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Beyond - Legends Annals of the Noble House of Trieste: Volume 12 (AU, OC)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Trieste, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 and @Vehn

    West Office, Marian Square, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    With her cabinet confirmed by the Senate, Ayn turned her attention to her first piece of significant legislation. Given the large Fianna Fail majority in the Senate and the influence she still wielded through her successors in the Senatorial leadership, passage was a foregone conclusion. The bill coincided with the party’s priorities and would be a good first win to show Bakura that Ayn Trieste was not a placeholder Prime Minister.

    Today select members of the media and the Senate were gathered in the West Office for the formal signing of the bill, turning it into law (or, rather, in this case, repealing a law). Doing so in the grandeur of the West Office helped to impart the moment with gravitas and the full force of the federal government.

    As was customary on such occasions, Ayn gave brief remarks before the signing.

    “In recent months, the leadership of Bakura on the galactic stage has been questioned. This prime ministry is committed to restoring Bakura’s position among the leading powers of the galaxy. As we deepen our dialogue with historic and new partners alike, it is incumbent on us to put our principles into action to show that we are a nation not of words, but also of deeds.

    “Therefore, today it is my privilege to repeal the Population Maintenance Act of 283. In doing so, Bakura opens her arms once more to all those beings who wish to join us, whether in search of economic opportunity, freedom from persecution, or a better life for their families. All who come know that with such privilege there are responsibilities.” It was an oblique reference to the fact that Bakuran citizens carried an above average tax burden compared to most galactic citizens, a byproduct of its government programs and services. “But the galaxy should know that restrictive immigration quotas will no longer govern the process of settling on this world. Indeed, as I fly from one side of our planet to another and see our great open spaces, I cannot help but think that this world can be home to more than 80 million beings—without threatening our way of life or ecological balance.

    “To all who would join the Bakuran dream, I say: you are welcome among us,” Ayn concluded.

    She then sat down at her desk and, in a great flourish, affixed her name to the bill. She did not say that the Population Maintenance Act of 283 was the half of the great legislative bargain she’d agreed upon with Trixa Garlant, the bipartisan compromise that had launched her career into planet-wide notoriety.

    She’d had to wait seven years, but Ayn Trieste had now definitely gotten the better of that deal.


    Later that day, Ayn convened her cabinet, now comprised of beings she trusted. She had made a point of appointing non-Humans in a sign of her progressive views. In fact, a Chadra-Fan served as her new Attorney General—a clear indication of her sympathy with the protest movement against police brutality towards non-Humans that had grabbed the spotlight last year.

    Everyone rose as Ayn entered the room and resumed their seats at a word from the Prime Minister. It was tradition that when the PM entered a room, everyone came to their feet as a show of respect. Ayn took a seat in the middle of the long conference table around which her ministers clustered. “Good afternoon,” Ayn said. “With the repeal of the Population Maintenance Act, I’ve instructed Attorney General Fefkik to review our immigration policies and procedures and identify any that are inconsistent with a fair and rigorous stance on admitting new permanent residents and a path to citizenship. Legal immigration will bolster tax revenues, bring skilled workers into the economy, and make Bakura a more vibrant society. Should any of your ministries have items you would like included in such recommendations, please forward them to Fefkik. I will see a summary view before they are submitted to the Senate.

    “Now, onto the main item on our agenda,” Ayn informed them. “I will be attending the D12 meeting in one month with the Minister of State. While members of the Ministry of State have done significant groundwork, now is the last chance for us to make suggestions on the agenda.”

    “Are you looking for topics to bring up with the other leaders? For one, Imperial durasteel tariffs are incredibly discriminatory,” the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested.

    “Quite the opposite,” Ayn said. “I want inducements we can offer.”

    “To show the galaxy that we’re willing to work with them as partners after Madsen’s administration,” the Minister of the Interior observed knowingly.

    “No,” Declan said, speaking up, “to soften them up for what I’m going to propose at the meeting.” His mouth spread into a smile that suggested plans beyond even what these ministers could imagine.
  2. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Later that day, Ayn convened her cabinet, now comprised of beings she trusted. She had made a point of appointing non-Humans in a sign of her progressive views. In fact, a Chadra-Fan served as her new Attorney General—a clear indication of her sympathy with the protest movement against police brutality towards non-Humans that had grabbed the spotlight last year.

    In the life of a politician nothing happens randomly, everything is planned through and orchestrated.

    Anyway, @DarthUncle might be lurking around, watching your story from his hospital bed. He still has some pain, but is very brave. Plus he needs to get used to the tube in his belly.

    We both will try to follow you and comment, but life is a bit difficult for the two of us now.
    DarthUncle, Trieste and jcgoble3 like this.
  3. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    Send our regards along to him. If we can be a small part of lightening the recovery, it would be an honor!
    DarthUncle and jcgoble3 like this.
  4. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 and @Vehn

    Atalanta, Bakura

    Elyse Carlowe was exhausted, her hair limp and matted against her head, and she felt like she’d been hit by a speeder. Yet, lying as she was in a hospital bed, she couldn’t be happier.

    In her arms was her newborn son, the reminder and proof of her love for Enoch Trieste that she would hold inside her for the rest of her life. He was a little thing, but very much alive. She had carried him throughout all these weeks and now he was in the galaxy, his own person.

