NATION

PASSWORD

Tales from Greater Dienstad (short stories only)

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

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United World Order
Senator
 
Posts: 4180
Founded: Jun 16, 2011
Ex-Nation

Postby United World Order » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:43 pm


TITLE: Shadow Games.
AUTHOR:United World Order


City of Berlina, Ordenite Red Cross Headquarters,
Central Germania, United World Order.


21st, March, 2017.
Convention of the Central Committee of the Ordenite National Red Cross on Humanitarian efforts in Dienstad.


Mortimer Plettenberg stood as President of the Ordenite National Red Cross in front of the whole Central Committee who led the Red Cross society in the Fourth Reich. Despite recent history as of the twentieth century involving Germania and the rise of the Third Reich, the predecessor to the current Fourth Reich. Germania had been heavily involved in pure humanitarianism across Dienstad with the Red Cross society. Back during the Kaiserreich period of Germania and the local colonial empire that it had established in it's time, the Red Cross society in Germania had been heavily involved in the development of the colonial holdings along with providing decent health and medical care to those needing it the most. It had also been involved in the troubled 'Nord' region which bordered with the Hailandkill Republic after the war between the two which left the region in ruins from war, went and helped with medical and health services along with development in it's post war status despite the region staying as part of the Hailandkill Republic. During the times after the civil war which brought Germania under the control of the then Third Reich, the then German Red Cross became the German Reich Red Cross and helped the post civil war nation with those affected by the fighting the most. In time however the German Reich Red Cross began to assimilate into National Socialist ideals, with salutes and emblems being embedded into the organizations traditions and etiquette. Those within their ranks were swiftly being qualified in National Socialist ideals and ideology along with their needed medical training and other needed skills. In modern times the Ordenite National Red Cross were conducting humanitarian missions in troubled areas of Dienstad such as Firmador and Nicaro, Holy Panooly and even the former Red Star Union. The Ordenite Red Cross had been known at least by their benefactors in the Reich Party to be progressing a agenda in their humanitarian missions to covertly spread the ideals of National Socialism to those that they helped, regularly holding classes with lectures from Party orators to create a base for influence in the countries they operated in by the Reich Party.

It would be no different today as it was then as the Central Committee convened at their headquarters in Berlina to discuss their current humanitarian efforts in Dienstad. Mortimer was joined by his fellow Secretary to the Central Committee, Theodore Bischoff who sat besides the current President. The Central Committee was not without it's representatives from the Party Office of Racial Affairs and SS Office of Racial Affairs, Einsatzleiter Friedhelm Kox and Untersturmfuhrer Heinirich Rentrop. Also sitting in as members of the Central Committee were several Doctors from the Party Office of Racial Affairs, who generally were there to ensure matters of the Party were addressed in cohesion with those of the Ordenite Red Cross and it's underlying mission of "Humanitarianism". Mortimer took the stand before the Central Committee as he began to address them in a small opening speech.

"Members of the Ordenite Red Cross, fellow humanitarians and National Socialists. It is my due pleasure to welcome the Committee back to it's 84th convention with the general topic being the current humanitarian affairs in Dienstad in regards to the Ordenite Red Cross. As the committee is well aware of, our humanitarian missions are currently on-going in Holy Panooly, Nicaro and Firmador, and of course in what was known as the Red Star Union. Despite our past history with these three countries as of late, our humanitarian missions continue as all three of these states desperately need such assistance with their populaces." Mortimer explained before the committee while those in attendance listened closely, the wars that had raged in the former Red Star Union and Holy Panooly may have removed influence from the Fourth Reich but the Ordenite Red Cross still was liable for it's humanitarian missions which had recently expanded as of late especially in Holy Panooly with the post-war effects that were affecting the war weary populace. Concluding his introduction speech, Mortimer opened the floor to the committee to discuss the general topic of the convention which was the current humanitarian missions in Dienstad.

The first to speak up after the President was no other than Einsatzleiter Friedhelm Kox who was decorated in Party badges and medals that represented his rank and length of service in the Party. He acknowledged the President with a subtle nod and then began with his opinion. "The Ordenite Red Cross has been fundamental in the spreading of humanitarianism and our National socialist ideals, our assistance to the needy in foreign countries has shown Dienstad and our enemies that unlike them we stand for the betterment of Man and the responsibility to help those in need, mentally and physically. And when those that are in need of us the most call, who answers them every time? The Ordenite Red Cross, of course. Not only do we help develop and rebuild their infrastructure and their quality of life, but also their personal ideals as we teach and mold them to improve there society with the benefits and fruits of National Socialism." Kox said to the committee as many of them applauded and generally agreed with what he was saying. Many of these "humanitarians" were also proud members of the Reich Party and were glad to spread what the Fourth Reich considered "Humanitarianism" to all edges of Dienstad.

The convention would go on to see several other prominent members of the Central Committee speak and the committee would eventually come to a general consensus that the missions done in their client countries should continue and that more effort was to be put into drawing a more concrete influence out of their client countries to further cement National Socialist and Fourth Reich positive sentiment among the populaces of the countries they helped. This would be done in a rather orderly manner as charity drives were done in Germania and abroad to those who saw the Ordenite Red Cross as what it wanted them to see it as, another bastion of hope for struggling peoples in war torn and third world countries. It in turn with whatever profit the charities would generate would then be used to fund schools and hospitals in Holy Panooly, Firmador and Nicaro and even the Red Star Union. It would also help fund known underground fascist movements that existed in these countries and would see them gain well needed aid to further their agendas in their native lands. The Fourth Reich of today was different from the Fourth Reich that had stepped onto the international stage in the 1st and 2nd Red Star Union Wars, it was wiser and more experienced in the geopolitical and international affairs that concerned Dienstad today. If the Reich could not win by force, it would win through deception and the covert support of like minded movements and organizations in countries the Reich had interests in.

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Palmyrion
Minister
 
Posts: 2258
Founded: Mar 04, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Palmyrion » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:14 am

Same Stuff, Different Day
Author: Merrion/Palmyrion


100km N-NW of Olso, Sabine
Castañeda Airbase (IATA Code CTD)


It had been another day in Castañeda Airbase. The maintenance staff were attending to the aircraft used in last night’s aerial patrol: those that needed their routine maintenance check had been given one, and those that needed a cleanup of the cockpit interior had one. Pilots from last night’s aerial patrol reported out of work and got their well-deserved rest for the day, talking about what they saw – or what they thought they saw. This was one of the busiest airbases of the Palmyrian Royal Air Force, as it was near the Sabine-Bendicion border; recent reconnaissance reports have reported troop buildup on the Bendian side, but it looks like the Lakán would turn a blind eye to this urgent military situation, especially now that there was trouble brewing up near home.

With an extra-strong cup of coffee on her right hand and holding her helmet with their left, a pilot, a new one named Jasper Angeli Valdestamon, exquisitely walked, with a grace that befitted the Miss Universe and a pace projecting the might of a flight officer, towards her plane, a MiG-29, as it rested in its hangar, eagerly waiting for its new pilot and master (mistress, rather, in this case) to commandeer its formidable set of wings and talons of steel.

”Good morning, rookie. Unang araw sa trabaho?” (First day on the job?) one of the pilots, a male one, presumably the flight CO (from the insignia on his flight suit), said to her as she approached the hangar, her exquisite shadow projected on the ground by the gleaming sunrise.

”Good morning…sir. Matagal ko na itong hinintay. (I’ve been waiting so long for this.) she replied after finishing her cup of coffee, and throwing it away at the nearest trash can.

Oo nga pala, muntik ko nang makalimutan. (Oh, I almost forgot) Senior Flight Officer Harold Henares. Ikaw ba si (Are you) Flight Officer Jasper Angeli Valdestamon?” he asked, to which Jasper responded with a succinct Opo sir.” (Yes sir.)

Jasper came near her aircraft, with her name plastered near the edge of the windshield in letters visible to the naked eye from 50 meters. Pag-ingatan mo itong si Jasmine. Nag-honorable resignation na yung piloto nito, gustong magbagong-buhay. Mula ngayon, ikaw na ang piloto ni Jasmine. (Take care of Jasmine. Its former pilot had an honorable designation, apparently wanted a new life. From now on, you’re the pilot of Jasmine.) SFO Henares said as Jasper climbed into the Su-27P’s cockpit. Before putting her helmet on and closing the windshield, she reveled at the sight of the aircraft’s avionics and the cockpit interior, appreciating the great care the former pilot devoted onto this plane.

Sooner she was finished in grinning and staring at wonder of this aircraft’s beautiful interior, and at haste donned her helmet and closed her aircraft’s cockpit. Her HUD displayed icons and letters in green contrasted against the apparently transparent display of her helmet.

”Charlie Tango Delta Tower, this is Lotus 2-1, requesting clearance to depart hangar for take-off preparations.” she radioed to the Air Traffic Control as she held firmly the throttle lever of the airplane, waiting in anticipation for ATC to reply with an affirmative. ”Lotus 2-1, Charlie Tango Delta Tower, you are cleared to depart hangar. Proceed to Runway 110768 Alpha for takeoff preparations, over.” the ATC replied, and Jasper commandeered Jasmine to the runway as mentioned, carefully pushing up the throttle lever of her airplane to make the engines push the airplane with 2% of its thrust power.

At last she was now at the runway, and reduced her throttle percentage to just 1%. ”Tower, Lotus 2-1, I’m on Runway 110768 Alpha, poised for takeoff. All systems normal, requesting for takeoff clearance.” she radioed to the air traffic control. ”Roger that, you’re cleared for takeoff. Godspeed.” ATC responded, with Jasper raising her throttle to 50% for takeoff. The plane sped on the runway as it generated enough lift beneath its wings for it to takeoff, and as soon as the plane was up in the air, it automatically retracted its takeoff/landing gear. Jasper was now the pilot of her own aircraft for the first time in her life – she had never felt this free and high before.

She circled around as she saw the aircraft of her other flight members takeoff from the two runways of the airbase, with the flight regrouping at a point as decided by the flight commander. ”First time in the air, rookie?” one of the pilots in her flight asked. ”Yeah. Haha. Good.” Jasper replied. ”Alright, break from formation and scan the skies for any Bendian Nyx. Lotus 2 Actual out.” the flight commander said.

Jasper maneuvered her aircraft to cover a wide distance from the airbase, perhaps even doing flyovers near Bendian airspace. She waited eagerly for any Bendian aircraft to show up in her feed – either through the service-wide datalink or through her own avionics.

She reveled at the sight of the wonderful Sabine countryside, and the reconstruction projects being undertaken in the war-torn cities, all results of a sweeping offensive between Palmyrian and ISAF forces as they wiped out what remained of a retreating Bendian military formation, stalled in their retreat as massive Palmyrian missile strikes decimated one battalion after another in successive Macross Missile Massacres.

It was already two hours into her aerial patrol when the Sabine Defense Forces detected a formation of Bendian Nyxes flying into Sabine airspace. This was definitely grounds for a good fight, something that Jasper was quite enthralled for having one at her first flight – put in a humorous way, fight at first flight. Jasper was already getting revved up for a dogfight, already tightening her grip at her throttle and stick.

”All friendly callsigns this net, this is Warden Actual, checking in an S-200 battery, our central radar has detected what seems to be a squadron of Bendian Nyxes and a flight of Bendian bombers. Please advise, over.” her radio rang out.

”Warden Actual, Lotus 2-1. I got them in my feed. Small signatures, at my radar’s maximum range.” Jasper replied, feeling a rush of adrenaline flushing her with heat as her body prepared for combat.

”Lotus 2-1, Warden Actual. We’re engaging. Out.” her radio crackled. ”All Lotus callsigns, this is Lotus Actual. We’re about to engage. Break patrol route and engage all hostiles. Out.” her radio crackled again, and Jasper broke what would be her patrol route to engage the Bendian hostiles.
Last edited by Palmyrion on Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
PALMYRION: INTO THE PALMYRO-VERSE
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The Macabees
Senior N&I RP Mentor
 
Posts: 3785
Founded: Antiquity
Anarchy

Postby The Macabees » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:49 pm


TITLE: The Stench of Melted Skin
AUTHOR: The Macabees



I.


Prussya-Moskau glowed a bright red. Fires burned all over, sometimes consuming entire blocks and leaving dozens of burnt, dead bodies behind. The Templars didn't have the resources to combat them all anymore, too busy were they defending the remnants of their lands against the Ralkovian slaver hordes. And so the city slowly died.

Garrut Gardó had been in the city for seven months now. It hadn't always been like this. The Templars had a taste for war, but so far they had been mostly reading about it on the news. Gardó was in the city as part of a three-man team to monitor officials of the country's top chemists, fearing that the country would proliferate to communist-sympathizers in Greater Díenstad. They'd find nothing of value, but the mission would soon pay unintentional dividends. For they would soon be trapped, besieged by a Ralkovian army amply supported by an air force that had been pummeling the city for some time now.

There must have been other Macabean spies in the city. If there were, Gardó did not know them or of them. He had arrived as part of a three-man team, although now they were down to two. Vincet Goravalda, a Ruskan-born Koro Kirim operative, had been arrested weeks earlier by Templar agents. What had happened to him no one knew. Gardó presumed him dead or deported. Either way, he was no good to them now. Only Clarín Dalga, another Koro Kirim, was with him now, and thank goodness that he was, for Gardó was not sure whether he could survive in that city alone. Artillery had been falling on its outskirts for over a week and the noise of cannon fire was coming closer with every passing day. The city was in a frantic state of dangerous chaos that was difficult and painful to describe, just as it was excruciating to experience. Gardó hadn't eaten in two days, after what he saw his stomach simply wasn't hungry.

Refusing to face the inevitable, hundreds of people simply killed themselves. Some did it in the privacy of their own homes, others publicly. They slit the throats of their loved ones before cutting their own. They jumped from the taller buildings and from cliffs, smacking against the hard surface below like bugs against a moving windshield.

It began to smell as bodies rotted in the sweltering heat.

Gardó was looking out the window of their small apartment. It had one bedroom, Dalga slept on a couch in the small dining room. In the back, the tiny kitchen sat largely unused. In his hand, he carried an open can of beans that he ate out of with a plastic fork. Easy to clean up and convenient, plus it was stuff that would last them through a siege — hopefully. The Koro Kirim had been out for over an hour, allegedly to meet with friends and other assets. He was looking for an escape route, a way out of the city and through tight, uncompromising Ralkovian lines. Gardó worried that he'd get caught one of these days; without Dalga, without the same connections and skills, he'd be stuck.

Agén Kemika — what some called the Chemical & Biological Development Department — hadn't even tried to get into contact with him. It seemed as if they could care less about their agent. Not even a phone call. And to think they hadn't been shy before, when they would check in for constant updates regarding the status of the mission. With the mission compromised, they had stopped caring about him, apparently.

He was beginning to truly worry around the three-hour mark. Dalga rarely ventured outside their quarters for that long, at least these days. It was far too dangerous in the city. The stray shells were one thing, but the commissars were another. The "patriotism" had taken hold, and in communist-speak "patriotism" was rarely voluntary. If you weren't helping bring the wounded to the field hospitals or ammunition to the soldiers, you were an enemy. If there wasn't a rifle in your hand, you were useless, and therefore an enemy. Gardó simply avoided the streets. Dalga braved them, but of course Dalga was a trained killer.

The view out that window had become tiresome. Gardó took a pack of cigarettes out of his shirt pocket, opened it and slipped a single one out, placing it in his mouth. It wasn't tobacco. Marijuana was hard to find here, but Agén Kemika had been liberal with the resupplies up to the siege. They liked to drug their field operatives, lest the stress, anxiety, and trauma compromise them. Should that have meant something sinister to Gardó? Maybe. But he didn't mind. The use of drugs to help soldiers and agents cope with their experiences was somewhat of a novel idea. Apparently, it had been impossible to enforce against during The War and studies showed that it had actually helped increase combat performance over the long-run. The Imperial Bureaucracy took that and used it to justify a government-wide program of medicinal sedation. Whatever their motives, the decision jived with the troops, Gardó included.

As he was about to have a nervous breakdown, the door at the end of the hall flung open and in walked the big Koro Kirim man. There was a big, broad smile on his face as he bellowed, "I have found a way out!"

Gardó left the roach cherrying on the windowsill as he jumped up and, his face wide, exclaimed, "Great! Watya find?"

The big man sniffed around and his nose wrinkled. "I thought I told you to stop smoking," he said, harshly. "Someone is going to smell it and they're going to start asking questions, and the wrong person is going to find us. Going to find you, most likely, since next time I see you smokin' that shit around me I'm going to slap you so hard your neck will turn a permanent forty-five degrees to your right."

"Who the hell is going to smell pot all the way up here?" He looked at the window and motioned downward. They were about four levels up, facing a small street surrounded by cheap, mass fabricated apartment buildings just like this one. "On either side of," he motioned to both with his thumb and pinky outstretched toward opposite walls," our neighbors are...who knows where. Dead, probably. Or, with some rifle, huddling and shivering in some cold, grimy trench. Probably dead, let's be honest. Trust me, no one is going to give a crap if I smoke a little weed. Relax, buddy."

Dalga walked past him, up to the window, and took the joint between his fingers. He smashed its end on the surface of the sill, leaving a mark of black ash on the beige paint, and then he tossed it out the window. It fell onto the barren sidewalk below. "Bad assumptions are an easy way to get killed. Trust me, I know death."

"You are death, the death of whatever respite I have in this hellhole," was all that Gardó said in response.

"Whatever," snapped the operative. He settled onto a wooden chair that looked uncomfortable. The groan confirmed it. "Anyway, listen up, I got a tip from one of my contacts. Looks like there's an asset in the city with access to a tunnel that can put us behind Ralkovian lines. It was a little ambiguous at first, but I was able to get a bead its location. Took some time and a lot of bad leads, but a few guys I talked to kept referring to 'some Macabeans' living an apartment in the center. I made a little trip and you'll never guess who I wandered into." He took an apple out of a jacket pocket and took a bite out of it.

"Where the hell did you find an apple?" Gardó was sitting back on the edge of the window, but when he saw the apple it was as if his body had instinctually gone into predator mode. He hadn't seen a real apple in months. Communist states don't have a price system, so they ration. Rationing is like guessing at what the values of different things are, so it comes with the expected mass shortages — the fabled breadline. Savvy citizens bartered on the black market, but fresh apples are expensive. They're several months worth of average ration cards expensive. Average Joe wasn't the kind of guy to buy an apple. It was the rich folk who had the money, and the connections, to pay a smuggler. Anybody with that kind of capital draws attention to themselves, and that was certainly something they wanted to avoid. "You snagged an apple on your way here and you have the gall to chew me out about the pot? Incredible."

The Koro Kirim man smiled. "Relax, I took it from a body. I thought I got painted when I almost stumbled on a commissar escorting a soldier across an intersection. I think the soldier saw me, but the commissar was shouting at him. Pulled out his sidearm and shot the soldier dead, he did. He hit him in the stomach first. The poor boy was nineteen years old, he looked it at least. Maybe younger. The commissar didn't give a shit about the apple. He just walked away. So when he left, I took it."

"Jesus," said Gardó. "Tell me, who did'ya run into?" he asked, after a long pause.

"Here's the kicker," started Dalga. "They're your Agén Kemika pals. Apparently, they've been posted here since before us. They got chased out of their original quarters by Templar soldiers and they eventually took up residence where I found them, an abandoned flat in a bombed out building. Anyway, they were given an evacuation contact—"

Gardó cut him short. "What!? First, there's more us here? Why the hell hasn't any of them contacted me? Second, I see how it is, they get an evacuation contact, but I don't."

"You ever think it was Goravalda who had the evacuation contact?" asked Dalga. That shut Gardó up, so he picked up where he had been interrupted. "They didn't want to give it up to me at first, so I beat the shit out of one of them. I literally pummeled his face into a pulp, into a butter you could spread on your toast. The others were so scared that one of them gave me the name and address. Easy as pie. Problem is, when I got there, homeboy was dead. The house had been hit by a bomb dropped by a Ralkovian bomber. The building was essentially cinder and rubble. But I did a little exploring on the grounds and I think I found the tunnel. It goes pretty far, I went down far enough it wasn't just some lame route to another apartment rise."

"You think?" asked Gardó.

The Koro Kirim man looked him straight and the eyes and nodded. "Yep. It's the best we got."

The agent shrugged. "Okay, when do we make our move?"

"Tonight."

The next few hours were of the kind that drove anxiety pangs down one's spines and into one's muscles. To know that freedom from death was only a few hours away was a dangerous thing. They didn't actually know that, to be fair. Once they left Prussya-Moskau, if they left Prussya-Moskau, they would still have to travel a long way to find a point at which they could be extracted. The Koro Kirim man did not delve too much into what the plan was once they were behind Ralkovian lines, but from what he did say it seemed that the two of them would have to make their way to the coast. That, or go into hiding somewhere in the countryside, where they could wait the invasion and occupation out.

Gardó packed almost everything. Dalga tossed him a bag to fit whatever he could in, but truth was that by this point neither of them had many belongings of value anymore. Whatever they had had was lost now or traded in for food and other necessities. Other than the clothes on his back, Gardó took only a change of underwear, socks, and a plastic-looking suit. He used the rest of the space to store as many of his medications as possible. Those would be of far more use to both of them than anything else they had; as it turned out, it would save them, but that was a story for another time. Atop the assorted, messy collection of medication, he threw his gas mask on. It was better than the ones that the Templar troops themselves got, issued to Gardó and his two escorts by the Imperial Bureacracy. They still had Goravalda's, which Dalga stored in his own pack along with his own. "We might need it," was all that he said about it.

The two of them had one final meal before setting out. He opened another can of beans for himself and the operative did the same. They munched down in silence. Dalga was, of course, the more disciplined one, eating slowly and systematically. Gardó was hungry and he ate like it, gulping down the beans as quickly as one could. Two cans of this stuff per day just wasn't enough, but, alas, it was all they had these days.

As for the rest of the food they stored, Dalga piled it all into his own pack, which was slightly larger than Gardó's. Strong, muscular, and well-trained, the Koro Kirim could afford to carry that weight. Gardó, being a weak and frail scientist, not so much. All the medication weighed enough already. He did, however, sneak some snacks into his pack, lest the trek get long and Dalga greedy with the rations. The operative was a man of principle, and Gardó could be starving to death and he would not offer another can of food until the hour was the right one. Sometimes it was such a hassle to work with special forces.

Night finally swept over the city. The war still sounded vibrant. Ralkovian slave hordes don't sleep, they only die until their masters deem the defenses soft enough to puncture on their own. But the commissars were either at the front or asleep, and so the streets were of a relative safety they were unlikely to get at any other time.

It was frigidly cold. Dead bodies laid strewn out on the street, frozen and graying. The frost was the only thing stopping the corpses from swelling and losing any semblance to the humanity they may have once held. City dwellers still alive came down from their hiding places at night, tightly wrapped in whatever blankets, sheets, or clothing they had, to scavenge from the dead. Most of the corpses had already been looted, and many who hadn't were simply too frozen to handle — although it was not rare to see an entire hand snapped off just so that a man could sell the wedding ring on it for rations —, but the freshly deceased were pounced on like a carcass surrounded by carrion birds. This was the scene that the two of them walked into as they left their apartment building and headed east. They kept in the shadows, so that the zombies looking for loot would leave them alone.

Dalga's right hand never seemed to stop hovering over a holster he had concealed under his shirt, on his right hip.

They moved through the smaller streets. Small units of Templar soldiers moved through main thoroughfares at night, using the relative lull to reposition themselves and reinforce weak positions. Civilian chain gangs built trenches and dug deep foxholes at night, when they weren't needed to evacuate the wounded or move ammunition up the lines. Better to use the tigther, narrower streets to move through the city. It was easier to hide within the shell of a burnt-out, collapsed building this way. They had some close calls. Once, they had almost ran into a labor gang digging a deep dike that ran through the flanking houses. The workers were evidently too tired to even notice them and the commissar too busy whipping his men into action.

For a few hours now they had trudged through a city strewn with the remnants of a collapsing state. Decrepit brick buildings slowly decayed, chunks of loose concrete and other debris falling from their surfaces at a constant rate like urban waterfalls. The farther center they went, the less people there were outside. Soldiers and labor were needed closer to the front, not here.

"Almost there," said Dalga, his breath hoarse from the long walk. Gardó was in an even worse state, so he didn't respond. "It's just three or four blocks ahead," kept going the Koro Kirim, "just keep pushing."

One foot down, Gardó then focused on moving the other, and like this he forced himself through the fatigue. They had taken a very roundabout route, and with the weight they were carrying the obstacles and the distance had taken their toll on the agent. He was breathing hard and their pace kept slowing down with every dozen kilometers they moved. Dalga looked back at him with angry, nasty looks and pushing him harder, but even he could not fight the physically inevitable. Tired people move slower, a fact. News of being close to end, as much of an end to a beginning as it was, spurred Gardó only a little.

Suddenly, Dalga stopped in his tracks and put up his hand to signal Gardó to stop. "Do you hear that?" he asked, voice low.

"What?" replied Gardó, almost in a whisper. He wasn't trying to keep his voice quiet, that was just all the energy he could muster at the moment.

The Koro Kirim man was about to shh his partner, but then the noise he had heard got louder. A louder. It was a whine, like a high-pitched whistle that went on for minutes, its shrill cry heightening throughout. Finally, its origin thundered out from behind a dark cloud and rocketed down toward the earth, striking deep somewhere to the south. The ground shook, but the explosion seemed small for the size of the shell. Other like it were falling out of the sky, with the same result.

The barrage was rolling north, toward them, but the wall of fire that they expected to see wasn't there. Dalga pulled them into an abandoned lobby, whose mailbox had been half-shattered by gunfire. Unlikely there had been any fighting between troops here, this must have been work of a commissar. But there were no bodies, no bones, no blood, just a lot of bullet holes. From that dark, eerie hole in the wall, the two of them looked into the empty street. Apart from the artillery barrage, there was a silence in the night that they hadn't heard in a while. The sound of distant gunfire had minimized and the bombers had ceased their mischievousness. It was almost peaceful. Almost.

A shell struck a nearby apartment tower, digging deep into it like an animal burrowing into the earth. There was as much of an explosion as you'd expect for a hunk of metal striking something solid at some ungodly velocity, but that was no high explosive warhead. Gardó had worked on artillery shells before, at Arras, prior to this posting. He knew what different warheads did and what their consequences looked like. He should have realized it before, but this was the first time it finally struck him. The explosions were small for a reason; indeed, these weren't high explosive warheads, these were something else. Chemical. Something in his throat tightened and he suddenly had an urge to empty his bowels, which he avoided only by some miracle. Just as he was about to turn and warn Dalga, events once again outpaced him. From out the building emerged a small string of people who must have been hiding in it.

They were moving slowly. Some of their appendages were just dangling, although they did not seem injured in anyway. One began to claw at her throat, as if struggling to find her breath. Her face hit the ground as her body collapsed, and soon her eyes closed. The others around her were dying too, their legs no longer functional and their throats closing, as if it was trying to protect itself from what was in the air.

And indeed it was. "VX," said Gardó.

The operative turned to him with a troubled expression. "Are you sure?" he asked.

"Yea, I'm goddamn sure." Of course he was sure. This was his specialization. He took off his backpack quickly, as did Dalga, and they pulled out their gas masks. VX had no color, no smell, they wouldn't know it was in their system until it started to affect their nervous system and their ability to function. Whatever fatigue he was feeling before was now gone. Now all that was left was fear. He tightened the mask around his face, but even that wasn't alleviating. Only when he put on that plastic-looking suit he had stored in his pack did he feel truly safe. That and when a few minutes had gone by and he was still fully functioning.

"Let's keep moving," said Dalga, almost as if resigned to his fate.

The city was alive again, but only long enough to die absolutely. People who had been hiding in their homes, in their small safety shelters where even four to a hole they were packed in like sardines, revealed themselves finally, only to crumple where they stood and join their countless frozen comrades that already littered the streets. For each one who died in public there must have been ten or twenty who died where they slept or hid. The Ralkovian barrage was relentless; thousands upon thousands of VX-laden shells must have fallen on Prussya-Moskau that night, enough to saturate the city with the chemical. Enough to kill almost everyone who lived there, almost every soldier who fought there. Later they would find out that the Ralkovians had gassed even their own slaves. Only their Death Guard, equipped with NBC suits, survived, and they would soon pull out of their positions, allowing the VX in the city to do its work. Millions died — indeed, almost twenty million, by some accounts.

As Gardó and his escort made their way the final blocks to their destination, they sometimes had to climb over mountains of the dying. Most still twitched where they lay. Their deaths would be slow, painful, and horrific, and death would bring them a better life. Gardó only prayed that the worst parts would pass by faster for these poor souls.

"There," said Dalga, pointing. "That building there."

It was squat compared to the ones around it and of older make. It had stood there for perhaps a century and a half, but by now it had essentially ceased standing. Half of its façade had fallen off and was spread across the street at its half-shattered doorstep. Around it, the bombs had taken their toll and the damage was immense. It seemed miraculous that any of its dark, byzantine walls were standing at all.

The Koro Kirim soldier led them inside the heap of the onceb-building cautiously. His gun may have still been in the hidden holster, but it seemed as if he wanted to fire it right then he would have found a way. Like a coiled tiger, Dalga guided them through empty once-halls. There were no signs of life; even Dalga looked confused. Had he expected there to be someone here? The other Agén Kemika agents? What had happened to them, anyway? Had they already fled? Not a noise could be heard but their own timid footsteps, and then the sound of sliding metal as he took his sidearm out. He raised it by his head, at the ready.

"They must have left at the first signs of VX," he murmured. "They said they'd wait for us."

Gardó arched an eyebrow but said nothing. Had he been in whoever shoes it was that Dalga had been expecting, he would have left by now too. How could they even be assured that the operative and his agent friend had survived the chemical bombardment. Maybe it was them who hadn't made it. Either way, Gardó kept his mouth shut. No use talking about such a sordid and demotivating topic, not with the shells continuing to fall around them.

Down some stairs, into a basement, they went. They were still moving slowly, without making much noise. Outside, people were shouting and crying...for as long as they could, at least. Chilling memories of the munitions' whining and the pained screams for help that followed would haunt Gardó for the rest of his life. Still, their was no hesitation in their step. The innocent were destined to die that night, it had been Willed. There were no lights; any electricity this no-longer-a-building had was shut off for some time now. A bomb, or two, had liquidated it from any usefulness at all. Their gasks masks made it even darker, and in their suits the frigid cold air had turned hot, but continued to make their way downstairs as quickly as they could. It was not quick at all, as they watched their step on the broken, rotting staircase. The decent seemed almost endless.

There came a point when Gardó made another step, as if still moving down the stairs, only to half-stumble as his foot found only level ground. Dalga, who had apparently memorized his way down, helped Gardó catch himself. If there was a smile on the man's face, the agent couldn't see it, but there was an obvious satisfaction in his voice when he said, "We're here."

"Great, let's get the hell out of here," was all that Gardó said, as he prodded his escort to keep guiding him into the tunnel and away from this hellish place.

Dalga took him by the sleeve of his arm. "Okay, follow me. Stay close, and if you fall make sure I know. I'll do the same. But for now on, we need to move tightly. I don't know where this thing leads and what we can expect on the other side, so when we emerge we need to be ready for anything. And that's hoping this thing is empty."

And just as they walked forward a few hundred steps there was a loud whine that was muffled by the dozens of meters worth of earth between them and the surface. Then came the crash, directly above them. Loose dirt came off from the ceilings and walls, resting on them and their masks. It was getting harder to breathe, especially with the gas masks on. The collapse of the tunnel came next and without warning.

It was as if the world was coming down on him. Something took him on the shoulders and on the back, pushing him on his knees and then on his elbows, until he was trapped beneath some heavy weight. He heard Dalga grunt and swear, and then the man fell silent. Gardó couldn't see in front of him and he had started to asphixiate, or maybe it was the anxiety that came when the oxygen around you had become so sparse that even your cells knew of their impending demise. Neither could he hear anything anymore. At first, the collapse had sounded cataclysmic, but now it was like his ears had gone deaf. The silence was ear-piercing.

After a long moment, he felt strong enough to feel around him by moving one muscle and then the next. Whatever had trapped him down was loose, so he was able to slowly push it all off him. It was a struggle, believe that. He couldn't use his hands and, at first, his arms were pinned onto the ground. He started with the shoulders and upper back, until he would wriggle one of the arms out from underneath a pile of dirt. With that one free he pushed one side of his torso up, only to find that his legs were weighed down by something too. By then he could move his head in at least one direction, and that's when he saw the giant mound of packed mud and soil that sloped down toward him. It sealed the tunnel behind him, and he could see this only because the collapse had left only tiny holes that poked out to the surface. Moonlight flooded in timidly, illuminating the disaster.

Finally, he pulled himself completely free and stood up. His first instinct was to inspect the suit. Whatever had hit them must have been a VX shell and it had burrowed. Even if it hadn't, the air passages up to the surface were enough to flood this part of the tunnel with the gas. The suit was fine, regardless — another miracle.

His second instinct was to look around for his partner. "Dalga?" he said. "Dalga!" He should it a little louder this time. To no avail.

There, extending from under the rubble, was a bloody arm. Something had dug into it, revealing blood red bone and damaged tissue. Gardó kneeled to start digging around it, careful not to tear a hole through the material sealing his hands from the external world. But as he continued to dig he found that there was nothing connected to the arm, it had been completely severed from the body. Gardó recoiled and pushed himself back with his legs, crawling backwards like a crab, right until the earth started to fall around him once again. This time the holes leading to the surface turned into a pit, and through it came burning debris.

A piece of wooden board aflame landed on his face, the heat quickly melting the light green material of the suit on the side of his face. The mask sizzled, but it held up. The rest of that side of his was wasn't so lucky. The fire boiled his skin alive, and he screamed. He screamed so loudly that everything around him started to shake again, and down came more earth.

It was a blessing in disguided, it turns out, for the dirt put out the fire on his face. A short-term blessing, because now there was a hole through which whatever VX was in the air was nowing flowing through the pores of his skin, into his bloodstream, infecting his cells and nervous system. Gardó felt nothing, passed out as he was, half his face nothing more than red-hot scar tissue now. He would have died there too, forever forgotten, had someone not come from deeper inside the tunnel to drag him farther into its depths, farther away from the violence that had followed Gardó right up to the end of his escape from Prussya-Moskau.

When he awoke at a hospital far away from Soviet Templars, back in the Golden Throne, Gardó saw his face as for the first time. He had little memory of what had happened to it, although it would come back in due time. He screamed then like had had in the tunnel.


II.


He had been called into North Point and told to come with haste, so he did. In fact, the agency had booked him onto the next flight out of Arras. It was a long trip, but he had been given plenty of reading to pass the time. All sorts of documents were securely transferred to his tablet, which he read vigorously over the next several hours of the flight.

When he first saw the disassembled Ralkovia shell, laying on a metallic table sitting in the middle of a sealed room, memories of Prussya-Moskau almost overwhelmed him. He felt at the turgid, twisted skin on his neck and cheeks. It made him want to cry and howl. The pain was coming back, both physically and emotionally. But under the eyes of some of the military's top officials he recomposed himself and walked up to the specimen. He was dressed in full NBC ware, with not a gas mask but a completely sealed head piece that was one with the rest of the garb. He had known what it was when he first saw it from outside the room. Hell, he had known as soon as he saw the photographs in the documents sent to him.

