It had taken Jaikus no small amount of effort to arrange this diplomatic summit. The ongoing conflict between the Free Worlds Alliance and the Empire had resulted in little more than open hostility and distrust between the two governments, and countless hours had gone into the diplomatic dialogue leading up to this day. Recent events on Kashyyyk - including the botched response by the FWA and Jedi Order, and subsequent reaction by the Consortium president, had played no small part in aiding the Axxilan’s efforts. The entire situation had shaken the faith of many within the Alliance - especially those on the fringe and closest to the Sith Empire. And it meant that representatives from both Glee Anselem - the planet he walked upon - and neighboring Kril’Dor were far more receptive to negotiating openly with the Sith Empire.
Jaikus stepped down the ramp of his Imperial shuttle, boots carrying him down the durasteel surface that quickly gave way to the paved, elegant walk-ways of their meeting place. While much of Gree Anselem’s civilization and infrastructure existed below the blue-green surface of its oceans, all parties had agreed to a location that suited those who could not exist below the water. The Axxilan had arrived on the planet garbed in his signature Sith armor - the ensemble of black cloth and armorweave fitting tightly to his figure, while his features were shrouded behind the visage of his mask. HIs lightsaber hung in plain view on his belt, no attempts made to conceal his weapons. Jaikus made no attempts to hide exactly who he was negotiating on behalf of, and wore his affiliation openly for all to see.
As he walked, Jaikus idly flexed the fingers of his right hand - the sensation of the prosthetic one that the Axxilan hadn’t yet - and likely never would - get entirely used to. Steady, meaningful steps brought Jaikus up the stairs of the main diplomatic building and towards its sealed entrance. Citrine eyes drifted towards the two Nautolan’s that stood like sentries.
“Gentleman,” He said towards both of the security guards, his smooth voice distorted and mechanized by the filter of his mask. The Axxilan’s citrine eyes flicked between the two Nautolan, offering a respectful dip of his head. After a moment, Jaikus slowly reached down and unclipped the lightsaber hilt from his belt. The action was immediately met an accompanying shift from the guards who raised their own blasters, suspicion and tension clear on their expression. Only to lower those same blasters as Jaikus turned the hilt in his hands and extended it towards the one on the right.
“No weapons, as agreed.” Jaikus said smoothly. The guards cautiously glanced between one another before accepting the saberhilt. The same guard who received the weapon turned and punched a command into the panel on the side of the wall - signaling for the doors to be opened. Within moments, Jaikus passed through the threshold of the building and began to make his way towards the open audience chamber where he was set to meet with representatives of the two planets.
24 hour deadline. Open to 1-2 opposition from FWA or Jedi. While PvP enabled, this thread is meant to be diplomatic in nature and should NOT be approached as an Invasion.
The politics of the galaxy spun in ever complicated directions. Max and Alex had spent years repairing the Jedi reputation after Denon. In a fraction of time, wild Jedi had torn down that reputation. That did not mean the galaxy instantly turned on the Order, but those feelings certainly grew. Alex had done all she could on Kashyyyk to repair that reputation.
Scores of healers, including herself, arrived on the planet. Silex and Jade were punished before being turned over to the FWA. She repaired what she could. There was still significant work ahead beginning with Glee Anselem. Representatives of Glee Anselem and Kril’Dor had agreed to meet with the Empire. As a courtesy, they extended an invitation to the other side of the aisle. Alex had answered the call. It seems a choice hung in the balance.
She arrived at the meeting building. She wore her traditional Jedi robes and armor. Her saber swung at her belt. This was a no toys gathering. She turned over her saber and stepped inside. Opposite the building from the Sith.
Diplomatic summits were something of a common occurrence on Glee Anselm but not quite for the reason most people might come to expect. The planet was not some hub of mixing cultures or a place with untold natural resources. It was reasonably well-off in hard-to-reach aquatic resources but the Nautolans of the planet trade those freely with visitors to their planet and beyond. No, the reason for diplomatic summits being common on Glee Anselm was that the two races that lived on the planet were often at odds and many political figures had attempted to make an enduring mark on the Galaxy's politics by 'solving' the issue either by violence or diplomatic solutions.
None had lasted.
The open audience chamber was just that - open. Indeed, the chamber was shaped like an amphitheatre that had three divided areas of seating that rose up into the rafters. A perfect hole in the centre of the ceiling allowed the brilliant sunshine to stream in and perfectly illuminated the middle dais of the amphitheatre and the trio of Sentients that waited for Jaikus and the other representatives. A female Nautolan in a sleek bodysuit sat with her arms crossed, glaring balefully at an Anselmi woman dressed in leathers with bone and gemstone decorations.
Slightly to one side, a human man dressed, oddly, in a space suit with a fully enclosed helmet rounded out the group. The species of the human was mostly known because the people who sat in the seating behind him were humans in similar dress, though some had thought to take their helmets off.
