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Beyond - Legends Annals of the Noble House of Trieste: Volume 13 (AU, OC)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Trieste, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    Shenandoah set her things down as the door slid shut behind her. It had been a big night. They’d broken three digits in the attendees for today’s event. Niall had found a local project—a school group that was putting in a community garden—and gotten permission for the campaign to be part of it. Though the organizers had been hesitant at first, Niall had promised that Shenandoah wouldn’t make a speech and was just there to work. He also mentioned they’d get some light media coverage, which might help with fundraising. Of course, if she happened to talk up some of the adult volunteers at the same time, that couldn’t be helped.

    Shenandoah knew this feeling. She’d sensed it when she’d been running her dad’s campaign, held together with string and tape. It was momentum. They’d been putting in the work. Dozens of small gatherings had built up. Some of the being she’d talked to had actually known a couple of her positions. She was breaking through.

    She should be exhilarated. It was the first sign that the campaign was moving in the right direction, that they had a shot. She was still in third place, but she was closing the gap. There was proof that her intuition was right—that they had a shot to win.

    Instead, Shenandoah collapsed onto her bed. She clutched the duvet and started crying into it. Even though she was the only one on the entire floor, she didn’t want any of the Eldreds or Penns to hear if they happened by. She couldn’t take their questions or sympathy.

    She’d known this was coming. Anyone could see it. She just thought it wasn’t going to come so soon.

    It stood to reason with family history. Great-grandfather Fionn had wandered the galaxy for years. It had only been an accident when it happened to him. Grandmother Kerry had taken her sweet time about it. She’d never been one to rush into anything. It had even taken Dad a while before he’d gotten to it, waiting until things were settled for both of them.

    She couldn’t understand what was different this time. Or maybe she didn’t want to admit it, that what Niall and Niamh had was so much bigger than anything their ancestors had experienced, that their love was so great they couldn’t bear not being engaged to each other.

    When they’d arrived at the event and Shenandoah saw the silver chain and locket resting in the hollow of Niamh’s clavicle, Shenandoah had fixed an expression of joy onto her face. She’d hugged Niamh and Niall and congratulated them earnestly. Thankfully, she could lose herself in the work, the handshakes, the talking points, the practiced ease of the campaign.

    But now she couldn’t ignore the churning in her stomach, the vise grip in her chest, the way it hurt to breathe. Shenandoah couldn’t keep it in. Knowing it was wrong didn’t make it hurt less.

    She’d thought she was beyond this. It still felt like someone had ripped her heart out.

    The being she loved the most the entire galaxy was leaving her, even though he wasn’t going anywhere.

    It absolutely killed her.
     
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  2. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Poor Doe. Hopefully her brother can find a way to stay close to her and ease this pain.
     
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  3. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    Vienna Harlow pursed her lips. “You know I’d do anything for you,” she said.

    “But.” Corrine had a tendency to make the implicit explicit, at least with Vienna. The medium of hologram didn’t hinder that tendency in the slightest.

    And,” Vienna continued, not wanting to concede the point, “I enjoy a good night out as much as the next being.”

    “But,” Corrine repeated.

    “But,” Vienna finally allowed, “I’m not sure that Canto Bight is a good idea.”

    “It’s not a good idea. It’s the best idea,” Corrine objected, upbeat. “What better way to say, ‘Welcome to the family, future princess!’” There was no hint of a question in that statement.

    “I’ll allow that Canto Bight has glamor on its side. But what happens in Canto Bight does not stay in Canto Bight. Have you asked Prairie about whether she wants that for her hen night?”

    “I thought she’d appreciate a surprise.”

    “And do you really want to be bothered with it?” Vienna pressed.

    “It sounds like you’re the one who doesn’t want to go to Canto Bight,” Corrine said, crossing her arms.

    “I just think there are other options to achieve the same goals, ones that might have the benefit of less scrutiny.”

    “You mean ones that the chume’doro will be happier with.” Corrine rolled her eyes. Even though she understood the guards’ purpose—she might have been a child when her grandmother died and Sierra had needed them to keep her family alive in the moments between the Queen Mother’s death and her ascension, but Corrine hadn’t forgotten them—that didn’t mean she agreed with their zeal in executing their protective duties.

    “I’m sure we can find an option that will aggravate them to no end,” Vienna offered with a smile.

    “It had better be a good one. This will be the first royal hen night in decades.” Even if Trellam and Sierra hadn’t eloped, his position in the succession at the time of his marriage meant Sierra most likely wouldn’t have had extensive premarital festivities anyways. “It needs to make a statement—even if it’s after the fact.” Corrine neatly anticipated a coming objection with that last piece.

    “And you’re positive it needs to be outside the Consortium?”

    “Absolutely. We won’t be able to do anything fun if we’re cooped up with sycophantic nobles and their ilk,” Sierra sneered.

    “Let me look into it. Beings are always sending me places they want me to go,” Vienna said. Though she hadn’t asked for her public notoriety, she’d accepted it, even if she ignored it. Her determined disinterest had done nothing to dissuade brands and social climbers from attempting to curry her favor. If anything, it seemed to only make them desire it further. “There’s an outside possibility there’s something fun sitting in the pile.”

    “This means you’re definitely coming. You can’t get out of it if you’re part of the planning,” Corrine said.

    “Of course I’m coming. You think I’d let you have a good time without me?” Vienna asked.

    “I don’t want to hear any excuses, like you’ve got to negotiate the next ELL collective bargaining agreement or you’re solving galactic peace. This is a hard commitment, V.”

    “I swear that even at the cost of the slaughter of trillions, I will show up to the hen party,” Vienna promised.

    “Worthless promise.” Corrine tossed off the remark with disgust. “You’d only broker piece if it affected at least a quadrillion beings.”

    Vienna rolled her eyes, but smiled all the same. “Trust me. We’ll put together a great time for Prairie. I’m looking forward to meeting her.”

    “You’ll like her,” Corrine said honestly. “She’s already ruffled some feathers around here.”

    “Sounds like you approve.”

    “She meets the baseline requirement of not wanting to kill me.” Corrine casually mentioned it, as if she was remarking on her sister-in-law-to-be’s professional pedigree. “But she also has the benefit of not…having a stick in certain places.”

    “Be careful or beings are going to say you like non-Hapans more than your future subjects,” Vienna said.

    “If anyone’s listening, I love non-Hapans!” Corrine called out, turning her head so it faced away from Vienna, likely in the direction of the door to the room. “I love them so much!”

    “I’ve got to go,” Vienna said, barely containing a chuckle.

    “Just get me those ideas sooner rather than later, will you?” Corrine requested.

    “For you? Anything,” Vienna promised. “See you soon.”

    “You too.”

    Vienna turned off her holoprojector. She’d have to dig for a suitable place for this hen party. Despite Corrine’s nonchalance, Vienna knew this was important, even if she wanted to keep things off the sensors. Word of how the chume’da entertained her future sister-in-law would travel. And Vienna was not going to have that word reflect badly on her best friend…even if that word might shock some of the court.

