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Andalla last won the day on March 25

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    Makati, Philippines
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    Aviation. #avgeek


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    Klaus Johansen

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  1. FORMER PRESIDENT NEDERGAARD AWAKE FROM 6-MONTH COMA By: Jørn Tandberg | September 17, 2019 Mr. Nedergaard has been confined in the ICU since 21 April. ARKHAVN - After nearly six months in a coma, former president Lars Nedergaard has regained full consciousness. Mr. Nedergaard, now age 82, was rushed to the St. Mark's Medical Center in Bonskøbing last 21 April after suddenly entering into a coma without any prior signs. At around 6 AM on the morning of September 17, a nurse attending to Mr. Nedergaard noticed him mumbling. Within an hour, the former president was fully awake and conscious. Mr. Nedergaard's recovery has been hailed as a miracle. "As much as we were hoping for the best, coma patients rarely make it after a few months," neurologist Christoffer Aagard told ABN. Doctors were astonished at Mr. Nedergaard's good health. "[Lars] has the strictest diet and health routine in the family," said a relative. "Fruits and vegetables, plus regular physical and mental exercise, since he was in his 40's." In February of 2010, Mr. Nedergaard, 73, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. "Patients usually develop Parkinson's in their 60's," said Dr. Aagard. The onset of Mr. Nedergaard's Parkinson's disease a decade after the usual has been linked to his healthy lifestyle. In recent years, however, Mr. Nedergaard's health has been slowly worsening. "President Nedergaard was never quite the same since he was diagnosed with Parkinson's," former senator Bjørn Breland told ABN. The two have been good friends since the late 1990's. Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's tend to have severely limited motor skills due to the deteriorating of nerves in the brain, a condition known as neurodegeneration. "Neurodegeneration is one of the leading causes of comas," Dr. Aagard explained. "Patients with diseases involving neurodegeneration are also at a higher risk of entering a permanent vegetative state or PVS, where the coma lasts longer than 4 weeks." If no further issues are found, Mr. Nedergaard will be moved out of the ICU within a week. "Awakening from a months-long coma is a rare and delicate case, especially at 82," said Dr. Aagard. "We will monitor him closely, run a few tests, then we can move to a regular room." President Klaus Johansen, accompanied by his Cabinet, will be visiting Mr. Nedergaard on Thursday, September 19. A civil engineer by profession, Mr. Nedergaard began his political career in 1971, aged 39. He was elected to the presidency in 1984, and held office until 1990. It was during his term that the Andallan economy experienced rapid growth, a period known as the "Golden 80's". Because of this, Mr. Nedergaard has been regarded as one of the most influential Andallan presidents. Of his many accomplishments during this time, Mr. Nedergaard is most-known for the Urban Infrastructure Development Plan (UIDP) of 1986, also known as the BU (Byinfrastruktur Udviklingsplan). Through the UIDP, the government addressed rapidly-worsening infrastructural issues such as traffic and public transportation, as well as undertaking other construction projects around the country in order to lessen concentration in Greater Arkhavn.
  2. In recent weeks you might have [not] noticed that I have fallen off the radar. I don't even recall my last proper RP post. But what I'm about to say next, well, it's only about time I said it. It's been a good long time since I should've said this. Before anything, I'm going to keep this simple because I have seen how those long preachy posts affect this community. I'd hate to waste your time, so read at your own discretion. And please do forgive me if it does get too long. I'm also going to try writing this raw, the way I feel like expressing it, coming straight from my heart. So allow me to just take this time to apologize for my bad grammar in advance. Anyways. Here goes. I joined Europa in search of, well, something to kill time on a boring summer afternoon. Little did I know that it would change my life, or how it would change my life. And I really, really don't want to be corny on this, but some of you have probably seen how I came to Europa inexperienced, immature, and awkward. Not that I feel people do notice, but I have changed. Those who have known me for the longer time have probably seen how I started out as Andalla: the guy who literally chose a random good-sounding name that popped out of his mind. I didn't even know what I was doing. And at that time I had this funny little interest in Oceania, so I initially intended to be some sort of Pacific Islander nation. Anyway. That one evening was still fresh from memory, when I was talking with @Orioni about worldbuilding. I recall he mentioned something about how "Andalla" fitted a more European-like nation. We were just throwing ideas around, really. Informal talk. Nothing serious. But that was when the first realization came. I absolutely did not know what I was doing. That, and several subsequent events, pushed me to improve. I had to research. "Let's just accept it," I said to myself. "You're inexperienced. Better read up." And so I did. Now I won't go into detail about this, but before long I was basking in the glory of my posts. I valued high quality writing. Only accurate research and the best writing were enough to pass my standards. And I could see the fruit of all my labor - I was becoming more and more influential in the community. That's where everything else came in. I co-founded ATARA, joined TRIDENT, became some sort of regional diplomatic heavyweight. I was with the big boys now. But something was missing. I didn't know what it was, nor did I even care about it. And that's where the big mistake arises. Success after success. When we came to the new forums and reactions were introduced, I could see how much likes my posts were getting. I was receiving so much positive feedback and compliments. I myself felt good about all my writing as well. Then suddenly I became an RP Mentor, one of the three selected to join a new program known as The Academy. "This is it - I'm successful." But something was still missing. I wasn't the best. Month after month, I was only putting more and more effort into my writing. An occasional jerk from school would put me