    Waiting outside were his grandparents on both sides. How the tony Nouvelle Orleans Triestes were going to get along with the working class Carlowes was anyone’s guess, but Elyse wasn’t worrying about that. She was soaking in these last few moments where no one would have claim to her son but her—and Enoch.

    “I will raise him right, Enoch,” she whispered aloud. “He will live for you both. I’ll strike anyone down who would do him harm, no matter who they are, kith or kin.” She smoothed her son’s soft head. “I swear it, so I will.”

    Elyse looked into her son’s eyes, screwed tight against the big new world he had just entered.

    “Elon Trieste, everything I have, everything I will have, is yours,” she vowed.


    Kilmainham Brook, Prytis, Bakura

    “So this is it,” Cillian Lynd said.

    He stood with his siblings and his father staring at the small pile of dirt they had just used to cover over the ashes of Siona Lynd, Minister of State, Ambassador of the Republic, board member to countless Bakuran corporations. In the end, her achievements meant nothing to cancer. In the end, she followed her parents, her brother, and her nephew to this spot.

    By Cillian’s side was his wife, Swann, carrying the grandchild that Siona would never meet. There was a sobbing Ginnifer with her husband Rickard and daughter Vienna. Vesper knelt on the grass that would, in the weeks to come, take root over the newly overturned earth and carpet over this temporary blemish on the land with verdure. She was comforting her 11-year-old son Dorian.

    Behind them all was Dr. Dorian Lynd, Siona’s husband, namesake of his grandson, who despite all his arts and all his gifts had been powerless to stop the march of his wife’s disease. In the final months, when there was nothing to be done, all he could do was manage her pain. He had done it for so many patients before, but never had it been harder than it was this time. Yet, for Siona’s sake, he carried on.

    “I would have liked a little more time,” Vesper said. On the practical side, she knew her mother had been unable to impart everything she had known about the business of representing the Noble House, a business now fell fully on her shoulders. But more than that, she simply wasn’t ready to lose her mother.

    “I think…I think she had made her peace with it,” Rickard said, even though no one seemed to derive any comfort from that thought.

    “Since we can all agree that Mom was no saint—” Cillian started.

    “Cillian, please!” Ginny sobbed. She was too wrapped up in her grief for his levity.

    “—what? She was!” Cillian said. “Or are we all conveniently forgetting that time—”

    “Maybe not now, dear,” Swann said tactfully, patting his arm.

    “It’s a good story,” Cillian said.

    “Just do the thing,” Swann prodded him supportively.

    “Right. Well, since Mom was a woman who loved a drink, she deserves a spacer’s send off,” Cillian said. He took out a bottle of whiskey that he’d bought on his last run with The Way in the Corporate Sector. “May we meet again.” He poured out some of the whiskey over the dirt and took a swig himself. He handed Swann the bottle, she didn’t drink due to her condition, but she raised it all the same.

    “May we meet again,” he prayed.

    All was silent for a moment. “Gimme,” Vesper said, standing and stretching out a hand with which she motioned for the bottle. “May we meet again, Mom.” Vesper took a good long drink.

    “May we meet again,” Rickard said, following suit.

    He offered the bottle to Ginnifer, but she shook her head. “I can’t. It’s too much.”

    There was a soft step behind Rickard. “If you would, son?” Dorian asked, his face full of grief, yet determination underneath it all. Rickard gently yielded the bottle to the doctor.

    Dr. Lynd bent one knee to draw himself closer to the ground and his wife’s final resting place. “May we meet again, my love,” he whispered. Then, he drank.

    Dorian stood and turned to his youngest daughter. He extended the bottle to her, but Ginny shook her head, bleary eyed through the tears.

    “Come, love,” he said softly, “life is for the living as your mother knew. She also liked a good drink and this—” he flicked a finger against the bottle, “—isn’t half bad for Corporate Sector sithspit.”

    Timidly, Ginnifer took the bottle and drank. “May we meet again.”

    Dorian took the bottle back and poured out what remained onto the ground, a final salute to Siona Lynd, daughter of Fionn Dunross Trieste, of the Noble House of Trieste.
  5. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 7, 2010
    The circle of life can be amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. Very well written. :)
    AzureAngel2, DarthUncle and Trieste like this.
  6. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Mar 20, 2005
    Aww, that burial was very touching, though not quite sad. And what is Ayn up to? All very interesting developments again @Trieste, great to read!
    Trieste and AzureAngel2 like this.
  7. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Fact is, I was lurking each time in my lunch break. But it is never easy to log in via my mobile phone.

    You never fail to impress me with your huge family saga and you blend over to different characters & other places with the great ease of a Loth-cat. You never confuse me as George R. R. Martin does. Nor to you make me fall asleep! I always want to read more... more... more

    * tries not to sing a certain song from the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" now [face_blush]
    Trieste likes this.
  8. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    You'll have to wait a little longer to find out what Ayn's doing...there's another loose end to address first. ;)
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  9. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Mar 20, 2005
    Wouldn't have expected anything else @Trieste and would not want it any other way :)
    AzureAngel2 and Trieste like this.
  10. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 and @Vehn For some reason when I was thinking about whether there was any music that might fit this piece this song came to mind and I thought, "Yeah, it works on both levels!" Hopefully that's how you feel about it too. ;)

    Roonadan, Corporate Sector

    “So, excited about the Galactic Cup Final?” Cillian asked. You had to do something during what could be interminable customs checks leaving the Corporate Sector. The Espos took their job seriously, but not seriously enough to forego small talk.

