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  1. Chapter One - S.S.D.D It’s late in the afternoon when Sergeant Alarick Schäfer tells his squad that they’ve reached their next waypoint along ASR Blue Lagoon. They’re located in a small patch of forest somewhere in rural Nordwalde Province; as far as most of this band of average 18 to 20 year-old Rhodellian conscripts is concerned, they’re somewhere south of Camp Bergenstein, north of the provincial capital of Schwarzwald, and west of MSR Spirytus - the main road connecting Bergenstein with the rest of Rhodellian civilisation. Judging from the rotting picnic benches, leaf-littered public toilets, and shuttered ice cream stall, Schäfer determines that this place is indeed the derelict campsite he marked on his map. Although one of his fire teams, Fire Team Alpha, has already scouted out the area, deemed it safe, established an observation post 100 metres from the entrance, and is currently maintaining a triangle-shaped perimeter around it, he makes a few quick sweeps of the area with his thermal weapon sight, and confirms that nobody has slipped past their cordon and is preparing to ambush them. “Rest up while you can on your turns, gents, we’ve got twenty mikes each. We’re Oscar Mike in thirty!” he folds up his map and turns first towards his team leaders “Meier, your team’s on perimeter watch. Be stealthy about it in case the enemy's nearby. Collins, rotate with Meier's team in ten. Jung, with Collins's team in twenty.” and then to the rest of the squad “Maintain your weapons. Have Doc check your feet for blisters and rashes. Reapply any face paint that might’ve worn off due to face-rubbing or sweat. Add some more local vegetation to your helmet bands, helmet cover slits, and combat webbing. And if you still have time after all of that, eat whatever chow's left in your MREs.” The squad breaks their patrol column formation to do whatever they have to do. While maintaining a reasonable level of noise discipline, they complain about the objective, the ROE, the stones that somehow got into their boots, how much they’d rather be back at base sweeping the motorpool, or sleeping through a SHARP training, and how their mission may end up being yet another waste of their valuable time if they - once again - end up not killing anything. The one exception is the automatic rifleman of Fire Team Bravo, who’s asking around to see if anyone has a spare can of energy drink before he goes off to watch his sector of responsibility. Schäfer notifies his platoon leader of his location over the radio before checking over his equipment. He is in the middle of changing the batteries on his rifle's thermal weapon sight when Fire Team Alpha is relieved from sentry duty by Fire Team Bravo. He notices Alpha’s team leader, Corporal Rolt Jung, approaching him. “Schäfer, interrogative...” “Yeah, Jung?” “Why the f*ck are we here?” “Can you expand on that question?” “Okay… Why are the fourteen of us out here in the middle of bumf*ck nowhere, spending our entire afternoon rucking up and down all these steep-ass hills in full gear?” “Well... That’s easy, Jung. Somewhere, in this…” he looks around to see that he is no longer surrounded by the beautiful vistas of Nordwalde’s hills, just a long-disused campsite and the densely packed trees and foliage of an unnamed forest “...beautiful expanse of Rhodellian countryside, a bunch of Native Aurelian Liberation Army assholes are up to no good. Our job and patriotic duty as soldiers of the Rhodellian Army is to hunt them down and f*ck ‘em up for daring to trespass on our territory. Ideally before they do something nasty.” “I know that’s our mission, but I mean... I was asking about the reasons why we’re doing all this shit in the first place. Like, what’s the rationale behind this whole war anyway? Has it ever hit you that this entire thing’s been going on since way before any of us were born?” “Did you fail history class, or is National Service the first time you’ve crawled out from under your rock since the Cambrian period?” “Nah, dude.” Jung chuckles, “It’s just that, I swear to God, my grandpa patrolled through this exact same ASR and stopped in this exact same picnic area while hunting for NALA insurgents back in the Sixties. And maybe his grandpa before that too.” “Well, Jung…” Schäfer rubs his mouth as he tries to think up a satisfactory answer “This land of ours is a diverse and multicultural one. Rhodellia’s only like what, 89,000 square kilometres? Yet, within these tiny borders of ours, for thousands of years, hundreds of different peoples and cultures have been living in and dying over the same patch of dirt. You’ll see evidence of that painted across almost every cave wall in the country. As for us Rhodellians and the f*ckheads in the Native Aurelian Liberation Army... We just happen to be the latest generation of retards bleeding over who gets to call this land rightfully ‘theirs’. And for NALA, who still haven't gotten over colonialism, sharing was never an option.” “So which side do you think is in the right, Schäfer?” “In the opinion of this conscript, it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. None of that shit’s worth caring about. Not to me at least.” Schäfer shrugs his shoulders. He turns his head to admire the trees and shrubbery around him. “I live here. I like living here. And I can’t be arsed to move out. If anyone has a problem with that, they can talk to the business end of my rifle.” “So who do you think is in the right anyway?” “Jung, I could write you a whole f*cking essay on the damn thing.” Schäfer removes his helmet to inspect the camouflage paint on its NVG plate “But again, that’d be a pointless-as-f*ck exercise.” Jung shrugs, supposing that Schäfer wants to change the subject. “Alright, I guess…” “Let me ask you a question, Jung.” “Hit me with it.” “Why do you think this country is still called ‘Rhodellia’ and not something more... Native Aurelian-sounding? Why are we still here?” “Just to suffer?” Jung smiles to himself. A few nearby squad members overhear the two and start cracking up, also recognising the reference. Schäfer chuckles, acknowledging that he set himself up for that. “Yeah, that’s one reason Goodsprings has us rucking through the countryside today. But that's not exactly the answer I'm looking for.” “Uh…” Jung pauses to think of an articulate (or at least smart-sounding) answer “Because of the rule of law? Legally speaking, Schäfer, our country must own the rights to these lands.” He sweeps his finger across the forest around him “And a good chunk of the international community agrees with that. By most counts, the Rhodellian government in Friedrichstadt is considered the ‘legitimate government’ who exercises sovereignty over this territory. That, and because the N-A-L-A is a violent-as-f*ck terrorist organisation with one hell of a grudge. I swear to God, bro, those psychos will try to genocide all the white people the moment they step foot in our government offices.” Schäfer nods a few times. “A good answer, Jung. But that’s only part of the story.” He breathes in and out as he tries to collect his thoughts and think of what to say next “In the opinion of this conscript... it’s mostly because we are capable of superior violence, and NALA is not. It doesn’t matter how many articles some self-hating, guilt-tripping, latte-slurping liberal hippie ethnic minority-cocksucker publishes on their blog...” Every nearby squad members squad smiles. Even its two Native Aurelian members are trying to contain their laughter in keeping with noise discipline. Schäfer continues. “Those self-righteous pseudo-intellectual assholes can screech into the void all they want about social justice, native land rights, and how our country’s entire existence is technically an illegal occupation of stolen land. But in the opinion of this conscript, all of that shit’s irrelevant. So long as the Rhodellian government has tanks, fighter jets, and the continued will to fight, it doesn’t matter how much other people b*tch and complain about us being here. We’re not budging off this land. And that’s that.” “Can’t you come up with a better justification than ‘Right of conquest’ or ‘Might makes right’? What’s next, Schäfer? The f*cking ‘discovery doctrine’?” “Maybe.” Schäfer shrugs while readjusting the camo netting and foliage secured by his helmet band “This country is imperialist to the core, and we’re too proud of that to let go.” Jung shrugs as well. He shifts his attention to the squad medic, Corporal John Mark ‘Doc’ Garcia, who’s applying some kind of cream to the foot of someone from Fire Team Charlie. As physically fit as all able-bodied Rhodellians are legally mandated to be under the Spartan Protocol, Jung supposes that not everyone’s an avid hiker. He supposes that near-non-stop marching across several-dozen miles of hilly terrain while hauling over 100 lb of gear is starting to take its toll on some of his squadmates. He looks down at his own combat boots, and wriggles his toes to revive the blood flow to his feet. “Okay… Next question: Why, in his infinite wisdom, is Goodsprings making us do this whole search-and-destroy mission on foot? If I'm going to be illegally occupying rightful Native Aurelian clay, I'd at least like to do it in an armoured vehicle with air conditioning.” Jung frowns, referring to his battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Emory Schreiber. Schreiber’s callsign is ‘Goodsprings’, after the starting location of his favourite video game. “Hm?” “Just for f*cking once, man, I just wish that motherf*cker would give us a mission with non-retarded orders, orders that won’t put us all in unnecessary danger, or at least won't make us expend more effort than needed. I mean, you saw the motorpool back at Bergenstein, right?” “What about it?” “We’ve got a shitload of perfectly good APCs and other armoured utility vehicles back at base. Plenty of helicopters too. Despite that, Command just had us dropped outside the AO and told us to f*cking hoof it the rest of the way. Can’t we cover more ground more quickly if we actually had some transportation?” “I can think of a few reasons.” Schräfer unfolds his map, spreads it across the picnic bench, and beckons Jung to look closer. Schäfer plants his finger on a single carriageway roughly 500 metres to the east of their current position. On Rhodellian military maps of the AO, that specific road is called ‘MSR Spirytus’; it’s a common route for supply trucks delivering supplies up north to Camp Bergenstein from the nearby city of Schwarzwald. “Whatcha got?” Jung leans closer, resting his arm on the picnic bench for support. “Ride in an APC, and our movement will stay restricted to the roads, and our sight will be confined to what we can see from those roads. That, and the enemy can more easily anticipate our movements. They’re more likely to prepare an ambush for convoys driving down a main road than for random dismounted conscript squads chasing animal trails in the surrounding hills. Logistics vehicles are way juicier targets. You get to shoot people AND get piles of neat shit out of it.” “And the helicopters?” Jung looks up at the overcast sky, imagining himself manning a rotary machine gun, spraying streams of 7.62×51mm tracer rounds into the woods below as Ride of the Valkyries blares from the Bluetooth loudspeakers he recently ordered online. He looks ahead to see Schäfer looking up as well, correctly guessing that he’s imagining the same thing. “Well…” Schäfer snaps from his daydream “This whole operation is supposed to be kind of a secret, stealthy one… Only BCT headquarters, Intel, and our battalion knows why we’re really out here. For all the rest of the wurld knows, we're just on a regular training exercise. The enemy might not know that we’re aware of their presence. If they see random Rhodellian Army dismounts like us walking across the hills, they might just think I’m a lost butterbar leading my men while failing at LandNav, and let us pass out of pity. All without suspecting a damn thing.” he then points up at the sky “But if we ride in with helicopters, searchlights, and Wagner playing, that just screams that we’re on to them. And they’ll escape by hiding in one of the local woods where we can't see them with binoculars or thermals. If we’re especially unlucky, they might even shoot us down for shits and giggles. At least that’s Goodspring’s logic.“ “Fair enough.” Jung shrugs. “You know, I get that commissioned officers tend to see things from a radically different perspective than the grunts under their command, but… uh… sometimes, I swear to God, the bars they graduate with at officer school must be prime breeding grounds for dementia-inducing brain parasites.” “I sure f*cking hope they're not.” Schäfer sighs. “I mean, where else would our COs get their advanced retardation from?” “You know, I actually want to enroll in Gottesberg Military Academy after I do my Masters', grab a commission, and make a difference out here.” “When you do, please, for the love of God, don’t be the kind of douchebag who prioritises petty workplace politics and career-climbing over the mission and well-being of the men under his command. The Rhodellian military's already got more than enough of those.” “I’ll try to get my priorities straight.” “Christ… You know, Goodspring’s actually a really good guy in person and all, but what turns a well-meaning Rhodellian into something like that anyway?” “I dunno. Some ‘Sword of Damocles’ shit?” “F*ckin’ Goodsprings, man.” Jung shakes his head. “Alright…” Schäfer pats Jung on the shoulder before removing his rucksack “You can go back to your team now. Tell them what's up. Meanwhile…” he exhales as he unzips a side pocket, retrieves a pack of baby wipes, and starts heading towards the campsite's public toilets “I gotta go take a shit.” “Aight.” Jung nods before rejoining his team. Fire Team Alpha is busy gathering pieces of foliage with their bayonets, using breezes of wind and leaf rustles to mask their sound, when their team leader returns to them. “What it is, hoes?” Jung takes off his helmet and starts comparing the shape and colour of the local plants with those already attached to his uniform. He opts to start swapping them out. Alpha’s automatic rifleman, Private Garrick Wolff, rubs his fatigued eyes with his sleeve. “Hey, Jung.” “Yeah, Wolff?” “We’ve been rucking for like… almost five hours now. Where the f*ck even are those NALA infiltrators we’re supposed to be looking for?” “F*ck if anyone knows, dude.” “With four companies of soldiers patrolling the AO on foot, you’d think at least one squad would’ve run into them by now. The AO ain’t even that big.” “Think about it this way, Wolff: every square meter of ground we cover is one less they could be hiding in.” Wolff shakes his head, feeling even more tired “That’s… still a lot of ground left that our squad needs to cover…” “Then think about it this way, man. Every step we take is one step closer to us kicking the absolute shit of them for making us waste such a fine afternoon.” “I guess...” Wolff shuts his eyes for a brief few moments, stewing in bitterness and rage, imagining all the creative ways he could take revenge on the NALA infiltrators for making him leave his room “Bro, I could be playing Warzone right now… I swear, I’m finna scalping each and every one of them. No cap.” “Good! Use your aggressive feelings, boy.” Jung smiles as he cuts some leaves off a bush he knows is not poisonous “Let the hate flow through you!” “Goddamnit.” Wolff laughs. The thought of scalping fellow human beings brought another question to his mind, this time addressed to one of the two Native Aurelians in the squad. He also happens to be Alpha’s rifleman. “Yo, Wickwash.” ‘Wickwash’ is the nickname for Fire Team A’s rifleman, Private Puhihwikwasu'u Geldfeld. Despite being half-Native Aurelian, he’s proud of his mother’s native heritage but ashamed of his Dolchic surname. When he first introduced himself, he asked his squadmates to use his forename instead; they all respected his wish without question. Problem was, most of them kept mispronouncing it. The squad eventually shortened his name to ‘Wickwash’ after watching him snuff out a row of lit candles with his rifle. “Sup.” Wickwash nods up. “Aside from being half-Dolchic, ironic as that is for you, you’re basically a Native Aurelian in every way, right?” “Nʉmʉnʉʉ.” He corrects Jung. At least in Rhodellia, Native Aurelians prefer to be known by their specific tribal affiliation instead of a generic term. “And f*ckin’ A I am. What about it, you cream-faced, culture-destroying, genocide-happy Dolchic coloniser?” “So I’ve been wondering, bro… When you started your National Service, you signed up to be an infantryman, right?” “Yeah, dude. What does that have to do with me being from one of The Tribes?” “So when you wanted to become a rifleman, you knew full-well that you’d be sent up North to Nordwalde... to help The White Man, er... slaughter your fellow Native Aurelians, lay waste to their cities, and re-colonise your ancestral lands?” “Man, I don’t get why all you white people keep lumping us all together like that.” Wickwash smiles as he inspects his newly re-camouflaged helmet, puts it back on, and examines his head's increasingly certainly-not-human outline in the mirror. “Not every shithead in the N-A-L-A is from my tribe, so it ain’t like I’m specifically out to kill my own people. I just came out here to scalp some motherf*ckers, maybe earn an eagle feather or two, and go home to watch some anime. You feel me?” “Yeah, I feel you, bro.” “And just as we overheard Sarge saying 10 mikes ago: we’ve been smoking each other long before any of your pasty asses first set foot on this continent. Heck, even after Dolchic settlers came along, my ancestors accepted your state-of-the-art muskets, your fancy carbon steels, and your dirty blood money in exchange for scalps claimed from other tribes.” Wickwash nods, grinning. "And damn, were we f*cking good at getting those!" “That’s hardcore.” “Hell yeah it was! And three-hundred years later…” he flourishes his bayonet and taps on the tactical tomahawk on his belt. He shakes his head and smiles in reassurance to his Dolchic squadmate “That time-honoured tradition ain’t dying with me, bro.” Private John Adebayo, Alpha’s grenadier, budges closer to Jung, Wolff, and Wickwash. He’s a second-generation immigrant who has neither Dolchic nor Native Aurelian blood in him. “And it’s all thanks to that tribalistic attitude that The Dolch managed to divide-and-conquer the shit out of your lands. I know how you feel, brother. That aside, don't you guys have any sense of Native Aurelian solidarity?” Wickwash hands Adebayo some spare vegetation, which Adebayo heartily accepts and adds to his combat webbing. “I’m a Rhodellian first. Nʉmʉnʉʉ second. Native Aurelian third.” Wickwash shrugs. “And that brings us to the wonderful f*cking SNAFU we have today...” Adebayo chuckles as he uses a mirror to help gauge the new changes to his equipment’s leafier, grassier, and increasingly inhuman outline. “It really do be like that, dawg.” Seeing the lull in the conversation, Wolff re-inserts himself into it. “So yeah, Wickwash, what anime are you watching at the moment?” “Right now, back at the base?” “Yeah.” “So I’m watching this long-running Rhavan anime called ‘Now I’m here, now I’m gone.’ It’s just been rebooted with a whole new animation studio. So I’m trying to get up to date with the eleven seasons that came before it, so I can compare the original anime with the new one.” “Jesus Christ. Eleven f*cking seasons? Just how many episodes is that?” “Around 270ish episodes, not counting filler episodes or the reboot. I’m binge-watching the original seasons while waiting for the next episode of the reboot to come out. I just finished Episode 172 this morning after chow, and I’m telling you bro…” he smacks his lips “This shit’s A-grade classic material, dude.” Taken aback by the episode count, a long whistle filters through Wolff’s mouth. “What’s the anime about? I only see episode counts like that from long-running Shounen anime.” “Well, allow me to subvert your f*cking expectations, my guy.” Wickwash chuckles as straps his helmet back on. “It’s actually not a Shounen. No power-ups, jutsus, bankais, stands, or anything like that. It’s a drama show with romance and stuff. Like a... live-action soap opera, but animated. We can watch the first episode when we get back to base.” “Damn, bro. From all your talk about doing hardcore shit, like scalping motherf*ckers and keeping their heads as trophies, I’d never have thought you were into that kind of anime.” “Eh, they’re nice to watch once in a while.” Wickwash shrugs “Even for us Rhodellians, there’s gotta more to life than just violence, right?” “Wickwash, my friend… I can not believe that beneath that blood-crazed ice-cold warrior exterior of yours, you’re actually a massive f*cking faggot holy shit!” The whole team bursts into laughter. Wolff continues once it dies down. “So should we start with the earlier seasons first, or do we start with the reboot?” Wickwash pauses in thought before nodding a few times. “Yeah, we can start with the reboot. It basically follows the original story, but with nicer-looking visuals. You can watch the original in your own time.” “Sounds cool to me, bro.” Wolff nods as he opens his mirror, noticing that perspiration has caused some of his face paint to fade. “F*ck, man. I gotta redo my face again. My skin's shinier than f*cking silver.” Having already finished repainting his face, Wickwash tosses a pack of tissues and his own face paint kit to Wolff. While Wolff's busy, Wickwash continues the conversation with Jung and Adebayo. “How about you, Jung? You watching any good anime either?” “Nah, dude.” Jung shakes his head as he finishes redoing his camouflage, and very carefully takes a sip from his canteen to avoid accidentally washing away his new coat of face paint. “I don't have the patience to sit all the way through a single 24-minute episode nowadays, so I just read manga and webcomics whenever I feel like it.” “Like what?” “Well, for starters, there’s this Kirvinian one I’m reading called ‘Like In Those Days’...” Upon hearing Jung mention that last title, Adebayo perks his head up. “Hey, I’ve been reading that one too!” “No shit.” Jung chuckles, “Your patrician taste never fails to impress me, bro.” Adebayo and Jung bump fists and start talking about the newest chapter. “Nice.” Wickwash nods, trying not to get left out of the conversation “So what’s it about?” Adebayo takes it from there, raising his bayonet for a flashy performance. “It’s a story set in a fantasy version of 16th-century Aurelia…” he shuffles backwards, creating a safer distance between himself and his fellow teammates. With the grace of a professional fencer, he thrusts, swings, and flourishes his bayonet in all directions. Some squadmates from Bravo, returning from their watch, quietly cheer on and clap to his knife-play. Adebayo is encouraged by this and continues doing knife tricks with enhanced vigour. “It’s about a guy, named Constantine. He goes around hunting monsters in the woods, getting into sword fights with people, getting caught in political intrigue, and just being an overall cool guy. A guy from Haus Rödel is even one of the guy’s nakama! The art's great, and the action is badass as f*ck, my dude. You gotta see it to believe it!” Adebayo spins his bayonet one last time before sheathing it. Wickwash nods as Adebayo speaks. He imagines his squad ganging up on a dragon with spears, swords, and magic missiles “Damn, bro. That sounds so much cooler than whatever the f*ck we’re doing right now.” “Yeah brother, the whole webcomic’s f*cking awesome.” Adebayo laughs, more eager than ever to get back to base so he can show Wolff the webcomic “Whenever Constantine goes into a forest, he gets to duel spriggans, werewolves, and all kinds of other crazy shit with f*cking swords and magic. That’s badass. Meanwhile, if we go into a forest, we don’t even get to slay wolves or bears. Y’know, because we drove all the local ones extinct. Nah, dude. Instead, we just get blown up by landmines. Or shot.” Wolff’s ears wriggle at the mention of landmines, and interjects. It appears that he just finished re-applying his face paint. “Speaking of landmines, y’know, I grew up near a Red Zone as a kid.” In Rhodellia, a ‘Red Zone’ is an area of land so devastated by past conflicts (usually either the First or Second Anéantic Wars) that they’re no longer safe for human habitation. This is generally because they’re still littered with uncleared landmines and unexploded artillery shells. And so, to protect the populace from the explosive remnants of war (ERW) inside them, Red Zones are either fenced off or marked with warning signs. “Oh shit. Really?” Wickwash gestures to Wolff that he has the whole team’s undivided attention. Wolff nods, pauses to gather his thoughts, and continues. “My family couldn’t go camping in the woods behind my backyard because it’s sealed off behind three thick-ass rows of razor wire. But whenever I did sneak in there, say, because the other boys in the hood wanted to f*ck around in old trenches and ruins, we always, ALWAYS had to watch our step for unmarked unexploded ordnance. Kids still get blown up in there every year! Did you know that, at one point in the First Anéantic War, both Rhodellia and the Grand Alliance fired like a million f*cking shells per day back there, just in that one sector.? Wolff’s teammates are amazed by the figure. “That’s a f*ckload of ordnance, brother.” Adebayo whistles, mimicking the sound of a falling (subsonic) artillery shell. “I wish I could drop that much shit on NALA headquarters.” Wickwash wishes out loud. “How the hell does your Red Zone still have ruins left standing in it?” Jung raises an eyebrow. “The wonders of Rhodellian engineering, I guess.” Wolff shrugs, unsure of the answer himself. His figure about artillery shells was probably just an exaggeration, unless a major battle actually was fought over his hometown. The team imagines just how much industry and logistics it would take for a group of artillery batteries to even sustain that rate of fire. It’s an amusing thought. Wolff continues. “So yeah, back home, we still use discarded shell casings as house decorations. Flowerpots, fence posts, pencil-holders, you name it. And now, on top of unexploded ordnance potentially lying outside of the marked Red Zones, we gotta look out for signs of potential ambushes too. I’m always too busy staying frosty to feel like I’m going on some big adventure like the dudes in fantasy anime, manga, and webcomics. Ain’t no magic up in this b*tch. This sucks major ass, I tell you.” Wickwash shrugs. “As long as we get to make motherf*ckers bleed by the end of the day, whether it be with tomahawks, bayonets, rifles, or magic spells, it’s still all good, right?” “Yeah, I guess so, man.” Jung stands up, brushes the dirt off his knee pads, and looks around him. He pulls up his glove to look at his watch, checking how long it will be until his team is supposed to take over perimeter watch from Fire Team Charlie. It should be about time, but neither Charlie or its team leader, Corporal William Collins, have returned from perimeter watches. “Well, look on the bright side, Wolff.” Jung pulls down his glove “If an unexploded mine gibs any of us before NALA does, at least we’ll get to become cyborgs.” He pats his right arm “Have you seen the Cyberpunk-looking shit the VA’s rolling out nowadays? A Military Police vet in my neighbourhood lost his right arm when NALA raided Camp Kirstein a few years back. According to him, the f*ckers dropped a 155-mike-mike arty shell right on top of his mortar emplacement using a civilian drone.” He taps his right arm again, and swings his hand away while mimicking the sound of an explosion. “Shrapnel severed his arm. And now the VA’s hooked him up with a cybernetic arm with five independent fingers and the capacity to feel. He ain’t exactly shouting ‘Hocus Pocus’ with a wand, but at least he can still say ‘Avada kedavra’ while pulling a trigger. That’s still pretty magical, ain’t it?” “Rhodellian healthcare’s nice and all…” Wolff shrugs “But imagine dedicating years of your life to getting swole... imagine building up the discipline to stick to a strict diet and workout routine, and suffering through extreme lactic acid build-up day after day to grow all this muscle mass in your arms and legs... just to get them replaced.” He pauses. “And once you get past all those ‘initial reaction’ marketing stunt videos that keep showing up on everyone’s Volkscast recommendations… You’ll see that the prosthetics we have commercially available right now aren’t exactly at 'Sci-Fi' levels yet. They’re still nowhere near as good as the biological limbs we’re born with. So losing a limb is still as much of a downer as it’s always been.” “You seem pretty knowledgeable on prostheses.” Jung whistles. “I’m not, but my older brother has one. Two years ago, while he was still doing his National Service, he volunteered to help some combat engineers demine part of the Red Zone back home. Thing is, their demining robot broke down on ‘em. And… You know where I’m going with this?” “Oh f*ck, dude.” “Yup.” Wolff nods “He and the engineers had to go in themselves and do shit the old-fashioned way. My brother missed an unmarked landmine he didn’t catch with his detector. Apparently, the mine was partially unburied by a recent rainstorm. But by some f*cking miracle, my brother survived. He was fine everywhere else, but he lost his entire left leg.” He then taps his thigh to show where his older brother’s stump is. “The mine ripped it clean off." “Jesus…” Adebayo wipes his mouth. Wolff pauses to recall more of his memories regarding the event. “The Red Zone incident made the local headlines. Before we knew it, this prosthetics start-up came knocking on his hospital room door. They asked him if he’d like to take part in a PR stunt. If he agreed, he’d get a fancy new leg out of it. And that's how he got it.” “Was it a bad leg?” “By 2019 standards? Nah, bro. It’s one of those state-of-the-art myoelectric legs that pick up muscle impulses, with electrodes, microprocessors, motors, and shit. It’s definitely a direct upgrade from the usual prostheses most amputees are issued by the RHS or the VA. But it ain’t the cyberpunk techno-wizardry the advertisements hype them up to be. My brother was very happy at first, ecstatic even, but he’s moved past that. I mean, his f*cking leg’s still gone. Poor guy still copes with phantom pains from losing a literal, tangible part of himself that's been with him since birth.” “Damn, man, I’m sorry to hear that.” Jung pats Wolff on the back. “Sorry, bro, if I crushed your transhumanist fantasies.” “Ah well... It's no biggie.” Jung shrugs as he tries to figure out where Charlie is; they’re running slightly late on their rotation. “Maybe we’ll get some really cool developments, like, five years from now, and another five years until they become affordable enough to be widespread. At least our kids will be shooting lasers from their eyes!” “Looking forward to it, man.” Meanwhile, at a close-by picnic bench, the boys in Corporal Koen Meier’s Bravo team are talking about magic and slaying fantasy creatures because they overheard their buddies in Alpha talking about it. Bravo's rifleman, Private Waltz Fischer, has scooped up a long stick from the ground and is switching between a series of longsword guard stances. “You know, I went to Dolchic longsword fencing clubs back in primary school, secondary school, and college…” Fischer boasts at length about his swordsmanship prowess, backing it up with well-rehearsed footwork and a swift Zornhau cut “Hey Kowalski, think I can solo a dragon?” The team’s automatic rifleman, Private Jakub Kowalczyk, shakes his head “Your stupid ass would get eaten in three seconds. Tops.” The team’s grenadier, Private Robert Powell, laughs with Kowalczyk as he inspects his weapons. “I can guarantee you that I wouldn’t.” He taps his rifle’s underbarrel grenade-launcher “If I had magic, I’d cast a spell to turn my 40-mike-mikes into Davy-f*cking-Crocketts. A dragon’s hot shit, alright, but I’d like to see how they’d do against seven tactical nukes-a-minute.” “You’d still f*cking die before shooting your second shot, Powell.” Meier chuckles at the surreal thought of Powell running up to a dragon, screaming like a banshee, and unintentionally blowing everyone at. “You shut your pussy lips, Meier! Kamikaze’ing a dragon with a nuke has still gotta be one of the most hardcore ways for a man to go out! That’s gotta be worth some award, right?” “Yeah, a Darwin Award!” The lads in Bravo laugh until they notice half of Fire Team Charlie jogging behind them, with excited smiles across its member’s faces. Specifically, they see Collins and Charlie’s rifleman, Private Danuwoa Catawnee. “Oh shit! Look who’s finally back from their combat circle-jacks!” Meier calls out to the two. Catawnee politely responds with a wide grin and middle finger. Seeing as Charlie’s automatic rifleman, Private Ludwig Zimmerman, and grenadier, Private Abdul Hamid bin Faisal al-Latif, are both missing, Meier takes this as a very good sign. “Look at ‘em.” Meier slings his rifle “They look like kids wanting to show their parents a cool toy they saw through a f*cking store window.” “Think they found those NALA pricks we’ve spent the past five hours looking for?” Powell checks the status of his face paint in the mirror, one last time, to ensure it properly blends with the local environment and masks the natural shine of the human skin. He seems proud of all the camouflage he's attached to himself throughout the day (without compromising his range of movement, ability to perspire, ability to move quietly, or turning his combat uniform into a full ghillie suit). Fischer crouches next to Powell and checks the ammunition in his magazine. “After all the rucking those shitheads made Goodsprings put us through today? God, I f*cking hope so.” Kowalczyk squats on the grass next to Fischer, eagerly waiting for Schäfer (who just returned from the biological weapon called the campsite’s ‘public toilets’) to announce a pre-combat inspection. “If we actually get some today bro…” he looks up at Fischer and clenches his fist around his squad automatic weapon’s pistol grip. “I swear to God, all of the bullshit we took today would’ve been f*cking worth it.” Meier nods, knocking on the side of his helmet. “Especially if we get eagle feathers for this. They’d look so badass on my helmet band. B*tches love feathers.” They see Collins and Catawnee briefing Schäfer on something urgent. Schäfer absorbs what information he can, and relays it back to his platoon leader over the radio. Once that's done, Schäfer starts jogging between the different fire teams, flanked by Doc, grabbing their attention with kicks, nudges, and creatively verbose threats of grievous bodily harm. “Everyone in the squad who's not busy, form up around this table!” Schäfer beckons the squad to his picnic bench. Jung, Meier, and Collins take out their ballpoint pens and notepads as their sergeant unrolls his map of the AO, and plants his finger on their grid square. Wolff, Kowalczyk, and Catawnee walk off to maintain watch while their team leaders note down the plans for them, and Zimmerman and al-Latif are away monitoring what potentially could be the possible enemy. “Zimmerman and al-Latif have contact on a squad-size element of eleven unidentified foot mobiles setting up cammie nets 500 metres to the east of our pos. They’re at the edge of the forest on the west side of a hill overlooking MSR Spirytus, fifty metres directly east of the T-Junction at Checkpoint Niner at Grid Bravo Sierra Four-Five-Niner-Five Four-Five-Three-Two!” Schäfer shivers, barely able to contain his excitement or maintain a serious, stoic exterior. “Get ready for pre-combat inspections, we're going into REDCON-2! If Goodsprings doesn’t f*ck us in the ass by calling in an airstrike instead, we might actually get to kill some motherf*ckers!” And so they all cheered for war.
