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[Academy RP] On Turmoil’s Shores


SamNorth

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Havgard, Stalgora
3:08AM Local
The Volkstemme - Premiere's Quarter

Stinar was late. Stinar was always late, and the clock chipped away at the time as if counting down to Ragnarok.

The room was quiet. Half the occupants were in various states of waking and the smell of coffee hung heavy in the room. Eyes drifted lazily over documents spread hurriedly about the table before looking towards the sound of the door at the far end of the room.

Rok Stinar was a bowling ball of a man. A self indulging elitist from a privileged family, they had turned their former, lordly titles into corporate titles following the revolution. In the days of their grandparents, Ryland's parents likely would have served as aides to the royals like Stinar; so, there was a part of Ryland that found some justice in the man's apologetic look towards Ryland's place at the head of the table.

"Forgive me Premiere, the streets are clogged with celebrations still. I came as quickly as I could." The man's words came out softened by the fat wrapped around his lips and his red cheeks contrasted his pale skin as he plopped into his place as the Internal Affairs Minister.

"We have a Quorum Premiere," Vice Premiere Kariana Eld spoke with an iciness directed at Rok as she gestured at the stenographer in the corner to begin the meeting transcript - official records and all. Giving the room a brief look, Ryland leaned forward and gave a heavy sigh.

"I believe you all had a chance to read the report - rushed as it was. In the intervening minutes, the situation in the Slavic quarter has gotten worse. News of the arrests and the murder have been spreading through the various boroughs, and Germantown is also up in arms.  We need to take action if we are going to avoid chaos." Ryland's voice was grim. He knew what limited options he had in this situation, and he knew the ramifications if he mucked it up. His whole campaign had been centered around bridging the social divides between the various ethnic groups of Stalgora - including the growing immigrant population - in hopes of pushing the country towards a more unified front. If the first few months of his premiership saw him taking policing action in the Slavic quarter of the capital, he would never recover in the six years he had been given, let alone serve another term. 

"Surly there is only one course of Action My Premiere." Rikard Alstrom - Minister of Internal Security - seemed plucked from the vampire legends of the Germanians. The fact did little to suppress his less than subtle racism towards the minority groups of Stalgora, especially the Slavs. As he spoke, he leaned into the table to look about the occupants. His index fingers steeped so he could rest his avian like head on them as he spoke. "The Slavic quarter has and continues to be a source of unrest. A century ago we gave them the right to self police and self organize. They operate as an independent faction in the capital, and serve as precedent for the other minority groups self organizing and section off the city. We must take action to suppress any unrest early. Make an example of the boys who assaulted our sailors and let military justice handle the accused murderers." 

Rikard's voice was gentle with an almost angelic quality to it, but a serpentine hiss thanks to a subtle lisp gave it a more sinister edge. As he looked towards the Ryland, other members of the Scandinavian Nationalist Party - SNIPs as Ryland liked to call them behind closed doors - nodded in agreement. Ryland had always been inspired by the great unifies of past ages. The men and women who had brought together the diverse opinions in Stalgora for the greater good. In moments like these, he often wondered if they had also wanted to slap members of their council across the head.

"While I continue to recognize your and your parties opinion on the Slavic Quarter in Havgard and the other major cities, I don't believe militarizing the police and making an example of people is the right call Rikard." Ryland chimed in finally as he took a sip of coffee to hide his exasperation. 

"The Slavic Community Courts could handle the case." Ori Stefka, one of Ryland's closest allies and his link to the Slavic Social Party chimed in with a poison on his words directed at Rikard. 

When Ryland had told Ori of his plan to have members of the SNP on his council of ministers, Ori had nearly popped. The older man was a mentor and a friend, but he had deeply questioned Ryland's plan to give the prophets of a racist platform a chair in the room. Ryland had sold it as a way to bring all sides to the table, whether they agreed with Ryland's policies or not. In this moment, Ryland wondered if this was Ori's way of getting back at him. To run the jab to ground. 

A sneer came from Rikard's direction which he played off as a laugh. He leaned back in his chair as he waved a dismissive hand in Ori's direction.

