This is the story of the election of the new president of the Aeoneonatrix empire following the death of president Moeg in Tasan Crisis.
The Nature of Aeoneonatrix ElectionsEdit
Aeoneonatrix presidential elections are an extremely long process. The Number of candidates is not set, but is usually between 4 and 7. They are divided into “election periods” each beginning with a debate, continuing with some time for campaigns to perform activities like advertising and holding rallies, continuing from there with a vote, and ending with the results of this vote being announced and the candidate who took last place being eliminated. After this, the process repeats until only one candidate is left.
Lingur Wildlight is the captain of the vengeance, he most important flagship in the fleet of The Aeoneonatrix Empire, and an Aeoneonatrix of high military prestige and talent. Though his military experience qualifies him to run, he does not have any significant political experience. He is running because he believes the protection relationship might be abolished or undermined under all of the other likely candidates.
Cabar Starsmoke is the Aeoneonatrix Empire's head diplomat and a seasoned and experienced politician. He is notable for his policy on the protection relationship, believing that it should continue to exist, but only at a monetary cost to the clients.
Before the ElectionsEdit
In the Aeoneonatrix Empire, elections are usually held about every 31.5 earth years. However, the president of the Aeoneonatrix Empire, Meog, was recently killed in an invasion of Ku-Rokti. As a result an election must be held early.
The winner, though without absolute power, has the ability to radically shift the direction of the entire empire. He could work to eliminate the protection relationship, and attempt to put in place economic policies that would leave the empire in ruins. It is always important that the right person wins, because if the wrong person does, the Aeoneonatrix, and all of their clients, could be anything from worse off, to doomed.
A discussion on the VengeanceEdit
On the Vengeance, Lingur knocked on the door to Callanni’s quarters.
Lingur - Callanni, are you in there?
Callanni - Yes, I'm here.
Lingur - Okay.
Callanni - What is it?
Lingur - I'm considering running in the upcoming presidential elections.
Callanni - WHAT?
Lingur - Yes.
Callanni - Why?
Lingur - Do you remember how difficult it was to convince president Moeg to enact the legislation for the protection relationship? I spent years amassing military and political power to get that done. Now, if the wrong person wins the election, that progress will likely be reversed.
Callanni - Shouldn't we just act to support the right candidates?
Lingur - There might not be a right candidate Callanni. You're surely aware of the massive public distaste for the protection relationship as a whole. Very few people seem to understand the idea that saving billions of lives from the Gargator is more important than our budgetary problems.
Callanni - But what if there is? You'll end up acting as a spoiler, and cut their slim chances of winning.
Lingur - Name one prominent politician liable to support me.
Callanni - Nowuro Dreamdusk might.
Lingur - MIGHT being the key word. We don't know his position, he’s never stated it. All of the other likely candidates have said that they at least plan to begin charging for protection, if not getting rid of it entirely.
Callanni - True. But here's the thing, you wouldn't have a chance. You'd be going up against career politicians with established electorates. All of these people are either councilors or governors, you have no qualifications.
Lingur - I have a small fan-base of my own.
Callanni - Yes, but many more people dislike you than like you. And besides, those people respect you as a commander, not a politician.
Lingur - Look, Callanni, I need to do this. I could be our clients only hope. Experience has taught us all what happens when a client is cut off. Unless they're powerful enough, they usually die.
Lingur - Without our help, the only people not killed by the gargator will be the ones who give in and convert to their religion, the ones who get protection elsewhere, or the one's killed or enslaved by something else.
Callanni - But what happens if you win? Where will the Vengeance go?
Lingur - I'll fit it with a new captain, and a new science officer if you want to become my science adviser.
Callanni - Lingur, I understand your sentiments. But what skills do you have as a politician? How are you going to lead the entire empire?
Lingur - I can work it out. It's not as though I have no knowledge of politics.
Callanni - You don't have enough.
Lingur - Callanni, you know me. Do you think I'd fail my people?
Callanni - Not intentionally but...
Lingur - Look, if there were another option i'd take it. I agree that I'm not very good at this type of thing, but I might be the best hope the clients have. I can't just throw a billion people to the foolishness of our public. I have to run.
Callanni - I... *sigh* I understand. Run if you feel you have to.
Lingur - Thank you Callanni.
Agent Zuckalus was a Tyranny Terpeshoire and her race was the last remaining of the former slaves. The Dominatus had not turned them into biodrones for a simple reason, their natural shapeshifting abilities. Terpeshoire Zuckalus was called into the quarters of Mortrig Malevon for an assignment.
Zuckalus - What do you want me to do, master?
Mortrig - My son is with the Aeoneonatrix Empire, I want you to infiltrate their elections, and then await further instructions.
Zuckalus - You want me to run?
Mortrig - I want you to assimilate the forms and memories of their most popular politician and then run.
Zuckalus - Yes, master. It shall be done.
Zuckalus was taken to Ku-Rokti. Once there, she sent a message back to Mortrig.
Zuckalus - It seems there is no clear choice for their most popular politician. It's basically a four way split between Cosic Fatestorm, Cabar Starsmoke, Nowuro Dreamdusk, and Migeot Braveshield.
Mortrig - What are the differences?
Zuckalus - Nowuro is a theocrat, Cosic wants to abolish their protection relationship, Cabar wants to charge for it, and Migeot seems to be something of a technocrat.
Mortrig - Whoever you want is to your discretion.
Zuckalus - Yes, master. I think I know which one I can carry to victory.
Zuckalus soon killed the politician of his choice and took his form and memories.
Zuckalus - So when I win, do I just wreck the place or do you have anything specific in mind?
Mortrig - Merely wait for my instruction when you win.
Zuckalus - Yes, master.
Lingur walked into the office where it was necessary to apply for candidacy. As he sat in the waiting room, he saw Cabar Starsmoke walk in and sit down.
Cabar - Lingur Wildlight? What are you doing here?
Lingur - Applying.
Cabar - What?
Lingur - I'm applying for Candidacy.
Cabar - You, a candidate?
Lingur - Yes, there is no one else who I'm sure will keep the Protection relationship intact.
Cabar - Yes but... look, don't get me wrong, I respect you as a commander, and, if elected, will ensure you're in a position where your talents are useful, but... You'll be up against seasoned politicians like myself. You stand no chance.
Lingur - Perhaps, but it might be the only way to protect my clients from heartless mercenaries such as yourself.
Cabar - I think you mean OUR clients Lingur. And a heartless mercenary? Seriously? I expect our clients to pay our empire enough that we don't go bankrupt and I'm deemed a heartless mercenary?
Lingur - Many empires cannot afford to hire us. Are we expected to throw the poor to the Gargator?'
Cabar - Yes, given that we would else be spending money we do not have.
Lingur - We have enough of it to spend it, so what if we owe a few trillion sporebucks? That's completely normal for a government.
Cabar - A few trillion? We are 40,000,000,000,000 Sporebucks in debt. We will not pay that off in the foreseeable future. Look, you are a good commander, and your talents will ensure that our clients get their money's worth, but this isn't a battle, this is politics, and you are a newbie here.
Lingur - I have to try, for their sake.
Cabar - And I have to defeat you, for our sake, though I'm sad to say that will not be much of a feat.
Lingur - Very well then.
Just then, Lingur's name was called. Lingur's past military experience qualified him for candidacy, and he was accepted. Lingur was now running in the Aeoneonatrix Presidential elections.
The Candidates AnnouncedEdit
The list of candidates was announced in the nightly news:
and Lingur Wildlight
Newscaster 1 - Wait, Lingur? What is he doing on there?
Newscaster 2 - I had this confirmed, yes, he is running.
Newscaster 1 - Well that's... interesting. Other than that it's basically as expected. Now, the weather.
The First Election PeriodEdit
Preparation for the First Q&AEdit
Lingur read over the stack of papers again. He was trying as hard as he could to memorize every point and every note, all of which could be vital for his Q&A.
Lingur - Are you sure this will work?
Callanni - Yes, it embodies everything my father taught me about politics.
Lingur - Right, him...
Callanni - His faults were not in his ability to win over a crowd.
Lingur - I know, I know.
Lingur - So do you think I can do it?
Callanni - Yes.
Lingur - If you say so, my dear.
Callanni - Come here.
Lingur steps closer to Callanni.
Callanni puts her hand on his shoulder.
Callanni - You can do it. You have been trained in the techniques of the greatest politician in our history. You can survive this Q&A.
Lingur - I hope so.
Callanni - Look into my eye.
Lingur does so.
Callanni - Do I look unsure?
Lingur - No.
Callanni - Have I ever lied to you?
Lingur - No.
Callanni - Good, now go out there, and do this.
Lingur - Thank you.
Lingur went out onto the stage.
The First Q&AEdit
Fogeo - Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first presidential debate. This is your host, Fogeo Knownflame, and we’re here live with the five presidential hopefuls. We’re going to get to the questions but first, some background on our presidential hopefuls.
First off we have Cosic Fatestorm. Cosic is currently a representative on the Council of species, and a notably affluent figure, once the owner of a massive corporation, which Cosic gave to his son so that he could pursue a career in politics. He is notable for his conservative politics and tenancy to vote against welfare policies and tax increases, especially for the rich.
Next we have Migeot Braveshield. The son of two scientists, he intended to join them in the long scientific dynasty that had preceded him. Such hopes ended when his parents were tragically met with disease and death, only weeks before a cure for the illness was found. Migeot says he blamed their deaths on a lack of scientific funding, and went into politics to correct this problem. He is notable for his policies and public statements as a governor leaning in a radically technocratic direction.
After that we have the new up-and-comer Nowuro Dreamdusk. Though long known as the brother of pop sensation Coosha Dreamdusk, he only recently began his career in politics. However, lack of experience does not equal lack of success, as his theocratic politics have been remarkably successful in recent times. He is already the governor of a prominent Aeoneonatrix colony.
Next we have another seasoned politician, Cabar Starsmoke. Appointed head diplomat by President Moeg upon his election, he has long been known for his diplomatic skills. His run was highly anticipated as soon as these elections were announced, and he has not disappointed. In public, he has advocated a pragmatic style of government over more principle-based approaches.
Last but certainly not least is the most surprising Candidate of them all, Lingur Wildlight. The head of the Aeoneonatrix Military and captain of our head flagship, Lingur is a well-respected commander, but no one ever expected to see him in politics.
With all of that out of the way, let’s get the debate underway with our first question.
Interviewer - If elected, what will be your number one priority as president?
Cosic – I will fix this dreadful economy of ours. Unemployment is high and the empire’s debt is even higher. We cannot continue to go on like this. I plan to reduce the government’s stranglehold and stop taxing you good, honest people to death.
Nowuro – I will work to invigorate faith in this country. Our species has been waning in recent years, we have forgotten what we truly are, the servants of the Cleanser. We must prioritize this above all else. It is literally our purpose in life, and we should be working harder to fulfill it.
Lingur – I agree with Nowuro that we should focus on trying to fulfill our purpose in life. In accordance with that goal, and spirit on compassion, I maintain we should stick on our due course, helping to protect the universe from the forces of evil!
Cabar – As moved as I am by these answers, I think the question is malformed. I think it is wrong to focus on a single issue, or primarily on a single issue. The only honest answer I can give is that I intend to make this Empire great, as it should be, in all aspects, not just one.
Migeot – Simple, technology. Technology is the future; it is what separates the big fish in the universe from the small ones. It is the reason that our clients need protection, and the reason that we are fit to protect them. Technology can save lives, and it can improve them. It is the most important thing we can focus on, and it is the only choice for my first priority as president.
Interviewer - What do you plan to do to solve our budgetary concerns, and how will it affect the Empire’s clients?
Cabar – My primary plan is to impose a fee on our client races in exchange for our protection. This is far from the only measure that I will take, but I believe that it addresses the main cause of our problems. I also plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, and increase and impose vice taxes on more questionable activities in which some engage.
