[Gemini Sector RPG] Doctor Ulannajirak's Exploration

CHAPTER 18

Waking up from sleep, Ulannajirak checks the mailbox. Yes, Cyric's new reply is there.

To: Dr. Ulannajirak c/o CMDR. SCHMITD
From: 2nd Lt. Cyric “Talon” Karde
RE: A MESSAGE ABOUT KILRATHI CULTURE COURSE

I shall be more than happy to answer your hypotheticals as unlikely as they are to occur in reality given the current state of the war is my race holding the line against your race’s incursions and invasions, Kal Gathica. I would ask that you understand that it has not been my race invading your race’s worlds, it has not been my race that has been capturing your kin to extinguish as slaves, it has not been my race that is guilty of unleashing bio-weapons and planetary scale destruction upon countless worlds populated by countless innocents and non-combatants.

If either one of us is going to object to the current day status of the practice of genocide and slavery, then I would respectfully suggest that it would be your race and not mine that would fall beneath the scales of Justice in that regard. We may have some vague similarities from the context of various periods of my home world’s ancient history but there are considerable differences between your race and mine in light of our present day conflict. Differences that you should be at least partially aware of given your defection to the Confederation in recent days.

I shall answer your hypothetical scenarios in the order they were asked:

1. Assuming I was well-aware of the contents of the transport ship, I would order the pilot of the transport to divert to the nearest internment camp for Kilrathi non-combatants with a recommendation that they be traded for a like number of human slaves taken by the Kilrathi in the most recent slave raids within the Gemini sector. If the transport ship refused to surrender, then I would take their ship by use of a small Marine boarding action or personally capture the vessel by killing or capturing the pilot of the transport ship myself (assuming the ship was a dorkir class) but sparing the non-combatants provided I could do so without threatening the mission. The transport ship could then be ferried and converted into a supply ship or transport ship as dictated by the needs and exigencies of the Confederation Sector or High Command.

2. Again, assuming perfect information of its contents, I would take the general’s lair mate and cubs prisoner for the purpose of trading for the several times their number of my warrior comrades captured or enslaved by your race in this war. Again, the practicality of this measure is not possible given the limited information provided of the tactical resources at my disposal within the context of this hypothetical scenario. If this were a dorkir or small transport ship, then I would dock with it and capture it myself to facilitate the honorable transfer of prisoners: a princely number of my race’s captured warriors commensurate to the value of your Imperial general’s lair mate and cubs. It would be interesting for your hypothetical scenario if your hypothetical Imperial General would value them highly enough to facilitate such an exchange in return for their safe return to your worlds.

3. Under Confederation Article 7, subsection 8 under the Military Code of Justice, it is right and proper that any order to willfully and knowingly commit war crimes, which include the deliberate and calculated slaughter of non-combatants be considered illegal and refused regardless of the status or nature of the race involved, so no. It is not illegal to disobey orders that target innocent civilians or defenseless non-combatants recklessly.

If the transport ships involved in your hypothetical scenario refuse to stand down and be boarded or divert course for processing or the Imperial General or Imperial official who received such requests to return my race’s warriors or civilians in such a prisoner exchange for the safe return of his lair mate and cubs, then any subsequent action taken at that point will fall under the exigencies of this total war and outside the boundaries of this hypothetical scenario.

The deaths of non-combatants is not honorable in my culture but this war has claimed many lives and if I may speak freely, my race lacks the willingness to strip-mine worlds through the profligate use of slaves to construct the Kilrathi War Machine to conquer and enslave more worlds and races. It also lacks the industrial output of your race and the numbers required to fill the ranks of those additional ships. In the time it takes to train one Terran warrior, your race can produce a half dozen or more. If this hypothetical should become reality then the consequences of refusing a prisoner exchange for the safe return the lives of my race for the safe return of the lives of your race is on your race not mine. I would also respectfully spit upon the cowardice of your race sending non-combatant civilians into a hostile war-zone within hostile Confederation space to setup up your hypothetical scenario outlined above.

As for fighting for Firekkan survival and future, the Confederation is happy to do so as this weakens and distracts and humiliates your race and allows our two races to combine our strength to fight your race together. Further, my race’s governing body recognizes their sapience and their right to exist as they will without suffering enslavement or death at our hands. I will defend my race to the death and if my superiors believe that can be done better with the Firekkan than without then I will uphold the honor of my race by defending theirs with equal tenacity.

As for the Ghorah Khar’s rebellions, I welcome more like them as these are the means by which your Empire shall loosen its grip just enough that it will be far less likely or able to destroy or enslave my entire race. Do I believe it possible that peace could be achieved by virtue of such rebellions alone? No, I do not. Do I believe that such rebellions if successful can be used to distract your race’s military strength away from my race long enough for the Confederation to better restore, entrench, and reinforce our fractured front lines effectively? Yes, yes, I do.

For what greater strength is there than to turn an enemy to your cause? To turn their own knowledge and skills against them. Yes, I welcome more rebellions but I would like to suggest that it would be better if instead of defecting in small groups or clans like this if larger more well-organized clans could be turned against the Kilrathi Empire in the hunt for more power, glory, prestige, or a different sort of honor for themselves. That alone would allow my race to fortify its borders to keep your race out of Confederation space.

Once we have the warships and soldiers necessary to hold the line indefinitely, then we can seriously contemplate launching our own offensives into Kilrathi space to destroy your shipyards and military bases in a bid to force further division among your warring clans to the point that the bonds that bind your Empire together would weaken and crack just enough for the slaves you have taken to rise up against your race’s overlordship and bring the Kilrathi Empire to its knees!
To put that ultimate end to this decades long total war, we will fight to the death without withering, without waning, without breaking.

As for my homework, it was indeed attached to my previous e-mail, the access code to said attached document is as follows: Sigma-Charlie-Alpha 39-745D.

Until the next class, I remain...

Respectfully,
2nd Lt. Cyric Karde,
1087th Fighter Squadron
TCS Majestic (edited)

This time, after reading the imposing reply, Ulannajirak is instead so relieved with a smile. It seems that this aspect of human's love for waving fists and chanting slogans is not necessarily weaker than that of some imperial warriors.

What is more, Ulannajirak is somewhat relieved. This cultural course is now proved to be useful, and at least this letter might have exposed a serious shortcoming of certain human pilot's cognition in the knowledge of Kilrathi culture.

Then he allows himself to put these topics behind him for the time being, so as to seriously engage in the coming Medbay's medical work today.




Jullianna scurries out of the medbay doors, Ted is sitting in the waiting room, having a breather. Ulannajirak walks by. The Medbay has 12 beds in general, and a four private rooms. Recently he was informed that due to certain security issue, he was not allowed to enter certain wards.

Ulannajirak greets Julianna and Nurse Ted, "Hello to both of you!"

"Oh- hi Ulannajirak, I have to- go back to take care- take care of a mission spec. I'll be back soon. " Julianna replies, and leaves quickly.

"Ulannajirak, how's it going?" Ted asks. "How was class?"

"Well, I'd say it's pretty good." Ulannajirak pauses for a while, "And I've really seen some of the human students ...... behaving bad. See, I'm a little angry." Then he deliberately let his mane bristled a little.

