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    Peaceful international interaction. Exchange of goods, services, or both..

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    Weapons and arms sales. Also contains some large catalogs by some prominent arms traders.

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    Space, the final frontier. These are some of the initiatives europeans are undertaking, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

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    • “Did you see those pictures of the Adaptons advancing north?” The question broke Molaghos Dagalaifos' train of thought. He had been watching a pair of blackbirds by the side of the road as they chased each other, both of them seemingly vying for a higher position than the other. As soon as one of the pair landed on a fence post or a branch above the other, the second one would fly off further away, trying to put some distance between them. He knew a bit about birds – both of the blackbirds were male, from the black plumage and orange beaks and rings around their eyes. He had been idly thinking about what had been about what was causing the problem between the two. The thing which puzzled him the most was that the birds didn't seem all that fussed with a Tauros main battle tank sat a dozen metres away from them. It was a beautiful late spring day in the Jaehos Valley. Either side of the wide river, mountains were silhouetted against the sky. There were rolling plains on each bank of the river, dotted with small herds of livestock tended by figures in the robes of the region. It would almost be the perfect place for a holiday but for one thing. That one thing, which really spoiled it, was the bass rumble of hundreds of diesel engines. An entire kometon of massive tanks wound its way down a wide highway, topped by armoured cars and behind the tanks, well out of view of Dagalaifos, were infantry fighting vehicles from the armoured infantry units. The recce vehicles would scout ahead and the tanks and IFVs would engage any resistance that they found. All of them were from the élite Paramonai. These were going to be the lead elements of the Tagmatine push towards into the heartlands of the northern warlords. Dagalaifos' tank was going to be the lead tank. It is a position that was considered to be an honour, although his position would be swapped to the back of his kontoubernion, or troop, at the end of the day. That way, the honour of being the lead would be shared between the rest of the platoon. It was the kind of honour that Dagalaifos wouldn't mind giving up. And he had been in this position before – during the Karthay Incident, his tank had been the first into Karthay City. He didn't really fancy being the lead tank into Parthen, too. He sighed to himself and turned around in his seat towards the source of the question. It was his loader, Maioriana, and she was looking at her PDA with a smirk plastered across her features. Her eyes were obscured by goggles which he knew to have a heads-up display in them and she wore a tanker's helmet on her head. He was wearing a similar set himself. She waved the device at him, too quickly for him to actually see the picture on it but he guessed what it was. It would have been of the Adapton commander, dressed in furs and on horseback. “They look fucking mental, don't they?” The smirk broke into a full grin. “And I heard their king looks like a proper nutbag in his ceremonial clothes. Wandering around half naked and shit.” “They've always been pretty fucking mental,” came another voice over the tank's intercom. That was the gunner, Kouritikos, who was sat in the turret below and between Dagalaifos and the loader. “The AdSoc thing should have been the giveaway. And then the Fatherist thing before that. I thought that we were going to put a stop to all of their shit when King Magnus took over.” “Instead, all we did was nearly run over a Vigla car,” replied Maioriana. “That was pretty funny,” said Dagalaifos, despite himself. No one really liked the Vigla, the Tagmatine military police. The rest of the crew could almost hear the driver's furious silence over the intercom whilst they grinned at the shared memory. He didn't find it quite so funny as the rest of them. They had been digging at him about it for months now. It hadn't really been Praeiektos' fault – the seventy-odd tonne Tauros had worked its way up to near enough full speed before the military police car pulled out in front of it in a desperate attempt to halt the advance across the Adapton border. Luckily, the bluecaps had been able to jump out just before the front of their vehicle was squashed almost flat beneath the tank's tracks. And almost an entire thematon bandon's worth of vehicles had been banged up in similar accidents as they ground to a halt just short of causing a major war. “Does anyone want a cuppa? I'm going to make one,” said Maioriana, disappearing back through her hatch. Every Tagmatine armoured vehicle was equipped with a kettle. Tea was the liquid that lubricated the gears and cogs of the Tagmatine war machine. “I know the boss has got some biscuits somewhere. Go grab them, will you?” The Molaghos smiled to himself as he climbed out of