Cosic – I also plan to cut the expenses that are imposed by our client program, though I have no explicit plans for a replacement program. Though I will not stop private businesses from offering the services that they please to whom they please, I do not believe that the protection of others is our problem. It’s sad when people die, of course, but we have to draw the line on how many of our people we are willing to let starve for the sake of foreigners.
Migeot – I don’t see the need to protect these empires for years as they work their way up to a point that we can just bring them to. I think it would be better to sell the secrets of our technology to the smaller empires of the area then to use it whilst not allowing them to. By doing this, we will lighten the expenses we have significantly while still providing them what they need, by teaching them to protect themselves rather than protecting them for them.
Nowuro – I believe that the client relationship is important to our very purpose as a species, and do not plan to abolish it. I am open to the idea of reforming it along more manageable lines, however. That said my primary intent is to alter other aspects of the economy to improve our budget.
Lingur – Though it is important to avoid bankruptcy, I think that people who believe we should cease offering help to smaller empires are misguided. I think they may be forgetting how difficult it is to survive in Delcath without help. I do not advocate that we abandon a trillion innocent lives to the Gargator.
Interviewer - Now that the Empire is taking new member races, how do you plan to combat speciesism?
Migeot – Education. I believe that a frank acknowledgement of the various traits of our empire’s member races will show to the public that there is nothing to hate, fear, or unduly discriminate against. I also believe we should promote an attitude of inclusiveness, and learn to consider differences to be what they are, differences, rather than fallaciously conclude anything false from them.
Cosic – I think it is important that we define exactly what we mean by “speciesism.” We must remember that this is not analogous to the differing fur colors that divided us in our past; rather, the differences between our races are important and meaningful. It would be a fool’s errand to teach the public not to take these differences into account. That’s not to say we should discriminate arbitrarily, but I think it is important that we not, in pursuit of equality, pretend that a furry blue biped with one eye and a tail is the same as a winged flying creature with a beak, binocular vision, and a much broader diet.
Lingur – Though I like aspects of Migeot’s approach, I think the most important thing is to encourage empathy. We must remind ourselves that these other beings have their own subjective experiences and viewpoints, and we must encourage ourselves and others to think of this as we act.
Cabar – It seems that all of my opponents are making valid points, and I agree for the most part with everything they have said, though I take issue with the directions in which Cosic could take his approach. Ultimately, I believe that it’s a matter of encouraging a spirit of tolerance; both education and empathy are important ways of doing this, but not the only methods. If we can encourage people to think of differences as something to be embraced, this will help make our empire better.
Nowuro – I think it is important to remember what unites us, common service. Even those races in our empire that were not intended to be the Cleanser’s agents from birth have dedicated themselves to doing so. We must remember that we are a common people with a common master, despite our differences.
Interviewer - Now that the Empire is taking new member races, how do you plan to deal with their cultural and religious differences?
Nowuro – This is really a 2 part question. Cultural differences need to be assessed on a case by case basis, but in general, I believe in doing no harm to the harmless. As for religious differences, however, I do not see any good reason to tolerate them to the fullest. We are the Cleanser’s agents. I really do not care if you believe in your own god or pantheon thereof, but if you refuse to serve the Empire’s master, you are not one of us, plain and simple.
Cabar – If I may be frank, I am disgusted by Nowuro’s response. Religious freedom is a value I hold dear, and I see no sense in preventing diversity. It might be comforting in theory to suppress religious differences, but if we do not like the idea of being unable to practice our religions, we should not prevent others from doing the same. To answer the question directly, I believe that we should be open to these differences. We cannot demand that refugees who escape from other nations obey our customs before we allow them to come here.
Migeot – I too see no reason to disallow tolerance. It is important to permit harmless differences in our community. However, I don’t think anyone asking this question has in mind preventing people from celebrating their birthday with a specific flavor of cake. Rather I believe that the real question behind this is where we draw the line between what is an acceptable difference and what is not, and I think the best general strategy is to ask ourselves the question, “Would we tolerate this from people who were not aliens?” Unless there is some important biological factor to take into account, I don’t see why the answer will usually be different.
Lingur – There’s really not much to add here, I agree with Migeot and Cabar for the most part. I think that Nowuro is forgetting that if the Cleanser wanted us to prevent others from practicing their religions, he would say so. So far, he is yet to request that we forbid any religion, so until he does, we should assume a harmless thing should be allowed.
Cosic - I am shocked that no one has brought up the primary concern that should be on all of our minds, namely what do we risk by allowing other cultures, and other religions, to exist here? The answer is that ours could be eliminated. If we allow people to preach their religions here, we will see people refuse to be the servants to the Cleanser that we are all meant to be.
Interviewer - What is your opinion on Ameius?
Cabar – I see him as a valuable asset. If you mean to ask if I think he is intrinsically or irredeemably evil, I do not. I see little reason why he cannot help us. I do think that there are issues with him to be worked out, but overall, I see no reason that it should be impossible. However, I would advocate putting off his use in battle until we can be more confident that this has happened.
Lingur – I have every confidence in his ability to choose the side of good. He may have urges and instincts to struggle with, but I see little reason why he cannot overcome them, especially with time and practice.
Cosic – Of course I want to use him. I honestly see no reason why we shouldn’t. I think that it is trite to complain that he has on occasion killed surrendering mardor. While this should be minimized, I believe his usefulness is too great to worry about the lives of enemies. Of course we should train him further, but he is too great of an asset to put off his use.
Migeot – I too believe that he is too useful to waste, but I think it is foolish to pretend he is only a Military asset. His intelligence should also be put to use, in fact that may be more important than his usefulness on the battlefield. As a scientist, he should be able to make breakthroughs that can do more to help us defeat the tyranny, and all of our other enemies, than he ever would if he were nothing more than a soldier.
Nowuro – I agree that he is useful, but I think we need to consider the cost of that usefulness. If he demonstrates the inability to avoid being a war criminal, we should correct that before sending him out. I agree that scientific work is important in the meantime, and see no reason not to use him as a Scientist.
Interviewer - What is your strategy for dealing with the war against the Dominatus?
Cabar – Well, my main plan is not to interfere with the military talents we have in our side. I do not delude myself into thinking I am more competent than Lingur or Owler on this issue. That said, I do not plan to back down, as it is clear to me, as it is to all, that that the Dominatus will not.
Lingur – While I prefer not to broadcast military strategy on public television, I will say that I believe that the keys here are knowledge and teamwork. We have seen for ourselves that the Dominatus are not unbeatable; indeed, I have killed one with my own hands. I believe that the key is the exploitation of the Dominatus’ greatest weaknesses. If we can hit them where it hurts the most, it won’t matter that we cannot hit them as hard.
Cosic – I generally agree with Cabar on this issue. I also believe that we should increase spending to the military. As of now, this war should be an important priority for all of us.
Migeot – I believe that it is important that we enlist help in this matter. We are not capable of besting the tyranny, but there are those who can. I have in mind the larger empires, of the universe, The Draconis Imperium, for instance. Weaponry and technology are decisive in war, and we should enlist the help of those who have it.
Nowuro – I agree that we should allow talented military commanders to do the thinking here, I really don’t see much more to be said, I agree with Lingur and Cabar for the most part.
Interviewer - How will you deal with the problems presented by extragalactic colonies?
Lingur – *Pauses, trying to think of a response,* By encouraging a sense of unity between the various parts of our empire, for one. In addition, I think research should be directed towards faster space travel, so as to allow easier transit between these colonies and us.
Cabar – Indeed those are good ideas. In addition, I think it is important to establish importance in other galaxies as we begin to colonize. We should also work to ensure that the extra-galactic colonies never begin to feel like they are a separate entity.
Migeot – I will deal with them with development. We will focus on better space travel to decrease the distance between our colonies. Wormhole or not, it still takes too long to get to them, and we should work to make this time less and less.
Nowuro – All of my opponents make good points, but I think it is important to remember our greatest source of unity, our common master. This is the thing that unites us. This is the reason we are all allies. In regards to better space travel, of course we want to develop better space travel, but we will never stop the galaxies from being meaningful dividing lines between the territories of this empire.
Cosic – Well the faster than light thing is obvious, but I don’t see why we need to put much effort into it, I think that the free market already has enough incentive to develop better technologies of all useful sorts. In regards to preventing rebellion, it is a matter of ensuring that the colonies always know that such efforts are pointless, because they are free, and futile, because we are strong.
Interviewer - Why should we vote for you?
Lingur – You should vote for me because I am the one who will ensure that our empire is always what it should be, a force for good in the universe. Whilst others bring us means of varying sorts, I bring you the end we are to work toward, a status as preservers of life in Delcath, and as time goes on, the universe.
Cosic – You should vote for me because it is in your interest. I will put into place policies that will bring about your good. I will aid the free market, shrink the government, and prevent us from becoming bankrupt.
Nowuro – You should vote for me because I will bring us to do the will of our master. A vote for me is a vote for him. To vote against me is to vote against him. I will bring us all back to the light of our mission, and our purpose, service to the cleanser. That is how it should be, and how it will be.
Cabar – You should vote for me because I am the best for the job. I know what will make your lives better, and I have no agenda but you. I am not after some renewal of faith, or out to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, or to pursue a pet issue born from personal trauma, or to put the interests of other nations before the citizens I lead. I am here for you, to help you. I care about you, and want to see you prosper.
Migeot – You should vote for me because I have a reason to care about you all. I have seen tragedy, and know how it could have been prevented. I am not just, as my opponent to rudely implied, another politician with a pet issue. I am someone who has seen the horror of innocent death, and desires that no one else ever have to face it. I am not just another politician, in a way, I am like a friend. I am here to look out for you, *sheds a tear,* and all I need to do so is your vote.
The crowd went wild.
Hanging Out BackstageEdit
After the debate, the candidates went backstage. Migeot was leaning against the wall. Nowuro approached him.
Nowuro - You did pretty good out there.
Migeot - Thanks.
Cabar walked up to them.
Cabar - Indeed, those were some of the most convincing crocodile tears I've yet seen.
Migeot - Are you accusing me of insincerity?
Cabar - Yes, that is a very good word for it actually.
Migeot - Did you consider that maybe you bringing to mind my parents' death made me shed that tear, or maybe I simply care about the Empire?
Cabar - No...
Migeot - Then shut up.
Cabar - Look, I have been in politics long enough to know that we can all cry on cue--
Migeot - True, but you've never had your parents die preventable deaths. Now go away.
Cabar - *Sigh* Fine.
Cabar walked away.
Lingur - How did I do?
Callanni - Okay. You didn't say anything so horrendous we can't work around it.
Lingur - Alright...
Callanni - Don't worry, we can handle this. Remember, I was trained by the most successful politician in our history.
Just as she said that, Cosic was walking by on the way to the taxi which would take him to his private airship.
Reporting to MortrigEdit
Zuckalus - I just finished up the first of the four presidential debates. I have this election in the bag.
Mortrig - Excellent.
Zuckalus - By the way, two of the questions were about us.
Mortrig - Continue.
Zuckalus - "What is your strategy for dealing with the war against the Dominatus?" and "What is your opinion on Ameius?"
Mortrig - Your response?
Zuckalus - Heh, it was in character. I actually must apologize for choosing a politician that required me to give sensible advice. Then again, it won't matter once they are crushed under your feet.
Mortrig - Aye.
Zuckalus - I almost feel sorry for the weaklings. Almost. Ultimately, such so easily manipulated and pathetic things deserve dominion even more than most non-dominatus.
Mortrig - What are your chances of success?
Zuckalus - From what I see, there is only one that poses a significant threat, and he will soon meet an untimely end at my hands. Given that, I'd say it's more than 95%.
Mortrig - Who would that be?
Zuckalus - Heh, it's...
Lingur got up in the morning, it had been a few days since the debate, the campaign ads were starting to come out. Lingur decided to look throughout Ku-Rokti's internet to see what had been put out.
The first add he saw was one of Cabar's.
"We live in a difficult time," the narrator began, "a time of war, and a time of great change, both for the better and the worse. In such times, we need a leader. We need a leader who knows and wants what is best for this nation. Cabar Starsmoke is that leader."
It went on to make a series of generic positive statements about Cabar.
