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A Trifle of Stipend


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"We're approaching the island now, sir." The pilot of the small, four-seat helicopter reported over the intercom.

Gastone Terrone waived his hand dismissively, continuing to revise the economic report he had been reviewing during the flight. The Minister of Economy's assistant, sitting to his left, remarked on how beautiful it was, but Terrone took no notice. The son-in-law of Faramount's dictator held an appropriate title -- in being responsible for the nation's oil, gas, and coal industries, he was personally in charge of over half of the nation's gross domestic product. Given that immense burden, Terrone had neither the time nor the patience for such trivialities as natural beauty. There was plenty of that at home in Faramount, anyway.

Well, less now. The oil and gas projects that Terrone had made happen over the last fifteen years had certainly come at some cost to the environment. But such was the way of progress. No one had complained about the air pollution emanating from the factories in Variota during its industrial revolution, or of the water pollution from the steam ships in Limonaia during its golden age. And similarly, Terrone had no interest in hearing the complaints of the locals and the leftist hippies who complained about the oil and gas that was Faramount's lifeblood. Progress was everything to Terrone -- he was intent on bringing his country into the second world, if not the first, by the end of his lifetime.

The Minister of Economy had travelled to this small island today to ensure that future of progress for Faramount. Anyone that knew anything was aware that the president was weeks, perhaps months at best, from death. And when that happened, one of two men would take over the country: the president's son-in-law, Terrone, or the president's long-time mentee, Minister of Defense Raymond Fouquet. Both men had sizable political followings, diplomatic connections, and financial resources. But above all else, both men had sizable armed forces at their disposal -- Fouquet the military, and Terrone the security services.

Yet while the security services outnumbered the military 5 to 1, Terrone deeply doubted their ability to win in a fight. The Faramanian Security Services were infamously corrupt, incompetent, inefficient, and undisciplined. They outnumbered the FFRU something like 100 to 1, and still couldn't beat them. Terrone didn't like their chances alone. And that's what brought him to this small island, South of @Iverica -- the opportunity to even the odds. If these former @Seylosian troops were what were described -- if this Monarch could provide a sizable force for "training" (read as: special operations once the president dies) -- then it'd put Terrone in a position where he might actually win.

The Minister of Economy was so lost in thought that he only realized that the helicopter was landing when he felt the thud of the chopper hitting the ground. Terrone's bodyguard got out of the front seat first, then opened the door for Terrone. The two -- followed by Terrone's aide -- then made their way to meet whomever was waiting for them.

Edited by Faramount
More clearly differentiated between the Terrone. (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Commander Chao Yazhu stepped forward after the helicopter's engines died down and Gastone Terrone exited the helicopter. From what she knew about this meeting it could be what was able to break Monarch into greater recognition, and into greater profits. However if there was anything she understood about Farramount's security services is that even her limited amount of troops could give them a thrashing before they succumbed to sheer numbers. With the limited amount of information that Terrone had shared before his meeting here, she was certain she could turn at least a portion of his security services into a well oiled fighting machine, though she was possibly being too generous with herself.

Henry had decided that in this case his identity was best left secret. To the outside world he was simply the mysterious benefactor of Monarch who had started a PMC out in the tropics. For now Commander Yazhu was to be the face of the organization, an arrangement she had little problem with. She had always wanted to be seen as a fearsome warrior, and she cared little what people thought of her moral integrity.

"Minister Terrone, I am glad you could make it to our fine island today, " she said approaching the minister, "Perhaps you would be more comfortable having these discussions in our offices. Follow me please we can conduct our discussions in a secure location inside."

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Terrome offered his hand even as he nodded. "It is a pleasure to be here. Yes, a secure location would be good." He looked back at his bodyguard. "Stay with the helicopter. I should be quite safe here."

The bodyguard nodded, taking a seat back inside the aircraft, as Terrome and his aide followed Yazhu.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yazhu led the contingent from the helipad so a large collection of new buildings in the heart of the compound. The mercenary compound had grown quite a bit, and in fact had begun to expand outside the walls. With the business slowly expanding they had begun plans to build out residences, training, and storage areas from the main compound. Although the physical building looked more of a facade to the visitors since, while they had new recruits, the core that they had originally came with were the only well trained ones they had at the moment. 

The group walked past a series of armed guards who promptly saluted their commander as they went by. After entering the main administration building in the compound, Yazhu led them through a series of hallways and into a large meeting room, where she gestured to her guests to sit. Behind them the doors were closed by a pair of guards while they took their seats.

"Now Minister Terrome, I hope that we can speak clearly on this matter. I know some basic details that you were willing ot share before arrival, but I do hope that you can elaborate on the specifics on what you wish Monarch to do for you and your nation."

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Minister Terrone found himself happier and happier as the contingent proceeded through the compound. He had selected Monarch for this contract based on word of mouth amongst his wealthy friends in the developed world. Supposedly, despite being new to the private military contractor scene, Monarch was the most worthwhile entity out there. As Terrone walked through the small base, he could not help but think that he had heard correctly. The men he saw training -- and performing other functions -- looked organized and disciplined. And that's exactly what Gastrone needed.

