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A Storm Approaches


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10:00 ODT (oriental daylight time), June 29th, 2007

Daily Meeting of the Cabinet, Executor?s Conference Room, Orthen

 

A morose atmosphere hangs over the Office of the Executor, despite the bright morning sunshine flooding through the monumental panes of glass that dominate most of the room?s outer walls. From these grand windows, the conference room?s fifteen occupants command the greatest view in Orthen. They sit an impressive 215 floors above the streets below, the tallest building in Miiros, and from this single spire every operation of the executive branch of government is carried out. Needless to say, security remains tight at all time.

 

Every ounce of Miirosi technology and ingenuity goes into securing the mighty Tower of the Executor. AA batteries are scattered about Orthen (an unusual sight in the Free City) and a fly could not move through the corridors without being detected. It allows the Executor and her ministers rare peace of mind: this is their sanctuary.

 

They sit around a large, circular table. Ornately carved and crafted from highly polished cherry wood, the table could be considered a work of art in and of itself. All of the ministers were assembled and in the process of reading their reports for the day. Afterwards, they would scurry back to their respective offices located elsewhere in the labyrinthine tower.

 

?And so you can see, it is of the utmost importance that we acquire a domestic source of oil,? finishes Nero Vos, Minister of Energy. The man has a pallid complexion and sunken eyes. The general consensus is that extensive work with the City?s early reactors had affected his appearance. The soft lighting of the room reflects off his balding head, distracting an incredibly bored Defense Minister.

 

John Haggerty, an old five-star general straight from the Age of Isolation, watches the light from Nero?s head play off a nearby marble pillar, following it lazily with his eyes as it slowly moves up and down while Vos speaks. The sound of the Executor?s irritated voice brings him back to reality quickly.

 

?Still with us, John?? Andrea deVries questions angrily. ?I am sorry if matters that do not involve tanks bore you, John. Perhaps you would like to step out??

 

Minister Haggerty scowls; his relationship with the Executor has been strained as of late. ?No, Madame Executor,? answers the minister, his gruff voice filling the room. ?I assure you, I am paying the utmost attention.?

 

?Good,? snipes the Executor venomously. The two have been arguing over the recent decision not to expand the Miirosi air force, something John had been lobbying for quite passionately for the past year. ?Now, Minister Vos, tell me: has the survey report from the Rosario come back yet??

 

Nero Vos rummages through the large pile of folders and papers arrayed before him, forehead creasing further in irritation with each passing second the aforementioned report remains lost to him. Finally, a faint smile crosses his face as he pulls forth the required documents. ?Yes Madame Executor and the findings are promising. While no undersea deposits have been found in the Rosario, all of the experts are saying we should perform a search in the Sea of Galipoli. They are quite certain the oil Miiros requires can be extracted from that region?

 

Marcus Torbin, Guildmaster of the Traders? Guild and Minister of Commerce, a shrewd man of fifty-nine years, shifts uncomfortably in his seat. He brushes a stray strand of graying brown hair from his eyes before speaking. ?The Sea of Galipoli? Now, that is awfully close to Andrasteia is it not?? The Guildmaster (being a man of trade, not war) found the prospect of a war so close to his precious factories made him uneasy. It would be a happier thought if his companies were simply suppliers instead of the ones getting targeted in bombing raids. ?I?m all for finding oil, but we would not want to antagonize King ?.?

 

The Executor cut Torbin off abruptly. ?Good. I want multiple survey teams scouring that sea. Lucius Moros can burn in his little Christian hell for all I care; Miiros needs to find oil.? Andrea leans back in her chair, tired of sitting upright for so long. ?This leads us into our next order of business, I believe. Melissa, how goes attempts to regularize relations with Andrasteia and the other provinces?? By provinces, deVries meant the other nations that made up the territory that made up the Former Second Empire of Miiros, the very Empire that Moros seeks to revive.

