Radovan walks again

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Questers
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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Questers » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:04 pm

It was hard to tell if the tori gate was a built thing, or whether it had just been there forever. It was not obvious at all. In one way, it looked as if ancient oak had grown to forge a natural gate, directed by - what? God? Providence? The spirits? In another way it looked carved, as if some ancient monk had spent his life's work fine-tuning the arches.

There were monks here now, and there had been monks before, so it was plausible. Just thirty minutes ago they had been there, blessing the gate, and blessing Abdul, but then they had gone away, their job done. So, there stood Abdul, looking up, mud on his cavalry boots. It was a tall gate. It was hard to see how tall it was from far away, or in photographs, but underneath it it looked as if it might touch the clouds.

Abdul reached a finger into the sky, circling it around the outline of one of those passing clouds, those low-level, billowing clouds, with the mighty roofs. He went on his toes, and reached up further. It was no use.

A voice tore him from the delusion.

'Majesty.'

'Oh, Adam. What are you doing here?'

The Chief of Household Troops shrugged. 'I've been here all day. I was here with you. What do you mean?'

'I meant here, right now. What are you doing here, right now?'

'I'm here to talk to you.'

'No-ooo. I meant, what are you doing here, right now?'

'Majesty.'

'Wrong answer. You are living.' Abdul swept his hand around the trees surrounding the gate. A pair of hornbills broke free of the canopy and lifted off toward the cloud. Abdul followed them with his finger. 'You're living.' He snapped the finger up and made a gun sound. 'And that hornbill is still living. Does mud live, Adam Arif?'

'Majesty, I'm here to talk about Prekovy.'

'Okay. Let's walk.' Abdul set off into the trees, and Adam followed him, picking up the pace. Abdul picked up pace too, and soon Adam was panting just to catch up to him. Sometimes he would lose him, and then pick him up again - a mere shadow, face pitched up, staring at the trees; and sometimes Abdul would crouch down and watch something on the canopy floor. Finally, he came to a stop, and Adam was able to speak.

'Majesty, we think it is certain that Prekovy will march into Cockaygne.'

'Mmmm. And will Cockaygne fight?'

'Cockaygne will lose.'

'Mmmm. And will the Estates fight?'

'Surely.'

'So it is hardly a matter of question, is it? When the Estates fight, also we shall fight.' Abdul seemed to be thinking about something else. He was crouched by a great fallen log, peering inside a rotten hole.

'Majesty, we are stretched thin on all fronts. The Frontier Force can barely keep order. If the Taiheis enter the demilitarised zone, they'll outnumber us four, five to one. And we have few reserves. And we have little resources to spend, and there is no time.'

'There is a snake in this log, Adam. I think he is a reticulated python. I think he is a big one. He's going to move soon. He smells me. Stand on the log, would you.'

Adam complied. He felt the vibration inside. Abdul stood on top of the log too. The python merged, sliding across the canopy floor. An ancient force inside Adam caused his hairs to stand up. Abdul looked calm. 'Don't move,' he said. 'They can sense vibration. He thinks we are prey. But we know how he works, so we can outwit him.'

'If this is an analogy, it's a bad one,' Adam said, reaching for his revolver.

'Look at him. Look at that snake. He is a big bastard.'

'Majesty, this is not funny at all.'

The python turned around, as if to face the two men stood on the log, and made the kind of face that a human makes when presented with a bucket of fried chicken. Adam put his hand on his gun. The snake moved towards them, but Abdul gave Adam the look, and he didn't move; the snake came on towards Abdul and slipped over the log. For an agonising thirty seconds it rolled over the log to the other side, just inches from Abdul's foot.

They watched the snake disappear under the canopy leaves. Adam felt his heart thump in his chest.

'You were frantic earlier,' Abdul said, finally. 'Now, you ought to be calm. That was not an easy situation.'

'I am hardly calm, Majesty.'

'But your mind is clear now, of complications. You felt something simple, something obvious. And it has cleared your mind. These monks - very wise. Let's go.'

They walked for five minutes without speaking. Adam thought about getting a new job. He chose against it.

'Majesty, the situation.'

'Right. We have to call up a campaign round. Tell the Estatists. Use all our political power to push it through. Frankly, I don't think the Prekovars will be stupid enough to start a war. In that case, for us, this is a mere test of our own political strength. We have to win it. We have some troops left in reserve, yes? Send them to Praetonia. Get the Estates Navy to help if we need more transports. Bring the men over quickly and then the equipment.'

'Majesty.'

Abdul stopped, and looked up. A flying fox was moving through the trees. For a moment, Adam thought he was lost, but then he kept on moving, and Adam regained his faith.

'Put the Marquess of Battambang in charge of the whole southern forces. Get them readied up and prepared for any outcome. Call up the reserves, put the Pilotcy on full alert, so on. I think a show of force will put the Taiheis off any move. In any case, they would use the disruption to seize Hakara, not to attack us and start another war. Not yet.'

They walked for another ten minutes while Abdul mused on strategy.

'This should all be possible,' he finally said, 'but we have to move fast. Get on it as soon as possible.'

A few moments later, Adam could hear civilisation. The seemingly unending jungle finally parted to a concrete car park. The two men circled the edge until they found a way through the chain link fence sealing the Tori gate's nature reserve from the bustling city. Then they sat on the hot tarmac while waiting for a car to come. Abdul browsed his mobile phone. 'See this? Lamb burger. It's on the promenade. Good one. Should we go?'

'Majesty, did you know the way out of the forest?'

