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Contagion (IC | TWI ONLY)

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

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Atnaia
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Founded: Dec 08, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Atnaia » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:23 am

Allayid nodded. "Excellent. Now, we do have one more piece of evidence. This is rather embarrassing for Atnaian intelligence, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention it...we have a prisoner who worked with SOAR. The reason this is embarrassing is that the prisoner was a LISA agent operating as a mole for SOAR. Now, we'd already have had him questioned, but he's currently in critical condition at Mount Ararat Hospital in Port Gray. A traffic collision caused by immediate and swift action taken by an agent to incapacitate the subject. To compound that embarrassment, said agent has since gone rogue, taking with him a valuable asset. Detention of Agent Holden and the gathering of any intel he has managed to get his hands on is a secondary venture, I'd think. From what we can tell, he managed to get out of the country on a small plane. Chances are good that he's following whatever leads he managed to gather, but unfortunately some of our records of Holden's investigation were destroyed prior to his escape bu Agent King, the SOAR mole. Frankly, they are a good part of the reason why this organization exists. Outside of this room, we can't be sure that any agent of any intelligence service hasn't been infected by Asorist thoughtcrime."
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Noronica
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Noronica » Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:27 am

Mike decided to pipe up, wanting to add his voice to the discussion. This was very important for Noronnican welfare after all. "That is certainly worrying for us. We cannot undergo a major review of employees and their activities at this moment as the NMI is undergoing a large operation in Arván. We have had no trouble as of yet, but I will be sure to keep you posted of any dissent."

Mike ran fingers through his hair, "We have more evidence to add to the table. We have had reports of Asorist graffiti around Port Sinare and there has been a recent killing of two soldiers by hanging on a lamppost near the docks, a letter nailed to their hands. The NMI has kept this strictly confidential, so the public are unaware of this for the time being. Luckily, I have a copy of the words here."

Mike reached into his upper jacket pocket and produced a crisply-folded piece of paper. He grimaced as he began reading the words, "Noronica is a bastard state, filled with lies and malice. We speak to you the people, you who thought this nation was one of peace and freedom. We tell you now that this is wrong. Noronica is ruled with an iron fist and has no care for the wishes of the people. In this very city, two-hundred soldiers were slaughtered like dogs by your supposedly grand ruler Overlord Tytus Alexander during the 'Rightful Rebellion'. He murdered them in cold blood for only their allegiance. Tomorrow it could be your sons or daughters that are slaughtered. Do not trust the regime, for it is ruled by an Absolute Monarchy, the law answers to his beck and call and not to its rightful owners, you. We are not a political or religious movement. We do not represent a government or a nation. We represent all people who have suffered oppression and fear. And we will free you. Procurrerent ad volatum."

Pocketing the letter again, he turned to Agent Allayid, "Am I correct in saying these last words are the words of SOAR?"
Last edited by Noronica on Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Atnaia
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Ex-Nation

Postby Atnaia » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:16 am

Allayid nodded. "Flying forward," she translated. "Or Forward, to flight. Either way, it's an old rallying call for SOAR, co-opted from an Asorist philosopher from the 50's, if I recall my university political science class. It is a disturbing signature to the letter, to be sure."
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Atnaia
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Ex-Nation

Postby Atnaia » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:15 am

The motel reeked of stale water and moth balls and the room only had one bed. Still, Jazz had never been quite so happy to see a mattress, and fell upon it with all the gusto her sore neck would allow. It was hard and she could feel the springs through the thinning fabric, but it may as well have been made of clouds it felt so good. She let out a soft moan of pleasure and Holden coughed. She blushed a bit.

"Sorry," she said.

Holden shrugged dropped his backpack in a corner and tossed his jacket over the rumbling radiator to dry. He fell into a swivel chair with peeling upholstery like it was the height of luxury. He peeled off his wet hiking boots and let out a comparable moan. Jazz giggled silently and rolled over on the bed so she faced the ceiling and the slowly rotating fan. They sat in silence for a few moments amid the peeling wallpaper and stained carpets. Jazz wondered if she had dozed off. There was no clock to tell. She nearly jumped when Holden groaned and pulled himself to his feet, the sudden noise breaking the buzzing silence.

"I'm going to go get us something to eat," he announced, and pulled on his boots with a squelch and a twist to his face. He left the room and jazz tugged herself to her feet with a bit of pain. There was a tiny attached bathroom with linoleum floors and a half-bath shower. She went in to take a piss, but the sudden thought struck her that she hadn't had a shower in days, so she turned on the water, stripped off her neckbrace and clothes, and stepped under the calcium-smelling trickle. It lacked pressure, and while she generally liked her showers skin peelingly hot and this one was barely above warm, it still felt fantastic to wash away the grime and rain and sweat and pain of the past few days. The motel even had a small bottle of shampoo, an unexpected luxury, and the strawberry scent did a surprising amount for her mood and pain. While her neck still hurt like a bitch, and her muscles were sore and torn, and her bruises black fading to yellow, she felt better.

She stepped out and dried off with a threadbare towel. She debated getting dressed, but in the end decided that her clothes were gross enough, ad it wasn't like they could get more wet, so she turned the water back on and scrubbed her socks and underthings as best she could, then hung them to dry on the shower curtain rod. She wrapped herself in the towel and stepped back into the motel room.

Holden was already back, with a couple bags of chips and cans of pop from a vending machine downstairs in the office (no restaurants nearby) and he blushed when he saw her in the towel. It was an oddly youthful thing on his edging-towards-middle-age face. For a moment, Jazz was embarrassed and modest, but then decided that that sort of propriety didn't really matter much when you were on the lam.

Besides, he carried you out of a burning car wreck and helped you escape a terrorist cell's clutches, he deserves somethign for the spank bank.

