Master of Orion

Master of Orion

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Kody Jun 7, 2016 @ 1:45pm
Feature Short Story: Diplomacy
To go along with our universe expanding articles like the Darlok Transformation Process, our creative team is also writing short stories related to game features. These were inspired by questions and suggestions posted during our race short story series. The first such story focuses on Diplomacy as the Human Republic and Alkari Flock seek to expand upon their diplomatic relations.

Feature Spotlight – Diplomacy
Prospect Station rotated slowly in space, its smooth lines and shining hull dimly reflecting the light of a nearby star. As a newly built transit hub located in a neutral system in the contested region of space between the Alkari and Human empires, it was guarded by an attached fleet consisting of ships of both navies and was in constant communication with the two empires. Today, amid great fanfare, diplomats and their bodyguards were boarding the pristine station to begin formal talks—hopefully the first of many diplomatic conventions between the races.

As the various shuttles and ships docked, Human and Alkari officials exchanged pleasantries in hallways and meeting rooms. Many of the diplomats already knew each other from the years of interaction that had laid the groundwork for this moment. The coordination required for the joint construction of Prospect Station had been the first test for the fledgling partnership, and the luxurious and well-ordered station was an impressive payoff. The mood was tense, but positive.

A sophisticated suite of real-time hologram hardware was set up in the main conference hall of the station. The leaders of the empires, the Skylord of the Alkari Flock and the President of the Human Republic, would be remotely called into the meeting. While relations were cordial between the two, the risk of having two empire leaders physically present at a frontier station was too great to contemplate. Thus the ‘virtual summit.’ Besides, it was generally assumed that the diplomats and strategists would hammer out the actual negotiations; the formal addresses of the leaders would surely be for the benefit of the public and the media.

While empires across the universe waged war and scientists scrambled for technology that would give their civilizations the upper hand, the diplomats played a subtle version of their own warfare. Where the bold favored military service and the bright flocked to the research institutions, it required a brave and steady countenance to face the legal, social, and political gauntlet of diplomacy.

The representatives of the Alkari Flock and the Human Republic filed into the primary meeting room, wide windows giving a view of the combined flotilla in close orbit. While the station had its own defensive weaponry, the fleet watching over the opening talks was an intimidating show of strength—and a sober reminder to the diplomats that if their words should go astray, fists would follow.

Holograms of the President and the Skylord suddenly flickered to life, splashing the horizon of Sol and the vistas of Skraa on the walls behind them. The Human and Alkari diplomatic envoys sat around the table, taking notes and watching their leaders guide the course of the galaxy from afar. The holograms were extremely detailed and allowed the leaders to communicate in real time from the comfort of their own strongholds.

It had been determined that the Skylord would speak first. The majestic Alkari paced casually, building suspense before saying, “I am…relieved…that the Human Republic has decided to meet with us today.” He spoke clearly into the hologram that would be projecting the image of the President directly to him.

The diplomats of both races anxiously hesitated, knowing fully well that the Skylord was alluding the diplomatic spat that had resulted when a task force of Human ships lingered in Alkari territory for a suspicious amount of time before finally departing peacefully. The slight, however small, had frayed the trust between the two leaders.

The Human President smiled and nodded, “Misunderstandings happen. We have learned a valuable lesson and value our relationship with the Alkari Flock dearly.”

When the Skylord inclined his head in assent, scribes and advisors let out a collective sigh of relief. To have to the diplomatic meeting be derailed so early would have been shameful for both parties. While the leaders ultimately made the major diplomatic moves and were the face of the empires, the small army of diplomats were the ones who had laid the groundwork for this meeting. If it failed, the blame would inevitably trickle down to them.

The Skylord paced across the balcony that every Alkari in the room recognized as one of the uppermost spires of the Hall of the Skylord. “Let’s get straight to business. In the spirit of goodwill and cooperation between empires, we believe that sharing our Star Maps would be a step in the right direction.”

The advisors and diplomats at the table began to scribble quickly while darting their eyes at their opposite numbers. The digitized image of the President glanced off-screen to where, no doubt, a panel of advisors sat giving him counsel. He gave a slight nod to someone before turning his attention back toward the projection of the Skylord.

“We agree, an exchange of maps between our explorers will be mutually beneficial.”

Officials around the table scribbled hurriedly in order to formalize the exchange. What the two leaders had agreed to in mere moments represented months of work tracking down resources. The work behind making the leader’s promises on the diplomatic front take effect in reality could often require more careful coordination than a military assault.

“The Republic has a proposal of our own.” The Human president seemed confident, something that could often come across as smugness. The Humans considered themselves charismatic, but their silver tongues had also earned them the negative association of always trying to leave a deal with the scales tipped in their favor. “If we should be attacked, let the Alkari Flock come to our aid. We swear to extend the same assistance to you.” Looks of surprise flashed between many at the table.

