((****, man, have you ever seen Le Professionel? That is essentially the plot of it!))
The CAG of the squadron heard the Persian radio signal confirming an order for him to land. The fleet of twenty-two helicopters would land one at a time on the tarmac at Hadishahr and be inspected. "Alright, gentlemen," he said, beginning a squadron-wide radio transmission, "We're going to land one at a time on the Persian field. I want this to be orderly. Lieutenant Massivyen, you made the plan, you go first." The CAG clicked off the mic and chuckled as the first attack helicopter began accelerating out of formation. The squadron had taken a southernly turn and were approaching Hadishahr at full speed. Massivyen's helicopter began flying low, and circling around the base.
Massivyen cursed the CAG silently as he saw figures moving around on the helicopter pads. A tan object also shone in the light, and as Massivyen closed in, he could clearly see a figure manning a gun on top, and a large barrel jutting out of a turret. "CAG, they have troops and a tank down there," the Lieutenant reported. He took his hand off of the stick, flipped his visor up, and wiped his forehead. The sweat was rolling into his eyes. He flipped it back down as the sun glared off of the tank. "****," he muttered as the helicopter closed in.
30 meters. He saw guns raised at him.
20 meters. Sand kicked up from the ground and swirled around the pad.
And touchdown. The helicopter lurched as it gently hit the floor, and the rotor blades were still spinning. Massivyen quickly stopped the engine. He waited a few seconds until the blades slowed to an unpowered spin, and released the two handles on the canopy. It flung open, and Massivyen exited the cockpit while a Persian soldier was pointing a rifle at him, screaming in Farsi. Massivyen eyed the soldier as he put his hands up and watched the tank's gunner spin the machine gun towards his helicopter's engine. A Persian officer quickly appeared, wearing his BDUs and holding a clipboard. "Lieutenant... Massivyen," he said as he eyed the Lieutenant's rank insignia and name tag. "Come with me."
An Armenian guard was notified of the Persian nurses and sent to wake up Pollundrian. The startled man quickly rose from bed, wearing nothing but boxers and a t-shirt. "What?" he growled. The guard clutched his shotgun and answered, "There are Persian nurses here."
"What?" Pollundrian repeated.
"Persian nurses. They want to see you."
Pollundrian grumbled as he slid out of his bed and into a pair of jeans. Looking like an American, he grabbed a Makarov and slid it into his belt, just in case. The guard led him into the moonlit street, as more Armenians took up positions around the group of females and their donkeys. "Hello!" Pollundrian said as he waved towards the nurse in front. "What is your name and purpose here?"
(shortish post, but this battle's getting repetitive, and I'd kinda like it to end)
Sforza Castle, Milan, Italy, 0430
The Spaniard's dramatic gesture caused the centurion to crack a grin. "I doubt that'll be possible. Two thousand of our own crowd the only way back to our lines, and supply stations are not something ragtag rebel armies such as ours tend to set up. Maybe in a few years," he chortled, retrieving the spent weapon and handing it back to the commando with exaggerated flourish - and a few magazines from his own gun.* He quickly ordered his century to similarly equip the Cazadores, and they reluctantly obeyed, taking extra magazines out of belts, pockets, and waistbands and handing them over.
As the Spaniards jammed the fresh ammunition into their rifles, the centurion turned to his own soldati, picking out one fresh-faced decanus from amongst the ranks. "Take your men and tell Marius that we found the spicks, or some of them, at least, and tell him that the rest are headed towards his position, and shooting them would be a bit of a shitty idea. Also, while you're at it, it probably wouldn't hurt to let him know that the courtyards are clear of bad guys, although I'm sure he's got eyes just like the rest of us."
The decanus nodded eagerly, and jogged off with his contubernium in tow. The centurion, meanwhile, returned his attention to the Cazadores.
"Listen, Spaniards, we've got four cohorts behind us, and we plan on using them to the best extent we can. The main force isn't going to be hanging around Sforza Castle any longer than it takes to find ol' Consul Mary a comfortable room big enough to accommodate a radio set, but the first cohort will be staying for the duration of the battle. That means that if you want to return to your lines - and with what you poor bastards have been through, I wouldn't blame you - and report to your General Juarez, it shouldn't be that long of a wait. We'll escort you there when you're ready."
The decanus and his contubernium caught up with Consul Marius as the rebel leader and his escorts were making their way towards one of Sforza Castle's many dining rooms, chosen for its ability to accommodate a large radio set, a large amount of advisors, and a large consul.
"Sir!" called the decanus, slightly winded from the short jog, as he and his men slowed to a walk behind the Consul. Marius glanced back over his shoulder at the group. "Yes?" he asked curiously. "What is it?" It was strange for an entire contubernium to be used as messengers; usually the lowest-ranking man was sent alone, or - rarely - with a single companion. Must have been big news, the consul reflected.
The decanus said nothing for a moment, getting his breathing under control, before attempting a response. "Consul, I'm a decanus with the 6th contubernium, 3rd century, 1st cohort. We stumbled across a group of those Spanish commandos you were talking about, over in the east wing of the castle, on the first floor, I believe it was. Anyway, they were all alive, as best I could tell." The rebel smirked to himself before continuing, "They asked for a goddamn supply depot or some such, uh, sir. Centurion told 'em that that wasn't happening, but told us to give them as much ammo as we could afford to do without."
That's embarrassing, Marius thought, realizing for the first time how far from an actual army the Northern Legion truly was. Damn, even the Italians have supply depots set up.
His ears tuned back in to the messenger, who was still droning on in that Umbrian hick accent he had. "...hit the courtyard with incendiaries 'bout then, took out most of the Ites that were in said courtyard, but I'm sure you heard that when it happened."
Marius nodded. "We saw the flash, heard the engines. I assumed the Spanish were trying to kill us. Wasn't quite sure what to think."
This elicited a grin from the rebel. "We weren't, neither, but the spi - erm, Spanish planes only hit the Federali in the courtyard, and I'd like to think it was intentional."
By this time Marius and his escort had reached the dining room and taken seats in the lavish stuffed chairs that surrounded the massive dining table; Marius invited the decanus to do the same with a polite gesture. The man, after looking around at his men, who'd gathered awkwardly at one end of the room, elected to remain standing.
After a drawn-out silence, Marius spoke hesitantly. "...you were saying?" he prodded.
"Oh! Yeah. Anyway, there were apparently more Spanish commandos in the castle that had been separated from the main group. The guy we met up with ordered them to head towards the broom closet over the radio."
Marius glanced back in the general direction of the trapdoor he and the rest of his men had emerged from. "I expect someone will need to inform the boys back at the tunnel entrance not to shoot any menacing figures in all black," he said, staring pointedly at the decanus.
After a few seconds, the rebel bobbed his head. "Yessir, I'll get at that right away, sir." He exited the dining room at a rapid walk, his men filtering out behind him.
Marius sighed. "We don't have much of an army, do we?" he asked no one in particular. "Oh well," he said fatalistically, before turning his attention to his advisors, who sat around the table, staring at him. He cleared his throat. "Listen, gentlemen, I'd rather us not stay in this castle any longer than we have to. Here's what we need to do: get the second, third, and fourth cohorts to form up and march on Batista's rear as soon as we possibly can. They're currently moving towards the castle's front courtyard. 1500 men may not be a lot, but we'll have surprise on our side. In the meantime, the first cohort will continue to secure the castle, picking up any Italian troops or wounded commandos they run across."
-- (this part is voiced by that British guy on the history channel who does historic battle simulations with his son)
After picking up the Cazadores that had been ordered to regroup at the broom closet, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cohorts quickly received their marching orders and moved out, filing out of Sforza Castle's front gate and almost immediately reporting contact with Batistan forces investigating the sudden cessation of gunfire. The Romani quickly swept over the small Batistan relief force and, at their Consul's orders, formed themselves up in a thin east-west line immediately north of Batista's entrenched defenders. Marius was counting on the darkness to conceal how small his force truly was when it opened fire. If everything went according to plan, the Batistans would either rout or surrender, lest they be crushed between the closing jaws of the allied troops.
At approximately 0500, just as the first golden fingers of dawn were prying apart the night sky, Consul Marius ordered his reserves to attack. The force, 1500 strong, stormed forth, slamming into the rear of the Italian lines on the western flank while the main body of Romani began to assault their front. The results were devastating, and the Italian western flank completely collapsed within fifteen minutes of the assault. The remaining Italian troops were now vulnerable to attack on three sides.
*The Italian guns the Cazadores are using take the same magazines as the guns the RRC tends to use.
Jones tried to look on the bright side, always a "Glass half full" type of guy. He tried to see the good in people. This one of those moments where he felt only bad things were ahead, he was guarding the door to a employee only room in the subway system. He couldn't bring himself to look at what was going on inside. Australia couldn't keep the extra POW's he reasoned, honestly believing that this is what needed to happen. Still, it gave him a sick feeling to his stomach.
five men were lined up against the wall, each having a sack on there head. Jones commanding officer held a pistol in his hand, reading them out their last rites. The men against the wall were all pleading for their lives through the cloth in their mouths. The officer was weighing the pistol in his hand, realizing what he was just about to do was inhuman. His commander told him. He aimed the pistol at one of the men, thrashing against his binds. He steadied his aims and fired a shot, killing the man instantly, Once he started there was no going back. Four other aimed shots were fired, the bodies resting still against the cold stone floor. He walked out.
Jones closed his eyes, he knew what had happened.
Meanwhile, In another section of the Subway Tunnel
"Clear" Shouted one of the soldiers, shining his flashlight into a nook, a service tunnel in the tracks. A group of one hundred soldiers were marching in line on the abandoned tracks of the subway. The electrical system had been turned off hours ago, and they were part of one group making a push for the parliament building. It was cold, damp, and the only light was being provided by people in the front and back, flashlights either attached to their gun or simply ductaped to it.
Meanwhile, On the surface.
"On my count. 1... 2... 3!" Samuel flipped over the table in the apartment and gripped his rifle hard, opening fire across the apartment, his bullets ripping through the wall. A scream of pain and agnony was heard as he made contact. meanwhile his fellow combatent, a woman who was now lying on the couch was moaning in pain.
"Where'd he get you?" Asked Samuel, looking her over.
"Shoulder" She said, a fire burning in her eyes.
"I'll send a medic, stay here. I can't move you." A sad look in his eyes.
He made sure she was comfy and secured, and found some gauze in a medicine cabinet to form a makeshift pad with. He moved down the staircase of the apartment complex, and burst out into the street. It was a mess, water draining out and cars flipped, the winds and flash flood hadn't been kind to the city. Samuel spoke into his radio, hoping to meet up with a unit. He was only two blocks from the main battle, and now that the storm had passed above ground fighting was viable.
Samuel ten minutes later was crouched behind a bus, hiding from incoming fire. He was wondering if he would die today, this wasn't something he ever thought he would ask himself. "What's our status?" Samuel asked to the man next to him, he was younger, perhaps only twenty one. His voice was shaky.
"We're- We're supposed to get reinforcements from the subway, And we've got a few tanks moving down the street. It's.. It's going slow though."
Suddenly an explosion took place as a tank shell slammed into the side of the parliament building, causing the defenses of the communist enemy to scramble. Samuel peeked over and then mounted his rifle on a shattered bus window, and fired rounds, hitting a target off into the distance.
Between the tank line, and the subway reinforcements, the battle of Canberra was wrapping up.
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
That's three mass invasions within the same bloody month! I mean, seriously! The UDTU is attacking now, Blue has a sleeper attack coming soon, and now an invasion by space pirates? What is this, Russia if every american-made FPS happened at once?! - MagicallyDwarven
General Umberto Togliatti, the last remaining Batistan general overseeing the defense of Milan, watched from the belltower of a chapel in the East of Milan as he spoke over a shoebox-sized radio with one of his lieutenants in the field. As the sun rose over the Italian capital, smoke columns wafting up among the ancient buildings crowded throughout the center of the city testified to the devastating effect of the Romani offensive that had seemingly come out of nowhere.
//Some fifteen minute ago we lost the Piazza del Duomo! We attempted to fall back to San Carlo, but Spanish armor pushed us farther back before we could dig in there! These damn tanks will run us all the way out of Milan if something is not done!//
Similar reports had been coming in non-stop through Togliatti's radio for the past two and a half hours. The Romani attack had surrounded and dislodged much of the Italian front around the city. Before the retreating Italians could set up new defensive positions, Spanish tanks or half-tracks would send them falling back even farther. The collapse of the Western front caused by the Romani offensive had snowballed into a general retreat by the majority of the Italian forces.
