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PASSWORD

Starlight [MAINT][CLOSED]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]

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Hypatian Commonwealth
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sat Jan 29, 2022 6:04 am

Covenant
Somehwere unknown

Tristan appeared with a flash of light having been transported here from somewhere else. She found herself in a strange location enveloped in darkness except for the bright white sphere in the middle of the space. There weren’t walls or a ceiling – only an obsidian mirror for a floor that reflected the light in its violet depth.

“Others will take notice,” a powerful voice said, “They will surely expect answers.”

Tristan stared at the strange light and gently rubbed her hands. It was composed of arcing belts of energy that moved like snakes, writhing and twisting amongst themselves. Loud sounds of crackling and buzzing would break the silence from smaller filaments that broke the surface. She was unafraid as it was not her first time here – but there was hesitation. And it knew.

“Our uplift will be complete, Empress of the Martians, daughter of Nerys,” the voice echoed. “It is natural to fear – do not be afraid.”

“They are likely to notice – yes,” the Empress said finally as she stepped forward. “As I speak, the entire empire has awoken. The Delta Crisis was a good distraction but it cannot be hidden anymore. Their sensors will detect our activities – all of our foundries are running at full capacity.”

“Do be prepared, Grand Hierarchess – you have our legions at your command. They fear what they do not understand – and fear is always a dangerous motivator,” the voice replied.

“Do you believe they could stop us?” Tristan asked, the question lingered in her chest and made it tighten. Until now, she wasn’t sure of many things. The trove of information Nerys had left her had been invaluable in its guidance – but even still, there was doubt. She had been plunged into a design not of her making.

“Once the uplift begins – the Revenant will be free at last. Our allegiance to the Hierarchy is unshakeable – any conflict would shatter suns,” the voice bellowed.

“Answer me this, then,” Tristan stepped forward, her eyes began to glow as they had with Boruk, “Why us?” The ground gently rumbled beneath her feet.

“We had our doubts – when the Great One chose to give your kind the core of H’za, we lacked consensus. A young civilization with so much volatility – it took time to understand that there was great potential, Nir H’Razadin. We have put our faith in your kind – we swore our allegiance to your mother to deliver us from our captivity – those that remained,” the voice answered. "You bear the mark of the Great One - though you have yet to understand. We cannot refuse you."
Last edited by Hypatian Commonwealth on Sat Jan 29, 2022 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sat Jan 29, 2022 7:09 pm

The Silent Peace
Hasperia Planum; ‘East Mangala’
co-written with Eri

The truck pulled into the small dusty ravine. Three figures stepped out, two were armed with rifles, the third was dressed in a blue headscarf and long-sleeved clothing. She pulled out her transponder and activated it. They had provided the details of the meeting but now needed to wait for their guests to arrive.

In about 10 minutes, there was the low roar of an approaching VTOL aircraft. When the figures looked up, it was just in time to see the Eridani-designed vehicle fly over them to the edge of the ravine. It paused there for a moment, just long enough to give the Hypatians the impression that it was going to land in the tactically advantageous position, before flying down into a wider part of the ravine, just a couple hundred yards from the truck.

As it landed, three people disembarked from the VTOL. All were armed, but the leader only had a pistol, which he holstered in favor of his transponder. The Chimer’s red eyes scanned the ravine until he saw the woman in the blue headscarf. He nodded in her direction and activated the beacon, keeping his eyes on her as it was made known that the Eridani had arrived.

Guinevere pulled her headscarf back and stowed away her transponder.

The three Eridani moved down the ravine, stopping a good distance from the Hypatians. And then the Chimer spoke.

“Secretary Belmont.” A slight smile appeared on his face. “It is good to see a familiar face in these interesting times. I am Athyn Relvani, Tribunus Angustclavius.”

Guinevere nodded as she stepped forward, her guards stayed where they stood and merely watched. “Interesting would be an understatement, my friend. I apologise for the scenery – it was the best place to conduct this meeting away from prying eyes and ears. Her Majesty has an offer,” she said.

The Tribunus nodded. “There is no need to apologize - given the current state of tensions, anything could be used to justify another war, so I understand the need for discretion. So, tell me this offer you speak of.”

“Her Majesty is concerned about Stigandr’s safety. Things are… turbulent in the Commonwealth, as you can understand. She believes he would be safer in the Imperium away from any Longbeards or Martians, for that matter,” Guinevere explained.

Athyn nodded again. “Understandable - the Imperium would be glad to bring him home. Is he and his family here?”

Guinevere stepped back and motioned towards the truck. A door opened and the former prime minister stepped out of the vehicle. He stayed back and watched, though he gave a nod to Athyn. “There is another matter, Her Majesty wants,” she said.

The Tribunus raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

Guinevere turned back to the Tribunus and reached into her coat to pull out a small device. She did so carefully to avoid any escalation. “I think it is becoming clearer to both our governments that the attacks in the Martian Delta were a setup,” Guinevere began, “Her Majesty has made an offer – the Eridani and the Hypatians have considerable weight, particularly in this region, a secret peace would be beneficial. But an everlasting one at that.” She presented the small device over to the Tribunus. “Inside are schematics to the Apophis cannon, and a few other technologies, if your government will accept the terms I’ve presented.”

Athyn smiled, before gathering himself. “A secret peace we can do. Any other terms we need to know about?”

“I will bear warning that these technologies can be disruptive,” Guinevere said, “But there are no other terms to this arrangement. Working in-step is more beneficial for both our sakes and would put other parties off-balance. In the future – Her Majesty expects there’ll be a more direct line of communication to avoid further conflagrations.” The Secretary presented the device to the Tribunus and gestured for Stigandr to move forward, and his family to exit the truck.

Athyn allowed that smile to grow again, and nodded, putting the device in an inside pocket of his jacket. “Thank you kindly, Secretary Belmont. The Imperium accepts your offer. Of course, we will be more direct next time.” He gave a slight bow to her and then switched into Old Kadrian, speaking to Stigandr.

Stigandr stepped next to Guinevere, who turned and gave him a gentle smile, “You’ll be safe in the Imperium, Njord. Tristan never wished for this to happen.”

He nodded, his face was tense with a sadness, “I know, Gwenn. I am nothing but loyal to Her Majesty – I knew what had to be done. I just wish it hadn’t come to this. Bid her my thanks for helping me and my family, I know there were risks to this,” he gestured towards the ravine.

Guinevere smiled and gently patted him on his shoulder, “You and Rowland both have a lot more in common than I think she’d ever care to admit. Go on, we’ll be in touch, I’m sure.”

Athyn waited, that smile still on his. “There are always risks - it is part of the Endeavor. Kadria will gladly embrace a man who faces them without fear, like you. Your ride is waiting - it’s time to come home.”

Stigandr nodded towards Athyn and gestured for his family to join him as they headed for the Eridani VTOL. They climbed into the vehicle, Stigandr being the last to get on, though he stopped and stared back at Guinevere. He nodded and finally climbed up into the VTOL.

“Kadria Invicta, Hypatia Invicta,” Guinevere said to Athyn as she carefully pulled a small knife from her pocket and cut her palm. “Have a safe trip, Tribunus.”

“You as well, Secretary.” He gave her a salute and a half-smile, before turning and climbing into the VTOL. There was a pause before it lifted off, heading homeward.
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sun Feb 06, 2022 7:55 am

Harlow, Capital of the Commonwealth

The two women sat silently as the clock ticked in the small stateroom. Tristan, the Hypatian Empress, sat in a green velvet chair with legs crossed as she stared at Eden, the Prime Minister, who sat on the couch with a pen and clipboard in hand. For years the Hypatians had worked on building their reputation with foreign nations. They had kowtowed and offered friendliness and worked with vigour to reshape their image. And the Commonwealth had truly prospered in the wake of the Great War, a miracle in and of itself. To say that Hypatia was in a better position economically, strategically, and politically than their predecessors was an understatement that many in the government had tried to avoid taking lightly. None of that could have saved them from the mess that had brought the two most powerful figures in the Commonwealth here.

'Growing pains' -- that was how Tristan had framed it as she looked at her steely black-haired prime minister. Her mind churned over the events of the last few days, giving each detail plenty of contemplation like one would with aged wine. Every nation had its growing pains. After a century of playing empire, the Martians had cashed in on all of their blood money and learned what happened when they played with too much fire. The Hypatians were the more 'mature' nation -- and yet, the dress-down at the Martian Forum could have been a reflection of the old days.

"When," Eden spoke finally, "When were you going to inform me?" The prime minister looked up from her clipboard, tension built in her jaw as she stared at the Empress. The cabinet meeting before this was just as uncomfortable. She had been left out of the loop, clearly, whilst the other departments worked on trying to put out diplomatic fires. She had been caught off-guard, entirely.