    14 points
  2. Europan News Network Last Free Azanian Nations Fall TAGMATIKA, Tagmatium -- The OCA has finally overcome the last desperate defenses of the free Azanian nations, marking a startling turn of events as almost all of Western Europa has fallen to Anglia and their OCA allies. The only unaligned nations still standing are @Tagmatium Rules, @Haruspex, and the @Gallambrian protectorate of Bashan. Occupations have begun in earnest throughout the region with reports of massive reconstruction of the basic societal institutions Azanians are used to. Anglia has opted not to directly annex most of the territory it has taken during its campaign, directly taking only a small portion of Wajoka, known colloquially as the 'Dragonryders', in the north which is known to be rich in oil reserves. Several OCA members have claimed annexations for themselves, while there are talks of building puppet nations under the control of the alliance. As of now the map of Azania hasn't taken form yet. Still resistance to this occupation has continued, with bands of fighters throughout the conquered nations waging desperate guerilla wars against their new occupiers. Earlier in the war, the Ryderian government was rushed out of the country in dramatic fashion while being chased by the Anglian Navy and rescued by the timely arrival of Seylosian ships. Rumors have also appears of Haruspexian occupation in Cabarria though reports have not been substantiated as of yet. Global Response The world has been quick to respond and statements from several nations will be featured below: "The world is falling into a dark, dark time" -Premier Nažreković of @Sanarija "I speak on behalf of the Rhodellian government when I strongly condemn the abhorrent actions of Anglia and its allies in recent months. The situation in Western Europa is tragic and regrettable. The imperialism and military expansionism that has defined past centuries has no place in the 21st century. Anglia must cease its aggressive expansionism at once; it must respect the sovereignty and independence of Azanian nations; and it must immediately withdraw its armed forces back to its own internationally recognized borders. This unjust war of conquest must come to an immediate end, so that peace, diplomacy, and stability may once again return to the region." - Philip Seymour, Prime Minister of @Rhodellia, Head of the Rhodellian Socialist Party “The totality of the government of Metztlitlaca, in the Dominion Courts and in both legislative bodies of the government, have agreed to deeply condemn the continued aggression of Anglia across Europa and the greater Adlantic area. Such hostility only reminds those across the Adlantic of the previous historic attempts by the Anglians to secure power through violence and bloodshed. And like those attempts before they will ultimately fail. Such violence will only bring an era of instability to the region and further regress the attempts to reestablish functioning societies after the Europan Financial Collapse.” - @Metztlitlaca Priest of Foreign Affairs "Ebrary sends its prayers out to all those impacted by Anglian aggression. Europa is just across the water from us, and a stable Europa means a more prosperous Ebrary. We must particularly pray for our friends in Tagmatium, who must make very tough decisions concerning this situation." - Government of @Ebrary “The Government of the Stedorian People’s Republic strongly condemns the imperialist course of action taken by the Anglian government. Sovereignty and independence is the desire of all nations and peoples, upon which the Anglian government have spat in the face of. All imperialist and expansionist military action by Anglia’s government must cease immediately. Stability and peace must be maintained within Europe lest its people suffer immensely and pointlessly.” -Government of @Stedoria “It deeply troubles me that such a great historic continent has crumbled to such a deeply ill-intentioned expansionist force as the Anglians, as they trample out most of the last holdouts for freedom in western Europa. What troubles me further, however, is the potential repercussions for the success of an expansionist force like Anglia among other aggressively expansionist nations who see the success found in Anglia and study it in hopes of replicating it in the future. This ugly Anglian beast must be slain, lest the world fall under the oppressive boots of expansionist powers like it.” - Linus Albertsson, President of @Fina “The aggression demonstrated by the Anglian nation shall not stand. As of today, Chief Executive LaCroix has instituted a groundbreaking embargo against the state of Anglia, forbidding private and government entities from selling or purchasing goods from any Anglian entity. The people of the Hinterlands, and this government, hope for the swift restoration of the liberty of self governance to all peoples under oppression by the Anglian war machine.” - @Hinterlands Parliament Tower press release “The Hemahatik State hereby condemns the imperialistic actions of the Kingdom of Great Anglia in its war against the free peoples of Europa and Azania. Their actions against the nations of Azania have been aggressive conquests that the Hemahatik people can only respond to with disgust at the aggressors and solidarity with the defenders. The Government of Hemahat demands that Anglia immediately withdraw from their occupied territories. Otherwise, the Government of Hemahat offers its moral support to the currently oppressed people of Azania.” - Heptuin Aymed, President of the Republic of @Hemahat "Angleiki ministers and rulers are welcomed to the gilt halls of imperium. In this way they follow in the footsteps of great Arhomaneia long ago: a laudable show of strength. However, these ministers and rulers would also be obliged to recall the fate of all imperium, which always arrives, regardless of how long this takes. [...] As Aurelians and Arhomanoi, we pray that the suffering is not prolonged. The hands and eyes of the New Wurld have not been idle. That will be all." - Chrysanthe Stamatis, Exarcha tou Taurapetra of @Kirvina "The people of Fravina are devastated and apalled at the imperialistic expansion of the Anglian state. It is the most important right for all peoples to have a free government chosen by and for its citizens. However, the Anglian brutes are ignoring this first right of mankind. They have caused death and destruction, heartbreak and suffering all over Europa. There is no greater pain than what the Anglian menace has caused and will continue to cause if left unstopped. It is the greatest hope of the Fravi people to see that peace and stability are restored to our comrades just across the sea." - The Government of @Fravina "The Socialist Federal Republic of Volta condemns in the harshest and strongest possible terms the Anglian invasions and occupations. Such acts are not consistent with international law nor with international norms. They are a threat to global peace and stability. Anglia's aggression is a threat to all, not just a select few countries. As such, we no longer can afford to do nothing. Should Anglia continue down this destructive path, Volta will have no choice but to respond appropriately." - Ernst Krenz, Chancellor of the Socialist Federal Republic of @Volta "In the end, it won't bode well for the empire that lives in the past and not the present and future. But we are just Oyusards that have withstood the test of time, who are we to question Mr. Creighton?" -Remark made by Queen Maisie of @Oyus "Every night I pray for the brave defenders of Europa fighting against the new empire. Until the Anglish imperialism is halted, no country in the world that chooses not to cooperate with this criminal regime will be safe. In this situation, however, neither earnest prayers nor economic sanctions are measures severe enough. To stop this expansionist regime, to restore and preserve the rightful sovereignty of the oppressed peoples of Europa, all free nations of the Wurld must unite and take immediate military action!" -Government of @Grenesia "Seylos has gone down the dark road that Anglia has seen fit to travel down. The Mandate will forever be a dark scar in the history of this great nation, a scar that seems to have become a fresh wound again with the rise of this 'Anglian Empire'. We implore the nations of the OCA and Great Anglia to cease their aggression against our Europan brethren, and cease your attempts to gain favor in the New Wurld. Seylos never wants war, but it has become clear that Anglia seeks only that path. Let it be known, despite our common heritage, the Kingdom of Seylos and her allies will never join your corrupted empire." -King Aidan Redmond of @Seylos “Salvia continues to condemn Anglian expansion as an unjust war that has caused untold suffering to millions. If Anglia continues to influence and aggress against nations, both near and far, Salvia will call on her allies to intervene. This can not stand.” -Government of @Salvia "The Holy Imperial Government continues to condemn the actions of the Anglian government and those tidied to its cause. Their actions have done nothing but cause much pain and misery, something that should be unconscionable for an apparently Christian nation. King Creighton and his ministers should take note of the growing international condemnation and sanctions against his nation that the course he is pursuing has caused. It will only be a matter of time before Great Anglia's grasp goes beyond its reach and dire consequences may then befall his majesty's realm. The Aroman people pray for a peaceful end to this crisis but it need not be pointed out that the Great Holy Empire has weathered many conflicts before. May God see to it that peace is once again restored to Eurth." -Archbishop Doxapatres Kalothetos, Minister of Information of @Tagmatium Rules “We are saddened to hear that Anglia has continued its trend towards expansionism and has seized control of its neighbors in Europa. The Corporate Board strongly condemns these actions, and is looking into the effectiveness of economic sanctions against Anglia.” - Lynne Androni, Androni Commercial Solutions CEO of @Galahinda It remains to be seen how the Anglians will respond to such a negative reputation amongst the New Wurld nations, but it will most likely matter little as Anglia continues its overtures and aggressive policies in every New Wurld continent. OOC: We have left the Europan phase of Anglian expansion, and have begun the New Wurld phase.
    10 points
  3. Chapter Two - Recon Recap The Native Aurelian Liberation Army (NALA) is fighting to reclaim ancestral Native Aurelian land from Rhodellia. A group of possible NALA insurgents was sighted travelling through the hills of rural Nordwalde Province. The Rhodellian Armed Forces have hastily organised a large-scale operation to find and neutralise it. Sergeant Schäfer and his squad thinks they have found the NALA insurgents in question. Now they just have to see what they're actually up against before they can engage. 2.1 - The Observation Outpost The forested hills of rural Nordwalde Province are quiet. In a bush, roughly one hundred metres to the east of their squad, Private Ludwig Zimmerman and Private Abdul Hamid bin Faisal al-Latif of Fire Team Charlie are manning an observation post. They’ve cloaked themselves in camouflage in the cool shade of a densely forested and vegetated hillside, with wool and mylar blankets on immediate standby; they’ve taken as many precautions as they practically can to thwart detection by binoculars and thermal imaging devices, as per their unit's SOP. Their squad leader entrusted their fire team with monitoring the approach to their squad’s patrol base, ambushing any enemies that might have been trailing them, and observing the valley below (along with other nearby hills) for signs of enemy activity. For the past five hours, a group of suspected Native Aurelian Liberation Army (NALA) insurgents have evaded both the Rhodellian Army and Rhodellian Air Force at every turn. But thanks to two bored teenagers, who just happened to be in the right place, facing the right direction, at the right time, the insurgents' luck might have just run out. The observation post first made visual contact with a squad-sized element of eleven heavily armed dismounts less than ten minutes ago at 1702 hours. Zimmerman saw unusual activity in a treeline near the base of another hill on the opposite side of the valley, roughly 400 metres away from the observation post, at a compass bearing of 110° (roughly East South East) relative to the observation post’s position. He and al-Latif radio'd their squad's HQ, and watch the group with binoculars as they stopped to set up camouflage nets and dig fighting positions into the hillside. By 1715 hours, the pair have already identified and written detailed notes on eleven unique individuals, down to their uniforms, camouflage pattern (TAZ 90), body armour (Soldier Plate Carrier System (SPCSs)), helmets (Integrated Head Protection System), night-vision devices (Ground Panoramic NightVision Goggles (GPNVGs)), weapons systems, and weapon accessories (M150 RCOs). Ten are armed with assault rifles (a mix of M16A4s and M4A1s). Two of them are armed with M3E1 recoilless rifles. Another is armed with an FIM-92J Stinger man-portable air-defense system. The eleventh man is equipped with an M240L general-purpose machine gun. Like most NALA fighters tend to be, these guys are just as well-equipped as the hundreds of dismounted Landwehr (conscript) infantry patrolling the countryside around them, if not more. Zimmerman and al-Latif suspect that this group are the reported NALA insurgents they’re hunting down. The NALA and its allied terrorist cells wear a confusing variety of camouflage patterns. This group in particular is not wearing the Tigerstripe camouflage pattern sported by the local (Rhodellian government-aligned) Nordwalde Tigers militia. They aren’t wearing the Flecktarn patterns employed by the Rhodellian Armed Forces either. They are using TAZ 90 woodland camouflage, a camouflage pattern used by the NALA, some Loyalist militias, and some Rhodellian territorial police forces. However, this group is acting too suspiciously to be friendlies. And nobody contacted the local Nordwalde Provincial Police asking for permission to dig fighting positions in the countryside. But as is always the case when operating in a country where every good law-abiding citizen maintains their own private arsenal of military-grade weapons, one can never be too sure. Having already notified their team leader of this development, the pair are busy monitoring the (possible) enemy through their binoculars. Zimmerman nudges al-Latif with his elbow. “Yo, you think these guys are actually N-A-L-A insurgents? The ones we're looking for?” “Wanna walk on down there and ask them yourself?” “F*ck no, dude. I got this gut feeling. As soon as they see my Flecktarn-wearing ass walking downhill towards them, demanding 'Show me your identification papers, please' like some goddamn Stasi agent, they’ll light me the f*ck up.” “I got that hunch too, yeah.” “But really, though. I sure do f*cking hope they’re NALA.” “Insha'Allah, bro.” al-Latif nods “Okay, so for convenience's sake, let’s just say that they are them. We basically spent the entire day looking for these guys. It's a good thing we found them now, cuz, with how much Command made us overload our packs for this mission, Goodsprings would’ve had us combing these hills for days.” “I can’t wait to smoke these motherf*ckers, man. They got hell to pay for all the crap they’ve put my knees and back through today, making us ruck through all these hills and shit.” “Word, dawg.” “I’m deadass finna hanging their scalps on my front porch.” “How many scalps do you think you’ll get today, dude?” Zimmerman shrugs. “Realistically, bro?” He simulates a firefight between his squad and the (possible) NALA insurgents in his head. “Maybe like… One or two. We only got a month until our contracts are up, but I’d at least like to kill at least one of these f*ckers while we’re still out here, you get me? Just for our troubles.” “Yeah, I get you.” al-Latif nods. “Well, that, and everyone back home will call me a b*tch-ass LARPer if I come back from one year of National Service empty-handed.” “Didn’t you already cut out the scalp of that one NALA mortar observer a few months ago, back when we raided the compound of that illegal IED maker?” “That’s one guy.” Zimmerman holds up one finger. “Just one f*cking guy. By infantry standards, coming home with just one dude’s scalp is basically nothing. I’d still look like a little b*tch for not bringing home more.” “That’s rough, buddy. I'm pretty much on the same boat. I might not scalp people, because I think that’s disrespecting the dignity of the human body and all, but... when my contract ends, I at least don’t want to be the guy on the block with the least confirmed kills. That’d be embarrassing. And I wouldn't even have an excuse either because we're infantry and have seen combat before.” “Yeah, nobody wants to be that guy." Zimmerman shakes his head, smiling. "You’d be the biggest f*ckin’ disgrace, dude. A laughing stock. A motherf*cking pariah.” “Yeah." al-Latif chuckles. "It’d be really embarrassing.” Speaking of records for confirmed kills, Zimmerman suddenly has an idea for the next conversation topic. “So, who on your block holds the record for ‘most confirmed kills’? Think you can beat it in one month?” “I think the record still goes to this boomer who lives two doors down from me. His name’s Griswald. Served as a designated marksman from 94’ to 95’. 3rd Battalion, 5th Rabeswalde Landwehr Light Infantry. Fought in the 5th IBCT with the 2nd Infantry Division during Operation Highwayman.” “What kind of stuff did Griswald do?” al-Latif takes the opportunity to rest his eyes a bit. He points to the targets of their observation in the valley below, digging and camouflaging fighting positions at the edge of a forest. “Pretty much exactly what these probable N-A-L-A insurgents are doing down there.” He continues peering through his binoculars. “He still visits my old primary school every year to get kids hyped up at school assemblies with war stories about the stuff he did during Highwayman. He’s a cool guy. And a wurld-class champion at hide-and-seek.” He rubs the back of his helmet, trying to recall specific details from Griswald's stories. “Basically, he told us about how his battalion infiltrated behind NALA lines to conduct interdiction missions. As retarded as it might sound, they spread out across the woods and hills of their AO to basically fight a protracted guerilla campaign in enemy territory. They ambushed truck convoys, raided supply depots, and did all sorts of other stuff to mess with enemy logistics.” “Sounds like a badass. How many kills did the madlad get?” “With the help of his spotter, Griswald got, uh..." al-Latif pauses to think. "24 confirmed kills in four months. That, and a whole bunch of other probable kills. Unless the NALA decide to bumrush the Nordfluss, no way am I getting 22 more in one month.” “24? Hey, that's pretty good." “Yeah. They could’ve gotten more, but they both got wounded in action. Real badly too.” “Shit, bro. Without the Hardline perk, he was only 1 kill away from a tactical nuke. What happened?” “Basically, The N-A-L-A got tired of his marksman shenanigans. His battalion evidently had night-fighting capabilities, since they did all their missions at night. And so, the N-A-L-A started redirecting NVGs meant for the frontlines so they could equip their rear echelon logistics troops with the means to retaliate. One night, while Griswald was providing overwatch for his company during a raid on a supply depot, a guy with NVGs must’ve spotted him. A mortar strike got called on his position.” “Such is life in The Zone, man.” “Griswald survived, of course. And so did his spotter. Alhamdulillah. But they both took a lot of shrapnel to… pretty much everywhere not covered by their SAPI plates or kevlars. They had to get MEDEVACed by helicopter to a military hospital in Schwarzwald. They spent the rest of his National Service there. At least Griswald and his spotter both eventually got three eagle feathers each for some of the stuff they pulled.” “Landwehr conscripts like us getting three eagle feathers in a single tour? That's pretty f*ckin’ poggers, dude.” Zimmerman nods a few times. His imagination goes into overdrive. “Man, I'd love it if at least one of the people digging in down was at least half the badass motherf*cker Griswald is. I’m telling you, bro, we’d have the duel of the motherf*cking century. People would make movies about us!” “But then Command calls for fire support instead.” al-Latif chuckles. Zimmerman frowns. “Yo, when they’re needed, I love Arty and CAS as much as the next guy, but…” He lowers his voice, not amused in the slightest. “Don’t you even f*cking talk about that right now.” While he and his battle buddy are observing the (possible) NALA position, Zimmerman can’t help but think out loud about all the skill and effort it must have taken for a squad-sized enemy force to penetrate this deep into Rhodellian territory without getting intercepted. NALA-occupied territory and de facto Rhodellian soil are separated by a major river, the Nordfluss, which is 20 miles to the north. This raises a few concerning implications about the heavily-armed gunmen under observation. “You know, if these dudes really are the crazy sons-of-b*tches we’ve been hunting for the whole day, you gotta hand it to 'em...” al-Latif, who is similarly impressed, nods in agreement. “Gotta give credit where credit’s due, bro.” “Imagine crossing one of the most heavily patrolled and monitored borders in the entire f*cking continent and then making it another 30 klicks behind enemy lines on foot…” “Uh huh.” “...all while dodging foot patrols and UAVs for six straight hours.” He nods a few times in approval. “Shit, bro. You gotta admit that’s pretty f*cking ninja.” “Art of the Shinobi, right there, man.” al-Latif nods a few more times. “Think these guys are SOF with full SERE training?” “I’ll admit these guys are pretty f*cking good to have gotten this far, okay, I’m saying that much.” “Dude, you know you can praise them without getting down on your knee pads and sucking them off, right?” “I’m just saying, man, they’re good. Just not that good.” Zimmerman recounts all of the death, destruction, and chaos the Rhodellian News Network has attributed to NALA special operations forces in recent years. “I mean... if they were real NALA SOF operators, we wouldn’t know that they’ve been here until they’ve already blown up another government office, assassinated another Loyalist militia leader, sabotaged another railway construction site, or trained another terrorist cell to do all that shit for them.” “I get your point, dawg. We’re probably up against NALA regulars who just paid attention in Stealth 101. We could probably pull off what these guys did too if we were serious about it.” al-Latif looks up from the woodlands on the other hill to the white-and-grey overcast sky above, trying to spot the silhouettes of Rhodellian Air Force aerial reconnaissance drones “But yeah, are we the luckiest guys in the military or what? Thanks to these clouds and a bunch of trees, all the high-tech stuff we’ve got in the air couldn’t track down these guys... and in the end, all it took to pinpoint these guys was two dudes with a pair of binoculars.” “And pure motherf*cking chance.” Zimmerman nods a few times as he increases the magnification on his binoculars. He tries to more closely observe what tasks individual (possible) NALA insurgents are busying themselves with. They still appear to be digging fighting positions behind their camouflage nets “We just happened to be in the right place at the right f*cking time. Just as our squad stopped over here to re-apply and upgrade our camouflage, these guys stopped to dig up ranger graves. If they just moved on from here, or took a slightly different route, they’d have slipped right past us. And we’d be none the f*cking wiser.” Even with spy planes, spy satellites, and reconnaissance drones, the fog of war still exists. A variety of factors such as cloud coverage, foliage, buildings, shadows, and background IR can interfere with the abilities of airborne and spaceborne assets to gather useful intelligence on terrain and enemy forces. Unfortunately for the Rhodellian military, the Native Aurelian Liberation Army watches the weather forecast. The NALA insurgents picked a convenient time to infiltrate behind Rhodellian lines; the skies across most of the AO were overcast for most of the day, with the clouds in some areas floating low enough to brush the local hilltops. Air Force drones have been circling above the AO for hours, conducting TI scans wherever large-enough gaps in the clouds presented themselves, always to no avail. In the cloudier areas, drone operators wanted to fly below cloud level where the views were clearer, but despite their extensive skills, knowledge, and training, their COs forbade them from doing so. Military drones are extremely expensive equipment, and Rhodellia isn’t rich enough to replace frequent losses. The brass didn’t want to risk losing such valuable assets in collisions with trees, hills, or power lines. At times like this, the wurld is blank until you put boots on the ground. But even then, success isn’t always guaranteed; chance encounters can still happen. al-Latif yawns, and continues the conversation to help keep himself awake. He’s already regretting handing over his last can of Blitz energy drink to Private Jakub Kowalczyk from Fire Team Bravo. “Hey, Zim.” “Yeah?” “What if these guys really are SOF operators, but just got really unlucky? What if they just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time?” “Then they’d f*ck us in the ass as soon our squad moves to engage them. NALA spec ops are no joke.” “With how much you were drooling over them a minute ago... Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Zimmerman struggles to think up a retort. “Bro, when we get back to Bergenstein, I swear to God... I’m gonna sneak pork in your chow; hijack the mosque’s minaret to blast death metal in the middle of Friday Prayers; and draw an image of the Prophet Muhammad, in the dirt outside, with my own piss, you twat.” al-Latif goes radio-silent, and takes a deep breath. Zimmerman smiles, thinking that something he said finally got to him. But just as Zimmerman’s about to bask in the glow of his victory, al-Latif opens his mouth: he barrages his Dolchic battle buddy with a river of words the man can not comprehend; he monologues an entire paragraph in Arabic at a pace that’d make any rapper hang their hat in shame, without so much as pausing for thought or breath. Zimmerman looks away from his binoculars to stare at al-Latif in confusion. “The f*ck does that all mean?” al-Latif smiles like a child petting a puppy. “By Allah, behave yourself. I will give you a taste of my shoe.” Zimmerman shakes his head, breaking into a smile as he turns back towards the (possible) enemy. Both the boys chuckle. “God damnit...” he struggles to think of how to respond to al-Latif in the wittiest way possible. He gives up less than a minute in, deciding that he should just shut up, take the L, and maintain full focus on the mission. The pair are unable to spot any more individuals than the eleven foot mobiles he and al-Latif originally reported to their team leader. Zimmerman once again increases the magnification on his binoculars in another attempt to figure out what’s going on behind each piece of camouflage netting, of which there are seven. But for some reason, this time around, the cammie nets are completely opaque; the suspected NALA insurgents hung up sheets of some kind behind them, blocking the view for any outside observer. The sheets are likely thermal insulators. He nudges al-Latif with his elbow. “Yo, you seeing this shit?” “Yeah, I’m seeing it too.” “The f*ck are they even doing down there anyway?” “I think they’re just hiding from our UAVs. They’re in a densely wooded area with dense vegetation and dense canopies overhead to break up their heat signatures on FLIR cameras. They might be putting wool-mylar-wool sandwiches under their cammie nets too in case they’re accidentally spotted by a mountain rescue helicopter with airborne optical sectioning. Maybe that’s why they never show up as heat signatures on thermals or black holes among background IR every time our UAVs sweep the AO.” “Think they’re setting up a patrol base?” “Naw, dawg." al-Latif shakes his head. "They’re waaay too close to the main road and the edge of the forest. And because of that, they’re within the direct line of sight of patrols going down the MSR and along the ASR on our hill. They definitely ain’t setting up no patrol base, dude. They gotta be prepping a deliberate point ambush for our LVSRs rolling up and down the MSR. Something like that.” “Yeah, that makes the most sense. Sneaky little bastards, aren’t they?” “The question is, dawg, why would they go through all the effort to infiltrate this deep into our territory? Of all the places they could throw a surprise party for us, why here?” ”My guess? It’s because this place is in the middle of goddamn nowhere. It’s the f*cking boonies out here, bro. We’re miles away from Bergenstein and Schwarzwald. And there's a shitload of old forest to slip away into and hide out in. If a convoy got jumped out here by insurgents, it’d take 30 mikes minimum for a QRF to fly their asses here in helicopters. By the time the QRF arrives to f*ck ‘em up, all the Vics would be up in flames with all their cargo missing. Meanwhile, these guys may as well be sipping f*cking tequilas in San Castellino." Speaking of San Castellino, while he's still observing the (possible) NALA insurgents, Zimmerman goes off on a tangent about a gap year vacation he took to the country with some school friends. “Man, I wish I could go back there. San Castellino has some top-tier hotels and beaches. Shit’s criminally underrated. I swear to God, my buddies and I took so many f*cking photos from our hotel balcony because the view was just that good. It was the shit postcards are made of!” “Show some pictures on your phone when we get back to base. I might consider going with my family.” “You definitely should. Oh yeah, and down at the beach, my buddies and I pissed off a lifeguard by digging foxholes in the sand. Guy was f*cking fuming, saying kids will fall down our holes and hurt themselves and shit. Well it’s their fault for being dumbf*cks raised without basic caution and situational awareness.” “He must’ve never felt the simple pleasure of digging trenches as a kid. Poor guy.” “Mhm. Oh, and if you took a short commute to the less 'touristy' areas, the drugs and hookers are way cheaper there than they are here. I gotta say that the biggest f*cking highlight of the trip was when we got to beat the ever-loving shit out of this gang of crack junkies who tried to mug us at knifepoint, just down the street from this brothel. I'm telling you, man, shit’s pretty f*cking cray the moment you leave the beaches. 10/10 would recommend.” “Yeah...” al-Latif puts down his binoculars. Because of some obstructions behind all of the camouflage nets, he is unable to continue fruitfully monitoring the (possible) NALA insurgents. “You know what, dawg, I actually can’t see whatever they’re doing down there anymore. They've put something behind all their cammie nets and I can't see past them no more. Get Sarge on the net.” “Way ahead of you, dude.” Zimmerman is already working the observation post’s radio, trying to contact their squad leader, Sergeant Alarick Schäfer. Considering the terrain and the possible enemy’s lack of motor transportation, the (possible) NALA insurgents likely wouldn’t be carrying the specialist equipment needed to actually listen into their radio transmissions. But what concerns Zimmerman is that they might still be able detect radio signals and use them to triangulate their observation post’s exact position. As a precaution, the radio is at its lowest power setting so its transmission range only reaches as far away as his squad’s HQ 100 metres to the west, but not the unidentified gunmen 400 metres roughly to the east. “Tempest Three-One, this is OP. How copy?” ‘Tempest Three-One’ is Schäfer’s callsign as squad leader of 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon of Charlie Company, of 3rd Battalion of the 5th Friedrichstadt Landwehr Infantry Regiment. The battalion is currently assigned to the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and is stationed in Camp Bergenstein, Nordwalde. Charlie Company's callsign is the Anglish word 'Tempest'. The company commander said that the word reflected Rhodellian belief in the violence of action, but everyone suspects that he actually picked it because it sounded cool. Schäfer responds a few seconds later. “OP, this is Three-One Actual. Solid copy, over.” “Three-One, this is OP. Standby for SitRep, over.” “Roger, OP. Send traffic.” “Three-One, this is OP. Break...