|The eurasian steppes|
The submarine's sonar guided the Vodyanoy through the depths of an underwater trench. It had been several days since the fleet had gone on its suicide mission against the coalition fleet, all of it having been sunk without being able to fire a single shot. Yet, the submarine had slipped beneath the waves to slink off into the depths of the open sea. The pride of the Rushen Navy, the only submarine of the fleet, a nuclear-powered submarine of the proposed Омск-class. Due to budgeting issues, this class never came to be, save for this vessel. Although there were no nuclear warheads aboard, the submarine was still certainly a strategic threat. Almost on-par with the other nuclear-submarines of the world, it contained enough ballistic missiles to cause severe damage to an enemy city. And it was crewed by the most fanatic of the Navy's sailors, who believed in the Fyurer as the sole savior of Talarus from the scourge of leftist ideologues.
Now that submarine was loose in the open seas, its Captain ordering the ship to the depths of the Halkuon Ocean to await further orders.
Марш восточных стрелков
In the East, the Monarchist faction had grown dormant. No more probing attacks, no nightly artillery bombardment of the democratic forces. Just a simple, eerie quiet that permeated through the thick forest of the Eastern Districts. This puzzled the military leaders in the Rushen Federation, as with their hands tied behind their backs due to the on-going battle for Severnaya-verf' it would be the perfect time to strike into their back. There was very little the Federation could spare to throw at the Monarchists now, with most of their resources being dried up inside the city that had become a hell on Earth. But geopolitics makes for strange bedfellows, as a telegram arrived in Bratstvo detailing the Regent's wish to form an alliance. As long as a Constitutional Monarchy was put in place, and special privileges' were given to the Monarch and his family.
A baffled Rushen Federation quickly forwarded the telegram to its overseas allies, asking if the proposal should be accepted. It was an unexpected play by the Monarchists to almost get what they wanted from this war. But, such a thing might be unpopular with the people inside the Democratic areas, who had certainly had enough of strong government leaders. Yet, the final decision was rather selfishly thrust upon the foreign governments by the Federation. Whatever their choice may be, they would hide behind the fact that it was the foreigners who suggested the decision. That it was the foreigners who bribed the politicians to follow their ideas. Of course, to do this, a lot of government officials were told to keep silent about the telegram. So for the civilians, the eerie quiet on the eastern border was completely unexplained.
That couldn't be more different in the Western District, as due to outside intervention from 'Kondor', the far-left factions had quietly grouped up into a United Front against the other factions in order the please their unknown benefactor. Their benefactor had also ordered them to roll forward into the Reykh, and with what new lightly armoured vehicles was given to them, they did. The artillery that had been pointed at each other was now pointed towards the fascist menace, and fired over the border in a thunderous battery that only ceased when light vehicles of the United Front rolled forward into the Reykh.
With the equipment from 'Kondor' more and more SAM sites were constructed in the territories of the United Front, slowly working its way to become a fortress against the air. And, of course, there was only one faction who had that sort of air support. With the Reykh facing a two front war after exhausting itself in Severnaya-verf', it'd soon be a war between the democracies, monarchists and the United Front. 'Kondor' was gearing the Far Left for a war against the democratic coalition. The only questions that remained were how long until they were ready for it, and if they would accept overtures for peace.
Chinese intelligence community target the Joyful Prophecy Temperance Union
The Middle Kingdom had earned a reputation within the international community for its freedom of religion. With thousands of years’ of written records to back the need for a tolerant society, it is little surprise why the imperial government today continues to act in accordance with historical precedence when interacting with religion.
This warm embrace of all faith systems might be misinterpreted by many for naïveté. But simplicity and well-meaning optimism is not how the Middle Kingdom has survived for thousands of years. True scholars of history will know of the bloody wars—many fought over politics and resources, but a few inspired by religion. The Yellow Turban Rebellion, for example, is still remembered to this day to have been followers of a largely peaceful belief system that has been throughout history the natural allies of the many Imperial Governments.
As the Middle Kingdom continues to see its complex network of international diplomacy expand, it only makes sense for it to do so with heightened awareness. To that end, the Imperial Government are taking steps to not only covertly wiretapping the Chinese offices of the Joyful Prophecy Temperance Union, but also attempting to covertly recruit informants within the organisation operating out of the Middle Kingdom.
It is hoped that in time, these informants can be counted on to build spy rings within the Spiritual Republic of Caryton itself, with the target of better understanding our allies and being in the position to support them in their pursuit of those goals. It is also hoped that in the long-term, informal alliances might be formed with the influential citizens of Caryton to better the Middle Kingdom’s formal relations with that country.