From somewhere in medbay comes a very annoyed growl followed by the testy voice of Doctor Suzuki, who's saying, "What do you think you're doing in here you annoying, pesky furball!"

Ulannajirak is astonished by the growl. Furball... That's a rude scorn for Kilrathi. Is the chief blaming me?

"Doctor, he is acting as an orderly. You've got the mail, right?" Ted jumps up and warns Dr. Meiko.

Totally ignorning the comments from the unseen Ted, Meiko continues with, "I've told you! Stop following me, especially here, but do you listen? Consider yourself lucky that whoever's in charge of the Black Cat's now is going to get tazed instead of you." Meiko mutters as she walks into view with an annoyed look on her face... And a black housecat partly in her arms and being held by the scruff of his neck.

Ulannajirak is embarrassed. Oh, it seems that the chief was reprimanding her... pet?

Ted sighs in relief, he did not want to have to seal up another tanto cut.

Ulannajirak reports to Dr. Meiko very formally, "Chief, I think the patient Brett should be discharged today."

The house cat in Dr. Meiko's arms is still triggering Ulannajirak's attention. In fact, the cat has always been demonstrating against the HUGE alien feline, another predator in front of him.

"Evening people." Meiko remarks to the group gathered, there. The cat lets out a meow which causes her to peer at it and say, "Quiet you troublemaker." Tilting her head at Ulannajirak's comment thoughtfully she says, "Oh, I'll give his papers a quick look over, and then see about getting him out of here. Right after I dump this brat off at the Cathouse." Glancing around she adds, "Someone remind me later to shoot off a nasty email to the 13th's CO too. If the cat follows me again, I'm keeping it."

"She's just been discharged, "Ted scratches the back of his head. "A pity you couldn't reach her earlier."

"Yes, Chief!" Ulannajirak turns around to prepare Brett's documents.

"Always difficult when you gotta perform with security guards watching your back. eh eh eh. " Ted notes.

"Security guards aren't much use, if they're not where they can easily stop a problem when it comes up." Meiko remarks to Ted, giving her shoulders a slight shrug, despite the cat currently in her arms.

"I know... just feels like exam session every day." Ted looks away. "Like the one where you're in your underwear and show up to work."

"Well, Ted," Ulannajirak carefully asks, "Will Brett leave the system with the evacuated civilians in the near future?" Then he glimpses at Meiko. "Sorry, you need not to answer me if it is a secret."

Ted looks at Meiko.

"All things considered, he'll still probably be heading back to the brig when he's cleared from medbay. Security's still not going to want to take chances with a Retro, and that tends to go double in a combat zone." Meiko says with a shrug and shake of her head. "That stuff's all out of our control anyways."

"Understood, Chief." Ulannajirak replies.

Enforcer walks around the ship, and eventually finds his way into the Medical Bay. Enforcer completed his "reports" and got in a quick workout to get his mind off the people who died in the last mission.

"Oh, hello, Mr. Enforcer." Ulannajirak waves his paw.

Enforcer bows slightly at the waist, "Salutations, Professor. How are things in the medical bay?"

Ulannajirak hurriedly returns the courtesy. "Mr. Enforcer, this is not a classroom, it's good if we talk equally. " Then he glimpse at Dr. Meiko again, "especially in front of our chief." Not to mention that I'm not a Preofessor yet in human academy ranks, just a instructor now.

"Aside from a pesky feline intruder, things are fine here today." Dr. Meiko remarks before glancing between the housecat in her arms, and the Kilrathi, before clarifying, with a smirk, just in case it's needed. "This guy I mean. Not Ulannajirak."

Ulannajirak weighs his answer. In fact, now he understands that Enforcer, and even Julianna, could be the personnel on the command staff assessing himself. He is also thankful that he didn't comment too much on the Kiranka royal family in front of Julianna, since Julianna is likely to say these things to that Azran.

"Greetings, Dr. Meiko." Enfrcer gestures to the housecat, "I see you have a new friend."

"Hah, friend... He's a pest. And for somereason's taken up following me, when he's got a whole squad of bomber pilots who should be taking care of him." Meiko remarks with a roll of her eyes. "If it keeps this up, they'll be sorry he picked probably the one person on the ship with a bigger knife collection than the marine's on board."

"This little furry baby can't be that much trouble... could he?" Enforcer asks.

Shrugging Meiko says, "You wouldn't think so. But I wouldn't want him getting in the way of people doing their work. And yesterday the fuzzball ended up in my quarters, and my roommate's kinda allergic to cats, so I had to listen to -her- complaining too."

"I understand that. Did you or the bomber pilots come up with a name for him yet?" Enfprcer shows a keen interest. Ulannajirak strains his ears to listen, Wow... naming the pet.

"I've not gotten around to asking them yet. First things first is the angry email I'm sending them about keeping a better eye on him." Meiko claims with a laugh, "Along with the warning that if it happens again, I'm keeping him, and they'll have to make due with a plushie or something for a mascot."

"Well, he does have the heart of an explorer by going all over the ship." Enforcer Turns to Ullannajirak, oblivious to his reaction at naming the cat. "Do you have any explorers of note in Kilrathi history?"

"Explorers?" Ulannajirak notices that Enorcer is asking him. "Well, Ikgara Kutgaga, Kilrathi‘s sacred history of the clans, has records on them."

Then he looks at Dr. Meiko again, "Chief, is it break time now?" Ulannajirak pauses a while, "Could we have a... chat on such non-medical topics?"

Meiko glances back into the room and nods at Ulannajirak, "Yeah I think that's fine. Things aren't to busy, so the others on duty can handle it. And we'll know if there's an emergency that needs us anyways."

"From this cat's actions, I think that he may have the natural boldness of an explorer, so such a name may be appropriate."

Meiko chuckles as the housecat gives another meow, and says, "Most cats in my experience are explorers of some sort. Always getting themselves in places they're not supposed to be. At least this guy's not as hyper as the cat I had as a kid."

"Understood, Chief." Ulannajirak then knows from Enforcer's words that he is intending to name the Terran house cat after a Kilrathi sage. "Eh... Sorry, I could not remember a very suitable case on our topic now..."

"Well... Mr. Enforcer," Ulannajirak tries to change the topic, "Let's talk about the current situation on Ghorah Khar."

Enforcer nods, "Certainly. Should we head to the lounge, where we should be undisturbed?" Dr. Meiko gestures to come with her.




Three people and a house cat - or say, two primates and two felines from different planets - come into the lounge.

Dr. Meiko sitts down naturally with the cat in her arms, follows by Enforcer. Ulannajira hesitates for a second, carefully sits down in the chair on the onther side.

"I've heard that the Confederation is granting them citizenship in batches these days." Ulannajirak pauses for a while, "If a Kilrathi gets citizenship, does that give him the privilege to... choose his superior?" Ulannajirak then looks at Meiko as a invitation without word.

"Not necessarily, depending on what you mean. Can't always pick your boss. Especially in the military." Meiko remarks with a slight shrug of her shoulders. "If you mean political leaders, then you can vote for who you'd want, but that's not quite the same thing."

"Pretty much what Dr. Meiko said." Enforcer shows his acknowledgement, "That said, I think that we can admit that all forms of governance have their positives and drawbacks."

"Got it." Ulannajirak has a thoughtful expression on his face. In fact, he knows the rebellion incident of Ghoral Khar itself means that the people there made a choice. They have granted themselves this privilege, or say, right.

