. 75 years old and still spry!
He examined the rest of himself up and down, his dark skin clean from an earlier shower, his nails trimmed, his pistol - not on him, members of the Galactic Nations Council were prohibited from bringing weapons to the assembly hall so he had left his in a trunk somewhere. His briefcase with his datapad was at hand though, and a few minor possession and hardcopies of official documents and credentials he though prudent to bring.
The shuttle rumbled a bit, they had docked.
Before Lord Tebigon had arrived at Tranquility, before his shuttle had even left it's mothership, another Verandi vessel had begun broadcasting the latest news it had carried from the imperial capital of Zaphnath.
KING HEMANT DIED IN SLEEP. PRINCESS AMELIA DECLARED QUEEN.
The asteroid belt was a haven for travelers not only traveling between the planets of the Sol System, but for interstellar ships just arriving and looking for a good time. Ceres has long since ceased being a mining rock and made it's money more through tourism. The laxer regulations outside of the orbits of the inner worlds had led to the creation of casinos and hotels, live stag shows and music concerts.
Underneath the lights and glamour, however, existed a more mercantile world. It was this world many spacers found themselves in, looking for work or a ride. Such was the company inside the bar whose sign read 3 Stooges. Mostly human, but other life forms speckled the seats and booths. Some were drinking, some were talking, a few where looking at the message board (another misnomer: the message board was actually a holgraphic projection of dozens of notices and announcements that were set up in a rotating sphere) in the center of the establishment.
One such notice orbiting around the lower half called for ship hands on a cargo freighter. It said to meet in the corner booth at the same bar at 4:00 PM Standard Time.
At around that time, a tall Verandi woman with a regal air about her entered the bar and sat down in the booth in question.
"All right, Solaris." she said to herself, "Find yourself a crew and get off this rock."
edited 2nd May '14 10:03:18 AM by Parable
Ambassador Nekane Faseven
The ambassador simply stared in awe at the large construct that housed the Galactic Nations out a a viewing window in the shuttle he had taken from Vianea reached its final destination after almost a year. To think that finally, after distanced contact, he would meet humans! To think they were only a myth decades before! He straightened his insignia and formal clothes, he neede to look his best. May the light bless him, he had work to do.
Hamare stirred the ice in her drink idly with her mind, causing to water down gradually the soporific beverage, something to keep her mind busy. What had been done... she couldn't go back home, not as it was... it was rather underhanded how her comrades had given her "freedom" to investigate; exiled and branded a turncoat. Great. She sighed, after taking a sip of the whiskey recommended by the bartender she checked on the peacoat pressed between herself and the stool she was sitting on, as there lied her funds, they were already too small to have them disappear by theft.
She simply sat there at the bar... they said she would be there, why wasn't she there.
edited 23rd Sep '13 8:34:06 PM by Sanojutsu
Space colony Tranquility
The station may have been best known as the meeting place of the Galatic Nations, but plenty of other functions had built up around that. Lobbyists came there to meet with delegates between meetings, and occasionally other people of high influence might come to strike out deals of economic matters... Or other matters...
The Grexian ship had arrived at the station some time before the Verandi ship, but unfortunately had taken hours getting all the weapon licensing paperwork for the Military caste escorts that were acting as security for one of their most important Diplomatic caste members, as was required of them. Obviously, his security only brought their pistols along, and not their primary weapons. Once all the red tape was finally done with though, it was a few minutes after the Verandi representative arrived. Heading out from the docking area, Grexian Diplomatic caste member Blue, flanked by the squad of Military caste, chose a nice open seating area with a large window view facing Earth as a good place to stop for now.
Blue sat slowly in one of the chairs closest to the view, taking care not to mess up his suit too much. The birth place of Humanity, a place considered sacred by the Grexians, was sitting out there in space like a large, blue marble. And now, Blue was the closest Diplomatic caste member to that holy orb, in the most important away position of the whole caste. The future of the empire, and possibly more was sitting almost squarely on his shoulders, but for now he allowed himself to be lost in the majesty of simply looking at Earth. His escorts similarly stared. I suppose... She's down there somewhere Blue thought to himself, bringing a hand up as if to reach out for the planet, but stopping in hesitation. Though, I suppose she'd only be, what, five years old now? As the thought occurred to him, he couldn't help but smirk slightly as he brought his hand back down.
A little later, another of the Military caste, a member who had been staying on the ship, suddenly arrived at the seating area. The Female tech quickly gave the squad commander a salute and hushed explanation for her arrival, and just as quickly the security parted to let her through to Blue. "Sir," the tech said, giving Blue a salute, then handing out a datapad to him. Raising an eyebrow, Blue took the datapad and took a quick look... At the broadcast from the Verandi ship.
There was a few moments of silence as he stared at it, then slowly lowered the datapad and stared out at the Earth once more. "Get the rest of our equipment off the ship, then take this news back home as fast as possible" Blue said simply.
"It's already halfway unloaded sir" the tech said, the crew on ship having anticipated these orders after seeing the broadcast for themselves. She gave Blue one last salute, then headed back towards the docking area. Blue just continued staring out the view, thinking to himself that this position was going to be even more interesting than he thought before...
"WHAT!? That price is outrageous!" A rather large (and just a little obese) Human freighter captain at the bar was yelling at the person sitting adjacent to him; a pretty, Human woman in a very neat looking but ultimately utilitarian black dress who was looking rather bored about this conversation. Behind the Diplomatic caste member stood two figures in armor; Grexian military caste mercenaries.
"Sir, that price is the standard by which our company has been operating for the last decade, with only special case exceptions. Yours is not a special case" the woman replied, managing to stay rather straight faced as opposed to the man's frustration.