    “I would if I could afford the tickets,” the Espo grumbled as he flicked through his datapad, completing the official forms required to allow the Jolly Somnambulist to exit the Sector. “Direx Board is jacking up the prices way beyond what we see for Barons games, catering to the high rollers coming in from the rest of the galaxy for the game.”

    “Tell me about it.” Cillian declined to mention that he could get tickets if he wanted thanks to the Noble House of Trieste’s ownership of the Miners. With the last name Lynd, he flew under the sensors as just another spacer with a prosthetic arm. “Thought this was supposed to be a sport for regular folks. Becoming a rich being’s pastime. Damn shame.”

    “You can say that again. All the executives in their plush seats.” The Espo shook his head. “Just kind of grates, you know?”

    “Don’t I.”

    “You’re registered out of…” The Espo paused to consult his records. “…Kwenn. That’s near Nar Shaddaa, right? Now that’s a team that knows how to make sure the average folks like us can see a game.”

    “Not that this job gives me the opportunity to buy season tickets or anything,” Cillian griped.

    “Spacer’s life,” the Espo sighed sympathetically. “Just waiting for the clearance check and we’ll be all good.”

    Though an observer might think Cillian was just shooting the breeze, inside his chest his heart was thumping. Corrie and Quentin had told him and Swann about the heightened risk. They’d also promised that everything would be okay.

    It didn’t mean that Cillian wasn’t having to fight his hand twitching towards his blaster…


    Bonadan, Corporate Sector
    Two weeks ago

    “Vice President Ypres, it is an honor,” Director Koharvi said, extending her hand with its carefully manicured claws to Corrie. Koharvi sat on the Direx Board, the council of the Corporate Sector Authority, and served as Director of External Affairs for the CSA in addition to her position heading one of the largest conglomerates in the Sector. Any other diplomat would have only referred to her as a vice president if she held a governmental post with that title. However, in the Corporate Sector business leaders were held in greater esteem than politicians. Corrie was more highly regarded because of her position with the Ypres Initiative than if she was the Vice President of the Roon Federation.

    “I hope that today’s meeting is not a sign that the Initiative has experienced complications in its business in the Sector?” Koharvi said, her voice a pleasant purr as could be the case with Cathar. “I assure you the Direx Board is very eager to continue our profitable business relationship.”

    Corrie smiled, even though she wanted to grimace. She knew that Corporate Sector profits were built on the backs of indentured servants, the very beings she had collaborated with The Way to help escape their life of bondage, a life little better than slavery. In some ways it was worse as it presented the hope of one day making it big and becoming a full-fledged citizen of the Sector, but that goal was just an illusion.

    “The Direx Board has always been an excellent partner,” Corrie replied, her voice pleasant. “However, there have been some minor inconveniences that I wanted to iron out before they ballooned into substantial roadblocks.”

    Koharvi frowned. “This is disturbing.”

    “I do not wish to alarm you,” Corrie followed up quickly. “That’s why I asked for this meeting. The issues in question are small enough that two capable executives like ourselves can dispatch them without having to involve the Direx Board and eat up its valuable time.”

    “That would indeed be beneficial to all parties,” Koharvi allowed, inviting Corrie to proceed.

    “One of our subsidiaries a…” Corrie paused to consult her datapad. “…Initiative Shipping, according to my records here, has been having some issues with its export licenses.”

    “That is easy enough to clear up,” Koharvi interjected.

    “Specifically, the inspection process at the customs checkpoints has been unduly onerous,” Corrie elaborated.

    “I see,” the Director said with a slow nod.

    “It’s a small matter, I know,” Corrie continued, “a thing not worth the Direx Board’s time. Between us I think we can come to a…personal accommodation?”

    “How personal?” Koharvi asked, sitting back.

    “I’m going to start writing down numbers,” Corrie said, gesturing to her datapad. “Stop me when you see one you like.” The emphasis in Corrie’s voice was clearly deliberate.


    “…and looks like everything’s good with your point of origin scans,” the Espo said, tapping his datapad once to close the file. “Happy travels.”

    “Same to you mate. See you on Cantonica, right?” Cillian said as he stepped back to his ship through the airlock, throwing a smile and a friendly pointed finger at the customs officer. He got a laugh in return before he sealed the airlock. Pressing the comm button by the door, Cillian reported, “Door sealed and ready for disengagement.”

    “Copy that,” came back the report from the bridge. In a matter of seconds he could feel the Jolly Somnambulist pull away from the Corporate Sector customs check. By the time he reached the bridge, they were already in hyperspace, en route to Dac with their sentient cargo of slaves running to a better life.

    “Any trouble with customs?” Swann asked as she stepped away from the controls, struggling with her swollen, pregnant belly as she edged out of the pilot’s chair. Cillian gave her a hand so she could get her balance.

    “Not a one. I don’t know what Corrie’s paying them to grease the gears, but it worked like a charm,” Cillian said.

    “Can’t have been cheap,” Swann agreed, “but it’s worth it.”