It was, without a doubt, a Ralkovian shell.

How did he know? After all, he had not stopped to inspect one in Prussya-Moskau.

No, but the men who had saved him had better foresight. The ones from Agén Kemika that Dalga had met with earlier that day not only found him at the site of the tunnel's collapse, but also large scraps of the shell. They were equipped with the resources they needed to lug it safely with them; indeed, later, Gardó was told that they were there for that explicit purpose: to collect samples of any chemical warheads used by either side. The Imperial Bureacracy wanted intelligence on what other countries were using for their unconventional armaments, and it wanted samples to help inspire its own weapons programs, and they had finally gotten one. It was something Gardó would become intimate with later, obsessive even. It was what fueled him to return to Arras, even after his disillusionment with the agency's treatment of its assets, if only so that he could learn everything there was to know about what had almost killed him, what had indirectly caused half his face to melt.

As he vigorously worked, his nostrils flared with the memory of the stench of melted skin.

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The Grande Republic 0f Arcadia
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Founded: Oct 23, 2016
Ex-Nation

Rise from Ashes

Postby The Grande Republic 0f Arcadia » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:13 pm

Farvou, Kingdom of Arcadia
June 16th, 1738
Edgar Munche

This has been five years in planning, the unrest from the first uprising was still strong in many areas of the Kingdom, the Kaiser was blind. Twenty five years ago he served in the Kaiser's grand Army against the uprising and since then he has been planning, and waiting. The shortage on food and the recent purge of the military has left many unloyal to the kingdom. He stood up from his desk and looked in the mirror, he wore a blue military uniform, the uniform of the Republic that will soon be. The Kaiser's military wore black, easy to distinguish from Republic forces. Soon he heard a knock on his door, and he turned and walked towards the door. When he opened he saw Lieutenant Colonel Galleger, Galleger spoke "Frieherr the people are ready for your declaration." Edgar spoke "Good, today is the beginning of a new era that will change the world." He turned around and put on his Bicorn hat. As he walked out of the room and down the hall, soldiers in Republic uniforms stood at attention. As he reached the balcony he spoke:

" Today will mark a day that will change the face of Arcadia today, and the world. People across these lands are watching as the Kaiser is losing control of his lands, and as we rise. Today the oppressive kingdom shall fall! Today we proclaim the Kaiser as the illegitimate leader of Arcadia and a war criminal for his role in the first uprising, and the killings since! Today Republic forces and militias have risen up and are now storming armories and the Kaisers forces. Some of the Kaisers top Generals have left him for the Republic, the age of the Kaiser is over, and today marks the day of a democratic Arcadia!"

The crowd cheered, he stepped away from the balcony and met by Colonel Statson and Captain Distel, who were in uniform and he spoke "Sir our forces outside the city are engaging Imperial Forces, we need to act on the city while they are distracted." Edgar spoke "Give the signal, we fight now!" In a matter of minutes smoke signals filled the skies and musket shots rang out. He mounted his horse with the other officers, and they road with soldiers of the 1st Republic Division in formation to the Kaiser's forces. Civilians hid indoors and some took up arms for both sides. He soon held his horse back as the infantry went into combat formations, and the Kaiser's forces walked on thier lines sight, Edgar yelled "FIRE!" gunshots rang out and the Kaiser's men fell dead, the survivors ran for cover firing back. Soon the second volley of Republic forces fired. When the unit enemy unit scrambled into formation they returned fire and man republic soldiers fell dead, they continued to return fire, and it went back and forth until the imperial forces they came across were dead. They moved forward leaving the dead and injured behind.

Casatolo, The Grande Republic of Arcadia
April 4th, 1740
Edgar Munche

He walked the halls of the Kaiser's palace, and it was in ruins from the fighting. They had arrested the Kaiser a few days ago and now the last hold outs were soon to fall, the war was over. In the coming month he would meet with the First Parliament. His family would be coming up from Lewiston in the coming weeks. This was the first time in two years he was not in uniform. He was in a suit, black with a white under shirt. He looked out the window. He saw the flag of the new republic fly over the Parliament Building. Tomorrow they would kill the Kaiser by guillotine in the city center, they finally did it, they won. He continued down the hall, and walked into the Kaiser's room, he knew he would not use this palace, he knew of a mansion that was started to be build in 1738, and due to be done next year, he would make that his home. He would order the Kaiser's palace to be destroyed and save the previous dynasties castle in Volcane, he walked out to the balcony and looked over the city and he hoped this peace would last.
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Stevid
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Posts: 492
Founded: Antiquity
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Stevid » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:11 am


TITLE: Building Burned Bridges
AUTHOR: Stevid


HMNB Vulcan
Territory of Valvidia
North Valdoria
Western Greater Dienstad


Commodore Matthew Cassius stood out on the wind swept jetty of Berth 8 looking out to sea, what had now been named as the ‘Valvidian Passage’. August was wet here in the Empire’s newest and possibly most strategic territorial acquisition since the Treaty of Guffingford. Fine rain swirled around the commodore, the sort, he found, that quickly drenched you without really realising it. He twitched his nose as fine pellets of water gathered into large ones on the black rim of his blazing white naval cap and dripped coldly, and annoying, onto his face. He was an experienced naval officer but he recalled too many poor weather systems like this where it half decided to rain, but not properly, making the whole day and his mood utterly miserable. His accompanying two-man entourage were motionless, or emotionless; or perhaps both, Cmdre Cassius hadn’t quite figured it out yet. What he did know that the arranged meeting with a foreign submarine captain was being taken very seriously by all parties concerned with the security and development of the Empire’s newest sliver of land and the islands in the middle of the Valvidian Passage.

He checked his watch, eager to get out of the rain as soon as possible having been waiting patiently for nearly forty minutes. However, due to the recent regional wars of late, the nuclear catastrophe in Mordent and increased naval activity and anti-slavery deployments between here and the United World Order, submarines had to be extra careful when transiting the region’s trouble spots. But just as he was about to loudly complain about the weather again a jet-black conning tower broke through the choppy waters before a long tubed body surfaced altogether, a few hundred metres away from the berth.

“Finally…” He muttered, straightening himself and tugging his jacket. Cassius was almost surprised when the two men with him actually moved too, straightening themselves. “Oh, you still let live?” He jibed drawing no response at all. Frowning, Cassius looked back at the submarine. He could see people now on the deck and after a few minutes a flag fluttered to life from the conning tower.

Morrdh.

The flag was barely distinguishable from Stevid’s but the submarine was clearly non-Imperial, being an older diesel-electric design than those in the Royal Navy. As it eventually pulled into harbour, unescorted so as not to draw too much attention, the deck crews of the boat and the Stevidian harbour staff set about mooring the boat safely. Within minutes the naval captain from Morrdh was on the jetty with a handful of officers and face-to-face to with the commodore.

Cassius saluted, the captain acknowledged in kind, and then a shaking of hands.

“Welcome to Valvidia, Captain. I’m Commodore Matt Cassius, Commandant of His Majesty’s Naval Base Vulcan.”

“Capt’n Wallace, HES Churchill, Morridane Navy.”
He nodded back. The accent was thick Morridane. “And thank ‘ye ‘fer allow’n the Commonwealth access t’ ‘ye facilities.”

Cassius noticed Wallace cast a nervous glace towards the men towering behind Cassius.

“I understood this were’an important visit ‘fer both of us… but I dinna’ expect Templars to meet us here.”

“These Templar Knights come on behalf of the Holy Inquisition. It wasn’t my idea to have them here,”
he said gesturing over his shoulder with his head. “However, foreign powers must be under no illusions that Valvidia is Stevidian. Imperial dominion of this place is unquestioned; therefore, as a representative of the Commonwealth, you can see for yourself how seriously the Empire, the Church, and other loyal parties, take the sovereignty of Valvidia… we won’t be making the same mistakes here as we did in South Greal.”

Cassius’ tone was cold and firm, clearly drawing reference to the lack of Morridane support to Stevid during the conflict with the Covenant pact. The inference was vague enough for the captain realise this but also that he wasn’t being accused or being asked to justify the actions of his country. Probably wary of saying something he shouldn’t, at least without a diplomatic privilege from Morrdun, he meekly nodded. At least acknowledging the Stevidian position, or perhaps feeling uncomfortable around the Templars – black armour and helms, rain and dark clouds painting a morbid picture of two very dangerous men.

“Come then, captain! A tour of what you can expect here. A car is waiting, an usher will take your coat.”

Both men headed to an ordinary looking saloon car. This was no diplomatic mission at least not on the face of it. The exchange in use of harbour facilities between both nations was very much a secret for both of them, keeping things official but low key was of the utmost importance – so no security entourage, no bomb proof cars, no Jaguars of Range Rovers, just a standard business owned, five door saloon. The car drove through the first quayside of many that made of this gargantuan military complex – what was soon to be the largest naval facility in all of Greater Dienstad.

“Vulcan is a prime choice for your government. I assume you’ve been to Portsmouth, yes?”

“Ye’ assume right, Sir.”

“Portsmouth is the largest naval base in Stevid, beaten only by Caliban in Adaptus Astrates – but Vulcan, and Valvidia really, has been granted almost 2 billion pounds in additional infrastructure funding to expand the facilities and defensive requirements of Valvidia. It will be the biggest military port in the region. The reason being is that South Greal was very much under garrisoned: one division, two other under strength battalions, at the outbreak of war. Valvidia is smaller but more strategic, more important militarily, not just to the Empire, but our friends too. Oh, and it’s Matt by the way… no need for ranks here and now.”


Wallace smiled and nodded; he looked out the window as they past more and more berths, staring up at the towering mass of the Sanctus Mare class carrier HMS Cleopatra.

“Ha’ many vessels can ye’ safely ‘old here, Matt?”
Wallace quizzed.

“A little over two hundred, currently. That’s already close to Portsmouth’s maximum capacity. But areas further out on the western side of the territory are extremely deep and relatively well sheltered. Once the full expansion is complete and tender ships and boats are well drilled in routine, we can increase to several hundred. More than enough to service a Stevidian splinter fleet, battlefleet, or a coalition task force. But it’s not like all our eggs are in one basket, Wallace. Vulcan is one base but it will stretch across most of the coastline, from the west to the northeast. Therefore it could accommodate thousands and thousands of ships, but not safely.”

“I’d like t’ think large fleets are protected when moored ‘oot from tha’ harbours.”


“There are extensive ASW capabilities here, for example, out there.” Cassius pointed out of the window on his counterpart’s side into the grey and bitter weather. Barely visible, but noticeable enough for the keen eye of a submariner was the grey outline on the equally grey sea and sky of a frigate.

“Reef Class.” Wallace muttered. “Probably two by tha’ looks o’it.”

Cassius raised an eyebrow, surprised at the swift recognition, but supressed it immediately. Perhaps he’d underestimated this submarine captain somewhat.

“Well spotted. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days year. Continuous non-stop anti-submarine deployments by sea, by air and close-in land spotters should they even get that close. Air surveillance is key too. So, there are two islands out in the Valvidia passage and Stevid controls both. Beyond them on the other side of the passage is Unitisla. It’s an area of ‘economic interest’ to Stevid but transit is free, though obviously monitored by the navy and air force. There aren’t restrictions on movement or trade in the slightest. This means non-aligned submarines are able to pass through if they want. But the largest island in the west, Kayvaan, has a naval base, marine garrison and air base. Valvidia has three air bases so far and so the anti-air and air based ASW overlaps nicely.”

“An’ air detection?”

“Eventually an A-Band OTHR will be installed in Valvidia for anti-stealth, wide and long range, low-resolution tracking. Additional surveillance radars with high resolutions will be installed along the coast for military and civilian purposes. However Kayvaan and the smaller eastern island of Athos will have long-range early warning radar installations. Again, like with ASW, anti-air patrols are constant throughout the year. From another perspective, this is a safety issue due to the massive volume of sea traffic in the area. Ships in distress can be located and helped quickly… but it will also defend our ships.”


The tour continued and Cassius mentioned the local Army garrison, almost brigade strength of armour and armoured infantry, the presence of four permanently stationed naval air squadrons and one whole royal air force group. The diplomatic situation with the Valdorian Empire, of which there wasn’t really one, was glazed over rather quickly in that there wasn’t much to say beyond the first few tendrils of non-aggression overtures and patient, friendly diplomacy. But he reiterated that the Empire was going to take the defence of the territory more seriously but make the whole HMNB Vulcan complex very much open to international use by ‘likeminded’ countries. Eventually the car pulled up to an inner compound, complete with a security check point, double layered chain link security fence and a small pillbox beyond which lay a small road system, a parade square and a large pillared façade of a much grander building beyond – clearly some sort of purpose built HQ building with several other smaller office blocks scattered to the left and right.

“This is yours.” Cassius said. “HQ, offices, and single living accommodation for approximately three hundred personnel. Families will be located off base in military housing. This compound area was designated for external agency use, but now is solely for Morrdh naval officials or other military attachés. It won’t be sovereign Morridane territory but it will fall under Morridane military jurisdiction, so long as it conforms to Stevidian law and your own. Therefore, essentially, what you say goes – within the confines of that compound but with common courtesy to me and the Stevidian High Command here in Valvidia. Morridane military police can operate throughout the territory in order to police your troops, but Stevidian Ministry Defence Police hold full jurisdiction on HMNB Vulcan; and the Valvidia Territorial Police are the home police force so can take full jurisdiction over anything and everything criminal if they so wish. If our MPs pick your guys up, we’ll hand them to you.”

“Seems like ya’ got ‘erything sorted ‘fer us ‘ere. I’m sure my govn’ment will be pleased. Perhaps this be something of a… progression in relations?”
Wallace said whilst getting out of the car with Cassius to admire the vacant HQ building in front of them.

Cassius smiled. “Perhaps, but of course it’s no secret that my country doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the Commonwealth following the recent wars. But I’m no politician, Wallace; my enemies are my enemies – likewise with friends. Until I’m told otherwise, those facts still stand. As far as I’m concerned, Morrdh and Stevid have had a major falling out… but that doesn’t change our military stance or relationship with each other.”

“Agreed.” Wallace said, smiling back.

“A Morridane presence here is likely to be semi-permanent for the time being. So, we will see Commonwealth and Imperial flags flying from the masts in front of that building.” He said, point to a line of five very tall white flag poles. “If our banners can fly together here once more, then surely it’s possible for them to do so again elsewhere, in future more pressing times.”
Last edited by Stevid on Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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AHSCA
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5582
Founded: Mar 08, 2007
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby AHSCA » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:50 pm


TITLE: Bright Shining Morning (Historical)
AUTHOR:AHSCA


This story takes place in the immediate aftermath of AHSCA's War of independence. Everything here relates only IC and no ill will is intended. Some details might also be a bit fudged for the sake of storytelling too.


A trusted relation broken, a cluster of islands in ashes an unsettling truce called for now. Only saving grace was nature itself. But before the great storm unofficially known as Hurricane Shino staved off invasion of the islands many small militia and civilians took up arms against aggressors. A neko girl, Hikaru of Animalpolis who was maybe 16 or so was such a girl she couldn't flinch if she was to protect herself and her little brother, Shinji, the only family she now had after watching her parents fall. She took up the guns and sporadically fired at passing enemy soldiers until they decided on tiny little hut in the middle of the jungle wasn't worth being cannon fodder when other targets would do.

That was a few months ago, then the winds and rains came the ocean surged, what could still stand was promptly blown apart, the charred remains of foliage from napalm attacks was washed into the seas. When the weather calmed the villagers regrouped to find what remained of their loved ones gather what supplies they could before the invaders would return. But then a true miracle happened, the war was over, just like that. A truce had been called, the fighting was over. Now they were officially a free people. But what was being free in this devastation? Hikaru and Shinji survived the battle but now work was to be done.

"Shinji! You silly boy, come here."

After all that happened he seemed like he was in good spirits. Many of the children seemed that way, almost like it as just another day. She had to wrestle him away from the scarcity of food they had to save.

"Hungry!"

"I know you are, but we can't eat right now, there's still a lot to do. Come on help me carry this." she handed him a small pile of thatch and other materials they'd use to rebuild their home. Even in the face of everything that happened Hikaru had to keep her spirits up too for the sake of her own self and her baby brother.

"It's also hot, sis, very hot today"

"I know, but the sooner we get to work the sooner we can go to the nice cool waters! Doesn't that sound fun?"

"Yeah!"

This sister and her brother they weren't alone. Other villagers and residents of the island were going around to help everyone they could, young and old it didn't matter what was important was to get back to living again. The idea THEY may come back again, still lingered as a dark thought in their heads but they tried to keep it at that, thoughts and not dwell on it. Before too long their home was back, good as new and as morning turned to noon, turned to night it was time to settle in. Their meager rations were there, some rice a little bit of fruit and other plants they could gather. Even some fish they were able to grab in the ocean. "Let's eat." After eating came washing which Shinji decided to torment his poor sister when he didn't want his hair washed. She had to chase him around. "Aaagh! I swear I'm going to toss you in the sea one day!" it was her common threat she always shouted at him ever since he could walk and talk and slip away from her watchful eyes or his late parents.

With the night progressing on she got him cleaned and settled in. He slept soundly but for her it was proving to be a restless night. Try as she might she couldn't un hear the gun fire, the bomb bursts, screams of her dying neighbors, parents and every other terrible thing. "Maybe they will come back. Maybe they won't." she clutched the unloaded gun she was holding as if any second now the peaceful moonlit night would become wrought with terror and destruction. But she drifted off as always, until morning when familiar sounds awoke her. Ships, large ones, not the small fishing boats of islanders but no doubt large mechanical monstrosities.

"Shinji!" she scrambled from her bed to her little brother who was awake already trying to decipher where the sound was originating. "Come! Let's go!" With one hand she grabbed him and with the other she thrust the automatic rifle over her shoulder, forgetting it wasn't loaded and she had no ammo on her scantly dressed self. She just wanted to get to safety quick. Others had the same ideas, fleeing to safety to wait out what they were fearing would be another invasion. Before she got to far she was met up with a group of people. Without thinking she aimed the weapon at them. "Back, away go away! This is my home!"

The people weren't invading soldiers, they were relief workers and now they were just hoping to avoid a situation. "Easy, easy" they all uttered out or something along those words. Many uttered they were there to help, not going to hurt them, please be calm but it was all foreign languages she couldn't understand she didn't know they were friends. Until the calming voice of a woman got her attention, it was the only one of these strangers who was speaking her language.

"It's all right, no need to be afraid. See we're not holding weapons, we are not armed." She smiled at Hikaru and gently walked to her with her hands up, as if she was surrendering to her. "Please just put the weapon down. It's okay, I promise."

"What? Just who are you?! Why have you come to hurt us again?! Why can't you just leave us be?! We've done nothing to you!"

"I said we're not here to harm you. We are here to help. I know you're scared right now but I promise we mean no harm. Feel me if you need."

"How can she come on to me like that? Who is she?" Hikaru scanned the lady up and down. "It's all right," the woman said to her "I promise, I'm one of the good people this time." Hikaru was now just emotionally drained from the scare of it all she dropped the weapon and embraced her little brother tightly. "It's okay. It's going to be okay." She just kept responding to Hikaru in the same gentle tone she had. She quickly got the gun away from her "Please dismantle this and put it in safe keeping." She requsted of the other aide worker.

"Yes, ma'am."

The people there were not invaders, they were peace keepers, part of a disengagement force launched to maintain stability, Unknowing to anyone on the islands, larger global politics had shifted the powers of balance with regional borders of Greater Dienstad being redrawn that AHSCA was drawn into the region now. The majority of the nations there had officially recognized AHSCA's independence, a handful abstained and another handful stood against it. But it was official AHSCA was now a sovereign state but it was a badly beaten and bloodied one that needed help.

Now in a tent somewhere on the beach, Hikaru was being examined by the same woman who talked her down. "What's your name?"

"H-Hikaru."

"How pretty. It means to shine, right?"

"Y-yes it does."

"My name is Christina. Hikaru. It suits you. I mean from what I could see, I can't imagine being able to stare down six full grown men like that with a little boy at my side. He's your son?"

"My little brother. I'm not married or nothing. You speak my language well. But you're an outsider."

"Well I'm a quirky person who likes studying unusual languages. Besides it's not terribly different than some spoken on other countries. Well I'll spare you a long lecture. You're healthy otherwise but a little malnourished." she wrote down a set of notes.

Hikaru looked over to another doctor looking over her brother and preparing a large scary looking shot of something for him. "Hey, what is he doing to him?! STOP IT!"

"It's okay, please stay clam okay? Please. It's only medicine. It will keep him from getting sick."

"Medicine?"

"That's right. That's all it is, I promise. It's been a horrible few months for you here, I bet. I understand you're scared and you have reason to be. But I really need you to stay calm for me. I promise."

"I'm sorry."

"It's all right. You'll be with him soon, I'm almost done here. Now you're much older so I'm going to have to ask if you want the same. You see he's still little and not as strong as you are to fighting off illness so that's why we give medicine like that. You might be okay but I'd like to suggest it."

"If, if it's medicine, it can't be bad right?"

"Right! You're okay with it then?"

"Well, all right, I suppose."

"Good good. Just a sec" She prepared a hypodermic. "Now this will be a bit of a pinch." She delivered it quick and sound. "There that should keep you and him nice and healthy."

It wasn't just medical treatment that was being provided for the islanders who were slowly but surely beginning to warm up to the idea of more foreign travelers. New fresh water drinking wells were being dug, little homes were being built up from whatever could be gathered. It wasn't the best in terms of complete infrastructure overhaul but it was assumed that it would be temporary until the centralized government would become more organized. For the sake of sanitation and health the dead who had perished in the war or shortly after were of course burned away. New trees and foliage was being planted and food was being handed out to everyone.

"There's plenty for all but please take only what you need!" Christina called out over the mega phone. "Oh Hikaru. Feeling okay?"

"oh yes, ma'am." She replied

"I'm glad to hear it. Anyway I'm sure you and your little brother need plenty of food to get you through until next season so please gather what you need."

"Oh thank you ma'am."

After seeing the worst of mankind these islanders were now seeing the best. It seemed things would truly be okay. It was a glorious bright morning when the enemy arrived and when they left it left they left in the darkness of night. Now again these people who were helping them get back to living again came in the dawn on a bright shining morning.

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Morrdh
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 8348
Founded: Apr 16, 2008
Democratic Socialists

Postby Morrdh » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:54 am


TITLE: Run Silent
AUTHOR: Morrdh


Gulf of Mordent

The diesel-electric Oberon-class submarine HES Odin had been creeping along for almost two hours, though Captain Henshaw kept a close on the clock. The Oberon-class, or 'O' boats as they were popularly known as, could run for up to five hours on battery but standard procedure was to have at least a spare hour when possible. Though progress was painfully slow as they made no more than 5 knots in speed so that they could run silent, another hour and a half then Henshaw would order a 180 degree course change and take them back to friendlier waters. Though right now his attention was divided between the clock and snatches through the periscope that was raised only briefly, few minutes previously sonar had picked up a surface contact that was designated Sierra 1 (or S1 for short). Though the angle Henshaw had on the vessel was bad, he was slightly off-centre to the ship's bow which made visual identification difficult. The sonar ran an analysis on the signal and were able to identify the contact, something which they quietly called out. "Bridge, sonar. Contact Sierra One is designated 'Ritter'."

So a Ritter (Kinight in English) class frigate, naval intel had considered this to be a general purpose patrol vessel. A jack of all trades, but still capable at hunting down and sinking submarines. It was most certainly an Ordenite vessel and therefore Henshaw had to consider it an enemy vessel, though his orders were strictly against him engaging it but the Ritter may not have such orders forbidding it from using whatever means at its disposal in driving off an unidentified submarine contact. Either way it warranted a close eye kept on it, though Henshaw had to use the scope sparingly in case the Ritter spotted them and moved to engage. At the same time Henshaw had to keep in consideration the 'Go Deep Circle', an area stretching out to about 1,200 yards round the boat that if a surface vessel entered the submarine would be required to do an emergecny crash dive. To aid in this the Odin had what was known as a 'Q Tank', a special quick diving tank that could be rapidly filled to add 5 tons in weight and would quite literally drag the submarine down. Quick glance in the scope told him that the Ritter was edging closer, so he quietly called out. "Standby Q."

Henshaw kept up taking quick snatches with the scope, the Ritter grew larger and larger as it closed the distance. It was beginning to get dangerously close, but Henshaw had to wait until it closed over the 1,200 yard line before he went deep. Then the Ritter finally crossed into the Odin's Go Deep Circle and Henshaw called out. "Flood Q!"

There was a noticeable tilt that required many of the crew to hold onto something, least they fall over, as the bow of the submarine became heavy and began to pull the boat down. There was a rumbling sound that echoed throughout the boat as the Ritter passed overhead. One of the sonarmen then called out. "Lost contact, Sierra One is in the baffles."

The Ritter was now behind them, where they couldn't get a sonar fix. If the Ordenite frigate had spotted them and was going to attempt another 'run' against them, then it would waste valuable time as it came about and thus give the Odin a chance to slip away. Something that Henshaw wasted no time in doing. "Helm, come right zero-four-one degrees. Make your depth five-zero-zero feet, two degrees down bubble. Maintain resolutions for zero-five knots."

"Mr Riley, inform me soon as our snapshots are ready." Henshaw added, remembering the Odin's mission and why they were there, to take photos of the Ordenite coastline to identify possible landing points for special forces teams. At the moment it was simply intelligence gathering and Henshaw had no idea just how far it'll go, though he'd heard that the intel was to be shared with the Stevidians and other Morridane allies. Though right now his main concern was getting the Odin safely home.
Irish/Celtic Themed Nation - Factbook

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Haishan
Diplomat
 
Posts: 687
Founded: Sep 08, 2010
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Haishan » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:32 am


TITLE: Destination, Arras
AUTHOR: Haishan


Michezie Place, Veiylan City, Haishan

“A toast for Alezei!”

“Aye!”

“Commodore, please stop…”

“Oh, don’t be shy Alezei! We should celebrate for your promotion! Drink up!”

“Yeah, Haschio’s right. Drink up, Alezei!”

“If you say so Nizie…urgh...”

Amusingly, Alezei sweated as much as the chilled cup; his fingers shook the golden liquid within. It was a Macabee special, a luxury that most cannot afford not because of its price but its availability due to certain legacy policies of Haize. His friends, somewhat half in plain clothes and another in Haize Navy uniform egged him to drink the beverage in single go. He gulped once and coughed twice; Alezei’s nervousness caused the fine brew to finely burst out of his nostrils.

“Now let’s get down to the meat. Alezei, you’re going to…”

“Arrazye, central, Commodore.”

“Yeah, thanks Nizie. You should be proud, Alezei. Not many get selected to overseas deployment.”

Contrary to the cheerful Commodore, Alezei’s eyes clouded over the matter. “I’m not sure, Commodore Avaz. Why now? Why do we need to go there? For what reason?”

“You will know why when you get there, Alezei. Make us proud.”

“It’s as what Commodore said, Alezei. Stay positive. I heard Arrazye is pretty desolate.”

Alezei’s hair followed the contour of his face, hinting a slight displeasure. “Desolate? It isn’t that bad, eh Haschio?”

“It depends on your rank there, Alezei. You will be in command of SAP, right?” Nizie, decked in full Haize Navy outfit lifted her eyebrows in response.

Alezei nodded silently while watching the hot pot bubbling with vigour. The Commodore paid them no heed, dunking sliced fish and vegetables into the aromatic broth. Alezei’s second friend sensed the awkwardness and thus excused himself to go somewhere else for a moment.

The Commodore gave a wry smile, whispering to the wide-eyed Nizie. “Rank isn’t everything, Nizie. You know that we promised to not talk about that.”

“I’m sorr-“

Alezei momentarily gazed downwards, remembering his old trauma. “No, it’s fine Nizie. Thanks for the concern, Commodore. Well Nizie, where are you going to be stationed?”

“Umm…Arbaylum. Aman Empire.” Burdened by her lack of tact, Nizie stuttered her answer.

Commodore Avaz sighed again, consigning himself to go with the flow. “Arbaylum…Arbalum? That’s pretty far. It’s Far West, right?”

“That’s right! Now a souvenir for you both! I’m going to Porte De Sur, Mokastana!” Alezei’s third companion, Haschio returned from his previous trip. In his hands were two pieces of pickled seaweed in wrapped plastic respectively, a traditional Haize delicacy. Unfortunately it looked like cheap gifts, causing him to garner a frown from Nizie.

Both Alezei and Nizie gave Haschio a synchronized pause. “Yeah, yeah. We didn't really ask....for....”

The Commodore on the other hand gave him an indifferent gaze, as if pitying him. “Well, enough talk. The broth should be done now. Let’s eat while it’s hot, gents.”

All three nodded in unison toward the Commodore, with Alezei breaking a pair of chopsticks, Haschio salivating upon the thought and Nizie fidgeting her fingers. The Commodore skillfully drew a pair of tongs upwards, forming a gentle race track motion to whisk away additional heat from the first white meat of the pot. Fragrant steam arose from the savoury hot pot, clattering Haschio teeth together but he held it in; the honour of the table was given to Alezei to eat first.

Alezei humbly nodded at Commodore Avaz, watching his every movement as the senior deposited a thin silver of fish without breaking it; a sign of good fortunes for years to come. The man of honour continued the custom, carefully pinching the freshly cooked fish with wooden chopsticks. One word came into mind, delicious. It was neither too spicy nor sour but bursting with flavor, accented by the broth’s cocktails of picked herbs, chilies and fermented vegetables. Alezei gave his group another nod, signaling the start of the meal.





Arras, Fleet Command, The Golden Throne of Macabees

“Good to have you here, Captain Alezei.” A man, clad in official Haize Navy colours and emblazoned with a new insignia unknown to Alezei greeted him.

Alezei bit the tip of his tongue; first impression is given in ten seconds and thus he cannot fail here. “Nihatzi, Fleet Admiral Nahzye. It’s an honour, Sir.”

The man’s name tag came into Alezei’s view. “Good. How do you know that I don’t like formalities? Oh wait, don’t tell me, it was Avaz, right?”

“Yes Sir, Commodore Avaz was my mentor.” Alezei kept his gaze down, as to not offend the higher ranking personnel.

The Fleet Admiral took a sidelong glance at Alezei before briskly moving toward an adjacent window. “I see. The time has come. Well, I expect great things from you, Captain.”

“Yes…yes, Sir. I will not fail the Haize Navy.” Alezei nearly took a step backward but he correctly responded to the Fleet Admiral’s sudden handshake; straight, eyes locked with eyes.

The Fleet Admiral withdrew his hand with a slight smile, knowing Alezei wouldn’t let him down. “Good, good. Now, I want you to familirise with some of the stuff we have here. Arras, not Arrazye by the way, have a number of….stuff. You better see it by yourself.”

“As you decreed, Fleet Admiral.” A slight tinge of confusion coloured Alezei’s face, that was until the Fleet Admiral intentionally pronounced the base’s name. Haize being Haize, have some tendency to word things differently but it would be best to stick with what was official.

Alezei took that he was dismissed and thus followed the Fleet Admiral’s recommendation. On his way to the Fleet Admiral's office, he didn’t get to see much but a short glance revealed the new Arras base was quite large indeed. It was a desolate place as far as eyes could see but now a hive of Haize activities. Engineering corps buzzed throughout the area, with heavy machinery and handful of personnel. New roads were being rolled down by the second and great mounds of earth quickly shrunk as the day passes.

The Naval Troops continued to flow in just like Alezei, to report to various parts of the base according to their respective duties. Alezei was proud to command a frigate despite his shortcomings but coming here changed his perspective entirely; there were curious group of warships berthing and going. Some were as large as what the foreigners call a supercarrier but no aircraft were seen on their decks. Others were similar to his frigate and there were smaller still.

The third unique guests would be the Navy newest flying transporters, possessing a length similar to his ship. Alezei wasn’t sure what to make out of them; they disgorged far more cargo than any cargo plane could. He continued his stroll toward a newly built bus stand, hitching onboard an electric vehicle. From there, the young Captain witnessed more of the enormity of the base; next to the naval piers were neat lines of tarmacs but sparse in aircraft.

On his left were some tracked vehicles, presumably a portion of either Haize Army or Aerospace elements as indicated by their overt missile tubes and radar. On the horizon was a wider open space, with a white building and an array of what seemed like antennas. Alezei jogged his mind; that must be the base’s ballistic defense radar, swarmed by combination of engineering corps and Radiotronic Troops. It didn’t look like it was ready, considering the ring of heavy vehicles parked adjacent to it.

He accessed his memory again; if the debrief documents are right, all of these are plausible not only due to political will between the Junta and Golden Throne but due to the equipment deployed in the base. It was an open secret that the Navy’s command lines were in utter chaos when Haize satellites were destroyed in prior Istegium troubles. Alezei being here must mean that the military leadership had circumvented the communication problems with forward deployed assets.

It might be a new satellite or the rumoured over the horizon radar; the Captain was privy of new military satellites being launched and some capabilities of the radar that will support the Arras fleet. Perhaps the radioelectronic installation could somehow communicate with ships out to sea? Some rumoured that the installation also enabled the Navy to use it to strike at foreign interlopers at standoff distances. To Alezei, it raised far more questions than answers and unfortunately for him, his rank did not allow him to know much.

His trance was then broken as the conductor tapped his shoulder; Alezei had arrived to his assigned crew quarters, to begin a new life outside of Haishan.
Last edited by Haishan on Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Potthan
Envoy
 
Posts: 202
Founded: Oct 27, 2016
Ex-Nation

Postby Potthan » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:16 pm


TITLE: Warm Sands, Cold Hearts
AUTHOR: Potthan


Footnote: Warm Sands, Cold Hearts is a compilation of recovered diary entries written by Captain Niko Fazwat, an immigrant to Potthan who committed suicide shortly after his family being murdered in the Foreign Purge of 1911-1915. Unfortunately, most of the entries were destroyed in a fire set by Niko himself and thus only a few entries remain. All proceeds of purchases of this book goes to the Barjaani Humans RIghts Committee.

June 12th, 1911
Southern Agadesh, Potthan.


It is normal for a child to feel care-free and be blissfully ignorant to the harsh realities of this world. My son, Badhra, is no exception. He is as happy and care free as any child in this planet. Not like me at all. I am a worrier, and as of recent events my worries are more amplified. Talks of a coup are being held in the ranks of the Legion. Colonel Jericho says the Prime Minister is a traitor of Potthan and preaches his words of hatred towards those with ancestors not from Potthan. He says "Democracy is a facade and should be taken out of Potthan"

My wife says I worry too much and that any serious attempts by Jericho will be quickly dealt with but I can't help to think how large his following. It's only a matter of time before his words turn into actions. However, in any event in Agadesh we are safe. The capital is always the safest place in the event of a civil war.

August 23rd, 1911
Southern Agadesh, Potthan.

Colonel Jericho is wanted dead or alive by the state. Confirmed reports state he killed his fellow commanders Colonel Gavska and Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson screaming "Death to all that is foreign in the sands of Potthan". They went to his house, however found no trace of him. Many suspect he is preparing for a coup. I fear the life of my family. Even though I was born here, my parents were not. My wife is an immigrant. My son... They will not care about his young age. Jericho is ruthless.

