NATION

PASSWORD

Sailing Ships (Shalum x Azzie IC)

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]
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Azurlavai
Diplomat
 
Posts: 619
Founded: Aug 29, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Sailing Ships (Shalum x Azzie IC)

Postby Azurlavai » Mon May 29, 2017 8:33 pm

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Kapital state, Central Azurlavai


Given the state of the apartment, Løytnant Astrid Deinhardt, newly transferred to the 67th Fallskermjeger Regiment, suspected it hadn't been touched all weekend. Magazines and DVDs were stacked haphazardly on the coffee table, dishes unwashed in the sink, dirty clothes flopping out of the hamper and the fridge had uncovered leftovers on the main shelf stacked high with takeout boxes from Sven's Snak Shak. She'd come home from maneuvers after days of duty on base, and after an hour in the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, this place was still not completely clean. Absolutely...astounding. He was a well-trained elite airborne assault trooper, with three combat tours under his belt and the expertise of a whole other military's tactical understanding, the man who had somehow caught her heart and sewn himself into her life.

And he was a slob.

Astrid groaned out loud as she reached up, tugging her blonde hair back from her face again into a ponytail as she also pulled her field jacket off, camouflage fabric tossed onto the couch.

"Four days! Four days and he turned the place into this! Aw, he's lucky the super didn't see, or we'd be out on the street and I'd be playing the xylophone with his godsdamned rib cage!"

The deal had been simple. While Astrid had been drawn into four days of field duty on the other side of the country, she trusted that her boyfriend Isaac Brevik (really an ex-Shalumite spy who had defected to the country he'd come to love) was to take care of their newly shared apartment, seeing how he was still working on a daily basis with the regiment, still demobilizing after their disastrously short tour in Nalaya on the heels of Aerick's insanity. Seemed just fine on paper, but it occurred to Astrid she'd never left him alone longer than a day in a casual setting, and while he seemed quite meticulous on duty, he clearly had much relaxed standards in his own personal space...
*No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
*If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.
*If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won't walk into it.
*If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.
~Murphy's Laws of War

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Shalum
Minister
 
Posts: 2470
Founded: Oct 07, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Shalum » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:47 pm

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Kapital state, Central Azurlavai


“Ugh, fuck me.” Isaac groaned from under the covers of the bed her shared with his girlfriend, a spike of pain lancing through the nerve endings of his brain as he reached up to rub his temples. The queen-sized bed creaked and groaned under the weight of the ninety-kilo paratrooper as he shifted, forcing his alcohol-logged muscles to bring him up into a sitting position. There was a soft clatter as his tablet slid along the ruffled sheets and tumbled off the side of the mattress, but he paid the device little mind as he swung his legs to the side. He had paid a lot more than he would have liked for a case that protected against drops; a cursory glance and a kick with his foot brought the machine to life. The screen, though covered in oily fingerprints, appeared to in working order.

Looking around the room, the young assault officer couldn’t help but frown to himself. If anyone were to walk in on him in this moment, they would have probably wanted to get him some help. The place alluded to a hoarder in the making, or at least something along those lines. The truth was far from it, at least in his own mind. Words couldn’t describe how freeing it was not to worry if all of his gear was packed right, or if he had enough ammo on hand to keep the enemy at bay until supplies arrived. Being able to simply slip off his shirt and leave it on the floor, or eat half a tub of ice cream on a whim, was the kind of thing that brought a grin to his lips.

All of that aside, Isaac knew that he needed to get to work on cleaning up the place. Astrid was only supposed to be gone for a couple of days. At least half that time had passed by now at this rate, right? He highly doubted she would be happy with what she came back to. With any luck, he’d be able to get everything put back into place by then, plus a couple bags ferried off to the communal dumpsters. After that, he could worry about breakfast...or brunch, apparently, given the time that was displayed on the clock next to their bed.

Emerging from the bathroom a few minutes later, Isaac grunted softly as he adjusted his shorts. He was trying to snap himself into work mode; if he didn’t, it was safe to say that nothing was going to get done before his girlfriend got home. Aside from binge watch the latest crime-romance-action drama he had been watching lately, and call up Sven’s to see what kind of specials they were running today. Truth be told, he loved cooking, but it had little point besides three-days worth of leftovers without Astrid.

The sound of a door shutting made Isaac’s blood run cold as he froze in the middle of the tiny hallway that connected their bedroom to the living room. Aside from himself and the landlord, there was only one person who had the key to their homestead. Surely...she wasn’t home already. A brief glance at his phone, and the angry shouts from the room ahead of him, said otherwise.

Oh. Shit.

Tan face going pale, Isaac creeped forward, doing his best to avoid the creaky floorboard. He failed, and instead of his voice, it was a loud squeak that announced his presence. Not to mention the crinkle of a takeout box’s aluminum foil wrapper that he had lazily dropped in his wake the night before. “Uhh,” he stammered as his chocolate eyes landed on his girlfriend’s familiar form. It looked like she was ready to hit something; she had that familiar tension in his muscles. “Astrid! You’re, uh, home earlier than I thought you would be. How were maneuvers?” He asked with a nervous warble, subtly trying to hide behind their recliner. If she went haywire, he’d at least like something to prolong his death for a few seconds.
Conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundations of all its habits.

It is better to be a warrior in a garden then to be a gardener in a war.

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Azurlavai
Diplomat
 
Posts: 619
Founded: Aug 29, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Azurlavai » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:32 pm

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Kapital state, Central Azurlavai


She locked onto him like a laser-guided missile, ice-eyes sharp and piercing, watching his feeble attempt to take shelter.

They’d been together a few months, these two. Their days defying death had swiftly brought them together, as being so close to the verge of constant death made swift and strong attachments with almost anyone. It wasn’t much surprise that the two officers had found a way to be together in more than just military camaraderie, and it said something that Oberst Josun and the rest of the regiment’s officers looked the other way. Worse had been ignored, and the brotherhood that developed between those who had lived through repeated war was a strong bond. The unspoken agreement being, of course, that their relationship couldn’t affect their performance in the field.

But now…now Astrid knew she’d have to call in and report a man MIA.

“Maneuvers were great,” she said, her voice flinty and cold. “We rehearsed new air assault tactics, all about clearing buildings in a hurry. We learned this new one called…eviction!”

In an instant, the recliner was thrown to the side, and Astrid’s fury came down on Isaac’s head without any dilution or warning.

“You idiot! What in Helheim name is wrong with you! We could get kicked out for the place looking this way! Four days, just four days, Isaac! And the apartment looks like a passle of teenagers have been here a week! Is that…is that a mega-pack from Sven’s?! How much did you spend on that place, you know that place is capitalist, right? Heimdahl give me patience and strength!”

She stalked away, kicking through the trash and clothes, huffing curses to the Gods under her breath as she took in the full scope of the disaster. And then her eyes alighted on a stand of beer bottles nearby. Seven of them…three stood up straight, in a neat and orderly cluster. Four were splayed around the window, left where they lay. It didn’t take long for her to put the pieces together, and the result at first confused her…before she became mad all over again.

“Becca came to hang out, didn’t she? She saw the whole mess and just left it! What in Odin’s left eye is wrong with people today…”

With that, she dug into cleaning. She didn’t say anything else. She didn’t yell. She just tucked into the mess to try and control some of the damage. Astrid would be alright again, after all this was over.

Maybe.




Vocht Ranch
Byrrnoth Fylke, Dhuria, mid-Azurlavai


It had been a long time since Karlos had returned home. An officer’s career in the artillery korps combined with his term in politics meant he hadn’t spent any time back here, not nearly enough. His father’s funeral sixteen years ago had given him the land, but aside from getting a crew to periodically come in and maintain the cabin he hadn’t done anything with it.

But now, at fifty-five, retired from both politics and the military and set up on the state’s retirement fund and what had been set aside from his own personal funds, he had the rest of his years to catch up with the property. It was, of course, strange to be sleeping in the bed his parents had, and to move about in the kitchen he had once waited for his mother in as a boy, but as the weeks went by he started coming to think of the residence less as his family’s and more as his own.

He stood on the porch, letting the warm summer breeze roll over him. This far north, the air wasn’t scorching hot, such as down in Tritonsberg and the like. Sure, in winter it would freeze over with a fury comparable to a drakon’s wrath. The ranch was nestled at the foot of a mountain, here in the bottom of a valley, so as a result the winds were often funneled straight down towards them. Day after day, it always seemed at least an idle breeze was drifting through the tall sweetgrass and groves of trees, the calls of birds on the air.

