Beyond The Bluebells & The Edelweiss (AU, OC)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Trieste, Oct 4, 2010.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Title: The Bluebells & The Edelweiss
    Author(s): Trieste & Liam_Vehn
    Timeframe: 264 ABY and beyond, AU
    Characters: The Noble House of Trieste, the Vehn Family (all OCs)
    Genre: Political & family drama
    Keywords: Trieste, Vehn, politics
    Summary: Two politically connected families face the challenges of a galaxy...and of their own prominence
    Notes: The foundational elements for the following story were crafted seven years ago before present events in the Star Wars universe now considered canon such as the Swarm War, the Sith-Imperial War, and the Legacy Era were created. The Bluebells & The Edelweiss is set during an alternative timeline that assumes the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances returns to prominence shortly after 137 ABY, stable and strong, and lasts until 201 ABY when civil war once again erupts between the Core and Rim worlds, shattering galactic stability and prosperity. Out of the ashes of seventeen years of warfare, 201-218 ABY, arise the Republic and later the Roon Trade Organization to assume the mantle of galactic leadership.
    OOC: Your feedback is encouraged and appreciated. :)

    To say Bakura is to invoke the name Trieste without thinking. Though a democracy, no family has dominated Bakuran politics to such an extent as the Noble House of Trieste. From almost the moment of its founding by Niall Trieste, the bounty hunter-turned respectable, landed gentleman, the Noble House assumed a prominent position among the Houses of Bakura. For over 200 years it has tied its political fortunes to Fianna Fail, the center-left party built by Fionn Cormac Trieste, second Taoiseach (pronounced Tee-shock, a title indicating cheiftan or head of a clan) of the House.

    The Triestes have not held the reins of Fianna Fail rigidly in their hands over the years, but they have been the most formative voices in guiding the party?s destiny. The Noble House has produced Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers of State, Chancellors of the Exchequer, Laurel Prize laureates, Defense Fleet officers, jurists...and every once in a while a rogue to keep the family in touch with its roots.

    Through steady leadership, Bakura has thrived into a potent economy without selling its soul to industry, thanks in large part to the Triestes? vision for the planet. It has become a leading voice within the rejuvenated Republic, even from its distant position in the Outer Rim at the edge of the galaxy. Bakura?s modern prominence is thanks to Prime Minister Fionn Dunross Trieste, eighth Taoiseach of the House, and a man now beginning to be called the Second Father of Bakura, on par with Deredith Arden himself.

    However, Bakura has only fully begun to realize its destiny through the determined leadership and vision of Kerry Wyvern Trieste, eldest of the seven children of Fionn, ninth Taoiseach of the Noble House, and the only person ever elected to three terms as Prime Minister of Bakura. A passionate, inspired leader, Kerry Trieste has reshaped her party and her homeworld with the goal of making Bakura a leader economically, politically, and culturally throughout the Outer Rim and within the Republic.

    But progress has not come without a price. Kerry?s vision of a strong central government was not universally shared, and resulted in a painful civil war on Bakura. Even now, in 263, two years after the close of the war, Bakura is still recovering and reunifying. And when it comes to the halls of Salis D?aar, peace is still a relative term.

    In the scenic mountains of this world at the western end of the galaxy, the edelweiss blooms and grows, its petals as bright as the future of Bakura./>
  2. EmperorFel Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2009
    star 1
    Hahahaha, Centre-Left.
  3. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Throughout much of its existence, Naboo has cherished its democratic ties and has been blessed, fortunately, by a series of well-educated, humble, and far-seeing sovereigns who ruled justly and in full accordance with the constitution.

    But the days of democratic rule on Naboo have come to an end with the rise of the Quorro dynasty, created by Sofia Quorro in 218 ABY, and continued by her daughter, Camilla Quorro in 258. The people of Naboo, for the past 45 years, has come to accept, grudgingly, the rule of this new monarchy in exchange for tighter security, economic prosperity, and a foundational standing with the economic union in the eastern Outer Rim, the Roon Trade Organization.

    Camilla Quorro?s rule at first was heralded as a new golden age for the people of Naboo. Exports were at an all time high, the Gungans had been given full citizenship and all the rights contained therein, and peace flowed through the land. Camilla Quorro, using her advisors on the Privy Council, successfully negotiated a potential insurrection to her rule by the highlanders of the Gallo Mountains, led by her long lost brother, Morgan Kynnovan.

    Seeking to use the political capital Kynnovan possessed with the rough people of the Gallo Mountains, and shore up support for ambitious plans rolling around in her mind, Camilla co-opted Morgan, much to the chagrin of her closest advisors, and brought him into the upper echelons of the palace hierarchy.

    Morgan Kynnovan, an ambitious and cunning man, manipulated the Privy Council and Camilla?s husband, Liam Vehn, whose family maintains a controlling interest in the Roon Trade Organization, into accepting an audacious plan to move the RTO Security Fleet to Naboo, in direct violation of the RTO Charter signed by all member worlds.

    Naboo, under the leadership of Camilla Quorro, had long sensed that it was the primary planet within the Roon Trade Organization, whether supplying the majority of the naval personnel for the security fleet or simply providing the capital to bail out planets in need of economic assistance. This self-appointed claim to the leadership of an organization that had been designed to operate as a team environment between member worlds drew the criticism of neighboring planets and the Board of Tribunes, a governing body of the Roon Trade Organization.

    But their protests against moving the fleet to Naboo were weak attempts at controlling the inevitable rise of the pastoral planet to prominence. Within weeks of the fleet moving to Naboo, Morgan Kynnovan, once again using his strong personality, forced the Privy Council to accept a plan to violate the RTO Charter by sending the security fleet beyond the borders of the economic union known as the Roon Trade Organization to a mineral rich world in the independent systems known as Lannik.

    Camilla Quorro, sensing that her time to make a mark on the galaxy was at hand, agreed to the plan and the invasion was under way. Morgan Kynnovan, commanding the security forces, quickly made their way to the planetary capital of Lannik and placed the ruling monarchy under arrest. With the fleet orbiting above, Kynnovan set a plan in motion that would nearly threaten to tear the RTO apart from within, Naboo in particular, and considerably damage its interests abroad with the Republic.

    Using the royal family as bait, Kynnovan directed a shuttle craft, bearing a false identification reading, directly against the RTO flagship, Tawntoom commanded by Captain Remus Quorro, a relative of the Naboo monarch. Remus Quorro, acting under the training provided to him by the Naboo Naval Academy, fired on the shuttle after repeated attempts to contact its inhabitants. Shortly before the shuttle exploded, the sensors aboard the Tawntoom detected that civilians were aboard, important ones at that, the royal family of Lannik. By then, however, the shuttle had been destroyed and Remus Quorro was made to be the scape goat for a very damaging galactic incident.

    Kynnovan, realizing he had pulled off his great plan, had actually kept the royal family
  4. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Had Salis D?aar not predated the city of Cape Suzette by a large number of years, the latter likely would have been chosen as the capital of Bakura. Cape Suzette was founded on a natural bay with incredible ocean vistas on one side and natural beauty on the other. It had started thanks to a need to move the fruits of Bakura?s mines offworld, but the city itself was well removed from any mining ventures itself.

    Today its scenic ocean view was the backdrop for a large rally. Prime Minister Kerry Trieste was the one holding the rally and for this one she very decidedly wanted to be among friends. The city of Cape Suzette trended liberally and therefore squarely into the Fianna Fail camp. The Deputy Prime Minister, Sabé Dormingale, Kerry?s closest ally, represented the district of West Cape Suzette and had done so for a few decades. What Kerry had to say today was best said in front of those she knew already support her. The doubters could be addressed later.

    To one side was her son, Declan, age 14. To the other was Falene of 12 years of age. They had been born when Kerry had served in the Bakuran Senate and so this life of campaigning was nothing but normal to them both.

    ?My fellow Bakurans,? Kerry said as she addressed the crowd, ?In the last twelve years I have served you faithfully as Prime Minister. We have accomplished much together, but it has not been without pain and cost. The civil war that nearly ripped our proud society at the seams still haunts us today. The fact that six counties still remain under federal jurisdiction and outside of the union is a constant reminder of that fact.

    ?Even after all we have suffered, there are those who would seek to derail the process of Reconstruction, a task that Deputy Prime Minister Dormingale joins me in making the highest priority of the federal government. If we do not rebuild the counties formerly in rebellion correctly, we will face at least a decade of drain on all the counties of Bakura as we attempt to get them back on their feet. Some scoff at this as another extension of big government, others object to the cost, more still that the defeated now leach the victors when the reverse should be the case.

    ?Such visions for the future of Bakura are all short sighted! From the very beginning I have fought against entrenched interests who seek to profit from our recent troubles or who would return things to the way that they were. I shall not allow the weak to be victimized by the powerful and I will not let us become bogged down in the same problems that resulted in so much death and destruction! No more are we split in twain as enemies. We must now recognize ourselves as brothers and sisters, Bakurans all, and build a new and glorious day after the night of war.

    ?That, my friends, is why I announce to you today that I, Kerry Wyvern Trieste, will seek a fourth term as Prime Minister of Bakura.?
  5. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Kerry Trieste slid into the subtly armored hovercar and had the door shut behind her once she was in by a Federal Marshal. The Marshals were in charge of security for the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and other notable government officials and were particularly vigilant in their duties?especially when it came to the Triestes. In the course of history, one had been shot at and another had been wounded. Kerry Trieste had been involved in both incidents.