Meiko nods at Enforcer's comment, and adds, "Usually there's means to get transfers if someone really has a problem with one of their higher ups, but, that's always an iffy thing on whether the brass will allow it. And at least here on the front lines, it's way less likely to happen even when in a position where it could be done fairly easily."

"Mr. Enfocer, after the last class, I read the letters from the participants." Ulannajirak carefully states, "I've noticed that there seem to be quite a few humans who think Kilrathi's social makeup is centralized?"

"I may need to clarify that our social makeup is actually closer to the... feudal era in human history?" Ulannajirak looks at the two human, "Technically, a kil is responsible for his own hrai, clan, first and foremost, and then... the imperial court."

"That's probably because it's an empire with an emperor." Meiko remarks. "In most people's minds that sort of makes them think there's one supreme person in charge and everything they say is law. Cause they probably figure that's how it used to be on Earth too. Which in most cases was never very true either."

"It is similar to a statement in Terran history: 'Omnes Viae Romam Ducunt -- All roads lead to Rome.' It think it also stems from their interpretation from something they heard: 'All Roads lead to Kilrah.'" Enforcer adds. "It is similar to a statement in Terran history: 'Omnes Viae Romam Ducunt -- All roads lead to Rome.' When dealing with your society, it is more immediately post-Roman for us, as the feudal era began shortly after Rome fell."

Hearing Enforcer's words, Ulannajirak shakes his head with a bitter smile, "There is such old words, but... these words themselves means that lots of other clans doen't live on Kilrah. Since the era of interstellar travel, Kilrah has slowly become the planet of the nar Kiranka clan. Various other clans have moved out of Kilrah one after another."

"Looking for their own fiefdoms and power bases?" Enfocers pursues the question. Yes, he is getting closer to the key point.

"Yes, the emperor encouraged every other clans to do so." Ulannajirak stares at Enforcer's eyes, "ENCOURAGED."

Ulannajirak sighs, "I'm actually from a... frontier region of the empire. Before we two races... met each other, this place could be considered one of the farthest regions from the center of the empire. It takes a long way to get to Kilrah from my homeworld. Do you understand what this means?"

"I grew up quite some distance from Earth, so we had to fend for ourselves." Enforcer answers.

"That your world is like... Oh, I don't know... Germany or Britan would have been to Ancient Rome?" Meiko hazards a mostly joking guess.

Ulannajirak sighs. Definitely the two human missed the answer. But it is OK anyway, maybe I should just stop the topic here.

"Well, on to the topic at hand. In fact, I always had a feeling that the imperial dynasty seems to want to make the whole Kilrathi ...... more ...... united through the war with humans. I don't know if you understand what I mean." Ulannajirak carefully states,“In fact, when the Empire decided to go to war with the Confederation more than twenty years ago, it required the collective approval of the elders of the eight noble clans.”

"I remember how an old Terran power considered war with another power. The leaders made sure that the power launched a surprise attack in order to gain support for the war." Enforcer continues. "The government went from being heavily divided to almost unanimity."

“It was not like the emperor just went to war by one decree.” Ulannajirak looks at Enforcer. Obviously the topic is very serious, “I sometimes have some questions about whether the imperial court is hoping ...... to create a ...... more ...... efficient ...... power structure in the future. That would probably mean that the elders of the various clans would all become simple servants of the emperor.”

When Ulannajirak says these, his mane trembles, as if he is gathering the courage to spill these thoughts.

"Could be. Wouldn't be the first time someone in the universe has tried something like that, I'd imagine." Meiko says with a nod.

Enforcer also nods, "It has happened with some of the powers on Earth. It led to...well...some of our history's darkest moments."

"Oh, sorry, I am talking too far." Ulannajirak shakes his head. "I will go for lunch now. See you later, Chief and Mr. Enforcer!" He bows, and leaves the lounge.

"And you..." Meiko says to the feline in her arms, "Are going back where you belong." the cat meows and tries to nudge her and she rolls her eyes, "Stop that you. Not gonna charm your way out of this." She claims as she heads off towards the lift.
 
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CHAPTER 19

Ulannajirak has just finished today's work at Medbay. He plans to get something to eat before going back to his room. At the intersection leading to the bar, he slows his pace. "Sir," Ulannajirak looks at the guard, "Could I go there to eat something without disturb the people?"

The guard says, "We're watching you, you can eat here if you don't cause a scene."

"Thank you, sir." Ulannajirak slightly bows to the guard and walks into the bar.

Upon entering, Ulannajirak smells dozens of human odors mixed with alcohol, plant-based drinks, and more.

Among them, there are definitely something familiar. Ulannajirak immediately finds Dr. Meiko. He walks up to her, and bows, "Good day, Chief." At the same time, the afterglow of his eyes confirms his sense of smell. Yes, Enforcer, Julianna, and... that Cyric.

Sighing over some of the other numbers on her quine's screen Meiko glances up at the greeting and says with a nod, "Hey, how has your day gone? Run into any trouble?"

"There are no major problems for the patients I am responsible for, though I am not sure about those patients that I am required to keep away from." Ulannajirak turns to Julianna, "Hello, Julianna, good to see you here! Well, we could talk equally here."

Julianna looks in pity at Myers, he's crying and holding his middle finger in pain. His attempt at using the finger poke of doom on Lt. Karde failed miserably. She hears a slight rustle behind her. "Ulannajirak! I mean Kal Gathica!" she exclaims, "knee kah ah, dwayeia" She tries.

Ulannajirak orders a glass of warm milk from the bartender. He nods to Julianna, "Good to know you are working hard on the course," Then he looks at Enforcer, "and so does Mr. Enforcer."

Julianna has a giant smile and shifts her balance from one foot to another.

Enforcer takes in a few sips of the steaming hot tea. The liquid almost takes the stress away from him as though it was melting ice.
Enforcer heard something in Kilrathi, but the tea is more important right now. The tea helps put those thoughts to the back of his mind for the time being.

Meiko nods at Ulannajirak and says, with a chuckle, "No point in worrying over the people who aren't under your care. Just have to assume the people who're in charge are doing a good job." Taking a drink from her mug she shakes her head and then ammends, "At least until something comes along that shows that something is going wrong anyways."

"Understood, Chief." Ulannajirak also knows it. He has a vague sense that some previous event might have occurred, an event that led to the rapid start of the Kilrathi culture course, and might even have something to do with the additional patients at Medbay, the ones he could not come close.

"Chief, could I require a seat here?" Ulannajirak asks DR. Meiko as taking the milk from the bartender, "It may be too conspicuous for me to stand now."

"Go ahead." Meiko says with a wave of her hand. "Just don't mind me if I seem annoyed. My team's apparently doing horrible this year." she adds with a shake of her head as she glances at the screen of her quine.

"Thank you, chief." Ulannajirak sits down carefully to avoid letting the chair make noise.

Cyric opens his eyes with a start, his eyes aglow with revelation as he rouses himself to take in the room around him. He sees the Kilrathi Instructor with Julianna and Enforcer and comes over to talk to them.

"Hello, Kal Gathica. Did you need to speak with us?" Cyric asks evenly, his mind still shaking off a strangely surreal dream... or nightmare. "You received my homework, correct?"

