Shas’El Galree stood to one side of the podium that the earth cast had erected that morning. It stood at the far end of Southport’s largest city square and would allow everyone to see
the forthcoming diplomatic speech. He felt exposed, naked even without his battle suit but had to be dressed in full ceremonial garb for the occasion. Bussing himself to take his mind off his discomfort Galree started checking the security reports as they
came in on his optic relay.
Sniper drone teams were stationed on the roof tops along with pathfinder teams and vespid rapid response units.
All four main access points to the square where manned by both Tau and their local human supporters of the Vetus Palma, they stood side by side checking people who passed in a show of
unity and corporation, there had been a few scuffles but all in all it has been quite subdued.
Water cast coms Drones hovered overhead welcoming people to the Tau Empire with words carefully selected by the water caste to inspire peace and calm. Hundreds of stealth surveillance
drones where in position watching the windows of the buildings that hemmed in the square on all sides watching for snipers.
Six squads of fire warriors stood in two rows of three in front of the podium armed with carbines and pulse blasters, they would act as the first line of defence should things turn ugly
and a second line of defence took the form of two squads of XV25 suits up on the podium, statue still and all but invisible, ready to strike at a moment’s notice. To cap it all off several mantas where in position overhead ready to drop in battle suits if
things looked like they would turn ugly.
Finally convinced all was in place Shas’El Galree switched his focus from his optic relay to the Square full to bursting with the city’s human’s inhabitants, waiting to hear what the “liberating”
Tau had to say. Suddenly Galree realised that all the security in place was not going to stop the humans if they decided to turn nasty and attack, but he stilled his features to show only outward calm.
Sensing movement behind him he turned to see the honoured Ethereal walking up the steps from the back of the Podium, he was being flanked by two bodyguards in shielded XV8 armour and sporting
flamer and ion weapons. Galree felt a little better about that knowing they would give their lives without hesitation to protect their charge, even more so than a normal Tau would.
Behind them was a pair of XV104 riptides with heavy burst cannons, they did not mount the podium but then they didn’t have to, they were towering over the podium as it was and setting
a fearsome backdrop for the Ethereals speech and a non to subtle threat to boot.
Flowing behind the Ethereal was a dozen or so high ranking members of other races including the human representative of the Vetus Palma and the tall, savage form of the high Kroot shaper
As Aun’Vre Tavo neared Galree stepped forward and saluted with his arm across his chest and a bow of his head.
“Most honoured celestial, all reports are positive and we are ready to hear your wise words.”
“Thank you young Shas’EL, you honour me with your diligence. Kindly take your position with the others representatives and I shall begin.”
Taking his place next to high shaper Screkal, Galree could not help but stare in awe of the Etherial as he took his place before the masses of humans. He had no idea how non Tau could
not see an Ethereal for what they were, savours and bringers of peace and order to a universe in turmoil and chaos.
His speech was reassuring yet firm, spoken softly but his words where carried to every corner of the square thanks to the coms drones.
He started by telling the people of Regis that the Tau would not only liberate them from the tyranny the imperial had over them but also restore the world to its former glory. That they
did not have to stop worshiping their God emperor or take up arms against their own and could live in peace with all the races that made up the Tau empire. But he finished with a reminder that the Tau where here to help the humans and this world, and there
would be no tolerance of hostilities against any Tau or those that served them.
Throughout the speech there where mummers and even a few localised scuffles from hard-core imperils but they were quickly put down by plain closed Vetus Palma agents or locals who were
sick of imperial tyranny.
After Aun’Vre Tavo finished his speech there was silence across the square and Galrees hart started to beat faster at the possible meaning of this. The Vetus Palma had been ordered not
to cheer, to not give away their identity as much as anything but he had expected something from the humans, anything but this utter silence.
Aun’Vre Tavo gave a genteel nod of his head and turned to leave with his bodyguard in tow, the giant forms of both riptides turned to face one another as he passed down the steps between
them, each bowing in reverence to the ethereal and forming an arch for him to pass under not to mention the subtle indication to all watching at the power and importance of the figure they had just listened to. Galree and the other representative kept their
place as they had been instructed to in the rehearsals and followed in line once Aun’Vre Tavo had passed them, filing down the stairs at the back of the podium and between the now standing and alert riptides.
At the bottom a waiting Orca was ready to take them back to base and as they bordered Galree made sure he was as near to Tavo as possible,
“Excuse me exulted one but I fear your speech did not inspire the humans as much as we would have hoped.” Galree said with as much humility as he could muster.
With a little silent knowing chuckle Tavo turned to him “they are a race that have been brain washed to hate long before our empire took form let alone took to the stars, they have been
taught to hate everything and anything that is not pure strain human and even then only just. Silence is vastly better than shouting and shouting is better than screaming and screaming is better than shooting my young warrior is it not?”
Resting his head on the head rest Tavo closed his eyes and added “silence means they are thinking my young commander, thinking of a better tomorrow, of hope and peace. Of a world resorted
to what it once was and empire where they are free and not driven like cattle, Silence is no bad thing in this case, no bad thing at all.”
Shas’El Galree left Tavo to his peaceful contemplation, the old Ethereal might well be right about the silence but he knew the humans had a great many warriors on this planet and they
had only taken one city so far and made head way on another, Silence might not be a bade sign but then he feared there would be very little silence past the boundaries of the city of Southport, indeed there might well be a great deal of shouting, screaming
and shooting to come.