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If all else fails...

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2021 November 19

A bright sunny day, with a small amount of clouds out. The birds chirped in the distance, and the wind softly blew through the riverside. To any normal observer, this would appear an uneventful day on the side of the Volta river, in the Voltan city of Kø̄striz. And that was meant to be the appearance things would give out. Behind the scenes, however, things were much different. Not that the average person would know, as most of the unusual activities were happening behind the scenes.

Āda was a Ōbaloitnant (First Lieutenant) within the Folksmarīn, and under ordinary circumstances she wouldn't be here. Ordinarily, she would be back at some navy base, helping train up the new recruits from Volta's recent reinstatement of the draft. Or she would be overseeing the planning of contingencies in the event of war with Anglia, which the Voltan government feared may happen at some point. Such preparations were happening within every branch of the Voltan military, albeit very quietly and with little fanfare. But Āda wasn't here to train, or to create contingency plans. She was here for something very different.

As she walked around the riverside, she eventually came to a small port. Nowadays, it was used as a port from which river tours inland were run, but in the past it was a port which fishing vessels used. Here she saw the person she was supposed to meet. Some fisherman by the name of Mark who used to be based here, though beyond that Āda knew little. She saw his ship come closer, and finally dock in the port. Āda approached him as he left his ship.

"Mark, I presume?" she asked as she approached him. He got out of his ship.

"Yes," he answered, "Āda right? She's old, but she's still a fine ship."

Āda looked at the fishing vessel. It was small, probably meant to be manned by a crew of 4 or 5 people. She could also tell that while it was still technically a seaworthy vessel, it was far from modern. Everything from the ship's design to the obvious signs of wear and tear told her the ship was from about 30 years ago.

Perfect for what she was to do with it.

"Indeed it is. Shall we finish this up then?" Āda asked.

"Sure," Mark answered, "just some final paperwork."

Āda walked with him into a port building, where they took out some paperwork. They signed in a few final places, and they made sure that everything was in order. They also made sure both of them had copies of all the documents. Finally, once everything was in order, they exchanged a handshake.

"The money will be in your bankenunjon account in a few days." Āda said, once everything was done.

"Thanks," Mark answered. He stood there, quiet, for just a moment, before speaking again. "Take good care of her, will ya?" he finally asked.

"I will." Āda replied. The two left the building, and Āda went in a different direction to Mark. Mark would likely register the sale of the vessel within the next day or two, and Āda would check with local authorities to make sure everything had gone through. But before that, she pulled out her mobile phone and made a call to a certain someone.

"Admiral," she said, "the sale went with no issues."

"Good, return to base, and we'll conclude the final paperwork." the voice on the other end said.

Āda went off the phone and turned back. The navy's secret operation was coming together, the final contingency plan in the event of an invasion from Anglia or one of its allies. A contingency that was made in case all else failed, and it appeared inevitable that the Volta Canal would fall into enemy hands. Everyone in the navy hoped it would never have to be used, but Untanīmen Bitamīr was well underway in terms of preparations.

Edited by Volta
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  • 2 months later...

2021 November 30

Āda walked into the small shipyard in Vien. It was one of several here, mostly used to store ships used in river tours. In the past there were fishermen, but since the opening of the Volta Canal the number of fish had gone significantly down and the fishing industry of Vien had basically died. That was in addition to the significant amount of upgrades that were needed to be done to water filtering systems before tap water had become drinkable again.

But even with that massive environmental impact, the Canal had been operational for several years now, and Āda knew protecting it was of vital economic importance to Volta. It was a blessing to Volta, in that it brought in a large amount of revenue in the form of transit fees. However, it was also a curse, in that it could easily become a massive target for any invading army. Like that of Dolchland.

Or, perhaps more relevantly, Anglia.

The ship she had purchased more than a week ago had arrived here, and she had just returned to Vien from purchasing another. But before she finished her shift for the day, she had one more job to do. That was to check up on and report to her superiors the progress of the modifications done to the ship before it was to be used in the contingency everyone wanted to avoid.

