Commonwealth of Mankind

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Highest Workforce Participation Rate: 581st Most Politically Apathetic Citizens: 1,310th Largest Publishing Industry: 1,912th+7
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"Dim and wonderful is the vision I have conjured up in my mind of life spreading slowly from this little seed bed of the solar system throughout the inanimate vastness of sidereal space. But that is a remote dream. It may be, on the other hand, that the destruction of the Martians is only a reprieve. To them, and not to us, perhaps, is the future ordained." ~H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds


In the aftermath of the invasion from the planet Mars, having ravaged our blue-green fertile Earth from the year of our lord 1950 to 1953, now we stand among the rubble and try to piece together our lives, our empires, our futures.
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    The World Chronicle

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    Political Map of Post-Invasion Earth

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1.The Gran Imperio Colombiano of VaitoriaFather Knows Best State“Imperio y Orden”

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The Tengoku of Atroria

Liberation of Karlovac and Ljubljana
As was planned, two partisan depatchemnts departed from Maribor and Zagreb to incorporate western territories into the federation. The first response they encountered was that of indifference. The communities just acros Sava were always tightly knit with the state even when they did not constitute a part of it. Trade was common and they could always count on Yugoslav People's Army to protect them from fascist raids. YPA set up strongholds in Karlovac and Celje. Both cities were greatly ruined in the war and were further damaged by scavengers but they still offered a defendable central position from which to expand influence.

Beyond Kupa and in the mountains of Slovenia was the land that was constantly in the sights of bandits. What few people that lived here were relieved to be under protection of YPA. Most land was rather desolate, but interestingly enough, there was a rather large community living in the valley of old Ogulin. And of Ogulin, there was nothing to ramain of. It wasn't that it was destroyed and in ruins, but the locals have completely disassembled the city to build up a their new towns and villages. It appeared that the valley was under constant threat of raids coming from the mountains of Mala Kapela. A local bandit force with close ties to the fascists has established itself there. The operation that followed would be the first of many battles for a lot of new recruits in the YPA. Opportunistic and poorly equipped, the bandits retreated quickly when it first appeared they were losing. A smaller detachement was also sent to the west to connect old settlements across Gorski Kotar and to the sea.

A similar story happened in Slovenia. There was a smaller farming community in the valley south of Ljubljana under threat of bandits from Kranj and mountains to the south. Here, YPA had a tougher job considering the bandits couldn't rely on a government to take them in but in the end they were forced out.

Liberation of Lika
The post-war period was extremely chaotic. So much that a group of old Croatian fascists was able to seize control in the mountainous province of Lika. The Independent State of Croatia headed by the Provisional Liberatory Sabor and the Ustashe – Croatian Revolutionary Organisation is a bandit state. It largely subsits on raiding their peaceful neighbours and extorting their disloyal populace. Its supposed goal is to carry out a liberation of all Croatian lands and to drive the „Bolshevist Serbian tyrants“ out. In reality it is a failed state that shall end at once.

The military operation began by YPA breaching into the fields around Križpolje in the north and from there the forces would branch out to storm the fascist stronghold in Senj in the west and to gain a forward position near Otočac in the east. The battle for Senj was a short one as the YPA had a superior position compared to the coastal city and a benefit of having rebellious locals on their side. The fascist forces were forced into a retreat south. Here the YPA forces split yet again with a part following the fascist retreat along the coast and a part joining the forces in the east.

The battle of Otočac would be the second major battle of the war. Yet again the YPA had superior terrain on their side in addition to numerical superiority. The battle for the city lasted a bit longer as the miltary forces here were larger but the fascist militia was forced into a retreat south where it met the coming reinforcement. What followed was a short engagement which resulted in a complete fascist defeat.

Here the forces split yet again. The main part would take control of the hills north of the main valley in Lika. It would remain there, waiting for the reinforcements from Slovenia. The other part would take towards the east and then towards the south where it would lead a skirmish against local Ustashe.

When the Slovenian reinforcements arrive, the YPA launched one final offensive. Engaging in constant combat, it pushed the fascist forces south towards their capital – Gospić. Here, the biggest and the final battle of the war would play out. Gospić is not a large city. It is a sprawling town, and YPA, pushin from the north and northeast had no trouble taking control of northern parts of the town. The battle dragged on as a lot fascists would not admit defeat and prompted for a heroic last stand. The final nail in their coffin was set when the forces from the east arrived and managed to surround the city. The Independet State of Croatia, a bandit statelet was no more. As Lika was being cleaned up by the YPA, the small detachement in the west finished its skirmish in Starigrad where the last remaining organised fascist forced was destroyed.

The aalborg concord

A global warning and a panicking Scandinavia

The Scandinavian nation has decided after a short ruling cabinet debate on what was to be done with the new information about the single Martian fighting machine´s incursion into populated Humanlands in reference to foreign policy. Fortunately for the world, the nation has decided to publish a warning and report about the awoken presence of Martians in the vicinity of Iceland (following the logic of the Martians approaching from the area of approach leading from Iceland). Long-range radio transmissions of the military grade have been used to issue out warnings to any non-Scandinavian communities, the SAF´s own scouts focusing on pelting any potentional neighbors, from survivor communities that range from a village to a whole potentional nation-state, and even the disliked Finnish north.

It is understandable that the Aalborg Concord does not follow the path of concealing information, as the general public has been made aware of the Martian "scouting mission" following the weekend news publication. The government understands that alone it cannot face these unwanted guests from Mars, so by giving information about the whereabouts and potentional re-awakening of the Martian threat, they hope to rally Humanity into more awareness of the situation yonder the Concord borders.

As for the Scandianvian public, the Norwegians have expressed discontent over the government´s poor handling of the situation, citing far too minor evacuation preparations that did not take in account the swiftness of Martian vessels, nor their inhuman and therefore impulsive nature to perform certain actions differently than humans. The ranger networks are being held at the ready, with a new system of early-warning communications being set up as the populous of Norway has been permitted to return to their homes and continue with daily life. A group of soldiers tasked with evacuating the vicinity of Oslo have accredited their officer, the brave Captain Roos, a Swedish-Norwegian man of age who has lived through the worst the Martians had to offer during the old days of the fall, with the Martian fighting machine´s journey back into the North Sea. They said that the army Captain bravely waded through the ruins, challenging the Martian in an attempt to detonate it with copious amounts of explosives. Although the bold ruse failed, he has become something of a martyr in the circles of the refugees he saved and in the broad public. The Viken province has already stated that it would raise a statue to honor his being post-humously, and the SAF has stated that it would consider the facts, hinting at a post-humous promotion or medal awarding, which could make the man the first SAF regular to be awarded a medal following the establishment of the regular forces.

And as life returns to mild anxiety and anger in depopulated and rural Norway, the Danes and the Swedes have still not recovered from the shock. The metropol areas of Malmo in Sweden and the capital city of Aalborg itself in Denmark have seen a host of several thousand people go through the streets, demanding for an effective policy to combat Martians and any such Martian attempt to just stride over into Scandinavian lands unchallenged. The Swedes have been the most critical of the SAF and the government, partially due to the oppositionary Free Liberals growing in power here, but also because the Swedes consider themselves the most vulnerable and next-in-line should Norway actually fall.

The polls show a steep decline of sixteen (-16) points in popularity nation-wide in Scandinavia for the ruling social democrat and christian democrat/unionist coalition, which may spell disaster in the upcoming local/regional elections for the current government.

Government control fully restored in newly reclaimed territories

The SAF reports strategic victory over the feudal bandits who fled to the west or surrendered in whatever hide-y hole they strived to hold onto. The SAF scouts, who at the moment number at 7,5k in the region, are now tasked with securing the western provincial borders facing the unclaimed Norwegian fjordlands to the further west. The banditry may have been eliminated in government held areas, but it maintains itself obviously in the west, and the SAF is not going to take chances.

But the most important victories come in the form of civilian relief and the establishment of a ruling authority to kickstart local economic development and integration within the national framework. As the SAF regulars demobilize to save costs of constantly whipping troop collumns around the nation, only 50 armed trucks and cars remain along with 1570 regulars to protect humanitarian aid convoys and aid with the drill of gendarmerie/police forces in terms of combat and useage of small firearms, as well as aid the scouts should the bandits attempt a push to the east.

The government expects that guiding private businesses to adjust to a regulated market economy is going to be the hardest task, but it has prepared monies [why do i keep on using monies for funds smh] freed up by the demobilization and sudden influx of new tax monies from the increasingly integrated regions in Sweden around Karlstad. The source of power is set to be coal, or more specifically, brown coal, as there are no hydro-power alternatives to contribute to a sustainable and cost-efficient system of electricity generation.

The SAF consolidates control over Aberdeen province as the production of TOWED ARTILLERY begins

The military-civilian expedition in Aberdeen, Scotland, has been an above-average success, despite irregular shipments of military-only use intended tungsten. The city has had volunteer civilian "settlers", or in this case, primarily workers affiliated with the tungsten procurement industry, flatten areas of Aberdeen to establish temporary housing. The local Scots have not been contacted, as the scouts report zero British/Scottish native activity in the area. The grim statement of the SAF for this scenario is that the unfertile north probably vacated itself further to the food-plenty south in order to save themselves from starvation, leaving behind a barren, yet cold and beautiful landscape of the highlands. The government has prioritized so far military and military-civilian affiliated expansion in Aberdeen, with settlement by civilian settlers being out of the question for now, probably due to the proximity to Iceland and it´s vulnerable position as a enclave.