The Skylord paused, looking out across his spectacular view of the Alkari home world. This was not a small request, and to bring such a serious proposal so early in the conversation risked being viewed as a breach of protocol. The Humans were considered by some to be loose cannons; driven to enter conflict by the same wild emotions that often made them deadly opponents. To promise mutual military assistance to such a young and hot-blooded race was something the honorable and battle-savvy Alkari might not see in their interest. The moment stretched on…

“Of course.” The Skylord extended his arms, bringing audible gasps of surprise from many of the diplomats in the room. “A new era of military cooperation will bring stability and peace to our sector of the galaxy.”

The diplomats began whispering to each other, creating an audible buzz in the meeting room. Functionaries of both races hurried out of the room to confer in private. Whether or not the Skylord would choose to follow through when the call was made, he had publically and formally announced his intentions. To back out after this would be a major loss of integrity to the honorable Alkari. An announcement of this caliber would send shockwaves through the galaxy. The Alkari and Human militaries were quite strong independently; who knew what they were capable of in concert?

The President bowed slightly in a show of gratitude and respect to the Skylord. “Thank you for your time, friend.”

“Also yours, honorable President. Until we next meet.” replied the Skylord. The hologram of the President cut out, followed by the disappearance of the Skylord’s feed. If the meeting seemed short, the real work was now just beginning. The diplomats swiftly divided into teams to begin the massive and detailed arrangements that their leaders had just handed them. Star maps would have to be collected from various explorers, databases, and even scouts currently in the field. Of far more consequence, the navies of each empire would have to adjust to the new defensive agreement. New channels of communication would have to be put in place. Existing strategic doctrines, contingency plans, and logistical schemes would have to be scrapped and replaced. Joint exercises would have to be scheduled, orchestrated, and executed.

Prospect Station spun on while a new era began. Shifting from guarded neutrality to military cooperation, Alkari and Humans would now be able to step up their efforts to expand their influence in the galaxy.
Last edited by Kody; Jun 7, 2016 @ 1:45pm
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Showing 1-15 of 15 comments
Orion88 FIN (Banned) Jun 7, 2016 @ 3:32pm 
So is there already a map in diplomacy so that you can actually see where a colony you offer/demand to/from someone is (and what it produces)? Also can you ask your AI ally for help in defending your empire? (To actually do something more than just declare war to someone?)
Last edited by Orion88 FIN; Jun 7, 2016 @ 3:34pm
GrenadeMagnet6 Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:19pm 
And then 50 turns later in the same game…

Skylord quickly put on the simple robes laid out by his stewards. “Beam the Human President Keeling ‘s connection directly to the bridge. I’ll be there in a few hops”. Skylord ruffled his feathers and shook the gunk out of his eyes. He could never nest well on the flagship, as the simulated gravity was never the same as what he grew up with on Altair.

Scooping up seed and nectar he hopped through the opening of his antechamber and into the corridor. His guard hopped along at the same pace as Skylord navigated his way up to the bridge.

As Skylord burst onto the bridge a bright glare emitted through the large view windows. “Dim the starlight”, he ordered, and handed his seedpod and empty nectar jar to the nearby guard. As the light from the nearby sun was dimmed the looming shape of the Human homeworld named Nitsua became more visible, with dark patches of smoke filling up some of the hazy blue atmosphere, obvious signs of the devistation caused by massive bombardments on the defenseless world.
Last edited by GrenadeMagnet6; Jun 7, 2016 @ 8:03pm
GrenadeMagnet6 Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:19pm 
Skylord advanced up to the center of the bridge. There stood the holographic image of President Keeling, surrounded by the bridge's control stations and Alkari deck officers, who looked a little bewildered to see the Human President in their presence. Oddly enough the Human leader did not look that troubled at all, even though the Alkari fleet had converted all the human warships in orbit to debris just a few short hours ago.

“So, Keeling…”, began Skylord in a slow and smooth tone, “ again I am …relieved …that you have decided to meet with us today. I was worried we would have to bomb every inch of your homeworld to get your attention, but it appears only half-way was necessary.”
Skylord looked down and slowly started to walk around Keeling's projection. “I don’t know why our expansion in a section of the galaxy that was very remote from your worlds would cause you trouble,”

Skylord continued, “ as you humans would say, it’s not, “common sense”, to start a war over planets that are not anywhere near your colonies”.
Last edited by GrenadeMagnet6; Jun 7, 2016 @ 8:05pm
GrenadeMagnet6 Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:20pm 
Skylord stopped in front of the large observation window over Nitsua and turned back to Keeling. “You have to understand what’s happened to your world today is all your doing. This could have been averted completely if you had thought your actions through.”

