Alliances of Convenience, Part II

Republic Core Space
Arkhal Prime//Arkhal Alpha System
Date - o1.455

The Consul's spacious office laid empty, dimly lit by the Consul's preference. Throughout the spacious chambers were various art pieces, gifts from foreign leaders, along with several work stations for the Consul's staff. Sitting before a massive window with access to a balcony was the Consul's desk, which was cluttered with various small gifts from foreign leaders, most of them bearing congratulatory notes on Consul Arcaeon's re-election. The Consul himself stood alone on the balcony, a service droid standing idle just outside the door.

The droid had delivered a message from the Defense Minister, confirming what the Consul already knew.

Days before the Tribunal went into session, the Military Command Council (the council of admirals and generals that dictate the Republic's military strategy) was informed that there had been a mass movement of one of the Okat'Siia tribes towards a backwater metro planet in the buffer zone.
It started with several lifeships (the military term for the ships the bulk of the tribal civilians lived on) taking orbit, and eventually escalated to almost the entire tribe's warband taking orbit or landing at the starport.
The planet in question was Poraan-Shai, an old colony from a long-collapsed kingdom that had survived the collapse and became a Planet-State*, ruled by the nobles residing there. The mammoth capital city spanned a large continent, the rest of the habitable areas of the planet being loosely controlled towns and villages.
Traditionally, the planet had been an ally of the Republic. The current Shahl, the "king" of the planet, was growing uneasy with the Republic and it had become an open secret that he was attempting to break away from the Republic. This of course was unacceptable to the Republic, it had sunk a great deal of money into developing a commercial sector there. The planet was an essential trade port for the region, and if it was lost, the Republic lost control of sector trade.

Now, the tribals were supposedly getting chummy with the Shahl. Invasion had been ruled out as Republic intelligence agents had confirmed that the tribe's ships were being serviced by local shipwrights, and that they were even trading with the locals. Government vessels from the planet were also recorded travelling between flagships, and captured transmissions indicated that diplomatic talks were in progress. The recent news from the Defense Ministry had confirmed that there was talk of cooperation, communications were now hinting at weapons trading.
Firearms and ordnance didn't concern the Consul, however, Poraan-Shai was known to have inherited a stock of nuclear weapons from the kingdom. If nuclear weapons were on the table during these trade talks, the Republic had a serious problem. Tribal savages couldn't be trusted to use strategic weapons responsibly, nor could it be guaranteed that they wouldn't use them against civilian targets.

With Axximarrus pushing for a more open policy, acting against the tribals was made more difficult than it needed to be. Regardless, the Consul had ways of convincing people. He felt he could easily convince the Tribune and her lackies to fall in line, at least for now.

"Honorable Consul" the droid said.

The Consul turned to the droid, peering down at it as it stood idle in the entrance to the balcony.

"Tribune Axximarrus requests an audience sir"

"I've been expecting her" The Consul walked past the droid into his office. In the central chamber, the Tribune stood waiting. She gazed at many of the gifts bestowed upon the Consul, feeling a mix of disgust and envy.

"Congratulations on your monumental victory, I wouldn't call it monumental, it wasn't the landslide that got you your first term" she said, reading a card on a gift. "This second term won't be monumental at all if you don't cooperate for a change"

"Oh?" The Consul said, pacing up and down the length of the window.

"Coalition, Arcaeon. I've been building a coalition, getting our numbers up to keep you from dominating the Tribunal again"

That was...unprecedented. The Consul hadn't counted on Axximarrus building a coalition, with some of the other parties now working together, the Consul was in a precarious position. It didn't mean that his job had become impossible, but he would have to be more careful.

"I can't say I blame you, I'd have done the same in your position. In fact, I did...numerous times." The Consul chuckled "It places me in a rather precarious position"

"That was the intent, Consul" Axximarrus said with a smug grin, taking a seat at the Consul's desk. "About this invitation to work together...how am I sure this isn't some ploy to try and appeal to the opposition and to the citizens that oppose you?"

"It could be a ploy, it could also be an earnest attempt to bridge the gap between us. I'm entirely certain that you won't believe me, regardless of what I say"

The Tribune chuckled, "Fair enough"

"I approached you because working together serves both our interests. Foreign policy falls largely within the purview of my office, but the cooperation and allegiance of the Tribunal is rather helpful"

"You won't get my cooperation unless you actually try to work with me" the Tribune turned to look at a painting, purposefully keeping her gaze from the Consul.