The Jedi and the Sith would enter the amphitheatre and immediately be noticed. Crowds around the sides of the structure quietened as their appointed representatives noticed the guests. As the two natives of Glee Anselm seemed reluctant to break their gaze, it was the human who waved two new chairs to be brought forward for those who would join them on the dais. Said man rose from his seat before bowing to both Sith and Jedi in turn.
He pressed a small button on the side of his helmet.
"Sith representative Wraith. Jedi representative Alexandria Voran." he greeted and announced them in a voice of buzzing static, "I am Captain Broean Chenord and I was chosen to represent Kril'Dor in these talks. Beside me as Diplomat Inge Di of the native Nautolan and Chieftess Cof Lojoz of the native Anselmi."
There was a scoff of disgust from the Nautolan at being introduced in the same manner as the Anselmi and it was immediately picked up on by the Anselmi woman. She chose something of a high road, however, as she turned to the Sith and the Jedi in turn.
"Would your people treat the Anselmi with the respect they have earned as survivors of this planet?"
Diplotmat Di made a show of rolling her eyes - which was incredibly noticable with eyes as large as hers.
"You can ignore the savage. We only let them attend because the senate used to demand we do so. Because they liked to meddle in local affairs."
Alex followed the guard into the audience chamber. Light streaked down from the ceiling, dappling the gathered crowd with sunlight. Briefly, her eyes snagged on the Sith. He wore his traditional armor and mask. Wraith. She knew the name. Alex nodded her head politely. They both made promises to the assembly to behave. She could not help but wonder if the spooky name, armor, and mask wouldn’t backfire. It certainly was not the most inviting look.
They were led to the center dais. The room, and dais, were split between the Nautolan, Kril’Dor people, and Anselmi. Alex did her homework. She knew the cause of the tension in the Force. It was not just the meeting of Jedi and Sith. The Nautolan and Anselmi hated each other. No amount of outside interference or aid had ever managed to change that fact.
Alex returned Captain Borean’s bow with one of her own. Respectfully, she bowed to each of them...inwardly sighing. Already the peoples sniped at one another. How to play this? “Thank you for agreeing to meet with us.” She nodded towards Wraith before gesturing towards the chair. “Perhaps we should all sit and discuss how best to move forward.” Her voice was polite and her face smooth. “And I treat everyone I meet, even an enemy, with respect.” Again she nodded towards Wraith. “I am keenly aware the galactic meddling you have all face. I think we can agree it was not successful.” She gestured towards the chairs again. “Please, lets talk.” Alex once favored herself a diplomat. Lets see how that held up.
Jaikus kept his hands tucked neatly against the small of his back, eyes fixed forward as he strolled into the open audience chamber. A choice hung in the balance of today’s negotiations, and the Axxilan knew the pressure that weighed down against his shoulders. After mistakes on Dantooine, it was a pressure that he felt perhaps more pronounced than ever. Even still, he pointedly didn’t let it manifest outwardly.
As he stepped into the open audience chamber, Jaikus’ citrine gaze silently drifted between the three representatives who awaited him - rapidly picking out who was who before introductions were formally made. The representative from Kril’Dor - still adorned in his space suit - stood out plainly enough, as did the dueling representatives from Glee Anselm itself. The Axxilan had taken the liberty of doing his research on the centuries-long conflict between the two species, and he had no doubt that it was likely to bleed into today’s discussions.
Naturally, the Axxilan’s attention was drawn towards the sole opposing figure who arrived at the opposite side of the room. His wraith-like mask tilted ever-so-slightly in Alexandra’s direction, making it clear that Jaikus was gazing at her from behind the visage. While the Grandmaster of the Jedi wasn’t who he was expecting to arrive, Jaikus couldn’t help the small smirk that worked its way onto his lips as he realized who he would be debating against in these negotiations.
Moreover, the Axxilan couldn’t help but notice that she was the only person to arrive - and that not a single representative from the FWA had deigned to attend these negotiations. While Jaikus couldn’t exactly say he was surprised by that development, it was nevertheless one that he was confident would make his job all the easier.
“Captain Borean,” He bowed at the waist, attention flicking next to the two aquatic representatives. “Honored representative Di,” He bowed. Then, his gaze settled upon the Anselmi chieftain. Rather than repeat the same bow he had given the other two representatives, Jaikus instead brought his gauntleted fist to his chest and pounded it over his heart, before then touching his knuckles to his forehead. It was a greeting and gesture of respect that the chieftain would recognize at once - one originating from the tribal people’s own culture. "Chieftain." The Axxilan prided himself on the extensive amounts of research he did into other cultures and civilizations, and the Anselmi were no different.
“Grandmaster Voren,” Jaikus began, his smooth voice heavily modulated and distorted by the filter of his mask. “What a distinct pleasure.” He tilted his head in her direction. There was no outward hostility towards the Jedi, despite the underlying tension that very obviously existed. He moved to take a seat with the others, listening as the two representatives from Glee Anselm fired back at one another.
