The Sogmian and The Proposal — Roadmap Scan #13
The galaxy is flaring with speculations from all sides regarding the #426LIVE event. As the factions attempt to decipher the currents of change, some focus on positioning themselves in order to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Also, Arabella receives an invitation that will change her life.
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“I despise ugliness. Ugliness is a sin against the potential of existence. All that is ugly is evil, all that is beautiful is good. Aesthetics is the creed that makes the galaxy move forward.” — Merchant-Princess Ustentati.soul
Arabella’s anger knew no bounds.
She still couldn’t digest the fact that Elicnalu took her spot on the Council of Peace Assembly.
Her career was, once more, hindered by a male and the old structure of power in Busan. She really underestimated the power of politics. She was so focused on selling and selling, making results for the company, that she forgot one fundamental rule.
Be close to the ones in the seats of power.
Elicnalu was indeed a better politician than her. Most of her subordinates kept whining about how much work she assigned, but the inexorable truth was that her department delivered by whatever means they had. As the Sogmian lore established, you need to impose if you want them to obey, and Arabella as a leader imposed hard goals, long hours, and great performance bonuses, and her subordinates obeyed.
She needed to do this, she told herself. She couldn’t spare much time to kiss the ass of old oligarchs like Elicnalu. She had to be twice as tough to get half the results, and that got on her nerves.
She was tired of this dynamic. It was about time that she got the appreciation she deserved, without her having to bulldozer her way through the company ranks. All she needed was one opportunity, and that’s why she took her Maiden Heart across the galaxy to meet the leader of Panemorfa, the DAC that bought a huge fleet just a few weeks before COPA.
It was funny though. There she was, in the middle of the so-called High-Risk zone, which was filled with activity, like a nest that had been poked. In fact, the only thing keeping her safe was her vessel’s state-of-the-art stealth mechanics. She had never ventured this far, and she never thought she would, but the content of the invitation was curious enough to resonate with the fire that burned in her soul.
It was a curious note written on some sort of organic material, totally analogic in nature and without any sign of technology. Arabella knew this kind of primitive material from the many museums that she frequented as a child, and the flawless writing on it was as enigmatic as inviting:
“Lady Arabella, my master has requested your presence in our fleet’s headquarters at the date, time, and coordinates below. It saddens her that such capable individuals as yourself are rotting in the bureaucracy of Busan.
The galaxy is bound to change, and our organization is seeking people that can stir it in the right direction. People like you.
I shall be waiting.
Bastean — Leader of Panemorfa”
Flattery aside, which she didn’t really mind, Arabella was very interested in changing the structure of the galaxy. The smartest, the most capable, the fittest to rule should rule, not those who inherited their name and prestige from their family or something of the sort. Things needed to change. The current structure is collapsing on itself, and the CEO of ATMTA was brewing something to detonate the status quo.
This organization seemed to know about something, and If she could learn more about what was going on, she could use this information as leverage to rise in the structure of Busan, maybe, even gain some ground over Elicnalu.
Arabella was interrupted in her thoughts by a knock on the door of her quarters.
“Boss, I’m not sure… but it seems that we have arrived.” One of the crewmembers said on the other side of the door.
“What do you mean you are not sure?” Arabella asked opening the door to find a young and nervous Mierese at the door.
“It’s better you come to see for yourself, Boss… It’s something that no one in the crew has ever seen before.” The young crewmember said as she scurried away down the hall.
Arabella thought about a lot of replies, but, ultimately, she saved her breath and followed the Mierese all the way to the ship’s deck.
There, indeed a vision that very few people had ever seen stood before her. A giant Treearrow towered before them, and almost as if it was waiting for her, a transmission was received on deck.
“Let it through,” Arabella commanded.
A soft voice started talking: “Lady Arabella, you are most welcome to our palace grounds. I ask of you to please come alone. We will let your ship refuel, but your crew must not go outside the docks bay. Thank you for your understanding.”
Before Arabella could reply, the transmission ended.
“Cheeky bastard,” Arabella said to whoever wanted to hear. It seemed that she had found another arrogant individual in her path. No matter, she would do what she did with every other one who crossed her path — use them as stepping stones.
The Sogmian quickly directed her crew, giving them explicit instructions to not go beyond the docks. She grabbed her personal A.I. and went to explore the mysterious ship.
As she disembarked, she perceived the docking bay to be pretty normal, aside from the enormous movement of people hurrying from one side to the other. After the first few steps into the dock, a young and very beautiful ustur, dressed in flawless formal attire, approached her and made a reverential bow while proceeding:
“We are thrilled to have such a distinguished lady as yourself here, Lady Arabella. Our leader is waiting for you. Would you kindly follow me?”
Arabella nodded. She was more used to the warrior’s ways of the sogmians, more direct and with fewer pleasantries, but as the time passed, her curiosity about this DAC Panemorfa rose. The docks were brimming with members from many different species in the galaxy, some of which she had never seen, and yet… something felt off. But she couldn’t pinpoint what it was.
