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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
2253 to 2267: The end of a reign, the full reign of the enlightened Yndana, and Cognat's beginning

starkwolf

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Jan 13, 2019
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Princess Yndana approached her father with respect, but distraught.
"Father? Are you busy?"
"This is the perfect time, my beloved daughter. In fact, this peace treaty with the Erissu has left me with little to do beyond checking the usual reports and signing the usual approval forms."
"It's about that monster, Hephanira. I heard-"
"That's the point already! You heard. Have you met the new governor yet?" He responded interrupting.
"Her reputation speaks for itself." Yndana responded obstinately.
"I am disappointed to hear you speaking like that, I thought I taught you better. Never use somebody's reputation as your primary source of information about them. You must always check them over personally when feasible. Come, I will introduce you to her."

Princess Yndana's expectations for this meeting were not high. Hephanira was a name already known to many Wussari on Gul, more than any other Gulk including the emperor himself the name Hephanira was spoken with a fearful shutter. Wussari often could not be made to say what she had done to them. The idea that her father would make such a Gulk' the governer of Gul made her shudder.

As they approached the governor's mansion, they heard a loud, powerful voice calling "come in!" from inside the house. As they stepped in, a giant Gulk' loomed over them, taller than any Yndana had ever met before. Her beak looked strong and sharp, as did her claws.
"Welcome, glorious leader Darmug! And young Princess Yndana, how are you?" she said with surprising warmth, rare among the Gulk-Furki. But Princess Yndana didn't respond. Emperor Darmug spoke up.
"Since my daughter is destined to rule, I thought she should meet my newly appointed governor. Say hello, Yndana." Yndana greeted the governor, unsuccessfully attempting to mask the suspicion in her voice.
"I hope my resume is up to the standards of both my current glorious leader and my future one." She responded.
Princess Yndana spoke up. "I have heard that you have an excessively abusive temperament-" she started as if she would add "to the Wussari," but she quickly mumbled the words instead, knowing that such a complaint was not likely to be taken seriously. Even the suggestion of being "excessively abusive" was not a charge a Gulk' would typically make except as a backhanded compliment.

"Ah yes." she said with a bizarre smile. "I have something to show you that should provide some clarification."

They were led to a room filled with horrifying looking instruments. But wisely Yndana immediately recognized that one far more mundane instrument was of the most importance, hidden away in the corner of the room: an audio machine. The governor appeared to notice that the princess had noticed the machine.
"You mean... all this is just for show? A bluff?" She asked the governor.
"Not exactly" the governor responded. "other Wussari must never know bribes can be given, so that device is so that when I pull one of them aside for a reward they think I am punishing them for something else they did wrong and it keeps our conversations private." The governor went on to explain the sophistication of her methods in maximizing the output and cooperation of the Wussari, a system that used a combination of bribes on the one hand, and a variety of different types of punishments that would be considered "lesser" by most Gulk' on the other.

"You see, most Gulk' use a brute force approach. They think that the more physical pain they cause, the more motivated Wussari will be to work in the future. To make matters worse, they tend to be very arbitrary and will lash out more severely if they are in a bad mood or sometimes abuse them for their own amusement. I have been able to improve slave productivity by 10% simply by using a tiered system of punishment tailored to each Wussari individually, being consistent, never using punishment for doing the wrong thing when a cheap reward for doing the right thing will do the trick, and most importantly having informants among them so they can never get away with anything. Furthermore, you will notice that while each of these instruments can cause enormous suffering, the actual injury any of these instruments would cause is actually minimal. More traditional punishments cause to much damage to their skin and muscles, physically weakening them and creating a counterproductive vicious cycle. The best punishments are the ones that cause no physical injury at all, and most of the time actually need to be quite small for a small offense."

The princess still looked unimpressed.

"Think of it this way: in politics you always make sure to have something up your sleeve, right? Never allow your adversaries to know everything you have on them so you can always pull a trick when it is most needed. That's why you don't punish them most severely for minor offenses, you leave yourself nothing worse for if they do something more serious. All too often you will see a Wussari snap and kill their master before killing themselves, and it is a real tragedy we have not progressed further in out methods. But fear is a force multiplier: a scared Wussari will experience more pain than a calm one, as our lead sociologist recently discovered. That's why they must be scared all the time: more fear means less punishment. They suffer less, produce more, and everybody benefits."

"While I see your point," Yndana replied somewhat disingenuously, "I feel you could benefit even more by elevating their perceived status in your eyes. By treating them with respect, you give them a cause to work for. The Wussari are famously communal, and if they see you as an honorable leader that treats them with esteem, they will go above and beyond to try and be worthy of that esteem."

The governor paused for a moment. "A fascinating idea in theory, but does it work?" she asked.

Emperor Darmug spoke up "It does for her, she's worked with the Wussari that way ever since she was little more than a hatchling. I can't say I understand how she does it, but she has always managed to reach them somehow and make them want to work."

A lightbulb went off for the governor. "Imagine that!" she said emphatically, her powerful voice thundering across the room, "we will have to speak more of how you do this, I would love to learn more."

Now it was the emperor whose face started to sour, and the princess's that started to show a glimmer of hope.

"It seems you have corrupted another mind today, my daughter." The emperor's voice was a mix of endearment, humor, and a touch of genuine concern. In time, the governor would adopt many of Yndana's strategies, and the two would develop a close friendship, but they would always maintain stark differences in their overall outlook on the Wussari.
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At the end of the Gulk'-Erissu War, a period of great calm swept across Gulk' lands. The Cynn formed a defensive pact with the Gulk-Furki, and both would continue to build relations and try to enter the Propitious Pact. While the FDS despised Gulk' slavery, they found many similarities between the cult of The Unknown and their own faith. Furthermore, FDS studies into the religion of the Gulk-Furki gave them the impression that their religion was one whose central influence was a humbling one that encouraged them to be open to change and not to view themselves in too high of a light. The galactic market established its central hub within Cynn borders, which was very pleasing to the emperor as it was still near Gulk-Furki borders.
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In 2255, Glorious Leader Darmug died at 82, his daughter finally taking the throne at age 72.
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The funeral of the first emperor to die in the age of space diplomacy saw new rituals, such as spacecraft flyovers and hosting the funeral outside during the night under the stars. After the military had given their formal salute and the various rituals had been completed, Empress Yndana stepped forward to give the eulogy for her father.

"My father was a leader unlike any other in our history because he was put in a position no other leader in our history had ever seen. Throughout his life he felt the pressure of this, but he handled himself with discipline and demonstrated great cunning. He brought more stability to our people than we had seen in centuries, and in his heart he was a humble and wise Gulk, even with his title. Emperors of the past would have acted with fear when the shrine to The Untold was found, unable to accept the many things they had done that were against his wishes because they did not believe he was more than a legend. For centuries followers were treated with ridicule and humiliation, and most of us, my father included, did not believe. We were afraid of receiving the same treatment, and so many of us became stubborn. But my father demonstrated that it is more important to accept truth than fear pain in any of its forms.

He was powerful and strong, yet wise and humble. How many of our historical leaders can we say that of? Until Glorious Leader Darmug, we lived in constant uncertainty and ruling dynasties changed frequently. I believe this is due to his wisdom and foresight. He was the first leader to take control during our expansion through the galaxy. He engaged in diplomacy with other governments, something that Gulk have not had to do since the ancient times. Mistakes were made, but with his humility he recognized them and fixed them.

As his daughter, I can say that he was a good, protective father. He taught me well, and did not restrict my learning to what he himself could teach. At every turn, he considered the good of his family, and the good of Gul. Moments of vengeance were tempered with prudence, and moments of insight tempered with moments of humility." She paused, trying to compose herself. "He let me see when any other father would have blinded me to inconvenient realities, and for that I am forever grateful."

