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Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam

TNG Minister of Development, with Prime Minister Salma Khayyam's government

1.4142135623731 · 60 views · located in The Schenberg

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

So begins...

Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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#, as written by Ylanne
"Dr. Rahil Kawandi?" The voice on the other end of the phone sounded puzzled. Monica Yudell thought she vaguely recognized the name, had perhaps seen it listed as publication author on something she'd read awhile ago. "This is Dr. Monica Yudell. I'm the senior policy advisor on agriculture to the Ministry of Development. I'm told you wanted to speak to someone about crop failures? Is that right?"

Monica's office was barely large enough to fit her desk and two chairs, with a small filing cabinet preventing the door from opening all the way, and an intern occupying the other half of her desk three days a week, so close they were almost breathing on top of each other when both were present. The one window was clean but small, and afforded a view of a large tree on the sidewalk outside the building, which at least was better than her colleague's view one door down, who could see a security post, and sometimes the guard dog, but never anything else.

Monica was only three doors down from the Minister's office, and all of them had been allocated only half of one floor in Government Center's West Wing - the chosen few deemed senior enough to hold Government Center offices, while the rest of the Ministry's staff were in the decidedly less ostentatious building a mile away. Monica half-wished they'd actually all been set up at the warehouse, which was how she liked to think of the Ministry's actual office building, since it would have drastically cut commute time for intra-ministry meetings.

"What the fucking fuck?!" Something shattered down the hall. "You can't just leave things like that!"

Monica squeezed her eyes shut. That would be the intern, probably audible over the phone to Dr. Kawandi. This had always been a mistake. Monica cupped her hand over the receiver and yelled down the hall. "I'm on the phone!" Then muttered, "Christ," to herself, shaking her head. "Sorry about that - you were saying?"

The setting changes from government-center to The Schenberg

Setting

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Character Portrait: Aeolia Schenberg Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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#, as written by Remæus
It took a moment for the pilot to recognize the curious fact that a traveler had just appeared behind him. Long enough, in fact, that he visibly jumped at the sight.

"What are _you_ doing here?!" Aeolia exclaimed, almost rhetorically, and at least in some part to calm his own nerves.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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Speaking over the phone was difficult regardless of which end of the receiver one were on, between the dull grumble of an engine in Kawandi's background or breaking glass. Kawandi gave a pleading look over to Stamatios for a moment, who then quickly silenced Yiavannis with the snap of a finger. "Quiet down, lil' fucker ... smart people are talking."


"Ye-yes, excellent. Doctor Yudell, I apologize being so hasty with this - the military preferred I do this in person but, I feel it rude to simply barge in and throw all my research at you." Kawandi began, tilting his head to carry the receiver while he fiddled with the tablet on his lap. "I'll have an in-depth explanation when we arrive, uuuuh, can I get a time for that please, Sergeant?" Kawandi broke away from the phone, peeking over to the Sergeant who turned over his wrist to check a watch. "Half an hour! I should be arriving in half an hour, forty-five minutes ... but to begin Dr. Yudell, I am the lead researcher studying crop failures on three planets in the Charybdian Shores - that is, uh, the galactic north of Terran in the Local Region." As Kawandi spoke on, Yiavannis gave the Terran a cautious side-eye while sharing a snack with Walker.

"Is this what you do after college? Ride around with a bunch of dropouts talking to secretaries on the phone all day?"

Walker pursed his lips in thought at Yiavannis' words. He then turned to look at Yiavannis, his lips drawing into a disappointed frown as he realized the man was dead serious. "Uh, Yia ... you're the only one that dropped out." He finally offered, sucking on his teeth while the Corporal looked around quizzically.

"Nah fuckin' way, really? You guys finished third academy?" Yiavannis questioned. His voice dropped down to a mutter now though, as he first looked to Irina. "I mean, you're a Warrant so. You probably spent like, twenty fuckin' years at college or some shit."

