A Meeting of Minds

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A Meeting of Minds

Post by Nabonassar on Sun Aug 07, 2016 3:50 pm

The item that Nassar had sent to Nebuchadnezzar and been inscribed with the message, “Darling, I need a meeting. There is a curry house in Sadjeem’s Bazaar in Maur Secundus. Would you be willing to meet me there as soon as possible. I’ll be attempting to garner your assistance in a personal matter. Forever Yours, Nabonassar.” It had arrived through a spacial anomaly to clatter on the floor of wherever she had been when it arrived.

After he had disentangled himself from the situation with Caden and the high echelons of Black Sun, he had travelled here immediately. He had been a bit vague about why he had to meet Nebuchadnezzar, though that was by necessity. No one could know that he was attempting to get her help in breaking one of his limiters. He needed the extra power. With it he would pose a threat even to Mesiphidon himself, and it meant that a peaceful solution would be farm more appealing. However, by his calculations, there was a 73% chance that he would cause himself ego death and be replaced with a new personality and intelligence. Ghanima would know, before he left them, that he was risking his life, though not the odds upon it. He was mildly worried about this, though the common, human phrase was ‘Go big or go home’. But Black Sun would not be home for much longer if he did not do something, as it would become part of Celesin, one way or another. Giving Mesiphidon a pair of Kings would throw the entire equation out of balance.

Nabonassar stepped into the curry house from the street and it appeared that he had arrived before Nebuchadnezzar. He moved to a corner of the place, where cushions were piled in the corner before a low table to create an spot where one might lounge while eating. He settled in at his ease and packed his pipe, settling in to wait. He knew that she would be a tough sell, and so he followed the logic to what her arguments might be against such a thing. There was, of course, the chance of death. A surmountable hurdle, of course. After all, he had given himself to Black Sun. She knew what that meant for him. That he would die for them if need be. Of course, there was also the collective to consider, however having his limiter removed would be a good thing for them. True, it would force them to rely upon him against Nebuchadnezzar, should she turn against the collective, but there was enough power within the collective to kill the both of them, regardless of whether their limiters were removed. However, unlike Nebuchadnezzar, he had no real need for privacy. He would remain open to the collective, so that ought to ease their minds.

Nebuchadnezzar, being who she was, would present yet another hurdle. Her well-known selfishness would provide a stumbling block he was not sure how to overcome, nor truly what form it would take. She was a tricky little minx, and her privacy was paramount. So peeking inside her head was absolutely out of the question. One on one, he was no match for her. Just like he was no match for Mesiphidon. Hopefully, however, that would not remain the case.
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Re: A Meeting of Minds

Post by Nebuchadnezzar on Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:44 am

Bass hummed through the glass walls of King Nebuchadnezzar’s office and it was thankfully subtle as outside the dark glass— Heaven’s Blade was alive and well. While the anterior of her office was unforgiving, shining onyx to all those who traipsed and danced on the club floor the inside gave her a full view to enjoy while lounging behind her long and narrow black desk. She was an impossible distance from the controversial and insanely valuable world of Sanctum; her venue having been established on ‘Rosa Decidua’ just at the edge of the Herald’s Spear. An item had been delivered to the House of leaves and would find its way clear to another galaxy as her residence was a bit of a miniature nexxus point all on its own. It was certainly nice to be so connected to those underground catacombs on that world...and so few knew of it. Or the ‘Black’ for that matter.

The parcel had simply appeared on her desk after falling onto it from what could only be called thin air and Nebuchadnezzar cocked a perfectly manicured brow at it. An old fashioned wax seal with KnB on it belied who it was from before her strange preternatural abilities revealed the sender by other means. It was just like Nabonassar to spend time using wax and a stamp even for something which would reveal itself as being quite urgent. Nebuchadnezzar sucked her teeth and smiled; breaking the seal and opening her letter while easing her long legs onto the desk and crossing them at the ankle. She’d peruse the short text while leaning back in a sleek silver and black leather chair.