"For that kind of price I'd expect an army of men! Not just a squad!" the man yelled in return, thumping his fist down on the counter top, "if you think I'm really going to pay that much just for some hired guns, you can forget it!"
"Our mercenaries are some of the most highly trained and professional in the galaxy. They are no mere 'hired guns'. Now, if the price we negotiated is too high for you, perhaps you would prefer to hire just one of our mercenaries?" the woman offered, her struggle to maintain composure lost on all but the most attentive.
"One guy?! ONE GUY!? And I'm supposed to believe that this one guy could protect my entire cargo?! You people are nothing but extortionists" the man said disgustedly, stepping off his stool and taking a few steps towards the door. He paused though, to turn back and spit at the woman, the glob landing on her dress' midsection. The woman, momentarily taken aback, glanced down at the mark, eyebrows furrowing in anger, then looked back up at the man.
A couple moments later, one of the armored figures was walking out of the bar door, the gaps between the outer layer glowing red as he was carrying the freighter captain by his shirt. He then threw the captain rather forcefully to the sidewalk, before the glowing switched off and he turned to go back inside. The woman was wiping away at the spit with a napkin, and sighing. "You know, when I got assigned to come to Sol itself, I was expecting a much less frustrating experience" the woman muttered, tossing the napkin away and stepping up from the stool. "Let's give it one more try, then find somewhere else to look for business if that also falls through" she quietly told her escorts, who simply nodded in response.
She then stepped over to the message 'board', quickly looking at the notices then glancing around the room to connect said notices to anyone in the bar. When she saw the notice for ship hands and connected it to Solaris sitting in the corner booth, she gave a quick breath of relief as she recognized the woman's ethnicity. "Oh thank goodness, a Verandi" she thought out loud, then headed over to the booth, escorts in tow.
"The notice board says you are looking for ship hands? Might I interest you in one or more of our mercenaries for security?" the diplomatic caste member said to Solaris, giving her a grin as she stood next to the table.
edited 23rd Sep '13 9:35:30 PM by FirockFinion
International Space Colony Tranquility, Sol System The Norb transportation vessel docked at the station with machine-like precision, as was to be expected. The door opened, and the ambassador who was assigned the operating name "Rufus" to better deal with the organic life at the Galactic Nations was standing at the airlock terminal. A few platforms surrounded her, including a couple models meant to look humanoid, and a few frames were there as well - due to the other members of the GN requiring carbon-based environments, many of the more efficient types of animal were left back on their worlds, forcing the use of these carbon minds. Right now they were all smaller frames made from a variety of creatures, with the majority being native fauna from human planets, as the disproportionate number of human-origin groups at the Council, with the largest one being a dog.
They were silent, making audible conversation regarding this development regarding Princess Amelia. The closest thing to a conversation which was going on right now was being communicated unit-to-unit, utilizing different processing features. The group went down the ramp, with the ambassador hopping ahead of the others.
And soon enough, a cyborg gorilla in simple clothing holding a glass of Red Bull with a shot of Jägermeister in it was approaching the table in the corner, its left hand holding the glass while the right one was used for its knuckle-walking. "Greetings," it buzzed out. "I am here regarding a potential employment experience. This frame requires minimal upkeep while offering superior engineering performance for whichever ship is required."
He took another sip of his drink.
International Space Colony Tranquility, Sol System
Charles groaned as the shuttle lowered down its ramp and he took his first steps onto the space station, the engines in his cybernetic limbs buzzing with an barely audible sound and the artificial muscles contracting and expanding under his formal clothes, a suit, much reminiscent of the classical ones from Old Earth, with a coat hanging over it. His eyes scanned the hangar and the metal of his artificial left jaw shone in the white, sterile light. He looked at his escort, two SSS Troopers clad also in formal wear, but undoubtedly armoured underneath, if nothing else they would be obvious due to the carbines in their hands.
"Shall we go sir? They are expecting you." One of them asked, a woman, maybe in her early thirties, her hair put up in a pony tail. "Yes we should." The colonel answered shortly and begun to walk, stealing a glance at Earth below them, the cradle of humanity.
Ceres, Sol System
Suddenly another human showed up in the booth, arm tattooed and his hair in a small Mohawk. *He was dressed simply but ulitarian and on his waist hanged a holster. "Oy, seems like there is already a crowd forming." He said with a rough accent, immediately placing his heritage from a certain area in the Solar Republic, or the northern part of one of the last remaining Kingdoms of Earth.
"John Harkin, pilot. Give me something with engines and I can fly it." He introduced himself as he shuffled his way to his hopefully soon-to-be employer "Retired SR Navy Pilot, fought in the Freedom War, scored an ace. Here is my file." He said and placed a datascroll in front of her of her. "It contains everything you might wanna know about me... Not including the classified stuff of course."
The tap tap of bare footsteps caught the attention of anyone in the booth as a man with slick black hair wearing a loose long-sleeved blue shirt and black pants approached the group, a cigarette in his mouth, and two angel wings, black as the night, on his back, completely still. He took a long drag out of his cigarette, slowly removing it from his mouth and breathing out, letting the smoke flow into the air...
"I'm good with languages." He said, sticking the cigarette inside his mouth as he sat down on the booth, his wings poking the people occupying the nearby booth on the back. "Also messages and... shit like that. Communications. You guys are going to need it." He leaned back on the booth, taking another drag out of his cigarette, sticking his hand inside his shirt to scratch his chest. "So, who should I talk to about the subject of payment?"
