(( Planet Venthis - Kordel City; A Modest Family Rowhouse ))
Today, of all days, when she was supposed to play host to aliens from worlds away, the titan of science and industry was busy hurrying her daughter along out of her bedroom upstairs. The house buzzed with activity. In the background news anchors breathlessly reported and speculated on a planned visit by aliens arriving in just a couple short hours - the first visit of its kind since a spectacular first meeting ten months ago.
Alios had been bestowed the daunting task of introducing the aliens to her homeworld, her home city, and demonstrating the vast technological advancements she'd played a central part in spurring. It was all an awful lot to ask of someone who thought of herself as a family woman, but she was going to do the best she could to represent an entire planet. Judging from the coverage, the city center was going to be a zoo. Alios heard her name mentioned by one of the anchors, and she immediately switched the news off. She had no love for her level of fame - though it still paled in comparison to entertainers and politicians.
She shouted again up the stairs to her daughter.
Alios: Azzo! Hurry along! It's not every day we receive visitors from another world!
Some hailed Alios as a genius, a hero, a visionary - or any one of a number of superlatives that put her on a pedestal. She was already being put into history books all across Venthis with all of those labels and more, right alongside her "miracle" technology. To hear some talk about it, it sounded like she'd invented magic, but she knew it was no such thing. Alios always felt "they" were just as wrong about her technology as they were wrong about her.
Azzo: Coming, ma!
The young teen-turning-adult pounded down the stairs at full speed, the bright optimism of youth full on her face.
Azzo's energetic youth contrasted the wizened cracks on Alios' face - they told the cost of ceaseless war, but also the assertive dignity of a woman that captained an industrial complex towards a better future. Alios was a survivor; aged a graceful fifty-four. She, like many women her age (and it was principally women that lived long lives on Venthis), carried the memories and stories passed down from generations gone by who had destroyed themselves, taking much of the planet with them. Her short, sandy hair was a model of efficiency. She demanded as much from herself as she did those around her, and it wouldn't do to be fussed with fashion.
Azzo: I wouldn't miss this for anything!
Alios: I know, ulmi.
She smiled, applying the affectionate local dialectic word along with an equally affectionate ruffling of her daughter's long hair. The kitchen smelled nice, a combination of some wheat-like mash and a mysterious earthen beverage lending their scents to the simple, homely house.
Alios: Eat! Before it gets cold!
Alios tidied as her daughter set to work on the food. She was a simple woman in all ways, whatever one might think of her intellectual capacity or demanding nature. Given her considerable prestige and comparative wealth, she could have settled her family anywhere, but she chose to live in her ancestral rowhome. Kordel, not far from where the east and west states met, had been very nearly wiped off the map just a short decade ago, but instead of moving, she'd stayed and rebuilt shoulder-to-shoulder (quite literally) with her neighbors and employees. Many politicians had urged her to move to the capital, but she'd firmly refused. Her work was too important for her to be pressed, so she was allowed to remain.
That decision quite possibly saved her home city. Many districts of the city were still nothing but rubble, but her brainchild, Feren Industries, had played a role in radically reversing the city's fortunes. Now, a new building went up almost every day as people flocked to the growing center of industry. She employed as many of them as she could, regardless of where they originally called home - old fears and hatreds had no place in her vision of the future.
Azzo finished scarfing down the contents of the bowl, clearly more interested in the events of the day than proper etiquette when it came to her food.
Azzo: Done! Can we go now?
Alios: :: She laughed. :: Put your dishes in the replicator, and grab your coat. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes. Then we go.
Perhaps the most important label Alios attached to herself was mother. Like every other family, hers had endured repeated heartbreaks unthinkable on most planets, but she was committed to loving what was left of it. As important as her work and community was, family always came first in her heart and her life. She strove to be firm and supportive, but knew she was as imperfect as every other parent. Still, one of her proudest moments was just a few months ago when her youngest (and only daughter) accepted a position working at her company. There'd be many more qualified experts helping her show off her life's work (and their own) today, but she wanted her daughter to be there for history in the making, representing her hopes for their future.
Azzo: I wonder what they look like?
Azzo burst into the entry as she asked the question, adorned in bright makeup the young had taken up since the end of the war. Alios
pulled the tan coat tight around her daughter, examining her closely. Satisfied, she smiled and opened the door to a
cool, but pleasantly sunny day.
Alios: Some look very much like us, some look very different. They come from many different planets.
She adjusted her own
cloche hat and grey coat as the pair walked.
She looked almost unassuming in a drab, pressed pant suit. It was only a short distance to the streetcar which would take them directly to her main offices where they were to meet representatives of this "Federation of Planets."