his hatch, careful to not knock the handles of the light autocannon on the hatch's pintle mount. He walked over the deck of the turret towards his pack. Opening it up and rooting about in it, he grabbed a tube of oat biscuits, which he'd got from his girlfriend before being sent out to the north western border of the Greater Holy Empire. He sat back down on the seat in the cupola and tore open the pack. A cup of tea was set down next to the cupola rim and in return he passed the packet into the grasping hand put towards him, but not before he put a couple of biscuits onto his lap. Thinking, the armour officer bit into a biscuit. Karthay had been a hard, punishing fight. Urban combat in a tank wasn't a very pleasant experience. Although his own tank hadn't been hit, Dagalaifos had seen others from his unit get hit by mines, enemy armour and even swarmed by infantry anti-tank teams. And he knew that the Haru armour they would face was on a par with the Tauros, although the latest models that the Paramonai and the specialist Klibanaforoi were probably better. Probably. His eyes flicked to the clock he could see at the bottom of his HUD. H-hour was quickly approaching. The loader's voice came over the intercom, muffled by a mouthful of biscuit. “I'm surprised we haven't seen Messy trotting down the line on a horsie. I heard that he wears riding boots and carries a crop when he meets with old Kommodos.” “Really? That sounds like bollocks,” replied the driver. There was a pause, likely the driver considering what Maioriana had said. “Well, probably the riding crop part. I bet he does wear the boots.” “Messy ain't in charge, though,” said Kouritikos. “We've got Killer, instead.” “He's a good commander, is Killer,” Dagalaifos said defensively. “I mean Strategos Akilios. He saw us through Karthay pretty well. Especially in the city fights.” He patted the cupola hatch of the tank. They'd gone through it in this actual tank. The rest of the crew made noises of agreement. “Our tourmarkhon won't be headed towards Parthen, anyway. We'll be on the plains of the Jaehos, clearing them.” It sounded easy enough, from when the Kometes was explaining it. They were cavalry and they were going to act as one of the main thrusts, clearing the way for the infantry to follow on. All the while, the air force was going to pound any communications hub or areas of resistance. Even now, a half hour before the ground forces were due to advance, Dagalaifos could see dozens of aircraft overhead, on their way to ruin some poor sod's day. The Megas Agios Basileia Arhomanion was trying not to telegraph its plans, but at this stage very few casual observers could miss it. An entire army group was hard to miss. The tourmarkhon was going to advance through the 'friendly' territory of the so-called 'Christian Warlord', some renegade general who had apparently embraced the Iconoclastic Orthodox Church in the hope that he would get recognition from Tagmatika. Now, he was going to get that in spades – some half million Tagmatine soldiers were going to use him as a something of a meat-shield before they burst across to the capital. The armour officer checked the time again. H-hour was nearly upon them and he felt his heart beat harder in his chest. Necking his tea, Dagalaifos put the mug down and put a serious expression on his face. “Alright, tea break's over for the moment,” he said, causing a chorus of groans from the rest of the crew. “Last checks. Run through it all.” Despite the informal and close relationship, the crew flipped over onto a professional footing straight away. Kouritikos checked the primary and back-up circuits of the main gun, Maioriana gave a rapid count of the ammunition of the Tauros's weaponry and Praeiektos gave him the read-outs from the driver's position. All seemed good. “There are no tinnies in the smoke launchers, Maioriana?” A surprisingly large problem within the Tagmatine armed forces was that the standard vehicle smoke launchers could happily fit a 500ml can of beer in the tube. Booze was regularly smuggled on exercises that way. There was an apocryphal story of a tank launching beers rather than deploying smoke and giving its own infantry support several cases of concussion. It was a story that Dagalaifos could readily seeing happen. “Nope, boss. Just Willy Pete.” “OK. Now we sit and - ” H-hour ticked over. As soon as it did so, the higher communication setting on the tank's system blinked on. The Kometes's voice broke through what the molaghos was going to say. “Well, get a move on, then.” A cool feeling washed over Dagalaifos. The advance was on. Still sitting in the open cupola, he hesitated before giving his driver the order. Over head, he could see flights of bombers moving off to start pounding anew anything that might give the Tagmatine advance any trouble. He looked over one final time towards the squabbling blackbirds. One of them had disappeared and the other one, sitting on a fence post, was starting to give an alarm call, as if it had just noticed that it was perched next to the lead elements of an armoured division. “Driver. Advance.” The sound of the tank's engine roaring into life and the tracks grinding and squeaking made the remaining blackbird fly to the nearest bush.