That gave her an idea, and for a moment she almost entertained it. It had been awhile since she'd had sex, and it was a great stress reliever, and Holden was good looking in an older, dad-bod sort of way. She decided against it though. She was sore and a low level hum of constant panic wasn't leaving her, and she also didn't really like Holden all that much, which wouldn't have been a problem if it was just going to be sex, but they were stuck together for awhile, and that would be awkward at the very least. At the most, it would mean feelings, probably from Holden, and Jazz wasn't in the mood for feelings. She was in the mood for a can of soda and stale potato chips and a handful of pain killers. So she grabbed her bag of chips and let Holden blush and turn his head and probably have nasty, misogynist thoughts for a few seconds, which he would inevitably feel bad about when he jerked off in the shower later, but she wouldn't begrudge him that. Then she sat on the bed and ate and drank in silence.

Holden poured over his map and the files and a notebook he had filled with clues and thoughts, and frowned, and deliberately didn't look or speak with her, and then she went and checked on her clothes and they were dry enough, so she got into her underwear and bra and came back in, marginally more dressed than before, and climbed under the covers of the bed and dozed off again. Holden shook her awake some time later.

"One of us should always be awake while the other is asleep, just in case," he said, and it made sense. So she woke up, and while Holden curled up under the blankets, she cleaned her outerwear, let it dry on the radiator, and read the files for some clue. She didn't get much. Then she dressed properly and fiddled with the old radio their room had in lieu of a TV, looking for news that might be helpful, but she didn't speak the local language. She settled for music, an oldies station playing both Oster and Atnaian classic rock, which was familiar and comforting.

She wondered if all investigations, all terrorist hunts, were like this. Moments of boredom and quiet punctuated by explosions and gunfights and standing in the rain reading maps. It was a bit like being on a boat for days at a time, usually quiet, usually boring, and occassionally dreadfully terrifying when something broke or a ship moved suspiciously close or the Port Authority got close to the chest with all of the contraband during their inspection.

After Holden woke up, they went and grabbed breakfast from the machines in the office, a protein bar and a can of juice each, then they began their hike towards the abandoned town where they hoped to stumble across a terror cell with a biological weapon.

Her life had gotten weird.
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Ostehaar
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Ostehaar » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:20 pm

"This one's clear, sir. Looks like it's been empty for years."

"Shit!" Johan spat, firmly banging his fist on the table. "Where the hell could they be? We've scanned almost every fucking hole on this island, but no leads."

He sat back down, hands rested on the desk and eyes fixed on the display. The image was still that of an abandoned cave somewhere between the hills of central Lovsk, as seen through the live video feed transmitted by the unit on the ground. As the soldier with the camera moved, the cave disappeared from the frame and Johan could see the areas around - the low bushes and green grass, and the dirt path leading away from the valley and back to civilization.

"Alright," he said and released a sigh of despair, "I think we're done here. You can move on to the next spot."

"Copy that," the commander confirmed, "see you later."

Johan closed the video feed window and stared at the display for a few moments, wondering what to do. Oster field intelligence units have been scouting the island for a few weeks by then, covering nearly its entire territory, turning almost every stone and kicking almost every door - but no SOAR members or known collaborators were found. It's as if they've actually disappeared from the face of the earth. Either that, or they've found a way to leave Lovsk under the Oster RADAR and reach... where?

Alternatively, perhaps they were still hiding, but in the areas still unchecked. There were a few of those - mainly along the western coast of the island. Ground units would arrive there as well soon.



Haalban, north Ostehaar

Martin Langer sat in a bright office with no windows, illuminated by a pair of white fluorescent ceiling lamps that gave the room its sanitary atmosphere. Across a black iron table sat a relatively short red-head wearing thick glasses and holding a cigarette.

"You don't mind me smoking, do you?" The man said inattentively, taking a long drag and gazing at Langer.

"I don't," Langer replied. "How long are we going to wait here?"

"Until we verify your credentials. I'm not going to cooperate with a person like you before making all the checks necessary." He finished his sentence slowly, a smile spreading across his face and revealing his damaged teeth. Langer grimaced at the sight and looked away. The red-head chuckled and sucked another drag. "You can start talking, though. I'm listening."

"Alright," Langer said, "I need cash. I'm moving around people and goods from and to Lovsk, and right now DFO presence there is slowing me down. I have people who can get the job done with small boats and a lot of nerve, but I need to pay them somehow and I need to pay the merchants who help them. In short, I need cash."

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Athara Magarat
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Founded: Oct 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

Postby Athara Magarat » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:03 am

"How are you, Mr Selling?"

"I told you bastards not to call me by my real name."
The short man grumbled as he spoke on the phone. The passers-by could easily recognize him as a non-Atnaian due to his language and appearance: pale yellow face, small dark eyes and bleached blond straight hair. "Do you think I enjoyed being snickered at by people who looked at my ID and read my surname? Do you think I had a good time telling all those bunch of idiots that my surname has got nothing to do with the English word?"

"And you have not forgotten your business, right?"

"As if I could. I am not like you guys who sit and laugh at other people's misery. How's the situation in other places?"
Selling watched the gulls flying near the coasts from the bench he was seated on.

"The second attempt at Nakhu Khal, the Karaharian leader's life failed again. Bastard should just die already. Arvan is unstable at the moment and our assassination attempts on Sartin failed but heard that he was taken by Noronicans. The leaders are planning something more for the coming weeks. And when will you get to Silver Branch or SOAR?"

"I have been trying ever since I arrived here. Do you think I came here for sightseeing? As soon as I get in contact with either Silver Branch or SOAR or heck, any other weapons suppliers, I will let you folks know."
Selling grumbled even more.

"And if you are not successful in that. You know what you have to do."

"Is it really time for that? I thought Atnaia could wait. I thought the elders said something about not pissing our Balnian members who have significant numbers."

"Whatever your new orders may be soon, the fact remains that you are there. The fact remains that SHOCK has already entered Atnaia."


After a few moment, the man from SHOCK switched off his phone and gazed at the sea for a long time before heading on his way and disappearing among thousands of passers-by in the streets where no one could tell him apart.
Last edited by Athara Magarat on Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Atnaia
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Ex-Nation

Postby Atnaia » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:26 am

Water slapped around the foundations of the empty buildings. The small village was long empty and slowly being reclaimed by nature, evolving from tamed civilization into a wild swamp as the empty buildings began their slow march of rot and decay into nothing. One day, all that would be left to signify their existence would be the occasional concrete foundation or disembodied chimney stack, rising from a bog. For now, many had collapsed, fallen in under their own weight and being eaten away by moss and vines. Those that stood creaked with each passing wind.

