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READ ACT I HERE A UNION DIVIDED | PROLOGUE The months after the Ultramares Conference would prove to be the most tumultuous in Iverica's recent history. Somehow catching wind of Iverica's illicit activities to quell dissidents in Vasqqa, the Duke of Verde threatens Primo Franso Deitorr with what is effectively blackmail--either the Primo secedes control of Vasqqa's future economic planning to Verde, or the Duke uses his support to suspend unification under Iverica's mantle. With either option being a potential death sentence for the hard-won Iverican hegemony, Deitorr is forced to commit his last gambit. With two powers struggling for control of Vasqqa, a shadowy play of cloak-and-dagger unravels behind the gilded linens of the political façade. --- 2100hrs 15th of August, 2018 Campo V. D'Centrale, Vasqqa D'Oeste, Iverica The prefab room in the wayside of Exersito Base Vasqqa D'Centrale, like many of its sort, had been in use far past its listed service life. It was dank, a pervasive smell of unventilated washroom hung about to stuff the noses of the three occupants. The faulty wiring of the sickly-white fluorescent tubes illuminated the interior poorly and served only to accentuate the brownish stains spreading on thin wood sheet walls. Around a plastic folding table sat two of the three. One was wearing a dirt-streaked pair of Flecktarn trousers. The room's lighting fell short of his face, illuminating only what was below his neck. His bared chest was matted with thick strands of hair, mottled in some places by thick streaks of scar tissue. He smoked a rumpled looking half-corona while staring lazily at the suited man opposite him, occasionally shifting his glance towards the third figure, similarly suited and standing by the doorway. Across the table sat what screamed "spook" in possibly ever single tell. Black suit, black tie, bulge around the armpit where a concealed pistol sat, shaven head--likely to hide his receding hairline, reeked of expensive cologne, heavy set--probably cheating half a churro against the SSO fitness standard. The other was similar in attire but younger, maybe mid-twenties, slick hair-do, clean face--probably a user of feminine skin-care, trying playing cool, silent and dangerous. Trying. Also corded, slim, all muscle, probably a cross-fit hipster. As the soldier appraised them, he took regular puffs from the cigar. Apparently trying his best to overpower the room's smell with tobacco smoke. It wasn't long before the suited skin head decided to give up on waiting. Skin head cleared his throat. "We've got a rogue asset. The burn notice is about to go out. Free game. Pays well, 100k plus hazard and silence." Now spoken to, the bare-chested soldier put his cigar out on the bare plastic of the table. The sharp hit of sizzling plastic issued forth before being drowned out by the mildew smell. The soldier barked a laugh in response. "Why me? Kill team's gone soft?", said the soldier mockingly. "The mark won't go down easy, we need a real killer to helm this one", replied the skin head spook, seemingly unfazed and transactional. "mm'a soldier, not a merc", he replied dismissively. The soldier then straightened to get up, as if the conversation was already dead to him. The spook by the door tensed in turn. Shifting slightly to block the exit. "There's more. You know him." The soldier at the other end of the table paused. Casting an irate glance at the Cross-fit hipster by the door. Relaxing in his seat again, he gave a noncommittal grunt. He was interested, but just barely. "Hel-Rus. Death's Head", said the bald spook, using a tone that reminded the soldier of used-car salesmen throwing in free leather upholstery. The soldier's ears pricked at that. His jaw tensed, the bulge of bunching muscle below his left ear swelling slightly. Capitan Ector Santiago, Tercera Batallón, SOAR, leaned forward, into the dull cast of the flickering fluorescent. The left side of his face was contorted and covered in scar tissue from where he had taken a round to the face in the gutters of Salonica. The grafted skin was stretched tight over his skull and jaw, giving that one side of his face a sunken, skeletal appearance. After a short pause, Santiago gravelled a single word in query. "Kingfisher?" The bald spook nodded. "Kingfisher." "He's clever. It's damned risky", grunted Santiago. The spook raised an eyebrow at that. "He killed your men, almost got you killed too." Santiago snorted. "Not keen on giving him a better excuse." The Spook paused, and took some papers out of his pocket, scanning a page briefly. It was a showy effort. "I heard you were with them since selection? They make you write the butcher's bill to the families too? What was it called... a "helicopter accident?". Santiago warned him with a deep, low growl. The bald spook shifted gears, changing his tone to one imploring. "If you don't stop him, he'll get the chance to root out every single one of our loyal assets in Vasqqa. Include number One SOAR all over." Santiago sighed and rubbed his temples. "Fine", said the SOAR capitan. "Fine. I'll kill your rogue bird." --- Notes: Potato map is an ORIONI work, just coloured and detailed with Paint. Yes these are recurring characters--SANTIAGO'S BACK BBQ. Suck my fat one of you're reading this ya fakka!!!!1