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Project O-Mēga


Orioni

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Thursday November 22, 2018
Hanzei Plaza, 
O'polis

A sunny Thursday in O'polis. Morning traffic around Hanzei Plaza was busy as always. A group of schoolchildren were guided towards the city park by their teachers. Palm trees were slowly swinging in the morning breeze. To the north side of the plaza stood a stately old building in white marble. Inside the building, the Hayili (Anglish: Subcouncil of Power) had gathered for its bi-weekly meeting.

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The Hayili was one of three government sub-councils, the other two being Progress and People. But this one had by far the most prestige. When foreign affairs were involved, the Hayili had proven to be very effective at setting and executing long-term policy. Present were Chairlady Chandra Pristo and the four councillors responsible for each branch of the Hayili: Dame Nijo Kujo-Michiie who took care of Home Affairs, Sir Andrew Pipkin was the familiar face of Foreign Affairs, Lady Amuh Nideba and the courts provided Justice, and Prince Toren was in charge of Defence. As was usual with this round-the-table discussion, each councillor summarised the status of their priority projects. This time is was Dame Nijo who began.

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Dame Nijo: "Regarding home affairs, I can inform my fellow councillors that the first pieces of Project Omega have been put in place. As you will have seen in the media, we are making progress with attracting the foreign talent that will aid in improving our infrastructure and technical prowess. Unfortunately, we have observed some sudden and unforeseen competition coming from @Tagmatium Rules in Occidental Europa. Fortunately for us, the Tagmatine don't have the same international reputation and proven track record for empowering women who elsewhere would be hindered by a glass ceiling. So I don't see any real issue developing here for the moment. Should it prove to be necessary, we will alter our current course of action."

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Sir Pipkin: "On the matter of foreign affairs, I have met with our EOS delegate Mrs Anna Hackney only last week and she confirmed with me that we should expect little to no opposition from the other EOS members. The Entente remains ever loyal to our common goal of preserving peace and prosperity in the Orient. Especially in these challenging times of increasing tension throughout Eurth. One need only look at what's going on in the powderkeg that is Argis. Should the need arise, however unlikely, to force a vote on some unforeseen but urgent matter, we can rely on a majority of member states to support us. And regarding this membership: Mrs Hackney has proposed some brilliant ideas for expanding our membership across the Oriental Ocean into Aurelia and Alharu."

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Lady Nideba: "On the domestic front, our law enforcement agenst are getting closer to apprehending the leadership of Scorpio. As we suspected, they were indeed involved in the murder of late Chairman Strupar two years ago. We haven't identified the Patriarch, but my team is certain the circle around him is getting smaller and smaller. Our operation includes close monitoring of the goings-on at the opposition news agency the Medani Monitor. We've long suspected The Monitor to be a mouthpiece for the Fronde Verdur with financial backing from Scorpio. However, we cannot yet prove these ties. Our financial inspectors are still ploughing through the trove of documents we seized from the RITZ in Rohini."

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Lastly, Prince Toren spoke: "The defence force has provided me with both good and bad news. First the bad news. We are still waiting for news from the @Ivericans concerning our strategic partnership. Also, we still haven't recovered captain Elandez from his hostage location in Bainbridge Islands. Fortunately, there is also good news: a first sea trial of the Oshun class is finally scheduled for late December, when the general public is distracted by festivities. And we will also be receiving the 3 supersonic Concordes that were ordered from @Fleur de Lys ."

Chairlady Pristo was pleased when she looked around the room. "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this update," she commented calmly. "Empress Joni will be pleased to hear about the progress we are making. Once these first pieces are in place, we can begin the second phase of our project."


OOC: This is a closed RP. It will serve as a way to tie together all my ongoing stories for the last two years of my five-year plan.

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  • 2 months later...

Thursday February 1, 2019
Hanzei Plaza, O'polis

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The mild January weather had continued into February. Temperatures in O'polis never dipped below 20°C this time of the year. This was actually quite pleasant compared to coming months.

Because the upcoming period from May to October was usually much hotter and wetter. It meant the locals could sleep without the constant hum of airconditioning. And it also meant less tourists. For some reason, the foreigners enjoyed visiting Orioni during the warmest time of the year.