The ranch itself hadn’t been operable for twenty years. Karlos’ father had been forced to sell the livestock as his years went by, and without the younger man around managing the property had been impossible. Fortunately, the state and Karlos’ own officer’s pay had both been enough to float the family, and the maintenance crew all these years had at least kept the buildings in decent condition. The cabin, barn, storehouse, boathouse and a few other structures whose function had left his memory for the time being, all having escaped the ravages of time. The crystal clear lake that had sustained the ranch’s fresh water stretched away over the property towards what had once been grazing pasture, now clearly overgrown and turned back to the wild.

Karlos took a sip of his coffee, grunting at the flavor. Mubatan, much smoother than the bitter beans that Azurlav fields grew. Maybe he’d go fishing later, if he still remembered how.
*No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
*If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.
*If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won't walk into it.
*If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.
~Murphy's Laws of War

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Shalum
Minister
 
Posts: 2470
Founded: Oct 07, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Shalum » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:59 am

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Kapital state, Central Azurlavai


He was dead man walking.

After years of fighting alongside his lover, and enduring more than a few fights during the course of their cohabitation so far, Isaac knew when things were dead serious. As the chair in front of him was tossed aside, landing on it's sound with a thunderous bang that would have their downstairs neighbors complaining (again) in no time, Isaac flinched and backpedaled in an attempt to save his own skin. If she had any truly violent intentions, which he liked to think were unlikely, than it was unlikely that he’d last long against her onslaught.

Holding up his hands innocently, the young officer opened and closed his mouth, trying to get a word in edgewise. It was a lost cause and he knew it, but he hated the way she was yelling. Despite the fact that he had killed for a living, he had never been much of a fighter; Isaac was the kind of guy that was content in the quiet moments where he could just wrap an arm around her shoulder and say nothing while they laid back and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Maybe that was why he was so attracted to her in the first place...opposites attracted, or some stereotypical shit like that.

“I-I...I’m sorry, Astrid. I didn’t mean for it to get this bad, it just...kinda happened. They did inspections the day you left; we should have a little bit of time to at least clean this all up before…” He stopped himself as he dropped his gaze, looking around at the trash at his feet. Saying that the landlords would probably show up because of a noise complaint would only make it worse, and it wasn’t as if they were the worst people in the complex.

Retreating into the kitchen, Isaac returned with a couple of black trash bags in hand. That was one thing they had plenty of, probably because the floor had acted as his dumpster for the last couple of days. “Yeah, ‘Becca was over here for a couple of hours yesterday.” He admitted as he worked on doing away with most of the Sven’s containers. “She’s been having trouble sleeping these last couple of weeks so she came by and kicked back for a couple of hours.” He explained softly as he stuffed another styrofoam container into the bag.

This was not, by any means, how he had expected to spend her homecoming. It was usually a bit more...fiery, at least of another sort.




Vocht Ranch
Byrrnoth Fylke, Dhuria, mid-Azurlavai


A companionable sort of silence hung over the Vocht household in the mid-morning light: birds chirped somewhere off in the distance, squirrels scampered about like the tree rats they were, and horses in an adjacent pasture whinnied to one another as they padded along with a causal gait. The sounds of soft sizzling could be heard in the kitchen as the smell of frying bacon wafted through the air. On the counter to the side of the stove, a plate of pancakes fresh from the pan were cooling alongside a large bowl of strawberry topping and whipped cream.

One could say what they wanted to about the lady of the house, but she took pride in her work. Whether it be keeping the former chairman safe (from the safety of their bed) or whipping up a meal for the ungrateful bastard before the crack of dawn, Lara was always on the ball. The gods knew by now that nothing would stop her from her daily run and hour of calisthenics. Karlos was free to be lazy if he wanted to, but it had taken her years to develop the figure she had known and she had no plans of losing it anytime soon.

Idly tugging on the hem of her boyshorts, Lara hummed quietly as she lifted up a spatula and scraped it along the metal of the pan she was using. The meat in question sizzled for a few moments longer as she dropped the various pieces onto an extra plate, but soon the heat had abated leaving it edible. The former bodyguard knew that she was lucky to have not gotten speckled with hot grease this particular morning, it wasn’t as if she was wearing much in the first place. Perhaps it was a bit unwise, but she had to make her appearances for Karlos after all...plus, it wasn’t as if anyone was around to catch her.

Padding across the linoleum of the kitchen with barefeet, Lara quietly made her way through the house, keeping the same tune that she had been using earlier. It was an old marching one that she’d used back in the kriegsmarine; it was boring when compared to what she heard the paratroopers and stormtroopers use, but catchy nonetheless. Occasionally, she would make a mental note of something she saw that needed to be worked on along the way, but for the most part, she was content to just keep moving along.

Stepping out onto the front porch, the former bodyguard was as silent as some mystical ninja. Her lips curled into a smile as she spotted her lover leaning against a railing with a cup of coffee in hand. Most who saw them would have probably raised an eyebrow, he had a couple of decades on her, but she wouldn’t have had it any other way. All of the money aside, the gruff bastard had worked his way into her heart. It was to be expected, though, on those long days and nights when it was him manning the office of the chairmen while she made sure no one tried to take him out. Working in such close proximity meant it was bound to happen sooner or later…

“Alright old, dark, and brooding.” She giggled as she stepped up beside him, immediately nuzzling against his side. One arm went around the small of his back, while the other darted forward to seize his wrist. Lifting up his hand, she stole several sips of his coffee before shooting him a wide smile. “You didn’t buy the cheap shit for once - I knew there’s a reason I love you.” She chuckled as she kissed his cheek. “If you have the time...breakfast is ready.” Lara added as she jerked her head towards the front door of their little home. If her smile wasn’t enough to convince him, she hoped her outfit -or lack thereof- would be enough to win him over.
Conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundations of all its habits.

It is better to be a warrior in a garden then to be a gardener in a war.

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Azurlavai
Diplomat
 
Posts: 619
Founded: Aug 29, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Azurlavai » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:24 am

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Kapital state, Central Azurlavai


Though still angry and working with obvious fervor, Astrid paused at the mention of Becca’s problems. They’d served with her in the 51st, back when all three were Fallskermjeger comrades and things had been a lot simpler in the world. Isaac hadn’t been a spy back then, he had been a capable young officer with a good looking future and a devilishly handsome jaw. But Rebecca had always been different. Nepotism was looked down upon in the military, so her elevation to Kaptein had been seen by many as her father working his influence to bring the younger Vocht up in station, or if he hadn’t given the order an officer somewhere along the chain had taken it up himself. Amongst these rumors and after back-to-back combat tours on Iron Island, Aerick and finally the disaster in Nalaya, something in her had broken, and she’d resigned her commission.

“Still that bad, huh?” Astrid’s movements slowed a little as she kept working on cleaning, shoving another stack of DVD off the table and into her arms to redistribute on the shelf. “She needs to find a place to live closer to her support chain…and not in a film-noir hellhole.”

Rebecca lived in Gryten, now. The largest city in Liam state, close to the Shalumite border. Only three hour’s drive away, with a proportionally large military garrison and rife with crime from both sides. From what Astrid had heard, Rebecca Vocht had been displaced for some months before starting life as a bounty hunter and private investigator. She was new at it, but signs were promising so far.

It took them another hour and a half, but finally, finally, the mess from Isaac’s last week alone was cleared away, the last trash bag gathered for disposal, the last shirt put in either the hamper or the closet, and the two flopped onto the couch, him still half-dressed and her still in her fatigues. After a minute or two of heavy panting, Astrid lazily pointed the remote at the TV, and Storm of Steel came on. It was still from the first season, sixth episode, but with a second season recently announced the network had decided to reair the first twenty-four episodes of the Great War TV show to drive up hype, even though the second season wasn’t to premiere until September.

“Popcorn,” she stated as she placed her booted feet on the coffee table, humming the theme song as the opening credits rolled by, one of the characters blowing away a Shalumite tank with a bazooka on screen.