A young man ran past the Grexian ambassador, going over to the large window and pressing his face up against it for a moment, before taking a step back. His wings fluttered as he looked at the planet down there, his hand reaching into the bag slung over his shoulder. "It's... amazing!" Piper, the Ambassador to the Free Mind Society said, pulling out a clipboard filled with white sheets of paper. He then looked around the Galactic Nations, the smile brightening his young face.
"It's... the perfect moment!" He stared back at the Earth, before sitting down right there on the floor as he started writing something in the paper. He would write a few lines, look down at Earth and write a few more, and after ten minutes, he already had five pages filled with handwriting. "And then.. aha!" He said to himself, as he finished the seventh page and looked to the side, spotting the Grexian ambassador. "Oh!" He looked back at his papers and blushed. "I-I'm sorry! I just couldn't hold myself back, I had to put the beauty of this planet to words. You know how it is, right?"
Piper quietly stood up, brushing his blonde hair back as he approached the Grexian ambassador with his hand held out. "Hi! I'm Piper. I represent the Free Mind Society... I'm so happy to meet you!"
edited 24th Sep '13 3:48:34 PM by Stratofarius
International Space Colony Tranquility, Sol System (Neutral Zone)
Another diplomatic shuttle made laborious progress toward the space station. If it looked vaguely reminiscient of a military transport, that was because it was - or more accurately, a retrofitted military shuttle for diplomatic work. It was more heavily armoured than the other shuttles, though it lacked weapons in order to avoid alarming its hosts. It was painted bright white, and in bold black lettering were the words "SIRIAN UNION DIPLOMATIC SHUTTLE".
Inside the shuttle, Secei Azunn Berreil shifted in his seat. This was to be the first time he entered Tranquility, and he wanted to make a good first impression. He had pored over texts regarding the behaviours and body language of the other races who would be present, just in case he accidentally made a faux pas. His fur had been cleaned and straightened again and again, but much to the Secei's annoyance he still looked very... fluffy. Hardly the sort of appearance appropriate for a serious diplomatic meeting. On the other hand, it might just work to his advantage: after all, he might look more disarming. Grudgingly, he gave up on trying to flatten the fur on the top of his head.
His blue eyes looked around the cabin. Despite the exterior, the interior was positively luxurious, all expensive materials and highly advanced technology. At any rate, it showed the Union took his role seriously. Another indicator of his station was the group of "Critical Asset Protection Officers", as some Sirian bureaucrat had so coyly put it. They were big and burly, each armed with a pistol (much like the Grexian party, they had reluctantly left their primary weapons behind for now) - and though they were outwardly in formalwear, they were wearing body armour underneath it.
They had made the trip somewhat uncomfortable for Azunn, remaining in steely silence for the vast majority of the trip as they glowered* That was the only phrase to accurately describe how they looked at things; they didn't so much see things as stare them down at either him or various parts of the ship. Indeed, right now most of them were glaring at the forward bulkhead or at Tranquility, as though they could somehow assert their dominance and cow the space station. The sole exception was the youngest member of the asset protection team, whose face was glued to the view of Earth. They were scattered around the shuttle, though there was always one of them in the chair right next to Azunn. This made things faintly cramped.
Earth was a beautiful planet in Secei Berreil's opinion. Indeed, he wouldn't have minded the opportunity to go travelling around it. Perhaps when his stint in the post of Chief Ambassador was over he could indulge that particular desire. He mentally filed it away for later consideration.
They were getting close to Tranquility, now. Clearing his throat, he looked up at the bodyguard - who responded to the gesture by almost whipping her head around to face him - and asked, "How long until we dock?"
She paused for a moment, clearly more comfortable breaking doors down rather than babysitting VIPs. "...A minute," she said finally, her voice attempting professional friendliness and failing. In the event, her prediction was right, and the shuttle docked with the minimum of fuss. Straightening his clothes - a gesture repeated uncertainly by the asset protection team - he got up and left the shuttle, a pair of the asset protection team almost crushing him between themselves as he did so.
It might have made a faintly peculiar sight as he entered the colony proper, due to how much taller the bodyguards were. However, once they were through all but one dispersed to check the area, the straggler continuing to hang close to her objective. That was a relief, but Azunn wished that she would give him a little breathing room. It wasn't as though he was going to be kidnapped any second now. This was the Sol system, for Eben's sake!
He kept his complaints to himself, however.
Erruanuzua Irrek had been seated at the bar. Places such as the 3 Stooges saw their fair share of Sirians, usually hot blooded young guns looking to impress the boys back home. It had been a while since she had last set foot in this sort of establishment, not least due to the... incident. She still wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry when she remembered it. It was, after all, part of the reason why she was currently looking for work, though if those stuck-up officers hadn't already been baying for her blood she was sure that she'd still be in the Powered Infantry...
She slammed back another glass of alcohol and reflected angrily that this wasn't supposed to happen to members of the Irrek family. It was then that she noticed the message on the holographic display: a request for ship hands for a cargo freighter. It sure wasn't glamorous, but Erruan knew she needed a steady paycheck - and this looked like it would be just that.
Taking the remainder of her drink with her, Erruan slowly made her way toward the booth that had been noted in the message. She noted with some annoyance that there was already lots of people trying to catch a woman's attention - presumably, she was the ship's captain. Erruan was thankful that she had decided to keep her semi-powered armour in her rucksack; it would have drawn more attention to herself than she absolutely would have liked, though it was challenging for a Sirian to remain unnoticed regardless.
Unlike the others, she stood off to one side of the booth. Erruan felt it paid off to avoid clamouring for attention like exciteable children; it made you look desperate. She was unlikely to be missed, at any rate. Stifling a yawn, she waited for an opportunity to speak.