The crowd continued to mourn silently for days, as was the tradition, enemies and friends alike. Regardless of personal feelings, the Gulk would always mourn their leaders, even as some of them plotted. It was their way.
Princess Yndana sat distraught at her desk. Starting and stopping, writing and striking through, only to crumple the paper and throw it away and start over. After painstaking hours, over the course of a few days, she had the body of her work, but was yet unsatisfied. Her heart demanded absolute freedom for the Wussari, but her brain knew she needed allies and as leader it isn't possible to enact her policies in person. She couldn't afford to isolate her most loyal supporters. That was the compromise on her heart, and a single tear streamed down her face. She had to give them whatever rights might be doable. She was empress, and not about to play it safe. This was the compromise on her mind.

Her young daughter, barely more than a toddler, walked up.
"Mommy, why are you crying?" the young child asked with the sincerity that comes with her age.

"Bring your friend Ba-Vi and I will explain." she said.

"Come here, dat!* (1)" she called.

"Cognat! Don't use such language with friends! They have stood by you and you need to stand by them."

Cognat responded, confused, "but mommy, all my Gulk friends refer to their Wussari friends that way. I thought that's what we were supposed to do."

Yndana's eyes soften. "Call your friend in here again, nicely this time like you would with your Gulk friends."

By this point, Ba-Vi was already almost in the room, and her expression warmed to hear such words from her glorious leader.

Yndana spoke up. "Cognat, put your hand Ba-Vi's chest. What do you feel?" (2).

"Her heart." Cognat replied honestly.

Yndana went on. "Put your ear against her neck. What do you hear?"

"Her breathing."

Yndana went on like this for some time, then made her point. "My dear Cognat, the reason I have you do all these things is to understand that, like you, Ba-Vi is alive. When you hurt her, she feels it. When you say nice things to her, she feels that too. That is why I was crying earlier, many Wussari are being hurt constantly, and it hurts me to know that they are being hurt. I want to change that, but it frightens the other Gulk. So I can't help them as much as I want."

Cognat spoke up, "But grandpa Darmug always said that we are-"

Yndana interrupted "I know what grandpa Darmug always said, he told me the same thing many times. They don't have a gizzard like we do, but at the end of the day, what does it matter?"

Yndana turned to Ba-Vi "Ba-Vi, could you please bring that rail gun over here?" Now, the railgun was over twice Yndana's size and far heavier. Without a word, and without a struggle, Ba-Vi picked it up and brought it over, but Cognat couldn't begin to lift it and fell down trying. Yndana spoke up again "Our ancestors always respected physical strength. But the Wussari have always been much stronger than us. Does that mean that they are better than us and we should be their dats?"

It started to sink in as Cognat responded hesitatingly, but understandingly "no."

Yndana then spoke to Ba-Vi. "Ba-Vi, what do you like to do?" Ba-Vi tried to speak, but the words wouldn't come to her mouth. To be asked this by not just a Gulk, but the empress herself was very frightening. Yndana recognized the situation, got off the chair, and got down to the child's level, softening her voice and asking the same question again. Ba-Vi said she liked to run and draw when she wasn't working. Yndana continued to ask about what she fantasizes about life being like when she got older, and what she would do if she were a Gulk.

Cognat spoke up again "mommy, why does it hurt when they are hurt? We aren't them. I don't even hurt when my friends hurt." A look of great sadness swept across Yndana's face.

"Cognat, you are like a lot of Gulk. You might not feel the hurt, but I do. While there are practical reasons to treat them better, but being a leader is about doing what is right for everyone. Most importantly, The Untold reminds us that we are all made by him. He is mysterious, but we should consider that he has always reminded the Gulk through his prophets to be wary of our prideful tendencies. Is it not prideful to call the wussari 'dat' and use it so rarely with other Gulk? Remember, I am the empress of this world here, and one day you will be too. But he is over all of us, and none of us can dethrone him." A moment of silence came before Yndana spoke up again. "go and play with Ba-Vi again, but you go to the safehouse by this evening with Ba-Vi and the others. The other Gulk are going to be very scared and very angry, but don't worry, Goron and his soldiers will protect you."

Cognat looked up. "Mommy, I am scared."

Yndana replied honestly "I am scared too, my child."

Yndana went back to work. A good title still eluded her. It had to deceive as many Gulk into sounding unremarkable as possible, but also had to grab the attention of any Wussari that heard. Then, it hit her (3) she would name it "The Thanos Act."

Contained within the Thanos Act, a Gulk that executes a Wussari must provide documentation for the reason, and though the list of acceptable reasons was heartbreakingly long and petty, the Wussari could no longer be executed without reason. To do so was subject to severe punishments. Punishments too were limited, as were experiments that could be harmful to them. Even the lead scientists now had to prove the experiment was of value before they could bring harm to the Wussari. All documentation would be overlooked by a counsel of three of her closest Gulk, and two Wussari. Before the most severe punishments and execution, at least one verbal warning had to be provided.

But, the most cunning part of the Thanos Act was that Wussari were no longer forbidden from the performing arts in public. Gulk whose Wussari could sing or write well could now make a lot of money for their owner. Not only did this new freedom excite some of the more materialistic Gulk, but from her knowledge of the Wussari the inspiration of their music, poetry, and stories had the potential to melt even the hardest Gulk heart, according to her research the original reason the ban was implemented in the first place.

*Dat, a derogatory word derived from old Gulk used to describe the Wussari, less often used in a hostile manner towards other Gulk with the implication of similar treatment. Its etymology appears to be derived from "datal," meaning roughly "worth less than the dirt one walks on." (See author's notes)

Her first declaration as empress was give the Wussari a number of rights, something previously unheard of. The initial result was mass rioting and open, flagrant defiance, but she had planned for this and with numerous agents that she had been placing for decades, put it down faster than she even anticipated: over the course of only a few days. She took to heart the research on stratified punishment, letting most of the rioters go with only a "tag" that she used to create a glass ceiling on how much influence they could achieve in their life. Minor agitators were given public corporal punishments, after that some were executed simply, and the worst offenders were executed per dolor. However, she knew that without the Wussari to take out their frustrations on, the people needed relief for their many frustrations. For this reason, she began a strong focus on economic prosperity, and her declaration expanding the rights of the Wussari could also help improve the quality of life by allowing them to perform in public. Growing up, her close Wussari friends knew many tales from way back in their history that few Gulk' ever bothered to listen to, and many knew how to draw from their suffering to write beautiful poems and stories that could melt even a typical Gulk's heart. That part of her plan also worked better than she had ever dreamed, allowing a Wussari by the name of Va-Kir to obtain a celebrity status and filling the Wussari with hope for a brighter future.

The new heir was Princess Cognat II (I will expand on this later)

The next year, the Glyrran Sovereignty declared war against the Sinrath, citing that the Sinrath's war against the SDK was "a crime against peace, and a war of raw conquest." That very year the SDK surrendered Durascadon and Diub to the Sinrath, and sociologist Yndana died of old age, and Captain Jonnara was transferred as her replacement.

All the while, Glorious Leader Yndana continued to fortify against potential future threats.

Scientist Monnobaki, previously a major leader of the cult of The Untold died on the 5th of December 2265, with many though not all his goals for the faith having been achieved. Upon his death, Scientist Jonnara was transferred to replace him and she transferred control of her cloning program to an up and coming sociologist by the name of Timaphona. A few days later, the Propitious Pact's war against the Sinrath ended, with many planets being wrested from the Sinrath League and an independant nation known as the Sinrath Polity being formed, devoted to peace and enlightenment (4).
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Jonnara was just putting away a petri dish when she heard a knock on her lab door. Right on time, almost to the second. An eager, young scientist showed up.