Skylord stared directly into the holograph's beady eyes. “So… President Chris Keeling… have you come to negotiate an end to this senseless war?”

“Skylord,”, started Keeling, “ if it is peace you want, then you have to give us the two most recent planets you colonized in the LandFawks system,” Keeling paused…, “ friend.”

Skylord gave a gruff squawk and shook and jumped up in surprise. “Mr. President, can you please repeat what you said? I don’t think we got that transmission clearly.”
Last edited by GrenadeMagnet6; Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:47pm
GrenadeMagnet6 Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:20pm 
Skylord, with a now shocked expression, looked over at his Communications Officer , Lt. RedVoo, hoping for an explanation. RedVoo bobbed his head wildly and looked over his console. “ I believe the transmission is still authentic, my Emperor. The encryption tokens exchanged are still valid.”

Skylord glared back at the Human President, and spoke slowly “Keeling, I’m stunned by what you are saying. Are you _demanding_ something from me to end this conflict…the war that _you_ started… even with our largest battleships threatening complete bombardment of your homeworld?”

“Our demands are firm “, Keeling quickly shot back. “ We humans do not trust the Alkari and are afraid of you. So we demand you give us those remote LandFalks worlds that are rightfully ours, even though your fowl race took decades to colonize and build up the industries on those planets.”

Skylord’s beak dropped open, along with his First Officer's beak. An awkward few seconds of silence followed with all the Alkari room in disbelief of the Human's words.
Last edited by GrenadeMagnet6; Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:39pm
GrenadeMagnet6 Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:20pm 
Skylord gained his composure and started talking again in a confused voice, “Have you gone mad, Human?! Has some viral weapon taken over all your brains? Listen carefully: I’m telling you we dominate all of your space and can eliminate all of your worlds. You should consider carefully what you are saying, not for your own life but for the survival of your species.”

Suddenly Skylord's Science Office Brak spoke up “Emperor, if I may: I have been studying the insane actions of the humans the past decade and we have research that can help”. Skylord, who recalled the earlier briefing from Brak's science team on the new development, nodded for Brak to keep speaking.

“Mr. President”, started Brak to Keeling, “ we have a new technology that will help yourself and your leaders see through this delusionary thinking you have that’s causing all your diplomatic confusion. Our technology is called “Quality Assurance”, or QA for short.” Brak held up a gleaming, golden data crystal. “This QA will help clear your thoughts and see how to manage diplomatic relations in a sensible and constructive matter, not only to benefit your race, but to also see mutual benefits for all the other races in the galaxy. QA will also help you stick to agreements in a realistic fashion, as it helps catch your mistakes before they happen in reality”.
Last edited by GrenadeMagnet6; Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:41pm
GrenadeMagnet6 Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:21pm 
“Keeling, “ Skylord said abrupty ,” you would be wise to listen to my Science Advisor, as this QA sounds incredible and is the most precious gift your empire could every receive, if you have the courage to accept it.”

“QA? Hah, what do we need QA for?”, said Keeling in a defiant tone. “ My military and technology leader General Chilko says we don’t need your QA, as we know exactly what we are doing when we make our decisions. Frankly, your offer of improved QA research is insulting to our technologists, who have implemented our empire’s designs flawlessly from the beginning”.

President Keeling’s hologram folded his arms and took a stern face. “Enough of this QA talk. You are wasting my time, Skylord. I think we gave you enough chances to reach an agreement. Please get back to us when you are ready for serious negotiations. Now if you will excuse me, I have a marketing interview for our new software products to attend to….friend. ” Keeling then looked off to the side and made a cutting motion with his hand, and his image disappeared from the deck, leaving the darkening, smoky image of Nitsua in the background.
Last edited by GrenadeMagnet6; Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:42pm
GrenadeMagnet6 Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:21pm 
Brak spoke first. “My Emperor, I cannot tell if this Keeling is insane or delusional. What else can we do?”

Skylord signed through his nostrils with a closed beak. “ We have given the Humans all the chances we can. We have no time to waste with the growing threat of the Rocklike beings, who also started war with us for the same reasons as these Humans.”

Skylord spoke his question to noone, openly, “What is it with the alien’s greed over planets, a type of greed that infects the entire galaxy? Who cares if I inhabit a world that you can only see with your remote scanners? In a galaxy of madness our sanity can only be maintained by superior force. “
Last edited by GrenadeMagnet6; Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:50pm
GrenadeMagnet6 Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:21pm 
Brak looked dejected. Skylord put a hand to his shoulder, “Do not worry, my old friend: though you cannot solve the galaxy’s problems, its not your fault, and your talents are definitely needed by our flocks. Be at peace with a purpose you can be successful with.”