The tungsten procured by those present in Scotland has been heaped up alongside tungsten procured from reclaimed Swedish lands in the north. Combining this with the abominably high reserves of quality Swedish steel, the SAF reports gleefully that it has received a green light to start another branch of the SAF ground forces/army, which is the artillierst´ own branch. The first artillery designs will follow the idea of flexible guns that are capable of locking on a fast-moving target, with civilian universities complying in giving out books and technical literature concerning WW2 artillery, marking books with numerous articles on "anti-tank guns." This obviously implies that the first artillery piece the Scandinavians will experiment on shall be one adapted for penetrating Martian armor with increased accuracy, as it is widely known amongst the ranks of the forces that Martians do not simply stay put and wait to be pelted with artillery fire in an act of solidarity with a weaker opponent.

SAF scouts move in on mystery cylinder north of Oslo

It seems that the scouts have converged upon some sort of Martian cylinder. It seemed open enough to cast a look inside, so the scouts took the initiative to do their job and scout ahead, preparing their small arms and hand grenades should it come to another first-contact scenario. The number is on their side, with about five active groups of 35 and a single group just barely half that number.

What horrible secrets may this cylinder behold?

Imperial zulia

Vaitoria wrote:Vaitoria, The Heart of the Empire—Meeting with the Eastern Stranger

"And begin we shall. I'm told your country hasn't benefited as much from the invasion as Colombia has; I'm sorry to hear that. As you probably can tell from your arrival to your stay inside my room here, we've been busy reverse engineering the technology thanks to the efforts of the Azarola family and the Scarlet Catholic Church. It's certainly quite beneficial for us. But I've also heard whispers and rumors that you aren't much a fan of Martian technology." He motioned toward her hair and eyes. "I'm sorry for whatever the invaders may have done to you, and for that matter any others. But regardless, I welcome you to my home."

Valerio took a seat and motioned for the soldiers to move further away toward the door. They complied, the two carrying with them the latest issue of Heat-Ray rifle that had been developed from the alien technology. The marvels that could be reaped from the corpses of Mars. Once they were at the door, the king cleared his throat and motioned for the woman in red to hand him a small bundle of documents, neatly tied together by a leather string around a brown paper wrapping. He pulled from it a ledger on imperial affairs and one for the church as well, and lastly a large map which was folded out across the table. In reaching for a pomegranate, the woman in red stopped the king and took the task upon herself. These divine priestesses sent by the church certainly had a unique way of supplicating to the king himself as much as they did to Silvia.

"To be entirely blunt with you Elena, while I'm delighted to see your people reaching out to us, I'm not entirely certain what you want from us. Or what we would be willing to give. So, my dear, let me hand over talking to you for a while. Tell me everything you're seeking to gain from your stay here. What from the wealth of the empire could you possibly be after? And what could you possibly give in exchange which would benefit my Colombia." He paused and motioned toward the Scarlet Priestess behind him. "Hopefully it's not trouble, but this woman will also be speaking on the behalf of the church when necessary, or at least make sure I carry their concerns. Now then, speak Elena. How can the empire help you?"

My eyes had not changed a single bit, they were still locked at Valerio's. He was right, I was not a fan of this cursed technology. The overall ambience was a silent one, his voice occupying all the space. His voice was fit for a King, a very dominant one. I wasn't into people like him, but it was slightly admirable. He was lucky to not face what I faced, and as such took the cursed technology for himself without hesitation. If it wasn't for my own prejudice, I would make full use of that technology, too. But alas, what happened ended up happening. I was confused as to why he assumed that "something happened to me" - did he know? And so, I raised my eyebrow, ready to question him.

As I raised my eyebrow, and he stopped talking, what was left of actual sound left the room, replaced with the most utter silence that penetrated around everything. The silence was so predominant it was deafening, despite being, well... silence.

"Your Majesty, what brings you to say that?"

Silence permeated through again before he motioned his hand and the soldiers retreated. The bright designs of the rifles, representing Colombia taking advantage of this technology. Due to my morals, I would rather stay away from it. After that, a Priestess gave the King some documents. What they were, I didn't know. But it just made me more nervous and doubtful in an already tense environment.

I was ready to be blunt with him. "I... really don't seek anything, apart from possible economic deals between our nations. Zulia has a lot of resources that could interest Colombia, and vice-versa. Otherwise, the globe grows more tense, and I would prefer it if we could work together to preserve the security of all of our peoples."

Imperial zulia

Kuyani wrote:

LESSER ANTILLES, ATLANTIC OCEAN

"Captain. Wake up, you'll want to see this."

Captain Cothoza Zondi woke groggily and blinked a few times to let his eyes adjust to the darkness. The boat was certainly swaying, but it wasn't moving forward. He had no idea how long he had been asleep... but it had gotten dark since he had decided to sleep. The sleeping quarters only had around 4 other people sleeping in it, at least from what he could tell. It was littered with napkins, old food cans, and more.

"God... ugh," Cothoza said. He was groggy beyond belief. The boat's constant movements made sleeping yet another one of many chores he had on his list. "What time is it?" he asked.

He looked towards the person who had woken him up. It was the ship's certified navigator, Isabell Bekker. She had a wide smile plastered on her face, map clutched in hand.

"You've been asleep for about... 4-5 hours. If I had to guesstimate, it's around 9 pm. But that's the last thing we gotta worry about. Get up quickly!"

Cothoza, still dazed, practically ignored her. "Why aren't we moving..?" He asked.

"If you'd get your lazy ass up, you would know! Come on!" she growled. She hit him on the head with the rolled-up map. "Isabel quit it! I'll be up in a minute," he complained, swatting her hand away.

"Hmph. You better." She said. She turned around and climbed up the rickety steps that led to the deck. Cothoza sighed and rubbed his back like the old man he was. Out of his 45 years on his earth, he had never been on his boat for this long. He had lost track at around 87 days. The most he remembered staying on his boat was 30 after a trip out to the ocean to follow some fish migrations.

Captain was a title he felt was too prestigious for his kind. He was the only captain because this was his boat. He was a professional fisherman, who caught fish for his store back in Casabane with the help of his partners in crime, Isabel, and Malusi Dlamini. They were his employees but also his friends. Isabel, the short Afrikaner with a keen interest in Cartography and Geography, and Malusi, a young scrappy chap who was always ready to handle any job thrown his way. The business was fine, especially when the more influential folk ordered some fish. But once the Kuyanian government came to him, offering 500,000 Rand to find a country that nobody knew anything about beyond some random magazine... well it sounded like a good deal at the time. It was fun at first, but after your 5th day of eating bean and fish sandwiches, it'd be tiresome for anyone.

He slowly but surely got up and made his way to the deck. Upon climbing out, he was shocked to see that they had actually been floating in front of some island. Along its coastline, there were abandoned shacks and houses. Besides him, Isabel, Malusi (who had been filling the boat with more gasoline), and the people downstairs, all of his crew members were scattered across the small island doing God knows what. He looked around in curiosity. In the distance, he could see another island, maybe 20 kilometers away.

"Where are we?" Cothoza asked, shivering from the ocean breeze. "That's what I'm still trying to figure out," Isabel said, staring at a heap of various old maps dating back to the '40s. She had marked pieces of tape indicating their route from Africa. "We're definitely at some sort of archipelago... I'm damn near convinced we're somewhere in the Lower Antilles," she said. She looked up at him. "Well are you gonna stand there like a dummy or go find some souvenirs?" she asked.

"I'll stay where I'm at right now..." Cothoza said. He guessed they were looting the abandoned buildings to find whatever they could. Tools, weapons, different foods maybe. They'd only found certain islands on their way to the Americas, but not much useful stuff. These old shipping route maps weren't made with tiny shipping boats in mind. To Isabel's credit, she did a good job trying to combine them in a way that made sense. And he certainly rather be on an island with a hint of civilization rather than in the middle of the sea.

"Boat's filled and ready to go, Cap'n," Malusi said. He capped the jug canister down with a smile. "I'm gonna go find Nandi. Maybe help her get some food or material." He said.

"That's fine Malusi," Cothoza replied. "Don't be too long, now."

But Malusi had already jumped out the boat, wading through the shallow waters to shore. Cothoza watched as the young adult winced in slight pain as he stepped on some unforeseen rocky sand. Cothoza couldn't help but smile at Malusi's tomfoolery. He remembered his days as a young man, before the invasion. He too had similar energy and a beautiful girlfriend that'd soon become his wife. Sure, socially his life was harder back then considering Apartheid, but he'd kill to relive just a few days of young. Speaking of his wife, he peeked back down to the sleeping quarters to see where she was. She was sleeping soundly, but he could tell the trip has been hard on her. It had been hard on all of them. Yet just being together made it that much more tolerable.

All of a sudden, Isabel's squee of happiness interrupted Cothoza's thoughts. He quickly looked back up in shock. "Cothoza! We're definitely in the Antilles. After cross-referencing these ship routes, coupled with our own routes and this Atlas, I think we're most likely in..... Saint Kitts and Nevis." She said. "But I'll double-check, just to be sure." Cothoza looked at her in confusion. "So what does this mean for us?" he asked. She looked up in slight confusion but lightened up once she realized he wasn't looking at the map. "This means we're super close... to the tip of South America... but..."

