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Reconstruction


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After decades of deforestation and misuse of the lands much of Hodrea had become desolate plains. Farmers for years had tried to tame these hot empty lands, but after the loss of so much of the natural vegetation no amount of irrigation and could save the old farmlands that weren't already close to a river. The land had been dying for years, and food imports had been keeping Hodrea alive. With the rise and fall of the Sentists however any semblance of organized farming had almost completely collapsed. Millions had died in the struggle, and this had left thousands of farms without their farmers. Almost as bad though were the desolate cities. A dozen major cities had been heavily impacted by the conflict, none more so than Liechnenfax. The once massive urban sprawl which had stretched far across the land, holding many a slum in it were nothing more than burnt ruins. The Sentist attack had first destroyed the center of the city and what modern building they had, but what had been far worse was the fires. As the Sentists had retreated they burned through the city, so intensely that firestorms had appeared through the destruction only hastening the spread of the fires.

Through the hell that the Sentist attack had spawned, two million Liechnfaxers had died. And the majority of the population had fled, leaving the city nothing but an ash filled ruin.

But there was hope. Through the fires Coalition naval crews had left the safety of their ships and fought the fires on the ground. The centered their efforts around the great Liechnenfax Cathedral and the dockyards. Through their efforts they managed to secure a section of the city three quarters of a mile from the docks. However the defenders could do nothing more than watch in horror as the rest of Liechnenfax burned away.

Now after over a year the Sentists were gone. The Coalition forces had swept their decrepit armies away leaving a scarred country. Millions had died but many more millions remained. Never before had Seylos taken on a humanitarian project of this scale, but the Seylosian were determined to not let Hodrea fail. Cargo ships came into the Liechnenfax dockyards by the dozens delivering endless tons of life saving supplies. It didn't end there as supplies from Ostros came in from the east as NAU nations contributed their own stock to supporting the Hodrean people's in their time of need. For the Seylosians, reconstruction was a point of national pride, and a way to atone for the sins of the past. Many nations would raise armies for occupation, while Seylos sent farmers, engineers, and doctors.

Despite the tribulations the Hodrean people were not broken. The Hodrean Provisional Government under Derren Werner, the Major who had fought with Seylosian forces to push back the Sentists. The Hodrean Militia throughout the war had gained strength and had the luck few occupying armies had, not fighting a major resistance. People just wanted peace, and while the specter of Sentist remnants still existed, their people did not fight against them.

-----------

In the town of Bayreuth, Ranger Hayden Eckhardt sat on a chair outside on the town's larger shops keeping watch. In the north, the Seylosians kept order, but in the south it was a job for the Hodrean Rangers. There was little law out here, and the people who were left looked to the Rangers to stop the rogue criminals and Sentists who roamed the lands. Eckhardt's Rangers had arrived two days prior after the call was put out. Remnant Sentists had taken to roving the countryside near the southern border, taking the opportunity to flee into the Sentist State before the Militia could track them down. The Rangers had taken a different approach, keeping their ears to the ground trying to figure out where they would strike next.

They had found out these remnants had actually come from Bayreuth, and the people who made it up had a past with the townspeople. Mostly made of outcasts they had made life in the town hell during the occupation, but like the cowards they were fled when the Coalition forces swept through the region cleaning out the Sentists. With all the armies gone, they had come back, picking at what was left and apparently to wreak more havoc on these people's lives. Of course this time they wouldn't get the chance. His second in command, Cal Benedikt, walked up to him dangling his radio in his hand.

"Kapitän, they are coming right on schedule."

Eckhardt groaned as he stood up, grabbing his rifle,"Lass uns gehen. Gather everyone."

The group of ten Rangers gathered near the center of town before heading out. Each one had been a veteran of the war and did not look on the Sentists kindly. Standing at their front Ekhardt silently motioned them all forward as they left the town when darkness had become to set.

