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Confessor Ayla

0 · 251 views · located in Wing City Hospital

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Blazezon

Description


Ayla Kayama


ImageAge: Thirty-Eight.
Race: Aschen, formerly Khatarhian.
Physiology: Adept of War.
Height: 6".
Weight: 300lbs.
Hair colour: Bubblegum Pink.
Eye colour: Clear Blue.

Infiltration Training: Three years.
Infiltration Experience: Eight years.
Guerrilla Warfare Training: Unknown.
Guerrilla Warfare Experience: Eighteen years.
Explosive Ordnance Handling & Removal Training: Six months.
Designated Long Range Marksmen Training: Two years.
Designated Long Range Marksmen Experience: Seventeen years.
Counter-sniping Training: Two years, in tandem with DLRM course.
Large Scale Warfare Training: Six months.
Large Scale Warfare Experience: Unknown.
Assassination Training: Five years.
Assassination Experience: Ten years.
Interrogation Training: One year.
Torture Training: One year, in tandem with Interrogation.

So begins...

Confessor Ayla's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Big Brother was indeed watching, and in more than a myriad of ways. Cameras on every corner, satellites, and rifle scopes provided much, especially under the unflinching, and nearly omniscient EVE's control, but they were merely the first wave of security. The tip of the Imperial iceberg that was Intelligence, akin to foot soldiers. Behind them rested many more machinations, embedded IIA agents, plain clothes officers, informants, and most menacingly of all the Emperor's personal eyes, and ears. The dreaded Confessor Cabal.

One such being was present in the lobby, a woman of impressive height standing within the throng of socialites. None around dared to meet her listless, gaze, finding any excuse imaginable to look elsewhere, and a "casual" birth was given to her every movement. Clad in the beautiful, plush robes of deep royal purple that both signified her status, and complimented her bright pink locks nicely. She too was sporting her own fine crystalline glass of Ambrosia, and kept to the outer, entry-facing edges of the crowd. Confessor Ayla meant to stand out, a nearly forgien action to her. But today was not a day for inconspicuous disguises, or the cloak of a well shadowed corner. Today was about impressions, and making the might of the Empire clear.

She listened carefully to EVE's expert analysis as the small procession stood just out side, her stern blue eyes leaping from where the A.I reported each to be. From Sire, to Minister, to outsider in short order. The last causing her teeth to grit. She was more than wary of the ulterior motives of Terrans. If she had her way he would've been in an interrogation cell by now.

"Maintain a constant vigil on his heart rate, and pheromones EVE," whispered the woman in Anquietas. "Any change, no matter how slight it may be, in real time." She took a sip from her glass, luxuriating in the sensations it brought. Not a drunkenness, but a feeling of home these days. "Please," she added. The moment they decided to enter she'd be ready to meet them, prepared to offer a handshake to her kinsmen.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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The Clones' movements and levels of stress would eventually even out as they remained at a heightened state of alert, but became used to it. The Clone relaxed her grip on the rifle's grip, and straightened her back just a little bit more as they began to walk towards the building. The Clones figured they would never be allowed inside, where their training would be most effective if they decided to become hostile, and so they stopped outside the doors. Thrawn gave them an acknowledging nod, and they all relaxed slightly. Their boss would be fine, they knew.

Thrawn listened to all of what was being said with an open mind and took in the sights and sounds and smells as well while they walked towards, and into the building. The great poster of propaganda that Big Brother was always watching caught the focus of Thrawn's glowing red eyes for a moment as he made his observations.

"The Aschen continue to fit into the paranoid shoe they have made for themselves. Their tone and movements suggest discomfort in the fact that Thrawn's Guards have even been allowed on planet, let alone this close to the Imperial Palace. The propaganda suggests the presence of numerous cameras, and for a society of this magnitude, an AI watching everything going on."

Thrawn nodded gently. "My Guards will wait outside in a Secure location as you wish. However, I must insist they keep their weapons and armor. They will be of no issue, I assure - They will cooperate with every other order, and you will find no ill-will towards you or your people from myself, or from them." Thrawn stated. The Clones' indeed did comply with all orders except the handing over of their weapons and armor, and without hesitation moved to a more secure location when directed to do so, whether that be a tent, a shed, or simply off to the side of the building where they were away from the prying eyes of the public. But not from EVE.

"Rest assured, my purpose here is not to create tension, but to alleviate it. I will answer any and all questions you have for me, and hope that these negotiations will be fruitful for both sides." Thrawn added as he clasped his hands at the small of his back while they walked. His Stark White Grand Admiral's Uniform almost seemed to shine in the light of the Aschen building, and while surrounded by the others in the room. The Rank Insignia of the old Empire shined brightly, freshly polished on his chest. Analysis of Thrawn would reveal that he had no ill intent, and while he was in no way submissive to anything the Aschen were doing or intending to do, he was not threatening.

Thrawn's very nature was calm and collected, and he displayed that entirely. He could not help but let his eyes wander back to the propaganda strewn across the walls, and to the various artworks, if there were any, along the room as well. Just how much was Thrawn learning about the Aschen, and how much were they learning about him in return?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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The walk through the hall was rather short, and Zarek eventually led them all to a large conference room, bottles of ambrosia, pitchers of water, and glasses full of ice adorned the table, which was circular in shape.

At one end of the room was a large display of the Aschen Empire's flag, and a large telescreen where Big Brother's face was superimposed, as if he was watching the conference room.

In the center of the table, was a plastic model of a Reverence II, skillfully placed next to a model of an Executor class Super star destroyer.


The Bulbous Reverence II was a contrast to the sleek, arrowhead shape of the Executor, but the models were to scale, the Reverence II was almost twice the size of the Executor.

Once everyone was seated, EVE Chimed in Ayla's earpiece.

"Psychological tactic; position yourself behind Thrawn, oriented slightly to the right, make your presence known, and impose upon him, this can potentially serve to break his facade."

Shuffling some paperwork, Zarek cleared his throat, once everyone was seated.

"Tell me the process in which you became acting defense administrator for the TNG. I'm curious." Zarek said tapping some notes to his pad, the old fashioned Sagittaron opting to use pencil and paper.

Chaska, and Inviere quietly whispered amongst themselves in Anquietas, exchanging notes and listening to EVE in their earpiece.

"Who appointed you...? just to clear up a discrepancy in our records." Zarek added.

Tom Zarek was a smooth, charismatic man, but he had a sordid past as a member of the Sagittaron Resistance, responsible for a bombing that took many lives. He was a man who served his sentence in an Aschen prison, and opted to make change through government office.

His motives were always a mystery, and he was known even among the IIA as a treacherous man.

There was one empty chair at the conference, though, and it was soon to be filled by a young man, who offered the group a smile.

"Sire Zarek, Chairman Inviere... Minister Chaska... Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this meeting on such short notice." The man said smoothly. His eyes locked onto Thrawn's, but he, unlike the Aschen was cordial, all smiles as he offered Thrawn a cordial nod of his head.

"Grand Admiral Thrawn; you're a long way from the Galactic Empire; but none the less, I welcome an esteemed individual like yourself to our little corner of the universe. I have no weight on these discussions, I merely implored my esteemed colleagues within the Aschen Government to allow me to observe." He said, letting the words roll off his tongue. "I intend to serve as a... ah a neutral moderator for these proceedings."

