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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:04 am 
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Orbit of Avria-3

Procurator Nakosh ruffled his feathers in pleasure as he reviewed the reports on his datapad. The pacification of this world had been a simple matter given how primitive it was. An orbital bombardment had not even been necessary, merely overflying the capitals of the ten or twenty strongest nations at speeds faster than sound had been enough to force them to capitulate. He had even ordered a few gunships to approach a few capitals at low enough altitude and speed that the inhabitants had lobbed a few pitiful artillery shells at them, just to illustrate the futility. Iron propelled by chemical reaction was no match for steel/tungsten plating.

In the end, they had all of them capitulated, and now this barely-industrial world was to be integrated as a part of the Suvai Hegemon. The major power of this arm of the galaxy, the Hegemon’s banner flew over dozens of worlds both conquered and allied. Its fleets patrolled the hyperlanes with authority, though at the moment the war with the Xetch was occupying the majority of the Hegemon’s resources.

That was why Nakosh’s job was so important, and why he was so happy. Avaria 3 was a boon of the gods, a sign of the Hegemon’s valid judgement of its’ cause; a nearly-pristine world rich in heavy metals and a breathtaking level of biodiversity somewhat removed from the core worlds. It would be developed into a major industrial center for the Hegemon’s war machine, sending waves of death against its’ enemies even as it sent luxury goods back for the benefit of the trade lords and the amusement of the aristocracy. All of the major empires of Avaria 3 had surrendered their authority and made entreaties of peace and economic cooperation, Nakosh was amused that the primitive mammals were more interested in jockeying for position against each other than mounting any kind of resistance. And that was where there WERE nations to resist, shockingly only half of the planet’s arable land was developed to any significant degree. The western and southern portions of the planet were practically wilderness.

It was the western territories in particular that interested Nakosh, with their mineral wealth so easy to exploit and the existing agricultural industries on the fringes of the territory. Apparently the more recent inhabitants of this region had only been present for four native generations and had recently begun to set up economic and political infrastructure, subservient to their parent nations. *Truly a boon to conquer a race already familiar with colonialism and subjugation*, thought Nakosh. His advisors had narrowed it down to two choices, and while both had their strengths and weaknesses the southern territory had a more deeply entrenched monoculture and a less hospitable climate, while the mixed culture of the northern territory and its’ greater mercantile tradition was more adaptable to their needs.

Nakosh clicked his teeth in satisfaction, and signed his authorization. “Northern option, send the edict and have it posted for the locals.” He sat back, satisfied that the choice he had made would have impact for years to come.

Quote:
“By the King a Proclamation*
Whereas the recent events in the heavens above our cities have shown the vulnerability of our nation against powers not of this earth;

Given the need for England to secure allies and influence in this new reality;

Due the understanding that all men must live safe and secure to provide for their family and home;

Understanding the generosity of the Suvai Hegemon as a partner and equal in trade;

The governing authority of all of the territories of North America, including the colonies of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island and Providence, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, West and East Florida, Labrador, the territory of Louisiana, and the Hudson Bay Company will be surrendered to the auspices of the Suvai Hegemon. The inhabitants of the afformentioned territories will continue to be subjects of the Crown, but will pay taxes to the Hegemon and labour in such endeavours as deemed necessary by the new colonial directives.

Given at our Court at St. James’s the nineteenth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-four, in the second year of our reign.

God save the King.
Glory to the Hegemon.



Boston, Massachusetts. January 5, 1770.

As the driving cold off the harbor dug into his coat, Samuel Adams’ only thought was a rueful appreciation that some things never changed. He trudged along the muddy street toward his waterfront warehouse, nodding in the dim morning light to passers-by and trading friendly ‘Good day’s with men he knew. As the duly-appointed tax collector for the city of Boston, Samuel was strong on influence but short on inclination to impede his fellow brothers in commerce. It gave him no small amount of joy to ‘neglect’ his duties with regards to his friends and acquaintances in order to frustrate both the Crown and the Stars. It had won him more than a few friends, as well.

Tax revenue continued to exist in the New Day, as the time after the coming of the hegemon had come to be called, if anything the new masters of America were even more intent on collecting it than the old. The greedy Suvai merchantmen, batlike in appearance with shaggy orange plumage, would click and sing about their goods and their earnings and the issues dealing with ‘primitive economies’ all the while attempting to short-change Samuel and his countrymen. He had gone back and forth with a few of their negotiators over lively discussions, but humans were learning to hold their own and even win some concessions. It was a testament to this thriving business that Boston was one of only a handful of cities in the world where the Suvai were present in sufficient number to form groups and crowds; there were even taverns which would serve them vile concoctions of crushed flowers and seeds which they loudly lapped up with their silvery tongues.