The familiar neighborhood processed on either side of them as they went down the street. Some blocks were still utterly demolished, while increasingly others were freshly rebuilt. Replicator technology, one of the technological revolutions her own company had pioneered, had made rebuilding vastly cheaper, easier, and faster. A team of women were working on rebuilding a series of units towards the end of the block. Resources once devoted to destruction were steadily being pointed back towards the people and their wellbeing.
Azzo: Do you think they'll like Venthis?
Alios: :: She chuckled softly. :: I don't know, but I hope so, ulmi. We've come a long way in a very short period of time, but we've also done so much damage to our homes and each other... Hopefully they see our enduring spirit and a real desire to reconcile. For the first time in generations, our species has reason to be hopeful. Our children have a real future, and many of our hopes are pinned on them. :: She smiled. :: That's why I wanted you along.
She gave a universally teen part-pout, part-smile.
The pair boarded a recently-built streetcar - already in operation long enough to have already acquired a peculiar lived-in smell. It jolted to life and hurtled down the tracks towards the office, quiet other than the occasional click across a tiny gap in the tracks.
Azzo: What about Rinna?
Alios: :: She frowned. :: Your brother has a lot of healing to do. He's known war too long. We'll see - maybe he'll still find old grievances can be mended with kindness and food and homes for everyone to live happily. And for those that aren't happy, now there's the stars too.
Azzo looked out the window as the rubble piles started to decrease and the buildings started getting bigger. With them, the quiet streets quickly came to life with activity. The amount of people out was highly unusual.
Azzo: Do you really think we can fix all this?
Alios: My mother, and her mother, and her mother before her told stories of what old Kordel and the lands around it used to be like: magnificent buildings reaching to the sky, vast parks of green, the river rushing full and blue, birds singing on trees on every street corner, people walking proudly, free of fear. We have the power to reclaim that old peace, but it remains to be seen if we will. One thing's certain - we must try. There are still too many weapons and soldiers. Maybe knowing there's someone else out there - watching us and setting an example of what could be... well, we'll see, won't we?
The streetcar started pulling through the city center which had been completely rebuilt in a matter of months. Traditionally quaint brick or timber buildings mingled with imposing, gleaming white concrete and glass structures with brutally modern angles indicative of a new age of architecture and thinking. Hardly a narrow alley separated the new and the old. Thickening crowds on either side of the street rushed to get to work, and many more rushed towards Feren Tower with hopes to catch sight of an alien.
Azzo: How are they going to get here? The nearest place to land is on the other side of town.
Alios: Apparently they're to "transport" directly into our lobby.
Azzo: What's that mean?!
Alios: :: She smiled easily. :: Imagine them materializing as if out of a replicator, right into our foyer.
Azzo: That sounds scary!
Alios: So did our own technology, not that long ago...
The streetcar came to a stop, and the mother-daughter pair disembarked. Perhaps predictably, they were immediately swarmed with media, gawkers, paparazzi, and so much more that had assembled from the world over. Alios did occasionally attract fans, but never a frenzied mob like this. Protectors - a combined civil force drawn from the old nation-states - were lined up to create a path to the entrance of the impressive, angular, glittering white-and-blue citadel with her company's name on it. On the far side, the tower overlooked onto the once-pretty river the city had been built on. Maybe one day trees would reclaim their place on its banks.
The pair barely attracted any attention as all eyes (and cameras) were pointed past the transparent aluminum walls of the lobby inside the building, hoping to catch the first glimpse of someone from another world. The large main lobby had been cleared out aside from security personnel and a handful of aides and engineers she employed. The entire tower had been thoroughly cleaned and glitzed up. It was an affair weeks in the making, and the brightly lit, comfortable lobby had been equipped to handle a white-tie gala or a full-scale assault and everything in between. Neither the government, nor Alios, were taking chances with their guests or their citizen's reaction to them. The councils were always quietly mindful of the politics that Alios - her company, her town - was the one being visited first. Not everyone would appreciate it was her technology, not her nationality that made her the obvious choice. There was a reason the ambassador offered to meet for diplomatic talks on the aliens' ship.
It all made for a tense moment: simultaneously hopeful and anxious. No one quite knew what was going to happen over the coming days and weeks, or even hours, least of all Alios and her daughter. Alios took her daughter's arm and looked over to her. She took a settling breath, and began to walk towards the doors.
Azzo: :: Grinning giddily. :: Let's make history.
MSNPC Madam Hawisa Alios
Engineer & Industrialist
Director of Feren Industries
Venthis Coalition Economic Council Member
As simmed by:
Ensign Maria Alvarez
Ops Officer, USS Arrow