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  #111  
Old September 13th, 2017, 10:46 AM
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Post Down a Peg pt. 71

At last, after a dinner prepared, set and enjoyed inside an actual house dining room, the Matron of Roethoeegaeaegz had broached the topic at hand. Kakhskha was not going to press the need until Matron Sangthaghlla moved first as the hostess. The mission was, after all the comforts, pleasantries and half-welcomes home, why the crew of the Gatherer had returned to give their report. When the Matron had verbally invited the report at last, Capt. Kakhksha put down her napkin cloth, stood and retrieved her hardcopy report. It had been folded inside her Psi-shield shemagh and carried with her to this meeting. With it in her gloved claws, Kakhskha presented it to the Matron at the head of the table and then returned to her seat. Male squires and priestesses shuffled the emptied plates from the table as the Matron put her full attention on Kakhskha.

“Attacking Serue will be fruitless, Matron,” began the Captain of the Gatherer. “Many will die and the world’s technologies will be taken down with the scientists there. They will make sure of it. The Church of the Recovery will look like hypocrites.” Kakhskha paused, asking with her silence if she had overstepped her intro.

“Go on,” said Matron Sangthaghlla.

Kakhskha looked at Professor Zannun once and then continued, “Our Admiralty Navy and Marines are ready to do the bidding of the Magistrates even if the Representatives ratify the decision to invade Serue. We do have the might to eventually claim Serue. The technologies of Nouon will indeed help the campaign. I know of the Ancients find there, Matron. It’s not that secret as you may believe. It will be a hollow and hard-won victory, Matron Sangthaghlla.” She saw the black-furred male remove his spectacles and pinch his muzzle bridge. He did not like what he was hearing, but it needed to be said. “Then, once we have destroyed the only Tech-15 world in Knoellighz Sector, the Ascendancy Pact can continue expanding into Etlieejibia and Riadr subsectors. But there is a problem with this.”

“What problem?” asked the Matron.

Kakhskha looked at Dead-Hex next. He nodded at her, confirming what he had briefed her. The beige female’s gloved claws came up and signed. The Pact will not be capable of holding onto the conquered worlds.

Explain, signed the Matron who was frowning now and looking between both Kakhskha and the mottled gray and black male. She leaned forward a little in her chair.

Dead-Hex cut in with his own signing claws, Your Navy and Marines will be Coreward while the Infinity League and the Democracy of Greats capture your worlds, including the Bridge of Destiny from behind. The League has been pinned by the Pact and committing assets Coreward will ensure your defeat in the Rimward worlds.

The declaration ruffled the female ruler’s pride a little to read the signs and word choice of Dead-Hex. Kakhskha wished she had been the one to sign that last statement in gentler terms. But she attracted the attention of the angered Matron with, Look at any subsector map of Irrarrdhang. More than half of the Pact worlds there are not ready for expansion. Nine worlds are Low Population. More than a few have no Government or Law ratings. The Trade lines are not solid enough to support the campaign. It is the Merchant sector that will leash the military, Matron.

“An army travels on its stomach,” spoke Lt. Ardell. Though she did not know slang, she was smart enough to know it was time for the axiom to come out. “If trade cannot follow the conquerors because the intermediate worlds are not prepared with consumer populations, there will be no channels for settling the worlds us Marines will capture. While we stand around, proud of planting our flag, the other empires, even the Zhodani, will take advantage of our weakened Trailing end. Our fleets are strong, Matron, but only as strong as they are kept supplied by trade.”

Dead-Hex spoke as soon as Ardell fell silent, “We saw with our eyes the mobilized fleets of the Humans. They’re already on alert as forces are moving Rimward to Ziafrplians Sector. They’re already prepared for war. If you move on worlds that were once theirs, they will act. Not every Zhodani Prole wants to leave their homeworlds just because the Zhodani Consulate says they must. The Pact will have to fight to take those congealing, Client State worlds even if they are outside the borders then.”

There was a pause of awkward silence as the Matron seemed to digest the verbal report, more of which she would find in the hardcopy now in her claws.
Lt. Anghal stood and spoke next when nobody volunteered. “Matron, the Infinity League is an ally of the Zhodani. They will act if the Pact attacks Coreward into former Zhodani subsectors. As the Admiralty pushes into Etlieejibia and Riadr, the League and the Consulate will sweep in from Spinward and cut your forces' lines, just like the Batttle of Ungkhou. I have no qualms about that sad truth. Spread your forces too thin and even the Democracy of Greats might look over their shoulders and become hungry for more worlds of the so-called Bridge of Destiny, the stellar main that stretches across Knoellighz.” The chocolate female sat back down immediately at the glare of Kakhskha. The rudeness of standing before the hostess Matron rose was outside etiquette.

The Matron laced her claws together and laid her muzzle chin on the combined digits. “There’s more, isn’t there?”

