The Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Taikan, considered the fold over invitation on his desk carefully. The paper was thick and had a faintly shiny surface without feeling slick. It was slightly translucent and had a sprig of rose leaves and a few pink petals embedded. The use of inclusions in the hand-made paper wasn’t overdone. The entire effect was subtle. The English text was in a light green ink that complimented the leaves and the Japanese text was in a color he immediately labeled as Flamingo to compliment the petals. Both were done by hand and the translation was so correct that he couldn’t tell which was the original message and which was the translation. It invited him or his chosen representative to join the Sovereign of Central at a state ball and dinner buffet to celebrate life, friends, and allies. The event would start at 1800 Zulu time on May the sixteenth.
The note left unsaid if he and thus Japan were foremost friends or allies. It wasn’t even tied to any political event or anniversary. That was carefully neutral but wouldn’t deflect certain other nations from condemning anyone attending. Taikan didn’t care to demonstrate cowardice for his nation by turning down such an eloquent invitation. His personal politics were such that he’d enjoy sending a message to the sorts of joyless uzeee naysayers who could be offended by a party.
Unfortunately, there was no way he could alter his obligations to be away as many days as travel to the Moon would require. His deputy, Kawase Toyo, was younger and would travel easier. He called him.
“Kawase, how would you like an all-paid exotic vacation for your nation?”
“Greenland again? Or have you found somewhere as hot as that was cold?”
“How suspicious you are,” Taikan reproved him. “That wasn’t even in the depth of their winter and you were warned to have adequately warm clothing. This is a wonderful assignment, literally a party! Your wife will find it makes up for your previous task.”
“Is her presence requested or is it required?” Kawase asked. “She is as suspicious as me.”
“She wouldn’t want to miss it,” Taikan assured him. “You will attend a ball that is a state function. Come to my office and I’ll show you the invitation.”
Kawase took a long time examining the invitation.
“This isn’t the work of a barbarian,” He reluctantly admitted.
“I’m sure the whole experience will be tasteful and disagreeable to all the parties we wish to irritate by treating the Moon queen with honor and legitimacy.”
Kawase actually smiled at that. “That will make up for any minor hardship,” he agreed.