The collapse of Batista's regime was written on the wall. Rumor had it that garrisons from Ancona to Vicenza were defecting to General Juarez in order to avoid capture by the Balkan invasion force... or a worse fate at the hands of the Roman resistance who took no prisoners. Everything from Anzio to Turin was in Romani hands, and worse still, there had been no word from Batista since midnight, suggesting that the Generalissimo was captured, or worse.
If the Battle of the Milan were to end, the last bastion of Batista's regime would be gone. The few remaining loyalist forces scattered throughout the Apennine Peninsula would have no choice but to step aside for the new regime under the Romani. Then perhaps Italy could rebuild itself and seven years of misgovernance and disarray could finally end.
A new, perhaps even promising era was in store for the new Italy... but the bloodshed would have to end first - by any means necessary. Togliatti produced a neatly-folded square of crisp, white cloth from his pocket and threw it open into a 4'x6' flag - completely white.
//General, what are our orders now?//
"Surrender." General Togliatti said, biting back tears. "Surrender to the Spanish forces, and get me into contact with General Juarez and Marius.
//G-general? Are you certain?//
"Absolutely certain. Today, we end this war."
Alfonso Sotelo, having just returned from Persia, hung his two awards that he had received from the Shah on the wall behind his desk in his Madrid office. No sooner than he had the two sitting flat and even on their nails, Ernesto Bodevin - the commander of the Fuerza Aerea - knocked on the door and stepped inside with a guest in tow immediately behind him before shutting the doors of the office behind him.
"Welcome back, Excellency." Greeted Ernesto Bodevin. "How was Esfahan?"
"Perhaps not as fruitful as I would have hoped, but otherwise pleasant enough." He caught a glimpse of the visitor General Bodevin brought with him and immediately recognized the man as Diego Espartero: the pilot of the ill-fated Cohete I. "And if it isn't the man of the hour! Mr. Espartero!" Sotelo exclaimed as he extended his arm to shake the hand of the formally-dressed pilot. "The first man in space!"
"Truthfully, Excellency, I don't believe that I am." Espartero said solemnly as he returned the handshake and took a seat alongside General Bodevin.
"Right... of course." Sotelo's face went somber. "I was informed of this development just as I arrived in Spanish airspace. General, the frames please." The Prime Minister requested, turning to General Bodevin.
"Of course." Bodevin produced a manila folder and opened it upon Sotelo's desk. Within the folder were technicolor frames from a film reel that had been blown up to about 14" x 14". The Fuerza Aerea General spread thirty of them over Sotelo's desk. The Prime Minister's eyes fell upon one in particular and he picked it up for a closer view. Surrounded by the blackness of space was a round, silvery object reflecting the sunlight. On the round, obviously man-made object, was the orange insignia of the New People's China, clear as day. In the oversaturated technicolor film, the orange flash of color dominated the otherwise colorless photo.
"So, the frames from space on the Chinese New Year film weren't doctored." Mused Sotelo as he looked over the photograph. "Do the analysts have any idea just what the Hell this is that I'm looking at?"
"They've taken to calling it an artificial satellite. A tiny, man-made moon. It remains in orbit above the planet indefinitely."
"I see." Said a concerned Sotelo. "What can it do aside from that? Take photographs? Jam our radio signals or intercept our broadcasts?"
"I don't believe so." Espartero chimed in. "I spent thirty minutes trying to find its frequency and I found nothing. I'm convinced that it's nothing but a hunk of metal in orbit at this point. The antennae suggests that it did communicate with the ground at one point... but for now, it's dead. I didn't see any camera equipment on it, but the Chinese had to get that photograph from space somehow."
"Are you saying there may be another Chinese spacecraft up there?"
"According to our analysts, probably." Ernesto Bodevin reported. "And that's what concerns me more than anything."
Sotelo took one last look at the frame of the Chinese satellite and then gingerly set it down on his desk.
"We cannot allow the Chinese to maintain this level of technological superiority over the West. I want our rocketry efforts increased five-fold." He pointed at the Chinese satellite photograph on the desk below him. "I want one of those with the Escudo republicano orbiting the Earth before the decade is out."
Congress Passes Space Ministry Proposition, 2,010 - 158 for
In a narrow phase of final voting the National Congress and Politburo has approved a plan for the induction of a National Aerospace and Technological Ministry as proposed by Zhang Auyi and supported by the Pingyi-Hui of Colleges throughout China. Now passed, this proposition sets the groundwork for the formation of, and collectivization of resources to achieve feats in the technological sciences and advancement into space.
Shang Shenwu, who headed the resistance bloc still decrees this move as, "a terrible waste of resources best applied elsewhere." Though his additional statements have angered some of the congressmen who have followed him: "I know when I have lost, and will not pursue this further."
"It's a disgrace that he should so easily give up!" Wen Gei, a supporter of Shenwu over the course of this venture noted, "There is so many of us who fought it, we should not have to give up!"
Wen Gei promises to combat the proposition and have it re-examined by year's end. He has issued a statement saying he has already filed for Reconsideration and is yet to collect the vote necessary to have the new ministry reexamined. Wen Xiogang merely said: "If we have to, I will have it heard again."
Minister Zhang Auyi applauded the supporters of the proposition promising, "A great deal of rewards for China should we carry through." and "to not give up on it."
Though still young, the new ministry is searching for applicants to take on the role of its minister and Chairman Hou and Politburo have announced they are ready to take on the task of screening available applicants. And they wish for those with leading experience and knowledge in the science, technological, and aerospace fields to submit applications for consideration. Applications shall only be open for a full month before screening is initiated.
Developments in Shangahi murder spree
Following a month's work of investigation Shanghai police and the Intelligence Bureau has announced they are making strides in seeing the recent string of murders in Shanghai brought to a close. They have said, "Recent witness testimonies have given us both a workable physical profile as well as weapon of choice."
Released to local newspapers yesterday, the Shanghai police have revealed what they believe to be the murder's weapon. Based on accounts and collected forensic evidence they believe the killer is using an entire vacuum triode assembly. "The strange occurrence of shards of broken glass withing the lacerations that accompanied severe blunt-force trauma certainly fits the suggested murder weapon." Metro Police chief Wei Wen is said, "We are not just working on apprehending any suspects."
Individuals who may have relevant knowledge on the case are still highly encouraged to report to the local police.
Disaster rocks Australia
Having made land-fall several days previous, the massive cyclone that rocked Australia's east coast his believed to be carrying on down south along the nation's eastern sea-board. At current, the Australian government has not yet issued damage reports on the matter, as it's still in the thick of political turmoil.
Outskirts of Sagaing, Burma
No one had seen them enter.
Nestled in the country-side out of the central-Burmese city of Sagaing stood a large house. Built as a gaudy replica of current western fashion the flashy palace stood as a temple of glass, concrete, and steel. the number of bland, glass coated boxes sat laid out like a white and black X on the country-side landscape. Some attempts at making it look native with the rest of the landscape had been made by the architect, namely the sharp, rugid form of the Southern-Buddhist Pagoda roof sticking out from the center like a concrete shall. A number of small incandescent lights rested atop the many perches and peaks on it like a Christmas tree.
Rows of palm-trees filled the grassy and pool-strewn front and back lawn. Low hedges lined the gravel path leading from the driveway and garage, guiding the three men strolling up towards the house. Small garden, path-way light illuminated their path and lighting their ankles as they strolled forward. One of the three pulled out a black M1911 pistol from his built and sliding the action back to produce a soft click.
The three walked up to the front door. "Open it." whispered Quan, stepping aside in his dark-blue jump-suit to allow the smaller Dailan passed. Getting on his knees, the ever-silent IB agent produced a set of bobby pins and a screw-driver from his pocket. He sat there, staring into the blackness of the door lock as he fiddled with the tumblers inside. After several brief seconds, the door unlocked with a sudden click and Dailain pushed it open, allowing his commanding officer and Wong in.
The main foyer was as misplaced as the exterior. Romanesque pillars rose from the marbled floor to the cieling seventeen feet high. Great cathedral-like windows let in the soft blue glow of the moon.
"Alright, where does this guy sleep so we can finish this." Wong whispered impatiently.
"Upstairs, likely." Quan said, nodding to a set of stairs on the other side of the room, "I want you to guard the door. They only know two are supposed to be here and I don't need them to be suspicious if they find out three men appeared instead of two."
"Right." Wong sighed, "I'll guard the door."
"Dailan." Quan whispered, walking towards the stairs. The orderly Dailain following close behind like a small shadow. They two climbed the stairs then wandered off to the side.
The construct was as big as it was on the inside as it appeared on the outside. The space the concrete mountain hovered over-top marked a great ballroom where a small sound-stage and martini bar sat. From the glass windows that circled the upper regions of the party-room the two IB agents could look down at the decadence hall. Though mostly pitch-black, specks of moon-light did stream through small slits in the ceiling casting light onto portraits too small to see from their distance. Though if it meant anything, the portraits that lined the wall opposite the interior windows were just as telling.
Walking along, and quietly checking the army of doors lining the hall - many opening up into extra quest-rooms or other large halls - Dailain checked these pictures. Many being photographs. The exact contents hidden in the darkness, despite the adjusted eye-sight. But for those details that were discernible he could see what looked to be a rather handsome looking man, with any number of handsome, beautiful people.
Their wanderings lead them down another hall, where they found their ticket. Opening the door slowly, and producing little sound Quan looked in at a great master bed-room. The dim moon-light throwing the room in zones of highly contrasting light and shadow. Draperies of gold and opulence poured over from the bed in the moonlight as what looked to be three figures snoozed in the middle.
Dailain clapped his officer on the shoulder. Pausing in his steps he looked over to his comrade who pointed out the light-switch. "Will be a good thing so I can see him." he whispered, "Flip it on when I wake this fat **** up."
"Yes sir." muttered Dailain. Quan continued his walk forward.
Standing alongside the bed he coughed politely. Then paused. Nothing. He pounded on his chest and coughed louder. Still nothing happened. Frustrated, the agent bent over and taking the mattress from under-neath hurled high the spring-loaded cushion and spilled the contents out over the other-side. Screams of shock and surprise echoed in the room as the three bodies tumbled to the floor. The lights flicked on revealing to the two masked and cloaked men the three sprawled figures. Two women, and one man. Quan tossed the mattress back down.
"Knock knock," he growled in a deep voiced Burmese, "You owe a debt Tsun Mak Tun." On the floor on the other-side of the bed the three naked figures scrambled about seeking safety or cover.
"Wh- Wh-" Whined Tsun Mak Tun, a scrappy, round faced man with small black eyes. His dark black hair lay across his head like a messy bowl cut. The women around him - both browned haired beauties with small breasts, likely twins - scrambled back and away, hiding themselves as best they could. The equally naked Tsun could only grapple for the bed sheets as he hogged it all to cover himself, "I though I paid that off!"
"Not in full!" Quan bellowed again, his voice echoing the aggressive and beastly body language he adapted as he swung over the bed to land at their feet. "Shwen Bang is still waiting, you owe him the interest!"
"Interest!?" screamed Tsun, "What do you mean interest? I swear, I paid it off."
"Then why the blazing **** do you think we're here you cheapskate playboy!" roared Quan, "You have dues to pay to Mr. Shwem and we're due to collect. Or have you snorted it all away?"
With the room well-lit the exact state of the room could be revealed. A massive set of doors on the far-left wall was likely Tsun's extensive dresser. His bed, a large oval-shaped beast that was now lying across half the room's bright-red carpeting rested between two night-stands laden with a pharmacy worth of alcohol and other substances of enjoyment. The two girls now hid behind a small TV set by the window and the man's radio.
In addition, the wall-space alongside the door was decorated with an assembly of music awards and other paraphernalia.
"Look, look." Tsun stammered, "I swear I paid it off."
"I'm sure you have." pressed Quan, "but the books are still incomplete, and someone needs to fill them. You owe the six percent interest on that loan you took. It's payday! This is your last day Mr. Tsun and I was told if you don't comply I get to report back with your head."
"Please!" sobbed Tsun, "Don't do that, I'll pay!"
"What do you want me to remove first?" growled Quan as he produced a massive knife from the holster strapped to his back. The long curved blade glistened in the brightly lit room. The two girls both screamed in unison.