The Najani diplomatic shuttle silently fled through the exosphere, its orbital rajectory carefully calculated to take it to one of the Tranquility's primary docking bays. It was shaped like an enormous half-saucer; the tips of its wings swung back for when its flights took within the confines of an atmosphere. Yet it was as much of a work of art as it was a utilitarian transport; the ceramic tiles on its belly were decorated with a mosaic-like motif of crimson and beige patterns, while a series of blood-red lines along its top and side had the ship's name and number imprinted on them in stark white letters.
Within the shuttle's confines, Athena preened nervously, rubbing her elaborately painted beak across the sparse downy fur that ran along her chest. It was an ancestral habit that had never really gone away among the Najani. Her kind lived ephemerally brief lives; her predecessor had died only a few days before she herself had been appointed to take the post. Around her, her aides and attaches stared out of the window at the imposing bulk of the station or simply fussed elaborate decorations. Najani rarely weighed themselves down with heavy jewelry or clothing, yet Athena had insisted upon it for their first entrance into human space. As such, she had fixed an elaborate metal collar around her long neck, studded with a variety of glittering stones and metal. All of them were female, of course; the Supreme guild had quietly deflected the male's indignant protests that they were capable of representing their species, however unfair it was.
There was the brief bump and hiss of escaping air as the two ships equalized pressure. Then, with Athena at the lead, the four Najani took their first tottering steps onto the Tranquility. All of them were elaborately decorated and dressed up; studded, multi-coloured piercings hung from their necks and legs, while their beaks and chests, covered in glittering body paint, shimmered with all the colours of the rainbow. Their wings, folded tighly against their sides, still waved like elaborate multi-colloured flags, covered in ritualistic clan tattoos.
Most Najani didn't like walking long distances, with their arms folded tightly at their sides and forced to hobble on the ground with their awkwardly small limbs. Yet Athena had learned to cope when forced into such confining spaces, and she slid through the crowds of aliens with an odd, fluid grace, while her aides scrambled to keep up. When she stared out the frequent window bays, Athena couldn't help but be struck by how different Earth was to her own world. Despite its beauty, its inhabitants had never evolved flight; they had been forced to soil their clear blue skies with ugly, noisy flying machines years before contact. Yet Athena- and her aides- were anew kind of life, the youngest race so far inducted into the Galactic Nations.
She would not soil the legacy of her predecessors.
Poseidon stared down into his drink glumly, mulling over his future. Najani generally weren't a common sight at the Three Stooges; their semi-quadrupedal body posture and general dislike of enclosed spaces meant that they usually congregated around specially-designed bars just for them. But Poseidon was suppposed to be out in the galaxy, learning new things before his inevitable return home. That was tradition, wasn't it? From the day of his hatching, his father (during his infrequent visits from across the continent) had regaled him with stories about his own travels in space on his own vision of discovery, all the strange aliens and monsters he had met and the adventures he had had.
But so far, Posedion hadn't smote a single monster or encountered a single new alien. So he had tried to find a job; he had worked on a cargo vessel for a few days carrying some suspect contents out to an obscure mining colony on Beta Columbae, but the money had never come. So he had gravitated to this asteroid belt, full of cheap bars, low-end colonies, and unhappy faces. Now he had a new job, hopefully. "Call me Poseidon, he said, taking another cautious sip from his drink into his beak. "I specialize in astronavigation and route plotting."
edited 24th Sep '13 6:36:11 PM by Locoman
Rrroriksix, Grand Diplomat of the Rakasha Consulate International Space Colony Tranquility, Sol System
Rrroriksix was tapping his manicured claws against the metal armrest in his chair as his ship docked. While he was more than happy to be honoured with this position, he knew full well the importance it wore on his society. While he spoke for his people at the Galactic Nations, he also spoke for the Galactic Nations to his people as well as inform them of how much everyone gathered felt like trying to off them today. The Rakasha Consulate, for all of its talk of trading, was still a society that suffered from a history using the kind of diplomacy that comes from a rifle barrel.
His thoughts were interrupted as the ship finished docking. Looking out his window, he saw the broadcast and frowned. For a race that had no true friends, change was seldom something they looked forward to. One of Rrroriksix's bodyguards tapped him on the shoulder, indicating it was time to disembark. Grabbing his datapad, the diplomat prepared to begin his role of protecting his people through words instead of weapons. Standing up, he took care to ensure that his long flowing robe was not in a position to entangle his feet or tail and moved to the exit of the shuttle, accompanied by three bodyguards, each one carrying minimal weaponry to try and foster an appearance of trust.
After a brief discussion about the arms his bodyguards brought (merely simple pistols and not even rightning-powered ones!), Rrroriksix looked around the room and spotted the Sirian Union representative. It would do well to try and be kind to old enemies, even if they had almost wiped out his family line. The thought almost made the trained diplomat gag but he took a deep breath and approached his canine counterpart.
"You must be the Sirian Union's representative," said Rrroriksix through the translating function of his datapad, bowing politely but keeping his eyes on the other diplomat. "I am Rrroriksix, Grand Diplomat of the Rakasha Consulate and I look forward to working with you and all the other diplomats to ensure the galaxy remains safe and peaceful. Hopefully we will put our pasts behind us and move towards a brighter and more enlightened future."
"Razor" Rrivel Ceres, Sol System
Rrivel watched the gathering grow, as he lit up a cigar. The flames from the lighter seemed to tickle his oversized yellow teeth as he chomped on his favourite vice. While not particularly thirsty, he still went back to his drink. As he slowly alternated between drinking and smoking, he watched a message glow up and a crowd following the instructions. The ratman chuckled, watching as a veritable Galactic Nations formed. He hadn't remembered the last time he had seen such a variety of scumbags working for a few cheap bucks. Not that he gave a shit about racial boundaries. Contrary to his heritage, Rrivel loved working with other races at least more than his fellow Rakashians. Secrecy and footsie were not hobbies Rrivel found particularly interesting.