While not part of the reforms to the intelligence community the Imperial Government hopes to introduce in the near future, this action will serve the Middle Kingdom as a bellwether for what is to come. With the highly publicised cyberattack two months ago demanding a strong response in the rearview, this level of increased vigilance will mark the beginning of the reemphasised need for better intelligence moving forwards.
|The Volksrepublik of Peoples Republic of the German States|
>>From: Olympic Tower (SSD SN: 00230-00923-GV)
Operation Domino Debrief
Operation Domino has been a remarkable success. Luftsturmregiment 40 units have successfully made contact and integrated themselves within LINEBACKER in a purely advisory role for the near future. Operation Domino has been expanded in light of these successes. Our new objectives are as follows:
1) Improve LINEBACKER's effectiveness as much as possible in the time left.
2) Prepare LINEBACKER for integration with ZEALOT forces in case of invasion by REAVER
3) Improve relations with LINEBACKER hierarchy and establish assets within LINEBACKER and ANCHOR. Identify and neutralize LINEBACKER officers with REAVER and HIDEBOUND sympathies.
Objectives 1 and 3 are the priority for the operation and should be completed within the operational schedule. Failure to do so could drastically increase chances for REAVER and HIDEBOUND. ZEALOT advisors from the Luftsturmregiment have submitted dossiers on most every LINEBACKER officer. Most are loyal to LINEBACKER and ZEALOT (See Attachment A). However, several have been noted of having REAVER sympathies (See Attachment B). Recommend taking necessary action to insure LINEBACKER is not compromised in the coming events. A full list of targets will be submitted shortly, make all due haste in completing objectives. Prepare for Operation Magistral as able as details will be sent soon.
|The State of Artzharut|
First political party not within the National Front is formed after blessing by State President Galit Halevy
State President Galit Halevy allows experimentation with political opening • United Workers' Party formed and registered with Interior Ministry • National Front party to retain majority of seats in Knesset
YERUSHALAYIM—In a speech to the Knesset, State President Galit Halevy declared that Artzharut would be open to experimenting with political opening, the programme being branded as "HaPetach", or "the opening". Under this framework, political parties which are not affiliated with the National Front alliance, composed of the Makal political party, the Telem paramilitary, or the Ahatz youth movement, will be permitted to organise and propagandise in an equal footing with the Makal party. Ms Halevy further stated that elections would be held for the first time in more than two decades in the "near future", though she did not give a specific date as to when.
This morning, the first political party not within the National Front completed its registration: The United Workers' Party, or by its initials, Mapam, designates itself as a socialist, working-class party intending to raise the standards of living in Artzharut as well as to decrease wealth inequality. Mapam is expected to run in the elections that are slated to be held in the near future. However, Ms Halevy has reiterated that this was an experiment, and that the Makal party would maintain at least a simple majority of the seats in the Knesset even after the elections, and would remain the "vanguard party of the Hebrew nation and its revolution".
|The Dictatorship of Westbeech|
As the South expected, Northern troops launched a counter-assault to take Pubsberg. The Southern soldiers had established multiple layers of defense and were able to strike the Northern offensive before it even reached their lines. Southern aircraft was already in the air to perform recon on the North and to maintain general air superiority. The Northern air forces could make no breakthrough, as they had received false information as well, believing the Southern air fleet to be outdated and unprepared, but the Southern forces included even more modern aircraft.
On the ground, the Northern forces took heavy casualties, mounting to a total of 26 thousand having been killed in the first waves. Since then, the North has holding their forces back, preparing for a stronger assault with the inclusion of armor. Due to the delays they were making, however, the Southern army was already preparing for a harsher assault by concentrating heavy equipment in the area that was being attacked, as the air reported that the Northern forces had not moved.
"So the traitorous scum are finally making another move. Shame, they won't be able to win here, nor anywhere else on our battlefield. As ordered by the high command and Lilie herself, all forces shall hold fast and break the enemy's strength and will. When their attack comes again, they will strike harder than before and they won't stop coming until one of us are exhausted. We lose this position and we fail our country. There is no excuse and there will be no failure. Hold fast and destroy the traitors!" - Erin Medal, over Army 12's radio frequency.
|The Principality of Satans Kawn|
|The Ecclesiastical Meritocracy of Spiritual Republic of Caryton|
Caryton to announce 6-month population redistribution plan, re-drawing economic strategy
In recent times, the Spiritual Republic of Caryton had experienced a dramatic fall in its GDP per capita. Initially, 92% of the population considered itself to be rural. This was out of a sheer reactionary response to the over-industrialized Alta Regime, who had left its agricultural industry out to dry in the name of sheer military mass and internal security. Now, the hordes of wealth that the former dictatorship was withholding from its people were depleting, and the facade of a successful rural economy was fading fast. While there was the benefit of producing enough food for the people and the benefit of having rural areas be evenly populated, plots of land being distributed were essentially too numerous to be of any productive size. Thusly, an overwhelming amount of competing fledgeling and medium-sized farms made domestic and foreign buyers alike green with confusion.