August 29th, 1911
Southern Agadesh, Potthan


I cannot believe it. Jericho and several hundred of his supporters led an offensive in Hamaan yesterday and today people say they've taken full control of the city. My brother is there... I hope he and his pregnant wife are safe and have left Hamaan. I would pray, but I have hard time believing even God himself can stop a menace such as Jericho. I hope my brothers who were deployed to fight the resistance in Hamaan are successful.

October 17th, 1911
Southern Agadesh, Potthan


[The first few paragraphs of this entry are unrecovered] -and so they have also taken northern Agadesh. Colonel Baghdi says they'll storm the ancient castle within days at most. They've already killed my brother. I do not want them to kill my wife and son.

October 20th, 1911
Central Agadesh, Potthan


I am out of the fight.They stormed the castle today and I was deployed to help defend it. In the process my leg we broken, however it could've been worse. I was in front of the main gates when a rebel calvary soldier stormed past and his my leg with a long but dull scimitar, made dull due to the amount of my brothers it's killed. I am in the medical bay and just want to get home to my family. It is uncertain if we can hold the castle.

October 28th, 1911
Southern Agadesh, Potthan


Yesterday they took the capital. They've just began rounding up foreigners and descendants of migrants. I tried to plan an escape but all routes are heavily guarded. I fear immensely for the welfare of my family. I just hope we get lucky.

November 3rd, 1911
Southern Agadesh, Potthan


They took them. My wife and son. Gone. They dragged my wife off to god knows where and that's the extent of knowledge of what happened to her, but it's not hard to guess what happened. My son, they didn't care he was 5. He was taken out back and shot. End of the story. They didn't even have the decency to kill me. "Undeserving of mercy." they said. Beat my legs with hammers. This will be my last entry. I found some kerosene in the basement and broke open the bottled all across the room I'm in. I wish it didn't happen.
Baka Noime za Potthan (Grand Empire of Potthan)
Population: 33,974,700
Capital: Agadesh
Economy: Firearms, uranium, oil, slavery, pearls, gold.
Language: Potthani
Leader: Emperor Jericho III
Government type: Fascist Monarchy
Economy type: State corporations
Religion: Pagan; Potthani Mythology
Major political parties: Imperial Potthani Senate, Potthani Supremacy Party, Potthani Fascist Alliance, Senate of the Emperor
National Anthem: Habu Tze Nagat Zvebe (With him I'm safe)

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Greater Themis
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 116
Founded: Oct 18, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Greater Themis » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:58 pm

TITLE: Perspective
AUTHOR: Themis


OOC – Advisory warning for violence, death and mature emotional themes. Please let me know if this is not appropriate for this vista, and I will take it down.

=== +++ ===


Nycte
Specially Administered Zone
Arboria Territory
Overseas Territory of Greater Themis


No society on earth is untouched by the morning ritual. Whilst in more traditional times, the slower pace of life was tied to the movement of the celestial bodies, the sun and moon playing their part under the stars, in modern times the clock is master over all. No modern society can escape from the servitude to a timepiece – be it the chorus of alarm clocks, or the fretting over a digital display as a set hour approaches. And so it was no different in Nycte, as twilight was broken by the warm glow of the impending day, the last vestiges of the cool night air cast by the tropical light.

It was no secret that the designers of the city had despised the chaotic explosion of noise, colours and life that were the norm in the overseas territories. In many parts, imposition of order on disordered cities had failed miserably, laws suited for an old Dienstadi homeland simply unenforceable in a colonial claim. In Nycte, the approach had seen an administrative capitol built from scratch, hills levelled and uniform grids of concrete and steel constructed, order claimed from forest and fields. And whilst the original plan of uniformity was still visible in the morning commute, of perfectly timed buses ferrying their human cargos from residence to workplaces on a geometric network of roads, the facade was crumbling this far from the governing heart. In amongst the uniform blue buses of the city authority, motorcyclists and taxi drivers weaved with disregard for their passengers, or hung in packs soliciting trade. Out here, the Gendarmes had given up attempting to fine every vendor taking up the pedestrian walkways with their impromptu shops, or every driver with a death wish – in any case, most people were unable to afford the extortionate fines that could be levelled against them. Instead, the checkpoints into the government quarter marked the edges of their territory, within which the law could be enforced with no exceptions, a de facto border between the colonists and the natives delineated with concrete barriers and wire fences.

Hanging onto the back of a moped, Luci seemed at ease with the commute. Despite the chaos around, as traffic jostled for space at intersections, she was quite at peace as she texted on her phone, the small screen of a budget smartphone encased in a garish pink case. Tinny music drowned out the blare of horns, whilst a well used surgical mask gave some relief from the smell of diesel fumes as they weaved through the queues of vehicles. The engine rattled, the torn leather and foam pillion seat uncomfortably warm and shaky, at times almost throwing the phone from her grasp, and rattling her school bag. The driver Angel, one of her best friends at the University of the Islands, was far more in tune with his battered vehicle, instinctively adjusting his posture to ensure her satchel was meant to be. The bright white of laundered uniform just protruded from the top, pointing to their studies in the healthcare profession, though almost visibly gathering dirt and providing distracting brightness amongst the dust encrusted vehicles that rumbled around them.

For them, the commute was a short one, a ten minute drive along the crowded avenues and arteries of the conurbation, to one of the main checkpoints. After fighting through a morning crush that could take as long as the Gendarmes saw fit to delay them, the empty boulevards, vivid green gardens and polished marble facades would welcome them. Indeed, it was the intention it seemed, to create this ordered Garden of Eden here, perfectly manicured public gardens and walls of colour acting as a places of focus, of learning, and of relaxation for those with the appropriate permits to stay here after curfew. It was the dream of many to qualify for even the smallest of apartments within the government quarter, and one of many factors that saw so many gravitate towards certain professions here. To be educated meant to hold a valid job here, to one day earn enough to rent or even purchase property here.

Right now, in the heat, dust and smog of the morning, to Luci the thought of that fresh air, soft grass and clear water was alluring. Satisfying her dream of swimming in one of the fountains with a more reasonable bottle of mineral water was enough for now, as she wiped away the sweat from her mouth. Soon enough, the checkpoint came into sight. Here at least, fence had given way to concrete walls smothered in whitewash, the bright orange side caps of the Gendarmes bobbing in front. The neat, crisp road signs marked this as University Checkpoint, open to those with valid educational identification. In amongst concrete barriers showing their age and the results of poor driving from the locals, crisp black and yellow paint marked out the traffic signals and metal barricades, blocking entrance without permission.

To the left, a queue of buses waited for their turn to be be boarded and inspected, the Gendarmes checking under the vehicles for bombs, and the ID Cards of every person on board. Clad in the olive green of the Militia forces in the territory, their similarities extended to the weapons slung to their fronts or holstered on their waists. Black polymer merged with mass-machined steel, crudely disturbed by white stock numbers daubed in paint on their stocks. There was little effort to mask the intimidation that came from their look – indeed, it was that intimidation that was supposed to prevent any incidents from occurring here.

Sighing as they moved forward in line with the rest of the traffic, Luci pulled off her sunglasses and mask, revealing brown eyes that almost matched the sun-kissed warmth of her face, and an expression of tired acceptance at this daily routine. It was for their own safety they were reminded, however convincingly, by the framed posters that interrupted the concrete monotony of the barrier wall, and the frequent warning signs inviting all the consider the consequences of non-cooperation. Reaching for the lanyard in her pocket, she drew out her university ID card marking her as a medical student, the distinctive white and red design framing her smiling, optimistic expression from when she first started the course. Four years in, and much of that bright-eyed enthusiasm had dissipated, replaced with a colder acceptance of the realities of life and society as she was dragged out of her social bubble. She practiced a few forced smiles, in the process bringing a genuine one forwards as she giggled at the absurdity of trying to match her expression with that in the photo, before locking eyes with the Gendarme approaching.

=== +++ ===


The morning commute this morning was hardly routine for Marlas, as his van slowly approached University Checkpoint. He had been out of town for a few days again, an event that had been becoming more frequent since he had lost his job as a motor mechanic. In many an angry evening rant, fuelled by alcohol and injustice, he had plenty of criticism to level. The garage owner had betrayed his trust by firing him when business got hard, and hadn't so much as given him notice – after eight years of work, he had simply been told that they could no longer afford to pay him. The backstabbing people he had worked with seemed to have kept their job and used him as a convenient scapegoat for all the problems the garage had. But above all, it was the government, the bastards hiding behind their high wall, who were responsible. They had decided to bring in a law that meant his garage could no longer perform official vehicle inspections unless it met the unreasonable terms of a new licence – the purchase of new equipment worth thousands of Chrysos, to 'standardise tests with those performed in Metropolitan Themis'. It was supposed to be for public safety – instead, it had seen the garage lose a third of its custom. After all, why have your car repaired at expense, unless it is truly broken or about to undertake a test? And when the Gendarmes came to threaten the workshop's closure, questions had to be asked about the business's future.

No matter what people had said to calm him, it was the government's fault, with no space for reasoning. It was the latest in what he saw as a string of grievances by those faceless uniformed men and women, whether it be ruining a perfectly good night drinking with friends, stopping him from visiting friends because of a 'public safety curfew', or one night even stopping him from entering his own apartment because of a 'criminal investigation', throwing him in a cell for the night for his troubles. Even as people told him that he had been too hot headed, that he should just calm down and listen when told, and not bring trouble down on his neighbours, he had remained resolute in his views, as they hardened. Soon enough he found himself unable to pay his landlord, a gambling habit that had for years stayed under control now spiralling out of control in his boredom and distraction.

That was when he had found people who would actually help. It had been a chance conversation that introduced him to Jucal, a man who not only shared his hatred of the government, but was willing to help a fellow Arcadian. He had found work repairing farm vehicles at their collective in the mountain, the money paying for his rent, his debts, and his undying gratitude. After reaching rock bottom for months, he was back to a life that looked after him. But that hatred of the government had not gone away, fostered by his new friends. Soon enough, his comrades had introduced him to their views – that people needed to send a message to government, that this island was theirs, and that their rules meant nothing to them. Through the copious farming of marijuana and the inevitable trade in narcotics and arms that followed, they had set up their own collective in the mountains, never staying in one place for more than a few months. The Arcadian New Bohemians as they had called themselves made him feel welcome to the club.

Soon enough though, the government struck back. He had been lucky enough to avoid the raid, turning back as he saw clouds of smoke rising in the distance from the burning crop. But with that move, Jucal had convinced him that something needed to be done. And as the newest member of the Bohemians, he was more than happy to prove himself.

And so, Marlas found himself driving amongst the crowds of commuters, many of them tacit collaborators with the regime in his eyes, with a simple mission in mind. The wall was a symbol of the Gendarmes that he despised, that was visible every day to those around him. Something that he planned to redecorate with nearly five hundred kilogrammes of crude improvised explosive sitting behind him. That morning, he had been nervous to get in with such a dangerous payload – he was a rebel, a renegade, but no martyr. He had reassured himself that the detonator he had designed would give him plenty of time to retire to cover, before the electrical timer reached zero. And of course, with the chaos and confusion around him, he could easily slip away with the fleeing crowds and rejoin his comrades in arms.

He had tried his best to conceal the vehicle's payload, the charge itself wrapped in thick industrial plastic, and covered with boxes weighed down with metal scrap. Despite that, the stench of chemicals and fuel permeated through, soaking into what remained of the van's internal fabrics. To stop himself from passing out he had left the windows open, letting them volatile vapours escape to the atmosphere as he drove. This had made the slow creeping progression of the vehicle queue even more painful, as they slowly approached the checkpoint. Having walked past the wall previously, he had already formulated a plan. The inspection spaces ran next to the wall on this side, a mere two foot walkway protected by temporary concrete barriers sufficient for what he had planned. With a vehicle in front of him, he would have plenty chance to bail and take cover in the crowd before twenty seconds were up.

The vehicles shifted in front of him, and in the gap that appeared, he could see the inspection bay ahead, a single coach between him and the spot he had imagined in his head. In the roadway, an armed Gendarme in a high visibility jacket held two red lightsticks, directing the traffic to whichever lane was being used, separating the coaches and goods vehicles from the moped riders and private car drivers. They shared a glance for a moment, locking eyes for an uncomfortably long second, before his attention was taken by an inpatient motorcyclist getting into an argument with driver trying to cut in front of him. Despite the break it offered, he could feel anxiety and anticipation building. This was hardly the time for him to have second thoughts, and yet he was already thinking about the outcomes. What if he was caught? What if things didn't go to plan? What would people think about him if they found out it was him, even if they would betray him to the regime in a second?

Marlas pulled forward, heart pounding faster. He could have been in a more exact spot if he had tried, sitting unnoticed as a further two Gendarmes wandered over to the argumentative motorcyclist, hoping the presence would be enough to defuse the situation. Closing his eyes, he paused, making up his mind. It was the moment this had all lead up to. The one he had been anticipating, and dreading. Taking a deep breath, he reached forward and took the exposed switch from under his seat, pulling a knot of wires with it. Without pausing, he flicked the switch, not expecting the loud pop and hissing that came immediately. He reached for the door, knowing something had gone terribly wrong. He had just enough time to feel an intense warmth burning from behind him, a fraction of a second to realise what was happening.

=== +++ ===


The first Luci knew that something had happened came as she felt a loud crack pulse through her body, pushing her from behind. Her friend came to a halt as they looked back, and saw a fist of fire and black smoke punch in the sky a few hundred metres behind them, debris flying in all directions. Both screamed as they dived to the ground, the smooth red asphalt tearing at her exposed skin. Around them shrapnel rained down, metal and concrete propelled by the blast, clattering off the ground nearby in a sudden shower. Dust and smoke drifted overhead as she lay there for a few seconds more, shaking as fear set in.
''Luci! Are you coming with me?'' Angel stood her moped up, giving it a couple kicks to try and start it from where it had stalled.
''Luci! Come on!''

Almost unthinking, she jumped onto the moped as it started, holding onto Angel's waist tight as they sped down the open roadway, crowds of people spilling through the checkpoint with no care as they sprinted away from the blast. Faces remained indistinct even as they approached, blood and dust forming a thick paste as they ran through yelling in panic, headed anywhere – away from the horror. A thick veil of dust rolled across the road surface, choking both as they pulled over to stop, unable to see clearly beyond. Through the settling haze, a changed landscape appeared. Concrete and tarmac peppered with craters and rubble fragments, and with it a veil of dust that coated the bodies within.

Luci ran to the first figure she saw, the uniformed Gendarme who minutes before had checked her ID badge, commented on her lovely smile. The first human she had met in that olive green uniform, now soaked with blood. Visibly panting for air, his crumpled form bore the scars of the explosion, a black rash of grit pulverised into his face and bare skin.
''I'm a medical student, I'm going to look after you.''
The man stared at her, lip trembling as his gaze passed straight through her. It wasn't till she had laid him down to check his breathing that she realised he must have been deafened by the blast. The normal lines of his form were distorted, hideously contorted by the injury he had taken to his chest, only half of it moving beneath her hands. In his frightened state, he looked young, and vulnerable, far more pale than he had been earlier, clammy skin caked in black-grey filth. Looking up as she reached into her bag for her uniform, she saw Angel in the distance, bent over a fellow student as she pounded away at his chest, looking determined as she carried on regardless. There were probably tens, if not a hundred more people like these – far too many to count, for them to do anything for, other than just do what they could and hope for the best.

She tried to rip the man's uniform off, and within a few seconds realised it was harder than it looked by far. Giving up after a couple tugs, she attempted to unbutton his shirt with shaking hands, bloody fingers slipping on the tab and grating against the zipper, as she finally managed to get down to his chest. The biggest wound was her priority, blood frothing and bubbling with each of the man's pants, and one that she stuffed her white tunic into. The blood quickly soaked through, staining the pure white fabric the same colour as the epaulettes, three firm black bands identifying her years of study. Forcing it on, she looked over him, searching for more wounds as she thought through her teaching. Everything she would have done for him, she couldn't do – there were no medicines here, no fluids to put into his underfilled veins, no oxygen to supply his one functioning lung. Another deep gouge in his leg was oozing, dark venous blood soaked into his uniform and pooling on the ground, forming a cake of mud around her knees.

Paramedics were beginning to arrive now, and Gendarme re-enforcements. Skipping amongst the battered wrecks of burning vehicles, the sound of sirens heralded their arrival as they tried to make sense of the scene. As she looked back, she suddenly realised she couldn't hear that panting any more. His fixed face and glazed eyes stared off , pale lips emitting an occasional, agonised gasp at the air, frothing blood mixed with saliva. She counted, hoping in ten seconds he would give her some sign of life. A single, gutteral gasp gave her hope, but one that faded quickly. Through tears she began to push against his chest, hoping that something might happen, that she could bring him back from the brink.

=== +++ ===


Ninety-six dead, one-hundred-eighteen people injured, many permanently. A statistic that meant little in the newspapers, or on the television. Even as politicians made passionate speeches talking of revenge, talking of finding the perpetrators and holding them accountable, Luci never really paid much attention to the photograph of a disillusioned terrorist who became the face of hatred. The face that was burnt into her memory was that of a young man, frightened and defenceless, torn from life too early despite all she had tried. It had taken her a long evening to wash his blood from her shaking hands. Even as Angel sat soothing her, dove-like tones calming her restlessness, she had been caught in a cycle of regret and doubt. Had she done everything she could? As her colleagues resolve set to stone, to find out who had given him what he needed, who had failed to catch him before, the biggest criticism was that she levelled at herself.

''Time heals all wounds Luci. Don't you forget that.'' Angel often said that as they talked, on the long days off granted by the University on compassionate grounds. With temporary lodgings in the government quarter, they could wander at will amongst the gardens and parks. It seemed a hollow reward though, distracted as they both were. The flowers that had come into bloom seemed blissfully ignorant of it all as they sat, sometimes talking, sometimes not, of what had happened. Even as they started back at the medical school, it was the little things she noticed that brought it all back – the empty seats in class, the silence that came when certain names were mentioned.

It was during a rainy day when Luci found peace. She had put it off for a long time, but finally visited the man's memorial. The plain wooden cross of the orthodox church bore his name and service number, in amidst a sea of flowers and letters. As she sat silent, not sure what to think, she noticed a letter, ink run from the heavy raindrops that pounded on the soil, bringing up an earthy smell that surrounded and engulfed her. It was a letter from someone, an anonymous stranger, pinned to a bunch of wilting roses, a letter of thanks for his service, with a picture of him smiling. It was bizarre she knew, but at that point she realised that she had brought him comfort where many may not have had any. That the last thing he had seen was her, the last thing he heard was her words of comfort, that was enough for her.

All people are creatures of ritual, whether it be the start, or the end of something. For Luci, the moment she took as a pause from everything, the flickering candle she left burning, sheltered from the deluge, was her way of moving on.

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Palmyrion
Minister
 
Posts: 2258
Founded: Mar 04, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Palmyrion » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:07 am


TITLE: The 2017 Year-Ender Broadcast
AUTHOR: Palmyrion/Merrion


Recap 2017: 33rd Annual Year-Ender Broadcast
Date: 31 December 2017


Ladies, gentlemen, poor and rich, the religious and the godless, beloved citizens of Palmyrion, greetings.

It was only 33 years ago that this nation rose from the ashes once again, on a land totally destroyed by war. We had nothing to start upon other than our lives and whatever remained of our souls - that which whatever flesh remained on our body, whatever knowledge remained of our minds, and whatever morality and sanity remained of our spirits. However, nobody could have imagined that the country with awfully grim prospects would be a bustling metropolis thirty-three years on - an economically-developed, technologically-advanced, socioculturally-unified, nation-state with a powerful military guarding its interests domestic and foreign.

Much has happened in 33 years - the Ultranationalist revolution, the Big Crash, the Islamist revolution, and the Economic Stimulus Bill are some of the significant moments we have witnessed during the 33 years of the existence of the Royal Commonwealth. Yet, despite all of this, the Palmyrian nation-state still remains enthusiastically united in the eternal task of keeping this nation alive, breathing, and kicking. Many of us will ask, for how long are we going to keep on this cycle of happiness and sadness, of peace and war, of struggle and rest? I tell you, that for the next 35 years that I will be holding this position as your monarch, that we will remain in this task until Divine Will casts upon us a time for eternal rest.

In this fast-paced world, much can happen in a year, let alone 33. In one year have we been able to develop advancements in technology that will improve the human condition on earth. This year, we have developed armaments that will help protect our nation - the 2017 National Day was marked with the display of the Royal Commonwealth's newest armaments, masterpieces created carefully like a labor of love by our partners in the defense manufacturing industries.

Another one would be technological developments related to our nation's food security and nutritional maintenance, for agricultural biotechnology initiatives both private and state-sponsored have allowed such technology to reach where it is needed the most: the farmers, they who toil endlessly to keep every Palmyrian well-fed. This technological know-how is important for them to improve their productivity in their noble task of feeding the Palmyrian nation.

This year we have also reported advancements in the automation of Palmyrion's key manufacturing specialties - for nearly three centuries have we produced various metal alloys alongside our closest neighbors Holy Marsh and Romandeos. It is also for nearly three centuries that we have been producing armaments in a large scale alongside our closest neighbors - from the very first musket that has rolled out from our war foundries, carefully and painstakingly assembled by a duet of hand and machine, to the very first of our newest class of warships, carefully and painstakingly crafted with less hand and more machine. While this will increase the mental demand on our citizens seeking to join the labor force, the end goal here is to make their job, their job of creating the goods needed to sustain Palmyrion's national strength, easier. This year we have reported that many companies have applied automation into their production process and have retrained their employees in the use of such machines, and next year we shall see the graduation of the first batch of skilled laborers from the recently-implemented K-12 program.
These laborers, taking the Technical-Vocational Academic Strand, have been trained in the old and new methods of manufacturing the goods needed to adequately nourish this nation.

But this year, full of technological advancements for Palmyrion, has not been without a spite of of terror and strife. Terrorists allied to the Potthani Terror Brigade have done the bloodiest terror attack in Palmyrian history, killing more or less a hundred civilians and wounding hundreds more; in this standoff did 10 CDF soldiers meet their final fate, with tens more sustaining wounds of various degrees. We should not also forget those who are fighting the drug wars that are starting to wreak the northern quarter of Palmyrion, a quarter that hasn't seen peace for the last 2,500 years. While the Islamist revolution has been resolved, the nation as a whole was stricken with shock by the delivery of ricin-filled vials to the capital cities of the provinces of the Royal Commonwealth. Drug-related crimes are now making the rounds today as the drug war from the northern quarter has spilled over to the rest of Palmyrion in attempts to control the consumer base of the drugs. And while the ever-looming Ralkovian threat hasn't laid a malignant finger on our nation yet, the 2017 Armed Forces Review, conducted jointly by defense analysts both third-party and from the government, revealed a shocking revelation about our inventory: it was woefully outdated. While the said review concluded that our soldiers are well-trained and well-educated, we should not also forget that for skill to be properly used, it has to be paired with tools sufficient for the job. Our tools of war are woefully outdated, preventing the maximum use of the skills of our well-trained soldiers. While we have the will and skill to fight, our tools are inadequate for this.

Let us not also forget the recent spike of homophobic attacks that have made rounds in Palmyrion. The LGBT community has been long oppressed everywhere in the world, and we ought to change such a horrible status quo - change it into a favorable one. While I do not intend to attack the Christians in Palmyrion, seeing that I am a non-denominational Christian myself and I know several Christian LGBT friends,
it is quite an appalling fact that most of the perpetrators of these attacks are Christians. I simply noted such an unfortunate coincidence, seeing that Christians, as mandated by Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of Christians, ought to love their neighbors, enemies even, as much as they love themselves. We are all part of a universe; we, like the various living artifacts of creation placed in the universe, are the universe experiencing itself. The universe is like an entire living being - destroy one part and the rest of the living being is in jeopardy.

That said, we should face the challenges of the coming year with strength and courage. The military will undergo a massive modernization of its equipment so it can fully utilize its skills and successfully execute its missions in service to the nation. We shall bring peace again to the northern quarter, which is now seeing a recent tide of drug warfare as previously obscure drug dealers now scavenge from the pieces of the Ultranationalist rebellion and start marking territories of their own. Science and technology will continue to provide advancements that will help improve the human condition on earth. To further combat the persisting drug problem, we shall enact a policy of decriminalization on 2018 to solve the drug problem through a much more appropriate perspective: as a health problem and not a crime problem. The nation's food security will be improved, resulting into well-fed and well-nourished Palmyrians.

Today we shall put to rest the year 2017, and welcome the birth of 2018.
Last edited by Palmyrion on Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Patrick OConner
Minister
 
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Founded: Sep 26, 2014
Democratic Socialists

Legend of Captain John Wallace and the Acionna

Postby Patrick OConner » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:28 pm


TITLE: Legend of Captain John Wallace
AUTHOR:Patrick O'Conner


Legends are born of many things. They are a confluence of events and people at the right time. With trouble and dangerous times, men must rise to the challenge or die trying and those that succeed go down in history as the greats.
Legends inspire us and drive us to greater heights, they tell us men can become more and can be capable of becoming so much more than what they started as. Here is one such tail.

The wind was laden with salt as it ripped through the air. Off to the right was a beach that quickly turned into forest. The coast line curved away and inward forming a peninsula at which the ships sat at the end. On the other side was a bay. The sun was just barely peeking over the horizon.
A collection of ships sat on the waters. Her hull was a solid black with odd silver streaks and she was made of wood; odd metal nubs stuck out from her hull in various places. She was 310 feet long and 45 feet wide, three tall mast speared the sky and were adored with ropes and canvas. The sails were furled and she rested in the waters. Her sides were dotted with gun ports currently close, they numbered a total of 50 counting them on both sides. Her decks also carried guns numbering 18, with 9 on a side and in the in the middle deck lined in row were three large round spinning tables and mounted on these were each was one long rifled gun. Her hull was a long slim and sharp profile made to knife through the water. Along the stern was the name emblazoned in red against the black and silver hull was "Acionna".
A figure head graced her prow. It is of a tall woman, over-sized really. And she is beautiful in a cold icy way. Her only covering is a sheet that seems to be blowing back in some kind of wind and clingy to her body revealing much of her figure. Her long hair blew back in the same imaginary wind splitting along both sides of the ship’s prow and on top of her head is an ornate crown like a queen might wear. Her left hand is thrust forward and in her upraised right hand cocked back to throw, she clutches a harpoon.
She was classified as a frigate but was in fact a unique ship built for much much harsher waters of the north.
To the left and right were 4 smaller ships called sloops. Each was only 150 feet feet long and 37 feet wide and there sides were dotted with 18 gun ports. Each sported only two masts to the Acionna’s three. And there hulls here shaped similarly to Acionna. They were named from left to right, the Justice, Jury, Judge and Scales. In contrast the Acionna there hulls were painted red and blue. While they were warship, they lacked the menacing deadly air that seeped from every plank of the Acionna.
These ships were in an inverted V formation with the open end pointing toward land. and lying in the middle was a fifth ship. She was much bigger than the others at least 500 feet long with 4 masts and fat bellied and her name was Good Deal. She was meant to haul cargo but not on this day. Today boats took men, cannons, horses, guns and all the things men needed for war from the Good Deal to the shore. On the beach they were unloaded and the men formed into columns and marched or rode in land.

Crew members were scampering around the Acionna’s deck and rigging and nervousness and tension permeated the air aboard the Acionna. And in her crows nest atop her middle, which was her tallest, mast stood a man. He was tall at 6 foot 3 inches and broad shouldered, his dark brown hair was cut short and his face had strong features and his a sea green colored that shone bright with intelligence. His nose was slightly crooked at the end from having been broken one too many times and not set right. He was dressed in a white pants and a dark blue shirt which was stained with sweat. It was hot outside today. Brown leather boots adored his feet. A red belt encircled his waist. Clutched in his calloused hands was a brass eyeglass through which he peered intently. A grim and determined expression covered his face. Though one would not know by looking at him, this was Captain John Wallace currently of the Second Republic Navy, leading the Southern Naval Force of the Punitive Expedition against the Conferdated Kingdoms of the Southern Raiders.

Further down the coast the land rose up in a hill as it curved away. A top that hill sat a wooden fort. Trees were driven into the ground forming a double set of walls and earth was packed in between them. Muzzles of cannons peeked over the walls many of them aimed seaward.
Wallace smiled, the fort was completely quiet and maybe they would catch them unawares and take the fort with ease. The fort was completely quiet and had no sign of activity they just might catch them unawares. He swung the eye glass over and looked at the unloading. It appeared to be finished and the last of the Marine were headed inland toward the fort which soon fall and his ship could pass without fear of cannons and mortars. From there the Marines would march along the coast for the capital of Boston and sack the city.
Wallace thought back to how he had ended up here.

A poor street urchin scampered along the filthy stinking street of Savannah running from the police as they pursued him. In his hands he clutched some food he had stolen from a stand one too many times. His clothes were tattered and he had no shoes and he was skinny and malnourished. He was just the bastard son of some baron and when his mother dies no one was around or willing to take him in.
He ran to the docks dodging his way until he ran into a man. The man was short and sturdy with a bright red hair and a beard, He was dressed as sailor. He looked down at the boy and then up to the police man as they searched for him then back down.
“Come on boy.” The man said and pushed the kid behind a stack of crates and then moved some more in front of him. The police trotted up to man.
“Captain Irving” one of the policeman asked “You seen a urchin come through hear?”
“Yeah” Captain Irving said “He went that away.” Irving said smiling as he point out an entirely false direction. The police men nodded and ran off.
Captain Irving moved the crates to expose the kid who was cowering.
“So stole some food eh?”
The kid nodded
“Hungry?”
The kid nodded again
“How would you like a job? I won’t lie to you. It dangerous and might kill you but you won’t go hungry.”
The kid stops and thinks hard and then nods. Captain Irving smiles and offer the kid his hand and the takes it and shakes.
“So whats your name?”Captain Irving asks
“J-J-John. John Wallace.”
“Welcome aboard the Acionna. Mr. Wallace.”



Captain Wallace shakes himself and smiles in spite of the tense situation.
“Damn wool gathering” he mutters in a deep powerful voice. He return his attention to the fort and watches it closely. Around the fort the forest had once been cleared away but now it was starting to take it back but there was still some distance between the edge of the forest and the walls of the fort. A sleepy looking head popped over the side and looked around. It too raised a spyglass and peered through it until it stopped on the ships. The glass disappeared, more than likely dropped in shock and soon the head joined it.
Captain Wallace cursed. Shit just had to go wrong. Captain Wallace stowed the spyglass in the compartment specially built into the crows nest that was there just for that purpose. He swung himself over the side and quickly scrambled down the through the rigging. His feet hit the black deck. It was made of the same wood as the hull black with the odd silver streaks only the deck had odd red stains on it her and there some small others large. The deck was literally blood stained, having been the witness to countless scenes of horror and courage over the years.
Wallace began bellowing as he headed for the ships wheel.
“ALL HANDS TO STATIONS!!!! GIMME FULL CANVAS!!!! RUN THE GUNS OUT AND SIGNAL THE SLOOPS TO FOLLOW US!!! IN LINE!!!”
While the ship was active before it fairly exploded now with men scrambling. A man grabbed some flags and began rapidly waving his arms in a pattern that signaled the other ships and quickly the sloops exploded into action.
Wallace turned and run toward the aft , or rear of the ship, heading for the wheel. He reached it as the sheets of canvas making up the ships sail fell down and open up catching the wind. The white sails of the sloops fell open and billowed out as well but the sales of the Acionna were different. They were all blood red.
Acionna lurched forward as her sails filled with wind and pulled the ship forward.
Wallace smiled, he always did when he felt his beloved ship move.
“LOOSE THE COLORS!!!” He bellowed still smiling. Naval tradition of the area held that commanders of ships were allowed to make up their own flags to signal to other ships who they were. A crew man ran up to the middle mast and began pulling on the robe and a series of flags were hoisted. The top one was a simple triple vertical stripe flag or the colors red, white and blue and under it was another flag this one was black and white. A skull sat in the middle with crossed harpoons under it. The top flag was the flag of the Second Republic while under it was Captain Wallace’s personal one. Republic flags flew over the other four sloops as well and under them was various other personal ones. One was a sword another a cannon. One was clearly depicting a hanging pirate while the fourth had a simple coffin on it.
The Acionna quickly took the lead as she headed out to sea while the sloops fell in behind her forming a line.
Wallace looked behind him and watched as the sloops finally fell into place then the spun the wheel and the Acionna turned and was soon sailing near parallel to the land.
“Mr. Thatch the wheel.” Wallace said and a man took his place manning the wheel while he grabbed a spyglass from beside the wheel and extended it. He stepped over to the starboard side and peered through the spyglass at at the fort. He could see white smoke curling up from the woods as the Marines fired and the fort and see the fort’s cannons and men fire back.
“Damn” Wallace swore “The Marines don’t have there cannons yet.” he said judging by the amount of smoke “They will be slaughtered without them.
“Mr. Thatch take us in. ALL GUNS STAND READY TO FIRE!!”
“Aye aye Captain.” Thatch said, a tall skinny springing looking man with a shock of blonde hair. Thatch spun the wheel and the Acionna turned more heading toward the coast cutting across the wind further.
Wallace eyed the distance to the fort judging it for firing.
The wind stuttered and the sails slumped. In response Thatch swung the wheel and the Acionna angled back out to sea and her sails filled again. Wallace nodded in approval. The four sloops followed the Acionna closely a plume of smoke erupted from the seaward side of the fort and cannonball whistled through air and splashed down far from the line of ships but the distance between the ships and fort was shrinking.
The fort fired again and missed. A third plume of smoke erupted as another cannon fired. The cannonball whistled through the air and struck the side of the Acionna with a loud echoing thud and then fell into the water.
A smile broke out on Thatches face
“Gotta love an ironwood hull, sir.” he said
“Indeed Mr. Thatch. Straighten her out follow the coast.” Wallace says calmly “And TRIM THOSE SAILS!!” He adds in a roar and the men leap into the rigging and soon he sails are trimmed and set to take better advantage of the wind.
More plumes of smoke erupt from the seaward side of the fort as cannons fire. The side of the Acionna rings with the thuds of the cannon balls.
During this time the line of ships has closed the distance and the Acionna is now alongside the fort.
Wallace judges the moment right.
“FIRE!!!”
The side of the ship erupts in white smoke as all of the cannons fire. The thunder of the guns washes over Wallace and he feels his pulse quick at the familiar sound. The 32 pounders hurl there cannonballs at the fort and rifles join them. They smash into the walls splintering the soft wood and cracking the walls.
The Acionna sweeps past and the sloop behind her lines up and fires then one behind it and so on.
“Bring us about and prepare to fire.”
The Acionna swings around, still followed by the sloops, in a half circle.
“HAUL IN THE SAILS!!” Orders Wallace and the sails are quickly gathered up and the Acionna coasts to a stop just ahead of the fort. The sloops copy the Acionna and slow to a halt in the waters.
“FIRE AT WILL!” Bellows Wallace and the side of the ship is once again wreath in smoke and the sloops copy the larger ship. All four vessels pound the seaward side of the fort while the Marines continue to attack from the forest and the ships continue to fire from the sea. The fort is being squeezed in a vise.
The fight is not entirely one sided however.
Wallace lowers his eyeglass and watches as a cannonball slams into the Justice with loud crash. The cannonball splinters the hull flinging 2 and 3 foot jagged spears of wood that impale and saw through men leaving them bloody ruins. Another one slams into the Scales foremast and it topples in a loud crash.
“Damn.” Wallace swears “The Scales won’t be useful for the rest of the expedition. Wet powder and cracked cannons.”
Wallace raised the eyeglass and watches the Marines wheel there cannons up and start to pummel the fort through the smoke and he smiles. A sudden cheer rises up his ship and he swing he eyeglass and sees that part of the wall of the fort has finally collapsed in a loud crash. Wallace swing his eye glass again and watches as the Marine’s cannon breach the fort’s gate and they charge in.
“CEASE FIRE!!!!” He yells” CEASE FIRE!!!!” and the guns of the Acionna fall silent soon followed by the schooners.
“Its in the hands of the Marines now.” He says “Clear the deck and secure from stations. Signal the Justice and Scales and see if we can render any aid. Prep the long boat as well. I wish to go ashore and speak with Colonel O’Conner soon.”

