Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

With one disaster after another, the crew of the Edward Deming are stretched thin after another incident places their friends and family in danger...Some will go to great lengths to achieve their goals, though others may not be so eager to make a Faustian bargain.
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Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by uso » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:05 pm

((OOC: Specifically takes place after Chapter 10: Hoshi and Co. after Wazu walks out))

IAS Edward Deming,
Diplomatic Room


Hoshiko wasn’t backing down.

This put the Adlet and the Kiwomians in danger.

A drone was already on the way to their homeworlds to start preparing their defense. But to take on Taipan, far more force would be needed. The Armistice appeared to be finished… this would up the pressure on their ships and infrastructure. There were also other partners that could be tapped to ratchet up the pressure. The Atraxians were a prime candidate to lure towards Taipan. The Reich may also be counted on to help in applying pressure. The Garts themselves… though that may be best saved for later.

But meeting force with force was always a losing game. Wazu didn’t want to just trade blows, he wanted to secure his people. Any conflict could risk their deaths regardless of how much protective force was put in place.

There was one person to call who might provide some alternative answers.

If only real-time FTL communication between star systems wasn’t so expensive.

As he headed into the hallway outside of the main diplomatic room, Wazu would pull out his Datapad once again and make the call...

“Sakamoto, How are things in the Empire of Taipan? I feel like I haven’t spoken with you in a while.”
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by CadetNewb » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

"Ara, ara, no calls, no messages or anything at all?" came Sakamoto's sweet voice. "I was feeling so lonely, just waiting here all this time," the Taianese Rooster replied. "It could have been worse of course, but, you're just calling because you want to use me now, don't you? So cruel!~" the woman feigned hurt. On the other side of the line, Sakamoto gently swished the water about in her bathtub, wetting her feathers as she kicked her feet up. "I'm assuming things are not going as planned with our dear Vice Admiral?" she asked. "Handling her is easy enough, once you understand who she is, you know. You must be such a brute!" the feathered woman teased.
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by uso » Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:29 pm

Wazu couldn't help but smile. Snark or no snark, Sakamoto was willing to play. Progress could be made and she was already a few steps ahead. She didn't need to be told what happened or why he was calling... it also stood to reason that she had something she wanted and a plan to get it. He'd take a difficult contest against a prepared opponent over talking to a stone wall any day.

"And here I was hoping Diana had made your day with her call. I suppose you'll settle for nothing less than the genuine article?"

Sakamoto wanted to frame the 'misunderstanding' as him just not knowing how to talk to Hoshiko. There was also the question of just how much she knew about the whole situation. Regardless, the best move seemed to be following along to see where this would end up.

"She riled up a few of my guests, ones that I feel personally responsible for. I feel my only way forward is quite brutish, but if anyone knows what to touch on with Hoshiko it would be you.

Care to help me save some lives again?"
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:18 pm

"Oh, you think she riled up some of your guests?" Sakamoto began, her voice aghast at the accusation. "What about my poor Hoshiko?" her voice coo'd fondly with worry. "She's practically on the verge of tears you know!" the Rooster explained. "The vast majority of Taianese may look and act like Vulcans - I hope you get the reference - but even then, there are the faintest hints." Pausing for a moment, Wazu heard the swish of bubbly, warm water as the woman moved about in her tub. "The brief downcast of her eyes, the flick of her ears. She also might choose to isolate herself, or have some comfort food too you know," Sakamoto pointed out to the man. "She's always scared of foreigners, and after what's happened, even more so. Especially with men!" The sound of clean water being poured over a feminine form could be heard trickling over their comms as the feathered woman got out of her bath, rinsing of the soapy suds. "If you take a hard line with Hoshiko, she'll go to Code Red on you, but if you're polite - and not even excessively polite - she'll talk."

As the silence lingered, Wazu's mind began playing tricks on him as he felt Sakamoto's sly smile behind his ear, her breath tickling his hairs as he held the device up against his head.

"Ara. You messed up, didn't you?" the woman mischievously asked him.
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by uso » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:37 pm

This was exciting, fun, complex. Wazu would have to remind himself that actual lives were on the line. He couldn't just enjoy sparing with Sakamoto verbally, he needed a plan.

He needed to keep her talking, and only had a fraction of a moment to respond. Initially buying time was easy, especially with those types of people. He got the reference of course, but being truthful about those experiences would serve his goals.

"I'm afraid I'm not a huge fan of period dramas."