off a bit, but soon after I resumed pumping out all my content. Posts became less frequent, but much, much longer and definitely more high-quality. But I wasn't the best. Because month after month, new members were coming in, displacing the positions of older, more established members. And it all happened so fast, because technically I wasn't even "old and established" considering Europa's 15-year history. Not that I hold any grudge against any new member, or any member for that reason really - you guys are all awesome people and I just love how you add so much vibrance to this community. But deep, deep down there was that unbreakable, unexplainable sense of competition. So month after month, I would only find myself disappointed because I wasn't the best. Because all those posts weren't giving me the recognition I "deserved". Skandinavisk, Flight 371, the Mr. Simizi travel guide, that Pandemic post, that person in the Academy who I helped, my ATARA resolution attempt, you name it. I was giving so much effort yet getting so little in return. Now before anything else - allow me to say that I'm not complaining. Again, I hold no grudge against anyone. Because what happened next is what really changed everything. Slowly, little by little, it occurred to me that I was fighting the fight that I couldn't fight. Let's call it insignificant. I was "insignificant" in this community, not because I wasn't getting what I wanted, but because I was "wanting" too much. Let me say again that I'm not complaining. This is all my fault, my mistake of doing what I thought I could do. At that point I just felt so inflated. Inflating myself with all that hidden ego that pushed me to believe that I was important. I find it hard to say this in any other way, but yeah. It's my mistake and I've chosen to accept it. Anyway, there I was. Inflated. So full of myself. What better could I do but just keep on writing and writing? Then, after all that struggle, it finally struck me. Right now I'm on my last two weeks of school. Which meant that I was nearing the end of the school year, and right now I'm on the final leg. Lots of work to finish up, lots of requirements to complete. I had no time to write. But did people really care? What I noticed is that my absence did not disrupt the natural flow of events. Members came and went. Other new members established themselves. Europa was vibrant and full of life as usual. I'm actually laughing as I write this because I sound like some hopeless, depressed brat. We have a term for this in Tagalog: KSP (Kulang Sa Pansin), which simply means "Lacking in Attention". Please let me assure you again that I've accepted it and I don't feel any negative feelings toward any member, or toward Europa as a whole. Moving on. I finally realized that I really could not do anything more. I was exerting effort at my full capacity, so much that I would stay up very late even on weekdays just to finish writing my posts. And at the same time I was getting all the recognition that I really deserved. The real problem did not lie in the fact that I was "under-recognized". In fact, I was "over-recognized". Thing is, I was dreaming far above what I really could achieve. And if, in terms of effort, that was the furthest I could go - the proper solution was not to do more, but to accept what I really deserved. So here I am. I've fallen silent to reflect on what has been happening for the past [almost] 2 years of my stay in Europa. Many people say "ups and downs", but for me it was like both "ups" and "downs" at the same time. You ever split your body in half to ride two different rollercoasters? Yeah... that was probably me. Now don't get me wrong - from time to time, I did post things. And I was often online on Discord as well. But that was only because I was in denial. I had accepted it all, but another problem arose - what now? I had high hopes for Andalla. I envisioned completing all the RP threads that I had began. I envisioned finishing my main IIWiki page and constantly adding to other pages. I envisioned becoming a core member of the community, helping to make Europa a better place. I envisioned too much. But I had already done so much in my futile attempt to attain the unattainable. So I tried to deny it. I was aimlessly writing at that point. Did you know I had my next installment of Flight 371 in the works? That, and so much more. I wanted to "revive" myself, but with a seemingly different goal. But my schedule was still hectic as usual. My Flight 371 draft was going nowhere. Everything was going nowhere. And the realization came to me again. Was I really doing what I wanted to do, or was I still fighting the "un-fightable" fight? Yeah. The latter. During the Holy Week I had the chance to travel to the province, away from the hustle and bustle of the city and away from the Internet. And that's where I realized how much my life had changed because of Europa. Of course, there was the positive side - I was so much more knowledgeable about the world around me. I had a very keen interest in learning new things. But I slept late. You could say it was becoming some sort of a sleeping disorder. Insomnia, if you will. And I had also developed a spinal problem due to sitting in front of the computer for prolonged periods of time. Mind you, that may sound funny, but the eye problem you were expecting from prolonged computer use had been lingering around since childhood (and for other reasons aside from the computer). Let's just say I'm using this really old chair and table which... doesn't fit me so well anymore. So there's that. I had also lost quite a good chunk of my social life. Here I was, a robot typing at a screen late into the night. And I had also lost time to pursue my other hobbies, specifically photography. I was putting that much time into Europa. That's why all this just struck me so hard after I realized it. But what am I doing right now but going around in circles? It's time to get to a resolution. And I promise you - I really don't know how else to say this one, because it pains me so much to say it. I'm leaving. Whew. Bet you expected that, after reading all this. But in all seriousness, I've seen how I've affected myself with this useless pursuit of glory. Now I'm never going to say it was Europa that affected me, because it was myself - my ego, my own personal mistakes - that was the problem. I just love this community and I'd hate to see it go. And I'm afraid I don't see any other way to stop this suffering, than to just leave. I know, it will be painful. The entire journey was painful. But I just loved it - I was in love with