    ?Thank you both for coming,? Kerry said to her kids, who were all-too delighted to be skipping school to attend a campaign event. She used one hand a piece to ruffle their hair. With them she was not Prime Minister Trieste but Mom. It was a duty she never forgot, mainly because the former could be so invasive in her life that she kept her responsibility to be a mother to her children ever at the front of her mind.

    ?It was fun,? Declan said. He was finally getting old enough to really appreciate the importance of what his mother did in its own right. She?d always been Prime Minister Mom, but now he was getting a sense of the grandeur of what Kerry did, why it was that she worked as long and as hard as she did. The dark haired elder boy had always been sharp, but was growing insightful. Even so, he was still a teenage boy.

    ?Are we going to do a lot of events?? Falene asked. The brunette girl was a bit more adventurous than her brother. She took apart things, climbed trees, skinned her knees, got dirty. Kerry still didn?t understand where she got this impulse from. It wasn?t from her, nor had it been from Falene?s father, Mihal Connair. None of her siblings were the cavorting type either.

    Not Siona Lynd, the diplomat and former Minister of State for two terms for Kerry.

    [image=http://i766.photobucket.com/albums/xx302/jedisully/Siona.jpg]

    Not Fiona Westenra, Siona?s twin sister and Rear Admiral in the Bakuran Defense Fleet.

    [image=http://i766.photobucket.com/albums/xx302/jedisully/FionaTrieste.jpg]

    Not Conn Trieste, the reformed womanizer who now taught history at the University of Bakura at Salis D?aar.

    [image=http://i766.photobucket.com/albums/xx302/jedisully/Conn.jpg]

    Not Regan Eldred, Associate Justice of the Salis D?aar Supreme Court.

    [image=http://i766.photobucket.com/albums/xx302/jedisully/Regan.jpg]

    Not Ronan Trieste, financier, powerplayer, and the man Kerry trusted to manage the wealth of the Noble House.

    [image=http://i766.photobucket.com/albums/xx302/jedisully/RonanTrieste.jpg]

    Not Oisin Trieste, the quiet poet of Roon and husband of Verity Vehn.

    [image=http://i766.photobucket.com/albums/xx302/jedisully/Redford.jpg]

    No, none of them shared this cartwheeling tendency of her daughter.

    Of course, there was always Kerry?s mother, Jane Wyvern Trieste, the ?famous? space pirate. She had been called many things in her privateering days, like ?the worst pirate I?ve ever heard of? (to which she would reply, ?Ah, but you have heard of me!?). She had been flamboyant and a shade ridiculous?but just enough that she somehow made things work. Now there was someone who could cavort with the best of them.

    Even so, Kerry had only ever known her mother when she had been the wife of Fionn Trieste, former spymaster, eighth Taoiseach of the Noble House of Trieste, Prime Minister of Bakura, and the man who rebuilt Bakura literally from dust. Then Jane Trieste had been a politician?s wife, refined, polished, well-spoken, inoffensive, and charismatic. She was as much of a rock to Kerry and her siblings as their tall, stately father had been?perhaps even more than their father had been.

    [image=http://i766.photobucket.com/albums/xx302/jedisully/Closeup.jpg]

    Kerry ran a hand through her bobbed red orange hair. She couldn?t believe she was 45 years old. It seemed impossible?especially because twelve of them had been spent as Prime Minister. Even for a Bakuran who naturally benefited from her planet?s organ replacement therapies that was an impressive set of credentials. Of course it also begged the question of what Kerry would do with the rest of her life when she r
  6. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    ?Even our recent sovereign, Camilla Quorro, would never have approved of such a plan,? protested the Viscount of Selton, Thomas Marre.

    ?The people won?t allow it. You are throwing away a thousand years of tradition! Never in my life time, and certainly that of my ancestors, has anyone proposed something so preposterous!? Proclaimed Marco Springwater, Count of Harte Secur.

    ?If you continue down this path, I shall have no choice but to consider removing my support from this government! Without New Centrif?s presence on the Privy Council, I doubt you?d be able to keep the outlying provinces from pulling away,? growled Jerome Antigua, Viscount of New Centrif.

    ?The Quorro dynasty, which I believe we all acknowledge to be effectively ended, knew that the strength of a monarchs? power came from a united assembling of the people. That strength has been chipped away by a suppression of civil rights, for Gungans and Naboo, and the Lannik crisis. It is high time, with the absence of Camilla Quorro from the throne that we return to our democratic roots and elect a new ruler, perhaps, even a Gungan ruler,? suggested Lady Sela Jimmu of Otoh Gunga.

    The room went quiet.

    Then all hell broke loose as a shouting match erupted between two forming factions on the Privy Council, those with ties to the Naboo, and those with ties to the Gunga population.

    Several members of the Privy Council remained silent, however, and they were among the most influential of the group, despite the bold proclamations issued by the previously mentioned lords and ladies.

    The figure at the head of the long oak table, wearing his best suit and tie, watched the shouting match with interest, hazel eyes flicking back and forth between one faction and the other, wondering if any would have the edge when fatigue set in.

    The voices dissipated after several minutes. Both sides tired. Both sides wanting a respite to lick their wounds and recover for another round of verbal attacks.

    Thankfully this entire operation hasn?t gotten to the point of actual bloodshed. But I?m definitely in the thick of this entire situation now.The man at the head of the table thought.

    ?Are you done?? The man asked the assembled lords and ladies of Naboo?s aristocracy, arguably the most powerful beings on the planet.

    Nods returned his question.

    ?Good. Now, before you interrupted me, I had proposed that Naboo, specifically, this governing body, adopt an heir that was not born on this planet. An heir with the intelligence, charisma, and personality to lead a renaissance on this world the likes of which we have not seen for some time,? announced Liam Vehn, husband to the abdicated Queen Camilla Quorro, and symbolic head of the Roon Trade Organization.

    ?And who would you suggest?? Asked Cecil Avonlea, Lord Chancellor of the Privy Council, its most senior and respected member who secretly supported Liam in his plans but had to put on a show for the others, a show that he of all beings was impartial.

    ?My niece, Eleanor Vehn,? Liam stated matter of factly.

    ?She would improve Naboo?s ties with the rest of the Outer Rim, in particular Bakura, and help salvage our tattered image with the shareholders of the Roon Trade Organization. Might even solve our crisis on Lannik, given enough time, and support,? Thomas Avonlea said, son of Cecil Avonlea, recently returned from Lannik, having escaped the clutches of the former Queen?s brother, Morgan Kynnovan.

    Thomas Avonlea was the 3rd Duke of Kadaara and primarily a diplomat. He was not a warrior like his father had been. Was very much a scholar, and his education showed in the crafty way that he had navigated a very difficult position while serving under Morgan Kynnovan during the initial phases of the botched Lannik operation. He had made his escape shortly after Camilla Quorro, still using her powers as the Queen of the Naboo, had recalled the RTO Security Fleet back to Silver Station where it now lay in dormant use.

    Thomas Avonlea recognized that only through the Vehn?s could Naboo regain its stature as the primary world of the RTO.
  7. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Four years ago, Kerry Trieste had quietly instructed that a villa be purchased by the Ministry of State on behalf of the Bakuran government in the city of Theed. This villa was refurbished appropriately and then christened the Bakuran Embassy on Naboo and constituted a second residence for Bakura?s Special Envoy to the Roon Trade Organization. It was also four years ago that Siona Lynd was designated Bakura?s Special Envoy to the Roon Trade Organization.

    For a former Minister of State, the appointment could easily be viewed as a demotion. After all, Siona had gone from a Cabinet level position to a mere ambassadorship. In the pecking order of politics, it was definitely a step down. However, it had been very clear when Kerry Trieste had asked her sister to make the move that it was done with a specific purpose. Though a member of the Republic, Bakura was still an Outer Rim world and very interested in the politics of the region. The RTO was the most important association of planets in the Outer Rim and consequently the business done with them had to be carried out by someone whom the Prime Minister could trust completely. That person was Siona.

    The truth was she had been reluctant to leave Bakura. Though she had traveled widely from the planet as Minister of State, it had always been her home. To permanently reside somewhere else had felt odd. That was to say nothing of the difficulties of moving her family to Theed. Her husband had needed to be recertified to practice medicine on Naboo, which had been no small bureaucratic undertaking. Her children?s social lives had been turned completely upside-down.

    But with time they had all settled in very nicely to Naboo. For starters, the weather was unquestionably better. Bakura was a wet, rainy world. It didn?t rain all the time, but those winter months were rough. Professionally, Siona found that she was in a very comfortable position on Roon. As the official ambassador to the Court of Theed and the RTO, she was important enough to be invited to a great many functions. However, she was less important than the major ambassadors, like those from the Republic and the Empire, which meant that her actions were not under constant scrutiny. Indeed, this meant that Siona was often in the room, but able to enjoy the position of a spectator when it suited her.

    Given the grandiloquent intricacies of Theed politics, it suited Siona just fine to watch and smile to herself.

    These Nabooans acted as if they had all the time in the galaxy. What could be said concisely in ten seconds on Bakura would be said in ten minutes on Naboo to the same effect. What people wore was often more important than what office they held (which made for a convenient excuse to keep a large wardrobe of dresses on hand at the Bakuran Embassy). The smartest being in the room would never be listened to if he didn?t have a precocious title in from of his name. It was all delightfully ridiculous in Siona?s eyes and she didn?t mind a bit.

    This was primarily because within six months of arriving on Naboo, Siona had quietly found the five people who actually got things done on the planet and quickly cultivated very close political relationships with them. Every single one of them was a bureaucrat that the public had never heard of because their name was not Arch Duke Poobah. Though they might not take an active role in shaping policy, they were still people who got things done. Siona was the sort of person who got things done. When she had served beside Kerry in the Bakuran Senate and then later as a member of the first and second administrations, Siona had developed a reputation for getting things done.