“The Empire respects both the Anselmi and Nautolan as the people of Glee Anselm. Moreover, I can assure you that we have no intention of meddling in the local affairs of your world as other governments have in the past. We do, however, offer opportunities to Glee Anselm that will benefit both of your peoples.” He glanced towards Alexandra when she spoke, giving the smallest nod when she gestures for them to begin the conversation.
Captain Borean accepted their introductions with an unexpectedly graceful bow in return to both the Jedi and Sith. He was very aware of the reputations of both the Jedi and the Sith as organisations but he wasn't about to judge either of them personally until they actually did something. Still, resting in his seat, he let the fireworks go off right in front of him - the fireworks being both of the native species of Glee Anselm.
Both the Jedi and the Sith would be able to feel the emotions within the air between the Anselmi and Nautolan. Neither were in any way molified by what they had said, though Cof Lojoz did give Wraith the acknowledgement of a similar greeting.
Before chaos descended.
"Then the Empire is as disgustingly misinformed as the FWA and the Republics before it." Diplomat Di declared with a derisive snort, "Glee Anselm belongs to the Nautolan people and if you're going to start by placing us on the same level as the land-clinging scum then our relationship will surely suffer."
Indeed, both the Jedi and the Sith would be able to feel the raw and unmitigated hatred that the Nautolan representative had for the Anselmi people. Indeed, it seemed to be a sentiment shared by a great number of the assembled Nautolans watching. The Anselmi Chieftess herself seemed no better though she seemed more eager to explain why.
"Master Jedi, you say you would treat the Nautolan delegate with respect. Sith Wraith, you say you would bring them opportunities." she leaned forward slightly, "Let me tell you about a practice amongst the young, bored, elites of the Nautolan. Water Gliding."
Almost immediately the noise in the amphitheatre rose as Anselmi and Nautolans from across the place surged to their feet to start hurling accusations at each other. Even the Chieftess and the Diplomat were no better - immediately exchanging a barrage of insults in their native tongues. Captain Borean seemed to sigh without actually being capable of making the sound before explaining to the Jedi and Sith.
"It seems you must weigh in, even if you refuse to 'meddle'. Water Gliding is the practice by which Nautolans will abduct Anselmi and take them out atop the water on water speeders, dipping their heads below the water for short periods of time as they do. The time spent underwater is gradually increased until there is an Anselmi who can hold their breath the longest. They are declared the 'winner' and stranded on a far island with a small rebreather."
There were cultural reasons for each and every aspect of Water Gliding but Captain Borean wasn't going to explain the significance. Either the Jedi and Sith cared enough to have researched or they did not.
Tension built and then hate buffeted her mind. First, Diplomat Di spit vitriol at Wraith. Powerful anger rippled from the Diplomat and his people. That anger was only matched by the Chieftess and hers. Rage built between the two sides as insults were hurled in the amphitheater. Alex resisted the urge to reach into the Force and quell the bubbling battle. She had learned her lesson from the Galactic Senate. Instead, she kept her face smooth while Captain Borean explained Water Gliding.
It appeared barbaric on the surface, but every cultural ritual had a backstory. There would be no mending the fence between Anselmi and Nautolan. They could not hope to repair centuries of hatred in an afternoon. Various galactic bodies had tried with more for longer and failed. Was she going to have to pick a side? That prospect felt uninviting.
Alex took a deep breath and plunged ahead. She raised her voice just slightly to be heard over the din. “I have read the histories of Glee Anselm but have not lived your history. I have tried to understand it as you do but I am an outsider and too many outsiders have tried to fix Glee Anselm.” Alex looked from the Diplomat to the Chieftess. “The Anselmi once ruled this world with a vast Empire, damming the oceans to grow ever larger. Those dams broke and the Empire was lost…your ability to breath water lost with your Empire.” Her gaze shifted. “The Nautolans have ruled ever since.” A rushed but accurate accounting. “There are two sides to every credit. You do not view the practice as described Diplomat?” Finally, her attention drifted back to the Captain. Kril’Dor could not be forgotten. They bargained for them as well. “We are here not only to serve Glee Anselm but also Kril’Dor.” A slow start but there was danger in moving too quickly.
If Jaikus had any external reaction to the visceral words of the Diplomat, they were hidden entirely by the visage that the Axxilan wore. He kept his posture straight and rigid, hands neatly folded in his lap as chaos consumed the amphitheater. He could feel the anger and hatred that radiated not only from the Nautolan people, but just as ferociously from the Anselmi. It was clear that attempting to put aside the generations of bad blood between the two species was likely to get them nowhere.