A few hours later the fort is captured and Wallace stands on the shore. A man walks up to him. He is tall as well and is wearing the red and blue uniform of the Republic Marines. He is broad shoulder with black hair green eyes. His voice is deep and powerful capable of cutting through the chaos of a battlefield and imposing order upon it.
“Colonel O’Conner” Wallace says nodding to the man “ How did the battle go?”
“We took the fort but suffered casualties at least 150 so far. How about you Captain Wallace?”
“The Justice lost some men but she is still fine but the Scales lost her foremast.”
“And?”
“Means she won’t be able to keep up with the rest of the ships.”
“Damn.”
“Agreed but we are still continuing with the plan.”
“I hope the Northern Force is still coming.”
“Aye. I do as well. I have no desire to face all of those pirates with just 4 ships.”
“Even if one of them is a Sea Hunter vessel?”
“Even then.”
“I suppose so. My regiment will be reorganized soon and on the march in say 2 hours.”
“Good. We will be ready and waiting.”
“See you in Boston.”
Wallace smiles and turns and heads for the long boat.

The ships are soon sailing again down the coast this time short one warship and one merchant ship. Along the coast one can sometimes see mounted scout of the Marine’s watching the regiments flank as they flick through the trees on warg back, the Marine Corps of the opinion that while the army could use horse they were too wimpy when compared to the capabilities of a warg. Wargs were a native species of the Merica lands, they were in essences a wolf that grows to the size of an average horse.
Captain Wallace stood behind the wheel of the Acionna and calmly steered her following the coast, behind the Acionna following her in a line was the Justice, Jury, and Judge with the scales having been left behind to help the small contingent of Marines guard the captured fort while her crew tried to repair her.
From the crows nest of the Acionna, the look out, a man Doug MacBride, short wiry man, called out
“Sqaull from the southeast approaching fast!!”
And soon the storm was upon them. The squall beat down on the she ships with sheets of rain and thunder filled the air, the waves rose up and slapped the hulls of the ships. The Acionna was fine, for she was built to endure much worse weather than this, but the sloops were tossed around a fair bit.
Wallace calmly stood and endured the onslaught like nothing was wrong while he bellowed order to adjust the sails automatically but inside he flashed back to a much earlier day and a much worse storm.


The waves rose high into the sky, the wind battered everything and everyone like it was trying to tear them asunder, and the rain pelleted down so thick and strong that no one could see more than 2 feet in from of themselves. The Acionna separated from the rest of the hunter ships by this terrible storm. The sky was an angry hateful black and lighting lept from cloud to cloud. Men scampered over the rigging trying to tend it and sails, while clinging for dear life. The men’s only saving grace was rope tied around their waists and to the ship. Captain Irving wrestled with the wheel along with a much older and bigger John Wallace, now first mate, both of whom had life lines as well.
“DAMN YOU HEAVE MAN HEAVE FIGHT” Irving swore yell over the storm at Wallace.
“AYE AYE SIR!!” Wallace replied heaving the wheel even harder making the ship turn just a little more to face the on coming walls of water. The prow of the Acionna crashed into a wave and rode up it clawing her way up and over then sliding down at an insane angle. Her prow reached the trough of the wave and kept going submerging the front quarter of the ship before she rocked back up shedding water.
The crew was getting tired they had been at this for hours and hours and there was no sign of a reprieve in sight. Just another day as a Sea Hunter on the Blood Sea.
Acionna crashed into another wave and climbed over it then plunged downward but this time Irving lost his footing when the ship crashed into the bottom. He flew forward and his life line snapped. He hit the mast but no one heard it over the raging storm. Thatch, who was near the mast, saw Irving hit and grabbed him to keep the captain from going overboard. Another crew man helped and dragged the unconscious captain to his quarters after securing him to his bunk they returned continue to fight the storm and save the ship.

The sky was finally clear and stars shown against the dark night. Wallace sat beside Irving who was lying in his bed, his face calm but pale.
“Wallace I am dying.I cannot feel my legs and the cold is creeping into every part of my body.” Iriving said “I knew it would happen one day and it would be in the Blood Sea but I hate being right about this.”
Wallace nodded and rubbed his eyes. The ships doctor had already said as much and Wallace was struggling to not cry as he watch the man who had been a father to him slowly die.
“You are the captain now and the Acionna is yours.”
“But sir-” Wallace began only to be cut off by Irving
“No buts. This ship was given to me by the previous captain and it is my right to give it to you so I am doing so. The paperwork is in my desk bring it to me. and something to write with.”
Wallace nodded and got up and walked over he fetched the requested documents from the desk and handed them to the captain along with a quill.
Iriving quickly wrote out what was needed and then handed it back to Wallace.
“She is yours. Treat her well.”
Iriving closed his eyes and breathe his last breath.
Tears fell from Wallace’s eyes making the ink run. He placed the papers on the desk then pulled the sheets over Irvings head. Wallace wiped the tears from his face and composed himself. He turned and exited the cabin to find most of the crew waiting for him.
“T-t-the captain is dead.” He said, his voice catching at first “He has appointed me captain and given me the Acionna.”
“So what now?” Thatch said
“We head for home.” Wallace said.


Wallace shook himself out his visit to the past as the Acionna cleared the squal. Wallace looked behind and could see the line where it ended and the other ship exiting it. He nodded and looked around. Of to the left or starboard the beach was gone and instead the forest came right up to the edge of the water. The trees were thick and close together and nearly impossible to see through. Wallace scowled for something did not feel right but he could not put a finger on it. }
“Mr. MacBride can you see the Marines?” Wallace yelled at the man is the crows nest.
“NO sir I lost sight of them in the squall!” He yelled back.
“Bilge rats and diseased wenches.” Wallace swore “ALL MEN BE ON-” Wallace was cut off as a the thunder of cannons cut him off. Clouds of white smoke erupted from the trees and cannonballs howled through the air like the damned. Some thudded into the Acionna while the other flew over her deck, one sailor was hit and he exploded sending bits of him everywhere, injuring others with shards of bone. While the rest flew over and cut some rigging. The Justice was caught as well and once again her hull was smashed and splintered by cannon balls and the screams of her injured filled the air. The bell rung out the alarm
“STATIONS LADS!! RUN EM OUT AND FIRE!!!” Wallace yelled and he was answered by the thuds of the cannons carriages hitting the hull of the ship then by the thunderous reports of the guns. The trees in the forest suddenly exploded flinging splinters everywhere and men screamed.
“Fire at will!!” Wallace added and the Acionna’s cannons racked the tree line with cannon fire. The sloops followed suit and the trees at the water’s edge were reduced to splinters and fallen logs.
The ships soon passed out of range of the ambush.
Wallace turned to the signal man
“Signal the Justice I want a damage report.”

“Scurvy and maggots riddled biscuits.” Wallace swore as she received the report. The Justice was down 3 guns on her starboard and at least 20 injured and dead.
“Nothing we can do signal to sail on.” Wallace added with a sigh and turned “I will be in my cabin if I am needed. I need some damn rest.” He said as he marched to his cabin he open the door and slammed shut. Wallace kicked off his boots and laid down in his bed and fell asleep instantly. He dreamed of how he ended up under the Second Republic’s flag oddly enough.

Wallace sat in one of the many seaside taverns found in the port city of Savannah, a mug of beer sat in front of him but his attention was solely fixed on a flyer. It was advertising for ship captains who owned their own vessels to come and join the Second Republic which was a newly formed nation in the south only 20 years old if that. The Senate, the legislative body of the Second Republic, was looking for privateers to help them combat the menace of the Southern Raiders. Wallace sat there and tapped his chin. He was recently married to is beloved wife, Mary, the rich daughter of a local aristocrat. The two had meant when Wallace was just a boy and a mere deck hand and he had fallen for her immediately and swore to her he would claim her hand one day in marriage. He had finally been able to claim her hand through the fortune he made as a Sea Hunter and through trail by arms, beating out the other suitors, literally. He got up and paid his tab and left to speak with her about this new opportunity.

Wallace stood on the deck of the Acionna and looked down at his crew.
“Men…” he said in calm voice “I and my wife have decided to head south to the Second Republic.”
The men calm before suddenly looked nervous.
“And I am taking the Acionna with me. I ended to become a privateer in the service of the Second Republic.”
“Why sir might I ask?” Thatch said, Wallace’s First Mate.
“Simple Mr. Thatch. I can make just as much working as a privateer for the Second Republic as a privateer as I can as a sea hunter and it is far less dangerous, truth be told.”
Some of them shrugged other nodded some look almost offended that someone would quit being a Sea Hunter.
“I am telling you this so that you all can make a choice to join me or stay. If you wish to leave see the quartermaster and he will give you the severance pay. Otherwise set your affairs in order we leave in a weeks time. That is all.”
Murmurs broke out among the men and some left collecting there money while most of them stayed.
In one week the Acionna sailed from Savannah headed south.

Some months later the Acionna with Wallace, Mary and her crew arrived in the south. Wallace acquired a residence and installed Mary, who was with child, in it and then acquired the letters of marque from the Second Republic’s President. Wallace and the Acionna then took to the sea and tore a swathe through the enemies fleet. Be they Raiders, or the Kingdom of Louisiana or anyone that opposed the Second Republic. All who came against the Acionna fell before her, even the warships sent to stop her. The Acionna’s ironwood hull protected her from all but the absolute largest cannons. Soon the black hulled and red sailed Acionna became feared through the southern waters. And the wealth of her captain and crew continued to grow and grow.

Wallace entered the office of the President of the Second Republic, a man named Franklin. He was shortish with a beer gut but broad shoulder and his blue eyes show brightly. He was sitting behind a large wooden desk and the office was rather plain containing only the two men the desk and three chairs including the one President Franklin was sitting in.
Franklin stood up and offered Wallace a hand and smile. Wallace took his hand and returned the smile.
“Good afternoon Mr. President want can I do for you?” Wallace asked.
“Ah direct and to the point good.” Franklin said “You know the situation with the Southern Raiders?”
Wallace nods in response.
“Good you know the situation has reached a critical point. We can not afford to pay tribute to them so we are finally going to fight back. We have a massed a considerable, for us at least, force.”
Wallace grunted and smiled slightly, it was a predatory one.
“We are mounting a punitive expedition against their capital of Boston. I want to offer you two things. A commission in the Second Republic’s Navy and command of the Southern Naval Force.”
“Why?”
“Simple you are famous on the seas men flock to you in droves to join your crew. Your skills as a tactician and seamen are beyond compare.”
Wallace shrugged
“I was trained by the finest seaman of the north. I learned my trade on the Blood Sea. Sailing down here is comparatively easy to sailing there.”
“Undoubtedly.” Franklin said “Your skills are excellent and your men follow you with unquestioned loyalty and many worship the ground you walk on. So what will it be?”
Wallace thinks for a minute
“Do I get to sail my ship?”
Franklin nods
“Then I am in Mr. President. The Republic has been good to me and my family and made me rich beyond my dreams. It is time to give some of that back.”


A loud bang on the door awakes Wallace from his dreams of days gone by
“Spoiled water and rotted boards. What is it?” Wallace's asks groggily.
“We have are nearing Boston by the First Mates reckoning.” the crewman said.
“Alright I will be right out.” Wallace says.
He gets up and rubs sleep from his eyes and pulls on his boots. He grabs his sword belt as well and secures that around his waist, the cutlass being a old friend, it positioned so as to draw with his right. He grabs a vest made of drakon leather that is covered in loops and puts that on then begins holster a variety of flintlock pistols totaling 5. He then secured a pouch with more powder and shot to his belt. Wayne picked an ax and looked it over. The head was steel and shaft iron wood which was stained red just like the deck of the Acionna. It was 24 inches long and the head was broad with a long spike on the back. The ax had been with Wallace since he made deck hand. It too was an old friend. Wallace secured it to his back so he could easily draw it with his lft. He walked to the door and reach over and grabbed a tricorn hat from the peg. It was a hat that formed a triangle from the folded up brim. Wallace’s had a long red harpoon on each upturned brim and long red feather stuck out of the top. He smiled as he took a deep breathe and steadied himself against the rush of adrenaline that hit him in anticipation of what was coming.
He opened the door and walked out onto the deck looking every inch a captain ready for battle. A surge of energy and blood lust went through the crew at seeing there captain ready for battle. They knew what was coming and they were ready for it.
Wallace turned and walked to the port then walked up the stairs to stern and the ships wheel. He stood looking at the 3 sloops following his Acionna then turned and surveyed his ship with an eye.
“Mr. Thatch” He said not looking at his First mate who was manning the wheel “Report.”
“Aye sir. All damage has been repaired, we have one injured. The Justice has repaired as much as possible but is still short two guns. The other sloops are ready. MacBride has spotted the Northern force 5 leagues ahead. They are on course as planned. He has also found the Marines again. They have managed to get ahead of us.”
Wallace grunted thinking over the ships with them. Three ships of the line, 5 frigates 5 sloops and a numbers of gunboats.
“Go below and ready the men. I will take the wheel.”
“Aye aye sir” Thatch said relinquishing the wheel as Wallace took it then headed below to ready the men.

Three hours later the city of Boston came into view. It was spread out around a large natural harbor and climbed up a hill, the buildings made of a mixture of stone and wood, a top which sat a fort. A fort sat on each side of the harbor guarding it from intruders.
“Mr. Keith take the wheel” Wallace said and a tall broad and well muscled man with a red hair stepped up and took the wheel. Wallace stepped over to the port and pulled out a eyeglass and opened it. He looked off to the left and saw the Northern Force engaged in battle with ships of the Southern Raiders but it looked like the Raiders were giving as good as they got.
“Signal the Judge and Jury the join the Northern Force. They need it. We will continue on course. And have the Justice come along our port side.”
A crew man grabbed some flags and rapidly signaled the sloops as such and the sloops rapidly responded. Putting on more sail as the Judge and jury broke formation and headed to join the Northern Force while the Justice pulled alongside the Acionna.
Wallace turned his eye from the battle and eyes the fort guarding the harbors right side. The Marines had arrive and were attacking the fort in force. The gates were already breached and the marines had gained access to the interior and were battling it out for control of the fort both inside and out.
Wallace nodded and mumbled
“Just as planned. Now all we need is for the Northern Force to have drawn out all the ships then we can slip in and take both forts with the help of the Marines, then sack the city.”
Wallace smiled to himself as it looked like everything was going to plan.
“SAIL HO!! SHE COMES FROM THE HARBOR!!!”
Wallace snapped around and brought his eye glass to bear on it. It was a ship of the line leading what looked like two more sloops. It was a big ship as well. Wallace focused his glass on the prow and saw the name, the Invisible. The flagship of the Southern Raider’s Naval Force. A 121 gun ship of the line, over 320 feet long and 60 wide she weighed over 6560 tons to the Acionna’s 2200 tons and and 68 guns. Wallace watched as the Invincible passed the Marine cannon batteries that were firing on the beach, at both the fort and the ships that has appeared, her three guns decks gun ports opened on both sides. Wallace swore again the Invincible definitely carried 42 pounders, which posed a threat to even the Acionna's sturdy hull.
Then the ones on the left fired. The thunder reached the Acionna and Justice. The side of the Invincible disappeared in white smoke. The Marine were suddenly cut down in a bloody swathe. Limbs pulverized and brutally cut from the body. Bodies shattered, live ended and men died horribly. Where before had been 9 batteries of cannons now stood at most 2 and the ground was littered with broken guns and carriages and destroyed men, there blood staining the sand and flowing into the sea.
Wallace clenched his jaw in rage and swept his glass around and he noted a storm front approaching from starboard, or right of his ship, and an idea formed in his mind.
“MEN READY THE TORPEDOES!!!” Wallace yelled and the crew scramble to do as he commanded. Barrels were brought up to the stern. These barrels were primitive depth charges, often used by Sea Hunters against the monsters they hunted, but had been modified to float instead and rigged to explode on contact.
“Haul in some sail and slow us down.” Wallace ordered judging the speed of the storm front and the Invisible.
“Hard over to port and start dropping them.” Wallace order and the Acionna and Justice swung to over to port and the crew of the Acionna started dropping the mines over the back of the ship.
“Oh and LOOSE THE COLORS”
Wallace added. Loosing the colors was time honored way of declaring ones intention of fighting. While the Second Republic’s flag still flew, Wallace personal flag soon joined it and cheer went up from his men. Many of them were former Sea Hunters themselves and those that were not, were loyal to Wallace and would sail with the man into hell.
“THEY HAVE US OUT MASSED, OUT MANNED AND OUT GUNNED!! THEY DON’T STAND A CHANCE!! ALL MEN TO STATIONS!!!! RUN EM OUT AND STAND READY!!!!! MEN BLOW ON YER MATCHES, KEEP EM NICE AND LIT!!!!” Wallace bellowed to his crew and another cheer went up, these men were ready to fight.
Behind the Acionna more mines were dropped into the sea.
The Acionna and Justice were now running in perpendicular to the Invincible's course which altered its own to come straight for the Acionna, no doubts it's captain salivating at the chance to capture such an infamous ship as the Acionna
Wallace watched and smiled as the storm front grew closer and closer and so did the Invincible.
“Load shells into the the rifles.” Wallace order. Shells were exploding cannonballs that the Second Republic Navy had invented recently and Wallace had managed to get some but only for his rifles not the broadside guns.
The two forces grew closer and closer
“CUT SPEED AND CEASE DROPPING!!!” Wallace bellowed and the crew took in sail to slow the ships speed and to did the Justice.
The Invisible grew closer and closer, the sloops peeling off it seemed to wait and see, no doubt the captain of the Invisible wanted all the glory for taking the Acionna for himself.
The storm front grew closer and closer so did the mighty Invincible.
Suddenly the storm front was there and it swept over the Invincible and the sea mines. The storm stirred up the water and blew the sea mines away from land. The storm front soon covered the Acionna and the Justice.
Wallace stepped over
“Mr. Keith the please return the wheel to me. Oh and please get the pipes.”
Keith stepped away and handed it over to Wallace who smiled on grabbing it. This was where he was meant to be. While Keith went and quickly fetched some bagpipes. Wallace was from the northern highlands as were many of the crew and they all loved the sound of the bagpipes. Kieth reappeared with the bagpipes and began to play, there angry keening soon filled the air.
“MEN WE SAIL TO GLORY OR DAMNATION!!!! FULL CANVAS!!!” Wallace bellowed to his crew and followed it up with a hearty laugh. One enver felt so alive as when one was so close to death. And then the storm was on them. Everything disappeared in a sheet of rain.
Wallace laughed and spun the wheel to the bastard and the Acionna swung around hard while the Justice clawed hard to stay on her port. Through the storm Wallace peered hard looking for signs of the Invincible suddenly off to the starboard and slightly behind him he saw a flash through the storm.
The sea mines. The storm had carried the sea mine into the path of the Invincible and, using a thousand lifetimes of luck, one sea mine hit and damaged her rudder.
Acionna continues to swing around but Wallace had lost sight of the Justice in the storm.
“Leaky bilges and rats, where is the Justice?” He swore to himself.
Just as quickly as the storm appeared it was gone.
Wallace stared in shock as the Justice was out of place and very badly so. She was alongside the Invincible, less than 30 yards from her, which was listing to port slightly but that did not stop her much.
The Acionna was behind and to the left of the right of the Invincible. Wallace's gambit had paid off for him but not the Justice.
The Justice futility tried to claw away from the Invincible, while firing broadsides at her but it was in vane. The Invincible loosed one broadside and shattered the already damaged ship. Her main mast toppled and her sides and deck exploded in splatters and ravaged bodies of her crew man. Her scuppers ran red with blood. The Justice was lamed and a floating wreck tradition called for ceasing fire or at least waiting to see if the other ship wished to surrender. But the Invisible fired again. This time the Justice blew up, her powder magazine having been ignited.
Wallace swore in anger
“NO QUARTER!!!!” He yelled to his crew who had just watched the Justice and her crew's, for there was no other word for it, execution. The crew of the Aciona scream in rage at the Invincible.
Wallace spun the wheel and the Acionna responded and began closing the distance to the ship.
“RIFLES FIRE AS YOU BEAR!!!” Wallace order. The forward and mid mounted rifles thundered in response. One shell missed but the other landed squarely on the stern of the Invincible and exploded splintering the hull.
The Invincible wallowed in response trying to turn and bring her superior broadside to bear but was having trouble with a damaged rudder, but she was making some progress.
Wallace noted this and adjusted course angling more toward to the left.
The deck rifles fired again and this time both shell struck home smashing into the stern of the Invincible, who's stern mounted guns attempted to fire back. White smoke blossomed from the her rear and cannonballs screeched through the air on hit a sail and made a hole, the other splashed into the water.
The Acionna grew closer and closer to the lamed ship, like wolf closing in on an injured lion.
Again, the Acionna’s rifles fired and again two shell impacted the stern of the Invincible and exploded splintering her stern and this time setting fires. The Invincible’s stern guns responded this time one hit the side of the Acionna with a crash and the sound of splintering wood and the scream of injured men, the other made another hole in her sails.
Finally the Acionna had closed in to less that 25 yards and Wallace swung her around a bit to bring her full broadside to bear.
“FIRE ALL AND CUT SAIL!!!!” He screamed and the guns of the Acionna thundered there hatred at the Invincible. The stern of the Invincible rapidly disintegrated into splinters and broken bodies. Cannonballs and shells skip downed the length of the ship, maiming men and destroying wood. The interior of the Invincible was reduced to a holocaust of fire, wood and iron as the Acionna hammered broadside after broadside into the ship, showing them as much mercy as they showed the Justice. Men explode and died none escaped the hell until finally the powder magazine amidships exploded. The Invincible was shattered, broken in half and she rapidly began to sink beneath the waves.
Wallace was not satisfied, his wrath not yet spent, and his eye lighted upon the two sloops and he smiled the devil’s smile.
He spun the ships wheel to port
“MORE SAIL” He bellowed and the crew leapt into action, where before they had taken some in so as maintain position behind the Invincible they piled it on now and the wind picked up blowing toward the city.
The Acionna swung around rapidly began to gain speed as her sails filled with wind which shot through the rigging and began to emit a hunting scream. The Acionna had tasted blood and she wanted more.
The two sloops failed to strike there colors and surrender to the Acciona and instead tried to tack out to meet the Acionna head on. Soon the two met with the Acionna going right between the two sloops.
“FIRE ALL” Bellowed Wallace and the once again the Acionna’s cannon’s thunder there anger and hatred to the world.
The sloops thundered back but the only ship with close enough with cannons that could hurt the Acionna was now lying at the bottom of the sea, a victim of luck and quick thinking.
The cannon balls bounced off the Acionna side but hers plowed into the two ships and wrecked them. The sloops were reduced to floating wreck by the time the Acionna passed through them. The sloops bled and burned behind the Acionna, both de-masted.
The crew hollowed there triumphant and glee but mixed were a few screams of pain and agony.
Wallace spun the wheel to starboard and made for the great battle between the Northern Force and main force of the Southern Raider's Navy. The battle was rapidly winding down now, after having seen the Invisible proven otherwise, the Republic forces gained a second wind while the Raiders seem to lose the will to fight at the sight of there flagship being taken down, espically by none other than the dreaded Acionna. And the sight of the red sails of the Acionna coming closer frighten them even worse. Raider ship’s started striking colors.
Wallace eyes swept over the battlefield and he grunted and spun the wheel back to starboard and made of the harbor.
They passed the the right fort over which flew the Republic flag. The Marine cheered as the Acionna passed.
“What now Captain?” asked Thatch who had appeared on the beside Wallace a bandage on his left arm.
Wallace smiled
“We dock then go ashore and PLUNDER!!!!” He yelled laughing and his crew joined him.
Last edited by Patrick OConner on Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Member of Task Force Atlas
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I choose the second definition of it. This meaning rule by virtue and not owning land to be allowed to vote or hold political office. Instead one is required to serve time in the military (currently 6 years)



Tech Level: Mix MT/PMT

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Palmyrion
Minister
 
Posts: 2258
Founded: Mar 04, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Palmyrion » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:30 pm


TITLE: A Cocktail of Blood: Divination
AUTHOR: Palmyrion


ACCESS CODE:
DARK_HELIX


AUTHENTICATED. Connecting./
14/MAY/2018 1914H

B23: Operation Crimson High is inactive. Identify yourself.
A11: X
B23: Well, intel reported X as KIA.
A11: It's fake news, don't believe it.
A11: CRIMSON HIGH is still in play. X out.



ACCESS CODE:
DARK_HELIX


AUTHENTICATED. Connecting./
15/MAY/2018 0114H

A11: Fe, it's X.
B23: What do you need, X?
A11: Get me anything on callsign "Nova" from the Raiders.
B23: You're getting me fired, you know that?
A11: Any way you can tell me anything about "Nova" without you getting fired?
B23: Right, I'll get back to you once I get this piece of work's files.

-15/MAY/2018 0125H-

B23: Right. Her name is Isabel Paramulan. Born on the 5th of January 1984, in Dumangas City, Panhay. Born to a family of professionals who found themselves stuck in a financial rabbit hole.
B23: Elementary in Azami Memorial Elementary, High School in Palmyrian Science High School before the Ultranationalists struck; she was captured at the age of 16, and was forced to do slutwork for 2 years before being recovered in a sting op by the Gendarmerie back then. They didn't mind bringing her in for PTSD treatment, the bloody bastards.
B23: The poor damsel was reduced to a husk of her former self. Had so many Level 3 violations in Grade 11 and 12 when she was readmitted to Pisay; bashed a few skulls here and there; stole money from one house and clothes from another; aborted babies a few too many times; mixed cocaine, cough syrup, meth, MDMA, and heroin like it was just chemistry class; got run over on bed by the entire city. Never had a GWA better than 2. She graduated nonetheless at the age of 20.
B23: Took UPCAT; passed. Didn't have a liking to university life the first semester, so she decided to join the army; Army life made her turn over a new leaf, but by now she was heavily scarred and brutalized; neuroplasticity fucked her over. She spent four years in the 13th Battlegroup before joining the Raiders.
B23: Had a nasty reputation for being a cold-blooded killer and nasty interrogator. She used her near-intimate knowledge of the human body to nicely ask her prisoners for intel her unit needed.
B23: Got reassigned to Joint Task Force 707 on 2016. Heard you fell in love with the bloody damsel and got dumped. She died in your hands, you complacent lover. Now she pops up like a pimple on our head, alive and with a vengeance.
B23: That's all. Beastmode out. Hopefully the damsel doesn't decide to put your head on a platter, so you better keep your dopamine levels checked low when she's around.
Last edited by Palmyrion on Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:29 pm, edited 6 times in total.
PALMYRION: INTO THE PALMYRO-VERSE
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Eitoan
Envoy
 
Posts: 235
Founded: Jan 04, 2018
Corporate Bordello

Postby Eitoan » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:12 pm


TITLE: The 1918 Riots
AUTHOR: Eitoan


Post-independence ethnic troubles in Eitoan


Monday, September 23, 1918

For three years since The Great Change of 1915 the mestizo Gemesht majority of Eitoan slowly, steadily began to see the promise of the young republic bloom for it’s youth. School enrollment for middle and high schools grew for them every year, and nowhere was this more prominent than in the small inland cities, the rapidly industrializing heart of the nation. Wyanet was one such town, proud of it’s new Central High School, built to provide the most modern, scientific education possible to all the town’s children, Gemesht, Ralkoviak, and indigenous. Since the War of Independence and the Constitution, the remaining Ralkoviak families in Wyanet seemed to make their peace with the new regime, secure in the thought that the despised mestizos wouldn’t be able to move into the larger businesses and better neighborhoods for decades and granting no regard to the few indigenous in the town, the hewers of wood and fetchers of water. But with each passing year, as more and more Gemesht moved through the school system, a sense of unease settled over some of the former colonial masters, fear of a future less certain of their dominance. And among them stirred talk of separation from the others, a sudetenization, given that the Empire was unlikely to come back to Eitoan. So it was at Central High School on that September 23rd, a week after the day of fasting, as the students settled into their studies more seriously, and to their many activities.

David Hend headed to Central that day, accompanied by his two older brothers. Average size, but wiry, and mean, Dave often displayed the arrogant streak common with his brothers and was known even among the Ralkoviak boys at Central as a scrapper. All during the morning classes tension had been palpable. The few Camalgehey were conspicuously absent, possible tipped off by their Gemesht friends. Dave sat on the right side of the classroom during first period biology and second period literature, the side claimed by his ethnic group at Central, in the row facing the Gemesht boys, separating the Ralkoviak girls from the mestizos. During the lectures the boys facing each other glared, sometimes threateningly at each other, but the teachers, large veterans of the War of Independence kept things from coming to blows, at least in their classrooms. Things held together, at least until 3rd period, when Cave changed and filed outside for football.

His team was largely Gemesht, only having 3 other companions on it. The boy playing quarterback, a tall, blonde mestizo was joking with his friends before the kickoff. “Yeah, Laurie – looks damn ripe – bet I can get to second base easy with her. Gonna give her a shot, if you know what I mean” he told his center, a dull looking, thick set boy, who responded with a grunt and a grind of his pelvis.

Hend ran up to the blonde, grabbing him by the shirt, practically lifting him off the ground. “You’re gonna do what? I don’t think so Marc. I think you need to learn your place, again” he snorted, slugging the boy in the gut. In a moment, the Gemesht on his team and the other were on him, shoving him to the ground and punching his face.

The other Ralkoviaks in the class joined in the fight, and in no time, it was a free for all. The gym teacher yelled until he was hoarse, then disappeared into the school, to come right out with 3 assistant coaches. After about 10 minutes of effort, they separated the two groups. “You Gemesht – get out of here” he commanded, and the mestizo boys complied, heading back to the locker room to dress for class. After he was sure the last of them were out of the locker room, he roared to the Ralkoviaks “Now you – go in and change”

David sullenly went through the motions for his morning classes, again glowering at the mestizo boys. But, no more fighting at the time. The tension on both sides was palpable – the school was going to ignite. In other corridors, in other classrooms the kids weren’t so lucky. A slugfest broke out in a senior math classroom. Gemesht girls claimed the second-floor bathroom, and two freshmen were thrown down a flight of stairs between periods. Before lunch, five of Hend’s friends were expelled for breaking the nose of a Rozhroz boy. The Rozhroz, despised by all others at Central, hadn’t been tipped off like the Camalgehey.

But when Dave headed to the lunch room, the fighting bloomed into full force. A stocky Gemesht plowed over a table where freshman Ralkoviaks were peacefully eating. “Our country now! Go back to the Empire!” he proclaimed. Within minutes the lunchroom was entirely riotous, the melee spilling out into the neighboring hallways, and most of the classrooms. Tables, chairs, food, and dinnerware sailed through the air. Necks snapped. Teeth littered the cafeteria. Girls were dragged off into the bathrooms and violated, sometimes by boys, sometimes by girls, sometimes by both. Dave gave as good as anyone on the floor, decking some pasty faced, skinny mestizo boy, smashing a milk bottle over the head of the best high jumper on the track team, and rabbit punching one of his football teammates from earlier in the day. Jumping up on a table he yelled out “Sudeten Now!”, a Ralkoviak rallying cry. Out of nowhere two husky juniors charged him with the Eitoan flag, grazing his ribs on the first try, but knocking him down on a second effort, and pummeling his face. They grabbed him and threw him out the window, a drop of 15 feet. Shaken, but with no broken bones, Dave stepped back, and joined a small know of his friends on the nearby track.

Throughout the afternoon, no class could be conducted. As the situation went completely out of control the principal, barricaded in the office since noon, called for the police. By 3:45 two squads of heavily armed officers arrived, and professionally cleared Central High of the student body, room by room.

But this was only the beginning.

Tuesday, September 24, 1918

"Okay dear - ready to head to work. Kiss the kids for me. Keep 'em bundled up - it's brisk out there" bad Bruce Bekett to his wife as he headed out the door to his small tire and tire repair business, one of the few but growing numbers of Gemesht taking advantage of the growth of cars in Eitoan. His wife Esther, daughter of a sharecropper had borne him 6 healthy children, and only in the last two years had the luxury of running water in their 2 bedroom boxy home on Wyanet's south side, amidst several miles of hastily constructed housing erected in the years immediately after independence. Normally she would see the youngest three off to school, but she ran to Bruce, pleading "Dear - haven't you heard? All the fighting at Central High yesterday? And the rumors the black hoods are in town! Bruce, stay home - I worry for them. And I worry for you."

Bruce held her closely, and walked her back to the kitchen. Opening the pantry door he grabbed his 1905 Ditrez-Emmet rifle, and inspected it. The bolt action seemed solid, and each part was carefully cleaned monthly, since his mustering out 11 years ago. Esther had sometimes seemed to struggle with carrying it a distance, but carrying it wasn't his concern now. She was a fairly decent shot, although she'd never had to use it in real life. Opening the top drawer of the sivlerware cabinet, he observed the careful storage of 30 to 40 .30-06 rounds. He smiled at her and kissed her again. "Dear - we've covered this before. Just be sure to keep the little ones inside the closed, and keep a bead on the doorway. I think you'll be fine!"

Esther Bekett wasn't reassured. "No - I'm keeping Vladek, Sam and Helene home today. I won't take any chances. And you be careful yourself. Mrs. Kniollly said there was a Rozhroz family up 9 Mile Road that got burned out last night. Says the black hoods are on the march. You be careful!", she told her husband.

Bruce knew arguing was futile. The only way to pacify Esther and get to the shop was to carefully go over all measures with her and the three oldest. An hour later, after drilling the family about standing watch, escape routes, first aid, and fire measures, Esther finally relented and saw him off. "You keep your eyes open, Bruce Bekett. And If I get wind of any trouble headed this way, I'll send one of the Danallek boys to the shop. See - they're staying home - the whole neighborhood's up in arms!"

Bekett nodded wanly, and headed out the door. It was a cold day, overcast, with a threat of snow, or something worse. Involved in his own thoughts, he stepped at a steady, plodding gate through the 2 miles to his shop, a red brick building on Millbrook Street. Greeting the two workmen there, he slipped into his office, noticing it was a little after 8 AM. Measuring out the coffee beans and filling the pot, he put a fresh batch on the coal burning stove, which was beginning to fill the place with heat. Bruce started pouring over invoices when he was distrubed 15 minutes later by the baker Baird, from across the street. Baird, a large man, filled the doorway to the office, a light blue rag wrapped around his right arm.