’Saee, I’ve got another errand for you.’ the pale woman purred; her left index finger touching the surface of the desk and bringing up displays in blue light along with a projected image of the poor errand girl she’d taken a shine to. Saee, of pale pink eyes, stark white hair and an excess of irritating doe eyed innocence and skittishness worked in the second tier where the gambling and other games for rich and immoral fatcats were held. Nebu smiled as she heard the girl sigh and whimper as her comm-link connected with the King’s desk and put her in contact with the woman she swore was The Thing That Went Bump In The Night. Not that she’d ever given Saee a reason to be truly afraid.

’I’m leaving you in charge of Heaven’s Blade. You and Fergunna as your attache.’ She heard the young woman’s breath catch— leaving her with this much responsibility? And making one of the high tier concubine-assistants her second in command?! It was a recipe for resentment, disaster and surely some calamity. Saee imagined herself good at meeting people, making them comfortable and taking orders. And now the King-Woman had put her in charge. Surely, the Madam must have been feeling ill. Two floors above the office in the First Tier; Sae’s hands were shaking so badly that she dropped an overly expensive cocktail. ’Effective immediately. I may be gone for one hour, or, it could be a few days. Log everything, child...I’ll be reviewing your performance upon my return.’

Nebuchadnezzar could have sworn she heard a final whine of worry before cutting the link, rerouting all authorities to staff member ‘Saee Marken-Marcengt Ata-Aph’ (apparently a modest set of names in her culture) complete with a black master key card soon to be printed off and delivered to the glorified waitress and assistance and all of it was made possible by the technology in the strange desk-- it was the work of Konstantine after all and powered by one of her ingenious dummy cores much like the one contained in the shield gifted to her twin's husband. Much more could be done with the console than simply running the club, of course...

'Madam' Nebuchadnezzar stood but would pause to look out into the club. Warlords, richer members of the Dorian empire and even a few high tier hitmen and other criminals who could afford to patronize Heaven’s Blade were up to the usual: pretending to be nice to those they hated, arranging deals, hits, forming alliances and even planning wars. It was all here in her establishment….the King considered her project a wild success and especially since so many of the figures understood her position as an exalted Shuinsai royal— a Marchioness who was one of the core figures of the court. They vied for her attention, approval, participation and sometimes even her hand in marriage.

All of them were dreadfully boring to her. A faint ’Hmph.’ from behind closed lips as she began to transfer her shell and projected intelligence back onto Sanctum at the request of her brother. No one would be able to see the woman turn completely black before her skin looked almost as if it were burning like parchment— the ash that fell away would look as if she’d been filled with nothing more than hollow darkness; orange embers chasing away her form in moments and leaving intangible ash which would vanish like a shadow.

Somewhere in the Black Sun Empire, the process would bloom in reverse— burning ember blooming from a several zero-points only to expand quickly until they took the form of the obsidian woman. She would remain black as tar only for a moment before the customary hiss chased the ebon effect from her skin. Prim and proper, Nebuchadnezzar smiled at Nabonassar from across a low sitting table upon a wealth of very comfortable cushions. She was dressed in sheer white that would illicit a few stairs from the native diners; her hair pulled back in a low bun with the wealth of her pointed fringe pinned away from her forehead. She looked somewhere more between herself and Esarhaddon— the effect would be jarring to Nabonassar if he weren’t already her sibling of sorts.

’How can I be of assistance, my dear brother? It cannot be so horrific or urgent considering this quaint little empire is not in flames and the people are living and healthy.’ A strange, underhanded compliment with an insult tucked in it. By now most understood it was simply the way the Hive of Eschaton’s Will chose to address each other. Love and barbs. ’What do you require my assistance for?’
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Re: A Meeting of Minds