"My name is Timaphona, I will be your replacement. I hear you are being transferred to the physics department?"

Jonnara, now an old Gulk, nodded. "Let me show you what we have found so far." She turned to a Gulk on her right. "Get Vi-Ma and Vi-Ba." The Gulk went to fetch two identical Wussari. "As you can see, the cloning program has so far been a great success. We are already capable of cloning Wussari, and the focus right now is on making it more feasible and studying the effects, so far we have not come across any that wouldn't be expected. Do you have any questions regarding the list of remaining objectives I sent?"

Timaphona looked displeased "there was one that seemed bizarre, and vague, perhaps I misunderstood. "Reduce distress observed in subjects" he quoted. "I really don't see what role that plays in making this practice more feasible, unless we are planning on expanding to Gulk subjects? And what sort of distress was observed?"

Jonnara responded "Slight inaccuracies have been found to have profound consequences. Many early cases did not make it, and one that did was nothing like the host, and had a severe speech impediment and malformed skeletal and muscular structure. As you will see in the lab reports, getting a clone that is accurate to every detail requires immense precision, and I have had to work closely with Rapalkin on nanobots to make sure the cytoplasm, RNA, DNA, and more is absolutely perfect. You see, it is simple enough to make a DNA copy from another embryo, we have been doing that for years. The problem is mitochondrial DNA is different, as is the structure of the cytoplasm. Furthermore, there is no point in just copying something that is imperfect, a degree of engineering is required to make it valuable. We aren't simply copying one to the other, we are basically re-engineering based on a template from scratch, which also ties in to the feasibility.

To rephrase that part of the report, we need a way that we can directly copy all pertinent information across cells with no significant errors. Vi-Ma and Vi-Ba are the only ones where we have managed the perfect transfer of all information, but the cost and time was only useful in a lab environment, right now it has no societal value unless we can streamline the process somehow."

"Why do you label it as 'distress' then? Isn't it simply that these subjects were dysfunctional?"

Jonnara sighed. "It is part of the Thanos Declaration. All experiments on Wussari must be done in a manner that maximize good to society and minimize the suffering of the subjects, to the satisfaction of the council."

"Isn't that going to slow our progress?" Timphona asked with frustration. "They are just Wussari."

Jonnara stared at the young Gulk with her aged eyes "I am not happy with this either, Timphona, but Yndana is our Glorious Leader and her word is law. That is good enough for me, and it should be good enough for you. These aren't the olden days when dynasties sprung up and were torn down with equal ease, and we are better off for it. I don't want to hear that you made any fuss about this, we are her scientists and it is our obligation to follow her wishes."

Timphona started as if to object, but as he started a glare from Jonnara stopped him from starting.

"Due to the testing they endured, the council decided that this year is the last year any sort of testing can be performed on these twins. After that, their status is to be elevated to wards. I expected you to follow the council's decision to the letter, and for further information you can contact the speaker of the council on the meaning of the position, but essentially it amounts to they can no longer be used for experimentation or physical labor and their distress needs to be kept to a minimum, a sort of 'retirement' for Wussari. I think it is strange too, but these are strange times and we must adapt." She shot one final warning stare at Timphona "and don't you dare try to find a loophole or exploit. The empress has eyes. I have eyes."

If it were most other Gulk, her warning would have been meaningless to him. But Jonnara, as the discoverer of the temple was not a Gulk anyone dared to defy.

Jonnara's eyes softened. Well, the rest is in my lab report, I suppose now would be a good time to introduce you to the lab, I hope you find it comfortable." She said as she led him around, pointing out where everything was and providing pertinent information on the lab itself. "If there are no further questions, I shall leave you to your study."

"No further questions." Timphona replied.

Without another word, Jonnara left for the imperial physics lab.

20190324111128_1.jpg

However, as the focus went into building Gulk' defenses, engineer Rapalkin found himself butting heads with his Glorious Leader time and time again, arguing for a more offensive military doctrine. In the middle of 2265, he would found the Path to Victory Committee, a party devoted to expanding the influence of the Gulk' through direct military conquest. Yndana was surprised to find, however, that this did not seem to negatively impact relations with the Propitious Pact as much as she expected, and diplomacy continued mostly unchanged.
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Empress Yndana died in 2267, and the long reign of her daughter, Cognat II began.
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The ceremonies for the funeral were marred in chaos. Without regard for the consequences, untold swarms of Wussari pushed their way in, howling loudly in the most eerie, chilling tones. The military stepped in to open fire on the Wussari swarms, but Empress Cognat would not allow it, for a variety of reasons including most notably that it would have been against the wishes of the deceased. After the crowds were calmed, the rituals continued as normal, but with loud howling in the background, much to the irritation of most Gulk.

It stopped only during the eulogy, where a slave known as Maarna had to be escorted amongst the hisses of the crowd by Cognat's personal guard. Though she had experienced such abuse simply trying to speak, her speech was so heartfelt and powerful that it put all of the Gulk speakers to shame. A friendship that had been built between the two unknown to the rest of the world stunned them all. Afterwards the howling continued, more powerful than before. No matter what twisted punishments were thought up to silence them, some of which had been illegalized under the Thanos Declaration, the howling could not be stopped. Some Gulk gave up trying, while others reveled in clauses they could invoke to punish them. But many, many others were eventually moved themselves by it. In life, Glorious Leader Yndana had uplifted the Wussari heart. In death, she melted the heart of many Gulk.


Author's notes:

1) Originally I was actually just going to use the B-word. Then I realized given the slavery situation the N-word might be more relevant, and then it hit me that it would be way too inflammatory and disrespectful to use either, rules aside. Using a fictional word I feel actually ended up being perfect anyway, as it could be a stand in for not only all the profane words we sometimes use, but also for a lot of the more hurtful language we use generally, even if it isn't a word but a phrase. "Dat" could be a stand in for all the ways language can be used in truly brutal ways. So, not my original plan, but I think this is even better.

2) This felt cliche initially to me writing it. Still decided to use it due to the meaning and context, but I sometimes wonder if I should have been more creative and avoided this cliche altogether.

3) Funny thing, it only then hit me as I was writing it at that point too. :D

4) Yes, we actually have pacifistic spiritual warthogs now :D
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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The velvet glove of the Empress hides a mailed fist that is used to smack those who mislike her policies I note.
 

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No worries
 

starkwolf

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Princess Yndana's coronation replaced with Princess Yndana's First Declaration and completed. Plenty added to author's notes, hoping to get the other stories done soon.

Darmug and Yndana's funerals are complete. Cloning program and pictures remain.

Jonnara transfers control of the cloning lab completed, although to be honest I feel it is some of my weaker work so far, curious what others think about it compared to my other stories.

Actually, better question: what narrative parts so far have been everyone's favorite and why? Don't feel like you have to answer though.
 
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No worries. Life takes precedence. Hope it is "good-busy" rather than "bad-busy", but if it is the latter hope it resolves swiftly.
 

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No worries. Life takes precedence. Hope it is "good-busy" rather than "bad-busy", but if it is the latter hope it resolves swiftly.
Earlier it was more of a "life" busy, just kind of run of the mill stuff building up. Due to the dark nature of my content, it feels inappropriate to work on it until Monday though, so from yesterday to Sunday is more of a personal thing than being busy.
 
