NATION

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Once Upon a Time in Noctur [Closed, Noctur Only]

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

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Nui-ta
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Founded: Feb 11, 2012
Moralistic Democracy

The Prime Minister's Address (A.N 134)

Postby Nui-ta » Fri May 06, 2016 11:56 am

May 6th, A.N 134

Prime Minister PAOLO MEDICI - "Those who wish to go forward must never turn back".

"Every nation has a motto. A saying: this saying is meant to embody all that we hold idealistic and dear as a country. It is meant to be a rally cry to our people, and the people of the rest of the world, as to who we are. In Radiatia, it's 'Individualism and Efficiency'. In Poldania, it's 'Uniten et Zurregnen". You can tell a lot about a nation by the motto they choose to be the rally cry for their people. Now, let's talk a little about our own".

"Although we must never turn back, it's important to still know what was behind us. The Nui-ta that I grew up in, and yes, I see some of my Gold Party friends on the far-right benches scoffing that I say Nui-ta - was a very different country than it is today. I was born in A.N 86, six years after the legal apartheid, into colonial Alinia. The Alinian soil which begot me made me too Nui-tan to be Hadinian, and the Hadinian blood running through my veins made me too Hadinian to be Nui-tan. I was in a sort of limbo. Whether the rest of you here in Parliament acknowledge it or not, we all were in limbo collectively as a nation".

"The wealth of the nation was concentrated in the hands of a few, judged arbitrarily to be worthy of it from birth. There was no concept of social mobility, and certainly no pride in doing the work to change one's position in life, if it wasn't the life you wished to have. In those days, your birth sealed your fate".

"Today, your birth does no such thing. You can go as far as you wish to go, because we have broken down social and economic barriers in the nation. People called me crazy for envisioning a Nui-ta in which there were no barriers in opportunity between a Sangauranic Nui-tan, a Zanzeanic Nui-tan, a Nui-tan of Hadinian blood, such as myself, or a Kavian, or a Tuvian, or even an immigrant".

"They can call me as crazy as they wish, but the numbers don't lie. Nui-ta now boasts a currency that is stronger than the Universal Standard Dollar! Nui-ta now boasts a higher standard of living than ever before, with a GDP per capita of over 30,000 USD! When my generation, under the xi-Sendres or ji-Albaf administrations, were growing up, we couldn't fathom what to do with 30,000 USD. Hell, a nobleman gave me a 10 USD bill when I was eight --- I used it to buy a week's worth of grain, and I kept the change to buy a camera!"

(Laughter)

Prime Minister PAOLO MEDICI - "I know you're laughing. I'm laughing. But that's actually a true story. I still have the receipts and camera".

"I keep them, among other things, as proof of how far we have come as a nation. In Radiatia, there is a new organization, economically oriented, known as the Radiatian International Co-operation Hub. It's basically UNCA for first world countries, and while I cannot confirm or deny any possibility of Nui-tan involvement or interest in RICH just yet, I can say that the fact that we --- us, a nation which was once unknown and among the poorest in Noctur --- certainly fall into the lines of a potential first-world nation".

"Co-operation is more important than ever in this day and age, not only for alliances and greater economic or military worth, but to face the threat posed by UNCA. People once worried that as a man of Hadinian blood, I would be an UNCA sympathizer, and I can't do anything but laugh at those claims. I was a young man, brought into the JCSF fold during the Partition, but I learned quickly that I had a choice --- to continue with the horrors and inhumanity that the JCSF, which would one day become the HLF, sought to wrought...or I could choose the path of democracy and freedom by working for a better Nui-ta, with a better Nui-ta, alongside my fellow Nui-tans".

"I have never regretted my choice".

"I would never go back to those times of war, and famine, and poverty --- of depression, and loss, and fear. I am able to go forward because I know what lies behind me, and why I should never turn back".

"And we, as a nation, need to co-operate further with the world, and embrace the role of a global, first-world nation. We cannot go back to being passive bystanders. We certainly cannot go back to apartheid. We are free, now and forever, and we must stay that way as we go forward".

"To this end, as our government reaches the half-way point between now and the next elections, I continue our pledges to break down social barriers and open the Nui-tan economy. Myself and Central, under the watchful eyes of Talia Dehran, will continue to see that opportunity and success, like what we are enjoying now, are for all. Access to a livable wage and higher disposable incomes shall be for all. Freedom from discrimination shall be for all. Freedom of social mobility shall be for all. We will fight to the bitter end to see that this vision will continue materializing into reality".

"Some of you say we can't. We can".

"Yes, we can. As a matter of fact, so far, we have".
Someone cares? Okay then. Economic Left/Right: -2.25
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INFP-T personality, quite heavy on the I,P, and T.

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Nui-ta
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Moralistic Democracy

The Ramblings of a Slightly Younger Man

Postby Nui-ta » Sun May 22, 2016 10:22 pm

A.N 124

There was a letter opener on top of the envelope, neatly arranged on the coffee table in the living room. This was the beginning of a sort of "coming-of-age" ritual within his family.

He had been through this "ritual", his father had been through it, and apparently so had his grandfather and great-grandfather. The one before that, his great-great grandfather, had apparently been the one who started the entire ordeal, swearing the military allegiance of himself and his descendants to Emperor Vincentius I and any future members of the Royal Family, in exchange for a position of nobility.

Now, it was his daughter's turn.

It made Hariem smirk a little that a woman was taking over the family mantle of military service. It wasn't that he looked down on her; as much as he secretly dreaded the idea of his children having to join the military at some point due to conscription laws, his daughter was perhaps the most military-capable of his three children --- he admitted this readily.

It was just that the fact that a woman was taking over the job meant that things really had changed in Nui-ta, especially in his home-state of Sangaur, the most conservative state of Nui-ta, where he'd once been told (and it was the truth!) that he could legally deny his wife the right to work, if he wished, just because it was a man's right to do so.

He didn't believe that nonsense, of course, but that was the society he'd had to come to terms with --- and it was changing so radically. Hence the smirk.

His own father would probably have lost his mind over the idea of a woman representing the family within the military. Do you not have sons?! he could hear some specter of his father screech at him. Or are they not men?!

A woman's place in conservative Sangauranic society, even now, was not to become a career soldier. They still had to complete their conscription time, this was true. Some were also expected to enter civilian careers, but if a family had the money --- and many noble families did, especially his --- then a woman was expected to be a homemaker. Such was not only a mark of the patriarchal culture within Nui-ta (and especially Sangaur), but also of the clan-based society, which prized marriages between clans with close ties as "further social collateral" of a sort.

This was not the life he wanted for his daughter, unless she honestly chose such a life of her own volition. It was clear that this wasn't going to be the case. It was also blatantly clear that his daughter only had eyes for a close friend from high school, and although there had been some under-the-table talks between Hariem and the boy's own family involving what "probably" would happen, everyone was thankfully in agreement that it was ultimately up to the young couple to decide their own fate. Some other families, who were asking about his daughter, or her twin brother (it was less common, but still practiced, to marry off one's sons), weren't so understanding.

Shit changes, Dad. I feel like I've lived much longer than I really have...

Hariem's own mother, from what little he could remember of her, had been something called a career apron1 --- a woman who avoided military service by marrying young and attempting to have as many children as possible. His mother had also died quite young, hence why he could barely remember her at all. Had Hariem been born female, he...or...she? ...would be have been socially coerced into the same lifestyle.

There was no doubt that if Hariem's father were still alive, he would likely have encouraged that Hariem expect the same from his daughter Kana. It would have been out of what Benson perceived as Kana's best interests --- after all, Benson was the product of a very different time. Benson was also very old, and had died from old age as well as some influence from heart problems a few years prior.

The point, quite simply, was that the old ways were quite dead now, and while it did make Hariem slightly uncomfortable to be passing the torch in what, in his generation, was a very unconventional way --- it also made him feel somewhat optimistic and hopeful. He wasn't completely sure why.

He looked back down at the letter opener and envelope. It was emblazoned with the official seal of the Ministry of Defense, specifically from the Office of Conscription, and it was addressed to his daughter, who had recently graduated from a military secondary school, and was awaiting deployment orders. Hariem had been surprised to learn that his daughter had elected to join the Air Force --- it would make her the first of their family, and perhaps even among their extended clan, to not join the Army.

Not that he was complaining.

It was tradition for a newly-minted adult, such as Kana, to open the letter herself in front of him. Until now, she'd been a child, and Nui-tan social convention between parents and children dictated that parents receive mail, make decisions, and then inform the child and expect them to comply. Although his status as her father would always entitle him to advise her in society, this was her first piece of mail as an adult --- meaning he would not be opening it.

She was to open it, make her own decision, inform him, and perhaps take his advice...but his role had now shifted from authoritarian to adviser.

What a major shift in their relationship, he realized, through such a small change of actions.

His daughter was outside running an errand he'd sent her on (before he saw the letter), and was likely to be home any minute. Her two brothers were both outside. The younger child was still in primary school, and would not be back for several hours. Kana's twin brother, on the other hand, had also graduated from a different secondary school (non-military) last week --- he was taking entrance exams for college2, and would also not be home for several hours. Thus, it was just Hariem and Kana.

Why is she taking so long? All I did was send her to the pharmacy for some medicine.

Specifically, she'd been sent out with some cash in hand to pick up some cholesterol medication (for Hariem) and some spare asthma medication (for her older brother Crivan, who'd unfortunately suffered an asthma attack earlier in the morning, thus going through one of his reserves).

Thank the gods he at least had enough to take with him to the exams... Hariem mumbled to himself half-hazardly, before carelessly glancing out the window and suddenly noticing his daughter standing in the front yard, speaking to her boyfriend.

Oh. That guy.

He tapped on the window audibly, getting their attention.

"Oy, Maalik," he said, opening the window and addressing the boy who'd likely be his son-in-law one day. "I need my daughter back right now. You two can flirt later".

Both of them blushed, Maalik somewhat scared of Hariem, before nodding quickly and ushering Kana inside.

Nice boy, Hariem smiled to himself. Just needs a little toughening up every once in a while...

Kana i-Harendo made her way up the driveway and into the living room quickly, removing her shoes and stepping unto the carpet of the living room from the front hallway which was the main entrance into the household.

"Daaad," the teenaged (technically freshly-made adult) whined, revealing a slightly more spoiled side as her father's only daughter. Hariem couldn't help but dote on her a little, given that she was still in some ways his baby. He didn't spoil her so much as to forget to instill some discipline into her, though.

"No whining, you can flirt with your boyfriend later".

"Five more minutes?"

"Kana," Hariem said, a bit more authoritatively. "Xi basa'ze".3 Discipline indeed, this was the universal cue that Kana and her siblings had learned was their only warning before getting a reprimand from their father. They would always get one polite request to stop, unless they were doing something very stupid --- not heeding that request was unwise. Having learned not to disobey, Kana immediately stopped talking and nodded silently. Hariem smiled at her.

"Riesizu,"4 he said softly, an affectionate tone returning to his voice. He placed his hand on the still closed envelope and gently slid it in her direction. She noticed that it was unopened immediately.

"What is that?"

"You tell me," he smiled.

"You didn't open it?"

"It's not mine to open". He slid the letter opener towards her as well. Suddenly, she understood the significance of this moment, although she wasn't immediately aware that the letter in question involved her conscription.

"Wow," she chuckled, "I never thought opening my own mail would be so exciting!"

"Neither did I, when it was me standing there," Hariem laughed. "It gets old fast once the bills start rolling in".

They both laughed, as Kana took the letter opener and nervously broke the seal on the envelope. Seeing the official seal on it as she turned the envelope over from the back side to the front, she felt her hands shake a little.

She placed the letter opener gently back unto the table for Hariem to take back, before reaching with one hand into the envelope and pulling out a rather official looking document. Not letting go of the now empty envelope, she unfolded the actual paper gently with two hands, still noticeably shaking, before reading the contents silently. Hariem watched carefully, waited, but did nothing.

"San Gajin, next week, for final evaluation and basic training." Having graduated from military school, Kana was still mandated to go through basic training, but would likely have a far easier time than many other recruits who'd be joining with her. Most military school graduates who completed basic training were made PFCs immediately, unlike their non-military school equivalents, who'd be entering merely as second-class privates.

"Oh, you too?" Hariem smiled. "Well, it's to be expected, people typically serve at the central base of the state they grow up in. This trend only breaks when there's a shortage, unless you're in the navy5", what with us not having anywhere to put boats here in Sangaur".

"Wait, there's more," Kana said, before continuing to read. "Transfer upon completion to San Dae-hizan"."

"All the way in Detectatia?!" Hariem gasped. San Dae-hizan was the military base which Nui-ta maintained in Detectatia, all the way in Terra Oriens, per the Nui-ta/Detectatia military alliance. This was a bit worrisome --- it would put Kana close to Segland.

She smiled at him. "It's okay Dad, I heard from Uncle Alec that Detectatia is a nice place".

"Y-yeah...it is, so I've heard. Never been". Hariem gulped for a moment, not enjoying the idea of his daughter being in close proximity to a rather scary looking, "big-bad" nation in the far east. As long as a war didn't break out, though....

"Do you think they'll pay me in Detectatian Notes?" She smiled.

"Probably," Hariem said, trying to smile. He couldn't believe that he'd have preferred her close to home.

Suddenly, the idea of having Kana become a career apron herself didn't seem too bad --- where was that Maalik boy when he was actually needed? Hariem quickly snapped himself out of thinking such a sexist, degenerate thought before doing his best to return to the situation at hand.

"Well, I guess since this is a big deal, you're owned a small gift of money for good luck out in Detectatia".

Kana grinned, "woah, really?! Can we go to the mall and get some dresses?"

"Xi basa'ze..." he snapped a little, even though he secretly wanted to say yes.

Kana whimpered for a moment, "s-sorry Dad".

"Maybe after you get back," he mumbled, before adding, "you'll be wearing almost nothing but fatigues for the next three years, so what's the point in a dress now? I don't need to spoil you rotten anymore, since you aren't a little girl anymore".

"Do I get them soon? The fatigues?"

"Your first day at San Gajin. You should go in early, as there will be a long wait. That's how it worked with me, and I doubt that's changed".

"I heard Maalik is going to be in the air force too! Maybe he'll be in the same base!"

"Outstanding," Hariem mumbled. Even though he liked Maalik, he was even less thrilled with the idea of his daughter being halfway across the world with her boyfriend, even if it were on a military base. Nui-ta had relatively lax fraternization laws, but he wasn't making a point of telling her this, even though it was inevitable that she'd find out somehow over the next three years.

"Dad," Kana snapped a little, letting the teenager again take over, "you know I'm not a baby anymore. I'm a soldier now! You're really gonna get upset about Maalik being at the same base as me?"

She half expected Hariem's trademark "xi basa'ze" again, but got no words at all. Looking over at her father, she noticed that underneath his smile, he actually seemed a bit genuinely upset.

Her own tone softened. "...D-Dad?"

He got up quietly --- wordlessly --- from where he'd been sitting, moved over to her quickly, and wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. Kana was stunned to silence, staring off at a moment in this unusual display of physical affection before wrapping her own arms back around him.

"Daddy?" Her tone became innocent and childish --- she was so grown, and yet still so young. Suddenly, hearing herself talk and taking a good, sincere look at the way her father was looking at her, she realized that to him, she still was his baby.

He smiled at her, as forced a smile as it was.

"I'm proud of you". Those words were genuine, even as he broke the hug off.

"T-thank you..."

"I'm also scared for you".

"Why?"

"It's not good for you to think of this as some vacation. Detectatia is a nice, peaceful place, and hopefully the peace in the world we have now lasts while you're young. I hope it is a vacation, honestly, but you mustn't forget that you're an active duty soldier now. Three years is a long time for anything to happen".

"It can't really happen that fast, can it?"

"It happened to me," Hariem sighed. "My first year of conscription, I was just like you. I was a kid having fun, thinking how "grown-up" I was now that I was a soldier...the war took all of that away overnight. Literally, overnight".

It was unusual for a soldier to answer about their own war-time experiences, especially concerning the Partition, of which Hariem was a combatant of, when asked about them. It was even stranger for a soldier to self-initiate talk of these events and experiences to the newer generation. Although her brothers, when given the opportunity to hear about Hariem's experiences years later, would not understand the significance of his disclosure until later --- Kana understood almost immediately.

"Just...be careful. Nightmares start very quickly".

"Dad," Kana mumbled, "can I ask you something really personal?"

"Yes".

"We went on a field trip to San Talsankir a month ago at school".

"And...?"

"You know the Doro'ran?6"

"Unfortunately, yes".

"Your handwriting is on it. I didn't mean to see it, but I noticed it, and I wanted to ask you about it, but I didn't want to be rude".

"Yes, it is on the wall. No, it isn't rude of you to ask. You of all people especially, given that you're about to---"

"Does war change people that much?"

"Yes. War is hell". He added, "and I'm probably going to hell".

"I wouldn't think so, Dad".

"You think good of me even after knowing one of my best kept secrets? Even your mother didn't know about my involvement there. I didn't want her to think I was some sort of barbarian".

"The PAF were worse," Kana smiled.

Hariem was silent for a moment before nodding. "Yes," he said, "they were. But they brought out the worst in the entire nation. In the government. In the military. In me. You have no idea how many people I had to kill on that one night alone. Between each of us, it was an individual graveyard".

"Even so, it could be you in those graveyards right now," Kana smiled. "And then I wouldn't be here. Even if I had a different set of parents, I wouldn't be me. If the PAF won, I'd be dead for being a halfie7".

"I understand everything, Dad. And I appreciate it. And I guess you're right about the fact that I can't have too much fun out there".

"Well," he smirked, genuinely this time, "try and have some fun".

"You too Dad," she smiled. "The war is over...and now, hopefully, we have something better to look forward too".

She added in, "thank you for everything you had to go through..."

He blushed a little before looking away from her.

"Dad? Did I do something wrong".

I can feel tears in my eyes. Don't turn around. Don't turn around!!! He screamed at himself. He managed to keep those tears inside, batting them away with a few blinks, before turning back around at her and quickly saying, "you know what? Remember when I said you didn't need to get spoiled rotten anymore? I lied. Get in the car".




1 A "career apron" is a term for a woman who avoids conscription altogether by getting married and having many children. Nui-tan conscription laws bar pregnant women and women who have recently given birth (within a term of four years) from entering military service. This is partially because of some residual Nui-tan patriarchy, partially because of beliefs involving the continuation of clans and large families (if a woman has three sons, why not let her stay, and then have three sons later to conscript?), and partially for religious reasons. Every time a woman gives birth, she cannot enter the service until that child's fourth birthday. If a woman thus has a child in A.N 100, has another child three years later in A.N 103, and then another child three years later in A.N 106, she has effectively dodged military service until A.N 110 (the last child's fourth birthday). By the time she becomes eligible for conscription again, she may not be sent anywhere as there will be younger recruits in the same pool who will be more desirable for service than her. Note that if a woman has a child in A.N 100, and then doesn't have another child within four years, she becomes eligible for conscription again between the two children.

2 After secondary school, for which the exit age is 16 (same age as the age of majority), new high-school graduates have one of two options. They can either get their conscription out of the way, or postpone it while seeking other avenues of life, like getting into college and training for a specialized vocation. Getting into a college before completing conscription is possible, for students who wish to draft-dodge, but it is also highly competitive. One prominent exception for this choice are students who went to military secondary schools, as part of the contract with these schools (most, but not all of which are public schools) is that the students are not charged tuition fees, in exchange for the expectation that they will comply with conscription law immediately after graduating from said secondary school.

3 "Xi basa'ze" is Melodian for "please stop" --- specifically telling someone to stop what they are doing. "Basa" is the actual word for stop, while "ze" indicates that the word/command is indicated at a specific person. "xi", is an informal way of saying "please" --- the formal version is "xigau".

4 "Riesizu" is informal Melodian for "thank you" --- "riesi" is "thank/thanks", while "zu", like "ze", indicates that the thanks are being directed to someone in particular. The formal version is "Riesizua", while curiously, thanking a group of persons simultaneously is simply "riesi" --- no formal or informal.

5 Members of the navy who hail from an inland state (Rahku State or Sangaur), will always be transferred to a different state. This is because, of out Nui-ta's 10 states, RS and Sangaur are the only two states which do not have naval installations, on account of not having a coastline.

6 The Doro'ran, Melodian for "bloody wall" is a preserved portion of rebuilt wall in San Talsankir (now encased in glass --- not an actual structural part of the base's current fortifications. It was brick, held together with concrete mix and the blood of many PAF-PZF soldiers. The wall was hastily put up the night after the Valentine's Day Massacre (the "take no prisoners" takeover of the enemy controlled base by the Nui-tan government forces), partially as a temporary, improvised defense, and mainly as psychological warfare. There is also graffiti all over the wall from government soldiers who put the wall up after undertaking the massacre of hundreds of PAF soldiers, nearly all of which denounces the PAF for the suffering of the general populace endured during the war, and is laden with threats about if they ever should return to Nui-ta.

Although the Doro'ran is basically enshrined, it is not so kept because of any honor, but to illustrate the severity of the war on a psychological level. Many of the soldiers who took part in the Valentine's Massacre noted high incidences of PTSD afterwards. Historians and psychologists also note that the Doro'ran's very existence was as a sort of "sick, twisted coping mechanism" for the young men and women involved, after the violent events of the night --- like how insane children would scribble mindlessly on paper or a chalkboard.

7 A halfie is someone of mixed-class or mixed-race (since class lines in Nui-ta are mostly ethnically based) origin. As the daughter of a nobleman and a commoner, Kana i-Harendo is half Sangauranic and half Zanzeanic. Hence, "halfie". Unlike other terms in Nui-tan society, "halfie" is not considered a pejorative term, and many mixed-class people will indeed refer to themselves, and accept reference to themselves, as "halfies".
Last edited by Nui-ta on Sat May 28, 2016 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Someone cares? Okay then. Economic Left/Right: -2.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.85

INFP-T personality, quite heavy on the I,P, and T.

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Hralia
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 7
Founded: Mar 10, 2016
Ex-Nation

A Necessary Appointment

Postby Hralia » Mon May 30, 2016 8:47 am

The Palace
Sir Malcolm Daivid wasn’t looking out of the windows of his car. Contrary to expectations, he was sitting in the back of the 4x4, and looking out through the open sun-roof. The two saloons in front were occupied by his security (with whom he had swapped) and his modest entourage, respectively. The convoy was waved through a lightly manned checkpoint where some photophgraphers had gathered. The signs said “Capital Park – Restricted for Residents and Official Business Only”.

There were only sixteen residences in the Capital Park, including the Lord Protector’s Palace. Parliament was also housed here, as was the Confederal Court. Long ago, a romantically-minded government had decided that the capital city of Hralia should represent the rural and natural beauty and quiet of the nation outside Newmilns, rather than the business of the industrial centre. They had designated all areas north and west of a line that hugged the existing built city to be protected, uprooted several hundred slum-dwellers, compensated as many farmers and lease-holders, and entrusted these thousands of acres to the confederal government. The Park encompassed the foothills of the Border Highlands, interwoven by the Mralian River, from which the Ayr River flowed into the city. The Lord Protector’s Estate had been built around the Falls of Polach – that stretch of the Ayr River after separation that sees it flowing down a series of waterfalls.

The Palace was large enough to be seen from the city, though much of it was hidden from view. Its one tower had been built tall enough to peak over nearby hills and into the beautiful landscape beyond. Its limestone exterior was bulked up with porticos and colonnades that buffered it and divided the grounds into a series of cloisters that stepped down the hill. The river flowed through these freely, and the architects had been careful to respect it – the many bridges that crossed the river were modest and wooden, the colonnades simply broke over it, their stone bases jaggedly cut so as to suggest the water had broken through them.

But more than anything, it was tranquil. Once inside the complex of columned colonnades, beautifully gardened clositers, the noise from the city was muted, and only the breeze and the flow of water provided the background sound. The Prime Minister of Hralia would usually travel without security, but Sir Malcolm had himself been the victim of attempted assassination during his last term, and the police had offered him public protection ever since. The second saloon was packing his small entourage – the party chairman, his special policy advisor, and his son-cum-chief of staff, Teárlach. Usually, a Prime Minister would attend this meeting with his partner. Today, the Lord Protector seemed to have other plans.

Teárlach Daivid had never seen the palace with his own eyes, never felt the ambience here. Until very recently, he had been living in Perfford and working at the PSX, earning more money than his father ever had, and very little of the man’s respect. His father had called him to his side before the recent elections, and put him in charge of the staff.

Standing in the Entry Garden, whose colourful blossoms were braving – thanks to top professional gardening care – the dull weather, Teárlach began to feel for the first time since his return that he might actually enjoy being close to the reigns of public power.

They were ushered through to the palace itself along a column-lined incline marked as the Feline Walk by engravings in the stone. Cats, both stone and flesh, lined the straight path, the flesh ones scattering before them. Teárlach spotted in a cloister below to the right, a large swimming pool, covered today. They emerged onto an upper level of walkways on the palace grounds, and the wind biting them up here, they quickened their pace to the third-storey entrance to the palace – a simple double-doored affair.

“It’s a beautiful estate, father. Quite lovely.” Teárlach said as they had their coats taken from them by attendants in the first reception room. Sir Malcolm was not so taken with the aesthetic.


Daivid and Son

“I’ve never appreciated the ostentatious, but we’re lumbered with it now.” the father replied to his son. This preceded a short replay of a conversation they had had four times since yesterday evening, in which the father ensured the son knew his role today. “I will send for you first, no matter what his mood is, yes?”

Teárlach nodded.

“If I send for you and one of the others, that is bad news. You will simply announce them, and then get out of the room.” Again, Teálach agreed, and after prompting he said so verbally. “After that, I may send for you and the other one. The same drill.”

“Yes! I understand.”

“Damn well you better understand. If I send for you alone, you’re coming in as my son, and we’re all so happy to be here, and tell him how much you love the gardens and all that rubbish.”

“Yes father.”

“Otherwise, when you come in at the end, you are my Chief of Staff. You ask me attentively if there is anything I need. You tell him what an honour it is to be in his presence, and you describe the weight of the world that you feel as Chief of Staff for the new Prime Minister.”

“Yes – um, you’ll definitely BE Prime Minister? I shouldn’t check with you first?” Teárlach was a man of 37 years, but in his father’s presence often retained the uncertainty of puberty, as if everything was new, worrying and uncertain. In this situation everything was new, of course, making things worse.

The question was answered only with a wave of the hand, indicating that Sir Malcolm wanted silence now. In general, Sir Malcolm was remarkably amiable, kind and forgiving. He could be this way with Teárlach as well, but he was uniquely impatient with his son. It was the symptom of his disappointment that Teárlach had not wanted to follow him into political service, and this was acute now that he was pondering who would be his political heir.

Losing the office of Prime Minister had brought out Sir Malcolm’s gravest fears of mortality. It was for this he had thrown several unbecoming fits in the family home, over the issue of his son’s career. Teárlach himself wanted nothing to do with politics, but his mother had pleaded successfully with him to humour his father for at least two years. Yet now, with Teárlach in place, his father acted as if he was a burden.

Teárlach tried not to take any of it to heart. They walked in silence. The Party Chair, a fat bald Frenalian Duke, had said nothing since earlier in the morning. Mr. Fulton, the special advisor, had spent the entire time on his phone. Teárlach suspected they were embarrassed to listen in on the conversation, though Fulton might not have been paying attention anyway.

The walls of the corridors were gilded in gold, and large portraits hung in every panel. The floor was oak, with a plush red carpet occupying the centre. An attendant led them up a hexagonal staircase, set within a hexagonal hall, and statues of great Hralian heroes and poets guided them to the fifth floor.


The Old Man

The Lord Protector’s antechamber was larger than Teárlach’s apartment in Perfford – and his apartment in Perfford was not cheap. The views north-east looked straight at the shallow green slope of Bert’s Rock. Two stags were fighting there, to Sir Malcolm’s approval.

“Ah, There you are! You don’t need to wipe your buttocks with gold leaf to appreciate the raw power of nature.” They all took a seat, with the exception of Sir Malcolm, who continued to watch the animal duel in the distance. Soon sir Malcolm was summoned – he spoke to the Duke on his way in.

“Lothian – answer my son’s earlier question so we don’t make fools of ourselves.” Teárlach felt the urge to cause a by-election in the awkward silence that followed.

“Ah, the, um… His Gracious Majesty is bound by convention to appoint your father at this meeting. Not to do so would be unheard of. He has already submitted your father’s name to Parliament, and Parliament have, um, endorsed it.” The Duke of Lothian looked almost frightened to have spoken. “Never mind though, it’s all a very complicated process and I often don’t follow it. I think your father is a little nervous.”

“No, your Grace, my father is simply being my father, rather than your leader, today. He probably is still thinking about my many detentions at Valley Oak.” Teárlach knew the Duke had sent his two sons to Valley Oak, and his three daughters to its sister school, Valley Vines, and soon he was engaged in a decidedly less awkward conversation about the teaching staff. That was until it was interrupted by a dramatic bawling from inside the Lord Protector’s chamber. Not his father’s voice.

An attendant emerged, looking alarmed.

“Um, the Duke of Lothian? Sir Malcolm has asked for him?”

Teárlach went in to announce him, in as business-like a fashion as he might, while bowing to an enormous room, and remembering all of the necessary formalities.

“Your Gracious Majesty, might I have the pleasure of presenting His Grace, Alexander, the Duke of Lothian, Chairman of the Confederal Conservative Party.” The Duke strode past him, statesman. Teárlach looked up only as he backed out of the room. There was only one painting in view, a gigantic panoramic shot of the mythical battle of Erez, in Brown. Only this picture featured all manner of creatures not accounted for in the Orthodox Brownite version of the story. Ten foot tall crab-like men populated the image, dragging the invaders into the soil. An eel-like creature with golden bangles was coiled around a King, setting him aflame. It was quite disturbing. Below the picture, pathetic in comparison, was the Lord Protector, Aloysius II, perched on his throne. Sir Malcolm stood to the right, facing away from his Gracious Majesty. Aloysius glared directly at Teárlach through cateracted eyes, though he appeared to be looking through him as the doors shut. Teárlach quickly picked up on the Lord Protector’s hair – he had been pulling at the whispy remains of a once thick mane, clearly exorcised.

There had been someone else in the room as well. Sitting down, comfortably, at a long and stately table. Ms. Emilia Findlay was the outgoing Central Office Minister and the Lord Deputy President of the Privy Council, here to witness the appointment for the council. Teárlach chuckled to himself in the antechamber. Both his father and Aloysius were notoriously conservative, traditional men. The very presence of a woman in a role of authority in their appointment would discomfort them – the outgoing government’s sting in the tail.

He and Fulton sat there for a half hour. They didn’t hold conversation, but the special advisor occasionally looked up from his phone, looked around him as if he were at a restaurant and in want of service, and made impatient statements that drew the silent admonishment of the attendants.

“I suppose its about the Chancellor. I told him it would be about the Chancellor.” He said finally, his 6th or 7th opinionated one-liner spoken to the room. The Chancellor was the Chancellor to the Estate of the Lord Protector, an honourary book-keeper for the palace who was always a sitting Burgess and who's actual function was to formally tell Parliament who the Lord Protector was going to appoint as Prime Minister. Usually, the PM would put them in their cabinet. Usually, the Lord Protector would appoint someone who the PM wanted in their cabinet.

Fulton expanded on the subject, despite no indication from Teárlach that he didn't already know what he had meant. “He wants your dad to appoint MacDonald to a Ministry. Your dad hates MacDonald but the old man loves him.” Fulton seemed unmoved by the utterances of shock from attendants as he referred to the Lord Protector as ‘the old man’. “He was a friend of the Prince, MacDonald. There with him when he died, they say.” Teárlach seriously didn’t care about this gossip. “So he will make poor Lexi there explain the entire Conservative programme before closing the meeting, raising at every opportunity the possibility of Neil MacDonald being appointed to cabinet to do something.”

"I don't know what good that will do them. The Liberals have to come on board too, the Ereszimists have to support from the backbenches to make up the majority. The Conservative programme won't mean much if he can't get the Liberals on-board."

"The majority voted for him, last night, in the House."

"Yes, but not for the Conservative Programme. Doesn't Aloysius know that anyway?"

"I don't think he cares about that, so long as he can have his way with MacDonald."

Teárlach had found many deficiencies in the party and his father's team since being brought in. Here was another example of unclear chain of command, but this time the state was to blame.

"If he wants to talk it over the Liberals should be here. If talking it over isn't supposed to be something he does then we should be out of here already."

"Calm down Teárl. This is the one place where you and I can do nothing but wait. Oh, unless they call me in. Then I can submit myself for an interview with no purpose and tell my kids I met the old man face-to-face." The attendants bristled again. One told them to hush. They returned to their dull silence while the voices next door carried on.


