Teremaran Life: Gods, Odds, Sods, and Rods [Region Only]

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]
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Teremara Caretaker
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Founded: Sep 24, 2016
Corrupt Dictatorship

Teremaran Life: Gods, Odds, Sods, and Rods [Region Only]

Postby Teremara Caretaker » Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:29 pm

This is the thread for Teremaran RP Posts that describe events, past and present, that happened, or are happening, in the region, but for whatever reason, don't fit into other regional threads, long running RPs, or are not media posts. In short and simple terms, a 'Day In The Life' style thread.



1. You have to be a member of Teremara, or have permission to post.
2. These are NOT media posts. Those go in this thread here
3. Please put the most approximate location down to city, province, nation; and date the post takes place in bold at the top of it. (Not today's date, unless it really is a realtime event.)
Last edited by Teremara Caretaker on Wed Mar 23, 2022 3:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.
This account is representative for all the affairs of Teremara. TG me about membership.
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USG Security Corporation
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Founded: Sep 19, 2016
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby USG Security Corporation » Thu Oct 22, 2020 7:54 pm

Touloux, Terre des Gaules
February, 2018

He took a taxi from the airport. After climbing in and engaging in the passive transactions needed to get him to his destination, he passively watched as they progressed from the suburbs, to the near outskirts, where they glided past the gates of the fancy estates of traders and shipping mavens, and the seasonal homes of government officials in Paritte. With the odd, early morning dawn sun, he could view the passing environment and also his faint reflection in the window. It was a haggard and weary face that glowered back at him these days. He ran a hand through his mostly white hair speckled with fiery red, then replaced his brown derby cap, called a scally cap in some circles. He wore a tweed suit, a change from his usual olive green fatigue uniform and slouch hat. Wearing a foreign military uniform, especially a uniform of a mercenary, would draw unwanted attention, even a possible arrest by local authorities or Gaulic gendarmes, despite the special relationship the USG enjoyed with Gaul, and in Touloux where USGSC personnel and facilities inundated the fabric of the Gaulic port.

They had reached the actual city limits and there were no hills, Riviera palms, or other trees obstructing view of the not quite skyscrapers of downtown. He had an appointment in one of them. They were now moving past the condos and apartments of the young professionals, well beyond the enclaves of fresh faced families, and into the commercial center. Touloux was the major port of Terre des Gaules and the largest recruiting station for the USGSC.

There were actual times and places in the Republic of Gaul where it was acceptable to wear the uniform of the USG Regiments, these days labeled the Security Corporation. Where the relationship between the historic mercenary regiments and Neu Engollon, their registered home nation, diminished and became strained, that between the PMC and a former hostile enemy that had once vowed to destroy the Regiments had grown. It was ironic considering the Uli Schwyz had led the charge in defeating the Gauls during the Gaulic occupation of Neu Engollon led by Napoleon Bonaparte, valued general of Emperor Ney.

Gaul and the Uli Schwyz had usually found themselves on opposite sides in the following decades as Gaul pursued colonial expansion and the Neu Engollian mercenary regiment was often hired by those who were opposed to the Gaulic push to rebuild their empire.

Then, in the late 1870's, a deal was inked that would allow the Uli Schwyz to operate in the Republic. A recruiting station in Touloux grew over the decades to become the largest for the Uli Schwyz (USG). It remained the second largest until the one in Geneva had been shut down.
Additionally, USG personnel were given their own section of Touloux airport to operate, along with unregistered docking facilities in the port. Recruits, armaments, heavy ordnance, equipment and supplies steadily flowed to the Island from these points, either by chartered jets and transports, or cargo ships built for the high seas.

Forty years ago, they added to their portfolio of Touloux acquisitions the top floor of the Tour du Nuages building which overlooked the old port area, and one of the tallest pinnacles in Touloux at 218 meters, as a secondary operations center, to coordinate resupply with Panto Leto, the main USG owned island out in the south Madurin Sea. After the devastating Falkasian led raid on the Island during the Hutanjian War, Touloux had become the primary operations center for the Regiments.
Besides a large communications center, a server storage farm, offices, and several planning and conference rooms, they commanded two large helipads on the roof for easy access to the chambers below, as well as rapid evacuation to the airport and points elsewhere. Crews were on 24 hour standby, as well as a small, fast civilian helicopter and a larger VTOL transport aircraft that was simply painted black, rather than the typical camouflage livery and USG logo and roundel, deferring to Gaulic air security protocols and sensibilities.

The helipads were also the point of entry for the mysterious Board, the power behind the powerful General. They met several times a year in Touloux. In order to mask their identities from outside observation in these days of drones, reinforced Kevlar fabric collapsible tunnels were hauled right up to the doors of their arriving aircraft at the airport, and again upon their arrival on the roof pads.

Not Nelson, though. He had been informed he would be driven to a side entrance. He didn't take the slight from the Board if it was intended. Deep down, Tell was a humble man.

Despite precautions, a couple very well informed reporters awaited his departure from the car. They snapped pictures and while they didn't yell, (that was not the Gaulic journalistic way), their voices were insistent on getting his attention as he labored faster, propelling his cane and gimpy leg forward to cross the walkway to the door.

“Merci, mais non.”

They knew enough not to attempt to follow him into the building. Their reward would be black eyes or worse from the waiting facility security and the local authorities would not have a sympathetic ear for their side.

With a sigh, he slumped on the far wall as he watched his escort punch the top button on the lift.

They were all waiting for him in the large conference room at the Tour du Nuages. A group of mostly older, white males, with some exceptions. Three of them were actually related to him. The Tells, along with the Tofts, were the top powerful families in the Confederacy. A small side table held refreshments: pitchers and platters of pastries and charcuterie. Nelson could observe by the scraps left how long they had been in session. At least a couple hours.

A steward approached him and offered to serve him from the remaining refreshments.
"Just tea, please." He turned and hobbled in to take his rightful place at one end of the table, bookending from the other anchor spot that the Chairman occupied. He held in a grunt as he tried to ease into the chair. They jumped into it rather quickly.

"I hope your journey was smooth."

"Smooth enough, considering." They didn't need to rehash his debilitation resulting from the Hutanjian War for anyone in the room.

"Yes, well...Why don't you start out by tell us about the recent Guild operations, General?"

"What about them? I did very thorough reports before the major ones commenced. You get copies of the after action reports. I don't understand what further you need."

"Yes, well, let's start with funding. It seems like the USG is shouldering a disproportionate amount of the initiation fees."

"The complete opposite of that is true. All the other participating companies - Axalon, SSI, Bushido, Hawk, Salamander, Blackwood, and so on...are billed accordingly as sub-contractors, and they put in their fair share to offset whatever assets we initially contribute to cover all the Guild forces. They don't 'mooch' off us or take advantage of us, if that's what you're getting at."

"We were merely looking for an accounting, as you have done. There are still questions to be answered, though. Such as, If you really ran an accurate cost/profit ratio for...well, for instance, this Glisandia contract."

"Yes, the free lancers really inflated that budget."

"I know that the client, the Royal Glisandian Government, picked up the tab on those fees. Everything was accurately billed for. Also, we got an assist from the Guild, but that was solely a USG operation."
They’d gone over this before. He wasn't a damn accountant.
"So that's why you called me here? I would have brought my team of Intexa accountants from the Island if I knew this was the focus of this meeting." Nelson didn't believe it for a second. They were picking away, even though they had all the info in front of them. This was personal, but he knew that going in. They needed to get on with this shit.

"No, that was not necessary. We would have told you as such."

"You shoulder quite the burden, Nelson."

"You have no idea, but the statement is true."

"There can only be one General, Nelson."

"That's the famous dictum, yes. What are you getting at?"
Here they were at the meat of the matter.

"The track record is not good, Nelson. Churdistan...Hutanjia...The mass attrition of the Ravens Pride Regiment. The organization has felt the hits, but there's been little bounce back..."

"You bear the scars. You can't walk ably on your own, anymore. You're slipping. Forgetting details."

"I forget nothing. I'm not even 60 yet. And you can call me by my properly earned rank: General."

They rode over him.
"Yes, well...Your relative youth for a departing commander does make this harder."

There was a longer pause as he digested that. What he’d suspected was the elephant in the room finally reared its ugly head.
"So that's it then? You're forcing me out? I get to walk away when so many of my people did not."

"Not every Uli Schwyz General falls in battle, Tell."

"We're asking you to retire at the end of the year. Don't pretend like you weren't thinking about it already."

"I wanted to go on my time. My way."

"This is best for all involved. There's been too much messiness these last few years. We'd like to begin a new era. We think it's time to turnover a new leaf, as they say."