    • To: Greggor Ivanoff, Secretary General of the Socialist Federation of @Ahrana
      From: George Duval, President of the United States of Prymont   Secretary General, As I'm sure you're aware, the United States prioritises environmentalism in its policies and law making process to create a better, cleaner future for tomorrow's world. The United States has led the way in environmental innovation, and has so far created a global seed bank to which your country has free access, constructed an unprecedented scientific research base on Antargis with the Trans Continental Science Initiative, and are investing in thorium nuclear reactor research to produce greener, more efficient energy. Alongside this, my government has enforced fishing quotas in the Canamo Sea to remedy the effects of decades of overfishing and to prevent further damage to the delicate marine ecosystem.  As part of the government's plan to promote environmentalism both nationally and internationally, I would like to invite you to the University of Canastota to discuss fishing policies, as well as a host of environmental and political concerns. I believe it would benefit both of our nations greatly to discuss some key issues regarding this, and as such, I would like to show you the work that many intelligent teams at the university are doing to reverse the effects of climate change and global warming. Potentially we could discuss the sharing of academically researched information too. It is of utmost importance to the United States' political situation that we host this meeting as soon as possible.   Regards, George Duval
      President of the United States of Prymont
    • Parliamentary Chambers, Halsham House | 1056hrs
      23rd April 2018
      New Halsham
      Courtmarsh   "Settle down, ladies and gentlemen, settle down! I apologise for the delay in starting today's proceedings, but alas we can begin. The Chambers recognise George Duval?" The Speaker of the Chambers' voice carried a lot of weight in parliament. Historically, the Speaker was the man with the deepest, loudest voice; however, in recent years, the position had been opened up to men who were qualified more for the office work of the position than the yelling. Despite this, it was mandatory that the Speaker could be heard above all, and today his voice had a sharp edge, quickly settling the chaotic crowds into a silent intrigue. "Thank you Speaker." President Duval rose from his central seat on the front row, clearing his throat as he gathered his speech papers. Cameras at the rear of the room zoomed in on the leader, broadcasting the feed across the country and the world. This speech had the potential to make or break Prymont's economy, and so was considered a global political event. Analysts worldwide would be watching with a keen interest. "First and foremost, I too would like to apologise for the delay, and would like to thank my honourable friends and colleagues of the House for their patience. Speaker, if I may start with the National Party's decision on the future of fishing quotas in the Canamo Sea?" The Speaker nodded his consent, allowing the President to forgo the traditional beginnings of such a speech and begin at the business end. "Thank you Speaker. There has been much debate and controversy surrounding the conservative fishing quotas placed on fishermen working in the Canamo Sea. Personally, I welcome such debate and conversation, as it allows the National Party to focus on bills and laws that matter to the people of Prymont. This paves the way for making our country as great as it can be. One day, we will regulate a country in which everyone is happy, in which everyone earns a good living and lives a good life. We're not quite there yet, but it's of utmost importance to me and my cabinet to get there." Some members of the parliament, namely independents from the banned socialist Freedom Party seated at the rear of the room, booed their discontent. Many politicians in the room wanted to hear the President's decision now, and didn't care for empty promises of a better future. Only those with little to lose vocalised their unhappiness. "May we have some quiet, please?!" The Speaker rose his voice once again, his piercing grey eyes picking out the dissenters and forcing them to tug nervously at their collars. "Thank you. Mr Duval, please continue." "Thank you Speaker. I understand that many working men and women are unhappy with the current fishing quotas placed upon their territories in the Canamo Sea, and believe that their livelihoods are being hindered by such impediments. Such a historic, economically important industry like fishing must continue to ensure that families across the country can earn a living doing what they love, and to provide jobs for future generations who wish to honour their family's past and make a living for themselves. Like many of you, I have seen the images of empty fish markets at Canastota docks, markets which are usually bustling throughout the day now stand empty by noon. Industry experts have approached me to discuss their concerns, and working fishermen have seen out strikes to make their voices heard. I say now that I hear you, my party hears you, and we're here to help." "We want to do what is best for the United States as a whole. We have the country's best interest at heart, and I have spent much time contemplating the best course of action with my cabinet, with fishing experts, company owners, and employees, all of whom are affected by the quotas. It must be understood that I was elected into this position I hold on promises