Skylord walked slowly back to the bridge’s exitway, and spoke again to his officers. “Eliminate the human scourge. Burn the planet so that we are not infected with their madness. Take my ship back to Altair as we have to plan for the next wave of insanity from our allies and foes alike”.

As Skylord exited and the doors shut the bridge hummed with activity, with protective blast shielding closing up the windows as the Alkari officers prepared for the grim task of purging the human homeworld Nitsua of all traces of all life, doomed by their delusional ideals.
Last edited by GrenadeMagnet6; Jun 7, 2016 @ 7:52pm
Severian  [developer] Jun 8, 2016 @ 12:16am 
Originally posted by GrenadeMagnet6:
Skylord walked slowly back to the bridge’s exitway, and spoke again to his officers. “Eliminate the human scourge. Burn the planet so that we are not infected with their madness. Take my ship back to Altair as we have to plan for the next wave of insanity from our allies and foes alike”.

Bwahahahaha! That's great - not only a well written addendum, but a nicely snarky (and therefore well within the humor realm of MOO) reference to the known issue with the ridiculous "peace demands". Of course, we're working to fix that and other Diplomacy bugs, but this story will live on, I am sure... :-)
Birdie_Sparrow Jun 8, 2016 @ 7:46am 
Originally posted by Orion88 FIN Muro:
So is there already a map in diplomacy so that you can actually see where a colony you offer/demand to/from someone is (and what it produces)? Also can you ask your AI ally for help in defending your empire? (To actually do something more than just declare war to someone?)

I believe the closest you can get to a map is when you zoom out the galaxy view. That will be as close to seeing a map as you would get.

As for helping there are two methods to ask others for help in diplomacy. One is an actual Alliance which included mutual aid. As I understand it if you are attacked your ally will also declare war on the enemy and, if they can, will attack them.

The other is the "Declar War on" where you ask others to declare war and attach the race you have designated.

There is no actual help defend your empire in solo play as in a race sends ships to safeguard a colony etc. Though this would be viable in multi-player assuming the player does not take the opportunity to back door you... :)
Apostate Jun 8, 2016 @ 11:42am 
I would like a few more options. Case in point I cleared a space monster for the klackons, then defended they system from the Bulrathi so the Klacks could colonize, which they did. I would like to get credit for stuff like that. So we have a don't colonize near me threat, can we have an ability to encourage colonization in system x?
Anguille Jun 8, 2016 @ 3:38pm 
Originally posted by GrenadeMagnet6:
Brak looked dejected. Skylord put a hand to his shoulder, “Do not worry, my old friend: though you cannot solve the galaxy’s problems, its not your fault, and your talents are definitely needed by our flocks. Be at peace with a purpose you can be successful with.”

Skylord walked slowly back to the bridge’s exitway, and spoke again to his officers. “Eliminate the human scourge. Burn the planet so that we are not infected with their madness. Take my ship back to Altair as we have to plan for the next wave of insanity from our allies and foes alike”.

As Skylord exited and the doors shut the bridge hummed with activity, with protective blast shielding closing up the windows as the Alkari officers prepared for the grim task of purging the human homeworld Nitsua of all traces of all life, doomed by their delusional ideals.
Ah Ah...best MOO4 fiction so far!
GrenadeMagnet6 Jun 8, 2016 @ 5:32pm 
Originally posted by Severian:
Bwahahahaha! That's great - not only a well written addendum, but a nicely snarky (and therefore well within the humor realm of MOO) reference to the known issue with the ridiculous "peace demands". Of course, we're working to fix that and other Diplomacy bugs, but this story will live on, I am sure... :-)
Thanks for being a good sport about it. I wasn't picking on you in particular, just thought someone from WG management would be a good proxy for the President (I guess there is also a slight resemblence in your case). If you wish I can change the President's name to anyone you like (perhaps whoever is programming the Diplomacy part...).
Last edited by GrenadeMagnet6; Jun 8, 2016 @ 7:08pm
seabo_76 Jun 8, 2016 @ 5:46pm 
Originally posted by GrenadeMagnet6:
Originally posted by Severian:
Bwahahahaha! That's great - not only a well written addendum, but a nicely snarky (and therefore well within the humor realm of MOO) reference to the known issue with the ridiculous "peace demands". Of course, we're working to fix that and other Diplomacy bugs, but this story will live on, I am sure... :-)
Thanks for being a good sport about it. I wasn't picking on you in particular, just thought someone from WG management would be a good proxy for the President (I guess there is also a slight resemblence in your case. If you wish I can change the President's name to anyone you like (perhaps whoever is programming the Diplomacy part...).

Lol loved it. Both the Original story and Grenade's additions.
It's great see you're a good sport Severian
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Date Posted: Jun 7, 2016 @ 1:45pm
Posts: 15