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The Imperial Republic

 

It was going to be a clear night, it looked like. Already the moon was rising, bright and full as it rose into the pre-autumn sky. The sun was settling below the Achelon mountains, the last of it's rays piercing the shadows of the lowlands just long enough to say goodbye for the day.

 

The breeze was cool and crisp, a refreshing change from the record breaking heat wave that had plagued most of the nation since the summer began. The brightest stars were appearing in the sky above as the moon rose to meet them. Truly, it was a rare moment of paradise.

 

Admiral Hadenar hated himself for ruining it.

 

He stood on the observation of an old Accran bunker overlooking Sydvani, surrounded by mercenaries, revolutionists, tech heads and his own private coucil of officers he had grown to trust over the years leading hte Imperial Navy. All of them had something to gain out of this. The Accrans wanted actual progress instead of empty promises of reconstruction. The mercenaries, they were there because people halfway around the world had a score to settle.

 

He was there to set things right.

 

It had been almost five years since he had agreed to have the old CIS Adjutant murdered. Five years of watching as Korrino had swooped in and taken control of everything. The media, the few corporations that didn't flee from his death squads, even the Imperial Council had fallen under his control during the chaos of the AdSoc War.

 

Innocent men had marched off to war and died for no reason other than to prove to the world that there was a new superpower to be reckoned with, one that would defend the freedoms of foreign neighbors, one that would extend it's hand and help it's long suffering brethren rebuild after civil war had tore their small nation apart before it had a chance to flourish.

 

But no one, not even the people of Vocenae, had truly known what was happening. Against all odds Vocenae had finally succeeded in becoming something much more important than it had been, all it had to pay were innocent lives, true political freedoms and Hadenar's soul.

 

It was why Admiral Xavian Hadenar, Admiral of the Imperial Vocian Navy and the secret leader of the Accran Insurgency, was going to hijack as many communications satallites as he could, and tell the world what it so desperately needed to hear.

 

The truth.

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Europa.

 

Across Europa television screens flickered. The normal programming across thousands of channels was replaced with the image of a tall, middle-aged man wearing what looked like a Naval officer's uniform filled the screen. The man looked tired, a thin frown decorating his bearded face. The man sighed heavily, and began to speak.

 

"People of Vocenae, and of Europa, I am Admiral Xavian Hadenar, Admiral of the Imperial Republican Navy. I have disrupted your normal broadcasting to deliver a message. Once I am finished, it will be returned to your screens.

 

The man paused slightly, and shifted in his seat.

 

"You have been lied to. You have been led along by the words of a madman and his followers, the victims of a conspiracy that has ended with hundreds dead or 'missing', while thousands of others suffer because of broken promises. This madman of which I speak is none other than General Illario Korrino, commander of the Vocian Armed Forces and the ruler of the Imperial Republic.

 

You are all victims in the death of the Vocian representative to the Commonwealth of Independant States, Adjutant Stingra Thysan, who was murdered by the General's secret police almost five years ago. After his death the General's puppet in the CIS refused to lend aid to fellow member nations during a great time of civil strife and genocide. Those marks still show today in places such as Accran Vocenae.

 

The General has led the world to believe that we are stronger because of his actions that day, that the death of the Adjutant ended the corruption in the Imperial Council by ferreting out the corporate sympathizers. What he failed to tell you that most of this ferreting was done at gunpoint, with innocent businessmen and women being used as an example. The few corporations that remain today are under his controlm as is the Imperial Council.

 

During the Battle of the Adapton Steppes, near the ending days of the AdSoc War, the General initiated a silent coup de'tat while his propaganda news service 'Red Stripes' distracted our great nation, and disguising the armed forces that visibly entered the Council building as a mere 'security' exercise. The Imperial Council and all other government agencies are now under his direct control. With this power he has censored and edited all news broadcasts that threaten to reveal any of this to the public of Vocenae. Anyone who has spoke out against him has been routinely dealt with by the General's private task group.