The young man smiled towards Ayla, and then Zarek, whom looked briefly uncomfortable.

---

Outside the clones would be shown towards a hotel parking lot out of the public eye, there, Aschen adepts of war, towering hulks of powered armor stood waiting for them, an added precaution.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Second to last into the room, Ayla had opted instead to stand. It suited her role both as Confessor, and an observer of this meeting, it also reinforced her inherent aloof persona. She merely watched from behind her glass, an action heavily mirroring that of her mentor, as everyone shuffled about to find their seat. If the sudden "surprise" guest phased her however, she didn't show it, although she did afford the man an extremely subtle, but respectful nod. Suddenly her requested presence made a lot more sense.

At first she simply stuck to the background, standing still, and statuesque beside the massive flag display. A fitting place for a Confessor. Once EVE chirped in her ear however the fun could begin.

Moving languidly she pushed herself from the wall, and stalked over to the table. With great care she positioned herself uncomfortably close to Thrawn, just behind him and to the right as instructed. While Zarek, a man she barely trusted herself, and almost considered the graver of threats in the room spoke, she leaned in to the table. By no accident the heavy, velure-like fabric of her robes brushed against Thrawn's neck as she practically bent over his shoulder. "Excuse me, Grand Admiral," she offered with a predator's smile, but ice-cold tone. "I don't mean to intrude, but.."

She extended her left arm, the servos of her pristine exosuit issuing a barely audible whine as she reached for a bottle of Ambrosia. "My glass seems to have run unacceptably dry."

Taking no rush to pour herself a refill the other foreigner had joined the conversation by the time Ayla returned the bottle to the table. In much the same way, of course, and again excusing herself. Manners were paramount after all. She proceeded to lsten to the Taiyou gentleman intently, though she very pointedly refused to budge an inch from Thrawn's personal space. A sort of subtle eagerness set in as she awaited an update from EVE regarding their "guest." Maybe this wouldn't be quite so dreadfully boring after all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Thrawn's attention came almost immediately to the models of the Reverence II and the Executor SSD, and he picked up the Rev II model, examining it thoroughly, glowing red eyes taking in every crevice, weapon, hangar, etc. It wasn't until Ayla leaned over his shoulder that his attention was broken, and with a fluid wave of his hand, he removed the cloth from his shoulder that had hung off of her body. His expression however remained the same.

"They are beginning to hammer down with the questions, and an attempt to intimidate Thrawn. However, their attempts seem to backfire at the presence of a young man - whose presence seems to unnerve the otherwise stoic Aschen.

Thrawn placed the Model of the Reverence II down on the table again, and leaned back into his chair, relaxing ever so slightly so he could take in the whole scene before finally speaking to answer the questions asked of him. "A hyperspace anomaly brought me to this... Multiverse of worlds, putting me within jumping distance of Terra. Once I arrived at the planet, I was greeted by members of my own universe, and someone within their Parliament requested I join them as their Defense Administrator. They had heard of my exploits and battle prowess, it seemed." he explained. "I accepted the offer, and now find myself sitting here across from you." he added.

His stern gaze turned towards the young man, Shimizu Takayama, and he inclined his head in greeting; a slight nod. He did not know who this young man was, but his question had been sufficiently answered in Thrawn's explanation.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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"Intriguing..." Zarek replied, it seemed the Aschen delegation had nothing further to say, and in that silence, Shimizu made his own move.

Shimizu's eyes were placed solely upon Thrawn, the seated Taiyou Emperor quietly began to take in the Grand Admiral's every move, every subtle gesture. Even the motion of brushing the confessor's robes off his shoulder didn't go without notice.

Shimizu slowly, purposefully leaned forward to reach for the model of the Executor SSD, and in doing so, whether accidental, or intentional, exposed the wooden hilt of Tenchi-Ken, which to Thrawn would likely resemble a lightsaber hilt, the only differences being that Tenchi-ken was carved from some kind of wood, with three red circular gems embedded in the pommel.

Once he picked up the executor model, he looked over it with a hint of disdain, it was the symbol of excess, inefficient design, Shimizu cast his glance down upon the model much like a jeweler inspected a diamond, before returning to his seat, and placing the model down in front of him.

"I'm going to instruct my cabinet, and the Imperial General Headquarters to deploy two combat fleets into the Sol System, as well as deploy one hundred million soldiers of the Imperial Taiyou Army to the Shintenchi Islands in response to this buildup of forces... for the purposes of defense of course." Shimizu said cooly, unflinchingly.

His narrowed, chocolate eyes met Thrawn's, but there was a malice, Thrawn was staring into the eyes of a devious snake, rather than a paranoid Aschen. "I'll be shipping ten thousand tons of munitions, and materiel to the armies of the Shintenchi Shogunate, as well." Shimizu said, making every Aschen seated in the room visibly uncomfortable. "You understand, Grand Admiral, for the purposes of defense." The Taiyou Emperor said, inclining his head.

EVE's voice quietly chirped in Ayla's earpiece.

"Analysis... a Taiyou deployment of that magnitude would disrupt local trade, and the astral-political balance of power within the Sol System, and the surrounding local region, this escalation would also put the Aschen Empire in a precarious position. This would likely lead to further escalation, and the outbreak of an arms race-- a rethink is necessary... Advice; Inquire as to what the Aschen Empire would gain for allowing this buildup of Terran forces..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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The Confessor very much agreed with EVE's assement, especially as she caught the subtle, but murderous glint in the Taiyou's eye. However to openly question, or contradict the sitting Emperor of Niihama would have its own repercussions. Ayla swirled her Amborisa for a moment, taking a second of the tense silence to plot her verbal course. Kesslee had not fully prepared her for politicking, but a life time of lies would hopefully be enough to suffice.

It had to be.

"Well now," she opted to speak first, shooting Zarek, and Chaska a quick glance. If they were going to tip-toe around the obvious that was their prerogative, but she had no intent. "As always you show great prudence, Emperor Shimizu," she did however have to maintain the appearance of respect. "But unfortunately such a pragmatic course is currently hinged on an assumption. And a large one at that."

Her heavy, gauntleted right hand fell onto Thrawn's shoulder, and gave a feather light, "friendly" squeeze. Even without the Exo she was more than capable of denting the hull of a starship, so such delicacy took great restraint. "And that is that such a build up of forces even occurs to begin with." Taking another slow sip, she gave the foreigner a moment to digest her words. Ayla had no doubts that Thrawn was foolish enough to assume he'd simply get what he wanted for asking, but a reminder never hurt.

Continuing with a purr, she purposely left her hand where it was, "You see, by far the most important question has yet to be answered. Or even asked, in fact, so allow me to cut to the chase if you will. What do we, the Aschen Empire, have to gain from letting a far flung, often violently rebellious, and politically disrespectful faction amass strength of arms? We do not tend to shoot our own feet, after all."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Thrawn's eyes took in everything as usual. From what appeared to be a lightsaber in the Taiyou Emperor's sleeve, to the hand that now rested on his shoulder, and the close watch Shizumu had on him as well. He inclined his head slightly in order to get a better view of the hilt a bit, but it was a subtle move, and only lasted a second before he returned his head to its natural position. His glowing red eyes met Shimizu's, and narrowed slightly.

