Azure Watester Federation

WA Delegate (non-executive): The All-Encompassing Glory of Castelia (elected )

Founder: The Federation of AWF Governance Committee

Last WA Update:

Most World Assembly Endorsements: 71st Most Nations: 514th Most Corrupt Governments: 868th+26
Largest Black Market: 973rd Largest Arms Manufacturing Sector: 1,028th Most Valuable International Artwork: 1,132nd Largest Manufacturing Sector: 1,163rd Most Advanced Defense Forces: 1,237th Largest Retail Industry: 1,411th Highest Wealthy Incomes: 1,429th Highest Average Incomes: 1,603rd Largest Information Technology Sector: 1,675th Most Cultured: 1,755th Most Scientifically Advanced: 1,779th Most Subsidized Industry: 1,978th Most Armed: 2,013th Most Advanced Law Enforcement: 2,018th Smartest Citizens: 2,044th Largest Governments: 2,052nd Lowest Crime Rates: 2,144th Most Advanced Public Education: 2,172nd Most Extensive Public Healthcare: 2,181st Highest Poor Incomes: 2,185th Most Eco-Friendly Governments: 2,187th Most Advanced Public Transport: 2,327th Most Influential: 2,375th Most Beautiful Environments: 2,518th Healthiest Citizens: 2,573rd Most Developed: 2,609th
World Factbook Entry

★ THE AZURE-WATESTER FEDERATION ★

FACTBOOK | LinkDISCORD | LinkANTHEM


Money, determination, and Islam. These are the values we hold dear; these are the values with which we shall strive forwards into the future.

Recent Happenings:

Please endorse Castelia, our WA Delegate.


★ AD AUGUSTA, PER ANGUSTA ★



  1. 24

    Welcome to the Azure Watester Federation!

    FactbookOverview by Juugo-kai . 464 reads.

  2. 380

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Informational Dispatch

    MetaReference by Amerion . 7,935 reads.

  3. 2

    AWF Dispatch Index

    BulletinPolicy by Awf dispatch office . 362 reads.

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    The Macabees' Guides to Roleplaying, Worldbuilding, and Other Stuff

    FactbookMiscellaneous by The Macabees . 1,016 reads.

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Embassies: Valentine Day, Northern Ocean, Lisseum, Codex Ylvus, The United Empires of Carson, Urana Firma, The Chuckle Playground of Fun and Games, Gypsy Lands, Fredonia, The Monarchy alliance, Greater Middle East, Teremara, Regionless, and Union of Terra Nova.

Tags: Anarchist, Anime, Anti-Communist, Anti-Fascist, Democratic, Medium, Offsite Chat, Religious, Role Player, and Serious.

Regional Power: Moderate

Azure Watester Federation contains 40 nations, the 514th most in the world.

ActivityHistoryRankAdministration

Today's World Census Report

The Most Politically Apathetic Citizens in Azure Watester Federation

These results were determined by seeing how many citizens of each nation answered a recent World Census survey on the local political situation by ticking the "Don't Give a Damn" box.

As a region, Azure Watester Federation is ranked 8,596th in the world for Most Politically Apathetic Citizens.

NationWA CategoryMotto
1.The Unified Territories of VaktariaCompulsory Consumerist State“Vaktaria and victory”
2.The Dictatorial Kingdom of Vlamms StattIron Fist Consumerists“No Justice No Peace”
3.The Workers' Syndicates of DroidenCorrupt Dictatorship“Workers of Droiden, Unite!”
4.The Königreich of The Ruby Ranch RepublicFather Knows Best State“Blaming Delong Since 2020”
5.The Jovial Hoho of RiakouLibertarian Police State“Hoho”
6.The Eternal Empire of New Imperial BritanniaIron Fist Consumerists“The Sun Never Sets”
7.The Imperatoria iter theocratica of The United Peoples of CaedisIron Fist Consumerists“Sanity is for the weak!!”
8.The Islamic-AnCap Republic of AndorpurleFather Knows Best State“Allah loves those who put their trust in him”
9.The Empire of The Castelian FederationIron Fist Consumerists“Glory To God, And Strength To The Federation!”
10.The Czardom of Russia MajorInoffensive Centrist Democracy“Ever Favoured, Ever Prepared, Ever Defended,”
1234»

Regional Happenings

More...

Azure Watester Federation Regional Message Board

Messages from regional members are co-ordinated here.

