NATION

PASSWORD

The Least Worst System (CLOSED)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]

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Hittanryan
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:33 pm

The Farm

Properly informed by Enoch, Ober found Rowan. "It's more or less what we expected, an informal chance for a one-to-one."

"Of course," Rowan said, loosening his tie up. "Then we'll do what we planned, bring a couple of staff, but keep your distance unless I need something." With this, Rowan had removed his tie and ushered Ober out of the room so he could finish changing.

Ober, Snyder, and Martin would accompany the President and First Lady to the king's farm. Snyder, who'd been adjusting herself at regular intervals since arriving, was eager to get out of a dress. Martin tentatively asked if there would be WiFi there, to which Ober said "No idea, probably not" and left him on the spot to get dressed. The Adiran Cabinet Secretaries and the rest of the President's staff would remain at the palace.

The Adirans heading to the farm were dressed similarly to the Edomites. The President was wearing a sturdy-looking button-down shirt and khakis. Leslie wore a similar top with a pair of blue jeans sporting one or two splotches of paint. Snyder was wearing a safari jacket and khaki pants. Ober and Martin were dressed almost the same as Rowan, although Ober would eventually without thinking roll his sleeves up as it got hotter. All of them wore rubber boots, with Ober wearing a particularly heavy, broken-in pair that still had some old dirt caked on them.

On the way, Mara chatted amiably, talking excitedly about how proud she was of this farming effort. "It's very economical and environmentally sound. The only thing is that like most larger animals they don't breed very often. Gestation is about 159 days, you see, and then it takes months for them to grow to full size. However they can get up to 90 pounds, which is pretty good. They also have litters rather than single young like sheep. I'm afraid we still can't beat the pig for litter size or meat yield, but since these are grass feeders there's that to balance it out..."

"Listen!" she said when they came to a halt. "Hear that?"

Indeed, one could hear the chorus of the capybara. Whistles, grunts, squeaks, barks and an odd purring sound from the younger ones was heard almost constantly. Now and then a pair of males would threat display or squabble if the harems strayed too close. The males were obviously bigger, looking almost twice the size of females. All had the odd serene expression of the capybara.


Leslie had been listening to Mara and watched the herd with some interest. "You know, I've seen pictures but I didn't realize they got that big. A bit like giant beavers, aren't they? So have you tried other animals like pigs or cows?"

"It's probably too hot and wet for cows down here," Rowan pointed out. "Pigs might do a bit better, but they can't really forage in marsh like this. Farmers would have to buy feed. Looks like capybara can just be turned loose to graze and do just fine."

Leslie teased Rowan a bit "I thought you left the farm life behind, honey?" He shrugged and turned back to Elijah while she spoke to Mara again. "You're really interested in all of this farming and food work, ma'am. How is the whole hunger situation doing? It's gotten a lot better than it was, right?" she asked hopefully.

"Fine animals, eh?" said the King. "We had a bit of a problem with some disease before but we have a good lab at the university focusing on that. We're trying to figure out if it is a natural way of lowering population or if it's something foreign. I've got my eye on the big fellow over there..." he pointed out a huge male with about fourteen females and more than sixty young of various sorts around him. "He's one of my best breeders. You see those youngsters watching? They're going to come into season soon and they'll be challenging him. Now and then..." he smiled as two began to fight and another joined in, the young males rearing up and slapping at one another with webbed feet, baring big incisor teeth. "Practice makes perfect, eh? What do you think of arm life, Mr. President?"

"I grew up on a farm until I was 9," Rowan said in a rather matter-of-fact tone. "Nothing like this though. Just twenty acres in Clarke, garden, chickens, and a not-always agreeable pair of dairy cows. I barely recognize that part of the country now; it was lean times back then. Father and maybe my oldest brother may still remember how to drive a horse and buggy, for instance."

"I don't think I would've made much of a farmer myself, though. When I was doing chores I was mostly pondering whatever book I'd gotten my hands on or imagining what kind of adventures Father was getting up to. Mother ran the household while Father was away at war, fighting for the Council, you see."



Shiloam Palace

Of the Cabinet Secretaries, Pendergast and Fortner worked the room the best. They made easy small talk with the Edomites, avoiding talking shop as seemed to be the norm. Fortner played ball, talking about football and the spread on the table in front of them. Pendergast spoke of family, some recent trips he'd been on, and made an oblique remark fishing for opinions on the election. Eventually Pendergast insinuated himself into Lalery's group. They both seemed relaxed and confident, both adding to their plates an assortment of the various items. Bailey was a bit more reserved, feeling that they were taking a rather lavish break while important work needed to be done. She was seen to call Anne over to her from the side, who in turn retrieved Turner. The Edomites couldn't hear the words exchanged, but both Bailey and Turner were seen to shake their heads. Eventually Anne retired to the hall while Bailey and Turner both approached the buffet table. A couple of the Edomites might have been able to overhear Turner encouraging Bailey to simply relax.

Of the senior Adiran staff present, Feng had gravitated towards Fortner and was floating around the room with him. The two seemed to know each other fairly well and pulled Edomites into their conversation whenever they could. Cruise had pulled out a Chacano cigar of his own and lit up, giving a grin and a nod to Delia if she was present at all. He clasped a rather stiff-looking Ferrain on the shoulder before motioning towards the buffet table, to which Ferrain acquiesced. Eventually Cruise appeared besides Pendergast, and he offered a joke of his own to Lalery's group. By coincidence, or maybe not, Bailey was out of earshot.

"A redneck named Bubba decided that he wasn't going anywhere in life and thought he should go to college to get ahead. Bubba goes in to talk to an advisor and the professor advises him to take math, history and logic.

"What's logic?" asks Bubba.

The professor tries his best to explain it, but it's too abstract for a guy like Bubba. The professor being a patient man, eventually he says "Let me give you an example. Do you own a weed-whacker?"

"Sure do," answers Bubba.

Professor says "Then I can assume, using logic, that you have a yard."

"Sure," Bubba says.

The professor continues, "Logic will also tell me that since you have a yard, you also have a house."

Impressed, the redneck says "That's right. That's real good."

"And since you own a house, logic dictates that you have a wife."

"Yeah, yeah, Betty Mae. Keep goin', doc."

"Finally, since you have a wife, logically I can assume that you are heterosexual. All that from a series of inferences starting with the fact that you own a weedwhacker," said the professor.

Bubba's properly impressed and he says "Well ain't that a kick in the head? I can't wait to take this here logic class."

Bubba, proud of the new world opening up to him, heads on down to a local bar, where he runs into his old drinking buddy Jimmy. Bubba had talked to Jimmy about going to school and that he'd be seeing his advisor today about classes, you see.

So Jimmy, taking a swig of cheap beer, asks "So, what classes ya takin'?"

"Math, history and logic," replies Bubba.

Jimmy gets a puzzled look on his face and asks, "What's logic?"

Bubba grins and says "I'll show ya. Ya got a weedwhacker?"

"No, I don't," Jimmy replies.

Bubba's face falls and he exclaims "You're one of them gays!"

Enoch's song got reactions from the Adirans. Bailey studied him thoughtfully before going to mingle. Turner forgot herself, her eyes going soft and watching him admiringly for a little while before seemingly snapping out of it.

Pendergast said "He's got a good voice. You didn't hear it from me, but rumor has it Paul's been known to croon a tune or two." He nodded over towards Fortner, who was watching rather curiously.

If he was still with Lalery's group, Cruise would have remarked glibly "If His Excellency did that back home, he'd probably be up to his eyeballs in...company."
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
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Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:46 pm

The Farm

Ober, Snyder, and Martin would accompany the President and First Lady to the king's farm. Snyder, who'd been adjusting herself at regular intervals since arriving, was eager to get out of a dress. Martin tentatively asked if there would be WiFi there, to which Ober said "No idea, probably not" and left him on the spot to get dressed. The Adiran Cabinet Secretaries and the rest of the President's staff would remain at the palace.

Lieutenant Count Domris appeared almost like one of the hunting dogs; constantly aware of the actions of his master, yet relaxed at the same time, a curious combination of languor and alertness. A strikingly handsome young man, he had raven hair, a rich olive tan and dark eyes, a naturally athletic frame, and had a 30-30 rifle over his shoulder worn with ease. "Normally we ride horses out to do this but it was felt that we did not want to waste the President's time. Also your people did not indicate any interest in the stables in particular," he said in a friendly way to Snyder and Martin. "Do either of you ride? Do any hunting?"

Captain Hadoram Peleg, dressed much as the King, was more laconic but offered Ober a sip from a silver flask which contained cognac.

Leslie had been listening to Mara and watched the herd with some interest. "You know, I've seen pictures but I didn't realize they got that big. A bit like giant beavers, aren't they? So have you tried other animals like pigs or cows?"

"It's probably too hot and wet for cows down here," Rowan pointed out. "Pigs might do a bit better, but they can't really forage in marsh like this. Farmers would have to buy feed. Looks like capybara can just be turned loose to graze and do just fine."

Leslie teased Rowan a bit "I thought you left the farm life behind, honey?" He shrugged and turned back to Elijah while she spoke to Mara again. "You're really interested in all of this farming and food work, ma'am. How is the whole hunger situation doing? It's gotten a lot better than it was, right?" she asked hopefully.


"It is better, yes, thank you," said Mara. She seemed very relaxed with Leslie. Elijah noted this with faint irritation; Mara's liking for the Adirans was a bit of a pain when it came to deciding policy rationally. However he concealed this, for he also was pleased that his wife was happy. "Adding capybaras as a factor, well, we're moving ever closer to food freedom. I have been among the people, you know, I'm sure you do, so it is improved. I mean, for instance," she used her hands a lot while talking, "All those crowds of people on the move, they're settled down. There are still a few transit communities--we call them now now instead of refugee camps because they're part of a transit plan to move them either into new communities or already existing ones--but that's really only 125,000 people now compared to nearly five million to years ago, it's a startlingly effective change. But really if we had not managed that cease fire it all would have gone in the septic tank, that's for sure. May I call you Leslie?"


King Elijah tried to ignore this trend of the conversation and tried to focus on Rowan.

"I grew up on a farm until I was 9," Rowan said in a rather matter-of-fact tone. "Nothing like this though. Just twenty acres in Clarke, garden, chickens, and a not-always agreeable pair of dairy cows. I barely recognize that part of the country now; it was lean times back then. Father and maybe my oldest brother may still remember how to drive a horse and buggy, for instance."

"I don't think I would've made much of a farmer myself, though. When I was doing chores I was mostly pondering whatever book I'd gotten my hands on or imagining what kind of adventures Father was getting up to. Mother ran the household while Father was away at war, fighting for the Council, you see."


"It sounds very nice. Farm life is one of the few truly honest professions, even more than military service. For military service is of course dependent on deception, among other things. The sort of farm you speak of, that is more to simply provide for a family and is not really a profitable farm, but it sounds nice. There are many Barans and Haranese who still live that way. At times you think that you have gone back in time being among them. But as you say, you are right, we must live in the real world." Elijah was quiet a long moment and said nothing, looking out over his field of vocalizing amphibious rodents moving through the wet flooded fields.




Shiloam Palace

Lalery's group roared with laughter at Cruise's joke.

"That's a good one!" Lalery exclaimed. "Well said! And you seem a fine fellow. We'll have to have a bit of fun, if you're up for that sort of thing, these events can be pretty damned dreary at times," he lowered his voice a bit, "But good fine fellows don't need to always follow the rules and keep quiet and keep their knees together, we work hard enough, eh?"

"Mr. Secretary Pendergrast has his wife along," pointed out Ashdod. "But the sports should be fun. We may have our differences, but we are still men after all."

"What did you think I was talking about, General, having a bunch of Noviteran sluts in here to dance on the tables?' snorted Lalery. He nodded to Bailey. "Someone piss in her drink or something, what's eating her?"

Enoch's song got reactions from the Adirans. Bailey studied him thoughtfully before going to mingle. Turner forgot herself, her eyes going soft and watching him admiringly for a little while before seemingly snapping out of it.

Pendergast said "He's got a good voice. You didn't hear it from me, but rumor has it Paul's been known to croon a tune or two." He nodded over towards Fortner, who was watching rather curiously.

If he was still with Lalery's group, Cruise would have remarked glibly "If His Excellency did that back home, he'd probably be up to his eyeballs in...company."


"You have no idea," said Geta drily. "Prince Enoch is a flame for moths. But envy does not do. Why is it that the Adiran staff are largely unattached? Married to their jobs?" Unwerth and Ashdod were distracted briefly by Enoch's pretty secretary moving around the buffet table; she gave a shy polite bow to them before selected fruit, goat's cheese and broiled shrimp and retreating.

He was annoyed; he had been watching Gwen Turner discreetly and saw her looks. But Enoch already had a mistress and a wife; he needed to restrain himself. Some men, honestly. Enoch actually looked up and gave her a smile as if just sharing in the delight and pleasure of the music, and said, "Miss Turner...any requests? Come keep me company."

Nicanor strolled through, a big white uniformed belly and a tray piled with many foods leading the way, almost like a galleon sailing through a harbour of lesser ships, nodding to people like a beaming uncle at a birthday party, but stopped near Bailey. "Madame Secretary. You appear restless. Have you had enough to eat and drink? I fear that the travel, the jetlag, damage the appetites somewhat. But then you seem a woman of abstemious appetite! And now tell me..." he leaned in with curious eyes. "You worry about human rights. But you know, there is no regional standard about this. And this troubles me. For each nation, like sheep, goes astray, every one to his own way. Do you find this, as I do, unfortunate?"
Last edited by New Edom on Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 8641
Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:31 pm

The Farm

Lieutenant Count Domris appeared almost like one of the hunting dogs; constantly aware of the actions of his master, yet relaxed at the same time, a curious combination of languor and alertness. A strikingly handsome young man, he had raven hair, a rich olive tan and dark eyes, a naturally athletic frame, and had a 30-30 rifle over his shoulder worn with ease. "Normally we ride horses out to do this but it was felt that we did not want to waste the President's time. Also your people did not indicate any interest in the stables in particular," he said in a friendly way to Snyder and Martin. "Do either of you ride? Do any hunting?"

Captain Hadoram Peleg, dressed much as the King, was more laconic but offered Ober a sip from a silver flask which contained cognac.


"Oh, yeah I hunt," Ober said to Domris, raising a hand briefly. The other two shook their heads. "Deer, elk, and geese mostly, occasionally boar. Went up to Couloir a couple of times for bison and brown bear too."

"Listen to Coyote Peters over here," Snyder quipped, referring to the eccentric and risk-prone host of an Adiran wildlife program.

"Years ago," Ober qualified. "Haven't been hunting in Couloir in years. Anyway, going to shoot anything today? What kind of game's out there?" he asked Domris.

When offered the flask, Ober accepted it discreetly and said casually "Oh, thanks. What's this?" Being informed that it was cognac, he glanced from one side to the other and took a quick, discreet sip.

Ober then offered it to Snyder, who took a drink almost identical in manner to Ober. "That's a good cognac," she said, handing the flask back to Peleg.

The staff would have piled into whatever vehicles were appropriate. Martin hadn't been shy with the bug spray or sunscreen and whatever car he got in would be acutely aware of it. Snyder seemed amused by the whole thing and remarked "Off to the farm, eh? Don't think Old Macdonald had capybara, and I wouldn't know what sound they make even if he did."

"You're about to find out," Ober replied.

If he was offered one, Ober would have taken a rifle and inspected it. He seemed to know what he was doing in terms of handling firearms, being sure never to point it at anyone and keeping his finger off the trigger. Ober would spend a moment feeling the weight, looking down the sights, and inquiring about ammunition, although he wouldn't load the weapon until they were ready to get started.

"Adding capybaras as a factor, well, we're moving ever closer to food freedom. I have been among the people, you know, I'm sure you do, so it is improved. I mean, for instance," she used her hands a lot while talking, "All those crowds of people on the move, they're settled down. There are still a few transit communities--we call them now now instead of refugee camps because they're part of a transit plan to move them either into new communities or already existing ones--but that's really only 125,000 people now compared to nearly five million to years ago, it's a startlingly effective change. But really if we had not managed that cease fire it all would have gone in the septic tank, that's for sure. May I call you Leslie?"

"Of course you can," Leslie replied. "It's good to hear that things are doing better. I was reading in The Outlook about the Isidium Foundation, something about them starting to switch over from the big refugee camps to more local communities..."

Leslie chatted with Mara some more, similarly animated and expressive although more mature than Mara. At one point she looked at the view and commented "Have there been many paintings of this part of the country? You know, with all the birds, the water, and then that palace out there."

"It sounds very nice. Farm life is one of the few truly honest professions, even more than military service. For military service is of course dependent on deception, among other things. The sort of farm you speak of, that is more to simply provide for a family and is not really a profitable farm, but it sounds nice. There are many Barans and Haranese who still live that way. At times you think that you have gone back in time being among them. But as you say, you are right, we must live in the real world." Elijah was quiet a long moment and said nothing, looking out over his field of vocalizing amphibious rodents moving through the wet flooded fields.

Rowan saw that Elijah was taking a moment and paused to look himself, first where Elijah was looking, then ahead to see if their destination was in sight. Eventually he said "There's still a bit of romance to the old family farm. Working your own land, providing for yourself. Some old philosophers even argued that it made Cetan democracy possible, that citizens who owned and worked their own land had a vested interest in seeing it governed responsibly. An oversimplification I'd say, but perhaps one with some truth in it."

"Unfortunately it's getting harder and harder to make a living that way, what with the rise of big agribusiness in the nineties. There's government assistance and co-ops, but sometimes it's still not enough. And it gets worse with every recession. Giants weather the storm, small families can't keep their heads above water and have to sell."



Shiloam Palace

Lalery's group roared with laughter at Cruise's joke.

"That's a good one!" Lalery exclaimed. "Well said! And you seem a fine fellow. We'll have to have a bit of fun, if you're up for that sort of thing, these events can be pretty damned dreary at times," he lowered his voice a bit, "But good fine fellows don't need to always follow the rules and keep quiet and keep their knees together, we work hard enough, eh?"

"Mr. Secretary Pendergrast has his wife along," pointed out Ashdod. "But the sports should be fun. We may have our differences, but we are still men after all."


Paul Fortner and Feng had wound their way over to Lalery's group in the middle of Cruise's joke. "Yeah, shame about that, John, we'll just have to have fun without you," he said chidingly.

"Oh, I wouldn't say that. Martha's a good enough sport," Pendergast replied with a grin.

"What did you think I was talking about, General, having a bunch of Noviteran sluts in here to dance on the tables?' snorted Lalery. He nodded to Bailey. "Someone piss in her drink or something, what's eating her?"

"The Secretary's full of purpose," Cruise remarked in a tone that was clearly not meant to be complementary as he puffed on his cigar.

"Now now, Alan," Pendergast gently scolded him with a bright smile. Cruise grinned back. "Many of our colleagues on the left have a one-track mind," Pendergast said to Lalery as though he was an authority on the matter.

"Very good, John, I almost missed that you might be referring to Al Bluford," Fortner quipped.

"Ah, Al," Pendergast said as though fondly reminded of an old school rival, shaking his head. "I've seen leftists be rather uptight in polite company. Maybe they don't know what to do with themselves when they're in any venue more refined than a university campus, but the Secretary's a former ambassador, she'll loosen up quick enough I'm sure."

"You have no idea," said Geta drily. "Prince Enoch is a flame for moths. But envy does not do. Why is it that the Adiran staff are largely unattached? Married to their jobs?" Unwerth and Ashdod were distracted briefly by Enoch's pretty secretary moving around the buffet table; she gave a shy polite bow to them before selected fruit, goat's cheese and broiled shrimp and retreating.

He was annoyed; he had been watching Gwen Turner discreetly and saw her looks. But Enoch already had a mistress and a wife; he needed to restrain himself. Some men, honestly. Enoch actually looked up and gave her a smile as if just sharing in the delight and pleasure of the music, and said, "Miss Turner...any requests? Come keep me company."


Cruise replied casually "Nah, Dale's got himself a nice country wife, this isn't her kind of thing though. Guy's still got a kid at home, so his wife stayed. Dave, where's Kim?" he asked Feng.

"Had to work," Feng replied. "Wanted to come but just couldn't make it."

"And Kevin's the kind of guy to forget he's got a woman," Cruise joked.

"He goes through them like copy paper, last one dumped him after he forgot her birthday two years in a row," Fortner added. "Snyder's divorced, and how about you, Cruise?"

"Well, why tie yourself down before you've had a full sampling, eh?" Cruise asked with a grin, glancing between Delia and Turner.

Turner was surprised as Enoch addressed her. "Who, me, Excellency?" she said dumbly. "Do you know 'As Time Goes By'?"

Nicanor strolled through, a big white uniformed belly and a tray piled with many foods leading the way, almost like a galleon sailing through a harbour of lesser ships, nodding to people like a beaming uncle at a birthday party, but stopped near Bailey. "Madame Secretary. You appear restless. Have you had enough to eat and drink? I fear that the travel, the jetlag, damage the appetites somewhat. But then you seem a woman of abstemious appetite! And now tell me..." he leaned in with curious eyes. "You worry about human rights. But you know, there is no regional standard about this. And this troubles me. For each nation, like sheep, goes astray, every one to his own way. Do you find this, as I do, unfortunate?"

Bailey had by now retrieved a small plate of fruit. "Oh I'm just still on Adiran time, Excellency. When you get to be my age, you start to appreciate routine in odd little things."

"Yes, I certainly do, Mr. President," Bailey said in response to his comment on human rights, looking at him thoughtfully. "Without a standard accepted by the international community, I fear that human rights may be in danger of being reduced to nothing more than a political tool."
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 21724
Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:09 pm

The Farm

"The hunting is good here," observed Peleg to Ober. "You sound like a good man to have on a hunt. Sometimes it is the hunt itself that you love the most, but of course you want the game too." He showed him the 'armoury' in one of the support vehicles, which had a weapons rack with cased rifles and shotguns in it. The dogs whined eagerly but Peleg told them to hold fast. "There is game out here--Crested Griffon, bustards, cranes, wild hogs."

"We're using Nosler M48s out here if there's sight of some Griffon worth taking down, but we use solid shot with a 12 gauge for pig. Which there some times are," explained Peleg. The Nosler was a bolt action rifle .308 caliber rounds, and while factory made was considered by many to be a very solid hunting rifle. "We've got a range if you'd like to try it out. You're all welcome to. The King will probably at least want to go to the range, squeeze off a few before heading back."

"General Pahath-Moab used to like hunting Griffon on his own," offered Count Domris.

"There are few like General Pahath-Moab was," said Peleg curtly. He added in Baran, "Kindly try not to be meaningful, boy."

Count Domris was abashed but this was said courteously to Adiran ears and he responded with a slight nod of his head.

"I don't know if any of you are aware," said Peeleg, "But we're sitting with a hero. Count Domris' tank was the first into Harbourtown."

Domris flushed but was pleased by this change of subject. "Technically the first in were our fighters and helicopters..."

"Nonsense. You were first in on the ground along with the Lancers riding with you," Peleg told him. "Tell me, Mr. Ober, how do you think you and your colleagues here would be able to manage a war? As well as DeGroot's people or better?"


"Of course you can," Leslie replied. "It's good to hear that things are doing better. I was reading in The Outlook about the Isidium Foundation, something about them starting to switch over from the big refugee camps to more local communities..."

Leslie chatted with Mara some more, similarly animated and expressive although more mature than Mara. At one point she looked at the view and commented "Have there been many paintings of this part of the country? You know, with all the birds, the water, and then that palace out there."


Mara privately felt ashamed. She had argued ferociously with Elijah about this conversation. Unlike everyone at court, she had really seen what it was like. Nicanor, for all his folksiness, had not been a peasant for over thirty years. She had seen the lineups for clean water, seen and been one of the naked or near naked people squatting to defecate and urinate. She knew that outside of the resorts and the palaces and business districts of Fineberg, Calafia and Sterry that it was a nation in a grim struggle. Millions had flocked to the cities for factory jobs that were now in a state of threat, and people who felt like her were being murdered and robbed because it was easy enough to blame them for the nation's fears. Which were real. She felt ashamed because all she could do was what she was doing. If only she had married some foreign prince who could take it all away. Not going to happen.

"There are some famous painters. I don't know if you have heard of the Royal Gallery in Fineberg, but it has some of our most famous landscape painters," she chatted. "But you know we keep hearing all about me...what about you? Dop you enjoy painting or looking at art? What was your degree in? You know I always wanted that, to go to an Adiran university and have the life of a student, but life gets in the way, right?"

Rowan saw that Elijah was taking a moment and paused to look himself, first where Elijah was looking, then ahead to see if their destination was in sight. Eventually he said "There's still a bit of romance to the old family farm. Working your own land, providing for yourself. Some old philosophers even argued that it made Cetan democracy possible, that citizens who owned and worked their own land had a vested interest in seeing it governed responsibly. An oversimplification I'd say, but perhaps one with some truth in it."

"Unfortunately it's getting harder and harder to make a living that way, what with the rise of big agribusiness in the nineties. There's government assistance and co-ops, but sometimes it's still not enough. And it gets worse with every recession. Giants weather the storm, small families can't keep their heads above water and have to sell."


Elijah glanced at him. "Yes. Earlier General NIcanor spoke about inconvenience versus privation. That is not entirely accurate or fair, of course, but he is a man who speaks his mind." The King did not add that he knew perfectly well that Nicanor did this very strategically. "Ways of life do change. And often this is in the hands of God...fate...the destiny of the world." He wanted to reach for a cigarette but could not. "Mr. President, what do you hope to accomplish here?"




Shiloam Palace


Cruise replied casually "Nah, Dale's got himself a nice country wife, this isn't her kind of thing though. Guy's still got a kid at home, so his wife stayed. Dave, where's Kim?" he asked Feng.

"Had to work," Feng replied. "Wanted to come but just couldn't make it."

"And Kevin's the kind of guy to forget he's got a woman," Cruise joked.

"He goes through them like copy paper, last one dumped him after he forgot her birthday two years in a row," Fortner added. "Snyder's divorced, and how about you, Cruise?"

"Well, why tie yourself down before you've had a full sampling, eh?" Cruise asked with a grin, glancing between Delia and Turner.


"I took a damned vow of celibacy," grumbled Lalery, "Because of the woman I want to marry. She asked it. Love makes fools of us, but she's right, reputation is at times everything. So I'm content now with just looking. Or try to be. More sports, more cold showers, more work, that's the stuff."

"yes, it's another Ghantish marriage," said Unwerth with a smile. "Exactly what we need."

"Indeed," said Lalery with a smile back. "It is."

"Princess Caroline of Ghant, to be precise," said Unwerth to the Adirans.

"She's a beautiful woman of ancient birth," observed Ashdod. "How's your daughter, General? Engaged is she?"

"Not yet, General, thank you," said Unwerth. "But thank you for asking. Do any of you fellows have chldren?"

Turner was surprised as Enoch addressed her. "Who, me, Excellency?" she said dumbly. "Do you know 'As Time Goes By'?"

Prince Enoch went through a few arpeggios and scales to warm up and then began to change his tempo and sang,

"You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo
They still say, "I love you."
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by.

Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date.
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate.
Woman needs man
And man must have his mate
That no one can deny.

It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die.
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.

Oh yes, the world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.


He sang as though enjoying himself, playing for the joy of it, his fingers moving expertly over the keys, and more than one of the Edomite ladies in the room were tapping their feet, listening raptly. Princess Desiree discreetly got another vodka and tonic and drank it slowly but steadily, watching. Enoch now and then glanced at Gwen Turner as though inviting her to share in the joy of the music, his teeth flashing.

