Beyond - Legends Annals of the Noble House of Trieste: Volume 11 (AU, OC)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Trieste, Apr 19, 2017.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Trieste Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Title: The Annals of the Noble House of Trieste: Volume 11
    Author: Trieste
    Timeframe: 286 ABY and beyond
    Characters: The members of the Noble House of Trieste, a House of Bakura (all OCs)
    Genre: Alternate universe, political drama, family drama, and other things as they arise
    Notes: This fanfic is the continuation of my end of Annals of the Noble House of Trieste: Volume 10, which chronicled the events of the Trieste family under the leadership of Falene Trieste, the tenth such leader. Volumes 8 and 9 also exist for those who are interested--they number in the hundreds of single spaced pages. Volume 9 is not complete as its contents go up to the beginning of The Bluebells & The Edelweiss (I also possess an original copy with untruncated posts from the pre-board migration era). Those interested in these earlier works are welcome to PM me. TAGs will be provided upon request should you find these scribblings interesting. :) (Though I will provide initial TAGs to @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Vehn as they were on the list in Volume 10.) Your comments are welcome, provided they are good natured and constructive. Without further ado...

    Foreword

    For the first time since the founding of the Noble House, the mantle of Taoiseach (pronounced Tee-shock, a Bakuran word for chieftan) passed within a generation.

    In hindsight, it is debatable whether Falene Trieste ever truly realized the potential of the Noble House as Taoiseach. Though her achievements in discovering the last remaining Kurtzen in the galaxy and returning them to Bakura was notable and laudable, Falene shied away from the public prominence expected of the leader of a House of Bakura, especially one that called itself the Noble House.

    Her brother and successor, Declan Trieste, did not. He became Taoiseach after being passed over by his mother, Kerry Trieste, ninth Taoiseach of the Noble House. With his wife Ayn, he spent the ten years since his sister became Taoiseach building a political reputation by winning elections in Telaan Valley, a generally conservative county of Bakura, despite being a member of the left-leaning Fianna Fail, the party his ancestor, Fionn Cormac Trieste, second Taoiseach of the Noble House, founded. Declan had risen through guile and now had the whole of the Noble House at his disposal. What he did still divides historians today--except in one regard.

    Declan Trieste, eleventh Taoiseach of the Noble House, changed everything.

    W. Súilleabháin
    Editor
    Professor of History, University of Bakura, Salis D’aar
  2. jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 5
    Sounds like Declan is going to create quite a bit of controversy! I eagerly look forward to that. :D
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  3. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Me, too! [:D]

    Sorry that I react so late to this. Very difficult Easter with my family, including an emergency doctor. And yesterday I was inside a bus when three men went mad and started to attack passengers.

    But it feels good to focus my mind after work on a good story like this.
  4. DarthUncle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2005
    star 5
    Sounds intriguing, I'm following the story; I'll follow this thread, and looked up Volume 10 for consumption too. Is it bad that I found you by following @AzureAngel2 seeing if she'd posted more stories that I missed so far?
    Trieste, AzureAngel2 and jcgoble3 like this.
  5. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    I keep telling you, husband, that my own work is rubbish and insignificant next to many authors on these boards.

    This story, @DarthUncle is about the pitfalls and politics. In a galaxy, far, far away. And about the echoes of the past influencing the present & future of a very interesting family. So yes, read you must.
    Last edited by AzureAngel2, Apr 23, 2017
    jcgoble3 likes this.
  6. Trieste Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle (welcome to the TAG list) @jcgoble3 @Vehn It's time to begin in earnest. :)

    The Plaza, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    On the seventh floor of the Plaza, the doors of the lift slid open silently. Hand in hand, Declan and Ayn Trieste stepped onto the quiet penthouse floor of the Plaza and looked around the Noble House’s residence in the heart of tony southeast Salis D’aar

    Last night Declan had taken the reins of the Noble House. Before they left the family retreat at Kilmainham Brook the couple had initiated a flurry of activity. Declan holoconferenced with his mother, the only other living former Taoiseach besides his sister (and already awake on the other side of the planet in the city of Cape Suzette), to inform her of the transition before anyone else knew as a courtesy.

