tagSci-Fi & FantasyAmbassador's Life Ch. 03

Ambassador's Life Ch. 03


When Ambassador Abel Kalitz (along with his much despised Akrosian escorts) arrived in the Grand Hall of the Council of Magnates, he saw General Hatrit of the Akrosian Imperial Marines sitting on the chair traditionally reserved for the head of the Council of Magnates. This hardly surprised him, but what did shock him was that Admiral Dopar of the Imperial Akrosian Space Fleet attended this meeting herself. Apparently, this audience was too important for the head of the Occupational Authority; the Commander of the Joint Expeditionary Force was pulling rank with him.

"General Hatrit and Admiral Dopar, I greet you in the name of the Federation of West Asia, whose Ambassador and representative I am. I have come in answer to your official summons. I must formally protest your actions on behalf of my government, however. My government regards unprovoked aggression, conquest, and military occupation as crimes against peace and the rights of sovereign peoples.

"Nevertheless, I suppose that protests are useless. Your government has taken this course of action and it is irrevocable. You must continue on this path.

"The Federation of West Asia is neutral in this dispute, as we do not get involved in other planets' wars. We will not interfere in any way with your occupation, nor will we assist it in any manner. Whatever happens is not our affair. I am here for the purpose of representing the Federation of West Asia on this world, nothing else. I hereby present my credentials to you, the existing government of this world," Kalitz introduced himself.

An unidentified man in a very familiar uniform then walked into the chamber, his hair suddenly displayed by the removal of his cap. He smirked wickedly as he stared at the Ambassador, and then stood at attention.

"This is Captain Han Xiao of the People's Liberation Army Space Service. He is serving as an advisor to Her Majesty's Imperial Marines and the Occupational Authority. The People's Republic of China was nice enough to loan us his services. I believe that you are aware of that nation, being from Earth," Admiral Dopar announced coldly, her white eyes staring at Abel without any evident feelings.

"Yes, the Federation of West Asia has had diplomatic relations with China since it was founded. It is one of the 12 sovereign nations of Earth. I must admit to being stunned by this fact, as the Chinese have a very different form of government than your Empire. They are ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, not a monarch, and have been for the past 220 years," the Ambassador stated with feigned nonchalance, while privately seething about this alliance between 2 despicable governments. What happened to Akros's traditional unilateralism? It would be more useful to him in this situation.

"The other ten nations being: the United States of America, the European Union, the African Union, the Pacific Confederacy, the South Asian Confederation, the Federation of Eurasian Republics, the Commonwealth of Australasia, the Union of Balkan States, the Anglo-Canadian Empire, and the Latin Social Republic?" General Hatrit asked.

"That would be correct. The FER is the largest country and Australasia is the smallest," Kalitz replied with a continued façade to hide his sense of outrage.

"Our reasons for dealing with the Chinese and not some other nation have little to do with ideology. We don't care what political system your Earth states have; they are too far away to spread their contagions. The Dekerin Domains, however, have a warrior tradition that could be trouble for us in the future. If they should ever seek to expand their territory beyond its present limits or impose their ideology on other worlds, we would see a reversion to primitive economic and political models that would endanger the rights of the Empress and her successors. The recent war with Macureus escalates that risk.

"We do not care what happens to Macureus, but we saw our opportunity to strike the Dekerins when they were distracted. The Macureans and Vorindun are likely to avoid trouble with us in the future. Akros will be the most powerful world in the solar system. So, you see, this is a pre-emptive strike. We are not trying to harm an innocent people. We are simply adding a primitive civilization to Her Majesty's Empire.

"Anyway, the People's Republic of China showed the most aptitude and interest in participating, as well as asking a reasonable price: access to files from the Imperial Sub-Ministry of Patents and Copyrights. I don't know why they care about that, but it is a bargain for the expertise they offered us for the invasion and occupation. There is no 'crime' here at all," General Hatrit commented.

I take it that intellectual property is not an important principle to your society? The reason that the Chinese want access to your files is simple: they want to sell some of your technology to other nations and worlds without paying you any royalties, as they would have to do with any human nation.

