Chapter 14: The Continuous Blunder

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 14: The Continuous Blunder

Post by uso » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:39 am

IAS Edward Deming,
Operations Room

During the International Summit

It...hadn’t gone good. He screwed it up worse. Even he could see that. Why? WHY?!!! WHY couldn’t he fix this?! All he was doing was condemning everything further. As he had been walking back to the room he had, he got hold of a device and sent Wazu a message.

“Fixing my mess has only worsened it. I resign.”

With the message sent, he arrived back in his quarters. The room was the same...unfamiliar to him, and mostly empty of anything personal. Then...shards of the mirror glistened on the floor. Catching his eye as he slowly looked up to it from his spot at the closed door behind him. He couldn’t see his reflection and part of him didn’t really care.

All a everything he touched or did. Every life in the tribe lost because of him. Because of his failure to properly help them. To get the right herb or figure out just what was wrong. A brow twitched as he stalked forward further into this room, going to the mirror. Bits of glass cracked under his weight and the small pain in his pads went ignored. Once again, but far worse, he saw that gaze glaring at him. Filled with disappointment and disapproval.

What did you expect?... I told you, WORDS do NOTHING. The Kaske’s voice growled in his head as Zenigata put a hand against the wall next to the mirror.

“Seems you’re right…..and I’m forever wrong…” Zenigata muttered.

The door would open minutes or even hours later for Wazu. What he’d come to might surprise him. No lights on in the room, accompanying it was a dark and dreary feeling to the atmosphere. As if any positive thing was sucked out of the very air and just left as a hollow husk. Once the light was turned on, he’d find Zenigata standing there. Hand on the wall as he learned partially on his arm, his dark brown eyes staring at the cracked mirror. The adlet’s tail was hanging behind him, straight as a board and just as lifeless. From the reflection, Wazu would see a emotionless expression on Zenigata’s face and a even more dead look to the Adlet’s eyes.

“Got my message….okay. You need someone else to be your diplomat.” Zenigata stated in a dead voice without looking toward him.

“I owe you an apology.”

Wazu was in one of the command and control rooms of the IAS Edward Deming. The room was dark, with the exception of projected displays in the center of the room. Zenigata would certainly recognize his homeworld and its moon. Various text conversations were also floating around it relating to a large shipment of material that seemed to be under way.

“I thought this would be a safe space for you to find your legs. It runs out Hoshiko is not a reasonable diplomat and putting you in this situation has resulted in much distress. I did say that you would not be in danger here, and I fully intend to back up that statement with action.

I understand if you wish to leave, though I would prefer to keep you with us.”

“And do...WHAT?!” Zenigata retorted as he pushed himself away from the mirror and took a few steps, ignoring the floating bits of text and his homeworld. “Continue to make a blunder of your plans?”

A shrug left him as he stood there, slowly taking a seat on the floor as he felt emotionally drained. So much so, he was partially surprised that he even moved from his spot at the mirror and took those few steps. Course, he was now sitting on the floor, gaze cast downward at said floor that lacked the mirror fragments.

“I nearly get killed by Frank as well as me killing him after he pushes every button, telling me to grow up. You’ve told me to grow up once as well….right? Before the huge meeting after my first blunder? Maybe my memory is faulty or just mixing stuff up on that one, I’m usually wrong.” Zenigata replied as he glanced up, still holding that dead expression. “I stood my ground and look what it brought….worsening my own blunder with a nice stab through the head.”

“I Should have been keeping a closer eye on you I think. I will have Green-Thumb deal with Frank, clearly he is acting out of line with whatever happened. I should also have stopped you from speaking to Hoshiko again, I do not think there is anything you could have said to change her mind.

You are still new to all of this. I expect you to make mistakes and learn from them. While I do not expect you to lead your people, you must understand your importance here. Your people are going to be dragged into an age of space travel that they are not ready for. Someone has to help us guide them and right now that person is you.” Wazu said.

A shrug was the only thing Zenigata could muster for the keeping a eye on him more. Would that have helped? He was watched by a entire tribe every day...didn’t do much then. A random man who was merely a ally due to a deal watching him be much different? Hard to say and Zenigata had no energy to muse it over with a rational mind.

“I thought if she saw...what she was planning to do was the same thing that happened to her people...she would reconsider..” Zenigata remarked absentmindedly.