After he finished his drink, the hired gun shambled over to the group, tapping his rifle for good luck. While a multitude of interesting figures had made an appearance, Rrivel found his eyes drawn to the Sirian. While the Rakasha Consulate still nursed the bitter wound from their conflict with the canine aliens, the mercenary had nothing but admiration. After all, they had crushed the Rakasha Consulate so easily that they had to be strong bastards, right? He had learned that during a few jobs where he worked with Sirian mercs. After they had stopped staying awake every night for fear of a knife showing up in their back.
But it didn't take long for his interest to be drawn instead to the gorilla with a bunch of metal shoved all over it. He choked out a laugh with the smoke from his cigar accompanying it. "Now I didn't know you rusty buckets could drink without frying yourselves," said Rrivel, in an attempt to bring a bit of humour to this group. "Thought that motor oil stuff was more up your alley."
International space station Tranquility, Sol system
As the winged man ran past their group, all of the Military escorts flinched, hands going to pistol grips until it was clear he just wanted to stare out the view. They couldn't exactly blame him for that, and relaxed a bit...
Until he turned his attention back on Blue, and approached with hand outstretched. No sooner than the words 'happy to meet you' left Piper's mouth, two of the Military caste were standing between Blue and Piper, with another two flanking Blue's sides; all four had pistols out and leveled at Piper.
After a moment, Blue cleared his throat audibly. "Men, I don't think we have much to fear from someone who comes from a 'Free Mind Society'. Stand down" Blue said, still sitting in the same position in his chair. Without a word, the Military escorts lowered their pistols and parted to let Piper and Blue see each other again. (But they kept their pistols in hand.) "My apologies about my security detail. They take their job very seriously" he told Piper, taking the datapad with the Verandi broadcast and neatly slipping it into his briefcase.
"I represent the Grexian mercenary company. You may call me Blue" Blue introduced himself, staying seated. If Piper tried to shake his hand again, this time Blue would take it. (While still sitting.) "I don't think I've heard of the Free Mind Society. Are you one of the Galactic Nations members, or a private business like ourselves?" he asked, motioning at the security team around himself.
Ceres, Sol System "Humorous comment detected," the gorilla's speakers emitted to Rrivel, as well as his transmitter adding corresponding translation data into the mix, as his mouth remained motionless. "Initiating appropriate social response." With that, the animal's jaws opened, and let out a low, deep laugh - one of the very few processes capable of being carried out by the creature's organic vocal folds rather than its digital voicebox and transmitter.
3 Stooges Bar, Ceres, Sol System
Her lips curled as she saw the crowd mobbing around the woman. She payed as she stood up and slipped the coat on. A file picture and a quick search through the notice board revealed what she already suspected, this was indeed Solaris. She cleared her throat, buttoned up her beige coat, straightened her clothes all possible to give a competent and reliable look.
Once that was done she picked up her bandolier bag, tapped over her pistol to verify it was secured and holstered on her side and walked her way to the already growing group of aliens, some already known to her and others she's only heard by rumors, like the rat-man and the Sirian. She seemed to be the less rambunctious of the lot. Taking that as a sign of maturity she hanged near her inside the group, biding her time too, not likely to have a 6'4" dark-ish blue alien ignored.
edited 25th Sep '13 5:58:20 AM by Sanojutsu
Lord Tebigon looked about the hanger before descending from the ramp that extended to the floor. His honor guard preceded him, holding their antiquated rifles at their sides at pointed towards the ceiling. They formed ranks on either side of the ramp and stood at attention as he passed.
Looks like he was not the only one to just arrive. Several more ships were in the process or or had just settled down in the hanger. The Grexian shuttle that had been hovering about Tranquility before Tebigon had even got arrived had finally come in. Tebigon's eyes narrowed, wondering how the "mercenaries" would respond to the less than welcome news he brought from the queen. The Grexian left the hanger without a word to the others. Shortly after a winged being Tebigon did not recognize followed him.
Another ship arrived. Tebigon instantly recognized it as from the machine empire. He looked on with some distaste as the creature that represented them disembarked. He could never get used to the damn things no matter how often they met during routine conferences.
His counterpart from the Solar Republic was leaving his own craft at the same time. Linkolnton exited his shuttle escorted by his own honor guard. At last, a familiar face and someone Tebigon could relate to, even with that mechanical deformity plastered on his face. Tebigon liked to talk with his colleague outside of the chamber. It did the job good to establish personal relations with his counterparts from across the galaxy. He noticed the Rakasha and Sirian (the latter of which reminded him strongly of the dog he had owned as a child) were doing the same thing.
Leaving his own guards behind, Tebigon strolled up to to Linkolnton. His walking stick was swinging in his hand rather than actually being used.
"Charles." he greeted the Solarian politely with a bow and flourish of his hand.
If Solaris didn't get a crew together soon she was going to be in so much trouble. Sighing, she continued waiting in her booth. She ran her finger around the rim of her drinking glass. Exactly what was in the glass she was not exactly sure, it was cheap and alcoholic and that's all that mattered.
The glass was empty. Solaris rose from seat to order another but was at that moment bum rushed by aliens.
"The notice board says you are looking for ship hands?"
"I am here regarding a potential employment experience"
"John Harkin, pilot. Give me something with engines and I can fly it."
