NATION

PASSWORD

The Acrimony of Brothers (IC Thread/CLOSED/Invite ONLY)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Anagonia
Minister
 
Posts: 2854
Founded: Dec 18, 2003
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

The Acrimony of Brothers (IC Thread/CLOSED/Invite ONLY)

Postby Anagonia » Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:37 am

(Planning thread: The Acrimony of Brothers (Plan Thread/CLOSED/Invite ONLY)

The Acrimony of Brothers
The Year 45 Crisis


Somewhere in the Foothills of Port Liberty
Territory of the Wildlands
Confederate States of Anagonia


The cigar lit up as the man inhaled the cigar, exhaling softly as the smoke wafted in front of the dim light provided by a lamp just inches away. His breathing was hoarse and slightly gargled, strained almost as he continued his unhealthy practice with a second draw of the deadly vice. The smoke filling and poisoning the mans lungs was of little concern compared to the information written on a misused and crumbled piece of paper held in front of him. The light of the lamp at the edge of his desk just enough to provide a view of the written words. This information had been a very long time in coming, years and years of effort and work culminating in the verification and justification that he now held in his hands. He slowly set the piece of paper down upon his desk as he heard his office door open slightly following a soft knock, the mans head turning just enough to make visible his grayed and elderly Caucasian features.

"General Sholokhov," a soft and younger voice called from the crack in the door, "I believe you wanted to know when the package was to arrive? It is here, sir. At your convenience."

The door closed again, the younger man who had spoken smart enough to leave without being told. A soft click signaling privacy had been restored to the older man at the desk. The mans face turned toward the paper again, lips and chin visible as they drew into a grin. A hand rose to bring a cigar to his lips and following a hearty draw, smoke bellowed from the mans mouth. The package was another thing that had fallen into place, just by chance alone.

"Not much longer now," the elderly man whispered, his voice crackly. "Not much longer."


PROLOGUE


"I swear I don't know!"

The words were met with a punch of a fist, the man who had answered crying out in agony as a tooth was knocked loose. He spit blood, beginning to heave and sob as his broken form went limp in the chair he was bound to. He had been brought here not too long ago, if his mind was still reliable. He remembered vividly still sitting at the park bench with his girlfriend. She had screamed as someone had placed a dark bag over his head, followed by her a gunshot which had ceased her screaming. He heard her body crumble to the ground as he was forcefully dragged to a vehicle, screaming in anger and horror and flailing for his life. It had been in vain, though, as his kidnappers had simply used stun batons on him to silence his resistance. He had blacked out shortly afterward when one of the goons had punched him upside the head particularly hard.

"I will not ask again, Comrade Bradshaw."

The man speaking was blinded from Robin Bradshaw by an intense set of lights placed to the rear of his interrogator, but he managed to make out enough through the blood and grime that trickled through his vision. His uniform was Soviet in design, quite possibly the make of Nodea Rudav. He was young, possibly in his mid twenties, and his voice was harsh and tested. In comparison Robin was in his seventies, older now from his brief efforts in the United Republic Intelligence Service. The particularly incident in which he was being interrogated on was one known to Robin, intimately known, as he had participated in the action personally. Despite it happening in an era long gone, the ramifications had apparently not entirely settled into the abyss of time. Martha had been the most recent victim of that truth and now it appeared it would be Robins turn.

"I don't know," the elderly Robin managed. He was beaten, broken, useless. His captors had cut off fingers and beaten his body with a metal bat until things began to break. Every scream he had echoed seemed to illicit further punishment. The most recent loss of his tooth had been nothing compared to what had come before. His body sagged in the seat, mouth a part as blood trickled down. There was already a pool of it beneath his chair. "I swear I don't know," he repeated.

The Soviet Interrogator sighed dramatically. There was the sound of a gun cocking. Robin closed his eyes. "That is unfortunate," his kidnapper said, not at all sympathetically.




Five Years before the Collapse; 1981 AY (1921 AD)

"Condor we have eyes on the target, this is your chance."

"Copy," Condor replied with a press of a button on his receiver. At 22, he was one of the youngest agents in URIS. He glimpsed his target through the reticle of his M21 SWS. His breathing was slow and steady and his partner, Crow, lay prone just a few feet from him. Condor was carefully on one knee, aiming to see instead of to kill. He directed his sight to the left and right gently, observing the two sentries posted around the target. The shift was beginning to change and it was now or never. "I'm going in," he softly reported as he turned to give a thumbs up to Crow.

Condor didn't give time to see a return signal, instead opting to hold his M21 close as he quietly hurried over the barricade and across the grassy field. In front of him were some raised tents that had been constructed only a week ago. The target of this operation, information contained within a data drive, had been observed and tracked to this encampment. The signal for the drive was confirmed by his arrival a day ago, using a specialized tracking device to confirm the signal of the stolen data drive. The information contained on the drive was unique, belonging to an scientist on the brink of a revolutionary discovery. Within that drive, stolen two months prior to this operation, was the future of the Republic... or so Condor and Crow had been briefed.

His muscles worked overtime as he hurried through the overgrowth, staying prone and low. Condor had joined URIS two years ago after graduating basic training. Since that time he had, unsurprisingly, been tasked with similar retrieval missions. It was amazing how easily foreign elements could steal Anagonian classified data, more amazing that URIS was capable of finding and retrieving said data. Condors contributions to that effort had maintained this status quo, never being given operations to go up against the agents plotting against Anagonia but never truly defeating them either. Crow had briefly talked with him about his thoughts on the matter, hypothesizing that the majority of the recovery operations had been in fact foreign transfers of information. It all seemed to make a bit of sense in the larger scheme of it.