The Prime Minister

When the door opened again, it was not an attendant but his father who came through it, heading straight out of the antechamber, the Duke beckoning them silently. The procession felt like a hasty retreat now as Sir Malcolm’s strides seemed too large and quick for a man of his age (who uses a cane!). Teárlach feared the worse, and assumed everyone else did. Only at the cloak room did he get the truth.

“Did he not appoint you, father?”

“Of course he appointed me, don’t be a fool. He just wasn’t very taken with my advice on the appointment of ministers. Which he was determined to discuss in front of a Labour Burgess!” After some controlled breathing, the amiable Sir Malcolm returned to them. “Ah, he is a legendary man really. It must be difficult to be in his shoes, unable to have his say in public, and sadly unable to convince me. Heavy is the crown, and its wearer may not always feel it pressing to observe the maximum courtesy.” He spoke as if there were a small audience in the room, and he was giving a soliloquy. It was a very smooth way of saying they had been kicked out. He stepped down from his imaginary stage soon enough, though.

"But if he continues like that, I shall have to make regular excuses for our visits."

The new Prime Minister, returned to office, departed with his entourage for his official residence. The House of Burgesses-Confederal would not be meeting until 4pm, after the Speaker’s election. He would have to have several Ministers appointed by then, and no doubt he would want to change into less formal attire. So far he had made three appointments, all of them for himself: Lord President of the Privy Council, First Commissioner to the Chancellory of the Confederal Treasury, and Minister-Advisory. He had hoped to appoint the Liberal leader to several offices, real and ceremonial, during the meeting, but the man on the throne had lost all patience by the time it had been made clear that he was officially the Prime Minister.

He would telephone his Gracious Majesty at 3pm to inform him of the key appointments. His Gracious Majesty hated using the phone, and wouldn’t stick around to persuade Sir Malcolm to appoint his friend Neil MacDonald as Minister for a Comfortable Pension.
Last edited by Hralia on Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:53 am, edited 4 times in total.

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The Arthurian Isles
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Postby The Arthurian Isles » Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:40 am

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On Dogs In The Night-Time



The rock garden of Buðardalur was once again occupied. Far from the pressures of Vestmannaeyjar, it was a favourite retreat of many of the federal ministers. Its isolation was one obvious gift to them, as was its ability to prompt meditative thought. If this was too much for a visitor to handle, the garden could still fulfil its ancient and original purpose; it was a beautiful scene. The gravel was, as always, raked perfectly, rippling away from the five groups of stones in perfect circles which joined a field of straight lines that stretched the full 25 metres of the courtyard’s width. But the person to whom credit had to be given for so meticulously keeping the garden was perhaps the greatest gift of Buðardalur, more valuable to any visitor than the fruits of her labours: Marin.

Inclined as she was to sitting by the side of the gravel and observing the rocks, this was not such a day. Instead, she found herself gently strolling around the garden’s borders, her trademark kimono-like dress flowing behind her as she accompanied Lief Kierkegard, himself wearing a simple knitted jumper and chinos. She had become accustomed to being sought out for advice by the federal ministers. It was, she often supposed, part of her job. The duty was to more than her office, however. She owed her role as a giver of advice to her friends, of which she counted all of the members of the Storting amongst that number.

By this time in the day, when the sun was beginning to descend from its midday high, she had already been walking with Lief for some time.

“You know I enjoy our discussions, Lief. But you seem troubled.” Marin glanced over to her companion. He did not look back at her. He was a surprisingly shy man, for a politician, although perhaps ‘sensitive’ would be the better term.

“Yes, Raðmaður. The news from Karas has gotten me worried.”

Marin nodded, more to herself than to Lief. He continued, still not averting his gaze from in front of him. “Fear is natural.” He said. “It is our primal response to danger and it forces us to decide whether we will fight, freeze or flee.”

“Yes.” She said, this time keeping her own gaze pointed resolutely forward. “I’m sure you must know. It is fear confronted by impregnable uncertainty that makes governing so challenging.”

“Indeed, Raðmaður. And in war fear only becomes more pervasive. We like to assume that our choices are coldly rational, so that we can distance ourselves from the reality of war: the human cost. But those innocents who suffer in the name of international politics cannot escape fear’s clutches as easily as we do. And perhaps we cannot avoid the effects of fear as easily as we once believed.”

Lief finally looked over to Marin. She reciprocated. For the first time since the conversation turned they looked one another in the eyes. His face, narrow and gaunt, was as serious as she had ever seen it. “What do you mean, Lief?”

“You know of the security dilemma, yes?”

“I do.”1

“It is a powerful force, often informing our actions, consciously or not. It is scientifically rational to a fault. It is used to justify much of what we are seeing in Noctur right now. And yet behind it all I can see only fear. Fear, in the security dilemma, is like the curious case of the dog in the night time.”

“Go on.”

“Governments do not use the language of emotion. When they act there must be a rational reason to do so. But emotion is almost always implicit. Why do we direct so much towards foreign aid?” Lief looked at Marin again. The question was evidently not rhetorical.

“Because we want to reduce poverty. If we reduce poverty we increase stability, and stability is the base upon which justice can flourish.”

“No.” He smiled. Cheekily. “You are talking like a politician now. We give foreign aid because when we see pictures of malnourished children we feel sad. And worse, we feel guilty. But then we give assistance, and we see more and more pictures of well-fed, well-educated children in Zanzes and suddenly we feel happy. Never mind that aid can be counter-productive; as long as it soothes our consciences then we will continue to give it freely.”

“Are you saying that we should eliminate the aid department, Lief?” Marin joked back.

“No, Raðmaður. I am saying that governments give many reasons for their actions, but implicit behind all of them is emotion. And right now, the preeminent emotion is fear.”

“And what about it, Lief? I’m sure if I repeated this to Andri he would be very interested, and then he would do nothing. What does this have to do with Karas or Arthuria?”

“It has very much to do with Karas. And so long as Arthuria is Nocturian it therefore has to do with our own security and our ability to shape events.”

Marin nodded. She was becoming more and more interested as the conversation progressed. This wasn’t, as she had first assumed, a moment of advice-giving. Lief was, for want of a better term, ‘venting’ at her. Or perhaps he was ‘bouncing ideas’ off of her. Whatever the choice of description, Marin stepped back (metaphorically) and allowed Lief to enter into a true flow.

“Emotions constitute state behaviour, at least in part. A state is a group. Individuals within that group are socialised by it so that citizens of a state converge around common understandings. These understandings rely on a common identity – we, for example, are both Arthurians – and identity relies on defining oneself against an other – as Arthurians, we are not Radiatians. We develop this identity through our shared memories, which others cannot be party to. So when those memories are threatened by an outsider, it can stir a very personal emotional response within us. The more politically involved we are, the greater those emotional responses. In Karas, war has once already forced the people of Hadin and Nui-ta into an environment of fear. That fear has persisted, as a fear that the past will be repeated, and has allowed their societies to consolidate around a politics of power and war.

“You ask what this means. It means that this war is not a simple one. It is not about reordering the international society. It is about eradicating the sources of fear. To do so requires a long time and exceptional brutality.”

There was silence between the two of them for some minutes. They continued walking, Lief, his face strangely blank, staring over the walls of the garden towards the mountaintops beyond, and Marin still looking straight ahead, her forehead crinkled in thought. From the valley beyond, a group of Crested Larks who had been singing suddenly stopped. The silence left in the wake of their song was deafening. It revealed the expanse of nothingness surrounding the two friends. Even the rain of the past week would be welcomed now, to bring some relief to an overbearing quiet.

“Of course, there’s nothing we can do to stop it.” Lief said, somewhat out of the blue. “Noctur has already chosen its path. They have securitised the fear; it is in the realm of the military response now. Normal politics is being pushed further to the wayside, and if too great a trauma occurs, then the dispute will be permanently closed off from peace and discourse. Any security they may once have had will be shattered, and safety will mean nothing anymore.”

“Perhaps you are wrong.” Marý responded. “Makt skal dulbið, men lof vin.”2

“Have you ever met a victim of trauma?” She asked. He replied negatively. “It leaves one with an overwhelming sense of isolation. But I have had the honour to see cases where victims and perpetrators have come face-to-face to do nothing more than speak. They confront their trauma together, finding a common truth and breaking its hold over their lives. And from a common truth – a shared memory of the past as you might call it – they can build a common future.”

“How?”

“You are right that people try to rationalise their arguments. But sometimes we do not. And when we do not, when we confront our pain and fear, we are reaching out to others for acknowledgement. This very humble act is a recognition of the fact that we are all humans. We are flawed and imperfect, but that is what it means to share a common humanity.”

“I do not think that the Hadinians are in a talking mood at present, Raðmaður.” Lief smiled. Marin grinned too, but she was not finished just yet.

“They aren’t now. And neither are the Nui-tans, or the Radiatians, or the Seglanders. This war will, I fear, be an ugly one. Many countries will be tainted, and many individuals will bear the mark of Cane for their actions. But it is precisely because of that that when they do find the need to talk, we must assist in whatever humble way we can.”

The Crested Larks sprung up in song again. Life returned to the valley.





1 The security dilemma is the problem of perception in international politics. States are unable to know the true intentions of other states and consequently cannot accurately interpret their behaviour in the anarchic international society. States therefore assume that the augmented power of an enemy is a threat to themselves and so seek to increase their own power as a result. This causes other states to perceive the original state as a threat and so they also attempt to increase their power, leading to a spiral of distrust and arming. The theory is best described by reference to arms races.

2 Arthurian, meaning: ‘force may subdue, but love gains.’
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Postby The Arthurian Isles » Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:02 am

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On The Trinity - Speech Of Thor Hamarskjold To The Storting On An Arthurian Peace Strategy



"War has virtue. It is horrific, certainly, but it has a point: it can resolve political conflicts and create peace. That peace also has virtue. Peace creates order, stability and predictability, and all of those facets provide individuals with the security upon which their freedom can be exercised without fear.

War is therefore a part of our international society, and as long as conflict and violence are symptomatic of human nature, it will continue to play a role. It is a medicine, an unpalatable one certainly, but ultimately it abates our hatred and convinces us, paradoxically, of our common humanity. Nowadays, with centuries of custom feeding into our every action, warfare can even be governed by laws which cap its brutality and restrict its totality. It is characterised by death, but those deaths are not arbitrary; people die for a cause or they die resisting one. Even innocents, whose plight is a terrible one, when killed serve as an eternal reminder that mankind must continuously strive to limit its cruelty.

War becomes appalling not when it occurs, but when it reoccurs. When opposing forces meet with such intractable conflicts that they must resort to violence, we can comprehend why war has broken out. It is, as I have said, a fact of human existence. When those forces have worn themselves out through war, have developed an understanding of the other’s claims, have accepted that a compromise is necessary, in short when those forces have reached the point where further violence would be futile, and when they proceed to reject calls for peace, that is when war becomes the horrific act of immorality for which it has been stereotyped. It is at that point that war’s raison d'être – the resolution of political conflict – ceases to factor in the calculations of belligerents and is superseded by pride. In this context, pride is nothing more than a vice.

I cannot blame warmongers for becoming consumed by pride, however. Can we expect anything more after war tumbles from the realm of the rational into that of the emotional? I certainly cannot. The problem is the environment in which combatants find themselves. They see only war, for the war has consumed them. For peace to even register as one option amongst others, there must be two things. Firstly, there must be an atmosphere in which the ability for one to conduct war is severely restricted. This will replace combat with dialogue as the most effective mechanism of conflict resolution. Secondly, there must be a desire from all forces in a war to talk to one another. When war becomes a prohibitive means of resolving conflict, when it becomes more beneficial to simply talk, that is when peace will flourish.

But deciding to make peace is not always the end to violence. In entrenched cases of conflict - civil wars especially - the very process of transitioning from war to peace presents such a shock to a society that it creates a surge of instability. In states which have already been weakened by punishing wars this problem is particularly prescient, as it is in states for which the norm is civil war. The core of this problem is the same as that which plagues traditional inter-state wars: there is not a space in which dialogue is conducive to conflict resolution.

And here is where the Arthurian Federation can fulfil the responsibility it owes to the world. We are not well-suited to dictating peace terms – that is a discussion which must take place between belligerents to a conflict. They know their problems better than anyone. A country such as ours is so far removed from violent conflict that we would do little to help ease the relations of others. What we can do, however, is create the space in which dialogue becomes the preferred means of compromise.

This is the impetus behind Arthurian Good Offices, and from this I have developed the following three proposals. Each proposal is evolutionary, depending on the fulfilment or failure of its predecessor. They have been drafted with the assistance of Forsvaren Makt and the Logreglan. To those within these organisations who have assisted me, I must offer my thanks.

The first proposal is a familiar one. The Arthurian Federation must refrain from involving itself in others’ wars. We all know the philosophy behind the long-standing policy of ‘permanent armed neutrality’ and the benefits it has brought to our country, but it also provides advantages to others. The policy recognises that the conflicts of others are not relevant to us, nor do we understand them. We cannot, therefore, judge others for resorting to violence, and neither should we. Permanent armed neutrality has become the perfect manifestation of this approach. As a result, we have very few conflicts with our Nocturian neighbours, and those which do exist are managed and resolved through numerous channels of open communication. War is not in the interest of the Arthurian people, nor do we possess the ability to engage in it, constricted as we are by our Declaration of Neutrality.

However, Arthuria can and should provide services to states who are engaged in war. These services, which we have historically always assured, are not attempts to involve ourselves in the conflicts of others, they are simply the continuation of dialogue by other means. We are a traditional protecting power when two or more states have shut their own territory off to the embassies of others and this role must be continued. We must not interfere, but we can facilitate. In this way, Arthuria can contribute to the management of war, stopping it from reaching the point at which dialogue completely falters. All wars approach totality; in providing diplomatic avenues we can hope to widen the gap between any particular conflict and total war.

The second proposal is to offer Peace Support Operations to any states which request them. These operations are intended for situations when the belligerents to a conflict have decided of their own accord that peace is necessary and have consequently agreed to enter into peace talks. Forsvaren Makt should, for the first time, be deployed in support of this noble endeavour.

Peace Support Operations are designed to assist the parties to a conflict in creating and maintaining an environment conducive to its long-term resolution. As the name suggests, this form of operation would not be imposed on any actor. It should be a non-coercive, consent-based activity in support of a pre-agreed peace process. In a secondary role, a PSO could act as a monitoring force to observe an interim ceasefire and help prevent the resumption or escalation of violence. PSOs are envisioned as secondary tasks – they are not a creative force mandated to make peace, nor are they a coercive instrument for enforcing peace. They are designed to be an interpositionary force only.

How can a force with so little ‘bite’ help to sustain peace? Simply because peace is already present. There is a desire and will amongst the belligerents to make peace. The PSO needs only to maintain that peace. It acts as a confidence-builder, cultivating the trust between belligerents by separating them and impartially monitoring for violations of any agreement. This in and of itself permits sustained, political dialogue. No more is needed.

The activities envisioned for a PSO by this strategy include: observation and fact-finding; monitoring of ceasefires and borders; physical interposition between belligerents, including patrolling buffer zones; verification of demilitarisation and peace agreements; investigation of criminal activity or external interference; and facilitation of a political space in which dialogue can flourish.

Why, though, should Arthuria take up this mantle? The Arthurian Federation is a neutral state, and this presents both opportunities and limitations for the conduct of PSOs overseas. As an impartial country we are trusted by many of Noctur’s states and yet are not bound by external restraints. We can commit ourselves to an operation and carry it through to its conclusion. We act not in the interests of our own people but in the interests of the international society. All of this also means that we cannot engage in open combat with others, nor should we, for it would not only breach our own neutrality but would destroy the confidence of states in our peaceful intentions. Therefore, PSOs must be guided by three factors: consent, impartiality and minimum force.

I shall elaborate. PSOs must only be deployed on the invitation of all belligerents to a conflict, but upon receiving initial consent the PSO must attempt to remain in place until either the completion of the operation or the resumption of war. PSOs must also be impartial, laying down pre-agreed rules to any spoilers, regardless with which party they identify. Finally, minimum force means that combat should only be resorted to in self-defence or the protection of civilians in the case of a resumption of hostilities. With these clear rules, PSOs have the ability to facilitate peace agreements and, by the very existence of this strategy, give hope to belligerents who seek peace but lack the correct environment.

The final proposal of this strategy is to offer Transition Support Operations to any state which requests them. Unlike PSOs, these operations are designed to be internal to a state when it has emerged from civil war or a major breakdown of the social order. They require the state to be at peace with other states, and are therefore a continuation of PSOs in certain cases. As with PSOs, TSOs would see Forsvaren Makt deployed in the name of peace, joined also by the forces of law and order: the Logreglan and civil administrators.

The simple point of a TSO is to co-operate with the host state in implementing a peace agreement. They are therefore more involved than PSOs in manufacturing a peaceful environment. But they are guided by a central philosophy: a stable peace can only be built by local actors free from international pressures.

A Transitional Support Operation is ‘transitional’ in three senses. Firstly, it assists with a state’s transition from one form of political settlement to another. By providing impartial oversight and resources, a TSO can reduce the risks to combatants in engaging in a peace process and significantly improve the chances of a peace settlement becoming sustainable and effective. Secondly, TSOs are transitional because they have a distinct beginning and end. They begin with the political settlement itself and end with the fulfilment of all sections of that agreement. Because some unique situations require a less abrupt end to an operation, TSOs are transitional in a third way: they assist countries transitioning from a peace agreement to a self-sustaining, stable peace. This means that the ultimate aim of a TSO is to craft a peace that can endure without a major foreign presence in the relevant country.

How can Arthuria achieve these objectives? A military component will disarm, demobilise and reintegrate combatants into society. A policing component will maintain public order and monitor the host state’s police, a force that is intractably associated with one side in a conflict. A civilian component, likely the largest single unit, will prove vital however. It will educate the population about the peace process and publicise its successes throughout the country, it will demonstrate that the TSO has the ability to provide results and that the post-settlement society will continue these improvements, and it will build the capacity of the state’s bureaucracy and security forces. All of this involves a degree of involvement lacking in PSOs, but still permits indigenous leaders to develop their own political environment and retain ownership of the rebuilding process. With local ownership comes sustainability. But it also risks enabling corrupt elites who perpetuate rather than resolve conflict. TSOs must therefore operate under similar limitations to PSOs.

A TSO must be predicated on the consent of the host state. Once that consent is granted, however, the TSO must direct its efforts to preventing spoilers from undermining the peace process. It cannot become hostage to the will of indigenous political leaders if their actions are contrary to the peace agreement. The operation must consequently be impartial, enforcing the peace agreement against any actor who attempts to breach its provisions. But in doing so, the mission must not resort to force unless it is acting in self-defence or the defence of civilians. These restrictions will limit the number of TSOs that Arthuria could deploy, but it would keep us true to our goals and, importantly, true to our conscience.

For over a century Arthuria has spoken of peace. Yet as our capabilities have improved we have not advanced our strategies for achieving that peace. Humans have become masters of the art of warfare. What we have failed to do is master the art of peace. Perhaps this strategy can bring our deeds in line with our ambitions."





1 Bellamy, A.J., Williams, P.D. & Griffin, S. (2010) Understanding Peacekeeping, 2nd Edition, Polity

2 Boutros-Ghali, B. (1992) An Agenda for Peace, United Nations General Assembly

3 Boutros-Ghali, B. (1995) Supplement to an Agenda for Peace, United Nations General Assembly

4 Brahimi, L. (2000) Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, United Nations General Assembly

5 Hammarskjöld, D. (1956) Summary Study of the Experience Derived from the Establishment of the United Nations Emergency Force, United Nations General Assembly

6 Luttwak, E. (1999) ‘Give War a Chance’ in Foreign Affairs, Vol. 78, No. 4, pp.36-44

7 MacQueen, N. (2011) Humanitarian Intervention and the United Nations, Edinburgh University Press
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Of Light and Shadow, Part II: The Working War

Postby Algrabad » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:11 pm


For Loujain Al-Sadah, Senior Captain in the Aljaysh Alssamit1, the feeling in the capital carried an extra sting. The usual rotation of duties in the AA had brought her to the capital, where she re-occupied her old apartment. Her first meetings following assignment to internal affairs had concerned increasing the surveillance activity of the AA within government directorates. She guessed the same had already happened inside the office itself. She was not assigned to a directorate, but instead was put behind a desk to monitor agent’s and informant’s reports and analyse them for patterns or relationships that might be dangerous.

If the rumours were true, she was surely in the firing line herself for her assignment to Segland and the UNCA. It all depended on which side her superiors would take, but the chances of them all taking the side favourable to her was unlikely.

Around the city, social activities had decreased and businesses were suffering the consequences. The life-blood of Al-Miki was the money spent by public officials. Appeals by the party had coaxed some more out into public settings. Ultimately, however, in this climate, anyone at risk of being accused of anything was avoiding crowded or informal gatherings as much as possible. Loujain was no different. After war’s end, she had spent the weekend at the party club and various other venues, without going home, spending several week’s savings in a long binge with a group of other hardy souls, jubilant with victory. They hadn’t got together since. She took no visitors and made no visits. She made polite excuses for declining invitations, and took the same route to and from work, each day, making sure not to put herself in any surveillance blind spots. Her daily routine revolved around diligently performing her day job: checking internal surveillance reports and reporting anything of concern – patterns or likely relationships – to her superiors. Her reports were carefully written: no strong conclusions as to the guilt or innocence of a subject, and virtually no praise or criticism of agents.

At the same time, she was prepared to leave, at any time, and survive. Her rucksack was filled with all the necessities for a quick trip: clothes, currency, toiletries, ID and documentation, maps and travel guides. In a hidden compartment at the bottom, she had stashed a lightweight plastic pistol that could be fitted with standard 9mm ammunition, along with some alternative identification and fake documents. She took the rucksack with her everywhere, and had tested it at security checkpoints before using the hidden compartment. She knew the system well enough: if you were going to be taken, you would get a moment’s warning at best, and would have to escape the immediate situation without thinking about anything else. Alternatively, of course, you could simply be transferred – exile to anyone with a career to speak of – and left to rot or killed later. Your possessions would be in a few cases on the train before you could even return home.

Transfer was the fate that greeted Loujain one November morning, in the lobby of the forgettable and unmarked building in which she worked. About 500 people worked in the building, including security and cleaning staff, and she poured in with most of them between the hours of 9 and 10 every weekday morning. As had become a grim routine, they checked the unassuming noticeboard as they filed in, to see who had been transferred today. An A4 sheet of paper, headed by the red monogram of the Aljaysh Alssamit, was held to the board by a single pin and sandwiched between a notice of a union meeting and an offer of some tickets for a soccer match. On some days there had been no fewer than 20 transfers announced in one day. Today there were only 3, but one of the names was hers.

Her heart seemed to stop. A scream swelled within her until she felt like she might burst, but she didn’t give it the air it wanted. As others had, and as she’d attempted to train herself no to do, she crumpled into a compromised squat – somewhere between collapsing to the floor altogether and hiding her pain completely. She let out low hideous moans while others passed by. For a second or too she felt that she could not get up – that the prospect before her was too horrific to accept, and that she needed to reject it. A uniformed officer had been waiting for her to see the news and lifted her to her feet after what felt like an age but was in fact no more than 4-5 seconds. A few kind reassurances were made, and Loujain made it to the elevator. She rode up alone – a preposterous occurrence in rush hour – and found the time to compose herself. Her legs were shaking as she sat at her desk. No one spoke to her – it was the done thing. She had been marked, clearly, as a suspected person, dangerous to talk to. Paper hit her desk without so much as a greeting from the person delivering it. She toyed with escaping at lunch, but it was foolish really. They’d surely be expecting it, and she’d have no legitimate reason to leave the building.

She thought on her prospects. To be transferred from an Aljaysh Alssamit job iss hell. You will necessarily be sent as far away from anything of interest as possible, to a sh-tty grade job in an unnecessary office, where your other exilees would treat you with the utmost suspicion – and with good reason! You would have no hope of obtaining as much as a train ticket, never mind a transfer order, and your long-term fate would be vegetation, arrest or eventual murder.

She imagined the place she would find herself in if she didn’t attempt to escape the capital today. A rural backwater, likely in the jungle, who’s only productive industry was probably to cut the jungle down in accordance with wood quotas. It would host a wooden shack for social and official occasions, and a state office for a staff of 4 or 5 to handle every conceivable need, including medical, of the inhabitants. Another office, probably built next to the village in a garish modernist style, would busy itself with pointless tasks such as environmental research and regular census taking, none of which would be read by any decision maker. She would be put there, and given a bed in a shared room. Once the higher-ups decided her fate, she would be arrested or killed, or both, or simply left there, with her I.D. number removed from all official records to prevent her from travelling or sending official correspondence. She realised she hadn’t actually looked at where she was going. That too was on the noticeboard, next to her rank and full name. Her reaction had been urgent and physical, and she hadn’t taken notice.

Only when a colleague did speak to her, finally, did she pluck the courage to go downstairs and look again. It was an angry Guda Waheed who pulled up a chair to sit across from her. Loujain’s desk was one of many, arranged in a grid of 40 facing a row of windows. Guda sat 2 desks in front, 4 desks to the right of her. He was one of 3 men on the floor. He’d been in the department for years, and passed over for field jobs regularly, though he had been on some such assignments. His work was almost flawless, Loujain knew, because her own handler had mentioned it before. In all, he was an intimidating work colleague. He stared at her until she made eye contact, something she thought he had more sense to do.

“I don’t care who hears it. This is bullshit.”

“Um, hi, Guda.”

“Bullshit. You come in here on rotation in October and now you’re bounced out already?”

“I don’t know why-“ Loujain started, but was interrupted. She would’ve said she didn’t know why he was upset. They’d never particularly got on.

“Me neither, comrade. I was sent to Defence at the beginning of the war for a desk assignment, brought back here halfway through – another desk assignment. I’ve been in that office six times asking to do what I’m trained for. Six times! You damn women!” Guda didn’t seem to understand what had befallen her. She spelled it out to him.

“Comrade, that’s terrible, but you should bring it up somewhere else. Talking to me will see you transferred.”

“Oh, a threat now? I didn’t realise you’d been raised so high, comrade!”

“Guda, I’ve been kicked out!”

“Yes, I see, transferred… to Huratt! What exactly have I done to offend anyone in the appointments office, eh? Perhaps you will ask them when you get there, if you haven’t forgotten my name by then.” Loujain let the words sink in as Guda stormed off. For an Algrabadi public servant, his outburst was thoroughly crazed. One more reason why his gender defeat themselves, she thought. But Huratt? Without any care for the time, and without clocking out, she dashed to the bank of lifts and headed down to the lobby.

She didn’t recognise the other two names on the board. One was being sent to Fahmine province, the other to Upper Zansa, no doubt to try and convince the locals to turn away from cannibalism. “Huratt, Chemmakh” it said, next to her name and rank.

Huratt was the rural estate of the President. She had never seen it or pictures of it, but it was known that certain things happened there, and the AA held top-level meetings there sometimes. To be transferred there was a very different reality to what she had feared and assumed. It also didn’t make any sense.

The silence from others wasn’t out of fear of being seen talking to her, then. It was fear of saying something wrong to her. She was surely about to be promoted – something she had longed thought she was in line for. Yes, Guda had a point, he should have been rotated out before her. Perhaps, as well, he should have been promoted before her. But really, he didn’t have the temperament, as he had just proved. She would be duty-bound to report his outburst, of course. With the exception of him, and perhaps two others, she was probably the most senior person on her floor, and in terms of field work she was one of the most experienced of her rank anywhere in the AA.

Later in the afternoon she received instructions by priority post. She was to take the train the next day, at 11am, to the city of Saliqih. From the station there she would be driven to the town of Huratt, surrounded by the estate, and she should report to the hotel there. After that she would receive more instructions. Her possessions would follow her when permanent accommodation was worked out.

Her last report was marked of higher importance and described Guda’s public outburst, recommending demotion or transfer to the Hadin male dependent’s programme. By the next evening she was kicking her feet up in her hotel room. The town of Huratt was more of a village, and its one hotel was not impressive to look at. The rooms, however, were luxuriously kitted out, no doubt because of the usual calibre of guests to the estate. Her possessions had been packed for her, but she had brought a few essentials: everything in the rucksack, minus the weapon (She had stamped the plastic pistol into fragments in the safety of her apartment, leaving parts of it in public bins around the area), and a few formal outfits: revolutionary, military and AA.2 Only formal, or “ceremonial” attire, was allowed on the estate.

She was awoken in the night by a hastily arranged welcoming committee, consisting of a deadpan bureaucrat, the hotel’s night manager, and ageing whiskered General by the name of Ali. They stayed, standing in the light of her bathroom, only to announce their exact business. The general announced her promotion to the rank of Moqaddam – a Junior Colonel. The weedy woman beside her handed Loujain documents confirming her promotion, and some new insignia for her military and AA uniforms and revolutionary’s beret. The hotel’s manager, looking like she would rather be anywhere else, hung up a suit bag and showed the others out without a word, once Loujain had signed for her items to the bureaucrat’s satisfaction. The suit bag contained a new military uniform, white with red decorations. A ceremonial Janbiya was sheathed on the uniform’s broad red belt.

She thought they would make a big deal out of her promotion, when it came, as both the military and AA usually did. To give it to her in a hotel room suggested that she had been posted to Huratt for something very sensitive.

1 The Aljaysh Alssamit, known as the "AA", is the Secret Army of Algrabad. It is an intelligence and covert operations agency with affiliation to the ruling Socialist Revolutionary Party.

2 AA officers are entitled to wear Algrabadi Military uniform of equivalent rank, as this enables them to avoid detection in uniform. However, the AA does have its own uniforms.

Last edited by Algrabad on Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Of Light and Shadow, Part III: The Leading Lady

Postby Algrabad » Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:13 am


The Huratt Estate was once owned by the ruling El’fi1 of Chemmakh. A vast expanse of fertile ground, with little tree cover (for these parts), made it a profitable bread basket for the region. The era of communism had seen the estate split up for the good of locals, then brought under central control, and then re-allocated again in a expensive decades-long bureaucratic debacle – one that would still be going on, had a visiting President not taken a liking to the lakeside holiday home that had escaped destruction.

The estate was quickly taken over by the national government, and wrestled away from the military. What remained of the impressive manor house was finally flattened and replaced with something more modest in design, if not scale. Various military buildings were also converted to serve different groups of staff who might have reason to travel with the President. Chief among these the Aljaysh Alssamit and the Socialist Revolutionary Party. The lakeside holiday home was refurbished with modern electrics and prized artwork, and a secure safe room built in the basement. As with many ventures in revolutionary Algrabad, the President who’s on-the-spot decision had caused the transformation never saw it completed.

These days, two-thirds of the old estate was back in local hands. The gardens too were tended by locals on weekends, on a voluntary basis that a minority of the villagers relished, and another, quieter minority, grumbled about. The estate’s buildings all stood out over the rolling hills, the town itself hidden at the riverside. Thus, the trees along the winding driveway were not exactly trimmed to standards of professionalism to be expected in the capital. This Loujain noticed from her AA car as it climbed slowly out of the town. A freak rainstorm beat down on the roof and windows, and branches that had grown too long flailed about above them.

She assumed she was being driven to Block 3 – the AA’s own building, but when the car stopped here her door remained locked, and another passenger hopped in. A middle-aged woman, her eyes squinted. Like Loujain, she was dressed in the best ceremonial version of the revolutionary style. She was a Junior General.

“Lakeside.” She told the driver through the intercom, before muting it. “You are Al-Dasa?” Loujain brushed off the butchery of her surname.

“Yes, Comrade Junior General.”

“Yes, Comrade Colonel, I’ve read all about you. Don’t quite know why you’re here, but I know everything else.”

“Oh, General?”

“When you meet the President, don’t expect anything. Don’t call her comrade as you just did me, until she addresses you by the same – President will do. Do not mention anything about your recent work unless she asks. Or anything else, for that matter. And accept her requests without qualification. If anything is of difficulty to you, come to me when you are done, and I will arrange any assistance you require.”

“Sorry- when I meet President Azhari?”

“There is only one President, Colonel.”

“I didn’t know-“

“Well that doesn’t surprise me. I doubt you’ve even been checked up on. What was it, a week ago you were informed you’d be coming here?”

“The day before yesterday.”

“Ha! Then we really are buggered. Come see me after you meet her. We might figure out what the hell is going on. Or maybe you’ll assassinate me, who knows! A joke, comrade. Don’t tell her I said that or we’ll both be toast. Hah!”

The meeting with the President wasn’t nearly as unnerving as the chat in the back of the car, with the exception of President Azhari’s appearance. She was healthy and happy, that was for sure, but she was wearing a long bright flowery dress – light blue with white and gold petals on it. It made Loujain feel not overdressed, but somewhat out of place.