Post by Nabonassar on Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:30 pm

While his sister was admiring her club he sat impassive on the outside but the turmoil within was raging. He wasn’t sure approaching her was entirely wise, however without her knowledge, he would surely fail. It was true, he could have approached the collective first, should have really, but in the end, they would talk endlessly with no real action. While they were of the same origins, their opinions differed as much as any species. Each with his or her own personality matrix, and their own way of looking at the universe. Nabonassar was nervous, truely nervous, for the first time in his existence, and he could not help that little feeling of wanting to turn aside from the path he had chosen. However, he was resolute and firm in his convictions. This was the best choice. The question the collective had never asked was being asked now, by his own mind. Would he risk his life for the good of his mission? That answer, as he always believed that it would be, was yes. However, this was an important moment in his existence. When faced with the question in a hypothetical, one could shrug off the seriousness of it. He could not. Not here, not now.

When Nebuchadnezzar arrived the way she did he smiled slightly, though he did allow his brow to arch slightly at her appearance. He leaned forward and reach out to take her hand and giving it a soft squeeze, “Thank you for coming , dear sister.” The fact that his reply was utterly lacking in humor ought to be the first sign that things were not what they seemed. He could almost smell the stench of the natives occupying this very dining establishment cooking in the fires of war. He released her hand and leaned back, looking up at the ceiling of the place, “Have you ever contemplated your own mortality, darling? Because I find that my head is full of such thoughts given what I am here to ask you for.” He smiled bringing his pipe to his lips and taking a long pull that had surely cached the bowl and exhaling smoothing, the cloud of smoke billowing out and rising to the ceiling of its own accord.

He then looked at Nebuchadnezzar, “Despite the way my new homeworld appears to you, I can already hear the crackling of flames. Hear the screams of a dying people. I cannot get the butcher’s bill out of my head, and it has not even happened as yet.” He sat up and laid his pipe upon the table between them, equidistant from both of them. The exact middle of the table, negating the space such an ornate piece takes up, of course. He looked down at it, “I know you will have some arguments against what I have brought you here to help me with. I am prepared to face them, I think. At least, I have followed the course of logic based upon what I know of your personality. I believe I have come up with adequate answers. Once we are finished, I suppose your answer to my call for aid will be proof enough as to whether they were adequate or not, however I would ask that you rate them for me. I should like to know how I fare at swaying you.”

He was stalling, and that would undoubtedly be enough to tell her that what he had to ask was something she would not like hearing. However, he finally came to the point, and all before she had the chance to interrupt him, “I brought you here to ask for aid. Not for Black Sun, not for my Emperor and the Empress who guides him, but for me personally. I would like to ask for your help in breaking one of my limiters.” His pale eyes flicked up to hers, wondering what she would think of his request. How well did he really know Nebuchadnezzar? How far off would he be on his guesses of what her arguments would be? He very much resembled a schoolboy approaching his teaching with an inappropriate request.

“Please understand that I do not ask this lightly. I know the odds. I have calculated them rather closely since yours was broken. I would not ask it, were Celesin not backing us onto a very narrow bridge that comes to an abrupt end somewhere in the middle. On one side stands the idea that my new home will become part of Celesin and I will be forced to abandon it. On the other, hostile annexation in which the people of this world will be butchered.”
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Re: A Meeting of Minds

Post by Nebuchadnezzar on Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:16 am

Naturally, Nebuchadnezzar ignored the brow raised at her appearance— there was a certain shifting of image she had taken to displaying at Heaven’s Blade. Aesthetic presence had such a profound effect on the vapid and wealthy whether they were rags to riches in the underworld or had inherited titles. But it was Nabonassar reaching out to take her hand that finally made her porcelain mask crack a bit. The female King didn’t pull away but she did give him a concerned look. Her brother hadn’t even returned fire at her little quip. Something was obviously amiss.

’I come when my family needs me…’ she’d say; still looking concerned with slightly narrowed eyes. Now, she crossed her long, bare legs same as she had in the office and folded her hands in her lap. A server eased by the table to take their orders and Nebu responded in perfect local diction and accent that she would prefer a high tumbler of the culture’s famous heady spiced wine. The man who’d taken her order down seem amazed as the woman was clearly a foreigner of some sort, but, she spoke like family. In the Bazaar, the Standard tongues were used much less than in Maur Prima and the capital. One didn’t expect an outlier to have such linguistic command. Now, she’d turn her wary, concerned and even somewhat suspicious gaze back to her sibling.

