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The Day the Sky Broke [M:Closed:Attn Xiscapia]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Necrisis
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The Day the Sky Broke [M:Closed:Attn Xiscapia]

Postby Necrisis » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:39 pm

Fel'tethra System, City
Lower Orbit Approach Vector
Her Merciful Lance
Ship Master Faeden Kaer'Lahn


Faeden smoothed his tunic and top-robes as he stood and allowed one of the Sworn to assist him with his cloak. He was an 'old man' after all and needed to be looked after now. Particularly during these delicate negotiations. As a High Priest, he was one of the Bound, and was valued by his Temple.
As the Lord Inquisitor of the Solar Imperium's Inquisitorium, he was more than capable of looking after himself.
He had almost laughed at Rilaena for ordering him to take four of her personal Blood Sworn Knights, but had simply smiled sweetly at her and bowed his head. 'Yes, My Empress.' They both knew that he needed no such protection, but he would not discard offered help. Not when there were others who needed protection.
He didn't like working with others. Alone, he only had to look out for himself. When others were added to the list of his responsibilities, things started to get messy and more variables were included. He wished that she had allowed him to pursue this on his own, but that was out of the question.
Regardless of how he personally felt about this operation, Faeden knew that Rilaena had it worse. She was leading an entire civilization - four in fact - into the dark with no light and if she set one foot off that unknown path, disaster would strike them all down. Mere stardust in the galaxy's eternal pages.

Sighing and seating himself at the control console, running his black gloved fingers through greying hair, Faeden pulled up his private messages.
Nothing. Not that he was expecting something in return, but he didn't really want to find himself in some Xiscapian bar at three in the morning waiting for an 'old friend.'

"Mercy, take us down as soon as we get clearance for our berth," he said as a hologram of a woman appeared next to him on the control board.
"At once Master Faeden," Mercy said, nodding. "Pack Master Royth wants to speak with you, by the way. Says its urgent."
"It's always urgent with the Hetaevans," Faeden muttered. He nodded and stood. "Remember Mercy, you are an ambassador's AI. Keep it simple. Don't fraternize with the local port authority AI. I don't like asking you to play dumb -"
Mercy held up an incandescent hand with a smile. "Covert Operations are our specialty, Master. Do no fear. I will be as but a simple ship auto-pilot."
Faeden nodded. "I know. I'm sorry, Mercy. Just... Tense. This will be dangerous and..."
"And you have many thing to concern yourself with," Mercy replied. "I shall not be one of them."

Faeden swept into the common room of the Merciful Lance, robes billowing. He liked the billowing. He'd served for years in form-hugging battle armor, and his many centuries had taught him that one needed to enjoy the little things.
Besides the four Blood Sworn who circled the room - each with hard-light lance and Lancer pistol - a young woman fiddled with an older PAD (complete with touch screen and solid frame), her facial respirator occasionally puffing out thin mists of air, in a corner and a truly massive Hetaevan crammed into the other side of the circular room.
Faeden nodded to Imillia Stros - who returned it before averting her eyes back to the PAD - and turned to Harek Ulgar.
"You had words, Harek?" Faeden asked. He liked Harek, though the Hetaevan was sometimes too blunt and sinister for his tastes. He was known by many names in the Grand Clan - among them Bruiser, Jaw-Eater and Bloody Harek - and so it was always a pleasant surprise for Faeden when Harek displayed an unseemly intellect for his ruthless barbarism.
Harek didn't look up from sharpening his short-blade, but nodded. "Aye, Master Dark. I merely wanted to know if everything was still according to plan."
"It is." Faeden smiled, cocking an eyebrow. "Does something worry you?"
"Not having my pack for a start," the Hetaevan grunted. "But I supposed an extra three dozen of my brothers and sisters stuffing themselves into this ship would be... indelicate."
"That it would, my friend."
"So it's just us. You, me, your guards and the girl?"
Faeden nodded. "It is. For the the delegation. But I have friends in the hold should it seem like we need them."
"And these friends are?"
"Not a concern of yours for the moment, Harek. The less said of them, the better."
"The Xiscaps are a curious bunch, and you pale-skins are just plain paranoid." Harek sheathed the blade, satisfied that it could rip a foe in two, and glared up at Faeden from behind the glossy gold of his helmet. "Will they not search the ship?"
"No. They wouldn't dare. This is an ambassador's ship, and thus considered sovereign soil of the SIN." Faeden frowned. "But you are worried about the plan falling through before it has even begun?"
"I am concerned that should this ridiculous plan fall apart at its seems, the defense of our persons is up to four caped fools who haven't seen combat, an old man, a girl, some mystery friends below and me." Harek looked over at Imillia. "No offense."
"None taken," Imillia said. "If we're all being honest, I'm a bit worried myself. Why even give them the chance if you're so sure they will refuse?"
"It's a matter of decorum," Faeden said, bristling a little. "And while you might not be trained, Miss Stros, I have seen my share of combat." He turned back to Harek. "As have the Sworn. We are Necrians, Harek. We train in discipline and war from an age as early as you. Don't think you will be working alone. The Empress chose you both for your talents. At diplomacy and war. Because that is what it is boiling down to at the end of the day. If there is a chance at avoiding hostilities - any conflict at all - we must take it. But if violence is our only course, then we must set it and steer by it."
Harek raised his head and Faeden had to admit he was taken aback. While other species might be adopting a posture of superiority with such a shift, Hetaevans exposed their necks when they conceded to a higher authority. Hetaevan's showing humility was rare enough.
Maybe Rilaena knew what she was doing after all?
"My apologies, Master Faeden. It is not my place to disrespect your warriors. But you understand my concerns, at least? Perhaps your friends would be better suited in joining us as an honor guard?"
"I'll have Mercy message the delegation," Faeden said. "Once we land."
Harek bowed his head and began reading a book - one of Faeden's old physical copies that he kept in Storage on the ship. The pages were flicked deftly by the giant and Faeden frowned. The Hetaevans never ceased to amaze him some days.

The Merciful Lance streaked over the jungle moon of the blue gas giant above, startling some local fauna into the denser undergrowth. The night cycle was about to start and according to the planetoid's information block, it would be night for almost three standard days, during which time the overall temperature would drop to just above freezing. And then the day cycle would start, leaving the jungle moon a hot and humid mess for nearly a standard week.
Faeden was not looking forward to that week, but that was the job. At least the sunset was spectacular. The binary stars - a blue and gold pair - gleamed between the horizon of Fel'tethra and the overhead horizon of Korthos the gas giant. They cast a brilliant shade of purple and orange light across the jungle, igniting the inland reservoir that bordered the eastern side of the city, Korfel, like an ocean of fire. The sunset would last for hours tonight, reflecting the blue hue of the giant above across the world as it slid into its shadow.
They set down at a luxury spaceport just next to the beach, only a few hundred meters from the Capital Building, the seat of power on Fel'tethra.
In another life, Faeden wondered if he would have retired here. It was certainly beautiful, but wild and mostly untamed. Just how he liked it.

But he couldn't admire the view for long. He had appointments to keep.

Making sure that Harek and Imillia had been situated in their ambassadorial apartments and the Sworn well occupied with their guard duties, Faeden made his excuses to an early night and slipped out the back with ease.
"I do not care for your deceptions," Mercy chided him though his neural implant. "Would you at least tell me where you are going?"
"To see an old friend," Faeden said. "And you can find me easily enough. My vitals are always on your mind."
"That is not the point. This is not at all what an ambassador for the Solar Imperium of Necrotia should be doing sixteen hours before his meeting with planetary government delegates."
"But it is what an Inquisitor of the SIN would do," Faeden smirked to himself as he slipped down a quickly cooling alleyway. "And as Lord Inquisitor, I must complete my own duties."
"Master, just... be careful? She is dangerous..."
Faeden's mental grin lapsed and his quick pace slowed to a stop just at the mouth of the alley. "I know."
They stood in silence for a moment before Mercy spoke into his head again. "Master Faeden?" He didn't answer, so she continued. "Did she... did she let you win?"
Faeden felt a twinge in his synthetic skin, a scar just below his eye where 'she' had almost killed him. Blade so far in it had damaged the synthetic underlayers - he wasn't supposed to scar anymore. Had she let him win? Or had she stopped at a crucial moment because of her own flaws? Had he left her alive because he realized that he could... or because he couldn't?
"I'll be out of contact for a little, Mercy. Send the Sworn if I'm not back in an hour."
"Master! I can't-" and then she was gone.
Faeden crossed the street, black robes folding around him until he was nothing more than a common Necrian.
Sitting down in the bar and ordering some local Necrian wine - which turned out to be tangy and spicy - and a meat bowl of some local wildlife, Faeden waited in a dark corner... for an old friend.
Last edited by Necrisis on Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:41 am, edited 3 times in total.
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Postby Xiscapia » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:28 am

Rusty Grapes Bar...