    Cillian gave a look down the hall to where they’d shortly be letting the hidden fugitives out. “Definitely worth it, love.”
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  11. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Mar 20, 2005
    Haven't yet read this, will later. But, that music: we saw Solo yesterday, and I have to say that this song would go well with Lando Calrissian :)
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  12. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    True, true.

    And husband, let me add that it is always amazing how well this story mixes sports and politics all the time. :D
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  13. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Mar 20, 2005
    And so now I did read it, and I have to agree, the music fits very well, and I'm very glad that Corrie found the appropriate funnel to ease a path through customs so that Cillian and Swann can be on the way; nicely done, and good read.
    AzureAngel2 and Trieste like this.
  14. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn


    Ayn Trieste was the fourth galactic leader to step onto the stage. She shook hands with the Supreme Chancellor, the host of this meeting of the D12, the President of the Roon Federation, and the Grand Moff of the Galactic Empire (its official name, even if most others called it Imperial Space or the Imperial Remnant). The order of entry had been determined in advance by representatives from all attending powers, negotiated based on tradition, status, and convention. As a member of the Republic, Bakura was accorded the privilege of entering on the coattails of the Republic after two of the other traditional, large powers.

    This was the part of the summit for the media and the public, the smiling holos of the galactic leaders greeting each other cordially, projecting galactic stability and cooperation. While they might find agreement on some issues, Ayn knew that many issues would be debated but remain unresolved at the conclusion of the meeting. The reasons why were many, ranging from legitimate conflicts of interest to simple spite between leaders. For example, it was rare for the Republic and the Imperials to find any common ground these days. The Empire resented the Republic’s continued dominance and the Republic mistrusted even the most benign aims of the Imperials.

    But for this moment, twelve of the most influential political leaders from across the galaxy stood together for the holocameras at the opening ceremonies, shortly to be formally addressed by the Supreme Chancellor. Ayn would sit and listen patiently. The Chancellor’s words were not important to her.

    What was happening right now elsewhere at the summit was what truly concerned her.


    “As you know, the leaders summit will focus on galactic economic issues,” the Republican Secretary of State said, “and our economic counterparts join us in their separate session to discuss some of the thornier points of contention. As is tradition, the state session is to explore related issues, as well as introduce primary topics for the leaders summit at the next meeting. I believe that there is widespread agreement that security should lead the next D12?”

    Declan was unsurprised by the general agreement around the table, which he joined.

    “Would you all indulge me in a formal vote?” the Secretary of State asked. The motion was unanimous. “Excellent. To that end, you have the proposed agenda. I would like to invite Minister of State Trieste to begin the discussion. He has indicated that Bakura wishes to advance a resolution pertaining to galactic security.”

    Declan nodded. The timing of Ayn’s rise to power had been imperative. Her first D12 summit would be on Republican territory where Bakuran ideas would receive a better chance for early discussion. Had this summit been held on Hapan ground, they might have been buried under Hapan and Imperial proposals.

    “Colleagues, allow me to say that it is a pleasure to join you again.” Declan had attended the previous D12 meeting during the Madsen prime ministry. “The discussions that we have here today will set the galactic agenda for the near future and it is a privilege I do not take lightly. I would like to acknowledge that Bakura comes to a discussion of galactic security with a stain on its name. I refer, of course, to our military action in The Centrality.”

    The Federation Director of Foreign Affairs grimaced. It was clear this was not a topic Roon wanted brought up here today. However, the Director said nothing, likely hoping to let the moment pass and be forgotten.

    “At the time, I argued against the action--not out of a lack of feeling for those who suffered in the Eastern Centrality, but on diplomatic grounds. This military action was discussed and decided upon in secret. This is wrong and it is not the way allies should be treated,” Declan continued.

    “May I remind you that we are not all allies here,” the Moff for Imperial Space remarked wryly.

    “True, true,” Declan admitted, “but we are all members of the D12 because our governments wield influence in the galaxy. As such, we should be talking to each other, engaging in dialogue, not going our own way.

    “That is the core of the proposal I wish to lay before you today: a convention that binds its members to discussion of military action prior to initiation.”

    “That would strip away our sovereignty!” the Hapan Minister of State objected loudly, pounding her fist on the table. “The Consortium will never cede the Queen Mother’s right to declare war!”

    “The convention would do nothing of the sort,” Declan replied. “It binds its signatories only to discussion of potential action, like the raid carried out on the Eastern Centrality. The initiating government, or governments in the case of concerted action, would present their case for why might must be used. The signatories would then vote on whether they supported the matter, but the vote would be non-binding. It is not intended to strip the power to make war from any government, but rather to force those considering action to privately make their case and assess the level of support of the other great powers.”

    “Oh yes, what a grand idea,” the Moff said sarcastically. “I’m sure when the Republic comes for the Empire we’ll be expected to refrain from defending ourselves while we endlessly debate whether we are allowed to respond.” She finished with a sneer.

    “Defensive action would be exempted from the convention,” Declan allowed, “but could still be discussed within its structure. As for potential conflict between any of the governments seated at this table…” He paused. “...if any of us would go to war with each other without having the courtesy to look their foe in the eye first and let them know that they are coming, they do not deserve a seat.”