to promote a strong sense of environmentalism in the United States, and to ensure that the country is a global leader by the end of my current term in environmentalism. To keep this promise, the United States have been a founding member of the Trans-Continental Science Initiative, which, together with key leaders in all corners of the globe, aims to combat global warming, promote recycling, and reduce plastic waste. With the Prymont Environment Agency, the government has funded the successful construction of a global seed bank, which aims to store over one million unique seeds from varying climates around the world as a back-up of the world's crops. All businesses operating within Prymont, no matter how big or small, are responsible for the safe disposal of their waste. Households across the country are being given ever-expanded options to reduce, reuse, and recycle their waste. Prymont is a global innovator in reducing waste and finding new ways to reuse and re-purpose it." "However, I do understand that, in a blind attempt at pushing environmentalism, it has cost the country dearly. Hundreds have already lost their jobs because of our strict fishing quotas, and thousands more are at risk unless we act now. I assume that everyone here understands the importance of preventing overfishing, an act that rapidly reduces the livestock of fish in the Canamo Sea and will quickly see the extinction of all desired fish in the area. I understand that Prymontians are very proud people, and wish to buy locally and nationally sourced foodstuffs to feed the economy and create more jobs. However, this cannot get in the way of the ultimate goal, which is allowing the reduced fish numbers to repopulate and return to their once great heights of decades ago. Years of careless overfishing have caused our surplus to be depleted, and now we are at risk of losing all fish-related jobs because of this. This wasteful act has to stop." "After reviewing numerous case studies and government-published reports, it has come to my attention that our neighbours in the Socialist Federation of @Ahrana also fish excessively in the Canamo Sea. Their backwards way of thinking and corrupt government sees no wrong in overfishing, and promotes it recklessly to ensure short-term job security and immediate funds. No care for the future of both jobs and the environment is present in Ahrana, and it is time the United States acted accordingly." "From June, the United States will be reducing the current quotas by 75%, allowing for a far greater number of fish to be caught per trawl per day. In turn, the United States of Prymont Navy will be patrolling the south of the Canamo Sea to ensure that trawls are catching the correct amount of fish. While the United States set the example in the Canamo area of introducing quotas and allowing the fish populations to regrow, Ahrana destroyed all of the progress that we had made and therefore must reconsider. I will call for an urgent meeting with Ahrana's Secretary General to make sure his country does their part for the future and prosperity of Canamo fish. For too long, Ahrana has spread propaganda of being a great, productive country, and now must be exposed for the shambles that they are. For too long, they have disrespected the United States in all areas of politics, economics, and culture. For too long, they have claimed that socialism is the way forwards, and that we are hindering them. Well, I say, no more! No more will the United States stand aside for Ahrana's toxic agenda, allowing their filthy people to commit serious war crimes in innocent lands such as Xara and then go on to claim them as their own. No more will the United States tolerate such vermin in our vicinity. No more will the United States permit Ahrana to spread their dirty socialist lies! No more, I say! No more!" During his speech, hundreds of members of the National Party had applauded and cheered on the President. Support around the room quickly escalated as he promised to reduce the quota and hinder Ahrana instead, to the point that, when he paused for the reaction, he was met with cries of joy and support. Only the few independents, who supported socialism and had been disappointed at the country's turn to capitalism, remained deathly silent, resenting every word Duval spoke. However, they did not matter. What mattered were the vocal ones, the majority of the room yelling their encouragement for their leader. What was meant to be a speech of review, had quickly turned into a rally of hatred and scapegoating. "Settle down, ladies and gentlemen, please! Quiet in the Chambers! Let us allow George Duval to continue!" "Thank you, Speaker." Duval allowed himself a moment to compose and recollect, sipping a glass of water and shifting through his notes to prepare for the next segment. Having grown quite passionate and empowered previously, it was time again to settle down and proceed with focus. "Now, I would like to move on to the United States and her supposed rising levels of aggression. Many of you, alongside national and international critics, have noticed that recently, the United States is partaking in a growing number of military activities this year. So far, we have sent peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts to the war-torn Hellenic Rus to allow their country to get back on their feet and return to glory, been a co-founder of the Tricontinental Defence Treaty, and enacted a naval blockade with our new TRIDENT allies in the Verde Sea to prevent Ahranaian ships from moving towards Xara. Late last year, we also created