NATION

PASSWORD

Dangerous Currents (Closed - Invite Only)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Kenega
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 59
Founded: Jan 23, 2013
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Dangerous Currents (Closed - Invite Only)

Postby Kenega » Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:12 pm

Some notes about this RP. It takes place shortly after a confrontation between San Rosito and Reino do Brazil on Madurin in Teremara, one of many conflicts between the two Latin neighbors, and the most current one, as depicted in A Matter of Pride. Because that thread is in limbo and on hiatus, we have decided to move on, but build on that canon. The assumption for this RP is that the Brazilian-San Rositan conflict ended after some cross border skirmishes, over-flights, a dog fight or two, and lots of threats. Negotiation returned everything to status quo and there was no major loss of life or destruction.

Should the Matter of Pride thread pick up again and it not be the case that the conflict was small in scale or something happens that would considerably alter the events in this RP, then these two stories will be on alternate parallel timelines. This is more likely the canon that will be honored, but if there needs to be a canon reconciliation, we will deal with it then.

Player restrictions: The only military forces that will be allowed in this RP are those of San Rosito, Vionna-Frankenlisch, and Kenega. Unless, we make an allowance for a small incident, or some side plot that fits the storyline, but even then it would be a Teremaran or Wishtonian force only.

Other player participation: That being said, we are open to participation from those who would like to RP a tourist, businessperson, journalist, diplomat, criminal, or other individual person being caught up in the events in this RP. That invite is to Teremara, Wishtonia, and really anyone else, but we will need to approve the player and see some RP samples if we don’t know you. There is no app to fill out, but you will need to TG any of the main players or contact us through Discord. Explain your character and how you think you can contribute to the story.

That’s about it. Enjoy the story.


Kenega City
Kenega


Flocks of seagulls mobbed the beaches, looking for food abandoned by the tanned and sunburned throngs cavorting in the waves, or lounging on deck chairs and towels. Seaside cafes had more foreigners and upper crust Kenegans packing the verandas. Some were back in their homes, villas, and hotel rooms napping, storing up their energy. They would get ready to head to dinner, the casinos, and clubs later to expend that energy.

Some of them had never left the clubs from many hours before. There was no law that stated the clubs of the capital had to close at any time, and yet most did at least for an hour, in order to clean and reset. Most, but not all. Hash and cannabis dens also saw round the clock visitors. While harder narcotics were against the law, many deals were being had every day that eventually trickled down to the individual users. There were always going to be visitors and regular denizens of the City who needed their own way to get to an altered state that wasn’t necessarily regulated by the Commonwealth.

So, of course, the Kenegan organized crime syndicates and smuggling gangs were also flourishing, as they had for some time. There was only so much that the Investigative Division of the Gendarmerie and the KC Metro police could or would do to make a dent in the trade. For the most part, there was an understanding. Unless things became too overt and dangerous, even for the hedonistic tourists seeking all kinds of dark thrills, then the outfits could continue to ply their trade at the drug dens and casinos with little interference from the local authorities.

Amadoga Saunders, one of the top kingpins of the Kenegan underworld, was determined to keep that status quo. Ready to slam the hammer down on any syndicate bosses who got out of line, and equally ready to go to battle with the local PD and gendarme detectives who stepped out of line. Not necessarily battling on the streets with the cops, but hitting them where it really hurt - in court, and in the public courts of social media. Saunders, as well as a lot of the Kenegan mob bosses, had extensive blackmail files on the Kenega City elite, Commonwealth parliamentarians, and other officials that called the large metropolitan capital home. All they had to do was threaten to release records, and those top dogs would come down hard on the wayward cops.

Then there was the banking industry. Kenegan banks were legendary to many surrounding regions. Over time, nations with liberal banking laws began to evolve towards more legitimate practices and regulations. Neu Engollon’s banks for instance, were once like Kenega’s, but many of the protections afforded banking customers had been revoked, with info on the worst offenders passed along to Teremaran law enforcement and intelligence agencies much too often for the liking of the Underworld and politically corrupt or radical. Much of that shady banking business shifted south to Kenega. The volume of currency that electronically flowed through Kenega’s banks in the current day was what was most astounding. It was enough to run many small countries.

People from all over, but especially Teremara, had flocked to the beaches of Southern Kenega for decades. Even at the height of the Hutanjian War, just a few hundred kilometers to the south, didn’t deter them. Bodies in fatigues washing up in the middle of resort shores, or worse…civilian bodies and children. At the height of the war as Falkasian, Edomite, Cardwithian and Hutanjian forces clashed in epic battles the likes of which Wishtonia had never seen, it was almost to over a dozen bodies a day recovered from the beaches.




Ourapeka
Northern Territories
Kenega


That was a long time ago. Six years, to be exact. Now, it was bodies from Jaragupta that were washing up on their shores. JRA Soldiers, HDLF rebels, communist troops from the ISVC, and pilots from all sides. However, it wasn’t on the touristy southern beaches, but rather the northern shores of the Northern wildlife preserves that the currents carried these bodies.

Ourapeka was where the safaris started from that would take the few, barely maintained roads into the interior, into the bogs and swamps to see the crocs, the cranes, raptors, gazelles, monkeys, panthers, and all other manner of wildlife.

As far as authority went, there was the Sheriff of Ourapeka and the surrounding county, but he was paid by the smuggling gangs to go from home, straight to the office, then back home; every day. Ourapeka Sheriff’s Deputies were mostly around to make traffic stops, and rarely even those.

That left Abigail Emerson, Brigadier of the Royal Park Ranger Service, as the highest authority in Ourapeka and the surrounding preserves who would actually do anything to keep order in the North. With a sturdy force of squads of Royal Park Rangers, she was not afraid of the smugglers and their mob controllers, but she certainly would never risk her people in open confrontation with them.

Emerson still reported to Ewan MacTavish, Commander of the Royal Services of the Commonwealth, but Ewan hardly ever made the trip North, and it was tough enough to even raise him on a video screen. It wasn’t that he didn’t care to do his job, it was that Kenega City and Faronham consumed almost all of his time…And he implicitly trusted Abby to have the North of the Island under control.




Terlenga
Eastern Kenega


To the east, the biggest spot of civilization, but certainly not the only one in the east, as it was surrounded by more resorts, beaches, and a fair amount of industry, lay the old historic port of Terlenga. A substantial Coast Guard station, Royal Gendarme station, as well as Frankenlischian military garrison could be found there. The early Espicutan traders and merchantmen that had set up port had called it Terelenco, which is what they thought the early Wishtonian tribal people were calling the bay. The name had eventually reverted back to the native pronunciation about a hundred years ago as one of many minor concessions to the Kenegans when they began to push for more autonomy from the Vionna-Frankenlischian empire.

It was also the heart of the fishing industry of Kenega. The massive amount of fishing commercial fleets launched from port every day was astounding. The dock markets were known all over the Island for the best seafood, and canning plants nearby took what was left to export Kenegan fish products.

The city itself had character, having been through Espicutan, then Gaulic, and now finally Frankenlischian hands, but still retaining a strong native Kenegan flavor. Terlengans were a proud bunch. Because they were so removed from the rest of the Island, they had to develop their own little provincial culture. The food was heavily Latin spiced and influenced, the musical soundtrack of the day was loud, and the nights weren’t for all night partying like in Kenega City, as much as slow dancing and enjoying the sound of the waves on a beach, wharf or villa deck.




Faronham Joint Forces Base
Western Kenega


On the opposite side of the Island from Terlenga is Faronham. The town itself is small compared to Terlenga, although a little bigger than Ourapeka. But in no way close to comparable to the mega-capital of Kenega City. Until recent decades, it was a sleepy little port, but with the construction of the Frankenlischian base there, it grew to accommodate military families, and entertain and serve the service personnel, married or single, from both the armed forces of Vionna-Frankenlisch, and the paramilitary forces of the Commonwealth.

The small red light district of Faronham has been called ‘Little KC’, with its bars, casinos, and regulated brothels. While a pale shadow of the real Kenega City, it was close and convenient enough for soldiers, pilots, and sailors on short leave from duty to have a bit of fun and make it back in time for revelry. It has been a point of contention between Vionna-Frankenlisch Imperial government and the Commonwealth, just as how liberal the polices are in the capital has always agitated the more conservative elements of both governments. However, as politicians from both governments are up to their eyeballs in corruption and illicit money, things are not likely to change any time soon in either city.

On this very day, a young Lieutenant James Devering of the Frankenlischian army garrison is to serve out his sentence of execution for involvement with one of the Kenegan criminal syndicates. He had been found guilty of multiple criminal charges. In one of those efforts to keep the corruption at bay from such an esteemed institution as the Frankenlischian Imperial Armed Forces, they have decided to make an example of the young soldier right on the main parade grounds. He is to be brought down by firing squad. By dusk, he will be in a pauper’s grave, even the honor of a military burial stripped from him.

Called the Joint Forces Base because it was home to Frankenlischian air, naval, and army forces, as well as gendarme, gendarme air force, and coast guard units of the Kenegan Commonwealth, it was a fairly large base as far as Wishtonian standards, with maybe only Norritts or Markville in the Cardwiths, Vesselle in Hutanjia, or some of the Gaulic bases in
Dachine to rival it. Joint exercises were often launched from Faronham.




The Interior
Kenega


Heading inward from the cities is not often recommended for visitors to Kenega, unless they have a guide and a firm destination. Most often these are some of the resorts off the beaten path.
While there are rumors of untapped resources in the hills and forests of inner Kenega, it remains mostly untouched.

Closer to the Southeast, the population of the interior of course is much higher. Several villages filled with those who work in Kenega City and the surrounding resorts commute in by bus and carpooling.

Further north, the villages are more remote, and often get by subsisting on their own garden production, fruit gathering, hunting, and trading with other villages for necessities. They have had very little interaction with authorities, other than the occasional passing Park Ranger patrol, for what could be time eternal, back to the Kenegan tribal kings. Their dark complexions certainly spoke to their shunning of the Gaulic and Anglo colonizers. Back in those days, when Kenega City attempted to collect taxes, the tax collectors would disappear, and soon, they refused to go into the interior at all. It was no matter, with the amount of revenue made in the clubs and casinos, they could forego a few forgotten villages.

This is the state of modern Kenega. Much of it has not changed for decades.
Some of it needing desperate change, and some people hoping desperately for that change.
Last edited by Kenega on Sun Aug 07, 2022 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Vionna-Frankenlisch
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1843
Founded: Jun 21, 2014
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:34 pm

Frankenlisch, Kingdom of Frankenlisch
Diplomat’s Quarter


Hated summer had returned to Frankenlisch. One fortnight every year when nobody wanted to do a damn thing and longed for the siestas of Espicuta. The season lasted longer but the heat did not. Two weeks of sweltering sun which wilted collars and spirits alike. It had been consistent for thirty years now, and getting worse - many claimed it was due to so-called ‘global warming’.

Larry Tristram was one of those many. The Imperial Foreign Minister trudged along Legation Street wearily, his homberg in his hand with its sweatband browned. Two hours of cabinet meetings had nearly killed him and his duties, sadly, were not yet finished. Not only were they not finished, the remaining tasks of Larry Tristram’s day were some of the most contemptuous of all. He had a full box of ministerial papers to sift through but that could be done with a record playing and a few glasses of something unhealthy. What could not be done with music and fizz was his meeting with a San Rositan delegation - a meeting he would be late for in fifteen minutes.

Luckily for Tristram, his aching legs had brought him to the doors of the Foreign Ministry to be greeted by his aide. Kuroa Kurabi, the young Owayan he had been given, was waiting outside with a glass of ice water and a hand towel. Annoyingly, Kurabi was completely unphased by the heat, and his bronze faced smiled stupidly with perfect teeth and the lightest black stubble of a burgeoning neckbeard.

“Thank you, Kuroa.” Tristram thanked him instinctively and drained the glass in one. He patted his brow and mop of dark-blond hair haphazardly with the towel and smiled as the doors were opened for him. The Foreign Minister sighed gratefully, the entrance was well-equipped with powerful fans which cooled him, ruffled his tie, and somehow made his hair even worse. It didn’t matter. There would be time enough for a quick comb, a change of shirt, and perhaps a dab of cologne.


Within Conference Room A, where most of the minor meetings at the Foreign Ministry took place, Sir Frederick Basildon was already seated. Basildon had been Deputy Governor of Kenega for less than a month but he had already gotten quite used to the heat. He had been appointed to the position to mentor the inexperienced Baroness Bamber and it seemed that his fortunes had finally turned for the better after a painful stint at the head of the New Regensburg Desk, an increasingly insignificant post.

During his military service, Basildon had spent some time in Owaya but Kenega was new to him. He was warming to the place, but already he was back in Frankenlisch. He was in Frankenlisch for a good reason, however, San Rosito had come knocking…

San Rosito’s somewhat spurious claim to the island of Kenega was a well-known joke within the Colonial Bureau of the Diplomatic Service. The trading port of Terelenco (now Terlenga) had been an early colonial possession of Espicuta, and remained so until its conquest by the Gauls in the 1800s. San Rosito’s junta claimed, through shared Espicutan heritage (though their narrative often glossed over this), that not just Terlenga but all Kenega was theirs by right. To Sir Frederick Basildon, who knew from experience how these things could blow up if allowed to brew, the situation was somewhat more than a worn joke. He had urged caution when the meeting had first been scheduled and now he hoped to put the matter to bed, at least temporarily.

“What-ho, Basildon.” The pudgy figure of Larry Tristram poked itself around the door. He had found a crisp pink shirt to replace the previous one and was obviously wearing too much of a very expensive cologne. His hair, though still damp with sweat, was combed into a facade of neatness and someone had even found a brush to smarten up his cream double-breasted suit. “Thank God,” he exclaimed with a huff as he settled violently into his chair, “I thought I might have been late.”

“We have four minutes, Minister.” Basildon informed Tristram after a glance at his pocketwatch. Sir Frederick was the quintessential Imperial diplomat: well-groomed, sharp-minded, and absolutely devoted to his duty. This mentality came with a fair portion of self-importance and Basildon, as many other diplomats in the Service, was convinced that the work he was doing was vital to the stability and well-being of the Empire. “I’m correct in saying that we’re not expecting any actual negotiations today, Minister? This is merely a preliminary.” Basildon asked, his tone making it very clear that he already knew he was correct.

Tristram nodded sternly. “Correct,” he agreed, “their ambassador asked for a meeting, so a meeting he is getting. Besides ‘The Situation in Kenega’, we don’t really know what they want to discuss.” The Foreign Minister explained, rapping his knuckles on the oval table before them somewhat nervously. He chuckled when Basildon noticed the tic. “Just looking forward to getting out of this damned suit,” Tristram reassured the diplomat. “What I’m expecting,” he leaned in to explain, “is that they will use this meeting to antagonise us a little. Build things up to a little sabre-rattling, you know the business. After a while we’ll offer some miniscule concessions, copper-mining contracts or something like that, and they’ll report it as a great victory to the starving masses back home.” Tristram shrugged his shoulders, “the rest of the world will know what’s really going on and we’ll all be able to get on with our bloody lives.”

“Something like that…” Agreed Basildon, not fully convinced. Approaching footsteps broke the revelry. “That must be them now,” Sir Frederick noted and straightened his tie and charcoal suit. There came a knocking from the door.

“Minister, sir, the San Rositan delegation is here.” Kuroa Kurabe, poking his head around the door, informed Tristram who brushed down his suit with a sigh.

“Thank you Kuroa.” The minister said. “Send them in.”


Ambassador Miguel Maria de Alvarez Calderon broached the door of the Conference Room in the Ministry. He was of average height, with a well tailored local suit, and of a bit more advanced age than most governments would want an Ambassador in such a key post - he was surely past his mid-70’s - but he had held the post for a long time and with moderate success, as far as San Rositan diplomats were measured.

He was the first to enter, which would tell a lot about their next guest.

The next man through the door was in full olive San Rositan military dress uniform, with a considerable amount of colorful confetti over his left breast denoting years of service, including campaign ribbons for service on the Brazilian border, Qasifya, and Northern Tavlyria. It was the trifecta of combat service for any service person of the Republic, with the ultimate respect that came with it. However, few outside the San Rositan military, but for a handful of international military aficionados and intelligence analysts, would even know what the ribbons meant.
His rank was denoted by a condor with three stars surrounding it. A Lieutenant General.

He was considerably younger for a man of his rank, possibly early 40’s at most. He was also taller than the average San Rositan. He had a touch of gray hair at the edges of a well, short trimmed layer of black steel wool upon his scalp. His face was very chiseled and bronze. If one scrutinized closer, they could see that his right ear lobe was missing a few millimeters where a scar started, tracing his jaw, and then disappearing under his chin. He held a small croc skinned valaise tucked under his arm, with his officer’s cap cradled over it.

Neither San Rositan were terribly bothered by the humidity of the day, coming from a tropical nation. They did have slight sheens of beaded moisture on their brows, but seemed to take it in stride.

Ambassador Calderon bowed to the men in the room. He recognized Minister Tristram immediately, hoping that the Minister would not have trouble recalling him. Vionna-Frankenlisch just ran in bigger circles in the world than San Rosito, and that was a simple fact. Tristram had much more important business to conduct with representatives of much larger nations than their tiny Republic.
He made the introduction.
“Minister, and Señor, I am Ambassador Miguel Maria de Alvarez Calderon, representing the Embassy of the Republic of San Rosito.
I present General Jorge Fernando Belmaro Sepulveda, Special Envoy of the Council of Security and Governance in Puerto Cristal.”

General Sepulveda nodded, but didn’t bring himself to bow, to the Vionna-Frankenlischians.
“Señor. Minister.” He obviously was economizing on his spent words for the day.

Politely, the Vionna-Frankenlischian pair came to their feet. Tristram assumed his usual amiability and went to shake Calderon's hand. "Ambassador, it's good to see you again," he greeted, not insincerely as he recognised Calderon was a generally decent man to work with. "General." He nodded his head, mirroring the officer's conservatism.

Basildon studied the pair carefully. He knew of Calderon, though the two had never met, but General Sepulveda was a new name for him. At sixty-five, Basildon would be the second-oldest in the room but he did not boast the stability of Calderon's career and carried similar scars to General Sepulveda. He knew men like the General well and his hopes for the meeting diminished somewhat.

"And may I introduce," Tristram gestured with an outstretched palm, "The honourable Sir Frederick Basildon, Deputy Governor of the Dominion of Kenega."

Sir Frederick smiled grimly and bowed his head slightly to Calderon, "Ambassador." He greeted, then turned to General Sepulveda. His bushy brow furrowed as he studied the general's ribbons. He did not recognise San Rositan insignia but it didn't take a military genius to recognise that the general was a man of some experience, especially for his years. "General," Basildon nodded his head in greeting.

Satisfied that the basic greetings had been made, Tristram resisted the urge to tug at his collar. This meeting had the potential to be a painful one and he moved to a point of great importance. "What would you like to drink, gentlemen? So we can get to business." It was three in the afternoon so Tristram and Basildon had no qualms taking brandy and soda.

Ambassador Calderon followed suit with Tristram and Basildon. He was an old hat diplomat in Anglo lands, after all. He was not ashamed when told by his Foreign Affairs Ministry colleagues back home that he had ‘gone native’.

General Sepulveda shrugged.
“Water is fine, gracias…Thank you.”

Their drinks were fetched by Kuroa Kurabe who left an open box of decent Owayan cigars on the table before scampering away. "Well then…" Tristram smiled and settled back in his chair, which creaked unhappily, "What can we do for you, gentleman?"

General Sepulveda had noticed Basildon studying him, and he was equally intrigued, if for different reasons, by the man. The Deputy Governor of Kenega. Basildon was unaware now, but they would likely meet again under very different circumstances.
Unbeknownst to the two Vionna-Frankenlischians in the room, and possibly only deduced from Ambassador Calderon, General Sepulveda was chosen for this task because he was the man who had helped to draw up the plans for the retaking of Kenega, and would likely be the man to lead the expedition in the near future.

The Council had decided that he should get the best opportunity for feeling out their future enemy, and also that this was a fairly safe, mundane diplomatic mission to risk his travel so far from his usual tasks. The two nations were not yet at war, and Vionna-Frankenlisch was a ‘civilized’ nation. No matter what Sepulveda said here today, they would not trifle with diplomatic privilege and risk international condemnation out of spite. Especially as they had a closer relationship with some of San Rosito’s TSO allies.

General Sepulveda sat himself, putting his hat at the spot at the table next to him, and placing the valaise in the chair behind it.

Ambassador Calderon took a seat at the other side of the General. While a man of his stature should be the lead and more in charge, being the head of all San Rositan affairs in Vionna-Frankenlisch, it was obvious he was giving full deference to Sepulveda, waiting to seat himself second.
No one had been witness to the dressing down and threats that the General had given the Ambassador upon his initial arrival at the Embassy in Frankenlisch yesterday, but it would be obvious now that he had cowed the Ambassador into a subservient puppy.

Jorge Sepulveda cleared his throat.
“Sir, Minister…I serve my official capacity in bringing an instrument directly from the Council, demonstrating our resolve.”
He took the documents out from the case and laid them on the table, pushing it as far as he could towards Tristram while still remaining seated. It was just within the Minister’s reach.

“On behalf of the Council of Security and Governance and the San Rositan Government, we thank you for being the caretakers of Kenega, for as long as you have over these decades and centuries, but we must inform you that we are now ready to take it back over and restore it to its rightful place as a possession of the Republic. I think our case has already been made plain to you in previous discussion, and a memo sent to the International Court. However, it may not have been as well presented as we desired, for we have yet to receive a response from your government. These documents state our case again, and there is a final page ready for your signatures to sign over the Island to the Republic of San Rosito.”
He paused, waiting for a reaction, before continuing.

Sir Frederick Basildon settled back in his chair and closed his eyes, opening them again a second later as if trying to blink himself awake from a bad dream. He sighed very quietly upon realising the dream was, in fact, reality. Tristram leant forward instead. “I’m not quite sure that I follow you, gentlemen…” He replied, delicately picking up the documents for a quick read. “To take back Kenega?” Tristram was vaguely aware of the joke shared around the Diplomatic Service about the so-called ‘claim’, and he had expected some mention of it to come up, but faced with such a blatant request he could not hide his confusion.

The Ambassador cleared his throat as he sat, a certain coloration coming to his face that had nothing to do with his slight bronze complexion and heavy wrinkles holding a lot of shade. It seemed as if he was about to speak, but General Sepulveda turned sharply and gave him a glare. Calderon remained silent. The General turned back to Tristram.
“Yes, take it back. Just like the Gauls took it from us, and you in turn took it from them. After all, it’s not as if the native Wishtonian tribes invited you to just set up and take over, did they? You took it by force, and had you returned it to us after expelling the Gauls, some, oh…two hundred years ago, yes? Then all would have worked out well. The right order would have been restored. But that is not the case.”

“I see…” Tristram nodded, “Yes I do see.” He breathed in deeply and drained the remainder of his brandy. Generally a very friendly man, the ridiculousness of the situation was starting to frustrate him - the heat was not helping matters either. “With respect, we have had no similar request from the government of Espicuta. And was it not Espicutan merchants who settled Terelenco all those years ago?” He asked, putting on as innocent a facade as he could muster. Basildon eyed the Minister slightly worriedly. Tristram, he noted, was much like the King - very decent, friendly people, but could be quick to become frustrated.

Sepulveda smiled, coached on this predicted response.
“Ah yes, the Espicutans. Well, the Espicutan families that settled around the port of Terelenco were also of the same lineage that helped to found our grand Republic. So you are merely having trouble with fixing the location of the different generations of families. We are connecting those dots, yes? That’s one of your Anglo expressions? You wouldn’t have had a request from Espicuta, because they are not run by the same progeny as those that found an unfortunately temporary home in Terelenco. Do you understand?”

Basildon saw Larry Tristram’s hand curl into a fist beneath the table and cleared his throat to bring the Foreign Minister back down to earth. “I’d like to see some genealogical records to confirm that,” Tristram replied and chuckled nervously. “It’s besides the point, anyway. You are pushing a claim to Kenega, not merely Terlenga. Your forefathers,” he pronounced the word with pointed mirth, “never laid claim to the whole island. Forgive me, General, Ambassador, but I’m not sure I can ‘connect the dots’.” By now, Tristram already knew he’d have to tell them to go to hell, but he could at least waste a little of their day as they’d wasted his. Besides, he was curious to hear Sepulveda’s response.