'Oh, no,' Abdul said, scrolling past pictures of fries in little baskets. 'I was guessing.'
Continent of Dreams - Official Questers Canon Compendium

[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy

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flm
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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby flm » Fri May 03, 2019 2:10 pm

The residence of the Valimerian ambassador was a resplendent structure. Built in that bombastic turn-of-the-century style adopted enthusiastically by the “sweet money” men of colonial Veridis, the mansion shared its extravagance with the rest of the Las Lomas neighbourhood, normalizing excess while enjoying the view of Puerto Mercedes. The vast ballrooms where sugar cane and banana fortune heiresses used to host their debutante balls were attractive to diplomatic functions, and the prestige that a Las Lomas address provided made the area a natural stomping ground for foreign missions. Only two members of the diplomatic corps present on this evening had to travel into Las Lomas. Mr. Lough, the pseudodiplomatic representative of the North Point Company Foreign Liaisons Office , who's domicile stood at the base of Las Lomas clearly denoting the hybrid capacity of the institution, halfway between the diplomatic cluster and the bustling core of the city. The representative of Puerto Blanco, Col. Magelta, came from much further, their squat bunker-like grey embassy standing lonesome by the waterfront.

The Flamaguayan ambassador was a slim man of medium height, his dark hair showing ever-more-prominent streaks of silver. He stood by one of the many tables laid out in the ballroom, dressed in a dinner suit and holding a small glass of sparkling wine. Amb. Peroli had a pedigree displaying decades of stalwart service in the foreign ministry as a responsible bureaucrat before having been rewarded with a post as a chief of mission. He was, in sum, easily exchangeable for any other Flamaguayan diplomat.

The Valimerans were celebrating one of their national days and the diplomatic community of Puerto Mercedes, along with some notables of the local elite, had all turned out to dine at the expense of the already overburdened Valimeran taxpayer. As the evening developed, and more alcohol was consumed, talk tended to shift towards critical matters of state.

Peroli enjoyed his post, but he resented having to spend so much time with ambassadors from other countries, who, as a rule, were not career foreign office bureaucrats. Ambassador Monsón of Arriyiñatos, who was currently ranting beside him, had inherited his father's timber shipping business and backed the right horse in the last election. A posting in Zavala being of high importance to Arriyiñatos, the government had decided to send someone so stupid that they could inflict no damage. Monsón was convinced that he had noticed some intrinsic difference in how things were done in Flamaguay and how things were done in Veridis, and was now able to account for disparate growth rates between his country and development in southern Wallasea. Peroli stared at the little sandwiches that were being placed on the table near to them, but not near enough to simply grab one without obviously ignoring Monsón, Peroli chastised himself on his poor placement.

He scanned the room, blocking out the droning of his colleague, and settled on his Prekovite counterpart. Seemingly picked from a B-list production's roster of Prekovite extras, Ambassador Fyodor Bogolyubov's physique reflected that of a man who did not need to maintain it, even for appearences. His Slavonic features displayed permanence to the correct ethnic group for thousands of years, and his current position demonstrated that his standing was far too high to simply be removed for whatever transgression he had committed. Instead, he had been consigned the ambassadorship to Zavala, and no longer caused problems for Ostrava. Peroli looked over to Mr. Lough, who took these events for what they were, a way to get rapidly drunk. Somewhere in his mind Peroli envied Lough and his 10 hours a week of racquetball, but he'd never admit it, least of all to himself.

Peroli was just about to go talk to Bogolyubov, if for nothing else to switch one rambling windbag for another, when Col. Magelta materialized seemingly out of thin air, perhaps having applied his decade of jungle operations experience to stealth his approach. Peroli wasn't supposed to like Magelta, but Peroli liked Magelta. Magelta mirroed the general attitude of the higher-ups in his own government and simply didn't give much care to things. Magelta, as the alternate representative of Puerto Blanco, was younger than the average specimen found at the Valimeran embassy, something that made him even more rash in his commentary. The nominal ambassador, a squalid individual named Tepez, was seriously addicted to painkillers and rarely left his residence.

Magelta ignored Monsón and took charge at Peroli, “Prekovy is a mess of a country, but they have purpose. The people who are in charge in Ostrava know what they want, and they have telegraphed these moves slowly over the last two decades. This state of being is the opposite of your problem. In Flamaguay there is no purpose. There is no clear thing you can point at and say that this is what is being driven to. You have concepts, you have ideology, but they are not at the centre. They are at the periphery of discourse in society. People are comfortable in their unchallenged aimlesness. This is why you still hope Prekovy does not something, becuase you cannot react.”

Peroli replied in sadness, although he could not display such emotion. He provided Magelta, and Monsón, and Monsón's even more useless wife who had been vapidly standing there the entire time, with a boilerplate repsonse. Puerto Blanco had unique circumstances, and could not extrapolate them to Wallasea, issues were different, and Flamaguay regardless did not want problems with Prekovy, etc. etc. Peroli regretted being unable to debate Magelta, and excused himself to grab a miniature sandwich.
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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Preston » Thu May 09, 2019 6:26 am

POLICIA INTERNAL E DE DEFENSA DO ESTADO
SECTION 40 (SPECIAL INTERNAL AFFAIRS)
CLASSIFIED 4E (NOT FOR RELEASE TO PERSONNEL BELOW GRADE 32)

SUBJECT: IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF DEVELOPING SITUATION IN PREKOVY-COCKAYGNE BORDER REGION

ABSTRACT: A developing situation involving troop movements and an increasingly nationalist sentiment in Prekovar social and traditional media is unlikely to pose a direct threat to the Directorate or its interests; however, it is prudent that the situation be monitored with regard to spillover sentiment among dissidents in the New Territories. Specific measures and considerations are discussed further.

