Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #Adult, #Romance, #Science Fiction, #Space Opera
Arguing for a living isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but Koara embraces her calling to analyse societies and fight for change.
Koara has always loved being able to predict the effects of social change and what is needed to make it happen. On her own world, she set matters in motion when she was twelve years old, and it cost her her planet. While some folk enjoy an evolving society, others fight to remain the same, and their actions can take a violent turn.
Citadel Lowel becomes her home and a Yaluthu adopts her as its own. Life is going along well until she is given an assignment that removes her from her comfort zone and she has to alter the way she sees the worlds around her or disaster will take over.
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Arguing the Basics
Copyright © 2015 Viola Grace
Cover art by Carmen Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
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Arguing the Basics
Tales of the Citadel Book 48
Koara sipped at her water and straightened her shoulders as the last of the ruling class filed in and settled down.
The sea of faces showed contempt as well as a certain amount of curiosity. Koara deliberately placed her water at the edge of her podium and waited. The moderator glanced up at the unoccupied balcony and nodded, beginning the proceedings with a delicate chime that stilled the audience.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to listen to the debate between Master Councillor Fremon Dralkin and Koara Ulings. Master Councillor, you have the floor.”
Koara stood and listened while the master councillor composed a verbal hymn to the status quo.
When he finished, she drew on her inner strength and spoke slowly and clearly.
“Our world is in stagnation. All of our resources are squandered and that includes our young people.”
She took a breath. “The current existing class system provides education in the basics of trade to the ruling class, but those not born to privilege are left to begin work at the age of twelve. Their potential is locked in the manual labour that provides the trade goods that are sent off world without appropriate tariffs being levied. We are ignoring part of our future and throwing away the rest.”
Koara continued her speech, bringing out examples on the display that showed the intellect being squandered as well as the potential for profit if the goods were processed and manufactured on Trimel. Each report and example was backed by alien researchers who were astonished at the degraded development of the economy of Trimel. She had asked them, and they had provided the data she needed for this moment.
After she finished her report, she looked to the master councillor and waited.
His mouth opened and closed. Finally, he scoffed and looked to those assembled. “Well, what do you expect of one so low born?”
The room erupted in laughter. Several faces were serious, but there was an overall motion to drown out what their minds were thinking about with noise.
Koara sighed. She had tried. Nothing would crack a ceiling that tightened as you approached.
The moderator looked over his shoulder. “Thank you both for your words. We now await a decision.”
The laughter ceased as if cut off. The condescension turned to wariness.
The balcony that she faced slowly illuminated. A figure got to its feet and stepped into the light of the chamber. Koara had seen the Avatar in news vids, but she had never seen him in person.
The Avatar smiled at her, and light swirled in his gaze. “Koara Ulings, you are very wise for one of your years. May I have a copy of your report?”
“Um, of course, Avatar.”
The master councillor had his mouth open. “Avatar, you cannot be serious.”
The Avatar looked over at him and smiled slightly. “When it comes to the security and prosperity of my people, I am always serious. I will look into the details and assess the plan that Miss Ulings has proffered. If it is as thorough as I think it is, a school will be built and the class system will gradually be dissolved into a merit system. You had better start studying, ladies and gentlemen. The free ride is over.”
Koara was suddenly the focus of dozens of pairs of eyes. The crowd rushed at her, but the Avatar leaped over the balcony edge, landed on the stage after a graceful arc over the crowd and he caught her up and kept her safe while he used energy to throw the nobles back on their butts.
Koara held the report to her chest and closed her eyes as the Avatar moved through the crowd. They might not be happy, but no one messed with the Avatar.
“Well done, Koara. I have been waiting for someone in your class to finally make it this far. How old are you?”
“I am twelve. I wrote this for a school project and ended up here.” She smiled shyly.
“Heh, at twelve, I was still trying to get second desserts.”
“Desserts are only for birthdays.” Koara crossed her arms.
The Avatar sighed. “I am guessing I have more work ahead than I thought.”
He was walking through the halls with her in his arms, and she was getting the idea that she was being taken to her home.
He asked her where she lived, and when she answered, he took to the skies. Koara waved at her teacher and looked at the city around them.
“Why did you set up the ruling class?”
He shrugged. “Originally, it was a meritocracy, but a few folks kept their riches instead of investing it in the future of those they cared for. The rich got richer and the number of those in charge dwindled. I hadn’t realised how bad it had gotten until your lovely dissertation.”
Koara smiled. “My mom always said I had a talent for arguing. I tried to treat the master councillor with respect, but it was very difficult.”
“You did very well. That vid is being broadcast over the globe right now. There will be an uprising, and I am thinking it is about time. Changes need to happen.”