"SHUT UP!" Dailain screamed from the light-switch. Having never heard him shout, even Quan flinched as he heard that shrill sound escape from his partner's lip.
Tsun sat bare-chested in the middle of the room. His hairy chest rising and falling as he stared horrified at the blade. Defeated, he complied. "How much?"
"500,000 Kyat." Quan hissed, "You got it?"
Tsun looked down at the carpet, clenching at the threads with his fingers nervously. Sadly he sighed, "I do. Can I get dressed first?"
"You'll get it with that sheet wrapped around you like a toga for all I care." Quan said, waving the knife.
Tsun nodded, grabbing the golden fabric he threw it around him as he sat up. His two fancies watching from the corner as he got up and walked towards the closet. Quan sheathed his blade and replaced its presence with a M1911. The two girls gasped, but as Quan shot them a look they both shut their mouths.
The immense closet opened up to reveal a forest of clothes and suits. Brushing them aside Tsun revealed a space set into the wall. A large steel safe resting inside. Standing at it, he turned the dial and it opened with a click. Solemnly he produced a small briefcase. Cradling it over in his arms he walked over to the two.
"Take however much you need." he sighed resigned, handing it over, "Just don't..." he paused uncomfrotably, "Cut me up or anything. Ok?"
Quan opened the briefcase. The interior was lined with a plethora of neatly stacked and tapped bills. He looked to his partner and gestured to him. Handing the briefcase out to Dailain he ordered him: "Remove how much we need."
Dailain carried out the request silently. Producing a small sack from his belt. He pulled out a stack and began counting through it.
"Each one of those are stacks of two-hundred." Tsun said quietly. Dailain only paused momentarily, before continuing.
"For your sake there better be enough here." Quan said, "Or we will be back. Or a good associate of ours well and he'll be taking more than spare change with him."
Tsun only stood, hands placed firmly on his hips as he uncomfortably sucked on his lower lip.
"We're good." Dailain said suddenly, tying up the end of the satchel, "It's all here."
"Our business is concluded then." Quan said with a grin behind his mask, "Thank you for letting us in." with that, he gave him a wave with his gloved hand and walked out. Dailain in heel.
Outside, the trio set back off down the path. The house stood behind them, standing as if nothing had ever happened. Stepping off the garden path they traipsed over to the car they had used, a beat up battered vehicle. Shutting the doors with a soft click they began to roll down the drive-way.
"Think he'll rat us out?" Wong asked from the back.
"He's a pop star." Quan said, "I think the last think he'll want is anyone to know he's associated with criminals. And besides, he's a coward, he wouldn't dare do anything to cross the Red Guard, considering how he reacted."
Wong nodded silently. The car crawled on down through the trees, then out onto the main road and into the night. "And damn it," Wong said with a wane, sarcastic smile, "I still can't believe you sent me off to get us a safe-house and you two went to Thailand. ****ers."
After the previous two speakers had spoken the Cambodian delegate stood up. Reaching into the front pocket of his white coat he pulled out a pair of reading glasses. He looked down at the note cards he was carrying. Lightly tossing them down onto the table he spoke aloud, in heavily Cambodian influenced French: "His Majesty Prince Sihanouk and the Congress of the Khmer Republic of Cambodia has it in their opinion that the best course of action that wars for direct territorial expansion are not to be seen as legitimate fronts. Though, it might be a good question to answer how a 'illegitimate' government is determined and defined. For if we're to base our wars on whether or not a government is a legitimate heir to the people's interest, then nothing has changed.
"If anything, it may just as well polarize every war until we are cast into oblivion again." he added, sitting down.
When the Cambodian delegate finished Daen Hong stood to make his point made: "Like the previous speakers it's been determined by China that wars to end direct territorial expansion should be made to close. Though as also said, I think it's best we define what a illegitimate government is.
"And if I may propose this up front to give us a position from which to start may I propose that so long as the government is native to that land, it is the legitimate government."
Hong finished with a small bow and sat down, waiting on the next speaker to address the room.
Airspace over the Pacific Ocean
The low hum of the engines outside was turned to a dull murmur through the metal and insulation of the aircraft's hull as it passed out over Japan and into the heart of the Pacific ocean. It was predominately empty, save for the small handful sitting at the cushioned chairs of the interior cabin. Otherwise, the interior was largely decorated with elements from an era before the Civil War and had a certain, age-old ghost feel. While outside, the bright blue sky hung over the sparkling expanse of the Pacific ocean. Tufts of clouds streaked past the plane, or hovered over the horizon in the distance.
Dr Xixen Dailan sat at one of the many empty window seats. Opened up in his lap was a large book describing the effects of a number of chemicals and their effects on the respiratory system. No doubt compliments of Unit 731's research.
"So, Shanghai university of medicine?" a voice said. Dr Xixen looked up to see Dr. Guo Cong sitting down at the seat across from him.
Xixen nodded, "Yep." he said, "Been in the medical field for twenty-three years now."
"So you've been active during the Civil War?" Cong asked, arching a brow in curiosity.
Xixen nodded methodically, and sadly, "Yeah." he said, "Wasn't pretty."
"From what I was told, I bet."
"'Told?'" Xixen asked, "What do you mean?"
"Oh, well I've been in this for perhaps fifteen years." Xixen sighed, "I was raised more-or-less in the nation's interior. So, yeah. I missed out on a lot."
"Where about exactly?"
"Haixi." he said.
"Oh, Haixi. Didn't get much action then?"
"No, not at all. I was only really pulled into the medical field really because I was a pharmacist the time it was over and there was a shortage of trained doctors."
Xixen sighed understandably, leaning back from his chair. Eyes alight with understanding, "Yes, I remember that time. A lot of plague going about in the south."
"As well as a lot of other issues. But I think the more extreme Kumintang weren't just going to let us absorb their more defeated, centrist elements."
Xixen laughed, "It wasn't the Kumintang." in said matter-of-factly, looking at Guo with the look a headmaster gives an incorrect student, "It was the work of the Japanese."
"Really, how do you know?"
"I handled a lot of their victims in Baotou. It was fairly common to see them flee west."
"And how does this fit in?" questioned Guo.
"Well you sort of become an expert on the area of plague." Xixen laughed, if a little mortally, "But it did put me in a position the NPC would want me to know what they found in Harbin. I sort of became a figure caught deep in the middle of their studying of Unit 731's research.
"And considering they had affiliated operations in Canton during the war, and the plague was real bad there it wouldn't surprise me if it was their fault. Or they released their rats before they fell."
"You never paid much attention to them, did you?"
"I more-or-less read their stuff on chemical and explosives research. But no, I didn't go into their plague stuff."
"You should read it all in full then." Xixen recommended, "It's rather displeasing stuff. But it's useful."
"Is that what you're reading then?" Guo asked, pointing to the book in his lap.
"Oh, no." he said, "Well they had an impact in helping to compile this. But this is a catalog of information regarding all manners of chemicals. I'm looking for possible cousins to determine what it most closely is. I'm honestly half hoping it's just a re-named existing compound."
"If it helps at all." called out a different man, "I think it could be a nerve agent."
Xixen turned around in his chair to face the IB agent Ming Fa. His bald, round face hovering over him as he leaned against the back of the chair next to him.
"What makes you say that?"
"It's not very signature I think of normal respiratory targeting chemicals. Got around to some of the survivor reports?"
"I didn't get that far, I didn't have much time."
Agent Ming nodded, "Could easily be a nerve gas then. Many of them reported severe numbness before passing."
"Well, we'll need to test this hypothesis then." replied Xixen
The passing of a second bill had finally occurred, the "Liberian Development" Project was a large undertaking which would be an attempt to bring Liberia's infrastructure and Manufacturing up to par with the rest of the world, and branch out into the deep forests of the nation and tap the massive wealth of resources in the nation. A great deal of resources were to be put into the project, and it'd take an estimate of forty years, but it'd bring massive increases to the Liberian Economy, and help bring Liberia up to higher points in the production of basic necessities such as Iron and Rubber.
"We are sending ambassadors to France, Spain, Germany, South America and Ethiopia to see if they can help subsidize the project and give us the backing and foundations we need to begin this project, hopefully one of them could agree to assist." Reported Financial advisor Alfred Cox, who was filling the President in on current events that are going on. He simply nodded in agreement, not saying anything.
The familiar clang of metal against metal was heard as hundreds of workers, mostly natives, hammered in railroad spikes in a new railroad that was being developed to enable travel from Monrovia to Harper, and then to the mining town of Clarnin, were many buisness owners saw as a good oppertunity to set up industrial sectors for the production of cars, plane parts, and even one company is attempting to set up a place to develop basic small arms. However, financial problems are hindering the railroad and by extension, the companies.
Then, it was all interrupted by a bell ringing, lunch-break had started. The job only payed two dollars an hour, but the workers received free food for "Bringing Liberia to a greater future." It was more or less a simple way to help incorporate the Native Population to getting used to working in the work force of industry and no long tribal or simple farms. An extremely so process, however. The government is attempting to take it 'Slow and steady' and 'Not rush them.'
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
The world is a cold, unforgiving, maple-syrupy place for a Canadian
If the police remained in their current locations, Hashim knew their attacks would have little effect, and as such, he would have to fool the Persian government into believing that the threat to their nation has vanished. He would have to make some convincing calls, but it could be done. He quickly picked up his phone, and called the cell leader in Mashhad. He waited, until he heard a voice through the phone. "Sheikh Hashim? I assume there is a reason you have called?" Hashim smiled, then responded to the man over the phone. "Though I do this with a heavy heart, Imam, you must sacrifice a number of your cell so that we may fool the Persians into believing they are safe. It is the only way for our attacks to be met with success. They must claim full responsibility for the attacks...and hand in falsified plans for further attacks. These plans, they must tell the Persians of attacks on oil fields, refineries, places away from the actual targets. Am I understood?" he said. After several seconds of silence, and with a heavy heart, the Imam responded with a simple "Of course, sir.", then relaying his orders to his cell.
With two hours, the Mashhad Imam had dispatched eight operatives to a nearby Mashhad Police station.These eight people claimed full responsibility for the attacks, and, with themselves, turned in supposed "plans" for the prior attack on the Shrine, also detailing future attacks on various oil field and refineries, along with various Persian airports, and military bases. They claimed that they, and the bombers, were members of their organization. As for weapons, they claimed their explosives were handmade over a period of several months, though they refused to divulge the ingredients. Those eight people called the Persians "Oppressors of the true Islam", though they would die within five hours of turning themselves in, as it appeared they had prior injected themselves with a fast-acting poison.
Helmand Province, Afghanistan
The village below the Afgan helicopter, for the most part, seemed lifeless, save for the smoldering wreckage of the convoy, and the charred skeletons of dead Persian soldiers. Their attackers remained inside the various buildings of the village, the windows hidden by wooden boards, and the doors barred by various pies of furniture. Whatever they were doing, they had no intentions of coming out.
The mood in the room was tense as leaders of the rebellion stood around a map. News had came in of the battle of Busanga, and the fallout of the defeat had echoed through the halls of the bunker like news of a dead relative. Though Busanga itself was of little strategic relevance, the route of the forces there was a significant loss both in morale and supply. Worse off, it opened Kolwezi for attack. If Kolwezi fell, the rebels would be cut off from the north west, and the lands of the rebelling Luba tribe would be under threat.
At the head of the table, looking over the map from the north, stood General Marcel, the man the Ethiopians had dubbed "The Rouge General". Marcel looked the part, his black dress long enough that it would drag to the floor if it wasn't for his matching high heels. Along the edges of the table, the other leaders stood, studying the map... and Marcel. The silence was palpable, and unnerved some of the men present.
Finally, the youngest man in the room spoke. Nico Numbi, the leader of the Luba people, has the most to lose from the Ethiopian advance. Still, at only seventeen, he did not have a head for strategy.
"We need to act!" the young man said zealously, his voice raising in pitch. "If we smash them head long, the will fall! We seen them fall in Lubumbashi, they will fall again!"
Men looked down at their feet or glanced at Marcel, waiting for a response. The Rouge General said nothing, nor did he give a sign that he had heard the young man. Instead, he continued to study the map as if it held the answer to all their questions. The young Nico looked at the men at the table, his breath growing heavier and his eyes widening as if he was picking one for a fight. "Is any of you man enough to fight?"
"It isn't that simple" Jon Kapwepwe answered. "They have tanks, and equipment."