2267-2281: The calm before the storm

starkwolf

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The beginning of the reign of Empress Cognat II started out quite peacefully, although concerns remained about their (galactic) western front, and the expansion race against the SDK was still in full swing. The time had come for her to put the large imperial stores of currency, minerals, and food to work in a massive development project. She multiplied the strength of the empire's defensive network many times over, and greatly expanded industry on their two planets. Under her reign, the Gulk-Furki would grow to be a respected galactic power, but at the cost of a significant trade deficit.
20190408125022_1.jpg 20190408132352_1.jpg 20190408133722_1.jpg


Fortunately, The United Dyss Alliance, a large empire to the outer south of the TAHM (the only allies of the dreaded GER) would find themselves at odds with the Gulk's enemy shortly after Empress Cognat II took power. But to the north the Gulk' were not so lucky, finding they had lost quite a bit of potential territory to the SDK, and narrowly beat them to claiming the Korgas system and isolating a system claimed by the Gulk'.

In 2269, the Propitious Pact and their associates came into contact with a vast empire to the south, the Zaacplot Administration. Despite their immense size, they seemed to be an empire of gentle giants, whose influence expanded to the fascinating planet of Sol III, colloquially known as "Earth." The history of the Earthlings fascinated the Gulk-Furki in how immensely diverse it was, and how much the constant clash of human nation-states contrasted with the early unification of the Gulk-Furki. Until influenced by the Zaacplot, humans seemed to be in a constant conflict of ideals. Just as a massive conflict was about to start, so shortly after the humans had gone through what they called "The Great War," the Zaacplot saved them from what could have easily become another very bloody war and took into custody almost a dozen of their most evil and warmongering leaders. Although threatened by this show of force, the Zaacplot shared much technology with all the human world, and skyrocketed their technological advancement. The Human Union was formed on the ideals of Jainism, Bhuddism, and Confucianism that the Zaacplot specifically favored. The Zaacplot historians reported that this had not gone as easily as they had hoped, as it conflicted greatly with many firmly held beliefs at the time, but despite the discontent the government that the Zaacplot had helped the humans to form to unite their world had been stabilized.
20190408130533_1.jpg 20190408130542_1.jpg


The scientist known as Bemlon further enhanced the faith of the Gulk-Furki, coming across some truly bizarre phenomena.
Captain Bemlon sat bored in his ready room. When he built SASAD, the Scientific And Secretarial Advanced Droid years ago, he reveled in how much free time he would have to indulge in his own endeavors, and to be fair it had helped him focus more on captaining the ship. But Bemlon had long since discovered that there is such a thing as too much free time. While he was no longer bound to signing uninteresting and routine paperwork, and could have crew reports simplified and read to him saving him enormous amounts of time by leaving out the unimportant details while still providing him with the information necessary to run the ship, and furthermore SASAD could analyze debris many times faster than any Gulk' science officer, he began to miss the excitement of thumbing through his work, hoping for something interesting, even if a vast majority of the time it was a disappointment. He had started to put on weight, eating out of pressing boredom and watching his comrades enjoy the tales of his slave, Va-Ma in the mess hall.

Va-Ma's public performances further supplemented his already substantial pay, making him one of the richest Gulk' even among the elite, yet on this spaceship there was little to spend it on, and return to Gul was as yet unscheduled. Once again, he decided to head down to the mess hall and treat himself to dessert worms. His diet, too, was slipping to become more and more unhealthy, and a lack of nutrition from Baff Beatles was making his joints ache. He sat in his usual spot in the back of the room, listening in on conversations and rumors here and there, occasionally turning his attention to his slave. It never ceased to amaze him how a single slave could have so many gripping stories, nor present them so well. In one moment Va-Ma would have the crowd explode into laughter, and the next shedding tears. He wondered what it would have been like if Va-Ma had ever met the legendary Wussari entertainer Va-Kir what a dynamic duo they could have been. Though he enjoyed watching his crew enjoy the stories Va-Ma shared, he relented that he could not do with Va-Ma as he wished. He always wondered what it would have been like if he could have made Va-Ma's performances more amusing by a well timed abuse or humiliation on stage, but the olden days of free reign over the Wussari were only a distant memory by now. New laws were no longer needed to further the interests of the Wussari, with each new Wussari celebrity their fans would protect not only their celebrity that they had grown attached to, but their close friends as well. The culture was growing slowly, but consistently towards protecting them even from their owners. He wasn't the only one that feared perhaps one day the Wussari would demand equality with the Gulk', and paying the Wussari and not the owner was already becoming commonplace in secret. His mind wandered to the olden days, before his time. It would have been nice to have something living to vent on he thought. He thought of making a droid but it just wasn't the same.

His thoughts were interrupted by the intercom, a familiar robotic voice. "Attention required on the bridge: Captain Bemlon. Anomaly detected."

With some pain, Bemlon got up, expecting some random debris field like the last time.

Barely had he entered the room and he plopped down with a grunt on the captain's chair, expecting little. This, however, was rather bizarre. SASAD spoke up.
"Ceramic object of unknown design circling Ceyecarro. Origin unknown. Purpose unknown, highest probability: container. Special features likely, but indistinguishable at current range. Probability of occurrence being natural: negligible."

Bemlon turned on the intercom. "Chief Engineer Vartek, why are we not getting close readings on that ceramic container?" The engineer chief's voice was scraggly and high pitched from years of exposure to various chemicals he worked with. "Our sensors were not designed to recognize anything like this as pertinent: it is too small and composed of unlikely materials. Furthermore, the chemicals from the upper atmosphere of this gas giant give false readings. We know enough to know it is there, but beyond that it will be difficult to tell fact from fiction."
"Any chance of scanning the object from the opposite direction?"
"Won't do us any good, sir. Trace elements will still affect the sensors from the source. I will have to begin work on filtering the effects produced by the reflection off these chemicals and adjust the wavelength of the scanners. It will take some time, but it is doable."
"Very good. Get on it then."

As the days passed, the information coming back seemed stranger and stranger. Try as he might, Vartek could not separate the reflections from the chemicals, and despite severe punishments for laziness neither he nor his crew could work faster, and in fact progress was being hampered by the pressure. Bemlon had decided in his mind that if it were not solved within the week, the system survey must continue. Then Bemlon noticed it. It was faint, but clear. Bemlon got on the intercom.
"Vartek, run the chemical pattern through our translation system."
Vartek was extremely confused. "Sir? What do you mean?"
Bemlon responded with more enthusiasm than he had experienced in years. "Treat each pattern as a character and run it through our translation system. What do you get?" After a few minutes, Vartek responded "Sir... you won't believe this. Answers. Answers to the questions that have been stumping our scientists for years. Sir... this is a relic of The Unknown!"

Bemlon sat back in his chair. He did not notice his chronic joint pain. He was now a prophet, like Jonnara. "Why" had always beena question associated with the unknown, but he felt particularly unready to be seen as a prophet. Jonnara was a legend whom he had long admired. In her time she discovered entire space empires and made first contact numerous times. Back then the galaxy must have seemed a vast and unexplored space. Why would The Untold speak to a glutton and layabout like him that for years had relied on automation to do the hard work of his job? But, of course, none know the mind of The Untold.