    “A question, if you would, Minister?” Director Kohari of the Corporate Sector inquired, raising one manicured claw. Declan inclined his head to indicate she could speak. “What level of specificity of debate would be required under such a treaty?”

    “The purpose is not to reveal operational or tactical plans of war, but rather to discuss why action must be taken,” Declan clarified. “To use the Eastern Centrality as an example, the speech given by Eleanor Vehn at the D12 summit on Druckenwell would be an example of the kind of discussion that would take place, albeit with less playing to the crowd.” There were some chuckles around the table. “The purpose of the council would be to make your case, not lay bare your plans.”

    “No government of significance, like all of us here, should be subjected to justifying ourselves to anyone but our constituents,” the Federation Director of Foreign Affairs grumbled. “Frankly, I am insulted that this is even under consideration.”

    “Director, had Bakura and the Federation brought the Eastern Centrality matter to a gathering of the D12, the Hegemony would have supported the action,” the representative from the Tion Hegemony said delicately.

    “Then why the kriff didn’t you when it became public?” the Director asked irritably.

    “Because you didn’t ask our thoughts about it in advance,” was the calm reply. The Director retreated silently.

    “To fully consider the matter, how would the Eastern Centrality matter have played out?” the Republican Secretary of State asked.

    “For starters, the Corporate Sector would have vigorously opposed any military action against our ally, the Eastern Centrality, even if we stood alone,” Kohari forcefully stated, jumping in immediately.

    “As would be their right,” Declan said, with a nod to Kohari. “Bakura and the Federation would have made a presentation about the humanitarian crisis in the Eastern Centrality and the government’s role as perpetrators. We would have established the ineffectuality of other means of diplomatic persuasion. Questions could then be asked by other D12 members and open discussion had. At any time after the presentation concludes, a snap vote can be requested and instantly taken on whether to move to voting on the matter presented. A majority would be required to move to the final vote. The intent is to ensure proper discussion occurs without dragging on proceedings. Each member would then cast their vote for or against.”

    “Would abstentions be allowed?” the Hapan minister asked.

    “That is a matter we can consider. The vote tallies will not be publicized and all signatories pledge to not discuss individual votes outside the council.”

    “A prudent measure to ensure that positions are not used against any of us in the public eye,” the Moff said. For once she seemed to like something about the discussion.

    “That is the outline. My goal is for us to fashion a draft agreement that we can present to our principals at the end of this summit to form the basis for a signed convention at the next D12. May I propose a vote to adopt the matter for full consideration?” Declan asked.

    He looked around the table at his counterparts and waited for them to decide.
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  15. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 14, 2009
    And now we see how galactic governments operate behind closed doors in relation to joint security, foreign policy, and ultimately the status quo... great post!
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  16. galactic-vagabond422

    galactic-vagabond422 Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 11, 2009
    (This was made in collaboration with and approval of @Trieste, just a little interlude for Gaius in a new place.)


    The door closed behind Gaius as he entered his home, a little apartment in what he was assured was the 'nice' part of O'Pahz. It was still miles better than the worst he'd seen but, it was further away from the clean streets of Salis D'aar. There was darkness even in the better part of the city, just had to know where to look.

    His footsteps resounded in the quiet space, it was always quiet and lonesome here.

    He opened the fridge devoid of ready made food. His stomach growled telling him he should eat.

    It had been a long trip back from Bakura, no real time to eat. It was awkward, the inevitable questions about coming home, about facing his home team, followed by the even more awkward explanations that Bakura wasn't really his home. They were well meaning, just making small talk but, it was just a painfully awkward conversation.

    If he was being honest nowhere felt like home, not without her.

    Shaking his head he walked away he needed food, there was a little grocery store not too far away. He was a little tired but, it wouldn't be that bad, besides he just needed a few things. He'd done more with less.

    His shoulders shiver a bit recalling those days.

    No, he wasn't there anymore, he would never be there ever again.

    Outside the sky was dark, stars not shining due to the lights cast long shadows in the deep alleys. His old habits were taking over, checking his corners, looking into the alleys making sure nothing was going to jump out at him. Though he was on a more civilized planet he knew he couldn't let his guard down. Especially here, a rough and tumble place where violence was common. It wasn't too different from some other places.

    On the corner was a white howlrunner painted on the side of a building, claiming this territory for that clan...tribe...gang, whatever you call it, it was the same. A group that banded together against the cold uncaring galaxy.

    He entered the store seeing a tough standing in the corner of the space. A 'security guard' with his Howlrunner tattoos showing. A quick look at the man behind the counter, the same tattoo. That was something that Gaius could understand. Standing by your own, that on this planet it was your group against everyone else. You fought, you bled, you helped however you could to keep your gang alive. If that meant breaking the law, so be it.

    My group against everyone...even the government.

    His problem was who was his group? Who stood by him, who did he stand by? Elza was parsecs away, playing for another team. He just felt so alone here.

    He gathered his items and checked out, with little fuss, a simple exchange of credits for food.

    With a nod of his head the limmie player walked out into the O'Pahz spring, which was already getting far too warm. Even with the sun down the heat hung in the air. The humidity made his clothes stick to him, making his already sour mood even worse.

    Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement, a dark figure walking closer to him. Ahead of him another figure, coming toward him shoulders leaned forward. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He didn't like this, more beings slipped out of the shadows slowly surrounding him. Calmly he put his groceries on the ground and cast an eye about.