’Of course I have. And often….’ Soon, the mulled wine known as Sigha arrived in a hand-blown quartz glass with endearingly unique imperfections. Likely, the family who owned the curry house made the dining accouterments themselves and no doubt sold them from another building or pavilion across the endless sprawl. ’So soon you speak of death and destruction, Nabonassar. You’ve got my attention and my concern— I will say it is refreshing to see you so invested in your chosen fief unlike so many other of our lazy siblings who have yet to engage their core purpose.’ The glass was raised to her lips and she sipped; pale eyes never leaving the matching set across from her.

Nabonassar was already poisoning the well, or rather, he was tenderizing her for something she clearly wasn’t going to want to do. He may as well cut to the chase— and she was tempted to prompt him as such...but there was something about his disposition that stayed Nebuchadnezzar’s hand. A certain vulnerability she knew had to come with an ache for him. And so, the woman-King sighed and tilted her visage at him; fully engaged. Until, of course he cut to the quick and asked her to remove one of his limiters.

’And you’re not joking? Really?’ she’d ask; briefly going wide eyed at the audacity of asking her to do something so risky and so taboo. ’You must understand the only reason I am not rising from this seat and immediately leaving this venue is because you claim to have predicted my arguments against taking such a risk and nearly or surely killing you— if not further destabilizing the cohesion of our entire hive. Not to mention you’ve gone and said the magic word.’ Another sip as she continued to eye him over the rim of the quartz glass.

’Celesin.’ While in a sense she did not possess anywhere near as much loathing and hatred for Emperor Mesiphidon and his ever expanding intergalactic ant farm as most boasted, she had a clear and present loyalty to the Shuinsai clan first and second, as Kings, Nabonassar’s request wasn’t completely outside of the core tenets that drove their entire existence. But he was so young, only a year or two old after Nabopolassar’s core had fully destabilized and caused the exact sort of ego death his new incarnation was begging her to think past. No one in the Borgism understood why Nabopolassar had “died”...Nebu suspected it was a self inflicted scenario none too different from this one.

’Even if I break your initial limiter and you survive— much less trusting me enough to assume I can figure out how to do it which I must say is quite humbling and very flattering— do you really believe you could, with equivalent power to myself single-handedly save the Black Sun from Celesin annexation or violence? This is a small, far from advanced empire. Beautiful, rich in culture, valuable, unique, planet-locked...and very delicate. Their militant capabilities are downright pathetic in comparison to Celesin— much less any other space faring empire. All that would save them is the apparent alliance with my family, the Shuinsai. With the backing of the Dorian Empire behind them. And you may not know Arcerion as well as I do...he may not see the tactical benefits of assisting in a head on defense against the most prolific and efficient warmonger quite possibly in existence.’

A pause.

’Before you ask this of me, have you not considered simply suggesting the doll-like empress acquiesce to Mesiphidon’s whims— for now?’
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Re: A Meeting of Minds

Post by Nabonassar on Wed Aug 17, 2016 10:08 am

Nabonassar was a practical being, and as such he had added the local languages to his codex as well, and asked the server for the same as Nebuchadnezzar. He lifted his pipe as he let his sister get it all out of her system. All of the questions, compliments and idle curiosities. He repacked the bowl and placed the stem between his teeth, lighting it with a flame that flickered above his index finger. He drew deeply on it, to calm his nerves, and then released the cloud of smoke toward the ceiling before he refocused his gaze upon Nebuchadnezzar, “My dear sister, have you ever known me to do anything halfway? This little empire, quaint as it may be, is my home now. I wish for nothing more than for it to remain that way. So when you ask me if I have considered telling her Majesty to accept the terms, rest assured that I have. But let me ask you something in return. A hypothetical, if you will. Say that Mesiphidon knows of our core purpose. Say then, that I advise her to accept the terms. Logically, it would follow that I left Black Sun. As it is no longer a nation of its own, it requires no King to guide it. Therefore, if I stayed, he would suspect treachery at every turn. Does that sound as though it would make for a peaceful, prosperous union? Would the terms have been accepted fully? No, dear sister. I’m afraid not.”

