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Terraformers seek foreign alliance By Lara Senekal Stardate 239202.10 The legendary city of Matok, the capital of Ellussia and the Ahl Republic, rarely seen by outsiders. MATOK, ELLUSSIA — The Ahl, famous for not only their neutrality and terraforming prowess but also their steep decline as a galactic power after the rise of the Federation, have made a surprising announcement this morning as their empress declared that her people's former neutrality was no more and that they would welcome an alliance with a foreign power. "Today we stand at the dawn of a new age for the Republic," said the Empress Chandali xevenir Vok Mathaie XII, Sovereign of the Ahl, Grand Chancellor of Matok, Queen of All Under The Sky, Holy Regent of Xhir. "Our glory remains unmatched, our accomplishments unparalleled, but the time has come to take a more proactive role in galactic politics, which the Grand Council believes cannot be done from our former position of neutrality." "As of this moment, we, for the first time in our history, welcome a treaty of alliance and cooperation with a foreign power, may they prove worthy of the honor," she said from the grand concourse of the Grand Plaza. The Ahl were first cast aside from enforcing galactic peace and interstellar treaties with the rise of the Federation over two hundred years ago. Then, in the late 23rd century, the Federation became the patron of most terraforming projects. With the Ahl's economy allegedly faltering and slipping into galactic irrelevance, many commentators see this move as a way to preserve some glimmer of Ahl glory and prevent their total decline as a civilization. Many born in this generation are barely aware of the Ahl, other than their notoriously opulent and over the top fashion and way of life. Their insular nature and hawkishness about their own neutrality has all but closed the Ahl Republic to outsiders in the past ten years. "The Ahl were on top for a while," said Professor Alix von Meck of the University of Bremen. "Now that the Federation has nearly completely put them out of business, they find themselves in the unusual position of asking for help. It's a desperate attempt by a dying race." Harsh words, but not everyone is convinced the Ahl are on their last leg. "They have one of the most advanced militaries in the quadrant," said Dr. Elivil Shagrar of the Tri-Planetary Academy over subspace this morning. "They have mass drivers, dreadnoughts that blow everything else out of the sky in war games, and they use a completely different form of faster-than-light travel!" "The only thing that has stopped them from taking over this part of space is their insular nature, and now they want to hand over this technology to the highest bidder? It's unacceptable!" Indeed, similar concerns were echoed by the Palais de la Concorde earlier today, with leading interstellar experts alarmed by this sudden change in policy. Many had assumed that the highly democratic and philosophical Ahl would eventually join the Federation upon their abolishment of the death penalty, which came last year. Empress Chandali of the Ahl. Despite being a highly democratic society and labeled as a Republic, the Ahl are led by an Empress whose role fluctuates from figurehead to strong executive.The Original Players Using the Alcubierre drive, the Ahl employ a completely different form of FTL travel, which is much faster than the rest of the Alpha Quadrant. This allowed them to make first contact with a variety of species very early in their interstellar development. They gained incredible technology, including weapons and ways to power their ships, and jumped their technology lightyears ahead of their contemporaries like the Vulcans. Among the most prized of these early technologies was the ability to turn lifeless worlds into verdant paradises in record time. Using their variety of technologies, the Ahl went on a crusade to establish interstellar peace and cooperation. Their treaty, the Axia Conventions, have been ratified by every major power, but their enforceability has been knee-jerk and suspect for at least the past three centuries. The penalties of economic sanctions and military intervention ring hollow when the Ahl are faced with galactic powers many times larger than their own, a gap of power not even their advanced technology can close. Their failure to keep the peace between the Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites in the decades before the founding the Federation was well-noted, as were their unsuccessful attempts to mitigate the escalation of the Federation-Klingon Cold War, which had the adverse effect of precipitating the Battle of Axanar. In the face of their failures as interstellar peacekeepers, the Federation stepped in, but the Ahl's assistance and consult was still sought as wise interstellar elders, though this advice has been seldom heeded in the last few decades. Faced with irrelevancy in one arena, the Ahl attempted to revitalize their terraforming contracts. While initially successful, by the 2280s, the Federation was seeking an alternative to their methods, wishing to cut out the middleman. These attempts indirectly led to the development of the Genesis Device. After that interstellar debacle, the Ahl experienced a resurgence and cornered a monopoly on terraforming. By the 2340s though, this era was over and the Federation found other ways to terraform planets to their will. Dying or Merely Sleeping? While some say the Ahl are irrelevant, that statement is only true in the context of their former role as a small—if technologically advanced—power. They control but a group of five star systems, but they could easily expand. And what if they do? What if the Ahl attempt to regain respect on the galactic stage by building an Empire? Some say this is the purpose of seeking an alliance with one of the great powers: not to bow out gracefully but to gain a partner in an exercise in imperial expansion. Klingon, Tholian, Breen, Cardassian, Federation, and even Ferengi and Romulan envoys have already arrived in the capital city of Matok to court the favor of the Ahl Republic. Many are wondering who will come out on top in a series of negotiations that could vault one of them to the highest echelon of galactic power. Some dismiss the Ahl as a dying, declining race, but it appears they still have one card yet to play and intend to exploit it for all its worth. They seek to upset the balance of power as greatly as humans did when they founded the Federation and put them out of business. Whatever the outcome of these negotiations, one can't help but shudder at the thought of someone other than the Federation gaining control of Ahl technology. FNS Home • FNS Data Feed• FNS on FB