"Get in some fresh blood. A revitalization."

"Your time has now come."

"Better for who?" Nelson stood up from the table, resisting the urge to reach for his cane. He needed to exude strength here.

"The organization needs to put it all behind us. There's some tainting of outside influences, as well, that we're concerned about. You want to do what's best for the organization, don't you? For the Regiments?"

General Tell knew the writing was on the wall. If he was honest with himself, he'd known it for some time. Also, by 'tainting of outside influences', they meant his odd friendship with Admiral Yashin, a former Falkasian adversary. He wouldn't acknowledge that, though. It was a rough conversation that he'd had before with the Board.
"So this is about shitty PR for the company?” He’d held off on cursing in respect, but now...Fuck it. “Since when has that mattered in the past?”

“Like we said, it’s about needing to turn over a new leaf for everyone involved.”

“Like it or not, General, you are the focal point for the last few years of USG failures. No one is saying that you haven’t led your people ably, but you’ve led them into defeat one too many times.”
Why couldn’t he just fall on his sword gracefully? That was the question they weren’t outright asking, but they were all but flailing him with it.

Nelson sighed.
“This isn’t a less than profitable sports team here, gentlemen...and ladies. I did my job as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Our defeats were not because of tactical blunders. I am not the first General to preside over the Regiments with colossal defeats hanging over us.”

"You are absolutely right in that statement. You are also not the first General to be forced out, you must know? They don't all fall in battle or die at the top position of natural causes."

Nelson paused keeping his face steely and sipping from his tea. “I’m not going to fight this, but I want to work out a timetable to transition leadership.”

“We’re not going to sit here and debate your job performance any longer. You have through the next year. We were going to discuss a Board seat for you, but I don’t see that happening now.”

Nelson Tell didn’t believe that for a second. They hated him, and they already had their Tell representatives, with plenty probably lined up for the next generation. All cousins he didn't much care for, nor they for him.
“Like I'd want to even be part of your gaggle of vultures. I’m picking my successor commander.”

“Absolutely not!!”

“Absolutely SO!”

“What leg do you even have to stand on to think you can dictate anything to us?” A smirk on the Board member’s face told Nelson he knew exactly what underhanded dig he was making at his debilitation.

“You called me here to accept a fait accompli. I can’t do much about it, but I can make things quite messy for you in the process.”

“You shouldn’t threaten us. We have the power in this arrangement, General.”

“I have a power, as well. Without my fiercely loyal soldiers and staff, you have nothing. No service, no commodity, no money. Do well to remember that. Also, it is my right by tradition to designate my successor. If you deny that, you will have a lot to answer for, gentlemen...and ladies.”

“What you insinuate is mutiny.”

“This whole charade of a forced retirement is treasonous to the very name of the Uli Schwyz. It stomps on traditions. You are trying to justify a high ground that you cling to with fingertips. You’re robbing me of my chance for redemption.”

The Chairmen shushed the grumbling.
“Fine. We don't need to continue to hear you whine. Who did you have in mind?”

“Colonel Pieter Van Aardel.”

“The South African?!”

“Out of the question! You want to talk about trashing traditions!”

“General, there has never been a non-Neu Engollian in the command seat. There never should be. Our public will never accept it.”
Ironically, not even the whole board were native Neu Engollian. They were the biggest hypocrites.

“Why? Due to what logic? I will be honest, I did foresee this time coming, and I did my research. While there is a dictum about there always being only one General of the Regiments, there has never been one about that general being a native Neu Engollian, nor a male, nor even human, for that matter. Considering that I don’t want to appoint a gay, female extraterrestrial as my successor, I think we can agree that my transition plan is quite reasonable in contrast to the alternatives.”

“It is unspoken, but accepted that this is unacceptable.”

“You’re fucking rubbish. That is a contradictory, double speak answer with no merit...” He cleared his throat and rode on over the outrage, leveling down to a more conciliatory tone, despite wanting to pound on that bald, gollum looking mogul at the third chair.
“Sorry. Look...Piet...Colonel Van Aardel...has been my executive officer for many years, now. He knows everything I know. He led the raid on Mossview Park. He kept the Regiments from falling apart during the Cardwithian blitz. He brilliantly led the liberation of Panto Leto. He could lead world armies, let alone our Regiments, and I’m grateful to have him at my right hand side. Hell, I should be at his side.”

“We will have to consider this.”

“I’m not leaving until I get an affirmation.”

He had never seen such an angry room, even during the Kenega Accords that decided the peace in Hutanjia. He was pissing on their little victory kangaroo court and they knew it. They couldn't deny his last concord as a surviving General of the Uli-Schwyz, and they knew it. He drank more tea, even though his bladder was cursing him, as the silence drew on.

The Chairman took over once again.
“Fine...Colonel van Aardel as the next General. We will start the preparations.”

“This may be the only good decision you people have made in a long time.”

“You need to leave now, General, while you still have a shred of dignity.”

“I will hold my head high with pride in the Regiments and our accomplishments. You don’t know the meaning of true dignity, integrity or service.”
With that, he did his best to gracefully amble out, cane marking cadence silently on the carpet.

The last chapter had begun. At least as far as Nelson Tell was concerned.
The most famous of Neu Engollon's Private Military Companies. TG me about possible contracts or apply directly to the storefront. New updated storefront in the works.

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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Gragastavia » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:56 pm

Reposted at the request of Teremara Caretaker from The World Over and Under.

September 29th, 1989
Somewhere in the Desert, Gragastavia

The desert holds it secrets. When the sun is setting on the sands, and the light glistens off of the dunes in just the right way, one can catch a glimpse of days long past…

Off in the distance, too far to be of concern, the grumble of artillery lit up the evening sky in fond imitation of the sun that had just dipped below the horizon. It would be dark soon, and already the heat of the day was vanishing into the cool nights that are the bane of an unprepared wayfarer. A light breeze ruffled their clothes as they stood atop the only building in the village that had not been destroyed in the fighting from the day before, looking out over the vast expanse of sand stretched out before them, desolate in all directions except for the unmistakable silhouette of a pack of wild camels that made their way through the nothingness. They were alone here.

One of them, a rifle slung over his shoulder, inhaled deeply from the stub of a cigarette that was clenched between his viselike fingers. He wore the unassuming khaki fatigues of an enlisted man, but his demeanor did not fit his appearance. When he took his final drag, he dropped the cigarette and stamped it with his foot without the nonchalance of the casual smoker. He had the breeding of an officer, or at the very least, was an aficionado of fine tobacco.

The second man, clearly a Falkasian by his uniform, as if his pale complexion was not as much of a dead giveaway, sat on the lip of the roof, looking at - or rather, through - the first. He, too, was armed, carrying a service pistol in a shoulder holster over his flak vest. His hands and face were coarse and chafed, doubtless from having been in the field for a considerable time, and he waited for the first man to finish his cigarette.

And then there was the third. His turban was massive, almost extending past his shoulders, and his beard was long, but neatly-kept, stretching down to the middle of his chest almost like a necktie. He had no weapon, but killed exclusively through the power of his presence. This was Harun Halabi.

He was the first to break the silence. One would think that there were no words to say after what had happened, but somehow, Halabi was always able to say the right thing. “We owe our victory to God alone.”

The other two were silent for a moment, but then the smoking man turned to face him. “And God’s will was done today.”

Halabi smiled, “We have saved Gragastavia.”

“I just don’t understand it,” the Falkasian said, shaking his head, “Why would they just... surrender like that?”

“They didn’t surrender, Piotr. They defected.”

“Whatever,” Piotr said, “What would compel someone, or even a group of people, to do that?”

Halabi was quiet, and he walked to the other side of the roof, looking out over the destroyed village. “I do not claim to understand what happens in the mind of God. I can only interpret the signs he gives us.” He looked down below him, his hand running through the strands of his beard. “I am sure God will forgive me for saying this, but there are few men I hate more than Muhammad Hassan.” He paused, his hand having reached his chin. “Among then is the Pretender Prince.”

Piotr’s face filled with confusion. “Why him?”

“Because he’s a Polatilian!” the smoker interjected.

“No, Sayyid, not quite.” Halabi smirked, though neither man could see because his back was turned to them. “Of course we all have our faults, but I will give King Friedrich credit where it is due. He is a just ruler. But Gragastavia is a Muslim nation, and it ought to be ruled by a Muslim.” His hand went from his chin to be grasped by the other behind his back. “Those men yesterday hate Hassan as much as I do, but they fight for him for two reasons. The first is because to them, we are the invader. King Friedrich is no more popular down here than Muhammad Hassan is. King Friedrich, though, does not hold an army by force of arms. Muhammad Hassan does. Is it any wonder that they would surrender and live than retreat and be killed for cowardice? Those men understand what Gragastavia is meant to be as much as any of us; they just needed to see why what they could be fighting for is a greater cause than what they are fighting for.” Halabi turned to face Sayyid and Piotr. “That is all I did. I told them the truth.”