"They had those things at Lubumbashi!!!" Nico shouted back.
"We won Lubumbashi because they smashed against us." Jon answered, "If we go on the offensive, we will only do damage to our selves."
Nico's anger grew more obvious upon his face. Looking over the rest of the rebel leaders, he began to shout. "None of you will fight this war? None of you?". Getting no answer, Nico stormed toward the door in a fury. Before Nico had left the room, Marcel raised his hand. Without breaking eye contact with the map in front of him, the Rouge General spoke.
"The boy is a fool." he stated. Nico stopped at the door and started the general down, his nostrils flared with rage. Before he could respond, Marcel continued. "But he speaks the truth."
The officers around the table exchanged looks. "Right?" Jon responded, "Surely you must see we cannot fight them offensively."
"This is true." Marcel agreed, "But we cannot wait for them to reach us here. We must set up a new trap, near Kolwezi."
Nico began to approach the table, his rage turning into a sort of excitement. Marcel continued. "The lake east of Kolwezi is long, and the only way to cross it is a single bridge. A choking point."
"They would be wise to go around, to the south." Msiri, the leader of the Garanganze, noted. "In which case we are back at square one."
"It is possible..." Marcel nodded, "But they can't get their armor across that terrain. For them to make this work for them, they must get across that lake or be forced to take another route."
"Here" Jon pointed to the road north of Kolwezi, "If we move north along the lake, we can cut off their supply."
"They could easily regain that." Marcel waved his hand, "But if we made it known that was our intentions..."
"They might rush across the lake." Jon realized, "We could trap them."
"The Battle of Stirling Bridge." Marcel smiled.
"Exactly" Jon agreed.
Mountains North of Kalemie, Congo
As the son rose, so did Mvulu. Most mornings had seen him wake in pain, and this morning wasn't any different, but the pain in his abdomen was subsiding. Still, the pain in his leg was howling. Several minutes after Mvulu has awoken, like clockwork, the kindly old man entered Mvulu's hut carrying a bowl of fruit and a small bottle of pills. Mvulu's pain was being managed in the day by pain killers instead of morphine, allowing him to stay awake. For what, he did not know, as all he could do is lay down. The doctor had brought him a book, Moby **** by Herman Melville. For Mvulu, it had been a laborious read. In truth, he wasn't much of a reader.
"How is your reading?" The old man smiled, cutting up a banana. As he handed the fruit to Mvulu on a wooden plate, he crouched down by his bed. "You should eat this"
Mvulu did as instructed. "The book is slow." He said truthfully, "What I need to do is walk. What did the doctor say about my leg? When will it heal."
The old man continued to smile. "You only need see for yourself."
"See?" Mvulu asked, "I am no medical expert."
"No" the old man agreed, "This is true. You should rest"
Mvulu looked at the old man oddly. "My ribs..."
"You should rest" the old man smiled. "And read, You should read."
Mvulu took another bite of his breakfast. The old man handed him a pill before he left the room. Swallowing the pill, Mvulu took another bite of fruit before he picked up his book. His eyes scanned the page, picking up every other word, but he couldn't bring his mind from what the old man had said. He continued to try to read, but it was ineffective. Putting the book down, he attempted to lift his head. He had no pillows, and had not been able to move due to the pain in his torso. His first attempt to lift his body shot a stabbing pain down his side, and he fell back down. He tried a second time, propping his arms behind him and lifting with his elbows. This time, he caught a glimpse of his right foot before he fell back in pain. After several minutes, the pain subsided again.
Taking a deep breath, Mvulu tried again. Lifting with his elbows, he managed to get a view beyond his torso. Pain shot through his abdomen, causing him to grimace, but he powered through it and got a good look at his legs.
Despite the pain, his left shin was no longer present. He could swear he could feel it, but his eyes said otherwise. Below the knee, there was only bed.
((I never said Pollundrian was American, Veo, but I'll go with it.))
The city of Artashat was normally away from the fighting. Apart from the usual protests, the rebels there were quiet, stockpiling weapons and waiting. It was the early morning in early May, with the rebellion gaining speed dramatically. The local rebel DJ, known as the Yellow Crane, a nickname imparted on him by his classmates at college after spending a semester in Japan, was making his usual broadcast of news and popular music in a hidden radio station at an apartment complex near the large city bazaar. As the Crane was wrapping up his news segment, he noticed that the glass of water on his desk was shaking. A few seconds later, the windows started rattling. As the Crane proceeded on, he was staring out of his window, and noticed a black shape on the horizon. As it got closer, the sounds of helicopter blades grew louder, and the windows were rattling even more. "Attention, listeners," the Crane began, "it has seemed that the Turks have found me. I will remain on air until the last second, but I urge you to take the fight to them and liberate the city. Grab your weapons, hide your families, and pour into the streets. Their helicopters can not stop our patriotism. We shall win!"
The Crane put the mic down and grabbed a Makarov PM on his desk, brought it over to the mic, loaded a magazine into it, and cocked it for everyone to hear. The helicopter was hovering overhead, and the Crane heard thumping on the roof as soldiers roped in. Thirty seconds later, he heard yelling in the hallway, and knocks on his door. "THIS IS IT, ARTASHAT! I GIVE MY LIFE FOR ARMENIA!" he yelled as the Turkish soldiers busted through his door and directed a shotgun blast into his torso. The Crane fired a shot harmlessly into the air as he flew backwards onto his desk and knocked the recording equipment over. Static filled the airwaves, as Armenians plunged into the streets. They were planning for a very large fight.
Thirty blocks away, a man named Gregovyen was listening to the radio and frowned. He was a construction worker in his middle twenties, and he had joined the rebellion with his friends from work. His wife cast a look at Gregovyen as he grabbed his Kalashnikov-type rifle from underneath his bed, where he hid it, along with three magazines. He then rummaged around in his closet for his tool belt, which had pockets just big enough the fit a magazine in if he cut out the bottoms. He had done so, and placed the magazines in the belt while he took the safety off of his rifle. He turned to the door and saw his wife leaning on the doorframe, looking concerned. "Honey," he started, coming close to her, "I have to go. I don't know if I'll be back before night, but I'll try. Get Nikita and go to the basement. Bring the radio and my other gun, the pistol."
His wife stood wordlessly as she looked towards Nikita's, the couple's infant daughter, room. She then nodded and let Gregovyen push by. He stopped for a second and kissed her cheek, and then quietly walked down the hall to the main door. He pulled the bolt back on his rifle and slammed a magazine into it, then tying a shemagh around his face to conceal his identity. He waved at his wife as he walked out into the decrepit neighborhood. The air was thick with smoke, a signal that the rebels were lighting tire fires to signal an assault on their people. They worked fast. Gregovyen began trotting towards the bazaar, where a riot was likely to congregate, and where shouts were coming from. Helicopters buzzed overhead as he ducked into a shack on an empty lot. It was normally used for storing cars, but nothing could be found. Gregovyen waited for a few seconds until he heard a car's engine on the road.
The car came closer to Gregovyen's hiding place, and he heard gunshots close to him. He flinched, but finally looked outside to see a white pickup truck with a dozen men riding in the back. They all were armed with guns ranging from Kalashnikovs to HK53s, and he realized that they were Armenians. Gregovyen bolted out of the shack and headed towards the truck, shouting at it as it slowed. Gregovyen ran to the side of the still-moving truck and knocked on the window as he jogged beside it. The passenger rolled the window down and brandished a Makarov while Gregovyen pulled his pulled his mask down. He recognized the passenger as the bakery owner down the street, and watched as the baker waved the gun towards the bed. A wordless signal to get in.
Massievyen relinquished his pistol as per the Persians' request and sat down in the windowless interrogation room with Commander Bakirian. Massivyen scratched an itch on his thigh and smoothed his hair down before responding. "Bakirian... An Armenian name. Well, makes sense, seeing as we're this close to the border," he started. He leaned back in the collapsable metal chair. "I'm not the one you should talk to about this. The CAG's in charge of the squadron."
The Persian officer sat down at the other end of the table and chuckled. "It was your idea, Lieutenant."
"I know, but I'm-"
"So why'd you do it?" the Persian inquired as he leaned on the table and clasped his hands together.
"So we could base helicopters in Persia to use against Turkish personnel in Armenia. The way I figure it, they can't attack because we're on Persian territory, but we can attack because we're not affiliated with any existing or recognized state. I could use my chopper to assist rebels in the Nakhchivan province, and even in the southern areas elsewhere, if I can fly to different bases to support my attack. That's really why. I've got troop transports for supplies, and attack choppers to kill. A good plan, if I do say so myself."
The Persian jotted down notes on a sheet of paper as he listened to Massivyen speak. He finished, tossing the pen down on the paper, and looked up at him with a content expression on his face.
Pollundrian listened to the nurse's explanation, and was astonished to find out that they were in fact special forces operators. At the end, he nodded. He saw that their professional demeanor contrasted sharply with the ASF guards, many of whom were teenagers handling weapons inappropriately, like having the safety off accidentally or holding them by the handguard when not in use. It was slightly embarrassing. The Persians would be the main contact with the Persian government while they were there, and Pollundrian agreed with that. "Alright. This is a pretty nice deal," he said as he eyed the donkey carts. "Have the ammunition and guns sent to Sergeant Hassavien's house, while you can set up a field hospital somewhere. But keep in mind, I'm in charge of the Armenians here, so don't think you can order them around. We'll help you, but these are still my men. I was a platoon sergeant in my time as a draftee in the Army: I can lead men."
He nodded to a nearby guard, who jogged up to the Persian and began to lead the supplies to Hassavian's house. He was a former quartermaster, so he was an expert with that sort of thing. Pollundrian walked back into house nearby, and went back into his room. He collapsed onto the bed and started to go to sleep, cursing the Persians for showing up this late at night.
(This is written under the assumption Mihndar has nothing to say via Colombia. And as such, I will pretend he's spoken. If he does have anything to say on Cambodia and China, I think it'll be easy to retcon that in so long as it's kept relevant to that).
After the previous speakers have made their position, the representative from the Western Russian Communes stood up to speak. His hard, motley personage contrasting hard with the cleaned up - if out of date - suit he wore. He looked a warrior, one pulled from veteran battles and dressed and groomed properly for this moment. "The venerable Soviet of the Communes of Saint Petersburg and Talinn have this to say on the subject of territorial expansion. Save for those purposed for the purpose of national unification!"
His remark got a cheer of appreciation from the North Korean representative.
"We have decided this because we do not see the legitimacy of the Republic. Though they command Moscow they do not command the worker's unions that are in the west! Their arrogance from owning a faulty image is blinding and a decay to themselves. They say they are communist, socialist. But they do not carry their brand truthfully!
"It, in the end should not be the right of the international community to pretend to uphold piece when identities are threatened when we protect illegitimate states from their one true heir!"
The Russian paused for a moment. Taking a breath to regain composer he continued: "It is also a concern to the Soviets that the war that afflicts Scandenavia should be examined here. For in any and all cases we feel, it is an improper affair sanctioned hypocritically by the most childish of organizations on this world.
"For those few UND members present here on this day I ask you to turn to your charter and ask yourself: How does letting Sweden invade Norway hold true to your charter? You seek to uphold independence let you allow another threaten the independence of another state. And to drag another!
"Though we do not hate Denmark I ask that they reexamine their selves for the benefit of the Revolution.
"I do not know what grand intelligence you've allowed to have blundered into your chambers to convince you to allow another to directly threaten the people of another in a great hypocrisy. But it should be reexamined. And this act of expansion should be judged by us all here. And I will hope that by the end it becomes the First Great Test on this convention's authority."
The Russian took a breath, and nodded to the chamber before sitting down. Daen Hong and his Cambodian counter-part leaned over their desks to look at them. They flashed themselves curious looks, muttering to each other: "You knew he was going to go on about that?"
Shortly after him the North Korean representative stood up. Looking no more a diplomat than an officer. His composer was that of inspired pride at his precursor's presentation.
"The People's Republic of North Korea does agree with the points of our Russian friend in that the expansion of a state should be conducted for the purposes of national reunification! For five years we have denied our southern brothers! Korea is not whole! We do hope that we may admonish the false south in the favor of the One True Korea!
"It is also for the interest of the true heirs of Chosun that the government of the south is not truly Korean! It is still very much Japanese, and therefore false in our eyes!"
Though short, he had spoken with a loud fiery flare that he had hoped captured the attention of the rest. Surely in the eyes of Daen Hong though, it had made his seat a might awkward.
