The Least Worst System (CLOSED)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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The Least Worst System (CLOSED)

Postby Hittanryan » Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:42 pm

San Rafael Country Club
Outskirts of New Laconia, Adiron

A pleasant breeze, the smell of fresh-cut grass, the hypnotic sounds of the ocean, these were the sights and sounds of one of Adiron's better golf courses. Green, lush fairways extended before players, broken up by patches of long fescue and in one part of the course small thickets. White sand filled the bunkers, and the water hazards were pristine-looking streams and glassy ponds. It seemed to be a perfectly idyllic scene...a loud wooden THWACK punctuated the whole scene.

"Shit," Secretary of War Li muttered. Rather than soaring into the blue sky, the ball had rather pitifully shot off the tee at about five feet off the ground, then made a hook-turn to the left. Remarkably, it managed to hit a tree more or less dead-on and bounced back into play. It was playable, but it meant Li had just hit a drive of about twenty yards. Then Michaels got up and blasted one three hundred yards down the fairway. Bastard.

Despite being VIPs, Adiron's Secretary of War and a senior Assemblyman, the two preferred to walk rather than ride around in a cart. They didn't have far to go off this tee, either, the clubs clinking together with each step.

"Those numbers on the aid workers come in yet?"

"How long have you been in the Cabinet?" Michaels replied glibly.

" already know I've been in since the election," Li said.

"Is that how long it takes for you to forget how long a poll takes? No, the numbers aren't in," Michaels finally answered as Li hefted a wood out of his bag. Etiquette held that you didn't talk during a partner's swing. This shot connected just fine, and put him a few yards ahead of Michaels' drive and in a better the cost of an extra stroke, of course.

They had a long walk to Michaels' ball after Li hefted the bag onto his shoulder. Time for more talk. "Before nobody gave a shit about Peregrino. Somebody else's problem, we'll go in as peacekeepers, do our best, then get out. Strip-searching Adirans, though..."

"Still don't know why you haven't pushed for containment of them too. They're Imperial allies now. If they weren't before sea-pomp, they are now," Michaels remarked. "Should just take out that Boy General of theirs and let them kill each other. Won't be any help to the Imperials if New Edom is falling apart."

"Too risky, the President said. If an assassination attempt fails and we're compromised, they'll openly back the Imperium and our international reputation will suffer," Li explained.

Michaels glanced over at him. "He said that?"

"No, the exact phrase used was 'we'd be fucked harder than a--"

"OK, thank you," Michaels interrupted him. Li gave him a wry grin. "So, what do you think of the strip search? Hundreds of aid workers, one of them fingered in public?" the Assemblyman asked.

"The government line or my opinion?" Li asked.

"I know the government line," Michaels said irritably.

Li inhaled sharply, glancing across the fairway. "Personally? Somebody needs to take Pahath-Moab down a peg or three. Nobody can touch him like this. You can talk and talk and he'll just smile and talk right around you. Slippery as an eel."

"Containment...what've we contained so far? The Imperials and Urdnots are part of an oil cartel, and the Imperium is an Edomite ally since containment began," Michaels griped.

"President was hoping the treaty organizations and such would help curb all of them," Li said, a bit of disdain evident in his voice.

"How many appeals for help did we send during the last war? How many replies did we get? We're still alone, and they're only getting stronger," Michaels said grimly, not facing Li.

Li seemed to consider it. "And the strip-search thing? It's a goddamned disgrace, doing that to aid workers. Naked and groped, all of them, and don't tell me they didn't know how that must feel. Now they'll attack a multinational peacekeeping force if they think they'll keep their greedy little mitts off the island. I'd say they've made their intent clear, and we've got no reason to play nice anymore."

"Letters are already coming into the Assembly, we just need that poll to figure out how big this is exactly," Michaels said, pulling out an iron from his bag.
Last edited by Hittanryan on Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:09 am

It was funny. Before a few mere weeks ago, the average Adiran would take a minute or two to find Peregrino on a map, unless they were history buffs. Even when Adiran troops were going there, it was just another routine peacekeeping mission, nothing to get in a panic about. Polls had shown that the Adiran public was in favor of DeGroot's diplomatic approach to handling the conflict, and the topic of sending Adirans to Peregrino even eked out a majority. Even when New Edom announced it was about to end the ceasefire, nobody cared much. Another conflict across the Tartarian without a real solution. "We tried."

When the Isidium aid workers were strip-searched, that's when it hit home. That's when family members started making frantic international calls. 'Where are you?' 'Were you on that flight?' 'You're not still going?' 'Get back home until they stop it.' Parents, siblings, spouses, and friends featured on the news talking about the incident. Letters funneled into the assembly. Blog posts started coming out, protests dotted universities and the Edomite embassy. In an odd incident, when some of the protestors by the embassy stripped naked in solidarity with the aid workers, the ambassador sent a message lauding their decision to support Edenism. This prompted them all to defiantly put their clothes back on.

"Ms. C" got the worst of it with a cavity search. Feminists amongst the Liberals took up that cause, with the especially loud sex-negative types trotting out figures of domestic abuse in New Edom. It was hard to find sources for them. Oddly, there was less outrage over the man who was strip-searched, but by all accounts he didn't seek counseling nor was he particularly traumatized. He just bad-mouthed the Edomites for an extended period and had apparently expressed support for the PIF's cause.

It was hitting home with the Adiran public that New Edom was a problem that wasn't going away, and it might affect Adiran lives after all. The country's leadership knew better, but the general population was more focused on what appeared to be more immediate threats, which were all generally in Ceti. The Imperium hung like a weight over the country, Urdnotia remained the Ceti Civil War's residual tumor, and even Arcologia had lashed out against Adiron in the past year.

Letters were coming in, most of them demanding conflicting actions. Some just wanted Adiron to protest, others wanted punitive measures like embargoes, pulling investments, freezing assets. Liberal voters lambasted the government for being needlessly provocative towards New Edom.

There was concern for the safety of Isidium workers in New Edom, concerns that the strip search had been conducted as a punishment and the aid workers in Bara would meet similar fates. Some wanted to pull them out, others wanted the government to send observers, either through the CPO or unilaterally, to guarantee their safety. The Isidium Foundation itself, while voicing protests that the search measures had been imposed without prior notification, stressed that it sought to continue its efforts.

Within the SDP coalition, however, some letters were gaining traction within a key ally. The Greens had long reconciled their support for DeGroot's more hawkish party by arguing the SDP's military goals were acting fundamentally defensively. When fighting in Ceti, this was easy. When fighting abroad, it was harder, but the government had chosen its overseas fights carefully. As it became clear that CPOMP wasn't likely to accomplish its mission, now it seemed their patience for interventionism had run dry. Whip Cullen was getting enough complaints that it was brought to DeGroot's attention. A cabinet meeting was in order.

This morning, DeGroot had seen Lily reading an article about the strip search. She'd been confused, mostly, rather than outraged or emotional. 'They didn't find a single weapon on the planes, and they couldn't carry much on them. Why did they do it?'

'Paranoia? If I could answer that...' he'd said, straightening his tie at the time.

'Did they do it just to humiliate them? Did we do something wrong?'

DeGroot had needed to seriously ponder that question. 'No, we didn't,' he lied. Obviously he had done something wrong. He knew his government had fucked up as soon as Redstone talked to Dathan. Everything was fucked.
Last edited by Hittanryan on Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:25 am

Government Office
New Laconia, Adiron

DeGroot himself remained conflicted on how to handle New Edom. They would have to be handled, one way or the other, and his cabinet had all given him conflicting opinions on the matter. It was time to get them all in the same room and cobble together a new policy with them. Half-assing it wasn't going to cut it now. A policy specific to New Edom needed to be enacted.

"All right my little shits and cocks, get the coffee on, we've got work to do," DeGroot said as he walked into the conference room. Most of the cabinet sat furtively. "Now, I don't like finding out our foreign policy with respect to a particular nation is completely fucked until after we've already shat on the negotiating table and whipped our dicks out."

Li quipped "To be fair, Mr. President, the latter of those options may not cause much offense in New Edom--"

"Enough. E-fucking-nough," DeGroot interrupted the Secretary of War. "Everyone always makes jokes. You start making jokes, you stop taking them seriously. Three planes full of aid workers got stripped naked, and now the Greens are gearing up for some kind of insurrection. Summers is dodging my questions, and Cullen is getting hounded."

"What do we need, then?" Li asked earnestly.

"Policy! We need a concrete policy to deal with this fucking Boy General before he gives us the run-around on something big! As it stands I'm already gonna have to mop up a fucking hurricane of piss out here!" he said, motioning to the door.

"Don't we have a policy? Monitor with some public engagement?"

"It's 'wait and see,' is what it is, and it's made us look biploar. We can't criticize their human rights record one week, send aid workers to help them the next, work to undermine FODE the week after that, and then help them with an election by the end of the month. We change our stance on New Edom more often than Saito buys a new car, and it seems we're just flipping a coin every week. This time the coin came up "shit" just as an armed conflict was involved. Now what is our policy? Vasquez, what do you have?"

The frumpy AIS head shuffled some papers around. She'd gotten contacts, it was hard to hear her start talking without putting the glasses on first. "Evidence keeps mounting of a strong working relationship between New Edom and the Imperium, even beyond FODE and the recent affairs over Peregrino. We have sources suggesting the Inquisition was heavily involved in the crackdown on Gloria Regis. One of our biggest assets was attacked in Arcologia by Edomite special forces, facilitated beyond a reasonable doubt in cooperation with the Imperium after Hurricane Murray. It is the AIS' recommendation that we work to drive a wedge between the two nations by any means necessary." Li nodded in agreement as she spoke.

"I...already...fucking...know that, Vasquez. You know what? Let's back up. I want input on what to do about this strip-search shit. Let's start with you, Vasquez," he said pointedly.

"Mr. President?"

"Yes. What do you think should be done? You personally."

Vasquez didn't seem to take much time with it. "Honestly, Mr. President...under the circumstances I'd have done the same thing."

"Strip people naked?"

"Increase security measures, Mr. President," she corrected.

"By stripping people naked?"

"If the situation called for it. It was merely a tactic, one adopted without knowing if the mercs were part of a wider effort. If the Edomites didn't have metal detectors or other body scanners to hand, this would have been an expedient method of coping. Granted, the degree to which this was considered invasive varies by culture..."

"You really think they strip searched them because they had to?" Li asked.

Vasquez glanced at him quizzically. "Their orders came down from the Edomite Defense Council, through their chain of command--"

"That's not what I meant, you can't hide an assault rifle under a t-shirt! They were checking for cavity searching? I've known some remarkable women in my time, but I don't believe for a minute the Edomites thought a breach comparable to the Ghantish could be carried out by Isidium sneaking weapons in on their person," Li replied irritably.

Vasquez started to say "Every potential threat is different--"

"That's two. Deol?" DeGroot interrupted.

Looking a bit hesitant, the Secretary of State remained calm. "I cannot speak to the efficacy of the procedure, though Vasquez is correct. To an Edomite, removing clothes doesn't mean a thing. This would be like...taking off your shoes at airport security."

"Taking--" Attorney General Flynn started.

"--but only to an Edomite. Even the Edomites recognize nudity isn't acceptable to everyone, even their own people. We must consider the possibility that this measure was meant to dissuade...something. More false aid workers? Scrutiny of San Marco by the CPO? Further Adiran action against New Edom?"

"Was this against New Edom, Secretary?" DeGroot asked suddenly. "We are officially neutral. That has been our line. Neutrality. Always neutral. No recognition of the PIF, no statements claiming we're defending sovereign Edomite soil. Neutral. But are we against New Edom?"


"The fact that you cannot answer that is why we're calling this meeting. But I cut you off, what is your personal opinion of this strip search?"

Deol seemingly had to switch off the policy side of his brain. "Had they been warned, or had these searches been conducted in private, that would be one thing. This...must have been humiliating, and I find it deplorable."

"All right, is anybody happy our people were strip-searched and worse? Show of hands? Anybody at all?"

No one raised their hands.

"If we're going to avoid this happening again, we need a New Edom policy," DeGroot said.

"The strip search?" Vasquez asked.

"No, getting caught with our pants down, bent over a fucking desk! That's what we need to avoid! By the end of this meeting, when I ask 'What the fuck are we doing about New Edom?' I want someone to be able to say 'This is what the fuck we're doing about New Edom.'"

"I agree," Li said, somewhat predictably really. "We need to simplify matters, first of all. New Edom is an Imperial ally, they even have ties to Urdnotia through FODE. We keep worrying about upsetting them because it'll drive them all into their camp. Well guess what? They're already there. It's time to treat them as such."

Secretary of Commerce Rhee, a slight middle-aged woman of Hostillian (but not Han) descent, abruptly piped up. "You're not seriously considering an embargo?"

"There are more important things than money, damn it! You know what else will hurt trade? An Imperial occupation of Puerto Rojo!" Li lashed out.

"Don't be melodramatic, get back on topic," DeGroot dismissed.

"And Mr. President, posing for pictures with Mr. Pahath-Moab isn't going to get us anywhere. He doesn't care about us beyond the Adiran dollars that are helping to keep him in power. Let's just cut him off from his allowance, and let him ask for it back."

DeGroot leveled a death glare at Li, but Deol spoke up first. "He'll never do that, he won't have to if the Imperium is supporting him. With respect, Mr. President, that policy would reverse what gains we HAVE made. Isidium's efforts in Glasstower have gained Adiron a considerable deal of goodwill. When their test election in Carnmag took place, the first government Pahath-Moab contacted was ours. And whatever happens in Peregrino, despite Secretary Li's apparent disapproval, we got them to the negotiating table."

"With respect, Secretary, we don't know what effects any of that may have really had on the Pahath-Moab regime," Vasquez countered.

"It's not dramatic or flashy, but things are slowly getting better. It's gotten to the point where Edomites may be given pause if told they are going to attack Adiron, or if Adiron is evil. If we could be a little more consistent about engaging them, then we could really have something," Deol finished.

"Again, we don't know that," Vasquez replied, Deol looking at her with a puzzled frown. "In fact we know next to nothing, and we rush into decisions anyway. That's our fundamental problem. We don't know ourselves or our enemy. Start polling, figure out the real public opinion on New Edom, then make a decision on policy."

"And if something else comes down the line before then?" DeGroot asked, rubbing his temples.

"With respect, we should focus on weathering this particular storm before we come to any snap decisions. Jumping into anything else at this point is a bad idea, especially with the Greens in protest and the Imperium potentially involved. Slow everything down, observe, then form a policy when we have a clearer picture."

Commerce Secretary Rhee was next to speak. "With respect to Secretary Deol, I don't know if he's giving enough credit to the improvements made in New Edom. For the first time since...probably the Great War, it has political stability and steady growth. They are the regime's top priorities, not destroying Adiron side-by-side with the Imperium."

"Could've fooled me," Li remarked bitterly.

"Why would they attack us if we don't pose a threat? We conduct billions of dollars worth of trade with them! If we were to start making offers instead of threats, we might break them off of the Imperium without having to concoct some hairbrained scheme to assassinate Pahath-Moab. Look, the Liberals are coming for us, let's out-Liberal them! Cut the rug out from under them!"

"Or they'll take our money and fuck us in the ass! What about Peregrino? What about the aid workers?" Li shouted.

"What about them?" Rhee answered coldly. "In the grand scheme of things, what's more important to you, Secretary? A Belisarian island and a few hundred aid workers' feelings, or containing a menace which could result in the deaths of thousands, millions even? The Imperium gaining an ally and polarizing the region against us is not containment!"

"This is fucking insane!" Li said, rising to his feet. "We didn't talk the Imperium to death when they were beating down our door! And it isn't right to let them abuse our people! You gotta stand up for yourself sometime!" He stormed his way out the door.

