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A Rock Divided
Summary: The Ungstiri Citizens' Committee convenes to discuss the Nall's violation of Kula's Peace.
Cast: Ace, Torr, Radinov, Kastaprulyi, Aleksei, Newt, special thanks to Joker
Air Date: 2006.05.23


Committee Meeting Chamber <Municipal Center: Resilience>


This chamber, much larger than the lobby, is the old auditorium and lecture hall for the educational facility that used to reside in these caves. Three aisles cut through the center of the rows and rows of seats as they decend down to the far end of the room. Down at the end is a large circular table made entirely from the natural stone of this world. A number of high backed leather chairs also surround this table. Between the table and the audiance is a wooden podium for those that wish to speak before the committee.


This morning, the committee chambers are packed. Ungstiri to the left, Ungstiri to the right, and the general atmosphere can be summed up in a word: tense. As the council takes their seats, the speaker moves forward to the podium, nodding politely to all gathered in the hall. He is a short man, like most of the Rock's denizens, gaunt with a thinning grey beard. "Dobry utra, comrades," he greets. "Have called this meeting to order to discuss trouble with Nall, and breaking of their pact with our people."

Ace follows in with the last of the crowd, standing room only now which suits her fine. She takes up a position near the door, back to the wall, arms folded, listening for the moment.


Ace
Tall for an Ungstiri, an inch or two shy of six feet, but the way she carries herself gives the impression of even greater height. She is rather broad shouldered, and, though lean of build, very well muscled. She is dressed in clothes that look as if they've been cut to fit her, her white shirt blousy at the sleeves and open at the throat, revealing a heart shaped locket suspended on a chain of liquid silver. The shirt is neatly tucked into loose fitting pants of midnight black, an ebony belt bound through the loops with a simple silver buckle holding it closed. The pants, in turn, vanish into leather boots, dull black and soft, that reach two thirds of the way up her calf. Over it all she wears a grey longcoat made of a supple tanned hide that flows with every move, each step she takes a gentle swirl of mist and fog. The only splash of color comes from the small but elegant diamond and sapphire ring she wears on her left hand.
Close at hand she carries an energy pistol that is slung to hang about mid-way down her thigh, a narrow strap binding the bottom of the holster to her leg just above her knee. At her other hip, a nightstick hangs through a leather loop at her belt, her fingertips often brushing against it's grip. Her hair hangs straight down to the small of her back, a curtain of raven black tresses that softly shines in the ambient light. The jagged scar that once marred forehead and the burn scars down the side of her face and neck are now miraculously gone without a trace, leaving a rather beautiful, ebony-eyed woman in their wake.


Torr moves into the chamber along with much of the rest of the entering crowd. He hangs back from the rest, however, managing to snag a translator earpiece, then moving off to the side of the entrance. He lingers there at the back of the room, arms crossed over his chest. He ends up next to as. "Never checked this shit out before," he muses, tone hushed at the man opens the meeting.


Torr
This man is fairly tall, broad in shoulder and deep chested. He has green eyes, which always seem to be sharply attentive to the situation at hand. His hair is fairly short, and rises in dark spikes over his forehead. His face is tanned to a golden tint, and it is marked with a few scars which never saw enough medical attention. The most noticable scar is thin, though runs about two inches down the side of his face from below his eye to just above his chin.
He wears a blue button up shirt on his torso, the top few buttons left undone. It reveals his well tanned skin, as well as a silver chain - about a centimeter wide. Over this shirt he wears a heavy black jacket, which appears to have metal plates woven into the thick fabric. Hanging from an eyelet at the shoulder of the jacket is a sheath, utilitarian knifegrip protruding. Around his waist is a leather belt, a few compartments hanging off of it. Slung low on his left hip is a black holster, the butt of a gun sticking from it. He wears gray pants, they look tough and descend down his legs. On his feet are black combat boots. When his sleeve rises or his arm is bared, a tatoo of a Jackal's head can be spotted on the bottom side of his wrist.