 

?I have good news and bad news, Madame Executor,? replies Melissa Vander, Minister of Foreign Affairs. In some circles, the young daughter of famed pacifist and former executor Aron Vander is considered a diplomatic prodigy. At 30, she is the youngest Foreign Minister to have served the Free City and a beauty by anyone?s reckoning. Most wonder what she is doing in the wearisome field of politics when she has the fortunes and looks to be doing anything else.

 

?Well, good news first I suppose,? replies Andrea with a wave of the hand.

 

?Ahem, well the majority of the old provinces share our concern with Moros? declaration. No one appears happy to have a new ?Emperor of Miiros,?? Melissa sighs before continuing. ?Kratos, however, is in dire straits. It is apparent to me that those in the north are all too pleased that Moros is in power and the current government is not capable of suppressing them for very long. We?ve been in communication with some members of government who have defected from the Oligarchy in Zelos. They are convinced Moros? father have had agents spurring Kratos towards the breaking point for decades. They are convinced that civil war will erupt.?

 

?Moros will doubtlessly support the north,? interjects Minister Haggerty with one of his trademark scowls. ?We need to put that little tyrant into his proper place sooner than later!?

 

Murmurs went up around the table; the prospect of war unnerves most of the Cabinet. The Executor raises her hands, palms outward, for quiet. ?It has not yet come to that. Alexandra, what do your agents hear??

 

Alexanda Letti, Minister of Information, serves as the Spymaster for the Free City. Under the Ministry of Information operates a myriad of intelligence gathering operations spread across Greater Europa and the Free City itself. Few Miirosi know the true nature of the ministry and it hid happily behind its minor role regulating communications in the Free City. Its greatest weapon is the Order of Azrael, an ancient thing dating back to the First Miirosi Empire. Formerly the Emperor?s bodyguards and assassins, they defected to the side of the Executor, which guaranteed the collapse of the Second Empire and the establishment of democracy. The modern order is every bit as deadly as their ancient predecessors.

 

Letti, a somewhat sinister figure herself, unnerves many of the Cabinet. Many wonder aloud what place a Spymaster has in a society that cherishes its liberty and rights to privacy as dearly as Miiros. However, many view her as a necessary evil, including Alexandra Letti.

 

?My people in Zelos and Kalei confirm what Minister Vander has gathered through orthodox channels. Andrasteia has made civil war inevitable. I give Kratos a month maximum before things boil over in Kalei and Ithreal. With those two metropolitan areas in revolt, the rest of the north will soon follow and Moros will move quickly to get his ?peacekeepers? inside the country. The east, around Zelos, will remain sympathetic to the Free City?s ideals. I recommend we have good Minister Haggerty send some of our own peacekeepers in. The Oligarchy holds the south strongly, but with two-thirds of the country in revolt, it is unlikely the region can remain stably under their control.?

 

An uncomfortable silence falls over the room. Confrontation with Andrasteia seems to be closer than anyone had expected. Andrea is the first the break the silence.

 

?Well, Melissa, I seem to have cut you off. Please continue.?

 

?Oh, yes, well,? Vander shuffles through her reports, trying to regroup her thoughts. Minister Letti had blindsided her with that knowledge and surprises always get her flustered. ?Like I said, the other provinces are deeply worried and we should meet with their leaders soon if we hope to form any sort of unified Miirosi front.?

 

?And the bad news?? asks deVries.

 

?Well, Andrasteia has refused to even speak with us. They stated rather bluntly that, and I quote, ?The Free City is a debauched shadow-land ruled by the Anti-Christ from her unholy tower. We would sooner take communion from Satan than deal with heathens such as yourselves.??

 

Were the situation not so serious, the Cabinet might have laughed. Instead they all look shocked, save for the Executor, who looks deeply wounded, the Minister of Culture, who seems to be seething, and Minister Haggerty, who turned a perfectly brilliant shade of red.

 

?This is madness!? roared Haggerty, standing from his seat and pounding his fist down on the table. ?Are we to take such people seriously?!?