"Bruce - join us. A lot of us veterans, actually, almost all the Grand Army Lodge are going to the public square. Haven't you heard? The Sudetens have moved in, and they mean business. Bruce - join us - stand up for the blue!" the large man bade.

Bruce squirmed in his chair. "Lou - come on - we've got the police. The mayor has a handle on this, I'm sure", he pleaded.

"Bruce - you fought with Seigel - stand up for the Republic! These bastards mean business. Join us! We're going to make a stand and back 'em off! It's not enough to wait for the police - we have to show them the town will fight. Hell, haven't you heard? The shits marched last night, a realy torchlight ghoul rally, 3000 strong! I don't know where the mayor is. The hoodies are in control of City Hall - have been since their grim parade. Still have their masks on. They haven't come south, yet, but we've got to stop them!" the big man exploded.

Bekett reluctantly agreed, instructing his two workmen to keep an eye on the store, and run to get him if they heard from Esther of one of the Danallek boys. Picking up a heavy crowbar from the work area, he pinned on the blue armband the baker offered him and joined his fellow tradesmen and veterans as the headed to the public square. Once there, Lodge marshalls organized the crowd of about 6000, some to patrol nearby streets, and smaller groups, more heavily armed, to converge on the beseiged City Hall.
Bekett fell in with a group of 50, mostly veterans, some merchants from the produce market, and a few high school students.

Around 11:20, as planned, the advance guard inched up the sidestreets toward City Hall. The cloud cover cleared momentarily, and a reflection glanced off a cylinder mounted on the lawn in front of the building. A hooded, robed figure readied the heavy machine gun, aimed at the first group of Patriots advancing on the Sudetens. A short burst kicked up debris from storefronts, and an unwary young man with a blue armband lay dead 200 yards away from the deadly machine. The advance parties of Patriots took cover, and slowly backed down the approaches. The call went out for scrap metal and wood to build barricades. The seige of City Hall was underway.

Four tense hours later, on a sidestreet, four cars with black clad, masked riders headed two streets west, and crawlled ahead. Slowing in front of a stately wooden two story home painted hunter green, with yellow gingerbread trim, the marauding Sudetens opened fire on the three policemen that stood guard. The police dove for cover. Holding off the police guard, two robed, masked men bearing a mechanical device marched up the walk, kicked over the gate on the white picket fence, and ran onto the porch. A rock shattered the house's picture window. The two heaved the machinery through the window and ran back to the waiting car, and the caravan took off at top speed. Three minutes later a blast shook central Wyanet, and the front of the mayor's house was a pile of rubble. The mayor's wife, stunned and bloodied, cried piteously for her youngest daughter.

As word of the attack spread like wildfire through the industrial belt by the river that afternoon, factories and mills emptied of their workers. Teamsters abandoned their trucks and wagons. Trains idled in the marshalling yard as rail workers rallied. All streetcar traffic ground to a halt, abandoned by their conductors, as an angry mob gathered before Worker's Hall. As darkness fell, agitators, rallying under the red flag of Communism egged on the crowd, then headed to reinforce the blue armband Patriots, and build the barricades before City Hall. The Sudeten Ralkoviaks held them back, but were becoming rapidly outflanked in the outlying areas.

Bekett sighed, and turned to the man on his left, and accountant, and fellow veteran. "Oh shit - now the commies. Well, maybe the Reds and Blacks will kill each other". The accountant nodded agreement.

Slowly, surely, the mob cut off all egress for the black hooded raiders. In panic, the Sudetens sent an armed patrol up Gilmour Street, keeping open a path of retreat. Shots rang out throughout the early afternoon. The red flagged mob moved out of range on Gilmour Street. But the Communist's work wasn't done that day. A crowd of metalworkers under the red banner commandeered busses and trucks, led by a few armed men. Others weilded firebombs. Taking a 4 mile route up the Northern Road, they disembarked at a rambling, well kept wooden structure. Finding it lightly guarded, the armed men advanced first. A young firebrand with bright red hair clamored onto a barrel. He addressed the crowd "Comrades, patriots! Let us not hold back. Here it is - the hated symbol of opression and colonialism. Let us blot this pustule off the face of the earth!" The firebombs found their way inside, and in a matter of minutes the Empire Club had erupted into bright yellow and orange flame. Smoke filled the air and rose in a black plume.

Still holding City Hall under siege, Bruce Bekett looked up. It was as if the entire background had become a bright, glowin canvas. "I wonder who got it?" he thought, as the machine gun futilely raked the barracades now ringing City Hall.

Wednesday, September 25, 1918

Right after 5 AM, on schedule, Sergeant Oldrich Johnson relieved the officer on duty in front of Central High School. "Good to see you", the detective in charge of the 5 man contingent of uniformed police greeted Johnson. "Hope you're up for stragglers. Since Monday's riot not many have been back. No clean up crews either. Guess they're busy downtown, such as it is. Anyway, have a peaceful shift"

Johnson nodded as the detective wandered away, probably home to look after his family. He'd not had any relief since Monday afternoon, and the detachment seemed worn out, after a night of bombings, gunfire, and looting. Twice they'd chased Communist led mobs away from the stores on Primrose Street, both times only partially successfully. The lawn in front of the High School was strewn with debris: broken glass, books, papers, and the assorted weapons of combat from two days ago - clubs, knives, and the occasional brass knuckle. A patrolman offered Johnson a mug of thick black coffee from his thermos, an offer which Oldrich eagerly accepted and greedily drank. The patrolman, Kucherak, and another, Sulak kept guard on their three sleeping companions. Johnson turned to greet Sulak.

"Quiet night, Petr?" inquired Oldrich.

"Yes, pretty much. We've chased off a couple raids by the Reds. Most scattered when we lit up the street, but a few took the opportunity to liberate the cash in a couple of the stores on the far end of Primrose. No firearms, no bombing though. The second time around we were able to drag off one of them, and gave him a proper sendoff before he was taken in for booking. During the day a few blue armbands wandered by, I think on their way downtown. We just waved them by. No black hoods though. I think we'd better be prepared for gunfire if any of those Sudetens show up. You been downtown?" Sulak replied.

"No, not since Monday morning" said Oldrich. "Pretty bad, I hear. The Police Station is pretty well clear of demonstrators, but it's bloody by City Hall. From what I hear it's still going on. Nobody's heard from the Mayor. His house is wrecked - wife and youngest daughter are in the hospital. Damn shame. This was such a nice town. Don't know if we'll ever get it back."

As dawn broke, the three sleeping policemen woke, had a short breakfast of coffee and bread, and joined Johnson, Kucherak, and Sulak. The bright sunlight chased away the chill of the first two days of rioting. Again, no activity at the High School, and most of the shops on Primrose remained closed. A grocer appeared, chatted with Johnson, and boarded up the shattered windows of his store. Patriots sporting the blue armband walked past the police guarding the school, waving and exchanging greetings. Tensions eased for Jonhson and his men, relieved that the troubles may be winding down.

Around 9:15 Johnson heard the rumblings of a crowd. First the shouting of slogans, the Sudeten Ralkoviaks "We Will Take Back What Is Ours!" and the Communist "Power to the People - Our Streets for Our People!" in response. 6 blocks east, on Dunaid Street, the sides squared off in front of the stores, houses, and apartment buildings. Residents and shoppers dove for cover. As the crowd faced off, shots rang out and two Sudetens fell dead on the pavement. The Communists rushed the black robes, pushed back here and there as reinforcements from both sides joined the fight. Johnson could hear a warning in the distance, and a clanking sound "This is the Police! Evacuate this street immediately! This warning will not be repeated".

There was another single shot. And then, a slow, stead rat-tat-tat-tat-tat followed by moaning and screams of agony. The police armored car slowly moved through the crowd, firing indiscriminately at Sudetens and Communists alike. A first wave of protesters fell, 26 in all. Turning around at Pivni street, the death wagon returned to clear stragglers. Another 12 fell. By the end of the volley, Dunaid Street was abandoned, dead and dying littering the sidewalk and roadway. The crowds scattered in every direction.

Thursday, September 26

Johnson had barely drifted into high REM sleep after 45 minutes off shift, sacking out in the doorway of the Miller Dairy, when Patrolman Sulak roused him.

"Sergeant, Sergeant, get up! I heard, I mean there's something going on over on Gerber Street, I think. Haven't heard shooting, but there's some commotion", Sulak informed.

Johnson rubbed his eyes and got up slowly. Looking around the told the other patrolman to maintain guard in front of Central High School, and motioned Sulak to follow him.

As the two crept toward the corner of Gerber and Primrose, they could see knots of men in the dim moonlight jostling and arguing. A truck was broken down in the middle of the street, the driver side door ajar where the driver had apparently fled. Men were fighting, but no injuries as far as Johnson could see. Johnson and Sulak threaded their way down the street, stopping a few door down from the crowd. Waiting a while to try to comprehend what the problem was, Johnson finally turned on his flashlight, first aiming at the back of the truck, then shining it on several groups of men, variously wearing blue or red armbands. Blowing on his police whistle, Johnson caught the crowd's attention. Sulak raised his service revolver, aiming at the sky, and shot off a round.

"This is the police. Clear the street! Move away from the vehicle, NOW!" Johnson commanded.

The men closest to Johnson gazed at him, stunned, then moved aside. Two Communists in red armbands ignored the warning shot, and carted off another barrel of Martin Beer. Not to be outdone, three patriots in blue armbands made off with two barrels and a case. Red faced, Johnson blew his whistle again. Sulak got off another warning shot. Finally, both groups parted to their side respectively, giving way to the two policemen.

His voice straining, Johnson warned "This looting must end immediately. All of you, clear the street!" The patriots moved away from the beer truck, but undaunted, a stout, muscular, unshaven stevedore stepped forward to challenge him.

"Comrade officer - the people must have their provisions! Our men, and these, er, others are liberating provisions, needed to drive the traitors out of City Hall. When are you coppers going to do it! Let us continue, let us pass!" he proclaimed, pounding his chest. "The people, united by solidatity, well fortified, will march forward in solidarity to wipe the treasonous scum out of Wyanet! Let us continue! We will do the job!"

A skeptical Johnson furrowed his brow, and moved toward the Communist. Before he could say anything, a well groomed young patriot sporting the blue armband spoke up.

"Officer - please. We don't mean to cause you any trouble, but protecting the city has taken a lot out of us, both us and them" he pleaded, gesturing to the knot of Communists. "I ask you, in the general mayhem, could you see through to informing the Martin brewery of this unfortunate loss, both vehicle and product? I'm sure the good brewers are home protecting their families, and many of them have joined us at City Hall. Look, most of the product is gone. We mean you no harm, if you'll just go on your way. And we promise no damage to the shops here on Gerber. Then we'll be off to the barricades".

Johnson stared at the patriot, then at the Communist. He considered the proposal carefully, and decided it better to get back to Primrose to guard the High School, since he hadn't the manpower to cart off the looters. In any event, the jail was probably overflowing, and the jailers most likely pulling guard duty elsewhere in Wyanet. He again considered the options, looked at Sulak, and addressed the crowd.

"All right. From right now I give you 5 minutes to clear out. What's lost is lost. Wrap up in 5 minutes and be on your way. I'll be returning, and don't want to see any of you then!".

Both sides nodded agreement. The 5 minute beer truck truce began immediately, as did continued looting. Johnson and Sulak edged back down Gerber to the corner of Primrose. And true to their word, both sides ran off with the brew within 5 minutes.

Johnson and Sulak returned to the guard position in front of the High School. Johnson tried to nap for the remaining 25 minutes allotted, while Sulak stood guard.

Around 7:00 AM Sergeant Johnson leaned up against the wall of the carpenter's shop, haggard after more than 24 hours on guard. The 5 patrolmen took turns sleeping that night, but all were awake now, expecting more trouble with no relief in sight. Through bleary eyes he saw several pairs of headlights coming down Primrose. In the early morning light he made out three trucks bearing National Guard insignia. The lead truck of the caravan stopped in front of Johnson, and a young redheaded Second Lieutenant hopped out of the back, shoving a piece of paper under Johnson's nose.

The Lieutenant spoke up. "I've got orders from the Territorial Governor-General - we're your relief. See right here? This town is under Martial Law. You and your men may go. If needed, the commander will issue general orders for the police." The Lieutenant smiled down at the veteran cop. "Go home now, get some sleep. Oh, can I offer you a cigarette?"

Johnson smiled back. "Sure, thanks." he told the Lieutenant. "I sure could use that smoke. And a good night's sleep!"
Last edited by Eitoan on Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:06 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Eitoan
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Posts: 235
Founded: Jan 04, 2018
Corporate Bordello

Postby Eitoan » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:17 pm


TITLE: Commies Lose in Review of Appeal
AUTHOR: Eitoan


Administrative Court of Referred Appeals
Docket # AR-50-719

EITOAN v. REVOLUTIONARY STEELWORKERS ACTION COUNCIL Appellees.

Opinion filed November 2, 1960

James W. Dusberger and Roger H. Kissell, Prosecutor, District Court of Airdrie, for appellants.
Nelson A. Baile, Peter F. Halos, for appellees.

Decision of Territorial Court of Chillicothe, Docket TC-1959LB10 Reversed.
Decision of District Court of Airdrie, Docket DAR-1958LB3 Restored.

MR. JUSTICE HOGIN delivered the opinion of the majority. In concurrence: JUSTICES BERGAM, LAGAR, MURALLO, HITZ:

On September 29, 1958, the plaintiff, Prosecutors Dusberger and Kissell of the Airdrie District Court, filed a complaint in the civil division of the District Court of Airdrie. It was alleged that the defendant party had violated provision of labor organizing strictures under Section 820 CVC 92.3 of Eitoan Revised Code in the certification election validating the Revolutionary Steelworkers Action Council as the collective bargaining unit for labor at the SY&F Plate And Tube Works 9th Street Plant in Alton, Chillicothe Territory, in the aspect that the Council acknowledged active participation in strikes and further action proscribed in said section for the purpose of electoral or violent governmental change. It was further alleged that all of the defendants made representations to the territorial Board of Labor Oversight upon which the plaintiffs detrimentally relied and that the BLO wrongfully permitted the candidacy of the defendant organization in the election. The complaint sought certain equitable relief, in the form of a review for injunction to vacate the certification election results.

A hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for injunction began on October 13, 1958, was continued several times, and concluded on December 30, 1958, when the motion was granted. On January 3, 1959, the court authorized the decertification edict. Three days before execution of the edict, defendants filed for appeal in the Territorial Court of Chillicothe for reversal of judgment of the District Court, and restoration of union status at SY&F. On February 24, 1959, the plaintiffs filed a motion for an order to dismiss the appeal, citing precedent both at the District Court (Eitoan vs. Armed Defenders of Democracy, Workers Protection Unit and Eitoan vs. Free and True Guardians of the Brewer’s Guild) at the Territorial Court (Eitoan vs. Armed Street Maintenance Force). The plaintiffs subsequently filed an amended motion in which they sought an order directing the defendants to show how reversal of judgement of the District Court did not violate the constitutional provisions of free speech for trade organizations. The defendants' motion to strike the plaintiffs' amended motion was granted, and the plaintiffs then filed a second amended motion for post-hearing relief. After several hearings were held on the matter, the plaintiffs' second motion was denied on September 22, 1959. The plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal from the order denying their motion, but the appeal was later dismissed on plaintiffs' motion.

An affidavit of investigation from the Alton Police Department was filed in support of the plaintiffs' petition. The affiant stated that documents gathered from informers in the Council corroborated discussions among Council leadership to the effect that certification was planned as a strategy for unseating among others the Alton mayor, city council, and board of education in the 1959 elections by means of mandating a wildcat strike at the plant, and obstructing traffic on adjoining streets. Affiant further stated that, in checking the file on the case, he found 11 pages of handwritten notes regarding the case, dated March 31, 1958, along with a letter indicating direction from the national directorship of the Council that “control of the plant is a necessary prerequisite to control of the Alton city council, which is an important step in gaining powerful influence in the steel industry in general, from which economic influence can be used to steer the workers in a revolutionary direction, while starving the capitalist exploiters of their sustenance, all working toward the objective of a revolutionary worker’s economy in the major Eitoan sectors”.

The Territorial Court of Chillicothe, in a ruling on November 9, 1959, reversed the decision of the District Court, citing supremacy of the right of expression of the defendant over provisions of labor organizing strictures, rendering judgement for the defendant.

The plaintiff subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court for hearing for reversal of the appellate decision, on January 4, 1960. After preliminary review of the case, it was forwarded to the Administrative Court of Referred Appeals on March 19, 1960, having been judged a significant procedural case that does not rise to the level of constitutional decision. This panel was selected on March 25, 1960, and hearings commenced on April 27, 1960.

Prosecutors restated both the evidence of activity prohibited under Section 820 CVC 92.3 and the relevant legal precedent. They further described in detail how certification as the bargaining unit was but one ingredient in the greater objective of the Revolutionary Steelworkers Action Council, that being seizure of a major sector of the Eitoan manufacturing economy, contributing to the goal of establishment of a communist worker’s state in Eitoan through subterfuge and threat. Defendant cited the appellate court ruling, and alleged falsification of evidence on the part of the prosecution.

The majority finds for the plaintiff. Our view is that evidence of subversion provided by the Alton police department is verified and reliable. Upon further evidence provided by the plaintiff, it is clear to us that the defendant organization is politically oriented. Indeed, it is our view that it’s actions are seditious. In any event, the rhetoric does not square with the requirements stated in Section 820 CVC 92.3, that being “The worker’s collective bargaining unit may engage in appropriate political advocacy, but always and only in furtherance of it’s members financial health and their welfare in the workplace”. We have not seen this to be true in this case, and in fact, failure to reverse the decision of the Territorial Court would open the door to mayhem in a vital industry, threatening the very life of this Republic.

MR. JUSTICE MELTZER delivered the opinion of the minority. In concurrence: JUSTICE CHAZNIT:

As our first point, we side with the Territorial Court in questioning the veracity of the affidavit on which much of the majority’s decision is based. It has not been the purview of this panel to investigate in depth the author of this document, but a knowledge of the history of the Alton city administration and police department indicates a strong bias against union organizing, if not outright hostility to those in the plant as “of a lower class”. Since it is not within this court’s jurisdiction to further investigate the circumstances of the police investigation, we hold that the Territorial Court’s review of evidence should stand as the final judgement.

The majority contends that the union has engaged in seditious activity. Yet the Supreme Court has assigned the case to this panel of the Administrative Court of Referred Appeals. This indicates that questions of sedition fall outside the jurisdiction of the court, as we only have power over non-constitutional issues. Therefore, by prior judgement of the Supreme Court in making this referral, there is no ability of this panel to make a decision in matters relating to sedition or treason.

Throughout the history of the Republic, the judiciary has from time to time been used as a tool to suppress worker’s rights. We contend that the majority has contributed to this sordid record in this decision. Although we can see the logic of the majority on the merits of the case, inasmuch as we have an ability to verify the evidence, we must take a wider view of the decision of the workers at SY&F Plate and Tube to select the defendant organization as their representative in collective bargaining. That a worker’s organization would seek favorable government treatment is no different that that of a business, or a farm or mine. The defendant organization was chosen in a fair and free certification election, fully under the rules. Nullification of that decision imposes the will of outside, venal interests on that of the SY&F workers.

It is tragic that the Supreme Court has decided to send this court the case. The belief by the majority that the legally valid union activity meets the standard of the very serious charge of sedition gives proof that the case should have been heard by the Supreme Court. The ruling by the majority runs counter to the principal of “Equality of Standing for Labor, Land, and Capital”, one of the cornerstones of our constitution, and a linchpin of Eitoan jurisprudence. This case will join such decisions as Eitoan v. Maglaurin and Coles v. Ewing in the sorry list of abominations of justice suffered in this nation, and, hopefully reversed at the earliest possible date. And it is on this basis that we dissent from the majority decision.
Last edited by Eitoan on Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Mokastana
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Founded: Feb 20, 2007
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mokastana » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:03 am


TITLE: TRABAJORO
AUTHOR: Mokastana


Twenty six years ago

The dust settled over Cuidad Mejico, and the Confederate banner rose once again over the city. After a year of bloodshed, the Mejican Revolution was no more. Despite the efforts of the Independents, the Confederate government of Mejico had too many loyalists, too many allies, too many fighting to maintain a united Mokan state, no matter the cost. The Confederates had won the war, but in doing so revealed how fragile their unified government really was. It has only taken six years for the Mokan Confederacy to begin to fail. Rather that unite, every corner of the Confederacy tried to use the rebellion to further their own agendas, some even supporting the rebels. Under the wise leadership of Nicolas Villa, the folk hero of the revolution, the Confederate government crushed them all and Mokastana remain unified, or so the history books would say.




Antonio Montana walked up the steps to the Presidential Palace of Mokastana City, admiring the bullet holes of long since past coups, left in the pillars as a reminder of their history. Ahead of him, his mother in law lead the southern procession. Lady Guadalupe of House Lomengo, acting representative of ‘El Sur de Gran Mokastana’, and leader of the interim government. The official President of El Sur, Maria Montana, had been ‘removed from power’ like most Confederate leaders during the Revolution. Maria had tried to use the rebellion to advance her own political goals, however, the Socialists had a very effective spy network and a few units of National Police more loyal to Confederation than the Surian government. Loyal enough to capture her and get her flown to the Islands before the Montanas could respond. Yet, the Socialist also knew that if the Surians choose independence, then Mokastana would once again split in two, and that was a war they could not win.

The Lomengo/Montana entourage entered the Presidental Palace, and were quickly escorted to the President’s office. An older man sat behind the desk, his hair was greying, deep lines ran down his face, stubble from lack of shaving covered his lower face. The mildly dirty army uniform and circles under his eyes painted a picture far different from the Nicolas Villa in propaganda posters and movies. This man was tired, and ready for peace, and would be willing to pay a high price for it, or so the Southerners hoped. He stood up straight, still a military commander after all these years, and offered to shake hands.

“Nicholas Villa, President of the Islands and Tierra Nueva, and acting leader of the Confederacy.”

Lady Guadelupe chuckled as she shook hands:

“Acting leader… Har… must be easy to do when you arrest every other President and annex your fellow Mokan allies. I imagine the only reason we're not meeting in Bogota is because your armies couldn't march there like they did in Nuevo Orleans.”

“You must be Lady Guadalupe Lomengo.” Before Nicholas could continue his next thought, Guadalupe interrupted him again.

“I can't imagine your security would let anyone else in your office like this. To my right is Antonio Montana, my minister of finance, and son in law. And this on my left is Dominic Cortez, a key ally of mine. Before you confuse the two.”

“Are you finished Lady Guadalupe?”

“Finished my boy? We've just begun, let's start with the only reason I'm here, you have my Son in Law’s sister in custody. I'm sure you're aware of how influential the Montana family is in the south. If they preach rebellion the only way to maintain peace in the south is to join with them. I'm not to burn South down for Confederate incompetence. Does Mokastana City have the resources to keep peace in Mejico and invade us? I doubt it, we weren't conquered and forced into servitude like Mejico. We offered to join your Confederacy willingly, to see a unified Mokastana, on the understanding we were allowed certain freedoms. Has Mokastana City decided to withdraw those freedoms?”

“The freedom to sell drugs all over the world and live under Confederate protection, you mean? Making us into a narco state in all but name? ”

“You say narco state like it's a bad thing. Mokastana needs money. We don't have the industry nor population to compete with the major powers, so we make do with what we have. I didn't see your government complaining about all the tax money that we sent, propping up your little socialist state. That's why you invited us, isn't it? You want our money more than our loyalty, but right now that's all you can hope to afford. But if you want that, we want a new government.”

The socialist soldiers around the President tensed up at that, ready to pounce, but Nicolas held up a hand:

“You propose destroying the Confederacy to build your Narco government? Is that all?” Nicolas did not look amused, but Lady Guadalupe continued:

“Our government? Heavens no. My grandfather had delusions of being a King, and he never even set foot on in Mokastana. I'm smarter than that. You and your pals can continue to play revolution in this city, run the daily affairs of government, provide “Education and Healthcare” or whatever your current crusade is. In exchange, we want a government more friendly to the Surian way of life. My son in law has more details, Antonio?”

“Yes, Señora Lomengo.” Antonio smiled before turning to Nicolas, “My company, Montana Incorporated, and others like it, will pay taxes to the new government, enough to fund your free socialist services, and in exchange, you won't ask where the money comes from, you won't investigate us or try to shut us down, but most of all, the south will be free to enact whatever economic policies it needs to grow. It gives you all the money you need to rebuild Mokastana, and it gives us the protection you and your international network of allies can provide. No one will invade us to shut down the drug trade because you, our dear leader of a united Mokastana, are friends with the Lyrans and Lamonians and dozens more who would come to your aid. We’ll even allow the occasional bust to make it look like you are actively fighting the drug trade. Regardless, all of Mokastana will prosper.”

Guadalupe took over: “Mokastana needs a good strong moral leader like you to keep the nation unified, but it also needs the financial stability we can provide to keep it alive. We work together, and we both can get what we want.”

Nicolas breathed deeply, and took a long exhale:
“You would have us protect you from outside forces, in exchange you bribe us with, financial stability? This sounds like what's been going on so far. What do you really want? What are these, ‘economic liberties’ you are asking for?”

Antonio perked up, glad to finally get to the point: “I'm going to need you to take us off the gold standard, and open up the trade regulations to allow us to have a proper international economy, foreign investors, companies, even banks, not this communist nonsense.”

“What? We fought hard to make a truly independent Mokan economy. We are free of economic imperialism, and you want to bring that back? We finally spread the wealth of this nation properly! We promised the people gold, and now they can claim it. No, I'm not going to allow foreigners buy up our country again. We remain closed. ”

“The problem with you socialistas is that you want to redistribute the wealth, but don't know the first thing about generating it. Look, Señor Presidente, wars are expensive. Yes, you seized the gold supply of your predecessors, but in the South we move enough product every year to buy up the national reserve multiple times over. Most of us have accounts in far away lands to house cash reserves that could buy up the Mokan economy. If we are to increase tax income for your government, we need a currency that can grow with the economy. Right now, there are not enough Trabajoros in circulation to cover your debts, much less what we propose to pay you. Free the Trabajoro, open the markets, and the Mokan economy’s value will skyrocket.”

“You want to back the Trabajoro with cocaine instead of gold, is that it?”

“I want to back it with the hard working labor of the Mokan people. Remove the gold standard, and my fellow financial leaders and I will buy up billions of Trabajoros using our foreign currency supply. Foreign currency that can be used by your government to buy the goods it desperately needs from overseas. Meanwhile, the demand in Trabajoros we create will increase its value. Manufactured demand of course, but isn't it always?”

“And what happens when the Lyrans and Lamonians realize that our government is a facade? They'll invade and break up the drug trade. What's your plan for when we become a colony of some foreign power again?”

“Mr. Villa, nobody here wants that, we’ve come a long way from being colonies of other nations, and many nations will look for any excuse to invade us. To be straight with you, I'm tired of being a drug lord. Too much recreational bloodshed, and I'm starting a family. For many of us in the south, this will be a period of transition, from recreational drugs, to pharmaceutical empires. We'll build industries that the rest of the world will love to have, and bring Mokastana out of the dark ages. Why live with the threat of Damocles over your head when we can have it protect us?”

“So you are just going to give up your drug empire? Forgive me for not believing you.”

“Mr. Villa, I can buy you, or replace you with ease,” the socialist soldiers aimed their weapons but Nicolas motioned for them to lower them once more, as Antonio continued to speak, “I might even be able to buy off a few other world leaders, but there will always be more moral crusaders with armies and unlimited budgets. We don't want to live like petty kings for a few years only to be snuffed out by whoever decides Mokan drugs needs to go. We want to to live like kings for generations, and that means image is important. Selling medicine nations directly can be just as profitable as drugs.”

Lady Guadalupe scoffed: “Enough talk, we're buying the protection your allies, freedom for Maria Montana, and making Antonio here your new economic advisor to lead the transition into international trade. Are you going to agree or shall we return home?”

Nicholas listened carefully, and thought for a few moments as his next words might change the fate of Mokastana for years to come. “I cannot make him a Financial Minister, and I cannot release your sister. This deal, it is very tempting, but dropping the gold standard, freeing a traitor, and appointing Capitalists to office in a new government? We'll simply have rebellion on our hands again. The socialist will call upon those very allies to restore what they perceive as a rightful government of the people. They'll know this is a coup by the Cartels.”

Antonio spoke up: “It's time to ask yourself a question Señor Villa, is your Party one of the People? Or one of Socialism? The hardcore will reject this idea, yes, but what do you want? A happy faction or the people of this nation to prosper? We are just as Mokan as you, Señor Villa, and we want to see Mokastaña succeed. The Confederacy has failed, but a Federation, a Unified Mokastana, for the good of the People, that could prosper for generations.”

“As I said, I cannot make you a minister Señor Montana, a Socialist hero will remain in control of Ministry of Finance, but…. As you said, image is important. They will be told of of this deal, and work with you to ensure a smooth transition, for the benefit of the workers. They will rely on your ‘capitalist expertise’ in keeping Mokastaña independent when we open our markets to international trade. As for your sister, I cannot free her, but we can certainly give her nicer accommodations, and negotiate an early release for good behavior, get her off of Barbados island at least. If I'm to sell the Mokan economy to you, I want the Socialist to take the credit for any success. We will remain in charge of the country. Does this sound fair to you?”

Montana and Cortez both looked at the older woman between them, who turned to Antonio.

“Your sister will remain in prison, are you alright with that?”

“She made her choice, but if Mr. Villa is honest, and I can have oversight of her living conditions, then perhaps we have a solution.”

Lady Guadalupe turned to Nicolas Villa, “I don’t care whose ass gets kissed for this to happen, as long as it does. Start with a conference with what Mokan leaders you can scrape up and let’s get this new.. What did Antonio call it, a Federation, let’s get that started as soon as possible. We have an economy to grow.”

Both Lady Guadalupe and Nicolas stood up to shake hands, an informal deal, one that would never see the chance to be printed to paper had just been made, and in one swoop, the Mokan future had changed.

As the Surians turned to leave, Nicolas mused: “Let it be said even I would make a deal with the devil for my people. May our souls rest in hell after this.”
Factbook
Montana Inc

Quotes about Mokastana:
Trust the Mokans to be armed even when among their allies
-Zaheran

The fact that the Mokans hadn't faced the same fate was a testament to their preparedness, or perhaps paranoia
-United Gordonopia

Moka you are a land of pimps, prostitutes, drug lords, and corruption.
We love you for it.
-The Scandinvans

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Laussat
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 6
Founded: Aug 17, 2018
Ex-Nation

Postby Laussat » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:38 pm


TITLE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
AUTHOR: Laussat (Castille de Italia)


Credit goes to Townes van Zandt for this fantastic ballad. Willie and Merle's version will remain my favorite though.

The desert sun beat down hard across the desert in Avoyelles. The southern-most part of Laussat, and the most wild. Civilization was coming fast, and many struggled to adapt, and this cruel old world finally caught up to good ole' Pancho. He'd meet his match in 1911.

Pancho was a bandit boy, a hard man of Mokan descent, who terrorized the people of the Avoyelles territories and the Yuba desert around the southern stretch of the Montagnebleu territories. His horse was fast as polished steel, and many a lawman couldn't keep up with him. When he met Lefty in a saloon in the dusty cow town of Ricker's Range, he'd got as many notches in his belt as the tallies of chalk on the wall of an inmate doing life in the penitentiary. You could ask some back home in Veracruz though, Pancho wasn't always a killer and a thief though, he was his momma's favorite boy, and boy did she cry when that little boy stepped on a clipper to find his father across the sea in the Castillian Empire.

Yeah, the boy's daddy left before he could even speak, and I think that always haunted him. He was determined to find him, you could ask anyone close to Pancho. Well when he got to Torrington he found himself getting into some trouble with those Imperial Legionnaires outside a saloon near the dockyards. The cold, cold blade thrusting into that poor soldier's gut, that was Pancho's first kill. One cold say it was in self-defense, but it never seemed to bother him. He'd brag about it as he traveled later on. He didn't stay long in Torrington though, it was another clipper to the Castillian colony of Laussat, where he eventually made it for himself. He'd join up with Nate Kelly's boys in 1887, and then get in with the Charlton Gang in '93 after the Junesborough Jetty affair. Eventually he moved on down south from Montgomery and Auvergne to the Avoyelles territories (you see, Avoyelles wasn't granted Parlentship until 1924), where he tried to leave the bandit life behind, but those marshals chased him far down into the territories.

When he met Lefty in 1899, in that saloon at Ricker's Range though, that's when it'd all change for Pancho.

Lefty wasn't anything more than a privileged boy who run off and decide to start killin'. You'd might've liked to have thought he was a psychopath. But he wasn't a terrible fellow by any means, he thought it was necessary to 'redistribute from the rich to the poor', a classic cowboy communist or your fairy-tale Robin Hood. But he'd kill any man who he thought had too much, just so he could distribute to the needy. Many of the prairie farmers liked him, he'd bring them gifts to help buy new farm equipment. In exchange, Lefty and his boys would have a place to lie low when the marshals came through.

Pancho and Lefty together proved to be the most dynamic duo of outlaws in history. Those two boys held up more trains, carriages, and killed more lawmen then one could count. They could ride into any town wearing their gun outside their pants, just so the honest world could feel the fear. Those two reigned over the deserts and the prairies of Avoyelles and Montagnebleu for twelve years.

The Price of Progress. Civilization was coming fast, not a lot of people liked it. Electricity, automobiles, aeroplanes, and motion picture shows, the big city amenities of Marais Rouge and Thibodaux were making their way to the desert. Avoyelles City had paved streets and an electric station by 1911. With that, came the great ability of lawmen to greater cover their tracks. And after the Territorial Bank robbery, President Hutchinson sent the Army down to track down Pancho and Lefty.

So on that terrible June day in 1911, Pancho clutched his gut as the blood spilled from his body, he pulled out an old pocket watch with a picture of him and his momma. He took one long look at that photo, and fell off his horse. On the ridge, several marshals with some calvary troopers looked on down the wash. With them, Lefty in a gentleman's suit. Lefty mosied his horse on down to the wash and looked at his former associate, Pancho. He took the pocket watch and shed a tear. He later split for Robicheaux.

Oh Pancho met his match you know, on the desert down near Calico, but that's the way it goes.

All the marshals say they could've had him any day, they only let him go so long. Out of kindness I suppose.

And well the poets tell how Pancho fell, and Lefty's livin' in cheap motels. The desert's quiet, the Heartland's cold, and so the story ends we're told.

Pancho needs your prayers it's true, but save a few for Lefty too. He only did what he had to do, and now he's growin' old.

And all those marshals say, they could have had them any day. They only let them go so long, out of kindness I suppose.


