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Under the Eagle (EX)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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-Roma Invicta-
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Founded: Dec 14, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Under the Eagle (EX)

Postby -Roma Invicta- » Wed May 13, 2020 5:09 pm

Tribunus Angusticlavus Gaius Flavius Aquila
Roman Military Academy, Mutina
Italia, The Roman Republic
Friday 8th May 2020, 1500hrs Local Time




The Roman Military Academy was a place that was close to the heart of the senior officers of the Roman Army. Nestled in the picturesque city of Mutina (Modena) in Po Valley it was the place at which the future leaders of the Legions, Rome’s legendary heavy (now armoured) infantry, came to learn their trade. As one of the world’s foremost military academies, graduates of the Roman Military Academy received a world-class education in military strategy, tactics and logistics, leadership, and administration, that would serve them well in the high command positions. The Roman Army had a long-standing, and very unique way of training it’s officers at the tactical, strategic and staff levels, which the level of entry originally as a result purely of social class, which was still somewhat prevalent due to the fact that the tuition fees for the Roman Military Academy were covered by the students (with some exceptions. The reason for this was simple enough, as far as the Romans were concerned; tactical leadership required a very different skill set when compared to operational and strategic leadership, not only requiring difference experiences but also entirely different temperaments. As far as the Roman Army was concerned, there was no point in losing a potentially talented strategic mind because they were less well-suited for small unit command.

As a result, and a point of pride for the Roman Army, all of it’s tactical leadership was promoted from the ranks, meaning that even the most junior Centurion (a rank equivalent to that of a Captain or Major in the systems used by other nation’s) had at least twelve years of experience ‘under the Eagle’, as the saying went, and as such was a far more capable leader in combat than an a man years his junior who had the benefit of a better education. However, key staff roles, which were essential to the successful administration of the legion, and higher command, where broader strategy was more important than practical tactics, were things that could be taught and this was something that the Roman Military Academy excelled in. At the end of their education, at roughly the age of twenty-two, a graduate of the Royal Military Academy would be posted to a series of posts, starting as a military staff tribute and culminating, some years later, as a Legion Commander, with future political-military posts possible for the most able. In any case, a solid military career remained essential for those wishing to enter Roman politics, or to increase social standards, and as such the Roman Military Academy was a place where the sons of Senators, and other wealthy Romans, rubbed shoulders with the sons of battle-scarred Chief Centurions who attended on the back of their father’s careers in the hope of better prospects for their entire family.

Gaius Flavius Aquila was the former; the son of a Senator from a family (and a gens, the Flavians) with a history that could be traced back to the earliest days of the first Republic. As the eldest son of a Senator, Flavius Aquila was destined for a career in politics and, in Rome, that started in the military.

The Roman Military Academy graduation ceremony was a major occasion for the entire city that it called home, given that it took place in the very heart of the city at it’s central plaza, but also due to the celebratory meals, and in due course partying, that would ensure that the both the restaurants and the bars and clubs would enjoy exceptionally good business to make up for the few hours that the entire city essentially slowed to a crawl as the Roman Army took over. It was a day of pageantry and ceremony, as Rome’s newest officers took to the streets in their iconic dress uniforms for the first time, and marched through the city before being formally commissioned as Military Tribunes (of the Junior Grade, roughly equivalent to the rank of Colonel). It was also the day that they found find out their assignments, with most hoping for a posting to a Legion, which were prestigious, rather than to a provincial military staff or the Basilica Militum in Rome, although the last was the preferred option of the two non-legion options. It was a simple enough process; a graduate’s final grades were entered into the Army’s Personnel System and they were matched up to the positions that suited them best, with higher scores getting the Legion posts and lower scores ending up in the provincial administrations. Both were staff tribune billets, however it was far better to be a staff tribune in the Legions, both for the odds of seeing action and for future career prospects.

Although the graduation ceremony itself had been an amazing experience, one that he would remember for the rest of his life, Flavius Aquila had joined every other newly-commissioned Tribune in flooding into the Academy’s main building and forming a, mostly orderly, queue outside the Administration Office where a Legionary Immune had just dropped off a box of envelopes addressed to each of the new officers. After a fifteen minute wait, Flavius Aquila stepped up to the hatchway and looked expectantly at the civilian member of the Academy’s staff who shook his hand firmly and handed him an envelope with his name on it. Stepping aside with a smile, Flavius Aquilla quickly unsealed the envelope and took out the contents. The first sheet of paper was a letter, signed personally by the Praetor Militum, welcoming him to the Roman Army, wishing him the best of luck in his career and so forth. The second sheet of letter was a formal order from the Basilica Militum, providing the details of where he to report to, which he quickly swept his eyes over to identify his new unit.

The Thirteenth Legion!

The Thirteenth, aside from having one of the most colourful histories of any in the Republic, was one of those that was stationed in Italy itself, which meant that they formed Rome’s strategic reserve. Rather than being responsible for responding to incursions across the frontier, these Legions were responsible for forming the core of any Roman expeditionary force for operations all over the world. As such, they were highly sought after assignments for both officers and troops. Moreover, the Thirteenth Legion was led by another Flavius, a member of Flavius Aquila’s extended family, doubtless a result of the lingering patronage that existed within the Republic. There was no way that Flavius Aquila, or indeed anyone no matter how highly born, would have been given a Legion post if he was not worthy of it, but it was fairly obvious that his posting to the Thirteenth had been specifically requested by his cousin, the Legion Commander. It was not uncommon, as family and extended family were expected to support and look after each other, and doubtless his cousin wanted to make sure he learnt his trade well, under his direct guidance.

In any case, Flavius Aquila had the rest of the evening and all of the weekend to celebrate with his family before he was due to report to the Thirteenth Legion at Neapolis on Monday, and he fully intended to enjoy himself.

Tribunus Angusticlavus Gaius Flavius Aquila
Forum Romanum, Rome
Italia, The Roman Republic
Monday 11th May 2020, 0800hrs Local Time




The Forum of Rome was already bustling, despite the hour. It was the centre of power for the City of Rome, which by extension meant that it was the centre of power for all of the Republic, but like any forum it was also a civil centre. The plaza itself was expansive, and often full of either merchants or politicians plying their trade, but also thousands of Romans going about their business at any of the huge, majestic buildings around the perimeter. These ranged from the Temple of Mars, to the Senate Building to the Basilica Roma and even the great Flavian Bathes, the latter was primarily used by the various high ranking officials who worked in this part of the great sprawling City of Rome, it was all designed to be simply awe-inspiring, and it worked. The majesty of Rome was on full display here, at the very centre of Roman power, just as it had been in ancient times.