"The fuck do you think you're going?" DeGroot shouted after him. He didn't even look back at the meeting. Going back into the room, DeGroot now found all four camps in his cabinet arguing with each other, with Li's torch carried on by his Undersecretary. It was then it hit him: none of them knew any better than he did.
Last edited by Hittanryan on Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:35 am, edited 3 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:02 am

The Floor
National Assembly

The strip search was what got the letters started. It was what affected several hundred Adiran citizens directly, after all, just like when Badlands Security threatened Adiran air traffic. There always had to be something big to shock the system, get the blood pumping again. Despite all the attention it was getting, the strip search was only the trigger for a larger issue which was succinctly summed up by Assemblyman Rochon of the Libertarian Party:

"What the hell are we doing overseas?!"

He lobbed the question in the general direction of the door as DeGroot entered the room, who ignored it. Unfortunately, lining the path to the podium were other people who wanted to talk to him. With the cabinet in disarray, he didn't have answers to any of them.

"Mr. President, are you aware..."

"There is a petition with the signatures of over..."

Just a brief nod was all he'd give them for now, they could wait until Question Time or go through Cullen if they had to. Walking up the steps to the podium, a somewhat simple affair with the Adiran Great Seal just below it, he wondered how it would look if he took hits from a hip flask all the way through the affair, especially when he saw Saito immediately spring to his feet, a sort of slight smug grin on his face as he spoke. "The President has assured us, in this very chamber, that the sacrifices he's asked of the country were necessary to national security. In what way does deploying troops to Peregrino secure Adiron's national security?"

"Is the Opposition Leader aware of the impending humanitarian crisis which was developing on Peregrino?" DeGroot asked, still sticking to the old line.

"The Peregrino Crisis has not ended, and how secure are we when the government cannot defend our own citizens from humiliation and invasive treatment by the agents of a foreign dictatorship?" Saito asked, sustaining that maddeningly serene tone to his voice.

"The bizarre circumstances which led to that incident will not be repeated. All aid flights are going through Aqua Vita, not San Marco. Furthermore, no more Ghantish mercenaries have arrived in Airbuses full of weapons to spook the local customs authorities."

"Spook? Is the President suggesting they were justified?" Rochon piped up.

"No, I'm offering an explanation as to why it happened. The measure was a reaction to the Arrosabeltza Affair, which appeared at face value to be a breach of the CPO's ceasefire terms. It was a rash overreaction, but that it why the government believes it happened."

"Does the President plan on condemning Ghant for its complicity in the Affair?" Saito asked, leveling his gaze at DeGroot defiantly.

"There is no evidence to suggest Ghish was aware of the situation as it was unfolding, and their investigation so far indicates the ceasefire would not have been implemented at the time of their departure. If you have any, the international community would be very interested to know," the President fired back.

"That is still gross negligence, Mr. President, which led to Adirans being publicly degraded en masse and has likely pushed the Edomites into ending the ceasefire. Will the President bring this up on his planned visit to Ghish?"

"Yes, with Prime Minister Izarbegirasteak himself," DeGroot replied.

"It's pronounced Izarbegiratzeak, Mr. President. Is it appropriate to be visiting Ghant at this time, with the nation on pins and needles over the crisis your government involved us with?" Saito asked.

"Closing down dialogue is part of what created that crisis. Yula Zimya, under whose watch the Affair occurred, is now out of office. We have been in contact with Ghish, and they understand our concerns and are treating the matter appropriately. Ambassador Luo assures me things are in order."

Libertarian Tom Fritz piped up. "The CPO has dragged us into more overseas military commitments with no end in sight. The President is starting to write checks the Adiran people can't cash. How does this rampant interventionism and militarism benefit us? How has it ever benefited any democracy?"

"This government would hardly characterize interventionism as "rampant." And if you want to ask which democracies benefited from our supposedly unwelcome militarism, Assemblyman, I suggest you write a letter to Prince Nathaniel Victor in Lazodiria, or Basil Pappas in Valik, or Premier Weiler-Kotuk in New Othman."

"What about East Klamath? Or Gloria Regis? Or Muldera? It is easy to pick your battles when you think you're going to win, Mr. President. Whenever it looks like it may not be over in a month, we don't see this government springing into action. Is your policy a real commitment to democracy, or just a cynical attempt at securing your own power?" Saito sniped. The Liberals began murmuring, smiling, to the point where the Speaker banged his gavel once to restore order. Some of the Greens looked anxious.

As the words were coming out of Saito's mouth, DeGroot knew what he was going to say, but didn't know the real answer.
Last edited by Hittanryan on Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:55 pm

Beachside Villa
New Laconia, Adiron

New Laconia's beaches weren't nearly as famed as Puerto Rojo's--they were colder and some of them rocky--but they were prime real estate regardless. Following what he considered an immensely satisfying session of the Assembly, Opposition Leader Howard Saito was making his way through a Zen garden at the foot of a familiar upscale beachside house. It had wooden siding, painted in a very earthy sort of green, with a bit of fieldstone for the foundation. Facing the ocean were most of the modest mansion's spacious deck with a top-of-the-line grill and some wrought iron light fixtures on the side of the house.

A new addition, which Saito was surprised to see, were solar panels on the roof. Making his way up the steps, he found an elderly gentleman in a button-down and slacks. His hair had gone completely white, and deep wrinkles criss-crossed his entire tanned face by now. The man appeared to be enjoying a cocktail with a copy of the New Laconia Times open in front of him.

"Are you showing your support for the Greens, Mr. President?" Saito called out, pointing to the roof.

"I am taking advantage of what little tax relief is available to me, Assemblyman," the old man said, somewhat creakily rising to his feet. Saito was at one of the homes of Kristofer "Kris" Velez, Adiron's third president, who greeted him with a pat on the shoulder. He then puttered over to their usual spot overlooking the ocean. Today it was backgammon sitting on the table. Saito preferred chess, but oh well.

They first met while Saito's company was "just another agricultural firm" during Velez's first term of office. Saito had little use for politicians before then, having become politically aware under Ridgeway's endless "recovery measures." Velez left an impression, however, suggesting policy could actually be smart and even-handed. One of the first anecdotes Velez had told Saito was likening Ridgeway's contrasting economic policy to making a playground of all things. Ridgeway had broken her budget building swingsets and slides, which you get bored of quickly, only does one thing, and doesn't really go anywhere in the end. Velez made a big sandbox with plenty of buckets, shovels, and all the other tools you needed to build for yourself.

As Saito's star rose in Adiran business circles, he was increasingly invited to the high rollers' clubs, which included the country's political leadership. The two kept bumping into each other, and kept agreeing. Their continued friendship and Velez's encouragement was ultimately what made Saito enter politics. It was funny how the tables had turned. Started out with Saito working 12 hour days managing his company while Velez was President, and now Saito was Opposition Leader and Velez was giving speaking tours, opening libraries, and raising awareness for the Liberal Party he was only semi-retired from.

"So, are the Greens getting on board or not? You were vague," Velez said as they sat down.

"Many of them are thumbing their noses at "market-based solutions," and they seem to have rather long memories. They don't seem to trust us," Saito said, rolling the first die.

"Hmm, I suppose that's understandable. Guess I can only blame myself for that," Velez said, a smirk appearing.

"All the feelers I put out show they're only ready to break with the government over foreign policy," Saito explained as Velez made his move.

"That's all you need, really. The government's numbers improve every time they play hero. First the war, now Arcologia and Lazodiria," Velez said, with Saito stalling to come up with his next move. No matter what he did, he had a blot.

Sliding a piece down the board, Saito explained "Maybe we can take that little hat trick away from them. Did Nguyen send you the bill?"

"He did, but I haven't had a chance to read it," Velez answered, noticing Saito's vulnerability on the board.

"The Oversight Act. Full text stipulates that except in emergencies all future military actions must be subjected to thorough review by the Assembly. This extends to peacekeeping actions as well," Saito said, pointedly not looking at the lone checker dangling out surrounded by Velez's pieces.

Velez rolled, but couldn't capitalize on Saito's weakness. Damn dice. "What is your definition of an emergency, and how would the government designate a situation as such?"

"An emergency is defined as a situation in which the security of the Adiran people faces an imminent threat of unprovoked military action. To stage any sort of preemptive action, evidence must be submitted to all party leaders demonstrating its necessity to the nation's immediate security. If we are attacked, naturally, we may respond as needed," Saito explained calmly over the course of a couple of brief moves.

"And treaties? Don't leave an opening for them to make this about our allies," Velez cautioned.

"Existing treaty obligations are exempted. Future collective security agreements must contain language which brings it into line with the Oversight Act with respect to military action," Saito continued.

"Be careful about that. I'll look that over, if you don't mind," the older former President said.

"I'd welcome it as always," Saito answered, managing to move the first of his pieces back to his home board.

Velez grimaced, initially Saito thought over his progress in the game, but then his tone shifted. "Everything's going to hell. We were going to take our little corner of the world and make it right again. Now? Hordes of...lunatics are on our border, we're charging around the region without a clue, and an Adiran generation is growing up having never known peace...again."

"We didn't necessarily have a choice in the matter with the border," Saito countered. Opposition or not, he'd seen what the Imperials did on Burning Friday, watched as Adiran cities fell to the enemy.

Velez looked grim, without saying anything. Saito perceived something in the old Liberal, like his eyes were a thousand kilometers away. In fact, Velez was actually was in the same city, but removed by a decade.

"Package is confirmed dead. All other survivors. Number of dead...indeterminate. The Imperial personnel be in prayer. Fox standing by."

"Mr. President...we should engage. Seize the intel, cover ourselves."

"They'll already know where he was going, we engage and we could start a war."

"But they don't necessarily know we were in contact with him. He could have kept records, communications, we don't know. They find that, you'll have a war. You seize it, maybe not."

Dead mothers and fathers, trying to shield dead children. The ghastly writhing of those who were still alive after the firing squad. An armed man walking down the line, finishing each one off with a shot to the head and a prayer. These were the monsters across the border. Cetans ought to know better. They ought to know better...

"We were making such progress," Velez finally said, shaking the memory. "Twenty years to catch up to the rest of the world. were a child back then. How much do you remember?"

"Enough, I'd say," Saito replied.

"Were you a city boy? Gas rationing? Streets blocked for years by rubble? Or were you out in the sticks? No indoor plumbing? Carry a gun whenever you traveled?"

"Hmm, not enough, then, I'd say," Saito corrected. "I was in Puerto Rojo. I'd describe it as being in general disrepair, but I wasn't there long enough and it was a long time ago."

"And now look at it. One of Cornellia's greatest cities. I'm proud of what we did," Velez said wearily, "And the Social Democrats are gambling with our work. Our current vitriolic head of government couldn't switch it off after the war ended. He'll provoke and antagonize and fight until people forget what peace is. Can't let that happen again."

"Again?" Saito asked.

"Ceti. Ceti defined itself by its enemies. It poisons societies. When there's no one left to fight and that's all you know, you start fighting each other."
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:04 pm

Government Office
New Laconia

DeGroot was on the warpath the next day. Li had stormed out of a cabinet meeting, and the rest of them hadn't come up with jack shit for a policy, just reasons why the other plan wouldn't work. Li had disappeared, though. He was not answering calls, not responding to email, nothing all day. On a hunch, however, DeGroot jiggled the door handle to the Secretary of War's office and found it unlocked. Li was at his desk as normal, apparently typing something on his computer.

Shrugging exaggeratedly at Li, DeGroot started dressing him down. "What's with you? Did you shit a LEGO garage yesterday? Storming out of fucking cabinet meetings now?"

"I didn't see any point in staying, frankly. I had some things to do," Li said dismissively.

Walking up to him, DeGroot had a glare that could bore a hole through reinforced steel plating. "You are supposed to be a Cabinet Secretary, not a fucking plastered dropout on a reality show! We've got a to-do list that's longer than a fucking Leonard Cohen song, and you're wasting time to take a fucking dramatic stand. The only stand you need to worry about is the one I'll mount your stuffed body to if you do that again!"

"Oh, I must've missed something after all. Did you craft your New Edom policy in that meeting?" Li asked, rising to his feet. DeGroot glared at him, trying to shut him up, but Li held firm. "Well? Did you decide to keep sending them fruit baskets? Or pay them protection money? Or the cunning plan of...doing nothing at all?"

"Yes, very good, reduce every position to a mental-sounding sentence fragment. You've clearly given this problem a lot of fucking thought," DeGroot fired back.

"Deol's feel-good stuff is toothless, and you know it. Most Edomites still think we're rich godless heathens who want to take away their rights to beat their wives and burn witches at the stake. For all that aid we're not getting anything in return. Rhee is worried about her trade initiative failing to save her own skin. Vasquez is a one trick pony: just observe and collect intelligence without making a sound."

"So, you've got everything solved? You've ingeniously pinpointed the exact fuck-up in our New Edom policy?"

"As a matter of fact, I have," Li declared. "Know what your policy's problem is? When you're trying to get Pahath-Moab to do something, and he says "or what?" you can't answer him! You've got about as much leverage over Pahath-Moab as a roller skater has on Franklin Tower," Li said, pointing to his window towards the skyscraper.

"And what's your answer to "or what?" We'll fucking declare war? Burn your cities? Kill your people? Sew your fields with salt?" DeGroot ridiculed the logical extreme of Li's likely approach.

"How often has the Imperium openly and with no convoluted pretext attacked anyone since the end of the last war? That's because they know, they absolutely know that we'll be waiting, standing between them and their goal. That alone has made the world safer," Li argued.

"Right, so to make the whole world safe and bring about world peace, we need to tell every nation that might attack someone else that Adiron will be the big hero and stop them. Let me just call up that Treasury undersecretary with access to the entire planet's monetary supply. What was his name? Michael McDoesn'tExist?" DeGroot said, folding his arms.

"You know I'm not Malcolm Griffiths, and you know I don't want to end up like him. I'm not talking about attacking and provoking the whole region, I'm talking about setting clear principles which the international community knows we will stand up for no matter what," Li explained.

"Oh? Like what? Making democracy non-negotiable? I'm sure we'll convince Pahath-Moab to reform and end his state of emergency with that attitude," DeGroot said acridly.

"No, not democracy! You can't force drastic democratic reforms on a country like New Edom with a history of political violence, disruptions in civil society, and no democratic tradition. At least, you can't force it on them and expect it to work.

"So what are we standing up for?"

"Basic human rights! The freedoms we already condemn the Imperium and Urdnotia for denying. Freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of thought. Rights to fair trials, protection from genocide, things most would generally agree on. Things that Pahath-Moab claims to uphold but sweeps aside whenever convenient, like in Peregrino," Li explained.

"What happened to "or what?" If we tell Pahath-Moab or anyone else that they have to implement these reforms, and he says "or what?" What do we do then?"

"Prioritize aid, trade, and friendships with countries demonstrating a willingness to respect human rights, rather than giving it to nations that already abuse their people in the hopes that they'll change. It needs to be made clear that if a nation acts against Adiron's interests, which include human rights, then there will be consequences."

DeGroot seemed to have deflated somewhat. He appeared at face value to be listening. "Those being?"

First, stop fueling their economies. Tariffs, targeted import quotas, export bans on key technologies. Then we target people. More student and work visas to more liberalized nations, expedite the refugee process to more abusive ones. And, as you said with New Othman, zero tolerance for rogue states," Li explained methodically.

"Oh, so you mean you had an idea?" DeGroot said, expression hardening again. "Then why did you fucking storm out the cabinet meeting instead of stopping to explain it?"

"And get it shouted down by Rhee, Deol, and Vasquez? Why bother?"

"You'll leave a cabinet meeting when it's fucking over, or I'll have your kidneys for fucking cufflinks," DeGroot said, jabbing a finger at him.

DeGroot appeared ready to turn around and depart, when Li piped up again, producing a packet of papers. "Mr. President, I was talking to Assemblywoman Scott about the CDP's advisory work in Carnmag, she brought something interesting up. A party-by-party poll was conducted of Adiran public opinion on New Edom. Don't worry, I checked the methods and sample sizes, they were solid. What percentage of our own party would you say supports restricting trade to states with human rights abuses?"