"The Taiyou speaks with Authority, and is likely the Emperor based on his words. Or at least high Military Governor of a province within the Empire. He is devious and cunning - testing the waters to see what Thrawn will do. To see what the Aschen will do." Thrawn's eyes then trailed to the Aschen in the room, watching their reactions. "The Aschen are entirely uncomfortable with this announcement, and are now more open to working with Thrawn to revive the TNG Military - at a price."

Thrawn leaned forward slightly, resting his forearms on the table while bringing his hands together at the fingertips, forming a steeple of sorts, and his gaze shifted back to Shimizu. "Of course I understand the need for protecting your people. At the same time, however, allow me to reply with this: I have no intention of harming any Taiyou or Aschen people on Terra that are not openly hostile and committing acts of Terrorism. I of course ultimately cannot stop you from doing what you see fit to protect your people, but I can ask you this: Do you really think it is wise to send that many resources to Terra? Surely that money could be spent on Infrastructure or healthcare, or the building and training of a better military force of your own?" Thrawn gestured gently with an open palm towards Shimizu. His tone remained neutral. He was not suggesting the Taiyou Military as weak or lacking in the slightest, but the fact that improvement was always possible was true, no matter who looked at it. Even the Emperor of the Galactic Empire could see that through his Sith Hubris - to an extent.

He then turned his attention to the question the Aschen provided him with next, slightly turning his head towards the Confessor to lock eyes with hers. His eyes, as they had been the entire time, were stern and just. However they were perceptive and knowledgeable. One must be careful when under his gaze. "The safety of the Aschen people already on Terra, and of Aschen Trade ships supplying them with Aschen goods to be sold. The protection of course not being from the Taiyou." Thrawn paused - he needed to be careful with his next words, lest he set off a war with Terra in the center of it.

"To do so would be to provoke the Taiyou Shogunate on Terra, and by extension the Taiyou Empire. However at the same time to leave your vessels and people unguarded would only serve to provoke the Aschen into eliminating Terra's already weak ability to defend itself. Likewise, such a build up of Taiyou Forces is cause for alarm to the Aschen, who may send their own fleet and army to counter-act this build up. Leaving Terra in the middle of a crossfire that could be entirely avoided.". His eyes and head came back to center, looking at everyone at the table.

"If I or the TNG wanted to start a war, this meeting would never have taken place. The build up I am openly suggesting would likely have already taken place, and the treaty would have been ignored." he stated plainly. The volume of his voice rose ever so slightly as he projected his voice. His point was clear, and he was correct in his statement. No one could refute that.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: Kazundo Gōda Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla
  1. No need to tag Goda outside of this post, as he's left the room.

    by barney_fife

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Shimizu kept his gaze silently fixed on Thrawn, upon his glowing red eyes, as he offered his response. This Thrawn was questioning Shimizu's allocation of resources. This was laughable at best, but at worst... this produced a marked narrowing of Shimizu's eyes, as he quietly shifted in his seat, then raised his hand, and snapped his fingers.

The door on the far end of the conference room opened, and a scarred, deformed, rather imposing Taiyou man in solid black stepped inside.

"Tennoheika." He said, offering a deep bow.

"Umibōzu-desu o okutte, kare ga shitte iru koto o mitsuke, sorekara kare ga shinu no o mimasu." He said aloud to the other man, there was no change in expression among either, and the words spoken were without inflection, and carefully chosen.

"Hai, Wakarimashita." The scarred man said in response. The taller man offered a bow, and then promptly turned to leave through the door in which he came.

Shimizu's eyes went back towards Thrawn, before reaching into his belt, and withdrawing Tenchi-Ken, placing it on the table directly in front of him.

This blade made every Aschen visibly uncomfortable, but Shimizu simply kept his eyes on Thrawn. "This is the single most powerful construct in the known universe, it is called Tenchi-Ken, the Sword of Heaven and Earth. I couldn't help but notice you eyeing it, Grand Admiral. I assure you this is no lightsaber."

The three gems glinted in the light of the room, before Shimizu's eyes went to the Aschen, whom kept largely silent, then back to Thrawn. "The Taiyou Empire, and the Aschen Empire are not enemies, but esteemed allies in mutual aim to bring peace, and prosperity to the galaxy at large. Forces of the AXIS Cooperation Forces, including those of the Taiyou Empire work vigilantly to ensure the protection of all trade vessels from piracy, and privateering; to insinuate otherwise is an insult." The Taiyou Emperor replied. "Furthermore, you will address me as Ten'nō-heika. Anything else, and I shall have you struck down. Do I make myself clear?" Shimizu inquired, letting his gaze soften back into a smile.

"My esteemed colleagues of the Aschen Empire... perhaps a mutual proposition that will benefit all parties. You will be permitted to have a Self Defense Force, in the absolute strictest sense of the word, until the superiors of your government negotiate a more... mutually beneficial treaty." Shimizu proposed.

Zarek promptly interjected. "We demand to be allowed weapons inspectors, and the locations of your shipyards!" The Aschen Sire called out.

He was however silenced, as Shimizu raised his hand to speak.

"I will bring the Soja to Terra, where I may begin a peace tour, to personally inspect your new army." Shimizu said cooly. "Do you find these terms objectionable?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: Kazundo Gōda Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Ayla stayed silent as Shimizu dominated the negotiations. She'd expected no less from the man what little of his reputation, and the delicate political web of both nations she knew of. But mostly it was Thrawn's own words that stayed her tongue, and increased her grip. They echoed through her still damaged mind, reverberating off of every dark, shattered recess with discomfort. She knew a threat when she heard one, no matter how "carefully" veiled it was. "The safety of the Aschen on Terra.." It left her only vaguely aware of Goda's presence, though thanks to an eidetic memory it wasn't an issue.

Tenchi-Ken being placed on the table caught her eye though, snapping her out of the brief brood just long enough. It was, in truth, a beautiful thing, and whether or not it was truly the "most powerful weapon in creation" was well beyond her. She could absolutely feel the power it emminanted though. Like a buzzing in the back of her skull, and up her teeth. The havoc she could cause with such a thing..

Again she returned her attention to the meeting, just in time for Zarek's outburst. He seemed prone to emotionality to the Confessor, and Ayla didn't doubt ulterior motives beyond even that of the IIA were at play with him. Inspectors were usually a forgone conclusion in such negotiations, so his insistence raised a flag. Perhaps he was in need of a private conversation himself later. But first things first.

"The Soja.." she mused, recalling the Aschen intelligence the Cabal had gathered on it. A more impressive ship had yet to be built, although Thrawn would be hard pressed to be aware of that fact. As much as Shimizu's obvious plan alarmed her it was better for both empires if the severity was left understated. "That would certainty be a sight, Ten'nō-heika," it was hard to keep the annoyance from her tone, but Ayla managed. Barely. "I've heard your peace tours are quite legendary. Terra would be honoured indeed, and I applaud your effort." There was a "but" coming, and the Confessor made no effort to hide it.