    "Good evening." He said to the crowd, their shadowy figures resolving as they stepped into the light. By their ink, they shouldn't be here, no howlrunners graced their necks, or the backs of their hands. Instead he saw brilliant nebulas, red and blue displayed with some prominence.They were in the wrong territory, someone should have told them, this is not their turf, though who was going to spring to his defense, wasn't like he was a howlrunner.

    "You cost us a few games Trieste."

    His eyes nearly roll out of his head, of course, they were bitter about the losses, throwing it all at his feet.

    "What are you going to do about it, hold an open try out."

    The chuckle from the leader, an average human with brown hair and brown eyes, was cold, "No...just looking to take you off the starting lineup."

    Gaius backed away counting the steps back to the store, or to his apartment. However his way was blocked, he was surrounded, alone against a gang that wished him harm. They moved in closer, and closer, with each step he tightened his muscles, preparing to fight...or take a beating more like.

    "You know, a team is more than one person. You can't blame me for everything."

    "You let Leigh get hurt, you cost us the game...this time it was your fault."

    He shook his head, they were whipped up, unwilling to see reason, just violence.

    Finding he couldn't back up any more he readied himself. He didn't think he could win, not against these numbers but, he was going down swinging.

    They kept coming closer, knuckles cracking smiles growing deeper. The tension hung in the air like the heat, Gaius knew it was coming he just didn't know when.

    The leader held back his fist ready to throw it forward, ready to start this fight. Gaius stepped up fists raised.

    "Hey." A sharp but, familiar voice called from behind him. Everyone froze some looking beyond the scene that seemed paused and to the person bursting onto the scene. Even Gaius looked over his shoulder, seeing two women both dressed in athletic attire, one tall with a sturdy frame, raven black hair and magenta skin, the other shorter corded muscles under blue skin with purple and pink hair. "You looking to start something with one of mine?" the Zeltron challenged, stalking forward with purpose, hands clenched into fists.

    A breath of relief left his chest, looking upon his reinforcements, his saviors. Boutros Sabah the Pirates Defensive Coordinator and former corner back. The woman he worked with every day to get better, to work better with a defense dominated by strong willed carratosians, like herself. Beside her, Tian Huo corner forward and the toughest of them. He'd heard her described as a wild nexu when she gets going. He hadn't seen it yet but, everyone he'd talked to told him it was true.

    The aggressors were stopped in their tracks, seeing the two women approach.

    "We...we were just going to teach him a lesson." The leader tried to reason. They might of had the numbers but, it seemed Gaius's attackers didn't want to cross the zeltron. "He's an understand."

    "Oh I understand very much…" Her gaze locked onto the leader boring into him. "He is a Pirate if there's a lesson to be taught, I'll teach it, if there's a correction that needs to be made I'll make it." She gestured to herself not breaking her stride, "Me...not you." The group parted letting her and Tian stand next to Gaius, "Now, you have a problem with him, you have a problem with us." Tian dropped into a fighting stance, watching Boutros's back, Boutros just cracked her knuckles and her neck half to intimidate, half to prepare herself. "Now do you want to start something?"

    "We...we don't want any trouble." The leader said backing up hands up in surrender.

    "Then go...and tell your friends, he's one of ours...Carratosian or not, he's a Pirate, that's all that matters."

    And just like that, they scattered, surrying back to whatever hole they came out of.

    "Doing ok Gaius." Boutros asked smirking.

    "Thanks for that."

    "We were in the area, we actually live just down the way." He looked a little further ahead, where she had gestured with her chin.

    "Small world." Gaius replied smile pulling at the corner of his mouth.

    "Yeah," Boutros looked to the bag on the ground. "Picking up some groceries?"

    "Just a few things, my fridge was a little barren."

    The women share a look having a silent conversation though learned signals, or just a deep understanding of each other.

    "We were just heading back to get dinner started, want to join us?"

    He looks between them a puzzled expression on his face.

    "Look I don't want to be a third repulser here."

    "You won't be," Tian reassures him, "besides, we haven't had a chance to talk." the pantoran's voice was kind almost unnaturally so considering what they'd just gone through. "I'd like to get to know my teammate better." She handed him his bag. "We could make something at your place. Boutros can make a lot with a little."

    The former defender crossed her arms huffing slightly.

    "You're not going to take no for an answer are you?" He said questioning their insistence.

    "Now you're catching on. Don't want those jackals to come sniffing around once we leave."

    "I...I can handle myself." Gaius replied his pride just a little hurt. He'd gone through a lot, a simple fight in the street wouldn't be the worst.

    "All of us can," Boutros started coming closer arms at her sides, "but, sometimes you need someone to watch your back, or make you some food." He was right, they weren't taking no.

    "Fine...Fine, I'm just a block up."

    "Really," Tian piped up, "We're just a little up from that, nearly neighbors. Surprised we haven't run into each other sooner."

    Gaius just chucked and walked on, the quiet returning to the night, he wasn't alone anymore, walking shoulder to shoulder with others.

    "Hey." he started, looking to Boutros.


    "Those things you said, about me being one of you."

    "Uh huh…"

    "Did you mean them or were you just trying to save me from a beating."

    She just smiled and clapped me on the back.