The San Rositan General showed a steely smile. He would not let these Anglos get to him. As per usual, their kind were always dismissive and pedantic with his people. They probably saw Calderon as some cute little pet. He would very much enjoy the next few months of serving their comeuppance.
“We were denied the opportunity to expand to the rest of the Island by events, but at the time, with trading roads through the jungle all leading to Terelenco, I think you could agree that the heart of the Island was there…at that port. We just didn’t have the chance to put garrisons everywhere to make it more official. Your people seem to love the authority of your garrisons, do you not?” He took a sip of the water that had been brought to him. It had an odd taste, almost of mildew, to him, but it would suffice.
“In any case, it doesn’t really matter, Minister. All this is a formality. You might not have had a chance to read towards the end there, but the second to last page lists out the next steps we will take should you not shut down operations on Kenega and refuse to turn it over legally to our representatives within the year.
We shall take it to the next highest levels and call for sanctions against Vionna-Frankenlisch and argue our detailed case to the International Court…”

This was a lie. There would be no further legal pursuit. The next step would be a full-on blitz of the Island to wipe out the Anglo presence. They had just needed to put on enough legal veneer to justify their actions, if not to doubting world opinion, then to their own public back in San Rosito. That little surprise invasion didn’t need to be disclosed until it was too late, and even Ambassador Calderon was kept in the dark about it, should he choose to question his allegiance.
“...Regardless of your sentiments on the matter and what proof you demand, we expect you to ultimately comply with our demands. Within one year, the flag of Vionna-Frankenlisch shall no longer fly over Kenega.”

“That’s a threat!” Tristram rocketed out of his chair with the speed of a man half his size. The response had come so naturally to him that he hadn’t stopped to consider quite how obvious a statement it was, or what words should come next. He took a short moment to look at Calderon with contempt. Prior to this meeting, Tristram had respected the Ambassador as a diplomat with many years of experience - now he saw only a meek old man, the General’s puppet in the room. “There is nothing, I say nothing legal about San Rosito’s ridiculous claim to Kenega.” He said plainly, having decided on his line of rant, “If you take this to the International Court, you will be laughed out of the room. There is no man on Earth who can separate Kenega from Frankenlisch and that is His Imperial Majesty, the King. I happen to get on quite well with him and he is not in the business of surrendering his subjects.” He turned on Calderon. “Ambassador Calderon - I expect a formal apology from the San Rositan government for this outrage. I have never known the audacity!” Sir Frederick kept his seat. Even with his experience, he was not quite sure how to react to what was going on. Even if he did have something to say, it was not for him to contradict the Minister.

General Sepulveda had tensed slightly as Tristram rose up, his fight instinct coming into play. He remained seated, though, and quickly transitioned into a position of nonchalance, intertwining his hands in front of him. He may be a career military man, but he was aware of making wise choices during social situations, especially in such circles. Let the other man attempt to strike first, in order to justify your reaction.
He looked over at Ambassador Calderon with an inquisitive look, showing expectation for him to reply in this instance where earlier he had counted on him remaining quiet.

Calderon quickly glanced around the room at all involved. He had never thought his career would come to this point, even though he should have expected it from the corrupt pigs back in Puerto Cristal that now ran the show.
He regretted not being able to serve more time under past administrations like that of President Renaldo Jaldavaro and more recently President Alejandro Belino, a great man of the people who had tried to clean up the country after years of ineptitude and corruption from the military and criminal elite, only to be done in by those same evil men, the current Council. He had never felt more ashamed than at this moment, but he found some part of himself able to respond with what he had been told to say. He was not yet ready to die just yet.

Also, he had to remind himself that he served the people, not the politicians of San Rosito. If this was the people’s will, and recent polls back home seemed to reflect that, then who was he to go against them?
“Minister, I apologize that this has caught you unaware, but that is all I can apologize for. This is the course of action that the Council has decreed and I must serve the will of my people and their representatives in our government. Therefore, I can only reiterate what is laid out in that document, drawn up in Puerto Cristal, in regards to the Commonwealth of Kenega, and what the General has said today.”

Larry Tristram sighed. “If this is truly what the San Rositan people wish for then I pray for your Republic.” He reached for a cigar from the box and looked over the documents again as he lit it. “I will have to show these to the King,” he held the papers up, his anger released somewhat. “You will have the response of His Imperial Majesty’s Government soon, Ambassador.”

General Sepulveda answered for Calderon.
“We will await the answer. Of course we expected that your whole government, including the King, would need to review it before signing it, but one could hope for a quick resolution.”

The Ambassador knew better than to try to correct the General on diplomatic procedure. Calderon added, after he gulped down the last of his brandy,
“We shall adjourn to the Embassy and await your response, Minister. Deputy Governor, it was also a pleasure to meet you, if under difficult circumstances.”

“Very well.” Tristram said. He did not bow his head or move to shake hands and he did not expect the San Rositans to either. He was, truth be told, a tad embarrassed that he had allowed his frustration to boil over as it had. But he was too proud to apologise and wise enough to know it wouldn’t make a jot of difference.

Basildon, conversely, did as best he could to keep up his own professionalism as a diplomat. He moved to shake both of their hands, giving each of them a grim and slightly apologetic look as he did so. “Ambassador. General.” He bade them farewell, and wished them a speedy return home.

Sepulveda nodded, taking Basildon’s hand, but internally he was sneering. He would relish punishing the weak Anglos. He began to follow the Ambassador out, giving a last glance around.
“Please do take heed to our warning. Do not sit on this.”

Once the San Rositans were gone and Kuroa Kurabe had returned from the awkward duty of seeing them to the door, the young Owayan brought more brandy. Both Tristram and Basildon downed a glass quickly and then poured another to savour more. It took several minutes for Basildon to break the silence. “That went rather interestingly…” He mused aloud.

“Yes.” Tristram replied, nodding. “Tell me something, Sir Frederick - have you ever seen anything like that before?” He asked, swirling his brandy around in the glass. The Minister had settled back down in his chair and seemed much calmer, though he had thrown his tie across the room once he’d succeeded in working it off.

Basildon shook his head, “not personally.” He replied, sipped his drink and added, “but my uncle William was a colleague of Sir John Gatwick and was involved in the negotiations leading up to the Prodavan War.” He explained. “We were much the same as the San Rositians it seems.”

“The sheep taking off the wolf,” Tristram grimaced. “I don’t think they’ll be back in a hurry. But when they are, Kenega had better be ready for them.”

[RP CREDIT: San Rosito co-RP]
New Edom wrote:Unwerth laughed. “Such hen lobsters are the Vionnans. But then, every Vionnan is half a sodomite."


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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby San Rosito » Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:37 am

Teremaran Security Organization
Headquarters, Roma, Roman Federated States


Captain Elizondo Villareal had always been a loyal soldier to the Republic of San Rosito. Even during the worst days when the government had been in a three way war with the Cartels and the Marxist insurgents; When they had justified sending out the death squads, Sombra Negra, to kill civilians due to questionable loyalty, he had looked the other way. It was for the survival of the Republic, after all.

As a chief communications officer for military intelligence, he had seen the reports first hand. Doubt had begun to creep in, but who was he to question what was best for the nation and the people? He wasn't a greedy drug dealer or traitorous rebel, so that meant he was one of the good guys, doing whatever it took to maintain order.
When he was offered the assignment to represent the San Rositan military in the TSO, part of him was relieved. He could leave the nightmares behind. He was also proud, almost giddy. Then they had pulled him into a briefing that would start weeks of training. He wasn't simply to be an Army attache.

He would still perform duties as a military intelligence officer, but he would report to an OIR handler in Roma. He was going to need to gain access to the information that his TSO counterparts saw no justification in him or his colleagues viewing. A good part of that was cracking into the files on Wishtonia, the tropical island region to the south of all of Teremara.




Two weeks prior

"You see, Eli, the reason the Gauls don't want us to have this information is that they think they are the only caretakers of Wishtonia and the only ones affected by affairs down there. Gaul isn't less than 5,000 kilometers from Wishtonia... But we are!"

"Dachine is in the heart of Wishtonia. They practically consider it a province of Gaul."
Eli hated to correct Pepe, the grizzled OIR handler, but it slipped out before he could stop himself.

Pepe threw one of his filthy Roman cigarettes into the ashtray without extinguishing it. He chain smoked the things. Outside it wouldn't be bad, but in this small, dingy apartment they met in infrequently, it permeated everything. One of the filters of a discarded butt in the tray began to catch fire, lit by the embers of the other.

The odor really was atrocious. As always, he would have to get his athletic outfit cleaned afterwards. He never wore his uniform to the meet ups if he could help it. That would be like marching in blowing a whistle and waving a parade flag.

Pepe never seemed to notice.
"Yes! Fine! But that doesn't explain Jaragupta. They lost that fucking shitheap decades ago, and they sent in a whole fleet task force to try and save it now?! Fucking ludicrous!"

Eli could only shrug. No argument from him.

"The point is that for King Shit of the TSO, and all the bullshit they spew about the collective security of the region being every member's responsibility, they sure are stingy in sharing vital info for us to fulfill that obligation, especially when it comes to the Wishtonia desk. That's why we need you to force the issue."

"Well, I can't just ask them, can I?" It had taken well over a year for him to get in the trusted analyst spot he was in at the TSO Contingency Planning Office. Still all he ever saw were satellite photos and reports on Eastern and Southern Tavlyria. Once they had him confer on some information from Greater Dienstad. The fact that there was still a major imperialist Nazi power in the world worried the Western Madurinites immensely.
Still, no eyes on Wishtonia intel.
"That's why I say you have to force the issue, Eli. Go in and take it."

"But... But I will get caught! They will yank my security clearance and I will get expelled!"

"Yes! And you will be welcomed home as a hero of the Republic!" Pepe snorted. " You didn't train in OIR tradecraft to have a long, distinguished career at TSO headquarters, Eli. You are here to perform a mission and get home, not get fat on Roman pasta."
Pepe picked up the still smoldering butt out of the ashtray and touched it to the tip of a new cancer stick.
"All that being said, don't you dare get caught. No need to tip the Vionna-Frankenlischians hand."

"I never hear anything about Kenega or Vionna-Frankenlisch. I don't think they care."

"Right. They care. You just don't hear about it because they don't let you near the Wishtonia desk."

"Perhaps I haven't stressed enough how tight security procedures are there in the Headquarters?"

"You have worked in that building for a year. Are you telling me you don't know how to circumvent their security? At this point, you are helping to create the damn security protocols."

"Well, no... I just... You know... The risks..."

"Were there risks when you nabbed the Reino do Brazil info for us?"

"Well, some, but they don't keep the Brazilian info in a damn vault. RdB is TSO. They share with CENTMAD (Central Madurin) command, anyway. The Frankenlischians, Hutanjians, and other powers active in Wishtonia are not TSO. They're considered friendly regimes, but it's a little delicate. TSO doesn't want them to know we're keeping tabs on them."

"The Brazilian stuff you took was definitely not shared intel."
Pepe didn't want to get further into that, especially were Eli to get caught on this next black bag op. He looked squarely into Eli's eyes.
"Look... No more fucking around and making excuses, Eli. The honeymoon is over. You have encrypted, protected, detection averse flash drives. X-Ray immune cameras. You have scoped out, mapped every room and corridor, and listed every bandejo in that complex down to the toilet scrubbers. All that and any other tools you need. Use them!"

"Why the pressure? Is there some kind of deadline?"

"Yes, the timing is very tight. I can't get into it, but a lot is coming to a head. Your work is very valuable. A lot is riding on your success. Part of that success is not getting caught."

He finally put the odious fire out in the ashtray.





So, here he was standing outside the vault that held the materials he needed. He blinked, then quickly shuffled past. It wouldn't be wise for him to be on camera or sighted by a passerby staring at the vault door before he enacted his plan.

He anxiously approached it. The one fire alarm that was not covered by a CCTV from any angle. Previously, he had made sure that his man on the inside…well, more inside than him…had indeed showed up for his shift today and was ready. A Roman NCO by the name of Antonio Gerlachus who had been very happy with a new influx of NSD in a new untraceable Kenegan bank account set up in his name.

Eli looked at his watch as he moved closer to the alcove. 20 seconds. Antonio better not have been called away from his station at the security desk. While there was not a camera focused on this alarm activation station, there definitely were two focused on the vault door of the Wishtonia section. Gerlachus would cut the feed from those two cameras at that exact moment.

He wiped sweat from his brow. Time was now. Eli pulled the alarm. Quickly he was turning to race back towards the target section, before the klaxons even began sounding. Within a couple seconds the fire alarm was sounded. Fire doors began closing around the building.

He stopped, waiting around the corner as the Wishtonia section cleared out. He had been able to get a list of who and how many worked in the section the week prior. There would only be three today. He counted as they filed out. He had not had a chance to get pictures of them, but had to hope it was the correct three personnel. A man and two women: One in Gaulic uniform, a woman in a Taraniman uniform, and the third man in those peculiar Neu Engollian flecktarn forrest fatigues, exited the heavy door. That seemed to match with the ethnicity of the names from the list.

The vault door’s auto lock circuit would be disrupted by the fire alarm. A safety feature built in so that no one was trapped inside during a fire. If one of them stopped to turn around and override the safety feature and manually lock the door, he was fucked.

They didn’t. They wandered off down the hallway with the rest of the crowd, jabbering about some mundane work issue.
Eli quickly looked about to make sure the coast was clear and then slipped in. He had minutes before they found out it was a false alarm and cleared it. He had to act quickly to photograph every bit of Kenegan data he could get his hands on, and also, while he was doing that, hope that the flash drive with encoded malware did its magic and left no trace of its intrusion.

San Rosito wasn’t particularly known for being cyber savvy or the home of many hackers, but the intel community did keep a small, dedicated group well employed and trained for such situations.
It was they who had provided Pepe, who in turn gave to Eli, special flash drives that would defeat security measures and leave no trace of their presence. These flash drives would seek out files on computers that popped up in algorithms - certain key words.

Eli looked around. One was as good as any, probably. He ran to the nearest one and plugged in one of the flash drives. Just to be sure, he plugged his remaining one into a terminal two cubicles over. The Anglos had a saying, “Go big or go home.”

He was putting that into action now. Then he began to look for any paperwork he could begin to photograph.

In a few minutes, Captain Villareal was about to dash out of the vault with as much info as he could find, certain it would be enough. His friend in the camera control room would only be able to keep eyes off him for a little longer. He stopped. Two security were walking past, obviously searching for a fire that didn’t exist. He looked at his watch. It was going to be tight.

Finally, as they rounded the corner, he headed out of the vault, closing the door behind him and ducked into the nearest bathroom, which would be the cue for Sergeant Gerlachus to return the feeds back to normal.

As the false fire alarm was called all clear, TSO personnel began to filter back into the building. He filed out of the bathroom casually.

“Captain Villareal? Did you even make it out for the alarm?”

Eli smiled sheepishly.
“You know, sir, by the time I realized what was going on, I was on the big bombing run and couldn’t stop…” He thumbed back at the restroom door. “...by the time I was finishing it was mostly over. Didn’t seem worth pinching it off and going out for the last couple minutes.”

The superior Gaulic officer, Colonel Souvier, wrinkled his nose in mild disgust.
“Yes, I guess that would not have worked out well. Let’s work on that next time, Captain. If it had been a real fire, you would have caused a lot of people some consternation with your disappearance.”

Eli did not know quite what to do to stop getting more attention called to himself. If they ever found out about the theft of info in the Wishtonia vault, this incident with the Colonel would certainly be recalled.
“Si, mi Colonel. Absolutamente!”
He would have been burned up in that hypothetical situation, but the Colonel seemed to be more frustrated that some of his colleagues would be flustered by him missing a head count. It made him just that much more satisfied about the job he just did.
“I will be more careful, sir.”

“Good. We have our daily brief in 20 minutes. Don’t miss that, too.”

“No, sir.”
Eli saluted, then began to head the other way. Not because his office was that way, but because he didn’t want to continue to get berated by Colonel Souvier as he made his way back.
It would leave him little time to refresh before the brief, but it was worth it. He also needed time to wander and soak in what he’d just done.




Kenega

Captain Elizondo Villareal was not the only OIR agent or officer in operation. All over Kenega, San Rositan tourists continued to find excuses to wander close to station houses, airfields, and secure facilities and docks belonging to both Vionna-Frankenlisch and the Commonwealth. Back at OIR HQ in Puerto Cristal, a fuller picture was taking shape of their opposition on Kenega as they filtered through and organized the droves of digital photos and reports pouring in by the hour.

Some RP assistance from Terre des Gaules. Roman Federated States is a shared canon, regional NPC for use by all Teremarans.

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Vionna-Frankenlisch
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:03 am

Kenega City, Kenega
Ewickford


“Company- Company-shun!” Michel O’Driscoll, the Company Sergeant Major, cried out to the assembled troops of A Company. Smartly, the 180 enlisted men and NCO’s came to attention for the arrival of their Major. Many of the private soldiers, entering their last two months of service in Kenega, were confused by the absence of their officers but the sergeants kept order with soothing words and muttered threats. A private in the second rank yelped audibly as Sergeant Byrne cuffed him on the back of the head. It was a mercifully cool day and, though they were in their khaki service dress, the troops did not grumble.

It did not take long for Major Sean O’Henry to arrive. He trudged warily onto the cobbled parade ground in an unusually reserved manner. “Stand them at ease, Sergeant-Major.” He ordered and waited as O’Driscoll yelled out the command. The Major was wearing a black leather armband on his right sleeve and some of the more experienced troops shuffled unhappily. Most of A Company had not seen colonial service before and were unsure what it meant. Once the company was at ease, O’Henry walked over to a wooden podium which had been placed before the assembled ranks and addressed them solemnly.

“I have a letter here from the Governor-General.” Major O’Henry held up the piece of paper for the company to see, then set it down on the lectern before him and explained, “It is signed by her, and by Brigadier Wappelode at Port Faronham, and by a representative of the Provost Corps. It is addressed to ‘all servicemen of the Imperial Garrison of Kenega;. I am going to read it to you.” There was a round of repressed muttering and the Major allowed the NCOs to shout the ranks into silence. “Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Imperial Kenega Garrison. It is my unhappy duty to inform you that corruption has again seeped into His Imperial Majesty’s forces on Kenega. Lieutenant James Devering of the Imperial Kenega Rifles was found guilty today by a joint military and civilian tribunal of several charges. These include: dereliction of duty, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, embezzlement of military funds, conspiracy to supply Class A narcotics, and conspiracy to traffic peoples for the purposes of prostitution.” O’Henry had been looking down as he read the list, but now raised his head to look the company in the face. “As a result he has been sentenced to death by shooting, the sentence to be carried out immediately. Lieutenant Devering will face a firing squad at 1400 hours at Port Faronham. Nearly all of the garrison’s officers will be in attendance. There will be a parade to commemorate this unfortunate occasion. NCOs, you will see that everyone is in attendance, no exemptions - even for vehicle staff.”

O’Henry returned to silence for a moment to allow his words to sink in. The death of an enlisted man in such a manner was bad enough, for an officer to face a firing squad - especially on such charges - didn’t bear thinking. Many of the paraded company silently thanked their God that this thing had not happened to their regiment, the shame of that would be disastrous. Many more were simply grateful that they were not based at Port Faronham as B Company, the other company of 3rd Battalion, the Royal Erin Regiment, were. After a few seconds of silence, O’Henry gave the CSM permission to fall the company out and watched them return to their duties humbly. Wearing their own black armbands, a group of lancer officers rode solemnly past on their way out of the compound. Major O’Henry saluted them and they returned the gesture tiredly.


Port Faronham, Kenega
Joint Forces Base

If the mood at Ewickford was sour, it had curdled entirely at Port Faronham. Nervous-looking troops of the Imperial Kenega Rifles shuffled about the base, carrying out their duties in embarrassed silence. Deeply upset by the affair, Colonel Victor Johnston had gone out for a ride immediately after reading the Governor-General’s letter to his regiment and had returned at 1300, swaying in the saddle. Brigadier Wappelode had chastised the IKR’s commanding colonel half-heartedly and then joined him in finishing the bottle before it was time for the execution.

Captain Faye Mullen had been given the task of selecting a firing squad from her company. B Company, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Erin Rifles, had come over to Kenega at the same time as A Company and they would both be returning home at the start of November. Not a single soldier between the two companies had fired their rifle in anger and it had seemed like they would be returning to Vionna-Frankenlisch with every round they had brought with them. Now that perfect record was ruined. Mullen had volunteered to command the execution herself, to spare the officers of the IKR from the embarrassment. Then she had picked six men who she thought were stern enough for the job and made sure the CSM agreed.

“It’ll go fine, Faye.” Captain Lewis Graham, a kindly, bookish officer, commanding the Marine company at Faronham, snapped Mullen away from her thoughts. “You were thinking about it?” He asked, tentatively placing his hand on her wrist.

Mullen frowned slightly. “Yeah,” she admitted, and took a gulp from her tankard, “Can you blame me?”

Graham leant back into his chair, “No, of course not.” The pair were sat in the officer’s bar within the base, drinking warm stout and taking furtive glances at the clock above the door. It was 1320. All of the arrangements would have been made and, in a few minutes, the 1,460 Imperial Army servicemen based at Faronham would be out on parade to witness the shooting. “Are you sure you don’t want me to do it?” Captain Graham asked, knowing the answer already.

“No.” Mullen smiled at him slightly. “It’s nice of you. But they’re my men, I should do it.” She yawned and stretched her arms out. “How do I look?” She asked, and rubbed her eyes.

Captain Graham looked his comrade over for a second. She was pale, despite the best attempts of the Kenegan sun, and her hair had remained obstinately red. Tall for a woman, Captain Mullen had the flat nose and muscular arms of a boxer and could not, by the average male mind, be considered pretty. “Like a golden guinea,” Graham smiled and told her.

“You’re a liar and a blackguard, Lewis Graham.” Mullen chuckled and gathered her hair into a loose bun. “We’ve not got time for another,” she grumbled and finished her drink, slamming the metal tankard down a little too vigorously. Corporal Thomas, tending the bar, cleared his throat angrily and Mullen loudly apologised. The bar was not usually open before 1400 but Thomas had agreed to open it at 1230 for the sake of the commander of the firing squad and her companion.

Nodding, Graham took up his own tankard and drained its contents. “Aye aye.” He said. “It’ll be over before you know it.” The Marine tried to reassure Mullen. They made for the door, moving slowly to avoid the inevitable as long as possible. Mullen tapped her leather holster and exhaled nervously. This was going to be a very trying afternoon.
New Edom wrote:Unwerth laughed. “Such hen lobsters are the Vionnans. But then, every Vionnan is half a sodomite."


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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nova Secta » Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:51 pm

Foreign Correspondents Club, Kenega City, Kenega — 3:30 PM Local Time
The view from the balcony of the outdoor cabana was impressive, to say the least; there were no beaches like this back in Saescia – too cold, really. Stephen leaned forward in his chair, waving down a waiter on the veranda while cradling his McCaffrey and Laurie Robusto. Cigars were an expensive hobby and a matter of personal taste, really; he had come to fashion himself a connoisseur of the finer things in life, an aficionado of all things well-sewn. He had picked up the artisanal trade while serving his tour of duty in the military press pool back home, and had taken his newfound passion for quality smokes on the road with him wherever the wind happened to blow next. For now, it was blowing in the direction of the warm sunshine and relative tranquility of an island with a bit of a history to it; Kenega City was an oddity, a town with so much money and corruption running through it that the stink was an affront to God's nostrils. The kind of place where a nosy journalist who asked too many questions was liable to be 'disappeared' to the bottom of the sea in multiple garbage bags.

In other words, his kind of town. He sat up a little straighter as a waiter in a black vest and tie walked up, a hand towel slung over his arm. “Bourbon, neat, good lookin’,” he spoke cheekily, giving the waiter a wink and a nod.