Europa. Just writing about Andalla - it provided me a way to escape the stress of life. I was in my own self-created paradise, where anything I wanted could be done. But deep down I was also in my very own self-created hell. And so all good things must come to an end. Especially if you thought it was good, but in fact it was just slowly eating you from the inside. Don't get me wrong - it's so painful to leave. It's not like I just made this decision to leave in an instant. I have been considering it since last year. And it's been a long, agonizing process. So rather than just making it worse, it's better that I just go. I hope you all understand. So I'd like to dedicate this portion of my long speech to the dreams I held, and still hold, for Andalla. I may never be able to accomplish them. I had hoped to fully establish my lore and history, as well as to paint a vibrant image of Andalla today at the hands of my writing. I had hoped to truly enjoy writing my long RP posts. I dreamed of seeing members of the community come together to participate in the Thalassan War. I dreamed to see Flight 371 as one of my greatest accomplishments, a long story that truly made Andalla come to life. And of course I also dreamed to see all those long, boring bureaucratic things achieve success. ATARA becoming a core pillar of Eurth. My aviation projects finally taking shape, in the form of our very own ICAO. I had dreamed all this. These dreams I must set down and forget. Now I'd like to dedicate this part to those who have walked with me along the journey of Andalla. Here's a special toast to my fellow Sea Negro brothers, @Iverica and @Selayar. And here's one to my ancient IC brother @Ahrana - the Sjadska civilization is in your hands now, don't mess it up (wink). And here's an equally-special toast to everyone else - the TRIDENT boys, the ATARA gang, the Mod/Admin Team, my fellow RP Mentors, and everybody else really. You guys are all awesome. I promise. A very, very, very special thanks to @Orioni. Long ago, there was once a post on r/NationStates by a young innocent Andalla looking for a region to join. You replied. And the rest is history. Indeed. It is about time that this happened. From the very beginning this was predestined to happen. And so, before I leave Europa, let me take this time to just try wiping it all off to a clean slate. I'd like to apologize for what I have done. Even if it may have not affected you, please do accept my apology. I tried to pursue what I could not pursue and so I have met the consequences. And I have accepted the consequences. I'd like to apologize to anyone I hurt, or anyone that I might have formerly held a grudge against. I'd also like to apologize for all my shortcomings, which did not necessarily provoke any negativity, but rather made people annoyed at me. Well, I must say that there have been times that I did make a mistake so big as to hurt someone or provoke some sort of negative response. So please, please do forgive me. I know I look like a coward, just quitting it all. And frankly I wouldn't apologize for that. I hope you do see how this is really the best decision that I can make. Because anything less than leaving would continue to bring the pain that this whole thing has brought to me since long before. So please give me some leeway. I can tell there are people who hold their own secret grudge against me. Maybe there are some who are even happy that I'm about to go. Perhaps I said something or did something irreversible in the past. But that is all the result of my own mistakes and my own wrong decisions. And so, I would like to offer a special apology for that. I wouldn't hold any grudge against you. Let us end all negative feelings. There is so much more that I have to say. So let me say again, all good things must come to an end. I regret to say that I will most likely never return to Europa, or to any worldbuilding group for that matter. Only time can tell if I will still choose to lurk around on Discord, maybe dropping by even on the forums every now and then. But for the next few days, I'll be completely silent - I need the time. And I won't be wallowing in my sadness, so don't bother to do so either. Life goes on - the grass is still green, the sky is still blue. And so nothing changes, unless you yourself choose to do that change. I really don't want to do this because it pains me so much. Seeing everything about Andalla flash back before my eyes, and even my dreams and aspirations for this imaginary plaything of mine. But if you stop hurting yourself, the pain still lingers for a while, but the wound is soon healed. Either you stop, or you choose to have that pain continue to cause you much suffering day by day. So learn from what I have just said. Don't let history repeat its mistakes. I myself hope it will not - I've seen its destructive power and it's all just so painful. So again. Learn from the past and carry on towards the future. In my stay here, people have came and went - nothing happened. And so Andalla came and went, and I hope - his departure will not affect this amazing, vibrant community. Carry on without him. Keep mentioning him, but only if need be. Or perhaps, soon, remove him from the map and cease all references. Either way, it works for me. I sincerely offer my final apologies to those who may be affected by my leaving - I hope there are none. Rest assured, you'll see me around. I wish everybody all the best. - Andy
  3. Hmm. So apparently people do listen to music while writing. It's either just me or my Filipino blood, but I do often find myself singing along to the music instead of working...
  4. This is a great idea. Let me be the first to say, maybe Andalla could be one of the first "New World" nations to establish diplomatic connections with Haruspex. I mean it's always good to be friendly.
  5. Andalla