As she passed the ship, she could hear it. The distinct sound of hammers carving out new spots in the ship for a particular operation. Āda walked into one of the ships and peered inside. She could see a navy ship engineer inside.

"How is it?" she asked. The man stopped what he was doing and turned to her. He gave a thumbs up.

"I'm not sure what you'll need these spaces for, but they're coming along smoothly." he said, "We might need an extra day or two to finish all the ships, though."

"I'll let my superiors know, but try to finish it all on time." Āda said as she prepared to leave.

"Wait," the engineer called out. Āda looked back, and this man whom Āda had only met two months ago spoke again.

"Look, I know it's not my position to question my orders, but how could this ship possibly be useful to us? It's a damn fishing trawler! And what's with all the secrecy? I can't even speak to my own family about all this!"

"Watch your mouth, soldier."

"And you're having me carve out new storage spaces here wherever it can be done without affecting seaworthiness. Just what in the wor-"

"ENOUGH." Āda screamed the word at the top of her lungs. "You have your orders and I have mine, and we are to carry them out to the best of our abilities."

"I know, I know." the man sighed. "It's just, couldn't my skills be better used teaching new conscripts how to repair ships? Some of them will probably become naval engineers like me."

"Trust me when I say your work is needed here." Āda said, "Just remember, speak to nobody about this."

"Alright, fine. I'll get back to work."

With a sigh of relief, Āda began leaving the shed to call her superiors. That was not a conversation she wanted to have. Perhaps to that engineer who hadn't been briefed about any of the specifics of the operation, it wouldn't make sense, but Āda knew.

After all, the plan could be given away if he knew that, if all else failed and Untanīmen Bitamīr was to commence, the ship was to be laden with explosives.

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  • 3 months later...

2022 January 17,
undisclosed location within the Voltan countryside

Āda had continued purchasing ships, and the engineers had continued to modify them. All operations were conducted in secret, and if all went well, then information of the plan shouldn't have leaked out to anyone. The preparations were coming along nicely. Now, Āda was in with her superiors. There was still much more planning to be done if Untanīmen Bitamīr was to be the success it needed to be. This was a contingency plan. The final contingency plan. Failure meant Volta's foes would gain access to one of Volta's most strategically important assets. It was something that could not be allowed.

Failure was simply not an option.

Around her, several senior navy officers surrounded a table. Āda peered at the table, hoping to be able to contribute her insight to the planning.

"If the ships are placed in these locations, it could be effective." one officer said, pointing at a few locations on a model in front of him. It appeared to be a canal. Other officers placed some small fishing ship models where he had pointed.

"It would be effective in blocking the waterway, but perhaps it would be too easy to clear out." another responded. "What about here, here, and here?" They pointed to a few more locations on the model.

"It would be difficult to place the ships there on short notice, but it could work." a third officer responded.

"Perhaps we would be able to combine the two." Āda responded. "Unless our forces are forced away in a matter of days, we would be able to use the security situation to close the passage to all vessels and buy us some time."

"That is possible," the first officer responded, "but that may give away our plans before they are able to be completed."

"If it comes to the point where Untanīmen Bitamīr is needed, we may not have the luxury of counting on the element of surprise." Āda responded.

"True" that first officer answered.

"We have three proposals," another admiral spoke. "All of them are decent and will achieve our objectives to varying degrees. Perhaps we should have all of these be prepared into separate orders, each one given a different codename. That way, we would be able to choose which set of orders to carry out based upon what the situation on the ground allows."

Āda nodded in agreement, as did the other admirals.

"Then it is decided. The first proposal shall be C-Ainz, the second B-Cvai, and the third A-Drai. Are we in agreement?"

Everyone nodded again.

"Then I shall report to our superiors. Āda, can you put the orders down in writing for me?"

"Yes sir."

"Good. Dismissed, let's meet again next week."

With that, everyone began leaving the room. Āda headed for her office. She knew her next task, and she would carry it out. However, a part of her hoped that Untanīmen Bitamīr would never be carried out. But the necessity of the plan couldn't be disputed.

After all, if they were ever unable to use the Volta Canal, then they needed to ensure nobody else would be able to.

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