She slowly stopped talking and focused on the map again. "What's going on?" he asked her. He came over to take a look at the maps she had scattered all over the deck table. "It's just... I think I was off a little bit on our trajectory. I thought we'd be near Grenada..." she sighed. After analyzing the map, he sort of understood. "I mean, hey, we only have to head to the South a bit. A little to the east. We're almost there." he reassured her. She was proud of her skills, and this was certainly no easy task. "What matters is that we adapt to the situation, right?"

"Right," she said. "You're right."

"WE GOT FOOD! FOOOOD!" A voice yelled. Isabell and Cothoza looked up to see the rest of their crew running back, including Malusi and his girlfriend, Nandi. Both were splashing through the water with old bags, seemingly unphased by the rocky sand. They laughed as they climbed the ladder into the boat, tossing the bags of old canned foods onto the deck, followed by their own bodies. Immediately they began kissing on the boat, much to Cothoza and Isabel's dismay. "Do you have to do that every time you're near each other?" Isabel complained. As the rest of the crew reached the boat, they each threw their own loads on the boat, making sure they don't hit the happy couple on the ground.

"What have we got here?" Cothoza said, staring at the newly acquired items. Altogether they had found some canned foods, various fruits, a crossbow (with 6 bolts), and some other various items that were pretty much useless. As the rest of the crew got situated, Cothoza did a headcount as Isabel, Malusi, and Nandi organized their items.

As they finished their last bit of work, Isabel continued talking. "I'm thinking we should head easily first for a bit... and then continue our trip south. We should be just outside of Puerto Rico from then on. At that moment we'll head south." Cothoza started the engine and manned the steering wheel. "Head east, then turn South on your signal. Sounds good," he said.

Nandi and Malusi raised the anchor together, and the rest of the crew buckled down, some heading into the sleeping quarters of the boat. "Imperial zulia or bust!" Nandi cheered with her classic bombastic energy.

"Imperial zulia or bust!" Malusi said.

Everyone repeated the phrase coupled with some laughing as Cozotha steered the boat away from the island, started his "travel timer" as he called it, and embarked on their journey east. During the ride, everyone did their own individual activities. Some slept, some read, some talked. But all Cozotha could talk about was the island they had just left. What actually happened on Saint Kitts and Nevis? From what he could see, he didn't see many hints of damage from those fighting machines that the Aliens used. And he really saw what they could do. There was no cylinder indication that a cylinder had touched down as well. It was like the people just up and deserted the island. Surely if someone on his crew had seen something, they would've mentioned it by now. But it was still a curious case to him.

But that got Cozotha thinking about the other island nations in the Lower Antilles. Were the other islands abandoned? Were the other island populated? If not, what happened to them? If so, how did they continue to function without their mother nations? Did they have uprisings of their own like back in Kuyani? There are only so many resources on an island.

All these thoughts were jamming Cozotha's mind. So much so that he didn't even realize how much time had truly passed. There was a sudden commotion on his boat. But the sounds of the voices began to fill his ears, and he came back to his senses. Everyone, including his wife, Sizwe, was now on the deck of the boat looking out in one direction. To the north in fact.

Sizwe tapped her husband's shoulders in confusion. "Baby. Do you see that too?" she asked him. Her voice was calm and tired. She was just as lost as he was. "See... what?" he asked. He attempted to peer over the crowd's shoulders. "They see lights over there. Like... a small city of some sort." Immediately, Cozotha's eyes widened. He lowered the boat's throttle and stepped back from the boat's steering wheel to join the group. Isabel was furiously studying her map and her surroundings as the curiosity of the boat's crew increased. "Well, what is it, Isabel? Do you know?" Nadi asked.

"I'm trying... to figure out," Isabel said. She stuck another piece of tape on their navigation map and tried to align it with her Atlas. "Cozotha. We've been for sure heading East right? No other direction?" she asked. Cozantha took a look at the boat's compass. "We've been going perfectly East since we left Saint Kitts and Nevis," he assured.

He also checked the timer. 5 hours?? he thought to himself in pure shock. In his mind, it felt like a time warp. But no, he could really see the sun beginning to rise. Maybe it hadn't actually been 9 when they arrived at Saint Kitts and Nevis... regardless that didn't matter now. What mattered was what Isabel was about to say next, which finally, after much anticipation, she firmly stated:

"That's Puerto Rico. And there's civilization!"

Immediately the boat erupted into cheers. Sizwe hugged her husband in sleepy delight. Cozotha was astounded. They actually found people? But they weren't close to South America yet! Regardless, Isabel pressured him to get closer. "We need to see who's there!" she cried enthusiastically. "They could probably help us find Zulia!" "Or they'll kill us." Another, less enthusiastic crew member stated.

"Well look, we have weapons if they try anything. But what are the chances they will hurt us? We're probably their first contact with the outside world in a decade! And if not theirs, then certainly OUR first contact with the outside world in a decade! I don't care who's on that island, we need to get there!" Isabel declared, somewhat directed at Cozotha.

The rest of the boat began to side with her. "Plus, it wouldn't hurt to be off this boat and on some populated lands again." Sizwe chimed in. "I don't know about you, but I'll risk my life just for a chance to get off this hunk of metal."

"Cozotha. Take us to that island!" Isabel demanded, causing Cozotha to question once again if he was truly the captain to his own boat. Nonetheless, he decided it was worth it too. "Alright." He said with a smile. "We're going to Puerto Rico. But everyone, make sure you have your guns ready."

The crew nodded and took their positions. Cozotha engaged the throttle once more and made their way North to mysterious Puerto Rico, unsure as to what awaited them. Regardless, he remained both fearless yet cautious, prepared for the best or the worse.

Catalina Pastos | New People?
Nuevo San Juan, Unorganized Territory of Puerto Rico, Zulia

I wanted to wash my bunny doll, she was dirty and smelly maybe because I hadn't washed her in a couple of days. I put her in remojo, and hung her like my other clothes, alongside my family's. I then sat on the bench and took a nap. I was sleppy, and hopefully when I came back, mommy came back from getting food too. I don't know where daddy went, but mommy tells me he went to get more dolls for me. Why hasn't he come back? He probably will, but I don't know yet. I sluggishly closed my eyes, and started sleeping.

My sleep was interrupted by something. I got up, and as my view adjusted, I noticed something! A boat! With people! New people?! They looked a bit like Martín and his family, actually. But I doubt that was Martín or his family. The people had scary tools, scary tools that my mom had. She was part of something called a "military", I didn't know what that was, but apparently it stopped bad people and someone ordered mommy to be here. I guess it was to stop bad people.

Regardless, I was scared. Those people, in that boat, had landed on the coast, and I didn't know if they were good or not. What if they wanted to send me to where my dad was, getting dolls for me? These people looked scary, and I hid behind a tree. It was a thin tree, but they probably didn't see me. My eyes were starting to get a bit watery... where was mommy?

The Gran Imperio Colombiano of Vaitoria

Imperial zulia wrote:My eyes had not changed a single bit, they were still locked at Valerio's. He was right, I was not a fan of this cursed technology. The overall ambience was a silent one, his voice occupying all the space. His voice was fit for a King, a very dominant one. I wasn't into people like him, but it was slightly admirable. He was lucky to not face what I faced, and as such took the cursed technology for himself without hesitation. If it wasn't for my own prejudice, I would make full use of that technology, too. But alas, what happened ended up happening. I was confused as to why he assumed that "something happened to me" - did he know? And so, I raised my eyebrow, ready to question him.

As I raised my eyebrow, and he stopped talking, what was left of actual sound left the room, replaced with the most utter silence that penetrated around everything. The silence was so predominant it was deafening, despite being, well... silence.

"Your Majesty, what brings you to say that?"

Silence permeated through again before he motioned his hand and the soldiers retreated. The bright designs of the rifles, representing Colombia taking advantage of this technology. Due to my morals, I would rather stay away from it. After that, a Priestess gave the King some documents. What they were, I didn't know. But it just made me more nervous and doubtful in an already tense environment.

I was ready to be blunt with him. "I... really don't seek anything, apart from possible economic deals between our nations. Zulia has a lot of resources that could interest Colombia, and vice-versa. Otherwise, the globe grows more tense, and I would prefer it if we could work together to preserve the security of all of our peoples."

Vaitoria, The Heart of the Empire—Meeting with the Eastern Stranger

Valerio raised an eyebrow, unsure what to make of this lovely mutant he looked at. Here she was, asking for nothing more than to bring about better connection between them. Colombia sat upon impossible Martian wealth, and Zulia had to be painfully aware of that too given the strides being taken daily in Colombia to advance technology. What a strange woman. To connect the economies could have benefits, with Colombia in isolation having grown wealthy among the elite at least. Much of the country was still ruins and at the mercy of government programs which provided them with everything. What cities were they beyond the reaches of the houses? None. Ruins which were being occupied by those who had returned to it after the war. Towns which were being built on old ones. Villages being made where war hadn't quite decimated. Perhaps helping to stimulate the economy with some foreign trade could indeed help his people move forward and return private industries to some level of existence.

