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awilla the hun

"I am just a scholar," said the Greyscale. "I merely remember my old lessons well. But this is a very fine craft! Very fine." He looked at the ornate styling, so different to the plain, but sleek hulls of a Federation Super Carrier.

"We are the ruling body," said Smalt. "We are the elected Representatives of the people of the Democratic Federation of the Stars." The drone translated these in turn.

Fearing that he was about to say something rude, for Smalt looked angry, Lord Concor indicated that he would be delighted to accept his offer. The pict drones were already swarming in and asking questions in every language to every person.

3/1/2009 #31

"Why thank you, sir Greyscale. It's a Rubicon diplomatic cruiser - they're designed to impress. The actual ships of the line are somewhat less ornamented, the better to defend the realm, but we appreciate beauty in whatever we build." Dawn clapped his hands together briskly, and bestowed a winning Delphinion smile on the picture drones. "Now, good Representatives, would it be possible to move to more comfortable surroundings than this draughty docking bay? I am certain we have much to discuss - knowing about our long-lost relatives as we do now, I must discuss the raising of an embassy at the very least, and our trading corporations will be champing at the bit for trade."

3/1/2009 #32
awilla the hun

((One small point: if a docking bay is drafty, it means that the cold vacum of space is creeping in. And that means that the Duke's head is going to soon turn inside out, and no one wants that to happen...))

"Of course, of course. We have much to discuss, sir." Lord Concor led the Duke with him, and the other Representatives followed. They ended up, once more, in the Council chambers.

Trethick Halm had already somehow managed to offer an entire estate-"I believe that its owner died; she hasn't been logging on lately, although I can't be certain on these things"-on Tarterick as an embassy. It was, he assured the Duke, full of the correct equipment, as well as colossal amounts of robotic servants.

3/2/2009 #33

((No, it doesn't. It means the air-conditioning and heating system is working to keep a very large bay warm (and possibly pressurized) after a space-cold object enters it. Convection makes draughts.))

"Your offer is most generous, Representative," said the Duke diplomatically. "Since we have encountered an unprecedented amalgamation of races, it is certainly an avenue of enquiry, although it would further our interests more to be nearer the Concor-thar." He smiled. "I must also discuss trade - our markets back home are always hungry for new things."

3/3/2009 #34
awilla the hun

"But you must be weary!" Lord Concor said, with every sign of dissapointment. (For he was never the most energetic, workaholic politician at the best of times.) "Why couldn't you-"

"Yes. Trade." Smalt cracked his teeth expertly. "Do your people want glass?"

"It is fine quality," said Representative Aleem, and that was that.

3/3/2009 #35

"If you might arrange for some examples to be sent to the Rubicon Noir? Might I further enquire what the local time is?" The Duke internally sighed. It was just about time for the eventide meal aboard the Rubicon Noir, but they'd discovered these people before it could be served, and he was hungry.

3/3/2009 #36
awilla the hun

"Samples can be arranged," said Representative Aleem, who then set to work on a Glass Resonator (communicator.)

"It is seventeen o'clock, sir," said Lord Concor (looking at his timepiece.) "Dinner isn't until twenty, at the earliest."

But, fortunately, a robot flitted up. One mechandrite carried a large plate of biscuits, Mallabags (a tea like drink, but an extremely expensive one), several bottles of water, and mugs for all. The Representatives tucked in gladly. The other mechandrite carried an exquisite looking glass statue: an Aleem, gripping a staff in both hands, with its hooded head defiantly tilted towards a new dawn. The Trelarn Brass plaque read: "The Aleem Trogius at Trogian's Star." The meaning of this was not explained by Representative Aleem.

3/4/2009 #37

Graciously, the Duke took a biscuit and a cup of the drink provided and carefully bent to inspect the glass statue. "I say!" he exclaimed. "This is simply exquisite. There will certainly be a market for this back home, especially if it is representative of your skill. Might one enquire as to the significance of the statue?"