“ Zimmerman takes one last peak through his binoculars “We uh... no longer have a clear visual on the suspected tangos’ size, activity, location, uniforms, or equipment past their cammie nets. They seem to have put up opaque sheets behind and under them. They're likely thermal insulators to counter our UAVs and TI devices. Break. If we crawl closer to recon their positions up-close and view them from a more favourable angle, it might take us two to three hours to safely get there and back, losing us valuable time. Acknowledge?” “Roger, OP. Stay put and Roll back to REDCON-3. I’ll recon their pos up-close with a MUAV, out.” 2.2 - The Dragonfly Meanwhile, back at the squad’s patrol base at the derelict campsite, Schäfer has gathered everyone available for a meeting. He has already radio'd his platoon leader about their possible contact with enemy forces. The other squads in the platoon are moving to new positions to the northeast and southeast. Now, Schäfer just needs to send up more detailed information. He looks to his team leaders and other squad members (who aren’t on watch) joining him around the rotting picnic table he adopted as his HQ. “Well, gents. Looks like they’ve taken precautions against binoculars and thermal imaging.'' He slides a camouflage-painted tablet out of his pocket “We’ll be using the MUAV from this point onwards.” He turns to Private Waltz Fischer from Fire Team Bravo. “Hey, Fischer. Swap with Catawnee at our cordon’s 2 o’clock position. He needs more experience with drone operation.” “On it, sergeant!” Fischer nods before jogging off to fetch his squadmate from Charlie, Private Danuwoa Catawnee. “Thanks, killer.” Schäfer watches Fischer silently vanish into the ratlines his squad cleared through the underbrush, and gets on with unpacking a miniature unmanned reconnaissance drone from his rucksack. When setting up patrol bases like the one Schäfer picked out, it’s SOP for Rhodellian troops to clear all leaves and twigs from the pathways between different locations. This allows them to clandestinely move back and forth across the area without alerting nearby enemies with the snapping sounds dry leaves and twigs tend to make upon being stepped on. When Catawnee returns from the bushes, Schäfer’s already laid out the drone and its tablet on the picnic table. The Sergeant briefs the Private on what they know so far about the suspected enemies on the hillside to their east, how he suspects there may be more enemies in hiding, and what exactly needs to be done to develop the battlefield. “Catawnee.” Schäfer hands the Private the tablet used to control the drone. “You’re up.” Catawnee accepts the task without hesitation. “At long f*cking last. And here I thought my tax money was being wasted!” He removes his rucksack and slaps it on a free space on the picnic table, next to Schäfer's map. “Today’s a special day, Sarge, so I’ll break out the pro controller for this one.” He unzips one of his rucksack's front pockets, retrieves a USB game controller, and begins unwinding its tangled cord. The controller is decorated with stereotypical Native Aurelian-themed overlay skin. Schäfer smiles in amusement. “You madlad. You actually brought your controller with you on patrol?” “F*ckin’ A I did. This thing gives me hella luck so it's worth the extra eight ounces of weight. It’s the same controller I use when I’m tilted or tryharding in Battlefield or Tag Tournament 2.” Catawnee’s team leader and fellow gamer, Corporal William Collins, chips into the conversation with a smile on his face. “How come you still suck then, you salty-ass, button-mashing, cry-baby b*tch-boy?” “Cry some more, you sore f*cking butthurt loser.” “Just don’t f*ck this up like you keep f*cking up your combos, bro.” “With all due respect, f*ck you, Corporal.” The Rhodellian Armed Forces fields a broad variety of unmanned drones in its conflicts against guerillas and peer conventional enemies. This drone in particular is a micro unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicle called the ‘UA-25 Libelle’, or ‘Dragonfly’ in Anglish. Lightweight, quiet, maneuverable, easy-to-use, and small enough to fit in a person’s palm, Rhodellian ground troops use it to enhance their local situational awareness. Most of these drones are also keyboard and controller-friendly to make them more intuitive for gamers. Video gaming is one of the most popular hobbies in Rhodellia alongside shooting, martial arts, working out, airsoft, paintball, camping, and reading; a large percentage of new draftees and volunteers in the Rhodellian Army are avid gamers. Because of this, the Department of Defense saw it as intuitive to ensure that most unmanned aerial and ground vehicles developed for the military have built-in compatibility with mice, QWERTY keyboards, and most popular video game controllers. They even have reconfigurable controls in the tablet’s ‘Option’ menu. So when Rhodellian children watch uncensored footage depicting Rhodellian unmanned combat aerial and ground vehicles graphically and violently terminating enemies of the state on Volkscast (A Rhodellian online video sharing and social media platform), they can point at the screen and say “It’s just like Armed Assault!” or "It's just like Battlefield!", and still be mostly right. For Generation Z-aged gamers like Catawnee, video games have turned ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator’ and ‘Unmanned Ground Vehicle Operator’ from ‘an MOS for pussies’ to one of the most desirable (and thus competitive) Military Occupational Specialties in the entire Rhodellian military. Catawnee plugs the controller into the tablet’s USB port. Meanwhile, Schäfer jogs and then crawls to the forest edge within a few metres of ASR Blue Lagoon. He switches the drone on, tosses it into the air, and makes his way back to HQ. The drone hovers in place with its rotors as Catawnee makes last-minute checks for any technical issues. He maneuvers his controller's joysticks around, and watches the footage on the tablet change in real time according to his inputs. The drone rotates left and right, goes up and down, and moves back and forth and side to side. All without any noticeable input lag. “Movement controls look good.” He cycles through the different camera modes . “The RGB, Night Vision, and FLIR modes all look good too.” He then turns to Schäfer “Do these things have airborne optical sectioning yet?” “ARDI’s (The Agency for Research, Development, and Innovation) working on it.” Schäfer opts to talk about the Dragonfly’s development while Catawnee refreshes his drone operating skills with practice maneuvers through the forest undergrowth and tree canopies. “Right now they’re in the middle of training the AI to identify soldiers riding in open-top vehicles, soldiers sticking out of tanks’ hatches, soldiers in various combat poses, under cammie nets, in fighting positions, all that shit through thick foliage and tree cover. They’re doing everything they can to expand the dataset to make AOS reliable in warfighting applications. Give ‘em a year or two and we’ll have something perfect for more than just Search & Rescue and bird nest observation.” “A year? I'll be done with National Service by then. Now ain’t that a f*ckin’ shame.” Catawnee sighs. “Oh well...” “So, we good to go?” “I’ll see what I can do, sir.” Catawnee props the drone's tablet against the side of his rucksack, takes a seat, and leans forward in the typical ‘serious gamer mode’ position. He starts flying the Dragonfly south along the ASR, towards the observation post where Zimmerman and al-Latif should still be observing the (possible) enemy position. When he gets there, it’s al-Latif’s turn to look through the binoculars. Zimmerman is lying on his back with both hands on his stomach, recovering from eye fatigue. He hears the Dragonfly’s propellers whirring a few feet above his nose, and opens his eyes. Catawnee raises the drone’s altitude in case Zimmerman instinctively slaps it out of the air. But instead, Zimmerman just flips the bird directly at the drone with both hands. Catawnee laughs as he turns to Schäfer’s map of the AO. He compares it and the marker drawings scribbled on it with what he can see of the local terrain. He flies a short distance forward until he’s directly above ASR Blue Lagoon. The ASR is a paved country lane going north-south along a hillside. It is flanked by a shallow incline and dense forests to the west and a 4-foot-high dry-stone wall to the east. Beyond that wall is a somewhat steep downslope used by local farmers as a grazing area for sheep and alpacas. And beyond that grazing area, at the flat bottom of the valley, is MSR Spirytus. Schäfer breathes a sigh of relief that his squad, which entered the area from the north, stuck to the west half of the ASR to avoid skylining themselves for everyone in the valley below to see. “Thank f*cking God they didn’t see us as we got here.” Catawnee drops the drone’s altitude so that the dry-stone wall obscures it from potential enemy observers on the opposite hill. He moves southwards along the ASR until he reaches a T-Junction (labelled ‘Checkpoint Eight-Bravo’ on the map). Next to that T-Junction is a gate leading into another farm enclosure. From Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, there is a left turn into another country lane heading east towards the MSR. This narrow road is also flanked by 4-foot-high dry-stone walls. Catawnee opts to conceal the drone by flying into the aforementioned farm enclosure and hugging the wall as he approaches the next T-Junction, Checkpoint Eight-Alpha. Checkpoint Eight-Alpha is 300 metres downhill from Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, and is roughly 70 metres southwest of the suspected NALA fighting positions. Corporal Koen Meier, Fire Team Bravo’s team leader, points to the tablet and pitches in an idea. “If we were to approach their fighting positions for an attack, and stealth is no longer possible, I’d advance through this country lane using textbook fire-and-maneuver. Any emplacements looking down the road could be suppressed. Another fire team could suppress the enemy's M3E1s from the ASR. The stone walls should make for decent cover against incoming fire from the rest of the fighting positions to the northeast until we reach Checkpoint Eight-Alpha. Local farmers build these things strong, so they should stand up to sustained 5.56 and 7.62 fire for a good few minutes.” Schäfer nods in agreement. “That sounds like a decent idea to me.” 2.3 - Claymores About a minute later, the drone reaches Checkpoint Eight-Alpha and MSR Spirytus. MSR Spirytus is a single carriageway flanked by paved footpaths and two 1-metre tall hedgerows. Stretching 50 metres beyond the eastern hedgerow is only thick bushes, large ferns, tree stumps, and sparsely distributed young trees. After that, there is an abrupt transition to old forest. The woods covering the hillside are so dense with trees and tall vegetation that it is impossible to see past 45 metres at ground level. Schäfer’s map of the AO also depicts a long ditch dug alongside the western edge of MSR Spirytus, next to the footpath, which Catawnee tries to get a visual on. The drone rotates left. Catawnee points to the screen. “Well, will you look at that.” What he sees warrants a slight change of plans for his squad. The drone spots an insurgent with a large rifle slung on his back. Schäfer immediately identifies the rifle as a HK417A2 - 20″ battle rifle with an ACOG sight mounted on its Picatinny rail. He’s facing away from the drone, kneeling in a 5-foot-deep drainage ditch with steep slopes and a tiny stream running through the bottom. He appears to be busy aiming an M18 Claymore mine down a straight portion of the ditch before camouflaging it with foliage. Catawnee zooms in on the mine. “Yup, that’s definitely a dude setting up a legit f*cking green-painted Claymore mine at our only pieces of cover once we reach the MSR.” Schäfer points at the screen, frowning at the insurgent's rifle. “Gents, double-check your notes. Have we ever seen this guy before?” The team leaders flip through their notepads, comparing the man’s clothing and weapon with the eleven individuals that Zimmerman and al-Latif reported earlier. Corporal Rolt Jung, Fire Team Alpha’s team leader, flips to a brand new page on his notepad. “He’s got the same camo pattern, PPE, and NVGs as all the other guys OP reported… But OP never mentioned a dude with a HK417 or any kind of battle rifle…” he starts scribbling down a new data entry. “No, Schäfer. Neither us nor OP ain’t ever f*ckin’ seen this guy before. He’s a new one.” Meier nods as he jots down the new information. “That brings the total up to… twelve guys, now. Shit, Schäfer, your hunch about there being more of these f*ckers was right. Just how many are infesting this hill?” Collins speaks up as well. “Yeah, Schäfer, I er… think what they’re doing all but confirms that these guys really are NALA or NALA-affiliated insurgents. Beyond reasonable doubt. Can I explain?” “The floor’s all yours, Collins.” “Well, we all know they’re doing some highly illegal shit. Setting up potent explosive devices (and replicas of explosive devices) on, over, below, or this close to a public roadway is illegal. Preparing camouflaged fighting positions on public land where a public roadway is in your direct line of fire is also illegal.” He points to the tablet with his ballpoint pen. “The only time when either activity is permitted is when Rhodellia’s down to DEFCON 3 and below. And right now, we’re at DEFCON 4.” “So what does that say about these guys?” “Any member of a Rhodellian citizen militia would know and abide by those laws. Hell, we even learn them during War Studies in secondary school. And these guys? They don’t give a shit. They’re not local Loyalist militia. They’re not Rhodellian teenagers playing soldier, LARPing, or doing Mil-Sim.” He shakes his head. “Naw, man. Only NALA insurgents and their dumbf*ck allies, who are out to f*ck people up, would pull shit like this.” The rest of the squad present at the table nod in agreement with Collins’ insight. Schäfer congratulates the team leader with a firm pat on the back. “Well-observed, Collins. All that’s left for us to do after we finish conducting recon on this position is to send a proper SALUTE report up to Command. That, and hope we get cleared to engage these bastards.” “Fingers crossed, man. Fingers f*cking crossed.” Schäfer then rests his arm on Catawnee’s shoulder, giving him his next command. While the others were talking, Catawnee was busy scanning the area around Checkpoint Eight-Alpha, peeking over the wall and looking through holes in the western hedge, with the RGB camera. “Catawnee, check the ditches for underpass-type wildlife crossings we can use to clandestinely crawl under the MSR to the other side.” As part of their various environmental initiatives, Rhodellian governments since the 1980s have been committed to habitat conservation. In the countryside, all major roads and even many minor country lanes have since introduced various types of wildlife crossings to reduce the frequency of roadkill incidents. Accidents like deer-vehicle collisions have since become very, very rare. Wildlife underpasses are the most common type of wildlife crossing. By regulation, all of them are, at the very least, big enough for adult humans to comfortably high-crawl through with military-style rucksacks on their backs. This was a deliberate design decision: it is meant to aid Rhodellian militias in waging guerilla warfare against invading armies, by giving them more viable routes to clandestinely move around should their counties turn into battlefields. Schäfer wants to exploit this aspect of Rhodellian civil engineering to his squad’s advantage. Catawnee flies checks the bottom of the hedge for small gaps torn by wild animals leading in and out of the enclosure he's hiding the drone in. A bit further down the hedge, he eventually finds a hole with enough clearance for people to crawl through single-file. He rotates a full 360° to check his surroundings. “Found one.” Slightly further up the drainage ditch, he sees that there’s a large pipe underneath the T-Junction at Checkpoint Eight-Alpha. The pipe suggests that the ditches along the MSR are all connected to each other. Just outside the pipe is a south-facing Claymore mine camouflaged with tall grass. To the right of that Claymore Mine is the large, shadowy entrance and exit of a wildlife underpass. Schäfer reckons that the Claymore-planting NALA insurgent evaded detection by Zimmerman and al-Latif by going through the wildlife underpass and crawling through the drainage ditches. Jung points to the tablet screen. “At the bottom of a valley, leading into a drainage ditch? This is a weird place to put a f*cking underpass. Wouldn’t it be flooded every time it rains?” “I guess it’s better than nothing, Jung.” Catawnee shrugs. “At least animals can cross when it’s dry.” Catawnee crosses under the hedge through the hole he found earlier. Meier points to the tablet screen. “As an alternative route to the country lane. Our squad, or just a single fire team, can approach using that hole in the hedge. We can enter that farm enclosure that hole leads into. Crawl under the farm gate by Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, high-crawl downhill along the wall towards the hedge, low-crawl through the hole in the hedge and up the drainage ditch, and duck into the underpass.” Schäfer nods. “That’s also a good idea.” He then turns to Catawnee again “Alright. Fly into the underpass and see where it leads.” Catawnee does as requested. He follows the Claymore mines’ unusually long electrical firing wires into the underpass. Judging by its length, the underpass leads past the hedgerow on the east side of the MSR, directly to the base of the hill where the NALA insurgents are digging in. The tunnel is big enough to fit three fire teams-worth of crouching adults at once. With no electric lighting, the underpass is dark. A quick scan with the drone’s Night Vision camera reveals that there aren’t any explosive devices rigged inside the underpass. He points to the screen. “You guys remember back in Chemistry class, when we were taught about explosives?” Jung frowns, and takes a deep breath. “Yeah. My class spent hours learning how to make f*cking IEDs in the classroom with real materials but fake ingredients.” “Doesn’t every chemistry class teach you that?” “Yeah, but my science teacher didn’t even detonate a live bomb in the school field just to show us what we’ve been making. He just pointed at the SmartBoard, and played a f*cking Volkcast video of an IED blowing up a NALA troop transport. The lazy motherf*cker. The video was still cool as f*ck, don't get me wrong, but back then it was the biggest boner killer of my f*cking life.” “You poor f*cking soul. My science teacher set up a live demonstration in the school playground, and we got to see first-hand how easily a properly made Explosively Formed Penetrator can punch a hole through an armoured car door.” “You lucky bastard." Jung drops his head and sighs. "Why’d you ask about learning to make explosives in school, anyway?” “Back in Chemistry class, my teacher said that wildlife underpasses were moderately viable places to rig IEDs. Unless you have scouts or engineers thoroughly checking the route beforehand, you could roll over one of these without even realising it. A strong-enough bomb could collapse the road underneath an MBT and get it stuck. Or a strong-enough EFP pointed upwards could punch through the road’s asphalt concrete and then rip through the less well-armoured bottom of an MBT’s hull. It's weird that we can't see anything resembling an IED down here.” Schäfer chips in, nodding as he notes the lack of explosives inside the wildlife underpass. “I guess they couldn’t pack enough explosives with them to set up explosives in here. Either that, or sabotaging Rhodellian infrastructure isn't their agenda here.” “But smoking guys who use Rhodellian infrastructure is.” “Hm?” Catawnee retracts his earlier observation and points to the screen again. On the other side of the underpass, he spots a tripwire, lightly camouflaged with uprooted ferns and tall grass. It doesn't hold up to closer scrutiny, but a panicked soldier under fire and in a rush to counter-attack would probably miss it. Catawnee guesses that it leads to yet another Claymore mine. After a quick search for even more suspicious-looking foliage, the mine itself appears to be camouflaged under a fern directly ahead, and is pointing directly at the underpass. Catawnee looks up at Schäfer, who’s leaning on his shoulder. “Another Claymore mine, Sarge. I mean, it's obvious, but they expect any hostile dismounts ambushed on the MSR to use this underpass to try and flank their position. But what's dangerous about this one is that, if it explodes, it'll kill everyone inside the underpass at the time. Christ, this one's even got a f*cking tripwire." “Yeah, if you think from their perspective, you're right in that this shit’s a no-brainer. But it's still better for us to take this underpass than running in the open across the road and searching for more holes in the eastern hedge. And then getting f*cking shredded because the hedge offers no cover, only concealment. At least there’s more than enough clearance to crawl over the wire and disarm it the normal way. The bushes and ferns should give enough concealment.” Collins enters the conversation again, pointing at the tripwire on the screen. “Shit, dude. These assholes really do not a flying f*ck. They’re using Claymore mines in a victim-activated mode, with tripwires. That’s a violation of the Mine Ban Treaty. And here I thought the N-A-L-A observed that. f*cking pricks! I hope that mine's active, and I hope an animal comes along and trips the wire!” Schäfer shrugs. “Maybe instead of actual NALA insurgents, these war criminals are just a NALA-affiliated terrorist cell.” In the wake of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, the Native Aurelian Liberation Army stopped using landmines and victim-activated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Before that, thousands of Rhodellian military, police personnel, and militia alike have lost their lives to car bombs, pressure plate and tripwire-activated IEDs, and purpose-built anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines planted by NALA fighters and affiliated terrorists. Victim-activated explosives used to be some of NALA’s most effective and terror-inducing weapons. However, they regularly killed and wounded more civilians than combatants. Civilian casualties from these weapons is a major reason why most people in Native Aurelian-dominated Nordwalde Province, including many prominent tribal leaders, choose to stay loyal to the Rhodellian government. It’s hard to support the people who keep killing your children with indiscriminate weapons. This especially rings true when the country is already having trouble dealing with older Unexploded Remnants of War (ERW) from past conflicts. So as a general rule, the NALA proper only uses command-activated explosive devices. However, NALA-affiliated militias and terrorist cells in Rhodellian-controlled territory are less inclined to observe the Mine Ban Treaty. So whenever kids are accidentally killed or maimed by IED explosions, NALA leadership readily denies any involvement and deflects the blame at their allies. 2.4 - The Sentry Scäfer then turns to Catawnee again. “Hey, check to see if someone is actively watching over the underpass.“ Catawnee switches to the Dragonfly’s FLIR camera and cautiously maneuvers the drone towards the end of the tunnel, while remaining cloaked within the shadows. He pans the camera up the hillslope and, as expected, there’s a human’s broken-up heat signature sitting inside a bush inside the treeline roughly 55 metres uphill. Catawnee observes the figure through the RGB camera, and zooms in. Upon closer inspection, it’s another armed insurgent facing south, scoped in with an RCO optic mounted on an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The team leaders flip through their notepads again to note down the new threat. Jung starts scrawling into his notepad. “OP never reported anyone with a squad automatic weapon either. And no wonder, too; this guy’s been camouflaged the whole time. This makes thirteen tangos spotted on this hill thus far, the sneaky motherf*ckers.” Schäfer points to the screen again. “Catawnee, we’re taking the risk and going outside. Slice the pie before you fully exit the tunnel, fly into the underbrush, and get a better view of that NALA automatic rifleman.” “Wilco, Sarge.” After Catawnee confirms that no insurgents are to the immediate left or right of the underpass’s exit, he hugs the drone against the left wall and beelines for the undergrowth. The NALA automatic rifleman doesn’t even seem to register the drone flying out of the tunnel in his peripheral vision. He fails to react in any noticeable way; he just continues to stare down his scope at the southern approach from the MSR (where Rhodellian Army vehicles and foot patrols are most likely to appear from). Schäfer is about to criticise the automatic rifleman for tunnel-vision when the man suddenly looks left up the hill, right down at the wildlife underpass, and then back through his scope. Schäfer checks the HUD on the drone operating tablet, seeing that the Dragonfly is at 80% of its 30-minute battery life, meaning six minutes have passed since it was switched on. Schäfer taps the NALA automatic rifleman on the screen. “We’ve got more than enough battery life left. Observe him for five mikes. We’ll record how much time he spends looking into his scope; how often he unscopes and checks his surroundings; and when he does, how long it takes him to look from his 8 o’clock position to his 12 o’clock position.” As Catawnee makes a quick scan of his surroundings and sets the drone to hover in place, Schäfer compares the NALA automatic rifleman’s position with those of the others, or at least those that Schäfer's squad have found thus far. “This automatic rifleman’s about 50 metres south of his squad’s fighting positions. If they’re using a triangular cordon like the ones we use, I suspect there’s a second sentry somewhere around 100 metres to the north, and a third sentry somewhere around 100 metres to the east or northeast. Probably close to or at the hilltop. OP didn’t report anyone acting like a sentry, so this adds another two tangos, bringing our potential total up to fifteen.” Meier also comments on the drone’s surroundings. The forest is indeed as densely vegetated as it looked from the MSR. “This forest is overgrown as f*ck. You can’t see past 40 to 45 metres in these conditions. Nobody must’ve mowed this lawn since the Colonial era.” Upon hearing those relative distances, and quickly scanning the thick forest underbrush around the drone again (both to ensure that no enemies are wandering dangerously close or towards it and to find potential avenues of approach), Catawnee slaps his helmet. “Oh, Goddamnit...” He turns to his fellow Native Aurelian squad member in Alpha, Private Puhihwikwasu'u Geldfeld, who is nicknamed ‘Wickwash’. “Yo, Wickwash. We should’ve brought our f*cking compound bows with us, man!” Wickwash clenches his fist, fighting the urge to punish his lack of foresight with the hardest facepalm mankind would ever feel (a record which, unfortunately, would entail ruining his camouflage face paint). “Yeah, we coulda stealth-killed these fools! Old-school skulking way of war-style. If we knew we’d catch them slipping like this, I’d f*cking gladly have rucked 30 miles with an extra eight pounds on my back. Getting a bow kill in 2021 would’ve been rad as f*ck!” “If only we brought our bows, bro, we could take up sniping positions in the underpass, nock arrows while the sentry’s tunnel-visioned watching the MSR through his scope. And then, we could wait for the sentries to finish a regular radio check, loose two broadhead arrows up through this f*cker’s larynx, upper brain stem, and medulla oblongata... And bup!” He mimics the sound of an arrow striking an archery target while poking into the right side of his neck, pointing towards his brain from an angle that bypasses the protection of a kevlar helmet. “Instant kill or lobotomy, bro, it’s a silent takedown either way.” Wickwash nods his head. “It’d be ninja as f*ck. The rest of his squad don’t even have a direct LOS on his pos either, because there’s so many trees, plants, and shit blocking the sight lines between them.” “Yeah. If we attach bow silencers to our bows, the rest of this motherf*cker’s squad wouldn’t hear a thing from us. Just loose the arrows and drop him when the wind blows through the forest canopy and underbrush layers. Leaves rustling in the wind, the noise made by eleven other dudes digging ranger graves with entrenching tools, and sound absorption by fifty metres of dense forest should mask the sounds of our bows. They’re only, like, 60 to 70 decibels unsilenced. And we’ve both got bowstring silencers that cut down string noise by up to 90 percent. If we brought heavier arrows too, our shots would be even quieter, since less energy would be wasted as sound. They won’t see or hear the bodies hitting the floor. Easy ‘Silent Assassin’ rank.” “Maybe, bro…” Wickwash nods, simulating the hypothetical stealth scenario in his head. “If we’re fast enough, we could even take down a second sentry further up the hill. Or we could crawl close enough to yeet two frag grenades at the enemy squad while they’re still above-ground. The grenades might even roll into their fighting positions too. If we drop prone so our helmets take most of the shrapnel, or duck behind a tree, we can bug out pretty much unharmed. Just the two of us could score like, six to seven casualties on our own before their next radio check. Shit, man.” He wriggles his kevlar helmet. “I’d gladly risk taking shrapnel to my shoulders if it meant f*cking up that many people up at once.” “What could have been…” Catawnee takes a deep breath. “What. Could. Have. f*cking. Been!” While shooting with firearms and live ammunition is by far Rhodellia’s most popular recreational and club activity, archery continues to be a time-honoured tradition. While many of Rhodellia's ethnic minorities and immigrant groups have strong archery traditions, the most famous are those of the country's Native Aurelian tribes. Many state that archery allows them to better-connect with their history, culture, and community as well as learn valuable skills such as clarity of mind, patience, and focus. And thus, archery tends to be one of the top club activities in schools and community centres, roughly on-par with Historical Europan and Argisian Martial Arts (HEAMA) in terms of (registered) regular practitioners. Archers in primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, and universities even compete in their own local and national-level archery tournaments. Out of respect for Rhodellian archery traditions, and unusual for a high-tech conventional military, the Rhodellian Armed Forces still permit its troops to carry their own privately owned bows (and crossbows) into battle. Of course, in an age of machine guns and automatic rifles, nobody regularly does this except as a joke on field ops; wielding a bow, as cool as it would look, is almost never worth the limited effective range, limited ammunition, limited rate of fire, and extra pack weight. But there are some theoretical scenarios where a bow might be convenient. For example, they can be used to stealthily neutralise sentries that are far-enough away from the rest of their unit. Most medium-draw weight compound bows on the Rhodellian civilian market, with no noise-suppressing in-built features or accessories (such as bowstring silencers), shooting common mid-weight 500-grain arrows, produce 60 to 90 decibels of sound. For a brief moment, they can be as quiet as a normal conversation or as loud as a crowded restaurant. But they are still significantly quieter than a suppressed .22-calibre rifle, which typically produces around 120 decibels of sound. The sound of a bow is also more unusual and unexpected to hear on a modern battlefield, so they are less likely to be immediately identified or reported. Some Rhodellian military academy students have submitted academic papers proposing that modern bows and crossbows can be decent (albeit highly situational) stealth weapons for the modern battlefield. However, despite the bow’s theoretical capacity for (relatively) quiet takedowns, the last time any Rhodellian was ever said to have scored a confirmed kill with a self-bow was back in 1940, during the Second Anéantic War. But even the veracity of this event is disputed. As the two disappointed Native Aurelians complain about how they won’t make their ancestors proud and be the first Rhodellians in 81 years to score confirmed kills with self-bows, Private John Adebayo, Alpha’s grenadier, pats them both in their back SAPI plates. “To be fair, it’s normally us in the Rhodellian Army getting jumped by NALA and not the other way round. None of us could’ve expected to get this lucky. Maybe next time, brothers.” he shakes their shoulders “Maybe next time...” Catawnee exhales, as he starts maneuvering the drone towards a slightly more favourable position. “Nah, bro, it’s all good. I’ll be satisfied enough if we get to smoke these pricks with our rifles today.” “Same, brother…” Adebayo nods a few times. “At the very least, you can still low-crawl through the undergrowth, sneak up on the guy, and knife him to death without anyone seeing.” After five minutes of visual observation, the squad observes that the NALA automatic rifleman does indeed have a regular pattern to his actions: a routine that can be exploited. His squad conducts a radio check every five minutes. He spends an average of 60 seconds observing the MSR through his scope, which is his 12 o’clock position at compass bearing 190°, putting the wildlife underpass’s exit at the very edge of his peripheral vision when he is facing directly forward. When he unscopes, he makes a quick 3-second left-to-right scan of his immediate surroundings, starting and finishing at his 7 o’clock position. At the end of this scan, he makes another, longer scan: he looks over his shoulder to his 7 o’clock position, and slowly pans from left-to-right, observing his sector of responsibility until he’s looking at his 5 o’clock position over his right shoulder. He seems to take the time to observe the surrounding foliage, the MSR, and the hillside to the west very closely; it takes an average of 15 seconds for him just to turn from his 7’clock to his 5 o’clock. Collins compares the NALA automatic rifleman’s predictable routine to that of a preprogrammed guard in a stealth game. The others agree. With how they’re considering the human field of vision and figuring out routine movements for well-timed exploitation, Catawnee can’t help but be reminded of a Flash game he used to play on unblocked game sites back in his secondary school’s Computer Lab, back before he was old enough to buy his own games online. “Yo guys, doesn’t all this remind you of a certain Flash game?” Private Robert Powell, Bravo’s grenadier, looks at Schäfer's map as it is being updated in real time. “Yeah, I think I might’ve played the one you’re thinking of one. That’s the, er… F*ck.” He quietly clicks his fingers and points. “That’s the stickman game where you have to observe a teacher's movement patterns, sneak next to a guy, and cheat from his test paper without getting caught in the teacher's LOS, right?” “That’s the one!” “Holy shit, dude, that’s a f*cking throwback!" Powell laughs quietly as fond childhood memories flood his brain. “I think it was called, er… ‘The Classroom’?” “Yup, that’s it.” Catawnee nods. “Shit, bro. Memorising, analysing, and planning according to a guy’s routine search patterns, like in that game... Ain’t that exactly what we’re doing right now?” “F*ckin’ hell, man, imagine actually using skills cultivated through years of slacking off in ICT classes just to dunk on some motherf*ckers in glorious combat.” Powell laughs. “Just like the simulations.” Schäfer uncaps his marker and prepares to jot down even more markings on his map. “Here’s to hoping he doesn’t throw a curveball at us by rotating with other guys in his fireteam. Otherwise his friends will be done digging ranger graves by the time we’re done monitoring all of them for patterns.” He begins marking the rough boundaries for the NALA insurgent rifleman’s sector of responsibility. The finished result warrants a change of plans. “He’s got almost got a direct LOS of the country lane between the Checkpoints Eight-Alpha and Eight-Bravo. We can’t crawl through there without getting spotted.” Meier points to the farm enclosure to south “What about the route that Catawnee took down to the MSR? We can still crawl under the farm gate at Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, enter the farm enclosure, and high-crawl along the wall. Judging from his position, he won't be seeing us with a 4-foot-high wall blocking his