    One hundred... Fifty... Forty... Thirty... Twenty... Ten... The two massive jet engines abruptly ground to a halt as First Officer Kristof Jensen instinctively pulled down on the thrust levers, reducing the engines to idle power as the aircraft's beastly roar suddenly vanished. His right hand was still firmly positioned on the yoke, making final adjustments to the aircraft's course before the landing gears would come into contact with the cold, hard runway. By a stroke of luck, his SK-6 was already perfectly aligned with the runway centerline, so all he had left to correct was the low pitch. Jensen pulled down on the yoke, prompting the aircraft's nose to pitch up slightly higher. All of a sudden, the jet appeared to be suspended in mid-air. For a moment, the 300,000-pound aircraft hovered at barely ten feet above the ground. All within a second, the jet transitioned from descending to hovering and back to descending again – the legendary flare. Now, the aircraft was descending once more, zipping five feet past the ground at nearly 300 kilometers per hour. The flare marked the point of no return, the final action in the landing process – a complex maneuver requiring immense concentration, all executed within a matter of ten seconds. Failure would result in disaster, even death. Luckily, every pilot was thoroughly trained in this intricate procedure. With over 5,000 flight hours on the SK-6, Jensen himself was very much accustomed to the landing process – it was just another day in a pilot's life. Captain Hans Borup sat next to Jensen, eyes glued to the altitude meter on the PFD (Primary Flight Display). Though as Captain he was superior to First Officer Jensen, today he was the pilot monitoring: his job was to assist the pilot flying by relaying useful data from the computers, as well as communicating with ATC. On the PFD, Borup quietly watched the altitude meter as the aircraft inched closer and closer to the ground. Finally, he felt a strong bump as he jerked forward in his seat. Everything began to rattle. "Spoilers up," he called out. Without waiting, First Officer Jensen had already pulled up the lever activating the aircraft's spoilers. A series of thin flaps extended up from the wing, further increasing the rattling as the wings began to shake violently. The aircraft was slowing down. "Eighty knots." Here's a nice video to accompany the landing... From his window at seat 22K, passenger Antony Wong watched as the delicate spoilers extended. The whole world rushed past, with brilliant orange tones of the Rihannsu sunrise shining in the backdrop. He shook up and down in his seat as the cabin roared and shook, vibrating loudly before finally calming to a soothing high-pitched whir. "Ladies and Gentlemen, we would like to welcome you to the Dartha Cliperian International Airport. Local time is 7:07 in the morning, temperature is at 24 degrees Celsius. The @Rihan Republic is three hours ahead of Andalla." Typical of any Andallan flight, one could already hear the inevitable chorus of seat belts being unbuckled, even before the flight attendant had the chance to proceed. "For your safety, please remain seated with your seat belts properly fastened until the aircraft has arrived at the gate. Please wait for the seat belt sign to be switched off before standing up to get your bags or using the lavatory." "Please refrain from using cellular phones until the seat belt sign is switched off, or the aircraft has come to a complete stop. Before standing, please check your seat for any personal belongings that may have been left behind. Use caution in opening the overhead bins as heavy articles may have shifted around during the flight." "If you require any assistance, please remain in your seat until all passengers have disembarked, and our flight attendants will be happy to assist you. On behalf of the captain and crew aboard this Royal Air Andalla flight, 8U 522, we would like to wish you a pleasant stay in Dartha. Thank you for choosing Royal Air Andalla as your preferred carrier and we hope to see you again." Back at the flight deck, it was all business. As the aircraft finally came to a stop and passengers began reaching for the overhead compartments, the two pilots sat at the controls reviewing the last of the aircraft's checklists before leaving. The SOPs, or standard operating procedures, were in effect — all they had left to do was to read through the final two checklists, all diligently listed along with the other checklists, on a piece of laminated paper inside the cockpit. With the advent of SOPs, any two pilots qualified on the same aircraft could work seamlessly together — complete strangers, led only by a set of strict guidelines, effortlessly working together without error from startup to shutdown. With that small yet authoritative document in hand, Captain Borup began to read through the shutdown checklist. "Shutdown checklist. — Parking brake." "Set." "Flaps." "Flaps zero, set." "Taxi lights." "Off." "Nav lights." "Off." "Beacon." "Off." "Seat belt signs." "Off." "Anti-ice." "Off." "Fuel pumps." "Off." "Pitot heat." "Off." "Transponder." "Standby." "Weather radar." "Off." "Flight director." "Off." "Avionics." "Off." "Alright. Panel lights?" Jensen reached for a small button on the overhead panel, and with one little click all the lights inside the cockpit vanished. "Panel lights off." "BATT master switch." Again Jensen reached for the button, this time a small red switch between the two pilot seats. One flick of the master switch and all life would cease within the aircraft's systems. "Off." "Shutdown checklist complete." Both pilots could easily attest to the fact that they had already memorized each of the aircraft's 14 checklists by heart — the papers were only there to ensure 100% accuracy; after all, the SOPs were created only to guarantee everybody's safety and comfort while aboard the aircraft. For a moment, First Officer Jensen sat there musing about his overnight stay at a nearby five-star hotel. As a long-haul pilot, only one flight a day was enough to meet the mandated daily restriction for working hours. It was actually more efficient to have the flight crew stay overnight at Dartha and wait for the next day's morning flight to arrive, so they could relieve the operating crew and fly back to Arkhavn at noon. And just recently, a regional consortium of hotels had made a small agreement to accommodate Royal Air Andalla flight crew at lower prices. They were living the long-haul pilots' dream — short-haul pilots usually flew back and forth twice, thrice, even four times daily just to meet their quota, and still ended up back at their home base. Long-haul pilots had the chance to truly see the world, taking long breaks after each flight — that was the law. Only this time, Jensen wasn't exactly flying a long-haul route per se — Arkhavn to Dartha could easily fall under the medium-haul category, but airlines instead classified it as long-haul just to avoid such a bulky term. Anyway, now that Rihan was receiving more and more exposure on the international stage, Dartha was slowly becoming a powerhouse for tourism in the region. Change was coming to Aurelia — only recently, Jensen had been reading about Rihannsu history. And it would be such a pleasant surprise to anyone knowledgeable about Rihan to know that a nation as terrible and as dystopian as this one could transform