"Yes sir, right away, sir."

Stephen had come to Kenega City through earnest means, though this was absolutely the kind of place he would have thrown himself at of his own accord had he been left up to his own devices; really, sitting in the sun all day, baking to a golden brown while watching glistening bodies down on the beach below work up a sweat in the stifling heat? That was a beat he could find himself living down nice and easily; whether his liver could keep up or not, though? That perhaps was another matter entirely. Still, there was plenty to do in Kenega City, and on the island proper, though he could not mix business and pleasure too wantonly. This was an assignment, after all; he was here on a job, and a job he would be doing to the best of his abilities… in between trips to the casino and the ATM when he invariably bled himself dry at the baccarat table. He had never quite mastered the game, no matter how many times he found himself at the tables trying to score big. Blackjack, now that was a game he could pass muster in, and occasionally the poker table whenever a Mirandan Hold ‘Em tournament was being held.

In any event, Kenega City: his assignment was straightforward, if a bit acute – come to Kenega City and wait at the “foreign correspondents club” (really, just a cabana bar near the beach resorts that seemed to attract a number of foreign-born journalists and dignitaries) to await his assignment. He had an inclination as to what the assignment probably was given Kenega City’s rather sordid history, what with the criminal underworld operating quite the racket in town through various backchannels and connections. Still, in this business to assume was to make an ass out of you and me, and he was far too fashionable a person to be making an ass out of himself that easily. Whenever his contact arrived to the club, he would get his assignment and begin to make the most of his time in this little tropical paradise of his in Wishtonia. Until then, it was all he could do but sit back, gawk at the revelers down on the beach, and enjoy a continual supply of bourbon with a surprisingly crisp bite to it from the bar. His contact was running slightly behind, not that he tended to mind given the choice of scenery or anything…

“Gould, I swear to Christ you’re going to drink yourself into cirrhosis any day now,” a voice called out from behind him. “How your liver hasn’t sued you for discrimination yet, I will never know.”

Johnny Boy, as I live and breathe…

As if on cue, his contact had arrived in the form of one John ‘Johnny’ McClintock, a former colleague at the Miranda Beach Herald and now the paper’s official Wishtonian editor-in-chief was walking towards him, wearing a huge grin on his face. Stephen cocked his head to one side and smiled, snuffing out his cigar with one hand in the ash tray on the table beside him before rising up to meet his contact. McClintock was several years older than Stephen and it showed; thin stress lines had begun appearing in his old friend’s forehead, his formerly-jet black hair showing streaks of peppery gray in it. He was wearing a tropical shirt, unbuttoned with khaki shorts and a pair of expensive aviators tucked into the collar of his undershirt. In the heat of a Kenega City afternoon, the perspiration from his brow gave his forehead a slight glisten to it, which made him look all the more scrumptious; Stephen had been trying to get him into bed for years, but the poor sod had clung to such outdated morals such as “monogamy” and “marriage” to his wife, Margo. Admittedly, she had impeccable taste, but still, what a waste…

“My liver is as dapper as I am, I thank you very much,” Stephen retorted in kind, extending his hand to greet his old friend. “I’m right as the rain and fresh as a daisy, good sir.”

"Yeah, you look it," Johnny snapped back, patting him on the shoulder with his free hand as the two men shook. "Been waiting here long?"

"Long enough to get a buzz on," Stephen joked, faux-toasting his newly-arrived guest while beckoning him to take a seat across from him. As happy as he was to see his old friend in the flesh, it was a bit of a surprise that Johnny himself was his handler for this particular assignment, a fact that warranted bringing up at the first possible convenience. For now, though, the formalities first: "How's the missus?"

"She's... she's well," John remarked candidly, easing into a chair across from Stephen. "The doctors think they got all of it this time."

"More's the pity if they didn't," Stephen replied in earnestness; he wasn't a coldhearted man at the end of the day. "Did you check into the clinician that I referred you too back in Burchett? Dr. Olowakandi?"

"Yeah, we had our first consultation three months ago," John answered quietly. "They're hopeful that with the right treatment they can buy us some more time."

"Well, if there's anything I can do..."

"Will do, thanks Stephen," he replied amicably. Speaking of conveniences; John's demeanor changed as he shifted from personal talk to business: "So, elephant out of the way first: why am I here setting you up for a job in Kenega City? Why not some low-level handler or staffer, right?"

"Well, it had crossed my mind," Stephen quizzically replied. "What are you doing here, John? What are we doing here?"

Without saying a word at first, John reached behind him underneath his unbuttoned beach shirt, apparently grabbing at something tucked into the waistband of his khaki shorts at his back. Stephen frowned, his brow furrowing as his friend produced a manilla folder of some heft, sitting it down on the table. He motioned for Stephen to open it, which he obliged him; inside, a thick stack of papers, all bearing official government stampings and markings. It took but a cursory glance to recognize the markings for what they were; he had spent enough time in the bullpen in Miranda Beach to know a police report when he saw one. These were no ordinary rap sheets, though; these were official government inquiries into some pretty scandalous stuff – by Saescian standards, at least. As he began skimming the first few pages within the folder, absorbing the trace headlines of each of the major file copies, John leaned forward into the table almost conversationally, keeping his voice low as if to share some grand secret or something…

"Project Bluebird."

Stephen cocked an eyebrow. "Project... Bluebird?"

John nodded affirmatively. "Got it from a contact embedded with the police in Miranda Beach. For months now, the Saescian authorities in Miranda Beach and Thielesthreatt have been monitoring a 200% increase in drug trafficking, everything from Molly Birch to Wishtonian Snow. They've been busting heads in the local precincts trying to figure out the manufacturer, but the only lead they have right now is that it's coming from somewhere outside of Teremara."

"And they think it's coming from somewhere in Kenega?"

Once more, John nodded in the affirm. "One of the street hustlers they tuned up in Miranda Beach fed them a name, Kingfisher. It was the same name an informant gave up in Thielesthreatt. The national constabulary believes that this "Kingfisher" is the supplier bringing in the product from overseas."

Stephen leaned back in his chair, holding the stack of papers on his lap. "So how does Kenega fit into the picture?"

John smiled, a big toothy grin. "A few months ago, I was working a beat here on a local story about drug running in the northern territory. One of my contacts referenced a Saescian using that name here on the island in connection with some 'businesspeople' up north."

"If he's running drugs, he's likely not setting foot here," Stephen surmised, going through the papers with his fingers. "It's more likely they're meeting out to sea somewhere, more secrecy that way. You'll have a hard time tracking him down."

"No, but it's worth exploring," John retorted, leaning in. "The authorities in Thielesthreatt are about to issue a $2 Million reward for information that leads to the capture and arrest of 'Kingfisher'. Now, I don't give two shits about the money, but you know how circulation is right now. The higher-ups want readers, Stephen, and we're hurting right now. We need something to jog the numbers in the right direction, and this could be it."

Stephen sat in silence for a moment, resolving himself over the difficulties that lay ahead with this assignment. He was no stranger to difficult tasks, of course; he had spent time embedded in war zones before and had done his tour through Hell. This was a delicate missive though, straight from the top; someone close to him was asking him to start rooting through the Kenega underworld and find dirt on a drug trafficker that certainly had a vested interest in not being found. Along the way, he was sure to stumble across plenty of homegrown problems in Kenega City and beyond as well, problems that he would rather not get mixed up in. But that was all part of the charm of the job, really; the thrill of the hunt. His employer was in need of a big story to put some asses in seats and some eyeballs on their paper, and if anyone was going to be able to deliver that kind of story, it was him. He had never turned down an assignment before, and he wasn’t about to start turning down assignments now, either; if this paid off, he was going to be a very famous reporter back home in Saescia. If it didn’t pay off, well…

Then I’ve probably bought the farm and it doesn’t fucking matter, anyway.

After a pause, Stephen sighed, then resolved himself to straighten up and bear down on the meaty assignment. "What are my marching orders, Johnny?"

McClintock pounded the table with a closed fist enthusiastically in front of him. "'Find out the identity of 'Kingfisher', link him to the Saescian drug trade, and give me enough evidence to go to the front pages with a bombshell story that the police will have to sit up and take notice of; can you do that?"

Stephen smiled at him, raising his glass of bourbon. "Unquestionably."
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Kenega
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Founded: Jan 23, 2013
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Kenega » Mon Aug 08, 2022 5:11 am

Kenegan Intelligence Service HQ
Kenega City, Kenega


They had gathered in the large conference room in the high rise building that served as the KIS HQ in the capital. Below them, the city was abuzz with activity. It was at all hours at all times, so this was nothing new. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes honked and maneuvered their way through jams as others double parked or did all manner of ludicrous driving in disregard to their fellow drivers. It was a common attitude for the local citizenry, but it was reinforced by the thousands of visitors they had every month who came to Kenega City to not care about anything or anybody but themselves. Some visitors insisted on renting cars, despite the bountiful public transportation and taxis around the city, but they were not prepared for the hell that was Kenega City driving.

On one side of the table were the elite of Kenegan politics - Prime Minister Kendal Devarnum, who had insisted they meet here, instead of The Prime Minister’s Residence, due to the amount of information they had to go over; Director Rhys Hollander, the head of the Kenegan Intelligence Service; whose building they were in at the moment, along with his Deputy, Hiram Masterson; and Ewan MacTavish, head commander of the Royal Services of the Commonwealth - The Royal Gendarmerie, The Royal Coast Guard, and the Royal Park Ranger Service.

On the other, were their counterparts from the home country, Vionna-Frankenlisch. Sir Alestair Faulkner, grim-faced and squat, was the professional head of the Imperial intelligence services and he was deeply unhappy to be in Kenega. He had been stationed there when he was a young operative and had lost his enthusiasm for the Dominion some years ago. Nearing fifty, Faulkner had lost an eye and a lot of patience. Nonetheless he was happy with his job, and the trip to Kenega was a duty he could bear. There were two others in Faulkner’s company: one was in khaki uniform, the other was bedecked in a finely-made charcoal suit. The soldier was William MacTavish, of the same noble and ancient dynasty as Ewan, William was the title-holder (the 8th Marquess of Fowley to be exact) and he had little in common with Faulkner who had led them into the room. William was cheerful and clean-shaven with a boisterous manner and two eyes which darted around the room excitedly. He held the rank of Major General in the Imperial Army and had spent the last eight years being traded between Owaya, Kenega, and the homeland. The third to enter had been Kenega’s new Governor-General: Lady Charlotte Randolph. Appointed to the position in July 2020, Randolph had taken to an unfamiliar role with a nervous energy which had endeared her greatly to the Imperial staff at Eldham House. She had entered the meeting in shy silence, smoking a cigarillo, and had sat fiddling with the hairband which kept her jet-black ponytail suspended until the vague gaggle of small-talk which had proceeded the meeting had ended.

PM Devarnum smiled. He was also quite bored with the small talk, but happy that they were getting attention from the ‘parents’ on one of these rare occasions.
“I just cannot tell you enough what a delight it is to see you again, Lady Randolph. It is just not often enough that we touch base on affairs concerning the Commonwealth.”

Hollander, an old school, no-nonsense spook, was only content enough when he could either light one of his domestically made stogies, or chomp on one of them for flavor when indoor smoking was forbidden, as it often was these days in most of the meeting settings he attended. Even he had a rare smile as saw Lady Charlotte Randolph smoking her baby cigar, giving him the green light to light up his fat, messy cigar, in turn.
“Yes, it is good to see you, Madam. And you gentlemen, as well.”

He fixed on Faulkner’s face for just a bit longer. His counterpart in the home country’s intel service. There had been a time when those back in Vionna-Frankenlisch had argued that the KIS had no need or right to exist at all. However, the Prime Minister of the day, Andrew Worsham, had made certain to make an immediate issue out of it and stand his ground as the Governor-General was about to dismantle the service. The Commonwealth government needed their own intelligence apart from the Imperials and the Kenegans were not going to hear anything to the contrary. They had won out and the KIS continued to operate. Hollander always kept that in the back of his mind when he dealt with them.
“I don’t want to bore you with the same old reports on organized crime and tourist deaths. That’s not why you flew all the way out here. Instead, I wanted to discuss something that may be more of a concern for us than you folks…The San Rositan threat. We are months out from their given deadline.”

Devarnum took up the cause from there, and Ewan MacTavish looked ready to jump in, if needed, as well.
“Yes, I am eager to hear on any further news of this, also. Should…we…be…worried?”

“Worried?” Sir Alestair Faulkner prevented himself from scoffing. He scratched gently at where his left eye used to be and gazed grimly at Devarnum with the still-existent right one. “Unless you know something we don’t- which you don’t, San Rosito bears little threat.” He explained, “the country is divided and unstable. If they dared threaten an Imperial Dominion, they’d face rebellion from within before the week was up.” Faulkner, a stern professional, didn’t fully believe the words he was saying - but his job was to reassure the Kenegan administration that they were safe under Imperial control and he was quite happy to get the platitudes out of the way if it meant the flight home was quicker in coming.

Ewan MacTavish looked around the table, glancing over his white cousin, several generations removed. As the Commander of the Royal Services of the Commonwealth, the biggest burden would fall on him should they be wrong about San Rositan intentions.

Hollander spoke before MacTavish could.
“I have had some time to look into the San Rositans. They have fought a low level Marxist insurgency for decades, but I don’t think any substantial part of the population has good sentiments towards the rebels enough to call them divided. Unstable? Sure. They are on a flimsy foundation of narco dollars.”

MacTavish inserted himself in, finally,
“I…actually tend to agree with Sir Faulkner…”

“Of course you would.” Hollander tried to cut him off.

Ewan held up a finger at Rhys Hollander.
“Now…just…Listen. Logistically, any move they would try to make thousands of kilometers to their south would eat up a lot of time and energy. Also, they are gearing up as we speak to tangle with the Royal Brazilians, their neighbors to the north on Madurin there in Teremara. Also, might I add, their somewhat allies in the TSO. They have the whole TSO in an uproar over that - threatening to attack an ally. They seem to be much too preoccupied to worry about us down here for, well…at least some time. Wouldn’t you agree, Sir Faulkner?”

Sir Alestair nodded and tapped a finger on the table purposely, “Quite so. Vionna-Frankenlisch may not be a member of the TSO, but her influence carries through. San Rosito can’t sustain a campaign against Kenega, whatever their ‘claims’.”

Major General MacTavish looked his cousin in the eye, “and we’d have a task force mobilised before they’d even landed.” He glanced over to Faulkner and tried not to look nervous, “that’s if they even landed, of course.”

Ewan looked back at William and nodded smartly.

Devarnum snorted, not so convinced.
“What guarantees do you have on that? That you could have a task force here in time if the Rosies were to make a move towards us?”

A sudden awkward silence descended on the meeting. It seemed to be the Governor-General’s turn to speak but both Imperial heads turned towards Lord MacTavish. William looked to each of them and sighed, “Nobody here is authorised to offer official guarantees,” he explained, “not on behalf of His Imperial Majesty’s Government.” He hastened to add, “But you can rest assured that Imperial forces in Owaya would be sufficient to deal with any San Rositan threat, assuming that the Kenega garrison were not.”

Hollander smirked as he smashed out his stogie in an ashtray.
“Well…as long as we can rest assured, I guess that’s all that counts.”

Prime Minister Devarnum sunk back in his chair.
“Rest assured right into our graves.”

Lady Randolph stubbed her cigarillo out and made an unladylike grunt. “Very droll, Prime Minister,” she spoke, somewhat disappointedly. The Baroness Bamber was twenty-seven and Kenega had not yet lost its charm for her. Though, as with many in the Imperial administration, she was uncomfortable with the depths of Kenega City’s hedonism (which ran deeper than even that of the Vionna-Frankenlischian aristocracy), she was proud of her position and enjoyed working on the island. Kenega may not have been the grand jewel in the Imperial crown, but it was a popular and flourishing place to be and Randolph was very pleased to be involved in such a way. “That kind of talk does not become you.” She admonished Devarnum, half-seriously, and turned to Hollander “Perhaps you have some new intelligence, Director? Some reason why we should suddenly fear that tinpot dictatorship?”

Devarnum looked at Lady Randolph, at first ready to react at being chastised like a child, but then he settled back again, realizing she was not fully serious. Still she would take some watching.

Hollander squared up on the Governor-General.
“No, madame, not new intelligence. It’s a bit dated but still relevant and current. The Republic of San Rosito has gone from a little third rate power in Teremara to one of the larger powers of that region, which of course, is only a few thousand kilometers to the north. They can field two full fleets now, and have ships to spare. Their air force is just as formidable and grown by several squadrons. Their army, however, has stagnated and has trouble even catching up with their Marxist rebels, or so we thought…
Then their little hubbub with Reino do Brazil began. Mind you, I do have some friends up north, and in other intelligence agencies, but…There’s also public media - some reporters near the border caught very decent footage, as well as behind the lines mobilization and logistical preparation.
The San Rositans seem to have learned lessons since their last tango with the Royal Brazilians. They were very prepared to stand their ground and even push into Brazil, both with conventional and special forces, although it never came to any major land engagements…My friends do believe that the Brazilians would have been served up some rather nasty surprises if the conflict had escalated.

They’re also still sailing back from a blockade of Beloura, the Brazilian archipelago territory. If given the chance, I’m sure that the San Rositan marines would have knocked out the Brazilian garrison there in no time, or the fleet would have just proceeded to flatten everything with cruise missiles. Beloura would have fallen, every Teremaran intel chief and think tanker agrees…”

The Belouran islands were as south as you could get in Teremara without technically being in the Wishton Sea. It was sobering.
Hollander picked back up his stogie, considering relighting it as this meeting had found new life.

Ewan MacTavish picked up where Hollander had left off.
“So, so…I think considering all that, you could see why we have concerns. Us Wishtonians have always been wary of Teremarans. With Gauls muscling in on Jaragupta, Falkasians in the Cardwiths, Neu Engollian mercenaries running around Hutanjia and Jaragupta, and now the San Rositans trumpeting that they want a little piece, too, we have learned to tread cautiously when it comes to dismissing Teremaran intentions, especially when they are vocal about their desires.”

Lady Randolph had nodded along, listening intently to every word. But now that the conch had been returned, she directed her first words to the younger MacTavish. “General, what threat does the San Rositan army pose to our own ground forces?” She asked the question casually, but with an air of confidence.

William MacTavish pondered for just a moment. “Negligible,” he said, “to the best of my knowledge. But if Mister Hollander’s words are true, they may not be so negligible in the future.”

“So we should be taking them more seriously?” Randolph questioned him further, her usual sheepishness shed as she looked him grimly in the face.

“Perhaps.” The General nodded. “We would have to do our own study. But that isn’t my department,” he glanced towards Faulkner.

Faulkner was scowling, he seemed to have a habit of it. “Hmm.” He cleared his throat noisily and nodded at General MacTavish with the barest hint of a smile. “Thank you, General.” He said and did not acknowledge the younger man further. “Director Hollander, we will need access to your archives and all fresh information in this affair.” Faulkner informed his opposite number, bluntly.

Rhys Hollander was a big framed man, built like a top heavy tank. Even though years of being out of the field had added layers of fat, the muscles were still there. The Polynesian stock of that side of his heritage was much more pronounced than some of the other Kenegan elite. He leaned his big shoulders forward, smiling just a hint as he ceased his chomping and took the still unlit cigar out of his mouth.
“Well, Sir Faulkner, I might need to think on this a bit. My friends to the North didn’t exactly say I could share their proprietary info with others…”

Kendal Devarnum waved his hand.
“Of course we’ll share. Stop fuckin’ about.”
The thought of the KIS hiding information from the IIS was sort of ludicrous, although on a much deeper level, there were some secrets that had not been passed along and might never, but no one was even going to mention those. In any case, any Teremaran, or other, intel agency who shared juicy tidbits quid pro quo had to realize that the KIS would likely share with their Imperial benefactors.

While Faulkner remained unphased, General Lord MacTavish and Lady Randolph looked at each other unhappily. Whilst swearing was not considered a grave sin, the sudden breakout of profanity would not be common at a table in the homeland.

Devarnum, Hollander, and MacTavish shared a look of their own. The prudishness of the Vionna-Frankenlischians, those of the home country, in certain situations was always a little comical to Kenegans, like this one, in a closed door meeting to discuss gritty details, where “man-talk” should dominate, and they still raised eyebrows..

“I’m glad to hear it,” Faulkner inclined his head to Devarnum. “I suppose there’s little shame in admitting that our own intelligence on San Rosito - the army anyway - is a little dusty.” He took a moment to hack into a beautiful floral handkerchief. The Knight of the Raven apologised, citing the climate. “Assuming your fellows have done their jobs properly, this should speed up the process no end. How deep, in brief, do you have your fingernails in the San Rositan forces? Purely out of curiosity.” He spoke with an uncharacteristic grin.

Deputy Director Hiram Masterson, so far remaining quiet for the meeting, finally spoke his mind. He was as skinny and gangly as Hollander was hulking, but he still had an air of confidence about him.
“I will be honest, sir. I don’t know that there’s more information that we have to give. Other than what was shared earlier about their build up, and some purchase orders floating around from major defense industry suppliers, the Director might have exaggerated a bit.
Without seeing them in action to their fullest degree against Brazil, we only have our best guesses as to what they are capable of…”

Faulkner grunted in disappointment, Lord MacTavish took up the mantle. “It may do us a world of good to see those orders, nonetheless.” He said with a kind-hearted smile.

Masterson nodded.
“Well, through our benefactors, we actually have the physical copies of one from Consortia, and Schwerpunkt. As for the rest, we can make educated guesses based on rumors and observation. We know they bought a considerable amount of ships from Umberlee and Royal Marquesan a few years ago. Like we said, they really went all out to re-outfit their navy. That’s where a lot of the San Rositan coffers went.”

"I'm sure this will be very useful, Mister Masterson." Faulkner thanked the Deputy Director. "My department will work on a detailed report when I return to Frankenlisch." He produced a silver cigarette case and lit up a Golden Tower. "Of course," he paused to take a long drag and winced slightly as smoke irritated his eye, "though I cannot speak for my present masters, this may well precipitate a strengthening of the garrison. My Lady, Mister Devarnum, is that really something you want?"

Lady Randolph nodded her agreement immediately. "Yes," she replied sternly, "I'm sure the facilities may be made available - if it is for the defence of the Empire." She looked to Devarnum, expectantly.

Commander Ewan MacTavish shook his head. This was getting to be a bit too much for him.
“I think that we are maybe getting ahead of ourselves here. Much as I respect Director Hollander’s professionalism, I think he is over-exaggerating.
A few more ships does not translate to a fully trained, more all-around powerful military. They didn’t really prove anything against the Brazilians on the ground, after all. It was all bluster to get them to sit down at the table and negotiate. I tend to think that it is very possible that the KIS friends up north, the very same friends in the TSO, have a good reason to hype the strength of a fellow TSO power. It makes their military organization seem much more capable to project its strength down here. Other than Gaul acting unilaterally in Jaragupta, I don’t think the rest of the organization actually has the ability or the desire to mobilize to move on our waters.”

Hollander practically lost his jaw to the floor. He was astounded that his fellow Kenegan would backstab him in this manner.

Faulkner and Lady Randolph looked unhappy at the intercession, but William MacTavish nodded his head, smiling. "Quite right," he agreed with his kinsman, "We can't let bloated statistics get in the way of what we know of the San Rositan military. A couple of orders to Schwerpunkt does not a disciplined fighting force make." He looked about the table for further support. "The Imperial Navy possesses one of the finest surface fleets in the world - and this praise is coming from a proud soldier - would San Rosito dare risk the Grand Fleet putting to sea? I doubt that.”

“I think my colleague is underestimating the San Rositans.” Hollander bit back. “Just because they never have, doesn’t mean they won’t try to tangle with us down here.”

“It would be a leap. I don’t doubt their capability to launch an invasion,” Sir Allistair waded back in to the discussion, “but what of their capability to sustain it? Can they keep an invasion force supplied until the island (God forbid) is fully taken? What if our forces on Owaya launch a counter-attack?” He ran a hand through his beard unhappily. “There is more to this than just having the forces to hand. I think it would be best to wait - to gather intelligence and deliver a fully-informed report to the government in Frankenlisch. At any rate, we’d be aware well ahead of time if a force was being mobilised in San Rosito.” He nodded his head as he spoke, looking for all the world like a cyclopean, bearded pigeon.