Quietly Condor halted a few yards from his objective, going to one knee to observe the guards. He was just about to raise his M21 for a shot when they both parted and disappeared, leaving the tent unguarded. He could see one head to the side of the tent to light a smoke, the other appeared to be heading towards a smaller tent in the background. He observed two more guards with similar uniforms starting to approach the tent with his objective. Condor allowed himself to recall how odd this was, how similar it was. He pushed it to the back of his mind, making way to the tent.

A few minutes later he was back with Crow, briefly showing the disk drive to his teammate before thumbing his receiver. "Objective complete."

Condor took one last look back at where he had been. The guards were still there, looking relaxed and rather unprofessional. There were AK's slumped over their shoulders haphazardly, each one on the brink of what appeared to be either dozing off or falling dead. It had been too easy. All of his missions had been too easy. Very few had he ever been forced to kill. He looked down at the disk drive in his gloved hands, gazing up at Crow who apparently understood his train of thought. The two shared a silent nod of understanding, before Condor gave a helpless shrug. Nothing to do now but go to retrieval.




Present

"I want you to know something, Crow," the Soviet said, his voice thickening now with an accent as the name caught Robin's attention. He managed to look up, one eye still good to see just enough to make out his captors features and the gun pointed at his head. "Everything you ever did was for nothing. You changed nothing. We won in the end when the Republic collapsed. We will win again against your stupid Confederacy."

What caught Robins attention the most was the usage of his old moniker in URIS, though the veiled and apparently useless threat afterward brought forward many questions. The two were still for a moment, his captor silent as he thumbed his gun, what appeared to Robin as a Makarov pistol. Robin sat, still bound, still bleeding, on the last legs of his current life. He had questions, so many questions, and had before wanted to know the why of everything. Why his family had been targeted, why his girlfriend had to die, why his life had been so utterly and completely ruined. It didn't matter now, though. None of it did. His shoulders slumped as he let loose a deep sigh, head slumping further so his chin rested on his chest. Tears began to stream down his cheek.

"I just did what I was told," Robin managed through a gasping sob. "I just di-"

BOOM

The report of the pistol echoed violently in the small confines of the room as the man, Crow, Robin Bradshaw slumped forward against his restraints. The force of the action caused the chair to tip, his lifeless body hitting the floor with a sickening sound. Blood and brain matter splattered the wall behind the chair, as well as on the floor beside where his body came to rest. Colonel Molokov returned his pistol to its holster at his hip. He shook his head softly at the lifeless veteran of a country now long-gone. If he had just told them who he had given the information to, he would have been left alive. Barely. Just enough to be discovered in a ditch somewhere, to live out the rest of his miserable existence. It was better than being dead.

The Colonel cleaned his hand with a rag retrieved from a nearby table, bringing up his cellphone afterward after dialing a number.

"U nas yest' odin iz nikh," he reported in his native tongue. "YA naydu druguyu. A poka, pozhaluysta, derzhite keksy v teple."

He hung up then, replacing his phone in a pouch on his uniform. Turning to looking at two previously unseen guards, he gave a nod as he exited. The guards marched forward, beginning the long cleanup process to make the room ready for another interrogation.
Last edited by Anagonia on Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:55 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Nodea Rudav
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 48
Founded: Jan 01, 2004
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Nodea Rudav » Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:32 pm

A few minutes following the execution of Robin Bradshaw

BOOM

Comrade Colonel Alekesi Molokov flinched as his grip on the railing intensified. Eyes clenched tight as the noise of the gunshot echoed in his memory, now permanently placed in his mind for all eternity. In the face of the opposition to the Motherland he was brave, stalwart and unflinching. Here where he stood alone, overlooking the warehouse from the second floor catwalk, he was not. At 25 he was the youngest prized member of the Soviet Miliarist Party, twice awarded by the aged and seemingly immortal Comrade Premier Dimitri Molokov.

It had been a stain on his honor growing up knowing that his father had essentially opened every door for his progress to this point, but after a particularly nasty fight between cadets at the Soviet Youth Academy he had sworn to work to earn his honor back. So he had undertaken the nasty jobs, the jobs no one else wanted to take. He had killed, tortured and permanently maimed enemies of the Motherland for years on end. He had fought in skirmishes and wars overseas and gained the trust of those that once spit on his wounds. He had earned the rank now bestowed upon him.

"I just did what I was told," the man managed through a gasping sob. "I just di-"

BOOM


Alekesi flinched again, this time a trickle of blood flowed down his upper lip from his nostril. His facial features twitched uncontrollably for a moment, then following a stern intake of breath he resolved to be calm. He became calm only a moment later, after another repeat of the memory hit him. His father had tasked him to this. Tying up loose ends, Comrade Premier had stated. One of many his father had requested, had paid him to do. It was all legitimate Party business, of course, everything on the record and noted for the manifest. He'd be recognized for any genuinely difficult efforts as was the Soviet standard, but otherwise all of his expenses would be written off. It still stained his mind and tongue with such disdain.

He knew the man did not deserve the death he had been given. Deep down he knew. A feeling, an overwhelming feeling both ethereal and emotional gripped his gut telling him so. It became so overwhelming in the moments he thought on it that his posture began to crumble slightly, upper body leaning over the rails as his stomach began to empty its contents. It was over quickly, both the feeling and the bile erupting, but he couldn't help realizing that never before had a death impacted his mind like this one had.

The silence of the warehouse greeted his ears as his racing thoughts and feelings, beginning from when his emotions boiled over, began to quell and silence themselves. In the distance he heard the soft report of a trade ships horn. There was the sound of an airplane up above, not loud enough to be close but enough to be noticed. Then the footsteps on metal behind him. He gently brough the cuff of his uniform to his lips, wiping away the remaining expelled liquid and blood mixture from his face as he uttered a soft curse in his native tongue.

"What is it Yurei," Alekesi mumbled in asking, realizing only then the extent of crackling in his voice, no doubt to his recent episode.

"Comrade Colonel," Yurei announced, now only feet from his superior. The younger officer was Alekesi's assigned assistant, always close by. Always vigilant. "The Imperial agent, she asked me to relay information on her charge. Should I comply?"