Vocht Ranch
Byrrnoth Fylke, Dhuria, mid-Azurlavai


“My Dear, you know as well as I do that buying ‘the cheap shit’ is what saves us money around here,” Karlos parried, stealing his mug back and sipping thoughtfully for a second before leaning over to kiss her cheek, taking note of the long expanses of skin she bared for him, making sure she saw how long his eyes lingered at 'key points'. He’d be a bit more affectionate later, of course, but for now his stomach was demanding food. “Thank you, Lara,” he added, moving through the door again and back through the house towards the kitchen. In the wake of his parents’ death, the crew had stored most of their belongings, and now the house appeared a little empty, though Lara had done her best to breath life back into the rooms by putting up photos of the capital and events from history, stocking up the bookshelves with what she could find upstairs and even rendering the kitchen once more fully functional and serviced. For a former sailor and bodyguard, she had actually proven to be quite feminine under all the grit.

He glanced back, noticing something as he stated “That fence out at the paddock needs mending. I think one of the horses tried jumping it. I’ll do it after we eat...well, and some other fun, if you feel so 'inclined'.” He smirked.

Working the land was Karlos’ way of defying age. It would claim him one day, but for now he remained lean, fit and strong, and he was determined to still use that while he could. That little fishing thought could wait until after the fence had been fixed.

The kitchen was full of delicious smells, and he took a deep breath before turning to the coffee pot and, after topping off his own, filled a second mug, holding it out to his lover. They couldn’t officially marry, not with everything else, and it was a little soon to ask, but the way they’d both settled into home life, it already felt like it again. And, truth be told, after sixteen years without Rebecca’s mother it felt good to even –feel- settle down again…

Karlos pulled out Lara’s chair, before moving to his own. He was a gentleman, yes, but he was also a hungry one, dammit.

His hand moved around to glide across her bare thigh, taking a light squeeze. Well, maybe not quite a gentleman.
Last edited by Azurlavai on Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
*No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
*If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.
*If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won't walk into it.
*If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.
~Murphy's Laws of War

User avatar
Shalum
Minister
 
Posts: 2470
Founded: Oct 07, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Shalum » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:25 pm

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Kapital state, Central Azurlavai


The former spy paused in his work, meeting his lover’s gaze from across the coffee table that separated them. Muscles in his jaw clenched as a certain sadness flooded his eyes for a moment before he quickly pulled himself together again and nodded sharply. “Unfortunately, yeah.” Isaac confirmed as he began to tie off the mostly full trash bag. “Same shit, different day, really. I keep trying to talk her into getting some help, but she doesn’t really listen, you know? Not that she ever listened to anything I told her anyways,” he conceded wryly. “I offered her a place to crash here if she really wanted to get away from it all, but I don’t think she took me seriously.”

The list of up-sides that came to living with Astrid were endless in his opinion. There was no way he would complain about such things as the soft beds, warm food, and sheer privacy that they didn’t get back on base. That being said, however, he would have happily taken Vocht into their home in a heartbeat. She was a sister-in-arms who was struggling to transition. Now more than ever, she needed someone to fall back on. Aside from her father, who lived too far away to really do anything for her, Becca had no one to lean on but them.

The rest of the clean up was done in relative silence. Isaac was the kind of guy that could go an entire day while uttering a mere dozen words, and he could only assume that his blonde companion was simply too pissed to put up with his shit anymore than she already had. Several more trash bags were stuffed full of trash (which he promptly carried down to the apartment’s pair of community dumpsters; it gave him a couple minutes away from the tense atmosphere that Astrid radiated) and what felt like a solid half of the living room was rearranged. Though they paid ten centras a month for a streaming service hooked up to the television, he’d been all too happy to dig into their collection of DVDs.

He had been about to take the spot beside her when the television came to life, filling the screen with the opening credits to an explosive show that he knew all too well by now. “On it, babe,” Isaac squeaked in response as he straightened up and quickly scampered to the kitchen. They may have shared duties around the house, but the inflection in her voice alluded to the fact that she was asking him to fetch her a snack. She was ordering him to do so. Thankfully, he had stocked up on the ‘pour over’ kind that was as close to movie theater grade stuff as possible without the eight centra pricetag.

Returning a few moments later, still shirtless, Isaac was bearing a big bowl filled with crispy, buttery popcorn. He was always careful with the stuff, trying to pop as much as possible without burning it or leaving excesses kernels. Rushing past the screen quickly, so that she missed as little of the show as possible, he handed the bowl to her. “Here you go, babe.” He smiled, pressing a quick kiss to her cheek. Hopefully that would make her feel a bit better...if his bare chest didn’t do that already. “It's good to have you back,” he murmured as he looked at her for a few lingering moments before he forced his eyes back to the television. If anything, he would have much rather kissed her senseless and welcomed her back properly, but he had blown that chance the moment she had walked in on the mess he’d made.




Vocht Ranch
Byrrnoth Fylke, Dhuria, mid-Azurlavai


“That doesn’t mean I have to like it, though, babe. I went through enough of it back in my squid days.” Lara pouted, the expression only growing deeper, and her eyes more doughy, when he took the mug back from her custody. Sucking in a little breath, she leaned against her bear of a lover. Years in the military had been good for him, unlike his time in public office.

After being on the farm for several weeks now, she could already tell that Karlos was getting his groove back; he could keep up with her these days, very much unlike the first couple of shaky times that they had gotten together. Glancing back at her lover, the bodyguard’s lips curled teasingly as she poked him in the side. “See something you like?” She asked as she purposely stretched out, letting her tiny tank top rise up and expose the smooth, toned abdominal muscles that she had taken years to get just right.

Following the older man back into the house, Lara made a mental note to have him do something about the creaky floorboard near the door. Oh sure, it may have been great if someone uninvited let themselves in, but the sounds it made every day were starting to drive her insane. Looking back at Karlos, she flashed him an amused little smirk as she patted the small of his back affectionately. “Babe, you know I’m always ‘inclined.’ It's you that I usually have to compensate for,” she reminded him teasingly. “Maybe if you’re good...I’ll help you with all of that other work you need to get done, hmm?”

When they finally reached the kitchen, Lara was all too happy to accept a cup of coffee. Now that she had more than five minutes to spend on breakfast and getting ready for the day, she often mixed in a bit of cream and sugar to her drinks. It was nice to kick back and relax, even if it added a little bit extra to her hips and backside; Karlos had never seemed to mind.

The feeling of his hand on her leg caused Lara to jump, a small sound escaping her lips as her eyes snapped up to meet his. “Karlos…” She said warningly, though there was no real heat behind it. If anything, the look in her eyes said all that he needed to know. Even so, she reached down and pushed his hand away, a small smirk creasing her lips as she pushed her chair back from under the table.

The reason why became a few moments later. Never breaking eye-contact, the bodyguard reached down, fingers catching the hem of her shirt. Pulling it over her head, it was tossed aside casually. Reaching down, her boyshorts followed a moment latter, tossed onto his feet for effect. Licking her lips, she finally picked up the fork, tapping it against the edge of the plate. She could wait all day if she had to, but that didn’t matter, she was all too eager to see what he would do. “Well, babe, does everything look good to you?” She asked innocently as she glanced down at the plate in front of her, and then back up at him.
Conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundations of all its habits.

It is better to be a warrior in a garden then to be a gardener in a war.

User avatar
Azurlavai
Diplomat
 
Posts: 619
Founded: Aug 29, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Azurlavai » Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:57 am

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Radik state, Central Azurlavai
8 months later


Two lines. Two fokking lines. That was all it took to send her into a panic.

She'd bought a second test, of course. Had to be sure. Also positive. Which meant it had to be true, right?

Astrid's back met the bathroom wall, sliding down to the floor. This was it then. Her career, her life, had just changed. They'd never let her jump again, not with this sort of...issue. Not until years later, when she'd have to requalify. And who knew if motherhood would make her slow and sedentary like some infantry trooper? There was always the possibility of the free clinic down the road, but...it didn't feel right. Astrid Deinhardt had never run from a single thing in her life. Not service, not combat, not Isaac. She wouldn't run from this.

Still. This explained why she'd missed her period. And been throwing up the last few days. And been so tired the last few weeks. Her hand slowly, shakingly, went to her still flat and muscled belly. How much longer, she wondered, before she began to show?

She had to tell him, she realized. Today. When he got home. It would be criminal not to.


Vocht Ranch
Byrrnoth Fylke, Dhuria, mid-Azurlavai


It was mid-morning when she got in, stepping over from her car. Unlike her father, she couldn't justify the expense of a larger, gas-guzzling pickup even if she wanted one. But she pulled up the drive, parking in the almost unused guest spot before using her key to open up the door. Her metal fingers slipped for a second, and Rebecca cursed as she had to stoop and grab her keyes, closing the door behind her again.

