[CANON] [RP Episode] Paitiyas


#61

“Do not jest my lord Shah. I am in no mood for jokes. Let us keep our deals above board for the time being.” Gaius spoke sternly, but he inwardly chuckled.


#62

The grin grew wider. “Above the table? Do not pretend, emperor, that you’re not already calculating how to best use of Kaveh’s arrival to your own advantage. It’s how men like us stay in power, as we both know. Constant scheming, constantly looking for opportunities, for situations to twist to our advantage. And you’re already getting quite enough from us, what with Kaveh saving your fleet from obliteration and giving you the things you need to field armoured forces of your own. I will advise you to not stretch my generosity or goodwill further.”


#63

One day Gilgamesh, your time will come.

The Emperor stirred.

“Do not make claim to our salvation Gilgamesh, or force me into gratitude. It will get you none, and will indeed only widen the gap between our nations. When my father saved your great-grand sire, many years ago, it was a gift freely given, and I did not subsequently hold it over your father. We are even now, let us keep it that way.”

Aetius moved suddenly. Gaius looked at him, and switched the topic.

“On another note, will you be attempting to make peace with Kleriel?”


#64

Gilgamesh indulged the Emperor’s reply with a sardonic smile. “Kleriel? The northern savages are beneath my concern. I am content to let them sit in their hovels as long as they do not trouble Kaveh.”


#65

The normally iron-like face of the Valkorian was startled.

“Savages…I see. Then in that case, we have nothing further to discuss except the transfer and payment of the goods aforementioned.” His face locked again.


#66

The Shahanshah lifted an eyebrow. “Are you suggesting they should be treated differently?”


#67

“They are the most advanced and most powerful nation in the world, I’ll say they should be treated differently.” Gaius gave up on his pledge to speak to the Shah of reparations. There would be no point. “That is all.”


#68

The eyebrow lifted further. “Most advanced and powerful in the world? I would beg to differ. But perhaps a different approach is in other - perhaps they’re not the same as the bearded peasants who come in their wooden boats to trouble fishermen’s children.”


#69

“On that at least we agree. I will leave you to choose your own path however, I will not dissuade you.”

"Before this is finalized, I would like to concur with a few of my advisors. I expect I shall have an answer to your trade proposals tomorrow.”


#70

“Then, for the time being, I will retire.” Gilgamesh made a formal waist bow, before nodding to the other officer and leaving, beckoning as he went his Doîthra retinue to join him.


#71

After the Shah left, Gaius looked at Aetius. Several advisors trooped into the room, taking seats.

”You heard?” he asked them.

”Yes Sire.” responded the Quaestor.

”And?”

”He would flood our markets with their goods. Their support production techniques would render us dependent on them, and demanding they build factories in Valkoria itself would only make them put in killswitches, rendering us still unable to produce goods on a Kavehan-scale. I would advise rejecting this deal sire."

Caesar nodded, his brain working through the options. Admiral Aetius spoke up.

“Gilgamesh is a proud man, like his father. Even worse, I would say. But he holds the upper hand in military might. We have the men, he has the weapons. Rejecting his proposal outright would lead too hostility, maybe war.”

Caesar nodded again. “We need him, but only as long as we cannot defend ourselves and produce the means to do so.”

The older Quaestor spoke again. “Then give him what he wants. Gilgamesh wants to sell, and expand his markets. We can give him that. But for a price. He sells us equipment, and is allowed to establish up to 4 factories in Valkoria without a premium or tariffs levied.That is my advice, Caesar.”

The Emperor made up his mind, and sent a message to the Shah in the morning.

I have made up my mind. Below are the terms to which I will agree:
Valkorian and Kavehan traders may go as they please, with no tariffs unless relations between our nations become hostile. ‘Arejo’ will be sold at a much reduced price to Kavehan merchants.
Valkorian military contractors will be allowed to buy both electronics and diesel-run engines. No tariffs will be levied on military goods sold, but trading of electronic and engine-powered goods may only be conducted at specified areas of the Empire. Up to 4 factories may be built and run jointly by Kavehans and Valkorians in the Empire, to speed production and cut down travel time.
I await your reply,
Caesar


#72

Onboard his ship, the Sâhamaiwyo, Gilgamesh met with his own advisors to discuss the Emperor’s proposal. Attending him were not only his grand vizier, Lord Shahin Necahualtototl, but also the Lords of the Zuma, Xiuhcoatl and Citlalic Houses and Lord Yatavo Tlanextictototl.

The Sâhamaiwyo had been partly converted for use by the royal party, and as such had been retrofitted with an expansive conference room. This was put to use now, as the cream of Kavehan nobility sat itself on expensive leather-and-mahogany chairs. Overhead the fan drew lazy circles, serving only to disperse the smoke of the nobles’ cigars.

Sitting himself at the head of the conference table, Gilgamesh spoke first. "The Emperor has, in all but name, agreed to our proposals. He demands some concessions to save face - ones I am like to grant. We can trade without tariffs, and have permission to invest in Valkoran factories.

He wove his fingers together and rested his chin on them. “What is the opinion of this esteemed body on the offered deal?”

Jasper Citlalic spoke up first. “Establishing mining operations in Valkoran territory would be exceedingly profitable, my lord. We can unlock the resource potential of the region, and possibly get our hands on the ores for a much reduced price. If possible, I would argue for more concessions there - such as in converting two of the permitted factories to mineral mines.”

Kir Zuma spat. “Bah, and in that way get a good deal of power for yourself, no doubt.” He raised his voice over the other lord’s protests. “Don’t act all offended. We all know why we’re here - to get as much out of this bunch as possible. We’ve got plenty of coal and oil reserves at home, my lord. I don’t see why we should bother with -” he waved his hand dismissively in the direction of the city. “-all this.”

