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The hand that stabs you can also feed you

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Have you ever gotten that feeling that something bad is about to go down? The way that it sinks to your stomach, makes you feel as if a stone has been dropped in your stomach. Or, in some cases, as if you're hungry even if you've already had something to eat. That tingling feeling in the back of your skull, tingling and tingling because you know that something is happening but you haven't the foggiest idea what. You can't explain it, maybe it's a guardian angel watching you, maybe it's the ghost of your prankster Uncle Ted who decided to mess with you because he has little less to do in the afterlife. Those feelings, ever had them? Yes? Good. Our unfortunate gangster, used car salesman and drug pusher Nikolai Radomir felt them too, this very evening.

As with any other day, Nikolai didn't cook. Of course, he didn't, he was the man of the relations, the provider, the boss. No respectable crime boss cooks, cooking crime bosses was something for those pansy Europans or Variotans. Nor did his wife, a petite 20-something barely-legal trophy wife whose ass-length bought-on-the-cheap fake hair extensions almost seemed to want to ignite in flames when around heat and whom, if you stripped her down to her natural self, would lose about half of her body weight in fake hair, fake nails, fake eyelashes, make-up and what not. If someone would ever release a cheap knockoff of an Essex barbie, it was almost guaranteed that this doll would look like Nikolai's wife.

With his wife being primarily interested in Nikolai's large amount of money and his readily available supply of narcotics, it was obvious that they didn't eat in their gaudy mansion. Who eats dinner in their home? Plebs! Not a wealthy and powerful crime lord like Nikolai, he ate at the best Lukan restaurant that served Lukan cuisine. Nikolai wasn't a man of genuine tastes and as such had always disliked the Variotan cuisine that many of the upscale restaurants in Lukinagrad served. Luckily for him, restaurants were also a great way to launder money so Nikolai had simply made his own upscale restaurant.

And now, he was seated on a table in the middle of the restaurant, depicting his status as if he was the sun around which the planets revolve. A table for four, although only him and his wife were seated. His two children, his daughter of twenty and his son of sixteen, were late. They were always late, the fools. They never wanted to drive with their father and presumably rightfully so as Nikolai himself also loved a sniff or two once or twice and then went on a speeding rampage that had, thankfully, never led to a deadly end.

Downing his fourth shot of LuVodka, he felt his phone vibrate. Hoping that it was his son, calling him to let him know they were parking, he saw that it was his daughter instead that had called him. She almost never called him as she drove and didn't like breaking the rules as much as her father did. Swiping it to accept, Nikolai tried speaking until he heard her.

''Papa, papa!''
You could hear a hand being held over her mouth to keep her from shouting further. 

''Don't give them anything, dad!''

A young man's voice could be heard in the background now, presumably the son of the aforementioned Nikolai Radimir. The panicked cry-scream of the young woman and the defiance of the young man was replaced with a deep male voice.

''Are you Nikolai Radimir?''
''What the f*ck is this?''
''ARE. YOU. NIKOLAI. RADIMIR. FULL. f*ckING. STOP. Answer the question.''
''I am.''

Bang!

''Aaah! They shot Svetlana! Sveti noooo!''

Bang!

''You're next.'' click

The click that Nikolai heard at that moment was one of the softest and yet hardest sounds he'd ever hear. His cocaine and alcohol-fueled brain went on a rampage and the only way he could act out was in anger, anger at the insolence of the murderers, anger at his incompetence to protect his children, anger at the tarnishing of his position as a crime lord. The table that he had sat on received a quick and harsh punishment from his fists but didn't break as it was made out of solid wood nor did Nikolai feel the pain that was associated with punching such a table with your bare knuckles. Some would have figured Nikolai to be a stupid and somewhat courageous man, one who would have collected all his men and went on a rampage to avenge his children. Het Apparath had known better, Nikolai was almost as smart as he was cowardly. Why waste your own time and risk your life when you can simply send your men away?

And that was what he did. From the restaurant, he raced straight home to his mansion with his security trying to keep up with him. His resolve was even further set in stone to avenge his children when he saw the wreck of the car that they had driven, burned out completely just a mere kilometer or two from his mansion. If these murderers were bold enough to grab his children just barely a stone's throw from his base of operations, then he would be bold enough to cut off all their fingers and toes as the starting torture for when he caught them. Nikolai was so filled with anger that he never even saw the men in wait surrounding the hills of his mansion. Not that the chance would have been high for him to spot them even when he wasn't angry as Nikolai was a simple gangster, one without military training or any training at all.

Thus, he made the fatal decision to send out all but a crew of his most 'loyal' men to find out who did it before retreating to his personal office to mourn alone. His wife was glad for this, as it meant an easy night with a bath, some cocaine and having the bed all to herself. While she was attractive, at least in the eyes of some men, she wasn't exactly known for her empathy.

Thanks to the lack of an adequate amount of security, the team from Het Apparath could sneak in without issues. Some might call this a great accomplishment but then again, drug-fueled gangsters weren't exactly known for their security measures. Either way, the team was now in. And like any good team of Het Apparath, they knew exactly what to do in order to pull off the surgical strike in such a way that the Radomirci would turn over to the Dimitrovskici. Nikolai was to be made a symbol, something to fear to turn into. His wife, while not being an accomplice and simply being there at the wrong time, was also to be cleaned up.

The wife was easiest. As she sank into her tub, headphones plugged into a nearby stereo and window open, an agent of Het Apparath scrawled through the open window. With her head turned to the door instead of the window and music blasting, she never saw or heard anything. While he could have simply held her underwater and be done with it, the agent decided to have a little fun and took out his lighter. Her cheap hair extensions caught on fire quicker than even cheaper polyester hit by fireworks. However, thanks to her love for cocaine and the fact that she was almost bald if she didn't have the extensions, she only began feeling it when the entire extension was caught on fire. Without thinking, she pulled her head down into the water with such a force that she pushed the nearby stereo into the bath, hitting her square on the head and electrocuting her.

Nikolai was harder but barely. With his office containing only one window and no way out of the mansion beyond that window or moving through it, the plan had been to throw him out of it and grab him along. The agent assigned to him first had to wait until the few remaining security guys had moved towards the front of the house. Naturally, they would as the only genuine entrance to the mansion was a large gate with the perimeter protected with a thick stone wall. Once they had, it was as simple as climbing up and putting yourself in such a position that allowed to pull a person out of the window. Well, simple... Nothing about it was relatively simple but for Het Apparath and/or serial cheaters that were often almost caught, this was part of the normal workday.

