Office of Party President Arcturus
European Council Building, West Wing
Livia Arcturus, Party President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for a Green Europe, stood by the window of her office and stared at the cityscape outside, the capital of Europe a coruscating mosaic of a million lights, glowing in the midnight dark like stars in space.
Except that today, she wasn't the Party President, not exactly. That wasn't the role she was playing right now. ?Such odd roles we are granted?, she murmured aloud, still looking through the curtains.
?Granted ? or is it that we decide to claim them ourselves?? answered a deep, hoarse voice that spoke in accented but perfectly understandable Latin. A rare quality these days, Lingua Latina, she thought to herself. Aloud, answered: ?Indeed. Sometimes I do wonder...? The thought was left unfinished.
People say such remarkable things about fate. Fate this, fate that. These roles we take in this great play of life, are they ?fate?, or just choices after choices after choices? Consequences of our decisions, reactions to our actions? If so, is there ever a possibility to know whether the choice has been a right one before those consequences have been actualized?
It was getting too philosophical to her taste right now. The night was heavy with expectations and anticipation without that, thank you very much.
She had darkened her office to better see the world outside. A clouded shroud veiled the sky, blocking the light of the moon and the stars. It was June, the middle of summer, yet it felt like a particularly tenebrous night. A few drops of rain glimmered on the window. The curtains weren't exactly needed, and neither was the darkening ? not for covering her presence, at least. Since the attack in Europolis that had left Commissioner Lamington at the doorsteps of death, she had gone long ways in taking extra precautions to keep the men and women working for the Union in safe. Back then, she had been the Commissioner for Defence and Peacekeeping, and defending and keeping the peace in the Council and Commission complexes were a rather smart place to start.
Take the windows, for example. Though not an astronomically costly expense, it was well worth its price. Certain offices had bullet-proof glasses that would protect the people inside from lone gunmen and disgruntled sharpshooters, but what was more, they were only one-sidedly transparent. Mirrors from the outside, like those interrogation room windows she'd seen (only on television, though, never at the scene, thank God for that small fortune).
Tonight, they would sorely need every little ounce of security and luck they'd get.
She had gone through every precaution and hoped it was enough. Getting her Very Important Person to Europolis had been an adventure in itself. Making sure him and the Commissioners would be safe during the secret meeting was another endeavour.
Secrecy was their best weapon, though, and the dedication of the Europolitan and Duxburian men and women in black didn't hurt, either.
As soon as the rest of the invitees arrived, they would start with the fates again. This time, with the fate of the Imperial Oversector of Dromund Kaas ? for once and for all.
?Such odd roles?, she whispered, and continued to wait.
((OOC: Lizzie, Susan, and the Duxburian representative may post their entrance scenes to this mysterious summit! ))
OOC: Crap, I forgot about this.
Livia Arcturus did not have to wait long before Acwellan Devoy walked in, representing the Duxburian Union.
Or, was it? There appeared to be something off about him?
She worked with Acwellan, saw him every day in the Council, she knew his quirks and mannerisms. This person looked like Acwellan, but?there was something about the way he walked and stood here before her that was?different.
The man recognized her confusion before it came across her mind to check with security.
"You must be Livia Arcturus, it is a pleasure to finally meet you." He extended his hand.
Arcturus took it, cautiously.
"Do not be alarmed, I am supposed to be here."
His handshake was much firmer than Acwellan's.
"But, your instincts are correct, while I am indeed a Devoy, I am not Acwellan and have never been to the Council before. I am here on behalf of my country because Avoldran wishes to show that he is serious about this meeting."
Devoy passed Arcturus a handwritten authorization letter, stamped with the Seal of the Aelir, and the Office of War. The name line was blank.
"The Duxburian Union has no secrets here. I am GMCD Brandon Devoy of the House of Harrison and the most ancient House of Lir, authorized to share technical information that may help?set events in motion?quicker. I don't officially exist, so any secrets you or the other parties may have are safe with me."
"Welcome, Brandon Devoy, I am glad that the Duxburian government wants to give this a chance."
So this was Brandon Devoy. Arcturus wanted to ask him all kinds of questions, suspecting from Eurovoice that he had been deep in forbidden parts of Dromund Kaas. That was just the tip of the iceberg (Monogolia? Velocity? Eurovoice?), but they were not alone for long. The next representative entered the room.
The Premier walked into the office that she had become over familiar with. Here and Livia went back a long way. She immediately greeted Livia with affection and introduced herself to Brandon Devoy.
