NATION

PASSWORD

UJAZDOW AFLAME [IC][MT/FanT]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Polish Prussian Commonwealth
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UJAZDOW AFLAME [IC][MT/FanT]

Postby Polish Prussian Commonwealth » Sun May 19, 2024 5:25 pm

0730, 30 April 2024 A.D/2824 A.L | Potsdam, Adraestia

The coffee-shop served a good brew, in Sigurdsson’s estimation, and if nothing else, it was certainly better than the dandelion tea or looted powder-packets that he had once subsisted on.

Around him, the cream of Adraestian society swirled like a watercolor – university-students, artists, writers, intellectuals of every stripe. But they gave the still and silent man a wide berth, for they knew he was of a different breed than them.

He was tall and lanky and ugly, with a rain-beaten coat draped around his shoulders. On his neck was the glint of a chain; either a religious icon, or military dogtags. Both were instant demerits among Adraestian cafe-society; superstition on one hand, militarism on the other.

He didn’t give a shit. Neither did the woman he now spotted – a short, pale figure, swaddled in a thick coat and cloak, the hood pulled well over her face.

He said nothing as they approached, but as their eyes met, he nodded a little - and she slide into the seat before him.

‘How fares my good knight?’ she said, softly – yet her voice still cut through the hubbub all the same.

“Could be worse, my lady.” he grumbled. “A loathing for everything I see in this sinkhole is something a feeling that the Elutherian Section says I will get used to, soon.”

‘Indeed, it is so. I commend your restraint, my child.’

“Thank you, my lady. As for the business we discussed – our preparations are nearly complete.”

‘The Ryszanan Affair? Thank you kindly, Sigurdsson.’

The woman before him had a sudden far-off look. ‘It is a shame that my two eldest daughters must be brought home in such a manner. Let us hope this effort is not wasted.’

“It will not, my lady. I will see this operation through. Our two – VIPs in particular – we have them hook-line-sinker. We know there will be a demonstration in a few days, and that it will give us cover and legitimacy. Once we move, we will move swiftly, strike at the head of the snake and slaughter the leadership of the Blauveldter rebellion; and without their leader, the Reichswehr will collapse. Just as we planned”

‘I hope so. You know that if you fail…’

“Let my name be struck from the scrolls and may my deeds never be sung of again in your halls, my Lady.”

‘...I will not go that far, child. But I will pray to the Greater Sky for your success. Do not expect direct support for this operation; I do not wish to ignite a war unless there is no other choice.’

“Of course.”

‘Another thing, my son, that worries me – the Archtraitors seem to have a cousin, now. Kindred spirits.’

“Meridon?” Sigurdsson scoffed. “Akin to Christinasland. The interventionist Acton might have been a threat, but Townley is toothless. Pressing for Acton’s resignation was Marshal Sweibodzice’s most fatal mistake yet.”


‘Perhaps. Perhaps… be cautious nonetheless.’ There were only a few times that his Lady showed fear – he noted it now, in her eyes.

“Again – do not worry.” He reached out, clasped her small, shaking, ancient hands in his own. “They are Christinasland’s kin in many ways; and especially their flaws. They move slowly, shackled by formal democratic processes. They will not intervene in sufficient strength, in time, to affect the outcome.”

‘If you are so sure, my child, then I can hardly stop you.’ Her tension dissipated, mostly, and asmall smile graced her face. ‘Very well. That is all, my knight. Til Valhallar.’

“Til Valhallar, Lady Tërwa.” he repeated, as she pulled her hands from his, and then disappeared out the door.

Once she was gone, he stood, and walked out into the street as well.




2300, 15 May | Belweder Palace, Ujazdow, Blauveldt

The tension in the little room of Belweder Palace was palpable, despite the relatively few people within it.

For most of the past few days, the mood had been jubilant. Protests had choked the streets of Ujazdow, demanding political reforms. Slogans such as ‘Down with the Reichswehr’, ‘Down with Military Men’ were shouted from mouth to mouth; a few even dared to say ‘Down with the King’!

The protests turned into brawls, as riot-police surged into the fray; the brawls turned bloody, as a few protestors attempted to run for Royal Castle, only to be stopped by the troops of the Life-Guard. The Prime-Minister and Foreign-Minister had both watched with bated breath, awaiting the tidal wave they had attempted to engineer.

And then, two unthinkables happened.