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The Kingdom of Salcanceacy

Canada, Vanderhoof

Frost sets in as the last of the days sunlight slips away, the night begins to beckon as Vanderhoof gradually illuminates itself. A man stands outside a Tim Hortons, shielding his face from the night's breeze as he lights his cigarette. Lighting it he takes it in before exhaling, he looks on-wards to the road heading westwards, trying to spot any vehicles approaching. Small Headlights pierce through the nights mist and draw closer towards the town, the man cigarette illuminates his smirk before he grasps it from his mouth "about time they showed up". As the vehicle draws closer to the Tim Hortons, the man finishes his cigarette stubbing it on the side of the building, the man walks towards the side walk as the vehicle slows down, coming to a stop outside the Tim Hortons, the cars window winds down as a voice asks "Excuse me sir, would you know where X's going to give it to you?", the man approaches the car and responds with "Well I guess that he's waiting for you to get it on your own, so X can deliver it to you", the person in the car sighs "Christ, who writes these", the man chuckles "I'll be dammed if I know, but I heard he's fond of music lyrics", "touché, anyway I got told to see the last train off, then head down here for my next brief". The man nods, then grabs a cigarette tin out of his pocket, he opens it and readies another cigarette, before sifting through the tobacco to acquire a small memory card, he puts the tin away concealing the card in his hand before leans into the window of the car "You won't mind if you could give me a light?" the person passes him his cars cigarette lighter, as he does the man lights his cigarette, then passes the lighter and memory card to the person "There's coordinates for a cache on there, your next Op-Doc will be with it along with some tickets for a flight", "Thanks, I guess that I should be on my way then" the man shakes his head before reaching into his pocket "We've just got word that the Russians, as well as everyone else knows about the contents of the trains, so I'll offer you some mints for travel down south. As there's bond to be a lot of partygoers about, when the fireworks go off" the man passes the person a small featureless matchbox with 'Mints' pasted on the side, the person in the car looks at the matchbox with concern, before looking back at the man "Thank you, I'll try to enjoy them when I can, but hopefully I won't have the chance", the man moves away from the car "Good, I hope you have no troubles on your journey", the cars windows winds back up as the car sets off down the road. The man walks back over to the Tim Hortons and waits "Last one down, now I wait for the bird watchers to turn up".

OOC: If you want to hijack one of the four trains and use/secure the train launched ICBMs they have then just let me know in the RP chat, along with your choice in cannon fodder. Remember no nuking capitals, characters or large collections of forces without a person's permission.



The Empire of The Castelian Federation

Partial Withdrawal From British/Russian War

It has become clear to the Directory and the Emperor that our calls to action by our "allies" have fallen on deaf ears... As such, the Federation has called a complete withdrawal from any and all battle fronts outside of the Castelian mainland. Furthermore, any foreign assistance the Federation was giving will be recalled. By no means are we going back on our promises to the Eternal Empire of New Imperial Britannia, but until our allies can recognize our call for assistance, we shall not recognize theirs, and will most definitely not send our own soldiers for allies who will not assist the Federation.

Although, we hope The Waffle Empire the best in their glorious crusade against the British, and it is our wish that we may maintain good relations between our two great nations. But we must put the defense of our nation first, not another's.

- Director of Mainland Defense



The Czardom of Russia Major

The court in the Winter Palace was bustling. Not moreso than usual, mind you, it was always bustling, but bustling it was nonetheless. The Office of Petitions was working as usual, processing the tons of paperwork that arose from both those petitions directly to the Czar, and those to his vassals which needed to be passed on for lack of competence. Once a petition had been received it needed to be checked against strict guidelines for applicability, then researched thoroughly and information compiled into a report which the Czar would read and come to a decision with the help of his advisers.

His advisers were one of the things that made the Palace bustle, trailing behind him in a train of bureaucracy. Each one of them was almost always occupied as civil servants darted to and fro, informing them of meetings, appointments, engagements, all of them related to some facet of the government for which they were particularly responsible.

This was all despite the late hour, at eight o'clock in the evening the Czar and his advisers had been hearing petitions from the civil servants assigned to present them for almost ten hours. At this point the Czar was picking at his third variation of a 'whatever the chef finds in the larder' sandwich (olives, pickles, salami and hummus, on rye), and eyeing the clock gauging how badly he'd get it in neck if he had a fifth double espresso and stayed up past midnight for the third night in a row. Dismissing the last petition, apparently the civil service had been particularly careless, allowing a petition regarding one of his vassal's behaviour to reach him. That was a matter for the courts. Of course, he smiled at the irony, he was also in charge of the courts, so either way it could well wind its way to his attention.

He rose, waving a hand to dismiss his advisers, who long since should have been to their beds. Only to be interrupted as one of the double doors at the end of the room opened a crack, allowing yet another civil servant to slip inside through what seemed to be some sort of commotion in the hall outside. At a glance she was lower-ranking in the bureaucracy of the Imperial Household, with the insignia of the Petitions Office pinned to her lapel unlike the medals and collars worn by the higher ranking civil servants. Conversations broke out in small groups as the Czar's advisers exchanged the sort of pleasantries one exchanges after an overlong meeting and Feodor's Kantzler Andrey Japaridze, Prince of Adygea, sidled up to him.

"And here I was hoping I could get you into bed at a decent time tonight."

Feodor smiled, Andrey had an unusual talent for endless double entendres, which made speaking to him almost impossible sometimes with the number of innuendos he seemed to drop without noticing.

"I suppose that would be in an entirely platonic fashion, Andrey?"

"Oh of course," a corresponding smile flickered across Andrey's face. "I'm only trying to get your woman off my back, for some reason she thinks I'm the one keeping you up all night."

"Oh I have no idea how she came up with that. Definitely not me slipping into bed at two in the morning smelling like your aftershave."

"Yeah but that's fun, this is just boring, and now that she's got it into her head that this is my fault she wants my help ganging up on you to go to bed earlier." He leaned in. "Not that I would mind pushing you into bed at all... or ganging up on you"

Feodor almost blushed, the competing images of both Andrey and his wife in his mind were very, very, distracting. He elbowed Andrey in the ribs as he broke out laughing. Now he really was blushing, he pushed Andrey again gently as the Prince brought his laughter under control.

"Andrey, come on, shut up," Feodor smiled. "We're meant to be the Czar and his foremost councillor not a teenager and his horny boyfriend." He elbowed him again, "Andrey, people are looking!"

"I don't care, I am your horny boyfriend." Andrey finally stopped snickering as that official from the Petitions Office, maintaining a remarkable poker face, bowed in front of them.