"So, who should I talk to about the subject of payment?"
"I specialize in astronavigation and route plotting."
Too much! Too fast!
"Woah, woah! One at a time! I said one at a time!"
Once they had settled down, Solaris took a deep breath and began answering each applicant in turn as rapidly as possible.
"Yes, what is the going rate these days? You machines do not use money, what do you ask for in return? And what if I do wish to know about the 'classified stuff' as you call it? You may talk with me. An astronavigator is just what I require."
Solaris looked over to the three who had remained silent or told awful jokes. "And can I help you?" she said to the Sirian, Rakashan, and She-Did-Not-Know-What-That-One-Was.
Ceres, Sol System "The Norb does not use currency internally, nor for most large-scale transactions," the primate's speakers stated. "But for this unit's intended purpose of analyzing organics in a starship environment, the standard methods of compensation for employment are sufficient."
He took another draught of his drink.
Once the pistols were pointed at him, Piper didn't flinch or take a step back. Instead, he gawked at them with wide-eyed innocence, poking one of the pistols with his finger before putting it in his mouth, just to see how it tasted. And once Blue started talking again, Piper turned to a blank page in his clipboard and started... drawing. He kept on drawing for a while after Blue had finished talking, and after signing his drawing, gave it to the Ambassador.
It was a realistic, almost perfect drawing of the Ambassador standing up and crossing his arms. Every part of the drawing was extremely detailed, to the point that Piper caught little physical characteristics he had only seen for a second or two. In fact, if the drawing had been given to someone who didn't see Piper draw it, they could have easily mistaken it for an actual photo- but little things gave it away, like the extra lines that weren't removed due to the lack of an eraser and Piper's name on the bottom right corner of the paper.
"Master Artisan Piper at your service." He said, giving him a short bow. "Sorry, I just needed to do that. Your face, well... it's nothing like I've ever seen back home. Oh, yeah! The Society! That's where I come from." He pointed at himself, chuckling. "No, no, we're a member of the Galactic Nations. I think you probably heard of us without knowing who we were, considering how much of a hand we have in galactic art." He blushed. "I myself did a few sculptures here and there. Nothing much, though."
"And you're a Grexian, huh?" He leaned forward, smiling. "Wow. I heard a few things about you guys on the way here, but... you are really pretty." He then pointed at the bodyguards. "And so are them!"
The Society member shot a glance at the "primate", remaining completely expressionless. "Please never do that again." He said, referring to the laugh, if you could call it that. "I just want money. Enough for me to buy a nice home so I don't have to care about anything anymore."
edited 25th Sep '13 8:42:54 AM by Stratofarius
Azunn — Tranquility, Sol System (Neutral Zone)
Despite himself, Azunn was quietly impressed with the sheer variety of civilisations to grace the space station. It was one thing reading about the various races that he would be interacting with for the rest of his time here, but it was quite another to actually see them in the flesh (and circuitry, in some cases).
As Rrroriksix approached, Secei Berreil paused for a microsecond as he tried to figure out how he would react. Everyone had at least one relative who fought in that particular conflict* Though technically this was true of all Sirian wars. He wondered if, perhaps, one of his relatives had fought someone related to the Rakashan diplomat* It was a statistical improbability, but Azunn hated assuming that an "improbability" was automatically a non-issue. He certainly hoped not; he was fairly sure that it would make personal relations... difficult.
For lack of a better response, the Sirian raised a hand in a greeting that resembled a salute: a cultural hang-over from their servitude, it implied respect. Returning the bow (and making use of his own datapad's translation function), he said, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Grand Diplomat. I am Secei Azunn Berreil, Chief Ambassador for Siria and her Colonies. Though what happened was unfortunate, I'm confident we can maintain a good working relationship."
He briefly considered smiling then discarded the notion - it might come across as a threatening gesture. It didn't help that his bodyguard was currently glaring at the Grand Diplomat as though he offended her personally. Tapping her on the arm, Azunn said, "Give us some space - the Grand Diplomat means us no harm." The bodyguard nodded sharply and reluctantly took several steps back, her gaze never wavering.
"You'll have to forgive her," said Azunn to Rrroriksix apologetically. "They can get a little overprotective."
Erruan — Ceres, Sol System
Erruan noticed Rrivel coming toward the burgeoning crowd and spared him a nod. Though she felt that Rakashans were slippery (and just as likely to betray you as help you), she recognised that they could sneak around much more easily than their Sirian counterparts. If nothing else, that took skill - almost as much skill as was required of a warrior. She wasn't particularly sure what the rodent-like alien would have to offer to the ship, though. That particular mystery would resolve itself quickly, though.
The laughter of the cybernetically modified gorilla made her fur stand on end for a moment, though Erruan sharply reminded herself that it was just a laugh, nothing more. If she was going to let herself be unsettled by that, then what Irrek was she? Certainly not soldier material, at the least.
Just as she had predicted, the poor Verandi captain was overwhelmed by the flood of questions - though she handled it very well. When the woman turned her attention to the three newcomers, Erruan said, "Yes. I'm also here about the advertisement you put out. If your ship requires any security, I can help with that. I'm Eir Erruanuzua Irrek, though you can just call me Erruan. Former Powered Infantry in the Sirian Army, and you don't need to supply me with any gear." She paused as a way to sweeten the deal dawned upon her. "I went to the Innon Military Academy."
The Innon Military Academy (usually just called "Innon") was one of the major military academies on Siria, normally accepting only the best and brightest both inside and outside Sirian space. Those who learnt their trade there usually went very far (even if it didn't quite happen in Erruan's case). It wasn't unlikely that the captain would have heard of the academy, and so the calculated remark would hopefully have its intended effect: mark Erruan out as someone of particularly stellar talents. And even if the namedrop didn't catch the Verandi captain's attention, the Sirian military academies were still held in very high esteem regardless.
