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. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    ?Fourteen years ago my family created an economic organization designed to unite the worlds of the eastern Outer Rim into an industrial powerhouse where businesses and individuals alike could feel respected, secure, and know hope.

    ?Today, that vision languishes in sweat shops, derelict shipyards, and skeleton crew assembly lines. The vision languishes in the greedy managers who seek to undermine the common employee and violate basic rights if it will save a bit of money. Languishes in the petty squabbles of the member worlds over such basic principles as interplanetary trade, resource management, and most damning, interpretation of the RTO Charter itself.

    ?You see, there are two groups existing in the RTO today. Those who believe the RTO Charter is a living document subject to revision and those who hold that what was signed fourteen years ago in this very room is static and as unchanging as the light from a star. Both viewpoints have their merits and have slowly diverted the great resources of this economic union to the breaking point.

    ?I say the breaking point because this organization was founded on economic principles of cooperation, and genuine goodwill between all those who were within our borders. Unlike the savages who live in the independent systems, the Roon Trade Organization was never designed for collective governance but today I am saying that it is that very weakness that is going to undermine all that we have sought to achieve. Today, I declare that the Roon Trade Organization start acting like the government it always should have been and ask that the Board of Tribunes take a vote to immediately reinstate myself, Liam Vehn, son of Joaquin Vehn, as Chairman of this glorious economic organization,? Liam stated firmly and with a terrifying conviction.

    The Board of Tribunes, populated by the rulers of all the member worlds of the RTO, roughly twenty or so, took a moment to discuss the matter privately as their semi-circular conference table encompassed the man who had once stepped down from this same position several years earlier. Low murmurs could be heard and Liam?s eyes caught the weathered face of Cecil Avonlea, recently named Governor of Naboo, making a strong show of support for the Vehn cause by applying his personal persuasive techniques to sway the matter.

    The voices stopped.

    A representative from the Board of Tribunes spoke, ?We confirm this request and have henceforth made the necessary modifications to the RTO Charter. You, Liam Vehn, are hereby reinstated as Chairman of the Roon Trade Organization. Congratulations.?

    Applause flooded across the room. Liam graciously bowed before the assembled representatives and as the applause died away, Vehn cast a knowing glance at Cecil Avonlea. The man?s influence in the political arena had once again come in handy.

    ?Chairman, where do we begin with today?s agenda?? The representative from Druckenwell began, motioning for Liam Vehn to sit down at the center of the semi-circular conference table.

    ?We begin by discussing why Druckenwell has not honored its commitments,? Liam said and as he began to delve into the matter the Board of Tribunes realized that they better pay attention.

    A familiar leader, with a new approach, was in charge of the Roon Trade Organization. It could only bode well for those more in favor of change and prosperity.
  2. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Salis D?aar, Bakura

    The day after trading was suspended on the Vandelhelm Securities Market, the Cloud City Exchange plummeted 2,500 points before the Baron Administrator on Bespin halted trading there. That in turn led to an 1,800 fall in the Cerea Rialto followed by a 1,500 point drop on the Tibrin National Market and a freefall on Sluis Van Borse of 1,700 points compounded matters.

    What got everyone really, worried, however, was when the Eriadu Pangalactic Index went down 1,900 points and trading was stopped in a fit of desperation. Eriadu, one of the Outer Rim?s most vital trading centers, had not been expected to be hit so hard in what was becoming a depression throughout the Republican worlds of the Outer Rim. Overextended debt was bringing down what had been thought to be very solid companies not one month before. The Vandelhelm crash had cascaded through the Outer Rim and hurt a lot of companies and investors.

    The Bakuran Stock Exchange was no exception. The BASE 300 dropped a very rough 500 points in total by the time that Eriadu was in a tailspin. Eyes throughout the galaxy turned to Bakura as the next victim of the crash. However, unlike his fellow financial leaders, Orn Captison did not halt trading in Salis D?aar. To the contrary, he contacted the Exchange?s administrators and explicitly told them to keep trading open. After doing so, Captison made a few select calls to acquaintances in the banking and investment sector.

    The next day, the BASE 300 rose 85 points. By the time Kerry Trieste set foot on Chandrila for the Galactic Cup Semifinal, it had recovered 43% of its lost value, surprising every single financial analyst.

    Without too much fanfare, Orn Captison took the place of Kerry Trieste in Prime Minister?s Questions, as was traditional in the absence of the PM. By arrangement with the Deputy Prime Minister, Captison?s first question related to the Outer Rim financial crisis and its effect on Bakura.

    ?What we have seen over the last week has been a vindication of the policies put in place by the Prime Minister in the Exchequer. Three years ago this body took aggressive action to reform the operation of financial institutions operating on Bakura by lowering acceptable debt ratios. When this crisis began, the BASE was obviously brought down with other economies, but to a lesser extent. This is because corporations operating under Bakura?s stricter economic regulations are less exposed to exactly this sort of risky economic behavior. When knowledgeable investors took a look at the state of the Bakuran economy and the companies that make up our economy, they realized that, unlike other planets in the Western Outer Rim, we were not exposed. Accordingly, investor confidence on Bakura is high and the fact that we have provided a stable economic environment that promotes steady growth and low risk is attracting more firms to Bakura in what the galaxy has realized is a friendly, safe economy.

    ?If I may take a moment, let me just point out that the financial reforms that are directly responsible for our current strong economic position were opposed by the Prime Minister?s opponent in 260 and that the Union Party has made it a staple campaign issue to repeal this reform if they retake Marian Square. While doing so creates the potential for great booms, make no mistake that it will come with great busts as well. The current regulatory environment on Bakura, in contrast, encourages steady, long term growth that affects all sectors of the society, especially the middle class that has always been the strength of Bakura.?

    That answer from the Prime Minister?s Questions was replayed on every Bakuran news channel three times by the end of the night and once on nearly every news outlet in the Western Outer Rim and on half of those in the Core.
  3. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Atalanta, Bakura

    The trip to Chandrila had been a disappointment. Not a major one, but a disappointment all the same. The 7-2 Miner loss to the Patriots had not been on the usual scale of complete implosions by the team, but Kerry had been itching for that trip to Denon the following week. It would have provided such a rallying point so close to the election.

    Instead she was back on the grind, mere days to go before voters went to the polls. Already she felt tired and it was only her second day back. Then again, all she?d done was travel for the last three weeks, once all the way into the Core. It wore a girl down.

    That was why she was catching a rare moment to nap at the Fordham Symphony Hall in Atalanta. Kerry was so tired that she could sleep through just about anything these days.

    Except, for apparently a nalagron.

    Kerry?s eyes fluttered open to see a few of the campaign interns who had helped to get today?s rally set hanging out by the instrument as one of them pounded out some song on its keys. The Prime Minister got up from the chair where she?d been dozing and went over.

    ?Madam Prime Minister,? they all said in surprise, the one at the instrument standing.

    ?Hey,? Kerry said, ?Can I ask you a simple question??

    ?Anything,? one of them said. After all, this was their candidate, the woman who they had been working hard for. How could they refuse a direct request from the Prime Minister? Considering they?d caught her catching some shuteye before, they figured she was going to tell them to knock it off.

    ?Do you know if they?ve got a piano here anywhere??

    ?So, in closing, I humbly ask for your vote,? Kerry said to the crowd, ?We still have great things to accomplish and now is the time to get them done.

    ?But before we finish, I?d like to end on a slightly different note than usual,? Kerry said, forestalling the applause. At that point, a few of the more burly campaign workers rolled out a piano. ?I need to warn you that while my father insisted I learn how to play one of these it?s been a few years so bear with me, all right??

    Kerry sat down and tested out the keys for a couple seconds. ?This is for everyone who?s worked hard for these last few months on my behalf?and for all of you. This, and my thanks, are all I?ve got right now.?

    ?Now the seats are all empty
    Let the roadies take the stage
    Pack it up and tear it down
    They?re the first to come and last to leave
    Working for that minimum wage
    They?ll set it up in another town
    Tonight the people were so fine
    They waited there in line
    And when they got up on their feet they made the show
    And that was sweet...
    But I can hear the sound
    Of slamming doors and folding chairs
    And that?s a sound they?ll never know

    ?Now roll them cases out and lift them amps
    Haul them trusses down and get ?em up them ramps
    ?Cause when it comes to moving me
    You guys are the champs
    But when that last mandoviol?s been packed away
    You know that I still want to play
    So just make sure you got it all set to go
    Before you come for my piano


    This was when one of the interns stepped on the stage with an electric mandoviol, accompanying Kerry?s tune. It was one they both knew, a famous song of traveling musicians.

    ?But the band?s on the bus
    And they?re waiting to go
    We?ve got to drive all night and do a show in Gesco
    Or Suzette, I don?t know
    We do so many shows in a row
    And these towns all look the same
    We just pass the time in our hotel rooms
    And wander ?round backstage
    Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd
    And we remember why we came.?


    And now they grew into a full, complete sound. Everyone one of them was an amateur musician and not a single one had ever earned a credit for peforming, but they had all just learned and were playing now, feeling the music and loving it?including that intern who had first sat down at the nalagron that had inspired Kerry.

    ?Now we got country and western on the bus
    R and B, we got disco in all sorts and music in stereo
    We?ve got rural scenes & magazines
    We?ve got sp
    />
  4. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Salis D?aar, Bakura

    Though her impromptu jam in Atalanta had received a lot of media attention, Kerry Trieste?s campaign had been single-handedly transformed by the successive market crashes throughout the Western Outer Rim. The lack of a substantial, lasting collapse on Bakura did not go without notice, even if their trading options were almost certainly going to be constrained as a result.

