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STATE OF THE REPUBLIC | PART 2/4

2030 hrs
15th of May, 2018
Intreimor City, Iverica

 

His full-grain leather dress shoes, polished to a mirror shine, pattered a regular, purposeful beat on the pattern-stained tiles of the long gallery.

Lanos followed some distance behind, the bodyguard's step as quiet as a cat's despite his immense bulk.

Deitorr passed suits of Tercio armour and paintings of plantation harvest and early Iverican scenery. The galleries of the Palá dei Primo, Iverica's executive building, were long. Long, owing to the building's crescent shape of sweeping wings arced in either flank accentuated by manor-like structures on the vertices--where many of the rooms and main chambers were situated.

Galleries such as the one Deitorr now traversed forced one to delve into Iverican art collections--an inconvenience Deitorr believed to be an intentional utility for the building's function. This particular one, the Rococo gallery, was the least impressive of the series. The others housed historical-romantic pieces in all their chiaroscuro and spouse-killing melodrama, while others still held larger-than-life titans of marble, granite, and artificed clay. The purpose of these, Deitorr had no doubt, was to impress and disarm foreign delegates (or leaders) with everything from the trivial comforts of Rococo's trademark quaint rurality to the pedestalled stoic machismo of historical romanticism.

Nonetheless, the walk made his old knee injury groan with creaking complaints.

As he approached a set of double doors in the West-wing main, Deitorr slowed his pace a fraction while silently checking his breathways for any congestion. He was about to meet someone he would rather not take a nasal tone with.

The doors before him were close to 3-metres tall, panelled in slabs of polished lapis lazuli, accented with dotted aventurine, and trimmed in polished brass. Deitorr took a step back.

On cue, Lanos strode forth, closing their distance in two lazy strides. The guardsman opened both doors simultaneously and bowed Deitorr through.

During the day, the hall known as the Blau Room--clad in its coats of deep blue Lapis--balanced out the harsh brightness of Tacalonia's noontimes. But in an evening such as this one, the hall seemed practically aglow, subtly reflecting and refracting the chandelier lights in the vault-arched ceiling above. The result was that the slabs of swirling lake blue, indigo, and midnight leant the room the appearance of a cavern beneath the waves, slivers of blue's many hues cast about the space.

gnXcyyu.jpg

The Blau Room, Palá dei Primo

And at the centre of this space, observing a Davide canvas--was a lady in grey.

Her back was ramrod straight, both feet planted firmly together, and her head tilted upwards at the sizable oil painting.

It was Desdemona Tomas-Morra, Foreign Minister and Interim Chair of ATARA. Her stance hadn't shifted a millimetre despite Deitorr's entry.

Deitorr paused and looked about the rest of the hall.

Empty. It was 8 in the evening on a weekday, the Blau Room was as deserted as Sant-Bastién's theatre halls were come post-modern performance season.

Unorthodox meeting place, certainly. But not unheard of. Deitorr knew that some in the ExecMin had a penchant for stage drama when it came to affectiously trying to make an effect. The only caveat was that in the nearly two decades he had known Morra, Deitorr had never taken her for a showwoman--quite the opposite actually.

Deitorr strode towards her, his leather soles creating a reverb around the empty interior.

He stopped just behind her left flank.

Another short pause.

"I'd have thought you tired of Davide. Especially this one", started Deitorr, breaking the empty echo of the space.

MlT8pBe.jpg

Oath of the Leonii--Giaqes Luis Davide

Morra's shoulders stiffened just a fraction.

She turned her lined, but regal and powdered face towards the Primo.

"Never", she said, almost dismissively.

"If one would tire of Davide, one probably does not know what one is looking for", she continued.

"As for myself, I always thought it was something about the line. The direction and strong angles, unitive--but with a definite direction. Purposeful. Resolved... In any case, it was a mere guess. After all, you've had this one in the Foreign Affairs building in the 2016 rotation", Deitorr said, eyes following the sharp postures of the brothers pictured.

Morra nodded.