    With her essential relationships secure, Siona could allow her attention to the most reliable of intelligence gathering methods on Naboo: rumors. It didn?t matter where one was, there were always rumors to be heard. Some of them were outright wrong, but it was surprising how accurate some of them were. Spend long enough on Naboo and one developed a certain sense for ferreting out truth from lies. Siona?
  8. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    It was times like this that Kerry Trieste thought that the term ?administration? was an apt term for one?s tenure in an executive political office. The amount of paperwork that she did was utterly astounding. However, two years ago she had pledged publicly that the federal government of Bakura needed to be run better. As she saw it, that responsibility started in the West Office of Marian Square?her office. Granted, she delegated out a lot of work to very capable deputies, but she knew that ultimately she would be on the hook for how the various departments of the federal government would be run.

    To her credit, the federal auditors reported that there were real efficiencies being realized. It was news that Kerry had every intention of bringing up at a lot of campaign events. Her campaign would have no bearing on the Fianna Fail nomination. Unlike whoever would oppose her, Kerry knew for a fact that she had her own party locked up. It was only the Union Party that would have to squabble amongst themselves for the right to take her on. Of course, after three straight defeats, Kerry didn?t know how many of them would be eager for the chance.

    The console on Kerry?s desk gently pinged. She reached over without looking and activated it. After twelve years she knew very acutely where the button was to answer the chime heralding her secretary?s voice.

    ?Yes?? Kerry asked, not even taking her eyes off the report on her terminal screen.

    ?I believe you want to turn on the BBC.? The reference was to the Bakuran Broadcasting Corporation, the state-owned public holo channel. It was not the only source of news or information on Bakura, but it was undoubtedly the most prominent.

    Kerry knew that there had to be something good if her secretary was suggesting she turn it on. Indeed there was. It was a rally being held jointly by the governor Telaan Valley, which had been one of the Maple counties in rebellion against the federal union. It had been readmitted two years ago to the union of counties and its new governor, Jon Norland, was addressing what looked to be a pretty substantial crowd. At his side was his brother, Elund Norland, one of the Senators for the Valley. Neither of them had participated in the rebel government of the Valley. Though many of those officials had received pardons, there was still a stigma attached to them. None of them would ever hold political office again.

    Both Norlands were prominent Unionists and both were young?younger than Kerry she suddenly realized. It was a chilling thought considering how young she had been when she?d started her career in politics.

    ?For the last twelve years, Bakura has experienced uninterrupted rule by Fianna Fail and Kerry Trieste,? Jon Norland was saying, ?And what do we have to show for it? A civil war that has scarred our planet, destroying one of the galaxy?s greatest economies. And in the face of all this, Kerry Trieste continues to build capital reserves in the coffers of the Exchequer when Bakurans are paying high taxes than ever. Her Reconstruction has seen an expansion of federal power beyond the wildest nightmares of any of us here. She seeks to control the former Maple counties through federal subjugation all in the name of ?rebuilding them?. My fellow Bakurans, we cannot afford four more years of Kerry Trieste and her misguided, failed policies that have killed Bakurans and hurt the pocketbooks of the survivors.?

    It was at that moment that Attorney General Kirk Equus burst through the door of the West Office. Equus had run against Kerry for the 252 Fianna Fail nomination. His wife, Indra, had been the Prime Minister unseated by Yeorg Shrubb in 248. Kirk had been widely viewed as the favorite to challenge Shrubb and take back Marian Square. Instead he?d been unseated by the surprising young firebrand Kerry Trieste. After winning the election, Kerry had invited all of her primary rivals for the nomination into her Cabinet. Kirk Equus had been made Attorney General and head of the Ministry of Justice and in the last twelve years had become the staunchest supporter of
  9. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Deputy Prime Minister Sabé Dormingale had been elected to ten straight terms as Senator for West Cape Suzette. However, forty years of public service alone was not enough to make one the parliamentary leader of one?s party (which, as the majority party, brought the privilege of Deputy Prime Minister). It was Dormingale?s political acumen that had brought her to the second most influential position on Bakura and before the Fianna Fail convention in Atalanta.

    Despite the fact she was over 60, Sabé had taken full advantage of all of the arts Bakura could give to retain as much of her youth as she could. After all, the organ replacement therapies that the planet was famous for had necessarily resulted in the development of corresponding superficial businesses. Though other cultures might find the use of such things vain, they were very commonplace for Bakurans.

    [image=http://i766.photobucket.com/albums/xx302/jedisully/Sabe6.jpg]

    ?My fellow Bakurans,? Sabé began, ?It is with some reluctance that I admit that I first met Kerry Trieste when she was one year old. I was working for her father during his first campaign to become Prime Minister, a cause that I am proud to associate myself with even to this day. But I am just as proud to say that I watched that redheaded infant grow into a girl who impressed me with not just her intelligence but her integrity. Those two qualities have always been a part of the character of Kerry Trieste. Many politicians are smart, but not many are also honest. Plenty are honest, but few of them are smart. Gentlebeings, Kerry Trieste is a woman who has shown throughout her careers that not only will she make the tough decisions that Bakura needs to continue to prosper, but she also gets things done.

    ?It is therefore my pleasure to introduce to you the 72nd Prime Minister of Bakura and this party?s candidate for that office: Kerry Wyvern Trieste.?

    Cheers grew to crescendo as Kerry stepped onto the stage and approached the podium. She wore a blue dress and on her lapel was a green carnation, the sign that all Fianna Fail candidates wore to indicate the official endorsement of their party. She kissed Sabé on the cheek and embraced her longtime ally in the Senate before stepping up to the podium. Naturally her own party was wild about her and the ovation was a frenzy.

    ?Please, you are too kind,? Kerry said to try and quiet the crowd, ?We have much to discuss tonight, so please have a seat.? Eventually the hall quieted.

    ?Gentlebeings, it is with great humility that I accept the nomination of this party for a fourth time.? Kerry held a hand to forestall further applause. ?I do so because as a people and as a planet the choices we make today will reverberate across generations. Bakura still carries the scars of civil war, most notably due to the fact that Reconstruction has not yet been completed. I refer not just to the readmission of six counties formerly in rebellion, but to the very infrastructure and economies of the former Maple Flag Republic.

    ?Tonight we gather in Atalanta, a city that saw the ravages of war, and since rejoined the federal union of counties. Since that time, the economy, once in a state of tatters, has seen double digit growth as jobs and investors return to the area. Public transit has been rebuilt with greater purpose and accessibility. Let me be clear?even here in Atalanta we have a long way to go but we are making strides to a peace that leaves no Bakuran behind.? This garnered applause.

    ?But let us consider what my opponent, Governor Norland, proposes for the future of this planet. He is fed up with the intervention of the federal government in the affairs of the counties. He thinks that Reconstruction is a sham and a powergrab. That?s funny?I didn?t hear him say that when he deposited the federal check that I wrote for Telaan Valley?s share of Reconstruction,? Kerry remarked.

    The convention hall rose to its feet with cheers.

    ?Governor Norland thinks that the federal government needs to get out of the business of the counties. I don?t know what he was doing during th
  10. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Sunlight flowed in through the paneled windows of the Privy Council chamber, early morning light that cast a golden glow throughout the wood paneled walls of the room accentuating the history of the chamber and the many famous occupants who had once wielded power within its confines.

    White clouds, speckling a blue sky, floated gently over the green grassy plains extending beyond Theed. It was a peaceful day. Sharp contrast from the fierce arguments that had taken place in the chamber following the proposal by Liam Vehn to have his niece, Eleanor Vehn, included as the next Queen of the Naboo.

    The political wrangling had drained the man from Roon. As Chairman of the Roon Trade Organization, Liam Vehn had plenty of experience handling disputes between factions on member worlds but Naboo was an entirely different problem with centuries long feuds fueling the fire.

    Cooperation between the nobles of Naboo had proven to be an exercise in futility. By the end of the last meeting, Liam Vehn had assumed that the nobles were in full support of the plan to have Eleanor Vehn succeed Camilla Quorro as the monarch of the people when she reached her majority. He was wrong. Most of the nobles would have nothing of the plan, as the early morning hours of the current day pressed in around Liam and the discussion had erupted once more along factional lines.

    Only three of the nobles supported the plan. Cecil Avonlea and his son Thomas, and ironically enough, Lord Alastair McCullough, ruler of Keren, a city traditionally opposed to the Quorro government. Lord McCullough had decided to side with Liam Vehn in a shocking show of solidarity because, as Liam surmised, McCullough realized that the Vehn family truly did have the best interests of Naboo at heart. Though the two men did not agree on everything, they were united in one purpose, to see Naboo emerge from its feudalistic society into a more harmonious relationship with the other member worlds of the RTO and the galaxy at large.

    ?Is this your decision?? Liam inquired of the nobles now gathered around the oak table.

    Nods.

    ?Then I see there is no swaying you. My niece, Eleanor Vehn, will not be the ruler of Naboo, much to my disappointment. I had hoped we could settle this amicably, but clearly, it is the intention of this Privy Council to make my attempts at governing this world as difficult as possible,? Liam announced, clasping his hands together.

    ?There are other candidates, Vehn,? suggested Jerome Antigua.

    ?Yes, candidates who could return Naboo to the way it was,? suggested Lady Sela Jimmu, her Gungan physiology hidden behind an ornate headdress.

