Southern part of the Ryccian Empire
Two months after the Rascal Incident
A small escort of three Stoinian ships, a cruiser and two destroyers, had just entered the Ryccian Empire. All weapons systems were offline as were their shields, a sign of no malicious intent. The trio were lead by the recently promoted Captain Umberto Berrocal, a young but promising officer. They were sent on a mission that would only happen once in a lifetime. By order of the King Himself, they were to request a Royal visit to the Ryccian Capital. Whether they would be the bearer of good news was unknown. Without wasting anymore time, he proceeded to send his message.
- “This is Captain Umberto Berrocal of the HMS Blade of Casaria in service of the Stoinian Star Kingdom. We have just crossed your borders, but be assured we have no malicious intent. Our offensive and defensive systems are offline, we pose no threat to you. We are here by order of the Stoinian King Himself. He is requesting for a Royal visit on the Ryccian Capital as to better learn our Terran brothers. This visit is planned to take place in two T-weeks from now in which we would also like to take the pride of our navy during the visit. Because we don’t have official channels yet between our two nations, we were forced to enter your territory without your permission. I inform you that His Majesty sends his regrets for any confusion this might have created. We will remain here until we have received an official answer from your government. HMS Blade of Casaria out.”
The trio maintained their triangle formation, awaiting the arrival of any official representatives. Would this be a chance to meet their brethren in person? Soon the Stoinians would find out.
Constitutional-Class Cruiser Union
Itomi, Vurbentan Rim, Ryccian Empire
- “Sir, Stoinian ships have arrived from hyperspace. They are transmitting a message”
- “By the stars, why am I the officer in charge of attending these barbarians?”
The Vurbentan Captain Taig Martktovxo was the commanding officer of the Crusier Union. When he heard of the incident two months ago and the fact that these savages massacred non-Humans, it made Taig’s blood boil, as he was an alien. To have to speak to these barbarians was, in his mind, a low point in his career.
- This is Captain Taig Martktovxo of the Ryccian Imperial Navy, commanding the Constitutional-Class Cruiser Union. We will contact the nearest Diplomatic Department to attend to your request immediately. Please, wait"
Daonlathas, Ryccian Empire
Central Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Taun Liat Wei was the Kaminoan Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Ryccian Empire. A message played on her desk. To interrupt her whilst on a holographic call with the Concordians complaining about mining disputes with Mandalore must mean that the issue at hand is certainly urgent.
- “Yes, Senator Vizsla, I can assure you that the Ryccian government backs your stan-”
There, Captain Taig Martktovxo appeared in hologram, putting the call of the Concordians on hold.
- “This is Captain Taig Martktovxo, stationed in the Itomi system. I am sorry for interrupting you, Minister, but I have a message to relay to you”
There, the message of Captain Umberto Becorral played. At first, Taun could only dread this call from the Stoinians. What do these barbarians want now? She had believed this matter was resolved. But, as Umberto spoke in the recorded holovideo, her mood changed. A visit to the Ryccian Empire, straight from their King? This was quite a surprise at first, but then she recalled the text of the report from two months ago from the now-former Admiral Sanross, and it all made sense immediately.
She was aware that these Stoinians hated non-Humans. Taun would have to be clever. She sent the highest-ranking Human diplomats to attend this matter, albeit she was not happy about it. One of these diplomats was one of her rivals, the flamboyant nobleman Carl Charlotte-Imperial Arvoyant, or so she thought of him. Actually, the “flamboyant” fashion he wore was typical of the Core, and she knew it, but her rivalry for power with Carl only made her angry about that style.
Taun hoped that perhaps there is a chance he shall screw up royally, as these Stoinians have proven to be quite problematic thus far. Maybe then that purple-born, stuck-up aristocrat that did not deserve his position would fall.
- “Hmm…I shall contact the Chancellor. Thank you, Captain. You may return to your duties”
- “Your Grace, I bid you farewell”
Taun contacted Ferul, the Chancellor. They agreed that they must keep cordial relations with the Stoinians, as they do not know what lies ahead in this uncertain path of fate. The Minister, with a bitter taste in her mouth, dispatched the human diplomats. Among them was one of her rivals in her Ministry. Her mood was poor that day.