itself into one embodied by the towering skyscrapers of Dartha. His thought was only short-lived as he suddenly remembered something that had completely escaped his mind — the secure checklist. Seemingly as though reading his mind and waiting for the right moment, Captain Borup began to enumerate the items on the final checklist. "Secure checklist. — Parking brake verify." "Uh... parking break set, check." "Throttle verify." "Throttle idle, check." "All switches verify." "All switches off, check." "Secure checklist complete. Good flight," said the Captain, extending his hand to offer a congratulatory shake. Jensen took the handshake and gave Borup a friendly pat on the shoulder in return. "Here's to you too — great flight. I was a bit hard on the landing though." "No, no, no, no, it was the wind," said Captain Borup as he stood up to fix his pilot's bag."At least the flare was on-point." Rule number one in a usual Andallan conversation was to counter any self-criticism with denial, followed by an unrelated compliment. As though still disoriented after forgetting the secure checklist, Jensen was at a loss for words. Glancing out the cockpit window he could see a small Rihannsu flag, and subsequently a single word popped into his mind to respond to Borup's flattering: "Heh." (Joke intended.) The last thing left on the list was a quick, informal debriefing regarding the flight and what the two pilots could improve. The landing was satisfactory, after all it was hard to achieve a bad landing on the SK-6; as the old pilots' saying went, landing a six is easier done than said. Immediately after debriefing, the aircraft was handed over to the ground crew as the pilots left. The flight crew still had to clean up the aircraft, so they would follow later on. Once outside the two pilots whizzed through immigration, passing through the special lane reserved for pilots and flight crew. Within minutes of leaving the cockpit, they were now at the airport concourse. This was a benefit each and every commercial pilot enjoyed, not only long-haul pilots. And all along, the very passengers they had flew just stood there waiting impatiently in line as their turn was delayed by the passengers of the previous Havrær flight. "I'll be back. Meet you at the shuttle?" Asked First Officer Jensen, who was indirectly excusing himself for a restroom break. "Sure. We're both connected to airport WiFi, so just call me on Yibber*," replied Captain Borup. *May or may not be the Andallan equivalent of Viber. The restrooms in Cliperian were surprisingly clean for a Rihannsu airport, or any Aurelian airport for that matter. Back in Andalla, airport restrooms were rather messy and smelly — only recently did complaints about Andallan airport toilets rise exponentially. The advent of low-cost flying went both ways — if more people could fly, then more unhygienic people could fly as well. It was all but a cultural thing, really — Andallans didn't really care for the meticulous little details of life as much as Argics or Europans did. By definition, Andalla was developed; yet by culture, Andalla was more like one big, happy rural Thalassan town. On the way out, Jensen bumped into a seemingly distressed man, causing him to stumble and nearly lose balance. "Whoa— uh, is everything alright, sir?" Jensen asked, concerned. The man was of average height, maybe in his early 20's. Jensen could tell he was a Rihannsu returning from abroad, most likely as a student; there were quite a number of such Rihannsu foreign exchange students back in Andalla. "Ah, uhhh, heh... Oh, yes, ahhh, fine sir," the man replied in a somewhat Rihannsu accent. His voice was slightly hoarse, and he was wheezing and panting — it even seemed as if he had some sort of sickness, but Jensen didn't mind. Suddenly, the man bent down, grasped his stomach, and let out a loud, raspy cough. He immediately regained composure and apologized. "Oh, ahhh— I'm so sorry. I better get going," he said. "Poor guy", Jensen thought. "Perhaps all he needs is a break. I should be going too." "Ahh— uh, no problem. You take care." "Alright thanks." With that the man stumbled into the restroom as Jensen dragged his trolley out into the concourse. He checked his smart watch — 7:42 AM, March 4th, Monday. The shuttle left at eight, so there was enough time to grab a snack at some Rihannsu convenience store. He noticed a droplet on his arm right next to the watch. Seeing as it was very small, he just wiped it on his chest. Only then did he realize that it was phlegm from when the man coughed. "Great. Looks like I'll be coughing tomorrow," he jokingly told himself. He had 52 hours to enjoy roaming around Dartha, and he wouldn't ever let a small cough ruin his stay...
  6. Aw man, thanks @Orioni for keeping the forums up. I'd definitely hate to see the Dimension theme go, but, well... you're right. Gotta keep up with the times. Quick question - will this new theme bring back the ability to change font, color, and add the "letter"-style text box? I've been dying to have those back...
  7. I like that idea – we could do both planned and unplanned stories, depending on the situation. Also, I didn't really mean this to be a sort of "crime encyclopedia" presenting crime-related events in a formal manner, but an RP thread where we could all do these short exciting stories. Just for the entertainment of the reader or the writer, of course. Also, yes, this will all be in one main thread. If I remember right, "Affairs" is really where these kinds of stuff should be posted. For the subforum, well, we might need to ask the admins for that – unless this thing does receive a shockingly huge amount of support, we could stick to just a couple threads. Yep, that's what I thought too. It'd be better to loosely connect the stories rather than turning them into a series right then and there. Plus there would be a whole lot of other posts at the same time, so regardless of whether there are links or not, it merely adds chaos to the thread. As much as we want variety, it might be hard to connect the stories. Since again this is a free-for-all thing, we're trying to avoid as much chaos as possible. One solution around this could be to connect unrelated types of crime through organized crime, since criminal organizations do like to diversify. Also, look in the right places and you'll find out that white-collar crime can be fun too Same as the above – we could use this worldwide syndicate to justify diversifying our crime stories. For some reason "The Syndicate" from Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation comes to mind. Now that was a good movie.
