Long time no see!
Click click click...click click...click...
The keys were hammered, pounded into submission.
He had come to the end of the page. With a toss and a crash he was back to his starting point.
Clack clack clack clack...click clack.
The slide-rule stopped half way, the page was rolled free and placed gently in a box labelled...
The memo was snatched and fired away, off to the desk of Leopold DePlume, resident of Divine Imperial who's'its of Roania...or what ever it was, the Ambassador didn't much care for Roanian pomp, though he made sure to write the appropriate name on the memo of course...
'To the desk of the most honourable and righteous Leopold DePlume, His Most Divine Majesty's Foreign Ministry. Holder of the light of Imperial Truth. Archlord of Salmanth and the glorious and most signifigant friend of Auman. I, the low and most humble Ambassador of Auman, Lt. Trevyr Klamath...survivor of many battles, though none as great as those of Baron Leopold, seek an audience with what he considers his finest friend in this sector of the galaxy, if it were to please him.
~Lt. Trevyr Klamath.
Trevyr winced as he thought about the level of ass kissing he just did. Though, as one of the few trained diplomats in Auman, he bit the bullet and waited for a, no doubt, extremely positive response...well, about as positive as the Roanians could get.
The memo was floating.
That was the best way to look at it. It had been placed above the Foreign Minister's desk that morning, as no one had wanted to claim responsibility for it. Occasionally, muffled giggles came from the personal staff. Really, the Roanians felt sorry for the Aumanii ambassador.
Naturally proud themselves, they respected pride in others. And when someone felt they had to be that fulsome to the Foreign Minister, it would reflect exceedingly poorly on Leopold himself's honour if he refused them.
Naturally, of course, the other government ministers, and His Divine Imperial Majesty, had all received copies of the letter. Leopold was going to be receiving some very unflattering remarks about the size of his boots at the next cabinet meeting... a thought which passed only briefly through his mind after he snatched the paper up. '...hahah. Ah haha.' His eyes glowed for a moment as he started to laugh out loud. Then he sat down and scrawled his pen across a piece of paper. The words appeared, in perfect typeface, as the pen glided over.
To my esteemed friend Lieutenant Trevyr Klamath, the thrice-honoured ambassador from the most blessed nation of Auman:
Truly you honour me with your kind words, friend. It is always a pleasure and a delight to hear from you and your countrymen, and I very happily invite you to my office in the Imperial Council Building at the earliest time convenient for you.
ArchLord Leopold DePlume of Salmanth
Klamath found himself at the foot of the great steps of the Foreign Ministry. They lead, steeply, to a massive set of alien wood doors, a type unknown in Auman anyway, framed by a pair of enormous and ridiculously ornate pillars. A pair of armed guards flanked the portalway and Lt. Klamath had to present identification papers, which were scrutinized heavily, due to their foreign origin. With a grunt and a nod of his head, the master of the watch allowed Klamath to pass into the building.
Inside the Aumanii was not surprised. A lush red carpet was stretched over marble floors, leading down every hallway, up stairs, into washrooms, guard posts, etc, etc. Paintings of obscure figures hung from walls and obsidian sculptures of even less known officials sat on stands made of polished silver. Klamath's boots swished as he strolled down the main hall. He made it to a crossway and when he looked to his left his eyes met with a sandbag position.
Klamath was used to this level of security...it made him feel almost at home. However, he felt the art in Foundational Spire to be considerably more provocative, but he wasn't here to critique Roanian culture.
'I'm looking for the office of Leopold DePlume.' said Klamath.
'Papers, we need to see your papers!' shouted back a guard.
Klamath once again presented his identification and was allowed to pass by the emplacement. This process was repeated several times as he made his way through the giant, maze-like, building.
Klamath assumed the complexity of the floor plans was a necessity for defense. The floors probably had command activated mines under them...for all their pomp, the Roanians sure knew how to build a defensible position, whilst retaining form and beauty.
Finally, Klamath stood in the anteroom of Leopolds office, which he assumed was bigger than his apartment back in Auman.
The private secretary's hand drifted endlessly over her tablet, the words appearing on the monitor in front of her. She looked up at Klamath, seeming unimpressed with him. "Good afternoon, Ambassador." She was young. Or, young looking, at the least. She could be in her 80s, which was young by Roanian standards. The woman brushed her hair back over her gently pointed ear, and her eyes glowed somewhat.
After a minute or two, the Roanian tapped her hand on a grey square on her desk. "Minister? Your 13:00 is here." She said to the air.
"Send him in, please. Faith and Duty."
"Faith and Duty, Minister." She tapped the panel again, and glanced up at Klamath. "Go right in." She pressed her finger on another panel, and the immense wooden doors slowly swung open.
Leopold's office was large, but not ostentatiously so (at least by Roanian standards). The omnipresent red carpet was here as well, as were several thousand assorted knick-knacks from across the Imperium's 4000 year history. Paintings and statues seemed to be everywhere, commemorating battles and events the Aumanii diplomat would know nothing of.
