• 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 4: The tallest mountain

steinOS

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“Pray, tell.” the Chief-Minister commented. “Not recognizing a state entirely separate from yours is cause enough for independent military incursion?” Yeniseyev gave a small smirk with a pause. “You are far more human than we all dare recognize.”

His gaze slowly panned to the HFR delegation. “Those of us well-read in humanity’s recent history… Before-the-Zhongzhi - recent,” Yeniseyev clarified with a raised finger. “Know of a time when humanity behaved in exactly the same manner. The Arabic League remembers.” The Chief-Minister’s nodding followed around the room, looking at the GDW and AU. “Taiwan, Hong Kong.” The HFR. “Ukraine.” Soyuz. His gaze returned to Zhuli. “Hawking, Shen Zhou, Yasny. You laugh as you’ve evolved yourself into a 21st century leader. But what is your leadership worth if your dear children overstep despite knowing the punishment that awaits?”
 

Uso

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Wazu looked over at Caxia, mostly out of habit. Of course it was very difficult to pick up those small facial cues when your partner's face had more eyes than the Soyuz's entire delegation. Communication would need to be over private message.

And they were both thinking it.

The plan had always been to stop the American Union first and then deal with the Daqin. They could barely support a single front war, much less a two front one. Nearly every party here had some issue with the Daqin. If that was all there was to it then calling for action would be a simple task.

But the HFR here was calling the shots. 'They' were the ones that brought the American Union to the table. They were the ones bringing the Soyuz and the HFR here. But that was a simplistic view of the situation. The HFR had never been this organized before, and they barely even managed to show at the last summit. It wasn't hard to figure out why this had changed. After all it had been Ein that had informed The Magnetic Assembly of the summit. Him and the other corpos were behind the American Union's new stance. The factories Stellar were opening up in HFR space showed that he had high level connections with the HFR. Stellar also had ties to the GDW, their products ended up in GDW ships after all.

So was this the Daqin on one side, and the AU, HFR, Assembly, Soyuz, and GDW on the other?

Or was this the Soyuz and Assembly on one side, with Ein guiding the AU, HFR, GDW, and Daqin?

"If the Daqin are unable to keep their children in line," Caxia said, being far more willing to speak up than their colleague. "Then perhaps the international community should. The SLE in Pin Qiong could be put under international control for that reason."
 

Ray of Meep

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Luchesse followed up Caxia's suggestion. The political winds were clear right now. Both the GDW and Soyuz were angry at the Daqinren right now, and she didn't fear any repercussion for allying with the high cyborgs, now that they've come to terms with the AU.

"Agreed. On purpose or not, your children stepped out of line, causing an entire war, right under your nose. There is no excuse for this oversight. You've let first-class Daqinren do what they please with your high-end military assets and the best resources for espionage. Your negligence has resulted in the deaths of thousands. You must pay reparations." She demanded.

Kal spoke up, a calm smile forming under his nose, a hand rising. His voice was firm and neutral, addressing the national leaders individually, "Exemplar Caxia, Chief-Minister Yeniseyev, Secretary General Luchesse, while I fully understand your frustrations with the Daqin Empire right now, please note that this rush of demands from the Empress is unbecoming of the international community. Do you expect a leader to surrender her assets without a review of wrong doing?"

His smile faded, placing his hand onto the table, his tone ice cold. "After all, all suspected criminals deserve due process."

On que, half a dozen of his entourage stood up, two Aos Si in the mix. The Aos Si were visibly scarred, a hot hatred in their eyes, while the humans were comparatively mechanical and cold. Their right hands went limp, wires flaring as wrists broke, the skin of their forearms giving way to reveal metal barrels underneath. They all aimed at the Empress. Grand Admiral Hak herself drew a small pistol.

The GDW Secretary General was completely caught off guard, having sat closer to the HFR delegation. "What is the meaning of this?" She exclaimed.

Hak and Kal ignored her. "Zhuli Number Four," The Grand Admiral addressed the Empress, "For suspected crimes against humanity since 2199, I hereby request your peaceful surrender into Republic Space Command custody until a trial can be scheduled." She scanned the room. "Should you resist arrest, or should anyone aid in resistance, termination will be delivered."
 

Uso

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Ein frowned, this was certainly putting a wrench into his plans and as one of the American Unions' entourage he wasn't able to speak openly like the other main diplomats here could. He would instead give the Empress a quick, "I'll have a talk with them," Before backing away so that the HFR's delegation could move in unhindered.

He would need to have a discussion with Kal...
 