    However, it was not the crash that had changed things as much as Orn Captison?s speech praising the work of Kerry as Prime Minister had changed things. Though the speech was now a week old, it was still being circulated throughout Bakura. Captison had always been a public figure, but now he was front and center in the public eye. He was a household name these days because of that speech. Had Captison been running for office (which as Minister of the Exchequer he did not have to do), public perception polls indicated he would win with nearly 68% of the vote.

    That was why Orn Captison was now joined at the hip with Kerry Trieste. The man who had once hoped to be Prime Minister himself now introduced the woman who had prevented him from achieving that goal at rallies around the planet. Admittedly, it was not his first choice of how he wanted to spend his time. However, Kerry told him it would only be for ten days, all the time there was left before the election took place.

    Captison?s reply was simple: ?I serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister.?

    And so Kerry smartly hitched her wagon to a star.

    Kerry Trieste and Orn Captison were now one entity for all political purposes. The result was that Kerry began to inch forward and leave Jon Norland in the dust. She had no qualms about reminding people that her party had passed the financial reforms that had kept Bakura?s economy strong?reforms that the Unionists had opposed as a bloc. In the last three years it had been Orn Captison who had fulfilled the directive Kerry had given the Exchequer to make sure Bakura?s financial institutions abided by these reforms. Trieste and Captison: the pair who had been smart enough to see this coming and brave enough to do something about it.

    And that was the coda that the 264 Bakuran campaign ended on. Kerry Trieste, for the first time in quite a while, returned to Marian Square where her children was waiting for her. She hugged them and was grateful that this election was over, win or lose.

    ?I have missed you both so,? she said.

    It was at times like this Kerry Trieste wondered why she had ever chosen a life that took her away from Declan and Falene so much.
  5. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Druckenwell, RTO

    Tribune Kaitlyn Ypres of Druckenwell examined the datapad in her hands one final time before resting it on her desk.
    Outside her expansive office suite roared a city teaming with life, economic prosperity, and vision. A vision she had created.

    Her corporation, the Ypres Initiative, was one of the largest and most influential on Druckenwell. Just six months ago, a deal had been finalized which enabled the Ypres Initiative to gain a significant foothold in the world of arms manufacturing by buying out the sole weapons complex on Druckenwell, formerly owned and operated by Blastech Industries.

    For several centuries, Blastech Industries, based on Coruscant, had operated a top of the line manufacturing facility on Druckenwell, one of the few places in the eastern Outer Rim with the capability to produce the required weaponry that customers of Blastech Industries desired. In recent decades, Blastech Industries drastically scaled back its production plants in the far reaches of the galaxy, choosing to refocus their efforts on Coruscant after a lucrative contract with the Republic military was signed during the height of the galactic conflict known as the ?Seventeen Years? War?.

    Following the conclusion of this conflict, the Blastech Industries main weapons complex on Druckenwell fell into disrepair, disarray, and neglect. An Ypres Initiative think tank began to formulate a plan to acquire the factory and enter the weapons market to challenge the big three weapons manufactures of Blastech Industries, Merr-Sonn, and SoroSuub.

    The plan succeeded. The first line of weapons had been given to the Fifth Druckenwell Brigade, a private military funded by the Ypres Initiative. Initial tests of the weapon had proved conclusive and were met with high regard by the average grunt.
    The soldiers of Druckenwell were some of the most highly paid, highly respected, and highly feared of their kind out of all the military units fielded by the member worlds of the Roon Trade Organization.

    Tribune Kaitlyn Ypres, herself a member on the Board of Tribunes as the representative from Druckenwell, knew how fractious and fragile the relationship was between the various member worlds of the Roon Trade Organization. It was commonly understood that each planet would supply a brigade of soldiers to the collective defense of the RTO, however, being that the RTO rarely engaged in a land battle, such a heavy burden on any one populace to finance a standing army had been disregarded as mere posturing by the Board of Tribunes. Thus, only a few planets actually possessed any quality military forces. The rest simply chose to focus on other means of financial prowess, be it agriculture, droid production, starship production, or churning out an educated middle class.

    That was how the vision originally set forth in the RTO Charter had been understood by all signatories of the document, a mutual agreement between member worlds for the common defense.

    Now that vision had been challenged by Liam Vehn, son of the man who had founded the Roon Trade Organization and regarded throughout the RTO as someone who often played the game of politics with a strong hand. Knew when to use the carrot and when to use the stick.

    The stick had just landed squarely on the back of Tribune Kaitlyn Ypres, and it hurt, though not in the way she had been anticipating. The Fifth Druckenwell Brigade was to be part of the new RTO standing military. That was no surprise to Kaitlyn, she had been expecting that move for a long time and was proud to send the brave men and women of Druckenwell to the Roon Training Grounds to conduct military exercises. What did hurt, however, was the heavy regulation of corporations throughout the RTO by the government on Roon.

    Government.It felt like such a strange word to Kaitlyn Ypres. For so many years, the RTO had respected the sovereignty of the individual member worlds and let them run their affairs as they best saw fit. Now, Liam Vehn was using a heavy hand to unite the worlds behind his leadership. Unite them into a single e
  6. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Salis D?aar, Bakura

    ?It is evening here in Salis D?aar and the final precincts on the planet closed one half hour ago,? the BBC news anchor reported, ?Votes are being tabulated throughout the planet and while we still await the results of the Prime Ministerial election, we can safely declare that Fianna Fail will hold the Senate for the fourth straight election. Deputy Prime Minister Sabé Dormingale is slated to be elected to a fourth term as a result, a feat rarely achieved in Bakuran politics. In the reduced 60 member Senate, Fianna Fail will hold a 38-22 edge, a margin that is expected to shrink when the remaining counties are reintegrated to the federal union. Even so, Fianna Fail is projected to gain at least the three seats necessary to retain control of the body.

    ?On that note, the BBC is projecting that of the 10 freshman Senators representing newly readmitted counties, the Union Party has carried all but one of those seats. The lone exception is Silas Madsen, who will represent the vast district of North Arcterra and the mining town of Blackbranch. Madsen, a political newcomer, was endorsed heavily by Trieste, but espoused largely moderate views during his election campaign, distinguishing him from a party that has largely moved left thanks to the Civil War.

    ?Of the election results already declared throughout Bakura, the landscape is a familiar one. The planet?s concentrated urban centers trended heavily to Trieste while large swaths of small towns and rural areas voted largely Norland. The Senatorial landscape looks much the same with Fianna Fail Senators representing cities and Unionist ones coming from outside those areas. By way of stark example, all of Cape Suzette?s six districts have been won by Fianna Fail and all but one of Salis D?aar?s nine districts went the same way. Even Atalanta in the former Dixie counties, has gone four to two in favor of the Fianna. However, Fianna Fail has emerged victorious in isolated rural districts such as North Arcterra, but they are few and far between. The real test for both parties will be the readmission of Marielle and the economic center of Nouvelle Orleans. Of all the cities on Bakura, it has the most chance of flipping for the Unionists.?

    There was a pause in the election analysis for a moment.

    ?Gentlebeings, we have received final election results from the last counties. Accordingly, we are prepared to declare that Kerry Trieste will win an unprecedented fourth term as Prime Minister of Bakura.?

    As the capital city of Bakura, Salis D?aar often represented the political status quo. Politicians from outside the county limits often talked about their opponents as ?Salis D?aar insiders? in a derogatory fashion.

    Kerry Trieste, for better or worse, was essentially a Salis D?aar girl. Though she had grown up outside of Prytis, her early childhood had seen many visits to the capital due to her father?s service as Prime Minister. When the time to choose a college had come, Kerry, like many Triestes before her, went to the University of Bakura, Salis D?aar. Her first job after graduation had been at the Fianna Fail national offices in Salis D?aar. Her first electoral victory had been winning a special election for Southeast Salis D?aar. And unlike her father, Kerry had chosen to raise her kids in Salis D?aar.

    Where other politicians would have balked at the arrogance of holding their election night rally in Salis D?aar, it was only natural for Kerry Trieste.

    Tonight had been her narrowest win yet as an elected official. She had garnered 52% of the vote to Jon Norland?s 48%. Voters cited Trieste?s economic reform policies as the primary reason they cast their vote for her. It seemed that Bakurans, by and large, saw what happened elsewhere in the Outer Rim and were thankful it had not been them. More over, they knew who to thank for such leadership.

    Kerry knew this had been a close scrape. She also knew had it not been for the economic collapse around Bakura, she might have lost this one. It was a sour way to win an election, but sometimes that?s the w/>
  7. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Tesserone: Roon, Vehn Family Ranch

    ?So you?ve left Naboo in the hands of a very powerful family, one I hope you trust, and moved back into the office of Chairman of the RTO as if you had never left. What you?ve accomplished in the past few weeks has been nothing short of phenomenal, son,? Joaquin Vehn admitted over a delicious meal prepared by his daughter Verity and son in law Oisin.

    ?There is a long way to go, father, to set things right,? Liam admitted.

    ?And what news of Eleanor?? Verity inquired, always looking out for her firstborn?s health, changing the conversation from politics to personal endeavors.

    ?Eleanor is undergoing a classical education in the countryside of Naboo as we speak, a small town in the province of Harte Secour. Eleanor is quite safe from any threats to her person, I can guarantee you that, and when her schooling is completed in several years? time, she shall be fit to rule Naboo as sovereign,? Liam replied, noticing concern in his sister?s eyes.

    ?Will she have any time to visit her family during the coming holiday?? Verity asked, referring to the celebration held annually throughout the member worlds of the Roon Trade Organization that celebrated independence from a former outer rim galactic power that had ceased to be at the end of the civil war.

