“If it weren’t for the myriad of mitigating factors, I’d congratulate your wherewithal to show your face back in Xiphos again, Hyades – especially after that vicious expose of your administration last month! So, why are you here and how did you manage to get past customs unidentified?”
”Oh, I was recognized. Several times, in fact. Some enlightened individuals wanted photos, other peons slung insults in the same manner you did all those months ago. But that’s neither here nor there, I’m afraid. I’ve come with an olive branch of sorts. It’d be wise if you accepted it."
”Is that…? Are you really trying to absolve your misdeeds with hot chocolate?”
”That would imply that I ascribe my actions up to this point as ‘misdeeds’, so no. However, in the wake of the permanent Einstein-Rosen Bridge between Terra and Gigatellus, it’s high time we set the consular precedent.
I’ve been there, Tahajin. Decrepit functionality as far as the eye can see. Leaders with all the constitution of moist bread, naught but figureheads for shadow corporations and those atop the highest of opulence. Discourse devolving into juvenile exchange and resource squabbles masquerading as noble wars.”
”Indeed. It’s one of the reasons I’m surprised you didn’t try to emigrate there and take over. Earth has its fair share of issues, but to critique them would be to turn a blind eye on our own sins. After all, we aren’t that different. Millennia ago, Hirth was just as fraught with inadequacies in the grand scheme of things – and it was only the advent of true innovation that brought us from underneath the heel of our own hubris, though I doubt seriously I need to educate a relic on our history.
Also, that cup looks awfully precarious hanging in only one of your tendrils like that… I do hope you realize that poisons aren’t all that effective on me. Sure, the corrosive brands hurt, but other than that…”
”It wouldn’t BE precariously bound if you took it already - and I do hope that poison affirmation was nothing but a quip! If I wanted to eliminate you, the last thing I’d even contemplate is debasing myself and wounding my pride on your homeland.”
”True, true… Lord knows that your ego couldn’t handle a puncture considering its rather minuscule tensile strength – which, if I may take another aside – juxtaposes your mycelium hemoglobin quite nicely! You’d be an excellent tragic hero in the epics of yore~."
”ANYWAY. Us Hirthians need to fortify our camaraderie as travel betwixt worlds becomes more competent and commonplace. We need to show those petulant Earthlings that our composure humiliates their own…and if that means that I have to make marginal amends with my diametrically-opposed ideological and geopolitical rival, then so be it.”
”Always simulating ulterior motive… You know, I’d be inclined to believe that was your primary impetus if I didn’t see your muzzle turning red from here.”
”You’ve had extensive training in the medical field, have you not?! You should know better than I do that blood circulation accumulates on the cheeks during periods of heightened embarrassment!!”
”There are many other reasons one will incur facial capillary expansion.”
”Far from it! Are you sure there’s no other reason you’d be flustered at the moment? You’ve already all but besmirched your standing in the eyes of the Zweian public. Admitting something that inconsequential shouldn’t act as that much of a hindrance!”
*SIGH* ”I respect strength.”
”What was that? I’ll need you to enunciate.”
”I RESPECT STRENGTH, YOU HINGE MIGNON. You’ve been an unyielding foe to my campaign and, while I despise your very existence, I can certainly laud and honor a characteristic! Now take the goddamn cup out of my tendril before I scald you with its contents!”
”Sure thing. Thank you, and a Merry Festivus, Hyades.”
”Sod it all and heed me, abomination… The next time we meet, it will be through the view-ports of war machines.”
To an autocrat, a single compliment towards the opposition was akin to pontificating hours of sycophantic statements and repudiating all of their previous declarations. As such, Hyades’ rather flamboyant flounce into the ritziest vehicle of the Khmali motorcade was well anticipated. Though the possat stood his ground with lissome defiance and excess humorous ammunition, nothing could erase that bemused countenance – even while he sipped the chocolaty concoction he was handed (which carried the same coarse piquancy as the fennec’s nation – and not a drop of cyanide).
Was he really there only to posit a planetary jingoist agenda for the upcoming years or was there really something else to be gleaned from sieving that tentacle-canine’s cadence. Either way, the monochromatic ‘abomination’ nuzzled into the froth and ambled back towards his apartment complex, ruminating with each sip. There’s no way such a dubious fellow would perform that tactic unless pressured. On top of that, it had to be recent, as that hackneyed contrivance the fennec constructed was naught but brusque ad lib. Five blocks of heavy thinking and near-collisions with other pedestrians later, Tahajin shrugged his concern aside, downed the rest of the cocoa grog and nearly slammed the cup at the concierge until he noticed the painting embossed on the ceramic: a single holly indigenous to the hillocks of Zwei…and an unmistakable signature scrawled on the obverse.
”He seriously used an old art project to serve me hot chocolate. I swear… The more I know about this dictator, the less I understand."