01.20.3014: The Old Man and the Stars
Summary: Ilo and Cedric have a discussion about recent events.
Date: 10 November 2013
Related: Various.
Ilo Cedric 

Top of the Spire, The Ring
A dome at the top of the Spire.
January 20, 3014

The once High Lord of House Orelle does not do much these days. He tends to his duties as the Master of Ships, and then he spends the rest of the time under the care of a stern nurse who, while always having Ilo's best in mind, tends to drive the old, senile man further into madness by her suffocating hovering. She means well, trying to maintain his regiment of memory exercises, keeping his schedule in order, and monitoring his overall health — or deterioration.

It has been a good day for the Admiral, which is why Karrina very quietly contacted Cedric to let him know that he was at his most coherent. She told the Captain he would find his grandfather in the atrium at the top of the Spire in the center of the Orelle Residences. It would always be one of Ilo's most favored spots. He sits in a comfortable armchair beneath the glittering stars of naked, inhibited space. He is reading off his tablet, poise relaxed to suggest he is reading something enjoys instead of something that is demanded of him. He has a lean, white-furred cat in his lap — a relatively recent acquisition at the behest of Karrina. It gave him someone to talk to who would never judge his state of lucidity. Still a bit of a kitten, Orion purrs at a window-rattling intensity as Ilo strokes his head and back with his old, weathered hand.

Cedric doesn't often go to the very top of the Spire, since it generally means there's a chance at running into his father, and for some years, he and Esiah have never seen completely eye to eye on military tactics. Besides, the middle child is sometimes the one most often ignored, so most of Cedric's memories as a child were more often than not in the care of his grandparents. Fond memories of grandmother Lysandra, who so happens to be the reason he named his own daughter after her. If only she was alive to see that. The elevator carries him to the top of the Spire, the glass opening letting him view the the entirety of the level, so large it actually has it's own horizon. As he waits for it rise, he rubs at his brow, pondering what he's going to say. It had been some time since he last spoke to his grandfather.

The doors open with a quiet hiss, the sound of his hard-soled officer boots cli-clacking down the center of the room. "Good evening, grandfather." he greets when close enough. "I had been told you were up here in the crow's nest. Thought to drop by." A glance at the cat. Cedric always had a soft spot for cats. "Orion. Keeping the Lord Admiral company, I see."

Orion looks up toward Cedric with his golden brown eyes, and releases a proud little meow that quickly turned into a wide yawn. "He is better than most company I keep," Ilo says grumpily as he reads the last bit of the paragraph he is on. He then taps the tablet, bookmarking the spot before he looks up to his grandson with those pale, almost watery blue eyes. He gestures casually toward a neighboring chair. "Sit, tell me about how… ah…" The man reaches up to his brow, rubbing a bit at the small scar directly above his left eyebrow. "Lyrienne… how is Lyrienne?" He finally asks as his old, tired memory finds her name.

"Funny, I have the same thought most times." Cedric muses, sitting down. "Pregnant." he answers in regards to his wife, then adding, "Yes, again. Appears the Orelles gene trait is pretty strong because it's twins this time. She's in her second trimester now and doing well. The running joke is that is at this rate, we'll have enough children to start our own house. The kids are doing well too. Marus will be turning nine this year, Lyssie four, and Julian two." A glance at the massive expanse that is the Ring before looking back at Ilo. "And how are you, grandpa? Not being bothered too much by Karrina, I hope?"

"Hmm," Ilo muses thoughtfully. "You will need to send me updated pictures. Karrina likes to maintain those things." Running his memory through the gauntlet at it was. Then he shrugs a bit, pausing in his scritching of the cat in his lap to look up toward his grandson. "Tired," he finally admits. "The King has more meetings than his father did… must be his youth. Symion rarely needed this much…" He may be on the brink of saying hand-holding, but he shakes his head. "Symion wasn't a wartime King," he adds after a lapse of thought. "He knew that would fall to Emund's shoulders… just as we all knew…"

"I'll make a note of it." Cedric replies earnestly. "I imagine, I'm not sure that your job is as glamorous as it's made out to be. I keep hearing over and over that most Admirals long for the days when they were on the bridge of their own ship, so I suppose I'm glad that nobody has been eyeballing me with the idea that I'd need another pip on my collar. Though I'm sure Lyrienne would be thrilled by the idea of me being home every night." The mention of the King has him slightly hesitant. "No, he wasn't. Symion was a known quantity. We all knew what he was capable of, and he was a good leader, even if it wasn't wartime. Emund is…well, an unknown, I suppose. I can't say I've ever really spoken to him. He's been awfually…quiet as of late. There isn't anything amiss at court is there?" Finger tap on his knee for a moment.