Nicanor strolled through, a big white uniformed belly and a tray piled with many foods leading the way, almost like a galleon sailing through a harbour of lesser ships, nodding to people like a beaming uncle at a birthday party, but stopped near Bailey. "Madame Secretary. You appear restless. Have you had enough to eat and drink? I fear that the travel, the jetlag, damage the appetites somewhat. But then you seem a woman of abstemious appetite! And now tell me..." he leaned in with curious eyes. "You worry about human rights. But you know, there is no regional standard about this. And this troubles me. For each nation, like sheep, goes astray, every one to his own way. Do you find this, as I do, unfortunate?"

Bailey had by now retrieved a small plate of fruit. "Oh I'm just still on Adiran time, Excellency. When you get to be my age, you start to appreciate routine in odd little things."

"Yes, I certainly do, Mr. President," Bailey said in response to his comment on human rights, looking at him thoughtfully. "Without a standard accepted by the international community, I fear that human rights may be in danger of being reduced to nothing more than a political tool."


"Yes, neither of us are spring chickens!" chuckled Nicanor. "But you age gracefully, whereas I..." he sighed and patted his stomach. "Prosperity has done me well and ill at the same time, like the blessings of God they are troubling blessings."

"And no legal framework, eh?" he shook his head. "We cannot after all rely upon mere sentiment and ideology to make such a framework or a way forward, and yet there is always the foot dragging. A pity. People are hungry, people are threatened, people are starving, but what can we do about it, eh, without law and order? Do you think that must come first or to be compassionate, I wonder?"
Last edited by New Edom on Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
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Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:08 pm

The Farm

"I don't know if any of you are aware," said Peeleg, "But we're sitting with a hero. Count Domris' tank was the first into Harbourtown."

"You witnessed history, then. The beginning of the end of the civil war," Martin said, before taking a second look at Domris. "Odd...now that we're on the subject, you look familiar somehow, Lieutenant. Did you give a press statement or something at some point in Harbourtown?"

"Tell me, Mr. Ober, how do you think you and your colleagues here would be able to manage a war? As well as DeGroot's people or better?"

"Quite the icebreaker, Captain," Snyder remarked, raising her eyebrows.

Ober was unfazed. "I think we'll handle it just fine, at least as well as DeGroot," he said almost casually. "Not because we're better than DeGroot but because DeGroot started with a handicap: he got elected after almost half a decade of hung Assemblies."

Snyder chimed in after this as well. "Secretaries Li and Deol had relatively little to work with when they came in, where we'll benefit from their work like the border defenses and these very negotiations," she said.

Leslie continued chatting with Mara. "I've been painting and drawing as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl that's what I thought I wanted to do. To tell the truth though, I never actually finished my degree. I didn't think I had to at the time, I was already making enough as a freelance illustrator to make a living. My portfolio counted for more than a degree, really. I didn't realize how much the field would change in a few short years though...those blankety-blank computers," she said, nose wrinkling as she censored herself. "I met George around that point too, and once we got married we ended up moving. New Laconia just isn't like Puerto Rojas for the arts. Then once I had Hank, life certainly did happen then, like you said."

Elijah glanced at him. "Yes. Earlier General NIcanor spoke about inconvenience versus privation. That is not entirely accurate or fair, of course, but he is a man who speaks his mind." The King did not add that he knew perfectly well that Nicanor did this very strategically. "Ways of life do change. And often this is in the hands of God...fate...the destiny of the world." He wanted to reach for a cigarette but could not. "Mr. President, what do you hope to accomplish here?"

Rowan thought for a moment then replied at some length. "I hope to ensure the future of my country, sir, same as my father did years ago and same as you rightly wish for New Edom now. Adiron has struggled, continues to struggle, against great odds. Yet I believe in the system that we have created, that we have been successful because of it, and that others might benefit from our example--as long as they learn the right lessons and apply them correctly, of course.

"I would see that success continue, and I must therefore address the threats to our borders and our livelihoods. I hope that you and your government will continue to aid us in this," Rowan said. "If I might speak frankly, I know very well that you are allies and that they have repeatedly done great service to New Edom, but the Imperium must abandon its ambitions of continental domination. We will negotiate with them in good faith--even in spite of their past failures to extend us the same courtesy--but Adiron will not submit to threats and violence, nor will she abandon her ideals to appease those who despise us and would see us destroyed."

"A meaningful peace cannot be achieved at swordpoint. If we are to make concessions, the Curia must reciprocate and take steps to reduce the military threat it poses to Adiron. This smoldering fire in Arcologia needs to be snuffed out as well. That is what I want." He looked at Elijah hard a moment. "And what do you want, sir?"



Shiloam Palace

"Not yet, General, thank you," said Unwerth. "But thank you for asking. Do any of you fellows have chldren?"

The Adirans were mostly engaging in small talk at this point. Cruise jokingly said "Oh, I hope not."

Pendergast proudly talked about his children. "Stan's been at this law firm for about...6 years now. Not too much longer and he'll either be a partner or have his own practice. Kevin started at Journeyman just last year. Bad timing what with the recession, but it sounds like his position's all right. And Emily's graduating university next year..."

Feng simply said his two boys were in school, doing very well. Fortner candidly said "I was thinking about settling down and starting a family, but then I got a Dear John. Put a bit of a damper on it."

"And no legal framework, eh?" he shook his head. "We cannot after all rely upon mere sentiment and ideology to make such a framework or a way forward, and yet there is always the foot dragging. A pity. People are hungry, people are threatened, people are starving, but what can we do about it, eh, without law and order? Do you think that must come first or to be compassionate, I wonder?"

Bailey paused to consider Nicanor's words. "I assume this is in reference to the various responses to General Hesperinius' assassination, Excellency? And I assume you must have been made aware of the refugee issue facing the State Department?"

"Law and order is important, Mr. President, and we've seen what Homofront are capable of," she began. "I think extrajudicial punishments undermine law and order as well. Mob violence not only violates human rights but denies Edomite citizens due process of the law. These mobs are acting as judge and militia alike, but they are neither, even if they claim to be upholding an existing law. They create fear and panic which threaten the peace established by the King and Queen."

"I realize that people are afraid and outraged, but that isn't enough to justify criminal violence, is it?"
Last edited by Hittanryan on Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
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Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:12 pm

The Farm

"You witnessed history, then. The beginning of the end of the civil war," Martin said, before taking a second look at Domris. "Odd...now that we're on the subject, you look familiar somehow, Lieutenant. Did you give a press statement or something at some point in Harbourtown?"

"I was, yes. Your journalists are very pretty," said Domris with a wink. "I was at Salcah as well." As they were talking he casually unzipped his trousers and turned and urinated out of the side of the land rover. "That was hot fighting though. That was hotter fighting than at Harbourtown." He shook and replaced himself.

"Quite the icebreaker, Captain," Snyder remarked, raising her eyebrows.

Ober was unfazed. "I think we'll handle it just fine, at least as well as DeGroot," he said almost casually. "Not because we're better than DeGroot but because DeGroot started with a handicap: he got elected after almost half a decade of hung Assemblies."

Snyder chimed in after this as well. "Secretaries Li and Deol had relatively little to work with when they came in, where we'll benefit from their work like the border defenses and these very negotiations," she said.


"Not exactly like running an election," said Peleg with a smile. He lit a cigarette and offered them the pack. "I'm sure you know how it is though. Skills can translate. It will not be entirely like running an election, but at the same time your skills may come in handy. You have so many pieces of information and decisions coming to you. But then there are some experienced people with you as well, yes?"

Leslie continued chatting with Mara. "I've been painting and drawing as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl that's what I thought I wanted to do. To tell the truth though, I never actually finished my degree. I didn't think I had to at the time, I was already making enough as a freelance illustrator to make a living. My portfolio counted for more than a degree, really. I didn't realize how much the field would change in a few short years though...those blankety-blank computers," she said, nose wrinkling as she censored herself. "I met George around that point too, and once we got married we ended up moving. New Laconia just isn't like Puerto Rojas for the arts. Then once I had Hank, life certainly did happen then, like you said."

Mara nodded slowly. "I see, yes. You could go back to illustrating at some point if you wished, yes? I'd love to see some of your work sometime.

"And...what tips do you have for me as a mother? I mean Josiah seems to growing a lot faster, it's like every day he's doing something different!" Mara exclaimed. "Like is starting to experiment with his voice. Screaming extremely loud whenever he can. In the mornings while others are sleeping, he wills scream. I will calmly tell him to "quiet down honey" and I was wondering if that is stifling his childhood. Any other time, screaming is okay, but at inappropriate times, nanny, nurse and I try and teach him to be quieter. Should he be able to scream whenever or is this early mannerisms idea okay? "

Rowan thought for a moment then replied at some length. "I hope to ensure the future of my country, sir, same as my father did years ago and same as you rightly wish for New Edom now. Adiron has struggled, continues to struggle, against great odds. Yet I believe in the system that we have created, that we have been successful because of it, and that others might benefit from our example--as long as they learn the right lessons and apply them correctly, of course.

"I would see that success continue, and I must therefore address the threats to our borders and our livelihoods. I hope that you and your government will continue to aid us in this," Rowan said. "If I might speak frankly, I know very well that you are allies and that they have repeatedly done great service to New Edom, but the Imperium must abandon its ambitions of continental domination. We will negotiate with them in good faith--even in spite of their past failures to extend us the same courtesy--but Adiron will not submit to threats and violence, nor will she abandon her ideals to appease those who despise us and would see us destroyed."

"A meaningful peace cannot be achieved at swordpoint. If we are to make concessions, the Curia must reciprocate and take steps to reduce the military threat it poses to Adiron. This smoldering fire in Arcologia needs to be snuffed out as well. That is what I want." He looked at Elijah hard a moment. "And what do you want, sir?"


"Sometimes a meaningful peace can be won at sword point, if your opponent has no sword and you leave him lying dead on the ground, but obviously this is not the case here. So I quite understand. Shall we move on?" he waved a hand to the rest of the convoy, and engines started up. Capybaras raised their blunt reddish-brown furry heads but did not run; they were clearly used to the sound of engines.

"What about the issue of extradition?" Elijah said to him. "You realize that the Imperium is not likely to accept that. Do you think that they will accept your alternatives?"



Shiloam Palace

The Adirans were mostly engaging in small talk at this point. Cruise jokingly said "Oh, I hope not."

Pendergast proudly talked about his children. "Stan's been at this law firm for about...6 years now. Not too much longer and he'll either be a partner or have his own practice. Kevin started at Journeyman just last year. Bad timing what with the recession, but it sounds like his position's all right. And Emily's graduating university next year..."

Feng simply said his two boys were in school, doing very well. Fortner candidly said "I was thinking about settling down and starting a family, but then I got a Dear John. Put a bit of a damper on it."


"Congratulations on your children," said Unwerth. He looked a bit rueful. "Well, my youngest, she's been difficult. Daughters, you know. Lord grant that there be sons, eh? However my son is still in the Royal Cavalry Guards. He has been serving in the Cavalry Guards in Delvian States. My understanding from despatches is that he has been serving well. He is a tank platoon commander. The boy has not done badly."


"What's a dear john?" asked General Ashdod. "How did that put a damper on things?" He spat shellfish shells occasionally onto his plate.

Bailey paused to consider Nicanor's words. "I assume this is in reference to the various responses to General Hesperinius' assassination, Excellency? And I assume you must have been made aware of the refugee issue facing the State Department?"

"Law and order is important, Mr. President, and we've seen what Homofront are capable of," she began. "I think extrajudicial punishments undermine law and order as well. Mob violence not only violates human rights but denies Edomite citizens due process of the law. These mobs are acting as judge and militia alike, but they are neither, even if they claim to be upholding an existing law. They create fear and panic which threaten the peace established by the King and Queen."

"I realize that people are afraid and outraged, but that isn't enough to justify criminal violence, is it?"


"Mobs, is it?" said Nicanor, his eyes crinkling. "Are you referring to those citizens who are providing assistance with militias and local law enforcement? There have been some deplorable lynchings, of course, but what do you expect of people who are worried about foreigners stealing their jobs, robbing our economy, short changing our goods? And then they see how much foreigners push the agenda to love the homos, how is it hard to see how there is a leap towards supporting Homofront itself? Of course these are ignorant, ill conditioned people. Generally though we are following due process. Deputy Justice Minister Misabel, Governor Anthony, others...are supervising that.

"As for the homos themselves, their persistence undermines our morals, the values of our nation. It is amazing to me that some of them insist on remaining here and our values are clear.

"Never mind them for the moment though. We ought to talk about potential CPO involvement in Arcologia. Do you have a plan and a framework for that?"

Enoch continued to play, this time choosing a more instrumental piece, his hands moving easily over the keys, humming a bit to himself. While he did this, after a moment Elizabeth Corbulo came and joined him a duet. They clearly began to have fun with it, trading off parts of the piece and going into variations on the tune.

Hosidius Geta in the meantime moved up to Gwen Turner. He licked his lips, cleared his throat, tried to think what to say and finally said to her, "Excuse me, I could not help but wonder, Miss Turner. You are so elegant and charming a lady, and your demeanor has me wondering if you are wearing a bra?"
Last edited by New Edom on Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
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Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:59 pm

The Farm

"I was, yes. Your journalists are very pretty," said Domris with a wink. "I was at Salcah as well." As they were talking he casually unzipped his trousers and turned and urinated out of the side of the land rover. "That was hot fighting though. That was hotter fighting than at Harbourtown." He shook and replaced himself.

"Pretty journalists? Who did you..." Martin said and abruptly trailed off as Domris unzipped.

Snyder hadn't noticed the zipper and started to say "Can't even shake the press in a war zone--what the?" She in turn was cut off by Domris' stream hitting the ground outside. Snyder and Martin looked at each other uncomfortably while Domris talked about the fighting in Salcah. Ober didn't seem to react, although it wasn't clear that he noticed.

"Not exactly like running an election," said Peleg with a smile. He lit a cigarette and offered them the pack. "I'm sure you know how it is though. Skills can translate. It will not be entirely like running an election, but at the same time your skills may come in handy. You have so many pieces of information and decisions coming to you. But then there are some experienced people with you as well, yes?"

Ober and Martin both politely held up a hand when offered the cigarette, but Snyder took one. To Peleg's remark he said "We do. And it's got some things in common. You set and work towards objectives, gather intelligence, delegate to the right people, and you trust the people working for you to do their jobs and do it well. Price of failure's not quite so high, but victory still has big rewards."

Leslie ended up chatting perhaps a bit beyond the scope of what Mara originally asked about, lasting for a good portion of the remainder of the trip. "He's still crying at night without a reason?" Leslie remarked. "Not hungry, clean diaper, not sick, at his age he really should be sleeping through the night...you know, Hank did this when he was a bit younger than Josias, sorry, the Crown Prince. Now this might be a little old-fashioned--I mean it's what my mother and my mother-in-law both told me--but he's got to learn for himself to get back to sleep, since we can't explain it to him, of course. It's one of those things you wouldn't think you'd have to learn, but we do."

"It's not stifling his childhood, I don't think," she said, without thinking placing a hand on Mara's arm reassuringly. "He just needs to learn. He wakes up like people do sometimes, but he doesn't know any better. All he knows is that he's alone and confused, so he does the only thing he knows: he cries for you, he wants attention. But if you go to him right away every time he cries, he learns he can get attention that way. It's kind of funny, at his age they don't know basic manners but they're still always learning. They're like little sponges, soaking everything up, good and bad."

We started letting him cry for a minute or two before we went to him, then after a couple of nights, let him cry for five minutes. A couple of nights later, ten minutes. It'll be hard hearing him cry, but it'll be better for you and him."

After a bit of back and forth about this, she slapped her forehead and said "Oh wait, of course, at his age. Is he teething yet?" This set off another train of conversation.

"Sometimes a meaningful peace can be won at sword point, if your opponent has no sword and you leave him lying dead on the ground, but obviously this is not the case here. So I quite understand. Shall we move on?" he waved a hand to the rest of the convoy, and engines started up. Capybaras raised their blunt reddish-brown furry heads but did not run; they were clearly used to the sound of engines.

"Yes, let us move on," Rowan agreed. "I suppose I don't know what I expected from capybara, maybe to be more akin to hogs. They seem much quieter, much calmer in temperament, although I will grant that they are not being driven anywhere at present. Most animals can seem quite agreeable until you try to get them to do something, in my experience," he said as the vehicles started forward again.

"What about the issue of extradition?" Elijah said to him. "You realize that the Imperium is not likely to accept that. Do you think that they will accept your alternatives?"

He shifted back to the discussion on the Imperium. "The Curia, in between its accusations towards my country, claims it has peaceful intentions. Do you take them at their word, sir?" he asked rather pointedly.

"They've rejected extradition. It was an unusual request, to be sure, and President DeGroot took a gamble in asking for it, but in a way it would have been simpler. Simpler and faster than border force reductions, anyway. Since the Curia made it clear they could not accept extradition, then I am left with little choice but to pursue the more complicated measures. I wish I could give odds for how likely the Curia is to agree, but I would only be speculating. You may know more than me."



Shiloam Palace

"What's a dear john?" asked General Ashdod. "How did that put a damper on things?" He spat shellfish shells occasionally onto his plate.

The Adirans glanced at Ashdod. "You know, a Dear John letter," Cruise said, thinking he would take his meaning.

"Probably call it something different over here," Feng pointed out. "In the Army it's when a woman breaks up with you while you're deployed, via a letter." Fortner didn't react, only taking a sip of his drink, eyes forward.

"Goes something like 'Dear John, I found some hippie who makes me feel special and I don't feel like waiting for you anymore.' It's the mark of a special breed of bitch," Cruise said contemptuously.

There were glances at Cruise from the Adirans, although Fortner smirked. "What? It's true. You'd all agree?" Cruise said, motioning to the Edomites.

"As for the homos themselves, their persistence undermines our morals, the values of our nation. It is amazing to me that some of them insist on remaining here and our values are clear."

Bailey listened to Nicanor, at the first mention of 'homos' blinking a couple of times but taking a deep breath. "The fact remains, Excellency, that my Department is facing a challenge posed by events here in New Edom, and I intend to pursue solutions while I have the chance."

"Never mind them for the moment though. We ought to talk about potential CPO involvement in Arcologia. Do you have a plan and a framework for that?"

"Yes, we do, Excellency. With the help of Secretary Fortner, we have developed a set of mission parameters, commands, areas of operation, and estimates on what we will need from our partners to get the job done," she said amiably. "I must confess though, Excellency, that I have no military background, and I don't have the details with me at the moment. What I can tell you with certainty is that we want more regular patrols all throughout the Ura Sea, and from what I understand, Isla Sanctum can't really support that on its own. This plan expands the mission so we can do that. When we discuss it formally, it should be thorough enough to your satisfaction, I'm sure."

Hosidius Geta in the meantime moved up to Gwen Turner. He licked his lips, cleared his throat, tried to think what to say and finally said to her, "Excuse me, I could not help but wonder, Miss Turner. You are so elegant and charming a lady, and your demeanor has me wondering if you are wearing a bra?"

Standing profile, Turner's figure was more readily apparent to Geta, amply filling out both top and bottom. As Geta approached and spoke, she still had a smile on her face from the music and said "Oh, Foreign Minister, it's an honor to meet you. I...what?" As the words hit her, her face flamed and she glanced downwards. "Your Excellency, I what...why would you say something like that?"
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
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Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:36 pm

The Farm


"Pretty journalists? Who did you..." Martin said and abruptly trailed off as Domris unzipped.

Snyder hadn't noticed the zipper and started to say "Can't even shake the press in a war zone--what the?" She in turn was cut off by Domris' stream hitting the ground outside. Snyder and Martin looked at each other uncomfortably while Domris talked about the fighting in Salcah. Ober didn't seem to react, although it wasn't clear that he noticed.


"Holly something. I heard she got elected to the Assembly," said Domris. "I remember the Holly name, very pretty. And she went native," he chuckled. "Frolicked around Fineberg when the armistice was signed Edenic and painted, but I suppose that was an homage to the Queen. She made that film about Her Majesty, which...well it was charming. I suppose there are some in your country who love the Edenist movement."

Ober and Martin both politely held up a hand when offered the cigarette, but Snyder took one. To Peleg's remark he said "We do. And it's got some things in common. You set and work towards objectives, gather intelligence, delegate to the right people, and you trust the people working for you to do their jobs and do it well. Price of failure's not quite so high, but victory still has big rewards."

"That is generally correct, Mr. Ober," said Peleg. "It's a bit different in the Fleet or the other services of course..."

"As I recall, the Army is the Senior Service, Captain Peleg," offered Domris.

"Senior, but not superior," joked Peleg. "We've heard though that there's some division among you, between the Secretary of State and Defense over rules of engagement in Arcologia. That's concerning."

Leslie ended up chatting perhaps a bit beyond the scope of what Mara originally asked about, lasting for a good portion of the remainder of the trip. "He's still crying at night without a reason?" Leslie remarked. "Not hungry, clean diaper, not sick, at his age he really should be sleeping through the night...you know, Hank did this when he was a bit younger than Josias, sorry, the Crown Prince. Now this might be a little old-fashioned--I mean it's what my mother and my mother-in-law both told me--but he's got to learn for himself to get back to sleep, since we can't explain it to him, of course. It's one of those things you wouldn't think you'd have to learn, but we do."

"It's not stifling his childhood, I don't think," she said, without thinking placing a hand on Mara's arm reassuringly. "He just needs to learn. He wakes up like people do sometimes, but he doesn't know any better. All he knows is that he's alone and confused, so he does the only thing he knows: he cries for you, he wants attention. But if you go to him right away every time he cries, he learns he can get attention that way. It's kind of funny, at his age they don't know basic manners but they're still always learning. They're like little sponges, soaking everything up, good and bad."


"Oh that's so good to hear," replied Mara. "It's my first, you know, and I get so much different advice. My mother didn't really do a lot of that with me, it was older times, and I guess...well it's embarrassing to admit that she's right, she told me the same as you. I guess I've been a bit foolish, thinking my mother was just being old fashioned. And I suppose your children have turned out fine, from what you say and what I've seen online.

"You know, he is teething, and we're using a tincture that Dr. Nicodemus prepares for him, it seems to help a bit, it's worked a lot, and my cousin Olivia recommended it because it has worked on both her children. We joked that maybe she added schnapps to it...you know, she's married to King Alois of Hydrenia and he's a German..."

"Yes, let us move on," Rowan agreed. "I suppose I don't know what I expected from capybara, maybe to be more akin to hogs. They seem much quieter, much calmer in temperament, although I will grant that they are not being driven anywhere at present. Most animals can seem quite agreeable until you try to get them to do something, in my experience," he said as the vehicles started forward again.

"When being driven its a bit like goats," Elijah told him. "They can be quite clever and they can run steadily and quickly. They're not as clever as pigs, which is a mercy."

He shifted back to the discussion on the Imperium. "The Curia, in between its accusations towards my country, claims it has peaceful intentions. Do you take them at their word, sir?" he asked rather pointedly.

"They've rejected extradition. It was an unusual request, to be sure, and President DeGroot took a gamble in asking for it, but in a way it would have been simpler. Simpler and faster than border force reductions, anyway. Since the Curia made it clear they could not accept extradition, then I am left with little choice but to pursue the more complicated measures. I wish I could give odds for how likely the Curia is to agree, but I would only be speculating. You may know more than me."


Elijah looked at him. "I encourage you to be patient, Mr. President. The curia is mostly made up of old men and very old men. The very old men are wary of any change and the old men fret that the very old men are not yet dead. I do not know if that has occurred to you. What you do not want is to encourage a serious shift in power. The old men would then have something to prove."

"The Imperium are our strongest allies, you are right in that. I see it as my duty to help them avoid war in this case. Your people have very different ways than ours, Mr. President, but your governments and institutions have thus far treated us with respect and honour, with generosity and fairness. I would be remiss if I did not return that. When we have had need, the Imperium has steadfastly been there every time. What do you think would happen if you were to cede them the border concessions they wish for?"



Shiloam Palace

Enoch continued to play jauntily along as people talked. Princess Desiree noticed him particularly playing for Gwen Turner but didn't react much except to smile so that others could see. She let the gentlemen talk and thought about lighting a cigarette, but remembered being advised that it would spoil she shape of her mouth.

Elizabeth Corbulo got up from the bench and hung around and swayed her hips and tapped her fingers a bit as he played on. She glanced around the room, observing people talking to one another in an animated way.

The Adirans glanced at Ashdod. "You know, a Dear John letter," Cruise said, thinking he would take his meaning.

"Probably call it something different over here," Feng pointed out. "In the Army it's when a woman breaks up with you while you're deployed, via a letter." Fortner didn't react, only taking a sip of his drink, eyes forward.

"Goes something like 'Dear John, I found some hippie who makes me feel special and I don't feel like waiting for you anymore.' It's the mark of a special breed of bitch," Cruise said contemptuously.

There were glances at Cruise from the Adirans, although Fortner smirked. "What? It's true. You'd all agree?" Cruise said, motioning to the Edomites.


"Shocking," said Ashdod, sipping his drink and shaking his head.

Lalery smirked. "I remember now. Damn, I'm amazed anyone puts up with that."

Unwerth's face darkened. "What, you mean that they do? What is the punishment for such a wayward woman in ADiron?"

"They don't punish wayward women in Adiron, Novitera, Valdiu, Ghant, any of those more liberal countries," Lalery told him. "Is that not so, gentlemen? Mr. Cruise's sentiment makes you uncomfortable, yet is it not so, that a decent man cuckolded by a whoring wife is not upheld, has to accept it, even continue to provide for her when she adulterously marries another man?"


Bailey listened to Nicanor, at the first mention of 'homos' blinking a couple of times but taking a deep breath. "The fact remains, Excellency, that my Department is facing a challenge posed by events here in New Edom, and I intend to pursue solutions while I have the chance."

"With the help of Secretary Fortner, we have developed a set of mission parameters, commands, areas of operation, and estimates on what we will need from our partners to get the job done," she said amiably. "I must confess though, Excellency, that I have no military background, and I don't have the details with me at the moment. What I can tell you with certainty is that we want more regular patrols all throughout the Ura Sea, and from what I understand, Isla Sanctum can't really support that on its own. This plan expands the mission so we can do that. When we discuss it formally, it should be thorough enough to your satisfaction, I'm sure."


Nicanor said, "Ah, you no doubt are a fine wife, Secretary Bailey--you anticipate a man's needs!" he chuckled. "Indulge a foolish ignorant old man a moment though. I am a simple soldier, and often lack real...subtlety." His eyes gleamed in their pouches of wrinkles and folds like those of an old elephant. "From a statesman's point of view then. What do you imagine the goals broadly of a CPO mission would be?"

Standing profile, Turner's figure was more readily apparent to Geta, amply filling out both top and bottom. As Geta approached and spoke, she still had a smile on her face from the music and said "Oh, Foreign Minister, it's an honor to meet you. I...what?" As the words hit her, her face flamed and she glanced downwards. "Your Excellency, I what...why would you say something like that?"

"Ah, it is perhaps a clumsy compliment," said Geta warmly. "For seeing you standing thus, it is like seeing the Tower of the Morning that is in Teman. Now I hold that all bosoms are equal in the eyes of God, yet some are more fair, and what is more fair than, as the poet says, that which is melon like, with a shuddering that sweetly shows the weight of joy as she moves, her hips in defiance with her waist, to show her glory like the dawn?"
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
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Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:57 am

The Farm

"Holly something. I heard she got elected to the Assembly," said Domris. "I remember the Holly name, very pretty. And she went native," he chuckled. "Frolicked around Fineberg when the armistice was signed Edenic and painted, but I suppose that was an homage to the Queen. She made that film about Her Majesty, which...well it was charming. I suppose there are some in your country who love the Edenist movement."