    "You think I'd put my life on the line for someone who wasn't one of my crew?"

    That was all the answer he needed. He might have been without her but, he wasn't alone. He had his gang, they were the Pirates.
  17. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Cool, a spin-off series! :D
  18. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn

    En route from Corellia to Bakura

    Ayn and Declan relaxed in the Prime Minister’s quarters on the federal shuttle that ferried the PM by the Defense Fleet. It was one of the many perks of holding the top executive post in the government, but the Federal Marshals also mandated the use of the craft for long distance travel by the PM for security reasons.

    The D12 summit had concluded with a joint statement pledging the members to a reduction of tariffs in pursuit of a more integrated galactic economy. In this matter Bakura had little say as it was subject to the economic policy of the Republic, but they could express opinions and build support among the D12. Understandably, smaller powers like the Consortium and Remnant were hesitant to sign off on such measures, fearing their economies would be overpowered by the Republic, but the Federation was cautiously optimistic to reducing trade barriers. Ever since the end of the RTO and the free trade deal the Republic had with that body it had been a major policy goal of the Federation to get a new trade deal with the largest economic bloc in the galaxy. This summit’s agreement now had to be taken back to be passed and implemented by the power structures in each locality.

    None of what Ayn and Declan discussed had anything to do with economics.

    “How did the proposal go over?” Ayn asked her husband. They had refrained from talking about it at the summit. Even though the hosts always guaranteed there was no espionage taking place, the Triestes were too prudent to take such promises at face value.

    “By the time we fleshed out the framework, well enough,” Declan said. “The Remnant and Consortium are hesitant, but the other powers were at least willing to take it to their principals.”

    “Even the Federation? Nothing happens without them. They’re too big a stakeholder,” Ayn said.

    “I brought the Director around. However, I suspect he’s going to encounter some institutional resistance. The Federation as a whole is pulling back on the heels of the Centrality and the end of the Ypres administration.”

    “Contact Eleanor. She probably still has a lot of contacts in government, even if her opposition is in power now,” Ayn instructed. “I’ll speak to Sierra. However intransigent her ministers are, her word is law in the Consortium.”

    “She owes us a favor,” Declan pointed out.

    “I’ll remember it, but I won’t start with that. I think Sierra will want in as part of building a more progressive Consortium,” Ayn decided.

    “Which leaves the Remnant. They understandably aren’t big fans of decentralizing authority,” Declan said.

    Ayn sighed, betraying some frustration. “It will be an incomplete triumph if this gets done without the Imperials. Perhaps not even a workable convention.”

    “Indeed,” Declan agreed.

    “Did you speak one-on-one with the representative from the Council of Moffs?”

    “Yes. The inducement package I brought didn’t move the needle.”

    Ayn sat back and steepled her fingers in thought, allowing her chair to rotate towards the cabin window with its view of the azure undulations of hyperspace. “So if we can’t entice the Imperials to joining, what can we do? What do they want?”

    Declan thought, but only for a moment before he sat up straighter with a realization. “Ever since the New Republic took Coruscant the Empire has been treated as a second rate power, little better than the Corporate Sector. Heck, the Corporate Sector has probably been treated better than the Remnant.”

    Ayn snorted. “Like they deserve to be.” She was well aware of the fact the CSA took every advantage they could to gain an advantage for their products in the galactic economy, no matter how underhanded they might be.

    “So what can we give them that they desperately want? Legitimacy,” Declan said. “A face-to-face summit, you and the Grand Moff.”

    “I just saw him. Isn’t inclusion in the D12 legitimacy enough?”

    “Not for beings who see themselves as the inheritors of a tradition going back over 300 years. They live in the Remnant do so not because they want to build another Death Star, but because they see value in order and central government. As a former Imperial world, one that decisively threw off the Imperial yoke after the Battle of Endor, it would be an important symbol to the Empire to be welcomed by the elected government of such a world.”

    Ayn considered the idea. “Bakura already catches enough flak for humanocentric attitudes. Just look at the current protests and movement around police policies that discriminate against non-humans. I sit down with the Imperials, it’s only going to reinforce negative stereotypes.”

    “No,” Declan said, leaning forward, in his element as he pulled the strands of interstellar politics together, “for just that reason, because of your demonstrated commitment to non-human rights you have the political standing to sit down with the Empire. No Unionist could do it because they’d be seen as too Imperial. But you can.”

    The Prime Minister looked out at hyperspace again for a few seconds and then turned back, her eyes reflecting her decision.

    “Once we return to Bakura, begin the back channeling through State. This doesn’t get out until both sides issue a joint announcement. I won’t have the Imperials pulling out, leaving us looking like we’re trying to become a colony again,” Ayn ordered. “And put Holly on this. I don’t want any surprises.”

    Declan nodded and the pair fell silent, mirroring the quiet of hyperspace outside the shuttle.

    “There’s more, isn’t there?” Declan asked after a moment.

    “Yes,” Ayn admitted without guilt. “I’d like to shore up our rear before the next election and we’d have to begin soon if we’re going to do it.”

    “Which rear?” Declan asked, his brow knitting with thought.

    “The Noble House one.”

    “You mean…”

    “I do.”

    Declan sat back and blew his breath out his mouth in an almost whistle. “You realize what that might cost?”