The next one was one of his own. He watched it. He had not appeared in it of course. The ad was primarily the result of the combined effort of Callanni and the campaign director he had managed to enlist. It was of high quality, and focused mostly on his ability to wage effective war against the Dominatus.
The next one was from Nowuro. It was exactly what one would expect, being primarily a religious appeal.
The next ad was by Migeot. "Technology is amazing," Migeot's own voice began, "Think about it, we live in a world where it is possible to leave the orbit of our planet and hop between the Stars. What was once science fiction has, in our own lifetimes, become reality due to this miracle." He went on to describe in great detail how the quality of life throughout the universe has tended to be proportional to the available technology, and present himself as the candidate corresponding to this.
Lingur watched several other ads, he noticed that not very many of them were negative, and those that were either targeted Cosic for his far right ideas, or towards Migeot with the criticism being that he is basing his ideas on his emotions.
The final ad, though, was made by Cosic. "Do you remember the horrors of Gusian communism?" Cosic's own voice began. "I do. But what if I told you that there was a significant chance of them coming back? You'd think I'm crazy, but this year, one of our own candidates has significant influences from this very regime."
"He wouldn't..." Lingur thought.
The ad continued. "Callanni Candleflame, one of Lingur Wildlight's chief political advisers shares ties to that same regime. She herself was the daughter of Gusia Candleflame, and her directions on how to conduct himself in public manifest in Lingur's resemblance to Gusia..." At this point it was juxtaposing footage of Lingur's mannerisms with footage of Gusia's.
Lingur closed the browser in anger.
Discussion Between Lingur and CallanniEdit
Later that day, Lingur and Callanni went to the local spa for a date, now that they were becoming a couple. The best place there, at least in Lingur's opinion, was actually the hot tub, more so than any of the treatments. They got in.
Lingur - Have you seen it?
Callanni - Yes...
Lingur - Can you believe it?
Callanni - Yes. We didn't anticipate it as well as we did Cabar and Migeot's actions, but it made perfect sense in retrospect. People have been comparing things they don't like to my father since he took power, and especially now that people can pretend that the things they don't like actually were practiced, endorsed or otherwise believed by my father.
Lingur - Still, do we need to do anything about it?
Gondoo approached with the drinks they had ordered.
Gondoo - Here you go, sir.
He handed the drink to Lingur.
Lingur - Thank you.
Gondoo stood there for a second, then smiled.
Gondoo - And here you go mam.
Callanni - Thank you very much.
Gondoo walked away. He seemed to be in an especially cheery mood.
Lingur - Anyways, do we need to counter this in some way?
Callanni - Yes, and we plan to.
Lingur - How?
Callanni - It's a simple matter of reminding others of my history. If I didn't care about democracy, I'd be in the same maximum security cell as my brother right now.
Lingur - Of course. Tell me, if you were to rate my chances of success, what would they be?
Callanni - You're 4th place in the polls right now, but I foresee your rank going up as we keep pushing the tyranny angle. Cabar and Migeot are your biggest threats right now.
Lingur - So... percentage chance of victory?
Callanni - Well if we act as planned, I'd say you have a 65% chance of making it past this, but only a 12-15% chance of winning the election.
Lingur - That low?
Callanni - As of now, yes. We plan to try to take out Nowuro in this round.
Lingur - Why not Cosic? Isn't he the easiest target?
Callanni - That's just it, he's the easiest target. We want him to stay in because once he's gone. The remaining candidates will default to attacking you.
Lingur - What about Migeot?
Callanni - Migeot is hardy. He can take a lot of criticism because he is very good at appealing to the emotions of crowds. People are attacking him because he is a threat, and Cabar especially is because Migeot is the only one he perceives as a threat to him, but Migeot can easily absorb that damage.
Lingur - I see. You know, this is not really appropriate discussion for a date.
Callanni - I suppose.
Lingur - ...
Callanni - ...
Lingur - So have you read the new Sirethos novel?
Callanni - Actually yes...
Migeot and His FamilyEdit
That night, Migeot got home from his campaigning tour.
His two children ran up to him.
"Daddy!" His son Karrar shouted as he ran up to and hugged Migeot's leg.
Migeot knelled down and patted him on the head, "Hello Karrar."
His daughter Thitle jumped into Migeot's arms, almost knocking him backward.
Migeot laughed, "Shouldn’t you be in bed?"
"Mommy said we could stay up until you got home," Thitle said.
"Well then, you'd better get off to bed," Migeot said.
"Okay," the children said in unison, and ran off.
Pushele, Migeot's wife, came in.
"How are things going?" she asked.
"Pretty well," Migeot said, "the main threat at the moment is Cabar, the other three should be easy to beat."
"That's good," Pushele said, "Do you want to watch any TV with me tonight?"
"Not tonight," Migeot said, "I'm rather tired. I have less on my table tomorrow though."
"Alright then," Pushele said, "I suppose you're going straight to bed then?"
"Pretty much," Migeot said, "Are you coming with?"
"No, I have a thing or two to do for work," Pushele said, "I'll come to bed in about an hour."
"Alright," Migeot said, and went off to bed.
Fogeo - Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is Channel 8 News with Fogeo Knownflame. Our top story tonight, footage has been released containing shocking statements from presidential hopeful Cosic Fatestorm. It was taken from private conversations he had in the hot tub on his private airship. Here are some of the more shocking statements.
The Newscast cuts to blurry footage with a poor sound quality, in which Cosic is sitting in a gold-plated hot tub with his friends.
Cosic - Look, here's the deal with the birds, we don't have the money to give them all what they've been given. It's the bottom line. We can't give them free houses just so they can come here and shit on our statues, not read, not speak our language, and as consequence contribute nothing of value to society. Now I'm not saying we ship 'em straight back to the dommies, but I am saying we ship 'em out pending literacy and maybe a habit of regular bathing, given what they smell like.
Fogeo - And here's another clip.
Cosic - Look, they've gotten it into their heads that they deserve special treatment because of their past as slaves. I don't think they do, but they seem to think they do, which is why none of them are actually looking for jobs. It's out of self-pity, and I just have to ask myself, how hard could spa work possibly be?
Fogeo - Here to speak with us about those clips are our political analyst Foetia Fatehowler, and one of our staffers Karat Honorstar, who is himself a Dorgitassi. I'm sorry to go right past you Foetia but I'm actually more curious, Karat, what's your take on this?
Karat - Well, the worst part really is "How hard could spa work possibly be?" It shows a certain lack of empathy that is staggering. I worked day-in day-out, the only breaks were meal breaks and the insufficient amount of sleep they let me have in an area smaller then a couch. And by the way, shipping around drink glasses big enough for a 10 meter monstrosity and doing so in the hot sun is backbreaking work, as is cleaning the giant hot tub. On top of that, he suggests that we're not hard workers, when, as anyone here can testify, It took a while for me to understand the concept of an off-day.
Fogeo - That's right, *turns to camera* Karat is actually the hardest worker here. He also does bathe.
Karat and Foetia laugh.
Fogeo - So, Foetia, what do you think of this? How will this effect his chances of winning the election?
Foetia - Well, I think it's like Karat said, it's him displaying a lack of empathy. The problem is not going to be losing the Dorgitassi vote. there are few enough of them that he can afford that. The people that he can't afford to lose, who he is losing, are basically anyone who has any empathy for them. I think that the people from that group are now going to vote elsewhere.
Fogeo - Right right. Now Karat said that the worst remark for him was "how hard can spa work actually be?" do you concur that that will be the worst for him or is there another one that will be more damaging?
Foetia - Well I think that the most offensive to a Dorgitassi isn't the same as the most damaging, but I think that the one that'll do him to most harm in the long run is "just so they can come here and shit on our statues" because that is... that is offensive on a much higher level in a way that is fully comprehensible to everyone.
Fogeo - Alright then, we'll be back with more after the break.
The First ResultsEdit
Lingur, Callanni, Awesh, and Gondoo gathered in Lingur's house to watch the news of the elections. The voting had occurred, and it was time to see who had been the first one eliminated. The News came on.
Fogeo - Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have a very special night tonight. It's time to announce the first elimination from the Aeoneonatrix elections. Now, we will recount each candidate, starting with first place and ending with last. Remember that last place is eliminated. So then, let is begin.
The four viewers in Lingur's home were all feeling the suspense, it was so think that Gondoo could have gone at it with his talons.
Fogeo - The first place winner is...
The newscaster was deliberately pausing as often as possible to build suspense.
Fogeo - Migeot Braveshield He will be a candidate in the second election period.
Callanni - I expected that.
Fogeo - Now then, our second place winner lost to him by only a few votes. And that would be... Cabar Starsmoke.
Lingur - So he's moving on.
Callanni - Yes, they were the two big players here.
Fogeo - Alright then, so, the third place winner is... going to be revealed after this commercial break.
Callanni - FUCK YOU!
Lingur - Calm down. Now, has this new information changed my odds?
Callanni - Well... technically knowing that two candidates who aren't you have made it does decrease them but... we already expected them to take the top two places, so not much.
Gondoo - This is all so... weird for me. I never thought I'd have the privilege of being ruled by an elected leader.
Lingur - You deserve it Gondoo.
The newscast returns.
Fogeo - Alright then... so, the third place candidate is... Lingur Wildlight.
Everyone in the room jumped up in celebration.
Lingur - YES!
Callanni - WE DID IT!
After a second, they all sat back down to see who was eliminated.
Fogeo - And... The final safe member of our group of candidates is... Nowuro Dreamdusk, meaning that Cosic Fatestorm has been eliminated from this election.
Gondoo - YES! HE'S GONE!
Callanni - This is actually to our strategic detriment...
Gondoo - But do you know what this proves, this proves that the public really does care about my species, so much so that they will decide their vote based on speciesist statements made about us?
Awesh - True.
Gondoo - Either way, he was a loon. It's good to learn that he is not going to run this empire.
Callanni - I suppose.
Awesh - Plus he was a complete jackass, I mean; he tried to win by attacking Callanni's family roots.
Callanni - True.
Callanni - Oh well, I suppose we will be staying roughly on our current course. We'll try to get rid of one of the two major players this round, then the other in round three.
Lingur - Alright then, perhaps I should ready for the next Q&A.
Another Report to MortrigEdit
Agent Zuckalus got out her communicator to contact Mortrig.
Zuckalus - I made it past round one.
Mortrig - Very good. Who else did?
Zuckalus - The remaining pool is Lingur, Migeot, Cabar and Nowuro. Cosic Fatestorm was eliminated.
Mortrig - Tell me more about the non lingur candidates.
Zuckalus - Well, Migeot is a technocrat. He believes that advancing technology will solve all of his empire's problems, and it would, were we not to get to their empire first. Cabar is a diplomat and a pragmatic centrist. He advocates reasonableness on all levels, unfortunately for him, biodrones cannot reason. Nowuro is a theocrat. He advocates largely for providing social incentives for their rite of dedication. By the way, about the Cleanser, there is something you should kno--
The connection broke.
Mortrig - Zuckalus, report.
There is no response.
Mortrig wonders what entity was able to disable the transmission and ponders. Mortrig decides to send a physical carrier to Zuckalus in order to get the message in a way that cannot be intercepted. He gets back this message.
The carrier informs him that Zuckalus then shooed him away because another member of his politician's house was coming out and he needed to maintain cover. Mortrig ponders on what exactly the Cleanser is but dismisses it as an Aeoneonatrix myth.
The Second Election PeriodEdit
Callanni drove up to the maximum security facility on the outskirts of the Aeoneonatrix Empire's capitol city. She realized that now might not be the best time to be seen here doing what she was about to do, but Cosic was out of the election, and no one left was quite that unreasonable, probably not even Nowuro. She stopped in front of a booth with a guard in it.
"State your name and business," the guard said, sounding as though he was bored.
"Callanni Candleflame," Callanni said, "I'm here to visit by brother, Taesorack Candleflame."
"Go on," the guard said, again sounding uninterested. The guard opened a gate, allowing Callanni to drive through and enter the facility.