Snyder perked up at hearing that. "Elected to the Assembly? And went native? Who?"

"Lemay," Martin said, having already pulled out his phone and searched for her. "Freshman Assemblywoman Holly Lemay. Says right here, Collier-winning journalist from ANBC, covered elections, the civil war, and the peace settlement in New Edom."

"Yeah, but went native? That didn't come up? Where'd she run?" Snyder asked curiously.

"Fourth Luzhou," Martin said without missing a beat.

"Where's that? What's there? Lemme see," she said, taking Martin's phone. "Yeah, I guess that explains it. Green district. Guess they wouldn't care too much about, er, frolicking. Just squeaked in, too. Damn, she's young..." she said, seeing her picture.

Martin took his phone back and started looking for something else rather quickly, but furrowed his brow, tapped at the screen quickly, then put his phone away.

"Senior, but not superior," joked Peleg. "We've heard though that there's some division among you, between the Secretary of State and Defense over rules of engagement in Arcologia. That's concerning."

Ober swatted a mosquito on the back of his neck with an efficient, very quick smack.

Snyder chimed in first. "Oh right, that. Didn't think that would make it all the way overseas."

"I'd heard they were communicating regularly over the CPO. She had some suggestions but they agreed in the end as far as I know," Ober said, brushing the insect's battered remains off of his palm.

"It's not a rift, though. The Secretary of State is very concerned about human rights in Cornellia," Snyder admitted to Peleg. "As is the rest of the government, but she wants it to be central to foreign policy. There was a bit of haggling over the details from what I heard. Timetables, mostly. Do something now or later? They compromised on 'shortly.' That sound about right, Captain?"

In the other car, Leslie laughed at Mara's mention of schnapps. "Oh, believe me, the last thing I wanted to do when I was your age was admit my mother was right," Leslie said with a smile. "But she wasn't right about everything, either, castor oil, for instance. And believe it or not, my aunt actually did give brandy to her kids when they were teething. She had some weird ideas about putting ginger around their mouths too, something about it keeping them from getting colds. No idea where she even got that from, but there was no talking to her about it. She'd always just say 'Oh, your cousins turned out fine, didn't they?' It was a different time though..."

Elijah looked at him. "I encourage you to be patient, Mr. President. The curia is mostly made up of old men and very old men. The very old men are wary of any change and the old men fret that the very old men are not yet dead. I do not know if that has occurred to you. What you do not want is to encourage a serious shift in power. The old men would then have something to prove."

"The Imperium are our strongest allies, you are right in that. I see it as my duty to help them avoid war in this case. Your people have very different ways than ours, Mr. President, but your governments and institutions have thus far treated us with respect and honour, with generosity and fairness. I would be remiss if I did not return that. When we have had need, the Imperium has steadfastly been there every time. What do you think would happen if you were to cede them the border concessions they wish for?"


"I wish I could comment on the state of the Curia. All we really get out of them comes through their state media, so I thank you for this word of warning. Perhaps it is for the best we are not pursuing extradition after all," Rowan said, taking a drink out of a water bottle they brought. "In my position, I also have to wonder how this recession will impact the Imperium. Without exports, well, there will always be demand for oil, but the rest, the heavy industry, the consumer goods...I suppose I don't have to explain it to you, New Edom is facing something similar, as I can gather."

"If we were to cede all of the border concessions, without disarmament or other assurances on the Curia's part?" Rowan asked for clarification. "We would have little sensible choice other than to fortify the Calaveras border and the Confederate-Union border as well. After all, we know what the Imperium intended to do last year. There's an old proverb in Ceti: 'fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.'"

"Obviously a military buildup in southern Ceti would create a whole new set of issues, first and foremost that it would likely be matched by the Imperium. We would much prefer a different settlement, lest we end up with the same sort of unpredictable situation that developed last year," Rowan said, glancing at Elijah.

"I'm telling you this up-front because your government has indeed been honorable with Adiron in the past, and I would continue the trend of cooperation between us. I also see no harm in telling you because it seems to me that peace in Ceti would be in New Edom's best interests as well, which is why I consider your government to be in a unique position to mediate."

"Now, sir, I have explained at length what I hope to achieve while in your hospitality. Before we disembark here, what is it that you want? What are you expecting the peace to look like?"



Shiloam Palace

Feng departed from the company around the table, setting his drink and now-empty plate down. He then approached Elizabeth Corbulo. "Undersecretary Corbulo, unless I miss my mark you look like you're fishing for a dance partner."

"Shocking," said Ashdod, sipping his drink and shaking his head.

Lalery smirked. "I remember now. Damn, I'm amazed anyone puts up with that."

Unwerth's face darkened. "What, you mean that they do? What is the punishment for such a wayward woman in Adiron?"


"Put up with it? I wouldn't go that far. Woman who'd do that better hope word doesn't get out about the truth," Cruise said, popping the last contents of his plate into his mouth and wandering back to the buffet. "They usually lie about it is what happens, make up a million excuses."

Pendergast had finished his own drink by now and asked for a replacement from a servant. "Alimony is a complicated legal issue, Excellency," Pendergast said to Lalery. "Spouses who commit adultery aren't necessarily entitled to alimony. Let's say a wife cheats on her husband. She may get nothing at all, or very little, if her standard of living remains roughly the same or improves compared to when she was married. If she can pay her own way and has a career of her own, she might get nothing. If she doesn't but she remarries--or otherwise gets together with someone who financially supports her--alimony payments cease. If she squandered marital assets on her affair, the court will reduce alimony payments and shorten the alimony period. The husband's income is a factor, and so on and so forth, the courts look at all of that. It's not our intention to reward dishonesty, after all. "

"I don't know exactly how much alimony payments are if the cheating wife has no income, no prospects, and no support. I was never a family lawyer, though, thank god. Messy business, that, always emotional," he said, shaking his head with a wincing grin.

"You seem to know a lot about it though, Secretary," Cruise chided as he fixed his second plate.

"I'd better. I was in the Assembly for the divorce vote back in...oh that would have been the year 2000," Pendergast said blithely.

At this point Ferrain, who had been called out of the room by an aide, reentered, approached Fortner, and whispered something in his ear, showing him a phone. Fortner nodded before turning his attention back to the group and motioning to him. "Gentlemen, I don't suppose you've been fully introduced. This is Guy Ferrain, he's got the President's ear on national security."

"An honor, Excellencies," Ferrain said with a rather crisp bow to the group of them. Compared to the Edomite uniforms, his might appear sparse, although he certainly didn't lack for service ribbons and medals.

Nicanor said, "Ah, you no doubt are a fine wife, Secretary Bailey--you anticipate a man's needs!" he chuckled. "Indulge a foolish ignorant old man a moment though. I am a simple soldier, and often lack real...subtlety." His eyes gleamed in their pouches of wrinkles and folds like those of an old elephant. "From a statesman's point of view then. What do you imagine the goals broadly of a CPO mission would be?"

Bailey took a sip of her drink. "Well, Mr. President, the mission would retain all of the original goals of the CPO Mission in Isla Sanctum, which were largely humanitarian in nature. Obviously we would add the goal of reducing piracy. Our ultimate objective for the Ura Sea is zero successful hijackings and less than a dozen attempted attacks per year, with a smaller presence of naval forces in the Ura Sea than what's there currently," she explained.

"At that point, we believe we will be able to say that we have successfully rendered piracy in the Ura Sea unprofitable. We want to start out with an increased naval presence capable of more reliable escorts and responses to attacks. While that is happening, we will also promote and install better security practices on civilian vessels. Some of the countermeasures available have been remarkably effective already. If they're on all or most ships passing through those waters, pirate attacks will become less and less effective. That's the idea, anyway."

"I'm of the opinion that we should also explore promoting economic opportunity in Arcologia, which will arguably be one of the best things we can do to create stability. I know my government will continue to promote development in the Confederation, for instance," she said.

"Ah, it is perhaps a clumsy compliment," said Geta warmly. "For seeing you standing thus, it is like seeing the Tower of the Morning that is in Teman. Now I hold that all bosoms are equal in the eyes of God, yet some are more fair, and what is more fair than, as the poet says, that which is melon like, with a shuddering that sweetly shows the weight of joy as she moves, her hips in defiance with her waist, to show her glory like the dawn?"

Turner's expression of shock and embarrassment gave way to confusion at first, finally softening and relaxing a bit as he finished, although she kept her arms folded. "All right, Foreign Minister, thank you very much for the complement."

"In my capacity as cultural attache, though, Excellency, I do have a recommendation: if you go to Adiron, you might want to be careful about leading off with inquiries about a woman's underwear," she joked with a pretty smile. "You were very eloquent after your opener, I have to admit. I can't say I'm familiar with that particular poet, though. Did he write a lot about melons?"
Last edited by Hittanryan on Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
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Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:00 pm

The Farm

Snyder perked up at hearing that. "Elected to the Assembly? And went native? Who?"

"Lemay," Martin said, having already pulled out his phone and searched for her. "Freshman Assemblywoman Holly Lemay. Says right here, Collier-winning journalist from ANBC, covered elections, the civil war, and the peace settlement in New Edom."

"Yeah, but went native? That didn't come up? Where'd she run?" Snyder asked curiously.

"Fourth Luzhou," Martin said without missing a beat.

"Where's that? What's there? Lemme see," she said, taking Martin's phone. "Yeah, I guess that explains it. Green district. Guess they wouldn't care too much about, er, frolicking. Just squeaked in, too. Damn, she's young..." she said, seeing her picture.

Martin took his phone back and started looking for something else rather quickly, but furrowed his brow, tapped at the screen quickly, then put his phone away.


"I was surprised to see her, I can tell you that, and I'm afraid I'm not that good at doing interviews, I tend to be a bit on the quiet side" Domris went on. "She wasn't Edenist at that time of course, and I'm joking a bit, I merely mean that she went Edenist for a day or so during the post armistice celebrations in Fineberg. And of course Her Majesty favours Edenism, so it is hardly a sin or a crime. Just the opposite in fact.

Ober swatted a mosquito on the back of his neck with an efficient, very quick smack.

Snyder chimed in first. "Oh right, that. Didn't think that would make it all the way overseas."

"I'd heard they were communicating regularly over the CPO. She had some suggestions but they agreed in the end as far as I know," Ober said, brushing the insect's battered remains off of his palm.

"It's not a rift, though. The Secretary of State is very concerned about human rights in Cornellia," Snyder admitted to Peleg. "As is the rest of the government, but she wants it to be central to foreign policy. There was a bit of haggling over the details from what I heard. Timetables, mostly. Do something now or later? They compromised on 'shortly.' That sound about right, Captain?"


"I think that the Palace is a little...vague on what exactly the Secretary wants," said Captain Peleg. "She wants human rights observed, but to what end? Under what auspices and under what sense of belief? Ours may be rather different from yours, for instance. Do you know, that's something that's come up in discussions of the CPO. What exactly humanitarianism is...not ia philosophical sense but in a practical sense. I think what we do agree on are things like basic needs--food, shelter, protection from the elements, medical help, hygiene, safety from being casually shot walking down the street, beyond that...quis scit?" said Peleg, spreading his hands.
"Any insight your government has into that would be most appreciated. We all want to prevent piracy and pacify the Arvo. One way or another. The best way, the how, that is certainly a discussion we can have."

In the other car, Leslie laughed at Mara's mention of schnapps. "Oh, believe me, the last thing I wanted to do when I was your age was admit my mother was right," Leslie said with a smile. "But she wasn't right about everything, either, castor oil, for instance. And believe it or not, my aunt actually did give brandy to her kids when they were teething. She had some weird ideas about putting ginger around their mouths too, something about it keeping them from getting colds. No idea where she even got that from, but there was no talking to her about it. She'd always just say 'Oh, your cousins turned out fine, didn't they?' It was a different time though..."

"I know, but then I hear about attachment parenting too, so I don't know! And we don't swaddle anymore, but my grandmother on my mother's side insisted that it was the proper way. And then my aunts and cousins have their views. So I get lots of opinions but it is nice to have yours, because you are not someone I know all the time, though I would like to. It seems like he is changing so fast. And..." her voice lowered, "I have this impulse to have another right away, and then I think 'what are you crazy?' Does it sound too awful to complain?"

"I wish I could comment on the state of the Curia. All we really get out of them comes through their state media, so I thank you for this word of warning. Perhaps it is for the best we are not pursuing extradition after all," Rowan said, taking a drink out of a water bottle they brought. "In my position, I also have to wonder how this recession will impact the Imperium. Without exports, well, there will always be demand for oil, but the rest, the heavy industry, the consumer goods...I suppose I don't have to explain it to you, New Edom is facing something similar, as I can gather."

"Imagine," said Elijah drily, "If you did extradite Dawes. He is old, unwell, and imagine if he died or something on the plane or while in your custody. How should it look then?"

"If we were to cede all of the border concessions, without disarmament or other assurances on the Curia's part?" Rowan asked for clarification. "We would have little sensible choice other than to fortify the Calaveras border and the Confederate-Union border as well. After all, we know what the Imperium intended to do last year. There's an old proverb in Ceti: 'fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.'"

"This could be to your advantage though," Offered Elijah. "If you do cede border concessions but also insist on reductions on their side, then what you might do is for instance shift the CPO force--request to them--that they move to the Confederate/Union border. The disputed frontier between Arbites and Adiron is largely a useless wasteland, the Palisades, anyway."

"Obviously a military buildup in southern Ceti would create a whole new set of issues, first and foremost that it would likely be matched by the Imperium. We would much prefer a different settlement, lest we end up with the same sort of unpredictable situation that developed last year," Rowan said, glancing at Elijah.

Elijah said nothing, watched him quietly.

"I'm telling you this up-front because your government has indeed been honorable with Adiron in the past, and I would continue the trend of cooperation between us. I also see no harm in telling you because it seems to me that peace in Ceti would be in New Edom's best interests as well, which is why I consider your government to be in a unique position to mediate."

"Yes. Thank you," said Elijah.

"Now, sir, I have explained at length what I hope to achieve while in your hospitality. Before we disembark here, what is it that you want? What are you expecting the peace to look like?"

"It will take a long time to establish," said Elijah. "And plans will reshape. I liken it to preparing a fleet. People think," he said with a curl of his lip, "That it is just a matter of buying or building vessels and aircraft, placing equipment on them, and assigning someone to train the crews. But in point of fact, as I am sure you are aware, Mr. President, to get a fleet to work well and also integrate within a defense system is a long hard task. This will be the same.

"What I want, and my advisers want, is to reduce the likelihood of conflict so that we can get on with things. I have never imagined that we could eliminate conflict between your nations or your...client states in that part of the region. There is too much at stake, your purposes and goals too different." He instinctively reached for a cigarette and scowled and moved his hands back. "We should be coming upon my lodge soon."





Shiloam Palace

Feng departed from the company around the table, setting his drink and now-empty plate down. He then approached Elizabeth Corbulo. "Undersecretary Corbulo, unless I miss my mark you look like you're fishing for a dance partner."


"I'm just moving to the music, But you are welcome to join me. Are you fond of this sort of music? When it is appropriate to dance I may take you up on that," said Corbulo with a smile up at him.

"Put up with it? I wouldn't go that far. Woman who'd do that better hope word doesn't get out about the truth," Cruise said, popping the last contents of his plate into his mouth and wandering back to the buffet. "They usually lie about it is what happens, make up a million excuses."

Pendergast had finished his own drink by now and asked for a replacement from a servant. "Alimony is a complicated legal issue, Excellency," Pendergast said to Lalery. "Spouses who commit adultery aren't necessarily entitled to alimony. Let's say a wife cheats on her husband. She may get nothing at all, or very little, if her standard of living remains roughly the same or improves compared to when she was married. If she can pay her own way and has a career of her own, she might get nothing. If she doesn't but she remarries--or otherwise gets together with someone who financially supports her--alimony payments cease. If she squandered marital assets on her affair, the court will reduce alimony payments and shorten the alimony period. The husband's income is a factor, and so on and so forth, the courts look at all of that. It's not our intention to reward dishonesty, after all. "

"I don't know exactly how much alimony payments are if the cheating wife has no income, no prospects, and no support. I was never a family lawyer, though, thank god. Messy business, that, always emotional," he said, shaking his head with a wincing grin.

"You seem to know a lot about it though, Secretary," Cruise chided as he fixed his second plate.

"I'd better. I was in the Assembly for the divorce vote back in...oh that would have been the year 2000," Pendergast said blithely.


Count Lalery was curious about whether or not it was the same when men were involved, but at that point...

At this point Ferrain, who had been called out of the room by an aide, reentered, approached Fortner, and whispered something in his ear, showing him a phone. Fortner nodded before turning his attention back to the group and motioning to him. "Gentlemen, I don't suppose you've been fully introduced. This is Guy Ferrain, he's got the President's ear on national security."

"An honor, Excellencies," Ferrain said with a rather crisp bow to the group of them. Compared to the Edomite uniforms, his might appear sparse, although he certainly didn't lack for service ribbons and medals.


"How do you do, General," said Unwerth politely, inclining his head. "We were all just talking about matters of law in marriage."

"I'm getting married soon, actually," said Lalery.

Ashdod covered a wince quickly. "Is it not ill fortune to speak much of such things? Was it not the Prophet Amos who said..."

"Marriage is always a difficult thing, so the scriptures tell us," mused Unwerth aloud. "My daughter has just become engaged. Tricky things, marriages. Do any of you have daughters who have married or to marry off? Not the same thing as sons, eh? Very different. We put off planning Rafaella's marriage and then a betrothal fell through."

"How's that?" said Ashdod, relieved.

"He was killed at Salcah," said Unwerth. "Anyway I found her a good older man, best thing for her really. Augrim."

Lalery smiled faintly. "Poor Augrim."

"What the devil do you mean by that?' demanded Unwerth.

Lalery was unperturbed. "I mean that he is now no longer a free man in that sense, but must choose just one woman. And that is a hard thing for a man, I find, to be so tied down."

"I have never felt tied down, Count, and I have been married for 28 years," said Unwerth.

Bailey took a sip of her drink. "Well, Mr. President, the mission would retain all of the original goals of the CPO Mission in Isla Sanctum, which were largely humanitarian in nature. Obviously we would add the goal of reducing piracy. Our ultimate objective for the Ura Sea is zero successful hijackings and less than a dozen attempted attacks per year, with a smaller presence of naval forces in the Ura Sea than what's there currently," she explained.

"At that point, we believe we will be able to say that we have successfully rendered piracy in the Ura Sea unprofitable. We want to start out with an increased naval presence capable of more reliable escorts and responses to attacks. While that is happening, we will also promote and install better security practices on civilian vessels. Some of the countermeasures available have been remarkably effective already. If they're on all or most ships passing through those waters, pirate attacks will become less and less effective. That's the idea, anyway."


"I think we are in a agreement about this," said Nicanor. "One of the problems I observe is cheap practices among nations such as Dengali, the Arcologian states, Queimada, San Carlos, Chaco, Ashab and so on...because they make tempting targets and their out of date measures make a risk of an attack worth it, perhaps that is something we should address, yes?"

"I'm of the opinion that we should also explore promoting economic opportunity in Arcologia, which will arguably be one of the best things we can do to create stability. I know my government will continue to promote development in the Confederation, for instance," she said.

Nicanor studied her. "Anything you had in mind, Madame Secretary?"


Turner's expression of shock and embarrassment gave way to confusion at first, finally softening and relaxing a bit as he finished, although she kept her arms folded. "All right, Foreign Minister, thank you very much for the complement."


"You are welcome," said Geta, bowing deeply and taking in the splendid view.

"In my capacity as cultural attache, though, Excellency, I do have a recommendation: if you go to Adiron, you might want to be careful about leading off with inquiries about a woman's underwear," she joked with a pretty smile. "You were very eloquent after your opener, I have to admit. I can't say I'm familiar with that particular poet, though. Did he write a lot about melons?"

"You are not, eh?" said Geta with a smile. "Yes, he wrote about wine, women and song mostly. A foolish man with a gift of a golden tongue.

Waltz me into the circle of your thought
chocolate dip me into the raspberry mint of your voice
chastise me into the grip of your giving arms
so that I may forever melon your picnic.
"

Geta chuckled. "Foolish words, but charming I suppose. Now tell me, why is a lovely woman like you unmarried? I suppose you found no man with enough courage to win you, or is it that so many Adiran women these days struggle between career and a woman's natural instincts for home and family that it is hard to determine what is best? For I can see clearly that all this," he waved a hand, "Had at least a little something to do with your effectiveness. My people have spoken praises of your professionalism and how helpful you were in making this conference possible. But that does not make the woman cease. So I am sure that there are beaux back home who yearn to have the dance card of Gwendolyn Turner, eh?"
Last edited by New Edom on Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 8641
Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:38 pm

The Farm

"Any insight your government has into that would be most appreciated. We all want to prevent piracy and pacify the Arvo. One way or another. The best way, the how, that is certainly a discussion we can have."

Snyder and Ober hesitated long enough that Martin was able to answer Peleg. "The Secretary's drawing on her experience as Ambassador to San Carlo, where previous governments failed to provide food, shelter, medicine, and the rest. Well, failed to provide it for any real length of time for most people, anyway, due to flawed policies."

"That's a polite way of saying they were mired in corruption, despotism, and terrible economic policy for at least a century," Snyder remarked. "She'd also likely tell you that individual rights and freedoms are what make prosperity possible, not the other way around."

"That's what I'm trying to explain," Martin continued. "If you ask the Secretary, she's convinced that nations prosper and can best provide for the people's basic needs when their governments do five things: defend private property rights, protect personal liberty, establish rule of law, enforce contracts, and have a viable market-based economy. States that haven't, like San Carlo, they don't tend to succeed, or not for long, anyway."

"Unless they have oil," Ober said bluntly.

"Then they last as long as the oil," Martin replied. "But even the best-intended benevolent dictatorships don't last much longer than the dictator unless they also do those five things. In that, I do agree with the Secretary, just based on history."

"Prosperity and security make it a lot easier to enact reforms though, you gotta admit," Ober said. "Seems like the chicken and the egg."

"The Secretary thinks that the way to handle that is constant forward progress. Push for incremental changes, however small, but don't let up on diplomatic pressure, carrot-and-stick stuff. One governmental reform at a time will make things progressively better. Eventually, things will reach a tipping point and start to snowball on their own," Martin said, waving away a mosquito. "I'm not sure I believe that myself, but it's what the Secretary tried in San Carlo and has advocated for since."

And..." her voice lowered, "I have this impulse to have another right away, and then I think 'what are you crazy?' Does it sound too awful to complain?"

"You know," Leslie said, lowering her voice and glancing forward to make sure Rowan and Elijah were preoccupied. "I felt the same way before Hank turned one. I already knew I wanted to have a second but I just had this urge to do it right away. Turns out that's really common. I was all set to talk to George about it, but I just happened to have a checkup, so I mentioned it to the doctor. He said that it's so common it might even be a hormonal thing. After a little bit, the urge passed, although I still knew in my head I wanted to have another, and I did, I just waited."

"But the doctor also said it can be bad for you and the baby if it's too soon, within...a year and a half, I think?" she said. "Greater risk of complications. Besides, Josias will be up and walking soon, right. Once they're mobile, that'll be a whole new adventure, might help you decide when you really want another."

"What I want, and my advisers want, is to reduce the likelihood of conflict so that we can get on with things. I have never imagined that we could eliminate conflict between your nations or your...client states in that part of the region. There is too much at stake, your purposes and goals too different." He instinctively reached for a cigarette and scowled and moved his hands back. "We should be coming upon my lodge soon."

"No, it will not be a quick or easy thing," Rowan agreed. "Peace will not happen all at once and it may be met with setbacks. I do think last year made two important points clear about my country, however. First: Adiron will exhaust all diplomatic channels before resorting to force. Second: we are fully capable of defending ourselves if given no alternative." He glanced ahead on the road. "I think I see we're coming up on it now."



Shiloam Palace

The Adirans watched the misunderstanding with a bit of surprise. Fortner raised his eyebrows, Cruise stifled a chuckle, and the others seemed to simply stay out of the way. It was Ferrain who reacted first. "Neither have I, General, though marriage certainly can be a difficult matter. So many factors to consider when trying to find the right match, good family, upstanding character, the skills needed to look after a household. So often people don't take that into consideration these days. I wish your daughter the best," Ferrain said to Unwerth.

"And congratulations, Excellency, on your engagement," Ferrain said to Lalery, having missed the opportunity earlier.

"To Princess Caroline of Ghant, I believe you said earlier," Pendergast said.

"Caroline, that would be Princess Caroline Zuria, the Emperor's mother, if I'm not mistaken? How interesting," Ferrain mused. "If you don't mind my asking, what will this do for your family and legacy?"

"There's Ferrain, as subtle as a brick through a window," Cruise said, biting the head off a shrimp.

"It's simply the way of things with noble marriages," Ferrain said matter-of-factly. "And in this case it creates yet another bond between New Edom and Ghant as well. Does this change anything in the grand scheme of things?"

Nicanor studied her. "Anything you had in mind, Madame Secretary?"

Bailey had agreed that unprotected ships from developing countries would need to be addressed. In response to Nicanor's last inquiry, she explained "We will continue to provide aid, improve security, fight corruption, and develop key infrastructure. They've started surveying to restore old rail lines, for example. Old Ceti had railroads connecting Cataran and Arimo Coast to cities in Adiron like Tau City, Cerina, and Granopolis, you see. The rails themselves were salvaged, but the rail beds are still there. It would let us move many tons of goods much cheaper than by air, bring the prices down on things like food and fuel that affect everyone down there."

By now she had finished her plate, and said "We've learned a lot of lessons from San Carlo, plus it's a much smaller country and it's closer, so I'm optimistic. We'll start them off on the right foot and address the threats on their border such as piracy and coastal raids."

"So I am sure that there are beaux back home who yearn to have the dance card of Gwendolyn Turner, eh?"

"A woman's natural instinct for home, huh? Don't take this the wrong way, Excellency, but now you're starting to sound like my mother," Turner jokingly chided Geta, still smiling at him. "I simply haven't found the right man. Marriage is still a big decision in Adiron, even if it is very different to here in New Edom. It's not arranged, it's all up to the bride and groom. Easier in some ways, harder in others. As far as I'm concerned, I haven't felt sure enough about any of the men I've been with yet; I don't even want to risk one of those horror story divorces."

"And what about you, Foreign Minister? You are married, right?" she asked pleasantly.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:51 am

The Farm

Snyder and Ober hesitated long enough that Martin was able to answer Peleg. "The Secretary's drawing on her experience as Ambassador to San Carlo, where previous governments failed to provide food, shelter, medicine, and the rest. Well, failed to provide it for any real length of time for most people, anyway, due to flawed policies."

"That's a polite way of saying they were mired in corruption, despotism, and terrible economic policy for at least a century," Snyder remarked. "She'd also likely tell you that individual rights and freedoms are what make prosperity possible, not the other way around."

"That's what I'm trying to explain," Martin continued. "If you ask the Secretary, she's convinced that nations prosper and can best provide for the people's basic needs when their governments do five things: defend private property rights, protect personal liberty, establish rule of law, enforce contracts, and have a viable market-based economy. States that haven't, like San Carlo, they don't tend to succeed, or not for long, anyway."

"Unless they have oil," Ober said bluntly.