    They had arranged that morning’s press conference announcing the change in leadership in the context of the Noble House’s most valuable financial asset, the Bakura Miners professional limmie team. The Miners were a planet-wide obsession on Bakura and had been a powerful political tool for Declan’s grandfather and mother. Declan wanted the entire galaxy to know that he was the leader of the Noble House and now they did.

    This afternoon he had a meeting with his Uncle Ronan, the being who had managed the Noble House’s finances for over 30 years. Through Ronan Declan would gain an understanding of the full position of the family assets and exactly how many credits he now directed. This was one point on which he insisted he would not be ignorant.

    The final thing they had done was to initiate the move of their family to the top floor of the Plaza, leaving behind the flat the pair bought when they had been elected to the Senate. Their apartment was just fine, but the Plaza was a residence befitting a Taoiseach. It was made for entertaining the influential beings who socialized in the capital. Though it could house an entire generation of Triestes, at the moment there were only two other residents: Supreme Court Justice Regan Eldred and her husband Atticus, who lived on the fourth floor. Declan had always been close to his Aunt Regan, perhaps more so than he was with his own mother. Having Aunt Regan close at hand suited him.

    Droids had prepared the seventh floor upon word of the move. The furniture covers had been removed, dust dispelled, blinds opened, fresh air let in. It had all been done on their account, one of the many acknowledgments of Declan’s position as Taoiseach. This was what life would be now: a flower unfolding to greet the sun of his radiance.

    Declan and Ayn walked through the bright rooms onto the balcony that overlooked the Salis D’aar skyline. The morning was giving way to a beautiful, breezy noon. Rain clouds, often present throughout Bakura, were nowhere in sight. It could not have been more emblematic of a bright future.

    Yet Declan was not thinking of the day. “There will be a lot of long nights on this balcony,” he said, looking at the city.

    “There were before,” Ayn said as her eyes swept the city. “Now they will take place in a setting appropriate for them,”

    “We’ll sell the flat,” Declan stated. They both knew they had no more use for that private residence. Every property the Noble House owned could be a private residence if they so chose. “The Noble House will provide for us now.”

    “I’ll see to it we sequester the funds to make sure they aren’t caught up in the trust,” Ayn said. “We may need independent revenue streams in the days to come.”

    “If Ronan can’t be trusted.”

    “You’ll determine that later today. But he’s a banker. I expect he’ll be discreet,” Ayn said.

    “We will proceed carefully for the moment, until we know who is loyal,” Declan said. “Which brings me to another matter now that we have access to the Noble House resources. Have I ever told you about Willem Dorian?”

    “No,” Ayn said as they walked back inside. The husband and wife had been attuned to each other for years, long enough to know when they shouldn’t risk being overheard. Not everyone in the Noble House had been careful what they said on balconies and the consequences had cost them much. It was a mistake that neither of them would repeat.

    “He was one of my grandfather’s most trusted operatives in Republican Intelligence. His codename was Sailor Naranja. The intelligence Dorian collected influenced the outcome of the Neo-Sith War. After the War, he worked for my grandfather, both informally and later as a Federal Marshal. He gave his life saving my grandfather and my mother in an assassination attempt. There was no being more loyal to my grandfather than Dorian,” Declan explained.

    Ayn nodded. “We need our Willem Dorian,” she said, reading Declan’s mind.

    “I’ll begin drawing up some files,” Declan agreed. “Now, let’s go see Niall and Shenandoah. I’m going to enjoy watching them pick out their rooms.”

    Declan and Ayn took each other’s hands and stepped back into the lift. Even though they were going down to get their children from Regan and Atticus on the fourth floor where they had spent the fateful night, the politicians were very much on their way up.
    DarthUncle, AzureAngel2, Vehn and 2 others like this.
  7. Vehn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    A fitting start to a new volume of the Trieste saga. I remember Willem Dorian very well. I miss his character and look forward to a new one, in some fashion, taking that trusted place once more.
    AzureAngel2 and Trieste like this.
  8. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Willem Dorian. This somehow rings a bell inside my head, too. I might need to binge read again...
    DarthUncle likes this.
  9. DarthUncle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2005
    star 5
    A start to a new volume very much in tune with how we'd expect from Declan and Ayn - having now read Volume 10 too, I have to say, I really find them interesting, though part of me hopes they fail badly for so much manipulation, their love for eachother and how well they work together and know eachother and their strengths really is compelling. I am sure all will not go as we expect, unless we expect the unexpected!
    AzureAngel2, Trieste and jcgoble3 like this.
  10. Trieste Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn

    Every member of the Noble House of Trieste received the same message to mark the beginning of this new era. It was a holorecording of Declan, calm and confident.