They were silent again, as Sayyid and Piotr processed what Halabi had told them. Sayyid and Piotr looked at each other, Sayyid shook his head, and Piotr turned his head back to Halabi. “All right,” he said, “But why did you drag us all the way out here?”

“I must apologize for being covert about this, but secrecy was most important. One of Hassan’s lieutenants, an old friend from my university days, has told me that they are planning a coup against him. He wants me to speak with Colonel Al-Basri about a truce, which I will in due time.” Halabi’s eyes darted between the two other men, before he added something else. “He has also asked me to meet with him. If my friend is still the same person that I know him to be, he is going to ask me to lead the coup.”

Sayyid looked skeptical. He asked, simply, “Why you?”

“My shadow still looms large among the people down here. I have no doubt that that is why I was able to convince them to defect yesterday.”

“If he does offer, are you going to accept?” Piotr asked.

“Of course I will,” Halabi said, “What choice do I have? This is my opportunity to save my country. Here and now, I am doing nothing. At the head of his army, I might yet bring a quicker end to this war. What was it that Jesus said?” He thought for a moment. “‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.’”

Piotr sighed, “I still don’t see what that has to do with us.”

“I will speak with Colonel Al-Basri in the morning. The reason I have asked you here, though, is simple. It is entirely likely that if we win this war with me at the head, the president will put me in charge of the southern provinces until they can re-establish order. Order can never come, not as long as there is a Polatilian lording over us all. So, I want you to make a pledge to me, here, with the eyes of God upon us.”

Sayyid frowned and said, “What did you have in mind?”

“Sayyid, you are but a captain in the army now, but you fight with the strength of many men. When the time comes to rid ourselves of the king once and for all, I want you to promise me that you will fight on the side of the right. In return, you shall have a seat at the table when it is time for us to build the new Gragastavia.”

Sayyid’s mouth went dry, but he mustered up what saliva he could to swallow, then answered, “All right. Before God, I swear it.”

Halabi nodded, and turned to Piotr. “I know you do not believe in God, my friend. Nevertheless, God has a plan for all of us, and he saw it fit to make me privy to a glimpse of it.” Halabi stared square into Piotr’s eyes, as if he were dictating rather than predicting. “You are only a few years into your career, but you will rise to the top of the FSIS. When that time comes, I ask you to pledge to me your support. You are as much a Gragastavian as Sayyid or me, and you know what a truly Muslim Gragastavia would mean.”

Piotr had to keep his eyes from rolling back into his head as Halabi preached to him. “Fine, fine,” he said, “I pledge to you my support.”

“Thank you both,” Halabi said, placing his hand upon his chest and bowing slightly. “And thank you for coming out here. I believe it is about time for us to return now, and I am sure that my camel is getting anxious being tied for as long as it has outside. God bless you both. You will hear from me again very soon.”

“Before you go,” Sayyid said, “Who is your friend in Hassan’s army?”

Halabi smiled, as he made his way to the ladder, “No one you would know.”
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Postby Mubata » Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:02 am

12 May 1978
Zangtopo, Akanga Province

The boy sat in silence as they flew through the clouds. His eyes were locked outside the window, no longer interested in the little handheld electronic toy with green LED dashes that moved down a football field that his father had gotten at great expense, or the comic books in his bag. Water speckled the windows, and the DC-7 bounced up and down with the turbulence of the little storm they needed to plow through.
It was a short flight from Karalaga, as were most destinations they made, as they rarely flew out of the country.

Quickly enough, they burst through the layers of grey fluff and the scraggly desert was below. The engines throttled as the pilots prepared to land the older government prop plane on the strip. The airfield at Zangtopo only had one strip long enough to accommodate the plane, and they had been given little warning that he was coming. The pilots were good. The best that could be found in the Republic. They fought the bucking aircraft under control and leveled out in time to hit the airstrip, with only two bounces to spare. A convoy awaited them that included four rovers, all with mounted guns. After two attempted assassinations by unknown elements, Papa Gengi had insisted that they do away with the luxury cars with large Presidential flags mounted on the hood. The Army Major pointed to the second vehicle,
“Please enter at your convenience, Mr. President.”

“I see, then we will take the third rover.”

“I...ahem. Very well, Mr. President. At your insistence.”
Fazembe watched the Major closely as the soldiers were shouted at until they moved to the second rover. He guided his son into the vehicle and then they were off, kicking up a dust cloud as they headed Southeast, away from the town of Zangtopo, which lay in the opposite direction from the airfield.

“I see. Thank you for letting me know.” He paused, “Yes, I will pay you what I promised.”
He hung up the phone and turned to the rest of the men in the room,
“They just landed. They should be here in less than an hour, assuming they take Highway 5.”

“What...I don’t know what to do. What should I...I mean...We’re not ready! We won’t be ready for…”

“Calm yourself, Doctor Gozende. He may be the President, but he’s no nuclear physicist. He doesn’t need to know that we couldn’t possibly have an operational device for years.”

“But he’ll know when we tell him!”

“I’m sorry, who’s going to tell him?”

“Well...I mean, he’ll figure it out. Or techs working for those D57 goons will do that for him…”

Doctor Uhambezo waved him down, but didn’t comment verbally. He quickly crossed the room and closed the door to the office. It made the space even more cramped and claustrophobic with the 7 scientists crowded in to the Director’s office.
“You need to be careful and watch your tone. I think we’re all aware that we might have moles here at the facility.”

Belatedly, he realized there was still a chance they had one or more moles in the room. In such case, this would all be for naught as said D57 mole(s) would tell their higher ups, who in turn would tell President Garenga Fazembe that they had made no progress whatsoever and were wasting a good portion of the Republic’s budget without work to justify it, not to mention conspiring to withhold all that information from the President. If they hadn’t already. Heads would roll, literally. They would find new scientists, probably foreign as the domestic pool was pretty thin, and life at the related nuclear facilities, including Zangtopo East, would carry on. Even if such said mole wasn't currently in the room, which he thought more likely, they might very well be aware that the day to day operations at the facility seemed to not be at such a frenzied pace; in which case, the team would be screwed anyway. Perhaps there wasn't a mole after all, in that regard, at least not one that was able to decipher their research and how such work would and should be conducted. Uhambezo could only hope.

“Look, we just have to convince him that we’ve made progress...Which we have, right? We’ve done what we could with the limited resources and materials we’re given, despite horrific mistakes here and at Zangtopo West. None of that can be conveyed, though, other than that we’ve made positive forward progress. Understand?”

They were woefully short on production of PU-239, the fissionable weapons grade material needed for the devices. Zangtopo West's main function was to do exactly that, but there weren't enough colliders to do the job. It could be years before they were in the testing stage. Unless they could build more production facilities and get in a much higher mass amount of uranium to process.

There was a concern about not making any of the facilities too obvious in their nature, which meant keeping them small. Also, the heat and radiation signatures could be obvious to those with the right detection equipment. The cordon around Zangtopo West had varied over the years as it was debated whether they would blow its cover by having a secured radius at just the right distance to disallow radiation detection from the ground. Soon, more aerial overflights by the Gragastavians might make that a moot point, assuming they could put the evidence together.
It was uncertain if any of the powers with satellites had documented the area or even had tracks over northern Mubata. If they did, what they made of it and whether they passed that along to other nations who might act on it was a primary question.

As said before, errors in the technicalities of making the bomb itself and the way to contain the fusion had also set them back a bit. Working without foreign advisors had severely limited them, as well. Coupled with the short timeline before international reaction due to detection and they had such a short window to pull out success.

“Now, assuming that we do what we can to portray that, what if he’s brought along experts that haven’t been in the loop?”

“We can’t even deal with that right now. Besides, what other Mubatan experts are there on the subject than in this room and at the other facilities? It's not even an exaggeration that we have the monopoly here. If he has anyone, they are not Mubatan. In which case, there's nothing we can do about that, anyway…”

They were shut off from communication with their international colleagues in their respective specialized fields, both because of the ever omnipotent threat of D57, as well as the fact that Mubata was not considered conducive to progress by the Teremaran scientific community, and so they generally tended to ignore or cast suspicion on anything that came out of the Republic.
“...This isn’t up for academic debate, ladies and gentlemen. We need to literally save our own asses. We need to convince Papa Gengi that we’ve made progress. Again, is that clear? Dr. Mizundi? Dr. Gozende?”