    ?I doubt very much that she will have the time to visit any family during Liberty Day. Training to become a Queen of a planet takes a lot of hard work and concentration,? Liam replied. He felt rotten telling his sister that she could not see her daughter. It felt wrong to him, very wrong.

    ?If you?re keeping me from seeing her, Liam, I swear I will personally make you regret ever pushing her to become Queen of Naboo. She is a little girl who needs her mother and frak it all I will not sit here and be told that as a mother I cannot see my daughter!? Verity said, her voice rising, eyes pleading. Oisin gently caressed the rough hands of his wife. Hands that were used to working the land of Tesserone, tending its many acres in traditional methods and then rushing off to work in the frenzied world of a modern medical facility.

    Dinner had just ground to a halt. What had started off as a pleasant, and rare, get together of the family had now devolved into a power struggle between brother and sister over the future of Eleanor Vehn.

    ?Now, Verity, we, uh, well, let us just eat and discuss this matter later, shall we?? Joaquin suggested, his aging face suggesting how he had softened over the years.

    ?Verity, sweetheart, let us try and?? Oisin murmured, feeling embarrassed.

    ?Enough! Damn it all, I?ve had enough! Leave me be, Oisin!? Verity hissed, batting Oisin?s hand away from her own as she fled from the room, the harsh sound of a door slamming shut a few seconds later reverberating throughout the household.

    ?Forgive her behavior. It has not been easy allowing Eleanor to grow up in a foreign culture that arguably may not be the healthiest of environments for a young child to learn and develop. It has not been easy for either of us,? Oisin admitted.

    ?Eleanor is well fed, educated, and protected. What more could a little girl want?? Liam responded.

    ?You are forgetting one important development that a child at any level must have to survive in this galaxy. Love,? Joaquin said, spreading calm over the remaining members of the table.

    ?Love,? Liam replied wistfully, swirling a glass of exotic wine that had been poured for him at the start of dinner.

    ?Yes, love,? Oisin said, rising from his seat, ?she needs some semblance of that or she will not grow into this image you have setup for her, Liam. Now, excuse me, I need to see if Verity is recovering.?

    Joaquin and Liam stared at one another in silence. After a long moment, Joaquin Vehn spoke.

    ?What is it you hope to achieve by placing Eleanor on the throne, Liam? How could that possibly benefit the RTO and its relations with the independent systems, with the Republic?? Joaquin asked.

    Liam sighed and rubbed his weary eyes. The politics of this galaxy were beginning to wear him thin and so was th
  8. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Salis D?aar, Bakura

    ?I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute and uphold the Office of the Prime Minister of Bakura and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of Bakura.?

    For the fourth time in her life Kerry Trieste recited the oath of office of the Prime Minister of Bakura and with that her fourth administration began. She stepped up to the podium and addressed the vast crowd of people who had gathered for the event.

    ?My fellow Bakurans, for the first time in a great many years I have recited this oath in a time of peace. Twice I swore it while our planet was at war and once when the threat of war hung over our heads. Yet even so, the effects of conflict are still felt throughout this planet. Reconstruction has lasted for three years and we grow weary of the continual work that it entails. That is why I pledge here and now that bringing Reconstruction to a swift close will be the primary goal of this administration. I believe that through the vigorous work of several federal agencies that all of the remaining counties under federal jurisdiction can and will be readmitted to the union at the end of two years, taking up their rightful places as full members of our society with all the privileges, benefits, and responsibilities that entails. The last three years have seen tremendous growth in the economies of the former Maple counties, allowing them to stand without federal assistance, reducing government bureaucracy and expenditures. It is this groundwork that will allow Bakura to move forward into brighter days.

    ?Indeed, too long have we been mired down in the grim work of conflict and sadness. It is time for Bakura to raise her head to the stars and build the society that we have always believed that we could be. In our breasts burn a light brighter than any of those we see in the night skies. It is this fire that has guided us through the dark of night that we have weathered these last twelve years. Make no mistake, we have lived through hard times. It is time for us to seize this moment of peace to be the people that we have always wanted to be, to leave behind bitterness and resentment and instead call upon the compassion and strength that has resided in us always. Let us know love from this day forward and may our Maker bless Bakura.?

    The inaugural ball was an A-list event that saw every high level supporter of Kerry Trieste in attendance, including most of the Fianna Fail Senators. Deputy PM Dormingale had declined to attend to instead commemorate the event, and the beginning of her fourth term as President of the Senate, privately in Cape Suzette with her granddaughter Ayn. Tomorrow Sabé would convene with the Majority Leader and Majority Whip to plan out the legislative strategy for the next four years, primarily to make sure that the Senate properly supported Kerry?s plan to bring Reconstruction to a close and to ensure fair elections were held in the new counties as they were readmitted.

    Tonight, however, Kerry allowed her mind to wander far from the task she had just promised would be the first priority of this administration. Instead, she showed up to the inaugural ball in a sparkling blue evening gown. She would have skipped the event if given a choice, but her backers needed to know that their support was appreciated.

    Of course, Kerry couldn?t resist the ability to get a little bit of work done even at an obligatory event like this. She had inserted Thomas Avonlea into the guest list for the night. Now that the election was over, she was no longer holding the Ambassador from Naboo and the RTO at arm?s length. To the contrary, she was going to draw him close.

    After the applause that met Kerry?s initial appearance at the ball, the dance floor was cleared of people for the one obligatory tradition of Bakuran inaugural balls, the dancing of the Edelweiss Waltz. The tune was that of the Bakuran national anthem and its steps were hundreds of years old, but if a planet rough around the edges like Bakura could be said that they had a national ballroom dance, this was it.

    H/>
  9. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Salis D?aar, Bakura

    There was no such thing as a slow day in the West Office. Even a peaceful, well-ordered society required a great deal of administration. Kerry Trieste did not personally handle every aspect to it?that was why she had her Cabinet?but she did have to be the hand on the rudder of the state to set the course. Even so, with the election behind her, the job had gone into a lull.

    Oh sure, there were the minor crises of the day like the news that the Nar Shaddaa Smugglers, the biggest rival of the Bakura Miners, had just signed a Ssi-Ruu to their roster. The news had been met with disbelief and outrage. The mortal enemy of Bakura had not only reared its head?but it would be playing Limmie too? One would have thought that an entire invasion fleet had shown up rather than a lone Ssi-Ruu on a Limmie team. Dana Roslyn, the General Manager of the Miners, was among those who were livid and had immediately informed Kerry of the event. It had given the Prime Minister enough advance notice to lay low. Everyone was looking for Kerry to comment on the matter, which she was steadfastly, but subtly refusing to do. To even touch the issue with a thirty nine and a half foot pole was a bad idea. She had contented herself with allowing her Press Secretary to say that, ?Until a Ssi-Ruu enters the Bakuran sector, it is not the policy of this administration to comment on speculative situations.? That was very true. The Commissioner of Elite League Limmie had accepted this Ssi-Ruu for play. There was nothing that even said that he would ever play Bakura. Injuries happened all the time. He could turn out to just be a bad Limmie player and get cut from the team. Until the issue was staring Kerry in the face she would defer any decision or comment.

    Accordingly, much of Kerry?s time was occupied with the advance of Reconstruction. She wanted it over and done with as soon as possible. The sooner the counties were out of federal jurisdiction, the better for everyone involved. Not only would it eliminate enormous expenditures from the federal budget, it would also take away the easy scapegoat for any problems those counties had. Kerry had no interest in shielding the federal government from warranted criticism. However, there had been many charges leveled at Kerry and the bureaucracy she led since the end of the civil war by those who had lost that war that were patently unfair and it was preposterous to let the federal government be exposed to them longer than was necessary.

    That was why she had set an ambitious schedule for the end of Reconstruction. In a year and a half, Kerry wanted all of Bakura reunited as counties of equal standing. The rural counties would be easy to integrate because of their relatively simple government structures. They would come first. Low hanging fruit was always the smart first move.

    But the last county to readmit would be the one that made or broke the whole thing. In fact, control of the Senate would likely hinge upon it.

    The county of Marielle contained Nouvelle Orleans, the economy heart of the Dixie counties, the longest holdout of the entire war of any of the urban areas. It was this city that would either give Fianna Fail control of the full 80 member Senate (rather than the currently reduced 60 seat assembly) or hand power to the Union Party for the first time since 256 when Kerry had begun her second term. Of all the cities, Kerry?s popularity was lowest there. The experience of the siege of Nouvelle Orleans, finally broken by the daring Adama Maneuver pulled off by Kerry?s own sister, had not endeared her to many people. The Unionists would likely attempt to paint their elections as a referendum on her and that could mean the loss of the Senate.

    It was times like these when Kerry Trieste wondered if she had overstayed her welcome with a fourth term. Had her narrow edge over Norland been the only thing that had kept the Unionists from seizing control of the government or would another face have easily lead the party to victory? Kerry would never know.

    But she was sti
  10. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Liberty Day
    Nime-Capital City of the Roon Trade Organization

    ?Ambassador Thomas Avonlea has successfully made contact with the Prime Minister of Bakura and is in the process now of advancing our goals. It seems the meeting went well and the Prime Minister was receptive to conducting further business. I see our influence in the Outer Rim running along similar paths,? transmitted Tribune of Naboo Cecil Avonlea in a holographic message to Liam Vehn in the capital city of Nime.

    ?Tell him to proceed cautiously. We must not appear to be demanding in our requests. The time will present itself for Ambassador Avonlea to make his move. Until then, have him do everything in his power to court Kerry Trieste and further her goals as well. We need to stroke the Noble House to achieve what we most desire,? Liam responded as Cecil bowed and his holographic image winked out.