A microcosm of Fel'tethra went on around Faeden while he waited. The vast majority of the people were Necrian, pale and flitting from shadow to shadow on the poorly-lit main floor of the bar though occasionally one showed a more tanned appearance from working under the light of the world's sun. Here and there among them there were non-Necrians. Near Faeden's table an escan woman played a Necrian at billards, laughing and trading quips at missed shots. In the opposite corner an Avalan man gently puffed on the end of a hookah among a group of Necrians as one of them excitedly told a story, the human as fair-skinned as they were and even passing for one with his scarlet eyes and white hair save for his stockier frame in contrast to their slender builds. And of course there were the kitsune.

The species that the Empire was named for was only evident in a couple of places, perhaps tellingly both involved with operating the Rusty Grapes itself. A sour-faced black vixen leaned against the wall by the door, chewing on something that stained her teeth red as she watched vigilantly for any signs of tempers flaring or obnoxious drunkenness. One offense, like the man who swept his drinking partner's glass to the floor in a ruddy rage, was enough to earn her ire; when she stepped over to him he spat at her, only for the kitsune to knock his head against the counter and bodily throw him out the door before returning to her post. The other was the muddy-furred one behind the bar who moved with feminine grace but didn't appear to have any kind of feminine chest worth noting. The bartender chatted with the patrons, apparently completely at ease with the ambiguity, and served drinks including Faeden's own.

Kaga had given him no timetable, only a place and a date. So he waited. At precisely the hour mark the Sworn entered and earned themselves more than a few looks including a scowl from the bouncer, but Faeden's unharmed presence and a stern look was enough to send them away again. Clearly an hour hadn't been enough. But he could wait. He had the interest, and the time, and incidentally the wine, though of course he moderated himself. After a little while the bartender came by to pick up his empty bowl with an almost apologetic smile.

Once night had truly fallen and draped itself over the city the bar gradually began to empty out. People left in small groups, laughing and generally stumbling as they tried to support each other enough to get out the door to the street beyond. One by one a few regulars paid their tabs and left. The escan staggered out arm-in-arm with the Necrian man, while the Avalan quietly followed his group apparently no worse for wear. Soon enough the last one, a Necrian woman, drained her glass, put her money on the counter, and shuffled out the door. At that the door-vixen slapped up a Closed sign, exchanged a nod with the bartender, and left the same way. Then it was just Faeden and the bartender.
They came over with a glass and rag in hand, still wiping away at the inside. "Looked like you were waiting for someone," the Xiscapian's voice was low, carrying easily in the near silence. "Sorry they didn't show up. Get you one last drink before you go, hun? It's on the house," the kitsune smiled sympathetically.
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Necrisis
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Postby Necrisis » Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:28 am

The Rusty Grapes

"Looked like you were waiting for someone. Sorry they didn't show up. Get you one last drink before you go, hun? It's on the house,"

Faeden glanced up from the depths of his wine - still a few sips left - and frowned. The kitsune was so unremarkable, he couldn't remember anything about them - him? Her? Even turning back to his goblet seemed to remove all trace of them from his mind. That concerned him. His body had been designed by Black Nebula itself to be the perfect secret agent, endemic memory included. That he couldn't remember anything about the kitsune from a few seconds ago implied that they were using something of their own - or someone else was - to block it. It was psionic based, so they had to have a damper or de-harmonizer installed or placed somewhere nearby.
Extraordinarily paranoid unless you were dealing with someone like Kaga.

"I appreciate the offer." Faeden imbibed the last of the wine, his synthetic organs already breaking down the innate nature of the civic poison, leaving him as unaffected by it as if he'd been drinking water all night. "Usually, I would decline. I do not wish to prevent you from returning home. But this night has soured considerably and I could do with a hold over."

He followed her to the bar, taking a seat there in the stillness, appreciating the hanging smoke slowly settling across the establishment.
"It's not like I expected her to show," he said as the bartender placed another glass of wine before him. He sucked on his right hand ring-finger before stirring the wine with it. It was a traditional Necrian thing to do, but for Faeden it also activated the sensors in his palms - specifically detecting the composition of food and drink. As the data started to scroll across his minds eye, he met the gaze of the kitsune. "But I had hoped, you know. We had a pretty nasty fight last time we saw each other. Came to blows, actually. That was four years ago."
He sighed and gazed into the red swirl of the blood-wine.
"How long have you had this bar?" he asked after a long pause.
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Xiscapia
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Postby Xiscapia » Sat Aug 06, 2016 1:32 am

The Rusty Grapes...

The Xiscapian just smiled as Faeden made his comments, taking his empty glass before leading him back over to the bar proper. At the counter they finished wiping down the glass they had been working on before passing it through a microwasher and hanging the damp, slightly steaming cup upside down from the rack. Another was filled with rich, good Bloodwine before she passed it over the bar, rinsing his old glass out before going to work on it with the rag. Even closer up it was hard to tell if this was simply a vixen without much of a bust, or one who had wrapped her chest tightly as Xiscapian women sometimes did, or simply a very gracile tod with wide hips, something Xiscapian men sometimes were. Certainly the bartender's clothes didn't give much away, simple dungarees over a tank top and boots.

Despite continuing their work the proprietor kept ears perked and an orange-eyed gaze on the Necrian. The agender didn't say anything as he elaborated on the history, nodding now and again with swishes of the tail as the glass went through the same process as the last. The kitsune didn't so much as glance at him swirling his drink, which came back negative for any contaminants or toxins that shouldn't be present in a normal glass of wine. When the silence fell their eyes flicked over to the front windows, as if expecting to see the woman Faeden spoke of, but there was nothing but the black street outside. It had started to rain, he noticed, and gleaming streams of water were making their way down the fogging glass.

"How long have you had this bar?"

"About four years now," their voice was as perfectly androgynous as the rest of them. "I crewed a privateer during the Great Patriotic War, one of those purpose-made Necrian Scarab classes. Made a good amount of money raiding the trade lanes out by the Zillar Republic. Didn't really know what to do with myself after the war ended, so I just kind of wandered from Alpha through Beta and up here to Delta until I met a friend from that crew. He recommended this place, back when it was still Dominion territory, so I tried it out. I grew up in a polar climate so I really appreciate all the plant life even if it gets cold sometimes," the Xiscapian smiled. "The original Necrian owner of this place was selling and I had the money to buy, so I did. Not much else to tell. This colony's really grown since the Empire took over and that's good for business, so I can't complain."
Last edited by Xiscapia on Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Necrisis
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Postby Necrisis » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:56 am

The Rusty Grapes

"About four years now. I crewed a privateer during the Great Patriotic War, one of those purpose-made Necrian Scarab classes. Made a good amount of money raiding the trade lanes out by the Zillar Republic. Didn't really know what to do with myself after the war ended, so I just kind of wandered from Alpha through Beta and up here to Delta until I met a friend from that crew. He recommended this place, back when it was still Dominion territory, so I tried it out. I grew up in a polar climate so I really appreciate all the plant life even if it gets cold sometimes. The original Necrian owner of this place was selling and I had the money to buy, so I did. Not much else to tell. This colony's really grown since the Empire took over and that's good for business, so I can't complain."


"A privateer?" Faeden asked, not having to feign surprise. He knew that Necrian operations out here had been significantly more lax - particularly in the Reactionaries - but he didn't think a Xiscapian would have been allowed on a Necrian vessel, even during the waning years of the Dominion. "I am a bit of a ship history buff. What was the name? Any engagements that stand out? I'll admit I don't know much about this 'Great Patriotic War,' but that hasn't stopped me before."

The fact that the Xiscapian had served on a Necrian vessel troubled Faeden. The best case scenario was that the Ship Master had needed crew and had hired on anyone willing. If it was a privateer though, that meant that it was a stolen ship - or the result of a mutiny. Though as to why such a case had never been reported and the ship hunted down by its fellow fleet was a clue as to what the truth might be.

Someone had leaked design schematics to public shipyards.