She quietly awaited a response. She had time - and would have plenty more if the captain decided not to take her off this rock.
Three Stooges Bar, Ceres, Sol System
Unfazed by the hijinks of the crowd "Indeed, but I'm juzt a drifter looking for zome pay and a place to ztay for a zeazon" Said the kurasne lady with a broken accent; her S's notably vibrating, that reminded a twisted version of a language between French and Russian, as well as a husky voice that would denote a rather butch woman, if appearance wouldn't suffice "My name iz Hamare Yanarizven, my expertize liez in putting machinery or electronic-z together and taking them apart, if you were to require my zervize, though I can't provide more credential-z or file-z, az I find myself in the a ztate of exile" she said, thinking back on her years on the technical facility #12 in Vianea, and recent times too.
Space Station Tranquility
The Kurasne shuttle would finally dock, the pair of escort drones slipping neatly and almost seamlessly into their slots. Not much more security was deployed inside or outside the ship as this was a peaceful mission, one to bridge the nations of the stars together! Or so hoped Nekane, at least. Landing protocols ran through and the Ambassador of the young empire walked out with a couple of assistants in tow.
Space station Tranquility, Sol system
Blue took the drawing, and looked at it with mild curiosity. He did look impressed... But only a little; not because it wasn't good, but mostly because he didn't care. At Piper's last comment, the security glanced at each other, some quick chatter going on in their helmets about what this weirdo was talking about. They finally settled on the comment having been directed towards their suits, which were personally customized; though they all agreed that 'pretty' was not the word they preferred to describe it.
"If I've heard of you, it was only in passing" Blue said, handing the picture back to Piper. "Our business is in security: personal, business, and national. We don't deal in arts and cultures" he continued, rather neutrally.
A couple moments later, the Military squad leader held a hand up to one side of his helmet, listening to a quick transmission, then turning to address Blue. "Sir, our equipment is unloaded and secure in the docking bay. The ship is on its way" the squad leader reported.
"Ah, good. We need to return to business, so unless you need to hire some security, I must bid you good day" Blue said, standing up and giving Piper a quick bow of the head. He then turned and started heading back to the docking bay, the Military escorts forming a rough circle around him.
The Diplomatic member glanced at the rest of the people suddenly converging at the booth with a slight frown; they certainly didn't seem to mind about cutting into a conversation or swamping the poor Verandi. She quickly replaced the frown with a light smile again as she turned back to Solaris.
"The atmosphere in here seems a little congested. Here" the Diplomatic member said, taking a small datapad out of her pocket and hitting a couple buttons. "This is a listing of our offers available on hand, and offers we can call in, all with listed prices in standard Verandi ship grade material. It also has the location of the dock that currently holds our ship. Come there if you settle on one of our deals, and we'll be able to get it sorted out post haste" she explained, handing the little datapad out to Solaris. Needless to say, as with Grexian prices, the best Solaris could afford was maybe a small fire team or squad, though a single soldier would be more affordable.
Then the woman turned around to her two escorts. "Let's get back to the ship" the Diplomatic member said to the two of them. They each responded with a quick affirmative, and the three of them headed out of the bar.
edited 26th Sep '13 4:07:19 AM by FirockFinion
"Ah, my lord, it is nice to see you again!" Charles exclaimed and repeated the bow as the Verandi approached him "How has life treated you after the war?"
Rrrorikisix International Space Colony Tranquility, Above Earth
The Grand Diplomat nodded, looking at the particular bodyguard himself. "No offense taken, Chief Ambassador; there is an old Rakashian proverb that says that while wounds fester if left alone, they can only heal after being repaired. Since neither side has really done much to reconcile after the war, bad blood does not surprise me in the least." Rrroriksix almost chuckled. "I must say, I actually expected a colder welcome than this. So thank you, Chief Ambassador."
His own bodyguards had no interest in trying to show up their canine counterparts, likely because the Sirians towered over them and size would make a difference at such a range. Their eyes were relaxed yet focused, arms behind their backs and tails flicking slightly.
Rrroriksix, fearing a rather awkward silence, bowed once again to Azunn. "If you'll excuse me, Chief Ambassador, I was told I should meet with the other heads to get personally acquainted. As we say back at home, may your days be long and your joy eternal."
Rrivel Three Stooges Bar, Ceres
Rrivel watched as the cybernetic gorilla 'laughed' and the rest of the group jumped down the poor human's throat. While he was addressed by her, he was patient enough to let the rest of the group discuss their propositions. It would do no good to try and ram himself in there and some employers got the hair in a twist if you disrespected them. Rrivel self-consciously thought of his stub and remembered that that lesson was not one he would be quick to forget. Puffing on his cigar some more, Rrivel waited, returning the Sirian's nod from force of habit and respect. He had only seen Sirian powered armour a few times but it was enough to know he never wanted to be on the receiving end.
Space Station Tranquility, Sol System
"Oh, oh, oh!" Piper threw his things inside his bag and ran after Blue, waving his arms around. "Ambassador Blue! Wait up!" Once he got close enough to the group, he started jogging alongside them, smiling. "Can I go with you? I have never seen those tools your bodyguards hold!" He pointed at the weapons, nodding. " They taste weird, by the way, might wanna check that... The point of my trip was also to learn about other cultures, and what better way than by watching them do what they always do! I won't be a bother, I'll just sit down and watch! Please?!" He even clasped his hands and did his best pleading face at him.