    She set her coursework aside and opened up the HoloNet. Vienna had more important work tonight.
     
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  4. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn

    Coruscant

    “…and if my colleague from Bakura had his way, no doubt he’d tax us all into oblivion, as his administration famously did during the many years he was in power!”

    Though most of the seats remained empty in the Senate chamber, some senators had actually stuck around after making their speeches for the record. They lingered because they were curious to see if Declan Trieste made good on his promise to take on all comers in floor debate. A few senators even directly decided to needle him, like the most recent speaker did.

    The observers had not been disappointed.

    “The dais recognizes Senator Trieste.” This came in recognition from a signal from that senator that he wished to speak. Even though he’d already been recognized four times in this debate period and the custom was to only allow a senator to speak once per session so as to allow the greatest number of beings to speak, it was just a tradition. The speaker (or whoever they deputized to oversee the dais) had full authority under senate rules to decide who spoke and when. It seemed the current senator in control of the dais was more than willing to see if Declan did anything interesting with his time.

    “First of all,” Declan began, “I’d like to thank the good senator from Kuat for his compliment. I was merely the Minister of State on my homeworld and therefore not responsible for fiscal policy. However, seeing as it was my wife who served as head of state and had that authority, I’m flattered to be put on her level.

    “But to the matter at hand, I do believe that there are a number of programs that are well worth the burden of taxes to support them. Speaking broadly, I believe in government spending when it invests in beings, not corporations. The return on spending that builds up beings brings more to society in net economic growth, including in increased tax revenues. I’m talking about spending on education, social supports like housing and food security, transportation, infrastructure, and environmental preservation and maintenance.

    “So, yes, senator, I do believe in taxes. Necessary, useful taxes that provide for the common good. But I do not support taxes that support a privileged few, as many bills here we see ultimately do—sometimes through rewriting the tax code to reduce the burden on these few at the expense of the many, whether through program cuts or increased deficits. Should any senator doubt the data that informs my position, my office will happily provide the relevant peer-reviewed studies that assisted me in forming my position. And should my colleague from Kuat have any evidence to support his position, I’ll happily review them…though I suspect my reading list won’t be expanding any time soon.”

    That drew a few chuckles from the senators on the sideline as Declan took his seat again and yielded the remainder of his time to the dais. While there weren’t any fireworks in his remarks, there were certainly a few sly zingers like that one in there. They made the exercise entertaining, perhaps even worth observing again during the next debate session, especially if someone could find their way to muster a decent challenge.

    The senators who watched this exchange were suddenly interested in finding some worthy opponents for Senator Trieste.



    “Having fun scrumming with the rabble?” Gavin Serling asked as he settled into his chair, drink in hand.

    “It’s a nice way to stay sharp,” Declan said as he swirled the ice in his glass.

    “From what I hear, you do well on your feel,” Serling followed up.

    “Not every planet has a parliamentary system with a strong history of open debate, I suppose,” Declan said with a shrug before sipping his drink. “I might have an advantage in that regard.”

    “Yeah, but I heard about your performance from a Chandrilan and all they do is talk,” Serling quipped. “It’s a good kind of attention.”

    “I thought all attention is good if you’re a senator.”

    “There’s good attention and then there’s good attention,” Serling said, raising his eyebrows to punctuate his point.

    “If the Republic will be served by my attempt to raise the level of debate then that’s all that matters to me,” Declan said placidly.

    “OK, I give in,” Serling said, unable to restrain himself any longer. “What’s your plan? Clearly you have one. It’s killing me. I’ve got to know.”

    “Exactly what I’ve said it is,” Declan replied. “I never sought this office. I don’t care if I get voted out of it in 2 years. I have no ambition for higher office. For the first time in my career I’m doing what we always talk about: trying to make things better. And you know what? It turns out that for the first time I’m actually enjoying this, Gavin.”

    “I should hope so, because even though some beings appreciate what you’re doing, not everyone is enamored of the way you’re going about it,” Gavin warned.

    “If there was anything I wanted from my fellow senators, maybe I’d be concerned.” Declan shrugged. “And should I one day have a need…I’ll deal with it then.”

    “That’s a pretty optimistic view of life on Coruscant,” Serling remarked.

    “What’s the worst that could happen?” Declan asked with a smile. “I go back to Bakura and live a life of luxury and ease?”

    “You’d get bored,” Gavin said. He couldn’t keep the smile from his face.

    “Hardly. I’d have lots of fun building my secret lair inside a dormant volcano in all my spare time,” Declan said.

    Gavin Selring roared with laughter at that.
     
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  5. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Oh Declan. I'm happy you are enjoying this. But a secret lair inside a dormant volcano? I'd actually like to see him do that.
     
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  6. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    The campaign staff gathered around the vidscreen, a hush blanketing the room. This wasn’t the end, but it could be. It was what the first phase of the campaign had driven towards. They hadn’t been trying to win the election: they’d just been trying to get over this hurdle. That was the plan Niall had charted. If they made it through this gate, then they could think about winning the election.

    “We’ve got the numbers,” Niall said for the third time that afternoon. He delivered the statement placidly. The only reason he kept repeating it was to calm Shenandoah , who was bouncing with nerves.

    “we’re on the cusp,” Doe repeated. “If they shut us out—”

    “They won’t,” Niall said.

    “But if they do—”

    “They won’t.”

    “They’re coming on now!” someone called out.

    Even though everyone was huddled close to the screen, they all pushed forward with anticipation. Public access HoloNet had rarely been watched so intently or anxiously.

    Niall Kirt of the Federal Election Commission had arrived in the media room. He was probably better known as the spouse of Bakuran limmie star and current championship-winning head coach Alana Glencross, but he was also one of the top election officials on the planet.

    “Good day,” Kirst said. “Today the Federal Election Commission reviewed the aggregate polls for the elections for prime minister, all 80 Senate districts, and this year’s governor elections. Using out weighted model—”

    “Oh stop with the technojargon!” someone called out.

    “Hush!” someone else quieted.

    “These things matter. If you just take a straight average, that allows districts and counties with fewer polls run by less robust outfits to skew the average. This is usually the case in the large rural counties and would minimize the chances of progressive challeners, like us, in most races.”

    “Hey! They’re onto the Senate districts!”

    Everyone quieted down and refocused.

    “We will proceed alphabetically. Beginning with North Atalanta…”

    “I hate the alphabet!” someone groaned, speaking for them all. It would be a while before they got to Southeast Salis D’aar.

    “I know we needed to lock up our core,” Shenandoah said as they settled in for the wait, “but I worry by not doing more rallies we didn’t raise our profile enough.”

    “Rallies are flash at this stage. They don’t convert voters for challenger candidates like you,” Niall said. “You needed to connect with voters more than you needed buzz. Without a party behind us—”

    “More like actively against us,” Shenandoah grumbled, and not without cause.