That was possibly worse. That meant there were Necrian war vessels being made in the shipyards over Xiscapian worlds. Even if the design schematics had been altered, it meant that the Xiscapians had a full understanding of NIDAF war ships - and the SIN had adopted a great many of those older vessels. Even if they were retrofitted, many couldn't use the Astral Drivers without being looped in with other ships, and their weapons were built into the chasis - they couldn't be altered much.
The invasion was jeopardized and Faeden knew only one person who could have given over these details.
He needed to find her... and have her removed...
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Xiscapia
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Postby Xiscapia » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:19 am

The Rusty Grapes...

"A privateer? I am a bit of a ship history buff. What was the name? Any engagements that stand out? I'll admit I don't know much about this 'Great Patriotic War,' but that hasn't stopped me before."

"It was called the Revolte," the bartender gave the glass a last few wipes before setting it down in the microwasher. "I'm not really sure what a standout engagement would be. We tried to avoid military ships whenever we could, we probably could have taken a scout or destroyer or something but it would have been dangerous. Better to leave that kind of thing to the proper commerce raiders," they hit a button to turn the microwasher on, the thrum adding a bit of white noise. "Mostly we went after medium freighters. We did lose a few to Q-ships but-"

They turned off the microwasher and stopped abruptly, staring at him. Two vulpine eyes narrowed. "I can smell the alarm on you. What kind of game are you playing? Am I going to have to call Kaga back here?"
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Necrisis
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Postby Necrisis » Fri Aug 12, 2016 6:37 am

The Rusty Grapes

"I can smell the alarm on you. What kind of game are you playing? Am I going to have to call Kaga back here?"

Faeden's pretense at a smile and friendly nature dropped so fast it was as if he were night and day. The darkness in his eyes clouded the glowing crimson iris' and he slowly took a sip of the blood wine before replacing it on the counter.
"No need to get excitable, little kit. No games." Faeden stood, letting his cloak enshroud him, leaving only his crimson eyes to glow in the darkness of his hood. "But perhaps you had better call your Mistress, little one. I was to meet her here, and she knew this. If you are one of her pets, then it is she who is playing games." The glowing red light intensified as his eyes narrowed, seeping into the scars that lined his face. "And I have little patience for her games."
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Xiscapia
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Founded: Mar 13, 2007
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Postby Xiscapia » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:48 pm

The Rusty Grapes...

"No need to get excitable, little kit. No games. But perhaps you had better call your Mistress, little one. I was to meet her here, and she knew this. If you are one of her pets, then it is she who is playing games. And I have little patience for her games."

The bartender took a step forward, though the counter was still between them and Faeden. Their orange eyes were locked on the Necrian's, ears perked as their tail swished back and forth. "I'm not afraid of you. If you're after Kaga you'll have to go through me first. And I've got no intention of allowing that to happen," even as the kitsune spoke their arms went to the shelf beneath the bar, taking hold of something at the Necrian's waist height from their side of the bar.
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Necrisis
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Founded: Jul 26, 2010
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Necrisis » Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:37 am

The Rusty Grapes

"I'm not afraid of you. If you're after Kaga you'll have to go through me first. And I've got no intention of allowing that to happen."

Faeden's eyes narrowed and a pulse of psychic energy boiled through him. "I don't have time for your little games, puknar. I sent word for Kaga to meet me here. If you are not aware of this, then she is sloppy or you foolish. I'm more inclined to believe the latter. Now. Call Miss Kaga for us, and this doesn't get messy. I have no intention of hurting you..." - a red mist engulfed his eyes entirely, pouring from them like a creature of his ancient nightmares - "but there are worse things. Kaga. Now. This is your last warning."

He wasn't sure what Kaga was doing. Testing him? She had no reason to. Being a thorn in his side? More her style, but risking this young kitsune's life seemed odd to him. Even if he did hold back, warping the young anthro's mind would damage them regardless.
He cast out with his senses, filling the building, the alleyways and side streets with his presence. If she was out there, he would find her. Even if she was cloaked from his probe, her absence - or her void - would let him know she was at least close.

There had been nothing suspicious about his request. It had been simple.
A desire. Their fight was done. They had parted ways four years ago and only brushed contacts once or twice since. But he was here to speak to her. A moment of weakness, he had called it.
A moment of memory of the night before her betrayal. When they had stayed up into the early dawn and spoke of great and foolish things. When he had entertained the idea of telling her who - what - he was. When he had allowed his defenses to drop for a single night, when he had shared his fears - his hopes...
He had wished to speak with her tonight like that. Not as Faeden Kaer'lahn, High Priest and Grand Inquisitor. But as Faed, a young man with too many years to remember.
He had wanted to have that night, one last time, before he lost it all forever. Before the sky broke and all he longed for was swallowed up by the black.
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Xiscapia
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Founded: Mar 13, 2007
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Postby Xiscapia » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:03 pm

The Rusty Grapes...

The kitsune's eyes widened as they stared into Faeden's own and they reared back. Apart from that for a long moment neither moved, stares locked as he felt around the building and its vicinity for her. There was nothing as obvious as her signature or the equally-sized lack of one, not within the range anyway, but there was something else from below. It seemed like it was coming almost directly from beneath the bartender's feet, just a twinge of the vixen's past presence, like seeing a hair of her steel-blue fur left on a seat. Whether or not she was around was an open question, but there was no doubt that she had been here, somewhere under the Rusty Grapes Bar.

Then the bartender stepped back and lifted their hands from under the counter. A gun had appeared in them like a magic trick with the sharp click of a pump being drawn back. Both of the sawed-off shotgun's barrels were pointed directly at his chest, not so much as wavering. "I meant what I said," their voice was hard, any trace of surprise or care gone. "Leave. Now."
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

User avatar
Necrisis
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Founded: Jul 26, 2010
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Necrisis » Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:53 pm

The Rusty Grapes

"I meant what I said. Leave. Now."

Faeden weighed his options. He could be traced back to this poor kitsune's murder fairly easily. The Sworn had seen to that. But within the next thirty hours, it wouldn't matter.
And he'd covered up worse for longer.

But he had no intentions of murdering the kit. Even a Xiscapian shotgun wouldn't be able to lay him low - though it would hurt. A lot.
But the androgenic kitsune didn't know who he was dealing with. If Kaga had been honest with them, they'd have known that a simple gun wouldn't be enough. Faeden had crossed the Shaded Veil and returned. He was no man, and there was no blood in his veins to beat beneath his synthetic flesh, denser than Dragonscale kevlar. For some, he wasn't even real anymore.
He was an abomination in Her eyes. A nightmare, made whole.

The red mist roiled from his eyes, igniting the old scars and he raised one hand, a whip and twist of his wrist sending the nano-filament cables to wrap around the shotgun, biting into it.
To their credit, the kitsune was fast with the trigger. The shotgun exploded from both barrels, even as the wires sliced through it like a plasma torch to butter. It cut deep into Faeden even though he twisted through it, vaulting the counter in one fluid movement, cloak spilling like water and mist combined as he ripped the gun into a dozen pieces. The other hand lashed out now - inches from the kitsune - the fingers alight with red energy.
His leap was positioned so that he would overshoot the kitsune, and more nano wires ensnared the fox.
A whirl of his cape and a twist of his prey found the kitsune bound in wire - blood already seeping from where they met fur and skin, slicing apart clothing at the mere touch.

Faeden crouched over the kitsune, like some Derospider from the bowels of Gythsamani. He leaned in, the red pools of his eyes starting to give off actual heat. "Don't attempt to struggle, kitsune. Though your people's augmentations might allow you to break these cables, they will slice through you before that happens." His voice lowered to a growl. "This was meant to go peacefully. I have no desire to kill you. Tell me where I can find her, and this ends without any more blood shed."
He felt his synth-skin starting to knit, and a few pellets that had got his face dropped onto the kitsune below him.

His mind suddenly flickered back. Kaga beneath him, rain soaking into their blood stained clothes, her blade inches from his face, his hand barely preventing her final thrust.
She had been bound like this. At his mercy. One twist, one command, and the cables would have cut through her. Even though she had trapped him in a psychic-dampening field, his eyes had burned then too. But the look in her eyes, the soreness of a synthetic heart... Faeden had slipped. The blade had driven deep into his skull, cutting through metal and bone and destroying the optical nerves of that eye.
He'd made sure that the cables didn't cut her overly much when they retracted, as he had pulled away.
He had stood there, her blade in hand, their eyes locked, for what seemed eternities.

He shook himself back to the present. This was no time to remember. Kitsune were dangerous until they were killed and put seven feet down.
Preferably cremated. This kit was no different.
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Postby Xiscapia » Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:46 pm

The Rusty Grapes...