“Don’t mind my attire, Colonel. I’ve just met with the Administrative Council. Every now and then it pays to show them that the revolution isn’t the only facet of my character. This week it needed to pay… it is a lie of course.” Loujain didn’t know what to say at all. If someone other than the President had said that, they might be kicked out of the party by someone who didn’t like them.

“Yesterday I had the military council in. They were rather taken with my new uniform. I see you’re wearing yours well.”

The conversation continued in this indirect style for the better part of an hour, with the President making seemingly absent-minded observations, and looking to Loujain for responses. Loujain quickly saw this as a one-on-one assessment of character, and nervously attempted less-than-formal conversation. About 40 minutes in, she received her first “comrade”. Ten minutes later, Comrade President abandoned the meeting quickly, and ordered her to come back tomorrow for breakfast.

The following morning, over a state chef’s fantastical take on bacon sandwiches, she learned the reason for being called there.

“I wasn’t aware we were invading Zanzes, Comrade President.”

“It hasn’t been announced. But it has been decided. It hasn’t been an easy decision to make, but everyone has come to the conclusion that it is the right thing to do. But you will be the first boot on the ground, Comrade Colonel.”

“As a spy.”

“Yes, as a spy – a Zanzean noblewoman, I think. Or, well, I guess you will work that out. There is a file the size of a soapbox for you to read through over the next few days. It has all the details. Comrade, I did not ask you here to give you those details. I asked you here – nay, ordered you here – to establish trust. I am tasked with the leadership of our revolution, and our nation. The decision to go into Zanzes was not easy, as I said, and some political dissidents may use the opportunity to disrupt government. I asked for you personally after your work in Segland. It was a great service for someone so junior. You are now less junior, and will be less junior still if you pull this off. Indeed, there will be medals and statues for you if it goes especially well.

“My point is, Comrade Colonel, that joining Hadin on this crusade will not be easy, but it is the price we pay in return for their assistance. The ultimate victory will be the unification of our nation, and the enrichment of its people, which together will secure the survival and strengthening of the revolution. We cannot afford to make a misstep, for when we do so we endanger the lives of our warriors abroad, and the revolution at home. You have the opportunity to be a hero. You also have the opportunity to doom us. That is why I called you here. I rather think you will be a hero.”

Light a fire under a bureaucrat’s arse and you will get more than you bargained for. That’s what Loujain had to contend with in sifting through the pages and pages of useless information in the file later on that day, and in the days that followed. The objective was simple, but the details of the proposed plan were anything but. It had clearly been hastily put together, and she would need to levy her influence with the President (or what influence others might now assume she had) to re-work the plan in the following days. Eventually, she had a rough understanding, and a new idea of what she and her team must do; her own variation.

The end was the same, however. She was going to assassinate the Ku’in2 of Zanzes.

1 El'fi are the noble class of women in Zanzes. Before the rise of communism, Algrabad retained the Zanzeanic class system.

2 The Ku'in is the political and spiritual leader of Zanzes.
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Of Light and Shadow, Part V: The Perditious Powerful

Postby Algrabad » Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:22 am


To the west, in Algrabad1, there had been no need to whip up a frenzy. The internal power struggle had passed without much being said openly. Algrabad rarely did purges in any dramatic sense. Plenty of people had lost key positions, yes, and plenty had been sent into exile. But very few had been executed, and those who had been arrested were broadly being dispersed about the rural hinterlands, given jobs that would at least keep them in reasonable standards of living. Some of the men had been sent to Hadin, that was probably the worst of it.

President Sulaf Azhari had won once more. Her co-conspirator Vice-President, Tawfiq Canaan, was now merely a retired general, and a national hero. He had attempted to swing her on the decision to join in the invasion of Zanzes, and when that had failed, he had attempted to defeat her on the question. They had both lost much, and not so much as spoken to each other since. Her final victory was achieved through bureaucratic manoeuvring that left Canaan isolated and powerless. His voluntary retirement, announced to a military council meeting, without even any advanced notice to her, was the final indicator of victory.

In decades past, he would’ve been killed much earlier. True, she had conspired with him to murder her predecessor, but that was a coup, and necessary for national unity. Once on top, leaders in Algrabad inherited a somewhat more civil tradition than the earlier revolutionary leaders had. Opponents were not treated with respect, and there wasn’t really any such thing as rights under Algrabadi law – but the times of taking them around the back of the chemical factory and shooting them in secret were over. Those who played the game and lost in Algrabad no longer faced the firing squad automatically. In the case of Canaan, a good retirement was probably due. He had, after all, aided her in taking power. Furthermore, he had directed their land campaigns against Higgins & Brown. There would have been no problem at all, were it not for Segland’s rush to peace.

The peace had greatly aggrieved Canaan and Azhari both. She had been informed by the Seglandic Ambassador that the deal was favourable to the UNCA, which they believed had fulfilled their responsibilities. Essentially, that meant they would be pulling their troops out no matter what she did. She had very nearly struck the ambassador with some antique stationary.

For Canaan it was worse, because she had to tell him herself. Unable to reach him by phone, in the field, it was by delivered post that he learned, while preparing an air sea and land assault on the great city of Vklarrbeg, of the peace deal. He considered it a complete betrayal of the army, and he wasn’t at all convinced that Azhari herself hadn’t concocted it, fearing his increased profile and role.

It was sad really, she reflected, because the two of them could’ve ruled in partnership for decades. They had never jockeyed for power with each other before, and he had always accepted that she was the leader out of necessity. Only one post-revolutionary leader had risen from the army, and that had been a woman. He could’ve been the first man, after her terms were finished.2

Returning to the capital for the first time since their mutual avoidance of the place, she found it appeared just as she had left it. Yet, something was missing. The joy still felt in Huratt and around the country at their victory was detectable here. The air was missing that freshness, the people were showing none of the spring that they were showing elsewhere. But not only that, things actually felt worse now than before the war, under Sediqqa’s leadership.

Azhari supposed that was to be expected. She had toppled Sediqqa in a day, with a good cover story, and few people suspected any different. Those who did suspect different didn’t spend too long dwelling on it, with the war to distract them. Compare that to the drawn out competition, the war played out in government offices, managed and conducted from two rival bases of operations: her in Huratt, and the Military Vice-President at various military installations. They had at least been saved a civil war though. It probably showed something about Canaan’s character that he would rather lose peacefully than win through an all-out civil conflict.

The Algrabadi invasion of Zanzes had started days after she had sent in the spies. Attacking from the west, they had travelled through Shiraqadna, using the techniques they had adopted for fast movement of equipment through jungle terrain in the western buffer zone.

It was for the best, she believed. Yes, it opened them up to reprisals from Nui-ta and Radiatia, but it seemed like Hadin would bear the brunt of that. If Higgins & Brown were better liked around the world, Algrabad might be more at risk, but that simply wasn’t the case. More likely, they would fight for Zanzes, and the UNCA would either win it or lose it, with Hadin coming to serious trouble if it was a loss. For Algrabad, the extra influence and rich resources would be useful, and they could expand east if they wanted, or north, to tame Rango Mango. But if they lost? Well, they would still have the western buffer.

Of course, there were still a lot of soldiers’ lives on the line in the playing of that game, and that was another motive for Canaan’s resistance. He would’ve dropped the UNCA membership in a flash, and remain happy with their winnings to date. Azhari wasn’t willing to risk upsetting Segland and Hadin in that way. The great shame for some was that Algrabad had been subjected to “Seglandic rule” in acceding to the sudden peace treaty. Azhari didn’t like to imagine what Seglandic rule would actually look like, if they decided to get involved in Algrabad’s internal affairs. Certainly plenty of Seglandic cash had been flowing around during the conflict. She didn’t doubt that among those officials not transferred in the recent rumblings, there were some with close ties to Seglandic counterparts abroad. When she had taken power, she had been zealous about the glory of rule. Now, only 2 years later, she felt far more mature, and the fortunes of Algrabad – previously an instrument for her own legacy – now weighed heavily on her shoulders.

1 Algrabad is derived from the arabic Al-Gharab, "The West". This literally refers to its geographic location to west of Zanzes. Previously, the nation was called Zanze Al'Gharab.

2 Remarkably, there are term limits for the President of Algrabad. They may serve two 5-year terms. This is due to reforms to the Algrabadi constitution that sought to prevent unchallenged leaders from staying in place.
Part VI: To Kill a Ku'in
Last edited by Algrabad on Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Debate on the Appointment of sir Malcolm Daivid

Postby Hralia » Tue Jun 28, 2016 5:37 pm

Debate on the Appointment of sir Malcolm Daivid as Prime Minister
As recorded in the Hansard of the House of Burgesses-Confederal, in the 70th Confederal Parliament of Hralia, meeting in the 1st week of July, 176IE.


The Rt. Hon. Mr. Neil MacDonald, B.C. (Hempbris, Dalia – Con)
Chancellor of the Estate of the Lord Protector
It is my duty to inform the House that I have been appointed by His Gracious Majesty, the Lord Protector, to the office of Chancellor to the Estate of the Lord Protector1, and that I have met with His Gracious Majesty and accepted the office. His Gracious Majesty has thus directed me to deliver the following messages unto the house.

First, I must inform the House, this being the earliest opportunity, of the vacancy in the Lord Deputy Protectorship, and of His Gracious Majesty’s decision not to appoint a Lord Deputy Protector at the time. This is not a matter for discussion in Parliament, but Burgesses will be aware that this is in keeping with the conventions of the Protectorate.2

His Gracious Majesty has also directed me to inform the House as to recent occurrences regarding the office of Prime Minister to the Lord Protector, again as this is the earliest opportunity. I must inform the House of the Prime Minister’s resignation, delivered unto His Gracious Majesty on Friday of last week. His Gracious Majesty wishes the Burgess of Arri West3 all the best in his future endeavours, and I am sure the House will join his Gracious Majesty in that regard.

His Gracious Majesty has directed me to inform the House that he is contemplating the appointment of the Burgess of Daemonoaks4 to be his Prime Minister. His Gracious Majesty asks of the House to consider this candidate, and to reply to him in good time as to its thoughts on the matter, as he is keen to consider their views, as suggested in the Articles of Confederation.

Though I now have a dual role as a representative to this House of His Gracious Majesty, I cannot go further without paying tribute to the individual named, the leader of my party, the Burgess of Daemonoaks. Such a man does not need much of an introduction – the people have shown their love for him on numerous occasions, and the polls this time were proved right once again. It is important in these trying times, internationally, that our nation is blessed with great leadership. It is sad, however, that the outgoing government – and without malice I suggest the outgoing Prime Minister – were unable to provide that level of leadership for us in recent times. Collegiate cabinet government is a luxury in times of peace and plenty. Increasingly, our times are, as the Brí says, “interesting”, which is translucent code for war and worry. You can come to an election with all the platitudes available on a plate in such times: we must tighten our belts, we’re all in it together, we must live within our means, we must leave no-one behind. The people hear it every four years. What they told us this time, was not that they were looking for the right message, but that they were looking for the right messenger. The Burgess of Daemonoaks is sometimes known as the beating heart of Hralia. This is something of a misnomer. I prefer to think that he is the spinal column – observing the heart, sending its signals to the brain, and forging a path forward. I had the honour of serving in his last cabinet as Minister for Welfare, and it was truly an absolute pleasure to work under his guidance. I will be happy to see him return to the role, and the country should rejoice in that as well.

I therefore propose, Father, that this House do endorse the Burgess of Daemonoaks as a suitable candidate for Prime Minister to the Lord Protector. I also propose that a division on this matter, if one is necessary, should be called before 8pm today.

The Rt. Hon. Mr. John Mournes BC (Cavendish, Dalia – LLP)
Leader of the House
Thank you Father.5 I agree that a division on the Chancellor’s substantive proposal should be called no later than 8pm, so that the Chancellor might inform His Gracious Majesty of the House’s decision in good time for tomorrow morning.

I congratulate the Chancellor on his appointment to that office, and of course the Burgess of Daemonoaks, that His Gracious Majesty has seen fit to consider him for high office. The party opposite should of course be congratulated generally on their net gain of 20 seats in the recent elections. I would like first, however, to pay tribute to the Burgess of Arri West, the incumbent Lord President of the Privy Council-Confederal, and until Friday last our esteemed Prime Minister. His first Premiership has turned out to be a short one, but I say first because I do not believe for one second that he is not going to return to that office in the future.

The Burgess of Arri West, and my party, have been punished by the electorate for an unpopular yet principled decision. We are and were acutely aware of its unpopularity. However, despite their cowing from their benches, the Conservatives and Liberals are and were acutely aware of the principle of the matter. The wars of our allies are not ours to subject ourselves to, and especially not where there is fault in our allies. This, our faith tells us. And on these benches, our faith-driven ideology also tells us that to inflict death and disorder, and to subject ourselves to it, is unwise and immoral.

This is an idea that Hralec tradition, religion and conviction all support, and those who are bound to those pillars of Hralia, should have been bound to a similar choice in the recent past. The Chancellor has called the Burgess of Daemonoaks the beating heart of Hralia. I believe the Burgess’s stance over the recent war in Brown to have been populist, pure and simple. He has followed his urges without putting much thought to consequence. It is not the heart that he embodies, but another organ altogether.


Whereupon there was an interruption to proceedings.

I cannot support the motion to endorse the Burgess of Daemonoaks.

Ms. Seona Hendry, B.C. (3rd of Arxmouth, Perfendalia – United Liberal)
Far be it from me, Father, to suggest that the reaction to the Leader of the House’s speech was exactly what he had hoped for in giving it. There is more to a change of government than a change of Prime Minister. There is more to the rejection of a government at the polls than one unpopular policy. There is more, too, to the replacement of that government than the rivalry between one party or group of parties, and another party or group of parties. We Liberals competed at the last election with the Conservatives in Dalia, the Nationals in Perfendalia, and the Loyalists in Diazialia. We stood on our own platform, with our policies and our own principles.

Whereupon there was an interruption to proceedings.

The Leader of the House will surely allow us to express our own principles, having lectured us on his own? Perhaps his colleagues are still sore from their election performance. I will remind him, and the outgoing government, however, that their failings in the eyes of the public related to far more than their irresponsible foreign policy. As a Liberal, I stand here ready to endorse the Burgess for Daemonoaks as Prime Minister fully, based on a range of issues that I know the Liberals can achieve alongside him in government.

It was only two years ago that we were achieving such things. Diversifying patronage in schools, lifting the red tape from small and medium businesses, slashing fees for further education, securing certainty in our building regulations and grants systems, and eliminating a raft of superfluous bills from the statute books.

Not to mention the economy, Father, which was handed to the outgoing government with good medium-term forecasts and strict recommendations for maintaining its then-present course. The strict recommendations have been ignored, and we’ve strayed from the course. I am happy that today and tomorrow we can reapply ourselves to that purpose, to get back on course and avoid the rocky pitfalls hidden in the long-grass we now find ourselves in.

I second the proposal of the Chancellor to the House.

The Hon. Ms. Macey Stewart, B.C. (1st of Failia, Frenalia - SDL)
Minister to the Lord Protector at the Ministry-Confederal of Health & Human Services
Father, Lord President, Chancellor and Burgesses-Confederal, I rise to oppose the motion. His Gracious Majesty has had the service of the Burgess of Daemonoaks already, during the 67th Parliament, so he may already have some inclination as to that individual’s suitability for office. I cannot, however, recommend the candidate as suitable, from my experience.

Over the last Parliament the Social, Democratic & Labour Party worked in partnership with the Loyal and Republican Labour parties, and, for the first time, with the Green Party. Under the leadership of the Deputy Prime Minister6 our party has been able to achieve much in government – much for the working people of the Confederacy and much for Frenalia. In fact, I believe that were an election to have taken place in Frenalia7, the results would have been quite different – the Conservatives are making no friends there, and those who will face us in two years know it.

I have nothing but respect for the Burgess of Daemonoaks, we all know he is a well-respected man. But I must disagree heartily with the Chancellor – he is not loved. The people of my constituency remember the closure of Frattan Garden Mills. They remember, as does he, the cut to the minimum wage 6 years ago, designed to save an economy, but doomed only to constrict it. And they remember too, being told that it was for our cultural ties that the national debt was leveraged to lend to Higgins & Brown in that same time. A country that also bought weapons from the last Tory government, with no strings attached. Perhaps, instead of attacking the outgoing government for standing on principal, the Chancellor should have reflected on the government he was a part of, which fuelled and fanned the flames of war. The only upset for them is that the catastrophe eventually benefitted the wrong side.

The Rt. Hon. Mr. Hamish Burnes, B.C. (5th of Perfford, Perfendalia - RLP)
Third Commissioner to the Chancellory of the Confederal Treasury
Minister to the Lord Protector at the Ministry-Confederal of Infrastructure and Planning
Minister-Advisory to the Lord Protector from the Nation of Perfendalia
Leader of the Republican Labour Party
Father, it is with some sadness that I approach today’s proceedings. Yes, I too would like to congratulate the victors in the recent election, and I wish that I could do so with all the grace expected of a minister of the crown. The format of these proceedings is such that we are now asked to review the credentials of the individual who will – unless the sky falls in – be the next Prime Minister. I have very little to say on that particular matter, however. The House and the nations know well enough the credentials of the Burgess of Daemonoaks. We know of his history and why colleagues of mine would not support him or his government – the reasons are both ideological, and on his record. We know also that the balance of power in this house now lies with some of the smaller, centrist, parties in the Opposition, and courtesy of statement made publicly before the house sat, we know which way they intend to vote on this motion.

I would like instead to raise something more primal, to me, of more pressing need for this House to consider, and indeed this confederation as a whole. That is the spectre of poverty. The Liberal deputy leader gave us some indication that the new government will follow the same path as it did at the time it was voted out by the people 2 years ago. Poverty was ignored by that government. It walked by on the other side of the road, looking elsewhere.

Perhaps because we are naturally optimistic, many of the anti-poverty programmes established under the outgoing government’s auspices in the 69th Parliament had as a target the beginning of next year to be fully operational. Many of them currently are – self sufficiency housing schemes were the big project in my own department. A project, by the way, opposed by those opposite. I question now what the fate of such projects will be.

In the opinion polls, the parties opposite were shown to be distrusted on those issues by the majority of voters – the majority! So yes, they have been elected to government, but their mandate is highly qualified.

It has been my pleasure to work alongside the Loyal Labour Party and Social, Democratic & Labour Parties once again, and the Green Party for the first time at a Confederal level. I have of course worked with the Green Party in the past, in Perfford and then in the National Assembly in Perfendalia. Some people have talked of my stubbornness with them, but, honestly, that is far for the truth. I am robust with all of my coalition partners, as I’m sure they will attest to, and the Greens are no stranger bed fellows to us than those other parties that include the term Labour in their title. This is because of the fundamental diversity of our nations, and of the left within our nations. It is for the good. I thus come to the second qualification of the mandate of those opposite.

This will be a minority administration, backed up by a small majority in this house. What supporters of the Liberals, Cowmptra Ereszim, and the Loyalist and National parties all have in common is their own distrust for the leader of the Conservative Party, as a cabinet leader. The Liberals today claim that they ran on their own platform, but that is a platform that was significantly re-written by the Tories 2 years ago, by the Burgess of Daemonoaks, effectively. Let me be candid, this man does not care about poverty. He sees it as a state of sin. I know that Cowmptra Ereszim do not share that view. As supporters of the new administration, I call on them to ensure that those programmes that this government has worked so hard to advance, shall not be thrown away by the Burgess of Daemonoaks. It will be difficult for them, because the Tories do not generally like to share.

The Rt. Ord. & Rev. Spkr.8 Declan Maynullis, B.C. (2nd of Upper Kilmarnock, Mralia - CER)
I wish and work for diminished demise in this House.

Others – We will wish and work with you.
I had expected that the differences between my cowmptra9 and the Conservatives might be raised before I speak. There are major differences. We said that during the election campaign and after. But we share more in common with them, and the vision of the Tory membership, than we do with the outgoing government. This too, we said during and after the election campaign. What a shame for democracy it would be, for us to abandon our position now. We will not do that.

I rise to support the motion by the Chancellor, to endorse the Leader of the Opposition, the Burgess of Daemonoaks, as the next Prime Minister. I have opposed the same member in the past, and I will outline again for the record, why Cowmptra Ereszim has taken this monumental decision.

We are all Ereszim in this party. We respect those who are not, but I note that the vast majority of this House, and this Confederation, are also Ereszim. We walk the path laid down for us by our spiritual ancestors. Those who fought in the Siege of Erez10, on both sides, soon came to know of its importance. Such bloodshed they would never allow to occur again, and they went from that place to make good on that guarantee. It has not always been possible to avoid conflict, to diminish demise, but to do so has been the guiding light that has shown us the path.

Walking that path, our ancestors founded this Confederation. Walking that path, a similar union was founded in Higgins & Brown, and the brutality of the Zanze was banished from that place. Unfortunately, that path has seen its own conflict, but all of it in keeping with the overall goal, the shining light that we follow.

This year, one such conflict is coming to an end. And the outgoing government has sidestepped its responsibility. We have crept by on the other side of the path, to use the 5th Burgess of Perfford’s powerful metaphor in a more appropriate place, while an centuries-old battle was rekindled. This time, the forces of brutality were not only Zanzeanic in nature, but communistic, fascistic and Septimist as well. Brutality is their cause, and it is in full opposition to ours.

The path that we walk is a joint path. It is one that we walk with the people of Higgins & Brown. The Ereszim share a common solidarity, a necessary bond. We are a respectful and in many ways blessed people. We aim for a harmony of existence that other cultures do not even contemplate. Even those that are friendly to us ultimately do not understand or support it, and that is why we must stick together on the blessed path. We must pick each other up, and help each other out.

That is the common and eternal responsibility that we have. The Burgess of Daemonoaks will bring Hralia back to that responsibility, and back to the blessed cause, and we will support his efforts.

Later in the Day, the motion to endorse the Burgess of Daemonoaks was passed by 310 votes to 292.11



1The Chancellor of the Estate of the Lord Protector is an office of the Privy Council-Confederal, appointed directly by the Lord Protector. The role technically involves the management of the accounts of the Lord Protector’s estate, but in reality acts as a go-between between the Lord Protector and the House of Burgesses-Confederal. Without exception, the Lord Protector appoints a senior Burgess in the government party, representing a constituency in their own nation.

2The Council of Hralia consists of the 6 Heads of State of the nations of Hralia, and the Lord Protectorate rotates among them every 6 years. Some Lord Protectors are more politically active then others, owing to the constitutional arrangements in their home nation. The Lord Protector can have no conflict of interest between their known political leanings and the neutral role of Lord Protector, and so if the majority in Parliament is not in line with the known leanings of the individual on the throne, they are able to appoint a Lord Deputy Protector from among the Council, who is either politically in-tune with the majority in Parliament, or who is politically neutral. The Lord Deputy Protector can take on any of the responsibilities that relate to parliament or government. In this case, Aloysius II of Dalia is a politically-active King in his home nation, who has often gone without a Prime Minister. He is a known conservative. Thus, during the last Labour Government, he had a Lord Deputy Protector.

3The Rt. Hon. Mr. Charlie Morrision, B.C. (Arri West, Dalia – LLP). Morrison is the leader of the Loyal Labour Party and was Prime Minister during the 69th Parliament, leading the Morrison Ministry, which was a coalition between Loyal Labour, the Social Democratic & Labour Party, Republican Labour and the Green Party. In addition to the office of Prime Minister to the Lord Protector, Morrison held the following offices: Lord President of the Privy Council-Confederal, First Commissioner to the Chancellory of the Confederal Treasury, and Minister-Advisory to the Lord Protector from the Nation of Dalia.

4The Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Daivid, B.C. (Daemonoaks, Dalia – Con). Sir Malcolm is the leader of the Confederal Conservative Party. He was previously Prime Minister until the 174 elections, after which he became Leader of the Opposition.

5In the event that the office of Speakers is vacated, the Father of the House presides.

6The Rt. Hon. Ms. Miriam Boulton, B.C. (1st of Turriff, Frenalia – SDL). The term “Deputy Prime Minister” is entirely informal. Boulton, leader of the second largest party in government, occupied the following positions: Second Commissioner to the Chancellory of the Confederal Treasury, Minister to the Lord Protector at the Confederal Foreign Office anf Minister-Advisory to the Lord Protector from the Nation of Frenalia.

7Elections are staggered in Hralia. Members are elected to 4-year terms, with the 6 nations being divided into two groups which hold their elections 2 years apart. Each nation, however, has the right to hold a snap election at any time, according to its own law.

8The Ord. & Rev. Spkr. refers to “The Ordained and Reverend Speaker” and is a religious office similar to that of a priest.

9Cowmptra is an ancient Brownite word for an association.

10A possibly mythical battle at the centre of the founding story of Brownite Ereszimism or Orthodoxy.

11Two Burgesses registered an active abstention – that is to say they voted both for and against the motion.
Last edited by Hralia on Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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The Arthurian Isles
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Posts: 280
Founded: Feb 26, 2016
Ex-Nation

Postby The Arthurian Isles » Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:29 am

Image



On Chopin's Prelude No. 4 In E Minor



The Altinghusið is a far-cry from the Karasian Archipelago. Even in times of peace the little legislature perched on the banks of the Thjorsar river is devoid of the strength, power politics and tension that characterises that flashpoint of international affairs. Now that war has come to Karas – and spread to the Orient – the tranquillity of Vestmanaeyjar is even more out-of-line with the rest of Noctur.

After sundown, the building’s energy gradually fades. Parliamentarians go home, administrators leave, visitors are shown to the door. The beating heart of Arthurian politics (as much as there can be one ‘heart’ in a system so decentralised as Arthuria’s) winds down and the Altinghusið turns to silence, patiently watching over the city until morning breaks the next day. All that remain inside are the cleaning staff, dutifully going about their work, and a few logreglanmaður, ever-watchful for threats which thankfully have not touched the Federation for decades. Of course in all organisations there are workers who are more dedicated than others, and the Arthurian government is no different. On this particular night, from the outside of the Altinghusið one could spot four windows from which light burst out, marking quite the contrast from the darkness outside. One of these windows looked out from a supply cupboard where a cleaner was refilling his trolley. Another offered a view into a corridor through which a logreglanmaður was doing her rounds. The third was the office of a Folkmaður1, staying late to complete a draft bill on library funding. The final window, located towards the top of the building on its north-eastern face, was the office of Runær Arnardotar. She was typing up a report on the Karasian War for the Storting. The gentle sounds of a classical piano accompanied her from a bluetooth speaker she liked to bring to work (it had been a gift from her young nephew, she told anyone who asked).

There was a knock at her door.

“Come in.”

Andri Jonsen, the Federal Minister for Defence and, many believed, one of Runær's closest friends, stepped inside. He was dressed as casually as ever in his trademark Fair Isle jumper and chinos. When not appearing in front of the Folkting, he was determinedly lax with his dress code.

“Sæl.” He took a seat in one of the armchairs near the centre of the office. A tea set was half-finished on a coffee table next to him. He took a clean glass and poured some water from a pitcher instead. Evidently, he was settling in for more than just a passing chat.

Runær looked up from her computer. “I suppose I should join you over there.” She smiled and left her desk to sit opposite Andri. This was a regular occurrence; Andri and Runær had not been friends before they were both elected to the Storting, but the political struggles they had been through as Federal Ministers had sparked a bond between them that was stronger than any other relationships in that council. Despite representing different parties, the two could reach solutions like no other. Perhaps it was their ability to debate without descending into argument. Or maybe they shared certain personality traits. Whatever the reason, their teamwork combined with their portfolios (Defence and Foreign Affairs went hand-in-hand) made them a power-couple of the Storting, though they did not quite realise this themselves. From their perspectives, the two of them debated too much, raised issues with one another too much, and were too engrossed in their ministries. They were not forming an alliance; they were two politicians who were also fine friends.

“Do you need some advice, Andri?” She asked, ever-receptive to others’ plights.

“No.” He chuckled. He was certainly an advice-taker, and knew that this had earned him a reputation as one of the more philosophical on the Storting. This, however, was not the reason for his visit. “What do you think of Thor’s speech?”

“I liked it.” Runær replied without hesitation.

“How did I know you would say that.” Andri laughed back.

“If you knew, why did you ask?” She could joke too, even if Andri chose to ignore her jibe.

“Why do you like it so much?”

“Because it gives Arthuria power. And if we can gain power we can actually make this world a better place.”

Andri’s eyebrows raised. He had been expecting an answer like this one, but the bluntness with which Runær had phrased it was disconcerting. “But we do not want power.”

“Do we want stability in Noctur? Do we want a cleaner environment? Do we want freer trade and less poverty?”

Andri nodded.

“Then we need power. Power is the ability to influence the behaviour of others to get the outcomes we want.”

“If that’s your line, Thor’s plan doesn’t give us power. He’s suggesting a way to exercise what power we have.”

“True.” Runær's brow creased. “It is an exercise of power, but by exercising it we also augment it. The will to use power is just as important as the ability to do so, and by using it as Thor suggests, we assure our neighbours that we are a reliable force for peace in Noctur. Power is self-reinforcing.”

“Wait.” Andri interjected. “Let us assume you’re right about that. But what about the consequences? We want those outcomes in the global commons, yes. But we do not want to sacrifice our independence or our sovereignty to achieve them. Using armed force for intangible aims will compromise our neutrality and destroy our country. Fiat iustitia ne pereat mundus? I would rather not.”

“It must be hard for you in Defence to understand, but power comes from places elsewhere than the barrel of a rifle.” Runær smiled again. No one believed it, but it was still enjoyable to tease the defence ministry for its association with brawn over brain.

She continued. “Sometimes, desirable outcomes can be achieved by affecting behaviour without commanding it.” Though her face did not betray it, Andri could detect a mischievous sparkle from Runær. “If we can make others believe in our causes as much as we do, we can persuade them to work with us without threat or inducement. We have very little coercive power over our neighbours: we are militarily confined to our own territory and our economy, though relatively strong, is tiny in absolute terms. But through the legitimacy of our causes we can exercise a far less tangible sort of power.”

“We cannot discount physical attributes entirely, Runær. Our military is defensive only, but it is a deterrent nonetheless.”

“You are right, of course, Andri. Military strength, economic heft, natural resources and a large population are all contributing factors towards power. But they are not in themselves a definition of power. If they were, we would have to confront the paradox that those best endowed with power do not always get the outcomes they desire.”

Andri looked doubtful. He was a realist; he appreciated measurable assets and simple problems, both of which could fit into actionable equations. Runær was suggesting something altogether more vague and uncontrollable.

“Alright.” She set out to persuade her colleague. “Forsvaren Makt is a power asset that is optimised to counter the military power of an opponent. It is a very good power asset too. If we were playing poker, it would be a high hand. But a high hand can be played badly, negating the power it provides. And a high poker hand is of no good if we were to play bridge instead. Equally, Forsvaren Makt is of little good to us if we want to achieve freer trade. For that we rely on our political neutrality and stable markets.”

“Why are you siding with Thor then, when he asks us to use Forsvaren Makt in his peace support operations?”

“Perhaps I used a bad example. The outcome he wants to achieve, and which I believe to be noble, is to support a post-conflict society. Here, Forsvaren Makt is a useful power asset, but not if played incorrectly. To convert resources into realised power requires well-thought-out strategies and skilled leadership. Thor has provided both of these things.”

“No.” Andri leant forward, placing his glass of water to one side. He looked into Runær's eyes, unblinking. “Thor has provided us with one of those things. He has a strategy. He cannot guarantee continued leadership. What happens when he ceases to be a Federal Minister? What happens when he has to hand control to the colonels?”

“Well…”

“I’ll tell you.” Andri interrupted Runær without quite realising it. “This ‘power resource’ that you speak of will cease to be an asset and become a liability. Right now deploying Arthurian peacekeepers overseas may seem like a way to exercise and gain power to you. When the international climate shifts, as it always has done and inevitably will do once more, the presence of our soldiers on foreign soil will call into question our neutrality. And without that we have lost our greatest power resource of all.”

He leant back in his chair again, picking up the glass of water and taking a sip. “If you really want to win at cards, Runær, the first thing you need is to understand the game you are playing.”

The atmosphere was taking a turn. Runær did not smile at Andri’s rhetoric, nor did his look of concern ease once he had finished. The two of them had, it seemed, found an issue so serious that it warranted a loosening of the restraints. Friendship had provided for this, and Runær was able to hit back at Andri.