"You're a rather peculiar woman to me Elena. You sit in the room of the mightiest nation in the world. Or at least the world that you and I know of. We have nowhere else to turn. There are no other voices to be heard. I haven't gone looking for any nations, but none have come looking for me either. I assume it's the same for you. Regardless, it's between us that you wish to rebuild the world? Our economies against the rubble of Earth." Valerio chuckled and nodded. "I find that romantic enough for my tastes. Colombia bathes in untold Martian wealth, but that wealth is little good to most my people. My nation is still recovering, even now, from the War between Earth and Mars. Perhaps some economic movement between us would help incentivize things and restore some much needed industry. However, there are restriction that would need to be in place. Such as the ban on the export of Martian technology to Zulia, as per the demands of the church and the Azarola family. Though I imagine there are a number of details we need to establish."

Valerio gestured for her to speak. "Make your thoughts known, Elena. Tell me more what you want, and we can organize more. I can let some imperial officials draft the cold details, as I doubt either of us are educated enough to break down the numbers to the smallest level. Leave it to the bureaucrats."

The king rolled a pomegranate across the table to her. "If you've nothing more for the moment, enjoy the hospitality of my home. Walk our halls, see what beauty I've captured here and saved, have whatever luxury you wish for away from home. Guards will accompany you of course."

The Oligarchical Federation of Kuyani

Revolution City, Kuyani

Kosan awoke groggily to the sound of faint voices. Though quiet, their volume grew louder as Kosan came to his senses. He sat up in his bed and looked around. It was extremely quiet within the hotel suite. He couldn't hear Ade or Unathi conversating or smell any food cooking. Wherever they went, it must've been outside.

Kosan muttered to himself in Zulu. God, what he'd kill for some food. He got up and decided to investigate the commotion through a window. He slowly walked over and opened the blinds. Once he did, he immediately regretted it, as the bright sun damn near singed his tired eyes. He groaned at the brightness but forced himself to look outside anyways. As his eyes adjusted to the sun, he was shocked to see a crowd of people celebrating in the streets. Some were flying a certain flag that Kosan didn't quite recognize, yet the symbol on the flag, he did. It was the Swaziland emblem; the black and white shield. Seeing that symbol was all too telling. Kuyani and Swaziland have united.

Kosan quickly got dressed in his suit. It was decorated with blue and black patterns, resembling a traditional South African pattern. The bright and beautiful clothing was something the High Kathathu were known for. As he adjusted his hat, a thought dawned upon him. Today, he was to travel to the west with his partners, and the military, to continue their expansion.

Last he checked, Swaziland and even the Capital of what was once Mozambique, Maputo, had agreed to be annexed into Kuyani, something that the High Kathathu personally oversaw. But Kosan did not realize that they were this eager.

Swaziland was given a special status. It was to become a territory of Kuyani, so long as the Kuyanian government did not intervene with the culture of Swaziland and their identity. Swaziland would receive representation in the Parliament as well. Maputo and the surrounding area, however, were to become integrated within the nation, with English being required to learn in schools in order to offset the Portuguese influence. However, Portuguese would still be allowed to be spoken and taught in the city.

When Kosan walked into the hotel lobby, he saw his companions conversating with General Kwanele Dube, the same man who had devised and executed the take over of Revolution City, Pretoria (recently renamed to Badjera), and Roshara. The other members of the High Kathathu wore decorated clothing as well. Unathi wore a Cream colored Dashiki dress, with red, gold, and orange patterns. Ade wore a dark green suit, similar to Kosan's suit.

When Kosan's eyes met Dube's, Dube immediately saluted.

"Almighty Kosan. It's a pleasure to see you again." He said. "I take it you've enjoyed Revolution City."

Kosan smiled at his loyalty and level of respect. "It's beautiful, even more so with all the smiling black faces." Kosan looked outside at the cheering people outside. "I hope to see this place become the cultural capital of our nation. The Shining Beacon of Africa, comparable to cities like London, or New York City. At least what used to be those cities..."

Unathi suddenly stepped in, speaking in Zulu. "I'm hungry. Can we eat before we depart?"

Kosan sighed. She had a point though; he was quite hungry.

Dube answered. "We've actually been scheduled to leave in 5 minutes. Those gatherers are outside because the military transport vehicles are just outside. However, we've prepared some Putu pap and beskuit that's currently waiting in the truck. We've got no time to waste."

"Putu pap? I love putu pap!" Unathi said gleefully. She quickly turned back to Ade, who had been writing various plans and thoughts in his personal journal. "Ade. Let us move!"

Ade stood up, sighing. "She just never stops moving." He muttered. Next, she aimed her sights on General Dube and Kosan. "You two better be outside soon. If you make us wait too long, I'll slap your facial hair off!" She lifted her dress an inch off the ground and darted outside. Ade quickly followed suit, afraid of potentially getting his facial hair slapped off.

"She wouldn't actually hit me, would she?" Dube asked Kosan. All Kosan could do was shrug. "When Unathi says she'll do something, she'll do it. Best not to keep her waiting."

"She's a fiery spirit, that one. In the many years, I've been alive, I've not heard of such a national leader." General Dube said while lighting a cigarette. "Still. I'm not in the mood to be hit by a woman. I suggest you quickly grab your bags. I'll be waiting."

Kosan nodded and quickly made his way back to the hotel steps.

About 20 minutes later, Kosan and Dube made their way outside. Surprisingly, the crowd was still there. They erupted in applause at the sight of Kosan and Dube. They simply waved, as they passed through the crowd, soldiers by their sides to ensure that no rowdy citizen could lay a finger on either of them. Upon approaching their ride, Unathi caught sight of them from the troop transport truck, which was to be their mode of transportation. She waved her hands as if they couldn't see her already. Kosan smiled in slight embarrassment. He grew up an only child, but this is what he imagined a little sister might be like. As they climbed aboard, the covered troop transport vehicle, Unathi, of course, was quick to comment. "I was worried you died in there! What took you so long?" She asked.

"Well, you didn't wake me up at the same time as you two," Kosan grumbled, dusting his suit. Unathi frowned at him. "I told you last night that I wasn't going to wake anyone who was late. That's your responsibility. To be punctual."

"Unathi, you know well that the only alarm clock was in yours and Ade's room." Kosan retorted.

Ade interrupted before this got out of hand. "What matters is that you're here now, and still relatively on time. We're about, maybe five to ten minutes late, so nothing serious. I'm assuming you're all ready to go." Kosan sat down on the bench, which apparently, some troops had installed seatbelts and cushions on in order to make this ride more comfortable for the High Kathathu. "Of course. Dube and his men are putting my baggage in storage as we speak." Kosan replied.

Dube soon climbed aboard, along with five armed men and women. Equipped with his trusty revolver, there was no doubt that the leaders were safe and sound. The "cage" of the truck had a fabric roof in order to block the intense sunlight. The soldiers quickly untied the fabric on the sides of the truck, so that they would drape down to the sides. This completely made the interior of the compartment not visible from the outside. The cover was well layered, making it so thick, that most bullets would have trouble completely penetrating it. Dube quickly radioed the driver of the truck, as well as the rest of the convoy, that it was time to begin the drive. And with that, the High Kathathu was on the move.

The convoy was to make it's way to Polokwane, the capital and largest city of what used to be the province of Limpopo. Going from the Highveld to the Lowveld, the scenery was quite interesting. They took the N1 highway, and along the highway, the landscape was relatively flat with mountains in the distance. The High Kathathu had lifted the cover just a little bit just to get a glimpse of the beautiful African wildlife in the area. There were wild springboks and wildebeests wandering the area. Ade, in particular, was quite interested in the natural surroundings, which he continued to document in his journal. He was considering what could be done in order to ensure the protection of wildlife in the area, as well as the natural landscape. Unathi was quietly observing the animals as they convoy passed by them. She had a soft spot for animals. She grew up with various dogs and cats as a child, so not having one in her position bugged her. She worried about being too busy to take care of a dog, but she decided that a dog was worth the potential stress.

Kosan, also deep in his thoughts, wasn't too focused on the animals or the scenery. He was thinking about the people. As the convoy drove along the highway, they passed various small villages, in which the people lived in huts. They looked on in curiosity as the long and heavily armed convoy of military trucks passed by, unsure as to what their purpose was. Though the Kuyanian flags gave them a good indication. Some people shouted and cheered at the trucks, while others just stared blankly. Kosan wondered if they liked it out here. He'd never lived in these rural areas; he was too used to the urban lifestyle in Casabane. He wondered if they had access to their essentials out here. Particularly healthcare. Perhaps he should visit some of these places one day to find out what it's truly like.

"Do we have any more putu pap?" Unathi said, breaking the silence. Everyone looked up as they came back to reality. "I think there's some more in that canister by the bag, madam Unathi." A soldier responded, pointing towards a soup canister, sealed and on the ground. Unathi grinned. "Thank you, kind sir."

She grabbed the canister, as well as her spoon from her last bowl. While eating, she decided to converse. "So. When do you think those sailors are gonna come back?" She asked her companions. Ade and Kosan both perked up at the mention. They had actually been worried about the sailors. It had been some months now. Not that they could really reach out to them.

Ade was the first to respond. "I'm not sure. I knew it'd take a long time for them to reach the Americas. But even so..." his voice trailed a bit. Evidently, he became lost in thought once again. Kosan stepped in to finish his statement. "It's just the fact that we can't speak to them, not even by radio. Even if they did find this elusive Imperial zulia, or a civilization similar, we don't know how we'd contact them. All we can do is wait for their return."