"Then they last as long as the oil," Martin replied. "But even the best-intended benevolent dictatorships don't last much longer than the dictator unless they also do those five things. In that, I do agree with the Secretary, just based on history."

"Prosperity and security make it a lot easier to enact reforms though, you gotta admit," Ober said. "Seems like the chicken and the egg."

"The Secretary thinks that the way to handle that is constant forward progress. Push for incremental changes, however small, but don't let up on diplomatic pressure, carrot-and-stick stuff. One governmental reform at a time will make things progressively better. Eventually, things will reach a tipping point and start to snowball on their own," Martin said, waving away a mosquito. "I'm not sure I believe that myself, but it's what the Secretary tried in San Carlo and has advocated for since."


"The Secretary surely knows that this depends as well on whether or not people are ready for democracy, and what that democracy is based on," said Captain Peleg. "The King is fond of saying that our democracy cannot be based on skepticism of the Christian faith, for instance, and it cannot be based on any doubt that we are held together by Baran civilization. Other cultures--Cornellian, Dengali, Anglo, Latino--are welcome here, but they must accept those facts. But we cannot expect former slave peoples like the Arcologians or savages like the Arvo to even understand what a national government properly is, and where their best interests lie."

"The Damocleans," offered Domris.

"Thank you. Yes, our own Damoclean subjects are barbarians. They had no notion of charity, fairness or discipline when we conquered them. Even now to be blunt part of why a New Edomite regiment is worth three Damoclean regiments is that they have only had one generation starting to be civilized by our superior culture." Peleg drew on his flask and offered it around again. "I'm sure you find it the same with the Arcologians your Republic has sway over. Before you can have the things you speak of, you need firm laws, firm order, and protection over property rights, public affairs and administration, and then you can focus more on human rights of individuals. Before that, the King believes, you have to above all have order, control. Otherwise democracy will mean nothing; the strong will simply dominate the weak."

"I think we're nearly at the Lodge," said Domris cheerfully.

"You know," Leslie said, lowering her voice and glancing forward to make sure Rowan and Elijah were preoccupied. "I felt the same way before Hank turned one. I already knew I wanted to have a second but I just had this urge to do it right away. Turns out that's really common. I was all set to talk to George about it, but I just happened to have a checkup, so I mentioned it to the doctor. He said that it's so common it might even be a hormonal thing. After a little bit, the urge passed, although I still knew in my head I wanted to have another, and I did, I just waited."

"But the doctor also said it can be bad for you and the baby if it's too soon, within...a year and a half, I think?" she said. "Greater risk of complications. Besides, Josias will be up and walking soon, right. Once they're mobile, that'll be a whole new adventure, might help you decide when you really want another."


"I am so glad we talked about this, and so glad I met you! Not just because you are our welcome guest, and not just because you are the wife of the President, but because I think you are one of the wisest women I have ever met, other than the Mother Empress of course," Mara exclaimed, her eyes glistening a bit and without thinking giving Leslie a warm hug. "You're so right, it is still the same adventure, it's just, you know, it's my first!"

"No, it will not be a quick or easy thing," Rowan agreed. "Peace will not happen all at once and it may be met with setbacks. I do think last year made two important points clear about my country, however. First: Adiron will exhaust all diplomatic channels before resorting to force. Second: we are fully capable of defending ourselves if given no alternative." He glanced ahead on the road. "I think I see we're coming up on it now."

"Indeed," said King Elijah. "We may talk more of this, and of order to be brought upon the Ura Sea and the Lesser Diols, which, when it comes to Arcologia, I crave above all."

The Royal Hunting Lodge at Padan had a green lush lawn, fig and weeping willow trees surrounding the property, and included a stables, a handsome long building that acted as a garage, a landing pad, and a large white four story building (including the upper terrace) with six comfortable suites, a dining room, a sitting room, a small library, a huge kitchen and preparation area and walk in fridges and deep freezes. It occupied 120 acres of the royal property, surrounded by the primeval beauty of the lake country around it, a distant glimpse of the ancient Old Palace by the lake could be seen from the upper windows and terrace.

As Elijah and Mara gave the tour, Elijah proudly showed them the trophy room, which contained beasts such as a Diatryma, with its shaggy fur like feathers and thick neck and large yellow beak (it appeared almost wingless) crouching menacingly, a lean necked long legged Phorusrhacos, like a gigantic secretary bird but with longer hooked bill, A Royal Griffon standing majestically with its brilliant blue and yellow feathers, huge splayed claws designed to help it move over marshy floored rain forest. There was a huge Haast's Eagle splayed as though to take flight perched on a wall, and many other creatures--Nilgai antelope, Ladderhorns, wild boar, and a crocodile over a large fireplace.

Mara warmly welcomed the staff as well, and said to Tegan, "Please go and make sure everything is ready." Teh Elwe girl bowed and walked off with sinuous grace.

"Bit skinny, but nice ass on that one," murmured Domris to Martin. "She grew up serving the Queen, they're close as sisters, those two."

"I hope you were not too bored," said Mara to Ober, Snyder and Martin. "Please relax and feel welcome to our conversation if you wish. How we do force our staff to attend us and take them from their families!"

"Not at all, Majesty," said Peleg with an inclination of his head. "To serve you is to live."

"I thought we might have a bite of our own lunch here while we talk a little and then return," offered King Elijah. "Oh there is also the armoury of course, if you'd care to see that, Mr. President."

Mara reached for the hem of her dress, "I thought I'd sun on the terrace, Lord of my Life, wanna join me Leslie?"

"Majesty..." said Countess Camilla Sharra (who was bored out of her mind and had just been staring out the window during the conversation between the aides) exclaimed.

Elijah stopped her. "Perhaps lunch first, and perhaps the First Lady is not interested in sunbathing without her clothes on, my honey sweet wife." His tone was gentle but commanding, his eyes locking onto hers.

Mara flushed, "Forgive me, I was liking you so much I forget we have not known one another for years...and I must speak to the President of course, over lunch and things...Mr. President, Mrs. Rowan," she was blushing a lot but seemed just as animated as before, "Would either of you care for a selection of game meats cooked on the barbecue here? It will not be heavy, I assure you, as the Ghantish do, but is more of a sampler, shish kebab style..."




Shiloam Palace

Prince Enoch played one last song which had a few of the women swaying their hops and men tapping their feet a bit. Princess Desiree spent some time talking to Margaret about the decor in the Palace, whic she had become a bit of an expert on, and talked of her children as well, and expressed admiration of her husband's many talents.

The Adirans watched the misunderstanding with a bit of surprise. Fortner raised his eyebrows, Cruise stifled a chuckle, and the others seemed to simply stay out of the way. It was Ferrain who reacted first. "Neither have I, General, though marriage certainly can be a difficult matter. So many factors to consider when trying to find the right match, good family, upstanding character, the skills needed to look after a household. So often people don't take that into consideration these days. I wish your daughter the best," Ferrain said to Unwerth.

"Thank you," said Unwerth, mollified somewhat. "Yes, it's a grave responsibility."

"And congratulations, Excellency, on your engagement," Ferrain said to Lalery, having missed the opportunity earlier.

"To Princess Caroline of Ghant, I believe you said earlier," Pendergast said.

"Caroline, that would be Princess Caroline Zuria, the Emperor's mother, if I'm not mistaken? How interesting," Ferrain mused. "If you don't mind my asking, what will this do for your family and legacy?"

"There's Ferrain, as subtle as a brick through a window," Cruise said, biting the head off a shrimp.

"It's simply the way of things with noble marriages," Ferrain said matter-of-factly. "And in this case it creates yet another bond between New Edom and Ghant as well. Does this change anything in the grand scheme of things?"


"To Caroline Zuria, yes," said Lalery, his hard features softening a bit. "The most beuatiful woman in the world, in my eyes, so fine a lady, who has suffered much but now, praise God, will be under my protection and in my loving arms."

"It does," said General Unwerth sourly. "It binds us ever more to Ghant, a nation that does not share our values our ways, which always seeks to undermine us in public affairs while supporting us on the other hand, like a wayward woman who is a mistress."

"It does bind us closer to Ghant, which helps maintain our security there," said General Ashdod.

Elizabeth Corbulo said, "We have a royal marriage to the House of Gentry through Princess Ava already. But, you see, this has only allowed us more ingress into the Imperiala. It is closer connection to Nathan IV's immediate family we must have. The other will bear fruit in years, this is a fish catch."

The others laughed, though Lalery seemed annoyed by this phrase. "Along with it comes stronger ties to protect the oil fields," he said bluntly. "As well as our base of course. But your people have a base there of your own. We must all pray to the good Lord to help our relations with our Ghantish friends."

Two beautiful young women, both with raven hair though in different styles, one as fair olive as a tropical fruit with a supple figure and dressed in a blue sundress, the other in white lace with thicker hair down to her waist, braided in the
Ghantish fashion to allow her pale oval features and blue eyes to be emphasized, gracefully sauntered up to the group of men. These were Countess Olympia Hesperinus and Countess Alazne Domris respectively.

"What are all you bold gentlemen and lady discussing?" said Countess Hesperinus.

"I heard mention of my country," said Alazne Domris almost shyly, glancing around at the Adirans.

"Man talk," said Lalery curtly.

"Beast," said Countess Hesperinus. "I hope he has not been too rude, gentlemen," she looked directly at Ferrain with a smile, then at Pendergrast. she felt a tingling to her toes at him. God he was handsome. Woof! "Mr. Secretary, I hope they have not been too serious, we have a little time left and then a bit of siesta, and this is to be a relaxing time I had heard. Have you all decided what sports you'd like to play?"

Bailey had agreed that unprotected ships from developing countries would need to be addressed. In response to Nicanor's last inquiry, she explained "We will continue to provide aid, improve security, fight corruption, and develop key infrastructure. They've started surveying to restore old rail lines, for example. Old Ceti had railroads connecting Cataran and Arimo Coast to cities in Adiron like Tau City, Cerina, and Granopolis, you see. The rails themselves were salvaged, but the rail beds are still there. It would let us move many tons of goods much cheaper than by air, bring the prices down on things like food and fuel that affect everyone down there."

"That is a good idea, the railroads," said Nicanor approvingly. "Perhaps there can be some measure of cooperation about that. But why not make those Noviteran and Terician vampires pay for some of it, eh, since they'll be profiting? Ho ho, like jackals they are, but jackals help keep the vermin down too, as much as the faithful dog. They can see it as an investment opportunity."

By now she had finished her plate, and said "We've learned a lot of lessons from San Carlo, plus it's a much smaller country and it's closer, so I'm optimistic. We'll start them off on the right foot and address the threats on their border such as piracy and coastal raids."

"I am glad to hear it, Madame Secretary. But we should not be so closeted perhaps, eh? I see that everyone is surrounding poor Lalery and doubtless talking of his upcoming marriage. I cannot fathom it myself, a young man like that with no children of his own marrying a woman who will probably never give him any, three spoiled daughters like lapdogs surrounding her, all of them being married off late...but I am merely a man of the soil, what do I know?" he began to steer her towards the others if she would follow; if she would not he offered a bow. In fact one of his aides had subtly been signalling to him about what the conversation was about with the main body of officials.

"A woman's natural instinct for home, huh? Don't take this the wrong way, Excellency, but now you're starting to sound like my mother," Turner jokingly chided Geta, still smiling at him. "I simply haven't found the right man. Marriage is still a big decision in Adiron, even if it is very different to here in New Edom. It's not arranged, it's all up to the bride and groom. Easier in some ways, harder in others. As far as I'm concerned, I haven't felt sure enough about any of the men I've been with yet; I don't even want to risk one of those horror story divorces."

Geta laughed with her. "You know, Miss Turner," he said, now and then giving her bosom an approving, admiring glance before looking up to her eyes again, "Your mother is wise, but I understand these new ways all too well. Still, I find most women want such things and of course they do, as men want to enjoy their fun and games. But we must all discipline ourselves for the good of our service to our countries, as you and I have done. But our natural instincts fight it! We want to live as our barbarian ancestors did. It is in me to simply want to hunt and fish, and laze when I do not, but we are civilized people. We try not to piss in the streets and cut our enemy's head off to bring as a gift to our family. We tame those instincts in other ways. But man was for woman made, and vice versa..."

"And why not wait and marry wisely?" he nodded. "You have it right!"

"And what about you, Foreign Minister? You are married, right?" she asked pleasantly.


Geta sighed. "I am not, alas. The woman I would have married first fled the country with all her family's money during the First Civil War. I could not blame her or her family for their feeling, but how could I marry a cowardly woman? Then the second married a foreigner whom she met in Tericio. I had thought to marry a woman of an old Cornellian family in Peregrino, and that may still be a possibility, but since I found myself blessed with this position following my governorship I decided to wait again."

Prince Enoch Tubal-Cain was amused by the observation of this exchange, though he could not properly hear all of it. He finished playing and went to join the company.
Last edited by New Edom on Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
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Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:20 pm

The Farm

Before that, the King believes, you have to above all have order, control. Otherwise democracy will mean nothing; the strong will simply dominate the weak."

"I didn't say democracy, I said rule of law, not rushing elections before they're ready," Martin started to explain, brow furrowed.

Before he could say more, Ober held up a hand. "We were talking about the Secretary," he said, a rather final tone in his voice. "At the very least I know everyone can agree that we can't have pirates and raiders abducting people."

Snyder had the last word before they arrived. "I'm no deep philosopher, but you ask me, if it's not necessarily a democracy, then effective government at least needs to be more than a gravy train if you want to build confidence in it. The more corruption people see in their day-to-day, the less they trust officials and the easier they are to lead astray. That's what I'd tell the Secretary, anyway."

"I am so glad we talked about this, and so glad I met you! Not just because you are our welcome guest, and not just because you are the wife of the President, but because I think you are one of the wisest women I have ever met, other than the Mother Empress of course," Mara exclaimed, her eyes glistening a bit and without thinking giving Leslie a warm hug. "You're so right, it is still the same adventure, it's just, you know, it's my first!"

"Aw, I'm glad to have met you too!" Leslie said, embracing Mara, her own expression softening as well. "I think you'll be a great mother and you're going to keep doing wonderful things."

Once they arrived, the Adirans looked around the lodge with interest as they were shown inside. Ober seemed interested in the trophies. "Haast Eagle, this taken in Ceti?" Ober asked, appraising it curiously but with no real sense of wonder evident. "Must've been a while ago, can hardly find them anymore, and you can't shoot them even if you did. They were dying out. Ran out of food. They say hunters shot too much of their prey; moas, bustards, deer. Starving ones tried to go after livestock and pets, that only got more of them killed. Now that their prey's coming back, the eagles are starting to too, slowly."

"Biggest eagle in Ceti, still doesn't really measure up to..." he turned and looked up at the royal griffon "...this guy here though."

At that point Mara started moving as though she was about to undress. Martin did a double-take and couldn't help himself from watching in fascination until he realized someone was looking at him, at which point he uncomfortably looked away, sneaking a glance occasionally. Snyder raised an eyebrow and then looked away rather determinedly, her mouth a thin line. Ober noticed and then quickly met Rowan's gaze. Rowan caught Ober's look, realized what was happening, and then abruptly seemed flustered for the first time since he'd arrived.

Leslie was caught up in conversation and didn't quite catch on until it was too late. "Well I'd like to, I didn't bring a change of--oh...um, you're gonna..." she drifted off awkwardly, bracing herself until Camilla and Elijah intervened.

Noticing Mara blushing afterwards, Leslie tried to save her some face. "Oh, actually some lunch sounds great right about now. Barbeque? What is there?"



Shiloam Palace

Of the Adirans in the group, Ferrain seemed to be taking in the marriage talk with the same sort of gravity as the Edomites, although they all watched rather curiously. Fortner and Cruise glanced over at each other, not really sure what was going on. Pendergast ordered another drink. "Excellencies," Ferrain interjected after Unwerth's barb, "forgive me for stirring up such a controversial subject. I had no idea there might be disagreement on the matter, it seemed straightforward, another marriage to an ally."

"What was that about liberal values?" Cruise asked a bit pointedly. "I'm assuming you're not referring to Saito and company when you say that. There something we don't know about?"

When Eskura was mentioned, Pendergast piped up immediately. "Ah yes, the oilfields in the frozen north," Pendergast said. "Your people are partnering with Thorco on that, as I understand it? Edomite National holds the lease and builds the rigs, Thorco's handling more planning and engineering. It's good work, that project needs to happen, and not just to keep some northern Ghantish from freezing to death, either. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard it got the go-ahead so quickly. I don't suppose any of you gentlemen saw what I said up in Norgate back in the caucuses?"

Regardless of whether they had or not, he continued. "Our allies in the Assembly, the Greens, god bless them but I keep telling them they have to pick their battles, and this isn't the right one," he said, as though referring to a naughty child. "I said we can talk about drilling safely and ethically, but stopping all drilling? In this economy and with so much dependent on petroleum? Makes no sense. The President isn't finished with his stimulus plan, though. Energy policy, that's going to be on the table as long as I'm advising him."

"Right, although I imagine Luis down at DoE will have some advice as well," Feng pointed out as he rejoined the group with Corbulo.

"Oh, I'm sure he will. You don't have to remind me," Pendergast said, dismissively but still with a smile. "The energy crisis affected the entire national economy, though. That's Treasury business if I ever heard it."

"Of course, Secretary," Feng conceded as the Edomite ladies approached. They likely would have caught the tail end of things and seen Pendergast confidently declare something.

As Olympia and Alazne walked up, Cruise looked them up and down rather shamelessly. Ferrain bowed formally and gracefully. Fortner said wryly to Lalery after his remark "You must really only have eyes for your betrothed."

Pendergast quickly flashed a winning smile at the two ladies and inclined his head. "Oh, I don't think we've been formally introduced. I'm John Pendergast, we're just talking a bit of shop, it would probably bore you both to tears."

Fortner seemed to loosen up a bit, and said "You never know, John, give them a bit of credit."

Pendergast chuckled and said "Spoken from a man with no daughters. You know if we are starting to wind down, what are you all going to play?"

"Hmm?" Feng said dumbly, having seemingly not heard the question at all. He rather hurriedly occupied himself with the buffet.

"I plan on exercising my arm, Secretary," Cruise said, raising his glass to the two ladies with a grin and downing the last of it.

"I heard there's a tennis court on the grounds, that's where I'm heading. Assuming I can find a partner willing to take it easy on an old man, that is, perhaps one of you girls?"

Fortner shook his head but didn't say anything.

Bailey had acquiesced and followed Nicanor over to the larger group. As they approached, Cruise removed the cigar from between his teeth and said jovially to the pair of them "You two have been busy. Is the Secretary keeping herself out of trouble, Your Excellency?"

"I could ask you the same thing, Mr. Cruise," Bailey replied.

"I'm never in trouble, Secretary," Cruise assured her.

Turner listened to Geta, not entirely unaware of his glances downward. She kept her arms folded still, but her hip was inadvertently cocked in a way that might give away more of her shape. Most of what he said seemed rather odd. She followed along when he talked about their careers, but at the point when he was talking about hunting and fishing and man being made for woman, Geta may have perceived that he had lost her. She diplomatically said "Right..." after this.

The talk of marriage seemed to be more straightforward. "Well, I'm sure she'll be waiting for you when you get back," she reassured him. "After all, you're Foreign Minister now. Has to count for something, right?"
Last edited by Hittanryan on Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 21724
Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:21 pm

The Farm

"I didn't say democracy, I said rule of law, not rushing elections before they're ready," Martin started to explain, brow furrowed.

Before he could say more, Ober held up a hand. "We were talking about the Secretary," he said, a rather final tone in his voice. "At the very least I know everyone can agree that we can't have pirates and raiders abducting people."

Snyder had the last word before they arrived. "I'm no deep philosopher, but you ask me, if it's not necessarily a democracy, then effective government at least needs to be more than a gravy train if you want to build confidence in it. The more corruption people see in their day-to-day, the less they trust officials and the easier they are to lead astray. That's what I'd tell the Secretary, anyway."

Captain Peleg smiled at this. "I think the King will be pleased to hear this. The Government too. The conversations on subject of Arcologian security in the Lesser Diols and Ura Sea should go very smoothly if what you say is the case. Which of course, I believe."

"The Arvo are a brutal savage nation," said Count Domris decisively. "I think we are on the same page on this. HOwever we do not wish to be merciless."


"Aw, I'm glad to have met you too!" Leslie said, embracing Mara, her own expression softening as well. "I think you'll be a great mother and you're going to keep doing wonderful things."

Once they arrived, the Adirans looked around the lodge with interest as they were shown inside. Ober seemed interested in the trophies. "Haast Eagle, this taken in Ceti?" Ober asked, appraising it curiously but with no real sense of wonder evident. "Must've been a while ago, can hardly find them anymore, and you can't shoot them even if you did. They were dying out. Ran out of food. They say hunters shot too much of their prey; moas, bustards, deer. Starving ones tried to go after livestock and pets, that only got more of them killed. Now that their prey's coming back, the eagles are starting to too, slowly."

"Biggest eagle in Ceti, still doesn't really measure up to..." he turned and looked up at the royal griffon "...this guy here though."


"It was not actually, we have a sub-species here," said the King, looking up at the trophy as well. "It is not quite so endangered as in your country, but that is I suspect because we have more undeveloped land. That was a female, it was taken by my father actually. We always called her the Grand Duchess." He smiled faintly.

"Aren't we having bustard tonight?" asked Countess Camilla brightly.

Mara said, "In a way its an advantage, we struggled so much in the 20th Century as a poor country, with so little development in some areas, but you can see this awful legacy of pollution in some parts at the attempts of the New Day Party, places where they're making a recovery of the water tables, but you still see all this toxicity in the plant life and animal life...some amphibian species are really endangered. But yes, it's a beautiful trophy. My husband is a pretty good hunter too..."

"Not as Perrin was or my father," said the King gloomily.


At that point Mara started moving as though she was about to undress. Martin did a double-take and couldn't help himself from watching in fascination until he realized someone was looking at him, at which point he uncomfortably looked away, sneaking a glance occasionally. Snyder raised an eyebrow and then looked away rather determinedly, her mouth a thin line. Ober noticed and then quickly met Rowan's gaze. Rowan caught Ober's look, realized what was happening, and then abruptly seemed flustered for the first time since he'd arrived.

Leslie was caught up in conversation and didn't quite catch on until it was too late. "Well I'd like to, I didn't bring a change of--oh...um, you're gonna..." she drifted off awkwardly, bracing herself until Camilla and Elijah intervened.

Noticing Mara blushing afterwards, Leslie tried to save her some face. "Oh, actually some lunch sounds great right about now. Barbeque? What is there?"


"Oh..." Mara, cheeks still pinked, said brightly, "Mrs. Goim, what's for lunch?" A tall, thin faced woman in a chiton like gown bowed, keys at her waist jingling, from where she stood near the door.

"Lamb, crane, and capybara, Majesty," the woman said in a voice dry as a wind rustling in grain.

"That sounds lovely," said Mara. "Aren't there any vegetables?"

"The meat will be offered with morel mushrooms, red onion, green and red peppers and tomatoes, Majesty," the woman said.

"There we are then," said Mara. "Why don't we all relax on the patio, or would some of you prefer to examine the trophy room and shooting racks? And if you'd like to smoke, please do. Papa always smoked a cigar in the afternoon."

"The King, Majesty..." said Captain Peleg with a polite cough.

"Oh, smoke if anyone wants to, I'm not going to die of temptation," said the King, waving a hand.




Shiloam Palace

Of the Adirans in the group, Ferrain seemed to be taking in the marriage talk with the same sort of gravity as the Edomites, although they all watched rather curiously. Fortner and Cruise glanced over at each other, not really sure what was going on. Pendergast ordered another drink. "Excellencies," Ferrain interjected after Unwerth's barb, "forgive me for stirring up such a controversial subject. I had no idea there might be disagreement on the matter, it seemed straightforward, another marriage to an ally."

Lalery spread his hands. "It is a contentious subject. It is not just the woman or Ghant. It's also my bride to be's age. Will we have our own children? But what of that? In history, leaders have adopted if need be, and that has often turned out very well." he

"No, forgive us, we forget ourselves," said Unwerth to Ferrain. "How could you know, General?" However his gaze on Lalery was hard to read, or Lalery's back at him.

"What was that about liberal values?" Cruise asked a bit pointedly. "I'm assuming you're not referring to Saito and company when you say that. There something we don't know about?"

"Some have said," Geta remarked as he joined the company, "That Saito might be more inclined to live and let live with the Imperium. Of course...we recognize that your country is a sovereign state, and your citizens have the right to choose the sort of government they want. We are not among those unenlightened 'some' who are merely grumblers."

When Eskura was mentioned, Pendergast piped up immediately. "Ah yes, the oilfields in the frozen north," Pendergast said. "Your people are partnering with Thorco on that, as I understand it? Edomite National holds the lease and builds the rigs, Thorco's handling more planning and engineering. It's good work, that project needs to happen, and not just to keep some northern Ghantish from freezing to death, either. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard it got the go-ahead so quickly. I don't suppose any of you gentlemen saw what I said up in Norgate back in the caucuses?"

"We did," said Lalery. "Thorco has been a good partner. Mr. Pendergrast, your views are respected on this issue. But the Ghantish government is a bit balkanized when it comes to interests. Nathan IV has given greater autonomy to the different sub monarchies, and so government interference could have been a hassle but we negotiated with the local rulers whenever possible so that it was pretty much a done deal by the time it reached their parliament and Imperiala Palace." he seemed very pleased with himself.

Regardless of whether they had or not, he continued. "Our allies in the Assembly, the Greens, god bless them but I keep telling them they have to pick their battles, and this isn't the right one," he said, as though referring to a naughty child. "I said we can talk about drilling safely and ethically, but stopping all drilling? In this economy and with so much dependent on petroleum? Makes no sense. The President isn't finished with his stimulus plan, though. Energy policy, that's going to be on the table as long as I'm advising him."

"Fools," Lalery laughed. "How does modern civilization work anyway? Fuel based economy has made it possible to have the great civilizations we have today. Where would we be without communications, flight and transoceanic shipping, railways and construction? The great slave states of the past with their stone built roads and buildings and engineering, the great age of sail...these things are the ancient roads of today, that make it possible to live outside the mire. Maybe they'd all rather live in grass huts like savages though." he seemed most amused.

"Right, although I imagine Luis down at DoE will have some advice as well," Feng pointed out as he rejoined the group with Corbulo.

"Oh, I'm sure he will. You don't have to remind me," Pendergast said, dismissively but still with a smile. "The energy crisis affected the entire national economy, though. That's Treasury business if I ever heard it."

"Which is why we must cooperate and work together," said Elizabeth Corbulo with a smile. "Mr. Feng, ultimately the DoE in your country is influenced by the concerns of the energy community primarily, is it not?"

"Of course, Secretary," Feng conceded as the Edomite ladies approached. They likely would have caught the tail end of things and seen Pendergast confidently declare something.

As Olympia and Alazne walked up, Cruise looked them up and down rather shamelessly. Ferrain bowed formally and gracefully. Fortner said wryly to Lalery after his remark "You must really only have eyes for your betrothed."


"Hardly, both of 'em have everything where it should be," chuckled Lalery, not caring who heard. "But I'm always surrounded by fine women, so I'm like a man who has a good wine cellar when it comes to 'em. And..." he sobered a moment, "One of them is the widow of a man who was like a second father to me." He took a deep breath. "The loss of him is a loss for the nation. I tease her a bit, but her and her children, I would go into the fire for them, I would. She needs teasing. She's a good girl, is our Olympia."