On the floor beneath the tangled nano-filament the kitsune stared up at Faeden. The wire had tied their arms to their sides, their legs together, and even their tail to their back, but that didn't keep the bartender from squirming and straining against the bonds. Every flex brought fresh blood to the fore, coloring the sharp metametal and spreading an expanding scarlet pool across the floor as they gritted their teeth. With their eyes locked on him they pushed back, groaning and snarling with the effort as all of their limbs pushed outwards against the filament, blood flowing in ever-increasing waves until finally they twisted their neck too far the wrong way and a line cut deep into their throat. The bartender jerked once, eyes shooting wide, and thrashed hard before falling still.

The floor was awash with blood. The vulpine's struggles had succeeded in severing all of their limbs, dismembering them repeatedly into a sticky pile of ichor on the ground cut across again and again with the nano-filament. Their lifeless eyes yielded no answers as to the last violent outburst, though their clothing had been shredded to the extent that he could readily tell that they had been a vixen who had bound her breasts, a boyish figure lying dead and in pieces behind the bar she had so recently served from. The I.D. in her pocket told that she was one Omori, 25 years old, birthplace the city of Lantic, Reiha, the Wuin System. Her back pocket had a picture of her arm-in-arm with the bouncer who had been by the door, smiling broadly in contrast to the others impassive expression. 1 year after surgery! proclaimed the scrawled handwriting on the back.

Omori had been standing on a trapdoor that led down a short staircase to a cellar below. It was nothing out of the ordinary, with casks and kegs lining the walls among other boxes of supplies and sundries for the establishment's operation. There was no doubt that Kaga had been present, but what she had been doing in the underground space beneath a nondescript bar on a remote colony world was no evident. Whatever else he did, eventually Faeden was back out in the rain again on the streets of Fel'tethra. He'd only just stepped out the door when a lone vehicle approached along the road.

That there were any vehicles out and about in the city of several million wasn't unusual, even in the late-night rain, but the Rusty Grapes sat on a cul-de-sac where the other businesses were all closed. He couldn't feel the presence of the driver or any passengers, and though that was also the norm considering the prevalence of Xiscapian anti-psionic implants the 4x4 began to slow as it neared him, headlights illuminating the Necrian's cloaked form. It halted right next to him, idling for a moment as water ran down its black-tinted windows. Then the door opened and there she was. Kaga in the driver's seat, looking directly at him.

It seemed as if she hadn't changed an iota since he had first met her so many years ago. When she was posing as little more than a petty thief being inducted into the Temple of Necrisis she had the same smoky-silver fur, the same off-white hair tied back in a loose tail, and the same alabaster fur along her tail tip and the underside of her muzzle. Her eyes still danced with the light of mischief, of the delight in playing the game, and the sort of deadly playfulness of a predator that knew something her prey did not. She gave him a long look, as if daring him to enter the passenger side and sit down next to her. Then she smiled, an impish expression to match the look in her vulpine eyes.

"As terrible as ever, Faeden. I was wondering whether you'd stick around, but by the smell of it you did a lot more than that."
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Postby Necrisis » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:20 am

The Rusty Grapes

Faeden snarl-hissed as the nano-filament withdrew into his hands. Foolish kit. What sort of loyalty did she have to Kaga that she would cut herself to pieces over?
The quick examination of her body made him scowl. If this was any other mission, he'd have called it a wash by now. Just bring in the Sisters of Shadows and have all traces to this place and the girl wiped clean. As it was, none of it mattered, but he did need to leave.
After exploring the cellar - it reminded him of the old wine cellars of the Temple, though much smaller (he wondered idly if the Necrian who had sold it was a practitioner) - he summoned his psychic power and pulled all the blood and viscera together.

It didn't take him long to set the stage of the break in. Smashed till, young bartender staying late to clean up. Hoodlum overpowering her and gaining power of the shotgun. The gut shot that ended her life. The weak attempt to dismember her and rid the crime scene of he murder. Cash stolen. A simple virus - the sort that anyone could procure on the black markets - to wipe the local and connected computer systems of any film.
When he was done - with the distilled practice and coldness of a professional - it was as if he'd never been there, and the hoodlum who had killed and maimed the poor girl had fled.

Faeden stepped into the rain and looked up, letting the heavenly clean water pour over him. He'd spent little time on such under populated worlds. Even in the heart of this city, chugging away with Xiscapian ingenuity, the rain and water was clean.
When the large 4x4 pulled around the corner at the end of the street, Faeden knew who it was.
Had she been watching? Waiting? For what? for him to kill the stupid kit?
Perhaps. Though he liked to think he understood his enemies and his friends alike, Kaga had always been hard to read. Passionate and heartfelt one moment, bloodthirsty the next.
Faeden lowered his hood and waited for the vehicle to approach.

"As terrible as ever, Faeden. I was wondering whether you'd stick around, but by the smell of it you did a lot more than that."

Faeden didn't let his scowl mar his face. It took little effort to remain impassive though.
Just another barb. She was full of them. Used to them to prick at his skin and mind, drive doubt into places it should not be.

"There was a break in," he said, matter-of-factly. "The culprit has fled the scene." As he spoke, his mind accessed latent prints in his vocals. By the end of his sentence, his voice was pitched in such a way that only Kaga could hear it. If she was recording him - again, he seethed - then she would only find an odd drone that fluctuated as he breathed. It was a new addition he'd made while fighting the clandestine operations of Addrik's Black Nebula cells.
"You didn't care about that one, did you? I'm afraid I've... broken it." He glanced about, then back at her. "Your agents have a very low standard of self-preservation. This didn't have to end so cloak and dagger, Miss Kaga."
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Postby Xiscapia » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:12 am

Fel'tethra...

"There was a break in. The culprit has fled the scene."

She smiled. "Not yet, but he will shortly, won't he?" Her eyes glittered as they made contact with his. If she'd noticed his change in pitch she gave no indication, though her ears did twitch in his direction. Her smile widened.

"You didn't care about that one, did you? I'm afraid I've... broken it. Your agents have a very low standard of self-preservation. This didn't have to end so cloak and dagger, Miss Kaga."

"Who says it's ending?" Kaga smirked at him. "Don't worry about the body, Faeden. I'm sure you'll find out what really happened in there. Eventually. But come," she patted the passenger seat. "You going to get in or are you just going to stand out in the rain like an asshole?"
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Postby Necrisis » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:50 pm

Outside the Rusty Grapes, in the Rain...

Faeden sighed. He'd hoped - against all rational and logic thought, obviously - that this wouldn't be a game. But he should have expected it from her.
It was always a game. The Shadow Game. The Great Game.
Maybe he was getting too old for this.

He slid around the truck and into the passenger seat. His clothes had already wicked the water away, leaving him and the inside of her vehicle dry. As he buckled himself in and she drove the truck away from the Rusty Grapes, Faeden did a passive scan of the vehicle. It was unlikely that she'd leave a single detail unsupervised - she was too good for that - but his body was built for subterfuge. Even a passive scan would reveal any tricks she had, except the deeply buried ones.
And those were one he was confident to defeat even when surprised. He'd handled worse from her.

They sat in silence for a few minutes as she drove them away to wherever it was she was planing to go, but Faeden's internal GPS linked him to Mercy's passive sensors, tracking him.
Even if this ended poorly for him, Kaga wouldn't get out without a few singed furs at least.

"You'll forgive my guarded nature, Kaga." Faeden glanced over at the smaller woman. "Our history hasn't been one built on trust and mutual understanding. Though I had thought respect had been fostered. Couldn't bare to just turn up for a drink? "

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Postby Xiscapia » Mon Aug 29, 2016 2:54 am

Fel'tethra...

The interior of the vehicle was like the dark, rainy streets of Fel'tethra: with little in evidence. The inside was as nondescript as the city was still. Occasionally they passed another set of headlights making their way through the night as Kaga drove down the side streets and through the small industrial area that the Rusty Grapes had been perched on the edge of, but no one seemed to take any more note of them than usual. By the same token Faeden could tell that if the vixen had laid any traps for him, they weren't obvious. For a time the only noise was the rain pattering against the glass and drumming on the roof, windows kept clear by the tiny force fields embedded in the panels.

"You'll forgive my guarded nature, Kaga. Our history hasn't been one built on trust and mutual understanding. Though I had thought respect had been fostered. Couldn't bare to just turn up for a drink? "

"You should take it as a compliment," she gave him a sidelong glance. "I've been busy ever since you arrived. It's not every day that someone like you shows up in the same place as me," Kaga smiled again. "Have to make certain preparations. Contingencies. You understand. But I thank you for waiting for me. It made things much easier."