A tap on the window sufficed to lure Nikolai, who opened the window to see what had happened and was promptly thrown down unto the grass below. Knocked unconscious, Nikolai was quickly dragged along to a third agent that was waiting with a car nearby. The next morning, Nikolai would be found in front of his, then burning, mansion with his mangled body crucified on a cross made from scrap metal. Each body part had been detached from the torso before getting pinned onto the scrap metal cross and his head, with nails through his eyes, had its mouth held open by a roll of paper on which his various crimes stood and the politicians that he had supported with it.

Times were changing in Lukinagrad.

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Prime Minister Vladimir Ivanov resigns, Radomir murder-scandal involvement claims another; Courts and Military take control!

 

Today, standing on the steps of the Grand City Hall in the historic center of Lukinagrad, Prime Minister Vladimir Ivanov of the Partija za Podobruvanje na Lukinagrad (Party for the Betterment of Lukinagrad) declared that he would resign after widespread discontent among the people. While large-scale protests that not yet begun, the general consensus among citizens was and remains that the situation was one that could not continue on. Prime Minister Ivanov was one of the many names mentioned in the Radomir murder-scandal and one of the primary participants, both as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lukinagrad and in his position as party leader of the PPL. While it remains unknown if Ivanov will be indicted, radical vigilantes among citizens in the economically-slumping rural and industrial areas have called for his trial or his head, a call that has been encouraged by the Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata (Brothers of Justice Party) and it's extremist leader Gjorge Aleksandrov.

The Radomir murder-scandal, which saw disgraced businessman and crime lord Nikolai Radomir, his family and his accomplices murdered in gruesome and brutal ways, remains on everyone's mind. While the act itself would have been enough to shake Lukinagrad, the information that was released after the murders ensured for the fall of the current government and cabinet. Initial reports stated that Radomir was found with a list of names in his mouth, although the list lacked any evidence and was unable to be confirmed until anonymous figures dropped off documents that were able to be easily confirmed at Radio Televizija Lukinagradska. These documents, seemingly from Radomir's accountant Aleksander Arsov, contained dates, payoffs and strategy papers. Remains belonging to Arsov were found in the smoldering remains of the Radomir mansion.

The first person to be indicted was Minister of Industry Nestorov, who was revealed to have taken regular bribes in order to prevent the opening of the automotive industry to foreign corporations. This allowed Radomir to buy and sell more second-hand cars, through which he smuggled narcotics, as only the upper class was able to import foreign cars due to the costs. Nestorov, the leader of the Socijalni Konzervativci (Social Conservatives), was caught attempting to flee over the border in his car, a trunk filled with Lukan Dinar and a motor that stopped and didn't want to start again. Ironically, Nestorov's automobile was a luxury second hand one from Radomir's business. He is currently under the surveillance of the Lukan military awaiting his trial for treason, taking bribes and fraud.

With Prime Minister Ivanov resigning and very little politicians of the two reigning parties maintaining a clean slate, the cabinet has been left insufficiently capable to continue on. As such, the three High Judges of Lukinagrad have asked the Lukan military to aid them in temporarily taking over control of the nation while elections are prepared. General Vasily Lukashenko has been selected as the face of this temporary government. While elections are being prepared, no date for the said election has been mentioned as of yet due to the new government needing to take control and settle things first. All eight parties in Lukinagrad have shown their intention to run in the coming election, although it is yet unknown if the PPL and SK are allowed to run or will be disbanded due to their heinous and grievous crimes against the Lukan people.


 

Current parties in Lukinagrad:

Left-wing:

  • Socijalistite za Nova Idnina (Socialists for a New Future) - Received eight percent of the vote last election
  • Agrarnata Reformska Partija (Agrarian Reform Party) - Received ten percent of the vote last election

Center:

  • Partija za Podobruvanje na Lukinagrad (Party for the Betterment of Lukinagrad) - Received thirty percent of the vote last election - Possibility to get disbanded
  • Socijalni Konzervativci (Social Conservatives) - Received twenty-five percent of the vote last election - Possibility to get disbanded
  • Lukinagrad Napred (Lukinagrad Forward) - Received five percent of the vote last election

Right-wing:

  • Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata (Brothers of Justice Party) - Received three percent of the vote last election - Extremists
  • Sojuz na Vartotanski Imigranti (Union of Variotan Immigrants) - Received seven percent of the vote last election
  • Narodna Revolucija (People's Revolution) - Received twelve percent of the vote last election
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Preliminary notes on the Lukan Parliamentary Elections and Events surrounding it - Code 1-LST-18 - Agent W12-33 

Pre-Election:

  • Operative R.D. proved inventive and effective, available, able and willing to pull strings beyond the current capabilities of Het Apparath within the Lukan state. Agent notes that most of these strings are due to growing up in the same general neighborhood, instilling a sense of loyalty among them. 
  • Providing the operative with firearms in a criminal environment used to knifes was a risk but one that paid off due to the large amount of military training within operative's group. Analysts state that chances were large that groups outside of Het Apparath's control would have imported black market firearms within 6 to 12 months to retaliate against N. Radomir's expansion plans, we have now managed to keep that isolated to groups under our control..
  • Operative R.D. remained loyal to Het Apparath, whether this is due to greed, the possibility of additional power or threats of death is not known. Respect for the chain of command due to military training and career may be part of this.
  • N. Radomir's removal was violent but accurate. Agents involved in this operation are to be commended. The aftermath, handled by Operative R.D. and his group, erased traces of said operation. The loss of eighteen lives was within operational parameters and proved vital in regards to paving the way for N. Radomir's group to fold into Operative R.D.'s group.
  • Media, including governmental ones, were quick to jump on the evidence and anonymous tips given. This, regretfully, removed any options towards blackmailing influential Lukan politicians but did speed up the Lukan justice system and ensured elections.
  • Takeover by the military and the justice system was not the optimal option but was included in the analyses by other bureaus. Operative R.D. proved resourceful through pulling aforementioned strings, has shown secondary connections to one of five Lukan judges. This agent advises to seek out current filth or fabricate or stage new filth in order to ensure primary connections to said judges.
  • Takeover proved useful for establishment of trade node. Operative R.D. and his group have managed to quickly turn around N. Radomir's facilities for themselves. Increase in counterfeit cigarettes and stolen goods within Het Huisselant has been deemed minor and acceptable. Analyses shows that some domestic importers of said goods may be used at a later date.
  • Minor economic uncertainty in friendly area ensured rapid supply of cocaine towards trade node at prices lower than domestic production. The supply was able to quickly be turned into usable funds and remains available, if at random times and random amounts.
  • Addendum to previous point: This agent advises the usage of trade node and supply from friendly area to naturally subsidize programs aimed at increasing markets in areas deemed negative. Bureau 69 may be of additional help in this regard.
  • Political parties P.B.P. and S.N.I. deemed risk for post-election period due to large amounts of anti-Variotan elements. P.B.P. seems unwilling to change due to general anti-foreigner stance, S.N.I. holds belief that Het Huisselant is hostile to their socialistic ideology. Analyses shows that inserting a Walensian or Neo-Walensian puppet party may steal enough vote from the P.B.P. to disable them from being a threat. S.N.I. will have to be dealt with through political means.
  • Operative R.D. moved on his own and pulled strings to enable the removal of negatively corrupt politicians that were incarcerated. This proves limited usefulness of the P.B.P. party members, if only within the Lukan incarceration system. This removal ensured the disbanding of political parties P.P.L. and S.K. and ensured a large amount of undecided voters able to manipulate through campaigning. 
  • Justice system and military leadership had talks in regards to establishing authoritarian regime. Military leadership declined then attempted to establish one among their own. Infighting and anonymous hints given to military intelligence in regards to the criminal element within the nation not accepting such an ending ensured the end of their plan. This agent advises the removal of certain members of the military leadership once control is set over the area.

Lukan campaigning:

  • Chaos in political system due to removal of P.P.L. and S.K. political parties led to formation of a political bloc. The Podobra Idnina (A Better Future) bloc formed between the L.N., S.V.I. and N.R. political parties on a platform based on lowering taxes, nationalizing and improving the cigarette manufacturing industry with funds from privatizing others and increasing ties with Het Huisselant, which remains the biggest importer and exporter for the Lukan nation.
  • G. Aleksandrov of the P.B.P. got arrested for fighting with S.N.I. extremists. This worked advantageously as G. Aleksandrov maintains a charismatic personality, his short term imprisonment ensured his removal from the election campaign on a personal front.
  • S.N.I. leaders attempted to condemn the fighting of their extremist members. Through the clever manipulation of social media and blogs by agents of Het Apparath as well as general condemnation by all other political parties, in an attempt to steer voters away from P.B.P. and S.N.I., this backfired on S.N.I. and made it seem as if they approved of the violence. Additionally, they lost the support of their extremist members for not supporting their actions.
  • A.R.P. made it known that they would be willing to work with the Podobra Idnina bloc if funds were provided for the modernization of the agricultural sector. Members loyal and/or friendly within S.V.I. state that this offer will be accepted by the Podobra Idnina bloc and have been advised to indeed do so, as it increases the ability to push through reforms needed for the end goal of this operation.
  • A.R.P. campaign mainly focused on the rural areas, where their support was already large, and the canned goods industry, which relies heavily on the rural areas. Analyses of the events and support shown towards the Podobra Idnina bloc leads this agent to believe that the A.R.P. will play a secondary and harmless role in post-election Lukinagrad.
  • S.N.I. campaign was an all-round one focusing on receiving votes from leftists previously part of S.K. and P.P.L.. Due to previously named incident, this generally failed with many of the leftists deciding to vote A.R.P. or L.N..
  • L.N. campaign attempted and succeeded at convincing many of the centrist voters that they were, in fact, the way forward. Thanks to the formation of the Podobra Idnina bloc, the party was able to use resources of the others and vice versa.
  • S.V.I. campaign focused on Lukinagrad city dwellers and the few Variotans living in the rural areas. While originally a catch-all party for Variotan immigrants, S.V.I. has slowly turned itself into a party following and adapting center-right and right-wing ideas from Variotan parties such as the Laagher Party. This has allowed them to grab some centrist votes as well as the votes of the moderate right-wing voters of the S.K. and P.P.L.
  • N.R. campaign focused on industrial workers, less moderate right-wing voters of the S.K. and P.P.L. and those disenfranchised by the actions of P.B.P.. Due to the relatively poor state of the industrial capacity of the Lukan state, this campaign went well. However, due to the position of the N.R. between the S.V.I. and the P.B.P. and N.R. already having a solid voting base within the industries of the Lukan state, the effects of this campaign were somewhat dampened.
  • Some sections of the Lukan justice system and the Lukan military declared support for the Podobra Idnina bloc. Operative R.D. was able to provide information in regards to the support of said sections of the military in the form of taped conversations with said operative's ties within the Lukan military. Due to the failed attempt at establishing an authoritarian military government, these sections have now decided to throw their support behind the political bloc in the hope of furthering their own careers in post-election Lukinagrad. This agent advises caution in regards to these sections as they have proven themselves to be pragmatic at a dangerous level.

Lukan Elections:

  • For the sake of ease, this agent has combined all voting districts into three general ones namely Lukinagrad West, Lukinagrad East and Lukan Rural Areas. The total amount of possible voters count 210.000, an equivalent of sixty percent of the population.

Lukan Rural Areas

The Lukan Rural Areas make up the smallest amount of voters, holding just above one-fifth of the Lukan populace. The Rural Areas primarily maintain agricultural businesses, although the canned goods industry also maintains its factories in this area. Voters (45.000) within this area are generally extremely loyal to the A.R.P. although a small amount of voters go for the S.V.I., generally due to ethnic reasons. S.K. and P.P.L. parties previously found some voters in this area, albeit far less so than in Lukinagrad the city.

Voter turnout:
90% - 40.500

Votes (rounded):
Agrarnata Reformska Partija - 30.500
Sojuz na Vartotanski Imigranti - 4.000
Lukinagrad Napred - 3.000
Narodna Revolucija - 1.500
Socijalistite za Nova Idnina - 1.000
Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata - 500

Actions taken:
No actions taken. Voting turnout and voter preferences remained similar to what was estimated.