But not Chairlady Pristo. She usually enjoyed these mild winter months. A much more tolerable period. Shorter days and longer nights. Less crime as well, without those rich foreigners walking about. But this year was different. Mainly because of the upcoming 2019 elections. Those had everyone on edge. Both the ruling party as well as the opposition. The tension was noticeable during Tuesday's meeting of the legislative Sibiseba (Anglish: Assembly). Many Sibisebali (Anglish: Assembly-person) seemed unsure if the voters would let them continue for another four-year term.

Outside, off in the far distance, a church bell rang. Chairlady Pristo didn't care much for the religious minority of Christians. Always complaining about wanting more minority representation, while representing only 2% of the population. But if there's one thing that the flock of Cardinal Edris Melku, it's keeping the time. Their church bells always rang exactly on time.

11:00h.

Another Thursday, another meeting of the Hayili. The progress report from last week was very positive. This week should prove no different. Sir Pipkin had already informed her he would be absent, due to an economic mission to @Ide Jima.

Pipkin had arranged for his deputy to be present. Mrs Anna Hackney proved her worth on multiple occasions as EOS representative. Only last month, she ensured the correct creation of international zone management during the 2nd Antargic Council Meeting. For years she was being groomed as a potential successor. So it was good to involve her in these other government affairs.

Mrs Hackney was the first to begin her status report. "Good morning everyone. As you're aware by now, I'll be taking over this briefing from Councillor Pipkin who's currently abroad. My main point for this meeting is our agenda for our semiannual EOS summit. The councillor has expressed his wishes to find a solution to the piracy problem involving the Bainbridge Islands. Our position will be to launch peacekeeping operations into the KBI. We have also been backchanneling with the @Gallambrians. Our contacts have unofficially expressed their interest in forming a multinational coalition. When the EOS governing council agrees, the coordination of this action will go to Councillor of Defence Toren."

Toren nodded in agreement. "Yes," is all he commented.

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Thursday February 14, 2019
Hanzei Plaza, O'polis

Defence councillor Toren didn't share much during the previous Hayili. Most of the discussion centred on Anna Hackney's report from both the Antargic and EOS council meetings. Good progress was made on those fronts. The defence councillor was only mildly interested in that. For this week, however, he had prepared a more revealing brief.

CbOtZDKs.jpg"As announced in November of last year, our latest Oshun-class submarine began its sea trials in December. I can report that the Oshun has successfully completed its initial set of sea trials. The initial round of sea trials, known as alpha trials, provided an opportunity to test all systems and components,” Toren said. The other Hayili members leaned forward for a closer view of a top secret video. "The trials, conducted off our western coast, included submerging for the first time and high-speed manoeuvres while on the surface and submerged. The defence department and navy are pleased with how the Oshun performed."

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:pic: Oshun submarine during sea trials

“Sea trials are a significant milestone and the first major test of submarine’s capabilities at sea,” continued Toren.“As you know, construction of the Oshun kicked off in 2007 under previous Chairman Strupar. While other navies are threatened by precision-guided munitions in the hands of most modern nations, the Orioni Navy continues to search for technologies and tactics that will allow them to operate close to any coastline without incurring unsustainable losses." For Toren this was a very important point of improvement. Too many surface ships were lost in past conflicts.

okSg36Ls.jpg"And as a weapons platform, the submarine is equipped with four forward facing torpedo tubes, as well as 2 rear ones. The system also includes 12 vertical launch tubes able to fire Hawikati land attack missiles (HLAMS)." Justice councillor Amuh Nideba raised an eyebrow. "You do know, Toren, that the Hawikati has received criticism in recent years from international watchdogs," she commented. "Comparative analysis by peace groups showed how our guidance and targeting systems are only 90% accurate. What is your plan if one of those missiles destroys the wrong target?"

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  • 1 year later...

Thursday February 4, 2021
Hanzei Plaza, O'polis

Early morning in O'polis. The traffic around Hanzei Plaza was a lot less noisy than usual because the traffic was diverted. City workers were busy repairing the sewer and drainage systems ahead of next summer's rainy season. Government staff crossed the Plaza on foot, heading for the stately old building in white marble where another meeting of the Hayili was about to begin. Defence councillor Toren was one of the few holdovers from the previous administration. He'd gotten along with Chairlady Pristo, and continued the same approach under the new Chairlady.