Pendergast quickly flashed a winning smile at the two ladies and inclined his head. "Oh, I don't think we've been formally introduced. I'm John Pendergast, we're just talking a bit of shop, it would probably bore you both to tears."

Olympia flashed a smile at this, but before she could say anything...

Fortner seemed to loosen up a bit, and said "You never know, John, give them a bit of credit."

Pendergast chuckled and said "Spoken from a man with no daughters. You know if we are starting to wind down, what are you all going to play?"


"My gosh," said Olympia brightly, "I'm positively embarrassed, you do seem to understand ladies, sir. I think tennis for me, what about you Alazne?"

"I was going to watch tennis or go riding," said Alazne shyly. "But it depends on what Domris is doing."

"Riding then," laughed Olympia.

"Hmm?" Feng said dumbly, having seemingly not heard the question at all. He rather hurriedly occupied himself with the buffet.

"I plan on exercising my arm, Secretary," Cruise said, raising his glass to the two ladies with a grin and downing the last of it.

"I heard there's a tennis court on the grounds, that's where I'm heading. Assuming I can find a partner willing to take it easy on an old man, that is, perhaps one of you girls?"

Fortner shook his head but didn't say anything.


"Oh you'll have to go easy on me probably," said Olympia, looking up into Pendergrast's eyes. "I don't play professionally or anything, for that you'd have to look to Camilla. She beats most of the men. But I'll do my best to make it fun."

"It's a stupid girl's game," said Lalery. Several of the Edomites laughed.

Lalery laughed himself, flushed slightly, and downed the rest of his drink.

Bailey had acquiesced and followed Nicanor over to the larger group. As they approached, Cruise removed the cigar from between his teeth and said jovially to the pair of them "You two have been busy. Is the Secretary keeping herself out of trouble, Your Excellency?"

"I could ask you the same thing, Mr. Cruise," Bailey replied.

"I'm never in trouble, Secretary," Cruise assured her.


A few laughed lightly at Cruise's remark, Delia among them as she hung at the periphery. During all this Count Jonas Falk had said little. His wife Clodia sat near the window looking quiet and self contained. The Count himself had decided to let his deputy commander handle security while he hit the bottle; if anyone had noticed it was his fourth glass of wine, and he roared with laughter at Cruise's bon mot, startling Princess Desiree and Delia who turned to look at him.

"Busy? A little conversation with a smart lady, nothing onerous, more of a pleasant sauce to go with the nibbles," said Nicanor heartily. "And most pleasant company it was. Mr. Cruise! You seem to enjoy your nibbles very much! I approve, we fellows who love the table must set an example, eh? And show our prosperity and joy in receiving hospitality." He patted Cruise's stomach a moment and then his own with a broad grin.

"An example of what?" said Lalery witheringly.

"Fat men are reasonable men," said Nicanor. His eyes gleamed in their folds and wrinkles. "I find that skinny fellows like you and Prince Enoch are always hiding your greed whereas mine is visible and therefore I am open to all, my hands spread in welcome to all. That is why the people love me, Count, and are not too sure about you." There was a burst of laughter among the Edomites at this.

Turner listened to Geta, not entirely unaware of his glances downward. She kept her arms folded still, but her hip was inadvertently cocked in a way that might give away more of her shape. Most of what he said seemed rather odd. She followed along when he talked about their careers, but at the point when he was talking about hunting and fishing and man being made for woman, Geta may have perceived that he had lost her. She diplomatically said "Right..." after this.

The talk of marriage seemed to be more straightforward. "Well, I'm sure she'll be waiting for you when you get back," she reassured him. "After all, you're Foreign Minister now. Has to count for something, right?"


"Of course. Duty before everything though..." Geta mused. He became distracted as they entered the main conversation.

"My dear, how lovely you look," remarked Princess Desiree Tubal-Cain. "Isn't all this lovely? May I borrow the attache, Mr. Foreign Minister?"

"Excellency," said Geta with a bow.

Princess Desiree said to Turner, "I am not an expert in Adiran culture, Miss Turner, but I am wondering, do you think your people are enjoying themselves? So important that everyone enjoy the hospitality and feel relaxed..."


Prince Enoch Tubal-Cain left the room briefly, and spoke with Count Alexander Domris on the phone privately. "Everything seems to be going very well. Everyone seems relaxed, conversation going swimmingly. Talk of the economic issues has predominated where there has been conversation on serious matters, and generally very agreeable. No signs of impatience."

"Things seem well enough here too," said Domris. "The President and staff are treating it like a holiday. I think they're enjoying themselves. Or at least being very polite, sir."

"Let me know if there are any problems. Security?"

"All's well," Domris reported.

Prince Enoch said, "Go with God, Count." He hung up and went to rejoin the company. The buffet was being refreshed. Silently, expertly, the palace staff put nice crisp looking vegetables, fresh seafood, breads, dips, in a smooth rotation so that the buffet never looked tawdry or decayed by human attention.
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

User avatar
New Edom
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 21724
Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:30 pm

To: Ambassador Jacob Lee
From: Prince Enoch Tubal-Cain
Subject: Adiron
Encryption: Most Secret, Eyes Only



Dear Ambassador,

I hope this message finds you well. May the Glorious Imperium remain strong in the face of the machinations of the greedy and wayward nations surrounding us.

I feel it important to keep you up to date with current events.

First: the meeting with Adiron. The King intends to make it clear to President Rowan that extradition will not be supported by our government, and will be offering another solution: reduction of forces to satisfy Adiran public fears, and recognition of current political and economic spheres of influence in Arcologia. This will specifically be recognition of our joint control over the Union of South Ceti insofar as cooperation of economic and military matters goes, and joint security operations in the Lesser Diols. We do not believe that the Adirans are prepared to go to war over these areas.

Second: As far as the Palisades goes, we advise permitting the Shrailleeni and Ghantar to maintain a CPO presence there, which removes the threat of Adiran expansion beyond the Confederation.

Third: As far as the accusation of terrorism goes, New Edom intends to support the notion that renegades misinterpreted Imperium policy and that the notion of either Cardinals Dawes or Robertson having advocated any such radical action is absurd. The Honour of the Imperium is above all suspicion, and our Ambassador will continue to work with the Curia to uphold this.

Fourth: An international anti-piracy force will refocus Adiran attentions away from concerns about establishing stronger degrees of law and order in southern Arcologia. We can agree that this is vital to our economic interests, I am sure, and will encourage the more liberal nations to pay for this if they are not willing to jointly share the risks.

On a further note, fascinatingly Homofront activity appears to be increasing in a number of nations abroad, but is certainly greatly decreased here. General Ashdod has advised that this is naturally very useful in the pursuit of our aims as I am sure you will agree.

Thank you for your continued friendship and duty. The King and Queen wish me to remind you that your presence is always welcome at our gatherings along with your lovely wife and family.

I have the honour to be,
Prince Enoch Tubal-Cain
Royal Master of Offices
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 8641
Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:47 pm

The Farm

"It was not actually, we have a sub-species here," said the King, looking up at the trophy as well. "It is not quite so endangered as in your country, but that is I suspect because we have more undeveloped land. That was a female, it was taken by my father actually. We always called her the Grand Duchess." He smiled faintly.

"Right...come to think of it the eagles I saw in Ceti were a bit darker, this one's plumage is a bit more mottled too," Ober said, examining the Grand Duchess. "Any idea how your father took her? Did he bait her, flush her, or did he tell you?"

Rowan approached the Royal Griffon and looked up into its baleful eyes. "I imagine hunting a monster like this would be akin to hunting a grizzly bear or a big cat. Although I understand that the larger griffons and terror birds are critically endangered?"

"Aren't we having bustard tonight?" asked Countess Camilla brightly.

Leslie was looking around the trophy room politely but a bit warily. She welcomed Camilla's distraction. "You know, I had bustard years ago for a big Fall Equinox dinner. Biggest bird I've ever seen, but after cooking it all darn day, it came out dry as a bone..."

Mara said, "In a way its an advantage, we struggled so much in the 20th Century as a poor country, with so little development in some areas, but you can see this awful legacy of pollution in some parts at the attempts of the New Day Party, places where they're making a recovery of the water tables, but you still see all this toxicity in the plant life and animal life...some amphibian species are really endangered. But yes, it's a beautiful trophy. My husband is a pretty good hunter too..."

"Not as Perrin was or my father," said the King gloomily.


"Terrible shame, ruining god's country that way," Ober replied to Mara, although his expression didn't seem to soften or change much. "Some things you just can't get back once they're gone."

"Awful sentimental for a big hunter," Snyder chided. "Sounded downright Green there."

"Nothing to do with it. Hunters are stewards of the land," Ober said matter-of-factly, looking at the King. "You, your father, and President Pahath-Moab knew that."

"Oh..." Mara, cheeks still pinked, said brightly, "Mrs. Goim, what's for lunch?" A tall, thin faced woman in a chiton like gown bowed, keys at her waist jingling, from where she stood near the door.

"Lamb, crane, and capybara, Majesty," the woman said in a voice dry as a wind rustling in grain.

"That sounds lovely," said Mara. "Aren't there any vegetables?"

"The meat will be offered with morel mushrooms, red onion, green and red peppers and tomatoes, Majesty," the woman said.

"There we are then," said Mara. "Why don't we all relax on the patio, or would some of you prefer to examine the trophy room and shooting racks? And if you'd like to smoke, please do. Papa always smoked a cigar in the afternoon."

"The King, Majesty..." said Captain Peleg with a polite cough.

"Oh, smoke if anyone wants to, I'm not going to die of temptation," said the King, waving a hand.


"That all sounds great," Leslie said of the menu.

The Adirans all agreed that it was time for lunch and started making their way out to the patio. Rowan motioned for Snyder. They exchanged whispers gravely for a moment while walking until Rowan rejoined Leslie.

"Does everybody smoke here?" Leslie asked curiously. As they walked she said quietly to Mara "I didn't embarrass you did I? I'd just forgotten, you know..."

Martin was still in a bit of a daze after Mara had nearly stripped down. Ober had to prompt him twice to move on.

Once outside, Rowan approached Elijah. "Before we eat with our wives and the others, sir, I want to be unambiguous about what Adiron wants, minus whatever philosophy we might have. I wonder if you wouldn't mind speaking a bit more in private for a moment before we start to relax," he said, motioning away from the group towards the edge of the patio, looking out over the estate.



Shiloam Palace

Lalery spread his hands. "It is a contentious subject. It is not just the woman or Ghant. It's also my bride to be's age. Will we have our own children? But what of that? In history, leaders have adopted if need be, and that has often turned out very well."

"No, forgive us, we forget ourselves," said Unwerth to Ferrain. "How could you know, General?" However his gaze on Lalery was hard to read, or Lalery's back at him.


"Well, I can understand the apprehension. The future of your line is at stake," Ferrain said to Lalery. "I don't wish to pry further, but if I might make a suggestion, there are medical specialists you can consult. Women in Adiron are conceiving later and later, after all. A woman the Princess' age bearing children, it is not unheard of. Worth a try, if only for the sake of the bloodline."

"The Count here styles himself an expert on these matters of nobility," Cruise chided.

"I keep telling you, Alan, I can hardly call myself as such while our lands are under occupation," Ferrain replied curtly. "My family is properly speaking in exile and merely has a claim."

"Fine, if you had your lands, properly speaking, we'd be calling you Guy Ferrain, Comte de Duron," Cruise said, mispronouncing it badly and grinning to the group.

"Your French is terrible," Ferrain said drily.

"The ladies don't seem to mind," Cruise said with a grin.

"Calling your usual company 'ladies' gives them and you far too much credit," Ferrain replied.

"Some have said," Geta remarked as he joined the company, "That Saito might be more inclined to live and let live with the Imperium. Of course...we recognize that your country is a sovereign state, and your citizens have the right to choose the sort of government they want. We are not among those unenlightened 'some' who are merely grumblers."

"The success of that would depend greatly on whether or not the Imperium would be willing to live and let live with us," Cruise said, taking a drink. "The precedent doesn't seem promising so far, but the Opposition is entitled to its opinions."

"We did," said Lalery. "Thorco has been a good partner. Mr. Pendergrast, your views are respected on this issue. But the Ghantish government is a bit balkanized when it comes to interests. Nathan IV has given greater autonomy to the different sub monarchies, and so government interference could have been a hassle but we negotiated with the local rulers whenever possible so that it was pretty much a done deal by the time it reached their parliament and Imperiala Palace." he seemed very pleased with himself.

"A masterstroke, then. Very fine work," Pendergast said approvingly. "With our own Greens having suffered a bruising loss at the polls, I hope that we can have equal success with our own energy policy. If Mr. Eddings makes too much of a fuss, I should think all the President has to do is call his bluff. The voters want less impractical Green protests, not more."

"Maybe they'd all rather live in grass huts like savages though." he seemed most amused.

"They might at that!" Pendergast said with a chuckle. "They have these absurd diets now, saying people were healthier thousands of years ago. Not only do they rely on modern grocery stores to maintain these diets, but they've completely left out the disease, parasites, and dirt that our ancestors suffered. I have to think our parents didn't fight for that kind of future for Ceti."

"Then there's the fetishism for indigenous cultures," Pendergast said, waving a hand. "Folau immigrants I spoke to on the campaign trail all seemed very happy with the modern technology, economic opportunities, and standard of living that our society provides. They'd rather their people prospered even if it meant giving up some of the old ways."

Ferrain chimed in. "That's why they'll succeed while the Arvo will be reduced. Of course, the entire situation in the Diols could have, quite frankly, been avoided if the Imperium did not challenge all of our previous attempts to establish better security in the Ura Sea," he said bluntly.

"Before Task Force 52, if so much as a corvette was found north of the Lesser Diols by Union patrols, they would report it immediately to Serrice. Then the Imperial Navy would demand our immediate withdrawal from the area with no negotiation. The Union's own naval patrols seemed more concerned with shaking down Confederate fishing trawlers than defending their coast, apprehending pirates, or halting the Arvo's expansion across the Lesser Diols. So the entire area was neglected and fell into chaos, which will now be longer and harder to clean up," he said with a sneer.

"Which is why we must cooperate and work together," said Elizabeth Corbulo with a smile. "Mr. Feng, ultimately the DoE in your country is influenced by the concerns of the energy community primarily, is it not?"

"It is," Feng said, having to collect his thoughts a moment after Olympia and Alazne arrived. "Nuclear, petroleum, solar, biofuel, wind, hydro, all of these industries vying for attention, not to mention researchers both in academia and the private sector. Why do you ask?"

"Hardly, both of 'em have everything where it should be," chuckled Lalery, not caring who heard. "But I'm always surrounded by fine women, so I'm like a man who has a good wine cellar when it comes to 'em. And..." he sobered a moment, "One of them is the widow of a man who was like a second father to me." He took a deep breath. "The loss of him is a loss for the nation. I tease her a bit, but her and her children, I would go into the fire for them, I would. She needs teasing. She's a good girl, is our Olympia."

Fortner's expression grew grave as Lalery turned to the matter of Hesperinius' assassination. He turned to Olympia. "I did not realize who you were at first, Excellency. I did not know your husband except by reputation while he was in the Palisades, but you have my deepest condolences regardless. Terrible thing. I understand there is an investigation, and I hope that justice is served," he said to Olympia solemnly before looking more resolute. "However, my government is already working with yours to dismantle the group that claimed responsibility. We'll chase 'em clear out of Cornellia, don't worry," he said confidently.

When he got a chance, once Olympia was distracted by Pendergast, Fortner turned back to Lalery and spoke to him a bit quietly. "Speaking of, I spoke to the Attorney General and Director Vasquez before we left. We're doing what we can on our end, but we're frankly coming up short on Homofront leads on the attack, even with that recent intel bonanza. No changes in the accounts we had flagged around the time of the attack, no movements of people or supplies in the weeks prior, nothing. I mean we all saw the statements, but there should have been some kind of material ripple outside New Edom and Feminia that we could catch. Very puzzling, don't you think?"

"Oh you'll have to go easy on me probably," said Olympia, looking up into Pendergrast's eyes. "I don't play professionally or anything, for that you'd have to look to Camilla. She beats most of the men. But I'll do my best to make it fun."

"It's a stupid girl's game," said Lalery. Several of the Edomites laughed.

Lalery laughed himself, flushed slightly, and downed the rest of his drink.


Pendergast waved a hand and shook his head in good humor, keeping his gaze mostly on Olympia but turning occasionally to face them. "You gentlemen can laugh now, but I'm still on my feet, aren't I? Important to stay active, but you won't be able to keep up with your polo and football forever, and next thing you know you're never as good as you used to be. Meanwhile I'll have a spring in my step until I'm ninety, and at that age I'll have probably forgotten how good I used to be."

"Anyway, I look forward to it. In fact, you met my wife Martha? She'll probably be up for it. If we get one more we can have a doubles match," Pendergast said in a friendly way, smiling at Olympia.

Cruise had snuck a few more looks at Olympia and Alazne, while Feng seemed rather tongue-tied and continued his conversation with Corbulo.

A few laughed lightly at Cruise's remark, Delia among them as she hung at the periphery. During all this Count Jonas Falk had said little. His wife Clodia sat near the window looking quiet and self contained. The Count himself had decided to let his deputy commander handle security while he hit the bottle; if anyone had noticed it was his fourth glass of wine, and he roared with laughter at Cruise's bon mot, startling Princess Desiree and Delia who turned to look at him.

Most of the Adirans at least glanced at Falk bemusedly. Feng stared at him with a furrowed brow. Cruise quickly played it off, sticking a thumb in his direction. "See? He knows."

"Busy? A little conversation with a smart lady, nothing onerous, more of a pleasant sauce to go with the nibbles," said Nicanor heartily. "And most pleasant company it was. Mr. Cruise! You seem to enjoy your nibbles very much! I approve, we fellows who love the table must set an example, eh? And show our prosperity and joy in receiving hospitality." He patted Cruise's stomach a moment and then his own with a broad grin.

Cruise looked down as Nicanor touched him, but if it put him off balance at all he didn't show it. "Well, I can't very well just leave it there, can I?" he joked. "Gotta say, you folks over here sure know how to put out a spread. Back home for some small-time meetings you're lucky to get bad coffee and some storebought cookies. Hell, if Ober's running the thing you're lucky to get anything at all. You can ask Prince Enoch about that."

"An example of what?" said Lalery witheringly.

"Fat men are reasonable men," said Nicanor. His eyes gleamed in their folds and wrinkles. "I find that skinny fellows like you and Prince Enoch are always hiding your greed whereas mine is visible and therefore I am open to all, my hands spread in welcome to all. That is why the people love me, Count, and are not too sure about you." There was a burst of laughter among the Edomites at this.


The Adirans seemed to find themselves caught up in an argument again, Cruise frowning a bit and glancing over at Feng, Pendergast looking at the other Edomites with a smile. Fortner looked between the two of them. "At the risk of sounding like a Burnt Hills cowboy, Excellencies, them's fighting words where we come from."

"Al and his people have said worse about me," Pendergast pointed out before glancing at Bailey. "Isn't that right, Secretary?"

"Only when you deserved it, John," Bailey said with a tight smile.

"All right, one caucus season's enough for this year," Cruise interjected.

"I don't know, given what happened last time, my chances don't seem all that bad," Pendergast said with an oddly mirthless smile. Cruise made eye contact with him. Pendergast's smile widened. "Oh, relax, Alan, you should see the look on your face!"

"Don't you start too," Fortner admonished them. "We can all be civil while quibbling about the hows and whys, right? Although I'll admit, Excellencies, that your politics are not our politics and perhaps I don't have the full picture."

"My dear, how lovely you look," remarked Princess Desiree Tubal-Cain. "Isn't all this lovely? May I borrow the attache, Mr. Foreign Minister?"

"Excellency," said Geta with a bow.

Princess Desiree said to Turner, "I am not an expert in Adiran culture, Miss Turner, but I am wondering, do you think your people are enjoying themselves? So important that everyone enjoy the hospitality and feel relaxed..."


"Oh, it's nice to meet you, Excellency. And it was a pleasure talking with you, Foreign Minister," she said, inclining her head to Geta. After he left, however, Desiree might have noticed an expression of relief cross Turner's face.

"You're Prince Enoch's wife, right? He's got a wonderful singing voice if you don't mind me saying," she said to Desiree before she asked about the Adiran guests.

"Well, to be honest they're usually all business, with a couple of exceptions. I had to explain to them that things work at a different pace here. You know, the hospitality, the ceremony, that sort of thing. I don't know if they'll get used to it necessarily, but things seem to be going all right so far," Turner said. As she said this, however, Fortner discreetly checked his watch.

Abruptly Cruise looked down and frowned, inspecting his jacket. There was a glob of something that he had smeared unthinkingly near one of the pockets. "Damn," he said, looking at it with a grimace, holding it up to the light. "Excellencies, I will be right back, just need to make use of the restroom."

"Actually I could use the facilities myself," Feng said, inclining his head to the group.

Entering the restroom, Feng approached the head and relieved himself, seemingly with a bit of difficulty. Cruise took about two seconds to brush the food off at the sink, left the water running before standing next to Feng and unzipping. After a couple of seconds, Feng said quietly "What are we doing here?"

"No idea," Cruise said, letting fly. "President's off playing with giant beavers on a farm. The Master of Offices is a lounge singer. We're getting drunk. They're bringing out chicks in cocktail dresses. John's playing tennis like it's a fuckin' country club..."

"We haven't even done anything yet. If these talks were with the Noviterans we'd be on a flight home by now. So what do we do?" Feng asked.

"Keep doing what we've been doing. Smile, make nice, and don't say a goddamned word that we wouldn't want making its way straight back to Robertson," Cruise said.

"How are we supposed to get anything done, then? We've done nothing but small talk," Feng pointed out.

"President's doing most of the work now, he's basically getting a one-to-one with the King out there," Cruise said.

"What about Lalery?" Feng asked.

"We'll have to try to get to him alone. Right now all his rivals are surrounding him. Hell, you saw those little tiffs he's already had with Unwerth and Nicanor. Right in front of us and everything," Cruise pointed out.

"So?"

"Come on, you're not in Candis anymore," Cruise said, shaking and zipping up.

"Do I look like I'm from Candis?" Feng said wryly, flushing the urinal and going back over to the sink to wash his hands

"You know what I mean," Cruise said, accompanying him. "You like those mafia movies, don't you? Honor, respect, family. If an Edomite's willing to call you out that way, in front of foreigners and strangers, it means something. Plus you know who else criticizes those terrible liberal nations, don't you? Nicanor." He shut off the sink and the two of them reentered the room.
Last edited by Hittanryan on Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
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Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:59 am

The Farm

"Right...come to think of it the eagles I saw in Ceti were a bit darker, this one's plumage is a bit more mottled too," Ober said, examining the Grand Duchess. "Any idea how your father took her? Did he bait her, flush her, or did he tell you?"

"He baited her with a moa carcass," explained Elijah. "Then built a hide and waited. Risky with one of those of course, they hav excellent eyesight and have been known to see through a blind if it is not properly constructed."

Rowan approached the Royal Griffon and looked up into its baleful eyes. "I imagine hunting a monster like this would be akin to hunting a grizzly bear or a big cat. Although I understand that the larger griffons and terror birds are critically endangered?"


"Papa always said it was like hunting any really large predator, a huge intelligent beast that will kill you if you do not treat them with wisdom and readiness," Mara offered. "Have you hunted such animals, Mr. President? I've only ever seen bears on television or at zoos...they look large and strong but rather slow and plump."

"That's correct, most of the big ones are. You cannot legally shoot a Royal Griffon at all unless you are a gamekeeper and the proper authorization is granted for it." Elijah said. "Haast's...well perhaps one every several years if it is old and mateless. Diatrymas, it depends on how they've been breeding. There will be a cull actually in about a year. That is to keep them from wandering, and it actually makes the flocks stronger."

"You should hear them," said Mara, glancing around. "Makes the blood curdle."

"That is true," said the King.

"Aren't we having bustard tonight?" asked Countess Camilla brightly.

Leslie was looking around the trophy room politely but a bit warily. She welcomed Camilla's distraction. "You know, I had bustard years ago for a big Fall Equinox dinner. Biggest bird I've ever seen, but after cooking it all darn day, it came out dry as a bone..."

"Oh, how sad," said Camilla. "Perhaps they should have cooked it in clay as we do, after hanging it for a week?"

"Terrible shame, ruining god's country that way," Ober replied to Mara, although his expression didn't seem to soften or change much. "Some things you just can't get back once they're gone."

"Awful sentimental for a big hunter," Snyder chided. "Sounded downright Green there."

"Nothing to do with it. Hunters are stewards of the land," Ober said matter-of-factly, looking at the King. "You, your father, and President Pahath-Moab knew that."


"Oh he truly did," Mara's eyes filled with tears. "You put it so beautifully, Mr. Ober. Perrin, he'd have liked you very much I think. What a pity you never met. He was always the most gracious host and he loved to hunt. He often would like to set challenges for himself, you see, hunting Crested Griffon without dogs or bait, just studying the game trails and their habits, receiving reports. It was part of his way of reminding himself he was mortal. And he would have agreed with you, and it is indeed a biblical principle, that we are stewards of the land."

"That all sounds great," Leslie said of the menu.

The Adirans all agreed that it was time for lunch and started making their way out to the patio. Rowan motioned for Snyder. They exchanged whispers gravely for a moment while walking until Rowan rejoined Leslie.

"Does everybody smoke here?" Leslie asked curiously. As they walked she said quietly to Mara "I didn't embarrass you did I? I'd just forgotten, you know..."


"A lot of people smoke," Mara agreed. "And please don't worry, I just often don't bother with the whole clothing thing when I'm alone with family and friends, I just find it is a bit more down to earth and well, as God intended, but I try not to push that on people."

Martin was still in a bit of a daze after Mara had nearly stripped down. Ober had to prompt him twice to move on.

"Do you need a drink, Mr. Martin?" asked Domris. "I find it is vital to keep hydrated."

Once outside, Rowan approached Elijah. "Before we eat with our wives and the others, sir, I want to be unambiguous about what Adiron wants, minus whatever philosophy we might have. I wonder if you wouldn't mind speaking a bit more in private for a moment before we start to relax," he said, motioning away from the group towards the edge of the patio, looking out over the estate.


"My dear, would you attend our guests a moment?" King Elijah asked Mara.

"Certainly," Mara said. She led them out onto a wide patio deck that was surrounded partly by a great rail of stonework with fluted columns, many comfortable well made wooden deck chairs with cushions on them, and a sheltered area where there was a huge barbecue, big enough for a restaurant, and a preparation table where a plucked empty pair of cranes were being neatly jointed, red looking lamb meat was being cubed, and two other birds, large as wild turkeys, had been joined and had their breasts being cut up and placed into bowls of herbs. Mounds of diced and chunked vegetables were yellow, green and pale green in the light.

Not far from there was a wet bar. The attendants were dark olive tanned Elwe wearing tunics and sandals, short neat hair for the men, bobbed squared hair for the women. Mrs. Goim watched them like a hawk.

King Elijah meanwhile led the President on a bit of a stroll. "Well, sir?"

Before them lay the view--rolling hills surrounding the lake country and the distant ancient ruin of the Old Palace. Thousands of capybaras waded off to the east.



Shiloam Palace

"Well, I can understand the apprehension. The future of your line is at stake," Ferrain said to Lalery. "I don't wish to pry further, but if I might make a suggestion, there are medical specialists you can consult. Women in Adiron are conceiving later and later, after all. A woman the Princess' age bearing children, it is not unheard of. Worth a try, if only for the sake of the bloodline."