It was frigid, with the calm water rippling as sudden gusts blew across the surface. A high-pitched whistle would ring out as the wind moved through empty window panes. A telephone pole tilted at an oblique angle to the water, and creaked ominously with the breeze. Jazz could feel the biting cold down to her bones as she moved through the hip deep water.

"I think we may have made a mistake coming here," she said. Holden didn't answer. He just led her forward, through the water and out towards the sea at the far end of town. Jazz kept getting mental flashes of the things that must be swimming in the water below, of Atnaian alligators and long nasty fish with razor sharp teeth. Of course there wouldn't be alligators here, they were endemic to a completely different climate, but the fish were a real fear. Something brushed her leg and she hoped it was a branch. She was thankful for the rubber overalls Holden had purchased with a bit of their remaining funds.

Suddenly, Holden stopped and held up a hand. She stopped too. Somewhere ahead, there was a dull, low throbbing noise. Jazz immediately identified it as an outboard motor. Holden waved his hand sideways and they took cover behind the crumbling remains of an old house.

Ahead of them, moving low over the water, was a two seat metal boat. It trawled slowly in the shallows, laden with a big wooden box. Holden looked at Jazz and raised his eyebrows. She nodded, confirming she had seen. The boat turned and disappeared between two buildings.

Holden glanced around, his eyes darting from location to location, and then he pointed. Rising above the low rooftops of the village was a single remaining landmark of note, the time-stained steeple of a church. It was impossible to tell denomination, or even religion. All that could be seen was it's faded white paint and the crumbling boards that had fallen away to reveal a fallen bell in its tower. Holden waited a few moments, then spoke in a low voice that wouldn't carry.

"Only real place to store anything," he said. "I bet they are there."

Jazz swallowed. They didn't have a gameplan, and they didn't know what SOAR was doing here, not really. "What do we do?"

Holden frowned and looked at the steeple. He checked the zippered pocket of his overalls, where his gun waited. "We need to see what they are smuggling, and to where."

Jazz felt in itch on the back of her neck. She bit her lip. "Won't they have guards."

"Maybe," Holden said. "Probably."

"This is really stupid," she replied. "We know they're here now. We've done our thing. We should call...I dunno, OVAST? ANIA?"

Holden shook his head. "Can't trust anyone," he said. "SOAR has eyes everywhere. They'll be gone before anyone arrives. Like smoke. You ever wonder why LISA and ANIA and AVA and all the other RISA agencies haven't managed to take out the damned Asorists? Shit like this is why. Come on."

Without waiting for a response, he moved behind the building and towards the church. Jazz struggled for a moment, scratched her neck, and followed.
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Atnaia
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Ex-Nation

Postby Atnaia » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:34 am

The church rose like a crumbling iceberg from the marshy water of the flooded town. Flaking white paint on shattered wooden walls gave it the appearance of splintered striations. The broken walls held up a sagging shingle roof, all atop a concrete platform that seemed to be half-sinking into the now-soft ground. Holden could see the sunken entrance to a cellar around one side, and the exposed front had been stripped down to the beams, so that Holden could see inside to the rows of collapsed pews and the stripped-bare altar that now served as storage for several large wooden crates. The boat that he and Jazz had seen was tied up to a post near the short, water drowned stairs to where there would have once stood a front door.

Holden could count five men inside, armed with pistols. Three were working at moving a crate up to the altar. The other two were watching vaguely, and all were chatting in Oster. Holden wished that he was more fluent in the local dialect. He could only make out snippets, but he could see a logo pressed on the side of the crate. A nearly identical one sat up near the altar. A shell game, I thought. They were moving bits of cargo around, disguised as one another, and using this point as a waystation. Whatever was in the replacement crate looked big and heavy. Holden frowned. He needed to see what was in it. More than that, he needed to make sure that if it was what he expected it never found its way onto the boat that was likely moored somewhere off-shore.

He watched the building, planning his moves, and then slipped forward. He moved low in the water, using it for cover, and came up to the stripped out wall. The guards didn't seem particularly alert or perceptive, and he counted on them not expecting him. He pulled himself so low that only his head was visible above the murky water, pulled himself tight into the corner between the stairs and the foundations of the church, and drew out his knife. Then, he deliberately splashed the water.

Above, he could hear a few words passed about in Oster, and watched the vague, murky reflections in the water. One shape moved along the edges of the wall towards his hiding place. He gripped his knife and stilled his bleeding. As the shadow passed above him and came close to the edge, he popped up, grabbed the man around the throat in a sleeper hold, and tugged the surprised individual down under the water with him. The man thrashed, but a single shove of the blade into his throat stilled him. Holding his breath and remaining below the water, Holden immediately kicked off the foundations and swam away, letting the body float up to the surface.

He could hear the muted shouts above the water, and tugged himself as quickly as he could through the swamp, using his hands in the silty ground to pull him forward.He came up for air on the far side of the church from his initial point of access, and saw the men taking aim in that direction. They were waiting, patiently, for him to emerge. He pulled himself tight to the foundations again and listened. After a few moments, there was a barked shout, and a response, and he could hear splashing as one of the men went to try and pull his dead compatriot from the water. Holden pulled his pistol from the watertight pocket, and as soon as he saw the man's head dip out from behind the wall, he pulled the trigger once. There was a resounding pop, and the man's head exploded sideways. Holden took a deep breath and dipped below the disgusting murk again, hearing the bullets above him and passing through the water. He tugged his way along the foundations to what he was looking for. A shattered basement window into the cellar he had noticed before. He pulled himself into the submerged space.

This was dangerous. He was now in a contained, flooded concrete block, with no knowledge of the floorplan, nowhere to get air, and a limited amount of time to capitalize on the surprise above before the men started hunting and found Jazz where she was hiding a few buildings over. Hand over hand, he pulled himself along using the ceiling. His pistol was going to be useless without a good cleaning, so as he went he shoved it back in his pocket, maintaining his grip on the knife. He moved along the upper edges of the room, avoiding moving into its center where he wouldn't be able to find a way out. His breath was slowly draining and he could feel his chest tightening. When he was younger, he could have held his breath for over a minute. Now, he was already struggling, and the thick blackness of the water wasn't helping.