Lukinagrad West

For simplicity's sake, Lukinagrad was divided into two voting sections for these notes. The western part (75.000 voters) is the lesser populated of the two and generally the richer part. Variotans in the 90s and beyond mostly moved into this section of the city and started their restaurants and other businesses. West is the pretty part of town, luring in day trippers and other tourists with its pretty sights and buildings while East is the working part. S.V.I. always found a large section of its votes here as did S.K. and P.P.L. whereas A.R.P. and P.B.P. saw almost none.

Voter turnout:
95% - 71.250

Votes (rounded):
Lukinagrad Napred - 30.000
Sojuz na Vartotanski Imigranti - 25.000
Narodna Revolucija - 9.000
Socijalistite za Nova Idnina - 6.000
Agrarnata Reformska Partija - 1.000
Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata - 250

Actions taken:
Operative R.D.'s group ensured that some P.B.P. and S.N.I. extremist members were kept from the voting booth by playing these two groups against each other. Analyses beforehand shows that said members were intending to influence the elections themselves.

Lukinagrad East:

For simplicity's sake, Lukinagrad was divided into two voting sections for these notes. The eastern part (90.000 voters) is the larger populated of the two and generally the poorer part. The east contains the factories fabricating cigarettes and the LuVodka distilleries, the shipping docks as well as a multitude of regular shops, lowbrow bars and other such businesses regular folks need. Laborers work in the factories and distilleries, dockworkers move the goods and other workers either toil in the shops and businesses here or commute to the western part of the city. Due to a large amount of lower class citizens, S.N.I., P.B.P. and N.R. generally saw a large amount of votes here whereas A.R.P. and S.V.I. saw little.

Voter turnout:
85% - 76.500

Votes (rounded):
Lukinagrad Napred - 30.000
Narodna Revolucija - 21.750
Socijalistite za Nova Idnina - 11.500
Sojuz na Vartotanski Imigranti - 6.500
Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata - 5.000
Agrarnata Reformska Partija - 1.750

Actions taken:
Operative R.D.'s group persuaded friendly anti-P.B.P. and anti-S.N.I. vote counters to lose some of the ballots, thus ensuring that the influence of these two parties remain within the reasonable spectrum of expectations. Estimated voting ballots lost is 2.500, an amount small enough to not arouse suspicions while enabling a reasonable amount of influence on this voting district.

Final count and election ending:

Voter turnout:
89.6% - 188.250

Votes required for a seat:
3.765

Votes (rounded):
Lukinagrad Napred - 63.000
Sojuz na Vartotanski Imigranti - 35.500
Agrarnata Reformska Partija - 33.250
Narodna Revolucija - 32.250
Socijalistite za Nova Idnina - 18.500
Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata - 5.750

Seats granted (first round):
Lukinagrad Napred - 16 (2.760)
Sojuz na Vartotanski Imigranti - 9 (1.615)
Agrarnata Reformska Partija - 8 (3.130)
Narodna Revolucija - 8 (2.130)
Socijalistite za Nova Idnina - 4 (3.440)
Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata - 1 (1.985)
Total: 46 seats

Seats granted (second round):
Socijalistite za Nova Idnina - 1
Agrarnata Reformska Partija - 1
Lukinagrad Napred - 1
Narodna Revolucija - 1
Total: 4 seats

Seats granted (total):
Lukinagrad Napred - 17
Sojuz na Vartotanski Imigranti - 9
Agrarnata Reformska Partija - 9
Narodna Revolucija - 9
Socijalistite za Nova Idnina - 5
Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata - 1

Government formed:
Podobra Idnina bloc government with tacit Agrarnata Reformska Partija support, 35 seats (44 incl. A.R.P.). With Lukinagrad Napred lacking politicians experienced enough to take on the position of Prime Minister and Narodna Revolucija politicians not being deemed 'likable' enough for the position, the choice has fallen on the Sojuz na Vartotanski Imigranti party leader Wiktor Nicolai fan Lukansestatt. With an extremely comfortable majority, the government was formed quickly and instated by the Lukan justice system and the military, ending the temporary rule by said sections of the Lukan society. Both Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt and his government remain adamant about keeping to the campaign promises, stating that they 'are not just wanted by the people but needed, these changes and promises will ensure a Lukinagrad that we can proudly pass on to our children and their children' and that 'closer relations with Het Huisselant are the best option in this case as they remain the largest and majority trade partner of this nation, a position that we can use in our endeavor to improve upon the nation'.

Special actions deemed needed by this agent:
None. The choice of fan Lukansestatt as the Prime Minister of the new government is better than we had expected. Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt has previously shown great respect and loyalty towards his homeland. This is presumably tied to the fact that the fan Lukansestatt family is one of the oldest and richest Variotan families in Lukinagrad, deemed rich even by Variotan standards, and remains extremely proud of that fact and their heritage. While this agent deems the Narodna Revolucija, Socijalistite za Nova Idnina and Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata to be against far going efforts towards unification of the Lukan state within the federal framework of Het Huisselant, attempts will be successful due to Lukinagrad Napred and Sojuz na Vartotanski Imigranti, both deemed in favor, having a slim majority of the vote with or without support from the Agrarnata Reformska Partija.

Operative R.D. has been notified of the need to throw several of his group members under the bus for the sake of raising approval for the current government and, primarily, Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt. Influence within RTL and the possibility of a nearing privatization of RTL will ensure that Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt will be seen as the main member and figurehead of the government during these times, enabling a higher approval and a more fluid transition towards unification when the time comes.

This agent advises the establishment of special funds to ensure the ability of the government and/or Het Apparath-backed businesses to purchase important Lukan businesses whenever possible. According to analyses by Bureau 68, many of the businesses are profitable but aging and are suffering from a lack of capital. These issues, while existing, are not of such a magnitude that they need to be avoided. Taking over the three main industries will ensure increased amounts of cigarettes, alcohol and canned goods will enable that prices for these goods remain within acceptable levels and increase wealth levels within both the Lukan state and Het Huisselant. Additionally, the purchase and control of these industries will allow for a quicker pace towards unification if the need arises for heavy handed and aggressive tactics, as we can threaten to pull them out of Lukinagrad. 