"Dad?" she called out, dropping her travel bag by the entrance. It was 10 am, he had to be awake at this hour.

A few new photos on the entry table caught her eye, and she leaned in, inspecting them closely. Most of them she recognized, older photos such as those of her when she was younger, still in the military and her father still led the nation. There was one of her mother Katarina, from so long ago. There was one there of Rebecca after getting out of the Haer completely, burning her service cap in celebration as her father laughed. She smiled. So many good times.

And then there were the ones of Lara. Most were here, in the cabin or around the ranch. Rebecca felt the smile melt off her face as she saw these. Lara...who had the gall to only be two years older than Rebecca herself, prancing around with her father. There they were out hunting, another of them with the horses, out on the lake, here in the living room...she sighed in frustration.

The most recent ones were the ones that sent her into a turmoil. For the past five months, the flood of recent photos tracked Lara's slowly growing belly, as their newest addition grew and the strange situation Rebecca faced grew worse and worse. Her father was over the moon about the baby, of course, and couldn't seem to understand how his daughter just wouldn't accept her...mother in law. Rebecca shuddered, setting down what looked to be the most recent photo. She didn't care what her dad said, this was wrong by any sense of the word. She had to distract herself.

"Dad?" she called again as she stepped further in, heading for the kitchen. 10:30 might mean a later breakfast than normal, that was all.

"In here."

Sure enough, there was Karlos Vocht, currently flipping french toast in a frying pan, a heap of eggs and some crunchy bacon off to the side. Two plates were set out, and as she watched he added the toast to one, turning and offering the full platter to her.

"I came down to fix Lara something when she wakes up, and I almost forgot you were coming in. Here you go, sweetheart."

As Rebecca took the platter piled high with food, a woof resounded from behind her a black and white blur pounded in through the dog door. She grinned as she held her food above Max the dalmation's head, even as he reared back and planted muddy paws on her chest.

"Max! Off!" Karlos hollered, and the dog obeyed, sitting and panting up at her happily, tail wagging like a compass needle in a magnetic storm. She reached down, scratched Max behind the ears and snuck him a piece of bacon, which he wolfed down before trotting off to his own bowl.
TBC
Last edited by Azurlavai on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:25 am, edited 3 times in total.
*No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
*If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.
*If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won't walk into it.
*If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.
~Murphy's Laws of War

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Shalum
Minister
 
Posts: 2470
Founded: Oct 07, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Shalum » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:15 pm

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Radik state, Central Azurlavai
8 months later


For as long as they had been living together, Isaac and his partner had always set aside the weekend for just each other. While they served in the same unit, and saw each other everyday, it was often easier said than done to be romantic during the work with. Even in a time of peace, which they were experiencing at the moment (even in Aerick where they had been deployed for several weeks) the stratocracy kept its troops busy. Though he had long since given up his past career of espionage, which Astrid had amusingly lit one of her cigarettes too, Isaac still had plenty of friends -once considered to be unwitting intelligence contacts- in many units stationed across the country. The army may not have been involved, but he knew of that State Guard troops were starting to fortify the border again.

It was easiest to willfully ignore that fact as if it wasn’t happening. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying went. The last thing that he wanted was to lose sleep over some theoretically conflict with his former countrymen. Between Astrid being a bit under the weather for the last few weeks, and the day-to-day duties of his job, he didn’t have energy for much else.

Clambering up the final flight of stairs of their apartment building, Isaac paused for a moment to glance out one of the windows; the rain was still coming down in buckets, unlike the ‘light rain through the afternoon hours’ that the local news station had predicted. It had made his trip to the grocery and a few other errands interesting, and not in the good way. Isaac was just glad to be home at this point.

“Babe, I’m home.” He called as he stepped in, arms laden with several plastic bags that he quickly deposited on the faux-rock countertops. Reaching up, he unzipped his thin rain jacket to reveal one of the short sleeve camouflage exercise shirts that he usually wore during physical training or underneath his armor. “They were out of the long Konrad Magnums, so I had to get the short ones…” He explained as he hung up his jacket. Isaac hated that she smoked, but he had learned that it was a lot easier to just shut up about it - even if she tasted like smoke when they went to bed...or whatever was the closest piece of furniture.

Not getting a response, Isaac just shrugged to himself and went back to the kitchen where he began to unload the groceries into the fridge and cabinets. Given how she had been feeling lately, he assumed that she’d probably fallen asleep. Not wanting to disturb her, he figured that he would finish up and then poke his head in to see if that was the case.




Vocht Ranch
Byrrnoth Fylke, Dhuria, mid-Azurlavai


The last year had been full of changes, to say the least.

When Lara Voct (née Wasserman) had decided to abandon her posting in the capital and follow her lover into the Azurlavain wilderness, she hadn’t known what to expect, but this most certainly wasn’t it. She loved Karlos, she really did, but children had never been something that she’d expected to have; there was no place in the life of a spy for them, it simply wasn’t fair, and the bodyguard had always sort of assumed that he would eventually bore of her like most men in power did with their lovers. She hadn’t expected that he was firing anything other than blanks, and had paid the price for it. There had been a long, terrifying moment as she looked down at that little test, where she had expected him to kick her to the curb or at the very least tell her to get rid of it.

She hadn’t expected him to so openly embrace it, no matter how passionate their relationship was.

As she rolled out of bed, the blonde took a moment to rub her eyes, and then her stomach as the world came back into clarity. She was getting big now, well beyond the point where she could hide the child growing within her. Every morning, she found herself sleeping in later, unless her husband woke her up - something that didn’t happen very often. It was a difficult transition, all things considered. She missed her morning runs, the long nights on the porch, and sleeping on her stomach.

Clambering over to the closet, floorboards creaking in her wake, Lara began to get dressed. Gone were the days -at least for the foreseeable future- where she could slip into a pair of form fitting jeans and a durable long sleeve. Her husband had seen to it that, while everything was packed away until she could wear that sort of stuff again, her closet was full of the maternity wear she would need. Granted, she’d never been a particularly flashy person in the first place. Within a few minutes, she had slipped on a pair of black maternity pants and a stretchy gray shirt.

Getting down the stairs was one of the more arduous tasks of the morning, especially when it only felt like half her brain was firing. Yawning quietly, she reached the bottom, and was immediately drawn towards the kitchen; Karlos knew exactly what she and the baby needed.

As she drew close to the doorframe, Lara paused for a moment and listened in, biting her lip as she did so. When they had went to bed the night before, her husband had warned her that his daughter was coming over, but she hadn’t expected her this soon - either that or she had slept in even later than the clock had alluded to.

Lara liked her step-daughter, she really did, but she knew that the feelings weren’t exactly returned. Rebecca had been through the wringer, that much was certain between her protestics and the look in her eyes - she’d seen it in other veterans before. The last thing that the bodyguard wanted the woman to think was that she was trying to steal away her father, or anything of the sort, but that was easier said than done when most of the pictures around the house were of them having the time of their lives or were of her as she grew in size.

It was hard to think that in a few months, there would be a little Vocht around.

“Good morning everyone,” Lara said with a small smile as she stepped into the room, a prominent bump preceding her no matter which way she went. “Something smells good,” she added as she looked over to where her husband was working the stovetop.

Glancing to his daughter at the table, she did her best to hold the pleasant expression. If the gap between them was ever going to be bridged, it was going to take some work, and even then, nothing was guaranteed. “Hello there, Astrid.” She said softly as she padded her way, pulling out and perching herself in the seat next to the airborne trooper. “You surprised me, I didn’t think you would be here till the afternoon. I trust your drive down from the capitol was nice?”

There, that was easy enough - small talk.




Fort Hydraphur
10km North of Dresden
Shalum


The Imperial Scions were, without a doubt, some of the best troops that the empire could deploy to any battlefield. Chosen from the ranks of respected knightly lineages, and even from the few true remaining warrior caste types of Maldoria, they were raised from roughly the stage of adolescence into adulthood. They forewent the luxuries that many children their age did, as well as conventional educations, in order to learn the art of warfare. While those of noble blood were given preference, there were many more of common birth who they trained alongside - they were known as Kasrkins. They were all equal, and expected to serve their nation for their entire lives with nothing short of undying loyalty.

They were shock troops. Special operators. The first and last line of defense.

Prince Aaron Holland had no place being in their ranks.