Something passed near his body, and Holden had to control his panic. Hand over hand, he searched for a doorway, a stairwell, something to get him above. He felt the looming presence of the water, the walls, the invisible predators lurking within. His eyes squeezed tight, he was blind beneath the water, like he was in some deep sea trench. His chest felt stretched thin.

Finally, he found what he was looking for. His groping hands suddenly found a diagonal upwards gap in the wall, and he pulled himself through. Seconds later, he emerged sputtering into an air pocket created by the top of a stairwell. The stairs themselves were gone, but there was a wooden door there, and he pulled himself up onto the thin platform at its cusp. He put his ear to the door and could hear the shouting beyond.

Pushing the door open slowly, he pulled himself through and into a space behind the crates at the altar. The remaining three men were panicking, looking out of the building for their assailant. The nearest one was standing near their abandoned crate, within arm's reach. Holden slipped over, took cover behind the crate, and popped up. He slammed his hand over the man's mouth and drove the blade into the side of his throat, twisting it once faster than the man could shout. Holden grabbed the fallen terrorist's gun from his twitching fingers and pulled the body over, hiding it behind the crate. The other two hadn't noticed, and Holden didn't waste opportunities. He popped up and pulled the trigger twice. The first bullet flew true, striking the first man in the shoulder and sending him stumbling off the edge of the concrete foundations and splashing into the water. The second bullet popped wide and into the town beyond. The last remaining terrorist spun and began firing blind. Holden dove behind the crate and heard the bullets catch the wood.

"Jesus," he shouted, "aren't you guys moving a bomb? Are you stupid?"

He waited for a lull in the bullets and popped up again. The man was trying to move around the edge of the room as he reloaded. Holden took aim, pulled the trigger, and the terrorist slammed backwards into a broken pew as though taking a seat. Holden sighed and stood.

A boom caught his attention and the wall next to him pitted as a bullet barely missed his head. The terrorist who had fallen in the water was standing, clutching his shoulder with one hand and aiming with the other. Two more shots followed. Holden dove sideways, expecting more, but there was a sudden dull thud. Holden waited a moment and looked up. Standing where the man had been was Jazz, holding a heavy branch.

"I got bored," she said. Holden grunted.

"Come on," he said, "we have things to look at."
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Ostehaar
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Founded: Jul 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

Postby Ostehaar » Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:39 am

Wind was howling up the hill in ghost-like bursts, throwing some leaves and rain drops in the faces of Oster soldier walking down towards the coastal lowlands. Far away to the north-west, almost hidden between the dark low clouds of late February, they could see the town of Kirkvein and the few villages around it. The area wasn't entirely abandoned, but it wasn't fully explored either. Even after a year-long occupation of the island, the coastal areas west of Rovka and all the way up to the Oster-Vancouvian military base remained some sort of a mystery to Oster command. Their usual "we need more men to cover the entire island" chant was met with displeased faces and words of encouragement.

The bio-attack sped things up a bit, and finally Oster troops had the time and instructions to put boots on the ground out there in the 'far' west, beyong the hornet's nest that was Rovka. Some of the soldiers even had a theory on why SOAR couldn't be found in the mountains - "They knew we would be reluctant to set foot in the west," the troops hypothesized. "They knew that the first place we would run to search would be the mountains."

"We might meet an entire fucking division of anarchists out there," someone in the platoon claimed.

"SOAR don't operate like that," a reply came from someone else down the column.

"They might start to..."

Intelligence on local groups or activities was sparse, of the kind you would expect when dealing with the partly hostile population if that area. This person said something about a group of individuals carrying heavy equipment near Kirkvein; that person claimed that a suspicious bunch of people were speaking in an unfamiliar accent near that village over there; and yes, of course, satellite imagery showed nothing more than a few merchant boats cruising around, same as usual. OVAST tricks didn't help either, since the population was too uncooperative and it was harder than usual to recruit informants.

A single shot echoed between the ground and the clouds like an unexpected lightning bolt. The platoon commander crouched down and his troops did the same, raising their rifles and preparing for further orders.

"That came from the coast," his deputy said, "I'd say about a kilometer away."

"The old village down there?"

"I'm not sure. Could be it."

"Might as well check what's going on there, I suppose. It's in our path anyway."

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Ostehaar
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Founded: Jul 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

Postby Ostehaar » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:00 am

Haalban, north Ostehaar

Martin Langer sat patiently with his two engineers, Rikard and Dihn, in the back of his workshop south of the city. It was a relatively sunny day, with only a few hours of rain in the morning. The ground was covered in muddy snow but the bushes and trees all around were just wet. The three were behind a perspex sheet.

"Alright, we're set," Dihn said dryly, eyes still fixed on his laptop. "It's online and the device seems to be connected."

Langer nodded firmly. "Good. Let's see that it works."

Several meters away from them, a medium-size box made some mechanical sounds of movement as its top cover slid to the side. Then a small motor was launched into action, creating a high-pitch vibrational sound that ended within a few seconds, and then a loud pop. This crushed a bottle of water against a container of soap, with the result being a spray of the mixed material all over the place. Their protective perspex turned white in an instant.

Langer smiled and put his hands together in excitement. "Excellent! You did a good job," he congratulated the two for the first time since they've met him, "now all I need is the material." That was scheduled to arrive from Lovsk within a day or two, if anything would proceed as planned.
Last edited by Ostehaar on Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Noronica
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Founded: Dec 11, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Noronica » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:43 pm

Gwynon City

Police Sergeant James Hoping grinned wolfishly at the bartender, what I would do to get her out the back. He grinned further when she handed him his glass, a small smile on her face. James intentionally stuck his hand slightly further than his hand just to touch the bartender's hand, stroking it a little before snatching his glass away and gulping down the contents, ignoring the bitter taste as it sloshed down his gullet. His friends whooped at him, causing the girl to blush and walk to another customer which served to further entertain James' friends.

