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[IC] Diaspora: The Gathering Storm

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Sstetsson Temporary Camp, Tethron V
Tethron System, Sharahazad Sector

 

 

 

Tethron V was the biggest colonized planet in its system, and while not their homeworld, the local Geq’s most important planet. A bustling hub of activity, many cities were spread out around the entire planet. And even if some of them were true metropolises, there still was a lot of nature. Thethron V was a nice planet by most standards. Lush, plants and animals wherever one looked. Waterfalls and lagoons, mountain ranges either covered in all sorts of trees, or piercing above the clouds.  The further the distance from the centers of population, the more one saw.

 

 

And yet, when approaching Sstetsson Camp, it was a dark contrast to the beauty of the planet itself. Spaceships of all sizes, from fighters to large cargo ships, all inside the valley. The smaller ones on the outside, to form a perimeter, the larger ones inside, where they served as shelter. Some had set up tents, each of them full of people.

 

 

Sstetsson Camp had been created shortly after the first news of refugees arriving in Sharahazad Sector had arrived in Tethron. A large group of Asshui settled down on the planet, as a temporary measure. It had only been a few ships at the beginning. But more arrived, and it seemed like it wouldn’t stop. That had been only a few days ago. And already, the conditions inside the camp were dire. The surrounding cities were not equipped to handle the amount of people, and even if the Asshui did their best to help, it was clear that something had to be done. To that end, various diplomatic representatives from all across the galaxy had been invited by Sstetsson, the leader of the original group, and current head of the camp.

 

 

Amongst the invited were Councillor Ditra Fifty-Five, sent as the first Nameless to ever make contact with the new species, and as one of the Council’s many representatives.

 

 

Dol-Druth had also been sent. Sharahazad Sector had never been an object of interest before, and with it suddenly becoming the focal point of large parts of the galaxy, it was more important than ever to have somebody right at the scene. And somebody to gather as much information as possible.

 

 

The Praetorians had also received the news, and had followed it with much attention. While some were currently busy at other ends of the galaxy, the impeding Sharahazad Crisis, as it had been dubbed, became a big priority. As the person with the most proficiency, Sitara had been sent to attend the diplomatic meeting, mainly to observe.

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As bad as the situation was Sitara couldn't help but feel some relief at having a chance to fly the Kavaca again. With Amara being buried up to her neck with politics Sitara had been handling a lot of the everyday business of the Praetorians, and as much as liked her fellow warriors she was more than happy to get away from CoVic for a little while.

 

"We'll be coming into land soon, is everyone okay back there?"

 

Not being part of the Delaztri Empire she hadn't been out to this region of space for quite some time, but she had passed this way before joining the Praetorians but a lot must have changed in the intervening thousands of years. She was curious how things have changed over the intervening time.

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The Civic Rotunda had been undergoing a change of management(words that, to those in the know, struck a deep chord of terror) so getting a message to the Speaker had necessitated some real tooth-pulling. When finally contacted it had turned out that the Speaker had, quite unceremoniously and without word to anyone else, been sent "elsewhere until such time as we need him". Another Speaker had been dispatched in his place.

 

In the stead of bloated and blustering Dol-Druth had come skeletal and terse Sur-Gor. encased from neck to heel in an ice-grey bodysuit that blurred whatever gender characteristics they carried. Their charcoal-grey skin stretched tight on hard muscle and prominent bone, and their antennae had been trimmed to better-fit an encounter suit helmet. All trip, they had remained in place without moving a muscle or speaking a word unless directly addressed or required to act.

 

At the pilot's words they glanced up, for a moment, their hollow white eyes glaring from the skull. "We are in peak condition." Then the head was down again.

 

Unlike Dol-Druth, Sur-Gor had made sure to very prominently display the non-lethal frazzer most civil servants carried as a precaution. Most anything didn't do well with plasma, and a current of electrons seemed to halt most attacks quickly enough.

 

Suddenly the head darted up.

 

"May we make preliminary contact with the refugee base? They may not be familiar with mentats, we should make them aware we have this capacity so they do not feel taken unawares."

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The Nameless diplomat had perhaps foolishly assumed that when she'd heard the Speaker for Dotrae would be part of this mission that she would be working with the familiar bulk of Dol-Druth; the two telepaths were hardly friends, but there was at least a certain familiarity in their dealings. His replacement, however, was as communicative as a carbon rod. At least Sitara made for good company; between the Earthwoman's millennia of experience and her own extensive databanks, they had a lot to talk about, and the conversation was lively and wide-ranging. The green-skinned cyborg took the opportunity to exercise her knowledge of Terran languages by speaking to the Praetorian in her native Sanskrit (Ditra's accent was flawless), a very rare treat indeed for both sentients.

 

But now that they were approaching their destination, the Councillor was all business; her armor and weapons were all beneath her synthetic skin, so she opted to wear a simple white bodysuit with matching boots. Her mass of dark green curls bobbed slightly as she nodded.