Unathi hummed, a mouth full of putu pap. She swallowed and put her two sense in. "Yeah. But it's best to remain optimistic. Kuyanians are proud and strong people. They've surely found something."

Ade sighed upon coming out of his trance. "Yeah. I hope so." He looked back out towards the scenery. Unathi finished her meal and sealed the canister again. She washed it down with water and proudly sighed in satisfaction. She laid down on the bench on her side and closed her eyes.

The truck was back to being silent, the only noise coming from the engine's roar, passing vehicles, and the occasional radio chatter from Dube's walkie talkie.

It would remain this way for around another hour until the radio reported that they were entering Polokwane. At that moment, Dube decided to get everyone up. "We're approaching Polokwane. Prepare yourselves. The city is aware that we're arriving today."

The High Kathathu groggily got up. Ade, Kosan, and Unathi stretched as they awoke from their naps. They took swigs of water and fixed their hair and clothes.
Dube continued to speak. "I was told that the white apartheid leaders were captured already. They were inspired by the taking of Revolution City and Badjera."

"Well, that's good and swell," Unathi said, stretching. "But I have to pee. Can we just go straight to our hotel?" Dube paused in thought. "Uh... I'll see what I can do," he replied.

As he began negotiating over the radio, the High Kathathu gathered to speak. "You guys excited? Polokwane, huh?" Unathi said with a smile. "Yes, I am. I've visited before. Such a beautiful city," Ade replied. "There are places where you can walk and play with tamed lions."

"Oooohhh. We need one of those in Casabane. We should go as soon as we can!" Unathi said, all child-like. "We'll have to think about that. But right now, what matters is annexing Polokwane and the surrounding area. It's but another piece in our conquest." Kosan said.

"Conquest? That's a strong choice of words. If anything it's more like a tour of what's essentially already ours. We're just planting flags to solidify it." Unathi said with a frown. "And overtaking and executing the oppressors in the area..." Ade added on.

The soldiers uncovered the box in which they were riding in, allowing for a full 360-degree view of their surroundings. The city was pretty dry looking but well kept. It suddenly went from empty land to urban areas in a matter of minutes. Palm trees lined the roads, and evidently, they were in a rather upscale area given the modern buildings, car dealerships, and nice-looking apartments. But what was more surprising was the people who cheered on as the trucks came through. Most of them were black Africans, happy to see the High Kathathu arriving to officially annex the area. As they passed them, they cheered. As usual, they waved back at the excited crowd. Approaching downtown, there was even a large banner with the words "Welcome home, Kuyani!" that was visible from one of the buildings.

"Looks like they like us!" Ade said, continuing to wave to the people. "Of course they like us! We rule!" Unathi replied. Suddenly she stuck her head out of the cage. "HELLO POLOKWANE!" she shouted. People shouted and cheered in return, some even running alongside the now slow-moving trucks in an attempt to shake hands or high five the soldiers inside.

Kosan began to laugh and even stuck his hand out to high five runners. Many of them did it, some shook his hand. Most stopped as the trucks reached an intersection, but still, the sight made him happy. People lined the sidewalks, making pointing motions to the road and to the trucks. Kosan was so focused on the energy, that he didn't realize that they were actually pointing to a plume of smoke just down the road.

Suddenly Dube grabbed his shoulder. "Kosan. Can you not hear us? Look over there." He said. Kosan blinked and looked towards the direction the citizens were pointing at. There was evidently some sort of commotion up ahead. The trucks were slowly progressing towards it, but having trouble navigating through the thick wall of people in the road. Sure, they were making way for them, but it was still jam-packed. Kosan was surprised. "What's happening up there?" he asked.

"That's what we're trying to figure out," Unathi replied, also trying to stare ahead. The soldiers in the truck began shouting at people to make way, and to not touch the High Kathathu. "It's getting crazy out here. I can smell the smoke!" Ade cried.

The people were damn near restless. They cheered and flew Kuyanian flags that had somehow made their way up here before the nation did. There was a faint chanting coming from up ahead. They couldn't make out the words, however.

"General Dube. The people seem to be directing us. They won't let us turn left on this intersection. Over." someone called through Dube's radio. It had to be the truck upfront. That message grabbed the attention of everyone in the High Kathathu's truck. Dube took his radio and responded. "What do you mean they won't let you turn? Make them get out of the way! Over."

"But sir. I think we need to check this out. Who knows what could be happening up there. We should probably maintain the peace, over." the front driver responded. Dube paused for a second. He would've snapped at the soldier for speaking back without permission to speak freely or disobeying an order, but he knew the soldier had a point. He sighed and radioed back. "Alright. Proceed forward. Over."

"Great, so now I have to hold it even longer," Unathi complained. "I need to PEE!" Ade tried to calm her down. "Please do your best to hold it, woman. We'll be there soon." Unathi groaned in agitation.

The convoy was getting closer and closer towards the source of the fire. But even from their truck, it was hard to see what was going on. The commotion began to worry Kosan, who was beginning to think that the people may begin to act out and become destructive. But sure enough, it would turn out they already did.

The head driver radioed again. "Oh my God! This is brutal!" he cried. Dube grabbed his radio.

"Soldier. What's the matter? Over." he asked. Everyone now focused on the radio, anticipating a response. After a pause, a response came through.

"I think they executed the old apartheid leaders on their own accord." the radio said.

Everyone looked at each other confused, but Unathi had already stuck her body outside of the truck, while also avoiding the civilians trying to touch her dress. She gasped at what she saw up ahead. It was close enough to see now. She sat back down, her eyes wide open. Everyone looked at her.

"Guys. I peed a little." she simply said.

Immediately, Kosan, Dube, and Ade looked outside. To their surprise, the citizens had lynched and mutilated the two apartheid leaders, who had originally claimed their rule over Polokwane. Their bodies dangled from a street lamp, their necks at a 50- degree angle. Both men were missing their arms and legs; all that remained were bleeding exposed stumps of meat and bone. Their eyes had been gouged out as well. The source of the fire turned out to be a large pile of their prized possesions being set on fire, as well as posters, books, and South Africa Apartheid flags. Evidently, books, posters, signs, and banners being burned were all items that clearly promoted Apartheid. The High Kathathu could only stare at the remains of the old leaders. People began cheering as the trucks approached the stoplight. Even children laughed at their bodies. They were proud of their craft.

Upon closer inspection, people had carved the words "racist" in one man's chest, and "bastards" in the other. Their corpses had food stains, and bruises, indicating that they had food thrown at them, and they were beaten.

"Oh my God," Ade said in total shock. Kosan was speechless, as well as Dube.

Conflicting feelings swarmed the truck. On one hand, it's hard not to believe they didn't have it coming. They contributed to the system that oppressed the people for years. And proceed to rule over them and take advantage well after South Africa collapsed. But still. It was a brutal sight. It wasn't feelings of pity, more just awe that this was the outcome of their actions. It was damn near poetic. The people danced around the fire of burning stuff, flying the Kuyani flag. It was a celebration, not a riot. Their deaths, and Kuyani's arrival, meant new hope for them. A nation where the previously oppressed majority could now rule their homeland, with maybe a hint of Afrikaners (without ideas favoring Apartheid of course), in government as well.

Kosan couldn't help but smile though. His actions, combined with his companion's, sparked hope in these people. It's generally been that way, but still, the feeling was indescribable. He stuck himself outside of the truck, much to the occupant's surprise. He raised his fist in the air and yelled: "FOR KUYANI!"

The people turned to him and did the same. "FOR KUYANI!" people chanted, which was then followed by hollering. People danced, cried, and sang. The end of an era was near.

The Oligarchical Federation of Kuyani

Imperial zulia wrote:Catalina Pastos | New People?
Nuevo San Juan, Unorganized Territory of Puerto Rico, Zulia

I wanted to wash my bunny doll, she was dirty and smelly maybe because I hadn't washed her in a couple of days. I put her in remojo, and hung her like my other clothes, alongside my family's. I then sat on the bench and took a nap. I was sleepy, and hopefully, when I came back, mommy came back from getting food too. I don't know where daddy went, but mommy tells me he went to get more dolls for me. Why hasn't he come back? He probably will, but I don't know yet. I sluggishly closed my eyes and started sleeping.

My sleep was interrupted by something. I got up, and as my view adjusted, I noticed something! A boat! With people! New people?! They looked a bit like Martín and his family, actually. But I doubt that was Martín or his family. The people had scary tools, scary tools that my mom had. She was part of something called a "military", I didn't know what that was, but apparently it stopped bad people and someone ordered mommy to be here. I guess it was to stop bad people.

Regardless, I was scared. Those people, in that boat, had landed on the coast, and I didn't know if they were good or not. What if they wanted to send me to where my dad was, getting dolls for me? These people looked scary, and I hid behind a tree. It was a thin tree, but they probably didn't see me. My eyes were starting to get a bit watery... where was mommy?

As the boat slowly approached the island, the crew was surprised to see a group of people already entering the beach. They were armed. All of them. They were soldiers.

Captain Cozotha looked ahead, beginning to worry. The crew reciprocated his feelings, unsure as to who they were. The people on the island were clearly Latin-American. They yelled at each other in Spanish as the soldiers lined up on the beach.