"Half the men involved are employees of the state. The incident must be handled in the federal courts. Not in some half witted den of sages." Rikard didn't even bother looking Ori or Ryland's direction as he marked the nods from the two other SNP members on the council; and, despite his anger, the point wasnt' lost on Ryland either. They did, indeed, have to handle the situation at a federal level to avoid the appearance of favoritism by any of the involved parties. The problem was that the recently dethroned SNP had filled the lower courts with lackeys to their agenda, meaning the Slavic and Germanic people would likely see the the trials in federal court as something of a wash. Elevating it up to the higher courts would take time and only serve to add to the tension.

An aide broke into the room and laid a message down in front of Ryland. The Premiere studied it slowly and felt his body jolt. He scanned it one more time and leaned forward to rest his forehead in a hand. 

"The city police chief has responded to a growing mob in the Slavic Community square. Apparently a standoff is starting to build between his riot police and the Slavic community." Ryland announced to a silent room. For a moment, no one said anything. Decades before, the Slavic Community Square had been painted in blood when police had faced down a mob hiding a girl accused of murdering her wood be rapist. This felt it was turning into a repeat affair. 

"My point exactly. The Slavs are a mob people. The only option now is to back the police. We must bring order to the boroughs before we can deal with justice for the accused." Rikard gestured casually as if his statement was a matter of fact, and Ryland turned his head towards Ori who was visibly biting at his lip. 

"I will make a statement at the top of the hour. For now," Ryland turned to the bowling ball who had arrived late. "Stinar, I want you to reach out to the Police Chief and direct he and his men to use extreme caution when dealing with the Slavic Community leaders and the people gathered there. Tell him...and I mean tell him...do not use violent force." Ryland said firmly.

"And moderation leaves our officers out to dry..." Rikard said with a chastising tone a dean might use on a school boy. Ryland had stood as the words came out and he turned to Rikard with harsh glance.

"You are a member of this council Minister, and you serve at my pleasure. Remember that. I expect you to support my decision or resign your post." Ryland said firmly as he kept his eyes on Rikard for a long moment before turning. He could feel the older man roll his eyes behind him.

"Of course My Premiere. I'm sure it will all work out for the better in the end." 

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Havgard, Stalgora
3:58AM Local
Trishant Memorial Square - Slavic Quarter

"This is a mistake My Premiere." Kariana's voice was a muddle of concern and school teacher scolding, and both came through crystal clear on the car's handset. Ryland adjusted his thick wool peacoat and gave his trimmed edwardian beard a quick brush. 

To be fair, Kariana was hardly alone in the matter. Ryland's own head of security had protested heavily at the plan when Ryland had proposed it half an hour ago, but that was one of the benefits of being head of state - at the end of the day the buck stopped with you. Ryland took a heavy breath as the state car pulled slowly through the lines of police which had amassed in ranks on the mouth of Trishant Square. As the final row parted, the gathered crowd of Slavs were restless. A few were already and bloodies and bruised - likely braving the police line. Ryland took a deep breath as he waited for a nervous nod from his security detail gathered around the car. 

Stepping out into the street, there was a steady stream of noise. Most seemed to stare at him with curiosity as he made his way past the police. He gave one young man a gentle pat on his back, the boy nodding a salute as he held his riot shield and baton at his side. The crowd grew quieter as Ryland began to walk the damp square of cobblestone. The late afternoon rain and cool air had kept the stones damp and they reflected the gold lights of the street. As he made his way towards two large men at the crowd's head, Ryland waved off the two suited security guards who hesitated, but opened their orbit to a fair distance at his command.

Coming to a stop a dozen feet away from the pair of aged faces he knew well, Ryland took a moment to let the silence carry over the crowd. He knew helicopters would be watching from high overhead. News and military alike. Even from here, he could see the masts of the naval ships peaking over the squat buildings surrounding the square, and he took a deep breath.

"Sagan, Andrik, it is good to see you." Ryland said finally. His words cut the tension in the air like a knife, and the two graying men exchanged short glances before turning back to the Premiere. 