Callanni found a parking space, it wasn't hard, there were not very many people here who ever needed to drive home, and got out of her car. She entered the facility, and repeated the same exchange she had had with the guard with the person manning the small desk. Not many people visited the prisoners here.
This time, she was led by another staffer down a hallway to the visiting area corresponding to her brother's cell. It was a small room, separated from his actual cell by thick a wall of plasma proof glass. There was a microphone and a speaker on each side. Taesorack got up when he noticed Callanni coming in. He turned on his speaker and microphone. She did the same on her side.
"Hello, Taesorack," she said. There was a slight feedback as the sound bounced off of the grey, dull walls of the drab cell and and into the microphone on Taesorack's side.
"Hello, Callanni," Teasorack said, seeming depressed and defeated, the way he had felt for the past thirty years, "How are things going on the outside?"
"Rather well," Callanni said, "Lingur got past the first round. Cosic was eliminated, having lost much of the vote due to speciesist statements on the Dorgitassi."
"Dorgitassi?" Taesorack asked.
"The Empire's new member race." Callanni said.
"We took in a race of aliens?" Taesorack asked, seeming surprised.
"Yes, months ago, did no one tell you?"
"No one tells me anything. You're the only one who visits me here, and the guards never bother to tell me anything."
"Of course. I do recall first contact came as a surprise to you too."
"Callanni, why won't they kill me?" Taesorack said, changing the subject.
"Because we are not like that, we do not kill a person unless we must."
"So you prefer to keep me alive in here, as I spend my life wasting away in a cell with nothing to live for?"
"That's why I come here as often as I can."
"I know, and I am grateful, but your occasional visits are not enough to make my life worth living. I wish you would campaign for my execution, it would be merciful for me."
"Perhaps. There really is nothing I can do."
"I spend my days in this cell Callanni, day in and day out, having nothing to do but think about who I am and what I've done. For twelve tormenting hours I must be awake, bored, and alone with my regrets. Only at night is there mercy for me, when I may dream of a time, long ago, when I was part of the grand Union of Eneki, when I led armies to defeat the greed and evil of our enemies. But then, every morning, when I awake out of that wondrous dream, I must return here, to this cell, and be reminded that I am but a relic of a bygone day, that my enemies captured me long ago, and that they sentenced me to a life not worth living. Even as I hear you tell of the changes occurring outside, I have nothing to do but know that the world has moved on past me, and that I am alive only because of a matter of standard policy. It is not life, Callanni, it is existence. I am sick of it. The world has gotten over me, and it's time that they let me go, and leave this tormenting state of inner-death, in which I have only you to remind me that there even is a world outside, and that to it, I am a memory. There is nothing left for me in this universe Callanni, nothing but boredom, staring at a grey wall, waiting for the sweet grip of death to take me in its compassionate hand and end my suffering."
"There is nothing I can do, Taesorack," Callanni said, "you might be able to cope better if you took the rite of dedication, that would at least give you someone to talk to."
"Sell my soul? No, I shall do no such thing, not even in this state. I shall not pass from this world as a talking tool of the Cleanser."
"Well then, as I said, there is nothing I can do."
"By the way, Callanni, I assume you are teaching Lingur our father's methods?"
"Yes, I am. It seems to be both helping and hurting him, given how hated our father was."
"As I would expect from these. Unfortunately, the injustices which have defeated me shall continue regardless of the results. I do hope, though, that Nowuro does not force me to sell my soul."
"As you said, he has nothing to threaten you with."
The two continued to converse for about another hour before Callanni had to leave to attend to her duties.
Cabar walked into a night club, "The Intoxicated Avian," and headed for the back. As he walked through the main room, he was unfortunate enough to hear the aggressively vapid abominations unto the ear which a certain Coosha Dreamdusk dared to call music. He hurried for the back room, and was able to get there rather quickly. He opened the door.
He had received an E-mail promising him victory in the election should he come here at this time. He planned to reject the offer if it was illegal, but decided to come in case it wasn't.
In a dimly-lit backroom, sitting rather casually in the couch at the back of the room was what was seemingly an Aeoneonatrix, was resting his feet on a coffee table.
Cabar - Hello, are you the one who I was asked to come meet here?
Closing the door behind him was another, rather strong -looking Aeon who glared at Cabar Stormsmoke.
??? - That depends. Cabar Stormsmoke, right?
Cabar - Yes, I am.
??? - Then you can call me five-one-seven.
Cabar - Okay...
517 - I represent a...group of people who are very interested in seeing you win these little elections.
Cabar - That is interesting, why?
517 leaned forward.
517 - Because to us, you are one of the best candidates. Lingur's a wide-eyed idealist with little experience in politics, Migeot needs to learn techonlogy and society need to advance in union and Nowuro wants a solid theocracy. my benefactors are wary of theocracies especially ones regarding the Cleanser. Not that the Cleanser is a bad person. We jut think Nowuro is being a little heavy-handed.
Cabar - I agree. So then, what are you proposing?
517 - My benefactors would like to back your election campaign. Privately, mind you. The people I work for, they can provide you with information on the candidates.
Cabar - Is that so? Well then, do you want anything in return?
517 - Well...What are your thoughts on the Draconid Imperium.
Cabar - I admire them. I don't like all of their policies, I wish their institution of slavery were directed toward a long term goal of full integration, but overall, I admire them.
517 - Well, If you were to say...have the Empire accept the Imperium's policy of Pax Draconica. Imagine how many problems you could solve; the Mardor, the Tyranny, the budget problems, the Imperium could help.
Cabar - Oh, I would love to accept such an offer, I have a few small concerns, but even unaddressed they do not cancel the benefits.
517 - I know people argue that it "restricts liberty", but in truth everyone below your position won't be any more restricted than they are now. If you win these elections with our help, I'll put in a good word. My influence can go a long way to their government accepting your request.
Cabar - Alright then, that's a deal.
517 held out his hand to be shaken, a smile forming on his face. Cabar shook his hand.
517 - Pleasure doing business. I'll send emails to you with whatever we find out about your opponents.
Cabar - Alright.
517 - And media slander? We'll see if we can cover that too. The election is in safe hands...that is, your hands.
Cabar - Thank you.
517 - I think we're done here. Oh and... Have a free juice drink.
Cabar takes the juice drink and enjoys it.
517 - Ta-ta.
Cabar walks out, once again enduring the agonizing perversion of music that he had briefly escaped.
Once Cabar left, he pulled a smartphone from his pocket and pressed a few buttons. Smiling as a very bizarre silhouette appeared on the screen.
517 - Cabar's loyalty has been secured. Sir.
??? - Is this channel secure?
517 - Amongst these aliens? Pfft, child's play.
??? - Don't get confident 517. Keep me updated as the situation progresses.
517 - I will sir. Will keep Cabar under observation. 517. Out.
Preparation for the Second Q&AEdit
Callanni was backstage with Lingur preparing for the second Q&A.
Callanni - Alright, so this time there will only be four questions which are directed at all of the candidates, with the rest being directed at specific ones. You will have one directed specifically at you.
Lingur - Yes Callanni, I remember how this works from the last election.
Callanni - Okay. Now, remember what I've taught you. Get out there and win.
Callanni kisses Lingur on the cheek.
Lingur - Okay.
Meanwhile, Migeot's wife comes to wish him good luck.
Pushele - Good luck out there.
Migeot - Thank you, sweetie. I'll do as well as I can.
Pushele - Your welcome honey.
The Candidates go out to begin the Q&A.
The Second Q&AEdit
Fogeo - Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the second presidential debate. Channel 8 News is here live with the four remaining candidates, now; the questioning is going to begin.
Interviewer - There has been much talk in the campaign about how we will deal with the war against the Tyranny, but the president’s term lasts 31.5 years. Why should we be confident that you can manage the empire when peace-time resumes?
Lingur - Because I am a smart, intelligent and clever person. It is true that I have thus far only applied this to war, but there is no reason that these qualities cannot be adapted to politics.
Nowuro - Because I have demonstrated the relevant leadership skills in my career as a politician, and because I answer to and serve our race's ultimate leader.
Migeot - For the same reasons Nowuro gave, and because I understand what makes a nation prosper.
Cabar - Because I have the skills and talents needed to run a nation successfully in any circumstances, be they war or peace.
Interviewer - How do you plan to make the skies safer to deal with dorgitassi flyers?
Cabar - My intention is to limit what can be put in what airspace, when, and in what circumstances. I also plan to illegalize flight in certain areas which would otherwise be hazardous.
Migeot - I plan to fund the development of tracking and warning technology to help guide where and when dirgitassi can and should fly, and ban unforewarned activities that might harm them.
Lingur - My plan is essentially the same as the one Cabar has laid out, with the addition of specific designated flying zones with stricter regulations than other space.
Nowuro - I must say I agree with Lingur on this issue, though I would not make such flying zones vary large, and might allow private businesses to run them.
Interviewer - How do you plan to deal with the servile tendencies of the necroxi?
Cabar - With a balance of freedom and regulation. If necroxi, or anyone else, choose to live in another's home and follow their orders that is entirely their choice, however, due to the tendencies of the necroxi, it will be necessary to enact special laws to prevent abuse.
Nowuro - My plan is similar to Cabar's, however, I also intend to allow for, and indeed require, registration of such roommates for the purposes of routine inspection and regulation.
Migeot - Simple, we have the capacity to monitor their treatment in the informal relationships they form without intruding on any parties' privacy, and I believe that we should do so. This would indeed involve registration of such pairs. In the long term however, I believe that we ought to try to find a way to de-program the necroxi to remove their servile tendencies.
Lingur - I do not believe that we should give these pairs the legal recognition entailed by registration if it is at all avoidable, though I do see some merit in the proposition that it simply is not. I do believe that we ought to pass laws to ensure that abuses do not occur.
Interviewer - What value do you hold most dear and how will it affect the way you lead?
Migeot - I value the people of the Aeoneonatrix Empire, as well as the broader universe. This valuing will cause me to do what I know best enhances quality of life in both areas, and I understand that the key to that is technology.
Cabar - I value the prosperity of all life, especially the citizens of this empire. This will cause me to act in such a way as to achieve those ends. Nothing else matters to me. I have no ideology but my people. I have no platform but my people. I have no agenda but my people.
Nowuro - I value the ultimate purpose of this empire, our own master, the Cleanser. I intend to act as I am intended to act, for the furtherance of his ends, and will consequently bring our empire to the fulfillment of its true purpose.
Lingur - I value the prosperity of all life, and will act to fulfill what is indeed our purpose, to be a force for good in this universe. We are the agents of an entity who has dedicated his life to the advancement of this end, and brothers, we must do the same.
Fogeo - Alright, those are the common questions, now for the individual questions. Each of these is directed at only one candidate.
Interviewer - For Lingur Wildlight, why should the people trust you to be able to run an empire when your only experience has been as a member of the military?
Lingur - Because running the military entails a significant amount of interaction with politics, and I am no stranger. I am confident that my experiences and the resources I have acquired as Grand Guardian are sufficient for me to run this empire effectively.
Interviewer - For Cabar Starsmoke, why should the people trust you to be able to run an empire when your only experience has been as a diplomat?
Cabar - I thoroughly reject the idea that experience as a diplomat is not experience as a politician. I have worked in, with and around politics and studied it quite thoroughly. I know the ins and outs of governing and am more than capable of running this empire to its gain and that of the universe.
Interviewer - For Migeot Braveshield, given how heavily you emphasize technology, how do you plan to avoid failing to deal with other issues?
Migeot - The simple answer is that technology is the solution to most of those issues. By focusing on the primary determiner of quality of life in any scenario, I will do the most to increase quality of life. I will not be completely unwilling to take other actions, especially in supplement, but I doubt that that will be necessary even as often as I do it.
Interviewer - For Nowuro Dreamdusk, how would your policies against the undedicated affect the refugees we harbor?
Migeot - Positively, as they will be an encouragement to live a life dedicated to a higher purpose than themselves. If they are encouraged to be go through the rite of dedication, and do, and become servants of the Cleanser, thy will be able to do good on a level that is unmatched by any they could do otherwise.
