Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
“The Mraboran Protectorate is doing everything it can within the limits of the Treaty of Krevali,” Angzal assured Reyes.
“The Thorians took a giant dump on the Treaty, so how are your empty assurances supposed to help the Krevali? Do you know who had just been appointed the transitionary governor of the planet? Vekshineth, the Butcher of Nabak.”
The appointment of Vekshineth to lead the transition of Krevali to Thorian rule was, Angzal admitted to herself, terrible optics for the Protectorate. Over the previous three years after the Insurrection, a conflict in which the Protectorate had a role that was less clandestine than they would have preferred, Vekshineth had been overseeing the repatriation of Nabak, which earned him a reputation across the Known Reaches that rivaled some of the historic Anthar Kai and Thorian governors of conquered or pacified worlds. The particularly troubling aspect of the situation for the Protectorate was that prior to the Insurrection, the Butcher of Nabak built his resume through a series of stints on Thorian worlds that had formerly been Mraboran and continued to have a majority Mraboran population, rooting out any ambition of independence that formed in the decades after the Last Gasp. This seemed like the kind of information Rzena ought to have brought to her attention, so Angzal reminded herself to snap his tail in half later.
All too aware that she skipped a few beats processing the news, Angzal finally responded, “I’ve been told that an impressive delegation from Mrabr, including several high-ranking government officials, are on their way to Kai Thori to discuss this with the Presidium directly.” Angzal was, of course, told no such thing.
“I find it funny that it’s only now that a delegation is being sent. It’s precisely what your predecessor told me in our last conversation, almost two months ago, even though it’s at most a five-week haul from Mrabr to Kai Thori. In any case, even if you’re not straight-up lying to me, how’s ‘talking’ the only thing the mighty Protectorate is able to muster? The time for talk was when the Thorians were amassing their forces in violation of the Treaty of Krevali and everyone who didn’t have their head up their ass or their tail between their legs knew exactly how this was going to play out. And now the Krevali, who’ve barely reached the frontiers of their own stellar system, are absolutely terrified fighting a war against a technologically superior alien invader, without any clue that there’s a greater network of so-called allies out there who’re doing absolutely nothing to help.”
Even for a Human, Reyes was strongly inclined to use her whole body while talking. Arms moved about freely as if on their own accord and fingers stabbed the air emphatically. To a Mraboran, the whole display was distracting, as their own species tended to keep perfectly still, especially during confrontation, which was one of the reasons many of them preferred to keep their tails strapped to their bodies. During the whole conversation, Angzal was motionless, standing between her desk and the window, wondering if the reason Reyes declined a seat was because it made it easier for her to gesticulate.
“Congressmember Reyes –” Angzal tried, but there was no stopping this landslide.
“No, whatever you have to say to me, it’s become quite clear that neither the Mraboran nor the Hatvan have any interest in upsetting the status quo. As long as you feel safe in your cozy Empires, you’re perfectly content to do nothing. Not even help your own people who are languishing under Thorian rule.”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, Congressmember, but doesn’t the ORC have its own capable fleet that it could dispatch to the aid of the Krevali? Something that has the support of many of your own people?”
“Yes, there are supporters of this mad endeavour and they have their reasons. The point I’m making is this would not be the first time Humanity or the ORC had sent their ships into a conflict that should’ve been resolved by others closer to the source. Especially those responsible for what was happening because of their own complacency. We’ve been dying in wars on the other side of the Known Reaches for almost half a century, and have been paying a price for it at home. Meanwhile, species like the Mraboran are the ones benefitting from the peace our blood helps create. Enough is enough.”
That low growl again began to bubble in the back of Angzal’s throat and she reminded herself that this was an alien species and that they expected a certain amount of deference; however undeserved it may be. Still, she let herself slip just a little, responding with a bit of a gurgle in her voice. “The only reason a species like Humans was even able to have any meaningful participation in the Last Gasp was our convenient presence between you and the Thorian Empire, as well as our own complete lack of interest in you.”
“More like a complete lack of interest in anything beyond the pocket of Dead Space that lies between you and us.” There was nothing about Reyes’s smile for Angzal to like. “But that’s good to know, that the Protectorate’s greatest contribution so far has been its lack of curiosity and simply being in the way. Oh wait, there’s also the letter sent by the Protectorate to our government that had the audacity to directly request assistance in the mess that was largely their doing. The Senate, unsurprisingly, has already endorsed this lunatic course of action. Congress, on the other hand, so far has enough members without delusions of grandeur and who have no interest in sending others light years away to die in someone else’s war.”
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.