Itomi, Vurbentan Rim, Ryccian Empire
Carl happened to be finishing a resolution to a trade dispute between three worlds when he got the call.
- “…Oh dear”
- “What is it, m’lord?”
- “I am to travel to the Itomi system in order to conduct negotiations with the Stoinian savages. Most unpleasant…I had hoped to get some rest, but it appears this is imperative. Come now, we are to depart, posthaste”
- “I will get the ship ready”
As a wealthy man, Carl traveled in luxury. His fast yacht, the Eminence, arrived to the system quickly. He was the first to get there. The other three human diplomats would get to Itomi soon.
Carl contacted the Stoinians, wishing to know of the arrangements.
Captain Berrocal had received the message from the Ryccian diplomat. Upon seeing him, Berrocal was quite intrigued by the diplomat. Was this how most Ryccian dressed? He could smell some sort of aristocracy just by his looks. The nobility of Stoinia were known for their extravagant dresses, but they always followed either military uniforms or ethnic clothing. This diplomat was extremely flamboyant by Stoinian standards. A thought passed Berrocal that these Terran Ryccians could be quite decadent. He would have to wait and see. He proceeded to inform the diplomat of his King’s wishes.
- “His Majesty, King Andrei III Casarion, High King of the Stoinians, Lord Sovereign of the Stoinian Spirit, Warden of Heavens, Gerent of the Lion Throne, Custodian of Star Roar, Sword of Terra & Protector of Mankind, wishes to visit your capital as to better understand our two peoples. He would like to meet the different heads of government in matters of state, diplomacy, economic ties, migration and friendship. He also wishes to bring the pride of the fleet, HMS Pillar of Liberty, and a small escort with Him. We will send limited specifications shortly. His Majesty would like for this visit to happen in roughly two weeks. We understand that this will need to pass through your government’s legislature and we are happy to await its answer.
If there is need of more details, I will take a shuttle onboard one of your ships for any further explanations. Until further notice we will maintain our position.”
- “This is the High Diplomatic Chief of Vurbenta, Carl William Joseph Honorius Trustien Charlotte-Imperial Arvoyant, Duke in Constantinople and Baronet in Arvoyant, present. I do counsel you to embark in your shuttle and arrive at the hangar that is located at my yacht. Once your presence has been confirmed, my personal servant shall receive you. He and my two guards shall escort you to my ship’s meeting room, where we are to hold these negotiations”
Two other ships arrived. These were the other diplomats. Compared to Carl’s extravagant vessel, these shuttles were the standard issue for the diplomatic service. They contained two Humans who could not be more different than the flamboyant nobleman.
Thint Grivyern was from Novaterra, a Human-dominated region for certain, but it was not the glittering splendour of the Core. Novaterra was settled by poorer Humans a few thousands of years ago, and thus did not share the aristocratic culture of the Core. In popular culture, Novaterra was more pedestrian. Its customs diverge significantly from the Core, as they have their roots in the commoners, not the nobles or any wealthy class. His homeworld, Kalmthout, was nothing remarkable either. It was known as an low-end industrial world, producing cheap products. Although its citizens were certainly no Chinese sweatshop workers labouring for slave wages (that practice practically became extinct a few hundred years ago), they were far poorer than the “high-end snobs” at the Core. Thint’s life seemed destined to end up as a worker at the factory, supervising the droids and fixing anything built wrongly, but his brilliant intellect saved him. Albeit he had a poor, working-class background, Thint managed to get a scholarship at the Royal Imperial University of Onder, in the region of New Daonlathas. For a kid with factory workers as parents, getting into the 30th best university in the entire country was almost a miracle. He had always desired to be a diplomat, and he succeeded, becoming the High Diplomatic Chief of Northern Ryccia. In short, he came from a lackluster background, but he had made a name for himself. Self-made.
The other Human was Carlias Alpontet, a native of the Wider Ryccian world of Helias. Wider Ryccia, along with the Eastern Region, were wealthier than Novaterra. The latter was generally seen as “lower middle-class”, but the former were solidly stereotyped as “middle-class”. They were nowhere near the Core, however.