“You are thinking only as a defence minister. Your analysis in this is, thankfully, correct, but you don’t think beyond the military. Of course, in that realm we cannot compete with our neighbours. In fact I doubt anyone can compete with Radiatia; there is a reason they are known as the Sherriff of Noctur. In Radiatia we are presented with a hegemon. But in economic power the world is multipolar; Poldania and Radiatia vie for supremacy, Nui-ta rises faster every day and Segland, Crata and Conpatria are powers in their own right. And what about the transnational issues that we champion? No one is a superpower against climate change, international crime or terrorism. Pandemics can wipe out Detectatia as quickly as they can destroy the Arthurian Isles. The only way that these issues can be resolved is by the common action of all. There is more to this world than war.”

“I know this, Runær. You know that I know this. But we are not talking generally here. We are talking about Thor’s peace strategy, and that strategy is about war. As you have said, in that dimension we are weak. It is for us to suffer what we must.”

“We need not have to though. Not with this strategy. The whole point of the strategy is that we co-operate with others to achieve something we all desire.”

“If that is so then we have not influenced anyone’s behaviour, we have only jumped on a bandwagon. You undermine your own definition of power. Maybe worse, you are exercising power for no reason other than to demonstrate that we possess it. That is not the Arthurian way.”

“Since when has peace not been the Arthurian way, Andri?” She was getting sterner now, as the debate heated up. “Power is, once again, more than your narrow conception of it. We may obtain the outcome we want – peace – because other countries want to follow us, free from coercion or inducement. That is why we must set the agenda in global affairs: to get others to want the same outcomes that we want. It is influencing behaviour indirectly.”

Andri quietened down. He made a conscious, and obvious, effort to select his words extremely carefully. “And how does Thor’s strategy get others to want the same outcomes as us? I thought the whole point was that we would only offer peacekeepers after they had decided amongst themselves to make peace.”

“It is. And just think how much more willing two factions could be to make peace if they knew that we wanted it too, and were committed to sending resources to make it so. If we want to lead Noctur in the transnational issues, we must do so by example. Only then will others subscribe to our values and help us to achieve shared objectives.”

“You are saying that we appeal to some sense of attraction?”

“Exactly. There is love and duty in every relationship because a relationship presupposes shared values. The very fact that those values are valued suggests that the members of that relationship believe it to be just to contribute to them. If we can make others accept and contribute to our shared values without any exchange having to take place, we have exercised a form of power.”

“You sound like a utopian.”

“A utopian? That’s just what realists call progressives.”

“Maybe. But a part of me cannot help but see the capacity for chaos in your ‘progress’.”

Runær stared at Andri, daring him to go on. Tense though the atmosphere was, the two were still in the throes of academic debate and were good enough sportspeople to be able to take criticisms to their arguments without being insulted on a personal level.

“You see,” Andri carried on. “if we take your spectrum of power as true, Thor’s strategy will eventually fail, given that we’ve established that there will eventually be a leader not skilled enough to carry it through. When that happens, the best we can hope for is that Arthuria will lose this ‘power of attraction’ that you speak of. The worst I can imagine is that by the manner of its failure, this strategy will compromise our neutrality. It is too closely involved with war not to do so. If we lose our neutrality, the incentive for others to go to war against us increases, while our military capability remains the same. The result is a relative decline in our hard power. In this way, the loss of our power of attraction affects all other forms of power. This is, to me, far too great a risk to take for the sake of a peace that has already been decided upon by the belligerents.”

“Meanwhile,” he continued, “you could exercise and augment Arthurian power by focusing on transnational issues that we are far better placed to confront. Climate change, ecological decline, international terrorism and crime. The list is a long one, and its causes are more noble than artificially freezing human nature. Thor himself said, war is natural.” Reclining again in his seat, Andri took another sip of his water.

“And what about our nature, Andri? Arthuria is a Christian country, and long has been. It is from this part of our nature that a desire to encourage peace has arisen. Call it missionary appetite if you will. Whatever it is, I am certain that other countries desire peace too. We can enjoy a political clout that is far superior to our military or economic weight because we define our national interest to include this value – this shared value.”

Andri responded immediately. “That is a negative aspect of our nature. It is not for us to preach to others. We must let them alone. If you want to enjoy some political clout then look to other sources. This power of attraction of which you speak can arise from more than one misguided strategy. Look at our culture.”

Andri gestured out of the window of his office towards the Vestmannaeyjar skyline. It was unlike most other cities. There were no skyscrapers bursting out of the ensemble of grey-black buildings. Indeed there were no buildings higher than five storeys. It is often said that the taller a country chooses to construct something the more value they place on it. Office blocks that reach the clouds and are buffeted by the winds area monument to money. Vast neo-imperial legislatures glorify the government. Super-hospitals that cover acres are a homage to the health and vitality of the people. In Vestmanaeyjar the tallest landmark is a centuries-old pine tree in the second-largest of the city’s parks. Looking out from Runær's office the two of them could see even more trees creeping above the sprawl of uniform rooftops. On those rooftops themselves roof gardens had been carefully and deliberately cultivated to bring nature back to a manmade metropolis. The largest break in the urban mass was near the centre of the city where a geothermal spring rose to create a small lake. Its warm waters are the site of a community gathering each and every day where Arthurians of all backgrounds come to bathe, epitomising the concepts of Jantlog and Højej. Jantlog – the Law of Jant – is the unwritten rule that guides Arthurian society. You are not to think that you are better than anyone else. It most commonly arises as a form of criticism against those who think that they are smarter, stronger or better than their peers and try to create a social hierarchy to climb. It is the collective. No doubt the need to survive the punishing Arthurian climate has developed this mentality over time. Højej has arisen for the same reason. With the barren winters forcing Arthurians indoors there is a peculiar focus on home entertainment in these tiny isles. Højej is the concept of homely cosiness. It is the ability to relax and enjoy life for all of its pleasures, never mind that the wind beats at your door and snuffs out your fire. These attitudes, along with other mentalities like Lagom and rituals such as the tea ceremony, were what Andri was referring to when he brought up Arthurian culture.

He continued. “Our culture is the set of values and practices that create meaning for our society. Arthurian culture includes common values in abundance. Nature and the environment imbue all of what we do, as does health, education and happiness. These are attractive values which others can support for the sense of duty they instil. They require no force. More importantly, they do not threaten our people’s security. The value which you wish to protect – peace – is, however, not common. There are winners in peace as well as war, and if you interfere then you will eventually support one side over another, whether you intend to or not. The peace which you fight for in Hadin may not be to the liking of Nui-ta. The result is not an end to violence, but its expansion. It will consume us too.” Andri shuffled in his chair. “We do define our national interest to include peace. But by this we mean above all peace for ourselves. Refocus your efforts, Runær. Concentrate on the strength which we know we possess. Do not go abroad in search of devils to destroy. Face up to those which knock at our gates.”

“Have you heard yourself, Andri?” Runær spoke up, almost shocked by Andri’s cold analysis. “How can you disregard the idea of peace so nonchalantly?”

“Have you heard yourself? Arthuria has always understood its place in this world. It has never overstepped its mark. It has maintained control of itself and comprehended what it cannot control. And now, in the space of a year, you have hurled us into the winds of fate where we are adrift. Your gambles have proved correct thus far, but this peace strategy is a risk that the Storting is unprepared for. Power cannot be tamed, least of all a power so vague as that over our hearts.”

“Perhaps it is time to change!” Runaær raised her voice. “Perhaps the Storting should find a vision that it long ago lost!”

“We have a vision, Runær – a vision of a safe and prosperous Arthuria. The nine of us2 have a responsibility to the Arthurian people but we do not have the right to gamble with the lives of billions of Nocturians! Why must you make all of these plans as though you are running out of time?”

“Because I…”

Runær stopped. She seemed to force herself to do so, choking off the end of her sentence. Andri was sat opposite, waiting to hear what she had to say, but in the growing silence between them he began to realise that perhaps this debate had left the academic behind and was becoming a personal – a deeply personal – discussion for both of them. As he looked across at his friend, Andri’s expression turned from frustration to concern in one blink. Runær head slowly sunk downwards until she was looking only at her lap. A tear welled up in her left eye.

“Because I…” She repeated again. “…I am running out of time.”

Andri’s breath was shallow. He had an idea of what she was about to say but in that moment somewhere in between certainty and confusion he couldn’t move, or speak, or think about anything other than the worst ideas lingering in his mind. He became very aware of his feet, which now felt rooted to the floor, and his legs, which tingled in a way that suggested however much he tried he would not be able to move them. His heartbeat became nervously obvious to him as it expanded to fill his chest, and his arms, though they felt as light and powerless as his legs, sunk into the chair. In spite of the glass of water he had drunk, his mouth was parched. The soft tones of the classical piano drifting from Runær's speakers gradually grew in volume, reminding him of the silence between the two of them.

Runær lifted her head up as slowly as it had fallen. She looked Andri in the eyes, tears in both of them this time.

“I have cancer, Andri. Of the brain. Aggressive.”

From the speakers, Andri heard Chopin’s Prelude No. 4 in E Minor begin to play. Its general progression is best described by Ben Zander. The whole piece starts with a delicate B, uncomplicated and unassuming until it is followed by a C, which does the job of dampening the piece’s mood – “the job of the B is to make the C sad” as Zander says. That sets the tone of the next three minutes. From A to F through G, Chopin traverses a path marked by sadness and loss, the only hope being that final E chord which will signify if not happiness then at least homeliness. Journeys are rarely so simple though, and classical music is no different. The progression is reversed to its start. The listener sets out again on their journey. In this way, as in life, the anguish which they find in music must spring up once more. Chopin draws it out of us. The more the emotions come to the fore the more we expect the final E chord. Again the music descends down its road. B gives way to A, which passes through G towards F. And then an E. But it is not the exact E chord we have been waiting for. It does not satisfy our pain. We are deceived, just as Andri was deceived.

But why, he thought, must he be deceived by this music? It was not Chopin’s fault; the problem was Andri’s perception. He looked only for the note that would come next. Runær did not. She looked beyond the progression of chords and focused instead on the outcome. It was the only way for her to carry on. The strength to know what was coming and wait patiently for it, never to be deceived and only to be delayed, was her true power. In the end, she would be the most satisfied. She was, when the final E chord was played and the tears dried in her eyes; when she accepted her pain and looked beyond it at the ends towards which it could be directed. That is how she had the strength to plan as though she was running out of time.

For Andri, the end would mean something quite different. It would be something less noble than the goodness to which Runær intended to dedicate herself. For him, the only end he saw for his friend was death – inglorious death. Perhaps this was truer to what Chopin had intended. His last marking in the Prelude was smorzando. In English, this means ‘dying away’. When Andri looked at his friend, though, he did not see someone who was dying away. Runær was sat in front of him, face looking into his, and all he saw was her strength. She would not be long in this world, and she was determined to make of it the best she could. He knew that she was more courageous, more determined, than most, and with this revelation he saw not a fading out of her life force but a star burning fiercely before its collapse. She knew now that she had nothing to lose and everything to achieve. Her struggle was uphill, but she would strive to conquer it without restraint. She had no time to wait. What was dying away was not Runær; what died away was Andri’s love for her.

Death is our fate. It does not discriminate, and we can each accept our end. What is harder to accept is the death of another, for we must keep living with their loss. That loss is difficult enough when it is of a friend, but it becomes harder still when the one who goes is the one you love. Andri realised that he would lose the woman he had come to love. He would not be able to tell her of his love, to prove his love, or to earn his love. This was out of his control. Almost.

The one thing in life that Andri could control was himself. He could prove his love to Runær one way. Her values and her legacy: that was what he could defend after she passed. She did not have the time to wait to make them a reality. He did. Andri could dedicate his life to Runær, and if he had to fall for it in order that her memory rose in the hearts of others, so be it.





1 A Folkmaður is an elected member of the Alting’s lower chamber, the Folkting.

2 Andri is referring to the nine Federal Ministers which comprise the Storting. Together they act as the collective head of government of the Arthurian Federation.
Last edited by The Arthurian Isles on Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:57 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Detectatia
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 392
Founded: Apr 23, 2012
Ex-Nation

Firsts

Postby Detectatia » Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:40 am

Firsts

Well, he walked up to me and he asked me if I wanted to dance.
- The Crystals

And if I kiss you in the garden,
in the moonlight, will you pardon me?

- Tiny Tim


"I...I think I love you."

Andy Roneril doesn't look at Elliot immediately when he hears it. For just a second or so, he lets his gaze linger on the streetlights below, his foot tap away, nervous as ever, on the metal of the fire escape. A funny feeling shoots its way up from the pit of his stomach and into his chest when he finally does look.

"What do you mean?" Andy asks.

"I mean, I uh, love you." Elliot rubs the back of his head, fingers running through his longish dark hair, before setting his hand back down on the strip of step that separates them. However, this time Andy notices that their pinkies are touching, and Elliot's is slowly stroking his own.

All Andy can muster is a nervous laugh. "Oh, uh, you do." He's not sure if it's meant to be a statement or a question, but what he is sure of is his own pinkie hooking under Elliot's, and his breathing becoming more shallow. Both his parents are working their usual long shift down at the Port of Ayand, no one else is home in their tiny apartment, it's long-dark out, surely no one on the street will see them. There isn't any reason to be as nervous as he was.

And yet, Andy knows.

He knows how the world would hate him if they saw this, and they are watching. He knows that those dreams of Trestone would be all but down the shitter—those dreams that he shared with Elliot on their late night...whatever these were. That glimmer in Elliot's blue eyes when Andy talked about those dreams would be wasted. The way his lips parted ever-so-slightly into a grin whenever Andy got excited about those dreams would be as reviled and laughable as what Andy feels right now, looking at Elliot.

Elliot sighs—content? annoyed? Andy hopes desperately for the first—and finally takes Andy's hand in his completely. "Yeah. I do," he says, with no hesitation this time.

Andy doesn't know how to respond to this. Being nearly eighteen, he feels as if he should, but no one exactly talks about how to talk to boys. Well, no one talks about it if you already are one. The subcultures were there in the city, Andy knew that from when he first figured out who he fancied. But not having any money and spending so much time working with the party really didn't make those subcultures all that available. No, that was the domain of the rich urbanites, and Andy was only one of those, and quite far from being both. And while Ayand was where traditions came to die, the tolerance and diversity the city boasted always felt impersonal. There were people of all different walks of life, but they all seemed so distant from each other, despite how much time they've spent together. Andy thinks that it might be that it doesn't really count as much when it's secret.

Even though he's sitting maybe a foot away from Elliot, Andy has never felt that distance so acutely as now. He doesn't know how to say it himself. "Elliot," he nearly croaks. "I, uh...I, uh, love you too. Really."

Relief washes over Elliot's face. The light from Andy's apartment, behind him, mixes in a way that makes Elliot's face look like an oil painting. Everything about him looks so soft all of a sudden, despite how thin he is. A giddy smile creeps over Andy's.

"Wow," he says, unsure of what else he can say.

Elliot chuckles and responds, barely audible, "Yeah."

They sit like this for a few minutes, and a cold breeze starts up in the previously still night air. Even though he's wearing a sweater, Andy can tell Elliot is cold. Andy's own hoodie isn't doing much for him either. Wordlessly, Elliot scoots over until he's resting his head lightly on Andy's shoulder. They've cuddled like this before, but Andy knows tonight is different.

"Are you excited for tomorrow?" he asks.

"Oh, yeah, definitely. That plastic smock of a gown really complements my ass. Don't you think so?"

Andy rolls his eyes, blushing, and leans a bit more into Elliot, himself. "Shut up." And then, "I'm sorry."

Elliot pulls away again and locks eyes with Andy. He looks confused now. "About what, Andy?"

Even though he wants to backpedal, to say that he doesn't know why he even said he was sorry in the first place, what compelled him to bring it up now, the night before high school ended, it all pours out of Andy instead. "I just...I'm sorry we couldn't be more. We never talked more about you and your fiction and you going out to Oldhom for college. I just kept talking about me and my stupid politics and my stupid party and all the libertarian pipe dream bullshit I'm on."

"Andy..."

"It's...you know, we never actually got to be a couple, didn't we? You always came here, 'my friend from school' when mom and dad are here, and as...this," Andy gestures between them with his hand. "Out here when they're at work. It's all been about me and my work and wanting to be in the Vox someday and how poor I am and how scared I am of, you know...this and..." Andy drifts off, noticing that Elliot's been gripping his hand tightly, maybe trying to be some kind of comforting anchor. "And," he finishes. "I'm just...I guess, I don't know. I'm just sorry."

Elliot's eyes look vaguely damp, but nowhere near a full-on cry. "I know," he repeats a few times. "I know. But...Andy...I...that's why, you know...that's why I wanted to say I love you. We're going to...we're going different places. We always were. And you know, I really...I really was always excited to see you talk about the party, about the 'pipe dream,' if you really want to call it that. It's cute."

Andy can feel blood rushing to his face, although he knows it's probably not just because Elliot said he's cute. Something in Elliot's voice tells him that this, this is it. "Elliot, you know that...you know I really-"

"Hey, it's really late. And you know I'm going to have to spend all day looking as dashing as I can for you at graduation tomorrow, huh? Not that you have to work hard at that yourself." Elliot flashes his flirtatious, winning smile as he says this, but now Andy can see it in his eyes, too. This isn't like any other relationship in their high school, but it is certainly going to end the same way. Even if it isn't over tonight like he thought at first, even if it goes into the summer, college will kill it. This makes Andy blush even harder, embarrassment mixing with regret. Mourning.

"O-okay, Elliot," he says quietly.

Andy feels his eyes starting to dampen like Elliot's when he hears him say "But before I go..." And then it happens. For the first time since they started spending late nights together, cuddling and talking, he feels Elliot's lips on his. It only takes him a second or two to adjust to the shock, closing his eyes and putting a hand on Elliot's cheek. Andy can't stop thinking about how Elliot's lips and mouth taste of almost nothing.

Just as soon as it starts, it ends. They pull away each other and stare blankly for a moment. Andy has no idea what to say, so he kisses Elliot back, this time a peck on the lips. And then again. And again.

Before Elliot finally makes to leave, they've had maybe five or six first kisses. As he climbs through the window to the apartment to leave, Elliot calls out his usual goodbye: "See you later, Senator!"

Andy smiles softly at that and turns back to the street, leaning on the railing. He realizes suddenly how public his first kiss was with Elliot, and that he doesn't live in a remote part of this huge, sprawling, concrete jungle of a city, either. The world probably saw them.

But Andy thinks to himself for the first time, Just for tonight, let them watch.
Last edited by Detectatia on Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
DETECTATIA CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION PER MY GREAT RETCON PROJECT OF 2016

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Segland
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1460
Founded: Apr 16, 2009
Father Knows Best State

Rise of Alexei Haussmann I: Preparations

Postby Segland » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:48 pm

The events of this post take place a month before the start of the Karasian War. Heinrich Mueller is still Chancellor of Segland, and Alexei Haussmann is the Minister of Liaison.



"A rule begun in bloodshed can only be expected to end in kind." - Emperor Adrianus of Segland, Meditations on History



Great Seglandic Plains

It does not require Arthuria's geographical eloquence to describe the landscape of the Great Seglandic Plains, a terrain utterly featureless from horizon to horizon -- save for two moving vehicles set on courses to intercept one another in the blackness of night.

One of these was less of a vehicle and more of an ugly, improvised train. Its name was the Holy Cathedral of Our Lady St. Olga1, and it stretched on for almost a mile. With most of its segments having tank-like treads and being rigged to move at the same speed, it was able to move fairly easily without need of roads, an ability that was priceless in the sparsely populated Plains. It also happened that evangelism was only possible in the Plains, with the Demarchist Party actively suppressing the majority of religious activity elsewhere. The Party turned a blind eye to the nomadic cults here, for they helped to facilitate trading and transport between the small towns of the steppe. It could be thought of as a passive government investment.

The vehicle approaching the Cathedral was merely a tractor. Riding in it were two men equipped with a short-range radio and a shipment of food; they would have appeared as nothing more than pair of farmers keen on making a trade with the cultists. In fact, the men were intelligence officers with a specialty in the varied religious groups of the Plains, and more importantly, they were friends of Alexei Haussmann.

While one man drove, the other waited in tense anticipation to be hailed by the Cathedral. This state of affairs continued for several minutes until the radio finally emitted a sound vaguely resembling human speech.

"Why do they have to give us this cheap crap," muttered the driver before being hushed by his partner. The radio transmission started to resolve into clear sentences:

"...repeat, this is Monsignor Karlos Dupretivich of Our Lady St. Olga. You are headed for our cathedral; please identify yourself..."

The officer manning the radio grinned and took hold of the transmitter. "Hey, uh, Monsignor Doopevich, I'm Hans Neirne from the nearby co-op farm. Do you happen to be open for a business transaction?" He leaned in, waiting for the reply.

After a pause of some length, "Yes, are you carrying foodstuffs?" asked the monsignor.

"That we are."

"Very well, Herr Hans. Continue on your present course and we will bring around our docking segment."

"That was easy," said Hans to his partner, Yego.

"So far, yeah. But I'd be careful around that monsignor. Judging by the way he talks, he's probably ex-military of some sort," speculated Yego.

"Guess this cult is friendly towards gays, then," quipped Hans, chuckling.2

"Aw, go to hell, man," said Yego. "I served in the Navy for 7 years and no more than half of the guys were gay."

"Huh. And let me guess, that half includes you."

"I--" Yego's reply was interrupted by a thud that sent vibrations throughout the tractor, followed by a mechanical screeching that preceded two more thuds.

"Must be the clamps from the Cathedral's dock," Hans remarked.

"I was barely paying attention to our surroundings, thanks to you," muttered Yego.

A door on the docking segment pivoted upwards and cast light out upon the two men and their tractor. A red-robed figure, rather tall and imposing, was looking down on the men (for the main body of the Cathedral train was elevated considerably above ground level). He beckoned to them, pointing at a set of stairs that extended a few feet from the train and nearly made it to the cab. Both men easily crossed the divide between the tractor and the train, then squeezed through the doorway where the robed person had been standing.

The docking segment's interior was cramped, the walls mostly covered by machinery and control panels. A single, bare light bulb hang from the ceiling and illuminated the trio, who could barely fit in the compartment. The man who had greeted Hans and Yego couldn't fully turn to face them, so instead he awkwardly looked back over his shoulder and addressed them.

"I'm Monsignor Dupretivich -- mind your head, sir, it's tight in here -- welcome to our Cathedral. Shall I have a boy fetch your cargo?"

As they stepped one-by-one into a seemingly wider compartment, Hans replied, "Go ahead. Oh, and you have a trade officer, right?"

"Unfortunately, our old one left us to return to his village the other day. I'm the acting trade officer until God provides us with a new one." He radioed someone to retrieve the food on the tractor. "Say... you wouldn't be interested in --"

"No, thanks; I'm not the religious type," said Hans. "Sorry, Monsignor."

The monsignor shrugged and continued on walking. In the train's interior lighting, Hans and Yego were both able to notice that Dupretivich's red robe was actually rather dirty, smeared with grease and oil stains. Yego wondered what duties other than trade officer this man had to take on occasionally.

A musty, antique sort of smell hit them as they entered the next room. It was the unmistakable stench of old books. Hans pretended to show little interest, for he was supposed to be a simple farmer, but in his mind he picked out a number of major cult holy books on the shelves: the Gringo Bible3, Thoughts of Adrianus the Christ4, Triumph and Fall5. He mused that this must be one of the more liberal cults if they permitted holy books of other groups in their cathedral. If he had designed this operation, he might've picked a fundamentalist cult -- one that he'd be content with ruining. But Monsignor Dupretivich seemed like a decent man, a man unworthy of the fate that would inevitably befall him with fury after the operation's completion.

Yego's voice cut into his thoughts. "Er, Monsignor, if you don't mind me asking, where is everyone? Or is this a one-man show?"

Dupretivich smiled. "Except for a skeleton crew which currently happens to include me, everyone is doing nocturns and hymns in the nave."

"Nocturns?" Yego asked, feigning ignorance.

"A reading of religious poems. Common in churches like us; churches of the Catholic tradition."

"Catholic, eh? So you people get to go up in the cities sometimes?" asked Hans.6

"Sometimes. At least, we're not arrested and tortured when we do it like those of other denominations and churches," the monsignor answered, no longer smiling.

Right then, a young man with a scraggly beard entered the library room. "Sir," he said, nodding at the monsignor. "We've weighed and inspected their cargo." He went on with technical jargon that neither intelligence officer fully understood. "All in all, I'd think a 850 credit allowance is in order," he finished.

The monsignor looked at Hans and Yego. "He thinks your trade is worth 850 scrip to spend in our trade store. It's pegged to the mark. Naturally, you both have the right to protest this assessment if you so elect."

Hans glanced at Yego, and Yego simply nodded. They hadn't come out here into the middle of nowhere to argue with the cathedral staff about the value of their goods. They'd seen the train schematics; the objective of their mission should be located in a compartment adjacent to the trade store. It was best to get there as smoothly as possible.

"We don't so, uh, elect. I figure the word of a religious man is trustworthy," Hans said.

"Well, you make it easy," replied the monsignor. "It can be a hassle when a stubborn farmer thinks he isn't getting his money's worth. Why, Spiegel, wasn't it just yesterday that the officer from the prison farm thought we were offering only half the fair price for his marijuana?"

The bearded man named Spiegel said, "Aye, Lieutena - I mean, Father. But I think that's more because he was a Demarchist functionary. Totally convinced of the evil of organized religion, shamelessly bigoted towards us." Spiegel regarded Hans and Yego. "I hope I can speak frankly in your presence of our ruling party. With all the good they've done for our country, they've done commensurate bad."

"Politics isn't my area," Yego spoke up. "But if you don't mind me asking, were you referring to Monsignor Dupretivich as a lieutenant?"

"I was a Navy man a long time ago, and many here call me by that name, although I was really just a sublieutenant," answered the monsignor himself.

"Come, let's get moving to the trade store. I can tell you about my service days on the way."

As the party traversed the train, Monsignor (formerly Sublieutenant) Dupretivich regaled them with tales of how he had witnessed firsthand the rebuilding of Segland's navy after the disastrous Seglandic Civil War. He explained how the chaplains and his more openly religious comrades had later been arrested, court-martialed, and shot when Hugo Nimitz initiated the most radical phase of his secularization program.7

He told of how he, fearing for his life, had deserted while in port and fled to his native Conpatrian Mountains to discover a populace being systematically butchered by the Demarchist secret police. Unable to find his family and believing that God had purposely spared him from the killings, he had trekked to the Great Plains to plant a church in defiance of Nimitz.

"And that's why I'm here today," concluded the monsignor as they entered into a compartment littered with stationery and papers and even an ancient-looking computer terminal in the corner.

"We keep lots of stuff in here; schedules, service programs, even financial receipts. Sometimes we'll slip a pamphlet in the pocket of an unsuspecting trader looking at store goods. Very disorganized, I know; it goes against my military better instincts. But then again, it's not as if anyone ever audits us," the monsignor informed the men, all of them having warmed up toward each other considerably on the way to the trade store.

"Actually, Monsignor, I've gotten pretty curious about your religion. These things aren't top-secret, are they?" asked Yego, who had established a rapport with the other Navy serviceman (even with Dupretivich being unaware of Yego's service). He ran a hand over some of the papers without waiting for a reply.

The monsignor couldn't help but grin at the interest being shown. "Feel free to look through them to sate your curiosity. Just be sure to leave everything where you found it... Spiegel, you stay with Yego here while Hans and I look through the trade store."

With that settled, the monsignor punched a string of digits into the digital lock -- the only modern piece of technology Hans had seen so far -- on the next door and proceeded to slide it aside. Hans gaped at what he saw in the room: shelves lined with sleek computers, smartphones, and advanced tools.

The monsignor noticed his expression and said, "We wouldn't have a very effective trading operation if the only people we did business with were farmers. There are high-tech factories to the east who view us as reliable wholesale partners."

"Pretty nice," remarked Hans, catching sight of a smartphone model more recent than his own.

Meanwhile, in the previous compartment, Yego was searching for the document he needed. It would be a list of city missionaries with the dates they were visiting particular cities, as well as the locations at which they were proselytizing. The intelligence community already knew this church, the Holy Cathedral of Our Lady St. Olga, to be one that proselytized in cities.

The believability of this operation hinged on finding a document that proved the location of the evangelists, and particularly one that could be independently verified later by investigators. Fortunately, just then Yego's eyes locked onto something that seemed to fit the bill.

"Hey, Spiegel, what's this?" he asked, pointing to one of the many papers lying on a table set into the wall. He used his comprehensive GHB training to make his query seem completely innocuous.

Spiegel came over to get a better look. Rubbing his beard, he said, "A schedule, I think. Let's see... Der Arkangel, Callei, Ryutsvaag... must be a proselytization list. Plenty of these around here, I'm sure."

"Oh," Yego muttered and pretended to lose interest. He continued to survey the table, obviously without real object, for he had already found what he needed. Now he just needed to wait for Hans and Dupretivich to finish up in the other room.

Minutes later, though it seemed to Yego like much longer, Hans exited the trade store with several phones and a laptop cradled in his arms. Monsignor Dupretivich followed.

"I believe we've executed an amicable deal," the monsignor declared, bowing slightly toward Hans and then toward Yego. "Is there any other way I can help you two?"

"Pray for a good harvest," Yego recommended with a smile.

"I'm sure the worshipers are doing just that as we speak, but I'll remember to do so personally," said the monsignor. "Well... let's head back to your tractor, shall we? Thank you, Spiegel." At that, Spiegel hurried off ahead of them. Hans immediately engaged the monsignor in conversation, distracting him as much as he could. Thus no one observed Yego slipping a proselytization schedule into his back pocket.

Once the two intelligence officers were back in their tractor, waving at the red-robed monsignor as the docking clamps retracted, Yego realized he had come to like Dupretivich. He wondered whether he could persuade Haussmann to spare him in the aftermath of the operation.

He wondered whether God would spare the monsignor a second time.



Demarchist Party Headquarters Main Building
Ryutsvaag, Segland


"And you really think that the public will allow this man to live after what they'll think he's done?" asked Alexei Haussmann with mild disbelief as he took his seat behind the colorless, utilitarian desk in his office.

The two intelligence officers seated themselves on the other side of the desk. They had met the Minister of Liaison in the building's main lobby and got him up to date on their mission during the half-hour-long walk they took to his office through the labyrinthine Demarchist HQ. With the building set apart from Ryutsvaag's central business district for security reasons, many of its rooms commanded impressive views of the city's entire skyline. The Liaison Minister's office was one of these rooms.

The man who had gone by Yego but whose real name was Abel answered first. He avoided the inscrutable gaze of Haussmann and instead looked at the skyscrapers outside as he spoke. "We have to show at least a bit of lenience in dealing with this cathedral, or the other nomadic churches will get spooked into becoming even more insular, ceasing trade with the populace and damaging the Plains economy considerably."

"A thoroughly rational explanation," replied Haussmann with the vaguest hint of a sneer. He sat up higher in his chair. "But you didn't answer my question. How will we ever convince the public to let this"—he glanced down at a folder—"Dupretivich get away with his life? As far as they're concerned, he'll be a terrorist."

Abel gave a short burst of a laugh. "That's the simple part, is it not? We -- as in the Demarchist Party -- guide and practically control the flow of information in Segland. It's as easy as not telling the news networks that Monsignor Dupretivich was involved in the attack. Telling them that he was would be a lie, regardless."

"We're in the business of lying," Haussmann shot back. Looking down as if apologetically, he ran a finger over the matte finish of his desk. A lightning flash of thoughts seared through his mind in the few seconds of silence. This wasn't the first time a subordinate's sudden reservations had aggravated his plans... for now, lip service would have to do. He addressed Abel without looking back up. "But you do have a point about trade, and showing some mercy will keep the other cults relatively calm. Not to mention the—"

The other officer, who had operated as Hans but was actually named Peter, interjected. "Er, what's bothering me is this..." he started, trailing off as he prepared what he was about to say. He continued, "You still haven't told me or Abel the final purpose of all this maneuvering. Why the undercover visit to the cult and the schedule of their urban evangelism? Tell us as friends, Alexei."

Haussmann sighed inaudibly. He had hoped his two trusted and loyal officers would keep everything purely professional, not asking questions about the reasoning behind their work. It was what was expected of any GHB officer, especially of captains like Abel and Peter. Now, however, if he lied to them, they'd find out once the final stages of the plan went into motion. But an outright explanation could prove to be too startling. A half-truth, then, was the safest route to go.

"Fine, I'll tell you. But you might not like it. It's the beginning of a large-scale anti-corruption operation regarding entrenched interests in the state. I have good reason to believe that there are powerful individuals within the Party who are plotting against the very secular nature of the Republic.

"They are striking illegal deals with the nomadic Plains cults, bribing police to turn a blind eye to urban proselytizers, and may well have as their goal... the eventual establishment of a Seglandic theocracy."

"But there couldn't possibly be enough public support for them to ever do that," said Peter, incredulous.

