A DAY TO LOOK FORWARD
This was a surreal location for a breaking of the bread. The third planet in the Hadur system had just begun the terraforming process under the Xi’An Emperor’s approval. The sky was tumultuous and violent as the processors converted the atmosphere into something breathable for the Xi’An. The landscape, a blasted mass of blackened slate and stone, was also being systematically converted into something capable of sustaining life. A heavy violet gas emanated from the ground, a byproduct of the subterranean processes at work. While a process familiar to us, it still felt like a landscape from a fantasy.
This location was not without its historical significance, though. Hadur was one of the eight systems that composed the Perry Line; the military’s buffer between the UEE and the Xi’An back when our relations were anything but civil. Even though the systems of the Perry line were divided after the fall of the Messer Era, to this day, Hadur is the only system where active terraforming is taking place. So as a remnant of the hostilities from a bygone era, it was a perfect setting for a meeting between the UEE and the Xi’An governments.
High-Secretary Illyana Sharrad and members of the Senate toured the planet’s surface with a Xi’An delegation, comprising Torsi Leelk, diplomat to the UEE, and Attle Heehth, High Council Advisor to Emperor Kray. The mood was pleasant and accommodating. All conversation was about the future, about things to come.
Surprising, since only a week ago, a Glasier poll was released indicating that over 63% of the UEE believed that military conflict with the Xi’An was a likely possibility within the next six months. Four days later, Imperator Costigan appeared across the Spectrums announcing that Gallen was home.
Now this. A last-minute invite to the prominent NewsOrgs and even some of the independent ones to join the Human delegation on a fact-finding diplomatic mission to the transitional systems.
High-Secretary Sharrad addressed the press after the Chief Architect walked her through the Emperor’s plans for the planet.
“On behalf of the Imperator and the rest of the UEE, we would like to thank Emperor Kray, Diplomat Leelk and Councilor Heehth for their hospitality today. The ability to witness a civilization’s technology at work first-hand is tremendously inspiring for the future of shared knowledge between our two great species.”
Torsi Leelk reiterated Sharrad’s sentiments.
“The Emperor is greatly pleased to welcome our friends. With the conversion of the world you call Hadur III to a habitable planet, we take the first step to dismantle this symbol of distrust and paranoia between our two great empires. The process will create trade and resource opportunities that will benefit us all.”
Sharrad relayed a message from Imperator Costigan, who announced a Military Summit between the Xi’An Empire, the UEE and the Banu Protectorate to discuss strategic and security concerns that affect all their systems.
When the tour was complete, both delegations retired to a closed-door session, allegedly to discuss potential opportunities for economic development.
That was it. Gallen was home. The rumbles of war that reverberated through the UEE for months had disappeared. Everyone was moving on. Neither Gallen nor the spy incident was mentioned publicly by anyone, Human or Xi’An.
A spectre loomed over the proceedings like the tumultuous sky overhead, how did this happen; Who flinched first? More importantly, at what cost?