The minister's aide set to work preparing some materials once the group set down, but Terrone ignored that, immediately engaging with Yazhu. "Certainly. This is a very sensitive matter, which is why I and my staff were circumspect when approaching you. We will need the highest discretion here. I've selected Monarch because your organization has already developed a reputation not just for effectiveness and reliability, but also for loyalty. I will need that."

"The Faramontese Justice Ministry will later this week request bids from private military contractors for two things: a company-sized elite infantry group to takeover training of the regular Paramilitary Police and a platoon-sized special forces group to takeover training of the special units of the Paramilitary Police. The Paramilitary Police are, as I am sure you know, my nation's wildly ineffective gendarmerie. To some extent, this is because of corruption, but honestly, its more so just because of bad leadership, horrific discipline, and low morale. The Justice Ministry is going to bring in new blood to fix this. You will put in a bid for that contract at whatever price we agree upon here today; I will see to it that your bid is accepted without question or condition. You will deploy your men to Faramount in the next few weeks; they'll be based in the capital, and on a day to day basis, will be tasked with training paramilitary police. Please, by all means, in the next couple months, do your best in that regard -- God knows the Paramilitary Police can use the help."

"Yet I will be the one hiring you in reality, and I actually need your troops for a more intense purpose. The President of Faramount, my faither-in-law, is going to die within the next few months. He is already on his deathbed. My government has hidden this to the greatest degree possible, but at this point, everyone with any power in Faramount knows it. The president's death will spark a violent power struggle between myself and the army. I need your company-sized force for use as shock troops, to lead the Paramilitary Police in fighting with the army for control of the capital. And I need your special forces to protect me. The army has a worthwhile special forces unit -- they will come for me once the fighting starts. I need your best men to make sure they fail. I already have some private bodyguards -- and they're great at deterring assassins. But they can't repel a military assault. I'll need you for that."

"I'm willing to reward you well for your services -- and not just in cash now. First, if I win, I can offer you a long-term training contract. Once I am in power, I plan to transform the Paramilitary Police into a competent fighting force, and I'd be happy to hire you for that years-long program. I imagine you'd love the financial stability of a decade long contract to literally just train a gendarmerie. Second, if I win, I will happily open up Faramount to you for recruitment. We've got a lot of folks with combat experience, and our standard of living is low. I'm sure you'll be able to pick up some good people for cheap."

"Of course, I understand this is a risky contract. You'd be involving yourself in a civil war. If I lose against the army, I can't guarantee your men would get back out. But I'm willing to pay you well to bet on me. And I think your men will easily be able to turn the tide of this."

Edited by Faramount
Realized I had been using "Terrone" and "Terrome" interchangeably. It's "Terrone", lol. (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Yazhu held her gaze at Terrone while he explained how the situation in Farramount was playing out. It was certainly an environment ripe for exploitation, not just of the people of Faramount, but for business. What concerned her the most was the fact that if this went too far south it could result in significant losses for the already small Monarch. But Henry had made it clear that expansion of the company was the most important objective they could have at the moment, besides survival. The offer of an enormous paycheck, and a constant paycheck combined with a steady recruitment pool was too big of an opportunity to pass up. Of course she couldn't just let that be known to the minister.

"We do understand the risks involved in this contract but of course in our business, you can't make any progress without taking some sort of risk forward. Our only concern with this situation is ensuring that our forces will be able to integrate well with your own security forces. Will they be prepared to take orders from soldiers that are not only not from their own country, but are considered a private entity?"

She shifted a few documents around in front of her, picking one that was related to the command structure of the various arms of Farramount's security apparatus.

"If you are wanting our people to be shock troops in your combat operations, whether they be defensive or offensive that could be effective. But I do suggest that a more effective place for many of our senior personnel would not be just combat but placing them directly in key positions of leadership where you believe it is most lacking. Superior organization and leadership is going to mean much more than a small combat contingent no matter how elite the group in question is. But I believe given the information we have so far regarding this, we can come to a mutually beneficial deal and move this contract forward."

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Terrome nodded, thinking for a moment. He had been so focused on the day-to-day sheer ineptitude of the security forces that, frankly, the thought of improving the general command structure had not occurred to him. And yet, the Monarch representative was correct: a more competent paramilitary force would be far more useful than a unit of shock troops. 

"You make a very compelling point. I will admit -- I am no expert here, and frankly, I don't have many people on my staff with knowledge of such things. So if you believe that the better strategy is to dispatch senior officers and trainers to help improve our security forces, then let's do that. I will still desire a few defensive shock troops, I think; to be blunt, if I am killed during the fighting, none of this will matter, as the coalition I've constructed will fall apart almost immediately, yielding certain defeat. But instead of the offensive unit, let's go with what you've suggested instead."

The minister suddenly realized he had not addressed the first point. "I can assure you there will be no issue with your men's presence. Morale in the security services is abysmal. I've substantially increased the funding of the interior ministry in the last few years, so as to better pay, equip, and arm the security forces. I've even been able to make some gains with regards to corruption. But I have learned to my disappointment that I cannot eliminate incompetence by throwing money at the problem. Suffice to say, when given the opportunity to be led by well-trained, well-disciplined, well-educated career soldiers, I think our paramilitaries and police will have only positive things to say."

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