I'm guessing that you suspect as much, but your government is deliberately forsaking revenue for military assistance. You must REALLY hate the Dekerins to go along with that, pretending to be naïve about Beijing's intentions. It sounds like the kind of understanding that the Americans had with China in the late 20th century, before they realized that the Communist Chinese couldn't be trusted. The only difference was that America wanted markets and cheap labor instead of military aid, Kalitz thought.

This changes everything for my country and me, you fools. We were prepared to stay neutral in this conflict, because we wanted to avoid interplanetary entanglements. Now you have meddled with our world, enabling the Red Chinese to get a corner on YOUR technology, no less. This technology can and will be used by the Beijing regime to increase its balance of trade, upgrade its industries, and strengthen its armed forces.

Since you are tampering with the natural development of our planet, we will return the favor. I will strongly urge my government to warn other nations on Earth of what China intends and seek its permission to help the Dekerin resistance, whatever form it might take. I will also try to get the Macureans and Vorindun to oppose your foreign policy, possibly by force. I have learned some things about them and will use that knowledge to my benefit. I will even attempt to help any underground dissident movement on your world.

"I understand, General. Should I call you 'Governor' now? That is the traditional title for the administrators of political entities within a state on my world, you know. I gather that Admiral Dopar will not be gracing most of these meetings with you, as she must need to return to her spaceship soon. I will have to say to you, as I did to Lieutenant Aldenar here, that I do NOT need a security detail from the Imperial Marines or the Occupational Authority. I have my own security people from the Federation Defense Forces. They are quite capable of protecting me, I promise you," Abel spoke aloud.

"That is your opinion, Ambassador. I have to respect it, just as I have to accept your credentials. Nevertheless, I do not have to abide by it. Lieutenant Aldenar remains at the Embassy with you, in order to guarantee your safety and that of the Embassy staff. You can keep your own security force, as there can be no such thing as too much protection. You are dismissed for now and by all means call me 'Governor'. I like the title very much," General Hatrit reacted.

Ambassador Kalitz left in a huff, though he didn't tell the General and Admiral, of course. What was the problem with these arrogant Akrosians? They thought that they were entitled to distort entire worlds and affect their evolution, just for their own twisted purposes. He would DEFINITELY contact the Dekerin resistance, assuming that there would be such a thing. As they were a "warrior" people, he had no real doubts of that.

What he found most intriguing was the fact that these Akrosians had no real purpose to invade, outside of paranoia about the militaristic nature of the Dekerin aristocracy. This fear was exacerbated by the Empress's disgust with the social inequality and male chauvinism of Dekerin society. Essentially, she mistrusted and disliked the Dekerin Domains, which was her motivation in waging what Kalitz could only term a "crusade". Ideology and an almost religious brand of intolerance were the justifications that Her Imperial Majesty used for this conflict.

There were no rational, practical goals here: no serious financial motives existed to exploit a world considerably poorer in technology and resources than Akros itself. The whole reason for Dekeris's war with Macureus was to win control of disputed mining colonies, which would improve the Domains' economy. In the long run, the inevitable victory of the Macurean Star Forces would cause that world to profit more from the invasion than Akros.

There was no sexual motivation, either. Akros was a civilization where the sexes were totally equal and practiced serial monogamy. Nor was swinging allowed. No individuals could agree to an open marriage. There was a standard contract, enforceable by Imperial law, which lasted for exactly 5 years and could NOT be renewed. Any extramarital activity was punishable by assignment to a penal colony for the remainder of the contract. Even the wronged party was forbidden to retaliate in kind. This was to be expected on a planet whose motto was "Unity, Equality, and Conformity".

Such was the dedication to equality that even the monarchy was affected. The ruler chose his or her successor and had to name someone with proven quality, who could not be from the same sex as his or her predecessor. Upon the death or abdication of an Emperor or Empress, that nominee (who was traditionally a protégé instead of a relative) was enthroned. This system was known as "rotating accession".

The consort of the monarch was not exempt from the Expiration, as the obligatory end of a marriage term was known. This was why no permanent title was awarded to the mate (the gender specific terms of "husband" and "wife" were politically unacceptable) of a potentate.