"I stayed around an extra three or four years to get my CrimJus for the ESPF." Yiavannis was taken aback by a moment, not by Irina's extended career in academia but - he was sure at least Walker didn't graduate! Pointing a finger over to Stamatios, he was about to launch at the Staff Sergeant before the Aschen simply shook his head.

"Masters in Business Administration, bud. Sister opened a florist on Nachtmar but didn't know a thing about running it so." Stamatios only shrugged dismissively, while Yiavannis for once, was simply put into silence and laid his back against the seat. Now that he was provided some silence, Kawandi was much more talkative into the receiver.

"We’ve encountered a series of possible genetic diseases across several different common spelt crops - er, wheat, and in my research I’ve come to more questions than answers.” Kawandi replied rather dejectedly, scrolling through his tablet as the pair of Apparatus vehicles trundled through the choked lanes of Main Street and on towards the Government Center. “I don’t mean to incite a panic but, in the coming days I would like to share my finds with as many of your people or directors in the ministries - agriculture and transport, particularly, but as many of your science teams as well.” The Starlux technical slowed before the armored car, taking the approach through any checkpoints slowly and cautiously. The marine driving the armored car made a silent motion to Stamatios and the others in the back, slowly rolling down a window while plucking up a sheaf of papers and a small bundled folder on the dashboard of the vehicle.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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#, as written by Ylanne
"You're studying crop failure in the Charybdian Shores, and you're from the Open Veil Institute, but you're here and demanding an urgent m - " Monica broke off, as realization hit her. She turned and yelled toward the door. "Hey - can you get the Minister?"

The intern responsible for the broken electric kettle appeared sheepishly at the door, half-hiding behind the door frame. Arjun held what remained of it by the handle, gingerly, his fingers barely wrapped around it for fear of the large pieces of jagged glass cutting him. His hand was already bleeding, one laceration clean through the middle of the palm, and his face was bright red. "I - uh - I might have - "

Monica waved dismissively, impatient. "It's fine; we can get a new one. Look, I've got a visiting xenobotanist/agroeconomist on the line, and from the sounds of it - well. Please get Minister Tesfaye. Immediately. And then, please go down to medical."

"But the Minister is - he's over in the main building, with the Prime Minist - "

"It's important, Arjun. Go tell him someone's dying if you have to. This is more important than whatever Khayyam is going on about, and besides, we all know she doesn't really care if he's even in the room. Go get him."

Arjun nodded, reluctantly, stepping away, then paused. "Uh - what do you want me to do with..."

"Just throw it in the fucking dumpster. And wash out that cut!" Monica turned back to the phone. "Exactly how worried do we need to be on Terra, Dr. Kawandi? Obviously, the blight hasn't yet made it here, or I'd have heard something by now. But I'm getting the sense that time is limited."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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The two vehicles trundled to a stop before the steps of the Government Center, engines rumbling until they finally died. The driver of the Konkurs armored unbuckled himself, and peered over his shoulder while resting a hand on the pistol at his side. “We’ll be out here with the vehicles, I hate having to walk to a smoker’s section.” The marine grunted, drawing his sidearm and putting it onto the dash of the armored car. Holding a pack of cigarettes in one hand, he waved through the windshield to a pair of approaching Terran soldiers and then opened the door.

Irina and Stamatios were first out the side door of the armored car, making way for Kawandi in the middle with Yiavannis and Walker at the rear. They had left their weapon in the vehicles, locked in the various carry rigs by the seats as they disembarked. “I’m Senior Officer Osman and this is Staff Sergeant Stamatios, the doctor had called ahead.” Irina and the other marines exchanged the first, of likely many, quick introductions. On their way through security and into the heart of the TNG.

“Y’know I got lost once in a government complex as a kid, found the break room and stole someone’s ice cream - wonder where they’ve got the break rooms around here.” Yiavannis said as they came through the doors, looking high up to the ceilings above him as Stamatios made a short huff.