"Tore. I wish it was under better circumstances." Andrik Dobrev's voice still commanded the same authority it had when Ryland had been in the Slavic cultural center as a boy. Ryland's father had hand picked the famous Slavic mathematician and physicist to hone Ryland's education in both the sciences and the culture of the nations he would one day lead. Not that his father had known for certain that Ryland would enter into politics. He simply knew that his son would at least be a part of the changing mentality in Stalgora. That all Stalgorans should be equal in the eyes of the law and one another. An upper class Scandinavian trudging down to the Slavic Borough in the shadow of the Volkstemme was a message in and of itself. 

"As do I my old master. As do I." Ryland responded. "Andrik. We shouldn't take this further. You know what road this leads down. Sagan, you two." Ryland said softly, looking between the two. There were a few shouts from the crowd. A boy far down the line threw a rock which bounced harmlessly off the riot shield phalanx before the crowd and another two boys laughed before being pulled back into the slavic thrown by who Ryland guess had to be their mother. 

"This boy tonight has to be the last straw Ryland. Something has to change. Our people work the docks. They work the land. They work the factories while Nords grow wealthy off their backs. Its been this way for too long. We didn't build the Quarter to be our children's graves. We built it so we could come together to have a voice." Andrik gestured at the crowd, and his loud voice echoed through the square to a loud cheer. There were anger and pain in the eyes of those looking back at him, and Ryland could understand. They had helped elect him. Their vote had turned the tide on the SNP - along with the more moderate voices in the Scandinavian population - and helped create the momentum for change. Now the old institutions were pushing back and they felt they had no choice but to push back.

"Andrik, Sagan, please give me time. I can't change Stalgora in a fortnight." Ryland said, stepping slightly closer. "Please. For everyone's sake. I can't stop what happens next if you don't help me." 

Andrik and Sagan gave a slow look between one another before Sagan spoke. "What do we get in return Tore? We can't let our boys, the boys who simply stopped two murderers, be hung. Not after what those two sailors did to Mikial." Sagan's voice broke. He must have known the young man who had been murdered. Ryland tucked the thought away in the moment. He had to diffuse the situation. He would offer Sagan condolences later.

"I can assure you that I will force the case be elevated to the high courts. It will take time, but they will get a trial before impartial judges. The sailors will be released and tried before civilian courts. Publicly." There was a round of jeers from the crowd and Andrik's palm raised like a maestro to silence the symphony. 

"We have courts. The crime was perpetrated on Slavic lands. It should be before our judges." Sagan countered, conjuring a crowd of cheers which quickly died off as Andrik's palm rose higher.

"You know I can't do that Sagan. They are members of the Federal military. They have to face a federal court even after being released. I won't let them get off with military justice, but I can promise you a trial before national law and for your people to see." Ryland said apologetically.

"Would you be willing to let a Slavic judge sit on the tribunal?" Andrik asked after he and Sagan shared hushed words. At this point, it was as if the crowd and the police were simply an audience to the play of politics as the two men loudly hashed out the details of the drama. 

Ryland considered the proposal for a long moment. It would be a change from any norm or precedence that had come before, and the SNP would raise hell in the chambers; but wasn't that what Ryland had been elected to do? Buck the establishment and raise for change? His whole platform had been to push for unity among the people. This could be the first step. Unity of the law was at the very heart of unity of the people.

"I can't promise anything tonight, but I will tell you that I am open to it and I will work with you and your councilmen to make it a reality if we can all step out of this square and find our beds in piece for what is left of the night?" Ryland said. 

For a long moment it seemed as if the world sunk away. Just Andrik and Ryland looked at one another like two buck measuring each other up before a fight. Tutor and pupil no more. The men had become leaders in their own right, and now they had to do what they felt was best for their people. In Ryland's case, he hoped that he could make Andrik see that Ryland considered the Slav's among his people.

"Ryland...if it was anyone else who had come..." Andrik said finally, turning to the crowd then back to the premiere. "I'm glad it is you." He said finally before stepping closer. He extended a hand to Ryland who reached out his as well. A first step maybe in something more...