"Oh, Mr. Cyric." Ulannajirak waves his paw, "Yes, you did it well, at least for an assignment paper. I give you A this time. But," Ulannajirak looks at the three pilots who are students in the course, "if I have to say something about the course here... based on some issues I found in the post-class communication, one hope I have right now is that it would be best for everyone to put down what they learned from certain quick readings before for a while."

Cyric nods calmly. "Excellent. Thank you, Kal Gathica. Are you here for a vak'qu?" Cyric asks. "They do have a wide selection available at least for a human palette." He shrugs. "Until the next class, then Kal Gathica." He turns to Enforcer, Julianna and Dr. Meiko who are talking about music, "That is a very strange song before battle, Steele. Norwegian, I guess...What sort of song is that - a 20th century punk rock song? That is SO old!"

"There are times when some words often convey meanings that are not common in a Terran culture context." Ulannajirak looks at Cyric, "For example, I am certainly not now coming and down here to drink certain... special drink on the ceremony. It is a kind of drink that allows you to see some illusions in a trance, such as ancestors' hunting, not casually drunk,“ Ulannajirak hesitates a second then continues, "well I would like to say that if there is no special need, keep away from it."

Cyric turns back to the Kilrathi instructor, "You may drink whatever you wish. If you will excuse me, Kal Gathica;,I want to finish my drink before I go back into battle again." Cyric turns back to Enforcer. "You are atalking about Iron Maiden? I can hear the Thrash and the Metal but I never heard of them together as a musical style. They had some strange sorts of music, didn't they? I assume you are a fan of this type of music? That makes a lot more sense. Gets the blood pumping! That sounds good to me." Cyric nods more enthusiastically.

Ulannajirak bowes his head and drinks the milk with his rough tongue, trying to keep the sound as low as possible.

"UlannaJirak, have they started giving you a stipend?" Jlianna pulls a 5 credit chit from her pocket, "I'd be interested in hearing what you would pick from the jukebox." She places the rectangular metal strip on the table in front of him.

"Oh, yes!" Ulannajirak answers Julianna, "music... I have a no idea at the moment."

"Well keep it, I'm sure you'll surprise us with a song at some point." Julianna winks.

"But if I must have a choice... Let me see..." Ulannajirak thinks for a while and replies, "Joanie Madden's Lord Mayo?"

Cyric's eyebrows rise at that particular...selection. Maybe its a Cat thing? Enforcer eyebrow at the mention of Celtic music.

"Although I might prefer to listen to the smoothing The Level Plain (Magh Seola)", Ulannajirak continues, "you may prefer the other one with a little more aggressive?"

"Anyway, I will learn to play these two pieces." Ulannajirak looks at the musical instrument in a protective case wearing on the waist, "Oh, I should explain, this is an instrument, not a blade."

"Professor, have you ever heard of Duke Ellington? You may want to 'Take the A-Train'." Enforcer asks, "I have an instrumental version for you as well as an a cappella version if you would like."

"Oh, I would love to know more about it." Ulannajirak smiles to Enforcer.

Julianna watches the exchange, she just doesn't get why they insist on listening to music using other notes than CDGEm, "Always enjoyed a properly autotuned a cappelan song." She adds.

"Sure! Here you go!" Enforcer sends both files via his Quine.

"As I know, as soon as Terran handled the technique to record sounds, lots of great pieces of music appeared." Ulannajirak pauses a while, "I am working on this part."

Cyric shares a glance with Steele but shrugs and returns to his empty drink to the bartender. "Well, I have finished my drink. Please enjoy your time here, Professor. Take care, Karen, oh Voice of Suffering and Death. Enjoy your lemon tea, oh Steele the Thrasher of Metal. I need to clear my head before our next battle. See you in the Black, guys!" Cyric says the last to his fellow pilots, nods curtly to the Kilrathi, and walks out of the bar.

"Pfft." Meiko remarks as Cyric makes his way out. "I'm the one with the axe collection."

"See you later, Mr. Cyric." Ulannajirak looks at the so called Quines on the humans' hands, "Well, by the way, did someone record the last time I performed with that guitar musician?"

"I have it on my archive, but I wonder if the system here recorded it at a higher quality." Enforcer checks his Quine.

"Pfft." Meiko remarks as Cyric makes his way out. "I'm the one with the axe collection."

Enforcer quickly turns to Meiko, "Meiko, if you're ever up for trading training, I have a few swords from my time as a grunt. I wouldn't mind learning axe combat and teaching sword combat."

Hearing Enforcer's words, Ulannajirak frowns. He wants to learn swordsmanship? However, since this is for Dr. Meiko, Ulannajirak doesn't interrupt.

Enforcer turns back to Julianna. "What are you planning on doing before we head into battle once again?"

Meiko's line about axes flew over Julianna's head. She looks at her feet and asks... "So I had to ask you something Keyan... Have you given any thought as to which squadron to request joining?"

Meiko blinks at Enforcer and after a moment says, "No, axe's as in guitars. And I've already got plenty of sword combat training, while at the Academy."

"My apologies for the misunderstanding, Dr. Meiko." Enforer says.

Julianna spies at Keyan's waist his sheathed Bowie knife... "Meiko, I think you both have a common hobby." She grimaces. "The Conquistadors are grousing at the moment, the raptors have been transferred off until further notice as far as I've heard. The openings are in the black cats (Sabre), Minutemen (Rapier) and Illuminati (Stiletto)."

Meiko mutters something under her breath at the mention of the Black Cats.

"Uh, is it okay if I am here?" Ulannajirak is a bit awkward.

"I have this Illuminati badge here... public info." Julianna answers, and Enforcer also nods, "I think it's okay for you to be here, Professor. The Sabre seems to fit my flying style the most, so I'll join the Black Cats. I like the quick strike ability that it gives its crews. Also, being more of a bomber, I just might be able to fit into the ship comfortably."

"Oh, thanks, Julianna and Enforcer." Ulannajirak then tries to raise a special topic, "A personal affair, do I have a chance to use the gym?" He turns to Dr. Meiko, "I think...I haven't done physical training for several eight days."

"Just warn the guards before you go in, and you should be fine." Meiko remarks nodding at Ulannajirak. "Tell them I'll kick their hips if they cause trouble too."

"Thank you, Chief." Ulannajirak nods to Dr. Meiko. He wants to resume his physical training routine, more or less because of that Azran’s incident he heard about last time, although it's a bit ridiculous.

"Professor, If you ever need a training buddy, I will try to work with you whenever I am off duty." Enforcer looks at Ulannajirak.

"Wow?" Ulannajirak looks back at Enforcer. "May I have the chance?"

"Certainly. I've always found that working out is best when those training are able to push each other to new limits they never knew they had." Enforcer confirms his idea on this issue.

"Then, after we finish the drinks, I will go back to our rooms to tidy up and deal with some academic affairs, and looking forward to seeing you in the gym." Ulannajirak's mane and whiskers trembled slightly, and there is a glow of excitement in his eyes.





Returning to his room, Ulannajirak opens the terminal and starts writing a letter. Cyric's emails, coupled with today's in-person conversation, exposed a number of issues. The human pilot's level of Kilrathi is adequate for basic daily communication, but it is clear that his understanding of Kilrathi culture still needs to be improved.

