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A Change in the Wind

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To: Prime Minister Jakob Lasker and the Government of the State of @Tikva

From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion

Prime Minister Lasker,

The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion recognises the fact that your government has been working hard to make sure that your people, and those that share the Juddish faith, do not fall afoul of the events that are taking place within the Empire of @Aluxia. It is a sorry state of affairs that a terroristic organisation is carving out such an area of control within that nation – one that threatens the lives of both Christian and Juddish people equally. Whilst there are questions as to why this group of bandits is gaining such traction with in the nation and its armed forces, Arhomaniki intelligence seems to suggest that it is a matter of bribery, rather than true allegiance to the ideas that the so-called “Free Aluxian Army” espouses. Precisely where this money is coming from is as yet unknown, but I can assure you that the Arhomaniki Noimosyni Dykton is working hard to ascertain where its source is, so that its flow can be halted and this threat to the stability of Aluxia and the nations surrounding it is nipped in the bud.

That one of our newspapers characterised your government as sitting idly by does not mean that the Megas Agios Basileia does not recognise the hard work that your ambassador and mission in Aluxia is carrying out to protect your citizens and those that share your faith from harm. Far from it – it may be that the situation would be worse if your diplomats were not working as hard as they are. They are doing the work of God in their attempts to maintain at least some stability in the deteriorating circumstances that are facing Aluxia and us.

Since your government is paying a lot of attention to events in southern central Argis, it cannot have escaped your notice that there has been a significant deployment of Arhomaniki forces to the Dolkon Thalassa (the Dolch Sea) and the Adapton naval base of Adrotiri, prior to moving to Aluxia itself and disembarking a contingent of ground troops. This is a peacekeeping force, to halt the spread of anarchy within Aluxia and to make sure that it does not spill over into the nations surrounding the Empire.

Only Tikva is as invested in the continuing peace and prosperity of Aluxia as Arhomaneia is, although perhaps all nations should be. Because of this, I have been given permission by the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator, may God guide him, to invite the State of Tikva to take part in this peacekeeping undertaking, to safeguard not just those that follow our respective religions but all of the citizens of Aluxia and those of other nations that may be within its borders. After all, many nations working together will demonstrate our strength of will and the sincerity to find a peaceful solution to the situation in Aluxia, not just making sure that this band of terrorists and murderers are put in their place. It would undoubtedly show the strength of resolve of Tikva for your nation to take part in this peacekeeping operation, as well as showing that Christians and Juddish people can still work closely together, even in these times of adversity. After all, the way of God is the way of peace, and anything that fosters that is pleasing to Him.

In any event, it will certainly be communicated to the commander of the Arhomaniki peacekeepers that every effort must be made to make sure that your diplomats and staff are to be aided in their attempts to remove your citizens from harm's way and any aid will be given to them whilst they do this. Our armed forces are there to make sure that everyone, both citizens of Aluxia and from other nations, are not put at risk by these traitors and criminals, who have so far only shown that they are capable of murderous acts, with no thought to the impact on civilians. I pray to God that you and the State of Tikva are willing to join the Megas Agios Basileia in this matter and that our nations will form the core of a coalition of the willing that will bring peace to the war-torn and unfortunate Aluxia.

God will show us the true way to peace,

Eugenios Goulielmos,

Megas Logothetes

of the

Logothesion ton Barbaron

of the

Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion

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To: The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomanion@Tagmatium Rules

From: His Eminence Archbishop Patrick Saulius through his servant,Foreign Minister Alvin Russo

 

Brother,

God works in strange ways.  As if to answer our calls of prayer for a tighter bond, he has given us this opportunity of war in the Christian nation of @Aluxia.  To just test our newfound bond, he has teased us with a gentle prod from his staff, gently testing if we are following His word by coming together to stop the wicked of this world.  I feel he will eventually test this bond with fire and flame, but for now a weak ember to see if our bond will burn down in ashes.

