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Revelations Under the Sea

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The fanfare for the launch of the UNS Revelation has been enormous. Though she had set out from her home port in Norfolk and had made a celebratory stop in Selbourne, the biggest gathering had been in the North Adlantic Union capital of Lewisport, located in the Ceriser nation of Cenia. Though the ship was dwarfed by the large city, which had only grown larger after becoming the NAU capital, few could contain their shock on just how large this science vessel was. She had a length of 168 meters, longer than Seylos's own ubiquitous Eclipse-Class destroyers, and displaced the same amount of tonnage without being packed to the brim with military equipment and weapons. Crowds had gathered in earnest after the arrival of the ship had been heavily advertised as a turning point for the Union nearing the end of the war, one of the bigger icons of the Union's dedication to scientific advancement alongside the Seylosian space program. Not only that was it intended to be a scientific vessel, it itself was to hold an important role in Union diplomatic efforts across the wurld as it would travel the oceans helping various nations in major scientific projects that could use its new status as the most advanced ship in the wurld. Obviously not that most advanced fighting ship, even if it was designed by the military, but if something needed to be researched, Revelation had the best tools on Eurth to make that research happen.

After the day-long celebrations at Cenia's port district, the Revelation took on the bulk of her international crew, hailing from well over a dozen nations. Of course the ship was operated mainly by Seylosian and Ceriser crewmembers, but scientists and crewmembers from Gaellecia, Xio, Advocatius, Ionio, Iverica, Orioni, Baltica, Per Aten, Garindina, and, strangely enough even Ateenia and Stedoria of all places, were aboard contributing to the project. Most importantly was the small Tagmatine contingent, which consisted of mainly engineers to help work on and maintain the two powerful D2G Nuclear Reactors that powered the ship's systems and moved it through the seas at an impressive 28 knots (58 kpm/32 mph). And it wasn't just the crew that hailed from other countries, but much of the equipment and tools brought aboard came from all over Eurth. She packed two helicopters and a motor lifeboat to help the crew get around above water, and most excitingly both a crewed and remote operated a pair of submersibles.

With her new crew aboard, Revelation was ready to make her journey from Cenia to Wulumuqi, @Fulgistan. There she would meet up with a Fulgistani team to go explore the underwater ruins of an ancient city recently discovered right off the coast of the Kidney Islands in Alharu. For archeologists, it had been an impressive and exciting discovery, and for the Union is presented an exciting diplomatic opportunity considering their efforts with Ceriser unification with the West Ceris Federation.

Captain Irvin Walker stepped onto his bridge as the ship departed Lewisport and took in the view of the ocean from inside. He had been close to retiring after the Battle of Cascadia and the damage that had been done to the HMS Defiant, but after the King himself offered him the command of the ship of his dreams, he couldn't possibly say no. He had spent a large part of his early career studying the ocean floor before having to move on to more combat oriented roles within the Navy, but he always missed his work from years past. It didn't take long before he was approached by his first officer, the former operations officer on board the UNS Solidarity aircraft carrier, Lieutenant Commander Krisitan Kästner. She tended to more uptight than her Seylosian counterparts, considering the military tradition of Ceriser nations tended to be much more traditional in nature compared to the more relaxed version found in Seylos.

“Captain… welcome.” She said, clearly repressing her training to act more formally with her superiors. Captain Walker had made it a point to ensure the military members of the crew acted more informally with each other, to an extent, to help keep the international civilian crew at ease. “We're making good time to Fulgistan. The very… abrasive Tagmatine engineer has assured me the engines are working at 'peak efficiency'”

“Having problems with him?” Walker asked.

“No… no problems, sir. I just find him… trying. The Tagmatines tend to have a certain… arrogance about them.” Kästner said with a sigh.

While the Tagmatine relationship with the Union had been incredibly fruitful, it had been hard to deny that the inhabitants of the former Aroman Empire did have a certain air of superiority about them. Walker had been used to it so far in his career, but he could see how a Ceriser would be upset by the attitude, “I wouldn't take any offense from it, Commander. I think everyone from the Occident is born with a bit of Aroman pride built in.”