"The Count here styles himself an expert on these matters of nobility," Cruise chided.

"I keep telling you, Alan, I can hardly call myself as such while our lands are under occupation," Ferrain replied curtly. "My family is properly speaking in exile and merely has a claim."

"Fine, if you had your lands, properly speaking, we'd be calling you Guy Ferrain, Comte de Duron," Cruise said, mispronouncing it badly and grinning to the group.

"Your French is terrible," Ferrain said drily.

"The ladies don't seem to mind," Cruise said with a grin.

"Calling your usual company 'ladies' gives them and you far too much credit," Ferrain replied.


The Edomites seemed amused by Cruise's comment.

"Well, perhaps the Imperium will return your title to you in due course, but would it be of much use in Adiron?" wondered Prince Enoch Tubal-Cain. "Monseigneur le Comte?"

"The success of that would depend greatly on whether or not the Imperium would be willing to live and let live with us," Cruise said, taking a drink. "The precedent doesn't seem promising so far, but the Opposition is entitled to its opinions."

"A masterstroke, then. Very fine work," Pendergast said approvingly. "With our own Greens having suffered a bruising loss at the polls, I hope that we can have equal success with our own energy policy. If Mr. Eddings makes too much of a fuss, I should think all the President has to do is call his bluff. The voters want less impractical Green protests, not more."

"Supporting environmental resilience isn't a bad idea," said Count Lalery, "But let's be honest, who other than cranks gives a two copper fuck about frogs and bugs? Your people, like ours, will care more about such issues if it is about them and how they live, and is about how it will make their lives better."

"Maybe they'd all rather live in grass huts like savages though." he seemed most amused.

"They might at that!" Pendergast said with a chuckle. "They have these absurd diets now, saying people were healthier thousands of years ago. Not only do they rely on modern grocery stores to maintain these diets, but they've completely left out the disease, parasites, and dirt that our ancestors suffered. I have to think our parents didn't fight for that kind of future for Ceti."


Lalery and a few others laughed, but Lalery seemed to be taking the lead. "Grubbing for worms and chasing predators off carrion. A beautiful picture of life stored to God's intention. Except clearly not."

"Clearly not," echoed General Ashdod. "When God has granted us stewardship over the Earth. Well said, sir," he said to Pendergrast.

"Then there's the fetishism for indigenous cultures," Pendergast said, waving a hand. "Folau immigrants I spoke to on the campaign trail all seemed very happy with the modern technology, economic opportunities, and standard of living that our society provides. They'd rather their people prospered even if it meant giving up some of the old ways."

Ferrain chimed in. "That's why they'll succeed while the Arvo will be reduced. Of course, the entire situation in the Diols could have, quite frankly, been avoided if the Imperium did not challenge all of our previous attempts to establish better security in the Ura Sea," he said bluntly.


Generally there had been nods and murmurs of agreement, but then Ferrain chimed in, and faces became grave and polite.

"There is every effort being made to deal fairly with the native peoples of Arcologia," said Lalery. "We have no desire to roll over anyone, brush anyone aside. Quite the contrary. As for our Imperial friends, they will support our efforts, you can be assured of that."

"Before Task Force 52, if so much as a corvette was found north of the Lesser Diols by Union patrols, they would report it immediately to Serrice. Then the Imperial Navy would demand our immediate withdrawal from the area with no negotiation. The Union's own naval patrols seemed more concerned with shaking down Confederate fishing trawlers than defending their coast, apprehending pirates, or halting the Arvo's expansion across the Lesser Diols. So the entire area was neglected and fell into chaos, which will now be longer and harder to clean up," he said with a sneer.

"Do you fault our allies for defending their sovereign interests?" said General Unwerth pleasantly but with cold eyes. "Do you blame them for being wary? And have we not been a bridge of good will and good faith in anti-piracy efforts?"

Fortner's expression grew grave as Lalery turned to the matter of Hesperinius' assassination. He turned to Olympia. "I did not realize who you were at first, Excellency. I did not know your husband except by reputation while he was in the Palisades, but you have my deepest condolences regardless. Terrible thing. I understand there is an investigation, and I hope that justice is served," he said to Olympia solemnly before looking more resolute. "However, my government is already working with yours to dismantle the group that claimed responsibility. We'll chase 'em clear out of Cornellia, don't worry," he said confidently.


"Thank you sir," said Olympia. "You are most kind...I am sorry, I did not intend..."

"It was I who reminded Mr. Fortner of the General's death," said Lalery. "I cannot help missing a man I loved so well, as you cannot," he said, patting her hand with a large powerful paw. "I would climb into Hell itself to bring to justice those who took his life and that of poor Ephraim." He glanced around the room.

"As would we all, I am sure," said Ashdod.

"If they were in Hell, would they not already have been brought to justice?" suggested Geta.

"You are a most passionate man, Count Lalery, but they will be," said Unwerth. "I was close to him too, I used to be his deputy commander."

Lalery said nothing.

When he got a chance, once Olympia was distracted by Pendergast, Fortner turned back to Lalery and spoke to him a bit quietly. "Speaking of, I spoke to the Attorney General and Director Vasquez before we left. We're doing what we can on our end, but we're frankly coming up short on Homofront leads on the attack, even with that recent intel bonanza. No changes in the accounts we had flagged around the time of the attack, no movements of people or supplies in the weeks prior, nothing. I mean we all saw the statements, but there should have been some kind of material ripple outside New Edom and Feminia that we could catch. Very puzzling, don't you think?"

"It's very puzzling," said Lalery. "However some wonder if perhaps it was done by another group which had nothing to do with Homofront, and Homofront, being the idiots they are, claimed the credit at the slightest opportunity. We do not lack for enemies. Thank you for doing this though, Mr. Fortner. I would like to speak further to you o this matter," he said, murmuring and speaking in English a moment.

Pendergast waved a hand and shook his head in good humor, keeping his gaze mostly on Olympia but turning occasionally to face them. "You gentlemen can laugh now, but I'm still on my feet, aren't I? Important to stay active, but you won't be able to keep up with your polo and football forever, and next thing you know you're never as good as you used to be. Meanwhile I'll have a spring in my step until I'm ninety, and at that age I'll have probably forgotten how good I used to be."

"Anyway, I look forward to it. In fact, you met my wife Martha? She'll probably be up for it. If we get one more we can have a doubles match," Pendergast said in a friendly way, smiling at Olympia.


Olympia was very embarrassed, remembering he was married, and suddenly looked very much her age--a mere girl of 20, no doubt as young or younger than the average intern or staffer to these people. Her eyes were wide and she said, "Oh yes, I was briefly introduced, but I would like to be again." she flashed her lovely smile.

"Mr. Pendergrast, I always worry that when a gentleman makes such confessions he is hiring a rare skill so that he can be truly impressive on the court," said Alazne Dain, her lovely eyes crinkling, her own smile lightening her normally melancholic features.

The young ladies seemed to have helped to lighten the mood a bit, and relaxation seemed to replace the earlier tension.

Cruise looked down as Nicanor touched him, but if it put him off balance at all he didn't show it. "Well, I can't very well just leave it there, can I?" he joked. "Gotta say, you folks over here sure know how to put out a spread. Back home for some small-time meetings you're lucky to get bad coffee and some storebought cookies. Hell, if Ober's running the thing you're lucky to get anything at all. You can ask Prince Enoch about that."


Prince Enoch Tubal-Cain smiled. "Mr. Ober was as hospitable and fair a host as I could have expected."

"An example of what?" said Lalery witheringly.

[i]The Adirans seemed to find themselves caught up in an argument again, Cruise frowning a bit and glancing over at Feng, Pendergast looking at the other Edomites with a smile. Fortner looked between the two of them. "At the risk of sounding like a Burnt Hills cowboy, Excellencies, them's fighting words where we come from."


"Oh I but jest. If I seem clumsy in manner, please excuse me. I am a simple peasant at heart, not like some of these fine gentlemen," chuckled NIcanor.

"The General exaggerates," said Elizabeth Corbulo. "He has a very sophisticated mind."

"Al and his people have said worse about me," Pendergast pointed out before glancing at Bailey. "Isn't that right, Secretary?"

"Only when you deserved it, John," Bailey said with a tight smile.


"Oho, I sense a story there!" guffawed Count Falk. "I love the back and forth...so witty."

"Perhaps you should start your siesta now," suggested Corbulo, wincing as he casually laid an arm across her shoulders, leaning on her heavily.

"All right, one caucus season's enough for this year," Cruise interjected.

"I don't know, given what happened last time, my chances don't seem all that bad," Pendergast said with an oddly mirthless smile. Cruise made eye contact with him. Pendergast's smile widened. "Oh, relax, Alan, you should see the look on your face!"

"Don't you start too," Fortner admonished them. "We can all be civil while quibbling about the hows and whys, right? Although I'll admit, Excellencies, that your politics are not our politics and perhaps I don't have the full picture."



"Oh, it's nice to meet you, Excellency. And it was a pleasure talking with you, Foreign Minister," she said, inclining her head to Geta. After he left, however, Desiree might have noticed an expression of relief cross Turner's face.

"You're Prince Enoch's wife, right? He's got a wonderful singing voice if you don't mind me saying," she said to Desiree before she asked about the Adiran guests.

"Well, to be honest they're usually all business, with a couple of exceptions. I had to explain to them that things work at a different pace here. You know, the hospitality, the ceremony, that sort of thing. I don't know if they'll get used to it necessarily, but things seem to be going all right so far," Turner said. As she said this, however, Fortner discreetly checked his watch.



"I am Prince Enoch's wife, yes, I'm Princess Desiree," said the other woman. "I think things will break up a bit now, you know, and you will find yourselves free to stroll the grounds, have a bit of a nap, that sort of thing. Prince Enoch is a good player and does sing well. I am very proud of him. I assume Mr. Geta was talking about your bosom? He can be a bit tiresome on that subject, but it is rather harmless. You do have a very nice pair, and that would attract him. Indeed, it would attract my husband if he did not already have a very satisfactory mistress and myself. I'm afraid I've always been a bit sub-par in that area."

Regardless of Gwen Turner's reply, she changed the subject, and murmured to her, "Are you interested in flowers, Miss Turner? Or art? Either is a fine subject of more private conversation. Did you notice all eyes on Count Lalery? He is quite the center of attention lately, my poor husband all but eclipsed...my husband is interested in both flowers and artwork. Do pass that on to anyone who might also be interested."

With that she drew away and said, "A pleasure to talk to you, my dear..."
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 8641
Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:06 pm

The Farm

The Adirans and the Edomites continued their conversations as they moved outdoors for lunch.

"Papa always said it was like hunting any really large predator, a huge intelligent beast that will kill you if you do not treat them with wisdom and readiness," Mara offered. "Have you hunted such animals, Mr. President? I've only ever seen bears on television or at zoos...they look large and strong but rather slow and plump."

Leslie actually giggled at Mara's suggestion that Rowan went on dangerous hunts, restraining herself and blushing with a hand over her mouth. Rowan smiled at her good-naturedly, and then spread his hands. "What you see before you, ma'am, is a lawyer. I don't have the stuff to stare down a grizzly or a griffon. My adventures have been limited to the courtroom and the campaign trail."

"You've probably seen the grizzlies up north catching salmon on the Solus River. A lot of footage shows them lumbering around, but as I understand bears are actually terribly fast, could be as fast as a griffon, isn't that right, Dale?"

"Fast enough," Ober replied. "Might be about the same. No way you'll outrun either of them, though, Mr. President."

"Reminds me of an old joke about two hikers from the city who go out into bear country," Rowan recalled. "Once they're kilometers away from anything, they turn a corner on the trail and stumble upon a bear cub who cries out. To their horror, they hear the mama grizzly roaring off to the other side of the trail. They start trying to back away but they see it rearing up, pounding the ground with its giant clawed paws, and then it charges them! With seconds to spare, one of the hikers suddenly kneels down and starts double-knotting his shoelaces."

"The second hiker says 'What are you doing? You can't outrun that bear!'"

"The first hiker says 'No, I can't,' but I can outrun you.'" The Adirans in the room all gave a bit of a chuckle.

"That's correct, most of the big ones are. You cannot legally shoot a Royal Griffon at all unless you are a gamekeeper and the proper authorization is granted for it." Elijah said. "Haast's...well perhaps one every several years if it is old and mateless. Diatrymas, it depends on how they've been breeding. There will be a cull actually in about a year. That is to keep them from wandering, and it actually makes the flocks stronger."

"You should hear them," said Mara, glancing around. "Makes the blood curdle."

"That is true," said the King.


"I've seen some documentaries. They truly look and sound prehistoric. Like something out of Cretaceous Park," Rowan said with a sense of wonder. "It's a shame that some species are dying out. Griffons are a symbol of New Edom, they're part of your family's heraldry and the nation's flag. One can only hope a bit of patriotic fervor might inject a bit of life into conservation efforts."

"Sounds like the Diatrymas must be doing all right if it's gotten to the point that you need a cull," Ober pointed out.

Martin had seemed to snap out of his stupor by now and was looking at his phone. "Says they're not true griffons though. Not phorusrhacids. They're mostly herbivores, right? More like parrots than griffons."

Martin then caught a disapproving look from Snyder. He looked puzzled, but she was clearly trying to indicate 'Stop correcting the King.'

"Do you need a drink, Mr. Martin?" asked Domris. "I find it is vital to keep hydrated."

"Yes, uh, yeah," he said, snapping out of it. "Maybe a soda or just a glass of water. It's hot out, isn't it?"

"Oh he truly did," Mara's eyes filled with tears. "You put it so beautifully, Mr. Ober. Perrin, he'd have liked you very much I think. What a pity you never met. He was always the most gracious host and he loved to hunt. He often would like to set challenges for himself, you see, hunting Crested Griffon without dogs or bait, just studying the game trails and their habits, receiving reports. It was part of his way of reminding himself he was mortal. And he would have agreed with you, and it is indeed a biblical principle, that we are stewards of the land."

"Oh, well, thank you very much ma'am," Ober said with a nod to her, before glancing over at the others. Snyder, who was facing away from Mara, frowned and beckoned him to say something else with a quick look in Mara's direction. The best Ober could come up with was "Truth be told, ma'am, I learned that from my dad."

Snyder rolled her eyes and said "The Chief of Staff walks the walk, too. Apparently he once hunted grizzly bears. President Pahath-Moab didn't really strike me as a thrill seeker though, but I guess I didn't know the man. In public he was almost always cool and collected, except when he gave that speech about playing ball. Did he worry about the risks?"

"My dear, would you attend our guests a moment?" King Elijah asked Mara.

"Certainly," Mara said. She led them out onto a wide patio deck that was surrounded partly by a great rail of stonework with fluted columns, many comfortable well made wooden deck chairs with cushions on them, and a sheltered area where there was a huge barbecue, big enough for a restaurant, and a preparation table where a plucked empty pair of cranes were being neatly jointed, red looking lamb meat was being cubed, and two other birds, large as wild turkeys, had been joined and had their breasts being cut up and placed into bowls of herbs. Mounds of diced and chunked vegetables were yellow, green and pale green in the light.

Not far from there was a wet bar. The attendants were dark olive tanned Elwe wearing tunics and sandals, short neat hair for the men, bobbed squared hair for the women. Mrs. Goim watched them like a hawk.

King Elijah meanwhile led the President on a bit of a stroll. "Well, sir?"

Before them lay the view--rolling hills surrounding the lake country and the distant ancient ruin of the Old Palace. Thousands of capybaras waded off to the east.


When Rowan and Elijah split off from the group, Rowan smiled at Leslie and said that he'd be right back, then gave a nod to Snyder. The others continued making small talk and making their way over to the food, although Snyder occasionally looked over in the direction that the King and the President went off in.

As they approached the edge of the patio, taking in the view, Rowan seemed to drop his earlier professorial political demeanor as well as the geniality he'd shown joking around in the trophy room and talking to Leslie. His expression was neutral, and he methodically listed off Adiron's demands and positions. "We're abandoning President DeGroot's demand for extradition entirely," he began bluntly. "The Imperium publicly indicated they would not negotiate further on this point. They can't save face if they back down now, so they won't, I think that's clear. They have instead promised an inquest into Dawes' activities based on the findings of Democratic Verification. We're willing to accept this, but in return we want our own observers to have access to the proceedings. Your allies are not known for transparency."

"Our chief demand now is demobilization; it's a direct reduction in the threat to our eastern border. Given your alliance, you are no doubt already aware of the disparity in numbers. You must also be aware that it is the Imperium which is most likely to make the first move and break the peace which you and your government wish to preserve as much as us," Rowan said, looking Elijah in the eye as he said this.

"We want demobilization of several divisions within Imperial Army Group West, including all artillery, aviation, air defense, and support units part of or attached to those divisions, not just the armor and infantry. We're willing to let the Imperium choose whether to demobilize two armored divisions and two mechanized divisions, one armored and five mechanized infantry divisions, or eight infantry divisions of any type. That is the minimum of what the War Department determined will bring the Adiran First Army and Army Group West closer to parity. We also want the deactivation of two full fighter wings, one ground attack wing, and one strategic bomber wing as well. There will need to be Adiran observers for this, and they will need to have sufficient access so that the Imperium cannot carry out its usual military deception operations. They will need accurate counts of vehicles, artillery pieces, aircraft, and all other relevant equipment, the precise details of which have been determined by the War Department. After reaching parity, if the Imperium demobilizes further units, Adiron will open discussions about matching them in turn, but before then, we must see these initial terms carried out."

"Our preference is for demobilization. It's a direct reduction in threat to our borders. If they refuse, then the land claims in the Palisades become key. As you said, it's a wasteland, valued for nothing but its strategic location," he agreed, before holding up a hand. "However, if the Imperium refuses demobilization, my government will need to anticipate, in the interests of the security and safety of our people, that the Imperium intends to resume hostilities in the near future. In that case, we want at minimum the western Palisades, including the four strategic passes on the Line of Control. This land transfer will provide a buffer for us and discourage the Imperium from taking further covert actions in the Palisades as they did last year."



Shiloam Palace

"Please, please, Excellency, there's no need for that, although you could certainly teach Alan a thing or two. The title, truth be told, was not of much actual use even in Old Ceti, much less Adiron. Most of East Ceti's old aristocracy is simply forgotten, and who could blame anyone, eh?" Ferrain said a bit ruefully. "Yet family is still family, and if you don't at least have that, what's left?"

"Supporting environmental resilience isn't a bad idea," said Count Lalery, "But let's be honest, who other than cranks gives a two copper fuck about frogs and bugs? Your people, like ours, will care more about such issues if it is about them and how they live, and is about how it will make their lives better."

Lalery and a few others laughed, but Lalery seemed to be taking the lead. "Grubbing for worms and chasing predators off carrion. A beautiful picture of life stored to God's intention. Except clearly not."

"Clearly not," echoed General Ashdod. "When God has granted us stewardship over the Earth. Well said, sir," he said to Pendergrast.


Cruise interjected at this point before he and Feng departed. "The President understands all of that, Excellency, and I can personally assure you that our coalition partners will as well, if they know what's good for them. Their new leadership is going to have to get serious. They don't have a choice."

"Do you fault our allies for defending their sovereign interests?" said General Unwerth pleasantly but with cold eyes. "Do you blame them for being wary? And have we not been a bridge of good will and good faith in anti-piracy efforts?"

Fortner watched the exchange between Ferrain and Unwerth with apprehension, eyes flitting back and forth between the two men. Unwerth was an intimidating figure in person, to be sure. Unlike the rest of Rowan's staff, however, who were mostly lawyers, civil servants, and former politicians, however, Ferrain was a fairly tall, solidly-built military man. He looked Unwerth in the eye with a clear expression.

"I fault your allies for being inflexible and indifferent to the situation in the Ura Sea," Ferrain replied coolly. "And your nation's efforts only prove my point. Is it not true, after all, that the Union required New Edom's aid to make some progress against its rampant corruption, unrest, and squalor? I believe I overheard your own son, General, played a valiant part in that effort. Admiral Esarhaddon has done more to protect the Union's coast from the Arvo in a few months than the Imperium did in two years. Your government, your very ministry and even your own flesh and blood did that, not the Imperium, despite them being closer and larger," he declared, making a few motions towards Unwerth.

"Guy..." Fortner cautioned him.

"I am simply stating fact: the Curia was negligent and bitter at their defeat four years ago. They failed to address it themselves, and yet they prevented us from doing so. Many have needlessly paid for it with their lives and suffered greatly as a result, to say nothing of the economic losses. It appalls me," he said with a frown.

Bailey ended up attempting to play peacemaker. "Well, General, that's what I was discussing with the President," she said, motioning to Nicanor. "We hope that through greater international cooperation through the CPO, we can finish what our two governments have started in the Ura Sea. Without rolling over anyone, as you say, Excellency," she said, motioning to Lalery.

"Thank you sir," said Olympia. "You are most kind...I am sorry, I did not intend..."

"It was I who reminded Mr. Fortner of the General's death," said Lalery. "I cannot help missing a man I loved so well, as you cannot," he said, patting her hand with a large powerful paw. "I would climb into Hell itself to bring to justice those who took his life and that of poor Ephraim." He glanced around the room.

"As would we all, I am sure," said Ashdod.

"If they were in Hell, would they not already have been brought to justice?" suggested Geta.

"You are a most passionate man, Count Lalery, but they will be," said Unwerth. "I was close to him too, I used to be his deputy commander."

Lalery said nothing.


Fortner watched this exchange with some interest, but said nothing for the time being.

"It's very puzzling," said Lalery. "However some wonder if perhaps it was done by another group which had nothing to do with Homofront, and Homofront, being the idiots they are, claimed the credit at the slightest opportunity. We do not lack for enemies. Thank you for doing this though, Mr. Fortner. I would like to speak further to you o this matter," he said, murmuring and speaking in English a moment.

Fortner nodded and said in English "Very well, it should be me, you, and...let's say Cruise. When and where? Perhaps now when we break?"

Olympia was very embarrassed, remembering he was married, and suddenly looked very much her age--a mere girl of 20, no doubt as young or younger than the average intern or staffer to these people. Her eyes were wide and she said, "Oh yes, I was briefly introduced, but I would like to be again." she flashed her lovely smile.

"Mr. Pendergrast, I always worry that when a gentleman makes such confessions he is hiring a rare skill so that he can be truly impressive on the court," said Alazne Dain, her lovely eyes crinkling, her own smile lightening her normally melancholic features.

The young ladies seemed to have helped to lighten the mood a bit, and relaxation seemed to replace the earlier tension.


"You've got his number, Lady Dain," Fortner interjected, pointing to Pendergast having finished his brief talk with Lalery. "That's how he gets you. John here's a born hustler. Truth is he's been playing longer than you've been alive."

Dismissing Fortner with a wave, Pendergast said "Pay the Secretary no mind. He's just bitter that I may have shown him a thing or two on the court."

"And got a lunch out of me," Fortner added.

"It's not like I ordered the filet mignon," Pendergast protested.

Ignoring him, Fortner continued. "Neither of you girls strike me as the betting type, but I'm warning you, don't let him talk you into wagering anything."

At that point Fortner's girlfriend Michelle sidled up next to him, an empty plate in hand. "Paul, you're not still going on about that, are you? Oh, Countess, have you been here this whole time?" she asked.

"Oh I but jest. If I seem clumsy in manner, please excuse me. I am a simple peasant at heart, not like some of these fine gentlemen," chuckled NIcanor.

"The General exaggerates," said Elizabeth Corbulo. "He has a very sophisticated mind."


"Ah, just as our own President is merely a simple country lawyer," Pendergast said in jest.

"He is a country lawyer, he grew up on a farm," Fortner reminded him.

"And went to school and practiced law in the capital his whole adult life," Pendergast countered. "We Adirans can be such terrible hypocrites. We prefer our leaders to be able to relate to the common people, yet nobody really wants an amateur in charge. Otherwise, god help us, Troy Donahue might be President now."

Fortner snorted and Ferrain made a sign against evil.

"Oho, I sense a story there!" guffawed Count Falk. "I love the back and forth...so witty."

"Perhaps you should start your siesta now," suggested Corbulo, wincing as he casually laid an arm across her shoulders, leaning on her heavily.


Cruise and Feng were just returning from the restroom at this point, but things were starting to break up. Before everyone started to part ways, Cruise took the chance to say "Well, Excellencies, we thank you all very much for your hospitality. Over here you have clearly mastered the three martini lunch."

"And of course it was a pleasure to get to know all of you fine ladies and gentlemen a bit better," Pendergast added.

"Of course," Cruise said.

"I am Prince Enoch's wife, yes, I'm Princess Desiree," said the other woman. "I think things will break up a bit now, you know, and you will find yourselves free to stroll the grounds, have a bit of a nap, that sort of thing. Prince Enoch is a good player and does sing well. I am very proud of him. I assume Mr. Geta was talking about your bosom? He can be a bit tiresome on that subject, but it is rather harmless. You do have a very nice pair, and that would attract him. Indeed, it would attract my husband if he did not already have a very satisfactory mistress and myself. I'm afraid I've always been a bit sub-par in that area."

Turner flushed and tried to adjust herself, eventually crossing her arms again. 'Is it cold in here or something and I didn't notice? No buttons on this dress to miss...why's everyone noticing and calling attention to my chest?'

"I must say, Excellency..." she said, fumbling for a moment, "I get that it might not be as big of a deal here in New Edom, but I'm really not used to people talking about my body that way. Wait, did you say mistress?"

Regardless of Gwen Turner's reply, she changed the subject, and murmured to her, "Are you interested in flowers, Miss Turner? Or art? Either is a fine subject of more private conversation. Did you notice all eyes on Count Lalery? He is quite the center of attention lately, my poor husband all but eclipsed...my husband is interested in both flowers and artwork. Do pass that on to anyone who might also be interested."

Relieved to be off the subject of her bosom, Turner said "Oh, no, Excellency, your husband was a big help in planning this whole visit. He met with the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff and even the Secretary of State." Yet Desiree seemed to be driving at a different point entirely and slinked off as quickly as she could, leaving Turner a bit dumbfounded as the lunch started to break up.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
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Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:12 pm

The Farm

"I think you would have at least respected one another, Mr. Ober. Perrin felt very much the same way, Miss Snyder. Perrin Pahath-Moab," said Mara to Ober and Snyder before the company went to the patio, "Was a great eagle among men. His like is seldom seen. He knew the danger, and faced it himself so that he would never be accused of personal cowardice. He was the liberator of Harbourtown in the First Civil War. But then most of you did not know him as I did. You did not know that he was a lover of music and a good guitar player. He loved his dog Rover. He knew what he was doing." There was a soft expression on Mara's face as she said all this, her mouth smiling, her eyes wistful and distant a moment. Then it passed, and she was all hospitality.

The joke definitely broke the ice again. The Edomites generally laughed at this, Camilla exclaiming "How awful!" but giggling, while the King smiled briefly like a tired man smiling at the antics of a kitten.

Mara exclaimed, "Oh, that's funny! That reminds me of a joke Papa once told me: One man says to another, “it is said that Dame Fortune knocks on everyone's door!” The other replies, “no, it was her daughter, Miss Fortune, who visited me.”"


When Rowan and Elijah split off from the group, Rowan smiled at Leslie and said that he'd be right back, then gave a nod to Snyder. The others continued making small talk and making their way over to the food, although Snyder occasionally looked over in the direction that the King and the President went off in.


