Chapter 20.5: A Poultry Amount of Work

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 20.5: A Poultry Amount of Work

Post by CadetNewb » Tue May 21, 2019 10:26 pm

Planet Hawking,
New Cambridge City, Impington Arcology
3019 GSC

Impington Arcology stood nearly a 900 meters tall, the glossy white-and-glass cone reaching far up above the ground along with a number of other Arcologies that made up the city of New Cambridge. The swooshing ducts and curves of the tower gave it a sleek look, helping control the air currents around it, and making a number of overlooks, landing pads, and outdoor recreational areas effortlessly transition from tower to garden feature while being suspended above the ground. From here, things looked pretty good… even if there was still a massive brown-gash through the center of the city that had yet to be fully repaired.

A reminder that the local population had never truly considered the humans that came here to be their friends.

Heram had reached out to Sakamoto a few weeks ago to setup a meeting. He had intended to burn the resources required for a cross-system-FTL videoconference, but the Rooster-cast-member had other ideas.

While the IAS Edward Deming was restocking on supplies in orbit, Heram was conducting business on the surface, discussing the activities at SEER with a mostly-mechanical scientist only a few meters from a grass-covered-landing-pad suspended off the side of the Arcology.

“I don’t think two will be sufficient…”

The scientist was quick to counter, its tone rather deadpan. “Two are available now. Further units are not at a point in their development where deploying them would be advisable.” The thing’s voice suddenly turning more feminine as it made a request, “Allow us to send these two units with you, instead of asking for more. They will be more than capable of handling the Gartagen problem you will face.” Though the voice was feminine, it was hard to assign a gender to such a creature. It had three mechanical legs supporting a cylindrical metal ‘body’ with eight arms positioned around it in all directions. The creature’s neck supporting a squat metal cylinder as well, with flat surfaces that had two eyes and a mouth projected on them.

It was at that moment, that Wazu’s comm device rang.

“Nǐ hǎo!” a deliciously pleasant voice tingled the hairs on the man’s ear. “Mister Wazu, you wanted to see me?” the woman’s voice questioned him. “If I recall correctly, you actually had a business proposal this time, rather than just snooping around for tasty tidbits of gossip,” she added, their last interaction all too memorable. The mental images of Sakamoto speaking to him over video call as she bathed in a bathtub was all too fresh in mind. “I hope you’re interested in becoming a better you? Your potential is just squandered if you stay a human you know,~” the Taianese woman teased him. Sitting in a chair, her legs playfully crossed, she watched him, wine glass in hand.

“I have tried to discuss this with him!” The scientist-thing said, the eyes on its ‘head’ sliding around to face at Sakamoto, though up close it was clear these were just projections covering a number of electro-optical sensors on the head… it didn’t really use the projections to ‘see’. The thing would also reach out electronically, attempting to form a connection with the Taianese woman. The conversation moving to the digital space, leaving Heram behind. “His lift capacity can not be much greater than 110-120kg, lacks electronic signaling, and has numerous single points of failure. Simply exposing him to the vacuum of space would be fatal within minutes yet he refuses to upgrade!

::Handshake Emoji::

I am Caixa. I was unaware Heram had friends responsible enough to take the appropriate upgrades to their anatomy!

I work with SEER in their memory transfer and prosthesis unit. If you would wish to collaborate on either I would be very much interested.”

Caixa would send over a digital business card, complete with a variety of contact information, links to her social media profile, SEER’s own media regarding its weapon’s development, and information about the "The Divine Brotherhood Of The Cognitive Assembly", a group that pushed for prosthetic and cybernetics development within the Alliance to a rather extreme degree.

All of this would transpire before Heram could make much of a response in meat-space.

“Caixa, This is Sakamoto.” He said, unaware introductions were already transpiring along another path. “You both may have something in common with building better people…Though I would prefer to discuss this proposal with Sakamoto in private.”