sight-line. When we get to the hole in the hedge, after that Claymore-planting insurgent returns to his squad, we can crawl through it while the sentry isn’t looking in our direction. We can time it.” The rest of the squad, including Schäfer, nod in agreement. On an unrelated note, the NALA automatic rifleman seems to be fighting his boredom by bobbing his head and quietly singing Anglish-language alternative rock. By observing his mouth and the beat at which the man’s head is bobbing, Adebayo recognises the song as ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’. The squad smiles in amusement. “Ayo, that’s my f*cking childhood he’s singing, man!” Rolt shakes his head as he scribbles more notes into his notepad. “You know, if you can guarantee that he won’t f*cking stab me to death for being white... I might actually be okay driving my car to the store and back while this guy rides shotgun with his phone. I’d just pass him the AUX cord, and we could do what we usually do whenever we all get Victors to ride in.” Meier chips in. “You mean butcher 2000s throwback songs until the f*cking bulletproof windows break?” Rolt nods with a grin. “F*ckin A’.” He chuckles, shaking head. “Man, shame I gotta ice this dumbass for picking the wrong side.” Catawnee chuckles as he maneuvers the drone up into the tree canopies over the NALA insurgents' heads. “It really do be like that sometimes, man.” “Yo, Catawnee, you ever thought about this, dude? Thanks to shit like globalisation and the internet, we ain’t all that culturally different from these guys. We’re pretty much listening to the same bands; kekking at the same memes; subscribing to the same content creators; playing in the same Aurelian game servers together; and streaming the same anime, or movies, or shows, or whatever, you get what the f*ck I'm saying...” “Yeah, I get you, dude. Go on?” “... If NALA propaganda didn’t make these guys so anal about us, you know, 'occupying' their ancestral land and shit, we could be shooting the shit with them instead of just shooting them. Hell, I've probably shared a CoD lobby with at least one of these guys and told him I f*cked his mom.” Jung shakes his head even more. “This ain’t enough to make me hesitate pulling the trigger on them, but… You gotta admit, this whole f*cking situation, and all the historical, media, and political f*ckery behind it all… It’s all pretty f*cked.” “It is.” Catawnee sighs. “Man, this really makes you wish the N-A-L-A’s shit-for-brains leadership would just take the f*cking L. The thought of killing dudes who might come from the same tribe as me kills me a little inside. Sure, I’ll smoke them before they smoke me, but it still f*cking sucks to think you’ve killed a brother in cold blood. But the dumbasses running NALA ain’t doing the reasonable thing anytime soon.” “You know, I got this online friend I play League with from time to time. He lives north of the Nordfluss, deep in in NALA country. He’s a pretty cool dude who calls out N-A-L-A propaganda for being centuries-old bullshit no rational person should care about in the 21st century. Man, it’d be a real bummer of a coincidence, a cosmic joke even, if he was one of the guys down there digging a foxhole, and I smoked him.” Schäfer pats Rolt on the shoulder. “Well, the sooner we win, the sooner we can mount the heads of the N-A-L-A's leaders on spikes. When that happens, we can maybe, just f*cking maybe, restore some semblance of peace to this God-forsaken corner of Aurelia. And nobody will have to worry about capping their internet buddies over retarded Colonial-era trifles for a few more years... at least until the next time shit hits the fan.” 2.5 - The Combat Engineer Meanwhile, the Dragonfly is sweeping the hillside for hostile activity with its FLIR camera, using the treetops for concealment. Catawnee weaves through the leaves and branches while en-route to better viewing angles. The first thing to catch his attention is the newly-revealed heat signature of an NALA insurgent crouching in a giant fern, in the shade of the hedgerow at the base of the hill, inserting what looks like a cylindrical rod into the hedge and fiddling with it. Catawnee promptly switches to the RGB Camera to see what the insurgent is doing. However, the shade of the hedgerows makes him difficulty to see, so Catawnee switches to the Night-Vision camera instead. The sight is much clearer. Collins leans on Catawnee’s shoulder and points to the insurgent. “Yup. The bastards are setting up even more explosives. That guy down there must be a combat engineer.” He then points to the cylindrical object, which appears to be a large, 16-gauge steel pipe. He then traces his finger down what appear to be wires trailing down from the back of the pipe, into the undergrowth below, presumably further up along the hedge to 25 more pipes, and then presumably up the hill towards the NALA fighting positions. Schäfer squints his eyes at the screen. “Shit. Are those…?” Collins nods, tracing his fingers along the short section of MSR Spirytus that is visible on the tablet’s screen. “Yup. Explosively Formed Penetrators. EFPs. Not only did they bring Claymore mines, they deadass hauled enough IED-making materials to set up what looks to be about two-dozen improvised off-route anti-tank mines along a 100-metre section of the MSR.” Jung squints at the tablet screen, crossing his arms. “Collins, there’s no f*cking way a single squad-sized element of dismounts can carry 25 big-ass steel pipes 30 klicks across hilly terrain on top of all their other gear and supplies. They gotta have stolen those from a nearby construction site, or commandeered a truck. This takes f*cking logistics to pull off.” “If they tried to do that, wouldn’t somebody have heard them getting lit-the-f*ck-up by construction site workers or their security teams? As for the truck, wouldn’t somebody have reported gunshots from a carjacking or at least a car alarm? You don’t get 30 klicks into Rhodellian territory on foot by starting shit with some of the most heavily armed people on the planet.” “Then where the f*ck did they get these pipes from, and how the hell did they transport them all the way out here?” Jung scratches the top of his helmet. “I dunno, man. Maybe one of the locals is a builder, an illegal IED maker, and a NALA sympathiser at the same time? NALA still has no shortage of supporters here in Nordwalde, with it having so many Native Aurelians and all. At least a few of them have still gotta be pissed off at Nativegate.” Schäfer interjects. “Focus on your jobs, gents. Leave the theorising and investigating to the autists over at Intel. What matters to us is how to deal with the threat right in front of us.” Collins and Jung nod their heads. Collins clears his throat and points to one of the large pipes. “Assuming this guy’s average height, he’s using 16-gauge pipes. Depending on the propellant they’re using for their Misznay–Schardin shaped charges, with a 16-inch chamber, the slugs they can launch can penetrate up to 203 millimetres of Rolled Homogeneous Steel. These are probably powerful enough to pierce through the side armour of our APCs, our armoured utility vehicles, and maybe a few of our lighter IFVs. And of course, these can also disable the engine block of passing LVSRs. Easy as.” Schäfer and the squad’s other team leaders nod, noting down what Collins has to say on the IEDs. Schäfers exhales. “So these bastards we’re up against are fielding the type of IEDs that can f*ck up anything short of an MBT? That’s just f*cking great.” “Uh huh.” Collins nods. “Seems f*cking like it, Schäfer. The N-A-L-A may have given up on landmines, but they still love shit that goes ‘boom’. I swear to God, bro, bombs are like f*cking crack cocaine to them.” Jung shakes Schäfer and Collins on their shoulders. “Look on the bright side, guys! Aside from the Claymores, at least they’re not anti-personnel mines!” Throughout the Nordwalde Troubles, the Native Aurelian Liberation Army inflicted most casualties against Rhodellian military forces and police using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). South of the Nordfluss river, in firm Rhodellian-controlled territory, the NALA and its allies fight as guerillas in an asymmetric war. The odds are too stacked against them to regularly fight head-on and win: down South, they lack the heavy weapons, armoured fighting vehicles, artillery support, and air support necessary to ensure fire superiority. If they’re from north of the Nordfluss, then NALA insurgents don’t always have intimate local knowledge of the land either. Even when local Rhodellians do pledge their cooperation, the NALA and its allies seldom have the numbers or logistics to openly hold territory or sustain large-scale combat operations. They never expect to win pitched battles against Rhodellian soldiers, police officers, or Loyalist militia. As soon as they cross south across the river, neutralising a group of NALA insurgents in the field can be as simple as calling the cops. Generally speaking, the best way for NALA insurgents to 'win'is to blend in with the locals, plant a bomb somewhere, hide, wait for a patrol of Rhodellian conscripts to pass by, press the button on the detonator, fire off a few shots, and run away before the survivors call for reinforcements. Schäfer, Jung, Meier, and Collins flip through their notepads to see if they’ve ever written notes down on this IED-preparing insurgent engineer before. They have not. The engineer is wearing the same fatigues, camouflage pattern, plate carrier, and model of NVGs as all the other insurgents. It’s just that, in addition to his M4A1, he also has a M32 Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher. Powell filters a long whistle through his lips, reminiscent of a falling bomb. “Hey, Sarge?” “Got some ‘grenadier expertise’ for us, Powell?” “Yeah.” Powell nods, pointing at the tablet screen. “This motherf*cker’s gotta be one of the first people we need to drop, if not the first. He can drop 3 grenades on our heads per second from up to 400 metres away. If we’re spotted, he can potentially dole out more punishment in the first five seconds than the M240L and two M3E1s combined.” Schäfer nods as he and the squad’s team leaders note that information down. “That’s actually a pretty useful reminder. However, figuring out his exact location when the shooting starts will be a problem. Unless he marches back up the hill and shows us before we the drone starts running low on battery and we have to fly it back, we won’t know exactly which fighting position he’ll be occupying. And he still looks nowhere finished with setting his IEDs. But I'd assume he'd be somewhere around their centre.” 2.6 - Fighting Positions With the combat engineer/grenadier setting up IEDs in the hedgerow accounted for, Catawnee maneuvers the Dragonfly to a spot where it can best observe the original eleven insurgents spotted setting up camouflage nets, hanging thermal insulator blankets, and digging fighting positions. Ten of them are still busy displacing dirt with entrenching tools. The eleventh is scanning the overcast sky through a pair of binoculars, probably to warn his buddies of any incoming UAV sweeps. They are still in the same early stages of digging as they were before OP lost visual contact; their fighting positions are still shallow shell-scrapes that are only deep enough for people to lie prone in. There are eight two-man fighting positions hidden behind eight camouflage nets with blankets tied behind them, blocking all potential observation (whether by binoculars or thermal imaging) from the hill to the West. Most of them are arranged in a staggered line running roughly parallel with the treeline, which in turns runs roughly parallel with MSR Spirytus. This appears to be a precaution against enfilading fire from the flanks. There is roughly 4 metres of space between each individual fighting position. The two southernmost fighting positions are positioned at a 45° angle, giving them ability to both fire at enemy units on the MSR and better-intercept any flanking maneuvers coming from the direction of the wildlife underpass. The NALA insurgents’ M240L general-purpose machine gun is deployed in front of one of the middle fighting positions (fourth from the left). Excess dirt from the shell-scrapes’ excavations is being used to raise ground, compact the Eurth, and make parapets and paradoses. The paradoses on the rears of what are currently shell-scrapes are likely meant to stop enemy grenades from rolling downhill and into the fighting positions once they’re at their full depths. It typically takes an hour for a well-coordinated team to dig a full DFP into flat, favourable soil. Digging into a hillside complicates the process, since more soil needs digging out of the slope. Schäfer estimates that the enemy will complete all stages of digging their ranger graves in two hours. Schäfer and the team leaders spend a short while flipping through their notes on each individual NALA insurgent, confirming that each insurgent was someone either OP or the Dragonfly have already spotted. They cross-reference their fatigues’ camouflage patterns, body armours, and weapon loadouts. These eleven insurgents are indeed the same eleven foot mobiles OP spotted at the start. Once the team leaders are finished with their check-overs, Catawnee switches on the drone’s FLIR camera and does a 360° scan for human heat signatures. He counts the heat signatures of: the original eleven insurgents digging ranger graves, the guy planting claymores in the drainage ditches, the combat engineer, and the automatic rifleman covering the Southern approach. He flies to the north, and finds a second sentry covering the Northern approach. He flies to the southeast up the hill, and discovers a third sentry covering the Eastern approach. Both of these sentries also turn out to be M249 SAW-armed automatic riflemen just like the sentry near the wildlife underpass. Catawnee continues to sweep the surrounding area for even more NALA insurgents, but the Dragonfly can’t seem to detect any more by the time it starts running low on battery. 2.7 - A Job Well-Done “And this brings the total up to… Sixteen NALA insurgents.” Catawnee exhales. “Yeah, I think that’s all of them.” Schäfer thinks so too. He, Jung, Meier, Collins, and their subordinates at the picnic table look at their map of the AO, and all the notes and markings they’ve squeezed into and around their grid square. They've marked the exact location of every Claymore mine, every fighting position, every sentry, and every sentry's probable sector of responsibility. Jung smiles in amusement. “Yo, Schäfer, look at that shit. Your map looks like a gang just tagged it.” Schäfer chuckles. “At the very least I can still read it. What matters is, we’ve got enough information to send a comprehensive report up to Command.” Catawnee looks over his shoulder at Schäfer, pointing to the low battery percentage icon at the top-right of the tablet screen. “Hey, Sarge, the battery’s gonna die in like, 10 to 15 minutes. I’m taking the Dragonfly back to base.” "Go ahead." Schäfer gives Catawnee a hard pat on the back SAPI plate and a firm shake on the shoulder. “Well done on operating the drone, Catawnee. You did real f*cking good today.” “F*ck yeah, Sarge.” Catawnee exchanges fist bumps with Schäfer and the others before initiating the Dragonfly’s clandestine exfiltration back to his squad’s Patrol Base HQ across the valley. While maintaining a reasonable level of noise discipline, Catawnee’s squadmates at the picnic table cheer, clap, compliment, put him headlocks, put him in chokeholds, and shake his helmet when they can't ruffle his hair. The drone returns without issue, with al-Latif and Zimmerman at the observation post reporting no indicators that the enemy ever noticed it. This concludes the squad’s reconnaissance of the NALA position. Schäfer sees it appropriate to wrap things up before writing up his SALUTE report. He reminds his squad, who have gone down to REDCON-2 while reconnaissance was being conducted, that they may be engaging the enemy very, very soon. Schäfer points to his finalised map spread across the picnic table in front of him. The wind starts to pick up, but he keeps the map held down at the sides and corners with random stones he picked off the ground. “Gents, let’s just make sure that everyone’s on the same page on what we know so far. Beyond reasonable doubt, we are up against a section-sized element of sixteen NALA or NALA-affiliated insurgents. Consider them 'Hostile'. The enemy has set up a deliberate point ambush, most likely meant to hit a convoy of logistical vehicles travelling along MSR Spirytus.” On his map, he traces his finger along the 100-metre stretch of MSR Spirytus between Checkpoint Eight-Alpha and Checkpoint Niner-Alpha. “They have turned this 100-metre-long section of the MSR into a killzone with at least two M18 Claymore mines in the parallel drainage ditches and 25 EFPs concealed in the eastern hedgerow.” He then taps the treeline to the east of the MSR. “Beyond the hedgerow on the east side of the MSR, at the base of the hill, is a 50-metre-thick strip of dense bushes and ferns, and shrubbery that can be low-crawled through. After that, there is an abrupt transition to primordial forest. The insurgents’ fighting positions are located along the treeline. They consist of eight two-man FPs, which are currently only as deep as shell-scrapes as of this moment. They are arranged into an 50-metre-long staggered line formation to mitigate enfilading fire from the flanks. There is roughly 4 metres of dispersion between each FP.” He then starts tapping each individual fighting position. “Their M240L machine gun emplacement is deployed at the centre, in front of the fourth FP from their left. Judging from where their recoilless riflemen were digging, their M3E1s will likely be situated in the second FP from the left and the one on their far right. The FPs occupied by their battle rifleman, who might be a designated marksman, and grenade launcher-armed engineer are unknown.” He looks up at the rest of his squad, who are nodding and checking over their notes. “Gents, does anyone here have any questions? Anything we need to go over?” Schäfer’s squadmates around the picnic table look at each other, shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads. Wickwash raises his hand. “The floor’s yours, Wickwash.” Schäfer gestures for him to speak. “Do you think there’s a realistic chance we’ll actually get to kill people today?” Schäfer pauses. “That depends on how charitable Goodsprings is feeling. I plan on starting as soon as we’re done with pre-combat inspections, as per the Rhodellian military's doctrine of mission-type tactics. Hopefully, and I got my fingers crossed for this one, he won’t try to call off our attack as soon as word of our impending assault reaches his ears, just so he can drop a f*cking precision-guided bomb and take all the credit instead. There’s no guarantee he won’t do that. So we just have to hope that he’ll let us do what we’ve literally spent our entire lives training to do.” “I'm finna frag his ass if he makes us cancel. No cap.” “Maybe, if we're fast enough, we can neutralise the enemy before Goodsprings can try to stop us. Anyway, let's go over our game plan…” 2.8 - The Plan Schäfer looks down at his map of the enemy’s positions, and crosses his arms. It’s about time that the squad formulates a proper attack plan. “So, gents, not counting Doc, there’s thirteen of us versus eighteen NALA insurgents. We’re outgunned and slightly outnumbered, but…” He taps on the northern and southern ends of the NALA line of fighting positions. The team leaders step closer. Schäfer continues. “If at least two fire teams can sneak up on either their left or right flank, then it's likely only a portion of their force will be able to engage us at once. We can achieve fire superiority.” Meier nods his head, tracing his finger down the NALA fighting positions in a straight line. “I see what you mean. They’re all roughly at the same altitude as each other and dug in a staggered line. So if we hit one half, the other half will be more hesitant to engage in our direction because of the risk of friendly fire.” Catawnee tries to contribute to the discussion as well. “That, and they can’t see for shit past 40 to 50 metres. If we attack at the edge of their farthest elements’ line of sight, only a few of them will be able to see us and our muzzle flashes at once through the undergrowth. Unless they leave their fighting positions.” Collins also contributes with his own prediction. “If we’re within 50 metres of their positions, they’ll probably hesitate to use their M3E1s and M32 as well. Their recoilless riflemen might be hesitant to waste their precious rockets shooting at bushes we might not even be hiding in, especially when finding a safe place to shoot from might entail exposing themselves by crouching or standing outside of cover. Their grenadier might also be worried about spraying his own buddies with shrapnel. They might instead choose to fight with their M4s, giving us the advantage in firepower.” Schäfer nods as he notes down what everyone’s saying. “Fair points, gents.” He continues scribbling into their notepads. “Meier’s idea of taking the route Catawnee flew with his drone… Starting next to Checkpoint Eight-Bravo, going into the farm enclosure, hugging the wall for concealment, crawling through that hole in the hedge, up the drainage ditch, and through the wildlife underpass for a concentrated attack on their left flank… Is probably our best bet. I’ll take Doc and two fire teams with me down there.” He nods a few times, visualising an attack in his head. “This route’s a risky one, but it does get us to the enemy flank a lot faster than any alternative routes, even if we are high and low-crawling the entire time. About 30 minutes, considering the bottleneck we’ll be facing at the hole in the hedge. However, we should still catch them while they’re still above-ground digging their incomplete FPs. Aside from the trees, they won't have good cover, only the concealment of the undergrowth.” Collins steps forward and points to the drainage ditches by MSR Spirytus. “What about their Claymore mines, Sarge?” “Unlike the one right outside the wildlife underpass, they seem to be command-activated. We should be good so long as we’re not spotted while we’re down there. We’ll send a fire team out first, in buddy pairs. The first guy will pass through the wildlife underpass and disarm the third Claymore at the tunnel exit. The second guy will disarm the two Claymore mines on both sides of the pipe underneath Checkpoint Eight-Alpha. The second battle buddy pair will follow once the Claymores in the drainage ditches are disarmed, and then stand by on either side of the underpass entrance until the third Claymore is disarmed." “And how will we know when it’s safe for the rest of us to go ahead?” “Once all the Claymores are dealt with, the team leader can whisper into his radio. If we happen to encounter any more hidden Claymores or tripwires along the way, we can report it with hand signs or via radio as well, or just disarm them as soon as they're uncovered.” “Sounds good to me.” Collins scribbles into his notepad. Jung nods in agreement, tracing his finger along ASR Blue Lagoon. “I'll volunteer my team to take up overwatch positions along the ASR. Once you give a signal and start your assault on their flank, we’ll fire a few bursts at the FPs containing their MG and their right-flank M3E1. That is, assuming you'll immediately neutralise their left-flank M3E1 when you open up your ambush. Adebayo can also rain fire on the MG emplacement at the centre with his grenade launcher. The higher relative altitude of the ASR should give his grenades enough range to reach it.” Schäfer nods a few times and takes notes. Jung continues. “After we’ve spent maybe... one minute raking their centre and right flank with bullets, we’ll focus on suppressing their four rightmost FPs. That’ll keep at least a few of them pinned down in their FPs instead of fanning out into the woods, and cut down the volume fire coming your way.” Wickwash and Adebayo nod a few times, agreeing with Jung’s proposition. “I’m alright with that, dawg.” “Same, brother.” Nobody else seems to have anything to contribute. So Schäfer uncaps his marker again and draws a few crude arrows on his map. “Alright, gents…” He points to the map. “So, to recap on our entire plan… Me, Doc, and Fire Teams Bravo and Charlie will move up along the Dragonfly's route to the NALA insurgents’ left flank. Up until we reach the hedge at the bottom of the enclosure, we will low-crawl and hug the wall in a single-file Squad Column formation. Meanwhile, Alpha will stay hidden along ASR Blue Lagoon. Wickwash, Wolff, and Adebayo will hide behind the dry-stone wall. Meanwhile, Jung will take up a camouflaged position where he can best observe their southernmost sentry. With his radio and binoculars, he’ll tell us when it’s safe for us to crawl under the hedge and make our way to the underpass. And then join the fighting once I give the command to open fire via radio, or as soon as you see muzzle flashes or hear gunshots. Alpha, is that good with you guys?” Jung, Wickwash, and Adebayo once again confirm their approval. “Jawohl.” “Yeah.” “Cool.” Schäfer then taps the position of the wildlife underpass on the map. “Charlie will be the lynchpin to this whole operation being stealthy. You guys will be tasked with disarming the Claymores in the drainage ditch and at the exit to the underpass tunnel. On top of that, you’ll also be tasked with quietly neutralising their southernmost sentry so we can move into assault positions on their flank. This sentry must be eliminated immediately after they finish conducting a radio check. Collins, I’ll leave assigning the roles to you. Is this gucci with you guys?” Collins and Catawnee confirm their approval. “All’s good. We’ll head on over to the OP and go over this with Zim and al-Latif.” “Mhm.” Schäfer takes a deep breath. Moving his finger roughly fifty metres south of the NALA’s two oblique-angled fighting positions at the end of their left flank. “Once the Claymores and southernmost sentry are dealt with, Me, Bravo, and Charlie will advance through the bushes until we’re about 50 metres south of these two southernmost FPs. Just beyond their visual range. Bravo and I will form a Fire Team Line formation on our left flank, and concentrate all firepower to the front. Charlie will form an Fire Team Echelon formation on our right flank, with the echeloned side facing towards the NALA FPs. Ideally, we’ll all be in a position to attack within five mikes of the southernmost sentry being neutralised." He then traces his finger upwards through the NALA fighting positions. "From there, we will push northwards using fire-and-maneuver, with one fire team moving up at a time while the other provides covering fire. When it's time to strike, I'll radio all team leaders to open fire at the same time. Everyone else, pay attention to your team leaders and follow their lead so our attack can as synchronised as possible. In case the enemy shoots before that, and happens to take me out first, return fire. Alpha can do their thing as soon as the sound of gunshots reaches them a second later, whether ours or the enemy's. We will advance until the enemy is either routed or destroyed. At which point, the most intact team will secure their fighting positions while the other tracks the other survivors and reports their direction of travel on the platoon net. Another squad can move to intercept them." He then taps his finger on the location of the wildlife underpass below the MSR. "While the fighting's going on, Doc will stay in the underpass, where we'll carry anyone who is wounded. to safely treat our wounded. The underpass will also be our rally point. Our rendezvous point should things get FUBARed will be our patrol base here.” Schäfer pauses. “And gents, that will be our attack plan. Are there any questions? Is there anything I need to go over?” Jung, Meier, Collins, and the others around the picnic table look at each other, shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads. Schäfer nods and clears his throat. “Alright. Team leaders, go fill in the rest of your teams on everything we’ve noted down thus far. Make sure everyone knows what the f*ck they're doing. I’m gonna send a SALUTE report up to our platoon leader. Wickwash, Adebayo, and Powell, swap with Wolff, Kowalczyk, and Fischer for sentry duty so they can be walked through the plan.” With this, Schäfer’s squad occupies themselves with doing whatever needs doing. 2.9 - SALUTE Report Meanwhile, Schäfer himself gets busy contacting his platoon leader. As of their platoon’s previous radio check roughly 40 minutes ago, Platoon HQ and 2nd Squad should be somewhere to the northeast, and 3rd Squad should be somewhere to the southeast. The platoon should be boxing in the NALA insurgents, so there'll always be at least one squad to intercept them no matter which direction they retreat in. Should Schäfer’s attack plan get FUBARed as per Murphy’s Law, he feels reassured that help is nearby. “Tempest Three, Tempest Three, this is Tempest Three-One, how copy?” Schäfer speaks into his personal radio. Tempest Three is the callsign for Schäfer’s platoon leader, Second Lieutenant Gottfried Schmidt. Schmidt responds a few seconds later. “Three-One, this is Three Actual. Solid copy.” “Three Actual. My unit has just finished conducting thorough recon on the NALA-affiliated insurgents and their positions. Standby for SALUTE report, over.” “Three-One, this is Three Actual. Send it.” As per SOP, Schäfer precedes his SALUTE report by reporting his current location. His squad hasn't moved at all from its 8-figure military grid coordinates since it first started occupying the derelict campsite just under an hour ago. “Three Actual, this is Three-One. I am located at the campsite to the west of ASR Blue Lagoon at Grid Bravo Sierra Four-Five-Three-Two Four-Five-Four-Four. Break.” He moves on to reporting how many hostiles his squad have discovered. “Size: Section-sized element of One-Six foot mobiles. Break.” And then, what exactly the hostiles are doing. “Activity: They are digging in facing west, overlooking MSR Spirytus. They are setting up fighting positions with camouflage nets, thermal insulator blankets, a machine gun emplacement, a mortar pit, and claymore mines. Break. They are also setting up what are likely to be Two-Five explosively formed penetrators along a One-Zero-Zero-metre stretch within their killzone, concealed inside the eastern hedgerow, facing the MSR. It looks like a deliberate point ambush. Break.” And then, precisely where the middle of the line of NALA fighting positions is located on an 8-figure Military Grid Reference System. “Location: Five-Five to Six-Zero metres directly east of the MSR segment between Checkpoint Eight-Alpha and Checkpoint Niner-Alpha, along the treeline on the west side of the hill at Grid Bravo Sierra Four-Five-Niner-Five Four-Five-Three-Two. Break.” And then, what specific gear the hostiles are wearing in no uncertain terms, just so friendly forces can immediately identify the enemy as hostiles on sight. “Uniform: Likely NALA-affiliated paramilitaries wearing TAZ-90 woodland camouflage, IHPS helmets, Ground Panoramic Night-Vision Goggles, and SPCS bulletproof vests. Break.” And then, what time they finalised their reconnaissance, since he already reported when his squad's observation outpost first saw the enemy. “Time: One-Eight-Zero-Zero hours. Break.” And then, every single weapons system the enemy was seen carrying, just so friendly forces can more accurately gauge how much firepower they're up against and what tactics the enemy are likely to employ. “Equipment: One HK417, One M32 MSGL, One M240L, One FIM-92J, Two M3E1s, Three M249 SAWs, Four M4A1s, Seven M16A4s. And Two-Five EFPs and at least three M18 Claymore mines." And then finally, to confirm that Schmidt has only noted down accurate, up-to-date information to share up and down the Rhodellian military's chain of command, Schäfer requests for him to repeat every detail of the SALUTE report. "Read back, over.” “Three-One, this is Three Actual. I read back...” Schmidt pauses to audibly flip back to the start of his notes, and proceeds to correctly repeat everything Schäfer just said over the radio. Once Schmidt's finished, the two speak some more. Most of their conversation consists of Schäfer sharing the locations, orientations, and killing zones of individual Claymore mines; the positions and likely occupants of individual fighting positions; and the positions and (in terms of compass bearings) likely sectors of responsibility of sentries. Essentially, Schäfer ensures that Schmidt and the rest of their platoon know everything that is currently known about the enemy. This way, the rest of the platoon is informed enough to formulate their own attack plans should they get involved. Once all that's done, Schäfer informs Schmidt of his attack plan's very basics.. “Roger, Three Actual. The NALA-affiliated insurgents don’t seem to be aware of our presence yet, so uh… I’m taking the initiative. I will conduct a hasty two-point ambush with my squad to destroy the enemy before they can finish developing their defensive fighting positions beyond shell scrapes. Acknowledge?” “Roger, Three-One. But that is a f*ck-tonne of firepower your boys are up against. Be advised, you have multiple options for fire support available to you as safer alternative means of destroying the enemy. Are you sure you want to initiate a firefight? And are you sure you don't need us to rendezvous together and back you up? Over.” “Three Actual, this is Three-One. Affirmative. My squad already has a plan in place, and it'd be best to seize the initiative and optimally exploit this opportunity while it still presents itself. Violence of action is what we're all about. Over.” Schmidt hesitates to speak for a short while, presumably to weigh up the odds of Schäfer's squad avoiding a Pyrrhic victory that'll look bad in the media. Casualties are always a sad and demoralising thing to see. But if Schäfer does have the element of surprise on his side and is able to catch the enemy when they are unprepared, then his odds should be fairly good even with the unfavourable disparity in numbers and firepower “Three-One, this is Three Actual. If you say so. Me, Three-Two, and Three-Three are less than twenty mikes away to your North-East and South-East. We'll form a triangular cordon to intercept any potential retreat towards the North, South, or East, and standby in case you do end up meeting us. Coordinates soon to follow once we're all within position. Break. Just be advised: You are at a significant numerical and firepower disadvantage. If the enemy spots you first and initiates battle, your boys will be torn to shreds. Break. If you lose the initiative and your tactical advantage of surprise, if the violence of action is no longer on your side, bug out of there immediately. Acknowledge?” “Wilco, Three Actual. I’ll proceed with caution. Out.”