Mara, as everyone got settled, was interested in following up conversation that had begun before Rowan and Elijah left. She sat down near Leslie but included others, looking around at them with her large, dark, imaginative eyes. "I'm curious about something. The President is such an interesting man...perhaps because he would be an unusual man here. He is clearly loved, clearly has loyalty, and admiration, and yet...we hear when we see Adiran television and movies, such a mixed sense of whether or not lawyers are admired in your culture. With all the veteran soldiers, financiers and philanthropists who are so often on any ticket, why Mr. Rowan? Oh, your love for him is clear to see...are there fond laughs without such love/" Mara smiled at her, feeling an ache of envy. "But I would like to know--would each of you be kind enough to share a moment of nostalgia, perhaps share an anecdote of meeting him?"



As they approached the edge of the patio, taking in the view, Rowan seemed to drop his earlier professorial political demeanor as well as the geniality he'd shown joking around in the trophy room and talking to Leslie. His expression was neutral, and he methodically listed off Adiron's demands and positions. "We're abandoning President DeGroot's demand for extradition entirely," he began bluntly. "The Imperium publicly indicated they would not negotiate further on this point. They can't save face if they back down now, so they won't, I think that's clear. They have instead promised an inquest into Dawes' activities based on the findings of Democratic Verification. We're willing to accept this, but in return we want our own observers to have access to the proceedings. Your allies are not known for transparency."

"And Democratic Verification LLC works for their employer," said King Elijah. "That may be an impasse. It may be preferable to have an agreement about any furhter actions. Your nations are enemies, after all, and there is much at stake. It may be preferable to have greater control on both sides on the circumstances of the conflict. Rules of engagement."

"Our chief demand now is demobilization; it's a direct reduction in the threat to our eastern border. Given your alliance, you are no doubt already aware of the disparity in numbers. You must also be aware that it is the Imperium which is most likely to make the first move and break the peace which you and your government wish to preserve as much as us," Rowan said, looking Elijah in the eye as he said this.

"We want demobilization of several divisions within Imperial Army Group West, including all artillery, aviation, air defense, and support units part of or attached to those divisions, not just the armor and infantry. We're willing to let the Imperium choose whether to demobilize two armored divisions and two mechanized divisions, one armored and five mechanized infantry divisions, or eight infantry divisions of any type. That is the minimum of what the War Department determined will bring the Adiran First Army and Army Group West closer to parity. We also want the deactivation of two full fighter wings, one ground attack wing, and one strategic bomber wing as well. There will need to be Adiran observers for this, and they will need to have sufficient access so that the Imperium cannot carry out its usual military deception operations. They will need accurate counts of vehicles, artillery pieces, aircraft, and all other relevant equipment, the precise details of which have been determined by the War Department. After reaching parity, if the Imperium demobilizes further units, Adiron will open discussions about matching them in turn, but before then, we must see these initial terms carried out."


King Elijah said, "They will want demobilization too, to mirror this proportionally at least. Let us be frank, Mr. President, your drone technology and preponderance even things out. I have read the reports of the air to air and ground to air battles. Though I have not read those of your people yet, of course. Furthermore, they will want some means of being able to detect violations of their airspace and respond to such violations within reasonable range. Your drones can often evade detection within enough range to paint targets, gain intelligence or even engage in surgical strikes. I have read the reports from the New Othman invasion of Lazodiria."


"Our preference is for demobilization. It's a direct reduction in threat to our borders. If they refuse, then the land claims in the Palisades become key. As you said, it's a wasteland, valued for nothing but its strategic location," he agreed, before holding up a hand. "However, if the Imperium refuses demobilization, my government will need to anticipate, in the interests of the security and safety of our people, that the Imperium intends to resume hostilities in the near future. In that case, we want at minimum the western Palisades, including the four strategic passes on the Line of Control. This land transfer will provide a buffer for us and discourage the Imperium from taking further covert actions in the Palisades as they did last year."


"So demobilization or the Western Palisades?" said King Elijah. "I take it you have discussed this with your advisors already?"



Shiloam Palace

Cruise interjected at this point before he and Feng departed. "The President understands all of that, Excellency, and I can personally assure you that our coalition partners will as well, if they know what's good for them. Their new leadership is going to have to get serious. They don't have a choice."

Fortner watched the exchange between Ferrain and Unwerth with apprehension, eyes flitting back and forth between the two men. Unwerth was an intimidating figure in person, to be sure. Unlike the rest of Rowan's staff, however, who were mostly lawyers, civil servants, and former politicians, however, Ferrain was a fairly tall, solidly-built military man. He looked Unwerth in the eye with a clear expression.

"I fault your allies for being inflexible and indifferent to the situation in the Ura Sea," Ferrain replied coolly. "And your nation's efforts only prove my point. Is it not true, after all, that the Union required New Edom's aid to make some progress against its rampant corruption, unrest, and squalor? I believe I overheard your own son, General, played a valiant part in that effort. Admiral Esarhaddon has done more to protect the Union's coast from the Arvo in a few months than the Imperium did in two years. Your government, your very ministry and even your own flesh and blood did that, not the Imperium, despite them being closer and larger," he declared, making a few motions towards Unwerth.

"Guy..." Fortner cautioned him.

"I am simply stating fact: the Curia was negligent and bitter at their defeat four years ago. They failed to address it themselves, and yet they prevented us from doing so. Many have needlessly paid for it with their lives and suffered greatly as a result, to say nothing of the economic losses. It appalls me," he said with a frown.


Unwerth's eyes did not lose their coldness, but he inclined his head politely. "You both flatter us and insult our allies in the same phrases, General Ferrain. You might almost be a Baran." There were a few uneasy laughs among the Edomites present, though Lalery and Nicanor merely smiled and did not laugh. Unwerth went on, "Our allies were unable to act in those circumstances, that is why they asked for our help. There is no shame in this. In other circumstances before even being asked the Imperium rushed to our aid. For instance during the Third Civil War, they helped us regain Harbourtown. They acted to prevent Jedoria from building up excessively in Peregrino, and supported our expedition to Ashab. It is not their fault that they are not as good at jungle warfare as we are. They have other strengths. You mention my son, General, but my son has nothing ill to say about the Imperium."


Bailey ended up attempting to play peacemaker. "Well, General, that's what I was discussing with the President," she said, motioning to Nicanor. "We hope that through greater international cooperation through the CPO, we can finish what our two governments have started in the Ura Sea. Without rolling over anyone, as you say, Excellency," she said, motioning to Lalery.

"Right Madame Secretary! That's the important thing!" boomed Nicanor. "Eh, Johnny?" he slapped Unwerth on the back.

"Indeed. Sir." Unwerth was very polite to him, inclining his head. Only an expert in Baran culture would notice that this exaggerated bow was disdainful. Allies or not, Unwerth looked down on the commoners, Nicanor and Augrim, whom he was forced to ally himself with. "Yes, that is how it should be...but we have made too many demands upon all of you, and rest must follow repast."


At that point Fortner's girlfriend Michelle sidled up next to him, an empty plate in hand. "Paul, you're not still going on about that, are you? Oh, Countess, have you been here this whole time?" she asked.


The conversation had been getting by turns heavy and awkward, and so Michelle brought a welcome relief.

"No, I just got here, but I'm going for a little rest I think now," Olympia said, putting a hand on her wrist a moment in a friendly way. "Would you care to accompany us and lounge with the ladies or is this a nice excuse to be with your man?"

Pendergrast, to her great admiration, brought everything together with his personal joke and jab at Donohue, and everyone laughed. Cruise demonstrated his versatility by a farewell that led to several minutes of the Edomites generally bowing, begging the Adirans to stay with Enoch helping out anyone of the Adirans who might be confused at this but urging that they permit their guests to relax a bit. "As my father used to say, we need to go have a nap so these people can leave," he said.

Turner flushed and tried to adjust herself, eventually crossing her arms again.

"I must say, Excellency..." she said, fumbling for a moment, "I get that it might not be as big of a deal here in New Edom, but I'm really not used to people talking about my body that way. Wait, did you say mistress?"


Desiree was surprised by the first comment, but looked at Turner with a kindly expression, but then to her relief an easier topic came up. "Yes, of course as you know, most men in positions of authority have a mistress, with some exceptions. Less pressure on the wife, you can focus on the important things in the marriage while the gentleman blows off some steam, far better than any conniving serving girl or whore getting in the way, yes?"

Relieved to be off the subject of her bosom, Turner said "Oh, no, Excellency, your husband was a big help in planning this whole visit. He met with the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff and even the Secretary of State." Yet Desiree seemed to be driving at a different point entirely and slinked off as quickly as she could, leaving Turner a bit dumbfounded as the lunch started to break up.

Prince Enoch Tubal-Cain as discreetly as he could tried to arrange to meet between himself, Lalery, Cruise and Fortner in Lalery's comfortable sitting room, which had a warm feeling to it with its sandy wooden floor, orange cushioned chairs and light blue painted walls. There were a few paintings in the room. One was of Princess Caroline Zuria in an evening gown sitting in a chair looking elegant and sweet featured; one was of General Hesperinus in a dress uniform staring off into the distance; one was of a monastery set against a vivid blue cloud sprinkled sky. Lalery began by saying, "Gentlemen: the King is going to be asking the President what he really wants. The rest of the conference is details. I'm sure you're aware. And I get the impression that for you it is the same as for us: our job is to make sure the King gets what he wants. We are concerned about the means, the method, not the what. You probably have questions for me: I have some for you. What would happen within your party if you didn't get extradition? Would another approach keep them in line?"
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
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Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:43 pm

The Farm

Mara, as everyone got settled, was interested in following up conversation that had begun before Rowan and Elijah left. She sat down near Leslie but included others, looking around at them with her large, dark, imaginative eyes. "I'm curious about something. The President is such an interesting man...perhaps because he would be an unusual man here. He is clearly loved, clearly has loyalty, and admiration, and yet...we hear when we see Adiran television and movies, such a mixed sense of whether or not lawyers are admired in your culture. With all the veteran soldiers, financiers and philanthropists who are so often on any ticket, why Mr. Rowan? Oh, your love for him is clear to see...are there fond laughs without such love/" Mara smiled at her, feeling an ache of envy. "But I would like to know--would each of you be kind enough to share a moment of nostalgia, perhaps share an anecdote of meeting him?"

"Average people don't understand the law, ma'am," Snyder said bluntly. "It's too complicated. It's a different language and only lawyers speak it. So people see lawyers working and they think they're just tricking people. Sometimes they see lawyers defending someone they don't like and they think they're mercenaries with no morals. The truth is our government, maybe even our whole country, wouldn't work without them."

"I mean I'll be honest, if you want to know when I first met George, I thought the same thing about him," Leslie said. Snyder raised an eyebrow, and Leslie looked back at Mara. "I know you're probably hoping for a cute story like in the movies, but we honestly didn't hit it off right away, we really didn't."

"When I first met George we were in campus Social Democrats, way back in the early nineties, right around the '91 election," she recalled. As she told the story she was expressive, both in her face and gesturing with her hands. "He was starting law school, I was an art student. I didn't even notice him until a few meetings in, when I first saw him I thought he was a total nerd," she said, chuckling a bit. "He wasn't polished like he is now. He stammered, he couldn't really keep people from interrupting him, and, to top it all off, we didn't see eye to eye at first politically," she said with a smile.

"But then we lost the election," Leslie said a bit sadly. "I just didn't understand at the time. Those other parties I thought were our friends turned their backs on the President, after all she'd done for them and for Adiron. The SDP was in total disarray, and we all knew it. We didn't know at the time but we wouldn't win again for almost fifteen years. The Liberals started tearing everything down. I was ready to give up. I stopped going to the meetings."

"Then I ran into George again a little while later at a bus stop. He asked why I had stopped going, and we start talking. We go over to a coffee shop on campus to talk about things and before we know it they're telling us they're closing."

"We mostly talked about the election. We hashed out our disagreement in the campus SDP...oh, he could explain it all better than I can, but there were these new parties that had come along. I was in the group who wanted to make nice since we already agreed on a lot of things anyway. What was the difference? I wanted to protect the environment like the Greens and try to help the poor like the Populists."

"George was one of those warning all of us that these new parties were not gonna play nice, that they really did want different things, played by different rules, they weren't coming back, and not only were they not going to listen to us, but they didn't care if we won or lost and would drag President Ridgeway down with them," she explained, a bit haltingly, thinking of things as they came. "At that time in my life, well, to me that sounded awfully cynical, like all he cared about was power. I thought he just didn't seem to have any heart, but not only did he turn out to be right, but I'd misjudged him."

"Once we had a chance to talk one-on-one, not in loud meetings where everyone was talking at once and vying for attention, I realized he really did care about all of the issues. Not only did he know more than me, but he might've felt even more strongly about it than I did. He had thought it all through, and now that we were sitting down and talking he had a chance to really explain it all. I guess that was the first time I really met my future husband," she said, her eyes softening.

"So that's how it started out, as friends," she said. "I got back into the campus SDP for a while, until I left school. I helped him on his public speaking, condensing things down to simpler terms, projecting better, getting him to talk a bit more, you know, human, not just legal speak. He taught me more of the nuts and bolts, the technical side."

"We start hanging out more. Not just at the campus clubs. I think we went to three movies before I realized they were supposed to be dates. He was too shy to make the first move," she said with affection. "He hadn't had many girlfriends before and things were a bit more...formal with them. I guess I wanted to see where it was all going, so I coaxed him in the right direction. Things started happening, and then...we were together," she explained with a smile.



Rowan raised his eyebrows at Elijah's suggestion. "Yes, I have discussed the matter with my advisors, and the War Department put out a rather extensive report on the matter. Our drones are an essential component of our defensive strategy. Without air power, the disparity in ground forces last year would have been insurmountable. The Imperial Army may very well have achieved a breakthrough, after which point our settlement would have likely been impossible as the Curia would have sought to press its advantage. We would be at war right now, most likely."

"The Imperial border already has integrated air defenses fully capable of detecting and repelling all but a dedicated air campaign on our part, which would only happen in the event of open warfare. If you have indeed read the reports, then you know that even small, stealthy aircraft cannot penetrate their air defenses with impunity," Rowan continued. "You would also note that our drones perform poorly in an offensive air-to-air role. They are vulnerable to Imperial fighters, and the Imperial Air Force has, unless I miss my mark, one of if not the largest fighter forces in all of Cornellia."

"If we reduce our forces proportionally right from the start, the situation for us remains the same. No, the Imperium must materially stand down from its current posture before we reduce our defenses. That is our demand for now," Rowan said definitively, looking Elijah in the eye. "According to my advisors, what we can offer, should the Imperium bring it up, is to move a number of units to a lower state of readiness while their initial demobilization is underway. Army Group West will be able to observe this for themselves on their own instruments; fewer aircraft on radar, less radio chatter, that sort of thing. In this state, First Army will retain its strength to quickly defend the border if needs be, but will be in a poor position to conduct a surprise offensive, if that is what the Curia is concerned about. Right now, by contrast, both sides are like bows drawn to their full weight."



Shiloam Palace

With the situation between Ferrain and Unwerth partially defused and largely deflected by others, the lunch broke up properly. For a moment Cruise thought the Edomites were in fact protesting his farewell. He was wondering how much longer they would all be trapped there when Enoch explained the ritual to him.

Eventually Turner grasped what Desiree was talking about, and as they adjourned she one by one started letting the Adirans know: 'If Lalery is busy and you need to speak to him, Prince Enoch will work as a go-between.'

"No, I just got here, but I'm going for a little rest I think now," Olympia said, putting a hand on her wrist a moment in a friendly way. "Would you care to accompany us and lounge with the ladies or is this a nice excuse to be with your man?"

Michelle glanced back at Fortner, who said "You're not going to miss anything. I've got some calls to make, work to do. Go ahead."

"All right," she said with a smile, joining Olympia and Alazne afterwards, but not before finding a discreet corner and leaning up and kissing Fortner briefly.

Pendergast retired briefly with Martha. He had just finished speaking to his aides while she drank a glass of wine that she ordered in. "I couldn't get a word in edgewise," Martha was saying rather bitterly as he entered their room. "She was always right next to the Queen, chattering away, making sure I knew my place."

"All right, I doubt the First Lady has any idea what she's really doing," he said rather dismissively.

"Oh she knows it all right," Martha retorted. "Just because she's some flower child from Wolbach doesn't mean she doesn't know she's First Lady now and I'm not. And you know she's laughing about how much I'm standing out among all these twentysomethings."

"Well, we'll see how much they're laughing in a year or two..." Pendergast said.

Bailey reconnoitered with her secretary Anne, who had some updates for her. Eventually she retired to make some calls back to both the State Department and the Labor Department to give an account of the meetings so far. She seemed to focus especially on the attitudes of the Edomites towards human rights, specifically how dismissive they seemed.

Feng and Ferrain both withdrew after lunch to make a series of calls back home, mostly just to check in on business begun before they left. Both of them eventually found Turner and bombarded her with questions on what the Edomites may or may not have meant in their interactions with them.

Prince Enoch Tubal-Cain as discreetly as he could tried to arrange to meet between himself, Lalery, Cruise and Fortner in Lalery's comfortable sitting room, which had a warm feeling to it with its sandy wooden floor, orange cushioned chairs and light blue painted walls. There were a few paintings in the room. One was of Princess Caroline Zuria in an evening gown sitting in a chair looking elegant and sweet featured; one was of General Hesperinus in a dress uniform staring off into the distance; one was of a monastery set against a vivid blue cloud sprinkled sky. Lalery began by saying, "Gentlemen: the King is going to be asking the President what he really wants. The rest of the conference is details. I'm sure you're aware. And I get the impression that for you it is the same as for us: our job is to make sure the King gets what he wants. We are concerned about the means, the method, not the what. You probably have questions for me: I have some for you. What would happen within your party if you didn't get extradition? Would another approach keep them in line?"

Fortner and Cruise found Enoch and Lalery, informing the President's staff but not any of the other Cabinet Secretaries present. They glanced around the room with a bit of curiosity but quickly got down to business as quickly as Lalery allowed.

Cruise replied to Lalery first. "Extradition was always a long shot, and the Imps rejected it. I don't know if they told you they were going to and I don't really care; as long as we get something else on security instead, then we ought to be fine. The President ran on that, and he'll have delivered. Not even the Opposition could really work with that, though it won't stop them from trying," Cruise said casually. Lalery might or might not have been able to tell, but Cruise was greatly relieved to get down to business. "If the Imps tell us to get bent and refuse to consider other terms, then we're going to have a problem. The deal will look less like a negotiation and more like a shakedown. They make all the demands and refuse all of ours, all while a shitload of their tanks stand poised on our border? We can't have that, least of all when they struck first and when trade concessions will cost us jobs in a bad economy. They have to give us something."

"Our Assembly majority's a bit thin," Fortner added. "If the President abandons his promises he will lose the defense establishment, the unions, and probably the left, not to mention a good number of moderates who just want our borders secure. Any one of those are enough to seriously endanger our majority and with it the Presidency."

"And if we lose, your government rolls the dice in a snap election," Cruise pointed out. "Our party could swing left, blow up our trade deals, take a hard line on social justice, turn the fight with the Imperium even more ideological. Or the SDP could see a backlash against a national humiliation, get a hawk like Cole in. Your government wouldn't want to try to have these talks with him, I promise you," he said rather darkly. "Not even the Liberals can just roll over for the Imps, despite their rhetoric. Isolationism's a luxury they need to earn; they can't ignore security. Not only that, the Liberal base is getting frustrated with status quo. A Liberal President will have to prove himself."
Last edited by Hittanryan on Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Arbites
Ambassador
 
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Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Corporate Police State

Postby Arbites » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:36 pm

Illiers

The fallout from the incident in Illiers was hushed yet immediate. Any mention of Jackson’s confession was expunged from state media. There was some confusion at this.

Raymond Price was the editor of the Illiers Herald. He had a long face and forehead topped by a graying widow’s peak. In his office he was chatting to his deputy editor, the portly Lewis Bell, about the current issue and the shape of a new secretary’s hips when they were interrupted by a phone call from Price’s personal receptionist.

“There’s someone here from Interior,” the secretary explained.

Price’s face fell. “Who is he? What does he want?”

“Didn’t give his name, all he said was that he was going to speak with you about the Jackson story. He’s already on his way up."

Price hung up and looked at Bell. Pointing to a folder, he said, “Get me a copy of that story.” Bell did so and Price scanned through it as quickly as he could. “I don’t get it, what’s the problem? It was all done by a bishop, wasn’t it?”

“A public display of piety by a wealthy man, showing solidarity with his brothers, just as we wrote,” Bell said, nodding.

“What’s wrong with that?” Price asked, glancing at the story and gesturing.

“Nothing,” Bell agreed.

Price’s door suddenly opened. The two media men turned and saw a suited man of average height with brown hair in a crew cut. He had blue eyes that didn’t seem to blink or wander in the slightest. The man looked directly at Price and said “Mr. Price?”

“Yes?” he asked.

“I’m here from the Interior Office for Roncevalles. I have some questions about a recent story, as I’m sure your receptionist informed you?” The man didn’t blink and didn’t acknowledge Bell.

Price bristled a bit but felt his courage disappear under the man’s gaze. “She did, although she only mentioned the story and the Interior Office, not who you represent or even your name, Mr….?”

“James will do. May we speak privately?” the man asked, not looking at Bell.

Price nodded and Bell left the room a bit apprehensively, looking back as the door to the office shut. James continued “I am here as a representative for the Order. The Roncevalles Office was contacted directly by influential parties who want to know exactly how this Jackson affair will be covered. May I see the story?”

“Of course,” Price said, handing it over.

As James’ eyes flitted back and forth, his expression didn’t change but he made a few gestures, a few shakes of his head, an occasional grimace, and a silent look back up at Price that he couldn’t help but feel unnerved at. James then pulled out a red pen and began crossing out lines. “This story needs to be pulled, now,” James concluded.

“What? I don’t understand,” Price said.

“All you need to understand is that the following corrections must be made before going into print,” James said, handing it back to Price with a paragraph and a number of other words blotted out in red.

“It’s already in print,” Price said, taking it back and setting it down.

“Then stop printing and pull the papers,” James said without missing a beat.

“I can do that, but the first of them have already shipped,” Price replied.

“Then stop the trucks,” James said, patience thinning.

“The trucks? I’m an editor, I don’t even know who drives them,” Price protested feebly.

“Then find out. Make calls, do whatever you have to. I will remain here until it is done,” James replied with a hard look.

“Wait, so what of this bishop? Was this not sanctioned by the church?”

“Mr. Price, nothing happens in this Imperium without the church’s sanction,” James reminded him pointedly. “But there must be no confusion in this affair, as it concerns the national economy which is already at risk. Panic must be avoided. Your staff has apparently used unreliable sources, as evidenced here,” he said, tapping the copy of the story. “That is what I am here for.”



The turmoil was indicative of disagreements within the church. Archbishop Vachon was the man in charge of the Illiers Metropolitan Archdiocese. Corpulent and normally mostly placid, Vachon was largely content to spend his time on his estate and busying himself with the vineyards there, sampling its output liberally. No one expected Vachon to show up at the Illiers Cathedral, giving a few smiles and blessings to onlookers before his expression settled into a scowl. By the time he reached Fournier’s quarters, he was red-faced, and began the meeting by shouting "What in the Emperor's name have you done?!"

Fournier stood resolutely. "Your Grace, what I have done is resolve a dangerous situation without bloodshed."

Vachon was unimpressed. "You sided with a mob that surrounded Mr. Jackson's house! In all my years...you ought to be defrocked just to make an example, you and perhaps your entire diocese!"

"For what?" Fournier asked, indignant.

"Do you not understand what you've done? If this gets out, which Emperor willing it won't, you will have demonstrated that mobs may extort businessowners--with church sanction, no less! Your actions fall just short of heresy! Do you understand? Heresy!" Vachon barked, before snapping his fingers at an acolyte to bring him something to drink.

"What heresy?" Fournier replied adamantly, spreading his hands. "The mob you referred to was not a mob. It was peaceful. The police were under direct instruction from me to disperse the crowd the moment they attempted to harm Jackson, his family, or his property. You may speak to Captain St. Jean, he and his men will attest to this under holy oath. Jackson's safety was guaranteed, there was no extortion."

“I will not debate this. You overstepped your authority and perverted the rite of confession,” the archbishop said pointedly. "You know the proper sacraments. Instead you made Jackson parade himself in public. How do you explain that?"

"His sins were already public," Fournier explained, spreading his hands. "This was not a private matter such as drink or lust, nor was it a petty feud with another man. His sins impacted thousands, not just his employees but their wives and children as well. They were already known to all. Your Grace, you know that it is written that where a man's sins give offense to his entire village, that he must confess before them."

At this point an acolyte had brought Vachon a glass. The rotund man took a sip and immediately looked dismayed before glaring at the acolyte. “Do not speak to me of what is written. Why was I not contacted?” he asked.

“Your Grace, this required swift action. Had I delayed, the crowd only would have grown. There would be no managing the publicity, no accounting for agitators who may have provoked the crowd to violence. Time was of the essence, or the opportunity to mediate and negotiate may have been lost.”

“So with so little time, no warning, you also knew right away what you would do with Jackson?” Vachon asked skeptically.

“I had to make a quick decision, Your Grace. I prayed to the Emperor to guide my hand and words,” Fournier replied solemnly.

“And He told you to shame a prominent Imperial subject, strip him of his wealth, and make a public spectacle which the Church would bear the brunt of?” Vachon asked incredulously.

Fournier spread his hands and serenely said “He works in mysterious ways.”

Vachon’s eyes bulged and he snapped “Impudent!” before he was beset by a fit of coughing. As he recovered he drew himself back up to full height and proclaimed “Your actions will be brought to the attention of the Curia. I am disappointed that it has come to this. You had such promise.”

“I welcome the scrutiny,” Fournier said confidently. “Please think better of me, Your Grace, should the Curia in its wisdom see the necessity of my actions.”

Vachon glared at Fournier, leaving the room dignified but lapsing into labored breathing as he left the cathedral.
Last edited by Arbites on Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
He who stands with me shall be my brother

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New Edom
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
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Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:19 pm

The Farm

"Average people don't understand the law, ma'am," Snyder said bluntly. "It's too complicated. It's a different language and only lawyers speak it. So people see lawyers working and they think they're just tricking people. Sometimes they see lawyers defending someone they don't like and they think they're mercenaries with no morals. The truth is our government, maybe even our whole country, wouldn't work without them."

"Really, that's fascinating," said Mara, a bit confused. "I thought it was an honourable and wealthy profession in your country. I've met people who are lawyers from Adiron, including, I suppose, the President. I think it's one of the more enlightened things about your country really...my husband says it probably wouldn't work here though. it would be a bit like a theology debate, ha ha..."

"I mean I'll be honest, if you want to know when I first met George, I thought the same thing about him," Leslie said. Snyder raised an eyebrow, and Leslie looked back at Mara. "I know you're probably hoping for a cute story like in the movies, but we honestly didn't hit it off right away, we really didn't."

"When I first met George we were in campus Social Democrats, way back in the early nineties, right around the '91 election," she recalled. As she told the story she was expressive, both in her face and gesturing with her hands. "He was starting law school, I was an art student. I didn't even notice him until a few meetings in, when I first saw him I thought he was a total nerd," she said, chuckling a bit. "He wasn't polished like he is now. He stammered, he couldn't really keep people from interrupting him, and, to top it all off, we didn't see eye to eye at first politically," she said with a smile.


Mara was listening, nodding. "Oh yes...you know, I have only had two experiences with getting to know men. Arranged marriages and sin. It is good to hear from you on this matter, Leslie. I have always wondered what it is to meet someone and fall in love with them and then marry them. Somehow it seems right and yet dangerously chaotic...please go on. And I've always wanted to hear about being an art student too! My gosh, you are bringing me so much excitement!"