The room was essentialy an oval, looking out over the Crystal Lake, which sparkled a perfect blue at this hour of the day. In the distance, on top of a hill, the towers of the Imperial Palace shimmered in the sunlight. Down the avenue the offices of the ArchChancellor and Treasurer were also visible, each of them far more ornate than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could ever hope to be.
Behind the desk, Leopold sat. A tall man, not particularly distinguished, his most defining feature was his dark hair. Well, to a Roanian, the most defining feature would be the short dark hair. To a foreigner, the glowing eyes would be on the list. "Welcome to my office, my dear friend. Please, take a seat." He placed a hand on the desk and swept his fingers across an inbuilt console. A chair rose from the ground. "May I get you anything? Tea, perhaps?" An end-table also appeared, complete with a fresh glass of tea. "Now then. To business." The eyes dimmed somewhat, and Leopold leaned back. "I have had the pleasure recently of receiving a most delightful missive from you." His eyes glanced over to the wall, where the letter rested, framed. "I welcome you, then, to the requested meeting."
The eyes glowed vibrantly once more. "Perhaps you would care to explain your request, Ambassador?"
Klamath looked at all the assorted nick-nacks in Leopold's office, constantly resisting the urge to play with items that caught his eye, which were most likely fragile and probably been glued back together numerous times...probably not.
'Well, Arch-Lord Leopold, Iam once agained honoured to be in your presence. I would offer you a gift, but as you can see, Iam not as blessed with wealth as you are!' Klamath said, ingratiating himself, sweeping his hand in a broad gesture to emphasize the grandiousity of the Foreign Minister's office.
'The Aumanii have a proposition for you and your people, that may wind up being quite profitable for the both of us. My government wishes to...explore...the outer worlds, leave Sol and experience the magnificent outer worlds. Especially Roania. In fact, we wish to spend quite a bit of time here. If you'll allow us.'
DePlume, reclined in a plush office chair, leaning heavily on his elbow, hand placed on his chin thoughtfully, said 'Go on...'
'We would appreciate the assistance of the greatest nation outside of Sol, Roania, we would be most grateful if your Emperor would allow us, the Aumanii, the right to use some of your more industrialized worlds as a base for our missions. The infrastructure you possess, especially here, is immense and would aid us greatly in our adventures...not to mention the obvious economic gain of having, let's say, two large fleets in your care.'
Leopold hummed to himself for five seconds, his fingers dancing along his desk. Schematics flashed on the monitor for a moment, reflecting on the matte desk. Slowly he reached up and turned the monitor around, his eyes glowing and fading in a regular pattern. "We can discuss the details of rent and your plans for the world later, ambassador. For the moment I can conditionally offer you the fifth planet of the Isawa system."
A large gas planet was on the screen, along with a readout of nearby hyperspace routes. "The conditions will be..." He pressed a button, and a long range of qualifiers appeared. "We request notification whenever a new fleet arrives or one leaves. We desire to be constantly informed of the fleet's position. We may revoke this contract whenever we desire, though we will give you one hundred days grace." Leopold's eyes flickered again.
"No more than 40 million Aumanii personnel may be in orbit above the planet. Without Imperial Permission, no Aumanii ships may enter the rest of the Imperium." Leopold considered. Perhaps he was being too harsh. "We will build you the necessary shipyards over the planet, to your exact specification. You will be responsible for system defence, and the Imperium will only help you if it is convenient for us." Leopold smiled curtly. "Terms are negotiable before they'll be presented to Cabinet."
Trevyr was surprised, the Roanians weren't typically known for their generosity. There must be a catch. After all, if he's going to allow 40 million foreigners in orbit, there would have to be a heavy price involved...or something else. So, getting to the point, while still trying to appease his Roanian sense of self importance, Trevyr got to the point.
'That's very generous, sir, but what's the catch?'
Leopold placed his hands together for a moment, a very long and dangerous moment. "Catch? We never have 'catches', my dear Aumanii." The Roanian's expression could have frozen water. "We would desire a full non-aggression clause, in which the Republic of Auman will forswear violence against the Divine Imperium, either directly or through...proxies. In exchange, though it hardly seems neccessary, we will provide the same assurance. Both of these clauses will last for the duration of the contract."
Leopold leaned forward slightly. "And we also want full starcharts of any systems you discover, though I will be bargained with on that point."
Klamath was impressed. He toyed with a few thoughts, trying to figure out ways that he could get screwed...he was definitely going to read the fine print.
'The sounds like a beautiful arrangement. I personally don't see anything wrong with this. I'll have my secretary type up a formal document for you to sign in the next few days. Thanks for your time Leopold, it was a pleasure meeting with you. I'll take my leave, unless there is more to discuss?'