Carlias came from a background of middle-class civil servants: her mother was a school teacher and her father was a clerk at a government agency. Her parents actually planned well and saved enough money for her to go to the Helias Royal Academy, a school for the local elite. She grew up with far more affluent friends, but her parents always instilled a spirit of responsibility, austerity and hard of work in her. Their sacrifices had paid off, as he was accepted at the Royal Imperial University of Legada, a higher education institution in the Core that was the 21st best in the Ryccian Empire. She entered the diplomatic service and was successful, becoming the Diplomatic Chief of the Eastern Region. Like Thint, she was self-made. She had no purple birth, a lofty upbringing, servants to pamper her every need, elite tutors to help her excel, close connections to the aristocracy or any of that. She was there through her own hard work.
As Carl had already arrived early, they proceeded to dock at his yacht as indicated. They got there earlier than the Stoinians, and they awaited the representative of these savages. Unlike Carl, their garments were more “normal”, or at least not the Core’s excessive and grandiose style. Thint was dressed with 18th century formal attire without the powdered wig, and Carlias wore 21st century formal clothing (note: these clothes are not directly linked to those eras ICly). The Stoinians may find them more normal.
Captain Berrocal had taken his time with his shuttle flight. He hadn’t taken bodyguards with him since he thought he wouldn’t need them. He had taken his sword with him after all. The shuttle landed elegantly according to the Ryccian procedures. As soon he disembarked his shuttle the diplomat’s personal assistant had come to pick him up. Although the assistant was Terran, his bodyguards were not. Regardless of the fact, Captain Berrocal didn’t seem offended, he was like the King, more moderate when it came to xenos. Without any objections the Captain followed the assistant to the meeting room. He had the time to take some glance of the Ryccian ship. He sure was impressed by its design, though he could sense it wasn’t the standard Ryccian ship.
Once he arrived in the meeting room he looked at the three Terrans. Their fashion choices were completely different! Didn’t they see it? Did their civilian diplomatic corps not have uniforms like the Stoinians? Their nation must be run entirely different than the Stoinians. It was visible that these men didn’t know what honour or sacrifice was, they wouldn’t deserve the white beret that he wore he thought.
- “Captain Umberto Berrocal, in service of His Majesty King Andrei III Casarion of the Stoinian Star Kingdom. At your service.”
He said proudly with the standard Stoinian military posture and a strong voice. He felt a need to show off his uniform or at least highlight its features. He put a datapad on the table with his King’s personal request for a visit to the Ryccian capital.
Carl was a tad confused. So were Thint and Carlias. This Captain was dressed in a military uniform, so they had expected that he was just an escort and/or spokesperson for the actual diplomat. They were wrong: he was the representative the Stoinians had sent. Was their nation ruled by a military regime like the Old Empire of ages past, and thus their diplomatic service was under the Stoinian military’s jurisdiction? Or did these persons have such a highly martial society that such influences exude in their formalities and official functions? How strange…Well, no matter. It was time to welcome this guest.
- “Welcome, Captain Berrocal. As I have previously stated, I am Carl Charlotte-Imperial. The individual on my left is the High Diplomatic Chief of Northern Ryccia, Thint Grivyern Alpontien, and the diplomat on my right is named Carlias Alpontet Valiast, the Diplomatic Chief of the Eastern Region. Whilst we take our time to peruse this text, do you fancy a consumable of some kind? A snack or a drink, perhaps? Speak, and your words shall be heeded to by my assistant”
The three diplomats began reading the datapad. They immediately began to whisper their concerns about a visit to the capital. Carl then began to speak.
- “With all due respect, Captain, we are of the opinion that a visit from your King to our capital world shall not be wise. Due to your…negative reputation in our state, we do worry that notable demonstrations against your monarch’s tour of Daonlathas shall arise. Given that said world is also an ecumenopolis, we are unable to guarantee your leader’s safety, should he wish to perambulate the city. Moreover, we consider that to incite public disorder is an irresponsible act by our diplomatic service. Might we recommend an appropriate facility in a world secluded from a large populace?”