"Alright James, stop being a perv and let's do something! I've been waiting for an hour and all I want to do is piss myself to sleep while you go chatting up some random bartender!" His friend Mike shouted out, uncaring for the dirty looks from some of the more sober customers of the pub. Mike stood from his stool and lazily slid his arm around James to get him to move, eventually managing to coerce him into moving. The two lead the group of friends to the television in the corner of the pub where the cricket was playing. The game was a T20 HITSIX game in Ainslie with Greyham Cricket club and the Jaekare Warriors. It appeared that Greyham was winning, so the pub was a lot more lively. James raised his glass at one of his favourite players who was bowling for the game, Martin King. Martin let the ball bounce in his hand for a few seconds before moving his arm downwards, slowly reaching his waist before swinging his arm above his head in a surge of adrenaline, sending the ball flying towards the batter. The whole pub seemed to lean forwards into the direction of the screen, beer glasses forgotten about. The batter scrambled for the ball, swinging wildly for the projectile, but unfortunately the ball managed to escape the swing, reaching the wickets and knocking them down, sending the entire pub into a roar of excitement. James cried out with the rest of the room, shouting out his congratulations to his favourite player.

In all the excitement, some of the more quiet customers stood from their seats and walked towards the cricket crowd. The chatter had soon died down and the game was back to normal, allowing the small group to make themselves known.

The leader of the group reached into a bag he was carrying and quickly unveiled a weapon he had been carrying. Weighing up his MP5 submachine gun, he aimed his weapon at one of the off-duty police officers and took a few squeezes on his trigger, swiftly ending the man's life. This was a cue for the others in the group to pull out their own weapons from various bags they had been carrying, firing upon the pub's customers. Those who were unlucky enough to be sat in chairs witnessed their friends fall on top of them before being shot in the back.

The leader of the group turned towards the bartender who was shakily picking up the phone, eyes wild with panic. She dropped the phone and curled into a fetus position behind the counter, hands covering her ears as the slaughter continued.

Soon the entirety of the pub had been shot save for Sergeant James and the bartender who was effectively being held hostage by one of the gunners. The leader of the group grinned maniacally at James, slowly cornering the police member while the others continued their rampage outside.

The leader began to speak, a dramatic flair added to his voice in obvious enjoyment, "Today is a righteous day, a day of justice served upon those who commit lechery and perverse acts. You Sergeant Hoping are a disgusting manifestation of what we despise, greed, corruption, debauchery, you are meant to uphold the law and yet you sit with your friends, watching fucking television. You are meant to be a beacon of hope for those suffering, but instead you feed off of their hurt. Today you will suffer for your crimes. W-"

"Please! Get away from me! I-I am a p-olice officer!" James screamed, interrupting the man's monologue. Obviously angered by this blatant interruption, the gunner growled and riddled James with bullets, furious at the ruining of his 'grand moment'.

"We are not a political or religious movement. We do not represent a government or a nation. We represent all people who have suffered oppression and fear. And. We. Will. Free. You. Procurrerent ad volatum." The man spat out, kicking the body of the deceased officer. He turned to his fellow gunner, the bartender joined the death toll.

The SOAR leader stepped out into the street and observed the work of his group. More SOAR members had joined in with the shootings and soon the street had turned into mayhem, car alarms blaring and screams reverberating around the metaphorical battlefield. He smiled at the chaos and joined in, firing his gun virtually anywhere, just caught in the moment. That was the whole point of this, to just cause destruction. Several explosions caught his attention, letting him know that stage two had been initiated. He doubled over in laughter at his surroundings, unable to contain the feeling of utter glee within him. He did this to fight for a better cause, to fight the Noronnican bastards who fed off the weak, to save his fellow man by displaying the might of SOAR.

The fighting was cut short as soon more guns were heard. Several armoured vehicles entered the scene and soon the streets were flooding with BIS troops, their guns drawn and firing upon the terrorists. Soon the chaos had ended and several SOAR members and been arrested, including the leader who growled as he was shoved angrily into an armoured van.

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Athara Magarat
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Athara Magarat » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:39 pm

Outskirts of Juverna, Covonant

The bus stopped at the T-junction and two men got out. They were the only passengers who had stepped out at this top. The bus went left to the broader highway to another city while the road the men would be taking was getting narrower and narrower. The blond man would have been lost here had he not been accompanied by his tanned companion.

"Are you sure of this?" The tanned man pointed his almond eyes at the blond man. "Is it wise to leave your traumatized daughter at the hospital all alone?" The two vaguely Khas women in the restaurant by the road looked at the two men talking in a language they did not understood and went with their work; cleaning the plates.

"Don't worry about my girl. She has been taken care of by the nurses and SHOCK members who enter there as my close friends. Mrs Neupane was there today."

The tanned man smiled a bit. "I did say you two would make a perfect couple. She even has dyed blond hair and those hypnotizing green eyes that cause her to be mistaken for a non-Khas and she is widowed. The perfect match for you."

"I thought you said one-fourth of the Khas people still have green or blue eyes." The blond man said to the tanned man who still gave the devil's smile as water drops fell one by one on a filled pot from a hand-pump. "Underground water, I see." The blond man muttered to himself before speaking to his companion. "Besides, my wife would never forgive me. Nor would my daughter. And having a new family with Mrs Neupane would mean that I would be indulged into happiness and forget my mission."

"But your wife is gone."

"From this world. Not from me." The blond man stepped on the just-fallen leaf from the deciduous tree as he walked. "I still find it hard to believe that she would commit suicide. What else could she do when she was told by those beasts that I had died in prison? I do not resent her for that decision nor do I resent the soldiers who were under orders. The one who I am angry at..."

"The one controlling us all. The one who looks from above. The system of this world." The tanned man finished the other man's sentence as they waited for a scooter to pass and then crossed the road to come a much narrower path. "Honestly, I have heard that line from you so many times that it is getting irritating. If you are so much into the system of everything, you should have joined SHOCK."

"Should I?" The blond man made a rare jest.

"Frankly no! You know too much about us. It would make me the most sinful person if I disposed of you and let your daughter be an orphan for the rest of her life."