Image
Pancho and Lefty in the center, with their crew. Sometime around 1909.
La Grande République Laussienne
Pour la prospérité de Laussat
Factbook | Anthem | Also Known As: Castille de Italia

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Palmyrion
Minister
 
Posts: 2258
Founded: Mar 04, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Palmyrion » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:10 am


TITLE: Moments to Midnight
AUTHOR: Merrion




Inter-Regional Waters
PWS Ultimatum, Ultimatum-class SSBN (SSBN-001)


"All hands, Ultimatum. Standby for final pre-mission check and OPORD before we go dark." the captain addressed the crew of the PWS Ultimatum, an Ultimatum-class SSBN of the Palmyrian Navy, as if he inherited the sub's name - and indeed he did, because he would have spoken to other vessels in the same manner. The Captain dialed a number with his tactical in-vessel telephone and started to talk: "TAO, get us surfaced, we're going for a final pre-mission check before going fully dark. Afterwards, get us a check on weapons functionality." he said, which was responded to with a firm "Roger." from the sub's TAO. He then turned to the comms officer and gave out a command: "CommO, contact base."

After a firm "Roger, Captain" as a response, the CommO soon began to contact base for one final pre-mission check. "Golf Hotel Quebec, this is Ultimatum, carrying a payload of 16 UGM.20s, standing by for final OPORD and pre-mission preparations." the CommO said. It wasn't before long that the vessel's fax machine printed out a document, starting from its top to its bottom:
INSTANT POINT-TO-POINT MESSAGE - SHA3-512 ENCRYPTED
FROM:
GHQ AFP
TO: PWS ULTIMATUM (SSBN-101)
SUB: OPORD - FINAL

I. SITUATION

Through an online Q&A, KNESSNIET has revealed to the CID Director-General that they engage in state-espoused slavery. In accordance to the Amistad Declaration, this is an actionable situation, but they are a member of a large alliance too risky to engage even with UNION backing: the MONARCHIST TREATY ORGANIZATION (MTO). An attack on KNESSNIET will trigger a response from MTO, so a public smearing campaign may be in order to make their slavery come to light and have MTO withdraw support in a future potential war - and potentially make them abolish slavery with no shots fired. CID spies will conduct intelligence gathering operations to secure compromising information about KNESSIAN officials and nobles, with the primary mission of getting information to compile in a Knessian Slave Manifest.

II.


Notes:
1) OPORD is actually received by the CommO in Hill Cipher version. Basic encryption protocol is as follows:
  • ASCII is converted to Hill Cipher, after which SHA3-512 encryption is applied
  • The Hill Cipher 2x2 decoding matrix, itself a plaintext encrypted using SHA3-512, is sent first, with the actual message sent after.
  • The receiver decrypts the message; SHA3-512 encryption is removed, after which the Hill Cipher is converted to ASCII.
PALMYRION: INTO THE PALMYRO-VERSE
Greater Dienstad (NSMT) | Kali Yuga (Hard MT) | Niteo (AD 5000 FT) | Screwed Reality
Diplomatic Outreach Programme | The Dozen Giants | Civilian Storefront | Military Storefront | Discord Server

For those who are struggling right now, remember that you are not alone.

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AHSCA
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5582
Founded: Mar 08, 2007
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby AHSCA » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:31 pm

TITLE:: Hallowed Hut of Justice
AUTHOR: AHSCA


A stormy rainy day in the islands as dozens had gathered in a small courtroom.

"Court is in Session, All rise for the Honorable Judge Sadoko Morikawa." Called out the court officer as the judge entered and sat down allowing the court to sit down. For Origa Malet, a island expat living in Lamoni this was a pretty tough case. Two high profile vanishings from a friendly nation but that also turned out had some nefarious deeds in a lot of side businesses in the human flesh trade. A young army boy accused of aiding and cooperating in the crime of their murders. What can one do? The State could let him off with a slap on the wrist because in the end he took out two scums of the planet but that would be passively commending crime and vigilantism.

If AHSCA was to be taken seriously as a nation and not just a third-world hell hole, it needed to have the balance of law & Order. Origa knew what he did, he told her everything, of course she was bound by legal privilege and duty to defend him and to be honest, it's not as though she wasn't half way to thinking this was the best. A couple of human traffickers, really why go to the fuss of prosecuting for their deaths, they deserved it. She wondered if the Prosecution felt the same but they were aggressively pursuing this to the end, despite her best efforts to plea. So she had to come up with a creative defense, justify the homicide.

"Case in the matter of The Crown v. Private First Class Melo, parties have been sworn in."

"Thank you." Judge Morikawa thanked

"You're welcome, Judge."

"May the Crown present its case."

"Yes, your honor." The prosecutor in this case was Fumio Taie, in many ways she was thinking the same things as Origa but it was her job to prosecute crimes. Clearing her throat and standing she began.

"The Crown intends to prove, your Honor that the Private conspired with several foreign nationals with known ties to organized crime and sheltered them and aided them in the comfort of said crimes of homicide against two other visiting foreign nationals. A young Private in Her Majesty's Defense Forces swore in oath to protect and not aggress against any national foreign or domestic that is not an immediate enemy combatant or threat. Young First Class Melo knew the men with criminal ties were engaging in the commission of crimes but rather than alert local authorities he took the law into his own hands. As it has been reported, Your Honor, and to what the Crown cannot dispute no doubt these men of whom he did commit the act of homicide against were engaged in serious offenses of trafficking but again to our point he did not alert authorities so these men could be properly taken care of, violating the law and the trust between our nation and the Kuronami crown. Thank you."

"Thank you." The Judge thanked and called upon Origa "May the Defense now present its case."

Origa stood "Yes, your Honor, thank you. Your Honor to the state's own concession the two men who were killed while in visiting the islands were in fact in the trafficking business, a serious threat to AHSCA and its citizens everywhere. However what the Crown cannot prove is that my client, Melo, was the one who pulled the trigger himself, only that he may in some way have aided the other two foreign nationals with ties to crime as the Crown also will concede, therefor leading room for doubt as to how much of the crime he was involved in. Furthermore, Your Honor, Private First Class Melo was aware of the fact these two visiting nationals from Kuronami were indeed traffickers. People who pray upon innocents, youth, women, children all kinds for profit. Melo is a soldier of The United Island Self Defense Forces of the AHSCA and has taken an oath to protect this nation from all enemies foreign and domestic. Now of course AHSCA is not in a state of war but is it far reaching to consider men who kidnap and trade people for profit and favors especially here in these islands an enemy? An enemy of the peace, tranquility and stability of the islands. Maybe not aggressors in the form of a mechanized military but two well dressed successful captains of industry. Melo did go about things the wrong way. He should have called upon police to seize the men and confine them. These men should have been properly prosecuted by their homelands but what Melo did is not vigilantism, he acted in the defense of his homeland, of his countrymen, of his family. A young boy from the humble tribal island of Corona doing what he was raised to do."

Judge Sadoko finished making her notes. "The Crown and Defense have made their arguments. Now begin the presentation of witnesses and evidence."

The State had evidence to present, photos of Melo with the men involved, testimony from witnesses who saw him confer with these men frequently. Mafia men from a far off foreign country who seemed to take a young naive soldier boy under their wing and made him into some kind of deviant was the narrative.

Origa had her turn at crossing witnesses including Lady Midori the owner of the brothel which these strangers frequented. She told a story about how another man had been a third party actor which started this whole thing. "I had asked police many times to deal with this Kujo man, a prowler who I knew was working for a flesh peddler. I was told because he was a visiting national there was nothing he could do."

"You felt threatened for your safety and the safety of your workers?" Origa followed up

"I did. I run a safe operation pleasure service. I pride myself on that. I'm a business woman who makes sure her employees are taken care of. The young man, your client seemed to be the only one who cared and took me seriously."

"Thank you." Origa thanked.

"The witness is excused."

Another witness for the crown was a forensics expert. "The bullet pulled showed it was from a standard issued AHSCA Rifle."

"Now the Defense Contends we can't prove it was the Private who fired but what do you make of that theory."

"Well the average islander is about 1-2 meters shorter and about 25-30 kilos lighter than your usual soldier or typically healthy adult male from abroad. Based on the trajectory of the wounds it is my opinion the shot would have to been from Private Melo."

"Thank you sir."

Origa was nervous and sweating profoundly the rain was only making the humidity here worse. It's something she didn't really miss about home, the humidity. It was hard to refute that evidence but she did catch the expert in a trap. "Sir to your argument the wounds couldn't have come from anywhere but a man but you did just say it's your opinion, correct?"

A beat of silence only thunder to break it. "Sir, if you don't answer the question I'll have the court reporter read it back to you."

"Please go ahead." He flatly replied. The court reporter looked at the record "Question, "Now the Defense Contends we can't prove it was the Private who fired but what do you make of that theory", Answer: "the average islander is about 1-2 meters shorter and about 25-30 kilos lighter than your usual soldier or typically healthy adult male from abroad. Based on the trajectory of the wounds it is my opinion the shot would have to been from Private Melo."

"Opinion. It's your opinion! It's only opinion not entirely based on hard facts. The bullet did come from a standard issued rifle but the weapon could have been seized and used by any of the other conspirators."

"Objection, speculation." The Crown rose

"Sustained."

"Your Honor if I may a little leeway?"

"Proceed."

"Okay I am speculating so the objection by the Crown was sustained but your honor I do ask you remember to consider it was his professional opinion rather than testing."

"Very well, Objection Remains Sustained, Ms. Mallet but I will remember by record the witness for The Crown was opinion based."

"Thank you, Your Honor, I have nothing further."

"This Witness is Excused."

Next up was Melo's own sister, Iffy. Technically she did kind of put Melo up to the idea of catering to these strange mafia men who committed this crime but Melo never implicated her in any involvement.

"When Melo came to you saying he was enlisting rather than simply committing to his mandated conscription what was your reaction?"

"I thought it was a terrible idea. It sounds harsh I know but Melo was timid and always was. I felt his service would be better as a Priest."

"But Melo was steadfast in his wanting to join the army?"

"He was."

"You've raised him essentially most of your life. You would know better than anyone what was motivating him"

"I always tried to instill the fact our home was our home and it's important. It's why I joined the police after my conscription. Melo wanted to do the same but he wanted to be there if we were called upon to fight. He wanted to protect his home and me."

"Protect his Home! Because it's important. But AHSCA hasn't had a major war in 20 years since it's foundation. Since you and I were born, Miss Iffy isn't that so?"

"It is but there's always other threats that head our way. Greedy resource grubbers, storms and hurricanes, pirates, traffickers..."

"Traffickers. AHSCA has had a problem before. Your Honor, may i present Defense Exhibit, a list of unsolved missing persons cases, people classified as abducted. You know this well, Iffy you and I know this well when we grew up in the aftermath of the War."

"Melo is too young to remember but the days after the war, not everyone was here to help us. Some wanted to exploit us. I remember many who tried to snatch him from under me."

"You told Melo this you told him to be careful."

"To be careful and watch out for others. I raised him with those values."

"Watch out for others. Melo was not a brazen criminal or aggressive islander with a distrust of foreigners, he's a soldier who was raised with the values to protect his home and his citizens from harm. As we heard when we talked to his CO, he showed to be a good soldier. Not excelling but someone who was level headed. Not blood thirsty not angry, not spiteful just a young man wanting to serve his country. Miss Iffy do you dislike foreigners?"

"No."

"Does your brother dislike them?"

"No."

"Did you ever encourage him to act outside the law?"

"No."

"Thank you, nothing further."

The Crown's Turn for rebuttal. "Officer Iffy. For a lady who has sworn to uphold the law, you acted in disregard to it. You did shirk procedure by allowing Melo to shuttle these men around in a military vehicle."

"I did."

"You knew these men also had criminal records."

"I did not."

"Then why go to the trouble of your brother catering to them? Why not any other tourist who landed that day?"

"These men looked wealthy and influential I thought maybe they could help us out a little."

"Are you in debt?"

"No."

"In need of expensive medical treatment from overseas?"

"No."

"Surely they couldn't be the only well dressed visitors to arrive during the festival?"

"I didn't notice."

"You may have instilled some values upon your brother but were you with him every moment?"

"No."

"Is it true you've been reprimanded for excessive force against visiting nationals before?"

"I object, my witness' record is not a matter of interest in this cased." Origa called.

"Your Honor, Miss Mallet went to the trouble of establishing the strong moral values she instilled on her younger brother."

"Objection Overruled, answer the question."

"I was. But --"

"but nothing, your are police officer and are expected to treat everyone equally yet you can't show the same equality in your work unless it benefits you. So the Defense claims Melo is not aggressive or hostile but yet the one who instilled his supposed sense of patriotism and duty in him shows her own ugly side. I have nothing further."

All said and done it was time for final arguments to be made.

"Defense you may proceed."

"Thank you. Your Honor, we've heard a lot through this trial. Melo is not a perfect young man. in many ways he's still very much a boy. By the laws of this nation he's of age and mature enough to serve therefore he's mature enough to understand what is right and wrong. I have no doubt he could have gone to the police and they probably would have handled things here but nothing is to say these men who were killed would have faced justice back home. After all it took there deaths to uncover the truth of what was happening." Never mind the fact The Royal Government of Kuronami had been quietly probing them but that wasn't a matter for Origa to worry about. "Melo was as I stated acting in the defense and security of his homeland. To protect his fellow citizens from two enemies of peace. Again I stress just because they weren't a mechanized soldiers does not make them less of an enemy. The people here deserve to be safe and at ease within their homes and not worry that some strange man from a foreign land will come and whisk them away to be sold and bought like a piece of clothing. Melo did his duty as a soldier in this Duchess' Army to protect his home from a perceived threat. A very real threat that's ever present in these islands and this part of the world. Of course AHSCA is not a desolate crime ridden place, some would say it's paradise. But nothing attracts a serpent quite like paradise."

"Will the Crown now make its final arguments."

"Yes, Your Honor. The Defense is contending that Melo is acting in defense of his home. But the purpose of a the Army as Established by our Constitution and our role of law is to protect the nation as armies do, from mechanized armies, not criminal civil threats. Miss Mallet's arguments might have worked 5-15 years ago when the Militia was both the security and the army but those days have passed. We are a nation of laws and of order. Melo did not act in the spirit of that law and took it upon himself to be judge, jury and executioner. He applied Old Island Justice as it's called. A time when we'd shoot a man just for doing whatever. Maybe he stole something maybe he didn't. He looked at my wife in a funny way so I make up an excuse to have him killed. That's how it was in the old days but that's not how it is anymore. We want to be taken seriously we need to show we take this seriously. Crime is crime, letting this soldier off only sends a message that there are no boundaries and the Old Ways are still here. But then what? No states, no union? Why should nations like Kyrenia Kuronami, Lamoni, Mokastana, continue with us, we're just a bunch of primeval savages. Why should people come visit and understand Island Life when they could be killed for being from another country and may be involved in some kind of activity. We call it the slippery slope. Defense contests Melo is a soldier making decisions as a soldier does. But this was not the decision made in the heat of combat nor was it a split decision made in anger but a calculated plan and maneuver to lead and ambush these men to their death!"

"Arguments have been heard. I will now retire to consider this verdict. To the Crown and to the Defense, thank you both for your time and service for this court. I will have my decision rendered for you."

"All rise!"

The judge excused herself. Privately in her chambers she weighed each argument very carefully. Both made very strong points. Melo was a soldier trying to protect his home but would pardoning him just lead to more vigilante justice or was this a simply a matter of circumstances. Convicting him might make those who sympathized with him lose faith in the justice system. New, fragile always under intense scrutiny. HE could go to Black Isle and be welcomed as hero. As a judge, this was her hardest decision she's ever made. But now it was time.

"Defense and The Crown will Rise."

"Private First Class Melo, On the indictment, Homicide I rule you to be not guilty, affirming the defense presented by your Attorney that as a Soldier of Her Majesty's Army you took the oath to protect the homeland from all threats that face it and to defend and uphold the laws of the nation. As the two victims of this homicide were known flesh traffickers and known to you, you did act in accordance to your sworn duty. To the Crown's argument, I agree we are nation of law and order and the old ways should be well behind us but the realities of the situation remain, we're at a disadvantage comparable to the rest of the world in fighting crime and protecting our people from exploitation.

I don't condone the Private for choosing what he did but as a soldier faced with the harsh realization that two men responsible for likely countless women being removed and sold for profit. The Crown also in my eyes failed to present substantial evidence in the matter that Melo himself did anything more than engage in possible conspiracy. That said, Private First Class Melo, you did willfully engage in Conspiracy by your own admission and as The Crown pointed out, this was not a heat of battle moment or a crime of passion it was calculated and planned. Whether you pulled the trigger yourself or you helped the men who did you acted in a manner unbecoming therefore I find you guilty of the lesser charge of Conspiracy and I hereby strip you of rank and dishonorably discharge you from the United Island Self Defense Forces and pay is garnished for the time served interned. No further confinement here."

A bittersweet victory, acquitted of murder but convicted at the same time. Honestly it was the best he was gonna get. He wasn't going to hang but it was hardly a clean victory either. The Crown had a strong point he did conspire in a crime and regardless of the person, it's a crime and the rule of law has to be applied justly.
Last edited by AHSCA on Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Patrick OConner
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Posts: 2261
Founded: Sep 26, 2014
Democratic Socialists

Postby Patrick OConner » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:53 pm


TITLE: The Sacking Of Boston
AUTHOR:Patrick O'Conner


The Acciona sails triumphantly into the main harbor of the Boston, the capital city of the Confederacy of the Southern Raiders. The city sat on a circular bay that was open at one end and guarded by two forts, both of which had already fallen to the Second Republic Marines and Army. The bay was at the foot of a tall hill and the city of Boston sprawled around the bay and up to the top of the hill. Sitting atop the hill was a large ornate building that housed the governing body of the Raiders. Docks jutted out into the bay from the foot of the hill and around most of the bay. Warehouses stood just behind the docks and more wooden building rose up behind them. A few stone structures were mixed in with the wooden ones.

Behind the warehouse were roads and in front of them running down the sides of the harbor. From the forts on down the entire circumference, walls enclosed the city. They were a moot point however since the forts guarding the harbor entrance had fallen.

Merchant ships were docked along some of the docks, their crews working frantically to cast off and get out of the bay, but it was too late for them to escape. Off to the left side of the harbor that was clearly designated for military vessels was mostly empty except for one frigate getting a new mast and a few small gunboats.

The Acciona was the first ship of the Second Republic naval forces to enter the calm bay but she was not unopposed. While the forts that guarded the entrance to the harbor had fallen to the Marines, there was still one fort inside the harbor that was in enemy hands and from which fire erupted from.

The fort was located in the dead center of the harbor. It was a large stone construction with crenelation atop the walls. Square holes were cut into the side of the fort from which cannon muzzles peeked out. More cannons could be seen atop the walls.

From the deck of the Acciona, Wallace watched plumes of smoke billowed from the fort. And cannonballs splashed into the sea.

“HAUL IN THE SAILS AND MAKE FAST!!” He said and the crew lept to work climbing into the rigging and hauling in the sails and tying them off. The ship began to coast and Wallace spun the ship's wheel bringing the port side to face the fort with the bow facing the left side of the bay. And hopefully out of range of the fort's cannons.


“DROP ANCHOR!!” Wallace bellows and the crew lets the anchor go and the ship comes to a stop near the entrance of the bay.

Wallace pulled out a telescope from its case beside the ship’s wheel and extended it.

Wallace watched as more cannon fired from the fort and the cannonballs splashed into the sea. Wallace was not going to close with that fort if he could avoid it. It was heavily armed and well protected.
Wallace grunted to himself he was not attacking that fort alone with just his ship. There was a good chance that fort had 40 to 50 pounder cannons and mortars. And his cannons could not reach it. The rifles could but that was only three cannons even with the new explosive shells.

As Wallace was studying the fort the cannons fired again but again they came up short. Wallace snorted in amusement.
“What is it, Captain?” Thatch asked him
“The raiders did not set up enough overlap between forts. I wager those two behind us were meant to cover this spot but since they have fallen.”
“They can’t touch us.”
“Yep.”
“But sir what about the docks?”
“Well, we can not approach the main ones under the guns of the fort...but…”

Wallace swings the the telescope to the fort on the leftmost fort, the one the Marines had assaulted and taken. Through the telescope, Wayne could see the retreating Raider forces falling back from the fort. The Southern Raiders tended to rely heavily on their naval forces and left there land-based forces somewhat weaker. As a result upon running headlong into the all-volunteer crack troops of the Second Republic Marine Corps and, to a lesser extent, its Army they had been found sorely lacking.

Wallace smiled as he watched the remaining forces from the fort fall back in a rout.
“Heh heh not expecting us to bring the fight to you-you sons of misbegotten fishmongers?”
Wayne plays the telescope over the Marines as they begin to march out of the captured fort and form up ready to continue the attack.

Wayne swept his eye over the the Marines and then down the harbor side road to the military section of the port. His lit upon some Raiders trying to throw together a barrier to stop the Marines and even trying to wheel some cannon up to fire down the road at the Marines.

Wayne lowered the eyeglass and squinted back at the fort which was now only tossing out a cannonball once and awhile. Then Wallace turned and eyed the Second Republic’s naval forces, which were mopping up the remainder of the Raider’s naval forces. Though the ships of the line looked like they would be a while coming into the harbor.

A plan began to form in Wallace's head and he smiled a very toothy smile.
“LOOSE THE TOP GALLANTS!! HOIST THE ANCHOR!! WE ARE MAKING FOR THE DOCKS!!! MAN THE CANNONS!! LOAD GRAPE AND MUSKET!! BREAK OUT THE ARMS!!”


Once again the ship exploded into action. As men in the rigging loosed the right sails and men came up from below and began distributing pistols, muskets swords, and axes. Along with them went vests of drakon hide and powder horns and bags of musket and pistol balls.

Wallace snapped the eyeglass closed and walked back over to the ships wheels and returned the eyeglass to its case by the wheel.


The ship began to move, pushed on by a light breeze. She inched along slowly heading for the docks, a mass of black hull and crimson fabric. She slowly closed with the docks and the Raider still focused on the coming Marines did not see the ship bearing down on them. But the Marines see it. In fact, it is the same regiment that Wallace has escorted across and help land earlier.

The Marines came to halt and waited for something to happen.

The Acciona drew closer and closer to the docks and the Raiders. Then Wallace spun the wheel and she heeled over and turned hard bring her broadside to bare on the enemy.

“FIRE!!!!” Wallace bellowed.

The port side of the Acciona vanished into a cloud of white smoke and thunder rolled across the harbor and the gathering enemy forces shattered. Stone chips flew, splinters shrieked through the air and men scream in agony.

Wallace spun the ship's wheel again and brought the Acciona back around just in time to see the Marines charge with fixed bayonets at the survivors. Wallace and his crew concentrated on bringing the ship alongside the docks.

Wallaces crew threw ropes around the piers and pulled bringing the ship closer and closer to the dock. Soon the ship was pulled alongside the pier and a gangplank is lowered. Standing on the dock is Colonel O’Conner waiting. Wallace strides down the dock to meet him.

O’Conner seems to be intact but a bit worse for wear. His red and blue uniform is spotted with dirt and flecks of blood and his cap look like it had been walked on. A bandage encircles his left bicep. The set of double barrel pistols he was carrying looked like they had been fired...a lot and the crossguard of his sword had dried blood on it.

“Nice to see you, Colonel.”
“Same to you Captain now what are you doing here? I thought you were headed for the central warehouses.”
“I was but they have it all covered by the fort with really big cannons”
“Yes, that could be a problem. I assume you want us to do something about it?”
“That would be preferred. They don't have much covering the approaches from the city as far as I can tell.”
“And you want me and my Marines to storm the fortress?”
“I believe that is the kind of thing you lot live for.”
“I suppose you have a point. We need to mop up this area.”
“My men and I will help with that. After I recommended you march down the road so we can provide support.”
“For as long as you can?”
“Well yes, I assume your artillery is somewhere else?”
“Yeah we lost most of it on the beach but the Army is coming with some more cannons and more reinforcements.”
“How long?”
“A few hours”
“But you don't want to wait that long I assume?”
“You assume right.”
“Good.”

A ruckus grabs both of their attention and they turn and look. A large group of Raiders are gathering, getting ready to launch a counterattack against Colonel O’Conners Marines.

“Hmm seems someone objects to our presences.” Wayne comments
“It would appear so, though I have no idea why. I must attend to them though.”
“Probably for the best.”

With that, the Colonel turns and marches down the dock barking orders and the Marines stiffen and prepare to defend themselves.

Wallace turns to his ship
“FIRE ON THE ENEMY!!! USE THE RIFLES!!”
A sound of a line of muskets going off puncate that order.

The crew manning the forward most turret mounted rifle scrabble to adjust the aim. They raise the rear of the rifle as high as they can then fire. Then they wank the line and the rifle bellows. The shell speeds through the air and crashes through the forming ranks. Men literally explode as the shell passes through them then crashes into the ground and skips before exploding and flinging bits of metal everywhere.

Wallace observes this and snorts.
“Shells don’t fling much shrapnel on there own it seems” He mutters to himself as the crew begins to reload the rifle.
Wallace turns and walks back to his ship boarding it again.
“I NEED A PARTY TO GO ASHORE!! WHO IS READY TO VOLUNTEER?”
Quickly Wallace had 300 well-armed men ready to go ashore with him.

Wallace leads his men down the gangplank in good order. He eyes the warehouse and thinks for a second.
“Men!! Search the warehouses for anything useful! There might be some cannon in there and the Marines are going to need some support!! Groups of 20 to a warehouse!!”

The group broke up into groups of twenty and spread out to search the nearby warehouse. Wallace picks a warehouse and walks over to its door. Seeing it securely chained and padlocked, he steps to the side and draws a pistol aims and fires. With a bang followed by a clang, the shattered lock crashes to the ground.
“Mr. Morgan if you please,” Wallace says as he reloads the spent pistol. A large beefy man in a red shirt and blue trousers, clutching an ax in one hand and a very large pistol in the other, steps forward and kicks the door hard, it swings open wildly crashing into the far wall. This sound is soon followed by the loud crash of guns. Morgan jumps out of the way just in time to dodge most of the fire and only get grazed.

The rest of Wallace’s group responds by firing their pistols into the building and then charge in with swords and axes. Wallace brings up the rear of the group. He calmly enters the building with a sword in his right and pistol in his left.

Though he need not have bothered since the warehouse had only three men and they were dead riddled with pistol balls and stab wounds.

Inside the warehouse is mostly empty with some crates and masts and wood for ships. Wallace shakes his head and his group exits the warehouse to search the next one. Again they strike out is finding anything but Raiders, which were quickly dispatched with pistol and sword. At the third warehouse, they discovered something interesting. Large boxes mounted on a single set of wheels, inside of them is bags of powder and cannons balls and canister shot. Long wooden poles with various things mounted on the ends are secured to the sides.

“Caisanns and limbers…” Wallace muttered to himself “Looks around there has to be some cannons somewhere around here!!”

“Found them sir!!” A sailor shouts as he yanks some sheets off of some field artillery and naval cannons.

Wallace jogs over and looks them over.
“12 Pounders good. Morgan, take five men and spread find the rest and bring them back here.”
“Yes, sir”
“You lot search for more powder and stores.”
“Yes, sir!”
“And the rest of you get those doors open!!”
“Yes sir...sir the doors are secured by heavy timbers and locks!! We can’t remove them!”
“Well roll up a cannon and grab some shot!”

A group of four grab a gun carriage by the tail and wheel it over to the door. They position it 10 feet from the doors then a crew loads the gun from the available supplies. A gunner aims the cannon at the door and steps back and yanks the firing line.

The gun bellows and spews smoke, flame and iron. The cannonball crashes into the warehouse doors and the locks and chains and out the other side.
Some run forward and grab the doors and push them wide open. Outside the rest of the shore party is gathering and they have surprise.

“Captain!!” Mr. Reynolds, a average sized brown haired man from the Republic, said smiling from ear to ear “We found some horses and harness!!”
“Excellent!! Harness them up and let's get moving!!”

The sailors struggle for a bit but eventually get the gun caragines, caisson and limbers hitched to the teams of horses, as sailors this was not exactly in there skill set but they managed, they were after all very motivated and professionals.

They then set out to join the battle. The men moving at a steady jog with the horses pulling the cannons as fast as they could. The sounds of battle got louder and louder as the men moved further and further into the city.

Then they came upon Colonel O’Conner’s Marines who were in a bit of a pickle. They were surrounded by the Raiders and the buildings and the battle was de-evolving into a melee with the Marines on the losing side.

Wallace took one look drew his sword in his right and his axe in his left hand and bellowed to his men
“Drop the cannons ‘n’ charge men!!”

Putting action to his own words he dashed forward at a run himself with his men a few steps behind him. Wallace and his men crashed into the rear of the Raiders forces.

Wallace himself Wades into the fray, swinging his axe and sword with methodical precision and cutting down Raiders left and right. One may block the ax but then the sword runs them through, or block the sword and the ax takes them in the side or splits their head.

While not soldiers or Marines, his sailors are used to this kind of close quarter action on the seas when taking ships. This combines with the surprise attack from the rear lets them cut through the enemy soldiers and join the Marines.

The Marines with sudden reinforcement and the Raiders starting the break and heartened and attack with renewed vigor and zeal. The Raiders with the tide of battle just moments before going in their favor, now turning against them was too much.

They broke and ran. The Raiders were went into a full rout. They dropped weapons and started running from the battle by any means, through any building and streets and alleys.

Wallace saw some kind of officer in a fancy uniform with frills, trying to whip the men back into line and he even had a small number of men not who did not break.

Can’t have them regrouping later can we?

Wallace left his sword imbedded in the chest of some Raider as he fell dead and drew a pistol aimed and fired at the officer. The man jerked to the side and fell and this did it. Any remaining men broke and ran.

Wallace holstered his pistol and retrieved his sword from the dead Raiders body. He used the dead man's clothes to wipe off the sword then sheathe it and his ax then sought out the colonel. While looking from him he passes the bodies of dead Marines and some of his own sailors but there is no time to think about them now. Grieve later, fight now.

Wallace found Colonel O’Conner in the middle of the battle, sitting on the ground looking even worse than earlier but still intact and whole.

“Colonel you seem to have encounter some disgruntled locals.”
“That I have Captain Wallace. They seem to have objected to our reasonable passage through there city.”
“I can not imagine why.”
“Me either. Do you find something?”
“Aye, we have 37 cannons and crew to man them.”
“Best news I have heard all day.”
“So we gonna stand around chatting like old bitties or take that fort?”
“Oh a sailor ready to charge into battle on land? Now I have seen it all. Well let's go.”

O’Conner says and climbs to his feet.
“FORM UP MEN!!” He yells and the Marines shake themselves into a column formation.

Wallace turns and heads back to his men
“On the guns lads!! And follow the Marines!!”

“DOUBLE TIME!!” Colonel O’Conner yells and the column takes off at a trot with Wallace and the cannons following behind them.

From across the city sounds of battle reached them.
Wallace grunted to himself
“Seems the Army has finally made it to the city and is having a rough time of it.”
“Aye” Reynolds said

The column did not encounter any resistance as they marched through the city. Then they came into view of the fort.

It was being pounded by cannon fire from the bay. But it was pounding back.

The column stopped suddenly and the sailors had to bring the horses and cannons to a quick stop as well.

Wallace continued forward to meet the colonel. He found him near the front of the column looking at the fort. The column had halted at the edge of a large clear area around the fort where no buildings were constructed.

“The Navy has entered the bay and is attacking the fort.” Wallace said looking around, he caught a glimpse of the harbor through the buildings and confirmed his statement.

“Yeah but the fort is giving as good as its getting. We need to take it now. The gates over there are just wood-” he points to a large wooden gate recessed into the walls of the fort “-you can probably pound it to pieces with the cannons.”

“You sure?”

“As I can be. The Raiders are arrogant and would not expect an attack from this side. So they would not build it to defend from one.”

Wallace nods and turns and jogs back to his men while O’Conner begins to shout orders and the Marines begin to reform.

“Bring the cannons up!!” Wallace says and the men and horses begin to move forward. They bring the cannons up past the men and into the cleared area. The sailors unhitch the carriages and maneuver the guns by hand to face the gates. Handling cannons like this is new to the sailors so it takes longer than a properly trained crew would have. They fumble and struggle a bit with the cannons. But they make progress.

By this time the forts occupants have taken notice and start to fire down on the sailors with their muskets. In response, the Marines return with an avalanche of musket balls. The crenellation along the forts walls becomes chipped and battered from the return fire.

Still musket balls whiz past the sailors and a few go down, some screaming some quietly, but they maneuver the cannons into position as fast as they could. Once in position, cannonballs and powder is removed from the limbers and carried to the guns then loaded. Once all the guns are loaded they take aim and fire.

A massive explosion echoes and the plaza is filled with white smoke. A breeze from the bay picks up and blows away the smoke. The gate is battered but still standing.

“RELOAD!!” Wallace orders his men and they spring into action. More pags of powder and more cannonballs. The gun barrels are swabbed then the powder and shot in placed in the muzzle and rammed down and the rear is primed.

“FIRE!!” yells Wallace and again the plaza is noise flame and smoke. And again the door is battered with cannonballs. The door stood again and again the cannons were reloaded and fired.

This time there is a loud crack followed by a crash. The gate had fallen.

“FORWARD!!” O’Conner bellows from somewhere “INTO FORT!! FOR THE REPUBLIC!! FOR FREEDOM!!”

The Marines move forward by platoons into the fort itself. The fighting is fierce inside. One after another marches into the fort until 2 companies are inside. The colonel waits outside for his men and he looks surly about it.

Outside the sailors start pounding the fort and its walls aiming for any weakness and trying to bring down the walls.

Inside the battle goes on and on until finally the flag falls and the fort is captured. Its cannons go silent.

Around this time a column of green uniform men from the Second Republic Army have arrived.

Wallace eyes them then walks over to them. He sees Colonel O’Conner doing the same thing out of the corner of his eye as well.
Both of them approach the column.


“Who is in command here?” Wallace asks the lead man.
“That would be me.” Someone says and a man wearing an Army uniform with the isinga of a general. He is very tall and sparse with a with a travel stained uniform. A long saber by his side and a double barrel pistol on the other with ammo and powder pouches around his waist.

“General Beauregard at your service.” The man says with a very peppy and upbeat attitude “Captain Wallace!!” He shouts and walks over and the claps Wallace hard on the shoulder. Hard enough that Wallace stumbles a bit.
“I did not expect to see you here you old sea dog!! And Colonel O’Conner!! Great!! You made it this far and captured both forts!! Excellent!”

“Yes it is.” O’Conner says with an exasperated sigh. He clearly is not up to deal with Beaugard's upbeat attitude.

“How did you get the cannons, if I might ask?” Enquire Beaugard with a smile on his face.

“I captured them from the enemy. Took them from a warehouse so we could provide support for Colonel O’Conner. He lost most of his cannons to the Invincible .” Wallace says

“Ah good, not losing the cannons and cannons, but you replacing them with captured guns. You sailors were able to man them?”

“Yes a cannon is a cannon whether it is on a ship or wheel. They only differ in the fine details.” Wallace responds, Beaugards attitude was starting to wear Wallace’s patience thin.

“I suppose you are right. Now the question is what next?”

“The Governing House, obviously.” O’Conner says

“Yes yes of course but how?” Beaugard says.

“Easy we take all our force right up the middle and attack it.” Wallace says

“An idea but not quite refined.” Beauregard says now looking thoughtful “There has been a lack of enemy resistance, overall” Wallace opens his mouth but Beaugard nods at him “ I mean it has been to light” he says “they are hoarding forces and I bet it is at the Governing House. Or to defend it.”

“I would agree” Wallace says “that is where they keep the treasure.”