The gunshot echoed through the crowd and Ryland seemed confused for a long moment. He felt a wave of heat and cold roll across his body and a sudden weakness settle into his knees. He stumbled forward into Andrik's arms. The older man caught him with shock in his eyes. Behind, Sagan shouted something as the crowd seemed to scatter. Somewhere behind Ryland, a whistle blew loudly and the police phalanx broke into a charge towards the fleeing crowd. 

Ryland collapsed into Andrik's arms on the ground as his old pupil held him. From the sky, a few flakes of snow begin to fall like starlight in the night sky. Somewhere in Ryland's hazy mind, he was aware that it was beautiful. 

"Oh gods my boy. Tore. My sweet boy." Andrik managed as he shook in rage. Ryland looked towards the now crying man as chaos erupted around them. Screams in the distance echoed through the square and more gunshots filled the sky. 

"I tried my teacher. I really did." Ryland said, and felt a pang of fear as a gun was leveled at Andrik's head by a faceless gloved hand. A second gunshot so similar to the one before turned Andrik's eyes into stone as he fell to the ground.

As Ryland laid dying, the young police officer whose back he had patted looked down at him with a sneer. His blonde hair and blue eyes were unmistakable now that the riot helmet was gone. He nestled the gun into Andrik's hands before leaning towards Ryland.

"Stalgora for the People..." It was Ryland's political slogan. "...its true people." 

Edited by SamNorth (see edit history)
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Havgard, Stalgora
4:02AM Local
Ritter Hall - Residence of the Vice Premiere

Kariana had just stepped into her bedroom. She studied her face carefully in the mirror as she removed her earrings. She had fallen asleep with them still in earlier before the meeting had been assembled. Now, she finally had a moment to take them...

The door burst open and three members of her security detail moved in rapidly one grabbing her by the arm forcefully. Painfully even. They where afraid? 

"Ma'am, we need to get you to a secure location now." Tobin was her chief of security and her most trusted agent. She looked at him confused in this moment though. She'd never seen him like this. Not just on edge, but like a wounded animal - itching to strike out. 

"What is it Tobin?" She managed as she was pulled from her room in the gaudy hallways of Ritter hall.

The former imperial residence was one of many that had been re-purposed by the state following the revolution, and in the evenings its long halls were often empty. Kariana was a practical person. She hadn't seen the need to elaborately decorate the space as some of her predecessors had. This evening though, two dozen guards waited for her in the hall. It must have been the entire residential detail. 

"Tobin what is going on? Where is the Premiere?" She asked again, her head of security silent as he checked the halls and gestured in the direction of the buildings rear exit.

"The Premiere is dead, ma'am." He delivered with a detachment to the report that would seem almost cold if it hadn't come from Tobin. Tobin and Ryland had been close friends when they grew up in the capital, and Ryland had pulled his old school mate out of the darker corners of the Slavic Quarter and turned his more questionable skills to good. 

"He...Ryland is dead?" She heared herself say. It was as cliche a response as she could imagine, but the shock was still rolling over her. She had just been talking to Ryland moments before. He was off to his triumphant attempt to quell the riots. What had happened? What had gone wrong? She knew the men in charge in the quarter. Sagan and Andrik wouldn't have done anything to hurt their old protege. 

"Yes ma'am, and you are my Premiere now. I need to get you on board State Flight One." He managed as some of the lead agents pushed the doors open, guns drawn. A car pulled up in the distance flying the Stalgoran flag with gold flourishes - the banner of the Premiere. 

***

Stalfjord Harbor
4:17AM Local 

Tor Losson ducked through the hatch onto the bridge of the FNS Torgir as it rested quietly in the harbor tucked among the other warships. The frigate was one of the largest ships in the Stalgoran State Navy, and its sleek hull was quiet as the watch officer saluted him. Tor kept one hand in his pocket as he returned the salute, the hidden fingers toying with an object in his pocket. 

"Good Evening Captain." The ensign was one of Tor's newest additions. Not familiar to him, and a bloody Germ to add insult to injury. Torgir had been the banner holder for the fleet two years running. They kept sending him half officers, even his leadership wouldn't be able to keep standards up.

"Ensign. Will you see to finding me some coffee." Tor said dismissively. The young man hesitated for a moment. He wasn't supposed to leave the bridge as the night watch officer, but this was the Captain. He wasn't one to question it, so he simply nodded and slipped through the same door.