3/6/2009 #38
awilla the hun

Representative Aleem, of course, said nothing. Neither did anyone else (for the Aleem did not tell anyone anything), so Lord Concor swiftly tried to move the conversation to other grounds.

"The other Representatives, sir," he said, "have told me to tell you that we have recently passed new economic laws." He explained them.

The Grand Democratic Federation of the Stars saw no need to overly regulate its businessmen, save from maintaining an extremely well paid and motivated "Democractic Commerce Authority". ((Like the Financial Service Authority.)) They presumed that no businessman would be sufficiently stupid to plunge the economy into massive trouble; and, mostly, maintained that it was anyone's right to get what he works for. Their great economist, one Siurgburt Laffa, agreed.

As a result, the Federation was one of the lowest taxed, least regulated economic regimes in the galaxy. Every probe and Commercial Expansion Ship sent out spread word of this golden opportunity for businessmen. It was words to this effect that Lord Concor explained to the Duke.

"Strictly against Muskovicth, of course," he went on. And then, noticing the look of utter astonishmen on the Duke's face: "You know of him, sir?"

((The arrival of several thousand copies of Muskovitch's book in the Concor Thar's autocracy has been touched upon in the national description, but will now be explained. In an early Rakarskian Ethereal Programme, there had been an attempt at shooting something into space out of a giant cannon. They chose Muskovitch's book, because it was free, heavy, and entirely good reading for any aliens to pick it up. The cannon fired, and they never really did work out where the shell went. It eventually landed with a thud in King Julius Concor XVI's back garden.

King Julius was an extremely pious man, and a reformer to boot. His finding of a book that had apparently came out of the heavens above (like his own ancestors all those years ago) appealed to him. As his translation machines set to work, so did an extremely selective reading of its content. (Muskovitch's book has been through many editions. This one was from a less Appratchick era of Rakarskia; and its phraseology is so ambiguous that a liberal representative democracy can be read from its pages.)

Fortunately, he managed to spread the word that this was the true meaning of its pages just in time; a large, angry mob of Thar had congregated outside the royal palace ((formerly the ship's bridge, much built around)) demanding an overthrow of the monarchy. Relieved, the Thar returned to their fields, and the Monarch is merely constitutional-currently the Princess Regent Septima Concor, her lord father currently in a vegetative state from a flying accident.))

3/7/2009 #39

"Oh, quite so. By all the Flowers..." the Duke shook his head. "Vladimir Muskovitch." He winced. "Something on the order of a holy man to the nation of Rakarskia - he apparently led a bloody - and successful - revolution against the old leadership of his country. His exploits and teachings were laid down in a book." Dawn smiled wryly. "The Rakarskian Inquisition, I believe, changes the details every so often to fit socialist policy. They are a heavily-regulated government, and do not care overmuch for the rights of sentients when it gets in the way of what their Inquisitors deem the greater good. I am told they shoot men who flee on the battlefield to inspire the others under their command. I have a copy of the most recent printing in the library aboard the Rubicon Noir, although I would recommend you treat it and read it with extreme caution. Might I enquire exactly how you know of him?" He paused. "And, ah, exactly how much you've taken on board."

3/7/2009 #40
awilla the hun

"This is very curious, sir," said Lord Concor. "And shall be given all due thought; we believed the Rakarskians to be the whole opposite! But do they prosper, sir? Where is their country?" He was not the most political or fanatical of the Concor-Thar, but the thought of this country being some sort of dictatorship made him uneasy. Was the Sirid lying? No-he had such elegant manners!

A servant offered the Duke a dataslate, containing the details of the founding of Democracy among the Concor-Thar.

3/14/2009 #41
Sarah Crowning

A Detech probe flew entered Federation space at low warp speed, allowing it to make its measurements as it cruised by the nearby planets. It was rigged with a vast number of sensors, its most powerful being those that measured magnetic variations. If tampered with, had a self destruct system that would cause it to dissolve into unspecified goo and basic chemicals, a process that was much harder to stop than simply blowing it up.