"Your Imperial Majesty, Your Serenity." She said, straightening, "There is a man outside requesting an audience."

"Send him away." Andrey said firmly, laying a hand on Feodor's shoulder. "He can come back tomorrow."

"Are you sure, your Serenity? I mean, this is not an ordinary petitioner. He claims to represent the Vaktarian government."

That caught Feodor's attention, and he asked suddenly

"Which one?"

She was quite taken aback by that question, though she had been well aware of the situation in Vaktaria,

"He didn't mention, Your Imperial Majesty."

Feodor turned to Andrey, seeing he was about to speak he place a finger lightly over Andrey's lips.

"I need to speak to him, Vaktaria is strategically important to us and the sooner we know what's going on the better, if he's with the Marshal we might even be able to negotiate."

Reluctantly Andrey nodded, stepping back as Feodor motioned to the Civil Servant to bring in the petitioner.

The man who entered was round, not just chubby, not just plump, round, Andrey whispered in Feodor's ear that he looked like he'd make a good football, and Feodor had to punch him in the shoulder to keep from laughing. It must have been an undignified sight, a red-faced Czar punching a slightly taller man wearing a heavy gold chain in the stomach while the former struggled to keep himself from laughing, but if it was, the emissary didn't say anything. He puffed, blotting at his face with a handkerchief as he leant heavily on a cane that seemed to bow under his weight. The cane came under additional strain as he bowed deeply, and Feodor could swear he heard the wood splintering.

"Your Imperial Majesty." He still puffed, "If I may, I must ask Your Imperial Majesty's assistance in restoring authority over the renegade provinces of Vaktaria to the one legitimate government of our nation."

Feodor raised an eyebrow at the figure,

"And which government would that be, then?"

The figure puffed again, rather indignantly,
"The Vaktarian Senate of course! It is the only legitimate Vaktarian government!"

Feodor nodded sagely, smiling to himself as he recalled the note which had been passed to him from the Foreign Office a day or two ago, warning of this man's arrival. He did his best to appear conciliatory,

"Of course, the former Grand Marshal has far overstepped his mark, he must be brought to heel. But, forgive me, I have been an inattentive host." He looked to a nearby palace servant, pointing to the emissary

"Please bring this gentleman to one of the guest suites and ensure he is taken care of, bath drawn and dinner sent up to him."

Against the protestations of the emissary he was led away to one of the guest suites that Feodor kept for foreign dignitaries, while Feodor called after him,

"Don't worry about it, we'll have a good chat tomorrow!"

Sighing, he turned back to Andrey, still standing right next to him as the room cleared out until no-one else remained. Suddenly he grabbed Andrey, pulling them together as he leant his head on the taller man's shoulder. Andrey embraced him in kind after a second, wrapping a comforting arm around his shoulders, as he looked down he chuckled softly,

"What's this all about then?"

Slightly muffled in his boyfriend's shoulder, the Czar's voice replied

"I'm tired, I couldn't be asked to deal with him tonight."

Andrey chuckled again, brushing a stray strand of hair behind Feodor's ear. After a moment, he leaned down to lightly kiss him on the cheek,

"And here your wife had me all worried about you sleeping, seems like it won't take much to get you to bed now."

"Well you never did have trouble with getting me into bed."

The Eternal Empire of New Imperial Britannia

The Nuclear Threat
---

British Canadian Command Centre, River Park Reserve, British Occupation Zone.

“Command, do you hear me? I have urgent news to report.”

“We read you. What’s your report?”

“I just got news of train-based nuclear weapons potentially in Canadian territory.”

“Did you say... nuclear... weapons?”

The operator on the other side of the satellite phone spoke slowly, and with a slight tremble in his voice.

“Yes. Nuclear weapons, Russian in origin. Each train contains three warheads.”

“All...right. I’m going to report this.”

“...”

The operator’s voice was audibly shaking now. While many major nations maintained a nuclear arsenal, this was the first time in his career that a set of nuclear weapons could possibly be fired, by anyone who got their hands on the weapons. This would be important news, and he would be sure to report it quickly.

Back in London, the operator gathered a log of the call, along with the intel that he was given. It was a thin, red folder—the kind used for nuclear emergencies, such as this one. Several trains of unaccountable nuclear weapons that could fall into the hands of anyone. Unaccountable—that was the key word there, unaccountable and certainly unpredictable.

The red folder was sealed with utmost care, and, taking note of its contents, the operator ran down the halls of his shared office and to the larger command room down the hallway and to the left. Rushing past several people, he made his way to the doors labelled “command office”. A guard stopped the operator, asked him what he was carrying. Waving the red folder at the guard, the operator ran into the command centre, and placed the folder on the desk in the very middle. Then, exhausted, he sat down on a nearby chair, trying to catch his breath.

The folder caused indeed quite the stir among the generals in the room. As the operator had thought, the generals too realized the potential for harm that the weapons could cause, especially if one of them were to be fired at London, or some other administrative, economic, or military centre. Even one would be a serious threat to the stability that the Empire had tried to maintain since the fall of the Golden Throne sixteen years ago.

The directions given to the troops, therefore, were as follows: to locate and secure the weapons, prevent their capture by any other force, and if necessary, destroy them. A nuclear strike towards a major city could not be risked.

---

Winnipeg, Canadian Republic.