A long awaited war finally came between the ravenous hive of The Ugarlak Horde and Propitious Pact in 2275. Theories as to why it took this long range from a lack of preparation on the part of the Ugarlak and to theories that the Pact had done its job, deterring attackers. Little is known about the strange, apelike race, except their seemingly unending appetite. In the same year, the last of the great leaders of the Darmug generation died out. Jonnara, a legend of her people and the reviver of the ancient faith died at the ripe old age of 117. She had always attributed her great health to the divine, and her unyielding faith to three Glorious Leaders brought about a stability never before seen among the Gulk-Furki. Her loyalty was of enormous importance to Darmug, Yndana, and Cognat. With her death, Gul was quickly becoming the dangerous place it once was, and Cognat lacked the skillset in that area that her grandpa Darmug had. Her mother was an excellent reformer, but spent her life mitigating the impact of her reforms more than increasing stability. Stability would continue to degrade until, in the year 2280, space pirates known as the Outcast Armada were formed. Underground rivals Emperor Darmug was unable to purge, reactionaries upset by Yndana's swift and radical reforms, and citizens concerned about Empress Cognat's massive spending on large projects united to prey upon passing trade vessels to try and end the Darmug Dynasty. The ancient enemies, the GER began making aggressive claims on the Gulk' once more, and disaster seemed to loom ahead.

20190408134845_1.jpg 20190408135224_1.jpg 20190408142351_1.jpg 20190408142453_1.jpg

The geography of the galaxy, 2273:
20190408133154_1.jpg

Author's note: It is with regret that I am cancelling "The debris." I am just struggling to think of a way to make that particular encounter interesting and I really want to focus my effort on having a single, hopefully good scientific encounter story rather than spreading my efforts between two in the same chapter and risk doing a mediocre job at both.
 
Last edited:

starkwolf

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Intrigue complete, last session was rather quiet for the most part. Hopefully narratives will be done today or tomorrow, but hard to say. Can't give a timeframe on pictures, but they will be up.

Humans seem to be relatively lucky in being conquered by the Zaacplot, not the Gulk-Furki, even the new, gentler ones.
Indeed. With the status of the Wussari elevated, and Cognat II not being nearly the reformer Yndana was, the Gulk-Furki would likely be looking to fill a niche that has since been opened up. But, it would be good news for the Wussari most likely.
 

starkwolf

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Well... that was frustrating. Lost pretty much the whole story for "The Anomaly." I am going to come back to those two, and fair warning I am leaning strongly towards cancelling "The Debris". Instead, right now I will focus on putting up the pictures and the next session.

Pictures added, might work on the story more tomorrow depending on a few life things, either "The Anomaly" or the next chapter.
 
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Nikolai

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I imagine there is much to discover still in the galactic south.
 

starkwolf

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The Anomaly completed. The Debris cancelled.

Thank you to @Macavity116 for his nomination for the weekly AAR showcase!

I intend to spend my time tomorrow either looking at other AARs for my own nomination, or working on the next chapter. Whichever I do I hope to have the time to do the other on Thursday (I am US Central time).
 
2281-2292: Ascendance to federation!

starkwolf

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Timaphon's tutor approached Cognat with some hesitation.
"Beran, we have known each other for a long time and I know you to be respectful. Whatever it is, you can be frank with me. You know I keep this room free of bugs." She paused for a moment, then added humorously "the kind we don't like, anyway."

Beran spoke up. "It's Timaphon. The truth is, he is really struggling in his studies. I can't seem to grab his attention. He is still drawing pictures during class."
"What sort of pictures?" came Cognat's inquisitive response.
"... lewd ones, and rather bizarre at that too. His latest spark* is a Zaacplot and a human."
Cognat gave a puzzled expression. "Alright, send him in."
After a few minutes, Timaphon walked in.
"Yes mother?" he asked respectfully.
"Timaphon, I am told you are not paying attention during classes. Is this true?" Timaphon nodded, head down and respectful.
Cognat gave a look that was patient and caring, but frustrated. "Timaphon, I know it is normal for your age group to be distracted like that, but not only is your obsession stronger than your friends but you seem to have this odd fascination with other species. I hope you understand that when you rule, you will need an heir, and that isn't going to happen with a Glyrran, a Fellnoll, or a Zaacplot."
Timaphon spoke up "It isn't that mom, it isn't that at all. I do like Gulk' women. It is just that sometimes my mind wanders. I thought you always said curiosity is a good thing?"
Cognat was only slightly relieved. "Not when it interferes with much needed learning. You are supposed to be studying human cultures."
"I am mom- mother!" he said quickly correcting himself to sound more respectful. "I can still name the collectivist and individualist cultures of Sol III, but humans have this thing called a "wedding." It sounds really exciting and humans of all cultures have these really cool rituals around fertility and mate selection. At best we just have a little fun, at worst we get pushed into having hatchlings with someone that was chosen for us. No special celebrations or anything."
Cognat spoke up. "The grass isn't always greener on the other side, Timpahon. For most of their history humans were expected to mate for life, and like us it doesn't always come easily to them. Can you imagine if you were always stuck with the same mate for the rest of your life what that would be like?"
Timaphon nodded. "Humans have taken little bits of other cultures for most of their history and incorporated them among other elements of their culture. Maybe we could do the same with weddings one day? We could-"
Cognat cleared her throat to interrupt "We are getting offtopic. The point is, you also need to learn about diplomacy, especially as the Imperium becomes more and more powerful in the galaxy. There will be many other species to lord over, and we need to make sure we understand all of them."
Timaphon objected "Mother, the Sinrath, Humans, and Gulk' have all used seductresses for espionage. The humans used their men for spying too. The Sinrath have always fought for mates, and that says something about their diplomacy. The Zaacplot have always taken care of other young for decades before they are taken seriously as potential mates, and that paternalism and maternalism can be seen in their diplomacy too. The Cynn-"
"I get the idea, my child. You make a convincing, if perhaps very strained case for the impact of mating habits on diplomacy between species, and another time I might even study some of that too. But if you want to understand humans as they are now, you need to study the Treaty of Versailles, and the Zaacplot Treaty. There is simply no getting around that. I know you like to draw, and since you were always very good at it. You will just have to push through the distractions, that's final. But perhaps if your tests required you to draw diagrams instead of having oral exams, that would help?"
"Yes mother."
"I don't want to hear that you aren't paying attention in class again. Are the consequences clear?"
"Yes mother," he responded more sullen this time.
"Good."

As he started for the door, his mother called to him.
"Timaphon!"
Timaphon turned around as his mother approached and spoke softly.
"You know other Gulk' are going to make fun of you for drawing that spark art, right?"
"They wouldn't dare" he responded confidently.
"That's my boy!" his mother said with pride. "When you do your diagram for the Treaty of Versaille, I would like a look at it myself. Now go on, and enjoy your learning."

*Spark: A slang term that developed about 2276, roughly equivalent to the 21st century human slang term "ship."

In the year 2281, the pirate leader Darmug, named by his parents in honor of the legendary emperor, attacked the Acclum Physics Station in his first act of defiance. His rag tag crew of misfits and dissidents laid waste to the station and showed no mercy to its survivors. His crew ranged from rivals of the Yepar Dynasty that Glorious Leader Darmug brought to prominence in his reign, to reactionaries whose families resented the radical reforms under Empress Yndana, to those that feared Cognat's ambition would bankrupt the empire. Darmug the Pirate, as he came to be known, was actually quite fond of his namesake, his dissidence derived from the second matter. Though he resented the pettiness of the feuders as well as the arrogance of those in opposition to the current Glorious Leader, his force was greatly underpowered as it was and he could not afford to turn away any that might aid the cause. Any further discord would have to be dealt with at a later time, and this loose association of dissidents eyed each other with constant suspicion.
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Ketrilla's second in command stepped into her ready room.
"Captain Jurlek, I understand that my orders to go directly to Acclum confuse you?"
"Yes Admiral," came his response, "Darmug the Pirate is greatly understrength, and this is a very bold move on his part. He has made no attempt to subvert the station from within or hide his actions, despite clearly putting this force together for years. It smells of a trap."