"The neighborhood here is strangely quiet." The blond man noted. The masons were working on the top floor of an unfinished house nearby and the sun was bright but even with the pitched road and houses everywhere the locality was indeed ghostly silent.

"Quite so." The tanned man said as they continued walking on their way. "But not as developed as other places of Juverna. And there are regular police checks in this neighborhood. The people have every reason to be afraid of outsiders; including us."

"You know, Ghale. I am now actually thankful to you guys for giving my life a purpose." The blond man spoke as low as ever. "Without you people, I would be just a raving madman who would have left his poor and innocent daughter crying for the rest of her life."

"Think of the person you are meeting to be just your own daughter."

The blond man was silent for a while then suddenly shouted. "Wait! Do you mean to say that the person we are meeting is a teenage girl?"

"Not just any girl, Mr Chatrov. She is one of the best strategists we have." Ghale waited for Chatrov to match his pace. "In fact, she is more influential than most of the elders with the SHOCK ranks. Do you remember our operative Selling? Or should I say your man Selling?"

"We sent him to Atnaia. Hangbo says that Selling has been in contact with her."

"I bet my money that Selling will just be playing Prime Assault while this girl's agent shall meet him."

"I bet my money that Selling will already have made contact with SOAR and Silver Branch for our weapons deals." Chatrov was defensive of his subordinate. "Though I will admit that I myself was surprised Selling has not been caught by Atnaian police by now."

After turning right once more on the path, the two men continued their conversation.

"So about this genius girl..."

"She was instrumental in making the Kumari of Coventry make her appearance in that video. Might I add you that her ancestor was a renowned Xrevaran?"

"Aren't you all Kirati peoples descended from Xrevarans?"

Ghale spoke while looking at the Khas, Kirati and a few Taurot children playing football on the open field where the cattle were also grazing. "That yes but in 1080, Khas-Kirat Empire and Xrevaro were long different entities and Su Hangma was born in Xrevaro. As a direct descendant of the Khas-Kirat Empire's best general, this girl goes by the family name of Suhang and we will refer to her as Ms Suhang when we meet her in the education institute she runs."

"Education institute?"

"Say Mr Chatrov, you lost your wife..."

"My wife and daughter were raped and made slaves to some rich Arvanan dog. My wife was desperate enough to kill herself and look at my daughter's condition: locked up in a hospital room and traumatized to the point of being unable to speak. I lost my happy family. I lost my job. I...sometimes I think I am just a cosmic plaything."

"And this girl and her friends, they have lost their future. Future, my dear friend Chatrov, future. They have the lost their future for the crimes of their ancestors."

"Tell me more about Ms Suhang and this education institute that she runs."

"You will get to know her once you meet her. Not that far now." Ghale and Chatrov continued their journey.

"Say, a bet on Selling until then?"

"I have faith in him. How much are you willing to bet? 1000?"

"That is a bit for me. Let's reduce it to 500. But I will still say Selling will be just fooling around in Atnaia."
Last edited by Athara Magarat on Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Noronica
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Noronica » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:47 pm

Port Sinare

"What the fuck did you do?!" Rosetta slammed her fists onto the table, rage running rampant across her features. She lifted an accusing finger, eyes wide and sharp.

"Do you realise the extent of the danger we are now in?! Your 'mates' were nothing but fucking zealots with guns! Now they've decided to snitch and Lovsk is being scrutinised by the fucking BIS. We promised, promised that we would not go fucking around in Noronica without permission, therefore stopping morons like your boys doing what they want!" She yanked up her beer and took a sizeable gulp before throwing the can onto the table, watching it bounce and crackle as it fell. With her fists and teeth clenched, she stormed towards the window.

Michael, a scar-ridden, middle-aged man stood from his battered seat and tried to put his hands up as a sign of peace, "Look. The way I see it, we scared the Noronnicans didn't we? We showed them for what they were, weak and oppressive, unable to escape the claws of rampant corruption. We should be cele -"

Rosetta growled, spun around and took a few steps before reaching Michael and slamming her right fist into his stomach, an audible yelp echoing around the room as Michael slumped to the floor. She kneeled down to his level, a dangerous look on her face, "I will not accept this as some sort of victory for us. SOAR needs some form of fucking order, now more than ever, yet it is ruined by zealots like you who seek the thrill of taking down corruption like heroes," her face scrunched up in an ugly manner, "you were an Asorist originally, yes?"

Michael groaned out his reply, spitting onto the concrete floor as he did so, "Yes."

Rosetta pinched her nose, "I damn knew it. I joined SOAR for the rebellious lifestyle, to be an anarchist. To be honest, I couldn't give less of a shit who I'm following or under what banner, I just want to see some action - to be a rebel. I want to show up society for it being a scam, not to hold a candle and sing praises about the downfall of a nation hundreds of miles away from here! Do you pray to Cthulhu as well?"

Michael glared up at her, "Does loyalty mean nothing to you? You are an agent of SOAR, you fight for the freedom of the oppressed, not some glorified moody teenage girl with a hatred towards all things government!"

Rosetta smirked and sat on Michael's chair, fixing the red-faced man with a predatorial gaze, "The others are going to know about this soon enough, whether it's by reading the latest NMC article, or by a BIS muzzle on their necks, and believe me when I say this, no one will want to work with a guy who causes a crackdown. No one likes zealots."
Last edited by Noronica on Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Atnaia
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Postby Atnaia » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:58 pm

The crate cracked open with a snap. Holden moved away the crowbar and, with Jazz's aid, pushed the lid off. The pair gazed in and Holden's eyes went wide.

"Jesus Christ," he said.

"Balnn's balls," said Jazz.

They looked at one another, and back at the device. Gleaming up at them was a massive, polished chrome device the size of an oil drum. Jazz recognized it, although the last one she had seen had been half this size.

"This is a..." she started

"GIS sprinkler," Holden interrupted.

"I was going to say a 'fucking huge bomb'," Jazz replied.

"Bomb's explode," Holden mumbled, as he leaned over the device. "This doesn't explode."

Jazz took a step back as Holden began to check the device over. "Is that safe?"

Holden nodded. "Doesn't look like it is...loaded? What would the word be? Armed? It doesn't have GIS in it. See? That hole in the top is where they'd insert a containment cell of the stuff."

