And in a grand cavalcade, with much fanfare, the crown prince of the Starka royal family arrived at the flagship of the 13th fleet of the Democratic Alliance of Sapient Species, to serve a time fostering cultural understanding and friendly relations.

He looked like he had been carved out of stone, and was taller than anyone William had ever seen, and more handsome, and the sharp cut of his face made him seem hopelessly severe. Even the strange clothes he wore, revealing and foreign, didn't serve to soften William's impression of him as a very unreachable person. Being Starka, he was notably pale, with tousled thick black hair.

He supposed that was how royalty was.

The Starka stood in front of him, space apart, and introduced himself coldly.

" I am Lyena-Nova," he said, flicking one of his cattish ears with an apparent apathy. " I'm honoured to be your guest."

William felt taken aback by the piercing gaze he was under; Nova's sheer intensity wasn't like anything he had felt before; even while in school, even when with his superiors.

" Your name?"

He realized he had been caught up in thought, and hurriedly offered his hand for Nova to shake.

" Commodore General William Masterson," he replied. " I'm honoured to have you."

He caught, in the corner of his eye, the sight of a cadet hiding a giggle. He couldn't help that. Despite his position, he had a certain reputation for being clumsy and ineffectual at conversation.

Nova looked down at his hand for a moment, as though not sure why it was offered, and then took it- far more gently than William would've anticipated- and spoke.

" I hope we can foster a greater positive relationship between the DASS and the Empire together," he said, voice still cold as ever.


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