The Ecclesiastical Meritocracy, at the command of Dorothy Shirleyton herself via executive order, issued the "Happy Medium Strategy" in which a short but well-phased layered plan to move the rural population into decently sized small towns to reduce that 92% to a stable 40-60%. That would mean more land could be bought up, and more farms could be industrialized. When everyone had farmhouses, tractors were a rare sight. This plan would also mean the numerous old pre-altan small towns would have enough population to correctly run the factories again, which would work dramatically in the benefit of Caryton's industrialization plans.
The Ordained Army of the Ecclesiastical Meritocracy was activated, mobilizing six divisions' worth of men to act as shock brigades to work with volunteers to build enough houses for the first phase of movers. The houses would be compact, ranging from 300 to 800 square feet and were pleasantly designed on the Gospel Church of Caryton's dime. A significant portion of the GCC's treasury would be invested into this project and while the act could be seen as charitable from abroad, domestically it would leave the GCC broke with no safety net should anything massive happen. To source the materials, private contractors were called to provide the building blocks of these houses. While there was no real room for error due to the design coming from the government itself, these private contractors were notoriously lax on safety regulations in order to make a quick buck. There would be no doubt that dozens would die in this project.
Due to the small nature of the house, many could be made relatively easily. Unless the person or family came from poverty, they were expected to furnish their own buildings. The first neighborhoods would be finished within a week, and the first few thousands would be pioneers in a steadily changing Caryton.
Groups of flag-waving church volunteers stood on the sidelines, sometimes playing live music and sometimes singing patriotic hymns to motivate the work force even despite the soldiers' working conditions. The first major obstacle to the building came within the first few days in the mountainous northern regions near the summit town of Bridgeson-- freezing rain. The fleeting moments of winter in Caryton would give the builders a last hoorah of pain before things would be projected to exponentially get better in the spring.
Back in Georgine, signs of the economic policy of the Ecclesiastical Meritocracy would be clear. Caryton announced another clause to the Happy Medium Strategy- a shift from total autarky to Import-Substitution Industrialization. Noting that even despite surging amounts of nuclear energy and renewable fuels that oil was hard to come by, the framers of the nation decided that a healthy trade beyond crops and oats was important. Imports that could be considered dangerous to the Carytonic economy like technological items, weapons, and automobiles would be taxed heavily, and local variants would be made. With an economic stimulus hitting the industries, red 1950s cadillacs were back in style. Sure, their quality would be laughed at from anyone who wasn't a vintage car enthusiast, but it would get the job done until the bones of the skeleton were glued in place.
While cottage industry will forever exist among the middle and lower classes in non-urban regions, this economic shift proved most policing FOR those cottage industry owners. It could be predicted that once the 6-month-shift ends, the Spiritual Republic of Caryton would have a beyond-healthy sector of small businesses as out-of-the-backyard carpenters and street kiosk bakers were expected to buy lots in towns to start selling large-scale.
However, there was obvious dissent among key groups of people:
The Jehovah's Witnesses saw this as the Gospel Church of Caryton encroaching on its rights and culture.
The internal balance of the Spiritual Republic of Caryton in the coming six months would be very delicate.
|The Empire of Artarum|
Association of Artarumen Businessmen, Rumlew
"...with that, I would like to invite the Honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer, Elizabeth Prater, to the podium. Ms Prater."
Amidst roaring applause, Elizabeth Prater walked up to the podium, looking at the set of papers on the podium, then at the teleprompters. Clearing her throat, the woman looked at the crowd. She was a by-the-book, no-nonsense woman, the first woman to be Chancellor of the Exchequer in Artarumen history, and a powerful political personality. Despite not being as visible as Matthew Herzog, she was the second person of the government, not him. A woman in Artarumen politics did not get to this position by being weak or incompetent.
"Thank you, Mr Chairman, for both your introduction and your invitation for me to speak here today. As you have mentioned, the National Party government has strived to co-operate with our valuable business ever since it has assumed government in this country. We remain committed to the principles of a free market economy and liberal economic institutions, both at home and within the international sphere. Indeed, the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Development was a natural next step in realising this commitment. As I am sure you will appreciate, my friends, ensuring a healthy economy at home is not sufficient. We recognise the issues the Artarumen economy faces in the short, medium, and long terms, yet, we have a responsibility as one of the world's leading powers to also ensure prosperity and growth abroad as well. That was the rationale behind establishing these institutions. Artarumen taxpayer money—your money, I should like to emphasise—is not being put into an endless financial black hole. Instead, we are certain, as the Government, that these investments into these institutions will be beneficial for your interests, and therefore the interests of our people at large, in the medium to long term.
