The people are known as the Avietcci*, though there are stories of the olden days, when history claims, we were known as the Vietcci. It was then, about eight and a half thousand years ago, that the Arassena arrived in their spaceships which travelled deep within webs of teardrops of salty water and energy fields. They asked for refuge, admitting their sun had aged and died and they now have no worlds of their own. They insisted that worlds of the Vietcci must always remain the homes of the Vietcci only, that however long they remain with us, they are only to be permitted to serve, never to govern or own land. They also asked to be permitted to alter their name so that they also are known as the Vietcci. In honour of their new friends, the Vietcci renamed themselves to the Avietcci, so that neither of the races ever forgets that they are friends.
The Vietcci already occupied the sixteen planets and dozens of moons big enough to hold atmosphere, and with the spaceships, which were as big as the larger moons, the worlds now numbered twenty seven. Across all the worlds of the solar system spread one city, the space between the worlds serving as the insubstantial energy links between the material parts of the city. Over time, like ganglions within energy connections, grew small trading posts and mansions of the extremely wealthy, until the solar system became one organism, flowing, stretching and contracting in alternate order throughout the thousands of years as it spun around the sun.
Not once in all these thousands of years did the water worlds ask for their status to be changed, giving the appearance of remaining happy to be friends and guests, their commerce and trades always only offering services not offered by their hosts, from which they made profits enough to continue building new settler spaceships for sending out to other solar systems.
One of their services in particular recently grew to be of great importance, for it is a service which became part of the laws of the Avietcci, while also the method chosen by some powerful individuals for extending their rein over their estates. From the water worlds, machines were brought and they were found to have no moving parts and they included brain cells of their people, which somehow survived in the mixture of water, energy and certain metallic elements. These machines could enclose the bodies of those to be suspended and they could be held for hundreds of years without the body ageing or their minds sensing time.
Some argued, in the privacy of their homes, that this is leading to the water worlds holding in their power some of the most powerful and influential individuals of their species, which de facto proved that the estates of those in suspense should be considered, when voting, to be influenced by the water worlds. After all, which of them would vote against the interests of the water worlds while their patriarchs are suspended guests of the water worlds.
Laws were passed that estates and all other possessions of those entering suspension voluntarily, remain theirs, including their title of Patriarch, though they must return to solar time at least once every three hundred years, even if only for the minimum of five days, or else their heirs have rights to claim what they are supposed to inherit.
The entire system, including the water worlds, is governed by one government, for the Avietcci have never imagined the existence of nations as a possibility. However, born out of the original families when sapient life existed only on a single planet, there are eighty eight Clans. Of these, there are eleven Major Clans, and the others, named the Minor Clans, are linked through loyalties which are said to last for tens of thousands of years to the Major Clans. It is a written law that no Major Clan may offer its loyalty to another Major Clan and though they may create treaties and declare themselves allies, no single Major Clan may declare themselves allies to more than one other Major Clan. Nor may any Major Clan take over territory belonging to another Major Clan, or to any Minor Clan owing allegiance to another Major Clan. However, it is permitted that they trade such territories and possessions.
None of these laws, as with most laws thinking creatures evolve, can cover all eventualities and if the parties do not wish to observe them in spirit, they can find ways to do as they wish while remaining true to the written laws.
The eleven Major Clans number only five, if those who are allied are considered, for voting purposes, single Major Clans. As from the beginning, the water worlds were voted to be a Clan, the eighty ninth. As they are not divided, they are considered the twelfth Major Clan, or the sixth. It is forbidden for any of the eleven Major Clans or any of the Minors, to pledge allegiance to the Water World Clan, but they, the Water World Clan, are permitted to pledge allegiance to any of the eleven - though none have courted such a relationship, for they fear it could open them to a competition which could lead to their destruction.
During the five hundredth and seventeenth thousandth year of written history, various fears and conspiracies brought about some major changes and it is with those that we will now deal, hoping knowledge will educate and explain our future. Keep in mind, though it may sound as if certain personalities are the good people and others evil, life is not often that simple.
Patriarch Sorviqa Schemes
Sorviqa - of Clan9, male and leader, had insisted on the meeting taking place within his territory, but had been compelled to agree to it being situated close to the edge, for even such a concession by the leader of Clan7 was only possible because the meeting was being promoted, guaranteed and conducted through the offices of the Ahessesia group of the Bitter Water World.