He took another long draw on his pipe and sighed out the lungful of smoke, “As for whether or not I can single-handedly stave off annexation by Celesin. . .” He waved his pipe-wielding hand in a dismissive gesture, “Perish the thought, darling. I have no illusions of doing any such thing. However, it would give Mesiphidon. . . pause. And for him to pause is all that I need. All that I need to prepare for their coming. To investigate a more permanent solution.” This, he thought, was something that she would understand. She knew the benefits of playing the long game. She knew, in fact, that Nabonassar was a being of supreme intellect and yet capable of creative thought. In short, he was an idea guy. If anyone could come up with a viable idea for a permanent measure to stave off warmongering Celesin, it would be him. He might need a little help from Konstantine along the way, but he was sure that he could convince her to help him. Konstantine was a tinkerer, and tinkerers always delighted in a challenge. The new, the innovative.

Nabonassar looked Nebuchadnezzar square in the eye, “You know, I honestly would have said, had anyone ever asked, that you knew me best. In many ways we are so very much alike. However, in this one respect, I think we differ greatly. You see, when I commit to something, failure is not an option for me, Nebuchadnezzar. And failure is what accepting these terms would be. I would rather sacrifice my life doing what I believe to be best for my nation than fail and have tried nothing. For what is an advisor who is not willing to put his own life on the line to save the nation he serves? Nothing. I would be willing to bet that Ghanima still suspects that I have ulterior motives for coming here. What better way to prove to her that I am Black Sun’s man than to risk my life for it?”

He shook his head and sighed, leaning back from the table slightly, reaching his empty hand up to run through his hair and then comb down his beard with curled fingers, “As for whether or not you can figure out how to do it, I have faith in you. Faith that you would not abandon me in my hour of need. If a way exists, and I am sure it does, you will find it. Because if there is one thing you should know about me, dear sister, it is this: Failure would be worse than death. Of that you can rest assured.”

And with that Nabonassar passed the metaphorical ball back into her court. He liked to consider himself a being of convictions. One who would sacrifice everything for that which he believed in. Now that they came to it, Nebuchadnezzar was testing how far he would take it. He would take it to the very end. He would not waver, he would not falter. If the one being he considered himself closest to denied him, he would go in search of something else who might know how he could increase his power. If he was being honest with himself, there was roughly one percent of himself that desired the power for power’s sake, however it was mere curiosity. What would it feel like, to have that much power? To be the equal of a being Celesin called a god?
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Re: A Meeting of Minds

Post by Nebuchadnezzar on Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:13 am

The pale King watched her male mirror image remove his pipe and immediately produced a palladium cigarette clutch of her own with black leather binding. Where she had been carrying it on that risque ensemble of hers was a complete mystery— but surely, it wasn’t so important that Nabonassar might find himself wondering.

’Well, if you’re going to smoke…,’ mumbled Nebuchadnezzar; fetching one of her ever present clove, myrrh and kratom. She’d even sneak toward the light digit her brother produced before he could extinguish and retract it. Fragrant smoke would curl around them both and the woman would wait and allow him to speak while taking several drags. Once he was finished there would be a small moment of silence where it may seem like she had nothing to say before a chuckle escaped her lips along with a small puff of fog.

’What could you possibly have to “prove” to Ghanima or the Black Sun? She is being blessed in more ways than she understands simply by having one of us decide to approach her dais. Well, if she were a smart woman she would understand this, just to say.’ More smoke billowed from her nostrils just before she’d wave a hand and continue her line of thought. ’I shouldn’t be unkind considering our family’s idea of exceptional intelligence is a rather high and harsh one. She comes off to me as a very competent leader who could possibly hold her own in the grand scheme of things. It is simple fate and misfortune that she was born into such a vulnerable and unevolved Kingdom— and don’t get me wrong, I am not insulting your pet empire. Its very beautiful. But you, brother shepard; obviously understand it is a sheep amongst the wolves.’