First – the Reichswehr did not harden its line. It stood down; the Life-Guard disarmed themselves outside the Castle, forcing the release of demonstrators. Krazus came down from his high horse and met with the protest-leaders. There were negotiations, now – and while the Life-Guard and demonstrators still were locked in standoff, that standoff was beginning to taper off, with singing and drinking and mingling between the lines.

Second – they had received a call from a certain Goettish man.

“So. They want to cash in.” Prime Minister Stanislaw Radziwiłł wiped the sweat from his wide, bald brow. “And at this stage too?”

“Are you a fool?!” Foreign Minister Bronislaw Switlecki screamed, his little face twisting into a grotesque expression. “If you don’t recall, our plan was to get the Guards Ulans in Meridon, have the demonstrators overthrow the fucking King, and we’d ride into power on their backs before we handed the keys to our benefactors. But now the Reichswehr and the demonstrators are now negotiating, face-to-face – not fighting! And if half of what they are saying is true then it will be the ruin of our backers, and more importantly, the ruin of us.”

“Don’t you think I haven’t taken measures to –”

“The Sejm was always going for our head, the Landtag is getting suspicious, the jammers and mortars are in place and cannot be disassembled again on short notice, and even if you did all that, the Abwehr will ransack this palace and find out everything, and you and I will both take long, long, long vacations six feet beneath the topsoil! Give the fucking order!


“Fine! Fine! I will, I will!” He turned to an aide – a police-officer in his dark-blue uniform. Get our contacts at the Ujazdow Garrison on the phone – we’re making our move now!”




ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL

It is with great determination that we make the following pronouncement.

The situation over the past few days has made the will of the people of Blauveldt extremely clear. Multiple grievances have been aired, all of them legitimate; the failure of the Reichswehr to permit true democratic rule; the failure of our King to uphold his constitutional prerogatives; the rank injustice done to many of our anti-Hankoite veterans; and of the shackling of our nation to the feudal entity of Ryszana.

We hear your grievances; and we will do more than hear them.

We are now determined to act.

The Ministerial Transitional Council for a New Blauveldt will aim to address all of the above issues by:

Ensuring the disestablishment of the Monarchy and the establishment of a new Blauveldter Republic.
A general purge of the Landtag of any and all fraudulently elected representatives; new elections to ensure new representatives, in touch with the demands of their people.
A full accounting for the crimes committed by the Reichswehr and its leadership against fellow Blauveldters during the War of National Liberation.
Re-negotiating the Constitution of, if not dissolving the regressive ‘Commonwealth’.
Re-evaluating all treaties, alliances, and joint programs undertaken by the previous Blauveldter-Ryszanan Commonwealth, to ensure that they still benefit the new Republic.

We order all troops of the Reichswehr and all law-enforcement bodies to abandon the Tyrant and to aid in ensuring a new Blauveldt; and we ask that all civilian demonstrators seek shelter immediately to avoid reprisals by traitorous elements still loyal to the so-called ‘King’.

We further request that all foreign legations shelter in place – to prevent the escape of criminals associated with the regime or the arrival of foreign mercenaries and royalist bandits via air transit, Ujazdow-Sikorski airport will be shut down for the foreseeable future.

Signed:
Prime Minister Stanisław Radziwiłł
Foreign Minister Bronislaw Switlecki
Pułkownik Igor Palczewski, Ujazdow Garrison Command
Pułkownik Aleksander Wolański, Żandarmeria Wojskowa, Ujazdow Military District





0015, 16 May | Ujazdow Castle, Ujazdow, Kingdom of Blauveldt

Plutonowy Sebastian Michalski was not having a good day.

He was not having a good week in general, in fairness; the protests over the last few days had put all the men of the Life-Guard on edge, but his day was now getting much, much, much worse.

He did not have his rifle – for it had been returned to the armory in an attempt to de-escalate. He did not have a service-pistol; Blauveldter-Ryszanan doctrine generally avoided issuing those to the enlisted men.

This left him with less-lethal gear: truncheon, shield, taser, tear-gas grenades. This would be fine for crowd-control, for a riot, for a rowdy demonstration – as he had been facing for the past few days.

It was wholly inadequate for the mass of Ujazdow Metropolitan Police, Constables, and men in Reichswehr uniforms marching towards his line with rifles, backed up by trucks and motor-vehicles.