“Yes, Matron,” answered Kakhskha quickly so as to keep her crew from misspeaking again. “There are more reasons why conquest is ill-conceived for the next fifty years, Matron. But those are outside the mission, our report and beyond our right to disseminate to the Pact. Though I was born on Roethoeegaeaegz and Lt. Ardell originates on Nouon, we must speak as one, as Serueans. Please influence the Representatives and Magistrates to consolidate what the Ascendancy Pact already has. There is room for growth inside your borders already.”

“There are corporate entities and pocket empire groups that can fill in those slowly-emptying subsectors, Matron. It would be lucrative and save lives to do business with them first rather than send our fleets in military action. To do so will keep the larger Democracy of Greats’ eyes Coreward. You are sandwiched between two powerful empires, just as the Infinity League is pinned between the Pact and the Consulate. Be content with what you have, Matron. In the long term, patience will pay off or I’m no Merchant.”

The tension in the dining room was palpable. Kakhskha could feel the former Marine Matron thinking. It was on her gray and white face. The elder female looked down at the hardcopy report.

“I came to this conclusion too,” admitted Matron Sangthaghlla Thazdhoth. “Once we suffer catastrophic failure of our thinned military forces, the Pact would try to find someone to blame. The Representatives would lay the blame on Roethoeegaeaegz. The Admiralty already dislikes our female fleets. Though we hold a good third of the polity's production, it would be glazed over as claws pointed to us. Our world would lose what credibility and Charisma we’ve fought so hard to attain since the start of the Recovery.”

The crew of the Gatherer let out an audible and collective sigh. The Alpha-female was seeing the facts. They looked at each other and nodded. Kakhskha was relieved. She did not have to pull a trump card and have to explain the unbelievable Fienzhatstiavl, the Yonder Chilling Thought. She would not have to reveal the coming collapse of psionic sophonts and the maddening of everyone caught in the coming propagation wave. Her claws were sweating and trembling in her gloves, so she hid them in her lap under the table. Who knew what the Matron might privately know about the coming phenomenon already? The Psi-Map Exhibit on the far side of her homeworld was no secret from the Ancients. Surely some psioncologist somewhere was keeping a record of the glowing worlds on the planetarium projector. The wave was not something to let out into the public, risk Charisma and credibility, only to incite an interstellar stampede Rimward in fear, war and chaos.

When the Matron rose from her seat, Kakhskha waved for the others to follow suit.

“You have satisfied your mission, Captain,” declared Matron Sangthaghlla. “I must depart with your report and prepare my Emissaries for their trip to the Representatives. Thank you, all. Feel free to stay overnight. Good evening.” With her eyes on her wrist chronometer, the Matron stepped from the dining room to the salutes and bows of the standing crew. In just under two minutes, the Matron, her priestesses and squires were escorted from the house by the platoon of paladins outside.

The Serueans in desert garb did not sit back down until Kakshkha was sure the retinue had left the geodesic dome of the hotel. Dead-Hex whispered to Kakhskha, “Something tells me she is going to halt Pact preparations already in motion.”

“I got that wild hair notion too,” agreed Kakhskha. “But Matron Sangthaghlla Thazdhoth will take those males in the Reps and Magistrates down a peg for sure. Without an Important world like Roethoeegaeaegz behind the effort, Coreward expansion for the Ascendancy Pact will have to wait for another opportunity.”
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Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
The Pakkrat 0608 X58738-8 S va++ so+ zh+ vi+ da+ 534
On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)

Last edited by The Pakkrat; September 13th, 2017 at 11:19 AM..
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  #112  
Old September 13th, 2017, 11:42 AM
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Post Epilogue

Professor Zannun stayed at Roethoeegaeaegz Orbital long enough to act as Best Male for Third Officer Dedhekhsgourz to accept for the second and formal time Captain Kakhskha’s wedding torc. He stood over the shorter, kneeling Vargr as the bride, Kakhskha in a white tuxedo, clasped the neck-ring about Dead-Hex’s neck ruff. As the Bride’s Ladies sniffed back tears or stood stoic in military uniforms, the Seruean in laundered and pressed desert robes helped up the new groom to stand with clasped claws and forearms. He was to return soon to Serue to publish his Collector Drive performance data.

The Pilot-Astrogator had declared a surprise, healthy income the source of which Zannun was not privy. The crew would be able to afford repairs, a refit, Maintenance, Life Support and various other expenses involving the SJL-3A32 Gatherer.

Additionally, the crew was set for a vacation aside the layover. The black-furred Vargr patted the groom’s back and turned him to his mate-wife. “Take her down a peg, son.”

“Hmmm,” was all Dead-Hex could say within earshot of the females.
__________________
Virus: When you care to infect the very best.
Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
The Pakkrat 0608 X58738-8 S va++ so+ zh+ vi+ da+ 534
On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)
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