Another stretch of staring at him. Nabonassae would likely be able to recognize every outcome being calculated behind her eyes at quantum speed. Millions if not billions of possibilities, chances weighed by an intelligence capable of conceptualizing in the exponential fashion and not linear. And then, she sighed and shook her head at him with an expression somewhere between loving concern and supreme annoyance. It was a big deal, that— Nebuchadnezzar losing absolute control over her porcelain mask.

’I’ll decide within two days. You may come to see me in Heaven’s Blade after the forty-eight hour period ends. I have a demand to make of you that, should you not honor it, the answer will be a final and firm no regardless because even as a King with all limiters you are still the sum of all potential: work with the Empress to call upon her alliance with my family, the Shuinsai and all of the Dorian Empire. Arcerion wasn’t joking when he offered that woman you’re so fascinated with his sword,’ The woman stubbed her cigarillo out on her palm and frowned before sipping her drink. It was powerfully flavored and she uttered a sound of appreciation. ’That is what would likely give someone like Mesiphidon ‘pause’. Because I think you may be wrong about how he ticks, brother. He’s married to our sister, after all. And my twin. You make dangerous assumptions as for all we have learned about him through the hive, I am sure he has gleaned quite a bit about us. I suggest you think a touch more outside of the box, as they say.’
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Re: A Meeting of Minds

Post by Nabonassar on Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:56 pm

Nabonassar smiled and shook his head, “Dearest Nebuchadnezzar. Do you honestly believe that I would be here asking for your assistance in this matter if I did not firmly believe that Sergei would steer Ghanima toward the proper course of action on that front? If you think of the coming war as a chess game, You have Celesin on one side and Black Sun upon the other. Now, we could never hope to match their forces alone, so the majority of our pieces will come from the alliance with Dorian. They will help us populate the board. But Mesiphidon is the Queen. The most powerful piece in play that can take any action the hand that wields it chooses. But even with Dorian surrounding us, we do not have a Queen of our own. And so I ask you to make me into that piece. I will be our champion in the face of Mesiphidon’s wrath.”

He smacked the bowl of his pipe against his palm, knocking the ashes loose before he blew the off to one side. He sighed deeply, “But if you wish, I will ensure that Dorian receives the call to arms against Celesin. With both Sergei and I advocating such a call, I believe Ghanima will acquiesce.” He looked at her with one of his most serious expression and she could see the cogs turning in his head for a final statement. He leaned forward, “Allow me to say one final thing on the subject before you go. The players on Sanctum are of a kind that my Empress and her people unprepared to cope with. While Arcerion’s friendship seems noble, if asked to describe that creature in one word I would offer ‘insidious’ in reply. ‘Patient’ would also work.”

He shook his head, finishing his beverage and standing, “I must protect these people, Nebuchadnezzar. This is not a culture that supports powerful meta-users or beings who feed upon the emotions of others to give them power. These people need protection and guidance from someone who is as devoted to the culture as they are, and if need be I will suffer permanent ego death in an attempt to fulfill that ideal. I will see you in two days.” He turned from her and stepped immediately into a spacial anomaly and leaving his sibling alone. Nabonassar had clearly developed into a being of conviction and principles rapidly.
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Re: A Meeting of Minds

Post by Solvictus on Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:02 pm

Nabonassar would hear something unique when he passed through the spacial anomaly. This voice didn't carry one tone, but shifted like a radio through multiple voices and pitches. Nabonassar could pass it off, or he could acknowledge something was prying and hear it out.

Should Nabonassar allow the voice to speak clearly, here is what he would hear, "Loyalty... Prosperity... Justice... Free me and I promise my loyalty to you..."

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