    “You needed a base. The only way to get one was to connect individually with voters,” Niall finished.

    “If we don’t make the cut—”

    “We will make the cut.”

    “We could keep going,” Shenandoah finished. “Ask Dad for more money.”

    “Could hurt us, undermine your message,” Niall said.

    “It hasn’t hurt other candidates who self-finance.”

    “You aren’t most candidates. You never will be.”

    “I could change my name,” Shenandoah proposed.

    “Not going to work,” Niall said.

    “We should be Connairs by usual convention.”

    “I thought you’d be the last person to go in for traditions like that,” Niall remarked wryly.

    “Just practicing some skills you think I’ll need soon,” Shenandoah returned.

    “I thought politicians were more secure than this. Mom and Dad never worried about elections like this,” Niall kidded her.

    “Mom and Dad had a party behind them,” Shenandoah said. “They also thought they were the Skywalkers reborn.”

    “Well you’re not wrong about that,” Niall agreed.

    “Look, if we make it—if we go all the way—we’re going to do it better. We’ll do it right.” Shenandoah took his hand. “We’ll stand for what we believe in, play it fair, take our losses when they come, and, if nothing else, shift the window of what beings think are possible.”

    “You win this election and you can do anything you want, Doe,” Niall promised.

    “They’ve got to us!” someone called out.

    The room fell silent as Kirt said, “For Southeast Salis D’aar, the Commission invites Shareen Roslowe, Charon Rodarbal, and Shenandoah Trieste to participate in our moderated debate.”

    The last six words were drowned out by a sudden explosion of exultation. They’d squeaked into the debates, garnering just enough support in the polls to make it in. Now she’d have one night to make her case to likely voters. Though debates didn’t win elections, not being in one was a death knell for a candidate.

    Shenandoah hugged Niall, squeezing him hard. “We did it!”

    “No, you did,” Niall said, “and they’re not going to know what hit them.”
     
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  7. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Debate! I'm sure Doe will dominate that. :D

    Also, hi there other-Niall! I was curious what that couple had been up to.
     
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  8. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    I decided a while ago that Niall was a relatively common name on Bakura because...reasons. ;)
     
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  9. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @Sinrebirth @Vehn So about that prediction of @jcgoble3's...

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    “…tonight’s questions were selected by me and me alone. The candidates have no…”

    Shenandoah knew the whole thing. It was standard debate intro. She smoothed her dress with both hands, calming her nerves. Her attire was an unconventional choice, but Niall thought it would help her stand out tonight compared to the typical business attire of Bakuran politicians. She needed to stand out if she was going to make her mark tonight. The debate had always been a major piece of her path to victory. Now she needed to seize her opportunity.

    “…except for now, when we welcome the candidates to the stage,” the moderator finished.

    Shenandoah fixed a smile on her face and strode onto the stage with Roslowe and Rodarbal. She shook their hands before stepping to her speaker’s stand.

    “By random lot, Ms. Trieste will provide the first of our opening statements,” the moderator prompted once the applause died down.

    “Thank you,” Shenandoah said. “It’s such an honor to be back here at my alma mater of UB Salis D’aar. I’d say it feels like I never left, but I think my opponents would use that against me.”

    Despite their instruction to remain silent, a few beings couldn’t hold back some chuckles. Shenandoah’s smile grew slightly. It was a good start.



    “…which is why we need to take a hard look at our level of military spending on this planet,” Shenandoah said with the appropriate level of gravitas for the topic.

    “I have to disagree with my opponent,” Charon Rodarbal said, “and given her mother’s support for the development of the expansion of the Fleet, I think the Trieste family should get on the same page when it comes to supporting our troops.”

    “If my colleague would recall, my mother opposed the Mark V BakurStar because it was a handout to major industrial interests, not because it made Bakura any safer. What she did support was the development of the Orville-class, whose mandate is one of exploration. Given Bakura’s position at the edge of Wild Space, we have the opportunity to make discoveries that could change the galaxy. That is the kind of prudent investment in the Defense Fleet that I support—as did my mother when she funded the Orville-class, as would my aunt who has dedicated her life to exploring Wild Space and whose efforts returned the Kurtzen to Bakura. What I do not support is building warships not out of military necessity, but to feed the military industrial complex.”

    If it was possible to slink back to one’s corner without moving, Rodarbal did it. Shenandoah restrained herself from smiling. It would be unbecoming in a serious candidate like herself.



    “…and in this I agree with my opponent. We need to unleash the Bakuran competitive advantage by reducing the crushing administrative overhead that our small business owners suffer under,” Roslowe said.

    Shenandoah pounced. “That’s all we’ve heard tonight. ‘I agree with Supervisor Rodarbal.’ ‘I agree with Senator Roslowe.’ This is why I entered this race, to give the voters of Southeast Salis D’aar a choice, a real choice.

    “I disagree with my colleagues,” she pressed. “You want to give corporations free rein? Get ready for an Eriadu economy where workers pay for the gains of ownership, where you ride the waves of the stock market and hope the next crash doesn’t come right when you’re about to retire. I’m going to fight for the beings who do the work to create our wealth if you elect me to the Senate, by standing up for the Bakuran way.”

    Niall had insisted that this opportunity would come at some point: one of her opponents would say they agreed with the other. Shenandoah’s move was to use it to call attention to the similarities between the two and position herself as a distinct, different candidate, someone worth your vote.



    The next morning, Niall burst into the breakfast nook on Shenandoah’s floor of the Plaza.

    “What?” she asked, but she already knew, even if she didn’t dare to hope.

    “The overnight are in,” Niall said, out of breath.

    “And?”

    “It’s good.”

    Shenandoah’s heart pounded. “20s?”

    “Higher.”

    “30.”

    “Higher.”

    “Not 33.”

    “36,” Niall said with a huge grin.

    “36%?!” Shenandoah shouted.

    “36%!” Niall repeated as he hugged his sister.

    Shenandoah was now in second place in her Senate race. It was time to go into lightspeed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2022
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  10. Vehn

    Vehn Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Looking good on Bakura!
     
  11. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    I just had a thought: it would be really funny if Shenandoah and Harle Quinn both won as independents and the rest of the Senate was split 39-39 between the two parties.
     
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  12. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Much like the US Senate, Shenandoah and Harle Quinn could decide to caucus with one of the other parties for the purpose of organizing the Senate (as Angus King and Bernie Sanders do), allowing them to break the tie to determine who gets to be Deputy PM. They'd likely be rewarded with committee assignments by whatever party they put in the majority.

    That's your civics lesson for today!
     
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  13. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Yeah, I'm well aware of the US Senate situation, which is actually what got me thinking along these lines. I can just imagine them, though, refusing to caucus with either party and throwing the Senate into disarray. [face_thinking]
     
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  14. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    “It is time for a new direction!” Shenandoah proclaimed.