Aleksei heads into the chamber. Seeing that it's filled already. He nods and stands next to the wall not too far from Ace. He has a brooding expression on his face as he prepares to listen to the meeting that is about to commence.


Aleksei
You see an Asian-looking man before you. He stands at a towering 5 feet, 8 inchs. A diagonal slash goes across his face in a permanent scar. He appears to be wearing a red shirt, leather jacket and trousers that are slightly covered with dust. He is also wearing engineer boots that are also covered with dust.


Kastaprulyi takes an offered translator earpiece on the way in, holding it under its bell for the moment. The young Centauran follows Radinov toward the front, though it opts to leave a seat free for another Ungstiri by not taking on. Kas rubs uncertainly at an arm with a few others, remaining quiet for the moment.


Kastaprulyi
The young Centauran's bell, a bit more than half the size of an adult's, is pale translucent blue glass infused with splotches of lavender around the crest. Surrounding the top of the trunk and sealed against the lung is a smooth ceramic toroid containing breather gear and vocalizer. (The youthful voice it synthesizes is that of a human girl and carries at least a trace of Terran Standard accent into other languages for which it might be used.)
A thick layer of rubbery transparent material, painted here and there with faintly luminescent frost-like patterns, clings to and protects the outside of the bell while allowing sunlight to shine through the glass and internal organs. This layer seems not to have prevented a now mostly healed stress fracture in the crystal. The gel covers a ring of glittering eyes and wraps around the lip of the bell to the inside, where it becomes thinner as it coats the translucent glossy skin of the bell's inner wall.
Between the inside of the bell and the trunk, the garment covers the breather with a ceramic ring that has an iridescent sheen to it. A number of loops and pockets made of soft violet fiberglass adorn the covering of the trunk. As the gel material continues down the trunk to the ends of eight drifting tentacles with crystalline skin, it shades into the deep indigo color of an AES uniform. The surface of the garment is broken by several sealed seams for entry and exit, as well as a seam surrounding the mouth and spinneret area.


Well Radinov doesn't get a seat, but he gets a position to lean against the side wall. The PDA is quickly switched off, then tucked away into the doctor's coat and he listens intently to what the speaker has to say. He slowly nods, acknowledging what the speaker says, but keeps silent.


Radinov
Here stands an young Ungstiri man of about 5' square. His face carries a bit of extra weight, but couldn't be classed as being chubby. His dark black hair kept to a short length, almost a crew cut. A largh brown birth mark resides on the left side of his temple, going back into his hair line. His slate grey eyes, are marred by the bags that almost seem to be constantly there.
He wears a blue button up long sleeve shirt. Over which is a white doctors coat, that has seen better days. There are a few faded stains, but nothing resembling blood. He also wears a pair of black trousers, which is held up by a black fabric style belt. A pair of calf high, black boots are worn on his feet, comfortable, but still effective towards their intented job.


"As you know, four years ago, priest named Kula came to us," the speaker booms. "Nall, on their honor, returned our people from Lebal camps and Ungstiri, we apologized for transgressions of Boromov family. Promise was made -- no Ungstiri in Nall space, and no hooping scalebacks in ours, either." His fist bangs onto the podium. "We HONORED that pact, my comrades, during the war! And they spit on it! What do we propose to do?"

"We return the favor!" Ace calls out, pushing herself up from the wall as she does so. She says nothing else for the moment, waiting to see if she was heard.

Torr listens with interest smirking at the words a little through the earpiece. He glances over at Ace as she speaks out, not looking overly suprised to hear her speak. He nods slightly at her words, again looking as if he expected as much.

Aleksei is silent. However, he does offer a smile towards Ace as she speaks out.

Kastaprulyi, continuing to float by its crewmate, rises to Radinov's shoulder level for a better view. The young Centauran suggests a slight feeling of worry at the remarks from the audience.