Prime Minister Devarnum did a small, slow clap. Mainly a small motion with little sound to bring attention back to himself.
“So, immediate threat or not, possibly something not to be taken lightly. I think we all know that the Empire doesn’t consider us here to be one of your prized jewels. We’re no Owaya, after all, but if they could see fit, if not bolstering the immediate garrison, then to maybe bump us up - increase the defense budget for Kenega so we are able to build up our own capability…”

Ewan MacTavish looked at his Prime Minister.
“I hope that doesn’t mean some sort of new service, sir? Traditionally, Kenegans have always balked at any sort of army or navy for the Commonwealth. It’s not part of our modern legacy. Any Kenegans who have wanted to join a full military have always had the Imperial service back in Frankenlisch as such an option…”

“No. No. I’m talking about increasing the role of the Royal Gendarmerie and Coast Guard, of course. We have that…Oh, what is it now? The recce group? Special something?”

MacTavish winced at his own PM fumbling over the name of their most elite, proudest gendarme unit.
“Special Recce Service. Two companies. Attached to regular Gendarme units. Responsible for anti-terror and anti-criminal operations, among others...”

“That’s it! We could expand them. Commandos! Who doesn’t need more fucking commandos?!”

“Commandos, sir.”

“Yes!”

“No. That’s who doesn’t need more commandos...Is the commandos, themselves. Then they’re not special, they’re just a bunch of slightly more trained assholes.”

Faulkner cleared his throat. “I think we’re drifting away from the point.” He interceded, barely suppressing an eyeroll. “It’s not within my power to influence Imperial funding packages, though of course I can make recommendations.” He tapped his hands on the table as he went on to say, “What I can do is to try and step up our counterintelligence operations on Kenega.” He motioned for silence, expecting Hollander to argue. “I know the KIS is perfectly capable. But if this situation is a serious concern, it’s better to have some involvement of our own and some more of our own people on the island.”

Commander MacTavish tilted his head.
“Truth be told, we could stand to get a bump in our operating budget for the services.”
He thought about it more as he said that. Technically, with the vast amount of revenue the Island brought in from tourism, they should be nearly self funding, but Gaia knew where all that money actually went, but to line some pockets, possibly even of men, and women, in the room. Certainly the banking sector money was barely staying on the Island, and if it did, it was being mostly funneled into the underworld.
There was some joke about how Kenegan bankers would jump in the ocean before they would fund any program giving back to the blighted communities.

Hollander pondered the other part of Faulkner’s statement. Giving over more of his bailiwick to IIS was definitely not that appealing, but being taken more seriously and getting more cooperation from them was. The amount of info regarding all the conflict and intrigue in Wishtonia over the last few years was overwhelming for his small staff of analysts, not to mention having to keep tabs on Southern Teremara.
“I’m fine with it. There’s already the small IIS liaison desk here in the HQ. I suppose that could be expanded, but I’d like for myself and Deputy Director Masterson to be consulted and have veto over any major expansions or attempts to take over our operations. Anything new fired out the tube should be joint, not unilateral.”

General MacTavish side-eyed Faulkner warily as the latter successfully suppressed a laugh. “Veto? I don’t think that’s very likely. But you certainly have a right not to be insulted, I will ensure that you are consulted and we will try not to step on any toes. But if you truly believe that San Rosito is a serious threat, then other parts of the Empire - Owaya, for instance - would be under threat as well.”

“With respect, Sir Alestair,” Governor-General Randolph, who had remained mostly silent, addressed her countryman. “I hope the IIS will not undervalue Kenega too heavily. A lot of influential men in Frankenlisch would lament the loss of her banks.” She eyed him piercingly.

“Ah, well, yes.” Faulkner agreed, “Kenega is an Imperial Dominion, you can be assured it will receive just as much focus as any other.” He cleared his throat unhappily.

Before Director Hollander could retort to the sensed affront, Devarnum reached out and grabbed his arm. The Prime Minister rode over any protests.
“I’m sure it will work out fine. As long as we all keep open the lines of communication and work together on these matters as much as possible. Let’s keep in mind, this isn’t an invitation for the Imperial government to march in and lay waste to our previous arrangement. Might I remind you, Sir Faulkner, that we are a Commonwealth with certain autonomous privileges that that implies, not a full Dominion.”
Perhaps a conversation for another time with this group would be the growing movement of Kenegan Republicans ready to dump the Frankenlischian head of state, King James I, and forge a new path. Anything done to aggravate that situation, especially emphasizing Imperial control, was not be appreciated.

“Might I remind you, Prime Minister, that we are discussing the defence of Kenega. I will report to His Imperial Majesty’s Government that Kenega is, at present, vulnerable to the San Rositan threat. But they’re not likely to take my words seriously without a detailed report of San Rositan intentions.” Faulkner explained, trying his best to get the last word in without being overly offensive. “If you want me or Lady Randolph to put in a request to strengthen the garrison, I will do that. But at present, I think it would be unwise.”

Randolph, tentatively, tried to wind the conversation down. “Perhaps it would be best to put a pin in this, gentlemen, Sir Alestair, Lord MacTavish. It’s unlikely we’ll come to a solution today, after all! We don’t really have the information at hand to make a definitive plan, it seems.”

Hollander looked at the Kenegan Prime Minister, who was in turn glaring at Faulkner. Seemed like maybe all of his people would be happier when his Imperial counterpart hopped back on his plane to Frankenlisch. They were going to glide right over the Dominion comment then.
“Yes, that’s fine. Myself and Masterson don’t have anything more to add.”

Devarnum only nodded.
“We need to meet again and talk defense.” he managed to grumble out.

Lady Randolph smiled awkwardly. “Excellent.” She exclaimed and came to her feet. The other Vionna-Frankenlischians, in deference, followed. Randolph, a Baroness, was significantly senior to Faulkner and, as a Governor-General, was elevated even above the Marquess of Fowley. “Well I’m not sure what we’ve achieved,” Randolph chuckled slightly nervously, “but at least we have addressed the issue in detail. Sir Alestair can make his initial report. I would like to have a conversation with you, Prime Minister, to assess the pros and cons of appealing for reinforcements from the motherland. And Lord MacTavish, if you were to survey Kenega’s defences it would be most helpful.” She summed up, looking somewhat proud of herself.

Devarnum was starting to cool.
“Yes, fine. We should meet. I take it we’re done here? Good.”
He shook hands and bowed as appropriate, then headed out the door.

Commander Ewan MacTavish looked around nervously, unsure of his exit, but knowing it needed to happen. They shook hands all around, and he gathered up his papers to go.

That left Hollander and Masterson, the hosts. They stood and exchanged farewells, waiting to usher all their guests out of their headquarters. Hollander looked like he had wanted to saunter out after Devarnum, but fought the urge and stuck in place to do the final formalities.
They stood resolute, sure that despite all the guarantees thrown around today, the Commonwealth might still be mostly on their own when the shit hit the fan but for a token Imperial defense.

[RP CREDIT: Vionna-Frankenlisch co-RP]
Last edited by Kenega on Mon Aug 08, 2022 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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San Rosito
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Posts: 33
Founded: May 28, 2020
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Crossing The Yarok Line

Postby San Rosito » Mon Aug 08, 2022 3:49 pm

340 km SW of Beloura
On board the BNSR Triunfo
Approaching the Yarok Line
Southern Madurin Sea


The General looked out over the waves from his high perch. While he’d never desired a life like this, he could certainly see the appeal. It had been invigorating to wake up like this every morning over the last several weeks. He had finished a morning jog around the decks before cleaning up and getting a steaming hot mug of coffee prepared by the galley to enjoy out on the bridge deck.

The pride of the Republic of San Rosito was justifiably her navy. There was no question of that in the mind of any top military officer of the Republic. It was more debatable that the pride of the San Rositan navy was the Middle Waters Fleet, and not the Southern Madurin Fleet. At least if you talked to Admiral Efrain Veracruz, it was. Even General Sepulveda had to agree, it was impressive, and being the military historian that he was (what proper strategic general could not be?), he was certain it was the most impressive fleet that San Rosito, and possibly any southern Teremaran power had ever fielded. They did have this full battle carrier over the Southern Madurin fleet, whose top of the line capital ship was a helicopter carrier. So there was that glaring fact.

They had managed to do a soft blockade of Beloura, the Royal Brazilian administered archipelago that was one of the most southern points of land in Teremara. While politicians pleaded and negotiated in the capitals of New Frontier (Reino do Brazil) and Puerto Cristal (San Rosito), the Brazilians scrambled to muster enough ships to counter the San Rositan Middle Waters fleet as they lovingly caressed the throat of Beloura, with the implicit threat of choking the life out of one of Reino do Brazil’s crown jewels. What that meant in practical terms was that enough San Rositan cruise missiles were targeted on Beloura to completely level the island chain to dust, not leaving even a palm tree standing.

Every day the Triunfo, a Copperbeard Class full battle carrier, had flown combat air patrols, mostly consisting of Panters and Maelstroms, to match what the Brazilian cruiser and Belouran land bases could press on them. They were backed up by sorties flown from San Rositan coastal bases, refueled over the sea, and directed and shielded by their RCC General or Baron, the Neu Engollian produced aircraft that were AWACS/ELINT/EW/Command and control wonders.

Under this immense pressure, the Brazilians had bowed. The Council in Puerto Cristal walked away in victory, waving their documents confirming concessions. They were gained at a cost, as was the peace itself. Reino do Brazil would not suffer humiliation easily and would likely be back for more, as they had many times in the past. In the short term, however, it could count as a victory.

The First Fusilero Naval Brigade (what many would call Marines in other navies), along with battalions from the 2nd and 3rd Divisions of the Ejército de San Rosito, had stayed on their fleet transports, unable to leave their bootprints on Belouran sand…This time.

This had only been the first step however. The plotting started a few years back for these moments and had never stopped at just besting Reino do Brazil, their Latin rival in Southeast Madurin. It included taking a major island land base far south, to project San Rositan power farther south into Wishtonia and west and beyond, and bring them on par with the major powers of the two regions.

Some had argued that base could have been Beloura. Taking the Royal Brazilian possession however, even if they had even proceeded with a temporary occupation, would likely have extended a costly war. The Brazilians would have thrown everything both at Beloura, and across their southern border at the Republic to punish them.

No, it was Kenega that they finally settled their sights on. Although that was another controversial choice in itself, if not for political, then definitely strategic reasons. Politically, their claim was weak, claiming to be the inheritors of Espicutan will.

More of concern to the military was the strategic issues. While they were confident they could stomp the garrisons of Vionna-Frankenlisch and the paramilitary forces of the Commonwealth, the proximity of Owaya was concerning. Resupply was also far by air or sea.

Also, no one really had thought through if the Vionna-Frankenlischians would mobilize the home front and put forth a full war effort to retake their small island, the bastard child of the Empire. A lot of the San Rositan hierarchy was convinced that they would be satisfied to hang onto the much more valued and integrated Owaya, as far as Wishtonian territory. It still had a fair number of bases and forces, and they could project their power from there across the Wishton without feeling much of the loss of Kenega.

This of course didn’t take into account the economic value of Kenega, both above and below ground. The Kenegan banking system was rivaled by few. The tourism juggernaut only reinforced the revenue of the banks and investors, filling the coffers of all the Commonwealth institutions. Even General Sepulveda didn’t pay mind to that wrinkle as he stood, enjoying the view from the outer deck of the Triunfo bridge.

The General looked back into the bridge through some windows, opened to let the cool breeze inside. The Admiral was finally up and doing his morning dragging of the bridge crew, letting them know where they were falling short in proper San Rositan sailing tradition. He could get rather loud, but the junior and petty officers were aware that it was all for show. It was up to them to steer that energy towards better performance of the lower rates who felt the sting.

Finally, Admiral Veracruz strutted out to where General Sepulveda stood, a matching mug of coffee shoved into his hand by a galley orderly.
“You know they drink tea in Vionna-Frankenlisch and Kenega, Jorge? So uncivilized! I could dip my grass stained shoes into hot water too, but it doesn’t make it a worthy drink for men. Thank our savior for ground beans brewed, eh?”

“Sure.”

“Pretty fucking far more appetizing than drinking that muddy water.”

“I have had some tasty teas, I cannot lie, Admiral.”

“Be a man! Grow a pair!”

“Of course I much prefer a steaming mug of java, Efrain.”

“See!? Of course you do, Jorge.”

They were both anxious. This was the time and place where the final word would come through. Years of planning was at an apex. They were near the Yarok Line, that invisible barrier that divided Teremara from Wishtonia, The Madurin Sea and Tavlyrian Ocean from the Wishton Sea. A course change needed to happen soon if they were to continue to the next objective, or return home.
A choice was being made back in Puerto Cristal as to whether they would follow through and hook southwest into the Wishton, or loop back to home port in Luzagrada in the Republic.

They were still several weeks ahead of the deadline given to Vionna-Frankenlisch to vacate Kenega, but striking out then, or even more belatedly, had never been a serious option due to the lack of surprise. It was the mobilization for war with Brazil that had been the cover all along for this planned operation.

The status quo was always found again with their neighbor, despite all the bluster of the final cataclysmic battle of the rivals. However, there was no going back once they took this large island.

Captain Rodrigo Bemento, the actual daily operational commander of the flagship Triunfo, found them both on the bridge deck. The two superior officers looked at him expectantly as he held a paper printout in his hands.
Bemento tapped the paper.
“It is confirmed. Operation Barracuda is a go. We are to hook south on a new course heading for Kenega. Of course, we will have to do a bit of weaving to avoid the Gaulic and ISVC fleets around Jaragupta, but…we are to cross the Yarok line and make course for our objective.”

Admiral Veracruz faced Captain Bemento. “Make it so.”

“Aye, aye, Admiral.” The Captain ducked inside to give the course correction to the junior officer at the ‘wheel’ on the bridge.

General Sepulveda winced at hearing ‘aye, aye’, and thinking about all the Anglo terminology that was infused into all naval culture. He just hated the Anglos that much, but wouldn’t pay it anymore mind right now.
He and Admiral Veracruz raised their mugs to each other. The Admiral produced a flask from a pocket to spike their coffees with cane liquor. As Jorge smelled it, he kept his face neutral and his preference for bourbon as coffee enhancement to himself. They clinked mugs.

“Victoria!”

“Hasta el Ultima!”




Below Decks

Pascal looked at the King of clubs and Jack of diamonds in his hand. Then he looked back at the table. The flop. A three of clubs, 9 of diamonds, and the 10 of clubs. He had a decent shot at a straight. A queen or a club, or both on the turn, and maybe another club on the river to clinch the flush, but odds were better for a queen. It was the best hand he’d had all day.

He looked around the table at his fellow squadron mates. He let the chips run through his fingers back onto the stack.

“...and did you see it?! I had that Brazilian bastard in my sights. I was like…milliseconds from toggling the missile launch.”

“Chinga! Yeah, we were all there, José. You had ‘em.”

Pascal hated this. They all had to chat and relive the same exploits they had all witnessed and lived through. What was the fucking point? As Squadron commander, though, Lt. Commander Pascal Garando was not going to suck the fun away from his pilots. He let them prattle on. They were obviously trying to cover that they had shit poker hands.

One of the flight officers burst into the quarters.
“Do you feel that?! We’re shifting! They changed course!”

Then there was calamity.
“We’re not heading home?”

“The fuck is going on?”

Pascal sighed. He threw down his cards.

Petty Officer Fuentes threw up his hands.
“You’re folding?”

“No. Pause. Can I fucking pause? Cristo!”

“Commander, what the hell is going on?”

Pascal stood up. As commander of the squadron, he was the only one in the First Naval Squadron that knew about Operation Barracuda.
“Just…shut up for a fucking minute. You bandejos sit tight. I need to check on something.”
He wasn’t about to shoot his mouth off without confirming it.

He reached for the direct line to the bridge, hanging on the quarters wall. He picked up the receiver and dialed ‘1’.
“This is Lt. Commander Garando. Put Bemento on the line. No…I don’t care. Put him on the line now. You heard who I am. Don’t delay. I’m not…Yes, Captain. Are we a go? Verdad. Okay. Copy that, sir. First Squadron out.”
He put the receiver back on the cradle. He looked around at those gathered. Pilots and deck crew of the squadron. They would quickly spread the word, but there was no more need for secrecy, anyway.
“Men, and ladies, we are not heading home. I’m sorry, but you will not be able to call home. Your cell phones likely went inactive anyway, so don’t even try.”

“What?!”

“What the fuck is going on?”

“I’m obviously trying to tell you all. Okay? Okay. We are going to Wishtonia. We will be going to Kenega to reclaim it for our people. That fighting you didn’t get to do over Beloura? You will have full weapons green over Kenega. Tomorrow, we run a drill, then the day after, we will be in range for the attack. The real deal…”

“No more games with the Brazilians?”

“No, we’re hitting the Vionna-Frankenlischians.”

“Who?!”

“Anglos.”

“Why now?”

“Because this was the plan. They knew we were going to do this and the timing had to happen now.”

Lieutenant Fernando Ruiz moved from his bunk to the poker table. He dumped a Petty Officer out of the chair closest to Garando without even telling him to move. Then he sat very slowly, the back of the chair forward to the table, his legs straddling the chair. He siddled up, put his hands flat on the table, and then finally turned to Pascal.
“I can’t go, Sir. You know I just got married before we left. I have a baby on the way. I need to go back home. No one said we were doing this after already being out here for weeks and I’m just not ready. My family needs me.”

Lt. Com. Garando smirked, and tried not to laugh out loud. Ruiz had to be putting him on with this. When he looked at him, however, there was no hint of mirth in the man’s eyes. Garando physically wiped the smirk from his own face.
“Is there no one at home to help her?”

“Yes, but she needs me there. I promised I’d be back home.”

“Well, that was silly, Lieutenant. That’s not a promise you can make. Listen. I’m honored that you all think I have some kind of say in this, but I did not schedule the war. The Council did not consult me. The Admiral just told me a little while ago that it probably was going to happen and to be prepared. Just like we didn’t plan a time for the Brazilians to get nasty with us. Right?...
Difference is, we have had some excellent preparation flying against our neighbors. Now we get to do the same thing. Fly over more water, maybe an island...Fire a couple missiles if we’re lucky, then…Then we should go home.”

“Go home when?”

“Why do we hate the Anglos exactly? What did they do now?”

“I have no beef with the Anglos.” Again, sincerely from Ruiz.

Garando motioned for calm and quiet.
“They did nothing really. But they’re probably going to really hate us…very, very much, in a couple days. So, don’t just expect them to stick a white flag in their ass and wave it in the air.”

The pilots had nothing to say to that. Most of them were thinking the same thing. If San Rosito was attacked out of nowhere, they’d probably feel the same way.

"Bien. Now...can we finish the game?"




Magdalena, Isla Carlita
San Rosito


Meanwhile, as the orders had been given to Admiral Veracruz to proceed to the rendezvous point further towards Kenega, other orders were issued. The Commanders took care to make sure everything went over secure, encrypted lines.
Part of the Southern Madurin Fleet was being readied. For now it was mostly the support ships. Readying the capital ships for the fleet would raise alarms. That would come in a couple days when there was no more need for surprise. Cargo ships of the merchant marine were also being readied, having already been on alert for the past few weeks because of the Brazil emergency. They were being loaded with extra logistical and medical supplies, food, ammunition, vehicles and artillery.
When curious dock workers asked why they were still loading instead of unloading, the answer was simple. "Who really trusts the Brazilians to stick to their word?"

At air bases around southern San Rosito, cargo aircraft were going through checks and being loaded up with yet more supplies, that would be needed more urgently. The blitzing advance units, like the Special Operations Groups, would need immediate resupply. Additional troops would be paradropped in, and they were just getting the news. Some had similar reactions to the pilots of the 1st Naval Air Squadron. It was like they were in a never-ending war and only the enemy changed.

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Nova Secta
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Founded: May 03, 2021
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nova Secta » Thu Aug 11, 2022 11:45 am

Aboard the F/V Red Tide, 180 KM North of Kenega — 4:20 PM
There was a gentle breeze coming in from the north, the promise of some relief from the sweltering heat a paltry relief in the back of his sportfish. The thirty-two foot, center-console Worthington King model had been one hell of an investment for his side job; in addition to getting in a spot of fishing, Julian Renner found it adept at getting him from Point A to Point B efficiently and with a minimum of ruckus. In his line of work, discreteness always paid off on the long curve, which is why he never understood the morons that went in for the big monsters, the cabin cruisers that would set off any tax accountant's fraud alarm from here all the way back to Thielesthreatt. What good was having some big, expensive toy if you were clapped in irons in the pen', unable to use the damn thing? He had never understood the logic, really; better to be careful and enjoy a modicum of civility with personal freedom at your beck and call than to wind up being someone's bitch in the klink. Besides, he was too cute to wind up a prison bitch, he could afford to do better in the grand scheme of things.

Renner — or 'Ren' to his close confidants and friends — eased back into the scoop chair with a sigh and a heave, feeling the gentle reminder from his body that he was no longer a spring chicken and had been through the ringer a time or two in his day. The unnatural stillness of the ocean water was a bit eerie, to be honest (it was a major reason why he had done his national service in the army, after all), but his fishing rod and the radio was enough to keep him from going too stir crazy. He reached down beside the armrest of his chair into the cooler, the feeling of melting ice cubes on his fingers refreshing as he reached for the next-to-last beer in the chest. With his index finger bandaged from a previous mishap with the damned fishing tackle, he cracked the beer open with his thumb, kicking his feet up on the stern of the boat. He was usually a pale ale man himself, but a golden ale in this heat was absolutely thirst quenching while he wiled away his time, waiting to meet up with his contact from Kenega to arrive to meet him with their prearranged freight cargo of choice.

"Yeah... So... Where the hell is he?"

It was the question that had been unnerving him for the last two hours, causing him to begin chain smoking cigars like a man possessed. His contact from Kenega was supposed to make contact with him at his precise coordinates at approximately 1400 hours, 2 PM as the normal people would say. It was now well past four in the afternoon, and there had been a giant nothing-burger to greet him: no boat, no mad lad paddler, no sea plane out of a Dick Warren crime novel, nothing. Of course, in this business there were few options for 'contingencies' in the event someone was delayed or worse; God only knows who could be listening in if he tried to raise his contact on the radio (not that he even knew how to reach him beyond cursory contact information from the prearranged meet. No, unfortunately there was little he could do but sit back, drink his beer and weigh his options out. Of those options, there were really only two, and neither of them were what he considered to be 'good'. He could remain there fishing for a while longer, see if his contact decided to show up...

"Or, I go home," he spoke to himself again quietly, taking another sip of his beer to soothe his nerves. Neither option was a pleasant one, honestly; if he went home empty-handed, his buyers in Saecia would be taking their business elsewhere, and he had no desire to get on the bad end of a business dealing in this particular community any more than he could help it. Plus, leaving behind the product would be a substantial missed payday that he could desperately use to keep his business ventures afloat. On the other side of the coin, remaining in place posed several potent risks, none the least of which was if his contact in Kenega had been compromised and decided to give him up as a bartering chip with the island's prosecutors. At best, he could be waiting out in the middle of the ocean for nothing; maybe his supplier got cold feet, maybe he got sick, maybe he sank on the way and got eaten by a school of hammerhead sharks, who knew? But if push came to shove and he had given him up, he was best served to be getting the hell out of there as fast as his boat could go.

You could go looking for him...

No, absolutely not — Ren shut those thoughts down before they even had a chance to sit there and fester. He leaned forward in his chair to stretch his aching back, taking another sip from his beef can in the process. Going out to look for his contact was a fool's errand and he knew it; for one he only had the basest of information to go off of and little else; it would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Two, if he was putting himself at risk possibly by staying put this far out to sea from Kenega, how much more jeopardy would he be in if he actually tried to put into port? Of course, he had a fake passport with a fake name in case the coast guard came by to do an inspection of his boat, that was just good forethought really. And yes, doing something, anything to get off this damned boat would be preferable to just sitting here, waiting to be scooped up by someone that knew where he was supposed to be and had come to go look for him. He had to admit, some small part of him was almost desirous of being caught if it meant not making the long-ass haul all the way back north to Saescia.