Kaske’s lead the tribe, took care of needs such as hunger and safety. The Shamans kept the spiritual wellfare going, tribe morale, and traditions alive. The council helped keep the two balance, so that neither would cross boundaries they shouldn’t. So that balance could be kept.

“If every tribe knew...why the hell would they choose me for this if they had to pick from a handful of Adlets and I was in the line up? What would possess them to think I’m the one they want guiding?” Zenigata questioned, casting his dead gaze to Wazu.
Although this gaze had something behind it’s deadness. A stern seriousness, as if telling to give him a reason that made true sense. A real reason, something that would make sense. Cause all these events had been doing was spiraling into a mess of uncertainty and distress. Nothing was solid anymore. The only thing solid was his track record of failing.

“I thought that laying out what was at stake for her if she continued with this course of action would be enough to start a negotiation. This was clearly not the case. You are not the only one who misjudged the situation.

I also prefer not to dwell on the past. You are the Adlet involved in this situation. No one else can take your place. It falls to you to make the moves best suited for your interests. In this case…”

Wazu would wave his hand along the display, bringing up the image of a freighter along with markings for a few hundred cargo containers.

“... We must assume our diplomatic action with Taipan will fail. I have hired the PMC ‘Fortunate Son’ to fortify your homeworld’s moon. We can place enough anti-ship missiles, sensors, and other equipment there to fend off two or three ships. This will mean Taipan will have to commit a large force if they want to abduct your kin.

With the armistice between themselves and the Gartagen Union coming to an end, they may not have the starships available for such a mission. The next move may be for you to speak with others about your people. Make the case that the Adlet could use the protection of other major powers to prevent Taipan from abducting your kin.”

Make the case to others? How was he to do that when he wasn’t even able to do it to her? Taking pictures of his people would only scare them. Make them thing it was some soul sucking creature. How else could they explain some device producing a replica of them and what they were doing at the time of the picture being taken? The adlet’s gaze slowly looked away from them. Not really redirecting itself anywhere.

What...was he to do? What he tried made things worse, the apology was just another blunder of his. No point… point. Raising a hand, he shoved some of his black hair away from his face and gave a long sigh. Best moves..he had tried that! Words and apology were the best move. Not snapping at her the entire time he was there putting up with her gestures and words...just letting that all slip under the radar felt right. Focus on the words...try...and well, he failed it.

“And they’ll want evidence...i suppose on just how..primitive my kind is...huh?” Zen replied.

“I am uncertain how successful that would be. If she did not respond to the attempts at negotiation it stands to reason we will have similar success with trying to placate her using those methods. This leaves us to focus on taking direct action: stopping their abduction of your people and leveraging other means to disrupt TaiPan’s operations.

I will be employing my own methods, however you may want to reach out to the others at the summit while they are still here. Including other nations in defense of your people would improve our situation. I don’t think you have much to trade for that protection though… perhaps the Eretsu would be interested in using it as an excuse for joint peacekeeping with the intent of using such a joint protection force later.” Wazu suggested.

“Nothing that they would want...we don’t have high grade weapons or armor to trade. There’s nothing beneficial to them if they take part.” Zenigata pondered out loud.

Still he sat there, trying to figure out how he would go making his case to a bunch of people he made his first blunder in front of. Would they really believe him? Or would they take Tai Pan’s side in this? So hard to say….so many doubts making it hard to think clearly.

“I’ll….see what I can come up with...for a case…” Zenigata said after a few moments of silence.

Once this whole thing was done and over with. He needed a break. Or at least something else to put his mind toward that didn’t make him so uneasy.

“You have raw materials, but I would avoid offering those. You are not in a position to negotiate a favorable deal and would likely be exploited.” Wazu stated. Sure, he cut a deal for their moon with Zenigata… but he wasn’t exploiting them. He would remind himself it was for their own good. “You have my full support, if you can offer my services as compensation then do so. Perhaps suggest this as a way to build favor with the Alliance, or frame it as a way for them to start showing their might on the international stage.”

“Alright...I’ll try.” Zenigata replied, a uncertain nod leaving him.

Raw materials...that was a bad idea. The whole planet might not have enough for everyone that played a part. Now came the even harder part, trying to figure out what the hell to do.
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