May 21, 2022 2:22 PM
Vanda Nosseo lands on a world that fights a lot of wars.
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The delegation splits up to pitch everybody on Vanda Nossëo as a great and impressive club everyone should want to join. Gently and subtly.

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(Oddly enough, four members of the delegation are speaking to scholars who mostly just want to know all of its technical stuff and have no real interest in politics, and one member is speaking to the foreign minister, who is a professional at this.)

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"So," says Radiant Cipranu, having assured himself that they are ridiculously, absurdly outgunned absent direct angelic intervention, "what is your policy for newly-contacted worlds?"

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"The hope is that you'll want to join Vanda Nossëo! Failing that, we're happy to provide some automata that can teach your people more of the technical side of things, like math and science; staff booths that sell some of the things Vanda Nossëo produces, like contraception and cameras and healing and translation enchantments like ours; and stations at which your people can catch a ride to Vanda Nossëo and then back."

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"We'll want to consider it, certainly," he says, "though of course we can't do anything that would break our word to our benefactors above; all you're offering is amazing - truly amazing! - but we can't betray heaven. Still, I'm glad you came here first -" he smiles cherubically "- Amraterre is the best place to make everything you want happen."

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"We'd really like to get in touch with the angels and any other peoples you may know about! They weren't obvious from space but we could have easily missed something."

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"The angels gave us this world," he says, "in exchange for our alliance, but they did not accompany us to it. They speak with His Holiness, but as he is on campaign..." He shrugs. "Still, while I could not - of course - offend them, I would be pleased to see about arranging some preliminary terms, an declaration of friendship at least, as a base for the negotiations that His Holiness will no doubt wish to conduct himself?"

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"That sounds great. I'd love to know more about the history there, too."

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"Of course," he says, and his secretary presents Nelen Utopia with a stack of leather-bound books. "The Three Books were compiled fourteen hundred years ago," he says, "to record all available sources the complete story - how the demons began their quest to enslave" (the word literally translates as "reduce to extensions of themselves") "all other life; how the angels found and opposed them, and how they found us, and saw the chance to aid us to the benefit of all life on all worlds; how our ancestors were chosen and how they departed, and how we first came to this world, battled the demons, triumphed, but were struck down by the demons' final blow."

He paused, then says, grimly,

"I expect General Lanitia informed you that His Holiness received word of the demons' return."

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"It did come up that the angels communicate with him."

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"Yes." He smiles faintly. "But I do not know if she warned you." he sighs. "All life, properly, should ally against the demons, because that is what they threaten - everything; all the hopes and dreams of not just Nouterrana, but every world. I do not know just what the limits of your magic are, but we had angelic assistance and the hero crests, when we won our battle. Be warned that it may be your battle, too."

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"I appreciate the warning. I hold out some hope that if we locate the demons we'll be able to come to some better arrangement for everyone than total war, but of course that's not always possible."

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"A fine and noble dream," he says, smiling. "I wish you the best of luck - and the best of care."

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"Thank you very much. So for preliminary terms - what things would suit your constraints?"

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"I am sure His Holiness would embrace a declaration of mutual friendship - between Vanda Nosseo, and its leaders, and His Holiness Admiral Nicolas VII of Nouterrana," he says, "along with agreements for mutual trade at low tariff rates, of any goods not forbidden by our mutual religious duties." He pauses, and once again his smile flares up. "Can I ask what Vanda Nosseo uses for currency?"

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"Oh, that's actually ferociously complicated. Most of it isn't physical cash, though. There are trustworthy ledgers keeping track of how much everyone has, that they can draw down or deposit into, at point of sale."

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"Oh, we use ledgers of credit, too," he says, "but of course it's backed by gold."

He pauses.

"And, of course, gold is valueless when you can create it in an instant." He smiles ruefully. "No doubt our finance minister will want to discuss the situation, there."

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"Yeah," says Nelen, smiling ruefully. "Standard procedure is that some people work out an appropriate exchange rate with your local gold and then we buy it from you at that rate for a grace period."

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And, of course, they can't trade with Vanda Nosseo until they work this out without Vanda Nosseo flooding their economy with gold. And they can't work this out without joining Vanda Nosseo.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

(None of this shows on his face.)

"At any rate. A declaration of friendship, and of course we would be happy to agree on low tariff rates, torture, murder, and rape are of course already illegal, though there are some lands where these laws are not well enforced - presently in rebellion against His Holiness, for this and other reasons. Our scholars would eagerly welcome any technological assistance, and to sell what we have that you value - books and perhaps some forms of art, I suppose -" he pauses. "There are a few points where we may have some problems, I'm afraid, thanks to our preexisting treaties with Heaven."

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"Please do go on," invites Nelen.

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"We are bound to protect ourselves," he says, "and to hold ourselves in readiness for the next war. And so we - all of us - have duties to their governments, and ultimately to the Admiral above them. We are urged to multiply our numbers, to work industriously, and to hold ourselves ready to serve as we are required."

(more fruit tarts? More wine?)

"We are in a war, now, with the greatest enemy we have ever known on its way, and all men are called to serve. It would be a heavy blow to us, to allow men who flee their wartime duties to escape across a border, even a border to another world."

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"I see. Membership in Vanda Nossëo does come with a defense agreement, if that would affect your willingness to relax the military service requirement."

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"Oh?" He pauses, looking as though he is clearly tempted. "What are the terms of the agreement?"

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"Member states in good standing who are attacked will be defended. To a first approximation Vanda Nossëo does not lose wars, although we prefer when at all possible to win them without casualties to the extent we can, even among the aggressors. If you joined, and then your anticipated enemy appeared, we'd try talking to them - but if that didn't work we'd fight, and if we struggled enough with their tactics that they got in some hits, your people would end the conflict all resurrected or healed as the case might be, with free rebuilding support. Given the nature of the described threat we might want to try to secure advance permission to move your entire solar system to a safer world in case that seems expedient; on occasion we've had to do that without notice but it bothers people when constellations change."

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move your entire solar system to a safer world in case that seems expedient

move your entire solar system to a safer world in case that seems expedient

move your entire solar system to a safer world in case that seems expedient

...

"We are presently in conflict," he murmurs. "We all pray the rebels will come to their senses and submit, but..."

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