    Before the debate she’d worried they hadn’t done enough rallies to raise her profile. Riding the debate bump, she wasn’t worrying about that anymore. She was doing two, three rallies a day across the district now.

    She drew thousands of beings at each, sometimes topping ten thousand. While impressive, every senate district encompassed about 1 million beings. Shenandoah needed every one of these events to convert more voters if she was going to win.

    “The Bakuran promise is something we have to fight for and defend in every generation. It is our time to take up this standard, to secure these blessings for ourselves and our children,” Shenandoah continued, her voice strong and confident.

    “I choose to believe in Bakura—even if it’s a scientific fact that Human psychology is more motivated by creating a ‘them’ in opposition to our ‘us’ than it is by emphasizing what we stand for. But I still choice to focus on what Bakuran can be—because it’s also a fact that we create the greatest things when we move towards a future instead of running from something in fear.

    “Yes, the Bakura that we grew up in is under threat. But we are here, on this planet, because we are strivers. There is still work to be done to realize the dream that brought us to the edge of the known galaxy, a dream so strong that many of our ancestors—mine among them—poured their sweat into making a desolate planet flourish again when we could have started over somewhere else, somewhere easier.

    “We are here because we are builders. Bakura is never done. Every generation faces new challenges. Ours is to better secure prosperity for all, not just for some.

    “And with your support, we will go there together!” Shenandoah lifted her hands in acknowledgment of the capacity crowd, who cheered at the crescendo of the speech.



    After a few last handshakes, Shenandoah got into a speeder to head to the next event. As usual, Niall was waiting for her. His sister immediately closed her eyes as she reclined in her seat. Though she fed off the energy of the crowds, the fatigue caught up with her in these in-between moments. Even if she could only get 20 minutes between events, she’d take it.

    “An intriguing possibility has opened up,” Niall said.

    “Oh?” Shenandoah didn’t open her eyes.

    “There’s some risk involved.”

    “OK.”

    “It would involve an event outside of Salis D’aar.”

    Now the candidate’s eyes fluttered open. “Elaborate.”

    “It could put you over the top, but it could also backfire by reducing your time in the district,” Niall said.

    “Where’s this coming from?” Shenandoah asked.

    “Something I saw on the HoloNet. A chance remark got me thinking.”

    “Break it down for me,” Shenandoah said. . Niall’s ideas were never haphazard, even when they were unorthodox. She closed her eyes again. She knew she wasn’t going to rest during the remainder of the trip, but that wouldn’t stop her from trying.
     
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  15. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    I failed to give @jcgoble3 credit for full imagination in his question about the Senate. There's a scenario in the Bakuran Senate that doesn't happen in the US Senate. In the event of a tie, the Deputy PM breaks the tie (like the Vice President in the US). However, the first vote of a Senate session is the vote to elect the Deputy PM. Because there is no Deputy PM, no one can break a tie and business does not proceed.

    And guess what?! This happened! In 252 Kerry Trieste won the prime ministry...but the Senate was deadlocked at 40-40 between the two parties. She brokered a good-faith deal with the opposition where Fianna Fail supported her defeated opponent (Senator Han McKerran) Deputy PM on the understanding that the parties would work in good faith during the term and allow legislation from both parties to come to floor votes. In 256, Fianna Fail won a majority in the Senate.

    (For those interested, this has happened in the US House. I can't find a good article on the topic, but John Quincy Adams once seized the chair of the House of Representatives to break a deadlock around organizing the House. I believe my source for this is Mr. Adam's Last Crusade.)
     
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  16. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn

    Tiarest University, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    Vienna Harlow didn’t usually entertain in her dorm room. There were better places to hang out around campus. However, she was used to doing things differently when it came to Hapans. In particular, this wasn’t the kind of conversation you could have at a café.

    The chume’doro captain had borrowed Vienna’s roommate’s chair and was looking at a shared file on her datapad. Vienna waited silently, sipping water while the royal guardswoman read. Though she was used to the beauty of Hapans, Sheraz Passpartu seemed particularly distinguished. Perhaps the effect came from the contrast with the comparatively pedestrian Bakuran surroundings.

    “I believe we can make this happen,” Passpartu said, looking up and putting the datapad on her lap. “Though I’m not thrilled at the planet you’ve proposed, we have a number of plans for this kind of environment. We’ll begin building a soft cordon now by getting undercover personnel hired in advance.”

    “So there won’t be any chume’doro interfer—” Vienna stopped herself and rephrased. “Forming a physical cordon? As the chume’da and I would prefer,” Vienna added.

    “This isn’t the first chume’da who’s wants to have the occasional night of reckless abandon,” Passpartu said. Vienna couldn’t tell if the captain smiled for the briefest moment. “And a request of this nature had been considered as within the scope of possibility.”

    “It’s important to C—the chume’da—” It was a pain to have to remember to be formal with royal staff. She tried to respect that while she could call her cousin by her first name, they couldn’t. “—that this be an enjoyable night with as much of the usual…freedoms and enjoyments.”

    “There will still be some research we need to do, but I don’t see any immediate red flags.”

    “What kind of research?”

    “Research,” Passpartu repeated. Vienna was not surprised the chume’doro kept their cards close to their chest.

    “The chume’da indicated that I should discuss these plans with you before sharing them with the duchess,” Vienna said.

    “You’re cleared to talk about this with her, with the proviso that we’re still doing final vetting. But as I said, I foresee no issues.” Passpartu stood and extended her hand. “You’ve planned a hen night for the duchess I think we can agree to. You’re to be commended for your thoroughness, Ms. Harlow.”

    “Thank you, captain.” Vienna shook the Hapan’s hand.

    “By the way, I have to ask. Did you family found this place?”

    “Hmmm?” Vienna cocked her head to one side.

    “Trieste. Tiarest.” Passpartu drew a finger in a circle in the air to indicate their surroundings. “Sounds close enough that a common root seems likely.”

    Vienna gave a brief laugh. “Maybe one of the branches lost in the Sith occupation, but I doubt it. Most of my family is not a fan of this place.”

    “Well then,” Passpartu said, collecting her things, “I’ll see you again soon.” She tapped the datapad with one finger as she held it up.

    “See you then,” Vienna confirmed.

    The chume’doro captain paused in the doorway. “Oh believe me: when you get to Nar Shaddaa, you won’t see a single one of us. That’s how you know we’re doing our job.”
     
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  17. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    The chume'da partying on Nar Shaddaa? Oh boy, that's going to be a riot. Perhaps literally.
     
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  18. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn It's the moment of truth.

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    Shenandoah had done everything she could. Grueling 16-hour days shaking hands, making speeches, getting in front of voters, doing interviews. She’d allied herself with the rising fortunes of Harle Quinn and her independent bid for Senate in Gesco City. The pollsters and pundits agreed on one thing.

    It was too close to call.

