Consortium Series- Part II
Act I, Scene V
Tzebra’s luxury suite
Orca class passenger ship (Inspiration)
The sounds of a distant storm could be gently heard, throughout Tzebra’s luxury suite. Tzebra himself enjoyed the ambient noise, as he rested comfortably in his suite’s papasan chair. The stars outside moved as gently as the rolling thunder, as he looked briefly at the table resting on his outstretched thighs. Kourtney had issued an initial report. He noticed Ariel was proceeding as planned; with events moving in their desired directions.
A message from a broker produced a smirk. The financial reports for the most recent of transactions, was successful, with the proceeds being funneled into the requested directions. Initially there was concern over a hand-in credit transaction , with the sum being larger than that required by the systems law for notification; though no notification was given, as the deposit was not a lump-sum amount but a spread across various accounts; all in denominations lower than the required sum for a report. The taxation on the sum had already been factored, with the amount being sent to its’ own account; keeping the system accounting administration happy.
Though such actions would appear as nefarious, any audit would find they were perfectly legal, with their earnings having been that of compensation for services rendered. The services could be considered as questionable by the more up-tight systems, though on the fringes of two major powers, with the systems themselves being contested, the financial authorities had more pressing matters, than that of lurking into the gray areas of a single entities business dealings.
Tzebra’s latest transaction produced a healthy profit, entertainment, and prospects of a financially lucrative opportunity. Though known to engage in activities which could be viewed as morally objectionable, Tzebra usually stayed within the boundaries of the legal systems. The current situation presented an opportunity to bend the norms of legality and taste, though it was a perfect melding of events which could provide useful leverage, with regards towards pending financial legislation. Should additional regulations be enacted, Tzebra would be required to restructure certain holding arrangements. This could be accomplished easily enough, though was unpalatable.
Sifting through his tablet, Tzebra viewed the scanned images of his latest “favors” as he would have called it. A patron for the area was an avid voyeur of the more interesting and bizarre aspects of history, and always enjoyed interesting finds and publications, dealing in such matters. Tzebra knew of such a find, and sought to steer the young patron, towards a vote of deregulation, versus adding additional regulations. Tzebra would not outright offer a bribe, though he did use psychology to his advantage, and the norm of reciprocity applied to this situation.
Tzebra needed additional synthesis materials, with the unusual objects sharing a nearby moon of the planet containing the needed compounds. Tzebra had found the ancient block-typed antiquities and an unstable data core, hidden in a small cave, carved into the side of a wadi. Tzebra inspected and cataloged the items which were found, and with days of careful tending, managed to download the contents of the data core. Leaving the objects where they were found, Tzebra had always planned on making a return visit, upon a day, for a proper retrieval of the items. Current events presented needed incentive.
The articles Tzebra retrieved were that of an ancient religious sect. Though the data cores contents had been copied, the majority of the information was corrupted. What could be ascertained was that over 150 years past, the cult’s beliefs revolved around the Thargoids as being inter-dimensional deities. Though small in number, and living in a place- which for that era would have been considered extreme isolationism. They were not completely removed from civilization, and would make frequent journeys into the more inhabited systems, to trade for the basic necessities of life; along with large quantities of spice. The spice would be used in their ceremonies; the details of which were corrupted beyond repair. What could be salvaged detailed heavy uses of incense, extreme rituals which would culminate in one of more being chosen, to enter hyperspace, then eject themselves in the belief their sacrifice would be considered pure by their deity, and they would take their place beside them, in the great beyond.
Tzebra slowly shook his head in wonderment of the insanity of it all, though religious zealots existed since the time of recorded history. Many cults eventually burned out, some went to the extremes of mass suicide, and for others’ homicide. Tzebra had to concede to his own memories, of his time in Imperial service, when he witnessed the insanity of the more extreme, all in the name of a belief; though at that time, the act was political. Tzebra mumbled under his breath “as if there was a difference by that stage?”
The retrieval was not without its’ moments, as he was immediately set upon, by various wings of ships, before leaving the planet. Fortunately his Imperial Cutter was as formidable inside a planets gravity as it was outside of it. Before leaving the planet, over 20 ships were destroyed, with no survivors. Before leaving the system, over 80 ships had made an attempt, each destroyed. Tzebra had tried in vain to disable a few, in attempts to capture someone on the crew, so they could be questioned, though all choose not to comply, with the last flying what remained of their ship, into the systems star.
Tzebra called for assistance, and Bandura along with the other pilots showed up rapidly, spreading the battle over several systems. By the time whomever it was decided to cease their attacks, over 200 ships had been destroyed, with no losses for Tzebra. “Insanity” he thought, shaking his head.
To-date there had been no more attempts, since returning to “the bubble” of occupied space. Tzebra noted this immediately, and salvaged as much wreckage as possible. All that could be determined was a system of origin, CT Tucanae. A small insignificant Anarchy system, ruled by a group of vicious little trolls who collectively had the IQ to walk without tripping on themselves. Tzebra decided this evidence was enough to make his presence and displeasure felt, and until recently Tzebra and the pilots engaged openly in disruption of their trade and shipping supply lines.
Of course the usual curses and threats came from their ruling faction, which beget more of their assets being hunted and neutralized. In short order the threats turned to questions, begetting more destruction, until finally they learned not to fly, and asked to talk. Their representative was brought on-board, and the matter was discussed at length. The usual denials were forthcoming, though Tzebra was in a mood, and had a firm list of items that would either be followed, lest the current faction find itself out of power, and in front of an Imperial tribunal.
Since that time, the faction met the demands, and remained in power, with Tzebra moving from his Imperial Cutter and into his Orca class ship, for a moment of relaxation, and the usual meetings. The patron was most eager to examine the unusual antiquities, and with the door open, Tzebra set course for Mehuenomici, and what promised to be a pleasant visit.