• Nobles of Null is a forum based roleplay site where sci-fi and magic collide. Here, Earth remains fractured and divided despite humanity reaching out to the stars. Worse still, the trans-human slaves of one major power have escaped, only to establish their own Empire, seething with resentment at abuses of the past. Even the discovery of aliens, though medieval in development, has failed to rally these squabbling children of Earth together with its far darker implications. Worse still, is the discovery of the impossible - magic. Practiced by the alien locals, nearly depleted and therefore rare, its reality warping abilities remains abstract and distant to the general populace. All the while, unseen in the darkness of space, forces from without threaten to press in. For those with eyes opened by insight, it is clear that an era is about to end, and that a new age will dawn.

Prologue: Negotiations

Ray of Meep

Wiki Moderator
Co-authored by: Ray of Meep (GM), Uso

Early October, 2320

Shen Zhou System, Planet Wu Zetian

From orbit, Wu Zetian was a dust ball topped by purple smears at its poles. Only on these purple smears is the planet's temperature tolerable enough to live on without more extensive life support. Still, that was a thousand times better than the other barren rocks in the system. It made one wonder if naming the planet after the empress was a compliment or a result of sexism centuries past.

As Ein Mitra's ship approached high orbit of the planet, the planet's orbital defense force came through the comms in English with a Chinese accent. "American Union vessel, identify yourself and your purpose." It was professional, cold and calm.

"This is the Yacht Itano, requesting permission to land. We are carrying representatives of Stellar, and have pre-arranged buisness dealings on Wu Zetian." The response from the pilot was feminine, with immaculate english and perfect chinese pronunciation. The voice simply mirrored the ship itself, the Iatno's sleek, pointed, lines machined to within exacting specifications. The glossy panneling hiding the ship's systems, even the ship's exhaust seemed to magically flow out from the edges of its rear-wings, not needing to show off such vulgar things like fuel tanks or engine nozzles.

There was a silence, then a reply back through the comms. "Roger that. We have been expecting your arrival. Follow the orbital trajectory provided to enter low orbit. Do you require orbit-to-surface services?"

"No thank you control, we will head down under our own power." Came the reply, the captain switching on the internal comms and requesting that her passengers prepare for landing.

"Affirmative, once you arrive in low orbit head to Jian Guo (建国, Build Nation) Spaceport, Dock 5E. Safe travels." As soon as orbital defense cut comms, the Yachet Itano detected several lasers painting its hull. It shouldn't come as a surprise, as the vessel continued its descent. On the radar map, a high density of military infrastructure: corvettes, rangers, orbital defense platforms; popped up. Not anywhere close to the amount orbiting Earth, but considering Wu Zetian's population, it seemed to be an unhealthy amount.

For most, the abundance of warships might have had a chilling effect. The people worried that they might be attacked, soldiers worried they might be sent to war, leaders feared for their nations, but Ein barely even saw the warships. His eyes saw fusion engines, with a 3-6 billion lifetime operational cost, each consuming fusion fuels harvested at $30-40 per tank, engine bell nozzles that would need replacing after so many hours of usage, service contracts, raw materials requirements, and all of the opportunity that came with it.

He was going to make a killing here.


Ri Li (日立, where the Sun stands)

Ein's security detail escorted him through one of the city's tallest skyscrapers. The hallways were brightly lit, wrapping around the exterior of the building, allowing full view of the city and the purple wildreness beyond through its transparent metal panels. The interior walls were softly tinted blue, minimally decorated, save for the hints of martial alertness; behind the support structures of the windows were rolled up blast-resistance metal sheets, on the walls was the sporadic but orderly placed fire suppression tools, evacuation instructions, and med kits.

A man and a woman, each in suits and wearing tech augmented sunglasses were waiting for Ein in front of an apartment's entrance. Nodding to him and his security, they opened the door, allowing him to enter. Like the rest of the skyscraper, the living room was sparsly decorated but well lit by a lavish amount of window paneling, letting sunlight in through the left side of the room. A large monitor was mounted to the wall closest to the entrance, the farside of the room transitioning into a kitchen area. In the center was the assortment of couches and sofas, with a coffee table in the middle with a hologram projector on it. Finally, in one corner was an armor stand displaying Aos Si platemail.