As the young man left, Tor slipped the USB drive from his pocket. The program - according to his contact - had been expertly designed. It would execute all the required tasking, and he would simply watch decades of wrongs be righted. Moving to the ship's tactical station, he slipped the USB into the weathered port and watch as the screen came to life. It didn't take long. The display flashed as countless programs ran in the background. The ship's firewall tried - to no avail - to hold off the attack. Then, without much a fight, it was over. The program had taken over the ship's systems with relative ease and ran its basic instruction set. On the long bow of the sleek ship, a VLS hatch opened and the ship shook as a missile roared to life, its engines illuminating the dark waters around the ship in a skirt of billowing smoke. It didn't have far to go. They wouldn't even see it coming.

"Stalgora for the People...its true people." The computer issued its next command and the deck gun turned slowly. Its barrel came to a stop to look down the bay towards the Slavic Quarter. Then it began to erupt round after round into the slums. 

***

"What the f*ck!?" The car was winding down the hills as the bay - easily seen from the perch of a rock that Ritter Hall stood on - lit up like a sunrise. Tobin was in the passengers seat and reacted quickly. "Premiere! Get down!" 

The agent in the back seat threw Kariana to the floor of the limo before a screen like a Harpy filled the night sky before a thunder that shook the car. Ricochets like hail peppered the car as it hurried down the hill at break neck speed, but all the sounds were muffled as Kariana fought to regain her hearing.

"They destroyed Ritter Hall! What the hell. That was a navy ship?" The radio was alive with chatter as Tobin talked back and forth with other agents. Kariana righted herself. The glass in the windows was a spiderweb in places, but the unmistakable outline of her residence lay splayed open and aflame like some beast split open on a pit fire. She covered her mouth in shock before the view vanished around the corner and the limousine turned onto the main road, winding its way down to the Havgard National Air Base. 

Kariana felt warm liquid drip down the side of her face and she reached up to reveal some of her own blood trailing down her cheek from a cut on her forehead. Tobin looked back just in time to catch the sight, and the pale man turned ghost white. 

"My Premiere are you ok!?" He practically shouted and gestured at the agent next to Kariana. The young man frantically searched her for other wounds, but found nothing. 

"Tobin, if you are going to call me that we need to slow the hell down and you need to let me know what is going on." Kariana wiped the blood from her face as steadied herself. 

"Ma'am. Right before we came in, the Premiere was shot in Trishant Square. Early reports are muddled. Some say Councilman Andrik shot him. Others report that he was shot by a police Sargent. We are trying to verify that. My men on the ground with him were responding for a while, but we lost communications with them a few minutes ago." Tobin still had his firearm drawn. Kariana wanted to tell him to try to calm down, but a missile from a Navy ship had just destroyed a government building in the capital. There was no staying calm. 

In the distance, the Air Force Base was bright with alert lights. Obviously they were still in the midst of reacting to the missile launch. The soldiers at the gate readied their guns as the limousine approached and for a heartbeat, Kariana thought it might be a trap. 

"This is Falcon One inbound." Tobin announced over the military radio, and the soldiers quickly cleared the gate as the Limousine slipped into the base fence as it slowly began to rain.

In the distance, the looming mass of State Flight One sat on the tarmac. It couldn't have been more than a few minutes between Tobin signaling them and now, but the massive aircraft was already alive. Its engines roared as the crew waited to rush the Premiere into the sky for safety. They would still be expecting Ryland, Kariana thought. 

As the car pulled up to the waiting flight stairs, Tobin rolled out of the passenger seat gun ready. He pulled the door open only after he was satisfied with the perimeter. Kariana slipped out and Tobin practically hugged her as he shielded her. For a moment she thought it was a bit of a grand gesture for rain, but then she realized just what she was shielding her from - the next attack. As they made their way up the stairs, Kariana just caught sight of her still burning residence far off in the distance. Her eyes drifted down the bay, and to her horror, she saw one of the warships of the fleet firing with reckless abandon into the city. The Slavic quarter no less. Good gods, it was all falling apart.