“Hmmm...Here is the plan” Beaugard says “ I will take my brigades up the middle while you two will swing out on the flank and hit them from there while I distract them.”

“Sounds good to me.” Colonel O’Conner says


“Agreed” says Wallace

Beaugard claps his hands together and smiles.
“Great then I will set off at once. I would suggest traveling light.”

With that Beaugard turns and and marches off to his troops.

“That man frazzles the nerves” Wallace says and O’Conner grunts in agreement.

“I will dump some of the cannon and only take 3 batteries that should be enough” Wallace says

“Agreed” O’Conner says and both of them turn and walk back to there troops. From the fort the battered remains of those troops emerge while some Army troops enter the fort. The Marines look battered and tired but are in high spirits even though less are leaving than entered.

They march over and join the rest of the Marines whom O’Conner is giving orders to and they are forming into a column to march on.

Wallace walks over to his troops
“Dump all but 20 of the cannons, double up on the horse we are moving out as soon as that in done.”
“What are we-” Reynolds ask
“We are going to flank the enemy and then take their precious Governing House and then plunder it.”

The sailors smile at this and hop to it. With a much noise and enthusiasm the sailors set about there task, it takes longer than it should have because they are not experts but they get it done.

Wallace signaled Colonel O’Conner with a wave and the column of Marines takes off heading for the western side of the city and Wallace and his sailors cum cannoneers follow. Behind them Beaugards forces move out heading directly for the Governing House.

The column marches through the city, the sound of the boots bouncing off the walls and clomp of the hooves and creak of the wheels. The column moves quickly through the city.

Suddenly the sounds of far away muskets can be heard and smoke crawls into the sky.

“Beaugard has made and is attacking, ferociously by the sounds” Wallace mutters to himself.

Reynolds cocks his head to the side.
“Yes sir.”
“We better hurry.”

The column continues to wind through the city moving quickly eventually they take turn and head straight then after a while run back head toward the Governing House.

Suddenly the roads begin to spread and so does the column. The column begins to slow down as the sounds of fighting get louder and louder. Until they come across some hastily thrown up barricades in a line across the road.

A few Raiders heads pop up over the barricades. And they looked shocked to see a column of Marines coming at them. In response the lead Marines lowered there muskets presented bayonets and charged. Then the next rank and the one after that.

They charged the barricades even as the Raiders scrambled to open fire. A few of the Marines go down but the rest carry on the charge and go up and over the barricades. The fight becomes hand to hand and it is bloody but quick.

The Marines push the barricade aside for the rest of the column and they marched on until they reached a large plaza. The road turns from stones to black granite slabs. About fifty feet away it rises up to marble steps. Those rise higher and higher until it reaches the top. On top sits a huge building marble columns hold up the front roof and and the building is made of stone and expensive woods and heavily decorated. It was gauding and overbearing. It is more a monument to stolen wealth than a building. Atop it flew the flag of the Raiders.

Around the foot of the stairs more barricades were erected and more at the top of the stairs in front of the building’s entrance, which was a large grand heavily carved and decorated set of double doors.

The Marines immediately spread out to form a series of 4 lines. Behind them, Wallace and his sailors moved to setup the cannons. This time they knew what they were doing and were able to do it quickly.

The men behind the barricades peek over nervously glancing at the Marines. For some reason they do not open fire.


When they are finished a command is bellowed and the gaps open in the lines to reveal the cannons and the Raiders panic now. They grab their muskets and try to bring them up and over the barricade. The Marines respond, the first row opens fire then falls back the second row steps up and fires while the first is reloading. Then the third line steps up and fires and so on while the previous one is reloading.

In the middle of this Wallace and his men fire the cannons. The cannonballs streak across the plaza and smash into the barricades and the men behind them.

“LOAD GRAPE!!” yells Wallace.

The sailors jump to it reloading the cannons this time with grape while the Marines hammer away with muskets.

The sailors unleash the grape shot. Along with the Marine’s muskets, a storm of lead crashes down on the first set of barricades. Wholes are blown in wood and men. Splinters and entrails are scattered about the plaza with equal abandon. White smoke blankets the battlefield.

“SHIFT AIM!! TOP OF THE STAIRS!!” Yells O’Conner from somewhere amid the chaos and the Marines respond and shift there aim upward attempting to aim from the stairs.

“YOU HEARD THE MAN!!” Wallace yells at his sailors through the noise and smoke “SOLID SHOT!!”

The sailors manipulate the cannons controls, the aiming screw in this case, and aim for the stairs and load solid shot then they fire.

Another storm of lead crashed outward into the building. The column and fancy engraving and inlays and stone are chipped and mangled by musket balls. Worse happens to the barricades and the Raiders.

The sailors and the Marines keep up the pounding until smoke from the fire obscures everything.

“CEASEFIRE” Yells O’Conner and Wallace gives a similar order. The plaza falls deathly silent

A loud creaking followed by a snap and crash echoes through the plaza.

“FORWARD INTO THE BUILDING!!!” Yells O’Conner and the men start marching forward falling into formation.

“LEAVE THE CANNONS!! AFTER THEM!!” yells Wallace “IT'S TIME FOR PLUNDER!!”
His men yell in glee and abandoned the cannons and chase after the Marines.

The doors had been blasted open, the doors themselves reduces to kindling by cannon and musket fire.

It is a race to the top of the stairs and into the building. The sailors scoot through the gaps in the Marines ranks and dash up the stairs. They flood into the building ahead of Wallace. He stops outside the building and waits for O’Conner. It is polite to inform your comrades of your plans since you are both on the same side.

O'Conner comes up the stairs winded.

“Nice day for a jog, isn’t it?” Wallace asks him with a smile

“Yes it is. Might I ask what you and your men are doing?”

“Well I figured we would take the building since you and your men are battered and a bit worse for wear. We will take this one.”

“How kind of you and your men...we will secure the perimeter. Yell if you need any help.”

“We will” Wallace says with a smile and then turns and enters the building.

Inside it is chaos some Raiders are still alive and trying to resist. But it does not last, they are overwhelmed by the sailors. While they were out of there element earlier, inside a building it is just like fighting on and in a ship. Close brutal and quick.

Wallace walked through the building looking for the vault or some similar thing. Everyone knew the Raiders stored most of their wealth here, where there leaders could gawk at and drool over it.

“FIND ME SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHERE THEY KEEP THE LOOT!!!” Wallace yells at his crew as he walks through the building. One door bangs open and sailor and a Raider come tumbling out locked together wrestling.

Wallace draws his ax and hacks at the man neck and he goes limp.
“Stop screwing around and search the place. And for sound hull’s sake do not light the building on fire. We are not ready to burn this place down.”

Wallace continues to walk through the building, which was just as orante and gaudy on the inside as the outside. Wallace takes a left and kicks a door open and looks inside. Nothing. He moves to the next one. This one looks more solid and sturdy. Wallace kicks it and nothing. The door does not bundge one bit. He steps back draws a pistol and fires into the lock. With a spang the musket balls hits the metal lock and passes through it.

Wallace walks forward and kicks the door open. This time he is some kind of large room with desks, now overturned. Forming a ring in front of some large metal door.

Something clicks in Wallace’s his head and he dives to the side just in time to avoid some musket balls.

He leans against the wall next to the door and smiles. He was on to something. Wallace calmly reloads his spent pistol and makes sure the rest of them are loaded and ready to go. He crouches down now and waddles up next to the door frame.

“Surrender and your lives will be spared. Continue to fight and you will die.”

“The Raiders will never die!!!”

“I have proven that wrong so many times. Last chance.”

“All glory to the Raiders!!!”

“Okay then.”

Wallace draws a pistol in each hand then rounds the corner, coming in low almost completely bent over. The raiders were expecting him to come in standing straight, they fired and missed. Wallace fired and took down two of them. Dropped those pistols drew two more and fired, two more dead.

Now he dropped those pistol and drew his sword and ax, stood straight and jumped over the ad hoc barricade. He spun on his heel and slashed with his sword and chopped with his ax, the last of them fell.

Behind him the door opened and a large man stepped out and swung a large two handed sword at Wallace. Wallace dodged to the side and jumped back over the barricade.

“Oh rotten biscuits. I assume I can’t get you to surrender either?”

The man just looks at him.

“Oh well...I am in no mood for a protracted fight.” Wayne drops his sword and drew his last pistol aimed and fired.

The man's head jerked back and he slumped to the ground, missing the back of his head.

Wayne got up and collected his pistols and weapons. He sheathe his ax and sword and started reloading his pistols as he walked through the door.

Inside was a treasure trove of gold in all forms and jewels. Crowns, necklaces, rings, coins, raw gems and ingots of gold and silver. It the loot of many kings. Wallace smiled.

He turned and walked back to the hall.

“MEN FOUND THE LOOT NOW FIND SOMETHING TO CARRY IT WITH. YOU REYNOLDS GO GET THE SHIP HAVE THEM MOVE IT TO THE CLOSER PIERS!! THE REST OF YOU START GRABBING LOOT!!”

Wallace and his men start grabbing as much as they can. Some find bags or make them out of drapes or curtains.

Wallace walks outside and see the flag has been taken down and someone has ran up the flag of the Second Republic.

From the front step, Wallace could look out and see all of the city. The fighting had died down to only sporadic skirmishes and the air smelled of burnt pork, sea, and sulfur. Wallace could see ships from the Second Republic docking and unloading more troops. Wallace could see them loading pillaged goods onto the ships and see his beloved Acciona taking up a new much closer berth, ready to be loaded with loot. The city was firmly in the hands of the Second Republic.

By tomorrow most of it would be burnt to the ground in retribution for all the trouble the Raiders had caused the Second Republic.

Wallace smiled. It had been a good day.
Member of Task Force Atlas
IATA Member

I choose the second definition of it. This meaning rule by virtue and not owning land to be allowed to vote or hold political office. Instead one is required to serve time in the military (currently 6 years)



Tech Level: Mix MT/PMT

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Palmyrion
Minister
 
Posts: 2258
Founded: Mar 04, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Palmyrion » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:39 am


TITLE: Only The Dead Have Seen The End of War
AUTHOR: Palmyrion




Naga National Cemetery, Province of Bicol
Royal Palmyrian Commonwealth
11 August 2019 | 1002H


"In the name of the Armed Forces of Palmyrion, and a grateful Royal Commonwealth, we present to you this flag in honor of the service of your fallen loved one." said a soldier - a comrade-at-arms of the deceased - as he presented a flag to the deceased's declared next of kin: his pregnant spouse.

Only the dead have seen the end of war.

"...And so it is time to say farewell, and pay our final respects, to Corporal Francis Pilapil - a man I am honored to have had under my command. A life's importance is in proportion only to their merit and achievement - and how it has deeply affected others; by this standard, Corporal Francis Pilapil was the one among equals of the cream of the crop. He leaves behind friends, family, comrades-at-arms, and a grateful nation."

In war, all give, and have given, some, but some give, and have given, their all.

The closest friends and immediate family of the deceased took turns paying their respects to their fallen loved one as the deceased's comrades-at-arms looked over as acting honor guards of the funeral.

And life is oftentimes the price - an ultimate one - of peace, freedom, and justice.

"Handa!" (Ready!) shouted an honor guard commander as he commanded the funeral's 7-strong honor guard formation to ready their rifles for a three-volley salute, to pay respects for the sole Raider Battlegroup special forces soldier killed during the raid on the BLP's last stand, among a crowd of mourning, black-clad loved ones - friends, comrades-at-arms, mentors, family both immediate and extended, and his pregnant, now widowed, spouse - juxtaposed against statues of relatively stoic honor guards who, deep inside, were also in mourning as well. The honor guard raised their rifles - low-cost versions of the Palmyrian service rifle chosen due to their more "traditional" aesthetic - to the ready position.

A price proportional in heft to the magnitude of the threat those three virtues face.

"Tutok!" (Aim!) again shouted the honor guard commander, and the honor guard aimed their rifles to the air, while some of the deceased's friends and family (to include his pregnant spouse) started crying, albeit solemnly, as the coffin containing the body of the deceased had its lid closed in preparation for lowering into the ground - and ultimately, for burial.

But the dead have already paid the ultimate price for such, and the living continue to pay the eternal payment.

"Bumaril!" (Fire!) shouted the honor guard commander - and the honor guard discharged a volley (of blanks) in honor of the fallen soldier.

The eternal payment may be in the form of taxes to sustain the economic side of war efforts...

"Bumaril!" (Fire!) the honor guard commander shouted again, with the honor guard discharging a second volley.

...Or it could also be in the form of still-living soldiers putting their lives in the line...

"Bumaril!" (Fire!) the honor guard commander shouted for the third time, with the honor guard discharging a third volley.

...So others don't have to.
Last edited by Palmyrion on Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
PALMYRION: INTO THE PALMYRO-VERSE
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Palmyrion
Minister
 
Posts: 2258
Founded: Mar 04, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Palmyrion » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:04 am


TITLE: Born To Die
AUTHOR: Palmyrion


'Cause you and I, we were born to die...

Lakambini Elizabeth the Commoner was never the same after the death of her husband.

Flesh on flesh. It was the best description the Royal Consort had for the consummation of their marriage with her husband. The last two years had been filled with drama regarding the Lakan's choice for a Royal Consort, all the while the 2016-2018 Reunion War was fought against the separatist Islamist and Communist states to the northern hinterlands, a place historically known for being less developed than the southern provinces. But tonight, just tonight - the worries of maintaining a Commonwealth were off their shoulders for but one night as they reveled in their marriage, exchanging hot kisses in the afterglow of naked consummation as husband and wife.

The once carefree Royal Consort shed her sweet, happy-go-lucky attitude and took on a paranoid, strongman attitude in light of her high school sweetheart's untimely death, alongside the harsh realities of being a monarch of commoner lineage being thrust rudely into the harsh world of statecraft.

The chilly morning breeze greeted the couple as they locked each other in a warm embrace onboard one of the balconies of the PWS Buendia, a newly-commissioned Buendia-class supercarrier of the Palmyrian Navy, the Monarch Sovereign and his Royal Consort being invited for a simple, if spartan (relative to the luxurious confines of the Royal Citadel) commissioning ceremony of the PWS Buendia the day prior. Palmyrion had her newfound power in the wake of the Reunion War, having secured its national patrimony from Islamist and Communist secessionists - and in the mighty gantries of Palmyrion's shipyards, more were being constructed, as were alongside the newest ships of the Palmyrian Navy. It was a simple embrace, and it didn't matter much that they did it in the most spartan of venues, of all things - and any sailor who would, by chance, encounter them would have their spirits stirred in jubilance anyways, seeing the royal couple revel in romance onboard what was the most powerful symbol of emergent Palmyrian geopolitical power.

One of the few things she and her consort disagreed upon was in the use of force to maintain the peace and order of the Royal Commonwealth - and now that her husband died as one of the first casualties in what unfolded as Palmyrion's second bout of sectarian violence, she could understand why her husband had such a fixation on militarism.
PALMYRION: INTO THE PALMYRO-VERSE
Greater Dienstad (NSMT) | Kali Yuga (Hard MT) | Niteo (AD 5000 FT) | Screwed Reality
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For those who are struggling right now, remember that you are not alone.

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Eitoan
Envoy
 
Posts: 235
Founded: Jan 04, 2018
Corporate Bordello

Postby Eitoan » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:17 pm


TITLE: The 1849 Hymn
AUTHOR: Eitoan


Nationalist poem/song, authored during the 1849 Revolt against Ralkovia.


We won't give up our native land,
We won't let our voices be silenced.
We are the Eitoan nation, the Eitoan people,
From the heritage of Eliazar The Great and Just.
We won't let the enemy surpress us.

So help us God!
So help us God!

To the last drop of blood
We will defend our nation
Till ground into the earth shall be
The Viceroy's fury.
Every farm and home shall be a fortress.

So help us God!
So help us God!

Foul Raskov won't spit in our face,
Nor Ralkovize our children,
Our men will arise in arms,
Led by the spirit of freedom.
The nation will be restored!

So help us God!
So help us God!

We won't have Eitoan's name erased,
We won't endure meekly the lash.
In Eitoan's honor, in its glory
We march forward proudly,
Our sons will avenge the ancient wrong.

So help us God!
So help us God!

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United World Order
Senator
 
Posts: 4180
Founded: Jun 16, 2011
Ex-Nation

Postby United World Order » Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:15 am


TITLE:A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
AUTHOR:UWO


Holy Panooly. A quagmire of covert government conspiracies and needless violence which ultimately resulted in the death of Panoolie strongman and dictator Dominic Templeton. What started as an agreement between the Ordenite government and Navitek in order to help secure the Isthmus turned into an out right partition of the country. Civil war was breaking out in the Northern half of the country from which the nation's ruling minority would see it's major cities under siege by thousands of ingenious militants. Meanwhile so was the fighting near the Isthmus its self between Navitek hired guns and the armies of Dominic Templeton in which left the southern half of the country open to the Ordenites who would send it's own armies in on what Ordenite diplomats would call 'Peacekeeping' operations. In reality was the subtle invasion of Holy Panooly by the Ordenite Wehrmacht in order to secure their part of the agreed on partition of the country. Qadesh was one of the only major cities in Southern Holy Panooly and was also home to the ruling minority under Dominic Templeton. The city was home to over 10 million Panoolies of which 2 million were Guffingfordi Panoolies. As Holy Panooly hardly possessed naval forces greater nor advanced enough to counter the Ordenite Kriegsmarine in their inevitable confrontation at sea near the Southern coastline from which the Ordenite Army would make haste to secure most of the southern half of the country immediately. Templeton's forces were largely amassing and heading for battle with Navitek mercenaries in the North over the Isthmus as three Naval squadrons from the Crown Sea Fleet assumed naval supremacy and began landing troops and materials with almost little resistance.

First a detachment from the 3rd Naval Infantry Division made several landings along a section of the coastline as whatever resistance was met would be ultimately suppressed or pacified by landing Naval Infantrymen which would lead the way for the landings of the 72nd Armeekorps of the Ordenite Heer. Nashorn Infantry fighting vehicles along with Luchs Armored personnel carriers swiftly began to comb the jungle environment in conjunction with a break out from the initial gains made by the 3rd Naval infantry division. While what defenders they did come across attempted to hold off the Ordenite Heer from gaining further ground into the country, Templeton's forces still able to respond to the sudden invasion would not be enough to stop the inevitable. Löwe and Königslöwe medium and heavy tanks of the Ordenite panzer forces made quick work out of the Cougar Main Battle Tank possessed by the armies of Holy Panooly. Jaguar 4 Raketenjagdpanzer's would also see to the timely ends of any sort of Panoolie counteroffensive armed with twin ATGM launchers fielding the TRIGAT-LG missile which was capable of traveling hundreds of kilometers. Artillery such as the LARS MLRS, 15cm Towed Howitzer and Marder self propelled howitzer would ensure the Ordenites on the ground ample fire support in their advances through the jungle.

The Ordenite Luftwaffe would be able to catch the Panoolie air force in the southern portion of the country off guard as Wiking and Hammer UCAVs launched surgical strikes on air bases and airfields identified by the Abwehr. The enemy had now lost aerial supremacy over half of it's country as the 72nd Armeekorps consisting of one Panzergrenadier division and an Panzer Division which in total fielded over 30,000 men looked to entirely secure the miniature peninsula along the southern coastline. An additional Armeekorps was also being landed as the breakout offensive continued with minor resistance mostly from Police forces and scattered Army regulars who for the most part saw fit to keep it's main highways to secure local logistics to the battlefield. Lead elements of the 72nd had already within the first day of fighting had advanced over 25 kilometers covering most of the miniature peninsula while pushing what resistance their was north. Templeton's army would quickly come to realize what was transpiring in the south with the advancing Ordenites as they saw fit to begin conscription of men between the ages of 18 and 55, all the while the Army began scrambling what forces it could muster throwing themselves at the Ordenites.

The 72nd Armeekorps bore the brunt of the initial counter attacks but had secured positions of their own in a way in which lured the Panoolies into kill zones from which armor and personnel would be slaughtered by the Ordenites. This however did not stop Templeton from sending attack after attack mostly made up of unfortunate conscripts rushed into their untimely deaths at the guns of the Heer. It had already been drawn up that a further and wider break out was being organized and while the Panoolies continued to contest the defenses of the 72nd, the 75th Armeekorps was poised to break out towards the north-east. The breakout and the subsequent flank to the north-east by the 75th Armeekorps completely shattered the offensive momentum the Panoolies possessed as a pocket was swiftly enveloped trapping over 60,000 conscripts and Army regulars in their jaws. Ordenite artillery in the rear were put to work bombarding the Panoolies within the enveloped pocket and while this occurred the Heer advanced on leaving the trapped conscripts cut off from reinforcements and any sort of logistics. Rear guard forces from the Naval Infantry were tasked with ensuring the pocket was not broken and that their enemy's fate was sealed for good.

The offensive overall would only take 72 hours to completely subjugate the southern portion of Holy Panooly along the terms of the partition agreed to with the Golden Throne. Over 200,000 conscripts and Panoolie Army regulars were captured in the three successive days of combat with little to no casualties taken by the participating Ordenite Army. While the Panoolie military was forced to intervene and defend their land from the forces of the Ordenite Reich, most of the combatants put in front of them were coloreds. The Guffingfordi minority who also served in it's ranks and were known for their brutality towards the colored population were given the opportunity to lay down their arms and surrender with promises made for a purpose in Ordenite Panooly. Thus was what ultimately doomed the South as the more seasoned and veteran soldiers surrendered and or deserted to Ordenite lines while the coloreds were left to fend for themselves. Those redeemed by the Ordenites for surrendering were swiftly re-organized into well armed task forces from which they would be sent out to secure and police the more vast rural communities across southern Panooly. Qadesh was reinforced by the Ordenite Heer as a military administration was established in the mean time while a civilian government could be created and filled with Ordenite candidates.

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Stevid
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 492
Founded: Antiquity
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Stevid » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:09 am


TITLE: The Sight Seer
AUTHOR: Stevid


I.



16 Jan – 2338hrs
South Masborough District
Stevid Capita



The winter wind and rain howled through the decrepit streets of the South Masborough District. Situated at the base of the developing hive city, the capital of the Holy Empire, the muck and filth of the upper levels collected here and was blown around unceremoniously. The rain lashed the road and pavement in thick globules creating torrents of water in the street gutters. The rain fell heaviest here, as it collected in the roofs and drains of the buildings and towers above, cascading down through a drainage system to the street below. At this level, government or local investment in public services was almost non-existent as the rampant capitalism of the world above barrelled onwards. Those who lived here within the bowels of district led simple, meek, and destitute lives. In this area of the district were the industrial habitation buildings, or hab blocks. These were part government part business owned residential complexes to house workers in the local manufactories producing parts for the capital’s extensive mass transit system. This was as good as central government welfare got when it came to public housing - squeezing as many people into a forty-story building. Families were housed in the lower third with two rooms and various bunk beds, family ablutions and a living area-come-kitchen. For the rest, it was a studio apartment with shared ablutions, shared kitchen and shared communal areas.
These hab units littered the provincial districts of Stevid’s major cities, especially within the hives fortress cities; and all were at the lowest level of the city. Exposure to the elements was rare beyond wind and rain. The sunlight was always dim and never direct, constantly blotted out by the towering skyscrapers built upon skyscrapers with crisscrossing flyovers and transit rails casting a perpetual shadow on to the world below. It was always hot here too, among the concrete jungle, the press people, and polluting vehicles. It was a miserable existence.
Crime flourished too. Amidst the toil of lowest working-class folk of Stevid, one among them would always strive for more but with ill and selfish intent - as if he were owed it. The law enforcement of the Empire was strict and brutish, and characteristically swift as it was harsh. However, that did not mean crime did not occur despite the fear. Desperation among the indigent could drive a helpless or determined person to do anything to make their life better. Theft, robbery, rape, all were common in hab block districts with weak constabulary chiefs.
There was a way out, labour. Hard, brutal, uncompromising labour. So hard that it was almost impossible to escape. Those who played the game profited, others fell by the wayside, unable to contribute enough before their exhausted lives failed them. A promotion would grant more money, maybe a larger apartment, continued good work and service would pay further dividends; and these, working class ‘chattel’, could find themselves the humble owner of a small, yet modest, apartment in the ‘middle hive’. The system did not deliberately keep people in this perpetual poverty, but it purposefully made it difficult. All countries needed simple workers, labourers, the meek and poor – Stevid especially so. Not just for the manual labour to keep the cogs of industry and bureaucracy turning, but for their hope and faith. For in this squalid hellhole, real hope was severely lacking, and the wish for a better life nought but a blissful dream. However, there was the Church – the one thing that truly bound the country together, no matter your background, granted this hope unto them. Colour, class, whatever. The Church was all-pervasive and loved you regardless, especially the destitute.

These small church communities were a common occurrence in hab blocks, but the close ties with crime and anti-social behaviour regularly drew the attention of the Holy Office. Stranger yet were the other smaller communities of other faiths, grouping together with their own kind. It was not unusual, even in the predominantly Catholic Stevid, for communities of Muslims, Jews or pagans to populate a few floors or whole hab blocks. Better together, the state believed, than dispersed – easier to manage.
Hab Block 17 was one of these rare exceptions, almost totally populated with Stevidian and foreign followers of the Holy Marsh.

A sedan pulled up in front of this hab block sending filthy rainwater across the pavement. From out of the car emerged a slender, hooded figure, with heeled black leather boots, a dark trench coat with a sewn-in cowl. The coat was double breasted but unfastened at the top showing a high cut, part open shirt and a deep dark blue blazer over the top. It revealed just enough of the neckline and collarbone to show it was worn by a woman. She looked up towards the towering buildings, her dainty nose poking out from the hood by the tiniest of margins. A battered and dilapidated wire fence and gate separated her from the building. Fixed to the electronic gate, betraying that this was a ‘gated’ community, was an improvised sign saying “CERRITULUS”, meaning strange or weird.
Behind the woman came a similarly sized and dressed individual from out of the car. By the stature of the figure, it was clearly a man, and he too stopped to observe the building.

“This is it.” He said gruffly as if his voice was hoarse. “Has to be.”

“Hmmm.”
The woman murmured. “’Cerritulus’ is normally reserved for the most bizarre. I can attest, they somewhat are.”

Her voice was plain, young and feminine; which was disarming, for everything about the woman, from her dress to her stature and presence, exuded a sense of foreboding. Fear. It did not diminish as she spoke, which would be all the more unnerving to an observer.

“Go round the back,” She said, twitching as a large drop of water splashed across her face. “Quickly!”

The man bolted away, having to cover nearly a half a square city block to reach the rear entrance. The woman approached the gate alone and swiped a security master key card against the electric gate lock. It buzzed open and she strode into the brown, dank, depressing building.


*****


As the main door slammed shut behind her, the woman shook off the excess water from her coat. She undid her coat down to the waist and pulled the cowl back. She was pretty, but deliberately plain, with no make-up applied. On her cheekbones and between plucked eyebrows were tattooed Christian crosses – a sign of being raised in an orphanage run by a sisterhood, and her nose and ears were pierced and studded with similar sized silver crosses. Her hair was thick and black, cut straight and short to just below the jawline. After a second or two more of allowing the last of the free water to drip off her, she marched onwards.

The corridors were dimly lit with a yellow-brown hue that blended with the equally unappealing walls and floor of a similar colour. The interior was as squalid as the exterior. Bags, leaves, rubbish, all littered the corridors. Flickering light fittings dangled from the ceiling every so often, wall panels that had fallen from their fittings were strewn on the floor every few metres. There was random graffiti too. Nothing traitorous or overtly blasphemous, instead, it was the more traditional “Fuck the police!” or some sort of gang tag. But that was what she was after. It was a simple tag, a circle with two arrows through it. She followed the signs through the warren of corridors, upstairs, and through a broken lift shaft until she was several stories above ground – though in truth the hab block extended dozens more higher and then the strata-skyscrapers, those built on the hab blocks as foundations, extended hundreds of floors further.

After thirty minutes, she slowed. There was a low rhythmic thrumming of deep bass music playing in one of the apartments. Shady figures were more common now, with hoods up and heads down, avoiding eye contact with the woman altogether. After following a few more tags down a few more corridors, she saw a tall burly figure leaning against the wall with a steel barred door adjacent to him. She walked towards him. He had not noticed her, and she suddenly suppressed an urge to wretch in disgust as she saw what he was. A Neko – part human, part feline animal. Stevid did not recognise the term ‘Neko’ unlike many nations in Greater Dienstad, but as per a treaty signed at a recent Synod between the Church and the Holy Marsh, the Empire now officially classified them as Homo Sapien Veritas. It granted them official rights in the eyes of the law and protection from inquisitorial scrutiny. This man was a product of the Shift, a medical procedure that invoked changes in the body, and had been relatively new phenomena in Stevid. It had drawn public ire and disgust, and it now meant that whole communities had to live in gated accommodation to prevent the public mingling with them – as much for their protection as the public’s.

She approached him cautiously; mindful of the baseball bat he had in his left hand leaning on his shoulder. His face, if you could it that, was not covered. Fur had been shaved from his huge arms and he bore tribal tattoos that discoloured what fur there was left. As she closed, he lifted himself off the wall and faced her, legs wide, tail unfurled, but the bat had not moved.

“The fuck you want?” He barked with a deep voice with a common Capita accent. He stood taller than her at almost seven foot and she had to pear upwards to meet his gaze.
She opened her mouth to speak but became distracted by another noise making its way over the deep bass music of the neighbours. The screaming of a woman in the middle of intercourse. By the sound of it, her lover was either very good or she was good at pretending. The neko smiled at the woman’s distraction. “Ah… that… we do have men, or perhaps a woman if so inclined. Don’t worry, they’re discrete. It’s one thing to want a neko…quite another to be into that and be homosexual in the Empire.”

“No.” She said, flatly. Her accent was more fine-tuned and proper, meaning that she had been raised in finer households or was better educated. “I’m not here for that. I’m here to see Dorran.”

The Neko stiffened and lifted the bat off his shoulder so that the end fell heavily into his opposite palm. “Then I suggest you fuck off.” He growled. “The man you seek doesn’t take guests, and certainly don’t without informing me about ‘em first. High-tail it high-born…”

He patted the bat once again into his open hand. The woman did not move, but instead stiffened her own stance and voice.

“I will see him.”

“You will, will ‘ya?” The neko smiled ruefully. “What do I call you high-born?”

“Elizabeth.” The woman said steely.

“You were wrong to come here, Elizabeth. I’ll make it quick.” He dropped the bat and was quarter way through a swinging blow as Elizabeth suddenly blurted out.

“The authorities have found him!”

The bat came crashing down but the Neko guard deliberately shifted the swing so it flew past her left side and it clanged against the floor. He was now hunched and eye level, he leered at her though feline eye slits that made her skin crawl. She betrayed her revulsion has her nose wrinkled at the proximity to the beast.

“You won’t get a second chance.” He said in a guttural voice, barely contained rage in check. “Speak…”

“I’m a constabulary audit officer of the upper hive in South Masborough. I have information linking an operation to investigate, arrest, and prosecute your master, Dorran. The building is under surveillance and several informants within have been identified – willing to testify for a price.”


The Neko’s eyes shifted left and right quickly, gauging Elizabeth. Well spoken, well presented, maybe she was who she said she was. The guard scoffed loudly. “I wouldn’t be surprised if every person in the building would testify just for a better chance in life. I’ll need more than your word.”

“Proof. Signed proof.”
Elizabeth said as the neko stood tall again, and she produced documents from her trench coat pocket. “Direct from the chief commissioner of the constabulary.”
The Neko snatched the documents and poured over them and mouthed words as he did so, evidently struggling to read.

“Where’s the rest?” He said eventually, to which Elizabeth produced other documents.

“The rest is for Dorran. Not the likes of you.” She answered. The Neko glowered and pushed his face to hers, nose to nose.

“I say Maximus. She is fine. Where’d you find her?” Came a voice from a shadowy annex behind Elizabeth. “I like her…”

A long sharp knife pressed against Elizabeth’s delicate neck. She did not flinch, nor moved an inch. The man behind pressed the knife and then his body close, and with his free hand held her waist and then her thigh. Evidently he was attracted to her – or just aroused by the sexual noises coming from one of the apartments. Or, more likely, he was a deviant of some sort.

“If you are Special Branch…” Maximus the guard growled, placing the bat to a cheek forcing Elizabeth against the blade and drawing blood.

“I know, I know. If I am Special Branch you’ll kill me here and then my body will be found a few days from now in a hab district on the other side of the city by a hapless constable. I’m not an idiot.”

Maximus sniffed. “Only an idiot would walk in here as confident as you without good reason – not being a follower of the most Holy Marsh n’all. I’ll introduce you… no fuckin’ promises. If he says ‘ya you’re full of shit, I’ll bash in that pretty face of yours.”

“Gotta search her, Max.” The man with the knife said slickly. Max nodded and the other man spun her round. He smiled a toothless and evil smile. From his attire it was clear he was a follower of the Holy Marsh, but he had not undergone the Shift and so looked as human as Elizabeth did. He pocketed the knife and licked his lips wetly with eagerness. The man was a creature and Elizabeth rolled her eyes in disgust as the man’s hands felt and groped her body from feet to head, taking extra and deliberate care to search her more intimate areas. The ordeal, and it was an ordeal, lasted only a few minutes. He was panting in short breaths as he finished and looked thoroughly impressed with himself.

“There you go my lovely!” He beamed. “Clean as a whistle. That wasn’t so bad was it?”

“No.”
Elizabeth said with a genuine smile, displaying a row of pearly white teeth. The man smiled and licked his lips, revelling in her beauty and feigned affection. “No, it wasn’t that bad.”

She grabbed the man with both hands by the scruff of the collar and slammed her forehead into his nose. Blood spurted from it, clearly broken, and covered him from the neck down. He staggered back, completely aghast at the situation. He mewled in pain, holding a hand to his nose with eyes wide in shock. He looked to Maximus the door guard in a silent plea for help but the neko stood still; and, with a look of nonchalance, simply shrugged. The man’s eyes flashed with rage and he pulled out the knife again slashing at Elizabeth. She sidestepped him, grabbing his attacking arm and pulled it along the man’s momentum taking him off balance. He staggered and Elizabeth pivoted a quarter step back and brought a knee into his chest. He gasped loudly as the air left his lungs, but the confrontation did not end. She twisted his attacking arm’s wrist awkwardly and with a dull crunch, she broke it. The knife clattered to the ground and the man howled in agony. Elizabeth pivoted again, now standing behind his back. She put him in a grapple and hoisted him over her opposite outstretched leg sending the man crashing to the floor. She pivoted yet again - now standing over him whilst still holding the attacking arm, she twisted it back on itself and brought a free foot on the shoulder, dislocating it with a pop. There was another suffering howl as the man’s ligaments twisted and snapped.

“Please…” He moaned. “Please…” Elizabeth stood over him, panting hard and with a cold, piercing look on her face. She instinctively extended her arm towards Maximus who flinched as she took the baseball bat from him. Aside from this, he did not react. This surprised Elizabeth, though only for a moment. She had surmised he would not have stopped her attacking, but would step in eventually. As it turned out, he did not seem to care what happened to the whimpering creature before her.
She held the bat two handed against her shoulder, the man on the floor quivered in terror with hands up and open in surrender. “Please don’t! Please… I beg you… Please!”