- Agent W12-33

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Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt: 'Start of this joint venture will ensure increased self-reliance'

In his first public address, Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt declared the official foundation of the Lukinagrad Munitions Corporation. The LMC will become a joint venture between the government of our fair Democratic State and the Geemeiner Fereinigung fan Waafen Fabrikatie Asosiasjies 'Varinco', generally better known only by Varinco, of Het Huisselant Variota. While locations are still being searched for, current plans for the Lukinagrad Munitions Corporation include the hiring of fifty workers to manufacture ammunition for the Lukan Armed Forces among others.

This foundation includes the signing of a contract that enforces the Lukinagrad Munitions Corporation as the first and foremost supplier of munitions for the Lukan Armed Forces. In case of demand turning out higher than expected, the Lukinagrad Munitions Corporation is allowed the right to purchase ammunition required to fulfill orders of the Lukan Armed Forces at cost from GFWFA Varinco. Part of the plans of the Podobra Idnina political bloc, the establishment of the munitions manufacturer will enable the economy to remain strong and increase ties with nearby friendly nations. The underused railroad system will see additional usage as raw materials will be brought in from surrounding nations. While the amount of improvement remains unknown, Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt had this to say:

''This is truly a good day. With the establishment of a true and non-corrupt government at the head of our Democratic State, things can finally improve on a level that is beneficial to all within the nation. Already, we have received and accepted a generous offer from one of the largest and most well known corporations of Alharu and, I dare say, the world. When this government was selected by the votes of the people, we made it clear that we would do what we have promised and I believe that this counts as the first step of showing that the future of Lukinagrad is bright.

Not since the days of King Branko III has the Lukan military been supplied by its own men and women. With the foundation of the Lukinagrad Munitions Corporation, we have returned to the days of our former glory in regards to the supply of our brave soldiers.This joint venture will ensure all of its workers receive solid positions in the workforce as the rising tension in the world allows for a steady market. The conditions for this deal are fair and the benefits we seek to have with this have been deemed realistic and achievable in nature.

While we have had our rocky times throughout history, it is clear to this government that the businesses and government of Het Huisselant are some of the best around and our best option towards revitalizing the nation. No person ever wants to admit that he cannot improve on his own but as it stands, everyone needs a hand at some point in life. I, for one, am looking longingly towards the future and the closer relations between our fine Democratic State and Het Huisselant, through business and hopefully diplomacy.''

Edited by Variota
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Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt: Pegging of the Lukan Denar to the Variotan Waarttemun provides needed stability

In his weekly address to the nation, Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt made it known to the citizens of Lukinagrad that there was a high chance of economic change in the form of pegging the Lukan Denar to the Variotan Waarttemun and allowing both currencies to be used within the nation. fan Lukansestatt acknowledged that this situation would take away some independence in regards to currency control but stated that the change would be better for the international economic situation of Lukinagrad, both for citizens and business alike.

''The issue that stands here is a multiple one. When our citizens travel to other nations, what do they hear? They hear: Lukan Denar, what is that? Is that a crypto-currency? Our businesses lose money when foreign businesses request payment in their own currency or one with a wider international presence as the exchange rates are skewed against us. How many banks take our currency? Far too little! The Variotan Waarttemun is an internationally respected currency, one that one can exchange anywhere, any time at an exchange rate that is fair. Additionally, Het Huisselant is the only nation in the area with the economic prowess, the economic size and the stability that is needed for us to peg to the currency without enabling worries that at some point, the currency might collapse.

There are talks underway at the moment between myself and Variotan equivalents in order to ensure the pegging of the currency. Parliament has already voted to allow the possibility to peg our currency to another. If the talks go well, I would not be surprised if the pegging goes quickly, smoothly and without issues. As it stands, there is already a fair amount of Waarttemun available within our businesses and citizens that could be used to accelerate the official presence of the currency. By pegging to it and introducing it as a secondary currency within our territory, we ensure that we are able to do business on a fair and equal level, even when compared to giants such as Het Huisselant's Varinco or the Vooters Food Group. Our citizens will no longer need to cry shameful tears when people ask if their currency is the same as some silly code stored in a computer, our currency will finally be one of pride, of value. And when our citizens exchange their Denars for Waarttemun before going on vacation, they'll feel that pride. Right in their hearts.

The Podobra Idnina bloc is here to help all citizens and we feel that this will bring us all a step closer towards a new and brighter future, one that will see Lukinagrad rise to the top as one of Argis' most productive economies, one of Argis' best nations. We all already know that we have Argis' best people, now it's time to make use of that.''

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Varinco to offer trucks at cost price in return for old GFF-69 MBTs; LMC to join AADE

In a surprise visit to Lukinagrad, Chairman J.D. Karrewasser of GFWFA Varinco visited the Lukan Army Headquarters and met with General Petrovic. While Radio Televizija Lukinagradska was not allowed into the meeting room to take footage of this event, Chairman Karrewasser was more than happy to share information with RTL:

''Well, it's quite simple really. As everyone knows, the coming Alharun Armaments and Defence Exhibition is planned to be a big one with representative from all continents and a lot of developments that are coming to fruition. And what makes a better show than a nice big boom? A nice big boom and exploding vehicles! So we have been scouring around to find interesting vehicles. Imagine my surprise when I find out that the Lukan Army still has original GFF-69's! So we did a bit of tit-for-tat, hitting two birds with one stone.

In exchange for ten GFF-69's, we will provide the Lukan government with fifty GTRF-94 Falk trucks at cost price. This is a great win-win as it allows us additional show pieces of the Alharun Armaments and Defence Exhibition while the Lukan government receives some highly needed trucks to replace some of the aging fleet within Lukinagrad. Between our joint venture, the Lukinagrad Munitions Corporation, and this deal, the Lukan government has shown itself a fair and reasonable trade partner. 

I can additionally share publicly that the Lukinagrad Munitions Corporation will be joining Varinco as one of the Alharun Armaments and Defence Exhibition's vendors, providing visitors with first-hand views of their high-quality munitions. If they can end up signing clients beyond the Lukan Army, that will be a great boon for the local economy. I, myself, see a great niche market for the LMC with civilians looking for military-grade rounds at a civilian-grade price. Lukan labor is cheaper than surrounding nations and this is something that we can use to provide civilians with the true military firing experience.

The first-hand view of their high-quality munitions will be done both through a booth and through a special sculpture, to be made by a local Lukan artist, namely a peace sign made from a variety of rounds. In this time of change, our weapons and munitions can make the difference between war and peace and that is something that I find so symbolic, so lovely. It really shows the wanting for peace through the stockpiling of weaponry and munitions, the pacifism gained through jingoism. That's says it all, if you ask me.''

