• 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.

VotO: Book 2 Chapter 1: The end of the old world


Staff member
Wiki Moderator
HFR, Secret Meeting Space

“This is the end of the old-world.” Ein prophesized, full of the confidence that came from wearing a suit that cost more than most people made in their lifetimes.

Not that he’d brag about that directly.

“The AU is weakened within your territory and is desperately trying to reorient its military
to Atlantica… and only because the Magnetic Assembly is making them look bad. Between you and me they couldn’t care less about Atlantica itself. The system is basically barren with more mouths to feed than it can reasonably support. The whole thing is a big money-pit. They’d love to be able to wash their hands of it and focus on the Sol system. Return on investment there is orders of magnitude better than spending it on Atlantica.”

But that wasn’t the only concern.

“The Magnetic Assembly is desperate for friends. Their population isn’t going to tolerate being cut off from the homeworld like this for long and they’re butting heads with the Daqin just like everyone else, only the Assembly has lots of very weak friends within shootin’ distance of the Dragon-lady. They came all the way out here just to try and get you guys involved with their struggle in hopes you’d help them down the line.”

Then Ein would turn his full attention to his audience.

“Then there’s you. Wanting proper respect. Wanting some allies against the Daqin. Wanting your territory back. Here’s your chance to end the new century of humiliation and assert yourselves as the Kingmakers of the human sphere. Next meeting on Olympus, demand the end of Distant Flock. Take back the SLEs within your space and exchange your SLE in Sol with the American Union. They already occupy it anyways and it’ll be a great face-saving measure for them. You’re then in a prime spot to broker an armistice between the Assembly and Union, let them do some joint ownership of Atlantica just to put both of them on the Daqin’s doorstep. You guys come out looking like the new leaders of Humanity while the Union bleeds itself out…not that you need to stop there.

The Souyz and the GDW can’t trust one another either after their little flare up. They both want peace and need someone to broker it. Of course they can’t go to the Union for that without making enemies of the Assembly. They can’t go to the Assembly without risking war with the AU. They can’t go to the Daqin since this whole thing is their fault. Even the smaller groups all have some ties to one side or the other. That puts the HFR in position as the only people who can dictate terms.

Whatever comes next would be yours to dictate.”

Luo Meng, the Prime Minister of the Li Ming Republic, and Kal Young, the President of the Great Shen Zhou State, sat quietly in front of Ein in silence, contemplating. They were in their HFR, floral suits, old European pragmatism with ancient, oriental flair revived and brought to the forefront. Notably missing was Wu Li Li, the President of the United Republics of China, for good reason: Today, Luo Meng and Kal Young were going to decide if they wanted to stab the third, oldest member of the confederacy in the back.

The chess pieces were laid bare before them. Despite their own shortcomings and internal disagreements, the HFR was actually in the healthiest position in the human community, having avoided conflict with everyone except the Daqinren, which was a given since their founding anyways. Even then, what conflicts did happen were pirate skirmishes and cat and mouse gains, small losses. All seemed set. The GDW, Soyuz, and the AU were all weakened. As Ein pointed out, the HFR could play kingmaker. Only one small problem remained: their SLE in Sol.

Luo Meng and Kal Young exchanged glances. The SLE in Shen Zhou was an irradiated mess, but at least it lacked AU presence, so no force required to reclaim it. Li Ming’s still had an AU presence that could be taken by force if need be, in theory. However, that of Sol still required diplomacy. Leaving it to the AU would make all other diplomacy easier; the Americans were still formidable, and their supremacy has only recently ended. However, the cost would be a permanent rift between them and the URC.

If the AU was in decline, the URC was a complete shell of the old PRC over a century ago. It was only through its sheer economic and infrastructure inertia that it continued rolling after the Zhongzhi event, and, admittedly, some much needed AU and GDW intervention. Still, several billion souls and vast amounts of, albeit old, assets wasn’t trivial.

Betray the URC for diplomatic expediency, and risk losing a third of the confederacy, theoretically, or play hardball with the AU, turning a whimpering lion into a desperate one with nothing to lose. Could they have their cake and eat it too?

“The Soyuz and the GDW are in no position to deny us as a broker for peace.” Young finally replied in a dismissive tone, which translated from his Korean, Chinese mix into a polite but purposefully passive aggressive, English tone through the translator. “We will speak to them individually, then play by the books on Mt. Olympus.”


Staff member
Wiki Moderator
“Then there’s the issue of you Americans.” Young eyed Luo, who nodded, before looking back at Ein. “Curious that a money monkey was sent to play Queen, if not Kingmaker himself. They really do let you run wild, don’t they?” It was less of an insult to Ein, more an insult to the AU, a demonstration of where the two thought the HFR stood compared to the AU.