The Canadians received much of the same news, though they could do little about it. By now, Wilson’s arrogance had been ground down to a subtle acceptance as entire divisions were shattered and the Canadian Liberation Army became a shell of its former self. He kept a loaded gun in the drawer of his desk, and another one on him—a fail-safe in case the British marched into Winnipeg.

Now, the Canadian Liberation Army was essentially a militia, made up of children and the occasional adult. Most of them could barely hold a gun, let alone fight the British professionals—they had been ordered to stay in the city, there was no point in going to die.

But now, a small group of teenagers with rifles gathered in the training fields, where the Canadian Army had once stood. They were gathered here for one purpose: to find one of the nuclear trains, and fire it—at London, at any one of Britain’s major cities.

Such an act might not end the war, but it would stop the relentless British assault. Never did it cross Wilson’s mind that a group of teens was certainly not qualified to search for a nuclear weapons train, let alone operate and fire it.

But, then again, they were Canada’s last hope.



The Deutsches Königreich of Zentralreich

Middle of Nowhere, Canada

The Österreichische Befreiungsfront, or Austrian Liberation Front, was an extremist organization based in Ruban Austria bent on freeing Austria from the illegal Ruban occupation of their nation. Having existed even during the Austrian subjugation under the Golden Throne over a decade ago, members of the ALF had helped to seize control over and consolidate the Austrian government after the War of Judgement. After the Italian invasion of Südtirol and Krain and subsequent annexation of Austria by the Rubans, the ALF found a resurgence in order to secure independence for Ruban Austria. With the Italian government violently suppressing the ALF cells in Greater Austria, their mission became focused on liberating Ruban Austria, viewing the Greater Austrian territories as land that would be necessarily taken after independence was secured.

When information was leaked about the transportation of Russian nukes through Canadian soil, the ALF leadership saw an opportunity, but did not have the resources to reach Canada, much less secure the nukes themselves. Luckily for the ALF, however, they were not the only ones to see opportunity in the event. After being reached out to by a foreign entity, a deal was struck. The ALF would be given the manpower and equipment necessary to secure and make use of the nuclear devices. With the equipment delivered, it was time to track down the trains.

The exact routes that the trains would be taking was a part of the leak, meaning that all it took was timing. In the backwater provinces of the Canadian inland, the ALF positioned themselves next to the railway, and had organized so that two of their men would be inside the train as crew. When the train began to get remotely close to the position, the men hijacked the train and threw its brakes, stopping just in time for the hiding ALF men to storm onto the train. Without any major opposition besides a few wild animals, the ALF had secured the train and its contents, and were only waiting on when and where to target the missiles. The nuclear option had been chosen.

The targets of the nukes had been chosen: Frankfurt, Bremen, and Hamburg. With the clear from their sponsor and the push of a button, the missiles stored in the train launched into the sky towards their destinations. The men at the site rejoiced and congratulated each other on their victory, but there was an air of uncertainty among them regardless. Would the nuclear option be enough to convince the Rubans to evacuate the Austrian homeland?

Frankfurt, Rubis

The people of the city of Frankfurt were a proud people. Despite their nation's largely rural population, the city was a flourishing settlement that was mostly suburban, with residential, commercial, and industrial districts throughout the city and powering the lives of its people. It was quite the beautiful town. A perfect target for a display such as this. The explosion was massive.

The Ruban anti-missile system fired and successfully managed to knock out two of the incoming Russian warheads, and, without touching the ground, the remaining two exploded above the city, vaporizing large swathes of it in an instant. Six megatons of explosive power rocked the city and the surrounding area, causing massive damage to nearby settlements not caught in the immediate blast. The flash of the explosion could be seen for miles, and massive casualties and damages were taken, the city and its inhabitants now reduced to rubble, memory, and blazing fires.

Bremen

Close to the coast and not far from the Kynoran treaty port in San Guillermo, the city of Bremen benefited from being a center of commerce connecting San Guillermo to the Ruban nation. Similarly to Frankfurt, it served to stand out from the rest of non-Austrian Rubis in that it was a largely developed area, in no small part thanks to Kynoran commerce flowing through the city. It, too, would be targeted by the warheads.

Once more the Ruban air defense systems fired at the warheads. The defense rockets hit one warhead and destroyed it, allowing the remaining three to explode above Bremen. The progress that the Kynoran trade had made in the city was instantaneously reversed as the city was reduced to a state even more pathetic than it was before San Guillermo was established. The smoke billowing from the smoldering city and the flash of the missile's explosion were visible from the Kynoran port miles away. Fear began to take hold among the citizens of Rubis as reports flooded in of the attack. They wondered where, if anywhere, would be next. They would find out all too quickly.

Hamburg

Hamburg was the one Ruban city that truly gave off the feeling of a major urban city. Partially occupied by the Droidenian state, the city had been split since the days of the Golden Throne, but the resurgence of the Watester Concordat allowed for free passage between both sides of the city. It was the last and most crucial target of the ALF's attack.

For the final time the Ruban missile defense fired, and once more they hit one of the four incoming warheads, though this time it almost hit the other ones as well. This time the bombs slammed into the city's roads before exploding, immediately creating a dead zone of radiation encompassing the city. The tall buildings and bustling streets and highways of Hamburg were completely destroyed, and the remnants of once proud structures rained from the sky like meteors. The very few buildings that weren't vaporized by the blast immediately burst into a bright flame that engulfed suburbs and towns surrounding Hamburg miles around. The fallout of the blast would soon be carried by the wind through Copenhagen and into Sweden. The deed was done, and the ALF's side of the bargain was held up. Now it was their sponsor's turn to take action.