Ketrilla nodded with approval. "Your wits are sharp, Jurlek, obviously why I put you in charge here. But I think his capability for stealth and intrigue has distracted you and caused you to overestimate his capability."
Jurlek was clearly no closer to understanding than he had been before. "But admiral, isn't it better to overestimate an enemy that lacks in strength and has no chance of being a real challenge than to underestimate one that may be a real threat?"

"Perhaps some wargames would get my point across better. I will play as myself, and you will play to your worst fears of what Darmug might be doing."

The games went on for some time, but even when Jurlek managed to double his fleet size and surround Ketrilla, it was still impossible to defeat her fleet. But this only managed to confuse Jurlek more.

"Admiral, I see your point that he couldn't hope to defeat us. But then why would he do this at all? It seems stupid or impatient, but we know he isn't either of those things."
"How about we switch sides now. You will play as our fleet, and I will play as Darmug the Pirate."

Knowing what she knew about the hopeless weakness of the pirate fleet, Jurlek immidiately engaged the pirate fleet in the simulation. Ketrilla immediately had the pirate fleet hail Jurlek's ships. Rather than outright surrender, she went on a long rant about why the pirates feared the Yepar Dynasty, and what it would do to Gul. When the rant was over, Jurlek ordered the fleet to attack, but nearly half of her fleet was moved by the speech and defected. The hopeless situation for the pirates quickly turned into a hopeless situation for the Imperial Fleet, and Jurlek's simulated fleet was destroyed. After the scenario, Ketrilla debriefed Jurlek.

"The problem is, while Darmug does not have the resources now to win, his only hope is to acquire those resources directly from us, and while he is patient, we are growing much faster than he could ever hope to. This is why I believe he feels he has the need to take a stand now: this is the one and only shot he and his pirates will ever have of overthrowing the Yepars, and he has prepared meticulously for this day. That's the real reason why we are running on a skeleton crew and gave all the others shore leave. I went through everyone's files, including yours, and sent away anyone that would have an elevated reason to defect, and I suspect he has been planting his agents among us for years, considering how resistant many were to taking shore leave. Captain Vargut in particular was strange since usually he always pushes for shore leave and only just now showed any resistance to it. Don't worry about Darmug being warned, they are all under close surveillance. But, something that all the ships will be ordered shortly before the attack: we must not receive his hails until after the battle has commenced and he is broadcasting on an emergency channel. Any attempt to broadcast on a standard channel must be ignored, and any emergency broadcast before the battle must also be ignored. We must strike quickly, answering only surrender hails, and all prisoners must be immediately gagged, no delay."

Jurlek nodded in understanding. "I never doubted the capability of the hero of Obaeshoth, I only asked for her to impart her wisdom on me."
"I know" came Ketrilla's confident response.

Almost exactly two months after his raid on the Acclum Station, Admiral Ketrilla arrived. It was far from the glorious battle over Obaeshoth Prime, the pirate fleet was no match for the main fleet of the empire. After the shields nearly gave out, the raider Attention Seeker defected, and the remaining raider ships were wiped out. Though some lenience was shown for the defection, much of the crew of the Attention Seeker were imprisoned in the imperial dungeon for years, coming out less than half the weight they entered when they were released. That same year, the GER also laid claim to the system of Moregard.
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To the galactic outer east, The War of the Ugarlak-Propitious Pact Great Gorging was not going well for the Propitious Pact. Ugarlak ships had managed to wreak havok on their systems and the Glyrran Sovereignty in particular was feeling the pain. However, by 2283, The Glyrran Sovereignty had turned the tide of war, forcing the Ugarlak to sign a white peace or lose planets of their own if they continued defiant.
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However, lead sociologist Timaphona's new project was creating a wild debate within the Council on Wussari Matters (CWM). Her program of neurological implants to create a Wussari army split the council down racial lines, with the two Wussari members staunchly opposed, two of the Gulk-Furki members strong advocates of her program, and one Gulk' undecided for a long time. It was decided that the program was acceptable only with numerous strings attached, but that Timphona would still be punished for improper admission of documentation. She was well beyond the deadline when she sent in the first documents to the council, beginning her experiments before the council had approved them and only acknowledging the experiments after they were close to completion. Her blatant disregard for the value of the council however only helped solidify its power, as their response to her disregard was swift, harsh, and public.
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Timaphona had been addressing the council for hours. Finally, she had come to her summary.

"...so in summary, the potential of this new device could save an incredible number of Gulk lives, should it come to war. Furthermore, the risk of surrender or desertion is virtually nil. Training speeds are enhanced and the overall danger to our soldiers becomes a great deal less due to typical impulses a traditional soldier must control themselves being entirely eliminated. Wussari are biologically more suited to being grunts, but this by no means precludes the possibility of keeping Gulk warriors for special operations.

In regards to whether this involves excess suffering on the part of the Wussari, I am surprised I have been expected to bring this to the council in the first place. War is a horrific experience, that is not debated. But Gulk have been expected to do this for over a century, since we first went to space under our Glorious Leader Darmug. It cannot be said that we are expecting any more from the Wussari in this specific regard, hence why this was not brought to the council earlier. To force this society to bury this research would be blatantly anti-science, since it has already been completed.

Thank you for approving my project, and may The Untold bless you all." She started to walk out of the council chambers, but was stopped by security.

Fuming with anger, one of the Wussari council members known as Vi-Ka spoke up. "Nobody has approved your project yet! You went ahead with a project without our knowledge, fully aware that the threshold for suffering had been greatly exceeded to start your project without approval from the council. You further insult the meaning of this council by smugly assuming approval will be granted.

To address your point that it does not exceed the expectations of Gulk soldiers, you are flat wrong on this point. Gulk serve a tour of duty before being released back into society, while you expect Wussari to serve for life. I would like to know what you intend to have done with Wussari soldiers once they become too old to serve. Earlier today you were extremely evasive about the long term dangers to Wussari with this microchip implant, and unless we get a straight answer every one of us is obligated to vote against approval. Furthermore, the potential of a Gulk soldier or unit to rout or surrender forced their officers to minimize duress. The implementation of this microchip implant will undoubtedly lead to horde tactics and meatshields during a time where plasma throwers and biological warfare is to be expected.

Answer the questions about long term damage and age and you might convince some of the others to vote in favor, but either way this is an outrage. I, Vi-Ka, vote against approval of combat implants for Wussari soldiers."

Taking the mic, peaking to the side to see Gulk security watching her closely with her laser gun still pointed in her general direction, she responded

"I haven't given you a direct response about what will happen to the older Wussari soldiers because that is not my jurisdiction! I am a mere scientist, not a politician and not an officer. If you want to call an expert witness, than do so, but as this is a new technology I doubt they can give you a straight answer on the spot either.

As far as the long term consequences, that has not been studied since it is not relevant to their performance in the simulations."

Vi-Ka was beyond frustrated at this point. "You said quite clearly that there were, and I quote 'additional effects.' Name them now or I will motion to have you held in contempt."

"Although a complete list is not possible, since I already explained that we did not observe them for an extended time, soldiers would occasionally demonstrate irritability and overall tension when not in the simulations. They were found to bicker with each other more than usual. A few reported nightmares, and a very small number of these woke up screaming during the night."

At this point Vi-Ka had had enough. "HOW MANY? One more word that is not a number and I-"

"-'will motion to have me held in contempt, yes yes I know." Timaphona responded mockingly. "An even one hundred subjects were studied for the sake of record keeping and to have a nice, large sample size. 85 of them showed increased muscle tension off duty ranging from a 25% increase to a 175% increase, with the average being about a 75% increase. I can make a handout for further details if desired. Bickering between them increased by 50% more incidents a week. 60 reported nightmares, of which 5 had been heard waking up screaming during the night. 40 of them described their nightmares as 'very severe' with the remainder describing them as 'moderate.'" she continued in a mocking tone "any more statistics you would want me to print on a handout?"