"But then we lost the election," Leslie said a bit sadly. "I just didn't understand at the time. Those other parties I thought were our friends turned their backs on the President, after all she'd done for them and for Adiron. The SDP was in total disarray, and we all knew it. We didn't know at the time but we wouldn't win again for almost fifteen years. The Liberals started tearing everything down. I was ready to give up. I stopped going to the meetings."

"Then I ran into George again a little while later at a bus stop. He asked why I had stopped going, and we start talking. We go over to a coffee shop on campus to talk about things and before we know it they're telling us they're closing."


"What! You both took the bus!" cried Mara, clapping her hands excitedly. "Did you hear, Camilla?"

"Yes, Majesty, they took the bus," said Camilla, hiding her horror as best she could but not her eyes widening. "My gosh, weren't you scared Mrs. Rowan?"

"I was scared when I first did, but you know what, I felt shriven as well...but you know ordinary people in Adiron wear clothes and barely carry any weapons at all, and the buses are not full of ETC in their home provinces," Mara pointed out. "I'm sure they're very nice buses, honey...what did you talk about then?"

"We mostly talked about the election. We hashed out our disagreement in the campus SDP...oh, he could explain it all better than I can, but there were these new parties that had come along. I was in the group who wanted to make nice since we already agreed on a lot of things anyway. What was the difference? I wanted to protect the environment like the Greens and try to help the poor like the Populists."

"George was one of those warning all of us that these new parties were not gonna play nice, that they really did want different things, played by different rules, they weren't coming back, and not only were they not going to listen to us, but they didn't care if we won or lost and would drag President Ridgeway down with them," she explained, a bit haltingly, thinking of things as they came. "At that time in my life, well, to me that sounded awfully cynical, like all he cared about was power. I thought he just didn't seem to have any heart, but not only did he turn out to be right, but I'd misjudged him."


Mara didn't get at all how this led to them falling in love, but she nodded sympathetically. She didn't get he gist of the conversation at all. Captain Peleg and Count Domris couldn't believe this was happening to them. Captain Peleg thought it might be some kind of nightmare. Count Domris, feeling like he was back in Ghant, just tuned it out and began to drink wine. He winked at Snyder for no reason other than that she was female and he felt bored.

"Once we had a chance to talk one-on-one, not in loud meetings where everyone was talking at once and vying for attention, I realized he really did care about all of the issues. Not only did he know more than me, but he might've felt even more strongly about it than I did. He had thought it all through, and now that we were sitting down and talking he had a chance to really explain it all. I guess that was the first time I really met my future husband," she said, her eyes softening.

"So that's how it started out, as friends," she said. "I got back into the campus SDP for a while, until I left school. I helped him on his public speaking, condensing things down to simpler terms, projecting better, getting him to talk a bit more, you know, human, not just legal speak. He taught me more of the nuts and bolts, the technical side."


"Oh." said Mara.

"We start hanging out more. Not just at the campus clubs. I think we went to three movies before I realized they were supposed to be dates. He was too shy to make the first move," she said with affection. "He hadn't had many girlfriends before and things were a bit more...formal with them. I guess I wanted to see where it was all going, so I coaxed him in the right direction. Things started happening, and then...we were together," she explained with a smile.

"Oh m gosh!" Mara cried. "You went on dates! And you made the first move...I mean...I don't know the etiquette..." she said, fascinated, leaning forwards, "But..." she sketched the air with her hands. "I mean what did you do? Did you just suddenly start kissing like crazy like in the movies? Didn't anyone you knew know what was going on? I mean, oh my gosh...how exciting! Did you hold hands in the movies in the dark, just the two of you? Did you go to restaurants and sit by yourselves while strangers were all around you? Did you get a violin to play beside you? Did you ride in a taxi leaning against one another while the driver smiled at you?"




"If we reduce our forces proportionally right from the start, the situation for us remains the same. No, the Imperium must materially stand down from its current posture before we reduce our defenses. That is our demand for now," Rowan said definitively, looking Elijah in the eye. "According to my advisors, what we can offer, should the Imperium bring it up, is to move a number of units to a lower state of readiness while their initial demobilization is underway. Army Group West will be able to observe this for themselves on their own instruments; fewer aircraft on radar, less radio chatter, that sort of thing. In this state, First Army will retain its strength to quickly defend the border if needs be, but will be in a poor position to conduct a surprise offensive, if that is what the Curia is concerned about. Right now, by contrast, both sides are like bows drawn to their full weight."

"I thought you might say that," mused Elijah as though Rowan had said he might prefer ice cream to pudding at dessert. "I will have to consider this carefully. There are people in my government, Mr. President, who want to urge me to support the Imperium to a greater degree. They want me to send more troops and planes not to the Lesser Diols but to the Palisades. They believe that we could humble your country and put ourselves in a greater position. There are others who want me to seek peace, though not at any price, but at a good one rather, and who believe that...other possibilities exist. I shall have to decide during this conference which voices I will listen to." He sat down suddenly. His left hand began to tremble. "I...I...ugh..." he sat in the padded wicker chair and shook violently, and seemingly by sheer force of will stilled this.

He looked at Rowan. He spoke slowly, as though he was forcing the words out. "Like Job. I am cursed. But it is not God's doing. I am...blessed by God. Cursed by life. We will speak more on this...."

A sailor, in formal dinner jacket, approached and bowed. "Sir?"

"Mr. President, please excuse me." The King rose, the sailor hovering near. "I must regretfully cut this conversation short, but we will resume it, i give you my word of honour. Following lunch...we should return."

Shiloam Palace

Olympia did not miss the waspish manner of Mrs. Pendergrast. But also the way he received it. It seemed a good marriage. She presumed it was rather sexless for him, and wondered if he had a mistress. As she left she made a little effort to make sure she moved just out of the corner of his eyes, and made sure her hips swayed so that her backside moved like a pendulum but elegantly. She went to her chambers, feeling pleasantly heated and very daring. Foolish in her yearning...

Count Falk waited until everyone had gone so that he could lean on his valet. General Nicanor took Unwerth aside and lectured him.

"Do not provoke them yet. It will give the King the go ahead to discipline you. It will not do. Let him see how godless and foolish they are, beyond their clever technocratic ways, and he will take our wise advice," warned Nicanor in Baran.

"I will take it under advisement, but I can take so much of their godless ways as you succinctly put it and no more," growled Unwerth in the same tongue. "Bailey watches like a cat, too. I do not trust her, or them. They will use this as a way to restrict our operations in the Lesser Diols."

"Be patient, my friend," urged Nicanor. "Trust the old fox, eh?"

Cruise replied to Lalery first. "Extradition was always a long shot, and the Imps rejected it. I don't know if they told you they were going to and I don't really care; as long as we get something else on security instead, then we ought to be fine. The President ran on that, and he'll have delivered. Not even the Opposition could really work with that, though it won't stop them from trying," Cruise said casually. Lalery might or might not have been able to tell, but Cruise was greatly relieved to get down to business. "If the Imps tell us to get bent and refuse to consider other terms, then we're going to have a problem. The deal will look less like a negotiation and more like a shakedown. They make all the demands and refuse all of ours, all while a shitload of their tanks stand poised on our border? We can't have that, least of all when they struck first and when trade concessions will cost us jobs in a bad economy. They have to give us something."

"Our Assembly majority's a bit thin," Fortner added. "If the President abandons his promises he will lose the defense establishment, the unions, and probably the left, not to mention a good number of moderates who just want our borders secure. Any one of those are enough to seriously endanger our majority and with it the Presidency."

"And if we lose, your government rolls the dice in a snap election," Cruise pointed out. "Our party could swing left, blow up our trade deals, take a hard line on social justice, turn the fight with the Imperium even more ideological. Or the SDP could see a backlash against a national humiliation, get a hawk like Cole in. Your government wouldn't want to try to have these talks with him, I promise you," he said rather darkly. "Not even the Liberals can just roll over for the Imps, despite their rhetoric. Isolationism's a luxury they need to earn; they can't ignore security. Not only that, the Liberal base is getting frustrated with status quo. A Liberal President will have to prove himself."


Lalery listened to all of this, his hands shoved into his pockets, moodily nodding now and then.

Prince Enoch sprawled in a chair, leaning back, one leg over one arm. He waved a hand. "You know, gentlemen, we're about to tell you both a secret, which you may already know. There are basically two factions trying to advise the King. Ours is friendly to your country. The other is not. The other wants to support the Imperium and expand in new directions--like with Damoclea. Seize resources directly, build a great empire in the confusion of the present economic crisis, and build our nation up as they envision God must will it. This faction believes that the Imperium alone can be threatening, but that the Imperium with New Edom will be almost invincible."

"We want to do something different." Lalery said bluntly. "We want to treat the Imperium with respect, but we believe they're going into the economic toilet right now. It's just a matter of time. But eventually...fortune is only going to let them play nice for so long before she starts making them take it in the ass. If both our nations are to survive this recession, we need to avoid both the Imperium and the Tericians and Noviterans dominating everything. It would have to be more than just some cooperation. We would need something more like a partnership. As you can see..." he took his hands out of his pockets and spread them. "These two things have little in common. You've walked into a war zone, gentlemen."
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 8641
Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:19 pm

The Farm

Of lawyers Snyder had said to Mara "Don't mistake my meaning, ma'am, you bring a respectable lawyer home to meet the folks and they'll be happy. As always it's the few disreputable ones that get all the attention and ruin our reputation for the rest of us."

As she had been doing already, Leslie went thoroughly into detail of the emotions behind the events, which she seemed to regard as important if not more important than the actual events themselves. She burst out laughing at Mara's laundry list of rom-com cliches, but quickly remembered it was completely foreign to her except in movies and television.

"What? What's so scary about taking the bus? Is it the drivers? Or are there muggers or something?" Leslie asked at Camilla's outburst, looking between the two of them, very confused. She could only infer that buses were somehow very dangerous in New Edom.

"Oh no I didn't make the first move, you have to let the man make it...or at least let them think they're making it, but maybe the kids don't do that anymore, at least that's what I get the feeling of talking to my daughter Jen..."

"Come on, ma'am, can you really picture George, my George, just making out in public?" she joked with a wry look.

"Well, there was this beautiful little restaurant in Isidium, and we stayed in a hotel outside the city right on the beach..." she recalled after that, looking rather starry-eyed. She then went into detail about how she felt, what it looked like, what it reminded her of, the decor...

Both Snyder and Ober were utterly disinterested in the conversation between Mara and Leslie. After Snyder remarked on lawyers the conversation wandered away to the First Lady. Snyder massaged her temples, heading over to the bar and ordering a glass of wine. Catching Domris' look while she was over there, she raised an eyebrow and then looked him up and down casually with seemingly faint or fleeting interest.

Ober looked rather blankly over at the barbecue. Seeing Peleg standing there also in some kind of stupor, he wandered over casually and muttered "Probably should've gone to the range. I like the First Lady but man can she say a lot about not much, if you take my meaning. Usually have my wife around to keep her busy. This is...what is it you guys say? Our cross to bear?"



Rowan began to reply to Elijah. "The Imperium may have been a faithful ally so far, but as you say its senior leadership is geriatric. Those who brokered the alliance and have supported New Edom may not be long for their offices regardless of what you or I do..."

He was clearly about to speak further when Elijah suddenly seemed to collapse. A look of grave concern crossed Rowan's face and his eyes went wide as the King started to shake. "Sir? Sir!" he exclaimed, alarmed but not panicked as he looked around for staff.

Ober was looking bored stiff when Rowan caught his eye and motioned to Elijah. The Chief of Staff saw Elijah's condition, reached for a pocket, and said something to Peleg. However, the King was quickly attended to and seemed to wrestle his demons under control.

The President looked down at Elijah, seeing the sailor moving towards him. He wanted to say more, but Elijah had changed abruptly. The rather stern, determined king was now fighting for control of his own body.

He looked at Rowan. He spoke slowly, as though he was forcing the words out. "Like Job. I am cursed. But it is not God's doing. I am...blessed by God. Cursed by life. We will speak more on this...."

The President had bent over to hear Elijah better. "Have faith sir," Rowan assured him, looking at him directly. "I'm neither priest nor prophet, but God has seen you through this so far for a reason."

At that, the King was attended to by one of his men. Rowan looked at the sailor and stepped aside so as to not interfere, glancing between Elijah, the sailor, and Ober, who was watching warily. The king was clearly in no condition to continue speaking and had essentially dismissed Rowan, so the President bowed and said "Of course, sir, I understand. If my people can be of assistance in any way, we would be happy to."

Ober seemed relieved just to get away and approached Rowan, who said something quietly, prompting a nod from Ober. Returning to the group and likely interrupting Leslie and Mara's chatter, Rowan said "Sorry to interrupt, everyone, but the king needs a bit of rest. I think we could all stand some lunch by now?"

Almost simultaneously Snyder and Ober agreed "Yeah" and "Yes, Mr. President."

"Great," he said, motioning to Mara "but don't let me cut you off. This is your place after all, ma'am."

Ober appeared to take the time to sample some of everything, inspecting the meat's consistency, sampling a bit as he went, and appearing very satisfied in each case. He was certainly more of a connoisseur than Snyder, grabbed an assortment of vegetables and white meat without a whole lot of thought. Rowan seemed a bit pickier, taking different amounts of each item and trying to pair it with a wine.



Shiloam Palace

The other Cabinet secretaries and Presidential staff kept busy. Feng remained somewhat transfixed by the two beautiful young ladies and had been grateful to see them go. It was bad enough he hadn't been able to take so much as a bump with him. They were so much of a distraction he didn't even think to speak to Enoch during lunch. Pendergast seemed above it, but had a sneaking suspicion some of Olympia's movements were for him, and appreciated her discreetly from afar.

After a little while, Pendergast left his room and sent an aide to find Fortner. When the aide came back and reported the Secretary of War was indisposed, Pendergast asked "Really? Doing what?" His voice evoked some surprise, but his face evidenced none.

"I don't know, Secretary," the straight-laced aide said, looking dubious. "They couldn't say."

"I see, well, see if you can't scare up General Ferrain instead, then, just need to talk to him before we kick this siesta off," Pendergast said with a friendly smile.

Bailey was saying on the phone "The President of the Council himself said it directly to me."

"You're sure?" Al Bluford asked. "That's a direct quote?"

"As best as I can remember," she said, repeating "'Their persistence undermines our morals, the values of our nation.' He even said the mobs were citizens doing their civic duty to help local law enforcement."

"Well, I think that's clear then. He's not even denying it," Bluford concluded.

Prince Enoch sprawled in a chair, leaning back, one leg over one arm. He waved a hand. "You know, gentlemen, we're about to tell you both a secret, which you may already know. There are basically two factions trying to advise the King. Ours is friendly to your country. The other is not. The other wants to support the Imperium and expand in new directions--like with Damoclea. Seize resources directly, build a great empire in the confusion of the present economic crisis, and build our nation up as they envision God must will it. This faction believes that the Imperium alone can be threatening, but that the Imperium with New Edom will be almost invincible."

"We want to do something different." Lalery said bluntly. "We want to treat the Imperium with respect, but we believe they're going into the economic toilet right now. It's just a matter of time. But eventually...fortune is only going to let them play nice for so long before she starts making them take it in the ass. If both our nations are to survive this recession, we need to avoid both the Imperium and the Tericians and Noviterans dominating everything. It would have to be more than just some cooperation. We would need something more like a partnership. As you can see..." he took his hands out of his pockets and spread them. "These two things have little in common. You've walked into a war zone, gentlemen."


Fortner studied Lalery as he spoke. He glanced over at Cruise, who didn't react but said "Or maybe the war zone walked over here back in your Second Civil War. Whoever made that deal with the Imps back then punched the Cetan tar baby."

While Cruise lit a cigar, Fortner got some kind of gleam in his eye and said "Regardless of what happened then, I think it's time we looked to the future, and to partnership, whatever form it takes. I will advise the President as much. After all, I think your intentions are clear enough given that both of you had a hand in stopping the crisis last year."

"All evidence suggests you and your friends have the right of it, too," he continued, acknowledging Enoch's mention of the other faction. "Of course, you probably have a better idea of what's going on in the Imperium than we do, but we know the Imperial economy will be hit by this recession and it's been subjected to years of sanctions, however limited in scope. We're even hearing that there's some kind of domestic unrest over there as a result of the recession, although we are still verifying the details. Only its oil exports have kept it afloat this long."

Cruise, puffing away, then said "We have a lot of questions, though. First off, how do we help your side win? " he asked. "Way I figure it, there's a right way and a wrong way to pull this off. New Edom isn't some dump like San Carlo or the Confederates where all we have to do is lean on some tinpot officer. This is a nation of 100 million people with big economic interests. Your opponents are headed up by the President of the Council, who's got friends in the Council and backing in the Chamber, to say nothing of interest groups. He and his people have got significant if not overwhelming public support, too. I'm sure if we're too blatant about it, they'll accuse you of colluding with godless foreigners and us of violating Edomite sovereignty. So where do we go from here? What can you do with our support? What are your odds of victory?"

"Second, if we are to make this a partnership, who else is with us and against us?" Fortner asked after that.

Cruise nodded in agreement and pointed out "We just showed you our hand back in New Laconia, how about yours?"

Once the Edomites had answered this, Fortner said. "And then there are the other pressing matters here in New Edom. This strike, for starters, what does it mean? Is it all really about working conditions and the recession or has it been coopted into something more political that outsiders like us might not pick up on?"

After the Edomites answered, Fortner said "And as to what we discussed during lunch, we didn't find so much as a trace of Homofront's involvement in General Hesperinius' assassination. Since the Cora Nevis we built a network of informants in the gay community, flagged bank accounts, monitored and strung suspects along on social media, made arrests, preempted a likely attack. Nothing. And now you say your government's own investigation may not be so conclusive."

"Something stinks," Cruise said bluntly.

"It could've been almost anyone," Fortner continued. "Homofront is so decentralized, anyone can carry out an attack and convincingly claim to do it in Homofront's name, and the group will gladly take credit. Unfortunately that makes them an awfully convenient scapegoat for anybody with other motives."

"If the Imps resume their terror campaign, we're already anticipating them to use Homofront as a cover," Cruise added. "But if not the guys in the leather and rainbow hot pants, then who killed the general? We've got a list of guesses at best that's way too long. Frankly, we can't see a reason to rule out any of the general's domestic rivals here. Wasn't so long ago that there was a civil war on, after all."
Last edited by Hittanryan on Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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New Edom
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 21724
Founded: Mar 14, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby New Edom » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:26 pm

The Farm

Camilla said, "Oh I don't know, you see the buses on the road, and they're full of Edenists or peasants and city workers, crammed like a can of those little fish, and chickens and goats and stuff like that, and they creak and rock around and it looks so dangerous."

"We're improving the buses, you know," said Peleg, annoyed. "The Fineberg buses are wonderful."

"I don't know, I've never been on a Fineberg bus."

"I was happy to ride on a bus with ordinary people," said Mara. "in the eyes of God are we not all naked, lost and confused?"

Fortunately this was all interrupted by the King's crisis. Mara jumped up with a cry of alarm and went to him, and began to pray in earnest in Baran, a rhythmic, almost sing-song evocation of Christ's merciful healing. The King grumbled "I merely need to sit a while and be quiet, woman."

As he was led off by his attendant, Captain Peleg said quietly, "The King is afflicted like Job, but you all see that he girds his loins like a man. The King would want us all to enjoy his hospitality before we make our way back to the Palace."

Mara rose from her knees; Camilla hurried to wipe her cheeks of tears and tidy her mascara. "Yes," she agreed, "We must eat. I am sure you all have a great appetite..."

Servants brought round plates of baked yam slices, lightly grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, and the barbecued meats. There was capybara (which tasted like sweet young pork, and was tender and juicy, spiced in the Baran manner), crane (which tasted like lean beef), and antelope (which had a subtle venison like flavour).

Mara prayed a grace, and following this, said, "What do you all think about what's going on in Gavinium Nova? I'm very confused, myself. Here's King Maximian doing perfectly well, still so young, and then suddenly he's off to..."

"Wherever Gavinians go," said Count Domris brightly. "Do you not eat corn right off the stalk in Adiron? We should have had some corn."




Shiloam Palace

Count Lalery stared at Cruise and Fortner. "I have a plan. I have a plan I dare call bold. And if you leak it I will side entirely with Nicanor and support him and make sure that the Imperium wins."

Prince Enoch watched them with a pleasant smile but wary eyes. "It is that serious."

Lalery began to pace again. "First, it is this: I intend to expose that it was not Homofront who killed Hesperinus. That it was a plan hatched by our Deputy Minister of Justice. And that it was done as a prelude to dismantling Monarchist leadership and weakening it so that the Theocrats can take over. They couldn't by direct confrontation, so they are trying it by other means."

He then stopped a moment and looked at them again. "Next: once I have created the inevitable shit storm, the connections are easy enough to follow. But this will not remove Nicanor completely, but it will create doubt about his position. And...there's the letter."

Prince Enoch said to them quietly, "A secret letter that will remove him. The King was convinced to be ready to dismiss him if we could prove that he was behind Hesperinus' death."

Count Lalery continued, "And so this is what we want: we must offer the people something better than what we have right now. A genuine capitalism, of citizens fully invested in the state. The old ways are vanishing, and we can be in control of it or helplessly get swept up in it. What I want is the backing of Adiron against this. We need a strong economic partnership that will keep us from the path we are on, which is total dependency on foreign companies. Your President has proposed this for your own people. We want it for us too.If you do this, I will do everything in my considerable power when I am president to prevent war with the Imperium, cooperate with your government in Arcologia, and insist on political reform and reduction of armaments in the Imperium."
"The three articles of Civil Service faith: it takes longer to do things quickly, it's far more expensive to do things cheaply, and it's more democratic to do things in secret." - Jim Hacker "Yes Minister"

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Hittanryan
Powerbroker
 
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Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:49 pm

The Farm

Leslie sprung to her feet as Mara rushed off to the King's side, looking worriedly at Rowan then at Elijah. After Elijah stopped shaking, she watched Mara earnestly, not understanding what she was invoking or trying to do. She was wringing her hands the whole time until the crisis seemed to have passed. Peleg tried to reassure them, but Leslie asked innocently "Is he--His Majesty going to be all right? I had no idea, I thought he was better."

The First Lady and the rest of the President's staff were now at full attention, having started to lazily drift off not a few moments prior. Ober was putting his phone back and Snyder polished off her glass and set it down in anticipation of moving. As Mara rejoined them and they went to lunch Leslie said quietly and sympathetically to Mara, gently putting her hand on her arm, "It must be hard. I mean I know it was an arranged marriage, and then you had Josias, and that must've been hard enough, but now the King's health...I hope these, whatever they are, attacks don't last."

Mara prayed a grace, and following this, said, "What do you all think about what's going on in Gavinium Nova? I'm very confused, myself. Here's King Maximian doing perfectly well, still so young, and then suddenly he's off to..."

"Truly a bizarre turn of events," Rowan said gravely. "No details of King Maximian's death have been verified independently, and now accusations appear to be flying around by various parties. And I understand that a castle was shelled?"

"Castle Mazet," Martin piped up, having just returned from the restroom and started rather absentmindedly filling a plate. "A historical landmark."

"Right. We still don't know what it all really means," Rowan commented. He ate as though he was at a formal luncheon, calmly cutting one piece of meat off at a time, occasionally taking a sip of wine. He left out that the State Department had received a baffling message from Lucian on the eve of Maximian's death. A message of sweeping promises and little real information or plans.

"Wherever Gavinians go," said Count Domris brightly. "Do you not eat corn right off the stalk in Adiron? We should have had some corn."

"Off the stalk?" Ober asked with a raised eyebrow as he now rather mechanically and methodically cut bites of meat. "No, off the cob. Corn stalks are three meters tall. Might get it in the door but not on a table."

"I don't think that's what he means," Martin pointed out.

"Oh, well that's what he said," Ober replied. "Yeah, you can boil or grill 'em, usually put some butter on top, then just pick it up. Why, you don't have corn here?"

"Doesn't grow this far south," Martin said, a drop of juice from the capybara on his fork landing squarely in his lap. He didn't notice.

"But this spread before us is all local," Snyder pointed out. "Food is freedom, right?"



Shiloam Palace

The Adirans' expressions, having already turned rather serious, didn't change as Lalery explained the stakes and the plan. Cruise was clearly studying both men, while Fortner sat with his hand on his chin.

"Economic partnership," Cruise repeated after that, savoring his cigar a moment as he gave it a bit of thought. "You want what we have. New Edom right now is about where we were back in the eighties. The Noviterans and Tericians basically had us by the balls. We had state-run industries. More to the point, we relied on aid and technical assistance from abroad to keep things moving forward on infrastructure, education, and industry. Guess we're in a position to pay it forward now, if that's what you're after," he said, motioning to the Edomites.

"Only question is how, exactly. We can't simply throw money at New Edom blindly, we'll need a plan. That would be more Dave's area of expertise, though," Fortner said, referring to Feng.

"Details," Cruise said, waving a hand. "Important thing now is that we have agreement on the general idea. Excellencies, we can advise Mr. Feng privately and have another pow-wow with him in tow once he's had a chance to mull this over."

"We could raise the issue in the talks, too; we're going to be discussing the economy in a couple of days here. What reason could Nicanor give to justify turning down aid in a recession, after all?"

"Let's not worry about him for now," Cruise said, looking over at Fortner. "I'll advise the President and the rest of his staff of this discussion, encourage them to support your efforts and figure out a real plan for economic partnership. We'll want something that'll pop, something you can sell that even your ordinary riff-raff can understand."

Fortner added "I'll advise the President of the same. I also think that my office should be your main point of contact for anything you want...less than public in the run-up to your big show. Our two governments already have intelligence sharing agreements on Homofront and piracy that run through my office, and these matters do concern national security, after all." He then said with a smirk "In the talks tomorrow and after I'll also continue to dutifully sound baffled and disturbed at the lack of intelligence connecting Homofront to the General's assassination."

"But I've got a couple more things, before we shake hands on this," Cruise said, meeting Lalery's gaze. The portly Adiran was grossly mismatched against the powerfully-built Finance Minister, but he seemed resolute anyway. "When you're President, we don't want any more trouble from FODE. I know you and most of the other member states don't either. That oil crisis fucked our economy good for a couple quarters, though, and I don't care what Nicanor called it back there, the embargo was the Imps softening us up for an attack. Not only that, they're even saying it was one of the first dominos to fall leading to the stock market crash; our consumer demand tanking. Can't happen again, neither of us can afford it," he concluded, motioning between him and Lalery.

"Second, we know that there's labor unrest in the Imperium, and it's being led by fanatical young clergy voicing anti-foreign sentiments and going after oligarchs," Cruise said, deciding now was the time to bring it up. "The Inquisition should've burnt these guys at the stake by now. They haven't. Somehow they must have protection from higher up. Maybe some young blood decided it's their turn, maybe the Curia's actually splintering ideologically. The exact details aren't important, but you guys have eyes and ears in all kinds of high places over there, and that's not an easy thing for us to get. If it looks like the Imperium's heading off a cliff or they're gonna blow up these negotiations, we want some warning. As much as you can give us."

"Finally, what's your fallback in case things really go tits-up?" Cruise asked. "Nicanor's not stupid; between the Imps and the Theocrats he's got plenty of friends. Worst-case scenario, I'm gonna guess they're going to come for you and your people with rifles, not subpoenas."

"I could offer Your Excellencies a couch and an air mattress," Fortner joked rather grimly.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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