“Ara, ara!~” the feathered woman in question blushed, a feather sleeved hand placed upon her cheek in embarrassment. “Your friend is so forceful,” she replied to Heram. “Though, don’t stop fighting over little me,” the woman continued. “More importantly, you two can come visit and talk in person since I’m not too far away. It’ll be great,” the woman mischievously smiled. Sending them her location, she set down her glass of wine. “I’ll be waiting,~~~<3”. With that, the connection was cut as their devices fixated on the information they had received.

It soon turned out that ‘not too far away’ meant a nearby spa and resort. Looking at Sakamoto as she lay face down on the massage table with little more than a towel over her feathered form, it was clear that she had also made some extra bookings for some company as well. “Ara, ara, you came!” she delightedly exclaimed, arching her back as to get a better view of him.. Moving to rest her chin on the palm of one hand, the other rested on her arm, its bright feathers neatly hiding away her most exciting bits as it rested across her bosom, presenting him with teasing cleavage instead. “Come on over, lie down and relax. I’m pretty sure you could use a massage too,” the Rooster pointed out.

Heram would take a seat across from Sakamoto, taking off his shoes and socks so the technician that was seeing to him while at the Spa could start on a pedicure. This would give him a good position to observe Sakamoto, though there was the question of how much he was supposed to observe. This was her usual opening ploy, but appearing entirely uninterested could offend her caste-based-sensibilities. Being positioned to be pervy by itself would likely be enough… of course there was also the question of how she got her projection all the way up to their earlier meeting point. He assumed some sort of stealthy, flying, projector… but it was going to bug him if he didn’t confirm that. Then finally he could get to what he actually wanted to talk to her about.

“Your feet look quite rough, were you injured lately?” The technician asked, sounding concerned before Heram could finish his own thoughts.

“Hazards of the workplace,” He replied. He had healed up from his last encounter with Hoshiko for the most part but not everything was back to normal.

“And you…” He said, pointing over at Sakamoto, “That area wasn’t rigged for projection. I assume you have your own projectors flying about?”

“I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeves,” the woman simply smiled, the modesty preserving sleeve of feathers on her arm alternating between fluffing up and flattening down for a bit of teasing emphasis. However, that little game of hers quickly stopped as a masseuse approached. Having propped herself up earlier, she now relaxed, lying face down proper as the modestly dressed woman gently stepped onto the Taianese woman’s back, grasping onto ceiling bars to maintain balance and moderate just how much pressure she put down. “We can keep making small talk by the way, I wouldn’t mind, but knowing you, you probably want to cut to the meat of it, don’t you, Heram?” Sakamoto asked. Even laying down, her long, luxurious tail feathers were stood high, the woman having shifted them ‘down’ from her perspective as allow the masseuse to kneed her back and shoulders with delicate feet.

Of course, Wazu soon found himself being given the same treatment as a pretty young woman mounted him as well.

“I do want to make use of your people’s medical talents.” Heram said, cutting right to it just as expected, though he was wincing just a bit as the woman moved to stand ontop of him. “I need a drug aimed at removing existing fat from a human, but existing options either focus on reducing absorption of fats after the stomach, quickly become fatal through prolonged raising of body temperature, or raise heart-rate in such a way as to provide more energy which is not a desired outcome. Optimally we would want to remove fat content without affecting the rest of the body, with a focus on the unhealthy fats, keeping the LD:50 high enough that it is safe to consume on its own, and without introducing factors that would manipulate genetics to achieve the desired results.”

There was a loud ‘POP’ as the woman standing on Heram’s back put her weight down, the human clearly less well suited for such things.

“I think it will be faster and more efficient to use your teams for developing this, instead of going through the Alliance’s medical department. Similarly, there may be other compounds that need to be developed in the near future. That is if you are interested in the work, and if we can agree on a suitable compensation for the work done.”