“I’ll put you in the daycare center, Corporal.” Stamatios charged, giving a glance over to Walker. “See what’s in the cafeteria today, get me a sandwich.” The Sergeant nodded over to Walker. Yiavannis clicked his tongue and took a deep breath.

Got it, shady street food.”

Osman, Stamatios and Kawandi were then left to approach a sentry desk. The doctor tucked the tablet under his arm and then placed a hand on the counter before him. “Hello, I’m Doctor Kawandi - I’d called ahead to uh, Doctor Monica Yudell, from the Ministry of Development.” He replied, while the two others were preparing IDs and credentials.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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#, as written by Ylanne
"I'll call up and let her know you're here," replied Shiya Calusdian, a mid-aged woman with greying hair hanging loosely about her face, whose narrow, dark eyes watched the visitors closely. She gestured to the security scanners and a row of lockers beside them, three rings on her fingers momentarily flashing in the light. "Weapons in the lockers, ID's up here, and then pass through with your bags and papers. You know the drill." She lifted the receiver to the desk phone, momentarily frowning at the smudges that Hra'iir Qaa had left when she'd been on shift just before her. "Dr. Yudell? Your visitors are here - Dr. Kawandi, and looks like two others."

"Yes, please just send them over, okay? I've got Minister Tesfaye here with me too." Monica sounded rushed, and Calusdian could have sworn she heard the sound of objects falling and scattering all over the floors up there. "They don't need an escort."

"OK, I'll send them up as soon as they clear security," Calusdian said. She beckoned for the others' IDs, and once produced, held them to the desk scanner to check for signs of forgery, copied the information, then generated visitor badges, passing these and the IDs back over the counter. "If you know where you're headed, your meeting is in the West Wing, that way, up on the sixth floor, left-hand side. The Minister is waiting for you too." So you'd better be on your best behavior. Calusdian jerked her head toward the long marbled corridor with gold-inlaid ceilings connecting the old building with its annex, gorgeously draped windows spanning floor to ceiling for over ten meters.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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Stamatios exchanged a brief glance with Irina for a moment, the woman’s cool eyes telling him all he needed to know. As he drew his Mk. 920 sidearm, then pried the slide back to reveal the round in the chamber, promptly switched it onto safe and then handed it over. Irina did the same, her own sidearm a related model, though a bit smaller. Revealing herself as law enforcement, perhaps, Irina placed her firearm beside the Sergeant’s with a nod.

Irina took a moment as Kawandi provided his information as well. Steely eyes looked over to Stamatios, while a soft hum escaped her lips. “Odd, isn’t it?” Irina inquired, giving Stamatios a curious eye while she placed a small info-chip of her own onto the counter beside Kawandi’s papers and identification.

“Odd, ma’am?” Stamatios replied rather softly, resting a hand on his empty holster as he observed the hustle and bustle around him. It took him a minute to realize. “Hmmm, guess it is.”

Stamatios, like many members of the 666th, was an ethnic Aschen. A Caprican, specifically, in the olive drab uniform of an Apparatus marine. Kawandi was a Terran: Tanzanian, specifically, or as many of his Gardenite compatriots pronounced his homeland ‘Tinziria’.

Irina, herself, had the sharp features of a Vendragan, a Scatterran ethnicity somewhat comparable to a European Spaniard. The three of them together made the appearance the Federate had always envisioned for the Local Region: an Aschen, a Gardenite and a Terran working together. Stamatios was surprised there weren’t cameras flashing to capture the moment.

“A snapshot of mankind - hell, all we’d need is a Taiyou and it’s a propaganda piece for the Federate.” Irina started with a chuckle, taking her IDs back as they were finally issued through. “Fortunately, they’re not around with their cameras … or anything else, for that matter.”