 

?Enough, Minister!? yells deVries, standing from her chair as well. ?This is clearly a bad situation, but losing our heads over some idiotic Christian demagoguery will get us nowhere! We must maintain our serenity and think clearly. We will call a meeting of the provincial leaders, whom are also threatened by this man. In the meantime, put the FCDC and Armada on standby. Try to be subtle, John.? The Executor walked slowly over to the window and gazed out over Orthen. ?Now this meeting is adjourned, I need time to think.?

 

The ministers all began to gather up their belongings and filter out of the room, save for Minister Letti, who lingers. The Executor tears her gaze away from the sunbathed skyscrapers of her beautiful Orthen and regards the lone Spymaster. She walks briskly past her and enters the corridor, Letti following obediently despite not being given any instruction.

 

(To be continued?)

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  • 2 weeks later...

The corridor from the conference room to the Executor?s sun deck was short, but elegant. The thick marble columns were covered in webs of ivy, which drank up the sun from the skylights above. Vibrant blue and gold marble offset white and gray. The massive panes of glass up above were stained a pale blue, giving the hall a serene atmosphere. The omnipresent sound of running water from a nearby fountain added to the ambiance.

 

The two figures halt their advance before a large set of doors crafted of bronze latticework set within two heavy panes of glass. A motion sensor detects their presence and clears the way for the duo. The room itself can be described as a work of art; the Miirosi pride themselves on their art and culture even more highly than their economic superiority and political triumphs. Latticed glass forms the majority of the walls and entirety of the ceiling, with marble featured predominantly as well. Fountains and plant life adds a natural serenity to the room with statues and artistic flourishes in the architecture add a man-made majesty. The room provides the Executor and those she keeps counsel with the perfect place to clear their minds.

 

Andrea deVries paused in the threshold to drink in the smells and sounds of the room. This is her favorite room in the entire Tower of the Executor, although she loved her apartments and office dearly as well. She did not look forward to the day when she would have to vacate them to make room for her successor. She crossed the room slowly, Minister Letti following a few steps behind. Andrea sat upon a black granite bench and motioned for the Minister of Information to join her.

 

Once they were both seated, there was a pause as Andrea stared up into the sky, a look of total peace overcoming her visage. Then, with a heavy sigh, she spoke. ?Brief me on the status of the region, Alexandra.? She paused. ?Are the tidings as dark as I fear??

 

?I believe so, Madame Executor,? began the Spymaster, with a small smirk planted on her face. This unnerved Andrea, who had never quite felt completely comfortable with Alexandra. She had no idea how she collected her information and she knew too much about Azrael not to be afraid of them. ?However, the time for Miiros to rise has never been better.?

 

Andrea frowned. ?How so??

 

?Well, the majority of the region sits upon the precipice, Madame Executor. Beautancus and Haruspex, two ancient rivals have emerged from isolation and threaten to set the Occident ablaze. Those north-western nations are the most meddlesome and will be distracted for many months by the war that is to come.?

 

?Explain,? began the Executor, vexed, ?why the dooming of the Occident is a good thing? We have strong allies in the SDC. If war with Moros were to break out, they could surely -?

 

The executor is not allowed to finish, before the spymaster interrupts. ?Oh Madame Executor, the SDC is not to be trusted anymore. Their political system has shown itself to be too fickle; they were strong capitalists yesterday, but now bless the call of the Revolution. In time, they will want to insidious socialist Revolution to work its dark work here in the Orient. They cannot be our friends forever, I think. They will turn on us in time, unless we become strong enough to prevent that from happening.?

 

Despite looking shocked and slightly appalled, the Executor?s silence allowed her spymaster to continue.

 

?Anyway, the Occident being distracted is good for it will allow us to war with Moros without their protests. They all lean socialist, with the exception of the newcomers, and Tagmatium?s political structure is very much akin to Andrasteia?s own. They may side against us or prevent what could be Miiros? finest hour. The south -?

 

This time, it is Andrea who interrupts. ?Now wait! Finest hour? We?re poised with the prospect of war on the Free City?s streets!?