Gaius Flavius Aquila was a young man of only twenty-two years, but he had been to the Forum Romanum a few times over his life, his father was a Senator after all which bestowed certain privileges, as well as responsibilities. Indeed, for Gaius Flavius Aquila it was a family tradition even after gaining Senatorial rank, after all they had adopted ‘Aquila’ as their cognomen for a reason. The Flavians were an Equestrian family, they had worked their way up since time immemorial from the plebeian masses, many of their line had served as Consuls, but they lacked the prestige and wealth of the patricians, which was part of the reason that many Flavians, and the Aquila family in particular, choose the Military as a way to raise their status and make their ascent to the highest offices of the Roman Republic possible. Fortunately, the Flavians, recognising the position that their Plebeian roots put them in, were a tight nit group, with the various branches of the gens always willing to help their kin. Marcus Flavius Magnus, the newly appointed Legatus of the Thirteenth Legion, was Flavius Aquila’s cousin and had arranged for him to be appointed to his staff.

“Ave, Gaius Flavius Aquila.”

Aquila turned his head to look at the source of the voice and his face broke into a broad smile as he looked upon his best friend.

“Ave, Marcus Cornelius Favus,” He smiled. “How are you, I did not expect to see you before I left for Neapolis.”

“I am well, my friend,” Favus replied with a smile. “However, I fancy you’ll be seeing more of me.”

“Oh, how so?” Aquila asked, intrigued.

“My orders came through, finally, I’ve been appointed to a Legion Staff,” Favus replied, they had both graduated the RMA together, but Favus’ post had still been pending. “Attached to the Thirteenth Legion.”

“Fantastic! I say that is fantastic news,” Aquila smiled broadly. “It’ll be just like old times, just with an entire Legion at our backs.”

“Indeed! We’ll fuck our way through every servant and whore we can get our hands on,” Favus laughed, Aquila smirked recalling their (mis)spent youth where prostitutes, and more than a few teenaged serving girls, had been the order of the day most days. “Unless you are too high and mighty for us, oh my Tribune.”

“Knock it off,” Aquila laughed. “Even Tribunes need a release, possibly even more than the rest of you fuckers.”

Favus simply smiled.

“You are going to the Temple of Mars I assume?” He enquired, glancing across the forum at the Temple in question, second only in statue only to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus high on the Capitoline, Aquila nodded in return. “Do you mind if I join you, my friend? Then we can travel to Neapolis together.”

Aquila nodded and the two friends made their way through the bustling crowds and up the steps into the Temple. The main chamber was dominated by a massive, truly massive, statue of Mars, adorned as a Roman Legionary, at the base of his feet many people had left offerings. All around the chamber were various Priests, ready to do their work if it was required. Unlike many other Gods however, the soldiers (and other Military personnel) who tended to visit the Temple of Mars in the Forum of Rome knew exactly what they were doing and, more importantly, that it was a private matter, between one soldier and the God of War. The two friends stopped just before the feet of the great statue and knelt down, each offering a sacrifice to the God. In Aquila’s case it was a golden statuette of an Eagle, for Favus it was a golden statuette of a Horse. They remained on their needs in silent prayer and contemplation for a short time before glancing over at each other and standing up, bowing back at the statue before striding confidently back out into the Forum, the favour of the god hopefully acquired they could now depart.

The two friends acquired a Litter, a fancier version of a taxi cab, and were promptly on their way through the busy streets of Rome, the litter moving them far quicker than walking, and more ‘distinguished’ than the public transport that the plebeians were compelled to use. All told it took them less than an hour to get from the Forum to get to the edge of the metropolis and the seven hills that surrounded it, reaching a train station that would take them southwards. Now that they were outside the sacred boundaries of Rome the two friends could wear the sagum, the distinctive red cloak of a soldier, attaching them around their necks as they climbed aboard the train and were guided to the first class carriages given their social rank and their status as military officers.

They reached Neapolis in good time and were soon making their way into the Castrum Neapolis.

It was with more than a little excitement that Aquila buckled the last part of his ceremonial armour, into place. It was required that an officer reporting to their posts for the first time do so in full ceremonial dress; just like the duty officer on any given day. As a Tribune his breastplate was ornately decorated with an eagle, and upon the top of his helmet was a crest of red horsehair running from front to back, marking him out as a senior officer, as opposed to the centurions who wore it side to side. It would look archaic perhaps to an outsider, but it was steeped in history and tradition, and even if he had a gladius on his belt he also had a modern pistol as well.

Aquila and Favus had arrived only a short time ago and had been directed to the Officer’s accommodation within the Fort, which he had found very much to his liking. Looking in the mirror he was satisfied that he looked the part and turned and headed back outside, the Legatus was waiting for him and it was not smart to keep a Legion Legatus waiting. He met Favus outside the Officer’s Accommodation and they made their way together over to the Praetorium, the Legion Headquarters.

They got a few amused glances from the various Legionaries they passed, Aquila had been told to expect this by his father, who had risen to the rank of Prefect (the highest rank a Plebeian could achieve, gaining him entry into the Equestrian Order upon retirement). The vast majority of Legionaries, and all of their Centurions, were career soldiers, the Tribunes gained their high positions through their education, made possible by their wealth, social rank, and connections, as a result they had to prove themselves. No soldier who valued his life dared disrespect a Tribune openly, and if they ever did Aquila had been advised to assert his authority immediately, but a young Tribune was viewed as ‘playing soldier’, a view that remained until they proved themselves. Regardless, the two Legionaries standing guard outside of the Praetorium stood to attention and saluted crisply

They were shown through to the Legatus’ office and stood before his desk until the man, like them in ceremonial armour which was even more ornately designed than Aquila’s own. The two young friends stood to attention and saluted.

“Gaius Flavius Aquila, reporting for duty, Sir.”

“Marcus Cornelius Favus, reporting for duty, Sir.”

The Legatus fixed the two young men in front of him with a stern expression, as he looked them over. Both had removed their helmets upon entering the Praetorium and held them under their arms. They were both muscular and athletic, clearly having made the appropriate preparations for their assignments here. Both stood straight-backed, expressions totally serious. The Legatus had seen enough young noblemen joining the Army to further their own careers, often to the detriment of the unit (resulting in everyone else having to pick up their slack), but if their bearing was anything to go by that wasn’t going to be a problem here.

“I am Marcus Flavius Magnus, Legatus of the Thirteenth Legion,” He said after a short time. “It is good to meet you, Cousin, last time you were a mere babe in arms.”

“Yes sir, my Mater mentioned something like that,” Aquila nodded, remaining straight backed and looking forward.

“Relax man! You are a Staff Tribune of a Legion, not some rookie Legionary straight out of basic,” Magnus chided as he signalled for three servings of wine to be brought in. “And you, young Favus, you hardly have to look like you’ve just enlisted as well.”

The two friends relaxed significantly and took the wine, soon understanding why it fetched a high price in Rome, for it was exquisite to say the least.