“Yes, yes. Clear!”

“We’re scientists and they're not. All you have to do is make up a lot of fake mumbo jumbo…”


“Throw in words you know, technical terms...a lot of Physicist speak. Hell, make stuff up! It’s Fazembe. Do you think he will understand any of this? Just...keep it vague. Deluge them with tech speak until you start to see the vague fuzz take hold.”

They knew that look of the ‘fuzz’, when someone who was not technologically or scientifically inclined tried to comprehend the complex processes of their work. That look of utter confusion when the clouds started to infuse their brain. In Mubata, with such a low literacy rate, it was inevitable every day of their lives. As Dr. Uhambezo has said, quite possibly the whole of capable physicists in Mubata were grouped at this one compound and the related facilities.
That had its perks though, as they wouldn’t be easily fired for not being able to do their jobs. Who else was there left in Mubata to replace them?

The flip side was that even if Papa Gengi was not scientifically adept, he was clever and ruthless without a doubt. If he could sniff out a lie, even if he wasn’t exactly aware what the truth was, he would come down mercilessly on them, future of the program be damned. Their lives were indeed on the line, which might mean that they were very much walking dead. There were too many gaps in their knowledge and production limitations right now to make enough solid working devices for testing and they all knew it.

“Now, let’s clean this place up a bit, shall we? They’ll be here soon.”

They were silent in the car for a time as the boy continued to look out the window at the arid plains of middle Mubata. Then he spoke up.

“Yes, Lini.”

“Who are we going to use the new-ker-lur bombs on?”

“Nuclear. Well, I guess hopefully, no one. It would get rather messy if we tried to use them. That is what is called the End Game. Mutually Assured Destruction.”

“Then why do we need them?”

“It’s called a deterrent, son. It’s like...playing chess. You have to bluff the other player that you might do something that you’d rather not do, like sacrifice your queen...Eh, maybe that’s not such a good example...” He couldn’t come up with a better analogy that was more in the context of their tribal warrior culture and on the level of a young boy, so he plowed ahead. “We have to convince our enemies that we would use nuclear weapons on them and risk retaliation, even though we don’t actually want to do so.”

“Why not just do it? Get rid of the Gragastavians, the Falkasians, and the Gauls and everyone before they can strike at us.”

“Then what? We’re surrounded by glowing, radiated territory that we can’t do anything with, even if we luckily survived such an exchange. Who would we trade with, then?”

“We have boats....and planes...”

“Who would accept them into their ports after we viciously vaporized our neighbors?...
You’re getting older, son. I really want you to understand what is truly happening and what is at stake, and why it is happening. Yes, if we were to be overwhelmed by one of our neighbors, we might have to use such weapons to turn the tide, but, otherwise...Listen, it’s about respect.”

“Respect, Papa?”

“Respect. Mubata has been kicked around and traded and used for centuries. We were enslaved by...well, almost everyone...for a long time in our history and are still exploited when it suits them. We’re black and we’re despised when we’re not useful to their means. We need to be respected and allowed to go our own way. Respected as equals. Not just in the region, but beyond. This program will ensure that.”

The convoy pulled up to a gate with no other buildings in site. Guards seemed to materialize from nowhere and approached the vehicles. The windows were rolled down and identification was shown.

The convoy was obviously expected and ushered in. President Fazembe was escorted in to the main facility building and the tour began in earnest after a small little buffet had been set up in the lobby. Prior to the official tour, Gengi let all the administrators fawn over him a bit, as they did their best to kiss his ass and make some sort of impression, or at least have their names remembered. In truth, he wasn’t all that impressed by government research facility administrators and as long as they didn’t annoy him or get on his bad side, they would keep their jobs and their heads. They should be happy with that.

He looked through the glass at some of the inner labs and some of the processing part of the facility, noting how busy they all seemed to be moving material around and filling up glass containers with substances, or sealing fissionable material up into large metal capsules.

If he and his government checkers knew how little time they spent doing this, it would be outwardly laughable. The protective suits they wore were of such cheap, flimsy material that they were of little practical protection. The scientists knew this and so, beyond this dog and pony show, they did as little around the actual radioactive material as possible in order to not receive fatal cumulative doses. The government didn’t understand this and on paper, the suits were supposed to last months, so not enough new ones were shipped to the facility to enable a regular work flow despite protests. That was just one small issue among many.

Papa Gengi turned to Dr. Uhambezo, the Director of the project.
“So, for the big question...How is progress? When will we have our first working bomb?”

He smiled.
“Well, we’re working diligently and as fast as we can, Mr. President. These things take time and it is a big undertaking, as you of course know. We have had some hold ups and are having to do some processes a little more, um...grassroots...than some of your large powers with a lot of...imperialist resources, have at their beck and call…”

“For instance, what are one of these hold ups?”

“Well, Mr. President…”

Dr. Uhambezo looked at Dr. Gozende, who to his horror, began to list off the lack of adequate equipment, materials and other near to truth issues facing the Zangtopo facilities.
“...Those parts I just mentioned have broken down too fast and can't keep up with the production schedule, and so some of our fission reactions have not gone as desired, giving us little plutonium to work with. What we need is HEU, or Highly Enriched Uranium, what we are getting is medium quality at best with the equipment we have that still functions.”

“I see.” He turned to one of his aides that had accompanied him, “Make a note of that. We need to import better quality items of those he mentioned. What else?”

The scientists inwardly winced and outwardly their anxious, nervous glances at each other increased.
Uhambezo replied in haste, panic creeping in to his voice,
“Well, uh...we aren’t really seeming to be able to work with the production facility and the refining facility as well as we would like, uh…”
He regretted it and tried not to wince as he said it. The other scientists glared at him. He was throwing their colleagues over at the other facilities under the bus, indirectly, in order to buy more time for them.
Even little Lini Fazembe, their next leader, seemed to be scowling at him. Not that the boy could possibly be following what was going on.

“Hmmm. I see. Well, we will have to do something about that. I do know that we need to keep some distance between the facility for security reasons, but perhaps there are some measures we can take to strengthen the communication. Gentlemen...You are one of the shining hopes of this Republic, I hope you know that a lot is resting on the work you are doing here. A lot of money that is needed elsewhere is being diverted here, with painstaking secret shuffling of funds by our accountants back in Karalaga. Also, as you are aware, we cannot keep such facilities a secret indefinitely. Word will eventually leak out and when it does, we better be prepared to defend ourselves with the most powerful weapon a nation can have in its arsenal. Every potential enemy and even some former friends will be ready to strike to ensure that the not strike them first...

So, we need to see results, and we need to see them soon if we are to be the great power of the region that I know we can be. Our future rests in your hands. I want to be able to test a bomb by the end of this year, 1978. I want us to have an arsenal of at least 30 nuclear weapons by 1980. We're working on the delivery methods with some of our other engineers as you know, so all we need you to do is have the warheads ready.”

"Mr. President, we will re-dedicate ourselves to the task. You have our word. Please forgive us as we didn't mean to give the impression that we hadn't made progress, because we have...Leaps and bounds, as you know from the reports that we've been sending to the capital. We are so close, but we just need a bit more time."

"Very well. You have just a bit more time. Make it count, Director."

"Yes, thank you, Mr. President."
He bowed and grabbed at the President's hand, who in turn suffered the indignity of having those he deemed beneath him fawn over him.

With that, Fazembe gave a signal with his finger and the entourage from the capital prepared to exit the facility. They left as swiftly as they had arrived, but in their wake, the scientists struggled to ponder what tomorrow would bring and who would be sitting in a D57 interrogation cell in the next few months if they could not deliver the weapons as promised.
Last edited by Mubata on Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Founded: Jul 18, 2019

Postby Apriconia » Thu Nov 05, 2020 8:59 pm

The middle children, the twins, frolicked in the orange glare of the strong Apriconian sun. Renastur Locran's lips barley moved as he quietly chanted his prayers of penance. He was outside in the new spring air and stood over the young children of the Apriconia Crown Prince, Chester Whitetail. The twin’s boney limbs disappeared in and out of view, obscured by the line of Apricot tress that bordered the dirt back road of the Crown Prince’s estate.

The youngest child, Thomas, a boy about six, rummaged around in the small ditch with a stick while the family’s two sheep dogs scampered around him. Felix, the second eldest at 15 sat cross-legged on the ground next to Locran, quietly reading away at a tome of a previous Arch Renastur.

Locran noticed the procession of horses first, but it was Felix who was able to distinguish the riders before Locran’s aging eyes did, “The Skopos Knights.” The adolescent said with excitement.