"However," she said with a cluck of the tongue, her fingers now digging in to Thrawn's shoulder. "I will not tolerate a threat to the Aschen Empire, or her innocent civilians manning their posts abroad." She glared down at Thrawn, leveling her comment directly at him, and not Shimizu. "'The safety of the Aschen on Terra?'" Snarled the Confessor, setting her glass down next to Thrawn with exaggerated care. "Do you think me deaf? My colleagues dull of mind? You come here claiming peace, and yet you brought guns to our capital. You have spoke of war!"

Her anger was clearly rising, and cracks were beginning to form in her detached persona. The violence within was going to leak at this rate.

"You have made threats, several, and thinly veiled! There is no "protection" your paultry backwater can offer us, nor any harm it can inflict. Such arrogant posturing is exactly why the Shintenchi Shogunate keeps weapons of mass destruction aimed at every Terran city!"

She released the Defense Minister, breaking from his side with a sweeping stride. She moved elegantly now, and with a speed far beyond that of a standard human, coming to a stop in front of the display with Big Brother's visage. She clasped her hands behind her back, and stared up at the massive screen in contemplation. It was difficult for Ayla to reel her rage in, the procedure Marlene had performed helped, yes, but not enough. Nothing stopped the need for battle, and inflicting pain.

After a moment she spoke again, now with a forced calm that barely hid the storm beneath. "So I will ask you once more, a mercy rarely granted by a Confessor Minister Thrawn, and your answer will determine much. What does the Aschen Empire stand to gain from this?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Thrawn's Jaw tightened and his eyes narrowed as the second Taiyou entered the room, and his eyes moved to the Tenchi-Ken intently as Shimizu spoke. His gaze softened slightly as he looked to the Aschen in the room, even towards the Confessor, who seemed to be throwing an almost childish fit with her unstable emotions running amok. As Shimizu finished talking, Thrawn returned his gaze to the young Emperor, and his eyes narrowed ever so slightly, his gaze becoming hard.

Shimizu's change of mood and sudden dominance has changed the mood of the room. The Aschen have all gone stiff under their clothing, and have become extremely uncomfortable. The Young Emperor's Dominance attempts to overtake Thrawn. Regardless, the agreement of a Defense Force for Terra is being reached."

Thrawn smiled. For once, he smiled, and his visage of stern, unwavering determination was cracked.

"You will have your weapons inspectors, and as soon as the Shipyards are built within the Sol System you will be given their locations. I assure you, the Terran Self Defense Force will meet your... parameters." Thrawn answered Zarek's demands almost dismissively. Shimizu had his attention now.

"As you wish, Ten'nō-heika. But in that respect, I must also request you address me solely as Grand Admiral. Equal Respect Given as it is Received. The Taiyou are a respect and honor driven society after all." Thrawn paused. Shimizu was different. His smile faded, and he straightened his posture. He wasn't backing down from that demand, and a rivalry was born between the Chiss Grand Admiral, and the young Taiyou Emperor.

Turning his attention to the Confessor, Thrawn's smile completely faded, and his stern visage returned. He smoothed out his uniform where her unwanted hand had been, and lowered his tone. Now he was establishing dominance. "Chiss do not make Idle Threats. I have not made a threat, nor a promise, of harm to the Aschen people on Terra. What I have made is a proposal that would logically put the minds of Aschen leaders at ease. You have proven me wrong." His tone had become stinging, like a whip. He wasn't wrong, and surely even the Aschen big-wigs could see childishness in the Confessor's outburst.

Thrawn stood smoothly as he was addressed as Minister - something that was not correct. He didn't bother correcting her - she would only lash out like a child again. "My proposal remains the same. A Terran Defense Force would stand to defend everyone on Terra. Terran, Taiyou, and Aschen like, from outside harm. Granted that there is little to no hostility between each respective people..." his Crimson eyes trailed to Shimizu. The Young Emperor's devious games were beginning to be unravel before Thrawn, and he was working to pick the man apart in his mind. "...I speak of war because of how often it happens on Terra. I speak of peace because ultimately that is the goal of all life: To live in Peace. However Everyone in this room knows that without a strong Force of War, Peace can rarely be achieved.

"You, however, have tried and failed to intimidate me throughout this entire process by strategically placing yourself behind me, invading my personal space, and even going as far as to lay a hand on my person."
Thrawn walked away from his seat, pulling gently on the bottom of his tunic to straighten out the wrinkles, before clasping his hands behind his back and stopping near a window to observe the city. "Your presence is likewise a threat to my existence. A ploy by the Aschen in order to gain dominance over these negotiations. Something taken by Ten'nō-heika.".

He turned to look over his shoulder, glowing red eyes taking in the scene behind him. Killing him would only spark an incident, and while both Aschen and Taiyou could easily swat any Terran reaction to such an action, the political nightmare of dealing with the death of an unarmed diplomat, in this case, was something many would rather not deal with. Thrawn was playing a very dangerous game.

Image


"The Aschen and Taiyou both will be allowed as many inspectors as they wish for anything within the Terran Defense Force. From training to manufacturing. Trade and Transport of the previously mentioned weapons and troops will be allowed to proceed without hindrance. The location of the Terran Defense Force's Shipyards will be openly provided once they are built, andp perhaps most importantly: My Colleagues and I representing the Terran National Government will be allowed to leave Aschen Space unhindered." he finally turned to face them fully, having gone over what has been agreed upon, or demanded in much of it, of himself and the hope for a revived and bolstered Terran Defense Force. His hands remained behind his back, his expression remained stern, and his eyes swept the room's occupants. "Are we agreed?" he asked cordially, lifting his chin slightly, his eyebrows lifting.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Shimizu kept his gaze affixed to the Grand Admiral, even as he moved from his seat, his movements about the room, his survey of the cityscape before them, none of these details were missed by the young Emperor, his keen eyes trained to follow even the most subtle of twitches.

"Even as weak as he was... my father would have struck this man down on his insolence alone..." Shimizu quietly mused to himself.

"Your defense force is useless to me." Shimizu retorted. "They would protect nothing more than Terra's own interests." The Emperor added, slowly rising to his feet, his hands moving to smooth down the wrinkles of his suit, which was accented by a bold, bright red tie.

All Aschen eyes were on the Confessor, on Thrawn.

"Analysis... your psychological tactics have begun to unnerve the Grand Admiral, by moving from his seat, he has demonstrated marked uncomfortableness... I will continue monitoring... and adjusting fidelity for physiological readings..." EVE Chirped in Ayla's ear.

"Recommendation; Maintain your presence. Even though the Taiyou Emperor seeks to head these negotiations; you are a Confessor, the right hand of our Emperor, Shimizu Takayama has no authority here. You must exercise caution with this judgement..."


"Update: I have detected coded bitstream signals originating from this location... destination... the ITN Soja." EVE Added.

"Analyzing.... Code deciphered... Orders have been disseminated to the crew of the Soja to retrieve Emperor Shimizu, and then proceed to Terra... Deciphering encrypted Taiyou Cybercomms... The 1st Imperial Armada under Admiral Hideauzu has been dispatched from Niihama... and will arrive in Sol in three weeks." EVE Continued, revealing the machinations of the Taiyou to Ayla.

"To insinuate that we would not allow you, or your colleagues to leave unhindered is an insult, Grand Admiral." Chairman Inviere spoke up. "If trust runs that thin... perhaps it is not in the best interests to the Aschen Empire to allow this army of yours to come to fruition... it would neither be tactically sound, or strategically advantageous..." The Aschen woman replied, tapping her pen on the paper. She was firm in her resolve, but Shimizu, and the presence of the Confessor unnerved her.