--

The remnant Sentists had set up camp just a few miles outside of the city. All in all there were around thirty of them and they had decided to throw themselves a small party for the loot they'd be taking the next day. They had nothing to fear after all, no Seylosians and no Militia were patrolling near them, and it wasn't like the townspeople could stop them either. They had lit a campfire and had taken to celebrating, drinking and causing a general ruckus. Their camp laid inside a gully carved out long ago by mountain waters.

Their revelry was short lived however. Their drunken leader, man seemingly in his late thirties had stood up with bottle in his hand intent on addressing his misbegotten band of raiders. As he raised his bottle a single crack was heard as a bullet slammed into his chest knocking him backwards and onto the ground. What followed was mayhem. Sentist cried out in shock running for their weapons as the Rangers, who had silently gotten into position around their camp, opened fire on their vulnerable enemies. Within moment a third of their number had been cut down by the rifle fire. The survivors scrambled to find cover under the withering fire. Pinned down with nowhere to go the Sentist tried their best to defend their position, even holding the Rangers at bay for a moment until their grenades began to find their mark against the men huddled behind the sparse cover.

It was over in about twenty minutes. The Rangers cautiously stood from their positions and silently made their way into the gully. Ekhardt stepped over the bodies of dead Sentists as he surveyed the scene. A single sentist was crawling on his back away from struggling to pull up a pistol with his wounded arm.

"Verräter! When we come back you'll be the first-"

Ekhardt swiftly raised his rifle and fired a round directly into the man's head. His body went limp, dropping the pistol he had tried to hard to raise up again.

Benedikt approached from behind taking stock of the scene, "No survivors Kapitän. Amery took a bullet to the arm, she should be fine."

"Gut," Ekhardt replied, "Gather as much as they stole, we'll be taking it back to Bayreuth."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reconstruction in Liechnenfax had been slow but had never stopped. Clearing the massive fields of debris of the once massive city was a colossal task especially for a country in the midst of such a disaster. Yet major thoroughfares were already cleared out and delivering the tons of needed supplies to the people who had come back to the ruins. One thing that had been focused on was the creation of a new government quarter by the ports. With almost all the major government building destroyed, new purpose built ones had to be put into place. They had received help from a curious source, one Teóxiwitl Mulle, an architect from Sitallo who had found the destruction in Ceris to be a particular challenge. He had been renowned in Mesothallasa, and had even contributed to a few projects in Kaseka before the conflict in Sitallo had spun out of control. However as luck had it, the Provisional Government had found out that Teóxiwitl had made his way as a refugee to Kaseka and had quickly issued him any documents he needed to make the long journey to Liechnenfax. Delighted, the man had quickly accepted arriving in Liechnenfax to see some of his first buildings being constructed. After many months the buildings were erected, with their vibrant splashes of color and Hodrean cultural iconography built into their architecture contrasting the pale greys and simplistic geometry of the surviving buildings. It was enough for people passing to give pause and feel something positive for once. That maybe they could rebuild.

At the end of the war Seylos had pledged seventy five billion pounds for reconstruction, and they certainly weren't holding back. Ship after ship came into the port of Liechnenfax delivering every conceivable necessity to the people who needed it most. Though while the Seylosian government offered assistance without strings attached, the Provisional Government wasn't above taking help from companies either. Companies from all over the world, especially North Adlantic Union members, were lining up to get their share of the new labor market at their disposal. With millions virtually unemployed Hodreans could be the best cheapest source of labor in Argis. Of course the Seylosians had to ruin it for most companies stepping in to ensure that Hodrean workers weren't exploited too much, but even still the opportunities were abundant.

One notable example had been the Tahdg Brewery Group, which made an enormous amount of the beers consumed in Seylos and abroad. They had approached the Provisional Government with a simple offer, they would pay workers on their farmers slightly more than Seylosian minimum wage and help with restoration of the lands in Hodrea. For the skeptical they would be confused as to why Tahdg would offer something like this, but numbers didn't tell lies. Seylosians cost three to four times as much to employ, and Seylosian minimum wage was an enormous amount of money for any Hodrean. But the best part was a company actually invested in restoring the land to its former glory, because you can't grow crops on dead land.