How, some might ask. It is relatively simple. One needs only to look at the plans announced by the Spiritual Republic of Caryton in order to understand why. We are talking of a country whose population, by a massive margin, lives in rural settings. This, as we can all understand, is not a sustainable practice in the long-term. Their economy was, by and large, closed. We did give them armaments in order to help them defend themselves against terror groups, but these were not under the umbrella of trade, but instead aid. Now, I would like to congratulate the government in Georgine in understanding their own situation. As the Artarumen government, we can only applaud this move to transition into a modern economic model. Rather, a more modern economic model. Even if this plan were to succeed, we frankly have many doubts regarding the sustainability of the plan in the long-term. The move to large-scale farming will surely increase efficiency and allow Caryton to produce more, but we are sceptical of the prospects of industrialisation in such a setting. The import-substitution industrialisation model which has been announced will not be to the benefit of the Carytonic market. We would have liked to see a shift to an export-based economy, where Caryton instead moved to capitalise on goods where it has comparative advantage.
However, this criticism should not be taken as a condemnation of Carytonic reforms. Any reform is better than no reform at all, and we are certain that over time, Caryton can modernise and industrialise, and join the group of developed countries and even the international framework that Artarum has pioneered alongside Umbraen and Zhongwangguo. While we are unable to offer Caryton cheap loans from the International Bank for Development as they are not a member state, we can offer them economic aid as a country. Should they request it, the His Majesty's Treasury should be able to release around £100 million, maybe £120 million, earmarked for agricultural projects and industries reliant upon the agricultural sector.
To get back to the initial point, how will these investments and aid projects help our country? Right now, Artarumen companies are experiencing, as we know, market problems. Our home market is saturated, and what other markets there are, are difficult to enter, or are impoverished. The Chinese markets are very lucrative, and several consultancy, security, and construction firms are reporting successful co-operation with both their Chinese counterparts as well as the Chinese government. Yet, more markets are always appreciated. The issue with the Carytonic markets is not their inaccesibility, but rather, the lack of purchasing power in Caryton. Put simply, my friends, they are unable to buy our goods, because they are prohibitively expensive for them. And, well, I do not blame our industrialists one bit for this problem. You can lower the prices of goods only so far. At some point, you need to make a profit, I know. I may be a government minister, but I know how markets work, do not worry."
Some laughter rung out in the room as Prater herself chuckled briefly, before continuing her speech.
"Therefore, the issue is not a demand-side issue, but rather a supply-side issue. We need to make Caryton richer and more prosperous. But, of course, their policy of import-substitution industrialisation presents a problem. We hope that Georgine understands the complications it will cause to its own citizens as the taxes needed to fund their industries will only serve to further impoverish their citizens and deprive them of the goods they want. Regardless, we maintain our optimism regarding Caryton and are eager to see more market oriented reforms. Indeed, as these reforms become clearer and we see more concrete steps towards economic integration with the rest of the developed world, I am certain that both the private sector and our international partners will be more eager to give loans to Carytonic businesses to allow them to expand and further industrialise their country.
As the Artarumen Empire, we stand ready to assist, through both material and advisory means, any country that wishes to develop economically. As I have said, this can be done through loans and aid, though these may be accompanied by stricter limits depending on the credit ratings of the aid recipients, or simply through advisory committees in partnership with our private consultancy firms. Regardless, we are eager to see Caryton, and other developing countries, to make further reforms and join the international framework we have successfully established. Thank you, Mr Chairman. I believe that will be all for tonight."
As an aide took the speech papers from in front of Prater, thankful that they had not been necessary, Prater's eyes scanned the crowd to see if she could spot the Carytonic ambassador. They should have received a specific invitation, and told that Prater would be talking about Caryton. It would have been a very, very poor job of being an ambassador if they hadn't showed up.
Spiritual Republic of Caryton and Zhongwangguo
|The State of Artzharut|
Pro-democratic parties announce electoral alliance
Leaders of social democratic HaAvoda, democratic socialist Mapam, and neoliberal Mahat parties announce electoral alliance against Makal • New alliance to share electoral lists, members will sit separately • State President Galit Halevy voices displeasure with alliance
YERUSHALAYIM—In a flash summit by the leaders of the three newly formed pro-democratic parties under the process of political liberalisation, a new political alliance was born today. Three political parties; HaAvoda, Mapam, and Mahat, will run in joint lists against the ruling Makal party in the race for 150 contested seats in the Knesset. The leader of the Makal party and State President Galit Halevy had, when starting the experiment with liberalisation, stated that the Makal party would hold onto 150 seats in the 300-seat Knesset and that Makal would remain the driving force in Hebrew politics for the following years to come.