3/14/2009 #42

"Prosper? After a fashion, I suppose. They were driven from their old world, they took up as refugees in a fleet of ships. Eventually they purchased a planet from Survaek, and began to set up their nation as a true power once more. I am given to understand that tensions between Rakarskia and Survaek are very high at the moment, though, and as to how their citizenry is treated...I have very little knowledge, alas. I can show you where their new planet is, but I fear you will be jumping into a war. I shall get my copy of Muskovitch for you to read later, but I would advise you keep it quiet."

The Duke turned to the servant and accepted the dataslate with a gracious nod, his eyes rapidly scanning the text. "Some of this definitely has the ring of Rakarskia to it," he noted. "But most of it seems to be far more loose and benign. Most interesting, my Lord." He paused. "Have you a star-chart? I would give you ours, but-" he was suddenly struck by a thought - these ancient Siridar might use sunjumping, and could therefore make use of the standard Siridar charts. "Tell me, do you use Faerin mirrors at all?"

3/15/2009 #43
awilla the hun

"We employ the Glass Resonator, sir. It is an Aleem creation." And that, according to all foreign understandings of Aleem science, was that.

He had much to consider concerning Rakarskia. As Sulla had said, "There was something rotten in the Kingdom of Allerolia." He knew not how, or why, it had became thus, but there was something rotten in it.


The Detech Probe was detected twice on sensors, and both times a frigate attempted to hail it; but they were too slow for the strange, biomechanical creature.

3/18/2009 #44

The Duke shook his head. "Yet another exotic method of travel," he marvelled. "I will give you the standard galactic charts. They are perhaps not as extensive as Siridar's own, but ours are useless without a sundrive. They will serve you very well."

3/19/2009 #45
Sarah Crowning

((Detech technology isn't biomechanical btw, it's just them.))

When it received coherent hailing signals, the probe came out of subspace and started an eliptical orbit around the sun there, drawing a detailed scan of the entire system.

3/20/2009 #46
awilla the hun


"That will be most useful, sir," said Lord Concor. "Very useful indeed. My thanks to you."


The probe was hailed again, but this time more violently. "State your business! Advise your masters that their machine could be fired upon at a moment's notice!" the messages went.

6/8/2009 #47
Sarah Crowning

The probe went about its buisiness with absolutely no notice of the message. With complicated scanning systems it was gathering huge amounts of data very fast and streaming it back via uninterceptable quantum entanglement.

6/8/2009 #48
awilla the hun

"Regretfully, you have failed to follow the instructions of the Federation. Therefore, your probe has been determined as a threat to democracy, and shall be duly terminated. Please, operators; no hard feelings."

With that, the Frigate ((I mentioned these)) that had been following the probe readied its prow fusion array and commenced firing at the probe.

6/11/2009 #49
Sarah Crowning

The probe exploded unceremoniously, but not before passing along the last of the data it had collected. The Detech were now aware of yet another carbonoid life form.

6/11/2009 #50

Dawn Delphinion swept a short bow and gestured to one of his fellows, who rapidly produced a small data crystal and reader and proffered them to the Lord Concor with a smile. "The charts we have of known space - the eight regions of the Siridar Imperium and its hundred worlds, Imperial Survaek and her clients, the enlightened Tashar, industrial Mirevant and her merchant League, even the cold slaves to the rule of law we know as the Detech. All there, along with the more minor powers, and of course the location of the Galactic Senate."

Dawn paused. "There is another matter," he said, and blinked, accessing his second-sight momentarily. "I have been authorized to extend to you, the Democratic Federation of the Stars, an invitation to attend the Coronation of His Grace the Duke of Great Violet's Flower and Crown Prince of the Imperium, Belphe Violet, as His Imperial Majesty Emperor Violet XVIII on Faerin at your earliest convenience, should you wish to attend."

6/27/2009 #51
awilla the hun

((The return of Marinus has began...))

"Excellent. Excellent." Lord Concor accepted the crystal, and handed it to a serving drone. "I fear, sir, that I shall be unable to attend it in person; but a delegation could be assembled with reasonable ease. I daresay that Her Highness could send one of her maids."

