[TGG] 55 Days in Kalunda.

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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2007-06-14 05:50am

Epilogue the Eleventh.

HSMS Jhuris,
Gilean Orbitals.
73 Riddah I.Y. 618
25 June 2164 AST
27 April 2843 CON-5 Calendar

The official date for the withdrawal of all military assets of the intervening powers in Gilead had been 1 May, 2843. It was coming in four days, and already most of the assets were gone. The cruiser Jhuris was one of the small division of four cruisers in orbit of Gilead itself which was the last remnants of the great expeditionary force.

The Talorans were leaving earlier, the next day, three days before the last contingents of most of the rest of the powers, because it coincided with the beginning of a new month for them back home. The last three days of each month were of course festival days, and that meant that for the past 72 hours the crew had been on the surface having a very, very good time. They were now getting dragged onboard, most of them at least partially drunk.

Their Captain allowed them that last moment of indulgence. The Baroness Frilasuia itl Urasalia sat across from a friend she had made this trip, Sir Johnathan Cartwright of His Majesty's Starfleet, commander of the cruiser Nottingham. Since the two had run into each other--almost literally--they had stayed in touch, dining on each other's respective ships from time to time, and a few times, on the surface.

Once, Captain Cartwright had been embarrassed and a bit amused when another Taloran had made a comment which had resulted in drawn swords and a terse demand for an apology, which was reluctantly given. When he'd asked afterward what it had been about, Frilasuia answered, "Oh, she implied we were lovers," which had prompted a discussion of their respective families (both were married) and the very different family life of the two races.

Captain Cartwright had to admit through it all that he had not come across a more personable and humanlike alien race in his time; yet they were also clearly very alien in many ways. The two had grown to be friends despite those differences, and this was then their last meeting, more than a year after the first, but then both militaries favoured long deployments.

"You will send me notification if you and your wife have anymore, children, hmm? I should like to say a few birthing-prayers on their behalf."

"Oh, certainly, Your Ladyship. I trust the same for your family?"

"Certainly. And.. Some academy pictures when your son Andrew graduates? As I have no doubt he will do."

Johnathan smiled. "It won't be a problem. Just as I hope your daughter's first tour is going as well as those of my sons shall in the future."

"She's in very good hands. She was assigned to the battlecruiser Slashahkimmar--it's a Jikari name--under the command of Captain Her Highness Drishalras of the Coasts. A very fine up-and-coming officer, the youngest daughter of the King of Kings of Rasilan. They're in the midst of a six-month tour right now."

"More than a human year. As long as we've been here, actually, if I recall your calendar right."

"So it is." Their meal was finished, and they were just talking, now.

"Well." Cartwright paused for a moment. "We are both going to back home and give some very interesting stories to some very interested people, are we not?"

"Most likely." Frilasuia poured them another round of Tilasch liquer. "A toast, Captain? That God may keep us from ever needing draw our swords on each other.. But if our sovereigns demand, we shall conduct ourselves as if it were a true noble joust."

"May God make it so." Their glasses clinked, both well knowing that the only way they would ever meet again in person is if one surrendered to the other in time of war; and both were quite fine with that. For friendships of this sort never lasted long, and they were always tinged with the reserve of professional officers from two different lands, who knew they might someday be at war.

Palace of the Dhin Intuitan Princes.
4 Eibermoni I.Y. 618
29 June 2164 AST
1 May 2843 CON-5 Calendar

Scritch, scritch, scritch. Jhayka wrote the letter by hand, a long one on a full scroll, to be sent out with the next courier to the position where the Slashahkimmar was operating. She made sure to get one, and often two, letters delivered on each courier to the Battlecruiser, while Drishalras sent back a flood of electronic messages which arrived daily in return. When Drish had realized that her wife intended to write to her by hand in all her communications, she'd actually taken it as quite romantic, even though it was a noble affectation of the first order of the kind she supposedly despised.