Huh. The more he thought about it, the more the idea began to warm to him, much to his chagrin. It was still a terrible idea, of course loaded with pitfalls and potential peril. But this was his biggest-ever job, a job that had promised to keep his business ventures afloat back in Thielesthreatt. If ever there was a time to be risky and take a chance on something, it was now. And perhaps, from some twisted, backwards form of logic, there was an advantageous pull towards heading closer to the island. After all, if someone were out looking for him, trying to find him via the position given by his contact, then the two most likely places they would look would be at the location and on the sea lane heading north away from the location. Only a madman would try and get closer to the island where he was wanted as a fugitive when he had a chance to flee further into international waters, right? Besides, there was always a chance that his contact had merely been delayed, and that he would meet him along the way as if nothing had ever happened, and they could complete their transaction.

"... Shit," Ren cursed, frustrated at the lack of a good option on the table. He took a final swig of beer from his can before chucking it from the boat into the ocean, watching as the empty aluminum can splashed next to the others bobbing up and down like corks behind him. Stay, go, go looking for his contact, every option flat out sucked the long peen with gusto. The only thing he was assured of is that going home empty-handed was a nonstarter if he intended to keep his business ventures afloat (afloat while on a boat, what a racket) back in Saescia. Sure, he could come up with the money somehow, maybe flying a few extra gigs here or there, renting out his services more frequently, working hard for that cash as they say. It was hardly what he would consider to be an enviable position given how much personal debt he was in, but given the choice between risking getting thrown into some third-rate hellish prison in Kenega and getting to wake up to enjoy a fresh grapefruit in the mornings was no contest. He'd done enough time for one lifetime in the army to know prison was no joke.

His satellite phone's alert notification nearly sent him tumbling out of the boat in shock, rousing him from his musings. After composing himself for a moment, he stood up and walked over to the captain's seat where his phone was stowed. Apparently, someone had tried to reach him on his SAT phone with urgent business and had left him a message. Wary of which creditor had bothered to hunt him down now, he dialed his voicemail and put the receiver up to his ear...

"Ren, you dumb bastard!" A voice shouted on the other end, a voice that he knew well. "You skip town the week you owe me $75,000 in past-due rent and storage fees? This is the last time I do you a favor, you piece of shit. You don't have my money by the end of the month, I'm locking your hangar up and burning your plane to the ground. Don't test me, you bum, and get me my money!"

Well, then. There was little ambiguity in that message; he needed money, and he needed it now. Unfortunately, that sort of narrowed his options down as it pertained to what he was able to do. There was no way he could take enough jobs flying people around to raise enough money to pay off his fees to Clete and pay his other brokers and make end's meet, there was just no way. Even though he had cut back on most frivolous spending and had taken to living an austere lifestyle for the most part, there were some expenses that he simply could not justify cutting if it meant to keep all his business ventures in check. Which meant, at the end of the day, that going home was no longer a viable option for him. There simply wasn't enough time to get from A to B back in Saescia on the up-and-up and keep everything above water (again with the damn puns). His only two options now were to either remain in place and hope that his contact showed up with the product, or else go looking for him with what limited information he had and hope against hope that he could make it out again...

Suddenly, the tip of his fishing rod began to bend under the strain of what could only be something sizable. Hours of fishing off his boat, waiting for something to happen, and finally at the crossroads this happens... Ren stared at it for a few moments blankly, blinking widely at the sight of his rod straining in its holder... And then with one fluid motion, he whipped out the Bowie knife he kept sheathed near his back pocket, slicing the line right at the tip of the fishing rod. Immediately the tension went out of the rod as the line fell away into the sea, Ren staring after it emptily. He had a deadline, his contact blew it, and he wanted to know why, and getting answers meant doing something other than sitting on the back of his boat drinking beer and fishing. With his gut in knots but his resolve made up, Ren moved back towards the pilot's seat to begin to orient the boat south towards Kenega-proper. Unless some bad luck befell him, he could be there in about three or four hours. He could only hope that he wasn't sailing himself into the biggest mistake of his life when he got there...
I AM NOT YET A LIONESS, BUT I AM A LIONESS'S CUB AND WILL INHERIT HER QUALITIES.
THE AEVANGEL CONSERVATORY [FT]THE GLORIOUS DOMINION OF SAESCIA [MT]
MT OVERVIEWEMBASSY AND CONSULATE PROGRAMBLACKHART MILITARY STOREKELSEY-FORRESTER OIL

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

ALL HAIL THE QUEEN LOLIGARCH
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Kenega
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 59
Founded: Jan 23, 2013
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Amadoga

Postby Kenega » Tue Sep 06, 2022 7:43 am

Pitstone, Kenega Ctiy
Kenega


He was a large man by most standards. Back in his much younger days, he’d even considered a career in sumo wrestling. It wasn’t quite a thing here on Kenega, but on the nearby Dao Chongese islands, or in Hanamura, he could have made a go of it. As it was, other affairs had kept him tied down to the island. Playing rugby had been enough of an athletic fix for him through secondary, but it was what he did for money that really got his blood pumping and gave him the fix he needed.

He had methodically either partnered, or wiped out the competition until his kingdom was greatly expanded from Pitstone, to Kenega City, to most of the Island - with operations in all corners. But still, even though Pitstone was not the glamorous part of Kenega City - that was the Diamond Coast or Rifflington - he kept his main estate here. It was where he was most comfortable, and it was his roots. Where he had been raised by one of the thousands of families of hospitality workers that kept the whole facade sparkly for all the tourists and business folk. It would have been his lot, too, had he not found the world of graft and vice more appealing and logically more lucrative.

He had been groomed as an enforcer and he learned very quickly how to earn favor from first, the capos, then the top kingpins, as he rose up. Also, he was good at taking his aggression out on anyone he believed had wronged his employers, but he especially reserved his vehemence for those who crossed him personally. It was well known that no one who went against Amadoga Saunders lived long to tell about it.

So, the man who met him in Durberry Park in Pitstone, in the heart of Saunder’s home territory, was well aware that he needed to tread lightly. He got out of his car, a non-descript sedan borrowed from the impound lot, and wandered up the path and through the trees, a rarity in the heart of Kenega City, but one of the few protected patches of forest in the City, other than those patches on the property of the elite moneymakers in the higher hills of the City. On their properties, other than the condos they owned in the highrises along the Diamond Coast.

Saunders sat at a bench a ways along the path. His men were in the woods watching, making sure that no interlopers also followed in, and if they did, they kept walking.
The large Kenegan gangster smiled as he lighted upon his visitor.
“Colonel Garret Bailey. By my eyes!”

The Colonel sat down on the other end of the bench.
“I don’t know that you need to announce my full name so loud.”

“Relax! My people are watching at every direction. No one will get in here without our notice.”

“Why am I here?”

“Did I not hear about my man, Devering, being executed today? I think that calls for a meeting, at the very least.”

“He was not your man, he was the KIng’s man.”

“He was mine. I turned him fairly, just like I turned you, you smug fuck. Now why the fuck was he put in stocks and put up to a firing squad? Seems pretty extreme for the Frankenlischians.”

Bailey shrugged.
“He got caught. He was careless. They needed to make an example. How many of them do you have running drugs back home? There’s a limit to what the Imperials can take you know?”

“They had to make an example out of him? Devering?”

“I think they realized he was a bit more than just a drug runner and low level man in your organization. They had him dead to rights on a lot of your operations.”

“Yes, that has me worried. What are you doing about this?”

“What am I doing?! I didn’t have any say in it. This was all the Imperial garrison. None of this came through regular channels.”

Saunders stood up, surprisingly nimble for a man of his size.
“Walk with me.” He waited as Bailey stood up. They then strolled the path.
“Look…I have other Anglos I can shape into the role. I’m not that worried, but…I am a little worried about what this means for the Imperials getting all up in our business. This is traditional Royal Gendarme business for you all, I would think? Such investigations.”

“Normally, yes, but they are tired of the corruption of garrison troops. We were called in on the initial investigation, but there was obvious evidence on Devering I couldn’t ignore. Then they took it out of our hands and ran with it. They wanted to make an example out of Devering.”

“An example indeed. It’s been some time since they have flexed like this. It leaves a hole for me in the upper ranks of operations, Garret. Jimmy was good at getting the Imperials out to the clubs, and making sure we had the girls and the pit bosses to keep them entertained. I don’t appreciate not having more of a heads up about something like this. It takes time to get someone in place like that to keep things running smooth.”

“They don’t consult me on sentencing.”

“They inform your superiors, Bailey. Do better. Be a confidant. Earn trust. That is why I pay you. Don’t leave me hanging like this again. You are the fucking second in command of Gendarme forces at Faronham. You should have gotten wind of this.”

“Like I said, they don’t run court martials of their own by us. There really wasn’t much way that I could have had a forewarning. This sentencing. It was…impulsive. A bit out of the blue. I get how this would be upsetting. You and Devering…”

“Jimmy and I were very close. Make no mistake.”

“Yes, I…”

“Get back there. Don’t let anything like this shit happen again. Don’t let them snatch up our people. Keep them focused on military matters and not what their officers do on their off duty time.”

“That’s much easier said than done. Again, we’re not called into their internal briefs where they decide shit like that. Perhaps if I knew who I needed to protect from the Imperial eye, I might be able to better do my job…”

“I can’t just give you a list of all my assets. Let’s be logical here, Bailey. What if they turned you? Then I lose the whole West.”

“Of course...I just…”

“Make it happen. Be of use. Because I promise you, not being useful to me is much more dangerous for you than how annoyed they will get at your interference.”

They had walked a ways deeper down the trail. Amadoga simply pointed back the way Bailey had come. Letting him know he was done with him for now. The Royal Gendarme commander began to try to hurry back to his car, but he was out of shape. A poor example for the people under his command.

Saunders motioned for two of his men to follow him, should he have some kind of clumsy fall, they would need to pick him up. He did stumble over a tree root, but recovered himself.
Finally, he was back at his car and firing up the ignition, rapidly racing out of the park.

Amadoga walked back to the entrance himself, but at a much more relaxed pace.
He pondered on his whole setup out at Faronham. This was a wake up that he needed to maybe do a re-organization. Grease some more palms, reach out to more of the Frankenlischians. The old colonials sure appreciated his laundering services. Perhaps he needed to lean on them more to open up more doors for his outfit. Having Bailey in his pocket didn’t seem to be enough.

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Vionna-Frankenlisch
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1843
Founded: Jun 21, 2014
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Tue Sep 06, 2022 1:19 pm

Port Faronham, Kenega
Joint Forces Base

"Nasty business, but had to be done..." Brigadier Christina Wappelode mused aloud, turning her crystal goblet around with thin fingers. She watched, absent-mindedly, as the crimson liquid within swirled. Dinner had ended an hour ago and the officer's mess was a quiet, morose place in the aftermath of the day's events. Colonel Johnston had been nigh inconsolable - an officer of his regiment had been guilty of those crimes. If Johnston had been commanding back home when such a thing had happened, he'd surely be unstuck from battalion command. Wappelode pitied the colonel deeply and drained her glass, allowing the sweet wine to distract her from her thoughts of Colonel Johnston.

Lewis Graham of the Marines trudged over and settled into the armchair next to Christina's. He set his drink down on the little round table in front of them and smiled wearily at the Brigadier. "Damn bad business." He agreed. Usually, a Captain so casually mingling with a Brigadier would be frowned upon, but there were only 1,400 Imperial troops at Port Faronham and the mess was a little more casual. Besides, Graham's company was an independent command which made it much more acceptable.

Wappelode looked up. "How is Captain Mullen taking it?" She asked with a hint of concern. Mullen had commanded the firing party calmly and precisely but had soon made herself scarce after dinner.

"Fine, she's a strong lass. Not happy about it, of course, but nobody could be." Graham answered and sipped at his gin. He looked around the near-empty mess with an awkward glance. The officer's mess was tastefully and expensively decorated, filling the triple-role of dining room, smoking room, and ballroom. Actually underground, built beneath the base's athletics hall, the mess had an eerie quality to it without the usual noise and population. None of the Imperial Kenega Rifles' officers had stayed beyond dinner, and Brigadier Wappelode had not pressured them. In a major breach of tradition, the Regimental Sergeant Major of the IKR had been in attendance, as the last thing anyone wanted was an empty seat to remind them of what had happened.

"It is different," the Brigadier explained unhappily. "When it's a private soldier we expect it. Kenega is a lucrative posting for a ranker, it is only natural for them to go AWOL for a night, or indulge too deeply in the local pleasures. Fine, chuck the scoundrels in the guardroom and set the Provost Sergeant on them." She sighed bitterly and waved a steward over. "When it's one of us... It is different." The steward took Wappelode's empty glass. "Another of those, Bligh," she requested. Bligh shook his head and apologised - there was no more of the Vallee de la Reine, the Gallandian red which was very popular amongst Imperial Army officers. "Well, the day goes from bad to worse..." Wappelode sighed again. "Very well. Thank you, Bligh. I think I'll turn in."

Captain Graham came to his feet, as did the other few officers when they realised the Brigadier was retiring. "Good night, ma'am," Graham wished her. He sympathised with his CO deeply. It was a horrible thing to have to do, though truthfully he had never particularly liked Lieutenant Devering. The crimes had been egregious, and the mess would no doubt be shocked for some days. News would certainly have been passed on to Owaya and Frankenlisch. He certainly did not envy Brigadier Wappelode and Colonel Johnston's positions but he trusted that they'd survive an inquiry unblemished. The situation didn't bode well for the command either way, Kenega was already a backwater drain in the minds of the IGS and they'd take any chance to leave the island's defence to local forces. No Imperial-led government would dare take such a move, but the case of Lieutenant Devering would make unhappy reading in the Frankenlisch newspapers for some time. Graham, at least, would come through it fine. He was a few months off of his seniority for Major and, assuming there was a place available, he might well get a battalion in one of the new brigades - or perhaps an independent battlegroup. He settled back down into his chair and lit a thin cigar. Devering may be dead but life went on. So long as nothing went wrong over the next few months, Graham would be promoted out of Kenega, Captain Mullen and her Erinites would be replaced by a fresh company, and the IKR could begin rebuilding its reputation. But Kenega had a funny habit for disrupting routines. "God willing..." Graham raised his glass in a silent toast to the almighty. All would be well.
Last edited by Vionna-Frankenlisch on Sat Sep 10, 2022 12:10 pm, edited 4 times in total.
New Edom wrote:Unwerth laughed. “Such hen lobsters are the Vionnans. But then, every Vionnan is half a sodomite."


Commissar of Revolutionary Action of the INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST CONGRESS

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San Rosito
Secretary
 
Posts: 33
Founded: May 28, 2020
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby San Rosito » Sat Sep 10, 2022 10:09 pm

San Rositan Safehouse
Roma, Roman Federated States


Eli had taken time to change, after leaving the TSO HQ. He had donned some trendy civilian clothes for the area, but still casual in appearance, so no tie, just a blazer and khaki pants. He was nervous and working up a light sweat, which didn’t match the weather at all.

Pepe grunted as he let him in the door, disapproving of the bad tradecraft of his anxiousness. Eli had a light pack slung over his shoulder and he brought it right to the table. He tried to not wrinkle his nose at the stale cigar smell that always lingered, even with a fresh one lit and taking up some real estate in the ashtray. Also, Pepe had obviously not planned on leaving the apartment yet today, as he wore a tank tee and grubby shorts.

He unzipped the band and brought out the camera, pushing it across the table. Next he fished out a flash drive and also put it on the table. Finally, before he could relax into a seat, he went over to the refrigerator to grab a cold Roman beer out of it.

Pepe raised an eyebrow, looking at the two items on the table.
“Where’s the other one?”

Eli walked back over, sipping at the beer.
“The what now?”

“The other thumb drive? There were two.”

Eli paused, looking down at the table. He plopped the beer down and it began to fizz over, the carbonation reacting to the jolt. He started to rummage through the bag, every pocket, then gliding his hand along the bottom of it. He still came up empty.
“Well, it’s here somewhere. Or I guess I left it at my apartment.”

“Are you sure? You did retrieve it from the computer in the headquarters?”

“Of course I retrieved it from the fucking head…” Eli stopped, horror beginning to dawn.
Did he, though? He had used both thumb drives. Here was one, but.. Did he yank them both out?
“It must be back at my apartment. I can go back and find it. Of course, I left it there.”

Pepe walked over to a side table where his phone sat. It was a Schwyz Logiztek GXP 5, a very secure, encrypted satellite phone. To be sure, the OIR had made it so that this series of GXP’s would only utilize satellites that they designated as safe and friendly to San Rosito before issuing them to their top control and field officers.

He punched in some code, bringing up a text chat. Sure enough, there were several messages there. The OIR geeks were pleased to have extra time to access data and attempt to infiltrate the TSO system, but had become concerned when the thumb drive remained plugged in for a few hours past the window they had expected. Finally, it had been dislodged from the terminal and they had lost a signal.

“You left it in there. Control back at Puerto Cristal just confirmed it.”
Pepe flung the phone down.
“No…No! NO!!”
He was turning almost purple, he was so angry.
“YOU LEFT IT PLUGGED IN?! Do you know what you did? You have fucked us! You may have compromised everything! How could you…?!”

“Listen, it will be fine. Gerlachus can doctor the footage. He turned the cameras off around the Vault. If they aren’t on to him, they don’t know who left the drive in there. Fuck! It could be anyone.”

Pepe sat heavily at the table, flipping the one thumb drive over in his hand.
“Did you wear gloves?”

“Wha…why would I? That would look suspicious.”

“So then the thumb drive will have your fingerprints on it.”

Eli took a long swig of the beer. He had nothing more to say.

Pepe threw the drive back on the table.
“I have to change. I need to scrub this place and bug out to our backup safehouse. You need to go now.”

“But…where is it? How will I get in touch with you?”

“Captain Villareal, you need to follow the protocols and get yourself out of the country. We have reviewed this before. We will not be in touch again, unless it’s back home in the Republic. You need to leave here and don’t come back.”

“This will blow over. Come on…you kn-...”

“Get the fuck out now! Time is of the essence. You know the drill. Do not go back to your apartment. They will be looking for you there. Just make your way to the airport now and book your ticket and get…the…fuck…out. While you still can.”

Eli pounded on his forehead with his open palm. There were a few things he did not want to leave behind in his apartment, but Pepe was right. They weren’t worth the risk of retrieving. First they would informally send some colleagues out to check up on him, but as they put together more evidence, they would send out investigators and also attempt to stake out the ports, sea and air, to stop him from leaving. Ultimately, they couldn’t hold him for long and his government would demand his release, but Pepe didn’t trust that, or that the TSO wouldn’t use some form of interrogation to get him to give up the OIR network.

Eli ran a hand through his hair, the other hand still gripping the beer bottle tightly.
“Look, I’m really sorry…”

“Get the fuck out! Now! I don’t have time for this. Neither do you.”

Eli headed down the stairs, stumbling a bit, and feeling disoriented. He at least had his wallet and passport on him. OIR training had taught him that, this scenario being a possibility. Had he been deeper undercover, he wouldn’t even have those. In this case, he was an intel officer out in the open. They needed to have quite a case against him in the next couple hours in order to impede him. If he left from the airport, there was nothing they could do about it after the fact. He would be persona non grata back in Rome, but that was not such a concern now.
He flagged down a taxi and jumped in.
“Ad aeroportus, quaeso! All'aeroporto, per favore!”
He threw out both phrases. Here in Roma proper they spoke both Latin and Italian in many areas. It was safer to just know both languages.

Despite his heart in his throat the whole time, and not having any visible luggage on him, he managed to not raise any suspicions as he purchased his ticket, slammed a mojito down in the lounge, and finally boarded his flight, which would make a stopover before finally touching down in Puerto Cristal.

He had briefly considered booking for another destination and not going home, fearful of what his Military intel and OIR superiors might do to him, but he reassured himself. Pepe would talk him up. They would understand that such mistakes happen. He could not stand the thought of never seeing his mama and papa again.

It was not until they were taken off and in the clouds that his eyes went wide. What am I thinking? This was the OIR. They will torture me in a cold dungeon. They will be waiting for me when I get off the plane. I can’t go back. He also had to warn his family.

When Aero Roma 654 made its stopover, he got off the plane. He never made it all the way to Puerto Cristal in the Republic.

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Terre des Gaules
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 188
Founded: Oct 02, 2013
Father Knows Best State

Postby Terre des Gaules » Sat Sep 10, 2022 10:10 pm

TSO HQ
Roma, Roman Federation of States


The rest of the seated individuals and those filtering into the conference room knew that something big had to be up if Jean-Pierre Trumont, the top Assistant Director of the BGSE, had been sent from Paritte. Trumont had a very concentrated, almost steely face on today. He barely looked at his colleague, Hien Lanh Chamkon, who was the regular BGSE liaison to the TSO, although as she leaned in towards him to mumble something only for his ears, he remained calm as he nodded in acknowledgement. They knew that also because an emergency session had been called by Trumont and Chamkon.

Further down the table sat Pietro Lindauer, the NESA liaison. He didn’t seem as serious and had likely not been briefed ahead of time on the serious topic. He sipped at tea in a chrome mug as he waved greetings to his entering contemporaries.

Dominico Saluretto, however, the lead liaison of the Pertempto Circlus (PC), the RFS’ main external intelligence agency, seemed none too happy as well, staring sullenly at some notes in front of him and not looking up as new personnel entered. He fidgeted with a silver pen, the only sign of his anxiousness.

The contingency from the Glorious Dominion of Saescia entered solemnly, a grim look etched on the stony features of the delegation members’ faces. Marika Carson, the Saescian Minister Plenipotentiary to the TSO was walking in lockstep with John Cornett, the Director of the National Intelligence Syndicate [NIS] for the Saescian Dominion. Cornett’s neatly pressed suit and vest ensemble looked like something out of the 1950s with the pocket watch dangling from the gold chain affixed to his vest, but there was nothing outmoded about the way he carried himself. The pair and their staffers quietly made their way to their station in the conference room, appraised only of the seriousness of cause that would necessitate such a gathering of bigwigs for the Teremaran Security Organization.

Sitting disinterestedly at the far end of the table was the devilishly attractive Lucrezia d’Aranda-Godoy, an Epsicutan noblewoman of some renown. D’Aranda-Godoy’s many assets included the minor counties of Arandara and Godosten, a pair of smouldering grey eyes and high cheekbones, and (most importantly) the position of Deputy Director of the RDI - Espicuta’s intelligence department. Her presence in Roma had not been exactly welcomed, she was not Espicuta’s usual liaison, but she had nonetheless been tolerated and Queen Maria’s government was particularly concerned with the matter of intelligence at the time.

Next to Madame d’Aranda-Godoy sat Magnús Dajnuski, the GSB (Glisandian Security Bureau)’s representative to the TSO intelligence committee. While his nation had come later to the game, never being in the WMTA, and joining the TSO only as the coalition geared up to beat back the YSR from their invasion of his nation and Jumnia, the Glisandians had taken the last 9 years to really integrate with their TSO counterparts and jump wholeheartedly into every endeavor that the TSO had been a part of since. Like some at the table, he had no idea what was up for discussion today, only that it was rather important and an emergency session had been called, with some higher up intelligence figures coming out from TSO nations just for this.

Seated next to Magnús Dajnuski, was Viktor Raégerr, the Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS), hailing from the Republic of Jumnia, Intelligence Liaison for the TSO Intelligence committee. When granted the opportunity to do so, he always ensured that he took the seat next to Magnús, as he had always felt a strong connection to the man - both as a respected friend, and due to the fact that their home nations were neighbors - and fellow victims of the, still fresh in the nation's minds, violence, suffered at the hands of the YSR during their invasion, nine years prior. In contrast to their neighbors, Jumnia formed part of the original founding of the TSO, but not its predecessor. Viktor was quite annoyed this morning as he observed the large amount of big players arriving for the meeting, making it clear that something very serious went down recently - and a lot of people were informed - yet the Jumnians were left in the dark once more. Viktor had felt that ever since the war, the alliance did not take Jumnia serious anymore, but rather as a little brother who needed to be saved from the local bullies. He hid his annoyance for now as he took a deep sip of his coffee, whilst passing a prepared mug to Magnús.