Nandi quickly clung to her boyfriend, Malusi in fear. Isabel simply stared calmly. "What are we gonna do now, boss?" she asked Cozotha.

Cozotha sighed. "Well, we made it this far. Lets attempt to make peace."

The other sailors looked at him confused, his wife Sizwe, particularly concerned. "But they probably don't even understand us!" Malusi whispered harshly.

But the boat was already too close. Any sudden movements could possibly get them shot. Whoever was here, clearly, they were ready to kill if things escalated. Even with the crew's weapons, it's nothing compared to well organized, heavily armed soldiers.

Cozotha had a plan, however. He turned to Malusi, who was currently debating if he should steer the boat away. "Malusi. Approach slowly. Let the boat drift," he said. "Captain's orders." Malusi, reluctant as hell, decided to idle the throttle.

Cozotha then turned to Isabel. "Isabel. There's gotta be a plain white shirt or something in here. Replace the Kuyani flag with a white piece of clothing. It'll look like a white flag of surrender."

Isabel looked at him suspiciously. "What if we get captured?" she asked.

Cozotha quickly retorted. "Would you rather be dead? Besides. We're clearly not from here. I doubt they've had any contact with Africa. They're not going to kill us if they want answers. But never the less, this is their land. So we must comply."

Isabel was about to say something but choked on uncertainty. She sighed and did as she was told. She found a white beach towel, which she attempted to poke holes into in order to string it up on the flag pole.

Cozotha turned to his crew. I want the rest of you to put your hands up. And do not make any sudden movements until we've shown we're trustworthy. I'll do the same."

People stared at him. "Do it!" he commanded once again. Finally, people put their hands up.

After Isabel hoisted the white towel flag, she put her hands up as well. The boat floated until it touched the sand, eventually coming to a stop. The Puerto Rican soldiers slowly advanced in order to inspect the new visitors, whispering to each other in Spanish as they did.

They eventually stopped in front of the boat, some lowering their guns upon seeing that the crew was ready to surrender to the soldiers.

Cozotha gulped and asked the faithful words. "Does anyone speak English?"

The Gran Imperio Colombiano of Vaitoria

Amazonian Reclamation Campaign—Colonizing the North

The heat beat down on them, further intensified by the plumes of green vapor which leaked from the joints of the various walking machines which moved in the convoy. Some were squat machines, rebuilt digging machines and other excavator designs, or rebuilt handling machines and other wild designs to be born from the union of Church and Azarola. Long worms with legs carried colonists within them, lined with ports to look from. Towering over them all as they moved forward down the slowly being established road were Fighting Machines. Tall metal titans which walked over the rest and trumpeted every now again with that triumphant cry, that call of victory for their prosperity eternal. This was an organized movement, a push north from what had been conquered. The river was theirs; or at least the north bank of it. Xavier had managed to conquer the facility in Brazil, bringing the most valuable claim in the history of the empire thus far into the domains of Valerio Restrepo. A second relic from Mars to be polluted by human hands, as Valerio would likely regard it fancifully. Conquest after conquest. And so he had told Xavier to move north. Take more. Complete the breach.

Xavier sat within one of the scuttling machines, his command room shifting and moving, but all the furniture inside was tacked down. He would've preferred a Fighting Machine to this, or better yet to not move at all and stay at the facility to coordinate from afar. But Valerio commanded, and what the king wanted, he would receive. Maps and charts and all manner of papers were scattered about the room in books and vast tapestries which contained endless amounts of information on what had to be done here. Xavier had rounded up excess populations from the regions he had conquered, asking for colonists and volunteers for adventure to come together and help build a new series of settlements. It had been mildly successful so far, between colonists entering settlement phases while the rest of the convoy moved onwards. Now Xavier was to deposit a new settlement, yet again. But it was such an exhausting process. One which he grew tired of from all the moving and sitting and lack of adventure.

He looked out a porthole in the great machine he was carried in, seeing the scarlet landscape outside pass by. So many bizarre creatures have been born of this infection, each of their own beauty and passive toward his own kind, but also filled with endless danger. It seemed seemingly impossible that not so long ago, he had been wandering around on a horse with primitive tools and caravans making way through the jungle to reclaim Colombia. And now? Now he was off in foreign lands, far from Old Colombia. He was no longer a reclaimer, he was a conqueror and a colonizer. No other noble, even if he was a minor house now, could boast about the achievements he had made with all this time on his hands. Further east than any other. More territories than any other lord or lady has claimed. But he felt so confined and bored here. Staring at the land rolling by with that sickeningly roll.

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in." Xavier announced.

The door slid open and a priestess came in. One further examination it was clearly Adriana, though she came in alone rather than with a contingent of priestesses. A personal discussion? What a rare thing to get out of her, he could only wonder what she wanted. But once they looked at each other, Xavier motioned toward the seat which was opposite of his desk. She took it.

"Adriana, here to discuss matters of the church? By all means, have a seat. I feel as though I'm dying inside this walking coffin, so distract me from my troubles."

Adriana blinked, rather confused by the jolting reaction of her lord. But she placed her hands respectfully in her lap and smiled. "No, my lord, I'm actually here to discuss some of the details of colonization and conquest. The church has as much interest as the state in these matters after all."

He grunted. "So to report back to the church is it?"

"Naturally. But it would be the same as you, wouldn't it? For the empire we both serve."

"For the empire." He sighed, looking out the window. "So what do you want exactly? The plans are fairly straightforward. I've planted several colonies already across these lands, and we have several more to go. We're still doing well on all the shelter materials aren't we?"

"Yes, my lord."

"Then is there any reason for concern?"

"No, my lord. But this isn't some urgent matter." She chuckled to herself. "I just wanted to give you the latest updates on the colony progress across our southern reaches. As well as reports on our time estimations. It's all good news, so try to relax, my lord."

Xavier grunted and leaned back. "Go on, give me the news from the front my good Priestess."

Adriana cleared her throat and reached into her robes, pulling out a small folder and opening it. Reports were there, and casually she summarized each as she went. "The first settlement has been established with the materials we gave them. The clearing technique the church has devised for allowing the colonization of the blessed regions is working according to plan. The clearing has been eighty percent successful, and any growth within the confines of the colony has been relatively low, with no hostile incidents reported. The colonies are still rather small. Ten-thousand for our colonial hubs and then five-thousand for our minor colonies in each provincial region. But, on top of it all, they are all reporting a good condition and strong sense of colonial fervor. Our progress right now is roughly seventy-five percent, and we are currently working on establishing the last colonies for anywhere of thirty-thousand to lower twenty-five thousand."

"And the road?"

"The digging machines have been working quite well in clearing the path ahead, and on that note we've also had reports of proven efficiency for most of our newer machines across the region!" She said happily.

Xavier grunted and motioned for her to hand over the files. She did so, and he began to flip through the reports and checking on the more detailed numbers. Reading further and further he would grunt, sigh or make some measure of a sound of approval. It wasn't a bad report at all. He closed the folder and set it aside, looking out he porthole again and frowning.

"So it all comes full circle."

"So it does, my lord." Adriana said, taking the folders back into her robes. "You still seem concerned my lord. Or perhaps should I say bored?"

"Bored? Most certainly."

There was quiet between them for a time, watching the world outside roll by. Xavier continued to wonder just how they got here. How so much had changed. Where were the days of automobiles and celebration about a world war ending? What happened to the simple way of life? What happened to man against the Martians and all knowing the Fighting Machine as the symbol of evil. Now there was no such sense. Just the mindlessness of it all.

"Adriana, do you remember riding horses? The way things used to be in the rural life around us?"

"I think a lot of people our age do, but we are also very young when the demons came."

Xavier grunted. "They're not devils, they're Martians. But I can't speak for them being corrupted by a devil or not."

There was quiet again. He shouldn't have remarked on faith. Not only because it likely struck a personal note with her, but there was no telling what would end up back in the hands of the church when they spoke. He'd been trapped in this walking coffin for too long. Colonization and conquering, great honors until you have the freedom of a bird in a age while marching onwards. He hadn't even been to one of these settlements he read about. He hadn't left the convoy. Just trapped.

"I'm sorry Adriana. I didn't mean to imply—"

"You worry too much, my lord." Adriana calmly replied, raising her hand and stopping him in his tracks. "I understand you've been in this one machine for quite some time. More than any man should be. It's a hard duty to perform, especially given that this convoy has only stopped for short periods of time and you have to remain here working." She looked toward the window. "The world is scarlet out there, and hot as a Heat-Ray. I can understand your frustrations."

Adriana stood up and stretched, the priestess extending her hand toward Xavier. He looked at her, dumbfounded. Usually she wasn't nearly this passive or kind, far more a dutiful woman. Still, he followed her motions and stood. His bones cracked and his body stretched after hours of inaction. Adriana guided him toward the door, leading him out of it and through other sections of the walking slug they were within. Through the door and over a catwalk that held them slightly over the lower section where a row of operators on either side kept the machine moving. Still, they walked and walked, through two more doors now, until finally reaching a door which led to an outside balcony. He'd been here before, but it dulled him now. He wanted to adventure and explore. But watching Adriana, she suddenly did something he did not expect. There was an emergency ladder which was for engineers to take for maintaining the surface plating of the machine. The priestess took hold of the ladder, and gradually she climbed.