Tristan tilted her head and looked at Eden, her eyes steady and slightly cold, like a quiet lake on a winter morning. "I do not have to inform you of anything," Tristan said.

"The hell you do!" Eden shouted. She rose so fast that the clipboard she held just moments before flew onto the coffee table with a loud crack. "Do you have any idea how humiliating this is? Not just for my own career but the entire country? We could have been better prepared! Nearly a dozen nations are out there basically banging at our door because Her Majesty wants to play fucking God. I should have quit the moment you decided to backhand me," Eden continued to yell. For once, Tristan was speechless.

"I do not care at this point, arrest me all you like, but this is ridiculous. Years have been destroyed because of some vanity project of your mother's that you've decided to blow everyone out of the water with. The entire country is reeling from the news, the Senate is demanding answers. Have you not realised that the entire reason the Great War even happened was because of a single person trying to make all of the decisions? Guess what, Tristan, it doesn't work -- it didn't work then, it doesn't work now. All it does is cause misery. Your mother is dead -- For one fucking second stop moping around like a kicked puppy and trying to live up to her image. You can't, you never will, and you're going to drag all of us down with you."

Eden stormed out after that, flinging the door open and pushing past Rowland and the Marshals who had gathered at the door due to the commotion. Tristan could hear her shout down the hall to not be touched as Rowland stepped into the room. Her eyes flickered and welted as she swallowed with a pain in her throat. "Let her go," she said weakly. Rowland turned to the Captain that had come in behind her, there were some nods, and the Marshals left the two alone in the room.

Rowland stepped to the back of the couch and looked at the dejected complexion of the Empress. Tristan didn't look at her but merely stared at the coach where Eden had sat. Her face had gone white and her breathing had shallowed. "Your Majesty?" Rowland spoke softly as she came around the couch.

"I never wanted this," Tristan said quietly. Rowland carefully took a seat on the table and reached for a box of tissues, she handed one off to the Empress. "I don't know why she bothered..."

"Eden?"

"My mother," Tristan answered. "I was at academy training to be a naval officer. And I've been swept to here with all of... this. Every day it is something, I can't sleep, I barely eat anything." A few tears ran down the Empress' cheeks. She could not master Nerys' stoicism, her coldness, her ability to command a room. She felt weak, weaker than ever before, like a tree wasting away after a fire. The problem was that it wasn't that Eden was wrong -- it was that everything she had said was right, and that hurt the most. It confirmed what she had feared. She was nothing like her mother but she couldn't escape her shadow.

Rowland sighed, "Tristan," she said, calling the Empress' attention to her, "Nerys never wanted this either. Not for you, not for herself. But you aren't her, and you don't need to be. You're young, there's a lot you're going to have to learn, but not even your mother was above having to delegate or ask for advice. This is a setback but relations can always be repaired. Owning mistakes is what makes good Harlows."

Tristan tried to swallow the knot in her throat as she wiped her face, "Everything is falling apart."

"We are Martians, Tristan. Everything is always falling apart -- I remember someone once saying that chaos is where we thrive," Rowland mused with a smirk. "Are you familiar with the phrase -- 'The city must survive'?"

"Laconism isn't it?" Tristan asked as she sniffled. "Like from Laconia before it became Harlow."

"It is, yes," Rowland said, "The city we know as Harlow today was once known as Laconia. During the early years of our existence life was difficult, very difficult. Mars wasn't terraformed then and the Directorate that governed the city had to make a lot of hard decisions. The phrase became a bit of a mantra for the early Martians. 'The city must survive' -- not a single individual, but everyone -- collectively. This phrase formed the very foundation of over a century of Martian pragmatism and perception of politics. You do what you have to for the whole."

"I appreciate the history lesson, Rowland," Tristan sighed. "But why are you telling me this?"

"It means that you're going to have to put everyone else's wellbeing ahead of yourself. My job here is to make sure that the responsibility doesn't crush you -- that was my promise to your mother. What you need to do though, is stop beating yourself up and accept the cards you have. It's the only way you're going to move forward. This is not the first time we've upset a dozen nations -- it probably won't be the last. How we handle it is what matters."
Last edited by Hypatian Commonwealth on Sun Feb 06, 2022 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Wed Feb 09, 2022 6:14 am

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Her Majesty's Government of the Commonwealth
⮞ INTERNAL MEMO FROM THE CROWN OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

Sen : 7500 Hebrides Road, Palace of Northminster, Harlow FCR — Key [REDACTED]
Rec : No 17 Ardern Street, Prime Minister's Residence, Harlow FCR — Key [REDACTED]


.H..M..G.
⮞ HMGC ID // 01.2201.2.131 AL


This is an official communication of Her Majesty's Government. Unauthorised access, transmission, reproduction, or duplication of this communication will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Legislative Assent


Her Majesty has reviewed and granted her assent to the following legislative items presented by Parliament to be enacted into law immediately. View attached documents and copies to be sent to the National Archives.

⮞ Assented | ANTARES ACT — The Northern Expanse shall be renamed henceforth the 'Antares Sector' and incorporated as a colony of Her Majesty's Realm. The colony shall be accorded the right to representation in the Colonial Assembly and the responsibility of lawful governance in accordance with the laws in the Colonial Relations Act and of the Great Accords.

⮞ Assented | NEW HANOVER ACT — The Eastern Territory shall be renamed henceforth the province of 'New Hanover' and accorded to the kingdom of Halland on Mars and subject to the laws and governance of that Commonwealth state.

⮞ Assented | SALARY CAP ACT — The Act places a £1 million cap on corporate salaries in the private sector and imposes fines and audits by the Bureau of Imperial Auditors for violations of the Act. The Act does not apply to gross income earned from other sources such as stocks, investments, gratuities, etc. Corporations will be required to submit their salaried earnings every year to the Corporate Accountability Office for review as per applicable law under the 'Corporate Relations and Accountability Act of 2193' -- failure to do so will now incur fines and other penalties including suspension of government contracts and subsidies.

Her Majesty has reviewed and not granted her assent to the following legislative items presented by Parliament.

⮞ Non-Assented | Repel of the MERIT Act — The bill would have repealed the MERIT Act which created the 'Merit System' within the Commonwealth. Her Majesty is not satisfied with the justifications provided within the item and has thus not granted her assent. This item may proceed back to the House of Commons for a redraft, if necessary, but may not be resubmitted in its current form for a minimum of two years.

Signed,

Cora Morgana Rowland, O.R.S
Chamberlain of the Imperial Household
Keeper of the Imperial Seal
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:20 am

A Day in the Life... of John
Harlow, Capital of the Commonwealth

Beep. Beep. Beep. A hand stretched out from under the covers and lazily swatted at the sound. Beep. Beep. Beep. "Shuddup," the man groaned underneath the covers, his arm now having given up and so rested limply over the edge of the bed. Beep. Beep. Beep. The alarm clock was knocked out by a well placed shot from a pillow as John emerged from the comfort and restful recess of his bed and stared at the darkened windows. He could tell the sun had already come up. Great.

"John? Are you awake?" a voice called for him from outside his door.

"I'm awake, just... just gimme a minute," he yawned. He rubbed his eyes and slid from the bed. With a flick of his wrist and mere thought, the windows went from being shaded to letting the full blast of sunlight into his room. It burned as he retreated to the bathroom.

"Good morning, John," a robotic voice greeted as he brushed his teeth. The voice came from a small floating sphere that depicted a digital smiling face on its screen. "There are some messages for you, John. Anita Blemrose has also asked if you still want to meet up at the Le Verger du Feu at 2100 hours."

"Tell her that sounds great," John perked up as he got dressed. He had slid into a fitted suit and was debating ties when a thought crossed his mind. "Oh, and... tell her, Good morning, beautiful for me, okay?" He asked more quietly. Blue, today was a blue tie day. Ms. Blemrose was a fan of the classics.

There came more knocking at the door from his roommate, "We're going to be late, John!"

"One second Alvin! Sheesh."

The sphere followed John around the room as he gathered his things. "Your mother asked you if you could help her with her CyberBlinds -- She's worried your father will flash the neighbours again."

"What? Oh god," John facepalmed for a moment, "Tell her fine -- fine. TMI -- mum. T.M.I."

John opened the door to find Alvin on the other side waiting 'patiently' -- or trying to look like he was. "Also, your proctologist appointment has been appro---" - "Okay! and enough out of you buddy, go charge!" John hurriedly pushed Sprocket back into the bedroom and slammed the door.

"The procto...?"