For Austria, and for glory!

The Eternal Empire of New Imperial Britannia

A Nuclear Discovery
---

Somewhere In Canada.

After a day of trekking, the British Special Detachment had arrived in the last known location of the nuclear trains. It was just up ahead now; a nondescript green train travelling along a railway, probably built during the 19th or early 20th centuries. This much was evident from the rusted rails and somewhat rotten wood; renovations had been planned and some of them carried out, but this particular stretch of railway was neither commercially nor strategically important.

The troops quickly discovered that they were not alone, however. As the train made its way to the small, poorly maintained train station and the troops prepared to force the train to stop, a soldier spotted some figures emerging from the other side of the railway. Shouting something that the troops couldn’t understand.

Another soldier, who had studied in Berlin for a few years prior to joining the Army, noticed the distinct blue flag patches on the opposing soldiers’ arms. A few words could be made out as well, they speaking in French and German.

“The Ruby Ranchers? What are they doing here?”

A few more shouts in German, and a few shouts back in English later, the British commander decided to do something about the situation. He pushed on the emergency stop lever in the station, signalling to the driver that he too should stop the train. As it came to a grinding halt, a Ruban soldier decided he, too, should take some action, and fired off a shot at the British soldiers in the station.

Confused and not knowing where the attack came from now that the train was obstructing the British soldiers’ view, a few shots were fired back, mostly into the sky. The train was in the way now, and nobody wanted to prematurely detonate the nuclear weapons.

The solders pried open the train door with a crowbar found in the station, and the driver was quickly knocked out and dragged into the station. The Ruby Ranch soldiers broke their way into the train as well, and a short but intense skirmish took place. Neither side could understand the other, and the only sound in the chamber was the sound of gunshots.

Amidst the chaos, a British soldier, the same one who had the crowbar, pried open the door leading to the storage compartments in the back. But rather than the nuclear controls and missiles both sides were expecting, what this train contained was...

Magazines, drawings, and books. Russian text was written on the cover, and judging by the artwork, these novels were clearly meant for perverted adults interested in the love life of the Russian Czar. Valuable to some, but certainly useless to the British forces here to secure a nuclear train.

The British troops retreated after this discovery was announced—in English, of course. The Ruban troops were left with a train full of “art” but without nuclear weapons. They called in an airlift—there was no point concealing the location now that the train turned out to be useless.



The Democratic Republic of Almadaria

N 24o58’32 E 009o29’12.02
Southern Sahara

The high whistle of the gale-like winds brought hot sand streaking across the open air as far as the eye could see. It stopped for nothing as it continued on its course southwest, indiscriminately obscuring the evening sun just as it covers the tracks of a rugged vehicle against the desert sands.

The car was a clunker-- in between the panels of mismatched paint around the engine compartment the work of a welder could be seen, no doubt to keep sand out of the working of the engine. However, the throaty rumble of the diesel engine indicated that it needed no protection against the elements. The four-wheel vehicle had an open passenger space, exposing its three occupants to the sand.

“How much longer is it?” Shouted a man in the backseat. They had on fresh cotton dungarees that were soiled by the dirt with a silver-rimmed circular sunglasses too small for their face-- as well as a cloth bandana that wrapped around their nose and mouth with a hastily lashed knot behind their unusual ears.

The driver and passenger in the front did not appear to hear him; in contrast to the one in the backseat, they had on uniforms well-worn by the wind and sun, but still distantly recognizable as Almadarian Army and Civil Defense issue; the difference between the two being that the front passenger had some awards adorning his uniform’s breast.

The rear passenger, impatient, sat forward and thwapped the shoulder of the front passenger and repeated himself over the howl of the wind.

“How much longer, Cavillo?”

A goggle-bearing and sun-baked face turned to face the passenger.

“First of all, you aren’t in Macotera anymore. You refer to me as either jefe or Mayor. We are not friends, you are now working for us. Now, do you understand?”

The passenger, taken aback, seemingly swallowed and nodded. “Sí, jefe.”

Bueno. Now, Señor Gonzalo Villarrubia, we’ve been driving for a while now, so we can’t be very far.” Cavillo said, tapping the driver’s shoulder playfully.

Villarrubia sat back as the vehicle came across another bump. He was hardly expecting to be taken so far away from the moist air of Almadaria when he took on this job-- with his line of work in counterfeiting and identity fraud, he hardly had to leave his neighborhood save for buying bulk shipments of rice for his home. But here he was, getting cold feet in the middle of a desert after accepting an apparently high-paying steady job with some political action group named the Valverdian Popular Front.

Through the soil-colored slurry that made it seem like they were on Mars, the vehicle finally reached something in the seeming nothingness of the sandstorm. A bright point of light-- no, a flashlight-- being held by an armed sentry, by the looks of it from thirty meters away. They were about to walk up and investigate the vehicle but Cavillo removed his bandana, revealing a black mane of hair around his upper lip and jaw, waved the sentry, and the sentry stepped aside and pointed them along. Before long, they had arrived at a small network of tents, mobile homes, and improvised structures of scrap metal and slate surrounded by a wall of soil-filled gabions. It was an eerie thing-- as he walked through the camp, Villarrubia could see not a soul after the sentry through the onslaught of particles, but from the tents and structures could hear obnoxious music from his homeland play.

