Pan Post 103 has an ambassadorial group from the Jovian Republic meet with representatives from The Coordination and they travel to El'Psassmet, the birthplace of The Coordination. At first Agent Rruth believes they have come to negotiate with the Omega Reich when they see the blood-red towers, but the Gaje with them reassures them as he leads them to the city, which is dualled with New Sima. It does not have the appearance of a Multiversal city. Using some questions Nahda asks the Jovians some questions on religion and Ambassador Ptolemais give the answer as Nothing. The ambassadors feel that this will be a change of pace for them, without the backstabbing of other political matters. However Secretary D'ave asserts they must not be too nice and Ptolemais tells a story of the leader of The Coordination, Mayamanu Nahda, once blew up the Figg Federation for being too nice. When they reach the Parliamentary building they learn that the Gaje they were with is actually Mayamanu Nahda himself, just as he leaves them.
Petition for The Coordination
Agent Rruth: "Over a cluster and through the 'verse..."
Agent Qiana: "Must you sing?"
Agent Rruth: "What? I can't have fun now, Quiana?"
Agent Qiana: "We have a job to do."
Agent Rruth: "If this monk-guy is any indication of things to come, I think we'll be fine."
Agent Qiana: "You really have no idea what we're getting into here, do you?"
Agent Rruth: "What do you mean?"
The two female bodyguards, each decked in Secret Service-esque suits, trail behind Ambassador Ptolemais and her male assistant, Secretary D'ave. They, in turn, follow another human-looking male of average height, brown skin, and a bald crown with thorny, white hair on his sides. He wears a simple outfit that resembles a magnolia-colored dhoti and ochre cīvara belted in clear cloth. The only sign that the man hails from another species are his palms, or rather, holes where his palms would be, and while somewhat obscured by his attire, a hole through where one's heart might be. The Jovians, though one of their government's many portals, had arranged to meet a liaison in a neighboring galaxy, and now, as planned, they follow the liaison through another, different portal into a different multiverse altogether.
When they arrive onto the other side, the Jovians quickly identify their surroundings to be of a military nature, and an intimidating one at that. Magical walls of molten rock curtain the group's view beyond more than a half-mile, and blood-red fortress towers made of a diamond-platinum alloy pierce the skies. Iron execution crosses and concentration camps slash across one side of their view, while the other side brandishes interdimensional space missiles that seem capable of tearing through the fabric of universes. The nighttime sky does nothing to alleviate the mood, though the black banners displaying a pixelated pink smiley face muddles it for sure.
Agent Rruth: "Fuq! We were sent to negotiate with the Omega Reich?!"
The other Jovians spin around with disbelief at Agent Rruth, while the man turns more calmly in interest.
Ambassador Ptolemais: "No, Agent Rruth, we were not sent to do such a thing."
Agent Rruth: "So... we didn't time travel to the past then?"
Agent Qiana: "No, you dolt! Did you read any of the debriefing about The Samanvay before we left?"
Agent Rruth: "The what now?"
The man chuckles lightly.
Robed man: "That is the name of our kind's government, though you may find it more to your liking to know it as The Coordination. We span the multiverses, holding up the heavens with our pillars of peace."
Agent Rruth: "Like I haven't heard that one before..."
Ambassador Ptolemais: "Rruth! What did you just say?"
The robed man holds up his hand, the hole where his palm would be quite visible now.
Robed man: "All is well, Ambassador Ptolemais. She is skeptical, and for this, I am glad. I apologize for the site you see before you. Our only means to reach you at this time is tied to this memorial site of ours, a place which reminds us of the tragedy that was the birthplace of The Coordination.
Robed man: "Walk with me, please. The night will end soon, and the capital is best seen during sunrise."
He opens the doors for the others, with the ambassador taking the front seat and the others sitting in back, the two agents squeezing Secretary D'ave in the middle rather uncomfortably. The robed man himself takes the driver's seat, starts the vehicle up, and in a Back-to-the-Future[Ext 2] DeLorean[Ext 3] fashion, the car lifts up into the air and away from the site.
As the sun rises to their right, the rays illuminate the city before them.
Robed man: "Welcome to El'Psassmet!"
Despite the buildup, the vision of a beautifully-wondrous megacity one might expect from that buildup did not appear before them. The city sprawls quite wide to be sure, and even high in some places, but there are no Interdimensional Arena's or even Burj Khalifa's[Ext 4] to demonstrate the power that other multiversal empires would show. If anything, it comes off as a blend of San Francisco[Ext 5] and Singapore[Ext 6] thrown together both from a century ago and a century in the future. Despite its relatively modest size, its diversity does clearly show its multiversal reach, for better and worse.