It is known that Makal will also run candidates for election for the other 150 seats, and is not willing to surrender them to the opposition immediately. Ms Halevy voiced her displeasure with the pro-democratic alliance, accusing the leaders of the parties of "using the opening process for their own benefit" and "uniting against Makal". Isaac Peretz, Chairman of the Labour Party (HaAvoda) said the following: "We greatly respect our State President Galit Halevy and her efforts to bring our nation forwards. As it stands, Makal will continue governing the country for the foreseeable future. It is our task as the opposition to offer constructive criticism to Makal as necessary and we, as the leaders of the three parties, have come to the conclusion that we can better do this together. In the end, our duty is to serve our country and our nation to the best of our abilities. We have no ulterior political designs beyond this."
The Office of the State President has not yet commented on Mr Peretz's response to Ms Halevy.
|The Dictatorship of Westbeech|
"According to the most recent reports from the air, the Northern forces remain disorganized in the assault. They have concentrated their forces, however, and have a chance of breaking through if they remain in that group. Our continued bombardment has a chance of splitting their forces, but it seems they still lack experienced or trained commanding officers, so we are unsure of how they will respond. We are sure that enemy forces are no longer using their support equipment due to worry of a counter-battery or targeting from our aircraft."
Medal paced and spoke with uncertainty while discussing with the command staff. Lorette rolled her eyes. "Let me take care of the front lines. I can guarantee you that the traitors won't even be able to overtake a single position."
In a small town only a short distance from the front lines, Marlene sat in a small house. "Southern forces have held superiority for quite a while now, but it will soon change. The new men we have been preparing are almost prepared for deployment. With the involvement of these troops, we should be able to outdo Southern forces in at least one area." All the officers around her nodded in agreement, but they all seemed nervous. Their inexperience and fear overwhelming them, they felt they had no choice but to simply act as yes-men.
|The State of Artzharut|
Electoral alliance formalised while Telem and Ahatz convinced to give up parliamentary seats
Five pro-democratic parties formalise electoral alliance under the name "Alignment" (HaMa'arakh) • State President Galit Halevy convinces the paramilitary Telem and youth movement Ahatz to give up Knesset seats to Makal
YERUSHALAYIM—The leaders of the five pro-democratic parties in Artzharut, formed after the announcement of the "opening" process by State President Galit Halevy, have come together to officially announce and formalise their electoral agreement. The leading two parties, the social democratic Labour Party (HaAvoda) and the liberal Kadima parties, will be taking a leading role in the administration of the Alignment alliance and will form a "coalition shadow cabinet". The classical liberal Mahat, democratic socialist Mapam, and the communist Malat parties will not be taking a role in this shadow cabinet, but they will also be included in the Alignment. Alignment member parties' parliament deputies will sit under their individual parties, but will act in unison while voting and considering bills. It is not expected for Alignment to have significant impact on Artzharutan policy as the currently governing Makal party is designated to maintain 150 seats in the 300-seat Knesset, while also running in the other 150 seats which are up for free elections.
State President Galit Halevy has also moved to secure more votes for the Makal party. Under the current state of affairs, the auxiliary branches of the Makal party, the Telem and Ahatz movements, are also represented in the Knesset at Makal's expense. Ms Halevy has convinced the leaders of both organisations to forego Knesset representation in order to maximise the Makal seats, and to allow Makal to perform better in the 150-seat race that is to come. It is unknown what the Telem and Ahatz movements requested in return, or what Ms Halevy offered them.
Estarets and Sajam arab republic
|The Dictatorship of Estarets|
|Sajam arab republic|
|The Ecclesiastical Meritocracy of Spiritual Republic of Caryton|
|The Ecclesiastical Meritocracy of Spiritual Republic of Caryton|
Spiritual Republic of Caryton's aging leader falls ill, nation in standstill
|| GEORGINE, CARYTON: || The world may not agree with the Spiritual Republic of Caryton's policies, but at least they had a fair-minded leader. Dorothy Shirleyton, aged 81, is the world's oldest national leader. One of the founders of the early Church and a revolutionary in the days of Alta's regime, this woman is most widely known for her regal humility, her grandmotherly leadership, and humble approach to diplomacy.
The world would see an unusual shot outside of Dorothy Shirleyton's humble yet whimsical residence on a tree-lined and curved gravel road, dubbed the "world's nana's house". This scene would not be joyful, but somber as ambulance lights flashed red and white on the yellow exterior. Conservatively-dressed paramedics would be carrying a frailer-than-usual Shirleyton out on a stretcher, breathing obviously labored. Considering even in good health, she walked with a cane; the concern would be higher than usual.