“Good, that’s much better, you and I are going to be working closely Aquila, so you need to be able to relax around me and not think I’m going to bite your head off,” Magnus said dryly. “You’ve got ten years of service ahead of you, although I fear that only some of it will be under me, I suspect that my enemies in the Senate will endeavour to place another officer in command of the Thirteenth before long.”

“I sincerely hope not, Sir, and if there is anything that I can do to help, I will,” Aquila said earnestly and the older man smiled.

Magnus had joined the army much the same way that Aquila had, but whereas Aquila intended to continue pushing, aiming as high as a Consul, Magnus had been more content to be commanding Legions, and the Senate had been more than willing to oblige. Unfortunately, in his time he had made enemies, and those same enemies now sought to strip him of the prestigious command he held.

“Loyalty is a trait that I appreciate more than anything, especially to one’s kin,” Magnus said meaningfully, then turned to Favus. “And what about you, will you be staying with me as a career officer? Or will you be taking up some Procurator post somewhere sooner rather than later.”

“Probably stay with the Legions, Sir,” Favus admitted. “I never had much interest in politics.”

“That makes too of us,” Magnus agreed dryly. “Well, we’ll let you gain some experience for a couple of years, then we’ll have you as a prefect in no time.”

The Legatus sat down behind his desk and leant back in the chair. It was obvious that he was working on something rather important; there was evidence of it all across his desk. Clearly the man clocked onto what they were looking at and smiled slightly.

“Don’t worry lads, you’ve arrived just in time to join us on our march southwards; you’re not going to miss our deployment, but I'll fill you in on the details later,” Magnus commented with a wry smile as he leant back in his chair. “For now, you’ll both need to report to the quartermaster in order to get prepared!”

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-Roma Invicta-
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby -Roma Invicta- » Sun May 17, 2020 5:03 am

Tribunus Angusticlavus Gaius Flavius Aquila
Castrum Neapolis, Neapolis
Italia, The Roman Republic
Monday 11th May 2020, 1700hrs Local Time




Flavius Aquila and Cornelius Favus, by now in a far less formal service uniform, returned the salutes of the two Legionaries standing post as they returned to the Praetorium, the headquarters building of the Castrum (Fort), after a day of admin and getting acquainted with the legion. As the Legatus had hinted, it was obvious that there was something afoot; the legion was getting ready to deploy and it’s two new Tribunes needed to get up to speed as quickly as possible. Fortunately, their RMA education had spent the last four years preparing them to be thrown in at the deep end, as senior officers this was inevitable, so both would be able to land on their feet. It was to find out what was going on that had brought the two young Tribunes to the Praetorium, and truth be told they were both eager to find out as there had been absolutely no hint that something was being planned before they had reported here, and although the RMA was hardly the top destination for classified information on pending operations it was still surprising that there had not even been rumours that something was going to happen.

As far as Flavius Aquila was concerned that meant two things. The first that it was a relatively small operation, after all one legion could be quietly prepared for deployment without attracting too much attention; particularly if they weren’t going to be deploying with their heavy armour. Which led to his second thought; that whatever their target was, if it was actually a combat operation rather than a shoring up the frontier, it was not deemed to be likely to pose all that much of a threat. Although the Roman Legion was designed principally as an armoured formation, with a heavy spearhead of main battle tanks provided by the Legionary cavalry squadron supported by cohorts of Legionary heavy infantry, it was also more than capable of operating without it’s armour as Infantry. Although the Auxiliary Forces, which in Roman parlance referred to the non-Legionary units that made up the bulk of the Army (rather than a reserve force), included both cavalry and infantry units, and were as well-equipped and well-trained as the Legions, they were less well suited for overseas deployments and nowhere near as proficient at large-scale maneuverer warfare. As a result, whether operating with their armour or without, the Legions were always the first choice (although they were typically supported by the Auxiliaries in any case).

“Ah, Cousin,” Flavius Magnus said by means of greeting as the two young Tribunes stepped into the Legatus’ office. “And young Favus.”

“Sir,” Flavius Aquila replied formally, rendering a crisp salute.

Flavius Magnus smiled before introducing the rest of the senior officers. First was Tribunus Laticlavius Publius Velius Marsus, the Legion’s Deputy Commander, a graduate of the Roman Military Academy although with more than eight years of service under his belt. Next was the oldest man in the room by far, Prefect Publius Rufius Crispinus, the Camp Prefect who was third-in-command of the Legion and responsible for all training and discipline, a twenty-five-year veteran of the Legions. The three other men in the room were also Junior Military Tribunes, like Flavius Aquila and Cornelius Favus, albeit with a couple of more years’ experience having graduated several years previously; Lucius Herennius Bassus, the Staff Tribune for Personnel, Sextus Modius Regulus, Staff Tribune for Logistics, and Gnaeus Pontius Crispus, the Staff Tribune for Operations (and thus first-amongst-equals of Staff Tribunes). Rounding out the Legion’s command staff were Flavius Aquila, who was taking up the post of Staff Tribune for Intelligence and Security, and Cornelius Favus, who was taking up the post of Staff Tribune for Plans, both having specialised in these fields at the Academy.

Once the introductions were complete, Flavius Magnus took gestured for the group to gather around a table upon which he had placed a map of the world and took his place on the opposite side of the table.

“Gentlemen, the Thirteenth Legion has been tasked by the Senate and People of Rome to conduct an operation which will cement our security policy in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indicus Oceans, all of which are essential to our ability to protect power and protect our trade,” Flavius Magnus began. “As many of you will know, Rome has steadily divested itself of it’s colonial commitments abroad in favour of solidifying the gains we have made around the Mediterranean, however we maintained contingency sites in a number of former colonies.”

Flavius Magnus paused and indicated to four locations on the map.

“We maintain contingency sites, naval and aviation facilities as well as troop accommodation, at the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island, in the Atlantic, Diego Garcia, in the Indicus, and Wake Island, in the Pacific, although we do not currently station assets at any,” Flavius Magnus continued. “Wake Island, in particular, is uninhabited save for occasional visits by Roman warships in the Pacific, however a great deal of the planning done at the Basilica Militum assumes that, on short notice, we would be able to quickly make use of these sites.”

Flavius Magnus looked up at his staff.

“Short notice assumes that we will have rights of access to these sites, regardless of time or scale, and that the former-colonies will not allow any other nation-state or hostile power to make use of these sites for their own ends, and we’ve paid handsomely to secure that,” Flavius Magnus explained. “Three days ago, the Government of Ascension Island arrested and detained a work party from the Vis Volantes who were at Wideawake Airfield to do the quarterly checks on the equipment, for obvious reasons this has been kept quiet by both sides.”

One of the Tribunes, Flavius Aquila wasn’t sure which, snorted at the Legatus’ comment and he couldn’t help but agree. If news of this outrage got out, the average Roman would be incensed at the disrespect and demand retribution, which would significantly limit the strategic options available. After all, it was already obvious that Rome would station a garrison on the island and it would be far easier to maintain such a garrison if the ‘re-conquest’ was a quiet, low-scale affair than a loud, brash affair it would become if this all got out.