Magnús took it, smiling thankfully to his friend Viktor.

Sitting near the liaisons from Jumnia and Glisandia were a pair of men wearing matching charcoal colored double breasted suits. An alabaster shirt could be seen at the neckline of the suit along with a crimson colored tie that stood out in contrast to the more bland colors the two gentlemen wore. The older gentlemen on the left with a shorter haircut of salt and pepper hair glanced around the room once more, his dark blue eyes observing everyone quietly as he sized each individual up. Karl Stein was typically a quiet man that did more observing than talking which was why he was considered the perfect pick as the liaison of Reinhalt’s Geheimdienst der Föderation (GDF), the civilian foreign intelligence agency. The other man wore a similar haircut as Karl, though his almost white blond hair showed none of the aging his partner’s seemed to have gone through. Dieter Schneider was the perfect contrast to Karl’s quiet attitude. Instead Dieter made a point of talking to anyone and everyone he could. His reasoning was such that as the liaison from the Bundessicherheitsbehörde (BSH) Reinhalt’s Federal Security Agency, he wanted to get to know possible future adversaries as best he could.

One of the last around the table to seat themselves was Ioanna Romina Cocescu, the Intelligence liaison from Taranima’s Ministry of State Security. As always, she kept to herself, and very quiet. None of her colleagues expected much out of her, even were this matter to directly concern Taranima. She never had much to say out loud, but she had been known to distribute very pointed memos.

Trumont muttered one last thing to Chamkon, who nodded, confirming his question that everyone had arrived.
“Alright, let’s get started. Some of you don’t know me as I’m not a regular attendee to these intel briefs, but I am Jean-Pierre Trumont, Chief Assistant Director of the BGSE.” He paused to scan around the table.
“By no means am I trying to insist that we’re in charge here and I should run the meeting, as I know what is thought of Gaul in, eh…some circles, but simply our agency was the one reported to, and we did most of the investigation due to that, so I’d like to inform you all. Some of you are not aware of the matter, but not because we wanted to keep you out of the dark for any malicious reason, but because most of the events didn’t concern your nation until today, when we were ready to present all the facts as found, so far.
You may realize that two of our regulars are missing from the meeting. Our Royal Brazilian representative from Policia International em Defesa do Estado (PIDE), but only because they declined to be here. The other is Estaban Gomez, from San Rosito’s OIR. They were not invited, and in a moment you will see why. Ms. Chamkon, proceed.”

The young Asian woman was a native of Dae Chong, and by right of Dachinos citizen status being equal to Gaulic citizenship, had taken every opportunity to work herself up from her humble origins into the higher echelons of the BGSE. Now, she felt Gaulic Big Brother breathing down her neck as she took responsibility for this recent fiasco. It could certainly be a big step back in her career.
“Yesterday, we were informed by one of the personnel from the Wishtonia desk that they found this…” She hit a button on a remote and a screen that had been blank on the wall behind Trumont lit up. On the first slide was a picture of a smallish black thumb drive.
“Plugged into one of their server terminals. This,ladies and gentlemen, is not an approved device for the TSO Headquarters and certainly not for our intel analysis division. No one in the ‘Vault’ admits to installing this in the server. We tend to believe them, but we will be going back over records both camera and cyber to match up the logs to any possible previous suspicious activity.”

Lindauer interrupted.
“Any idea how long it was in there?”

Hien nodded.
“Some idea, yes. Those of you who regularly work in the building may know that we had a fire alarm yesterday. We believe it happened during then, when most personnel were out of the building and security was tracking down the alarm source. Whoever it was, they were rushed to be done before the ‘all clear’ was sounded. They also may have used more than one of these devices. Our IT people are confirming that now as they try to trace the cyber trails.”

Lindauer blew a raspberry from his lips.
“Sloppy.”

Trumont took over. He nodded to Chamkon to change the slide.
“That leads us to who. One man, Captain Elizondo Villareal, a military intel liaison attached to the OIR here and reporting to Gomez.”
Eli’s ID picture was up for all to see. A fairly normal looking, young San Rositan without any real outlying features such as a neck tattoo or scar.
“He was spotted near the Vault around the event by more than one service person. However, miraculously, no footage exists of him entering, being in there, or leaving the Vault.”
He looked over at Dominico Saluretto from the PC.

Saluretto let out a big sigh.
“The man in the camera room that surveils that area was one of ours. An NCO by the name of Gerlachus. He reports to my juniors. We have him isolated and under serious questioning right now. We know he knows Villareal and has spent time outside of the facility with him. We have no clear trail that he was part of the plan…”
Saluretto was obviously highly embarrassed.

Chamkon finished for him.
“But it’s much too coincidental to dismiss that he was in on it. We suspect we’ll find a fat deposit in his bank account once we force the bank to disclose records. As it’s a matter of national and regional security, that should be happening within the next couple hours.”

Dajnuski interjected.
“Where is this Captain Villareal?”

Chamkon looked down.
“In the wind. He beat us to the airport by a couple hours. By the time we were on to him, he had a flight booked and was already on it, flying East.”

Dieter Schneider looked puzzled as he asked.
“You couldn’t force the flight to turn back around?”

Chamkon didn’t turn towards the Reinlander as she answered.
“No, not without alerting the non-TSO nations the plane was currently flying over to a security matter. We’re trying to contain this.”

Dajnuski nodded.
“Of course. At least he knew he fucked up by that point. The OIR obviously did not go to any great length to train this man. So, I have to ask the obvious question…Why?”

Trumont responded,
“Quite. We believe he would not have fled had he not realized he misplaced and left behind the drive. And…” He held up his phone that was angrily buzzing. “Fingerprints came back. It’s Villareal’s.”
All TSO personnel working in the Headquarters had to submit to fingerprinting and DNA checks.

Saluretto added,
“No shock there.”

Trumont continued.
“Anyway, over the years, San Rosito has made a ridiculous claim that Kenega belongs to them, by virtue of being the successors of the Espicutan legacy of early settlers that set up port on one side of the Island. It’s silly, like something out of a Peter Sellers movie, and I don’t know if I’m explaining it well, but maybe Madame d’Aranda-Godoy could elaborate better…?”
He looked at the Espicutan woman, then at his subordinate, Chamkon, wondering why this had never been covered before among this group. Not that the responsibility would have fallen to her, necessarily…

Lucrezia cleared her throat with a little, high-pitched “ahem.” She smiled sweetly at Trumont and assured him, “You were doing fine!” But with all eyes on her, the Countess d’Aranda-Godoy could hardly let down her audience. “Kenega was first settled by Espicutan merchants in the sixteenth-century, at a place they called Terelenco. It was a thriving little market colony but the colonists made no claim to the whole island, that was done by the Gauls after they seized it.” She spoke, explaining the situation as concisely as she could. “San Rosito’s claim is based on the ludicrous idea that they are somehow descended from the families that settled Terelenco. We have asked them several times to leave it well alone, it’s bad for our PR too! But they never listen.” She straightened herself in her chair proudly, “it’s insulting. My ancestor, Ferdinand de Godoy - the second Count - was one of the first colonists and they dare to claim his legacy!”

Trumont nodded.
“Thank you, Lady d’Aranda-Godoy. Very well put. So, as preposterous as it is,…San Rosito claims Kenega, and while we thought they were focused on Reino do Brazil, they have obviously not let this go to just mere claims. Everything in that Vault is what the TSO has on the islands in Wishtonia, with some overlap with Beloura, Brazil’s islands that lie near the Yarok Line. So, yes, there’s a reason we have had that area off limits to San Rositan personnel over the last couple years, as well as locking them out of that section of the network.”

Lindauer spoke,
“They have been a very erratic alliance partner, as of late. They don’t seem to realize how their actions affect the rest of us. Attacking one of our own, Brazil, even if they do have a sordid history with each other… And now besmirching the honor of others…” He motioned to Lady d’Aranda-Godoy. “It’s as if we were a mere convenience for a time for them. I have to think that if we can prove this, it should be the final nail in the coffin. They need to be ejected from the TSO.”

Trumont let out a big sigh.
“I don’t disagree with you, Pietro, but that is not for us to decide. We can only make recommendations and let the evidence speak for itself when brought up to the main chambers of the TSO delegations when they meet, which will probably be soon in order to discuss in closed session what you have said, among other recent issues that are plaguing the alliance.
Our purpose today is to inform you all of these events, and let you know we will keep you all in the loop from here on out on any new developments, and to decide how to proceed with Mr. Gomez, as well as San Rositan military intelligence and OIR personnel, from here on out. We cannot decide to sanction all of the San Rositan delegation from this room, only Gomez and his people.”


Dajnuski spoke up.
“Well, I can only speak for the GSB, but should all the evidence pan out, and we do prove these accusations, I think I can speak for my organization in saying we are for not having the San Rositans attend any more intel briefs or conferences, or get any more access to information. They can sit in their offices and be officially useless, as much as they have been practically useless to the rest of us for the last few years.”

Trumont replied.
“Noted. The other issue at hand, before we go around and get input from everybody, is do we inform the government of Vionna-Frankenlisch that this breach occurred? Do they have a right to know our internal issues? Much as it might seem the right thing to do, I don’t know that letting them know of our lax security will be beneficial to us.”

Viktor Raégerr used the following brief moment of silence to interject, "Informing the government of Vionna-Frankenlisch would be a grave mistake, and that is being figuratively liberal. Should we inform them, they will be more than just a little displeased, to say the least. What is to stop their government to lash out at our incompetence at their expense in a public forum? Let us all be realistic for a fraction of a moment, and agree to accept reality, the reality that our alliance is at the weakest zenith since its inception. We have reached a stage where our member states bicker, scheme and skirmish openly against one another, without any concrete plan on squashing dissent. I can assure you that our enemies know this. They have smelled blood in the water… Do we dare to hand them more motivation to think us weak? I for one cannot in good conscience risk the safety of my people or the region, especially for an action which poses zero benefit."

Pietro Lindauer wasn’t so sure that the TSO nations faced any serious threat from anyone in Teremara, and certainly not MALET, as Falkasia still hadn’t made overt military moves towards anyone for many years at least, and the YSR still hadn’t been able to fully rebuild their military after the Northern Tavlyrian War. Gragastavia simply wasn’t capable either, ever. The biggest threat from their biggest rivals in MALET wasn’t militarily, but rather HUMINT operations by Falkasia’s FSIS and the endless cyber attack operations from the YSR’s SIGINT divisions. He could understand, though, how Glisandia and Jumnia were constantly anxious about their neutral to outright hostile neighbors, and had more at stake than Neu Engollon, Gaul, or Espicuta. He would just leave those points alone for another time during one of their constant discussions assessing the MALET threat. He could definitely agree on the other point, however,
“I have to agree with Mr. Raégerr here. We don’t really have any proof yet of anything actually happening of note, other than a general breach. We don’t need to announce to anyone outside the TSO that we made a colossal blunder in keeping our information secure. Correct me if I’m wrong, Assistant Director Trumont and Ms. Chamkon, but there isn’t actually any proof that Vionna-Frankenlisch was specifically targeted in this breach?”

It was actually Saluretto that answered him, somewhat recovered from the shame of not vetting one of his own carefully enough to have avoided enabling the breach.
“That’s correct. We don’t have any concrete proof that Vionna-Frankenlisch’s assets on Kenega, or Owaya, were specifically targeted. We assume some photographing of documents also took place, but without the film in hand, this is all just speculation.”

Lindauer replied,
“Also, let’s not forget that there is the fact that we actually have this extensive documentation on Vionna-Frankenlischian assets in Wishtonia. If we tell them that, aren’t we admitting to the Empire, our friend and economic partner, that we are, um…keeping tabs on them?”

Stein leaned over and whispered something quietly to Schneider. Schneider's eyes widened for the briefest of moments before nodding his head.

"Frau Chamkon, my colleague brings up an interesting point considering the current conversation. What information in regards to Reinhalt assets in Pahanga, as well as the region, was stolen?"

Stein was no fool and knew dossiers on the numbers of naval ships, military personnel, and even suspected ground assets for the GDF were likely gathered. He held no ill will in regards to the information being compiled by nations friendly to Reinhalt, it was how the game was played after all. Now however a possible hostile entity had that information, and Reinhalt would need to act.

Trumont waved Chamkon down figuratively, as he nodded that he would take that question.
Jean-Pierre leaned in to focus on Schneider.
“Herr Schneider, I think I know what you’re getting at, but we have to look at this from a logical standpoint, and also, the bigger picture. Wishtonia is in essence, the southern flank of Teremara, is it not? That was rhetorical…Yes, it is. So, we have to know the full picture there. Obviously, a nation like the Cardwith Islands, or say, Hanasaku, that are Marxist and have vowed to subvert democratic, capitalist nations like many of ours, have to be tracked and considered hostile. By the same token, we need to know what friendly assets we have down there, whether they be TSO, like on Dachine or Pahang, or Hutanjian, Jaraguptan, or Vionna-Frankenlischian, and so on. Otherwise, we have gaps in the picture. Black holes of no information. We could just accept what is given to us, but we need to assess everything as it pertains to TSO security. Sorry if I’m sounding a bit pedantic, but I want to lay this out there for everyone. I think we’re on the same page.” Jean-Pierre looked around at the various reactions he was getting from the other intel heads and liaisons.
“In answer to the other part of your question, what of all that information was stolen, I think Ms. Chamkon answered. We just don’t know. They had access to the whole mess, if for a brief time. Grab all of it? Some of it? The assumption is that it was focused on Vionna-Frankenlischian assets, considering the perpetrator, Captain Villareal, but...if I were in the San Rositans’ shoes, I would think that they know if they are planning some bold move, they risk not just stirring the Vionna-Frankenlischians, but surrounding neighbors. So they might latch onto data of Gaulic assets in Dachine and Jaragupta, or Reinlander assets in Pahang, just to be sure to know who might act to thwart them. Am I wrong?”

"We would be foolish to expect information to not be gathered in regards to the 'bigger picture' as you say" replied Stein somewhat quietly but sternly. "Just as we think it would be foolish to not expect the reverse is also true."
Stein was tipping his hand a little, but sometimes it was necessary in these little dances to allow others to know to know you knew things as well.
"Our concern though is how much of our ass is hanging out into the wind to put it bluntly, Herr Trumont." stated Stein bluntly.

Trumont studied Stein, understanding what he was implying.
Hien Lamh Chankon was the one who answered him, however,
“I may need to discuss that with you afterwards. Not to keep it private, but it’s some mundane statistics that will bog down the meeting and I will probably have to compile a report.”
That and they would need to review how much actually of that they were going to share. Were Reinhalt a full member, it would be different, but they were an observer. There was a Reinlander on the Wishtonia desk staff, she thought she recalled, but some information was still highly compartmentalized, such as how they went about gathering info in Pahang. Even most Gaulic personnel assigned to TSO HQ were out of the loop on need to know info on Gaul operations and assets in Wishtonia.

Lady d’Aranda-Godoy leant forward and cleared her throat. She glanced from face to face unhappily. “Whether or not,” she spoke, “we can be certain about where San Rosito have their sights set. Surely the only honourable course of action is to warn Frankenlisch. San Rosito have pushed their ridiculous claim on Kenega for years, diplomatically - if they now intend to push that claim by other means and Frankenlisch discovers that we did not tell them this information, we will lose a valued friend and trading partner perhaps forever.” She shook her head. “They are a pragmatic people, I’m sure they have dossiers on all of us. They will understand, so long as we warn them now. Even if it turns out to be nothing.”

Lindauer interjected.
“Hell, by that same token, we should have to warn everybody who’s not already being informed in this room. The Hutanjians, Xiahuans, Jaraguptans, hell, even the Falkasians, because they have bases in the Cardwiths…Wouldn’t want them caught unaware of San Rositan snooping.”

Trumont put his figurative foot down, by actually slamming his hand down on the table.
“We are not doing that.”

Dajnuski, the GSB rep, spoke up once again.
“I brought up a point earlier that I’d like to expand upon. The OIR did not seem to have used their best operative with Villareal. Like he was rushed into service. Perhaps, also, he was used to gain info on Reino do Brazil from whatever we have gathered here.”

Lindauer grunted.
“If he was that sloppy, wouldn’t we have caught him before, during his sneak of Brazilian info?”

Dajnuski waved a palm outward.
“Perhaps, but we didn’t, and…as we know, even with the best trained field officers, simple but consequential fuck ups happen. That’s just reality. There’s a lot of balls in the air being juggled and some get dropped. Some thumb drives get left in servers. My other thought is, since he seemed to be rushed… Perhaps the timetable is soon for acting on this intelligence. Whether it's Kenega, Owaya, or they’re going to sweep all of Wishtonia…”

There were chuckles around the table.
Trumont spoke it out loud.
“San Rosito has built up a lot in the last few years, for sure I will give them that, but enough to take on everyone and sweep all of Wishtonia?! I don’t think they’d even be a match for Hutanjia, let alone us, Hutanjia, Reinhalt, Vionna-Frankenlisch, and the rest. But…for one target.”

Lindauer added,
“I was ready to see Reino do Brazil flatten them if they did anything to Beloura.”

Dajnuski struggled to continue.
“Yes, Assistant Director Trumont. For one target! For one island, or group of islands, they must have set their sights on to be so audacious. I don’t propose we tell every effected nation, but that one…”

Trumont looked at the Glisandian, and then over to Lady d’Aranda-Godoy.
“Look, I get the sentiment. I really do. But there are a lot of factors that say that we should not disclose this incident, along with exposing our operations, to an outsider. One, security policy. Two, San Rosito is still technically in the TSO. That counts for something. Vionna-Frankenlisch is not in Teremara, therefore, not in the TSO. We don’t throw our own under the bus, last I heard. Three, we still have not narrowed down what the target of this data theft operation was…”

“Come on, now, Mr. Trumont! The threats to Vionna-Frankenlisch; a San Rositan mole/traitor in our midst and fleeing after leaving behind clear evidence; the Wishtonia desk data being violated…We are intelligence officers here, are we not? Sometimes we need to put these pieces together and close the small gaps, do we not? There’s not a lot of other hypothesis we could come to, I should not think. Otherwise, we would be ‘stupid guess’ officers, and that just doesn’t sound as appealing to me.”

Trumont snorted.
“All your hyperbole aside, Dajnuski, I don’t know that you’re really hearing what I am saying. We can not tell them what happened.”

Dominico Saluretto looked around.
“So, is that the consensus then? Are we voting on this? I don’t understand what we’re doing.”

Lindauer nodded.
“In effect, yes. I think we’re coming to a consensus. I don’t feel anything needs to leave this room. Also, I’m all for wrapping this up. This isn’t even the most pressing matter for TSO intelligence…Just the most embarrassing. I still have to prepare and sit in on briefs today about Austrakia and Lacetanya. A lot closer to home and a lot more clearly volatile at this point.

Saluretto put his hand out.
“Well, just to put to rest any doubts, I surely am for not putting this out there to anyone outside this room, and whoever else is already involved. Fuck! I mean...I still have to answer a bunch of calls about Gerlachus, and for the record, as was stated, we don’t know who was targeted or why, yet.”

Dajnuski let out a big sigh.
“Fine. Can we agree though, if we can get more solid information on the target and the type of information that was poached, then we act?”
The Glisandian shook his head. It was pretty obvious to him, and he thought most everyone in the room who Villareal was targeting. If it had been another TSO nation, they would be in action right now against San Rosito.

Trumont looked around the rest of the room. They still needed a final word from quite a few folks.
“Mr. Raégerr, Stein, Schneider, Lady d’Aranda-Godoy, Ms. Cocescu, Ms. Carson, Mr. Cornett?

Lady d’Aranda-Godoy shook her head. “We will be made to regret this.” the Countess opined, “The honourable course of action is to make Frankenlisch aware of what has happened. It is also, in my opinion, the sensible one. If this is your consensus then so be it, but I think it would be a disgrace and so would any honest Espicutan.”

Pietro Lindauer replied.
“As I stated before, Lady d’Aranda-Godoy, where is the line? What determines who we tell, because…if we have to tell Vionna-Frankenlisch, then we should tell Hutanjia, and Xiahua, Rulapanga, Ross Bay, the Cardwiths, and the like that they may have been compromised…Where does it end? Are we now in the business of shelling out information to whoever we feel is the least affected by it?”

Trumont interjected.
“Certainly not. We are in the security business. You don’t keep secure by freely giving out information, consequences be damned.”

Viktor Raégerr chirped in, feeling annoyed with the continued bickering, knowing that he needed to attempt to push the conversation along, otherwise they would be stuck in this room for hours. "As I have made it clear before, my vote is firmly placed on the position of keeping this breach buried within these chambers. Admitting our weakness, our division, as public laundry has, potentially, far reaching consequences. The General Chambers can decide on how to deal with the rebellious nature of our ally, but as long as they are our ally, we cannot throw them to the wolves. What message does that send to our enemies?"

"Understanding that we are guests here," began Schneider. "But we would be foolish to not point out the obvious. If Vionna-Frankenlisch is not informed, or any other nation under the purview of this leak, and something were to happen to them…”

Schneider paused for a moment to let the sentence sink in for the others.

"And then it is found out that this organization did nothing to alert anyone. Would that not be worse than taking a little black eye, were others to find out you are looking over their shoulders? Forgive me, Herr Trumont, I only hope you realize that there may be unintended consequences here, and that the easy choice is not always the best one." Schneider finished.

Trumont snorted.
“That’s fine. I get your point, as I do Lady d’Aranda-Godoy’s, but I do think that we need to minimize the damage here. We cannot just go on letting every nation we spy on know that their information may have been peeked on by unintended eyes. That’s not how the intel business works, Herr Schneider. There are more issues at stake here than informing someone we spied on them, then fucked up and lost control of that information. There’s also the assets that will be compromised were we to tell all these potential targets what, when, and where their security was put at risk. I’m just not willing to compromise TSO assets…So, no, it’s not an easy choice and that’s why we’re all here in this room to hash it out because we needed all the heads together to make a decision that, no matter what, will affect us in a most horrible fashion. I do think that not putting our assets in Wishtonia at risk is the best option out of all the shitty choices before us.”

Saluretto tapped his pen slowly on the table.
“So, that’s it then?”

Chamkon responded, instead of her boss.
“I think so. It has to be.”

Trumont agreed.
“Yes, we’re done discussing this. I think we have come to a consensus. We will keep this business between us, at least until we can nail down more details. Then we give a report to the TSO legislature in closed session. If they decide something different from there, then we go with that.”

Dajnuski looked skeptical. From his point of view, the opinion in the room was more towards informing the compromised nations, if not almost evenly divided. There would be other battles to fight, however, and this was not one that really concerned Glisandia that much. The Grand Duchy didn’t have many concerns at all, really, when it came to Wishtonia.

Pietro Lindauer looked at his colleagues around the room. He was certain that the evident rift now would not help in repairing relations between all the TSO nations. Events in Austrakia, Lacetanya, and now Southeast Madurin had done a lot to tear at those bonds. It didn’t matter who wanted what, at this point. The damage was done. The TSO was slipping further from the strong alliance they had been in Northern Tavlyria, and Qasifya. But Lindauer was a solid NESA officer. He knew why they couldn’t just tell Vionna-Frankenlsch about this. Not without heavily filtering the info, at least.
“Well, I think there’s nothing else pending that absolutely has to be discussed today. Shall we call it a day?”

“I think so.”

They all walked out of the conference room to carry on with their duties of gathering and organizing more data for the TSO.

[RP was contributed by Neu Engollon, Glisandia, Taranima, Jumnia, Espicuta, Reinhalt, Nova Secta (Saescia) and Roman Federated States.]
Last edited by Terre des Gaules on Sun Sep 11, 2022 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
This nation has many touch points with our dimension's France, including several historical events and characters such as Marshal Napoleon Bonaparte (Michel Ney becomes Emperor) and Marshal Foch. Gaulic French is the official national language.