    Liam held up a hand, the voices of dissent fading away into the thick walls.

    ?Here is what I suggest. Since you will not support my candidate for the throne, I will give you ten minutes to consider a list of alternatives that I have compiled. I believe you will find all of the candidates suitable and I imagine that any decision will not be made easily. While you are deciding which candidate would be the best person qualified for the job, I shall like to take a stroll in the gardens,? Liam announced, standing.

    ?Thomas, the briefcase,? Liam said, looking at the 3rd Duke of Kadaara.

    Thomas Avonlea placed a briefcase on the table, flipping the combination on the outside to a certain sequence of numbers, hearing the click of the security system being disabled. Inside were several folders containing dossiers on a variety of potential candidates for the Privy Council to examine and decide upon.

    ?I shall leave you now. Take your time deciding, my lords. I am sure that whatever decision you make will be the best for Naboo. Lord McCullough, Lord Cecil Avonlea, Thomas, please join me in the gardens, there are matters of state I would like to discuss with you,? Liam requested as he turned for the double doors at one end of the Privy Council chamber.

    As the nobles who stayed poured over the information, eyes full of greed and ambition, the others turned to follow Liam beyond the double doors and into a wide hallway. Once the small gr
  11. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    When Kerry Trieste heard about the bombing on Naboo, she was just about to appear at a campaign event in Gesco City with Kirk Equus, who hailed from Bakura?s second largest metropolis.

    ?The entire Privy Council?? she asked.

    ?Reports are that Liam Vehn was not present, nor were the Avonleas and Lord McCullough of Keren,? the reply was.

    ?And the Avonleas and McCullough are important why?? Kerry asked. The truth was she relied on her sister to tell her what was important about the affairs of Naboo. These names meant nothing to her.

    ?The Avonleas were staunch Camilla supporters in their day. McCullough was not.?

    Kerry could do the math. The balance of power among those left alive was decidedly in the pro-Quorro camp. She had never been a supporter of how the Quorros had chosen to run Naboo, preferring monarchy to democracy. The fact that that system would likely perpetuate itself was not to her liking. She had tolerated the idea when there had been a reasonable chance that her niece would be Queen. Now all bets were off.

    ?All right,? Kerry said as she digested the information. The rally was about to begin. Kerry stuck her tongue in one cheek as she thought. She?d need to say something about this. ?Okay, here we go,? the Prime Minister said, having made up her mind. With that, she mounted the stairs to the stage with a smile and a wave directed at the crowd.

    ?My fellow Bakurans,? Kerry began, ?Before we talk about the future of our planet, we need to take a moment to talk about what is going on outside our system. I have just learned that tragedy has struck Naboo. In a tragic incident, the barest details of which have only begun to reach us here, the many members of the Privy Council on Naboo have died in an explosion.? There was an audible murmur of surprise that ran through the crowd.

    ?As I said, the details at this moment are sparse, but what is certain is that we join with the people of Naboo in sorrow today,? Kerry said, ?Even so, in the face of tough times like these we must continue onwards. And that is why we have gathered here today, to commit ourselves to continuing to move on from division and strife and towards a unified Bakura, a goal I have remained committed to since the very end of the war and shall continue to be dedicated to until Reconstruction is finished??
  12. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    In the blink of an eye the political environment on Naboo had changed dramatically with the explosion of a bomb that had eliminated the majority of the Privy Council. A terrible vacuum existed at the top of the government and rumors swirled that it would not be filled anytime in the near future.

    The landed aristocrats scattered throughout the upper levels of Nabooan society and government were appalled at the audacity of the attack and had begun to fear for their lives, doubtful if the Royal Naboo Security Forces could adequately protect the myriad of interests under their charge. Some privately wondered if a revolution was about to occur within the highest levels of government. Others wondered if a revolution had just occurred right underneath their very eyes.

    The common people were less swayed by the bombing, their lives consumed by high unemployment, unbearably high taxes, and the debacle that had become Lannik of which their once great and mighty culture had been sucked into under the false promises of their recently abdicated ruler, Camilla Quorro. Many in the working classes were relieved that the Privy Council had been destroyed in one blow, their distrust of the government running high since the Quorros had sought to remove any last vestiges of civil rights from the people that might challenge their rule.

    A populist movement had begun to develop in the waning years of the Quorro regime calling for reforms of government on every level. The movement called for a return to a democratically elected monarch, a reduced role of Naboo within the interplanetary affairs of the Roon Trade Organization, and increased spending on the arts and education to bolster a depleted educational class that had moved off world to seek more liberal environments. In addition to this powerful doctrine, the populist movement, calling it, ?Naboo First?, wanted to abolish the landed aristocracy that had played a role in the ruling of Naboo for decades, further widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

    Liam Vehn, his finger on the pulse of the people and himself a man who identified more with the average being, knew that by eliminating the Privy Council he could set in motion a series of far reaching reforms that would change the very nature of the world of Naboo for decades, possibly centuries.

    It began with his niece, Eleanor Vehn, a young child, but precocious with regards to her intelligence and understanding of the politics of Naboo. Her education had begun in earnest, led by private tutors under the payment of the Vehn family, and when her schooling was complete, she would be a ruler both capable and deserving of the people?s love and affection. She would be Queen of the Naboo, and nobody was going to stop that.

    Not even the Privy Council Liam thought as he stood on a dais, podium in front of him, long marble steps descending down to the plaza, addressing the populace in front of Theed Palace, the smoldering ruins of his audacious attack behind him for all to see.

    From the Triumphal Arch to the steps of Theed Palace, an area known as the Palace Plaza, a multitude of people had gathered from all walks of life. Royal Guards of the palace lined the streets, cordoning the masses off from Liam Vehn who was dressed in a simple suit to reflect and enhance his image that he was one of the people.

    Wind rustled his loose hair, graying around the temples.

    ?Citizens of Naboo,? Liam began, his voice reflecting a grave sincerity, ?it is with heavy heart that I announce that a terrible attack has taken place on our sovereign world claiming the lives of most of the Privy Council. We still do not know who is responsible for the attack. Investigators are working to find those responsible and bring them to justice. I value the security of this planet. Mark my words, when the perpetrators of this terrible crime have been discovered they shall be punished in a court of law here at Theed.?

    A splattering of applause: unenthusiastic and forced.

    Vehn could tell that there were a great many doubters in this crowd. Apathy and cynicis
  13. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Kerry Trieste had something in her back pocket that no one else on Bakura could claim. Not the Norlands. Not Sabé Dormingale. Not a single person on Bakura had what she had.

    The Bakura Miners.

    In 216, Fionn Trieste had purchased Bakura?s Limmie team, then in a very dismal financial position. By 227, the Miners had gone to three Galactic Cup Finals and had been champions once. By choosing prudent general managers, Fionn rebuilt the Miners into one of the galaxy?s finest Limmie teams all while doing so with one of the smallest planetary populations of any team in Elite League Limmie (a mere 100 million to the billions that other planets boasted).

    Bakurans were crazy about their Limmie and Kerry knew it. She had played collegiate Limmie at the University of Bakura at Salis D?aar and probably could have tried to make it with the Miners, but a political career had called. Instead, Kerry got her Limmie kicks as owner of the Miners and she didn?t hesitate to remind Bakura of it either. In 252, the Miners had won the Galactic Cup of Limmie. Shortly thereafter, Kerry had been elected to her first term as Prime Minister. Perhaps it had been a coincidence, but it hadn?t hurt that the Miners had broken a 26 year championship drought when she?d been running.

    The Miners had experienced some rough years lately and so had Kerry. First and foremost had been the Miners? continued losses to their Outer Rim rival, the Nar Shaddaa Smugglers, coincidentally owned by Joaquin Vehn, patriarch of the Vehn clan and Kerry?s uncle in-law.

    Today was the Black and Blue Battle, the annual Miners-Smugglers game and it was being held at Bakura Gardens in the capital. Kerry attended all home games and usually went to road games. However, with an election to run, Kerry had suspended her road game policy?with the exceptions of playoffs. It simply wouldn?t do to miss those. Since today was a home game, however, Kerry was comfortably ensconced in the owner?s box at midfield and enjoying the game.

    This season the Miners were playing stellar defense and today was no exception. They were absolutely shutting down the Smugglers who were usually a pretty high scoring team. Kerry took it as a good sign. With luck she?d use smothering defense of her own to hold the Prime Ministry against the aggressive Norland attack.

    ?I had my doubts when they started 0-2,? Kerry observed to her sister, Fiona Westenra, Rear Admiral of the Defense Fleet.

    ?We all did,? Fiona replied. Like Kerry, the dark haired twin had played collegiate Limmie, but for the Bakura Fleet Academy, a perennial powerhouse despite the fact that its players had to give the next five years of their life to military service rather than spend their heyday playing professional Limmie. ?But they?re coming together.?

    ?The rookies always take a little work to integrate into the system,? Kerry said.

    ?And the alternative is??? Fiona said, motioning to the field. The Smugglers had returned all of their starters from last year and were looking like they were on their way to a 0-4 start for this season.

    ?Touché,? Kerry remarked as she picked up her glass of whiskey for a sip.

    ?I am going to make an idle observation not as an officer of the Fleet, but as your sister,? Fiona said casually.

    ?Oh?? the redhead asked with interest. While members of the Defense Fleet and associated Marines were not allowed to take public political positions under the Fleet?s code of conduct, it didn?t mean that Fiona was always silent behind closed doors.

    ?During the war, it?s my understanding that the military, a staunchly conservative institution by nature, voted for you in droves in the last two elections because they believed in your stance on federal supremacy,? Fiona said.