Radinov's eyes go wide at the suggestion and looks back in Ace's direction. He nods, being in total agreement with his fellow Ungstiri. His eyes play nervously over the crowd and then back to the speaker, waiting to see what the reaction will be.

And the crowd is going wild, absolutely incensed with the prospect of letting the suitcases have it. Bottles are thrown and shattered on the stage, vodka spraying, hooping and hollering, and the brink of absolute pandemonium. Politics, Ungstiri-style. "Remind zem vat Ungstiri can do!" shouts one hard-faced miner, still dressed from his shift. "Give zem Rockhopper's welcome!"

Ace makes her way down the aisle, calling out ahead as she approaches the podium, "Permission to speak!"

Torr smirks still, looking more than a little interested at the reaction that Ace gets. He uncrosses his arms, letting his hands fall to his sides for now. Eyes follow the woman.

Newt comes in and... whoa! holy cow. He looks around, kinda bewildered. The last meeting was so much more peaceful.

Aleksei nods at the miner and adds: "Or a Crash and Burn welcome. Works either way!" Then he falls silent and waits eagerly for Ace to speak. He taps his boot on the floor but in a muted way so as not to distract the crowd.

Kastaprulyi quietly floats shoulder-height beside Radinov, who is leaning against the wall in the packed meeting chamber. The faint emotional aura from the young Centauran shifts briefly from worry to surprise as the feelings from the citizens become intense, then abruptly cuts out entirely.

One of the Doctors present, Radinov, punches his fist into the air, obviously getting drawn into his fellow Ungstiri's comradary. "Ungstiri seel'niy!" he calls out to the woman who approaches the podium, showing his support. He stands against one of the side walls of the meeting chambers with Kas floating beside him.

The Athenaut's cries are echoed, echoed, echoed. Shouts of "Ungstiri seel'niy!" go up everywhere with whistles and cheers, and the balcony begins to shake from the foot-stomping and enthusiastic horseplay.

"Come forward, deyvachka! State name for your comrades, share your thoughts with the council," the speaker calls to Ace.

"Listen to me!" Ace shouts out as she takes the podium, her gaze sweeping the crowd, commanding their attention. "Am Kapitan Ace of the Faux," she continues quietly, forcing people to either quiet down or miss what she was saying. "And I say this is long overdue for Ungstiri to stand up for ourselves, for our home, and for our friends and allies in the Orion Arm. This attack by the Nall, it is the the last straw and if we sit back and do nothing, then we are nothing more than Rockrats hiding in our caves and hoping that no one notices us again."

Torr glances around him at the seething crowd, a small sneer spreading across his face at the thought of what the anger of these ungstiri can do to the nall. Despite the fact that he is not ungstiri, he nods along to Ace's words, apparently in agreement.

Though the commotion dies down somewhat, the flames of Ungstiri pride remain stoked. Someone hollers, "We blow their hooping rock into chunks, da?"

Newt tries to make his way forward, squeezing in between people as need be.

Aleksei nods and mutters "Hooping right, it's the last straw." Then he calls out loud in Miernzykovy: "Yes, time to be more like laaskavolk! And yes, time for those hoopers to know what it's like to have their home blown to bits!" Then Al stops there and puts on his brooding expression back on his face.

Kastaprulyi scratches at arm, its others slightly curled inward (besides the one holding the translator's earpiece under its bell). The young Centauran meanwhile remains entirely silent.

Radinov does indeed go quiet after his earlier calling out, nodding in agreement with Ace. It's not until the the unknown party hollers out that he passes "Da, I'm with you Kapitan!" he calls out in Mierznykovy, obviously those that have the translators and know the language would understand. "I zaw those poor soulz perish during that attack on our home! We need to get our own back, make them know what it's like to mess with us Ungstiri!" Once more he repeats his earlier call, and punches his fist into the air again, completely supporting Ace still. "Ungstiri seel'niy!"