CbOtZDKs.jpg "Nearly two years ago our latest Oshun-class submarine successfully completed its initial alpha and bravo sets of sea trials. These trials confirmed that HLAMS needed better guidance and targeting systems. And so our engineers dedicated extra research and development to improve its accuracy. The Navy spent nearly Φ2 million on repairing and upgrading these systems. The budget includes minor repairs after the submarine suffered some 'operational defects'."

That's to say: there were a few leaks in the submarine. But Toren saw no reason to admit this detail. It's not the kind of information you want to put out there. A seal had burst, causing a large quantity of water to pour from a pipe. Admiral Ramius confirmed it was safe and that in his experience leaks were a weekly problem for warships.

"The Oshun is scheduled to set out from Vega this week after picking up supplies for its last round of trials. These last trials will see include advanced simulations of anti-submarine warfare. The combination of a dozen ships, specialist fixed-wing aircraft and EOS Helios satellites will be used to try and track the Oshun. Once this last round is complete, the Oshin will begin her inaugural operational deployment to the Azure Sea and Oriental Ocean."

It was about time the Oshun was allowed to begin its service. More than a decade of development was costly enough as it is. Not to mention the apparent developments elsewhere on Eurth. In the northern Occident, the Peryan shipyard seemed able to improve their navy at a much faster pace. What was the secret to @Haruspex's efficiency?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thursday February 18, 2021
Hanzei Plaza, O'polis

The air around Hanzei Plaza was hot and sticky. At 11h in the morning it was already 29°C with a 84% humidity. Rain wasn't predicted for today. At least not during the day. The four members of the Hayili coming again for their bi-weekly conference. Unlike previous meetings which were mostly focussed on military matters, today's agenda was about broader, more strategic policies.

VvEomOas.jpgAfter the usual pleasantries it was Foreign Councillor Anna Hackney who began the morning by expanding upon the recent offer of aid to @Cashar. "This looming humanitarian disaster presents us with an opportunity to improve trans-oceanic relations. The Cashari can become an important industrial partner. From a strategic perspective it makes sense to invite them into the greater Oriental network." Hackney used this situation in Alharu to make an the immediate connection with the next EOS session on new and potential members. "It's been a privilege to work behind the scenes with our new partners from @Esonice. And we should definitely followup on the 'hand of friendship' we extended to @Mauridiviah and other Alharun nations."

1wMMWEVs.jpg"Speaking of Alharu," interrupted Dame Nijo Kujo-Michiie, the councillor of home affairs who usually remained more on the background, "What's going on with that long-announced Manamana canal? I keep reading all sorts of conflicting gossip in the foreign press. One week everything is going well, the other week it's a complete mess. Do we need to form a strategy on this? Is this even something we should get involved with?" The councillors discussed the many trade benefits and competitive disadvantages of the canal if it was ever finished but agreed to ignore the issue for now.

Dame Kujo-Michiie continued the discussion. "When it comes to home affairs, there are two essential cornerstones to the the success of Project O-Mēga. Those are prevention and preparation. You all know Ahuni is approaching and the Chairlady has urged everyone to increase our readiness during the holidays. As a security precaution we have already outlawed the operating of drones near airports. And as you also know, our Strategic Petroleum Reserves are significantly being expanded and will allow us to maintain a supply for 100 days. It is still unfortunate that Mr Petirosi leaked some of those details. When will that unpatriotic devil finally be sentenced for his disloyal behaviour, Amuh?"

okSg36Ls.jpg"Well I personally know the judge who is handling this case," said Justice Councillor Lady Amuh Nideba, "And he clearly understand that this is a matter of national importance. Leaking government secrets must be discouraged. And Gari Petirosi will be made an example of. We are considering any potential media backlash so the verdict will be announced during the Ahuni holidays when nobody is paying much attention. If there does turn out to be some news chatter we can easily divert attention away from it. The press absolutely loves a fresh story on our criminal prosecution of those captured KBI pirates."