“HQ –” he barked into his radio. “We’re facing down a unit of LEOs and some troops from Garrison Command heading our way – they’re armed and have what appear to be motor transport supporting them. Please advise.”

There was no response – only a burst of static. Faintly, he could hear his men shouting challenges towards the approaching column.

“Uh, HQ – I say again, we’re facing down LEOs and troops from Garrison Command; they are armed, have motor transit, and are not responding to orders to halt. Please advise.”

Again, nothing.

And then, the shooting and screams began.





0030, 16 May| Sikorski Airport, Ujazdow, Kingdom of Blauveldt
There was a thump, and then a sharp boom; then another, and another. High-explosive mortar shells began landing all about the runways, between the grounded planes. One shell landed on a – thankfully empty – passenger-widebody, crumpling it like a cheap tin toy; another slammed right into the roof of the main terminal, causing it to buckle.

The reaction was near-instantaneous, as the airport’s ATC and management sprang into action. The few flights that had not been canceled were quickly rerouted; landings were terminated; outbound flights were halted, while arrangements began to be made for passengers to take shelter beneath.

Those arrangements did not come to fruition – for shortly after the violent bombardment let up, the loud rumble of a motorized convoy could be heard – followed by shouted orders, warning-shots, and the stamping of three-hundred pairs of boots as the Ujazdow Police and Constables began seizing control of the airport. The scene played out again and again elsewhere, with the blasts of mortar-shells, and tracers lighting up the night sky, from fighting up and down the corridors of the Ministry of Defense and in front of Ujazdow Castle. Beyond the thick blanket of jamming that covered Ujazdow, other, smaller attacks quickly piled up – unknown assailants firing rocket-propelled grenades at a Territorial Defense barracks in Swiebodzice, an arson attack on a Naval Infantry post in Gdynia; a series of train derailments out in the eastern frontier. These were small cuts, insignificant, easily dealt with or at least contained by local security forces.

But these took time to respond to – time that was not spent heading for Ujazdow.




0100, 16 May| Ujazdow, Kingdom of Blauveldt

Amidst the chaos and gunfire, a compact silver sedan raced through Ujazdow – chased by two Gendamerie vehicles, their sirens blaring as they careened through the streets

“Can’t this shitbox go any faster?!” Amelie Pfeiffer swore, as she glanced down at the speedometer. She clutched in her hands a shortened battle-rifle, and here and there glanced behind at their pursuers. “Erenbach, how far are we from the Embassy?”

“Five minutes, give or take.” Ambassador Maximilian von Erenbach had his foot slammed firmly down on the gas pedal – almost entirely serene despite the fact that he was doing 150km/hr in a 60km/hr zone. “Be patient; check on our guests, and then pop off a few rounds at our trailers, will you?”

“Fine, fine! On it!” She glanced back into the passenger seat, at their two passengers in the rear.

Minister of War Andre Kuczera did not look particularly dignified at the moment – curled up and shivering as if it were freezing. Next to him, on the other hand, with a wild grin, was Oliwia Jankiewicz, the now-ex-Clerical Secretary for the Foreign Minister.

“You two doing alright?” Amelie asked, noncommittally – not truly caring if they were.

“A-as best as I can be…” Kuczera replied.

“Feeling giddy!” Oliwia chimed in. “Quite the exciting night!”

“It’ll get more exciting yet. Both of you – heads down.”

With that she unbuckled her seatbelt. Then, she turned around, poked her head and arms just outside of the window, and lined up her sights against one of the cruisers.
And then, her rifle spoke. 7.62mm Federal FMJ rounds began to scream out at supersonic speeds, connecting with the front window of one of the two police cruisers chasing them.

Amelie paused to readjust her fire and watch with satisfaction as one cruiser veered off and crashed into a building – only to see something that gave her pause.

There were lights blinking on the rear of their own sedan.

“Erenbach!” she snarled. “Are you signalling our turns?”

“What?”

“Are you signalling our fucking turns at this of all times?”

“Listen – I don’t care if there’s a coup on– brace!”

There was a loud rattle and crash as the sedan smashed past a makeshift wooden fence, and then loud plinks and cracks as policemen fired off pistol-rounds at the rapidly retreating car. “Traffic laws exist and are to be obeyed.”