When he had received orders from his commanding officers that he had been transferred to the 3rd Kasrkin regiment, he had been rather certain that there was some sort of mistake. For the last two years of his service, he had served in the capital - close to home, and with all of the comforts that came with it. He was no stormtrooper, capable of hitting targets at insane distances and brave beyond any reasonable doubt. Yet here he was.

“Come on maggots, move your feet!” A commissar snarled. Aaron was rather certain that she was yelling at him and no one else, but he wasn’t brave enough to look back. He just tried to run faster, and ended up lagging behind his new squadmates all the same.

If there was one thing his unit did, it was train. They had been to hell and back across the globe, from the mountains to Maldoria to the arid highlands of Nalaya. Everyone but him was a combat veteran, and he could feel a certain sort of distrust that no one dared to actually acknowledge. It was all part of the process, especially with stormtroopers like them who had probably served which each other since the day that they had graduated their advanced training. He was the new guy, and it was no secret that he’d gotten to skip the ‘forge’ that tempered each of them well before they saw the battlefield.

Even worse, he was a greenback. He’d never been within a thousand miles of a combat zone, and with any luck, that would never change.
Conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundations of all its habits.

It is better to be a warrior in a garden then to be a gardener in a war.

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Azurlavai
Diplomat
 
Posts: 619
Founded: Aug 29, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Azurlavai » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:28 am

Room 227
He was home.

Astrid about scrambled back up the wall, the positive test clutched in one hand as she stared at the door, wide-eyed. He was back from the grocery already, back when she thought she would have more time. She glanced down at the strip in her hand, feeling the panic rising inside of her as Isaac’s voice continued from outside. He had no idea things had just completely changed, their lives turned upside down by a mistake.

She had to think back a second. -How- had this happened? She had a prescription she refreshed every month, a tiny white pill she took every day. But of course, she already knew -how-. The deployment to Aerick, the ‘field exercises’ while the divide between Vest and East Aerick took place. The 51st had been ordered to the area, watching a particular patch of forest for weeks.

Astrid hadn’t realized she’d forgotten her pills until that night. A simple thing, of course. Just don’t get frisky and wait until her next time of the month, start taking pills again. It would suck, but it would avoid disaster. Except it hadn’t. Somehow, someway, she and Isaac had risked it, and now that risk had just blown up in their face.

He kept talking. How did he not know something was wrong?! He was just going around acting like things were fine! Like she wasn’t carrying a small parasite that had just barreled in and ended life as they both knew it! She was Fallskermjeger, a paratrooper, a warrior! She didn’t -know- how to be a mother, her own mother hadn’t taught her how to do this, she didn’t know how to-

Astrid stilled. She glanced down. In her panic, she hadn’t realized her other hand had gently settled on her stomach again, just above her navel. Like she was searching for the little life growing inside her. The callused palm slid down, under her tank top, over toned muscle. It couldn’t have been larger than her fist at this point.

No. She never gave up a fight. She never let an enemy get the better of her.

Astrid knew what she had to do. She took a deep breath, bracing herself before she reached back, yanked open the door behind her, strode through the kitchen to Isaac, threw the test onto the table and said, flat and blunt “I’m pregnant.”

Silence fell for a few awkward seconds. She noted, ironically, that the test had fallen right next to the pack of Konrad Magnums, and groaned in annoyance.

“Well...there’s us saving us a hundred centra a week, at least.”


Vocht Ranch
When Lara came out, reactions varied from the three inhabitants of the room. Karlos stepped over, planting a fat, passionate kiss on his wife before guiding her to the table, shooting a glance towards his daughter that said ‘be nice, please’.

“Dear, I figured a good hot breakfast would start your morning right. Flapjacks and eggs. All out of bacon, though. Wonder who’s responsible for that?” He glanced over at the dog, a flat look on his face as he recalled dropping the package while cleaning up one time, and turning around to find the mutt stuffing his face in an instant.

Max jerked his head up from his bowl before dashing over and planting his bespeckled head between Lara’s knees, tail flapping about wildly as he looked for his mistress to scratch his black ears. For his part, he merely lodged his nose up against Lara’s bump, sniffing enthusiastically as dogs do. Whether he realized what was under that bump was a mystery, though he clearly didn’t seem to mind.

Rebecca merely huffed, scratching at the surface of the table with a metal finger idly, the whirr of servos lost under the sizzling of the stove and the dalmation’s eager snorts and pants. She shifted uncomfortably, her old camouflage service jacket still pulled on over her flanel, a steel-toed boot tapping at the wooden floor.

“Yeah,” she finally replied. “Traffic’s picked up near the border. They locked down the roads out of Gryten with State Guard checkpoints. Almost took me as long just getting out of the city as it did to get to Lowellsburg.”

Gryten was tough to drive around in under normal circumstances. Throw in the fact that it was a mere eight hours from the national border and it had become mission control for the most recent crisis. Uniforms, prominent before in the militarist Azurlav culture, had risen to infestation levels as of late. Becca worked as a private eye, and the upshoot in military personnel had also represented an upswing in potential crime (read: business for her). The deployments had only started a few days ago, but she knew there would be calls. Hence, a quick vacation before the shit really hit the fan.

Karlos stepped over, kicking Max’s bowl to get the dog’s attention before setting three plates on the table, all loaded with steaming brunch. As promised, flakpjacks with a side of scrambled eggs and some sliced apples. A carton of orange juice (expensive, as it was imported from Gylias) was set next to a gallon of milk, and the former Supreme Chairman took his own seat at the head of the table, sunlight catching his steel-grey hair.

“Hopefully Tyler and the Kingdom get their trigger pullers settled. This sort of thing comes up every few years, someone deciding to liberally reinterpret world diplomacy and the location of borders. I almost captured Kaiserweth, but does anyone remember that anymore?” He chuckled, shrugging as he took a big slice of pancakes himself.

The conversation died down as the three tucked in, but Rebecca couldn’t help but notice her father’s hand slide over, running down Lara’s enlarged belly, over the gray cloth-

Rebecca’s fingers slipped as she lost focus for a second, the fork tinging off the plate.

“Fokking hell,” she hissed, flexing her prosthetic again. It was too easy to lose her grip without the sensations in the metal.

Karlos frowned, setting his glass down.

“You alright?”

“It’s fine,” Rebecca shot back as she seized the fork once more, her tone making it clear there was no room for conversation there.

Karlos left it alone, returning to his own meal as well.


Fort Hydraphur
Captain Natalia Volker had worked damn hard to get where she was at. Ten years of service in the Imperial Marine Corps, serving in peacekeeping down in Maldoria, the suppression efforts in Nalaya before the withdrawal. After earning her skull pins and taking her rightful place amongst the Kasrkin, it seemed like she was finally going places. It had been her shock troops that had swept the Azzies back into the sea off Iron Island, and to reward her company she had commissioned a special pin of an eagle to wear proudly on their chests, right under their ribbons and medals. It was a company commanders right to dictate what they awarded their troopers with, and 3rd Kasrkin, 1st Company ‘Alfas’ with their wolf patches wore a cascade of decorations denoting their status as elites among elites. They had all proven themselves, through sweat and blood, holding up the Vigil while the Eternal Siege wore on.

Which was why she was currently gawking at Colonel Braum with an expression stating she would rather charge a fighting position full of Maldorian terrorists and Azzie Stormtroopers barehanded than accept what had just been laid out for her.

“Go ahead...take it in. Breath, Captain. Just let me know when you-”

“Are you -fucking- insane, Colonel?”

Braum’s eyebrow arched, and he let out a sigh as he stood, moving to the window to look down at the fort and the training yard beyond his office. Below, Imperial Marines and Army soldiers conducted bayonet drills alongside 3rd Kasrkin’s operators, who appeared to have just returned from their run. That would be Lieutenant Haller of 2nd platoon down there, with Commissar ‘Iron Lady’ Batras holding up the rear. Most of the Kasrkin were lean, hard and muscled. They would be more tan if it wasn’t for the heavy armor they wore. It was hands and faces that got colored mostly, shown by their pale limbs under their exercise gear. Most of her men were brushing themselves off, walking a lap around the training yard to let their limbs recover, chatting amongst themselves and getting some water.

All except one.

“I know it's a lot I’m asking of you, Captain. That’s why you get a free pass. This time. But orders are orders, and we both know this comes from the top. War’s brewing Volker. And its with the Ossie’s right now, but tomorrow, who knows? The Azzies are gearing up for the next round, and we all know Azura is never very far behind them. We dropped the ball on this one, now the Empire’s trying to make up for lost time. We don’t have long.”