The Human pilot used Vak'qu, a hallucinogenic drink for ceremonies, as a synonym for ordinary drinks - maybe they used very limited reference materials when studying, and the field was more partial. What is more, another problem appeared in the mail ealier is actually more problimatic. Yes, that issue must be raised now.

Honorable Commander Staff,

In the communication after the first class of the Kilrathi culture course, I have discovered a potentially serious cultural difference problem. After carefully consideration, I decided to raise it here in a timely manner. I must state that I am not making a comment against any individual student.

One of the participants mentioned a POW exchange program in the mail to me. I could personally understand the validity of such a program in human history, but as the instructor in the Kilrathi culture course, I have the duty to state that such a program has a high probability of being judged as hostage taking among Kilrathi warriors. It might be considered a violation of the warrior creed and a sign of cowardice to use hostage as a shield.

Again, I do not personally intend to make any moral judgments about such a scenario. I am merely warning of the uncontrollable consequences of cultural differences that may result if such a scenario is implemented, including, but not limited to, provoking the opponents, putting them in a situation where they would have to give excessive reaction, etc.

Given my status as a medical doctor, I may not be able to give more advise on this issue in greater depth, so forgive me.

Regards,

Dr. Ulannajirak





In addition, the following attachment is a mail to 2nd Lt. Cyric "Talon" Karde.
Mr. Cyric,

You sent me your ideas and answers directly via the commander staff, which once again makes me appreciate your candor. However, or say, I am so thankful to know that the POW exchange program you mentioned in your reply may have revealed some serious problems related to cultural differences.

Given my status as a medical doctor, I may not be able to make responsible corrections to your scenario. Also, given that you have misunderstood me several times, it may not be appropriate for me to respond directly to your thoughts at this time. I apologize.

Given the importance of this matter, and its possible prevalence, I have referred related matters back to the commander staff. I reiterate that I am not making a moral judgement on the ideas you mentioned, let alone one that is intended to be directed at you personally. I hope you understand.

I wish to have the usual frank with you in the next class.

Regards,

Dr. Ulannajirak
 
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CHAPTER 20 STEREOTYPE

Dr. Ulannajirak:

The hypotheticals you posed left me only two options so I created a third that would not harm my race's war effort to drive your race out of Confederation space. Regardless, the law is clear so assuming your question is formed under an understanding of this law then I would make exactly one attempt to force them to surrender themselves. Of course, to have prisoners, you must first have prior experiences dealing with POWs who surrender in your race's internecine clan wars. I fully grasp the fact that the word surrender does not exist within your language at least not until your war against my race so I hold no illusions about the chances of such an outcome but it threaded the orders I was given without committing a dishonorable act of killing the weak and defenseless - what my race calls a war crime as noted. Furthermore, your hypotheticals assume we have perfect information from the outset; this is very unlikely given the fog of war.

You also assume that the chain of command would lawfully send me out specifically to kill a poorly armed transport full of prisoners that would have no value in your eyes if captured due to their fate as having been taken alive by an enemy.

Assuming that prisoner exchange is impossible, then I could simply disable the transport's engines and use their lives as bait awaiting a proper target, a military target whose destruction would be lawful and honorable especially in a time of open total war between our two species.

These factors would be known to my superiors and armed with such perfect intelligence they would provide me with lawful orders.

Again, our two civilizations have been engaged in open total warfare for 25 Terran Standard years - a quarter of a century relative to Earth solar cycles. I also draw your attention to the fact that your race remains unified even after all these years – various recent, small, and mostly ineffectual individual defections and/or minor clan rebellions aside – in the Emperor’s cause to wipe out the Confederation and annihilate humanity’s home world of Earth. After all, your race’s largest and most important clans through their clan leaders must be well and truly under the paw of the Kilrathi Emperor and the Imperial Royal family in their collective effort to wage total war against my race or else this most recent invasion effort would have been impossible to coordinate this effectively. Their support alone ensures the lesser clans will remain in line even if their loyalty was built upon coercion and the threat of force instead of something built atop a more permanent foundation that continues to unify all Kilrathi clans into one Interstellar Empire.

We are individually but motes of dust swirled into the maelstrom of this Interstellar War. However, my race and I remain loyal to the ideals of the Confederation and to the survival of humanity. We may not have started this War but I promise you that we will finish it!

To Victory or Death!
2nd Lt. Cyric Karde
1087th Minutemen Squadron
TCS Majestic

Reading Cyric's new reply, Ulannajirak shakes his head. There is nothing new in this mail, at least nothing useful to him for now.

The terminal makes a sound. Ulannajiral gets a message, "minor emergency at the flight deck, could you help out?"

"Affirmative." Ulannajirak replies quickly. But what is happening? He thinks as walking to the flight deck. He knows that after these eight days of contact, the people on the ship have some initial familiarity with him, or say, a little bit of basic trust.





The air is filled with an unpleasant smell on the flight deck. Ulannajirak sees Seeligh waiting there.

"Ey, we're having problems with the more constitutionally fragile amongst us." Seelig briefs Ulannajirak. "Phil 'ere been having bouts of being unable to hold in his lunch, and he's making the flight deck into a mess hall."

There is a man under a rapier, and he looks pale and clammy. The rapier besides him is mostly patched up, but has some holes needing fixing.
The man is awake, although he's looking lightheaded, as walking towards him, Ulannajirak feels pulled down slightly for half a second, by the downdraft.

The patient is having a hard time talking, also... there is a puddle of vomit next to him. Ulannajirak quickly does a physical examination and start to make a preliminary judgment. One more troublesome thing is that the humans here are instinctively very nervous after Ulannajirak approach, which will interfere with judgment to a certain extent.

It seems the man shows some signs of hypoxia. What is the reason?

"Seelig, what happened to this man?" Ulannajirak asks as detecting the patient's vital signs.

"He just collapsed while welding. I checked, his arc welder wasn't hot, it's no electromocution." Seelig takes his beanie off and looks concerned, even to a point of eschewing his typical way of talking.

The acrid odor of slag and rosin acid is present, but it cannot hide the smell of the vomit... Ulannajirak probably doesn't recognize the smell, it is almost like rotting onion and swamp.

Suddenly, Ulannajirak finds come black spheres (1 cm in diameter) in the vomit.

What are these? Ulannajirak turns to Seelig, "What are these stuff? How did he eat them?"

"I gotta finish off dis C'thulhu ship before the next fligh- Oh that... hmmm looks like it was his drink... bobba tea, can't stand it.. too sweet." Seelig answers.

Bo... whatever... tea? Something chemical stimulants like... that Ultimate? Overdoser again? How do these hairless monkeys always do such bad things! Ulannajirak is annoyed.

"Seelig, did this patient have any underlying diseases before? Such as stomach ulcers." Ulannajirak asks Seelig as performing the treatment. "Nutin' I know of... maybe check the med database? Phil's the best kinda guy. The kind that keeps to 'imself." Seelig replies.

Ulannajirak does a quick check. Ther is nothing of critical in the man's record.

"I am inducing vomiting for him. Seelig, can you please explain to everyone, I am not doing bad things." Ulannajirak starts the procedure.

There is only bile left in the technician's stomach. Ulannajirak sees him spittle. His reflexes are ok ish. "Do you know what are these black pills? Seriously." Ulannajirak looks at the black spheres on the deck.