 

And finally, the promises of reconstruction after the anexxation of the Accran Imperium were empty. Only the main commercial and population centers of Arnheim and Sydvani have seen any aid crews whatsoever. Anything else is a fabrication by General Korrino's propaganda machine."

 

The man reached for a glass of water sitting almost out of the camera's frame, taking a quick sip. He set the glass down and frowned deeply before continuing.

 

"How do I know all this? I must confess, I have been a part of his grand scheme since the beginning. As has Sky Marshal Deines, commander of the Vocian airforce. Without our help General Korrino would have never been able to draw enough attention away from the Adjutant to murder him cleanly. It is why I authorized the charge through the Tagmatine blockade during the Tinian Crisis, and why the engine tests of the Hresvelgr aircraft were mistaken as unidentified noises in the northern mountains ranges.

 

I am not proud of what I did, nor am I proud of what I helped cause. But I am here to make things right. It is why I call upon any and all members of the Vocian Armed Forces, the numerous law enforcement agencies, and any others who seek to end Korrino's reign of lies and terror. People of Vocenae, we must band together and regain our freedoms, our honor, and make Vocenae into a superpower fueled not by tyranny, oppression and fear, but one that we can be proud to call our home.

 

Once we have succeeded and Korrino is rightfully imprisoned, I will submit myself to the justice of the people for my part in all the lies. I have lived this long with the secret, and can bear it no longer."

 

The man stared at the camera, his eyes bright and intent as an invisible weight seemed to lift from his shoulders.

 

"You all now know the truth. What happens from here will be up to you.

 

Goodnight, and good luck."

 

The image of the man flickered for a moment, and then the sitcoms, news programs, movies and sports coverages resumed their place on the television screens of billions of people, most of which were in a state of silent shock.

 

It wasn't long, however, that the riots began across the cities of the Imperial Republic...

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"That bastard! How dare he betray everything we've worked for!"

 

General Korrino grabbed the nearest thing to him and chucked it across his office. The Aide's drink shattered against the far wall loudly, the expensive whisky spraying against the bookshelf and the painting next to it.

 

It had been less than an hour since Trejik had contacted Korrino about Hadenar's broadcast, rousing the general from his sleep and forcing him back to the Imperial capital building just as the rioting had begun. The man was clearly not happy and was venting his rage against almost anything and anyone that did not work perfectly.

 

The Aide glanced nervously at the spot where her drink was soaking into the first editions. Mr. Trejik had taught her to be quiet and to not draw attention to herself when the general was like this, and she did not want to end up like some of the people the Admiral had mentioned, dead and gone just because of a lost temper. Her fear was unfounded though, it seemed Korrino was already focusing and attempting to deal with the situation as he grabbed one of the many phones on the desk and began dialing a number.

 

"This is Korrino. Get me Dienes immediately. I don't care if the fool is off the base! Get him on the phone within the next five minutes or your head will roll!"" The giant of a man fixed his Aide with a look that made her cringe. "You, get someone to clean the mess up, and get me another drink."

 

"Y...Yes sir!" She stammered, and left the room as quick as she could, fighting back the urge to run...

______

 

Accran Vocenae, Anfang Pass, 0120 Hours

 

"I don't care if he is the damn general, he's a traitor and you all know it!"

 

"Yeah!"

 

"Should turn around and drive this tank straight up his ass!"

 

"Quiet! Everyone shut-up, there's something up on the ridge..."

 

The brigade suddenly went silent. In the aftermath of the broadcast, the makeshift base outside of the village had been on the verge of rioting as the soldiers argued over their course of action. To stay with the Army and the General, or head down towards the other groups that were defecting? But now everything was quiet, save for the distinct sound of tanks in the distance, and the sudden squeal of the radio.

 

"Brothers! Comrades! We are members of the Vocian Liberation Army! Throw down your false allegiences to the General and join in the cause to liberate our great country froms lies and deceit! Let us fight together to save out count-"

 

"Don't listen, that's Insurgent frequency! Battlestations everyone! Go go go!"