He then needed to address her attempts to assign blame. Leaving that alone could cause problems long term. He couldn't afford to ceede control of the narrative right now. At the same time directly addressing the issue would be akin to calling her a liar. A softer touch was needed to show that he contested that version of events but yet did not directly disagree with her assessment. A clinical response of his point of view without a direct attack on her statement would serve nicely.

"I provided Hoshiko with an agreement that would benefit us both, and she declined to negotiate terms."

Then there was the question of how much Sakamoto knew. Though initially Wazu had assumed she knew everything, her suggestion to provide comfort food hinted that she might not have known he already brought ice cream. Though, it could very well be an attempt to frame Hoshiko's actions in a way that was understandable to him. He only allowed himself a moment to consider if she was bathing or if she was naked. She likely was, such a play was very much in line with what he expected from her and he did not need to waste energy considering it.

Sakamoto was certainly providing information. He knew he should respond in kind. He'd need his own framing device to establish his version of events, his motivations, and perhaps the extent to which he would act. A clear signaling strategy to prevent hostilities.

"While the two groups that were antagonized are small players, they happen to be guests I invited personally. I'm obligated to help them regardless of what is happening, and Hoshiko's instance on only negotiating with them is not feasible at this time.

Just as I'm certain you would step in if one of your own had a problem.

Unfortunately for all, I'm running out of options that can resolve this issue without escalation. Attempts at politeness seem to have been met by continued refusal to discuss terms."
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:10 pm

Sakamoto's laughter was all too pleasant to the ear, and over too soon as well.

"It's not period drama!" the woman pretended to angrily scold him. "Ara~ I really should do a better job of hiding my power level," she replied with sarcastic bitterness, the video feed coming to life just as Sakamoto covered just her front in a towel. "That aside, I find that Hoshiko is perfectly reasonable and abides by a set of rules and logic," the Rooster explained to him. Sitting down on a seat, a set of flying ivory drones began drying her hair and feathers. Arms outstretched to either side, the towel pressed against her chest threatened to slip down as she smiled at him. "You'll have to give me specifics regarding what she declined to negotiate though, otherwise, I can't figure out why she did so," the exotically feathered woman replied.

"And neither your version, or hers by the way. Only the real deal will get what you really want," she reminded him with a wink. She knew that as much as Wazu refused to admit it, having his own version apart from the truth hurt him as much as it hurt Hoshiko to have her own version. It altered perception of reality, which was unyielding, and did not care how anyone felt. The woman hoped to remind him of that. "As for your guests, slights often go both ways. I don't know what slights they were, but I am certain Hoshiko will not apologize, as she has no reason to and has nothing to lose if she does not," she lazily closed a single eye, stray strands passing by as her hair was gently combed.

"Of course, your guests likely have much to lose by displeasing Hoshiko, and of course, Tai Pan," Sakamoto reminded Wazu, the faintest hints of darkness creeping into her always pleasant smile. "Though, this is assuming they only displeased her." Placing a hand over her chest to hold the modesty preserving towel in place, she leaned forward, closer to Wazu across the vast space between them. The smile on her luscious lips grew wider as her eyes narrowed into a mocking laugh at him. "They didn't make her think they're a threat, did they?"
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by uso » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:33 pm

"You know I place a value on transparency. In exchange for leaving the Kiwomians and the Adlet alone, I would avoid efforts to prevent renewal of the armistice agreement.

A more than fair trade from my perspective.

Though if you keep sending me such uncompromising we may end up with a very compromising situation. With the armistice alone Taipan stands to lose quite a bit. It falls to me to defend these two, and this situation benefits no one." Wazu replied, doing his best to remain as serious as possible as Sakamoto skirted the line of modesty. He could feel her getting under his skin with the phrasing. After all it was Hoshiko that escalated the situation to threatening lives. Once that line was crossed, it was merely a race to escalate the situation to the point where someone would back down or get blown up. "They aren't, the Kiwomians barely have a planet. The Adlet aren't really space fairing... but I would think giving me a reason to cause trouble would be all the threat you'd need to worry whatever emergency planers you have on staff."

It would now firmly be up to her to decide how to proceed.
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:21 pm

"Ara, ara~" Sakamoto's silky voice gently exclaimed. "So rough!~" her voice skirted the edge of safety. Standing up, she let the dryer drones get to work with her tail feathers, while another flew under her towel, vanishing from view. "No wonder you're having such a hard time," the Rooster woman observed, letting out a small giggle as she elegantly covered her mouth with a sleeve of feathers. She was literally born and bred for this, and so, she wasn't kidding in the slightest despite her lighthearted notes. "I believe you're going about this all wrong, nevermind that both Tai Pan and the Alliance would be very cross with you for interfering with the armistice," Sakamoto pointed out to him. "The key to all this, would be Hoshiko's perception of both of these peoples," she began to explain.