Of course not every deal was so wonderful, the bigger the corporation the sweeter the deal, the smaller... well the public relations consequences less consequential. Still though, it was a godsend to the Hodreans who had little means to help themselves at the moment. Luckily for the Hodreans, the massive reconstruction package from Seylos included a large sum of money to help create and foster Hodrean businesses. Whether or not it would prove fruitful in the future was anyone's guess, but Hodreans weren't out for the count yet when it came to claiming supremacy over their economic destiny. And it was a destiny they would have to seize aggressively, because eventually the Seylosian money would run out, and they would be left to fend for themselves in the global market.

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  • 1 month later...

It had been some time, but finally the North Adlantic Union council chambers had finally been finished. The decision had been made to pick the, at the time, smallest country in the Union to host the Union's capital in order to ensure that the members didn't feel favoritism was going on in setting up the administration of the NAU. In a unanimous vote, the council members had voted for Lewisport in Cenia. The small nation had never had troubles with its neighbors, and had lived out its existence in relative peace. The nation had been home to diplomatic conferences between the eastern states for decades before, frequently seen as the most neutral country in the region with little reason to change that standing.

Councillor Leanne Beringer had arrived with the rest of her peers a few hours earlier. This wasn't the first meeting of the council, but it was certainly nice to finally have dedicated chambers for the task. The last motion had just finished and Council Chair Hanne Boehler, a short stoic man from Ostros returned to the podium.

"Now on to the next topic. This Council recognizes Councillor Leanne Beringer of the Kingdom of Seylos to speak upon the topic of Union diplomatic response to Stedorian demands."

Boehler nodded down to Beringer who rose and walked to the podium in front of the council. She set down her notes and adjusted the microphone, "The Kingdom of Seylos wishes to thank the Council for allowing it to bring this matter to its attention. As you are all aware, the @Stedorian government has put forth a series of demands and has denounced our efforts for reconstruction and peacekeeping efforts in Ceris. In their diplomatic communication to both Tagmatium and Seylos, they have accused the Kingdom of Seylos of suppressing the voice of Ceris nations and denying sovereignty to all of the same. It has insinuated that the Kingdom of Seylos is present in Ceris to rob the downtrodden and enrich itself. It has also 'urged in the strongest manner' the removal of Seylosian peacekeeping forces from Ceris as well as demanding the presence of observers to ensure our good behavior."

"We shall reiterate our position that the Kingdom of Seylos has taken great offense to both Stedorian insinuations and demands. Peacekeeping soldiers from the North Adlantic Union have upheld the core beliefs of our people with honor in the face of extreme adversity. Our collective humanitarian efforts are what is keeping Hodrea from slipping into total anarchy and allowing for the recovery of a deeply wounded nation. It is not just the Kingdom of Seylos putting forth efforts to rebuild, but the nations of the NAU within the island of Ceris who have put their best efforts into helping their own in a time of crisis. It is with this that the Kingdom of Seylos puts forth for voting a measure that will have the North Adlantic Union reject all Stedorian demands and issue a formal diplomatic reprimand. I now cede the remainder of my time to Council."

Beringer took a breath and stepped down from the podium, walking back to her seat in Council. Boehler resumed his position, "The North Adlantic Council is now in recess for consideration of this issue. We will reconvene tomorrow."

---------------

On the next day the Council had come back together. Beringer was unsure exactly how everyone would vote, but she was sure of one thing, the Councillors from Egris and Ostros were enraged. She had heard from the grapevine that the could not believe a nation from mainland Argis would dare tell them how to handle a crisis involving their own Ceriser brethren.

Boehlor had taken to the podium again to address the gathered Councillors, "This Council is brought to session. We have convened to vote on the measure brought forth from the Councillor of the Kingdom of Seylos regarding diplomatic reprimand of Stedoria. A Councillor may vote yes, no, or abstain. Should a Councillor desire to make a statement following their vote they may should they desire. The vote will now commence in alphabetical order."

