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The Red Curtains


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The scene was set for President Duval to meet with Secretary General Ivanoff of @Ahrana once again. Promised in early May but severely delayed, there were several key matters on the table to discuss. The Socialist Federation had deployed peacekeeping efforts in The Hellenic Rus, and with their apparent radio silence, Duval was keen for an update. Ahrana had also suggested that they had fishing quotas just like the United States, but the President was keen to see how exactly Ahrana were enforcing these, and wished to have them tightened. The founding ceremony of the CIS had since culminated, and Prymont's delegate, Julian Nordeng, had reported it as a farce - Prymont's subsequent observer status was in the air. Finally, despite being issued an ultimatum, Ahrana had only strengthened their ties with feudal nation @Derthalen. At this point, George Duval had had enough.

Unlike initially promised, the meeting would begin in Duval's office in New Halsham, at the heart of the country. There would be no tour of the University of Canastota or lectures from industry experts on Prymont's fishing quotas; instead, Duval would be joined by Foreign Minister Lorraine Duval, and Defence Minister Hunter S Grey. In these two, he had very powerful, influential people by his side, supporting his case. Grey had been the leading figure in having Prymont settle the chaos in The Hellenic Rus, and the Foreign Minister kept a close eye on Ahrana's questionable progress in their claimed holy grounds, Xara. However it was to be looked at, the odds were not in Ahrana's favour.

Prymont's southwest neighbours were due a nationwide election, and Ivanoff's position in power was under serious threat. Whether or not any consequences of the meeting would be followed by the succeeding government was another question, but Duval and his cabinet wanted to make their voices heard in the region, and as such, had to show a potential change in government that the northernmost country in the world were superior. No longer would the United States of Prymont allow Ahrana to play out their backwards ways. There had to be an end, and it was nigh.

After a scan of the morning news accompanied by a freshly brewed coffee, the President was joined by his colleagues, who sat by him at the grand glass desk and cast their glances behind them, viewing the waking city of New Halsham. Duval's office was a minimalist one, with dull, grey furniture spotted here and there to fill the void. A steel bookcase was filled with political science and history books; a thin laptop adorned the otherwise empty desk; a vacant, avant-garde chair waited, opposite the three. Ivanoff had landed not too long ago. His courtesy KAP K6, driven by elite government agents, would whisk him quickly to Duval's office. He would be here in no time. For now, all they could do was wait.

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As Ivanoff was flying to the United States he was watching the Ahrana Today Special Edition that was airing the history of his past that was sure to make the world tremble with fear and disgust. Ace had asked to stay behind in Moskovo and Ivanoff was finding out for the reason why she stayed behind.

Ivanoff felt embarrassed and not only that he knew the party was trying to destabilize him from the Secretary General Seat and send him to court for his past crimes that has been unnoticed for years till now. Ivanoff looked to his left and made contact with one of his secretaries but they avoided eye contact.

As the plane descended he went to his private quarters to put on his Uniform on and looked at himself in the mirror and starred at himself, for years he held him self together for so long and he managed to do it very well. Now however it was all getting to him. Everything was crashing down in front of him and he was able to do anything.

Ivanoff was sure that when he got back from the United States that the Government and Party were going to force him out of Office and the Government along with the Military for good this time. As he stood there a face of terror came across him and he almost lost it.

A knock was made on the door and an Assistant said the plane was about to land and the trip to the Presidents Office would not take long and he would have very little time to gather himself before meeting Duval.

As the plane landed he walked to the door and he told everyone else to stay on the plane and to enjoy the relaxing time they can get. He walked out and went to the KAP Car that the President had provided for transportation. As he walked to the car he begun composing himself for the visit.

 As he rode in the car to the Presidents Office he was still thinking on what will happen when he arrives home in Moskovo, what will be waiting for him and what will happen to him is what kept going through his mind. Soon he was at the Presidents residence and quickly grasped himself and got out of the car and was escorted to Duvals Office.