"Don't worry about it, let's go," John said as he grabbed his bag from the chair near the door.
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Thu Feb 10, 2022 5:42 pm

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Her Majesty's Government of the Commonwealth
⮞ INTERNAL MEMO FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENCE

Sen : Minassë (Security Council), Pennworth, Halland, Mars, Sol — Key [REDACTED]
Rec : Delta Command (DELTACOM), Themistocles Anchorage, New Salamis — Key [REDACTED]
Status : Encrypted; In Confidence

.H..M..G.
⮞ HMGC ID // 01.2201.2.131 AL


This is an official communication of Her Majesty's Government. Unauthorised access, transmission, reproduction, or duplication of this communication will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Security of Communication Act, Section 5.3

Order to Demobilise


All fleets in the Martian Delta are hereby ordered to demobilise and return to standard duties and scheduled rotation by order of Her Majesty, Empress Tristan I, effectively immediately. Failure to demobilise will be met with sanction under the UCMJ.

All leading fleet officers are expected to finalise all reports and submit them to Minasse. Security Council review of after-action reports, patrol itineraries, and logistic records will be conducted within thirty days time of this notice. Failure to finalise and submit reports will result in sanction and demotion.

All combat-related casualty reports, including civilian collateral, are to be sent to the Veteran Affairs Records Office in Juwon, Mars and copies forwarded to the Naval Accountability Office in Pennworth, Mars.

Signed,

Jacques Belanger-Chastain II
UC Secretary of Defence
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sat Feb 12, 2022 7:52 am

An empire, if you can keep it

It is fair to say that the Rowland Administration had fought incredibly hard to improve the international perception of Hypatia. The Commonwealth, as the country is also known, had embarked on a campaign of diplomacy in the hopes that it would strengthen existing ties with its allies and foster new relationships with nations it shared or could share a common interest. The gravitas of Rowland and Nerys pulled so much political power into their orbit that, for the first time in decades, the Commonwealth's reputation could have been reflected on positively.

Nerys had passed unexpectedly, though her growing age had been showing for some time. The late empress had chosen to spend the last few years of her life in the quiet retreat of her residence tending to her garden. The battles of trying to save the country from annihilation and salvage its reputation had passed like the rain passing through the young, delicate leaves of the empress' flowers. Her labours would bear fruit, or so she had hoped.

In her final act, Nerys chose her daughter, Tristan, to replace her. She was concerned that her work would be undone, that perhaps, someone else would get it wrong or, even worse, be too tempted by the allure of power to abuse the office she had created. Her garden would be under threat by the cunning and malice of political parasites that were always there, gnawing at the barrier, waiting.

It was a lot of responsibility to thrust on a twenty-four-year-old who until now had no experience in the complicated and at times, dangerous, political dealings within the Commonwealth. Nerys' steadfast personality and stoic composure kept the many dizzying circles that surrounded the imperial seat in line. Nobody dared cross her. Tristan was not her mother. This was, perhaps, the greatest tragedy to befell the young and inexperienced monarch. She lacked the passion for the responsibility the Crown demanded, the will to uphold it above all else, and withheld the grief of her mother's passing, internalising it until it began to eat her alive.

The nation was approaching a crossroads. Divisions existed in this turbulent galaxy between already strong, ageless empires, and powers still on the ascent. The squabbles of the Commonwealth's past with many of its old neighbours had become a distant whisper and small in comparison. It had recovered from its near-collapse and reached a new era of innovation, expansion, and technology. For the first time, it looked as though it would eclipse many of its peers, putting the nation on a crash course with some of the ageless. But this position brought with it many expectations, expectations that the Commonwealth was struggling to meet, not because it couldn't, but because it had not achieved that which was most important: a unifying identity.

As the nation had begun its transition to shake off its many flakes of rust and muck to expose the soft, glimmering sheen beneath its battered hulk, it still had elements within working against the grain to its detriment. Internationally, the Commonwealth was moving, but in what direction was anyone's guess. The Atlas Project, an idea thought up by Nerys originally, was an answer to this problem. A defining moment for the nation where it would finally break free of its chains and move into the new era with a sense of rebirth.

It was this project that brought so much pain, however. As the great engines of the empire began to belch their flames, the uptick in energy requirements and the exponential climb of production had been detected. The Established, as they had become known, those ageless watchers in the dark forest that lingered so, had taken notice. Too early, and too soon, then what the Hypatians had been prepared for. Already, Hypatia had been embroiled in the controversy with the Eridani, a clash of empires in the Delta Quadrant had drawn lines so quickly, so menacingly, that it seemed the very galaxy had held its breath. And this, this single project, set off a powderkeg of unknown calamity for the nation.

The successive waves of political backlash continued to mount. For the first time in decades, Hypatia was now staring down the barrel of another galactic sized conflict, this time, with the Established.

Hypatia had achieved a peculiar position. Some had remarked that while it was considered an 'Ascendant' power, it was ahead of the curve, and so occupied a more middle-ground. Not prestigious or respected enough to be considered Established, but too advanced and large to be Ascendant. At one point, it looked to have been advantageous even, for the Hypatians to have struck out on their own path. If the Ascendants were to counter the influence of the former, then surely, Hypatia would be among them. Yet, the crises facing the nation had torn these assumptions away. It had lost political ground with the GRA and others. Its only salvation now would be to capitulate and accept its fate.

Where this would intersect with the poor empress who lived in the shadow of giants would be that of tragedy. Tristan did not have the acumen and experience to navigate the churning waters. And Eden, for all of her fiery tendencies, had been blindsided so severely that her career was already dealt a devastating blow beneath the waterline. For a nation of so much potential, it rested on a knife-edge.
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Tue Feb 15, 2022 6:06 am

Jackie's Keep
2201.132.131 AL

Jackie's Keep was the only secret the Hypatians could have kept from the vigilant eyes of the galaxy, even the casual observer could have been forgiven for mistaking its unimposing presence as a derelict lost in the deepest depths of space. But a derelict it was not. The station had served as the epicentre of Hypatian technological progress, manifesting the vision of a single woman whose gaze had stared into aeons yet to pass. From very pedestrian pursuits to the noblest of ideals, Jackie's Keep was a paragon of innovation. The Apophis cannon had its first trial here as had Hypatian holo-technology, but it was what resided deep within this station that made it such a closely guarded secret.

Its presence moved within empty halls, breathed in the chambers filled with detritus, and inhabited the very fabric of the structure. Centuries had passed without a living soul having walked within its catacombs, and only its machines moved through the depths, performing necessary maintenance to keep the structure suitable. Waiting for a visitor.

A circular room filled with dusty crates seemed like an unlikely place of importance. The centre featured a large painted circle of yellow and an automaton of some kind rested in the corner: its lifeless eyes staring into the shadows. A ring of lights in the dimpled ceiling flickered on, illuminating a halo around the circle. A flash of lightning flushed the room white and disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, leaving a woman behind.

Rowland deactivated her personal shield and looked around the musty room. There wasn't much else to it, though she could see that the space she stood had recently been cleared for her arrival, typical. Her eyes settled on the automaton in the corner, its empty expression stared into the darkness, she wouldn't be stopped then. "I know you can hear me, Hazbolt," she said aloud, twisting around to look for the Revenant's little helpers. She spotted beady eyes of red peering at her just past the doorway and gave it a grin. "There you are," she said while stepping forward, the small robot didn't move as she outstretched a hand to coax it out.

"There is nothing here for you, Rowland," a deep voice answered, resonating from depth within the catacombs of the station. "What you are seeking cannot, must not, be done."

The small robot Rowland had spotted finally stepped out into the light, its eight long legs clattering along the floor. It reached out with a tiny metallic arm and curiously touched her palm then skittered backwards. "You're aware of where Tristan is then, yeah? We're staring down the barrel of a monumental conflict, Hazbolt. We need more answers," she spoke as she came to her feet again and stared down the dark corridor connecting the room she was in.

Hazbolt activated floor lights in the corridor that formed a path for Rowland to follow. She tucked a strand of black hair behind her ear with a grin and stepped around the robot to follow them. The station hadn't seen a living soul in centuries, and so the Revenant warden hadn't kept up with appearances as she stepped around hoses, crates, and everything else. Heating also didn't seem like a priority as she rubbed her arms with a shiver.

She wasn't sure how far she had walked or how long it had been but, eventually, she arrived at a large door that cranked its way open at her approach. Inside was a spacious chamber filled with tables, research equipment, and a core resting in the centre. She felt unease stepping into the room as her hair bristled in its presence. There was a fog that flowed like viscous liquid across the floor, lab equipment was strewn haphazardly across the floor, how long had it truly been?