The younger boy Thomas was more forthcoming with his own excitement, and began to scream and jump up and down, “The Skopos Knights are coming! They’re coming!”

As the column came closer Locran was now able to pickout finer details himself. It was indeed the royal guard of the King that approached them. The Renastur could see the shape and angles of the wood-stone styled composite armour that the Skpopos Knights dawned. The peaks of the helm then came into view and Locran began to make out the features of Ser Alison. Even though carbines were slung over their shoulders the Knights still wore their great and infamous long swords at the hip. (For an explanation of “Knights” in Apriconia, see the FB)

Although the arrival of the Skopoos Knights was not an unusual site or occurrence for the Crown Prince’s children, it was still a moment of wonder. The Skopos Knights were after all the herald heroic order of the nation. Each member and piece of weaponry carried a long history which captivated the minds of many Apriconians. Chester’s son Felix was one of these minds and already Locran had taken him as a student in Apriconian history, as was one of the duties of the personal Renastur to a royal family.

“I don’t see Grandad with them.” Felix told Locran. The Renastur sought out the Orange crown of King Cadmus but it was true. The scene was missing the orange gleam that should have been caused by the strong afternoon sun.

Locran looked over to the young squire of Prince Chester who stood attentively nearby, “Squire, take the children and gather their other siblings. Take them behind the house to the garden and keep them their.” He paused at that part, “I’ll meet you there shortly.”

“Shouldn’t someone alert the household first?” the squire, Braydon asked, “that’s a royal procession if I’ve ever seen one.”

“No. I’ll do that soon enough.” Then the Renastur paused and held his gaze with the brown-haired young man, “Do your duty diligently.”

Braydon nodded and then motioned for the children to follow him. The others protested briefly, calling out for explanation but after some insistence from Locran the four children began off with the Squire. Locran had noted Felix’s willingness to go with Brayden. Locran was aware of a friendship there. But he noticed the boy’s eyes locked onto the procession as he followed his siblings up the road.

“Felix!” Locran called out, “Stay with me.” When the boy had returned to his side the elder Renastur told him, “This will mean something to you I’m sure if it’s important or not. May as well stay around and help.” The two figures then waited along the dirt road as the procession approached. As it came closer Felix began to list out the other names of the knights and courtiers. Most of the King’s inner circle of advisers and confidents were present. The hulking shape of the King’s large stagecoach brought up the rear.

“Do you think Grandad took the coach today?” Felix asked.

“Your Grandfather likes to ride himself. The coach isn’t unheard of though.”

“Is he not feeling well?” Felix asked, his voice layered with concern.

“I don’t know. As far as I know there’s been no word from the Palace today. At least none that your father’s shared” Locran replied, his eyes fixed to the approaching mass of horses and people.

The private home of Prince Chester was about two hours outside the capital city of Apriconia, Praoeon. Although government officials had easy access to cars and vehicles, more traditional affairs often involved horseback over engine.

Locran decided he had enough of waiting and decided to approach the procession himself. “Wait here.” He told Felix.

As Locran approached the head of the column Ser Allison called out to him in greeting. The Captain of the Skopos Knights voice boomed with the strength and power, “Renastur Locran. I’d ask you approach my side. I have words to impart with you.”

Locran did as was asked and approached the side of Ser Allison’s horse. The Knight bent down and muttered a few sentences close to the Renastur’s ear before pulling away. “Right.” Locran said as he stepped away from the Captain and returned to Felix. “Go to the back of the house and wait for you siblings.” He instructed the teenager, “I will be around shortly to collect you and your siblings. But you must wait until I come around.”

“What is it, Locran?” the boy asked.

“Ser Allison must speak to your father.”

“Is it Grandad?”

“Felix, go.”

“Is he dead?”

“Child!” the Renastur exclaimed, frustration had crossed his face. “Do not give me this today. Go to your siblings.” Then he paused before saying, “A tree dies, and another begins. As it has always been in these lands.” Felix set off running down the road.

Locran felt the hooves of Ser Allison’s horse come up behind him, “You will be the King’s Renastur. A strong placement for you to hold.”

“I will be a Renastur.” Replied Locran as he started towards the house, “But yes, my assignment is now to a King.”

OOC: I like to do TL;DR for my posts because they are long. TL;DR, King Cadmus is dead and his son Chester will now ascend to the throne.

Felix made his lungs work and burn as he through himself down the dirt backroad on his father’s estate. Locran’s words to him did not mean his Grandfather was dead. But the often-spoken line by the Renastur about dramatic change indicated just that, that there had been a dramatic change in the lives of his family. His head whizzed with thoughts and concerns. He interrogated what could possibly be wrong if not his Grandfather. Could it maybe be his mother? She was away with two of Felix’s sisters and most of her staff at a business conference in a nearby town. They had taken a car that morning and therefore it would just be Felix’s Father and his small staff at the countryside manor. Felix soon approached the waist height white picket fence that ringed the elaborate back garden of his home. He had managed to calm his head but only in time to overhear his brothers Ren and Isaiah as they bickered with Braydon.

“We should go meet the procession at the front door at least.” Bellowed Felix’s younger brother Isaiah who was eleven. Isaiah and Rem had been off ‘hunting’ in the family’s orchards. If one could call it hunting. One of them would score a crow occasionally, but otherwise they just gallivanted around pretending to be more than they were.

“We want to know what’s going on!” Felix herd his older brother demand to Braydon.

“And you will soon, Ren. We haven’t even waited long enough for the procession to getup the driveway.”

“If you plan on arguing with me, Squire Farrow, I will insist you use my title when invoking my name!”

Braydon’s eyes rolled, “Prince Ren, I respectfully implore you to exercise the of patience needed right now. Patience fitting of a future King.”

It was a characteristic of the squire that Felix enjoyed. He spared no caution in putting the still minor Prince in his place when it was needed. Maybe Felix’s enjoyment was heightened by his own frequent battles with his older brother. Just when he thought Rem was about to explode at Braydon, the Squire caught site of Felix approaching the gate and his shift in focus spun Rem’s attention.

“Felix!” Rem exclaimed, eyes wide, “What’s going on? do you know?”

“Locran didn’t say. Just sent me to wait with all of you before he collects us. We’re to wait in the garden. Ser Allison needs to speak to Dad.” Felix said calmly as he entered the garden.

“Did you see Grandad? Is he with them? Jane and Adrian said they couldn’t see him.” Rem said as he looked at the two twins.

“I didn’t see him. His coach was with them though.” Felix replied. He was doing well keeping a clam tone and walked over next to Braydon who nodded at him in greeting.

“We should go meet them.” Rem said.

“Locran said to wait here.” Felix asserted to his brother. He was almost surprised by the firmness in his own voice. It was something he struggled to do at other points with not only Rem but his younger brother Isaiah.

“Since when do we care a whole lot about what old Locran tells us to do?” Argued Rem.

“You saw the look Locran gave Braydon when he sent us off. Locran said it might be nothing, but he needs us to do this now.” Fexlix rebutted with the same uncharacteristic confidence. He saw his brothers face change to neutral, disarmed. A small smile crept across Braydon’s face.

Rem sighed, “Fine. A few minutes more won’t kill.” Then he paused and asked, “how many Skopos knights were with them?”

“Uh I don’t know exactly.” Felix answered. The confidence had begun to falter at the question. “several. The size of Grandad’s personal detail at least.”

“So he’s definitely with them.” Rem concluded, “They wouldn’t be here without him.”

“Can we please stop trying to figure this out?” asked Jane, who anxiously gripped the sides of her dark green pants, “We could run around in circles all day with it.”

They didn’t have to wait long though. The backdoor of the house swung open and Renastur Locran appeared. A chorus of questions came from the children but Locran quieted them with a wave of his hand, “All of you come inside, and please, do so quietly for the peace of things.”

The children were silenced by the weight that carried with the Renastur’s last words and they quickly filed through the backdoor into the family room. Whether they meant to or not, the five children organized themselves into a horizontal line in front of Locran as he spoke. Braydon stood attentively behind Felix.

“The news that Ser Allison has brought us today is grave. I’m sorry, my dearest. Your Grandfather passed away in the early hours of this morning of cardiac arrest.”
A room taught with tension and silence a moment before was suddenly filled with the wails of emotion. The older children consoled and held the younger. Tears and cries filled the room and for a few minutes the Renastur, a preacher of mental control and emotional stoicism allowed the children to grieve as they’re bodies reacted. Just as he had done moments ago informing the now King Chester of his father’s death. The new King was now collected himself in his personal study to receive Ser Allison who would formally inform the King of the passing of the crown and reaffirm the Skopos Order’s Oath of Loyalty to the King and all his future successors.