"The Kingdom of Ashington votes yes."

"The Democratic Assembly of Astaria votes abstain."

"The Noble Republic of Atrya votes yes."

"The Republic of Cenia votes abstain."

"The Republic of Corinium votes yes. The Republic also wishes to address the Council. We are of the belief that the efforts in Ceris are critical, and we wish to impress upon the council that without North Adlantic Union intervention that the Republic of Corinium would not be present here to make this vote, no matter how small we may be."

"The Republic of Egris votes yes. The Republic wishes to address the Council as well. The government of Egris is deeply disturbed by this transparent attempt at Stedoria trying to gain influence in Ceris and assert that the government of Stedoria lacks the appropriate expertise or knowledge of Ceris to understand what is happening here."

"The Duchy of Esnos votes yes."

"The Kingdom of Ostros votes yes. The Kingdom wishes to agree wholeheartedly with the Councillors from Corinium and Egris. Our government is angered over Stedorian attempts at sowing discord in Ceris. Their government clearly does not understand the situation Ceris finds itself in."

"The Duchy of Seskoaburg votes yes."

"The Kingdom of Seylos votes yes."

"Then this vote is concluded," Boehler said, "The Council Chair sees eight votes for 'yes' and two votes for 'abstain'. The measure is passed."

 

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  • 1 month later...

It was dusk when the Rangers came into Wittmund, a town only a few kilometers from the border of the Sentist State. They came in only one vehicle, an older but sturdy Seylosian model, kicking up dust as it drove to the center of town. Three men and a woman got out of the vehicle, making no attempt to hide their presence there.

—-

She ran around the room gathering as much of her things as she could, shoving clothes into an old suitcase. She had started to drag the overburdened bag when there was a knock on her door. She stood upright, fear taking over her body for a moment before she forced herself to regain her composure. She walked out of her bedroom and made her way to the front door opening it with a smile.

“Mayor? Es ist spät in der Nacht. What do you need?”

Outside her front door stood the mayor, two of his deputies, and the four Rangers that had arrived in town.

“Ms. Kappel, I’m sorry to bother you so close to night, but we need to get into the town records. These Rangers need to conduct an investigation.”

Kappel gave a smile, “Well of course. My office is in the town hall, I’ll be able to get anything you need there.”

The eldest Ranger gave a simple nod, glancing at the mayor. The mayor looked back to Kappel and gave a faint smile, “Well let’s be off then.”

“Just one moment, I need to grab something from inside the house,” Kappel said, disappearing back in the home.

She hurried back to her bedroom and check her phone again, making sure the message she had sent out earlier had gone through. She grabbed her smallest bag and pried open the old window in her bedroom, glancing out before hopping out behind her home.

There was a clicking sound then a voice, “Ich würde das nicht tun. Don’t move.”

Her heart sank as she slowly turned around. The older Ranger was standing behind her, his sidearm pointed at her.

—--

She was slammed onto the ground in front of the town hall. Both of the deputies with the mayor tried to intervene but were warded off by the other Rangers accompanying the man. Kappel wiped blood from her mouth while crawling backwards in terror, “Bitte helft! Mayor please! Stop them! Who are you?”

“Me?” said the elder Ranger, “My name is Captain Eckhardt. But I think you’d know someone else better.”

The female Ranger stepped from behind Eckhardt, quickly grabbing Kappel by her face and pulling her forward.

“It’s her. Bohn.”

Bohn’s face changed from fear to a look of hardened determination. The Ranger threw her back on the ground in disgust, stepping back, while Eckhardt stood again in front of her

“Katey Bohn, an unassuming name for such a horrifying killer.” he said.

The mayor and deputies stood back in horror as they looked upon the person they had known as Kappel.

“The Butcher of Achstetten…” One of the deputies whispered, looking at the woman in horror.

“We thought she had come from the Provisional Government…” the mayor said, looking down in shame.

Ekhardt knelt down in front of Bohn, who had already been restrained by the other Rangers, “I’m sure you did. Sie hat dich ausgetrickst. She fled after the Tagmatines had overrun her forces in the east. But you know you had made a mistake?”