    10 points
  4. Hello, I am new to Nationstates and Eurth, and i am glad to be here! I have been thinking about governments and countries for a while now, and i thought it wouldn't be bad to try some RP.
    8 points
  5. Elementary School Teacher in Wonokromodiwiryo Becomes 'Richest' Public Official in 1928 KE (2021 AD) Tax Season 16 Surya 1928 KE Pictured above: Agus Cokroharjo Martosungkono, the 'richest' public official in Kertosono Wonokromodiwiryo, residents of the empire have been awashed by news of Agus Cokroharjo Martosungkono's reported wealth. The 27-year-old elementary school teacher from the small village of no more than 1000 people named Wonokromodiwiryo approximately 120 km south of Purwoasih reported 4 billion Kertic Mas in his possession for the fiscal year of 1927 KE, the most out of any public official and state employee as well as several magnitudes greater than the second richest public official in the 1927 KE wealth and money reports mandatory for all public officials and state employees. His wealth exceeds several prominent Kertic politicians such as PM Sulistyono Raharjo and Minister of Defense Ali Wira Sugianto. Principal of SDN Wonokromodiwiryo Sekarwati Puspanegoro confirmed the viral news. She has said that the teacher in question has filled out all the reports and forms correctly, and has been verified by herself, the district coordinator, and the representative of corruption eradication for the Andong municipality, and has been verified by on-site inspectors and verifiers. "There is no need to fuss over the reports. All procedures have been strictly followed and enforced, and there has been no evidence of fraud, corruption, or any wrongdoings in the process. Mr. Martosungkono does indeed have 4 billion Kertic Mas to his name as indicated by the tax reports for public officials as he had just recieved inheritance from a distant relative who had no living relatives, and Mr. Martosungkono was declared the sole inheritor by the high court of Ngawi months ago." added Sekarwati Puspanegoro to the flock of journalists crowding her room. While the principal did not give out details regarding the inheritance the 'richest' public official in Kertosono attained, a quick search in the official website suggests that Mr. Martosungkono inherited a total of 30 hectares of land, 25 hectares in Ngawi, 3 hectares in Kertonyono, 2 hectares scattered elsewhere. A senior employee at the corruption eradication committe added that it should be noted that other than inheritance, Mr. Martosungkono's tax returns seem fairly normal for an elementary school teacher, possessing a singular house shared with his family, as well as a motorcycle purchased in 1923 KE (2015 AD). Several people claiming to be relatives of the great aunt in question have been up in arms questioning the decision of the high court a few months prior, and plans for a suit have emerged, although most analysts have speculated that these will fail. This page was translated automatically.
    8 points
  6. Azbekistan Rebel Recruitment Den leads to arrest of 17 in KSIB sting August 18th, 2021 By Dinesh Colak The Khanikstan Special Investigation Bureau acted out the end of a seven month sting into an Azbekistan Loyalist camp located a short 13 miles outside the border city of Okara. This marks the second Loyalist camp being surrendered in just the last two weeks. The fact that the camp was located so close to a major population hub was quoted as "unimportant" after Lead Investigator Jaasir Bukhari took the podium Tuesday afternoon. "Okara is deeply loyal to His Respected Supreme Leader Hamad Kahn and the Communist Party and the most recent census backs up that data convincingly," he said with a noticeable bead of sweat dripping down his brow. "The low numbers at this recruitment meeting is being seen as a positive, no matter the distance to a larger city" When asked if there were firearms found at the camp, Lead Investigator Jassir Bukhari was definite in his answer that none were found on the premises. "While the KSIB is ready to admit that the Azbekistan Loyalist numbers were larger than originally expected, we are still deeply confident that the Azbekistan Loyalist rebels are unarmed and harmless. They're closer to evangelical cult leaders than a rebel milita at the way they are standing now." Bukhari doubled down on that statement a few minutes later in the conference by confirming that no current investigation into the Azbekistan Loyalists has led them to the conclusion that they have access to firearms. "The same precautions His Respected Supreme Leader Hamad Kahn put in place to keep guns off the streets and out of the hands of the general population are working against the Azbekistan Loyalsts just as well. The seventeen men present ranged between the ages of twelve and thirty five according to arrest records given to The Khanikstan Observer. It is unclear how many were already members prior to the camps siege. Thirty six KSIB Agents stormed the camp with the assistance of a nearby stationed division of the Khanikstan Armed Forces for transport purposes. The raid was reported to have taken less than seven minutes to complete. No shots we're fired during the raid. All seventeen men are facing 25 years in prison or 10 years of military service as per the Khanikstan Constitution's clear treason laws. The Khanikstan Observer was not allowed to speak with any of the arrested criminals The Khanikstan Observer delivers articles unedited by the Khanikstan Communist Party thanks to the Khanikstan Free Journalism Practice, however the KCP reserves the right to refuse the publishing of any article at the KCPs discretion. The Khanikstan Observer and its team of journalists fully supports the Khanikstan Communist Party and report the news as fact under His Respected Supreme Leader Khan's great kindness.
    8 points
  7. After decades of deforestation and misuse of the lands much of Hodrea had become desolate plains. Farmers for years had tried to tame these hot empty lands, but after the loss of so much of the natural vegetation no amount of irrigation and could save the old farmlands that weren't already close to a river. The land had been dying for years, and food imports had been keeping Hodrea alive. With the rise and fall of the Sentists however any semblance of organized farming had almost completely collapsed. Millions had died in the struggle, and this had left thousands of farms without their farmers. Almost as bad though were the desolate cities. A dozen major cities had been heavily impacted by the conflict, none more so than Liechnenfax. The once massive urban sprawl which had stretched far across the land, holding many a slum in it were nothing more than burnt ruins. The Sentist attack had first destroyed the center of the city and what modern building they had, but what had been far worse was the fires. As the Sentists had retreated they burned through the city, so intensely that firestorms had appeared through the destruction only hastening the spread of the fires. Through the hell that the Sentist attack had spawned, two million Liechnfaxers had died. And the majority of the population had fled, leaving the city nothing but an ash filled ruin. But there was hope. Through the fires Coalition naval crews had left the safety of their ships and fought the fires on the ground. The centered their efforts around the great Liechnenfax Cathedral and the dockyards. Through their efforts they managed to secure a section of the city three quarters of a mile from the docks. However the defenders could do nothing more than watch in horror as the rest of Liechnenfax burned away. Now after over a year the Sentists were gone. The Coalition forces had swept their decrepit armies away leaving a scarred country. Millions had died but many more millions remained. Never before had Seylos taken on a humanitarian project of this scale, but the Seylosian were determined to not let Hodrea fail. Cargo ships came into the Liechnenfax dockyards by the dozens delivering endless tons of life saving supplies. It didn't end there as supplies from Ostros came in from the east as NAU nations contributed their own stock to supporting the Hodrean people's in their time of need. For the Seylosians, reconstruction was a point of national pride, and a way to atone for the sins of the past. Many nations would raise armies for occupation, while Seylos sent farmers, engineers, and doctors. Despite the tribulations the Hodrean people were not broken. The Hodrean Provisional Government under Derren Werner, the Major who had fought with Seylosian forces to push back the Sentists. The Hodrean Militia throughout the war had gained strength and had the luck few occupying armies had, not fighting a major resistance. People just wanted peace, and while the specter of Sentist remnants still existed, their people did not fight against them. ----------- In the town of Bayreuth, Ranger Hayden Eckhardt sat on a chair outside on the town's larger shops keeping watch. In the north, the Seylosians kept order, but in the south it was a job for the Hodrean Rangers. There was little law out here, and the people who were left looked to the Rangers to stop the rogue criminals and Sentists who roamed the lands. Eckhardt's Rangers had arrived two days prior after the call was put out. Remnant Sentists had taken to roving the countryside near the southern border, taking the opportunity to flee into the Sentist State before the Militia could track them down. The Rangers had taken a different approach, keeping their ears to the ground trying to figure out where they would strike next. They had found out these remnants had actually come from Bayreuth, and the people who made it up had a past with the townspeople. Mostly made of outcasts they had made life in the town hell during the occupation, but like the cowards they were fled when the Coalition forces swept through the region cleaning out the Sentists. With all the armies gone, they had come back, picking at what was left and apparently to wreak more havoc on these people's lives. Of course this time they wouldn't get the chance. His second in command, Cal Benedikt, walked up to him dangling his radio in his hand. "Kapitän, they are coming right on schedule." Eckhardt groaned as he stood up, grabbing his rifle,"Lass uns gehen. Gather everyone." The group of ten Rangers gathered near the center of town before heading out. Each one had been a veteran of the war and did not look on the Sentists kindly. Standing at their front Ekhardt silently motioned them all forward as they left the town when darkness had become to set. -- The remnant Sentists had set up camp just a few miles outside of the city. All in all there were around thirty of them and they had decided to throw themselves a small party for the loot they'd be taking the next day. They had nothing to fear after all, no Seylosians and no Militia were patrolling near them, and it wasn't like the townspeople could stop them either. They had lit a campfire and had taken to celebrating, drinking and causing a general ruckus. Their camp laid inside a gully carved out long ago by mountain waters. Their revelry was short lived however. Their drunken leader, man seemingly in his late thirties had stood up with bottle in his hand intent on addressing his misbegotten band of raiders. As he raised his bottle a single crack was heard as a bullet slammed into his chest knocking him backwards and onto the ground. What followed was mayhem. Sentist cried out in shock running for their weapons as the Rangers, who had silently gotten into position around their camp, opened fire on their vulnerable enemies. Within moment a third of their number had been cut down by the rifle fire. The survivors scrambled to find cover under the withering fire. Pinned down with nowhere to go the Sentist tried their best to defend their position, even holding the Rangers at bay for a moment until their grenades began to find their mark against the men huddled behind the sparse cover. It was over in about twenty minutes. The Rangers cautiously stood from their positions and silently made their way into the gully. Ekhardt stepped over the bodies of dead Sentists as he surveyed the scene. A single sentist was crawling on his back away from struggling to pull up a pistol with his wounded arm. "Verräter! When we come back you'll be the first-" Ekhardt swiftly raised his rifle and fired a round directly into the man's head. His body went limp, dropping the pistol he had tried to hard to raise up again. Benedikt approached from behind taking stock of the scene, "No survivors Kapitän. Amery took a bullet to the arm, she should be fine." "Gut," Ekhardt replied, "Gather as much as they stole, we'll be taking it back to Bayreuth."
    7 points
  8. FRONT PAGE His Majesty King Sixto I Gives First Address to Parliament by Piero Fiŝkaptisto 22 August, 2021, 9:30 AM At 9:00 this morning, His Majesty King Sixto I made his first public appearance as Monarch of Unuecejeo, giving a speech to the Parliament of Speakers. The much-awaited address comes after the unfortunate passing of King Josef III yesterday afternoon. During his talk, His Majesty expressed a desire to follow in the footsteps of his father, and to continue his life's work. "The accomplishments of my father, and his father and grandfather before him, shaped the kingdom that we know today. And I believe that kingdom is one with a glorious future," King Sixto said during his speech. "It is my intention to aid in creating that future that my forebears dedicated themselves to utterly. Together with this these esteemed Speakers, we will ensure the prosperity of all Unuecejeans." According to a spokesperson for the royal family, King Sixto elected to refrain from public appearance until today, due to a need to allow himself to recover from the sudden news. When he appeared at this morning's Parliament meeting, he showed no signs of emotional turmoil. "It was a sincere pleasure to be introduced to His Majesty in this way, and his talk today, and I have no doubt as to his drive and conviction to serve the people of Unuecejo" said Breta Renlandano, a Speaker representing citizens of Okcimarsxo. While the unexpected passing of King Josef very much set the tone for today's meeting, the ascension of King Sixto has also been colored by another series of tragic deaths in the royal family. The youngest of King Josef's six children, few expected King Sixto to be the one to take the thrones. But the untimely deaths of his older siblings, including his sister Oana just two months ago, left King Sixto poised as the rightful heir. The royal family has repeatedly assured the people of Unuecejo that King Sixto's study and training in order to act as monarch began long before his sister's death, and that he is more than ready to lead the country. Members of His Majesty's advisory council were in attendance for the address, but could not be reached for comment by the time of publication. According to several Speakers, the advisors wish to refrain from making public statements on the ascension until after King Sixto has been able to properly set the tone for the royal government going forward. His Majesty's spokesperson has stated that he will begin making public appearances immediately, with a scheduled public address in Bellator City tomorrow at 9:00 AM. The Parliament will convene for their regularly scheduled meeting at 1:00 today. This article was updated Today, at 11:22 AM The king is not prepared to lead us. He is nothing more than an indolent slob, handed down to us by a cruel act of fate. We cannot rely upon the archaic trappings of the monarchy anymore. The power must lie truly with the people. This article was updated Today, at 11:54 AM We have been made aware of an alteration to this article that went up earlier today that we did not authorize. We apologize profusely for allowing this to happen. This erroneous update has been removed, and we are conducting an internal investigation to determine the cause. -------------------------- ENTERTAINMENT Children's Hour Aims to Enrich Lives of Families by Lorena Fortika 20 August 2021, 6:20 PM After months of preparatory work and discussion, Centro Entertainment is announcing the release of The Neighborly Kids, the first in a series of Unuecejo-made programs designed for young children and their families to be released over the next several months. "This is an exciting opportunity, and we can't wait to see what parents across Unuecejo think of the show," said series writer Indra Hiacinto. Dubbed Children's Hour, this initiative developed in close partnership with the Parliament of Speakers. According to Hiacinto, the concept goes back to 2019, when recent successes resulted in additional funding from Parliament. Centro consulted with several Speakers who approved of the station's work to determine where they should focus their efforts. The results, in the end, were a series of children's shows meant both to prepare children for schooling and instill in them wholesome values. The series will follow siblings Mili and Marto Najbareco as they face everyday childhood problems. However, each of these problems and their solution will also impress upon the viewer an important moral lesson. "The key is to present it in a metaphorical way, to not tell the kids that you're trying to teach them something," said Hiacinto. "For example, in our first episode, Mili and Marto are asked to help with cleaning the house and aren't happy about it. But their mother talks to them about how it's important to take pride in their house and keeping it clean is a part of that. And the kids can extrapolate that to taking pride in the kingdom." Centro Entertainment has an additional three shows in the planning phases. While they are not ready to release details yet, they have noted that the production of these shows is dependent upon the initial success of The Neighborly Kids.
    7 points
  9. I was originally going to do this on the discord, but I decided that this would be a better place to gather my ideas and have a better audience of people to hear my ideas. I want to propose some kind of regional or international annual sports tournament similar to others of other sports in other regions of the wurld. If the idea gains traction from nations around the wurld, then the tournament would be international. If the idea only gains traction in one region, likely Argis since that's where ice hockey would be logically played, then there could be a regional tournament. If this is the case, however, there could also be a more in-depth hockey league in Argic with teams across the continent, a similar concept to the IRL Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), with teams across Eurasia, although that league is dominated by Russia and Russian teams. This league would be more in depth than a tournament, with standings updates every week along with highlighted games for that week, during the regular season. without national teams, players on these teams can be of any nationality, and there will be a draft for players as well. This AHL could even be the top hockey league in the wurld, and one which every player strives to end up in, ala the NHL. I don't yet know where I can sim games for this tournament or league, but I'm sure somebody could help me out. Why do I want to create a hockey league/tournament? I want to further entwine myself into the fabric of this community, encourage some RP through news posts or team prep and such, and just have my favorite sport of ice hockey represented here on Eurth.
    6 points
  10. >>> Fina TALKS OF HIGH-SPEED RAILWAY HEATING 08 September 2021 KULLEHOLM – Lawmakers in the Riksdag are pushing for a high-speed rail line that will connect Obbola to Karolinaburg and Kulleholm, running along the coast, with hopes of eventually expanding to Tallträdvik when such an endeavor becomes possible. The train line, currently proposed as the "Pan-Fina Line" or simply the "Quick Line", would be the first of such in a country trying to modernize and adapt to a level on par with other modern Argic nations. Pro-rail Riksdag representative Gunn Alvarsson had this to say when we talked to her earlier this morning. "Well, I'd love to see a high-speed rail connecting our major communities in Fina! We'll show the wurld we too are a modern nation worthy of its attention, and that we can compete with the lands around us. The line will also run through Klartvatten and Niklasslottsby, helping develop communities that don't get too much attention unfortunately. And I'd love to take a vacation to those hot springs down in Drakön without having to worry about travelling on some rickety old rusty hunk of metal built 50 years ago by the commies." Alvarsson expressed great points on the benefits the rail would have, bringing new infrastructure to overlooked communities outside of the big cities. However, many detractors to the idea point to where the money is being sourced with worry. The project is supported by NOBFAF (Naturgas-och Bensinföretag av Fina), the largest and most profitable company in Fina, running over 80% of Fina's natural gas production. NOBFAF would provide over 60% of funds necessary to undergo the project. Many worry that Fina would not only become increasingly reliant on its natural gas resources, but also NOBFAF itself, with local resident of Gamlastad Lorens Waltersson saying, "I don't want to live in some place like Galahinda or Cashar where [corporations] run the show. I'd love to have a shiny new train to replace those old trains just as much as anyone. Heck, I have to ride the rusty railcars every morning just to get to work in Karolinaburg. But if that comes at the cost of giving this country up to the men with the big pockets, I'm never riding that train, ever." The matter is still being debated through the chambers of the Riksdag, however recently there have been signs of progress. The bill encompassing such action will be voted on in the coming weeks. Polstjärnan will be covering the situation closely as it develops. >>> Sports HC HÄSTHUVUD TRAMPLE KRONA SK, HOT STREAK CONTINUES 08 September 2021 KAROLINABURG – Klubb vid Floden Hästhuvud, better known as HC Hästhuvud, shutout the esteemed hockey club of Karolinaburg, Krona Sportklubb Karolinaburg (Krona SK) 2-0 for their first shutout win at the Boreala Isgardens since 2006. The win came with the heroics of Hästhuvud's goaltender Thore Lindholm, a young goalie who has single-handedly dragged Hästhuvud from the basement of the league and laughingstock among fans to a true contender in the East. Veteran centerman Paul Sorenson gracefully planned the first goal, playing a bit of tic-tac-toe with youngster Right Winger Kristofer Ingesson to confuse Krona's goaltender before Ingesson set up the shot for Sorenson and collected an apple as Sorenson's puck easily made it past the disoriented Krona goaltender. Ingesson would tally another point later that night in the form of a slapshot goal from the right faceoff circle unassisted. Krona can chalk the loss up to bad goaltending and offensive ineptitude, combined with an electric performance by the opposition's Lindholm. Mille Hellström, goaltender for Krona, had a rough night, with a save percentage of a mere .894. He couldn't save a beach ball. Hopefully, he can bounce back for Krona as they face their rival Kulleholm AHK Friday. With the results of this game, Krona drops from 1st in the West to 3rd, while Hästhuvud continues its 5-game win streak and jumps to 2nd in the East.
    6 points
  11. Polstjärnan - Digitala Nyheter (Anglish: North Star - Digital News), better known as Polstjärnan, is a Finan online news website, and the primary news source for many Finans. The company was founded in 1993 by Emrik Östberg in Karolinaburg, originally as a newspaper-magazine covering local events and occasional national events, though often even these were in passing references unless they were major events. Despite its limited coverage, the paper became wildly popular throughout the nation, especially in its detailed and relatively unbiased coverage of the Velescian War, bringing attention to the utter incompetence of the military operations in Östranka and the great loss of life which resulted from it. During this time, Polstjärnan also had a large online presence, even owning one of the first webpages in Fina on a fledgling public internet. Polstjärnan became fully web-based in 2004, a controversial move at the time in a country with underdeveloped web infrastructure, however it ended up paying massive dividends for the company, as it grew rapidly along with Fina's internet usage. Polstjärnan is currently one of the most profitable countries in Fina and is currently trying to expand outwards from the country, expanding its wurldwide event coverage and offering articles in Anglish, Dolch, Lysian, Cristinese, and Vellander, with more languages likely to come as the site develops.
    6 points
  12. “Once a leopard has killed and eaten a human, they are likely to persist as man-eaters—they may even show a nearly exclusive preference for humans.” Excerpt from Man-Eaters: The Memoirs of a Professional Hunter by Khristoforos Iagoupes, first published in EK7400 (AD1892). Iagoupes was later awarded the courtly title of Protokynegos, or “First Hunter”, in recognition of his exploits. Diplomacy was more interesting than heading a committee, Kommenos reflected. At least it got him out in the fresh air, even if that often was tainted with the fumes of jet fuel as he went from aircraft to awaiting motorcade. The Kouropalates had spent the last year intermittently listening to competing theories and ideas, pouring through ancient texts and modern treatises and generally ruing his monarch's command that he was in charge of bringing democracy back to its ancient home. From across the Aroman wurld, experts and academics had been called to advise the committee that the Kouropalates headed. The Mystikon, the Tagmatine monarch's personal civil service, helped compile thousands of pages of reports, notes and examples. Virtually no stone was left unturned in the Occident. The ancient constitutions of Adthens and Arome were run through with a fine toothed comb, trying to see whether they might fit their modern successor. They were discarded in the main, however. Neither of them were democratic, in the modern sense, and would not fit the modern wurld. At least the modern wurld as to how Kommodos envisioned it. Some, of course, would hold that the ancient constitution of Arome had never been abandoned, just added to over the years. Slowly, the Kouropalates' search moved forward through the history of the Arhomaioi, trying to search for historical examples that might guide the future. There were the occasional lower class rebellions that broke out across Aroman territory, and their aims and simplistic ideas were looked at. At the time, the likes of the Zilotai of Petrion in the 14th Century, the later Adiutatores of the 17th Century or even the socialist Skaptonoi, who sought to give the poor more of a say in how their nation was run, were crushed as those who sought to overthrow God's chosen order ought to be. Now, their ideas of an elected Synkletos were being seriously studied by a man whose ancestors led armoured cavalry against them and pored over by an organisation that masterminded campaigns of oppression to put them down. The irony certainly was not lost on Kommenos. From the Aroman wurld, experts had been invited from Adaptos and Sporseia, the parts of that sphere that were actually democratic, to discuss their nations' methods with Kommenos. The former's method was viewed with an element of scepticism – after all, the Megas Omospondí Autokrateia, the Grand Federated Imperium, had collapsed several times over the last few decades, partially through its own democratic processes. It was only the strong hand of two autocratic monarchs had brought it back from the brink of completely fragmenting. As well as the military intervention of Tagmatium. And the latter was currently undergoing internal turmoil, with the Patriarkhes of Tzius heading a caretaker government. Recent Aroman attempts at democracy, it seemed, had a tendency to fall apart when not guided by a strong hand. That seemed to be the Tagmatine take home from the situation. Certainly, it meant that the Old Tyrant could point out that there needed to be an autocrat in place in order to prevent Arhomaneia from tearing itself apart like its western and south-eastern neighbours. Those experts that had been consulted were taken before the Leopard Throne itself and asked to place their hands upon ancient and holy relics and swear that they would not reveal anything of what they were asked. Although it had been done through proxies, even the former Megas Krites of the Hexanesa, Ioannes Hegesinos had been met with. It had been a long time since Kommenos had interacted with the man, but he was both pro-Tagmatika and a known democrat. And, of course, a pan-Aromanist. Despite the fact that the Hexanesa was nothing but a nest of traitors, they were still arguably the longest functional democratic state in the Aroman wurld. For almost seventy years, they had elected their government without any dictatorial interlude or civil strife. Even though they had turned their backs on God's Representative on Eurth, they seemed to be able to run things in an orderly and civilised manner. That was something that the Kouropalates and his committee needed to understand, so that Arhomaneia did not tumble down in the manner of so many other democratic nations, not just in the Occident or Europa, but the rest of the wurld. It was a state secret, even more so than contacting of a former member of the Hexanesa and the AND developing its Gigai Agroktimai, “Giant Farmers”, plan in order to test the limits of foreign democracies, that Arhomaneia was actually turning towards representatives of foreign nations for help. The chosen nation of God on Eurth was turning to those very countries it was partially scheming to undermine in order to build its own democratic framework. There was certainly an irony there, but even the Kouropalates couldn't – or wouldn't – actually see it. Several political theorists from Prymont and Iverica, the two Argic democracies that Tagmatium was closest to, had been consulted and their ideas sought. It was suspected that the religious oaths that their Aroman equivalents had taken as binding due to following the Truth Faith would mean little to those heretic barbarians. Instead, they were requested to sign non-disclosure agreements that would remain in force until a date chosen by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, who then retained lawyers within those countries in order to enforce those contracts. Now, as a way of relaxing, Kommenos sat on a horse between Honorios and Alexandros Kontarian. They were be half brothers and very different from each other. The former was a Megas Logothetes and the latter a Stratelates, a senior officer in the Tagmata, the palace guard. The ancient pedigree of their family put Kontarian at ease. The Minister for War had invited the Kouropalates over to take part in some horse archery, as well as dinner and some drinks later on. It was too easy to get washed away in all this talk of democracies and Honorios had thought the his friend needed some downtime. Horse archery was considered to be a skill of the aristocrat, where using firearms demonstrated that one did not have the time to practice enough to perfect the skills needed for a bow and arrow. Or, indeed, the money or the space. A horse needed to be fed, exercised, stabled. These things cost money and required a lot of space. Some amongst the middle classes took up the sport, too, in order to show that they were also good Arhomaioi. Occasionally, there was even talk of some sort of wurld equestrian events but they had never gone anywhere. It was a shame in the minds of most people – it would do the barbaroi good to be trounced by the proud Aromans once again. “It's your shot, Fillipos,” stated Honorios, as he slowed his horse down to where his brother and the Kouropalates were waiting. Honorios' own attempt had struck quite cleanly in the side of the wooden target, a life-sized imitation of a red deer. The arrow had green fletching and would likely have been a killing shot, had it not been a lump of wood that had been hit. The Megas Logothetes had hit the target well, despite moving his mount at speed. The Megas Logothetes tou Stratiotikou patted the neck of his horse, which stomped in a small circle. The other two looked on as Honorios moved his animal back towards the rest of them stood. He leaned down and handed his bow and quiver to an aide and then sat back up in the saddle. He looked on at the other two, waiting for them to take their shots in turn. “Take the shot and we can just sack it off for the moment,” said Alexandros, with a petulant tone not really suiting a senior officer. He wasn't as good an archer as either his half-brother or Kommenos. He was certainly passable but it seemed that horse archery was just not his sport. Polo was, however, and he'd represented his unit before being promoted beyond where it was dignified to take part in a match. “We can have a ride up to the lake and back again.” “No, it needs to be a proper go,” said Honorios, something more than frustration in his voice. “I didn't invite you up here to just shoot randomly into bushes. You need to hit the target. Both of you do.” Honorios was said to hate Alexandros and the feeling was supposedly mutual. It apparently went beyond a mild dislike that an older brother might have for a half-sibling. Kommenos knew that there had been a falling out several years ago, involving the misappropriation of funds of a guards unit but it was said to have been sorted out. At least to the satisfaction of all involved and it had not obviously caught the attention of the Agios Basileos. Rumour had it that it was something to do with gambling and their late father's estates. The Minister for War was supposed to have gone as far as to have one of Alexandros' dogs shot, the poor thing, by another officer with the implication that further gambling ceased. Or it would be worse in the future. As Kouropalates, and more importantly being a member of another great family, it was beneath Kommenos to ask what had actually gone on. He knew Honorios well and doubted that he would have had an animal shot. And that Alexandros was here at all showed that the Megas Logothetes was attempting rebuild some bridges and the two seemed to be getting on quite well. So it was likely all just wild gossip, the sort of thing more suited to household staff and not the likes of the Kommenoi or the Kontarianes. Fillipos knocked his heels back and urged his horse onwards, into a trot, then a canter and then a gallop. Showing off, he pulled an arrow from the quiver as he came towards the target, knocked it to his bow as he drew level and then aimed and fired after he had passed. Clearly, even the members of the ancient families weren't above showing off at times. At least he suppressed the grin he felt as he came back around to where the two Kontarianes were waiting. The sour look on Alexandros' face was enough to make him almost laugh out loud. He heard the Stratelates mutter something rude about showing off. As he drew his horse level with the other two he gave them both a slight smile, acknowledging he had indeed taken the piss a bit. “So, why did you invite us up here, Honorios?” Kommenos asked. A servant scuttled forward from the clutch of them that had been waiting discretely nearby and offered a tray of wine glasses to the three men. Kommenos reached down and picked up a glass and took a sip. Once each of them had taken a glass, the servant scuttled off again. “As you said, it certainly wasn't just to launch arrows into bushes, or targets.” The Minister of War looked like he was about to point out the fact that his half-brother hadn't had a go at one of the targets yet. Kommenos raised an eyebrow. He wanted an answer. “Fine.” Honorios took a mouthful of his own watered wine. “I thought you needed a break. You've been struggling with this whole democracy thing for a while now. You need fresh air and a chance to do something fun for a bit. What the Megas Logothetes really meant was that he wanted to be nosy. Likely, he'd been putting out discrete inquiries as it was but hadn't really got anywhere with them. So he had decided to outright ask. “It's going... OK,” sighed Fillipos. “There are a lot to work with, trying to make a system that works properly for us. And I'll admit that it's not my realm of expertise.” He looked around and moved his horse onward, away from the knot of servants, aides and bodyguards. The other two were obliged to follow. They moved out into an area of well mown lawn and then stopped. “Kommodos, may God guide him, does not want something like the hereditary senate we saw before,” the Kouropalates continued. “It must reflect modern Arhomaneia much more. It needs to be democratic, too. But then there's the question of whether it's to be a single house or several, whether it's a combined body instead of one for each capital as before, how members are elected from the themata, age limits... It goes on and on.” He was silent for a moment, looking out across the lawn towards a stand of trees. There was movement in amongst them and a small group of deer emerged from it and then turned to look at the three horsemen. None of them even considered taking a shot at them. Hunting live animals had been banned years ago. “It turns out, trying to make a representative system almost from scratch is difficult. Of course, we have the systems in the themata and below to work with, but bringing it to life for a nation the size of ours was always going to be a hell of a lot of work.” Honorios nodded but his brother looked decidedly bored. “And, of course, Nea Demokrateia...” the Minister of War said, trailing off intentionally. Kommenos made a dismissive gesture. “That fat windbag is his own worst enemy. No one takes his shit seriously these days and he's brought it on himself.” “Nonetheless, he'll keep kicking up a stink, the more these plans move along,” carried on Honorios. “He wants what he thinks his rightful place is.” “And he'll be damned lucky if we even left him stand for election,” growled Kommenos. He might be trying to build a new, democratic Tagmatium but the authoritarian streak that ran all the way through the political establishment of the Greater Holy Empire was never far from the surface. “His imperial majesty has decided that Niketas will take no part in any aspect of this. He can piss and moan from the sidelines.” “Why not let him stand?” Alexandros said. Kommenos wouldn't have thought that the guards officer was even following the conversation. “He's a f*cking idiot. Most people will see through him once he has to do anything of substance.” “Well, he's been leading his damn rabble well enough for years,” pointed out Honorios. “If he was as much of a f*ckwit as people like to paint him as, he would never have been able to last as long as he has. And Nea Demokrateia have had something of a resurgence lately. Something about the Esoteriki Epitheorisi Pliroforion knocking people's heads together too hard. I'd heard that the Logothesion ton Deeseon had had to keep things out of the national press, so as to not cause undue controversy.” The Logothesion ton Deeseon, the Ministry for Information, was one of several bodies that helped to censor or at least monitor the press and communication within the Megas Agios Basileia. But that wasn't something that Kommenos had heard. He frowned to himself. If he had spare time, he would have to look into it. Could Tonaras be acting too much on his own initiative? That was not really out of character for that jumped-up thug. “And Mercy International will be sniffing around,” carried on Honorios, seemingly warming to his theme of pointing out all the potential problems that might happen. “They always do.” “Little more than Orhioniki puppets,” his half-brother said. “We should never have let them set up shop in our nation. And the buggers that work for them should be treated as the traitors they are. Especially that Lupakena.” He made a fist with his right hand and extended his thumb, index and middle fingers and aimed the pretend gun downwards, roughly like someone carrying out a so called “execution-style” murder. He brought his thumb down, made a popping noise with his mouth and mimed recoil. It was Kommenos' turn to feel frustration with the officer. Honorios' expression displayed uneasiness at Alexandros' comment and action as well. “Relations between us and the Omorfoautokrateia are already pretty poor. The imperial sovereign would not wish to risk them by doing anything so damn foolish. There is absolutely no way that this problem is going to be solved by blowing people's brains out. Not this time. May God have mercy on you.” He turned his horse around and moved back towards the target range, leaving the other two behind him. “By the Saints, Alexandros,” said the Minister for War, shaking his head. He urged his horse after the Kouropalates. Alexandros Kontarian was left alone, looking in the direction the other two had left in. “What?” asked the Stratelates, seemingly puzzled about precisely where he'd gone too far. It's not like none of them knew that it hadn't happened before.