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Espicuta
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 10
Founded: May 17, 2021
Mother Knows Best State

Postby Espicuta » Sun Sep 11, 2022 7:49 am

Aquilla, Queendom of Espicuta

Lucrezia, the Countess d'Aranda-Godoy had hurried back to her homeland on the first flight to Aquilla she could find. She had ended up with a pounding headache, a sore tummy from the unfamiliar food, and three grand out of pocket; but she had also gotten back to Espicuta in speed and luxury before midnight, which was more important. She had arranged an emergency meeting with the director of the RDI, Sara de Pormicula, while she was on the plane which had gone as expected. Baroness de Pormicula had, initially, been delighted with Lucrezia's haste to return to the capital, assuming that the Countess' urgency resulted from some fresh intelligence regarding Lacetanya. When San Rosito was mentioned, the Baroness' interest seemed to wane, and she had even yawned at the mention of Vionna-Frankenlisch - a friend (and old enemy) to the west, outside of Teremara.

When the situation had been fully explained, however, Baroness de Pormicula grasped the seriousness of it immediately. The close-minded fools on the TSO intelligence committee may have chosen to remain idle, but Espicuta was ever her own mistress. Lady d'Aranda-Godoy explained, and the Baroness agreed, that to withhold the revelation from Vionna-Frankenlisch was dishonourable and dangerous. If Vionna-Frankenlisch discovered on her own that the TSO had known and withheld their knowledge, Espicuta would not wish to be dragged into the Empire's bad books with them. Not to mention, if the San Rositan's (ridiculous) claim on Kenega was pressed successfully, it could disrupt the balance of power irreparably. The two noblewomen did the only thing they knew to do. They spoke to the Queen...


The bottle had been a gift from Norbet Tollens, one of the finest men the ambassador had known, it was made of good black glass and the bottom third was cut neatly in the Gallandian style with embossed fleur-de-lis and cartoonish crowns. Though he had been saving it for some great occasion which never quite seemed to come about, The Honourable Sir Louis Smythe-Whittaker had immediately taken the bottle out of his cabinet when the news arrived that the stunning Lucrezia, Countess of Arandara and Godosten, was visiting the embassy residence on urgent business.

Sir Louis had been Ambassador from the Court of Saint Romulus to the Queendom of Espicuta for going on five years and he had encountered Lady d'Aranda-Godoy precisely once. The meeting had occurred at a ball for Queen Maria's 30th birthday, two years prior. He hastened about his sitting-room, with the help of a steward, making the place presentable for the distinguished guest. Once the place had been made spotless, Sir Louis placed the bottle, and a pair of fine crystal glasses, on a tall hexagonal table between two armchairs by the well-stoked fireplace. He was just looking over the room and straightening out the Afghan rug when a knocking from the door startled him. His butler entered. "Is she here? The Countess?" Sir Louis asked.

"She is, sir. I'm sure she will be up presently," the butler explained, "Her Ladyship is carrying a Derringer, and there is some difficulty in persuading her to be disarmed."

"Oh never mind that," the Ambassador shook his head, "let her keep her popgun. Send her up."

When Lady d'Aranda-Godoy was finally through the door and introduced by the butler (who promptly made himself scarce), Sir Louis bowed his head reverently and greeted her with a cheerful, "Countess! Such a delight to see you again. A surprise too, I-"

"A pleasure I'm sure, Ambassador." d'Aranda-Godoy interrupted with the slightest of smiles. Her mastery of the Common Language was complete but she did not enjoy speaking it, as anyone who had endured her tutor would not. She came close to her host and offered her hand demurely for Sir Louis to kiss, which he did somewhat tentatively.

"They told me you were here on pressing business," Sir Louis admitted. "But I thought, perhaps, it would be prudent..." he trailed off, indicating the armchairs and the bottle. To his delight and relief, the Countess was receptive. She settled down on one of the chairs and looked between the Ambassador and the bottle expectantly. "Ah, of course." Sir Louis leaned forward and, with some strain, uncorked the bottle. Immediately, a pleasant scent of cherry and almond emanated from it and Sir Louis poured each of them a generous, bright ruby dosage of the wine within. He sat down and they clinked glasses. "To Her Majesty, Queen Maria," the Ambassador toasted diplomatically. "Now-"

"Now to business." The Countess interrupted again. She took a moment to brush dark ringlets out of her face and to study her host. She recognised Sir Louis Smythe-Whittaker - she had met him before at a royal function and she'd had cause to look over his RDI file several times as well. The Ambassador was a tad more portly than he'd been when they'd met before, but he was still tall and relatively handsome in the manner that Imperial diplomats, even rather older ones, tended to be. With well-groomed hair (sleek black, in Sir Louis' case) slicked over, and a thin moustache, he was the quintessential Imperial ambassador. "Something rather important has come to our attention through... Channels." d'Aranda-Godoy reached into her brown trenchcoat, which she had yet to remove, and produced a cotton envelope. "And it is the opinion of the RDI, not to mention Her Majesty the Queen, that His Imperial Majesty's Government should be made aware."

In truth, Queen Maria had been very uncomfortable when approached about the situation. Lady d'Aranda-Godoy and Lady de Pormicula had woken her up and wasted twenty minutes comforting her when she started crying. But eventually, she had been convinced to look through the report the two noblewomen had hastily, yet carefully, prepared for the Ambassador. Initially, the Queen had objected - using many of the same points that Trumont had. After some persuasion, however, she had come to understand that honour was at stake and had given her approval.

The envelope, prepared in ninety minutes by d'Aranda-Godoy and de Pormicula, included a general overview of the situation, a profile on the San Rositan Captain Villareal, and a highly-censored set of RDI papers on San Rosito. d'Aranda-Godoy reached over the table and handed it to the Ambassador. "Captain Elizondo Villareal was a San Rositan military liaison in Roma at the TSO HQ. He fled Roma yesterday. We believe that he stole TSO intelligence to provide to his own government." She explained, and paused to drink some wine. Sir Louis was enrapt but the Countess did not want to explain any more than the basics. "The intel was taken from the Wishtonia desk. Therefore, the most logical conclusion is that what was taken was related to Kenega. San Rosito's ridiculous claim is well-known and they have championed it for years. If they have stolen intelligence from the Wishtonia desk, I'd bet my hat that it was on Kenega." The Countess was not wearing a hat, but Sir Louis took the point. He looked down dumbly at the envelope in his hand. "That," the Countess finished her explanation, "is for your government. It explains the situation and should give you a bit of a head-start if things become serious."

Sir Louis tucked the envelope into his waistcoat. "Gosh..." He muttered, then knocked back his drink. "Thank you, Countess. Forgive me," he spoke, "this is all rather a lot to take in at one in the morning."

"If it comes down to it," the Countess smiled, "remember who told you."

"We will... We will..." Sir Louis promised her. He glanced at the clock, then at the bottle on the table, then back to his guest. "What will you do now?" He asked.

"I will stay here, of course." d'Aranda-Godoy chuckled and replied. "And finish the bottle with you..."

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San Rosito
Secretary
 
Posts: 33
Founded: May 28, 2020
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby San Rosito » Sun Sep 11, 2022 9:58 pm

On board the BNSR Triunfo
Wishton Sea
230 km from Kenega


It was slow going, having to maneuver around the warzone that was Jaragupta right now with a whole massive fleet. They should be safe from the Gauls trying to block them or worse. It was certain that the ISVN (International Socialist Volunteer Navy) fleet off the east coast of Jaragupta, supporting what they now called the People’s Republic of Gahana, as a breakaway smaller satellite island from the Kingdom of Jaragupta, would be less receptive to their presence and likely fire on them.

What they could not rely on was stealth. At some point soon, the fleet would be present on satellite tracking to all who had such capabilities, or had allies who did. What they might be able to rely on is speed and surprise. The gamble was what all the powers who had a stake in Wishtonia would make of a San Rositan fleet pushing hard for the center of the region. Some were Teremaran powers in the TSO. Then there were the Hutanjians, a considerable power in their own right. They had projected power into Cornellia at one point, so they were not so easily to be dismissed.

The Cardwithians were engaged in Jaragupta with their ISVC allies, but certainly had enough in their home waters to also put attention to the Middle Waters Fleet. Then there was the Cardwithians’ benefactors, the Falkasians, with a major base on East Cardwith, and several other satellite bases and assets throughout the islands. They could certainly see a threat in a TSO fleet sailing towards them.

General Sepulveda sat in the planning room one deck below the bridge, with Admiral Veracruz nearby, and several other commanding officers of the expedition around. They looked over the maps of Kenega, Owaya, and the surrounding areas; weather reports; and updated sitreps of where enemy and neutral forces were. Back when relations were better between them and Gaul, they had been able to rent launch space at the Launch Center the Gauls maintained in Dachine, putting several satellites into orbit. It was paying off major dividends now.

What the discussions in Puerto Cristal had revolved around in surviving this gauntlet was one main guiding principle - No one would give enough of a fuck to react fast enough. They might catch some information ahead of time as to what was coming their general direction. They might even be bothered enough to start to mobilize a response, especially if they found offense to the TSO, the far-right leaning politics of the Republic, or just were offended by Latins/Southeast Madurinites showing power in general.

But that took time to organize a response, and to weigh out the political ramifications, and to debate in political discussions in their respective capitals as to whether they should make the first move and attack a foreign fleet in cold blood. By the time all that was sorted, it was far too late for any of them to react. The attack on the true target would now be well under way. Then their discussions would inevitably turn towards whether they should step in and save the Vionna-Frankenlischians or not. It was then up to the San Rositan diplomatic corps and their friends in the TSO to dissuade anyone from so foolish a move as that.

The San Rositans just needed to be a little closer to launch the attack, and that time was fast approaching. They were in range now to fire the cruise missiles, but if they launched now, the follow up forces would not be able to arrive on time in order to do their job before the enemy had recovered from the missile attacks.

Colonel Diego Ochoa, CO of the 3rd Heavy Strike Battalion/44th Inf. Bde/2nd Division, put down a GXP sat phone and turned to Sepulveda.
“General, the resupply ships are all under way now from Nueva Vista and Carlita…”

“Finally!”

“...And the assault and escort squadrons have all been airborne for some time now.”
The 2nd Airborne Battalion of the 44th Brigade was on those transports, being escorted by the Black Condors of the 21st, and the Silver Condors of the 26th squadrons. They would get at least two mid-air refuels before arriving over the AO. They would need to paradrop after the initial naval air sorties and cruise missiles had done their work to soften up the defenses.

The air strips would preferably need to be taken intact, and there was a lot slated to make that happen. In fact, most of the timing on the initial strike revolved around that being the primary objective. It was not a common objective of most invasion operations, and many thought it was unobtainable in modern times, especially with a concentrated resistance that could re-take their air strips, or at least do severe damage to enemy planes trying to use their air strips.

However, what awaited them on Kenega was not a concentrated, prepared force. The chance that the Kenegans and their Imperial overlords could establish such a determined resistance was next to impossible and super unlikely. It was apples and oranges to compare Barracuda to such operations where invaders dropped into a fierce, well trained territory of defenders.
The Kenegan force consisted of beach life guards and crooked cops. The Imperial force was a few hundred drunk Anglos far to the west of their initial targets.

That was just the second stage of many steps in the attack, however.
Simultaneously, the amphibious assaults needed to hit soon after the Island’s naval defense was taken out. It would take constant coordination. There was no turning back now. If Puerto Cristal were to issue a re-call order, it would certainly have happened by now.

The gathered officers looked at the clock, checking their watches also to make sure they were all synced, then they all stared at each other.

Admiral Veracruz focused on General Sepulveda first.
“You need to address the men. We will be near the line where we must launch the cruise missiles within minutes.”

“I am aware, yes, Admiral. Perhaps you will address your fleet over the main channel?”

“I plan to, yes. In fact, gentlemen…” there were no women present at this high rank, due to San Rosito’s traditional patriarchal system. In time, that would change.
He picked up a phone that was on the wall, connected to the ship’s system.
“Be sure to record what I’m about to say and send it encrypted through the fleet network.”

It was unfortunate that it couldn’t be live broadcast simultaneously to the whole fleet, but they all knew that an interception by any foreign ears, human or electronic, could blow Operation Barracuda out of the water before it really began.
Aye, Admiral.” said a tinny voice on the other end.

They waited as the preparation was made for broadcast and recording. A couple of the officers had beads of sweat on their foreheads, but one couldn’t be sure that wasn’t from the poor air flow in the compartment, rather than nervousness.

Veracruz cleared his throat.
“Sailors, pilots, crew, soldiers and honorable servicemen and women of the San Rositan Armed Forces…I think you may have found out by now, if a superior has not told you yet, that we are not headed home. We have another mission. The danger with the Kingdom of Brazil is over. You have served, and continue to serve, honorably. On behalf of the Council and the General Command Staff, I salute your dedication, your patriotism, and your continued loyalty to the Republic. We stand here at a vital, historic moment. We are now about to re-claim our long lost cousin, Kenega. We are now at war with the Empire of Vionna-Frankenlisch. The Council salutes you! Myself and General Sepulveda salute you, and your officers salute you! We know you will make us proud as you smash the Francas! God Speed.”

He paused before hanging up the handset. Then he looked around, smiling.
“How was that?”

General Sepulveda smirked back, shrugging.
“It was perfect. I would have nothing more to add.”

The Admiral produced his bottle of cane liquor and filled any cups at hand. Sepulveda looked genuinely perplexed as Veracruz seemed to frequently produce a bottle of liquor out of practically thin air.

Once all the cups were filled and in hand, he raised what was left in the bottle.
“Gentlemen, to Operation Barracuda!”

“To Barracuda!”

Sepulveda washed down the liquor, trying not to audibly gag. He would prefer tequila. He looked up at the clock, and his watch for good measure.
“Mi Dio! It’s time, Admiral!”

“Yes, it is!”

“No, time for the actual launches! Let’s get the bombers in the air and be ready to launch the missiles…”

“Oh, yes. Let’s do that. Now! Captain Bemento, make it happen! Give the order to launch the squadrons.”

“Aye, Admiral!”




Thousands of feet above the Wishton Sea

Sargento Miguel Diaz sat on his jump seat wrestling with his thoughts as all his squad were doing. They had a long flight ahead of them, many hours, before they reached their final destination…not death…or maybe, but hopefully, before that, the target of their mission.

The speech they had gotten on the tarmac before they boarded had not been so rousing enough for them to contemplate never returning to the Republic and feeling satisfied about it. It was up to the Lieutenants and NCOs like Diaz to reassure the men of A Co/2nd Bn/44th Bde that this was temporary, a larf…a brief episode.

They would do their jobs well and they would be back home before Navidad. They had been told that same thing when they mobilized for Beloura and possibly going to war with Brazil. Now they had heard it again as they were thrown onto planes without being able to go home to families. While they had gotten behind the cause of sticking it to the Brazilians, not a one of them understood why they had to do it to the Kenegans. Most San Rositans had never even met a Kenegan, unless they were well to do and could afford a hedonistic vacation there. Some understood punishing the Vionna-Frankenlischians. The arrogant Anglos were despised much more than the island folk of Wishtonia.

All this ran through Diaz’ head as he looked at his small copy of the New Testament. He took comfort from it sometimes, but right now, the words all just ran together into a gray blur. He tucked it back into a pocket of his plate carrier. Some of the men had brought books, comic books, or pictures of loved ones.

No one had phones. They had been confiscated before they were to ready for an attack on Beloura that never happened, and they had never been returned. Even if a soldier had managed to sneak a phone, they would know not to put their fellows at risk by using it and having the enemy use their social data against them. Diaz hoped so, anyway. The classes they had had on that subject didn’t seem to have quite sunken in as much as some of the others.

Miguel felt his lower section grumble. He wasn’t quite sure if that was due to hunger, or if it was an early signal that he had to clear his system to make way for more food.

There was actually a makeshift stall on board for taking care of business, but only for solid waste. It would be full and overflowing way too soon. There was no back up plan for when that happened. Everyone would need to just pucker up, presumably. Diaz knew there would be some underwear tossed once they got to their target and had finished the first part of their mission.

For liquid waste, they had bottles to pass around.
Every so often, an air force crewman walked around and collected the piss bottles into a large cargo sack. What would he do with them later? Toss them out into the sea? Could they do the same for the crapper so it didn’t fill up and be rendered inoperable?
Something needed to be done as the smell got worse and worse.

These thoughts were gross, but they had done their job and succeeded in pushing out the fearful thoughts of a hail of bullets greeting Diaz and his squad as they dropped onto Kenega, far from home. They had practiced how to capture the airfields in the weeks prior, but had not known that it was actually Kenegan, and not Brazilian airfields they were supposed to capture intact.

The more he thought about it, the stranger it seemed to try to capture Brazilian airfields intact when perfectly good San Rositan airfields were not that far away. Now it all made a lot more sense. They only needed to hold out and clear out any defenders until the special operations soldiers arrived to do their part, then the engineers behind them.

Diaz looked back out the nearest window at the bejeweled, shimmering ocean down below. His eyes became heavily droopy and he welcomed it. Finally, sleep would overtake him and he could get in some good rest before the drop. He hadn’t suggested that to his men, but hopefully he could lead by example, and they would just take their cues to do the same.

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Kenega
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Founded: Jan 23, 2013
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Kenega » Mon Sep 19, 2022 4:42 am

Rifflington
Kenega City, Kenega


A lot had been said in the press about Prime Minister Kendal Devarnum. That he was a bit of a letch, and several women had come out to say so, although that was as far as the articles went, as no one could actually recall a time he had actually acted fully inappropriately and taken advantage of those women.

That he was corrupt with connections to the Underworld, and had dozens of secret bank accounts, both through Kenegan banks and elsewhere in the world, although no proof of these accounts ever surfaced.

That he was a very hands-off, uncaring Prime Minister as inflation blew up, criminal enterprises rose on the Island, and the rest of Wishtonia burned around them. Much had been made about his indifference to raise national funds for relief efforts, first for the war in Hutanjia, and now for the one in Jaragupta.
Rather that he would prefer to see Kenegan corporations make a quick buck, selling to all sides in the conflicts that erupted in Wishtonia.
Although to be fair, he wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Much of the Kenegan upper class were also rather jaded and indifferent to the suffering, both of other fellow Wishtonians, and to the lower classes in their very own Commonwealth.

Very little made it to the press about his better attributes. That he was an excellent golfer. That he hosted great parties around the capital city in clubs and parks, ostensibly to raise funds to benefit those lower classes that he allegedly cared so little about.

Most of all, Devarnum enjoyed, more than anything, to spend time with his grandchildren. Three of them, two boys and a girl. Kevin was 11, and becoming quite the man, but still with quite an imagination. Eloise was 9, and precocious as could be for a girl that age. She felt it was her duty to keep the boys in line, and she tried, but eventually, every time, she gave up and joined them in their scheming to get as dirty in the pursuit of fun as possible. The littlest was Arlan, at age 6.

Arlan was the one who was able to find the best, most interesting bugs.
Kendal worried because Kenega did have its share of poisonous bugs and spiders, as did most of the tropical Wishtonian Islands. Before he touched anything, he had to check with Papa, but of course, when the adults were not around, he did as he pleased, sometimes to the horror of his mother.

Either at his son’s house, or at the Prime Minister’s residence closer to the downtown area, away from the posh Rifflington - it mattered not to him where. He loved to watch them frolick and play with their toys, explore, and dig in the yard, and his face would light up with delight and feigned wonder as they presented him with their finds for that day. Bugs, worms, a bird skeleton, a delicate yellow flower, and other ephemera that only a child, horticulturist, or odd scientist could find fascinating.

So when one of his aides strode out to interrupt this time, he was understandably a bit steamed under the collar. At first, even though he saw him in his peripheral, he pretended to not notice him until he was right up on Kendal.
“Sir, I am so very sorry to disturb you, but I do think you should take a break. We have had some recent shocking information come up that needs your attention…”

Devarnum turned on him, taking a few steps away from the children. He spoke in a whispered tone.
“What is it, Cornelius? Another woman has come forward to say I remarked too loudly about her chest?”

“Er, no, sir. Not like that. We got word from the Governor-General’s Office. It’s about the San Rosito situation.”

Kendal snorted.
“What San Rosito situation?! There’s no…er…wait.” He recalled the meeting they had had some months back with the Frankenlischians about the threats and claims. “What did they say this time?”

“It’s not what they said, it’s what they are doing.”

“Cornelius, if you don’t stop being vague, I’m going to slap you very hard and embarrass you in front of the children.”

“We need to move you to the car.”

“I see. Are my family in danger?” He motioned to the children, and nodded to his daughter-in-law, watching from a kitchen window.

“I think they might be if you stayed, but not if you leave them, removing the target.”

“Hmmm. You better tell me what’s going on as soon as we get in the car.”

He bent down.
“Little ones! Papa has to go now! Important leader business.”

“No!!” “You can’t go!”

He hugged them all really tight.
“I’m sorry, but yes, Papa must go now.”

“You promised dinner!” A sullen Kevin crossed his arms.

“It’s a silly promise for me to make when so many people in the whole Commonwealth rely on my promises every day, lad. Another time.” He tousled the young pre-teen’s hair.

His daughter-in-law stepped out into the yard, wiping her hands on an apron.
“You’re leaving?”

“I’m afraid I must. Duty calls. Tell Miles I’m sorry I missed him and we’ll have to have dinner another time.”
He reached out, tenderly grabbing her arm at the elbow.

She nodded slowly, noting a certain anxiety present in her father-in-law that she had rarely, if ever, seen.
“I’m sure he’ll understand.”




On Highway K-1
Downtown Kenega City


They were in the car, speeding towards the Prime Minister’s residence downtown.
“Now you better fucking tell me what this is about, Cornelius! Fideh!”

Cornelius physically felt his head snap back, so taken aback by the Prime Minister using the native cuss word, which was so much more extreme than the Anglo words and F-bombs, but they would never understand that.

The PM continued, “I have an important golf outing early tomorrow with Lady Randolph (Governor-General of Kenega) and James Taylor (the Earl of Amin was Governor-General of Owaya, the other main Frankenlischian possession in Wishtonia.) at Kapunda Club. I’m supposed to meet the Earl at the airport later this evening, as you know.”

“Yes, he canceled. He’s not flying in. So did Lady Randolph. They won’t be able to meet you at Kapunda.”

“Because of this…whatever this is?”

Cornelius nodded.

“Hmmm. Take note, Cornelius. Once again the brown men are the last to know.”

“There was a theft of Wishtonian intelligence.”

“Here?”

“In Roma…The Roman Federated States, at the TSO headquarters.”

Devarnum looked at him with a tilted head.
“So? And?”

“It was perpetrated by a San Rositan military liaison.”

“And?”

“That’s all I know about that.”

“What is the other thing you know?”

“The largest San Rositan fleet is streaming at a fast clip south, they are in the Wishton Sea.”

“Largest? They have more than one?”

“Apparently.”

“I want Lady Randolph on the phone. Now!”

It took a minute for Cornelius to reach a secretary to patch a call through. As Devarnum listened to the discussion to get her on the phone, he shook his head.
“I have her on direct speed dial, idiot. None of that was necessary.”

Cornelius had a neutral look as he handed over the phone.

Devarnum’s face lit up, as he saw her face appear on the screen.
“Lady Randolph, it seems like ages since we have talked!”

If the Baroness Bamber was frustrated by Devarnum's familiarity (which she was), she didn't allow it to show. As always, she greeted the Kenegan PM with a polite, thin-lipped smile and a warm, "Prime Minister, a pleasure as always."

“I hope I didn’t disturb you, Lady Randoph?”

Devarnum had, in fact, disturbed the Governor-General from an early meal but it would be damn bad form to admit that. Nobility was never disturbed by the actions of common men. "No, not at all. I always have time for yourself. I imagine you've just heard some damn worrying news?"

Kendal smiled.
“Yes, I am sure you were preparing to get some beauty rest, not that you need much, before I slaughtered you and James on the golf course in the morning…’Damn worrying news’. That’s an interesting way to put that.” His voice dropped several octaves, sounding almost gravelly, and very serious. “Did you receive any ‘Damn worrying news’ lately?”