    “We’ve tolerated this situation long enough and it’s cost us--cost you. It is time for us to put this House in order,” Ayn said sternly.
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  19. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn

    Tinta, Hapes Consortium

    Sierra laughed in response to a joke told by her host, Serene Trier. The Queen Mother was on a tour of the Consortium, making public appearances, visiting with subjects, and meeting with local leaders. Even though her word was taken as divine, it helped when the beings she ruled liked her enough to follow her edicts willingly.

    Part of such tours was staying with the nobility. It was tradition that they hosted the Queen Mother at their expense as a show of respect to the monarch. The thought of Her Majesty staying in a hotel was unthinkable. Sierra would have preferred private accommodations, but she knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to rebuild relations with the nobles. There was still simmering resentment in the upper class over the equal rights law she had enacted over the objection of the Royal Council.

    “And if you thought that one was funny, you should hear the one about the droid who wanted equal rights!” Trier continued, slapping her knee so hard she nearly spilled the flute of bubbling liquor in her opposite hand.

    Sierra’s face fell slightly. “Don’t tell me you’re going to ruin a perfectly fine evening with politics.” It was just bluster. The truth was that even perfect evenings were still political when you were Queen Mother.

    “Oh, no offense intended, but even you would agree that freedom for droids is ridiculous,” Serene replied.

    “I would have thought that growing up on Bakura you would have felt that more than most,” Serene’s husband observed. “There was a droid revolt early in your history, yes?”

    “I was raised relatively liberated on that score. I had a droid nanny growing up,” Sierra said.

    “But you wouldn’t want it to be Queen Mother, would you?” Serene pressed.

    “I don’t think she would have wanted to be Queen Mother. She was smarter than that,” Sierra said, her mouth breaking into a smile. Her companions guffawed.

    “But surely it’s not all bad?” Serene asked.

    “The truth is…” Sierra considered the question. “...well, I was relatively young when Trellam moved up in the line of succession. I don’t think I had figured out what I wanted to do with my life before that happened, so I don’t know where things would have gone had we just lived out our lives normally.”

    “Oh surely they wouldn’t have been normal!” Serene’s husband objected. “You would have been cousin to the Queen Mother! There still would have been a life at court.”

    Sierra didn’t know if they would have come back to Hapes even had his aunt and cousins lived. Sometimes she wondered if Trellam would have been happier if they had lived out their days on Bakura and left the Consortium to its own devices. She voiced none of this, preferring to keep those thoughts private.

    “Allow me, Your Majesty,” Serene said, motioning for Sierra’s quarter-full flute. “We can’t have you returning to Chume’Dan and reporting that you weren’t well entertained.”

    “Oh, I’m sure there’s no danger of that,” Sierra said, as she handed the glass over. “It has been lovely to be on Tinta. You know...I have a vague memory of Tinta coming up during my days on Bakura.”

    “Oh really?”

    “Am I wrong, or did Adanna Invierre play for the Tinta Juniors before she signed with the Miners? Now that it’s on my mind I’m almost positive she did. Now there was a limmie player if ever there was one. It’s no wonder she had a good career on Coruscant. Heck of a hit she could level. Why I remember--”

    And that was when Sierra sensed it.

    She jerked her head back and the vibroknife sliced through the middle of her veil, nicking the very front of her neck. Serene Trier grabbed the back of her head and pulled the knife back to stab at Sierra’s exposed neck again. Sierra should have known. Serene hadn’t said one word against the equal rights bill, but she hadn’t spoken out for it. They had probably begun planning this even then, the assassination attempt. Sierra would have been on her guard with a vocal opponent of the bill, but she had no reason to be with Serene.

    Stupid Sierra--and stupid Serene.

    Sierra’s left arm shot up as she flicked her wrist. The blade hidden within the bracelets on her wrist slid forward and plunged into Serene’s shoulder. The assassin cried in pain and missed again with her third stab of the knife.

    Rookie mistake, Serene, Sierra thought as the blade cut through muscle. Don’t show up to an assassination in your good party clothes and not armor.

    With the wrist knife still in Serene’s shoulder, Sierra grabbed the hand with the knife and rocked forward, throwing Serene head over feet onto the coffee table as the blade retracted with another flick of the wrist to let the noblewoman release. The low table broke down the middle as Serene slammed into it. Sierra was on her feet, launching herself over the back of the couch. Mr. Trier just missed the Queen Mother with the blaster pistol he’d grabbed from a drawer.

    “And here you were concerned I was going to say I didn’t enjoy Tinta,” Sierra shouted from cover. “Now we’re having fun Serene.”
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  20. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 7, 2010
    Aha! I knew it was coming. :D Now how is this going to end?
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  21. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    I knew you of all readers were waiting for this. ;)

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  22. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Mar 20, 2005
    Yeah, I think we probably needed that. And, in a way, it's a relieve to have it out of the way and survived for Sierra too, I guess. I hope she can laugh at it later, sort of.
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  23. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    I liked your bow to the new Solo movie.

    “And if you thought that one was funny, you should hear the one about the droid who wanted equal rights!”

    Thank you.
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  24. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 7, 2010
    Except she hasn't survived it yet. Sierra is still behind cover being shot at at the end of the post. Damn cliffhangers. :p
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  25. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2010
    Somebody noticed. Yay! :D
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