A small vehicle appeared to transport them, and after a few minutes of crossing the enormous bay, they arrived at a small gate, which Arabella deduced would take them to the next area. Her guess was conceptually right, but when the gate opened she was still surprised because what was on the other side of the door was the most luxurious train she had ever seen.
“This way please, my lady.” Her escort bolted from their previous vehicle and hurried in welcoming her to the train.
The first impact was visual. The train was made of some sort of non-metallic structure which Arabella had never seen before. It reminded her of the outdoors of her home world in some strange manner, but again the explanation eluded her. It was richly decorated with rare minerals, to the point that Ogrika ships would feel simple before it, and overall, it almost felt as if the purest concept of what a train could be materialized before her eyes.
The next impact was the smell. As soon as the doors opened, a fragrance filled the room. As she took her first steps, her sogmian senses were stimulated by many different perfumes, all of them evoked the idea of summer to her mind, of simpler days when she was a young and excited girl flying together with her mother, an ace pilot of the Busan Industries.
Finally, she saw someone waiting for her, sitting on a richly decorated table. He was wearing attire similar to those of the young beautiful ustur, who was now walking towards a bar, with the exception that he had a small purplish jewel on his coat’s left pocket and a mask on his face that mimicked a sort of a smiling face.
The masked figure rose from his chair, and with the same soft voice of the transmission, he said in a soft tone: “Welcome, Lady Arabella! I pray that you made a safe and pleasant journey going this far across the galaxy. We are very sorry that we had to inconvenience you by asking that you come all this way, but unfortunately, as the galaxy is moving as fast as it is nowadays, urgent business required your attention. Please, do have a seat.”
Arabella had many years of experience in this kind of meeting, and even though the situation was far from ordinary, her executive Busan instincts quickly seized the situation. As she sat at the table she said:
“You must be Mister Bastean, leader of the Panemorfa Dac, right? I assume you didn’t issue this summons only to have some chit-chat about the general affairs of the galaxy, am I correct? I believe the leader of an organization with this kind of structure has no time to waste.” The young Sogmian said while sitting in the chair the masquerade offered to her.
“Apologies, Lady Arabella. You are as fascinating as we expected.” A small hint of amusement played in his voice as he proceeded: “You are correct in only half of your assumptions, I’m afraid. I’m Bastean, the leader of Panemorfa. You are also correct in assuming I’m the owner of this structure, and everything around, and that you have no time to waste.”
After a second of pause, the young beautiful ustur came back with some sort of brew, served in what seemed to be ancient teapots that very slowly seemed to change colors between tones of yellow, orange, brown, and red. The Sogmian had never seen this material before, and as her host thanked the ustur server, the train started to move. She detected a sweet scent coming from her cup.
Bastean drank, his mask breaking to allow his cup to pass without showing anything behind it. Quite the interesting technology, Arabella thought to herself, cup in hand, while looking through the train windows to see a beautiful lakeside environment outside.
“Huh, I believe you are working for the actual owner of this then? Panemorfa being one of the branches. But before anything else, I don’t have the habit of drinking with people that don’t show their faces to me. Is there a reason for this outside the mysterious roleplay?” she said, while very subtly touching the side of her wrist, giving her A.I the command to record their interaction and to check if there were poisonous substances in the tea.
The scan didn’t identify anything harmful.
“You are right indeed! My master is the actual owner of this place, and everything that happens here in this beautiful and perfect paradise occurs according to her wishes, including this auspicious meeting between this humble butler and a lady of your instance and abilities, Lady Arabella.” Bastean replied.
Something triggered in Arabella’s brain. She felt she was somewhat closer to understanding the underlying logic of the place as if the pieces were now starting to arrange together.
“As for my face,” the self-nominated butler continued while pouring more tea for Arabella, “I’m afraid this is a constraint that I will need to carry for many years to come. Every individual from my group must carry this on till the end of their mortal existence.” He added in a neutral tone as if reading a weather report.
“I believe this is enough of an introduction about me though. Indeed, as you pointed out, we have pressing matters to discuss, especially regarding the great transition that is about to take place on the 21st of July, on the event known as the #426LIVE, your place on it, and the wishes of my master.”
Arabella’s attention was now captivated. Finally this conversation was getting somewhere. “We struck a great deal last time, Mister Bastean. Buzan is all in favor of doing business with you once more, but I’m afraid the #426LIVE is totally under control of ATMTA industries, we are guests like any other institution in the galaxy,” she said while taking another sip at the brew, which was actually the best mixture she recalled drinking.
The train was now running through a giant forest, full of beautiful and exotic specimens, and the light of a star made its way through the plants, creating a breathtaking sunset.
“With due respect, Lady Arabella, we are not interested in Busan. You are the one we want. Your drive, your passion, and your capabilities are like the light that shines through this forest. Beautiful, warm, and unique. It’s a sin that your potential is being held back by old elites and traditions,” he said in a heartfelt voice.
“The old should fade out gracefully, and give space for those who will keep forwarding the progress and elegance of the galaxy. This is the creed of my master, and in time, she will destroy the last of this old order, allocating the correct people to direct the cosmos, and you, Arabella, would rule Busan, or even more.” Bastean added.