"Public support is the unknown variable, and upon it rests their gamble," Haussmann explained with an important air. "History has several cases of populations reverting to religion after an atheistic regime is toppled, for religion is part of the natural and fallen state of man. That is why this theocratic threat must be obliterated by any means necessary."

Monsignor Dupretivich hadn't struck Abel as a schemer or a conspirator, and he was still willing to give the clergyman the benefit of the doubt. But Alexei had also never lied to him before, so he supposed that there must indeed be some form of a theocratic plot against Demarchism, even if Dupretivich wasn't personally involved.

"Fair enough. What should we do, then, with the list we stole from the cathedral?" Abel asked.

Haussmann smiled. "Leave that to me. I have an altogether different task for you two; one I'm sure you'll be thrilled by."



Infinitie Klüb
Ryutsvaag Salon District


You are to plant a bomb inside Infinitie Klüb. You will have exactly 5 minutes to leave once the bomb is armed. See Colonel Toht for your full briefing.

That had been the last either Abel or Peter had seen of the Liaison Minister. As if on a timer, GHB Colonel Koriolanus Toht had burst into the office right then and taken the officers outside, into an unmarked car, and away to a building in a different sector of the city. They were all familiar with it: the GHB's main base in the Seglandic capital. There they received a detailed briefing, disguises, and equipment. Incognito as repair men hauling a large box on a dolly, they were driven and dropped off in the salon district.

It was approaching dusk as Abel and Peter stepped onto the sidewalk, a few salons down from Infinitie Klüb. This was, of course, the time that everyone who was anyone was arriving for a night of revelry and drugged-up fun. The fact that it was Friday night meant there were even more people than usual.

The crowds were elbow-to-elbow, and the road was packed with luxury cars, one of which had a (hopefully inactive) tank turret affixed to the roof. The characters now filling the sidewalks were even stranger, seemingly in a constant competition to outdo each other with the exoticism of their outfits and makeup. Some were dressed up as animals or historical figures. One woman was unloading what appeared to be a live bobcat from a car. Oppressive perfumes and fragrances hung in the air.

Abel and Peter felt conspicuously out of place among the glitterati. Neither one came from a wealthy family, and considering they were disguised as repair men, there was no way to fake their status. Surely they'd be found out --

"Hey, I love you guys' outfits," said a man walking alongside them. He appeared to be costumed as Emperor Akiyasu of Tuthina, and there were other, more bizarre get-ups around him, but he was genuinely entranced by the repair man outfits. "That's, like, so bold...and against the grain. Where are you going?"

"To the, uh, Infinitie Klüb," Peter answered.

The man grinned and bobbed his head enthusiastically. "One of the toniest places in town. The Morningstars are patrons there. Well, have fun, my dudes."

At last, the flow of the crowd brought the two officers to Infinitie Klüb's entrance, an unpretentious recess set into a much larger building. They detached from the main body of people and got into a line for the salon. Two security guards were at the front, checking IDs against a whitelist of permitted persons. Colonel Toht had assured Abel and Peter that they were on that whitelist, and they had been given cards that would identify them as maintenance workers to any officials at the salon.

Slowly, they moved forward in the line, and within a few minutes they were at the front. The guards, both bald and stocky, didn't ask for any ID and instead stared at the two disguised officers.

"Wow. That's hip," said one finally, and the other gave a hearty chuckle. "No one who doesn't belong here would have the audacity to come in that. I feel like I'd be insulting you guys if I even asked for ID... you can head on in after I check that box you're hauling."

He lifted open the flaps of the box and saw that contained in it was a white refrigerator. It encased an explosive mechanism, of course, but on exterior it appeared as any refrigerator would. The guard laughed and shook his head. "And you even brought a life-sized prop," he said before waving them through.

Abel and Peter walked through the entrance, hiding the astonishment they felt. But what awaited them inside was even greater cause for amazement.

Infinitie Klüb's interior was, to the perception of the human eye, totally dimensionless. The only things lending any sense of perspective were the dim figures of partiers undulating to hypnomusic and the colored light trails that flashed across what must have been the walls. Everything else, however, was pitch black. Peter supposed all the surfaces were coated in some sort of superdark material, an expenditure that must have cost millions of marks.

"Adrianus," Abel whispered reverently.

"Honestly, I was a little pissed when Alexei revealed we were the ones who'd have to plant this bomb, instead of some freshie private. But this all justifies it," Peter declared.

"He wanted the job done right," said Abel. "So let's do it and not get caught up in the flashiness of salon life."

They wheeled the boxed refrigerator around the pulsating nucleus of dancers. It was difficult to figure out where the walls were despite the light displays, so they skirted the outer edge of the people grouped in the center.

The building plan they had viewed dictated that there were a number of equally spaced alcoves in the back of the club, meant to provide some privacy for drug use or lovemaking or whatever other whims the saloniers had. They'd also provide an excellent hiding spot for a bomb. The two intelligence officers moved toward them with purpose.

Finding a vacant alcove, Abel decided to act like they were lovers, and he grabbed Peter's free hand as they walked in with the dolly.

"Huh, so you are gay, after all," said Peter snickeringly.

Abel opened the box and the top door of the refrigerator. Its arming mechanism had the appearance of a thermostat, and he punched in a sequence of buttons that would commence the internal countdown.

"So, anything you'd like to say before we blow this place sky-high?" Abel asked after satisfying himself that the bomb was indeed armed.

"Yeah -- I'm ready to get my damn promotion to Colonel," Peter said.

"Agreed. Let's leave, and let's do it fast before anyone gets suspicious about why we're leaving without the dolly and box."

They exited the alcove and walked as quickly as they could, while still appearing somewhat inconspicuous, back to the salon's entrance. The hypnomusic had reached its feverish climax, with the dancers now jerking around wildly. All the light was warm shades approaching blood red. Soon, they knew, everything would collapse into darkness, and the saloniers would come back to their senses as the tentative first notes of a new song reached out. Such was the unending cycle of the hypnomusic and its requisite narcotic.

Abel pushed open the door. The salon's endless interior was suffused with streetlight just as the music cut off and the dancers seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief. The door fell back into place, leaving Abel and Peter out on the sidewalk.

A security guard, the same one who had let them in, was still standing there. "Aw, you're leaving so soon? Th—"

A stomach-wrenching roar, a brilliant flash of light, and a burning gale-force wind came forth all at the same time. For just a moment, it was daytime again as the explosive energy of the thermobaric weapon incinerated everything and everyone in its path. The entire building had imploded on itself by the time the fireball radiated away. Alarms all along the street began to go off.

The first screams rang out into the night.



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BREAKING: 200+ KILLED IN RYUTSVAAG SALON BOMBING

MUELLER, HAUSSMANN VOW TO BRING THOSE RESPONSIBLE TO JUSTICE



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Firefighters battling the still-smoldering ruins the next morning.


Officials suspect terrorism with at least 200 men and women dead after a powerful bomb exploded at the Infinitie Klüb nightclub on Friday night.

At 11:41 PM EST, an explosive device detonated inside the Infinitie Klüb in the salon district of Ryutsvaag, instantly killing and maiming anyone caught in the blast and resultant blaze. Several adjacent buildings sustained fire damage, and the Klüb itself collapsed after the explosion.

This bombing is set to be the deadliest terrorist incident -- as well as the first -- since the Little Jesus atrocities in 1953.

Emergency responders rushed to the scene at Imels Street, where a crowd of saloniers from other clubs had gathered to observe the devastation. Firefighters remained on site throughout the night and well into the morning to contain a fire from a gas line that ruptured as a result of the explosion. One firefighter had to be treated for smoke inhalation at Kostler Priß Hospital.

Rescuers were only able to delve into the wreckage and search for survivors once the gas fire had been extinguished. For this reason, it is believed that most of the survivors would have perished during the long night hours. Emergency workers are still, at the time of this article's publishing, extracting bodies and looking through the rubble for anyone alive.

The chief of Ryutsvaag Police, retired Brigadier General Ruger Nilssen, announced through a media channel that the device used in the attack was some form of fuel-air bomb. He elaborated on how such a bomb works.

"What basically happens is that an initial charge releases fuel that scatters and diffuses throughout any open spaces, mixing with the oxygenated air. The inside of the salon would have been filled with this fuel quite quickly. Then, a second charge provides the big boom, and the fuel cloud is ignited in a blast of gigantic proportions. The dearth of oxygen and pressure afterwards would cause trapped victims to slowly suffocate as they burned, that is, if their lungs and other internal organs hadn't already burst with the shockwave."

Nilssen added, "We won't stop until we apprehend the monsters who executed this attack. I know that Ryutsvaag is the greatest city in the world, and everyone here is pulling together in the aftermath. We won't be cowed by terrorists."

When questioned by a reporter, Nilssen clarified that there were no tangible leads yet as to those responsible for the bombing, but he said multiple security and intelligence agencies were already coordinating an investigation.

Few people were out on Imels Street at the exact time of the explosion, but it could be felt and heard in every part of the city. One woman reported being woken up to what she thought was a nearby clap of thunder.

"I sat straight up in my bed, thinking that a thunderstorm had started and our apartments had been hit by lightning or something," she said. "But then I noticed the window was cracking, so I woke my husband and we turned on the TV to see what was going on."

Similar experiences were to be had across Ryutsvaag. There were shattered windows, alarm bells going off, and nonlethal injuries to those not far enough removed from the blast radius, particularly to the elderly and infirm. Some even believed it to be the beginning of an invasion by Radiatia, but an informed citizen dispelled those rumors on social media.

The capital police have been out in force, with bomb units sweeping high-profile areas of the city to determine if any further attacks are imminent. Police presence is heaviest in the financial and government sectors. Much of the salon district was evacuated by authorities following the blast.

Liaison Minister Haussmann gave a press conference early this morning. "This is sure to be a trying time for our nation," he stated in his opening remarks. "The death toll will rise. I grieve with the families who don't know if their loved ones made it out, for I too have close friends who are members of that salon.

"But what we must have now is strong and resolute leadership: men who will find the despicable animals who did this and punish them accordingly. And believe me, they will be punished, because in Segland, justice always prevails." This was met with applause from the attending journalists, who were packed tightly into the Demarchist Party HQ press room.

The chancellor is set to give a speech at 8 PM Eastern, which will be broadcast live on Segland Premier News Network.

This article will be duly updated as new information becomes available.

EDIT #1: A working list of the dead has been released by police, and it includes Karl and Liane Morningstar, Hanna Kraus, Axel Salzwedel, and several other prominent Seglanders.

EDIT #2: In his speech, Chancellor Mueller stated that there was one survivor from Infinitie Klüb but did not release his/her name.



In Other News:
  • New bus system in Callei will make debut in September, says mayor
  • EDITORIAL: It's win-win when Seglandic businesses invest in carbon-capture tech from Arthuria
  • Meet Merl Nugent, the Segland-friendly codenor who might just be the next president of Higgins and Brown


Footnotes

1 This cult centers itself around Saint Olga (birth name Olga Werszewic), a nun who assisted in the attempted 1911 overthrow of Erdmann Lehrer but was soon afterwards burned at the stake by her own order for violating her vow of political apathy.

2 A reference to the unusually high percentage of gays in the military. This is a result of intentional programs enacted by the Social Justice Agency to concentrate Segland's gays in one tolerant group, while still appeasing the country's social conservatives.

3 Deriving its name from the Seglandic word Gringeil, which means "alien" or "foreigner", the Gringo Bible was supposedly authored by aliens who visited Noctur thousands of years ago and planted the seed for the Germanic peoples to grow into the planet's master race.

4 A compendium of spiritual sayings and fables, spuriously attributed to Emperor Adrianus. Cults worshiping Adrianus in some fashion are the second most common type of religious group in post-Anatheon Segland, behind Christian groups.

5 This lengthy epic, which chronicles the many lives and reincarnations of a man seeking heavenly release, fuses elements of Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity. Scholars hypothesize that it may have come to Segland from al-Djezer in ancient times.

6 Some restrictions on religion have loosened in recent years, and Catholic cults are now permitted to send evangelists into major urban centers for limited periods at a time.

7 When Hugo Nimitz took power in 1964, the nation was still plagued by racial issues between those who claimed Aazeronian ancestry and those who claimed to be descended from a pure Germanic line. Nimitz deftly addressed this by proclaiming that the two lines were destined to blend in a marriage of cultures, producing a uniquely Seglandic race. However, he also believed that he needed to bury the racial divide permanently by replacing it with another divide: that of religion. In 1967, paramilitary forces organized by the Demarchist Party began their iconoclastic reign of terror, rounding up and killing anyone suspected of being religious. Known as the Anatheon, this activity peaked from 1968-1971 and was internationally condemned as a genocide.
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Rise of Alexei Haussmann II: Actions

Postby Segland » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:48 pm

Egglsor Park, Ryutsvaag
Two days after Infinitie Klüb bombing


"There's my favorite terrorist-in-chief," proclaimed Koriolanus Toht jovially as he approached the benched Liaison Minister.

"For Adrianus' sake, not so loud," Haussmann hissed. "You never know where there might be bugs."

"Bugs are planted by security agencies, and guess who controls those?" Toht said, pointing at himself and Haussmann.

Haussmann scooted over on the bench to allow space for the GHB colonel to sit. "Kory," he said, using the colonel's nickname, "you do realize that it's grunts who parse the audio data. They aren't aware of our plan, and if they suddenly realized what was going on..."

Toht dismissed his superior's concerns. "Whatever. Paranoia takes the fun out of it all. You're about to become the chancellor, Alexei; I don't understand why you're so sullen. Pretty much everything is going according to plan."

"Well, that answers your question, then. I'm uneasy because we aren't running into problems."

The Liaison Minister looked out over the short-cut sward of the park, and he saw the chancellor's estate and its resplendent fountains. He could've walked across the park and arrived there in a matter of minutes. But further in the distance, something ominously foreboding rose out of the skyline. It was a building under construction, starting to rise above the others as if it was gaining confidence. It reeked of betrayal and unsettled scores. It frightened him, yet he didn't know why.

"The future corporate headquarters of Morningstar Holdings," said Toht, sensing the object that held Haussmann's attention. "Pretty tragic. You know what just happened to the Morningstar parents, I presume."

"Yeah. It's a shame they were there on the night of the bombing. I actually attended their wedding years ago, when I was still climbing the GHB ladder. Florian, the father's son from a previous marriage, was the best man. A nice boy. I'm sure he's devastated."

"Wait, they have a son? And he's still alive?" asked Toht in dismay.

"He's barely twenty," Haussmann replied. "Not a salon regular yet, but maybe so if you give him a few years."

"Listen, we need to isolate him from you, and political power in general, as much as possible. Say he becomes obsessed with the death of his parents. He might eventually uncover the conspiracy that actually killed them. And then you'd be pretty much screwed."

"Who's the paranoid one now?" said Haussmann, half-smiling.

"I mean it," insisted Toht. "The best strategy for cleaning up after an operation like this is to eliminate loose ends. That Morningstar boy is a glaring loose end, given the prominence of his family."

Haussmann sighed. "I suppose you're right. I'll see what I can do about him."

"Perfect. We make good co-conspirators, don't we?"

"Mm," Haussmann agreed. "Well then, are you ready for the next phase of our scheme?"



It was unclear, in the days following the Infinitie Klüb bombing, who had released the incriminating documents and how they had obtained them. That didn't matter, though -- once the media began reporting them as fact, the opprobrious rage of the Seglandic populace rose too greatly to be contained. The people wanted the terrorists' heads on a platter, so that was what the Demarchist Party would give them. And they'd give it to them spectacularly.

Millions around the country were tuning into their TVs for the nightly 9 o'clock broadcast of The Tonight! Show hosted by Frederika Willemsen, a former actress who had been offered her own show on one of the SPTV1 entertainment channels and now acted as a major trendsetter in fashion and pop culture. Tonight she was wearing the nondescript outfit of a repair woman.

Once the house band finished its jazz intro (jazz being a paradoxically popular style of music in Segland, despite its clear Radiatian origins), the cameras focused in on Frederika. She was straight-faced, her pale Germanic skin taking on hints of ash. She was one of many rocked by a class of event which hadn't occurred in decades: terrorism.

"Many of you have already heard rumors about the identities of the terrorists who struck Friday night," she began her address, the viewership of which rivaled Chancellor Mueller's speech the evening after the bombing.

She continued, "These rumors are, in large part, correct. It is true that our intelligence services have tracked correspondence and certain documents to their source in the Great Plains: a nomadic cult known as the Holy Cathedral of Our Lady St. Olga.

"It is true that agents of that cult, posing as evangelists, managed to smuggle an extremely powerful thermobaric bomb into the salon and detonate it.

"It is true that the cult in question had never been licensed to evangelize in urban areas.

"But there's something you probably haven't heard in the rumors.

"We're going to get a live view into the operation to take those bastards out."

Just as she finished the sentence, a massive screen lowered down on the stage's back wall, displaying video feed of what appeared to be at least 20 military vehicles speeding across the grasslands toward a dark line in the distance. The sun was hanging low in the sky and threatened to disappear wholly beneath the razor-straight horizon. Gasps came up from the studio audience at the sight of this almost cinematic scene.

"Everyone you're seeing is happening right now, folks. Things might get graphic, but the Party wants us all to have the privilege of witnessing justice in its finest, rawest form," said Frederika.

Soon it became clear what the dark line in the distance was. It was a train -- no, it couldn't be, there weren't any railroad tracks to be seen. It was some monstrous mutation of a train, then. For from a ways off it had the appearance of one, yet upon closer view it was actually many compartments and vehicles rigged together to act as one. Most Seglanders had never seen anything like it.

The train-mutation came to a halt once the military convoy approached within a few hundred feet on its transverse axis. Immediately, soldiers poured out of their transports and fanned out to cover the train's complete length. The screen zoomed in on one of them, who was quickly setting up a rocket launcher on the ground. He crouched behind it, located the main propulsion compartment using the thermal sights, and let fly a missile. A part of the train flashed brilliantly when it made contact. While smoke issued forth from the wound, an officer signaled his men forward, and they sprinted to enter the train through the hole.

The camera moved closer and closer to the train. There were a few more bangs, presumably soldiers kicking down doors as they moved from compartment to compartment. No gunshots sounded -- miraculously, even with the live broadcast of the event, the terrorists must have been caught totally off guard!

Only minutes later, the first prisoner emerged from the train, frogmarched by a duo of troops. Strikingly, the red of the prisoner's robes matched the red of the sun setting behind him.

"That looks like the leader," interposed Frederika. "He goes by the title of monsignor."

As the soldiers hustled the monsignor to a personnel carrier, a scraggly-bearded man who had just come out of the train broke free of the soldiers restraining him and made a mad rush for the monsignor. The cameraman didn't even bother panning away when the crack of a pistol shot ended the excitement.

About 30 more cult members were forced out of the train by the time the live video feed cut off. It ended with the personnel carriers holding the prisoners turning around and driving away from the scene, while the rest of the soldiers remained to collect evidence.

Back on the set of The Tonight! Show, there were a few seconds of solemn silence. Then, the audience spontaneously exploded into cheers and shouts and cries of "SEG-LAND! SEG-LAND! SEG-LAND!" Reactions in homes across the nation were mostly the same. Certainly no one objected to the televising of the operation or even the on-screen killing of a cult member, for fear of being labeled unpatriotic.

The rest of the night's show elapsed with interviews of government officials involved in planning the counterterrorism operation. The Demarchist Party had successfully asserted its omnipotence in the wake of a major crime against peace and safety.

Now, it was finally time for Alexei Haussmann to assert his.



Estate of the Republic2

Chancellor Heinrich Mueller was reading a dry review of proposed taxes from the Relmsenat Fiscal Committee when the door to his office was flung open and a formation of infantrymen, airmen, sailors, security operatives, and intelligence officers strutted in.

Mueller's head jerked up in surprise. When no one was forthcoming, he said, "What's the meaning of this? Has someone invaded? Was there a coup?"

Silently, the phalanx of men parted along the middle. Through the part sauntered a young man dressed flamboyantly in a turtleneck and deep purple suit3. He made a show of walking slowly to the chancellor's desk, his every move deliberate and elegant. He finally came to a halt and stood there, facing the seated Mueller across the desk. The men closed the gap and blocked the door.

The chancellor leaned back in his chair and let a smile creep across his face. If he was intimidated by the sudden incursion into his office, nothing in his appearance belied it. He seemed almost... amused.

"Ah, Alexei. What brings you here today?" he said finally, addressing the man standing in front of his desk.

"Nothing much, honestly. Just deposing you," replied Alexei Haussmann, unable to resist being facetious toward his old benefactor.

"Oh?" exclaimed Mueller in mock wonderment. "Surely you won't spill blood on the chancellery grounds."

"Rather unfortunately, I won't have to do that. All I ask you to do is sign a paper which will effect your resignation and subtly recommend me to the Relmsenat as your replacement. And do you know why you can't refuse?"

"Why would that be?"

Haussmann removed a smart phone, one with custom security features, from his pocket. He navigated to an encrypted photo storage app and walked around the desk to Mueller. The pictures he had pulled up made Mueller's eyes widen.

"So you're going to use my own heritage against me," growled the chancellor, his voice low and vehement, with none of its characteristic quaver.

"You presumed, I'm guessing, that none of the infrequent visitors to your office would pay any heed to a small photograph on the wall. But I did." Haussmann emitted a short laugh. "To think that a chancellor of Segland would be the son of cultists... and what more, that he'd be bold enough to hang a picture of them in his cancellarial office."

"YOU'LL BE SETTING BACK TWO DECADES OF PROGRESS!" shouted an irate Mueller.

Good, thought Haussmann, let him make himself appear unhinged in front of my men.

"We've been working to reintegrate the religious into Seglandic society -- first with the urban evangelism reforms, and now we're set to lift bans on certain types of churches within the year. But thanks to this drama, our liberalizing efforts could be rendered worthless!" Mueller went on haranguing.

"But you're no stranger to drama, are you?" said Haussmann. "Regardless, I have no interest in arguing. Either you will sign this paper and resign of your own accord, or the pictures will be released to a bloodthirsty Seglandic citizenry, and they might just storm this place and overthrow you themselves.

"Please note that all the officers in this room with us are aware of your familial connection to the nomadic cults. However, they're also under an oath to not reveal that awareness to anyone unless expressly ordered to do so by me. Is that understood? I want you to know that your life is in my hands now, Herr Chancellor.

"So what will it be?"

At first, Mueller merely looked from Haussmann to the soldiers and then back to Haussmann again. But then he burst into a paroxysm of laughter which brought him to tears.

"Oh, I should've known a bastard like you would be my downfall," he said through a brief lull in his laughing fit. "Give me those damn papers, then, and let's be over with it."

So Alexei Haussmann obtained the chancellor's signature on the prewritten letter of resignation. Once his backing soldiers and officers had left the room and he was about to walk out himself, he turned around one last time to face Mueller.

"Really, though, why display such obvious evidence of your association with cultists?" Haussmann asked out of sheer curiosity.

The broken man who had just forfeited all his power stared Haussmann in the eye. "My father's and mother's memories had to live on, even if that genocidal pigfucker Hugo Nimitz did everything he could to erase them and millions of others!"

Haussmann shook his head in contempt. He could never condone such a stupidly sentimental handling of things.

"C'est la vie, Heinrich," he said, using the popular Faransian idiom. "C'est la vie séglandique." 4

He strode out of the office and let the door emblazoned with the headless man5 slam shut on the lone chancellor.



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BREAKING: MUELLER RESIGNS

RELMSENAT CONFIRMS HAUSSMANN AS SUCCESSOR TO OUTGOING CHANCELLOR



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Alexei Haussmann, 39, former GHB director and Liaison minister.

Heinrich Jakke Mueller, the 3rd Chancellor of the Seglandic Republic, stepped down from office today, citing in his resignation letter "unprecedented stress" and "a desire to see Segland led by its finest, the young generation". He declined to give a speech in public. The terms of both chancellors before Mueller -- namely, Hugo Nimitz and Jarrod Corlehn -- ended in resignations, as well.

Speaker of the Relmsenat Herbert Huber then assumed the role of interim chancellor, pending a permanent nomination and confirmation for someone else. Huber stated immediately that he had no interest in the chancellorship. Moreover, he is 68 years old, and certainly not part of the "young generation" that Mueller mentioned.

Naturally, Haussmann's name was one of the first to be circulated amongst Relmsenatiers as a potential new chancellor. Proponents praised his energy and extensive accomplishments at such a young age. Detractors used that same youthfulness against him, insisting he was too inexperienced to serve as the chief executive. This argument was quickly shut down by pointing out that Nimitz was only 3 years older than Haussmann when he became chancellor.

Since Huber, the only other leader who could have realistically opposed Haussmann's accession, removed himself from the running of his own accord, Haussmann was free to go before the Relmsenat and declaim for an hour concerning his dedication to continuing the legacy of Mueller. Mueller has been especially popular as of late, due in no small part to his foreign policy successes: the formation of UNCA, the decisive victory in the Algrabad War, and the renewed relations with Higgins and Brown. Haussmann is wise to speak highly of the retiring chancellor.

But it is clear that Mueller wasn't single-handedly behind those triumphs. In the positions of both GHB director and Liaison minister, Haussmann played a key role in reaching out to nations like Hadin and Ainotula. He also worked closely with our internal allies in Higgins and Brown to negotiate a satisfying end to the Algrabad War and an enduring peace that doubtlessly spared the lives of thousands on every side. It is hoped that a Pax Mundi Nocturi will ensue in this new global order.

Also considered a determining factor for the Liaison Minister's prominence in the talks about a new chancellor was his resolute, reassuring oratory given the day after the Infinitie Klüb bombing. No one can say that Haussmann is a subpar public speaker, but it is unclear where he gained his rhetorical abilities in the first place, given his subdued and low-key early career as an intelligence officer. Nevertheless, his speech comforted Seglanders in those fearful hours between the terrorist attack and the address from Mueller.

Relmsenatier Fermín Niko of Bartolitz nominated Liaison Minister Haussmann for the position of chancellor. The vote that followed confirmed Haussmann unanimously, 360 ayes and 0 nays or abstentions. Many Relmsenatiers felt that they were honoring Mueller's 23 years of service as chancellor by appointing the man they considered to be his chosen successor. Most everyone felt too that Haussmann would make an outstanding leader based on his own merits.

But we at The Republican would be remiss in our duty if we failed to pay tribute to the exceptional leadership and tranquil years of the bygone Mueller chancellorship. It all began in 1993, when Segland was simultaneously deep in recession and suffering from civil unrest instigated by radicals in the homosexual minority.

Much like the events of today, then-Chancellor Jarrod Corlehn suddenly resigned his office. Much different, though, were the circumstances of the resignation. The country at the time was looking at a prolonged period of economic stagnation. Corlehn stated infamously that he was a military man at heart, unable to deal with the nuances of leading the economy to a quick recovery. He had also received criticism from his colleagues in the Demarchist Party for his heavy-handed management of the homosexual unrest. The consensus in Ryutsvaag was that something had to change.

That something took the form of Heinrich Mueller, a businessman and first-term Relmsenatier from the state of Tressia6. Lauded by both his constituents and his fellow Relmsenatiers for his pragmatic, solution-oriented style, he was seen as one of the top three contenders for the chancellorship, along with retired Major General Lucius Schaster and Fortitude Minister7 Gustaf Paveltrott.

Taking a page out the playbook of foreign politicians and doing something unheard of in national-level Seglandic politics, Mueller campaigned across the country, giving stump speeches and charming attendees with his plain-spoken, fatherly manner. Opinion polls tipped overwhelmingly in his favor. He was confirmed by the Relmsenat in the second round of voting with 280 ayes, 17 nays, and 63 abstentions. His acceptance speech in Heylmer, the capital of Tressia, was met with crowds of tens of thousands, some coming from as far as Kap Hoop in the extreme southwest.

The perception of Mueller's appointment as a fresh start for Segland was vindicated quickly. Only a few months after taking office, a major stimulus package was approved by the Relmsenat, having been sponsored and pushed through by Mueller. He proceeded to focus his attention on the strife within the homosexual minority, which had claimed almost 300 lives since it turned violent in late 1992. The HOME (Homosexual Order and Military Equality) Act, much of which was authored by Mueller, bestowed the privilege of civil union upon gays who joined the military. This was later expanded to all homosexuals in 1998, making Segland one of the first nations in Noctur to give gays the benefits that come with marriage.

Indeed, 90s Segland was characterized by sweeping social reforms, particularly the expansion of the welfare state. A pigeonholed health care initiative sponsored by Nimitz in the late 80s was finally approved in 1999, establishing a universal health care system. The government invested heavily in the construction of new schools in rural areas.

The 2000s saw skyrocketing economic power that rivaled that of neighboring Poldania. Seglandic companies, especially ones in the tech industry, turned their attention to struggling foreign countries. This trend was accelerated by the signing of the Axis Treaty, which tore down trade restrictions between the new UNCA allies.

Military victories achieved by UNCA, and by syllogism Segland, cemented the view of Segland as an inchoate global superpower. And through it all, we have been led by the cautiously subtle yet decisively resilient helmsman: Heinrich Mueller. He did his duty and then some, and no doubt will be viewed as a truly great Seglandic chancellor. But now it is time, as he wrote in his resignation letter, for our "finest, the young generation" to take the wheel. The future looks bright indeed.

Alexei Mercer Haussmann will take the oath of office and be sworn in as the 4th Chancellor of the Seglandic Republic tonight, on the grounds of the Estate of the Republic. He will also be granted the ex officio positions of General Secretary of the Demarchist Party and a spot on the National Military Commission. SPTV news channels will provide live coverage and commentary on the inauguration.



In Other News:
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  • EDITORIAL: Likely choices for a Haussmann High Ministerium8
  • "Big changes coming with our next ePhone," says Birne CEO


Footnotes

1 Segland Premier Television, the main state television broadcaster in the Seglandic Republic.

2 The lavish residence of the chancellor in Ryutsvaag.

3 Purple, specifically the darker shades thereof, was the royal color of the Seglandic Emperor. Haussmann makes it known through his choice of dress that he is assuming control, and subtextually he is also asserting his own superiority.

4 Faransian for "That is the Seglandic life" or, more colloquially, "That's life in Segland, for you".

5 The door into the chancellor's office is marked with the cancellarial seal, a headless man bearing a torch. The headless man represents the sacrifices made by leaders, in particular referencing the assassination of Emperor Adrianus when he was decapitated by a disgraced former imperial employee. The forward-held torch symbolizes the illumination brought by progress.

6 One of the most populous states in Segland; borders the western and northern boundaries of the Ryutsvaag Federal District. Also has coastline on the Tressian Gulf, for which it was named. Der Arkangel is the largest city in the state.

7 The Ministry of Fortitude is the Seglandic equivalent of other nations' ministries of defense, much like the Ministry of Liaison is analogous to other nations' ministries of foreign affairs.

8 The High Ministerium is the collective body of all heads of ministries. Together, they act as an advisory body for the chancellor.
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Rise of Alexei Haussmann III: Epilogue

Postby Segland » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:09 pm

Kostler Priß Hospital, Ryutsvaag
36 days after Infinitie Klüb bombing


The terrorist bombing had never placed much strain on the Kostler Priß Hospital in central Ryutsvaag. No, most of the action was reserved for the morgue. But they had taken in one live patient from the wreckage, barely breathing...

The man -- it had taken 4 hours to determine the survivor's sex -- was now reposed in an intensive care unit, intubated through at least every orifice. He had been comatose for 36 days. Ugly, severe burn scars were all that was left of his skin. An integumentary transplant was being contemplated by the doctors at the hospital.

There was a small television hanging from one of the walls, playing coverage of the war which had just broken out in Karasia. Troops who had begun recovering from the Algrabad War were about to be shipped back to Terra Occidens to support Hadin and fight in the Zanzes. The new chancellor, Alexei Haussmann, wanted to make it clear that Segland would render as much assistance to its UNCA allies as they wished.

Right as the TV began airing a cluster of napalm bombs being dropped on the Zanzeanic jungle, the patient's eyelids flew open and batted rapidly. The first image he saw as his vision began to focus was the fireballs of bombs and the napalm-induced burning of vegetation.

At the sight of the fire, he went into a writhing frenzy, which only sent a dull, aching sensation on waves throughout his body. He instinctively attempted to scream, but the sound that came out was merely a weak crepitation of air. Going into a full panic, he felt like he couldn't breath; he felt like he was going to die.

A team of nurses rushed into the ICU, which was separated from the other units by a thick but movable partition. One of them realized what was going on and had the good sense to turn off the television. The patient kept on shaking and producing a rattling wail. Someone with authority had just entered the room -- a white-coated doctor. He pointed to one of the IVs, and a nurse replaced the bag of liquid feeding it. Almost instantly the writhing of the patient stopped.

