Skyfire Avenue. Council Hall
The floor space of the classically beautiful Council Hall was quite large, nearly three hundred square meters. The walls were covered in famous paintings, awash in dark red adornments, lending a simplistic but beautiful atmosphere.
A dozen people sat on either side of a long table. With the Clairvoyant at it’s head, the total count stood at thirteen.
The Wine Master sat to the left of the Clairvoyant, and beside him was Lan Jue. The Gourmet took up the third position.
The Clairvoyant lifted his hand and gently rapped upon the tabletop. All eyes turned to him.
“All council members on Skyfire have gathered, the other five away on business in other planets.” There was an odd charm to the aging man’s features. Every eye was upon him, and though they revealed no emotion a deep respect lay in each gaze.
Elder of Skyfire Avenue, Chairman of the Council, the Clairvoyant was for all intents and purposes the brain of Skyfire Avenue.
He continued. “I’ve called this emergency gathering in order to resolve an urgent matter. Today, a government official was sent to meet me…”
Hearing this Lan Jue’s eye twitched. An official from the Eastern Alliance government? What did he want?
“Diplomatic emissaries have been dispatched from the Citadel of the Western Alliance’s Pontiff, and have indicated they wish an exchange with us here at Skyfire Avenue. The government officer intimated that he wished us to agree to this exchange.”
Was this revenge from the Western Alliance? Lan Jue was surprised, but quickly banished the thought. The Austin family was certainly influential in the Western Alliance, but they certainly had no means to employ the might of the Pontiff. The Pontiff’s Citadel was to the Western Alliance what Skyfire Avenue was to the East, only more illustrious still as all held high stations of power. It was highly unlikely that a political fiasco like the failed wedding would inspire them to make a move.
For the Clairvoyant to attach so much importance to this correspondence, to display apprehension over the exchange, was unusual indeed.
With the onset of the New Era, Mecha sciences and development advanced quickly, soon becoming an integral component of the battlefield. The Three Alliance all spared no expense or effort in creating the latest mechas, or training the best pilots.
Though on the surface the Three Alliances lived in harmony, in practice the border planets between the three often saw conflict.
In addition to the advance of Mechas, on the battlefield each unit required exceptional pilots to dictate the flow of war. A pilot had to be athletic, with high genetic Talent, thus making training an exceptional warrior more likely. As a result Adepts also received a fair amount of attention.
Adepts were separated in to several groupings. Those who possessed awakened innate talents were called Intuitives. Adepts of the Eastern Alliance mostly fell in to that category. All of the Adepts who lived on Skyfire Avenue were Intuitives, and that was in fact a prerequisite for membership.
Those who acquired talents later, through special means designed to manipulate genetics, were called Derivatives. These constituted most of the Western Alliance, and the Alliance was second to none in the study of the medicines needed for genetic manipulation. There were two organizations representative of the Western Derivatives; the Pontiff’s Citadel and the Dark Citadel. The two were, naturally, at odds. Though both names indicated locations, in truth it was just the name of their organizations.
Other than these two groups of talents there was a third, wherein machinery was joined with the body to create a high-tech conglomerate of flesh and metal. Gene manipulation and robots joined to endow great power. These were called Converts.
The Northern Alliance was the most technologically developed, thus did they possess the most Converts, who themselves were gathered in to a group they called the Great Conclave.
Of the three groups Inuitives were the rarest, with the other two more or less the same in number.
Derivatives and Converts were quicker to produce, thus saw more use in military campaigns. However, they lacked the limitless potential of Intuitives.
The Clairvoyant began to speak once more. “Were it only a representative of the Citadel’s Holy See it would be preferable to respond. However, it is very probable they will be accompanied by a delegation from the Dark Citadel. The situation between these two organizations is tenuous at best, I can’t imagine why they would choose to travel together in this instance.”
The Wine Master spoke up. “This so-called exchange, I fear it is an indispensible opportunity to learn about the other Adepts and their powers. We should consider our response as soon as possible.”
“Representatives from the Citadels will arrive at Skyfire Avenue in one month,” the Clairvoyant said. “At present we do not know the names of those who will attend. Be that as it may, we should prepare appropriately. The focus of this meeting is to confirm that we will be responsible for these delegates. As it seems now, we will require three members to participate in this exchange. Naturally they shall have to be shopkeepers, and willing to participate. You may volunteer at will.”
The Wine Master, as vice-chairman of the Council, interjected. “Judging by the status of these groups, our standards must be equally high. Such being the case I volunteer to participate.”
The Clairvoyant nodded. “Anyone else?”
“I will,” Lan Jue stated, rising. Regardless of whether this meeting had to do with the events of the week before, Skyfire Avenue had tacitly agreed to his actions. It was his responsibility to contribute here.
“Very well, Jewel Master,” the Clairvoyant responded with a smile.
“And I,” came another voice. The hoarse tones came from the young man seated to the Clairvoyant’s right.
He looked slightly older than Lan Jue, his hair neatly trimmed and teased up. He wore a leather jacket, and his stocky build and small eyes gave him a lethargic appearance.
“Oh, the diabolical Little Clippers deigns to act?” The taunt came from a woman several seats down from the young man.
His face stiffened in response. “My title is not Little Clippers!”
The woman snickered. “Doesn’t the Barber use little clippers? If you used shears like a gardener no one would have anything to say. Our delegation is all big bad men, that wont do. I’ll join. Four members will make them look even more important.”
The Clairvoyant agreed. “Very well, then the welcoming committee is settled. The Wine Master, the Jewel Master, the Barber, and the Beautician shall be our representatives.”