"Adriana, that's an engineer ladder."

"Yes, my lord." She said, pausing to look down at him before moving once more upwards. "However I think that you could use some change of pace right now for your mental health. I'm a priestess of the Scarlet Catholic Church, and when the empire assigned me to you, the job was to serve as your second in command and as the speaker of the church. As both, I am asking you to climb with me here and see the world.We'll be sending another detachment out soon, and I think you'd rather like the process of how it works."

Xavier sighed and grabbed the ladder. What an absurd notion, climbing up this thing to stand atop the platforms which laced the back of this slug. But up he went, certainly a change of pace compared to before, and anxiously he gripped the wire guiding lines which crossed over the back of the beast. The motion outside was rather difficult to handle compared to being within the slug. It rocked constantly with the moving of many legs under the iron skirt it had, and when the operators turned it, the motion of it all was rather exaggerated with the shifting of plates and complex functions. Still, Adriana urged him on wards. And on wards he went, moving further and further across the back of this beast until reaching a near motionless circular platform at the center of its back. It must've been some platform for the engineers to get their bearings before being sent out again onto this vibrating mass of moving metal. But from it the priestess who guided him encouraged him to look onwards, toward the eastern detachment of their convoy. He looked down at his watch. The settlement group was splitting off now, just like the clockwork of his designs.

Many machines, digging, handling, carrying and more, broke away from the main cluster. As theys split from the convoy, a Fighting Machine broke off with them, sounding the trumpet of that deathly howl. To match it, those Fighting Machines which escorted the rest of the shrinking convoy replied in kind with their own trumpet. The air was alive with the sirens of metal warlords. Engineers who were on the outside of their machines as they broke off waved and cheered. It was the parting of a group, and even if they hadn't truly known each other aside from distance faces on machines marching all the same, they were all still Colombian now. The machines head headed the pack, digging machines which were squat to the ground and excavating as they crawled, cracked tree and plowed road as they moved. There were sounds of lour splintering and crushing, as well as continued plumes of green vapor as the colonization group disappeared into the distance. They would establish the settlement with some people, and more would come in time. Eventually that would meet the needed quota for colonization.

"I come here sometimes in order to watch the machines." Adriana mentioned. "These colonization platforms are very efficient in carrying supplies and people, though the process of getting the many thousands here is much longer than the few hundred setting up the uniform bases."

"To see the machines?"

"Yes, my lord."

He grunted. "I take it that's from your worship of Prometeo as your angel? What about your family angel or personal angel? Or does most of your attention go to Prometeo?"

She smiled. "To Prometeo. And it's hard not to give him the most honors. He is an angel who can always hear my prayers and speak back to me his wisdom. He is an angel who is working for us every sunless night and blistering day. He never tires, he never rests, he always is there creating and serving our people in the name of god and in the name of the Prophetess Silvia. And how could you deny him anyways? Look at all these marvels we have now. In such short time, with the resources we have fed to him, he has created from his factories inside of Rhecadia all of this. New designs, new machines, new devices which benefit our nation and give us the power we need."

"And the Azarola family? Prometeo had created more of an industry for war, but the Azarola family has worked more for civilians."

"To a degree." She conceded. "But while our honored nobles do work hard to make toys for the people, Prometeo is working as hard to create greater devices to benefit them. Even now his towers are being erected across the empire in order to better service the people and maintain the machines which he has created."

That was right, he had heard a report about that. The Machine Angel was creating all sorts of tower structures across the empire which the Church claimed to be a sort of network of mecha-temples. They would bless machines and repair them too, just as they would all the same for people. None of them were quite completed yet, but they were almost there. So many of them laid down so quickly. It wasn't his place to question it, but sometimes he wondered what game the Machine Angel was playing at. He loved all the angels and he loved Silvia, but something seemed far more personal about that machine. As human as a Martian device could become. But Adriana trusted him, almost blindly, and even now speaking of Prometeo seemed to cause he to light up with such joy and excitement. She adored him. And how could she not? This was the will of the church, and as all things with their priestesses, the will of the church eventually became the will of their own souls.

In the distance the sun was beginning to set. The blistering light had been receding for some time, with the rays leaving the jungle. Looking behind them, the distance seemed already touched by night, with the scarlet feelers gently beginning to glow that familiar purple. He sat calmly and watched this change all around him. The light continued to slip away, further and further, and all around them the world began to glow purple. It was dim, but even now in the darkness he could see the infestation moving and flexing, the Red Weed stretching upwards and around with great vines that sought food. It was a miracle that their advance hadn't been hampered by the weed as they broke down the forest and carved their roads into it. But even now, looking behind them, he could swear he could see it moving. The jungle, alive with those glowing fronds, stretching out and already covering the destruction that they had left behind. How quickly this organism moved, how impossible it was to dominate or control. He was thankful that Colombians were blessed with the power to walk among the weed free of fear. Mostly.

An engineer came to the ladder and called for them to return. Adriana was the first to stand. Xavier however took just a few more moments to breath and take in the world around him. The colonization was going to be over soon. Three months of hell, but it would be worth it. It had been so far. In the end, he would have the chance to return to his domain as lord and comfortably relax all he wanted. The priestess extended her hand to him, and he took it. Duty calls, and the empire ever marches onwards.

Heavenly imperialis

Gather the True Believers

The Federation has heard the tales of the Demons returning to the mainland and representatives from all over gathered in the Prophet’s Meeting Hall at the edge of New Helsinki. Meetings from the most important parts of the Federation gather here to mingle and support one another as well as seek the guidance of the Lord Prophet. Fifty delegates have gathered to represent their interest groups and factions. This gathering of all fifty was a first, as the Prophet himself called for his War Council and the representatives to prepare the masses for the coming conflicts. The Silent Legion stood at the base of the marble podium in the center of the amphitheater where the Prophet stood as the Hall went silent.
“Children of the Old World, My sons and daughters who know me as the fate for humanity. I have gathered you all for the single purpose that our holy communion was designed. War. War against the Demons who took our holy Gaia and attempted to corrupt her. The Red abominations that come without cause or reason, seeking only the death of humanity. We fought tooth and nail against them and it nearly destroyed us, leaving us to feed off of the scraps of our forefathers. These monsters were repelled for but a time and they are coming to finish the job. But we are not some weak willed race. We are the Humans who tamed the wilds, wrestled the waves, and steeled ourselves to fly. We would have gone to the stars and beyond, but the demons were jealous and are here to take all our kind have ever made. To that I say this, if we were so weak that being beat down obliterated us totally we would not have reached this stage of evolution. Bit by bit we gather, spitefully eying the Icelandic Cylinder. We will reach the next stage of evolution as a whole, and no price is too high. From now on the criminals that see us as a challenge to their barbaric ways will feel our might. We shall use what we take from them to grow more. Each body works and each engine churning as a cog in my machine. Just because we have reached a wall and face new challenges does not mean that we will not make use of them. We are Humankind, adaptativity at its peak. Even the irradiated beasts that would be the stuff of nightmares will join my machine, be it a new cog or the coal burning in the stomachs of the Workbands. Go, dear children of the Federation! The future is ours, for we will reclaim this world and bring the full ferocity of mankind, the earth, and their own technology upon these Reds! The Devils will not withstand our onslaught once we have truly formed ourselves together. Tell this to the people you represent, the Federation is in need of true believers who will turn the tide, and of far greater magnitude than some mere raiders! GATHER UP MY WAR MACHINE AND WE SHALL STRIKE SOUTH! I WILL BRING THIS WORLD BACK FROM THE ASHES AS AN ASURE PHOENIX! Let this be known from the Workganger to the priest to the unbreakable wall that is my army. Humanity starts a new era now! To Moscow! This is my will! The will of the New World! So shall it be written when we push the Red Taint off our world and reach for the stars!” With this final exclamation the Prophet raised his arms to the roof and the top of the amphitheater opened to reveal the starry sky and humanity’s rightful place among the stars. The Silent Legion began rhythmically slamming their rifles into the ground as the signal for the military parade gathered outside to begin their march southward. The audience erupted in applause and the citizenship rushed outside to watch the event, they were so taken that no one noticed when the Prophet disappeared from view and no one could hear the pained coughing coming from the pedestal as the Prophet kneeled over himself with a handkerchief to his mouth, a red stain just soaking deep enough to be noticed. “I just need more time, even if I need to let this body of mine rot I will see your wish fulfilled...” The prophet chanted this to himself as he downed the painkillers he kept handy. “Just because you all left me behind doesnt mean I am unable to do what must be done for my people.” he said as his blue eyes shone with steely resolve as he put the crimson soaked cloth into a bag filled with three others…

The tribes just south of the Federal Borders folded easily and joined the Rus Protectorate, sending their warriors and scouts to tag along with the army on their march for the Fallen Star and the ruined city in which it rests.