    6 points
  13. || APSAN PRIME MINISTER EVEN YARS̠IK CAPTURED The Prime Minister of Independent Apsana has been captured by the Mokhavian army in a millitary raid of Tjamede 2 days ago, he has been set to be trialed by the Qaxaama's court of juistice in 7 days. Apsana has been succesfully retaken and it's status of 'Province' has been reestablished, the Millitary is still looking for Rebels in the countryside while Tjamede, Dzabra and Ingush are being recovered. As said the Millitary is still looking for rebel fighter groups in the mountains, they hope to starve them out for the winter by establishing high police and millitary presence in the settlements around their last known possitions and patroling the rivers. A celabratory parade will be held in the capital after which more reinforcements will be sent to Apsana In other news, the autumn Dog Festival is going to begin in a few days, the Qaoqojannaskatak will be raised in the town of Kot, Marsha Province. The popular music bands like Nejänitä-Qaoqojat, Nejawennaskat, and Puninuppa will be performing in Kot during the festival.
    6 points
  14. Rhavanese Navy Returns with Dire News It seems that the Rhavanese Navy has returned from sea with the resistance perpetrators from the Gorang crisis. The admiral is seen arriving at Al'Rasif with Chantrea Thi Ponagar, previous foreign minister the madame secretary had reportedly turned herself in to save the remaining Gorang people from Anglians. A likely story. However, there has been reports of increased Anglian influence in the Rhavanese area. As we enter our sixthteenth day of a new government under Chairman Pen Ping, this does not look good for his approval ratings and all in support. This just shows the complete mockery that has been this past mont- [The rest of this program has been removed by the Rhavanese government] Rhavanese Animated R-Drama makes headlines The long running 'trời giấu trời mang đi' anime ended last year in its 11 season making it the longest running Rhavanese anime to date. This left fans asking the question, will it continue? Early April it was announced on the 26th, the anniversary date of the first episode a streaming service by the name of 'Cameo' would be buying the show, and rebooting it with a whole new cast and story. Releasing last week in only Rhavanese, it not only got immediate attention in Rhava, but also in foreign countries such as Rhodellia, a country in Aurelia for all our viewers who do not know. 'Cameo' has announced that the animated r-drama will be released internationally in Huang, Dolch, and Anglish later this month along with other announcements for their streaming service including a live action 'trời giấu trời mang đi' because of the increased popularity. It is estimated to be released in 2022 in Huang, Dolch, Anlgish, and Rhavanese. [poster for upcoming movie] I’m Tang Ly, and this is RNN This show is brought to you by viewers like you
    6 points
  15. Draft 5.3.3, if no issues are raised with this update, it will be passed off to Orioni on the Sunday the 5th. 5.3.3 Map 5.3.3 Changelogs (31/08/2021 - 01/09/2021) Global Changes: ● Ruthenian States and Ceris States have been renamed to the Ruthenian Nations and Ceris Nations to reduce ambiguity. Nations Modified: ● @Variota's flag was fixed (dimensions were incorrect) Nations Added: ● @Ebrary ● @Kahnikstan ● Added @San Castellino's Montemadia and San Lorenzo ● Added @Fulgistan's West Ceris Federation ● Sentist State is now shown on the map Nations Removed: ● @Shffahkia was removed after nations in Aurelia and those with lore attached to his nation had discussed the matter in the Discord.
    6 points
  16. VISION STATEMENT The Imperial Federation of Novanar (Novan: Keeserlech Federatioun vun Novanischland) is a federal parliamentary semi-constitutional monarchy covering an area of 243,139 square kilometers (93,877 sq mi), with a population of over 28 million within its borders. The country is officially divided into seven constituent states. Its capital and largest city is Auhagen, and its financial center is Obermünzenstein; the largest urban area is the Ourasia metropolitan area. (WIP) The land that makes up modern-day Novanar, called Novanischland by its citizens, was originally inhabited by Native tribes of the A (coastal), B (river), C (highland) cultures. Shortly following the onset of the Salvian conquests of the 15th century, an outbreak of several diseases occurred among the people of all three cultures, decimating many tribes. This, however, strengthened them against said diseases, preparing them for the arrival of Lysian nobility and Dolchlander settlers in Novanar in the late 16th century. Several wars broke out between the foreign settlers and the A and B cultures, resulting in the destruction of the A culture and the permanent weakening of the B culture. Then, the horse tribes attacked in the mid-17th century, indiscriminately turning settlements of all cultures into piles of skulls. Seeing the dire state of the settlers and other tribes, the Kingdom of WIP of the C culture gathered people of all sides together and suggested an alliance. Although initially met with skepticism, all sides eventually agreed that they had to work together to defeat their common enemy. With the introduction of gunpowder to the New Wurld and the use of superior strategy, the Alliance drove back the horse tribes again and again until they never dared to attack again. Even though the members of the Alliance had gained a mutual sense of respect for each other, human nature is a fickle thing, and they soon devolved back into in-fighting that lasted until the beginning of the Eustacian Wars in the early 19th century. Disjointed and caught off guard, the various nation of Novanar fell quickly to Eustace’s armies, and the region came under foreign occupation. A massive surge in nationalism triggered an uprising at the war’s mid-point and the Novanisch Confederation was formed out of the chaos. Together with its new allies, Novanar liberated itself. Novanar remained a confederation up until the 1872 Congress of Auhagen, out of which came the Imperial Federation of Novanar. The house chosen to lead this new nation was House Sieglinde, a powerful and influential noble clan. ( Haven’t really thought through the next part of my history yet. ) Now, the specter of war looms on the Imperial Federation’s southern border as long-dormant enemies rise to break the peace. Will war engulf the nation? Will Novanar be shocked into action? Just what will wake the Titan in the Night?
    6 points
  17. Ministry of Education announced reforms by Kristel Schefer 2017 August 30 Minister of Education Mitzli Tlatoa has announced a series of educational reforms got the approval of the Chancellor today, reforms that are intended to improve the education system of Volta. The stated objective of the reforms is to reduce the disparity in educational outcomes between urban densely-populated areas of the country and more rural areas, along with eliminating the disparity in educational outcomes for the Tlaloc people compared to the general population. The reforms are broadly characterized by three "arrows of educational achievement" as proposed by the Ministry of Education. Each arrow is intended to deal with a specific set of problems in the educational system. The first "arrow" is announced to be resources. The education department announced that it would be increasing the allocation of resources to rural schools, in an attempt to ensure that their facilities are equivalent in quality to schools in urban areas. This also includes increasing the quality of "human resources." Specific policies addressing this area includes the introduction of teacher training programs so that teachers can optionally complete in order to increase their qualifications and potentially their pay, and the introduction of a system of performance evaluation. The performance evaluation area includes reforms such as generalized performance evaluations to be carried out on teachers every 3 years, in addition to holding teachers accountable for the repeat rate of their students. The second "arrow" announced is subjects. Under the system currently in place, all students are required to attend the same set of standardized classes. This is set to continue for those attending Primary School. Starting in Secondary School however, there is going to be an introduction of a series of elective courses that students can optionally take in addition to their standardized classes. In addition, the Tlaloc Autonomous Region is also set to be allowed to make Tlaloc Language classes mandatory for the first time in over 50 years. In the rest of Volta, Tlaloc language classes are to be introduced as an elective class. The third and final "arrow" announced is "re-examination." This policy involves a specific re-examination of the current educational curriculum, in particular when it comes to subjects in secondary school. A board of independent educators and experts are set to be organized, who will examine the current national curriculum. These experts are then to propose changes and reforms based upon their examination of the curriculum, to be sent to the Ministry of Education for final approval. This is intended to update every curriculum with the newest and most modern information, and ensure our children are not falling behind other countries in terms of what they learn. This marks the largest fundamental reforms to the educational system since Willi Ebert's educational reforms in the 1950's. Willi Ebert's reforms, among other things, removed Tlaloc language education from the curriculum, and re-examined the content of every subject taught to remove bourgeois influence from them. Volta's educational system has long been the pride of many Voltans. Prior to Willi Ebert's reforms, the last major reforms occurred under Hans Krenz in the 1920's. During this time the amount of schools was massively increased and a formal writing system for the Voltan language was adopted as part of Hans Krenz' "War on Illiteracy." In addition to increasing opportunities for education for children, a large network of Adult Education Schools were created to combat illiteracy. Prior to this, the literacy rate stood at roughly 24.7% for men and a measly 12.9% for women, for a total literacy rate of 18.8%. By 1940 this had increased to 83% for men and 66% for women, for a total literacy rate of 74.5%.
    6 points
  18. Hello there, I know it is highly uncommon for a relatively new person which has done so far only few things for Eurth to ask for a NPC nation to be station on their border, yet here I am. (note, the north-western and easternmost boundaries should align to the rivers, I found only a pixelated jpeg version, so the drawing there is approximate) I would like to ask for this nation to be formed south-west from me, being named "Dazhdinia" in Anglish and "Daẑinıja"/"Даҗіния" in Dazhdin (a slavic conlang I am working on which relies on nasal vowels and yats). The general idea of the country is to be a general eastern european counterpart for my roleplay, having the general history of a authoritiarian takeover of the country in 1920's, which resulted in a conflict with @Walneria which ran concurrently with the Stedorian-Walnerian war and ended up with a defeat and an economical collapse of the right-wing authoritarian government and a communist revolution in late 40's or early 50's. Then, the nation might've aligned itself closer to other socialist nations in the region, most notably @DPR Velaheria and @Stedoria. In late 80's or very early 90's, a peaceful revolution was crushed by a military action and the new regime has displayed extremely authoritarian tendencies, which in turn caused it to lose ground and succumb to the second, violent, revolution in 1998. Eversince then, the nation has greately recovered from the economical desparity it faced back then, but it also has a long way to go. The general idea for a nation is a counterpart to the past and current countries of the former socialist bloc, most notably Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. At the present day, I envision the nation as a federation of five countries. Three of them, Posąvragia (capital in Gromųva, which is also the federal capital), Kozlųka (which is the ethnically deverse half-Posąvrag half-Syranik heart of the nation, similar to Bosnia) and Syranika (capital in Jilinsk) are Dazhdin (similar to Serbo-Croat, there would be some rather tense discussions on wether Dazhdin is a single language with Posąvragian and Syranik literary forms or if it is a language family consisting of Posąvragian and Syranik), while the other two are of different ethnicities. I envision Ljukrina (capital in Brěgava) to be a rather multi-cultural region with many Ustokans (Czechs) and Maleniks (Sorbs) living in the area, maybe with a possible Dolch (German) language offshoot and some Slovak population. And finally, there is the Jalivia (capital in Kolikovo), which is the westernmost part of the nation. I want to leave that one's history open to potential people which come to settle next to it, but in general, it is probably the most different region of them all and possibly has a rich history of secessionism. The flag itself presents the diverse nature of the nation: the blue stripe stands for the Posąvrag eagle, while the green stripe stands for the traditional green Syranik shield, which features a fleur-de-lis (both or and argent were used). The white in between is often interpreted as the "middle road", but it is rather more likely that it was simply a tincture used in both of the coats of arms. The wreath is possibly the most controversial part of the flag, because it may ring the bell of the blood that was spilled in the name of socialism, but in this case, it stands for the general fame that Dazhdinia is bound to achieve if it just tries to reach it. Out-of-character, it would provide Walneria with a semi-direct sea access and would pose an interesting dilemma in Walnerian politics - Do we align with a struggling democratic slavic nation over a highly organized germanic brother? Do we need to align at all? - With those things and many more, such as the idea of multiple Dazhdinia-Walneria interractions, I would really love to have that nation added. The general displacement of points on the stats are: 2 for economy, 1 for area and 1 for population If there is anything I neglected to mention, please be sure to remind me over it! Sincerely, @Walneria
    5 points
  19. March 22, 1316 It was a regular day at the Jacquard estate. George stood inside his father's study, where his father was organizing his documents. "Ansi. Tu es majeur et tu devrais te préparer à me succéder," his father said in Barborican. "Ouin, mais je veux être plus qu’un seigneur local," George responded. "Porquoi?" his father asked worriedly. After a sigh, he continued. "Écote, George, je ne voudrais pas être Barboricain. Mais souhaitant une révolution? Vous savez que c’est mal vu." "Je peux très bien me débrouil." "Peux-tu? Quel rapporte entrez-vous avec l’ouvrier en tant que roi?" "Écoute Papa, notre très cher empere a augmenté les impôts. Que feriez-vous à ce sujet?" "Je suppose que je lui parlerais?" "Et si j’entendais dire que l’empere envise de nous enlever notre domaine?" "Je ne sais pas." "Je suppose que je vais y aller maintenant." "Où?" "Un endroit pour réfléchir." And, with that in his mind, George left the study and mounted the horse to retreat to a secluded place, where he could think freely. His plan was to gather his friends and begin by raiding Fort de Orx, a small fort near Fleury in Lamonti.
    5 points
  20. YOUR RP NATION Full Name of Nation: the Kingdom of Yetrasia Government type of nation: Semi Constitutional Monarchy Culture/ethnicity of your nation: Italian Give us a short description of your nation: Yetrasia has existed for a thousand years, the land was originally a divided land filled with a number of smaller kingdoms, until it was unified by the Founder of Yetrasia, a king named Giovanni, who would become known as the unifier. To help rule his new kingdom, the king established the diet, an advisory body of both nobles and freemen. The kingdom is also divided into a number of duchies, established by king Giovanni as rewards for his top generals, and to make ruling the kingdom easier. Do you have an IIWiki page?: WRITING EXPERIENCE How would you describe your level of experience in regards to roleplaying?: I would say moderate How would you describe yourself?: generally laid back, but serious when necessary RP/Writing samples (if available already): Do you wish to have a mentor assigned to you to help guide you through the start of your time here?: no thank you NATIONSTATES Why do you want to join this region?: it looked like a good region with a developed community Have you ever had trouble with any moderators?: no Do you have any prior experience on NationStates? If so, give a brief accounting of it.: I have been playing on and off with multiple nations for a number of years, since about 2012, 2013 Are you currently or do you plan to be a member of the NationStates wurld Assembly?: yes Anything else?:no, that’s about it Providing any falsified or deliberately misleading information will result in your application being rejected and your access to the forum revoked. By submitting this form, you are indicating that you agree to abide by the community and RP rules of this community. Any breach thereof may result in disciplinary action including but not limited to revoking of forum posting rights, banning from the forum, removal of regional citizenship, and ejection from the region.
    5 points
  21. The Arhomaioi of Aurelia have a diplomatic tradition stretching back centuries, that began with the first embassies and petitions they opened with the native banner-nations surrounding them. For most of history, the nation of Kirvina has dealt with its enemies at the table before putting them at sword-point. Aside from an eclectic scattering of old tribal federation treaties and confederate arrangements with disparate breakaway states in Cágora and elsewhere, Kirvina is neither the hegemon of any major regional alliance, nor a member in one, although it does maintain observer status in the EOS. All entreaties of import should be addressed to the Véla Lagata A. Sarris, at her Embassy office 34 Doiranis, Coeaneia.
    5 points
  22. I think I'll take a short break for about a month or so.
    5 points
  23. “Is it all going to plan, then?” The tone in Paulos Narses' voice made it sound as if he didn't want it to happen. The Hyperlogothetissa (“Upper Minister”) from the Logothesion ton Koiaisitoron, the Ministry of Works, shifted uneasily in her chair on the opposite side of the Megas Logothetes' desk. She had barely sat down before the question had been asked and she had yet to have been offered the customary refreshments and polite small talk that were offered out of courtesy and respect. To not do so did not just snub her personally but one of the great and ancient institutions of the Megas Agios Basileia. An aide hovered at her elbow, waiting with the traditional cup of tea, glass of water, watered wine and wafer biscuits. Katherina Hyrtakena had been briefed by her own ministry on the hostility that the Minister of the Environment had towards the project, despite the fact that it stood to strengthen Arhomaneia. The hostility had been demonstrated by the amount of time she had been forced to wait outside of his office before being invited to enter and then the discourtesies given to her afterwards. And the fact that the minister-priest had chosen to have intentionally placed pictures of various Argic animals around his spacious office. She wasn't used to this level of disrespect – after all, Hyrtakena was a full hyperlogothetes, not some minor underling. It took at least a hyperlogothetes to brief the chief minister of another ministry and the onion layers of protocol demanded that certain actions were always taken. Narses seemed to realise the rudeness that he showing and gave the aide a nod. They laid the refreshments on the desk itself. Clearly wanting to make up for his actions of a moment ago, the Megas Logothetes himself stood and poured the cup of tea for her himself. He sat down and stroked at his beard. From what little of his face that Hyrtakena could see between the beard and hairline, it seemed as if he was looking somewhat apologetic. “They are, Endoxotatos-Pappas,” she replied, using the somewhat clumsy honorifics for both a high minister of state and a priest. The Hyperlogothetissa reached down to pick up a briefcase placed by the side of her chair. She put it across her knees and popped it open and took out several sheaves of paper. Placing one in front of herself, she then reached across the heavy oak desk and laid one opposite Narses. “If you wouldn't mind turning to page five, you'll see a breakdown of the work programme and its projected milestones laid against the milestones actually achieved. There's been a few things like delivery issues and the levels of light is starting to drop. The midnight sun there has meant that the work teams there been able to work around the clock over the summer.” The other minister's face was blank as he thumbed through to the page stated. He looked down at it as the Hyperlogothetissa continued. “No need for electric lights at night to keep up with the timetables, which I am aware was a concern laid out by the desk-based assessment and studies put forward by your logothesion. The worry that it might impact on nocturnal or crepuscular animals has hopefully been at least reduced.” Reduced because of the fact that the months-long midnight sun completely eradicated both twilight and darkness. Either the Logothesion ton Koiaisitoron completely missed the ramifications of that, were being obtuse or intentionally obtuse about it. It didn't seem like Hyrtakena cared or knew that she was trying to pull the wool over the eyes of someone who knew exactly how she – or they, her ministry – was trying to do it. A slight sigh issued from Narses but the Hyperlogothetissa didn't pick up on it. “Noise levels, though, Epifanissa?” asked the minister-priest. His politeness had returned – Narses used the form of address that befitted a minister of Hyrtakena's rank. It meant 'illustrious'. “They can have an even more adverse affect on wildlife than unusual lighting levels.” “If you could turn to the next few pages, Endoxotatos-Pappas, you'll see some graphs showing the noise levels over time.” She turned the pages of the copy in front of her, which displayed a series of lines going up and down. They demonstrated how the noise being produced by the building work wasn't having that much of an affect on the animals, at least in the view of the Ministry of Works. It may well have been complete nonsense, however, just a smokescreen laid down by the ministry to try to fool anyone looking at it. There were even excerpts from papers and reports written by ecologists employed by that ministry, backing up the claims that the wildlife on and around the islands weren't suffering from the increased noise that the construction work was causing. The Logothesion ton Agelon had its own ecologists on the island and the work was certainly having an impact. The port had been expanded and modernised, disrupting a colony of harbour seals and the increased maritime traffic was also having an adverse affect on the fish in the area. The restoration of the Palati ton Oston, the Palace of Bones, had seen the polar bears that had often made their lairs there turfed out. At least one had been shot. There were strenuous attempts to stop invasive species from getting a foothold on the island, especially rats. Rats had destroyed island bird species across the wurld time and time again and Narses was damned if he would let that happen on these islands. Wind turbines were being built, both on the island and out to sea, and if the mitigation strategies put forward by Narses' ministry were not stuck to, then these could kill the birds of the islands. Admittedly, nowhere near as many as other human activities or even cats did. And no damn mention of the submarine pens. It was likely that the Hyperlogothetissa was unaware that they were even being built. Narses had not been able to win on that one, only mitigate the damage as best he could. Kontarian had been right and the strategic concerns had outweighed the environmental ones. However, it might be the only naval base in history built to take into consideration the local wildlife, albeit not as much as not building it in the first place. “It looks as though your logothesion has been thorough in its precautions, Epifanissa,” said Narses, thumbing through the pages of the document. The woman looked warily at the minister-priest's expression for a moment, obviously trying to work out if the man was being sarcastic. After a slight pause, she had obviously decided to take it at face value. A smile broke out across her face. “Thank you, Endoxotatos-Pappas,” she replied, giving a slight nod of thanks. Hyrtakena picked up her tea cup and took a slight sip from it before putting it back down. She also picked up a biscuit and took a bite before she continued. “Safeguarding the environment is not just the command of his imperial majesty, but also our Christian duty. Our redevelopment of the islands is not just a step towards strengthening our holy nation but also making sure Eurth is protected. If it wasn't us in control of the Herimitireia, then it would be some barbariki nation, intent on plundering it for its natural resources.” At what point did something stop being a platitude? When enough people believed in it? Kontarian had said almost exactly the same thing several months ago. Maybe Narses was falling too out of step with the belief of his fellow Aromans and that this was not some mere platitude, something repeated so often it lost all meaning. Had it actually shifted towards being a genuine belief? “I am not sure that God would have allowed it to happen, Epifanissa,” said Narses. “I pray that that is the case,” the Hyperlogothetissa returned. Both of them were then silent for a moment, as if in that very prayer. Around the room, the discrete aides, secretaries and priests that were always attendant on a great minister of state also bowed their heads and the smell of incense became stronger for a moment. And it might have very much been the case for Hyrtakena but the minister-priest's mind was, ironically, elsewhere. Narses did believe that God would have intervened before allowing another nation a toe-hold on the islands. But then again, no nation would have been foolish enough to risk the wrath of the Greater Holy Empire to do it. There were noises from Akwisia that they would like to get a slice of the pie, especially as they had been the ones that had discovered the islands originally, before Tagmatium had forced them off of them. There was likely going to be a cabinet-level discussion over what exactly the small protectorate might think that it was owed. At this point, with the Anglia Crisis still on going, they were likely going to find an answer more in their favour than at any other point. “How long do you think that it will take to be completed?” Narses asked, breaking the moment of thoughtful silence. “Well, Megas Logothetes, the document does lay out the milestones that we've achieve and hope to achieve.” She wasn't rude enough to turn back to the pages she originally indicated but there was obviously the temptation there. “As I said, we're on target. It's only been three months since we started and then about two since we did so in earnest. The main focus of work was to get into place enough accommodation for the workers. And the port in at least working order, or better than it has been for decades.” She looked leant forward, as if she was sharing a conspiratorial moment with the Megas Logothetes. Narses wasn't sure why. Hyrtakena would know that he would be able to get any information not considered to be a state secret. Although she wouldn't know that he would likely be able to get a lot of information that was considered to be a state secret. “In all honestly, we've got a few months before work will have to more or less shut down again for the winter. By October – next month, that is – the temperature will have started to really drop. We'll be able to squeak along with general stuff until December. By January, temperatures will average at a high of about -11 or -13 below zero and an average low of about -21. f*cking cold, if you forgive me.” The Hyperlogothetissa looked sheepish for a moment, realising that she'd sworn in front of a priest. Narses gave her a shrug. Being a priest was merely one of many things he had been over the years. A swearword wasn't going to offend him. “And they're pretty much iced in over that period,” said Narses. “At least, from about January or February until about early summer.” “Almost apart from Basilikolimanion, but that's why it's the main port.” She was silent for a moment, looking thoughtful. “Only port. And only real settlement.” Narses raised an eyebrow, although the Hyperlogothetissa didn't seem to catch the expression. “All the project is hoping to do at the moment is get the Palati ton Oston ready to have a governor live there and act as a suitable venue to receive his Aroman Majesty.” There. Something about Narses meant that people tended to tell him more than they initially meant to. It was something that joining the ranks of the Aroman clergy had only added to. As a lecturer and then professor, it had been a useful thing to help put students at ease. Now it always seemed to mean that information came his way when sometimes it ought not to. That the Old Tyrant was going to visit the island at least explained the show of force that had been taking place on the islands for the last few months. Otherwise it was absurd that an entire regiment had been deployed there, even with the Gharoi, Seilosioi and Iberikoi squabbling to the south east. “Well, Hyperlogothetissa, this interview has been most helpful,” Narses said. “You have certainly laid at least some of my worries about the work on the islands to rest.” Hyrtakena smiled, looking as if she'd won some sort of victory. “But, of course, I will insist that the level of oversight and scrutiny that the Logothesion ton Agelon current exercises continues as long as the project does. Thank you for coming.” The smile faded away as those words sunk in. She rose to her feet and the two ministers bowed to each other before the Hyperlogothetissa turned and left the office.
    5 points
  24. Le Messagero is the oldest newspaper currently published in Ebrary, first published in 1891. It is headquartered in Ceres, the capital of Ebrary, and is considered the Ebrarian newspaper of record. * * * * * PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW EXTENDING COVERAGE TO CHILDREN 30/08/2021 The Senate voted to approve the State Medical Coverage for Minors Act, which extends coverage under the National Christian Healthcare Fund to all children under the age of 12. Despite intense lobbying against the bill by President Carlos Renaldo, a cross-party coalition of sympathetic members of the Ecumenical Dominionist Party and every member of the Farmer-Labor Party pushed the bill forward, and the bill passed the Popular Assembly last month. The Senate had an intensely debated session, but ultimately the bill was pushed through today with a narrow majority. It is not expected that the Sovereign Protector will use his veto to strike the law down, and President Renaldo has effectively conceded defeat on the issue. This has been heralded as a landmark victory by Assemblyman Jon Carlo, Leader of the Farmer-Labor Party. Carlo's party broke with their usual alliance with the president's Center Reformists, citing the need to reduce the cost of childcare in an era when Ebraria is experiencing below-replacement fertility rates and net migration out of the country to find work. President Renaldo has generally pushed for market-based reform, which has caused some friction with the Farmer-Labor Party. However, both parties remain committed to economic development and have consistently isolated the formerly dominant Ecumenical Dominionist Party and sidelined its focus on social and religious issues. The bill is expected to reduce premiums for Ebrarian families, although critics cite it as an expensive increase in government spending at a time when the government cannot afford to spend more. Proponents counter that Ebrary does not currently spend an obscene amount on healthcare, at only 7.5% of GDP. The previous law mandated the purchase of health insurance by employed adults which would cover their dependent children, with exceptions for those of low income, so the new law merely extends the coverage under the exception to all children under 12. State contributions to medical savings accounts of families covered by the law will not be changed, and the new law will not affect the Special Medical and Pharmaceutical Fund for the elderly and disabled.
    5 points
  25. I just joined eurth and i hope to have fun
    5 points
  26. Priority being given to the copper fields in Nordöm, New oppurtunities ahead, says the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Glorious Comrades of Velaheria, Reports have came in from all around the state that the ministry of finance has stated a new plan for the development of the mining infrastructure in the province of Nordöm, which provides better news for the comrades of that region in terms of economic development and socio-economic standards. Situated in the northern reaches of velaheria, Nordöm is rich in Copper ore reserves which constitute half of the state's entire copper deposits, In the past, Our Glorious leader, Comrade Arin Von Starinburg had stated that Nordöm was the underbelly of the velaherian riches which the people had held for several centuries, but were stolen by the cold-blooded dolchic colaborators who aided the dolchic colonial government in velaheria, to rip the nation out of its riches. However, several decades have passed since the supreme leader and the father of the state had left us all and went on to be remembered as one of the greatest martyrs in the history of velaheria, And the velaherian economy has now seen a new stage of investments and growth since the end of the 1980's and the begining of the 2010's, Now the People's Assembly think that the best way forward would be to increase the infrastructural base of the region, and to renew as well as expand new mining and refining facilities in the region, while simuntaneously building residential areas in that region, which would ultimately serve for the benifit of the state and the people of velaheria. The Ministry of finances and Economic affairs have stated that, the province of nordöm would experience the growth of their mining infrastructure as, the state owned corporation, "Velaherian People's constructions limited" has been given the contract to build 4 new mining facilities in nordöm, such an expansion would provide an 35% expansion in the mining of copper ore in that region, while also building 2 new refineries in the area. The current residential region is also being planned to be extended to hold 12,000 more workers, while simuntaneously also being provided with suitable conditions necessary in that area. This action is sure to increase the productivity and the economic conditions of that region with the workers being the main benificiaries of this act of the just and noble people's assembly and the Velaherian People's Party. Workers of Velaheria, Unite
    5 points
  27. i'm an experienced roleplayer, but i've never done any on nationstates before. i play guitar and bass, and i like grunge/alt rock from the 90s. my favorite books are 1984 and a confederacy of dunces. i also like playing video games; my favorite game of all time is psychonauts. i created Hoags to represent a political system that had been kicking around in my head for a month or two, and i joined eurth to see what nationstates rp was all about!