    Kerry nodded as she watched the game. The fact was well familiar to her.

    ?With the war over, I believe some of them may be tempted to move to the Unioinists?if they are not reminded of why it is that we fought the war,? Fiona continued.

    ?And so you might advocate that I spend time campaigning to a constituency that would usually be a waste of time for
  14. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    ?Ladies and gentlemen, let?s talk frankly for a second,? Kerry Trieste said as she buttoned the cuffs of her sleeves and rolled them up to above her elbows. It was becoming something of an early trademark of this campaign?the rolled up dress shirt. Kerry Trieste knew she was rich. The voters knew she was rich. It didn?t mean, however, she always had to look like she was rich. The rolled up sleeves subtly reinforced the idea that Kerry Trieste got things done?and she did.

    ?Let?s talk about Naboo because what happens over there affects us here too,? Kerry said as she wandered the stage, playing to all angles of the crowd, ?The recent bombing there has been confirmed as an act of terrorism, plain and simple. This is the act of a people who are desperate to seize power by violent means with blatant disregard for the life of a sentient being. It is tragic that the Privy Council, a body that was making real strides towards the restoration of democracy, has been cut down in this way. It is fortunate for the citizens of Naboo, and the galaxy at large, that Liam Vehn in his authority as Regent is continuing this work. Had the people of Naboo been less fortunate in who inhabited that office, things could now be very different.

    ?That is why it will be the continued policy of my administration to publicly support a return to democratic government on Naboo. We understand, however, that this is a work that the citizens of Naboo need to do one their own. Our direct involvement would seem like undue interference and would potentially poison the process. Therefore, we pledge our moral support to this undertaking as friends.?

    There was applause, more than polite, but not raucous.

    ?It is not just good ethics that drives this policy, but good businesses. The course of history has shown that free democracies when interacting with each other economically do better than when one partner is shackled to authoritarianism. That is why the independent systems, ruled by warlords, find little trade with the flourishing democracies of the Republic that exchange goods and services freely. The kindred spirit of democracy enriches our interactions.

    ?But it is not just between systems that this takes place, but here in our own backyard. Our recent civil war has left many of us in shambles. I have said it before and I have said it again: we must continue our Reconstruction of the former Maple counties to ensure that they can stand on their own two feet and it is the responsibility of the federal government to help them do that. We cannot say that to the victors belong the spoils when the winners and losers are both Bakurans. There were no winners in our civil war?there were only Bakurans and the bloodshed that occurred has only shown that we were all losers. We are brothers and sisters and a brother does not say to his sister upon seeing her fall, ?Get up yourself.? No he says, ?Let me give you a hand for you are my sister and though we may fight nothing will ever drive us apart!??

    Kerry had grown absolutely impassioned and the crowd was feeding off her emotion.

    ?Governor Norland and his Union Party don?t see it that way. They don?t want to leave the Maple counties to rebuild themselves. I?m sorry, but I just don?t see that as making any sense at all. Yes, as Bakurans we are at times a fiercely independent people. However, the Maple counties got themselves into this mess by being too independent. This is not a criticism, but a statement of fact. I extended a very generous opportunity for reconciliation at the outset of the civil war and they chose not to take it. They are living with the consequences of their decision and one of those consequences is that they cannot pull themselves out of their current situation alone. I really wish that the federal government didn?t have to get involved. There are a lot of things I?d rather be spending my time on personally, but we do not get to choose the times we live in.

    ?I hear a lot from my opponents about how the federal government can?t do anything right. The tru
  15. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    She wore a plain black dress devoid of the frills and ornate decorations that had once been a staple in her wardrobe during more cheerful times. Her face was pale and sickly, hair oily and unwashed, body frail and weakening.

    The traditional white makeup that had once adorned her face had long since been removed as had the red lipstick that marked her position in Naboo society that used to cling delicately to her lips, enhancing their natural color.

    The woman sat on a hard, unforgiving mattress in a cold and damp room whose only source of light was from above through a thin grid of energy beams designed to keep her in and any intruders out.

    The door to her room slid open and a guard stepped in, wearing the customary uniform of the Royal Naboo Security Forces, and stated, ?A visitor to see you, my lady.?

    The woman?s eyes drifted to the guard, dark and somber, full of sadness and memories of better times.

    A man entered the room now, took one look around, saw a lone desk against the far wall, empty, emotionless, just like the woman who sat on the bed in front of him. The door closed behind the man, a chasm of words needing to be said filled the
    air between the man and the woman.

    Finally speech emerged. Short bursts, difficult to come out.

    ?Hello, Liam.?

    ?Hello, Camilla.?

    ?What brings you to my humble dwelling?? Camilla Quorro, former monarch of the people of the Naboo, inquired.

    ?I came to see if you were well. It has been some time since I last saw you. Since you abdicated the throne, I mean,? Liam said, nervous and insecure, though he had very little reason to be in front of his wife.

    ?You did not come here to see if I am well, Liam. Please, we both know you were never good at lying. You came to see if I have heard about the pending reforms. If I will make a big commotion in my time of isolation regarding the destruction of the Privy Council and if I actually believe that terrorists conducted that attack,? Camilla responded, her knack for political savvy showing through despite her supposed distance from Theed Palace and the government.

    Liam laughed a bit, looked down nervously at his feet then back at his wife. Looked deep into her eyes. Eyes he had stared into in the early morning hours as they held one another tight in a display of raw emotion and longing. Eyes that had been his counsel, his support, the one window into a soul of which Liam knew he could always depend upon in dark times.

    Despite the rumors that Liam Vehn had married Camilla Quorro out of political necessity, most of which were unfounded, the man from Roon, from a family that held ambitions for the Roon Trade Organization, actually loved this well-bred woman from Naboo. It was this love that prevented him from succumbing to the more drastic pleas of the Privy Council, when they were still in existence, to have Camilla Quorro tried on charges of war crimes.

    Maker, even now, despite her isolation, I still love her tremendously. I will never stop loving you, Camilla Liam thought as he ran a hand through his hair, looked up at the skylight.

    ?You?re right, Camilla. Never was much of a liar, couldn?t pull that off with you, anyway. So, to get to the point, you?ve heard, have you??

    Camilla stood, folded her arms behind her back, and began to pace the room.

    ?Brilliant move taking out the Privy Council, husband. I must say such a maneuver would not have been possible while I was the monarch. I had too many enemies, too many threats from a variety of different quarters, in particular, your in-laws, the Triestes. Never was very popular with their ilk. Democracy and all of that, but what you have accomplished in the span of a very short time period has inspired me greatly. Has inspired the people, that is commendable,? Camilla admitted.

    ?So you are not opposed to a democratically elected monarch?? Liam asked.

    ?You want my permission?? Camilla shot back.

    ?I want to know your opinion on the entire process,? Liam admitted, still enthralled by his wife?s personality so often eclipsing his own in the public sphere of their lives. Inte
  16. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    The Bakuran Civil War, when it came to it, had really all been about credits. What had been a stable planet had been turned upside-down by the discovery of new, large, and valuable mineral deposits in the northern pole of the planet, almost entirely in the vast county of Arcterra. The mining industry on Bakura had significantly slowed over the previous century and this find would reinvigorate it, despite Bakura?s strong environmental protection laws. In 255 surveys first discovered the deposits and Kerry Trieste, then finishing her first term, proposed a 40% tax on large industrial producers, primarily with the aim of eliminating the massive national debt Bakura had incurred in fighting the G?rho War with the Republic?a war Kerry had promptly ended after her election.

    It was this mining tax that eventually caused the Maple Flag Republic?s secession. They felt it was too onerous a federal intrusion into the lives of ordinary Bakurans, while Kerry insisted that these minerals belonged to the people of Bakura and they deserved to receive payment for them. That one question, more than anything else, had led Bakurans to fight Bakurans.

    In the middle of the whole mess was the town of Blackbranch. In 254, it hadn?t existed. The moment the reserves were discovered, the town sprung up overnight and it continued to be the nexus of the Arcterra Reserves. It catered to large corporations and small prospectors alike not just in getting them outfitted to mine the hills, but also for the pleasures of life.

    Amongst those who hawked the later, Silas Madsen was first and foremost. In his middle age, Madsen had opened a saloon that at first had been nothing more than a tent with bottles of whiskey he?d hauled up in his suitcase. Now he was without question the leading citizen of Blackbranch, even if he was not its most reputable one, largely due to the quality of women he employed in his bar.

    Silas was a smart man and he was primarily interested in good business. That was why when the Civil War broke out, he put up maple flags in his bar. It was also why he went to the border and met then-Minister of State Siona Lynd to inform her that he would be the Federal Union?s man inside the Maple Flag Republic. One meeting with the Prime Minister later, Silas Madsen had become the most invaluable resource Kerry Trieste had in the rebellious counties. When asked why, he had replied simply, ?Because you?re going to win this war and I?m not going to be on the losing side.?

    When General Abigail Dualla had marched the Bakuran Marines through the Maple counties and into Blackbranch to seize the reserves and choke off the lifeblood of the Maple Flag Republic, she entered the town without a single shot and to crowds waving the blue flag with the circle of 32 stars of the Federal Union?all of it thanks to the machinations of Silas Madsen.

    But his cooperation had not come free. In those early days of the war, Madsen had asked that in return he receive a favor of the Noble House of Trieste. Upon hearing it, Kerry Trieste agreed. Now, in 264, she was in Blackbranch to fulfill that favor.
    Despite being one of the first counties to secede, Arcterra had been readmitted to the federal union in enough time to participate in the 264 election. Therefore, it behooved Kerry to go up to Arcterra to court the voters. It also meant that Arcterra would resume its representation in the Bakuran Senate after this election.