CadetNewb

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The woman in black seemed bemused at what Yeniseyev and the others who had followed suit were saying. There were perfectly good reasons for everything, and perfectly good compensation was waiting. There wasn't any reason to be truly angry, she knew. It was all bluster and show as far as she seemed to be concerned. With their clamoring however, The Empress could not speak quite yet without appearing rude, and so, she patiently waited for them to calm down. However, just as their fits of passion seemed to fade, it rose again in a crescendo. And once again, Zhuli looked genuinely surprised.

"Āla ālalala!" her voice chimed with delight, a bright smile on her face. And once again, she may as well have laughed. Calming herself first, she answered the GDW Secretary General, voice soothing as though to explain a complicated twist in a movie to a child. "It means, Miss Lucchese, that someone is up for reelection and must beat the 'go vote' gongs." Golden eyes fell on Hak with subdued pleasure. "It's treachery then?" she asked.
 

steinOS

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Chief-Minister Yeniseyev clasped his hands together behind his back, continuing to watch Zhuli as his ears caught the audible, recognizable to any CCM citizen sound of concealed military-grade prosthetics being deployed. It was as if his striking the proverbial flint and steel eventually led to a spark elsewhere, he knew the HFR delegation looked awfully confident today. His lower lip jerked up as if disappointed, but it was a certain degree of admiration.

Colonel-General Burov leaned back in his seat and rubbed the back of his head, his fingers giving subtle gestures as they combed over his short, ashy hair. Many in the Soyuz quarter relaxed in their seat, some returning to writing their minutes. Some inevitably stared at the events transpiring before them.

“It appears my colleagues have grown impatient, we will continue this conversation at another time.” Yeniseyev rasped to Zhuli, his eyes looking over to America’s ambassador and Ein, who appeared to be displeased. Normally, this meant something healthy to the CCM. Then, he gazed to President Kal Young, Grand Admiral Hak and the rest of the HFR in attendance. The little confederacy that could. With a small smile, the Chief-Minister turned on his heels and proceeded back into the Soyuz quarter - his seat was still warm, as he found out.

"We support this motion." He announced into his microphone with relative nonchalance, his hands straightening his jacket once fully seated.
 

Ray of Meep

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Luchesse stayed silent, a flash of fear betrayed through her eyes and suddenly rigid fidgeting. She was fully informed of the Empress' nonchalance, flamboyance by her predecessors. She was as frustrating as her children, if not more so. The Secretary General was also well educated of her violence. The biological creation destroyed what the AU nor the GDW predecessor could've done: bringing down the old totalitarians of the Eastern Dragon. More accurately, they lacked the will to. Before them was a being who had the will to lash out physically. The Empress' reference to an old classic made that much clear.

There were murmurs in her group as the Secretary General's datapad flashed red with an urgent message, her eyes narrowing. RSC orbital drop pods bound for the summit building, ETA two minutes. She responded by standing up, protesting angrily. "This is neutral Martian territory! The GDW condemns this projection of violence!"

One of the HFR delegates, an Aos Si, lowered his arm cannon, ready to aim at both the Empress and the Secretary General. "Yes, this is free Martian territory. Condemnation acknowledged." He quipped coldly, then subsequently ignored her, putting his eyes back on the Empress.

Grand Admiral Hak only stated to the Empress, ignoring her cultural reference, "You have ten seconds to comply. Ten..."
 

CadetNewb

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"Xī xī, xī, xī," Zhuli politely laughed, a mischievousness to her smile. For many, it felt like waiting to see if the ice would break underfoot. She was, for all intents and purpose, a being of legend after all, and they were putting her under arrest of all things. "We will surrender under duress and the threat of physical harm," she spoke for the record. Considering all that she had done, this seemed far too easy. The Daqinren guards that had come aboard her personal ship hadn't even made a move. "Be careful not to choke on your own aspirations." Despite saying this though, she turned to look at all the others without the slightest hint of concern it seemed. "And what say you all, hmm?" the Empress asked the delegation.
 

Uso

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"We express our concerns over the neutrality of this space..." Caxia would start, speaking up for their more human companion, "...but are willing to see where this leads if justice would be served."

The American Union's ambassador had turned towards his own delegation, occasionally looking over at the Magnetic Assembly members while holding a discussion with the array of representatives that were with him. Ein was among them of course, entering the discussion only so long as required to get his people in line with one of the representatives breaking off from the group to go join the GDW while Ein himself made his way towards the Assembly.

"Perhaps it is time for us to take a break while this excitement calms down?" The Ambassador from the American Union requested.
 