Fogeo - And with that, those are all of the questions. This is Channel 8 News with Fogeo Knownflame saying: Thank you for watching, and goodnight.
After the debate, Cabar got out of his car and entered his house. He walked into his office room, and went to open a package that he had received. According to the markings on the package, it was from 517. It had a device inside, and an attached note.
“We will communicate through this,” the note said, “We will send you the needed information.”
Cabar sat back. He questioned if he should be doing this. He was not committing an act of slander in the purest sense, as the information he would be sending out was true, nor was this the direct rigging of an election, as the people would still vote as they wished, but it felt wrong. He was essentially destroying these people’s political careers for personal gain.
“No,” he thought, “this isn’t for personal gain. This is for the sake of the people. All of the other candidates are nutjobs who are undeserving of a political career, and I know what was best for my people. The power and honor have nothing to do with it.”
Suddenly, the device activated, and he saw the first piece of information pop up. Cabar set about having his campaign director make an ad out of it.
The New Campaign AdsEdit
The next morning, Lingur looked up more campaign ads. Most of the remaining candidates seemed to have made one or two new ones. Lingur’s own campaign had continued emphasizing the war angle, as well as attempting to point to his own moral character. Nowuro’s campaign continued to be almost exclusively religious. Migeot’s was still virtually the same. Lingur next looked over at Cabar’s ads.
“This is Migeot Braveshield,” an ominous sounding voice said, “In 2787, it came to the attention of Migeot Braveshield that major scientific research organizations may have kidnapped a five year old child and used him for experimental testing, leading to his death. What did Migeot Braveshield do? Migeot Braveshield blocked investigation, and concealed the records. The child is still listed as a missing person, even though his body was apparently disposed of in the eastern river. It took five years and seven more victims for the child’s murderers to be brought to justice. Migeot Braveshield is an ideologue who cannot look beyond his pet issues to handle the empire’s problems. Do you really want him to be running this empire?”
Lingur was speechless. This was a serious charge. Migeot had not technically violated the law, as blocking investigation on an issue was within his power, but the fact that he had used that power to disregard a legitimate suspicion was amazing.
Lingur selected the next ad to play.
“You probably think Nowuro Dreamdusk stands for the same things you do,” the same ominous voice said, “but he does not. Nowuro Dreamdusk has already written up drafts for laws which would deport non-dedicated immigrants, and prevent new client races from entering our protection program unless they have a citizenry which is at least ninety percent dedicated. Nowuro Dreamdusk is not pious. He is a mad-man. Do you really want him running the empire?”
Lingur was surprised. This was rather shocking. He was almost afraid to click the next ad, but did.
“Lingur Wildlight makes himself out to be a competent warrior,” the same voice began, “but in fact, he can be shown to have a crippling addiction to rainbow spice. His problems have led to him being late for important assignments and meetings, and to cut down on his performance. Lingur Wildlight is a drug addict. Do you really want him running this empire?”
Lingur’s jaw dropped. He had no idea how they could have possibly known that. He quickly dialed up Callanni and asked her to meet him at the local spa to have another, much more serious, consulting session.
Lingur arrived at Callanni's house to speak with her. After she greeted him, he went inside.
Lingur - You've seen them?
Callanni - Yes.
Lingur - How does this affect our chances?
Callanni - Well, I'd estimate Cabar now has a 90% chance of winning, with Nowuro having a 5% chance, Migeot having a 3.5% chance and you having a 1.5% Chance of winning.
Lingur - Is there anything that can be done?
Callanni - Not really. You can quit rainbow spice, but even then, you won't be able to run from rehab.
Lingur - Look, the damage on that front is done. Right now, we need to figure out how to counter this and fast.
Callanni - I'm sorry, I just can't think of a way.
Lingur - What would your father have done?
Callanni is shocked at first at Lingur's question. She looks down for a moment then back up.
Callanni - He'd have rigged the election, then killed Cabar for crossing him, likely impaling him in such a way that he'd die slowly and painfully, then he'd leave the body there, to send a message.
Lingur - I see. Well, we can't do that I suppose.
Callanni - Indeed.
Lingur - So then, we have no options?
Callanni - As it would seem now.
Lingur - Well that's just GREAT.
Callanni - I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do.
Cabar looked at his device. It was an excellent gift. It sent him quite incriminating information, and always accompanied by methods of proving that it was true to the Aeoneonatrix public, which he could easily place in the internet. He had this election in the bag.
Suddenly, he heard a knock on the door.
Cabar - What could that be?
???? - This is the police, we have a search warrant. Let us in or we will use force to enter.
Cabar run up to the door and opened it, remembering to hide his device in the couch cushons first.
Cabar - What is the problem?
Officer 1 - We relieved a tip from a "Migeot Braveshield" that silver spice was being dealt out of this house.
Cabar - What? That's outrageous!
Officer 2 - Nonetheless, we need to come in and look around.
Cabar quickly got out of the way. He waited as they poked around the house. He watched. He noticed they were getting near the couch. He hoped they wouldn't find it. Then suddenly, one of the officers flipped up a couch cushion and saw it. Cabar was doomed. One of them held it up. It was on, so the officer saw the information on the screen.
Officer 1 – Well, well, what do we have here?
Cabar stood silent.
Officer 2 - We'll be taking this if you don't mind.
Cabar gulped, but not visibly. He knew that any analysis of that item would show it to be alien in make, and beyond that, of higher technological capability than the Aeoneonatrix could manage. He had a defense prepared for the courts, but he knew he would have great difficulty winning the election. In fact, he may as well have just lost.
This is Channel 8 news with Fogeo Knownflame bringing you a special announcement.
“I’m sure you’ve all seen the recent advertisements made by the Cabar Starsmoke campaign which dig up old and secret documents incriminating the other candidates in the elections. Well police recently discovered how this came to be. While investigating a tip from fellow candidate Migeot Braveshield they found a device which had logged communications which had contained the information. Strangely, the device seemed not only to be of alien make, but to be of very high technology. The evidence shown seems to show that Cabar may have taken help from foreign powers. Though there is not enough evidence to convict him in a court of law, and a minority of experts are defending the legality of his actions on the basis of certain technicalities, it is unknown how this event will affect his chances of winning the election.”
Callanni's New AnalysisEdit
Lingur went back over to Callanni's house to speak with her. He knocked.
She came to the door and opened it.
Callanni - Come on in.
Lingur came in.
Lingur - So did you see it?
Callanni - Yes, I did. I think your chances are much better now.
Lingur - Like, how good?
Callanni - We calculate eighty percent chance of Cabar being eliminated here, meaning that you are probably safe for the next round.
Lingur - I see.
Callanni - Alright. By the way, I'm free for dinner tonight, and I don't believe you have anything planned?
Lingur - No. I can come.
Callanni - Thanks.
Callanni gave Lingur a small kiss. Lingur left.
Cabar ran up to Migeot's door, knocking. Migeot arrived and greeted him.
Migeot - Why hello there.
Cabar - Cut the crap Migeot.
Migeot - Why, whatever do you mean?
Cabar - How did you know?
Migeot - Well, I, as I have done before, decided to help my community by using known data on drug use and the locations of drug dealers to calculate where the drugs might be being stored or sold from.
Cabar - You know that's not what I mean.
Migeot - Oh, you mean that device of yours?
Cabar - We both know you had absolutely no suspicion of drug use.
Migeot - That is a rather bold claim, can you back it up? To be honest, I didn't even realize it was your house because, apparently unlike you, I don't keep track of where my politicol opponants live.
Pushele shouted from the other room.
Pushele - Is everything alright in there?
Migeot - Yes, honey. I'm just having a friendly conversation with a friend.
Pushele - Oh, should I make tea?
Migeot - No need, he'll not be here long enough to come inside.
Migeot turns back to Cabar.
Migeot - Look, I think we both know that in politics, it doesn't matter what's true, it matters what the public thinks is true. Right now, the public thinks you conspired with an alien power, and they don't know who, to help win the election, and probably, you made an agreement with them about what kind of policies you plan to run. All of this means that you were planning to be in the pocket of not good, not the Cleanser, but some alien power, and if you were willing to do that now, you might do it later. You've lost Cabar, just accept it. Oh, and I have every intention of inviting you to my victory celebration party once I win, so have fun. Pushele is making her special cake frosting for it.
Cabar - Who do you think you are?
Migeot - Someone who busted a cheater so as to win an election, and whose victory is in the best interest of the Empire.
Migeot slammed the door shut.
The Second ResultsEdit
Lingur, Callanni, Awesh and Gondoo once again gathered together to see who had been eliminated.
Fogeo - Hello everybody this is Channel 8 News with Fogeo Knownflame, and it's time to announce the next elimination.
The four viewers wait.
Fogeo - So then, we shall begin with the one who received the most votes, and that is... Migeot Braveshield.
The four did not react with much surprise.
Fogeo - In second place is... Nowuro Dreamdusk.
Lingur - That is disappointing.
Callanni - Indeed, it shows we have work to do for round three.
Fogeo - And so, the final person to make it past this round is... Lingur Wildlight, meaning that Cabar Starsmoke has been eliminated from the election.
Gondoo - Yes, you made it!
Lingur - Indeed, and I must admit that I am happy to see him fall. The guy wanted to make us into a group of mercenaries. I'm just happy I'll never have to have any significant interaction with him again.
Fogeo - On a related note, this just in, acting president Frozic Mightywind has assigned Cabar to serve on the Vengeance, and to be a major member of its crew, given its diplomatic functions which accompany its military ones.
Lingur - CRAP!
The Third Election PeriodEdit
Gondoo's First FlightEdit
Gondoo stood on the edge of a cliff with Lingur, Callanni, and Awesh. Gondoo's wings had been useless all his life. The Tyranny's use of him ensured he never flew and therefore the relevant muscles had been useless. Fortunately, the Aeoneonatrix's medical technology was up to the task, and with effort and physical therapy, he had managed first to flap, then to glide, then to hover, then to fly in small spurts. Now, his therapist said he was ready to take to the skies. It was sunset, and the beautiful colors were the perfect backdrop for his first time in a flock.
Gondoo - Callanni, are you sure I'm ready?
Callanni - Yes, I'm sure. Don't worry. I'm sure it'll be amazing.
Gondoo - Alright.
As some of the other Dorgitassi did the same, Gondoo flapped his wings. Soon, he had taken off. Almost by instinct, he joined the flock which was forming. As he flew in, he became indistinguishable from the rest of the flock from the outside, a small dot within the mass of Dorgitassi in the distance, but the whole of the flock was astounding. Without any obvious method of communication, they moved in the most beautiful coordinated way you could imagine.
Awesh - It's beautiful...
After about twenty minutes Gondoo returned to the waiting Aeoneonatrix and landed.
Awesh - What's it like?
Gondoo - It's amazing! You completely lose yourself in the flock, and yet you feel more alive than you ever have before!
Lingur - I'm happy for you.
Callanni - Indeed.
Gondoo - I say this calls for some celebration. Dinner's on Lingur at the Graxor House.
Lingur - Hey! Uhg, fine. You deserve it anyway. Get on in the car.
Gondoo - Alright.
They got into Lingur's car and drove off.
Third Q&A PreparationsEdit
Once again, Lingur prepared for the next Q&A with Callanni at his side.
Callanni - Alright, so, this Q&A is the strangest. Only two of the questions are for all of you, the others are evenly divided between you, so two specific to you, two specific to Migeot, and two specific to Nowuro.
Lingur - Alright. I suppose this one will go more quickly then.
Callanni - Indeed it will. Don't look so nervous, you need to put your best foot forward.
Lingur - I'm sorry, I'm just worried. I don't seem to have any reasonable chance against Migeot.
Callanni - I'm working on something. Just keep doing your best and I can take care of it.
Lingur - Alright.
Meanwhile, also backstage, Migeot was preparing.
Pushele - There darling, you look fabulous.
Migeot - Thank you. I'm so lucky to have a gem like you.
Pushele - I know. Now go out there and win this, and remember: I love you.
