The Maza Tower in Portalia City was full of movement and commotion. Hundreds of journalists, mostly Cassids but a few Vrekans and Lanex too, all huddled around the entrance, waiting for the representatives inside to conclude their hours long meeting. The Feralheart plague had been beaten, thanks to cooperation between the Vrekans, Vohra and Retha, but there was a lot of rebuilding to do, both physically and mentally.
The main hall, the Hall of Cooperation, was circular, with steps up every side. Each representative, two for each member of the Maza, had a seat and small, stone desk half way up the amphitheatre-like room. At the very top of the room was a glass window so visitors could see what was going on, but also got the many guards and security officers to keep an eye on things. Cameras littered the walls, constantly filming the room’s goings on, broadcasting directly to video channels for every race. There were no mysteries, no secret dealings inside the Hall of Cooperation.
“Why are we at fault?” Glaucia, one of the Cassid representatives asked yet again.
“For the third time,” General Somnenion growled, angry at the current goings on. “This illness has been determined to be Cassid in origin. Your own medical minister confirmed it. But we are not blaming you for the plague.”
“You are at fault because of your inaction!” Jerlarke, the feisty representative of the Vrekans, interrupted. “Had you acted sooner, we would have had a cure in several days!”
“Well maybe you should all have better technology!” Glaucia countered. “I don’t see why you should all rely on us.”
Leyvak, the young Kalsa Warrior and the smallest representative present, tried to calm the situation down. “We don’t all rely on the Cassids, we all rely on each other. The standards of life the Cassids have would not be possible without our food exports to them, or their transport economy that we all helped build up.”
“Exactly!” Somnenion added. “We are all in this together. But if a crisis happens among every race but one, and the origin of said crisis is that one race, then perhaps something may be amiss. Do you not agree?”
Glaucia did not agree, but Secundus, the second Cassid representative (and completely aware of the coincidence of his own name), did agree to a point. “You are correct. This affected everyone. Even us, and we should take some responsibility. The same way the Thanatians have already taken responsibility for many of the deaths they caused.”
“We are very sorry for that…” Tromia, the female Thanatian member, representing the Kshan and the Ksifans, apologised yet again.
“Indeed. This plague affected pretty much all Thanatians!” Thymenios, the representative for standard Thanatians and Thraki added. “We have already offered monetary compensation to those who lost family members. There is little more that we can offer, aside from our apologises.”
“We have little to offer in compensation too…” K’aos and Es’Free, the Banikan Maza members, both sighed.
“We will have to find another way for you to compensate us!” Glaucia tutted, only to be forcibly sat back down by Secundus. The two of them discussed something privately, out of earshot from the other Maza members. The Cassids were not doing too well with this argument, and there was no way they could demand as much compensation. The Rethan and Vrekan representatives both believed that no compensation should be made at all, while the Thanatians believed a little compensation should be given to those who lost loved ones only. Almost everyone was adamant that the Cassids brought this on themselves. Apart from the Cassids.
Secundus stood up. “Thing is, members of your races killed Cassids. The families of the dead should be compensated.”
“If that is the case, then we demand compensation for the thirty Portalian Bayvak you Cassids slaughtered, trying to put them in cages rather than driving them into more empty areas!” Stefan, the Bayvak representative who had been silent until now, suddenly demanded. “Or how about the ten Thraki that, rather than trap, net and sedate like the Rethans did in Palaestra, you shot down and killed? Or the Vrekans injured in an assassination attempt by a Cassid on King Ver?”
Secundus fell silent. He knew he’d lost, but Glaucia would never admit that. She’d argue to the ends of existence.
Finally, Ononious, the older and taller of the Lanex representatives, stood up. The two Lanex had been silent throughout the whole debate, listening to everything that had happened. They’d always been calm and collected, offering sensible solutions, perhaps they had one now.
“No one is entirely at fault and no one should be compensated. The Cassids were too slow to help and the affected races were too slow to lessen bloodshed. Makutis and I believe that any suggestions of compensation should be ignored until we find out who caused this and why. As this is of Cassid origin, as proved by multiple sources, I believe it would be against the interests of many of us to do a singular investigation. Until then, we fix our own messes.”
“You want a mixed race investigation to avoid bias, I assume?” Kayelar, the second Rethan Maza member, asked.
The representatives all fell silent.
“I assume you all agree with Ononious’s statement?” Makutis declared.
Everyone nodded. They had finally come to an agreement.