  8. Alright. Looks like we've gathered a fair amount of support for this. So right now, let's decide how this whole thing would go. Basically, specifically what kind of content, how it will look like, posting rules, and all that. I've got a few questions here – feel free to copy/paste and voice out your own opinions: 1. How can everyone contribute to the thread? This is intended as a free-for-all thread, not just an exclusive RP wherein only a select group of people participate in. But first, how will the story progress? Will it be planned or unplanned? Will we even have a central plot, or should everybody be allowed to post their own short stories unrelated to each other? 2. What kind of crimes will we deal with? Obviously, we can't take on crime itself in general. Crime encompasses a vast array of topics that could contrast each other too much to be included in the same thread. For example, one moment there's a story about drug cartel street wars and the next moment there's copyright infringement. Don't get me wrong, but stories about nonviolent crimes such as corruption or fraud (See what I did there?) can be exciting too. To keep things simple, I've categorized crime into 4 categories that we could write about. Depending on what you guys want, we may not need these categories. But they're just here to help: White-collar crime or corporate crime basically encompasses those nonviolent crimes done by businesses and the "elite". For the purposes of this list I'll include political crime as a white-collar crime as well. So we have things like fraud, corruption, money laundering... you get the point. Violent crimes include your everyday violence such as murder, terrorism, and theft. Now this is a very vague category as there can be many kinds of theft or terrorism, for example. And of course violent crimes also include things like sexual assault, but we wouldn't want to go too deep into that, I guess. Organized crime is a special one since it's not really a crime itself, but instead it's a group of people committing a certain crime (or crimes) together. It's not too hard to give examples of this one – triads, drug cartels, mafia, even under-the-table political alliances. Organized crime can be really exciting, but one issue it might pose is that our thread would get too cluttered if everybody's writing about their complex mafia systems. Trafficking isn't really a category, but I'll include it here. Basically, trafficking is illegal trade. We'll include illegal consumption of the traded goods as well. Now of course the first thing that comes to mind is drugs, but there are lots of types of trafficking. Smuggling is synonymous to this. Under trafficking I guess we can also include illegal immigration, which is basically you trafficking yourself. Again we don't need to be restricted to a certain category, but we may need a general topic just to set the atmosphere. I'm depending on your ideas and suggestions, so don't hesitate to include your own thoughts. 3. How do we ensure the thread stays in order? Now I don't know how this would turn out, but I sense that a project on this scale might easily spiral out of control. What I'm afraid of is that some people might create their own "series" of posts despite the lack of a centralized story (again, depending on your decision regarding the centralized plot). I mean, if done correctly this wouldn't hurt at all. But people who might end their posts abruptly, or perhaps start their posts in such a way that you have to read all the previous posts, well... that's not really what I intend to do with this thing. But again, any ideas are fine. The initial concept of this thread was for it to be a collection of short stories. That means each post would already have a beginning, climax and end – all in one post. Don't get me wrong – you could connect two short stories even if you've ended the first one. Basically what I'm asking is the structure of the posts. Should we follow the short story format? Or should we instead adopt a central plot and have everybody chip in every now and then, like a never-ending story?
  9. Andalla

    Queste Check-In

    Hey @Queste, welcome to Europa! Before anything, I apologize for replying really [really] late. I'm still taking studies by the way, and it just so happened that this week turned out to be a really busy one. Rest assured I'll be on Discord every now and then, if you need anything. Let me introduce myself — I'm Andalla, but you can call me Andy. I'm an RP Mentor over here — as RP Mentors, it's our responsibility to guide newcomers around the ropes of this community. Expect our other friendly RP Mentors (@Fulgistan and @Rihan) to come around and give some feedback as well, but don't be afraid — it's all for your own benefit. Do remember all your posts get moved to the main forums once you're accepted, so don't worry about wasting any efforts here. We'll fit you into our current RP storyline smoothly once your posts have joined our canon. As @Orioni has already said, I've reviewed your factbook and it's pretty solid stuff. Great work there! Allow me to just take a couple minutes of your time — I have just a few points for improvement, which I hope you might consider. Bear with me since this one's quite long, but it's only long because I've added some explanations just to make everything clearer. Don't worry, the factbook's still awesome. Before we start, I'd like to say: I love your writing! I've read the sample excerpt and it's just great. Your factbooks seem to follow accordingly, and they're written far better than other factbooks I've seen. Great start there. Now, the single largest issue I've found is you're puffing your nation up too much. Basically, your factbooks seem to show that your nation over-performs in basically everything. Now in essence that's not bad at all, but it ain't much fun for your neighbors when some overpowered nation moves in — kinda like how that one smart kid in class grabs all the spotlight even when you deserve some attention as well. I'd like to point out that it may not even be fun for yourself, as Europa is a very vibrant community. We thrive on the IC interactions between nations. Things will get rather boring if all you do is export and export — and even then, not many would approach you to set up trade as we're already busy with the exciting global market. Basically, know your weaknesses. Because a community is all about complementing each others' weaknesses. The next thing I have in mind is quite related to the previous one. Now, I'd like to zero in on your economy. I've noticed that you describe Queste as a developed mixed market economy, which I don't find too convincing as you've also described yourself as a socialist, isolationist, militaristic, autocratic pseudo-empire with a $10,000 GDP per capita and an industry-centered economy. Queste basically lacks the very foundations to justify having such an economy, and here's why: Socialism. Regardless of how morally clean one can be, greed is simply innate human nature. As seen with many socialist and communist countries, the government's tight control of the economy is often exploited by politicians for their own benefits. And even without corruption, government mismanagement is a huge deterrent to the socialist system — only the people themselves are able to truly define what exactly the economy needs, which is what makes a free market generally freer. Of course there are many factors influencing this; socialism may sometimes even be the better choice. But if we're talking money-wise, a free market with minimal government involvement will put more money in people's pockets. Isolationism. Economies do not develop from secluding themselves — they do the exact opposite. When foreign businesses enter the local market, local businesses are forced to