"To that end, Terra is a sovereign nation, recognized to that extent... and your government will do what it wills; but understand there will be consequences."

"Your proposal still needs to be ratified by our governments..." Zarek spoke up, reaching his hand out to take a glass of ambrosia, pouring himself some of the bittersweet liquid. "And yours... I'll need to transmit them to the TNG Delegation, and our Quorum to be ratified during the TNG State visit..." The Sire added.

Shimizu slowly made his way over towards Thrawn, clasping his own hands behind his back, matching the Grand Admiral's pose.

"We have territories on Terra..." Shimizu said softly. "Takara Sato is a fiercely loyal Shogun, and personal friend. Her father is a hero to the Taiyou; but her people in the Shintenchi Shogunate are starving, she detests the Terran National Government, and the discontent of her people threaten to boil over." The young Emperor explained, keeping his inflection monotone, devoid of any emotion. "If your insolence continues to try my patience... Grand Admiral... I will inevitably find myself unable to assuage their discontent." The young Emperor said softly, inclining his head. "You understand." He added, venom seeping from his words in a thinly veiled threat. The Shoguns were absolutely loyal to the Emperor, a fact Shimizu knew.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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"The Chiss are an idle threat," whispered the Confessor. So faintly it was to herself, but cathartic all the same. She kept her eyes on the display of Big Brother as the sub-human prattled, not blinking until she heard Shimizu rise. In truth she was only half aware of his reprimand of Thrawn, though greatly approving. Someone needed to lay out the man's place, and with the Taiyou's domination of the negotiations she felt ill equipped. Luckily that was about to be remedied.

EVE suddenly reentered the conversation, even if only on Ayla's ear, and the Confessor listened intently.

The cold, pre-calculated machinations of Niihama didn't surprise her - not in the least. Anyone with half a mind, and a drop of political savvy would've been well aware that Shimizu Takayama didn't simply "show up." She needed to act swiftly with the information EVE provided, but she couldn't risk issuing an order. Not here, not in earshot of the Emperor himself, because Brother-only-knew of he spoke Anquietas, or not. She didn't let it get to her though, the Bïfrost meant an Aschen vanguard could easily arrive first.

More importantly though was the pep talk the A.I have her, no matter how brief. Ayla had yet to "grow into her robes," so to speak, and it left her timid in the presence of a dragon like Shimizu. The last thing she wanted to do was trigger a war, or dispute with their "ally," but..

"But this isn't about you," she realized. "You are not Tim, you are not Kesslee, you are not even the broken tool called 'Ayla' here. You are a Confessor. The right hand of Prince indeed, and in his absence your voice ceases, and becomes his. Would Isambard cower, or stay his tongue?"

"No," replied Ayla rather flatly as she broke the intervening silence in the wake of Shimizu's threat. "We are not in agreement yet, Defense Minister Thrawn. You still have yet to offer us anything at all, let alone anything of value." She pivoted to face the room again, her expression set in calm, but brutal determination. The man had trespassed too far, and it was time he learned how to adress his betters. "You have failed to notice the three most important aspects of this negotiation, so allow me to enlighten you." She strode back to the table, again a hunter stalking its prey, this time though she did not deign to fill her own glass. Instead she slid it over toward Zarek. "Fill it," intoned the Confessor, not even bothering to make eye contact, or wait for a response. There would only be one if the man valued his life.

Turning her focus back to Thrawn, and Shimizu she offered the latter a respectful bow. This was the difficult part, and she had to tip-toe here. "Firstly Ten'nō-heika is indeed a powerful man, but this treatie is Aschen, not Taiyou. I, as the highest representative of the Aschen Empire in this room, will most definitely take his council, and desires to heart. His peace tour is non-negotiable from here on out, but to seek his permission over ours in this matter is an insult."

She rose back to her full height, and since everyone else seemed to be, straightened her robes as well. The gesture had revealed much of her Exo.

"Secondly my presence here is to speak for His Grace when he cannot, or will not lower himself to deal with sub-human garbage personally. You, and your kind are an affront to his senses Thrawn, and you extremely luckily he dispatched me. Emperor Prince would've strangled you himself for your insolence. To imply I serve any other purpose is not only disrespectful, but grounds for me to revoke your status as a diplomat."

This contemptuous creature had clearly not done his homework on the Aschen, they had little patience, but much arrogance. Few surpassed a Confessor in either, or in autonomy, and power.

"Lastly you are not unlike a rude beggar in this matter. From the very start you've attempted to weasel out from under a hard won treatie, wrought in the blood of Aschen martyr-heroes, while offering us nothing. Since you refuse, I will take our price myself. You may have your little fleet, under two ironclad conditions, as well as the aforementioned inspectors. The first, since you're so keen on the pressing safety of Sol the Aschen will dispatch a fleet to serve as Protectorate until your fleet is finished. As well as a reinforcing contigent for Tech Con after the recent anti-Aschen hate crime in Van Leugen, and the myriad of native terrorist forces. Consider it..A sign of good faith. On all our parts."

The entire time Ayla spoke she left her hands clasped, and her eyes boring into the back of Thrawn's skull. He wasn't even worth a face-to-face conversation. He never had been.

"Secondly, no ship you build will have weaponry capable of penetrating an Aschen cruzier's shielding, or hull. Consider that your personal idiot tax."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Thrawn turned his body back to the city-scape, and his head to the Taiyou Emperor, and his lips were tugged with another smile. "Despite his impatience with Thrawn, he has, at least for now, agreed to return the respect being given to him. The Young Emperor recognizes Thrawn as a threat.

This is fine."


He would simply give a nod of his head to Shimizu, showing his complete understanding of the young man's words. "Then perhaps I can work to ease that distrust. If your people on Terra are truly having such troubles, it would only serve to form a positive bond between your Shogun and the TNG if the latter were to open trade and provide food and water." Thrawn responded in the same low voice, so that only the young man would hear.

Thrawn turned to face the rest of the room."To bring sheer unadulterated insult to a diplomatic meeting is something I did not think even the Aschen representatives would stoop to. No... No indeed they have not. My meeting is -" Thrawn's eye then caught Zarek's, and as the man filled the glass for the Confessor, Thrawn saw the fear. Blinking slowly, Thrawn trailed his eyes back to the Confessor, a new level of understanding filling him. "She is not all boast and temper. The Aschen have not spoken due to their fear of her... and reverence of their Emperor. Thrawn will be hard pressed to win her over."/color]

To Chairman Inviere Thrawn spoke next. [color=Navy]"I do apologize. But the errant hostility fuming in this room leads me to think otherwise. You understand, I'm sure."
Thrawn felt the Confessor's eyes boring into his skull, and yet his mood did not change.

Finally, Thrawn, with his hands still clasped behind his back, strode towards his seat again, stopping behind it. "The Aschen Dignitaries feel as though they have lost all say in matters within these negotiations. The Confessor's numerous outbursts and claims of dominance have seen to that. Regardless of that, she is letting her arrogance, rather than reason, speak, and should not be taken seriously - Above all that, however, her closeness to the Aschen Emperor cannot be ignored."