    ?Chairman, your presence is required on the balcony,? an aide whispered into Liam?s ear.

    ?Understood. Are all of the preparations finalized??

    ?Yes, Chairman. Everything is as we planned,? the aide replied.

    ?Then let the ceremonies begin,? Liam responded, stepping out onto a balcony overlooking the main street of Nime. Quick observation revealed that the street was lined with a throng of supporters for the RTO and the Vehn family, barely held back by security guards and barriers.

    ?Vehn! Vehn! Vehn!? The crowd began to chant as they caught sight of their leader.

    Liam waved to the multitudes of people who had gathered for the first celebration of Liberty Day, the day that the eastern Outer Rim declared independence from the Commonwealth following the Neo-Sith War.

    The Commonwealth of Independent Systems had collapsed after the Neo-Sith War out of overextending its treasury beyond its means. To add insult to injury, the Commonwealth had deposed of its last Emperor and sent the eastern portion of the galaxy into economic, political, and social chaos. While the independent systems remained fragmented from their once cohesive front, the Roon Trade Organization and its fledgling predecessors saw a new way to govern the galaxy.

    ?Remember who you are and where you come from,? whispered Joaquin Vehn who had accompanied his son to this historic moment in the history of the Roon Trade Organization.

    ?I intend to, father,? Liam responded through a smile, continuing to wave to the crowd.

    ?Here they come. My, Liam, they are impressive,? Joaquin admitted as his eyes gazed down upon the soldiers of the Fifth Druckenwell Brigade, wearing the standardized green uniforms of the first professional military unit in the history of the Roon Trade Organization, a stirring march playing as the procession wound its way through Nime.

    ?The best that money can buy,? Liam responded, realizing with alarming alacrity how true that statement was. Money was what fueled this private army, money funneled by corporations.

    Eventually, and this was going to be difficult for Liam to sell, the burden would have to be shared by the common citizen to fund a defense force. The financial burden to arm and equip a competent navy was equally distributed by the member planets of the RTO, that was, after all, part of the RTO Charter and an agreement everyone had entered into. A standing army, on the other hand, presented more difficult matters.

    The Fifth Druckenwell Brigade was beginning to approach the balcony. ?Eyes, right!? Cried out a shrill voice from somewhere in the formation of soldiers. With cutting precision the soldiers of the Fifth Druckenwell Brigade turned their heads to the right in a gesture of fealty and honor to Liam Vehn as they marched past in step.

    Liam bowed his head slightly, a knot forming in his stomach as he watched the men and women of this unit proceed down the main street of Nime. While his actions were solidifying old divisions within the RTO, one of the greatest threats to this government was the radical known as Morgan Kynnovan who was hoarding mineral resources on Lannik to fund a private army of his own, one that could potentially wreak havoc on the
  11. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Solar Flare

    Twenty reasonably sized frigates departed hyperspace in tight formations outside of the orbit of Hypori, descending on one of the industrial centers of the Roon Trade Organization like a swarm of vultures on a carcass.

    Down on the planet work continued as usual with service droids producing a variety of their cousins for distribution throughout the galaxy as protocol droids, assassin droids, and astromech droids.

    Hypori had once been one of the principal foundries of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars and its many factories, overseen by Geonosians, had churned out a plethora of droids for the war effort. But that conflict had ended over two centuries ago and the galaxy had changed drastically since that era. The Geonosians had returned to their home world to focus their efforts on industrial construction and Hypori was left under the guidance of a variety of droid brains left behind by the insectoid like race.

    Achieving sentience, the droid brains of Hypori were once more returning to their roots as a primary producer of droids for use throughout the galaxy. A representative from Hypori, a droid, served on the Board of Tribunes of the RTO and had been one of the key signatories of the RTO Charter during the earliest days of governance.

    Since the securing of the internal trade lanes of the RTO from piracy, Hypori had allowed the limited defenses of the planet to fall into disrepair and ruin. Thus the fleet that approached the orbit of the droid world had done so undetected.
    Early warning sensors had not been maintained in recent months due to the harmful effects of solar flares in the system on the electronic circuitry of any droid sent up to repair them.

    It was the perfect surprise attack.

    The fleet, displaying the colors of Morgan Kynnovan, opened fire on the key industrial centers of Hypori, totally shutting down production and laying waste to the surface. Millions of droids were dismantled, disabled, or destroyed by the turbolaser fire from orbit. Years of hard work by the RTO to encourage the droid planet to maximize production and utilize all of their energy for the benefit of the economic union had now been for nothing as green turbolaser energy ripped everything to pieces.

    Fires burned out of control and smoke blotted the atmosphere, visible from the bridge of the frigate Voltares.
    On the bridge, Morgan Kynnovan watched his handiwork with grim appreciation. The destruction of Hypori would hurt the RTO significantly and there was nothing Liam Vehn and his fledgling military could do about it. They would never come to Lannik. They would never threaten his power or resources. They would never liberate the natives.

    ?Helm, report,? Kynnovan commanded.

    ?Most of the factories on the surface have been destroyed, sir. There is hardly any evidence that the great underground facilities have been online for some time. I think we got them, sir,? the young man responded, happy to earn his paycheck without taking a life, at least, a living breathing one.

    ?Good, this will set the RTO back for years to come. Time to go home,? Kynnovan commanded as the fleet of twenty frigates entered hyperspace for the long journey back to Lannik.

    Down on the surface of Hypori, an emergency beacon began to transmit to Nime, the capital of the RTO. Everything had been recorded. The droids had done their job in amassing evidence for a formal case of war against Morgan Kynnovan and baiting the warlord into attacking Hypori.
    ***

    Liam Vehn, resting in his office, received the emergency transmission late into the night on Roon. Reading over the report, a smile crept across his face. Morgan Kynnovan thought he had struck a blow against the RTO but instead had merely slapped the wrist of the economic union. Most of the factories underground had been shut off in anticipation of the bombardment, thus rendering their heat signatures inert, and those that were above ground were older structures though the loss in droid life had been significant.

    Following his personal analysis of the atta
  12. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Prytis, Bakura

    For the first time in years, Kerry Trieste took a vacation and she was bound and determined to enjoy it no matter what. The fact that she had chosen to go hiking outside of the wooded retreat with her children was foremost on that list.

    For her part, Falene Trieste was in her element. She wanted to climb every tree she saw. Despite the fact that her daughter was thirteen years of age, Kerry was very tempted to tether the girl to prevent her from doing just that. The brown haired girl was an adventurous sort, which Kerry found healthy, and nowhere was this more prevalent than in exploring spaces and places. Skirts were not an item to be found in great abundance in Falene?s closet. It was a minor miracle that they?d corralled her into a dress for the inaugural ball, which Falene had been old enough to attend for the first time this year.

    Declan, however, was less enthusiastic about the prospect of trekking through the woods. An intellectual sort, it wasn?t that Declan had no appreciation for nature. Rather, Declan?s temperament was at odds with the intense physical work of climbing over rocks and getting tripped by roots. Surely there had to be a better way to experience nature than this. It was just another way that the dark haired boy reminded Kerry of her youngest sister, Regan. The Prime Minister could only hope that she would not have the same sort of rift with her son as once divided her from Regan.

    Kerry was more inclined to be of Falene?s temperament than Declan?s. She had chosen the expedition through the woody national park that had been bolstered by her father as Prime Minister. Though Fionn Trieste had touted the ecological good of vast, reserved wilderness spaces, Kerry was more inclined to value them for their spiritual qualities, the ability to lift the soul from the urban grind. Though there was a majesty in a beautiful city?which not all urban spaces cared to develop?there was greater power in the thousands of years that had contributed to the natural panoramas of Bakura.

    ?You know not every planet is lucky enough to have woods like these,? Kerry told her kids.

    ?You?ve said that three times already Mom,? Declan said wearily as they continued hiking through the woods. They were not completely alone, for Bakuran Marshals kept a watchful eye on the family, their senses at high alert.

    ?And you?ve yet to fully appreciate it,? Kerry commented, ?I?m not just talking about Coruscant or Denon that are completely covered with buildings. Tatooine doesn?t have a single tree on it. Kamino doesn?t even have land. Few planets have the wide variety of climates that we do. It?s said that we are very similar to what Alderaan was.?

    ?Which would explain why the Sith razed this planet to the ground,? Declan grumbled. The event had taken place before even Kerry had been born and the rebuilding of Bakura had been overseen by her father prior to his election as Prime Minister.

    ?Perhaps more true than you know,? Kerry said, ?There are some beings who cannot tolerate beautiful things.?

    ?Why?s that?? Falene asked.

    ?Many reasons. They feel inferior next to them, rather than appreciating the inherent majesty of something gorgeous. Those who have good things resent others who have the same or better. I suppose it comes from a lack that they perceive in their own lives, coupled with anger.?

    ?How sad,? Falene said.

    ?It is,? Kerry agreed, patting her daughter?s head.

    One of the Marshals stepped up to Kerry and handed her a datapad. Though she was on vacation, she couldn?t escape work. Even so, her staff back at Marian Square knew that at the moment only the most urgent matters were to be forwarded to her attention. It was with some degree of curiosity that Kerry perused the message on the datapad, marked confidential by her secretary, whom Kerry trusted with quite a bit when it came to managing her life.