She stopped just a few feet from the core and peered into the murky shapes moving within. A sense of calm welled up inside her, but it would not last. The ground shook. Beakers and equipment fell from the tables. From the shadows, a spectre had made itself known and moved towards the orb. Rowland could make out the silhouette of a guardian, twelve feet in height, that stopped just short of the orb. A single red eye stared down at her as it stretched out its arms.

Rowland reached towards her side-arm tucked away in her belt but stopped short. The reality was that nothing she had could even hope to damage the machine, it would tear her apart before she even got the first shot off. "You know we're all in danger, Hazbolt," Rowland said, "If we do nothing, billions could die."

"What you are wanting could cost billions more. We have seen it, we live with it every day," Hazbolt replied.

"They would destroy you if they could, do you not get that?" Rowland responded, pulling her hand away from her weapon, "The Menelmacari have already given us their ultimatum, the Eridani have refused to renegotiate, we're on the brink of war. We have built everything required for the project, Hazbolt, even more than what your kind had accomplished. Can you hear me? Are you listening?" Rowland stepped forward angrily. The light from the automaton shifted down.

"To initiate the uplift now would be a tremendous risk," the core said.

"And if it worked?"

"The Eridani would be of no concern. From the ashes your kind would be reborn, forged in the fires of our design," Hazbolt answered.

The automaton remained still behind the orb. The fact it hadn't killed her yet meant she was getting somewhere, she had to be. She stepped forward cautiously. "What would happen, exactly?"

"The Atlas Keystone would be activated creating a conduit to channel the energy required across the empire. Hundreds of systems would come to life with our power. You would achieve ascendance in ways you could not fathom. But if it fails, your kind will be doomed to a fate similar to ours," Hazbolt warned. "If it succeeds, the Imperium you so fear would be a lesser concern, there are things in this universe beyond them and other trivial powers. The Hypatia you know would be no more, but a responsibility would be thrust upon your kind, Rowland. The technologies we give must never befall the wrong hands, your mere existence will attract the attention of the others, as the Nimatojin and the Macisikani have learned. Do not make the Established your enemies if you do this, you will need them."
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Fri Feb 18, 2022 4:39 pm

Minasse
2201.182.131 AL

"What is the latest?" Eden questioned as she flipped through some papers. Their situation had not improved, Tristan was still off-world, which left Eden to deal with the fallout, something she had not anticipated, nor did anyone, when she took office. But there was no need to dwell on that now.

"The Ctan mobilised defensively in Sol, but otherwise there's not been much in the way of development, the Menelmacari and other powers are not making any concerning moves. Travel advisories were issued by a few states but, given we're just ten days from zero hour, I can't say I'm all that surprised," Belanger-Chastain said, the secretary of defence. He sat opposite of Eden and was facing away from the prime minister with his boots on the table. He had left his report untouched on the table.

"The Eridani continue to be the Eridani in all international bodies we're mutually present. The chief complaint among our staff is the fact we won't let them strangle their counterparts," Belmont noted as she adjusted her glasses to get a better look at the papers. "The new policy of letting them talk, I do think, is a better way to go about it. They can bitch and moan and we'll stay quiet."

"What's the saying, better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt?" Bullwater questioned, she was the home secretary.

"That generally applies to you as well, dear," Eden said, never looking up from the pages in her hands. "I trust we left a parting gift at the Line?"

Belanger-Chastain nodded, "Magnetic mines and a few other things. We doubt they'll cross the line but Vanguard is ready if they do. We have the fleets on their regular schedule, some are conducting drills while the others prepare for their rotation."

"Is that wise?" Belmont asked.

"We haven't pulled anything out of the Delta," Serano spoke as he walked into the conference room. Everyone looked up to see the director for state security standing at the end of the table. "We're ready if they do. Right now it's a game of patience until Her Majesty returns, so we have to manoeuvre carefully and speak softly right now. The Eridani are obsessed with their honour, but where there's pride, there's weakness -- we all know this far too well," he said as he slid into a chair.

"Weakness?" Eden sat her report down and looked down the table at Serano.

"We're not known for acting calmly or rationally, prime minister. Few look at Hypatia and think we're the stable ones. But neither are the Eridani -- they are barbarians. Where they succeeded and we failed was because they sought allies. But, if we can adjust our behaviour, we can take others off-guard. We let the Eridani hang themselves with their own rope," Serano stated as he lit a cigarette. The other looked at each other as the director leaned back to make himself comfortable and gently blew smoke up into the air.

"Do you have to do that in here?" Belmont questioned.

"At least I'm not blowing it in someone's face," Serano replied.

"I think what Serano is saying is that we let the Eridani make their moves if they're willing to be so bold. We can let them talk and make an ass of themselves all they want. Hypatia's priority is these talks with the Menelmacari and bringing ourselves back into compliance with the treaty. If we're going to adjust our policy to align it more with the Ascendancy and others, then we cannot be distracted by some frontier power," Belanger-Chastain explained as he swivelled his chair around to face Eden.

Eden sighed and sat her papers down. "Thankfully, Her Majesty agrees. This whole thing has been a mess," she said as she rubbed her temples, "Laying low is our best option right now. We play nice with the Menelmacari and we'll be fine."

"The Eridani are on a leash, prime minister. You can take a breath and relax. Once the Menelmacari finish their inspections, we can move on with this Atlas thing," Serano said.

"Is everything ready for that?" Eden asked looking between all the faces in the room.

"It'll be quick," Belanger-Chastain said, "Hazbolt is right, however. Once we do this, we will have to adjust our priorities. The days of getting into pissing matches with neighbours are over."
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sat Feb 19, 2022 7:43 pm

Juwon, Mars
2201.192.131 AL

"This better be good, Alvin. We've got imperial auditors searching the entire university ahead of a Menelmacari inspection, so please tell me you didn't waste my time," Andala said as she stood in the doorway to Alvin's 'lab' - as he called it. He was nowhere to be seen from the door. She huffed and carefully peaked down the hall before stepping in. The room was a little larger than a supply closet with boxes, papers, and weird machinery stacked everywhere. The papers themselves were full of nonsense that not even she could make out - a combination of bad note-writing and Alvin's stereotypically horrible use of uniform terms.

"Alvin?" Andala called out, navigating the maze that'd make a hoarder weep. There was a faint blue light in the back guiding her to a table where a small device sat. A piece of laconium was floating just above it. She looked around some more but where the researcher had disappeared was anyone's guess. "Asshole..." she cursed under her breath and turned to leave when she spotted him asleep against a pile of books. Her brows furrowed as she swiftly kicked him in the calf.

"Ow! What the hell... Andala?" he held his leg and looked up at the Alulan woman who was now scowing at him with her arms crossed. Her foot tapped away. He carefully came to his feet, his calf still throbbing, damn her pointed heels at that. "Andala... what are... oh"

"Yes, oh. Alvin, what the hell? You called me to come all the way down here and you fall asleep? Seriously?"

Alvin rubbed the back of his neck and looked away, "Sorry," he said quietly, "I had something to show you, something I had been working on..." he strategically moved past her, skirting around a stack of boxes to the table to avoid another kick. There was a frantic search of the table before he pulled a piece of paper. "Aha!" he said and handed it off to his colleague, who continued to scowl at him.

Andala took the paper and rolled her jaw, "Alvin, you know I can't read your chicken scratch... what is this anyway? You taking drawing lessons now?" she said, pointing to the hastily drawn image of something. She couldn't even make it out, it looked like a creature with a massive round head.

Alvin bit his lip and pulled a chest from under the table. He sat it down carefully and opened it. Andala tentatively stepped backwards, nearly knocking the books over behind her. "Here we go," Alvin said, carefully pulling a new device out of the chest and setting it down on the table. "What I've been working on," he said proudly, stepping aside and gesturing to the device with an arm.

Andala glared at him as she examined the device. It had a slightly duller, cruder looking piece of laconium hovering over the machine. "You've made a rock. Not just any rock, but laconium. I'm done," she dismissed, heading for the door.

"Andala! Andala wait!" Alvin hurried after her, grabbing her by the arm -- "Alvin!" she shouted -- "It's not just a rock," he said, releasing her, "It's a crystal. A laconium crystal." He rubbed his hands and he stepped back to put some distance between him, she turned from the door and stared at him.

"Okay? Explain, you've got a minute."

He gestured towards the device in the back of the room again, she huffed and lead the way to it. "We've been using laconium for many things -- but there's a lot about this material that has kept us from stabilising it in a way that would let us manipulate it. Of course, you introduce enough electrical current and it can warp gravity, you can make it hover with a magnetic field. What if we could store energy in it though?"

"Like a battery?"

"Exactly. I think there is a way to alter the internal lattice of it to allow it to absorb energy and inhibit its gravitational properties and then discharge that energy at will," Alvin explained.