The embassies of Artarum, Zhongwangguo, Westbeech, and others would be notified first that Dorothy Shirleyton would have been hospitalized for a postural orthostatic tachycardial syndrome attack resulting in a fall and severe fatigue which brought about a myriad of minor heart problems.
As of now, it is unknown if the national leader would recover so easily, but she would have been transferred to the cardiology department of the Georgine Central Hospital.
The Assistant Leading Reverend, Kyle Johnson (aged 58) would temporarily take the reins throughout this tragedy which had millions holding their breaths.
|The Dictatorship of Westbeech|
Lilie, upon hearing of the poor health of Dorothy Shirleyton, sent this letter to be given to Kyle Johnson:
"The news which I have been told of today is a great tragedy. Many a great leaders die from poor health, one including my own mother. My brother and I are hoping for a swift and easy diagnosis, treatment, and recovery for the wonderful leader of Caryton. Should things turn towards the worse, however, I am certain that Caryton will grieve, but quickly come back reinvigorated and prepared for whatever may come its way.
Please accept my gift of a Westbeechian flower from my own personal garden. According to ancient texts, this flower brings luck and health. May Caryton go ever forward.
|The Equestrianic Imperium of Twilight Sparkle|
There was a brief moment of hesitation on Pearlescent's face when she saw the tome, but then she permitted herself a small (and ever so slightly smug) smile.
"...Yes, I think I could do that," she said. "My Father may be a monster who tortures innocent Ponies and is willing to murder his own daughter if it serves his interests, but back when he still thought he could control my life and bend me to his will, he took very good care of my education. Ever since I was a small filly barely old enough to walk, Father had me memorize complex spell patterns, countless old legends about Unicorn supremacy and the entire history of the Vanhoover Ducal Dynasty. He always said our family had been bred for intellectual tasks for hundreds of generations... Well, I'm willing to put that to the test!"
For a moment some echo of Pearlescent's old "Highborn Unicorn Lady" persona seemed to reassert itself. It lasted only for a few seconds before she realized it and let out a very embarrassed sounding little cough.
Quickly, she added, "...Ahem, I mean... It would allow me to both hide effectively and give me an opportunity to learn as much about your ways as possible."
Rainbow was sharp enough to notice the moderate drop in Alula's disposition but her social skills were not quite honed enough to determine the exact cause. Twilight had mentioned the Novumequines were easily offended... She'd have to watch her every word carefully.
Raising an eyebrow to Alula's hesitation about the whereabouts of New Elysium's adults, she decided not to press the issue further. Her own scouts and monitoring stations kept delivering her reports about suspicious Novumequine patrols on a daily basis. So far they had done nothing that couldn't be seen as a simple (if a bit overzealous) guard duty, but the General had her own theories about their intentions.
The Schola Militarium gave both Rainbow and her entourage a pause. Even for someone who had grown up among the grandiose cloud structures of Cloudsdale, the immense building ahead was a truly impressive feat of engineering.
Quickly regaining her composure, Rainbow gave a nod to her Novumequine counterpart.
"Yes," she said. "I'm sure it will be a most interesting experience."
IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO DEFEAT THE WORTHLESS DEMOCRATIC FOE IN DEBATE OR EVEN IN THE FIELD OF BATTLE. TO WIN THE WAR OF IDEAS WE MUST TRANSPORT MILITARY PERSONNEL INTO A PURELY IDEOLOGICAL REALM WHERE THE VERY NOTION OF DEMOCRACY WILL BE ARRESTED AND CHOKE ON ITS OWN BLOOD AS IT DIES SCREAMING IN A SECRET BLACKSITE WHILE IN REALITY ITS FORMER ADHERENTS ARE CRUSHED LIKE DEAD EYED INSECTS BY THE GEARS OF THE TOTALITARIAN STATE. ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY ALLIANCE OF DICTATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!
To the Middle Kingdom, this was a tragedy. As such, a series of steps were taken to show that the Chinese government and people were united with their counterparts in Caryton in experiencing these set of events unfold.
The Chinese embassy in Caryton issued a statement wishing Ms Dorothy Shirleyton a speedy recovery, with embassy staff sending flowers and postcards to Georgine Central Hospital several times a day, conveying their wishes and prayers that she recover fully and expeditiously. Finally, the Middle Kingdom’s ambassador to Caryton would host televised Christian prayer sessions, led by nationally adored pastors and preachers in Caryton, leading Caryton and the Middle Kingdom in Christian prayer for Ms. Shirleyton, her family and the future of Caryton.
|The Empire of Artarum|
"Bloody hell. These lot really are uneducated peasants, are they not?" Matthew Herzog said, shaking his head at the television screen in the Cabinet meeting room, as the screen played Dorothy Shirleyton being carried out of her home on a stretcher. "Look at that woman. You would think one would go through at least some sort of procedure to give her some sort of privacy, instead of, you know." He wagged a finger at the screen. "That." It was evident that Herzog was not condemning the leader's situation, but rather how bare it had been to the world. It was unheard of in Artarumen politics for an emperor or even a prime minister to be shown on screen in such a situation.