 

"We're all good," she stated in crisp Galstandard. In response to the Speaker's query, she nodded once again. "It might be a good idea. They've been running for their lives; we don't want to give them any more reason to feel threatened."

Edited by Heritage

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GM

 

Setting up a communications link was easy, the distance was not large enough to require any technology that wasn’t available almost everywhere. After a short query, the camera feed showed a room, probably a retooled cargo hold of a ship, where a large table and various chairs had been set up. Some representatives had already arrived and were traversing around the room, some of them actually acquaintances of the people on the ship. The feed turned to face a (reasonably) old looking Asshui, whom all three could identify as Sstetsson, the man in charge of everything.

 

“Reading you, Kavaca. Are there any issues on your ship, or can we inform the local hangar you will be arriving shortly? Is there any other reason for your communications request?”

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Sitara took a few moments to ensure the craft was still safely on the way towards the other ship.

 

"Akasavani keep us safely on this course, only inform us if we're in real danger."

 

Akasavani was the something she was proud of an AI they made for the ships that were handy to have about, the fact that bore a passing resemblance to herself was totally coincidental.

 

That done she turned around to the holo-image, really she should lave this to the diplomats, but that had never been her way.

 

"Everything is perfectly fine, we just wanted to make sure that you're ready for when we arrive."

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Unfolding like a gun stock, Sur-Gor stood "As well, Sri Sstetsson, we wished to ensure you knew this:"

 

Their eyes shone blue, so bright it shone through the grey flesh and black skull. The voices of billions spoke into the mind of the refugee leader

 

~'This method of communication is, for Dotrae, nigh-commonplace. There are mentats in Lorspace to whom this is a child's trick, masters of the mental arts. We did not wish you to be taken unawares of this.'~

 

The glow faded, and Sur-Gor added "That was all Dotrae wished to tell you before we landed. Our thanks for allowing this visit. We will observe all your customs and rituals as if they were our own."

 

The Speaker bowed and resumed their seat. 

 

Sur-Gor had almost no personal items to speak of, and everything needed they carried upon their person, with only a small conversion box on their belt to supply critical necessities. The frazzer had its power cell removed, though its shape meant it could still easily be used as improvised brass knuckles. Though the Speaker didn't look to have half the mass required to turn that into a deadly weapon.

 

When they landed Sur-Gor politely motioned Ditra-Fifty-Five to go before them. For the first time, they spoke without prompting "Sri Druth will be in treatment only for a short time. If you ever need, diplomat, we would be happy to access his memories and personality for you." Their face was immobile, and their voice utterly without feeling, but there was a slight glimmer of apology in the snow-white eyes.

 

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"There are two telepaths onboard," added the Nameless agent. "And we know our kind aren't always welcome; we just wanted to make sure everything is above board."

 

In response to Sur-Gor's querry, Ditra merely shook her head. "No, it's fine, though it's good to know the option is available." Though dealings with the Dotrae were often unnerving, she did not allow the slight shiver she felt to be expressed by her shell out of respect to her fellow ambassador; after all, didn't other races find her off-putting as well?

 

Like the Dotrae, the green-skinned beauty travelled light, though she did turn to their Praetorian pilot. "Do you have any cargo or supplies to unload once we land? I'd be happy to help."

Edited by Heritage

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GM

 

The Kavaca was directed towards a landing spot, almost in the centre of the camp by ground staff, who were doing their best with the limited resources they had at ready. Soon after, the spaceships doors opened, and the three stepped out into the camp.

 

The air was nice, perfectly breathable, in a way not many planets could offer. There was the scent of blooming plants in the air, only slightly covered up by the scent of a refugee camp with all the things that came with that.

 

An Oog’ol, dressed in an uniform that marked him as one of the event staff, approached the three. He towered over each of them, but moved carefully, slower than the other Oog’ol the others had come across before. “It is a pleasure to meet you, diplomats. I am Thorgosh, I will show you the way towards the meeting itself and be ready to deal with any concerns you may have. Please follow me. “

 

Walking from the landing spot to the room the meeting was held in only took a short amount of time. During it, the three got a good look at the camp. Children running around, adults sitting around without much to do, a few people trading, some talking. Others simply sitting there, staring into the distance with an absent look.

 

Then they came across the opened cargo hold of a ship, probably an intra-system cargo transport. It was the same room the three had seen before, with various representatives of governments, corporations, organizations and security forces already sitting down, talking amongst themselves, Sstetsson sitting at the top of the table, giving the new arrivals a short nod and pointing them towards a few empty chairs.

 

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"Thank you, sri," said Ditra with a formal bow. As she followed the Oog'ol through the camp, she recorded everything, and her databanks provided a wealth of information about everything she saw; later, when she had time, she could use it to put together a detailed report, or even a good documentary, about their visit that would hopefully shed light on the sentientian crisis taking place here, which she hoped might lead to more resources being sent.

 

Once they got to the meeting, the Nameless quietly took her seat and glanced around, checking her database for any relevant information about the other attendees.