The Axxilan’s attention shifted from the Chieftain and back to Captain Borean, listening in silence as the Kril’Dor representative elaborated on the details of Water Gliding. Like many aspects of Glee Anselms history, it was a practice that Jaikus had studied - and there was no lack of complexity and conflict sounding its every detail. It was not so simply as picking one side or the other, and risking the support of one of the representatives. “The Empire is not here to meddle in the affairs of your people, or to ‘fix’ Glee Anselm as so many before us have attempted to do.” He said, tilting his gaze between the Chieftain and Diplomat. “It is abundantly clear that the Anselmi people view Water Gliding under a different light. What value do the Nautolan people gain in its practice?"
“Are you?” Jaikus said smoothly, tilting his head towards the Grandmaster to regard her. “I am curious, Grandmaster, how precisely the Jedi Order intends upon ‘serving’ the people of Kril’Dor or Glee Anselm? Perhaps the same way that your Order served the people of Kashyyyk?” All across the Galaxy, news of what had occurred on Kashyyyk - and the Jedi response to the crisis - had spread like wildfire. Even if Alex had taken steps to punish those responsible, their actions lingered as a stain on the Order - and something that Jaikus had every intention of wielding against the Grandmaster.
Jedi and Sith united in common thought for once it would seem - neither of them wanted to try and meddle or fix the social problems present on Glee Anselm. Truly, scholars would have wept tears of confused joy to see the two groups brought together had it not been for what they were apparently agreeing about. Both the Chiestess and the Diplomat broke their heated contest of glares between each other to eye the two people sent by two powers to speak to them.
"Simply put; Water Gliding is an urban myth. Dreamt up by feeble-minded Anselmi to cope with the fact that their people are so without hope that they would swim to distant islands with pitiful rebreathers in some misguided attempt to regain a semblance of the control of this planet that we hold." the Nautolan declared with a barring of teeth that could only be described as menacingly smug, "The Nautolan people are the rulers of this world. The Anselmi are just a lingering evolutionary mistake, lacking the basic intelligence to understand that they should have long since died off."
Both Jedi and Sith would be able to see the way the Chiestess flinched at the first part of this small rant - and be able to feel the sheer naked glee Diplomat Di gained from the reaction. Said Anselmi rallied quickly to shoot back.
"If it does not exist then why, pray tell, did your daughter spend so much time 'hunting' on water speeders near those same islands?" the Chieftess demanded before lowly adding, "Of course we can no longer ask her ourselves. So unfortunate to lose such a... lovely child."
Once again, the Force subtly directed both the Jedi and the Sith to feel the emotions pouring off of the Diplomat (utter dispair at the loss of her daughter and anger at the Chieftess for bringing it up) and the Chieftess (a bitter sense of righteous vindication). The two of them went back to glaring at each other - once again locking the discussion regarding the future of Glee Anselm as it quickly became apparent that race was going to be a deciding factor.
Captain Borean spoke up instead.
"And the Sith glassed half the world because why?" he questioned Jaikus directly, his voice blunt and half-robotic, "Do you punish those guilty by virtue of some of their species sharing an association with the enemy or are you suggesting that the Imperial Navy's aim was just unfortunately terrible? We all know of the digustingly foolish actions of Jedi during the evacuation. But let us not pretend your Empire is not at least half the reason why there was a need to evacuate in the first place. It takes two to bring war to a planet."
Letting the comment sit for only a second, the Captain pushed past it.
"Kril'Dor mines, sells and distributes tibanna gas and other vital gases across the Galaxy. Talk to me about how you'll protect that enterprise against piracy and the threat of the Syndicates. Talk to me about your stances on those pieces of literally festering shit."
Even modulated his voice seemed to hitch at the end.
Wraith’s barb slid by. Alex could not change the past, but the Order had taken responsibility for the misguided Jedi. A stain on her soul. Part of these negotiations would be politely pointing out why the other party was a poor choice. Her greater concern was the native peoples of Glee Anselm. The attacks made by both Diplomat Di and the Chieftess were deeply personal. The hurt they sought to deal was real. This went far beyond any simple cultural dispute. How foolish anyone had been to try and repair those wounds. Hurt carefully cultivated over centuries could not be repaired even in years. What was she going to do?
Thankfully, Captain Borean bought her a few extra moments to think. His request was far more straightforward. Captain first, and then the people of Glee Anselm. “Our Order’s singular goal is to protect life across the galaxy. The Syndicates have always run contrary to that ideal, attacking not only Free Worlds but Republic and Jedi alike. We have fought them at every turn. That will never change. We protect those who join us and have the resources to do so. One Jedi is worth countless soldiers. The Syndicates are not welcome.” The galaxy was changing. The Order did have a fleet and the wherewithal to protect allied worlds.
She shifted her gaze to Diplomat Di. Compassion flowing into her voice. Her eyes met the Diplomat, the sincerity of a century caring for others bubbling to the surface. “Please, tell me about your daughter.” Her voice was almost painfully earnest. Her desire to simply hear a grieving parent clear. There was no ulterior tone, no hidden motive. Despite the negotiations. She was a Jedi first. The man had lost someone deeply close to him. He deserved a chance to speak about her.