Knowing where his own were hiding and remaining alert to the slightest sounds betraying their presence, he wondered what trade he was to consider. Territories of Clan7 are not adjacent to his, so no exchanges of territories could be considered and he had no interest in the Minor Clans of Clan7. Amused at what his own curiosity was compelling him to do, he glanced up and relaxed, seeing the watery globule of a trading ship arriving from the Clan7 territory.
Formal courtesies are minimised during such clandestine meetings, so they were soon seated, facing each other, their common arbitrators to either side of them.
The Prime Ahessesia spoke first. “Respected Patriarchs, it has been brought to the attention of our corporation that neither of you has benefited from the longevity of being suspended, because for only the one to do so could lead to the other Clan taking advantage of the change in leadership. We have been asked to provide guarantees that should both Patriarchs agree, both will enter suspension at the same time and will be awakened on the same day and hour every three hundred years.”
The Patriarch of Clan9 said, “We have not expressed any interest in being suspended. Should my brother so desire, ask for what guarantees are required of us, for him to be suspended.”
It took a while for everyone to become convinced the Clan9 Patriarch spoke in earnest. Since such meetings carry considerable risk and a second meeting would have to be arranged within the territory of Clan7, which was not acceptable to the Patriarch of Clan9, they were forced to make the rules, draw up documents and sign and witness them within the day.
With professions of mutual respect and fondness, the Clan7 Patriarch departed, the Ahessesia arbitrators travelling with them. As the Patriarch stared at the departing ship, his closest councillor broke out of cover and joined him. He waited without speaking.
There was no humour in his voice as Clan9 Patriarch said, “This is the first time the Water Worlds have made such an open effort to secure the last of us, Citanniu was right, they do have a plan.”
“Patriarch Sorviqa, we must hasten to the security of your home, I do not like it out here.”
Patriarch Sorviqa smiled. “You have identified those from our neighbouring lands watching us? Ask whether they agree to a meeting.”
“Is it wise?”
“Nothing is wise any more; as long as we have properly identified the risks, we must not fear to take action.”
As Sorviqa had expected, the young form of Pre-Patriarch Sassimbi of Clan2 strode across the divide, his armed men remaining on their side, only his first councillor accompanying him. He looked angry and ignored even the bare courtesies, immediately asking his question without any form of greeting, “What is it you conspire brother Sorviqa? You intend a pincer movement against us, using brother Friniqi as a secret ally?”
“Greetings brother Sassimbi, I am distressed by the low esteem you hold me in, do you truly believe I would conspire against you and arrange our meeting alongside your border? I admit, I chose this place for our meeting in the hopes it would lead to us talking, without the entire city knowing of our meeting. We have serious business to discuss brother, but I must have your assurance that whatever is spoken of between us, remains only between us.”
“You intend our Clans to ally? You know it is not permitted.”
“Your assurance, brother Sassimbi.”
Sassimbi hesitated, aware he is young and not experienced enough to stand up to a full Patriarch. “You have our assurance that all which is spoken of today will remain between us only. Such assurance does not cover future discussions and meetings, unless specifically so stated.”
“This is too serious for me to accept such assurance without f-touch. We must both offer assurance with hands on shoulders, minds open to each other and all future generations must be bound.”
Sassimbi almost pulled back, startled. Such assurances suggested something far more important and dangerous than he had imagined. He could not work out what could possibly require such secrecy. Sorviqa showed no impatience and his calmness decided Sassimbi. He stretched out his arms and they both gave f-touch assurances.
“As you saw, the meeting today was meant to be between brother Patriarch Friniqi and myself, yet it was not. The meeting was orchestrated by the Ahessesia of the Bitter Water World, the ones who supply the suspension service to our people. Brother Sassimbi, have you asked how many of the Water World people have used their suspension machines? If it is a service intended only for our race, is it not prudent to ask why? Their visit today was deemed important enough for them to break with their traditions. Till now we had to request to be provided with suspension and bargain for an acceptable price. Yet they came to broker terms for brother Friniqi and myself so that we can enter suspension without fear of the other taking advantage of their absence, and price was not of consequence enough to be mentioned. Why would they do so? Was it a mistake due to impatience? I believe that as the two of us were the only two Patriarchs not suspended, they needed to see to our joining the others before they can make their move. With your own Patriarch held by them, would you resist them when they ask for small concessions? Each one perhaps innocuous on its own, nothing to inspire dread, but over a short time, cumulatively, I suggest they will add up to represent the enslavement of our people. I am the last free Patriarch, but I do not wish to impose my own views on the Pre-Patriarchs of other Clans, I ask that you allow yourself to be open to discussing the possibilities with me and if you be convinced I am right, you handle the discussions with the other Pre-Patriarchs, whether allied to another or not, as their equal, even though you will also be representing me.”