a blockade at the mouth of the Canamo Sea, to reduce the amount of inbound ships intended to supply the Circle of Death terrorist group and to ensure our neighbourhood is safe. Finally, we have sent naval vessels to Andalla, to participate in Exercise Atgeir, a joint TRIDENT training mission. I would like to confirm and endorse these actions publicly, and provide reasoning as to why they have occurred." "Tensions have been rising suddenly in central Argis. States such as Ahrana, the Eurofuhrer, Greater Serbia, Poland-Lithuania, and the Hellenic Rus all employ forms of socialism. Thankfully, the Hellenic Rus collapsed at the end of 2017, and we can now work on restoring the country with a more liberal form of democracy. However, the same cannot be said for other mentioned nations. Recently, Ahrana and a southern hemisphere nation, Asgeirria, have formed The Confederation, a collection of socialist countries that, like ATARA, hopes to benefit from one another and improve trading relations, among focusing on military prowess. We also have the rogue state of Derthalen in southern Argis, who has shot down Lysian planes and caused innocent civilian casualties. Derthalen has also threatened Mauridiviah with horrifying acts of violence if their citizens are found in Derthaler territory, and the country is reportedly planning a military training event with Astriedan. It saddens me to say that Argis is no longer a safe haven from the terrors of the Old World. More nations are taking an increasingly aggressive militaristic stance in the continent, and we have seen Ahrana, Poland-Lithuania, and the Eurofuhrer invade surrounding lands to expand their borders in a violent, hostile manner. Ahrana are also working closely with the Derthalen rogue state, which is terrifyingly close to home. Unfortunately, the United States is in the middle of this, and there is nothing I can do to change our geographical positioning. Therefore, we have to take a stance." "With our TRIDENT brothers, we aim to decrease the risk of the socialist bloc in central Argis, providing a safe place to live for tomorrow's generation. This cannot be done with diplomacy and handshakes, as I've experience first hand with Ahrana's Secretary General. For their countries to realise that there is extreme opposition, we must take a physical, equally aggressive stance. If we do not, we risk allowing these socialist nightmares free reign over our area, opening up the possibility of Prymont one day falling back into socialism. This isn't something that I will allow to happen. The United States will resist these changes. The United States will resist the increase of socialism in central Argis. The United States will resist the spreading of corrupt political ideologies, under the false pretence of creating a better, more united tomorrow. When we live in such a world, we have to take action, or we risk being left behind. Since the uniting of the Prymontian states, our nation has been a productive one, that paves the way for future innovation and trendsetting. We will not fall behind to socialist extremists who believe their deceitful policies are superior!" "The only way that we can stay as a positive, peaceful nation, is to arm ourselves and defend. We will not go on the offensive against our socialist opposites. The Verde Blockade was with the intention of defending the innocent Xara natives who were being ruthlessly slaughtered by Ahranaians. It pains me to confirm that the Ahranaian Secretary General confirmed that these actions were legal under Ahranaian socialist law. What kind of a world do we live in, where war crimes are legal and accepted? It's that kind of disruptive, chaotic thinking that makes the New World a laughing stock amongst the larger, more powerful nations. We have to stand up and show that we're not backwards creatures." "As such, I would like to announce the declassification of Project Canamo. Commencing from December 26th 2017, Project Canamo saw the United States launch peacekeeping initiatives in the Hellenic Rus to stabilise the region and prevent their downfall from causing our own. Since then, our dedicated men and women have secured the capital of the country, Salonica, and pushed the criminal Circle of Death plague away. For now, their numbers are low, and their stragglers remain in hiding. The second phase of Project Canamo will see the United States set the scene for elections in the Hellenic Rus later in the year. Currently, we're overseeing the rebuilding of vital infrastructure, such as logistics routes, essential community buildings, and the sending of life's necessities to the country. Volunteers are working day and night to get the Hellenic Rus back up on their feet, and we are eternally grateful for their hard work and support." "With Project Canamo, the United States will take the Hellenic Rus under her wing, and guide her in the right direction for the future of not only her country, but for the neighbourhood. The Hellenic Rus will set the example of liberal democracy on the doorstep of the socialist bloc. In the Canamo region, Ahrana will be the only one employing socialism. Ahrana will be exposed for the abhorrent country that they are!" President Duval finished his speech, to thunderous applause from party members and opposition alike. The President remained stood for a moment or two, taking in the praise and support with a firm smile. Dozens of TV cameras focused on his face, displaying a symbol of true leadership in a troubled country. George Duval was the man that Prymont needed, after years of destructive socialism.  