    ?My fellow Bakurans, Blackbranch may have been where our recent troubles started, but Blackbranch is also showing us how we can put them behind us. This town is the microcosm of Bakuran independence and drive,? Kerry said, ?Ten years ago there was nothing on the ground that we now stand on but rock and now it is a thriving center of business. Nobody else in the galaxy would come to a tundra that as you know can be oh-so frigid and create a dynamic economy that has enriched everyone associated with it. This is what it means to be Bakuran!

    ?And on that note, I am proud to introduce a man who you all know, a man who is dedicated />
  17. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    ?Friends, we are a strong people, a people who can take on challenges head on and defeat them,? Jon Norland said to the rally of Unionist supporters in Gesco City, ?We do not back down when things are tough. That?s why I?m going to speak straight to you, in a manner that most politicians won?t. They want to treat you with kid gloves, tell you everything is all right and that things are going to be fine. They?re afraid that you can?t handle the reality of the way things are. In fact, they?re scared that by telling you the truth you won?t vote for them.

    ?But my campaign has been built on honesty since day one and that?s why I?m going to tell you what Kerry Trieste won?t.

    ?Bakura is in trouble, my friends. For five years we fought a civil war that cost the lives of 1 million Bakurans. On a planet like our?s with such a small population, even a single death is felt hard. Kerry Trieste would have you forget that it was her policies, her stubbornness that cost us each and every one of those lives. The woman in Marian Square has her convictions, and for that I can respect her, but when they bring with them such a high cost, I cannot approve of them.

    ?Ever since then, Kerry has continued her stubborn ways. She used her attack dogs to cajole the Senate into passing her Reconstruction Bill, which has given the federal government limitless power over the former Maple counties. For all of her talk about rebuilding the Maple counties so they can stand on their own two feet, the only thing that Kerry Trieste has done is subjugate them to the federal government.

    ?And that?s not all,? Norland continued, ?The federal government has run a surplus ever since the end of the war and we?ve paid down our debts. So why is that Kerry Trieste refuses to lower taxes and return this money to the people of Bakura? She is so concerned with enriching the federal Exchequer that she can?t see that this money doesn?t belong to the government but to the people of Bakura and they don?t want it locked away in some bureaucrat?s account!

    ?Kerry Trieste is no longer in touch with the people of Bakura and she no longer deserves to be our Prime Minister!?

    With disgust, Kerry turned off the holoprojector.

    ?He?s given that speech five times in the last two days and every time in a major metropolitan area. Initial polling results that we?re doing show that the message is taking root,? Kerry?s campaign manager said.

    ?Son of a?? Kerry muttered as she rubbed her temples.

    ?This is exactly the sort of message that could win it for him. We need to do something right now or it?s going to be too late.?

    ?No,? Kerry said, eyes shut, fingers still at her temples.

    ?Excuse me??

    ?No,? Kerry repeated, ?The debate is in one week. 60 million voters are going to watch it. We hold the course until then and we make it count.?

    ?One week is a long time in our election cycle.?

    ?And debates favor the underdog,? Kerry said, ?People need to think I?m on the ropes when I go in or Norland?s going to win by default. I want that frakker thinking he?s got the election won.?

    ?He?s too smart. He?ll never fall into that trap.?

    ?He will,? Kerry insisted, ?I know this man. We give him enough rope, he?ll hang himself with it, but he?s got to think his plan is working.?

    ?If you?re wrong,? the campaign manager said, ?this is going to be a disaster.?

    ?Actually, I believe it will be my finest hour,? Kerry replied.
  18. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Kerry Trieste looked out over the Garden District of Nouvelle Orleans. During the Bakuran Civil War, the Maple Army had entrenched itself in what had been the most economically and culturally important city to the Dixie counties, the largest contingent for the Maple Flag Republic. Large deflector shields had kept the Bakuran Marines from even attempting an invasion of the city, but resulted in a siege that essentially lasted years. It had only been the execution of a successful Adama Manuever by Fiona Westenra in command of the Agatha, the oldest Mark I BakurStar (and therefore the one they could lose if the maneuver failed) in the Defense Fleet, that had gotten starfighters underneath the shields to destroy the generators.

    Now the county of Marielle was the center of economic rebuilding, and Nouvelle Orleans was at the heart of it. Ronan Trieste and his wife Mandy had decided to settle in the city, largely due to Ronan?s founding of the Nouvelle Farmer?s Cooperative, which leveraged bulk purchasing power for small farmers, which were precisely the sort of farmers Kerry wanted to encourage. The county had been in bad need of rebuilding too: General [INSERT NAME] had set fire to nearly all the Dixie counties to cripple the Maple Flag Republic. The event still resulted in a lot of anger towards the federal government down here, even with Kerry?s work to rebuild the economy down here. It hadn?t helped that Mandy Syfred, who had come to associate quite a bit with her adopted homeland, had written a bitter song enshrining the event called ?The Night They Burned Old Dixie Down?.

    It was not the ideal place for Kerry to have to debate Jon Norland, but the city was to be the site of their one and only debate. She was spending the night in Ronan?s house, though it had taken some convincing of the Federal Marshals assigned to protect her to let her stay there rather than a totally secure hotel room. However, she many Noble House matters to talk to her brother about. Ronan had the finest financial mind in the family, so Kerry had entrusted him with the management of the estate. A shrewd hedge fund manager, Ronan was investing and reinvesting quite a bit, especially around Bakura. Kerry allowed him to use the Noble House?s liquid capital to spearhead his other investment, attracting solid partners that helped bolster the investment. Ronan did not get every bet right, but he came out well ahead of the market and the Noble House?s assets grew steadily and cautiously?which only further helped to attract other investors.

    Kerry knew that Ronan?s finest work was still ahead of him. His work in acquiring and then restructuring the pleasure cruise firm of Nova Interstellar Lines had resulted in hundreds of millions of credits eventually being realized by the House. In return for his shrewd efforts and management, Ronan had extracted a promise from his father and then the Taoiseach?a promise that the Noble House would support Ronan in a very risky financial transaction. It was not so much a financial risk as it was one that could damage the public perception of the House if it failed. If it succeeded, however?well then everyone involved was going to make a lot of credits. Billions of credits, enough to double the networth of the House overnight. Kerry as Taoiseach was honor bound to respect the commitment of her father to Ronan. Besides, if he succeeded, it would be a very good thing for her too.

    But that wasn?t what Kerry was thinking about tonight. No, her mind was wandering to a different topic. A night that she could never forget and did not ever want to forget.

    It was 261. The Civil War had finally ended and the Federal Union was victorious. General Shi had surrendered to General Dualla and the Maple Army was essentially disbanded. Kerry Trieste had done it. The war had started on her watch and she had ended it too. Tonight, for the first time in quite a while, Kerry was able to relax. At her suggestion, she and her husband, Mihal Connair, had gone to the theater.

    A Duros For All Seasons was a very e/>
  19. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    ?I?m sending you to Bakura, Thomas, to be my representative to the Republic from Naboo as well as the RTO,? Liam Vehn said as he leaned back in a comfortable chair behind a heavy wooden desk in an office that was decorated with his personal belongings.

    The office had been his for some time, throughout the entire reign of his wife for that matter, built as a refurbishment to guest apartments in Theed Palace. The office possessed a stunning view of the Solleu River before the final descent into the Virdugo Plunge, the largest waterfall in Theed.

    The man standing on the other side of the desk was Thomas Avonlea, son of Cecil Avonlea, a prominent diplomat within the Roon Trade Organization and an ideal candidate to be one of the first public envoys to a Republic world from the economic union. He was young, intelligent, and well suited to the task at hand.

    ?Thank you, sir. I appreciate your confidence in choosing me to be the official ambassador to Bakura,? Thomas replied, staring beyond Liam, at the wall.

    Liam stared at the diplomat, remembered that he had been under the thumb of the tyrant Morgan Kynnovan, brother to the Queen. A man who had orchestrated a lightning campaign against Lannik to secure its mineral resources, resources that should have found their way back to Naboo. But the resources never arrived at the spaceport. Now, Morgan Kynnovan had gone rogue and estranged himself from both the authority of Naboo and its parent administrative body, the Roon Trade Organization.

    Morgan Kynnovan was public enemy number one.

    Liam knew in his heart that Thomas Avonlea held no love for Morgan Kynnovan, but he had to ask the obvious. ?How are you holding up since your time with Morgan Kynnovan??

    Thomas Avonlea looked down at Liam, confusion etched on his face. ?Sir??

    ?Just so I know where you stand, Thomas. Do you still communicate with Morgan Kynnovan?? Liam inquired, waiting for the appropriate response to arrive. It did a few seconds later.

    ?Sir, I can?t believe you would even think that I still have any loyalties to that monster!? Thomas replied, his voice raising Liam watching impassively. ?I saw what he did to the Lannik, sir. I saw how he rounded them up and massacred the leading elements of that society. How he uses the civilians of that planet to do slave labor. Why are we not going after him? Naboo is safe, sir, I suggest we focus our efforts on cleaning up our own mess!?

    Liam laughed and motioned for Thomas to sit down. Avonlea did so reluctantly. ?Listen, Thomas, I know where your loyalties lie. I also know that Morgan Kynnovan cannot survive in any future form of this galaxy. I am not sitting on my rear while thousands are being worked to death on Lannik. There are plans in the works. But I need to stabilize Naboo first. Your father will help me do that. As will my political opponent, Alastair McCullough. You, on the other hand, must turn your attentions to Bakura.?