CbOtZDKs.jpg"Oh please don't start talking about the Bainbridge debacle again," thought Prince Toren to himself. He leaned back into his chair, not wanting to draw too much attention to himself. His job as Defense Councillor would have long been over and done with if he wasn't the empress' brother. So at least he had that going for him. But leaning back didn't absolve him from participating. When Amuh finished her update, everyone in the room turned to look at him. "Thank you very much fellow councillors for your excellent progress," Toren began his update. "Two weeks aren't nearly enough to complete the latest Oshun trial we discussed last time. That trial needs at least another month. There are also some delays with our plans to reverse-engineer the Concorde technology we bought from Lysia. We may need to hire some assistance. But the number of experts is limited. And the number of experts we can trust is even smaller. Fortunately we have some good EOS allies and preferred partners. We learned that during the 5G spectrum auction where we so far have found no hidden backdoors. These are some friends we can trust."

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  • 2 months later...

Tuesday, 20 April 2021
Hanzei Plaza, O'polis

The usual playbook was thrown out of the window with the extraordinary events occurring in the @Sunset Sea Islands. Unlike the regularly scheduled weekly meetings on Thursday, a special emergency session of the Hayali was convened within 12 hours of the events. Schedules were emptied and fundraising dinners cancelled. Unsurprisingly, the press had gotten wind of this flurry of activity. Social media network Wittier was abuzz as well. By noon the next day, under a sunny sky with 31°C and a 60% humidity, the entrance gate outside Hanzei Plaza was absolutely packed with cameras and photographers. Some well-known reporters had strong-armed their way towards the front of the pack and shouted one question after another, with increasing noise. The four councillors, however, walked right past them and into the building without so much as a comment.

"Would someone please shut the windows," demanded Dame Nijo Kujo-Michiie, the councillor of home affairs, "The only effect this shouting has is it's disturbing my train of thought." An aide quickly saw to it that the windows and shutters were closed. "Well what a night that was," she continued, without much else to contribute. After all, the reason why they were gathered had little to do with domestic matters. Front and centre in this emergency meeting were, yet again, the foreign and defence councillors. Always the same duo, always with new problems...

Defence councillor Toren began by thanking everyone for gathering so promptly. The Prince had decided to lean on information from one of many service branches. A spook from OSIS, the Orinese Secret Intelligence Service, was brought in to explain the situation. The stocky, grizzle-haired man in plain-clothes briefly introduced himself only as Mr Rikari.

Colonel Ishijima

"Let me begin by offering you a brief summary of what we know so far. Last night at 22:59 SST, a military coup was announced in the Thalassan island nation. The military detained First Speaker Gao He Ping together with all members of the SSI High Council and other senior officials from the Radiant Republic. It appears that power is now in the hands of Colonel Ishijima. Not much is known about the Colonel. We only managed to find this single photograph of him, taken during the most recent memorial event for the 2017 Sorrows. Our sources on the ground claim the 19 April coup is quickly escalating, with the military violently cracking down on anti-coup protestors. But we need to further confirm this with our local sources on the ground. Suffice to say that the situation remains very volatile and can still change from day to day and even hour to hour."

Rikari's description of facts had left many people confused and bewildered. Next, Foreign Councillor Anna Hackney leaned in to comment on the diplomatic side of events. "Well my team has already gone and immediately provided an updated Foreign travel advice for the Sunset Sea Islands. This includes next actions for both our diplomatic staff as well as any Orinese residents living or working in the SSI. The little public information that leaks from the Radiant Republic is heavily censored. International communication is suspended and internet access is restricted to domestic sites only. Adding to that the very violent descriptions which Mr Rika just gave, it is more than obvious to conclude that situation for our people is very unsafe." Hackney looked around the room. Concern was showing on everyone's faces. "I also like to remind everyone that the SSI are a full member of the Entente of Oriental States. We need to coordinate with the alliance to decide what happens to SSI vessels in foreign ports and our own ship in SSI waters."

While her colleagues presented their view the Justice Councillor Lady Amuh Nideba had remained quiet. The serious, analytical councillor always took her time to think things through. When it seemed as if the Cllr Hackney was finished, Amuh tapped her hand on the big leather binder on her side of the large conference table. "From what I hear there's a lot we don't know or can't do. But what are our options here? Should the EOS get together and restore the legitimate government of Sunset Sea Islands? Or should we reach out to Colonel Ishijima and hear what he has to offer in return for recognition? And let's not forget about the unique trump card we hold: Princess Selena, the youngest child of late King Tomasso and the last remaining royal heir to the Kingdom of Sunset Sea Islands, is living in asylum in our country."

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