“You’re deluded,” Arabella said promptly. “It doesn’t matter how rich your organization or master are. You are not ready to take on even one of the major DACs, much more overthrow the current order under the Council of Peace. It seems I have wasted my time. Please, take me back to my ship,” the Sogmian added.
“There are some misconceptions there, Lady Arabella. We don’t need to overthrow the Council of Peace. Their contradictions will be their own undoing, and the same shall occur with most of the DACs who have been preaching decentralization, but only to acquire the riches and treasures of the many worlds for themselves. My master understands their true nature, and that’s why, in the end, she shall prevail.” He said with his eyes fixed on Arabella.
“We believe all of this will be clear after this 426 cycle. ATMTA thinks they are ensuring peace, but what they are starting might be the last element to end the current galactical order,” Bastean added, without a hint of emotion in his voice.
The train suddenly stopped, and when Arabella looked through the window she saw a giant palace, embossed with many rare stones from all over the galaxy. She finally realized what was wrong with this place.
Everything there seemed to be perfect, all members at the dock, the drink, the train, and the butlers, they were all perfect, as if they were the very realization of ideal concepts.
This wasn’t normal.
“I will insist that you meet my master, Lady Arabella. If you refuse to do so, it would be an awful failure on my part as my glorious master head butler. And that simply cannot be, for my lady deserves her every wish fulfilled, and I would need to take action to prevent that.”
“What do you mean? Would you kill me? An executive of Busan?”
Bastean’s voice changed to a horrified tone. “Oh no! I would never do such an ugly thing, no no, that would be against my ladies’ creed. What would unfortunately happen is that I would be forced to disclose in the market that in a deal, a few weeks before COPA, you sold a very relevant number of overpriced fighter ships of Busan to a terrorist group which attacked the ustur mission for the Council of Peace.”
The masquerade host put forward a small device, which projected the digital signature of the contract between Arabella and Panemorfa, and after a few seconds, a hologram of some of those ships attacking an ustur Ballad in the High-Risk Zone.
The fact had been news all across the galaxy, but no one ever found information about the attackers or survivors.
“It would be a shame if someone like the Punaab’s Whisper caught news of that, don’t you think, Lady Arabella?”
The Sogmian replied as her hatred grew. “This is nothing. You’re trying to entrap me. I had no way of controlling what you did with those ships, you maniac. I will take you to the courts and you will rote in jail.”
“Perhaps, Lady Arabella. But by then your carrier would be ruined, and you would go back to where you were when your mother died, another irrelevant individual in a giant galaxy. By no means do I desire this outcome for such a gem as you. All I ask is that you gift us with a day of your time and listen to my master’s plan for your destiny, and all of this will go away,” Bastean said naturally.
“Is that a promise?” Arabella asked, fire burning in her eyes.
“In the name of Merchant-Princess Ustentati.soul, my master, and on my honor as a butler, I swear.”
“Very well, take me to your master, Butler.” She replied.
“Right this way, my lady,” Bastean said while escorting her through the giant columns of the palace arch.
Project: Showroom Alpha
Concept Art: DONE /// Art: BUILDING /// UX/UI: DONE /// Game Design: DONE /// Blockchain: BUILDING /// Game Play: BUILDING
Updates: Final list of improvements identified and started. /// Updating wallets integration feature. /// Performance fine-tuning.
Upcoming activities: Finish the final list of improvements.
Project: Galactic Marketplace
Blockchain: DONE /// UX/UI: BUILDING /// FRONT END: BUILDING
Updates: UX design is finished and in polish mode. /// QA has started to put the GM through it’s pipeline.
Upcoming activities: QA process, fixing all outstanding bugs.
Project: SCREAM v1.0
Game Design: BUILDING /// Blockchain: BUILDING /// UX DESIGN: PROTOTYPING UI: PROTOTYPING /// Economy Design: R&D /// WEB: PROTOTYPING
Updates: Continuing to define explicit requirements for core game play mechanics and game systems design, with a focus on defining the combat mechanics. ///Continuing to build cargo program, movement program, crafting, and star systems program. /// Continuing wireframes and interaction flows. /// Continuing building SCREAM screens and elements. /// Defining the SCREAM macro-economy and the sub-economies to determine all dependencies. /// Building out movement, cargo functionality, and coding UI elements.
Upcoming activities: Continue to define explicit requirements for core gameplay mechanics and incorporate feedback from SCREAM stakeholders. /// Build peer review, and test programs on testnet, then audit. /// Review wireframes with Project Stakeholders. Continue to iterate until wireframes are approved. Hand over wireframes to UI team. /// Continue to build out UI screens and elements. /// Determine game balancing tactics/ contingency + scenario planning. /// Build towards playtesting and validate gameplay loops that require higher fidelity game.
Product Design: DONE /// UX design: DONE /// Front End: BUILDING /// Blockchain: BUILDING /// Economy: Validation
Updates: Finalizing locker manager. /// Rewards emission finalized
Upcoming activities: Finalizing program deployments.
Project: System Polishing
The System Polishing team has been restructured, for now, to support other product projects in order to increase the overall development speed. Hence this week there will be no system polishing update.
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