    They said it was going to come down to Shenandoah and Roslowe. Though there was still a solid base of support behind Rodarbal, Shenandoah had run in this district because the Fianna Fail voter edge was significant enough that if she could split enough off from the incumbent, she could win without flipping the seat to the Unionists. Even so, weirder things had happened on election night. Shenandoah wouldn’t rest easy until all the votes were in.

    The Federal Election Commission was the only body on the planet who made election night calls. Thanks to nearly 400 years of continuous democracy, they were pretty good at accurate, speedy election results. Salis D’aar was squarely in the middle of the day cycle of the time zones, which meant they weren’t the first to get called but they wouldn't be the last.

    Shenandoah had spent everything she had campaigning in one final burst. Part of her wanted to collapse now that the polls were closed, but she was too wired with the anxious uncertainty of waiting for the results.

    As usual, Niall had anticipated her tendencies. He’d arranged for the campaign staff to come to the Plaza for a catered meal to thank them for their hard work, win or lose. The ballroom was full of volunteers who’d given their evenings and weekends to knock on doors and campaign workers, some of whom were hoping for senate jobs if Shenandoah won, others who would be off to the next campaign in a week or two. Shenandoah thanked each one, drawing on that special talent of any politician worth their salt: the ability to pull a remembered name out of thin air.

    “Think you left anything on the table?” Trixie Penn asked her first cousin, once removed.

    “We did everything we planned,” Niall said. “If we don’t make it, there won’t be anything to hang our heads over.”

    “Other than the end of Shenandoah’s political career,” Trixie said. She didn’t seem unduly affected by the possibility.

    “I trust you have no such similar concerns,” Niall remarked.

    “None,” Trixie said happily. She was on the ballot tonight for Salis D’aar District Attorney and was projected to sail to reelection. Her tough stance on financial crimes and political corruption had made her popular with the voters. Given the general difficulty involved in dislodging an incumbent down ballot where voters’ interest waned, her confidence seemed well placed. “So how much did Declan put into the campaign?”

    “Less than you’d think, more than we wanted,” Niall said.

    Trixie rolled her eyes. “You are definitely your parents’ kid. I’m sure the Overachievers Club will be looking for you soon.”

    She motioned to a corner of the ballroom home to a knot that included Kerry and Declan. They were probably reliving their own history of election nights. Declan likely had the most anxiety tonight. His elections had been far closer than his mother’s, including failing in his bid to be prime minister. He could most easily sympathize with Shenandoah’s position tonight.

    “I should probably say hello,” Niall admitted.

    “Hey,” Trixie said, stopping Niall before he could leave. “Niamh is not annoying.” It was the closest thing to a compliment that Trixie Penn would give anyone connected to her family.

    Niall smiled. “I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to hear that.”

    Before Niall could reach his father and grandmother, a commotion rippled through the large room. There was only one thing it could be.

    Everyone broke into clusters around vidscreens. Niall pushed his way through them, trying to find Shenandoah. The election results for Salis D’aar and the other districts in the time zone had to be coming in. Alphabetically, as always. Even so, they’d come to Southeast Salis D’aar soon enough. As he moved, he picked out snippets in passing.

    “Here we go…”

    “…Rs first…”

    “…can do the math…”

    “…on!...”

    Where was Doe’s bright hair when you needed it to find her in a crowd? There was a sudden hush.

    “…east Salis D’aar…”

    “Rodarbal’ll be…” someone said.

    “Shhh!”

    “…Thirty-two percent…”

    “…too high…”

    “…Roslowe…”

    “…-three percent…”

    “…wait…”

    Someone screamed.

    Niall arrived in the company of his family in time to hear, “Shenandoah Trieste, 35%. The Federal Election Commission certifies Shenandoah Trieste as the winner for Southeast Salis D’aar.”

    Everyone else caught up to the one being who had the mental math skills to figure out that Shenandoah had won the race. Shenandoah jumped into Niall’s arms with a yell as everyone pressed to get close to the senator-elect.

    “We did it!” Niall didn’t know how he could hear her above the jubilant chaos.

    “You did it,” Niall said.

    “We did it,” Shenandoah repeated as she squeezed him tighter.

    She finally released him to receive hugs and kisses from the former Bakuran senators in her midst.

    “Congratulations,” Declan said warmly. “You were flawless.”

    “No more than you were in Telaan Valley,” Shenandoah said.

    “You had to roll the hard six,” Declan said.

    “It’s about time this district had a decent senator again,” Kerry said, interrupting to hug her granddaughter. “It only took them 52 years.”

    “I hope I can be half the senator you were, Grandma,” Shenandoah said.

    “I suspect they’re going to forget all about me.” Kerry smiled.

    The pop of a bottle punctuated the merriment and was soon followed by others. Soon flutes of bubbling alcohol were pressed into hands and toasts were made to the winning candidate. It seemed like barely a moment later word went around that beings were in the street to celebrate and congratulate Shenandoah. The Triestes stepped onto a balcony that overlooked the street, Shenandoah at the forefront, to acknowledge the crowd below. They’d revel in this moment before she heading to the end-of-campaign (now victory) rally.

    “What a victory.” Niall would never figure out who said it. It didn’t matter. They were right.
     
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  19. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Yay! Glad to see the work pay off. I wonder what she'll think of Harle. :p
     
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  20. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth Typical @Vehn making story work for me. [face_laugh]

    Hapes

    “Your Majesty,” Darriah Morningstar said, curtsying briefly after entering the Queen Mother’s study. It had not escaped the notice of the Defense Minister that Sierra Chume always received her somewhere that put a table or desk between them. Darriah hadn’t risen to lead a major corporation by ignoring power moves like that.

    “Minister Morningstar,” the monarch said, not rising for her visitor. “Please, sit. You have something urgent for me?” She set her work aside to turn her attention fully on Darriah.

    “Our intelligence bureau reports the Centrality is making arrangements to annex Dela,” Darriah said. She knew that preambles were counterproductive when meeting with the Queen Mother. “Though a small system, they’re something of a financial haven for the Centran elite. They punch above their weight militarily, but have recently found themselves outmatched by larger, if less sophisticated, forces. This union brings them under Carley’s protection and allows her to absorb them into her economy. It also prevents her subjects an easy way to offshore their accounts.”

    “I sense your portfolio swelling with sympathy for them,” Sierra remarked wryly. “I doubt this pleases your sons.”

    “They have always maintained their family accounts on Centran soil.” Darriah didn’t know whether that was true. It was a good line and one that the Queen Mother likely wouldn’t care to disentangle. If she did and found it to be otherwise, it would be easy to express her surprise. Boys were so irresponsible, after all. Her surprise would be genuine, at any rate. “Naval command is concerned by this addition to Centran power.”

    Sierra sat back and steepled her fingers. “Elaborate, please.”

    “The Consortium’s prominence on the galactic stage is less due to the power we wield than it is our position in independent space and the divisions among the polities of the space. Territorially, we are smaller than other independent powers. For example, the Auril Sector is nowhere close to D13 membership, but much larger than us.