“Ara~~~” Sakamoto’s voice trilled. “Here I thought this was something serious, but instead, I find Mister Heram Wazu asking me for a weight loss product?” Gently, her long tail feathers began to wave back and forward, the masseuse standing on the Taianese woman’s back giving off a meek ‘eep’ of surprise as they briefly swished over her bottom. “Something like that should be trivial for the Alliance. It’s just a matter of tailoring something for the person. Regulating body chemistry to get a healthier balance and all that,” she briefly mused. Looking back at Heram, her smile grew suggestively mischievous, “What’s the occasion? Someone special maybe?”

“Expected distribution would be to around 5 billion people,” Heram said, still facing downward on the table as the Masseuse pressed her feet into his back. The human focused on the business aspect of things, “Producing a new drug chemistry on the fly for that many people on an individual basis is not a practical solution. Instead, it would be easier to use their existing medical data, and a suite of safe single-purpose drugs, to quickly tailor a solution that is suitably safe for use, specifically ingestion. The planned delivery vector being time-delay capsules or similarly styled micro-capsules that could be tastelessly integrated into food. Those would use already existing designs that we have.”

“Human bodies just aren’t as good as Taianese ones,” Sakamoto’s succulent voice began. “You can’t simply use pre-existing metrics taken some time ago. Your bodies are all over the place, aahh!~~~” she explained to him, her voice reaching a pleasant crescendo as the masseuse reached a particularly good spot on her back. “I do have a few ideas of what you can actually do to come up with these ‘units’ to ship, but you still haven’t told - ahhh!~~<3 - me what you’re up to exactly,” the Rooster-type provocatively moaned again. “It looks like one thing to me, but that’s nothing more than an assumption you know.”

“And here I thought you Taianese shared your information more freely? I practically laid out my plan for Hoshiko… though I don’t think she took it seriously.” Heram stated, quieting down as the back massage similarly came to put pressure on a particular spot. Perhaps getting quiet was more a human thing than a family thing when it came to increased pressure? Or perhaps it just seemed weird to him that such serious business was being discussed while Sakamoto was sounding like a Bob Gunson film. “... I am really curious, what do you think this is?”

“Mmmmm,” Sakamoto’s throat warmly hummed. “I don’t think she took your plan seriously either, considering she hasn’t said much,” the feathered woman replied. Laying across from one another, face down or two the side of the cushy massage tables made it hard to look one another in the eye, but the holographic image that appeared with Sakamoto’s pleasured face solved that problem. “So far, you’re making it sound like a type of body-fat management or weight-loss product. Naturally, this has caught me a little off guard, as we Taianese have no need for such a thing,” she pointed out to him. As the massage ended however, the holographic screen vanished as Heram heard his feathered companion rise.

Taking a drink of water as his own masseuse stepped off the man’s back, he couldn’t see so much a glimpse, her sleeve of feathers blocking the view. Making to step out, she then looked back at the man over her shoulder. “Are you coming along? There’s a nice, soothing hot spring waiting for us,” she offered. Back turned to the main, her tail feathers were held high as she lead the way, only to dip into the waters moments later. Letting out a sigh of relief, Sakamoto sunk into the cloudy depths up to her neck. “I admit, I find it particularly odd though. Why don’t you tell me just what you’re up to, hm?” she sweetly asked, the sugar playfully exaggerated.

Heram could only watch as Sakamoto made her way towards the hot-spring. He was smarter than this, he’d faced much more difficult and capable challengers than Sakamoto… yet she’d somehow managed to snatch home field advantage away from him on his own home planet. She even went as far as dictating the pace and tempo of the discussion.

He would learn from this.

On his way through the changing room, Heram would switch into a towel and request some privacy from the staff before making his way towards the artificial hot spring. Leaving the towel behind as he slipped into the water across from Sakamoto. Though he had mostly healed up from his encounter with Hoshiko, there were still a few bruises scattered across his body that were visible in between the time he arrived in the room, and when he was neck deep in the water.

Since it was just the two of them, it was time to put things out in the open.

“I’m going to become President of the Interstellar Alliance.”