He turned his head towards the insufferably racist woman, and clasped his hands behind his back once more as he narrowed those glowing red eyes. "To agree to your last term negates the point of having a Defense Fleet. In the event of hostilities between the Terran National Government and the Aschen Empire, there would be no contest. As a Commander of this proposed Navy, I cannot allow such a grievous disadvantage to be placed on it.

"The fact of the matter is that despite the strength of any fleet Terra builds for itself, I will be unable to fully ensure victory against the Aschen or Taiyou Empires. To engage in any sort of hostilities would only end in the destruction of Terra, her resources, and her economy. Surely you of all people recognize the importance of Strength. That is your purpose here: To project strength and prevent me from gaining any sort of upper hand in the negotiations. Not simply to insult me for not being Human or Aschen.

"With a level head, let us get to the bottom of this conundrum. Since you seem to know more of what Terra has to offer in return for this agreement, you tell me: What would be a worthy trade?"
Thrawn's tone evened out, becoming more cordial with each passing word. It was far from soothing... but it was something.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Shimizu quietly watched the Confessor, but was more amused at Thrawn's insolence, which seemed to provoke even more of a response from the Confessor in the room.

Shimizu wasn't the least bit concerned, but his eyes were on Thrawn; he didn't respect this Chiss one bit, the mighty Grand Admiral was but a meager ant before him, and Thrawn's response had the young Emperor raising but a single eyebrow.

"Takara Sato would sooner burn your cities to ash, than take handouts, putting her shogunate in a position that it would have to rely on your government; she despises the TNG." Shimizu commented rather abruptly, as he turned to look out the window, noting that Ayla was becoming more, and more belligerent.

She reminded Shimizu that this was indeed an Aschen negotiation, not a Taiyou one.

Shimizu returned Ayla's bow with a bow of his own, and a soft smile. "You're right, honorable Confessor, an error I will gladly rectify."

Shimizu then widened his smile slightly, turning back to Thrawn.

"I'll invite you aboard my ship, the Sōja... hmm very pleasant place" Shimizu said. "There, the two of us can engage in our own negotiations in earnest!" The Taiyou Emperor said, with his face contorted into a wicked grin.

"Azaka! Kamidake! We're leaving." The Emperor said aloud, before promptly turning to leave.

The tension in the room lifted as Shimizu departed, returning negotiations back into the control of the Aschen, whom have been silently observing everything that was going on.

Chaska, Zarek, and Inviere silently considered everything that had been transpiring, it was Chaska, who decided to break the ice, and speak up. "I believe the final details of any proposition must be considered by all the interested parties." The Aschen Defense Minister explained.

"These proceedings have bred nothing but animosity, and to be frank, your existence offends us, Alien." Chaska said venomously. "You, and your guards are an affront to everything we stand for."

She kept her tone neutral, but admonishing.

"We will consider your proposals, and bring them before your government, and our own... but as it stands, while we indeed invited you here for discourse. perhaps it would be in everyone's best interests, if you, and your guards.. left this world with all due haste, and we would gladly welcome you... if you decided not to openly offend our sensibilities." The Aschen Minister explained, before rising to her own feet.

"I would be pleased if you accepted a fruit basket, as a token of our thanks for your participation... as we consider your proposal more in depth."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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"That sounds like a prudent coarse of action," added the Confessor. The whole room felt lighter without Shimizu, although his offer of a private negotiation with Thrawn was deeply troubling for two reasons. First, that man was a snake through, and through, as well as the single most powerful man in all of the Andromeda System. It didn't bode well. Secondly she'd be damned if the Taiyou would be the ones to kill the haughty Chiss instead of her.

In fact the second she was out of the conference room she'd be arranging for the use of Terran-side IIA assets, as well the deployment of several hitsquads to secure, torture, and murder the bulk of Thrawn's closest confidants. He would be made to suffer before his, now quite inevitable, death.

"I'll arrange for fellow members of the Cabal to escourt you to your ship, Thrawn. And don't worry about any improprieties on our part, once Sire Zarek, Defense Minister Chaska, and Admiral Inviere have had time to discuss these matters with deligates from the Qurom I will personally present your offer to His Grace." She turned to face the alien once more, offering him a smile that simply oozed with contempt. "Please give your Prime Minister my sincerest regards, and if I may be so bold, a bit of heartfelt advice. The next time she, or Wing City desires something of the Aschen, it would be be wise if they sent someone who wasn't completely ignorant in reguards to our culture. Or in general for that matter, to negotiate."

With that she gestured towards the door, making it clear just how over the meeting was. She herself began to stride towards it, eager to proceed with her own agenda. If things panned out the way she was hoping, or more accurately if she could sell her idea to Prince well enough, she'd be on Terra herself within the week. She longed to return to that cesspit of the inferior, and prove herself. Anything at all to wipe away the shame of her still too recent failure.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sire Thomas Zarek Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Helene Chaska Character Portrait: Sheila Nagala Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Confederation Protection Force Character Portrait: Imperial Defense Force Character Portrait: Éclaire Hanley Character Portrait: E.V.E. Character Portrait: Mitth'raw'nuruodo Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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"Thank you, Ten'nō-heika. I will look forward to our meeting in the future." Thrawn said as the Taiyou Emperor dismissed himself. So, the Shogunate was not going to accept help she so obviously needed, and yet again the Aschen only continue to insult him. He was beginning to see the absolute and total need for the Terran Defense Force to be as strong as it could be. And why there was a stigma about the Taiyou and Aschen people's alike. Thrawn observed the lightening of the mood as Shimizu left, and his dull expression turned grim as the Aschen continued to openly insult him, and basically kick him out. He said nothing in return for a while, as the Confessor began to speak as well.

He should not have agreed to come here without more knowledge on the Aschen way of life. This experience, however, was very enlightening for the Chiss Grand Admiral. If Aschen politics were like this, then he could quite easily gain an understanding of their military doctrine, and of their tactics in combat both on the Ground, and in Space. He would build the Terran Defense Fleet to combat both Taiyou and Aschen alike. How to do so without making it obvious however, would prove to be the difficulty.

As they essentially kicked him out, Thrawn's glowing red eyes narrowed slightly, and he nodded. "I thank you for your patience, then, with my apparent insolence and very existence. I do hope that we can eventually come to see Eye to Eye with a more... Level Disposition. I will accept your fruit basket, if you truly intend to offer one. And I will take my Personal Guard with me to my ship." he offered a slight bow to the Aschen Dignitaries. Knowing he was being watched still, his stone-cold expression did well to hide his negative thoughts and emotions for the Aschen and their intolerance.

The Confessor did nothing to hide her contempt, and when Thrawn made Eye Contact with her one last time before leaving, he shot her a look that stated that were this situation any different, the Negotiations would likely also be very productive for the Terran National Government. He walked himself out of the building, waiting for an escort, and his Guard were waiting outside the front door for him.

They would form their protective formation around him, and as usual they were silent. They were however doubly alert adrenal levels heightened in preparation for a possible attack on Thrawn. They knew him well enough to know that these negotiations did not go anywhere near as intended, and that his very presence may have only made things worse for the Terran National Government. Hoping that was not the case, he and his Personal Guard were transported back to their drop-ship, silently climbed aboard, and took off back for the Chimaera. The Star Destroyer still showed signs of damage after the Purgill incident, but otherwise was fully operational.