Jaikus’ gaze lingered for a moment or two longer on Alexandra - citrine eyes glinting behind the hollowed sockets of his mask. Even if the Grandmaster hadn’t deigned to respond to his comment, the Axxilan knew that his words stung all the same. Even if she had punished the Jedi responsible for their actions on Kashyyyk, it was a stain upon their order that would linger and Jaikus had ever intention of weaponizing it whenever beneficial.
A split second more, and his attention was drawn back to the trio of representatives - first fixating onto the acidic exchange between the two Glee Anselm natives. The emotions radiating from the two of them were palpable through the Force - the sensation as vibrant and tangible as the very humidity that hung in the air. The revelation about the Nautolan Diplomat’s daughter was a notable development, and the Axxilan couldn’t help but allow the information to linger in his mind for a long moment - interrupted by the words of the Kril’Dor representative.Jaikus’ head tilted ever-so-slightly in the direction of Captain Borean, meeting the helmeted-human’s gaze for a long moment. He allowed the silence to linger for a moment before finally leaning forward a bit to respond.
“The Empire bombarded Kashyyyk because of their continued affiliation with the Jedi.” He said plainly - his answer straightforward and without hesitation. If any party present was expecting the Axxilan to dance around the issue of Kashyyyk - to make excuses for what the Empire had done on the planet, or try to play down the devastation, they were bound to be disappointed. “On numerous occasions, we have stated that our war is with the Jedi - and any world who willingly chooses to associate and harbor them. Kashyyyk is one such planet that chose to do so.” Jaikus straightened, his gaze flicking towards Alexandra before back to the Captain. “Time and time again, the Empire has made it abundantly clear what will happen to those who voluntarily align themselves with the Jedi. Time and time again, the Empire has made it abundantly clear how peace might be achieved.” The Axxilan drummed his fingers against the table rhythmically. “You say that it takes two to bring war to a planet, and yet the reality is simple. The people of Kashyyyk brought war upon themselves the moment they laid the foundation stones of a Jedi temple on their planet.”
He allowed his words to hang in the air - not bothering to gauge the Grandmaster’s reaction to what was said before moving right along to the next topic. He pondered the question for a long moment - once more drumming his fingers against the table they all sat around. He listened as Alexandra spoke, a hidden sneer spreading across his expression.
When the Grandmaster finally piped down, Jaikus leaned forward and gave his response, “The Grandmaster claims that their Order has fought the Syndicate’s at every turn - and yet, I wonder - where was the Jedi Order when the Zaa Fenn attacked Mon Cala?” His voice was pointed and sharp. “Or during the crackdown on that very same crime family?” Not a single Jedi had stepped in during the crackdown on Zaa Fenn - the entire endeavor left to the Consortium with coordination between the FWA and Republic. “Or perhaps, did the Jedi Order lift a single finger during the war between the Syndicates and the Consortium?”
His eyes narrowed behind his mask, lingering on Alexandra for a long moment before shifting back to the Captain. “The Grandmaster claims to disagree with the ideals of the Syndicates in theory, and yet the Jedi Order hasn’t taken a recent single step to combat them. Are you to believe that this would suddenly change if Kril’Dor aligned with the Jedi?” He asked, allowing the question to linger in the air for a long moment. “Everyone here has seen the kind of ‘protection’ that the Jedi Order provides to those under its banner. They offer you next to nothing, in exchange for ‘joining their cause’, only to draw upon the resources of Kril’dor like the parasites that they are.”
“The Empire, conversely, can and will protect Kril’Dor as a planet within the Empire. Because the Empire has fought the Syndicates, on both on
Kafrene and in the aftermath of Mon Cala. We have fought them each and every time they have threatened Imperial territory, and protected those under our banner vehemently. And unlike the Jedi - who merely claim to have the means to protect your facilities, the Empire has both the firepower and financial means to ensure that Kril’Dor becomes unassailable to the Syndicates or anyone else.”
“Moroever, the Empire does not simply offer protection to the people of Kril’dor and its industries - but we also offer the means to expand them. While the Jedi will beg you for handouts and donations, the Empire has the fiscal powerbase to build upon the industry that currently exists on Kril’dor. New refineries, manpower to run them and the absence of crippling sanctions that, I can only assume, have done nothing but stifle the primary business of your world.”
The Axxilan leaned back, allowing his words to change in the air. “That, is what the Empire can offer to Kril’Dor.”
His attention finally shifted back towards the two natives of Glee Anselm - his mind returning to the flurry of emotions that radiated from the both of them. He heard the question that Alexandra raised, as well as the overemphasis on the emotion in her voice. The Axxilan knitted both hands together, planting them casually down onto the table. “And, if you are willing,” He added, head tilting ever-so-slightly to the side. “The circumstances specifically surrounding her passing.” It was clear from the Chieftain’s response that she was familiar with what had happened to the child of the Diplomat, but the context that the Axxilan needed was thus-far lacking. Nevertheless, a path forward slowly but surely knitted itself together in his mind.