    “Good day,” he greeted them. “Today at Kilmainham Brook, my sister Falene passed the mantle of Taoiseach to me. It is my profound pleasure and honor to accept the leadership of our Noble House. In the short term, all financial arrangements you had with Falene will continue. Unless presented with compelling reasons otherwise, I intend to continue them. As I review the Noble House’s business I will consult with each of you where needed. As Taoiseach, I am here for you, my family. Together, we are the Noble House of Bakura. May we all pull together to continue to be the first House of Bakura.”

    Some, like Jane Serena Trieste, the interstellar pop star, watched and deleted it without a second thought. She had the greatest individual wealth of any member of the Noble House thanks to conert tours and album sales. The matter of who the Taoiseach was meant little to her.

    Some, like Trixie Penn, attorney and wife of Bakura Miners star full back Horst Penn, rolled their eyes. She already didn’t like most of her family, especially Declan. This would only make him more insufferable.

    Some, like Eleanor Vehn, noted it with interest and moved on to other things. Eleanor, chief diplomat for the Roon Federation, had been born a Trieste, but her fate did not lie with Bakura and the Noble House. She had her own path to forge.

    And then there were those for whom this message, this decision by Falene, would change everything. Some knew it. Some didn’t.



    Il Avili, Druckenwell

    Quentin Eldred, Trixie Penn’s brother, got the message in bed.

    “...to be the first House of Bakura.”

    “Huh. Well I guess Declan got what he always wanted,” Quentin said.

    “So that means he inherits everything?” Corrie Ypres asked, cuddling closer to him. It was already warm in the bedroom. They could both tell it would be a hot day. Luckily, they were already dressed for it--or rather undressed for it.

    “Everything that’s owned by the House, which is a lot.”

    “How much do you think that is?” Corrie asked. “Like half a billion credits? A billion credits? Two billion credits? I mean, the Miners alone are probably worth about a billion credits, give or take a hundred million or so. I mean, the Marksmen are probably worth a few hundred million. Maybe half a billion in a seller’s market.” Corrie had a habit of talking more than she needed to, something that Quentin had long ceased to notice.

    “Only Uncle Ronan and Falene know for sure, though Declan is probably finding that out right now. Let’s ballpark it at a billion credits for order of magnitude,” Quentin said.

    “Maybe I’ll buy the Noble House with this year’s net profit then,” Corrie, Vice President of the Ypres Initiative’s Spacecraft division, sighed. Though her father, Roon Federation President William Ypres, still held the family shares, she stood a good chance of inheriting one of the largest industrial holdings and fortunes in the Roon Federation, if not the galaxy.

    “Oh! New question!” Corrie exclaimed.

    “Hit me with it,” Quentin said.

    “Does Declan own this?”

    She held up her left hand and the engagement ring so recently placed there by Quentin.

    “Most emphatically not,” Quentin assured her.

    “That’s what I thought,” Corrie said before she kissed her fiance.



    Chume’dan, Hapes

    It was early afternoon when the chume’da, heir to the Hapes Consortium, received word.

    “...to be the first House of Bakura.”

    Sierra Westenra Iseult, daughter in-law of the Queen Mother and next in line for the throne, sat back in her plush chair and knit her fingers in front of her chest as she sunk into deep thought, her eyes wandering over the golden landscape of the capital city of the Consortium. Though everything looked serene, it was anything but.

    The Consortium’s public image had been severely tarnished lately by allegations of sexist practices by the professional limmie team owned by the royal family. Male players had seen their playing time cut and contracts traded away. The actions had been decried by the team captain, Tendra Nalo, a female who had been born outside the Consortium. An attempt had been made on Nalo’s life in response to her public statements. Needless to say, Nalo was no longer plying her trade for the Bucs.

    In privately diffusing the situation with Nalo, Sierra had promised to investigate and take action. Unfortunately, the deeper Sierra investigated, the worse it got. The decision to get rid of the male players had come directly from the Ministry of Sport and Culture. What was troubling were suggestions that it had come directly from the Queen Mother herself.

    More accurately, as Sierra saw it, they had come from her mother in-law.