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LuDistilleries sold to Vooters Food Group and Employee Co-op; PM fan Lukansestatt: 'This will benefit the entire nation!'

Radio Televizija Lukinagradska has received first hand evidence from employees of LuDistilleries, whom have received a letter today stating that the state-owned enterprise has been sold to new owners. This was not an unexpected move however, as the Podobra Idnina bloc had campaigned for the privatization of state-owned enterprises in order to fund the nationalization of the cigarette industry and the renewal of the nation. The letter states that all positions will be guaranteed for three months, after which a performance review will be done, and that the employees will now fall under a new VFG pension fund. All work continues as originally planned.

Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt gave out a statement:

''Yes, we can proudly say that LuDistilleries has been sold to private owners. As one of the state-owned enterprises that maintained the highest profits, it makes sense to let it go in order to be able to invest those funds. An amount of fifty billion Lukan Denar has been raised through the sale of this enterprise, an amount that we will seek to invest in the renewal of key infrastructure such as railroads and harbors, subsidize green energy solutions to increase passive energy production gains and provide funding for several governmental programs we have lined up, including the nationalization of key industries such as the cigarette industry. We have also protected the positions of all the employees and ensured that they will be able to draw from a pension plan at a similar or higher level than it was before.

This is truly to the benefit of the entire nation. The new owners, Vooters Food Group and the LuDis Employee Co-op, are ready to bring the business to new levels. The minority owner, the LuDis Employee Co-op, is a new entity. The Vooters Food Group has graciously decided to give a set share of 10 percent to this entity, which pays out a divided to each employee as a bonus on top of their regular salaries. The aforementioned Vooters Food Group owns the full rest of 90 percent and is known for successful business ventures such as the Vooters restaurant chain, SnelKoop gas station mini marts and the Kippervos Distilleries, which produces premium vodka. LuDistilleries just fits in this line up, if you ask me. I am entirely sure that this business will be able to grow even more under the capable hands of the VFG and the LDEC.

These funds and this sale is one of the biggest steps towards fulfilling the goals we promised you, our fateful voters. We, proud politicians of the Podobra Idnina bloc and true-blooded Lukans, remain as faithful towards our task of building a Lukinagrad that we can proudly pass on to our children and their children as the day you elected us.''

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Currency peg accepted by Variotan National Bank, Lukan Denar pegged 100:1 to Variotan Waarttemun

With the Prime Minister himself revealing that talks in regards to currency pegging had begun with Het Huisselant Variota, it did not come as a surprise to employees here at Radio Televizija Lukinagradska that said pegging might actually happen. Radio Televizija Lukinagradska has managed to come across a preliminary letter by the Central Bank of Lukinagrad that notifies all banks operating within the Democratic State of Lukinagrad to halt any currency exchanges of Lukan Denar for forty-eight hours until new official rates have have been released in accordance to new and updated legislature by the Lukan Parliament.

While there has been no official rate established yet and tourists have to temporarily scour the nation for currency exchange businesses that have enough stock to fulfill their demand or find businesses willing to take Variotan Waarttemun, RTL's man on the inside told us that the Central Bank of Lukinagrad and the National Governmental Bank of The Homeland (Nasionale Ohferheits Bank fan Het Huisselant) have decided to peg the currency at one-hundred Lukan Denar to one Variotan Waarttemun. Values nearing this one have floated around in the currency exchange businesses and the black market before and while experts declare that while this value may be undercutting the value of the Lukan Denar somewhat, it will ensure a better position for the export of Lukan products.

Extremists from the Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata have given out a warning to the Lukan public, stating that this is the first and biggest step towards total economic dominance by the Variotans, citing the Treaty of Ferrefaaierhafen as a sign of history repeating itself. Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt has given out a statement rejecting the opposition by the PBP as being opposition for the sake of opposition, stating that his government has solely handled in the best interests for the people of Lukinagrad and will continue to do so according to the best of their abilities. Party Leader Aleksandrov of the PBP had a simple retort: 'Look at who is saying this, fan Lukansestatt is a filthy Variotan himself. You can't trust him or his kind.'.

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Het Kleine Kaffee aan het Hafen or 'The Little Bar at the Harbor' was a proper institution in Lukinagrad, a place where one could eat dishes that tasted and felt as if a Variotan grandmother had made them for you. And if you were lucky enough and Annie Heelfelt was working that day and liked you, it was literally made for you by a Variotan grandmother. Her and her husband had taken the leap of cashing in their pension funds, selling their house and anything that could not come along and starting a Variotan bar in Lukinagrad in 1978. Their children were old enough to take care of themselves and neither felt like working until they were sixty and then hoping they'd have enough to travel around.

Annie never lied about it being a cakewalk, however. The early years, with only a small amount of Variotans living in Lukinagrad during that time, had been rough and there had been many times when Annie had to break a bottle on the bar and threaten a drunk sailor to cut his jugular vein in order to get him to leave. She'd lived in the Fissershaak neighborhood of Ferrefaaierhafen, a true Folksbuurt, and luckily this had prepared her for situations such as this, a woman tougher than many of the sailors that entered her bar, a woman that wouldn't budge even if the man across from her was twice her size. But over time, people saw that the Heelfelts and their business were to stay, that they were honest people and that Annie knew how to make a mean uitsmijter or a beer-based hachee that had literally made grown men cry out in homesickness. And like Variotans, Lukans took care of their own.

Annie did not care who you were when you entered, whether you were a criminal, cleaned bathrooms, farmed or were the Prime Minister. For as long as you were inside her bar and behaved, you were her surrogate child. Came often enough to be deemed a regular? Annie didn't even need your order, your freshly tapped beer would find its way to you. And this familiarity, this homely feeling had ensured that everyone mingled among each other. The last time Annie had needed to call the police had been nearly ten years ago, her children were more than happy to help.

A drunk sailor refusing to pay his bill? 'Lukan Tony', a locally well-known football hooligan, and his boys would take them outside and lay out the options they had, leading to the sailor coming back with their tail between their legs and Annie's hard-earned money. Car, bike or moped troubles? It wasn't uncommon to see a parliamentarian work with a farmer or a police officer with a criminal to fix whatever issue you had and make sure you were able to reach a garage. Once inside, you were part of this family, part of the Heelfelts. Once, when Annie had had an accident with a large soup pot that had led to a broken foot, her regulars worked out a schedule in which they each took over a day until her foot was healed.