Edited by Heritage

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Whilst she could be diplomatic when she wanted, she wasn't a diplomat so Sitara allowed the other to take the lead. And whilst she hadn't deployed her armour she had her hands near her blasters just in case. She'd been in a similar situation several times before, once or twice she was one of the refuges, and she knew that desperate people could with the right circumstance do just about anything.

 

Rather than sitting down she took a position behind the two diplomats, playing the part of the bodyguard to the hilt. Sometimes it was advantages to allowing others to misjudge just what you capable of.

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Sur-Gor's head, after the static and curt movements onboard the ship, swiveled and twisted as sharply as a bird's. Their icy eyes scraped the impromptu settlement for information, twitching to catch the smiles, the frowns, the weary slumped shoulders and galloping feet. The layout was very blatantly and methodically scrutinized, the Speaker of Dotrae stooping to examine the foundations of the buildings, rapping experimentally on the sides, even pulling a loose flake of metal off a support strut  and popping it into their mouth, chewing as they followed their Goliath host. 

 

Entering into the middle of the circle, Sur-Gor dropped into a cross-legged seat on the ground. Inclining their bald grey head to the leaders of the refugees, the manymind's Speaker announcing "We wish only to understand and to aid. What biochemical dangers have you experienced in this part of the galaxy? Have you been attacked or threatened by anyone or anything since your arrival to our space? Do any of your number wish to link your consciousness to ours, to fill some gap of knowledge?"

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GM

 

Ditra’s database came in useful, as it could identify almost all of the faces currently around the table. And deliver a fair amount of information on each of them, some more than others. Most of the attendees were politicians, usually diplomats. Not the uppermost brass, but some were fairly important in their homes. Others made their living through other means. Some of them belonged to corporations, many of them spanning star systems too. And with a few, her database linked to mugshots, “wanted” messages, and reports of criminal activity.

 

As the diplomats took their seats, a few people turned to face them, probably running their own checks. Sstetsson responded to Sur-Gor’s questions after a few seconds, passing a message to an aide while the questions were being asked.

 

“So far, there has been little in the ways of danger, something we are very grateful for. We have heard some reports by other groups that they have run into trouble with some planets and their structure, but had not been able to investigate it. There has been no real conflict that we know of, but I fear that it may not stay this way. As for the link, you will have to ask individuals around the camp, some may be willing to do it, but many will not. “

 

Sstetsson then turned to address the table as a whole.

 

“We are almost complete, thus we will commence shortly. “

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Sitara had traveller untold parsec's in the millennia of her life and had seen many different kinds of aliens in her time, some that were rare then and now populous and others now lost to the sands of time. It might not be as accurate as a database but it was still useful at times. Something about the aliens seemed to tug at the edge if her memories, but it had taken some time to figure out the missing connection. She leaned in to whisper into Ditra's ear what she had realised.

 

"Most of these species come from the same region of space. If that's the case then something big must have happened in the area. Unfortately I can't tell you if it was recent or centuries agom been quite a while since I've been out in this region of space."

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Ditra nodded at the Praetorian's comments, somewhat distracted by the sheer volume of information she was currently  processing. The presence of several criminals was alarming, though it would be foolish to assume they had hostile intent, or at least, any more hostile than the politicians and corporate hacks who were also present; after all, some would argue that the more 'respectable' attendees were far more dangerous than the criminal element.

 

Without moving her lips, the Nameless agent sent a narrowband broadcast to the Terran's comlink. 

 

- "If you ever desire to speak telepathically, let me know; just 'shout' in my direction, and I'll hear you." -

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"Who is not present?" Sur-Gor scanned the room carefully, noting the relative positions of the attendees, the various passengers and spectators ruminating over who was in favour and who was suspicious, who was curious and who was just tired and had sat down in the first empty chair. While the Speaker would not have dared to speculate, their attendant guests of the manymind had no such scruples. Among the habits they had licked up from the loneminds of Lor space was gossip. A few of the faces had appeared before in other contexts and soon Sur-Gor's focus was slowly being worn away by the sea of theories and rampant one-upmanship for how lurid thise theories could get.

 

Very suddenly, for no clear reason, Sur-Gor smacked themself on the side of the head.

 

"Regardless, we must waste no time. Sri Sstetsson, how many are you? are you travelling with any other beings? what sorts of planets do you and/or they find most habitable? Recently there has been a great war across the three major local powers against an artificial intelligence which attempted to render our worlds uninhabitable so it could turn them into processor relays. This region of space, what we call the Sharahazad Sector, is home to just over 1,001 known planets, of which 72 are judged marginally-habitable by all known members of the Coalition. 15 are largely habitable, but will require considerable work to grant your people proper qualities of life. Two, Ahl-Uden and Jass-Miin, are rich in biodiversity, plentiful resources and access to local trade lanes but are nominally claimed by their respective sapient inhabitants."

 

"Which brings us to our final question: do you intend to stay?"

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