Vi-Ka's frustration had calmed to exasperation. "You call 85% 'occasionally'? I thought you said you weren't a politician. Just send us all the lab reports, like you were supposed to do in the first place." She turned her attention to the rest of the council and addressed them. "I strongly recommend that anyone that votes to approve this project at the very least include a contingency that Wussari be allowed to retire to ward status at 50, if not sooner, and that further research be done on the long term effects of these chips, with a second hearing to re-examine this subject later."

At that point, the Gulk council member known as Barann spoke up. "Although Timaphona was clearly mistaken about the need to bring this before the council, her behavior in these chambers has been unprofessional at best, but more accurately downright disrespectful. For this she will be held accountable.

However, Vi-Ka has overlooked the fact that in all things it is still standard that the Wussari will have to suffer more than Gulk. It is the way of things and not about to change anytime soon. Over time, much of this suffering can be alleviated through further research. But therein lies the operative phrase: further research. We cannot stifle new discoveries like this that could greatly improve our society simply as the result of Wussari sympathies for their own kind. The improvement of our military more than makes up for this suffering, and in time perhaps we may even discover a way to eliminate suffering altogether."

Timaphona spoke up "the technology to eliminate the suffering altogether already exists, sir, but we found that in the simulations it made the soldiers too prone to recklessness and so it was rejected in an early prototype."

Barann continued "in any case, this project seems like a wise and glorious future for our kind. I, Barann, vote in favor of approval."

At this point, another Wussari council member, Ga-Ba, spoke up. "The fact that the technology exists to eliminate their suffering altogether exists and is being rejected is disturbing. If they are to be used as grunts anyway, it is the least that can be done. Timaphona has demonstrated an utter lack of respect for the the Yndana Reforms. The removal of Wussari agency strips them of the one thing we have had for all these generations, attempting to remove it will lead to rebellion, and possibly revolution. Everything else I have to say has been better articulated by Vi-Ka than I could hope to. I, Ga-Ba, vote against approval."

The Gulk council member known as Terrilla would tie the vote at 2-2 with her statement "My interpretation of the Yndana Reforms has never been as radical as Ga-Ba. To interpret the reforms so strictly is to essentially eliminate the practicality of Wussari slavery altogether. Wussari suffering is, was, and always will be the norm. However, the Yndana Reforms were designed to improve the practicality of Wussari slavery by eliminating needless executions, giving greater freedom for owners to profit from their Wussari in new ways, and most importantly and most relevantly to restrict how much time is wasted on research that reduces the value of a Wussari slave for experiments that do not have great enough value to society to compensate. Even with fairly strict interpretations, this project falls well within the parameters of those reforms. I, Terrilla, vote in favor of approval.

One Gulk council member remained. A look of horror swept across the faces of the two Wussari members. Varmat spoke. "Despite the promise of this new technology, Terrilla's interpretation of the Yndana Reforms is flawed. In the first through fifteenth council cases, when Yndana herself gave her testimony to the council, she stated directly on page 5 of case 1 that "this experiment violates the dignity of the Wussari subjects, as a creation of The Untold, in irreparable ways at the benefit of mere entertainment for the Gulk. This cannot be allowed to pass." Her use of the words 'dignity' and 'creation of The Untold' indicate that it is far more than a cost-benefit analysis, but something which requires religious reflection as well. However, this very much straddles the line of what might be acceptable, which is more than I can say for Timaphona's behavior this session. I motion to come to table to discuss a compromise to be approved." This motion was carried unanimously.

More hours were spent behind closed doors, and yelling could be heard from the main chamber. Finally, the council members stepped out. Varmat read the agreed compromise in the chamber.

"We, the members of this council, have agreed to a conditional approval of the study on Combat Microchips for the creation of slave army.

1) The painless prototype must be used, once developed to a viable state. No device may be used that does not eliminate the suffering outright, and proper disclosure must be sent to the army of the limitations this will have on their effectiveness.

2) At such a point when a Wussari, based on their medical condition, is no longer fit to serve, they are to be granted ward status, under the commanding general or any person assigned by him to be their ward.

3) Further research must be conducted to reduce the side effects of the microchip. The lead sociologist must provide monthly lab reports to the satisfaction of the council, until such a time as it is determined that the side effects are negligible. Failure to do so to the council's satisfaction is punishable by 10 minutes on the swinger.

4) No Wussari under the age of 15 is to be chipped.

5) A chipped Wussari is not to be assigned any other form of labor besides reasonable combat exercises."

Varmat then turned to a new document.

"On the subject of Timphona's conduct: we find Timphona in contempt of this council under the following violations:

1) Concealing from this council information regarding a project, brought to completion without knowledge of this council, that requires approval by this council.

2) Attempting to leave the council chambers without dismissal.

3) Speaking in a disrespectful manner to members of the council.

Therefore, the following punishments are to be assigned sequentially with the minimum practical interval of time between, in the following order:

1) 10 minutes in the birdie boiler.
2) 15 minutes on the swinger.
3) 20 minutes of the Pain Rod
4) 5 minutes in the bath of great burning
5) 10 minutes in the splitter

These punishments are to be carried out at the dismissal of the council.

Timaphona's eyes grew wide with desperation as her punishment was read out.

"Please, I meant no disrespect! It was an honest mistake! It will never happen again!"

"The last part is the only part I believe." Varmat answered before calling the guards and dismissing the council as the guards dragged her away.

Also in 2282, the Zaacplot began the assimilation of Sol III into their empire. Soon, to deal with the Zaacplot would mean to deal with a multi-species empire, among which the much less populous humans the Gulk-Furki found far more interesting.
20190507214018_1.jpg

