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Cussian Humanitarian Coalition

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If Sa'Karn Renor Elemmiire had been viewed as a statesman with whom the rest of the wurld could do business, the heir he had spawned was coming to be seen as little more than a petty, vicious, fickle tyrant. And in answer to the temper tantrums of Ji'mar Be'la Kyorl, many other nations were coming together in support of the poor Gerenians, sweeping up the mess that his petulant actions had caused.

For that, at least, Hyperlogothissa (Over-Minister) Evangelia Herikleta was glad. The table in front of her was still piled with stacks of paper, although there was a deceptive order to them. The Inter-Ministerial Working Group for the Relocation of the Koussoeioi had ceased to be an annoyance to her. At the start, it hadn't felt real – more like a source of irritation and an impediment to her career within the Logothesion ton Dromou, the Ministry for Internal Affairs, even though it had been made clear that the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator was watching it closely and demanding progress. Working groups such as the one she had been placed in charge of often dragged on for years without anything productive happening but that was not an option this time. Nonetheless, the various ministers, bureaucrats and military officers under her supervision had still found time to bicker, impede and undermine each other. It was, sadly, part and parcel of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion.

Even the seriousness of the situation hadn't really felt all that tangible to her or the rest of group. It was just a case of organising train timetables, issuing sternly-worded missives to truculent local councils and getting the right number of tents for the numbers of refugees expected. That had been an almighty pain in the arse. Herikleta had shouted at a logistics colonel for hours as he had attempted to palm off tents from the Long War instead of the new ones that she had requested. The Hyperlogothissa had emphasised that the eyes of the wurld were on Arhomaneia and it would reflect very poorly on them all if the refugees were shivering in under moth-eaten canvas in the middle of winter. Nonetheless, it had all been relatively academic – just filing paperwork or moving around numbers on spreadsheets.

And then Taxiarkhissa Khilboudia, who was from the pioneer units actually building the camps, suggested that the working group go and visit one of the occupied ones, to enable them to get their heads around the task at hand. They had all readily agreed – how bad could it be? The camp must be full of grateful barbaroi, whisked away from the grip of the Gharoi and basking in the glory of Arhomaniki civilisation.

Herikleta had never seen such an example of human misery before.

The camps were well ordered, certainly, and even had areas set aside so that the Gerenians could carry on their heretical beliefs. It had been especially emphasised that no proselytising by members of the Arhomaniki Church was to happen amongst the refugees. Opportunities were made for entertainment, including open air cinemas and playing fields for sports and exercise. Even the sewage system was still working like it ought, which was a small mercy given the fact that the camp was already at capacity and expected more people every day, as there was just nowhere else to send them other than another camp further down the rail lines.

But there was a level of unhappiness and even bewilderment was ever present. These people seemed to be in shock that they had been forced out of the lands that they had lived in for hundreds of years. It didn't help that the working group had been at the camp to the south of Laodikeia when the news had spread that the Sovereign Imperium was expelling the observers and the aid workers and closing the border between Arhomaneia and Machina @Haruspex. The wails of those who still had family members in the transit camps that were now going to be sent to “re-education camps” weren't something Herikleta thought she was ever likely to forget.

No one thought that “re-education camp” was anything other than a euphemism for “death camp”. Not after what the observers from the Tagmata units were reporting that they had seen in the areas of the Glorious Dominate that had been invaded by the Gharoi or what was known about the usual antics of the Sovereign Imperium.

The working group had hurried back to Tagmatika after that, a new purpose burning within them, although it stuttered once it was realised that there was no where else for the Gerenians to go. When the Hyperlogothissa had heard that @Iverica, Salvia (@Sancti Imperii Catholico), @Seylos, @Variota and @Gallambria were taking part in an international effort to rescue the remaining Gerenians from the perfidious clutches of the Gharoi, Herikleta fell to her knees and praised the Almighty.

