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    • The past seven hours had probably made Aidan the most nervous he had ever been in his life. Many of the roads had been shut down, but through some clever contacts, their disguised lorries had managed to get into Selbourne. Back in Norfolk a full base of operations had been setup, and with the naval yards and supply depots under their direct control, Henry could starve them of resources. From what he had seen so far though was mostly just chaos, the army wasn't on the streets instead the black clad mercenaries out in droves patrolling important government areas. He had hoped the army would come in and clean them up, but it appeared that Prince Henry had made at least enough allies in the Royal Army to keep them paralyzed through disarray. The only branches that Aidan could count on at this moment were the Royal Navy and Marines, most of whom had moved to Norfolk to prevent any chances of firefights breaking out between confused Army units and themselves. In the back of the lorry was himself and around ten other Marines, decked out in tactical gear. Sitting beside him was the corporal from the carrier, who had volunteered himself for the mission. And of course Aidan couldn't turn that face down. "So corporal, I never caught your name all the way." The corporal looked up from the tablet he had been studying, "Oh sorry sir, my names Gareth, uh Dustin Gareth sir." "Well Dustin, " Aidan said pointing at the tablet, "Where are we now?" Gareth looked down at the tablet, "Just about at the SBC offices now sir." Aidan stood up, "Alright everyone let's get ready, this is it. If you see our own people you hold your fire unless they fire on you. Any mercenary forces are fair game if you go live. We won't have much in the name of stealth trying to enter the building so we have to be quick." As all the marines around him starting checking their equipment he felt a tap on his shoulder, it was Gareth who had a concerned look on his face, "Sir I don't think you should go on this mission, we can't risk losing you-" "I appreciate how much you care, but a group of random marines can't make a statement on the telly and expect everyone to respond to it. It has to be me, a Prince." "I'd say King sir." Gareth replied "I think that might be jumping the gun much don't you think?" Gareth shrugged, "I don't think so sir, I'm no Royal but I'm thinkin, if we win this you're King. And even if we don't, you're our King right now and that's good enough for me" Aidan couldn't help but blush for a second, he hadn't quite realized the loyalty of all the people below him, "Thank you Dustin." Suddenly the lorry stopped, and banging was heard from the wall connected to the cab. "Alright everyone! Supressors on and remember the ROE. Let's move." --------------- The team quickly exited the rear of lorry into an empty ally close to the SBC, the sounds of the normally busy city muted. They silently made their way through the alleyways until the rounded the corner. Standing at the rear entrance of the building was a squad of Royal Army soldiers who immediately sprang up at the appearance of Aidan's group. Soon both sides were pointing their weapons at each other in silence, the Army soldier's not sure what to do seeing their own military's marines. One of them spoke up soon enough though, "That's enough don't move any closer identify yourselves!" Aidan stepped forward cautiously, pointing his weapon down and letting it hang by the straps, "We're all on the same side here, don't shoot alright." The nervous soldier shouted again, "I said halt! But your damn weapons down now!" "My name is Prince Aidan, do not fire,"  He slowly unstrapped his helmet and made sure his face was clear, "See? Don't shoot." The soldier looked in shock, "My god your Highness, what are you doing here? Everyone stand down now." The soldiers on both sides started to relax lowering their guns. Aidan spoke up again once everything seemed settled, "Look we need into the SBC now. You and me both now my brother can't run this country. I need to make a statement to the people." "Sir we are under orders to prevent anyone unauthorized from entering. We're just the public face, those people in side are those mercenaries in black." "Tell you what, I won't tell anyone if you won't" Aidan replied with a sarcastic tone, something he still couldn't quite help himself from doing even in a situation like this. The squad leader looked distraught not sure what to do, "I don't know your Highness..." "You know what we are going to do needs to be done." In what looked like a sudden wave of confidence the soldier straightened up, "My apologies, the King of Seylos can go where he pleases, I can't stop you from going anywhere." Aidan smiled, "Alright there's my man, before we go in there, I need to know everything you know."    
    • That border looks very reasonable to me, and I have no objections. Time to start buying stock in trans-national railway and border security outsourcing firms.
