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Whispers In The Dark


Vocenae
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Western Kosscow Sea, 1:32 AM, Two Months After the Vocian Civil War

 

"This is a bad idea, sir"

 

"Of course it is, but these are our order. Keep her steady, helmsman"

 

The man didn't respond, but Commander Yori Isenger could feel the confusion, the resentment, and the fear the young man was holding in. In normal times he would have reprimanded the sailor, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. The boy was stretched thin enough as it was, Arco had been hard on him.

 

The small ship rocked gently against the black waves of the Kosscow, and Yori shivered, but not because of the cold. The mission was insane, too drastic, too desperate, too soon. The rebuilding had barely begun and already the reformed Imperial Council (or what was left of it) was jumping on the only offer for aid they'd received.

 

And that was why they were out here in this tiny prowler disguised as a civilian fishing boat. They were waiting for an answer from the similar ship a few miles away, it's crew being the only envoy the Imperial Council would risk being seen with. While both ships were running dark, the night seemed to wrap itself more naturally around the foreigners, though Yori knew that was just his imagination playing tricks on him. It had to be.

 

The sudden beeping of the wireless channel made the helmsman jump. The boy had almost pulled the small handgun out of it's holster before he realized what it was. He shot a worried look to the Commander, and both of them moved to the only monitor on the bridge.

 

There were only four words on the screen, their green font burning bright against the black background and filling the bridge with an almost ethereal glow.

 

We Accept Your Terms.

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Khan Yasrick of the Haruspex Intelligence Security Services or HISS as they were termed, an accurate acronym no less, sat within the small bridge cabin of the sea raider. Disguised as a deep sea fishing vessel, it had it's hold converted from carrying fish processing equipment to whatever was needed. Usually it was weapons and so forth, today, it was an envoy of emissaries from the Emperor.

 

His second in command, a swarthy individual chosen to be a visible front for anyone that flew over them, nodded towards him, a signal that the wireless communique had been sent and recieved. Hand gesture to the wheelman and the navigation officer to do a short burst of blue and yellow halogen flashes and then to go dark again. This was the signal to the other ship, the go ahead as it were.

 

Quick steps from the cabin towards the railing outside, gesturing with his left hand to a small contingent of men stationed beside a rough weather launch. Basically a larger version of a zodiac. Salutes followed, the emissaries wore military gear, standard mercenary fare should they be seen. It wasnt hard to picture merc's in Vocenea, and or in the Kasscow seas. Independent operations existed the wide world over, why should this region be any different?

 

Liet-Khan Di'Ko acknowledged the unspoken order and herded his contingent onto the boat. As it was lowered to the open seas, the muffled motors grumbled softly, jet streams of water propelling them towards the fishing trawler just under half a kilometer away. Riding shotgun were two Renor Vlos elites, in the middle was that of Vice Lord Kamin, Lord Huan, and Sengar d'Isto Ji'Kan. Emissaries of the Haru. Behind and in phalax beyond Di'Ko were four other elites as well as two briefcases.

 

The boat bounced across the waves, splashing them all with seawater, the salt made his eyes run involuntarily, a blue halogen handlight signaled once then twice before the launch slid to the right flank of the trawler.

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  • 4 weeks later...

After what seemed like an eternity, the Haru were on board.

 

Yori had greeted them with a very stiff salute and escorted them into the confined bowels of the ship without a word. He took them to the ship's galley, the only place on the ship his superiors felt was proper enough for diplomancy, regardless of wheather it was known to the world or not.

 

He saluted the Councilman and his two guards, nodded mechanicly at the foreigners, and retreated back to the relative safety of the bridge. He shot a weary look at the boy still manning the helm, and sank heavily into the captain's chair.

__________________________________

 

"I'd like to thank you for coming, gentlemen, though I am sorry that it had to be through such...unofficial conditions. I'm sure you understand."

 

Councilman Teras Uthil wasn't afraid of the Haru, like most people were. If fact, he felt rather relaxed outside of the normal tension that came with talking politics. After all, they were only human like him.

 

"Now then, I'm pleased to announce that the Imperial Council has decided to accept your offer for aid, but only under the following conditions" He watched as the men across from him nodded, and felt slightly unnettled by the way they stared at him.

 

"The terms and conditions are: All humanitarian aid items are to be delivered via civilian cargo transports to secure docks in Celeste. All aerial shipments will be delivered the same way to the freight hangers in the city of Indrini. Once we have a clear assesment of our militarial needs, they will be delivered in civilian transports to locations of our choosing."

 

He took a small sip from the glass of water in front of him.

 

"Under no circumstances are neither of our nations allowed to acknowledge the transfer of goods, and should this information leak out, the Imperial Republic will deny any involvement and withdraw from our end of the agreement. In return, we will supply the Principality with airspace and shipping privileges, and will deploy a small number of troops to assist with any security needs you may have."

 

Teras saw the suprise on the Haru's faces, and they glanced at each other before locking back into the emotionless dead stare. See? They are only human, even if they do a damned good job at hiding it. he though smugly to himself. He didn't dare let the feeling show, though.

 

"Of course, those troops will need to be disguised as your own soldiers, to uphold the security of this agreement. Are these terms and conditions acceptable to you, gentlemen?"

 

He leaned back only slightly, and unconciously tried not to lock eyes with the Haru's leader.

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Deal with Devils

 

Vice Lord Kamin paused after a time, and then slowly removed the facemask, the breathing unit that most if not all Haru soldiers wore. As per little was known of their actual culture, the ancient runes tattooed into the man's face were of a white sheen across a very light bluish flesh tone, as if the man had just come out of the fridge of the morgue before this meeting. A minor retort in the accursed native tongue that sounded very much a collection of gutteral growls and hisses.We are agreed. These terms will do. As per our colony is a former piece of Zharr, we can carry the flag of that former nation. It will be assumed that the merchant vessels who escaped before the calamity, and wander about the sea trade lines to this day, are those visiting Vocenea as per a way to survive destitution.

 

The accent was of course tainted, and the respirator mask was soon back in place, the cylic click that followed every breath, so quiet and yet in this close, could be felt upon the back of one's neck. Over-exposure to whatever was breathed in, made the Vice Lord's eyes a paled red hue over the once blue eyes. Gesture towards one of the guards present, and one of the suitcases was brought over and set before the Imperial Republic representative.Secure transmission device. Routed through a HISS satellite that crosses orbit over this region of territory. Should it be needed for further discreet communiques, this will suffice, unless you wish to be...personable.

 

The other briefcase brought forth, held also a terminal but it was more of an order placing device. The technological usage of networking was not lost on the Haru, who hated paperwork just as any other might.We have vessels ready to begin movement within two days time. Foodstuffs, commerical items, heavy civillian equipment. If you wish military goods, they will arrive to wherever you wish in said civillian transports.

 

Gesture to his comrades, and the other joint officers and high ranking house members offered various nods while the elites in their strange getups and shielded helmets offered nothing but the reflection of one's face back. With the path to the launch remembered, the first pair of guards led Kamin and entourage to the launch. They neednt stay longer then they should, and their were arrangements to make. As he boarded the launch, one last look at the Imperial Republic vessel, a shark like grin under the mask and gesture to the guard whostarted the engines. Throaty purr and then the rough weather launch skipped across the rising waves of the sea back to it's mothership.

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