Ray of Meep

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"That is acceptable, so long as it does not interfere with the arrest." Kal nodded. Meanwhile, two of the HFR delegation flanked the Empress, straining her hands with thick metal zip ties, while the other four kept their barrels trained on her. She complied calmly with all the dignity of a diplomat, but the HFR personnel were clearly wary, scared, despite their stone cold poker faces as they marched the conventionally attractive woman out of the conference room. Reports came in from the outside, RSC marines in Thunder-class battle armor lining the halls, surrounding the Daqin shuttle and scanning for any cloaked Daqinren.

Luchesse sat back down, eyeing Kal warily as he followed suit, still accompanied by a few delegates, while Hak left the building with the Empress. He cleared his throats, projecting his voice through his microphone calmly and firmly again. "The Daqinren are not to be underestimated. The highest levels of security protocol must be followed when interacting with the Daqinren."

"Your military incursion onto Martian territory will have to be answered for." Luchesse replied back harshly. That was bullshit. The HFR delegation has tolerated Daqin presence in these summits for the past few decades. It was only now that the AU and GDW's power have been diminished that they could get away with such drastic actions without immediate reprisal. But there was something else. Hak's presence was completely unexpected. Where was Prime Minister Luo?

Hak eyed her. "Understand this was all simple, RSC protocol when arresting a Zhuli." No apology, not even a please. A demand. Luchesse's eyes narrowed, but stayed quiet as he continued. "As the American Ambassador has proposed, I believe now is time for a one hour recess. When we return, I'd like to witness the peace reestablished between the CCM and the GDW. Any objections?"
 

Uso

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As the group started to disband, Ein would make his way over to the Magnetic Assembly's area of the table.

"James! It has been too long." He said. Ein absolutely towered over both Caxia and James and It wasn't just because of his size. Certainly his height and broad shoulders certainly helped, but that only reinforced that feeling of comfort he exuded. This was his home turf, negotiation with others came naturally to him even when both parties didn't realize it was a negotiation. His suit fit him like he was born in it.

This was much unlike Heram James Wazu, still sitting there wearing his jacket off his shoulders like a cape. He looked like he was dressed up in a costume. Like someone who was lost and somehow ended up at a fancy party. Caxia didn't wear any finery, but that seemed to suit them better. You're never more comfortable then when you're in your own skin.

"Ein," Wazu replied.

This brought a smile to Ein's face. Wazu had been short, but hadn't shot him down immediately. Now all that was left was the negotiation. He would address Caxia next, looking past Wazu towards his next target. "...And Caxia, we haven't had the opportunity to meet yet. I hear your scientific work is quite exciting. The Terran branch of Slyphon is hurting hard with the loss of its Hawking division to the new SEER you've formed."

Caxia barely moved in response, a slight turn of their head so that one of the optics along the side was looking directly at Ein, "It is."

Ein would bring his attention back towards Wazu though he continued to address them both. He wasn't about to let their cold response slow him down. "The Ambassador is sitting with his people right now, no doubt working out how he can throw the two of you in prison now that we're allowing heads of state to be arrested at these conferences." Ein said, "... I know you're already thinking just how you get out this door without getting into a shootout." He could practically see the wheels turning inside of Wazu's head. No doubt thinking of every little possibility. Working out every little plan always seemed like such a bore... inevitably Wazu would come up with something and then all Ein would have to do was hijack that.

"And you've got a plan?" Wazu asked, crossing his arms in the process.

"You're normally the plan guy and I didn't want to step on your toes..." He said, though he didn't want to make it all about Wazu, "of course if we have Caxia fill in for our missing Femme Fatale. It'd be like having the band back together ...Though if you want to hear what I'm thinking: We just have to all show that this is the place for diplomacy, not arrests. The Union's ambassador will get the picture after that. Daqin empress gets to go free. Everyone ends up at peace. We all get back to our own little projects. Rather than the Ambassador thinking he's some sorta space-cowboy who can have his boys try and bring you two in."

"We've got our own plans for staying safe here." Wazu replied.

"Some kinda mega-hack? A bunch of nukes on your ship? You know that doomsday weapons don't work as a deterrent unless you tell everyone about them. You also know the Ambassador and he's got no problem marching some soldiers in here to arrest you, then saddle you with being 'The guy that nuked Mars'. We both know they don't care about any planet they don't have a vacation home on." Ein said, leaning back a bit and feeling quite safe that he'd made his point. He was almost done here, if Wazu didn't agree with his logic he just had to make it clear Wazu would miss out on something if he didn't come along. "Or I can just save the Empress on my own, leave the Assembly Isolated, and possibly get something nice out of the old Dragon-lady. She's got the confidence to take on everyone at this table and I can't wait for her to show off her surprise to the group."

Wazu frowned, taking his moment before responding, "So you want me to go with you and save the Empress?"