She was quiet again after that, letting him digest her words. "I am curious, though. I know you're here with the rest of the delegation, but you've never been a political animal. You preferred to handle things behind the scenes before. I see that's changed now. And before the only reason you ever would have sought me out would be to try to kill me," the kitsune smiled at that. "Particularly considering the last time we met, that's exactly what you tried to do. That's changed too. I wonder why."
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Postby Necrisis » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:02 pm

Fel'tethra

"Particularly considering the last time we met, that's exactly what you tried to do. That's changed too. I wonder why."

Faeden continued to look out the window. He watched a young couple - kitsune tod with dusky orange fur and a sun-kissed Necrian man - laughing and kissing in the rain. He wondered if they had a family. Wondered if they would make the best of the next few hours, or just enjoy themselves.
"Things change," he said after a little while. "I am my Empress's hands and eyes. I am what she needs me to be. I'll admit that I let it get personal last time. But you did not make it easy on me either. " he felt old waves of anger and humiliation sweep over him but he quelled them. "I wanted to meet with you because of the delegation. There is to be a great deal of upheaval within the Dominion-" He paused and chuckled to himself. "Well, I suppose there is no Dominion now. The Imperium. Empress Rilaena has a great deal to do. Ever since Addicks betrayal. Nurturing ties to old allies is one of them." He glance at her side long. "I have good relations with your people I guess."

He turned away again to watch the outside world flash by. " You know I regret my actions. The facts of our conflict - the information you stole - no longer concerns my Empress. You are no longer hunted. And I... well I am no longer the man I was. My duties have changed. Some day soon... I might even retire. I like it here." He smiled, a real one at the thought. Maybe he actually would.
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Postby Xiscapia » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:28 am

Fel'tethra...

"Do you know what doesn't change, Faeden?" she was still watching the road beyond. "Necrians don't change. Necrians lie, and Necrians cheat, and Necrians steal. Not that I blame them. Sometimes that is what must be done," Kaga smiled. It wasn't like her impish, knowing grins from before, but a pensive look, almost sad. "But I know your people. You tell me today that I am no longer hunted, yet tomorrow I may be again. That is the way of things. I know how the game is played."

The vixen looked at him. "You didn't call me to talk about the delegation, or your empress, or the retirement that we both know you'll never get. This is about you. You, and me, and how we left each other. Isn't it?"
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Postby Necrisis » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:15 pm

Fel'tethra

"Necrians don't change. Necrians lie, and Necrians cheat, and Necrians steal."

Faeden shot her a sardonic look. You're one to talk, he thought. The growing night continued to flash by.

"You didn't call me to talk about the delegation, or your empress, or the retirement that we both know you'll never get. This is about you. You, and me, and how we left each other. Isn't it?"


They'd stopped at a street light, the rain pouring down now in great droves, yet it was quiet and still in the truck. Faeden looked at her out of the corner of his eye for a few long seconds. Eventually the light burned green and they drove off again. Faeden turned back to the windshield.

"You're not wrong, Kaga. Not in they way you think, perhaps, but yes. Seeing as you are not hunted for crimes against the temple - for now - I thought I'd be able to actually contact you this time. It's been four years, Kaga. Years since you betrayed our trust- my trust. I let you into my world, my very soul. The first in over 300 years! Goddess above, I even pledged my life for yours to take the rites. You betrayed that, stole from us and forced me to tail you across half the galaxy just for us to almost killed each other on some rooftop." Faeden held up a hand as Kaga made to speak. "Wait. Because I didn't contact you to rehash why you should be some unmarked grave on a forgotten backwater. I contacted you to reconcile." He felt a wave of weariness come over him and decided that if there was to be a moment, it was this. "I know what you'll sa . Suck it up, or something to that effect. Get over it. Business is business and all that. But you're the only kindred soul I've met on this long path. The first I've shared everything with." He laughed, short and cruel. "Maybe I'm just losing my touch. An old fool out of his league. But... I..." the realization set in as he forced himself to continue. This was the last time he might ever meet someone like Kaga.
And if everything went according to plan, she wouldn't be here to see it all fall down.
"But I miss those few nights we spent together. Those lies we told to conceal who we were." He looked at her, the red glimmer of his cybernetics pulsing behind his eyes. "I needed to know if I was the only one."
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Postby Xiscapia » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:32 pm

Fel'tethra...

Kaga was quiet as he spoke. Her ears were up but she didn't look at him as she drove the SUV down the street of darkened businesses. Orange light from the streetlamps wavered through the rain as she took them down through the city center. The smile she'd had was long gone, muzzle set into a line. When they finally rolled to a stop at another light she spoke without facing him.

"What do you miss, exactly?" she turned her head and her golden eyes met his own red ones. "Who I am? Who you thought I was? Or who you wanted me to be? It's foolish to miss a lie, Faeden. If you miss Kaga the thief, Kaga the acolyte, Kaga the scared little vixen who you could help and could help you in return, then don't. She's dead. She's been dead for a long time. I am all that remains."

The kitsune stared at him. "But maybe you really miss me. Which begs the question. How much do you really know about me? About who I am, what I represent, why I do the things that I do? I know all about you, Faeden. I know more about you than anyone else alive. But I'm not sure that you know me. So tell me, then: what do you miss? Is it the trust?" she leaned closer, unblinking. "You trusted me before. Trusted me with your life, as you say. Even now, you trust me to some extent, I think. Why else would you ask for a meeting, stay for so long, get in this car with me? I think you crave that. Being able to trust. To share with someone. Is that true?"
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Postby Necrisis » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:51 pm

Fel'tethra

"But maybe you really miss me. Which begs the question. How much do you really know about me? About who I am, what I represent, why I do the things that I do? I know all about you, Faeden. I know more about you than anyone else alive. But I'm not sure that you know me. So tell me, then: what do you miss? Is it the trust?. You trusted me before. Trusted me with your life, as you say. Even now, you trust me to some extent, I think. Why else would you ask for a meeting, stay for so long, get in this car with me? I think you crave that. Being able to trust. To share with someone. Is that true?"


Faeden didn't move, but the emotions he usually kept under heavy guard and passive mask were more evident than they ever had been before. "It is foolish - gullible - to believe that you were ever the Kaga you showed to me. Perhaps I still cling to that figment of normalcy. That hope that this is all some grand lie. A dream." He shook his head, placing a hand over his eyes. "I don't trust anyone, anymore Kaga. You were the first and the last."
He was silent for a moment but before she could speak he glanced side long at her. "I do want that. I want someone who wouldn't judge my actions because they've done the same and worse. Who won't judge my future because they know who I am. My friends are long dead and the rest merely figments of hope. I am a man long past his time and yet I cannot die, Kaga. I will outlive you, in the end.
"I don't know who you are. Not past the lies and deceit. At times, I want to know more. But I know that the woman I met never truly existed. Maybe once, long ago. But not the one who is before me now. And I don't know which I'd want. That innocent acolyte, so willing to learn. Or the shadow that you are, a false life, a weapon. Like me."
He sighed and looked out at the rain once more. "Despite what you might think of me, or how much of an old fool I am, Kaga, things do change. I wanted to see you because of some misguided idea that... I don't know. Sentimental bullshit no doubt. But I am no longer the weapon of my Empress. I guess... I just wanted to find some justification for my actions. To ask forgiveness and to forgive our trials against each other. If our people are to work together once more, we must understand each other." He looked at her reflection in the dark pane of glass. "Laugh or deride, my lady. For what it is worth, I know little of the true you. But with that said, I've seen little to prove to me that there is a you under all the shadows."
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Postby Xiscapia » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:07 pm

Fel'tethra...

Before he had finished the light changed and they were off again, down the central strip in the middle of the city. She neither laughed nor mocked, eyes on the road again. But this time it was her turn to look at him in the windshield's reflection.

"Some days I'm not so sure. Every face I wear is a mask, you know. The identities are so consuming, so complete, they have to be so they can be effective. This isn't even what I looked like when I was born, it's just the mask I wore the longest. When I was with you. So maybe there are only shadows left beneath. But isn't that what we are?" she looked at him.

"I wouldn't have blamed you if you did kill me. That's just part of the game. But I won't pretend not to judge you. I'm not going to act like your crimes are equal to mine. They are not. I can forgive, Faeden, but I won't forget. I know you too well. I know what you're capable of, and I know how personally you took what happened. It's why you chased me across half a galaxy but you didn't kill me once you caught me. It's why we're here right now. It's still personal, despite everything."