Bohn stared up at Ekhardt, “What would that be?”

“A child,” Ekhardt said standing up, still looking down at Bohn, “Not long ago we captured a boy, no more than fifteen. You’d conscripted him during the war. You kept him… close.”

Ekhardt took out a cigarette, lighting it, before staring down again at Bohn in disgust, “The Seylosians are a naive bunch, but I’d rather be occupied by optimists than Sentists. They did teach us one thing though. Kindness instead of torture. I know it sounds strange to someone like you, but it turns out intelligence is so much easier to come by when you can offer a good life instead of pain.”

He knelt down again in front of Bohn, “It took us two minutes to get your location. A fucking record.”

“I’m not alone,” Bohn said, a hint of a grin on her face.

In the distance, gunfire could be heard.

“We know,” Ekhardt said, taking another draw from his cigarette. Bohn’s face went from confidence to terror in a moment. The gunfire changed pitch over time until she could only hear one type of weapon and then silence.

“I don’t think your friends are coming.” Ekhardt said, he motioned towards the female Ranger, “Amery, Tun Sie, wofür wir hierher gekommen sind.”

Amery stepped forward, pulling out her pistol, “Under the authority of the Hodrean Provisional Government, you have been sentenced to death-”

Bohn raised her hands in fear, “Wait-”

A shot rang out, and Bohn’s body fell on the dusty ground.

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  • 3 months later...

Derren Werner stood at the edge of the monument that now made up the centerpiece of the new public park that had been built in Liechnenfax. It was massive monument, standing at almost twenty meters tall depicting an angel holding her outstretched hands downward. Below her, ringing the pedestal were statues inlaid into the structure depicting the people of Hodrea in their hour of desperation. He gazed up to the angel's face and closed his eyes, relieved that the park could finally open and a real memorial was finally finished. Hodrea had been lucky in this aspect as wealthier expats from across the region had come together to donate the funds to build the monument when it was discovered that the Provisional Government didn't have the funds to do so. They had organized quite the campaign, getting tens of millions of pounds for the project.

It was hard for him to comprehend that only a year ago he was just a major in the Hodrean Militia. He remembered when it had all fallen apart how difficult it was to try and get a handle on what was even going on. Most of the corrupt government had taken the opportunity to flee before the Sentist army had arrived, and many of the militia had either fled themselves or had no orders to speak of. It didn't take him long then to figure out that somehow he was the highest ranking member to stay behind, where he tried to organize the desperate defense of the city before the Seylosians had landed. Now after the whole war, he was the Provisional President of the government. Of course, following the whole ordeal, there weren't exactly many candidates, and old politicians that had returned weren't given a warm welcome.

He was impressed though after a year the progress they had all made. For the first time since before the war, the peacekeepers were gone from the streets in the north of the country. The money pouring in from the NAU had spurred rebuilding efforts in earnest. Liechnenfax was completely new, save for the small section of the city near the docks and cathedral that had been spared the ravages of the fire. Crews were still clearing out the ruins of the edge of the city, but in general most of the biggest ruins had been cleared out, allowing for the new construction work to begin. The Xio architect that had made his home in the city had given the government quarter a striking distinct style, something that most people seemed to agree felt truly Hodrean. Other projects had even begun copying the style in some way or another outside of the government quarter. If it weren't for the massive tragedy that had preceded it, the Hodrean civic planners for the city would have been living in heaven, finally given the opportunity to fix the problems of the old jumbled mess of the original city.

Still though the work wasn't finished. Despite the progress, tent cities still existed as housing couldn't be constructed fast enough for the millions that had lived there. As refugees returned to the country, they struggled to find more work for them to do, as funds they had, while generous, were not infinite. Foreign companies had flooded in, to the point where the Provisional Government had to put hefty protections in place to make sure Hodrean businesses could even start up to compete. Even with all the economic interest in the country, unemployment was still very high despite the positive projections they had managed to meet. It would take time, and most likely more suffering, but Hodrea was at least heading in the right direction.

