Councilor Vektec's Chambers
“Councilor, the Council is convening in 15 minutes.” A young Karackt female called through the closed door.
Vektec gave an affirmative click of his beak before powering off his work terminal. Hopefully today’s Council matters would be more interesting than the endless squabbling of the Coalition.
He stood and ran a hand through his short plumage, ruffling it to make himself look more presentable. He took a look at the heavy crimson robes on their stand, clicking with disgust. Even after five years he hated them, he had always foregone the vain clothing of his Inner comrades in the Coalition, preferring the practical clothing of his fellow Outers. This made the robes, required by Queibos for all Karackt Councilors, all the more insulting.
‘Then again, most Councilors have been Inners.’ He thought.
He heard the door to his office open and the young female entered, plumage slightly longer than his own but still in the same practical style. “Are you ready yet Councilor?” She asked.
“In a moment, just let me get these ridiculous robes on.” Vektec said as he slid them on over his everyday clothing, the large ornate shoulder pads causing his shoulders to dip slightly under their weight. He stepped through the door and followed the female out, still picking at the uncomfortable sleeves.
“Tell me, what is your name young one? I do not recognize you.” Vektec asked.
“My name is Litez Ru, your new assistant. I was only assigned to you a few days ago, Councilor.” She responded crisply.
“Please, call me Vektec. We’re both Outers here.” He said, his eye brightening, the Karackt equivalent of a smile.
“Of course Cou- Vektec. Do you wish to know your schedule?” Litez asked, visibly relaxing.
“First you have several meetings about trade proposals from various races, then the biyearly visit from the Am’gar ambassador followed by the Gallic representative wishing to renegotiate the charter for the Anilo Fund.”
‘Not so bad.’ Vektec thought to himself.
“After that a human, named Mr. Mincer, has demanded an audience with the Council.” She finished, earning a loud grown from Vektec. “Who is he, if I may ask?”
“The Human-Uzara representative to the CSC. He’s been demanding that humanity get a core seat for years now. He’s a pain in the ass.” Vektec spat, getting an understanding nod from Litez.
“The last thing on the schedule is a request for refugee status from a...that’s odd.” She trailed off, eyes narrowing at the tablet in front of her. “What is it?” Vektec asked.
“The group’s name and other information is classified. I can only see it as ‘unknown.’” Litez said before stopping, as they had made it to the Council chamber. “The others are waiting inside.” She said sharply before turning around and leaving.
‘She’s a sharp one. Good, she’ll need it to manage all the bureaucrats.’ Vektec thought as he entered the room.
Central Council Chamber, several hours later.
“Thank you for your time Councilors, and for your generosity. The Anilo Fund thanks you.” Mesevah squeaked before bowing and leaving the room. General Tarella, the Aesir Councilor, gave a simple nod, staring ahead with the sharp military discipline of most Aesir. Her short white hair was cut to military regulation, despite ending her service a decade ago to serve on the Council. Tarella was and always would be an officer at heart, with her continued use of her military rank and uniform. Her solid white eyes, contrasted by her dull blue skin, made it hard to tell where her focus was, thought their friendship had taught Vektec to use her body language for reference.
Councilor Syzill gave the Gallic a friendly wave with his upper right arm, as the friendship between the reptilian Chodatan and the Gallic was well known. The hands of his lower arms were adorned with rings, as were the ridges above his eyes.
Councilor Rathro of the Tarteks remained immobile, continuing to fiddle with the holographic puzzle in front of him, bulbous eyes locked on it and lips peeled back slightly, revealing his many sharp teeth. A well renown military strategist and politician, he had little patience for science and economic matters, making him an odd choice for Councilor. Then again, Vektec had never understood the aquatic Tartek very well. As the most senior member of the council he was allowed to get away with this behavior, but he put away the puzzle as a human male walked into the room.
“James Mincer, of the Starways Republic.” An automated voice chimed as he stopped at the stand a few meters in front of the elevated table where the Councilors sat. He was a balding man with tanned skin and dull grey eyes.
“Greetings Councilors.” He said evenly as the stand rose to the same height as the table. They returned the greeting in unison, although Syzill did so curtly. The human produced a small device which began to project several images.
“Today I will present to you new information supporting my claim that humanity should have a seat on this esteemed Council.” He said. This sentence earned an annoyed groan from Syzill as Rathro drummed his fingers, knowing what was about to unfold. Vektec and Tarella gave no reaction, thought they shared the feeling of their fellow Councilors.
45 minutes later.
“That concludes my argument.” Representative Mincer finished. Vektec had to give him credit, he was a good orator, though it was all for not. The four Councilors knew their answer before he had stepped into the room.
“I am sorry Mincer,” Rathro’s harsh voice broke the silence, “but my judgment remains unswayed. Humanity simply has not contributed sufficient gains to the galactic community to be considered for core species status.”
“I second that.” Syzill was quick agree. “Humanity is not ready for such responsibility.”
“Did you not consider the points I laid out today?” Mincer asked tersely.
“We did.” Rathro said. “But there is a problem with your claims. You have been in a single government with the Uzaran species for the past century. Thus, the Uzara share much of the credit for the points you laid out. Additionally, having one species but not the other on the Council would upset the structure of your government.”
“We can work around that! Look at what we have achieved!” Mincer began to sputter. “We have been here for only fifty years, yet have-”
“That is exactly the problem.” Vektec cut in. “Your kind has only been a part of the galactic community for fifty years. The Tarteks have been here for over 1800. Even the Am’gar have been here for 250. It is simple math; humanity has not had sufficient time to contribute in a revolutionary way.”