“Urgh – fine, whatever!” With that she began to take potshots at the other remaining cruiser – and occasionally, ducked her head to avoid the inaccurate return-fire. The almost-comical running battle continued all the way up until the sedan screeched through the gates of the Meridon’s Embassy in Ujazdow.
Last edited by Polish Prussian Commonwealth on Sun May 19, 2024 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Furthermore, I submit that Carthage NSG must be destroyed." t. Marcus Porcius Cato

IC name is "Blauveldt-Ryszana".

A traumatized, but recovering, MT-Early PMT/FanT constitutional monarchy consisting of a personal and constitutional union of two Realms. Features: near-universal gun ownership, governmental dysfunction, terrified Christinaslander Air National Guard personnel counting down the days until they rotate back home, and an eternal standoff with the last of it's former oppressors.


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Legatia
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Founded: Nov 30, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Legatia » Sun May 19, 2024 7:57 pm


FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF MERIDON
Army Maneuver Warfare Center, Toleca District, Kalua Territory- 14 May 2024, 1841 Helena Standard Time (HST)

MERIDON DEFENSE FORCES
AMWC Garrison, Training and Readiness Command, Meridonian Army


The gate to the expansive training grounds that comprised the Defense Forces’ foremost maneuver training grounds were marked by a simple sign, carved and painted in a piece of red stone bordering the dustswept concrete road up to the guard post, whose structure straddled the road with entry and exit points. The base was relatively remote, and off-hours access was rare. The military policeman standing on guard must have looked very surprised when they saw a three-car convoy arrive, flying the three-star flag that belonged to a fully fledged general. The vehicles pulled to a halt in the inbound lane, and the guard-sergeant on duty leaned in.

“We don’t have any visitors on the ledger today, much less a three-star. Let’s see the ID, will you?”

“Corporal;” a voice came from the back, to which the lead car’s driver turned about. “Bring him here.” The driver gestured to the guard, who stepped to the rear passenger seat. When the window slid into the door, his eyes widened, he took a moment to process it, and a nod was given to the other men manning the gatehouse.
“Let ‘em through, and get me Lieutenant Barkley on their way along..”

It was another fifteen minute drive that took the cars from concrete to gravel to dry, dusty trails in the Merrie savanna bushlands which dominated Kalua island. The sun was beginning to dip below the treeline in its terminal descent, making the driver thankful for the canopy blocking the immense glint of its ambry luminescence.

The vehicles finally pulled to a stop at a ridge overlooking an enormous expanse of relatively sparse land, where distant riflefire echoed to their ears as a dozen cleanly uniformed men and women began to emerge from their cars. There to meet them was a trio of men in comparably disgusting uniforms, caked with moisture, dust, and perspiration, wearing plate carriers and boonie caps.

“General;” one of the aides spoke to the tall man who was clearly the centerpiece of the newly arrived group. “Colonel Brettley and his leadership staff, commanding, 41 Regiment Ranger and its 8 Battalion.

“As I live and breathe;” the thin-haired man whose three-studded insignia identified him as the aforementioned Brettley approached the general with a wide smile. “General Ironwood. A pleasure to see you again, sir.”

The two officers shared salutes, with the men behind the Colonel joining in and returning their hands once finished. Ironwood, however, raised a brow.

“Colonel, how is it that you were prepared for my arrival, but not the guardpost?”

“Word travels a bit faster once you shake up the nest, sir. All due respect, wish you would have given us some time to switch into something that doesn’t smell like a roadkill ‘roo.”

“Under other circumstances, but I came to see my alma mater at work. Looks like you’ve been doing plenty of it. Word from Cordelia says the Commonwealthers haven’t found our hospitality or our methods lacking.”

“You know as well as I do, sir, you won’t find better infantry training on either side of the Marinan, nor will you find any better infantry than in the Regiment. The Guards aren’t anything to laugh at, either. Solid blokes, good soldiers, very eager to learn. Today, we’re having them conduct raid tactics. They’re finishing up now, just got done fording the Pino River on rope, they’ve got hot meals to look forward to tonight. Aught to be a nice reprieve after the field ration kits they’ve been chuffing on.”

“Very good.” Ironwood’s slight smile was apparent, looking at the distant figures of two different kinds of soldiers working together. He had commanded the Ryszanan Tatra Rangers during the New England campaign- these weren’t the same gentlemen, but they were all the same kindred spirits- or so the General saw it as.

“Colonel, I’m correct in assuming all personal electronic devices are stowed for the duration of your field trainings, yes?”