    To: Kerry Trieste, Prime Minister of Bakura
    From: Liam Vehn, Chairman of the RTO
    Subject: Attack on Hypori
    You once said that if the RTO ever needed any help from th
  13. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Agapantha Hotel, Coruscant

    Siona Lynd was a large advocate of taking one?s children to work?especially when work was going to Coruscant. It was high time that her eldest daughter Ginnifer experienced the galactic capital, which necessarily included some shopping for new clothes. Siona was not a vain woman, but in her line of work she needed to be well turned out. That need had morphed into a desire in her daughter and accordingly the pair returned to their hotel with several purchases that afternoon. Falene Trieste might have been an outdoorsy girl who felt more at home in boots and shorts, Ginnifer Lynd owned only clothes that were fashionable and flattering. The cousins could not have been more different.

    Ginnifer was still blushing over her acquisitions when her mother sent her with a droid up to their suite. Siona had work to do in the hotel bar. Waiting for her was Bakura?s Galactic Senator, Rabelais Fortinbras, and a Khil by the name of Kae Hulu. Hulu was Assistant Underminister for the Outer Rim of the Republican Fleet?and she was just who Siona needed to see.

    ?Ah, Siona, come to take my job?? Fortinbras said as Siona took a seat with the pair.

    ?I am quite content on Naboo. It?s a thrilling place to be these days,? Siona said. She was well aware of scuttlebutt that had her marked out as the next Galactic Senator from the Bakura Sector.

    ?If only Liam Vehn were still hanging around Theed it would be even more so,? Fortinbras said slyly.

    ?You mean Kynnovan,? Hulu commented, giving the first and only indication she was paying attention to the conversation.

    Fortinbras waved his hand dismissively and said nothing.

    ?I am glad the Underminister?? Siona began.

    ?Assistant Underminister,? Hulu said drolly.

    ?Assistant Underminister,? Siona corrected, ?is aware of the details of the situation.?

    ?It is my job to be aware of the details,? Hulu replied.

    ?And an admirable job you do of it. That is why I asked Senator Fortinbras to arrange this meeting. People who know how things work know that you are the person who gets things done in the Outer Rim bureau,? Siona said.

    ?Effective delegation is the mark of a well run organization,? Kae continued. If anyone could actually carry on a conversation and be totally disinterested in it, Kae Hulu was doing it. It was also annoying Siona quite a bit by the way it was jarring against her usual diplomatic vocabulary.

    ?This is all the roundabout way of saying that it is naturally in no one?s best interest for the Republic to intervene in this situation in the RTO,? Siona pressed on, ?It would be in direct contradiction of the Kattan Doctrine, which holds strong even after forty years.?

    The Kattan Doctrine, named for two term Supreme Chancellor Serena Kattan, stated, in somewhat more convoluted terms, that the Republic would see to its own affairs and not run traipsing off into the galaxy to fix every problem that there was unless its own interests were threatened. The policy had since been upheld by every other Supreme Chancellor and was now a cornerstone of Republican foreign and defense policy.

    ?And the Fleet has no intention of getting involved with Morgan Kynnovan either, despite the proximity of Lannik to Republican space,? Hulu stated flatly.

    ?Then reason continues to prevail at Fleet headquarters,? Siona said happily, ?One never knows how restless soldiers can get when they don?t have a war to fight.? With no major military operations since the end of the disastrous G?rho War, Siona was quite sure that there were certain commanders who would look for any reason to stretch their metaphorical legs and use the firepower they had been given.

    ?Chancellor Hedregar has been quite clear that there will not be any preemptive actions taken by the Republic regarding this situation,? Hulu confirmed.

    Supreme Chancellor Hedregar, whose full name was Hedregar 31, was a Khommite clone and had been elected in 261 to the office on the heels of Chancellor Shakra, who had ended the G?rho War in his five year tenure, was a strong advocate of m
  14. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    A New Breed of Warrior

    The troop transport plummeted like an asteroid toward the surface of Lannik, heat rippling across its durasteel exterior, occasionally jarred, jostled, and nearly destroyed by heavy weapons fire from fortifications near the capital city of New Palesia.

    Men cursed and cried out in fright as the drop ship was hit by an energy blast and dropped several hundred feet faster than anticipated. Some threw sick all over the floor, others fingered good luck charms, but the scared eyes of these young boys from the RTO devoured one another like some horrific beast with a voracious appetite.

    Gazing out the tiny portholes of the drop ship, strapped in tight on one of two rows of seats, men facing one another, Private First Class Geoffrey Tarmak quietly prayed in his family?s religious manner as the burning hulks of Morgan Kynnovan?s fleet, coupled with a few ships from the RTO Navy, drowned in the atmosphere, bodies ejecting into the vacuum of space to be recovered by burial crews at a later time.

    Hundreds of drop ships had deployed from the frigates in the fleet and were racing down toward the surface to engage the mercenaries under Kynnovan?s control in a battle that would determine the fate of Lannik. Whether it would remain under the tyrannical control of Morgan Kynnovan, a man who had raped the planet for all that it was worth, or choose its own path upon liberation by the forces of the Roon Trade Organization.

    A voice jarred PFC Geoffrey Tarmak from his thoughts. The voice of the being who was to be followed unconditionally in the heat of battle, the old veteran from a hundred encounters on brutal worlds as a corporate mercenary working for the Ypres
    Initiative, Captain Sal Buuk?aras, the Bothan.

    The Bothan?s hair bristled as he spoke. ?Check your gear. I don?t want any jamming when the action gets hot. We?re putting it all on the line here in a few minutes. Make sure you?ve got ammunition, IR goggles, grenades, and most importantly, plenty of water. Who knows where they?ll drop us, and Lannik has got itself one nasty desert, I kid you not!?

    ?Yes, Captain!? Cried a chorus of voices as the buddy system was employed to great effect by the young warriors of the Fifth Druckenwell Division, its ranks swelled in recent weeks by an influx of recruits eager to have their first taste of war and feeling a personal responsibility to defend the RTO after the attack on Hypori.

    Tarmak examined his blaster rifle and kit carefully and seeing that all was in order turned to the being next to him and examined their kit.

    ?Sound off!? The thundering voice of the Bothan bellowed.

    ?One, okay!?

    ?Two, okay?

    It was Tarmak?s turn, ?Three, okay!? The young human grunted, finding his voice through the fear and bile building up in his throat.

    The sound off continued as Tarmak strained his eyes to see outside the porthole of the drop ship noticing that the craft was much lower to the surface and flying over temperate terrain. Tall forests and soaring, rugged peaks, it looked so pleasant.

    But the enemy is down there. Waiting for us. Waiting to kill you, Geoff the young private realized as he swallowed tightly in conjunction with the hard thump of the drop ship hitting the ground.

    The landing ramp at the back of the drop ship deployed quickly and blinding light filled the entryway preventing those inside from seeing what lay ahead.

    ?Get your asses out the door, now!? Yelled the Bothan.

    The young kid was up and rushed out the door with his company.

    The blinding light dissipated and PFC Geoffrey Tarmak realized that they had landed in a clearing filled with knee high grass and surrounded by tall trees. Other drop ships were dumping their troops out as well and taking off once they had successfully unloaded their cargo.

    ?Maker, look at those mountains,? mumbled a soldier nearby.

    Tarmak followed the man?s voice and examined the tall peaks kilometers away. He had never seen mountains like those before, not on Druckenwell. Most of the mountains had been developed and masked their size back on his hom
  15. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Republica House, Coruscant

    Republica House had long been one of the most exclusive places to have a meal on Coruscant. To enjoy dinner in a private room there was a mark of considerable distinction. To dine in a private room at Republica House while the capital played host to the most influential regional political gathering in the galaxy was a sign of true significance.

    The Core Conference was an annual meeting of planetary government leaders from all systems of the Deep Core and Core. Discussions were held on important issues of collective interest. There were also a number of networking opportunities for business to take place outside of the formal meetings. Usually it was the gatherings outside the convention halls that produced more tangible results than the resolutions passed inside.

    Tonight, Oren Mott, the Treasurer of the Five Brothers of the Corellian System, was hosting dinner at Republica House, mainly because he was very enamored of the Bithian stew that they served there. It didn?t hurt that the venue impressed his guests, the Vice President of Chandrila, the Galactic Senator from Brentaal, and the Home Secretary of Abregado-Rae. Every being at the table held considerable sway in their home systems, but none more so than Mott.

    Mott had served for the last eight years as Treasurer of the Five Brothers, managing the public coffers of the Corellian system. He wasn?t above using his position to achieve great influence in the prominent system of the Core, and neither had his guests. Mott had worked his way up the party ladder in Corellia and hadn?t done it in the most respectable company. However, what mattered was that he was now for all intents and purposes the most influential man in the system. Even the Diktat took marching orders from Oren Mott.

    However, politicians were not the only people present at this gathering. Significant others had been brought for a week on the town in Coruscant. Foremost among them was Mrs. Shandra Gilder, the particular lady friend of Oren Mott. A widow, Gilder had come to Corellia as an immigrant from the agricultural plains of Chandrila, hence the lilt in her voice. Though not a woman of any distinction, her relationship with Mott had raised Gilder to considerable importance on Corellia.

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

    ?I really don?t see how you can put up with the Drall day in and day out, Oren,? the Vice President was saying, ?I find the ones I encounter so?so??

    ?Droll?? Mott suggested with straight-faced humor that set the room laughing.

    ?The Drall are good beings,? the Galactic Senator from Brentaal said, ?My accountant is a Drall. I?ve been audited several times by the Republican Treasury and not once have they found a decicred out of order. Maker praise that furball!?

    ?If the Drall had any ambition they would have conquered the galaxy by now,? Mott said, ?Thank heavens they?re happy where they are.?