“We are attempting to resolve the matter diplomatically, however the new Chief Minister is trying to make good on an election promise to resist the influence of Rome, so we’re assuming that we’re going to have to take the island back militarily,” Flavius Magnus said, giving the group a sharp look. “At the same time, the Consuls advised to the Senate that it would be strategically preferable for us to re-assert full control over the other former-colonies, with varying levels of direct control, as a result of this mess and the Senate was inclined to agree.”

The two Consuls were Rome’s chief magistrates, responsible for the administration of the Republic and the various machinery of the Roman Government, amongst other duties, and as such, the Senate tended to follow the advice of the Consuls, particularly in matters of military and foreign affairs.

“As such, the Thirteenth Legion will be responsible for securing Ascension Island, as well as the other three former colonies that host contingency sites, as the precursor for permanent Roman military presence on all four, obviously Ascension will be the biggest ‘threat’, although given that the Ascension Island Defence Force amounts to a single platoon of light infantry, it will hardly be the greatest moment in the annals of our beloved Legion,” Flavius Magnus commented with a wry smile. “In short, a strike team from the Praetorian Guard will deploy under cover of darkness to secure Wideawake Airfield, and will be taking with them an Air Traffic Control detachment from the Vis Volantes; once up and running two cohorts of the Thirteenth will be flown to Ascension Island to take control of the island; although I doubt that you will face much opposition once you get on the ground, but I would rather go with more manpower than less.”

Flavius Magnus paused and glanced around at the group for any questions.

“There have been some whisperings out of the Falkland Islands of following the example of Ascension Island, however there is already a Vis Volantes detachment on the ground at Mount Pleasant, and they report full co-operation from the administration, however they do report some harassment from the locals,” Flavius Magnus continued, pointing to the South Atlantic. “As such, we’ll be deploying two cohorts to the Falkland Islands, as Praetorian Intelligence suggests we may face some civil unrest, particularly as the administration has already been struggling in that regards, since independence, so once the population have worn themselves out we suspect they’ll see the economic benefits of returning to the fold with Rome.”

Flavius Magnus turned their attention to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

“As it’s uninhabitable, Wake Island hardly requires a major deployment, as such the Navy will be taking the lead, although we’ve been asked to send a Tribune, along with an advance party from the Vis Volantes, until they decide on their long-term establishment there,” Flavius Magnus smiled, not missing the eager expressions. “As for Diego Garcia, the local islanders have never been particularly thrilled with the airfield we constructed there, but as we’ve not maintained a presence there they’ve not been moaning too much, although that may change.”

Flavius Magnus leant forward on the table.

“As per standing Basilica Militum assessments, the close quarters of Diego Garcia and the other islands in the group preclude the option of allowing the locals to remain if we are to assume a permanent military presence on the islands, as is the intention,” Flavius Magnus continued. “Although all efforts will be made to persuade the Chagossian Islanders to voluntarily relocate, including financial support to resettle anywhere in the world, including in Roman territory, a forceful depopulation of the island has been approved by the Senate, necessitating the deployment of several Cohorts.”

Flavius Magnus rounded the table and sat behind his desk, his staff gathering on the other side in a standing semi-circle.

“Due to the fact that Indicus Ocean Territory is the most sensitive, the Legion Headquarters will be deploying to Diego Garcia where I can represent Rome personally and attempt to persuade the islanders to voluntarily remove themselves, and oversee any removal action,” Flavius Magnus explained. “I am also eager for our two newest Tribunes to gain some command experience, as such whilst the rest of the Headquarters is with me on Diego Garcia, Tribune Flavius Aquila, you will oversee the action on Ascension Island, Tribune Cornelius Favus will oversee the action on the Falkland Island, once relieved the two of you will travel together to secure Wake Island, a warship is already heading to the Falklands ready for you.”

Flavius Aquila and Cornelius Favus shared an excited glance at their assignments, clearly pleased with the leading roles they would have in this operation, and the valuable experience they would gain from them… not to mention the effective ‘vacation’ they would enjoy on Wake Island once all was said and done. The other Tribunes looked understandably envious of their newest brother officers, but they understood the reasoning; in addition to being Staff Officers, a Legion’s tribunes were also regularly used to command multi-cohort detachments and it was important that new Tribunes got a taste of command as soon as possible as that was the one thing that the Academy could teach a lot of theory but provide very little practical experience. As such, the opportunity to allow the two newest Tribunes to gain combat, or at least near-combat, experience was one that any Legatus would take; moreover, Operations, Logistics and Personnel would be far more useful on the Indicus Ocean Territory, given the complex nature of ‘persuading’ over a thousand islanders to leave their home.

“Let me make it clear to you, Gentlemen, I do not want a bloodbath on my hands, in either operation, I rather doubt anyone on Ascension or the Falklands is suicidal, but you might face some civil disobedience, so keep yourselves and your men restrained and you’ll do fine,” Flavius Magnus said firmly. “You’ll be relieved in short order by the Vis Volantes, and the Basilica Militum is putting together volunteers for Auxiliary Cohorts to protect the islands after the Thirteenth returns here, so get in, get the job done and hand over as quickly as practicable.”

“Understood, Sir,” Flavius Aquila nodded.

“Understood, Sir,” Cornelius Favus said as well.

“Very well, the Praetorian unit is going in over cover of darkness tonight, and Prefect Rufius Crispinus confirmed to be before this briefing that the Legion is ready to deploy, so I’d get some sleep whilst you can, muster is at zero one hundred, transports will leave an hour later,” Flavius Magnus explained. “Once on the ground, you’re in charge, but don’t feel like you can’t ask for help; any of your colleagues will be available and if needs be ask to speak to myself, or even call Rome, you might be in command but you are not alone out there? Any questions? No? Good, let’s get about this, gentlemen.”

Tribunus Angusticlavus Gaius Flavius Aquila
The Lupanar, Neapolis
Italia, The Roman Republic
Tuesday 12th May 2020, 0210hrs Local Time




Flavius Aquila couldn’t help but smile himself as he walked through the corridors of the Lupanar, listening to the action going on around him, the (more than likely feigned) moans of pleasure from the women, and the satisfied grunts from the men. Only the best and highest quality brothel in any Roman settlement could simply call itself the ‘Lupanar’, which quite simply meant brothel, it catered to noble and highborn men (and women, to be fair) and unlike most plebeian establishments it was clean, well-lit and the prostitutes were of the highest quality, beautiful and skilled, but fetching a high price. Many of them were plebeians of course, from the lower levels of society, but between attracting the eye of a wealthy Roman to take as a wife and accumulating sufficient wealth through their tips, prostitution was actually one of the quickest ways for a female non-citizen to make a good life for herself. After all, in the Roman Republic the entire industry was well-regulated and intended to be as safe as possible for both clients and ‘service-providers’; it had long been a staple of Roman life, as the Romans saw Aquila had visited the Lupanar back Mutina, himself more than once and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience, even if it had had a noticeable impact on his coin purse if not his overall wealth.