“But sir!” Natalia bit out, teeth clenched as she attempted to keep her temper under control. Her short blonde hair dipped into her eyes, and muscled tattooed forearms flexed as her fists tightened. “He’s a goddamned greenback! A war virgin! You saddled me with a prince who’s never fired a shot in anger and you’re asking me to make him a Scion? We go into a fight with the Ossies, he’ll get eaten alive, and that’s -if- he survives the training first!”

“Captain, you protest like it's going to change anything. It won’t. You’re not saying anything I didn’t to the general when the news came down to me.” Braum stepped away from the window, sitting down and typing idly at his laptop. Volker noticed his hands shaking slightly, and realized he too had to be holding back his frustration. “But you’ve been around long enough to know how things are run in the Empire. The nobles rule, and what they say goes. But we’re Kasrkin. We’re professionals, and a step above. And with that, I -expect- you to deal with it. I need my Alfa Wolves in top shape. I need you to give me the same 130% you’ve always given me, and I need it -with- the greenback.”

Braum and Volker stared at each other, eyes narrowed. Her service greens didn’t have her ribbons or medals like her dress did, but he could see her accomplishments in the way her shoulders were held back, the way her patches were old and faded but the fatigues were new. The way her captain’s bars sat proudly at her collar. But mostly it was the skull pin above her nametape that told him everything he needed to know. Because he had the same on his own.

“Dismissed, Captain.”

---

Down below, the platoon was stretching out, getting their bearings again after recovering. Even for elites like them, a 3 mile run through the hills was no laughing matter, and Lieutenant Haller was off talking with Commissar Batras off to the side to conclude the cooldown and get the troops some lunch.

“Your Grace!” called a voice directed towards Aaron, and two bulky looking men stepped over, sweat drenching their PT uniforms but seemingly unaffected otherwise. Both wore the rank of sergeant, and one had the name “Lars” on his shorts while the other had “Sawyer” on his own.

“That’s how you know we’re stepping up to war,” Sergeant Lars was saying, pointing at Aaron Holland. “Even the nobles are giving us cannon fodder!”

Sawyer laughed, maybe a little louder than necessary before he spat at the ground and muttered “Whiteshield.” Not necissarily accurate, but certainly stinging. The two NCOs stepped off to head back to their squad, laughing amongst themselves.
*No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
*If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.
*If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won't walk into it.
*If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.
~Murphy's Laws of War

User avatar
Shalum
Minister
 
Posts: 2470
Founded: Oct 07, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Shalum » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:28 pm

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Radik state, Central Azurlavai


Peering down at the jug of milk in his hands, Isaac was quiet for a long moment, as if contemplating his options. For as long as he could remember, the lieutenant had loathed anyone who drank directly out of it. On the other hand, this one was nearly empty and he had purchased a new one to replace it. Was it something silly to even think twice about? Most certainly. Even so, he couldn’t help but feel like a hypocrite as he twisted the blue cap and gulped once, and then twice, before sighing quietly and heading to the sink to wash the container out. He would toss it in the community recycling bin later, when he wouldn’t get soaked to the bone in the process.

Getting everything else sorted out took a few more moments at most, even with the bag’s being heavier than usual due to the fact that they’d eaten through their weekly supply a lot quicker than usual. It was a surprising twist to what most considered a standard relationship to be, really. Despite his lazy streak, which could leave the floors piled high with garbage if she didn’t say anything, Isaac was actually a rather decent homemaker. He enjoyed the cooking, cleaning, and everything else that went along with it. At the same time, it was usually Astrid gave the difficult things a run for their money, such as keeping their car running as if it was brand new.

Isaac heard the door to their room open, and her approach, well before he actually ever saw her. Even in the comfort of their own home, she walked as if she was still in her combat boots, with a solid little thump announcing every step that she took. “Hey babe-”

The thump actually caused him to jump slightly in surprise for a moment, and his eyes were instantly drawn to the rectangular piece of white plastic. He blinked two times in confusion, before glancing over to the six-pack of beer that he’d bought for them. “I guess we won’t need those either, huh?” It was a terrible first thing to say, and he swallowed thickly as he looked back to his partner. “C’mere,” there was no other option in his voice as he reached out with his long arms and pulled her into a firm, protective hug.

If Isaac wasn’t a fine officer already, with the shooting skills that made most others on the range envious, he would have undoubtedly made it into the ranks of sniper or stormtrooper. His time in the STG had ensured that he would be calm under fire, no matter the situation. In this moment, though, he wasn’t trying to keep his emotions out of it; he was simply trying to be strong for both of them. He could feel how tense Astrid was, see that panicked look in her eyes, and hear that little wable in her voice. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” he assured her with a soft voice and kissed her forehead.

Admittedly, he wasn’t any better off than she was. Isaac had always been the youngest of his siblings, and he’d never been innately good with kids like his sister had. Still, the idea of a little him or Astrid running around had crossed his mind before; some men may have not have wanted anything to do with a child, but the notion made him rather warm inside, especially as he held his partner close. “How did this happen, love?” He asked, despite the fact that he already had a pretty good inkling.

Their last combat deployment had taken them to Aeirck, where the military and government had finally managed to lock down their side of the island. It was an operation to keep their paratroopers sharp more than anything else, given that the Syarans hadn’t had the time to really set up shop yet. Despite their professionalism, it had been hard for them to keep their hands off each other, especially as the deployment dragged on. They’d managed to slip off to their fighting holes a couple times, where there was a semblance of privacy. It had been a bit uncomfortable, but they’d found time in worst places, warzones included, and he hadn’t thought anything of it or the fact that he didn’t remember his partner not having her little pill case with her.

There were plenty of other times that it could have happened, but that particular moment stuck out in his head.

Carefully, Isaac steered her away from the kitchen and the oppressive piece of plastic on the table, and towards the couch; he had a feeling she was going to need to sit down for this one. He never let her go. No matter what, he was going to be here for her, even if he had put a lot more thought into this situation than she probably expected. “So I guess the only thing you’re going to be riding for a while is a desk, huh?” He asked with a soft smile, trying to make her feel a bit better as he ran a hand through her fiery hair.





Vocht Ranch

After being with Karlos for so long, there was something that was purely instinctual about how his wife reacted. It was impossible not to grin up at him, her cheeks flushing and her heart fluttering as he ran a hand over her smooth stomach. Wiggling in his embrace for a moment, she hugged him as tightly as she could, her lips working against his own. There was a little twitch, and she rubbed her thighs together for a moment as they broke apart. “Morning to you too,” she murmured as she patted him on the small of his back as they made their way for the table.

“You spoil me, husband.” Lara replied with a smile as she watched him move back to the stovetop. If there was one thing that was for certain, her appetite that gotten a second wind during the pregnancy. She really was eating for two now, and often went through a lot before she had even realized it; Karlos, being the amazing man that he was, just kept it all coming. “All of that sounds wonderful - oh, hey there boy.”

The former Huscarl had been, and always would be, a dog person. From an early age, she had been around the four legged critters - her grandmother had bred expensive terriers, one of which she had gotten to take home for her either birthday. Lara had always been preferential to Leonbergers and Rottweilers, but both of those animals were unique to her homeland, and that was a story that she had never been able to work up the courage to reveal to her husband. The STG had given her a damn fine backstory, and she planned to use it, rather than have this wonderful life be turned upside down.

“I heard about that on the news…” Lara confirmed with a little nod, as if she hadn’t asked her husband questions about it as she ran her fingers across his chest while they were snuggled up on the couch. While she no longer needed to know the specifics, she could only assume that there were people who still looked to the former Chairman for words of wisdom. Furthermore, she wanted to know that her child would be brought into a safe world. “I guess that means business will be good for you then, no?”

There was no doubt about what soldiers brought with them. Oh, certainly, their job was to keep people safe. At the same time, though, many of them were young and had that fire in their veins. Combine that with the fact that violence was how they made their living, outlets could often turn dangerous, if not deadly. It was why there were people called police, but Lara wasn’t about to bring that up to someone who made money as a contractor.

It was amusing, almost. Azurlavai may have been a socialist nation, but the Charimen’s very own daughter made her living off the suffering of the soldiers and those who they affected.