    • “Ideally, this would be a 'hearts and minds' affair but I'm not entirely sure who exactly it is that we're trying to convince here,” said Ghoulielmos. He was sat in room that adjoined the office of the Megas Logothetes for War. The room, although large, acted as a private reception and sitting room, a place where the office's occupant might unwind or receive honoured guests. It was part of the Imperial Palace Complex, so it wasn't as if any comings and goings could be held secret. A pair of bodyguards from the Ikanatoi stood outside of the main, and sole, entrance to the office suite and another two in the antechamber beyond it. The Megas Logothetes for Foreign Affairs nodded a thanks as a tumbler of brandy was sat on a coaster in front of him. It wasn't an old vintage – a decade at most. Ghoulielmos' host didn't believe in drinking truly expensive drinks. It was something that new money did and his family was anything but. It also seemed slightly crass, nothing more than an example of conspicuous consumption for the sake of it. “Thank you.” “And what do you mean by that?” The Megas Logothetes for War raised his eyebrow at his counterpart. He sat down in a deep armchair with his own brandy, looking at the amber liquid within the glass rather than the man opposite. The two of them were, almost oddly for high-ranking members of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, friends and not just colleagues. The formality that the The leather of the chair squeaked as he shifted to make himself comfortable. It was a warm enough day that the heating wasn't on but the palace as a whole always seemed to field cold. Kontarian guessed that it was the sheer amount of marble and brick made the entire place a heat sink. “Well, there are really three factors, here.” Sensing that he had provoked something of a lecture, Kontarian sank back further into his chair and itched at the collar of his shirt. “The first is, of course, the people in the territory that we're annexing, if I may be so bold as to put it like that.” Kontarian shrugged and then paused for a moment before nodding his head. It wasn't something that the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion would go outright as to say but he doubted that any other government would see it as anything other than that. In his chair opposite, Ghoulielmos took a sip from his glass before warming to his subject. “No matter what is said, there is always the idea of self-determination, that people within an area have the right to forge their own destiny. It is no secret that that theory has never truly taken hold in Europa. Smaller nations are more or less fair game until a larger country decides to recognise them or they just become too strong to take over. Then there is the fact that the crumbling remains of a collapsing nation rarely seem to transition into anything other than warlordism.” “Yes...” Kontarian really couldn't do anything other than agree, if cautiously. The final statement seemed to hold true in the main but the first one wasn't exactly that polite a train of thought. The Occident was, with the exception of @Fleur de Lys, the only stable area in eastern continent. Whilst there might not be open conflict burning across the region, it does not seem to take much to start it almost anywhere. “We are to convince them that they're better off under the wing of the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomanion than their own rulers, whether warlords or actually someone who is trying to make a proper, functioning state. That's the first." That might be relatively easy, at least in the populations of the areas bordering on Tagmatium. Even if the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion had been wary of provoking anything after the Haru government had gone quiet, at the local level cross-border trade and travel had started to happen. It had grown after Tagmatium and Machina Haruspex had become allies and picked up again after the central government collapsed. Further afield, there would be more resistance, especially the capital. “The second is the wider world, of course. As we speak, a few of the nations to the west are going through more or less the same thing. @Prymont is undertaking a peacekeeping operation in the Hellenic Rus and it is widely suspected by my Logothesion to be the first step towards total annexation, whether they admit to it or not. And then, of course, there is the fact that we have joined in the efforts against @Derthalen, ultimately because of their expansion.” “Although originally it was because of their savage threats to citizens of @Mauridiviah, rather than the expansion itself,” pointed out Kontarian. “That was decided that it was a step too far, threatening death in such a manner. Even if it is a nation of barbaroi.” “Finally, the third factor. The people of the Greater Holy Empire. Ultimately, this will be the hardest, I believe. The collapse of our neighbours to the north has been quite a shock. On the one hand, I think many of them will react favourably to Tagmatine forces bringing stability to the strife that many think could spill over the border. However, if any of these warlords get into their heads to act in concert, then it could well lead to a long and bloody war.” Kontarian sighed at that and looked into the bottom of his glass as if willing it to refill. “You really don't have to tell me about that. The Epistrategai feels that this will ultimately be successful. It just may run on for some time. What became the themata of Easteia took a long time to pacify entirely and these warlords to the north have access to some serious kit. In some ways we're luckier than @Adaptus – the warlords are pretty fractured, unlike the religious nutbags they're fighting in their southern theatre. But it will, in all likelihood, be pretty bloody.” After that, both men lapsed to silence for a while, in their own thoughts. Unlike Ghoulielmos' office, this one was not on the side of the natural harbour that Tagmatika was built around. Instead, it faced