"Seems to be a great day on Wu Zetian," Ein started, his chinese good but not nearly on the level of his pilot. The man himself stood nearly 7 feet tall, broad shouldered, short blonde hair and blue eyes. His suit was a charcoal grey with incredibly faint white pinstriping and an absolutely massive thread count. On closer inspection, the pinstriping was his first name in microprinting from top to bottom. His tie was a silky green in a trinity knot, and his cufflinks simple golden squares embelished with an extremly elavorate carving of Mithras slaying the sacred bull. The clothing was designed to hit a certain sweet spot: The apperance of a buisnessman to most, and the subtle display of wealth of those in the know. "...and I'm hoping to come here and make it a bit better. Stellar has been selling to the HFR for quite a while, but that is the old way of doing things. We'd like to continue offering our products, but also start moving production operations so that they are local to the area. We've also got an excess of ships and weapons we're looking to move."

Ein's security detail seemed to be minimal, a pair of four-legged robots holding cargo. The robots obediantly waiting just outside and hunkering down off to the side. From the looks of him, he didn't seem the type to need a security detail. One didn't get to be Ein's size without some kind of upgrades under the hood.

The man facing Ein was a foot shorter in comparison, white hair, wrinkles, clearly a man in his 80's or 90's. Despite his age, the man seemed physically fit and his gaze sharp, his expression calm, yet it gave off an aura of iron resilience. Ein would know him as Wang Jian, the leader of the planet's National Defense Party.

"Agreed. The current situation calls for the State of Shen Zhou to increase its imports." Jian nodded. "Specifically, we're looking to improve our international standing, so we'll need ships, men, and weaponry to make that a reality." He paused. "I hope your patriotism will not get in the way of good business, Mr. Mitra."

"I consider myself a citizen of the world... or perhaps it would be better to say a citizen of humanity. I would leave the national ambitions to the politicians." Ein responded, "So tell me, how can we fufill your ambitions? Just bringing in more guns and ships won't be enough. You'll need to develop your own domestic production if you want to untangle yourself from foriegn interests. You'll need to develop the expertise to compete against Daqin technology. You'll also need to find ways to get those ships and weapons into the hands of the people that most need them... and I hesitate to speculate, but you may also need some introductions to the right people for those weapons?"

"I'm glad you asked, Mr. Mitra." Jian smiled. "I have a local CEO of general manufacturing whose been eager to expand our military industrial complex. I'll let you talk to him to set up some sites on Liu Bang (Barren terrestrial world). As for men, I understand that you have skilled employees of special expertise at your service? We'd like to hire them for some operations."

"Of course, Stellar can provide or help you contract out for any capability that you need. What are the requirements for your upcoming operations? We have everything from reputable security services, to ex-military looking to ply their trade, to more disposable single-use services depending on what outcomes you are looking to achive." Ein asked.

Jian didn't respond, instead pulling up three 3D images on the hologram projector. Each of them showed orbital stations, one below the pole of the Sol star, on in orbit of Shen Zhou system's ice giant, Nurhaci, the last in orbit of Li Ming system's ice giant, Qi Ling. Frequent travellers would recognize these as the command centers of the SLE's the PRC built, before they were occupied by the AU. "We seek to return these structures back to their rightful owner." Jian coldly explained. "Republic Space Command has refused to accept this task, so I've been looking for other methods. Will you be able to mass a fleet for us?"

"Of course," Ein said, responding on instinct automatically as he thought through the proposal. Just procuring ships was something that Stellar couldn't get in trouble for even if they were used against the Union's interests afterwards. Inroads with the local government would assure that their marketshare would only continue to grow. The cost for this of course would be astronomical... which was a good price to be doing buisness at. "We'll need a few days to do discovery, determine how many ships you'll need to have a reasonable chance of success, as well as the cost for procurement and upkeep of the ships, soldiers, and equipment. We can consider that process Sprint 1, and on your approval we can move forward with a Sprint 2 that will put ships in your hands. I don't expect you have a timetable for conducting this operation... but I might suggest you be prepared to exploit your position towards the end of the year. I suspect 2321 is going to be an eventful year."

Jian smiled with a satisfaction. "Let's put Sprint 2 after the diplomatic summit this year." He offered his hand. "An American I can trust. Thank you for doing business with us."

Ein would reach out to shake, "I look forward to a productive partnership."