'Now we have a chance to resolve things and get people's lives bakc on track, only good things can come of this'
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Susan Callaghan tentatively knocked on the office door, hanging slightly ajar. She had heard low voices echoing down the corridor; not exactly the most secret secret meeting she had attended in her time, then.
Entering the small office confidently, Callaghan scanned for familiar faces. There was Livia Arcturus. Many a coffee break had been spent between the two women, and Callaghan liked to think she knew Livia well, which was why she was surprised when she was invited to this meeting. Late night meetings, secret gatherings, this wasn't Livia's style at all! Premier Liszckozi was there, of course. No amount of shadowy lighting could hide that hair. There was no one else she could see in the office, so she relaxed a bit, finding herself amongst familiar friends.
Callaghan jumped when she found out she had been mistaken. Brandon Devoy stepped out of the shadows towards her and introduced himself mysteriously. Her eyes must have been playing tricks on her, but Callaghan could have sworn it had gotten darker as the Duxburian had revealed himself. The perfectly-timed, almost dramatic crack of thunder and lighting didn't help the mood either.
She didn't quite know how to greet this newcomer. She, like most other Europeans, were well aware of the secrecy and mystique surrounding Brandon Devoy, but, lets be honest, the man's been on EuroVoice. Deciding on a serious, equally mysterious tone (at least in her head), Callaghan began to speak:
"Brandon Devoy, eh? This certainly is an honour. Livia, I'm so glad you've organised this meeting. Unless I'm much mistaken, I think everyone you detailed on your letter is present. Along with a few..." She glanced at Devoy. "...unexpected visitors."
?Maleeka, Susan, Brandon ? I hope we can proceed with the first-name basis from now on?, Livia said. She was still somewhat taken back by the sudden appearance of Brandon, the ?stuff of legends? if anyone was, but regained her line of thought quickly. That he was here was indeed a good sign, after all: the Duxburians were as eager all of Europe to find a lasting solution to the Dromund Kaas situation. Probably much more eager, even. They are the ones bleeding every day in that faraway land.
And there was that look in Brandon's eyes that belonged to a man with a mission to accomplish. Livia knew he wouldn't have arrived in the first place if he didn't think they had any chance to succeed tonight.
?I believe you are about to demand why on earth I summoned you here at this hour, and under such peculiar circumstances?, she began, addressing more Maleeka and Susan than Brandon, for she figured he was as deep in as she was, if not having a little extra intelligence with his person. What an extraordinary man. Who are you, truly, Brandon Devoy? Aloud, she continued: ?The reason for this clandestine meeting is no less than to lay the groundwork for a true and lasting peace in Dromund Kaas.?
The stunned silence was to be expected. Livia confessed secretly to herself that she, too, did have a small tendency towards drama. Perhaps that's why she was a career politician.
And more was to come. ?Friends, there is a fifth soul who wishes to join us tonight.? She turned to the dark half of the room, where deep indigo shadows were not straked by the lights of the city outside. One of those shadows was suddenly moving, gaining a human form, then stepped out into a ray of light flowing through the windows.
?May I introduce to you Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon, of the Armed Forces of Free Dromund Kaas.?
The man gave them an elegant bow. ?Madame Premier. Madame Commissioner. Mr Devoy. It is a pleasure to make your acquintance in person.?
He was... a soldier. Through and through. It shone from him: the posture, the austerity, the authority. The years had taken a toll on him, yet he had preserved much of the stamina of his youth, radiating vigour and determination. His receding hairline crowned him with snowy white that competed with his perfectly trimmed mustache. The elderly officer was dressed in immaculate uniform of the Kaasian Navy, but his way of introducing himself had an unfamiliar ring in it. Livia was aware that but a few people outside of the Kaasian borders had ever heard about a ?Free Dromund Kaas?, and even fewer knew any details.
?It was the Admiral's wish to meet you here in Europolis, though getting him safely and without notice here was far from simple?, she continued. ?We have our Duxburian friends to thank for the arrangements. I am sorry to have worked behind your back like this, Susan, but rest assured it was not my intention to step on your toes. ? Perhaps it is best if you explained everything yourself, Admiral??
Pellaeon nodded, clearing his throat with a low harrumph. ?Thank you, Madame Arcturus. Yes, it was certainly not my intention to cause any ill will in the Commission of Defence; on the contrary, this is an office I hold in greatest reverence. You must understand that it has not been without difficulties for me to leave my homeland. There are... quite a many, in fact, who would like nothing more than presenting my head on a platter before the Imperial Throne of the Grand Moff. By meeting you and Premier Liszckoszi in utmost secrecy, I can at least guarantee that no harm will come to you because of my presence in Europolis.?