It was, perhaps, hardly surprising given that they were young men with a substantial income source.

Even in the opulent surroundings of the Lupanar Aquila knew that he looked out of place, for he was adorned in his combat uniform, a Px4 Pugio pistol in a holster on his hip, given that he was supposed to be on a plane into combat right now. He had removed his helmet upon entering the building, holding it under his arm. He had attracted a few curious looks from the handful of patrons he had passed in the corridors, but he had ignored them, there was a reason he was here in uniform, it was official business… even if his ‘official business’ should have bloody well known better. And so it was that he found Decurion Marcus Cornelius Favus, Equestrian of the Roman Republic, in one of the various rooms that the whores took their clients to, knelt behind one taking her from behind. The girl looked up surprised; unlike in lesser brothels it was unusual in the Lupanar to have anyone barging in, but Favus simply laughed when he saw his friend and kept on going.

“You bloody well know better,” Aquila said, trying to sound cross but failing. “The Legatus would be furious, your holding up the entire Legion.”

“What?” Favus exclaimed suddenly. “What time is it?”

“Twenty minutes after the transports were due to leave,” Aquila replied with a wry smile.

“Oh shit!” Favus exclaimed, stopping enjoying himself and quickly pulling his tunic back on.

Aquila simply laughed and waited whilst his friend got dressed and tossed the whore a generous tip and soon enough, they were back in the corridors hurrying through towards the exit. Waiting for them was a staff car, driven by an Immune from the Legion Headquarters, who was smart enough to keep his mouth shut. Fortunately, given the late hour and the livery of the staff car it didn’t take them all that long to reach the airport on the outskirts of the city where the Atlas Mark-I tactical transport aircraft had assembled to transport the Cohorts to Ascension and the Falklands; the first wave would take Flavius Aquila to Ascension Island; after he was happy with the security situation the second wave would descend into Wideawake Airfield to be refuelled before ferrying Cornelius Favus and his cohorts to the Falklands.

“You’re not going to tell the Legatus, are you?” Cornelius Favus asked, slightly nervous, as they were waved through the security gate.

“Of course not, and I’ve already spoken to the Volantes squadron commander and persuaded her not to mention the delay,” Flavius Aquila replied with a grin. “So, you owe me a amphora of wine, not cheap shit either, but no, I’m not going to tell the Legatus… I do have to ask though, are you the best person to be sent to a power keg of civil disobedience?”

“I might like to play hard, Gaius, but you know that when it’s time to work I’ll be nothing but professional,” Cornelius Favus replied, suddenly serious before smirking. “Besides, I rather doubt there’s a thriving brothel seen in the Falklands.”

“You’re incorrigible,” Flavius Aquila laughed as they stepped out of the staff car near the transports. “Stay safe down there, Marcus.”

The two Tribunes clasped forearms tightly, a traditional Roman gesture between comrades.

“You too, Gaius,” Cornelius Favus nodded. “Strength and Honour.”

“Strength and Honour, my friend.”

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-Roma Invicta-
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Founded: Dec 14, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby -Roma Invicta- » Thu May 21, 2020 4:44 pm

Tribunus Angusticlavus Gaius Flavius Aquila
Wideawake Airfield
The Ascension Island Republic
Tuesday 12th May 2020, 0930hrs Local Time




Flavius Aquila held on tightly to the cargo strap hanging down from the ceiling of the cargo compartment in the back of an Atlas Mark-I tactical transport aircraft as it banked into its final approach into Wideawake Airfield. Although a strike team from the Praetorian Guard, which in the modern age commanded Rome’s military intelligence and special operations units, had deployed from a Roman submarine several hours previously and had secured the airfield without bloodshed, and despite the fact that the Ascension Island Republic (AIR) lacked any sort of anti-air weapons, the Vis Volantes squadron commander had ordered that all landings be conducted in a tactical manner. In short, this consisted of an initial high-speed overflight of the runway in order to provoke any air defence units to open fire, the idea being that at full speed and equipped with countermeasures the transport would have a far better chance of avoiding destruction than if they were engaged on a slow final approach. There was always the risk that some malcontents had got their hands on a Stinger missile, or some other form of man-portable air defence system (MANPAD), and it was was good practice in any event.

There was a slight bump as the Atlas touched down, rapidly slowing before quickly vacating the runway to allow the next aircraft to land, heading for the area that had been fully secured by the Praetorian Guard unit. Once the aircraft was settled the rear ramp quickly dropped and the Legionaries, who after a long flight were itching to stretch their legs, disembarked and formed a wide circular perimeter; a technique that was regularly practised for exactly this sort of occasion. Once the Centurion in command of the century, who by virtue of the Roman system for selecting and training its tactical-level officers (from the ranks) had a good ten-years on Flavius Aquila, gave the all clear that he was satisfied with the tactical situation, the Tribune disembarked from the aircraft as well. As befitting his rank, Flavius Aquila was dressed in combat uniform, including body armour and a helmet, but unlike everyone else present, who was armed with the ARX-160 Gladius, he was only armed with a Px4 Pugio as a sidearm. After all, if a Roman Tribune found himself firing his weapon in anger something had gone very badly wrong.

“Area secure, Tribune,” The Centurion reported. “Got Praetorian coming in from the west.”

Flavius Aquila glanced to the west and, sure enough, a small group of soldiers were approaching from a building that upon a quick glance it became obvious they had been using as an overwatch position.

“Very good, Centurion,” Flavius Aquila nodded. “My compliments to the Centurion Princeps of the Fifth and Seventh Cohorts, they’re to secure the airfield and, if they deem it appropriate, the surrounding area, but are to report any contact with the locals, military or civilian, immediately.”

“Sir,” The Centurion replied with a sharp salute.

Flavius Aquila returned the salute before turning to the Praetorian Centurion. The Praetorian Guard was an institution with over two thousand years of history, some of it not tremendously honourable, although this had begun to turn a corner after Marcus Dextrus Meridus succeeded Marcus Aurelius as Emperor, following the unexpected death of his son, Commodus, and began to introduce a wide range of reforms. Upon the transition back from Empire to Republic, during the Roman Renaissance, the Praetorian Guard had been totally removed from a political role, instead being responsible for military intelligence and subsequently for special operations. Nevertheless, the Praetorian Guard remained a common trope in popular culture; ironically, the Guard had probably pulled off more coups in films than it had history. Ultimately however, particularly within the military itself, the Praetorians now had a reputation for efficiency and for being very good at their jobs, if still treated with a degree of suspicion when encountered due to the secretive nature of their work… and the fact that, as part of their counter-intelligence mission, they largely performed any internal investigations.