Ilo glances over toward his grandson now. "There is no glamorous job out there when it comes to War, Cedric… from the grunt at the bottom to the Regnant himself… it is all dirty." Then the Admiral releases a slow exhale that seems to deflate him into his chair. Then he glances toward Cedric. "He is quiet because he has put his trust in those who are capable in carrying out his wishes. It is the purpose of the Council. It is when the Regnant starts making speeches and noise when you should worry, my boy… then there's something going on that he has to answer to, speak toward, or act on…"

"Even when the war isn't as cut and dry as many of us thought?" Cedric asks. "Events have been…unravelling, Grandpa. And I've been witness to it myself. And I find myself…not in doubt of the cause, but more that I'm seeking the truth towards the origin of it." There's a nod of agreement at Ilo's latter explanation. "I guess part of me thought it odd that there was no offical response when the leaked video of the Cantosan Sarah was leaked. When I saw, I didn't particuarly believe it, but then Lyrienne went to speak with her after I had gone to the resort in Lazuras to rescue her. It was there that I encountered," he pauses, frowning. "I've always considered Hostiles as faceless creatures created by some kind of alien technology; combination of cloning, genetic manipulation, and cyberization, using them as shock troops. My thought was we had never seen the real faces of what were defending against. Something that we didn't understand. It made it easier, fighting something you can't relate to. Bgut now…" he shrugs.

"When I came back, I started to do research into the origins of Cantos, I wanted to find the truth, whatever it might be. But I've been blocked by Naval Intelligence, claiming I don't have the clearence to know. I'm wondering what's so important about that part of our history it needs to be kept off public record."

Ilo grimaces at the words leaked video of the Cantosan Sarah. He looks over toward his grandson more steadily. "That was a decision of the Council… we are having Figguroa draft a response… but Godfrey and Ironheart are debating on the proper timing." Then he shrugs away that whole debacle as if it hardly concerns him beyond frustration. He then frowns a bit at where Cedric guides the conversation, and he reaches up to scratch idly at his ear. "It isn't about what is or isn't important, Cedric… it is about intentions," the old man says in his lucid voice. "When they first came out of Cantos and attacked Hera, there was a genuine concern that was not unlike your own hypothese. The colonists were dead, and whatever these things were, were responsible for that." He lapses into silence for a moment, and then blinks his watery eyes several times as if clearing away a thought or perhaps refocuses them. "Everything except the basics were placed under the top secret header… we wanted to control the information. We had been… hasty in the colonization of Cantos. Its orbital cycle had us on a time crunch." There is a slight disquietness to his expression as he looks away. "There were some that questioned settling the planet at all, wondered if the Ways could handle the immense distance the planet traveled through its cycle… but we needed it."

"I've been hearing rumbling of concern over the amount of silence concering that." Cedric replies slowly. "Personally, I'm trying not to judge, I take my orders for you, and I trust your opinion on it. If you say it's being handled, I'd only suggest that something be said soon before people start being more…vocal about it." Then he goes deathly silent, listening intently to the Lord Admiral. "Did the leadership what keep the origins of the Cantosans secret?" he then asks. "That the idea that they might be human make people question things? I suppose that's where I'm at." Then he starts to get more clinical.

"Was the limits of a Waygate ever tested before that? A known range? After my readings of various reports from Sarah, we've been given the label 'Abandoners', some kind of religous stigma that carries over generations. That's my interpretation. They blame us for abandoning them on Cantos. The colonists and those had been there from Imperius when the Waygate…" he trails off. "Do you know what happened to the gate? Did it malfunction on one end? Both end? Or was it something else? Anything specific about these people. The one thing that had stuck out to me was the fact that names and histories, personel files on those that had been…left behind, are classified. Why was the decison made?" Another moment, he too thinking. "Why did we need Cantos? We weren't lacking for space. What's so speical about it that we'd risk that kind of distance?"