1. On 9 April 2019 a post on "Prekoheroji," a Prekovar ultra-nationalist blog (est. 5,500 unique visits per month), asserted that forces of the 9th Tank Division "Emilia" of the Prekovar Army were mobilizing with a view toward an invasion and conquest of Cockaygne, whose territory the Prekovar state maintains historical claims over (Note: for further information regarding the authorship or Prekoheroji, reference Document 13-527a). Satellite photography and other military intelligence assets confirm troop movements consistent with a heightened readiness state and proceeding in a broad southwesterly direction, consistent with analysis models concerning such action.
1a. No additional assets of Prekovar III Corps appear to be in heightened readiness at this time.
1b. In view of the above, it is the considered view of the Department of Military Intelligence that these movements are not intended to affect a hostile action against the polities of Cockaygne or of the Commonwealth broadly.

2. The primary area of concern within the Directorate is that of a spillover effect of nationalist sentiments arising from these actions, fueled by Prekovar media and targeted information campaigns directed at Embrean citizens of Prekovar descent. The Prekovar state has demonstrated an ability and a willingness to use such targeted information campaigns to incite pro-Prekovy sentiments abroad, sow disinformation, stoke tensions and and further its geopolitical aims as they relate to Wallasea.
2a. These measures have had only moderate effect in the Directorate owing to effective countermeasures of this Office and other agencies within the Directorate for Public Safety. This Office will continue passive countermeasures aimed at reducing the impact of adversarial media upon the Directorate, in accordance with its mandate (see Directive 53-18532).
2b. Designated Persons will continue to be subject to their Individual Designation Protocols, with the addendum (see Memorandum 19-3620) that active measures will not be employed without approval of Grade 36 or higher until the conclusion of the X Presidium of the National Directive. Grade 36 will follow procedures outlined in 19-3620 for evaluating the necessity of active measures and obtaining necessary approvals.

3. Elements of this Office attached to the Guarda Nacional Embreana (GNE) Frontier Service are instructed to prohibit entry of persons known to have ties of the second degree or higher (relatives by blood or marriage, or direct involvement) with the Prekovar state's foreign ministry, intelligence services, military or Designated Nongovernmental Organizations. This measure is to be conducted passively and will not be announced through official channels or communicated to impacted foreign nationals; if queried, agents are authorized only to state that there is "an unanticipated delay in processing."
3a. This measure shall not apply to diplomatic staff properly credentialed for business in the Directorate; such personnel will be subject to passive measures in accordance with Directive 68-40729)

4. This memorandum shall become effective from the date of its dissemination and supersede all prior memorandums pertinent to the subject matter.

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby flm » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:30 pm

"Good evening, thank you all for coming. I shall be brief.

"The material foundation of our current prosperity rests upon the application of the scientific method. It is the product of such an approach which has provided us with the tools to defend it. It would be tantamount to an absolute societal collapse to fail to safeguard what we have achieved, millions upon millions of personal defeats culminating in nothing less than the destruction of our civilization. Harsh words must be used, as it is nonsensical to attempt to deny the fact that we are under threat. And it is even more depraved to insinuate that it is not civilization that is on the line.

"Our society is a civilized society. The societies which threaten to unmake us are not civilized societies. In this country, we are governed by justice, Those arrayed against us, by decadent avarice. In this country, men and women are free to carry out their lives in prosperity. In other territories they toil as the serfs of cartel gangsterism or cower under the yoke of satraps centuries past. Flamaguay, a peace-loving nation, does not hold any other design for any land in this world short of bounty and tranquility. Since its inception as a rationally codified state in 1724, our Confederation has acted in self-defense, and indeed there is no instance through which the Confederation may be defined as taking aggressive action. To demand egregious tribute or to inflict cruelty for cruelty's sake is only known to the armies of the Confederation by observing their enemies.

"In spite of our good nature, we must consider the adoption of behaviours and actions which do not necessarily lead, at least in the short term, to peace. These are reactions to circumstances that are forced upon us, and must not be taken lightly. These are choices that must be considered by every civilized man and woman, both individually and as a part of a greater body.

"It is in this context that education retains its integral contribution to the development of the nation and the Confederation. Without a comprehensive level of education it is impossible for the individual to achieve social consciousness. Only through the application of critical thought can the individual develop reason. To carry a rifle is meaningless without having first carried a book. The deployment of force can only be properly conducted by a soldier that is aware of their contribution on a basic and necessary level to the bulwark of civilization that is constituted by our armed forces.

"Therefore, it is imperative that our children are able to appraise this phenomenon as early as possible. The sooner that this fact is understood by children, the sooner that they comprehend the role of education and the importance of our educational infrastructure, and, more importantly, the mission that their own learning represents. Every minute that our children spend in school is a foundational contribution to sustaining civilized life.

"We must not falter in this mission. Neither here, nor where the bombs will be falling. The conception of the Front must permeate the society that sends its youth forward, and within this conception our classrooms are nothing less than the first marshaling field our soldiers, sailors, and pilots will step into.

"With clear conscience and pride, then, I call forward this year's graduating Class 4 cohort to receive their diplomas!"

Parents clapped as their four-year-old children, entered the stage. Clad in the white coats that all schoolchildren wear, they advanced in rehearsed step to collect their year-end certifications in alphabetical order.
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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Crave » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:19 pm

"Огонь!"

At the officer's command, seven rifles rang out in thunderous unison. The shooters lowered their weapons to parade rest, then raised them again and fired another volley. They repeated the process once more, so that in all twenty-one shots had been fired into the air. The large crowd of attending dignitaries and their families were deathly silent. As the gunfire settled, only singing larks could be heard in the background.

Two officers in dress uniform, one Zegoran and one Saratov, carried an enormous laurel wreath wrapped with white roses up to the brick walkway that formed an inner ring around the center of the park. There standing, waiting, on either side were Saratov Chancellor Kirill Mironovskiy and Zegoran Prime Minister Branko Bagovic. The two officers handed the wreath over to the leaders in solemn silence, who then proceeded to carry it together down the inner brick path that led to the center of the memorial. The clicking of their steps against the bricks had an almost trance-inducing rhythm to it.