“It is good to see you, Tribune,” The Praetorian Centurion said in greeting. “We thought the locals were going to make a move on us during the night.”

“Foolishly, I’m sure, Praetorian,” Flavius Aquila replied with a wry smile. “What is the current situation?”

“The locals twigged to what was going on shortly after dawn, when the civilian employees of the airfield found the gates closed and locked when they tried to come to work this morning,” The Praetorian Centurion replied. “The militia assembled, a platoon-sized element as per intelligence assessments, outside the gates but after their officer got a look at the commanding position we set-up, they withdraw.”

“Any ideas where they are now?”

“I sent two of my men out on the other side of the airfield, they were able to hook around the long way and got a good look at their position; they’ve taken up a position a way down the road into the main settlement, mainly infantry but a few light vehicles with MGs,” The Praetorian replied. “From their position on the crossroads, they command the main approach road from our position here, so unless you want to spread a cohort or two across country, we are going to have to go through them to advance on Georgetown settlement.”

“Which we can do, given our numbers,” Flavius Aquila commented. “But if they’re dug in, even if we surround them, it’ll be a blood bath.”

“Yes, Sir,” The Praetorian Centurion nodded grimly, as the two Cohort Commanders arrived and joined the group.

“No bullshit assessment, Centurion,” Flavius Aquila said firmly. “Do you think they’ll fight it out?”

“Honestly, I don’t know, they’re worked up about something, but according to my men they also looked jumpy,” The Praetorian Centurion shrugged. “They’ve got captured Romans somewhere hereabouts, and they have to know we aren’t going to be happy about all this.”

“Then we advance across open ground, and emphasise our numbers,” Flavius Aquila replied, turning to the two Centurion Princeps with a grim expression. “There’s thirty or so hostiles at that village on the crossroads, I want to advance in good order across country to emphasise our numbers.”

“We’ll be very exposed to machine-gun fire,” The Fifth Cohort’s Commander commented. “But I think there’s enough dips in the terrain to provide defilade positions.”

“We’ll need to watch our flanks,” The Seventh Cohort’s Commander added.

“Do what you need to do, Centurions, we can advance as slowly as needed, the point is to emphasise our numbers, they won’t fight,” Flavius Aquila replied confidently. “They have to have a good idea of how many men we have from the number of transports we’ve landed, thirty men versus nearly a thousand… they can’t be that suicidal.”

The three Centurions nodded at their understanding of their orders; few could argue with their Tribune’s logic; with no hopes of reinforcement and no long-term hopes of winning any conflict it would be a tragic waste of lives on both sides if the Ascension Island Militia decided to fight. Ultimately however, whilst the two Roman cohorts would suffer casualties the militia would be ultimately destroyed and it would only prolong the inevitable and deprive their families as a result, so the hope was that they would make the right choice.

It was maybe an hour later that the Fifth Cohort was spread out across the open ground between Wideawake Airfield and the small village that a local guide, who had been in the employ of Rome as the caretaker of the airfield in between inspections by the Vis Volantes, told them was called Cat Hill. With the Seventh Cohort in reserve, and advancing in good order along the road itself, the Fifth Cohort began their approach. The cohort’s six centuries were advancing in a line abreast, split into smaller tactical units called contubernium, or tent parties, with the exception of each century’s mortar team, which set up in quickly chosen spots, and the machine-gun section which likewise set-up in positions to put a significant weight of fire down into Cat Hill if the need arose. The rest of the cohort’s infantry advanced with their weapons, the ubiquitous ARX-160 Gladius, held in their hands, ready to bring up to a firing position at a moment’s notice, but at a sufficiently lowered position to not immediately provoke a lethal response.

Flavius Aquila and the two Cohort Commanders, accompanied by a cluster of signallers, stood outside of rifle range lest a particularly resourceful militiaman take a pot-shot at the small group of Roman senior officers, to oversee the attack. As Tribune, Flavius Aquila had to make sure that the nervousness he was feeling as his men advanced towards contact. Although the ultimate outcome was a foregone conclusion, the amount of Roman lives needed to take the Crossroads at Cat Hill hung in the balance, and those lives would be on his conscience. The two Cohort Commanders had put together a plan, one that would put an overwhelming amount of fire into the enemy position as quickly as possible in order to make the engagement short and sharp, with as few Roman casualties as possible. Yet, Flavius Aquila was still determined to avoid a firefight if at all possible, and had conferred with his subordinates on the best way to intimidate the militia into surrender if the sheer number of troops approaching them wasn’t sufficient inducement to lay down their arms.

In the end, the ‘Battle’ of Cat Hill lasted all of a few minutes and with no bloodshed. At their Tribune’s command two cohort’s worth of mortars dropped a barrage of smoke bombs into the enemy position at the centre of Cat Hill; enough to make the point that, if they had been high explosive instead of smoke, they could have wiped out the entire position without giving them a chance to fire back at the advancing Romans. In a gamble, albeit a calculated one, Flavius Aquila then ordered the Fifth Cohort to break into a run and charge the settlement, screaming battle cries at the top of their lungs as they did so. The gamble paid off; between the obvious threat of the mortars, the lack of any sort of visibility due to the smoke and Roman Legionaries charging in on them with death in their hearts, all of the militiamen had laid down their weapons and surrendered by the time the first Legionaries made it into the centre of Cat Hill. At which point the well-known discipline of the Legions kicked in and they began to detain their surrendered foes rather than gut them with bayonets or shoot them dead where they stood. After maybe fifteen minutes, one of the Centurions in the Fifth Cohort called in that the settlement was secure and the Seventh Cohort, along with Flavius Aquila and his retinue, continued their march down the road and into the settlement.

The Roman forces spent the rest of the morning and the first couple of hours of the afternoon at Cat Hill, sending up a forward command post away from the airfield and the expensive tactical transport aircraft, as well as setting up defensive positions of their own. As they had just defeated, and accepted the surrender, of the only known militia force on the island the likelihood of an attack was minimal but it was good practice in any case, not to mention standard protocol regardless of the perceived threat level. Once he was set up in his command post, Flavius Aquila sent a Centurion and a small security detail into the Georgetown settlement to discuss the formal surrender of the island; having no desire to tie his troops up for the next few days conducting a painstaking street-by-street clearance of the entire settlement. It would be much more preferable for the Chief Minister to formally surrender, instructing his people to accept their new Roman masters without resistance; a preference he apparently shared as the Centurion returned with confirmation of his intention to surrender shortly after three in the afternoon.