"What kind of loaded question is that? Nobody's going to say "no" to that," DeGroot quipped.

"What if I said that extended to limiting humanitarian aid if sufficient oversight is lacking?" Li continued. DeGroot sort of narrowed his eyes. "The public seems to recognize what Deol doesn't, which is without specific guidelines a considerable amount of aid will go to a grinning warlord with a necklace made of human finger bones."

DeGroot was only listening now.

"And what about FODE? Fifty-eight percent polled, a solid majority, said that FODE represents a "direct threat to Adiron by providing economic support to the Imperium and Urdnotia." There's consensus in the party that something has to be done," Li said in a warning tone.

DeGroot said nothing, so Li pressed on. "On top of that, a solid majority of our party believes the Imperium has already recovered from the last war, and its influence throughout the region is growing."

At this, DeGroot snatched the paper out of Li's hand and started going over the results of the poll himself. "The numbers are right there, and if Scott had them, you can bet the party has seen them too. Whatever you decide, you'll have your constituency to answer to, Mr. President," Li cautioned as he went for the door.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:44 pm

Bateaux Brasserie
New Laconia

It was colder in New Laconia than Tom Alvarado was used to for this time of year. It was still beach weather in Puerto Rojo, but the leaves were starting to turn farther north here. Though it meant a reprieve from the sometimes sweltering heat, Adiron's junior Assemblyman hadn't quite been ready to cut his summer short just yet. Of course, with the money he was making now he could at least afford a wetsuit.

Assemblyman Alvarado won his by-election not long before Peregrino got into the news. As it turned out, Tom's campaign staff's fears that the by-election would be focus on the candidates' character worked out in his favor. His chief opponent from the Liberals was Claire Lewis, an economic policy wonk who seemed to be unable to communicate effectively to voters. When it came to trade policy and international finance, she had Tom thoroughly outclassed, but Tom was more well-rounded and could break policy down into simpler terms for the average voter. Not only that, but his age, also thought to be a liability, seemed to convey a certain energy Lewis lacked.

Despite his electoral success and outward confidence, however, Tom didn't have any illusions about his place in the pecking order. He knew that he got tagged for the by-election because others higher up on the party list didn't want it, and he was also made keenly aware of his age and inexperience. While his party had his back, Tom could not often operate on his own initiative, or in some cases not even independently. The Opposition sneered at the young face the SDP used to plug a temporary hole in their coalition. The first and only time he'd spoken on the floor, Tom had seen Saito wearing this bemused smile, suggesting he was wondering what this fresh-faced kid was doing in his chamber and that in his spare time he'd already gleaned how to neutralize him.

This first term was ultimately going to be a stepping stone and little else. Winning the election was probably the most he could have hoped for. The chances that Tom Alvarado would miraculously explode onto the Adiran political scene and leapfrog ahead of everybody ten years his senior on the SDP list were slim to none barring extreme circumstances, and extreme circumstances could just as easily throw his entire party out of power. Now was more a chance to shake a few hands, plant his name in a few ears, and generally build a few working relationships.

Given all that, when Tom was invited by Armed Forces Committee Chairman Andrew Michaels to lunch with several of his colleagues, he had to remember to let the man finish his sentence. They were heading to the Bateaux Brasserie, a rustic upscale Roncevallais restaurant. It was different from the sleek postmodern looks of places he'd been taken in Puerto Rojo, instead trying to evoke an Old World feel like something you might find in Lazodiria or L'Ossienne. The decor was largely minimalist and elegant, with a lot of dark wood trim, softened a bit by light-colored walls. The tall windows meant that patrons ate with plenty of natural light, and looked out on a flower and vegetable garden that was part of the building's green wall.

The rest of their party was waiting for them at the restaurant, and included even more SDP Committee members. Cole sat on the Armed Forces Committee and was known as a hawk possibly for personal reasons: he lost a daughter in Burning Friday and a son in the war. Stokes was on the Committee of International Relations, and had helped organize the alliance with Laudine. Morrison was the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense and had pushed several large defense contracts through during the last war just when it looked like things were stalled. Each seemed to have brought their own guests, other junior Assemblymen and, in a pleasant surprise, Assemblywoman Mandana, another young SDP pol who happened to be an attractive brown-skinned woman with dark hair. She'd accompanied Tom to New Edom once.

Just as they were walking in the door, Michaels was talking to Tom about his election. Stokes quietly cleared things like their cover charge with the maitr'd as they walked in. "That was a nice bit of work you pulled off there, you had Lewis looking like everybody's least favorite Econ professor."

"Well, I do hear an awful lot about how I ought to still be the class clown at University," Tom replied, suggesting from his tone that he might as well play the part.

"With age doesn't necessarily come wisdom, believe me," Cole chimed in. "I remember 'So how does that help anyone who makes less than $350,000 a year?' Good stuff, good stuff..." he recalled, referring to when Tom challenged his opponent on an esoteric bit of foreign investment strategy.

Thinking about that debate, Tom sort of smirked and added "I was sincere, too." His older colleagues all chuckled a bit at that before they were led off to the side to their own room. Michaels being the host, the rest of the men waited until he sat down to take a seat, then unfolded their napkins onto their laps and started browsing the menus. After Michaels picked out a Sauvignon Blanc to go with his seafood risotto, he joked that it was 5 o'clock somewhere and they all might as well make themselves comfortable.

Tom quickly tried to make a decision on the menu, but found himself worrying about the image each choice would project, aware of his junior status. He'd decided on a "Local Albacore Tuna Nicoise" before realizing it was a salad...maybe not. A "Bateaux Burger" sounded appealing, but it was too messy for a business lunch. He never had duck before and it was the most expensive thing on the menu. Finally he settled on sweet corn tortellini. Trouble was, Tom didn't know what the hell he was doing when it came to pairing wines. Taking a shot in the dark, he picked some merlot. No comments or odd looks from the rest, maybe it was all right.

As he agonized over his choice of lunch, he kept a serene smile on his face, replying casually to the banter until it was time to order. When the waiter arrived, practically at attention, the banter slipped into the actual meeting.

"So, given how things have gone astray in Peregrino, there's talk of a foreign policy shake-up," Michaels announced briskly. The senior Assemblymen at the table nodded in agreement. "Recent polls by the CDP indicated that our constituency supports a more decisive foreign policy with respect to New Edom in the wake of Peregrino."

"What does that mean? Decisive how?" Mandana asked.

"Thought you'd never ask. The current policy has produced...minimal returns at best. Still aggressively expanding, still stripping foreign nationals including ours, still in a "state of emergency," and, worst of all, still allied to the Imperium. They're not friendly, even in the best of times," Michaels said.

"The polls also suggest it's time to take a more concrete stand on human rights. We need to stop looking the other way just because it's convenient," Cole piped up. "If we're going to keep raising international awareness about the Imperium and Urdnotia's crimes against humanity, we need to be consistent. Time to cut off these regimes' life support and start working towards international sanctions."

"There's an obvious comeback to that: it hurts our economy," one of the junior Assemblyman said, who Tom didn't recognize.

"It's going to happen anyway with FODE. Next time there's a war with any of those rogue states, even if we're just defending ourselves, we're going to have our regional oil supply cut off. We might as well get the short term pain over with in peacetime so it doesn't cripple us when we can afford it least," Morrison explained.

Tom then piped up, saying "FODE is divided, though, we might be able to break a few off. Embargoes hurt them too, especially if we get a few others to reciprocate."

"Yes," Michaels said, pointing at Tom. "But we'll do more than that. Green initiative or not, renewable energy is one of our most potent weapons against FODE. Big Bad FODE can scare the rest of the region for a bit, and that might get everyone panicked enough to start taking real steps towards a fossil fuel-free future. At that point, FODE has two options: sacrifice revenue or start budging a bit at the negotiation table."

"Pain at the gas pump though, voters will feel that one..." Tom pointed out apprehensively as the waiter efficiently returned with their drinks.

"Assemblyman Alvarado," Michaels said, addressing him directly, "you served in the last war. Third Infantry? Fought in the Winter Counteroffensive?"

"You must have read my campaign page," Tom joked. The others didn't laugh, and the waiter departed as quickly as he'd entered.

"You saw firsthand what it cost to drive the Imperium back. Imagine if they had more help than Urdnotia?"

The rest of the table glanced at each other. "What do you mean?" Mandana asked.

"This is an even more serious matter than perhaps any of you realize. It's being discussed and debated as high up as the Cabinet," Stokes said.

"In fact, that's where all of this originated. The President himself is already taking the matter of New Edom very seriously. A number of disturbing truths have been revealed," Michaels announced.

"Such as?" the same Assemblyman as before asked.

"This does not leave this room, understood? Not until we're ready. The details are classified and furthermore it's what we're going to use to push this bill forward," Stokes replied. The senior committee members looked for nods of agreement in each of them, before Michaels spoke.

"We know about Damoclea. Everyone knows about Damoclea. They were a communist rogue state with no international support, one that the Imperium could easily justify smashing and colonizing. They even kept to their own sector. The Inquisition and the CP, however, are much, much closer than that..." Michaels said ominously.

"Credible intelligence indicates the Inquisition collaborated with the Edomite Council Police to assassinate Nelson Smith, Premier of Gloria Regis, in a false flag operation. In framing the Feminist Collective Party, New Edom and the Imperium intentionally destabilized the Protectorate so Pahath-Moab would have an excuse to seize the island militarily."

"Even more disturbing, the Imperium is facilitating Council Police activity in Ceti," Michaels continued, stressing the word. "A high-value target in Arcologia was secured during Operation Overcast. He claimed Edomite special forces attacked him in the Tenmar Basin prior to that. Apparently an attack of that nature was even verified by AIS agents. Anti-piracy patrols were on high alert off the west coast at that point in time...except where there was an Imperial Navy presence."

He finished in time for the food to arrive, at which point the waiter noted many of the junior members of the table wore concerned frowns. The senior members seemed calm, as though they had things under control. After they had their plates, Michaels concluded "The Edomites have made their bed. They're going to have to lie in it. I hope I'll have your support in the coming weeks, knowing what you do now."
Last edited by Hittanryan on Fri Dec 26, 2014 10:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:37 pm

Government Office
New Laconia

DeGroot was looking over a bit of intelligence leaked by Growth to the government. Apparently the little right-wing bastards didn't like the direction the Liberals were heading, which was non-interventionism. Unfortunately they didn't really know what was planned or when it would be coming down the pipeline. He was just finisheing when Secretary Deol and Ambassador Friedman entered his office, shutting the door behind them. "Just got word. Quorum reached on Azurlavai CPO mission. Romans dragged their feet, but they got there," Friedman announced.

The President looked less than thrilled. "Yes, very good, now we are given another opportunity to get fucked. Isidium can go in if they're up to it, and the military police will provide security," he said dismissively.

Deol inhaled, apparently mustering a bit of energy. "Mr. President, the State Department believes that would be a wasted opportunity. This is our government's chance to demonstrate its commitment to humanitarian issues. We should be consistent."

"Voted for the fucking thing, didn't we?" DeGroot snapped.

"The request was for a division strength force..." Deol reminded him.

"Not putting a division of Adiran troops under Edomite command. I don't know if we can trust them now," the President interrupted.

"They've been broadly successful so far--"

Apparently having little patience for the idea, DeGroot interrupted once more. "No, I'm not giving a division of Adiran troops to get stationed in Shit Central while the Edomites get to monitor the ski resorts. They probably want to see how many body parts fall off when you make skiers go up naked."

"Mr. President, with due respect that didn't happen in Lazodiria or Gavinium," Deol said, a bit more assertively. "Plus several other members have also declined to send troops citing their support of the Commonwealth. The CPO could be left under strength."

"Yeah and wouldn't that be fucking terrible?" DeGroot fired back. "That way the only CPO mission that fails is the one under our command, even though we're sending troops to all of them. That's fucking perfect. Now we're Cornellia's Gomer Pyle. "Go here, do this, don't think, you'll hurt yourself." The Missions to Gavinium, Central Acheron, and Azurlavai succeed while Peregrino gets a sandpaper enema. Yes, very good."

Friedman intervened at this point. "The point is that they will take all the help they can get. This is the first decisive international action in Azurlavai since the civil war started, and it's increasingly shitty down there. They can't afford to piss us off, we'll have input."

"Oh well, shit, that makes everything better. Input. You ever see Shalmaneser? You watch that documentary on Carnmag? The guy's a fucking robot," DeGroot replied. "We'll have about as much input as a cubicle farmer in Callaban does on his contractually-obligated explosive death collar. If we get fucked again, I'll have to fucking send Redstone on his knees to say 'Sorry Your Excellency Pahath-Moab, boss, we won't do that again. Please, tell us your personal fellatio preferences so we may better please you.' Fuck that and fuck him."

"If we don't send troops, do you know who will pick up the slack? New Edom, the Shrailleeni Empire, and the Imperium," Friedman said. "Then everyone who opposed or declined to send troops to CPOMP gets to claim all the credit for helping to save Azurlavai. Furthermore, this mission is simpler, and could set the public's mind at ease about peacekeeping in general."

DeGroot turned on Friedman, his friend. "Are you out for glory? Allow me to give you a horse, a helmet, and a six foot long dildo you can use as a lance in the grand tourney of "Get Fucked." You're worried about credit now?"

Not backing down, Friedman countered with "Do you want the region saying the Imperium was right all along? That Peregrino was about fucking over New Edom?"

"If I worried too much about what the Imperium said about me, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Well, not outside of an Inquisition gimp closet anyway," DeGroot quipped.

"Do you worry much about the Imperium regaining its credibility?" Deol suddenly asked rather pointedly.

"Only if the Immortal God-Emperor of Man erases all the memories and evidence of their human rights record. Then I'll worry," the President replied.

"Do you really think it's impossible? All it takes is a few alliances and a few missteps on our part. Then containment fails," Deol cautioned.

Friedman went a step further. "We go back to trying to convince Acheron and Belisaria to keep their embargoes in place, working against the argument of "Well, what they did was pretty bad, but trade's good and you're not much better." Then we're isolated again. We're back in 2010 again."

DeGroot looked suddenly angry. Maybe it was the hyperbole, maybe it was that Friedman was trying to manipulate him. "Are you fucking stoned? It's not the fucking same!"

"No, you're right, it will be worse than 2010," Deol pressed. "The Imperium and New Edom working together can completely deny us the Tartarian Ocean. They might base fleets out of Damoclea to hit the coast. Altinum will block the Southern Passage, possibly working with the Edomite listening post in Callaban."

The President's scowl seemed to soften for a moment, but then quickly returned. "Yeah, bad odds. Always has been. Do you have any advice or are you just saying we need to give up?"

Deol finally got to the real point. "I'm saying you have to drive a wedge between New Edom and the Imperium, Mr. President, and if you take one thing away from Peregrino let it be that you can't bully Pahath-Moab into submission. You have to figure out a way to work with him."

"That didn't work," DeGroot remarked sharply.

"It didn't?" Deol asked. "They didn't ask for our input in Carnmag? They didn't follow the judgement of the CPO JAG in the Haggith Affair? They didn't consent to mediation in Peregrino after we conducted direct diplomacy? They're not proposing a humanitarian mission to Azurlavai?"

DeGroot decided he'd play the same game. "They didn't use the Inquisition to take over Gloria Regis? They don't imprison and torture political dissidents? They don't get the Imperium to back them up in every war they start?"

Friedman then made his own pitch. "You're worried about them being too close to the Imperium? Let's say you isolate New Edom. Embargoes, freeze their assets. Let's even say you can get the rest of the region to do the same. You know who they'll turn to? And you know who their target will be?"