Migeot - I love you too, honey bun.
Both Lingur and Migeot went onstage for the Q&A.
The Third Q&AEdit
Fogeo - Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome once again to the third presidential debate. We are here with the candidates now. So then, let the questions begin.
Interviewer - Do you support open immigration between the Aeoneonatrix Empire and the rest of the Katar Sector Alliance?
Migeot - Indeed I do. We'd be poorly served to fail to allow this empire to be settled freely by aliens, especially considering that a Drodo or even Ezlangei scientist may have learned the answers to questions which baffle us no later than primary school. It'd be foolish not to allow them to enter.
Lingur - I do as well. Though the war with the tyranny need have our full attention at the moment, once it ends, it will be only logical to allow such a thing.
Nowuro - In a sense. I'd require all immigrants to take the rite of dedication, so I may not be a part of the KSA's official plan, but I would still be happy to take in new servants for the Cleanser.
Interviewer - Do you support a common currency with the rest of the Katar Sector Alliance?
Lingur - Yes. Such a change may be difficult at first, but well worth it. It will make trading far easier and as a result help us to fix our national debt, which is one of the major problems facing this nation.
Nowuro - Yes, I do, and for the reasons Lingur stated.
Migeot - Yes. Better, more efficient trade will do nothing but help this empire, and strong economies and low national debts are good for all aspects of any nation, especially the development of technology, which a low national debt will make us freer to allocate resources to.
Interviewer - For Migeot Braveshield, How do you answer the claim that many social problems, such as discrimination, speciesism, greed, selfishness, power-hungriness and crimes of passion lack obvious technological solution?
Migeot - By pointing out that simply because it is not obvious, that does not mean it's not there. discrimination and speciesism are fueled by ignorance, meaning that education is the answer. Greed, selfishness, and power-hungriness are fed by lack of resources, and technology will help on that front, and crimes of passion can be better detered by greater technology making them more difficult to get away with.
Interviewer - For Lingur Wildlight, Why should the people trust you not to avoid alliances which are beneficial to both the Empire and the cause of good overall due to meaningless deontological grounds?
Lingur - What sort of alliance could that be? It may seem beneficial in the short term to ally with a wicked or slaving power, but what do we do once it's planning to conquer nearby species? Our alliance would only hold us back. As a result, it's more than beneficial to avoid doing any such thing.
Interviewer - For Nowuro Dreamdusk, How do you answer the claim that if the Cleanser wanted a nation free of religious freedom, he’d have asked for one and you would not have to make it?
Nowuro - Because until recently, it was a moot point. There was never diversity of religion in our species, as he revealed himself from the beginning. Only lately has it been an issue, and to my knowledge, he has only made it clear that the undedicated should not be executed or imprisoned, not that they should be allowed to maintain their presence here now that alternatives exist.
Interviewer - For Migeot Braveshield, What areas of development do you plan to prioritize?
Migeot - Health care first and foremost, as well as robotics and computers. These will ultimately do the most to improve the lives of our citizens.
Interviewer - For Lingur Wildlight, If president, would you tolerate an immoral party joining the Katar Sector Alliance?
Lingur - Not if the relevant empire were such that we were in a position to stop them from doing evil, or such that we would be forced to defend them from those trying to stop them.
Interviewer - If open immigration with the other nations of the KSA occurs, how will that affect your plans to deport non-dedicated immigrants?
Nowuro - It'd give them a place to go when we sent them away. In that way, it's actually nice to have such a thing, as I do not want to leave all such persons stateless and drifting in space.
Fogeo - And that was the last question. Until next time, this is Channel 8 News with Fogeo Knownlflame saying: Thank you for watching and goodnight.
The New Campaign AdsEdit
Lingur got up in the morning and looked at the new campaign ads online. They only confirmed his worries. Migeot was dominating in every respect. He was reusing Cabar’s dirt on Lingur and Nowuro, but avoiding his own. Nowuro’s faithful platitudes and Lingur’s appeals to fear were no match for the master of technology and morality Migeot was masterfully crafting himself as. His sheer political ability showed. He was so charismatic it was hard to believe he was ever a scientist.
Lingur only felt despair in regards to his chances of winning. It was clear that they were zero, as were Nowuro’s.
Lingur’s looks at the polls were even more depressing. Migeot was scoring above eighty percent in every poll. Lingur was doomed.
Lingur drove over to Callanni's house. It was always strange that she lived in such a humble abode. Despite her status, she was in fact very wealthy. She still inherited much of Eneki's wealth. Granted, it was impossible at first to live outside of Ornico's capitol city given her occupation, and it would burden her friends to move back. Still, she seemed to live in a middle class house, though it was clear from the home's furnishings that she was much wealthier.
Lingur got out of his car and went into the house.
Callanni was already downstairs, likely knowing he would come.
Lingur - Same as usual, analysis?
Callanni - As of now, Migeot has a ninety-six percent chance of victory. Nowuro has a two-point-five percent chance, and you have a one-point-five percent chance.
Lingur looked down, disappointed.
Lingur - No point in continuing then? All of this campaigning, this fundraising, the rallies, all worthless it seems.
Callanni - Not necesarilly. I do still have one trick up my sleve.
Lingur - What?
Callanni - Some old tricks.
Lingur - What do you mean?
Lingur looked with suspicion at Callanni.
Callanni - Yes, I mean my old, old bag of tricks.
Lingur - No Callanni, that's just wrong! Anything that you abandoned after defecting from Eneki, you abandoned for a reason.
Callanni - Relax, none of the really bad ones. If Migeot is really the best candidate, he'll be unharmed.
Lingur - Callanni, this is serious, if you--
Callanni - I assure you we can make do without the "I'm Lingur Wildlight, and I endorse this message" thing at the end.
Lingur - This is unethical! If it were Cabar or Cosic I would have gone along but Migeot has no intention of harming the clients or doing anything else evil.
Callanni - I'm not sure about that.
Lingur - Really? Why?
Callanni - Well, we must remember that Cabar's scandals were not fabricated, meaning he did, through his neglect and bias, allow children to be scientifically experimented on.
Lingur - I see your point but--
Callanni - That and... there's something else. Something about him just doesn't feel right, and the events leading to Cabar's elimination make no sense. I'm doing this Lingur, and I know you won't stop me.
Lingur - I will have no part in this. If you do anything immoral, you will be doing it without me.
Callanni - I know. Now, please leave me to my work.
Callanni went upstairs and sat at her computer. She was an expert at this sort of thing. That incident, the one with the child experimentation, if there was anything more to it, anything Cabar hadn't found, it would be in the E-mail address Migeot used at the time, an address Callanni could hack.
Callanni used every trick she knew to do this. It was an old address, but it likely still existed on the provider's mainframe, as did every message sent to it. It was illegal to hack into an E-mail address like this. Callanni had disregarded the law before.
It took her a few hours, but she found it, and she downloaded it and saved it on her computer. She made three back-up copies of the folder just to be safe, and then looked for a promising subject line.
She found one, "On the Experiments You Were Wondering About."
This wasn't necessarily anything to do with the incident, but she looked.
"Migeot," it said, "The first round of the experiments you were wondering about have been completed. The treatment was not successful, and led to the death of the patient, but certain aspects of the remains provide promising results..."
The relatively technical later bits didn't matter. Callanni had Migeot by the throat.
She copied the information onto a flash drive, and left the house. It was late afternoon by now, but she needed to report directly to her partner in managing Lingur's campaign. Merely leaking the E-mails would leave the stench of illegal activity, but Callanni knew a way to make it look like a routine survey had uncovered the information.
The Break InEdit
Callanni arrived home after having a discussion with Lingur's campaign director. She didn't mention that the E-mails had been hacked of course, but he didn't need to know that. However, when she walked up to her house, she found that the door's lock was broken.
She got out her phone, and dialed most of what she would need to call the police. She entered her home slowly. Her gun was out, ready to shoot an intruder. As she walked in, she noticed a figure. It did not seem to be a burglar, in fact, it was Migeot himself.
She stepped into his line of sight.
Migeot - Hello.
Callanni - Hello. Why did you break into my house?
Migeot - I know what you did.
Callanni - What do you mean?
Migeot - Oh cut the crap Callanni. Me and you were more or less rivals back when you were still a part of the Union of Eneki. You think I don't know when someone has caught me complicit in child murder?
Callanni - I suppose. So then, you've already smashed my computer I suppose?
Migeot - And the extra flash drives in the safe.
Callanni - I see.
Migeot - Believe me Callanni, what you uncovered... it was the most shameful thing I ever did. I didn't initiate those awful experiments, but I did allow them, and there is no way to regard that as acceptable.
Callanni - Why, then?
Migeot - The cure for the illness my parents died of, or at least, the cure discovered right after they died... it wasn't safe for children. The goal of these experiments was to find a cure that would be. True, I sacrificed 17 children before a successful product was made and I allowed the lab to be prosecuted, but by the end of it all, hundreds have been cured. That doesn't make it okay of course, and I wouldn't even think of doing it again, but I came here in person, just because I wanted you to understand.
Callanni - I see. I do understand. This is nothing personal, it is just politics. You may go. I won't call the police.
Migeot - Thank you.
Migeot - By the way, I also had some people destroy both of the copies you gave to your partner.
Migeot left quietly.
Callanni closed the door behind Migeot. She reflected on her actions. She felt a twinge of regret for what she had done. She decided to go to bed.
Migeot and Pushele TogetherEdit
Migeot arrived home late at night to find Pushele in bed. She wasn't asleep.
He got into bed and turned to her.
Migeot - How are things going, honey-bun?
Pushele - I'm nervous. You're nearing the end and I'm worried for you.
Migeot - Don't worry. I have this election in the bag. There's nothing left that can prevent my victory, and with it, the prosperity of all the empire.
Pushele - I'm glad to hear that.
Pushele - Good night.
The two both fell asleep, each clutching the other's hand.
An Order in the Middle of the NightEdit
In the middle of the night, a somewhat rare occurrence happened.
The Cleanser needed to suddenly announce a message. He appeared in the dreams of all those in the Empire, instructing them to turn on their televisions, and demanded that the three candidates appear on the Q&A stage.
With great eagerness the three followed their master's orders. Pushele and Callanni came too.
The Three were gathered on the stage, and the Cleanser manifested in front of them, speaking to the cameras he had ordered to broadcast.
Cleanser - Hello, people of the empire. There is a situation which has been going on here for a long time, which I have chosen to bring to your attention. I planned to stay back so it might run its course, but it's progressed too far now. These are the three candidates who remain in the election, but one of them is not among the empire.
There was much murmur in front of many television sets.
Cleanser - The Drakodominatus Tyranny employs shapeshifters, and one of these candidates is one of them, and has been since the begining of the election.
The murmur increased.
Pushele - Which one?
Cleanser - Good question, my servant. I suppose I cannot ask them to reveal themself for me?
All three candidates just looked up, seeming equally stunned.
Cleanser - Very well then. Well, I normally wouldn't control the motor processes of a soul I didn't own, but I'm making an exception here.
Suddenly, one of the candidates flipped from an electric blue furred Aeoneonatrix to a Tyranny Terpshiore. It was Migeot Braveshield.
The entire empire was shocked, but none more so than Pushele. She ran up on the stage, and approached the shapeshifter with horrible devastation and blinding rage on her face. She was crying profusely.
Pushele - How long?
Zuckalus - Since the amusement park, honey bun. I guess that wasn't your greatest memory yet with him after all? By the way, you're a great cuddler.
Pushele ran off the stage, crying. Callanni took her as she ran off, and soothed her.
Aeoneonatrix soldiers detained Agent Zuckalus and took her to the same maximum security prison as Taesorack.
Pushele continued to cry, now hysterically, in Callanni's arms.
The Cleanser told all parties that they may resume their previous activities.
The Third ResultsEdit
That night, the news did not bother trying to build up suspense.
Fogeo - The first place winner, with the most votes, was Nowuro Dreamdusk, and the second place winner was Lingur Wildlight, meaning Migeot Braveshield has been eliminated from the election.
Lingur - That's that then.