    ?If they lived in the Rim, they almost certainly would have turned to lawlessness,? the Home Secretary of Abregado-Rae, a Gado, intoned, ?The Core has a civilizing influence that simply cannot be exported to the rest of the galaxy.?

    ?That?s hardly fair,? Shandra Gilder said, ?If the Outer Rim could enjoy such long stretches of peace as the Core I?m sure it would come out well.?

    ?Sadly that will not come to pass. Even now this business with Lannik overturns the speeder, which is to say nothing of the independent systems,? Mott said, ?They could go to war any day with each other, stop just as suddenly, and then start up.?

    ?Thank heavens for the Republican Fleet to insulate us from all that,? the Vice President of Chandrila said, raising his glass in a toast in which he was joined by the others.

    At that moment, the Senator from Brentaal happened to look out the door of the room as a serving droid opened it. In doing so, he caught a glimpse of blue and a flash of red at the bar, a familiar glimpse at that.

    ?Forgive me one moment,? the Senator said as he stood, ?but I believe there
  16. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Palasea

    Insanity.

    Poor hygiene.

    Delusions.

    A bunker buried beneath the surface of New Palasea, the capital city of Lannik, directly connected to the once great household of the royal family, which had been executed by Kynnovan months earlier, was the scene of a man losing his grasp on the military situation at hand.

    ?How could they have fielded an army so quickly?? Kynnovan spat as he examined several holographic maps at once, dribble rolling down his chin.

    ?Everyone told me that they were divided. Squabbling amongst one another. That Vehn could not rally them to his cause. Yet, here he has landed a formidable force on this planet to take it away from me.?

    ?Take it away from me!? Screamed Kynnovan, his voice resounding off the thick durracrete walls.

    ?They?re after our resources. What we stole from deep beneath this planet?s crust. Yes, that?s it. That?s it exactly. They want what they can?t have. Well, they won?t get it, will they? My loyal soldiers will fight to the death. Our treasures will never fall into the hands of the Roon Trade Organization,? spat a crazed Morgan Kynnovan.

    ?Supreme leader,? began General Hal Rivera, himself a native of Druckenwell, using the title that Morgan Kynnovan requested of his subordinates when they addressed him, ?our forces are fighting a ferocious battle against the forces from the RTO. I have little doubt that we will succeed on the field and drive the invader back into space. Already, I have been in contact with our Hutt allies who are assembling a fleet as we speak.?

    General Hal Rivera had once been a respectable commander of the infantry during the Neo-Sith War. Now, old age and a desire for glory had pressed him into service under the tyrant Morgan Kynnovan. The job was not to his liking and it distressed him how he had sworn an oath to this mad man who was addicted to the most potent form of spice. An insurance policy from the Hutts to make sure that Kynnovan did everything they asked. Instead, Rivera had secretly sworn loyalty to the Hutts.

    Old enemies but they paid well.

    Rivera knew the truth. Knew that Kynnovan never would have moved against Lannik were it not for promises by the Hutts. In fact, though the idea to take Lannik may have originated in the court of former Queen of the Naboo Camilla Quorro, financial backing for the operation came from several anonymous accounts traced later by RTO investigators to a Hutt warlord named Golgothra.

    The revelation of such financing had driven Camilla Quorro from power and had broken the stranglehold Naboo had over the RTO. The pastoral planet?s power diminished and Liam Vehn?s rise to the top administrative position within the economic union had complicated matters for Kynnovan over the past year. The move by Liam had been unexpected for Kynnovan had counted on turmoil on Naboo to occupy the man for years to come.

    The deal with the Hutts was thus: Kynnovan would strip Lannik of all of its precious minerals and send ships laden with the valuable commodities to Nal Hutta in exchange for credits with far more financial power than what the RTO could supply. In return, Kynnovan would harass the RTO and maintain his unhealthy addiction to spice, an addiction that was destroying his mental grasp on the physical world and its harsh realities.

    General Hal Rivera knew that the 1st Roon Expeditionary Force, of which the Fifth Druckenwell division was apart, would not be held at bay for long. They had taken the major crossroads at Masalla the day before, albeit suffering murderous casualties. Yet the soldiers in the 1st REF were some of the best that the economic union could field and they would not take long in cutting across the mountains in a forced march to the capital city.

    Rivera examined the holographic maps carefully. The RTO held total air and naval supremacy but on the ground things had stalled around the city of New Osler, gateway to Palesia.

    Thirty days into the fight for Lannik and still the defenders, spiced up mercenaries, were fighting to the bitter end against a foe that was ill prepared for the t
  17. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Republican University, Coruscant

    Due to a structural collapse at Andromeda Steel Corporation Field, the regular home of the Coruscant Senators, the Senators were playing their 256 season games at on the grounds of the highly respected Republican University. Though it had a prestigious academic reputation, Republican participated in the Super 16 collegiate Limmie conference with other Core worlds, widely considered a ?power conference? throughout the galaxy. Accordingly, its luxury boxes were a step down from the usual accoutrements that Kerry Trieste enjoyed when on the road, but not by much. It was still sufficient enough for her purposes in hosting the Core politicians.

    In addition to the luminaries who had gathered at Republica House, a very unassuming Duros had joined the group. The Duros said very little during the afternoon?s festivities unless he was spoken to. It was his nature, and his nature fitted his occupation. The Duros was the Director of Republican Intelligence, an organization that Kerry?s father had been the founding Director of prior to his terms as Prime Minister. It had been Fionn Trieste who had successfully integrated the GFFA?s Department of Covert Operations and Intelligence Networking (DCOIN) and all its resources into the newly formed Republican Intelligence when Chancellor Rookoorra had organized the Republic. Ever since then, the Noble House had always remained on friendly relations with Republican Intelligence?mainly because Fionn?s attempt to reorganize the Bakuran External Security Service (BESS) as part of the rebuilding of Bakura was very flatly vetoed by Chancellor Serena Kattan. Seeing as being out of the loop was not the way the Noble House conducted its affairs, the House was very careful to remain on good standing with the prevailing powers of the Republic?s intelligence community. Inviting the Director to a luxury box viewing of a Limmie game did not hurt matters at all.

    ?I suppose that one gets very used to seeing Limmie in such opulent circumstances all the time,? Shandra Gilder commented.

    ?Indeed, but I fear some teams are too attached to their boxes,? Kerry said, ?We have resisted calls for renovation at Bakura Gardens. The stadium is coming up on 40 years old, but only minor facelifts have been necessary in my opinion. The heart of a Limmie team is its average fan. Teams that build tiers upon tiers of expensive corporate buyers at the exclusion of affordable seating do themselves a disservice, and the community as well. Admittedly, it is not an original philosophy. I am quite influenced by the Chandrila Patriots in this regard. Stoney End Park may be perhaps the best Limmie stadium in the galaxy. What it lacks in size it more than compensates for in character and experience.?

    ?Quite kind words, Madam Prime Minister, and ones I will have to take at face value,? Gilder said, ?I never was able to attend a Patriot game at Stoney End, despite having lived there for some time.?

    ?A true pity,? Kerry said, ?and one that my sister in-law should rectify for you. Nessa strongly believes that every Chandrilan should go to a Patriots game at least once in their life.?

    ?She has been an exceedingly popular face of the Board of Governors during her tenure,? Shandra said, ?almost as much as her mother.?

    ?As wonderful as this Patriot lovefest is, I?d like to point out that Solo Stadium?s renovation was just completed and has been universally acclaimed to be one of the finest stadiums in the galaxy,? Oren interjected.

    ?Sounds like you might be making a Galactic Cup Final bid, Mr. Mott,? Kerry said with a smirk.

    ?And I?ll save you the trouble of pointing out that Bakura will host this year?s,? Mott said, ?Congratulations on securing such a boon.?

    ?We only wish to showcase to the galaxy how the Outer Rim can be just as wonderful as the Core,? Kerry replied.

    ?I?m sure that when the Senators roll into the Final, they?ll be quite happy to enjoy everything Salis D?aar has to offer,? Mott said.

    ?Quite a prediction,? Kerry said.

    ?The Senators have been th
  18. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    New Osler

    PFC Geoffrey Tarmak had been changed by this war. They all had. Vacant stares filled with eyes that had seen too much carnage, been on the line far too long, and taken heavy casualties had replaced the giddy and naïve expressions of the young soldiers of the Fifth who had thought this fight would be over. Had never counted on the mercenaries under the command of Morgan Kynnovan to fight so hard, oftentimes to the death.

    Taking a long pull on a government issued death stick, Tarmak watched the wide rubble strewn boulevard ahead of him with alert but dry eyes. The devastated boulevard ran the north-south axis of the city of New Osler, the gateway to Palasea, the capital of Lannik. Enemy fortifications dominated the northern tip of the boulevard. Slowly, but suffering heavy casualties, the Fifth had pushed them out of their reinforced positions and were on the verge of taking New Osler.

    Tarmak turned his head at the sight of movement. Rats scuttled through the rubble, pieces of flesh dangling from their mouths, the rodents had found ample food in recent weeks with the siege of New Osler and the piles of dead that still lay exposed in the waning days of the fall season.

    ?Going to be dark soon, better put that out Private,? a stern voice warned.

    ?Yeah, Cap?n,? Tarmak grunted and flicked the death stick to the ground, the tip of the narcotic fizzling out in a puddle.

    He knew why the light had to be extinguished. Too easy a target for snipers and if there was anything that Tarmak had learned in his campaign through Lannik was that these mercenaries, their enemy, were good shots.

    The two of them stared toward the north in silence.

    ?What next??

    ?Sorry??

    ?What?s next,? Tarmak repeated looking over at his superior, ?I mean, what happens when this is all over??