Olympia Airport, Washington State, USSA
The aircraft came down onto the runway amid a thin veil of rail. The sky a dark grey. Thin trails of rain trailed back along the hull of the plane as it thundered down from the sky to the airstrip below. There, the lights of the airport glittered in the wet darkness summoning the old aircraft to its embrace.
With a screech, and a wet spray the landing gear touched the grey, causing the aircraft to momentarily buffet and bump as it touched down. Settling, it hummed along the tarmac, following the bright light as a airport worker guided it off the landing way and off to the side. Making its turn it rolled off into a large hangar where the threat of rain diminished to only a few light stream of ceiling leakage. Gathered in the dim lighting stood a small gathering.
The door on the side popped open as a ladder was pulled up to the side. One by one the men aboard began filing out into the cool Washington air. "Welcome to America!" cheered a man, strolling up to the ladder, "Or at least what's left?"
"What do you mean, comrade?" called Fa, trying his best English on.
"Long political rant." the man cackled. He was middle aged. Black hair flecked with grey was combed back across his head, making his already large brow appear larger. Crow-feet and a menagerie of other, smaller wrinkles lined his eyes. A long pointy noise jutted from his face, "So do you all speak English?"
"Only a little." Xixen Daen replied nervously. The others looked flat-out lost.
"Ah, I see." the man said. Fa translated. "Oh speak it?" he asked Fa bemused.
"Part of my career." Fa grinned in replied, "Command wanted me and others to speak it just in case **** went down with Canada."
"Ah, well, you can never trust them anyways." their greeter scoffed. The rest of the group had gathered around him, looking out of place, awkward, and a mite cold. "But how rude of me. I haven't introduced myself! I'm Ryan Ritchens, of the University of Michigan, chemistry professor. And, I guess you are all the Chinese I was expecting?"
Fa nodded. He briefly took the time to quickly translate what had been said. After which, each of the group approached the Professor Ritchens, shaking his hands and giving their names. Fa went last.
Putting his hands on Fa's shoulder he pulled him to the side. His face sullen he said in a low voice, "So, what do you need to see first? We've got a lot to begin with. And, well, the feds here are a little on the wary side, you know?" he looked over to the soldiers standing guard a short shot away, "It's all very tight all throughout the state here. It's scary. They'e going to want to know where you want to go and when. So, what's the plan my man?"
"I don't know what 'my man' is supposed to mean," Fa said, "But we'd like to Seattle proper first."
"Ah, I see." Ryan said, "Well that's going to be a couple days. I need to clear it with the 'Red Guard' first. They and the state police and Sheriff has practically done their best to shut it all down. Only the right people go in."
"I understand. Then I guess we could all go for a room then and we'll discuss it there."
Ryan smiled, "Ah, well that I can do."
(OHHHHH MY GOOOD YES. I don't need to always do Chinese names now. Or Russian...)
The Emperor sat with the Assistant Foreign Affairs adviser on a balcony over looking the city. A cool breeze blew in from the mountains as the two men discussed politics over lunch and wine. The wine was a Spanish vintage, but the food was very much Ethiopian. The small dish was called Kitfo, a spicy meal of minced raw beef garnished with peppers.
"The Liberians have contacted us" the Assistant Foreign Affairs adviser started, patting his mouth with his napkin. A man by the name of Ita Thabiti, The Assistant Adviser had taken over Taytu Yohannes's duties while she was in Esfahan. He was an average looking man, his skin dark enough to be called truly black. His beard was trimmed neatly, as was the remnants of his hair that had over time retreated to the edges of his scalp.
"We should have had contact with them sooner." Yaqob took a sip of wine. "The Monrovia doctrine might be controversial, but we should be doing what we can to support it. The people of Rio Niger should know that we haven't forgotten them."
"Indeed" agreed Thabiti, "The Liberians have an ambassador en route to discuss economic aid. They are undergoing a major construction boom through the guidance of their government."
"We don't have money." Frowned Yaqob.
Thabiti grinned. "Money is fluid. We can have money if we need money."
Yaqob shook his head and took bite of his food. "That is not good. We don't want to bankrupt ourselves."
"We could ask the Chinese for the money" Thabiti suggested, "This is a sensitive area. If the Spanish continue to grow their oil industry in the Ivory coast... The Chinese would benefit."
"They might" Yaqob nodded, "But they don't see things like that. The Chinese... they fail to see things globally. The revolution modernized a lot, this is true, but they still haven't truly realized the modern world for what it is."
"Global" Thabiti agreed, "This is one world."
"There is no more Africa." Yaqob stated, taking another sip of wine. "Or Asia. Lord knows the Spanish realize it. If the Chinese realized it, they would truly be a concern of the west."
"Maybe it's a good thing China stays in the east." Thabiti suggested, "They could potentially be as dangerous as Sotelo and Claro rant and rave they are."
Yaqob smirked, poking his lunch with his spoon. "My job would be so much easier if the other world leaders weren't so difficult."
"You would get spoiled!" Thabiti laughed, "You would get fat if you were so comfortable! Let them be difficult, it makes the game a challenge."
"Now if only losing the game didn't result in death." Yaqob shook his head. "But yes, we should find money to help out the Liberians. On the one condition."
"I assumed as much." Thabiti's face grew more serious. "I have all the faith they will join the ACE."
"It would be ideal." Yaqob said, "Africa would be zipped up. So much of my father's plans would be realized."
"Truly" Thabiti said, quickly swallowing what he had been chewing. "Though the Cote de Ivory..."
"One thing at a time." Yaqob smiled. "Much freedom is for the future."
"Truly" Thabiti nodded. As the two continued to eat, Azima joined them on the balcony. Looking at Yaqob, she spoke professionally.
"The guards at the front and side gates have been switched, your imperial highness."
"Aha" Yaqob nodded before looking back at Thabiti. Thabiti looked at his watch. "I have a meeting at two... I should get going."
The two men stood up and shook hands. "Have luck with the Liberians" Yaqob smiled.
"It was a pleasure eating with you, your imperial majesty." Thabiti smiled back before taking his leave. Once he had left, Azima sat down in his place and Yaqob beaconed over to his servant. "Get the Captain of the Guard something to eat. And a fresh cup. Then leave us"
The servant bowed and quickly rushed into the building, leaving the two alone. Once he was out of site, Yaqob and Azima exchanged warm smiles. Azima spoke first.
"You know he already knows" She chuckled, "It's not a secret."
"It shouldn't be" Yaqob reached out to hold her hands. "I have it in my mind to have you accompany me to the opening of the Addis Ababa Film House."
"I was already going." She snickered, "As your guard captain."
"I want you to go as my guest." he responded, "To sit beside me in front of the people."
"A date?" Azima grinned, "You are supposed to ask girls on dates, not command them. Whatever you learned in China..."
"Will you accompany me to the opening of the Addis Ababa Film House?" He asked sweetly, "I would be remiss if you did not?"
"Remiss?" Azima teased.
"Heartbroken" Yaqob smiled, "It would hurt me like a thousand wounds from a thousand enemies."
"Now you sound like an Arab" Azima laughed, "I will go. But only on one condition..."
"What is that?" Yaqob inquired.
"I need something to wear that is fitting. Not the spartan clothing I own as the daughter of Ras Hassan. The dress of a queen."
Two men were displaying the two recently developed guns to John Miller. A man displays a pistol to John, he points to parts of the gun. "Unlike our recent pistol, the NWP-77 can hold up to fifteen rounds" The man tells John. "Anything else?" John asked him. "The gun can be easily reloaded" the man stated He then fires it at the test dummy. "I see it isn't very loud" John complimented. Another man walked to John, he was holding a rifle. "The NWR-77, our new rifle which holds up to twenty rounds" the man explained to John. He then fired it at the dummy. "Alright then, all of your guns past the test, we'll manufacture them soon" John told them. The men handed John their guns.
The cramped van rolled down the highway, alone. A traffic-less stretch spanning for miles in either directions. A number of signs marked their destination as being Seattle. And though likely dead, many more billboards advertised numerous locations and restaurants in the doomed city. It was surreal, ghostly. Looking out the windows of the moving car the Chinese investigators could only marvel at the dark contrast.
On the car's radio, only static played. Attempts to change the station had only yielded what Ryan Ritchens had called: "A country music station". Otherwise, nothing. The radio only played the dull static crackle because everyone was too lazy to shut it off.
Within the car sat the four investigators dispatched from China to aid in the Seattle investigations: Daen Xixen and Guo Cong sat in the middle-most set, their lamps laden down with equipment and gear. In the back sat Dr Ho Angua who remained mute, a graduate student of Professor Ritchen sat next to him, visibly nervous and unsure. Sitting in the front seat, blowing cigarette smoke out the window was Agent Ming Fa.
As the vehicle rounded a bend, Ritchens laid on the brake and it slowed to a stop. Ahead sat several trucks, and a tank. A makeshift flagpole flew the red banner for the USSA as several soldiers loitered about below it. On their slowing approach these men got to their feet and walked to the car.
As they drew closer, the men could see the large gas-masks that hung from their necks like over-sized, gaudy necklaces. A visor or heavy, clear plastic and a bulky respirator. The men knew these designs well, they all owned one like it. As the car pulled up to a stop one of the men strolled over to the side of the car.
"Identification an' reason?" he asked in a draw.
"Certainly," Ritchens nodded, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his plastic driver's license. "Professor Ryan Ritchens he said. I'm here to give some our comrades here a tour."
The soldier leaned over into the window and peered in. Chewing on what was likely bubblegum he peered inside. "Ming Fa, of the Chinese Inteligence Bureau." Agent Fa said, "I was informed we had permission to visit Seattle this morning."
The soldier nodded, "I rightly recall being told some Chinamen would want to visit. Alright.
"Jes' pull up to the quartermaster's and he'll get you all squared away in your suits." he added, banging on the hood of the car and ushering them on. Ryan released the brake, rolling them on into their encampment.
The suits were, to put it simply bulky. Heavy, hot air-tight monsters. A respirator attached to an air-tank all its own wrapped around the head-piece and down onto the back were it connected to a heavy cylinder. The air which they breathed was warm and stagnant from being kept too long in its one place. And the sight of eight of these across the silent and necropolyptic landscape of suburban Seattle was something straight out of Science Fiction.
"If there's one thing we've come to learn about this gas," Ryans said through his mask as he toured him down an empty street, "Is that once it settles it's a bear to get rid of."
He pointed out to the houses around them. Heavy fumigation gear was running through each as fan desperately attempted to clean them out, "Though, the heavy rains we got shortly after the original bombings has, for the most part washed away much of the external VX residue there still persists much of the coagulated substance in much of the city. And even then, interior areas are still contaminated with it, making entering a house-hold dangerous at best."
"Do you know the concentration in any of these buildings then?" Daen Xixen asked, awe and horror dancing in his voice.
"It tends to vary." sighed Ritchens, "Though we're not sure what's a lethal dose quiet yet. So any level of it is considered highly lethal. And we have to enter any and all zones with environmental gear.
"It's slow work, as we're permitted only so much time out here before we run low on air and need to return. The military has most of their own special-purpose gas-masks but even they're afraid to come into the city."
"I see. And what are with those bags in the houses?" Xixen inquired, pointing out the billowing bags popping out of the many houses. They were simple, merely very large garbage bags, "Those part of the fumigation?"
"Sort of." Ritchen chuckled, "It was the idea of a student. The thought is we could use those to try and collect VX. We've got several different types through the region. Some have filtering mechanisms attached to allow air to flow out but not VX. The hope is we'll find one with optimal gas-capturing capabilities so we can study it later."
"I see." Xixen nodded.
"Are is that coming then?" Ming Fa asked up ahead, "The study of the gas? Have you managed to determine its properties? Molecular and chemical make-up?"
"Not yet, it's been slow work." Ritchen said, "For the most part, many of our acquired samples are sent elsewhere to try and help make better masks. Or, at least that's what I'm told. I've done very little chemical testing with the small amount of resources I possess and it's turned up inconclusive."
"I see." said Ming, "Do you happen to have access to a Mass Spectrometer then?"
"Back in Michigan." groaned Ryan, "But I have a hell of a time getting it here. I tried getting in touch with nearby universities to loan their equipment out, but they're hesitant."
"I can understand that." Guo Cong agreed, rather morbidly, "How many lived here?"