"We already have crystal batteries, Alvin," Andala complained.

He picked up the small bluish-metallic rock and held it out in front of her, "Yes. But while this one is crude, you can feel something coming off it. Imagine being able to store the output of a planet in something the size of this," he dropped it into her hand.

It was cold, almost freezing to the touch, and weirdly heavy. She'd held laconium before, it was always a bizarre material to handle. Prolonged exposure wasn't recommended, not in its raw form, though. But Alvin was right, she could feel something from it. What it was, she couldn't make it. She handed it back to him. There was a slight smirk on her face.

Alvin grinned in return, his eyes softening, "There's a thing called resonance -- I think it is doable. We know laconium can be volatile by itself, refining it helps, but doing this could open up a lot of possibilities. It'd be almost as big of a breakthrough as when it was first discovered, I can feel it," he said, looking down at the small phosphorescent rock in his hand.

"Please tell me you aren't using anything Revenant in this lab to do this," Andala said, her eyes wandering around to god knows what was in here.

"No. Absolutely not, the auditors have already been through here."

"Okay," she sighed with relief, " What do you need?"
Last edited by Hypatian Commonwealth on Sat Feb 19, 2022 7:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sun Feb 20, 2022 1:51 pm

Juwon, Mars
2201.202.131 AL

Andala gritted her teeth as she raised the box and dropped it onto the desk with a loud thud. She sighed and rubbed her forearms while Alvin tinkered away with something. "Was all this necessary?" she asked, gesturing to the items he had asked her to retrieve. It all looked like junk without sense or purpose.

"Here, hold this," Alvin said, dropping a metal triangle into her hands. He rummaged through the box and removed some items and went back to tinkering.

"We're not going to try and do this on Mars, are we? If what you're saying is true," Andala peaked at the device Alvin was putting together. The glow of the laconium in a small container next to him lit up the delicate machinery in a manifold of shadows. She continued to inch closer until Alvin's arm bumped into her, knocking the other device from her hands.

Alvin dropped what he was doing and caught the thing, "Are you okay?" he asked, pulling his goggles up from his face. With a nod from Andala as she stepped away, he sat the triangle down and picked up the device he was working on then carefully set it onto the device he had Andala hold. "We don't have the luxury of an HBI, but I'm not going to supercharge this, either. If something goes wrong," he tapped his head with a spanner in thought, "Well, we should be fine."

"Should?" Andala said concerned, "Alvin, I'm not comfortable with 'should' -- you know laconium can be temperamental."

"Trust me," Alvin grinned as he pulled his goggles back down and reached into the box to pull some safety glasses for her. "If this works, we can take it to the board, can you imagine?"

Andala sighed and took the glasses from him and put them on her face. Alvin dropped a piece of laconium into the device and pulled some cables together, after some fiddling, he plugged them in. The machine whirred and after a moment the rock began to gently float. He adjusted a dial causing the machine to grow louder. Andala covered her ears as the laconium glowed brighter. Higher he cranked the dial causing the rock to pulse, slow at first, and then faster. Something was happening as metal on the table began to slide towards the device. Andala could feel her necklace pulling.

"Alvin! I'm scared!" she shouted.

Higher the dial went. The rock began to crack and static formed around it, sparking off from the metal of the device. The rock was now glowing brightly and Alvin noticed he could see his breath. He moved the dial to the max and there was a flash followed by a loud bang. They were both thrown back into the stacks of detritus and junk.
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Fri Feb 25, 2022 6:13 pm

Image
Her Majesty's Government of the Commonwealth


Sen : 000 — Key [REDACTED]
Rec : State Security — Key [REDACTED]
Status : Encrypted; In Confidence

.H..M..G.
⮞ HMGC ID // 00.2201.2502.131 AL


Unauthorised access, transmission, reproduction, or duplication of this communication will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Security of Communication Act, Section 5.3

URGENT


The Senate has confirmed, in confidence, Resolution 033.275.2201.131 during the emergency session.
Garda have been mobilised under direct command for operation.
State Security are authorised to execute Orders 71 and 72 of Resolution-033. Execute with extreme prejudice.
Keystone has been completed.
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sat Feb 26, 2022 11:36 am

Northminster
2201.411.131 AL

"We have the Garda and State Security in position. Do you know when our guest should arrive?" Rowland asked as she took a seat across from Tristan. They had been enjoying an early lunch since the Empress' return from Arda. There was much to go over, but nothing so urgent that it would prevent them from enjoying a moment of peace.

Tristan sat her tea down and wiped her hands with a napkin, "They haven't arrived yet. How does Lussander sound? It's Menel in origin, but appropriate, I think." Tristan had been mulling over a title for the new position since she had returned, a small notebook sat before her of several scratched out words. Her eyes wandered over it for a moment. Rowland spoke a few Elvish languages, so she looked up and searched her face for her thoughts.

"I think that's an excellent choice -- from the verb 'whisper', yes? Basically, a person that whispers," Rowland thought for a moment and nodded approvingly. "The terms of the arrangement are significant but I'm glad you kept your wits. Not to say that the Menelmacari aren't trustworthy, but they will try and take what they can get. Purely an advisory role is beneficial, it creates additional risks, however."

Tristan nodded, "You remember our conversation about this, though. For the time being, there'll be three Lussanders. A seat for the Macisikani and another for the Nimatojin. I wanted to include the Domain and the Arkasians at one point," Tristan frowned for a moment. "However, with our new system, we can staff a council of experienced advisors to the imperial circle."

"What about the C'tan?" Rowland suggested, pulling up the list. "They don't always agree with each other. Though I think the Macisikani might be the hardest to get here."

"Did you see their letter?" Tristan asked, sliding it over to the chamberlain.

Rowland picked it up and looked it over, a grimace was clearly visible as she sat it down. "We can rule them out -- for now, then. How is Eden?"

"She's come around," Tristan remarked, taking a sip of her tea, "I've agreed to keep her in her position after the Keystone is activated, in exchange, I will allow her to hold her convention. There's irony in chasing the same goal." Tristan looked down at the feeling of Arthur brushing at her leg and picked the small kitten up and sat it down in her lap, she petted it gently as she tried to recollect her thoughts.

"And of the C'tani concerns?"

Tristan shrugged, "They're baseless and exaggerated," she picked up Arthur and nuzzled the kitten's face with her own, "We're not going to affect anything about our people's rights -- getting rid of the Conglomerate's stench is our first priority, and hopefully, it'll be bloodless. The Garda are there to keep things stable and prevent further panic. That being said, the C'tani shot themselves in the foot by jumping to conclusions."

"There's a lot of that going around," Rowland remarked, "We really need to only trouble ourselves with being transparent with the Menelmacari, the rest is noise right now. I've instructed our departments to give them access as you requested, so they can perform their inspections."

"Good," Tristan replied, setting Arthur down gently, "We've nothing left to hide so we'll be good on that front. I quite liked the Elantari. Shrewd and intelligent, but pleasant."
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Wed Mar 02, 2022 8:52 pm

Co-written with Eri

In some ways, the Eridani Department of Foreign Affairs, more commonly known as the Seljandi, was the most... pleasant facet of the Imperium’s government. Unfailingly honest, if a bit harsh at times, the Seljandi were not diplomats in the traditional sense. They were the envoys of the Imperātor and they spoke his words. Fleets moved and worlds changed hands at the Seljandi’s behest. But what they understood above all was the necessity of caution and courtesy in everything they did.

This is why the Hypatian ambassador was greeted with nothing but patience and a smile when he arrived. An Ellanorean woman rose to greet him when he entered the conference room. “Sæll. I am Andreth, daughter of Falassion.”

It was a rare occasion to have been summoned by the Eridani. Tensions had thawed and refroze over the last few years and never had there been such a direct request of the presence of one of the Commonwealth’s ambassadors. Ingvar Blackbeard, the Hypatian ambassador, wasn’t sure of the point in even maintaining an embassy in what was viewed as a hostile power, but the State Department ignored his protests and insisted on the mission. For this reason, the embassy had never been recalled and operated per usual, itself, a peculiar decision.

Nevertheless, as a good and dedicated official at his post, Ingvar answered the summons. He put on his favourite black fur cape with typical attire suited for the climate but depictive of his own Rovanian heritage. He’d been considered the best choice by Harlow for this role — the Blackbeards hadn’t been supportive of either regimes in the Imperium, choosing to ignore the politics between Mars and Kadria, but Blackbeard found the sense of service in this way exhilarating. He had arrived at the Eridani’s request and thusly returned the greeting.

“Saell, I am Ingvar Blackbeard, son of Snorri Blackbeard, and ambassador of the Hypatian Commonwealth. It is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Andreth, daughter of Falassion. I have answered your government’s summons and so here I stand.”