He smiled absently.

6/28/2009 #52

Dawn frowned. "A maid? Sir, I hope there has perhaps been some misunderstanding between us - language drift or some such. To us a maid is a domestic who serves to keep the place tidy. Sending a servant would be the gravest insult. However, a suitable delegation - from all the member races of this Federation - would be warmly welcomed, I am sure."

6/28/2009 #53
awilla the hun

"It is a position of great honour, sir-that is to say, for a Thar. One must remeber the lower orders. And it shall be seen to at once." Lord Concor nodde firmly.

6/29/2009 #54

"I bow to your wisdom, my Lord, and I thank you for your efficient response." The Duke smiled happily, and expertly masked a yawn. "My Lord Concor, may I and my staff take you up on your offer of succour at Castilleaux Aurelius?"

7/2/2009 #55
awilla the hun

"It will be a great honour, sir. A transport shall be arranged, I trust." A drone immeditately set to work.


The Castilleaux Aurelis was set upon a great, towering crag of rock, a full mile high; and the Castilleaux itself was another mile of jagged, black stone, jutting out of the red earth of the estates. For over three millenia it had stood, defying plague and recession, peasant revolt and barbarian invasion. Each generation had added a wing here, or a helipad there, or what was being built now: a landing pad for dropships. Ancient gargoyles snarled down at the unnumbered thousands of Thar serfs toiling around it, in the great Grav-Threshers slashing away at the Trelarn modified gar-leet crops, or in the vast, eerily silent factories.

The estates stretched out over ten thousand square miles, and were virtually filled with the labourers; save for the pitifully small hab-zones where they were taken to sleep. (This was all they were for; eating and going to hospitals were done in mobile units.The old myth of the mother severing an umbilical cord with a scythe was literal until a century ago, when the so called Lady Liberator, Pompeia Concor, decided to invest in modern medicine for her serfs, or else she would be replaced by her brother, Aurelius, in the next elections. She still lost; Aurelius distributed free ale to all the Thar on election day, but the Grav-Habs remained.)

And, if the master's hover car, or that of any of the family, was to pass over, the serfs were to grovel before it; if the master, or any of the family, was to pass them, the serfs were to call him "little father" or "little mother". Only at elections did this change; on the single day of each decade allocated to them, the serfs called the masters by their names, and elected for them. Each child in each Concor family was meant to have differing political views, and it was a matter of great debate amongst parents as to who was to have which (and, more importantly, which was to be brought up in each different way. Some families took this more seriously than others.) The candidate who was represented as "Serf Father" would represent serf interests at the Grand Conclave, held once every six months; and they took up roughly one third of the seats, despite the serfs being over 90% of the population. The result was that they still worshipped the masters, were still spied upon by drone cameras, still had poor wages and living conditions (although this varied), were still brutalised by the overseers' Rhinox-Hounds, were still conscripted into the militia, and still loved their masters dearly-for they had no one else for succour. If they were made into true citizens, then no one would feed them (so the argument went), and anarchy would ensue as the stupid little brutes rampaged across the land in animal fury, seeking out food and shelter, until the entire Concor-Thar civilization was consumed in civil war, famine, and death.

Such information as this, however, was not revealed to Duke Calrasio. The dropship landed atop the towering castle, a full two miles above the surface of Fo. The Personal Serfs of Lord Aurelius kowtowed as one as the delegation stepped down the ramp. (It was notable that the Personal Serfs on that landing pad included a number of uncommonly attractive-by Thar standards-females; for what purpose, Aurelius would not reveal.)

((Question: does inbreeding occur in the Siridar?))

7/4/2009 #56

((As one of the results of inbreeding, I would like to paint a utopia and say no, but given the kind of people I've made them out to be, I would conclude that they are, at least to some extent. All the Great Houses are related anyway, by a web of ancient intermarriages to cement alliances of the time etc, and to keep the bloodline relatively healthy. The Great Houses (of which Dawn is a first cousin of the inheriting Delphinion line, so fairly inbred as these things go) are the most inbred, of course, followed by the lesser Houses to a much lesser extent [there are far more of them] and then the simple families last of all.))