The human captain breathed in his peculiar manner as he listened to both the Jedi and the Sith speak. To his credit, the Sith spoke with examples and both of them spoke with conviction but Borean had long since learned that words were wind when it came to Galactic politics. He leaned back in his seat slightly and let out a huff of air that sounded vaguely ominous as it was processed by his helmet.
He had made his opinions of the Sith's war effort plain for all to see - he didn't care that the Jedi and the Sith were at war. It was none of his business right now. What he cared about was the manner in which both sides conducted the war.
"A senator from Kashyyyk allowed the Jedi to build a building within the forests and you casually commit genocide and call it fair. Your excuse that it was because of prior warnings may have held weight had your Empire not also committed genocide against peoples who had never done so. We all watched on the news as Fierrerre burned. If Kril'Dor agreed to neither of you - would you glass us and claim it was because we considered the offers of the Jedi?" he countered before turning to the Jedi, "Though, Grandmaster Jedi, I find myself in agreement with the Wraith on one point; you offer Nothing. The Sith offer fire and death for siding with you - and the Wraith speaks of economic proposals, which we shall return to. But you? What do your people actually offer to mine?"
He gestured to her.
"Vague mentions of ships stolen from the Sith and those given in Charity? My people cannot trade in Moral altitude by holding the high ground, Jedi. What government would you even has us support? The FWA is falling apart and the New Republic considers us hicks and you as criminals. Worse... your vague assurances of action against the Syndicates." he declared, spitting the name of the organisation out with venom once again, "The Sith brought the fire they're so fond of and burned scum worthy of burning alive. They took action while you spoke pretty words - I understand that working with the ISC would likely have been awkward but I don't give a fuck. The Syndicates deserve killing and there was killing to be done and you ignored it."
A beat of silence.
"We, the people of Kril'Dor, would find our membership of either group contingent on one thing; concrete action must be taken against the Syndicates. Heads must roll, slaving rings crushed and pirates imprisoned or executed. One year. If there is not concrete, measurable, action against the Syndicate done within one year, Kril'Dor will leave. Consider this while the representatives of Glee Anselm finally stop glaring at each other long enough to speak."
Borean sat back in his chair but as he did so he called for one of his aides to come to his side so he could write some notes on a pair of dataslates. Upon which he would outline a key economic demand to be delivered to both the Jedi and the Sith by said aides as the natives of Glee Anselm spoke up. It would be up to the representatives of the Jedi and Sith to see if they believed them to be unreasonable and offer any potential amendments.
Unless they were willing to merely accept, of course.
Diplomat Di's face scrunched up slightly in a clear display of an emotion other than disgust or spite for the first time during the entire meeting as the subject to turned to her daughter. The Cheiftess leaned back in her chair and seemed to smooth over her expression into a mask of almost-neutrality.
"My daughter was a perfect example of everything that was good about Glee Anselm. Beautiful, smart and strong. She frequently raced watercraft professional and enjoyed long hunting trips." she spoke wistfully, forlornly, "But when she returned from one such hunting trip she felt unwell and... the doctors found she had ingested a terrible poison from a fish she hadn't recognized. Waters and currents above and below me but it was too rare and caught too late... I watched my daughter die a terribly slow and agonizing death."
The Diplomat was not a nice person but both Jedi and Sith would be able to feel the genuine grief that rolled off of her. If nothing else, they would know that she had loved her daughter. To one side, the Chieftess sat forward.
"When my son died, stranded on an island near to your own hunting reserve Diplomat Di with a rebreather fitted for a Nautolan in his hand... do you remember what you said to me when I went looking for answers?"
A beat of silence from the Diplomat and the Chieftess both but one not shared by the crowd. The Anselmi were getting riled up - clearly remembering what had been said.
"You said... he must have been stupid enough to go swimming with weak legs." she repeated, eyes narrowing and her grip on the chair tightening, "Now your daughter is dead. And you cry your crocodile tears and look to garner sympathy. So allow me to respond to the death of your daughter with the same care you showed me... she must have been stupid enough to eat raw fish with a weak stomach."
Diplomat Di exploded from her chair, crossing the distance between herself and the Anselmi Cheiftess to lean right up into her personal space with barred teeth.
"You dare?! You would dare to insult the memory of my daughter! And insinuate... what?! That she deserved it?! That you played some role in it?" She roared before backhanding the Anselmi Cheiftess, "Speak worm!"
Security from all sides immediately were on edge and Diplomat Di seemed to come down from the height of her rage and lick her lips as she realized what she had actually done. She reluctantly backed away toward her own chair again with deliberate slowness.