“Thank you ma’am,” Kawandi began to the woman at the desk. “Excuse me, Officer Osman.” Kawandi asked, fitting his papers back into his breast pocket as the three of them made their way towards the West Wing. “Would you mind holding this for me?” He inquired, handing the woman a small device. “A data drive, I’d prefer to leave it with the Ministry of Development.”


As they made their way to the West Wing, Stamatios took up the rear, escorting the Senior Officer and her Terran charge. At the door, Kawandi stopped for a moment, reaching up to adjust a pair of glasses on the bridge of his nose. Draping a hand on the door, he turned to both Stamatios and Osman. “Thank you for the escort, Sergeant … uh, I’m sorry again, your name was?”

“Stamatios, Doctor. Staff Sergeant.” The marine offered with a soft tilt of his head. Kawandi simply nodded and opened the door. Irina was the first to speak, stepping past Doctor Kawandi while offering a brisk salute with her right arm.

“I am Senior Officer Irina Osman, this is Doctor Rahil Kawandi - and our escort planetside. Staff Sergeant Stamatios.” She gave a wave to the other two, and Stamatios made a salute of his own while Osman continued. “I’m part of a special detachment assigned to Kawandi’s expedition monitored by the Stellar Police Force … Doctor Kawandi, please.”

Kawandi was standing off to the left with his tablet wrapped against his stomach. At Irina’s motion, the doctor ran a hand through his hair as if preparing for a speech. He stepped up to a nearby table and placed his tablet atop it, giving a soft flick of his finger.

“Hello - it’s good to finally bring this to you. Uhh, I am Doctor Rahil Kawandi, xenobotanist - truthfully, my passion was entomology but … the pressures of colony life, yes?” Kawandi began, his best attempt at a joke as he stood at the end of the table. The device he’d set on the table winked to life, a holo-projector soon displaying a series of folders and presentations above the table.

“As I first explained, there has been a … developing situation in the Charybdian Shores, or as my compatriots here call them,” He gestured to Irina and Stamatios abruptly. “The ‘Shore Planets’. In the past years there was a surplus crop yield, from two major planets in particular.” With that, he flicked a hand towards the holographic displays, bringing two Earth-like worlds into focus. “Lately however we’ve experienced a curious blight. While at first we believed it was benign, something that we could treat with a simple gene-therapy with adaptive crop modification I believe we may have exacerbated the situation with these methods.”

Kawandi then keyed onto one planet in particular, named Ameria. As information scrawled down in a long list, there were also graphs detailing the crop yields throughout the years - and the obvious decline in tonnage exported to the other Shore Planets and the rest of the Local Region. “On Ameria we’ve seen it the worst. This blight has reduced agricultural output to the point of even threatening basic subsistence on the planet itself. Firstly though, I believe I have a drastic request … “


”Any and all crop stocks received from Ameria, I would suggest be frozen and held in security. This blight has only been found in terrestrial yields - I believe that zero-gee agricultural works can not be affected by the blight due to the methods of orbital agriculture. I have made an extensive list of all possible shipments from Ameria to other worlds as well, hopefully making it easier to ensure no infected yields have a chance of exposure here on Terra, or elsewhere.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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#, as written by Ylanne
Osman, Stamatios, Kawandi. Monica made mental note of the names, as she smiled politely, and returned the introductions. "Monica Yudell, senior policy advisor on agriculture. The central switchboard directed your initial call to me. This is Dr. Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam, Minister of Development. The director of agriculture isn't available right now unfortunately, or I'm sure she'd join us too." Monica wondered what the woman's reason for absence today would be. Last week it had been malaria.

The two Terrans watched the graphs with curious eyes, Monica carefully taking notes on a tablet in front of her - a luxury purchase she'd been told she should be grateful that procurement had approved. Of course, the luxury designation would have made somewhat more sense if the damn thing ever worked. Monica figured the toady clerk had had a good laugh over that one. She sat tense beside the minister, who wasn't taking any notes at all - likely relying only on Monica to do it for him. Most of them did.