- “No thanks. I am still on duty, but we appreciate the offer. I am sure we’ll get to taste your goods sooner or later.” He responded to the kind offer by the diplomat.
He looked at the diplomats discussing the King’s terms. What was it that unsettled them? Soon he got his answer.
- “I see, though we would likely be able to protect our King, we wouldn’t want to creat civil unrest. That is most unfortunate. What kind of negative reputation do we have? I can’t think of anything that we did that showed us to be uncivilized or worse barbarians.”
He let it sink in for a moment, but soon continued.
- “Seeing a visit to your capital would be provoking the populace into public disorder, I believe His Majesty is willing to come around to your terms. What kind of secluded world are we talking about? Will your head of government be there? His Majesty plans for a full diplomatic escort. That includes myself as His military attaché and a corps of diplomats lead by our Chancellor. I hope that won’t be a problem.”
The diplomats began to whisper amongst themselves once more. Should they explain the videos that had circulated like wildfire on the Ryccian press and social media? That their High Admiral Chekov’s xenophobic behaviour had shocked and disgusted most, if not all of the Empire?
Carl began to speak.
- “…I shall give an explanation of why you are perceived negatively by the Ryccian people. According to the report the Ministry did forward to me for my viewing, a High Admiral Chekov sent our naval fleet that engaged your forces video clips that detailed brutal atrocities as a form of intimidation. When the Ryccian Imperial Navy informed the public regarding the incident, it did transmit these videos into the public domain, as it was not deemed to be information crucial for national security. These displays of horror instantly spread across the press and social media platforms of the Empire, thus earning your Star Kingdom a rather…poor reputation in the eyes of many Ryccians”
- “On the issue of a suitable candidate to host the event, I believe we are able to make an appropriate royal property available for the visit. The Royal Family owns various palaces and villas across the Empire, and thus one may be organized to hold this reunion. The Emperor, our Chancellor and our Minister of Foreign Affairs perhaps shall attend. Is your King fond of a particular biome or a certain scenery?”
Captain Berrocal smiled a bit though he shouldn’t have. He turned towards Carl.
- “Ah, I see our Cole Protocol has left its mark. Yes, those images are quite the standard procedure when one of our ships has been the victim of an act of war.”
He let it sink in for a moment looking at the diplomats. They were the ones that fired first and unprovoked at that!
- “Well, Chief Diplomat Charlotte-Imperial, I appreciate your honesty and thus I will give you mine. What you have seen in those images are what have shaped our society. In our part of the galaxy we have met barbarian races wishing to extinguish the life out of Mankind. Our populace was at times eaten by these beasts. Just the last war against the Velutarians costed the lives of 8.7 trillion Terrans, over half our population at the time. What you describe as atrocities, we call a days work.”
He smiled when he said that, though he quickly changed to a more serious and pragmatic stance.
- “Any place you have available, preferably the closest to your capital, will do. We aren’t that picky when meeting our new Terran brothers, though would a fly-by of the capital still be possible? If all the three officials would come during our visit there, that would be most satisfactory.”
8.7 trillion deaths in a single war? Did he hear accurately? What kind of savages did they even face? Do they lie? Well, no matter. It would be best to drop that topic, posthaste.
- “Well…that was quite…enlightening…Perhaps a flyby of the capital could be a possibility. This would require such an aerial tour to be inconspicuous. If your King is receptive to consent to this idea in order to prevent unrest, we may arrange for that to be the case”
There was no murmur from the other diplomats regarding a resort. For all their intelligence, they were not nobles. Their lives were occupied with far too much stuff to learn where the properties of the ceremonial Royal Family were. However, Carl was a nephew of the Grand Duke of Constantinople, an important figure in the glamourous circles of the nobility. He was also a nephew of the Empress Dowager, the mother of the reigning Emperor. He had met the Emperor himself a couple times in his childhood, and was a friend of his at that time of his youth. He was his cousin, after all. As Carl carried the illustrious “Charlotte-Imperial” surname, as well as being the cousin of the Emperor himself, he was always invited to the most exclusive balls and events where the Emperor attended in person, so he had been acquaintanced with him in his adult life as well. As a result, they kept in touch. Carl knew his stuff. He had even gone to some of these properties, so, could these commoners even object to his choice? Certainly not.