Now the piles of paper and the spreadsheets on her computer represented not a burden to her, but people being freed from the grasp of a nation whose cruelty was seemingly more to spite the rest of the wurld than aimed at the people it was hurting, a viciousness for its own sake. The trains and buses were taking them from the camps and to the ports on the northern coast of the Kentriki Thalassa. From there, they would embark on Gallambrian and Salvian ships, to somewhere far from Europa and away from the needless oppression that was being inflicted upon them.

Despite the fact that the summer heat had long since disappeared from Arhomaneia and been replaced by the biting winds of late autumn, the meeting room that they were in still felt incredibly warm. Most people were in their shirt sleeves with their jackets hung on the backs of their chairs. 

Herikleta looked up from screen in front of her and around the rest of the room. The agent from the Mystikon had disappeared after the group had got back from the camp. It didn't seem that the Agios Basileos felt the need to monitor their progress any more. Even the man from the Logothesion ton Stratiotikou, Staurakios Zoilos, who had until then seemed to be unaware of the pressures of trying to organise the movement of hundreds of thousands, was knuckling under.

“It looks like Europatorion will be hitting capacity if we route any more trains towards it.” The person who spoke was Hypologothetes (Under-Minister) Gelestathos, from the Logothesion ton Basternon, the Ministry of Transport. At first, Gelestathos had seemed like a massive, pompous pain in the arse but like everyone else, once he'd seen what the poor f*ckers were going through, he'd stepped up. “Even if the Basilikoploimon takes up any slack in the movement of the Gallambrians or the Salvians.”

F*ck.

“Where's the next nearest major port? Kommodopolis?” Herikleta asked, shuffling around piles of paper until she had a map to hand. There was less than a dozen people in this room, all trying as hard as they could to organise the movement of more people than they could really conceive of. “It's on the Iaehos, but it should be big enough for larger transports, right?”

Gelestathos was quiet for a moment. “We'd have to route those trains to pass by Adramittion and to go by Kibitos instead. Or we could use one of the smaller ports between the Iaehos and Europatoria, but even then we might have to start having the trains go by Heiropolis. And on top of that, we need to make sure we're not getting them tangled with other trains. The signalling system can only take so many.”

A rail disaster was the last thing that anyone wanted. She heard the wailing again.

“How are the roads looking, anyway?” asked the Hyperlogothissa, looking around at the room. “Would buses be better?”

“It'll be the first week after half-term, so a lot of the roads will be pretty f*cking busy, especially in the mornings and afternoons.” The blitheness that Zoilos used to exude had long since disappeared. Now he was as stressed as the rest of them, with a small mound of tea cups scattered around his workstation. “It'll be unavoidable. There's a lot of farm traffic on the rural roads as well. Shit spreading on the fields.”

A child of the city, the Hyperlogothissa didn't quite understand what Zoilos meant but nodded anyway. She really didn't think they had the resources to do this. They needed dozens more people to work out proper routes and traffic police to make sure people kept to those routes and a thousand different other things. The members of the Praitorioi and the Esoteriki Epitheorisi Pliroforion were of the same middling rank as the rest of the room and had their hands as equally bound. They looked at her with dull, tired eyes.

“I think that using the roads might have to be a last resort,” said Gelestathos, scrubbing at his beard with one hand. When he had first joined the working group, it had been immaculately groomed. Now it was scraggly and unkempt, a visible sign of the stress that they were all under. “We can move many more of the poor f*ckers by train than we can by road, with much less delay or disruption. Although I'm sure that they'll have had enough of trains for a lifetime when this was over.”

If it was a joke, it was ignored by everyone else.

“Planes aren't out of the question, though, are they?” asked the Basilikoploimon officer. Despite having the purple strip down the seam of his trousers of an officer seconded to the Epistrategaion, he was as equally unimportant in the hierarchy of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion as the rest of the working group. It didn't seem that being an officer with such connections was all that much use if they were just not being noticed by those who were actually important, thought Herikleta. “We can quickly move quite a lot to the ports along the Kentriki Thalassa with those, surely?”