“If it makes you feel better, I still remember when we almost took Iron Island.” Lara said as she hooked her foot around his ankle. Truth be told, that had been a scary time for her. Her handler had taken the risk of contacting her then, rather than the usual dead drops that they relied on. The orders had been clear - if Kaiserwerth fell, and Azurlavai pushed for Aragon, she was to cut the head off the proverbial body and eliminate Karlos. She had been more loyal to her old agency then, but that didn’t mean it was any less difficult; she’d been a bit too eager with the Chairmen then, as if trying to forget that there was a war going on through the means she had at her disposal. “Maybe we’ll get ‘em next time…”

Food was a good way to get the bodyguard to shut up, and that is exactly what happened as she dug into her meal with a certain, reigned-in fervor. Everything now and then, she would look to her husband and smile, a certain twinkle in her eyes as he rubbed her stomach; she would have welcomed him to slide his hand under the fabric like he had done so many times before. When Astrid dropped her fork, the expectant mother merely shrugged to herself, writing it off as a side-effect of trying to eat with a fake hand.

“So,” she asked as she set down her glass of orange juice, “do you two have any big plans today? Hunting maybe, or something else?” Lara asked as she glanced between the father and daughter. As much as she wanted to get out and work on the farm, or go out into the woods to bring back a fresh kill, she wasn’t going to be doing anything of the sort for a long time. She was only several months in, and it was going to be even longer before she was fit for duty. At least she had always been an active person, and her sister’s body had bounced back from pregnancy as if it had never happened.


Good genes had to count for something, right?




Fort Hydraphur

Every Kasrkin and Scion knew just how valued they were, and how important they were to the continued survival of their nation. They had been deployed so many times, to so many high-risk warzones, and wherever they went, success usually followed in their wake. Nalaya, Iron Island, Maldoria, Azura back in the nineties - it was a laundry list at this point. They were brothers and sisters in arms, and many of the country’s most influential people had served in one of their units at one time or another. The Crown Prince had been a Scio before his forced retirement, and his father -the Imperator- had been one as well. Both had served honorably, they had earned their place.

As far as many probably cared, Aaron Holland had no place being on the same training field as the stormtroopers, much less the right to wear the uniform that they did. He was a greenback, or a ‘Whiteshield’ who hadn’t even earned his stripes yet. If that lack of appearance didn’t make him stand out, then the way his body felt certainly did. He had always thought that his capital guard unit had put in their time training, but they had never so much as warmed up like his new unit did. If this was how his first day was going, it was difficult to see himself lasting through two more years of this.

The lance corporal turned his head on instinct as someone called out to him, and his heart promptly sank as he realized that it was two of the officers from earlier. He didn’t care to remember either of their names, given that their words were hard enough to stomach. “I’m sorry, sirs.” He wasn’t quite sure what to say as he sucked in air, face sweaty and his gear heavy. “I’ll do better next time…” One of them spat towards his feet and that was the end of that.

Looking around for a moment, the prince reached up and drug his forearm along his head, trying to wick away some of the sweat that had accumulated over the course of the run. With that done, he began to pad towards the side, leaving everyone else be as he went for the water fountains. Though he may have been of a decent rank, at least for someone as fresh in the military as he was, there were no friendly faces to look to here. Even those lower ranking than him, of which there were many, didn’t look at him with what one could consider -approval- in any sense of the word. They, unlike he, had actually made their way through the forge and had come out still standing at the other side.
Conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundations of all its habits.

It is better to be a warrior in a garden then to be a gardener in a war.

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Azurlavai
Diplomat
 
Posts: 619
Founded: Aug 29, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Azurlavai » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:41 am

Danig Apartments, Floor 6, Room 227
Lowellsburg, Radik state, Central Azurlavai


"C'mon, where are you Samii?" Kaptein Astrid Brevik grumbled, trying to punch a text message into her phone, keep her uniform to protocol and bounce a very fidgety two year old on her hip. Sigrid was calm, at least. She simply cooed and gurgled, reaching up and tugging on her mother's collar, trying to play with the strange flap while she looked around for her father. But Isaak was already at Festningen Valkmir, where the 67th was preparing to muster. Activity in the last few days had picked up as a result of the border strife up north, and readiness drills were being run daily. Having only just requalified for combat and to jump again, there was no way Astrid was going to miss another single day of actual military duty. And yet, here she was, waiting for her cousin to finally arrive so he could watch Sigrid, while the clock ticked past 0900. She was late. More than once, she cursed not applying for an on-base residence, though those were normally reserved for the larger military families, with children. Thus, the apartment here in the capital, an hour's drive from the military installation.

Finally, her phone pinged, and she lifted it up to glance at the screen. A tiny, pudgy hand swung into her view, and she instinctively pulled it out of the baby girl's reach. Sigrid screwed up her face, squealing in displeasure at once more having the object of her desire pulled away from her once more. Shushing the baby, Astrid glanced at the screen, and was not happy at the response.

'Sorry cousin. Traffic is too thick. Be there asap'

This was unacceptable. She needed to go, now. She grit her teeth, thinking quickly. Samii was coming from the north, down the same freeway. Assuming he was still coming from that direction, she could simply start driving and meet Samii along the way to the fort. With a groan, she punched off a reply with a vague threat before scooping her daughter up, tossing a lot of baby supplies into a shoulder bag and hustling down the stairs. In order to make sure she could get around in an emergency, Isaak had left her the car while he was carpooled by a friend back from the base for weekend visitation. As such, she walked into the apartment's parking area to quickly tuck Sigrid into their KA-V06, an SUT that was about ten years old. The red paint had started to peel in places, and the seats were worn and had patches of strange colors, but all the lights worked and it ran just fine (albeit on forty centra a tank).

Sigrid, for her part, was delighted to go on a car trip. She fussed and yelled as she was being strapped into the car seat, but once Astrid pulled out of the parking structure and out onto Lowellsburg's streets, the two-year old calmed down, looking around at all the sights flashing by the windows in a blur. This was a common tactic she'd used when Sigrid refused to fall asleep, and it worked quite often though it wasn't foolproof. Astrid tugged off her service cap, sighing as she focused on the road. The baby had a bottle, she had a full tank of petrol and Samii would hopefully be able to meet her on the road to the fort.

She was, of course, disappointed. As she pulled in past the security gate, Samii sent her another message, stating he was still having trouble coming down the highway. Given he was moving from Bredt Øye just to help watch Sigrid for them, she tried not to be too furious. Still, she had to grit her teeth as she pulled into the parking spot at 1017. With no choice, she'd just have to wait until Samii showed up at the fort. Not ideal, but she had her own issues to deal with.

The 67th Fallskermjeger was quarted by kompanie in a large complex in the fort. Normally military units would be dispersed across an area until they were ready to deploy, but Fallskermjeger were quick response assault infantry, and with the current crises and talks ongoing, it was looking like true war might break out anyday now. With Sigrid on her hip, her duty bag over one shoulder and the baby bag in her other hand as she stepped into the complex. She passed a group of Fallskermjeger, two ranks being marched by a sersjant from one location to the other. Nearby, a pair of other troopers glanced over as Sigrid babbled happily, her head on a swivel as she took in all the new sights and sounds. Near the center of the complex, the air pads stood with dozens of SK42 Kongefisher and SK51 Pelikan helicopters, their maintenance crews and pilots checking every rivet and bolt to ensure these copters were ready to see action, applying fresh green camouflage and stocking equipment inventories. Overhead, two Kongefishers soared by, their rotor blades chopping the air, and the little baby girl in Astrid's arm fell silent for a moment, watching the sight.

Finally, she reached her kompanie barracks, where her troopers would be preparing for their new kommandant and readying arms and equipment. Hopefully, Samii would arrive before she was called away for something, and she and Sigrid could just hide out in her office. Technically, she wasn't supposed to have a baby here on base, but she'd already been so late and she couldn't just leave Sigrid alone. She passed two of her Bravo Kompanie soldiers at the door, both of whom glanced at her in bewilderment as she shoved past, though they at least had the courtesy to salute her in and give her the greeting of the day.

Astrid made it all the way to her office, setting her bags down and setting Sigrid into the chair in front of her desk, breathing out heavily after the exertion. The building was new to her, but she remembered when she had been forced to pack up her last office, and say goodbye to her kompanie almost three years ago. Now, her daughter was standing on her guest seat, gurgling happily and patting a hand on the empty desk. A stack of boxes from her last office stood in the corner, intended to allow her to unpack. Well, that would obviously have to go on the backburner. Between reintegrating herself in the unit and getting to know her troops all over again, she wouldn't get around to the boxes until the end of the week, at least. And with the baby here, that would just be so much harder

"You're so much work, you know that?" she asked, glaring down at her daughter.

