Friday Snippetses

We has them, preciousssss….

In short, since this is a fifth Friday, Amanda asked me if I’d mind posting a snippet of the space Prussians.

So, without further ado, the space Prussians address a special session of the UN…

The United Nations General Assembly Hall was certainly impressive, Friedrich noted as he walked to the speaker’s podium. The introduction, given in French and prepared in advance to judge by the instant translation disseminated to the people filling the hall, had been unwelcoming but just shy of actual insult, even allowing for context lost in the flat rendition of the quasai.

The presence of his men to either side of the high table holding the President of the General Assembly, his Deputy, and the United Nations Secretary General, did nothing to calm the security guards stationed at strategic locations around the hall.

Lady Lida stood to one side, where she would be translating from Prussian to English, from which she said other translators would translate her words to the other major languages of the United Nations.

It seemed a horribly complicated mess to Friedrich, but Lida’s explanation did make some degree of sense.

Once at the podium, he turned to the high table and bowed, then turned to face the main hall, and bowed in that direction. Then, moving slowly and deliberately, he reached up to remove his helm, which he set on the podium where the communications rig would still transmit to his men – and, not coincidentally, the quasai would be muffled without losing its ability to translate the words of others for him.

Sound rippled through the hall, surprise at his appearance he presumed.

Rather than use the awkward and clumsy appellations Lida had suggested, Friedrich said, “Good people, I pray you forgive any awkwardness. Over seven hundred and fifty years have passed since the founding of Prussia-in-Exile, and our ways have grown in isolation from our cousins here.”

Lida’s translation to English was calm and clear, her voice confident. There was no trace of the fear he’d seen while they waited to be called here.

“I understand you desire the reasons we require the land of old Prussia,” he said. “We have multiple reasons. To us, Marienberg and Koenigsberg – or as you know them, Marlbork and Kaliningrad – are holy sites. They are the original homes of the founders of Prussia-in-Exile, the brave men who first freed our ancestors from slavery.

“But it is that slavery which concerns us most.” Friedrich leaned forward, scanning the assembled delegates and visitors. “For untold centuries, slavers from the Dracaener Empire have landed in isolated parts of undeveloped worlds to restock with slaves for their mines, their factories, and their plantations. This world has been one of their hunting grounds, but soon, within the next ten years, the increased difficulty of landing and acquiring their ‘cargo’ will bring them here to conquer and enslave every man, woman, and child.

“They have already done this to many other races. The ssirrissians -” he indicated Saariss, who bowed fluidly. “- the leanders, the tirulers, and many, many others who have lost their own language and know their kind only as ‘slaves’.”

As Lida’s translation worked its way through the hall, delegates began to shift awkwardly, and the noise level rose.

“We will not allow that to happen here.” Friedrich let his voice ring out, loud enough that the microphone made his voice burble. “But we cannot help you protect your world, our home world, without a planetary base.

“Nor do we ask you to give without recompense. We will pay fairly for all we take, and we will make our technology available to you for study and use. We will train those of you who wish it in the use of our weaponry, and provide you with training in our medical techniques.

“But make no mistake, no matter the cost, we will not – can not – permit our home world, your world, any other world we can save to fall beneath Dracaener claws. That is all I have to say, good people. I thank you for hearing my words.”

Lida’s voice remained steady as she finished translating his words to English, but the hand that wasn’t visible from the audience clenched into her skirt.

From behind Friedrich someone spoke. Lida’s translation was almost word for word the same as the quasai’s, though she identified the speaker as the Secretary General “Am I to understand that you threaten the nations of Earth with war if we do not meet your demands?”

“Prussians do not threaten.” Friedrich let the implications of that sink in before he continued. “I beg you understand: when I say you face the Dracaener Empire within ten years, I mean that a subjugation fleet could arrive tomorrow, or some time from now, but it would be a miracle if the decision to enslave humanity waits ten years.” He made a show of surveying the hall. “I see here an effort to rise above centuries of warfare and mistrust, the dedication to a noble goal indeed.” He would be confessing his flattering lies to the Justice of Prussia’s Priest-Brother, surely, for Earth’s Internet showed no evidence of nobility in these people. “All this would be crushed beneath Dracaener claws. To them, you and I are merely talking animals.” Once again he surveyed the sea of faces before him. “The Prussian Order is a successor to the Order of German Brothers of the House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, just as Prussia-in-Exile is a successor to the Monastic State of Prussia. Like our predecessors we are sworn to help, defend, and heal. Though it is near blasphemy to make war against our fellow humans, we will do so if the alternative is to allow your spirit, your cultures, your striving to overcome your base nature and forge a peaceful future, to be crushed and the light of humanity extinguished.” He paused long enough for Lida to finish translating, then he said in a soft, intense voice. “No matter your decisions here, we will not allow you to be destroyed.”