- “On the matter of the host planet, the nearest unpopulated resort world is quite far away…the Core, or the region where the capital is, holds some of the most historical and thereby most populated worlds in our nation, but if you so desire, I can offer my homeworld of Constantinople. It is certainly dense in regards to population, but the planet possesses the Charlotte-Imperial Estates, an aristocratic and aged manor where members of my house go on retreat often. Next to my family’s estates is the Arzix-Constantinople Estates, a historical property of the Royal Family in my place of origin. Further, the planet holds historical significance to humans in our Empire, as it was the first world to be colonized after Daonlathas. If the King wishes the tour to remain unheard of amongst the populace, this may be a possibility, more so when we consider that the most heavily populated regions of my home lay on one hemisphere, and the other is quite rural”
- “If we desire to avoid mass protests for certain, then the world of Mahogany shall suffice. It is located at the Farlands, and it barely qualifies for a seat in the Imperial Senate, only hosting 12 million persons in terms of inhabitants. It is known for its picturesque sights, and has observed noble and overall wealthy families purchasing lands in said planet for resorts, villas, retreats or even retirement homes. The Royal Family is the proprietor of a lavish palace and several villas in that world”
- “If you are not satisfied with either alternative, I shall draw up more choices from my records”
Captain Berrocal was astonished. Constantinople? They had also a planet named Constantinople? This visit was bound to enlighten both sides. He looked calm at Carl.
- “No other choices are necessary, Chief Diplomat. I believe Constantinople will meet the King’s requirements. I am sure the culture of Constantinople will prove worthy of a visit, seeming that we also have a planet named Constantinople. As for the specific resort, I trust your judgement as a native. Don’t disappoint us.”
He awaited their reaction to it.
- “As for the fly-by, I don’t suppose it would be possible to do it in this ship.”
He laid a datapad on the table, revealing the dimensions of the nearly 6 km long super dreadnought that was the HMS Pillar of Liberty.
- “This ship will be the main vessel of our visit. I suppose it wouldn’t be wise for it to be near the fly by of the capital?”
- “If he is attempting to intimidate us”, Carl thought “he is sorely mistaken. It is common sense that such a large ship would only create sheer horror amongst the populace, after all. His tactic is faulty, for our largest military vessel is more than three times its length”
- “Regardless, such a vessel could never be permitted! The militarists and nationalists shall certainly oppose it as an “attack on our honour” or something, the pacifists shall object to a state visit involving this gargantuan machine of war, as it would be seen as a sign of aggression, and the moderates shall never allow it under the grounds of security! What was that King even thinking of flying his most powerful warship on the capital in the first place?!”
The other diplomats had similar thoughts. What type of spice was this foreign monarch high on? Letting a foreign dreadnought of all things just waltz into the heart of the Ryccian Empire? Would he prefer for the Executor-class and an accompanying fleet to traverse his capital as if it was nothing? How outrageous!
The diplomats began to whisper once more, this time in alarmed tones if you payed enough attention.
Carl began to speak.
- “…Even for the visit to Constantinople, this colossal ship alone shall require one of our own vessels to vigilate it. I shall be frank: if we allow this warship to cross into one of our heartlands in such a casual fashion, we are to forget the protests, for the populace of the entire region shall either suffer a mass panic attack or be even more enraged at his visit. It may be a hyperbole, but I wish to illustrate the alarm that shall be forged in our people. Therefore, if your King desires to bring the pride of your fleet, one of our largest dreadnoughts, the Executor-Class Alexandria, shall be a requirement in order to placate the possible fears that may be generated amongst the inhabitants of the Core. Here, I shall demonstrate a footage of it”
Carl displayed a hologram of the Super Star Destroyer Alexandria. It was 19 kilometres in length, and it was the pride of the Ryccian Navy aside from its figurative twin, the Unity.
- “I do hope it is not much of a disturbance”
- “In addition, since we are in agreement that any such flyby is to remain unnoticed, a civilian yacht or some other ship of your monarch’s choosing shall need to do. To bring forth any military vessel or starfighter would only attract attention, I am afraid”