Andreth smiled slightly. “It is good to see some honor yet remains among the peoples of the Commonwealth. Please, sit - I assume you have read the latest from the Hypatian News Network regarding the events at the Arkasian and C’Tani embassies on Mars?”

Ingvar grinned and moved his cape aside as he took a seat. He made himself comfortable and listened to the Eridani envoy, “Mmm. I’ve heard of the protests, yes. I know some arrests were made as well. Why do you ask?”

One of Andreth’s eyebrows rose at the mention of arrests, but she said nothing as he finished. “Well, the Seljandi would like to express its displeasure” –One corner of her lips rose in a half-smile–“A phrase I'm sure your government has grown tired of hearing over the past year or so.” That smile disappeared as the diplomat continued in her professional demeanor. “Specifically, we would like to address the apparent lack of concern Hypatia seems to have for the security of foreign embassies.”

Andreth paused. “Ambassador Blackbeard, you are already aware of how seriously we take the territorial integrity of foreign embassies - foreign envoys are the guests of Imperātor Westfall and thus enjoy the privilege of sacred hospitality, regardless of their identity or affiliation. Egging the grounds of an embassy here is considered a severe breach of hospitality, and the offenders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. While the Seljandi understands and appreciates the diverse cultural practices of the Commonwealth, they do not explain why Hypatia allowed such a thing to happen, especially at such a precarious time.”

Ingvar rubbed his hands, “Embassy grounds are protected by an exterior wall, Ambassador, to prevent intrusion. They have the right to use their own security on the grounds, as expected. People also have the right to protest and express their grievances in a peaceable manner, this includes around an embassy, so long as they’re not intruding on the grounds or threatening the embassy or its staff.”

Ingvar paused and stroked his beard in thought, “I would be hard-pressed to believe breaking a few eggs would be considered threatening. Messy, perhaps,” he looked at Andreth. “We also have law enforcement present to watch the protests — to ensure they don’t get out of hand. Overall, the situation is under control.” He smiled satisfied.

“While the Seljandi is in agreement with you on the fact that eggs are not the worst thing to come flying across the exterior wall of an embassy, and we are glad to hear that it’s under control, it is the principle of the matter that concerns us.” Andreth smiled before continuing. “Today, it’s eggs being thrown at the Arkasian embassy, tomorrow, it’s rotten eggs at the Nimatojin, until suddenly, it’s grenades at the Eridani.” She paused again. “You understand, of course.”

Ingvar suspired as he rested his hands on the arms of the chair he sat in, “A principle of freedom that is innate to the cultural norms of the Commonwealth and its many cultures – including the right to protest and assembly, as I’ve mentioned. We do not fear that the people demonstrate, Ambassador.”

Andreth blinks momentarily. “Ambassador, I'm not sure who’s misunderstood who, but are you saying you’d allow your people to throw potentially dangerous items at embassies to maintain a cultural norm?”

Ingvar laughed heartily at that, “Absolutely not,” he wheezed out as he readjusted in the chair. “Forgive me, forgive me – What I am saying is that it appears to me that what bothers your government, Ambassador, is not that eggs are being thrown at embassies – it is the principle of freedom. Not in the sense of independence, but in the way of expression. You as well as I understand that our shared customs have certain respects to how we conduct ourselves. Can you see a Kadrian or even a Rovanian lord deciding to protest by chanting with signs or – mercy of the Gods – throwing eggs?”

Ingvar wiped a tear away as he regained his composure and stroked his beard again, “A lot of human civilisations have different customs themselves but many share in this belief that this is acceptable behaviour and it is often encouraged. However, that isn’t to say there aren’t limits, Ambassador. Eggs are one thing – grenades are another. The latter is an extreme escalation for what is a harmless demonstration. And last I checked – nobody is protesting your government’s embassy.”

Andreth wore a patient smile as he finished speaking. “I’ll note, Ambassador Blackbeard, that it is not the principle of freedom in the way of expression that we are opposed to - it’s that some of the modes of expression that Martians prefer overlap with those that both Kadria, and I expect Rovania to a lesser degree, find distasteful. And you are right in noting that no one is protesting our embassy - it was an example I was using to make my point. And rather successfully, it seems.” Andreth paused. “Rest assured, Ambassador, if somebody was protesting our embassy, I'm sure my colleague in the Martian Forum would already have informed your government, probably at a volume a bit louder than necessary.” The corner of the Ellanorean’s mouth lifted at her own quip. “Now that we have an understanding of where the other comes from, will the Hypatian Commonwealth look into improving embassy security at least? I'm sure some nations would appreciate knowing that any bombardments due to impact their embassies will be limited to eggs and other foodstuffs.”

Ingvar continued to stroke his beard, “I will bring your request to the attention of my government,” he said more seriously. “Will that be all, Ambassador?” he asked with a tilt of his head.

“I believe so.” Andreth smiled. “Unless there’s anything the Commonwealth wishes to address?”

“Mmm,” Ingvar clasped his hands, “Your government decided not to renew the treaty despite the revelations that both our nations had fallen for a ruse. The Commonwealth doesn’t care for conflict with the Imperium – naturally, your government sees mine as oathbreakers and vice versa. At least, initially, that was my government’s perception. I do have the authority and the privilege to offer your government a proposition to finalise a new agreement – you’re welcome to reject the offer – but if you’d like, you can hear our offer,” Ingvar spoke, pulling a small tablet from his pocket and holding it up. “The terms are all inside this – oh, and one more thing, the deal would remain open without a limit in case your government decides to change its mind later. Anytime there is a belief that an oath has been broken – it is very difficult to find trust, but I do think the offer is generous in some regards, if not to ease the suffering that has already been done – to prevent more of it in the future.”

Andreth looked at the tablet thoughtfully for a few moments. “...I doubt the Seljandi will accept the deal, but I will certainly bring this to the attention of my government. If I may have the tablet?”

Ingvar leaned over and handed the tablet off to Andreth, “The offer is a final treaty ensuring the Commonwealth is no longer harassed by raiders and drawing the conflict to a final close with an agreement, as before, that neither commit to hostile acts towards each other or assist a third party in the same. It also mandates, like the treaty with the Menelmacari, to either attempt negotiations for thirty days or seek arbitration through the Martian Forum – with the caveat that this be enforceable by the Eternal Ascendancy and the UIK if need be to ensure that neither of us are trying to break our oaths in the future.

In return, the Commonwealth will pay $50 trillion in reparations, including payment to families of those lost in the unfortunate conflict in the form of a lifelong pension that they may claim from our government to cover any living expenses for them. The Commonwealth will also repeal its containment around Imperium space, meaning the withdrawal of the Achilles systems around your territory. It will also cede the Parthian Vale to the Imperium and relinquish claim to the same.

Finally, we will codify into the treaty that we will not establish new systems beyond the Harlow Line. This was the policy before when we depopulated the systems near the Imperium – but this time it will be on paper. In regards to the Meridian Empire on the northeastern borders – we will leave them to the Imperium to do as they wish – while we would like to regain those territories, my government has decided to relinquish claim to them. The caveat being that any species of the Commonwealth that are currently enslaved be allowed to return home.”

Andreth’s eyebrows rose in surprise once more - it wasn't everyday she saw terms as favorable as these! “...Thank you, Ambassador Blackbeard. I’ll certainly speak with my government about this. You are free to go.” She smiled.
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Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sat Mar 05, 2022 4:34 pm

Harlow
2201.505.131 AL

Omar was resting in his office, he had leaned back in his chair and kicked his feet up on the desk. It was a beautiful day outside and so he had left a window cracked open to let in the gentle breeze and fresh air. He had no appointments today, no major matters to address, just the quiet respite. It wasn't to last.

A small metal blow slipped in through the gap in his window and rolled across the floor, catching the bureaucrat's attention. He pulled his feet from the desk and leaned over to pick it up, "What in Mars?" he questioned. It was then that the object exploded with a bright flash and smoke. Omar fell back in his chair and started coughing. Several of the windows exploded behind him and there was a lot of rustling and screaming on the floor. "What's going on!?"

Omar felt a boot to his back and was pushed down to the floor. As the smoke vented through the broken windows, he could make out black uniforms and enclosed helmets with visors. "Omar Vanys?" the man asked as he pressed his boot into Omar's back.

"Yes! Yes! Ow, please," Omar shouted.

The man reached down and quickly put Omar in cuffs then yanked him to his feet with a grunt. About a dozen of these men in black uniforms had entered the floor and had all of his staff on the ground with their hands out. He was led from his personal office and lined up with a few other execs, colleagues of his. One of the intruders walked in front of him, grabbed his wrist, and stapled something into his arm. He yelped as another scanned his wrist as some blood ran down his arm.