Sorviqa could almost picture the frantic arguments in the courts of Clan2, the older officials standing by the decision of their Patriarch, the younger, being more flexible, arguing in his favour. It took them two full days before Sassimbi had secured enough of a majority for him to be certain of his position if he works with Sorviqa. A meeting was arranged, at a site by their mutual borders, for all top officials of both Clans to be present.
This time the traditional niceties of civilised Clan leaders meeting were observed by both Clan leaders, with just the slight extra deference offered to acknowledge the wisdom and authority age brings to Patriarchs. As is custom, the Pre-Patriarch must speak first. Sassimbi used the opportunity well, for he spoke of all the dangers, speaking the thoughts of Sorviqa, but in his own words and with his own voice, so that it confirmed for those who wished it, that he is wise and sees deeply. At the end of his speech, he acknowledged Sorviqa as his teacher and asked him to speak.
“Clan2 are fortunate in that their Pre-Patriarch is wise and sees clearly the dangers which have troubled me also. A word of caution is due - we must be careful of speaking our thoughts where those of the Water Worlds could hear of them. After all, no sane leader makes allegations which cannot be proven, even though the circumstantial evidence be sufficient to convince any mind capable of logical thinking, for the laws are strict and the fines imposed can ruin a Clan. There is also the danger of them taking pre-emptive action if they realise we are aware of their secret plans. We must first secure all votes so that we can speak as one voice for our people.”
Although the preparation of Pre-Patriarch Sassimbi was important, so that he has answers for all questions, it is equally important that those who are to accompany him are also taught well, for they will be meeting with their counterparts, who are bound to hold some influence over their own Pre-Patriarchs. Sorviqa demanded they set aside all sense of urgency so that they are well prepared and armed with all possible details. It was agreed that Clan7 will only be contacted after all the others are in agreement, for their Pre-Patriarch is the newest and least experienced and is thus less likely to join them, unless they have already secured the alliances of all the other Major Clans.
Nobody had to spell out how the governing council of joined Clans can act as one without falling foul of the law, but Sorviqa called in Citanniu for finding a way to block the influence of the Water World representative during the voting. Citanniu, being an educator of law, is permitted to travel to all areas of the city without requiring permission for each visit, thus he remained faceless, unnoticed among his colleagues. He travelled to the main library of the Central Court and studied documents of all kinds, not just laws, from the time when the Water Worlds first arrived, hoping to find something of use. It took him longer than planned for, since he could not employ any assistants.
Citanniu made numerous recommendations, all in detail and among which:
To call for a ban on the voting rights of the Water Worlds Clan must not be made, for they would then be entitled to call for an investigation into the evident alliance and suggest an illegal conspiracy exists between all the other Major Clans.
The first action taken should be for Patriarch Sorviqa of the Major Clan9 to call for an investigation of the undeclared purposes of the Water Worlds offering their suspension technology in such a way that they hold as hostages the Patriarchs. At least two other Pre-Patriarchs must immediately back his call, while the others weakly argue the point of it, but in the end back the call so that no suspicions remain. Thus they will be seen as independent and no charges of a conspiracy may be levelled.
Patriarch Sorviqa must immediately request that the Patriarchs held in suspension be temporarily stripped of their rights to speak for their Clans, but that they must be returned until the case has been heard in full and a decision arrived at. Then, their powers are to be returned to them.
All the arguments proving the Water Worlds are preparing a coup must be set out with the evidence. Included, apart from the hostage taking of the suspended Patriarchs, should be such facts, whether factual and detailed, or suggested by common sense: a) Pre-Patriarchs would feel obliged to vote in favour of all changes the Water Worlds bring to the vote. This would cause a disruption of the running of each of the Clans, thus watering down their efficiency. b) The Water Clans have continued, since their first arrival, building and developing new spaceships, purportedly for expanding the spread of the Water World Clans, or, as they were originally known, the Arassena, breaking their agreement of full partnership. This suggests they have all along intended widening their sphere of influence, so that they become dominant.
Another 118 arguments, as set out in the list attached, must be prepared for legal argument and presented at the same time. Any attempt by anyone to influence the votes of the Pre-Patriarchs must be reported immediately, so as to prevent the Water Worlds from bribing any of the Clans to vote in their favour.