    ?We pack up. We get a few medals. We go home and tackle the toughest job,? the Captain replied.

    ?What job is that??

    ?Becoming a civilian again.?

    ?Nobody will understand what we?ve gone through here on Lannik, besides, I won?t leave the unit,? Tarmak muttered.

    ?Won?t leave, eh? Yeah, well you just wait when they bust you out of the Fifth. Kid, nobody will understand. How can they? Families are trying to make a living and so many will have sacrificed enough for this wretched planet. They?ll call us heroes. They?ll say that we took on the scourge of the galaxy and triumphed. They will say a lot of things. No, Private, nobody will ever understand. Not until they suit up in a uniform and carry a blaster rifle into the thickest of the fighting. Not until they?ve seen with their own eyes what we have experienced,? the Captain said his voice barely rising above a whisper.

    ?Been pretty quiet here all night. I don?t think they?ll try and push us out anymore,? Tarmak observed eager for a change in subject.

    Movement again caught Tarmak?s eye. This time, as he squinted in the darkness, he realized the figures moving weren?t rats.
    They were people.

    ?Sithspit, here they come,? breathed the captain right before a laser round went through his head sending his body jerking to the ground in spasms.

    ?Captain??

    ?Captain!? Tarmak cried out.

    The street suddenly erupted in a torrential downpour of violence and laser fire. The fight for New Osler was not over and neither was the fight for Lannik.
  19. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Six Boroughs Stadium, Nar Shaddaa

    It had been four years since Kerry Trieste had last been invited to join the Vehn family for the Black & Blue Battle. Two years ago the hiring of Aileen Wynn as head coach of the Bakura Miners had soured relations between the families considering Wynn?s outspoken criticism of Smuggler hero and head coach Tover Micjaa. However, with both coaches no longer with the franchises for their own personal reasons and important issues brewing in the Outer Rim the invitation had been extended once more. Actually, it was more accurate to say that Kerry had procured the invitation this year. There was some business that could be done through the intermediary of communication devices. There was also the business that could not be.

    Nar Shaddaa was a working class city. It always had been and for the foreseeable future it always would be. Kerry found it unlikely that the service sector would ever take root here like it had in Bakura. The Vehn family and Nar Shaddaa local government had always known that and that was why Six Boroughs was a working being?s stadium. No tiers upon tiers of luxury boxes here. The 158,000 seat stadium was geared to the average fan, not the corporate season tickets. Bakura Gardens was built on a similar philosophy, but the box level of the Gardens was still vastly nicer and more upscale than the concourse that Kerry was treading at the moment.

    She knew from past experience that even the Vehn box was only marginally better than the others that surrounded it. The Vehns operated on the very smart principle that it never did to look too much better off than those around you, lest you incite the anger of those less fortunate. It was a lesson that many beings could use to learn.

    When Kerry entered the Vehn box, Federal Marshals as always by her side, she was unsurprised to see the entire Vehn clan had gathered for the occasion. Verity and Oisin were there with all three of their children. Two of them, Austin and Eleanor were Vehns. One, May, was a Trieste. The children had each been given the opportunity to choose their last name in the wake of a lack of issue from the marriage of Liam and Sofia Quorro. Accordingly, the Vehn name would live on for another generation. Eleanor was already showing the polish of her education on Naboo and Austin was beginning his growth spurt, likely helped by working Tesserone under the tutelage of his grandfather. May, at the tender age of nine, was looking healthy and well. Approaching 40 himself, the wilds of Roon were beginning to show on Oisin?s face.

    ?Lovely to see you,? Kerry said as she kissed her brother, ?You never come to Bakura anymore.?

    ?You could always come to Roon,? Oisin replied smartly.

    ?Perhaps when I don?t have a planet to run,? Kerry said.

    ?As if you ever won?t,? Verity said as she embraced her sister in-law, ?Have they considered instituting a monarchy on Bakura??

    ?It would have its advantages, but I think popular opinion might be against it,? Kerry said.

    Kerry moved further into the box to where Joaquin Vehn, the former RTO Chairman, and Liam Vehn, the current RTO Chairman, both stood waiting for her. She kissed Joaquin first and then Liam, both on the cheek. ?A pleasure to see you both,? Kerry said, ?You do pick a fine time to call in your favors from the Noble House, don?t you??
  20. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Six Boroughs Stadium, Nar Shaddaa

    ?Kerry, a pleasure to see you once again. Four years is a long time to wait,? Joaquin responded, warmly clasping Kerry?s hands into his own.

    The two exchanged a look of mutual respect before the patriarch of the Vehn family disappeared to join the rest of his kin leaving current Chairman of the RTO, Liam Vehn, alone with his in law.

    ?A pleasure to see you both,? Kerry said, ?You do pick a fine time to call in your favors from the Noble House, don?t you??

    ?No time is better to call in such favors than now. Important decisions are to be made in the coming weeks regarding Lannik and the threat of the resurgent Hutts. Not to mention the interests of the RTO abroad. Taking Lannik back from the clutches of Morgan Kynnovan has proven to be more difficult than I could have ever anticipated. The war has been most trying for our boys in uniform. Inexperienced though they may have been in the early stages of the conflict they are no doubt earning their stripes now, at a terrible price I might add,? Liam responded, staring Kerry Trieste in those charming eyes of hers.

    Yes, Kerry. You understand the sacrifices a government must make in times of war. You better than anyone in this galaxy understand that what the RTO must accomplish on Lannik goes far beyond the removal of a tyrant. It changes the very balance of power in the Eastern Outer Rim thought Liam, guiding Kerry to a seat in the pleasant owner?s box.

    ?What sort of developments have you learned regarding interstellar relations between the Republic and the RTO?? Liam inquired as the game between the Smugglers and Miners began in earnest.
  21. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Six Boroughs Stadium, Nar Shaddaa

    As Kerry listened to Liam, she motioned discreetly for a waiting serving droid to come forward with the glass prepared for her on a tray. She took it, keeping her attention on Lia though she wasn?t looking at him while they took their seats. Kerry leaned towards him, propping one arm on the armrest between them.

    ?The Republic is not likely to take any action to closer ally themselves with the RTO, even economically. They are well aware that economic ties create interests that sometimes need defending and even if you did not have your?Lannik problem?? Kerry decided that was the most tactful term for it, ??the Senate is a conservative body by nature. They will not seek to extend themselves further than they need to. This Senate has no galactic ambitions. They have taken the lessons of past failures to heart.?

    With a drop kick Autumn Graves sailed the boloball over the bar for a point in the Miners? favor, opening up the day?s scoring.

    ?And now to hear that the Hutts are getting involved?that won?t help matters,? Kerry said with a shake of her head, ?Not at all. Not at all.

    ?Even my gentle probes on the matter were rebuffed at a very unofficial level. Bakura may lead the Outer Rim in the Republic, but it is still part of the Outer Rim. The Republic?s powerbase has always been the Core and Colonies. That is how this third Republic was built. This movement will never succeed if it is waged from anywhere in the Rim. Only in the Core will it succeed.?

    The Smuggler rookie Ankylo, a Ssi-Ruu burst through for a goal, sending the crowd into cheers. Not exactly how Kerry wanted to see this game go. She kicked back her drink and motioned for another.

    ?However, the Noble House has honored its obligation to the first part. We have received assurances that if the Lannik conflict remains local, the Republic will not intervene. These guarantees become void if action threatens Republican interests.

    ?To the second part, my efforts cannot secure this now. That does not mean that it cannot be achieved,? Kerry said as she accepted her second drink.
  22. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Six Boroughs Stadium, Nar Shaddaa

    ?Such news is disappointing but not unexpected. It will take more than the urging of two Rim worlds to fully get the attention of the core. No, I fear only an escalation of this conflict will get their attention and I have no interests in seeing the conflict on Lannik expand beyond the system,? Liam responded, sighing.

    ?The Hutts have always been our traditional enemy. Old feuds and hatreds go far. But I will not take military action against them unless provoked. Surely their defeat at the hands of the old Almanian Empire ought to deter the current generation from outright aggression. But it is a different generation. Far removed from that old war that so divided this galaxy.?

    ?No, Kerry, I think that diplomacy is the only way to go this time around. The RTO is not a successor to the Almanian Empire, the United Commonwealth of Interstellar Territories, or whatever else preceded the RTO with regards to government. Military strikes and action are not in its foundational nature. The RTO is an economic body first and foremost with a small but capable military. It has cost me a great deal of political capital simply to assemble an expeditionary force to handle Morgan Kynnovan and his thugs. I am quite sure I will be unable to assemble such a force in the foreseeable future without a great deal of political maneuvering. Though it may not seem apparent, even I have to report to the citizens of this organization,? Liam admitted.

    His attention wandered to the game. Bakura had just leveled Viera Ravine in a solid hit and scored another point over the bar.

    ?You have assembled quite the government, Kerry. I admire that in you. You have vision. You have strength and you come from a long line of worthy rulers. I will be the first to tell you that I appreciate all you have done for the Vehn family in recognizing the debts of the Noble House. Our two families are not unlike and have similar destinies. I shall wait patiently for the second part to unfold in its natural course. Perhaps that is for the best. Despite my best efforts to establish a strong government, unemployment remains high and our currency is weak,? Liam said, a faint smile on his face.

    The Smugglers suddenly responded with a score by Helena Forsythe, the beautiful full back of the squad.

    ?Do you realize that I have rarely been to any planetary systems beyond the boundaries of the RTO? I would love to visit Bakura some day. To see Salis D?aar, Cape Suzette, heck, even the Dixie counties, I hear they have quite the festivals in Nouvelle Orleans. Besides, everyone knows Bakurans pride themselves on alcohol consumption. I see you?ve finished your drink,? Liam noted and snapped his fingers. A droid hustled over to deliver a fresh one to Kerry.