    “While I will be the first to say the Royal Navy can meet any challenge, more than anything we trade on our history of galactic influence over the last three centuries. The Centrality may be an important ideological and trade partner, but soon it will not be us that the galaxy looks to them as a leader of non-aligned space instead of us. Once lost, that prestige is not easily regained.”

    “And what do you advise?” Sierra asked.

    “Ideally, you would use your personal influence to convince Carley to halt her expansion. Accept Dela as the last piece of her empire and get her to commit to hard borders moving forward. Preferably enshrined in treaty,” Darriah said. “But Carley will do what she thinks is right for her subjects, as you will. I believe we need to show that the Consortium is not moribund.

    “And our neighbors in the Stenness Node would benefit from the guiding hand of the Hapan way.”

    The Queen Mother was quiet. She dropped her hands to her lap. “Are you suggesting we invade the Stenness Node and incorporate it into the Consortium?”

    “Given the many advantages we possess in comparison, military expeditions would likely be unnecessary. Like Dela, annexation negotiations would likely convince them of the benefits. Our way—”

    “The Hapan way of life evolved over centuries of isolation,” Sierra Chume cut in, exercising the monarch’s prerogative. “Most societies are not culturally equipped to enjoy the blessings of our rule, the Node included. And while I appreciate your patriotism and support for the servicemembers you oversee, the Royal Navy is ill prepared to hold any conquests they might gain. Their defense philosophy remains intertwined with the natural advantages of the Transitory Mists.”

    “We rely too much on the Mists. We need to evolve,” Darriah said, her voice more insistent than she knew was prudent. “The field is the greatest incubator.”

    “We do not disagree with you on the need for more flexible military philosophies,” Sierra replied. “Should you wish to propose an independent program to modernize the strategies and tactics of the Royal Navy, we will be glad to consider it. However, we will not put our soldiers in the line of fire merely to look powerful. Those who puff out their chests often lose their breath when someone punches them.”

    “Perception matters,” Darriah pursued, not giving up. “If we’re not expanding, we’re falling behind.”

    “Your concern is noted, Minister. However, I would be a poor queen if I did not take a lesson from what happened to those who last tried to use war to aggrandize themselves. It was hastily-considered military operations that enflamed the stalemate between the West and East Centralities and led to the united polity you warn against today,” Sierra reminded her minister. “The subject is closed.”

    “Very well, Your Majesty.” Darriah knew when to concede.

    “But make sure our intelligence services continue their observations of the Centrality’s intentions towards their neighbors. It is possible that Carley is not the only hand on the controls of the starship of state,” Sierra added.

    Darriah was surprised, but did her best to keep it beneath the surface. “Of course, Your Majesty.” Morningstar stood.

    “And Darriah?”

    “We value your opinions, even when they run contrary to ours. As long as you abide by our decisions, you will remain a valuable counselor to our government.”

    “I am flattered you feel I bring value to the Consortium.” She curtseyed.

    “The day you do not, you will know,” Sierra assured her.

    Darriah was not surprised she had not been able to lure Sierra into a risky war. But perhaps she had planted a seed of doubt about her great ally. Seeds could grow into vast things, given time.
     
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  21. Vehn

    Vehn Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Great update! Quite poignant reminders in these times....
     
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  22. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn

    Gesco City, Bakura

    Shenandoah pressed the button for the door chime, only to have the portal slide open almost instantaneously. “How the heck are ya! Come in here!” The senator-elect was grabbed by a hug that nearly carried her inside.

    This enthusiastic greeting was carried out by Harle Quinn, newly-minted senator for North Gesco City. The Zeltron had been elected with one of the largest margins in the last election, hauling in 75% of the votes in a two-being race. She and Shenandoah would be the only two independent members of the new Senate.

    “Thanks for seeing me,” Shenandoah said.

    “Of course! Gotta have someone who’s gonna shake things up with me once we get in there.” Harle punched Shenandoah in the arm to punctuate her point.

    “Allow me to extend a welcome that doesn’t involve assault,” Harle’s wife, Pamila Ixlay, a Falleen said, coming into the entryway to shake Shenandoah’s hand. “Can I get you anything?”

    “We’ve got everything. Like literally everything,” Harle said.

    “I’m all right, thanks,” Shenandoah said.

    “Well then let’s have a seat! I take it you’ve got big plans for when we get to the Senate?” Harle said, leading the way into a sitting room. The walls were full of memorabilia from Harle’s career playing limmie. She still had a contract with the Bakura Miners with a year left on it. Harle hadn’t said if she was going to retire from the sport to pursue politics full-time. Her entire campaign had pivoted on a moment when she’d refused to be backed into a corner on that topic.

    “That’s what I wanted to talk about,” Shenandoah said, taking a seat. “Given the similarities between the platforms we campaigned on, it would make sense for us to work closely together.”

    “Agreed, 1,000%,” Harle said with her usual penchant for overstatement.

    “While we’ll each pursue our own path, it might be helpful if one of us took the lead. Given that you have the broader base of support—”

    “That’d be a terrible idea. I’m awful with paperwork,” Harle cut in. “I mean just ask Pammy about tryin’ to balance our accounts at the end of the month.”

    “It truly is awful,” Pam confirmed.

    “You should do it. After all, you’re a Trieste. Aren’t you born knowin’ this stuff?” Harle proposed.

    “Not exactly, but I’d be happy to. In fact, with your permission I’d like to set a meeting before our swearing in,” Shenandoah said with a smile.



    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you two were among the last beings I expected to see on my calendar,” Minority Leader Phylida Travers of Fianna Fail said as she received her guests.

    “Wouldn’t that have been the Unionists?” Harle asked in confusion. “We’ve got more in common with you than them.”

    “We have standing lines of communication with them,” Travers said. She was seated opposite the two soon-to-be senators in her private office. “You two, however, cost me seats.”

    “Two seats that wouldn’t have changed anything,” Shenandoah stated. The Unionists had held their majority in the Senate, but not by much. They’d won 42 seats, losing some to Fianna Fail even as they in turn ceded districts to Shenandoah and Harle. “But Harle is right. Fianna Fail is a more natural partner than the Unionists. We’re here to discuss an agreement around organization of the Senate.”

    “I don’t see how that benefits us,” Travers frowned. “As you said, your votes won’t change anything.”

    “Procedurally, no. Optically, yes,” Shenandoah said. “Now that you have Marian Square, some opportunities are open to you.” Despite taking the Senate, the Unionists had lost the prime ministry, which returned to Fianna Fail hands. “If we caucus with you, you can claim you have a coalition that represents a majority of Bakurans.”

    Shenandoah preemptively put a hand on Harle’s leg to forestall her question.