She looked back out the window. "So yes, I think you're foolish. But I won't laugh at you. Like I said, I know you. I understand the kind of things that we have to do. How lonely it is. Some part of me wonders what it would be like, to live that life with you, without partisanship, without an eye towards any kind of objective except each other. But I know it can't happen. Our peoples are still at odds. I won't put you before them, any more than you would have stopped chasing me."

They pulled to a stop outside of the private spaceport where he had docked Mercy. She sat still for a moment, watching the rain before she turned her eyes to him.

"We may well play this game forever, you and I. But forever is a long time. Things change over the course of infinity. Even Necrians," she smiled. "Maybe someday we can experience life together. But today is not that day."
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Postby Necrisis » Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:04 am

Fel'tethra

"We may well play this game forever, you and I. But forever is a long time. Things change over the course of infinity. Even Necrians," she smiled. "Maybe someday we can experience life together. But today is not that day."

Faeden nodded. "To that day at the end of infinity."
He reached out to her, resting an open palm on her cheek. It was a simple gesture, performed slowly and with care. He watched her eyes for a moment, finding himself torn. He had never faced indecision in his life, and now a single woman had him undone.
He withdrew from her and into his cloak without a word. He slid out into the rain and vanished into the building before anything else could stop him.
He didn't even know when she'd left, but once he'd reached Mercy's hold, a scan of the area showed nothing.

He did not return to the Ambassador's suite at the inter-solar hotel, and had to personally speak via holo-cam to the Sworn Commander to assure her that he was alright.
Settling in for some meditation, Faeden decided that perhaps it was for the best.

She had always vexed him. Been a step ahead, a hair better. It was because he was always chasing her, trying to find her.
Did she feel the same way? Had she tried to find him, contact him and he'd simply missed her?
Was he a mere shadow as well? Who was he really? Without the Temple, without the Inquisitorium or the Empire... who was he?
Faeden sealed these thoughts away, focusing on the morning instead. He had enough to deal with already...

Fel'tethra
Government Center
Number 6, the Administrative Building


"No," Harek snarled at the much smaller kitsune - who, to his credit, was not back down to the Hetaevan who towered over him by almost triple the height. "I will not be giving you my honor blade."
Faeden sighed. Not even two minutes.
"What my giant of a friend here means," Faeden began, tactfully inserting himself into the middle of their altercation. "Is that his cultural attire is not something this court needs to worry about. His weapons - all four of them, I might add - carry similar significance and yet those have been turned over. If it would make your staff happier to not have this dignitary of the Hetaeven people attend the conference, then perhaps I need to speak with Commander Thaysis himself. I do not wish to go over your head, sir. It is an insult to your authority. However, I cannot be delayed and Master Harek's knife is not an item that needs to be restricted. By being simply a Hetaevan, Harek himself must be detained."

The kitsune - who's name appeared to be Warukashi, according to his armor - growled back, glaring at the three-foot blade on Harek's back. "It's not culturally significant enough for me to allow it into the Chambers. Sorry, not sorry, but those are the rules. Even if Commander Thaysis told me to let the meathead up, I wouldn't. No weapons. Tall and short of it, court-marshal or no."

Faeden sighed. "And I assure you, Master Harek will not be parted with the artifact, and we must attend this meeting. So what do you suggest?"

"That he gets over himself and relinquishes the weapon."

"The fur-skin isn't going to let it go," Harek said, glaring at the tod. "And there's no way I'm crossing into that room with those vipers without my honor intact."
Faeden sighed and waved the Sworn Knight Commander over. "So be it. Commander. Remain here with Master Harek. Lady Stros and myself shall be the ones to attend. Miss Stros, please provide a real time link with Master Harek. We'll have to do this by coms."
Imillia nodded. "Certainly. Lieutenant Warukashi? Is there a terminal I can use to link Master Harek into the local network?"
The tod nodded to a series of rooms nearby, offices hidden behind towering and imposing neo-Xis-crian architecture.

After a few minutes of getting Harek set up with a feed, Faeden and Imillia were allowed further into the building with a single Sworn and six local Necrian and Kitsune guards. Faeden made careful note of the various soldiers and guards in attendance. More than enough to make it difficult, but there were quite a few Necrian guards who gave Faeden a curt nod, as if they knew why he'd come.
That was the idea after all.

Number 6
Court Session Chambers


Faeden flowed into the room, Imillia close on his heel and the Sworn positioning himself by the door, at ease.
He bowed low with a sweep of his hand and cloak, Imillia imitating him with a little less fluidity.
"My Lady Tyrass," he said, not revoking his bow. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you."

The elderly Necrian woman stood and presented a short bow of her own before reseating herself at the head of the crescent table.
The room was large, with vaulted ceilings and large tapestries of Fel'tethra's history. A faux stone veneer made the industrial block building outside suddenly seem almost castle like. Five windows stretched floor to buttress, and would have let in a lot of light if the monsoon from yesterday had let up at all. It's steady tapping on the glass was nearly silent however, with the windows themselves protected by force-fields. The whole building had projectors installed at every point of entry - doors, windows, vents. He just hoped that the Yddrian in Harek's suit could make quick work of the security systems without fouling too much.

"Likewise, Master Faeden." Alyana Tyrass nodded for him to rise and be seated. "It's not everyday that a High Priest and Lord Inquisitor of the Solar Imperium makes an appearance at my little backwater."
"I assure you, Lady Tyrass," Faeden said, smiling as he offered Imillia her chair and then seated himself. "This is no backwater. Not -"
"Stow it, Faeden," Alyana said, waving her hand. "Compared to Alno'kae, anything is a backwater. You're Empress wanted to talk, so talk."
Faeden merely smiled. "I see the Xiscapian's bluntness has worn off on you."
"As the years have worn on my patience." Alyana glanced to her aide - a young Kitsune tod with dark grey fur and cheerful face. "Are the others on their way?"
"Kelaetra has just received them from the starport, Governor. They should be here any moment."
"Good." Alyana turned her frosty, black stare back to Faeden. "Then you have some time for pleasantry, Master Faeden."
"I'm glad my speech of decorum has not been wasted then," Faeden said, his sarcasm only just making it to the surface. "Allow me to introduce Imillia Stros, Representative of the Gythian People and their Solar Republic."
Imillia made to stand but Alyana cut her off. "Sit girl. None of this annoying formality. I'm too old to waste time on it. You're not Necrian."
"N-no, miss," Imillia said, glancing between Faeden and the hawked nose and cutting eyes of the Governess. "I'm Gythian. A ward-state to the Solar Imperium."
"And the Hetaevan? I was told you had a giant in your party but he refused to part with a weapon?"
"Yes, miss." Imillia presented her data-pad. "He is able to hear us, and once the meeting starts he will be able to communicate through this.
Alyana grunted. "I've little in the way of information about your government, Faeden. Perhaps you can enlighten me?"
"Should we not wait for the rest of your council?" Faeden glanced at the door. "So we don't have to go over it again?"
"I assume you're here to lay claims to a planet that is technically not yours to lay claim on?"
Faeden turned back to Alyana. Her bluntness had caught him off guard. She was acclaimed to be brisk, but as a Necrian she was borderline rude. Had she changed that much in the last six years?
"Well, I feel that's a topic better suited to discussion with -"
"Faeden," Alyana sighed, rubbing her temple with one hand while taking a sip of her tea with the other. "We both know the KEX will not like it. They won't even think about it. They will turn you down. Co-habitation isn't even an option I can offer. This planet is slated for expansion within the month and I have too much to manage as it stands. So. You can waste your time, my time and your woman-child's time there. Or, you can give up and cancel the whole thing. Leave some trade agreements or something. But whatever you came here for, isn't going to pan out."

Faeden resisted the urge to glower, and was saved by the doors opening and a young Necrian woman in black and red armor strode in, heading a small band of Xiscapians. "Lady Kelaetra Tyrass," he said, standing and bowing.
Kelaetra returned the bow and smiled. "Sorry for our tardiness, your Worships. May I present..."
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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Xiscapia
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12802
Founded: Mar 13, 2007
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Xiscapia » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:03 am

Fel'tethra
Government Center
Number 6, the Administrative Building
Court Session Chambers...


"...Typhoon Rama was upgraded to a Category 2 hours before making landfall on the southeastern coast about 200 kilometers from Fel'tethra. Winds have been measured at about 90 knots per minute, or about 167 kilometers per hour. Officials at the Imperial Weather Service predict damage to most roofs, doorways, and windows, and to many mobile and manufactured homes. Extensive loss of power and plumbing is likely. Residents are advised to remain indoors and away from windows and to stockpile clean water while it is still available. The typhoon warning remains in effect."