Half a year later, the legendary Admiral Ketrilla, hero of the Battle of Obaeshoth, died at the age of 90. Her last words, said to have been spoken to her successor with great heaving, were said to have been simply "weak fleet, weak empire. Strong fleet, strong empire." Those words would be engraved in imperial naval colleges around Gul, and on every ship in her fleet.
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By 2284, the pacifistic Zaacplot were counter-intuitively the most militarized empire in the galaxy, with a fleet substantially larger than even the SDK (2nd most powerful empire), Ugarlak Horde, and Sinrath League. The Galaxy gasped in awe at the greatness of this empire whose large fleet was never used, yet stood majestically against their neighbors should they attempt an invasion. However, 2284 also saw some real innovations in the works among the Gulk-Furki. Lead Physicist Darmuga was finishing up her advancement of traditional deflectors into proper shield systems for the imperial fleet. Noticing her development, Lead Engineer Rapalkin had begun work some time ago on a weapon he had been theorizing about for years: the space torpedo. Lead Sociologist Timphona, meanwhile, was performing statecraft simulations. Despite her mischievous reputation combined with her recent punishment for disregarding CMW deadlines, her developments would turn out to be entirely focused on the advancement of the Gulk-Furki Interplanetary Imperium, and not personal gain as many had suspected. When confronted with these allegations, Timphona expressed disappointment at the cynical assumptions being made about her.
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The next year, the GER and TAHM officially formed the Akkur Entente, though it was of no surprise to any of their neighbors except insofar as this did not happen sooner, when their beliefs were formally unified.
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Over this time period, many empires were discovered to the galactic far south, including the Serene Elaaminid Confederacy, Pallyrian Citizen League, the regime of Tir Baatna.
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Lead Engineer Rapalkin died at the relatively young age of 86. Sociologist Timphona was transferred to replace him, and Thalotha, now Lead Sociologist Thalotha, would replace Timphona in the sociology department at the Imperial Lab. This would be a difficult switch for Timphona, as she had always been fascinated with biology, especially the effects of offworld living. As diplomacy became more and more integral to the well being of the empire, however, it was determined that Thalotha's talents for studying diplomacy and statecraft were more needed in that department. But a suitable replacement for Rapalkin as a proper engineer was not to be found. Those that wished to study engineering found there was far more prestige in offworld engineering than theoretical engineering, despite the difference in pay.
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In 2286, the great scientist and prophet Bemlon died at the age of 83. Although this is considered a young age to die, many were surprised he lived as long as he had due to his poor health, but his crowning achievement seemed to have stirred his spirit. In the process of recruiting a replacement, a real genius was found by the name of Darmull, and he was transferred to engineering, and Timphona eagerly awaited her assignment on board the ISS Cyssak the Dignified, a ship whose name was as old as the legendary Jonnara, yet was what the humans called a "Odyssius Ship," one that did not have a single part that had not been upgraded or replaced since the time it was first commissioned. But the prestige associated with the restored vessel remained.
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Later that same year, the United Eruxo Bloc declared war on the Ugarlak Horde in the hopes of eradicating the hive that sought only to feast on the many species surrounding it.
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In 2288, Hephanira was succeeded by her daughter, Yndana, named after the empress whom she had come to so admire. That same year, Lead Engineer Darmull decided he would try and emulate the success of the great, late engineer Falatir. Many advances had come since Falitir's time, allowing for the more structurally sound construction of much larger vessels. What Falitir's destroyer was to the old corvette's, Darmull's "cruiser" would be to Falitir's "destroyer." During Falitir's time, however, he was allowed to do what he pleased with his Wussari slaves. Darmull would find he could not start on his project without numerous exemptions from the council. Exemptions, however, they would provide for every exemption requested. Work on the cruiser would take the lives of many Wussari, and the horrors would move the single Wussari councilman that voted in favor of the exemptions to tears. But councilman Fa-Kir would stand by his decision, as a necessity to safeguard the whole planet, Gulk' and Wussari alike. He was found dead the next month, dragged out into the street, mauled, and hung upside down in the main street, ostensibly by a Wussari mob in the night with a sign that read "death to the killer of his kind".
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Excerpt from Warrior Vuuret's journal, 2288-09-01:
After all these years as a private, my morale is at an all time low. In my first entry, I was so excited to be a soldier of Obaeshoth, ready to defend it from an invasion from the Erissu at a moment's notice. To return home one day to speak of the valor or the Gulk' in their defenses or to claim a planet from that annoying, pretentious regime that dares to claim the right of conquest on the galaxy. I wanted to watch as the Wussari were slowly freed by the enlightenment of The Untold. I was a fool.

Everyone is talking about how there no longer can be any war against the GER, they are so much weaker than us now. The stories we are told about the "light" slavery in this empire are highly understated, it is far from "light". Make no mistake, it is sickening to see how the Wussari are treated here, executed because they can't keep up with their work load, which I remind the reader is immense, or because they "disrespect" their master repeatedly. These Gulk make such a big deal because they have to be provided a written warning first and can't do anything they want with them. That said, I have heard many stories of the horrors of Wussari slavery before Empress Yndana, referred to here as Glorious Leader Yndana much of the time, and it is truly unspeakable. Things have improved, but any Cynn in their right mind would still be sickened by what hey see here, and my empathy for them is frowned on wherever I go. Any act of kindness I show them I have to do in secret, or rationalize how I am helping them work harder. I used to have more patience for this, but today I just can't hold back the disgust, outrage, and sorrow I feel for how little and how slow these reforms are, and how Wussari slavery is still far more awful than we have been lead to believe at home. It is a far cry from how we treat our indentured servants to which they are frequently compared.

But my outlook on the Wussari is not the only thing that isolates me. Today I finally vomited at a mock raid. I love my comrades, I really do, don't get me wrong. Their concern for their family is truly touching, and despite their reputation for cruelty, they are capable of great kindness towards those they care about. But the things they plan on doing to the Erissu civilians, even the hatchlings, should a war ever come is something I don't want to think about, but I record this because when my tour of duty is up the Cynn need to be aware of. Some of these things are things our society has never explicitly outlawed as war crimes because we have no record of any soldier ever doing, they would simply be considered criminal acts on the level of Bluurette the Demon in our early history. I am told outright by those that don't know me that I "lack the heart of a warrior" because I refuse to do these things, but my whole company knows of my prowess in the simulations. They can't seem to convince others of it though.

The Gulk-Furki are not this completely different species that everyone seems to imagine the Yndana Reforms made them. But their faith in The Untold is truly remarkable, it mirrors our own quite closely. You really see a different side of the Gulk-Furki when you bring it up. A pious side, a gentle side, and sometimes I even think they expose their very vulnerability in it, something which they never otherwise do. They get pretty defensive if challenged, I want to make that clear. But today I went to the temple with them. It is an experience like nothing else. Gulk' that have tried to murder each other in the past putting aside their differences and showing support, and the Wussari are talked much more highly of than anywhere else in this twisted society. You want to believe they are entirely different, but they are not. But their faith makes me think there is hope for this people yet.
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By 2291, the war between the GER and their outersouthern neighbors, the United Dyss Alliance, and continued development of Gulk-Furki naval power had so weakened the Entente's position that they were no longer able to be taken seriously as rivals of the Gulk'. Cognat II followed up with a diplomatic meeting with the FDS, who were so impressed not only by their advancements, but also by their willingness to rival the Ugarlak instead that the meeting was immediately followed up by a formal initiation of the Gulk-Furki into the Propitious Pact. The diplomatic objective that had been so sought after since the days of Glorious Leader Darmug had finally been achieved! The position of the GFII went from the 13th most powerful space empire to the 4th, with only the UEB, FDS, and the Zaacplot being more prestigious by 2292. The Gulk' were ascendant in the galaxy, as they had long dreamed. But the dream, though closer, was not achieved yet. The Gulk' still yearned for undisputed dominance.
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Map of the Gulk-Furki known galaxy, 2289:
2289_map.png
 
Last edited:

LWE

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I'm starting to forget who all these foreign empires are... What species are the Zaacplot? Their name makes me think they're plotting something.
So, the Gulk-Furki now have Wessari armies to fight for them, implanted or not. Quite a help, indeed, whatever Wessari council members think about it. RIghts or not, subject species should ultimately know their place, shouldn't they?
 

starkwolf

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I'm starting to forget who all these foreign empires are... What species are the Zaacplot? Their name makes me think they're plotting something.
Thanks for the heads up, I will try to look into ways to keep things more organized. I was planning on uploading a full game map with this one, so that should help at least keep tabs on where everyone is geographically. Maybe when I have access to my better computer again I will do a runthrough and take a screenshot of the details for all the major races and add like a post that is just a reference or something (like an encyclopedia). To make it easier maybe I will even organize it all alphabetically. Ideas are always welcome, of course.

As far as the Zaacplot specifically, they are the authoritarian pacifists that assimilated Earth (the ones that turned Earth into a spiritualist-pacifist subject.)

So, the Gulk-Furki now have Wessari armies to fight for them, implanted or not. Quite a help, indeed, whatever Wessari council members think about it. RIghts or not, subject species should ultimately know their place, shouldn't they?
This is going to start getting interesting in the next chapter. I already have that game played, just a matter of getting the story uploaded once I have the stories and pictures done for this chapter.
 

stnylan

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  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
It sounds like a very impressive decade or so from the point of view of growth.