They cleared the wealthy district, and the poverty of the basic housing surrounded them.
Koara showed the Avatar into her home and introduced him to her parents. Her school project had taken an odd turn, but she was kind of happy with the way things had turned out.
Avatar Trimel-Kadoth stayed for dinner and took in the entire expanse of their home, their food and the clothing that they had access to.
As he rose to leave with a copy of her report in his hand, he asked her parents, “May I come back and speak to Koara again? She seems to have an excellent mastery of what is necessary to make our world whole again.”
Her parents agreed, and Koara bowed her head as the Avatar ruffled her hair.
When he left, she turned to her parents. “I think I won the debate.”
Her mother hugged her. “Good girl. Now, go and do your homework. Something tells me that you are going to be consulted on a fairly regular basis.”
Wrinkling her nose, Koara did as she was told. There would be time for arguing later. There always was.
* * * *
Over the next decade, Trimel-Kadoth was a regular visitor to her house. The Ulings enjoyed a certain cachet in the area because of the visits of the Avatar, but they certainly earned it.
Koara sat at the table and went over the projected admittance for the next class of students at Trimel University.
Trimel-Kadoth smiled. “So, what do you think of my choices?”
“You have a few too many theorists, and there are two unfocused inventors that need to be included, but otherwise, I think it is a nice selection.” Koara brought up the files and attached them to the initial report.
“Why the unfocused?”
“You never know what they can come up with. Think of them as meteors with no fixed trajectory. They could go anywhere or nowhere, but they need the chance to try.”
The Avatar grinned. “You have not steered me wrong so far.”
She snorted. “I do try. The steady annual five percent increase in trade and gross planetary product is a nice sign of progress. Trimel, what do you think about it?”
The planet took over and nodded.
“I believe that the people are happier and we are nearing the first vote. It should occur right after you leave for the Citadel.”
Koara blinked in shock. “What?”
Kadoth took over. “Ah, he wasn’t supposed to tell you that yet. We have arranged for you to gain an exclusive education at the Citadel Training Centre Thoola. Your talent for organisation is an actual talent. It can be focused and directed in myriad directions. You leave next week.”
Koara knew it made sense, but she was still surprised. “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
“We didn’t want you upset. Trimel is currently hiding from that possibility. He is very attached to you.”
“So he made you break the news.”
“I am much more excited about the possibilities in your life that have opened up. I want you to keep seeking the new and exciting. Help others get on their feet as you have us. We will be fine in your absence, and I am sure that you will be able to correspond and help us out.”
He grinned and Trimel came back into his eyes. Koara laughed, and her mind spun into the possibilities of learning how other worlds were arranged. It was going to be fun. All she had to do was leave everything she had ever known. No problem.
She took her family with her in her mind with every step she took. A trip to the stars would be no different.
Koara settled into her new role as student organiser with a certain amount of enthusiasm.
When she arrived, she learned that Trimel had paid her tuition for as long as she needed. She studied law, cultures, societies, the paths other worlds had taken to financial success, social balance and the bumps along the way. It was fascinating.
Calls started coming in, requesting her services as an advisor, when she had been on Thoola for six months.
She did her consulting in the headmistress’s office, and Wadara was nothing but accommodating.
“How are you doing, Koara?”
Koara jerked at the voice near her and smiled at the headmistress. “I am fine. This is a relatively simple fix. They just need to lessen government bonuses when there has been no improvement in conditions. It will save funds and improve morale.”
Wadara sat next to her and looked at her head on. “No. How are
“Oh, that. I suppose I am fine. I can milk a goat on the first try and my l’nal speech is coming along. My parents are doing well in my absence, and Trimel has had its first election. I feel like I am missing in participating in the worlds I am working with.” Her final sentence surprised her.
She blurted it out, and Wadara laughed.
“I thought so. You do seem to be the kind of woman who pushes things into place, and being in an advisory capacity would be a little restrictive. Well, I have gotten yet another request for your services, but this one will require a hands-on approach.”
Koara would have liked to think that she didn’t perk up, but she did and she knew it.
“What is the assignment?”
“The first thing that you will do is go to Citadel Lowel and meet the starborn. You have been taken on as an instructor and will be giving lectures when you are not on assignment.”
“So, you are not going to tell me about what I am needed for.”
Koara blinked and took in the rest of the statement. “I have graduated?”
Wadara chuckled. “You were only sent here to get you through the basic orientation of someone new to the Alliance. You have gotten that education and now are ready for your next phase.”
“Like an insect?”
“Something like that. You leave in six hours. Make your farewells and prepare for your first step into your new life.” Wadara patted her cheek and got to her feet.
“Um, thank you, madam.”