Gilgamesh smirked. “Yes and no. What my lord of Zuma fails to understand is that there’s more at stake here than merely getting our hands on some rocks and a few crystals. Valkoria needs us. If we play our cards right, we’ll bind them to us in dependence and alliance, and it’ll be that much easier to maintain a foothold on the continent.”

Darien Xiuhcoatl, who had been watching up till that point, sighed. “With luck, once they see the quality of our goods, the Valkoran commoners will not want to buy anything else. I’m loathe to put our technology at their disposal by building factories in their cities though - save, perhaps, to produce low-level goods. 3D printers are wasted on them - they lack the plastic stocks to use them. They’ll need to have all the household goods made for them - chairs, furniture, kitchen utensils, whatnot. My proposition would be to establish factories for this - common household appliances, a taste of what we have to offer, but not more.”

At this, the Shahanshah nodded. “Above all, we should be ware what we share with men such as these. They’ll seize any advantage to weaponize it, and the Keelish are already bound to be trouble enough without another advanced enemy next door. Speaking of which-” he turned to Lord Yatavo, who sat in a corner, glowering. “What is your take on this? How much of an advantage will the diesel engines provide?”

Yatavo grumbled. “To be fair? Not as much as they think. Their technology level is almost a century behind us, and they’ve as little understanding of armoured warfare as we did before the War. It’ll take them a while to develop effective anti-tank weaponry, let alone combat platforms able to fight ours on an equal basis. I do not foresee major issues in the near future, my lord. Though, if you are concerned, we can always rig up a vulnerability in the exhausts that clogs them up in sandy terrain.”

Gilgamesh’ eyes glittered, and he drew himself up. “Good. We will do the following. We will inform Caesar that we wish to negotiate some details of the deal but that its general lines are acceptable. Responsibility for establishing the granted factories will lie with the House of Xiuhcoatl. Meztlitototl will provide the funding. Yatavo, I expect you to liase with our technicians to produce engines with the required weakness - that should prevent them from being used against us. Gaius will be informed of them as a normal precaution - though one we may dispense with if he should see fit to grant Citlalic and Zuma exclusive mining rights. Representatives of the other Houses will also be informed, and are permitted to take advantage of any conditions that may emerge. The same-” He eyed the four nobles in front of him. “Goes for all of you. I expect you to use your wits, and press any advantages you can for the nation. You have my leave to go.”

The assembled nobles rose and bowed - Kir Zuma somewhat sourly - and filed out of the room one by one. Gilgamesh sat there, smoking his cigar pensively, for a time afterwards, before beckoning a scribe to write it all down.


#73

The Emperor met the Shah in the study once again. Several of the advisers from the day before were present, standing somber in the background. Lamps placed in alcoves and upon the bookshelves illuminated the room, and outside the sun glimmered off the adamant walls of the city.

Caesar received his guests once again, and the final negotiations began.


#74

Gilgamesh stepped forward from the collection of Kavehan lords. “Lord Emperor, I have noted that the deal you proposed, while acceptable diverges on several key points - most pointedly the building of factories in your land. Might I ask why this was included?”


#75

Gaius dropped all veneer of deception.

”Because in the event of hostile relations between our nations, trade would necessarily cease. Even if there was no military conflict between us, this would leave Valkoria open to engagement by other highly developed countries such as Kleriel, without the means to fight back. With factories built in the Empire itself, Valkoria can remain able to produce armaments to defend itself from other nations. I mean no insult when I say I do not trust you. I doubt you would return the favor in any event.”


#76

“Let me make sure I understand you correctly. You expect us to provide you with the cream of Kavehan technologies - technologies, mind you, that your scientists will barely understand - in a facility we are to build on your land for you to take over and produce advanced weapons with, whenever you feel like it? And we are supposed to feel honoured by the privilege?”

It was exceedingly hard for the Shahanshah to stifle a chuckle at this.

“Is this farce a condition for the establishment of the treaty’s other provisions?”


#77

”Firstly, these are not the ‘cream of Kavehan engineering’, they are altered engines used by you on a daily basis. This ‘farce’ is a necessary arrangement produced by you and your lords attempts to take over the Valkorian market.” he reaponded. Gaius did not change his expression. Arrogant but correct. He knows he holds the cards.


#78

“Then what exactly do you require us to produce in these factories of yours?” Gilgamesh replied.


#79

”The engines aforementioned, and perhaps the ‘transistor based electronics’ also aforementioned, however the second will take more time considering my people’s lack of knowledge. This should cut down on shipping and insurance costs from pirates.”

”Considering you recently offered me soldiers equipped with your cutting edge weapons, I fail to see what you have to fear. It will take us what, a year? Two years? Before we master these engines. Then another few years to put vehicles into production and equip our legions with them. Vehicles equipped with electronics and engines much less advanced than your own, I might add. So tell me, what does Kaveh have to fear of a Valkoria armed with such weapons, unless you intend to assail us?” Caesar looked pointedly at the Kavehan King. ”I have no doubt that you know our economic situation. Trade is once again flourishing, but the war of two years ago left the country a ruin. I have no interest in fighting foreign wars until I am sure Valkoria is once again prospering.”


#80

Gilgamesh spread his hands, a wide smile plastered on his face. “And it would be Kaveh’s pleasure to help you achieve that prosperity, and share in it. I will have a talk with the lords about those factories, to see what can be achieved. Maybe a gesture from your side would help convince them of the long-term validity of such an investment - such as mutual dependence. Kaveh, for one, has great need of ores - particularly copper, bauxite, and hematite. Would you be able to provide us with such, or with dig sites where we may procure them?”