“Of course sir,” Kästner scoffed, both secretly admiring but also feeling a certain amount of annoyance with Seylosian's seemingly inherent accepting nature. “Regardless, the journey should only take us about two days at our current speed. I've already have the Fulgistani government contacted and made aware of our arrival time and everything should be on schedule with their onboarding.”

“Excellent,” Walker replied with a broad smile. He walked over to what appeared to be a sort of small L shaped desk with a computer and unusually nice chair built into the corner of the bridge.

“I see you did not get the captain's chair you asked for,” Kästner said dryly, looking at the setup.

“No… but I suppose it's nice that I at least got a 'captain's corner desk'” He said with a bit of a laugh. “I'd like to spend more time on the bridge than in my office. I suppose at the end of the day this makes more sense, there isn't much I could be doing just sitting in a chair.”

“Ihr Seylosi seid seltsam.” Kästner mumbled under her breath.

“What was that Commander?” Walker asked, raising an eyebrow at her.

“An excellent addition Captain, I'm sure the crew would appreciate it,” Kästner replied, “If you don't mind sir… there's always work to be done.”

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Wulumuqi, the city of silk, goldsmiths and pearls. Wulumuqi, whose people had built and crewed a thousand ships for as many years for conquerors, traders, and great diplomats alike. The vessel presently pulling into port, however, was unlike any the ancient harbor had ever seen. As the Revelation hove into view along the quayside, her twin hulls churning the water ahead of and behind her, the sun was rising over the sea, illuminating the patchwork landscape of minarets, skyscrapers, apartment towers, and humble old-fashioned hutong alley houses. Standing on the quay, squinting against the orange autumn sunlight, a pair of Alharun experts regarded their new home. Though neither of them said so, it was impressive as a craft, but perhaps not as a living space, even from afar.

"Look at that thing move. Bet she can really hustle when the reactor gets going. Or revved up, or... I'll ask the engineers what the proper term is when we're aboard."

Ma Rushan adjusted his round glasses as he spoke, an old nervous habit that was rearing its head again thanks to the mixed company of the occasion. It seemed like everyone short of Almas and the cabinet had turned out to welcome Revelation, with a military drill team standing just feet behind him, ready to snap into action at a moment's notice. Aside from the state dignitaries and the scientists themselves, many members of the public had turned out despite the early hour. Ma saw anarchists in Argic biker leathers, party cadres in their mustard brown suits, and what looked like a few classes of schoolchildren, here to learn all about science and wurld affairs, he assumed.

"I think the engineers will probably be occupied with more important things. Besides, your Anglish needs work."

Pan Yue brushed the hair out of her eyes, mirroring the tic-ridden behavior of her longtime dig and dive partner. Despite her ribbing, they were nothing less than the best of friends and colleagues. They'd had each others backs when funding ran short, or a regulator came undone, and through all the battles of tenure at Eastern Pengxia University. The pair enjoyed a partnership that, over the years, had become so close it threatened to verge on the intimate. Sometimes, Pan wondered idly why she hadn't asked him to marry her long ago, when they had met in the navy. Sometimes she wondered if she still would. But life as a glube-trotting professor of underwater archaeology was like any other; humdrum and uncertain in its own way.

"My Anglish is fine, and I'll be immersed, so it'll just get better. Besides-"

Ma's no-doubt-lengthy rebuttal was interrupted by the sound of artillery, a salute from the medieval fortress that still watched over Wulumuqi harbor.  Red, white and blue erupted in clouds of pigment over the ramparts, settling on the water like a technicolor fog. Ma couldn't help flinching involuntarily, as he felt his face go red. Behind him, he heard the drill team snap to attention.

"Ei ya, this is a civilian venture," he muttered. "I'll never understand our government's obsession with militarizing every facet of society."

"Save your ei yas," Pan said, looking over her shoulder.  "You'll need them. Here comes Guiyin."

Striding with utmost confidence down the pier towards them, sticking out like a sore thumb in an emerald green gown and chunky monochrome jewelry, Zhu Guiyin smiled as she caught sight of the pair, quickening her pace and embracing them one after the other.

"Pan Yue, Ma Rushan, I'm so glad you're here. Plenty of people would be capable of enduring the physical hardships but there are few who could carry the spiritual weight of this venture."