 

?Hush,? scolds Alexandra, which causes the Executor to scowl angrily. ?You are not looking at the larger picture, as Azrael has always been trained to do. I am sorry Executor, but I need you to understand the opportunity we have.?

 

The Executor?s anger subtly subsides. ?Go on.?

 

?Now, the south too is embroiled in hostility, but we have never concerned ourselves very much with that area. Cabarria and its neighbors have, up until now, had little impact upon regional affairs. This could be changing soon if a war breaks out down there. The only result of such a conflict would either be chaos down south with much destruction or the unification of the two rivals by force. Cabarria then would be the next target - or Cabarria could usurp the two belligerent powers completely. Any outcome save chaos and the south now has a large new nation and it could become a player in the region. We should seek to ingratiate ourselves with one of the factions now, before they achieve a greater power.?

 

?Interesting,? says the Executor, her own mind now calculating the possibilities for Miiros if it had a southern friend. ?But still, you have not explained how this is our finest hour.?

 

?Potentially, Executor, potentially,? corrects Letti. ?There is very much that could go wrong. As I said, unification down south would create a much stronger power. It can do the same in the Orient and that is why King Moros seeks it. If the Free City could unify the other provinces diplomatically, we can crush Andrasteia and annex them into the union. Miiros would have huge new tracts of land to manage and any new democratic union would be dominated by the Free City due to our large population.

 

The Executor?s face lit up as she too began to envision the possibilities of such a future.

 

?The trouble is unifying through peace, Madame Executor. That point is essential and will require extensive diplomatic wrestling on your part. That is why it is essential that no one else interferes. We need the provinces, weak and backwards on their own, to have no one else to turn to for safety. They need to make this decision to side with us or else they will be conquered states and their populations will be our enemies rather than patriotic citizens in Europa?s newest democracy and the greatest state in the Orient.?

 

?Well,? began deVries, slightly awed by Alexandra?s analysis of the situation. ?It looks like you have everything figured out already. Why do we have me at all then?? She laughs, but is clearly bitter.

 

?Do not be silly, Executor deVries. Miiros needs you; I am but an advisor like any other minister. Azrael are your eyes, your ears, and your hands. We live to serve Miiros. I have offered you my counsel and suggestions. It is up to you to enact them; I do not envy you the job. It will not be easy.?

 

?No, it certainly will not be. Thank you, Alexandra. Now leave me. I must think on this.?

 

The spymaster gives a solemn nod and offers an encouraging smile before sliding out of the room. ?Andrea deVries is a mighty Executor,? she thought happily. ?a new republic is bound to be born.?

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12:00 ODT, July 4th, 2007

Eido Square, Zeudua, Kratos

 

Sun bathes the main square of Zeudua, capital of Kratos, rays reflecting off of the glassy fa?ade of the Government Building. The buildings surrounding the square are utilitarian and modern (of the Bauhaus style), as is the square itself. The people of Kratos enjoyed little that did not boost the efficiency of the populace and it was reflected all around. The only ornamentation is the stark, concrete square are the life-sized granite statues of the current members of the Oligarchy, Kratos? ruling body.

 

Normally the site of government endorsed rallies, today Eido Square holds a different sort of crowd. Chara Floros, a young student from the University of Zeudua, has climbed atop the base of the statue and is now raising quite the commotion. The deviation in routine quickly attracts the attention of the citizenry? and others.

 

?The time has come my brothers and sisters!? shouts Chara in Greek, her voice carrying over the hushed crowd easily. ?The Emperor has reclaimed his crown and trumpets the glory and virtues of the workers! The time to rejoin the fragments of the Empire That Was is now! Cast down the Oligarchy!?

 

Members of the crowd varied in their reactions greatly. Many began to take up the chants with her; however, an equal number appeared mortified. For good cause. Young Chara?s speech had not yet gone on for fifteen minutes when the armored vehicles of the Zeudua Civil Militia began to surround the crowd, preparing for crowd control. Their presence only inflamed idealistic Chara.