"I suppose it was also the calm of this hall. I thought it an ideal waiting place... especially for late Primos".

Deitorr briefly considered strangling the ATARA Chairperson. 

It was a fleeting temptation.

"I am thinking that you did not call for a meeting, especially out-of-hours for a chat on some rudimentary points on Oath of the Leonii.".

"Certainly not.", replied Morra tersely.

She turned and began a slow walk out of the hall.

"To your office then, my Primo?".

 

 

---

 


 

Seated behind his desk, Deitorr lay one hand on the rest and clasped his chin in the other.

"So. Hermoso and Galardo are most certain this is the outcome. We are placing final commitments on this route?", queried Deitorr.

Morra nodded after a sip of her unsweetened black tea. She sat, one leg folded daintily over the other, on a couch at the centre of the wood-panelled office.

Deitorr thought. Joaquin Hermoso, the Home Minister, and Juliana Galardo, Attorney-General had both given their votes to the ExecMin decision--the decision that would decide all their strategic playbooks and policy direction for the next decade and perhaps, foreseeable future. Morra and Deitorr themselves had already cast their votes long ago in the closed council of the five primary members of the Executive Ministry.

Morra rested the china cup to the little saucer she had in the other hand.

"We have already been preparing this in advance, us two, Franso. Like you had advised at the start of your term."

Deitorr nodded.

"Indeed. I suppose all told, it could not have turned out any more satisfactorily--given how much we have put at stake expecting this outcome."

Case Blue.

It was what Deitorr predicted would come. Still. At the precipice of great change, there was bound to be some misgivings, some uncertainty.

Deitorr looked up from his desk.

Morra looked back, a steady gaze.

Raising foreign investment, embassies, strong manoeuvres in the international stage. ATARA, TRIDENT... Ahrana, Afropa, Hellenic Rus... Integrating the Ultramares... all for Case Blue. All had been plans for plans for a plan a decade in the making that would gestate another year before birth.

Deitorr looked at the map, a large wall fresco of Western Argis and Northwestern Alharu. His eyes shifted, the Iverican Peninsula, the Ultramares in the Argic Ocean, the Duchy of Verde perched on the Alharun coast, the Vasqqan enclave in the isthmus, and Greater Galicia in the Argic mainland.

Plans for plans for a plan.

A single. Idea.

Deitorr shifted his gaze back to Morra, who waited expectantly.

Taking to his feet, Deitorr could only keep one thought in place as a hundred other variables and radicals flowed through. The homeland in Europa--the old world--was gone. They, like seeds thrown about in the hurricane of history, lay where they landed. Without home, forever cast out, but still... together where the universe had flung them.

The sun had set in the West.

Per Solidaridad.

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STATE OF THE REPUBLIC | INTERLUDE I

0800 hrs
16th of May, 2018
Intreimor City, Iverica

 

When Desdemona Tomas-Morra, Foreign Minister of the Republic, arrived at the Palá dei Primo she had not expected to be dallying long, nor did she expect to be thrust into a meeting which could very well have been the prelude to an international incident.

Indeed, she had been expecting to simply receive a short briefing from Bastien, the Primeal Aide and Chief of Staff, and be on her not-so-merry way to complete the mountain of work required by the upcoming ATARA General Assembly

Deitorr had already left for the Ultramares Summit, where he would be meeting the leaders of the Iverican satellite states--a summit which was to be the overture for a union to mark an epoch in Diaspora-Iberic history. 

Bastien had just been giving Morra a point-by-point on how the Foreign Ministry should expect to handle the shift in geopolitics when a shrill tone broke the air with the shock of a maiden's shriek--the hotline for the situation room.

 

---


 

0900 hrs
16th of May, 2018
Situation Room, Palá dei Primo

 

"Director-General", began Morra, massaging the bridge of her nose.

"Why... is this critical piece of intelligence coming to us only now."