"Omar Vanys, Tetrana Surrey, Michael Vamirs, and James Alberson," one of the armed men said as he positioned himself in front of them. They were huddled closer together, shoulder-to-shoulder, as the man continued. "You're under arrest for aiding the Camerata in their attempted coup and for aiding and financing the Meridinite coup. You will be taken to processing and await trial. Anything you say may be used against you, do you understand?"

The four nodded as the others pulled them from the wall and guided them out of the building. Omar looked at the papers blowing in the wind and the sunlight pouring through the shattered windows. He watched his staff's faces twist in confusion and fear, but said nothing as they pleaded for answers. The leader of the armed men stopped by the door as they left, "The rest of you are free to go. If you require medical attention, we have services waiting for you outside."

As Omar was led down to the ground floor and out the front, a cordon had been established as crowds gathered. Trucks bearing the insignia of 'State Security' were visible on their doors, and the puzzle began to fit together. He was led up into the back of one of the vehicles with his colleagues as the doors shut behind them.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sat Mar 05, 2022 8:33 pm

Juwon
2201.202.131 AL

"Andala, are you okay?" Alvin asked as he rolled his colleague over. She groaned but looked unhurt. The contraption he had built was in pieces, as was his work desk, and everything around them had been thrown by the blast. He checked himself but beyond a few cuts and bruises, he'd be fine. "C'mon," he spoke gently, helping Andala up. There was distant shouting as the two exited the room. The blast had blown the window out and woken up half the wing.

"What happened?" Andala asked as Alvin sat her down in the hall. She rubbed her head groggily and rested against the cool brick. She remembered the flash but not much else. "Alvin?"

"I'm not sure, I'm just glad we're okay. We're going to have to answer some questions," he said, looking down the hall at the two marshals, a male and a female, interviewing some other colleagues of theirs. One of them pointed down the hall towards him. "Here we go." He stood as the two marshals approached.

"Alvin Thurelli," the female marshal said, her partner pulled a shock baton, "D'you know anything about what happened? Half the facility is awake," she stopped and stared at the smoke pouring out of the room.

"I can explain," he said as he held his hands up.

"You've got a lot of that to do, hands behind your back, you too, missy," the marshal ordered.

"She's hurt," Alvin spoke up as he turned around to let the female marshal cuff him. The woman tilted her head at her partner to help Andala up. "Just let me do the talking," Alvin reassured her.
Last edited by Hypatian Commonwealth on Sat Mar 05, 2022 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sun Mar 06, 2022 1:02 pm

Northminster
2201.506.131 AL

"State Security is moving on the bureaucrats," Rowland said as she poured some tea for herself. "All that is left now is for the Menelmacari's report after their inspection." She stirred her cup gently and carefully wafted the steam. Lassara, as the Menelmacari called it, was a remarkably fragrant tea and had started to take the market by storm. So much so that the Empress had commissioned Rowland to set up a stake in an export company called the Lassara Export Company, she was now the majority shareholder.

"Which should go well," Tristan replied, taking a sip of her own tea. The Empress had chosen a modest white summer dress to welcome the coming of Autumn which was relatively comfortable for the capital of Harlow and much of the Hellantic plains. "The Jackie's Keep orb has been moved off Mars to prevent any possible mishaps, which we've already informed the Menelmacari about. It seems everything is in order to activate the Keystone," she said.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sun Mar 20, 2022 9:46 am

Earth. For generations, those who dared to pierce the fabric of the stars had stared down at this blue marble with a renewed sense of belonging and wonderment. It was the only home humanity had ever known.

UNCS Ares Fortitude
2037 Sol+47


The Observation Deck was one of the largest compartments on the UN-commissioned spaceship, UNCS Ares Fortitude, that was used for recreation for the over ten-thousand passengers and crew aboard the ship. Built around a central spire, O-Deck, as it was more commonly known, was capable of producing spin-gravity for the comfort of the Ares Fortitude's passengers. The doughnut-shaped ring used aluminium glass in its construction to give the luxury of seeing the outside universe without compromising its structural integrity. Automated vendors served thousands that passed through O-Deck every day, custodians manicured the various gardens and kept the space clean, and several recreational activities were permitted by the ship's charter to ensure morale was high for the seventh-month journey to Mars.

Anders often came to O-Deck to relax after a long shift managing the ship's reactors. It was tiresome work and shifts for the crew aboard the ship were often long, particularly for jobs that kept the lights on and the air clean for everyone aboard the ship. Out here, in the depths of space, Anders and the crew understood, there was no help if something went wrong; thousands of lives depended on them. For this reason, the crew were paid not only handsomely, but afforded a few extra luxuries for their service. Unlike the bleached white uniforms of the passengers, Anders' was black and orange, each department aboard the ship had coloured uniforms that informed others of their role. Dry-cleaning was, thankfully, free for the crew. They had extra water rations, discounts on all services in the ship, free healthcare, and a multitude of other niceties -- nobody wanted a mutiny of the people that managed life-support or the reactor, after all.

More specifically, however, Anders was a man of average height with broad shoulders. He wore a neatly cut black beard that had small patches of grey and greased jet-black hair that he always combed straight back. His thick brow and sharp features left him with a permanent scowl but were contrasted by his soft brown eyes. Anders was one of the more heavily built of his department, with only Isaac being stronger, but Anders was also respected for his cool-headedness and deeply soothing voice. His presence in a room and manner of speaking could put even the most hotheaded at ease, and it was for this reason that Anders was unofficially promoted by Captain Barden to keep the peace in the ship's 'Grease Rats' as they were known.

But today would be like every other when the end of shift was called and Anders and his crew clocked out and headed for the upper decks. Many would venture to X-Deck to spend their credits, which was not that deck's official name, but it seemed that people didn't change and couldn't resist a cheeky name that could be spoken in just the right way to almost rhyme with 'six'. Anders, however, preferred O-Deck. All the credits he had to spend was at a vendor for some coffee and then he could find a quiet corner to retreat to and relax. And he did just that, finding a vacant set of chairs around a coffee table, he reclined into a seat and propped his feet up on the glass table, flipped open a magazine, and sipped his coffee quietly.

A radio nearby played the latest news about some solar flare, there was a couple walking through the gardens, children played at one of the courts. Anders drank it all in as he reclined into the chair with a sigh, closing his eyes for a few moments to enjoy the peace. "You look like you haven't worked a day in your life," a woman's voice said.

A grin spread across Anders' face, "And you probably shouldn't be messing around with that panel," he replied and opened his eyes to find Remy standing in front of him with her arms crossed.

"Hey, I thought you said we wouldn't bring that up anymore," Remy protested while sliding into the seat next to him, "I was new."

"You were about to find out what half a million volts felt like because you read your schematics upside down," Anders chuckled. He sat his coffee aside and wrapped an arm around her as she nuzzled him gently. Remy was an electrician, and a damn good one if Anders had anything to say about it. They had met many years before when they were working on a different ship, the Saturn Halo. Unlike Anders, Remy's uniform was white with orange. She sported red hair tied back into a pony-tail, with a small braid that dangled near her brow, and was only just shy of being the same height as Anders. Though Anders always asserted she was taller and smarter than him.

"How was your day, cowboy?" she asked.

"The same like any other day, the storm has made things a little harder, I'll admit. How about yours, spacegirl?"

Remy grinned, "Well, the lights are still on," she gestured out into the open, "So I must be doing pretty well. Six months to go on this rustbucket."

Anders nodded, "Six more months and we'll be free," he said, pulling her closer. They had signed up on the contract with the Ares Fortitude together, a contract that would end the moment they reached Mars. They weren't the first ship and they wouldn't be the last. But what they were doing was a feat of its own. The UN had, in 2030, created the Joint-Cooperative Colonisation Initiative or JCCI, which was led by several nations. The goal was the colonisation of the planets in the Solar System in a manner that would foster peace and cooperation. Several ships were built for Mars and had passengers from all walks of life. And soon they would set foot on a different planet than their ancestors had ever known.
Last edited by Hypatian Commonwealth on Sun Mar 20, 2022 9:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Sun Mar 20, 2022 3:08 pm

UNCS Ares Fortitude
2037 Sol+48


That night in the cool room of Anders' quarters, he dreamt of a field of grass that stretched as far as the eye could see, rising up to meet a violet-blue sky filled with starlight. He walked over the soft soil and felt the breeze flow between his fingers. Two moons orbited high above, glistening with milky light. He deeply inhaled the sweet air and closed his eyes.