 

"They're right though!"

 

"It's a trap!"

 

"Christ, forget this!"

 

The base exploded into chaos. Men, women and tanks raced across the compound, some heading for the approaching tanks, some turning to face their apparent enemy, and some simply racing off into the forest.

 

Then suddenly, the sounds of battle drowned out everything else as the forces loyal to the General opened fired on anything in front of them.

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Four Hours After Broadcast

 

The MiG-31 screamed across the sky, it's pilot hammering the throttle down as far as it could go. The world outside blurred as the powerful engines carried the interceptor fighter farther away from the carnage behind it.

 

Ulric Helreich didn't dare to blink. At this speed and altitude a single second of lost concentration would send him roaring into the forest just one hundred feet below him. He wasn't planning on dying of an error after escaping the hornet's nest of fire and death some five hundred miles north, where his life had taken a detour into madness.

 

He'd been tossed up into the air with the rest of the squadron and ordered to strike an Insurgent base on the fringe of Vocian territory. They'd gone up without question, ignoring the heated conversations about some broadcast the Naval Admiral had made earlier that night. The sun had been about to rise and they'd closed on the base, missiles armed and fire when the transmission had come in through a Air Force only channel.

 

'Incoming fighters! This is a Vocian Liberation Army area! Have you come to join us?'

 

"All craft, ignore any unauthorized transmissions and engage the Insurgents. Repeat, ignore all transmissions and engage the enemy!" The voice of Mission Command back at ValGarde Airforce Base said from the radio.

 

'Fighters! Stand down! We don't have to fight each other! You're being played for fools! We're Vocians! Not Accrans!'

 

The panicked voice of the enemy started rambling off Vocian I.D. codes as his squadron had swooped down from the heavens. Doubt suddenly sprang up from the back of his mind.

 

"Fox two!" The captain had shouted, and then everything erupted in fire and death. Most of the squadron followed the captain's lead, but others, like Ulric, had passed over the massed rebels without a single shot fired.

 

"All craft, you are ORDERED to engage the enemy. All craft who don't comply will be treated as hostiles!" The Mission Commander said. The panicked and stumbling voice on the radio kept rattling off numbers as the explosions rocked the Insurgent camp, pausing now and then to utter a low moan or wavering plea. The Voice didn't sound like most Accrans did, his Vocish sounding every bit as clipped as his own.

 

No accent, no slight twang that distinguished native Accrans from Vocians. Ulric had banked and lined up for his second approach, his thumb hovering over the launch trigger. He picked the small bunker as his target, gave a nervous glance to the fighter settling in behind him, and froze as a figure scrambled to the top of his target and began waving the Imperial Republic's flag.

 

"Fire the missle Helreich! Don't make me feel worse about this than I already feel!" The captain's voice hissed into his ear. His missile alert lit up, and he slammed on the flaps.

 

He slammed forward as the sudden braking maneuver rippled through the fighter. His world went white for a moment as the siren call of the alert system sang out over the roar of the captain's jet screaming over him. Then the world had snapped back into focus. He punched the engines, pulled out of the stall, and sped away from the combat area as fast as he could go.

 

The radar showed that the other pilots that hadn't fired were veering out of range, one of them being purseued, the other one free. The voice on the radio was still stammering out codes and prayers and frightened yelps before a roar filled channel, and the voice went silent. He was leaving the combat area when the first blip showed up at his six o'clock, followed by another. They were chasing him.

 

And he was still being chased. Another fighter had fallen into formation with the others, while all the com channels were reporting that defectors were to be shot down on sight. That's why he had dropped his altitude and kept the engines burning at max. He was going to make a break out into the Kosscow and hope to lose them in international waters. Maybe then he'd be able to stop and think for a minute.