"You know that answer already, Cedric," Ilo replies to his first comment and question. "You said so yourself… it was easier when you thought of them as faceless extensions of a greater unknown… when you find out that those entities are actually our brothers and sisters… it changes things… doesn't it?" Then he breathes out another heavy exhale at the questions, and he starts to shake his head. "No… Cantos was the test…" He lets that hang there for a long moment, and there is a flash of frustration across his gnarled, old features. "There was nothing that suggested it was going to fail," Ilo says angrily. "I have seen the math myself… it was perfect! The probability of failure, and failure that soon after it crossed the orbital plane, was microsopic at best." He looks as if he could continue to argue this, but the man settles into silence once more. "Our Ways held… the malfunction had to have been on the Cantos side. It would be like ringing a comm over and over again, and no one ever answering on the other end." Then he resumes scratching at his ear thoughtfully. "There were scientists, military commanders, political figures… all of which are common for setting up an initial colony. Those chosen to be the first inhabitants of Arias were not just another average Citizen. They were chosen because of their backgrounds… some of which were classified to begin with." Ilo shrugs. "I suppose they decided to just classify the whole lot rather than leave lots of holes…" Then he lapses into another silence as he looks back out across the dome, hand dropping away to his lap once more. "Beyond its immense richness in raw resources… the planet was to become central to extrasolar research."

"Which is why I'm sitting here, I suppose." Cedric replies quietly, looking at his feet. "What you're saying is a conclusion that I came to the night of my research. Is what I'm doing right? You've always told me to do the right thing, Grandpa, even when other people may get pissed off over it. I'm trying to do that now. I'm trying, in my own part, to try and stop this before we end up killing each other over a mistake. If this all really was just that." His hand rubs his face as his grandfather starts to talk again. "Reaching for Averice, I take it?" he asks in terms of Cantos being the test. "Risky, especially with that kind of distance. I don't quite understand how Waygates work but, we're talking light-years of transportation. So the everything was sound on our, it was on their side. Do you have any idea if it was mechanical failure, human error, or perhaps a more insidious idea, that it was intentional? That someone on Cantos decided, for whatever reason, they were better off without the government?"

More thinking, this time on the knowlege of the people there. "This…does make sense at why and how Cantosans look how they do. Cybernetics, genetic modification, cloning. All done by the scientists there. Military and political gave them foundamental groundwork for a infrastructure. Were there any known political or relgious affliiations these people had with one another? Did they, before communication was lost, have any kind…" he guestures with a hand, "similar ideals? Any intention of creating their own independent state?" Again, the last part hangs with him. "Extrasolar research? Were going to expand past the system? Or was there something out there that we were curious about? I've always…" his lips thin. "Always said this was a false reality set for us. Earth wanted us to be explorers, not stuck in the same system fighting the same people."

Ilo shrugs his shoulders slightly at his grandson's plea. "That is something that I cannot answer for you this time, Cedric… what is right is not what concerns most… it is doing what ensures survival." He then shakes his head at the flow of questions that come next. "You're asking me to speculate on something that happened generations upon generations ago, my boy… for all the facts tell us, it was mechanical failure… I doubt you will find anything that points to something else, if it existed at all." Then he sighs out another breath. "I don't know, Cedric… I'm old, boy, but I'm not that old. I wasn't on Cantos, I didn't know the people who were assigned there… I know what our records tell us… whatever happened on Cantos is known only by the… Cantosans." Then he waves his hand a bit. "The whole point of Cantos was to research those questions… we are naturally curious about the beyond of things, Cedric… Cantos would be a place to sate that curiosity."