At the center of the park was a massive Great Wallasean oak tree, with a trunk at least two meters around and great limbs that reached out over the entire park casting a large shadow on the attendees. At its base were a series of bronze plaques embedded in the earth with white and pink magnolias planted around the rim of the brick walkway.

The two leaders gently set the wreath on a metal stand at the base of the tree. Stepping back from it, they turned to one another, and reached in for an embrace. They paused for a moment to allow the press to capture photos, then released and shook hands. The crowd clapped softly. Without a word, a soldier in uniform wheeled out a podium that was draped in both Zegoran and Saratov tricolor banners. Mironovskiy stepped up.

"On this very field, exactly one-hundred and twelve years ago to this day, over half-a-million young men came together in opposing armies in what would become one of the bloodiest battles in both our nations' histories. Between June and July of 1907, a battle raged that would cause nearly thirty thousand of those young men to not return home, and almost seventy-thousand to have their lives changed forever by injuries sustained here.

"This tree that stands behind me is a testament to the perseverance of both our peoples. It symbolizes that, despite great strife and tragedy, we can overcome and continue on. The battle here was fierce with over one-thousand artillery guns pointed across the fields from both sides. This entire area was, at that time, a great forest - but the artillery bombardment stripped away almost all of the trees that blanketed these fields. That is, except for this tree. This tree was nearly two-hundred years old at that time, and today it is over three-hundred. It still bears wounds from that time, with pieces of shrapnel and debris embedded in its bark.

"It is our duty to ensure that this tree stands for ten or twenty more generations to see. To ensure that our children, and their children, and every subsequent generation never has to face the bloodshed and violence that the young men on this field endured. The Zegoran people, who were our sworn enemies only three generations ago, have become among our closest friends and brothers. It is up to us to see to it that war never again ravages our continent, so that we may continue to know the peace and prosperity that we have created together."

The crowd again clapped softly as the Zegoran Prime Minister took to the podium to give his remarks. This memorial ceremony had become a yearly tradition since the early 1970s, when the Saratov and Zegoran governments both committed to improving relations in the aftermath of the War of the Three Valleys. The yearly ceremony attracted the Flamaguayan, Embrean, and Poláček ambassadors every year, among others who would visit for special anniversaries. It had become a symbol of the friendship that had developed between the neighboring countries during the latter half of the 20th century.

The Battle of Rzhesk Memorial Park, and its now-famous tree, were located atop Rurikov's Hill on the outskirts of the city, where General Rurikov had his headquarters during the opening stages of the battle. In the 1930s, the memorial was commissioned by the Saratov government at the the base of the tree, where plaques were embedded that had names of cities and towns throughout Saratovia. Carved alongside the names of those towns were the numbers of men killed or missing in action from them.

The plaques were arrayed at the base of the tree like a compass, so that each town's name faced the general direction of that town in relation to the battlefield, as well as the distance marked alongside its name. Since Rzhesk is on Saratovia's far western frontier, the majority of the plaques were on the eastern side of the tree. In 1971, the Saratov government decided to install additional plaques that were pointed towards Zegora to commemorate the Zaposlavs killed or missing as a result of the battle, and re-dedicated the memorial as a monument to a lasting peace.

Generalmayor Timofei Lyukin of the Headquarters General Staff leaned in to whisper to his colleague from 3 Korpus Headquarters, Generalmayor Oleg Kirovskiy.

"It's a nice thought," he said, "but with the way things are shaping up, another war on the continent seems unavoidable."

Kirovksiy nodded, "Indeed - the only question is, which side of the fence might the Zegorans fall on?"

Both men cast a glance to the opposite side of the crowd, where the majority of the Zegoran dignitaries were seated on metal folding chairs. Sticking out from the rest in his full dress uniform was Major General Rukavina, whom both of the Saratov officers had grown to despise.

"Army Intelligence has grown more and more worried by the day," Lyukin whispered, "ever since Perović was forced into retirement late last year. They're worried that other anti-Prekovite officers will be forced out soon."

"That rat bastard Rukavina is the leader of their little Ostravan cult."

Rukavina was known to the Saratov intelligence community as the ringleader of a group of military officers within the Zegoran command who had become known as the "Novozaposlavs." He was considered to be the real driving force behind Zegora's pivot back toward Prekovy's sphere of influence, which the Saratov government had been working to prevent for the past 50 years.

"I can only pray that there are some contingency plans behind the scenes on our side... It's only a matter of time before the Prekophiles are able to oust all internal opposition. I don't think anyone in Saratovia has the stomach to even think of fighting the Zegorans again."

Lyukin grunted in agreement as the Zegoran Prime Minister stepped away from the podium and the crowd began to applaud again. The Saratov 3 Korpus military band struck up a rendition of the Zegoran national anthem while a pair of biplanes made a pass over the ridge line that offered a view of the battlefield, now a tranquil meadow, below.

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Preston » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:52 pm

The office of the Director General was, its occupant supposed, much like the offices of heads of state everywhere else in the world. Rows of bookshelves, filled with books he had never read, nor had his predecessor, nor the man before them both. Where was the time to read, anyway? A few chairs, next to the shelves, to afford one the opportunity to read if one wished, but one never did. A chandelier older than the Directorate, hearkening back to when this building housed royalty and not Directivists. A large, imposing oaken desk with a desk lamp, at which he had sat these past ten years. Behind him, a large collection of esoteric looking symbols, the coat of arms of the Movement he served: a trinity knot surrounded by a chained shield, supported by a hand and a flame, crowned with an eagle. The National Directive, supported by the united will of the people, buttressed by faith and reason, crowned in power and glory. In days past, the arms had not been there, and instead a portrait of Silva Marques dominated. The Director General had had it quietly moved to another hall when he assumed the office. He would never say so aloud, of course, but something in that portrait made him uneasy.