Alekesi scoweled. When they had captured Robin on the outskirts of the park in Port Liberty, they had come into contact with an interesting Imperial Agent. Apparently, following his service to the United Republic many years back, the Imperial Drekamythian Empire had designated the woman to both watch and protect Robin. Speaking of his situation to the agent, they had agreed on a ploy "encourage" Robin to be productive. At the end, Alekesi was supposed to drop Robin off, where he'd find his wife-to-be safe and sound despite the rather convincing escapade.

It was not uncommon for the Soviet Militarist Party and the Imperial Secret Service to jointly work on assignments. It was through their combined efforts along with URIS that they had preserved and protected the Republic for so long. It had been through their mutual effort that when the Republic had played its course, both agencies had assisted in its downfall. After Anagonia had been forced to release Nodea Rudav and Drekamythia to their own devices, both agencies and governments took completely different stances on the future. Whereas the Imperial government saw all sins forgiven and forgotten, the Soviet leadership had not.

Robin had been tasked to death because of that lack of forgiveness and Alekesi knew, intimately knew, that it had been the wrong thing to do. At one point in history, all three nations had been united, and Robin had essentially been a hero of that combined Republic. Yet through the animosity and bitterness of the older generation, the sins that he had left in his wake had finally caught up to him. It tore at Alekesi that it had been him to administer the justice required.

Still, there was now a new problem. He had promised and agreed to a method of information extraction. That promise could never be fulfilled. Unless...

"Tell her," the Comrade Colonel began. As he spoke a dry heave nearly interrupted his train of thought and speech. He took a moment to breathe before continuing. "Tell her that Crow killed himself during interrogation. Give a play about him being a hero or something. I don't know, maybe that he got loose, beat a guard for his weapon, and instead killed himself? You're good at this Yurei. I am not."

Silence met him at first, then, "At once, Comrade Colonel."

Had Alekesi detected slight dissatisfaction in his Comrades voice? He thought on it a few seconds, turning around to catch Yurei before he left only to see emptyness and a closing door. He mumbled under his breath, turning back to lean on the railing. Something then caught his eye.

There was a dark figure down below in the dimly lit warehouse, green eyes glaring up at him. Alekesi tilted his head both in confusion and wonder before the glint of a red laser hit his form. He had but a second to begin to utter a protest before the bullet tore through his throat. His death lasted an eternity, the Comrade Colonel grasping at his throat as blood filled his lungs. Each attempt to scream was met with a sickening gurgle. As he fell to his knees a few seconds later, he couldn't help but notice a second figure beside the first,. This one had red eyes and looked like death.

Alekesi crumbled onto the catwalk, blood dripping down through the grates. It was strange how none of his guards had come to find out what had happened. The last thought he had before the deep dark was how further strange it was that Yurei had heard the gunshot.

Then, all too quickly, there was nothing at all.
Last edited by Nodea Rudav on Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Drekamythia
Political Columnist
 
Posts: 4
Founded: Sep 09, 2004
Father Knows Best State

Postby Drekamythia » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:52 am

Just after the execution of Alekesi Molokov

Marcella Nortanus lowered her battle rifle as she raised her uniforms visor. The Imperial Drekamythian Secret Service had tasked her with a long-term assignment on protecting Robin Bradshaw. It was natural in her line of work for "watchers" - as her profession termed her role - to become intimately and romantically close with their charges. It was encouraged, in fact, as the IDSS saw it was further incentive for the agent to protect whom they were assigned to. Robin and her were very close to tying the knot, weeks in fact if her reports had been accurate according to his spending habits as of late. That would have classified Marcella as a permanent guardian to Robin, something she found she both wanted and desired after their months-long dating fling. It was heartbreaking that the conclusion of all her efforts and that of IDSS had been this useless exercise in political retribution.

The smoke was still clearing from her muzzle as he began to carefully holster the strap around her should and fling her rifle along her back. She watched with a stone-cold expression as the Comrade Colonel Alekesi Molokov died a slow and probably painful death. She had intentionally shot out his throat and artery, wanting to seem him suffer before he died. No doubt he was in a state of confusion, but she hoped deep down he was also in extreme pain. As the life drained from the murderers eyes, she recalled how only weeks ago IDSS and the Soviet equivalent, the Soviet Militarist Party Bureau of Investigation, had plotted a joint operation to encourage the reveal of critical information from the days of Robins early service. Against her wishes, IDIA had agreed, seeing it as a golden political opportunity to strengthen relations. Colonel Molokov had been the one to initially propose the entire operation, and it was to Marcella's regret that IDSS hadn't found out early enough the entire OP had simply been an act of revenge for the demented Colonel.

Her eyes gently drifted to those of Yurei Petrovich, the man who had informed Marcella of Alekesi's fall into madness. The Soviet agent gently shook his head, a look of sympathy and condolence in his eyes as he met the womans gaze. That was the signal that not only had they not gained the information the operation was conducted to obtain, but that nothing of value had been gained either. Yurei proceeded to return to the stairwell from the floor above her, a moment later appearing beside her from the exit to the stairwell. The man took a glance at her battle rifle before up at the dead body of Alekesi Molokov, the now-former son of the current Soviet Premier, a situation in and of itself complicated.

"Had I known all this was about simple revenge, I would have not agreed to it," Yurei said softly, his voice having a surprising fluency in Anagonian with just a hint of his native tongue. "Alekesi had stated he was regretful of capturing Mr. Bradshaw, then went on a tangent about punishing him. By the time I returned from an assignment to check back up on him, he had already tortured and brutalized Mr. Bradshaw. That was when I contacted you."

Marcella slowly turned to observe the dead body, before returning her gaze to Yurei. She didn't let her emotions show as she gave a nod as a reply. Yurei, displaying credit his respectful nature, did not press for any further answer. Marcella opted instead to begin to leave, her mind too clouded with emotions to continue her assignment.