"He might come to again later today, or a week from now," said the doctor to the nurses. "We need those Office of Records people on standby, and I want to see Dr. Bernstein to discuss the transplant. Also, update me on any news about the eye-movement-to-speech device in development."

He left the room. Now, it was a waiting game until the patient woke from sedation.



The patient returned to normal consciousness in the lower range of the doctor's estimate, one day after the nurses had to sedate him. He was calmer this time and didn't try to move much. The TV was still switched off.

A nurse entered through the partition, followed by two men in grey suits. They had those bland, unimpressive faces with which bureaucrats are always stereotyped. They pulled up two chairs and sat down at the bedside, while the nurse stood in the corner, watching and occasionally scribbling something on a clipboard.

"Hello, sir," began one of the men. "We know you've been terribly injured, and we do not wish to strain you. If you think you can speak enough to answer our questions, though, please do oblige us."

After a slight nod from the bedridden patient, the other man started in. "Please state your name for the record."

"a-" ~~ "ab-" ~~ "Abel," he finally whispered hoarsely.

"First or surname?"

"First."

"And what is your surname?"

"Verges."

One of the bureaucrats pulled an electronic device out of his coat pocket and typed in the name. His eyebrow went up ever so slightly when the device returned a result. He showed it to the other man, whose expression remained unchanged, and who asked another question to the patient.

"Abel, do you remember anything from before you came here?"

"Flames. Lights. Collapse."

"Mm. And that's all?"

The patient nodded.

"Well, I don't think we have anything more to ask you at this present moment," he said, getting up from his chair and dusting himself off. He turned to the nurse. "The Office will be in touch with you guys. Thanks for being so cooperative."

The other man stood up as well, and the two walked out of the ICU. When they were alone in a hallway, they stopped to discuss the meeting with the patient.

"You saw the result on that device," said one to the other.

"Might've been a malfunction."

"Don't think so. Either Abel Verges isn't a real name, or it isn't in the system. And no one isn't in the system."

"Well, it's definitely weird. Maybe we heard him wrong? I mean, it's remarkable he can even speak at all."

"It's remarkable he's even alive at all. You heard what the doctor said; rubble fell around him and created a pocket of air so he didn't rapidly suffocate like the others."

"Yep. Hopefully the police will get some more information out of him later. They still aren't sure if the people who actually did the bombing have been caught, even after the big raid they televised. All the security cams at the salon were blown to hell."

"Yeah, yeah, my wife was glued to the TV for like a week after the bombing. I got the wholeee story from her, believe me."

They both laughed and continued on their way through the hospital. Their job regarding the patient was finished.
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Moralistic Democracy

ZED Talk: #HeForShe

Postby Nui-ta » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:47 am

Crivan i-Harendo is a state's attorney for the state of New Zanzes, and the eldest son of the late Prime Minister Trenta i-Harendo.



"Alright, first of all, let me just say that I really thrilled and honored to be giving a ZED talk. You know I watch these religiously? I will literally DVR these when I'm working long hours on a case, and then come home and binge-watch them, like the lack-of-social life nerd that I am. Instead of Nui-ta's Got Talent, it's ZED talks with me. So, heh-heh, now that you know a bit more about me, let's get to why I'm really here".

I am about to do the craziest thing I've ever done and, as a male, give a talk about feminism.

"Crivan," I'm sure you're asking, "you're a guy. Feminism is about women. Why do you care about feminism? Why should men in general care about feminism?"

Well, for starters, I don't like misconceptions --- about anything. Feminism, to me, is one of the most misconstrued topics in the world. There are so many people who hear the word feminism and proceed to think something other than true feminist ideas. To try and alleviate this problem, I'm going to start by explaining what feminism really is and what it is not.

To do that, I have to stop calling it feminism, because the name itself is very misleading. This idea, that the world calls feminism, is a really good idea, but also one that deserves a more accurate name. The idea behind what we call feminism is actually more along the lines of what we think when we say equal opportunity.

People think feminism, and they think of all those extremist groups of women who scream to the world about how men are the root of all evil, and how men are nothing but sexist pigs who are emotionally incapable of anything outside of basal aggression or lust. When people associate these psychopaths with feminism, they are doing the idea behind feminism an injustice, because despite what the inaccurate name may tell you, feminism is about everyone.

Again, and from this point forward, I'd prefer to call it by its real name, equal opportunity.

In a civilized society, opportunity is vital. We all deserve, I firmly believe, the opportunity to become the best that we can possibly be. For too long in Nui-ta --- and I am so thankful my generation was born after the downfall of this --- we lived in a society which arbitrarily favored those of certain lineages and families over other people. The elders of my generation remember this time. My father and my mother remembered this time. It was a society in which the circumstances of your birth determined all of the opportunities that you would ever hope to see in your lifetime.

This is a ridiculously arbitrary way to determine someone's lot in life. No one can determine the circumstances of one's birth. I for one have been both incredibly lucky, and -- though far less so --- occasionally unlucky. I was the eldest son of a wealthy family, with my mother being a household name in Nui-ta. At the same time, I was an interracial boy, with parents from different class backgrounds, which made me something of an anomaly --- and if I wasn't the son of a Prime Minister --- it probably would have made me something out of an outcast.

Worst of all, I had no way of controlling any of this. In A.N 108, like it or not, I came out kicking and screaming into the world, and luckily for me, fortune gave me good parents with lots of money and prestige, and fortune also gave me a family that loved me and looked out for me more than I could have asked for.

Lucky me.

There's one more thing fortune did at the time of my birth. You see, I've never been an only child. Right after I was born, about 3 or 4 minutes later, my mother gave birth to my twin.

We have the same parents. We have the same bi-racial and interclass identities. Shared the same father who gave us the exact same allowance as each other. We lived in the same house, slept in the same crib, went to the same schools, blew out the same birthday candles, picked on the same younger brother --- sorry little bro! --- as far as demographics go, we couldn't have had any more similar of a life.

Except one thing.

At the very beginning, in the womb, one of us got a Y chromosome from Dad. The other got an X. For those of you with no understanding of how biology works, I'm the one with the Y.

And everything that has been different about us has been because I have a Y, and she has an X. I was born a male, and she --- my sister's name is Kana --- was born a female. That is the only innate difference between us, and its effects on our opportunities has been cataclysmic.

I didn't realize this until several years of living with my sister. Year 2 of primary school was the first hint for us. Our report cards were mailed out to our parents, and I vaguely remember walking up to my mother to ask her for something.

I see a big scowl on her face. In one hand, she's holding a report card --- I can't tell if its my sister's or mine. In the other hand, she's brandishing a letter opener. My father is sitting down, in the desk at which she's standing in front of, and she pulls up both cards, hands them to my father and goes, "Hariem, am I reading this wrong?"

And my father --- military man that he is --- just stares at it for a few moments, looks up at my mother with a poker face and goes, "No, ma'am".

Mother looks back at him, "Am I overreacting to be this livid? Or should I call up the headmaster right now?"

Dad shrugs, and then hands her his cell phone. Seven-year-old me, thinking either myself or my sister have just screwed the pooch big time, scurries off and proceeds to tell my sister, "what did you do? Was it me? We're in trouble!"

We spent the entire day afraid --- but Mum and Dad never came and confronted us. Whatever was on the card, we had no idea. Being little babies, we forgot about it within hours. Fast forward until age 13, it's the last year of primary school --- and all of the Nui-tans know what this means.

For the foreigners in the audience, secondary schools in Nui-ta are specialized. Some schools are trade schools, some are religious, some are academic, and many --- including all of the public schools --- are military. If you want to go to the military, you can either go to public school, or if you're a really ambitious future career solider, you can apply for a top-ranked private military academy. If you don't want to go to the military, you have to get into a private school of some kind. Of course, this means that the last year of primary school is the most stressful because this is the year that you take all of those exams and try to bring up those grades last-minute to cheat the draft.

For the first time, my sister and I were each given individual opportunities. We were each sat down by our parents and asked what we wanted to do with our lives, and then advised what we should do to make that happen.

Now my parents --- mother especially ---- were very post-racial. Post-class. Post-gender. As long as I had a plan on what I wanted to do with my life, and I was happy, Mum was going to do her damnedest to make sure that I had whatever tools she could give me to help me. Same with my sister --- if she wanted to get into a certain school, and she could boast the grades, and she was happy going there, Mum gave us the seal of approval.

We were raised in Sangaur. Ah yes, I see you nodding knowingly. The military state of Nui-ta. Boys especially were pressured into military school --- my father went to military school --- so I sit down in front of Mum and Dad and I tell them I don't want to go into the military. I tell them I'm happy being a career-minded boy working in an office somewhere, going to college --- all that stuff, and they both nod approvingly, and they tell me to study hard for my exams, but for the most part my grades were fine and as long as I didn't slack off I would be okay.

My meeting with them was done --- I was out the door. I was happy. It's the sister's turn.

She comes out crying, and Mum's trying to console her, and Dad is looking at her worriedly, and I'm confused and perturbed, thinking to myself "did Kana fail all her classes or something?"

Well...guess what it was. On my Dad's side, we're a military family. We've been military for generations --- back since the formation of the Monarchy, during the San Gajin Pact1 itself, where one of my great-great grandfathers stood in front of Vincentius di-Amori I himself and swore the allegiance of himself and his descendants to defend the monarchy forever.''

Well, the bad news is, great-great grandfather never bothered asking me if I'd be willing to continue with that role. The good news is, I'm not his only great-great grandchild. For all the military charisma I failed to inherit from that side of the family, my sister inherited it in spades.

The day we had these talks with our parents about what we were going to do with our adolescences and adult lives was the day she decided to "come out of the closet" and reveal to our parents that she wanted to be a career soldier.

Now, first of all, as a Nui-tan male, I didn't know that was something that you had to come out of the closet about. Honestly, I was more worried about the prospect of telling my dad, a Major in the King's Guard, that I wanted to skimp past the draft --- and he took that with no hard feelings at all.

My sister, on the other hand, had to sell the idea of her joining the military. My mum was alright, and my dad had reservations about it but again took it without hard feelings, but the extended family --- as the clan elder, my grandfather was there too --- took it harshly. Very harshly. All of a sudden, our elders are telling our parents that they didn't raise Kana right. Just for taking on the call to serve her country, she was shamed and belittled and none of us could believe what was happening.

All of this happened because she was female. If it had been me, I'd have been given a medal --- she got a lecture and a stern reprimand, and she got to spend the rest of her night having Mum and Dad trying to encourage her not to give up on what she wanted to be.

Apparently, I soon found out, this had been going on a lot longer than I had thought. All of our lives, I've always been the shyer, quieter one. It took a lot of support and help for me to get over stage fright and a fear of public speaking, which I sorely needed to do to get my dream job in the legal field, let alone get to deliver a ZED talk. My sister's always been far more boisterous and outgoing --- and these traits were sort of flip-flopped in us. Specifically, she had traits that would have had her considered by the clan to be a childhood genius had she only been born male.

I soon found out that she'd been berated for it the entire time we'd been in school. That report card when I was seven? It was her report card Mum was looking at, but Mum wasn't frowning about poor grades or a poor behavioral record. Mum was upset about the comments the teachers and headmaster had written --- even at a young age, they were judging that my sister would have poorer prospects for marriage, and poorer aptitude for domestic life, because she was "too outgoing", and "an overachiever".

First of all, I don't know how your sibling relationships are, audience members. I for one happen to be very close with my sister. She's been my best friend since the day I was born, and this has always been more of a co-operative relationship more than a competitive one. The fact that this had been going on for our entire lives and had just gone under my nose was scary --- but it got under my nose as effectively as it did because this lack of opportunity is so deeply ingrained in the Nui-tan subconscious.

Some demographic always has to be subjugated so that another one will succeed. Once, it was the nobility rising at the commoner's expense --- now, we ask women to keep to their domestic lives and support the careers of their husbands instead of their own. It is costing us more than we could even fathom.

When we do this, we ask half of our potential soldiers to stay home and leave the fight to someone else. We ask half of our scientists, doctors, and nurses, to stay home and mind their own businesses instead of saving lives. We ask half of our inventors to stay home, instead of continuing the dreams and innovation that have made miracles into reality.

"Well that doesn't seem like such a bad thing", someone might tell me, "after all someone has to stay home".

This trivializes the issue. It makes it seem like we're doing ourselves a favor and just delegating for someone to stay at home --- we forget that not all women are suited to a domestic life, and that when we force women to leave the workforce and take on these social roles expected of them regardless of their aptitudes elsewhere, we also force men to work harder to make up for these vacancies in the workforce, regardless of their aptitudes elsewhere.

My sister and I are again a good example: fast forward to age 16. We both have to submit to the draft office. I have my college admission papers, of course, so I get that little blue card that says "wait until he's graduated before you conscript this one", while my sister has her little single-white that says "ready to conscript". Regardless, we both have to take a medical exam --- hers goes beyond basic medical eligibility to a full athletic test, since she's entering into the military immediately, having never given up on those dreams to serve.

Ladies and gentlemen, this woman is outperforming the men in her batch, killing it with sit-ups, running the track faster than any of them, doing push-ups until the others have had their arms give out.

If we as a society graded our soldiers on skill alone, she'd have been among the Elites, there's no question. And so I ask you, you really want to turn down that woman, who has a natural military aptitude...for me? Sure, I'm a male, but throw me out unto the battlefield and I'm running. Throw her out, and she's winning wars. It is the height of stupidity to deny the best of the best on the basis of their gender. That doesn't win wars. That doesn't cure cancer. That doesn't create the next big technological advance.

Now I'm not saying that the next household name is a woman ---- but if there's a woman out there who can figure out the cure for cancer, then why are we relegating her to domestic life? Would you deny a talented man the opportunity, if he could come up with a cure? No? Then why a woman?

Skill is inherent to each human being --- we either have it, or we don't --- but opportunity is how we discover skill, and therefore opportunity should be universal.

Ladies and gentlemen, despite all she's faced, my sister did become a career soldier. She's recently been promoted to an Air Force Lieutenant. I couldn't be more proud of her --- and I can sleep soundly knowing this nation can rely on people like her. Meanwhile, I can defy the cultural expectation to become a soldier myself, just because I'm a guy and despite the fact that I have poor aptitude and never made it past Private during conscription, because I can also pursue what I'm good at and fight the legal battles which I have far more competency at.

Now, my sister has succeeded, but I find myself worrying about new women in my life. I have a female cousin who is still a child, but will soon be starting secondary school and determining the future of her life. I have a soon-to-be-born niece, whose very future prospects could be dictated by the decisions we make today involving equal opportunity. Even closer than that, I have a future wife and maybe someday even a daughter --- and I would hate to watch that wife, or again, maybe someday, daughter, be denied their dreams solely because of their sex.

And as a man, I feel compelled to speak out against it now, while at least I have the opportunity to advocate for those close to me that won't be heard.

I'm a huge CONFERO guy, so I'd like to end it with a hashtag. #HeForShe.

Why? Why #HeForShe?

Because if we don't disregard the demo-graphical lines between us, and start focusing on skill sets instead of stereotypes, we will start our road to failure by denying opportunity to a few --- but end it by denying opportunity to us all. To the women in the room, keep fighting for what your dreams are. Don't let anyone take them away from you for their own gain --- because if you have more natural talent than they do at the job, then its better for everyone if you be the one to do it.

And for the men in the room, don't take the idea of equal opportunity for granted. Don't forget that opportunities that we have, which our female counterparts don't, can be taken away to compensate for their exclusion. If you deny opportunity to someone else today, you permit someone else to take away yours in the near future.

If we don't speak out for our sisters, our mothers, our wives, and our daughters, who will speak for us when we lose our rights?



1 The San Gajin Pact was an event shortly after the formation of the current Nui-tan monarchy, during which several leaders of the resistance against the Zanzeanic Empire swore to Vincentius di-Amori I that they and their descendants would forever protect the Nui-tan Monarchy. In exchange, these loyalists and their descendants were granted status as nobility.
Last edited by Nui-ta on Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Someone cares? Okay then. Economic Left/Right: -2.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.85

INFP-T personality, quite heavy on the I,P, and T.

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Ex-Nation

Postby The Arthurian Isles » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:35 am

Image



On Haiku



For Arthuria, Traditional

Swans drift on water,
Serene to those who observe.
Darkness hides below.

For Arthuria, Modern

Tea religiously;
Semi-colons frequently;
Hipsters by nature.

For Detectatia, Traditional

Trees climb to heaven,
but rotten wood stunts the growth.
The roots remain strong.

For Detectatia, Modern

This haiku has been
retconned. What is to follow
will be beautiful.

For Hadin, Traditional

Water sits stagnant,
deprived of a fresher source.
Bursts banks, overflows.

For Hadin, Modern

By Septim, Haiku
are poems by foreigners.
Strike, so as to purge.

For Higgins & Brown, Traditional

The forest fire burns
intensely, for a short while.
Loses oxygen.

For Higgins & Brown, Modern

Technicolour flag
and social media are
this country's callsign.

For Nui-ta, Traditional

Proud in solitude,
the tiger is fiercest
when poked by others.

For Nui-ta, Modern

Posted by Hadin.
Oops, I meant to say Zanzes.
No, it's Nui-ta.

For Poldania, Traditional

Beautiful outwith;
ruthlessness resides within.
Dangerous flower.

For Poldania, Modern

Merrina attests,
Cesare is no pizza guy.
Don't make that mistake.

For Radiatia, Traditional

Hibernation ends
in order to locate food.
Thus others fear.

For Radiatia, Modern

Haiku: how very
Radiatian. Poems,
done efficiently.

For Segland, Traditional

Saps the strength of those
whom do encroach on its ground.
Not without damage.

For Segland, Modern

The party does not
approve this message. Desist.
Except for Luther.

For Varisea, Traditional

By guile and cunning
does one receive protection.
Ones' eggs in their nests.

For Varisea, Modern

When times are hardest,
some RMB funniness
raises our spirits.
Last edited by The Arthurian Isles on Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Ex-Nation

Postby The Arthurian Isles » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:47 am

Image



On A Single Stroke



To row is to attain beauty.

A crew must work in unison to achieve aesthetic perfection. At every stroke, eight oars enter the water as one, their blades cutting through the waves at the same angle. Eight pairs of legs, toned through training, push back on the foot pads in a single motion. Eight backs, straight and upright, lean to the same degree as they heft the oars against the river’s will. Eight sets of arms, with all their might, pull back to the finish. Under so awesome a strain, the boat pierces the water with such grace that it appears not to be driven by punctuated strokes; it is borne by the wind. While the water, lapping around its sides, does all in its power to defeat the efforts of the crew, they keep their boat steady, plumb in the water.

The adept rower does not end their training at strength only; their efforts are directed to the minuscules of posture. Every part of the body at every position of the stroke is held with purpose. No placement is without motive. Mimicking the beating heart of life, the crew moves in rhythm, pulsing to the same beat. They are able to do so from the connection held between them. That in itself is a thing of beauty.

If this has been achieved, then a stroke will be truly beautiful. In rowing, to be beautiful is what gives a stroke its power. Its elegance is a reflection of its efficiency. And what more can be asked for in a sport whose entire end is the propulsion of a boat through the water in the fastest possible time? Whatever means achieves this end fulfils the aesthetic.

What is the perfect stroke? It will never be seen. It is still yet to be known. The best that humanity can do is to build on what has come before. Every rower is indebted, in this way, to those who have come before. The strokes which we see today are as great as they are not only because of the dedication of the crews sworn to perform them, but because of the efforts of the countless rowers who have charted the progress of two centuries of this sport.

If we cannot reach perfection, though, we can at least close down upon it.

This is what drives the crews of today. As the Arthurian boat lay in wait at its pontoon, held in place under starter’s orders, its men were aware of a history which coursed through their veins. On their stroke-side was the Nui-tan eight. On their bow-side were the Variseans. Beyond these were the Seglanders, their boat still charred from the blockade-running, and the Hadinians. In the sixth lane were the Poldanians. Each was aware of their sport’s heritage. No matter the victor in this championship, they all shared a bond of love. Such is the power of sports.

The crews were at the catch, those seconds between the call to attention and the sounding klaxon precipitating a vast surge of energy ready to overtake the forces of nature which held the boats back.

And in every boat, a team. Each rower, unique in their ability, was to offer up their skill to the greater whole.

In the stroke seat, Mads Rasmussen. At the catch, waiting for that klaxon, he stared into the eyes of the coxswain, Rasmus Kyst Hansen. In the minds of both was the metronomic tapping that would set the stroke pace of the boat. The burden of leading that rate fell on Rasmussen, lying heavy, but borne more by his experience than his expectation. Technically, he was the best. In stroke, his coach had placed him well.

Behind him, in seven, was Kasper Vinter. What Rasmussen was to the boat, Vinter was to the bow-side. Eyes trained on the back of the man in front, he would match the stroke rate as though the two were one. Every oar on that bow-side would then follow him. He was the vital transmission, as integral to the success of the crew as any other man. Devoid of the glory of sitting stroke, he was sated by the knowledge of his value to the larger whole.

Six, five, four and three. Morten Jorgensen, Jacob Barso, Eskild Ebesen and Olaf Tuft. The engine room. So incongruous at the catch, but hiding the raw power that would propel the boat. Their strokes would be as beautiful as any other, but along with their elegant efficiency would lie a brute form of power made possible by the mens’ heft. Free from the boat’s natural yaw in the centre, these men were to make good the technical proficiency of their fellow rowers at stroke and bow. They would be the waves’ greatest foe.

Two and bow. Kristofer Brun and Are Strandl. These men surged the course, they forged the path which the boat would follow. Sensitive to the movements of their vessel, they would set the boat, maintain its symmetry and uphold its stature. Though smaller in relation to their teammates, their responsibility was great; to pay attention to one’s own posture is a hard enough task to ask without also requesting to do so to the boat’s.

These eight, together, made one: one purpose, one being, one boat. It is imperious.

The klaxon sounded. The water rushed. The boats began.

The rowers began at the catch. The centre of the back was relaxed, if only to allow the abdominals to flex between the thighs which, rotated along the sartorius muscle, together provided maximum reach to the oars. The hamstrings contracted, leaving the knees and pelvic muscles in flexion. The arms were locked at the elbows, perfectly straight from shoulder to grip. Their bodies were coiled, ready to be released in order that the natural power therein could be directed towards the oars, sweeping them through the water.

Thus the rowers began the drive, extending the knees and flexing the feet, sending maximum power from the legs to slide the body back on its seat. Held only under its own strength, the stabilising muscles of the lower back would engage. Nearing the end of this extension, the body would naturally begin to swing backwards. The contraction of the gluteus and hamstring would extend the hip, just as the erector spinae would do so to the back. The arms would also engage, the biceps driving elbow flexion in order that the oars might be pulled closer to the pectorals.

In such a way would the rowers reach the final phase of the drive, with the knees fully extended and the ankles flexed. No more would the back or pelvis need to extend. The full force of the drive would now rest in the upper body, which would contract by way of the elbow flexors and forearm stabilisers. The shoulder would be extended, allowing the upper arm to rotate inwards, also engaging the pectorals. Thusly, the oars have been forced from their forwards position through to their finish, and the boat has begun its journey down the two-thousand metres of open water.

But the job of the rowers is not over. Now at the finish of their stroke, they must reset their bodies and prepare for the unenviable repetition of the drive. In this position, the legs will remain fully stretched, pelvic muscles extended and back contracting. The elbows are extended slightly by the triceps, the upper arms still rotated inwards. Only once comfortable in this position may the rowers begin the recovery phase of their stroke. They push the arms forward, oars in hand and feathered parallel to the water, until the elbows are fully extended. The back follows naturally, relaxing into its forward position. Then follow the legs, sliding forward through a flexion of the knees and hips until all eight rowers are as they were when they began, only now they are in motion, gliding across the water by virtue of their strength.

And so is one stroke completed. It is in itself a beautiful thing, but more beautiful still is the ability to pile stroke on stroke until, through a willpower unbecoming to those unanointed, a crew has pushed through its limits to triumph over human foes and natural obstacles.

The winner of a regatta is always of interest. They receive the admiration of the spectators and their fellow competitors. But all who can partake in so noble a sport are worthy of respect, and this is what lifts the beauty of rowing to higher levels. For the greatest enemy when one takes the oar, is one’s own mind.
Last edited by The Arthurian Isles on Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Radiatia
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 7692
Founded: Oct 25, 2011
Corporate Bordello

Postby Radiatia » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:48 pm

[OOC: To the tune of "Californication" by Red Hot Chilli Peppers]

"Dream of Radiatia"
A song critical of Radiatian society by Das Engel rock band Inefficient

Corporate spies and gangsters
Try to steal innovation
The poor are on the street
Where they are dying of starvation
And you want efficiency then
Dream of Radiatia

We're the edge of the world
And Noctur's western civilisation
The sun may rise in East
But then it sets on our federation
It's understood that Das Engel sells
Dreams of Radiatia

Pay your way to heaven from hell
Money makes you more engaging
Capitalism is the era we're in
And is it war we're waging?

Consume some more
We're all just whores
Dream of Radiatia
Dream of Radiatia

Superpower, we're the leader of the world
But our might is just a consolation
You can buy bride, but she's empty inside
Because marriage is another vocation
And buy me some stock down in Exegrad
Because it's Radiatia

Space may be the final frontier
But we don't know what's beyond our nation
You can hear our culture everywhere
But it's just intellectual sedation
And the RPSU has long gone away
Yes this is Radiatia

Cities razed and we're unfazed
Ignorant population
Our soldiers have been everywhere
And I don't mean on vacation

Consume some more
We're all just whores
Dream of Radiatia
Dream of Radiatia

Destruction of our enemies costs
But it leads to job creation
Poor people stave and the businessmen laugh
But we all have low taxation
Atomic bombs can't save the world from
Becoming Radiatia

Eat some Greasy Joe's and then
Become fat and lazy
There's a pain in your chest
But eat up all the rest
Because it's what you're craving

Consume some more
We're all just whores
Dream of Radiatia
Dream of Radiatia
Last edited by Radiatia on Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Hralia
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 7
Founded: Mar 10, 2016
Ex-Nation

Kitchen Talk

Postby Hralia » Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:21 am

“Invade Arthuria?! You are an insolent and mad, a cretinous move such as that would plunge us all into the depths, guaranteeing total victory for the reds!”

“You’re not going to dissuade me.”

“What on Noctur would the point of it even be? It’s not a strategic location.”

“My goals are clear, even if you haven’t figured them out yet.”

“Oh, get on with it Minister, you’re not going to dissuade him.”

“I thought we could settle this in a calm and peaceful manner, but, no, he wants to invade Arthuria, and none of you seem to think he should be talked out of it! Not even you, Defence Minister!”

“Gang up on the reds, that’s all I hear from you, Lady Fellam.”

“Hmmm- I should’ve known where your sympathies lie... and you, our Prime Minister’s son!”

The doors swung open, and the room was flooded briefly with light; anyone looking would for a moment have seen the hallway’s elegant bright green wallpaper adorned with black and white flowers, and perhaps would’ve lamented their more immediate surroundings. The occupants were gathered at a round-table, with a low-hanging light illuminating their map. Various conflicts and forces were marked around the world. Bits of card lay about the place, showing what scant information was available to them for a few countries.

The kitchen top snaked around three sides of the room, with old tiling and yellowing plaster the drab attempt at décor. The Prime Minister’s residence was a mismatch of stately function rooms and lived-in functional rooms. Serious conversations nearly always took place in the latter, where the participants felt more comfortable.

The Leader of the Opposition was quietly studying his government counterparts’ plans. The former Prime Minister Charlie Morrison was utterly appalled at the position his own country now found itself in, entirely of its own making. Certain decisions were being made around the table that would all but ensure its being consumed by some great monstrous enemy, and he couldn’t stop them – he’d abandoned attempts to dissuade them some hours earlier.

The butler had opened the door, and now announced Morrison’s successor (and before that, predecessor), the incumbent Prime Minister sir Malcolm Daivid.

“Evening gentlemen. Your Ladyship. How are your great schemes coming along? Leader of the Opposition, so nice to see you.”

Mr. Morrison was about to respond, but for the noble interruption of Lady Fellam, who was by this stage not overly concerned with pleasantries.

“Look at this map! Your son, the next in the great line of Daivid, thinks nothing of the red menace!”

“Oh, up to your usual tricks Fellam? I suppose you are filling Mr. Morrison here with ideas about Radiatia as well, hmmm?”

“I– um. Yes, well he should have those ideas! An obvious alliance, that…”

“One that would be jeopardised by the invasion of Arthuria, eh?” the old man answered sardonically as he sat at the table, a glass of Hralch being set down beside him. Lady Fellam looked slightly outraged.

“Of course it would! Your boy needs to brush up on his geopolitics.”

“That he does Lady Fellam, but he’s very good at Risk all the same, and your mind games were never subtle. I’m guessing he needs Arthuria to complete his mission, and you need it for reinforcements next move? Do hurry up and roll your dice.”

The dice rolls went Lady Fellam’s way, despite the expectations around the table. Téarlach Daivid had been invading from Alizeria with a much larger force. Charlie Morrison’s fears were realised then when, on her turn, Lady Fellam reinforced Rango Mango with almost 20 units, and rampaged north to complete her total domination of Northern Occidens. With a belch and a slightly-less guttural roar, she turned over her mission card to reveal that she had won.

Faces around the table dropped as Fellam – one of the wealthier peers of Lothian, if one of the lowliest in title – collected the small pile of Hralet notes in the centre of the table. A key fell out of the pile as she dragged it.

“Aha! Young Téarlach! I’d forgotten your little go-kart was in the pile! I think Prime Minister that you’ll have to call a driver to take home my prize. I’m in no condition.”

“No, allow me father. I’ve created the need.” Gravity suddenly seemed to affect Téarlach Daivid’s face a little more as he left the room to call for a chauffeur (and a taxi for himself). Other than a steely grimace, he accepted the loss of his car with good grace.

“I hope it’s a Hralian sportster, not some clunky Radiatian import!” the Viscount called after her boss’s heir, displaying the sort of jingoism that made her so popular among her peers (in the House of Peers). The Prime Minister seemed mildly amused at his son’s misfortune to this lucky doud. “See Morrison!” she continued, turning her jowled face to the leader of the opposition, “The Daivids aren’t all that! You were robbed!”

Morrison let out a polite “heh” as the minor noble chuckled to herself. Their host didn’t join in.

“Alright your Ladyship, you’ve taken all of their money, now go and select for yourself a bottle of Hralch from the cellar before you take all of their patience,” the Prime Minister offered, “My treat.” Her Ladyship chuckled a little but got the hint, and not without looking a little hurt, struggled to her feet and left them be.

“I wasn’t offended, Prime Minister, honestly.” said Morrison, after the doors had closed behind Lady Fellam.

“I don’t care if you weren’t offended, you are my guest, not to be made fun of. She’s the Leader of the Peers for the health of the soil. She’s a bloody liability.”

Daivid looked up as if he suddenly realised that he was talking to the leader of the opposition, and then he cracked the smile that only a gracious old man could crack.

“But you knew that anyway, heck, your lot are throwing everything at her. She might be on flying form next week once she’s spent some time in my son’s car sober, though. Ayrbolt BT6, only 6 months off the production line. Flash little bairn won’t replace that in a hurry on the salary I’m paying him! Hah!”

“Careful she doesn’t get killed in the damned thing; I’d hate for you to promote someone better to the post.”

They laughed around the table. Morrison felt thoroughly drunk, and he felt the room spin slightly, though he hid it well. Sir Malcolm had always found pleasure in joking about his son’s excesses – mild though they were compared to others who flourished in the financial services sector in Perfford. Morrison knew the man could sometimes go a bit far, and that his son took it personally on occasion. He was not envious of the family, with the pressure sir Malcolm’s enigma put on the others.

Morrison and Sir Malcolm had first dined together after Morrison became Leader of the Opposition about 6 years ago. They had first drank together after a second dinner a few months later. Sir Malcolm had thought it wise to become friendlier with the person who was showing him up on a weekly basis in Question Time. They found each other pleasant company, despite an age gap of about 25 years. The two were meeting in the Prime Minister’s residence on a weekly basis by the time their first election pitted them against each other. Morrison had moved into the residence after that, and their weekly meetings continued. Morrison’s children had brought Risk into the house, and various ministers and Sir Malcolm had taken to playing it for handsome sums of money. When they went for another election, and swapped roles again, the nights continued, but with new Ministers and vastly inflated sums. The two were very capable of taking nothing personally, and always met two nights after Question Time, so this was usually the least partisan period of the week. Only the Prime Minister’s foreign travel, or preparations for upcoming elections, would prevent the weekly hralch summits from taking place.

