Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

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 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:59 am

As her thoughts began to settle, the Zhōngjiàng of Tai Pan simply sat in her booth seat within the private room she picked, staring at the one opposite herself. In truth, she was looking back through her notices and tried sorting through everything she could or should do as ambassador. Hoshiko didn't look forward to or savor any of it, but the tigress knew she had to at least try. Interestingly enough, one thing that stuck out the most in her mind was the transcript of the meeting - there was more said that she was not there for. A consequence of leaving so soon, and one Hoshiko immediately regretted once she went over the additional contents.

This could change everything. And yet, here she was, sitting. Unwilling to move.

She felt a little safer there, after all. Rising from her seat, Hoshiko adjusted the dress she wore over her armored bodysuit, and strode out, her guards remaining a respectable distance behind her. For the woman, the discussion with the Queen of Ersetu's retainer didn't matter. But what did, was whether or not she was going to get an audience. This could prevent war. This could keep her people, her home safe. This could keep her from having to fight again, Hoshiko realized.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by Gunsight1 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:17 am

The door to Queen Tiamat's assigned chamber was closed and two of the queen's ten foot tall green and black uniformed Rifle guards stood flanking the portal. Their polished brass buttons and the badges on their shako's glittering in the corridor lights. Each of them had a six foot long rifle held ceremonially before them and a sword bayonet hanging from their belts.

"Can we assist you?" the right hand guard spoke up, in his very thickly accented Alliance standard. The solider had dark gray-red skin and brilliant glowing gold hair and stripes and piercing illuminated teal eyes, which glanced down to size up the Tianese woman who approached the doorway to their monarch's chamber. The tone of his voice was alien, but not in any way condescending to the representative from Tai Pan, rather a helpful, if not guarded tone.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:28 am

"I wish to discuss matters of state," Hoshiko's emotionless words answered the guard. "When is Her Highness available?" she asked, her stance carefully neutral as she waited for a reply. Despite her outward appearance however, her thoughts on the matter were far different. She was less comfortable around men to begin with, but the Kishargal were towering figures. That, combined with Hoshiko's choice to be made smaller, only made the feeling worse. The realization that she was like a child in stature only evoked more unfavorable thoughts.

The vague childhood memory of looking up at a hostile creature crossed her mind, nevermind that it was a simulation.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by Gunsight1 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:36 am

"One moment, if you please" he said, then spoke into a small communication device, speaking in the native language of the Kishargal, then paused until a response in the same language responded.

"Her Majesty will see you now" he said as he returned the communicator to it's pocket, then nodded to the other guard, who triggered the door.

As the hatch hissed open, Hoshiko could see the chamber inside was even more dimly lit than this portion of the corridor was, the low light the natural comfortable level of light for the Kishargal, who were from a tidally locked world's twilight band. The darkness accentuated the glowing features of the kishargal within, an array of brilliant colored hair, stripes, spots and eyes, the most striking feature of the kishargal beyond their height.

"You may enter" the guard said and motioned for Hoshiko to step inside.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:50 am

Waiting for the Kishargal to confer, the small Taianese woman couldn't help but chafe in annoyance, but kept that to herself. Among themselves, such a delay could have been interpreted as a snub, but Hoshiko was well aware that this was simply peak performance for the inferior. Briefly nodding as she was given approval, the Vice Admiral stepped into the Queen's darkened chambers as her guards stayed behind, taking their appropriate positions opposite the Kishargal guards. The scraps of light were plenty enough for her enhanced eyes to see with, and making her entrance, locked eyes on the towering woman she came to see.

"Zhōngjiàng Kōrui Hoshiko of Tai Pan," she announced herself, waiting for the reply.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by Gunsight1 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:22 am

The queen sat flanked by another pair of her green and black uniformed guards. She reclined comfortably in her seat, a steaming cup of tea in her hand, her brilliant golden eyes twinkling in the twilight.

"Welcome, Vice Admiral Kōrui" the queen spoke in her smooth, accented tone, her words measured. "Please sit and make yourself comfortable" she indicated the empty chair across from her. "Would you care for some tea?" she asked as the door behind Hoshiko quietly hissed shut.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by CadetNewb » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:34 am

"Yes, I would appreciate some tea," the Taianese woman plainly replied, her eyes briefly darting to the one male guard present. Whatever unease she had though, she kept to herself as she took a seat. Tea was something that their cultures both had in common, and there would be no rushing it. Not even a Tiger herself would, despite her desire to hurry.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by Gunsight1 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:27 pm

The queen was quiet as she set out a second tea cup and saucer, then picked up an elegant porcelain kettle and poured some of the dark steaming liquid into Hoshiko's cup.

"Do you take anything in your tea?" she asked and indicated the containers of sugar, cream and other items that could be added to the hot drink.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by CadetNewb » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:51 am

The truth of the matter was that Hoshiko did not know how to react to tea-heresy of this magnitude. Physical violence? She knew how to deal with that. Threats of physical violence? Yes, that too. Potential threats? Most certainly. But never in her life did Hoshiko expect this, and so, she paced around in her time-accelerated VR zone, uncertain as to how to reply. If she turned down the offer, she may offend the Queen. But if she accepted, her own tea would be soiled beyond recognition, its flavor overwhelmed and adulterated with impurities. Trying to figure out the proper response to get precisely what she wanted was actually rather difficult, almost like what Sakamoto always complained about with diplom -

It was then that the small Tigress finally caught a brief glimpse of what diplomacy was about.

"No thank you, as this is my first time trying your tea. I would like too see what it is like in its natural state first," came Hoshiko's Vulcan-like response.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by Gunsight1 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:43 pm

The Queen smiled softly as she handed the cup of tea over to Hioshiko. It was a cup and saucer meant for a kishargal, made of the finest white porcelain adorned with inlaid gold and platinum and accented with intricate enamel. The fragrance of the tea was strong, pleasant with almost a citrus note to it.

With the drink handed over, Queen Tiamat picked up her own cup and brought it to her lips, taking a long sip of the hot drink, her glowing golden eyes drifting partially closed as she enjoyed the comforting drink.
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Re: Chapter 13: Shadows of Ersetu

Post by CadetNewb » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:12 am

Hoshiko was already a small person by normal human standards, standing at five foot even, but the Kishargal were big even in terms of a normal person. If the two were standing, instead of sitting for tea time, the Tigress's face would have been somewhere at the height of Tiamat's lap, who was considered short for one of her people. Because of that, the cup and saucer handed to Hoshiko was more like a large bowl than anything else, with loose tea leaves that actually looked like small leaves rather than small, black grainy things at the bottom of the cup. Of course, Hoshiko was also surprised that the tea and tea leaves were glowing blue. Inside of her time accelerated virtual space, the Taianese woman scratched her cheek, a little worried, but after a quick database check, was certain that it was safe. Of course, she didn't betray any of her worry externally, and smoothly drank the tea as though nothing were wrong.

As Hoshiko took a sip, she could feel the tension in her back slowly unwind.
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