    Sierra had been born on Bakura. She had never understood the Hapan obsession with female superiority. Though Bakuran society was far from perfect (too many Bakurans distrusted non-Humans and droids in Sierra’s opinion), at least they believed that males and females were equal in the eyes of the law and society. At least they received equal pay for equal work. At least young boys and girls could equally dream of being Prime Minister or scientists or corporate executives.

    Sierra had known what she was inheriting when she had married Trellam Iseult. Though, if she was honest, she hadn’t. Then he had two female cousins in the line of succession before him, plus his own mother. The idea that his wife would be the heir apparent to the Queen Mother had been a remote possibility.

    That all changed when the previous Queen Mother’s shuttle exploded with her daughters on board. When the dust of the political jockeying inside the palace settled, Sierra was chume’da and her life had been irrevocably altered. Sierra Westenra was dead. Long live Sierra Iseult.

    She picked up her comm. “Prepare a shuttle for Bakura to leave tomorrow morning,” she instructed. “I wish to congratulate my cousin in person.”
  11. jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 5
    Here we go. I cannot wait to see how Sierra resolves this. :D :D :D

    I also wonder just how big of a curveball I threw into your story with that plotline in ELL. [face_thinking]
  12. Vehn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    And now the fun begins. I did like the tidbit about Eleanor. So true to her character. Taking note and moving forward. I do wonder though where exactly Declan is going to steer the Noble House. To success or to ruin?
    AzureAngel2, Trieste and jcgoble3 like this.
  13. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    It fascinates me how you describe the Hapan society and traditions. A lot of thought and preparation always go into your stories. You really create worlds.
    DarthUncle likes this.
  14. Trieste Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    I have a good springboard with the EU from which to start with! I'm glad I do good things with the material. ;)
    DarthUncle and AzureAngel2 like this.
  15. Trieste Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn You might want the family tree for this one.

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    Outside the widnows, the capital skyscape looked purple in the gloaming of a calm evening, cooling from the day. Inside, the seventh floor of the Plaza looked more like home for the Ayn and Declan Triestes after a week. Their personal effects inhabited niches and shelves. Truth be told, the pair brought little with them, only items of sentimental value or those of provenance that made them irreplaceable. Their children, Niall and Shenandoah, had brought more, but such were the indulgences they made for their children.

    At the moment the husband and wife were alone in the seventh floor’s study. Unlike the one at Kilmainham Brook with its dark wood tones, this one was painted white and light blue, a complete contrast. The furniture was modern and sleek. Declan couldn’t remember whose hand had touched this space and to give it the current look. This was a space of the future, not the past.

    One side table held one of the few items that Ayn and Declan had brought with them from their old apartment: a dejarik set. Its configuration was markedly different from the last time they had touched it. Some positions were now inestimably stronger.

    Earlier that night they had all sat down for family dinner, their first in the Plaza together. Declan had arrived from the Valley where he had spent the workweek. Becoming Taoiseach had not put his duties as Governor of Telaan Valley on hold and there was much to be done in Golden Prairie. There was still no budget and until there was the rest of Declan’s agenda for the Valley was stalled.

    However, even before becoming Taoiseach he had vowed to his family that weekends would be with them. It was a promise he would not break. For the moment their nine year old children had been dispatched to finish their homework so nothing would stand in the way of outings and adventures over the next two days. That gave Ayn and Declan time to take care of other business so they could enjoy their family time as well.

    “The safest thing would be to keep it in the family,” Declan started. “A few candidates among the cousins came to mind...but I don’t like any of them.”

    “Let me guess,” Ayn offered with a smile. This had all the makings of a game. Declan motioned for her to proceed. “Antrose.”

    Declan ticked off one finger. “Indeed. But all he cares about are credits. A petty motivation and one that’s easily trumped. You can never trust a being who can be bought. Someone else will always buy them out from under you.”

    “Cillian,” Ayn said. “Everyone in the family knows he and Swann are smugglers.”

    “And everyone knows that as long as Swann is around he’ll stay straight,” Declan said, putting up a second finger. “Besides, we need someone who won’t attract notice around us. Perhaps it’s a reaction to his soldiering time, but Cillian is definitely no inconspicuous these days. Next guess.”

    Ayn thought. “Much like Cillian, if Rickard was solo, there’d be something there. He was in the Marines, wasn’t he?”

