“I could almost kiss Kadrish har-Lan Sarkdor this morning.”
“You want to get smoochy with the Iltine Minister of Pacification? The Worlds’ leader in using children as missile components?”
“Well, I’d kill him afterwards.”
“Athenril, you’re perverted. Be sure and record that.”
“But seriously. Between him pushing the Union into attempted expansion, Bantine space collapsing into warwilds, the deshniki retrenching, the Tree’s resurgent militancy, and such, we have plenty of trouble at home. More than enough to counter the Sanguinaries and the Conclave factions demanding we push the advantage on beyond the Borderline.”
“I wouldn’t count on it. The Gradualist faction of the Sanguinaries is coming up reasonable – they’ve indicated they’d be happy if we take home Vontok System and the chunk of Vonis 31 trailing of it back to the Borderline. Rumor has it the Golden Chain’s backing them up, wanting evidence on how a de-meming would work outside the simulations.”
– from the transparency log at the Ministry of State & Outlands
Dir min Solsea, share-captain, CMS Mine, Mine Mine
I’m docked at Kernitrile Station in Galatas for resupply, and just spoke at dockside with a representative from an anonymous initiative, contact nyms attached below. His outfit is offering escrowed slice-contracts to anyone who’s making smuggling runs into the trailing half of Vonis 31, just show proof of cargo and delivery, and they’ll match your revenue. No strings attached, and I had that obligator-checked – all part of the war effort, I suppose.
I’ve always had a liking for being paid twice to do something I’m doing anyway.
– from the Solsea Clan & Affiliates memeweave
From: mor-Lissek Maraz, Military Attache, League of Meridian
To: Imperial Diplomatic Corps (Military Affairs); CINCCORE
Subject: League involvement
Security: EYES ONLY FERVENT SPAN
It seems the League is making its move. I spoke with Admiral Sef Mal Calen, Federated Meridian Navy, this morning – at his request. He informs me that their intelligence agrees with ours inasmuch as the two Republic fleets are expected to converge in the Viridit System, and that the FMN have chosen to respond by deploying minelayers to the Viridit system to interdict both entry stargates with enough dormant AKVs to, in his words, “blot out the stars”.
We have been provided with transponder codes to indicate friendly status to these (enc.; CINCCORE only).
Admiral Sef Mal Calen has extended an invitation to join his command as a military observer, which I have of course accepted. Please expect and direct future messages via tangle channel SHUFFLE FOURTEEN.
From: Imogen Andracanth, VP Research, Ring Dynamics
To: Adm. [blank], Imperial Naval Intelligence
Subject: Re: UNSEEN KEY; info req.
Security: EYES ONLY UNSEEN KEY
I have it.
The ancient data on that system – damn the current stellar alignment – suggests that it’s a red giant-black hole binary, modified for power generation. It’s also very close to where we lost trace of Serril and Athne. That’s got to be where their god-corpse is, feeding off the infall.
But they can’t understand the relic tech they’re mining. It’s physiologically impossible for a meathead. So all they know is that they’ve been mining – or making – their stargates from a system that’s most developed around the hole. They think it’s necessary. They’re going for our presumed stargate-core manufacturing facility, and they’re assuming from what they know that it must be around the only black hole we have access to.
They’re heading for the Last Darkness. Couldn’t be surer of it.
This implies an interesting blindness on the part of the Vons. I was under the impression that Ring Dynamics made no secret about it’s history, and thus that the first dozen or so RD stargates would be manufactured close to the Eldrae homeworld, which has no nearby black hole.
This implies that the Vons have convinced themselves that the entire early middle history of the Eldae’s expansion to the stars has been a cover story.
It’s possible that an entire culture can so blind itself. Hell, we have a list of such blind spots here on this planet in the real world. But still…
Well, there are things at play behind the scenes which I don’t want to get too far into lest they spoil either or both of future parts or future works, so.
But let me ask a rhetorical question and make a rhetorical statement:
1. Given the sort of polity the Republic is, how likely is it, do we imagine, that the Propulsion Working Group and the too-secret-to-have-a-name god-dissection squad behind them have let anyone else in on what’s _really_ up with the black-boxed, classified hardware?
2. It’s been my observation that small, insular groups in the habit of obfuscation and deception very quickly fall into the trap of assuming that everyone else is doing exactly the same sort of thing.
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