    5 points
  28. Nation in Eurth: Fina Flag: https://i.postimg.cc/pr6JcYps/fina-flag.jpg Capital name: Kulleholm Capital location: Inland, on a river Stats Chosen: Population: Medium (1) - 13M GDPPC: Medium (1) - 15,000 Land: 260,000 km^2 Factbook/iiwiki link: Vision Statement: IIWiki: https://iiwiki.us/wiki/Fina Culture: Swedish, with hints of Russian and Sami Climate: Cold winters, warm summers, transitional between temperate and subarctic History: Prehistoric: Nomadic Celts 1600-1500 BCE: First Lami (Sami) people 300 CE: Vikings from Ateenia or other vaguely Nordic areas 500-1000 CE: Viking Age 1300 CE: Mostly consolidated into Kingdom of Karolina, Kingdom of Kullarnas, and Duchy of Nordlund, fighting for control of Fina. 1500s/1600s CE: Repeated attacks by the Rankari nation of Markovy leading to antagonization of Rankaris and actually leads to further unification. 1724: The three kingdoms unite to become the Kingdom of Fina. 1731-1735: 1st Straits War against the Markovic Tsardom, leading to some of the lands lost in previous centuries. Late 1700s: Expansion and incorporation of eastern areas into the kingdom like Drakön or the northern Hästhuvud river basin. 1804: After years of building up and expanding their respective empires, Rankar and Fina go to war in the 2nd Straits War. Fina wins, annexing the three Velescia regions, however not establishing full control of Middle Velescia. 1877-1883: 3rd Straits War, Fina loses, losing control of the Middle Velescia (Shinovo) and Lower Velescia (Velland) regions, while maintaining control of Upper Velescia (Östranka). Large financial cost for Fina leads to growing unrest. 1907: Foundation of the FFF. 1914: Kullarnasstad Massacre, catalyst of the Civil War. 1915-1924: Foundation of the Kulleholm government and Civil War. Communists win. Fina becomes a de facto one-party communist state. 1930s-1960s: Alliance formed between Rankari communist state (name still being worked on) and Fina. 1960s: Rankari-Finan split. Dangerously close to war, almost splitting the communist wurld. Loose alliance remains, but some semblance of tension remains. 1989: Finan Revolution, violent overthrow of communist government, establishment of the Republic of Fina. 1992: Discovery of natural gas in the Östranka region makes it much more economically enticing and attractive, along with its location near the straits. 1996: Velescian War between Fina and Rankar over the Östranka region, ending in embarrassment for both sides. Both sides have likely been building up for part 2 ever since, and tensions have been increasingly building over time. Desired Location: Explanation for location: Haven't really seen anybody do this but I feel like it'd be pretty useful to show my thinking behind this spot. It's in an area that's already been established as having a Nordic culture, gives room to my west for the Rankari nations, also fitting along with a bit of a Slavic belt or arc from Prymontian Rus to Sanarija. The only issue I really have with the location is that the climate is predominantly subarctic, where optimally the coastal regions like the areas around Tullinge and Karolinaburg would be more temperate, however I don't see this as too much of an obstacle for me. This plot of land measures out to 268,000 km^2 (measured out in google Eurth), just barely under the threshold of being High tier in land area. If this is too close to being a High land area, I'll gladly add another point to my Land area stat. I would also like to set up some NPCs for the Rankari nations, however I can understand if I have to do some actual RP and contributions first before being able to establish these NPCs.
    5 points
  29. New Government Power Project Getting the Green Light Just this Friday, the Zaxar Ministry of Finance released an official statement giving authorization for the construction of the Fravon Gorge Dam just outside of the city of Beliere in southwestern Zaxar. This project was originally proposed in late 2018 and has been on hold ever since until the local authorities could "properly and thoroughly asses the ecological and humanitarian impacts of the dam." This delay led to large-scale protests in Beliere as electricity prices began to climb and smoke from coal powered electricity plants choked the air. Protestors were seen to be carrying banners saying "do your dam job" during marches in early 2020, shortly after air quality in the city reached a record low. Today however, protestors and citizens alike rejoice as Emperor William signed off on the project after receiving a positive environmental report from the leading biological and geological researchers assigned to the project planning. This contract for the project is with the large Zaxar hydropower company Blue Fields and signed for an undisclosed amount of money. Government economists have estimated that this dam will provide enough electricity and fresh drinking water for the entire city of Beliere which is set to finally end years of coal dependency in the region. Blue Fields has also stated that they will be employing more than 10,000 local workers throughout the construction process which will almost certainly spark a new economic boom in the region as most of the workers there are currently employed in the agriculture or timber industries. Fair trade groups and environmental groups from across Greater Zaxar have declared their support for the project as it will cut the nations dependency on foreign coal imports significantly and is considered one of the first steps towards the illusive net-zero carbon goal set by the Emperor back in 2010. The most support for the project however, comes from the citizens of Beliere. Whether conservative, liberal, libertarian, or green, nearly every group has something to gain from this project. The project currently has no set completion date although the Emperor has said that it should be done within five years if safety allows. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates and analysis on this project. Genetically "Better" Crops Growing on the Sarthus Recently, one of our reporters traveled to the banks of the Sarthus River, right into the historical breadbasket of Greater Zaxar, and what she found there was farming that was far more modern than that which was practiced there twenty years ago, and, far more controversial. Across the Zaxar side of the Sarthus River Basin, a new kind of crop is being planted. It may look like the same old corn and wheat that has been grown here for thousands of years, but these plants have something special about them, engineered DNA. Produced by domestic companies, Inovant and Glanoag, with help from foreign biotech companies, these plants are proven to yield nearly twice as much crop while being more water and nutrient efficient. These crop have been widely adopted by farmers who have been desperate for more efficient crops due to the labor shortage caused by the war, which limits the amount of land that can be farmed and harvested. With these new high levels of productivity, many farmers speculate that they may be able to begin exporting once again. Already, shipments of corn and wheat from Zaxar have been seen cruising down the Sarthus River destined for markets across Aurelia. Not all are happy with this however. Some environmental groups have protested the use of genetically engineered crops due to the possibility of them becoming an invasive species in local ecosystems. Both Inovant and Glanoag have released statements declaring these worries to be unfounded and assuring the public that all genetically engineered plants have been made sterile to prevent them from spreading beyond farms. Anti-monopoly groups have warned that the sterilization of crops will give the biotech companies too much power over the food supply and push smaller farmers out of business. The companies, however, assured that they will remain competitors and keep prices reasonable, this remains to be seen. Mine Collapse in Niyol On Wednesday, a large lithium mine in Niyol suffered from a sudden and unexpected collapse. The collapse occurred in a tunnel two miles below the surface and was likely caused by water damage to the structural systems of the unfinished tunnel, according to Geolithia, the company who operates the mine. Fortunately no one was killed or injured in the collapse but some workers have gone strike over the relaxed safety regulations in place in the mines. Company officials have stated that the safety of their employees in their number one priority and that they are currently looking into better ways to monitor the safety of the mines. Government officials are monitoring the strikes closely and have stated that they are prepared to break up the unions if the strikes last any longer than one week. This government interest in the mines in nothing new, as the lithium deposits of Niyol are considered to be the single most important factor to the modernization and economic growth of the country as a whole during this new era of lithium batteries. The Lithium Miners Union has stated that it only intends to strike until the safety of the mines are improved but many fear that they intend to try and leverage better ages at the same time. We will keep you updated on this story as it develops.
    5 points
  30. All noted!. So in general I am for moving the Dravidians either to just Europa or just Eurth - currently there are no members and if O is okay with future members being placed in Oriental Europa if they are Dravidian or Indo-Aryan w/o being colonies, I'm 100% fine with this. "[...] why is there a need to draw heavily to essentially mirror IRL with Europa/New Wurld? Isnt the nations that compose the two continents what makes the region, not the culture mirror to RL?" This I 100% agree with. Perhaps I've not been explicit enough with what I'm trying to do here. The last thing I want to do is make Eurth Eurth, that would be boring. That's why I've been particularly apathetic about Islam/Salam in the Sub-Saharan countries or moving the Aroman-Descendants out of the Amutia Desert. My goal, hopefully with the aid of staff and the members of Eurth, is to find the reasons why these differences exist and expand upon them to their fullest potential. Not get rid of them. For example, "the New Wurld also has its quirks with two !Asian clusters on the eastern side (Yeosan, Rhava, Kertosono, Utogo) and western side (SSI, Andalla, Yeosan, Heiheguo, ex-Selayar, ex-Fjallshima)." We can find reasons for this, and not have to move unwilling members. My own idea is that the Paran goes through stages of being a large habitable steppe and a desert, that's why the Paran in the present day is half desert half hot steppe - it's in transition from a greener Paran to a more Sahara-like environment. And I've used this idea and tied it to my own lore - it's why the Azlo (!Aztec) people left the rest of the Ute-Aztecan people around the Chenshas area and went south, to greener pastures. When the Paran was in one of it's greener states, the !East Asian / !South-East Asian ethnic cluster covered all of middle-Alharu. Then when the Paran became a desert the two groups became separated and several of these groups on the western side migrated out into Thalassa when the !Egyptians (Cashar/Hemahat) migrated south into the Ketek area. Turning !East Asian in Europa into a !Japanonic region (more than just Japanese) was as an emphasis of this, as if the !Japonic people that migrated to Andalla and the Esonya islands continued west across the Thalassa Islands. We can also add a branch of the !South-East Asians into this for SSI, San Ba, etc. Which appears to be Vietnamese. Deletion should be only be our last choice, adaption is far simpler and more fun in the long-term. As written, "Phase 2.4 – Connections to the Rest of Eurth" is just meant to be any plotholes in our lore with our attempts to remerge Europa back into the greater Eurth lore. The biggest being Lysia is nearly landlocked. To get out of Europa and form colonies it must past: - Akiiryu - Iverican Ancestor (who has similar issues) - Qubdi - Euandria - Sporsia - Tagmatium - Vanamrambaion - Havebergen - Tal Shiar - The 7 islands - Akwisia - Haruspex If just one of these countries declined transit, Lysia could not form any meaningful colonies. It's why the Ottomans never made any colonies in the new wurld, or why Russia could never project real power into the Atlantic, or why China has never breached into the pacific until the advent of global trade. Lysia has the problems they all had but 10x worse. The idea is to move Lysia, the Iverican Ancestor state, and the other colonies further south to break free of their geographic constraints. Two solutions I have already drawn up previously in this thread. And even with the proposals above the master colonisers are still quite separate from their colonies in Alharu/Aurelia/Argis - which we can use as an excuse, plus greater connections by the natives, why colonialism on Eurth is far weaker than it was on Eurth. I think this would be great to keep , thank you for bringing this to my attention @Tagmatium Rules. Perhaps it could be used as stand-in for our Viking era, not counting Ulfheimr and Ateenia raiders. With permissions from @Prymont / @Ateenia, Thelarike could be an ancient Argic Ocean empire as some sort of super North Sea Empire. Do you know how this would affect nations such as Ide Jima? Should we keep their current lore (which was adapted into this new version of Ide Jima) or try come up with something new?. Also something perhaps @Orioni should chime on as the Long War is quite close to his turf. Whoops!- My mistake, I mistook this: "The Triumvirate follows a fanatical doctrine that seeks to control the Eurth and the fate of mankind. Central to their belief system is the strong monotheistic worship of the God of the Abrahamic religious tradition. According to Triumvirate's core belief, the Eurth was last pure and untainted after God cleansed it in the Biblical Great Flood endured by Noah, which they claimed to have occurred around 8,000 years ago. Since then, the Eurth became consumed by chaos and sin. And only the Triumvirate has received God's divine command to restore humanity to paradise." To mean Christian, but after a second time reading I do realise that Volsci's religion is an Abrahamic faith, but not a Christian faith. Noted! Thank you @Volta. This works much better. I like the idea of Salam, but perhaps it could be adapted in a way less blunt. Taking a page from Christianity on Eurth; This is a map of Islam on Eurth pre-Azanian Reboot. Dark Green are nations I know are Islamic / Major minorities of Muslims / Were or had Muslims in the past. ( @Esonice and his San Castellino refugees not pictured here.). Light Green I'm unsure of. It's primarily found in Europa and Alharu, fascinatingly lets look at the sects: Red are Twelver Shias, Blue are Ismaili Shias. The New Wurld is almost entirely Shia Muslims. Europa/Yellow is Salamic, @Orioni's attempt at a rebranded Islam which I will assume are Sunni as that's the sect of Islam most Westerners know and think about (outside of the stereotypically racist idea that all Muslims are Wahhabis). There are several things we can do with this; A: Islamic Europa Homeland That the Shia Muslims fled from the Sunni-Dominated Europa and made their way to Europa. This I think was the original idea with Sayf before northern Alharu / Paran was rebranded as the homeland of the Afro-Asiatic people. However this might not work depending on the individual lores of @Fulgistan / @Sayf / @Rhava / etc. B: Islamic Alharu Homeland That Islam began in Alharu. This would work a lot better for Alharu and the Paran, lore-wise, and it unloads some of the lore from Europa. However this leaves the giant yellow blob of Salam, which can be dealt with in a couple ways. Azania has already been rebooted, with many of the Subsaharan states been given a homebrewed religion of Inkolo. This just leaves Qubdi, Arrif, Assurym, and Asmeruwah as Salamic states. Now we could just leave them as is, and let Sunni Islam dominate in that area under Salam, however with these 3 countries coming under the chopping block soon when we reach Amutia for changes, I think we can do something a lot more fun; Salam as it's own Abrahamic Faith. A religion that, like Christianity, broke off from Judaism. But being a religion primarily found in the Amutia Steppe, it's just as unique as Islam, Christianity, or Judaism. We can then expand this new religion into Yuropa and the northern northern Azanian states. This would allow us to have our cake and eat it too, with neither lores in Europa or Alharu contradicting each other. However doing so would require Bashan to remain in Europa, which is fine if we don't mind the plot hole that a single Afro-Asiatic group popped up in Europa, with all the others in Alharu Perhaps the !Canaanites migrated into the Aroman Empire, and founded their own kingdoms post-collapse, with Bashan, Qubdi, Arrif, Assurym, and Asmeruwah being their present day descendants? Could also be the people who brought the Alphabet to Europa. Up to @Gallambria and @Tagmatium Rules to decide that. (Sorry I offended you through my stupidly-simplified diagram of Religions) If this was done, the name would have to be changed - something in Hebrew or the other Canaanite languages. Why couldn't a reformed Khanate survive into the present? Empires and Kingdoms have - especially on Eurth. Even so in the lore I wrote there is this; "With such a humiliating defeat, many other Turikelian tribes within the khanate demanded independence. To avoid complete collapse the Turikel Khanate reorganised itself into a tribal federation in the 80s and began the process of moving funds from the military towards economic growth and diversification.". Turikel is a federation by the modern day after it's flirt with death. "I also expect some influences from neighbouring Volsci, Vetok and Akiiryu. For example: on the Deltannia page I wrote about Volsci expansionism." This was somewhat done with "But with the arrival of gunpowder in the mid to late 1200s resulted in modern day Turikel and other neighbouring semi-nomads to being conquered by their neighbours. The area of what became modern day Turikel was conquered by Volsci, with other Turik people around Burania being conquered by Aroman-Descendent crusaders, Oriental Empires, and the northern Germanic people.". There was also the agreement when we were making the culture map for Europa that there were significant Turkic groups within Volsci, which have been linked to this expansion. Also the Sved Taypa of Turikel is Germanic in nature - a nod to the Swedes in Mongol-Swedes :P. However if you want more overt influence, that can be done - perhaps their current reformed government could take some cues from the Volsci Empire. Volsci, from what I've read, is meant to be a nation directly opposed to the institutions of Aroma, so having a capital named in the same way as the cities of Tagmatium and friends seemed counter-intuitive. Which I wanted to reinforce in their capital's name. I would also go as far as to suggest replacing Volsci's triumvirate with a Folkmoot. Of course this can be reversed if you'd rather keep Volsci as close to it's current form as possible. https://iiwiki.us/wiki/Tal_Shiar. Though perhaps this is something @Tagmatium Rules should decide, not us. I would have to agree with you, I wasn't particularly happy with the renaming of Youtabonia either and merging it with Myria might be the better move. Any other opinions/critique made that I haven't replied to is most likely because I agree with it and/or I have nothing to say to it.
    5 points
  31. End National Correspondence: @Kirvina End Office Correspondence: The Office of Lady Chrysanthe From: The Tonato Regional Government of the Occidental Democratic Republic of Sitallo. Hello. If you are receiving this letter then my hasty journey back to my governorate of northern Sitallo has been successful. Metztlitlaca's threat for war has led to General Maliano and General-President Tario going silent, I believe they are mobilising for war. I have little doubt that the two generals do not have the competence to meet the ultimatum by the 14th of September. Myself and General Palisi are organising our militaries towards a defensive campaign at the Grosse Rivière at the city of Saqalli. We would be grateful if you may lend us aid in either men, firearms, or finance. With how destabilised Tario's own territory is, and Maliano's own incompetency, we believe they would fall within 20-30 days once Metztlican boots cross the border. Our plan is to hold them at the river and the city of Saqalli until a quick, negotiable, peace can be achieved. Thank you, Mictlan Tonato.
    5 points
  32. Supreme Leader Hamad Khan announces opening of the Khanikstan Foreign Office, invites wurld leaders to Manahal September 3rd, 2021 By Dinesh Colak With a surprise announcement out of Manahal today, His Respected Supreme Leader Hamad Khan took to the podium today and announced to all wurld leaders that Khanikstan was looking to make diplomatic ties with the international community. With economic opportunity being the bulk of the speech, His Respected also reassured the Khanikstan citizens that the war weary populace will need not worry about engaging in international warfare. "We have absolutely no interest in pursuing any conflict abroad, and all diplomatic relations will exclude military related discussion." He said, understanding why the 20,000,000 Khanikstianians are weary of opening the borders. He continued his speech by assuring that infrastructure development and economic stability are the two main focuses of the party. "As long as there are regions of the country that do not have road access to a major city, electricity in their homes, or water coming from their faucet, The Khanikstan Communist Party will not rest" Logistically, the KCP faces a few challenges ahead in actually receiving foreign diplomats, as the countries singular airport in the outskirts of Manahal boasts a singular airstrip. Another concern is the highly militarized state of Manahal. With it being home to 65,000 active duty soldiers spread between four separate military bases. The state department has continued to struggle with transitioning their bloated military and its resources to a more suitable deployment now that we remain at peace. This will continue to be a barrier to getting wurld leaders to enter the capital for the first time in decades. A party insider has shared with The Khanikstan Observer that foreign investment for a massive solar power restructuring of the electrical grid is at the top of their list. With a massive untapped labor pool (an astonishing 47% unemployment rate), another focus will be on construction of a port on the south of Chen lake to make exporting and importing goods much easier.
    5 points
  33. Elias Rundström was smoking a cigar as he pulled out a dusted old blue shoebox. He had been tasked with getting all his mother's old junk into a moving van to head off to the calm and peaceful Karolina coast for her retirement. However considering that old mama had kept every facet of Elias' childhood stored away in every nook and cranny of the household, this wasn't going to be easy. There was nothing remarkable about the shoebox on the surface really, but Elias recognized what it was upon seeing it. He set the shoebox down on the single piece of furniture left in the home, a visibly used and stained coffee table which was currently home to disorganized piles of papers he was planning on getting to later. He slid some pens and rogue sheets to make room for the box and gently opened the box. Within it there was a pile of yellowing papers over two decades old. Carefully reaching with a nearly trembling hand Elias picked up the first of the pile. It is quite obvious what these papers are now. Letters from Elias' "pappa" Niklas to his mother. Elias was growing quickly invested in the letters he had not seen in so long. His memory had mostly faded of these papers. Even though he knew how this story ended, he continued reading. It would not take long regardless, the next letter was brief. It was also the last. Elias placed the letter back while carefully grabbing the second sheet in the box. This letter was atypically short, even for pappa. Niklas was never much of a writer, he just did enough to get his point across. Still even, this letter was just one simple paragraph. Pappa didn't even try to separate his thoughts into two separate paragraphs, something he had always done with even the most simplest and bland ideas and stories. No this was just a singular quickly written paragraph. Obviously pappa did not have a lot of time for this one and one could understand why with further reading. Elias picked up the paper and began reading. Said Rankari rogues employed guerrilla tactics upon the retreating 25th Infantry, intercepting them along their route to Volkovstad and ambushing them. The soldiers were massacred, unprepared for an attack, especially so deep in their own territory. However the sheer incompetence in the Finan military can not be ignored in allowing such a thing to occur in the first place. Among the casualties was Niklas Rundström. The cruel irony of it all is that the news of Niklas' death arrived to his family the 8th of May. The birthday of Niklas' son Elias. The moment still sticks with Elias to this day. The last time he saw his pappa, he was in a casket draped in the Finan flag. Elias wiped a tear from his eye and returned the yellowing paper to its home in the shoebox. He took the box and slid it into the van along with other similar boxes with old dusty relics of past. He returned inside to probably gather some somewhat creepy Pelvis Resley and BABA bobbleheads which were collecting dust in the bedroom. Elias Rundström is not the only kid who lost won of their parents to the Velescian War. He's one of many. This war is a modern cause for Rankari hate among many in the Finan population, and prejudice against the Östrankaris which is source of much tension in modern Fina. This is just one example of how the Velescian War affects Fina to this day.
    5 points
  34. Have you ever wanted to draw your own subway transportation network? With this metro map maker, you can draw your own underground. Or "tube" as the Brits say. The interface is easy to understand. You just click and drag. Options on the right. Finished metro maps can be downloaded or saved. https://metromapmaker.com
    5 points
  35. This document has been authorised by the the Temple of Finance and the Temple of Foreign Affairs to the @DPR Velaheria Ministry of External Affairs and the @DPR VelaheriaMinistry of Economic Affairs. This document has been issued by the Teopan "Temple" of Finance for the continued development of trade relations between the Dominions of Metztlitlaca and the Democratic People's Republic of Velaheria. To our dearest friends within the Ministry of External Affairs, Velaheria. We apologise for the delay in response, your rejection of our request in favour for only a 33% market price value resulted in talks within the Temple of Finance. The Temple of Finance agrees to the 33% MPV, under the conditions you have outlined. Said loans may be delayed due to recent tensions within Mesothalassa, a large proportion of the nation's capital is being diverted towards the upcoming frontlines with Occidental Democratic Republic of Sitallo and towards defences against the Kingdom of Anglia. Such loans will have a stipulation of full payback upon the request of the Metztlican government, if such request of payback is rejected, Velaherian assets within Metztlitlaca equal in worth to the loans provided will be seized with a three day warning. Regarding like-minded governments willing to aid in the industrial growth of Velaheria, the Temple of Foreign Affairs would be happy to send both letters and delegates to vouch for the high quality of Velaherian iron and steel once governments and corporations willing to work cooperatively with your nation are found. We suggest starting with our mutual friends within the Fulgistani government, through our connections in LAANN we will be happy to set up a friendly meeting between Fulgistani and Velaherian diplomats if Fulgistan agrees to do so. From your dearest friends within Metztlitlaca, The Temple of Finance - International Affairs Department.
    5 points
  36. Hello there, people! I would like to present to you a game, that is fairly commonly played in the pubs of @Walneria for over 200 years now! This game is called Tossní, literally meaning nothing. Theories on what the name means are mostly outlandish, but some linguists suggest, that the name comes from a misheard Walnerian phrase "To ssní", literally "On it is snowing", possibly referring to the timing when the game came to be - when it was snowing (or for that purpose any other bad weather outside), people in the house gathered and played the game to spend long evenings together. Later, the game found its way to the extensive pub culture of @Walneria, where people spending the evening enjoyed playing the game, betting little ammounts of money (usually up to 10 Krónes per round, which is about 5/8 of one US Dollar). This game is played using 108 card deck (two 52 card decks and 4 additional jokers, which is a basic canasta deck), and is the game for 2-10 players. If you feel like trying it out, make sure to read the IIWiki page for Tossní, it is not hard to understand and fairly entertaining to play. If you decide to try it out and play it with family, not only will you secretely bring few people down to Eurth, but you could also secretely qualify for not getting beaten up instantly if you ever find yourself in a Walnerian pub. I would love to hear some feedback from those of you, who tried it out! (Before somebody asks: It was not inspired by Uno, but western Slavic versions of Mau-Mau (Specifically Czech Prší and Slovak Faraón), from which the Uno stems as well. So rather as inspiration, the games have a common ancestor.)
    5 points
  37. Nation in Eurth: The People's Republic of Khanikstan Flag: If link doesnt work im in the discord Capital Name: Manahal Capital Location: Only real request is its tucked away somewhere that makes it a strategic stronghold. Mountainous or on a river (or both) would be good enough for me Stats Chosen: Population(1): 20,000,000 (extremely flexible here :)), GDP(1): 7,000. (I'm down to go lower to nerf, I just needed to use the point) Land Area (2): 300,000 Factbook/iiwiki link: It's a project to complete for the near future, but I went into pretty great detail my vision statement and hope thats enough for now! Culture: To paint in broad strokes, the culture pulls heavily from middle eastern countries Climate: Hot summers are really the only request I have here History: tldr of my vision statement: Khanikstan is only six years old, with the Khanikstan Communist Party taking power of former Azbekistan government after a brutal 40 year revolutionary war. The 46 years of isolationism and war has left a devastated and poverty stricken population that is now making foreign relations dire. Desired location: I would absolutely love if I could be inside this river pocket north of the lake labeled Chen. I've noticed that every country is built on a coast or against a country on a coast, so if that wouldn't be allowed since it's in the middle of nowhere, I understand. It would fit my lore in a lot of ways, and if my Capital was located on the west side right where the lake creates the north bound river I would have no complaints! If that location isn't possible, i'm very very flexible!
    5 points
  38. Fossils of a new dromaeosaur date to the end of the Age of Dinosaurs Newly discovered species suggests these fierce predators were diversifying right up to the end. By Caroline Grammi August 29, 2021 at 12:00 PM City of Cristina - A rooster-sized warrior, kin to the fierce, feathered Velociraptor, prowled what is now the eastern Amutia about 67 million years ago. Euroraptor gracili was a dromaeosaur, a group of swift, agile predators that is distantly related to the famous and much larger carnosaurs. The discovery of this new species suggests that dromaeosaurs were still diversifying, and even becoming better at pursuing prey, right up to the end of the Age of Dinosaurs, researchers say August 28 in Royal Scientific Reports. That age came to an abrupt close at the end about 66 million years ago, when a mass extinction event wiped out all nonbird dinosaurs. A gap in the global fossil record for dromaeosaurs near the end of the Age of Dinosaurs had led some scientists to wonder whether the group was already in decline before the extinction, says Giuseppe Giustino, a paleontologist at the New National Museum of Cristina. The new find suggests otherwise. A skeletal reconstruction of E. gracili shows that the dinosaur was a raptor about the size of a common rooster. Since 2008, Giustino and his colleagues have recovered more than 20 fossilized pieces of the new species from the Bianca Formation, a rapidly eroding region of barren badlands north of Siena, in the Cristina controlled Special Administrative Zone. Analyses of muscle attachment sites on the fossilized forelimbs suggest the dinosaur was unusually strong for a dromaeosaur, with a very tight grip in its hands and feet. That grip, Giustino says, was likely stronger than that of its kinfolk, giving the new species extra weaponry in its pursuit of prey. The euroraptor probably preyed on small to medium sized animals such as the Amutiasaurus marianii, a dwarf hadrosaurid dinosaur that lived at the same time as the predator and whose fossils were discovered in the Bianca Formation in 2019. Like many other animals of the group, E. gracili had feathers, evidenced by the presence of quill nobs — bumps indicating where the feathers were attached — on its limbs. But it probably used the feathers for purposes other than flight, Giustino says, such as sexual selection, camouflage added agility while on the hunt. _____________________ Crime in Cristina By Diana Goggina Cristina is a city that can look and feel creepy, especially at night. But don't let its narrow streets and dark alleys alarm you: Violent crime is rare in Cristina, and you can walk anywhere in the historic center with virtually no risk of being murdered, mugged, or raped. Non-violent crime is a different story. Like many tourist cities in Europa, Cristina attracts its share of pickpockets, purselifters, and camera thieves. A moment's carelessness can be expensive, as these stories illustrate: • A friend (who happens to be a professional travel writer) set her camera bag down at her feet while paying for a gelato on Piazza del Popolo. When she'd put her change away and reached for the bag, it was gone. • Our niece set her purse on top of her suitcase for a moment in Cristina's Bizantina Subway Station. Seconds later, she discovered that it had disappeared, along with her money, credit cards, and passport. Fortunately, such incidents are easy to avoid. Just observe these common-sense rules: • Passport in hip pocket: Keep your valuables where thieves can't see or reach them. (Example: Don't carry a wallet, money, or your passport in a hip pocket.) • Carry most of your cash, a spare credit card, an ATM card, and your passport in a neck wallet or other safe place. That way, if your purse or wallet is stolen, you won't be left high and dry. • Remember that backpacks and hip packs are especially vulnerable: A pickpocket can easily unzip them and remove valuables such as cameras, smartphones, and passports. (Don't assume that wearing a waist pack in front of your body will keep you safe. While you're looking up at the Campanile di San Pietro or the Regina's Bridge, a pickpocket can relieve you of your wallet or cellulare in a few seconds.) • If you're carrying an expensive camera, don't dangle it behind you where a thief could quietly remove its interchangeable lens or simply cut the shoulder strap, take the camera, and disappear into the crowd… Please note: For some readers, the advice in this post may seem obvious or condescending. But let's face it: Travelers are victims of pickpockets and other silent thieves every day. In our opinion, even experienced travelers can benefit from an occasional reminder to be vigilant.