Callanni - Indeed.
Lingur - I must say though, it is amusing to see that had it not been for the Cleanser, you would have lost to Migeot.
Callanni - Don't be so sure.
Lingur - Why do you say that?
Callanni - If that little Dominatus puppy thought he had gotten half of my flash drives, he was dreaming. He missed the potted plant, the garden hose, inside my hollowed out book, and the one I gave to Awesh.
Lingur looked at Callanni, somewhat surprised.
Callanni - We would have gotten him either way.
Lingur - I see. Oh well, I suppose it's one on one now, me versus Nowuro.
Callanni - Indeed it is.
The Final Election PeriodEdit
The Interrogation of ZuckalusEdit
Carefully strapped down on a metal rectangle, Agent Zuckalus was led into a cell in the maximum security prison on the outskirts of the Aeoneonatrix capitol. She had already taken the form of one of her handlers and was pleading that she was the real handler and that the one carrying her was the shape-shifter.
As they were walking through the hall, the interrogator joined them in the hallway.
"Welcome, sir," one of the handlers said.
The interrogator was reading from a notebook information about Zuckalus. He looked up and nodded, closing the notebook.
Meron Whitespear - I take it this is the creature I was asked to interrogate.
"No I'm not," Zuckalus said, "that thing is!" She pointed to the handler whose form she had taken.
Meron - Nice try but you've been under unabated surveillance ever since your arrest.
"Very well then," Zuckalus said.
Zuckalus jerked to the right and managed to fall out of her handler's hands and brush against Meron. The handlers picked her back up.
Meron chuckled "Try that again and we won't be as forgiving. Now, put it into one of the interrogation units."
Zuckalus - "it?"
Meron - From what I have seen you are too heartless to deserve recognition as a person.
"I'm offended my dear," Zuckalus said. She shifted into Meron, "After all, we have so much in common."
They reach the proper place in the hallway and Zuckalus is placed in a maximum security cell. A microphone is activated. Meron is lead to the other side of a plasma-proof glass wall. Meron pulled a chair out from under the table the microphone was on and placed the notebok to the site. Reaching into his coat pocket he revealed a pen and clicked it, opening the notebook to a blank page.
Meron looked at Zuckalus with a disappointed scowl.
Zuckalus looked at her interrogator. "Do you really think you'll get anything out of me that I care if you know?"
Meron - That depends. You can either cooperate, or we could try getting creative. I am aware the Dominatus enjoy submitting their soldiers to pain therapy in order to immunise them for interrogation and torture, a shame.
"I see," Zuckalus said, shifting into an alien Meron didn't recognize, "I must admit that there is a sort of art form to this kind of thing. So then, question away. We're all curious."
Meron - Now first I'd like to know. Surely you had to prevent Migeot Braveshield from interfering as you masqueraded as him, so what did you do with him to take his place?
Zuckalus resumed her Migeot form. "He's dead."
Meron - And the body?
"River," Zuckalus said, shifting back into the handler, "I'm sure your god, captain goldypants if I recall correctly, can find it, though it's in the deep ocean now, so no one else will."
Meron looked down and scribbled some notes into his notebook. He then looked up at Zuckalus with a dissapointed frown. "Cute. Cute. Now here is a nother thing that is bugging me, how did you aquire the surveillence information that was confiscated at Cabar Starsmoke's house?"
Zuckalus resumed her Migeot form. "Simple, he was getting his messages from the Draconid Imperium. I'm from the Drakodominatus Tyranny. You do the math, master race is greater than smelly pretentious lizards. It was easy to detect what they were doing."
Meron - Are you trying to tell me that Cabar was being fed information from the Draconid Imperium?
"Yep," Zuckalus said, "Straight from the ugly things. Royal Intelligence Agency no less. Fucker must hate your anti-slavery laws as much as I do." (She's trying to disrract you. Move straight on to the next question and don't feed this point.)
Meron - You did not answer my question alien. How did you aquire the confistated information?
Zuckalus turned back into Meron. "Alien? Why, I am your spitting image!"
Meron - Stow the theatrics and answer my question.
Zuckalus - Your puny empire is millennia away from understanding how we did it. Just be assured that we can and move on.
Meron - Okay I'll just note down that you broke into the local police station shall I? The courts are going to love that.
Zuckalus - As though I have any hope that you paragons of "good" will give me a fair trial.
Meron - Now...From your mouth, what were your orders once you won the elections?
Zuckalus - My master didn't say. I was merely to await his instructions once I won.
Meron - No hint as to their plans?
Zuckalus - Nope, None. Sorry buddy.
Meron raised his eyebrow at Zuckalus, writing further into his notebook.
Meron - How do I know you are not lying?
Zuckalus took the handler's form again. "You don't. There's no way to prove it to you."
Meron turned off the microphone, essentially making the barrier between them soundproof. He turned to the handlers.
Meron - Can I get an EEG strapped to him? I want to know what’s going on inside its head.
Assistant - Sure.
Meron - Thank you.
Several assistants run in and strap an EEG to Zuckalus. Zuckalus tries to dart out, but fails.
Meron - Nice escape attempt. Now, that thing we've strapped to your head allows me t osee waht you are thinking. I had a special design requested that wil lstay on you no matter what form you take. Clear?
Zuckalus turns into a see through alien, kind of like an X-ray fish. "Perfectly."
Meron - Now I shall ask you again: Do you recall any orders you were given for after the election?
Zuckalus - I was told to wait for further orders. (She's being truthful.)
Meron - Now...Who is your handler?
"Mortrig Malevon," Zuckalus said, "The same one who'll be yours."
Meron - I see. And how frequently did you contact the Tyranny.
Zuckalus went back to her Migeot form. "Every few days at first, then not at all, as it got harder to conceal it from the wife."
Meron - So keeping up your cover precented contact. I take it they would be aware of your capture?
Zuckalus - Yes, he is.
Meron - How does it feel to be imprisoned by quote-on-quote "inferior beings"?
Zuckalus sighed, took on her true form and looked straight at Meron. "You're not inferior to me. You're inferior to my masters. I have been appropriated for my rightful purpose, service of the master race, you will soon be too, and I am happy for you. Even though being a biodrone will hurt, it's more benevolence from my masters than you deserve."
Meron - I take that to be a "I hate it and my captors will all face the inevitable one day".
Zuckalus - An Aeoneonatrix would.
Meron wrote some final notes into his book. He turned off the microphone and looked up, turning to his attendants with a scowl. "I want to be certain that slime has the most miserable experience he can possibly get down here. Isolation, crappy food, I don't care. It's more than he deserves!"
An assistant nods, and walks away.
Meron cupped his forehead in his hands and gave an aggressive sigh.
After a few minutes of relaxed breathing, Meron picked up his notebook and walked out the door, giving one last deathly glare to Zuckalus before slamming the door behind him.
Pushele at the Coffee ShopEdit
Callanni walks into a quaint coffee shop at five in the morning. She looks around. She sees Pushele. She approaches her table.
As she approaches, she sees Pushele lightly crying as she drinks coffee and eats a sugary doughnut.
"Really?" Callanni asks. "This is how you drink your troubles away?"
"I know," Pushele says, "There's way too much cream in here but... I'm just so sad lately that..."
Callanni sighs. "No. It's fine. You deserve it."
"Thanks," Pushele says, wiping a tear, "Wanna sit down here?"
"Sure," Callanni says. She sits down across from Plushele.
Pushele is still crying softly.
"There there," Callanni says, "You'll see him again."
"I know," Pushele said, sighing and beginning to stop crying, "but that's long enough away that it doesn't make me feel much better."
A waiter from behind the counter sees Callanni enter the coffee shop, and grabs her note-pad. She walks over to the table with a smile on her face, and says "Hello, how may serve you?"
"I'll take an ice coffee, hultzer nut creamer, and with some ground menthor roots please," Callanni said, "Oh, and a pastrie with flut fruit frosting?"
She nods, while writing the orders down in her note-pad. She says "Got it, anything else?"
"No," Callanni says, putting her hand on Pushele's.
She nods cheerfully and says "Right, your order should be ready soon then." She pockets her note-pad, and walks off.
Callanni looks at Pushele. "Look, we all have to deal with loss. Just know that I, and a lot of other people will be here for you to help you power through, including the Cleanser, the most important of them all."
"True," Pushele says, wiping a tear from her eye, "besides, I have my babied to be strong for."
"Right," Callanni says, "for them, and for yourself, you need to let yourself say goodbye, just for now."
The waiter comes back to the table, carrying the stuff Callanni ordered on a plate. She grabs the stuff and gently sets it on the table, saying "Here you go!"
"Thank you," Callanni says. She starts sipping on the coffee.
The waiter nods, and walks off.
"You're right," Pushele says, "I'll do my best. I'll start by ordering my next coffee with a normal amount of cream."
"Whatever it takes," Callanni says, "but I don't mean to stop you from mourning him of course, I just hate seeing you so sad."
"Thank you," Pushele says, as she lets an extra tear out.
"Anytime," Callanni says.
The two continue to chat for some time. After Callanni's third cup of coffee and second pastry, the two leave.
Final Q&A PreparationEdit
Lingur and Callanni sat backstage preparing for the final Q&A. Lingur looked up at the bright red curtain that separated him from the live audience outside.
Lingur - You know, it's hard to believe I'm so close.
Callanni - I know, but here you are. Cosic, Migeot, and Cabar are gone. Nowuro is your final obstacle.
Lingur - You know, it's kind of interesting. Do you think he deliberately avoided being regarded as a threat by the others so that he wouldn't be as heavily targeted?
Callanni - I can't say. If he did, this is when it would become obvious.
Lingur - Alright then.
Callanni - So, remember, this time, there are four questions for the both of you, and two for each of you to have to yourselves.
Lingur - I see.
Callanni - Now go out there and win this election.
Lingur - Will do.
Lingur went out on stage for the final time. As he did, he felt a complex stream of emotion. The fact that winning was now a more serious prospect than ever before made him more nervous on two counts, first, that he might lose, and second, that he might win. As the crowd cheered violently, he pushed aside the red curtain and took his place at his podium for the final time.
The Final Q&AEdit
Fogeo - Hello, and welcome, this is Channel 8 News with Fogeo Knownflame, and I'm here this beautiful evening for the final Q&A with our two remaining presidential candidates. As you can see, the stage has been specially decorated for this event. The Neon fountains are flowing and the spotlights are shining, so let's get to our first question.
Interviewer - Generally, how would your presidency affect taxation rates?
Lingur - I will do what I can to increase taxes on the upper class which could be distributed to the poor refugees who have a greater need for the funds, as well as to social welfare in general.
Nowuro - I would do so as well. I would also offer tax breaks as incentive to accept dedication and to attend scheduled worship services.
Interviewer - What, if any, modifications would you make to our education system?
Nowuro - Other than the obvious course of action of working harder to allow it to be easily scaled toward differing biologies, I would help use it to encourage immigrant children to take the rite of dedication, as well as bestow the Cleanser's moral teachings on them.
Lingur - I would increase its funding to help make it easier for refugees to jump right in more quickly. We should always try to account for the fact that we take in many illiterate and uneducated slaves and, when we do so, we need to give them the skills they need to function in this society as soon as possible.
Interviewer - Are you at all concerned with the growing trend of refugees finding themselves entering the professional sex industry out of financial necessity even when they would never choose such a career if they could avoid it?
Nowuro - Yes, but I do not see it as a reason to shut down the industry or follow other empire's footsteps in banning it. Instead, I see it as yet another reason we need to ensure that this empire is equipped to turn refugees into well off members of society quickly, so that they do not have to engage in such acts if they find the prospect unappealing.
Lingur - I essentially agree with Nowuro. I would also advocate improved conditions in our brothels and some increased regulations on the treatment of live-ins sex workers. It seems to me there is something to the idea that our sex work industry was not designed for circumstances where people would regularly find themselves illiterate and unqualified for any other job.
Interviewer - How do you plan to combat the illegal underground slave trade?