Quite a few members of the audience and several delegations rose to their feet, applauding. Friedrich could not say which national delegations approved and which did not: he was satisfied that he had won some, though that small victory was unlikely to bring any concrete alliance.

Too many of Earth’s people had been safe and wealthy long enough they had begun to forget what horrors could be wrought by a determined enemy.

When the applause died down and those standing reclaimed their seats, a light shone amongst the delegates, and one of men at that desk – bench? – leaned forward to speak. The quasai’s translation came faster than Lida’s because the speaker’s question had to be translated to English before Lida could translate it to Prussian. “The Russian delegate asks: What proof do you have of your claims?”

Friedrich had expected a demand of that ilk. “To one who wishes us gone, no proof will be sufficient.” He paused a moment before continuing. “Consider this: every northern region of Earth has legends of the people of settlements and villages simply vanishing, leaving only small children. Of entire tribes gone. Every region also has legends of demons that come in the night and take the unwary, and those demons always have red skin and horns.” He signaled Saariss. “We are about to display recordings from the liberation of Farang. They will show what we face more than any words I can offer.”

He schooled his face to blankness as the giant screens on either side of the high table came to life. Though severely edited, this footage – converted by the Technologists so the format could be used here – showed clearly the state of the enslaved, and the nature of the work the Empire used them for. “No doubt some of you wonder why a race with the technology you see would use slaves. The reason is simple: it is cheaper to use slaves than to use automatons. An automaton is expensive to build and maintain. Slaves merely need food and time to breed.”

When sounds of horror and nausea began to rise, Friedrich signaled Saariss to cut the transmission. “Good people, we do not wish to fight any of you. But our desires will not stop us doing what we must to ensure that all humanity is free.”


    1. Prussian Knights: Right of Return

      Yes, it’s a series. Book 2 is festering in my back brain at the moment.

  1. Having had the honor and privilege of seeing other snippets of this I can attest to the simple fact that our Kate also writes some kick ass battle scenes as well.

      1. The battle scenes were *hard*. I’ve never done that kind of fight scene before.

  2. Yes, but what about the Prussian hackers?


    I’ll be here all week.

  3. Looks like an interesting story.

    <start of ridiculously minor Pet peeve alert on a word so commonly misused us North Americans have almost changed the meaning over time> Podium (being the raised thing someone stands on) vs Lectern (being the tall stand someone speaks at at might set their helmet on). If your POV character was a modern American, then podium might be what they see, but presumably Friedrich would think of it as a lectern.<end of pedantry you are free to ignore>

    1. Interesting. Because (US English, Midwest and South) I always understood the distinction to be religious – i.e. the lectern was when the tall stand OR raised area was in a place of worship of some kind (unless it has a religion-specific name), and the podium is either the platform or the tall stand in a secular location.

      1. Well, the Latin word for a speaking platform is “pulpitum”. The Greek words are “bema” and “ambo.” Obviously the signification of all those words drifted. “Lectern” does mean “reading desk”, which can be religious but is not necessarily.

        I would expect someone from a medieval-based society to have memorized his speech, or rather, to be speaking ex tempore from notes in his memory. You seem to show that; but in a world of teleprompters, maybe you should say it explicitly?

  4. Forgot to ask – Do they run into the contemporary Teutonic Order? The Protestant one? Or even funnier, the many supposed Templars?

    At least the Knights of Malta are still around…..

    1. Not in this book. Future books, they certainly will encounter their sibling Orders and have some… interesting exchanges.

  5. Yeah, lectern and pulpit both started religious in nature. Pulpit has kept it’s religious connotation, while lectern grew more agnostic in the early 1900s, perhaps because giving a sermon from a pulpit is still explicitly religious, while “lecturing” from a lectern has transitioned to be as much an academia/corporate/political occurrence as a church event.

    1. Meant to be a reply to suburbanbanshee above, but a cat intervened in the middle of the comment and attempted to shut down my computer using the front-panel button, closing my browser in the process and moving the reply box.

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