towards the city itself. The noise that filled that silence wasn't the gentle sounds of the ocean but the bustle of a large city. It wasn't intrusive, not really, but it could be hard to tune it out at times. “The busiest subdivision of the Epistrategai is the rail planning one,” said Kontarian, breaking the silence. “The movement of several themata banda to the north means that there is a lot more rail traffic than there would ordinarily be. As we're still on a peace-time footing, they're trying not to disrupt the normal timetables, for freight and for passengers. It's taken a lot of work to try to achieve that. It would be easier to just suspend civilian rail movement and give the military right of way, but both Khalkeos and Tzimekhes pushed hard against that.” The Logothesia for Trade and Finance, working in concert, would be a hard force to push against, even for the Tagmatine armed forces. Even though it would ultimately slow down the deployment of forces against the warlords, the decision was made by the Agios Basilikon Vestiarion to make sure that the economic impact of the troop movements was as small as possible. Of course, the sudden emptying of barracks towns of a good chunk of their population would certainly have an adverse effect on the local economies. Silence reigned again. “Will they see us coming?” asked Ghoulielmos. “They can't not, to some extent,” replied Kontarian. He drained the last of his glass and got up, in order to collect the decanter from a side table. “The Epistrategai has been undertaking the sort of deception that you would expect them to – false radio transmissions, blocking of passive communications, that sort of thing. But the sheer scale means that the warlords may well have caught wind of something. Before the invasion begins, the Basilikoaeroporia will start to hit air defences, strong points and the like, to distrupt enemy communications. We're also putting out chatter about military exercises.” The Megas Logothetes for Foreign Affairs drained his own glass and held it out. It was dutifully refilled by Kontarian before he sat himself down again. “Really, this shit with these fucking savages in Derthalen is giving us a convenient excuse to start massing shipping and pretending it has more to do with that than them,” the Megas Logothetes for War said. His friend suddenly noticed just how tired he sounded. “But that could backfire. If there Derthalers suddenly think that the invasion force is pointed their way...” “They are increasingly isolated,” said Ghoulielmos. “Only @Ahrana seems to stand by them at the moment and they themselves appear to be coming under fire for this. The world more or less seems to be following us in viewing them as a rogue state. They aren't really in a position to trigger a war. And our relations with them basically can't get any worse.” That last sentence was said with a slight shrug of the shoulders by the foreign minister. “Either way,” Kontarian said, looking at his watch. “In less than twelve hours, the first soldiers should be crossing the border. Then we'll see how many hearts and minds we win.”
    • Koos Karrewasser Domestic Airport - Fingerfaaierplaats | Near noon ''Have you ever tried closing off a regular international airport? It's insane, really! The costs, the effort... It's not worth it, you know? Luckily this airport is pretty new and underused so we were able to get it for a steal.''
      ''Wasn't there a possibility to just close off a part of a bigger airport?''
      ''Oh yeah, that's a great choice. Let's have us wait on an active airport, I'm sure our ears would love that. And all those vehicles surely wouldn't have spooked any civilians taking off and landing.''
      ''No need to get bitchy, you know.'' The Koos Karrewasser Domestic Airport was a modern but rather small airport, serving as the second airport for the city of Fingerfaaierplaats. The other airport, the Horst Hildebrant Domestic Airport, was in serious need of an upgrade and the Koos Karrewasser Domestic Airport had been built to both increase the passenger capacity of the area and allow the Horst Hildebrant Domestic Airport to renovate and upgrade, possibly becoming a Regional Airport like some others within the nation. While Regional Airport meant nothing more than 'better facilities than a domestic airport, worse ones than an actual international one', the possibility of having an airport in the area that was able and allowed to receive international flights was seen as an impulse that the area around Fingerfaaierplaats needed. Fingerfaaierplaats had originally been the center of Variotan mining operations, sending off ships, trucks and airplanes filled with ores and minerals, hosting a prestigious university focused on resource extraction and enough monuments, paid for through mining money, to gain it the unofficial title of 'Monument City of Het Huisselant'.  Modern times had been rough on the area and old-timers of the city were often speaking of a slow but clear descent of the city, albeit clever negotiation and the existence of the Karrewasser Waafen & Fegtfoertuigen factory ensured that they were able to keep the mining industry active. The 1960's were when Fingerfaaierplaats received its death blow. Mining operations in the Klan Reierfer Gebiet were picking up, cheaper in labor and looser in laws, and the Karrewasser Waafen & Fegtfoertuigen company had been integrated into Varinco in 1956. While the Karrewassers, proud inhabitants of Fingerfaaierplaats since 1820, had always kept their factory in the area to provide local jobs, Varinco had no such quarrels and quickly moved the factory to Ferrefaaierhafen. As if one was pushing a domino, the area saw its downfall. The port and other transport hubs were forced to lay off workers and shrink their operations, the Kollege fan Lantwinning moved most of its studies to the Klan Reierfer Gebiet and the only thing the people were left with were the monuments, previous symbols of pride had turned into shameful displays of waste. Only in the late 80s did the