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Snippet #2044539

located in Orion Arm, Milky War Galaxy, a part of Ascendancy: A Candle in the Dark, one of the many universes on RPG.

Orion Arm, Milky War Galaxy

Though humanity has spread far, space is too vast to make that anything more than a relative statement. The Orion-Cygnus arm of the Milky Way Galaxy is some 10,000 lightyears long and 3,500 lightyears across, and it is here where humanity resides.

Setting

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Character Portrait: The United Coalition of Oriens
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Silvia’s house stood high above the coast, sitting in quiet solace on a cliff face. Some would call it an architectural wonder, others an abomination, but no-one could deny the solid engineering of the structure. It rested half on the cliff, half over, supported by no visible struts of any kind. Only the carefully balanced equations in a notebook that Silvia still carried held the glass and metal structure solidly in place. The house was a bit of a labor of love for the Premier, after all she is the one who had designed it.

When Silvia led Harding in through the front door, the pair was faced with an atrium, of sorts. Directly in front of them was a large mirror, giving the room an illusion of vast size though it was only a few meters across. To the left and right were passages leading off to the house’s numerous rooms.

Harding removed his hat as they entered this impressive, though simple, room, revealing his gray streaked black hair, and placed it with his jacket on a coat rack near the door. Turning left, he followed Silvia through the maze of glass windows and metal walls until they reached the house’s study. It was perhaps the only room in the house that didn’t feel vast, owing to the fact that it was completely lined with bookshelves, save for a single window in the back. These shelves held volumes from every period of history imaginable—from the latest books on theoretical physics to a first edition copy of Origin of Species. The floor was made of polished hardwood, an incredibly valuable commodity on a planet with no surface life where any trees must be grown at great cost in environmentally controlled greenhouses and hydroponics bays, as was Silvia’s desk.

It was at this desk that Silvia sat, leaning back in her chair and sighing. Harding pulled a chair from the side of the room and placed it in front of the desk before himself sitting down. “Can I get you some wine?” Silvia asked, removing two crystal glasses and a bottle of the red liquid from a bottom drawer and laying them on the table.

“Yes, thank you.” Harding replied, taking one of the glasses as the Premier poured it. Taking a sip, he smiled. “A fan of the fruitier varieties I see.”

Silvia laughed, “Yup, just don’t go telling everyone. I’d like to keep some semblance of dignity as a cultured person.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it Silvia,” Harding said, though in a strangely serious tone. “Regrettably, I’m afraid I’m going to dampen your spirits a bit with what I have to tell you. It’s about the HRM.”

The Human Rights Movement, commonly known simply by the acronym HRM, was a group of “concerned citizens” that had been organized for the sole purpose of opposing legislation that defend, or even justify, so called unethical practices by UCO scientists. While the organization had started honestly enough, it wasn’t long until they were derailed from their original course and became an aggressive group that almost bordered on terroristic. They commonly used blackmail and bribery to get their way, and have already caused serious damage to the position of scientific research in the public eye.

Silvia leaned forward, resting her elbows on the wooden surface in front of her. “Lovely, what have they done this time?”

“Well,” Harding sighed, “it isn’t so much what they’ve done, as what they’ve said they’d do. Just this morning they released a tape to public news outlets in which they claimed that they had the resources for a major strike on a government facility within the next two months unless the Council passes the currently proposed motion to place ethical limits on research. Most people aren’t taking them seriously, but it is a very real threat, and one we’ll have to deal with. Soon.”

“Do we have any more information than is publicly available?” Silvia asked. Though the UCO claimed to be an open government, it did occasionally come into possession of information that wasn’t public knowledge, at least for a little while. The UCO’s Intelligence Authority, a branch of the military responsible for information gathering, espionage, and all flavors of subterfuge was all permeating were it was needed. The HRM had been infiltrated from the moment it became a potential threat to the current regime.

“Regrettably, not at the moment.” Harding shook his head. “The upper echelon of the movement is keeping any specifics very close, and we don’t have any infiltrators anywhere near high enough to get any additional information. The moment IA knows anything, you’ll know it.”

“Damn it.” Silvia’s fist struck the desk, hard. “Why can’t we all just deal with issues like civilized men, instead of resorting to threats of violence to get our way. The worst thing is that this threat will probably work. Officially we’ll ignore it, but there is no way that this won’t weigh in the minds of the Council as they are voting, especially in the minds of those who are either undecided or not completely on board with killing the bill. We cannot allow these threats to compromise our morals, not under any circumstances.”

“Save it Silvia, you’re preaching to the choir at the moment.” Harding gently shook his head in disgust. “I couldn’t agree more, but there isn’t much we can do about the threat. Right now, though, your people need you. They’re afraid, and looking for some form of comfort. Military Authority is planning a press conference on the threat, and we would like you to speak at it. We can only do so much, but the people listen to and respect you. Your voice would go far towards calming them down.”

“Of course I’ll do it, when is it?” Silvia shot up out of her chair and immediately went about gathering loose papers that were haphazardly scattered throughout the room.

“Tonight, we need to respond as quickly as possible. A helicopter will be here to pick us up in about an hour.”