“That’s correct, sir.”

“Has anyone thought to tell them about what’s going on back home?”

“..There’s something happening in the Commonwealth, sir?”

Ironwood gazed upon the face of the Colonel, one of genuine confusion, one shared with his own subordinates as they glanced at eachother.

“There has been some civil unrest, from what I’m told. Political strife against their current system. I had scheduled this trip to observe, and to bring them the news if someone already hadn’t. But the past few days have seem to have some reconciling between protestor and government- how many more days do you have in the field, Colonel?”

“Another day and a half. We’ll bring them back to garrison on Thursday afternoon, revelries on Friday, and they’ll be on the way back to the Commonwealth come Monday morning.”

“Very well. I’d like you to have them assemble after their meals are done so I can tell them. Field casual, fatigues and caps. Have your Rangers there as well- we’re building bonds as much as we are building warfighters.”

“Aye, sir, but, if I may?” The Colonel did not wait to ask, as Ironwood raised a brow. “This is an awful way out of your schedule for a newsreel update.”

“And if I might be blunt, Colonel- I put people before paper. If you take care of your men, they’ll take care of the rest.”

The Colonel took the retort in for a moment, before a satisfied smile sat on his mud-caked lips.

“Aye, sir. I’ll hop to.”


COMMONWEALTH OF BLAUVELDT-RYSZANA
Meridonian Embassy Compound, Uzjadow, Kingdom of Blauveldt- 16 May 2024, 0104 Central Elutherian Summer Time (CEST)
Blauveldt-Ryszana Detachment, Regimental Guard Group, 1 Regiment Federal, Meridonian Army


The Meridonian Embassy to the Commonwealth of the Free Realms of Blauveldt and Ryszana had few competitors as to its size. Owing to the unique security requirements of the Commonwealth’s geo/political environment, the embassy had no peers in the State Department’s repertoire as far as armaments went. Fifty two men were stationed on the compound, which was more fortress than embassy, and stored here panoply fit for war rather than as sentries where they served most everywhere else in the world.

The recent unrest had caused the post’s commanding officer, Captain Brent Rickard, to elevate the watch-shifts and augment the security teams with a standby response team of four men, who sat in combat shirts and boonie caps playing cards in the ready room while three men in dress khakis stood and walked their posts.

One such member stepped into the third-floor hallway to retrieve a soda from a vending machine just in time to watch a bullet-sprayed car crash into the closed metal gate, throwing the flimsiest part of their defenses wide open as the guard standing at the gatehouse leapt out of the way as the sedan was ground to a halt.

The door back to the ready room was thrown open, the words scarcely cleared his mouth before plate carriers were thrown and strapped on, helmets clipped, and rifle bolts cycled as the four of them sprinted down a stair flight towards the service exit on the first floor. What embassy workers remained during this ungodly hour immediately went about hiding or ducking into cover as the heavy door was practically flung open.

Two of the three walking guards had already taken position with their sidearms aimed by the time the rifle-armed ready team formed a semicircle at the dented front of the car, the third busying himself with phoning in reinforcements. They kept a wide berth, assuming the car was a suicide vehicle until the smoke cleared enough to see there was more than one supposed martyr in the car. In three languages- Seurian, Blauveldter and Ryszanan, did the collective six soldiers scream at the car until one among them held his hand out.

“Hold it! Hold on a second, that’s the fucking war minister. He was here for that staff shit a week ago with the Ambassador, I waved his car through.”

“Yeah, and the one cunt with the mustache looks familiar- what the fuck is going on here-”

The second man didn’t get terribly far into his sentence before a small horde of gendarme vehicles with flashing blue sirens skidded to a stop before the battered gate.

A glance was shared between the corporal leading the team and the occupants of the vehicle. They didn’t look intoxicated. There was bullet holes peppering the vehicle. This wasn’t a simple police chase gone wrong- this was something much worse.

“Secure that gate- you boys in khakis, take these cunts inside, call the Skip and grab your rifles.”

The four armed men stepped past the flaming hulk of the vehicle towards the gendarmes, their rifles slowly dropping to a low ready.

This was going to be a long night.