Monica was short and lithe, the minister a stocky man only a few centimeters taller than her. She was barely past forty, tan skin complimented by thick dark hair pinned up neatly behind her, while Tesfaye was pushing sixty-five, uncombed tufts of hair grayed in contrast to his dark face. He was balding now, and unlike nearly every other ministerial head, was dressed in a casual field jacket and collared shirt with the top button left undone, in contrast to Monica's sharp, tailored pantsuit. But she'd hidden her frustration, as usual, because Tesfaye was the Minister of Development, and she was only a senior policy advisor, not even a departmental director. The departmental directors were all in the annex, perhaps ironically. This posting was supposed to be a reward. A prize.

"Do you have lab results on the blight?" Monica asked, "even a genetic profile at this point? What's the underlying cause?"

"We have to assume the relevant pathogen has already been introduced," Tesfaye said gravely, eyebrows furrowing as he looked up at Kawandi. "We'll send monitoring teams to look for evidence of it, but we'll need to obtain samples to compare suspect specimens against, and if you do have that genetic profile - regardless of how many mutations it's gone through at this point - we'd like that too. And the shipment list, please." Tesfaye looked at Monica, and she suppressed a sigh, producing a portable drive and proffering it to Kawandi.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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Kawandi stood at the end of the table with his hands folded in front of him, the Terrans’ demeanor betrayed a prior service, though it was hard to imagine the smaller man carrying a rifle and wearing a uniform. He noticed that those sitting across from him weren’t taking notes, or scrawling away at their tablets - all except for one of course. “Ah, I’d requested paper copies as well but the Colonel had … concerns about this research being compromised from a leak.” Kawandi started, then leaning forward as he continued to explain more.

“We believe there has been some sort of fungal contaminant that originated from another planet, possibly somewhere in the Garden or out here. I’ve not been able to determine an original genetic profile, only a post-mutation gene map. I do have one developing theory,” Kawandi said, quickly bringing up a display of background radiation commonly observed in the space around the Shore Planets.

“We’ve heard of genetic deteriorations brought about by background exposure through space travel, but this normally takes place through a much larger time frame, and often upon deliberate exposure to radiation. These crops were degraded from, we assume, one passing shipment through space … “ Kawandi stopped for a moment, before then looking back over to Irina. The woman quietly fished the device out of her ballistic vest, prying the strap loose to reveal the long cylindrical piece of equipment.

“Here is a digital copy of my data on both the compromised crop genes and the blight, as well as a physical specimen. What you’ll discover is that, I believe, the blight was native to a planet with a closely related crop species and formed a symbiosis with it before an infected yield was transported through space to be planted elsewhere - here in the Local Region, that is.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nobuo 'Tatsu' Takayama Character Portrait: Netawatwees Olson Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam Character Portrait: Shuichi Minamino
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"Tennoheika, I don't understand why you insisted on coming, you should focus on your own recovery." Shuichi protested as their staff car eased to a stop in front of Government Center.

The man cracked his knuckles, and stretched his arms for a moment, feeling the muscles as they flexed under his skin, he was impressed with what Seno had done. "I'm going to sort this mess out with Keiko, and then I'm going to personally cave Shimizu's face in for what he did to me." He replied, turning his hands over, and looking at them closely before he looked at his face in the mirror.

"Seno's going to get a promotion for this." He added, as the Adjutant stepped out of the car, and opened their door.

The Adjutant offered a soft bow, as Shuichi got out with the younger man, and the two of them took in the visage of Government Center before them for a moment.

"Alright Minamino." Nobuo interjected. "Let's do this." He said as they started to walk towards the front lobby of Government Center, Minamino opened the door, and offered the man a bow, before he followed in behind, and the two of them approached the front desk, Minamino still in his suit from Itpravamar, and the new figure, seemingly in his late twenties, was wearing a simple white hakama worn under a black Kataginu with the Imperial emblem sewn into it, distinctly showing his rank, and station within the Taiyou Empire.