And this feeling of familiarity, this feeling of having some form of a strange bar family that one could call upon, had led Wiktor Nikolai to become a regular as well. Well, that and Annie's killer uitsmijters, one of the few things that he missed when he went on holiday to Het Huisselant. Sitting at the dark wood bar, Wiktor Nikolai looked at his breakfast. Just the way I like it, he thought, three eggs with bacon and cheese on two slices of lightly toasted bread. Orange juice and a strong coffee, what more could a man want? Taking his cutlery, he looked at Annie who was standing on the other side of the bar. Even in her seventies, Annie maintained the same spunk and love for life that she had when she opened the bar. Short but feisty, giving you the unsalted truth.

''You know, Annie, I think he might be the one.''
"Honey, do you want to know what I think?''
''You know I do, Annie.''
''f*ck him already, you've both been pussy footing around it. Oh, don't give me that shocked look. What? You'd rather continue doing random guys back in the home country? You do know you can do that with him as well, right?''
''But what about the voters?''
''f*ck the voters. If they have issues with you being with another person that wants you too, they'll have issues anyway. What's more important to a person? A good life or that their Prime Minister bangs dudes?''

At this point, Lukan Tony decides to pipe in, enjoying a cup of coffee two stools to the right.

''Besides mate, it's not like it's a big secret. Annie, remember that one guy Wik-Nik over here brought along. What was his name, the really feminine dude... Theo!''
''Oh yeah, Theo. I remember him, haha.''
''Wik-Nik, you were all like: Oh no, guys. Theo is just a friend of a friend. The dude looked like he had to clench his butt cheeks to keep from swallowing the bar stool!''
''You're not wrong there, Tony. The guy could take a whole arm up to the elbow in...''
''Let me just stop you right there. I want to keep my appetite for when Annie's chicken soup is ready.''
''But seriously, what about the PBP? Prime Minister dating a man is just fuel on their fire.''
''All scum anyway Wik-Nik, those guys aren't even liked in my circles. Oh no, the Variotans are evil, boo hoo. Cry me a river. If they had their way, we'd be living in shacks within a decade with our economy in ruins because they feel some misguided pride, too good in their own mind to know when you need help.''
''Yeah, I guess you're right.''
''You know, Wik-Nik, speak of the devil.''

The door to the bar opened and in walked a man in a track suit, sunglasses on even if the weather outside did not require it. Annie's friendly question in regards to what the man wanted to drink was responded to with a snippy 'coffee, black, and a cola, domestic'. In a way, this was a red flag on its own. Lukan cola, produced by LuDistilleries, was absolutely horrid compared to sodas made in Variota or other nations. It was not even a true cola, instead using a strange blend of leftover fruits and herbs. The only reason LuDistilleries continued production was because it had a massive shelf life, was extremely cheap to make and bars often used it for mixed drinks, when taste mattered little.

When Annie made it known that she did not stock the vile concoction that tried to pass for cola, the man made it known that he only wanted the coffee in a way that could only be described as boorish grunting. The three at the bar moved a bit closer to each other after Annie had brought the unknown man his coffee. Lukan Tony moved over to sit next to Wiktor Nikolai and Annie bent over the bar a bit so they could talk more privately.

''Tony, do you know the guy?''
''Not personally, he's a soldier for Aleksandrov. Big weirdo, he's been kicked out of the supporters group of his football club and all.''
''Well, I don't want that kind of person here! I'm going to tell him to leave!''
''Nah, don't worry about it Annie. I'll collect the money for you and then make it clear he shouldn't come here once he's had his coffee.''
''Aww, you're such a good lad. You're going to get a nice big piece of chicken extra in your soup for that.''
''Thanks Annie.''

And so, the trio stopped hushing their speech and continued on speaking like before while the strange man seemed both awfully focused on Wiktor Nikolai and taking his time with his coffee. Only when Wiktor Nikolai had finished his breakfast and left did the man finish his coffee. Lukan Tony tried to go to the man but he sprinted out of the door, seemingly in a hurry. Both Annie and Lukan Tony looked into each others eyes and knew their thoughts were the same.

''That's not good.''
''You're right about that, Tony. You don't have to grow up in Fissershaak to see that. You have any people you can call?''
''We're thinking the same thing. I think that guy only came for Wik-Nik and I don't think he's looking for a fun night. I'll call one of my friends.''


Wiktor Nikolai was not in his comfort zone, driving over the long stretch of road that would lead him to a collections of farms. The Agrarnata Reformska Partija had invited him to one of the farms to enjoy a light lunch and discuss some future plans that they had to rejuvenate the agricultural sector of Lukinagrad. Normally, he would have enjoyed it, a chance to be among people, look towards the future and get a free meal out of it. But this time, he had noticed something. Ever since he had left the bar, a car with tinted windows kept following him. If he went left, they went left. If he went right, they went right. Calling the police wasn't as simple out here in the rural areas of Lukinagrad. While they would come eventually, response time was far slower than in the city and Wiktor Nikolai couldn't see any police officer coming in on time to be of service.

In his mind, he could see himself end up like Nestorov but worse. Just a car on the side of the road and his dead body in a ditch, beaten to death by Partija na Braḱata na Pravdata members. Aleksandrov was not known for having tact, for being able to play the political game as it was intended. The moment in the bar, when he asked about the PBP, flashed before his eyes as the car following him sped up and passed him. For a moment, Wiktor Nikolai hoped that the car was simply some ARP member trying to be there before him in order to keep himself from looking bad. That hope vanished quickly, however, as the car rammed against his in an attempt to get him to stop.

While he wasn't the best driver, Wiktor Nikolai managed to keep the car steady after the first two collisions. A mix of pure adrenaline, fear of what would happen if he stopped and repeating prayers in his mind had kept his hands steady. The third time was the charm, as they say, and while he did his best to continue on, his car hit the guardrails and he stopped on the side of the road. His pursuers quickly followed suit. One final prayer and he got out of the vehicle. In his mind, he was dead already and when dying either way, one might as well do so with their head held high.