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF MERIDON
Whiteriver Manor, Cordelia, Cordelia, Federal District- 16 May 2024, 0830 Alexandria Standard Time (AST)

President Yui Townley, perhaps more than any woman in Meridon, longed for a vacation. She had jumped through the Advent and Matsumean rings of fire in what she still believed to be a miraculous lack of scathing. Her campaign trail had suffered for it, and her sporadic showings at events wasn’t particularly helping either. But as she reclined into the cushioned seat of the presidential motorcade enroute to a plane ride whisking her out to a private island retreat for the better part of a week ahead- her first days off since October- she allowed herself to relax. Idyllic dreams of fresh fruit smoothies, sun bathing, and freshly-cooked home food danced about her head like a masseuse’s touch, allowing for a gentle smile to come to the woman’s face.

Her chief of staff had been supportive in her efforts to secure herself a small respite from the weight of her office, if only for a short bit, and now it was all coming together. The gates to the Manor opened as the small convoy began to trickle out into Southfront Park.

Townley watched the crowds enjoying an early summer’s day, closing her eyes gently before she realized the vehicles had come to a halt. She was just about to ask why before her doors was opened and the blue uniform and long brown hair of a familiar Air Forces officer took a seat beside her.

“..Whitegrove? What are you..?”

The Air Lieutenant Commandant closed her eyes. She didn’t have the courage to look Townley head on- she would soon learn why.

“..Please don’t shoot the messenger, Madam President- but we’re going to have to postpone your time off. There’s a situation in Blauveldt-Ryszana that needs your attention. The convoy is turning around.”

The President of Meridon’s eye twitched.
Last edited by Legatia on Mon May 20, 2024 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Gorizont Ltd
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Founded: Mar 23, 2021
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Gorizont Ltd » Mon May 20, 2024 1:41 am




Image
Kingdom of Blauveldt
Ujadzow
Suburbs

0105




The lights were on in a rented row-house, and of its three occupants, none slept. One sat cross-legged atop a hearthside rug, fiddling with a TV remote's batteries. Another was sprawled out over the nearby couch, by all appearances resting but certainly not asleep. And a third only entered the room now, plastic bag in hand, fresh from a midnight stroll to a still-open gas station grocery shop. Petter Halse set his bag down on the kitchen counter, and began pulling out various items; he took a moment to toss a can of iced coffee over to the seated woman, who caught it without looking.

"Go check the roof."

She turned now, and rolled her eyes at him. Abigail Webb was not a woman averse to climbing, necessarily, but she certainly wasn't a fan of repetitive tasks of any kind, and this had gotten repetitive quite quickly.

"We're on fucking vacation, Petter. Also it's Selvi's turn."

The two of them briefly glanced at Selvi - occupying her chosen couch as though she were only vaguely humanoid, and moreso something boneless, formless, oozing into the shape of its container. Out of this primordial puddle of various shades of black emerged a baggy-sleeved arm, and a pale hand giving a thumbs-down. Petter sighed.

"Vacation is no reason to neglect opsec. Neither is Selvi. And it isn't her turn."

"Fine, fine. I'm going."

Springing to her feet, Abigail moved out into the hall, then up the stairs, and finally made her way up a ladder behind what had at first appeared to be a closet door. Petter, in the meantime, finished unpacking, and set another can of coffee down on the couch-side table; Selvi gave a thumbs-up this time.

"You're welcome."

With the couch quite thoroughly occupied, he chose to seat himself on the floor next to the table, and procure from somewhere within his many pockets a small book. No sooner had he flipped it open that he was being yelled at from, by his reckoning, somewhere atop the stairs.

"And so the hammer of judgment descends upon ye, and ye shall find no rest!"

"And what's that supposed to mean?" he yelled back, albeit softly. He was not accustomed to yelling.

"It means get up here with me, right now. We have a situation. Selvi, on watch."

With nary a complaint or grumble, he stood upright, and headed up the stairs, and through the closet-door, and up the ladder. The roof was small, elevated a tad higher than that of the neighboring row-house into a sort of platform. It had been made smaller still by the presence of Abigail, and of a sizeable collection of powder-coated metal boxes, from which a veritable forest of wires trailed back down into the house proper. One of the boxes had been flipped open, revealing a dull LED screen; Abigail, indicating it with a vague wave, moved over to allow Petter access.

"Jamming."

And jamming, indeed, it was. Petter began tapping away at the built-in keyboard just under the screen, readouts flashing past on the barebones GUI he'd helped put together. After a while, he nodded.