Samuel stomped his feet on the sidewalk and shook his coat as he approached the front part of his warehouse, ‘Adams Imports’ painted brightly in gold lettering with a second sign below it in the whispy slashes of Suvai script stating the same. They bracketed a ship’s wheel with a star in the middle and coins beneath. “Good morning, Mr. Adams,” a rough-faced younger man opened the door for him. “Tea is good and hot.”

“Bless you, Malcom.” Sam handed him his coat and stomped his feet again, freeing himself of the clinging boston mud. “Anything to report?”

“No sir, Mr. Adams.” Malcom put the coat out of the way and grabbed a small stack of notes from the desk “The indigo shipments went out last night, and I’ve got the boys tying off the sloops until the habor breaks again.” Samuel nodded. One of the marvels brought by the hegemon had been the institution of ice-breaking protocols, to keep the harbor open year-round. The tremendous racket the pulses made rattled the city, but they worked. He glanced out the rear-window, looking over his ships in the harbor to the silvery edifice beyond. A thousand yards out, rising like Mount Olympus, was the Starport. One of only two on earth, goods from the Hegemon’s American territory were shipped to Boston first, and then packaged and sent to the starport before it was sent beyond the heavens. A shining platform stretched more than an acre, standing above the seas, a clear statement of the realities of the present.

“Splendid, splendid. I suppose I should pour some tea before the breakers sound and set the mugs aloft.” Samuel poured two cups, waving off Malcom’s protests. Malcom was lowborn, an uneducated Presbyterian from New Jersey who was often taken aback by his employer’s casual demeanor. “Anything else?”

“We’ve got two more come for work, sir.” Malcom took a sip and glanced to the wharf where a pair of men in wool coats were sitting, warming their hands over a glowing fire.

Something about their coats made Samuel take a second look, and his eyes narrowed. “Beyonders?”

Malcom nodded. “Aye, Sir.”

Samuel chewed on his tongue for a moment “And the shipments from Georgia are coming apace?”

“Aye, Sir.”

“Well then we’ll need them. Start them on three quarters pay if they need bunks, full if not.” Samuel set down his tea and settled in at his desk as Malcom trotted out to the men. He watched through the glass as he spoke to the two men who jumped up and clapped each other on the back, and then watched them nod intently as the scottsman gave them a clear warning, pointing in Samuel’s direction. They all then hurried down to the main warehouse.

Adding two entries in the employment register, Samuel shook his head. Beyonders were men (and even women) who had taken the Hegemon up on its’ offer and had volunteered to fight in their war against the Xetch. Humans only knew what they were told in the short printings sent out by the Hegemon and word from Suvai merchants, so Samuel had no way of knowing if the cause was just. But it did pay well enough for a few thousand humans to have already completed their forty months of service and returned to earth. Unfortunately, those who went beyond the heavens were mistrusted by many and condemned to damnation by more than a few.

Some of the North American clergy had begun preaching the notion that anywhere not touched by the light of the sun was not the creation of the Almighty but instead was the domain of the devil. Samuel found it nonsense, as did many others, but enough of the public was swayed to the point where a Beyonder could find difficulty gaining employment or even living in a community. The identifying tattoos given them upon enlistment on the hand and neck were rumored to be marks of the beast, and more than one beyonder had had to chop off his hand and plead a farming accident to fit into a new community. That was why Malcom was so grateful for his job and worked so hard, Samuel was one of the only merchants in Boston who would hire beyonders without reservation. They were actually superior, by his reckoning, given their familiarity with reading Suvai, Olok, and English as required by their training.

He continued his paperwork and correspondence through the morning, sending notes to other merchants by errand boy, filling orders and receiving goods. Shortly before noon, a visitor entered his office and Samuel blinked. It wasn’t the first time a Suvai had been in the building, but it WAS the first time an official Proxy of the Procurator had entered. The Procurator was the Suvai who presided over all of the Hegemon’s holdings in North America, and his proxies were empowered to execute his commands with the full force of law. He (only male Suvai appeared in public for some reason) was flanked by two Olok, broad and craggy creatures covered in scales that bore fringes of pale blue feather along their ridged brows. Olok were a servitor species in the Hegemon, humans had learned. One that had served the Suvai for millennia.

“Good day,” Samuel rose and bowed low, though even then his eyes were merely even with the Suvai. “How may I assist the Procurator?”