"It doesn't matter the reality of the situation regarding your two wards, since Hoshiko is the one holding what you want. In this case, you need to take into her account of her perception of them, and appeal to that." Finished drying off, the woman then turned her back to him, blocking his view with her bright display of exotic tail feathers as she dropped the towel aside. "You still haven't answered me, whether or not Hoshiko stated she viewed them as a threat, but knowing my dear friend, I'll just assume that's the case to cover all the bases," she smiled over her shoulder. Bending over, she then slipped into her underwear as Wazu saw nothing but a rainbow of feathers. "Simply show to her that they aren't a threat, and better yet, have them apologize to her for the slights while doing so," Sakamoto suggested, brief glimpses of a black bra being slipped, on teasing the man from in between her tail feathers.

"Otherwise, these 'specimen capture units' I'm selling to her flagship might just see use soon," she reminded him while slipping into a purple bathrobe. Turning back to face the man, she sat down, crossing her legs with a smile as a drone delivered her an iced tea.
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by uso » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:11 pm

"All I need to do is not interfere and the Armistice will end itself. Regardless of how it turns out, I am positioned to come out ahead. Though from Hoshiko's tone, I got the impression that is not as much true for Taipan.

To add some complexity to the matter, even if I were willing to allow Hoshiko to Antagonize my friends again, they are not in the state to reopen a discussion with her anyways. That is the non-starter that prompted me call to you."

Wazu could feel he was off his game. Or maybe under it all Sakamoto was just too much of a machine to get it.

There was a slight huff from the human.

No time to get emotional about it. The situation needed to be rephrased in such a way that his position was understandable. Sakamoto couldn't have known that Dr. Zenigata was having an emotional break down over all this and that putting the Kiwomians in the same room as Hoshiko would likely only aggravate the situation. Then there was his own hang-ups. Without a scope of work, a written agreement, a physical list of items to trade, it felt like there was no negotiation to be had.

Wazu would settle on further clarification of his position as his strategy.

"If I were able to show that my wards were not a threat, Hoshiko would simply refuse to hear it unless it came from them. Since this is not an option for me, I am left with only the option of preventing the specimen capture units from reaching those worlds.

This is an option that would substantially improve my own standing. My only real objection to it is one on ethical grounds, but if she wants to show off Taipans latest weapons, I'd be happy to show off mine."

Ending the conversation on something threatening certainly wouldn't leave a good impression. It was time to bring things back towards a compromise.

"So what I would like, is a way to show that the Adlet and the Kiwomians are not a threat, that would not have to involve their people and Hoshiko being together."
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:39 pm

"Ara, ara," the Rooster woman exclaimed in mild surprise. "She's really sticking to the rulebook then," Sakamoto realized, reclining into her seat, her robes suggestively sliding down from one of her shoulders. "Though, the standard issue diplomacy set she downloaded is really more a set of suggestions rather than rules," the woman added. Taking a sip of her iced tea, she considered what Wazu had said for a moment. "I find it amusing that you believe that the armistice is doomed to fail, and yet, think threatening to push for ending it will have any leverage with her." She paused a moment. "Did I get that right?" She rubbed her chin, colorful feathers brushing against her cheek as she did so. "It's all quite strange, really, not doing this diplomacy myself. Anyways, if she said she would kill you for that, she's serious. Destroying threats to The Empire is her job after all, so I think you should refrain from that. Hoshiko knows she's up against long odds keeping the armistice intact, and won't appreciate any extra obstacles," the woman thoughtfully explained. Holding her glass of iced tea up to eye level, the exotically feathered woman swirled it about as she mulled things over.

"If I knew why neither of these delegates can speak to Hoshiko, I may be able to provide more help," Sakamoto offered, her eyes turning back to him. "But, if you refuse to tell me, the best you could do is have someone you know who she tolerates present the information to her anyways. The odds will not be as good without having the representatives there though."
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by uso » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:33 pm

"It is something that I would need to work around if we want a diplomatic solution. Dr. Zenigata is simply not in the mental state to conduct such a discussion."

That would be about as much as he was willing to give away without sharing more than they likely would be comfortable with.

"Perhaps we should discuss the armistice? While it is certainly up in the air as to how it will turn out, I do have some insight into the Gartagen's operations. I imagine there are strings that could be pulled to get them to change their mind." Perhaps this was certainly an odd time to be discussing how to deal with his own threats, "Your options, especially with Hoshiko's posturing, may be limited. I don't suffer from the same limitations. If anyone in the Alliance or Taipan is uniquely suited to influencing this situation it would be me."

he paused moment. There were certainly a lot of threats on his life lately. That would be something he needed to address.