An urgent session was called for and all the Clans confirmed attendance.
The Water world reaction
As he had done up to now, Patriarch Sorviqa allowed various Pre-Patriarchs to present the various points, ready to act as mediator should it be required. He was caught off stride when the Water World Clan did not object to anything and promised to bring the suspended Patriarchs within two days - the delay being necessary for their sakes.
Although the session had not been open to the public, the movements of the Water World spaceships and their withdrawal from all business agreements soon had everyone speculating, with many prophesying doom for their species if they lose their friends. Those who did not know the truth but were more cynical, believed the Water World Clan was preparing for war.
The leader of the Water Clan watched as the returned Patriarchs took their rightful seats, each among their own Clan. He then asked whether he has the floor. Patriarch Sorviqa silenced the younger members who were protesting.
“According to our laws, they have the right to answer our charges without interruption.”
“Thank you. We will not be staying for the proceedings as our ships are ready for departure. However, the Patriarch of Clan3 and their ally Clan6 will brief you on what they know of our plans. Before we depart, we wish to place on record that our people regret the misunderstanding and remain grateful for the many generations of friendships and the hospitality so generously offered. Our people have voted and as a show of respect and to keep the memory of your people alive among us, we will be keeping the name we adopted when we first arrived within your system as refugees.
If you are successful and we come across each other in space, we hope you find us - we have provided maps of where we intend settling. This is our commitment - come to us with the same generous friendship you offered when we needed you and we shall respond in kind. Friends, we hope, forever. Goodbye.”
Stunned, everyone watched as all the members of the Water World Clan departed.
The Water Worlds - the Explanation
Patriarch Osomsis of Clan3, looking rather haggard, took the floor. “We have been informed of your decision to suspend our rights as legal Patriarchs, but we are not about to argue legalities, since all I have been asked to do is pass on to all our people the true plans of our departing friends and the reasons behind them, so I assume the right as Speaker for the Water World Clan to speak.
Those of you who know of our history and the reason the Arassena came to our solar system, should recall that their sun had died. Because they are an old race, they did not come to us with ambitions; all they asked is to share our sun and have our company. We offered both and not once over the thousands of years they’ve been with us have they given us cause to regret the generosity of our ancestors.
About two thousand years ago, the Arassena scientists recognised instabilities in our sun which indicated its lifespan is limited. They urgently sent out ships to search for a solar system without planets inhabited by any kind of life. When they found such a solar system, they used all wealth earned from us for creating a larger fleet and for developing the suspension equipment, for they were concerned that with our shorter lives, none that leave our homes will live to see the homes of our children. To them, this is a terrible fate, so they delayed building the ships for transporting us while they perfected the suspension technology.
As each of us Patriarchs agreed to be suspended, so were we presented with the evidence of the imminent death of our sun and of what they are struggling to achieve for us. We were suspended at this time, for they wished us to be alive and partners in the saving of our species three hundred years from now, when suitable spaceships will have been built for carrying us and all that we treasure across to our new solar system.
As I mentioned at the start, they are an elderly race and their spirits are too fragile for them to fight us, not even so as to save us. The attack on them of a few days ago discouraged them and with great sorrow they are in the process of departing our system as I speak. They have left behind the plans and whatever tools they could afford to lose, in the hope we can build enough ships to save ourselves.
We must try, but I regret I must admit that all of us Patriarchs who have seen the entire truth feel that the future is indeed bleak. I do not know that I have the courage to start on what seems an impossible task, so I hope that those of you who were instrumental in losing us our friends will fight for all of us.”
The Price is Paid
We do not expect the Arassena to return, but this record of our final days has been created for any species who visit our system. If you find the Arassena and we have not joined them, please deliver to them messages of our love and express our gratitude for the selfless friendship they offered us for so many generations.
Grand Patriarch Sorviqa, of the United Clans and Admiral of the Avietcci fleet,
- carrying the chosen few who number less than one percent of our people.
Our future is indeed bleak, but we travel to meet it with the strength only the
memory of love for our friends can inspire us with.
We can only humbly trust they have forgiven us.
by Melina Teller, Athens, Greece, PC02
* The name, the double ‘cc’ part is pronounced as it is in the word cappuccino - i.e. Avi-etcci.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
* Posted steemit: 14th August, 2018 * Posted Palnet: 15th July, 2019