"Nyet!" Ace calls back, "The Nall, they have abandoned their homeworld and have gone through the Nexus. This strike by the Trakral? It is meant to make us angry, to make us lash out without thinking, but we will hit them where it hurts, and even more, we will take back what is ours." She continues to keep her voice quiet, "Because when the Nall left, they took our people with them just as they did before. And I say this time...this time we do not wait for them to decide when to return them to us. We do not let THEM decide when to open the gates of Lebal and let our people come home...we go get them and teach the Nall that Ungstiri are no one's slaves!"

Resisting the urge to pump a fist in the air, Torr crosses his arms across his chest. He nods emphatically at Ace's words, however, they mean more to him than perhaps anyone here it would seem.

Aleksei nods thoughtfully at Ace's reply. He mutters under his breath "Ooh good, the little dinos have Ungstiri prisoners too?! Hoopers!" With a sigh and another nod, Al falls silent and listens to Ace's continuing speech.

Bah. Like this can be resisted. When he gets a chance Newt finally shouts out, "GO ACE!"

Well the word about slaves gets a concerned look from Radinov. He remains silent this time, no fist pumping, no calls of support, just a drop into complete silence.

Kastaprulyi briefly shifts high enough for pink eyes to peer over the heads of its neighbors, then drops back down.

"What of war? What of the galaxy?" inquires one of the council members. "Kapitan, at the height of the war you denounced isolation. Drawing the Nall out again would certain strain our already taxed relations with OATO and isoalte us more."

"This time...this time it is not just the Ungstiri who have been taken," Ace continues, "During the Birthright War they took people of every race and from every planet in the Orion Arm." She turns to look at the council, "It was an Ungstiri who started the war, who interfered in things she should not have and when she was caught doing so, she sold out the entire Orion Arm to buy the safety of Ungstir...the Rock that she endangered in the first place. Through the actions of a coward, we betrayed those who buy our metals, who trade us their corn and their wheat and their beef and who we call our friends and allies. So da, during the War I stood up for Ungstir because somebody had to try to make right what an Ungstiri made wrong. And now everyone is paying for it, every world has lost people to this slave camp in the Nexus and I intend to call up every world to join me in getting them back. But I came here first, not simply because I believe we are at fault for the war, but because I believe in the pride and the honor of Ungstir. I believe it is time for us to lead the way and show EVERYONE that NO ONE pushes the Ungstiri around!"

Spreading his legs a little, Torr settles into a more comfortable standing position. He nods again at Ace's words, a dark frown flashing across his face at her words, they recall some unhappy memory to him. Then he goes back to his look of mild interest, glancing around the judge the crowd.

Alexanderei Mihailov is a man whose patience can be read across his face, as if written down with every single one of the wrinkles that creases his visage. Though a man of age, muscles still bulge against his grey overcoat. This is the kind of man whose body seems chiseled out of rock, a man whose black eyes offer no mercy beneath bushy eyebrows. Yet more than this, he is a man who is known throughout Ungstir. As he rises, the insignias on his chest dance against the fabric of his uniform.

"Comrades," the Political Kommissar says in a rumbling voice, seeking attention -- for more than just a burly Ungstiri, Polkovnik General Alexanderei Mihailov is also the leader of the militia. He runs two fingers down the length of his long, white mustache, taking a few seconds to rub at the tip. In a calm and raised voice, he presses on: "What you are proposing is not possible. Our place is here, protecting our people and the Motherland, NOT off in some quest to find more war."

"I agree with the Kommissar," the councilman bellows, finally rising from his seat and surveying his Slavic brethren, blind to the chaos and rowdiness in the audience. It's a Rock thing -- you wouldn't understand. "Ungstiri brought war down upon galaxy once, and we reap consequences. Doing so again, it would be disaster. We must look after our own."

Aleksei sneers at Polkovnik General Mihailov's reply. Al calls out to the General: "And besides, Polkovnik General, it is too late. This time around, the suitcases have violated Kula's peace and if those damned hoopers want to attack us, we should *NOT* sitstill for it. Now the little dinos are bringing war to us and *still* we reap quences. We should send at least one message out to them: Ungstiri are NOT to be hooped with!" Al now looks slightly aghast., as this is a long speech for him.