“Good luck on your campaign then,” Sakamoto’s sincere sounding words drifted through the air. “But I now find myself rather confused,” she began, rising out of her previously relaxed soak to sit properly within the hot springs. “Is this related to the ‘fat removal’ you’re pursuing?” the feathered woman asked. Raising her arms out of the water and above her head, she stretched with a relieved moan, arching her back as her bosom neared the very surface of the cloudy water. But just as it began, it ended. “I actually feel rather silly right now, not being able to figure you out,” Sakamoto blushed, her cheeks rosy with embarrassment.

“What can other candidates offer the Alliance? Rosy words about how everything is great and nothing needs to change? Or tough language about how we all need to work together and put in effort to make change? Either approach would be unappealing to the population, so I have to offer something different.

Vote Wazu, He’ll bring you a pill that will give you a perfect body without having to change your eating habits or put in work. He’ll defend you from evil space aliens with Drones so you don’t have to worry about little Timmy getting killed at War. He’s already spoken with the showrunners… meaning you’ll get another season of Contest of Chairs and Lightning Bug. Feel good about yourself, live a better life, all without having to do anything. There are some that could complete with me in one arena… maybe two. But there is no one in the Alliance that can offer so much.

I intend to crush my opponents in the first debate.”

“Ara, ara,” Sakamoto coyly held a hand up to her mouth. “You’re quite the visionary it seems. Well. So long as your battle droids don’t make silly chatter all the time since they’re not very smart, I don’t see why not.” Gently pushing off from her seat, the feathered woman gently floated until she came to rest by Heram’s side. “There’s a number of different options you have available for your pill,” the woman began, shoulder touching shoulder as a soft, wet feather poked his chest for emphasis. “You can simply produce a small, pen-like device that includes a specially dedicated sensor, which will inject the appropriate metabolism controlling medications that the individual needs. Of course, that’s still not ideal,” she began. “Ooooorrrr - ~~~ “ her voice mischievously trailed off.

“What makes this work, is it does not require the people to actually do anything different. Electronic Pharmacy-Patches to handle dosing through the skin are available, as are Gene-mods, Cybernetic enhancements, elective surgeries, or just eating right and exercise are arguably better options. These all require some personal-effort on behalf of the individual, and those with the capability to make those changes in their lives are not the people that are being targeted by this drug.

The goal is for them to sign on to the plan, and receive quick results with no effort. This will likely mean dosing the subjects using tasteless micro-tablets that can be hidden in food. I suppose we could also use skin-contact as a vector, integrating the deployment patches into newly created clothing… but that may be a bit much. I want to focus on the sensor-fused-ingestibles. Though I am willing to hear other ideas,”

Heram had his arms out to either side already as he laid back in the hot-spring, letting Sakamoto get quite close. She had yet to bring up payment, leaving him to try and remain aware of where her interests lie. Taipan getting medical nanomachines into Alliance Citizens was always a concern… but that was why he was going after easily-checked-chemicals rather than a more complex mechanical solution. There wouldn’t be a vector they could use to get a foothold there. Or perhaps she had other plans, it didn’t take a genius to see how things might change for Taipan if his plan was successful. Sabotage seemed just as likely as collaboration on that front. Perhaps she just enjoyed ambition? Or more likely, this was just Sakamoto in her natural form.

“Booo. You were supposed to ask, ‘Or?’ so I could say that all those problems would go away if they became Taianese,” Sakamoto pouted, arms crossed over her chest. Judging by how she wrapped her arm around his though, the rooster’s mock-dour mood didn’t last long at all. “Anyways, I may not be a specialist on this, but I believe that what you’re looking for is simply not possible for the masses. On the individual level? Yes,” she pointed out to him, a soft nothing just barely under the cloudy water pressing against his arm. “However, we may be going about this the wrong way entirely,” she began to playfully smile. “What do you know about magic?”