Change POV

Chester drew a long breath, paused and then exhaled. He let his breath draw across the grain of his teeth. He looked up at the high arch of the entrance to Castle Cott. It was an ancient name, but still fitting. Apriconians, were direct descendants of the Cotts. The Cotts being the first paramount’s of the land, infamously known in the legends for instituting Jus Primae Noctis, which was extended to all members of the Cott family.

The Cotts, like numerous other royal families, had eventually fallen from their high status. King Kidd Cott was the last of the name. Killed during childhood. The Cotts though had left Cott Castle in their place and for the following centuries, with a few exceptions, it had been used as the primary seat of Apricon.

The castle was a series of towers connected by dome like buildings and hallways. It rested on the top of a small hill and a large orange cobblestone path lined the way to the main gate. A ring of wall and battlements encircled the complex and although they offered little practical purpose in modern warfare, the impending structured still suited the needs to protect a head of state. The elevated and walled position offered the Skopos Knights a privileged position to watch outside and in.

The ancient order was present as always. Nearly all its numbers would now be descending on the capital to pay respects to the old King and new. There were six-to-eight score who would stay away. Some of them MIA, others gone rouge. Chester knew a few Knights would probably pledge to hunt down these dishonourable individuals, the rogues. Many would die attempting to do so but the act was like something akin to trophy hunting in the Order. Nothing like an owl scorned, so it went in Apriconia.

As Chester starred up at the open expanse of the high sealings inside the castle, a sense of the sublime fell. He realized all of this was his. Not just the castle, but all the responsibility and power that came with the title, King of Apriconia. He did not expect to be King so early on in his life, although he was well into middle age. When Chester had woke that morning, he had given no thought to his father’s mortality and the day’s events had been beyond his imagination.

He tried to reflect on the events of the previous hours, in a moment of reflection. His immediate memories of them felt hazy. He was still filled with grief but composed. After a few hours in private conversation and prayer with Locran, he felt ready to take on the duties of King. The new King had emerged from his study, embraced his seven children and addressed his household staff as King before he mounted his horse and set off with Ser Allison who had not left Chester’s side since.

As he entered the throne room of Castle Cott he dismissed Ser Allison so he could spend time alone with the corpse of his father. His father’s body appeared serene and alive, just as Chester had last seen him days prior before heading back to his private estate. The body had been carefully embalmed and prepared for burial by stewards of the Church of Stone, a treatment that all the King’s before had received. A bed of apricot seeds had been laid carefully at the bottom of the coffin, and recently pruned flowers of the sacred tree had been laid around his father, the now late King Cadmus.

Cadmus was adorned in the regal burial clothes. They were cloaks, orange in hue, and the crescent of House Whitetail was embroidered over his heart. The oval dome of the Nation’s crown gleamed in the late sun that cast through the long windows of the throne room. For a period, Chester stood and breathed. He brought to bare the tools that religious instruction had given him throughout his life. Think of the tree. The way it bends and grows before eventually dying, leaving after its new life and offspring.

Chester could not have said how much time had passed before he noticed a presence enter the room behind him. Very few persons in the Kingdom would have risked disturbing the King as he grieved in the presence of his father, but Chester was hardly surprised to notice the image of his long childhood friend, Macreas Vasilidis. Macreas was dressed in his formal Renastur dress as he approached Chester. The two had attended the same private academy in the capital throughout their teens. The same academy was still littered with the aristocratic elite of Apriconia. Macreas family was of nobility, but besides their prosperous orchard fields, their family, like many, had fallen in privilege and prestige over the last half a century. Few signs of the old nobility still remained in Apriconia. The Vasilidis’ of old nobility were part of a new mix-class of Apriconians that had emerged over the past half century with King Kallak’s reforms (Chester’s Grandfather).

“Chester.” Macreas had begun, his voice cracked, “Your father.” He said consolingly as he embraced his friend.

Chester disregarded the informality. Family was another matter in the life of a King, and for Chester Macreas was family. Even though the two had seen less and less of each other over the years as Macreas had been sent galivanting around Apriconia at the will of the Church while Chester became more and more involved in the activities of the court.

Macreas eventually broke his embrace but his hands kept a tight grip around Chester’s shoulders, “Our King.” The Renastur said as he looked upon the corpse of the dead King. Macreas had spent some winter holidays as a kid with the Whitetail family, at the countryside estate that Chester had called home is whole life. Macreas had come to form a close relationship with King Cadmus, one that had turned into a kind of mentorship.

“He was always so proud of you. Both of you.” Macreas said, invoking the now late Princess Zenovia. Chester’s younger sister, who passed away shy of adulthood from a disease that maybe in another country could have been prevented.

“I can only hope to fill his shoes.” Chester replied as he held his gaze to his father’s body.

“You will. The Whitetail stock is strong. Eight kids Chester! How are they doing with all of this?”

“The younger are shaken.”


“Locran has told me he’s rising to the title of Crown Prince.”

“Good boy.” Macreas said assuredly. Yet he could still see the doubt in his friend’s eyes. “Chester, the Kingdom is in good hands. You will match your father’s reputation I am sure, and he’s left practically an army of good servants and courtiers to direct your principle.”

Chester was silent for a moment. “They’ve ruled out any kind of foul play. Cardiac arrest. Let’s hope I’m not taken by the same fate.”

“May the Planter forbid.” Added Macreas.

The two remained silent for a moment before Chester spoke, “I’ll be holding a cabinet meeting tomorrow. A small informal meeting. Just to establish decorum and such.”

“I admire your determination, Chester. But please take a few days for yourself. Be with your family.” Macreas replied.

“I need to show swiftness.”

“There is such a thing as too swift.”

“Not now. There are issues that need to be discussed.”

“What does Marietta think?”

Chester paused before responding, “Queen Marietta.”

“Of course.” Macreas acknowledged, “What is the Queen’s advice?”

“I have yet to see her. It’s been a day.”

“Chester!” Macreas scolded, “Go be with your family.”

“Will I go spend time with my family when the Plucotts spill over the economic zone because of brigands in the south? People they think are aligned with the Crown?”
It was Macrea’s turn to pause.

“I need to hold a council meeting now. Make it seem like there’s a tight control over everything.”

“It’s sound logic, your majesty. But the Plucotts are in no position to make a move now. The nation is in mourning. Your family name is still popular among many in the South. As the man who brought them freedom. They will spare you at least a few weeks of pause before acting sooner. Besides, we’re not completely sure they aren’t connected to the crown.”

Chester quieted, “I’ll postpone the Council meeting till the day after tomorrow.”

“Better. Have you given thoughts to the immediate future of some of your Father’s ambitions?”

“Little besides that the desalination project will continue as planned. If the funding is finalized. Mr. Baz was scheduled to be in town next week. I’m afraid that’s a meeting I can’t afford to miss.”

“I wouldn’t suggest it there. I’m sure things will go well. Even the Church is behind that project. We’re well aware that if another draught like 43’ takes place again the state of the nation would be threatened by the current precarious state of the economy. The Church itself may not survive. How about the other planned reforms that you’ll need to act on.”

“I know I know.” Chester said with a wave of his hand.

“GMOs, the South, diversification.” Macreas listed off, “you may continue to have the Arch Renastur’s support on these matters. But the Council and his Selector have become increasingly conservative and if I may speak frankly,” Macreas than lowered his voice, “reactionary.” Silence fell over the hall again. “He wants to meet with you sooner than later.”

“The Arch Renastur?”

“Yes. He plans on continuing his standard of support for the Whitetail family.”

“So you have some connection to him, even when he’s help up in that tower of his in isolation.”

“Come now, Chester. You know nothing is as it’s supposed to be in this country. There are matters of state which not even the Skopos Knights are supposed to be privy to, yet as the saying goes, they know everything.”

“You should be here with me, Macreas. At court. Your talents are far too wasted running around as a school yard administrator.” Said Chester, referencing Macreas current position as an educational agent for the Church of Stone. The Church, in addition to the Apricot industry was responsible for the running of Apriconia’s educational institutions which were funded through tithings and partial public funding.

Macreas smiled as the old argument came up again, “You know I’m a servant, Chester. I go where Master Donavan wants me.” He said, mentioning the head administrator of Education within the nation. In Apriconia religious leaders held significant clout within certain institutions. Within the hierarchy of the church those above were referred to as ‘Master’. Master Donavan Demallis was head of Education and therefore a member of cabinet. “Not even you could control that with a decree.” Macreas concluded.