"Yeah, we're good... " Seelig says, the technicians on the flight deck don't seem to care, they are waaaaaay too busy in a rush.

"And, Ulnnajirak to the Medbay, a man suspected of food poisoning is on the flight deck. Needs support here." Ulannajirak speaks to the terminal. "And, do you know what are these black pills exactly? Seriously." Ulannajirak turns to Seelig.

"I toldja, thems are tapioca spheres... we - well, 'e drinks em." Seelig answers.

"Sorry, but are they food? Or chemical... for dishonorable happiness?" Ulannajirak is confused with Seelig's accent.

"Dishonorable as Frigg. This is not something a grown ass man drinks. It's like drinking melted ice cream." Seelig replies.

Ulannajirak frowns. He discerned the word Dishonorable in Seelig's words. "... Are they just like the... powders planted in that... you call them... Retro's back waist?"

Seelig blinks, "Buddy... I have no idea what you're going on about..."

Ulannajirak then does an auscultation. The technician starts coughing... He winces as he inhales. The breathing is very rough... the sensitive kat ears (that were just updated in terms of graphic style ) hear some fluid accumulated in there. Respiratory hypoxia... Is it caused by the Bo... whatever... tea?

Ulannajirak suddenly remembers the meaning of Terran word tapioca... "Wait... did you just say... the black pills are made from... tapioca, a kind of normal foods?"

Making her way off the lift is Dr. Meiko, followed along by one of the on duty nurses. As she reaches where Ulannajirak and the downed tech are, she asks, "Alright, what's the problem here." As she looks over the situation and the mess. Looking around, for a moment, she says, to the nurse who's followed along, "Get a sample of that. That might help sort this out, if we can't figure out what the problem is." Then she turns to the others, as the Nurse probably suddenly wishes someone else had been dragged along, "Ok, go over the symptoms again." she says to the large cat.

Ulannajirak looks frustrated, he knows he might have made a mistake in the initial diagnosis. "Chief, sorry, maybe this patient has some trouble other than food poisoning." Ulannajirak speaks with shame and apology.

"Mrhmhama?" The patient replies weakly.

"I need to test his exact Partial pressure of blood oxygen, please give me the device." Ulannajirak asks Dr. Meiko.

Seelig yells, "Someone clean the deck, the ethionine is messing with the sweet solder fragrance!" He's still wearing his welding mask and ppe.

The nurse, taking any opportunity to delay sample taking, hands over the device to Ulannajirak as well. A deck hand comes with a mop, but stops as a white coated doctor looking lady orders him.

The paitent's SPO2 is quite low, 70ish percent but it is rising as he is lying down. "Respiratory Hypoxia, if it is not caused by... food poisoning, what causes it?" Ulannajirak speaks to himself as well as the Medical team. "Give me the scanner..." Ulannajirak takes a quickly scan of the patient's lungs...

Ulannajirak sees the performance of Pulmonary edema."Worse than I imagined..." Ulannajirak turns to the medical team. "Prepare Oxygen therapy, please. Let's take the patient to the medbay now."

Enforcer walks by and comes to take a look because he see a group of people on the deck. As coming closer, he notices that the technician's skin is not as sweaty as oily... it seems to be covered by a thin film of brown oil.

"Seelig, Professor, I've seen this before. The 'sweat' on his skin appears to be hydraulic oil."

Enforcer's words surprises Ulannajirak, "hydraulic oil?" Ulannajirak turns to Enforcer, "Excuse me?" He is annoyed, "Seelig, your... sorry, our rules and regulations here allow us to apply work-related substances directly to the face?"

"That's not sweat... he rips his mask off. It's Rosin Flux, we're welding here... " Seelig states with an unhappy tone. The patient squeezes once. "Wouldn't be oil, place'd be a tinderbox ifin that were the case." Seelig continues.

"Why didn't you tell me in the first time?" Ulannajirak then stares Seelig angrily, "Mr. Seelig?"

"Ain't it obvious, look at what we're doing? We weld here." Seelig just realized medical personel don't weld. "Look, welding needs this acid to deoxidize the metal, or else the fusion won't happen and we'll just rust the ships."

"Calm down." Meiko chides Ulannajirak calmly, in a mild tone, as she kneels down next to poor Phil, "Let's worry about getting this man here, fixed up."

Ulannajirak realizes his gaffe. He lowers his head with his fur flattened, and apologizes to Dr. Meiko. "I am sorry, Chief."

"Professor, Seelig, I've fixed farm equipment when I was growing up on Helen. That dark fluid is hydraulic oil. It is not easily combustible. It works by multiplying the force of one's input, which allows the use of large machines."

"Let's quickly remove these dirty things for the patient! Then install the Oxygen therapy equipment. Relieve the... abnormal state of the bronchus." Ulannajirak shakes his head.

Seelig inhales. "Yes, I set the grav 20% lower around me when I gots to stand for 8 hours straight"

"I remember how the Marine medics ran into a similar problems on Hurricane, which has 75% standard Terran gravity. Son, remember to keep your PPE on in the future, and Seelig, you'll just need to be careful next time. I've felt the world on my joints over the years, but some of the maintenance equipment can be especially harmful under 90% standard gravity." Enforcer speaks in a soft tone, but deriously. "I am not presuming to do your job for you, but I just remember how things were in my youth and while I was in the Marines."

Meiko gets a glance at the readings on the scanner, and says, in agreement, "Yes, let's move him." Motioning towards the nurse to help get the tech on a stretcher to get ready to bring him to medbay.





At the medbay, Philip gets proper treatment, to reduce the inflamation in his lungs, drain them, stop the acid from continuing to burn and restoring his O2 Levels (giving increased O2 ).

"Symptomatic treatment and detoxification..." Ulannajirak sighs, knowing that his judgment today was not so timely.

The chemicals on the skin... Ulannajirak admits that he still doesn't know enough about these signs for human, especially when seeing the appearance of hairless skin contaminated with these chemicals. It is not so easy to recognize at the first glance.

Ulannajirak now realizes that he is still not good enough at human medicine. He needs more knowledge. He would like to say thanks to Enforcer, but he has no authority to send DM at the moment.
 
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CHAPTER 21 CULTURE DIFFERENCE

"Mr Ulannajirak, please come to my office, it's time for us to do a follow up with respect to the cultural training. - Schmitd."

A message jumps out with a beep.

"Oh, yes..." Ulannajirak sends a receipt, then gets out of cell, or say, his room.





Walking in the corridor, Ulannajirak thinks about the past class and the post-class discussion. It is funny, there are so many cultural differences between the two races. Ulannajirak stops before the door. He gives a little thought to how he could avoid being a snitch of certain students. Then he "knocks" at the door.

Upon entering the office, UlannaJirak notices a security guard at the door, it appears to be standard procedure with high ranking officers.

"Ah, Mr Ulannajirak, I have been given some odd feedback from certain attendees of the training." Cmdr. Schmitd pauses. "I would like your take on it."

"Eh?" Ulannajirak is a little surprised. There are snitches in the students? "Please, sir."

"Well, there was an officer that sent me 8 dissertations in the span of 15 minutes about the meaning of honor and conflict." Schmitd puts down what looks like 300 sheets printed out. "Another was complaining that the chairs were too squeaky."