Now Jhayka was dutifully preparing another letter, the only expression sometimes allowed being a twinge of guilt. After all, there was a bottle of pills, and a long, elegantly done and finely silvered hypodermic, sitting comfortably on her desk, and between the painkillers and the stimulant drugs, both of which she was quite aware she was addicted to, her body had a rather haggard quality. But she resumed the running of her Principality, and ran it well as always, and was now busy in the process of organizing the settlements which she had promised, on a new world that she had selected, purchased, and was now in the process of preparing for habitation by up to a few tens of millions, in the long term. It kept her busy, if nothing else; and it was not "nothing" else, for she was at heart a Taloran noblewoman, and she kept her word.

Unfamiliar footsteps. Her ears shifted in the direction of the sound, and she carefully settled the quill into the resevoir, turning her head with a very deliberate motion. "Why, Fayza, thank you for your presence... How are you doing?"

"I... I'm alright," the Arab girl--and honourably discharged former member of the Alliance Navy (for severe mental shock and trauama, with the honourable amendment due to her actions after the trauma was suffered in coordinating the landings of the relief forces with Priscilla) answered--her gaze, though, looking surprisingly intense, as though she had something on her mind.

"What may I do for you, then?" Jhayka's ears, fortuitously fully healed, perked in curiousity, as she motioned with a hand to a high-backed, leather covered seat near her own.

Fayza sat, and gazed earnestly across at the pink-haired alien who had been her best friend's last lover. "Tell me about the siege. Tell me about everything Danielle did there. Let me know how the last two months of her life were for her. Tell me the happy times you had together... I must know, or else I'll never be content with accepting what's befallen her."

Jhayka shuddered bodily, and her ears flicked down, but she nodded, aware of the gravity of the request. "Ahh... Where to begin. Where the two of us met, I suppose." A pause. "But the phantom pain in my leg is acting up again. A moment, if you will?" She spun her chair around, the back concealing her from Fayza's view as she took the syringe and worked it expertly to give herself another blessed injection. As the pain disappeared, phantom, real, and strictly mental all, and the needs of the addiction faded, she settled the syringe down and turned back.

Fayza knew, but she didn't say a thing. She just waited, and prepared to listen.

"Ah yes, where we begin, in a dingy little underground slave market in East Port, with me the guest of that perfidious Norman, Altonas...."
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Post by Steve » 2007-06-14 06:23am

Kalunda, Gilead
Gilean Commonwealth
Universe Designate CON-5
42 Istarli I.Y. 624.
25 February 2183 AST
28 December 2861 CON-5

The Capital of the Gilean Commonwealth was in full splendor as it's inhabitants commemorated, with celebration and memorial, the twentieth anniversary of the final days of the legendary Siege of Kalunda. The services, linked to the days of the most intense combat, had been culminating to the day's impending services to the successful destruction of the bridges to preserve the northern bank of the city.
It was hours before this, however, in the early dawn light, that a handful of people were standing at the small park upon the southern end of the Trajan Memorial Bridge, which carried Highway ER-12 through the heart of Kalunda and beyond to the bustling tri-city area of Amberville, San Magdalena, and Verdesmarn (formerly Besnit, Tharna, and Ar of the Norman Empire, respectively), where the hereditary Duchess of Henley ruled the former Norman, al-Farani, and Amazonian lands and tributaries, mostly repopulated now by people from across Gilead (initially by Wiccans and other paganists fleeing the Hispanic occupation zones during that most tragic of periods following the fall of the Gilean Confederacy to the intervening powers).

It was a small, modest family. Two boys with their parents, their father a business executive for a fairly wealthy company from the Taloran home universe's Earth. The children looked up and gawked at the life-sized statue of Trajan Osis, carved from fine marble and showing the warrior dressed in the ceremonial leathers and fur-skins of the Clan Smoke Jaguar, with the inscription below reading, "Here Lies Trajan Osis, Savior of Kalunda. He Now Stands In The First Rank Of The ARMY OF GOD."