    “Sniper,” Declan confirmed, “and yes. If he wasn’t with Ginnifer, I think he’d be capable of a great many things. He might even be perfect for what we need. Three for three, my dear. One more.”

    The Minority Leader knit her brow as she plumbed the depths of the family tree. Eventually she shook her head, admitting defeat.

    “Enoch,” Declan said.

    Ayn cocked an eyebrow. “Go on.” She was clearly interested.

    “He has his mother’s looks, his father’s brain, and a fighter’s spirit. He’d be perfect, but we’d need a way to ensure his loyalty. As it is, he’s more valuable to us in the Marines. A young officer going places is a good asset to have,” Declan explained.

    Ayn tapped her chin thoughtfully. “Perhaps...but I question whether he’d do what needs to be done. The Marines are better. Safer. So where does that leave us?”

    “With an external candidate,” Declan said, standing and walking to one of the windows. “We need someone who can handle political matters as well as they can move in the shadows. We’ll need to be absolutely sure of their loyalty. It must be beyond question.”

    Ayn closed her eyes and leaned her head back so her face was pointed towards the ceiling. “Absolute loyalty,” she murmured as she thought. “That’s a hard thing to come by.”

    “Only for those who wait for it to come to them,” Declan said as his eyes flitted across the growing darkness and the lights of the city slowly coming into their own. “Loyalty can be built.”

    A chime sounded in the study. Declan crossed to a comm panel and pressed the surface to answer the call. “Yes?” The electronics of the building were finely calibrated--so well that only someone right next to the panel could hear the audio. “Of course, please.” He removed his finger from the panel. “My dear, we have a visitor.” Declan pressed another part of the panel to open the doors.

    “An expected one?” Ayn queried.

    “Very much not,” Declan said. He stepped into the hallway and motioned to a droid. “Have the sixth floor readied for overnight guests.”

    “How much of the floor, sir?” the droid asked. Though many Bakurans still held an aversion to droids, the Noble House of Trieste were not among them.

    “All of it.”

    “I thought you said visitor, singular,” Ayn said, rising to join her husband in the hallway.

    “Oh, there’s only one we care about, but she does come with her entourage,” Declan said.

    At the end of the hall the lift doors opened, revealing their cousin, Sierra Westenra Iseult, chume’da. A smile spread across her golden face.

    “Taoiseach, I come bearing congratulations,” she said as she stepped to the lift and embraced her cousin gently, leaving a light kiss on one cheek.

    “Sierra, an unexpected pleasure,” Declan said, “and a precious one, given how valuable your time is.”

    Sierra let slip a monosyllabic laugh. “Ah, Declan! No wonder you are Governor and Taoiseach. You flatter and still say exactly what you mean to.”

    “When one is in the presence of a chume’da, flattery is truth,” Declan quipped.

    “Allow me to stop you both from gagging me to death with pleasantries,” Ayn interjected wryly. “Sierra, can we offer you a drink while you tell us what brings you to Bakura?”

    “Of course.” The three walked into the study that Declan and Ayn had so lately occupied. “As I said, I am officially here to congratulate Declan, my cousin with whom I shared so many fond memories through my youth, as well as to visit my mother.”

    “Who you just saw at Truce Day a few months ago,” Declan pointed out as he shut the door with the touch of a panel. “So the unofficial reason for this visit is…?” He allowed the sentiment to dangle as his wife put a tumbler of liquor into Sierra’s hand. The chume’da hesitated, looking out of the corner of her eyes at Ayn. At such close quarters it did not go unnoticed by anyone in the room.

    “Ayn, a moment, if you would?” Declan asked.

    She nodded once, but with narrow eyes. “I’ll see to it that Sierra’s entourage has everything they need downstairs.” Ayn withdrew, leaving the leader-in-waiting of dozens of worlds and the leader of the family alone together.

    “I have given us privacy out of respect for you and your position, Sierra,” Declan explained. His voice was low and serious. “I trust Ayn with my life and without reservation. I expect will be able to tell her later that what we discussed warranted my decision.”

    “I am here to ask for a service from the Noble House,” Sierra said.

    Declan tilted his head slightly with interest. “I don’t think there’s much that I can do for you that the wealth of the Consortium could not purchase.”