“Ugh…” The reaction was knee-jerk, and quite negative. “I uh… have some experience. The Alliance runs a few Magical R&D programs to get a better understanding of what’s going on at places like Jord or deep in the Grawla Jungles. I worked with a team that did healing magic too once… it ended up just making rapidly growing tumors and… well the only real use for THAT was warcrimes. I am uncertain how tolerant the people of the Alliance will be towards magic. Similarly, becoming Taianese is not an option.

Though I would still be interested in hearing your idea.”

He had to wonder if she was thinking the same thing. He had learned from his time with Hoshiko that not everyone thought like he did. Implications weren’t always clear unless they were laid out for the other party to see… even if it was a bit too soon.

“That said, this isn’t just about the Alliance. Or the Gartagen Union.” His attention would now shift to her fully, moving to face her in the hot-spring, his hands on her shoulders, “Taipan is next. If I can bring the Alliance and the Union in line, you are the obvious next target. For that I need people to work with.”

“Don’t count your eggs before they hatch,” Sakamoto replied with an amused grin, booping him on the nose with a finger. “But back to the topic,” she then steered the conversation away from his multi-national dominance scheme. “Naturally, Tai Pan is already experimenting with magic too, and some of the results are very promising,” the feathered woman began, placing her own hands on his shoulders. With a push, the woman had him against the rocks and was sitting in his lap, her bare flesh against his as she spoke. “Already, there are potions that will precisely heal a person halfway, and poisons that will precisely kill a person halfway. There are spells that consistently paralyze a person for a time, and spells that cure just as well. And that’s not mentioning the foods with magical properties of their own.” She smiled, certain that his mind was churning away at the implications. “Imagine a steak from a magical animal that would instantly turn you into a near-peer of Tai Pan’s tigers in regards to strength, if only for ten minutes. What if, we found your panacea too?”

An interesting development. Perhaps she wasn’t into collaborating in this way? Perhaps she preferred to collaborate only when she could be ‘on top’. Perhaps she enjoyed the wiggle room provided by avoiding committing to something entirely? It would be something to consider and approach from a new angle later.

“I am not certain a magical solution could be put in place with a certainty of safety in the desired time frame. I would need to be able to confirm that and my magical abilities are not the most impressive. Personally, there are too many unknowns for me to push for distribution of a magical solution under this plan.

With time and understanding, that could certainly change. It is something I am interested in. I would just need a better understanding of how this energy is gathered, distributed, and used. Imagine if control of Jord allowed for magical energy to be adjusted? Or if our anti-magic fields negated the lasting healing effects of a citizen as they walked through?”

“All possibilities, but, if you don’t want to do that, your best bet would be the fitness-unit,” Sakamoto explained. Tickling his cheek with a feather as she leaned close, she added, “You’re aim is far too high right now. It’s better if you simply gave every citizen a handheld fitness device. And all they’d have to do is scan, right before popping the pill.” She then giggled with realization, a hand placed on his shoulder to make sure she didn’t float away. “You could even have it be a chewable, with different flavors,” the exotic woman on his lap suggested.

“A distribution method is something that is well within my ability to produce quickly. Biologically inert materials, micro-sensors, automation, ingestible technology, all of that can be custom designed on the fly with automation. What I need is the next step: Solutions that can be deployed based on user data. Those building blocks, the drugs that will be used on the population, are not something I have easy access to. My first thought is to go to the experts in such things.”

Heram wiggled his nose a bit, trying not to sneeze from the feathery-tickling. “The people I want to target with this are not the type of people who will keep up with a seperate fitness-unit. Consider that humans don’t have the same ability that your people do to download a solution to their problem and run it natively on their own body… if these people wanted to, they could solve this problem on their own but asking them to do so does not demonstrate any value to these people. The key to widespread adoption is stripping away any manual responsibility that they would need to take on.”