Their characters were hugely different of course, that was no play for the cameras. Morrison found many of the old man’s views and habits quite annoying, especially his romantic attachment to tradition, which manifested itself in nearly every conversation and most gestures. The old man found Morrison’s dryness and west-coast manners to be amusing, and it only reinforced his regular public accusations that Morrison wasn’t fit to be Prime Minister.

But still, they enjoyed arguing with each other about the big questions of the day over drinks and smoke (the pipe for Sir Malcolm, the cigars for Charlie Morrison) much more than they liked doing it in Parliament or over the airwaves, where they both presented sanitised versions of their agenda. They could trust each other, as well, which is an unusual thing among political allies, never mind foes. Many a time they had come to a consensus in the early hours of the morning, and gone back to their aides the next day with some idea of it (depending on how drunk they were). Ministers, advisors and civil servants alike hated the relationship, but no-one in the media dared report it, for fear of pissing off both of the game’s biggest players at once.

“I’m glad to hear it though, that you’re not invincible. I’ll have a chance next time, I mean.”

“I don’t think that far ahead at my age. I’ll probably be sitting on a beautiful outcrop of rock somewhere in the Borders, listening to the results on a wireless. That’s what you need to understand, you see, pensioners need to have those sorts of experiences to look forward to, or we simply lose the will to carry on day-to-day.”

Ah, thought Morrison, Here we go... a little smile curled its way up his cheek.

“If you two are about to argue land tax exemptions for the elderly, I’m going to join Fellam.” The Minister of Defence, Dubhgall Reid, stood up, clearing his purple troops into the plastic box they would have to call home for the next week.

“If my son drove here in the car I’m thinking of, you won’t be able to fit.” Chuckled the Prime Minister. The Minister shook the Leader of the Opposition’s hand firmly, and left them alone.

“Actually, that was just to get rid of anyone who might have an interest,” the Prime Minister said by way of explanation, locking the kitchen door with the key behind the Minister.

“I hope you’re not planning to assassinate me. I’m not quite sure land tax exemptions are worth it.”

“Pensioners think so,” Sir Malcolm sat back down, his cheeks flush with the grin.

“Pensioners who have benefitted from the proceeds of their own dear departed elders in the past. An exemption could deprive us of great sums of tax income for decades. All it takes is for a dying country farmer to make it passed his eldest’s 65th birthday, and that’s 50 years of tax lost to placate some of the wealthiest in society.”

“Alright, alright…” said the Prime Minister, waving down his companion. He wasn’t indicating agreement, but rather that he wanted to discuss something else. He pointed to the map with the same hand, his torso rooted to the uncomfortable kitchen chair. Three sets of troops remained on the board. Sir Malcolm pointed to the group of red troops occupying Segland.

“I see the game reflects reality.”

“Only if the Leader of the House of Peers is about to lead an Army of Conquest north as far as Radiatia.”

“Hmmm. Well, there is an army of conquest on the move. Here…” the Prime Minister pointed to Poldania, which had been host to 3 purple troops some minutes earlier. The leader of the Opposition needed no more explanation.

“No, surely not. You can’t be that mad.”

“It isn’t madness to position ourselves clearly. This is the moment.” Sir Malcolm took a drink.

“It is a moment to fan flames and nothing more.” Charlie Morrison downed his. “I’m not even sure which side you’d choose. But you want to support one of them? How? Intervention?”

“It is not either of those countries that worries me, it is our brethren to the south. President Nugent is about to condemn the Emperor of Nui-ta as a war criminal, and say something similar about Poldania.”

“I don’t know what’s got into them–“

“An army of communists and fanatics, that’s what! On your watch, I should add. They’re in a corner, diplomatically. They don’t really have a choice.” Then, as if Morrison didn’t understand such gentle description, he added, “Segland has their balls in a vice.”

“Sir Malcolm. To be blunt, there was little we could do then, and there is little you can do now. They’re hardly going to be invaded again. What are you thinking of doing anyway?”

“Supporting them.”

“Supporting Segland you mean. You’d have to perform quite the about-turn, and without the excuse of invasion, as they have.”

“I hope I can persuade the big players to attempt a global détente of some sort. I’m an elder statesman from a small, democratic, country. We’re not usually neutral in these things, our… empathy… for Segland and Hadin might cause a few people to think.”

“…hardly likely. Sounds like something Arthuria could pull off, not us.”

“Arthuria could manage talks, but it won’t push anyone to start them. We must do that.”

“We are irrelevant, except as a target.”

“We must try our hand.”

“But, to what end would we? Some intangible relationship with our southern brethren?”

“If they ally themselves with the UNCA now, and end up on the losing side of a global conflagration, that’ll be it. No foreign investment. No rebuild. Our Ereszim brethren would be thrown into a catastrophic social crisis.”

“And that’s their problem. Not ours. We are an independent country, some thousands of kilometres away, with decent relationships, and some of our own money and resources to lend a helping hand in that event. Not great, but not bad either. You could put us in that losing column, put our whole prosperity at risk.”

The Prime Minister puzzled over his counterparts remarks.

“Do you and the left really believe that stuff? That we have no connection to Higgins & Brown? I mean, you talk about prosperity… what about our society? Our religion cannot be without theirs. Our society cannot be without that religion. What if they fall to atheism… Demarchist or Capitalist? Where will that leave us?”

Morrison nearly spat his delicious spirit all over the oak planks, to hear the leader of the Conservatives criticise capitalism. He knew of course, that Sir Malcolm meant ‘foreign capitalism’. Most commentators would describe the Hralec economy as capitalist, even with the amount of intervention and influence the government and the landed gentry wield.

“At the very worst, it will leave us with empty temples. Can I have another?”

The Prime Minister opened a cupboard above the dishwasher to reveal all sorts of liquors. As usual, everything but the Hralch looked like it hadn’t been touched in months. “Ah, I don’t believe it. You honestly don’t worry for us? Think about this: huge families… people owning cats as pets, and breeding cows to feed them… Greasy Joes on every street corner! You don’t worry about that madness coming here?”

“I don’t worry about it more than I worry about poverty and invasion by a foreign power, no.”

“I suppose that’s the crux of it. I would consider atheism to be a foreign invasion, and the end of Higgins-Brownite traditions to signal the end of our own.”

“What do you honestly see happening to Higgins & Brown, though? If they’re embracing atheism its coming through a smartphone and higher education, not out of the barrel of a gun.”

“Oh, I don’t know, that’s a fad of academia and the latest gadget you’re talking about. When I was young, the academics were reinforcing the church, against the wishes of the state! Marvellous days... They aren’t thinking straight down there. Take Morde. He’s far too nice with Segland, not just the country but the Demarchists themselves. Something very fishy about the way he was installed to replace that Frank Nicholas-“

“-Nicholas Francis?”

“Right, right. Then there’s the rest of the right, they’re abandoning Ereszimian tenets in the pursuit of the free market. And I don’t mean like our Liberals, I mean they’re really going for it. And the left… well, they’ll sell the country to the UNCA if they can keep their own positions of power for it. That’s what Nugent’s up to now. Wouldn’t catch you doing that, for everything else I might accuse you of.”

Morrison brushed aside the half compliment.

“This isn’t our concern. We should worry about our own security, our own people. We shouldn’t make ourselves a target for the UNCA and we certainly shouldn’t make ourselves a target for anyone else. If Higgins & Brown succumb to some sort of social catastrophe, we will adapt and continue on. I’m sure the church will survive without a mother to guide them.”

“You don’t believe the situation calls for any sort of solidarity?”

“I prefer friendship to solidarity, and a responsible friend tells you the truth. If you want Higgins & Brown to avoid disaster, tell them how to do it and why. Do it over the phone, at a summit, go hiking with Nugent. Don’t jump in with them in the hope that little Hralia can tip the balance in their favour though”

“Little Hralia. Contempt for one’s own nation.” The Prime Minister didn’t mean it seriously, but this was how they often made their points to each other.

“Oh, yes, Mr. Prime Minister? And when was the last time you praised the good performance of the financial sector, or the automotive industry, which drive our economy? Contempt for one’s own nation can exist in the form of blunt refusal to see it as it is. You worry about empty temples, I will worry about empty factories. Bombed out factories, even.”

“You would engrave into this jewel1 a Hralet symbol and hang it off an Ayrbolt hub-cap?”

“No more than you would give it to the President of Higgins & Brown as a lucky charm.”

“Bah!” Another hand gesture indicated silence was in order. This is how Sir Malcolm directed conversation. He offered Morrison the same smile from before. “Are you smoking this week?”

“No, I’ve to look fit and healthy in contrast to your withering frame, my people tell me.”

“Ugh, still got that whatdyacallit… the puff stylist?”

“Gregory is still my Image Consultant, yes.” The Prime Minister giggled slightly to himself at the minor offence he had forced the Leader of the Opposition to effect (or indeed, feel), and lit up his pipe. A thought struck Charlie Morrison, but he waited for the Prime Minister to enjoy his first puff before breaking the silence.

“Are you trying to get my support?”

“What?”

“Here, now. While our colleagues sleep or worry about us.”

“No, no, dear boy, No. Just a little back-and-forth. Make sure I know my own mind.”

“You didn’t need to lock the door for that. I think you want my support!” Morrison leapt to his feet, hands in pockets. A realisation had struck him, and he felt like he was floating in mid-air. The several measures of Hralch had helped bring the feeling on as well, of course. The Prime Minister regarded the sudden use of limbs and the smug look on his opponent’s face with the same surprise he might otherwise reserve for a pink rabbit appearing out of thin air.

“Why ever-“ he started, but Morrison was about to tell him what he thought regardless.

“You’re afraid I’ll do to you what you did to me!” He stepped past the old man, taking in the dark kitchen as if he’d just put down a deposit on it. “In bed with the communists, wasn’t that what Ferretter2 repeated during the election? Really ate into my numbers, the focus groups said.

“I don’t pay attention to such-“

“Oh yes you do, Prime Minister. You’re worried I might outflank you to the right, say you’re placating the red menace.” Morrison was very pleased with himself. The Prime Minister was shrinking on the spot, puffing the pipe.

“We’re just talking here, Charles.”

Charlie Morrison’s sat back down, donning a cruel smirk. “Oh, I know, just talking. But if you must stay loyal to the deranged foreign policy of our Ereszim brethren… I’m just going to have to lambast them for their madness.”

“I hope I won’t be reading a criticism of Higgins-Brownite foreign policy in this Sunday’s newspapers? Not on the back of this conversation, at least?

“No, it’ll be the day after I read your glowing endorsement of them.”

“Hah. Is your wife still on good terms with the editor of the Piper?”

“The two of them still sit on the board of WomInPower… with the Deputy PM, actually.”

“Ah, she’s a fine Hralian the Deputy PM. Although, cabinet is like a police interview when she has a problem…”

And with that they moved away from big issues conversation and into gossip. It was about 4am when the house staff were allowed in to clear the table. On his way out, Charlie Morrison had flicked the red troops occupying Segland onto the ground.
Last edited by Hralia on Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Hadin
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 174
Founded: Feb 19, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Breaching The Divide (Pt. 1)

Postby Hadin » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:51 pm

If there was one thing that Fiete Nikastro had learned in his time as a priest, it was that everyone in the world had a wish of some kind.

Whether they decided to reveal it, persue it, or abandon it, was up to the individual --- but there was always something. Nikastro had wished, in his youth, for a better Hadin than that of his childhood. It had been a country desecrated from his birth, first by Nui-tan colonialism, and then by the unrest and abuse of human rights when the Envoyship had taken over. It had been with the smallest hopes that Nikastro, once a much younger, much more naive man, had joined the priesthood, and eventually the government, in the hopes of changing the system from the inside.

With High-Envoy Hass in chains and awaiting the verdict of an international tribunal, Nikastro was in a position now where he was at his most capable of finally making this wish a reality. He didn't agree with all of the decadence of the first world, such as consumerism, abuse of civil-rights, and political systems which favored populist rhetoric ---- but at the same time, he could understand how the cruelest bits of Hadinian society needed to end. He would be the one to bring Hadin into the light, he hoped --- and finally make it much better than when he'd found it.

Some of this wish was fueled by genuine hope and concern. Some of it, admittedly, was hubris. Fiete Nikastro secretly admitted to himself that under the shroud of relative humility, he really liked being the one in control. If you wanted something done right, after all, you needed to do it yourself.

Fiete Nikastro was not High-Envoy quite yet though. Political differences between himself and the more conservative members of the Envoyship as they were, there was no one who was fool enough to assume that Fiete was not well-fit for the role. His peacemaking efforts would be appreciated by all factions of Hadinian and even Nocturian society. The rest of the world was already calling him the presumptive next High-Envoy. As much as Nikastro liked the sound of that, the office of High-Envoy wasn't his, just yet.

It was tainted by Nico Hass's misdeeds --- and Hass would have to pay, and allow the office to be purged, before Nikastro dared to officially inherit it and start anew. An international tribunal which was in the works would see to the trial by fire; all of Noctur was seeing to it.

So today, the mere Envoy-still, Fiete Nikastro, sitting up in bed and staring out of the window, enjoying the quiet of the Kopurauth streets in the few remaining hours before dawn. He always had been a night person. The stars, the streets, the night --- it was all beautiful to behold. Turning his head to stare down at his sleeping wife, he felt a bit of a pang in his heart that she couldn't sit up and watch it with him. Her days were perpetual night; perpetual black. Suddenly he felt a new wish in his heart --- maybe after international wounds were healed, he could use some of his eventual salary increase to see if something could be done about Cecilia's condition.

Now that he thought about it, she'd been quite sick lately. When he'd told the caretaker who came to help Cecilia with Alexei while Fiete was out to work, the caretaker had joked that maybe her sickness had been due to pregnancy --- until they'd gone over the symptoms. There was no nausea, no vomiting, and no food cravings. Instead, she'd been far more tired than usual, complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain. She'd also been more prone to fevers. The celebratory mood of the caretaker had faded quite quickly after that. Cecilia had gone to the doctor and had some blood-work done: time would only tell what was wrong with her.

There was an old saying in Hadin: Si plenus sacullus est, praeparare amittas.1 Fiete found himself wondering that this saying would remain just a saying in his life.

Finding himself concerned, he put the back of his hand gently on her forehead. She was burning up again. Great. He rolled his eyes and looked back out the window, wondering for a moment if he finally understood why Hadin found women to be so dangerous.

It's because we fall in love with them --- and without even realizing it, they become the motivation for much of the good and evil that men commit. He smirked to himself, wondering if his wife --- in her youth and naivety --- even realized how powerful she was.

Still sitting up, he gazed at the clock on the wall opposite to the bed. 4:20 am.

He'll be here soon. Gotta get outside. He quickly threw on a shirt, and then rummaged through his wardrobe for a pair of pants that weren't obviously pajamas. It was notable, in Hadin, that clergy did not always have to wear their ecclesiastical outfits when outside of church. It was also better for Nikastro, as well as the man that he was about to meet.




Hadinian clothing tended to be quite thin: in this heat, and with the level of modesty required in dress, it had to be. Despite wearing two shirts, one t-shirt and a long-sleeve button up over it, Fiete was relatively cool in the autumn twilight. If not for his unmistakable face, which had by now been plastered on the front page of the Kopurauth Daily Sun more times than he could count, it would have been very easy to mistake Fiete for a random person.

There was still movement on the streets, as early as it was in the day. This was the city, after all. In the residential neighborhood of South Kopurauth where he stood, occasional delivery transports and the not-so-occasional law enforcement officer slowly made their rounds around each block. Fiete was well-recognized enough where even at 4:30 am, no one asked any questions as to what he was doing. Considered by all of Hadin now to be the emissary for the Theocracy --- the real one --- he was left to his own devices. So trusting were most Hadinians of the Theocracy, though not, as Nico Hass was discovering, of those who grossly abused it.

A couple of officers tipped their hats, but went about their business. Only one person on the street, visible after several minutes of Fiete standing and waiting, made his way over to the future High-Envoy. This meeting was long overdue.

"So," Fiete smiled. "This time you're the one coming to find me?"

It was a young man, in his mid-20s, whose piercing eyes met with Fiete's own. "You're the one that called me".

"But this time, you came to me".

"Because you asked".

Fiete laughed a little. "The last time I asked you to do something for me, you were quite content to tell me where to put my request --- but you did it anyway, and it has helped with more than you could imagine".

He pointed towards the door of his home. If the guards knew about the younger man's background, they'd surely have protested to this simple gesture, but after all the leap of faith the young man had taken for Fiete, the soon-to-be High Envoy felt no other venue to be more appropriate.




"Since we last met, I've seen you made good on your promise to help make sure that UMBRA2 desisted their more offensive acts".

Alone in Nikastro's living room, he and Hans sat down at opposite ends of the coffee table.

"Of all the things I've ever asked you to do for me, this is perhaps the first one I won't have to bribe you with".

"And since when have you bribed me? I don't remember getting paid".

"Asking you to convince your friends in UMBRA to decrease activity whenever Nico Hass was undermined helped me implant into the Hadinian subconsciousness that their then beloved High Envoy couldn't handle the UMBRA problem as effectively as I can".

"UMBRA problem?

"You were a problem: I don't take lightly the more violent orchestrations of your group --- but with our mutual co-operation, you have gotten some of what you wanted without the need to use violence, making you much less of a problem".

"...point taken. But what was the bribe?"

"Simply put, in exchange for that little action, I gave you and your friends a way to fuck with Nico Hass somewhat legally. And that's what you wanted, right?"

"I guess I could see how that was an incentive".

"And with the little...incident, we had, involving Nui-ta magically finding out about the ballistic missile tests set for the Straits of Nar-ha'tal...well, in exchange for that, I got you off of death row".

"I could definitely see how that was an incentive. What do you want this time, that's so glorious that you can't bribe me?"

Fiete Nikastro was silent for a moment before stating.

"Hans Yarringsen...in this broken country of ours, I have to walk a fine line between enforcing order that already exists, and making some concessions to dissenters whose energies I had to capitalize on to get Hass out of power. Having emboldened these dissenters --- such as yourself, I now find myself needing to find a way to control them before they wind up deposing me".

"I don't understand...everyone loves you".

"Right now...but sooner or later, I'm going to become High-Envoy. There are going to be a lot of new challenges for me to tackle, here. Having tackled the system from the inside, I can't sympathize with rebels like you and your friends --- but your influence in our society proves that I can't just ignore you if I want to get anything done".

"I want to make it very clear that I'm not writing you a blank check. I'm aware that there are several factions of UMBRA. Some just wanted to see Hass overthrown in favor of a liberal, and they got that. Others won't rest until this entire country burns to the ground".

"I need a pair of eyes in the organization I can trust".

Hans scoffed. "Wait, so you want me to continue working with UMBRA, and then tell you all of what they're doing? And why should I do this? Especially if you turn around and start jailing all of them".

"Because from what I understand about many UMBRA members, like yourself, most of you have demands I can actually live with. While it's true that I don't plan on opening the floodgates to elections and democracy in Hadin --- I don't trust the people of Hadin that much --- I can agree with UMBRA on ideas like "women shouldn't be beaten to death by their husbands on a whim", or "the Hadinian media shouldn't be censored to the level of propaganda which it has become".

"It's the more militant UMBRA members I'm more worried about --- the ones who'll be perfectly content with bombing the Council of Patricians and sending the nation careening into another period of dangerous anarchy...like the pre-Labriolla days"3.

"Many of my friends in the Council of Patricians see your organization as a whole as a threat. They'd like to see me take the easy way out and liquidate all of you...but I don't like the idea of executing all of you because a select few are genuine maniacs. I'm no Nico Hass, I'd like to think".

"If you give me all the information I need, when I need it, you can rest easy knowing you're saving the innocents among your colleagues at UMBRA...and I know you're a good man, so that should be payment enough for you --- not that I'd be unwilling to compensate you more formally, given that for the first time since we've known each other, few would question me".

"Furthermore, if I have an insider telling me what the saner members of UMBRA want...maybe I can find a way to make it happen. In exchange, no more church burnings. No more anarchy. No more counter-government revolutionary crap; simply put, cease and desist now, and there will be mercy".

"Part of that sounds like a threat, Nikastro," Hans muttered.

"It's not a threat. It's a promise. If you do good by me, I'll do my best to do good by you. If you can get your friends at UMBRA to do good by me, I'll do my best to do good by them...and if you and UMBRA can't do good by me...well, I have a country to run. You can either help, in your own way, or you can go back to being terrorists".

Nikastro looked straight into Hans's eyes before continuing. "It's a lot to ask for UMBRA, but this is where we are now, with this new world order that Hadin and UNCA are facing. This is the only chance for amnesty I can give you. There won't be anything else..."

"...and, Hans, I know it's a lot to ask of you, personally. So just in case, despite not believing I needed to bribe you, I prepared a bribe anyway".

"What could you possibly bribe me with?"

"Remember when I pulled your file, when I confronted you on death row and enlisted your help? I read all of it. All of it. If it was one thing that my dictatorial predecessors were good at, it was information-keeping. I know more about you than you could imagine".

"Your...friend, Rufus," Nikastro mused, seeing Hans's eyes widen as he continued, "Yes, I know about Rufus Sebastino4. He joined UMBRA out of protest for the death penalty for crimes like homosexuality and apostasy. The two of you seem absolutely perfect for each other. I don't like to speak of such things, but he was a particular kind of friend to you, wasn't he? Or perhaps I need a word that transcends friendship?"

"From one person who doesn't like the death penalty for such crimes to another, I can tell you that I feel truly terrible knowing that you've lost someone so close to you, Hans. I'm sorry".

"And what could you possibly do to make something like Rufus getting shot..."okay"?"

"Nothing to bring him back...but something to prevent others like him. Like I told you, I don't like the death penalty being used for that. I have my own opinions on homosexuality and apostasy: different from yours, I'm sure...but we both agree while I'm not willing to let the gays marry, further bloodshed just for something like that can, and will be stopped".

Hans was silent for a moment, before finally taking a deep breath.

"...well, we could talk all day about how hateful I am that we're still second-class citizens in your book, or how you're too little and too late --- but I guess decriminalization is a big step up from execution".

"I'm glad you see things my way".

"Oh, it's a start, but it's not good enough".

"I know it isn't, Hans. And for that, here's something that isn't too little, too late. Your file has been sealed and expunged of all criminal convictions and wrongdoing --- instead of hiding in the alleyway while waiting to talk to me, from now on, you can use the front door. Further, if you have the names of friends of yours with non-violent convictions...send them to me".

Fiete cleared his throat. "Remember, non-violent convictions, and even then, at my discretion. An atheist with no other convictions is fine. Someone who spent their days trying to hack into military information may not be so inclined to my mercy".

"Now take your clean record, settle down, and buy yourself a house --- maybe take a little vacation now that you can travel without fear of detainment. If you choose to do this for me, I'll need to know where I'm sending your paychecks".

"That's only if I agree, though, right?"

"I didn't say "I will seal and expunge your record". I said it has been sealed. Go ahead, walk outside and board a train right now. Present your actual identification. I guarantee you --- you won't be stopped by security, even if you walk away from me right now and never look back".

"Alright, alright," Hans sighed. "I get it. Deal I can't refuse --- but I'm gonna take you up on that vacation thing first".

"Where would you go?"

"Lately, I've been wanting to take a trip out to Nui-ta". Hans produced an aged envelope: one that he'd been keeping with him since he snooped through his aunt Aurana's belongings for a lead on UMBRA, years ago.

"I've got an aunt I've been dying to meet".



1 "If your purse is full, prepare to lose it". The saying is a warning that those who find themselves to be having a lucky streak should be mindful that it would end at any time.

2 An anti-government terror group. Translated into English, their name means "shadow". UMBRA as a group rose from the ashes of the fallen Adstutia Liberati Hadinia (ALH) --- or DFHI: Diplomacy for Hadinian Independence group, as they were known in English. As Hadin became increasingly fascistic in its independence, and as the theocracy rose to power, UMBRA worked behind the scenes to undermine the theocracy and restore democracy at every turn. Among their many visions for a democratic, free Hadin is an increase in secularism, and to this end, UMBRA gained notoriety in Hadin for attacks against established religion. They've done everything from facetiously promoting devil worship, to actually burning down churches.

One of the less-known ways by which Fiete garnered support for himself over Nico Hass was to convince UMBRA agents to respond to his defeats of Hass's more notorious edicts with a lull in UMBRA activity, such as when Nikastro managed to force Hass to allow several states to stop protecting the terrorist Hadinian Liberation Front. Through a captured UMBRA agent towards whom Nikastro showed considerable mercy, Nikastro has managed to gain some leverage over the group, and the two co-operated secretly to help de-popularize and eventually overthrow Nico Hass on a domestic level.

3In between the end of the Hadinian War, and the rise of the first High-Envoy (Rosario Labriolla), Hadin experienced an installed government of four years placed by Radiatia and Nui-ta, in the hopes of turning Hadin into a democratic state. When elections were called at the end of this provisional government's term, the resulting change of government that was supposed to happen never did. This sent the nation careening into a near civil-war, but was averted when Rosario Labriolla managed to convince most of the piously religious Hadinian populace to rally behind religion towards a government everyone could agree on. The new Theocracy quickly took the form of an extremely conservative fascistic state, but succeeded in quelling the unrest that nearly sent Hadin into anarchy.

4Rufus Sebastino was a hacker and a spokesman for UMBRA, who often managed to breach the Hadinian intranet and give some Hadinians access to the open internet. He was killed by authorities of the Theocracy during the early days of the Hass Envoyship.
Last edited by Hadin on Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just so you know, this nation, in character, is a highly sexist, highly theocratic, and highly authoritarian state. (Though under the new guy, it seems to be improving a little).

I disagree with a lot of what this nation stands for. It was invented for its intrigue and ample opportunities for satire, not for its ideals.

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Nui-ta
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1606
Founded: Feb 11, 2012
Moralistic Democracy

Territorialism

Postby Nui-ta » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:33 am

"Now moving unto sports news, both the men and women's teams representing Nui-ta at the Noctur Cup have scored victories for Match Day 1. Both matches ended with Nui-ta winning by one point; the Nui-tan women's team won a difficult 2-1 victory against the women's team of Detectatia, while the men's team cruised to an easy 1-0 victory in Rahku City against Conpatria".

"In four days, the ladies will be taking on Arthuria out in Joghba, while the men's team gets ready to face off against the Detectatian men --- we here at KNN 5 of course, will be keeping up out detailed coverage of the Cup".

Rowan di-Amori found himself staring at a television, waiting for the clock to tick down to exactly 1900 hours so that he could get ready to go to the important meeting ahead. Some of the most important men and women within the Nui-tan military were going to be there: Commandants and highly respected Generals. Their co-operation would be required for the planning and initiation of this important plan.

The jest from the ceremonial role of the Emperor had faded away after the chemical strike. Although it had been a resounding success, stopping a dangerously close Hadinian battalion from making contact at the border of Zanzes and Nui-ta, it had come at great personal cost to young Rowan di-Amori. News reports raged on about how the rest of the world now condemned him as a war criminal: although in light of the actions of Nico Hass, Rowan had been forgiven slightly by some powers in Arthuria and Detectatia.

Segland and Algrabad, of course, had all but jumped down his throat regarding the bombing; Hadin's reaction was surprisingly nuanced, with Fiete Nikastro since gaining power and agreeing to not outright condemn Rowan in exchange for several diplomatic graces towards the northern island as it underwent a major transition in leadership. Radiatia --- Nui-ta's "greatest ally" --- had mostly been silent on the matter, although some private institutions tried to condemn Rowan anyway in what seemed like a marketing ploy, attempting to buy back Nui-tan arms business which had declined between the two nations in some years.

Indeed, Radiatia was a country that Rowan found himself increasingly struggling to respect. Sure, over a quarter of a century ago, when his grandfather was still in power, Radiatia had actually been a really phenomenal ally. It had rushed to Nui-ta's aid during the Hadinian War, a war which otherwise would likely have been won by Nui-ta at far greater cost. It had helped modernize and strengthen the Nui-tan economy and military. It had welcomed Nui-ta unto the international stage and extended a hand of friendship when much of Noctur was still dark.

However, as time past, the faults in the relationship grew. Rowan certainly never expected that Radiatia would continue providing aid to Nui-ta; after all, Nui-ta was now at the point of managing its economic, domestic, and military affairs on its own, as the Karasian War had shown. However, it was surprising, and somehow hurtful, that the moment Nui-ta exerted this independence, Radiatia began to condemn it.

When Nui-ta pushed its own industrial interests and domestic manufacturing initiatives forward, Radiatia bemoaned a lost market. When Nui-ta's Reshial Industries became the major supplier of the Nui-tan military, Radiatia again bemoaned a lost market. During the Karasian War, Nui-ta inquired about purchasing updated technology from Radiatia, and while Radiatian authorities seemed to imply that Nui-ta would be offered a deal to enter a contract to be supplied with TrupmaЪiin-2 tanks, those tanks were ultimately deemed unessential in a war which saw Nui-ta fighting more along the naval, airborne, and cyber fronts. The only other country to have been allowed the use of the TrupmaЪiin-2 was Higgins and Brown, before it was even released to Nui-ta, and the Higgins-Brownites disappointed in their loss to Algrabad.

Radiatia had also offered to assist with cybersecurity directly, but this empty promise seemed to go unfulfilled. Ultimately, it was Demonlonde, now retreated back into isolationism, which had assisted Nui-ta with cyber defense. Angela Pavlovic had come to Kaurizil and given an impressive ultimatum to Hadin, but this ultimatum was not heeded in the end, and it had to be Nui-ta, rather than Radiatia, who enforced the penalty --- and took the blame.

Domestically, as well, Radiatia was now being viewed more as a "side ally", or even a nuisance, among the Nui-tan people. Many complained that the radical cultural differences between the two countries made for poor business measures: Greasy Joe's took years to gain ground in Nui-ta, and Radiatian visitors to Nui-ta often complained about the lack of "Bert's Topless Coffee" --- or whatever that place was called.

"Dem there Nui-tards need to get over seeing a couple of titties out now and again!" One Radiatian redneck tourist had famously said about Nui-ta, prompting outrage among many Nui-tans, who felt that while the visitors of other countries, even Seglanders and Hadinians, had more respect for Nui-tan culture and authority than the trouble making Radiatians.

Some of it was hype --- there were plenty of Radiatians who just came to lie on a beach for a while and forget the blistering Radiatian cold --- but there was no doubt that Radiatian tourists were among the least liked of tourists visiting Nui-ta, no matter how good their money was.

In the face of an increasingly unpopular, and yet necessary, relationship, it was Rowan who was left to ponder how to clean up the mess.

This meeting would help Nui-ta take a step onwards, on their own.




"Did you see the Noctur Cup?" Commandant Coumo Ipati of the Nui-tan Elite Corps smiled quietly at the Emperor. The meeting was scheduled for 2000 hours. Both Rowan and Commandant Ipati had arrived slightly early.

"Yep," Rowan chuckled a little. "Nui-ta beat both its male and female rivals by a single goal. The women's match was particularly interesting to watch. Detectatia was definitely the tougher opponent to go up against".

"The men and the women are both feeling quite honored," Ipati mused, before sighing. "Honor is an important virtue".

"That it is," Rowan nodded. All of the Commandants were much older than the barely-past-thirty Emperor. Given that he relied on them so heavily for military advice, he felt as though he owed them the same respect as he would an elder of his family. Rowan's own father, Emperor Emeritus Nicolai di-Amori, was definitely a good father as far as Rowan's private life went --- but with the weight of an entire country on him since his coming-of-age placed on Rowan's shoulders by his "burnt-out" father, Rowan couldn't help but feel just a touch of resentment.

He distanced himself from those thoughts, returning his focus to the conversation about football and virtue with Ipati.

"There are many important virtues, you know," Ipati continued. "Honor. Faith. Strength. Loyalty. We would do well to consider these, especially the last two, in all of our decisions, great and small".

"For example, the many players within the Cup all play to bring honor to their countries. They gain strength from their arduous training, as well as the faith placed in them from their countrymen --- and they remain loyal to each other and to the rules of the game".

"I have even developed some respect for our greatest enemies while watching them on the football field. Segland's defensive, thoughtful nature is well represented in its --- as they say --- soccer team. The way they handled Hralia was admirable, even though the match was a draw at the end. Their men are quite formidable. I look forward to comparing their women to ours".

"If Hadin had sent a women's team, they'd have played against Segland. That would have been something to see," Rowan quipped.

"The Hadinians are..." Ipati sighed.

"Lemme guess, you don't like them?"

Ipati laughed. "I've a little Hadinian in me, actually. My first name, Coumo, is the only give away. It's not very much; I had a great-grandmother on my father's side who was half-Hadinian, and my mother's mother was Hadinian...but this all leads to so little that I pass for a pure Zanzeanic Nui-tan. Hell, I don't even have the eyes1 like my mother did".