The March to Moscow:
The Army of the Federation had been preparing for this for over a year, local contacts and sympathizers dotted the path to the lost capital of a now dead threat. The Downed flying machine would make an excellent addition to the research materials of the Xenological Division that was formed as a wing of the core science schools. They worked directly under the Lord Inquisitor of the area to investigate and document issues ranging with foreign lifeforms and mutations to cults poisoned by the Reds. A unit under the direct orders of the Prophet followed behind the marching army with the integration force, engineers, and Missionaries. Furies moved to the northeast to secure the last of the supply lines and future followers, leading to the annexation of the last vestige of Novgorodian territories to unite under the Russian Protectorate.
They went ahead and began purging infected wildlife and sending samples back to their bases for further studies and ‘reeducate those that felt sympathy for the demonic’ and gathering info on possible issues, for the most part it was just to take care of extremists and gathering info. When Moscow would be taken they would move into the fallen ship to begin their work, until then the information gathering work they were doing was a good way to gain some experience in the field.

Secure the Highways to Nenets:

Federal colonies in the east have been having supply issues so a task force was deployed to secure the old highways and defend Work Gangs that would be sent to repair them and the colonial settlements that would be positioned along the roads. They spent the first week or so following distress signals from natives that were having issues with the Grey rippers and wildlife that was ruining their crops, offering to give them citizenship into the Federation of Old World Reclamation as either a part of the Rus Protectorate which was headed by a council in Novgrod or as citizens under the Cu Hunters Brotherhood. If they choose the Brotherhood they were shown safe areas along the highway they could move to and begin training in jobs for the good of the new village, under the Protectorate they would be asked to move south west to go live in the Russian cities which many were more than happy to do after all the issues in their previous homes. There were some stubborn folk here and there but the constant danger around them made them rather agreeable after witnessing the well run machine that was the Federal Army. A few people had to be sent for ‘Reeducation’ about the dangers of the Red World and of a communist Regime. The terrain made moving rather difficult and most had small children and loads of equipment and supplies that would be useful so some transport trucks were sent to pick them up and some engineers helped them scrap their old homes for extra building materials. There were tears shed at the loss of these houses but for some it hardened their resolve to go to the safety of the open arms of the Rus Protectorate and some even decided to join work gangs to help others that would be moving and to receive a good amount of pay to help their families start up. Two hundred young men and women volunteered for Work Gangs, one hundred small children were evaluated for the schools, twenty odd old soldiers were put on for the police force, one thousand were to begin crash courses for their new jobs, and each family was to be given a government hand out for restarting along with a house and some land to till. A few orphans that were found were sent to the Academias and to be adopted by infertile families that would help them grow to become good citizens of the Federation. Radio beacons were set up at strategic locations and forts were being constructed to fully link the new territory and incorporate it.

Rus Protectorate begins work east:

The Rus Protectorate was a council of leaders and representatives that were elected by their villages to state their case to the greater leadership of the overall council. Advisors from the army, Work Gangs, factions, and clergy were all present to give input and ensure the council ran smoothly. The issue at present was that the people being sent to them were too much for them to sustain by themselves and so they were looking to the advisors for suggestions.
The army suggested expanding to their north east to link up their lands with the highway and start work on reclaiming the land to help support the new citizenry. The Sisters, Brotherhood, and Talvites agreed and the village heads felt it was a good way to gain a wider scope for the villages to space out so the rivalries between them over territories could cool down. The only ones opposed were the clergy who had not fully been able to cement themselves yet and were hoping for a bit more time to do so before they needed to gather up another wave to head east but these were quickly fixed after a new wave of graduates was sent to support them. It was a quick integration, many of the small villages to the east already considered themselves part of the Protectorate and had been trading with their western cousins before the Protectorate was even established. The integration was over before the end of the month and the work on the Highway commenced before the paperwork was even signed, the secondary line to the highway meant that it would be finished much faster and the guards would not have to worry about their southern flank as much.
They were also rather preoccupied integrating those to their south, which was brought under their control mere weeks ago as the Federal Army marched south with the full force of the Prophet’s holy Will. The army was moving to sweep across the land and encircle the city while camping around it to begin probing for Russian survivors and seeing if it would be peacefully annexed. A few hiccups were had, as the roads were worse here than farther up, and evidence of the Battle for Moscow was evident from hundreds of kilometers away, the infrastructure in the area was so badly damaged that the asphalt of the roads was so cracked and damaged it was dangerous to walk over it, as the foundations of the roads themselves was broken. The shockwave of the weapons used to take the Fallen Star down was enough to break glass in the city below, the waves of heat caused trees to wilt and grass to dry up. Then the immense Flying Machine fell into the city, causing a crater and displacing several tonnes of earth and buildings while causing the land itself to vibrate under crash. The damage was on par with a Magnitude 9 earthquake with the force from the weapons used to bring it down ranking at a 7. In short, the city was leveled and buildings the size of skyscrapers were thrown miles away causing even more damage, the areas around Moscow were so heavily damaged that the people who lived there were lucky they did not get crushed under the flying buildings and those that were not died slowly with no help coming. This was years ago but the effects were still visible, and the scars were not just on the land, but deep in the hearts of the people. The hatred for the Martians was on par with the most ferocious of the factions, and they fell to the knees of the Federal army and guided them while begging to be allowed to go to the Prophet with a nearly universal request, “let us help you kill the Martians, even if we die before it ever happens, let us avenge what we lost.” a total of one hundred thousand people began an exodus to the north, being guided by the Missionaries and provided for by some of the local villages and provisions from the army. It would take another month or so before they would reach New Helsinki, but the march south was basically halted to help the Muscovites north. Many of them were highly skilled survivalists and exempting the infants and elderly they were fit, fierce, and hardened for war. It would take several months to integrate them all, and the road to Moscow proved to be tough. Two thousand orphans and children were sent to Academias as soon as it was explained to the Muscovites who knew the value of education after their painful lives under the Soviets and then by themselves with a total loss of government with little to no help from those outside their own communities, followed by raiders, reclamation governments, and even a second union that fell apart, they were desperate for some kind of leadership, and the offer of a brighter future for their children.

The Prophet was waiting for the Muscovite refugees, having set up emergency shelters for them along with a horde of relief workers, doctors, translators, and the like. They continued to stream into the arms of the Prophet, registering their names, education level, and many other things to help them find their families if they had been separated during the exodus, which was now being called the Exodus of The Lost Children. This was because they felt themselves as being destined to follow the prophet, for he was the embodiment of all that they had grown to respect in the wasteland and all the kindness that caused them to feel attached to him. After a period of three weeks since the first of the refugees arrived the last stragglers did, and three days later the Prophet went to address them in person. They gathered at the feet of a hill, where the Prophet’s Marble Podium was moved to, with speakers set up so that everyone would hear his words. He proceeded to speak in perfect Russian, “Oh Lost souls of the Federation, you who would fit with us perfectly, i can offer very little for now, but what i can do is promise you something. One day, we will unite millions, they will all be like us, hating the Martians with every fiber of our being. One day, hunger will not plague you, and your children can attend schools without worry. One day, Russia as a whole will cease to exist, and in its place the Federation of Old World Reclamation will rise. A Phoenix rising from the ashes of a failed institute, where every citizen has a purpose and a life that doesn't require fear of what the next meal will be.'' The prophet stopped and looked around at the people, who were looking at him with awe and some with tears of relief, “I am the Prophet of Human Spirit, the Shepherd who leads the flock of Mankind to a brighter future, and you will be a part of this if you wish. If you wish to join me in this goal, i will accept you and will grant you the right to choose a Faction to join with assurance that they will accept you if they can. For your Piety is on par with many of my people, and your Will is equal or greater than the most hardened soldier. Those who wish to join my army and fight for a better future, step forward.” hundreds scrambled forward, and they bowed before the one who would lead them to a brighter tomorrow. “Those who wish to build my empire, and create the next stage of civilization, step to the right.” hundreds moved to the right and kneeled towards the podium which was still in sight. “Those who wish to create new machines, and join my scientists in technological advancement, move to the center.” around two hundred moved there and bowed. “Those who wish to share words with me with your fellow Russians, step towards the back.” around a hundred moved to the back and bowed. “And all those left, who wish to help others, as you have been helped by me, step to the left.” the last of the hundred thousand moved there and bowed. The Prophet scanned the people in front of him before continuing, “you will be the ones to advance humanity, these people with the signs, they will be the ones to help get you your assignments, and once the areas around Moscow is reclaimed, i will designate settlements for you to move into when they are ready. I expect great things, FOR THE FEDERATION!” a roar of applause was heard, and the final exclamation was chanted as the new citizens followed the people with the sign designated to them. Before the end of the month, the issues caused by the Muscovite influx were solved, and the new citizens moved to their new work.

The Gran Imperio Colombiano of Vaitoria

Colombian Imperial National Radio—Promethean Towers Raised in Vaitoria City, Palmira and more to come!

Ladies and gentlemen of the empire... It is with the happiest heart that I must tell you all that we've received reports that the Scarlet Catholic Church has completed construction of two of the scheduled Promethean towers in the imperial capital of Vaitoria and in the Azarola city of Palmira. According to a church spokesperson, the towers will be opening as soon as materials are moved into them which will allow for them to properly offer the promised services. These included brand new technologies developed by the machine angel himself! Just think of that folks! The church expects to release a formal date of opening soon, to which we will be the first to inform you all. More towers are currently under construction across the empire, being erected in the regional capitals of each major and minor house in the empire. Muro Norte, Ciudades de la Costa Negra, Amazon Escarlata and Nuevo Ecuador—all are currently expected for a wave of towers as soon as the two first towers are opened and their expected popularity is confirmed.

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