Dawn stepped out of the flyer and took a deep breath of thin mountain air like knives, a large smile on his face. The castle was ancient, massive - while it might not quite soar as fanciful palaces did on the newer Siridar worlds - his own Calraiso being one - it was weighted with history, and its location spectacular. It quite took him back to his childhood fosterages with House Violet and their vassal Houses - House Wulfenbach's ancestral castle was evoked for him in the frowning gargoyles and snow-dusted towers, and he said so, his beaming smile conveying his appreciation.

His eyes flickered over to the servants, surprised to note they were not Siridar - or rather, Concor - but he said nothing, trusting that it would be revealed in time.

His wings snapped wide to catch the icy wind which whistled over the mountaintops, shining a brilliant electric blue, perfectly groomed. "What a superb home you have, Lord Concor," he remarked. "And what fine weather for flying!"

7/5/2009 #57
awilla the hun

((Are there any negative biological or genetic effects from inbreeding?))

"It is indeed pleasant, sir," Lord Concor said, taking in the view for a brief moment. He noticed his scrutiny of the servants. "These are the Thar," he explained. "A somewhat simple, lamentably unhygenic race that makes up over ninety per cent of our population. They require our guidance, or else they would have destroyed themselves years ago, poor brutes. Isn't that so?"

The grovelling servants nodded as one, before-at a barked command of a smartly dressed Concor, with a long, bejewelled blaster rifle slung at his shoulder and a whip at his side-stepping off the landing pad, into the bowels of the Castilleaux, heads bowed all the while. "They are to inform their fellows in the kitchens of our coming; it is entirely ceremonial, for we installed Aleem Glass Resonators a couple of decades ago. Do you wish stay here for a moment longer? Or shall I fetch someone to lead a tour?"

7/5/2009 #58

((An incredible variety. For the Siridar, it retards growth and results in disproportionate wing sizes - they may be far too large or too small. Wing-rot (Valerian's Curse) is a genetic disorder the Siridar fear because they still have no idea how to cure it, and it results in a much-shortened lifespan and intense pain. It is much more common among inbred individuals (Lord Hellebore suffered from it). Galactosemia is particularly common, and must be carefully monitored to prevent the affected going into shock (because of their high metabolic burn rate and inability to process galactose - a very common sugar). Scoliosis [unnatural curving of spine into an S shape] might well occur if pennagenetic genes are mutated.))

Casting one last, longing look at the vista - what a joy it would be to fly here - Dawn turned back to the imposing Castilleaux. "I think a tour would be most welcome, my lord." His sharp eyes had not missed the whip, or the peremptory commands of their - he was forced to consider it - overseer. "The Thar are your servants entirely?" he asked, as they began to walk across the pad.

7/5/2009 #59
awilla the hun

"Our servants, our workers, and benificiaries of our great belevolence. It has been scientifically proven, on many occasions, that they are quite stupid. Other Federation Races all agree, you know." Lord Concor was about to snap his fingers, when another of the Concor arrived. A female, this time, who had just returned from hunting, if her recently removed helmet and still shouldered dart rifle was anything to judge by.

"My sister, the great Lady Liberator, and my tragically misled electoral running mate. Pompeia Concor." He made his bow, and she made hers. "You are to be a tour guide, sweet sister. I hope that this will not wreck your prospects."

"Not in the least, dear brother; I shall try to win support amongst the servants as we go. I have leaflets hidden under my coat, you know." Both smiled, and then Concor strode away, with a great energy. He didn't get to visit home much.

"To the Solar first, I think," she said. "It helps with the nerves, and the Thar Servants are extremely helpful. And my brother has told me all about the miracle of a true bred Sirid arriving among us. We have stained glass windows of your kind, you know, installed in the habs of our Thar." She walked away, and gestured for the Duke to follow.

7/12/2009 #60
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