"My sincere condolences," Yurei offered as Marcella turned to leave, causing her to pause and turn her head just enough to see an eye glancing back. "I can assure you that whatever you require from me, I will offer it."

The Imperial Agent observed Yurei for a moment before she let out a soft, "Thank you," and turned to leave for good this time. She left Yurei alone, likely with guards in the shadows, as she turned a corner on the outskirts of the warehouse property to her waiting car. When she entered, she gripped the steering wheels and began to cry.

Fifteen minutes later her car turned on, driving off into the distance and back onto the express way out of town.

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The Caleshan Valkyrie
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1238
Founded: Oct 07, 2004
Left-Leaning College State

Postby The Caleshan Valkyrie » Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:25 pm

CEO Suite, Val-Holla Corporate Headquarters, Lexington

"That was amazing!" Jenna said --half disbelieving-- as she half skipped/half stumbled into the foyer. She was still flushed with exhaustion after the evening festivities. "We dominated that dance floor! I thought you said you couldn't dance!"

"I guess I learned from the best," Vestekhen replied, showing not even a misplaced strand of hair as he stepped through the doors and shut them behind him. This was true, to a point. Jenna was naturally acrobatic, but her motions and those of the dancers around her were simple enough to analyze and his natural reflexes were more than up to the task of keeping on par. There were still a few stumbling moments, but when he started treating it like a combat routine he felt time slip away and didn't even notice the rest of the dancers pull back to give them room to show off. The band had shown their own skill, improvising as they did just to extend the song so that the spectacle could last even longer. Keeping the beat was just like keeping cadence. He was certain his muscles had gotten a decent workout. "You taught me a great deal, dearest Jenna. And for that I thank you. It was a splendid evening."

"Oh ho ho," Jenna replied, waving a finger at Vestekhen. "That sounds like you're trying to shuffle me off. You're not tired, are you?"

"Ah, I apologize! I did not mean to imply that I wished to cut this evening short. I simply wished to express my sincere admiration and gratitude."

"I should thank you, Mr. Longarm. I'm almost of a mind to say this was... what's the word? Pro bono?" She leaned against him, her voice suddenly taking on a husky tone and her breathing still heavy. She smelled of lavender. She was three inches taller than he was, and the difference was enhanced by her stiletto heels. Even so, his eyes held hers as if by a vice, and his answering smile was every bit as suggestive as hers.

"Well, I would not wish to take advantage of an employee. I may be a cutthroat businessman, but I do not renege on contractual obligations."

"Then maybe I could throw in a... bonus?"

"Far be it from me to discourage others from going beyond the call. I--"

His cell jangled. Jenna looked at him appraisingly.

"Horrid timing! That tune means my assistant has an emergency."

Jenna sighed. "I can go, if you wish."

"Perish the thought, dearest! It's just down the hall. I should only be gone a few minutes. Mayhap you could use the time to make yourself comfortable?"

She broke away, but not angrily. "Oh, I suppose. I guess I'll just have to shower alone."

Vestekhen's eye twitched, and his smile took on a look that all but oozed 'Curses! Foiled again!'. He pulled out his cellphone while saying, "If it takes longer than five minutes to conclude my business, there will be Hell to pay."




He barged into the command center and glared at Dusk Raven, his Keeper of Itineraries. "Where's the bastard now?"

Dusk Raven pointed at one of the monitors dominating the far wall. The room was kept barely lit, dark save for the wall of monitors showing a cornucopia of information even at times of little activity. The Keeper's executors were hard at work passing orders and relaying information, but the noise was never more than a barest whisper. In the monitor, two men were making their way through a nondescript alley. Another monitor, presenting a view across the street, showed that a similarly nondescript truck had pulled into a spot far enough away that it might not have triggered alarms in less skilled operations, but just appeared even more obvious to Vestekhen.

"Mark 13 is bringing him in. Our sources identify him as SD."

"How much does he know?" Vestekhen alternated his glare between the monitor showing the SD operative and the truck nearby.

"He has been asking for our 'premium services', but he's made comments that suggest he's after our ID operation."

Vestekhen glared murderously at the truck on the monitor. He would have loved nothing more than to leave the SD operatives a bullet riddled puddle, but such a thing would have been far too public. When going against the government itself, it was best to ensure that retribution came at a time far removed from the offense. "Let it play, but keep him buttoned up tight and give him a tagalong. He can have his fun, but keep him away from the lower floors.

"I want that truck to be my personal eardrum inside of fifteen minutes, and I want to hear an epic tale of the entire command structure of this operation and target recommendations ready by the time I walk into this office again at six AM sharp."

Dusk Raven clapped his hands for everyone's attention and looked at the executors around the room. "Mark immediate comments as direct order and execute!"

As one, they replied: "CALA COMMANDS!"

With a satisfied nod, Vestekhen turned to leave. "Now I'm going to go entertain a visitor."

Dusk Raven snapped a quick salute. "Have a pleasant night, sir."
Last edited by The Caleshan Valkyrie on Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Godulan Puppet #2, RPing as technologically advanced tribal society founded by mongols and vikings motivated by an intrinsic devotion to the spirit of competition. They'll walk softly, talk softly, and make soothing noises as they stab you in the back and take your stuff... unless you're another Caleshan, whereupon they'll only stab you in the back figuratively!