Lambert Faulkner made no comment based on Herzog's. Instead, he had moved onto something else. "I do not think it would be entirely unfortunate if she died." Herzog, alongside Elizabeth Prater and Schalk Vorster, nodded in agreement. "Still, you know these types. They tend to live long. Issue a statement, the usual. If she dies, mayhaps we can work it for what it is worth. Then again, they could go an entirely wrong direction, too. If she lives, at least we know what we are facing: a nation of religious zealots who grow only horse fodder."
A murmur of agreement came from the table. "The problem is, we do not have an accurate assessment of who might succeed her if she dies." Herzog nodded once more in agreement. "Yes. It is the same problem we had with Artzharut. We could have had Shelef assassinated for a long time, but we did not know if his successor would make things problematic." A brief silence fell over the meeting room. All of them had, in one way or another, allowed the Secret Intelligence Service to pave the way for Galit Halevy's plot to assassinate Amnon Shelef and rise to the top. Not that they were morally conflicted by it: for Lambert Faulkner and Matthew Herzog, veterans of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, this was another day at the office. A regrettable day, maybe, but still just another day. Schalk Vorster was a Boer, and had probably done worse things in his life. Elizabeth Prater was often rumoured to be a cyborg bereft of genuine emotion, anyway.
"I think we want to stay in touch with the Carytonic ambassador. We might be able to pick up a few hints on potential succession, keep tabs on the woman's health, and curry favour with the current administration." Faulkner stated, flicking a pen in his fingers. "Do we want Mr Lidington to offer special care for the woman?" Herzog shook his head.
"I would advise against it, sir. From what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have gathered thus far, it would not be received very well in their relevant circles. They are, for reasons pertaining to agriculture and their backwardness, proud of who they are, whatever they are supposed to be." It was evident that Herzog did not think highly of Caryton, or the overall lifestyle and culture associated with them. So long as such comments remained within the confines of Cabinet meetings, preferably the smaller "kitchen cabinet", Faulkner did not see any reason to censure Herzog for them.
"Very well, then. No need to offer Artarumen healthcare specialists or facilities to them at all. Now, I am no medical expert, but 'postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome' sounds nasty. Then again, it might be the long medical words."
The others snickered in the room, Faulkner grinning. Prater jumped in. "As far as I know, that is not necessarily the case, but I am an economist by training, not a medical doctor. But, well. The woman is old, sir. Had she been a sprightly fifty-six, sir, like you," she grinned, to the others' chuckling, "I would be far less concerned about her long-term sustainability. However, the way I see it, her leadership is initiating this shift towards a more industrialised yet closed economical system. As Mr Herzog said, we are uncertain of the succession. If we knew with a reasonable degree of certainty that somebody more inclined towards free market policies were to assume effective power in Caryton, I would advocate that the woman's welfare be left on the backburner, not that it is up to us. As we stand, her replacement can well be somebody more inclined towards closed economic models. I believe it is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's job to stay up to date on such things."
Herzog inhaled sharply, deciding to not respond to that sharp, well-aimed jab at him and his ministry. Instead, he looked towards Vorster, who spoke in his calm, bass tone. "There is not much for me to say. For the time being, the transfers of the F-16 Viper aircraft are ongoing. As they are dependent on us for spare parts and maintenance, the latter for the time being, I do not believe that there is extensive need for concern about the weapons sales. We can, always, halt the training of support personnel during a leadership transition indefinitely, and we can always hold out on spare parts should the need arise. That would be a politically costly move, but it is an option nonetheless."
Faulkner nodded slowly. "Very well. We will go with the usual statement and well-wishes, and monitor the situation as it develops."
|The Diarchal Expedition Enclave of Sanctuary Point|
Major Black nodded as he took in her words, hiding his minor disappointment that he couldn’t convince her not to take on the habit but she seemed set on it. “Alright I guess I’ll have to talk with Cardinal Fiery Fervour after prayers.” He started walking towards the tolling bells again. “Better get going. Being late for service will do you no favours in convincing the Cardinal to let you in to the ministorum.”
As their group got closer, they could see that much dedication had got into the construction of the schola. Statues were set in niches all along the front of the building, each depicting a famed soldier from their past in sculpted cloud with the exception of the pair that loomed over the entrance. The Sisters Divine stood beside one another, clad in their armour from the Great Crusade with their outer wings extended and gazes turned outward. Silvered Luna watched the west, Nightbringer, her great maul resting over her shoulder while Golden Celestia looked east with Solar Tear planted into and stabbing through the overhang.
