Liane Vlui And Violet Discuss Politics 9th Of June

[18:27] <Liane> A bit of time had passed since the conclusion of Liane and Rora's investigation on the surface of Ahsa's Berth, and by extension, the seventy-two hour period beyond which they would know that their countermeasure to the Overseers' Siege Virus had, in fact, succeeded.-
[18:28] <Liane> Now, an ill-rested Liane was nonetheless acquiring a decent meal aboard the Valletta, a plate of meat and potato stew of some kind - something simple, hearty, and warm, the perfect comfort food for an exhausted investigator like her.-
[18:28] <Liane> Nonetheless, her work for the day was not yet done. There was one other person she wanted to consult with; one she hoped would not be offended by her asking, but whom she figured was probably the resident expert on a subject of particular importance.-
[18:33] <Liane> Such were the circumstances that led Liane Meier to unceremoniously plop herself down at a table near Calligrapher-of-the-Ultraviolet-Links of House Drawing-Shadows-With-Fire, or more colloquially, Violet of House Shadowfire. "… I wish I had time to relax," she lamented, "but there's something I need to know for Captain Hyuga's likely benefit, particularly if we're likely to clash
[18:33] <Liane> with the Overseer Empire again."
[18:36] <Minaplo> ["I'm happy to help, if I can." Said Violet, nursing a glass of juice that drained apparently into thin air.]
[18:40] * Liane nodded. "Then I'll get right to it. How much do you know about this weapon of theirs? We were able to swiftly develop a countermeasure this time thanks to Dr. Khalef… but I would not depend on that particular trump card succeeding twice, and I would not bet on us not having to face this 'siege virus' again."-
[18:42] <Liane> A frown. "It was harrowing enough when the target of their atrocity was a race we barely know on a planet we've never heard of. So what I'm wondering is how much work we could do in advance towards crafting a countermeasure in the event that they turn it on yours or mine."
[18:52] <Minaplo> ["Ah."-
[18:56] <Minaplo> ["The Siege Virus… I know both a great deal and not enough about it." Said Violet. "The Overseer military uses the Siege Virus as a matter of standard operation. Not only do they feel no shame over it, they consider almost any other method of conquering a planet to be worse."]
[19:03] * Liane frowned deeply. "From their perspective, they must think it's a way to claim a planet at minimal risk to themselves while inflicting minimal damage on the natural fauna and flora." She shook her head, clearly disgusted. "… The use of a weapon like that is unforgivable under any circumstances, if you ask me. But…" She breathed in slowly. "Are we much better if we wage an aggressive
[19:03] * Liane war against them to stop them from using it?"
[19:13] <Minaplo> ["That's similar to the argument they typically use." Said Violet. "The truth is, almost every spacefaring civilization has had to invade another planet. The Defectors are no exception."-
[19:14] <Minaplo> ["Most of those invasions are bloody and devastating. How would the Federation conduct a planetary invasion? Would a hundred thousand Immortals produce a result that satisfies ethical and strategic requirements?"-
[19:15] <Minaplo> ["The truth is, and I hate to admit it, but the Siege Virus is used because it works. Most planets surrender within the first sixty hours." Said Violet. "If you had a weapon that could end a siege bloodlessly within half a week…?"]
[19:19] <Liane> "…It would be very difficult to resist the temptation to use it, yes," Liane admitted. "It's a question we have faced before, in the past, in our own internal wars before we were the Twiceborn Federation. Many years ago, now… about a hundred."-
[19:21] * Liane tapped her foot absentmindedly. "And I suppose that if you somehow removed the capability of using the Siege Virus from the table, it would not stop the Overseer Empire from moving to conquer other planets, would it? It would simply force them to use cruder methods."
[19:22] <Minaplo> ["The Siege Virus is hard to repel. Each Dreadnought has a strain, and they resequence it after every use, meaning we need to re-learn a good deal about it before we can act. But even then…"-
[19:23] <Minaplo> ["Yes. There is a reason they still have the Warfriends as slaves." Said Violet. "If a planet is not worth invading, then they level its central government and key infrastructure from orbit. If it is, then they unleash… Ten million? A hundred million? As many Warfriends as they need, until the planet falls."]
[19:27] <Liane> "So if we got ourselves into a state of open war with them, it sounds like it would only be a game of cat-and-mouse that ends when their resources overwhelm our tenacity…" Liane frowned. It couldn't be that simple, could it? "What do they do with the population of planets that do surrender?"