With a course set for Terra, she came about, and jumped away.

The setting changes from caprica-city to Special Projects HQ

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mantrid Character Portrait: Isambard Prince Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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It was strange, almost surreal, to walk the halls of the Special Projects HQ again. To Ayla it was a lot like returning to the hospital she was born in, not that her home world even had such amenities. This pilgrimage was far more litetal as well, the very tube that remade her was probably still on, an functioning just s few rooms away. She passed through the halls in silence, head tilted down to stare at her own feet the whole way. She was barely aware of each guard she passed, each salute given, or gotten along the way. Too deep down the rabbithole of her own mind to care.

A small part of her wanted to reach out, and nudge EVE. The A.I was by, and large the most stable pillar in her life these days. Ever present reliability had an oddly reassuring affect on the Confessor, a side effect of a chaotic, isolated life no doubt.

She couldn't bring herself to, though, not even as she passed a large, crumpled dent in the reinforced steel wall. The closest thing she had to a birthmark. She realized she was becoming reliant on the A.I as her desire to reach out peaked. The very fabric of her being fought it tooth, and nail. It was weakness, softness, and most of all disturbing. EVE wasn't real, wasn't a person, hell it was oppressive surveillance equipment with a deliberately soothing voice. That made her chuckle a little, startling the guard she happened to be passing by.

"Inhuman birds of a feather," thought the Confessor as she offered the man a reassuring smile. Feigning pleasentness was one of the first things Kesslee taught her. "Carry on, soldier," she intoned.

The rest of the walk was a blurr, and it wasn't long before she was within sight of Prince. Her heart unabashedly skipped as she attempted eye contact with her defacto master. Being near him always strengthened her resolve, made her want to prove herself as much as possible with every deed - and drowned her in shame. It had been like that ever since..Since.. She shook her head, closing the gap between them with a hurried stride.

"My Lord," Ayla bowed respectfully, although in truth part of her didn't want to meet Prince's gaze up close, and personal like this. She didn't want to see the contempt she felt she deserved, not from the man who gave her a chance. A purpose. "It is..Good to see you again, your Grace." She straightened out quickly, and "inconspicuously" busied herself righting her robes. "But I must admit, this is quite the surprise. I was told to report to Mantrid without warning, or reason. I didn't expect you of all people to be here."

She had in fact expected Kesslee, and was quite thankful he wasn't there. She couldn't face him, not yet, not even remotely. Ayla hadn't even spoken to the Grand Confessor yet.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mantrid Character Portrait: Isambard Prince Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Prince remained silent, considering the future of the Empire, pondering it's magnitude, and his own plans for the future as well. The Confessor had proven herself to him, and through deliberation with Hagan, and Kesslee, through EVE, he was ready for her to begin the next step.

"You have become one of our most treasured instruments, Confessor." Prince said, moving towards a door that was closed tightly, the door to the labs known as Project Daedalus.

"You have carried out the will of the living state, unflinchingly." Prince said calmly, reassuringly as the door opened with an audible hiss, revealing a sterile white laboratory inside, a single bed where the procedure was to take place, beside it, bags of a strange blue substance, that seemed to shimmer in the fluorescent light.

Mantrid was making his final preparations, a his white labcoat fluttering with his movements.

"You will shed your armor, and be the first to harvest the fruits of Project Daedalus." Prince said, gesturing towards the room. "And then... you will be set loose against the one who calls himself Thrawn, along with all those who serve him, and his family, those closest to him... you will be set loose with my blessing."

Prince slowly turned towards the Confessor.

"He must be silenced; for the good of the living state, for the good of Big Brother."

Taking a breath, the Emperor continued.

"This procedure will grant you abilities beyond your wildest imagination, abilities you must hone to a razor's edge if you are to succeed."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mantrid Character Portrait: Isambard Prince Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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The sudden praise shocked Ayla, and it took no marginal amount of effort to maintain her cold composure as Prince opened the door. This sort of thing was as foreign as possible to her, Lochlyn had been the sort of man to issue a merciless beating for an assassination carried out flawlessly after all. All to maintain his imposed sense of superiority, and mask his fear of those beneath him rising up in revolt. Prince couldn't have been more different, and Ayla couldn't help but genuinely admire him in the moment. Everything other "Emperors," even Shimizu, proclaimed about themselves, Prince truly was. He had real confidence, an honest, unflinching sense of security.

What others wore as masks he embodied, and for a moment Ayla was saddened by his impending abdication.

Still, gathering her thoughts, and swelling with pride, she cast a careful glance around the room. She'd never even heard of this project, which immediately gave it a sense of gravity, and with how uncomfortable the glowing fluid made her, she knew it must've been under the absolute pinnacle of information security. Possibly even arcane by the way her skin crawled, although maybe that was just being near Mantrid. He still gave her the creeps, although a begrudging respect for the man had set in over time. Her Adept capabilities merited it.

Ayla took a hesitant step in, unsure of how to feel about the phrase 'abilities beyond the wildest imaginations." The image of Marlene sprang to her mind immediately, but she did her best to push such worries aside. This opportunity was, if she was being honest, exactly what she wanted. Since the incident she'd pushed herself to the limit, and beyond. When given a task she wouldn't eat, sleep, or relent a step until it was complete, straining even her transhuman physiology to a point of breaking. More than once EVE had to coerice her into basic self-care.

Finally finding her voice, Ayla asked the only thing she could: "Truly your Grace? Me?" As hard as she worked to wash the stain of her failure away, and as much as she had craved a chance like this, the thought of it actually happening was never more than a dream to her. "I cannot imagine I deserve such an honour, but you know what I do not."

"I will undergo whatever you ask of me, especially to better carry out the will of the Empire...And to crush Thrawn." Doing as she was bid, Ayla walked over the table, and went about disrobing for whatever Mantrid had in store.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mantrid Character Portrait: Isambard Prince Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Prince maintained his stone faced expression while Mantrid made final preparations for the procedure to begin.

Slowly, the scientist reached for the bag of dark blue chemicals, as well as a few assorted vials of other liquids, one of them happened to be blood, cleansed of proteins, and other antigens.

Once Ayla had finished disrobing, Mantrid moved closer, resting a hand on her shoulder to ease her towards the chair.

"We'll start with a small infusion of genetic material, followed by nanomachines designed to copy and paste the new genetic material into your genome." Mantrid explained. "Pure Alteran genes harvested from Marlene Angel post Ascension." Mantrid said with a smile.

"We'll follow up with a mind enhancing drug, to fully unlock your newfound potential."

Prince moved swiftly towards a plate of blast resistant glass, as Mantrid moved to ease Ayla into the chair.

"The procedure is painless; are we ready?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mantrid Character Portrait: Isambard Prince Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Mantrid's hands felt cold on her bare skin, forcing an involuntary shudder from Ayla. Most people operated at a much lower temperature than her due to her slew of augments, but the scientist's fingers were like icy death. Or maybe that was just fear? Either way, as Mantrid explained the procedure Ayla laid back on the exam table, and did her best to maintain her outward calm. Learning that her assumption about Marlene being involved didn't exactly help with that, and the thought of sharing the woman's genome wasn't exactly thrilling. A thousand questions flew through her mind.