As such, it was a short time later that the Romans made their entrance into Georgetown, and did so in rousing fashion. With the Fifth Cohort formed up to march, with weapons on their shoulders to complete the effect, and Legionaries from the Seventh Cohort, minus the centuries left behind at Cat Hill and at Wideawake Airfield, spread out to provide a security element, the Romans marched into Georgetown singing the well-known Roman marching song; ‘Legio Aeterna’ (Eternal Legion), which consisted of a half the column singing ‘Roma o Roma’ to provide the persistent background whilst the Centurions called out ‘Legio’, to which those soldiers not singing the background to respond ‘Aeterna Victrix’ (Eternal and Victorious). Every so often, the Centurions collectively sung the verses, which boasted of various victories of the Legion over history, after which a rousing chorus was sung by the entire column. All told, it was an intimidating scene as more than the Legionaries, who outnumbered the natives by a decent margin, flooded into the city under the eyes of the unexpecting townsfolk.

“This is how Ascension welcomes us,” Flavius Aquila commented dryly from the centre of the column.

“Don’t be surprised, Sir, the Chief Minister has been stirring up anti-Roman sentiment for the past few months since the last inspection,” The Praetorian Centurion replied. “It’s a shame really, the shops and bars of Georgetown used to do a good trade on the visiting Volans.”

“Then make sure we rotate our off-duty troops through the city, put as much Roman currency into the local economy as possible as quickly as possible, everything paid for mind you, and absolutely no trouble or they’ll face the harshest punishment possible,” Flavius Aquila replied firmly. “We have to make clear to these people that they’ve been lied to, moreover we have to ensure that they see the benefits of a large Roman presence on the island, as they’ll be faced with at least twice as many Romans as their own folk by the time our garrison is set here.”

The Praetorian Centurion, along with the two Cohort Commanders, nodded their understanding of the Tribune’s orders, and the thinking behind them; they had a valuable opportunity here to start shaping the perception of Rome going forwards. Although unlikely to provide a real threat to the Roman military presence on Ascension, the last thing Rome needed was an unnecessary distraction on what was supposed to be a strategic outpost.

Over the course of the rest of the afternoon and evening Rome took control over the administration of the island. All government officials were removed from their posts, local law enforcement was disarmed and the island placed under martial law and a strict curfew was enforced after nightfall although, as per the Tribune’s orders, the first group of off-duty soldiers, under heavy guard, began to make the rounds of the shops and takeaways later in the evening. The relatively strict restrictions, particularly after dark, would remain until a proper administration could be established. As a colonia, Ascension Island would come under the authority of a military governor, in almost all cases the Prefect of the Auxiliary Cohort assigned to protect it, although the administration, once the situation settled down, would be no more restrictive than a civilian administration back in Europa. Indeed, for the most part the majority of positions within the administration would be held by locals, similar to those they had held before the Roman takeover.

The hostages had been located in the holding cells of the Georgetown Police Station; irritable and hungry but otherwise well-treated; they were taken back to Wideawake Airfield and treated to as lavish a meal as field rations could provide. Flavius Aquila took the Volans Optio, who had commanded the inspection party, to the officer’s mess and over wine purchased from Georgetown had debriefed the young woman. Unlike the Legions, the increased technical training that was required of officers in the Vis Volantes, and indeed the Navy, officers in both those services were trained at their respective Academy and commissioned directly and held substantive ranks even in the officer ranks below that of Centurion. As such, the Optio was similar in age to himself and Flavius Aquila found himself having to restrain his natural impulses when interacting with her, normally women on his own age group were fair game, and he had to remind himself that not only was she an officer in her own right and that he was her superior officer by quite a margin. Although Rome had generally liberal views on sexual interactions of all sorts, the Military had a long-standing policy against fraternization within the same command or, as was more applicable here, when deployed on operations. Otherwise, the Military kept out of the affairs of it’s people so long as they did not interfere with their duty.

Nevertheless, it appeared the young Volans Optio would be open to his advances, as she said something about being ‘grateful’ for the ‘rescue’ and promising to buy him a drink in Rome, once this was all over. As such, Flavius Aquila retired to his temporary quarters with a satisfied smile and eager for a good night’s sleep after a busy day; in the morning he would fly to the Falkland Islands and see how Cornelius Favus was handling the developing situation there.

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-Roma Invicta-
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Founded: Dec 14, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby -Roma Invicta- » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:15 pm

Tribunus Angusticlavus Marcus Cornelius Favus
Port Stanley, East Falkland
The Commonwealth of the Falklands
Wednesday 13th May 2020, 1700hrs Local Time




Cornelius Favus stood, safely behind several lines of the Third Cohort of the Thirteenth Legion, watching the angry crowd that had gathered around the Port Stanley Post Office in the hours that had passed since he had formally established a Roman Administration, taking over peacefully from the Falkland Islands Government (FIG). However, although the FIG had apparently been happy enough for a return to Roman rule, after decades of struggling financially to make ends meat at the bottom of the Earth, a small but vocal minority of citizens were making their displeasure known. Although the majority of the Falkland Islanders were supportive of the change in administration, or at least ambivalent towards it, which was hardly surprising given that the majority of them were descendants of Roman citizens, there were some that saw it as a threat; mostly those that had come to the islands since the end of the last period of Roman administration some decades previously. As on Ascension Island, the key objective was to underline the positives to Roman rule and a large Roman presence at Mount Pleasant and Mare Harbour, particularly in the impact on the struggling economy. However, a violent exchange between the newly arrived Romans and this small but angry crowd would significantly undermine that.

As a result, at Cornelius Favus’ direction, the Cohort Commander had arrayed his centuries in a protective line in front of the Post Office and others in blocking positions to prevent the crowd from advancing any further. Eager to avoid a violent confrontation, Cornelius Favus had ordered his subordinates to carry their rifles on their backs to appear much less threatening, and had broken out the riot gear that they had deployed with and formed a shield wall. It had not escaped Cornelius Favus that, with shields and batons, his men looked more like Legionaries from Rome’s past than modern soldiers, and yet it was something that they had all trained for; after all it was not a foregone conclusion that civil unrest might reach a level at which it overwhelmed the Stationarius, Rome’s military police force, requiring the intervention of the Legions and given that a slaughter of civilians was never an option, other tactics were required. So far, none of the crowd had felt an urgent desire to throw themselves at the Second Cohort’s shield wall, and were contenting themselves with hurling insults, and few bottles absconded from a nearby bar, at the Roman soldiers.

As it stood, Cornelius Favus’ intention was to allow the crowd to shout themselves hoarse until they got bored and went home for the night, and to re-assess the situation over the course of the following day to determine if there was going to be a long-term issue. In short, it was going to be a long night whilst the ‘outrage’ burned itself out before calmer heads could prevail. After all, the simple fact of the matter was that Roman control over the Falkland’s Islands was not up for debate. In keeping with typical Roman practice, Cornelius Favus had already made certain assurances, within the parameters of his orders of course, to the officials and staff members of the Falkland Island Government, promising that they would retain their positions within the new administration, or receive new positions if their own had was not possible; such as that of Governor, a Roman military officer who would hold the title of Prefect of the Falkland Islands. By doing so, Rome hoped to ensure stability and continuity for the Falkland Islanders.