Finally, after ducking under a sheet of corrugated aluminum that acted as the door to one of the larger structures, Cavillo and Villarrubia removed their bandanas and breathed in the dry, but empty air of the building. It was a long and cramped, poorly-lit room that had tarps peppered with sand under their feet that passed for proper flooring; tables ran down the middle of the room on which several radios streamed an endless, conflicting garble of Spanish words of various political news stations.

Ven aqui.” Cavillo said, leading Villarrubia through the room until he reached an especially creased section of the tarp; he kicked aside the tarp and revealed a dusty trapdoor, which he stomped on twice. Meanwhile, he gestured at two nearby gunmen and said, “Salvo. Bustos. With me.”

The trapdoor opened and the dirt-crusted face of an old man popped out, perching himself on a steep wooden staircase. He scurried out of the way as the group descended the steps.

Some several feet underground, sustained by steel load-bearing pillars and concrete ceilings and floors, was an impressive substructure filled with workbenches, fluorescent lamps, and bustling workers.

“For now, here is where you’ll be working,” Cavillo said, walking alongside the edge of the space and looking at the work being done. “Here, and in many locations across the desert like this, we make bombs, assemble weapons, encode messages-- You’ll be forging IDs for our financial operations in more civilized areas, as well as getting us in there.”

“Did you say bombs?” Villarrubia said in alarm, awkwardly stepping behind Cavillo.

“Oh, we don’t sell those yet. Those are special deliveries back to Almadaria.” Cavillo said. They arrived at a workbench situated in the back of the bunker that had a precision knife, printer, and satellite laptop. “This’ll be where you’ll be working. We need to first have some valid Almadarian passports for some of our men-- Ernesto will fill you in on the details. He’ll also show you to your board and lodging in the wonderful spring weather we have here in the Sahara.”

Cavillo turned around to leave, leaving Villarrubia behind. “Er-- Mayor Cavillo--” He started, but was too late. Cavillo had made it up the steps and closed the trapdoor behind him, while the gunmen he beckoned stood by Villarrubia’s workstation, waiting for him either to start working or make a run for it.

What did I get myself into? Villarrubia thought.

===========================================================================================================================

Gregorio Llanos stood confused with his wide arms resting on his forward belt loops, looking about the mess before him as if he could catch the groove they were traveling on by standing still and observing; he was unsuccessful. He stood at the entrance of the VPF encampment, seven gunmen by his side. It was now morning, with cool (and rapidly heating) air; the sandstorm had since passed-- it made it easy to see some armed inhabitants of the camp surveilling the newcomers at a distance.

Emerging from one of the tents, Major Basilio Cavillo put on a smile and outstretched his arms in greeting.

“Llanos! You came!”

“You promised me guns, Cavillo. Why did you have to bring me all the way out here for that?”

“Well, Llanos, to be honest, I wanted to speak about more than guns.”

“Still, why did I have to come to the goddamn Saharan Desert? You’re wasting my time.” Llano said, crossing his arms.

“I wanted to offer an additional business proposition-- one I think you’ll be interested in,” Cavillo said, noting Llano’s impatience.

Bueno. Dime.” Llanos said brusquely.

Cavillo took a breath, meandering slightly away from Llanos before starting, “As I understand it, it’s harder to do your job back in Almadaria, no? Government sticking their nose in everything?”

Llanos resisted rolling his eyes. Cavillo had a flair for the dramatic, it appeared. “Sticking their nose in everything gracias a ti, señor.

“I did what I had to do; no choice and no going back now, Señor Lllanos. However, I present to you a place free from that: the East!” Cavillo flung his hand outward, to the stretch of dunes north. “I can assure you, I can make your interactions here, across the pond, quite profitable. As well as that, you’ll get your weapons, as promised. Rifles, bombs, and if you work with me, far more.”

While Cavillo spoke, Llanos withdrew a cigarette from his coat and lit it, taking a puff before he responded unconvinced. “Lovely theatrics, Mayor, but this is a business deal, not an auditorium full of second-graders-- you’ll have to do more than perform a few magic tricks to convince me to recycle. How could you make a venture in this dunghole profitable?”

“Look around you-- you are in the middle of the country of Sahara. Its people are uneducated, poor, and have probably never seen a government official in their life. They’re prime targets for protection rackets. Once we get a good system here, we start recruiting. Expand. Start protection rackets here, counterfeit rings there, smuggle this and launder that. Out here there’s very little to stop us-- and that’s when we really get moving. We’ll need your expertise in expanding our operations into the more civilized Mediterranean. Soon, we may even have an ally up north; the Austrian Liberation Front. Their cooperation could also help your business-- and I say business tentatively.”

“Roll in money for the both of us; we get guns, you get recruits-- mutually beneficial, ¿?” Llanos said, examining the smoldering end of his cigarette.

Ojála, señor Llanos.”

Llanos flicked the tobacco away where it plunged into the grainy sand. “If you want my business, I want a 70-30 split and direct control on the racketeering. You want me to operate up north, in civilized country-- that’s muy peligroso, Señor Cavillo. I think I ought to have more of the share of the profit while you insurgent-folk can subsist on some of the more...” Llanos placed the last words with a smile, “--political gains.”

Cavillo, though perfectly solemn while his counterpart’s demands were listed, let out a singular laugh. “80-20? You’re crazy. I’m the brains of this operation-- you aren’t getting any more than 50.”

“An equal partnership?” Llanos cocked his eyebrow. “That sounds awfully like the original deal, and terribly like the opposite of what I proposed.”