The Situation Room in the bowels of the Palá had its light dimmed as Director General Jaime Bonda met with the Primeal Staff plus Morra via video conference.

situation-room-2009.jpg

"Minist--"

"--and further," interrupted Morra.

"I am bothered that it is you, delivering this to the ExecMin directly and not via the established monthly dossier that is expected of your office. I'll be intrigued as you explain this... bizarre privilege to us", she finished sharply.

The news was certainly distressing. Through her many years in Iverican politics, she had learned to keep her tarot face in check. Despite this, the news of mobilising terrorist cells allying with disgruntled political rebels certainly had her on edge.

"Minister," replied Bonda. His tone was stale, his steely--almost serpentine eyes seemed clear and impossibly sharp despite the digital medium he was relayed through.

"Eclipses in any intelligence apparatus are unavoidable. Our objectives in Vasqqa were to monitor the activities of the Circle of Death's Vasqqan cell--which involved tapping suspended assets embedded in the state years ago. Naturally, the demand for such a jilting activation wouldn't guarantee a secure and completely effective network until our recently deployed operators can complete their exchange of command."

Bonda continued.

"To answer more directly--we have information of this possible terrorist coup on a multi-spatial scale because our callsigns were vigilant. Had they not enacted a redundant examination of recent reports of our Yellow Assets in Vasqqa, the issue would have slipped by us until too damned late. I am bringing you an express report in this bizarre privilege because I require executive permission to enact our contingency protocols--the only decent chance we have at terminating this cancer."

Bastien and Morra shared a brief look. They both knew that the movements of the cell were not simple coincidences. Vasqqa occupied the isthmus to the rest of Argis--Narva and Greater Galicia, a large enough incident there could throw a proverbial wrench in any plan of an Iberic unification. If the report was anything to believe--and it was, vouched for by Bonda himself--it suggested with alarming clarity, a familiar pattern.

"Madame Minister, we have to alert the Primo--", started Bastien.

Morra chose to ignore Bastien, her silence dissuading him from finishing his sentence. If this was anything like she expected, they had to start moving now. There were holes in the report and Morra knew, with a sinking feeling, that the followup reports could only paint a bleaker picture. It would take weeks, if not months to prepare a foil operation, and given the reports--smuggling, watch-listed profiles being spotted on the wrong side of the border, and the hums on the black markets--it would appear that the enemy had a sizeable head start.

Morra took a breath. Calling Deitorr was not an option--interrupting in the middle of the summit with bowel-loosening news was just as deadly as inaction.

"As vested in me by Primo Franso E. Deitorr, I exercise my powers as Secundo to formally declare this report as evidence of 'A Risk of War and State of Emergency'--further exercising National Security Statute 20-077 to license a covert Special Security Office contingency operation."

Morra produced a writ from her briefcase, signed by herself, Deitorr, notarised by the Chief Justice and Attorney General. 

The room was silent. Across it, members offered no resistance to the revelation and declaration of Iverica's Vice-Executive.  

 

---


 

OOC: Summary for the lazy (or the dense)- Deitorr flew to Ultramares for a Summit with a few other Iberic leaders. Morra and Bastien were simply talking about how the Foreign Ministry should shift its strategy for more pro-union activity when Bonda interrupts (via Skype basically) with some holysh*tguysIfu*keduphard news that the Circle of Death (I did not choose the name) Cell in Vasqqa (land bridge country between Iverica and mainland Argis) have been mobilising their sh*t for god knows what.

Morra then enacts her secret powers and reveals (this isnt even my final form! meme here) that she was listed as Secundo--the Vice President position secretly given to a member of the Executive Ministry by the Primo and approved by the Judicial Branch--the position is only revealed in a state of emergency or if the Primo is otherwise indisposed to make important decisions of grave national import. So now a whole bunch of bollocking is going to go down whilst Deitorr has a go at playing political drama with the leaders of Iverican satellite nations (Verde, Galicia, Ultramares, etc.).

Also btw, the risk of war thing is not public... yet. So no metagamey statements on this.

If you've read this far, good on you, you dedicated bastard. 

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