There was an edge of despair in his voice and the eyes of everyone else turned towards Gelestathos. The Hypologothetes ton  Basternon just looked down at the desk in front of him.

“I don't know,” he said quietly after a long pause.

A moment of silence followed that.

A knock at the door of the meeting room broke the silence, but it was ignored. Herikleta had decreed that the working group was to be undisturbed. What they were doing was far too important for distractions. Aides had been leaving and entering the room quietly, making sure that the tea urns were warm and there were enough sandwiches to keep the various ministers, officers and bureaucrats fed and watered without too much distraction. The knocking kept up until the door was just opened from outside.

Outraged, Hyperlogothissa Herikleta stood up in her chair. “Who the f*ck do you think -”

The words died in her throat as she caught sight of the people at the door. The first person in the room was a bespectacled, balding man, who would have looked like a stereotype of a kindly school teacher, if he had not been wearing the uniform of a Domestikos, the Tagmatine equivalent of a field marshal. Behind him were gathered officers of various branches, all of high rank. The Mystikon agent hovered behind the assembled officers, her previously stern face crinkled with concern. Herikleta heard two chairs hit the floor as Khilboudia and the naval officer stood to attention. In return, the officers in the doorway gave the traditional half-bow.

Hyperlogothissa, that will be all,” said the Domestikos. “You have, you all have, served your country ably and well. I am afraid that it is the Epistrategaion's show from here on in. You may go, and God bless the work that you have done.”

The working group filed out of the room, almost dead on their feet. As they did so, the agent from the Mystikon caught each one and apologised for having them take up the slack for so long.

 


 

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To: the Nations of the Cussian Humanitarian Coallition

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

Honoured friends,

It is God's work that you carry out.

As previously stated, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion has opened its national waters to the vessels from your armed forces, and those flagged to your nation that are taking part in the attempts to relocate the Gerenians from the oppressive actions of the Gharoi. This includes the canal between the Ragas Thalassa (Raga Sea) and the Nystras Strait.

The situation has changed since the last announcement that the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion made – the observers from the Tagmata have been expelled from the Sovereign Imperium and the occupied territories of the Glorious Dominate, as have the aid workers from the Arhomaniki Red Cross. This is, of course, awful news for those Gerenians who are still within the clutches of the Sovereign Imperium. Although the Gharoi invites your nations to provide peacekeepers and observers, the distinction seems to matter little to them. They do not care either way. It's clear that they will still enact their reign of terror within the Glorious Dominate and international pressure means little to them. Little stops them from going from ethnic cleansing by forced population movement to ethnic cleansing by mass murder. Even when the pressure is from an ally.

The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion is doing the best that it can to keep those within the camps in Arhomaneia comfortable. It cannot be said that they are happy, although the Arhomaioi try to make sure that they are. They are not happy for obvious reasons. For those that wish to do so, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion is offering permanent settlement within its territories, as well as citizenship. There are numbers of Koussoeioi who follow the Gerenian denomination of Christianity within the Megas Agios Basileia, and those who wish to join them will be welcomed with open arms.

For those who are taking refugees from Arhomaneia, the main ports that have been designated as shipping points are Europatoria and Kommodopolis. Kommodopolis is a riverine port in the mouth of the Iaehos River, but it is large enough to take anything but the largest of ships. There are several ports to the east of Europatoria that are to act as smaller hubs, and these are Rhyporion, Marame, Potollonia and Halanon. These will become active if the other ports are too busy to take more. I ask for your patience – the numbers of refugees within the Megas Agios Basileia number within the hundreds of thousands, and they are being registered and processed as quickly as they can be. Every effort is also being made to keep families together, as well as reuniting families that have been split up through the cruel and unjust actions of the Gharoi.

It would be very helpful to the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion if it could be known what and which ships to expect, although I understand that this may not be an exhaustive list – this crisis is of a scale unknown in the history of Eurth.

It pleases God that so many are motivated by love, kindness and charity,

Kommodos,

By the Grace of Christ the God,

Agios Basileos kai Autokrator

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