Jazz stepped forward and saw he was right. There was an empty, round pit in the top of the device, with threading where something could be screwed in. "Well, that's a relief."

Holden remained quiet. Jazz could see his lips moving. "Fuck," he finally said.

"What?"

"Running numbers," he said. "Estimating. Judging from the size of this thing, I'd bet this device could coat a city block in modified Ghost-in-Sea in less than five minutes. How many people live in a standard city block? What if it was raining when this thing went off. We could lose a thousand people before containment crews were even moving."

"Holy fuck," Jazz said. "Well, we stopped it."

"Sure," Holden said. "But for how long? We can't exactly move it. And what if they have more? Plus, right now there's a boat somewhere waiting for this thing to be delivered. When it doesn't show, SOAR is going to be really, really pissed."

Jazz swallowed. "What do we do?"

"Get the hell out of here before SOAR shows up," Hodlen said.

"And then what?"

Hodlen bit his lip and frowned. After a moment, he spoke. "I think we have to take a risk."

Jazz waved a hand at the dead bodies. "This wasn't a risk?"

"I mean a really, really big one," Holden said. "We have to gamble on thousands of lives."

Jazz raised an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?"

"We need them to pick this thing up," Holden said. "We need them to bring it to its destination. We need to figure out where that is and what they were doing with it. Then we can really stop it."

Jazz blinked. "You just said how big of a problem this could be."

"It'd be worse not to know where it was headed," Holden replied.

"We won't be able to follow it."

Holden scratched his chin. Then he reached into his pocket, took out his cellphone, still dry in the watertight bag he had put it in. He took it out, switched it to silent, and buried it in the packing material of the box. He looked at Jazz. "Give me five minutes and 'Find my Phone', and we'll have them."

"This is crazy."

"This is necessary."

They stared at each other.

"Are we really doing this?" asked Jazz.

Holden shrugged. "We've come this far."

Jazz closed her eyes. "Fine," she said. "Fine."

Holden jerked a thumb towards the dinghie. "Come on," he said. "At least we got a free boat."
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Ostehaar
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Ostehaar » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:35 pm

Lieutenant Sjaan Ardun led his diminished platoon through the underbrush on the way down to the coast, carefully maneuvering between bushes and mounds and keeping his aim up. To the Oster military, these areas were uncharted territory, only explored from high above by satellites or aircraft but never navigated through. After months of operations on the island, this was the first time Ardun felt like he was actually far away overseas, stepping into new grounds where enemies might be hovering around undetected.

It was an exaggeration of reality, of course - although the OVAST failed to collect a lot of intelligence on that area, the agency knew enough to guarantee that it wasn't actually full of insurgents. Still, Ardun's thoughts were enough to push his senses to full-alert, and the fire-teams behind him followed suit. They were silent, cautious, and composed... but their commander's decision to walk down this path and find out more about the origin of the shot they have heard was wrong. The platoon has overused its two reconnaissance drones, and therefore had no way of gathering intelligence on what's ahead.

As Ardun's troops approached the coast and moved out of the underbrush, a group of several armed individuals took aim. Two members of that group were already locked and loaded with two short range anti-personnel missiles.

"They'll notice us pretty soon," one of them said quietly to a person next to him who was looking through binoculars. "It's now or never, man." He took a deep breath and waited for an order.

"Sure. Fire."

The launcher jerked in the man's hands as a missile jumped out of the tube. It lifted into the air and its rocket ignited, propelling it at a speed of seventy meters per second towards the Oster soldiers up front. The second missile roared as well and streaked towards the back of the column - but it span out of control in the middle of its flight and was thrown sideways to crash against a rock.

Ardun was sharp enough to recognize the sound of the first launch. He called a warning to his troops and jumped on the nearest person - his deputy - dropping to the ground and hoping for the best. The missile flew right above their heads and hit the middle of the column, tearing through few of the soldiers and throwing some of the others aside in a loud explosion. After a few moments during which he could only hear a high-pitched sound in his ears, he noticed the muffled shouts of his troops. He skipped a few meters and helped drag several soldiers behind cover, while others stepped slightly away from the group and tried to locate the origin of the missiles.

"Sir!"

As one of the soldiers called to Ardun and pointed towards a low hill a few hundreds of meters away, bursts of automatic fire began cutting through the surrounding plants and digging into the grassy soil. The Oster troops returned fire as accurately as they could. Every few seconds a loud shot echoed around - revealing that the attackers had a sniper dug in somewhere in the area. Shouts of "sniper!" quickly filled the air, sending most of the remaining troops behind large rocks and mounds.

Ardun called a few of his men to follow him as he darted between the shots towards the coast itself, eventually using the rocks on the coastline as cover and a way forward. He instructed the rest to stay put, return fire, and make sure assistance arrives to treat and evacuate the wounded.

The exchange of fire went on east-to-west and west-to-west in a vector almost parallel to the coast, as Ardun led a small group in that direction while using the coastal rocks themselves as cover. Eventually he was able to arrive fairly close to the group of attackers - albeit from the lower ground - and watch them from up close.

"Two grenades," Ardun instructed quietly and pointed towards a low area next the place where the attackers were dug in. "Mark, take Blacker there and fire on my mark," he said, "I'll go with J around that mound and come from behind them." His men nodded and prepared themselves for the imminent rush of adrenaline.

"Go," Ardun said calmly.



"Four DFO soldiers were killed and five were wounded today in a west Lovsk terrorist ambush," the anchorman announced. "According to DFO senior spokesman Alen Si Vehes, the attackers were members of the regional terrorist organization SOAR, the same group that carried out the recent attack in Noronica and the bio-attacks in Atnaia."

Si Vehes cleared his throat and looked directly at the camera. "Earlier this afternoon, a group of about ten terrorists armed with rifles and anti-personnel missiles, as well as two snipers, opened fire on a team performing routine patrols near Kirkvein. They managed to surprise the force and fire their missiles, but were then quickly subdued. Obviously, the DFO is already debriefing the incident."