A smart rap on the door came as expected, and with a word it was opened to reveal an older gentleman, about twenty years the Director General's senior, carrying a file folder. The Director General beckoned him in, and with a brief handshake, he sat.

Companheiro Director General, as you requested I have spoken with the Delegates of the Tenth Presidium of the National Directive and I am pleased to report that there is unanimous agreement that you continue in your office for an additional term," the man said. He did not sound pleased.

"Thank you, companheiro," the Director General replied. "It will be an honor to carry our state forward to the next decade, and, Oswin willing, beyond. Is there anything specific the Chairman of the Presidium wishes to discuss before the Presidium commences?" It was not a question.

"Some...delegates...," the Chairman began, choosing his words carefully. "Have expressed, ah, concern, regarding certain points of the proposed economic program of the Ten Year Plan."

"You mean Prekovy."

"You must consider, companheiro, the possible implications. The Flamaguayans will undoubtedly read a high-level visit to Ostrava as a pivot, and will undoubtedly react negatively. We can ill afford to tweak the nose of our truest friend on the continent, for some indeterminate gain which may not be realized at all."

"I have considered the implications, Chairman, but let me ask you a question: how many men in our army?"

"Four hundred thousand, including reserves, companheiro Director General, but I don't se-"

"How many planes, how many tanks, how many bombs and rifles? Not enough, not by half at least, if the Prekovars come. Three hundred thousand of their kin live in land we were given after the Great War. Nearly as many as in our army. Do you think the Gospodar is ignorant of this?"

"If the Prekovars mobilized, Flamaguay will come to our aid and we will beat them back as we did in the last war."

"Why? What reason has Flamaguay to come to our aid? Little Embrea, the bastard child of Wallasea who has no greater desire than to be left alone, whose friendship embarrasses Flamaguay abroad when Flamaguay entertains the Saratovians and Polaceks. They tolerate us, because it is us or the Prekovars, nothing more."

"Forgive me, but I fail to see how any of this relates to building a trade agreement with the Prekovars."

"Did you know, Felipe, that the Dumani Republic's trade volume with Taihei Tengoku is nearly as large as our entire domestic output? Two societies that absolutely hate one another, two diametrically opposed ways of life, and yet they do not war. On the contrary, they trade with each other, enrich each other, and the Roshi and the Consuls both feel they are getting the better end of it, and so it continues. Silva Marques believed that after the war international trade would become extinct; who wants to enrich their neighbor only to have them turn their guns on you? Our Movement is founded upon this idea, that we will build up and create everything we need for ourselves, by ourselves. But what if the opposite were true? We have been selective in what and with whom we trade, and we have seen our neighbors' growth pass us by threefold in the past century. We fear the Prekovars, we conduct the barest of relations with Ostrava, we spend untold billions on a force which might buy us three months of time should the worst come. Three months in which our nation lives or dies, for a miracle or an outside intervention to save our people. We cannot win peace through strength except by the good graces of our neighbors. We cannot mutually assure destruction. But we can mutually assure prosperity."

"You must tread carefully, Bernardo," Felipe, the Chairman, warned. "What you're proposing is, some will say, anti-Directivist. Ending the pursuit of Equilibrium. This is uncharted territory, at home and abroad."

"Then I march, with millions standing behind me; the rest I leave to God."

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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby flm » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:18 pm

"We have corroboration from multiple independent sources, including members of the inner Presidium. It is with full confidence that we indeed confirm this shift in attitude from the Embrean side." Mauro Quepo removed his reading glasses and placed them on top of the small stack of papers that he had before him. "Please feel free to proceed with any questions."

Pietro Lecerra, of the Air Force´s senior staff, was the first to speak. "And to reiterate, we do not know the Prekov response, or if there is one at all?"

"Presicesly, we have information that the missive has been received by Prekovy. But we currently believe that they have not yet replied. From the Prekovar side our information is quite limited, and from the Embrean side there are no reactions to a reply. Signals intelligence is not yielding much on this matter, as communications have been brief and at the highest levels. They have bypassed the usual channels of communication, prudently, of course."

"An Embrea friendly towards Ostrava is intolerable at the most basic conception of our foreign and defensive policy." The president of the Council of Notables, Julianna Otero gesticulated with her pen towards the map on the far wall, which displayed a cacophony of military symbols across the Flamaguayan north. "I am not an expert in the military side of things, but with this information I do not need to be. Our flank is left virtually empty. We must act now or we will be left having lost the initiative."

The map reflected these concerns. The 8th division, with its elements deployed in both Flamaguay and Embrea, was meant to be the anchor at the frontiers, and secure the flank into Embrea. If Embrean formations were suddenly not dependable, then the 8th stood dangerously exposed.

"I never thought I would hear our dear Notables calling for an invasion of Prekovy." Alessandro Masseroni piped in. The Primer Hidalgo of the College of Infantes was amused to hear his normally cautious colleague redeploy to the vanguard of the aggressive faction. "You kno-"

"You fully know that I don´t mean we should invade Prekovy, Alessandro. We have to rebalance."

Quepo bounded into the conversation before Masseroni and Otero fell into one of their typical entanglements. "I do want to emphasise that although this is a worrying development, we still expect Embrea to be on our side. There is nothing to indicate a shift in popular opinion, and there is resistance to the pivot even at the level of the Presidium. If anything, we should expect higher levels of dissent among the officer corps."

"If I may, I do not believe that the average Embrean soldier or officer is to be doubted, but I do think the situation is more worrying than Mauro is letting on." Gen. Ferruccio Polgar spoke firmly. "Man for man we have never counted on Embrea to last very long if they are submitted to the full weight of a Prekovar offensive. Sadly, there is just no comparison between the arrayed forces, our aid can strengthen Embrean prospects, but it is merely a matter of time." The Commander of I Corps shifted slightly over the table, "the issue is the following situation: a command and control paralysis of the Embrean armed forces, if not the whole state. Thrown into disarray, Embrean longevity is measured in days, not weeks or months. And the security of our flank only by however much petrol the Prekovars mind to bring with them."