 

President Duval what a quite pleasure to meet you again sir. Thanks for having me here I look forward to seeing what is here and what we can see eye to eye on.

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The Prymontians were cool, calm, and collected as Ivanoff entered the office, much like the city surrounding them. Since the formation of the United States, New Halsham had established itself as the prime city for professionalism and business; Canastota offered tall buildings and sleazy districts for the fishermen and factory workers to relax, Rock Island offered a St Francoisburg of the north, and Virso was simply dull, but the capital was in a league of its own. While Ahrana's Moskovo may be bigger, New Halsham was more refined, more efficient, and the three sat before the Secretary General would display that.

While the left sipped on his tea and the right popped a mint into her mouth, the President stood up to greet Ivanoff, shaking the man's hand over the table. There would be no politeness, no hesitation, no useless, fake small talk; they'd get right to business, true to their city.

"It's good to see you again, Greggor. Now, I understand that your position at the helm of Ahrana is under threat, but make your country aware that any stances the United States hold from this meeting will carry through to your next government. I do hope that you're not being used as a scapegoat, as your country has done some truly terrible things. Care for a drink? Water, tea, coffee? I know you Ahranaians like your alcohol but we're more refined, you see. We leave those kinds of drinks at home." Duval gestured to an assistant that'd entered the room with a small trolley, offering a variety of beverages if the Secretary General so desired.

"Now, there are several key elements that we must discuss before you return home. I feel like the most pressing of these issues is your continued relations with the rogue slave nation Derthalen. I issued you an ultimatum to sever ties with this monstrosity of a country, and yet you haven't done that. Regardless of what your law says considering minorities, you have erected and maintained an autonomous state in your country for the Derthalers to spread their influence in our neighbourhood. With your recent involvement in The Hellenic Rus, I believe that your continued relations will only disrupt the region further, and so the United States will be condemning the Socialist Federation. You can expect an official announcement in the coming days when I confirm this in Parliament."

"My country has gone to extreme lengths to accommodate yours and to hold together what shaky relations we had. We've protected you from the Circle of Death with our naval blockade, spent millions in stabilising The Hellenic Rus, assisted you in Operation Tremor, and recognised your new government when our close friends didn't, and still haven't. As you know, I mentioned all of this in our last meeting, but perhaps it fell on deaf ears. Nevertheless, know that I've done all I can to please you, and I believe this relationship has been very one sided. Our Foreign Minister here will be in touch with your succeeding government to discuss the extent of the condemnation."

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As he listened to Duval he sat there pondering on how to go about this meeting , it was important that the next Government be able to call on the United States when and if it was needed as the two most powerful nations in the area should work together in harmony.

I will have a glass of tea if you dont mind and if possible straight Black with no sugar please and thank you. President Duval, yes what you say is true what we have discussed has fallen on failed ears mainly mine. I am a prideful man and when I have to admit that I have made a mistake it makes me as the leader look weak which is completely on me entirely. I understand the stance your government is taking on this matter but I ask you to reconsider it please. As I understand it the Congressional Houses of Ahrana have now made it to where Foreign Nations can open a Corporation under their laws excluding the Labor Laws but it is ment to help not just the Ahrana People for my wrong but the area.

The Next Government to come behind me will not be a CPSFA Government, we the Party, have failed the people and the more Liberal Socialists and Democratic Parties are gaining the favor. The only reason why out Countries are in such a bad spot is because of me. As stands currently the Government are working on a Indictment Trial then a Impeachment Trial for my past history and such. But I urge you to reconsider this and contact the new Ahranaian Government when it is established.

Ivanoff was sure that he looked like a fool in front of the people flanking Duval, he took a sip of the Tea, usually he loved tea but his nerves were ruining the pleasure of the Tea. He was trying hard to keep his face clean of emotion but it was proving difficult, he kept thinking of the News post and what was probably being said back home. He sat the cup back down and waited for Duval to respond, at this point Ivanoff was just trying to get through this meeting with Duval.