DeGroot didn't have anything to say to that. There was just a pause, long enough that Friedman decided to simply press onward. "The way things are, they've got nothing to lose by playing chicken with us. Whatever annoyances or insults we hurl their way, they don't think we'll attack them because their allies will start a new war in Ceti that we are trying to avoid. Since they don't fear us, any confrontation we have will end in bloodshed.

Deol chimed in with the final part of his own pitch. "We need to make it so they value our friendship, at least more than the Imperium." The President merely wore a frown, gaze still leveled at the two State Department officials.

Realizing the discussion for now was likely over, Friedman left the room. Deol left with one last bit of advice: "Look, at least consider Azurlavai. Our line on Peregrino is that our government had a primarily humanitarian interest in the situation. You've got a humanitarian mission on the table here, without the added complexity of keeping two armies from crossing a line in the sand. You can also start to use it to turn things around with Fineberg."

Excerpt from the President's Press Statement, the Next Day

"Over the past seven years, Azurlavai has been locked in the grip of a bitter civil war. Over nine million Azurlavaians have perished as a result of this destructive conflict, and many areas are faced with a near-total breakdown of civil society as they once understood it. Every Cetan knows what happens when this sort of conflict goes unchecked and unresolved."

"Today, Adiron has a chance to help spare Azurlavai that same fate. The CPO has approved a new mission aimed at providing relief to the millions of impoverished and displaced peoples affected by the war. When we first proposed a CPO mission to Peregrino, this government had one thing in mind: saving lives. This is no different. Therefore, as part of our obligations to the Cornellian Peacekeeping Organization, Adiron will deploy peacekeepers to safeguard refugee camps and evacuation lanes..."
Last edited by Hittanryan on Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:40 pm

Back Office
National Assembly

It was finally a bridge too far. A new CPO deployment, before the previous one was concluded. A mission to protect aid workers, when the previous one had still allowed aid workers to be abused by the Edomites. A deployment with another Edomite command.

The Greens had voiced objections to Adiron's involvement in New Othman, but they were swept under the rug when the intervention in Lazodiria boosted the government's poll numbers. Peregrino's ambiguous status, on the other hand, suddenly seemed to justify the Greens' apprehension. Yet still the President wanted yet another deployment.

Green Party Leader Will Summers had reasons to be wary of the government besides concerns that it acted impulsively in CPOMP. He hadn't forgotten that DeGroot threatened the ESS to get him to go along with his intervention in Lazodiria, and that several of his party members broke with him and voted against the authorization of military force. In the planning stages for Peregrino, DeGroot told Summers that they weren't going to push when they did, that he agreed with his calls for caution.

Then when the leak happened, the President basically said, not in so many words, "Well, it's out there now and we were going to release it anyway, so we might as well roll with it." Had the leak really been a leak? Or was it a way of forcing it through over Summers' head? Could he really still trust the President anymore?

Summers' party was once again forced to acquiesce to the new peacekeeping mission. The Green constituency's social justice wing was riled up about the treatment of aid workers, and DeGroot had managed to sell this as a "humanitarian" mission pretty effectively, appealing to memories of the Ceti Civil War. There had been overtures, though, amongst the rank-and-file.

That's why Summers was essentially sneaking through the back halls of the Assembly to a private office. Why he checked behind him to make sure no aides were following him. Why the first men he saw upon opening the door were Howard Saito and a collection of who were normally his chief opponents in the legislature.

"Assemblyman Summers, I must say I am excited about the prospect of working with you," Saito said wearing a wide friendly smile.

"Opposition Leader, you do appreciate that "working with you" will get me drawn and quartered by my own party, correct?" Summers said, remembering all the attacks Saito had launched on his party's agenda, lest he be taken in by Saito's apparent affability.

"Of course, Assemblyman. I do hope you're not taking our differing views on policy personally. We all have our constituencies to answer to, after all," Saito said genially.

"Yes, I'm aware of what a political party is, Mr. Saito," Summers said somewhat sharply. The Green looked tense, and Saito suspected he wouldn't be baited into small talk. Very well. It was fair enough considering Saito had waged an unrelenting assault on the Greens since the ESS was passed.

Abandoning the pleasantries, Saito started his pitch. "Of course you do, I didn't mean to lecture. I always found it odd that the Greens allied with the SDP, to be frank. Conscription, overseas bases, brinkmanship. All of that still hasn't caused a revolt in your constituency, eh?"

"They're not afraid of asking a few billionaires to kick in their fair share towards a sustainable future," Summers replied.

"Mr. Summers, we are not opposed to sustainable development," Saito said, still smiling. "We were concerned about the implementation of the ESS while it was being debated, but we would be fools to stifle what is now a successfully growing sector of the economy."

"Saito, you attacked the ESS as recently as three months ago. Let's stop pretending this meeting is something it's not," Summers said abruptly. "We are here to discuss foreign policy."

Saito steepled his fingers. "You are going to vote against the Azurlavai measure?"

"No, our hands are tied. Your other measure filtered its way up to me though, and I must say I don't exactly appreciate your party sneaking around. If you had something to say, you should have held this meeting earlier," Summers said.

"Ah yes, the Oversight Act," Saito replied.

"What is your angle? Why push for it now?" Summers pressed.

"Do you really think it is in the country's best interests to keep charging around the region, fighting battles that aren't ours, acting as the world police, and conscripting our young people in order to do it? Especially when the biggest threat we face is right on our border?" Saito asked. Summers didn't answer, trying not to give away his party's feelings. "DeGroot is not a peacetime consigliere."

"I'm not entirely sure how I should take that comparison," Summers replied.

"Take it this way: DeGroot doesn't know what to do with peace, and he seems to think war will keep his poll numbers high. We are representing the nation's desire for peace. Azurlavai would be a line in the sand."

"I told you, we are locked in there. We'll do what we can with the Oversight Act, but I can't make any promises. Is that clear?"

"All we ask is that you try, Assemblyman," Saito concluded with a smile.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:30 am

Government Office
New Laconia

The Chief Whip was working overtime these days. Every day Cullen had to deal with squeamish members of the government who got a few too many letters. "No, we're not going to pull all aid workers out of Bara." "Retract that statement about the ceasefire failing." "On your interview tonight be sure to mention X..." Saito was on a real tear during Question Time, and the SDP had to ask the right questions to counteract them.

For his part, Cullen wanted to get a better political snapshot before acting one way or another, focusing his efforts entirely on protecting the government and weathering the storm. That meant when the hawks within his own party started squirming about New Edom being an Imperial ally, Cullen had to shut them the fuck up so they didn't publicly damage the government.

With all of these other threats preoccupying him, Cullen wasn't able to see the signs coming from the Green camp. He never noticed Summers sneaking off to meet with Saito. The SDP leadership had been flippant about the Greens' inboxes, reminding them that everyone was getting inundated, not just them. Cullen himself had effectively vetoed several Green questions for Question Time, not realizing that there might have been more to them than trying to bolster the government's numbers.

Will Summers essentially took the coalition's enforcer by surprise when he sought a private meeting. The Oversight Act took him even more by surprise. Policy wonks could debate the pros and cons of the bill; Cullen's main concern was that the Greens were issuing a direct challenge to the government.

Dropping the text of the bill back onto the table, Cullen folded his arms. "Where the hell did this come from?" he asked. Summers glanced down at the paper and seemed to hesitate. "There's effort behind this. This isn't just some poison pill you've been holding back. Explain."

"How long did the President think this constant military activity could go on unchecked?" Rutherford, a junior Green asked, shifting somewhat uncomfortably in her seat.

"Our government..." Cullen said, pausing, holding Rutherford's gaze, and emphasizing the word "our" in particular, "...hasn't rushed into any foreign military entanglements without exercising all due diligence and exhausting all other options. Your party was kept appraised of all developments."

"Yes, the Greens were kept appraised of them. We were told what was going to happen, and then we were told what to do, regardless of the impact it might have on our party," Summers sniped.

"The coalition's numbers are up from the start of the year, Assemblyman, in no small part because voters feel like we're actually making a difference in the world. Furthermore, it's my job to keep them that way," Cullen fired back.

"I'm sure the SDP's poll numbers are doing just fine. We, on the other hand are losing ground. The Liberals have been grinding away our social justice voters over conscription for years, ever since the election. Libertarians compete with us on e-democracy and non-interventionism," Summers explained.

"Then what are you doing? Communicate to your constituency!" Cullen said, raising his voice.

"That's what we're doing. With this," Summers said, pointing downwards at the text of the bill. "My party can't keep rolling over, Mr. Cullen. The Green constituency won't tolerate it. I was a good soldier and did damage control over New Othman, even after the President threatened us directly. I kept my mouth shut over Peregrino even as our polls were falling. I'm sorry, Chief Whip, but I feel as though we must assure our voters that we still have a platform and remind the President that we still exist."

"Look, imagine what happens if you set this in front of someone like Michaels or Cole. The President listened to that crowd on New Othman, what if he listens to them now? If the press or the Opposition gets even a whiff of a confidence vote, you'll be throwing everything away," Cullen said, trying to reason with him. "Why are you so big on non-interventionism all of a sudden anyway?"

Sighing exasperatedly, Rutherford irritably replied "You haven't been listening. It's not all of a sudden, we've been dealing with this for months. Your party just ignored it. It's like this at the polls: Defending the country? Sure. Safeguarding against our greatest threat? Fine. Expensive overseas bases? Well, maybe a few in the right places. Antagonizing regimes who might support the Imperium? Wait, why? Massive military industrial complex? Might be a cause for concern. Initiating unrelated overseas conflicts on principle? You've lost me."

"Aggressive foreign policy is not why people vote Green, to be frank," Summers summarized.

"And why do they vote Green? The ESS? How long do you think that will last if Saito takes the Assembly?" Cullen threatened.

To the Whip's well-masked consternation, Summers merely shrugged. "By this point the ESS has spurred enough economic growth that even a corporate raider like Saito might appreciate the benefits of renewable technology. Of course he's merciless while he's Opposition and we're the government. If our trend of leaking voters continues, though, we might not be the government for long anyway."

"If you do this, Summers, I can't keep any promises as to what happens next," Cullen threatened.

Rutherford piped up again. "I'm not sure what promises you'd keep if we didn't put it forward."

"We're not submitting it right away," Summers clarified. "We are still part of this coalition. Take that copy of the bill back to the President or whomever else you wish. We want more say on military matters, Li or no Li, and starting immediately. Azurlavai needs to be limited to defensive and support roles. And we get the credit for it. If you can give us that, this thing never sees the light of day."
Last edited by Hittanryan on Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:06 am

Assembly Foyer
New Laconia

Another day, another session. Tom Alvarado was about to grab lunch when he sensed a sort of chill in the air. It was as though there was a foreign presence in the legislature. Something that did not belong. The crowd of Assemblymen and Assemblywomen seemed to part ominously, and Tom saw the source of this disturbance.

His old boss, Ambassador Friedman, was leaning on a wall in the Assembly Foyer.

"We've got things to discuss about New Edom. Follow me, Splint Chesthair," Friedman said.

"You, know, it's customary when asking someone for a favor not to call that person names while doing it," Tom pointed out.

"If I didn't, then I would sound insincere," Friedman dismissed. He led him outside, ending up in the nearby park. The leaves were turning brilliant yellows and a few reds, with leaves crunching underfoot as they spoke.

Once out of earshot, Friedman dispensed with the pleasantries and nicknames. "We're retooling Edomite foreign policy. It's been "wait and see" for long enough that we see plenty. Since Pahath-Moab's long-term chances are looking good, we're going to work harder to engage him."

Remembering what Michaels said, Tom asked "Didn't we try that already?

"We half-assed it every time," Friedman said definitively.

Pressing on, Tom pointed out "What about their election? Or Peregrino? The President sold those himself."

"From our end? Nothing more than generic commitments to international development and human rights. Never anything specific to New Edom," he countered again. "We need to face facts: he's not going anywhere short of a coup, and he's prepared for that.

"So what do we do?"

"What we probably should have already done: accept that he's the best long-term hope New Edom has," Friedman said. His tone didn't waver, he appeared to be stating a fact.

Tom didn't like the sound of that. It was like Adiron was giving up after getting outmaneuvered a little. "What about the Imperium?"

"Don't go all black-and-white on me. That's an alliance of convenience, and there's a dozen ways we can break it if we change our approach to them a little," Friedman said matter-of-factly.

"Change it how?" Tom asked, stealing a discreet glance at an attractive jogger on another walking path.

"We need to make it so New Edom doesn't need the Imperium, rather than trying to intimidate them out of their camp. Tough talk got thrown back in our face, New Edom was ready to go to war with the CPO," Friedman explained. The Ambassador then added "Besides, the Edomites most likely don't actually want to fight us in Ceti. It would jeopardize their progress."

They were passing a group of college students carrying frisbees, likely from Clarke Liberal Arts. The two of them held their tongue on policy matters as they passed, giving friendly nods until they were clear. When they were a fair distance away, Friedman continued. "New Edom is just as volatile as it always has been, but with Pahath-Moab on top the rival factions in the country have to play nice. If they play nice long enough, there might be hope for real reform. Forcing reform before the country is on its own two feet won't work. That Boy General has the means to hold the country together through its recovery stage."

"What do you mean?"

Friedman seemed a bit irritated that Tom hadn't thought of all this already. "Well, let's go through the alternatives to the Boy General. One by one, in detail, starting with the monarchy. Your little girlfriend..."

"Please don't give the tabloids any more than they already invent," Tom protested. Friedman ignored this.

"...she has no experience, royal grooming, or formal training in affairs of state, in contrast to her father. Maybe a decade or two down the line she'll have the experience necessary for absolute rule, but if she were to take the helm tomorrow, waiting that long isn't an option given New Edom's politics."

Tom recalled how Mara was a few years ago, keeping a few more tender memories tamped down as he did so. Eventually he said "I don' doesn't seem like she would want that anyway."

"No. She's getting her own house in order, resisting pressure from the Queen Dowager, reining in her public image as a bimbo, and roping Lalery in as her enforcer, but by all accounts she has no ambitions of absolute rule. All evidence suggests that she personally is in complete support of Pahath-Moab's government, along with a sizable portion of the nobility who said 'can't beat 'em, join 'em.' In exchange for Queen Mara's public support, the President protects her, builds her name, and helps maintain her independence. Take that away and put her in charge of everything, and you've got complete dysfunction."

"So you think she's completely useless?" Tom asked.

"I didn't say that," Friedman clarified. "An unambitious young queen who seems to care about her people could give us hope of a constitutional monarchy. Not tomorrow, but if the State of Emergency ever ends. If she's sensitive to her people and isn't a power- or money-hungry bitch, she could act as a stabilizing force during such a transition. Furthermore, without an influential royal on their side, radical monarchists will have an even harder time repeating Admiral Rand's little stunt."

"So, then there's the ETC, New Edom's most famous militant naked Christian sect," Friedman said, leaving Tom to wonder what others were out there. "Despite all efforts to bring former Free Congress elements into the fold, the ETC have a long history of independence and fanaticism. Compared with the other Christians in New Edom, they're utterly uncompromising."

"They are rather scary..." Tom admitted.

"I haven't even gotten to the scary parts," Friedman stressed. "When the Free Congress was in power, the ETC came to dominate it. They had a dedicated power base and clear ideals. Their only goal was to promote their religion throughout New Edom and abroad. Ultimately they got powerful enough to pass compulsory nudity. Oh, and they turn their basements into armories. ETC militias were able to effectively combat pro-monarchist military forces in the last civil war."

"Of course, their approach isn't exactly flawless. I said their goal is to promote their religion, and they'll do it at the expense of the rest of the country. If they roll over enough people, the ETC isn't the only group in New Edom that tends to stockpile weapons...which is probably part of what happened last time. The militias are also difficult to control; some commanders became notorious for their use of child soldiers and abuse of civilian populations. Pahath-Moab is attempting to keep the Prophet satisfied while either bringing the militias under military control or replacing them with more reliable units. Were they to take official power, we'd be looking at a theocracy at best."