Intro RP: Gravity Ships and Garden Snips (involved tribes: Plainsrider, Hawkeye, Wavecrasher)
Current RP: A Rock Out of Place (involved tribes: Night Wolf, Deep Kraken, Starwalker)
Current RP (but in the past): Acrimony of Brothers (involved tribe: Deep Kraken)

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Anagonia
Minister
 
Posts: 2854
Founded: Dec 18, 2003
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Anagonia » Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:29 am

Jamesport Dock Warehouses
Commonwealth of Lexington
Confederate States of Anagonia


Detective Grant Buchanan had been staking this operation for the last few weeks. The Confederate Military Police had been alerted to a possible illegal smuggling operation around two months ago and it wasn't until recently that Grant had become available to actually investigate the situation. What he found was less than stellar, but warranted enough attention for some light field work. He had already deduced through his back sources that the operation was quite possibly funded by the Val-Holla Corporation. At first glance it was concerning, but after discussing the affair with Commonwealth authorities it was decided not to take legal action. The Val-Holla Corp was a critical economic asset around the vicinity of Fort Rufall, Lexingtons Capital City, and it wouldn't do to have such a blown-up investigation happen during an election season. Detective Buchanan had no choice to agree, yet that didn't imply that he had to stop investigating for his own reasons.

Tonight was the night he would engage in some light field work to complete that itch that had been growing for the last few days. He turned off the heavy-duty box truck, an Anagonian Motors 0900 model, and sat on the corner next to what he had deduced was the entrance to the backdoor operation. There were two large warehouses beside him and his truck sat on the side of a two-lane street. It was dark, with only a few street lamps providing light, and from where the Detective sat he could clearly see several of the smugglers going about their business - if they were smugglers at all. Slowly he brought a fresh cigarette to his mouth then lit it, allowing a few seconds to puff the cherry to life before taking a proper draw. He had been getting the suspicion that his investigation had taken a wrong turn somewhere, that this wasn't a smuggling operation, that this was something else entirely.

He needed to know.

After a minute of going over in his mind the agreed-on approach that a known source had advised him to take, Grant proceeded from the cab of the box-truck and began to walk towards what he presumed was the entrance. Normally as a Military Policeman he'd wear his standard battle gear, as was required in a heavily armed society for civil protection. Tonight, though, he chose the simplistic route. As a Detective he was granted certain privileges' for his rank. He could choose to simply carry a side-arm, hidden, with a more professional outfit befitting a man on the beat. He wore a trench-coat, without any markings, where underneath he had a casual buttoned shirt and blue-jeans. He wore slide-on boots that were neatly tucked with the ends of the legs of his jeans. From all appearances, he hoped, he just seemed like any average citizen. Of course he held the badge of his station, hidden chained around his neck.

"Evening, there," he managed through clenched teeth. As he talked he exhaled the smoke from the cigarette. "Looking for ya'lls premium services."

The Guard - or what he assumed was a guard - gave him a wary look. "We don't have that here, mister. Don't know what you're talking about." To emphasize his point he held up an M16.

Grant raised both hands in a sign of placation. "Alright, alright! No trouble here. Thanks anyway." He turned, then turned back around for effect. "Say, you wouldn't know where I would ask about that would you?"

The guard, a gruffy looking man who seemed far too experienced to be a simple guard, grunted. "Try two warehouses down. They got the good stuff there. Just not here, bub. Beat it."

"Thanks, man!" Grant replied, a little too enthusiastically.

When he returned to his box-truck, he noted that the guard had just concluded a radio call. Spending a few more minutes on the side of the street, he turned on his box-truck and proceeded along the directions given. But that wasn't his goal. Out of sight of the guard he turned in the opposite direction at a four-way intersection, heading north towards Fort Rufall. Along the route was an Military Police Precinct, which served as his home base for his normal patrol route. After seeing that weapon displayed he figured he might need some additional backup - if he wanted to take this to the next level and get answers. He had a feeling though that the Commonwealth wouldn't allow that, a thought which vexed him deeply.

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The Caleshan Valkyrie
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1238
Founded: Oct 07, 2004
Left-Leaning College State

Postby The Caleshan Valkyrie » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:21 am

"They are getting really persistent," Vestekhen commented while pacing back and forth among the various monitors. He held a notepad in one hand and tapped it on the other absently while looking back and forth from one location to another, instinctively following the investigator's progress. "There's only so many 'other' premium services we can fling in their path before they start getting creative. Where are we on the interdiction?"

Dusk Raven cleared his throat before speaking. "We've got a plan in the works. It's going to take some preparation, but those steps are already underway. I think you'll like how it turns out."

"No need to keep me in suspense, Dusk. Out with it."

"Well, sir... we were thinking about what it would take to get the entire country riled up like a kicked-up anthill. Each of these states, they're very eclectic in nature and things that they focus on, but there is one point that they all have in common."

"Dragons," Vestekhen said, nodding with realization and quirking an eyebrow.

"Yes sir. So, here's how it's gonna go down..."




When the trail widened into a small clearing on the mountainside, most of the tourists found a spot to sit down. Many were huffing with exertion after the long hike up the mountain trail, but even a lack of breath failed to dampen their enthusiasm at the prospect of even catching a fleeting glimpse of the magnificent creatures that flew over the area. Many had binoculars, and one even had a portable telescope.

Their guide for the day pointed out two of the nearby peaks. "I'd like to direct your attention to those two mountains over yonder. If you look closely enough, you can see dug-out cave entrances that mark the lairs of no less than four mated pairs that frequent the area. We should be seeing a lot of activity this year, as they have been sitting on their eggs for the past three winters and they're due to hatch any day now. Once that happens, there will be a significant rise in sightings as the parents spend more time hunting in order to feed their young."

"Can we see any activity now?" asked one tourist in the back.

The tour guide spread his hands placatingly as he spoke. "It's less likely, but still possible. Most of these dragons are in a hibernation state right now, but there are some that might be going out and collecting food to supply the hatchling once it breaks out. If they do come out, it will be closer to morning. They range far enough that we can really only see them when they're either leaving or returning to their lairs." Being that it was just after noon, that functionally meant that the probability of a sighting was as close to zero as made no functional difference.

"Can we actually visit a lair?" Another tourist asked. He looked foreign, and his voice had a significant accent to it. Most of the other tourists rolled their eyes as if somebody had just asked the dumbest question in the world, but the guide took it in stride and answered with minimal condescension.