“Aaahyess…” The proxy spoke in breathy exhalation. Their mouths could not easily speak english. “Aaii hhave come to deliver an edict…” One of the Olok stepped forward and handed Samuel a bound piece of paper, clearly celestial made and printed in both english and Suvai. He quickly looked over the document.
“This is outrageous!” He shouted, “I have secured license for a period of-”

“Eeyyhour license hass been revoked.” The proxy’s ears twitched in what Samuel had learned was a sign of amusement.

“On what grounds?!”

“Failure to properly execute your duties as tax collector of Boston under the Authority of the Procurator of Avria-3” His muzzle snapped shut on the words.

“Its Earth, you double jugg!” Samuel tossed the paper on his desk. “Not Avria-bloody-three! I’ll bring a suit! You know who my cousin is!”

“Legall redress iss your right…” the proxy nodded, “I wish you fortune. In the meantime, all of your shipments have been redirected until such time as you resolve your issues with the Procurator’s Authority.”

“Redirected where?” His head snapped towards the smug Suvai.

“Thhe facilitiess of House Mivon.” The proxy’s head bobbed in finality as he turned and left. At the door, he paused and shifted his burgundy robe, displaying a bronze crest at his shoulder; the crest of House Mivon.

“Blast!” Samuel cursed as the door closed. His head swam and he took a moment to collect his thoughts, but just then the starport began to sound, and the whole room shook. The teacup on his desk clattered to the floor and cracked in half. “Double-blast.”


***

“I am truly sorry, cousin, but I do not think this is a fight you can win.” The younger man, thirteen years his junior in fact, looked at Samuel.

“What is the point of law, John, if men aren’t treated equally?” Samuel sighed and settled back in the comfortable chair he sat in. After closing his shop for the day and appointing Malcolm to guard the warehouse, he had hurried across town to see his cousin.

John Adams sighed. He had traveled a different path than his cousin, and had attended Harvard after reading the law, becoming a respected attorney. In the new day he had thrown himself into the study of all things celestial, and was one of a handful of gentlemen who could speak Suvai. He had put his talent for language against his love of the law and become an expert in mediation and negotiations between colonial business concerns and the Hegemon. “There is law to cover this, Samuel, both English and celestial. The unfortunate fact is you are in violation of law by failing to collect taxes.”

“But how can my duties as a tax collector affect my business contracts?” His cousin raged. “I have thirty men, GOOD MEN who depend on my contracts filling their pockets.”

“Its a thing of the Suvai, I’m afraid. While man derived its character from sustaining families and providing for ones’ own, their history is based on very large groups living in balance. Akin to the burrowing vermin.”

“Vermin is what I’d call them, for certain.” Samuel looked up to see his cousin’s beautiful wife enter with a tray. “Tea, dear cousin?”

“Something stronger, perhaps, Abigail dear?” He rubbed a hand to his temple. With a smile and a wink, Abigail reached into the teapot and pulled out a flask. “Bless you!” he sighed.

“Vermin or not, Abigail, they command the skies.” John took a drink as well as he looked over the edict. “As I was saying, the Suvai prize community balance above all else. Theirs is not a culture of heroes and saviors, but consensus and mobs. Your tendency to selectively enforce taxation rubbed them the wrong way, and looks to them to be ‘unbalanced’. That gave Lord Mivon the chance to pull your contract.”

“They can’t get away with this, John.” the elder Adams shook his head. “The other merchants won’t stand for it. Hancock would be in the governor’s mansion over this. Any of us would!”

“Well, it seems that since we lowly ‘primitives’ have laid the groundwork and begun to earn a profit the trade lords are starting to take notice. I’ll send an appeal to Albany, I still have a few friends there. But I warn you, Samuel, Albany has never ruled against a trade lord. Not even for Hudson Bay.”

“Well do what you can, John.” Samuel stood up and gathered his coat. “Thank you for the drink, Abigail.”

“Where will you go, cousin?” Abigail asked.

“I think I might go talk with some friends, dear cousin. I imagine there’s all sorts of things that can happen when a community becomes ‘unbalanced’.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:49 am 
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Why does hang together pop into my mind?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:35 am 
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Ooh, arranging 'paper walls' in your affairs has just become a little harder...

'Plausible Deniability' will be a tad tricky to arrange...

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:36 pm 
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Nik_SpeakerToCats wrote:
Ooh, arranging 'paper walls' in your affairs has just become a little harder...

'Plausible Deniability' will be a tad tricky to arrange...


I don't actually understand what this comment means. :?:


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 Post subject: paper walls...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:38 pm 
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In this context, they've dumped on his import/export business despite it being financially unrelated to his public service as a tax collector. I suppose analogy is customers shunning the ma/pa family shop of a less-than-competent Town Clerk or old-world 'Procurator Fiscal'...

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