“If my history is correct, there was another species who was raised to core status after a much shorter time period.” Mincer countered, looking to Syzill. A small smile graced his lips as realization dawned on the reptilian, who snarled in return.
“Enough!” Tarella's voice rose, rising to her full seven foot height. Immediately the two arguing fell silent, unwilling to cross the former general. “You two bicker like children, sullying the reputation of your positions.” Syzill looked as if he would counter, but a withering glare from Vektec silenced him.
“Representative Mincer, the Council rejects your proposal. Humanity remains a periphery species of the CSC. We will discuss this no longer. Am I understood?” Tarella stated. Human and Chodata nodded in response. “Then we are finished. We will contact your government if and when your species is considered ready.” She finished.
“Good job handling that. Could have gotten nasty.” Vektec said as Tarella sat down and Mincer left the chamber.
“Indeed. He was out of line.” Syzill sneered.
“As were you. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement again.” Rathro said. Syzill grumbled in response.
“The following meeting is classified at the highest level. We will not discuss this matter outside of our personal chambers, and with no one other than each other.” Tarella said to the others, who nodded in response.
“Bring him in.” She called to the closed door. Two Aesir guards opened the door from the other side. A lone Hargan entered as the guards left. “Interesting.” Vektec muttered as Syzill and Rathro stiffened. The Hargan’s large eye flitted between them, the rest of his head and face covered by a leather hood, his body covered in rag like cloth and leather, purple skin occasionally poking through.
“Hello. My name is Gogruk.” He said in a raspy voice before interlocking his three fingered hands and bringing them down on his chest twice. ‘Most likely a show of respect.’ Vektec thought.
“It is a pleasure.” Tarella said. “Now, tell us why you have sought refugee status with us.”
“Not just for me, but for my clan as well.” Gogruk said. “My homeworld has been under severe attack by Colbatanns, they have been kidnapping my people en masse.”
“Forgive my ignorance, but why have you come to us with this? Colbatanns have long plundered worlds through their pirate proxies.” Vektec asked.
Gogruk shook his head. “No, no proxies. Colbatann regular military. They have raided our homes and taken as many men, women, and children they could.”
Tarella stiffened. “By the Void.” Rathro swore.
“There is more, yessss.” Gogruk rasped. “They take them to ...research place, or so we have heard. None come back.”
Syzill nodded. “I’ve heard this as well from some of my people’s outer colonies, as have the Starways Republic. But our reports identify them as slavers.”
The Hargan waved his long hand dismissively. “Regardless, my clan faces eradication. I would like to request asylum for us.”
“How many Hargans are in your clan?” Rathro asked.
“Hmm. That is a lot of people to settle.” Rathro mused.
“I believe I may be of assistance.” Vektec spoke up. “There is an Outer world, only recently colonized but well within Coalition space. Suitable for habitation, home to a small settlement. It can more than accommodate your people, as long as they do not cause problems.” Tarella arched an eyebrow at him. For Vektec had not told the Hargan that there was also a considerable military base on the planet, in case the new inhabitants got too...troublesome.
“Mageron bless you.” Gogruk said, bowing his head deeply. “Words cannot express my gratitude.”
“I am glad we were able to reach a resolution. We will send ships to your homeworld as soon as possible to bring to the Acardis for processing. You can then go to your new home.” Tarella finished. Everyone began to file out, including Vektec until she put a strong hand on his shoulder.
“That was a bold move.” Tarella said once they were alone.
“It was necessary.” He replied with a simple shrug.
“Will your government accept that? I know most of the locals will be ok with it but what about the Coalition?” The Aesir asked.
“They will be no trouble. Outers have a narrow majority, and I can sway enough Inners to accept it. After all it isn’t one of their planets.” Vektec replied.
“Good. Now about the abductions Syzill mentioned.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “It hasn’t been made public within the Empire yet, but we have suffered the same. A few fringe colonies have disappeared, they were small but the pattern can’t be ignored.” Tarella finished.
Vektec mulled this over. If the Colbatanns were rising again that could be a very big problem. They were formidable enough in the First Galactic War, even now their mercenary and pirate proxies were serious threats to colonies. One could only imagine how they’ve improved their capabilities since. But these weren’t typical attacks, they were focusing on kidnapping, not slaughter. Why?
“What do you have in mind?” The Karackt asked his friend.
“Send a few Safeguards to investigate Fel’dorun, the latest one of our colonies to go silent. See what they can uncover.” She said, military steel in her voice.
Vektec nodded. “I can see about that. You have more command over the Safeguards so you’ll know more about who to send. Maybe someone from the Listening Posts can be spared, since the Kithix left on their damned hive ship.”
“Actually I was thinking your brother could lead the mission.” Tarella offered.
“My brother?” Vektec asked. He knew this wasn’t the best idea.
“He was top of his class and is one of the best rising Safeguards we have. His record shows.”
“Artimund lost his squad just a few months ago, remember? I don’t know if he’s ready to return to active duty.” Vektec countered.
“Then talk to him. Convince him to come back and do this for the CSC. Can I count on you?” Tarella asked, though it was more of a demand.
“Tarella I’ve been your friend for 5 years. You don’t need to ask.” Vektec said before walking back to his chambers. Litez stood waiting inside.
“How did it go?” She asked.
“Interesting to say the least.” Vektec said dryly as he took off the heavy robes, thankful to be rid of the gaudy things. “I need you to contact Safeguard Artimund for me. Tell him I want to speak with him as soon as possible.”
Litez gave a simple nod and began to work. They both knew they had a lot to do.