Chester nodded, knowing the argument was headed in the same direction as always and he saw purpose to move on. “I think that’s enough heavy discussion for today. Especially in the presence of him.” He motioned towards the casket. “My wife and my children will be arriving tomorrow noon and I want to see their living situation is in good order. I think I’ll leave you for today.”

“Of course.” Said Macreas as bowed his head in recognition, “Give Queen Marietta my best.” And the Renastur turned to leave the room.

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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Gragastavia » Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:24 pm

23 June 2022
Halqat, Gragastavia

“And you’re telling me that in Falkasia they still call falafel ‘falafel’?”

“Of course they do. What else would they call it?”

“I thought they might have a different word for it.”

“No, it’s… just falafel.”

“What a strange country.”

The driver, a middle-aged man named Karim, cut the wheel, turning the car onto Al-Hamra Street. Al-Hamra Street sat parallel to Al-Hamra Avenue and Al-Hamra Boulevard, but it was the telltale sign of a newcomer to the city if they asked for Al-Hamra Road, which was located clear on the other side of town. Careening down the asphalt blistering in the desert sun, Karim weaved around a camel caravan and dodged a wayward tuktuk while careful to keep pace with the line of traffic ahead. Though early evenings in Halqat were usually quiet, their itinerary took them through town right as the muezzin at the local mosque trilled a rhythmic tune summoning the populace to prayers.

Two cigarettes smoldered in the ashtray inset in the center console just before the prindle. Smoke vented through a cracked rear window, but the odor never faded since the tobacco scent inundated the upholstery and covered every surface in a thin layer of soot. The car slowed to a halt at a stoplight and the light changed, a veritable circus of camels, goats, and chickens crossing in front while beige cars and obnoxious mopeds dashed on either side. Karim plucked a cigarette from the ashtray and inhaled deeply, snorting smoke from his nostrils like a dragon. The passenger, Fahd, also grabbed his cigarette by reflex and gasped a small drag. The light changed again and Karim laid into the horn until the car ahead released the brake. Hot on his bumper, Karim returned his cigarette to the ashtray and whipped around the laggard.

“What was the address again?” Karim asked.

“330 West Al-Hamra.”

“Boulevard or Avenue?”


“Shit,” Karim spat. He flipped the turn signal and yanked the car around, a cacophony of insults and blaring horns harmlessly bouncing off the metal. Slamming the accelerator, the car sped forward, nearly sideswiping a tabbouleh vendor’s cart, and rushed through the intersection again, a split second before the light turned red.

“Your blinker’s still on,” Fahd commented, tapping ash from his cigarette.

Karim pried the arm down and the ticking silenced. The sandstone and stucco buildings blazed past, each one indistinguishable from the next as the car gained speed. They crossed one intersection and another, the traffic thinning all the while, and Karim dragged the car onto Al-Hamra Avenue. He craned his neck, watching the building numbers slowly ascend with each block. They started in the low 200s and advanced from there. At 212 West Al-Hamra sat Halqat Grocery, the site of a famous robbery in 1976 in which the owners were indicted in conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. At 256 West Al-Hamra sat a low-rise apartment complex, where in 2007 a young postman delivered a package bound for 256 West Al-Hamra Road to the wrong address. At 304 West Al-Hamra, nothing interesting happened in the 100 years the address bore the number. Prior to that, as far as Karim knew, nothing interesting happened there either.

And then they set eyes on the fabled address: 330 West Al-Hamra Avenue (not Boulevard).

The beige structure blended with the identical beige structures flanking it, 328 West Al-Hamra and 332 West Al-Hamra respectively. 330 West Al-Hamra was distinct, however, because that was where Karim and Fahd were bound. Karim pulled ahead a few meters from an empty parking space adjacent to the curb and deftly navigated the car behind a white sedan. They flipped the sun visors up and grabbed their cigarettes. Karim tugged the keys from the ignition and slipped them into his trouser pocket as he stepped out. Compared to the blazing oven inside, the heat was a welcome relief—the car’s air conditioner died three or four years ago under mysterious circumstances—and he stepped onto the curb.

Fahd knocked on the wooden door. They heard shuffling inside and hushed commands. Karim rested his arm across the top of the doorway, their eyes meeting briefly as they heard the lock fumble. The door swung open and an impatient arm waved them inside. Stepping through the corridor, they turned into the living room, the gentle hum of a box fan greeting them with an icy breeze. Three dilapidated sofas sank into green shag carpeting centered around a flickering TV set straight out of the midcentury. Centered on the sofa staring at the television nested a beast more stomach than man. It belched a curmudgeonly burp smelling of the cheapest beer and as it heard the two men approach. The grease coating his face flickered with the grayscale glimmers on the electronic screen.

“You got it?” the beast murmured.

“Yes, sir, we have it,” Fahd said.

“Give it here, then.” The beast reached its hand out, the musk stifling Fahd and Karim. Simultaneously, they inhaled from their cigarettes to cover the stench.

Fahd produced an oblong lump wrapped in aluminum foil. “Fresh from the king, sir,” he said, setting the bundle into the beast’s hand before beating a hasty retreat.

The beast tried to peel the foil back, but his fingers were as thick as sausages. He tore the paper instead and his face lit up as he recognized the telltale aroma. Cradling the bundle like it were a baby, his neck creaked as he turned back to Fahd and Karim. “You did good,” he said. “I’d like to be alone now, thank you.”

“Our payment, sir,” Karim said.

“Oh, very well. You did come all this way.” The beast scoffed. “All you need to do is add half a cup of onion powder to the falafel mix before you fry it.”

Karim and Fahd locked eyes. “Onion powder?” they mouthed at the same time.

Sinking his teeth into the sandwich, the beast slobbered on the pita bread. Lips smacking, he devoured bite after bite as tzatziki sauce collected in the corners of his mouth. Karim and Fahd, deciding their time was better spent elsewhere, slowly backpedaled to the door and headed again into the sun. Karim tapped ash onto the sidewalk and then stopped dead in his tracks.

“Fuck!” he shouted. “I forgot to pay the parking meter!”

A red piece of paper adorned the windshield. Karim sprinted to it, tearing the slip from the wiper blade. Fahd meandered closer, thumbs tucked in his belt, and he blew a smoky breath downwind.

“Last time we go to Shawarma King for him. Onion powder? Really?” he sighed, drawing some fresh smoke into his lungs.

“How much is the ticket?”

“A hundred riyals.”

“Like hell it is,” Fahd chuckled. Reaching into his pocket, metal clinking as he flicked the lid off his cigarette lighter. He rolled the flint and flame glittered on the wick. Karim snorted and held the ticket into the flame until the corner caught. Dropping the incinerating ticket on the sidewalk, he strutted to the driver side while Fahd clambered in the other door. The car roared to life as soon as Karim turned the ignition and, after wrestling the gear shifter into drive, he wrangled the vehicle into the street and into the sunset.

“Don’t sweat it, Karim. That’s not even your license plate, remember?”
Last edited by Gragastavia on Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nova Secta
Posts: 120
Founded: May 03, 2021
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nova Secta » Mon Aug 08, 2022 1:41 pm


...and to recap our top story tonight, the Glorious Dominion will be flying a new flag tomorrow morning,
as the country will be awakening to a new national standard. The results of today's plebiscite on changing
the national flag have been tabulated, and with 53.5% of the vote, Saescians have elected to fly a new
national flag over Dominion soil tonight...

The Farnsworth Residence, Thielesthreatt, Saescia - August 1, 2022 - 11:30 PM
The news hadn’t really sunk in for her yet, not on an emotional level at least. For the last several weeks, she and her friends had been gearing up for a simple yet meaningful plebiscite to determine an important national symbol of pride, the flag of the Glorious Dominion. For years, advocates arguing about the separation of church and state lamented the Cross of Apotheosis standard that had been in place for the country since the 18th century, arguing that a new national standard was needed that represented all Saescians regardless of their religious affiliation. Some, like Kris Farnsworth, were simply aghast at the mere suggestion of erasing more than three hundred years’ worth of history for the sake of political correctness. The flag had no mention of religion or no bearing on any religious symbols other than a basic shape, so why the bother? Why not let things sit as they were, and respect the tradition of the flag?

Her and her friend, David France had gotten together to order dinner and watch the results of the special election called by the national parliament after an agnostic group had circulated a petition calling for the design of a new national flag. To their credit, the group had managed to acquire almost 400,000 signatures to their petition – enough to get the national parliament to finally take up the issue. What had followed was a cat and mouse game for more than five months while the Social Democrats and Labour went back and forth on potential designs. Finally, a month ago they had came up with the Grand Blue Azalea design, a fine design she supposed, but it was an unnecessary compromise to a needless dilemma. The old flag wasn’t hurting anyone and should have remained; some people just didn’t know when to leave well enough alone. The news report seemed indifferent to her frustration; she could only hope David was more amenable to the consternation that was quickly flooding her with anger and frustration.