Out of the other car came four men, all wearing the same get-up as the man in the bar. Taking a double take of the four men, Wiktor Nikolai even recognized one of them as being the man in the bar. f*ck, he thought, this is a set-up. Naked body in a ditch, I guarantee it. f*ck, f*ck, f*ck. As the four men neared him, the stress and adrenaline had made it so that he could only say one thing, the sole thing on his mind.

''Aleksandrov sends his regards, fan Lukansestatt.''
''What's this? A robbery? A murder? You know who I am, right? You're not getting away with this, I have powerful friends.''
''Haha, that's what Ivanov said when I stabbed him in the prison showers. You are funny, Variotan dog.''

Receiving a hard blow to the stomach, Wiktor Nikolai fell on his knees. The men all drew knives and just as it seemed that they would carve him up like a Sunday roast, screeching tires could be heard and a van rushed to their location. The four didn't seemed phased, willing to carry out the will of their party leader even if there were witnesses. Each of them had been to prison and another stint would have just meant additional respect among the others. This attitude was quickly changed when the side doors opened up and the men saw the barrels of Varinco assault rifles aimed at them.

''DROP THE f*ckING KNIVES AND GET ON YOUR KNEES!''

Out of the passenger side of the van came a short, stocky and hairy man with a big gold chain around his neck. Wearing a suit that would be right at home in an 80s crime show, his chest hairs protruding out of his silk dress shirt, Wiktor Nikolai had seen him before but could not place a name by the face. The man seemed just as phased by the idea of the four men with knives turning against him as the men had been about the van arriving on the scene. For whatever reason, later revealed to be a stab vest, the man did not care.

''Drop the f*cking knives and get on your knees. My boys here know how to shoot and even if they didn't, it's not like they'll miss you at this range.''

The four quickly complied with the commands given by this mystery man and dropped both themselves and their knives to the ground. The mystery man's cronies, five in total in the back of the van and one driving, exited the van and surrounded the scene in a half circle while Wiktor Nikolai struggled to get back up on his feet. Unbeknownst to him, the mystery man had grabbed a baseball bat from the van and was now looking at the four PBP thugs in the time he took to compose himself.

''Prime Minister fan Lukansestatt, if you will be so kind to point out the man that attacked you.''
''Uh, that one. The one with the aviator sunglasses.''

Not five seconds had passed after he had pointed out the man that had punched him to the ground before the mystery man swung his bat against the man's face, knocking his teeth out. As the road turned a mix of grey, white and red from the blood and displaced teeth, the mystery man turned to the others. Two of the others hadn't even flinched but one, presumably the youngest, was shaking and seemed scared. A smile crept up on the face of the mystery man.

''You! You're lucky, you know that? You get to be the one to return to your boss and tell him that he'll receive parts of your friends in the mail soon. Or do you think he'll enjoy finding their severed heads in his childrens' beds more? Because that can be arranged.''
''Do-Don-Don't do that, please. Please.''
''Did you listen to our Prime Minister over here when he didn't want to be murdered?''
''N-no sir.''
''Exactly. Besides, you're the lucky one, remember. You're going to be alive. But first, Gregor! Shoot him in the groin!''

One of the cronies, the one seemingly called Gregor, shot off one round into the man's groin. A bloodcurdling scream could be heard coming from the man.

''That's for being such a dickless pussy. Ganging up four against one against a politician? Back in my neighborhood...''
''AAAAAAAAAAH!''
''Oh yes, thanks for reminding me. Here...''

The mystery man takes a small bottle of pills and bandages out of his pockets and throws it at the now-groinless PBP thug.

''That should last you just enough time to crawl back to Aleksandrov, if you're fast enough. Go, now! Run to the car, move!''

As if guided by supernatural forces, the thug was gone within a minute, leaving the others behind. Of course, when you're the only one with a chance of survival, it becomes a whole lot easier to rush off.

''You know, fan Lukansestatt, you're lucky. You really are. You're lucky that one of my poker buddies called me. I think you know him, Lukan Tony?''
''He did?''
''Him and that nice Variotan lady smelled trouble so he told me. And I obviously couldn't let the Prime Minister that enabled me to start my car business to just die, could I?''
''Now I remember, you're Romeo Dimitrovski, right?''
''Right in one try. Our kind of people have to watch out for each other, fan Lukansestatt.''
''Gay people?''
''What the f*ck did you just call me?''
''Well, you said our kind of people. You're not a politician, not of Variotan heritage, you're not a regular at the same bar so there's very little else left.''

Leaning into Wiktor Nikolai, Romeo did precisely the opposite of what one would normally do after falsely being called a homosexual.

''Let's just say we... know people in the same circles. Our apparath'n are working towards the same goal, yes?''
''I... Ah. I, um, get what you are saying. Yes.''

Looking at the three men still on their knees, Wiktor Nikolai couldn't help but ask about the elephant in the room or, in this case, on the road.

''Will they be alright?''
''Oh, no no no. They won't. But that's not for you to worry about. Have a drink, get yourself some random guy to sleep with. Do you like Viktor here? Viktor, you swing both ways, right?''
''I... I will. And sorry Viktor, but you're a bit too buff for my taste. I want to be the man in the relationship and all that.''
''Hah, did you hear that guys? Viktor got rejected by the Prime Minister! Hahaha. Fan Lukansestatt, I like you. Maybe, if our lives had both gone different, we would have been friends.''
''It could still happen.''
''No, no it cannot. We run in different circles, we are different men. Besides, I do not think our friends would be happy if such a thing happened. Drive safe and here...''

Putting his hand in another jacket pocket, Romeo threw a phone to Wiktor Nikolai. A small, older model phone, this was clearly intended as a burner phone.

''If you get threatened again or you don't trust the situation, call the number on that phone. Gregor and his boys will come to your aid. Guaranteed faster than the police and less need for paperwork afterwards, haha. Load these three up, boys! Yevgeny will have some fun with them.''

The three men were quickly forced into the van, their hands tied behind their backs with cable ties. With the three men loaded up, Romeo's cronies in the van and Romeo himself getting ready to get in, Wiktor Nikolai had just one thing left to say.

''Hey, Romeo?''
''Yes?''
''Thanks. You literally saved my life.''
''That's what allies are for. Just remember to buy Lukan Tony a nice bottle of something or give him some cigarettes, he'll get pissy otherwise.''
''Oh, I will.''
''Good, good man. Let's go boys!''

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