Landing on the steel platform and taking a few steps to reach the metal awning, they could see a fully pegasi Nearós squad knelt before the blade and speaking in Elysian, wings spread in imitation of the statue above. Before Rainbow could ask about it, the foals finished their hymn and disappeared inside with Alula and her hetairoi replacing them. “With Your Fury, strike down the Enemy Within. With Your Wrath, strike down the Enemy Without. With Your Light, strike down the Enemy Beyond and with Your Grace, shield us from harm. Exypiretoúme tis Theíes Adelfés.” They too spread their wings before standing again. “You are our guests so you are not required to recite the Hymn of Battle. Shall we enter?” Their guide gestured to the doors behind the blade.
|The Dictatorship of Westbeech|
When word that the Northern assault force had dispersed, Southern command felt a mix of anger and relief. Many commanders wanted the North to sacrifice a greater deal of soldiers in a fruitless offensive, but others worried of the consequences of another attack. The Southern forces took their positions once again as reports of the final casualties arrived at the headquarters.
"Only 563 dead, 2043 wounded. I'd say the defensive was a fair victory. However, we will need to improve our defensive capability and practice more maneuverability in general combat. Expect immediate changes to be made," declared Schoener.
Lilie nodded. "And we will make a point soon enough. We are aware of the large number of troops the North is preparing to attempt breakthroughs. We will strike down their new forces swiftly and make the traitors fear the true strength of our resolve. We will reunite and we shall do so with great spirit."
The Northern forces began spreading along the Southern lines once again and a stalemate once again ensued. New forces on either side were being prepared and both Westbeeches made preparations to take down the other.
|The Queendom of Vespergale|
The line of vehicles stopped in front of Romen's roadblock. Vespergalians standing up from truck beds or opening their car doors and peaking their heads out to look onward. Towards the small commander on top of a car flanked by the impractically large tanks. Tanks that surely would collapse any bridge their treads rolled across. In stark contrast to the Vespergalian tanks they were used to seeing. Which were more in line with what they thought a main battle tank ought to look like. And then there was the lady who seemed to be in charge of this force. Someone who looked young, too young to be wearing officer pins, or a uniform at all. Perhaps, a nobleman's daughter? Vespergalians didn't always have the best grasp of the social structure of Westbeech aside from the dictator's family. Some making assumptions the Westbeechians surely had a noblemen and things of that sort.
A single vehicle changed lanes and began passing the convoy. The staff car, a Tikka without the supporting structure for a machinegun, instead an officer attendant brandishing an assault rifle in its place, and small flags of the unit's emblem and a Glipnara's insignia below it. It rolled down the road and pulled up in front of Romen's car, the officers hopping out and forming up to return the salute to their Westbeechian ally.
The commanding officer, an old dull-colored Fevoran, introduced himself, "Glipnara Ran Escoro of the 9th Reconnaissance Group." The natural shine of his fur had been reduced over time from the administering of dark dyes for the purpose of concealment. A bright orange that now appeared almost dark brown. He wore a long and loosely fitting coat made of some kind of water resistant, plasticky material. Camoflauge patterns printed onto it, a series of jagged shapes with intermingled dots all of dark browns, greens, and blacks. A simple green combat rig over that, where he hung his pistol and dagger from. A more practical self defense weapon, a submachinegun, on a strap over his shoulder. Hanging around his neck fur of some kind of small animal skin dyed black that all of the officers and even enlisted men had. And, a garrison cap fit between his ears showcasing his rank prominently on a central pin.
|The Dictatorship of Westbeech|
Erwie dropped her salute then jumped off the vehicle. She walked right up to Escoro and smirked. "Erwie Romen. General staff of Westbeech. In charge of general provisions and the Armored Corps. I'm sorry for holding you all up, but I wanted to welcome you to your new position in Westbeech. We are certain that your time here will be short and hospitable." She looked at the sergeant in her command vehicle, who quickly got out and approached the two holding a case. When the sergeant arrived, Erwie gripped the case, patted the sergeant on the shoulder, and turned back to the Vespergalian officer. "In here is more vital information. Units in the area, where your men will be stationed in the town, and information on the unit that will be staying here with your's."
The command vehicle drove away and one of the tanks opened up a road. From there came a squad of guard infantry along with two squads of regulars. They quickly gathered into three ranks behind Erwie and saluted. "Would you please bring any other officers or NCOs commanding units here. I think it's important that they speak with each other to best improve the situation. Who knows, they might be able to share something vital to you, your unit, or the entire front."