Ulannajirak can see many acetates on the commander's table, mostly star charts and lines with question marked post-its and many printed out dissertations.

"...Yes?" Ulannajirak glances at the paper. He doesn't really have time to see the name of the author. Standing there, he doen't know what will happen.

"Now, I would like to know your preceptions of the class, if anything can be done to improve, and if there's any salient points that need addressing." Cmdr. Schmitd asks and leans forward.

"Understood, Sir." Ulannajirak takes a deep breath and decides to start with some problems on the course schedule. "First of all, I found that some students were unable to attend the class on time because of their schedules."

Ulannajirak looks at the commander, "As far as I know, they are not necessarily late to class because of an unexpected emergency assignment. I would say that I don't mind splitting the class into two or even more if the schedule doesn't work out."

"Yes, this is an issue, we need to keep pilots in the sky. I can share the rotating schedules."

"As for the other issues, well..." Ulannajirak remembers the provocateur in the classroom and, more importantly, the hostility of a certain two pilots. But classroom matters need classroom solutions, this is not the place to speak out, otherwise it's a bit like a tattletale.

"Well, I guess I found some students are very enthusiastic on asking various questions. Some of them are pretty good while others are not about the class topic. Thus maybe I need to let them post the questions of interests before the class, and we only talk about the class topics in the classroom." Ulannajirak carefully avoids the sensitive nasty guys.

"Ah, well, how were the black cat pilots, Jackeline Bradshaw, Pierce Langer and Keyan Steele's performance?" Schmitd asks, "Ah, intersting, are ther any interesting topics to broach?"

"..." Ulannajirak smiles, it seemed the rudeness of those assholes had been reported to the CAG, that was for sure. Who reported it, Enforcer, Iceblade, or Julianna?

"Well... Sir, I guess you have known the situations in the class. Some students were very lively in providing samples for my presentation of the topic. I was very pleased." Ulannajirak blinks, then turns to the next topic. "Yes, there is a more serious issue I have found after the class. Have you read my mail, Sir? About the... meaning of Kidnapping in a different culture?"

"I am normally good with my mail, I must have missed that while getting a briefing ready." The human looks surprised, "Please bring me up to speed. Are you talking about the prisoner exchange programs?"

"I thinks so, Sir." Ulannajirak's expression shows a little anxious. "That is a problem, maybe serious. I am glad to offer you a explanation on it if you allow me to do it now."

"Of course. Enlighten me." Schmitd cradles is fingers and leans back in his chair.

"Please allow me start with a human movie I watched years ago. I remember he was called High-noon, is a depiction of about the human era of the... 19th century, I guess?" Ulannajirak looks at the commander of this carrier humbly, but there is definitely a little confidence in his eyesight.

"For Kilrathi culture, the protagonist of William 'Will' Kane is such a honored warrior. Even after the betrayal of a group of cowards in the town, at an absolute disadvantage, he still followed the honorable code of a warrior to duel, even against a gang of shameless villains." Ulannajirak pauses a second to see what reaction of the humans here, then continues, "At the last of the duel, that shameless, nasty villains hijacked Will's First chosen one... Sorry, I should have said... wife, but that female was so brave that she effectively resisted the villain and allowed the hero to win the duel."

"I see, and you feel us exchanging prisoners would be less respected than a smash and grab?" The human commander continues with a further question.

"I mean no offense, and judging from this movie, humans have the same sense of honor. However, in terms of specific operational practices, I fear that some prisoner of war exchange programs in human history will be misjudged as hostage taking because of a lack of understanding of Kilrathi culture." Ulannajirak speaks seriously.

"How would you see a diplomatic and fair exchange happening?"

"Excuse me, Sir, but you mean my opinion on... what aspects?" Ulannajirak carefully asks.

"Well, what do we want?" The commander looks at Ulannajirak, "I would imagine they want their hrai as I think they are called back. Same here."

"Well, I know, it's a rebalancing of interests." Ulannajirak looks at the ceiling and then at the CAG again, "I can understand that. But there are some principles and techniques needed for the specific operation. I must say that I am only a doctor, not a strategist, and I do not guarantee that some of the observations I am going to make are 100% safe and effective."

"Ok, so how do we procede, Kilrah doesn't seem to want a human embasy there." Schmitd shakes his head.

"First of all, I hope you understand that there is also an ancient phrase for equivalent exchange in the Kilrathi culture, called Huma ta humas." Ulannajirak speaks the word with respectful tone of voice. "One thing from me for another from you."

"OK, that is the principle of the exchance. a relation of equality" The commander replies.

"This is allowed, but be sure to avoid hostage." Ulannajirak thinks a while, "Then I should say... there is one key point I should mention..." Ulannajirak freezes for a second, seems hesitates to continue.

After a long breath, he finally decides to tell the human commander the important issue. "I should say, just as the humans, not all Kilrathi always act in accordance with the warrior codex. There are so many exceptions, or say, unspoken rules here." He sighs, "About half one eight years ago, there was one example..."

"I think Confederation Intel department should have the record... on the Firekka incident." Ulannajirak says with eyes closed.

He cradles his hands forming a temple.

"You were not cleared for information regarding the Defense of Firekka's details, but I imagine you were on the other side, and information flowed more freely there. " The commander adjusts in his seat... visibly uncomfortable facing an informed civilian.

"So... it depends on a lot of aspects... Who you are facing, what situation the opponent is in..." Ulannajirak seems to be saying this with a lot of courage. Yes, this is speaking Crown Prince's kidnapping of Firekkan. In the Empire this is an ABSOLUTE forbidden topic. Even here, on a human craft, it is not safe to talk about this. Don't forget there is a Kiranka noble on board, and Ulannajirak has yet met him.

"I think I understand.. the implications would be... disastrous if the wrong prisoner were had." The commander tries to compiete the thought.

"Let's put it this way..." Ulannajirak changes the subject, "I guess you all know... General Nargth? Formal Admiral of 2nt Fleet of the Empire."

"Yes, he orchestrated the MacAuliffe Ambush." The human replies.

"If it was him... If it was him you were facing then I think it would be best if you were to simply just let the family of this decent old general go and never capture them. Then... you could expect that Admiral Nargth would reciprocate in a suitable way in the subsequent battle." Ulannajirak opens his eyes, "If you grab his family and then openly ask for POW exchange... you may anger him, and it will even put him in a position where he will have to make an overreaction."

"Would the family be enemy combatants?" The human asks.

"Of course, that's just a hypothetical. It's 2659 in Terran calendar and the Admiral of the Second Imperial Fleet is long gone from Nargth." Ulannajirak looks at the huaman commander. "It is just an hypothetical. By the way, McAuliffe ambush was an Imperial battle, thus as a Kilrahra, Admiral Nargth had not privileged to orchestrate the plan."

"Ulannajirak, to my knowledge, we only capture as prisoners those who fire upon us." Schmitd replies. "This is in accordance to our rules from the rigel accord... even before the first contact. We take prisoners if the ships are hostile." and he mumbles the last part, "The behavior you are describing is that of pirates and the landriech."