"Gah!" Sigrid replied, waving at her mother. Despite all the trouble she was, Astrid couldn't help but smile down at her before helping her down to walk around the office and explore. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad. Just sit down, wait out the morning and hopefully Samii would get here soon enough she could get some work down.

Just then, a knock sounded at her door, and she turned to see Loytnant Breder opening the door to her office.

"Kaptein, uh..." he paused upon seeing Sigrid walk up to the door, peering up at him with curious eyes. "Uh...Oberst Ritter wanted to see you as soon as you could."

Ah. Shit.

Astrid bit her lip, trying not to show her aggravation. Because of course it had to be that, on her first day back, when she was late with her toddler daughter and a whole backlog of work to do while she waited for her cousin to catch up, that the regimental kommandant would call her in for a meeting.

She cleared her throat, trying to keep her rage and panic down.

"Loytnant, can you do me a favor? Tell the Oberst I'll see him as soon as I can. And...find a Loytnant Brevik for me."
*No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
*If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.
*If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won't walk into it.
*If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.
~Murphy's Laws of War

User avatar
Shalum
Minister
 
Posts: 2470
Founded: Oct 07, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Shalum » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:30 pm

Festningen Valkmir, Lowellsburg
Radik state, Central Azurlavai


During his days on the farm, where he had gone from a college kid with good grades and an above average grasp on learning languages, Isaac had been run through seemingly every weapon in the viking arsenal. As good a shot as he may have been, it had become clear then that he didn’t have the patience to be a sniper or designated riflemen. The Løytnant was the sort of person who went at things full blast when given the opportunity, and his specialization had shifted to closer range combat. Aside from his wife, there weren’t many people who could go toe-to-toe with him on the mats and win. His entire style was aggressive, and perhaps a bit too Shalumite at times, but it worked.

Years if instinct kicked in as he rounded the doorframe, a mere inch or two of space between his tricep and plywood as he did so. Isaac may have known this kill-house by heart, but the technicians who set it up were always good ensuring that targets were rarely in the same place twice. In a split second, his eyes swept across the faux living room, picking out cardboard soldiers and civilians alike. The butt of his rifle found his shoulder on instinct, each trigger putting three round bursts into the hostile figures. The officer had cleared the room almost as quickly as he entered it, but he didn’t pause to admire his handiwork. Instead, he pushed deeper into the building, all too aware of the clock that was ticking.

By the time Isaac finally emerged from the kill house, weapon already safetied and slung across his chest as he jogged, he was covered in a fine sheen of sweat. His men might have complained about how hard he pushed them, but none could say that he didn’t put in the same amount of effort - if not more.

“Just shy of a minute, Løytnant.” The range master was a barrel-chested fellow who’d been in the military longer than most of Isaac’s subordinates had been alive. “A little better than last time, but no course record either.”

The non-commissioned officer just chuckled and reached up, unclipping his helmet. Several techs were already moving into the killhouse to swap out fresh targets so that the next soldier, who was already donning her gear at a nearby table, could take her turn. It didn’t surprise him in the least to see her select a submachine gun. Looking back to the man, Isaac just rolled his shoulders a bit. “Sorry to disappoint,” there was a quiet click as he ejected the magazine from the borrowed rifle, “I must be getting slow in my old age.”

“Having a kid will do that to you too.” The range master grinned, flashing rows of off-white teeth. “Just you wait, I’m sure that ‘lil one of yours will be in here breaking records. The Kaptein was one of the best I’ve seen. Tell her to drop by sometime, maybe she can teach these kids something my boys can’t.”

“She hasn’t been recertified for very long. Give her a little time to settle in. I’m sure you’ll see here soon enough.” Isaac mused. As much as he loved her, there had never been a doubt in his mind that she would take parenthood sitting down. She was a lot like the cattle dogs that his family used to have on the farm up north - full of energy, and never one to shy away from work. The paratrooper felt for Samii, he really did, but it was a godsend in a way that he could move closer to home so that he could watch Sigrid.

Isaac spent the next few moments removing his gear. Despite the fact that he ran the kill house alone, he never went in without his kit. Perhaps it was better safe than sorry, or perhaps it was just because he was used to that constant pressure, but there was something reassuring about charging in with his armor. Setting it aside, the only protection that remained was his sidearm. At the entrance to the simulation, the range master shouted ‘go!’ and started the timer once more. Looking over his shoulder, Isaac watched one of his soldiers charge in, and only looked ahead once more so that he could climb the catwalk stairs without missing a step.

One by one, the men and women of his unit made their way through the killhouses. It didn’t take a trained eye to see that his soldiers were pushing themselves. Isaac couldn’t blame them. While their unit had been through the grinder time and time again, it had always been in small arenas like Aerick island. Now, there was a very real threat of war - the kind that would envelop the northern half of the continent.

It was all his country’s fault.

The turncoat Shalumite tried not to think about that too hard, especially as he shifted gears to yell down improvements to one of his troopers who had taken too much time for his liking. While his nation had never been shy about their foreign policy, it was becoming more apparent with every passing day that the (current) Holland administration wasn’t cut out for the job. The Imperator was unlike his predecessor, who’d had a desire for settle old grudges but the smarts to know when nothing good would come from it. William the Fifth had built the Imperial military up into a force capable of stemming the tide, but it looked like Tyler could very well ruin the entire thing.

Isaac loved his wife and daughter above all else. He loved Azurlavai. The last thing he wanted to do, though, was fight against the very nation he had sworn his first oath to. They were still his people, even if he no longer served them.

“Løytnant?” A voice called, breaking him out of his reverly. “Løytnant Brevik?”

“Yes, Sergeant?”

“A Løytnant Breder came by with a message for you from Kaptein Brevik.” If the unit’s second in command seemed off-put about passing messages between a husband and wife who just have easily texted one another, she didn’t show it. “She is requesting your presence at your earliest convenience.”

One of Isaac’s eyebrows crept up, his confusion evident. Today was the day that Astrid was supposed to report to her new command, at least officially. There was a chance that they could have met up at some point later, if not for the work that they both had to catch up on. It seemed that, regardless, that meeting was being pushed up to now.

“Sergeant, can you do me a favor?” The woman inclined her head curiously. She reminded him far too much of Rebecca, at least in the face. “The Kaptein never calls for me without reason. Could you oversee things until I return?” They were supposed to be at the killhouses for a little while longer anyways, so it wasn’t as if his disappearance would mean much.

The woman stood a little straighter and nodded. “Of course, sir. I’d be happy to.”

“Much appreciated.” Isaac replied, smiling gratefully as he ran a hand through his buzz cut before slipping on a beret. “I’ll be back as soon as I can. Don’t let up on them, eh?”

Getting from one side of the base to another was as easy as catching a transport truck. It wasn’t the most glamorous ride, but it was quick. Giving his thanks to the driver, Isaac slid out of the back and began the jog to the barracks, only slowing once he reached the entrance. No one paid him any mind, and he was rather alright with that. Astrid probably hadn’t been in the building long enough to get to know anyone, and if she ever wanted to introduce him to her men, the chances were that now wasn’t the time. He did, however, have to ask directions to her office.

Knock, knock, knock. Isaac’s knuckles rapped against the solid wood of his wife’s office door, which had a new, gleaming nameplate attached to the center at about eye level. While he could have just as easily let himself in, he wanted to be respectful, especially in the event that she had company. He waited another moment for the ‘come in’ before reaching down to grasp and turn the brass knob.

“Kaptein Brevik, you requested that I report…” The Løytnant trailed off, his teasing smile turning into one of slight confusion as his chocolate eyes darted from her beautiful face down to the young child who clutched at her hand. “You brought Sigrid with you?” He asked, closing the door behind. “What happened? I thought Samii was supposed to watch her today.” He said as he padded across the room to kneel by her desk. “Hey there, baby girl, are you giving your mum trouble again?” He asked with a soft smile, extending a hand out to his happily gurgling daughter.
Conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundations of all its habits.

It is better to be a warrior in a garden then to be a gardener in a war.

User avatar
Aethurheim
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 9
Founded: Apr 15, 2021
Father Knows Best State

Postby Aethurheim » Tue May 04, 2021 7:48 pm

Post to get into list
"A foolish man misuses his words. He either speaks too much and makes his words worthless or too little and renders them meaningless. A wise man speaks when needed, and reserves his words for true wisdom."


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