Then they hit some flying car traffic.
Ambassador Ptolemais: "I was led to believe the capital of the Coordination was called New Sima."
Robed man: "It's true that its worldly name is New Sima, and for those who see past the veil you consider reality, they know the capital by its true name."
Secretary D'ave: "The two are technically sister cities, with New Sima recognized as the political center and El'Psassmet as its religious...center..."
He trails off as he sees his fellow Jovians giving him wide-eyed stares.
Robed man: "Tell me - what do you all believe in?"
Ambassador Ptolemais: "While most of parents probably still believed in Marduck, I'm afraid none of us here are very religious -- I apologize, I don't think I ever got your name."
Robed man: "Call me simply Gaje, please."
Agent Rruth: "Gage?"
Agent Qiana: "Guy?"
The man smiles the sort of smile that comes from a lifetime of mispronunciations.
Gaje: "Whichever is easiest for you to say."
Secretary D'ave: "It's literal translation is 'grove' and roughly means 'servant-leader' in the Devatan... language..."
He trails off again as he's once again given the stares.
Agent Qiana: "I hope we haven't offended you--"
The ambassador raises her hand to stop her, which confuses the agent some.
Gaje: "Not at all. The Coordination values all beliefs, even if some lead to enlightenment through a windier road than others. Do you believe there are people or things stronger than others?"
Ambassador Ptolemais: "Yes."
Gaje: "And who or what would you say is the strongest?"
Agent Qiana: "She doesn't count! Besides, that's an Earth-thing."
Before Agent Rruth can respond, Gaje responds for her.
Gaje: "Can you think of something even more powerful?"
The agents look at each other, puzzled.
Gaje: "Perhaps I can give some more hints. What is more evil than the most evil thing you can think of?"
The Jovians grow only more puzzled, in some part from thinking of an answer and in part because they don't know why this man is asking the questions he's asking.
Gaje: "No? What if I told you the poor have it, the rich need it, and, if you were to consume it, you would die?"
Silence. The ambassador speaks up.
Ambassador Ptolemais: "Nothing."
The man nods in delight.
Gaje: "Yes! Nothing is more powerful than the all-powerful, nothing is more evil than the all-evil, the poor have nothing, the rich need nothing, and if you consumed nothing, you would die... at least, most species I have met do. Do you Jovians need to eat?"
Ambassador Ptolemais: "Yes, Gaje."
Agent Rruth: "I hate riddles."
Gaje: "What is a riddle to you is a way of life for us in The Coordination. We believe that Nothing is the only Absolute, that the Nameless came from Nothing, that the Nameless is Nothing and that Nothing is the Nameless, and from them, they brought forth everything else. All that we know and see, all that we struggle with and suffer through, all are small, insignificant, trivial -- an illusion which covers as a veil to the only truth: there is Nothing."
Ambassador Ptolemais: "Before I proceed with the meeting with your government's Ministers of the Moment, I need to be reassured that the Coordination is not a theocracy--"
Gaje: "Of course not, ambassador! Those among the Coordination define their own progress and perceptions of significance, for there are many roads which lead to Nothing."
Agent Rruth: "Man, diplomacy with you all sounds like it'll be a nice change of pace from all the other backstabbers in the multiverses."
Secretary D'ave: "So long as we're not too nice."
The others look at him once more. The ambassador sighs.
Ambassador Ptolemais: "He's right. The Figg Federation had a similar diplomatic approach. In response, the Head of State for the Coordination, the Mayamanu Nahda, flipped out and bombed out their very existence with his bare hands. Devastated several surrounding multiverses in the fallout."
Gaje: "An abnormality, to be sure... ah, we're here!"
He lands the flying car nearby what appears to be a Parliamentary building, which from above had resembled a torus shape, though now that they've landed, they can tell that what seemed an empty center was in fact domed. As he escorts the Jovians inside, many people start to flock around him for attention, which they largely manage to dodge as they head inside.
Agent Rruth: "You seem like a popular guy, Gaje."
As they walk in, two officials walk up to the group, bowing deeply to Gaje.
Gaje/Mayamanu Nahda: "Please, as I always tell you, call me Nahda, or Gaje of El'Psassmet if you must address me by a title."
Official #2: "And we must respectfully decline, sir, as that would not address you with the whole truth."
The Jovians eyes shoot open in shock as the officials move to shake hands with the ambassador.
Official #2: "Ambassador Ptolemais, I'm glad to see that you and your personnel have arrived safely. As Ministers of the Moment, we can help expedite your petition for The Coordination..."
Agent Rruth continues to stare behind her as the group walks away, and Gaje -- Nahda -- smiles warmly and waves.
Nahda: "May Nothing be with you!"