"Jamming, yes. Closer to the city center, but this is clearly some military-level hardware if it's reaching out this far. We've still got about half the frequencies available to some degree, and laser's obviously fine, but this is..."

"A problem?"

"Not in itself, for us. Though it does suggest problems may be coming."

As if on cue, there was a bit-crushed guitar riff. Abigail glanced down at her phone, hooked into one of the boxes via a blocky cable. Petter nodded to it as he slipped back down the ladder.

"And there they are, I'm sure. I'll go take inventory in the meantime."



✧✧✧




When Abigail returned to the living room, around fifteen minutes later, she found her two companions seated around the central coffee table, from which all coffee and snacks had been cleared. It was now cluttered with various distinctly non-edible objects, mostly box-shaped, and frequently, visibly illegal. Petter nodded to her again as she approached, setting down a car license plate in favour of a small plastic-ey brick and a bundle of wires.

"Was I right?"

"You were. We're moving. Vacation's over."

"I assume the protests have escalated."

"Near as we can tell. Call was from Mlakar's office, actually - they're currently scrambling to get us more reliable comms through whatever they already have set up in the area. Looks like shit's happening all over the country, not just here, but the jamming's a local specialty. So we're probably in the thick of it. Ideally we-"

She stopped, and listened intently for a few seconds. All three of them heard the distant popping of gunshots.

"Well, whatever. Nothing's ideal anymore. We're getting out of the city - remember the debrief when we got here? The shipping manifest. We're meant to go get whatever it was they hauled up to the test site back. And out of the country, if possible."

"A mystery package?"

"About yea big-" she threw her arms wide, giving some vague indication of scale. "-and no heavier than eighty kilos. Supposedly."

"I doubt it'll end with this."

"Oh no, this is probably just the initial step. They really want it pulled out of here, though. So they're prioritizing it, whatever it is. Over just kneecapping this supposed insurgency, because I assume there's plenty of takers for that one. You two about ready?"

Petter had by now sequestered away most of the objects on the table into various pockets and pouches about his person, and the remainder had been tossed to Abigail. Selvi, for her part, had spent the past few minutes fumbling with something kept mostly out of view by the baggy folds of her clothing; as she stood, now, there was the briefest flash of steel being stowed away. They both nodded.

"I'll help you put away the comms rig. Selvi, pack up perimeter security."

"And then go outside and check if that van is still parked down the street. Liked the look of that thing."

"So we're stealing a van?"

"We're borrowing it for the good of all mankind, Petter. We are noble, virtuous beings, and can do no wrong."

"Ah yes. All hail lady Webb, our fair squad empress."

"Indubitably. That's the word, right?"

They'd already made it back to the roof; banter aside, they knew exactly what they were doing. And it was only a few more minutes later that the three of them left the house as clean as they'd found it, weeks prior, and were walking on over to the van that was indeed parked on the other side of the street. According to Selvi, it wasn't under any kind of CCTV coverage; Abigail wholly believed her as she crossed the deserted street, and placed her hand on the driverside door. For a moment she seemed blurred, out of focus; then everything snapped back together into its proper place, and the locks on every door in the van disengaged all at once. Abigail hopped into the driver's seat, while Petter and Selvi slid into the passenger compartment behind her, pulling alongside themselves a massive, metal-plated suitcase.

"Should work fine. Oil filter needs changing, and the tires are a bit worn, but that's the kind of thing we can let the owner worry about when we graciously return this to him."

"If we get to return it at all."

"Don't be a pessimist. Get a map open, instead. We need somewhere quiet to switch out the license plates."

She started the engine, and with the smooth, practiced motions of one who had driven this particular van for decades pulled away from the parking space, and out onto the early-morning streets. The vehicle's controls responded not to her touch, but directly to her requirements - though her hands remained on the wheel, and her feet on the pedals, many of the more minor dashboard switches and dials flicked and spun themselves as though by magic. The headlights were switched into the appropriate mode, a turn signal was indicated to a deserted road, and a brief moment of radio static was replaced by the soft digitized chime of a connection being made. Petter gave a thumbs-up, having hooked his phone to a dangling USB cable.

"Go for it."

Abigail grinned, and to the opening bars of Judas Priest's Turbo Lover, floored the accelerator.
Last edited by Gorizont Ltd on Mon May 20, 2024 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Discerning eye? Girthy wallet? Why not chance a drone or two? Quality is assured.


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