respond accordingly. If done right, this spurs competition between the businesses. And competition, of course, encourages businesses to lower prices and develop new products and innovations. In the long run, painful as it may be to the business, competition actually allows the economy to develop massively through the introduction of new ideas. Isolationism, on the other hand, is a thing of the past. We've seen Ming-dynasty China, sakoku in Japan, and today North Korea. As the story goes, China and Japan were both able to restore peace through isolationism after the arrival of Westerners. This, however, proved disastrous nearly 200 years later in the late 1800's as both nations were exposed to Western invaders with weapons far more advanced than their once-mighty swords and gunpowder. At that time, the Japanese and Chinese economies seemed to be flourishing under their own standards. On the other side of the world, the Industrial Revolution was taking place and economies were skyrocketing tenfold while Japan and China sat there with nothing but peace. Even today, we see North Korea as a largely under-developed nation with rampant poverty and famine. This isn't just because of the terrible government itself, but the issue is actually only compounded with their isolationist policy. Take a look at South Korea — they didn't get rich for nothing. After the Korean War, the South had developed very close ties to its Western allies, while the North sat there rotting as all of its socialist allies slowly crumbled to pieces. Imagine what would've happened if the North had also opened up its borders to foreign trade — perhaps they too could have had a well-performing economy today. Exports wouldn't be good for isolationism either. It essentially makes you look really arrogant — buying from nobody then making them buy from you. Aside from fellow socialists or your absolute closest neighbors, you wouldn't find any economic allies at all. I must also stress that it's nearly impossible for a nation to achieve complete self-sufficiency, and self-sufficiency won't provide you with economic development either. Authoritarianism. Similar to socialism, complete control over everything can turn out as disastrous. But above all, the largest single downside of authoritarianism is actually productivity. The state of the nation, or of the people, is a huge factor influencing the morale of your citizens. And it's clear that morale is also a huge factor influencing productivity, because it's what simply pushes people to work and to make a living. I'm not saying the system of government immediately decides the citizens' morale, but Queste as you've said is basically a socialist military dictatorship. So I wouldn't really expect the people to be that productive unless they're forced to. And even then, they wouldn't put any heart into their work either. Later on in your history, you cite having "harsh restrictions" on your businesses. If you want a strong economy, restrictions won't be good. As much as you want to safeguard the nation and its people, restrictions prevent businesses from innovating or even operating properly. So there's that. Per Capita GDP. Your economy factbook states a per capita GDP of $10,000. That's right above the Third World, which isn't so bad. I'd just like to point out that truly "developed" countries have probably twice that number, while countries around the $10,000 mark tend to be developed only in urban areas (Turkey, Malaysia, etc.). Industry. No matter what, industry won't get you anywhere in the First World. Sure, it's the lifeblood of the economy and a very important factor in economic development, but that's it. Developed is different from developing — industry is for developing economies. In a truly developed economy, services provide the majority of GDP. "High-quality exports" won't last forever; in fact, high-quality exports are a sign of a post-industrial economy. Your factbook cites having a strong arms industry. But without any market for these arms, they're beneficial only to the military. There's almost no income to balance out the huge expenses on resources, workers and R&D. With all this, I'm not saying Queste should be a crumbling impoverished nation. My point is, by international standards, the economy of Queste isn't highly-developed, as you've put it. I've also noticed your history is rather exaggerated. Now, often isn't a big issue at all and we could actually keep it that way, but here are some points for improvement. First, take your time. There's no rush with ancient history. An ancient nomadic civilization does not become a triad of wealthy empires within a hundred years. And there's no need to have all three empires become economic giants — again, know your weaknesses. After all, the nomadic period could make for some great stories about ancient Queste, so it'd be good to make it longer. Also, by the 12th century, civilization was generally more advanced than just nomads. By comparison, drawing from actual Ukrainian history, the Kievan Rus' reached its peak by the mid-11th century. Not to mention Kiev was the capital, as the name suggests. Now this time I'm proposing a change for the better. Queste had its first major revolution in the mid-1500's, which is pretty early on. I won't be getting into much detail on this, but nations were still pretty stable at that time. I'm not saying you absolutely can't have your people revolt during this time, but it's alright if you push the date forward a bit. For comparison, most revolutions took place between the mid-1700's to the early 1900's. After the revolution, Queste seemingly goes silent for 400 years without incident. I mean, the time between the 16th and 20th centuries was the golden age when new things and places were being discovered and huge kingdoms were waging war. It'd be a shame to miss all the excitement, wouldn't it? Alright. So we're done with that. Now here's where things get tense — the arrival of democracy in Queste. Now I understand that it might be hard to cite interactions with other nations as you don't have a spot on the map yet, but there are some things I noticed here. First, the way you define democracy — does it immediately imply a presidential system of government? A kingdom like Queste could be somewhat democratic as well. Or, perhaps the kingdom would've attempted to defend itself from republicanism at first, which meant that things would've got a bit heated up. Not everything goes peacefully and harmoniously as planned. Back to the economy — democracy does not imply capitalism either. Sure, capitalism does make the market "freer", but at its full force, it's not democracy anymore. What would be more likely to happen is that your kingdom switches from a protective, isolationist economy to one that slowly and cautiously accepts foreign ideas. Not immediately become some ultra-capitalist nation. And it does take time to build an economy, no matter what — a silent kingdom sitting in a corner cannot become a global economic power in a single decade, just because of capitalism. Now the modern isolationist period was a bit controversial among us RP Mentors. First, after switching to a liberal republican democracy, it'd be way, way harder to go back into isolationism. And as I've said before, isolationism is a thing of the past. In no way whatsoever does it truly benefit a nation, since it's basically restricting the influx of foreign innovations and technology. Sure, you could develop some technology yourself, but imagine this — the knowledge of the whole world combined against the knowledge of only Queste. And even then, things would get worse if you're a growing economy, because you're also a growing population. It's a given that any nation would fall into crisis as soon as the demand for food and resources becomes greater than