    ?Why Bakura? Why not Coruscant, the heart of the Republic?? Thomas asked.

    Liam clasped his hands together and stared for a moment at the desk. The sound of birds and the hum of the city rattled off the windows of his office. ?Thomas, you know better than anyone why I am sending you to Bakura instead of Coruscant. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Coruscant, no matter what the official line from the Supreme Chancellor, is no longer the heart of the Republic. Not for lack of trying, I might add. Rather, the reality that we face in this changing galaxy is that the Triestes of Bakura, potentially, have more power than the Supreme Chancellor. They only have to use it.?

    ?Are you suggesting that the Triestes are going to make a move to take over the Republic?? Thomas Avonlea replied, astounded.

    ?Not take over in an aggressive manner. And not anytime soon, after all, Kerry Trieste is simply seeking an unprecedented fourth term as Prime Minister. She will win I have little doubt of that. The Trieste political machine is virtually unstoppable, no matter what tack the opponents decide is best. What I am suggesting, Thomas is th
  20. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    ?Welcome, gentlebeings, to the Bakuran Broadcasting Corporation?s Prime Ministerial Debate, the only one that will be held. By mutual agreement of both parties, tonight?s debate will not feature a series of questions from me as the moderator, but rather simply a starting point from which both candidates will engage in a back-and-forth conversation, during which I shall enforce rules of decorum and allow equal speaking time for each candidate. Tonight the audience has been asked to reserve their applause and any remarks until the end of the debate to allow a free exchange of ideas and positions by the candidates. They have each waived their opening statements to allow us to get right to business, so with the ground rules let out, please join me in welcoming Senator Norland and Prime Minister Trieste.?

    The auditorium on the campus of the College of Deredith & Millicent applauded as the two candidates met for the first time since their campaigns had begun. They shook hands with each other briefly before taking their places behind their respective podiums. Both were dressed impeccably for what would doubtless be the biggest moment in the campaign. With Norland having made major gains in the polls in the last two weeks so that now Kerry?s lead was well below the margin of error, this would be his moment to shine.

    ?It?s a pleasure to be here to discuss the state of our planet and the many pressing issues that we face as a society,? Kerry said.

    ?Indeed,? Norland replied, ?I only wish that, as my campaign had requested, we had more opportunity to do so at several town hall debates throughout Bakura.?

    ?Senator, I face the Senate once every week for Prime Minister?s Questions,? Kerry said, ?as is my constitutional duty. You have had plenty of opportunity to debate with me over the last three years since Telaan Valley was readmitted to the union. Unfortunately, never once have I fielded a question from you in the Senate.?

    ?Prime Minister, Senator,? the moderator cut in, ?Before we go any further down this line of thought, let?s turn our attentions to substantive issues facing Bakura, specifically Reconstruction. Prime Minister Trieste, you have pushed Reconstruction hard, in the face of objections from many citizens of the very counties you claim you are trying to help. Let?s begin tonight with your defense of Reconstruction.?

    ?Simply put,? Kerry said, addressing the camera, ?Reconstruction is the most crucial undertaking facing us as a generation??

    ?What Prime Minister Trieste doesn?t understand is that we are diverting business from Bakura with our taxation rates. We need jobs here on Bakura. High taxes that are just going into the Exchequer need to be returned to the people of Bakura to further grow our economy. Bakurans know how to spend their own money better than the government,? Norland said.

    ?Senator, you are asking the federal government to adopt an irresponsible fiscal policy,? Kerry replied, ?Ordinary Bakurans do not live paycheck to paycheck. They save for rainy days when the speeder breaks down, the kids get sick, or to buy that new holoprojector that they?ve been saving for. The federal government needs a reserve to deal with unforeseen fiscal responsibilities. A decline in tax revenues later can result in having to cut services we have become accustomed to now. Bakurans understand that you need savings on both a personal level and a governmental one.?

    ?But you cannot deny that these taxes are preventing further job creation on Bakura,? Norland insisted, ?It is stunting the dynamism of this economy, which should be a leader of the galaxy.?

    ?And who would fill these new jobs, Senator? Our unemployment rate is among the bottom ten percent of the entire galaxy and even lower than that for the Republic. We?re an industrious people?we already work hard. The only way we would be able to fill more jobs is to increase immigration quotas. My father tried to make it easier to do just that 40 years ago and it was your party that emphatically said no to immigration reform. But I am not my fathe/>
  21. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    ?Will you excuse me for a moment?? Siona Lynd asked Thomas Avonlea. The young aristocrat had, as diplomatic protocol dictated, presented his credentials from the Court of Theed to the Ambassador to Bakura. Though Siona would not officially accept them?that would be the job of the Prime Minister?it was still part of the series of motions that made up interstellar diplomacy. ?I have a brief appointment via holo I must keep. I will only be a moment.?

    She left Avonlea and went into her office, locking the door behind her. She powered up her holoprojector. ?Connect me to the Prime Minister immediately?.I don?t care what she?s doing right now. We need to speak.?

    Siona waited for half a minute before the image of her sister flickered to life.

    ?We have a problem. Thomas Avonlea just came here and presented diplomatic credentials to me from Naboo and the RTO,? Siona said, getting straight to the point. She wasn?t going to waste words on preamble today?Kerry was about to land at Gesco City for a campaign event.

    ?This is a problem why?? Kerry asked. She clearly had never heard of Thomas Avonlea.

    ?The Avonleas have been the strongest supporters of the Quorros since the start of the monarchy and they?re one of the only survivors of the explosion,? Siona explained, ?To make this simple, they are the Quorros? Dormingales.?

    ?So they?re that important to them?? Kerry said. Without Sabé Dormingale, Kerry likely would not have gotten as much of her legislative agenda on Bakura passed as she had.

    ?Very. And his arrival will not help matters at all. After how hard Norland hit you in the debate, the arrival of Avonlea is only going to make things worse. If you accept his credentials, he?ll link you to the Quorros and Naboo even more strongly. If you don?t, I would not put it past Liam Vehn to ask me to leave Naboo.?

    ?And while that could actually help the election, it will hurt our overall diplomatic goals,? Kerry stated, ?Do you really think that Avolnea could cost me the election??

    ?Smaller things have destroyed larger margins,? Siona said. She would know. She had been Kerry?s first campaign manager.

    ?Then you need to stall Avonlea. He cannot set foot on Bakura until after the election, win or lose,? Kerry decided.

    ?The election isn?t for three weeks!? Siona said, ?I can?t keep him on Naboo for three weeks. It will cause a diplomatic incident, which is not a word that properly gives a sense of the magnitude of trouble that this will cause.?

    ?Be creative. I need you to take care of this because I am about to land. Deal with it Siona,? Kerry said before the image winked out.

    Siona put one hand to her forehead as she tried to figure out what to do. She paced the room twice as she thought as hard and fast as she ever had since she had begun working in diplomacy. She couldn?t remain in here for much longer. Avonlea would begin to suspect something.

    Two minutes later she emerged from her office with a large smile on her face. ?Forgive me Thomas, routine communication back to the home office. They like to stay regularly updated. I?m sure that you?ll develop your own rapport with your superiors when you are on Bakura.? Siona sat down and poured herself some tea. ?You know, before I left I was just about to say that though I am your opposite number, that is to say Ambassador to Naboo and the RTO, I really have not travelled widely in the member systems of the Organization itself. Since you have worked so much with the RTO, perhaps before you take up your posting on Bakura you could show me around the RTO??

    Siona smiled sweetly. She wasn?t going to take no for an answer. By her calculations, there was no way that they could ever hope to complete a tour of the RTO in anything less than three and a half weeks.
  22. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    ?Frak!? Liam cursed as news of the delay of Thomas Avonlea?s arrival on Bakura had reached his ears. He began to pace about the room.

    ?My thoughts precisely, sir,? Cecil Avonlea admitted. ?It seems the Triestes are doing everything in their power to prevent any of our emissaries from reaching their planet. Fortunately, there are other worlds in the Republic that are more than equitable to hosting our diplomats and listening to our ideas.?

    ?I don?t want to send them to other planets, I want to send them to Bakura. That is where they need to be at this very moment. There must be a valid reason why Kerry Trieste had Thomas? arrival delayed, something I?m missing,? Liam mused as he continued his patrol back and forth across the carpet.

    ?Perhaps it is the coming election. Perhaps it is something deeper. You know, this government still has a horrible association with the Quorro monarchs. Perhaps if you were to stop visiting your wife in the insane asylum, why, we could enhance our interplanetary prestige?? Cecil stopped, cut off by a wave of the hand from Liam.

    ?Enough, Cecil. You know damn well why I want Thomas sent to Bakura. If Kerry Trieste is elected, perhaps she will be a strong advocate for a formalized trade agreement with the Republic, something I have long sought. In the mean time I will forget about Thomas? delay and focus my energies elsewhere.

    ?It has come to my attention that several worlds within the Roon Trade Organization no longer feel as if they need to abide by the charter they signed fourteen years ago. Their production of various goods is not in line with what the RTO?s governing body, the Board of Tribunes, thinks should be top priority and they are starting to spin away into more autonomous units rather than contributing to the collective whole of the organization.

    ?I?m going to change that. But it will be a long process and will take me away from Naboo. Therefore, I?m appointing you Governor of Naboo, Cecil. It has been a long time coming but you have earned every bit of praise I can give you. Govern wisely, hell, I know you will, oh, and I?ve got a shuttle lined up to take me to Druckenwell,? Liam finished, staring at a shocked Cecil Avonlea.