"To what degree can we cover this without abandoning other commitments?" Otero asked, again turning to the map.

"Poorly. Our wargames do not provide us with positive results. We are stretched too thin and timing the arrival of reserve forces to match a rapid Prekovar advance through Embrea is rather complicated, and cannot be guaranteed. Especially as the Prekovars would be foolish to leave us to our own devices, and would most definitely pressure us along the front. Recent intelligence shared by Saratovia seems to confirm all of this."

Masseroni no longer joked. "We have consistently warned of this fact. Spending has been increased, and yet it has never been sufficiently increased. Now, we are finding ourselves at a level were our resources are outmatched. If we operate with the conception that we cannot depend on Embrea, and add to this our standing worst-case hypothetical that neither Poleckia or Saratovia become embroiled directly, then we are looking at defeat in detail."

"As I have said many times, the odds that Poleckia and Saratovia merely stand by and observe Prekovy disembowel us are extremely low." The representative of the intelligence community noted with some distaste.

"Perhaps, but if we discuss the survival of the Confederation, then we must talk in absolutes. The only absolute I have is the oath taken by those who will enter the battlefield. In comparison with that, you could offer me 50 Poleckian armoured divisions and I would not rate them."

Otero and Lecerra, staunch proponents of an internationalist response to Prekovy, spugn ready to intervene in unison. Just as suddenly, they refrained from doing so. Ermenegildo Maturín Casonféz had kept his hands folded over one another for the entire presentation and discussion, so far they had been resting on the table, but now he raised his left ever so slightly.

"We cannot allow ourselves to lose initiative. If this conflict, this struggle for our own way of life, for what it means to be Flamaguayan and to live in society, if this conflict will enter a new phase, then we must be the ones to elevate it accordingly to our capabilities and our rhythm. A sacrifice is the loss of something of value in exchange to preserve another thing. I contend that there is no sacrifice involved here, because nothing is comparable to the destruction of civilization as we know it. In the face of the present Prekovar threat, and a decreasing perception of Embrean capabilities, it is my suggestion that we put under consideration options one and three of Case Intransigent Centrifuge."

A heavy silence permeated the meeting room, nobody took their gaze away from the Caudillo.

"Decisive action is required. Are there any objections?"

########

The four individuals inside the cipher room of the Flamaguayan embassy in Kralvićevo were stressed, and tried their hardest to conceal it from each other. They had all sat in training seminars and carried out drills, but none of them had ever found themselves in receipt of a Level Zero Missive. The signals operator, a young woman, sat behind an array of various equipment, including an antiquated machine resembling a typewriter. In front of her, stood the Ambassador, the resident intelligence officer, and the colonel attached to the embassy.

The signals operator spoke first. "I am receiving transmission presently. Please make ready your keys." The Ambassador, the intelligence officer, and the military attaché all intently produced envelopes, "Open pouches please." And the three senior officers withdrew a single sheet, smaller than a postcard, from their respective envelopes.

"Colonel, please share response for colour orange." The signals operator prompted.

"Code reads TURNSTYLE." The colonel spelled out the word utilizing the phonetic alphabet.

"Agent, please share response for colour violet."

"Code reads SORBET." The intelligence officer followed the example of his colleague from the army.

"Mme. Ambassador, please share response for colour green."

"Code reads OBOE." The ambassador replied solemnly.

"Thank you. Confirm receipt of all." The young woman produced a cipher according to the codes obtained, "starting decipher process." For three tense minutes she picked away at the typewriter, eventually handing a page to the ambassador.

"They've actually gone and done it." She muttered.
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Srf
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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Srf » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:20 pm

"Ambassador Carillo, it feels like it has been quite a while" King Rajko III smiled as the Flamaguayan entered his office. "I haven't been involved in matters of state for quite some time".

The Ambassador gave a shallow bow while grasping the old King's hand - while the grip was still firm, it was noticeably weaker than their last meeting. The King's face was lined, his mouth imperceptibly drooping to the right due to last year's stroke, but his eyes betrayed the still-sharp mind behind the octogenarian body. "It is a pleasure to meet with you again, your Majesty. I have here an urgent communiqué from Funes. Its contents dictate that I observe Royal protocol rather than work through the Skupštine. Please".

Carillo passed the one-page note to the Monarch and settled in to the chair across his desk, preparing for a long wait. The King's expression did not change as he made his way through the communiqué once, twice, several times over. He lifted a pen and began to carefully and deliberately write notes on a notebook emblazoned with the royal coat of arms. Even with her long service in Zegora, Carillo was unable to make out the flowing, handwritten Cyrillic Rajko was scratching across the lined page. Over ten minutes passed in absolute silence, with Rajko re-reading and writing and Carillo sipping water. A century-old grandfather clock ticked away regularly and imperiously against the wall, above the Royal Nurse who sat reading a book, noise-cancelling headset perched on her impeccably tied hair. Finally, Rajko gently placed the paper on his desk with both hands and spoke.

"This is not at all what I expected, Ambassador".

"Your Majesty, I believe that seven days ago no-one in Flamaguay would have dreamt of making an offer such as this. But our geopolitical reality has been decisively shifted even over the last forty-eight hours. I'm sure you know to what I am referring. It is the view of Funes that this proposal best secures the mutual long-term interests of Flamaguay, Zegora, and the wider Wallasean continent".

Rajko nodded slowly. "Who else knows?"

"Outside of this room, the embassy and the National Defence Council, no-one. It was considered prudent to forward it to you with all possible haste, and with the minimum of publicity".