Still one last major national task was required before anyone could breathe again. The south was still experiencing stability issues, and encounters with Sentist Remnants were on the rise. It seemed they still were not wanting to let go, and Werner had no doubt that the Sentist State was encouraging these pockets covertly. With the peacekeeping troops redirected to the south, and some troops withdrawals happening, Werner was worried that these remnants might feel forced to make a move before their position got too dire. He prayed though that they could avoid a confrontation, but only time would tell.

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  • 1 year later...

Date: January 3rd, 2022 11:32 AM

From: Brigadier Soren Amstel (soreana@olm.mil.hod)

To: Ormonde Kaspar, Vice President Contract Management and Customer Relations (kaspar@bockerverteidigung.com)

The Militia Office of Logistics Management wants to congratulate Böcker Verteidigung on it's substantial small arms contract with the North Adlantic Union Defense Command. State support for Böcker has been significant for some time now as we are still trying to navigate the complexities of reconstruction, but success stories such as these make all of Hodrea proud. It was clear from the outset that most of the Union nations have had limited defense industries and have chose the path of importing the majority of their defense equipment. This puts Hodrea, and Böcker, in an excellent position to fill the void where others have been unable to find success. The only two defense companies currently operating with substantial profit in the Union are both Seylosian, the Norfolk Naval Yards and Aamotech South. Neither of these companies focus in land based defense technologies.

As the Hodrean government is responsible for regulatory control and also a major shareholder in your business the NAUDC has approached us again for another contract. So far fighting in Iwenland has been stalled as each side has been building up its forces and this has placed pressure on the Union to search for a more technological solution to the tactical issues present on the ground. Both the Seylosian Royal Armed Forces and the NAUDC have offered a £150 million initial contract on infantry based drone and anti-drone technologies to be used on the battlefield. They've apparently allocated an extra £10 million for bringing some temporary talent from Aamotech South to get the ball rolling on this project. It's been considered critical for NAU future warfare since they've seen scattered reports on Dolch drone useage on the field. If projects are developed to their satisfaction the contract is set to expand further.

It goes without saying that this is of critical importance to the Hodrean government as well as Provisional President Werner personally. Our path towards Union membership and growing out of the scars of the past is dependent on Hodrean companies such as Böcker growing and bringing prosperity to our country. Hodreans know how to war, and it is a critical skill we bring to the table of the more... ideologically peaceful members of the NAU. A reminder that funds dispensed from such contracts count as government funds under the Corruption Elimination Act of 2020 and are subject to the harshest possible punishment if found to be misused. Of course this is not a threat, but sometimes it serves to remind all private entities that work with the Militia that these aren't the old days. Efficiency and quality are what will bring our nation fortune now.

Brigadier Soren Amstel

Hodrean Militia Office of Logistics

 

Date: January 3rd, 2022 4:23 PM

From: Ormonde Kaspar, Vice President Contract Management and Customer Relations (kaspar@bockerverteidigung.com)

To: Brigadier Soren Amstel (soreana@olm.mil.hod)

Brigadier, it delights everyone at Böcker Verteidigung to receive the thanks of the government and our people. Böcker works hard to ensure that we represent the people of Hodrea on the commerical wurld stage in the best possible manner. The board is also ecstatic to hear about this large NAUDC development and research contract. We've been building up our divisions to expand possible paths of R&D, but this sum should be enough to allow for significant expansion in this department. The board has asked for an all hands meeting to be held next week on the 8th at noon local time to discuss the logistics behind this proposal.

We understand the delicate nature of our mission and its important to the government and people of Hodrea. Over half of our employees served during the Sentist War and are proud to contribute to Hodrea's healing, and growth and make no mistake that our company will pursue this goal within all regulatory demands. We will keep your office informed as we begin contract negotiations between your office and the NAUDC.

Ormonde Kaspar

Vice President Contract Management and Customer Relations

Böcker Verteidigung

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