    ?Sir??

    ?Don?t call me sir. Call me, Liam. We?ve known one another for several years now,? Liam responde.d

    ?Yes, si-, Liam. I thank you very much for this opportunity, I will not disappoint you,? Cecil burst out, beaming with pride.

    ?You better not, Cecil. Believe me, I?ve removed many a man, and woman, from power who were greater threats than you could ever hope to be,? Liam said, stating the obvious.

    ?I shall not be any trouble to your plans. Naboo shall cooperate fully with the wishes of the RTO,? Cecil replied, well aware of which side his meal was prepared.

    ?Good. I?ll be leaving Naboo in good hands. Be ready, Cecil, in case I need you. Could be any moment,? Liam said, extending
    his hand.

    Cecil grasped Liam?s hand firmly, a warm look exchanged between the two men.

    ?What happens with you, Liam??

    ?I made a mistake a long time ago. I stepped down from the most important position I ever actually won and nearly trashed the RTO in the process. This time will be different, I guarantee it,? Liam announced, giving Cecil a knowing look, before walking off to catch his shuttle.
  23. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    The announcement that the Bakura Miners had secured the third seed in the Galactic Cup playoffs was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, Bakurans loved their Limmie and Kerry Trieste was their conduit to professional Limmie. The success of the Miners would wash onto her. Making the playoffs with such a high seed was unquestionably a good thing?the alternative would have been a disaster. Furthermore, Kerry would not have to burn precious campaigning days in transit to some ridiculously far away venue like Ord Mantell. That would have cost Kerry almost an entire week to go all the way across the galaxy and back.

    However, the fact that the Miners were playing at home was also a problem. In the last seventeen seasons, the Miners had only won one playoff game at home despite having several. It was one of the greatest banes of Kerry?s existence?excellent regular seasons culminating in coveted home field advantage and then watching the Miners just blow it all away. The fans were frustrated by it too and there were long memories on Bakura. A lot of people were approaching this game with tentative optimism. It didn?t help that they had drawn the defending champion Alsakan Flyers, a team who they?d lost to in the regular season.

    Even so, this was the hand Kerry had been dealt and she intended to play it as best she could. The stops would come out for this game. Bakura Gardens sat 100,000 beings and many of them traveled from various parts of the planet to make the game. It would be an opportunity for her to reach a disparate group of the electorate. Kerry would make sure that she was very visible at the start of the game, likely on the field itself. If things went well she?d pop up again. If they didn?t?it would be better to keep a low profile. The holocameras would still find her, but she wouldn?t give them any more exposure than needed. Even so, losses could be helpful.

    The General Manager of the Miners, Dana Roslyn, had been a friend of the Noble House since Kerry?s father?s time. She was well-attuned to how important the Miners were politically to the House and Kerry didn?t need to tell Roslyn what was potentially at stake beyond a Galactic Cup this weekend. Even so, one short comm call didn?t hurt.

    ?Dana,? Kerry said.

    ?Madame Prime Minister,? Roslyn responded.

    ?Go win this one.?

    ?That?s the idea.?

    ?See you Sunday.?

    ?Absolutely.?

    They understood each other perfectly.
  24. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    ?New polls today by and large place the Prime Ministerial race at a statistical dead heat,? the BBC reported that night on the evening news, ?Two new polls released today have Prime Minister Trieste?s lead at two and three points with margins of error of three and four points, respectively. With only a few weeks left before election day, the Union Party has its first shot in taking Marian Square since Trieste first swept in back in 252. However, today we also saw projections released regarding control of the Bakuran Senate. Of the 26 counties that will vote in Senators on election day for a Senate of 62 members, current projections put Elund Norland?s quest to retake the Senate currently failing by a 37 to 24 margin that will see Deputy Prime Minister Dormingale retain her position setting the planet?s legislative agenda.

    ?In other news??

    Kerry turned off the holoprojector at that point. Her own internal polls gelled with those of the media, though her?s were a little more optimistic. But only slightly. Even so, it was cause for concern. Her bounce from the debate had not been as huge as she had hoped, which was more than a disappointment. It had been a miscalculation and Kerry did not make many of those. It was enough of one to make her wonder what else she might have misjudged about Jon Norland.

    Dwelling on past mistakes was going to get her nowhere now. She needed to focus on winning things now. At least she was still leading. That gave her some comfort, but not much. No, things were much too close for comfort.

    ?Madam Prime Minister, we?re ready for you,? the federal Marshal said.

    Kerry twisted a gold scarf around her neck. Weather reports were predicting cold and rain for today?s Limmie game.

    ?Let?s go,? Kerry said.

    ?Run! Run for Maker?s sake!? Kerry shouted as she leaned over the edge of the owner?s box. The overhang from the tier above the box kept Kerry dry from the healthy rain that had been falling from before the start of the game. Wind outside and inside the stadium had only made things more complicated and that appeared to be giving Bakura a slight edge?but not much.

    The Miners and Flyers had both simplified their game quite a bit and eliminated a lot of long passing from the game and gone to a running game. It had slowed the game down a bit, but from the ex-collegiate player?s perspective that was playing to Bakura?s strength as a team that had built itself historically on the power offense. Bit by bit, the Miners were chipping away at Alsakan and were widening their lead. It was a surprisingly good playoff game for the normally lackluster playoff home version of the Miners.

    But they were indeed winning. And they kept winning the little battles on the field. It was 18-26 with five minutes left. That was generally considered a pretty safe lead with that little time left, but Kerry wasn?t taking anything for granted. Not in an election year. Not this year.

    ?Yes!? Kerry shouted as Isabella Montador broke through and popped the ball off her left foot and into the right corner of the goal.

    At 18-29 she could be happy. They would win this game. And that meant that Kerry had a major decision to make. A decision that could change the entire election.

    She motioned her aide over. ?Inform my campaign manager that I am traveling to Chandrila for the Semifinal. Cancel campaign events as necessary and make it public at the end of the game. Also, I want as many Miner fans as we can get to travel to Stoney End. We need to pack that place.?

    The Miners had won a playoff game at home. They were headed to Stoney End. She couldn?t miss it. She just hoped it wouldn?t cost her Marian Square./>
  25. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Gesco City, Bakura

    ?I love you,? Kerry said to the holoimage of her children, broadcasted a third of the way around the planet from Salis D?aar.

    The decision to go to the Galactic Cup Semifinal game on Chandrila had resulted in major repercussions for Kerry. She had known that it would and did it anyways. All those campaign events hadn?t really been cancelled?they?d been rescheduled. Now a day that had three events in three cities had five events in five cities. Kerry was going to miss six crucial campaign days going to Chandrila and she needed what little time she still had on Bakura if she wasn?t going to fall behind Norland.

    The ramification of this was that Kerry was getting less sleep while having to look just as fresh at every appearance. It meant that with the exception of the rare campaign event, Kerry wasn?t even setting foot in Salis D?aar these days. It meant that she hadn?t seen her children in person since the conclusion of the Miners-Flyers game.

    The last one was the hardest of all. Four years ago Mihal had still been alive. Kerry had never been an absentee parent, but when she?d had to campaign Mihal had looked after Falene and Declan. It had always been comforting to know that he had been caring for their kids. Even though they were teenagers now, Kerry couldn?t help but feel guilty that for this stretch she had asked her sister Regan and her husband Atticus to temporarily live at the Salis D?aar Trieste residence with Declan and Falene. Regan and Atticus had already started a family of their own (a family that would doubtless be dark haired thanks to the genes of the parents) and she felt guilty about disrupting their lives in the process, but what else could she do?

    Granted, much of the Noble House would be traveling to Chandrila for the game, Kerry?s kids included, so there would be time together. Even so, Kerry Trieste wondered as she took off in a burned-out haze from Gesco City on her way to Cape Suzette what she might be doing to her children.

    Salis D?aar, Bakura

    For a man who had come this close to being the next Prime Minister of Bakura, Orn Captison was a very happy man.

    For starters, he was Minister of the Exchequer for Bakura, a job he was eminently suited for thanks to his own background in economics. Being a Senator for ten years was honestly dull to the twelve years he had spent as Kerry Trieste?s top financial advisor. He?d certainly done more good, working with Sabé Dormingale to spearhead a very comprehensive financial reform bill passed during the Civil War when an overwhelming Fianna Fail majority presented an opportunity to enact a large amount of long-sought legislative goals. With Kerry, they had paid Bakura?s national debt incurred from PM Shrubb?s disastrous G?rho War. Now Captison was overseeing the cash reserve building that was one of Trieste?s major financial priorities.

    He fully endorsed the PM?s plan. Captison understood that it wasn?t having the money for its own sake that Kerry wanted?it was using it. Specifically, the leverage it gave. The majority of these new reserves were being held in Republican Treasury Bonds, a very stable investment that maintained value over long periods of time. Essentially, they represented Republican debt. Someone had once said, ?Never a debtor nor lender be.? That person had never understood galactic economics. Anyone who held large amounts of a given government?s debt could exert a degree of control over that government?if it was willing to act ruthlessly. Bakura had no intention of ever leveraging its Treasury Bonds against the Republic, but it didn?t hurt to have them if only to remind the Republic that there were worlds in the Outer Rim that were not backwater, underdeveloped, and helpless.

    Captison?s job was one of administration. When everything went smoothly, everyone was happy. The less his name was in the news, the better. That was why he was indulging in his usual mid-morning cup of tea as he reviewed reports regarding the West Outer Rim Economic Region, or WORER, of which Bakura was />
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