"Sir," a reporter called, "what about the rumors regarding a specific site in the area that these terrorists were supposedly trying to defend by this attack?"

"I've heard these rumors as well," Si Vehes replied, "but they seem to be bogus. In any case, other DFO teams scouted the area after the attack, including a nearby deserted village, and found nothing of significance. It is possible that the deserted village was recently used as a temporary terrorist camp, but there was no indication that anything special went on there."

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Atnaia
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Ex-Nation

Postby Atnaia » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:21 am

The tiny civilian airport was far from comfortable. It felt more like a bus stop than an international terminal, and the single plane taxiing on its less-than-maintained runway looked about twenty years past its sell-by date. But it had a coffee machine and, oddly, decent enough internet at small, rentable kiosks. Plus, it was going to get them away from Lovsk, which nearly brought tears to Jazz's eyes. It made her talkative while Holden was trying to focus.

"I still don't get what Armanov meant by me knowing someone or having connections," she said. "We didn't run into a single person I knew here."

"Maybe he intended us to do this some other way," Holden mumbled as he typed.

"I don't know," Jazz said. "It just feels like..."

The old computer binged and Holden leaned back with a frown. "Well, that's fucking annoying."

"What?"

"I guess SOAR is smarter than I thought they were," Holden said, "or at least more cautious. Doesn't look like they really moved anything anywhere...I mean, it's out to sea, but you'd think they'd want to bring it somewhere. Damn thing keeps moving though."

"Maybe they found your phone," Jazz said.

"Maybe," Holden sipped his coffee and made a face. "Well, that's shit. The coffee I mean. Also, the situation, but mostly the coffee. God I wish I had drones. And now I need a new phone."

Jazz shoved a little closer so she could see the screen. "Let me see."

Her eyes flicked at the little GPS map of Holden's Find my Phone program. There was the little red dot of his phone, out in the middle of the sea, somewhere northeast of San Javier. She frowned, and ran through the charts in her brain.

"San Javier?" she asked.

"God, I hope not," Holden rubbed his weary face. "At least it wouldn't be a target. A base maybe."

Jazz shook her head. "No, not SOAR. They're zealots, not drug dealers or communists."

Holden nodded and stared at the map. He clicked refresh. The dot had moved south. "If we were them, where would we go?"

"Atnaia is the big bad, right? Somewhere that would kick the Quorum in the balls."

Holden nodded again. "Could be somewhere else. Could be an ally."

"That far south and that far east?"

Jazz blinked at the screen. She was missing something. Then it caught. "It's a hand-off. A shell game. Where are the files?"

Holden handed her the files they had stolen from Warm Currents. She riffled through them and nodded. "Lot's of little hideaways out there," she murmured. "Lot's of ways to pass things off..."

"What are you thinking?"

"What if they're scared? What if they had a plan, but killing their guys spooked them? Where would they go?"

"Back to base, I'd guess," Holden said. "Back for orders."

"they'd play a shell game, so we can't look at where the ship is," Jazz said. "We've skipped a middle step. We kept looking for weapons without looking at the payload. They stole this algae stuff, right? From Hart Island? So where would they need to be operating from?"

Holden nodded. "Hart Island. It's close to Ambress too. And its jungle, lots of hideaways. You could land a ship there, too, if you already had permits, and no one would notice anything off. No one really lives there. You need to take a ship or helicopter just to hit mainland."

"The whole island is a mess of old installations, swamps and mosquitoes," Jazz said. "If I was SOAR, I'd get everyone panicked, hunting ghosts, and just hide where no one thinks to look: at the scene of the crime. I'll bet that's where Hohenberger is. And I'll bet that's where they'll bring the weapon to."

"It's a shot in the dark," Holden sighed, "but its better than nothing."
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Ostehaar
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Ostehaar » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:52 am

Crate 9B42 waited patiently to be collected. It traveled quite a lot - from Lovsk to Arvan and then back to Lovsk, before it was sent eastwards and moved between small merchant boats. It was eventually handed over to some guy moving around vegetables who earned a bag of money and didn't ask questions. He, in turn, packed it together with some other crates and delivered them to someone else, on a larger boat carrying goods from the southern nations into Ostehaar. It arrived at the huge Espersand harbor in the south of the country and was loaded together with its fellow crates onto a truck on the way to the north.

Crates 9B01 to 9B25 were given to someone selling canned food near Saard; crates 9B26 to 9B34 belonged to some electronics contractor in Porohare; and crates 9B35 to 9B48 contained wood products delivered to a small firm outside of Haalban, owned by a pair of engineers called Rikard Frehen and Dihn Bransjer. That small company of theirs was founded just weeks earlier, and the rent for its 'main office' in Haalban was paid by Martin Langer.

"It's here," he informed them by phone as he was on his way to collect the goods. 14 crates were stored for him in a local distribution office - one of them was crate 9B42, which contained a bio-weapon and a large detonation device. Meanwhile, they rushed to Langer's property outside of Haalban and prepared to handle the device and to insert the bio-weapon into the smaller device they had already made. Two devices were being produced, all in all - a small home-made one and a large one.



The Haalban Castle is one of the most impressive tourist sites in Ostehaar. Since it was opened to the public in 1988 following reconstruction efforts and historical research, visitors from all over the region have seen it. One of the main attractions in the castle is the Main Hall - a huge room covered in old paintings and wooden decorations with gold lining, containing nearly priceless art pieces and furnishings from many parts of the region.

The morning after Langer collected crate 9B42, a young man stepped into the Main Hall. He didn't care about the marvelous walls and ceiling, and only walked slowly between the astonished tourists until he reached the center of the room. He then left his bag-pack behind him, as if he had forgotten it, and got out. The place was so crowded that nobody cared about or even noticed the lonely, slightly open bag next to one of the old tables. Somewhere near the castle, Langer activated the device using a remote control mechanism.

"It will go off in a few seconds," Langer explained again to the person with him in the vehicle. "The larger one is in a trash container next to the main entrance to the site. If everything goes as planned, that is where the we'll have the largest concentration of police, medics, and other security personnel."

"You're talking about hundreds of dead," the other person replied, half-asking.

"That is the plan."
Last edited by Ostehaar on Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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