The doctor takes a step forward, and glares darkly at the Kommissar something that is highly unusual for him. "Comrades. I mean no offence when I say this, but if our people are being held and treated as slaves, shouldn't we help them? They are our -own- in that camp, the rest can get hooped." Radinov calls out, adding his voice to the crowd. "And didn't you just said that we need to look out for our own, da?" He shakes his head in disbelief at the council members, obviously shocked by their responses.

Kastaprulyi shifts away from its crewmate to navigate a way toward the exit. At one point, the young Centauran has to hop over some of the packed citizens; it either mananges not to 'step' on any toes, or said citizens are too focused on the discussion to notice.

The General's pale complexion turns a deep red as he wheels to face Ace. "The Motherland will embrace her children by keeping them close and protecting them near her. I will not condone sending the people of the Rock off to find certain death to heal a wound of pride. Their attack was an insult and I assure you all," he adds, his words in clear Mierznykovy, now turning to face the crowd, "it will not be one we take lightly. If they come again, we will rain vengeance upon them, but we cannot send ourselves off now in search of more blood. Our place? Our place is here, within the loving embrace of our Motherland, keeping our children safe. Keeping ourselves safe." Now his eyes seek out Aleksei. "And how do you propose we do that? You expect to grovel before this Orion Treaty for their help? Hmm?" The vexed officer takes both ends of his mustache and gives them a firm yank. "You expect us to attack alone?"

"Nyet, Ungstir did not bring the Nall down upon the galaxy, but upon ourselves," Ace responds, "And da, the rest of the Orion Arm stood by and did nothing to help us, so hoop them, da? Except this time it WAS an Ungstiri who brought this down upon the galaxy and so it falls to Ungstir to lead instead of hide." She whirls then on the General, her dark eyes cold, "I spent eighteen months in Lebal, General. It is good to know that you think of all the children I buried there as just a matter of pride."

Torr shakes his head at first, the Militiaman's words apparently something he disagreed with. Then the martian nods as he hears Ace's arguements, and the arguements coming other spots in the crowd. He raises an eyebrow a little at Ace's words as they sink in, suprised a little.

Newt finally manages to find a spot that lets him have a view and ooos quietly at Ace's reply.

Aleksei smirks as he retorts to the General: "Safe?! If this is 'safe', I'd hate to be around when the Rock iis in trouble, da? No, I do not want to ask Orion organization for help. If they want to help, let *them* come to *us* this time. And yes, we go alone if necessary. Don't have to send ALL ships there, Polkovnik General. Just enough to give them a bloody snout. Will let them know we don't just stand for them casually breaking Kula's Peace, eh?" Al has a defiant look on his face.

"We do not *defy* the allied worlds," the councilman counters Aleksei, circling his end of the table to address the upstart kommissar. "To do so is just as suicidal as what this renegade kapitan is suggesting. Have you forgotten that a fleet guards the Nexus? Would you just blow through them and turn them against us? What are you proposing?"

Radinov goes pale at Ace reply, and looks across to the Komissar that speaks. He nods in total agreement with both of them. "We are Ungstiri. We are the toughest, most resourceful people in the Orion Arm. I, being a doctor have seen my people, -our- people go through trumatic injures. I have seen the determination of -our- people first hand!" he calls out once more in the native tongue of Ungstir. "Let us not hide after they attacked us. -They- broke Kula's peace, and they should pay for it... Show Sivad that we're not cowards like they claimed us to be during the birthright!."

