“Jaw-jaw is better than war-war,” as they saying goes. I’d modify that to “in most cases.” As seizing the EAST reactor by force would be a huge logistical undertaking – not that the Hartmann family could not pull it off – it appears that diplomacy would be the first step.
This is the first time any of us, including me, has met Ildi. She is mentioned in passing in “Obligations of Rank” as a carefree young girl who regards the world as her personal play-toy. Sent as an exchange student to Japan by her mother, Empress Faustina, it appears she has matured a bit. Curious to see where this is going to go.
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“You have done great works and wonders here, Duke Yuë,” Ildi Hartmann said in Mandarin but with a strong southern accent, bordering on Cantonese. “Know that my mother, the Empress, and the new Emperor of Japan, have the highest regard for you.”
In a charcoal gray business suit typical for the West, but with a cravat of silver and blue, made locally, the warlord of Chu, one of the rump states of former China, regarded the girl speaking to him. While she shared his almond eyes, her skin was very pale. From what little his people could put together after she requested an audience, she was fourteen years old and had spent the last two as some kind of exchange student from the imperium to Japan, China’s traditional enemy. Keeping his face still, he recalled the last entry on the report: “not human.”
“Know, Miss Hartmann, it is my and our honor to receive a Crown Princess of your Household,” Yuë said slowly, with caution, across the low table between them. His aides were along the walls of the large conference room but she was alone, having left the very White legionaries out in the hall. As he wore, she was in Western clothes: white dress shirt with a pale green jacket and tight skirt just below her knees. The color of her suit reinforced the jade or emerald of her eyes. Eyes so bright.
“Thank you.” Her eyes glittered at his attention. With no Thinking Machine allies, their computers’ Walls were designed by humans and expert systems. Ildi punched a hole and spoke to her mother, the empress.
Just started here, Mom, she thought. They are nervous but curious. I want to push but am older from my time with the Japanese Imperial family to exercise subtlety. Nothing like you and Cousin Aurie.
Behave yourself, little daughter, Fussy snarked into her mind.