"Doesn't bother anyone that we might be fighting a war based on a mistake?" Cedric doesn't look completely beside himself, just frustrated. "I feel like I'm coming to a crossroads where I'm going to have to either choose what's right and my own integrity for survival. That the idea of what's worse; physical death or a moral one. And if we don't at least make the attempt at doing something other than the path of least resistance, we'll be damning ourselves and future generations to something that none of us asked for. And if we can stop the bloodshed, we will save more lives than have ever exsisted, because how many more wars will this last? This one? Two more? Ten? I don't want to be apart of a continual cycle of death over something so pointless." He shakes his head, almost sadly. "We've fallen far from what we once were, haven't we. From cruious explorers to…war-driven sycophants. We were supposed to be the best Earth had to offer. And now…" He touches his wedding band on his finger. "I want to ask you two things, Grandpa. One, consider asking Emund to release Sarah. Put her on a ship, mine if need be. We'll put her in a worksuit, and push her out an airlock toward the closest Cantosan ship. Perhaps by giving her back, someone on Cantos might get the idea that we're not all murderers and monsters. Second, I'd like to see those classified files on the orginal Cantos personel and those from Imperius. Even if it's just faces or names, I want to see if there's something that was…missed. That we're not seeing. Because I doubt Sarah is going to give us the answers, and as much as I'd like to commission a new class of warship to scout Cantos itself, it's the only lead I have."

Ilo actually arches his brows a bit at Cedric's words. "Mistake or not, Cedric… there are thousands of lives on both sides that have been lost… and eventually that overshadows a simple mistake." The old Orellean shakes his head. "You want to change the course of things, to end this constant cycle of war, then it can't be because you throw your hands up and claim this all to be some mistake… it has grown beyond that now. We can all nod our heads with you, agree that this grew from a mistake, but the point there, boy, is that it grew… now it has to be about something else… now it has to be about both sides wanting to find a way to stop the cycle. So, find what will motivate that… the Cantosans want something… and if it were our utter annihilation, there are lot easier ways to do that." Then Ilo actually laughs — a deep, barking laugh that ends in a smirk. "Of course she's not going to give you the damn answers, Cedric… she's a grunt… that's like asking one of your lowly crewman what color my shit was this morning. Instead of us poking at her like some she's suppose to drop all the secrets in our lap, we should be telling her about who we are."

Then Ilo considers the requests, and he frowns. "I can bring it to the Council, but I can't make a guarantee." Then he waves his hand a bit. "And, if it will make you sleep easier, I'll request you gain access to those files… but I don't think the answer you're looking for is in the past."

"I know, I know, I'm just…" Cedric waves his head. "Frustrated. I'm not looking to end this single-handedly. I'm not some Valen romantic like that. I just want to do something that may make a difference. And even if my actions don't lead much more than that, I did something. It'll be enough. As for Sarah, it's the exact reason why I haven't bothered speaking to her. Everyone else has, they think by being her friend or something they'll magically bring her over to our side, which I think has been unlikely from the start. Doesn't stop people from trying.

"That's all I ask, Grandpa. It's my thought that Sarah thinks we're going to kill her once we've had our fun. Giving her back might suggest something different, I don't know. But it'd better than just killing her or handing her over the lab rats. I don't want that. Not for any human. And…thank you. You're probably, but I'd rather exhaust all the wrong avenues just so I know which ones they are." He turns his watch over on his wrist. "I should be getting back to Lyrienne. I…I'm sorry about not visiting you so much, it's been wrong of me. I know our reasons. Work, but…I should've been a better grandson. Next time, I'll bring Lyri with me."

"Karrina doesn't let you around unless I'm sane," Ilo says flatly. "She doesn't want you or the others to see what I look like with my underwear on my head." He does offer his grandson a slight smile before he reaches down to scratch Orion under his chin. "If I were Figguroa or whoever else visits with the Cantosan… I would use the fact that she's human as a way to connect. There are natural things that we as humans share… the way noise sounds to our ears, the way we see color, the way our tongues taste… there are ways to show her that Havenites and Cantosans have things in common than pecking her to death about who she is. Then you give her back… once she starts to wonder about why that painting was so lovely, why that song sounded so nice…" There is a slight tiredness to Ilo's voice. "Commonality… that's important…" Then he drifts into a thoughtful silence, and only nods vaguely when Cedric starts to say his farewells.

"I think only grandma wanted to see that. Just so she could poke fun at you." Cedric smiles lightly standing up. "But. You make a convincing argument. Hold off on making that request, I'll see if I can do what you're asking. I don't know, I wonder how culturally sound I am, but I know even if I did see her, I have no real military questions to ask. I never thought about it like that." He lets the advice collect in his head. "Commonality…" Then he shakes it off. He pats his grandfather's shoulder. "Love you, Grandpa. I'll let you know what I find. On Sarah on and the files, if there's anything to be found on the latter." Reaching down to give Orion a scritch behind the ears, he turns back to the elevator.

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