"Will I no longer be any part of my native species?" She asked, purposely holding back her more pressing questions. Will that make Marlene my sister? Or would I be a progeny? Will I go crazier?

She locked her gaze with Prince through the glass, offering him nothing but an expression set in steely determination. It made perfect sense now, this was obviously insanely dangerous, and bleeding edge, almost science fiction, even for the Aschen. Her Emperor probably expected her to die, or worse, and either way it would advance the medical, and military might of the Empire. Perhaps martyrdom would be the absolution she sought. Ayla shook her head, vague images of her homeworld shattering as she did, "I suppose it won't matter though, right? Maybe I'll truly be Aschen now. Alright Doctor, I'm all yours. Again."

Funny enough as her eyes closed, and she braced for the first injection, all Ayla really wanted was a few seconds on a comm-link. A few seconds to tell EVE goodbye, just in case.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mantrid Character Portrait: Isambard Prince Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Mantrid made the final preparations in an almost methodical manner, checking and double checking that the ratios in the mixtures were correct.

"Of course, how peculiar that you would ask me that question..." Mantrid said, reassuringly. "We're only editing a tiny portion of your genome, less than a fraction of a percent." The Scientist explained, placing the vial inside a syringe, then he placed it against a prominent vein within Ayla's arm. "I've refined the infusion across several test subjects, but you'll be the... third human trial."

Mantrid withheld the fact that the first test subject after Harkov died a violent death, as their body digested itself, and the second one went insane, and then brain-dead from the sensory overload.

"I'm hoping your Adept physiology will be able to tolerate the enhancements, I've had marginal success on human test subjects acquired from Terra..." Mantrid explained, placing the IV inside Ayla's arm. The IV itself was hooked to a clear bag of sterile saline solution.

"You're very special, Ayla." Mantrid said, smiling. "If this is a success... it will propel the War Adept program to new; unimaginable heights!"

He slid the first syringe into a valve in the IV line, the clear fluid mixed with the saline, and began to travel into the body.

So far the procedure was, other than the needle prick of the IV, nearly painless.

A strange itch followed, that flowed from the arm, and into the entire body, engulfing Ayla in a hypersensitivity that was previously unknown, incomprehensible. The nanites began their work quickly, distributing themselves among the tissues of the body.

The next drug followed, a brilliant, and almost iridescent liquid that seemed to shimmer in the light of the laboratory, this was the most important part of the procedure, a part of the procedure that would find Ayla engulfed in a searing burning sensation that stretched from the arm, and engulfed the entire body. Muscles began to change, bones cracked and reformed themselves almost instantaneously. Cells, worked with nanites and began to transform the body. It was at that moment Mantrid introduced a powerful, and fast acting sedative intramuscularly, likely inducing immediate, and profound unconsciousness.

---

One couldn't be sure how much time would lapse, but when Ayla awakened, the pain was gone, and Mantrid was at her side, now wearing a thin metal device around his head that was easily recognized as a psychic inhibitor. Prince wore a similar device.

Mantrid briefly checked her eyes, shining a penlight and checking one eye, and then another.

There would be no perceptible differences, except many of the enhancements seemed less prominent.

She would likely be weaker, physically, as many of the muscle enhancements had been rejected by the procedure. And while she couldn't crush steel with her fists, she had some new abilities. The subtle details in Mantrid's face were more prominent, as if looking at him through high definition. Everything in the room was sharper, clearer than even an Adept's eyes could see.

Did the fluorescent lights always seem to buzz so loudly?

Intuition, a sharpness, Mantrid was going to hand her a spoon. But he hadn't done so.

Picking a spoon up on the tray, Mantrid took it, and inspected it, before he handed it to Ayla.

"Bend the spoon." Mantrid instructed.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mantrid Character Portrait: Isambard Prince Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Ayla's eyes fluttered open serenely, as if completely unaware of her surroundings, or what had just transpired. In truth the searing agony of the final injections, a distinctive feeling mirroring live flames being pumped through her blood, was easily shut out of her mind. The all-at-once Adept augmentation was a little worse, and she hadn't been given the mercy of painkillers back then, dulling her sensitivity greatly. The sudden, and startling shift in her vision gave her something else to focus on as well, every line, and wrinkle of Mantrid's face was crisp as could be, each pore was distinctly visible if she squinted. Something she had to do to focus at all now, her sight was clouded by a million thin, shimmering bands of light radiating from seemingly everywhere.

The damned ceiling lights had clearly been turned up too, practically blinding her if she glanced upwards.

That was when her mind tugged her towards the doctor, an involuntary, knee-jerk reaction as he started to move. Or, was that before he started to move..? She couldn't tell, for some reason time seemed distorted, warped. A strong sense of déjà vu gripped her as Mantrid seemed to reach for an instrument twice, yet alone picked it up once. What the hell was happening? When the doctor commanded her to bend it she offered a puzzled expression while desperately searching for her voice.

"...Bend it?" Sitting up she finally croaked it out, although she could've sworn she'd asked, and been answered a thousand different times, and ways before the final syllables passed her lips. Oddly enough her voice was different, too. A pitch, or so higher, the tine softer. A sharp sense of intuition told Ayla that her musculature had changed, and dramatically. Her body did feel different, but she had no reason to believe it, and yet..

She wasn't an Adept anymore.

Shaking her head a little she did her best to ignore it, and comply. It was such a simple command, and she pictured herself bending the flimsy metal clearly as she reached out to take the spoon. Even without a ceramicossified skeleton, and steel tensile muscles it wouldn't take much effort. A few quick flexes of her hand, and it would be a V-shaped piece of scra- With a piercingly loud creaking sound the spoon twisted itself into a gnarled pretzel before she could even touch it. Shocked, she blinked at Mantrid, squinting profusely to meet his eyes in the blinding light. There was only one question on her mind now.

"What. The. Fuck?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mantrid Character Portrait: Isambard Prince Character Portrait: Confessor Ayla

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Mantrid looked at the spoon with both a bemused, and satisfied look upon his face, before reaching towards his checklist. She not only seemed to demonstrate psychokinetics, but she demonstrated them very quickly after infusion. Mantrid seemed to smile, as he began to anticipate the program becoming a success, and a new breed of soldier ready to take on the manifold enemies of the Emperor was about to come to fruition.

Mantrid moved suddenly, and in all possible realities he was reaching for a set of flashcards, Mantrid didn't look at them, rather he looked up at Ayla.

"Try to relax, try to focus, and tell me what the first flash card will be." He said, as visions of Mantrid showing Ayla a flashcard with a car, and then a boat, and then an airplane, in that order seemed to flit across.

"Precognition... this early in the process... how peculiar times two..." Mantrid said, as visions of Mantrid suddenly tossing a ball for Ayla to catch followed, only to culminate into Mantrid suddenly tossing a small rubber ball towards Ayla without warning.

Prince was visibly impressed.

"You have exceeded my wildest expectations... psychokinesis, and precognition, within minutes of infusion!? How peculiar... times three..."

Mantrid set a lead ingot on the table in front of Ayla.

"Rearrange the atomic structure of this metal, into whatever object you choose."

Such an odd request.