“I do not mean to misrepresent here. I’m not sent by the American Union or the Assembly. I came here on my own because I’m looking after my own bottom line. This agreement favors me and what I want to do. It helps me make inroads into the HFR. If there is something you can trust, it’s someone working in their own self-interest. We don’t get sent by Senators to do their bidding, we send Senators to make our Laws.” Ein said, “Us Americans aren’t some monolithic group. We’re largely kept together by just how expensive it would be to fight one another… and speaking of expense, that is the price of doing business isn’t it? Bringing something expensive to the table? There is great value here: understanding of who you’re dealing with on Olympus, and an understanding of just how to get your rivals in line. Certainly you aren’t content with being the last choice of the major powers?”

“Of course not.” Young replied, “It’s just that we don’t feel it is right, or in the AU’s ability, to maintain control over the SLE that we built in Sol. If anyone is the last choice, it should be the AU right now. They failed to keep one star system in line and the second is almost completely out of their grasp. Why should we pay for the control of our own, with our own? With the state of the AU now, it should be voluntarily retreating from both SLE’s to reconcile its forces, lest it face a second humiliation from a fleet it does not understand.” There was a threat and a question. Young already knew the answer to the question, the threat was more of a bluff, a probe to see if some middle ground could be reached that leaned in their favor.

“Yes, you could take the SLEs outside of Sol by force but where will that leave you? The AU has been building up in Sol for the push to Atlantica all year. They already have forces at the SLE you built in Sol too. At the end of the day you’ll still not have the Sol SLE and you’ll have declared yourself the Magnetic Assembly’s Allies in their war… which also puts you on the Soyuz’s side. You’ll have thrown away men, ships, and your position as the Neutral powerbroker for what?”

That sounded about right. Risking a war with the AU would put the HFR in the same position as the rest of the superstates: weak and divided. Still, the URC needed to be accommodated. Young leaned back, while Luo Meng replied, “The AU has little to gain committing forces to guard the Sol SLE, if we strengthen our commercial and defense ties. You claim you speak for your own self-interest, which I assume is your bottom line.” She observed. “My proposal is that the AU withdraw from the Sol SLE within five years. In exchange, we will grant special trade agreements that grant AU access to some of our biotechnology. I understand that the AU has been working on the Epsilon project with limited success.”

“If the AU was going to let you buy an SLE for the low price of some technology transfer then you’d have had it back long ago… besides the AU isn’t as far behind in bio-engineering as you might think, its just a lot more profitable to provide upkeep and maintenance to genetic upgrades than it is to build something that’ll be stable in a population. You should see the pricetag on these arms,” Ein said, raising them up to make his point, “Epsilons aren’t gonna afford them on a soldier’s salary that’s for sure.” He’d bring his arms back down, his suit settling back on his body perfectly as if there was someone smoothing the fabric. “Besides, you’ve gotta think bigger. Its been so long since the HFR has made a play that the AU doesn’t think you’ve got it in you. Give them the SLE. They already have it anyways this is just you facing reality. Then shop around, get the Magnetic Assembly to help you build a new one in the Sol system… then watch the President fall over herself trying to get you back into her bed.”

So that was where the chips were going to land. Luo Meng and Kal Young exchanged glances again, before Luo Meng nodded slowly. “This is a sizable asset we’re officially handing over to the AU. The URC will not take kindly to its permanent loss of its greatest infrastructure. We’ll talk it over with our fellow state, but it’ll be more successful if the AU offered something to the URC personally, such as a Statesmen.”

“Handing over ships outright won’t be a good look for the Union, but what about setting up some production facilities for avionics and weapon systems in Asia? Sure, that’ll get you some jobs but it’ll also get you a native capability to produce the same weapons that the Union uses.” Ein offered.

Young snorted, “I bet you’re seeing Union dollar signs already, money monkey. We may have a way to please our brethren afterall.” He tapped his datapad and ordered whoever was on the receiving end, “Chop our conversation up to make it sound nice, then send it over to President Wu, high priority.” He looked back at Ein stone-faced, but with the smallest of smiles, “I reckon it’ll be a day or two before we get any word back from Sol.”

“I also win if we all win, and I like winning,” Ein replied, “I trust your people will see the value in this endeavor. We all get what we want, and I look even better for an end of year promotion. Not sure how closely you follow the news in the American Union, but my friends in the Magnetic Assembly have opened up a number of positions within Stellar’s board of directors. The future has never been more up for grabs.”