Therefore, most Akrosian soldiers were unlikely to benefit from the military occupation by mating with locals. Premarital intercourse happened, but only in the context of a "steady relationship". Furthermore, interspecies copulation was a capital offense, with the condemned brutally tortured to death (the execution involved mutilation of the genitals). Anything "socially imprudent" was deemed "nonconformist" and therefore a crime.

Since all of the logical causes were eliminated, Ambassador Kalitz had to conclude that the situation boded ill for the Dekerin people. The only goal of the invasion was to eradicate a threat; this was precisely the kind of paranoid thinking that led to the 20th Century Holocaust instituted by Adolph Hitler. The Empress could easily decide to adopt a policy of extermination, if she hadn't already. Conquerors who had financial or sexual purposes for aggression were less likely to practice genocide, as it would be wasteful and counterproductive.

The Ambassador finally arrived at the Embassy, where he was greeted anxiously by Prima and Secunda. Eupas and the rest of the native staff were also nervous, as they wondered what had happened to their world and its government. The Federation's security detail, which was mostly composed of Yemeni Arab veterans, viewed the Akrosian military presence with obvious suspicion. They clearly thought the Imperial Marines capable of ruthless behavior such as assassination.

"Ambassador, these people are not necessary here. I hope you protested their meddling with our duties and violation of our sovereignty. There is no reason to put you in 'protective custody'. It sounds suspiciously like house arrest," Major Imam Ali Mohammed al-Kareem of the Federation Defense Forces Security Corps complained in his native Arabic.

"Certainly, Major. However, we are NOT in a position to do much about it. There are 3 battalions of Akrosian Imperial Marines in this city alone. That's at least 1500 men and women, well-armed, answering to a monarch from another planet who has their absolute loyalty. Your ancestors were sovereigns in their own right, so you know what that means to many subjects.

"The Akrosians are fanatical royalists and there are 28 of them in the protective detail. They have laser rifles and pistols, plus hand grenades and serrated knives. It would be unwise to do something that ends with all of us either dead or in some kind of gulag," Kalitz told him in the same language.

"I understand, sir. We will do our job within the constraints imposed on us by this arrangement. By Allah, however, we do not have to be pleased about it.

"I am rather curious about their reason for attacking this world, after all. From what I have heard, these Akrosians are strictly monogamous during their wretched short-term marriages, so this is not about females. In any case, there are plenty of those in their military, if ever they should decide to break their laws.

"Then there is money; this world is not going to yield them much financially, so why bother? There are no women and no wealth, which are the usual motives for conquest. I would have to call this the Akrosian version of jihad. In the past, a small percentage of my people were caught up in foolish ideas of shoving Islam down people's throats, whether they wanted it or not. This was mostly believed during the late 20th Century and early 21st.

"It also resembles the Communists and their push throughout most of the 20th Century to achieve 'world revolution' by force. They have the same basic idea: invade and coerce this world into altering its political system.

"The same was true with President Bush of the USA in the year 2003, when he tried to make Iraq a democracy by taking it over. While he had some success, the country ended up splitting into Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish fiefdoms after the US eventually left Iraq. It didn't really move toward freedom and democracy until the Iraqi Revolution of 2060, after the people of the Shiite and Sunni zones got tired of fundamentalism and rose up against the mullahs. It is an academic question even today whether his action delayed or accelerated the liberation.

"My point is that I fear for these people. Your own people have been victims of genocide in the past and it wouldn't surprise me if the Akrosians had the same plan for the inhabitants of this world. If so, may Allah help them, whatever the state of their souls in His sight," the Major declared, this time in Hebrew.

"Yes, the Crusades and the jihad DO come to mind, along with the Holocaust and Stalin's Purges. You are clearly a sensible and compassionate man, Ali. No wonder your wives love you so much. Just be careful. You're lucky that the Akrosians don't know Arabic or Hebrew, just Chinese and English. Typical fools, only bothering to learn the most popular languages from our world," Abel replied.

"Excuse me, but I don't appreciate being confused by your discussion. Will you please speak Akrosian, English, or Mandarin?" Aldenar objected, inadvertently illustrating Kalitz's point.