Lady Randolph visibly cringed at the use of an Earl's Christian name but swiftly hid her displeasure with an amused chuckle. In truth she had a decent working relationship with Devarnum and she appreciated her colleague's good humour, but he had a knack for casual impudence which might send an older aristocrat into a rage.

"Funnily enough I did," Randolph replied, with concern daring to appear on her face. The young Baroness was scarcely ever rattled, but she'd had as little time to digest the news as she'd had to digest her dinner. "A package just arrived from the Espicutan Consulate and I'm not exactly delighted with its contents. You've heard about the San Rositan fleet?"

“Well, yes…but why am I hearing it from my minion, told by your minion?”

"I'm not sure I follow… I've only just gotten the news myself."

Devarnum did indeed tend to have a very inflated sense of himself. He had been called pompous by political peers on more than one occasion.
“Baroness Bamber, I will try to be less cryptic here - I am concerned that you didn’t feel the need to share this with me immediately. The news affects my government. I have the duty to inform the Services to prepare, should they have to, and to get everything else in motion. I don’t..I’m not…even sure what this means…Weren’t they at war with the Royal Brazilians just like…a minute ago? Are they really even heading here? What was this theft of info? Have you already informed Director Hollander and Commander MacTavish, or am I needing to do that?”

The baroness was increasingly grateful that she had inherited the patience of her forebears. "Prime Minister, I appreciate your duty as I know you appreciate mine but you must understand that this has only just filtered through to me as well." She gestured frantically to an unseen aide, waving them off to pass the news on to the mentioned parties. "This represents a sudden and severe change in policy by San Rosito. As you say, they've been keeping busy with the Royal Brazilians and this is the last thing anyone expected. A San Rositan military officer who was stationed in Roma has made off with intelligence relating to Wishtonia - now we don't know for sure what that intelligence is but we can have a damn good guess. By now the news will have reached Brigadier Wappelode at Port Faronham and very soon it will get to MacTavish and Hollander but I've heard nothing from San Rosito or Frankenlisch."

Cornelius interjected from off screen.
“I’m sorry, Prime Minister, Baronness…We were trying to contact Director Hollander and Commander MacTavish, but their assistants really wanted them to hear it directly from the Prime Minister. I don’t think they really took the news seriously coming through intermediaries.”

Devarnum glared at Cornelius. He was ready to not only fire him, but throw him out the car door to see his body hurdle along the speeding by highway. Much of this, in Kendal's mind, was due to the incompetence of Cornelius and the rest of his staff.
“First of all, this seems earlier than their deadline that they issued to your people. Also, how do we know this isn’t some weird operation to fake out the Brazilians? I mean, how worried should we really be?”

"Well you've rather hit the nail on the head," Lady Randolph threw up her hands. "It could well be some odd gambit. Unless we hear from them or receive fresh intelligence, we may not know for definite until things are rather out of our hands. I apologise for sounding the pessimist but I think the best we can do is prepare while we can and I'll get on to Frankenlisch about the situation."

“I see. Well, if they were to really hit us, what could we do about it? To stop it?”

"Not very much, but we could at least put up a fight. I suppose it rather depends on what they're coming with exactly. If we're lucky, and good, we might be able to hold on until reinforcements arrive from Owaya. But we haven't got the fleet or the air power to stop them landing if they're serious about this. That's assuming the worst case scenario."

“Right. When do we start assuming that?”

[Additional RP Courtesy of Vionna-Frankenlisch]
Last edited by Kenega on Mon Sep 19, 2022 5:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Reinhalt
Political Columnist
 
Posts: 4
Founded: Aug 20, 2022
Anarchy

Postby Reinhalt » Mon Sep 19, 2022 4:01 pm

The Odyssey bobbed slowly in the water as she cruised lackadaisically along the water. The dark blue yacht wasn't the flashiest ship, nor was she even close to being the largest pleasure craft near the island nation Kenega. But she was custom built and every detail down the the Zinken walnut molding was carefully hand selected by her owner, Zahn Schultz. Zahn had struck it rich through some lucky investments in cryptocurrency. Zahn now had enough wealth to do almost anything he wanted for the rest of his life. And now that mostly involved cruising around the waters around Wishtonia alternating between diving in the mesmerizing waters around some of the islands there and partying in some of the more exclusive night clubs. Luckily for Zahn, even though he was nearly thirty five years old, he'd hired a small crew of people that kept him out of trouble and weren't parasites sucking him poor for all he's worth.

Zahn sat on the back swim deck of his ship as it slowly putted through the waters. He kicked his feet lazily and took another drink from the frosty beer can in his hand. He stared at the open expanse behind his vessel barely able to see the shore of the island nation of Kenega off in the distance. The open tranquility was his second favorite part of being an island hopping bum. His favorite part was what they were getting ready to do.

The Odyssey, in addition to having some very high end luxuries for Zahn and his crew, was also equipped with high end sonar equipment to scan the ocean floors for items much like the subject of Zahn's search today. At the end of the nineteenth century, the HMNS Walshingham of the Imperial Navy of Vionna-Frankenlisch had met an untimely end out here.

Zahn enjoyed diving into dangerous waters, and the HMNS Walshingham was no exception. He planned to dive into the wreck and explore her as best he could. And though diving into the ship was risky, the most risky part was the area off limits by the Imperials. Zahn knew if he was caught even his money wouldn't be able to keep him out of jail with locals. That risk was what made it exciting however, and the younger blond haired man enjoyed the risk.

"We're coming up on her location sir." came the declaration of his right hand woman, Kaia. Kaia was from the nation of Pahanga, hailing from the southern isles of the nation where the majority of the Maori people lived. Zahn stood up on the swim deck and climbed up into the yacht. He followed the physically imposing Kaia to the top of the yacht where the remainder of his crew currently aboard the ship, a pair of brothers from Figuerroa, Khalid and Omar. Khalid lazily steered the vessel while Omar scanned the sonar screen and checked the ship's coordinates against the known coordinates of the HMNS Walshingham. Zahn tossed his empty beer can and leaned in over Omar's shoulder intently watching the screen.

"There" he proclaimed excitedly. Khalid reversed the ship's engines and slowly the vessel came to a stop. Zahn rushed to the back of the ship where his driving gear was stowed, Kaia hot on his tail. She knew no matter what amount of telling him the dive was a stupid idea, he would do it anyways. Zahn brushed a few of the dirty blonde locks of hair from his face as he slipped into his diving gear. Several minutes later Zahn was diving into the deep blue water. As he descended towards the ship wreck he noted a few skipjacks, maybe he would spear a few later for dinner once the dive was finished.

As he slowly made his decent into the waters he could begin to see the outline of the old warship begin to appear from the depths like a great ghost welcoming Zahn. He imagined he could hear the spirits of the men that died aboard the ship, beckoning him to come closer into their embrace. He took a few pictures, capturing the ship's haunting details before kicking his feet and swimming closer to the vessel.

He was always amused at how battleships we're designed before the "Dreadnought" revolution. The forend of the vessel was buried into the ocean, driven in when she sunk over a century ago. Swimming along the side of the ship, Zahn snapped more photos of the ship. The years had not been kind to the old vessel, rust ate away at her body like a ravenous cancer consuming anything and everything. The state of decay only seemed to add to her almost spectral like image.

Zahn wanted to swim closer, but doing so felt sacrilegious. The ship was the tomb for over three hundred sailors, disturbing the vessel felt akin to digging up a grave to Zahn. He snapped a few pictures of the forwards turret frozen in their forward position maintaining their vigilance for the rest of eternity. As he swam past the bridge of the ship he thought he saw a phantom figure for just a moment. He swam back along the side of the ship, capturing her essence with each photograph he took.

Nearing the end of the old warship, Zahn got quite the scare when a large shadow passed over him. Calming his beating heart, he realized it was nothing more than a harmless leopard shark. Glad that he hadn't soiled his dive suit, Zahn thought it best to begin his ascent back to The Odyssey.

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San Rosito
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Founded: May 28, 2020
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby San Rosito » Mon Sep 19, 2022 8:08 pm

On board the BNSR Triunfo
Wishton Sea
144 km from Kenegan Territorial Waters


This was it. The Command staff for Operation Barracuda stood watching on the bridge as aircraft took off from the deck of the massive carrier, the only full battle carrier in the Navy of the Republic. There had been enough toasts earlier, and they were all a little bleary eyed from all the cane liquor and tequila that had been passed around.

Admiral Veracruz produced another bottle.
“We should toast when the last fighter jet takes off for Kenega!”

“NO!!” The rest of them shouted in unison.

General Sepulveda turned to the Admiral, the man who was the second in command of all forces in play for Operation Barracuda. He hated to deflate the man, but this was all a bit too much.
“Efrain, we have had enough, and we need to keep clearer heads now. These are crucial minutes.”
As it was, Sepulveda was fearful he might have already overdone it. He didn’t even have the option of a quick catnap to regain his wits, as every minute of the next few hours was spoken for in order to ensure the invasion went off without a hitch.
“Let’s just focus on the tasks at hand and getting everyone and everything off to where they need to be, yes?”

Veracruz looked a bit chastised, but recovered quick enough.
“Fine. What is next?”

“Well, the cruise missiles are off. They should be impacting in a couple minutes on the ships, airfields, stations, depots, command and control centers, and other targets. The fighter/bombers will arrive soon after to deliver their payloads and attack any enemy aircraft that rise up to come for us.
After the initial cluster munitions detonate around the hangars, incapacitating the enemy planes, the 2nd Airborne Battalion of the 44th Brigade will drop onto their designated LZs to neutralize any survivors and spread out a perimeter. The gunships will be heading out next from these decks, as they will be supporting the paratroopers who will be arriving in the AO momentarily. Of course we need to get a bit closer to shore.
Capturing the airfields is paramount. It’s not often been attempted in modern warfare, as I might have mentioned before…”

“Yes, I still don’t understand why...”

“Mainly because it can be more costly to sacrifice air support assets in the process of defending against, and suppressing counterattacks than to just wait until the area is more secure, and use the mid-air refuelers in the meantime. If you think about it, if we are not able to suppress all the defenders in the beachheads, one errant Imperial or Kenegan mortar could render a multi-million dollar aircraft of ours into a scrap heap. The bookkeeping, nevermind the wasted lives, just doesn’t work out on such a scenario…
Despite that, we have to try and the Council has agreed. We need those airfields immediately to land all the aircraft coming in straight from the Republic, rather than keep sending them home on return trips, resulting in costly wasted hours. The supplies those transports carry are essential, that we don’t want to wait on from cargo ships that will take days to get here.
Also, the benefit of rearmed and refueled ground support aircraft that we can maintain close at hand, and keep sending after the remaining defenses, land and sea. So…We will claw and bite our way out from the East and South as we secure those fields.”

They didn’t just have big red bullseyes painted on the Coast Guard/Gendarme air strips at Terelenga Station and Kenega City International Airport, but every little commuter air strip, mapped out for months by San Rositan scouts posing as tourists, surrounding the two urban centers, and everything in between. So including the two Commonwealth Services air bases, they had six total air fields, with another smaller residential/commercial air field just outside Terelenga; two more around the Kenega City metropolitan area, one of them being in Marousha; and the sixth being an airfield at the southeastern peninsula tip of the Island in Heathsdale, privately owned by Matchcorp.

Lt. Commander Pascal Garando looked on silently as General Sepulveda spoke. As Commander of the First Naval Air Squadron, a lot of this nearly impossible task fell on his people to closely support the assaulting paratroops with strike missions around the two cities. It was his Maelstroms and Panters taking off right now from the deck.

Lt. Colonel Rafael Arrazola was in charge of the Second Naval Air Squadron, which consisted of most of the rotor aircraft aboard the Triunfo. It was his BASD-1J Gunships and BASD-2N marine helos that would be heading in to hover and provide constant support during the airfield takeovers, taking out every cluster of enemy troops, armor, and heavy weapons/artillery emplacements in visible radius. Not of lesser importance, BASD-4S special ops helos would be in tow, loaded with the 3rd Battalion and other first elements of the 1st Brigade of the Fusilero Naval who would also air assault in and take part in operations targeted at the defending garrison stations, mainly against the Kenegan Gendarmes and Coast Guard. They were determined to get their share of the glory, not leaving it all to their counterparts in the Army.
The helos would be taking off next, leaving the Triunfo nearly defenseless but for one small flight of Garando’s Maelstroms that would stay behind and run an aggressive CAP.

The P21 Coriolis was technically listed as stationed with the Triunfo, but actually it was land based at Carlita Island, as it was too big to land and takeoff from the carrier. It was already airborne, being refueled by the same mid-air refuelers assigned to the inbound air armada. The air crew of the Coriolis had been extensively trained in coordinating with the Middle Waters fleet to provide constant battlefield updates, area radar defense, as well as jamming of enemy systems.

Veracruz got even more serious for a moment.
“So, remind me again, your views on potential reactions from the other third party forces in the area. We have the Gauls, the Hutanjians, the ISVN, the Falkasians, Reinlanders, and some of the smaller powers with defensive navies like Rulapanga and Xianhua. Why are we not as concerned as I think we maybe should be?”
Sepulveda smiled. They had covered this in earlier briefs, but he didn’t mind doing it again. The Admiral had obviously been too focused on when they could celebrate with a good drink again, but to be honestly fair, it was his ships at risk if anyone else reacted to their presence in the region.

“Simply put, they just have too much of a cluster fuck in paying attention to each other to worry about us. What’s one more fleet added to the mix when you already have a stand off with so many of them more suspicious of each other than what some random foreign fleet is up to? Not to mention, we have a direct military alliance with two of these powers - Reinhalt and Gaul, in the TSO. They would think more than twice to interfere with us, especially as we’re avoiding them, if not being completely informative about our intentions. Why would they attack an ally with no provocation?”
This was a bit disingenuous from Sepulveda, as San Rosito had been a lot less forthcoming to their TSO allies about their intentions in operating both in the Middle Waters and Wishtonia Sea.
“Were there to be some united Wishtonian front, it might be a different story, but there is not such a thing. The divisions within this island-strewn region work exactly in our favor and to their detriment, and that is why we don’t concern ourselves with the rest of them, unless they make themselves a concern to be dealt with.”




Major Emilio Moncada was the senior most officer of the First Naval Air Squadron who was actually permitted to be in a cockpit, rather than down in the command center of the Triunfo, directing the squadron and all air assets like his commander and close friend, Pascal Garando.

Like many San Rositan fighter pilots, he had received experience in Qasifya, and like just a smaller handful, in Glisandia and Jumnia, fighting the Osatanians and Yellowsians. Some pilots from both the Naval Air Arm, and the Fuerza Aerea, had been selected to train at the prestigious USG Military Aviation Academy by some of the best instructors in the world. It was a great expense for the San Rositan military, but considered worth it to develop a good corps of combat pilots. Moncada had been one of those pilots.

This small cadre would in turn train a newer generation of San Rositan pilots, first in exercises around the south Madurin sea and the Middle Waters, and then in real combat scenarios, flying patrols against the Royal Brazilians in that dangerous brinkmanship that had just occurred. It was figured that as that core group of pilots had been built up over the last few years, they would be ready for any defensive or offensive operation thrown at the Republic. If any branch of the military were the most confident that they were ready to face what they were being thrown into in the next few months, it should be the pilots of the Fuerza Aerea and of the Fuerza Aerea de Armada.

Moncada flew a F-36N Panter, one of the top of the line aircraft of the Armada’s Air Arm. He and his colleagues, both in Panters and
E0-I6 Maelstroms, were tasked with first, neutralizing the enemy air. Kenega had a paltry air force, run through their Gendarmerie and Coast Guard, that consisted of a handful of ground support aircraft for smuggler interdiction and helicopters. They would be swatted out of the sky the moment they took off.

The more concerning element was the Frankenlischian garrison aircraft, that consisted of Blackthrope Musicians, Privateers, and Fuller Thunderbolts. While they presented more of a challenge, the San Rositan Panters and Maelstroms still heavily outmatched them in most every category. They were hopelessly outdated 3rd and 4th generation aircraft up against the San Rositan 5th generation aircraft. If any of them survived the initial cruise missile attacks, they would have their remaining time intact measured in mere hours, if they didn’t outright surrender on the ground.

The San Rositan Air Force procurement department already had plans on the books to sell off the Kenegan and Frankenlischian aircraft they might capture intact to willing third party buyers.

Lastly, the gunship and ground support pilots were preparing to board their aircraft, but the fleet would need to get still closer to Kenega for them to take off and join the fight. They would be solely focused on the ground defenses that survived the strikes from both the missiles and the multirole fighter bombers of Moncada’s and the other flights. As the last of the fighters were up and off the carrier, the fleet prepared to do just that, doubling their speed to close the distance. Something that could not happen while they maintained a steady speed to enable the Panters and Maelstroms to take off.

The BNSR Guerrero, BNSR Sonora, and BNSR Zamora, submarines, were actually well ahead of the fleet, closing distance on the Kenegan and Frankenlischian ships around the southern ports of the island. They would be the next layer to bring the small garrison fleet to the ocean floor, should not all the cruise missiles hit their mark. The BNSR Quezon and BNSR Velasco hung back in fleet defense, to assist in intercepting any enemy submarines that might be in the area, whether they be Frankenlischian, or a third party interloper such as the Hutanjians or ISVN (International Socialist Volunteer Navy).

Again though, none of that concerned Moncada much. He was vaguely aware of the other operating parts of the Operation, but it was what he and his people were tasked with that absorbed nearly 98% of his mind right now. He was the battle leader of the squadron, but more immediately of Tarantula Flight, who were due to strafe and bomb the surviving enemy at Terlenga Station Air Field.




On board one of the helicopters that was preparing for take off was Captain Antonio Jimenez, along with a very elite crew he had helped to select. Jimenez was trained in airfield operations, and an experienced forward air traffic controller with the Fuerza Aerea. The rest of those on board the BASD-2U helo under his command were also air traffic controllers, aircraft refueling experts, and tarmac operations specialists and various other related specialties. A second helo held a duplicate crew should they lose one to ground fire. Every type of skill they would need to take over an enemy airfield and get it operational to handle incoming (and outgoing) San Rositan air traffic within just a few hours were represented on those two helos. A third helo held a squad of special operations soldiers assigned to their protection.
They would obviously need to work with the Army Engineers to ensure that repairs were made to alleviate any damage to the runways and equipment.

Five more crews, along with their backups, aside from Jimenez’, of similarly trained Air Force personnel would be taking off in order to report to the six captured airfields in southeastern and eastern Kenega. The two largest, of course, were the crews tasked with Kenega City International Airport, and Terlenga Station, the two largest airport/airfields in the AO. They all had attached Special operators to protect them in their vital mission, as the paratroopers would be focused on perimeter defense and pursuing any surviving defenders.

They would be the second line of San Rositan military personnel on the ground, after the paratroopers and air assault raiders. With, appropriately, the second most important job after capturing the airfields - getting them operational again.
Last edited by San Rosito on Tue Sep 20, 2022 4:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Vionna-Frankenlisch
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Posts: 1843
Founded: Jun 21, 2014
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Vionna-Frankenlisch » Tue Sep 20, 2022 4:56 pm

Rachdale, Kingdom of Frankenlisch
Mustering Field

"Battalion, in royal salute, present arms!" The order came. With nervous precision, the thousand troops of the King's Own Middle Frankenlisch Rangers shunted into position - proudly displaying their spotless rifles, bayonets affixed and pointed gleaming at the sky. It was a perfect day for it, a cloudless sky and a warm sun reigned supreme overhead, and a gentle breeze kept the temperature comfortable. The arrayed ranks of the Middle Frankenlisch Rangers were grateful for this fact as they stood stiff in their forest green service dress.

Ahead of the battalion, with his staff around him, Colonel Lord Edward Saunders stood proudly with his sword held skyward in front of his face. The 8th Viscount Rachdale commanded the Rangers as his father had before him and his grandfather before that. The Saunders of Rachdale had been soldiers since before the first Viscount and Edward had proudly continued the tradition. He was 21, absurdly young for battalion command, but it came as a surprise to many that he did actually have combat experience at the head of the 2nd Battalion of the Westonland Fusiliers. The wound he had sustained at the Battle of Entrylli had healed nicely and his career was on the up as well. Sadly it had come at the loss of a gallant old officer - Colonel Heathry of the Mockestone Rifles had died in May and the regiment had been relegated to the Reserve List. To make up for the loss, the King's Own Middle Frankenlisch Rangers had been reactivated. Saunders, therefore, was in command of his own regiment at full strength for the first time.

Strolling along the line, inspecting the stout ranks with a keen eye and a satisfied, good-natured smile was the object of their salute. His Imperial Majesty, King James, wore the khaki service dress of a Field Marshal. He tapped a bronze-knobbed cane on the grass as he walked along and paused, momentarily, to straighten a man's black-plumed caubeen. "Better." He said, retaining his smile, "Remember son, badge in line with the left eye."

"Thank you, Your Imperial Majesty." The soldier, barely suppressing a stammer, replied - much to the King's approval.

Two army officers followed King James closely, keeping half a pace behind him. One, a short and muscular brigadier, shuffled uncomfortably as a gust of wind flapped the King's impressive mane into his face. He was Brigadier General Christopher Fitz-Lewis-Lyme, the bastard son of the Earl of Winnope and the Marchioness of Selsham. The other officer was another baseborn, though far more important. Princess Adelaide Douglas Fitz-Kieth was tall and pale, and throughout the day had wasted her handsome features by contorting them into a near-constant frown, except for when the King was speaking to her. Fitz-Kieth was Princess of Riverland-Palatinate, an important region of eastern Vionna and she caught Colonel Saunders' eye as the Royal party approached his staff. She smiled, which seemed to take Fitz-Lewis-Lyme by surprise, for Saunders was one of her own. One of the officers who had been so instrumental in her victory at Entrylli.

Smartly, the King and Colonel Saunders exchanged salutes. "Your regiment looks very fine, my Lord Rachdale." King James spoke, "How did you get them in such fine form so quickly?"

"I have an excellent staff, sire." Saunders replied, and did his best to keep a straight face as the King's brow furrowed.

"False modesty does not become you, Viscount." King James chastised him in good humour, "You are amongst the youngest of my colonels and, if Princess Fitz-Kieth is to be believed, one of my best." He placed a gloved hand on Saunders' shoulder. "Your father was one of the finest officers I've ever known. Carry on as you have done and you will reap the highest glories as he did, and your ancestors before him."

Saunders bowed his head reverently. "Thank you, sire. He would have been proud to hear you praise him so."

"He heard it all from my uncle many times," the King's hand returned to his side, "It is good to see the Rangers back in full strength. Take good care of them, lad," he ended by saying warmly, and exchanging salutes.

Though she wished to talk to Saunders herself, Princess Adelaide had to follow the King who had turned to continue his inspection. She left Saunders with a wink and he smiled, awkwardly, in reply. In truth, if one had asked the Princess why she was at the review she would be unable to give a proper answer. She had been to three such reviews in the last several weeks, accompanying the King on his military duties. She supposed it was because she had been the architect of Vionna-Frankenlisch's most recent military victory. If she ever bothered to ask she'd find that her conclusion was essentially correct, but she did not care enough to ask. Her only concern was to get herself another field command and to get on with her life. 4th Infantry Brigade, which the Middle Frankenlisch Rangers were a part of and Brigadier General Fitz-Lewis-Lyme was commander of, was likely to be a part of any future command so Adelaide had been particularly interested in this review. From what she'd seen, it was a perfectly average battalion and its equipment was in good nick, much of it having only recently been issued. If anything, the Rangers were above-average for a battalion which had only been activated from the Reserve List three months prior. The troops were smart, clean, expertly disciplined and, she was assured, proficient marksmen.

These were the soldiers that would be the future of the Empire's military destiny. And it was officers like Princess Adelaide who would lead them into it. She could only wonder when she might have her chance again. As far as the Princess was aware, the Government had no warlike plans. She wasn't to know that miles away in sunny Wishtonia, events were conspiring to bring war to the Empire's very doorstep...
New Edom wrote:Unwerth laughed. “Such hen lobsters are the Vionnans. But then, every Vionnan is half a sodomite."


Commissar of Revolutionary Action of the INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST CONGRESS

Embassy Service - iiWiki


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