"Some five-hundred fifty-two thousand at the time of the attack. I'd see about 90% of the population perished. The other ten were up-wind enough to evacuate or were out of the city. Though in the following few days we've had some several hundreds die as plumes of contaminated air drifted out over the countryside we have reports of possibly VX-related deaths or ills as far away as Issaquah and Fall City. Only a handful, but it adds to the tragedy here.
"When that big storm hit the area the rest of the region was forced to evacuate over concerns of contaminated drinking water and the winds kicking more VX up and sending it further inland."
"I hope that didn't lead to anything."
"No additional deaths." Ryan said, relieved, "We've been testing the water sense. The days following immediately after though we have found higher-than normal fish deaths outside of sewer and storm-drain outlets implying there's some contamination there and getting out into Puget Sound."
"Have you still got water samples then?" Ming Fa asked.
"I'll like to see them then when we're finished."
"Now, if you don't mind me showing you I believe we might have uncovered additional bodies..." Ryan said, a little mournfully. Though, stopping Xixen couldn't catch the rest of what he was saying. He was too busy waiting on someone.
Standing several yards off was Dr Ho Anqua. Across the street from him stood a emptied playground. A rusty merry-go-round dripped with fresh rain-water. A single Red Guardsman stood by in his own suit, M16 slung over his shoulder as he watched the scientist stare at the scene.
Xixen approached carefully. Walking slowly over loose wind-blown debris. Strangely, despite the empty-tomb-like quality of the air, devoid of all life, including insect or birds the plants still carried out. Bright flowers grew in the garden alongside empty houses. And tufts of weeds grew up through the side-walks. "Something the matter, comrade?" Xixen asked, gingerly putting his arm on his colleagues shoulder.
Ho continued his silence. Looking beyond the face-plate visible trouble and remorse crawled across his face. His suited hands fumbled in front of him. "I have a son, you know." he croaked, "I knew this **** was bad... But, this just..."
Xixen looked back awkwardly. Biting his lip he sighed. "I know." he mumbled, "But, we're supposed to be doing work here. We're going to save China here. And our families."
"I hoping we will." he said, "This murder on too big a scale that should be committed. Have the perpetrator's of this even been charged? Is there any justice left here?"
Again, Xixen was taken by an awkward sense of not-knowing. Rubbing at the side of his mask in an attempt to scratch his head he sighed, "I don't know." It felt like he was trying to comfort a child. But he couldn't find the words to.
"This here," Dr Ho said, with a cracking voice, "Is something I would see a thousand cuts used on the one who did this..." he trailed off.
"Come on you two," the American soldier sighed, "We're falling behind and I don't want to baby sit some ***** ass shits. Let's go."
Though the two could not fully understand the man, they understood his intentions and hobbled off after Ryan and the rest. The soldier following behind, visibly annoyed.
Xingtan Restoration Zone
Though other regions elsewhere in the Agricultural Restoration Project were becoming the lairs of great back-hoes and dozers as they worked to remove top soil or distribute a plethora of neutralizing chemicals to help break down, or collect remaining contaminants this particular region was much more at peace. Loud noises and workers did not chop at the soil, or lay down an pharmacy into the ground as regional top-soil was excavated. The rural peace persisted here, and water buffalo still roamed about undisturbed and the birds still perched themselves in the trees along the edge of large paddies and fields.
Though, there was one thing that disturbed the peace, but not to criminal levels. "Here is where a revolution starts!" Fu Winho boasted, guiding a handful of students out into the middle of a muddy field. Some forty in all followed suit with note-pads and a certain degree of interest - or disinterest. "Out here we will be testing ourselves again for future betterment. We have already underwent laboratory tests and the subject has become the subject of one or two thesis's. And an ongoing element in an old undergrad's project. Now, perhaps I'll quiz you all and ask: what is this?"
An air of silence hung over the group. They scratched their noses, looking out over the rice paddy. "It's a rice paddy." a student said.
"Yes, very good answered." Fu Winho responded, with a round of polite laughter from his entourage. "No, what are we doing here, to help improve it?" he asked again.
Silence again. "Studying the effects of growing multiple kinds of rice crop?"
"No, that was a project I and my colleagues undertook quite a few years ago." Winho sighed, looking around he added: "Though I would not be surprised if one of our outcomes is in this field.
"No, this is not a study on the effects of monoculutre or polyculture. Here in the waters we have deposited a thin concentration of mycellium spores. Now as I believe this is part of our unit. So perhaps someone has actually read their homework and can explain why we have done so."
"To help hold the soil together and improve its water retention?" asked a young female student.
"Sort of." said Winho "To improve water retention in the soil and aid in the ability to hold it all together to lessen weathering is certainly one area we're looking at in comparison to un-treated fields. Our primary purpose here is to study the quality of a fungal aid in the soil to break down a number of contaminants and prevent them from reaching the crop. Thereby keeping them safe from wayward industrial or natural over-saturation.
"This particular field is examining the effects of mycellium sown right into the field. We have similar tests in the surrounding fields both looking at this in differing concentrations as well as in different areas of the field." Winho paused to point out the edge of the field, "We felt that adding a berm to this field would be redundant and difficult with the presence of a natural edge with the bushes and trees here."
"Then why put anything here at all?" asked a male student.
"Science." smiled Winho, "There were enough similar fields around where it was dubbed not a waste to try to some small degree. And is also in fact a thesis of another graduate student.
"When you do go out to see the rest of the fields you may notice the presence of berms, ditches, or other constructions positioned on the up-hill face of a field. Like the tree-line here, these are placed to trap run-off from one field to another to trap the flow of excess nutrients or toxins from one field to another. We've primarily installed these in areas down-hill and down-river from factories and between those and rivers. We will be taking regular measurements over the season and comparing them to samples taken before or un-protected outlets on similar sized factories to gauge effectiveness."
The students nodded, taking notes. "So what's the purpose."
"To that you might want to ask your history professors." Winho smiled, "Well no, don't. This does have a purpose comrades. For the time the NPCP has been in party they have had an interest in improvement.
"The agricultural programs we have in place are a reaction to the food shortages and famines that afflicted us as a nation between the 1958-1965 were a driving force. Fields salted by retreating factions only heightened the disaster. Considering you are standing here, as with I, then we are extremely fortunate.
"Mass-desalinization and a partnership between the Agricultural and Industrial ministries did give us the chemical fertilizers and basic pesticides as well as the equipment we used to hurriedly restore, safe-guard, and reap the rewards of our labors helped to drag us out. And was the first step. As well as the reason we're doing this. In our furry to reverse damages and eat I fear we may have added an over abundance of unneeded nutrients and contaminants which drove myself and my colleagues to research ways to reverse that.
"We needed time though. By the time Mao was deposed as agricultural minister the agricultural researchers were already struggling to bolster crop yields. When Aisin-Guro Puyi came in, he finished what Mao started as well as seek out refining our practices. As such, we received funding to research inter-crop breeding, with such things as our winter-ready Type W Wheat. And higher yield rice, which was being field tested by his passing.
"Now, we've got Auyi's great plan. I've been, maturing this since the crop hybridizing of '72 and was making finds in the lab. Now, we field test."
"What did you find exactly?" asked someone, prompting Winho to laugh.
"Everything I told you." he said, "The breakdown of artificial compounds, utilization of excess nutrients, holding water, holding the soil. The forests it would seem, are a mighty studying ground."
The Danish representative stood up, nodding to the Russian man, "I assure you, I'll deal with it once I have returned home. Now then, on the subject here, I do agree that national unification is a valid reason for territorial expansion.. But, expanding because of greed, and power as some here have experience with, is unacceptable, and should be justification for a legal war. That is all I have to say," he said as he sat back down.
Baltic sea, 30 miles from the coast of Hiiumaa
A single Danish cargo ship sailed on it's journey to Tallinn. all seemed peaceful, however, as life goes, this was not bound to last. A group of speedboats approached from the northern side, a few continued toward the ship, except a few stopped.
The few deckhands outside were busy staring at these people, when suddenly several bullets were fired from the stopped boats at them, not having the time to react, they were all hit, and either dead or lying of the floor dying.
As a group of about 14 or so men boarded the ship, killing who ever they found with little resistance. Then the others came on board with some bombs, which they placed all throughout the ship, not particularly caring about efficiency, they boarded their own boats and sailed off as the cargo ship was torn apart and sunk into the depths of the Baltic.
The bazaar in the city was filled with armed Armenians shouting and chanting while a line of Turkish riot police advanced down the street with an APC in tow. Gregovyen was hunkered down behind the cabin of the truck as it rolled slowly through the streets whilst Armenians shouted at the oncoming Turkish soldiers. Why the enemy was not shooting, Gregovyen had no idea, but the sound of engines and helicopters filled the once-silent air. As the riot police advanced forward from underneath their phalanx of steel riot shields, someone fired a shot at them. Gregovyen watched as a bullet pinged off of a riot shield and the Turkish APC start firing its main .50 caliber turret. Bullets flew everywhere, and the Armenians leading the riot's progress through the streets were swept up in a scythe of machine gun fire. Gregovyen fired back, along with the other Armenians, and the first shots of the Battle of Artashat rang out through the city blocks.
The APC continued firing while the Armenians charged the riot police. Gregovyen watched from the truck as a horde of Armenians ran towards the riot police with rocks, pipes, and planks, beating them to death in the streets. The APC gunner had taken a bullet to the shoulder, and was crying in pain while the rioters threw molotov cocktails at the vehicle. The interior was set alight, and the muffled screams of the crewmen could be heard as they burned to death, trapped in their vehicle. The Armenians, high on adrenaline, either didn't notice, or didn't care as they continued mercilessly beating the police down. Small arms fire was chattering all throughout the city, and now gunships were making their passes. There were six helicopters fanned out throughout the city, supporting riot police and Turkish Army regulars attempting to quell the ever-growing number of enraged Armenians.
At this point, even those who hadn't heard the Crane's last words were taking up arms after being told by their friends. Hundreds of unarmed Armenians flocked towards dead Turkish troopers to take their weapons, and Gregovyen even saw a butcher using a meat cleaver to slit a riot officer's throat open. The truck moved slowly through the carnage, with the Armenians in the back feeling the sickening thumps as Turkish bodies were ran over. Gregovyen eventually had enough of it, and hopped out of the truck. He got to the ground and tapped on the window to let the driver know he was leaving, and bolted towards a grocery store on the side of the street.
More automatic weapons fire was filling the streets, and Armenians flocked to start killing any Turkish soldiers they could fine. Helicopters flew overhead, rattling the store's windows as they fired rockets at buildings with rebels inside. Gregovyen sprinted towards the back of the store, next to the freezer section, and jumped to the ground as a Puma made its run, firing rockets at the street. Bloody screams were heard from outside, and flying glass tore through the store. Gregovyen readied his rifle as his ears were ringing. A massive rocket strike on the bazaar had flattened the surrounding block and killed almost a hundred Armenians. He slowly and unsteadily got up while keeping his rifle trained on the door. Gregovyen was disoriented, but still able to fight.
Yelling and screaming filled the air, as well as automatic weapons fire and helicopter sounds. Gregovyen peeked his head out of the shattered display window, and saw the corpses of the riot. The pickup truck was not too far away, with its engine block on fire and covered in dead men. "****," Gregovyen muttered as he saw the devastation. As he picked his way through the streets, another sound came to him. It was a vehicle noise, but not one of a car. It was the distinctive sound of an APC rolling his way. A cloud of dust suddenly appeared at the end of the bazaar, and Gregovyen flattened himself against the ground, playing dead. He grimaced as the APC grew closer, and then stopped. Through unblinking eyes, Gregovyen saw the APC's rear hatch open up, and around a dozen Turkish riot police officers jog out of the troop bay. The gunner in the turret swept over the area, looking for survivors.
Gregovyen knew that he couldn't survive this, and he quietly said his prayers while the Turkish soldiers combed through the wreckage of the molotov cocktail hit APC. With hundreds of bodies, Gregovyen could maybe wait for rescue. And it indeed came. A pickup truck came roaring around the corner with two men in the back. One of them brandished a PK-type machine gun, and the other, a Spanish-made rocket launcher, presumably bought from the black market. The man with the rocket rifle, a shirtless teenager with an Armenian flag tied to the launcher's tube, brought his weapon to bear on the APC, and expertly fired a shot into the troop cabin of the APC. It exploded in a brilliant flash of light, with the Turkish troops momentarily stunned by this occurrence.