"Just like old times."
 

steinOS

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“For your sake, I hope that ‘something nice’ is asylum.” a tall female noted as she eyed her datapad. Sitting at the lateral periphery of the Soyuz delegation, she was donned in a thin body suit that visibly shielded her neck, above which she wore a more formal white undershirt and grey blazer, slim grey trousers and black flats. On a first glance she appeared human with fair skin and hair, though the tips of her long ears piercing the curtain and large, almond-shaped hazel eyes made her race apparent. “The enactment of your proposition would make you a direct conspirator, warranting equivalent treatment as an agent of the Daqin.”

She looked up, directly at Ein’s visage. “Would you really prefer making yourself a fugitive of 3 nations in exchange for a pat on the head from one which you don’t even belong to?” The Aos Si lady raised a brow, before dismissively returning to her notes. The Chief-Minister and Colonel-General were already looking this way. “The peace agreements between your delegations have already been signed, arrests made in the aftermath are a direct breach,” Yeniseyev commented. “While, the Daqin Diguo has waged attacks and destabilization operations against every nation in attendance. Yes,” he seemed smug, as if sliding forth that which was obvious. “Even yours.”

“We understand wanting to profit from a crisis is part of your portfolio. But some are evidently closer to bad debt, as you see,” he advised, eyes moving to gaze at the restless GDW quarter.
 

Uso

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Ein would read her fairly literally, a functional bodysuit underneath more professional clothing? Certainly another soldier type being forced into an arena outside of their comfort zone. She'd already made up her mind, he just needed to show they wanted the same thing. "The Daqin will pay, we've already got them beat. But arresting the Empress is just going to throw away our advantage. She knows her schemes have been found out. She knows the rest of the Human sphere are ready, even eager to come down on her.

So we have her start turning over resources, technology, industry...

You stand to benefit from taking from the Daqin. Your alternative is taking your already depleted forces and wage a way against the Imperial military. Sure, that will make a nice profit for people like me who sell the weapons... it'll be a huge expense for you and yours ontop of the cost of rebuilding your lost infrastructure. Both the GDW and American Union have been savaged lately, they are thinking about their bottom line too, probably won't hesitate to let the other guys do the heavy fighting and take the heavy losses.

Take the guaranteed win."
 

steinOS

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“She would not surrender anything after being let go to sit among her servants - why would she? I wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. Which means we have to go there and get them.” The Aos Si shook her head. “You can just as well have them turn over resources, technology, industry as ransom - more predictable that way.”

The Colonel-General smiled. “Even better,” he commented. “The resources will come to us all at once.” Some in the Soyuz delegation snickered, noting his reference to the Daqinren Imperial fleet. “Our people have prepared for large-scale war for over 300 years. I have faith in them, and I dare say the other nations here. Because if we are the ones doing most of the fighting again, all of the spoils will belong to us, again. I'm afraid you would miss out on all the Daqin technology you could have en masse.”
 

Uso

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Ein decided to change up his attack. If it was a war the Soyuz wanted then he arrange it, so long as he was the one doing the arranging, "The HFR have the empress, which means they'll get the ransom and they'll get the first of whatever counter-attack comes from Daqin space... probably. With the empress out of the way, we have no idea who will end up in control of their empire.

You have an opportunity to tame the Daqin, or to be left behind as the HFR become the first among equals here."
 

steinOS

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“Who are we to rob them of their retribution?” questioned Yeniseyev. “Those Zhuli fled as quickly as they could after the Zhongzhi because they couldn’t face the consequences of their actions - now the people they’ve thrown into chaos have one by the tail. We would have done the same.”

“They are likely to prove a hydra, unfortunately,” Burov chimed in on heirarchy. “But that is a different conversation. Make your investments cautiously, American. Space is a lonely place, but you will always have a home in Sol as is your birth right. You would do well to protect it and mankind with the rest of us at all costs - lest you find your profits meaningless in the afterlife.” The Colonel-General made a dismissive wave with his hand as if the conversation was over - and the Soyuz delegation rose to their feet. Leaving the room one by one, they aimed to make use of the recess for deliberation.
 

Uso

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"You're not going to stick around to see what her plan is?" Ein asked, pointing over at the Assembly members that were still seated, "They came with a plan to avoid getting arrested by the Union. Certainly the Empress has one of her own... I'm sure James here has a few ideas. Wanna place bets on it? I've been leaning towards Body-Double."

Wazu seemed to get some enjoyment out of the Soyuz's response, "You seem to be losing your touch Ein,"

"There's always a next time." He responded, Ein took a moment, not wanting to look too upset that the Soyuz were leaving. "Besides, coming on too strong would look desperate... now lets go save a powerful woman from certain doom."
 
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