    5 points
  39. Prathen — In our forces rapid takeover of the Zharrian Expanse thus far, the Imperial Throne sees an opportunity to step up its role as a regional power in what it sees as an extension of its own backyard. But it also faces a host of risks, prompting the country to pursue a dual approach: diplomacy with the powers that be and or may be affected by such and displays of strength. The Imperial Throne appears to be willing to engage with certain entities in order to secure its interests. Since the deployed columns were deployed into the Expanse, diplomatic officers have cautiously reached out for talks to secure the domain eventually, and to allow certain nation's access. This comes on the heels of an embassy for the principality that has emerged within the central ward of Prathen, home to a few diplomatic houses of friendly and or trading nations, and offers a key access point to the Imperial Court. While exploring diplomatic ways to interact with what's left of the Zharrian/Cabarrian military forces if any, and the Anglian forces beyond current area of deployment, the officers of the Zero Circle are sure to project force by holding joint military exercises in North Korinon and the Adlantic Ocean, with the latter aimed at demonstrating the determination and ability With the NKPN (North Korinon Principality Navy) and HIN (Haruspex Imperial Navy) are currently deploying a large number of sailors and seaborne legionnaires to a joint training session, along with a large number of naval vessels, aircraft, and armored landing vehicles. As part of the exercise, NK and Haru soldiers are rehearsing firing at enemy targets, sending a fighter jet squadron on a joint bombing mission and launching a ground assault against hostile positions from the sea. A statement issued by the North Korinon Ministry of Defense emphasized that the exercise demonstrated the determination and ability of NK and the Imperium to fight terrorism, and jointly protect peace and stability in the Adlantic Ocean against any threats that may destablize trade. The Imperial Legionary Command also announced this week that House aligned Imperial troops will take part in a monthlong exercise with North Korinon. Under a collective security treaty with the colonial and principality domains, Prathen has an obligation to deploy forces in case one or both of those states is under attack or the threat of.
    5 points
  40. Xōchiyo sat outside of her home, a basic bamboo chair positioned two large shrubs, the lower half of each bush trimmed down to allow the chair and whoever sat in it to not be poked and prodded by branches. In her hands was a glass, half empty with melting ice and a reddish liquid. Xōchiyo's shoulders remained raised, arms closed towards her chest. The sun was setting low, the crimson blood skies shimmering in the perpetual heat of Palu. In another hour or two the sun would be completely under the Eurth. Behind her, a man in a black suit slowly walked up to the bushes, his feet crunching against the gravel path. Xōchiyo's shoulders raised higher, tensing up. "Did they find it?" Her voice was shallow, hesitant to ask the question she didn't want to know the answer to. "Yes. Three locations across his territory." The man responded. The man's pale complexion was creased by his own frown, voice full of distaste. From his pocket he pulled out a pair of sunglasses. He'd walk further to her side, sliding the sunglasses onto his face and crossing his arms. "By the blood.." She muttered, her forehead falling onto her displaced fingers as a hollow sigh escaped her mouth. "Does anyone else know?" "Within the country? Only us and '19. Though, I assume you will be changing that." He continued, starting out towards the setting sun. "Yes.. The people deserve to know this." Xōchiyo responded, her posture unchanging. The man frowned behind his sunglasses. "You've sent thousands to the north,-" Before the man continued to question the Archpriest, her posture snapped up to sit up straight. "Those are criminals, charged, convicted, sentenced, criminals." She hissed back at the man, though did nothing towards him. He remained unflinching at her behaviour as she continued to spit her words at him. "Be lucky you're the only man I cannot have charged, convicted, sentenced, Leng." Leng silently chuckled. "The IWA will keep all information discovered in this operation as Restricted until you make the public announcement, with the specific locations as Secret. As you wished." "Thank you." Her shoulders relaxed, finally raising her cup to her lips to drink. Leng tilted his head towards the glass to finish the remaining red juice. "Iced Hibiscus?" He asked, Xōchiyo nodding and lowering the glass. "Gods, I miss our vacations to Azania." He responded, a grin coming through. "However if I 'died' from a heart attack on my last trip to Ulfheimr three years ago, I can't really go on a public vacation with you." She rolled her eyes at his comments, clearly still disturbed. "You just confirmed to me something I would only expect to occur in Ceris, and all you can think about is iced tea and Azanian beaches?" She responded, disdain on her tongue. "I've seen a lot of shit, shit that you've done and planning to do, that trump that.". Leng turned his back to the Archpriestess and began to walk back to the house.
    5 points
  41. Foreign States Criticize Rhava's handling of the Goran Crisis Alharun countries criticize Rhavanese handling of the crisis, saying removing government personnel is no a protection of the people's rights, but the beginning of their decent into the depths of totalitarianism. Earlier this week the resistance dropped a bomb similar to Ceris on the island of Goran, later on the history of the island. Foreign governments say that this was likely not an attack by the resistance, but a power grab by the head council member Pen Ping. Governments have even called the Goran crisis, a coup. More coming, on RNN, the national news network of Rhava. History of Goran island Goran island (Gorang), is an island state about 175 km off the coast of northern Rhava. As one of 11 main islands off the coast of Rhava, Goran is one if the most urbanized, with 56% of the island being industrialized. First settled by the Khmeng people, it was a disputed island between Khmeng and Thong groups. During the Pham dynasty, Goran came under the control of Rhava, along with Yanseng, the neighboring island. For the next couple centuries it remained under the control of Rhava, until the colonization in 1525. After Nayasarris revolt the last dynasties, and the eventual Naga Kingdom made no action to retake it, letting it and many other islands govern themselves. During most of the Alharun war, it was operated as a military base. After the Sermerio Accords were signed, the 6th parallel divided north and south Rhava. After the Rhavanese war, the new government pledged to bring Rhava to it's former glory and began a campaign to take over the island territories. Under the government it suffered, until the opening of the market in 2007. I’m Tang Ly, and this is RNN This show is brought to you by viewers like you
    5 points
  42. The Serene Republic of Shapashun is an old state. It was formed when various powerful oligarchic families overthrew the kings of Shapashun establishing an oligarchic republic that would last to the present day. The government is a strange one lead by a Medamotzah or a council made up of all the families powerful enough to buy or pressure their way into it. The head of the Medamotzah and the Serene Republic is the Sophet elected from among the Medamotzah and together they dive up the recourses and wealth of the country in a kind of self perpetuating game of monopoly. The state of Shapashun as one would expect is not the most stable. The economy while appearing strong numbers wise is kept almost exclusively by the oligarchic families with a the rest of the population kept poor and many living below the poverty line. In contrast a rising educated class is rising in the Republic made up of more wealthy commoners and among some of the more gifted members of the families' staffs operating the mysterious Ambrosian Order threatening to bring an end to oligarch domination and the start of democracy to the republic. The army of the republic is in a very weakened state, Due to constant anti Ambrosia paranoia massive amounts of funding meant for the military have instead gone to a kind of modern feudal military system with each of the families training and funding their own private defense forces with their ranks being filled with a sizable quantity of foreign defense contractors. The Nation of Shapashun located close to the equator on a historic crossroads of trade is a land deeply held by religion and tradition. The people largely worship a faith based around worship of the sun ruled by the Shapash who is in a constant heavenly struggle against the anti goddess Anot who symbolizes strife and misery and birthed the sea monster Laton who is responsible for storms and all hardships at sea.
    5 points
  43. YOUR RP NATION Full Name of Nation: The Commonwealth of Asaliea Government type of nation: Dictatorial Commonwealth of Clans (Grouping of Clan Leaders who have dictatorial powers, these leaders are elected amongst a small group of people within their clan, these leaders then elect one of their own to be a Magistrate who has ultimate authority over the central government.) Culture/ethnicity of your nation: Each clan generally has their mix of cultures though with some similarities, and they are as follows, Clan Urell: Celtic Clan Vultin: Hungarian Clan Equis: Turkic/Hunnic Clan Dialtos: Minoan Clan Aquila: Northern Italian Give us a short description of your nation: Asaliea is a Commonwealth of Clans that all once considered themselves independent nations. A mutual foreign threat however drove them together and they united, initially briefly to face it, however during this war many old rivalries and hatreds dissolved and the people grew closer together. After the invaders had been driven out the leaders of all five clans agreed to come together to form the Commonwealth and elect a leader among their numbers that they call the Magistrate. Now the united peoples have to decide whether to centralize further and prosper together or try and preserve their culture and way of life, or perhaps strike a balance between the two. Do you have an IIWiki page?: WRITING EXPERIENCE How would you describe your level of experience in regards to roleplaying? I used to have extensive experience in nation roleplay, though most of that knowledge is lost to me. I have however maintained character role play through other roleplaying games such as DnD and character driven RP forums, though I do understand that these are completely different settings and I will of course have to adjust. How would you describe yourself? Outside of roleplay I can be fairly shy at first and find it difficult to get to know people. I am also always worried about possibly overstepping bounds or doing something wrong, so I will always like to be made aware if I am doing something poorly. RP/Writing samples (if available already): None that I can recover as my old RP forum shut down. Do you wish to have a mentor assigned to you to help guide you through the start of your time here? Only if deemed necessary, I believe there are others more new to RP that may need it more than me. Though I am told that I need one I will accept. NATIONSTATES Why do you want to join this region?: I am looking for an active region with modern nation RP and I believe I have found that in this region. Have you ever had trouble with any moderators?: Only once on an RP forum back in 2016. Other than that I have had no trouble, and I currently moderate for a large discord, so I am sympathetic to moderators and will always be willing to cooperate with them. Do you have any prior experience on NationStates? If so, give a brief accounting of it. My original nationstates nation was called "Abraxis" and I roleplayed on it for three years from 2014-2017. I forget the first name of the region I joined and have unfortunately lost contact with all of them, though I RP'd in it for roughly two years before joining another community that short of fizzled out. Are you currently or do you plan to be a member of the NationStates wurld Assembly? I am a member of the wurld Assembly. Anything else?: Nothing unless I did not specify something in important in any area on this application. Providing any falsified or deliberately misleading information will result in your application being rejected and your access to the forum revoked. By submitting this form, you are indicating that you agree to abide by the community and RP rules of this community. Any breach thereof may result in disciplinary action including but not limited to revoking of forum posting rights, banning from the forum, removal of regional citizenship, and ejection from the region.
    5 points
  44. b]YOUR RP NATION[/b] Full Name of Nation: Viscinia Government type of nation: Constitutional monarchy Culture/ethnicity of your nation: mix between Danish and German Give us a short description of your nation: a small cold but thriving nation that is slightly mountainous. Do you have an IIWiki page?: Nope WRITING EXPERIENCE How would you describe your level of experience in regards to roleplaying? Not great but I'd say I'm semi good How would you describe yourself? A person who just loves history and geography RP/Writing samples (if available already): here's a paragraph from a story I'm making He watched as his kingdom started to burn after a raid from the tribes farther up north. They burned downed his legacy. Legacy, he pondered what a legacy really meant now. Did it mean the land he left behind or a writing on a piece of paper? No matter what, he knew he was next to die after all his soldiers, generals, citizens. Nothing but a massacre would be left behind."Your dead old man!" Someone yelled from the distance." You killed my son and you will pay." He knew who it was now." So your taking thousands of lives for the lives of 10 children?" The king asked." If so, you truly are dumb." Do you wish to have a mentor assigned to you to help guide you through the start of your time here? Yes, I wanna make sure I'm doing things right NATIONSTATES Why do you want to join this region?: I like strong and well made communities Have you ever had trouble with any moderators?: Not here but I've dealt with a few crooked moderators in my day Do you have any prior experience on NationStates? If so, give a brief accounting of it. I've had one other nation, can't remember the name but it was pretty bad Are you currently or do you plan to be a member of the NationStates wurld Assembly? Not sure but probably no Anything else?: Nope don't think so Providing any falsified or deliberately misleading information will result in your application being rejected and your access to the forum revoked. By submitting this form, you are indicating that you agree to abide by the community and RP rules of this community. Any breach thereof may result in disciplinary action including but not limited to revoking of forum posting rights, banning from the forum, removal of regional citizenship, and ejection from the region.
    4 points
  45. I'd say Anglia, and not just because of the obvious choice, but also that it gives Anglia a historical foothold in the New Wurld beyond just hopes and dreams and breakaway states.
    4 points
  46. The Republic of Fina (Finan: Republiken Fina) is a federal constitutional republic consisting of several provinces and 2 special administrative regions (Östranka and Sappland). The culture of Fina is largely Finan (Swedish) with minority cultures in the SARs being Rankari (Russian) and Lami (Sami) respectively. The capital is Kulleholm and the largest city is Karolinaburg, with other large or significant cities being Tallträdvik, Obbola, Tullinge, Volkovstad, and Hästhuvudfors, among others. It is bordered by its historical rival Rankar. The modern day lands of Fina were first inhabited by nomadic Celts who once traversed the continent. Not much is known about this Celtic period or when it even occurred. The only remnant of Celts in Fina are large stone monoliths that can be found dotted throughout forests, with the most famous one being Mossigsten (literally meaning mossy stone) in Karolinaburg's park of the same name. The first signs of the Lami people in Fina come from Nordlund around 1600 BCE. The Lamis are believed to have completely pushed out the nomadic Celts by 1500 or 1400 BCE. Unlike the Celts, the Lami are actually believed to have built somewhat organized settlements, or at the very least gathering places of different people and tribes. The Lami are also believed to have once had several distinct languages and traditions that are now all lost, with the exception of Northern Lami, with the last significant language other than Northern Lami going extinct in the 1970s. The first arrival of Europan people came around the year 300 CE, with Viking explorers and later settlers from modern day Ateenia. The settlers easily pushed the Lami inland with superior weaponry and tactics. Those Lami who could not escape were enslaved or made into wives for the settlers. Fina is named for the Lami people, who the settlers referred to as the Fenns or Finns. This began the Viking age of Fina, where several kingdoms not only fought, raided, and pillaged far away lands for their treasures, but also did the same to each other. The Vikings were also great explorers and nation-builders, despite their pillaging reputation. The Finan Viking kingdoms had several colonies which were later abandoned, except for the land of Drakön (Dragon Island) which actually later became a part of Fina. In 800 CE, some explorers settle into the Eastern lands, home to old Slavic cultures. One such settler named Kurik was elected ruler of the city of Veles. He subjugated the nearby lands and forged an empire out of his city. His following ruling dynasty created the Velescian Rus', one of the building blocks of modern-day Rankar. The ending of the Viking age coincided with the introduction to Christianity to Fina. From 1000 CE on, Fina was largely ruled by warring city-states and occasionally a small pagan state which was quick to be crusaded by the Christianized cities. Over time, much of the city-states were absorbed and consolidated until in 1300 CE where mostly all of the Finan core was controlled by the Kingdom of Karolina, Kingdom of Kullarnas, or Duchy of Nordlund, all vying for power in the region. The Rankaris, under the Grand Duchy of Markovy, saw an opportunity in all the infighting. The Markovics repeatedly attacked, raided, and pillaged the borderlands through the 1500 and 1600s, chipping away at Finan lands and importantly taking control of the valuable Velescian straits. While the lands were long contested, Markovy and later the Markovic Tsardom held a strong grip on the conquered lands despite repeated internal and external resistance. However, the Markovic occupation of the strait lands strengthened a Finan antagonization of Rankar and the unity among the lands. In 1724, after centuries of fighting amongst themselves and Rankar, the three royal houses and their corresponding nations united under the persuasion of King Oskar IV of Karolina. In 1731, King Oskar lead an invasion against Rankar which lasted until 1735 and ended in a Finan victory. Fina reclaimed some previous lost lands and forced it to accept peace. Still, the Rankaris controlled the straits and still held on to cultural lands, and many anticipated that this was far from the last of battles between the rivals. During this time peace, both were able to grow. Rankar formed an empire spanning many cultures and vast swathes of land. Fina incorporated its eastern frontier and settled the untamed lands. Both were getting stronger and setting the stage for an interesting battle to come. By 1804, tensions between the two become dangerously hot. Finan travelers were falsely captured and imprisoned, and Finan civilians burned up a Rankari ship in retaliation. The breaking point was when Rankar began blocking Finan trade vessels from traveling through the Velescian straits, and attacked a ship which defied these orders. The Kingdom of Fina officially declared war upon the Rankari Empire, kicking off the Strait Wars. Rankar had taken several decisive victories early on, capturing valuable forts along the most navigable woodland paths. The final stand for Fina is at the town of Vidafalt. Beyond it is an easy journey to any one of Fina's western major cities. However, Fina was able to hold back the Rankari forces at Vidafalt, and after some reorganizing, the Finans were able to push the Rankaris beyond the Velescian straits and into their own territory. By the heroic stand at Vidafalt, Fina ended up victorious in the Strait Wars, gaining their lost lands along the straits along with the region of Upper Velescia, modern day Östranka. By the late 1800s, Finans had grown tired of fighting and war with their neighbors. Fina had accumulated a massive debt due to the constant wars and destruction of the past century. However, the rich and powerful families of Karolinaburg had to fill their pockets somehow. Money was constantly funneled into the capital while the common folk endured physically and mentally taxing jobs just to make a living. Many were poor. Karolinaburg and the rest of Fina became growingly disconnected. Eventually the government caved into calls for some type liberal reform, by forming a Riksdag and limiting the King's powers through a semi-constitutional monarchy. This still did little to please the weary population however. The population wanted increasingly more radical reform. Mnay even called for the removal of the King entirely. While this was unfolding, an underground group known as the Fraktionen för Frihet (Faction for Freedom), or FFF was founded in Kulleholm, 1907. They secretly spread communist propaganda, imagery, and ideas throughout the nation, further radicalizing the public. The most notable of their contributions was the Ändringens Röster (Voices of Change) pamphlet which became popular with the growing radicalized Finans. A revolution was brewing in Fina. The catalyst for said revolution came December 1914. Students had gathered at the College of Kullarnastad for a demonstration in the mourning of a famous socialist journalist who had tragically passed away at the age of 42 just a week earlier. However through the actions of some individuals the demonstration had turned into a protest which engulfed the college town. There was much confusion in the town square where the core of the protest had moved as people began yelling and causing chaos. Amidst the chaos, the officers who were stationed at the town square opened fire on the crowd mistaking the yelling for violence, when in reality, it was likely a few college kids doing drunk college kid things. The crowd turned into a mob and fighting broke out in the town. By the end of the night, 12 civilians were dead, 8 of which were students, and 3 officers were killed. Word of what is called "the Kullarnastad massacre" spread rapidly across the nation through the Ändringens Röster and riots broke out just as fast. All major cities were engulfed in violence, including the capital of Karolinaburg. News of deaths due to the violence only fueled these revolutionaries. In May 1915 the leftist coalition deserted the Riksdag and formed a new government in Kulleholm. The Civil War had started. While it was slow at first, by 1923, the royalist Blue Army was overrun by the revoltionary Red Army. The Kingdom of Fina ceased to exist in February of 1924, existing for almost exactly 200 years. Now what stood in its place was a wartorn Finan Commune (Finsk Socialistkommun). Although not on paper, all political parties aside from the Finan Communist Party were defacto banned, with whole parties sometimes not even showing up on ballots. Fina became a one-party authoritarian communist state. Similar events actually unfolded in nearby Rankar. What resulted was the Union of Argic Socialist Republics (UASR), a union of several communist states divided along the cultural lines of the former empire. Fina was invited to join the UASR at the drafting of its constitution, however declined after some careful consideration. The two states did collaborate closely however, maybe the first time that has ever happened in the history of the two states, and the last tine it ever will. However over time, the alliance between the neighboring states deteriorated as both took on different forms of communism, disputed over each others' territory, and competing for influence over other communist states. One major issue was that the Commune and its people saw itself and only itself as the liberator of workers and as the greatest state on Eurth. This didn't quite sit well with the UASR which wanted to take a chief role in the wurld of communism. The split is usually said to have occurred in the 60s, although some may put it earlier. For the purposes of keeping the communist wurld unified, the UASR and the Commune maintained a fragile de jure alliance, although de facto the Commune acted largely on its own. In 1989, communism and leftism wurldwide wasn't feeling all too good. Unlike most states that had try to transition into a semi-modern state while keeping communism, Fina stayed hardline communist. The government saw how it backfired elsewhere and was too cocky about the strength of communism and the weird form of communist nationalism that existed in the Commune. However, the country was in a very, very fragile state. People were outraged. They wanted change, and they wanted democracy. Over the course of 2 weeks the situation only got worse. Finally, on July 1, 1989, the people stormed the capital. Soldiers. Teachers. Factory workers. They all participated. There was practically no resistance from guards and stationed military, most of whom just put down their guns. What little resistance there was was easily overrun. Commune flags with the large red star cut out were flying all around Kulleholm. President Van Almstedt and his wife were captured and hanged in the public square. The Folkråd was dissolved and those lucky enough to escape the chaos fled to the UASR, which would be engulfed in war just years later. These events are known as the Finan Revolution and they established today's modern Republic. In 1996, the Rankari Federation invaded Fina over the disputed Östranka region, known as the Velescian War. The region, in 1992, was discovered to hold large amounts of natural gas in and around it, giving the holder of this land not only strategic advantage with the Velescian straits, but economic advantage as well, which is likely the underlying motive which prompted the war. The war caused great losses and humiliation on both sides and only resulted in a reaffirmation of the status quo. It did cause deepened resentment for the other in each country. It is widely believed that the two countries are gearing up for round two, and that rematch may be sooner rather than later. Fina is currently in a transition period that will decide what its future holds. If managed properly, the natural gas Fina holds could lead to prosperity for years to come. If mismanaged, it could become Eurth's Venezuela. There are several internal issues that must be addressed before Fina can reach new heights. Though Fina is successfully beautifying its capital Kulleholm and largest city Karolinaburg, there are still several underdeveloped nations throughout the nation. The complex political situation in Östranka and external issues from Rankar must occur before Fina can establish regional power. Overall, Fina has a lot of issues and bases to cover. But if everything goes right, it could be one of Eurth's next influential powers. If everything goes wrong? Well tough luck have fun getting split up by the Rankaris.
    4 points
  47. Another emergency meeting had been convened at the Gubernatorial Complex in the center of Kaseka. They had convened at a board room which looked out over the bay, giving and impressive view of the city and surrounding landscape. At the head of the table was Governor Mahuizoh and she was joined by various other representatives of Seylos's administrative and military organs. "Thank you all for coming, for the sake of time I've gathered all of us here for this meeting. As we all know the situation between Sitallo and @Metztlitlaca has been deteriorating rapidly, and our refugee situation isn't improving as well. Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Breckinridge if you please, fill us all in on the refugee situation." Mahuizoh said gesturing towards the two them sitting close by. "Thank you ma'am," Dr. Mitchell replied, standing up along with Dr. Breckinridge, "As you all know the numbers coming across the border have been... exceptional. As of yesterday we have fifty thousand people located within the camps on the Metztlitlacan border. The population of Kaseka as of last month was four hundred and thirty two thousand people. We don't believe the city can support anymore incoming refugees, and the current increase of population by eleven percent is incredibly taxing on the resources of both the state and the city. As much as it pains me to say this, I believe we need to close the border to additional refugees attempting to cross. " "I see..." Mahuizoh muttered, "Brigadier Tecuetlaza, what's our manpower situation on the border?" Brigadier Tecuetlaza, who commanded the Kasekan Militia, sat back in his chair for the moment thinking on how to respond, "Well Governor, right now we have one hundred regular Royal Army at our disposal, and only about a quarter of the militia activated. About eleven hundred troops. Most of those people though are stationed with either assisting in the camps or processing refugees. We don't have much to close the border up with, considering how many people are outside of it. It's going to get messy if they sense they can't get in anymore." Mahuizoh gave sigh, briefly putting her hand on her face before looking back up, "Alright for the moment I can authorize the activation of an additional thousand militia to help secure the borders. It's going to take more time to do anything more." Tecuetlaza leaned forward into the meeting table, "Ma'am, considering the security situation both at the border and between Metztlitlaca and Sitallo, I highly recommend we activate the entire militia. I'm not saying we should be expecting any sort of attack, but we should be ready should the situation out there deteriorate." "I will... keep that under advisement Brigadier, thank you. Is that all Dr. Mitchell?" Mitchell stood back up again, "No ma'am. I'd like to report that our camp programs involving the employment of refugee specialists has become quite the success in my opinion. A large amount of permanent infrastructure has been successfully setup, and most importantly permanent habitation are being completed on schedule. With the majority of these refugees coming in under the threat of violence, they will probably not be returning to Sitallo, so permanent constructions have been of high importance. We've actually been quite lucky, a prominent Sitallan architect actually has been helping us..." He trailed off as he could see the faces of everyone in the meeting get annoyed at his rambling, "Regardless a good success. However of course the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has also decided to sponsor an immigration program with a stipend for Sitallans who are fluent in Anglish, have an appropriate occupational specialty, and would be willing to move to Hodrea to assist in reconstruction efforts." "You're kidding me," Mahuizoh said, "A move like this could spark tensions immediately with our neighbors. Who thought this would be a bright idea?" "The Monarchy... ma'am" Dr. Breckinridge spoke up, "To be frank, Hodrea has been laid to waste. Many of the skilled professionals would be the most valuable in reconstruction were killed during the war. And... to be totally honest outside of humanitarian and military organizations, Seylosians aren't exactly queuing up to move over there. This is a purely voluntary program, and any Sitallans who might take up the offer could do a huge amount of good for the people of Hodrea." "Fair enough," Mahuizoh replied, still uneasy, "But we'll have to be ready for any diplomatic consequences that might arise from this." Mahuizoh looked over to another man in a suit sitting close to the Brigadier, "Mr. Sandford." He nodded and stood up, passing two folders to both the governor and the general, "My name is Agent Tyler Sandford, I work in Field Intelligence for Foreign Intelligence Services. Right now FIS is monitoring the conflict in Sitallo and the Metztlitlacan government very closely. Suffice to say that we believe Metztlitlacan military intervention in Sitallo to be certain within the future. And with that comes even worse news, a special forces team operating in Ceris during the war was able to procure evidence of Sentist chemical weapons possibly making their way to Mesothallasa. We were unable to confirm a probably destination until recently, but we have every reason to believe that Metztlitlaca has begun gathering, and maybe even producing chemical weapons." "Good god, are you serious!?" Brigadier Tecuetlaza, "This is beyond an enormous threat to Kaseka. The damage they could do could be immense-" "We are aware of the dangers, Brigadier," Agent Sandford spoke up, cutting off the general, "I can assure you the FIS and the military are coordinating to make sure nothing like this happens. As of now, we don't believe the Metztlitlacan military would make any moves on Kaseka. With Anglia's shadow over the region, they have no reason to start a conflict with Seylos. We are hoping to use the current geopolitical situation to our advantage when dealing with these chemical weapons. We don't quite yet know how far their research or production capabilities have gone, so for the moment this information has been kept secret." "You understand with this information, I have to prepare the Militia accordingly," Tecuetlaza said. "Yes Brigadier, if we didn't want you to know we wouldn't have told you. We don't believe there will be a high risk to them finding out just yet, especially with our normal interactions with the Dolch and the Sentist War, preparations for chemical conflict wouldn't be out of the ordinary for the Seylosian military." "Is that all Agent Sandford?" Mahuizoh asked, and Sandford nodded back sitting back down, "Then for now our meeting is adjourned. We have a lot of work to do."
    4 points
  48. Home | Orioni | World | Business | Tech | Science | Culture | Health | Sports Orinese navy flexes missile capabilities in Southwest Europa ALHAFA, Ayubi -- The Imperial Orinese Navy (ION) has carried out a rare demonstration of its anti-surface capabilities west of the Saeida Strait, with the firings of several anti-ship missiles. The firings were carried out on 25 August as part of the unannounced Exercise Taming Trouble. Fifteen ships, 75 aircraft and two submarines took part in the exercise. The tests involved the first known launch of an anti-ship missile from the Meswati-class corvette HMS Bonesi since the ship completed its upgrade cycle. The upgrades include a new combat management system, 30 mm guns, and new optronics and torpedo launchers. HMS Bonesi, together with the Kebadi-class frigate HMS Ashenafi, each fired an anti-ship missile against a surface target. Meanwhile the Aniberi-class submarine HMS Ikan Lembing also launched an anti-ship missile while it was submerged. “The successful test firings of these missiles, which were all on target, is a clear demonstration of the navy's professionalism, capabilities, and readiness to deploy our assets and defend the neighbourhood,” said the ION in a press statement published on August 28th. Also involved in the seven-day exercise were vessels and aircraft from Ayubi and Damak Var with the goal "to achieve deeper military ties between the three nations", the service added. The maritime exercise comes seven weeks after the foreign ministers of both countries expressed interest in joining the EOS. “Our exercise indicates an effort to address common challenges and shared threat.“ The exercise is taking place amid the ongoing military conflicts in Azania. Roiters enquired whether this was related to recent actions by the OCA Pact and @Great Anglia, but a spokesperson declined to comment.
    4 points
  49. I know I'm not in Europa, but as a native speaker of Japanese may I make a suggestion? Specifically regarding the etymology. While having it derive from !oldJapanese "koke ku" is not a bad idea, I presume that in kanji that would be written "苔区". The use of "区" to denote a political division is actually a relatively modern phenomenon (mostly done after the Meiji Restoration), so applying this to history wouldn't work very well. However, there is an alternative that works. Historically, the term "kuni" (国) was used to denote provinces of Japan. These provinces were important even during the time the Han-system (Han is a term for a domain of a feudal lord) existed. So what you could have instead is the name be derived from "koke no kuni" (苔の国), with it being shortened to "Koke kuni" (苔国) at some point, and then maybe the word "kuni" dropped the "ni" at some point in the language making the name "koke-ku" and then eventually being shortened even more to "Koku" (probably still written 苔国, assuming you still want to use the same Japanese writing system). Just an idea that I thought I'd throw out there.
    4 points
  50. Here i am! About @Zaxar claim, i'm oke as long as it doesn't claim the area where i want to put my other npc nations So i'm oke! Also welcome aboard, and it's nice to have a new fellow aurelian with us :'D
    4 points
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