"You know, people keep threatening to kill me. It makes me feel like I come off as someone who can't take care of themselves."
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:17 pm

"Not in the mental state?" Sakamoto gracefully raised an eyebrow. "That sounds like a very, very important story that will be vital to the well being of the good doctor's people," the exotically feathered woman hammed it up as much as possible. "In all seriousness though, perhaps I could talk to the Doctor and help him in this time of need. I am a cunning linguist you know," she proudly crowed. "Though, if you insist on not telling me, and would rather talk about the armistice, I suppose I could." Downing her iced tea, she handed off the glass to one of her spherical drones, which promptly returned with a refill. "My guess is Hoshiko is trying to keep the two topics separate though, am I right?" the woman guessed, her eyes briefly glancing up to the ceiling in thought. "Please don't hold that against her though, it's simply not her thing, all this talking." Looking back to him, Sakamoto uncrossed and crossed her legs again, the slit of her robes riding high up her legs as she did so. "I'm not sure if you tried suggesting to help with the armistice in exchange for her leniency regarding your little friends, but if you do what I suggested earlier and add that in, it might improve your odds despite her reluctance to, ahem, 'cross the streams' , as they say."

Placing the glass down on a nearby table, Sakamoto then ran tip of a wet finger across it's lip, a pleasant peal ringing from it as she spoke.

"And please, don't underestimate Hoshiko. It will all depend on how badly she wants you to die," Sakamoto sweetly replied, her smile a bright beacon of sunlight.
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by uso » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:53 pm

"Consider that the most that would be proper to divulge without consent of Dr. Zenigata himself. I don't think it would be reasonable for you to expect a discussion with him either. While I appreciate your oral talents, I do not think that is what Zenigata needs at this moment... maybe you could teach Hoshiko a thing or two?"

He would take a few moments to consider the continued threats on his life, giving her a good view of some random hallway in the background of the IAS Edward Deming, Wazu still hidden away in some secluded section away from the main event.

"I suggested terms, the proper thing to do would have been to negotiate terms. I have yet to reach out to my Gartagen contacts though, as doing so would mean I need to take a position on the Armistice. I would have left it up to Hoshiko to determine that position, but here we are."
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:22 pm

"Ara, ara," Sakamoto fanned herself with a feathered arm. "You don't think my oral skills would help out the good doctor? Is this a challenge?" the Rooster woman lightheartedly joked with him. Again, the pleasant peal of her brief laughter was over too soon, as she went back to business. "Do remember that Hoshiko is quite intelligent. She'll be quite suspicious if I contact her. Rather, she needs to contact me," she explained to Wazu. "The best you can do is find out if there's anyone that she's more tolerant of amongst the diplomats all meeting there, and use them," Sakamoto suggested. "I won't say much more about that though," the woman then winked at him. Taking another sip of her tea, Sakamoto then set down the glass before rising out of her seat, discarding her bathrobe to reveal her black lingerie clad form.

"You might have more luck with the Gartagens, or maybe not," the Rooster told him, the floating servant drones moving to dress her.
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by uso » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:39 pm

"Well, I am not certain your oral skills have provided me much relief." Wazu replied.

It took some consideration. There was now a number of questions that needed to be answered. He would need someone else to speak to Hoshiko. Have that person suggest the idea of contacting Sakamoto... hope that this process would cause some sort of favorable condition to arise...For the time being he was rather non-reactive towards her teasing plays, his mind lost in thought regarding how to pull all of this off.

"But I do have something to consider."

His vision would focus back in on his datapad, and the conversation in general,

"Is that all, Or would continuing this conversation be purely recreational?"
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by CadetNewb » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:00 am

"Ara? You'd like to see if my oral skills could provide you some relief?" Again, Sakamoto's laugh came like sweet music to the man's ears, and ended far too soon. "You seem to be doing well enough not to need it though, but let me know when you're feeling particularly down," she suggested to him, robes loosely draped over her form as she began fastening the sash. "I might just help. I think that'll be all for now, unless there's something else on your mind?"
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Re: Chapter 11: Cock of the Walk

Post by uso » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:26 am

"I'd keep your view as a screen saver, but I fear these inter-stellar calls are pricey even for me. I'll have to catch up next time you're a bit closer." He replied, "Hopefully we'll be trading stories instead of weaponsfire."

He would end the call, and turn his attention to the task at hand.

A message to Diana would need to be composed.
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