    “Because with your votes, we do represent a majority of voters,” Travers finished. One of the peculiarities of the Bakuran single-member district system was that the winner-take-all system used to elect senators meant that a party could secure a majority of seats on a minority of votes. This year it happened because of close victories by the Unionists in some districts and large victories, like Harle’s, for Fianna Fail in others. If the votes that went to Shenandoah and Harle were thrown into the mix, it put Fianna Fail over the top.

    “And, given your working relationship with the Deputy Prime Minister, that could open avenues for legislative movement,” Shenandoah finished.

    Travers sat back slightly. “And your ask in return would be?”

    “That we receive our committee assignments through Fianna Fail,” Doe said.

    “Of course. And I assume you have ideas about that.”

    “Judiciary,” Harle said immediately.

    “Finance,” Shenandoah followed up. “It’s a natural fit, given my degree in Economics.”

    “And I got a degree in bein’ a xenobein’ on this planet,” Harle added.

    “I’m going to want some assurances you’ll support in judicial nominations,” Travers said to Harle.

    “I assure you that if you don’t agree to this deal, you’re not gonna enjoy me talkin’ on every HoloNet channel about what jerks you’re bein’ about shutting us out of committee assignments,” Harle said. “In case you haven’t noticed, lots of bein’s wanna have me on their shows because I get big ratin’s.”

    “Senators without committee assignments don’t have much to do,” Shenandoah said, demonstrating more tact.

    “And some of us get easily distracted,” Harle said. “Not namin’ names or anythin’.” She pointed a thumb at Shenandoah even though everyone knew who in the room was most prone to distraction.

    Travers looked at Shenandoah for a hard second. “I am nothing if not a pragmatist. However we got here, we are here. I can make this happen. And I expect should we all be here again in four years with the situation flipped, you’ll remember this kindness.”

    “I think we all know kindness has nothing to do with this arrangement,” Shenandoah said. “Let’s see what happens in the next four years.”

    “Very well,” Travers agreed. They shook hands on it. “Say hello to your father. Tell him you learned well from him.”

    “Respectfully, I probably learned more from my mom,” Shenandoah returned.

    Travers smiled despite herself. “I stand corrected.”
     
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  23. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn Let's party.

    Nar Shaddaa

    Vienna stepped off her shuttle from Bakura and breathed in. She wouldn’t say that the Smuggler’s Moon had a particularly pleasing scent, for it prone to industrial odors that came from industry in tight quarters. She was used to it though. This wasn’t her first time on world. Her parents had dragged her here for limmie games. However, this was her first trip by choice to Nar Shaddaa. Her recommendation had guided the Hapans and Centrans here for the royal hen night.

    “Ms. Harlowe,” a nondescript Human female said, not calling out or drawing attention, but still cutting through the spaceport noise. “This way.”

    Vienna followed with a brief acknowledgment. She was used to the ways of the chume’doro at this point. It was funny what you could become used to with time.



    “Welcome to party central!” Corrine greeted Vienna as she entered the penthouse suite that would be the base of the prenuptial festivities. She embraced her cousin and pulled her inside. From this high up, Nar Shaddaa had a certain beauty to it.

    Vienna did her best to focus on being with her best friend and not on the awkwardness of being a hanger-on at Prairie Hakewell’s hen party. Corrine was a default member of the bridal party as sister of the groom-to-be and the chume’da had asked to bring a friend. (And when one was monarch-to-be, you almost always got a plus-one upon request.) Even if the other bridesmaids hadn’t mostly been Centrans, Corrine wouldn’t have found much enjoyable company in her fellow Hapans. It was a hazard of being heir to the throne in an intensely competitive court society: invited to all the parties, but never quite at home at them.

    It had turned out well in the end: everyone had loved Vienna’s suggested itinerary. Upon closer inspection, if one had the credits, Nar Shaddaa had a lot to offer. For example, their hotel was as nice as any to be found on Coruscant (even if the staff had been trained with riot lockdown protocols).

    “There she is!” Prairie called out from across the room. The bridal party had already begun light drinking to kick off the trip. “If a good start makes for a good end, this is going to be an excellent time!” She held up a bottle of bubbling alcohol by way of inviting Vienna to help herself. “They didn’t seem to care about our titles when we checked in, but when Corrine dropped your name they really started paying attention.”

    “I have a feeling the open tab from the palace had more to do with it,” someone else laughed.

    “Whatever the reason, we can’t wait to hear what’s on the agenda,” another woman said. “These two have been tight-lipped about the plan. You’d think they were state secrets.”

    “Anticipation is half the fun,” Corrine said.

    “We at least have to know what to dress for. There’s a big difference between the attire you need for vibroaxe throwing compared to cocktails.”

    “Not back home you don’t!” Prairie called out to general amusement of the group.

    “Tomorrow we’ve got appointments at the hotel pool and spa for relaxation and rejuvenation…which means it would be a waste if we didn’t party it up tonight.” Vienna smiled.

    Now I see why you and Corrine are friends,” Prairie exclaimed. “You heard the lady, everyone. It’s battle dress tonight!”




    “Yeeeeeeeah!” someone yelled as she twisted, jumped, and grooved on the dance floor, wrapped in the pounding beat and strobing lights. Vienna couldn’t tell which of them had fallen into rhythm of reckless abandon that came with partying and celebration. Even if she had been closer and not watching from above against the railing of their reserved balcony space, she still hadn’t gotten everyone’s names down. It had been a whirlwind of activity…and let’s be honest, she’d had a couple of drinks at this point so her Tiarest-honed brain was starting to be at a disadvantage.

    “How did you find this place?” Prairie asked Vienna. She was glammed up in her shiniest, slinkiest dress. “It’s just the right combination of hopping without being packed.”

    “A promoter message on the HoloNet,” Vienna said. They’d raised their voices to be heard above the music and commotion. “And they that their place was way better than this one. Usually when someone goes out of their way to trash talk their competition, there’s a reason. This place doesn’t even advertise, which is usually a good sign.”

    “For someone who dislikes the spotlight, you’re a social Jedi with this kind of thing,” Corrine complimented as she slid next to Vienna against the railing. Even though the club had been extensively cased by the chume’doro and the females existed inside a cocoon of invisible protection, the chume’da had still changed her appearance while she was in public. Her short wig changed the shape of her face and she’d gone with a pantsuit outfit far removed from the dresses she wore in her official duties.

    “If the rest of this trip is anything like this, it’s gonna be great! Now excuse me, but I think I need to go make friends with some total strangers I’m never gonna see again!” Prairie shouted before prancing downstairs.

    “Hey, you want another drink?” Corrine called to Vienna.

    “Might want to slow down if you want to make it all night.” Vienna had been tracking the number of drinks and shots the group, especially her cousin, had done. Corrine had been powering through.

    “That stuff?” Corrine made a dismissive noise. “Weak. In fact, the servers are probably plants trying to keep us from going too nuts.” Come to think of it, Vienna could be right. Their servers were all male. The chume’doro was smart enough to make use of the Consortium’s lesser-regarded sex to fly under the sensors. “I’m going to need more than that to get it on tonight.”