The Grand Admiral held an appropriate pause, then continued: ?My tale has length, but I will do my best to keep it short, for an over-abundance of time we do not have tonight, I'm afraid. Like I said earlier, I am with the Armed Forces of Free Dromund Kaas. My career with the Imperial Army ended the very day the HEMP blasts brought darkness over the Imperial Oversector, though in all honesty, that was a mere formality, for by then, my loyalty to the Moff Council had been... tested, time and again.
Dromund Kaas is and has been a closed nation and a closed culture, Commissioners. Outside, little is known of the political intrigues and factional disputes within our administrative circles. The entrance of my homeland into the European Union marked a culmination point of a development of decades. There have always been several factions and several agendas within the Moff Council and the military that, as you are aware of, holds significant authority in Dromund Kaas. In the shadow of the vocal and paranoid isolationist wing, there has existed a minority with a more... progressive way of seeing things. It took many years, but this minority was finally able to convince the rest of the Council and the Grand Moff himself of the benefits of taking the first steps towards the European community. Amazing how often economic necessities trump nationalistic pride.
Although I kept my personal political views largerly to myself, I was part of this movement to reorganize the Kaasian society, one small step at a time. We considered the EU membership to ultimately be a blessing for us. We... failed to see what was brewing, and failed to stop it until it was already too late.?
His dark, brown eyes fixed to Maleeka. ?Madame Premier, it shames me deeply that it was my homeland that forced you to suffer such tribulations. Too late did I and many of my colleagues realize that the administration had become dangerously delusional, and inoblivious to the dire threat to the very existence of Dromund Kaas they themselves had created. Yet again we failed to predict the rapid pace the events were progressing. We failed to act before the HEMP struck.
It was clear from the very beginning that we would lose this war. The only question was: how totally.
The time for any intra-Council negotiations had been lost. Peace or even an armistice was not possible whilst the Grand Moff was in power. That became abundantly clear.
So I did what I could. I gathered a group of like-minded officers around me, and when the time was right, we seceded from the Imperial rule, taking what munitions, supplies, and troops we could with us and began our own war for our freedom. A fight for a free Dromund Kaas.
Quickly, it became obvious that alone, we would accomplish little. What authority or legitimacy would we have if and when the Duxburians got their flag flying over the smoldering ruings of Kaas City? Not everyone wanted to cooperate with the Duxburian Union, however, a nation that saw as a foreign and barbaric invading force. We were born out of a schism; there was another one, not long afterwards. We were both fighting the Moff government, but the others had added the Duxburians on their list of foes as well. Then us, too.?
The old man sighed. ?That was not to say that we weren't wary, either. Eventually, I decided to take a cautious and indirect route. Few know what really happens within the closed circles of the Moff Council; this is equally true with the Duxburian government. But I knew there was one actor in European politics who would sincerely and genuinely pursue the opportunity to achieve peace. So I in all secrecy, I contacted the government of Pax Aurea.?
?I was out of the cabal for months before a sudden and unexpected full revelation?, added Livia. ?It was Julia who took the matter to her heart, as was to be expected. Negotiating with the Admiral, she acted as the mediator with the Duxburians over her state visit there. The offer was accepted. And during my terms as the Defence Commissioner, I continued in the role of mediator, trying to find a middle ground that would suit both the Duxburian Union and Free Dromund Kaas. We have had progress. But now much depends on the EU's willingness to get itself involved.?
?Indeed?, agreed Pellaeon. ?Like I said, it is only a matter of time before the Duxburian Union defeats the Imperial army and the Moff government. Free Dromund Kaas is willing to assist in these final onslaughts against Kaas City and the remaining strongholds. But after the war is over... after the guns have fallen silent... We request that the European Union assist Free Dromund Kaas in rebuilding its civil society; that the European Union could progressively take charge of the peacekeeping mission from the Duxburian post-war occupation, in cooperation with the Free Dromund Kaas Army; and that the European Union would help ensure that Dromund Kaas becomes a free and democratic, independent nation, instead of the lawless anarchy of a failed state. This is why I am here tonight, honourable Commissioners.?
?This is a chance for all parties to state their intentions, willingness, and further demands?, Livia said, ?freely and openly. We all have a shared goal: peace in Dromund Kaas. Let us see what can be done for that.?