“So,” Kris looked up at her friend with bated breath, studying his features to see if they betrayed anything about the way he had chosen. “Which way did you wind up going? Did you choose to keep the old flag or go with a new flag?”

“Hey now,” David remarked jokingly, stymieing a chuckle. “Respect the right to cast a secret ballot!”

She was less than impressed with his answer. “You ass, don’t be like that. Seriously, did you vote for the new flag or did you vote to keep the old flag?”

He turned towards the television screen for a moment, nodding in its direction. “My side would seem to have won, so I guess there’s no shame in admitting a small victory here... I voted to change to the new flag.”

“You fink!” Kris shouted, pushing him playfully on the shoulder, as much to hide the real frustration – albeit mild – bubbling under her faux-outrage. “I thought you had planned to vote to keep our old flag in place?”

“Well yeah, I was going to,” David replied sincerely, still watching the television screen with fixated eyes. “But when I got into the booth, I realized that I just wasn’t a fan of the flag and thought a new design would better represent the direction of the country.”

As she absorbed what he was saying, she let out a long, slow sigh of defeat. “Does tradition count for nothing anymore? I mean, I respect the fact that we have a wall of separation between church and state as much as the next person, but… that was our flag!

“So is this one,” he answered her reassuringly, turning towards her on the couch. “Just because things change doesn’t mean the inherent value of what was is lost, you know. The new flag has just as much symbolism to our country as the old one did.”

Kris furrowed her brow, quizzically cocking her head to the side: “I don’t follow you…”

“It’s like this,” David began, turning back to the television once more. “We have a new national flag that has new symbolism from what the old flag represented. The values of the new flag still symbolize Saescian values though, just as the old flag did. Maybe they aren’t the same exact values, but the values we now honor have been there the whole time, just as the old ones were. So think of it as the long-overdue honoring of values forgotten through the old flag.”

She had to admit, there was a modicum of logic in the pattern of thought. It didn’t change her mind on the old flag being superior, or not wanting to have seen it be replaced in the plebiscite, but she could at least appreciate the thought. “I guess that makes sense.”

“I mean, you have to think too,” he continued, “as a constitutional monarchy we really ought to be putting the focus of our national flag on our democracy, not the monarchy itself. The byzantine purple and gold reflected the colors of the monarch more than it did our parliament.”

“That much, I can agree with, I suppose,” she said, realizing as he spoke that the color palette of the flag had never particularly been that enamoring. “I may have been more amenable to changing the colors of the old design versus selecting a whole new flag.”

David shook his head. “I think a lot of people would have thought that way too, but I understand the push for a new design. Having a cross on the flag is a bit old hat, really; now we have our national emblem on the flag, to the consternation of vexillologists everywhere!”

“Oh, absolutely!” Kris jokingly replied. “God forbid we miss our chance to piss off the vexillologists!”

“You joke,” David deadpanned, “but I swear those assholes seriously have a stick up their rear. ‘Flags have to be like this’, ‘flags can’t be like that’. What a racket, as long as it looks distinguishable and epic who gives a shit if it follows some arcane rules?”

“Well, aren’t you a rebel?” Kris teased him, turning her focus back to the news report playing on the television station. “If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were down to change anything so long as it broke a rule to flag making.”

“To screw with those jackasses?” David replied rhetorically, leaning back against the couch cushion with his hands clasped across his chest. “I would have voted to put a fucking unicorn on that son of a bitch if I had to, I don’t care. Screw those guys!”

“Ha, geez! Did a vexillologist beat you up as a child or something?”

“Worse than that, they critiqued the shit out of me while I was playing an online game,” David said without pomp or circumstance. “Every time I would get my flag rated, they would savage the shit out of that poor bastard. Used to make me so angry.”

Kris arched an eyebrow. “Get your flag rated?”

“Oh! Yeah, it’s an online game I play, a nation-building simulator called StateCraft. You create your own nation by answering a bunch of profile questions about how you’d run it, then you can make your own national flag and upload it. Each day you get to answer a lot of questions about laws you would pass, and however you answer it changes your country in different ways. It’s really cool!”

“Wow, that sounds… interesting.”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it,” David responded to her questioning tone. “It sounds super-complex, but damned if it isn’t a hoot. They have forums where people roleplay out their countries to crazy degrees, answering all kinds of questions online about their states. They even have websites where you can make encyclopedia entries about your nation as if they were real countries.

Kris was taken aback by his enthusiasm over his simulator game. “That sounds positively insane, putting so much time into something that doesn’t exist, you know that?”

David shook his head, sighing. “You would think so, but when things get crazy in the real world it feels nice to have an escape hatch sometimes, pretending to create a society where things can go how you feel they should go.”

Taken aback by the seeming-sincerity of his passion for the game, Kris decided to change tact for a moment. “Hey, I know I have some crazy hobbies too; if it’s what you love, it’s what you love. Go nuts, I always say; make the country of your dreams.”

There was the briefest pause before David let out a chuckle. “Hell, that’s what some people do; usually I just pretend to blow other countries up and piss people off on there. Idyllic worlds are for posers, give me drama or give me death!.”

“God, you’re such an ass sometimes,” Kris laughed, playfully slapping at him. “You still haven’t explained about the whole “rating the flag” thing, though.

“Oh, right, right,” David suddenly recalled. “There’s a thread in the forums where people offer criticism about how you designed your flag. I would always make these elaborate designs with shading and what not, things that would make a vexillologist lose their shit. And thus there would always be a handful of nerds in the threads that would savage my designs as a result.”

“Mm, my friend the flag-maker,” she teased him, turning her attention back towards the television. “Perhaps you should find them in the real world and beat them up.”

“Perhaps I should learn to stop making so many pretend flags,” David retorted. “That might be a more practical solution.”
Last edited by Nova Secta on Mon Aug 08, 2022 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

A   R E A L   M I S Y N T H R O P E

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CON: Authoritarianism, Corporate Welfare, Fascism, Homophobia, Militarism, Racism, Sexism, Transphobia
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User avatar
Civil Servant
Posts: 10
Founded: May 17, 2021
Mother Knows Best State

Postby Espicuta » Sat Aug 13, 2022 5:03 pm

Official Despatch of Her Majesty’s Government
Royal Arms of the Queendom

Royal Declaration of HM Queen Maria IV on the situation in Lacetanya
August 2022

Much has been rumoured in recent weeks regarding our position on the situation currently transpiring in Lacetanya. Certainly, this situation is not desirable. Our neighbours are suffering and this wounds the heart of every well-meaning Espicutan, none more than myself.

Many of my people have been involved in charitable efforts to help the suffering population of Lacetanya. I extend my deepest gratitude to these selfless citizens, they are the foremost example of Espicutan generosity and kindness - qualities which our Lacetanyan cousins also possess but cannot express in their current state. I have no doubt that the people of Lacetanya would do the same, were our situations reversed. But this is the very core of the issue: we are two fraternal peoples separated by borders; one suffering, one thriving. It is in our charitable and decent nature to wish to help others. But there is more we can do than food parcels and monetary gifts…

We must offer Lacetanya the opportunity to return to our bosom. Years ago, Lacetanya broke away from Espicuta and we wept for the divide, though wished our sisters well. We must not feel bitter because of this. Separation, in an odd way, has brought us closer and the time has come for us to come to their aid.

To the people of Lacetanya, I say this: we are sisters and brothers all. It is my wish, and the wish of my government and people, for the violence and destruction to end. For the incompetence and misrule you have suffered under to end. For division and strife to be defeated and a better future sought. I swear that the autonomy and rights of Lacetanya and her people will be respected, should I be asked to form a new administration. Those who fear subjugation need not - I am not a conqueror and have no such intentions. We are all peace-loving people, Espicutans and Lacetanyans, and we should be together again - though I respect that there are differences between us.

Though I have been advised not to, I will say freely that it is my intention to deploy peacekeepers to Lacetanya should the violence turn more severe, or should Espicutan intervention be sought by the population. Again, this need not be feared, Lacetanya has a right to self-determination, as all peoples should. Nonetheless, unification is the cry of many on both sides of the border and we must seek a resolution. Espicuta is committed to the well-being of our allies, and the happiness of all people.

Her Royal Majesty
Queen Maria de Aquilla
Fourth of that name, of Espicuta


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