"I agree. I have strong partisan interests within my country. Within the highest levels of government and the defence forces. I must be honest, Ambassador. I am amenable to this proposal. But Zegora is a complicated place. If I move this forward in the wrong way, the country could be ripped apart".

The ageing monarch sighed and looked around the room. From all four walls, the impassive and stern faces of kings long since dead stared down upon him, offering neither condemnation nor support. He settled last on the eyes of his father, painted in full military regalia. His gaze lingered there for another minute as he formulated a strategy. He made up his mind and turned back to Ambassador Carillo.

"The people must have a voice in this. This is too great a decision for any government, looking no further than the next election, to decide alone. And if I made it unilaterally, I would be quickly undone by the more extreme elements of our society. I must put this to the people".

"I can confirm that Funes anticipated and accepts this course of action" Carillo replied, standing up. I shall relay your decision back to my superiors".

Rajko smiled and grasped Carillo's hand again. Then he looked her in the eyes and spoke once more. "Either way, Ambassador, we will be remembered for this. Zegora will remember this. Let us pray that good sense wins the day".

______________________________________________________


Across Zegora, television sets and radios simultaneously diverted their scheduled programming and cut to text with the royal seal - "ANNOUNCEMENT OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE". The refrain bars of the national anthem played before cutting again to King Rajko, sitting as always behind his ornate desk, wearing a pair of delicate reading glasses and staring into the camera.

"Dobar Dan i zdravo, Zegrami. I apologise for interrupting your regularly scheduled programming to make this announcement of a momentous moment in our national history.

"My first time using this mechanism was in 1968. I told you that our nation was at war, that our northern provinces were under threat. We stood alone - none in Wallasea came to our aid. Our military posturing and irredentism lost us our moral authority, our national pride, and almost one-fifth of our territory".

"In recent months the spectre of war and conflict has once again emerged, and now hangs over our continent like a toxic miasma. In such times, we must make difficult and previously unthinkable decisions. We must reconsider that which we have always known to be right, and contemplate a new paradigm of peace".

"An opportunity has emerged. This opportunity will re-write historic wrongs, re-establish Zegora and Bogatovia as a champion of peace and diplomacy on the Wallasean continent. But Zegora is more than me. It is more than the Skupština. It is sixty-million men and women, who deserve a chance to make their voices heard in this momentous choice that will define the next hundred years of our national policy".

"In the next few days every home in our nation will receive an information pack providing you with the details of a referendum, to be held on June the 30th. You will be given three choices, and you will be asked to rank each according to your preference. The question will be written as thus:"

Rajko peered a little harder into the screen.

"Should the Republic of Zegora and Bogatovia jointly sign a Treaty with the Flamaguayan Confederation to return the territory of the Pitino Administrative Region, in exchange for external military neutrality?"

Rajko breathed in and continued.

"You will be offered a choice of two different deals, detailed in the information pack, as well as the option to reject the treaty. The right to citizenship or repatriation in either country will be guaranteed to anyone affected by territorial changes as a result of the deal. Both countries will agree to reduce military concentrations within the border areas by 50%. Zegora will commit to never conducting offensive military actions on the Wallasean continent, save in cases of national self-defence".

"The Governments of Flamaguay and Zegora are in agreement that this proposal is the best compromise to normalise relations and avert any future bloodshed in either country, as well as reducing geopolitical tensions across the Wallasean continent. The resolution of this dispute will allow us Zegorans to pursue growth in the spheres of the arts, culture, humanities and science. It will enable us to concentrate on economic development, so we may reach the level of prosperity enjoyed by many of our neighbours. It will enable us to concentrate our military forces on the provision of humanitarian and relief aid overseas, further enhancing the international prestige of Zegora and Bogatovia as a diplomatic, peace-loving, and politically influential nation".

"This is not an easy choice. You must consider long and hard the consequences of your vote at the end of this month. I have faith that you will choose what is best for our nation".

Rajko raised his right hand, fingers closed, palm facing the camera.

"Oswin guide you all. Good night".
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TWSP
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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby TWSP » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:49 pm

Friedrich Hubert shifted from foot to foot as he scanned the room before him. It was a small office, far smaller than one would expect for the Director of the Bureau of Ungentlemanly Affairs, or the KBZ as it was known in government acronyms, and the decorations were sparse and spartan. The wooden walls were lined with bookcases and shelves, all neatly filled with rows upon rows of binders and books, ordered by some unknown hand according to an unknown system. There was a picture, naturally, of the reigning Emperor standing proudly over six smaller ones of each of the Elector-Princes. A wooden clock tick-tocked the hours away, the only other noise apart from the fingers of the Director's secretary as her hands danced over her keyboard.

He knew Agáta, of course, as being Deputy Director meant he spent a lot of time coming and going from this very office. An orderly (and rather elderly, though he would not say this to her face) woman, her heavy wooden desk was the very picture of efficiency, not a pencil or paper out of place. The Director had often joked that she came from the old school, a far cry from the modern "millennials" who would waste their day away on their phone while popping gum and sticking it under the table... or at least that's how they were portrayed in North Pointer films.

His inspection was broken by the crackle of the intercom system, and the Director's chipper voice came through strong and clear. "Please let Hubert in," Agáta's finger was on the button as soon as the message finished, replying with a curt yes before looking up at Friedrich, as if the communication had been private or the Director hadn't been loud enough that his Deputy had heard him even through the door.

He nodded in return, muttered his thanks and then knocked anyway, for politeness' sake, before letting himself in and closing the door behind himself. The Count, as he was known in the intelligence circles, was his boss. Full name Havel Havlíček (no relation to -the- Havlíček). He was actually a Count, harbouring from a long line of Ček nobility though he disliked being addressed by his title to the point where it had become common prank for interns and new arrivals to told the complete opposite.