"I can't believe they're making us go out in this," Va Zatra scowled as stabbed the radio's off switch, opting to watch the rain pour down the limousine's window instead. "Who hosts a diplomatic summit in the middle of a typhoon?"

"Alyana told me that she asked the Solar Imperium representatives if they wanted to reschedule but they were insistent on keeping it to today," Jan Jawyvern glanced at her aide. "I'm sure they have their reasons."

"Yeah, like keeping us around in this storm to make us uncomfortable so they can get concessions."

"I suppose I wouldn't put it past them." Of course she wouldn't. Jan and Va were both Necrians -save for Shuji Tyrass, the Governor of Alno’kae, the senior members of the entire delegation all shared that blood among them. We know how it goes. Jan could still remember the frantic activity that had been almost constantly ongoing in her family's home while she was growing up, activity that she was soon educated in. Their business had been in trading, but nothing was safe from politics, especially not commerce. Part of that had been the art of the deal, which typically meant gaining as much leverage as possible and using that to extract concessions from the other party.

That had died down when the Dominion retracted without warning, abandoning its colonies to go into self-imposed isolation. It hadn't taken long for the Xiscapians to take over, warships appearing in the skies of Niisho and troops landing to occupy the posts left behind by Dominion soldiers. Just like that they had gone from a Dominion colony to an Imperial one, practically overnight. There wasn't as much politicking with them. Deals were still cut, but the system had been turned sideways and the old family connections, marriage alliances, and elaborate bribes suddenly stopped being viable. So she'd adapted, as had all the other modern, successful Necrians. That was what had propelled her to the Lieutenant Governorship of Niisho.
But she hadn't forgotten the old Necrian way of doing things.

"It'll be a lot of back-and-forth," she watched the rain with Va. "They'll state demands. We'll make an offering. They'll reject it on principle. Things will probably drag for a while. But I don't think it'll go for too long. These are high-level negotiations, so they came here to come away with something if they can get it, and I don't see a lot of flexibility. Probably they'll take what they can get for now and try to use that as a stepping stone later."

"So you think they'll agree to the deal? More or less?"

"They don't have many options. We offer referendums on our own schedule across the six colonies about some kind of joint-governance program, and I think they'll know that's the best they're going to get. They might quibble about timing or inspectors or make some bluster about being the Dominion's successor state, but they don't have much of a leg to stand on. You know as well as I do that a lot of us don't see them as having any right to us or what we've built," she looked at Va. "So they'll make a fuss, but they'll accept it in the end. Then we'll see what the votes say."

"I hope so. I heard Fel'tethra is nice but I think I'd rather be back on Niisho on a clear day than in this typhoon."

Jan looked back out the window as the limousine slowed. They were almost at the Imperial Administration but the road was blocked by a Maxellian IFV on one lane and a Necrian Scarab on the other. Each was surrounded by a group of infantry, Imperial Army soldiers in their power armor on one side and Necrian Night Guard militia in combat suits on the other. She watched as one of the Imperials stepped up to the driver's side of the limousine, a Necrian one step behind as papers were shown and validated. Aware of the stop, Va craned his head to look out the window. "That's a fair bit of security."

"NFP threats. Probably nothing to worry about."

A moment later the Maxellian backed up to open a gap and they were waved through. There was another of the IFVs parked outside of the Imperial Administration, but what drew Jan's eye was another limousine ahead that was just opening its doors. The air seemed to waver and swirl as the rain hit a force field being projected around the vehicle but it didn't keep her from seeing the suited, pale man step out ahead of his retinue. Apart from his angular features he was unremarkable, but she felt her insides twist at just seeing his face in profile as he walked up the steps into the building. Va must have seen her expression because he frowned. "What is it?"

"Tavin Necraman," was all she had to say. Va swallowed.

"I was hoping he wouldn't show."

"You're not the only one," she sat back as the limousine turned up the drive. "It was too much to hope that he might suffer some kind of accident on the way here."

"If half of what I've heard is true he's usually the one ordering the 'accidents.'"

"Not that anyone can prove," she sighed. "But who knows? Maybe if he's here it'll make negotiations go faster. I know I don't want to be in the same room with him any longer than I have to be."

The car stopped and she waited for Va to push his door open before sliding out to take his hand and stand. The two militiamen at the door nodded as the pair walked under the awning, one pulling the door open for them as they reached the entrance. "Thank you," Jan smiled.

"Of course, mi'lady."

Yet she had barely entered the expansive lobby before she stopped dead. Tavin was still there, a couple of his young and pretty aides standing by as he faced another Necrian. Falean Di'toc had been sitting in the corner but with Tavin looming over him the older man looked as if he'd been trapped there. Yet behind his spectacles his dark eyes glared defiantly up at his fellow. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"I think you do," Tavin had a voice as dark and smooth as oil. "They were from a firm based in Yra’nortara. Investigating me, of all people. I don't think there's any cause for that. Most people don't. But you might."

"I assure you, Tavin-"

"Lord Necraman to you, sir."

"Lord Necraman," Falean's gray mustache jumped with his sneer. "If I were gunning for you, you'd know it. But you're just paranoid."

"I find it a useful trait to cultivate. Perhaps you should indulge yourself, Falean. You and Tilla can practice on each other."

"My wife has nothing to do with this."

"She's expecting, isn't she?" Tavin's eyes glittered. "I do hope she's careful. I've seen that house you live in. All those stairs."

Falean stood, fists balled at his sides. "If I had my saber I would-"

"You would do nothing. Our just and gracious Imperial overlords outlawed dueling, remember? And it would be such a pity if you were to die before-"

"That's enough," Jan stepped forward and they all looked over to her. "Back off him, Tavin. That's not what we're here for."

"Lady Jawyvern," he swept over to her and, before she could stop him, he took her hand and kissed it. "What an honor. I was expecting Lord Muldritch. In poor health again, is he?"

"He sends his regards," she pulled her hand back and looked past Tavin. "Lord Di'toc," they exchanged bows. "I trust you are well?"

"Much better now that he has his woman to save him, I'm sure," Tavin looked down at her. "Lord Muldritch was supposed to be the centerpiece of this delegation. He would be respected by any Necrian counterparts. Sadly, you are not him. Is his little lapdog up to the challenge?"

"As Lieutenant Governor of Niisho, yes, I think that I am."

"For your own sake I hope you're right. Master Faeden Kaer'Lahn will be opposite us, did you know that? When he smells weakness on you he will push. Then you will bend, or maybe break, I think. Lord Muldritch would be up to the challenge, but you? Hmm."

Jan could only stare at him. Faeden Kaer'Lahn. The man was all but a legend. He had served the Dominion's Emperor Talak, been a high-ranking member of the Temple, and some even believed that he'd had ties to Black Nebula before The Usurper perverted it. No doubt he had done great deeds during the civil war that made the Solar Imperium. She was suddenly and uncomfortably aware of how relatively little she'd achieved.

Before anything more could be said the door banged open and all eyes turned as another woman strode in. Yanji Tab's orange hair was cut short to barely the back of the neck and unlike the well-dressed others she wore a simple dark and form-fitting jumpsuit. A black vixen kept pace behind her, eyes scanning the assembled once before she flanked the Necrian. Yanji put her hands on her hips as they all stared at her. If nothing else Jan was able to forget about Faeden for a moment. I heard that she was well-endowed, but by the Dark Lady...I've never seen her in something so, so flattering.

"Ah, if it isn't our little chetsha come to join us at last," Tavin stepped up as a new target presented herself. Everyone in the room cringed, the vixen's tail starting to lash as her companion's eyes narrowed. "Oh, do you not like that word? It's what you branded yourself with, isn't it? What would you prefer, les-"

"I'd prefer Governor of Fel’narsha, because that's what I am, like it or not, and I know you don't, Tavin," she smirked before looking over. "Jan, Falean. Where's the Tyrass bunch?"

"Already in the chamber," Falean said. "Pretty sure the SIN group is too, so they're waiting on us."

"Let's get going then," Yanji clapped her hands and did as she said, the other eight trailing behind her. They met Kelaetra at the top of the stairs and allowed themselves to be ushered into the chambers.

"May I present..."

"Yanji Tab, Imperial Governor of Fel’narsha," the Necrian gave only a slight bow to Faeden, eyes on his the entire time. The introductions to the others were brushed off almost as quickly for her to sit at the table as her vixen drifted back to the room's perimeter.