"He's biiiigggg," the younger son said said, craning his neck. "Was he this big in real life?"
Their mother nodded. "Mommy knew him," she said in a strange accent. "Mommy knew him well."
"How did you know him, Mom?"
Their father looked toward her, smiling at her and touching her cheek as she looked at the statue, tears in her eyes. "He helped your mother years ago, boys. He saved her." Taking her by the hand, he whispered into her ear, softly, saying, "I'm here for you, Juliana, it's okay..."
Holding onto her husband dearly, Juliana wept at memory of her fallen guardian, the man who had pulled her out of a slave cage, who had treated her like a human being when everyone else saw her as a pet for their pleasure, and who had avenged all of the horrors she had suffered when she was young. "I miss him. I wish he could see us."
The two boys watched, in some bewilderment, as their mother cried in the arms of their father, who stared silently at the grand statue. He held Juliana tightly, loving her with every bit of his soul, as he had since he'd first met her. He had heard of the things done to her when she had been a slave. He knew of the whippings, the scorchings, the electrocutions, the terrible rapings and torturings she had endured when she was not much older than their sons.

He thought of the evils that had once been wrought on this planet Gilead. The innocent lives so horribly destroyed, and lost, to the idea that one person could claim another as his or her personal property, to do with as he or she pleased without regard for their "property"'s humanity, even killed without so much as a thought.
He thought of the insane idea that it was okay to tolerate these things, so long as the victims wanted to be victimized - a notion that was insane at it's very core - and even okay for a cabal to deny a people access to basic technology in pursuit of some "purer" form of living.
He thought of the girls like Juliana had been, of boys much like his own, who were torn from their families, collared, leashed, brutalized, and reduced to property, defenseless against the whims of their captors.

And, inevitably, his mind turned from that evil to the good that had risen up against it. To the martyred heroes and heroines that had struggled, for centuries, to end these barbaric practices that had emerged so long after Mankind had risen to the stars in this universe.

The pious, humble nun from Nueva Cartagena who had endured torment and sacrificed her life for the belief that God had made no man or woman a slave.

The farmgirl from New Salem who toppled an empire and who had freed its slaves, as well as the great King she loved, who had turned his kingdom from a city that enslaved its women into a beacon of freedom and civilization, worthy of being the capital of an interstellar state.

The alien princess of the Talorans who had come to this world to learn and who had found herself dealing the deathblow to the system of slavery, and the human woman she had loved so dearly.

The Taloran priestess, with her third eye, who had led men and women into battle against slavery and who had saved so many lives on the strength of her faith.

And last, but certainly not least, the man who's likeness stood in marble grandeur before them, the warrior of a dead culture of warriors who sought his destiny as a warrior and found it, not as a slayer of men (though he did slay very many), but as the protector and avenger of a young and helpless slave-girl, the girl who had grown to womanhood and was now crying in his arms, the mother of his sons.

That day, the celebrations would continue. They would mark the glory that the city of Kalunda enjoyed, a glory won by the sweat and blood and tears of her native sons and daughters so many years ago. A glory won in a great siege, a siege of just a few million persons that won the attention and imaginations of trillions of beings from across the Multiverse, the siege that was the focal point of a war that broke the powers of Slavery and Cruelty on the planet Gilead and ushered in a new age of Liberty for her people. A siege where History had proclaimed a great number of heroes and villains, and which guaranteed that the names Jhayka itl dhin Intuit, Danielle Verdes, Amber d'Kellius, and Trajan Osis would be forever remembered in the hearts of billions.

For 55 Days, a war had been fought for Freedom against the barbarian hordes of Slavery. For 55 Days, thousands upon thousands of brave men and women had fought to save their homes and families. For 55 Days, the city of Kalunda endured in the name of her honor and glory.

And because of those 55 Days, the City of Kalunda and her people would be remembered Forevermore.

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