"Dragons are very much intelligent creatures," the guide replied, "and they very much value their privacy to the point of violence. It is against the law to deviate from the established and marked pathways, but the regulations are strict for your own protection. Draconic policy against interlopers boils down to 'breathe first, ask questions later', and you do not wish to draw their attention or their breath." The foreigner's shoulders slumped.

"You said they were hibernating right now," said another tourist. "Pardon my ignorance, but do you know what their hibernation is like? You said they're intelligent, so I'm just curious as to whether they hibernate like bears or they just... do the draconic version of staying inside and huddling by the fire until it stops being so durned cold."

"Ah, well the Dragon's hibernation state isn't really a set-in-stone thing. It's simply a time of year where they spend most of the day sleeping. They tend to be crepuscular during such times. That is: they're more active around dawn and dusk. It's less taxing on their eyes, you see."

"I SEE ONE!" yelled yet another tourist, pointing towards one of the peaks while looking through binoculars. "It's just sitting outside its lair! It's BEAUTIFUL!"

The other tourists all pulled out their own binoculars and tried to follow the directions they'd been shown. The tourists with the telescope showed surprising speed in deploying it and focusing it on the exact location specified. As they did, they could see a lone dragon perched on a large rock outside a lair on the northmost side of the mountain, making gestures similar to a person who'd just gotten up in the middle of the night in order to use the restroom. It scratched its sides for a moment, looked up towards the sun with squinty eyes, and sneezed a gout of superheated magma into the air. It then undulated behind some select rocks, and soon after a plume of hot steam emanated from that general area. The dragon reappeared again, ambling with the same amount of energy as before back into its lair.

After the furor had died down, the tour guide called for everyone's attention. "What you just saw was reason one why there aren't many trees on mountains that serve as dragon lairs. During their hibernation period, dragons are much more likely to experience what is known to doctors as the ACHOO reflex, which is an actual term, look it up. It boils down to feeling the need to sneeze when stepping out from a dark environment into one that has bright sunlight. Dragon visual acuity is much better than ours, so they feel such differences with greater intensity... and when they sneeze, it's like when they breathe, but much more concentrated. Think magma buckshot."

A few tourists shuddered.

"It's capable of felling even the biggest trees within a hundred yard range. So yeah, you just got to see something real special, folks! I hope you were taking pictures, because I sure wasn't!"

"I was!" yelled one of the tourists with the telescope. "I saw the whole thing, and I got it ALL on film! Anybody want to buy a recording?" The ensuing swarming was apocalyptic in scale.

Later that night, a very low-flying and nearly silent aircraft came to a hover over another clearing, very much within the prohibited region around the mountain. Three people dropped out, each carrying a large bag over their shoulder, and moved into the trees surrounding the clearing with practiced and perfected speed. As quickly as it had arrived, the aircraft vanished into the night, leaving next no sign that it had previously existed save for some windblown leaves and three stealth-suited interlopers.

They spent the next three days making their way up the slope of one of the two mountains, keeping to the trees and cloaked in newly-made ghillie suits. Every time a dragon left its lair, whether to spend some token time hunting or void its bowels or even to just sit outside for a little bit making 'not quite awake' noises and scratching its rear, these three watched it all unfold. They sent little drones up the slope to monitor the entrance to a specific lair, determining whether the occupants were both asleep or alternating their sleep cycles. These drones were little more than rat-sized robots designed to behave in every way like the real thing, aside from the fact that their eyes were also high-definition cameras.

One the night following the third day, the three made their way up the slope, stopping just short of the area around the lair and ensuring that they were situated such that any scent would be carried away from the lair rather than towards it. They'd fashioned a new kind of ghillie suit for this portion of their trek, replacing foliage with scree, and spent the day resting and waiting. Come the next nightfall, they made their move.

They entered the lair with utter silence, walking on their hands in order to minimize sound and ensure that things were not properly rushed. As their drones had found, both dragons were asleep, and a small hatchling rested between them in the midst of a food coma. They had timed their entry for just this moment, when all three would be asleep. They wore stealthsuits that masked their odor except for a very specific scent that closely approximated soldiers from the State of Imperium after they'd been at some strenuous activity. The interlopers had taken pains to eat food from Imperial ration packs during their stay and even wore clothing from that region in order to mask their true identity.

Some time later, one of the dragons stirred, and looked towards the hatchling just to ensure that it was still asleep. Seeing nothing amiss, it returned to its slumber. After a few more minutes were spent waiting for any other sign of activity, they returned to their work.

Some six hours later, the three people were back amongst the woods with a new satchel over their shoulders. Twelve hours after that, they signaled their aircraft for pickup. Three hours after that, they were back in Lexington, laughing and boasting in a Caleshan mead hall filled to bursting with feasting celebrants.

"THOSE THINGS WERE ENORMOUS! Each of them were the size of whales, easily! How they can fly I shall never know, but they were glorious!"

"Getting the egg shell was the hardest part!" another cried out with her mug held high. She clapped one of her companions on the back. "Sparrowhawk here actually crawled between the two big ones just to nab chunks of shell from next to the baby! The scales were easy in comparison! The bastard even took the opportunity to pose next to the hatchling while we were taking pictures! If anyone calls him a coward from this day forth, I'll personally challenge them to a duel, if he doesn't beat me to it!"

Mugs of mead were raised up high in salute, and Sparrowhawk, the man of the hour, stood up with his raised highest of all. "Aye! And I couldn't have done it without my fellow Deep Krakens!" he jumped on top of the table, piled high with feast fodder and mead, and called out:

"TO GLORY!"

They cheered.

"TO VALHALLA!"

The cheering doubled.

"TO THE ULTIMATE HEIST! OUR PATH TO VALHALLA! LONG LIVE CALA VESTEKHEN! LONG LIVE THE DEEP KRAKENS!"