"That is something important." Ulannajirak frowns, "If a craft with an old general's family appears in the war zone... Don't you think it is abnormal?" Ulannajirak continues seriously, "Sir, please pardon me. That probably means something unusual happens to the old general. Maybe he encountered something... trouble, so he had to take the risk to transport his family secretly in the war zone. Then what? Do you just grab his family and openly ask the Empire to exchange prisoners of war?" Ulannajirak's eyes shows his anxious, "Don't you think it is not... appropriate?"

"I have heard reports of officers going too far. if that happens, and it can be proven, they are disciplined." The human replies to Ulannajirak.

"But anyway, this is only a historical hypothesis." So it is relatively safe, at least much safer than talking about the Crown Prince. Ulannajirak takes a long breath, "I mean, you should know Kilrathi culture and then decides what to do and what not to do..."

"Ulannajirak, I will forward you the officer's code, it is declassified, and it clearly states that prisoners are taken only if they start as combatants. Another example would be at the liberation of Firekka, the escaping transports of clergy did not attack our ships and was not destroyed or taken prisoner. However, any diplomatic advice given will be taken into account, our victory condition is humanity's ensured survival. Nothing more, nothing less." The commander rebukes calmly. It seems he is losing his patience.

"Understood, Sir. I will carefully read it." Ulannajirak decides not to talk more on this issue.




"Permission to see the CAG?" It is Enforcer arrives at Schmitd's office.

"Ah, one of your pupils arrived", the commander mentions in an almost amused way. "Please come in."

Enforcer walks in and stands at attention, saluting "Sir" towards Schmitd, and "Kal Gathica" towards the Kilrathi teacher. Ulannajirak bows as etiquette. Enforcer reciprocates the bow again.

"Sir, if I may interject, I don't recall a military commander's family being on the front lines often. The last time I remember that being anything near commonplace was in Classical Times. Even then, it occurred less than half of the time."

Just at this time, Ulannajiral notices something else... that is something under Enforcer's off-duty uniform. There is the outline of a Kilrathi ground officer First Claw insignia underneath.

Ulannajirak knows that Enforcer would most likely have gotten that from an actual fight, but you are uncertain as to how he came across it.

"Then, Sir, may I ask about the schedule for the next class? " Ulannajirak returns to his peace expression. "I believe I have more to discuss with my students." He turns to Enforcer and nods, then looks back at the commander.

"Of course, the pilots have returned, they have been debriefed, schedule away! I give you a full authorization to continue the seminars as long as you have the energy to do so." Schmitd reassures Ulannajirak.

"Doctor, is everything alright? I noticed you staring at my chest. Did I sustain an injury of unknown nature?" Enforcer asks.

"..." Ulannajirak is a bit surprised. He is wondering why Enforcer just throw out the question in front of the commander. "Eh..." He looks back at Schmitd, poses for permission.

The commander nods. He turns to Enforcer. "Lt Steele, anything you need? I'm sure you didn't just come to discuss with our professor."

"Understood, Sir." Ulannajirak turns to Enforcer, "Not a medical issue, Mr. Enforcer. I just noticed something under your clothing... certain item I maybe familiar with..."

"Ah, the rank marker." Enforcer takes it out, revealing a First Claw rank insignia. "How much do you know about the ground battles on Hurricane? Specifically, those not on the official reports?"

"...!" As he confirms his presume, Ulannajirak frowns, "Sorry, Mr. Enforcer... You surprised me... with what you wear. And I am all ears for it." Ulannajirak shows his throat. That a polite gesture of Kilrathi for respect of equal levels or superiors to inferiors.

Enforcer quickly turns to Schmitd, "Commander, I request permission to tell the Doctor the details of my old unit's ground actions on Hurricane."

Schmitd smiles and nods. "Feel free to do so."

"Doctor, would you prefer a more social setting to hear this?" Enforcer turns to Schmitd, "Commander, would you care to hear the details?"

"I am good either way... However, I need to finish reviewing some reports... a lot of information came in after that last flight." Schmitd pats his acetates.

"Sir, I came in with a progress report on the tournament, and it should be OK for the Doctor to hear it. We should be able to begin with a modest entry fee within the next week or so. I also understand that you may have needed to speak with me regarding the recent missions, so I thought that my presence wouldn't hurt. That said, since you are busy, I can give you the details about this next time." Enforcer stands at attention and snaps a salute.

"Send me an mail by galnet, we can coordinate later." he replies with a casual salute.

"Understood." The Enforcer stands at attention and salutes.

Ulannajirak bows to the human commander, "Then, sir, I will also go back and prepare my lesson as soon as possible. Finally, I thank you all for your confidence in me, and I will prepare to move to the new room as soon as possible as requested." Ulannajirak remembers the mail from Seelig to let him move out from the Cell block.

Enforcer turns to Ulannajirak, "Doctor, are you up for some time at the lounge?"

"My pleasure, Mr. Enforcer." Ulannajirak smiles.

[...]
 
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CHAPTER 25

Ulannajirak walks out of Medbay. Now that Enforcer's knee will take some time to recover. Ulannajirak finds himself relieved that at least for a while, Enforcer wouldn't be bloody fighting... another Kilrathi. This feeling makes himself a little surprised.

Ulannajirak sees a group of pilots gathered ...... there is a strange human odor in the midst. A new human onboard? He steps ahead carefully.

"Hey Ulannajirak, looking chipper!" Julianna waves at the giant kitty.

Myers Just got off duty, and it's a good thing: he just downed a glass of his patented "Rostov Juice" about 20 minutes before his shift ended.

Julianna blinks repeatedly, her eyes sting slightly from the fumes in the air. She is walking by the canteen, she spots the newest black cat Publius.

"Hey... Lieutennants, I was about to hit the sims, want to join? With the rumors of more aces in the area, I want to be extra ready." Julianna asks.

The new comer looks around a bit nervously at Ulannajirak.

"Well..." Ulannajirak looks at the newcomer. What is his name or callsign? He whispered to Julianna, "What is the name of this newcomer?"

Julianna takes a little bunny hop of joy. "Blake, let's go then. Ulannajirak teaches us kilrathi culture too, you should join his classes Blake."

"Alien culture has always interested me", the new comer named Blake says with a smile.

"Got it," Ulannajirak nods to Karen, "Nice to see you, Mr. Blake."

"Nice to meet you to, Ulannajirak. I have never met a Kilrathi in person before." Blake repiles. Being acknowledged as a comrade makes him less wary of Ulannajirak.

"Lt Flynn, how did you come up with the nickname Publius anyway? is it like e publius uno?" Julianna turns back to Blake lacking subtlety.

"Actually, it's inspired by an incident an old Earth band was wrapped up in..." Blake says, "Called the Publius Enigma, where a mysterious person by the psuedonym of 'Publius' had sent mysterious messages regarding the band."

"Oh.. is that what that arcade game in the canteen in named after?" Julianna smiles.

"Ummm... no. That seems to be a unique name in itself..." Blake decides to back down from the conversation in shyness, "I think I'll explain later."

Ulannajirak turns to Myers, lowers his voice, "It might not be a suitable time to talk about it, but Mr. Myers, are you and Mr. Hunt ready for the next culture class? I hope you two have reviewed the content of the previous lesson. I've already reminded you." Then he turns away with a causal expression.

"Aye aye!" Myers takes another swig. It'll take a superhuman effort to make it to the simulator room, let alone fly well.
 
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