"I do intend to work with you, but I need you to understand the reality of how our foreign politics work" the Consul approached the Tribune slowly, his hands clasped behind his back. "The galaxy is chaotic, existing in a constant state of conflict with itself. The Republic has survived for millennia because it possesses a great flexibility, especially in regard to foreign policy and military matters"

"Your track record seems to disagree with that, your last term was marred by your inability to compromise with others" the Tribune snapped back.

"Of course, but that is why I'm seeking the support of the tribunal. Foreign policy is my duty as Consul, but having your support makes things easier, even in situations that we might not agree on"

"Well isn't that a loaded statement" the Tribune said, turning to the Consul finally. "You have a reason for bringing me here, spit it out Consul"

"The sava-tribals, the Okat'Siia, they're a constant thorn in our side, are they not?"

"I cannot ignore their aggression, but they're just as much a threat to each other as they are to us. Why, do you intend to provoke a war?"

"They intend to provoke a war, Tribune. They're working closely with Poraan-Shai. It's an open secret they want to break away from us, and I believe they intend to do so with the aid of the tribals"

"That's their prerogative, Consul. Its not our place to force others to work with us"

"That is not my concern, rather, it is the safety of our citizens, both at Poraan-Shai and even here at home"

The Tribune shook her head, she looked back to the Consul, becoming increasingly annoyed with him, "What's your game Arcaeon?"

"Not my game, theirs, Tribune, and their game involves nuclear weapons"

"Nuclear...you're serious?"

"Yes, very" the Consul reached into his overcoat and pulled out a small data pad, handing it to Axximarrus. She read over the report while the Consul glared down at her, "They're getting weapons and financing from the Shahl, the general belief is that they're going to use these weapons against us. With their new allies, Poraan-Shai will likely make a break, and use the tribals to bolster their new position."

"This is...concerning, but it's speculation" the Tribune said, trying to avoid supporting a needless war.

"Our forces are easily equipped to repel an attack on our bored, but the tribals are determined. With nuclear weapons any defense will come with staggering loses, and if they happen to get their hands on Inter-Planetary Warp Missiles they can hit the frontier colonies. We'd lose millions, possibly billions with no adequate defense. Not only this, but with our forces occupied with war, we can't defend our citizens on Poraan-Shai, nor our assets there. We stand to take immense losses, any victory would be Pyrrhic at best"

"You're asking me to sanction a damned war, I can't in good faith sanction a damned war. I want increased cooperation and forging new friendships with new nations, not sending Legionnaires and Solairs to their deaths in another slog of a war"

"I'm not asking for you to sanction war, I'm asking you to support defending our people. There are citizens at risk on Poraan-Shai, and nuclear weapons in play. I don't intend to start a war here, I intend to launch a precision, preemptive strike."

"That's still unacceptable"

"They're in violation of our peace agreement and a dissenting neighbor is helping them violate that treaty. We are justified in acting because it is in the terms of our peace treaty, and in the interest of our own defense. We will remove the tribals from the buffer zone, protect our citizens, and remove the nuclear weapons. We will not go to war unless we need to. Support me on this, and once the Republic is safe, we can work to broaden our horizons and forge new alliances"

"I don't know..."

"We need to be able to defend ourselves. If we can't fight against those who seek to harm us, any new friendships and alliances are worthless"

"Alright..." the Tribune sighed, "...here's what I'll do, I'll maintain neutrality on your intervention. If you find evidence of cooperation and these nuclear weapons I'll put my support behind you, but if this turns into some boondoggle or abuse of my trust, I'll turn every damned Tribune I can against you. Once this is over you better take our petitions seriously, we need allies and friends, not more wars"

"That is fair. I take it we have a deal?"

"Deal"

The Tribune and Consul shook hands, and parted ways, both walking away with the belief that their agenda would finally succeed over their enemy's.

FOOTNOTES
*"Planet-State" is the colliquial term used by the galactic community for a nation that only possesses a single planet (even if they have orbital habitats and outposts, as most nations do not count those 'territories' despite them being sovereign turf of an empire). They are equivalent to a city-state in olden days and are typically weak, most tend to align themselves with larger empires, though a great many more maintain independence.

<tag>

I intend to throw out some cooperation with the Republic in my next posts

< Prev : A Collection of Arguments Next > : Expanding Interests