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"Trust that we will be in touch with your succeeding government. I do hope that it's better than the one you're running." Duval paused to take a sip of the ice cold water the assistant had handed him before she'd left. Already, the Ahranaian was getting on his nerves, and he had to take a short break to recover and form his next input to the meeting. While he waited, the conversation moved to the Defence Minister, who had been patiently waiting with considerable news.

"Secretary General, it is good to meet you at last. While we appreciate your contributions in The Hellenic Rus, I'm going to request that you remove your men from the country immediately." Grey started off straight to the point, not interested in wasting his time with formalities. "The way you've cooperated with us is appalling and we won't tolerate it any further. You've been utterly useless in assisting us to settle the country despite your promises, and your excuses hold no weight when an entire country is concerned. Time and time again, you've let us down. It's disappointing that my country trusted yours in such an important way in the first place, but now we've learned our lesson and certainly won't make the same mistake twice. It's good to hear you'll be out of a job soon."

Hunter S Grey had never been one for politeness, and when a corrupt communist was concerned, any respect whatsoever was thrown out of Prymont's tallest building. At this point, Prymontian-Ahranaian ties had grown so strained, they weren't worth keeping anymore. In Grey's case, Ivanoff would be kicked to the floor and stamped on to pave way for the new government. Better relations may be formed with them, but Grey would focus on the military; international diplomacy had never been his strong suit, and that was now becoming apparent. "We've received no updates, no reports, no intelligence, nothing, from your men. It'd be fascinating to know what they're actually getting up to. Have you even sent people at all, or was it another communist ruse to cover up your failures?" A swift yet discreet prod under the table from the President instructed Grey to calm down. "Whatever has been happening, I'd like to receive a report on your findings, and to have your men out of the country by the end of the week."

The outcome of the meeting was becoming ever clearer. Prymont were cutting all ties with Ahrana, mainly because of Ivanoff's incompetence. Whether or not they had a future with the upcoming government was to be seen, but this meeting was quickly becoming a political sh*t slinging match.

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As Ivanoff sat there it was clear that the old agenda had been thrown against the wall and it was a clear massacre to Ivanoffs recent events he did. He sat there and could tell firstly Duval was already ticked off and that he wished for this to end quickly. 

Whether Ivanoff wanted to do what asked was a different question, he felt like just getting up and leaving since it was literally a 3-1 meeting here and without Ace he was completely on his own.

When the Defense Minister started talking it was clear what was happening, Ivanoff was being pushed into a corner and he wasn't liking this one but. With each thing said he was turning over in his mind just wishing to let lose what he was thinking.

Mr. Grey, I assure you we have been working endlessly in the Southern part of Hellenic Rus to bring stability to the people there. Here are documentation of what has been happening, it isn't much currently but from the outlines given to the people it would've been a full blown Humanitarian Aid Mission that would bring help to those who need it.

As he reached into his Briefcase and grabbed the file he locked eyes with Duval and handed the file over. On the cover it stated: Sensative Information, Level 5 Clearence ONLY

As you can see we have been working in the region endlessly, just not as quickly as we were hoping. But if it is the will of your Government and the Population that we leave the region that we are in then I SHOULD abide by it. Yet, seeing that we have spent a great amount of money into this it would break my Government if I pull the people out. After all it was your Government that asked that I finally push my Legislature to send men into the Region. I'm sorry but I'm afraid I will not and cannot send orders to withdraw from the area for the sake of your Countries greed for land. As someone who wishes to help and redo the wrong in this world with what time I have it pains me to be throwing my nation into yet another confrontational situation with the United States.

He finished his sentence and took a sip of tea and begun again.

If this was the wish of the Government of the United States to run the Socialist Federation out of the area after us putting money into the Operation then it's a distasteful situation for not just me but for you lot as well, only because I will not authorize my troops to leave the area until we accomplish what we have set out to do.

Yet as I sit here and listen to only two people talk so far I can tell where this meeting is going. The United States is moving to end all ties with the Socialist Federation as long as I am in office. This is petty, I came here because I was under the influence that this Government wishes to know what I and the Government were doing to regulate the Fishing industry. I see know that I was the fool for believing such a thing. 