Crossing the threshold, they approached the Receptionist, and Minamino offered a soft smile, and a deep bow. The man next to Shuichi bowed, but not as deeply.

"Hello, I am Minamino Shuichi, I am the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Taiyou Empire. I've arranged an appointment with the Justice Ministry regarding an urgent matter from Her Majesty the Princess."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nobuo 'Tatsu' Takayama Character Portrait: Netawatwees Olson Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam Character Portrait: Shuichi Minamino
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#, as written by Ylanne
In the West Wing, Monica reached for the proffered cylinder from Irina. "Thank you, Dr. Kawandi," she said with a nod. "I'll make sure it gets to our lab right away," she said, neglecting to mention that the twenty-some odd staff in the Development Ministry's agricultural lab were currently hard at work attempting to develop a set of new rice hybrids for use in Caldonia, Losenji, and Ebouma, a pet project of the deputy minister that she doubted he'd be too eager to sacrifice even if Minister Tesfaye sent the orders himself. She frowned then. "Wait, I'm sorry. You're saying that someone intended to plant the infected specimen here on Terra? But ... why?" She glanced at Tesfaye, who raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms across his chest.

"Do you have reason to believe this is corporate sabotage?" Tesfaye asked.

"Or - or biological warfare," Monica said, looking back toward their guests. "It wouldn't be the first time."

"No, not biological warfare," said Tesfaye, with a dismissive wave of the hand. "Crops like these would take too long to propagate in sufficient numbers. Too many seasons." He looked to Kawandi with a darkening eye. "Who do you suspect is responsible, and why?"

***

In the main entry hall, Shiya Calusdian had noticed the arrival of the Taiyou immediately. She'd always been able to spot them - especially the ones with imperial pedigrees or connections, even if they came without a full entourage. They always wore something with the imperial crest or one of another half-dozen symbols representing the throne. She busied herself with a stack of mostly outdated message forms behind the desk until they approached. The Justice Ministry. "Of course," responded Calusdian, with a polite, respectful bow. They all had to know protocol, of course. "Weapons in the lockers there, then pass through security. I'll need ID's here, and I'll just call upstairs for you."

This was a formality of course, but had to be done. After all, despite Shiya's well honed eye for Taiyou imperials, anyone could be an impostor. You never knew. She called up, and after a few moments of harried shouting on the other end, forced a smile. "Up on the third floor, Ministers Vilhjálmsdóttir and Dvořák will receive you. Would you like to head upstairs on your own?" Two ministers spelled trouble. All Shiya knew was she wanted nothing to do with it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nobuo 'Tatsu' Takayama Character Portrait: Netawatwees Olson Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam Character Portrait: Shuichi Minamino
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Both Taiyou offered another deep bow, the younger of the two offering Shiya a slight smile, or was it a smirk, either way, the man did not resemble any known Imperials, at least on the surface, perhaps a relative? Or perhaps someone with Imperial pedigree one way or another. Shuichi paused for a moment to look over to younger Imperial, who looked back to Shuichi. The man grimaced, and sighed his resignation, before reaching into the Hakama, and rifling through it, he produced a small Tantō, an ornate looking dagger with carefully, hand embroidered gold hilt, imbued with gemstones, and gold leaf. The weapon appeared antique, but honed to a razor's edge. Engraved on the blade itself were Kana symbols inlaid with gold, but this was hidden by the blade's scabbard, which was inlaid with the same gold inlaid kana. It depicted some elaborate artwork of some kind, and tied on the hilt was a brilliant red and gold ribbon, which ended with a tassel on the end.

"This is a family heirloom, guard it with your life." The man insisted as he passed the weapon over to Shiya, which, to anyone with any familiarity with the Taiyou custom, would recognize this antique dagger as the "Tengoku no tantō" A generational family heirloom passed down from an Emperor to his successor, a device of the Emperor himself, along with Tenchi-Ken symbolized the office of the Emperor.