“Well, political dissidents cannot live on bread alone. We also are assembling your weapons, and have the proper location for all this. You’d take a bit of a loss trying to set up your own, wouldn’t you?”

“Why would I bother with this porquería? In fact, why should I even bother talking to you? I can take all the business you’ve described without you.”

“Perhaps, but you’d come to blows with us; and there’s a difference between our positions-- out here, we’re difficult to strike and easy to defend; back on the island, you have an address that could be mistaken for the federales at any day.” The threat sat on the dry air for a moment. Seeing Llanos bow his head, calculating, Cavillo went on. “But it need not come to that, amigo. Let’s be civilized-- I’ll sweeten the pot por un cincuenta-a-cincuenta split. I can give you a lucrative opportunity: the daughter of el Presidente at your mercy.”

“You’ve got her?”
“No, not yet. But we know where she is, and she’s in the neighborhood. Think of the prices the jefe will be willing to pay to save the security of the state. And his daughter.”

“How do you know this?”

“We have our sources, señor Llanos.

“50-50? You’re an ugly man who runs an ugly bargain, but I accept. Equal partnership.”

“Equal partnership, señor.”
===========================================================================================================================
N 43o.44’651, W 3.85’469
Santander, España

The city was far better than the outpost in the Sahara. The gentle hum of the city and all its educated, well-groomed, and bustling citizens outweighed the isolated howls of wind and burly men. The cool air from the breeze brought across the Bay of Biscay was sweet to the sand-clogged, sun-baked pores of Roldán Fontanez. There was plenty of water and food curated by people who cared for their work, and if the coastal breeze was not enough one could find an umbrella-equipped table or roof to hide their head under from the sun. The buildings in this country, Spain, were not terribly elaborate-- nor were they plain. They were comfortable; not spartan enough to be seen as brutal and disconnected, but intricate enough to appeal to most without adding a sheet of bright paint to conceal its otherwise ugliness like on Martí Boulevard. This humble elegance, as well as the affluence of general civilization, appealed to Fontanez. Spain was a comfortable place.

The gazpacho sat before Roldán, its red surface speckled with garlic and cucumber and disturbed by silverware.

¡Mesero!” Fontanez cried, outstretching his hand to a nearby waiter. “My soup is cold.” He was seated on a plaza spotted with steel mesh seats and tables beside a formal restaurant; the seating area was fenced in with a polite grate barrier and the top was covered with a web of wires bearing antiquated lightbulb as fruits. Fontanez’s partner, Jaime Zambrano, looked over.

Idiota. Roldán, it’s supposed to be cold.”

¿Qué? What the carajo do you mean? What kind of soup is cold? Hey-- ¡mesero-- ven aquí!”

Dressed in a formal white dress shirt surrounded by a black apron and dress pants, the mesero teetered over to where the two sat, writing pad and pen in hand. “Señores, ¿en qué puedo ayudarlos?

“Soup’s cold.” Roldán said, crossing his arms before looking at Jaime.

Maldito idiota.” Zambrano muttered.

A flicker of annoyance, or insult, came across the waiter’s face before being replaced with practiced patience. “Señor, that is gazpacho. It is supposed to be cold.”

Zambrano flung up his hands and cocked his head as he proved his cultural knowledge over his companion.

The scrawny waiter almost seemed to smile with Zambrano, but it was only a flicker before returning once again to patience. “However, señor, we have a selection of hot soups for your appetizer, if you’re curious about them.”

Scowling, Fontanez waved the waiter off. “No, gracias, no. Send in the cuenta, por favor.”

As soon as the waiter was gone and he was sure no other diners were within earshot to make out anything, Fontanez leaned over the table and began whispering to his compatriot in a low voice.

“What do we have on her?”

“Avalos was able to follow her and su novio to an apartment, Urbanización la Roca or whereabouts. Don’t think they know yet.”

“Imagine that. Daughter of the most powerful man in Almadaría, living in a studio apartment an ocean away.”

“I guess that’s the punishment for marrying someone the jefe doesn’t like,” Zambrano said.

“What’s our situation con la policía?”

“Police are sleepy here. Patrols mostly in the shopping districts, with maybe a few speed traps on the outskirts of the city. Saw an arrest earlier-- not quick to pull guns. Fairly diplomatic.”

“Good. Don’t want a weapons-and-tactics squad bearing down on us the minute I step on the grass.”

“There’s also a decent amount of surveillance; security cameras and whatnot are on the exterior of the apartment, but probably just to ward off vandals. I saw a few blind spots we could slip through-- it’s only a matter of knowing where to go once we’re out with la mujercita.”

“I’ve figured that out. We load up the van, send her the long way around to the shipping district-- from there, load her up on a container and once she’s on the Marti we’re home free and can wait out the heat.”

“Great. Now where’s esos austriacos we were supposed to meet?”

“In time. Mediodia, on the south side of Santander, some cottage I rented out. It’s rural, so not exactly meeting them in broad daylight, per se.”

“How do we know we can trust them?”

“We don’t-- but Cavillo does, or is rather trusting ourselves not to get killed. Apparently, these guys are hardcore-- responsible for the nukes in Rubis.”

Cristo. We sure they won’t just shoot us on the spot?”

“No. What you need to look out for is insulting Austria-- because they love Austria, and hate Italians. If you do, cover it up with hate of those bastardos de pasta.”