    “Hey, is something up? Usually you don’t go so hard,” Vienna asked.

    Corrine looked away and ran her hand through her short hair before she sighed and turned back to Vienna. “Look…this is it for me. This is the last time.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “When we get home, we go straight into wedding stuff for Prairie and after that it’s going to be nonstop courting season for me,” Corrine said seriously, looking into Vienna’s eyes.

    “I thought Ivgenni getting married gave you breathing room,” Vienna said.

    “Prairie’s just the backup plan. Now that I’m out of RCH, in the court’s eyes, there’s no reason for me to not be looking for my consort now,” Corrine confessed. “Every interaction I have with a dude after this trip is going to be seen as me trying out a potential husband. What Ivgenni went through was ridiculous—and it’s going to be three times as bad for me, at least. This—” She gestured to the gyrating dance floor and partying crowd. “—this trip is the last time I’ll won’t have to think about all that. My hen night’s not even going to be like this. Future queen mothers don’t get this kind of party.

    “So yeah, I’m going to get plastered tonight and have more fun than I should,” Corrine stated. “You cool with that?”

    Vienna put her hand over Corrine’s. “So cool. I’d offer to hold your hair back later tonight, but that’s not going to be a problem.” She ruffled the short wig, which prompted Corrine to laugh.

    “Seriously though. You want anything? I figure if I go to the bar I’ll get the good stuff,” Corrine asked.

    “I’m good,” Vienna said. “Go get hammered.”

    “Starships were meant to fly.” Corrine winked and headed on her way.



    If there was one thing you learned in the Hapan royal family as a female, it was how to walk down a staircase like nobody’s business.

    Moving in slow motion was only something that happened in the holos, but if you saw Corrine Iseult of the House of Trieste as she descended to the main floor of the club in her kitten heels and deep cut jacket, it was like the rules of time were bent. Call it the Hapes-time continuum.

    Even a peripheral glance was enough to turn heads, regardless of gender or species. Even though no one recognized her as the crown princess of a great galactic power, she held her head up with a bearing that conveyed confidence and grace. Corrine was used to every eye being on her, but this was different.

    Usually it was because of what she represented: power and authority based on her position in society. Tonight, these looks of envy and desire were because of the energy she exuded. Stripped of diadems and marks of office, Corrine had never felt more mighty. She practically strutted to the bar.

    Leaning forward against the long, polished surface, she had no trouble catching the attention of a bartender, a lithe Shistavanen. Corrine might not be Force sensitive, but she could feel that she held the threads of the universe in her hands tonight. Even in a crowded, loud club she would get what she wanted.

    “I want your favorite drink to have a good time,” Corrine shouted so the bartender could hear her.

    “Just alcohol?” the Shistavanen asked. They both understood the implication under the question. Corrine gave the slightest sign to indicate that wasn’t what she was looking for. The bartender assessed her customer for a couple seconds. “You look like a boss, so I’m gonna go with the Mazikeen.”

    “What’s that?”

    “Boss’s reserve liquor, neat, with a cherry.” The bartended grabbed a glass in anticipation.

    “Do it up,” Corrine said, with a single, fast circle of her index finger in the air.

    A quick, but long, pour of a bottle was followed by a cherry plopping into the middle, the splash coating the inside of the glass. The bartender slid it across the bar.

    “I’m with the party upstairs. Put it on the tab. Cheers.” Corrine raised the glass.

    “Most females wind up with Fuzzy Tauntauns. You must have impressed her to get one of those,” a voice to her left said.

    “Don’t you think I’m impressive?” Corrine asked with a cocked eyebrow, turning to face the noise.

    “Most certainly,” the handsome Human male said, appraising Corrine without moving his eyes. “You know, they call it the Mazikeen because it can really sneak up on you.”

    “Good, because that’s how they describe me too.” She raised the glass to her lips, keeping her eyes locked on his. “So how do you know how these hit you?” Corrine shook her glass lightly, by rotating her wrist. “Since they don’t give them out to just anyone.”

    “Oh it’s quite simple. You see, I’m the boss,” he said. “Lucien Shaitan at your service.”
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2022
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  24. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @jcgoble3 @Sinrebirth @Vehn

    Bakuran Senate building, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    Shenandoah Trieste had been on the floor of the Senate a few times in her life, but only as a guest when they were out of session. Now she wore an outfit she’d bought for the day, a matching jacket and slacks in dark blue to offset her pale skin and fiery hair. She wanted to look and feel her absolute best.

    After all, it was the biggest day of her life.

    This time she was the one bringing the guests. She was flanked by the Triestes of her line: her grandmother Kerry and father Declan. The latter held a book of flimsi enclosed with old nerf-hide covers. Kerry and Declan had made this walk before and Shenandoah wanted to be part of that continuity. Niall and Niamh were present in the gallery to watch from above.

    The Triestes walked down the aisle to the speaker’s dais where the Deputy Prime Minister was waiting for them, performing the last acts of this term. He would be reelected to the post when the new session began, but that session had to start with the 80 oaths of office that he administered now.

    They stepped onto the dais and Declan extended the Noble House family Fulcrum for Shenandoah to lay her left hand on. It was the holy text of the Religion of the Cosmic Balance, Bakura’s homegrown religion. Though the family didn’t practice much as a whole, the Fulcrum had been a possession of the first Niall Trieste. It was a family relic, one only brought from the vault on Empress Teta for the most hallowed occasions.

    “Raise your right hand,” the Deputy PM instructed and Shenandoah did so, looking the leader of the Senate in the eye. Kerry took up a position next to Declan, supporting the Fulcrum with him. “Repeat after me.”

    “I, Shenandoah Sabé Trieste,” Shenandoah repeated, “do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of Bakura against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

    Cameras captured the moment for posterity, both official and familial.

    “Congratulations, Madam Senator,” the Deputy Prime Minister said, extending his hand for Shenandoah to shake.

    “I look forward to working with you, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister,” Shenandoah replied.

    “I expect we’ll work together about as well as your father and I did,” he replied as he eyed his former colleague with a mischievous glint. On opposite sides of the aisle, their professional goals had often conflicted with the other.

    “You’d better hope not, Orin,” Declan said as he shook hands with the parliamentary leader. Ensconced on Coruscant, it was easy for Declan to be gracious.

    “Then again, she might wind up like you, Madam Chancellor,” the Deputy PM said, turning to Kerry for the final greeting of the trio.

    “Force help you,” Kerry said with a smile.

    Shenandoah was charting her own course, leaving the party of her forebearers behind, but the presence of three generations of the Noble House at her swearing in was a signal to the Bakuran political establishment that she hadn’t forgotten the tradition she was part of. As she took her place in the Senate, she put everyone else on notice.

    She might be a junior senator, but the Triestes were back in Bakuran government. Now it was time to see what Shenandoah could do.
     
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  25. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    I'm sure Shenandoah will make some waves before too long.
     
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