Both of them offered another respectful bow. "Please, if someone could show us up there." Neither one of them seemed to notice the two gardenites, or rather Garden-Aschen standing in the room, but they were noticed, the younger man simply opted not to say anything.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Exogarden Forces Character Portrait: Irina Osman Character Portrait: Tesfaye Ghebreselassie Gebremariam
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Irina promptly stepped back after handing the container to Doctor Yudell, putting her hands behind her back and taking a silent position alongside Staff Sergeant Stamatios once again. As Monica continued on, Kawandi first looked down to the tablet before him and took a momentary sigh. “Uuh, yes and no - some of the original grain species, I’ve determined to be a hybridization of a common species found in the Garden, beyond the Veil,” He started, then bringing up two similar genetic composition reports and displaying them side by side. “And one found here on Terra - a very common practice to better integrate biomass across colonies. Unfortunately, I’m unable to coordinate with anyone back in the Garden proper to see if they are experiencing any similar genetic degradation as well.”

Kawandi had a nervousness about him as their discussions turned to that dreaded prospect of genetic tampering and an engineered blight. “I believe that the origin is from here, in the Local Region and that, yes, there is a good possibility we’ve discovered some sort of … engineered crop disease. As for just who might be responsible, well, that is more in the field of my colleague here.”

With that, he gave a soft nod back over to Irina. Stepping forward, Irina unfolded her arms from behind her back, then took Kawandi’s place at the table. “I am Senior Warrant Officer Irina Osman, Security Detective of the Exogarden Stellar Police Force. I’m the operations officer of a task force, 515,” Irina introduced herself, using her hand to flick across the tablet and project a series of reports stamped with a lunar crescent and spyglass.

“I believe that Doctor Kawandi here and the Outer Veil research team have uncovered one part of a large terrorist network that has operated across the Local Region at large since the end of the Galactic War.”

Before her, the image of a man appeared, along with a scrolling list of incidents that seemed to stretch back years, decades even. “Several decades ago there was a radical transhumanist group known as the ‘New World’, that used Edenite emancipation to begin a terror campaign in the Garden - and perhaps closer to home for you all, here in the Local Region. Their militant wing is known as the ‘League’ - and we believe their top ranking commander of assets and networks here in the Local Region goes by the name ‘Faust’.”

While Irina prepared her own deposition, Stamatios seemed to narrow his eyes for a moment. He had been completely silent the entire time, but the mere mention of the League finally seemed to earn a rise from the marine. His fists clenched behind his back, jaw setting slightly as his eyes settled on the sparse image of the man.

Even more confusing for others in the room though, was that several different images of the man known as Faust were different faces, bodies entirely. Irina was quick to answer that possible question as it came up. “The person you see in these images is what is known as a ‘capsuleer’ - a downloaded and reuploaded sentience that can be placed into cloned or specially grown bodies. Many of these capsuleers in the New World believe that their gift of immortality makes them gods amongst mortals: Scatterran, Terran, Aschen or otherwise. They have manipulated elections, overthrown or puppeted governments, and instigated civil wars across the Garden.”

If the proposition that a crop disease had been bio-engineered by someone, somewhere in the Local Region was bad, the following explanation as to who might be behind it was even worse.

”Many of these capsuleers work secretly to establish a shadow state across the galaxy and rule their selected kingdoms as deities or supreme beings. They’ve used terror and manipulation to achieve their goals, sometimes with disastrous results. The League has capacities unlike any sort of previous non-state actor we’ve seen before: they infiltrate political parties and governments, distribute propaganda, infiltrate armed groups and can even bring entire countries to their knees, they smuggle everything from weapons, to contraband, drugs, and even people … I believe they’ve recently gotten into the agricultural business.”