“Jīīīīīīīī~~~” Sakamoto sighed with disapproval. Rustling her tail feathers in annoyance, the feathered woman’s bottom unintentionally shook against his lap before she spoke again. “You’re really making this a pain. Plus, that demographic is do I say this? Plebeian? Still, knowing you, you’ll insist.” she began to idly trace circles on the steamy water’s surface. “Another option is to hold an automated overhaul of all food dispensers, which would integrate said med-scanner technology into them,” the Taianese woman then suggested.

Thinking on it more, she added, “Since human biology is too inconsistent and sensitive to use pre-gathered metrics on something of this nature, this would allow you to achieve your goals. All that has to happen is have the quick update happen during all the user’s off-hours, where they won’t be awake to use the machine to begin with, or are away at work.” A thought then occurred to her. “This could be entirely software based, now that I think of it.” There was a twinkle in her eyes as she looked at him and leaned in closer, her sweet, pleasant breath brushing across his nose. “With Alliance replicator technology, it could work. The parts could even be fabricated on-site. Same with the drone that would do the installation. All it would take is an upload.”

“Once sensors and distribution are in place by a software update, the only remaining component is to provide a custom-tailored solution for each individual. Creating a new drug on a person by person basis is not feasible, but we could deploy a cocktail of pre-existing drugs with known effects. The mix of drugs would be determined by the data we pull. The only action required by the Plebeians would be to opt-in to the program. The only part I don’t have is a suitable suite of drugs to use.” Heram was hoping that was a suitable explanation, trying to lead Sakamoto along that train of thought until she reached the same conclusion he had. There were a number of steps to the plan that added unnecessary complexity, but that allowed the complexity to be moved somewhere the Plebeians wouldn’t see it.

“The Plebians are a group I will need on my side if I want to accomplish my goals. Being responsible for the Alliance would mean being responsible for all of the Alliance, not just those of means. That includes the Plebs… though I think it would be improper for me to continue calling them that. The word has certain… connotations they wouldn’t like if they understood.”

At this distance he could certainly smell her breath. That was likely the point. She likely had glands that produced a slightly minty sensation… perhaps anti-bacterial-meta-texturing on her tongue to prevent bad breath. Heram found himself wondering more about the specifics of her design, than the specifics of her intent. She was up close, in his lap, naked. Heram considered that the lack of interest, or at least the game being made of interest, is what she was after. He would need to devise a way to test that… once again, he was considering his options.

“Ara, ara,” Sakkamoto approvingly sighed. “The idea is coming together quite well, I would say. Now, all you need from me, are my little recipes. Or, would you like me to program your matter synthesiser updates too?” the feathered woman in his lap offered. “It all comes at a price of course, but I’m sure you’d be able to afford it.” At the Taianese merchant’s unseen beckoning, one of her cute little drones floated over and projected an image of a contract for him. “How about this?” she offered.

“The hardware updates I can handle myself,” He replied, leaning in to get a better look at the contract. Everything seemed to be in order, the price seemed reasonable with Sakamoto requesting a lump of the exotic materials used in FTL drives or other high end technology. He had enough for his purposes… and between his plans for the Gartagens and his plans for the Alliance he would have more than enough for anyone’s purposes. “It is the chemical side of things that I would like your help with. The pay for the work also seems reasonable. I’m ready to sign if there are no further elements to discuss.”

Of course, there were further elements to discuss. Securing the needed materials for his plan was the immediate concern, but Heram’s immediate concerns were rarely his only concerns. He still needed an ‘In’ with Taipan. Directly confronting Hoshiko about such things earlier had been a failure, resulting in the loss of the Kiwominians and the near-loss of the Adlet. Sakamoto had always been a more receptive partner but she seemed to always be playing a game. Maybe she had her own agenda, but that was something Heram had yet to figure out. This deal would help develop this relationship, and the long term goal was to find ways to more directly project influence into Taipan. The direct approach with Sakamoto had been a failure, so it was time to try something more subtle.

For his next attempt, he would be trying to pry more information out of Sakkamoto. “I’m surprised you came all the way to New Cambridge for this, or is this just an excuse to bill your government for time in an Onsen?”