"God, speaking of eyes, you should see Paolo Medici's eyes --- they scare the crap out of me," Rowan mused.

"Why? Too much amethyst? That's always unnerved me".

"His is more of a very light-tint of violet on an ice blue. It's weird".

"What strikes me as weird is the Hadinian tendency against women. Honestly, having a nation of weak women; how do you expect to embolden your sons if they're raised by timid women? Not to mention we'll always have twice the manpower than they do, because we enlist twice the genders".

"I wonder if Fiete Nikastro will be near as...er...strict, with women, as his predecessor was".

"I wonder if he's been watching more than just the Hadinian game. I've reviewed every match. Sports is not all that far from war. You can learn a lot about a nation by watching their sports teams".

He shot a serious glance at Rowan. "Those Radiatians, with their huge margins of scores. I've never seen anyone move so fast; especially not from the country that invented the "Heart Attack On A Bun".

"Radiatia is a very excessive country," Rowan said quickly. "I'm sure their athletes are just as excessive in their training as their fast-food enthusiasts are in regards to weight gain".

"Oh, I think the Radiatians are excessive, alright," Ipati said. "Excessively untrustworthy. There's just something so unnatural about the whole thing --- either their lead offensive man is going to overdo it and go into a seizure by the middle of Game 3, or they're hiding something".

"I never trusted the Radiatians, not since the day I took the Commandancy," Ipati ended. "They're all talk in war, spending lots of money and talking a lot about how great they are, but when push came to shove on this war, it was us Nui-tans who defended ourselves, and us who are paying the price. The fact that their news even dared condemn us regarding "low-quality non-Radiatian gas" is just insane; Angela Pavlovic can take her Kaurizil Address and put it right in the sh--"

"Woah, easy Commandant," Rowan snapped. "You're on duty".

The confused Commandant gave him a blank stare before cluelessly asking "...in her shredder?"

"Oh, shredder!" Rowan laughed. "Nevermind then, Commandant, carry on".

After a moment to think, the Commandant laughed before admitting, "that's an equally good place for it".

"It's just such a shame that they're based out in Hephazi. Sheriff of Noctur, setting up police precincts across the globe. They set up RF-SOUTHCOM here in Nui-ta, out in San Dhohra, demand that we "dirty foreigners" make do without a return base in Radiatia, and then they don't even have the decency to come out here when there's a war going on right next to their precious little ---"

"Commandant".

"Yes sir?"

"This meeting I've called: I wanted to discuss with you an upcoming executive order I'm running through the Judiciary right now".

"Yes sir?"

"Executive Order 136:10. If not overruled by the Judiciary, it will force the closure of San Dhohra".

The Commandant stared at Rowan incredulously for a moment, before saying, "....but...Radiatian Federation's SOUTHCOM".

"A Zanzeanic base fell into the hands of Segland and Hadin during the Karasian War. This base was built with Nui-tan co-operation (since the Zanze couldn't tell an automatic pistol from a rifle) using older models and technologies which are still present in some of the older military bases like San Dhohra".

"You mean to tell me our own technology has been compromised?"

"Nothing classified. Like I said though, the Zanze couldn't tell a pistol from a rifle, so we gave them blueprints from our oldest bases. We did omit any classified information, of course, so it's not like the Zanze were sitting on trade secrets or anything. That having been said, older, more antiquated bases like San Dhohra look similar to the base that fell in Northern Zanzes".

"Even though San Dhohra and some of the other bases still have protected classified operations which were not compromised, the fact that the Seglanders have anything that looks even close to it, means that I don't want to take the chance --- so San Dhohra is set to slowly cease operations over the next couple of years and transition functionality to San Miletia until Hephazi's new central command, San Hajmani reaches operational status".

"Of course, San Hajmani will be a very top-of-the-line important naval institution, with key classified operations involving our existing status quo with Hadin. These classified operations are even above the level of clearance extended to RF-SOUTHCOM, and I'm not willing to see that compromised either --- as a result, the Executive Order also sets forth provisions to contact Radiatia and diplomatically tell them that they need to move their combatant command".

Ipati sighed, a bit of frustration evident in the lowness of his voice. "So, which base are they moving to? God, don't tell me...San Talsankir?"

Rowan gulped. "Er....no".

"San Miletia?"

"Nope".

"Please tell me they aren't going to San Kalisto or San Gajin".

"Hell no, especially not San Gajin. That's the highest-level base we have whose basic operations aren't classified".

"...so, where are we moving them?"

Rowan sighed. "Nowhere. We don't have a place for them to go, but they can't stay in San Dhohra since that area will be shut down and de-militarized".

"Wait, we're telling the Radiatians to leave?!"

"...yeah. We are. Well, not like that, of course --- we're telling them (and this is true) that we don't have a place to put them, so they'll have to find a place for themselves. They have two years to shut down RF-SOUTHCOM's general operations, and a little extra time up for negotiation for some more specific stuff. It's too bad, too. The Ministry of Defense is going to miss the funds paid for rent by Radiatia".

"...why not San Talsankir, again?"

"It's the only public military installation in the country; we let high school children unto parts of the base to show them that their time in conscription won't be so bad --- I doubt either Radiatia nor we want to mix them into it".

"Fair. San Gaj---wait, you explained that one. San Kalisto?"

"...will be slated for much heavier armaments, given that it'll be our major base on the mainland and vital for expanding into what's left of Zanzes; Executive Order 136:11, if I don't shelve it for a while, is supposed to officially grant South Zanzes entrance into the Empire as a sovereign state, which means there are going to be more military bases out there".

"We're building more bases out there?"

"Kinda, sorta. I'll explain that later. Anyway, we need San Kalisto to remain untouched while it develops further; so Radiatia can't go there".

"San Miletia?"

"...will be taking on all the work from San Dhohra and doesn't need to be babysitting Radiatia as well".

"San Jarahi?"

"...also getting shut down, and San Ushibria has the same problem that San Miletia has, only involving San Jarahi. Then you have San Nimalya, which will be assisting both San Miletia and San Ushibria with their impending overload. San Akuamili is getting shut down too, but just because it's been deemed too costly to run, so there won't be a replacement".

Ipati gulped. "I think I'm running out of major bases".

"It's possible that Zanzes will be interested in letting Radiatia set up shop there for RFSOUTHCOM; if they do, I'll let them handle it. If not, well...that's not our problem".

Rowan looked up at the clock. 1955 hours. The Commandant of the Army could be seen approaching. The Naval and Air Force Commandants were likely not far behind.

He smiled.

"Enough military talk. We have a whole meeting starting in five minutes for that. Back to sports. Don't you think it's weird how many Sangauranic and Alinian players there are?"




1Hadinians are known for having strikingly colored eyes, usually violet, but occasionally a very pale blue or gray. This is inherent to a form of albinism that is endemic in the country. The violet is known to appear even in people with only partial Hadinian ancestry, although less so per generation as someone is removed from that ancestry.
Last edited by Nui-ta on Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Someone cares? Okay then. Economic Left/Right: -2.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.85

INFP-T personality, quite heavy on the I,P, and T.

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The Arthurian Isles
Envoy
 
Posts: 280
Founded: Feb 26, 2016
Ex-Nation

Postby The Arthurian Isles » Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:38 am

Image



On The Law Of States



The following talk was presented by Hafyr Sturludotar to a ZED audience in Vestmanaeyjar. It was advertised as a lawyer's response to the use of chemical weapons in the Karasian War. Hafyr Sturludotar is the Chief Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court. She has been selected as Arthuria's representative to the panel of the upcoming Hass Tribunal.

"Last week, Kurstoberjartrejplat hosted the largest of many rallies around Arthuria. The point of these events was to do what the government would not do: to unequivocally condemn the use of chemical weapons in the Karasian War. At most of these rallies counter-protests emerged concurrently, supporting the neutrality with which the Storting approached the delicate issue. I am pleased to say that in no rally did violence break out, despite the conviction with which both sides supported their arguments. Violence did not break out because we have a strong tradition in this country of lawful and orderly cohabitation. Our behaviour is, in general, acceptable within a code of laws and these laws are created, executed and enforced by a respected and centralised government bureaucracy. It is not just within the Arthurian Federation that we see this example of human community. Every society has created for itself a framework of principles within which to develop. We call this 'law', and it is the idea that order is necessary and chaos inimical to a just and stable existence. Law is the element which binds the members of a community together in their adherence to recognised values and standards.

When I say that every society has developed law of some form, I am willing to extend that statement to international society too; the society of sovereign states has at its core a legal system no less important than municipal law. When I say this, I see surprise in many peoples' faces. Where is the legal code which states follow? Where is the legislature which creates international law? Where is the judge who impartially applies laws between states? In Noctur, these are not to be found. There is no single body able to create laws internationally binding upon everyone, nor a proper system of courts with comprehensive and compulsory jurisdiction to interpret and extend the law. Where, then, is the law to be found?

International law is to be found in its sources. What I do not mean by this, is its ultimate sources of morality or reason; these are for philosophers to debate over. Nor do I mean its functional sources such as libraries or compendia. I refer to international law's technical sources; those provisions operating within the international legal system through which rules emerge. Of these sources, Noctur currently possesses two. One of those is all-pervasive, for it necessarily affects all states; it is custom, and it is what I shall be discussing here today. The second is treaty law, a much simpler and more discreet source. It bears little relevance to the issue we face here, and so I shall be saving it for a day when its own importance can shine.

Custom is not tangible, nor is it acknowledged by states, but custom guides the behaviour of every actor in the international society. Custom has existed since the dawn of the state system itself; in any society, rules of behaviour emerge which prescribe what is permitted and what is not. These rules are not consciously agreed upon; they develop subconsciously within the community and are maintained by its members using social pressures and other techniques of enforcement. They are not codified - not at first, that is - and survive based only on their historical legitimacy. Take, as an example, the most basic requirement of a society of states: sovereignty. A state's right to sovereignty is not written in any lexicon, but is commonly accepted as necessary by all in order for sound international relations to operate. Consequently, in general, states leave one another to conduct their own internal affairs. They may coerce, intimidate or co-opt their neighbours, and they may do so successfully, but the ultimate decision to act resides in the state.

As history has worn on, the concept of sovereignty has changed to incorporate new elements, but it remains as a customary rule of international law. Custom is therefore dynamic; it is activated by spontaneous behaviour. But precisely because of this dynamism, it can act as the authentic expression of the needs and values of the international society at any given time.

Of course, dynamism suggests change. Custom does change, but only in recognition of the desires of states. In this, it is a democratic form of law-making. All states share in the formulation of new rules through their words and their deeds. If the international community deems a particular customary law to be outdated or some action to be unwarranted, that custom can be changed quickly without the necessity of convening and succeeding in a global conference. Custom is a consensus-led approach to decision-making in a world which lacks centralised governmental institutions. The majority can create laws binding on all; the participation of states in those laws encourages their continued compliance. There are flaws to this approach. In a world as imperfect as this one, some states will be more equal than others. The influence of military powers on the laws of war will undoubtedly have more effect on their development than could Arthuria. But it is because of their intimate connection with these issues that the weak acquiesce, in the recognition that a world based on order is safer for all than one mired in anarchy.

How, then, does one identify custom? Customary international law is comprised of two elements, neither one of which can have any legal power without the other.

State practice is the first element of custom. Nothing can be considered to be a custom unless the material fact of its existence is evident. This material fact, for it to be applicable across all states, must be both constant and uniform. Law would not be as debated as it is without ambiguity, and in state practice we find an abundance of this. The issue of chemical weapons in war is complicated by the material fact of their widespread possession. At least five states in Noctur, including major military powers, publicly acknowledge that they possess chemical weapons. Two, now, have used them. The willingness of states to manufacture and maintain chemical weapons, and the fact of their existence, implies that state practice is not of the opinion that chemical weapons are prohibited by international customary law.

This conclusion is somewhat at odds with the international reaction to the use of sarin in the Karasian War. The majority of countries, including those possessing chemical weapons, publicly condemned Nui-ta's government for their chemical strike. This is where we see the second element of customary international law: opinio juris, or the belief that a state action is legally obligatory. This element is what turns state practice into custom and renders it a part of the rules of international law. Opinio juris is a process. States behave in a certain way in the belief that their behaviour is law or is becoming law. Depending on how other states react, their actions will then be accepted or rejected. Thus there must be an aspect of legality to any state behaviour and the acting state must confirm that this is so in order that the international society can easily distinguish legal from non-legal practices.

We shall translate this into the situation which faces us. For the use of chemical weapons to be legal, Nui-ta's government would have to launch a chemical strike believing that to do so would not breach any international custom. For the action to remain legal, other states would have to acquiesce to the strike by remaining silent on the matter. The absence of protest implies agreement with the customary law; it is an expression of the opinio juris. In order to delegitimise the use of chemical weapons, protests are required. This we have witnessed. Not only does the resignation of Paolo Medici suggest that some elements of the Nui-tan government did not believe the use of chemical weapons to be legal, the negative international reaction confirmed that the opinio juris is against the use of such weapons.

I ask you to recall two things I have mentioned previously: law is ambiguous, and opinio juris means nothing without state practice. Hopefully you will now be wondering how to resolve the hypocrisy between an opinio juris which is against the use of chemical weapons, and state practices which condone their use. The benefits of law are that we do not need to resolve that problem.

Unless the two are in compliance, and are so in a constant and uniform degree, no international customary law can be said to exist prohibiting chemical weapons. What we have seen in Karas is moral indignation used as a disguise for political games. It is in the interests of the Axis countries to condemn Nui-ta; that they themselves maintain chemical weapons is of no consequence. It is in the interests of the Arthurian government to stay silent on the issue, thus acquiescing to their use, though their people condemn and the Storting refuses to even manufacture chemical weapons within the Federation.

This issue is complex and ambiguous. Until it ceases to be so the Nui-tan government can be condemned for nothing, no matter what it ought to be condemned for."
Last edited by The Arthurian Isles on Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:01 am, edited 4 times in total.

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From the Vault: To War with West Zanzes?

Postby Higgins and Brown » Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:54 am

The National Library of Higgins & Brown is located in the Union Grounds, Michaelstown, Kings and adjoins the Union Palace, which has since independence housed either the King or President of Higgins & Brown. The Library maintains a vast collection of Brownite language literature, newpapers and academic journals, as well as video archives and family records. Aside from its historic main building, the Library also owns four more buildings in and around Michaelstown, and one in Newkiltra-Noelstown, Higgins. The National Library Network is a network of over 3,000 public and private libraries across the nation. Their series, "From the Vault", is showcasing, at every library in the Network, items of historical importance, copied from the National Library's main archives in either Michaelstown or Newkiltra-Noelstown.

The following is a newspaper extract from April 30th, 69IE. Published just over a month from the declaration of the First Algrbadi War, the article reveals some of the divisions that affected Higgins-Brownite society in the run-up to the conflict. Though the arguments for and against war are not explored in any particular depth in the article, it describes those illustrates the influences of the day. Shown is the reliance of the weak Presidency on the domestic government, the reliance on all government on the blessings of the Church, and the esteem with which a few individuals on the left were held, such that they could direct the entire socialist narrative, referred to in the article as the 'Socialish Chorus'.


The Herald of Kenilerth Evening Edition, dated 30th April 69IE1

CABINETS IN CRISIS TALKS
--
MR. JOYCE TO MEET THE PRESIDENT DIRECTLY
--
THE CHURCH GIVES ADVICE
--
BLOCKADE OF NORTHERN PORTS CONTINUES
--
SOCIALISTS SUE FOR PEACE


The President’s Commission and the Ministry have each met upon this day, and by telegraph have confirmed that a meeting to be held on Wednesday next week between the Prime Minister Mr. Oliver Joyce, and the President his Excellency, Patrick Jorj Marlon, the Chief2 3.

News of the Michaelstown administration’s talks has been given to us by official sources, who insist that His Excellency is in firm command of the situation. However, in Tithatribali, Ministry House is divided over the question of war. The President is reportedly to seek the Ministry’s opinion on the readiness of the home front for a war.

On one side of the Ministerial debate, the Prime Minister favours use of force against the West Zanzeanic4 government. He was supported in the Executive meeting today by Deputy Prime Ministers Rodall and Davis, and Ministers Rithcolt, Burns and Wallis. Opposition was chiefly reported to come from the Tadnami Minister Anwar, and Minister Sark of the Prime Minister’s own Liberal Party. The Hoindopo is due to discuss the matter at its sitting next week, prior to the meeting of the two Government Heads. It remains unclear this evening what position the Ministry will eventually take, as many Ministers have said they are yet to be fully convinced of the case for hostilities.

The Archreader of Tithatribali Scholarate has confirmed that His Grace the Pro-Archspeaker Paul IV did visit the Union Palace in the last week with the First Judicial Council of the Church in tow5. The contents of the meeting between the Church and the Commission offer the highest level prrof yet that war is on the horizon. The Church has confirmed that the Council have been asked to judge on the severity and absolutism of Canon 1/932, which reads:

“Those Ereszim who have pursued Intra-apostolic war shall be barred from the conduct of Holy War, or the redemption of holy warriors.”6

His Excellency the President is thought to have asked for an ecclesiastical exemption for armed conflict on the basis of evangelical necessity. However, even if the Pro-Archspeaker believed that to be right and proper, Canon 1/932 could present a barrier, due to the nature of the civil war and the complicity of all serving government officials in that war.

Many scholars have already supported that, with the Arch-Reader of Carrigró, who has much influence in the Orthodoxist colleges, being the most recent high profile reader in recent days to reaffirm this. The Ord. & Rev. Reader Bert Letti had this to say on the matter to an apostolic following this morning.

“The question is not whether we believe that the Zanzeanic threat to the nation is one that threatens our religion, the preservation of the land, and the diminishment of demise; on that question we are quite a united church (with the exception of some of the Lletniite Ereszim, who see the threat as secular). The question that is more pressing is whether the current leadership of the country can apply for ecclesiastical sanction or redemption for the purposes of a war in defence of the church. This is because the Church considers the Civil War to have been intra-apostolic.

Those who fight each other within the community of the church, and for secular reason at that, are banned forever from calling on the holy cause to justify a conflict. Thus, anyone engaging in such a conflict would become diminished in the communion of Ereszim. There are numerous punishments at the disposal of the church for the diminished, and they could theoretically apply to all who partake in combat, except in times of general calamity.

“There is much less agreement in the Church as to the question of general calamity, and I cannot summarise it for us as if my opinion were canon. But the setting in which I produce these words should not be ignored. We face no immediate calamity, and in all likelihood will only bring such a state on with an unholy invasion.”

Public opinion may rest upon the conclusions of the Orthodox see. Support for conflict is already low in Lletni, where the church has roundly condemned the circumstances as secular, despite that territory being at the coalface of the blockade in the northern waters.
Elsewhere, the cold shadow of civil war does not appear to have lifted. The depressed districts of the various frontiers remain unrecovered from the prebellum period, and many whose elder child perished in the last war will fear for the younger. Everywhere, the phenomenon of postwar depression is present in some form. Even victors regret.

The argument is strong, however, that something must be done. Diplomatic efforts have not produced. The Naval Service has forbidden merchant ships from sailing into Garabadi7 ports or waters, following the reports of theft and savagery that are now befalling Higgins-Brownite tradesmen and entrepreneurs. The Zanzeanic navy, meanwhile, strengthens its position in blockading the ports of Lletni, Shelborn, Ládan, Dilon and Tadnam The country’s interests have also been rocked by the expulsion of hundreds of business persons and labourers from the Garabadi oil fields. Streams of refugees have been sent through the mountains, with fears that Zanzeanic crusaders won’t be far behind.

As both Parliaments prepare to discuss the issue, the Socialist chorus has sounded to damn the prospect of a bloody war. Accusations are rife from the Socialist grandees that the governments have not followed up diplomatic channels or even considered possible terms for an acceptable settlement. Meeting at the Labour Club in Newkiltra yesterday, the grandees agreed that it was for the best interests of the working class that a war be avoided. Former Prime Minister Cluskey and former Vice-President Mánard met with the parliamentary leaders of the opposition, Codenor Healy and Hoindopor Burke. The four have released a joint statement, which this week has been distributed in pamphlet format on the streets of the capitals and major cities.

The four have accused the President of “cowtowing to the forces of nationalism”, and damningly indicted a conflict in Garabad, labelling the wealthy men who have interests in Garabadi oil as exploiters and enslavers of the poor."The interest of a new nobility” is blamed on the escalation of tensions, and the Republican Social Democratic Party has already labelled a war with Western Zanzes to be “treason against the people.”

Large crowds are expected to gather this evening at Pullit Head in South Kings, to hear former Vice-President Mánard speak on the issue. Similarly, Mr. Cluskey is expected to fill the Pestlin Lane Terraces in Newkiltra for a rally for Peace this evening. Socialist Societies have been recruiting volunteers in the Tithatribali area today to attend Armed Services Sign-up Functions to dissuade those in attendance.


1 The Herald had, before the Civil War some 4 years previous to this article, been a publication which varied dramatically from city to city, and while some editions took nonpartisan editorial positions, there were examples of regional editions with very left-leaning or very right-leaning editors. During the civil war, the different regional editions generally took the opinion of the majority in their area on the war. Following the civil war, a purge of all pro-rebel editorial staff was carried out, and post-war, the Herald became a moderate supporter of the Socialist government of Eamon Cluskey.

2 The President of Higgins & Brown was referred to as her/his excellency for the first 30 or 40 years of the Republic, but this habit had died out by that time.

3 Patrick Jorj Marlon, who was the Military Commander of the Republican Forces in the latter half of the Civil War, was known as 'The Chief' throughout his Presidency. He was elected as a candidate for the 'Union for Peace', sister organisation to the Liberal Party. These organisations remain existant and in partnership today.

4 7 Though by this time, Algrabad - meaning 'The West' - was being used domestically to describe the newly unified former arabian colonies of Zanzes, it was not usually used when talking in the Brownite tongue. The custom of the time, observable in this article, was to label the people, government and state as Zanzean or West Zanzean, and meanwhile labelling the area as Garabad - a purely geographic term with the same root as Algrabad. It was not just a question of language, however. To link the Arab state with Zanzes was to link it to an historic oppressor, and in the eyes of Higgins-Brownites the emergence of a unified state to their east was the re-emergence of a potential colonial power. Meanwhile, in Algrabad, the term 'Western Zanzes' was almost never used at this time, but would be during the interwar years, when the cultural legacy of the Zanzeanic Empire was re-explored and efforts were made to remould the Algrabadi state in its image.

5 The Pro-Archspeaker of the Brownite Orthodox Church is the paramount leader of the Brownite Orthodox Church, and the other Ereszim churches (including the Hralec Church and the Lletniite Free Church, which maintain communion with the Brownite church). At the time of the article, Brownite Orthodoxy was the official religion of the state, although the territories could opt out of this.

6 Murder is generally banned in the Ereszim religion, unsurprisingly. However, this extends to many situations in which other religions would permit a person to kill. War, for instance, is considered banned unless in situations of grave calamity (ie, the most necessary defensive war). Those who carried out acts of killing, or perpetrated war, were deemed to be "diminished" in the eyes of the church, which carries the general punishment of communal excommunication. Historically, the Michaelite and other factions that warred against the Zanzeanic Empire were granted ecclesiastical exemption by the church, due to the Zanzeanic ban on the organised conduct of Ereszim religions. The canon in question was issueed at the beginning of the Michaelite Uprisings, to dissuade native Ereszim from turning on each other in the struggle to oust the Zanzeanic Empire.
Last edited by Higgins and Brown on Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:33 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Radiatia
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On the Campaign Trail

Postby Radiatia » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:53 pm

Dunriu, Zorbakh

Sheets of icy rain bucketed down onto President Angela Pavlovic as she exited her limousine for the Dunriu Community Hall where she was to hold her next campaign rally. Though it was just after midday, the pitch black clouds had obscured the sun so strongly that it looked like it was early evening - indeed some street lights were already on.

"You've actually picked a nice time of year, Madam President," Said Zorbakh Premier Vladler Thacker, a fellow Liberal-Conservative. "If you think this is bad wait until winter. At least today we're above freezing temperature."

If the President did respond it was drowned out the whistling wind, which despite her five layers of clothing seemed to blow right through her, chilling her to her bones.

Initially, Angela had only wanted to visit the swing-states - Zorbakh was supposed to be a safe blue state, which she had no reason to campaign in. Or at least that was the case until the Social Democrats nominated the highly unpredictable populist northerner Jaagen Autenberg.

"I don't know if this is worth it," She had said to her Chief campaign strategist. "I'm miles ahead in the polls and you could pin a blue ribbon to a yak and they'd vote for it up north. Worst case scenario is that Autenberg will win his home state. He's not going to win in places like Pfantz and Eldura."

"Don't be too sure, Madam President," Had been the response. "Polls are notoriously inaccurate up north. And he's well known up there. Last thing in the world we want to do is concentrate too much on places like Alayenia, only to lose the election because of a bunch of hicks in the far north."

And so it was that, after her recent campaign rally in the swing state of Mus, at which there was an estimated attendance of 3000 people, she had been flown up to Zorbakh to begin a whistlestop tour of the north. While physically Zorbakh was one of Radiatia's biggest states - you could easily fit two Poldanias into it - in terms of population it was the second smallest, with barely half a million residents.

This was illustrated by the turnout when she entered the Dunriu Community Centre - far from a stadium filled with thousands of supporters, this was literally a pub with maybe 50 people in the room, at least half of which were just regular patrons.

"Howdy Miss President," Said a rather dumpy woman who greeted them (far too casually for someone greeting the most powerful woman in Noctur). "You'll have to make this quick because it's quiz night straight after, an' the regulars get angsty if it's late. Also don't mind the karaoke next door."

Angela smiled politely and began to move towards the lectern. There was no introduction, no sign that anyone in the room knew who she was, and the music from next door was competing with the music playing on one of the jukeboxes, neither of which were being turned down for her speech.

"It's just as well there are no cameras," Pavlovic muttered to one of her assistants.

"Yes apparently the media bus was caught in some ice somewhere and they're stuck. Now remember - talk about foreign policy, talk about why Autenberg is bad for defence. These are mostly military families in here, good patriotic Radiatians."

"Right," Said Angela as the dumpy lady took to the stage to briefly introduce her.

"Please welcome ter the stage, Angela Pavlovic... the President of the Federation of Radiatians!"

There was a scattering of applause, and Angela knew that this was already off to a bad start.

"Hello everyone, it's great to be here Zorbakh!"

There was a small silence followed by someone yelling "Show us yer tits!"

The President chose to ignore them.

"How many of you love Radiatia?"

This got them fired up, several let out a "yee haw" and there was the sound of glasses clinking.

She smiled. Maybe she could win them over after all.

"And who here wants Radiatia to be safe and strong?"

Many in the audience nodded, and one could be heard murmuring "I do... I think."

"Ladies and gentlemen, there is a dangerous man called Jaagen Autenberg running to be President. He's from Diatara--"

The audience let out a reassuring "boo" - many still angry over a recent sporting event in which Diatara had beaten Zorbakh.

"This man knows nothing about our military. My husband was the Minister of Defence. And ask yourselves this... why is Jaagen Autenberg supported by the government of Segland?"

There was a deathly silence.

Now I've shocked them, Angela thought with a smile.

Finally one man near the back said, "What's that?"

"Segland?" Asked the President.

"Aye, what's that?" Asked the man again, many others nodding in confusion.

"It's a country," Said the President not expecting she was going to have to explain this. "They are, ugh... they're the bad guys!"

"Ayup," Said the man.

"Wait hold on, I thought that there, ugh, Tuthina country were the bad guys?" Said another man.

"We made peace with Tuthina," Said Pavlovic. "Now Segland are the bad guys."

"Why don't we make peace with that Zegland then? I mean if they're okay with that Jaagen guy?"

"No, sir, Segland are very dangerous, we can't trust them!"

The audience seemed totally lost, and Angela was saved, somewhat, by a man in the front row who said, "Ya know yer so pretty that if I wasn't engaged to me niece, I'd want to marry you."

The President shrugged and said "Thank you very much."

She looked across the room, her advisers were signalling at her to wrap it up and cut her losses.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm President Angela Pavlovic. Please vote for me. Vote for Premier Thacker-" (Premier Thacker got a cheer, he was obviously recognised). "Vote for the LCP!"

The audience still looked confused.

"Blue! Vote for the blue option!" Said the President almost out of frustration.

A few people nodded, that seemed as close to a show of support as she was going to get.

"Whatever happened to that there Gregori guy?" Asked one man as she left the stage.

"You didn't hear? He was, well, impeached." Said the President.

The man seemed to understand. "Ayup. I ate a bad peach once too. I hope he makes it out of that there peach, I liked him."

The dumpy lady came to greet the President. "Would you like to stay for a roast? Harold died recently and he was donated to us..."

The President thought about it until suddenly remembering cannibalism was legal in the state of Zorbakh. "I'm fine thank you. It was a pleasure to meet you, and I hope I'll have your vote."

As she was ushered to the door she muttered, "Get me the hell out of here."

"We'll have to hurry, it's supposed to snow tonight and the airport might close."

"I don't care," Said the President as she got in her limousine. "Just get me the hell out of here!"

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Adios, Angela

Postby Radiatia » Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:15 am

Farewell Address (October 9th LET 60)
Angela Pavlovic



"My fellow Radiatians:

This is the last time that I will address you from this office. I've addressed you from this office 12 times over the last three years, and each time I do I cannot begin to describe to you how much of an honour it is.

It has been nearly half a century since our great federation overthrew the shackles of communism. To the older people in our country, the nightmare of the RPSU feels like just yesterday. To the young people, it's ancient history.

Yet the last four years has perhaps seen our still infant democracy overcome one of its greatest challenges and survive it impeccably.

I came to this office just three short years ago, and my time in office will be the shortest of any leader in our country's history. When I came into this office, the President had been impeached and sent to jail for the murder of his wife, and for abusing the powers of his office. The entire nation was shocked, and we found ourselves questioning whether democracy was all it was cracked up to be.

When I came to power I said it would be time for our nation to heal, and I believe we have. Our economy is stronger than ever. Our living standards are the highest in the world. Even in spite of the massive wealth divide we face, we have the highest average income in Noctur. We have been largely peaceful. And we continue to be a force for good in the world, whether it's standing up for our values of individualism and efficiency, or being a bastion of safety to those fleeing persecution and conflict.

Last week, despite claims that we might have lost faith in democracy, we saw the highest voter turnout in history - higher even that in LET 14 when we overthrew the communists.

You voted to elect Premier Jaagen Autenberg and I accept that decision. There is nothing more powerful than the will of the Radiatian people and tomorrow afternoon I will, as requested, hand over this office to Premier Autenberg.

I wish him well in office and have conveyed this to him. We have had several meetings, and I am confident of a smooth transition of power. I am confident that he cares deeply about our country but more than that I am confident that it will be business as usual, and that President-elect Autenberg understands and will protect those things we have achieved together this last three years.

I'm proud of many things in the short time I've been here. From the number of jobs created, to the fact that wages are higher - and more people are receiving higher wages thanks to the federal minimum wage act. Radiatians are going from welfare into work. Homer ownership rates remain high. Inflation is down, and products are cheaper than ever - almost every Radiatian now owns a car, and a smartphone, has access to the internet, to radio and television and most importantly food and shelter.

And we have become more tolerant a society than ever before - the gender wage gap has all but completely disappeared, we have embraced new cultures and new Radiatians, our cities have become more diverse than ever before and the Radiatian Federation each day looks more and more like a Nocturian Federation.

I am confident that we will continue our relentless march toward a better and more efficient society, and new technology promises to make it cleaner and more prosperous than ever in our ever-changing world which we remain at the forefront of.

My fellow Radiatians, it is traditional for a President to end their farewell address with a warning. And here is mine: Though it may be tempting, we cannot afford to fall into the trap of isolationism and protectionism.

I understand that we are a huge country, our federation is like a world within a world. But that does not give us an excuse to close off our borders, or our minds, or our hearts, to the rest of the world.

The internet and jet travel has made the world smaller than ever before, and so too is global economic interconnectedness. This has the potential to bring great joy and hope, but also challenges, particularly if we refuse to accept its inevitability now. There is a path to peace and it comes from understanding. But we cannot have understanding if we refuse to have connection with the outside world.

Well, that's all from me. Next week I'll be off on the first holiday I've had in nearly 40 years, since I first left university and became an attache at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a path that led me to the Humanitarian League, then into Parliament, then to being the Speaker of the Federal Assembly, to the Vice Presidency and finally here to the Presidency. It's been a wild ride. I look forward to going back to Clode, back to the west coast and next week I have a skiing holiday booked.

Thank you, Radiatia, for allowing me to serve you these last three years, and for the many years before that. It has been by far the greatest honour of my life."
Last edited by Radiatia on Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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