Cof Lojoz watched impassively.
"I mirrored your own statement regarding my son's murder. I don't know how you believe that could insinuate that I played a part in your daughter's death... unless you are admitting to insinuating that you played a part in the death of my son with those same words?" she challenged before turning to look at the Jedi and the Sith, "Is this who you would want to do business with? A woman so out of control with her feelings and prejudices that she sees conspiracies around each corner and lashes out at others violently during diplomatic debate? The Anselmi people know the value of controlled applications of emotion and drive. Clearly it is something the Nautolans evolved away from."
There was a sense of righteous fury from both women... but Cof's own had a touch of almost smugness about it. The satisfaction that came from having something come together exactly as planned.
5 years total tax relief on all products from Kril'Dor
3 years total tax relief on imported goods to Kril'Dor
Kril'Dor given licence to expand their merchant navy to include Capital ships
Kril'Dor to reserve the right to have a total ban on any of their products being traded to governments suspected of ties to organized crime
Investment in Kril'Dor is to be done by investment into local businesses, not state-owned enterprises
Borean spoke plainly. A fact Alex found deeply refreshing. The cultural politics of Glee Anselm were wearing on her heart. She had hoped to avoid direct back and forth with Wraith. Let the people decide for themselves without the need for slander. It had been too much to hope for. “Wraith is mistaken. When President Throne was taken by the Syndicates, I personally began the search. When Mon Cala was bombed, Jedi arrived within hours.” Alex leaned forward in her chair. She looked into the visage of the Captain. “You’re right. The Republic doesn’t care, and the Free Worlds crumbled. Put your faith in something different. Better. A growing coalition of worlds who will forge their own path forward together. Free from collar of oppressive regimes. We won’t ask you for ships or credits or soldiers, but we will defend you.” The Grandmaster tilted her head towards Wraith. “The Empire devours. It is their nature, Captain. You have seen it yourself. Everything individual about Kril’Dor will be erased. If you fail to comply you will be adjusted. Your freedom will be a memory. Your fleet gone, your culture gone, your spirits lost. Fight to remain who you are.”
A short breath. “I promise you this. We will hunt the Syndicate as vigorously as we hunt the Empire. If we fail you, join them and spill our secrets to the Empress.” Alex was forced to turn her attention to the boiling war between the two people of Glee Anselm. Pain from the Diplomat, then venom from the Cheiftess, followed by white rage and a strike. Alex remained seated. Involving herself would only immediately force her to pick a side. These two representatives of Glee Anselm were exhausting. The Morellian Jedi wanted nothing more than to haul them aside and address their behavior. Could she fix an entire planet one scolding at a time? Instead, she stayed seated, carefully in control with a neutral expression.
The Chieftess had provoked Diplomat Di. That much was clear. Their grief and anger were real, but Cof had used it as a weapon. Despicable. “Let us speak plainly.” Her gaze darted toward Wraith. “Perhaps something both of us can agree on.” Alex folded her arms across her chest. “What would either of you have us do? Displace an entire population rather than live together? Both of you must know, it cannot go on like this. What if we could offer one of you a new home, one where you could leave all this behind?” Just then the proposal from Kril’Dor arrived. She nodded and looked at the Captain. “We would accept.” She did not have all the Empire could offer and had to work within those constraints.
Jaikus glanced over towards Alexandra - citrine eyes fixating onto the Grandmaster as the woman attempted to dispute his claims. He listened, and the Axxilan couldn’t help the intensity of the scowl that worked its way onto his expression beneath his mask - the mere mention of the Jedi’s supposed ‘search’ for his fiancee striking a nerve within him like few things could. As for the rest of what the Grandmaster said? Jaikus merely tilted his head to the side ever-so-slightly, regarding the Jedi for a long moment. “Am I?” He said, the sarcasm and ridicule practically dripping from the words.
Jaikus didn’t need to say a single word to dispute what Alexandra had said. Because history itself served to tear the Jedi’s supposed ‘accomplishments’ to shreds.
“To summarize, Grandmaster,” Jaikus began cooly, tilting forward ever-so-slightly in his seat. “You have contributed nothing in the past. You offer nothing of substance to the people of Kril’dor today,” He drummed his fingers against the table, rhythmic taps beginning with his index finger and ending with his pinky. “And now, you make vague promises of ‘something better’ in the future based on no past precedent, offering protection to the people of Kril’dor - supposedly with not a single credit in return.” His words were skeptical and critical. It was a promise without any substance, and for an Order who’s financial backing relied entirely on donations and goodwill from other planets, Jaikus severely doubted it was a promise that would be met with anything but intense skepticism.
After a split second, Jaikus’ attention fixed back onto the Kril’Dor representative. “I believe the choice before you is abundantly clear, Captain.”