His Eminence Archbishop Saulius, in combination with others in the administration, have felt it best to not squander this test.  Ships from the Salvian Navy are being offered to help in the transportation of troops or anything else between the Tagmatium and their ultimate destination at the port of Narlis, and are to be accompanied by the two destroyers SPN Trinity and SPN Bonaventura.

 

With the blessing of Archbishop Patrick Saulius,

Foreign Minister of the Sanctum Imperium Catholicum,

Alvon Russo

Through the Trinity, We Flourish

 

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The Free Aluxian Army had begun their dual offensive against the city of Chukba and the port of Gradin. Nearly a fifth of their entire manpower had been deployed in what was supposed to be a lighting offensive to catch the Imperial forces off-guard, however, the plan they had ultimately constructed would not pan out as designed.

For three days, the FAA had made considerable progress southwards to Gradin - facing only scant resistance at first until they were in sight of the southerly port. As General Alexei Kornov had predicted in the briefing with the movement's defacto leader, it wasn't going to be simple. In fact, there was a bevy of Imperial rocket launchers positioned on a series of hills to the northeast, firing every ten minutes into the port city, hoping to trash it as much as possible and ultimately - destroy the port's facilities, depriving the rebels of a logistics hub. Kornov swore under his breath. "Now we have no choice but to split our forces," he said to his second-in-command. He looked back at his men. "Take A, C, and F Companies, and take out the rockets. We can't risk advancing while they're firing straight at us," he nodded and proceeded to coordinate a strategy with their commanders.

Kornov had no choice but to wait out for the removal of the rockets. He originally had his own but Solov had decided to keep them in protecting Endvo from assault. This would take an entire two days as the bulk of the Imperial infantry units that had been rallied in this part of the country were hiding on the far ridge. Many FAA soldiers had lost their lives in the struggle but the hills were claimed, as were the mobile rocket launchers and the remainder of the rocket ammo, enough that could be used in a similar manner down the road. With the Imperial forces largely stuck within the city, Alexi proceeded to mobilize his forces into the city, the Imperials surrendering by nightfall the following day. Kornov and his engineers would inspect the port as the sun came up and while it had taken damage, the vital cranes, seawalls, and utility systems were largely intact. General Kornov instructed his communications officer to report that Gradin was in FAA control and that the Premier could begin to leverage this victory and translate it into tangible support for their effort.

The same result could not be replicated in the attempt to take Chukba. The assault was working well at first but then as they crossed the Drenz, everything went wrong. The Imperials had been following their movements and had deployed their forces along the northern shores and throughout the woods on both sides of the major road into Chukba. It would become a bloody slog but the worst would come as they approached from the southwest, the Imperials on the hills - with their heavy artillery made things painful. The Zygarian artillery, under the FAA, could not deploy in any meaningful way until it was within view of the city. An Imperial infantry battalion repositioned itself under cover of darkness and blocked off the rear of the FAA, pinning them in a tight position. The FAA in addition to bringing little artillery, brought a tiny amount of armored units to support them. The Imperial commander for the area alerted Command back in the capital, who in turn, communicated to their Tagmatine allies to provide aerial support - to the point of taking out the FAA armor - giving them no further advantage in the battle for Chukba.

Inside Chukba, in the days leading up to the battle, a curfew had been instituted, but as promised, the Juddish people who wanted to leave were permitted to do so under escort. Per an agreement between Aluxia and Tikva, El Al had deployed upwards of ten flights a day over a nine-day period and had 'evacuated' nearly 30,000 Juddish people and whatever belongings they could pack into suitcases, leaving their homes and for many, their treasures behind. However, there were still over 75,000 more across the country, the majority of whom were now essentially trapped in Chukba. But within the city, tensions between the Juddish minority and the predominant Orthodox community was becoming a major problem. At least one Sakak had been antagonized - when Imperial forces were asked to keep the peace, the Juddish people were ignored.

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Headquarters of the Joint Revolutionary Task Force, Bogd Gioro

"Comrade Choinom, sir."

Jinhuang entered the room at his usual purposeful pace. Around a conference table were a good dozen of Fulgistan's seemingly endless parade of mid-level military pencil-pushers, plus a few of the ones that Secretary for Defense Choinom could actually rely on to get things done. Taking a seat at the head of the table, he straightened a stack of papers from an aide.