Alexanderei Mihailov is not a tall man. He may be considered even small among most Ungstiri -- a pebble among rocks, perhaps, but one that apparently refuses to budge. After taking time to consider Ace's last statement, he replies: "Yes. A wound of pride," he answers pragmatically. "I do not care about those lost. I care about those that remain, comrade. Let the those who have passed rest." Aleksei's comment sends one of the old man's eyebrows up. "Not all of our ships, you say? Comrade, I believe you have a misconception about how large our fleet is, if it can be called that. Far from the Rock - from the Motherland that supports us - we lack any military power to even make the suitcases flinch, unless we go in full strength meant on killing ourselves. This is nothing but pride. We are Ungstiri tough, not Ungstiri foolhardy. If it is this committee's decision that we go in search of battle, I will accept it and so be it. I represent the militia and I have spoken my piece." With that, he sits back down.

"Ungstir is not part of OATO," Ace replies calmly, "And we are not bound by their treaty which is why we did not join them at Nalhom. It is why I had to change the registry of my ship and call upon the outcasts of Ungstir to stand in your place. I intend to go to Demaria and to New Luna and to each and every world and call upon them as I am calling upon you." Again she turns to the general, for the first time with anger in her voice. "THESE PEOPLE HAVE NOT PASSED YET!! THEY STILL LIVE!! she bellows, shaking her head in disbelief. "Have you learned /nothing/ from the past?! At least with Lebal there was the excuse that Ungstir did not know those slaves were still alive, but this time? This time we know. And nyet, I do not ask to leave the Rock undefended. None of the Lucky Thirteen were military ships, but still we made the difference." She turns back to the crowd. "YOU can make a difference! I call upon anyone with an armed ship to join me, to rally anyone and everyone from any world who will join us and to go bring those people home."

Aleksei nods to Radinov. Then he says to the councilman. "Nyet sir, have not forgotten them. I'd prefer we ask first for their support in going after the little dinos and if they refuse THEN go through them. Damn that fleet to hells anyway!" To the General: "Really, sir? Had no idea fleet was that small!" He sneers to show he was being sarcastic and adds: "Which is why we should bring just enough ships to give them a bloody snout, not hooping wipe them out, I know we can't do that. Just a quick attack on them, hurt them for once as they have hurt us, that is all." As Ace talks to the crowd, Al replies "Hooping right!" Al shakes his head and quiets down.

"They're our fuckin' loved ones!" Torr calls out after Ace, straining to make his voice heard. "I'm not an Ungstiri," this much is obvious since he speaks in terran, "but I am asking for your help! All of you, anyone can join. Every bit of help that we can get is needed! Help your goddamn people! Don't be fuckin' idiots!" He frowns a little as he speaks, but the conviction in his voice lends credence to his call.

Radinov goes silent, listening to the Terran speak and also that which was spoken by the Kommissar. He doesn't pass any comment, just remain still with a look on his face, a look of pride, a look of determination. By now his hands are balled into fists, and he's starting to turn red in the face. He continues to glare at the general, shaking his head in disbelief.

Aleksei archs his eyebrow at Torr as he overhears the Jackal speak. He turns and replies in Standard: "Careful what you wish for, Gospadin. You may get it, yes?" Al gives Torr a small smile and nod.

"Enough!" the speaker finally shouts over the din, moving to step in front of Ace, if possible, and bang his gavel on the podium. "Silence, comrades! Quiet! The council, it has heard enough!" He pauses, looking around the room with a deep frown, and finally nods once it's possible to speak at a generally normal level and still be heard. Vodka, glass, and random debris litters the floor. "The council will reconvene privately in three days to discuss matters. Comrades, your voices, they are necessary. Submit your votes by then, da?"

Ace stands aside but reaches into her pocket and pulls out her PDA, keying it on and reading from the list that scrolls past the tiny screen. She adds quietly before she leaves, "Borukhov, Sergei. Kashinka, Ekaterina. Stepanova, Ana. Savkina, Maria. Markov, Dmitriy. Kukarin, Alex. Ozerova, Andrei. Temiakov, Dmitry..." she looks up at the council. "Brothers. Sisters. Mothers. Fathers. Children. Friends. Not just a matter of pride. Not people who we can write off as having already passed. They are alive and they are slaves of the Nall and I will not stand by while they die as I had to on Lebal. I hope you will not either."

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