Concluding his and Deol's thoughts on the ETC, Friedman moved on. "Observers in Carnmag say there's still a big split among the Elwe, somewhat along tribal lines but chiefly political and economic. Those divisions originated in the last civil war, when a number of Elwe groups broke with the Free Congress and aided the assassination attempt on Touchstone in Ysbaddenfach."

"The EIO's rhetoric has softened; they argue that the Elwe regions of New Edom are not viable as independent nations without substantial development, and are chiefly focused on economic matters, promoting industry and commerce. Traditionalists say that in doing so they've sold out, compromising on beliefs held sacrosanct to the Elwe. Election violence in Carnmag broke out between the EIO and traditionalists in the Green Party. The Greens even mobilized some of the old militias."

"Green Party militias...we'd better hope Summers doesn't get the same idea," Tom joked.

"An army of hippies doesn't concern me that much," Friedman said dismissively. "Anyway, Pahath-Moab is trying to make the Elwe feel like they're part of New Edom rather than a conquered people. Several projects, like the development on Magna Lacuna and that recent dirigible initiative, benefit the more remote parts of New Edom where the Elwe predominate. He also doesn't want to give those traditionalists an excuse to start fighting again. He's smart enough not to attack their culture as flagrantly as say, King Mark or the ETC."

Friedman then sought to clarify that he wasn't just singing Perrin's praises. "That's not to say he's a saint. Pahath-Moab is consolidating his own power over all of these factions by elevating his supporters to the right posts and making detractors disappear. However, previous governments never even seemed to get that far. Rather than try to unite elements of Edomite society that might oppose them, they'd just brutalize or alienate them while acting selfishly."

"OK, I follow, New Edom's still divided and none of these other guys can do as good a job holding the whole thing together. What are we going to do about it?" Tom finally asked.

"First we need to crawl back out of the pit we dug ourselves with Peregrino. Put a few feelers out over there, figure out where we can start patching things up. Politics-wise, we need to convince the President to emphasize development aid. Could even sell it as undercutting FODE, if FODE was formed with the intent of forcing technology transfer, suppose they get some of what they were after?"

"What we're not going to do..." Friedman said ominously " isolate them to the point where they start buddying up with the Imperium. Their relationship has never been all that open, and in New Edom there are still public doubts about the ties. We piss them off and Adiron becomes a target. Let's try to avoid helping the actual enemy, shall we?"
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:55 pm

Documentary on Carnmag Election Test

"Testing the Waters: Election in Carnmag." Rikkers had hated the network's addition of "The Election in Carnmag" to the documentary's title. He hated the colon and the title's length. "We went from a nice simple memorable title--three words--to a whole sentence just because a couple of suits thought viewers would be too dumb to figure it out. If they were going to give the audience this little credit, why did we shoot the film in the first place?" he had said upon seeing the change. Unfortunately for him, Chris was largely ambivalent and Holly seemed to agree with the network that "Testing the Waters" by itself was a little vague, though she did like the title.

Had the documentary been released at any other time in the year, it might have drawn viewers for a few minutes on and off. New Edom was a backward dictatorship across the ocean plagued by internal violence. As it turned out, though, the film was released at the very height of the Peregrino Crisis, just after the aid workers were stripped and the Edomites indicated they might end the ceasefire in response to violations. The President had even met with Pahath-Moab only the previous week. All of this meant that Testing the Waters premiered just as Adirans were realizing they might have to take New Edom seriously for the first time.

From a purely technical standpoint, the documentary was praised for going the extra mile to show the average lives of Edomites in Carnmag and elsewhere. It was full of candid shots and mundane but poignant scenes. Others, however, criticized the film and ANBC for effectively working for a dictator. These politically-charged critics argued that the test election and the news coverage constituted Pahath-Moab's attempt to garner international sympathy and legitimize his regime.

More significant was the discussion the film triggered about New Edom itself. The test election itself had somewhat mixed results, leaving plenty of room for arguments. It was largely deemed successful by the Edomite government; international monitors were less rosy in their appraisals but acknowledged the Edomites' efforts at correcting each issue. There was some politically-motivated violence during the campaign and irregularities existed within police forces and the reporting system. Some irregularities in voter registration inevitably arose due to difficulties in voter registration amongst refugee and poor communities, though the census helped mitigate them. On the other hand, polling centers had adequate security and despite tensions no large-scale riots broke out in Carnmag on election day. Nearly the entire electoral process, including caucuses, policing, registration, media coverage, debates, and the election itself, was allowed to be thoroughly scrutinized by election monitors. It was not known at present if New Edom was able to implement the same level of scrutiny to wider elections, however.

Ultimately the documentary posed just as many questions as it answered. One of the big ones, which got some air time on daytime talk shows, was "Is New Edom ready for democracy?" Some said "yes," under the oversimplified assumption that New Edom had a democracy, however dysfunctional, before the Civil War and Pahath-Moab. This viewpoint was challenged by more learned commentators who pointed out the problems with elections and politics as a whole under the Free Congress.

Others who said "yes, New Edom is ready for democracy" offered the monitors' assessments as signs things were getting better. The Committee listened to the advice of monitoring agencies and implemented largely effective strategies for dealing with issues as they came up, suggesting that their interest in democracy was, in fact, genuine. It wasn't perfect yet, obviously, but with the recovery of the Edomite economy, the country might well have the resources to continue on the path to reform.

Detractors argued that politics were still far too violent in New Edom for a true democracy to be viable, noting the scenes with the militias and the attack on Green Party HQ in the documentary itself. Law and order was cited as a problem; the military was used in Carnmag to maintain order, and local policing was left up to politically-affiliated militias due to the lack of neutral parties. There was not a civil society needed to foster democratic governance, with much of New Edom's working class concerned primarily with survival and improving living standards rather than any sort of civic duty. Some of these detractors, however, suggested that democracy in New Edom might be viable in the future with key reforms in education, police, and political openness.

The great mystery surrounding Perrin Pahath-Moab escalated even further when he swept the polls. Average Adirans seemed confused. "I thought he was the dictator that allied with the Imperium?" one might ask. "But didn't he accept a peace deal on Peregrino?" someone else might counter. How was it possible for him to win 60% of the vote? Cynics asked one set of questions. Had his cult of personality triumphed? Could Edomites be swayed by tyrants offering security? Had he used the constant warfare and peacekeeping of his rule for political gain? Was some of his popularity due to biased reporting or a lack of education keeping voters uninformed? What role might fear or intimidation have played in the result?

Others felt you couldn't simply write off the poll numbers to chicanery because monitors had been present. Instead of making excuses for Pahath-Moab's popularity, they sought explanations. How despotic must Pahath-Moab's government really be? Is he doing better for a majority of New Edom's population than a democratically-elected government would? Wasn't he fulfilling more basic needs such as survival and security, which would be first and foremost in the minds of Edomites, as it was with Adirans, after a civil war? Even if the jobs like the ones in the cigarette factory are low-paying and hazardous, aren't they still better off than they would be as refugees?

On top of all that, some took note of the apparently limited resources with which New Edom attempted this test election. The footage of the refugee community demonstrated the relative squalor many Edomites lived in, while due to apparent shorthandedness the government had to rely on the militias instead of a dedicated police force. Some nations with far more resources to hand made no effort whatsoever to reform, but New Edom seemed to be trying. Could democracy work in New Edom with a little help from abroad?

Zhao Conference Center
Puerto Rojo, Adiron

Following the test election, the Center for Democratic Progress entered into deep deliberations regarding the results of the election. The organization ultimately decided that, far from a lost cause, New Edom's current government arguably had a better long-term chance for reform than most dictatorships, or even previous Edomite governments. However, that opportunity wouldn't be realized if New Edom lacked the resources to enact those reforms. The group began working to raise awareness of the situation in New Edom and lobbying the Assembly to push for more development aid spending.

One of the first public events geared to this end was the CDP Annual Charity Benefit, a banquet whose proceedings this year were going to the Isidium Foundation's mission to Glasstower. Having played a key role in raising Adiran public awareness, many of the people involved in Testing the Waters were invited as guests of honor. That included Chris Olsen, the investigative reporter behind the documentary. He cut the usual striking figure. Olsen had short hair that he actually bothered to style for this event, along with a hint of stubble. He had a tall athletic frame with a chiseled jaw and broad shoulders. Not only that, but he was also dressed in a black tuxedo, one which he had tailored to his build.

In some ways, Olsen cursed his luck. A major regional crisis developed and was largely resolved while he was on assignment elsewhere. Even worse, he'd been in New Edom at the time, so close yet so far away from the story. Sure, Testing the Waters was timed perfectly and as a result grabbed the nation's attention, but the critical acclaim and ratings were secondary to Chris. The story was out, that was the important part. Now the network was insisting that he do these sorts of meetings instead of pursuing new stories, though. That was the real problem.

Making his way into the Zhao Conference Center, Olsen saw the decor of the interior for the first time. It was rather simple, all told, but had an elegance all the same. He found himself perplexed to see a number of politicians and media personalities present. The mayor was here, a couple of city council members, and several sitting members of the National Assembly. There were also a couple of prominent talking heads from the network, a few philanthropically-inclined executives, and a tough-looking man who Chris could swear played for the Orcas.


That's when he spotted a beautiful woman speaking to who he believed to be Assemblywoman Scott. She was wearing a slinky black evening gown with red trim that hugged her shapely hips and ample bosom. It had lacy straps and a plunging neckline that showed off supple shoulders and a bit of cleavage. It also had a slit up the side through which there were glimpses of a toned, smooth leg. Her dark hair cascaded down past her tanned shoulders, and her smile seemed to infect those around her.

Olsen figured he might as well go say hello to the film's director. While on his way over, Scott apparently finished speaking with Holly, who turned around and spotted him. Her eyes seemed to light up, and he allowed himself to smile. She carried herself with surprising grace, especially considering Chris' initial appraisal of her as a young, inexperienced liability while on location. After all, he'd witnessed her almost getting stranded by a train, struggling to cope with the reality of peoples' lives in developing nations, and the aftermath of some incident where she slipped and landed ass-first in mud. Seemed a far cry from the lithe, catlike movements of the woman walking towards him, her hips swaying with each step.

Surprising him, Holly greeted him with a hug. "Hey," she said sweetly. "Can you believe all this?"

The hug lasted just a bit longer than it might for a simple greeting. What was that? "Sure," Olsen answered. "Everyone was talking about New Edom when it came out."

"Yeah, but do you know how many people saw it?" she asked excitedly. "Oh, come on, let's go get a drink," she said, leading him off towards the bar area.

"Millions, a good chunk of the country, plenty of people overseas..." Chris recounted.

"And now people are paying attention, and they're talking about helping. Really helping," she replied with a smile, motioning towards Assemblywoman Scott.

"See? Just like I told you," Chris replied with a knowing smile. She smiled as well, then turned away. Was she blushing? Or were they just approaching the bar?

The two ordered drinks, wine for both of them. They caught up a bit. Despite having her name on the documentary, Holly was still at heart an actress, and she didn't seem to be getting any real hits, she said with a laugh. Olsen, meanwhile, couldn't seem to get back out in the field because of the film. She asked how Rikkers was doing in his new post in New Edom. Chris relayed that he was certainly keeping busy between DeGroot's visit and Peregrino. Then for dinner they were separated, ending up at different tables.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:28 pm

National Assembly
New Laconia

Since the end of the war, there were days when the Adiran legislature seemed to convene at half-speed. The climb up the steps to the Assembly foyer was leisurely, a steady trickle of suited individuals. In the mornings coffee or tea could be seen in many of their hands, either a disposable cup from a local cafe or an insulated travel mug containing something they whipped up at home before heading to work. At lunch hour, some Assemblymen and Assemblywomen could be seen going in and out for street food, including hot dogs, gyros, falafel, sandwiches, and kebabs. Stratton Park across the street would, in the mornings, midday, and evenings, periodically be populated with Adiran officials looking to clear their heads.

This was not one of those days.

Members of the Assembly and their associated aides and staff were walking up the steps with great purpose, some of them at a half-jog. Most of the body was in the door, past the columns, crammed into the foyer a half hour before the Assembly was even called to order. Everyone was in. Assemblywoman Harding, 8 and a half months pregnant and increasingly on sick leave, proudly if a bit slowly made her way into the chamber. Assemblyman Richards, 85 year-old, bald, one-legged, blind in one eye Civil War veteran who had just recently announced his decision to step down hobbled into the Assembly as well.

Summers had kept his word when it came to his deadline. The text of the bill had been circulated in a "Dear Colleague" letter precisely on time. Any SDP pol who was out of New Laconia was all but ordered to return to New Laconia immediately as well. Generally, most of them made it, but Whip Cullen noticed something suspicious about that as the Assembly filtered in. Despite the Greens having given the SDP advance warning of their anti-interventionist bill, all of the Liberals believed out of town were also here. Were they waiting for something?

The Assembly floor was a mess. Various aides were shuttling notes back and forth between members. Other members hadn't yet taken their seats, either consulting with one another in small groups or having been pulled aside by party whips. There were exchanges between the parties. A group of four, two Green, two SDP, who were known to have fostered professional friendships were seen having some kind of animated discussion, with good reason: they had helped broker the SDP-Green alliance in the first place. Whips from several parties noticed Green Assemblywoman Rutherford speaking to a Liberal member of the Armed Services Committee.

When the Assembly was called to order, Summers was the first to rise to his seat and begin making his way down to the floor. Eyes were all on him. He didn't seem to be taking any pleasure in what he was doing or the extra attention; the Green Party's expression appeared almost pained. Perhaps he felt some of the scowls and glares being shot his way by hawks throughout the Assembly.

"The Assemblyman has the floor," the Speaker conceded, DeGroot meeting Summers' gaze with an icy stare.

"I have heard arguments, both convincing and ill-informed, that the Oversight Act which I am proposing to this body diminishes Adiron. To that, I say the text of the bill is before this entire chamber. The President has demonstrated to the world what Adiron is capable of when it is focused, when it has a clear goal, and when it bases its decisions unambiguously on the will of the Adiran public. Through scrutiny and careful consideration, this Act will help ensure that this is true for every military action."

"There is considerable debate about what this bill is. I can promise you what it is not. It does not in any way degrade Adiron's ability to defend itself. It does not break existing treaties. It does not preclude our signing new defense agreements. All it does is provide additional oversight over one of the most serious decisions a nation must make: a commitment to military action. As this government seeks an increased role in international affairs, it must realize that any decision which places Adiran lives at risk must only ever be made after the most thorough deliberation."

"Due to the wide-ranging impact this bill could potentially have on the nation, I believe that this issue requires a wider discussion. Rather than going to Committee, I make a motion that the deliberations on this bill be held publicly in the Assembly," Summers said.

There were more whispers and grumbles, with a number of glares shot his way from the SDP ranks. Though he made it sound as though this was a transparency issue, what Summers was actually doing was bypassing the Armed Services Committee. Chairman Michaels would undoubtedly simply kill the bill nice and quietly by refusing to open deliberations on it.

"Motion for Assemblywide deliberations requires a quorum," the Speaker reminded him, addressing the Assembly as a whole. "The motion proposed will now be brought to a vote."

'And everybody's here...' Cullen thought, glancing around the chamber. Glancing down at the monitor, the Greens were lighting up as "aye" steadily, one by one in rapid succession. They didn't get all of them, unsurprising, the Greens split on plenty of issues. Maybe this was just a gesture?

'No, wait, they're still coming. They're just thinking about it,' he thought as the Green seats kept coming up 'aye.' There was some hesitation, it seemed. Out of the corner of his eye, however, Cullen saw something. It was a note, circulating amongst the Greens.