"Alright, we've all read the report. What the hell are we going to do about the Chukba situation?"

A Major General piped up from down the table; "Clearly, they need tanks and anti-air capabilities."

"True, but difficult to address. We can't exactly run them tanks discreetly across the border, nor is it like in Faramount where we can hand them a MANPAD and call it a day. Embedded intelligence suggests that the regime is relying on the Tagmatines for most of their air coverage, and while doctrinally there's some holes we can poke in them, currently we have no real resources to address modern combat aircraft in-country."

"We could send some advisors; all revolutionary armies need coaching. And, well, steering in other directions."

"I'm not sure how much good it would do; the FAA is made up mostly of defected army units, who, theoretically, know how to fight, despite limited resources."

On the left of the table, Colonel Bozaan, one of Jinhuang's better junior students, cut in.

"That's true, sir, but the intel we've received from Asset Springbok indicates that most of the mid-grade officers, as well as a fair portion of the top brass, are in it for the money; this means that morale is dangerously low, especially now that this push to Chukba's been stymied. Add to that the fact that many of the defecting soldiers hold the Juddish residents in, at best, middling regard, and we have a high risk of morale collapsing entirely on the Chubka front."

For a few seconds, there was much murmuring and shuffling of memoranda.

"That's a good point, Colonel. Frankly, it's a risky move. If we embed permanent assets within the FAA, we risk them getting captured and our part in this being discovered. And frankly, that not only jeopardizes our operational security; it'd be a political disaster. The Greater Holy Empire has only just begun warming up to us, and they won't forgive our role in this if it gets out, at least not for the foreseeable future. Whether they have any way to retaliate against us is another matter entirely, of course, but it's not something I'm keen to test."

The Secretary leaned back in his chair and sighed, hand on temple.

"However, we need to shore up the morale situation, and soon. And I think that we can accomplish this in a way that minimizes risk to us. Colonel Guan, I need you to compose a communique to the Abu Hajaar, the @Sayfi Defense Minister, requesting that he dispatch any surplus armor and SPAA, or failing that, stationary SAM batteries, that he can spare to the FAA general headquarters. Appeal to his sense of honor if you can. This erases our role in the supply chain from the public eye, and minimizes the travel time and expense of the equipment."

"Can we be sure they'll send anything? They've publicly declared for the FAA, but predictions aren't so optimistic on their role in physical supplies for the rebels."

"They're our best bet. God knows the Tikvans are no help; have we determined whether the Shai are in Aluxia for sure yet?"

"Still inconclusive, but highly probable. We suspect they're mostly getting in and out via El Al, and mingling with diplomatic personnel."

"If the Sayfis refuse, we should do something about this government air superiority. Frankly, I think we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg right now, and we shouldn't let ourselves be taken by surprise in future."

"The Tagmatine air force is reactionary, like their government and the rest of their army. I think that we can look at its role in the Long War and develop a plan of action to suppress its capabilities in Aluxia going forward."   

"All the more reason to get more boots on the ground in Aluxia, then. Alright, then, it's decided; we'll retain Asset Springbok as a covert element, as well as sending military advisors to the FAA. If we can expose some of the possible holes in their officer corps, I reckon we can ingratiate ourselves and reach our aims at the same time. Dismissed."

While the JRTF staff exited to perform their post-meeting duties, Choinom sought out Colonel Bozaan again. Putting a hand on his shoulder, he smiled paternally.

"Damn fine thinking. You'll make Major General in no time. One thing I need for you to do, though; get Springbok to work on sabotage operations; if we can degrade the material superiority of the governmen forces, this whole thing is going to be much easier, Sayf or no Sayf."

"Understood, sir. Thank you."

Anyone, thought Jinhuang Choinom, who thought that the JRTF was going to back down without a fight was in for a nasty surprise. The Worker's Republic had been playing this game for nearly a century, and it wasn't going to lose to a rabble of reactionary imperialists.

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