The room thundered with applause.
Last edited by The Caleshan Valkyrie on Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Godulan Puppet #2, RPing as technologically advanced tribal society founded by mongols and vikings motivated by an intrinsic devotion to the spirit of competition. They'll walk softly, talk softly, and make soothing noises as they stab you in the back and take your stuff... unless you're another Caleshan, whereupon they'll only stab you in the back figuratively!

Intro RP: Gravity Ships and Garden Snips (involved tribes: Plainsrider, Hawkeye, Wavecrasher)
Current RP: A Rock Out of Place (involved tribes: Night Wolf, Deep Kraken, Starwalker)
Current RP (but in the past): Acrimony of Brothers (involved tribe: Deep Kraken)

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Anagonia
Minister
 
Posts: 2854
Founded: Dec 18, 2003
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Anagonia » Sat Jun 19, 2021 6:24 am

The Sovereign Empire of Imperius
Highlands Region, nearest the foothills to the Territory of the Wildlands
Dragons Berth Mountain Range Imperial State Park


Somalus Vidillin looked on with mild disgust and amusement as the two foreign tourists stated their questions concerning the holy dragons. These tours, guided by an Imperial Park Ranger typically, served the primary purpose of educating the young to understand and respect their history. Furthermore, it served as a way for pilgrims to come closer to their religious icons, such as was the case for Somalus. A priest of Drekanity, his faith in Melkos was slightly more zealous than the average Imperial or Anagonian. These tours were, to him, a practice of that pilgrimage while respecting local laws and practices - as was taught in the Holy Necronomicon. In that respect, his disgust was evident for these foreign nationals - obviously foreign due to their ignorance - as they asked questions a normal Anagonian wouldn't dream of broaching. His amusement came from the fact that, at the very least, they had asked them and provided a momentary respite for the tour.

There was something odd about their questions, though. Something that bit into his soul, as if skeletal hands gripped the sides of his spectral being and tugged at him trying to inform him of the obvious. It was such a far off concept that, for the time being, his brain couldn't comprehend that point of obvious intent. He allowed the feeling to stew inside him in hopes that, eventually, something would happen to signal or cause a realization, however he wouldn't dwell to heavily. Just as soon as the group found amusement in the foreign tourists did the tour itself continue. Little time was given after the fact to enjoy the humor in the moment, but at the very least a foreign citizen was given instruction on Anagonian culture and what lay within.

As the tour proceeded, Somalus was still left with that nagging feeling that something very obvious had been missed. He chanced a glance into the eyes of one of the tourists when they looked his way, gazing longer than usual only to smile and look away himself. In that moment he saw something - something off and odd. It brought a chill down his spine and, all too quickly, he decided that it was better to mind his own business. A moment later and he glanced a final time as the dragon entered its den once again. Remembering his purpose here, his thoughts returned to Melkos, and the sacred dragons that furthered his will across the lands.

Dragons Berth Mountain Range Imperial State Park
Second Slope, a few miles from the Drekamythian Dragon Den #5915
Confederate Army Ranger Outpost #2595
Bravo Company, Foxtrot Squad, routine watch


Tiberius Farus dismounted the M2101 IFV from topside after grabbing a few more ration packs for his squad, the four-foot tall lizardman plumping to the ground with a gentle thud as he scurried back over to the active campfire. Surrounding it were five other members of his squad, with a sixth in the IFV watching the nightvision scopes. It was his first deployment since entering voluntary service, a liberty granted only to the non-human tribes of Anagonia. He had wanted to see more than the little few scant hundred-acre reservation that his tribe lived on and, following a ride from a Military Policeman, signed up at the nearest towns Army Recruitment Center. Four years had passed since then and, despite the intensity of his training, his eyes still looked on the world with eager wonder and awe.

"Thanks Chip!" called out their squad lead, "Go ahead and disperse the supplies. Grab yourself one too and join us."

Tiberius gave an eager nod, panting a bit through exertion as he scurried to hand out a ration pack to his squadmates. He had originally intended to follow the letter of his commanding officers orders and only grab enough for his squad, but being the smart little Kroman he was, he had thought ahead and grabbed himself one as well. After the last had been dispersed, he sat on a provided log on the other end of the campfire and sorted his equipment. Grabbing the necessary tools from his carry-pounce, he opened his ration and, like everyone else, began preparations to eat.

The others around him were all human, of different varieties. He had found out early on that, unlike Kromen, humans appeared in various sizes and colors that would put the most elaborate Kromen ritual display to shame. He also found out the hard way that trying to separate definitions between these differences was not acceptable and extremely frowned upon. Unlike his people, who had separated Kromen into separate castes dependent on their size, stature, scale color and posture, humans practiced no such thing in Anagonia if rarely at all. So he had adapted, noting that some "cultures" of human emphasized these differences in jokes but never in a capacity to cause division. Once he had figured out the practicality of it, it hadn't been hard to adapt to.

"Hey Chip, what's it like where you come from?"

His thoughts disrupted, the small lizardman tilted his head up so one eye glanced at the squadmate who had asked the question. It was their heavy weapons expert, Corporal Hudson. A Native Anagonian with a rough streak in his early life, all sorts of tattoos still visible where his combat uniform couldn't hide skin. The question itself was innocent enough, considering Tiberius had only been attached to this squad for little under a month now. Their objective had been to watch over the Drekamyhthian Dragon dens in the area, in cooperation with the Imperial Park Rangers. It was an excellent task for newly graduated recruits to the Armed Forces, gaining experience in the field while also acclimating themselves to their new military lifestyle. As Tiberius recalled, Hudson had only graduated from his mandatory - a term Humans used to describe their service time - only two months ago.

"It not fun like this," Tiberius replied, his voice hoarse and broken while using the Anagonian tongue. "Much hurt, boredom, no fun. Nothing to do. No machine to tinker. I like tinker with machine."