The view vanished as the pair slipped into the plane. More guards had gathered along with a few of the Premiere's normal staff. A handful of advisors had already been gathered. A few of the President's cabinet had even managed to get to the plane after being diverted on their way back home from the meeting earlier. Tobin hurried Kariana past them into the Premiere's cabin near the front of the aircraft and shut the door.

In so many minutes, Kariana was alone again. And this rapidly unraveling nation's leader. She thought as the plane began to taxi.

 

 

 

Edited by SamNorth (see edit history)
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Undisclosed Airspace over the Argic Ocean
3:13PM Local

State Flight One shuddered gently in the turbulence of the early fall weather in the Argic Sea, and for once the storms and choppy air were the least turbulent part of Kariana's flight. 

Only five minutes after takeoff, Kariana had been sworn in by a military judge they had ushered on board almost as the aircraft began to rumble down the runway. In the hours after, they had learned that it was in fact an unidentified police officer who had shot both Ryland and Andrik, and had planted his weapon to make it appear Andrik had carried out both deeds. The still unidentified young man might have gotten away with it too. His efforts had not been without help. The square cameras had gone dark minutes before the event and the press who had been present had been pushed back when Ryland had arrived on the scene. One thing they had missed though was the body cams that the presidential guard carried. The wireless up links - a new measure Tobin had instituted only a few weeks ago - were meant to let him watch the Premiere and Vice Premiere security details when he couldn't be present in person. In this case, one of the agent's had posthumously carried out his duty in catching the Premiere's murderer. 

Now we just have to find him in that chaos.

The Central News Bureau and the privatized news agencies were all showing the same horrific scene. The Slavic quarter was burning. Buildings were either torn open by gunfire or had collapsed after the onslaught by the rogue naval ship.

Another sloppy attempt at a cover-up. 

The same ship that had launched the attack on her residence had turned its guns on the Slavic quarter moments later. After the crew had managed to get control of the ship - by cutting the communication and control lines with axes - the Captain had laid the blame on one of his young Slavic watch officers. Unfortunately, it hadn't taken long for the Executive Officer to dig to the bottom of the story. Unfortunately for the Captain, his XO was a half slav - a fact he had hidden from his openly racist captain. The XO had discovered the thumb drive that the Captain - for reasons that were beyond Kariana - had tucked back into his uniform after delivering the computer trojan. The Captain would likely see a military tribunal and be hung for treason. 

It had all started to unravel after that. Faced with the coup devolving around him, the Captain had started to sing in hopes of saving his own neck. A few of the implicated masterminds hadn't come with much of a surprise, but the head of it all - at least according to the Captain - had been. 

Rok Stinar - a staunch member of Ryland's own party - had been at the heart of the coup of attempt. An underground member of the Norwegian Heartland Guard - a group labeled domestic terrorists by the government, Rok had been a long term plant and an impressive if deeply disturbing centerpiece to this entire affair. The fallout of his betrayal and the extent to which he had infiltrated to Stalgoran government would haunt the internal intelligence agencies for years to come. More so was the fact that Stinar had vanished as his attempt to unravel it all and seize power had started to fall apart. The impact he had left though was all to real.

In what the news was calling the 3 hour coup, Rok and his allies had managed to kill the Premiere of the Federal Government, the community leader of the Capital's Slavic Quarter, and over 380 people in the Slavic Quarter and the Vice Premiere's residence. With something as simple - if terrible - as an assault, a small group of bigots had ignited the age old racism that still weaved its way through Stalgora. It wasn't over either. Some in the nation would likely drink toasts to the heros who had died trying to "right wrongs." Others still would plot vengeance. Crimes would be committed, but things had to start moving in a better direction. The ground was still warm with Ryland's blood, but Kariana would be damned if she let his death be in vain.

The speaker at the desk chimed as the plane took another jump in the turbulence, and Kariana uncrossed her arm as she tapped the intercom. "I have him on the line my Premiere." 

"Put him through. Thank you Corporal." Some poor corporal who had been cleaning the cabins had been conscripted into Kariana's secretary in the rush to leave the air base. The young man's voice had been shaky at the start, but his growing confidence in the post was impressive. 