That's when he saw it. Opposition Leader Saito: "Aye." Liberals were looking around at one another, confirming what was happening. Steadily the counter to quorum ticked down, then the Libertarians joined the fray. Cullen looked up at the Opposition. Saito had a calm smile leveled straight at DeGroot. DeGroot's seemed to meet his opponent's gaze, his expression unreadable.

"A quorum has been reached," the Speaker announced, clearly unamused but unable to do anything about it. "Debate and Discussion period will begin in two days," he said grimly, glancing back at DeGroot. The President gave no signs of alarm or confidence.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:14 pm

Isidium Foundation Announces Mission to San Marco

Isidium- The Isidium Foundation announced earlier this morning that a new relief mission is being launched to Peregrino, this time to San Marco. Working with New Edom's National Council for Refugees, the Foundation plans to establish water purification, housing, sanitation, food, and clinics for the refugee population around the de facto capital of Edomite Peregrino. According to estimates, several thousand pro-Edomite Peregrinos were displaced by the fighting and concerted efforts by militias to evict potential opposition. After the NCR's initial push to shore up basic living conditions, the Foundation plans to assist their efforts to find more permanent solutions for the refugees' plight.

Isidium's decision has raised eyebrows in light of the widely-publicized incident in which their workers were strip-searched upon arrival on San Marco without prior notification. The incident triggered public debate over whether Isidium personnel are at risk in New Edom and Peregrino, with some feminist groups creating petitions to pull the aid organization out entirely. A Foundation spokesman addressed these arguments in a brief statement:

"While the Foundation certainly appreciates the support expressed for the volunteers who were caught off-guard in San Marco, the Foundation does not believe any suggestions that we should prematurely end our missions to Glasstower or Peregrino are helpful in the slightest. Furthermore, there are more refugees in San Marco who desperately need help. Workers flying to San Marco are now fully aware of the security protocols. They know what's required of them, and they are fine with it."

The spokesman then produced a quote from Mission Coordinator Gladden, head of the mission in Aquila, that he wanted to be read publicly. The Mission Coordinator prefaced the statement by saying he wished to put things in perspective: 'A few hundred of us were made to disrobe for a few minutes, and then were allowed to simply go on our way. Thousands of Peregrinos were killed, tortured, raped, and forced from their homes. They're the people you really ought to be worrying about.'

The organization's spokesman went on to outline the progress that has been made in each mission, and said that most or all of that progress could be wasted if the Foundation were to simply walk away now.

Special Report: Green Revolt in Assembly

Editorial: Liberals Green with Envy?

Queen Mara I to Wed Michael of Dakmoor

Altinum Raid Prompts Imperial Response
Last edited by Hittanryan on Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:28 pm

Government Office
New Laconia, Adiron

"The Imperium has once again demonstrated its complete disregard for human life and international rules of war. The vast majority of the targets struck were not military targets but civilian infrastructure, apparently in an effort to disrupt Revenant military activity. Analysts are still working to assess the full cost of the attack, but they believe at least a million people are directly dependent on the infrastructure hit for their very survival. Given the Imperium's long history of disproportionate retribution, we must also consider the possibility that this was intended as an over-the-top retaliation for the recent harassment of Altinum by Revenant-affiliated criminal groups."

"I intend to open dialogue with Admiral Elijah Shalmaneser, commanding officer CPO Mission to Azurlavai, about dismissing the Imperial forces accompanying the mission. It is clear the Imperium is not a neutral party to be trusted with peacekeeping on this mission. This grossly irresponsible attack is likely to make any negotiations between the CPO and the Revenant far more difficult, especially considering there have already been clashes between Revenant and Edomite CPO forces."

That was DeGroot's quote in the news. What didn't make it into the news was the sudden upheaval in Adiran politics at all levels. The most vocal Liberal and Libertarian critics of DeGroot's containment doctrine were now eating their words. While the Greens and doves debated limiting Adiron's military commitments, the Imperium had just committed a horrific war crime. This attack was just like Burning Friday: bombing civilian targets in an effort to indirectly disrupt military operations. In 2010, Adiron collectively vowed "never again."

However, with the Adiran government apparently too distracted to stop it, it happened again. DeGroot called a meeting. Cabinet, coalition party leaders--including Summers--and select committee chairmen.

To one side of the hall, Deol and Foreign Policy Advisor Tien were talking. "If we propose it, the debate will be framed in terms of our war, which will muddle the issue," Tien was saying to Deol.

"We won't have to. The Shrailleeni Empire apparently proposed it. Maybe they don't like the Imperials bombing their playground, who knows? But we weren't the ones to propose it, so we can jump on the bandwagon," Deol was saying.

That's when they saw DeGroot, steely-eyed, striding down the hallway to the conference room, flanked by Vasquez and Cullen. With a brief nod, which went unanswered, Deol started down the corridor after the President. Li emerged from a side hallway to join the procession, flanked in turn by Chairman Michaels. Soon the rest of the members called made their way to the conference room. They filtered into the conference room behind DeGroot, who remained standing at the head of the table.

"This was our responsibility," DeGroot opened. The rest of the meeting waited for him to continue. "When we faced down the Imperium and realized the full extent of what we were dealing with, we swore we would stop them. It was up to Adiron to stand in their way," DeGroot said, looking at Summers.

Summers seemed to acknowledge the man he'd since had a falling-out with. "Are we going to pursue the Imperium to the ends of the earth, then? Wherever they go, our troops follow?"

"Summers, this fight isn't limited to Ceti. Not anymore. We're not keeping the Imperium so busy that they can't go off and...fist Damoclea to death, just as a for-instance. Accounts out of Altinum is that the State of Emergency is being used to justify some questionable things. I don't think I need to explain where that's going."

"Right, just like--" Li started.

"Hold that thought," DeGroot cut him off. "Your constituency cares about democracy, sustainability, democracy. How can that thrive globally when the Imperium creates massive societal disruptions by annihilating civilian infrastructure? If any struggling developing nation can be bombed back into the stone age, where the fuck is sustainability or e-democracy going to enter the picture?"

Summers looked a bit downcast. This sort of rant didn't bode well for him.

"We can't guarantee it will work. And we can't force it on them, we all know what road that leads down. What we can do is at least give them a chance, which means we will occasionally have to give Robertson a pint glass in his fucking eye. In a timely manner, we need to be able to bend down, pick up any fucking weapon we can, and twat the fuckity out of them!"

Li and Michaels suddenly glanced at each other, and with a small nod from Li, the Chairman stood up. "Mr. President, you have my support. Several colleagues have drafted a piece of legislation which would solidify our commitment to containment."

DeGroot took the paper lightly, and began to glance over it. Michaels explained for the benefit of the room. "This is a new foreign policy initiative, one which places harsh economic penalties on nations with poor human rights records, up to and including sanctions. This includes virtually all of the Imperium's major allies in FODE and otherwise. It is designed to tighten the noose, undermine the progress they've been making."

Abruptly, DeGroot threw down the paper on the table. "What the fuck is this, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Cunt?" Summers abruptly looked up at the President, not hiding his surprise. Deol also shot a knowing glance his way. Michaels was at something of a loss.

"Save your fucking energy for the real fight, right? The enemy? The real enemy? They're right on the border. You make enemies of half the region, and we're all going to find ourselves in a medieval warzone in South Acheron with our asses in the air trying to persuade a group of armed men in balaclavas that sustained sexual violence is not the fucking way forward!"

"And what about their allies? FODE? Without them..."

"They're turning on each other! You see that, right? The gynocrats have decided they'd rather take hedge-clippers to the Imperium and sell them out. We all knew they had ideological differences and their own mutually-exclusive crusades they wanted to wage," DeGroot continued.

"What if the vote fails?"

"Who the fuck cares? The fact that it came to a vote at all is going to cause an avalanche of shit throughout their little club those fuckers have been forming. If the stars align and he's not too busy fucking his latest handpicked virgin secretary, maybe Urdnot will even go into one of his spastic little rants. I've got the popcorn ready just in case. Even the Edomites condemned the attack, it's got the potential to put a smear on the Boy General's winning streak."

"A climate of widespread international condemnation of the Imperium, Mr. President, is an opportune time to build bridges," Deol said. The hawks glared at him as he wore a self-satisfied smile.

"We're going to put them back in their fucking box. I want the ports in the Imperium to get less action than Robertson's obsolete, defunct, shriveled cock! Come on, unleash hell!"
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:59 pm

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Ms. C on San Marco

Posted by Shawna Lamere

Tuesday November 11, 2014

The following letter was sent to Civil Liberties Watch through the Isidium Foundation. Ms. C sought to clear the air regarding the incident in San Marco and the Adiran reaction to the events there.

This is the first time I've ever written something like a letter to the editor. I had to write this when there were news reports about me. I had to hear about it from someone else, who said somehow what happened to me was in the news back home. I was shocked. I never told anyone but a counselor and close friends. There was a reason for that: I didn't want this attention.

What happened to me was a violation of privacy. The loss of intimacy is something I am still coming to terms with. It is all I can do just to write this much about it.

I don't blame the people who did it anymore. They didn't degrade me, one even tried to comfort me when they saw how upset I was. They probably didn't even have a choice in the matter.

I am getting help, but more to the point, I went to Aquila after San Marco. I met refugees who were assaulted in their homes, stripped naked, and turned out into the countryside to die of exposure. They had stories of how their friends and family were tortured, raped, and murdered. Their stories weren't in the press. They should be.

Instead they're all talking about me, and I don't want them to. I will never forgive whoever leaked my story to the media. This is yet another violation of privacy. What happened to me, happened to me and me alone. It didn't happen to the newscasters repeating the phrase "cavity search" 24 hours a day. It didn't happen to the feminist protestors saying we should cut off aid to people who have endured hardships they can barely imagine. It happened to me.

I appreciate the outpouring of support, but please, stop making me relive it. I will get through this. There are others who don't know if they'll live to say tomorrow.

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You are strong enough to get through this. Don't ever forget it.
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i cant beleive you she got raped
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Postby Hittanryan » Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:08 pm

National Assembly
New Laconia, Adiron

The deliberations on the Oversight Act had raged for weeks, the SDP delaying any vote using the tragic but convenient situation in Azurlavai. When pressed the SDP was always careful to cite historical precedent, or mask it in jargon. However, the oversimplified summary of their argument was that "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." The SDP was fighting a tendency amongst Cetans to believe the oceans on all sides would insulate them from the rest of the region, only treating the threats closest to home seriously, and even then more to the military than civilians.

It had been an uphill battle...until the University of Soletrek was bombed. Not even students were safe anymore. How could Adiron deal with asymmetric threats if every single possible action required full Assembly approval and briefings? After that, the Imperium demonstrated that it could stage a massive attack on civilians with virtual impunity. This was practice for the next war with Adiron. How could Adiron in good conscience retreat from the world while its enemies were expanding their influence and wreaking havoc on the world?

This sort of rhetoric served to cast doubt on the Oversight Act, but didn't kill it. However, the Greens began to quiet down. Fewer and fewer Greens got up to debate the Act, leaving the Liberals to go to bat for a bill from another party.

It was against this backdrop that Green Party Whip Tao contacted Cullen for a meeting. "Some Greens genuinely believe the government needs to scale back its overseas military commitments and place more checks on the President, and that taking a stand is necessary. On the other hand, some less idealistic Greens are just worried about the polls. They wanted to make a statement but are nervous about forcing any kind of confidence vote."

A split. There was a split in the Green Party. "Why are you telling me this?" Cullen asked.

Tao seemed to pause, as if considering his words. "Some Greens are practical enough to realize that it's not worth breaking up the coalition over a few minor policy disagreements. Some Greens realize that the current coalition has been effective and responsive to our agenda, and that trading DeGroot for Saito is far too great a risk."

'Right, they think that,' Cullen thought. Playing along, he asked "Why do they think that?"

"They think that Saito's using our party as part of a power play. They also think that if said power play works, we'll get thrown under the bus," Tao continued.

"They think that, huh? What do you think?"

"Me? I'm just a party enforcer, Chief Whip. I couldn't possibly comment," Tao said wryly.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:26 pm

New Laconia, Adiron

When the nouveau riche wanted to show off in the capital, they would take their company to the ultra-modern LAB, wine tasting at the Bella Vine Gallery, or the ostentatious Boardroom Lounge. Middle class people might pretend to be regulars. They might act like they were on name-basis with some of the staff, who would simply nod politely rather than being baited into small talk. After searching the Internet, they might try to explain some of the venue's history. Finally, to really impress, they'd order whatever looked the most expensive, ensuring that they could visit the place no more than twice a year.

The truth of the matter was that no one was really a regular at those particular upscale establishments. The real rich held their own parties, traveled, and had their own collections of expensive liquor and wine. Average people couldn't afford it. So these venues were mostly frequented by upper middle class individuals peacocking.

When the capital's political elite went out for a drink, they wouldn't be found at one of these trendy watering holes either. There was something to be said for simplicity and quality. Cicero, founded 1895, shuttered 1945, reopened 1982, had become the pub of choice for a large number of Adiran Members of the Assembly. A bestselling biography had been written cataloging the adventures and tribulations of the pub's owner through the Ceti Civil War, until finally returning and reopening his old hole in the wall in the 80's.

Cicero's interior was generally simple, oak paneling and brick all around giving the place a dark, warm feel. It was atmosphere, selection, and impeccable service that drew discerning tastes here, not the appearance of wealth. Some wealth was necessary, of course, to make the cover charge and pay for the more expensive items in their selection.

Tom Alvarado and a couple of others were selected for this assignment for not entirely flattering reasons. He was the youngest member of the entire Assembly, which meant nobody really took him seriously. However, since nobody was paying much attention to him, it also meant he was an unknown quantity. A big Committee chairman like Michaels, everybody knew his score. Everybody knew many peoples' scores...but not Tom's. Same went for Assemblywoman Mandana, who was already seated at the bar in a...surprisingly tight skirt. 'Focus,' Tom reminded himself.

Assemblywoman Rutherford, by contrast, was a pear-shaped, long-nosed middle aged woman who wore her hair in the same bun for 20 years and didn't wear makeup. She emerged from the chaos of the previous interbellum years as a practical, some would even say pragmatic, Green. Rutherford had a tendency to put her party ahead of the Coalition when they conflicted, which is why it was important to make sure she understood that the Coalition was acting in her party's interests.

Approaching the bar, Tom sat down a couple of seats away from Rutherford who appeared absorbed in her tablet. He gave a miniscule nod to Mandana, who acknowledged him in turn, and then ordered a pricey Scotch on the rocks. It arrived promptly, the bartender a wizened old soul who had been doing this for decades. Alvarado sampled it contemplatively, then glanced over towards Rutherford as though this was a happy coincidence.

"Assemblywoman," he said, raising his glass to her. She glanced over for a second, gave him a tight smile, then went back to her tablet and her drink.

Obviously he'd have to be the one to start. Eying his glass, he commented "Half Moon, 1965. I dunno, the Department of Arts and Culture say the Heritage Museums are collecting everything worth saving from Old Ceti. Obviously they don't get out much."

Rutherford seemed to stir, and a cruel sort of smirk crossed her lips. "Takes millions of dollars in procurement funding for the museums to dig up paintings, sculptures, and artifacts people lost track of. Booze? Didn't even stop making it. Priorities."

"If there's a list of good reasons to start drinking, civil war is probably near the top," Tom replied with a smile, sampling the Scotch again. "Not too far down on that list is a two week legislative debate. I noticed you've eased up on the thumb screws."

A thin smile crossed Rutherford's lips. "Mr. Alvarado, I'm afraid you're going to have to do better than that."

"Oh?" Tom asked innocently.

"I've been doing this longer enough than you to realize you want something," she said bluntly.

"What, I can't enjoy a drink with one of my Assembly colleagues and Coalition allies? We are allies, after all, right?"

She paused, the smile fading. Only hesitantly she said "We are." Her tone was wary, and Tom picked up on it.

Raising his eyebrow, Tom said "Come on, there hasn't been a falling-out between us, at least on our end."