    “There’s only one thing: something that the Queen Mother can’t know about.”
    CPL_Macja, Vehn, DarthUncle and 2 others like this.
  16. jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 5
    Now this is interesting. I've really done it this time, haven't I? :p
    Trieste and AzureAngel2 like this.
  17. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    A dejarik set. They have a dejarik set at home. But of course they have. A family deeply into politics should know how to play games. :D
    Vehn and Trieste like this.
  18. Trieste Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn And now we see the third member of the Noble House to recently feature in these Annals...

    Il Avali, Druckenwell

    “Mr. Eldred, your 1:00 is here.”

    “Thank you. Please send them in,” Quentin replied through the comm on his desk.

    Life on Druckenwell had not been awful. It hadn’t been like Bakura, that was for sure. When he’d first arrived, he was appalled at the amount of casual pollution left by the world’s industrial legacy and present operations. Though the smog wasn’t so overpowering that you couldn’t see the sun, it was shocking to someone from the well-regulated air of Bakura. Quentin hadn’t been sure what he was going to do with himself when he followed his then-girlfriend to Druckenwell to assume her first job in weapons R&D at the Ypres Initiative. He instantly realized that environmental repair and abatement was needed. Armed with grants from the philanthropic arm of the Initiative, he had organized and worked side-by-side with experts to slowly improve the atmosphere of the planet. Though there was still much to be done, the years he’d spent tackling the problem were improving things...but not much. The government of Druckenwell still allowed the corporations to spew emissions into the atmosphere. Quentin didn’t have the clout or resources to fix the problem--just remediate the symptoms. It was frustrating, but at least things were getting better.

    His meeting today was with a representative from a start up in the Corporate Sector that had developed emission scrubbers that could be installed at the smokestack level. There was no need to retool processes, they promised. It was a low cost, but potentially high benefit, solution. Even though the Federation and the CSA weren’t on speaking terms these days, Quentin didn’t care. Anything that was going to help him get ahead of the problem was welcome. If he could get these scrubbers on at least the Ypres’ plants, that would be a good start. Maybe others would follow their example given the Initiative’s standing in the Federation, especially on Druckenwell. Luckily, he knew someone who swung a pretty big stick around the Initiative.

    Quentin looked up as his appointment, a Quarren, entered. They shook hands and Quentin motioned for his guest to take a seat at a table separate from his desk. He liked to make his visitors feel welcome and putting himself behind a desk rarely did that with its built in premise of power. It was one of the things he had learned from the way his father practiced law: give away every advantage you held to make others feel at ease.

    “Thank you for taking the time to see me, Mr. Eldred,” the Quarren began. “My name is Elgar Quibonz.”

    “It’s no trouble at all. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to this. Your product has a lot of promise,” Quentin said. “It could be a game changer here on Druckenwell in remediating emissions. If we can be your first major order and help you scale up, that’ll be big for a lot of planets in a similar situation.”

    “Yes, of course,” Elgar said. He paused ever so slightly. “This would be the point where I confess that I am here under false pretenses.”

    Quentin inclined his head to one side. “You are?” He was mildly curious, but also wary.

    “Yes...you see, I represent no such company and the product is, sadly, fictional. I am here to ask for your assistance, not the other way around,” Elgar admitted.

    “Well, that’s unexpected,” Quentin admitted.

    Elgar hesitated. “Considering you haven’t asked me to leave or called security, I must say this is going much better than the last ten meetings I’ve had.”

    “Mr. Quibonz, that’s still a possible scenario for how this meeting will end. However, if you’d care to come to the point…?”

    “Of course.” Elgar took a deep breath. “I represent a group of concerned citizens of the Corporate Sector. We are ashamed of the existence of an institution in our midst, but powerless to stop it.

    “That institution is slavery.”

    He paused to gauge Quentin’s reaction. The Human motioned for him to continue but betrayed nothing else in his demeanor. For the moment, he would simply listen.

    “Slavery has, of course, been outlawed since the days of the Galactic Republic, even in the Corporate Sector. However, the CSA has been getting outcompeted in several sectors. The RTO and then the Federation in particular have been stealing their clients. The RTO’s free trade agreement gave it inroads with the Republic the CSA could not compete with. The shareholders became desperate to regain market share.

    “They turned to a tool legal under CSA law that all but reduces beings to slavery. Workers enter into employment contracts for payment of debts. Sometimes they come from bad luck and not having enough in savings. Sometimes they are for repayment of passage to a new life in the Sector. They can be for anything.