area begin improving again. The lack of available jobs in the area and the accompanying lower prices for goods and services made it very attractive for vacation parks to settle in the area, able to provide lower class citizens from other parts of the nation with affordable vacations. This domestic tourism was helped by the monuments, providing people with enough to see and do. The parks themselves hired local staff but most helped were local businesses, able to expand and improve due to the money coming in. When J.D. Karrewasser became chairman of Varinco in 1991, the area saw further improvement and finally fully moved from being the cheap and hopeless part of the nation into being the cheap part of the nation. Pulling strings within the company, Karrewasser managed to bring back a manufacturing division to the location where his family had proudly manufactured weapons and vehicles of destruction for decades. Before the end of the year 1992, the Karrewasser Waafen & Fegtfoertuigen factory was producing the then-newest version of the Fliegpaart tank. The airport had also been done through J.D. Karrewasser pulling strings. When it became clear that the Horst Hildebrant Domestic Airport wasn't up to date anymore, the municipal council debated the various choices with the cheapest option seen as the best, closing down and renovating parts of the airport on a rotational basis. A two million Waarttemun investment and the assurance that the municipal council would be able to hire contractors with Varinco ties at the price Varinco normally received managed to convince them otherwise.  And now it was to be the opening site of an historic meeting between Het Huisseland and the Imperial States of Europe. The Minister of Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs were waiting at one of the gates, a red carpet spread out in front of them. On their left were the press and prominent social media influencers, holding their cameras and other contraptions ready to ensure the perfect picture or sound bit. In Het Huisselant, it was normal for the press and others that could sway public relations to get full access to events. In a game of give and take, it's always better to keep your frenemy more to the friend than the enemy side of things. To the right were military vehicles and two limousines. Even with the Imperial States of Europe coming to Het Huisselant and their jet receiving an escort the second it crossed into Variotan air space, it looked good for the pictures and ensured proper security. Between the armed Aatlaar multipurpose vehicles and Stoomfaaier APC's, there was enough security to look good on photos, keep the airport safe if needed and escort the limousines that were soon to be stuffed with delegates. The two vehicles were done on purpose, to split the delegation and make it easier to size people up. Both Reemy Loopentlant and Aleiksander fan Gillofan-Lantboer had their own way of sizing people up, Reemy's coming from a long political career and Aleiksander's from serving in the special forces. This difference between Reemy, the professional politician that had become Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Aleiksander, the retired special forces commander that at one point received the nickname 'Son of the Devil' turned Minister of Defence, was also seen in their clothing. While Aleiksander had various suits and generally did not wear his uniforms, it was times like these when he felt the need to prove his pride in the HAP and the part he played in it. Reemy, with his impeccable black silk suit and crocodile leather shoes, his various golden rings and a haircut that was held together with enough hair spray to make it dangerous for him to light a cigarette. Aleiksander in his black dress uniform with purple trimming, enough medals hanging on it to make one wonder if he had actually earned them or if they gave them away in Het Huisselant and a medium long hairdo that made his face come over soft, as if he was a friendly, relaxed senior-aged man. In reality, Aleiksander was indeed a friendly, relaxed senior-aged man but also one that could still snap a neck, hit a target and hold his own. While he wasn't the Son of the Devil like he was in the 1970's, he'd still be a decent Father of the Devil. Once the plane had landed and the delegation had walked the red carpet, there was to be a short introduction and some press pictures and videos. After that, the limousines would pull up and both the delegation and the two ministers would divide and enter the vehicles. Koos Karrewasser Domestic Airport was only ten kilometers out of the city of Ferrefingerplaats and thus the drive would prove to be over in less than half an hour. While Ferrefingerplaats lacked the amount of prestige buildings that Grootwaterflakte and Ferrefaaierhafen had, the ministers had planned to use the route to their advantage and pass the various monuments that the city counted. Between statues and other decorations of miners, old battles, naval leaders and military vehicles, the hope was that the sight of these monuments would show off the age and prestige of the nation. Prestige was an important point here, as everyone wanted it. From the winos of Europa to the communists of Argis and the proud people of Alharu, each and everyone wanted to be seen as great, an example of how things were done. After the small prestige tour, the route would stop at the Kaasmarkt Hotel. One of the oldest and largest in town, it was named after the square in front of it which had previously hosted the cheese market. Its banquet hall, one adorned with a multitude of wood and hunting trophies as had been 'in' in Het Huisselant in the 1800's, was to be the place hosting the meeting. As the leader of the ISE had requested a windowless room, the banquet hall was really the only room within the hotel suitable for it. Additionally, as any proper Variotan meeting contained food and drinks, the banquet hall was like hitting two birds with one stone.
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