The second man, who appeared to be much older, opened up with his LMG, hitting two riot guards and killing one instantly. Gregovyen took advantage of the confusion to reach for his AK, and grabbed the handguard. He put the rifle in his hands and aimed at one of the riot soldiers, hitting him in the thigh. The soldier hit the ground and screamed for a medic, who was currently treating the first wounded. The man with the PK hosed the rest of the troops down as Gregovyen helped. The teenager on the truck left his smoking rocket launcher in the truck and grabbed a hunting shotgun. He pumped it, and hopped out of the truck. He turned to look at Gregovyen, sitting on the floor with his AK pointed at the APC, and shouted: "Come with us!"
"You've come back home at an interesting time, Excellency." Noted Bruno Arispe, Chief of the Oficina de Inteligencia Militar, as he slowly paced around in front of Alfonso Sotelo's desk.
"So I've heard. A civil war unfolding in Armenia and sectarian conflict in Persia. I suppose petroleum's bound to get pricy by the time all is said and done. Wouldn't be surprised if Compania Petrolera shares start to go through the roof. I suppose that's not why you made the appointment, though."
"Correct. What I came to discuss with you is another conflict, this one taking place within the Ethiopian Empire. Much less reported on in the West."
"Right. I recall you briefing me about some cross-dressing lunatic causing mischief in the Ethiopian Congo before I left for Esfahan. I take it the Ethiopians still haven't managed to deal with a man in a dress?" Said a disinterested Sotelo as he swirled an empty glass containing half-melted ice cubes.
"Indeed." Said Bruno with a chuckle. "The one they call the Rouge General - Marcel Hondo-Demissie - is still at large and won a decisive victory over the Ethiopian forces at Lubumbashi, although our agents in the field claim that Ethiopian publications are reporting that the Ethiopians have scored a less-decisive blow against the Rogue General's forces.
Sotelo sipped at the last of the watery, ice-cube diluted remants of whatever beverage he had been drinking. "So the Ethiopians are dealing with a rebellion. Great. Wonderful... You're not suggesting that we support the general in drag and his little revolt, are you? You know as well as I do that this lunatic fancies himself some kind of liberator of the 'oppressed proletariat of Africa' or whatever those primitive barbarians call themselves... if we back him financially or God forbid with arms, he'll have no problem with turning around and biting the hand that feeds him. If anything, we should be making plans to off him."
"No offense, Excellency, but you would be a poor spy." Bruno said with a polite smile. "You jump to conclusions too easily. That is not what I was suggesting at all."
"None taken. But what are you suggesting exactly?" Asked Sotelo as he clinked the half-melted ice cubs in his glass together out of boredom.
"What I'm saying is that now is a perfect time to usher in a more... agreeable regime in Ethiopia."
Sotelo ceased swirling his ice cubes about and placed the glass onto the table. Bruno Arispe had Sotelo's full attention. "Continue."
"If Marcel seems to be losing ground against the Ethiopians, would it not be unreasonable to suspect that he, or those that follow him, might resort to some... less than savory tactics to gain the upper hand against the Ethiopians. I can have Yaqob dead within a month and making it look like the work of the Rogue General would be laughably simple."
"How would that help us, though? His next-of-kin would take the reigns and we'd have accomplished nothing."
"You realize who is next of kin to Yaqob? Sahle."
"Pfft." Sotelo snorted. "That clown? The Ethiopians would never tolerate to have him as emperor again even if he would be an ideal puppet."
"Sahle's biggest mistake was that he had the support of the weakest powers in Europe. No one will dare defy a puppet of Spain... not even someone as useless as Sahle."
Sotelo nodded. "I think your plan is a little half-baked, to be frank. But as long as your people cover their tracks, I think that the potential gain far outweighs any potential risk or expense. And of course, I'm a fan of any plan to makes that chink-lover bleed." Sotelo remarked coldly.
"This plan has my blessing. Get it done."
"Of course, Excellency." Said Bruno with a grin.
South of Ibadan, Rio Niger
Governor Nicodemo Spinoza of the new Rio Niger province looked at the goings-on around him with interest from the passenger side window of a clean, new jeep as it bumped up and down a new dirt road freshly cut from the African jungle. On the shoulders of the dirt road, an army of dark, sweat-matted Africans armed with both machetes and modern Spanish chainsaws assaulted the jungle. The smell of fresh sawdust filled the air as the African laborers attacked the tree trunks with their chainsaws while others hacked away at the vines and fleshy plants with their machetes. Spinoza sniffed the sweet, earthy aroma of the sawdust with gusto.
"Mmmmm." Hummed the driver as the smell of sawdust wafted into the jeep. "The smell of progress." The driver looked to be in his late twenties and wore dress pants and a blue button-up. His light, European skin was beaded with sweat, suggesting that he was unaccustomed to being outdoors in this humid clime, let alone working in it.
"Indeed... the sweet smell of capitalism!" Exclaimed Governor Spinoza as the jeep passed the jungle into a vast swath of clear-cut land covered in fresh stumps, beyond which were dozens of acres of barren, red jungle soil that had been freshly tilled and de-stumped. The driver parked the jeep on the edge of this tilled expanse and the two exited their vehicle. The two climbed up onto the stump of what must have been a giant, ancient tree from which they had a better view of the land. The expanse of red barren soil brushed right up against untouched jungle in an unnatural, perfect line. It was as though someone had taken a razor to the land and shaved it so closely that the skin had been peeled off and the blood of Africa itself allowed to seep upward.
"Impressive." Remarked Spinoza as he looked over the land. "After hundreds of years of misuse and neglect we will make something useful of this backwards land yet."
"You had better believe it. Rio Niger is in a position to overtake Brazil as the world's most prolific producer of sugarcane within a decade. And it all starts here." Spinoza's guide replied.
Governor Spinoza looked across the newly-formed plain and spotted a long line of African laborers moving slowly across the furrows and jabbing green sticks into the soil. He pointed over to them. "What exactly are they doing?" The governor asked.
"Planting the cane. Sugarcane is not planted as a seed, but rather as a shoot... like a potato almost. Those green shoots will grow to become a mature cane crop by August or so. Even after being cut, those shoots will sprout from underground without even needing to be planted again. The cane can be harvested like this perhaps five or six times without even needing to be replanted."
"Certainly a very cost-effective operation." Spinoza commented.
"The startup costs are high... what with having to clear out all this damn jungle and all. But after this, you're right, overhead is going to be very low despite the fact that I'm going to be paying the labor fairly enough. That along with the fact that this soil is absolutely miserable. The jungle just sucks the nutrients right out of any soil here, so fertilization is going to be key to maintaining a decent crop."
The entrepreneur sugarcane grower heard the hum of a single-engine plane approaching from above the decimated jungle canopy. "Speaking of fertilization..."
A Fairey biplane swooped low over the green canopy and soared above the soon-to-be sugarcane plantation, its shadow racing over the black laborers. On the opposite side of the plain, the biplane banked and spun around before spraying a fine mist over the field.
"The tractors will take a while to arrive from Spain, so for now we're going to be fertilizing the fields from the air like this. Now, we may want to move away for a moment. The chemicals in the fertilizer are probably not so great for your lungs." With that, the entrepreneur beckoned Spinoza back to the jeep. They drove off while the plane coated the native laborers with fertilizer while they toiled in the field
The sound of tanks rumbled across the desert as the Armenian armor company crawled towards the Erzurum Pipeline Station, where the oil from Turkey's outside sources like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Syria came towards one pipeline into Turkey proper. It was a critical pressure point for Turkey, and they had beefed up security immensely. The ASF's plan was to destroy the complex where three pipes from different regions merged into the one major pipe, carrying precious crude oil and natural gas. The complex was a grey brick building, with multiple smaller buildings around the same drab industrial complex. Surrounding it was a simple chain link fence. Watchtowers dotted the perimeter at regular intervals, each armed with machine guns.
Kirilinkian had drawn up a plan for the tanks to charge in and deploy volunteers armed with satchel charges to destroy critical infrastructure, while the vehicles themselves would put rounds in the pipes. It was a simple in-and-out surprise attack, but they were expecting fierce resistance. The ASF raiders were stationed on top of the tanks to decrease the time required to get in and out of the vehicle, with corrugated metal plated welded on top as cover for them. Granted, it did nothing against bullets, but it soothed their minds. A total of a dozen tanks were participating, which would crush the Turkish defenders, who weren't expecting heavy armor to be used by the rebels. A big concern was air support, which was absent at the last battle. Kirilinkian's XO theorized that they were being held in reserve to counterattack the tanks at a crucial moment, such as this one. Every gunner's eyes were on the skies as the tanks noisily rolled forward.
Inside the lead tank, Kirilinkian picked up the company radio from its spot and toggled the "ALL BROADCAST" button. "Attention, this is Afyon Company lead," he began. "Begin the attack."
The tanks in the front of the formation responded with affirmatives and proceeded to get firing solutions on the watchtowers. Twelve seconds later, three shots rang out, booming through the desert, and flew towards the watchtowers. Three watchtowers collapsed in a flurry of wood, steel, and dirt while the tanks reloaded. A second salvo took out another two watchtowers, with a third shell impacting upon a small brick building that was presumed to be a storage room. The tanks moved unstoppably to the outer perimeter of the base and drove straight through the chain link fence. The flimsy barricade crumpled before the vehicles' great weight, and the formation moved inward. Gunfire was directed at the tanks, which harmlessly pinged off.
The tanks with the raiders moved towards the main street through the complex and managed to get onto it. The men on top were scared shitless, firing back at the Turks to little effect. Once the tanks had moved into a parking lot, crushing a few cars in the process, Kirilinkian gave the order to dismount through the radio, and popped up through the hatch to order his raiders to leave. The gunner was firing randomly at the buildings, shouting: "GET SOME!" as he suppressed the enemy for the raiders. The leading raider, a skinny Somali-Armenian named Abdi Hussayian crawled across the top to the turret and looked up at Kirilinkian. "YES?" he shouted over the gunner's incessant firing and shouting.
"GO! GET YOUR CHARGES TO THE PUMP CONTROL!" Kirilinkian barked. The Somali man grabbed his HK53 from its resting place and brought it close. He saluted Kirilinkian and then reached for the government issue backpack containing five satchel charges. "I will go!" he yelled in Somali. Hussayian shuffled towards the edge of the tank and screamed: "DISEMBARK!" to the rest of the raiders. The men bravely grabbed their weapons and stood up. They then jumped off the side of the tank and ducked low under the gunner's fire. The team slid into cover behind some civilian vehicles, which were obviously the employees'. Hassayian looked back at the tank as Kirilinkian ducked back into the hatch and buttoned it up. Hussayian cursed the gunfire as he popped out behind the car's trunk to take a look around. "Alright, ****ers," he murmured in Somali as he saw movement on the roof of one of the complex's main buildings. The gunner saw it, too, and directed his hose of bullets to cut the figure in two.
Hussayian looked back at his team. "ALRIGHT! WE MOVE TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD! DO YOU SEE THAT FIRE HYDRANT BY THE ROAD?" he yelled, gesturing to the stubby red hydrant at an intersection by the main building. The men nodded. "WE MAKE A BREAK FOR IT!" he ordered. "THE GUNNER IS PINNING DOWN THE ENEMY. WE MOVE NOW!"
Hussayian took one last look around to see if it was safe, and determined it was safe enough. He hopped over the car and took off at a dead spring towards the fire hydrant. By it was a sandbagged position with a heavy machine gun in it. Inside were the bloody corpses of two Turkish guards. Hussayain slid into position by the sandbags, followed by his team. Tank fire rumbled throughout the complex, and explosions shook the buildings and broke glass. "Alright, alright," he said as he looked for his team. They were all there. "Who can read the Turkish?" he asked, gesturing towards the unintelligible to him sign. One of the the raiders raised his hand. "It says that the fire control dep-"
An explosion nearby interrupted his sentence. The men put their hands on their heads as a shower of dirt and sand came their way. The young rebel resumed his interpretation: "The fire department is that way," he said, pointing towards the east. "And the pump controls, as well as the main merging station are the other way."
"Then that is where we go," the Somali man stated. "Alright, we go to the pump station. We have no gunner protecting us, so watch your back, alright?"