"Have you seen the latest W.A.R.D. report?" Hubert had a knack for skipping the pleasantries when stressed, he was fully aware of this as well as of the rumours that said it was the reason he was Deputy Director and not Director; it bothered him a little bit more than he liked to admit.

"Read it? I have it right here," Havel pulled a small recycle-green leather-bound tome from his desk. "It's quite interesting when you get down to it, you know, I gave a copy to my grand-daughter so she can use it on her report next week; did you know that dumping chemicals into the water is bad for the environment?"

"You know I meant the real one," the Deputy Director passed on his own copy, this one being bound in blue leather. "The one that says the Prekovars are mobilizing against Cockaygne and that the Estates think it's serious and real enough to deploy troops to the continent."

Havlíček shifted in his chair, leaning forward almost conspiratorially. "Ah, yes, that report. I've read it. Even the Cockays must think it's serious enough if they willingly forwarded this information to us, but what do you think?"

"Signal intelligence seems to justify their fear, the Prekovars are indeed moving several of their divisions to the border; we have no information about any reserves being called-up, however, and this would be noticeable," the Deputy stopped to consider his statement. "Maybe not on the evening news, obviously, but we'd see increased military movements, more than the usual posturing anyway, men leaving work as they are mobilized and the likes. Either the Prekovars think they can win this as is or they are sabre-rattling as they have before, it's hard to tell as it is."

"What about our allies?"

"The Saratovs are understandably worried, they are putting more diplomatic pressure on Zegora to stick with the CNF, no official information on their dealings with the Dumani but with the situation in Hakara as it is I don't see them coming to anyone's rescue, certainly not the Cockays."

"Flamaguay?"

"You watch the news same as I do, Havel."

"A surprise move indeed," the Count stood up and pushed himself away from the desk, the green tome he had joked about earlier already covered by the shifting mass of communiques, internal memos, and reports. "I've already called the Palace and the Keep, we are meeting with His Imperial Majesty and the Joint Chiefs later today. I understand the diplomatic service will try to push to be allowed to officially observe the Zegoran referendum."

"They have no reason to refuse, if we are known for something in Zegora it's for being neutral."

"The Zegorans don't see that as a good thing, you know. As for the Prekovars, well, they have no reason to try and invade Cockaygne, pick a fight with the entire Commonwealth, and probably get entangled in a continental war for the second time in one hundred and twelve years yet here we are, Hubert. Need I remind of our 'gentlemen's agreement' with the Cockays?"

Hubert allowed himself to smile. "You mean the one where they send you a bottle of scotch for every joint report we make or the one where you send them wine back?"

Preston
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Re: Radovan walks again

Postby Preston » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:29 am

TRANSCRIPT OF REMARKS DELIVERED BY CPO BERNARDO GARCIA MENDES, DIRECTOR GENERAL, UPON THE OPENING OF THE X PRESIDIUM OF THE NATIONAL DIRECTIVE 10 JUNE 2019

---FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE---

Companheiros, I congratulate you upon the opening of the Tenth Presidium of the National Directive!

Companheiros, I congratulate you upon the attainment of one hundred years in pursuit and fulfillment of the Great Directivist Ideal!

One hundred years ago today, our Great Leader, Companheiro Antonio Silva Marques, set forth upon the Long March Toward National Renewal and Unity. With millions marching behind him, we have committed ourselves body, mind and spirit to the great and revolutionary labors of the National Directive, the uplift of our society and the pursuit of Strength, Unity and Dignity within our lifetimes and beyond. As we look to the next century, our hearts may swell with pride and confidence in our Great Directivist Idea and the certainty of the next level of human social development to come, that of complete Equilibrium.

As we look to the next decade and the great revolutionary tasks ahead, I am reminded of the final charge given by our Great Leader before his untimely death: to build the New Embrean Society in the Directivist way and in accordance with the Directivist ideal, by whatever necessary means; to prepare the human condition for the attainment of Equilibrium, the loftiest national goal and the great climax of human social development.

Our Great Leader taught that the National Directive is a fully organic ideal composed of and embodied in the unshakable will of the Embrean people, speaking as one voice, thinking as one mind and acting as one unit. It must be cognizant of and adaptive to changes in the human social condition on a global and local scale, whilst maintaining the essential and undiluted character of the Embrean spirit. It must never become fixed, immutable, stagnant, a prison of its own ideologies. To allow this is the most fatal error of self-worship; it is the death of our Directive, the stagnation of our people themselves.

To be a Directivist, to present Directivism and advance the Directivist society, requires that one be willing and able to consider old problems in new and revolutionary ways. It requires the speaking and acknowledgement of hard, sometimes uncomfortable, truths. It requires the fortitude to act upon those truths, considering not the self but the gain of the Nation, and the faith to see one's actions through to completion in the face of arduous work and fierce resistance.

I present now these candid truths to my dear Companheiros of the Tenth Presidium of our National Directive:

Our Embrea has fallen behind, greatly behind, its neighbors in all facets of economic development and prosperity.

Our Embrea has developed a dependence upon the Flamaguayan Confederation in economic and mutual assistance matters, to the detriment of each of our great countries.

Our Embrea has, contrary to the great and noble instruction of our Great Leader and Founder, become a prison of its own ideology, stagnant and decrepit before a world which has far surpassed it in every measurable regard.

The program we place before you is, in all regards, the most ambitious and revolutionary in the history of our Directorate. It requires the confrontation of uncomfortable truths, and the strength of will to resolve them in the benefit of our State. It compels us to act in ways uncommon and unthinkable a decade ago, and perhaps even today. Yet it must be done, to secure a lasting peace for all time between our Directorate and the whole of Wallasea; to ensure the prosperity of our people for the decade and the century to come; and to take our place, as proud, upright Embreans, among the mature states of our world.

With fearless optimism and unwavering belief in our People, our Strength and our National Directive, let us go forth!


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