 

?Look there! The steel chariots of our oppressors approach already: such is their fear of us!? Her voice cried out melodically as she pointed wildly at the paramilitary vehicles. ?They wish us to keep silent always. Always quiet, always obeying. Never question! Those who question die!?

 

The crowd began to shift uncomfortably as the division between the supporters and those wishing to leave became more noticeable. Cries of hatred rise up from many, but not one word comes in defense of the Oligarchy. Soon the loudspeakers of the Capital Militia vehicles drowned out the adamant admonishments of Chara and her impromptu supporters.

 

?Attention citizens, you are in direct violation of the Protocols of Proper and Pious Conduct. Silence yourselves at once and lie down on the ground. You are all to be detained for questioning.? The tinny voice over the speaker spoke emotionlessly in Greek and then repeated in Common.

 

?Piss on Proper and Pious Conduct!? shouted Chara, many shouting in agreement. ?The Emperor has returned and will free us at long last! My fellows, we must tear these statues down! We must show the Emperor Moros that his subjects await his return, so that he will cast down the Oligarchy! Resist the Executioners of Oligarchic Authority! ?

 

?You have ten seconds to stand down at once or Punitive Action shall be engaged.?

 

?10?

 

?They?ll kill us all!?

 

?9?

 

?Quickly, rail against them!?

 

?8?

 

?The time for action- ?

?7?

 

-is now, my countrymen!?

 

Chaos begins to erupt as the enflamed members of the throng launch themselves against the Militia vehicles as Chara pours forth more speech against the Oligarchy. Terrified bystanders begin to panic and start to stampede for safety. The Capital Militiamen are now thoroughly terrified due to the loss of order and begin to panic as the windows to their vehicles are hammered upon by a murderous mob and the transports start to rock back and forth as people attempt to overturn them.

 

?Cease and desist! Back AWAY FROM THE VEHICLES!? shout the loudspeakers. By this time many hundreds of people have poured into the square from their respective places of employment or residence. Additional Civil Militia are also issuing forth from the Government Building, looking alarmed.

 

?GET BACK NOW, DAMN IT!?

 

?They?ll kill us! They?ve already killed so many - disappeared in the night! How many family mem-?

 

Chara was not permitted to finish her tirade as the machine gun turrets atop the Civil Militia vehicles began to discharge their deadly contents into Chara?s body and the statues of the Oligarchs. Bits of flesh, bone, and granite sail through the air as the bullets decimate the young lady and the statues indiscriminately. The spilled blood rains down on the mob and sends them into a frenzy as total and complete chaos and violence engulfed the square. Civil Militia begin to fire at everything in sight and the crowds begin fleeing the square and flooding into thoroughfares and side streets. Traffic grinds to a halt too slowly for everyone to claim safe passage. Not knowing what is happening, the hapless motorists are also drawn into the conflict as Civil Militia guns begin to belt civilian vehicles as well.

 

As news spread of the massacre, angry citizens begin to pour into the streets all over the city: a riot has begun that will not end for many days. The Oligarchs needed to be airlifted from the Government Building, which fell after a prolonged siege by the citizenry of Zeudua. The riot eventually reproduces itself in several major northern cities as news of the Oligarchs flight emboldens the downtrodden masses.

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  • 4 weeks later...
To: The Republic of Miiros

From: The Principality of Machina Haruspex

Purpose: Non-Aggression Pact/Economical Development

 

Esteemed Neighbors,

 

The Dark Mother, Fayh Eimmiire Dayus Xukuth, Holy Empress of the Principality wishes to begin a chapter of economical growth and prosperity between us. While we excel at military hardware of various sorts, there is a subtle lacking in the more, how shall we say, civillian minded trade and development.

 

It is the concern of the Empress that these talks do go well, as we have much we can offer one another. If you approve of an envoy to be sent, one would be able to arrive in a week's time due to the war effort via U-Boat.

 

In Honor,

Katsuya Ekatrina Xukuth

Vice Lord of the Ministry of Intelligence and Information Services.

Second House of Nobles

House Renor Xukuth

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