He half screamed as Elizabeth brought the bat down on his head – and did so repeatedly until the only noise was the thumping bass music of the neighbour and the wet sound of wood on flesh. The corridor looked like a butchery and blood flecks of the man dotted Elizabeth’s face and clothes. Time seemed to slow in that instant of rage; she thought she had been swinging for minutes when in fact the murder had only taken ten seconds. She wiped the end of the bat on the clothes of the corpse and she spat at it, clearing adrenal spittle. She knelt now, adjusting a boot, but silently slipped the man’s knife up her left sleeve. She turned to Maximus, who had not noticed this last action, and thrust the bat at him to take, which he did awkwardly – her eye contact never shifted. Maximus had not moved at all throughout the killing, but now he sighed with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, I guess that proves you’re not Special Branch.”




II.



Maximus led Elizabeth into the apartment through a narrow corridor into a tiny alcove come-waiting area erected in the living space out of plywood.

“Master Dorran!” The guard called, moving a curtain of door beads aside as he entered. “Dorran!”

“Fuck off!”
Came a muffled reply.

“There’s a woman here to see you!”

There was a clatter of objects through a door beyond where Dorran was. Then there were more bangs and more cursing as Dorran knocked something over. The din from the neighbour’s music was louder now, meaning he had to curse loudly to be heard.

“I told you, no visitors!” He yelled. “The fuck would I care about a new girl? You interview them and get them to cut their teeth on the cheaper cliental before you send them to me for vetting. Now fuck off!”

“She says it’s important.”
Maximus said. Dorran roared in frustration and he appeared in the doorway. He was a Veritas too, a neko, though hunched, slimmer, and weedy compared to the guard. Elizabeth’s stomach turned again. He spoke with a sinister cockney-like accent, with his anger only adding to it.

“I. Don’t. Fucking. Care!” He roared through the door, but on looking at Elizabeth he was taken aback; Elizabeth rolled her eyes at the Dorran’s lecherous look. “Well, well… you’re a tasty dish –human too. Rare on these halls. It don’t matter either way, you want work as a girl – Max’ll see to ya. Fuck off.”

As he turned away dismissively, Elizabeth stepped forward – the look of revulsion still clear on her face. “The authorities know where you are. They’re on your tail…literally.” The last word was laced with venom. Dorran stopped and turned, but Elizabeth continued. “There are informants in the hab block; they have been tracking you for months. You have time, but they are soon going to fall on this place and you will be strung up from the district judiciary.”

Dorran cackled heartily. “My dear, I wouldn’t be any good at evading capture if I worried about informants here! These pathetic worms slave and toil for nought but a night’s rest – they’d hand me over without a second thought for a chance at something better. I’m afraid you’re gunna have to do a lot better than that to convince me.”

A corner of Elizabeth’s mouth twitched into a smile as she produced the documents she had alluded to with Maximus. The guard handed the half he had to Dorran, “She has proof, Master Dorran.”
Dorran snatched the documents, but Elizabeth pocketed her own back into her fitted trench coat.

“Why the fuck does she have those?” Dorran spat, referencing the other documents.

“Collateral.” Maximus said. “She wanted an audience.”

“And you didn’t think to search her?”

“If your man spent more time searching and less time molesting he would have found them.”
Elizabeth quipped, to which Dorran roared heartily with laughter.

“Ah ha! So that explains the commotion I heard! Well, it’s about time dear old Cecil got a good kicking!”

“That’s not all he got.”
Elizabeth said gesturing to her blood flecked body.

“Ho ho!” Dorran sniggered. “I can see that! Fuckin’ trouble, you, that’s certain. She responsible for that?” He asked Maximus, beckoning towards the discoloured bat.

“By the end of it, yeah.”

“Ha! Excellent, excellent! Ah… Cecil the Perv… Cecil, Cecil, Cecil. He had it coming, you know. Got bored of the girls here, you see. It’s their job… well…not job; it’s their lot in life. But as you can hear, they’re good at it. Cecil don’t like that, see? Likes to unnerve them, though with a face like his he pulls that off quite naturally. Fuckin’ pest, really. So no great shame, but even though he was a creature of a man he was still my man. So whatever these docs prove it better be worth the life of one sexual pervert.”


Dorran poured over the documents Maximus had taken from Elizabeth; he mouthed the words silently as he read clearly showing the same difficulties in reading as Maximus had. After several laborious minutes, he looked up at her.

“FAO District Constab…hmm…Well, I recognise some names here – some I don’t. Evidence of the pattern of life I have; and whilst I try my best to be as inconspicuous as possible, this amounts to no more than me visiting shops or church. Any prick can get hold of this, though I’d rather they not. I need to see who’s signed it off, love. No bones about it.”

“I have a request; this information does not come free.”
Elizabeth retorted, to which Dorran spat in disgust.

“You presume to negotiate with me? Ya come in here, my place, my hab unit, butchered my prized pervert and deign to make demands of me? The document you have there, bought you an audience - not a request. Fucking give it here or Max here will take it. I’ll decide if the information is worth me providing you with a token of my appreciation.” The lecherous look came over his face again and Elizabeth wrinkled her nose as nausea rose once again. She removed the papers and handed them to Dorran who began flicking through them. On the last page, everything changed. He looked up, anger in his eyes, teeth bared.

“The fuck you playin’ at?” He said, looking at Elizabeth before directing the comment at his guard. “I asked you question.”

“Master?” Maximus replied with confused look. Dorran thrust the last page of the document at him, upon it was the unmistakable stylised letter ‘I’ of the most sinister organisation of the Empire. Maximus readied his bat but Elizabeth did not move but now had a broad grin across her face.
Dorran still stared at Elizabeth, but a wave of realisation swept across his face and he grinned back at her. He raised a hand to Maximus to stop him from attacking her.

“Ah ha!” He snarled dramatically. “So you’re ‘The’ Elizabeth? I should’ve known, what with those trousers, heel boots, fitted tunic… and that oh so lovely face…”

One of Elizabeth’s eyes twitched. Dorran still had the look of a letch about him, and being a homo sapien veritas, it made her even more uncomfortable. She did not reply, however, to Dorran’s sudden comprehension but Maximus quizzed Dorran as to who she was.

“Lord Inquisitor Elizabeth Eislehart of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, Branch Hereticus. You’re reputation precedes you, my Lord.”

Elizabeth noted the change in demeanour. Dorran was instantly less confrontational and less vulgar, though still petulant. But, even he knew not to provoke an Inquisitor to anger.

“But not my face, evidently.” Elizabeth remarked.

“Ha! Beautiful though it is! It does, but those who linger on it long enough to remember seldom live. I suppose it’s no surprise that dear old Cecil is twitching on the floor outside my door. Woe betide anyone who crosses you. Lord Inquisitor Eislehart, defender of the faith, feared across the Empire, and spoken of in hushed tones across the region.”

“I doubt I command that sort of respect.”
Elizabeth said.

“Then you doubt your own effectiveness, my Lord.” Dorran replied, relaxing more now the shock of having an inquisitor in front of him had subsided. “Truth be told, you go to great lengths not to be known. I’ve heard of you from among my associates – they fear you. Any information they have is second or third hand. Aside from your name and role, you are an enigma. But I know enough not to trifle you. Still, I’m honoured you feel I’m that important to waste your time on.”

“Your stupid flatteries to me and your ego do you no credit.”
Elizabeth snapped. “I need to speak to you.”

“Don’t care, in all honesty, my Lord.”
Dorran said absently. “You’re an inquisitor – part of the Holy Office and its judiciary. I’m now outside your operational responsibility. “

“Then look at it as me asking for information…”
Elizabeth said, to which Dorran howled with laughter.

“Ah! Me help you? Jesus Christ, you must be joking!”

The inquisitor’s face twisted angrily, and she took a step forward. Maximus shifted but did not interfere. She raised an accusing finger, but Dorran instantly submitted, waving both hands apologetically.

“My apologies, Lord Inquisitor.” He said with genuine contrition. “We’re not a Christian community, such blasphemy is not frowned on here, but I can empathise with you when I say such things as I would be offended if you were to slander Marshism.”

Elizabeth lowered her hand, grudgingly accepting the apology. Were he a non-Marshite Stevidian or Christian, she would have flogged him down the street. As it was, she no longer had religious judicial power over him. The problem was that Dorran knew that as well as she did.

“I gave you information.” Elizabeth said.

“Your information, your intelligence.” Dorran retorted.

“Information that will lead the authorities right to you should I hand it to them. Information that I can use against you to extort whatever I want. By God’s grace, I only want one thing. Provide me it and I will leave you be.”

There was a short silence as Dorran weighed up the options. Maximus moved uncomfortably, Elizabeth a statue. Dorran’s head snapped up.

“It depends on the request. I’ll give you one hearing – otherwise I’ll take my chances. I’m a criminal! Avoiding the likes of you is a specialty.”

“I’m not here for you.”
Elizabeth started. “I need to speak to the Sight Seer.”

Dorran started back at her blankly. “Sight Seer? Never heard of ‘em.” He dismissed.

“You’re lying.” She accused.

“Why would I?” Dorran spat, offended by the accusation as if he actually felt he had honour left in him to be slandered.

“Because it implicates you… to the ‘likes of me’” Elizabeth smiled.

“Nothin’ in these docs suggest…”

“Do you take me for a fool, Master Dorran?”
Elizabeth said with a rising tone. She took another step, this time Maximus quietly turned so that he was just over her right shoulder and out of her peripheral vision. “You’re nothing but a petty, murderous criminal. Nothing but an earthworm under my boot. Your life hangs in the balance and I hold the scales, so tell me what I want to know.”

“Elizabeth,”
Dorran stammered.

“My Lord.” She corrected.

“My Lord… I know not of what you speak.” He chanced a glance at Maximus.

”Don’t look at him!” She chided. “Look at me. I know you know the Sight Seer. I know you know what ‘it’ is and what ‘it’ is capable of. I know you know where ‘it’ is and you are going to tell, so help me Lord.”

“For fuck’s sake, do something!”
Dorran cried.

Elizabeth ducked suddenly, anticipating a bat swing. It came, and swung over her head. The inquisitor twisted and flung her left arm out that had the blade she stole from Cecil concealed inside. It flew out from the cuff and speared through the Maximus’ throat up to the hilt. He gurgled and staggered backwards. Elizabeth turned back to Dorran who had pulled out a pistol from a nearby chest of drawers and was pointing it at her. Her left arm came up and parried the pistol a split second before Dorran fired it. The round whizzed past her ear and the supersonic snap rang in her head. She doubled round, holding his wrist and sent elbow behind her into Dorran’s face. He howled in pain; then has he fell backwards she twisted his wrist abnormally and broke it with a crunch. Dorran whimpered and collapsed to the floor, almost at the same time as the dead guard collapsed on a small table.

“Alright, alright, alright!” Dorran pleaded. “You have me.”

“The Sight Seer?”
She interrogated.

“Yeah I know him.” Dorran said cradling his arm and shuffling up off the floor. “He’s under my protection.”

“Of course he is.”

“It’s true!”
Dorran protested. “He’s under my protection. That is the law! He is Veritas Extremis, they need supervision, regardless of the law, but you lot won’t allow him to exercise his gifts in public and he is a danger to everyone else. I’m doing my bit.”

“I’m well aware of that.”
Elizabeth said coldly. Dorran was taken aback, unsure whether the Inquisitor was being sarcastic or not. “The Sight Seer purportedly has the gift of foresight, telepathy and some sort of communication to entities. Witchcraft, I say. But there is evidence of some nefarious use. Footage of you using him at drug exchanges where you were to be ambushed yet you were aptly aware the whole time. The use of the sight seer for extortion, avoiding police detection, manipulating vulnerable people, trafficking.”

Dorran looked confused, but was now plainly aware that Elizabeth was not being sarcastic. “Well, those sound like things I do, Lord Inquisitor. But I don’t use no Sight Seer. Besides, those are issues for Constab, not the Inquisition – you’ve over stepped your mark Lord Inquisitor.”

“Is that so?”

“I am not Christian!”
He protested loudly. “My activities are nothin’ to do with you. It’s a Constab affair, plain and simple.”

Elizabeth glowered at him. “Again you take me for a fool. I know everything about you. Your movements, your life. I know you know the one you people here call ‘Sight Seer’. I know you use it for you criminal operations, extorting your own people and, most importantly, mine! Stevidian Catholics, robbed, threatened, killed, extorted – by you through the Sight Seer. Strange occurrences, dancing shadows, unexplained murders. I would not have believed it myself if I had not seen local CCTV, or had informants I trusted. On each occasion the Seer is with you!”

“Bollocks!”
Dorran protested. “And even if half of that were true, you said he can see the future. He’s under my protection; if I used him the way you said I have done, then surely I would’ve used him to know you were coming?”

“Like I said, Master Dorran.”
Elizabeth said slyly. “I know everything about you. I’m not the constabulary. I have mouths and ears in the district. In this building. You said betrayal was part and part parcel of life here, where people will do anything for a better life. With that much disloyalty around, I can manipulate your little empire here enough to mask my motives and movements. You need to keep a tighter ship.”

“Evidently.”
Dorran snarled. “Still don’t put me in your jurisdiction.”

“The use of Veritas Extremis outside of designated areas is strictly prohibited. The use of such a being for nefarious purposes doubly so.”

“Prove it.”
Dorran said arrogantly.

“Please.” Elizabeth said in a belittling tone. “Did I not say we had footage? Not that I have any reason to lie. But even if I didn’t, do you presume that I would need any?”

A cold realisation came over Dorran. It was hard to see whether this was a true epiphany or a resignation to fate. Regardless, Dorran almost instantly became amicable. Still cradling his arm with the broken wrist, he shuffled towards the back of the room and beckoned Elizabeth to follow.

“Come on then.” He sighed. “Best you see. He’s through here.”


*****


They walked through a door into a room dimly lit by dozens of candles. The air was heavy and damp, wallpaper peeling was from the walls and the first signs of mould growing in the corners of the ceiling. Around the edges of the room were sideboards and tables adorned with icons of Marshism, together with other collections of ornaments and pictures. Elizabeth noted the pictures in particular. They were examples of hand drawn art, scrawled across various sized pieces of paper with charcoal or a heavy pencil; their depictions were unnerving. Ghostly forms, humanoid apparitions sporting horns, or empty eyes and unnaturally large screaming mouths. At the far end of the room, which Elizabeth now realised was a different apartment altogether with the separating wall having been demolished to combine the two, was a dressing room divider with a series of candles beyond that casting a trembling shadow against the divider. Elizabeth saw a hunched creature and heard snarls, ripping, tearing, and wet squelches. Just peeking out from the bottom of the divider was a hand, which was moving in time with the noises. Elizabeth came to the quick realisation that whatever it was behind the divider, it was feeding on a human corpse. She drew the pistol taken from Dorran and stiffened her stance.

“Bring it out.” She commanded.

Dorran did as commanded and made a series of noises that Elizabeth mused were foreign, or Marshite in origin. The creature shivered and then moved into view of the rest of the door, illuminated by the candlelight. It was definitely a neko like creature but it resembled more animal than man. The fur was orange and striped almost like a tiger and it held the corpse in its mouth from the throat. It grumbled like a disturbed big cat and Dorran hissed; it dropped the corpse, which landed with a wet slap, and the head lolled towards Elizabeth. She gasped in horror as she recognised the face of the man who had exited the car with her hours ago.

“Acolyte Henshaw!” She gasped, and took an instinctive step forward. The creature snarled loudly and Elizabeth stopped dead.

“Ah…” Dorran said behind her, now moving to her side. “He’s one of yours. Didn’t know that. Was convinced he was Constab that got too plucky – too close to me. Lads picked him up downstairs a while ago, beat him till he admitted he was Constab. Can’t have witnesses see, and the Sight Seer has certain cravings to be sated in order to keep him in check. Convenient way to get rid of body’s. Still, even at the end, he didn’t say he was Holy Office.”

“Ever loyal.”
Elizabeth whispered. “Go in God’s grace.”

There was a long silence, almost like a standoff. Sensing the awkwardness, Dorran said, “Well, you have him now. I’ll leave you be.”

“Not so fast, Dorran.”
Elizabeth hissed bitterly. “There’s not enough forgiveness in heaven to redeem you of your sins.”

“As we already covered,”
Dorran said arrogantly, “I follow the most Holy Marsh. You have no jurisdiction – what you have doesn’t hold weight.”

“The death of an Acolyte? Attacking an Inquisitor? The use of a Veritas in criminal activity thus inciting public hysteria? You are now very much my concern.”

“A case of mistaken identity, self-defence, and no credible evidence to nefarious use of the Seer.”
Dorran retorted to each point. “Besides, what would the Theocracy’s Inquisition say if you were to pass judgement on me, a man outside of the Catholic Church’s remit?”

“Given the aforementioned crimes, plus the feeding of a corpse to a Veritas? I suppose they would overlook the transgression in the face of your sins.”

“I’m not convinced in all honesty, my Lord.”
Dorran said with a cocked grin while still nursing his tender broken arm. “Let’s say they did, eventually, come to the conclusion that you did in fact have jurisdiction over me and the Seer, and that the executions were acceptable punishments. The legal drama will be a spectacle! Your name under the spotlight, Marshite Inquisitors demanding an explanation, legal interviews, constant questioning – the very things you subject upon on your people but loath being done to you. It could last months. Your zeal, your commitment, your objectivity... all called into question! You’ve always hated Marshism – now you concoct a way to pass judgement on those you would otherwise have to ignore.”

Elizabeth Eislehart scowled, but continued looking at the Sight Seer eye-to-eye.

“You kill him, you kill me, and your world will fall apart. I become a martyr, and then even in death I can haunt and torment you and your career.”

There was a long pause and the tension was palpable. The creature in front of her had not moved an inch, like a rabbit in headlights. The flicking shadows from the candles danced across Dorran’s grin and bared teeth making him look all the more sinister. Elizabeth heaved an exacerbated sigh and felt Dorran’s lecherous eyes creep up and down her.

“I guess that’s a cross I will have to bare.” She said sighed absently. In quick motion and barely glancing at Dorran, she levelled the pistol to his head and fired once without a second thought. The noise of the round rang about the room; the Sight Seer howled gutturally in rage and made to attack Elizabeth but she fixed the pistol at the creature’s paws and fired three rounds into the wooden floor stopping the Veritas in its tracks.

“Why?” It howled again. Its voice was strange like an amalgamation of two voices speaking over each other and slightly out of sequence – one normal, but the other was deep, guttural, sounding almost otherworldly. “We needed him!”

“Forget him. I am your concern now.”

“We do not want you. We do not like you.”
It spat blood from the acolyte and more dripped from its fangs and chin.

“We?” Elizabeth asked barely containing her disgust of the creature.

“We help this body, we help that one.” It said beckoning to Dorran’s lifeless corpse. “We help all you who come. We commune with the world above, and the world to come. We have the Sight, a gift of the most Holy Marsh.”

“Your Gift was usurped by Dorran.”
Elizabeth said. “You have been used, and you have revelled and prospered by his crimes. You are complicit in crimes against the state and the moral fabric of Stevidian society.”

“They come too.”
The Seer said licking its lips, referencing Stevidians coming to see it. “We give them hope. We help them see alternatives to the paths they chose. We have the Sight, and we glean the way ahead.”

“You are an abomination.”
Elizabeth said hotly. “You were to be kept in your community because of the dangers you represent. You cannot be allowed to continue act the way you have been.”

The Sight Seer’s eyes flashed and Elizabeth’s vision clouded for moment. The haze left her disorientated and she felt herself spinning, falling. In that instant she was sat on a plush sofa in a family house living room. The day was bright and light streamed in through a window onto bright white walls. She looked around in confusion. She did not recognise the room. It was then that she noticed her clothing; a short summer dress of red flowers, a bangle on her wrist and tattoos up the other. She winced in confusion and was then startled by a soft cooing. In front of Elizabeth was a small baby girl fiddling with a toy on the carpet. It looked barely a year old. Elizabeth did not recognise the child, and yet there was this overwhelming feeling of affection for it. She felt herself reach out to the child, picked it up, and placed it upon her knee. The confusion lifted off her mind, but there was no realisation. This affection was instinctual; she loved this baby girl. Elizabeth found herself smiling and the girl looked at her. It giggled playfully and then waved awkwardly her. Elizabeth giggled back and then bounced her knee and the baby bounced along too. The giggling from both of them grew in the moment and a figure stepped into the room.

“What’s going on here then?”

It was a man, tall, black hair and unshaven. Elizabeth did not recognise him either, yet the confusion did not return. They smiled at each other and Elizabeth then turned back to baby, giving it all the attention in the world. The man sat down beside Elizabeth on the sofa and began tickling the baby.
The baby then shattered into millions of glass shards, then so did the room and all hurtled towards Elizabeth as the vision was cast into oblivion. Elizabeth came to in that instant, panting heavily. She was back in the dank, drab apartment room with the pistol still pointed at the Sight Seer.

“What?” She stammered.

“We can show you all things.” The Sight Seer growled. “How things were, how things could be. Not just you but for all. We can even show you how to achieve them.”

“Silence!”
Elizabeth screamed, but the Seer crackled gruffly.

“You reject us at your peril, Elizabeth Eislehart. You know only pain, suffering, misery, in the name of your false God. We can show you destiny, pleasure, fulfilment.”

Elizabeth’s face twisted. She had never known the life she had just been shown, and yet, she had felt happy. There were no woes, no threats, just her baby and her partner in an idyllic home. Ever since she had been a girl, she had been funnelled down a path of God by the state. From the orphanage of the sisterhood Order of the Sacred Crown to the Holy Office of the Inquisition, she was a child of God. She would take no husband and mother no children. The idea of raising a family was almost perverse to her, yet there she had been and had actually been happy. The Sight Seer continued to weave its noxious words, worming its way into her mind. Elizabeth felt her grip on reality slipping again as a fog passed over her eyes. She tumbled through the white ether once again and found herself in a different room again. This time it was dark, light coming from a partially open door. The confusion and disorientation returned. She spun around and then suddenly found herself in familiar surroundings, but did not know why. It was a bedroom, a master bedroom, her bedroom. She felt happy again, although this was different. This was excitement, anticipation of something extraordinary, anticipation of someone. She looked down and saw she was stood wearing a very short lilac silk nightdress undone at the front, with a matching pair of seductive looking undergarments. There was a mirror on a nearby dressing table and she looked at herself; makeup had brought out full lips, rosy cheekbones and deep eyes. It was then something gnawed in the back of her head, it told her that something was wrong. The man from the previous vision appeared as a silhouette at the door and Elizabeth bit her lip and cocked her head. There was muffled echo in her head.

“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Came an elder female voice from somewhere in her mind. The man approached and embraced her, his hands on her waist. She sighed and leaned in as he kissed her neck, but the voice returned, clearer this time.

“The testing of your faith produced perseverance.” It came as the man move his hands around her body. There was then a sense of detachment within her as though she was not quite in the moment. Her body moved with his as if she was involved and enjoying it but her mind was separate. She realised it was wrong, but also not wrong - but right. What was going on? She wanted this, of course she did. But the gnawing continued and bit harder at her consciousness as finally the real Elizabeth aligned with her body. She pulled away from the man who looked at her coldly and blankly, he spoke but with the voice of the elder woman that reverberated unnaturally around the room.

“… but deliver us from evil.”

The vision shattered into shards of glass again and Elizabeth regained herself in the apartment room now on her knees, pale and shaking but with the pistol still in hand. “Sister Brenda!” She called, snapping her head up at the Seer, calling out the name of her old mentor – the voice of the women she had heard. The Sight Seer looked at her with anger, upset that it was she who had broken the vision and not him. Elizabeth shuddered. Never had her resolve been tested like this, but never had she encountered an entity quite like the Sight Seer. As an Inquisitor, she had seen and dealt with all manners of people and creatures, and some exhibited some of the abilities the Sight Seer had, but all had been with the aid of hallucinogens – this was quite different.

“Your faith is strong, Inquisitor. But we have shown you but a fraction, you have seen but a fraction with Dorran. We will show you all there is, and you shall understand us! You need only reach out and take” The Seer growled.

Elizabeth drew heavy breaths, she tried to ground herself but found it difficult to concentrate. She felt weak, drained, as if the Seer was sapping her strength and essence away. It began again, the fogging of the mind and she felt her eyes roll into the back of her head. The voice of Sister Brenda resonated again, unbidden, like a mental defence mechanism.

“Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, thy life, thy sweetness and thy hope.”

Elizabeth felt her free arm instinctively move across her chest and grip a golden chain from around her neck. She pulled up, and from underneath her clothes came a simple crucifix that dangled from the chain. She mumbled the prayer with the voice of Sister Brenda, her old tutor from the sisterhood of the Order of the Sacred Crown, resonating in her head. “To thee do I cry, poor banished child of Eve. To thee do I send up my sighs, mourning and weeping in this veil of tears.”

The Sight Seer snarled and took a pace or two backwards as Elizabeth rose to one knee and held the pistol quivering in her other hand. She continued the prayer, now with more conviction in her voice. “Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards me, and after this my exile, show unto me the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

The Seer roared, his eyes flashed white again, desperately trying to send the inquisitor back into a fugue state. But Elizabeth now stood high and firm, her own eyes ablaze with a look of fury and holy conviction, tears streaming down her face, and the pistol now pointing squarely at the Sight Seer. “Oh clement, oh loving, oh sweet Virgin Mary.”

The Sight Seer roared once more, now fearful of Elizabeth Eislehart’s final judgement. It began growling incoherently but in way that one could be forgiven for interpreting as a form of language. It was glutterol and unnatural as if not meant for a human tongue. The flames of the candles grew larger, brighter, and flickered more violently. Elizabeth took a step towards the creature and pronounced her judgement. She did not notice Dorran’s lifeless fingers had begun to twitch, and she did not know that an arm of Maximus’ body that lay on a table was twitching also.

“I, Lord Inquisitor Eislehart, Branch Hereticus of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, hereby name you Homo Sapien Veritas Extremis, and pronounce that you are diabolis extremis, deamonium horribilis, and excommunicate traitoris in Stevidia. Guilty of the crimes: murder, sedition, and the use of the Gift for nefarious and criminal purposes, for which the only sentence is death…”

A strangeness befell the room. The ambient noise from the Sight Seer’s growling became intermixed with voices that seemed to speak soft obscenities from out of the walls. These whispering voices grew louder and the shadows from the candles seemed to take the forms of figures that danced around the room as if cast by unseen beings. Dorran’s broken arm was now pushing the hand down on the floor as if to rise the body up, and in the adjacent room, Maximus’ hand now gripped the hilt of the blade that protruded from his throat. The world around the corners of the room began to give way to darkness even though the candles burned bright, like vignetting in a photograph. As the encroaching darkness threatened to envelope them both, Elizabeth finally finished her judgement.

“Requiescat in pace.”

She fired the pistol and a round buried itself into the Sight Seer’s forehead and burst out the other side. The neko grunted and fell backwards, light returning instantly to the room and the corpses became lifeless again. Elizabeth fired into the Sight Seer again, who was now limp and unmoving on the floor. She fired another round, then another, again and again, until the clip was empty. Elizabeth looked down at the bloody, holed clump of mess on the floor, and made the sign of the cross. She pulled a small vial of clear liquid from a pouch on her belt. Elizabeth uncorked it and a smell of ethanol and spirits came from within; and she shook the contents over the corpse. She made to leave but stumbled into Dorran who was sprawled on the floor. She regarded him with contempt.

“I do not wish you any safe passage to beyond. I do not know your Gods; I barely know your customs. However, I suspect that the Holy Marsh would find you wanting – the Inquisition more so.”

Elizabeth spat at the corpse. She took one glance look back at the bloody mess in the corner of the room that had been her acolyte, who had been half devoured by the Seer. She sighed with remorse and then pulled a small lighter from another pouch on her belt. She knelt down by the Sight Seer and ignited the liquid she had sprinkled with a flick of the lighter. The corpse caught fire but was not set a blaze. The fire would spread throughout the room, charring any remains before sprinklers would be activated. With her mission finally complete, she left the apartment as smoke began to fill it.




III.



Elizabeth exited the apartment and was greeted by the mess on the floor that had been Ceil. Flies were now settling on the body and a rodent was nibbling at a finger as the other ‘inhabitants’ of the squalid building found the fresh food. Elizabeth turned to leave down the corridor only to be greeted by a dozen or so heads and bodies peeping out from round open doors. They had evidently heard the commotion and Elizabeth quickly realised that not only had the music from one of the apartments stopped, but that she had also fired a pistol several times in an enclosed space – half the building was probably aware that something was amiss. At first she frowned, regarding these people – most were young Veritas females, but was then taken aback when she saw humans. All were female and all were scantily clad, some not wearing anything at all. Most were grubby and underweight and all looked gaunt and distant despite the cosmetics they wore. They were whores, but Elizabeth recalled Dorran said that it was not their job, but their lot in life, to be prostitutes.
Elizabeth regarded one human looking girl stood behind a Veritas, barefoot and wearing a filthy oversized shirt and underwear. Elizabeth looked at her specifically because aside from two others and her, the rest met her eye-to-eye.

“You.” Elizabeth said affirmatively, the girl looked up trembling and gripping the frame of the door. “You are Stevidian?”

She nodded meekly and Elizabeth continued, “Do you live here?” She squeaked and avoided eye contact again, but then another girl spoke up – still humanoid – in place of the frightened one.

“Forgive her… for forgive us, my Lord. She, we, are frightened thas’ all.” She said in a similar accent to Dorran’s. “The nekos are from here some from abroad, we, the normies that is, we come from all over. We work for Dorran, he feeds us, keeps us safe. We get to live here.”

Elizabeth scowled. “You do not work for him now. None of you do. We are all sinners, child. Domestic servitude is no sin – your adherence to the faith is your absolution.”

Elizabeth turned to the nearest Veritas women and for the first time did not feel the usual wave of nausea and antipathy that came with dealt with their type. Might it have been their situation? Elizabeth pushed it aside and addressed her directly.

“What about you.”

“Marshite… err, My Lord.”
She said, adding the title awkwardly as she saw Elizabeth’s small nose crease with frustration. “I’m not native.”

“You’re from the Grand Theocracy itself?” Elizabeth asked, to which the girl nodded. She wore nothing but a ragged and disgusting looking garb around the waist but gave an aura of confidence the other women did not seem to possess. “How did you come to be here?”

“Master Dorran trafficked me and a handful of others from associates in the Theocracy. I haven’t been home in years. None of us have.”

All the women shook their heads, neko and human alike. Some sobbed while others stared at the floor absently. It was depressingly pitiful, these were modern sex slaves and were literally the scum of the earth by their ‘owner’ - and nobody cared. She did not show it, but Elizabeth’s heart bled for them.

“What is your name?” Elizabeth asked.

“Eva… no. Jessica, my real name is Jessica.”

“They listen to you?”
Elizabeth asked again waving at the other girls cowering in the alcoves.

“They do.”

“Then get them to gather their belongings, whatever they have. I won’t have any of you staying here a moment longer than necessary.”

Jessica turned and began organising the girls to retrieve their possessions. Some refused, terrified of the repercussions if they left. Some argued back, determinedly loyal to their controller. Jessica hissed, scratched and kicked those who did not relent. Elizabeth watched in bemusement as this ‘Jessica’ abused the girls in much the same way as Maximus or Dorran probably had. She saw through it almost instantly, Jessica was as broken as the rest of the girls – all of them were damaged goods. Reviled by the population for their profession, belittled because of their upbringing, ignored because their plight was ‘their own fault’. The only things they truly understood was primal dominance and security. Not love, nor comfort, nor a meaning to life. Elizabeth half expected to find corpses of girls who had committed suicide, should she search the rooms. As it was, she had no time. Within minutes, the girls and a handful of men were gathered in the hall again, over a dozen in total. Some had not even left, they had nothing to their name other than the rags on their body, and some did not even have that. Elizabeth sighed in exasperation at the delay. She pitied them but did not empathise; she was far too cold for that. Elizabeth then radioed a mission controller.

“Zero, this Crixus.”

“Crixus?”
A voice exclaimed over the static. “We thought something might have happenedd. We got concerned when you didn’t check in.”

“Complications.”
Elizabeth said. “Mission is complete, I need you hold off the constabulary. We have a few more complications – I need a bus.”

“A bus?”
Asked Zero.

“Do not question me. Get a bus. Hired, driven by one of our own, as soon as possible."

Elizabeth then gathered the men and women that Jessica had assembled. She ordered Jessica to lead the way out of the building by the most efficient way, Elizabeth was under no illusion that this ragged group would be unable to traverse broken lift shafts as she had. After a slow slog to the ground floor, they exited onto the same street that Elizabeth had arrived on. The rain was hammering down and the wind howled as it was channelled through the chasms that were ground level hive streets of the city. The herd of half-naked beings huddled close together as if penguins and Elizabeth marched off into the rain where, as requested, an bus idled in front of the hab unit. A man, dressed in similar attire to former Acolyte Henshaw, jumped out and approached with a hand over his heart.

“His Will, my Lord.” He greeted in a common Stevidian accent. Elizabeth nodded in reply.

“Good work, Acolyte. Are you all set?”

“Yes, my Lord. Zero didn’t tell me anything more about why you needed additional transport. I presume they’re the reason?”
The Acolyte asked, gesturing towards the gaggle of whimpering men and women at the foot of the building.

“They are. Come!” Elizabeth shouted, beckoning them over. The prostitutes covered themselves as best they could, more so for the rain than their dignity. As some of the women passed, the driver’s eyes drifted.

“Acolyte…” Elizabeth growled.

“Apology’s, my Lord. I will repent… but… these are Veritas.”

“Most are.”
Elizabeth corrected. “A few are not. They are under my care for now. I do not know what came over me. They did not cry for help, they did not ask for salvation. I could have just left them, but something made me stop. There are Christians among them too. I would not have known if I had not addressed them.”

“I think I understand.”
The Acolyte said.

“Henshaw is dead.” Elizabeth continued remorsefully.

“I see…” Replied the driver. He muttered a prayer and then said. “What’s to become of them?”

“They are the concern of the Church now. The women to a sisterhood and the men to a monastic order. I am unfamiliar with these parts of the capital, what are the local orders?”

“The local sisterhood is the Order of the Violet Rose. It’s small, probably no more than a hundred members. Nearest monastery, Saint Sebastian’s. My Lord, I’m not sure the sisterhood will take these women – they are Veritas.”

“It will only be temporary. I will liaise with the Marshite Church in Stevid, they will assume the duty of care. I do not know the Canoness of the Violet Rose, but she will know me. Draft a letter and mark it with my seal – she will accept a direct command from an Inquisitor no matter how unorthodox.”

“As you will, Lord. I’ll be on my way.”
Said the driver, bowing with hand on heart. “Go in God’s grace, my Lord.”

“By His grace.”
She replied, returning the gesture. She noted the faces of the women she had saved looking down on her from the rain-spattered windows of the bus. They were vacant – but there was one, one among them all, that stood out. Jessica’s. Her greasy hair and grimy skin made the small, grateful smile all the more poignant. As the bus began to move, Jessica mouthed the words “Thank you.” Elizabeth’s mouth twitched into the faintest of smiles and she nodded.

Elizabeth’s trench coat whipped around her as the bus drove off down the half-flooded street leaving Elizabeth behind in the driving wind and rain.

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