So since I've been made a fool I will tell you what we have done since coming to power about the Fishing industry. We have made it a requirement that all fishing vessels report all catch numbers and quotas to the Government, they are required to have fishing tags for around 500 Fish per day. We also require them to have a Business License for the entire crew that is a non-negotiable clause. If they do not report their numbers the license is revoked. It is the same system that was in place under the Royal Government and it was effective and we have no reason to implement anything else. If the United States would like to advise us on forms of other systems we are glad to listen.

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The Foreign Minister shrunk into her seat, the President exhaled a heavy sigh and leaned back, and the Defence Minister was seething. Fearing an outburst similar to Nordeng's during the CIS founding ceremony, the President motioned with his hand for Grey to wait, handing the conversation lead over to his sister on his other side. While she began to discuss fishing quotas with Ivanoff, Duval and Grey would read the report Ivanoff had handed them, accompanied by many mutters of disapproval and much finger pointing.

"Secretary General, as the Foreign Minister I am here to discuss the fishing quotas with you, so thank you for your patience in that regard. The United States currently catches 600,000 tonnes of fish per year, to sell on our own domestic markets and abroad. We are now working to reduce those numbers in accordance to new environmental regulation in order to protect the futures of the fish and to reduce the effects of years of overfishing. Just as we're apparently asking you to ruin your economy by removing yourself from The Hellenic Rus, the United States has had it's own economy damaged through overfishing, and the job losses that has entailed. We need to protect our most traditional industry, that employed near one and a half million people at the height of the market. Reckless fishing in the Canamo Sea cannot ensure jobs and pay for families, can it?"

"If the Socialist Federation continues to overfish while we attempt to remedy the effects of our own overfishing, no net progress is made. You say that your quotas have stayed the same from your Royal Government days, which tells me the policy is outdated. You say that the vessels can catch around five hundred per day, which is vague and doesn't consider the weight of the fish. If this serious problem continues with no action, we will kill fish stocks in the Canamo Sea and cause the ultimate demise of a great sector in our area. Overfishing needs to be fought, and it needs to be done together. I only propose that you measure your fish catch limits by annual tonnage, and that it is restricted to 500,000 tonnes per year, which is what we're aiming for. That way, we can allow to rebirth the fishing industry in The Hellenic Rus to provide jobs for the relevant people in that country, while still providing enough jobs in our own countries and making sure that overfishing comes to a stop. Please don't mistake this as the United States forcing you into a corner. We're doing the same thing as we're asking of you. I'll make sure that your office receives an email containing all of the necessary information. Perhaps a further meeting with your following government would be better suited to this type of discussion, so we can consider a decisive fish catch agreement?"

The Foreign Minister had hoped that her sensible, non-aggressive ways had somewhat calmed the discussion. Although, despite her best efforts, she could feel the tension in the room rising from her side, thick enough to be cut with a knife. Her male counterparts weren't happy with the report they were reading. Instead of letting Grey explode with anger and throw out obscenities left, right, and centre, Duval took the initiative to explain their thoughts in a more settled way.

"With all due respect to your forces and the work they're doing in The Hellenic Rus, this report does not correlate to the intelligence we've gathered. I do wonder though, why you brought this report if you were expecting us to debate fishing quotas. Regardless of what you've done in the country, I'm asking you to leave, just as you asked me in our last meeting to keep a physical presence out of Xara. I've respected your decision on that matter, and I would appreciate for you to respect my decision. Once again, the United States has done something for you with nothing in return. It's not my job to hold your country's hand and make sure your economy doesn't fail. You made the promise to bring forces to The Hellenic Rus to help us. You failed to do that in a timely manner, and now we don't need your help."