 

Then six blips appeared in front of him, speeding towards him and blocking off his escape route to the Sea. He banked hard to the right, trying not to think of how close he was to becoming a flaming ball of debris in a world gone mad.

 

"Approaching craft, you are transmitting valid Air Force I.D. codes. We're chasing a Insurgent defector. Will you assist?"

 

"Roger, falling into formation"

 

"Copy that"

 

Ulric was heading south towards the Adapton border now, and he risked a glance behind him. The squadron was still behind him, the six blips banking in behind the captain and the two other pursueing aircraft. His missile alert system began chiming as the group was beginning to catch up with him.

 

"You made us do this, Ulric. I'm sorr..Allied craft, you're targeting friendlies! Stand down! Stand dow-"

 

Helsreich's alert system went silent, and the three closest blips dropped off the radar.

 

"Yo buddy, still alive? This is the 66th Tactical Naval Sqaudron. We've taken care of the bandits, you can throttle down now. We're the good guys, and we've got a new home for you"

 

"In Hell, I suppose" Ulric grunted back. He kept the engines on full.

 

"Today's your lucky day, friend. Like your birthday!. Here, follow us, and you'll figure out why you just got chased by your former wingmen. I promise."

 

Ulric didn't respond, but his plane seemed to be slowing down on it's own, as if the frustration and fear he was feeling was weighing it down. He watched as the six Super Hornets roared over him and forcefully pulled himself into formation behind them. He didn't have the fuel to outrun them, nor could he possibly try to take them all on at this range. All he'd have to do is trust his strange saviors from the Navy, and find out why the world was overrun with this insanity...

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  • 4 weeks later...

OOC: Better than nothing when trying to get back in the saddle, eh?

 

Admiral Hadenar stood on the bridge of the carrier Eventide as night fell across the Kosscow. It had been a exhausting three weeks since the start of the civil war, three weeks of chaos as the Vocian Armed Forces had fragmented after his broadcast. Three weeks of finding and re-organizing defectors into a force capable of surviving against the (to his dismay) still large and very unified Army and Air Force that General Korrino controlled.

 

Luckily he had managed to keep the Navy together, thanks to the fact that he had informed most of his command staff of his plan well in advance. The biggest problem he had from them was keeping their bravado in line at times.

 

There were problems, however, maintaining the chain of command between the Accran Insurgents and the Vocian troops that made up his ground forces. The two groups had been shooting at each other only a few weeks before, and the fact that his ground forces were playing a game of hide and seek with Korrino's forces had put the two groups a bit on end.

 

The cloak of night settled heavily over the fleet as another day ended.

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  • 3 months later...

Vocenae, Europa, mid-February 2008

 

Smoke and dust rose lazily from the capital as the morning sun rose behind the slate gray blanket of clouds as the cold wind blew across empty freeways that had, not long ago, carried morning commuters to their workplaces. There was a quiet to the city that had not been heard in almost a century, the only noise being the wind as it whistled through bombed out buildings and down the city streets.

 

The fighting was long finished here, the VLA having regrouped and chased after General Korrino's retreating forces as he had fled to the south, but the city would bear the marks of war for years to come. The Corps of Engineers had yet to restore power across the district, the heavy fighting destroying much of the capital's electrical infastructure.

 

The medical teams left behind, military and volunteer, had both reported the slowly rising death toll in the remaining civilian populace. The freezing winter weather and the stress of living in a warzone were affecting the young and elderly, those who had never lived in such conditions and those whose bodies could not take the abuse.

 

And after five and a half months of civil war, the nations that the Imperial Republic had once called allies had yet to offer any aid. No military aid, no fresh food or water, no medical supplies, no nothing. Regardless of which side the Vocians favored or supported, they knew that they were alone.

 

And perhaps that is why the capital of the Imperial Republic was quiet, why the soldiers hardly spoke outside of a few lewd comments or barked orders, and why the tank regiment stood inert across the city, waiting for a counterattack that would never come.

 

They were grieving.

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