The phone on the wall began to ring, stirring Anders awake with a grunt. He rolled over and felt some hair. It took a few moments for his vision to adjust but there was Remy sound asleep beside him. He'd forgotten she had come to his quarters. The phone continued to ring. He reached over and picked it up off the receiver, adjusting the cord around their pillows, held it up to his ear and in a groggy voice answered, "Hello?"

"Anders, we need you ---own here ---ick, we've got a sit---tion on ---Deck," the voice said.

"You're breaking up. What? What time is it?" Anders replied sleepily as he rubbed his face and rolled over to look at the clock which was flashing 12.

"It's--- flare, ev---ing is down, pleas hu---, you nee---, we ne--- lost cont-- Earth" The line went dead after some static.

"Anders?" Remy yawned and carefully rolled over, draping an arm over him, "Everything okay?" she said, half-awake though her eyes were still closed. Anders looked at the phone then carefully put it back on the receiver. Before he could answer, she was already back to sleep. He looked around the room, it was darker than usual, he was sure he had left a lamp on but now could only see the silhouettes of the things in his quarters.

"I think we're having some power trouble, no big deal," he answered anyway, moved her arm aside, and placed a gentle kiss on her head as he slid out from under the covers. He got dressed and gathered his things. He picked up a flashlight and tested it, it worked but flickered off and on every few seconds. Odd, he thought. "I'll be back, Rems."

As Anders exited his quarters, he could tell something was amiss. The lights to the halls were flickering and there was the panic hustle of passengers in the distance. He flicked his flashlight on and ventured through to the main exchange, as it was known. It was quieter here than expected but the space had been ransacked with chairs lying on the floor and papers strung across tables.

He tried the lift at the centre of the exchange but the doors wouldn't open, the only option was the maintenance shaft down the spire. He pulled open the hatch and slid in. "Jesus," he remarked, looking down into the abyss, not a light could be seen except for something faintly red near the bottom. He'd have to get to R-Deck and see what had happened. In the spire, there was no gravity, but handles were positioned so people could propel themselves up and down it if the lifts were down. Normally there'd be a safety line but Anders didn't have time to find one. He placed the flashlight between his teeth, grabbed a handle, and flung himself down.

Save for the beam of light that would flicker randomly, there was little to tell him if he was making any progress down the shaft. His mind was filled with anxiety about what had happened. They had power failures before but not quite like this. Not even the emergency lights had come on. Had the reactor failed? If it had, they were all goners. There was no help this far from Earth. The passengers' quarters were shielded from a possible meltdown but there weren't enough rad-suits beyond the crew.

He found the door to R-deck and grabbed the handle to stop his descent. He stared down at the faint red light. There was a smell in the air like copper and it filled him with a sense of dread. He turned the handle to the hatch and pulled it open. There were workers in the hall running back and forth in a frenzy, shouting about electrical systems and communications, among other things. Anders pulled himself into the corridor and had just found his footing on the floor when he was knocked over by none other than Isaac. They both tumbled to the floor as people ran around them.

"Isaac!" Anders shouted as he rolled the man over, "Are you okay?" His eyes widened at the sight of Isaac's face, which had been badly burned, and much of his body carried the stench of burnt flesh too. His charred uniform made it impossible to distinguish cloth from the skin and the sickly sweet smell was nauseating.

"Boss? Boss is that you?" Isaac cried out, grabbing at Anders' shirt, "I can't see, Boss. I can't see! It hurts..."

"My god, Isaac, it's okay, you're okay," Anders said frantically, he didn't have anything on him to help, and there was nothing nearby that could be of use, "What happened? Help!" he shouted at the others but everyone was brushing by them, too focused on the unfolding catastrophe. The smell of copper continued to grow stronger, Anders attention was torn away at the sounds of high voltage lines snapping down the corridor.

"The flare, boss... the flare," Isaac gagged out, tightening his grip on Anders' shirt. Anders refocused on Isaac, his brows furrowed and started to cough as the air became thick with smoke that was pouring into the corridor now.

"Flare? Isaac... what flare? What are you talking about? Isaac. Stay with me, Isaac!" Isaac slumped back as his fingers slid down Anders' shirt. There was a shudder and everyone was thrown to the floor. An explosion ruptured the wall behind them and a wave of hot air rushed up the corridor as high-pressure lines in the ceiling ruptured and sprayed steam into unsuspecting crewmen. The blast threw Anders into the wall, hitting his head on a callbox. Dazed and confused, he felt a hand grab his collar, and more shouting as he was dragged away. He could see Isaac's body up against the wall, the man's good eye staring blankly towards him. The fire had gotten into the corridor and lapped at bodies further down. Someone had started yelling about the fire-suppression system. The voices began to blend as Anders slipped unconscious.

Anders was once again in the grassy field with his arms outstretched to take in the breeze of the world. There was a deafening silence where even the grasses, despite forming waves like an ocean, did not rustle to greet him. The moons above were red now and the stars seemed to dim from the velvet sky. A woman stood in the centre of the field. He approached her, her red hair pale and frazzled. "Remy?" he reached out to touch her when she crumbled to ash. Andrs woke up suddenly and began to cough.

"Anders! You're okay, buddy, hang on," a man said, stuffing something into his shoulder, he screamed in pain. There were others around him, another poured a liquid over the wound, causing it to burn with searing pain. Anders grabbed the man by the collar and threw him to the floor. He tried to stand but the others quickly wrestled him back to the floor. "Anders! It's us, you're fine! Guys, get off him!"

As his vision cleared, Anders saw Sam and a few others of his own crew. Angela was holding a bottle of alcohol and Floki was standing aside. Marcus was still on the floor but had sat up to stare at him. They had dragged him into a small maintenance room. "What the fuck is happening? I saw... I saw Isaac..."

"He's gone," Sam said, holding out his hand to help Anders up, the others stepped in and they all brought him to his feet.

"Be careful though, you got nicked pretty good on that shoulder from shrapnel," Angela warned as she poured some more alcohol into a rag and tried to carefully treat it. Anders seethed through his teeth. "Don't be such a baby, boss."

"I'm just glad we got it out," Marcus said, pointing to the piece of bloody metal nearby, "Woke you up though," he shrugged and sat up.

"There are fires across the ship right now, fire suppression hasn't kicked on, several of the lines were compromised," Floki commented.

"What happened?" Anders reiterated again.

"Remember the talk of the flares?" Sam said, stepping forward. Angela stopped treating him and sat the bottle aside with the rag. "Well, there was a second, larger flare that came from behind the first."

"We've dealt with flares before."

"You're not listening, Anders," Sam's voice was more solemn now, "We lost contact with Earth about four hours ago."

Anders furrowed his brows and looked to Floki for an explanation. "What do you mean? Lost contact?"

"Do you remember in training when we talked about the Carrington Event, Anders? This was three times the size of that. We haven't been able to reach a single satellite or ground-side receiver from the DSN or anything else."

"The last snapshot we had was aurorae as far south as the equator," Marcus chimed in, coming to his feet and readjusting his uniform. "The only reason we haven't been cooked in this thing yet is because of the shielding but it is pressed to its limits. Radiation levels have climbed."

"It's wreaked havoc on everything, and we need to get the fires under control before they compromise the reactor. Comm lines are down and the rings are starting to fail," Sam said. "We're all lucky we got out alive, and luckier we found you, boss."
Last edited by Hypatian Commonwealth on Sun Mar 20, 2022 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Hypatian Commonwealth » Thu Mar 31, 2022 1:57 pm

Image
Her Majesty's Government of the Commonwealth
⮞ INTERNAL MEMO FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENCE

Sen : Security Council — Key [REDACTED]
Rec : Delta Command (DELTACOM) — Key [REDACTED]
Status : Encrypted; In Confidence

.H..M..G.
⮞ HMGC ID // 04.2201.631.131 AL


This is an official communication of Her Majesty's Government. Unauthorised access, transmission, reproduction, or duplication of this communication will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Security of Communication Act, Section 5.3

Fleet Assignments


Makemake Shipyards has completed the order for a 10th and 11th fleet to be commissioned in the service of Her Majesty's Armed Forces. This will add seventy new battlegroups to the Commonwealth Navy. Her Majesty has seen it fit to award the command of the 10th Fleet to that of Admiral James G. Belling and the command of the 11th Fleet to that of Admiral Wenceslas R. Haldark. Both fleets will be assigned to the Delta Quadrant to shore up the Commonwealth's presence in light of recent security concerns. The 10th Fleet, being capable of greater endurance, will be assigned to a new rotation and patrol route taking it into the Gamma Quadrant past the Gamma-Delta Demarcation. Further details on this proposed route will follow.



Signed,

Jacques Belanger-Chastain II
Secretary of Defence
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