"Lord Tavin Necraman, Imperial Governor of Kor'laesha," he bowed to his counterpart before straightening up. "It's an honor to have you, Master Kaer'Lahn." When Tavin sat it was far from Yanji while his escorts remained flanking him, tablets at the ready. Kelaetra would not miss how he looked at her.

"Lady Jan Jawyvern, Lieutenant Imperial Governor of Niisho," Jan bowed and stood to give Faeden an apologetic smile even as she wondered if he could hear her heart pounding. "Unfortunately Governor Muldritch could not be with us today, so I speak on his behalf. He wishes you well." She made her rounds to the others before settling midway between Yanji and Tavin, Va leaning against the wall behind her.

"Master Falean Di’toc, Imperial Governor of Yra’nortara," Falean bowed in the Xiscapian way at a perfect forty-five degree angle with his hands firmly at his sides. "Welcome to the Empire, Master Kaer'Lahn." He deliberately chose his seat between Jan and Yanji.

Finally the kitsune who had been with Alyana stepped around. He had bowed when Faeden originally entered but he bowed again before rising with a smile and a flick of his twin tails. "Imperial Governor Shuji Tyrass, of Alno’kae," he introduced himself in the lilting accent of one of the Xiscapian dialects. "I am responsible for the world itself. My wife, Kelaetra, is the Thane of the greater system," he smiled over at the woman. "And you have already met Alyana, so I believe that is all accounted for." He took his place at Alyana's right between her and Tavin. All assembled looked at Faeden expectantly, seven faces taking in him and Imillia in turn without neglecting the tablet that Harek was listening from.
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Necrisis
Diplomat
 
Posts: 831
Founded: Jul 26, 2010
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Necrisis » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:46 pm

Fel'tethra
Government Center
Number 6, the Administrative Building
Court Session Chambers


"Yanji Tab, Imperial Governor of Fel’narsha."

Faeden bowed, though didn't hide his amusement from her callousness. It seemed to be a trait one quickly adapted when living with Xiscapians. Yanji Tab had been off his radar until the IID had taken interest in her. Whether it was because they valued her or she was easy to control - or both - he had not had time to discern, but he knew that she would be a problem if left alive. She had already been marked for death, but he'd stalled the assassins for now. Even if she got away today, agents were set in place to quietly remove her.
And there was always the NFP to blame it on. They had been a useful scapegoat in the previous months.
Speaking of...

"Lord Tavin Necraman, Imperial Governor of Kor'laesha. It's an honor to have you, Master Kaer'Lahn."


"Likewise, Lord Tavin." Faeden returned the bow. Not that the Xiscapians would see it, but the rest of the Necrians would. The familiarity of using title and given name. Usually only used between friends or close colleagues, that fact that Tavin had not been so bold told a different story.
While Necraman was feared among his peers, Faeden held no such anxiety.
Of course, that was the idea. Faeden had used agents positioned close to NFP leaders to glean Tavin's support. Even though Rilaena did not approve of the NFP's actions - and Faeden agreed that they should be put down soon - the Party was useful for tackling sticky, morally black problems that stood in his way. For the duration of the war, Tavin and his supporters were to believe that the SIN was merely the NID of a different name. The NFP would then be scrubbed out in the end, a play of tragedy and faith building that would leave the SIN with a strong power base when the last of the Party cells fell.

"Lady Jan Jawyvern, Lieutenant Imperial Governor of Niisho. Unfortunately Governor Muldritch could not be with us today, so I speak on his behalf. He wishes you well."

"We are lessened for his absence," Faeden said, bowing to her. "I am sure you will uphold his honor with much integrity."
K'het, Faeden swore mentally as he turned to the last delegate. Jan had only been a blip in his web for a long time. She had been gaining power slowly and for a while Faeden though she was poisoning Muldritch. She would have been useful as a puppet if that was the case, but no proof to such had turned up.
No, it seemed - judging by her heart rate thundering in his ears as his sensors scanned her and the others - that she was just a young politician who suddenly found herself in the much larger world, unprepared for the monsters that dwelt here.

"Master Falean Di’toc, Imperial Governor of Yra’nortara. Welcome to the Empire, Master Kaer'Lahn."


"Master Di'toc," Faeden replied bowing for the last time in the Necrian fashion. "How is your family? Well I hope. The Empress's Physician, Argath Krem, sends his regards, as does the Empress. You're efforts for equality on Yra'Nortara have placed you high in her esteem. This is no easy task."
As it also means its going to be hard to get rid of you...

Faeden nodded to Imillia who had already placed the holo-tab on the table. Harek's digital head sat there like a morbid centerpiece, glowering at everyone. She adjusted it a little until the projector had his floating head at his 'normal' sitting height and then nodded to Faeden.
The High Preist turned to the assembly. "First, I would like to thank you all for coming. I know that this morning the storm had us all rethinking our plans, but a little thing like a typhoon has never damped Necrian spirit - Xiscapian or Dominion.
"As such, I humbly apologize for your distress. But let us proceed." He gently cleared his throat and slid a data card into the hologram display for the table. Before all seated, a golden glow formed into a document, registering at eighteen pages long in small print. Necrian eyes were slightly telescopic and many Necrians preferred smaller text so it took up less room.
It was also a subtle poke at the present Kitsune Xiscapians. While Faeden was sure any augmentations would counter the fine print, he wanted them to know this was a simple political jibe.
Keep their attention on him...

"I am Master Faeden Kaer'lhan, High Priest and Ambassador of the Solar Imperium of Necrotia, hereby known and referred to as 'The SIN', 'The Solar Imperium' or simply 'the Imperium.
"May I present to the assembly, Ambassador Imillia Stros. She is the representative of the Gythian Star Republic, a ward-state of the SIN. And Master Herak, the Hetaevan Ambassador for the SIN."
Imillia stood and inclined her head while Herak's head just rolled his eyes and settled deeper into his grim scowl.
Faeden turned back to the Xiscapians and gestured to the document. "The SIN, as successor state to the Necrian Imperial Dominion, formally lays claim to eight colonies on the border of the KEX. Two of these colonies, however, have declared independence from all governments, however we have gather information that says the KEX has sent ambassadors to Arh'ath and Tor'korla in efforts to sway them into the Empire. As these sovereign states declared independence from the Dominion while it was still under control of the True Throne - named as Prince Savik - we have no true claim to them. We merely ask that your representatives cease and desist until our own government can send representatives to allow a fair justication for all concern.
"The other six colonies - named as Kor'laesha, Fel'tethra, Alno'kae, Fel'narsha, Yra'nortara, and - were abandoned by the False Dominion, ruled by The Usurper. As a rogue state with no true claim to the Blood Throne or its people and policies, these colonies were never abandoned by the Necrian Imperial Dominion, only its false representatives.
"Now, my Empress understands that it is unfair to expect you to turn over these colonies, given our forced absence. But our sovereign nation still has claim to these territories, three of which were founded by the NID and the other by co-operation. She expects that co-operative governmental policies be restored within six galactic months and is willing to have such governance slowly return to the SIN over the course of a year."
He smiled at Alyana and then Shuji. "I am authorized by my Empress to reach conclusions today, without further preamble. You're rebuttle?"

Number 6
Common Offices


Harek made sure Faeden had finished before he reached for the auxiliary port. The end to his speech was the signal. The Yddrian - Cori, as she had introduced herself to him - had been chattering away to his suits limited synthetic intelligence for hours now, and even though he couldn't hear them, his suits processors were starting to runout of space.
His hologram would be frozen on a loop for a few seconds while he tapped his wireless communications array open, but then it would be up to her.

The package that Cori zipped herself into to infiltrate the wireless network of Number 6 was a standard junk packet that Faeden knew would be sent to any major network. Shedding her disguise inside the digital world of the Xiscapian-Necrian data base, Cori looked around before flitting off to the communications array and the internet hubs.
First things first were to spread viruses and spam packets to the local servers. It would take a little while for them to find out it wasn't just a prank. Faeden had made sure that local hacker ringleader - F1_1ckingGenius33245 - was still active, and engineered Cori's infection packets to look like the jokes the young kitsune played on various forums and - more importantly - government sites.
With any luck the kid would be targeted before anyone realized there was a hostile intelligence in their computer systems.
It didn't take her long to find the firewall hub and start deconstructing it...

Meanwhile, Harek's disembodied head was glowering at Jan again. Faedenhad marked her a 'pliable' and it was Harek's mission to make those people as uncomfortable as possible.
Sol Imperi Necrosa Factbook

"You know you're in a shitty situation when your better option is 'go to war with the KEX.'" ~ Xiscapia

"Necrian diplomatic missives are often delivered by sniper rifle."~ NS

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