Hudson gave a simple appraising nod, returning to his meal. Tiberius had been assigned to Foxtrot Squad at the request of Sergeant Alonso Patterson, their present squad leader. The previous technician had moved on to bigger and better things after finishing their six months in the mountains and, left with few choices, Alonso had opted to try a different route for once. Kromen were famous for their ability as expert technicians and mechanics, Tiberius no different. Their obsessive nature with ensuring things worked correctly and finding out how things ticked made them perfect for ensuring the smooth operation of mechanical assets. What few Kromen were in the military currently all partook in some level of mechanical repair. Last week Tiberius had gained the appreciation of his squad when the M2101 had broken down. Without being ordered, Tiberius had opened the engine compartment and found the issue - a bad carburetor valve. A spare had been included and using that, he had spared his squad from an excruciating experience in sweltering heat.

"Why did it hurt?" came another question.

Tiberius didn't look up this time, offering a shrug instead. He knew the voice. The squad demolition expert, Private Zaney. He had initially been one of the few who hazed Tiberius a lot for his appearance and stature. After last week, however, he had shown nothing but respect to the small lizardman. After chomping down a particularly large piece of meat and rice, Tiberius remained silent for a moment longer, eyes looking up to fixate on the fire.

"It not fun, lots of hurt," the Kroman clarified. "You different, your scale different, you put lower than all else. Sometimes beat. I was beat. Taught to serve. No like. Saw Policeman, begged to escape. Came here for new life. No more question on hurt, okay?"

His eyes met those of Zaney's and, for a brief moment, Tiberius thought he saw sympathy. The human gave a nod, returning to his meal as Tiberius did the same. For a long thirty minutes no one said anything. The fire crackled, the sounds of nature flowed around them as crickets reached a crescendo. Then, all at once, everything became quiet. It was as if a switch had been turned as Tiberius watched his squad, all of whom had far better instincts trained into them than he, immediately set their plates down and grab their weapons to go prone. Tiberius followed suit, grabbing his M4A1 Carbine from the back of his shoulder and readying his weapon. The sound of the turret atop the IFV whine gently as the automated pumps worked to ensure the swivel worked correctly was all that was heard for a few seconds.

"Report," ordered the squad leader in a hushed tone, but he spoke only into his mic receiver. A few more seconds went by of the turret checking again and again every point of its three-hundred and sixty degree radius.

"Nothing Sarge," the reply finally came back from within the turret. The gunner, a Corporal who had opted to stay with his machine for several rotations now, kept slowly moving the turret as its optics scanned the night. "I ain't seeing nothin. No movement. Maybe it was a Dreka?"

"Probably," replied Sergeant Patterson. The thought seemed to relax him a little, if only just. Dragons didn't just hunt humans for no reason and this specific cave had been monitored for decades now, granting the Anagonians a slight immunity to their ire - or so common belief held. It would be a first if a dragon attacked a human unprovoked. Until that time, there existed an unspoken trust between the two races.

A slight noise of wind fell over the campsite and, for a moment, the soldiers there grabbed cover as they held their heads. It was too quick to track for the turret who had only a few brief instances of a lock, but the night and campfire light played havoc on the visuals no doubt. After a moment, the gunner reported.

"I didn't get a good spot but I'm pretty damn sure that was a dragon," he reported. "Probably a vising pair, went to the den and behind the mountain near the front entrance. Just a few flakes of dusk, no emissions I can tell."

"At ease," the Sarge ordered the squad and, quickly, all those around the campfire returned to their prior activities of finishing their meal. They had been smart enough to at least set their plates down without spilling much, and other than a stray ant or two, nothing had been lost. "Keep a watch but don't provoke them," Sergeant Patterson ordered to his gunner.

"Roger Sarge, playing nice."

"Hey Tim, jot down the arrival," the Sergeant said to the squads operator. The small, thin man gave a nod as he got out a PDA of sorts and began to catalogue the encounter as was protocol. The Sergeant looked at the rest of the squad, giving an appraising nod. "Finish your meals, then myself and Tiberius will take first watch. Rest of you when your done form your cots in the IFV. No bunk sharing....Susan. Tim."

As his head turned to the two known culprits of fraternization, the squad emitted a soft laugh in unison. Time waned in the night, with another event of the crickets going silent but overall no indication that nothing mechanical or man-made had flown by. By the time the crickets once again felt safe to resume their song, Tiberius and his commanding officer watched over the burning embers of a previously waning fire. The two utilized their night-vision goggles to scan the horizon, occasionally taking notes if they saw any movement from the vicinity of the dragons nest on a notepad. Time of incident and date of happening were included, all information critical to understand the Drekamythian Dragons better so cohabitation between humanity and dragons - insofar as within Anagonia - could continue unabated.

"You have any plans after your tour here?" Sergeant Patterson asked, quiet and hushed in tone. His eyes remained on his surroundings, but he was clearly interested in passing time with conversation.

Tiberius shrugged, "Make home and family, maybe," was what he managed. He wasn't directly used to conversing much, just tinkering. Tinkering and fixing things. "Maybe fix things for living, maybe stay and fix more things. Bigger things. Flying things. Get degree, experience, learning. Yeah, maybe that. You?"

Alonso thought for a moment, then, "Retire."

The rest of their watch was similar in scope. Small snippets of conversation, short talk, little explanation with very blunt ramifications. It was an interesting exchange that had repeated for the past week, one which Tiberius didn't seem to mind. Eventually, however, the shift changed and after sorting his backpack and weapon, Tiberius drifted off for a few hours of sleep in the larger than comfortable cot inside the IFV. He felt more comfortable here, like he really belonged and was valued. Not like home. Not like where the hurt was. Silently as the last branches of consciousness submitted to sleep, he promised himself he'd build himself a better future without that hurt.


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