the actual production or imports (and Queste wouldn't have any imports). During the isolationist period, things seem to move too fast. Remember, you're working with almost a century of isolationism. We might have to change that, but either way, a well-performing economy doesn't crash in a year unless you have some extreme circumstances. In that case, however, the repercussions of such "extreme circumstances" would probably still affect Queste late into the 1900's and early 2000's. Next, Queste becomes a chaotic battlefield between people and corporations. Remember, this is the 1920's. Corporations still weren't too big at this time, so they wouldn't have a strong fighting chance. Furthermore, a civil war of this intensity does not last a hundred years. Maybe a decade or two at most. And by the 1940's you'll most likely be caught in some WW2-like conflict, so it'd be better if your nation was already re-stabilizing by then. Lastly, your group led by Anna Eline literally goes from a band of self-proclaimed saviors to the leadership of Queste, in under a year. Which again is quite fast — very fast, so to say. And no matter how quick the reforms are put into action, it will still take a few years for the effects to really show, especially considering the fact that Queste is just recovering from an intense century-long civil war (again, we might have to change that). I don't want to get into too much detail with this one but perhaps you should nerf your military just a bit. I know you're trying to play a very militarized nation, but at some point it just breaks the realism line. Again, you'll need a good economy to support a good military — that's the way it goes. To put it bluntly, the military is a waste of money. Not in the sense that everything absolutely goes to waste, but you're pumping in so much money to prevent some rebellion or war — nothing that would really completely destroy Queste. Compare the military to an investment of sorts, where the returns are far lower than the initial money you began with. It's basically a risk. So you might want a stronger economy to support a stronger military. As I've said in the beginning, nobody can truly be self-sufficient. So don't burden yourself with having to produce all your military equipment yourself. After all, again it's a risk, so you wouldn't want to be placing the whole risk on yourself. Find an ally; a trade partner. You guys could exchange equipment and expertise. Win-win. Now one small thing — I noticed there was one part where you mentioned helicopters hovering above government buildings all day. Come to think of it, that's not such a far-flung idea, but again — the military is an economic risk. What actual benefit do you get from flying helicopters around all day? Looking cool, well, that's not so bad, but think of the fuel costs. The maintenance costs. You'll have to be landing these helicopters constantly to refuel; they don't just stay up there forever. Then you're operating them all day, so the wear and tear would be terrible on the engines. Ultimately all that spending just to prevent some hooligans from starting an uprising? Also, 200 combat aircraft. Most non-superpowers would have maybe 50 at most, including the really old and rusting ones. Just saying. Bear with me — this is the last one. Now I've noticed that you seem to base your nation heavily off NS stats, which we don't really encourage. Not that we're discouraging it, but we want everybody to be creative. Don't be bound by the way NS issues mold your nation — it should be you alone in control of your own fate. Now of course it's really your choice whether you want to follow NS stats or not, but let me just advise you not to take it too literally. As everybody knows, NS stats aren't all that too serious, there are small jokes and references inserted if you look close enough. Just because your people have been ranked the 284th most apathetic in the world doesn't mean Questians are ultra-apathetic in RP. In fact, they can be the exact opposite. It's totally acceptable for you to change up some stuff, provided that everything fits within the boundaries of realism. Also, it's much easier to gain certain powers through NS stats as compared to real life, such as military, economy and influence. Those stuff don't just come along, they're the hard-earned rewards of a well-managed country. Right now we don't really have a proper system that truly determines your overall IC standing, but it's generally based on your influence in the region. Not the NS stat for influence, of course. What I mean is that you could roleplay as a really rich and advanced nation, but you'll never be as rich or as advanced as the well-known and established members of our community. In the same way, you could claim to have a stronger economy as your influence in the region grows. Quality writing and some presence on Discord, bam, you're an instant Europan celebrity (Not really, but you get the point). And in the end of course it's about writing, not climbing the ranks. Influence comes naturally, trust me. Take it from somebody who was once a shy nobody just over a year ago. Alas it has been finished. This is all sincerely constructive and done in good faith, I have no intent to criticize you or anything. I mean, I did start this off saying the factbook is pretty good as it is, and these are just my humble two cents for improving it. If you might have been offended by anything along the way, my deepest apologies for that — that's really the way I talk. So no worries, and thanks for the time!
  10. Note: Due to a forum error, this thread was posted early and is still a work-in-progress.
  11. Sounds like a job for @Magnaeus or @Cristina.
  12. Definitely. We could totally fly drug planes between you and Giokto, Escobar style...
  13. I was unaware you could change your font... The font box mysteriously disappeared for me and has been missing for a few months now
  14. Title says it all. I've been considering the idea for quite a while now, but I've never gotten around to actually doing anything about it. What I imagine is a free-for-all thread where anyone can post short stories pertaining to crime, preferably organized crime. As there won't be any solid storyline, the main purpose of the thread is simply to serve as a depository for such stories. Those who do wish to come up with multiple posts in a storyline could simply add a list of post links at the bottom of each post, or to just create a new thread. Another alternative would be to create a thread about organized drug trafficking, which is particularly a more popular topic in crime fiction. This time, we could connect the storyline by showing interactions between different crime organizations, friendly or hostile. Of course, since we're involving organizations, we could veer off a bit from drugs every now and then, as these organizations do involve themselves in other types of crime as well. To start it all off, I'll be coming up with a post sometime, after we've solidified our plans. This is still a rather vague and undeveloped idea, so feedback is always great. Also – do say if you're interested to join. That would be awesome. Of course no RP thread is complete without an actual title. "In the Shadows" is already taken by @Rihan but it would make a great title if we choose the drug trafficking storyline. Proposals are always welcome, so fire away!
  15. Aww, thanks. I did intend to make it quite long as I'll be using that one for lots of future references as well. Plus it's always fun to finally set up some aspects of my nation and culture. Honestly? Go for it. Perhaps do it as a standalone post. Seeing as you're able to write huge amounts of stuff in a short time, a travel guide with this detail wouldn't be too hard.
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