"What do you mean?"

"It's just a policy disagreement, or at least...that's what they tell us all the way down at the bottom of the totem pole."

Looking up from her tablet for the first time, Rutherford glanced over at him. "Meaning...?"

"Well, as it stands, they're going to let bygones be bygones if this thing fizzles. Heard they haven't even changed any of those Green Committee nominations coming up."

Studying his face, Rutherford thought that Tom seemed more interested in his Scotch. Maybe this newbie wasn't sure what he was leaking? Or maybe he knew exactly what he was saying? Either way, he had Rutherford's attention. "You don't say?"

"Rocha for Natural Resources, Chang for Science and Technology, you're still on for Energy..."

"Energy? Hold on, I was passed over for Energy."

"Really? When?"

"When they gave it to Kifle," she said, a touch of irritation in her voice.

"Huh, you mean you didn't know? I guess he must've turned it down, then," Tom informed her. 'Under duress from the President and Cullen,' he added mentally.

Rutherford's expression was neutral, and she simply turned back to her tablet. At that point Tom looked up, reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. "Damn...sorry Assemblywoman, work followed me to the bar. Pecking order and all that. Good talking with you," he said, flashing a winning smile. She nodded and smiled faintly.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:18 pm

National Assembly
New Laconia, Republic of Adiron

The debate continued on, the merits and pitfalls of international intervention. Getting entangled in problems half a world away diminished Adiron’s readiness in Ceti, some Greens and Liberals argued. Compensating for all the overseas forces meant greater sacrifices here at home. A larger defense budget was cautioned against by Greens and Liberals, each for different reasons. Greens argued against diverting funding from other social programs, including the incentives and initiatives of the ESS. Liberals decried the potential fiscal impacts—the budget deficit or taxes would have to increase, one way or the other.

The SDP, meanwhile, presented a moving target. They started out by pointing Adiran foreign policy successes that could not have happened under the Oversight Act. Central Acheron was an oft-repeated point by various SDP pols. If the international response had been slower, the war could have turned into a major protracted conflict or worse: Lazodiria could have fallen to the Othmani onslaught outright. Greens started to fall silent over the next few days. Liberals started taking up the cause instead, who were easier targets.

Next the government moved onto the principle of the legislation, arguing that this sort of limit on the government was inconsistent with the Assembly’s constitutional power to declare war. Michaels went further: “This sort of measure is very convenient for the Opposition: it gives them veto power over the government despite losing an election. I can’t imagine, however, that this bill’s supporters will be as enthusiastic about it if it is used against them in the future.” Once that bit of rhetoric was established, the SDP started to run with it, arguing the bill was politically motivated rather than a genuine concern for abuse of power.

As the deliberations on the bill went into another round, Rutherford rose from her seat to take the floor. She had been an early supporter of the Act, saying that military interventionism needed to be undertaken responsibly and “only with the full support of the elected representatives of the Adiran people.” Despite her rhetoric, Cullen knew she was really on board because she thought the Greens were lagging in the polls as she’d indicated to him. Cullen also knew that the Greens’ poll numbers had remained stagnant, thanks to Green Whip Tao. If this was meant to shore up support, it hadn’t worked.

She was more measured in her stride today, it seemed. “I would like to address the questions raised by Assemblyman Michaels yesterday where once again, he argued that the Act is unconstitutional. Once again, we heard that one of the Assembly’s constitutional powers is the power to declare war, and that the Oversight Act impinges on this power. Again, I argue that this charge is not substantiated by contents of this bill.”

Most were preparing for yet another round of the Rutherford Rough-up, but Cullen and DeGroot were perceptive enough to notice something was different. Her candor was slower, more deliberate than usual. “The oft-repeated charge is that the bill gives an unelected minority final say over national policy. The bill states that military deployments will be subject to review by the legislature except in cases of a national emergency.”

“Review,” Rutherford said, repeating the word. “Opponents of this bill seize on the word to make claims about what the Oversight Act does and doesn’t do. Many say it’s a means of needlessly delaying vital national security measures for political gain. Some more paranoid members think its true purpose is to demilitarize Adiron.”

“I want to put this needless debate to rest. What does review consist of specifically, since we seem to be mired over its true meaning?” she continued, glancing around the chamber.

“To answer that question, we need to know the intent behind the wording. We must ask the original author of the text of this bill. I therefore call on the bill’s original author to elaborate what such a review consists of: Opposition Leader Saito.”

The Assembly seemed to collectively furrow its brow, a number of Assembly members shifting to look over at Saito. Saito simply smiled, and said “And what gave rise to this latest conspiracy theory, Assemblywoman?”

While the back and forth continued, a number of Greens were looking concerned. Tao was not among them. Summers was glaring at Rutherford. It was just an accusation, but it was a seed of doubt, and it was fully public now. The press was going to have a good day.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Postby Hittanryan » Sun Dec 21, 2014 5:53 pm

Green Split: Oversight Act a Liberal Bill?

New Laconia- The deliberations over the military oversight bill took a turn for the dramatic when on the floor Green Assemblywoman Martha Rutherford claimed that the act was penned by Opposition Leader Howard Saito. Introduced by Green Party Leader William Summers, the Oversight Act would mandate that all military action undergo extensive preliminary review by the Assembly except in cases of national emergency. This review would grant the Opposition expressed powers to scrutinize, limit, and potentially veto deployments of Adiran forces abroad.

Under the Act, Adiran troops cannot engage in combat operations until the review process is completed, though they may be moved outside of combat. The Opposition could direct use the process to potentially delay or modify proposed deployments. Unclassified aspects of plans could be disclosed to the press, influencing public opinion and generating wider debate. Short of a national emergency in which Adiran soil is directly threatened, the only way to bypass the review process under the Act is through national referendum.

Critics charge that the Oversight Act would cripple the nation's ability to respond to emergent threats. Armed Services Committee Chairman Michaels is on record as saying "Modern threats can materialize and act in the blink of an eye. The potential consequences to the Adiran people of waiting until it is too late are too grave to contemplate." Others, such as junior Assemblywoman Rhea Mandana, said it ran counter to the constitution. "The government is explicitly granted the power to declare war by the constitution. The President is command-in-chief of the armed forces. Can one bill change this?"

Opposition Leader Saito quickly asked Rutherford to provide evidence of her claims, which Rutherford deflected. Ultimately Rutherford did not produce proof the bill was a Liberal effort. However, Rutherford's claim seemed to sow dissent amongst the Green ranks. Assemblyman Xi was rebuked by the Speaker for attempting to press the matter on the floor. The move also marks a major break from Rutherford's original strong support of the bill, who characterized Operation Overcast as an example of the "adventurism" the Oversight Act would contain.

The President himself finally weighed in personally today in Question Time following the heated debate. President DeGroot argued that the Act is unnecessary and that Adiron's constitution and democratic process provide the necessary oversight required when it comes to military matters. "I believe that transparency in matters as grave as war is vital to a free and open society. My government has demonstrated that in every conflict Adiron has found itself in. This Act is not about transparency, but instead appears to be a cynical political ploy designed to drive a wedge in this coalition."
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Postby Hittanryan » Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:55 pm

Green Party Caucus, National Assembly
New Laconia, Adiron

Even though she couldn't prove anything, Rutherford had dropped one hell of a bombshell. It made the rest of his party suspicious. If they were on the fence before, now they were asking questions. And they were generally directed at the man who had introduced the Oversight Act. Some had already talked to the press about it, going into interviews knowing damn well that would be the topic, or even slipping in little sound bytes here and there. Tao argued so vehemently against simply trying to clamp down on it that Summers dropped the issue; the Green Whip insisted that suppressing it would only imply guilt. Needless to say, things were rapidly unfurling for William Summers.

One way or the other, it was time to face the music. Instead of evasive comments to the media, he was going to hear this from his caucus directly. The senior Greens filtered into the room, many of them not really speaking or acknowledging him. Some he already knew weren't with him, others were apprehensive about the party's future.

Rutherford sat there looking defiant, Summers regretted ever hinting to her that the Oversight Act was a poison pill that doubled as an entry ticket into a new coalition. Someone...someone had gotten to her. She had ambitions.

He glanced over at Tao. Starting to wonder about him too. Tao was supposed to be the Whip, who got the caucus to toe the line. Despite his reasoning, he had refused. What happened when the Whip didn't toe the line either? Who exactly was Party Leader here?

Staring up at the room, Summers started to speak. "I called this conference to put a stop to these rumors about the Oversight Act. We have a line, and while this debate continues, I expect it to be followed." Taking a deep breath, now he had to make an example. He leveled his gaze at Rutherford.

"Assemblywoman Rutherford," Summers said, "I have made repeated attempts to appeal to your sense of duty to your party and country, and made clear what I believed was in our party's best interests, to no avail. Worse, I once held you in complete confidence." There were some murmurs in the crowd after that.

"This has nothing, let me make this absolutely clear," the Party Leader warned, "nothing to do with personal preference, ego, or grudges. I still respect, even like you, Martha. But this is not about me. I must act with this party's best interests in mind."

"For that reason, I cannot in good conscience approve your appointment to the Energy Committee--let me finish," Summers said, but having to pause as the room suddenly burst into conversation. Tao, standing to one side, brought them back into order. "...I cannot approve your appointment at this time, Assemblywoman. In the future I have no doubt you will demonstrate your loyalty and character. Let this be a lesson."

"This is blatant political retaliation!" Assemblyman Qin, a short, white-haired Han man, shouted.

"Out of order," Tao snapped, pointing at Qin.

"No, I'll answer this," Summers said. "When Assemblywoman Rutherford demonstrates she is sound, she will be put on the fast track to a Committee appointment. Until then--"

"Until then we need to sit down and shut up!" Fortner said in her characteristic high-pitched, nasally voice.

"Out of order!" Tao snapped again. Summers looked up at Rutherford, who sat down, silently, hard-eyed.

"What if Rutherford was telling the truth? Wasn't it her duty to inform both the party and the Adiran public?" Qin piped up once more, Summers turning to face him with a frown as Tao rebuked him once more.

That's when a new, more worrying figure stood up alongside Summers: Assemblywoman Cordona, Green National Committee Chairwoman. "The fact of the matter, Assemblyman Summers, is that Ms. Rutherford's claims are not entirely farfetched."

'What the hell was this?' Summers thought as she continued. He thought she'd been satisfied with the Chair position, that's how priority had worked for years! "It's entirely plausible that this was a Liberal poison pill," she expounded, ignoring his questioning glance. Tao did nothing, Cordona wasn't a backbencher.

"Just consider some of the outcomes, the obvious one being an election called. Or the fight gets bitter enough that there's no trust left between us and the SDP, and the election comes a bit later rather than sooner over something else. Could be more subtle. Maybe this right here, what's happening tonight, is all the Opposition wants: disunity." With that, she looked directly at Summers. "Doesn't that help Mr. Saito, Party Leader?"

Summers was gobsmacked, tried not to show it as the room erupted into chaos, Rutherford still sitting there with her gaze leveled at him.

Earlier that Day
Martinelli's Restaurant and Deli
New Laconia

Normally Martinelli's wasn't a favorite of the Assembly. A bit far away and a bit too slow. It was more of a tourist and business lunch sort of place, with a bar and counter on one end and seating on another, decorated with neutral walls, warm lighting, and a series of artwork breaking up the walls. Two men walked in, an older Han gentleman in a fine suit and overcoat, followed a few minutes later by a handsome younger man dressed in a winter suit coat.

The older man had sat down, while the younger one ordered something to go from the deli counter. While he was waiting, he casually strolled over to the table and asked "Did you make up your minds?"

The older man seemed unflappable, perhaps a touch of disdain breaking through the veneer of decorum. Though he'd never admit it, he was a little jealous of the new SDP playboy. Yet here he was, apparently filling the same role in the Greens as Tomas Alvarado, the youngest member of the SDP caucus and one of the youngest ever Members of the Assembly. Qin would process that for quite a long time, trying to figure out if this was a commentary on him or the result of his party's brief rebellion.

"We want to know you can deliver," Qin said.

Tom shrugged. "We've already promised everything we can do from our end. You need to shore things up in your caucus if you want a guarantee."

Qin looked irritable. "DeGroot can't expect us to do this on a wing and a prayer."

"Well, I don't think Summers will appreciate all that flak you gave him, either," Tom replied nonchalantly. Qin had jumped the gun, to be sure. "Wonder who he's gonna block tonight."

"Listen kid, I can do without the piss and vinegar. I'm trying to help whoever sent you on this errand, remember?" Qin snapped.

"And whoever sent you on the same errand might be looking for some heads to roll," Tom pointed out. "We just need you committed, if you want things to go like they were always supposed to, that is."
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:19 pm

National Assembly Floor
New Laconia, Adiron

"Order!" the Speaker shouted over the flurry of discussion. Assemblyman Michaels had said something that seemed to infuriate the Opposition, and the Speaker was doing his best to try to keep up.

"Does the gentleman believe in one-party rule?" yelled Libertarian Tom Fritz.

Pointing at the man, the Speaker dismissed the comment. "The gentleman is out of order and will hold questions until..."

This continued for about a minute before the Assembly began to simmer down. Michaels was waiting resolutely to finish his point. "I'll say it again. The democratic process and the constitution provides the required 'checks' on military action. Every government is held accountable for its actions. There is no, I'll repeat, no precedent of this or any Adiran government embarking on wars without popular consent."

"If some future government should forget the cautionary tale of Griffiths, however, and embarks on some adventure that is not in the best interests of our nation, I have no doubt that the Adiran people will take them to task," Michaels said, with some rebellious applause breaking out in defiance of the Speaker.

New Laconia, Adiron

Tom Alvarado found he was once again off to Cicero not for pleasure but for business. One day he might get to hold a regular conversation, maybe even finish a drink there. On the other hand, maybe Cicero wasn't actually a bar, just a building the Assembly had quietly designated "the backroom" years ago and not too many people got the memo. The drinks were just for show. Either way, it tended to attract members of the National Assembly like a magnet.

Once again, Alvarado came looking for Assemblywoman Rutherford, this time in one of the back rooms. Nobody had really been able to anticipate just what she would do when informed her career prospects under DeGroot were likely better than the alternative. A certain "party enforcer" had told Cullen she was now scorned, but she wasn't alone.

The back room had similar decor to the main area, paneled oak, brick on the exterior wall. There was a painting of a landscape over the booth Rutherford sat at. Sitting down with a scotch, he saw Rutherford had lost the aura of the smug elder sister that had characterized her demeanor from last time. She didn't have a drink of her own, and her eyes were fixed on his.

"Heard you got shafted," Alvarado said nonchalantly.

"Only by Summers," she said, hinting at something. "When I signed onto this thing, I did it for the good of my party."

"Assemblywoman, it's me. I'm not with the press," Alvarado reminded her with a smile. She didn't return it. He detected a subtle twinge at being made light of by some upstart kid.

"Non-interventionists have been breathing down our necks for weeks. Cullen knew it. DeGroot knew it," Rutherford explained, twisting the corner of a bar napkin as she did. "Showed me some scary-looking poll data to convince me, which I trotted out for Cullen when this whole thing started."

She didn't make eye contact with Alvarado while she said that. Tom prompted her to continue. "And?"

"None of this really mattered 3 years ago when we were fighting for Adiran soil. I mean, it wasn't like we had any option, right?" she said bitterly, almost forgetting Tom was in the room. "With everything that happened in Peregrino and Azurlavai, I started hearing more from the non-interventionist camp, like they were excited."

Tom raised an eyebrow. "What? What's that mean?"

"Talk about refocusing on the real threat. Wake-up calls. Getting back on the defensive," she said.

Those were Liberal lines. If Adiron scaled back overseas commitments and focused exclusively on defending their eastern and northern borders, they argued, they could put more troops in reserve and scale back the defense budget at long last. Taxes could even be lowered without sacrificing security. The SDP maintained that such views were dangerously short-sighted, and pointed to Damoclea and Azurlavai as proof that Imperial power projection was not limited to Ceti. While Adiran Greens couldn't be totally pacifist given their circumstances, they could and did make the case for Adiron dealing with one threat at a time.

"Sounds like someone we know," Tom replied. Rutherford nodded. "Quite the bombshell you tried to drop on Summers. I guess that's why he sunk your appointment," he continued.

Rutherford smirked a little cruelly. "Well, you think he'd hit back so hard if it wasn't true?"

Tom didn't bite. Instead he just shrugged. "Maybe. You did stick your thumb in his eye, he could've decided to make an example of you."

Shaking her head, Rutherford said "No. He's shitting himself because he told me. I've got correspondence from him."

Tom blinked. Did she just admit it to him? However, he quickly regained his cool. "Well, if you've got proof, that's another story. Release it and--"

"--Not happening, kid," Rutherford interrupted.

"You want to prove your point, don't you?" Tom asked, ignoring the "kid" remark.

"Too damaging to the party. Besides, I don't need to. His reaction did most of the work for me," she said. When Tom furrowed his brow, she elaborated. "It's non-interventionists vs. environmentalists now. Environment wing will never work with the Opposition, not between offshore drilling, neutering the ESS, and dirty subsidies. Besides, our kind President threw them too many bones. Non-interventionists can get past all that though..."

"I take it they're the ones who broke with us on Central Acheron," Tom replied.

"Yeah, them, mostly anyway," Rutherford replied, shifting in her seat a bit. "Then you get the moderates. You don't always know where they stand. Funny though, all of the leaders are moderate. Wider appeal, get votes from all corners in the conferences."

"And I bet they blow with the wind," Tom suggested.

"A bit," Rutherford replied.

"So what does that mean? Spill?" Tom asked.

Rutherford considered her answer for a moment. "That depends on what I tell them," she said.

"What you tell them? You mean your proof?" Tom asked.

"No. That's off the table. I'm not the only skeptic about this bill, though," she replied. "Some of the others think they're next. They don't know what Summers might do to shore up his leadership. But they also don't know what it means for us in the aftermath. They want to make sure their loyalty to the President is recognized, whatever happens after this vote."

That was their game, huh? Tom seemed more interested in his glass. "Only one real way to make sure, isn't there? Kill the bill. Backpedal, make up excuses, sacrifice a few if you have to, but if you can get this thing back to Committee, it'll be live and let live."
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:26 pm

"You said you were going to quit," Lily said, intercepting the bottle of freshly-purchased sleep aids. The Presidential household was going to bed.

DeGroot sighed, not wanting to explain but inevitably going to be forced anyway. "I'm not making a flight to Alizeria followed immediately by a state dinner without sleep."

"You're still hooked on these things. You still can't sleep," Lily said, wearing her concern openly now.

"Worse comes to worst, I can always sleep when I'm dead," DeGroot tried to play off with a shrug.

Slamming the bottle down, Lily snapped "Don't even joke about that! Have you looked in a mirror? You aged ten years in four! You don't sleep, you don't eat right, you never leave the office."

"Hey, hey! What the fuck is this? You don't think I can handle it?"

"It's killing you. You'll be a husk by the end of your first term," Lily replied.

"So what do you want me to do?"

"You trust Colombo, why can't you just give up the party leadership? Couldn't you go back to the Assembly?"

"How fucking impressive! President resigns, joins a country club, takes a nap at 2, eats fucking fiber supplements to keep regular," he said dismissively, volume steadily rising. "I'm not an old man!" he shouted, jabbing a finger at himself.

"But why do you have to stay in the Presidency? Why stay in the worst job in the entire country?! What the hell is wrong with you?"

DeGroot seemed to pause mid-reply, looking downwards, like he was looking for something. "You have any idea what it's like, to get somebody who hates an idea to not only support it, but publicly embarrass himself by going back on something he said earlier? There are apps I can use to throw grenades into people's dreams," he said, his tone one of excitement, exhilaration even.

"You're saying all this like it's just a game, a contest," Lily said, still frowning.

"It is a contest. It's the only contest worth winning. Here I can fight, I can influence, I can finally get shit done. I can't go back to just standing by and complaining. I need to be able to do something about it, for as long as I can."

Lily's expression seemed to soften, a pause hung over the two of them. Eventually she sat next to her husband and put her hand around him. "Haven't you done enough? You've saved this country. Isn't that enough? Can't you be satisfied with that?"

"I...can't," he said earnestly. "This is what I'm supposed to be doing. The world doesn't bend without getting a pool cue up in its eye sometimes. That's what I'm here for."

"But why?" Lily asked, her head now resting on DeGroot's shoulder. This was the first time her husband had been this candid with her since taking office.

"You remember what we were all screaming about in University? This is my chance to make some of that a reality. The good ideas, not the dumbassed shit about co-ops," he said, Lily chuckling slightly. "Everyone deserves a fair chance, everyone should get a say in their future. Even if they piss away their lives doing nothing, that should be their call. That's all I want," DeGroot said, suddenly seeming tired.

"But there are people out there who won't let them. With Saito, whatever his good intentions, he wants this country to be pay to play; Old Ceti tried that and got fucked. All the shit going on overseas, millions of lives affected, the uncertainty alone could wipe out the whole damn stock market. The Imperials? They'll destroy everyone and everything."

"I have to do what I can to keep the fight going while I've still got time left. Someone has to whip this collection of prima donnas, idealists, and plain fucking idiots into something resembling a functioning government. If it's not me, it'll be somebody else."
Last edited by Hittanryan on Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:19 am

Two Days Earlier
Government Office, New Laconia

Fresh from Alizeria, DeGroot was sitting in his office in a relaxed manner, eating an apple with one hand, reading a report in another. A mug of his signature paint-thinner coffee was sitting on the desk, half full. Chief of Staff Jakobssen, on the other hand, stood by the window a bit stiffly. What was going through that head of his now?

Eventually, William Summers walked in through the door. He looked decidedly less spry than DeGroot, with dark circles under his eyes, hair out of order, his tie slightly crooked. Looking up from his papers, DeGroot commented "Will, you look like you've shat a LEGO garage." Summers just nodded drowsily.

"Here, have a seat," DeGroot said, gesturing to the chair in front of his desk. DeGroot then rose to his feet and walked over to the percolator, using one of his extra mugs. "Here, you could use one of these," he said, pouring a cup. Summers didn't say anything. "Cream and sugar, right?" the President asked. Summers still didn't say anything, but DeGroot knew how Summers liked his coffee and fixed it up anyway.

Sitting back down, setting the mug in front of him, DeGroot gave an inward sigh and looked Summers in the eye. "Come on, out with it."

Summers stared for a bit, DeGroot and Jakobssen looking back at him expectantly. Finally, he managed "I'm finished."

Looking thoughtful for a moment, DeGroot said. "Yeah. It's a spill, right?" Summers nodded warily, not saying anything. DeGroot somewhat noisily took another crunching bite of the apple. "So, you're fucked."

Summers nodded. "Haven't got the votes. They think the Oversight Act is Saito's bill."

DeGroot seemed unmoved, taking another bite of the apple. With his mouth full, he asked "Is it? I mean it might as well be."

Summers looked to one side uneasily. DeGroot's eyes searched for his, before sitting back and taking a sip of coffee. "Well, it's consumed the better part of two months now. Doesn't matter who wrote it now, we can't seem to spike the fucking thing."

Looking up at him abruptly, Summers said "I can kill it."

Stopping his crunching for a second, DeGroot looked at Summers. "Yeah?"

"I sponsored the bill. I can send it to Committee. Then Michaels can kill it," he said.

DeGroot, having nearly finished the apple, waved the core waiting for the other shoe to drop. Finally he was blunt, "I can't save you from your own party's spill, Will, you know that."

That's when Summers gave us an earnest look, starting the President right in the eye with a pleading expression. Shrugging, DeGroot said "Will..."

"I stuck with you through the war. Backed you in Arcologia. A few non-interventionists broke with me over New Othman. I tuned the ESS for you..." Summers started.

DeGroot, meanwhile, just set the apple core on the desk on a napkin. "Until this shit. You wouldn't fucking listen," DeGroot said, leveling a murderous gaze at him.

"I made a mistake!" Summers finally shouted in a hoarse tone. He seemed to buckle a bit, finally resting his head in his hands.

Looking suddenly lordly, DeGroot seemed to appraise his sincerity, looking Summers up and down. Finally he got up, walked over to the other side of his desk, and extended a hand. Hesitantly, Summers took it, which DeGroot pulled him up to his feet. Shaking Summers' hand and patting him on the arm, he said "You were my ally. I won't forget everything we've accomplished together, all the times we backed each other up. But remember, you're in my caucus now. And you better walk the fucking line this time."

National Assembly Floor
New Laconia, Republic of Adiron

The Assembly was alive with motion. Some of the government's coalition members were clapping. Many others, including Libertarians and Greens, were booing. The Speaker tried to call them to order while Summers waited patiently to finish. "...just let me say this. When I proposed this legislation, I believed it was in the best interests of our country to have an open debate about this legislation. It is something that affects us all."

"But I will say it again. This debate has turned into nothing but a cynical discourse about motivations and rumors surrounding myself. Ultimately the discourse was at its most productive at the outset, when it remained focused on one of the most serious decisions any Adiran government will have to make: the decision to declare war," Summers said, more murmurs from the gallery.

"Now that that discussion has run its course, I hereby call for a motion to send this bill to review by Committee," Summers said. In rapid order, a multitude of SDP Assembly members voted "aye." The Green caucus followed suit, except for a few radical non-interventionists who looked around aghast at their fellow party. The Opposition uniformly voted "nay," but they didn't have the votes to stop it.

"Motion carried," the Speaker said, "the bill will be submitted for review before the Armed Forces Committee." A smirk emerged on DeGroot's face, which some lucky reporter caught.

Turning to the Speaker, Summers said "Second order. I would also take this briefly resignation as Leader of the Green Party." Much of the Assembly was surprised. The senior SDP leadership was not, the Greens were more jeering than shocked. "During the past few weeks, I was unable to dispel rumors which undermine the integrity of my party. I failed to inspire confidence in my caucus, and I have...acted against my coalition."

"For these reasons, I am stepping down as Party Leader. My caucus will appoint my replacement in due time," Summers concluded. Feeling the weight of the Assembly's collective stares, he straightened his tie, collected his papers, and began walking back into the gallery amidst a steady roar of conversation.

DeGroot held the smirk for all who paid him any mind.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.

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Founded: Mar 10, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Hittanryan » Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:45 pm

National Assembly Floor
New Laconia, Republic of Adiron

A few months after the Oversight Act was killed off, the Adiran government was facing a new series of issues. Abroad there were trade questions and Adiron's involvement in peacekeeping operations. Domestically the threat of terrorism appeared to be on the rise. Mere weeks after the Isidium Bombing a new plot was foiled in Cerina. President DeGroot had to face them all down in Question Time.

After the President assumed the position in front of the Assembly, Howard Saito rose to his feet, metaphorical paddle in hand. "Is the President prepared to explain how is it that after years of military buildup, conscription, and expansion of domestic surveillance programs that Adiron is still unprepared to deal with a terrorist threat?" Saito asked.

"It is convenient for the Opposition Leader to forget that attacks were averted outright in Rio Vista and Cerina within the past month, despite matching very few of the patterns we saw in Bluebrook. No one is working harder than the men and women in the law enforcement, counter-terrorism, and intelligence communities to stop this from happening again. Even in Isidium, where so many Adirans lost their lives, they sacrificed so that thousands could live. Are we unprepared? The answer, I believe, is no. We face an elusive, determined enemy, driven to carry out acts of mass murder on Adiran soil, but every day we learn more about him, and every day his odds of successfully staging an attack drop."

"And who is this enemy? Could this terror campaign be, as a prominent member of your caucus publicly suggested, the work of the Inquisition?"

He was going to kill Michaels for that remark. First Cullen would soften him up, the he'd go in for the kill. Maybe throw Li in there for good measure. They were golf buddies, could have come from him. With a cold expression DeGroot said "It is not the policy of this government to jeopardize the safety of the Adiran people by revealing details of an ongoing investigation. Assemblyman Michaels was speculating, not speaking to any details of the investigation, nor did his remarks reflect the position of this government at this time.

"I am sure, however, that the implication of your question was that we've somehow let our guard down against Adiron's primary national security threat. Allow me to counter by saying if the Imperium is behind these attacks, with all of its resources and access, then all the more credit needs to go to the law enforcement and intelligence communities."

"Would the President go to war with the Imperium over these attacks if it surfaced the Inquisition was behind them?"

DeGroot stood unblinking for a moment. "If there was a concrete military objective which would decisively end the terrorist threat to the Adiran people and couldn't be achieved by any other means? In that specific circumstance, yes, I would," he said. That would be all over the news. Even the Curia would see it. Good. Knowing what he did, he wanted them to know it. The Assembly started humming with hushed conversations. "However, I believe we have descended into the realm of pure speculation at this point. Shall we move on, Opposition Leader?"

Saito sat, the ever-present boardroom smile still on his face. Assemblywoman Merriman, a somewhat portly and rather pompous Liberal and member of the Commerce and Trade Committee, rose for the next one. "With the formation of the SAEC, protectionist measures threaten Adiran competitiveness in Lazodiria and Valik. How does the President intend to respond to this?"

"I might remind the Assemblywoman that she has often accused this government of also 'threatening Adiran competitiveness,' in this very chamber. She should be reassured that the State Department and the Department of Commerce will be inquiring with the Supreme Council of the SAEC as well as through our embassies with major trading partners such as Lazodiria and Valik. We certainly hope that we can reach agreements for Adiran firms who have been conducting business in member states since well before the organization's formation."

"It may be prudent of the President to call that a grandmother clause," she said, eliciting chuckles from her side of the aisle and groans and eye-rolls from the government's. "And suppose that isn't possible?"

"Then we will seek a reduction of tariffs from the organization as a whole. As the Assemblywoman's party is so quick to remind us all, protectionism is a double-edged sword. Adiran trade is important to several of the member states' economies. We expect the SAEC to be responsive to its members," DeGroot explained.

"The President certainly has a rosy picture of an economic union formed and largely dominated by Deadora. Suppose there is nothing the government can do to prevent harmful tariffs from being levied against Adiran trade?"

"That's a rather dim view of negotiation and compromise," DeGroot quipped, wearing a bemused expression. "Should they flat-out refuse to negotiate, then the gut response would be for Adiron to levy reciprocal tariffs on SAEC imports. Of course if we did that, I'm sure the Assemblywoman would be sure to remind me how that also hurts the Adiran economy and we should have negotiated further."

DeGroot caught a glance between Saito and Merriman. She sat down. They were probably going to have to wait for negotiations to fall through. Martha Rutherford, an SDP Assemblywoman, rose next. "Now that peace has been achieved, what is the future of the President's foreign policy towards New Edom?"

"We are going to continue our policy of supporting democratic reforms and elections. Peacekeepers will remain in politically volatile areas of the country to defend polling stations, election officials, campaign staff, and activists through the election. They will also continue to aid New Edom's internally displaced persons for as long as necessary."

"Are the peacekeepers remaining in New Edom because there concerns about ongoing election violence?"

"The peacekeepers are there for the same reason the election monitors are: we want this election to be successful, and it must have legitimacy to be successful. That said, the Chairman of the National Elections Committee is now King, and the Queen is now an internationally-recognizable symbol of peace and unity who brokered the peace in the first place. The Free Congress have laid down arms and pledged to take part in the political process peacefully. It is therefore the position of this government that New Edom now has a better chance than ever at lasting democratic reform...and this government is going to do what it can to help."
Last edited by Hittanryan on Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
In-character name of the nation is "Adiron," because I like the name better.


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