With that, Jaikus finally turned to address the shitstorm that was the interactions between Diplomat Di and the Chieftess. The anger and vitriol was clear to see from both sides, and so too was the pain from both representatives that came from losing a child. He didn’t miss the smugness from the Chieftess, silently catching his interest for a few additional seconds. It was bait - meant to lure Diplomat DI into a frenzy. It was almost impressive, if he was being honest.
Jaikus’ eyes flicked to the Grandmaster when she spoke up once again - his mask hiding the brief expression of dumbfoundment that manifested there. Surely the woman wasn’t serious? The Nautolan and Anselmi were fiercely proud people, and both cultures claimed Glee Anselm as their true home. The Axxilan highly doubted that either side would willingly relocate off-world, and suffer what would only be construed by the other side as an utter capitulation.
Had the Grandmaster not been sitting at the opposing side of the table, Jaikus likely would’ve winced at the mere suggestion.
Nevertheless, Jaikus allowed the representatives to give their answer to Alexandra before once more leaning forward, adding his own voice to the mix. “We are unlikely to reach any kind of productive conclusion in the current atmosphere.” He glanced back to the Captain. “I propose a ten minute recess. To allow tensions to settle, before we reconvene and discuss further.” It would give both sides time to consider their options - and more importantly for Jaikus, it would give him the opportunity to speak with one side or the other privately.
As the proposal from Kril'Dor arrived, Jaikus took the datapad in his hands and read over the terms - citrine eyes scanning over every line written. After a moment, his eyes snapped back up to fixate onto the Captain. "Without amendment or alteration, the Empire would accept these terms."
The Captain merely sat back in his seat and watched as the Sith and the Jedi both seemed to accept his offer without issue. It said things about them. About either their confidence or their arrogance or maybe their ignorance? He didn't know and he didn't need to know right now. All he needed to know what which of them could actually deliver on the promises that they made. He eyed both of them for a moment before nodding to them both as he regarded them.
"Your acceptance is noted." he remarked in response to both the acceptance of both and the comments from the Sith, "As are your comments, Wraith."
The Grandmaster had had plenty of time to speak to the same extent as Wraith, to make a case for her Order compared to the Empire he owed allegiance to. Broean had enough information to make an informed decision but he would go over it with his trusted friends before making any kind of announcement, official or otherwise.
It would become clear by the expressions on both of their faces that the Diplomat and the Chieftess would love nothing more than to have their rivals removed from the planet. The way their faces mirrored each other in their near naked hatred of one another and seemed to light up at the mere thought of being able to exist without the other.
"For too long my people have suffered the continued existance of these disgusting creatures... had bleeding hearts in the senate and wider Galaxy claim that they deserve rights that should be reserved only for the true natives of Glee Anselm; the Nautolan people." the diplomat declared, impassioned and utterly without remorse, "The Nautolan should be recognized as the only rulers of Glee Anselm. The Anselmi as what they are; sub-sentient garbage."
As the Diplomat and Chieftess seethed at one another in the wake of the Nautolan woman's racism, Captain Broean decided that he would take the chance to take Wraith up on his offer to bring some semblance of control to proceedings.
"Thirty minutes recess. Hopefully we do not have any murders during this time."
The representatives of the different peoples split up, clearly not wanting to spend any further time together if they couldn't help it. Diplomat Di milled around the centre of the area with some of her supporters, Chieftess Lojoz moved to a side room to have a private conversation and Captain Broean... went to get some food from a canteen on site.
Next post, please approach whichever party you wish during the recess. During this time, please put your post in spoiler tags for parts that are not open to the general public/opposition to openly hear IC.
Alex fought the urge to shake her head. She understood the depth of racial tension between the people of Glee Anselm, but she found it difficult to banish the thought she dealt with petty children. The logical piece of her brain knew she could not fully comprehend the situation. She was near human, a Jedi, and without hideous scaring. Alex fit into nearly every neat box in the galaxy. The discrimination Jedi faced was not the same as the vitriol spit between Nautolan and Anselmi. It just wasn’t. Despite her best efforts, she would never understand that...she couldn't.
An internal sigh of relief accompanied the Captain’s suggestion of a break. Alex knew where to start. She walked slowly towards the Cheiftess. Her voice was soft as she spoke. “May I have a word?”
The side room offered them relative privacy from prying ears. Once Alex was certain they had a modicum of privacy she made her plea. “Chieftess, help me understand what you truly want. You must know as good as I, that the Nautolan people will never capitulate rule without bloodshed…just as I would not expect you to bow to them.” She looked the Anselmi representative in the eyes.
“Your smart, calculated, and forceful. You know this cannot go on. What do you see as the solution?” The Cheiftess clearly had an endgame. She had provoked Diplomat Di. She wanted that reaction. The Nautolan’s seethe Anselmi as savages, but Alex saw anything but. They were playing a dangerous game, but they were playing. The Diplomat could not fathom he danced on Lojoz’s strings. Alex would find her way to the heart of where they were being pushed.