“Tribune!”

Cornelius Favus tore his gaze from the crowd to look at the Centurion who had just called out to him, and followed his outstretched hand pointing towards two Puma tactical vehicles approaching the perimeter on the side away from the crowd. The vehicle was quickly allowed into the perimeter by the Second Cohort’s soldiers and they pulled up outside the Post Office, promptly disgorging a numbered of soldiers including one that Cornelius Favus recognized as soon as he stepped forwards.

“Flavius Aquila, my friend,” He said with a smile as they met, clasping arms. “Freshly arrived from a successful mission on Ascension!”

“Successful enough, we dropped a few smoke bombs on them after showing how clearly we outnumbered them… they took the hint,” Flavius Aquila replied with a smile. “You seem to have things… in hand, here.”

“Well, I’d much rather have a public order cohort from the Stationarius, but our boys are doing well enough all things considered,” Cornelius Favus said dryly. “Even though we landed last night they only found out we’d taken over today, so they’re pissed off now.”

“I can see that,” Flavius Aquila smirked. “How many do you reckon there are?”

“Probably about a two or three hundred, a core group of maybe twenty or thirty, the majority of the rest are young, just here for a lark,” Cornelius Favus replied. “They’re making a lot of noise, but the majority of the population, ninety percent or so, are either agreeable or don’t care enough to make a fuss.”

Flavius Aquila nodded his understanding; it was a similar pattern as he had encountered on Ascension Island albeit on a larger scale. For the most part, intelligence assessments indicating that the majority of the population on both islands would either remember the relative prosperity they had enjoyed previously under Roman administration, or otherwise not be too interested in whose flag flew over them as long as they were safe and prosperous, were proving to be accurate. Only a small minority on both islands were so staunchly opposed to Roman administration, for one reason or another, that they wanted to make their voices heard. Ultimately, those voices would be listened to, weighed against the other voices of support, or at least acquiescence, and be dismissed in due course. The simple fact of the matter was that Rome desired control over these islands, and Rome tended to get what it desired.

Of course, both Tribunes knew that these former colonia in particular had been chosen because intelligence reports were heavily suggesting that there would not be a majority, vocal or otherwise, opposed to Roman administration. The modern Roman Republic was just that, a representative democracy, and as such had a moral responsibility to uphold its own democratic ideals. If it had been assessed that the Falklands, or indeed any of the other targets, would have run counter to those ideals other options would likely have been chosen instead. The islands of what used to be the Roman Indian Ocean Territory were a potential exception to that rule, as their strategic importance was far too significant to be passed up; Flavius Magnus would do his best to negotiate a peaceful solution but, one way or another, those islands would be returning to Roman control for military purposes. Only the island of Diego Garcia was of military interest to Rome, so if certain security guarantees could be achieved it was entirely possible that the natives would be permitted to stay on the remaining islands, however there were concerns that they would resist on principle.

“Well, even if we can’t win over the true believers, we can at least make sur they won’t cause any trouble, one way or another,” Flavius Aquila commented. “If we can make it positive for them, we should be able to persuade those on the fence of the benefits of Roman rule.”

Cornelius Favus nodded. As much as many of Rome’s political rivals might try to paint these Roman actions as aggressive imperialism, forgetting aside from anything else that all of these territories were historically Roman, the simple fact of the matter was that, by and large, Roman administration would be beneficial to all the islanders, on both Ascension and the Falklands. As on Ascension, perhaps even more so given the potential size of the Falkland Islands garrison, the presence of up to several thousand Roman military personnel would be a significant boost to the local economy, on which the livelihoods of the majority of the locals depended. Moreover, access to the Roman economic market, as well as the various other advantages of being under the control of Rome, would have a significant impact on the quality of life, and Roman citizenship, which would extended to all as a sweetener (and in recognition of their previous status as Roman residents, historically), came with very real protections and privileges.

“What do you intend to do about this lot?”

“Not a great deal, we’ll stand hear and take their abuse, let our professionalism and discipline speak for itself, they’re not stupid enough to turn violent in the face of a Legion cohort, so there’s that,” Cornelius Favus shrugged. “It’s much the same situation as you faced on Ascension, they can’t exactly make us leave, so the top priority is to avoid any sort of incident that would turn the entire island against us.”

“Fortunately, we’ve got a few days to get the situation under control and hand it over to the Cohort Commanders,” Flavius Aquila commented dryly. “I spoke to the Legatus on my way down, the Cruiser Invictus will arrive in two days, then it’s a leisurely cruise to Wake Island.”

“Lucky us, I suppose we should be glad we can’t just fly there, given the lack of ATC.” Cornelius Favus grinned. “I’m surprised they’re sending a cruiser though.”

“The Invictus was due for a cruise in the Indian Ocean anyway, and the Basilica Militum likes to get a cruiser into the Pacific wherever possible, so rather than going through the Suez she’s taking the long way around, and taking us sorry souls along for the ride,” Flavius Aquila replied. “It’s a nine day cruise to Wake Island, but you should feel sorry for the garrison and Vis Volantes staff that have been on the ship since they left Italia seven days ago, they’ll have been aboard for three weeks by the time we get there, more than enough for anyone not actually in the Navy.”

“I can’t think of anything worse,” Cornelius Favus shuddered. “Cooped up with that many women and not able to touch any of them!”

Flavius Aquila rolled his eyes; as the Roman Army was the sole purview of men, both the Navy and the Vis Volantes had a higher proportion of female service members as a result.

“Behave.”

“No promises,” Cornelius Favus smirked. “We’re not going to be in the same chain of command, mere passengers.”

“I’m sure the ship’s Nauarchus, and military law, will have a different opinion on that point, my friend,” Flavius Aquila shook his head, unable to hide a smile, nonetheless. “If you really must, just keep it discrete and for Jupiter’s sake, don’t get one of them pregnant.”

“Deal.”

“Well then, I suppose we should actually do some work here before our week long pleasure cruise across the Pacific,” Flavius Aquila said, glancing at the crowd again. “I understand you’ve got a meeting with the island’s existing administration?”

“Yes, as per our instructions I’ve already indicated to them that many of them will be able to retain their positions under a Roman administration, and that others would be offered other roles or otherwise compensated for, such as the local Administrator,” Cornelius Favus nodded. “So far they seem to be largely agreeable to the idea, which helps bring across their family and friends, so it gives us a good foundation to build upon, the meeting this evening is to discuss some programmes Rome can introduce to… win hearts and minds.”

“I’ll sit in, if you don’t mind,” Flavius Aquila asked. “They’ll be flattered by not one but two Roman tribunes, even if I just sit and watch.”

“Of course,” Cornelius Favus smiled. “Shall we be about it?"


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