    “These debts are transferrable across generations. The rate of pay is, on its face, high enough to eventually redeem the debts and cancel the contracts. However, an insidious system of charges and wage garnishments for basic necessities only serves to grow the principal as interest mounts higher and higher. Mr. Eldred, I know of one being who currently holds the equivalent of one million Republican credits in debt to his employers, on which he is assessed 15% interest annually. He will never pay these debts off, even if his company did not add to them with his room, board, and other necessities.

    “These contracts reduce beings to a deplorable state. The corporations treat them as property. Workplace safety is non-existent. Brutality by supervisors and overseers is common. What little hope exists comes in the form of periodic so-called bonuses that offer the promise of making a dent in their debt, but even these pit workers against each other...all for the bonuses that never give anyone the ability to fully pay off their debts.

    “By and large, the beings subjected to this indignity are non-Humans. They think they can make it rich in the Sector, but become trapped by the make-it-rich allure. The Authority even markets to them throughout the galaxy. Their advertisements are pure fiction. Such base lies should be prosecuted under libel laws.

    “And the worst part--if one part can be more worse than the rest--is they have no medical benefits. This is…” Elgar paused and dabbed at his eyes with a handkerchief. “...forgive me, this is difficult for me. You see, when a being becomes pregnant, the corporations have rigged the system. The care is not charged to the parents, who can almost never pay anyways. It is charged to the unborn being. The moment a being is born, they already have a debt against their name. They are automatically entered into an employment contract to pay for the very fact of their existence.

    “This is what makes this true slavery. Perpetual, unending bondage. The only reason I do not today slave away in the bowels of industrial works is that my mother hid her pregnancy. She had me at home, in unsanitary conditions. She nearly died. She smuggled me, an infant, out of the Sector to Dac, an old sock stuffed in my mouth so I could not inadvertently cry out from the freezing cargo hold that we hid in to escape. I don’t know if you know this, but cargo holds of many commercial freighters have are not climate controlled like passenger cabins. My mother died soon after we arrived at Dac. I survived only because she curled her body around mine to give me what little warmth her body had after decades of servitude. All so I could live as a free being.

    “Mr. Eldred, I have an education from Dac State. I was raised by foster parents sympathetic to my mother’s plight. They, Maker bless them, kept her memory alive for me. Of everything she went through. I lived my life to make her proud. My life’s work is to make sure that one day children will not be born into this wicked, pernicious scheme. I have traveled to the CSA in business dealings on a Dac passport. I have seen what I speak of with my own eyes. I have also seen that the CSA will never stop this practice. The Direx Board will never sacrifice their competitive advantage. Political reform is impossible. Armed uprising is impractical. The materiel needed is prohibitively large to take on the CSA.”

    Quentin had been very quiet as he listened to the Elgar Quibonz’s story. For the first time he motioned to speak. The Quarren ceded the floor to him.

    “Mr. Quibonz, what you have described is tragic. But why are you here?” It was a question asked without malice. It was simple curiosity.

    “Mr. Eldred, because if you join me, I think we can save them.”
  19. Vehn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Slaves in the CSA, and drama in the Hapes Consortium, suddenly the galaxy isn't as quiet as we once thought....well done!
  20. DarthUncle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2005
    star 5
    A compelling, tragic story, I wonder what the plan to fix it will be.
    Trieste and AzureAngel2 like this.
  21. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    These debts are transferable across generations.

    Suddenly I though of "Little Dorit". Don´t ask me why. But perhaps the world "malice" also triggered something in me and I made a strange connection with a classical Charles Dickens villain.
    DarthUncle and Trieste like this.
  22. Trieste Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Little Dorrit is an underrated Dickens novel! Glad to hear that it hasn't been forgotten. What follows may be quite Dickensian indeed...
  23. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    I actually like that novel a big deal.
  24. CPL_Macja Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2008
    star 5
    So are Vesper and Nicholas staying out of the politics of the Noble House?

    Sent from the edge of a galaxy far, far away via my comlink
    AzureAngel2 and jcgoble3 like this.
  25. Trieste Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    The wonderful thing about this fanfic is that I can rotate in whatever stories I want whenever I want. It only takes a little inspiration. :)
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade