With the diplomatic talks between the extrasolar aliens on Junctio Station from late 2055 to early 2056 going relatively well, aside from a few problems between the by now three major sub-phenotypes of the Quetzal species, the Great Powers of Earth began to plan for the future.
With both the Untiph-bel diplomats and the Tiaunt representing multiple nations on their own, it became clear that it would be for the best if the nations of Earth would speak with a single voice. At the time the diplomatic talks and missions at Junctio were a rather haphazard affair where some of the diplomats were unwillingly working against each other at times. It was generally accepted that it needed to change and that the United Nations had be best experience when it came to trying to get opposing viewpoints together when it came to international politics and the vast majority of UN agencies were relatively effective in what they were doing.
So the formation of a United Nations Diplomatic Service seemed like a good idea, though it had its problems. The Great Powers as well as the Local Powers worked hard to take a s much influence on the UNDS as they could, while the few diplomats of the UNDS tried to shield themselves from these influences. Another problem was the vast distances between systems, and informations would need to be carried via FTL spacecraft, which necessitated a rather classic approach to diplomacy that hadn’t been used since the mid to late 19th century, giving diplomats something of a free hand to deal with other nations.
One of the first things the UN Diplomatic Service had on the table was to organize a human embassy to the Untiph-bel in 61 Virginis. The decision to purchase or rent space in the United Colonies came rather easily, as they were the most stable of nations and the best protected in case of a conflict between the Untiph-bel nations. To foster good relations a number of jobs, such as low-security secretaries, would be given to locals, while the most security intense jobs, were handled by humans and three ‘classic’ Quetzal.
To facilitate communication to Earth, two MMLS would be stationed in 61 Virginis and two more at Amundsen Depot, allowing for important information to be passed relatively quick. The MMLS were also sufficient to transport supplies to the 61 Virginis embassy every two or three month. When asked about this setup, the UNOOSA, the operator of Amundsen, noted that for now the depot was of a sufficient size for this operation. Additionally, the transport capacity of the MMLS would be enough to carry the supplies for the initial embassy as well, keeping the embassy small in size and further fostering good relations.
To get the MMLS for the embassy mission was a bit of a problem however as none of the space powers really wanted to part with one of the spacecraft. In the end however the UN Diplomatic Service was able to get the help of the smaller and more recent space powers, like Iran or South Africa. Neither of these nations wanted to lose their FTL spacecraft in a fight, largely due to the cost involved in building them and training their crews. The diplomatic mission was in this regard perfect and would have result in some diplomatic goodwill with the United Nations in this regard.
So the IRIS Alvant and IRIS Jamaran of the Islamic Republic of Iran Space Force, SAS Nelson Mandela and SAS Mendi of the South African Space Service were freed up for use as diplomatic carriers and transports and the embassy mission left towards 61 Virginis in March 2056, carrying ten human and three Quetzal diplomats, as well as half of the Untiph-bel diplomats.
The governments of the United Colonies and Emkin Assembly were positively surprised about the fast results they got, mostly used to the slow and long process of diplomacy within their system, where normal talks could last for decades. For the human diplomats it was rather easy to find a place to rent to set up the embassy and within a month the embassy opened up near the governmental quarter of Umen-Athmorom the capital city of the United Colonies.
Most of the initial work done by the diplomats was to strengthen the links that had been established by the Llighaqua Mission. Another part was to try and establish some form of trade with 61 Virginis. So far the Untiph-bel merely showed interest in crops that have been lost with the destruction of Cterin and had survived with the Quetzal on Earth. Another problem was currency exchange, as most Untiph-bel currencies were based on the value of Helium-3, as it was needed for the production of energy that kept everyone alive, or the value of energy, which made a currency exchange something of a problem.
Around the same time the United Colonies and the Emkin Assembly were testing their own Heim-Feynman Event Generators, based on the FTL systems of Petan, who was undergoing extensive repairs in one of the Emkin Assemblies shipyards, as well as undergoing psychological treatment. The main focus for the moment however was to install the FTL systems on combat spacecraft and use it to strike at the Holy Hegemony of Lerr, who would be unprepared for this paradigm shift of warfare in 61 Virginis.
The second First Contact with the Tiaunt and the Rak’ris’ayc was coming along rather well. They were, much like humanity and the Untiph-bel, split up in a number of independent nations, some of which had the status of a great power, like the Empire of Jerat, the United Republics of Aldange or the Verad Alliance. The Rak’ris’ayc had a nation of their own, the End’mor Freehold, situated on a large island and under the nominal protection of the Empire of Jerat.
A long duration diplomatic mission like to 61 Virginis was harder to realize. There was little in the way of pre existing infrastructure, like a Waypoint Depot, that could be used to shorten communication time and provide a stopover for spacecraft going the Tiaunt home system Beta Hydri. The Tiaunt also resided on their original homeworld, Jerat, which was situated deep in the gravity well of Beta Hydri, which necessitated several month of travel time to get deep into the system, while outgoing travel could be realized with the help of the Jerat-Beta Hydri Libration Point 1.