    • Beats from the Saddle: Fulgistan's Underground Hip-Hop Scene
      by Otryadyn Gyatso If you're Foolish Bandit (and if you are, hi, I'm a big fan), you're probably singing about women, drugs and fast cars. But if you're Big Schwack, the Fulgistani internet sensation, you're dropping lines about Brownies, stallions and banana lean. Big Schwack is one of a number of rap artists in the 'Stan's burgeoning scene, which has seen a rise in popularity online, with some artists enjoying more popularity on the net than they do in their own country. The netizens have termed this new genre "horse-hop", and its rough, guttural style and pulsing, erratic electronic beats distinguish it from other forms of rap. However, Fulgistan has a history of not allowing rap artists to perform in public, despite recent moves to relax government control on media and the arts, meaning that most of these artists have to produce their music either online or perform in secret. Both of my parents are from The 'Stan, but we moved to Gallambria when I was a baby. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to visit my ancestral homeland, I flew into Bogd Gioro to investigate this quasi-legal music movement. The interview with Big Schwack almost didn't happen. He'd been detained by the police on drug charges, and thankfully, after a quick bribe from our producer to the duty officer, we were able to speak with the man himself. He took us to a favorite dive bar in the capital's Bishkek neighborhood, considered by most to be the epicenter of the hip-hop phenomenon. After ordering a couple of Banana Buds for our crew, Big Schwack gave us our interview. V: So, you were just in jail, correct? BS: Yes, the government, they don't like me to perform, so they claim all the...drugs, guns, this, that to suppress me, suppress my art. V: You say that it's not actually because you're a criminal so much as the Communist Party wanting to, to, stop you from performing, is that correct? BS: When you go to [a] bar in Bishkek, like here, you always find rapper, rap crew, whatever, lah. The Communist Party, like you say, they target me, only me, because I speak out against the bad things they do in this country. V: What sort of bad things do you rap about when you perform? BS: I talk about religion, the terrorism, how [the] government is corrupt. They don't like this, so they try [to] put me in prison. V: Have you ever been imprisoned for your music? BS: I have gone to the jail many, many times, many times been arrested, detained, but never have they been able to put me in, ah, prison yet. They will always try, though. Always, always they try to, to lock me up. V: How do you feel about the popularity you and other Fulgistani rap artists have gotten internationally, on the internet? BS: It makes me very, you know, excited to see...all these people around the world enjoy our music. Only I wish that our government, our whole country, could accept us, could enjoy the rap and the horse-hop in [the] same way. V: Thanks, Big Schwack. Anything else you'd like to say? BS: I want to say that, if you read this on the Internet, please go check out my new single, Horse Don't Prance, and also I want to say to the government that we are not [a] threat to the public, we just want [to] perform our music for everyone, so we can all enjoy. Horse-hop forever, man! V: Cheers, BS. Thanks for the interview.
      It was clear to us now that the rappers were not exactly cultural heroes to the Fulgistani government. But what exactly was the threat they posed? Sure, their music videos showed off gold-plated Brownies and phat blunts, but you'd find the same thing in most nomad communities in the countryside, albeit with less gold and (somehow) more weed. Historically Fulgistan's Communist government had kept a tight lid on subversive music, but since the twenty-teens, that seemed to be relaxing. Why the special (mis)treatment of hip-hop? To find out, we met with Dengdeng Elbegdorz, the man in charge of policing the rowdy Bishkek neighborhood (and not the man we'd earlier bribed, if you were wondering). When asked about crackdowns on rap artists, he said that "the rappers, the horse-hop guys, they say, you know, they are law-abiding, but really when we go to the club or the bar or whatever, always we find the drugs, the unlicensed gun, you know, the contraband. If they do this in public, it encourages disorder and erodes the...social harmony of our country. When the culture, the behavior, of the horse-hop performers is in line with the...the standards of legality, then they will be able to enjoy the freedoms of the other musicians".   We spent the next week in Bogd Gioro, but couldn't really locate any other rappers; they all either refused to speak to us or believed us to be government spies. Since the time of our visit, in mid-March, Big Schwack has been arrested again, this time on charges of gang affiliation. However, earlier this month, Secretary for Culture Bayanchur Tekin announced that starting in July, horse-hop artists would be able to apply for public performance permits, which are required to perform in large venues like stadiums and theaters. While currently the rappers are cleared only to perform in restaurants and on the street, this represents a big future step forward in the government's relationship with the artform. Rap artists on ZoundsCloud are already announcing tours in the country, igniting a new wave of online enthusiasm for the wonderful, weird genre that is horse-hop. For VIRTUE News, I've been Otryadyn Gyatso. Salaam.
    • Just updooted the Factbook. 
    • Here's a crude map showing possible expansion areas for Monvisret and Limonaia. Pretty much sure I'll stick with A now wherever the border ends up. Put down some place names as well for good measure.
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