The tall woman nodded sagely, eyes widening as if she'd said something profound and not delivered a backhanded compliment. The decision to include their old acquaintance in the delegation had sparked many an argument between the two professors; she was spacey, unreadable, and given to what most Fulgistanis were likely to perceive as flights of fancy. But to hundreds of thousands of adherents, she was a priestess of the Water-Anointed serpent, a holy woman whose presence here was due as much to religious sensitivities around the ancient ruins as it was to her unique expertise on architecture of the period. It helped that as a priestess of the faith, she had plenty of experience freediving with the sea snakes that the temple held sacred.

"Good to see you too, Guiyin. It's been too long."

Despite herself, Pan meant the words. She had a genuine affection for the tall, gawky priestess that transcended her own atheism; more than anyone else, Zhu Guiyin encouraged her to see the wurld differently."

"Just in time, too." Ma said as he nodded at the extending gangplank. "I believe our welcoming party is here."

Edited by Fulgistan (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Lieutenant Commander Kästner stood at the top of the gangplank as the three Fulgistanis approached. As they got off and stepped onto Revelation’s deck she extended her hand.

“Welcome, to Revelation, the Captain is excited to have all of you on board,” Kästner, extending her hand to Ma Rushan as he approached.

The Fulgistani took her hand and shook it with a smile on his face, “We are glad to be aboard, though, only the captain?”

Kästner raised an eyebrow, “I come from a more… military background Mr. Rushan. The Captain is far more appreciative of scientific discovery than I am I suppose. But… I won’t lie, I’m curious about what we will find.”

Ma only gave a chuckle before turning to his research partner to talk for a moment. Pan Yue nodded and gave a smile to Kästner before she headed off on whatever task Ma had reminded her of. Behind the pair of them Zhu Guiyin strode onto the deck following Pan Yue, giving little mind to Kästner as she passed by. Kästner herself couldn’t help but narrow her eyes when watching her pass.

“A problem, Commander?” Ma asked.

“Mmm,” Kästner mumbled, “Of course there is no problem. Please… follow me, the Captain is excited to meet you.”

Ma followed Kästner, but felt her uneasiness with the Water-Anointed priestess, “Is there something about Priestess Yue that causes you concern Commander?”

“Truthfully, and of course respectfully, Cerisers are not fond of… cults.”

Ma tilted his head as they continued their walk along Revelation’s deck, towards the bridge, “You see them as cult?”

Kästner stopped and looked towards Ma, “It doesn’t matter what I think. All of you are welcome guests aboard Revelation, and I can assure you that all the Cerisers on board will react in kind.”

“I have no doubt, and I thank you for being so candid. I would just remind you that she and her church are among our primary sponsors for this expedition.”

“Of course,” Kästner replied, leading Ma up the stairs on the deck towards the bridge, “The Union considers this an important diplomatic moment for both parties.”

The pair eventually reach the top of the stairs, where Kästner leads Ma onto the bridge. The crew is busying themselves with departure, not paying too much attention to the pair as they walk into the space.

“I must say, you have an excellent grasp of Anglish,” Kästner says, biding her time waiting for the Captain Walker to make his appearance.

Ma gave a smile, “I’ve had many dealings with the Anglish wurld as it is, many of my research partners live in Seylos, Gallambria, and beyond. I suppose I should complement you on yours as well, as a Ceriser.”

“How do you mean?” Kästner asked, not quite sure what Ma was getting at.

“Well Cerisers and their relationship to Anglish and Dolch have always confused me.” Ma replied, “It seems your people switch between it on a whim.”

“Ah,” Kästner smiled, happy to explain the eccentricities of Ceris’s relationship to both languages, “It’s different for all of Ceris. Almost everyone knows both Dolch and Anglish but the way we use it differs. I’m from Egris, and there we primarily speak Anglish but we use Dolch when describing more… emotional situations. Or maybe to emphasize a point or even to tell a joke. In Western Ceris the inverse can be true, people will speak Dolch primarily and then use Anglish for the other reasons.”

“Very interesting… I don’t think I’ve been to another set of countries where this is the case-” Ma started but was interrupted as Captain Walker entered the bridge.

“Ma Rushan! Welcome to Revelation, I hope Lieutenant Commander Kästner has taken good care of you?” Walker asked as he walked towards them.

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