    ?On a more private matter, how are the children? Not having their father must be difficult for them,? Liam said in a hushed tone.
  23. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Six Boroughs Stadium, Nar Shaddaa

    Kerry had learned enough over the years to know when to speak and when to listen. She was expected to do the former on many occasions, but she needed to do the latter to fully understand a situation. Though she was a gifted public speaker (perhaps, some might say, too gifted for her own good), Kerry preferred to listen. It likely came from being her father?s daughter for Fionn Trieste had known full well that there was much he did not know.

    Though her eyes watched the Limmie field and its formations, Kerry?s mind plotted a much different game. The last conflict with the Hutts had been a fight of her father?s time, and further back than that for Liam Vehn. Though Hutts were long lived, their ambition never died. Even so, their ambition was traditionally limited, but for so many who had some it was very easy to want more.

    As Liam rightly saw, diplomacy was their only path. The Core would not be bullied into something it did not want. It merely needed to be convinced that it wanted what Kerry and Liam were selling. There were many persuasive arguments the Core currently had no care to hear, but perhaps with time they would appreciate them.

    Kerry was no fan of the corporate bureaucrats that ran the RTO. Too much conflation between the private and public sectors seemed to Kerry a recipe for a tight control on power and a recipe for disaster. Yet in this moment she could sense that Liam?s control was tenuous. The Taoiseach had always defined politics as the exercise of power, using one?s office to achieve an agenda (in her case for the betterment of Bakura, though her opponents usually disagreed), but there was only so much political capital that one had at a given moment. With her aggressive legislation during the Civil War with her party?s supermajorities, Kerry had used much of what she had. She was well aware that her legislative fights in her fourth term would need to be picked with caution. Even so, Kerry could tell that Liam had even less to work with than she had. For someone engaged in a military action, it was a dangerous place to be.

    When Liam finished speaking, Kerry, having accepted her third drink (not uncommon for her at a social occasion?she was sure that she would need two liver replacements like her father had), said, ?I miss Mihal for their sake more than my own sometimes. I impose limits on myself to attempt to have some sort of normal life, but even to leave them with Regan and Atticus now when I go?? Kerry made a motion with her hand as if to say, ?What am I to do?? ?I take care to make them a priority and I only hope that I have not sacrificed my family to a greater good.

    ?And speaking of which?perhaps you hit on something there?? Kerry said thoughtfully, ?Leaders are by nature the face of their governments. You have tended your own garden, an admirable trait, yet perhaps not the most useful. I have learned that it is useful to be liked in this line of work. Differences of policy and position sometimes crumble when parties find a commonality. Perhaps seeing the Core would be a worthwhile exercise for the RTO. Though the Republic itself may not extend favorable terms to the RTO as a body, they will never stop private industry from doing business with you.

    ?Yes,? Kerry said, tapping the side of her glass with one finger, ?Perhaps we will do well to seek partners more amenable to our goal who, upon further acquaintance, might be willing to extend their influence in the matter.?
  24. Vehn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2009
    star 4
    Six Boroughs Stadium, Nar Shaddaa

    ?Funny you should mention alternative partners within the Republic. Several representatives from the member worlds have presented me with a plan to have business dealings with certain corporations within the Republic that are more in line with our own interests at home and abroad. We have to start somewhere and I think taking a peek at the Republic through the private sector may be the way to go,? Liam said.

    ?It is difficult governing a body with a myriad of different interests, not all of them legal. I worry deeply about the future of the RTO when I am unable to perform my duties as Chairman. We?ve been down the route of democracy before, it only ended in failure,? Liam said, shaking his head. ?Perhaps in time a solution shall present itself.?

    Privately, Liam admired Kerry Trieste?s democratic principles but practically they wouldn?t work in the eastern Outer Rim. The eastern Outer Rim was a rough and dangerous part of the galaxy full of thugs, pirates, and those who wanted to avoid entanglements with the Republic?s civil authorities. What worked on Bakura would not work on Roon or the surrounding planets. The people possessed a natural stigma to too much authority and government control and Liam knew that he had nearly torpedoed the hard work of his family by strengthening the central government. Those measures would have to be temporary, outside of the centralized bank and currency of the RTO. The corporations were clamoring for a free hand, for the government to shake off its oppressive grip and on that matter Liam would not budge. They would all move along at the same pace or they would be shut down. Too many abuses had taken place when corporations were given free reign. One only needed to look as far as Lannik to see how private mercenary armies could be employed on the battlefield, fielded successfully by Morgan Kynnovan.

    Liam Vehn?s grasp on power had nearly always been tenuous but never more than in this present moment. He was pushing boundaries that had not been firmly defined and one wrong move could land him in the hot seat. It had taken a great deal of convincing, and political wrangling, to allow the Board of Tribunes to reinstate Liam as Chairman of the RTO, albeit with significantly reduced powers. Power itself was not what Liam was after in choosing to go back to being the titular head of the galaxy?s most effective trade body, rather, Liam Vehn sole desire was securing his family?s legacy and making sure that the radical experiment that was the RTO would survive for generations.

    There were powerful forces ready to stop all of this progress. The Hutts were the greatest external threat to RTO supremacy in the eastern Outer Rim that the worlds had faced in generations. Additionally, there were threats within also that would seek to undermine the cracked political capital that Liam Vehn had nearly exhausted in assembling a strike force to take out Lannik. Time was running out for Vehn. His opponents were calling for him to step down and renege on his strong governmental policies that went against everything that private sector entrepreneurship taught. That was why Liam was so adamant about victory on Lannik. Victory would cement his place at the top of the RTO power hierarchy and enable him to further his economic and political goals. Victory would also remove dangerous fringe elements within the RTO that would leap at the opportunity to send the trade organization into utter chaos. Failure was not an option and that was why, despite many late nights examining casualty reports from the front, Liam Vehn was so adamant that only through victory would the RTO emerge as a true power to be respected.

    Of course, military power and economic power went hand in hand and without one you rarely had the latter. Ultimately the RTO would have to decide if it wanted to be an economic power or a military power. It was too hard, in the current political environment, for the RTO to be both. Perhaps Kerry had a point about needing to be liked in this kind of work.
    The war on
  25. Trieste Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2010
    star 5
    Six Boroughs Stadium, Nar Shaddaa

    Kerry flipped through her mental rolodex of contacts, which was vast. Only through discipline did she keep it organized?and even then she still required the assistance of a secretary and electronic records to make sure she didn?t forget anyone.

    ?Personally, slim,? Kerry said, ?but the advantage of having six siblings in different fields is that one is only two degrees of separation removed from a wide variety of people?.?

    She motioned for her traveling secretary who brought a datapad, which Kerry flipped through?ignoring another point by Micah Reiger in the process. The Marielle elections were in two weeks, in which the last county and the most prominent Dixie city, Nouvelle Orleans, would return to full partnership in the federal union of counties. Though the elections would be a pivotal point for the progress of Bakura marking the end of Reconstruction, Kerry knew that she would be doing very little when it came to forwarding the interests of Fianna Fail. She was not very popular in the Dixie counties still, at least compared to the rest of Bakura. Her presence would likely hurt. Even so, it would be important for her to direct her attention to the elections for the next two weeks. But she could have sworn that?

    ?Aha, here it is,? Kerry said, ?In a week it is the annual fight night at the Fleet Academy. As I was saying, I have six siblings. I believe that you will recall that Naboo?s navy once came in contact with my sister the Rear Admiral. As an alumnae of the Academy, she enjoys stopping by for one of its biannual traditions. Considering her stars she usually gets good seats. Considering I am Prime Minister, I usually get better seats. She was pulled for duty from the Academy for service in the Republican Navy. I will see if she can render some assistance.?

    Halftime arrived in the game. ?Now, we have talked business too long. It is time to actually enjoy the game. It?s utterly preposterous that we each own a team and the 157,998 other people in this stadium are actually getting to enjoy it while we talk shop,? Kerry said with a wry smile.

    Kerry left Six Boroughs Stadium pleased not only that her business had been taken care of today but that the Miners eked out a last second win over the Smugglers. It was a good day all around. The Vehns had granted her the time that she needed?not that she had ever expected that they would object. The Vehns were an old family. They played a long game like the Noble House did, though they played the game much differently. That meant that they knew the value of patience. Though Kerry sensed that Liam Vehn could not afford to be patient for long, she could also tell that he knew the value of picking one?s moment.

    (A little bit of mood music to wrap up this summit)

    Outside Six Boroughs, Kerry Trieste looked up and around at the Vertical City. It was such a different place from the world she called home. Bakura was an orderly world, respectable, affluent. Coming out of the Civil War, it was a nation coming into its prime. But there was a different energy here, something vibrant, something pulsating. It was raw, but it was no less powerful than the polished workings of Bakura. It struck Kerry that each was important, each was needed. The galaxy was more intertwined than some people in the Core might care to realize. There was no Core without the Outer Rim. There was no Outer Rim without the Core.

    With her marshals in their usual protective positions, she headed for the speeder. Just as she got to the door, Kerry stopped and looked up a bit.

    ?Do you hear that?? she said, turning to her secretary.

    ?No,? the secretary said with some confusion. There was nothing but the milling of dejected Smuggler fans heading home, disappointed that their team had blown their lead with victory in their hands.

    Kerry paused and a small smile crossed her face. ?No, of course you wouldn?t.?

    She lingered for half a minute. The secretary, the marshals, they wouldn?t hear it. I/>
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