"Ambassador Blue! Wait up!"
"I'm not an ambassador, Mister Piper. At best I'm a lobbyist, though I really prefer to think of myself as a businessman" Blue said, still looking straight ahead as he walked. In a way, it was a lie, since he was assigned to the space station to both speak on behalf of and report back to the Empire, just like an ambassador; but on the other hand, Grexia wasn't a member of the Galactic Nations, mainly because as far as the Galactic Nations knew, there was no such thing as the Grexian Empire. All they knew the Grexians as were a bunch of well equipped, well trained, Human mercenaries.
"... I have never seen those tools your bodyguards hold!"
This got Blue to stop, (making the Military escorts stop too) and face Piper, a little bewilderment sneaking into even his expression as Piper pleaded his request. "You've... Never seen a gun before?" Blue asked rhetorically and disbelievingly, unsure how else to start.
"That would explain how he reacted..." one of the escorts, the one who's pistol Piper had tried to taste, muttered hesitantly.
"You really do have some things to learn about the rest of the galaxy it seems. These are weapons, mister Piper. Their function is to kill, damage, destroy, disable, wound, harm, etcetera. My guards were pointing them at you as a warning, because they thought you might be trying to harm me. Had they actually used them, you'd probably be dead right now" Blue explained to Piper, seeing brutal honesty as the best course of action. "Now, if you're still sure you want to follow and observe, then very well. But, do not touch any of our equipment" he added, and started heading for the docking area again, with the escorts keeping around him.
edited 26th Sep '13 7:43:35 PM by FirockFinion
Space station Tranquility
Piper slowly tilted his head, a look of utter confusion appearing on his face as Blue listed some of the things the "guns" could do. He knew some of these words- destroy, disable, damage... wound, for example, made him remember when he accidentally made a small cut on his finger and got healed up by one of the great servants back at the Society- but the others just baffled him. "Kill"? "Harm"?
It was only after Blue said he might have been dead that Piper started making some connections. "So to kill means... to make people die?" He scratched his hair, following behind Blue. "How does that work? Do these guns make people grow older within seconds?"
Azuun — Tranquility, Sol System (Neutral Zone)
"Wise words, Grand Diplomat." Azunn smiled slightly, his tail waving gently. "I also wish to help repair the rift between our nations. On the behalf of the Union, I look forward to meeting you again. And may you be blessed likewise." The canid alien mirrored his smaller counterpart's bow, and followed it with another 'salute'. "Farewell."
Sensing that the conversation had drawn to a close, Azunn's bodyguard let her attention wander from her Rakashan counterparts. Her ears - which had been perked forward for the duration of the discussion - now twitched occasionally as they picked up snatches of conversation, though she clearly wasn't interested in it beyond any indications of dangerous intent.
Stepping back, Secei Berreil took an opportunity to reacquaint himself with the room, and to finish his once-over of the other diplomats. That went well, he thought to himself, pleased with the promising beginnings of his time aboard Tranquility. Feeling rather foolish standing in the middle of the room, Azunn quietly withdrew to one side and looked out for anyone who was not currently busy. Like Rrrorikisix, he wanted to get to know the people he would be working alongside for the forseeable future.
"To kill someone is to make them die, yes. But these guns are not quite so magical" Blue said in response to Piper's two questions as they arrived back at the docking area. Waiting in a little open area was a number of metal crates and boxes, being guarded by four more Military caste members, bringing them up to ten total. (Not counting Blue.) Though all of their armors looked different and had different colors, (And some were distinctly Feminine.) they all fit the same general theme, and most of them were the same size. Two of them looked like they might be a bit smaller, and their armors had some more technological additions. Then one really stood out by being much bigger and bulkier than his comrades, standing taller and wider, which was a bit juxtaposed by his sidearm not really being much bigger than theirs. A quick round of salutes was exchanged as they approached.
"These guns work by a mechanical function which sparks a small explosive charge; this explosive charge propels a small metal projectile to incredibly high speeds through the barrel of the gun, which aims the projectile at the target" Blue explained, not particularly set aback by the fact that he now had to describe to someone how a gun works. "You're good at observing things, yes?" It wasn't really a question; Blue had seen the picture Piper had drawn. Blue turned to one of the escorts.
"Soldier, field strip your weapon for inspection" Blue ordered quickly.
"Yes sir" the woman responded, quickly crouching down to one of the metal crates and drawing her sidearm. Then with obviously well practiced speed and efficiency, she started taking the pistol apart and putting the pieces on top of the crate, disassembling the entire thing in under a minute.
"Very good. Now soldier, with this weapon reassembled, are there any people in this dock that you couldn't kill?" Blue asked her, to continue the point.
She looked around slowly, taking in every person she could see in the docking area. "No sir. Would just have to hit vital areas on armored targets" she answered, motioning at the other Grexian soldiers, then at some of the bodyguards around the other diplomats, particularly the Sirians.
Blue nodded, and turned to Piper. "And these are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. By firearm standards, these pistols are fairly weak and short ranged. There are bigger, more deadly firearms, and plenty that work differently, but to more or less the same result. Like we have some that use magnetic acceleration instead of an explosive charge; and I know of weapons that actually fire energy instead of metal projectiles, or even bits of superheated plasma. Sometimes firearms are made to not kill; to instead just disable the target in some fashion, but those are usually the exception rather than the rule" Blue finished his explanation, taking a moment to straighten one of his sleeves. "And if you, the ambassador sent to represent your people, had no idea about any of that, then I would consider it lucky that nobody has invaded your nation" he couldn't help but add.
edited 27th Sep '13 11:13:59 PM by FirockFinion
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