"We were talking about his family, Lieutenant. He is very concerned about one of his mothers-in-law. She seems to be stricken with pneumonia," the Ambassador lied in English.

"Pneumonia? What is that?" the bewildered Lieutenant inquired.

"It is a fatal disease of the lungs. If it infects both of them, death happens imminently. He was invoking Allah, his God, to try to help her," Kalitz deceived him.

"He does not worship the Equals? I have heard that no one bows to the Duality on your world, but it seems very strange for such an advanced culture not to do so. Who is this 'Allah'? Is he or she your God as well?" Aldenar probed.

"The Major here is a Yemeni Arab and, like most of them, a Muslim. That means that he worships Allah and no other God. They practice a very strict monotheistic religion based on simplicity, social justice, and asceticism. He is of the Sunni sect, the majority branch of that faith. He is also the direct descendant of a dynasty that ruled his people until about 200 Earth years ago," Abel informed him.

"Why did you say ONE of his mothers-in-law? He has more than one? Is he polygamous?" the Lieutenant demanded.

"Yes, he has 3 wives. They are very smart and passionate women, from what he has told me. I think that he would prefer death to divorcing any of them. He treats them EQUALLY, as his faith commands a Muslim who practices plural marriage. That should please you, with all of your emphasis on equality," the Ambassador explained sardonically.

"I gather that you find the Empire's motto amusing? I suppose it's possible that one person's custom is another person's deviation. I am mated to a female, but she lives on the home planet. We have 3 months left until the Expiration and I will look for another mate. It is no real inconvenience to me for that reason. A season of celibacy is tolerable enough and I have no interest in spending that time in prison," Aldenar responded.

"You are the first Akrosian that I have heard expressing ANY tolerance for other worlds' traditions. That is progress, but I wouldn't spoke too freely. You might end up in serious trouble with your superiors. Conformity is part of the motto, too, if I recall correctly," Abel noted.

"Yes. I follow orders from my superiors, Ambassador. My own views matter not. Only the will of the Empress and the orders that Her Majesty's officers give me count," Lieutenant Aldenar stood, then saluted and walked outside to inspect a squad.

"Amazing lack of respect for individuality, isn't it? Even the smartest, most independent of them dare not criticize their beloved despot. However, I think THAT one will be as much trouble for their regime in the long run as he will be for the Dekerins. He has too much curiosity to fall into lockstep with the Empress forever. He has 'revolutionary' and 'mutineer' written all over his face," Kalitz commented.

"True. He doesn't look like a man given to blind obedience. People like him are his world's best chance for escaping tyranny and terror," Ali agreed.

"Indeed, but there are other issues. I have to contact the Federation Foreign Ministry and let them know the worst part. The Red Chinese are helping the Akrosians with their operations here, in exchange for access to files about patents and copyrights. This is a serious matter. They are tampering with the political development of Earth for their own purposes. They MUST be stopped now.

"There will be no neutrality soon, though we might pretend to be neutral for a while. Perhaps Eupas and some of the others can contact people and find out whether there is an emerging resistance movement of some kind. I also need to know if anyone from the Council of Magnates has survived the attack, as they might be useful to leading Dekerin patriots against the occupation," the Ambassador instructed him.

Kalitz then withdrew to his main office and initiated communications with the Foreign Ministry to brief it about the situation. It took a couple of minutes to achieve the connection, at which point the Deputy Foreign Minister for Embassies and Consulates acknowledged his notice. She was a 50 year old woman with surprisingly European looks and a graduate of the University of Istanbul. Mira Cemalek wore no veil, but she was hardly the most traditional Muslim anyway. She was a divorced career diplomat with only one child and a fondness for vodka.

"Deputy Foreign Minister Mira Cemalek here, prepared for the briefing," she announced in Turkish.

"Ambassador Extraordinary Abel Kalitz here, Madame Deputy Minister. I have some rather infuriating news for you. You might be aware by now that the Akrosian Empire has invaded the Dekerin Domains. I have just found out something even worse. The Chinese government is assisting them militarily with advisors, on the condition of getting access to copyright and patent files. They are trying to use this situation to gain strategic, tactical, and logistical advantages over the rest of us.

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