The men nervously nodded as Hussayian checked to make sure the street was clear. It was empty, save for a car abandoned in the middle of the road. The team wordlessly ran from the sandbag position to the gate next to the pump station, just as another tank came rolling down the road behind them. The gunner in the top was hosing down the pump building, just like Kirilinkian's gunner, but this was not the same tank. The team dodged out of the way of the tank as it drove straight throw the fence gate on the road and maneuvered towards the pipes. Hussayian watched as the tank put its gun on target and fired. The shell hit the center of the pipe merger and instantly exploded. A huge explosion rocked the complex, and a massive fire began to engulf the building. Thick smoke poured out of the mass of burning crude oil as the sabotage team sprinted to the main door of the pump building.
The steel door guarding the complex was closed and locked, and resisted Hussayian's attempts to kick open. With a sore foot, he walked back to the tank and picked up a pebble from the ground. He tossed it at the gunner, who aggressively turned to Hussayian. He calmed once he realized that the Somali was friendly. "What?" he shouted over the tank's engine.
"Tell the driver to knock down the entrance!" Hussayian yelled back.
"Will do!" the gunner shouted back, and then popping down into the tank for a second. He came back up, bumping his head on the edge of the hatch. "Okay. Ten seconds until we shoot. Cover your ears and protect your rears! Let's get tactical!"
The gunner started laughing maniacally as the turret swiveled around to the entrance. The tank stopped for a moment, and then fired. The entrance exploded, sending bricks and shrapnel flying everywhere. "Go!" Hussayian screamed as the team charged through the newly created hole. He brought his rifle to bear inside the lobby of the building, watching for movement. It seemed that nobody was there. "Alright! Move forward. The pumps should be on the second floor."
He motioned upwards at the ceiling, and then to the stairs. The team silently moved towards the stairs, with Hussayian in front. The flickering lighting provided a dramatic background as muffled explosions rocked the complex and send dust flying from the ceiling. Smoke poured through the broken windows, irritating the team's eyes as they pushed towards the pump controls. At the far end of the room was a locked steel door, with a small bulletproof glass window revealing desks of advanced computers. "Alright, it's inside here," Hussayian stated as they looked for a way in. "It's locked!" came from one member of the team. A shotgun blast then echoed throughout the room. Hussayian flinched, and heard: "And the window's ****ing bulletproof! My God!"
"Alright, calm down!" Hussayian muttered. "There should be a key somewhere. Let us look around. Try the manager's office, the janitor's room. Anywhere!"
The team all took off in their separate directions as Hussayian turned to investigate a pump maintenance room. He pushed open the door into the red-lit corridor. He swung his rifle around to make sure nobody would kill him, and looked around. There were desks, toolboxes, and filing cabinets, but no keys.
And then Hussayian heard a sneeze.
He froze, aiming his rifle at the direction of the noise. "WHO'S THERE?" he shouted in aggressive Armenian. A whimper came from behind a filing cabinet. "STEP OUT!" Hussayian yelled. A Turkish civilian, dressed in a blue jumpsuit, came out from behind the cabinet with his hand on his head. "Beni vurmayin!" he pleaded. "Beni vurmayin!"
Hussayian called for his team. A teenaged member came to the door and almost shot the civilian before Hussayian could stop him. The boy knew Turkish, so Hussayian tasked him towards interrogating the Turk. The teenager came towards the Turk and aimed his rifle at him. "Alright," Hussayian muttered. "Ask him who he is."
The boy then said something in Turkish.
"I bas muhendis degilim," the man answered slowly.
"He's the chief engineer," came the translation.
"Tell him to give me the key to the pump controls, and he does not get injured."
"Okay," the boy said, turning to the Turk: "Beni kontrol odasi anahtari vermek."
The Turk shakily stepped forward, producing a silver keyring from his jumpsuit pocket. He handed it to the boy, who in turn, tossed it to Hussayian. The Somali thanked the boy, and the Turk, and exited the room. He walked towards the control room, and thrust the key into the lock. It turned, and the steel door opened to reveal a high-tech room of sophisticated computers. As Hussayian walked among the gigantic tape readers, constantly ingesting colored strips of paper with holes in them, and came to what appeared to be a printer. It was shoving out status reports in Turkish, presumably about how there were errors with the pipeline. As Hussayian marveled at the computers, he placed the Semtex charges on the machines and walked out the door.
As the Somali man regrouped with his team in the hall outside of the control room, he produced a detonator from his pocket and clicked the button. The room exploded, shutting the lights off and causing everyone to flinch. As smoke filled the room, Hussayian ordered his team out. The obedient Armenians ran down the stairs and out the door, towards the tank sitting outside. As the team climbed on top of the mechanical beast, the gunner nodded at Hussayian and looked at the hole in the second floor. "Your work?" he asked as the Somali man set his pack and rifle down. "Yes," Hussayian answered as the tank started running again. "Very nice, do you not think?"
"Very nice indeed," the gunner agreed as he smirked. The mission was accomplished flawlessly.
"We found out earlier this morning." the officer said, leading the two black-coated agents up to the door of the grey apartment, "A neighbor called in concern that they hadn't appeared to get their mail in a couple day. Plus their communist center was getting worried."
"I see." Agent Guo Han said, fumbling in his black coat for a pack of cigarettes. In comparison to the police, he was much darker dressed. The officer having his uniform in the light-blue of Shanghai with a pair of white-gloves.
Walking up to the door Guo Han's partner Shin Mei asked: "Who are they?"
"A young couple," the police officer said, reaching for the door handle, "twenty eight and thirty. The husband worked over at the train station and his wife worked in one of those computer supply depots."
"Huh." snorted Han, taking out a pad of paper from his coat. Dragging at his cigarette he wrote down the first of many notes onto the pad.
"Something the matter?" asked the police officer with puzzled concern.
"Nothing." Han said, flipping close the paper and gesturing towards the door, "Shall we?"
"Of course." the policeman said, opening the front door and letting them inside, "Their apartment is on the first floor so we don't need to climb any stairs." he added with a wane smile, "We also removed the bodies, but we got everything outlined for your investigation."
Han nodded, following the officer down the hall to a tapped off section. Lifting his leg over the red caution tape he stepped through into the crime scene. His partner and the police officer following suit.
The interior of the apartment was small, and relatively undisturbed. The couch and armchair in the entrance living room still sat unmoved around the large wood-paneled radio, flanked by two book-shelves cluttered with a small collection of photo albums, photos, and reading material. On the wall by the door hung a small black and white photograph of a young smiling couple. Both figures wrapping each other in their arms and smiling. The wife was plenty average, with a rounded out face and somewhat pointed chin. The husband was lean with a messy head of hair. "This is them then?" Guo asked.
"That's them." the cop said, "They're at the coroners now."
"Well, ****." Guo said, opening up his book. He quickly made notes and made a rough sketch of the female figure.
"Is something the matter?" the officer asked.
"It's just something he does." Shin Mei said.
Nodding, the officer let Han go about what he was doing. "****." he muttered again, closing the paper. Looking up he asked: "Where were they found?"
"Bathroom down the hall." said the officer.
"Thank you." Guo said, "Can you excuse us for a moment then?"
"Certainly comrade." bowed the Shanghai policeman, "Just say something if you need anything."
"I'll keep that in mind." Guo Han said softly, walking down the hall. The loose tail of his coat trailing after like a cape. His partner following right behind.
The ground zero of this house had been outside the bathroom. Where outside the door itself rested the chalk out-line of a figure, sprawled out on the carpet and against the wall. Smeared along the white dry-wall was a thin line of blood, trailing off and down to the ground. "****." Guo murmured.
Looking on the other side of the hall, he found the bathroom door swung open. Shallow holes pummeled the surface of the hall-side of the door. "Well, **** me." Guo Han muttered, turning on his heels to face the bathroom.
The shower-curtain lay sprawled on the white linoleum., only moved over when the police had removed the bodies and marked its location with black marker. The far window hung inwards, the towel rack below it hanging hap-hazardously on floor. Blood stained the linen in the same way it smeared the cabinetry and shower walls. A pile of clothes were still pilled up next to a basket. "Skinny mother****." Guo muttered walking to the window.
Shin Mei only peered in through the door, watching has the elder agent scanned the room taking notes. Removing a tape measure he took the dimensions of the window. "Skinny mother**** is ****ing skinny." he murmured again.
Turning to face the interior of the bathroom again, he looked about. "Stand there." he said, pointing towards where the marker-outline was drawn onto the floor. Shin Mei stepped tactfully over the debris and to where the outline was. Stepped back to the wall Han look at Mei. Reaching to his belt he took out his revolver, loading the cartridges out of the cylinder he grabbed hold of the barrel, brandishing it like a club. Walking over to Mei he swung slow onto her head.
Rehearsedly, she lowered herself down onto the ground over where the victim had been. Guo looked up at the door, strolling out and shutting the door behind him, leaving Mei to lay awkwardly on the cold floor.
A series of light thumps beat at the door. "Well damn." Guo muttered from the other-side. He opened the door again, and glanced at the lock on the door. He nodded. "Stand out here." he said softly again. Mei happily got up off the floor and into the hall. "Put your fists on the door..." Guo directed, trailing off as he shut the door.
Mei complied, and for a moment nothing happened. Then Guo opened up the door and again slowly dropped his revolver down on Mei.
"But that doesn't really explain how the blood sprayed horizontally." she said.
"You're right." he nodded. He took a step back and considered. Thoughtfully he added: "Then if this is the same guy we've been dealing with lately... Perhaps he tried to stab." he plunged the revolver's stock forward, gently pushing Mei back against the wall. Looking to the left for reference, he brought the revolver back against the wall to his right, then swung across, stopping on his partner's cheek.
"He tried to stab?" he said considering, "Or pushed?"
"Shanghai Medical then?"
"For the sake of continued stability we should not suffer the continued policies of Kim Il-Sung." Cao said, addressing a small gathering of people in the living room of a rather accommodating loft high in a Pyongyang apartment. The cityscape below spanning out around them with the rivers that flowed through the city a dark snake amid a city coated in white snow, "And if I am to be presumed correct, we here all know too well the need he needs to deposed of, and the coarse of Korea corrected before it can get out of hand. Kim Il-Jung's dangerous persistence to fight to claim the south is a direct danger and threat to the Tokyo treaty, and may well put Asia in danger of future instability."
"So how do you expect us to help with that?" a politician asked, "We have no blocking power in the Congress. And even if we did, they're due to vote him to have power over them!"
"It's evident that in this such an event we may be past voting. In order for us to bring about the change we need then we need careful eyes. We will want to know when and where Kim, and other leaders of the fundamentalist Juche party are open."
"Is that not the goal?" Cao asked, "Have you not been told anything different?
"It's fact that North Korea here as powerful allies and Il-Sung thinks that he is unstoppable because of them. However, those allies have their limits, and who they do or don't want to fight. And we do not want a Third Sino-Japanese war. Il-Sung is the seed to this war should his continued posturing and aggression reach a boiling point with the south and enrages them.
"We can only do try to calm it for so long."
A wave or surprise and questions rippled over the crowd. The bemused Kwan and O-Sung hung back in the corner with nervous Chun Huaxun. "The only reason we have not seen open warfare is that along the border agents have been working to distill the events or work with officers on both side of the border to keep what goes on quiet. We have acquired many allies who would not like to see conflict, but we are always at danger when they are shuffled. It's only a matter of time before the impatience or intolerance of either side of the border causes all hell to break lose.
"We've been at this for five years. Even Beijing is sick of it."
"So what you have been doing has been sanctioned by the IB itself?"
"Yes." Cao said, "In some way, various independent-acting elements of the North Korean intelligence circle. I would say it's the largest conspiracy to prevent war this world has seen. If only because many of us in it can see the damage it will bring, or know all to well Japan's chemical and biological stockpiles."
The room was silent.
"Comrades if you want a brighter future, I would suggest you work with us. I imagine you do, we've come to know you as well you do yourselves.
"If you feel you need not be a part of this. Simply leave, and don't speak of this."
Hi. I'm thinking of joining the rp. Is Australia open? If not, my app will take longer.
I mean longer to get onto the forums. I already researched some Australian things.
I play as Australia, And it is recovering from two natural disasters and is in the middle of a civil war. I would suggest going over to the OOC thread to talk with the other members, however I would be open to having radical groups or mercenary groups recede in Australia.
That's three mass invasions within the same bloody month! I mean, seriously! The UDTU is attacking now, Blue has a sleeper attack coming soon, and now an invasion by space pirates? What is this, Russia if every american-made FPS happened at once?! - MagicallyDwarven