“Araaaarara, aren’t you curious?” she playfully stroked his cheek, the water gently swishing. “This bit I found particularly amusing, so let me put on my best accent.” Clearing her throat, the naked woman sitting on her lap suddenly threw up her hands and shouted, “AK-47’s for everyone!~~~” in an accent that Heram didn’t recognize. Pausing to see his reaction for only a moment, she then burst out into stifled giggling as she tried to hide her mouth, quivering on his lap. “Sorry, even I like to play around now and then~” Clearing her voice for a second time, Sakamoto was her silky self again. “I was selling weapon components, construction materials and various other things. I always take advantage of a good opportunity,” she replied.

Heram took some time to process what she was saying. Her statement about AK-47s was clearly a reference to something he hadn’t seen. Probably one of those ancient movies that those from Taipan liked to go on about like Blade Runner… a movie about a space trucker fighting nazis over tableware if he remembered correctly. Old movies were weird. She clearly wanted to have, but there was more to it than that. It could be as simple as weapon-sales or “Defense” as those in the industry loved calling it... undoubtedly a more consumer-friendly name than “Offense”. He could see two likely possibilities, that she’s just in it to grow personal wealth, or that she’s in it to further Taipan’s own agenda through getting weapons into the hands of those they want armed.

More information would be needed.

“Sounds like you have someone on the inside?” Heram asked, leaning back against the edge of the Onsen, arms spread to either side, taking the full view in of Sakamoto without overly-committing to looking at how she was exposed, “Alliance Military Weapons Procurement is slow even on the best days… or have you been selling to the locals? Striking a deal with them would be just as impressive a feat for someone like yourself.”

At that, the woman turned herself around and spread her legs to straddle the man.

“Now, wouldn’t you like to know?” Sakamoto teased. Tapping the floating contract, the details quickly changed again, this time to be more suiting to what the man wanted. “I’m just a merchant. The people here would be really silly to turn me away,” she began. “I just happen to have some of the fastest ships around. It’s not my fault that I got here before some of the better help arrived,” the Taianese Rooster remarked. “Though, it does help that The Alliance can be slow to respond when any primitive locals are involved,” she poked at him.

Heram would make one more check over the agreement before applying his signature.

He would also put in a bit more thought before speaking again. She didn’t admit to dealing with the locals, but she didn’t deny she was dealing with them either. He still wasn’t certain what her goals were on this planet or how he could align those goals with his own. The goal here was to use these deals to open up Taipan, and before a real next step could be put together more information would be required. He would need to develop a subtle conversation that would expose more of her goals. Based on previous interactions, that conversation should also include a minimum of wordplay, but nothing direct. She had already indicated that cutting right to the end goal wasn’t something she enjoyed. She sold body mods, she was in an Onsen, Heram was quickly able to put the two together to create what he wanted.

“Any opportunity to press Taianese bodies on Alliance Citizens?” He poked back, “Or are you looking to open yourself up to a different kind of trade?”

“Pressing Taianese bodies onto Alliance Citizens?” Sakamoto daintily fluttered her eyelashes. “Whatever do you mean?” she oh-so-innocently replied as she leaned in closer, a pair of warmths pressing up against the man’s chest. “We’d never try and use force or intimidation to so rudely coerce people into becoming a better self,” the woman remarked, raising her leg up and over the man until the back of her calf rested against his shoulder. “But, I think that’s a topic for another day.” Reaching up to his face with a finger, she let out a “Boop!”, briefly obstructing his eyes with her sleeve of feathers.

As water rushed and dripped, he felt her form simply step up and over him, hot droplets dripping atop his head.

“I’ll see you later Mister Wazu!” she remarked a pair of drones already swiftly moving to dry the woman and slip a warm, fuzzy bathrobe, hiding her feathered rear from his gaze. “Also, you might want to have that checked out,” Sakamoto quickly added with a wink.

And with that, she was gone.
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