Lingur - With harsher punishments, and tougher standards of inspection of course. I long to see the day that what we should have left behind in our days as a tier 6 race is finally gone from us.
Nowuro - By instituting better methods of catching the perpetrators behind such abhorrent crimes. We have the technology to easily monitor many of the things which would allow us to catch these fiends. It is time we used them.
Interviewer - For Lingur Wildlight, What is your comment on the recent accusations that your soldiers are abusing their positions of power over the populations of client worlds?
Lingur - Only that such things are already being investigated, and that those who do abuse the name of Aeoneonatrix to exploit those they are sworn to protect shall be brought to justice.
Interviewer - For Nowuro Dreamdusk, How do you plan to, as you have promised, combat the spread of anti-dedicative religion in the empire?
Nowuro - My current plan is to outlaw the deliberate proselytizing of any religion or philosophy which would discourage persons from taking the rite of dedication. I also plan to, as I pointed out, teach the merits of dedication to schoolchildren.
Interviewer - For Lingur Wildlight, Would you ever consider adding an institution of conscription to the empire?
Lingur - Only in a case of absolute necessity, when there was simply no other way of accomplishing an end important enough to merit such a radical step.
Interviewer - For Nowuro Dreamdusk, Will any and all discriminatory policies against the undedicated apply to worshipers of other members of the league?
Nowuro - No, they will not. There will be a special exemption in law barring such persons.
A few minutes later, in the presence of the same pinkish-red carpet, make-up mirrors, and brown wooden walls as always, Lingur and Nowuro spoke backstage.
Lingur - You did well out there.
Nowuro - Indeed, you too. I look forward to seeing how this will go.
Lingur - Me too. By the way, if I may ask, what are your plans for the clients should you win?
Nowuro - It is not to my strategic benefit that I reveal that to you.
Nowuro - I assure you though, if they are the only reason you ran, you are quite safe dropping out of the race.
Lingur - I have no intention of doing that any time soon. Either way, I look forward to seeing which of us wins.
Nowuro - Indeed. Now, I must go attend to my sister.
Lingur - Me too, well, not my sister, but I must go as well.
Nowuro - I see. Farewell then.
The two left.
The Final Campaign AdsEdit
The Next morning, Lingur did what he always did the morning after the Q&A. He looked online for the new campaign ads. He found little that shocked him. Nowuro as somewhat more eloquent than previously, though whether this was because Lingur's theory that Nowuro had been playing under the radar or simply because of a burst of effort resulting from being this close was yet to be seen.
Nowuro's ads pushed the religion angle very hard. Nowuro seemed to have gotten bolder in the positions he was willing to declare, seeming to advocate open discrimination against the undedicated, including refugees. The receptions for these ads seemed surprisingly positive though.
Lingur looked over to his own ads. The Tyranny war angle was being pushed, as well as the compassion angle. Lingur was being billed as a competent yet empathetic man. Nowuro was being presented in Lingur's ads as a nut who did not desire to allow freedoms to fall upon refugees.
As Lingur looked at these, he realized that he was not at all just fine with Nowuro winning. He was better than any of the other three, sure, but his discrimination against immigrants and refugees would do no good of any kind for the empire, even if it would encourage a greater morality, it would also make people feel persecuted and, Lingur hypothicized, drive them away from the Cleanser.
Seeing more of the same, Lingur drove over to Callanni's to get an assessment, picking up some sodas on the way.
Callanni's Final AnalysisEdit
Lingur arrived at Callanni's house with the sodas. As he went into the small but well-furnished building, he passed her one as she opened the door. She gladly accepted it as they sat down on the couch.
Callanni - Welcome. I assume you're back for an assessment?
Lingur - Yes, as always.
Lingur noticed the scent of plants for the first time in the house. It was subtle, but distinct.
Callanni - Well, I'd say you have a 45% chance of winning.
Lingur - Oh, I see.
Lingur frowned slightly, disappointed.
Callanni - Don't worry, I'm more than capable of pulling that through to a win.
Lingur - Alright, then.
Lingur took a sip from his soda.
Lingur - Any idea what will increase my chances?
Callanni - Keep to your scheduled rallies, interviews, and don't say stupid things in public. That's really all that's left at this point.
Lingur - I see. I shall get on that.
The two spoke for another half an hour or so before Lingur left for a rally.
The Final ResultsEdit
Lingur, Callanni, Gondoo, ans Awesh gathered together to see who had won the elections. The tension was as thick as it could have been as the news came on.
Fogeo - Hello, everybody, this is Fogeo Knownflame, and welcome to the results of the Aeoneonatrix Empire's presidential elections. Now, it is time to reveal the winner.
Lingur sat there. He very much wanted to win the elections. He had come so close, and he was quite convinced that he was better for the job than Nowuro. He was more concerned with the values the empire had always been based on.
Callanni sat, eye glues to the screen. She'd invested much hard work into this project. She didn't want to see it end in defeat. Still, she knew the odds, and was nervous.
Awesh sat there in greater suspense. He wanted to see his friend win. He cared deeply for Lingur, and didn't want to see him disappointed.
Gondoo sat there too. He was not familiar with these issues. He knew little of how Empires were best run. Like Awesh, he mostly just wanted to see his friend win.
In disparate places, Pushele, Cosic, Cabar, Owler, and many others watched attentively, each having their own hopes for their own reasons. Even Taesorack would be informed of the results of this election.
Fogeo - And the winner...
Fogeo - ...Of the Aeoneonatrix Empire's presidential elections is...
Fogeo - ...
Fogeo - ...
Fogeo - ...
Fogeo - Nowuro Dreamdusk!
The suspenseful music that had been playing was replaced with a happy tune.
Fogeo - Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Lingur Wildlight did not receive enough votes, meaning that Nowuro Dreamdusk is the Empire's new president!
None of the four watching were happy with this result, though Lingur was especially upset at the prospect of things being made worse for the undedicated.
Callanni was disappointed at the result, but also quite upset that she had lost at all.
Awesh and Gondoo were sad for their friend.
Fogeo - Nowuro is expected to begin sending in bills to institute numerous new reforms tomorrow. Until then, this is Channel 8 News with Fogeo Knownflame, and whether you're happy or sad, we hope that you join us next time.
Lingur - Sad... I hate to see his effect on the undedicated here. The Cleanser did not found a land of discrimination.
Callanni - True, still, it could have been far worse.
Lingur - I know, and I am thankful that it wasn't.
The four went out for dinner as they had planned to.
That night, Lingur, Callanni, Awesh, and Gondoo sat at their table in the restaurant.
Lingur had hoped to do this on the back of a win, but didn't want to back out of it now.
After dinner, the waiter came by and asked if anyone wanted desert.
Callanni - No thank you, I'm stuffed.
Lingur - Oh, come one Callanni, I thought we agreed that we were going to use my coupon for a free mini-cake here.
Callanni - Oh, I couldn't. I'm stuffed. Another time, okay?
Lingur - C'mon, please? Just one bite, then we take the rest home?
Callanni sighs in the somewhat quiet, somewhat fancy restaurant.
Callanni - Fine.
Lingur - Thank you.
Lingur gives the coupon to the waiter. He has an initial look of surprise when he sees it, but soon regains composure and goes to get Callanni's cake. Callanni turns to Awesh and Gondoo.
Callanni - What has got you so excited? Why are you smiling like that?
The waiter brings the cake. As Callanni pulls off the cover, she reads words inscribed on the cake in icing.
"Will you marry me? - Lingur."
Callanni looks up at Lingur.
Callanni - Yes. The answer is yes.
Lingur smiles as widely as his anatomy allows.
Lingur - Thank you Callanni!
Lingur and Callanni go on to eat happily, with Callanni easily finishing her cake.
Gondoo - Oh, this is so sweet...
Callanni - You know, this actually brings something to mind.
Lingur - What?
Callanni - I've been considering moving back into the old palace for a while now. I can afford the thing quite easily, but I've not had enough reason to bother spending that much money while I've lived alone. Now that I'll presumably soon live with you together, though, want to move in?
Lingur - Of course.
Callanni - Great then.
The two finished their dinner, then left.
Hello everybody, this is Channel 8 News with Fogeo Knownflame. Having come out the winner of the recent Presidential Election, President Nowuro Dreamdusk submitted his first round of bills to the Senate over the past few days. Of the bills discussed, the following have been passed into law.
1: Rules which used to forbid the use of public schools to encourage children to take the rite of dedication have been repealed. Teachers may now openly encourage children to take the rite, and parents cannot do anything to avoid this except place their children in private or home school.
2: Private schools, though they may be secular, may not discourage their students from taking the rite of dedication, unless said schools are in service to one of the other gods of the League, or the White Dragon.
3: Those who have not taken the rite of dedication, save for the followers of the League of Patrons’ other gods, and the White Dragon, may neither vote nor hold political office.
4: Those who have not taken the rite of dedication, and are not followers of the League of Patrons’ other gods, and the White Dragon, shall experience a tax increase.
5: Over a moderate timescale, all current Aeoneonatrix clients will face a loss of sovereignty. They will continue to be run by their current governing bodies, but their laws will now be subject to veto by the Aeoneonatrix Empire. In addition, they will now be taxed according to their ability to compensate the empire for the assistance that it provides them.
The religious tone of these bills has raised much debate in many circles, particularly those who worry that they will greatly harm the cultures of refugees and others who may not be able to afford private schools. Nonetheless, they have passed into law, and most of them will begin to take effect very soon. Stay tuned as reforms to the protection relationship are expected to be made within a few days as well. Until next time, this is Channel 8 News with Fogeo Knownflame saying goodnight, and I hope to see you again soon.
At Pushele's HouseEdit
Callanni approached Migeot's old house and knocked at the door. After a second, Pushele opened. She still looked like she was mourning, as would be expected.
Pushele - Yes, Callanni?
Even Callanni could sense a feeling that something was missing from the house, and from its family. It was a nice enough place. It felt quaint, yet adequate, like the perfect place to raise a family, but there was no family there anymore. Without a family, without the love Pushele and Migeot had felt for each other, the place only felt depressing, like a withered plant, covered in browning flowers. It was proof of a beauty, and its passing.
Callanni - Hello.
Pushele - Would you like to come in? I could make tea?
Callanni - If you want, though I'll only be here for a minute. I just came to make you an offer.
Pushele's eyebrow rose.
Pushele - Oh?
Callanni - Well, me and Lingur are getting married and moving in together back at the old palace of Eneki.
Pushele - Oh?
Callanni - Yes, and since I happen to know you've been a stay at home mom your entire life and have no potential job prospects outside of the sex work industry, I figured...
Pushele - What?
Callanni - Would you and your children like to move in with Lingur and I back at the palace? I'd be willing to support you until you got an education needed for a living wage job, so long as you did something to pull your weight in the mean time.
Pushele - Such as?
Callanni - The only thing the house is being used for right now is a small part of it which has been set aside to serve as a museum. By buying the place back, I'm also buying that. It'll take you a few years, but I imagined you might start out working there in a lower position and gradually work your way up to curator?
Pushele - I see. Well, we'll see about that job, but the answer to the offer to move is yes.
Callanni - Oh? I expected you to need some convincing.
Pushele - So would I. You know, I bought this house with him? It was the happiest purchase I ever made. I always thought that I'd never be willing to give the place up but... without him here, being here on my own just makes it worse.
Callanni - I see.
Pushele - I'm not willing to part with its ownership, but at the same time, I never want to see it again. It just looks like grief to me now, like all of the memories I have with him, mocking me. I was planning on selling and moving but... perhaps I could rent it out?
Callanni - Sure you could, if you choose.
Pushele - Great then. Thank you. When do you expect to move?
Callanni - In a month or so.
Pushele - Great. Thank you so much. I'll be happy to come with you.
Callanni - It's no problem.
Pushele - Alright then.
Callanni - So then, I'll depart.
Pushele - Alright.
Pushele shut the door and ran inside to tell her children what had just taken place. Callanni walked away from the house. As she walked home, she saw a line of immigrants outside of a local temple. These, it seemed, could not afford a new tax increase. She continued to her house, and entered it.