"I don't want my soldiers to engage yours in hostile terms at all, but if it comes down to it, we will. Just as you're making unrecognised claims in Xara, we're doing the same in The Hellenic Rus. While not recognising them, we're respecting your claims. You're failing to do that for us. You may have the CIS supporting you if we were to engage, but I'd have TRIDENT. Who do you think would come out on top?"

Edited by Prymont (see edit history)
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As he sat there Ms. Duval seemed more reasonable than compared to the other two, while he was listen the other two kept distracting Ivanoff and it was aggravating to say the least. As she finished he could tell Duval would speak next. He listened and as he finished Ivanoff spoke.

Ms. Duval perhaps you are correct in the terms of meeting with the succeeding Government which is also most likely the best idea really. I barely represent my country as a whole and I think it would be best if your Ministry would contact the Foreign Division and they will get you in contact with the Wildlife Management Division.

Mr./ Duval, I also have files with me that are of importance to me. Some would say the way I handle the files are not safe and not smart. I always have a file on me since day one of me in office. I had a feeling that you would say something about Hellenic Rus so I packed in case. Now for the Ahranaian Troops, to avoid confrontation I will withdraw all forces including the FKI on the wishes of your government. I do not wish a confrontation in any part of the World unlike most think I do with my stubbornness. So around midnight the orders will be sent out and you have my word that it will be done Mr. Duval this I will swear.

 

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It was certainly a pleasant surprise to see that Ivanoff had changed his stance so quickly. Despite the threat of introducing TRIDENT forces in the area to evict Ahranaian forces, Duval and his cronies were expecting strong resistance from the soon-to-be-unemployed Secretary General. Clearly, the man had no backbone and would easily roll over to any form of pressure. It was music to the ears of the President and Grey that he'd be out of a job soon.

"Thank you for your cooperation, Greggor. Despite the political situation in Ahrana, I understand that you're still in a position of power and can authorise these decisions quickly. Make sure that your people are withdrawn from The Hellenic Rus immediately. We will be using local and satellite intelligence to observe your actions. If there is no movement within three days, we'll be in touch again.

At that moment, a hurried knock on the door interrupted their meeting. Without permission, Duval's assistant entered the room, holding a single piece of paper in her hand. She placed it on the desk before the President and left without a word, closing the door quietly behind her. Duval held the paper up for his colleagues to read, maintaining a stern expression as he digested the contents. While what he had just read was euphoric, it would be unprofessional to express such glee. The letter was soon handed over to Ivanoff, with the Defence Minister unable to contain himself as a smirk spread across his face.

"Secretary General, I believe our meeting is over. Make sure your successors are made aware of what we've discussed today. Good progress had been made, and once again, the United States has been proven superior. I wish you the best of luck for the future."

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Thank you for the pleasure of having me here and I will be sure the incoming Government is informed of these events taken here today. I will be sure to give the orders of withdrawal from Hellenic Rus once I am able to make the call.

Once again thanks for having me here for this delightful meeting. I hope to see further cooperation with the United States I'm the future.

He Rose from his chair and exchanged what goodbyes and embraces that were given and then proceeded to leave the Office for the ride to the car.

Once in the car the driver raced Ivanoff to the plane faster than the last time when he was coming into the place. Once they arrived Ivanoff saw the guards were outside the plane without and saberes but instead a piece of paper. He got out of the car and they stopped him at the stairs. They handed him the paper and read it:

Comrade Ivanoff, it is the will of the Socialist Government that under recent events that have come to light that your position in the Government has become questioned. We the Party, the People and your Government have reached a decision to hold you in a trial of Impeachment and Indictment for the following; Crimes of Genocide on four accounts, Murder on six accounts, Embezzlement of Government Funds, Fraud of Government Documentation, and miss handling of the Office of Secretary General of the Socialist Federation of Ahrana. As it stands now you have been stripped of all Authority pending investigation, please report back to Moskovo at the earliest convenience.

It was what he feared the most, being sent to court for his past and for his way of handling the Government. His time in power was now over officially. He turned around took one good look of the area of Prymont and looked at the guards one walked in front of him the other behind him. Soon he would be home.

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