"My Premiere." The voice was warmer than it had been earlier, and a hint of remorse carried through it. 

The irony that one of the most openly racist people in Ryland's cabinet - Rikard Alstrom - had yet to be linked in the slightest way to the entire set of events. Not only that, he had apparently been a target. Apparently a plan to turn him into an unwilling martyr at the hands of a homeless Slav dressed and hurried into the minister's home. 

"Minister." Kariana said, taking a long breath. "I appreciate you taking my call. I know the hospital isn't a convenient place to do business." She slipped into the chair as she spoke - Ryland's chair. No, it is yours now. "I won't pretend to hide why I am calling you. I need to know where the SNP is going to stand on this." 

The line was quiet for a long moment.

"Premiere, it is not like I have had a chance to hold a poll in my current state. I would remind you I got out of surgery about half an hour a..." 

"I am aware of your medical condition Minister, but our nation is on turmoil's shores if I have ever seen them." Kariana said, exasperatingly quoting the Stalgoran constitution. "We can either come together or we can choose to keep going down a path that criminals tried to take us down."

Again the line was silent before a soft chuckle came over the phone. Kariana recoiled. She stared angrily at the speaker. How in the hell could he laugh.

"I apologize my Premiere. It just wasn't lost on me that the young so often claim the old can't change, and so when we do you refuse to change your assumptions about us." His voice was far softer - almost weak - as he spoke through the speaker. "I never told you why I joined the SNP did I?" The line went quiet again as a memory played through the man's mind, and despite all the things piled before her, Kariana found herself drawn towards this strange vulnerability from the man described by many as 'the most private man in politics.' 

"When I was a boy, I had a younger sister. She was an absolute treasure to me, and she looked up to me quite a bit. My father was a farmer you see, in the Tolidan Highlands - one of the few Nords out that far in the old Slavic lands. All of our neighbors were slavs in fact." Again he trailed off. He seemed almost distracted by the memory and the pain that came with it. "Anyways, one day when she was on her way home a slavic boy - our neighbor - attacked her. He did...well...he destroyed her spirit, and then murdered her for sport. It was a terrible crime and a brutal one at that. My mother was destroyed by it - took her own life a few months later. My father was never the same.The crime was seen to by the local Slavic local judge under Slavic Law. The judge was the boys uncle. The case was dismissed of course for 'lack of evidence', and I watched the boy who murdered my sister - who bragged about it - walk free. I vowed that day I would take back my country. I would make everyone follow the laws of the Norwegian state and damn their traditions too." 

"I'm sorry for your loss Minister but I don't see how that is..." 

"Again My Premiere, indulge an old man please." He said, an honest apology in his voice for interrupting her. The softness there caught Kariana off guard again. "This morning when I was stabbed in my office, it wasn't my Scandinavian staff who found me and managed to stop my bleeding. It wasn't my SNP brothers and sister in work early to do their duty - if only. It was a seventeen year old Slavic boy from a poor family in the quarter who works in our building as a janitor because no Scandinavian would do the job. That boy knows my policies. He knows what I have said publicly, but he stayed right there when he could have just watched me die. It was a Slavic doctor who treated me when we got the hospital, because the Nordic doctors take all the day shifts, and my German nurse has given me the same care my own mother might have lavished on me." 

There was a long sigh.

"My point earlier was that I haven't been able to take a poll from the hospital for my party because no one from my party has come to me. They are likely too busy figuring out how to use this entire tragedy in their favor. Meanwhile, the very people who I have spoken out against have seen to me. Listen, I was cruel this evening when I spoke, and I spoke harshly because of my past and not with the people in mind. I am no better than that judge who dismissed my sister's murderer if I deny justice for those sailors who nearly murdered a slavic man. I still don't believe in Slavic self rule, or the fracturing of the law in this country. That was why I joined the SNP, but in my time there I found myself swept up into the chorus of hate they preach. It was easy, and I was weak. I was reminded tonight just how terrible my own people can be, and I want no part in what comes next from the SNP because I know where it may very well lead."

The voice grew stronger. 

"So my premiere. How may I be of service?" 

 

 

 

 

Edited by SamNorth (see edit history)
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