[19:29] <Minaplo> ["It depends." Said Violet. "If-"-
[19:30] <Minaplo> [Violet turned to his left. Sitting at a nearby table- armed guard not far away- was a tall, imperious Devoted- Admiral Vlui. She was staring at Violet and Liane with wide, focused eyes.]
[19:33] <Liane> "…That may have been a poor choice of metaphor," Liane admitted.
[19:44] <Minaplo> ["I do not understand what you mean by that, but by all means, continue to explain what happens to the populations of surrendered planets." Said Vlui seriously.-
[19:49] <Minaplo> ["Of course." Said Violet smoothly. "Well. If the species is one they have had little dealings with before, then they will take test subjects from the general population. If the species belongs to one of the dedicated slave species, then the bulk of the population will be redistributed across the Empire over time."-
[19:50] <Minaplo> ["But the Overseers do not turn every species they conquer into a dedicated slave caste. There are dozens of species in the Empire, and many of them are vassal states that are overseen by an Imperial governor, but left to their own internal affairs so long as they provide troops and taxes."-
[19:51] <Minaplo> ["Some of those species haven't even developed proper spaceflight. On one planet, the Overseers simply posed as gods and took control of the priesthood."]
[19:59] <Liane> "… Which brings us to not only the question of why they saw fit to insert themselves in the Devoted's civil war, but why they choose the Freepath side and not the Shrinepath side…" She looked at Vlui, as if wondering if the Admiral had some insight on the matter.
[20:04] <Minaplo> ["The Shrinepath has no 'gods'." Said Vlui. "We believe the universe is, in nature, spiritual, but we do not believe it manifests as some divine entity that gives us decrees from on high."-
[20:05] <Minaplo> ["True enough, Admiral." Said Violet. "And most species that advance to space whilst maintaining a religion are wise enough to tell a charlatan from the real thing. No, I think the explanation is easy: the Overseers did not care which side wins, they simply wish to weaken the Devoted as a whole, and they chose the Freepath because they were desperate enough to receive foreign aid."]
[20:11] <Liane> "But now we all are stuck in a difficult situation, because if a peace were somehow brokered between the Shrinepath and Freepath, the Overseers might well just turn on both, no…?"
[20:12] <Minaplo> ["That depends on the attitude of the Sector Master, and the orders they have been given." Said Violet. "Let me explain something…"-
[20:13] <Minaplo> ["The Overseer Empire is very much its own beast. The citizens- that is, the Overseer population- is republican, raucous and frequently shifting in political stances. This leads to a rough cycle of behaviour…"-
[20:14] <Minaplo> ["Firstly, the Empire finds itself controlled by the militarist parties. This leads to war preparations, which in turn lead to a massive offensive on most neighbouring territories."-
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["This usually gains them a lot of territory but leads to a violent backlash from the rest of the galaxy. Within a few decades, enough families have lost enough members to cause a shift to the anti-war parties."-
[20:38] <Minaplo> ["A peace is negotiated, and the Empire becomes heavily isolationist. They engage in little foreign adventures, or overtures, for a very long time." Said Violet.-
[20:39] <Minaplo> ["Then a party supporting open relations takes control, and the Empire has a 'warming' phase. It makes treaties. It does some trade. It sends tourists out to take in the galaxy."-
[20:39] <Minaplo> ["During this phase, the Empire engages in some military action, but the will for a long-term engagement against powerful foes is lacking."-
[20:40] <Minaplo> ["Eventually, however, something about the galaxy alarms the Empire and jolts it into remembering that it hates everyone. The militarist faction rises to the top and it all starts again." Said Violet.-
[20:40] <Minaplo> ["My suspicion is that at the moment, the Empire is in its 'warm' phase… Meaning that it is willing to knock over easy targets, but lacks the desire to be involved in a sucking-wound war."]
[20:41] <Liane> "So if we make it apparent to them that we are not an easy target… we would have less to fear, in theory."
[20:47] <Minaplo> ["In the short term." Said Violet. "Defectors and Overseers have long lives, longer memories, and longest of all are our grudges. If we humiliate them or show our strength too fiercely, then they will decide that we are a threat to be eradicated."]
[20:52] * Liane nodded. "No doubt you know much of surviving the Overseers' ire."
[21:07] <Minaplo> ["Yes. In truth, the fact that we Defectors are part of your Federation is going to be a warning sign as is. Nonetheless, they've been content to leave us lie before, so long as they think our friends are weak."]
[21:19] * Liane frowned. "… What do you think their goal really was, using the Siege Virus on Ahsa's Berth?"
[21:23] <Minaplo> ["I think it's as simple as the Conqueror wanting access to the ruins."]

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