Some information was traded in with the Tiaunt, noting that they had used Epsilon Indi as stopover station and, much like the Llighaqua Mission, set up a small depot in the system. However, the Great Powers of Earth felt better if they had their own Waypoint Depot, considering that the Tiaunt would be able to control traffic within certain boundaries. Additionally an Earth controlled Waypoint Depot would allow for advanced warning, should one or more of the Tiaunt nations become hostile and send a fleet of spacecraft towards Earth.
Therefore the UNOOSA was asked to set up a Waypoint Depot at Epsilon Indi, as they had done within the Llighaqua Mission at Wolf 424, named Scott Depot.
This allowed to develop plans for the initial diplomatic mission to Jerat. Aside from the from a pair of MMLS, which would be stationed at Jerat, two MMUS would accompany the mission, carrying four SSTO spaceplanes as well as some cargo that might be of interest of the Tiaunt. The UN itself would be represented by a dozen human diplomats as well as a trio of Quetzal and two Turukal.
The Beta Hydri diplomatic mission left in May 2056, accompanying the Tiaunt on their way home. The stopover at Epsilon Indi happened without any incident and the new Scott Depot was constructed on an asteroid about a million kilometers away from the Tiaunt depot, while the mission itself left for Beta Hydri.
The reception at Beta Hydri was overwhelmingly good, though there were voices that called for a war against humanity, just to make sure that Jerat wasn’t attacked first, mirroring similar sentiments on Earth. While one of the MMLS, EAFC Harambee, remained at the Feynman Limit, the remaining three craft, the MMLS GSF Timbuktu and the MMUS HMAS Anzac and HMCS Haida, began their transfer into system towards Jerat, where they arrived in November 2056. The transfer allowed the diplomats to set up something of a tour through the major nations of Jerat, beginning with the Verat Alliance.
During the tour, the UN diplomats were shown a number of old sites of great importance, including one of the largest ruin sites of the planet. Ridale Diar had, with a population of twenty million, been the largest city on Jerat before the nuclear war and hit by no less than three dozen high yield thermonuclear devices. This had left parts of the city still too hot with radiation for visiting, while most of the rest allowed at least visitation. It was of interest however that, other than in movies about the nuclear apocalypse, the environment and wildlife had taken back the city completely.
An interesting fact of life on Jerat was that metals and petrochemical materials were of low abundance, due to several thousand years of exploitation of the easily reached deposits. This meant that the Tiaunt had developed several interesting solutions to this problem, like using the local equivalent of wood and bamboo for construction of everyday objects, houses and even vehicles. Additionally they had developed a number of biological polymers that were used instead of conventional petrochemical polymers. Concrete was used in most construction that needed to be long lasting and sturdy up to and including a number of large scale ocean going ships.
A memorable meeting happened with the Emperor of Jerat, who turned out to be rather approachable and ‘down to Earth’, even though he was seen as a deity by the majority of his subjects. An interesting distinguishing feature of the Emperor was that all his eyes glowed from the inside, while his ‘light eyes’ appeared to be blind. What made the meeting memorable however was that he was better informed about the Solar System than the leaders of other nations as well as a couple of interesting notions, like the misconception that Mars was a monarchy of some kind.
The tour lasted about six month and visited forty five nations, ending in the small island nation of Breer, which enjoyed a position similar to that of Switzerland in combination with the Vatican. Breer was among the most advanced nations, even before the nuclear war, thanks to providing a natural harbor and sitting close to many of the main oceanic trade routes between the Empire and various other nations. With its roughly fifty-fifty population mix of Tiaunt and Rak’ris’ayc and an international airport capable of serving hydrogen powered SSTO, not to mention the subtropical weather, it was seen as a good place to set up the UNDS embassy. This was of course welcomed by the King and the Parliament of Breer, due to the additional importance of the small nation in Jerat international politics.
By November 2057 the embassy had been established and allowed a steady communication with the nations of Jerat, and the two MMUS returned to Earth.
Some talks about the possibility of trade came up as well, which was seen as being easier compared to trade with the Untiph-bel, as the Tiaunt had a notion about money that was similar to that used on Earth, though in most cases it was based on conventional metals and petrochemicals. Only within the past fifty decades asteroid mining had begun to slowly lower the price of metals on the planet.
During these trade talks it became known that the Tiaunt still struggled with achieving nuclear fusion, even with access to ancient Quetzal fusion reactors, limiting them to nuclear fission reactors as main energy source for their interstellar spacecraft, while renewables, including a number of solar power satellites, were used on Jerat. This enabled a potential technology exchange to be considered by the United Nations.