The Eternal Empire of New Imperial Britannia

Till Death Do Us Part
---

Winnipeg, Republic of Canada.
Wilson made his way to the top of his tower, in the very centre of Winnipeg. News of the British offensive and the Russian counterattacks stacked up on his desk; but he didn’t care to read them, not anymore. He saw through his situation quite clearly—he’d either end up a puppet of the Russian state or a dead body in a British grave. Neither of those appealed to him, so he picked his only other way out of this mess he himself had created.

In the drawer of his desk laid a pistol. Almost antique in this day and age, it was 2036 after all. A M1911-pattern handgun bought almost 20 years ago.

Bought as a gift, when his tower was just a dream in the stars. Back when the world didn’t go to hell, back when...

When she was still around.

2020. A time of wonder and opportunity. When the biggest concern in the world was learning Latin, and when Wilson had met his one and only love.

It would be surprising to many to hear that someone so narcissistic and self-centred would love anyone. But he did. Her brilliant blue eyes and blonde hair was still imprinted in his head, even all these years after...

---

Wilson pulled out the magazine on the handgun. One by one, he ejected the cartridges and laid them out on his desk, until only one was left. Reinserting the magazine, and sliding the slide, he placed the gun on his desk and began to recount his life.

---

Sixteen years ago, he had met Kara in a coffee shop on the outskirts of Winnipeg. She was equally brilliant as he was, and just as ambitious. That’s what he knew her for; they first met as business partners, but it soon went way past acquaintances.

Four years later, they were married. Another year, and their business would skyrocket—at the expense of a competitor who had been the established number-one in their industry. Firearms manufacturing, a very dangerous but similarly lucrative trade, and indeed a new competitor was not something that the established order was willing to tolerate. Their main competitor, PolyTech Industries, was led by none other than the former Governor of Canada, Andrew Thomson. There was a reason he led the revolution now, you know. To gain his revenge, for what that bastard did. To him. To Kara.

A sanctioned hit and a few hundred thousand pounds. That’s all it took for a group of freelance hitmen to break into the tower, and try to take them out by force. It didn’t work of course; this was a dangerous trade, and the tower was heavily protected anticipating exactly such an event. But still, a stray bullet from a hitman who had made his way to the top floor had hit her. Kara was a medical graduate and an engineer; she knew how fatal that wound was.

One last kiss, and a whisper. “Til death do us part...”

---

Her photo was still on his desk, a photo taken at their wedding. As beautiful as ever, but just a memory...

Wilson walked to his private elevator. He walked in, pressed a few buttons, and it took him to the ground floor. He tucked his handgun into a pocket, and walked outside of his tower for the first time in weeks. The sunlight was bright and dazing. Just like that fateful day sixteen years ago.

He walked over to a graveyard, one which he would pay visit to every month no matter what. Past the first few rows, then a turn left. Walking past a gate long broken through, he arrived at his destination. A simple headstone reading “Kara Wilson”. He propped himself up against the headstone, and pointed the pistol at his heart...

---

He made space in his heart for her. When she died, a part of him died with her. He had considered taking his life that day, but the fires of revenge pushed him forwards. So he hatched a plan and brought it to action—running in the governor elections, and when he lost, he led the revolution. An ad-hoc plan for an unexpected turn, for sure. But it worked—he held that gun to Thomson’s head, watched the fear in his eyes dissipate into a void as he pulled the trigger.

Sweet, sweet revenge. But that didn’t bring Kara back—nothing would.

She died three years ago, and he was living on borrowed time. Now it was time to go back to her, to see her again.

---

Wilson held the pistol to his heart. He closed his eyes, and a small smile found its way to his lips.

“I’m coming, Kara. Till death do us part.”

A single shot echoed through the graveyard, and three-and-a-half months since the beginning of the Revolution, its only leader died, alone with his thoughts and his lover’s grave.

---

Tower staff found Wilson’s body slumped against the gravestone the next morning. Some of them knew where he liked to go, and when their President was missing from his tower, one of the staff suggested to look there. They found him smiling, even in the afterlife, clutching a photo of his lover in one hand and a handgun in the other. A single bullet wound, straight through his heart. A suicide, clearly.

---

The funeral was held in the graveyard where they found him. A private, solemn funeral attended by only Wilson’s closest. They buried him as he had wanted, next to Kara. The weather was unusually rainy that day.

---

The British commander knew nothing about these events, and if he knew, he wouldn’t have cared. His troops were reinforced, and though High Command had not granted more troops on the grounds of not wanting to escalate the war, he received equipment and vehicles to replenish his army. At dawnbreak, he would break Winnipeg’s defences.

---

The Canadian children made their trek back to the Army Camp, having lost more than half their numbers to bears and foreign soldiers. They knew they’d disappointed the Revolution, but they didn’t know what had happened. The Revolution was dying, and nobody had time to punish a group of children for failing a task that they had never been expected to accomplish.

The remaining leaders that had worked under Wilson elected to lead together, until the situation had stabilized. An election now was foolish; they could not risk the population further dividing.

In solemn black suits, the new leaders of the Revolution prepared for the British assault.

---

There was five hours until dawn.

The Shiny Happy People of The Kingdom of RobO

Again I rise from the ashes!

Glad this region is still flourishing!!

Please excuse my nation's frequent apocalypses! We are currently apocalypse free since April 13, 2021.

But seriously kids I'm a 35 year old social studies teacher who is crazy busy so I really do apologize I haven't been engaging as much as I could/should be but I'm sure you guys can imagine I just have a lot going on in life right now! Keep up the awesome job though! I'm proud of my region!

-RobO

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