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Emergency Session: Case Fisher


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May 20th, 1657 Hours Salvian Standard Time (UTC+3)

Deopolia, Salvia

 

Vernon McCoy, the heavyset defense minister of the Divine Republic, had shed a couple of pounds since the last major TRIDENT conference at the behest of his doctor. His weight and lifestyle - drinking and what McCoy thought was a “healthy” amount of eating - were major factors in his high blood pressure, which he had to keep in check. He was now sorely missing his drinks, and his blood pressure could only be building as the latest international crisis brewed. Salvia was a recent signatory to TRIDENT, having only joined in 2019, and with that came an enthusiastic urge to prove that they belonged. This theoretical test, however, was supposed to be black-and-white and an easy hurdle for the alliance to hop over, not something that could plunge the wurld into an Information Age war.

The worsening crisis in far-away Bashan, a Gallambrian protectorate, was exactly the sort of complex issue Salvia (and McCoy guessed the rest of TRIDENT, for that matter) never wished to happen. Under Article 5 of the treaty, member states were required to come to the defensive aid of any signatory that was attacked. Gallambria was a signatory, but was Bashan to be considered part of Gallambria or not? Were TRIDENT members even required to defend territory in the Old Wurld? The whole point of the treaty was to maintain peace on Argis, Alharu, and Aurelia; it was a stretch to even allow Salvia to sign the treaty, with the caveat being that operations would be focused on the tricontinental area, which Salvia had significant interest in. This was an entirely different beast, and one that was 3,000 miles away. On top of it all, it would require action against one of the most powerful nations on Eurth. 

And so, an emergency session of TRIDENT was being called by Gallambrian officials - was the alliance to come to their aid, or were they on their own? Salvia herself was tempted to give this issue the widest berth it could possibly give, but it likely couldn’t. Gallambria is Salvia’s primary trading partner and wouldn’t want to risk its ire. Ignoring that, an Anglian ally, Salvia’s sister “republic” Alvernia lay at her doorstep. Once on the brink of unification, their Alvernian neighbor had become increasingly hostile and turned towards Anglia for economic and military support. For what, nobody outside Alvernia technically knew, but everybody could figure - to force its way to the top in Marenesia’s power structure by holding the door to the continent for Anglia. Salvia would need Gallambria were the Alvernian situation to hit the fan so as to avoid a protracted conflict.

Salvia had a thin line to walk on, McCoy thought as he entered the conference room. He sat himself at the head of the table, a widescreen monitor taking up the opposite wall. Salvia’s chief TRIDENT liaison officer, Lio Kenata, scooted himself a bit closer to the Defense Minister before whispering into his ear, “This is going to f*cking suck.” McCoy simply nodded and sighed as the aides made the final preparations and signaled to the two at the head of the table. Kenata shot a finger in acknowledgement to an aide and returned to his spot as the virtual meeting booted up and the two saw the many faces of TRIDENT.

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General Kendrick was in attendance of the virtual meeting between the TRIDENT powers. As what equated to as observer, he had no specific agenda to address and only really intended on speaking at the end of the meeting. TRIDENT security policy was of course not exactly the same as Seylosian and NAU policy, and the distinguishment between Bashan and Gallambria made little difference to the treaties signed between the two nations. Of course, with Gallambrian assistance in Ceris, Seylos was in a way honor bound to assist them in any future conflict. Still what he heard from General Perry-Walsh terrified him. If the Gallambrian military genuinely believed that most of Marenesia would fall within at most a year, Seylos was in for the fight of its life. He was surprised when the conference room door opened revealing King Aidan and Admiral Forrest as they came into the room.

He stood up instinctively, "Your Majesty, Admiral. I wasn't expecting you at this meeting."

Aidan shook his head, "I'd have warned you General, but a lot has happened in the past few hours. I need to address the TRIDENT delegation."

Kendrick glanced at the screen which had all the delegates, who had definitely taken a keen interest in the King of Seylos appearing all of the sudden, "Sir, we aren't scheduled to speak until much later."

"I think, they'll want to hear this, go ahead and unmute it."

Kendrick shrugged and did what he was told, "I suppose it's your country sir."

Kendrick gave a quick nod and Aidan stepped forward, "I apologize for interrupting this meeting, and its stated goal of Bashan in Gallambria. However there have been several developments that require the immediate attention of all those affiliated with TRIDENT. As of a few hours ago, we have confirmed that the Emperor of Dolchland has seized total control of the country and has effectively ended the Panedonian alliance. On top of the assistance already received by Dolchland from Anglia, the Emperor has already made a public statement of signing a treaty of alliance with Anglia, which we have been able to confirm. To make matters worse, the Emperor has already reproclaimed the 'Dolch Empire' which is a deep threat to the entire Dolch world in south eastern Argis. I don't think I need to tell you all how bad of a situation this has become. Anglia now has a solid foothold in Argis, one that can't just be swept aside with ease."

Aidan took a breath before continuing on, "To make matters worse, we've received word that the Kingdom of Ahrana has made a formal declaration of war against Dneister. Argis is in chaos, and it wouldn't surprise me if things got much worse over here. It's with that in mind that I've been authorized by the NAU council to inform the representatives here that the NAU would like to begin immediate emergency talks regarding a furthering the defensive partnership between our two groups."

"However I would be remiss in not stating, to the original purpose of this meeting, Seylos's treaty relationship to Gallambria. It would come as no surprise to those here that if Gallambria is drawn into conflict, even in Bashan, Seylos is bound to assist in whatever manner it can. We understand as Partners for Peace that we cannot take an active role in this discussion, but Anglia has shown what it is willing to do in its pursuit of power already. Article 5 or not, this will not stop at Bashan. I thank the assembled delegates for hearing this interruption of these proceedings."

Kendrick muted the microphone on their side while look at Aidan with wide eyes, "Your Majesty, you could have just told me this to relay to them."

"I know," Aidan said, dropping himself into one of the conference seats, "I was just hoping the flair for dramatic would get everyone to take this shit seriously."

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Capo-Comandante Ferran-Arnau Macharius, Secretary-General and military co-commander-in-chief of the Republican Armed Service had his meeting setup transplanted to his chartered Fuersas L'Aire (Air Force) S-1011 flight. They were hosting the Council session from 10,600 metres above sea level, cruising towards Ferrefaaierhafen Joint-TRIDENT Base in Variota. The TRIDENT data-link had been built off of the Nousphera System and used similar network and satellite infrastructure, allowing a separate channel for high-frequency and low latency multimedia sessions.

At exactly 1400 Hours, Zebra/Zulu Time, Macharius signalled the acting meeting host, his adjutant, to launch the meeting. Macharius had given some brief opening remarks, along with an overview of the session's rationale and its agenda items. Shortly thereafter, he opened the floor to @Gallambrian General Nate Perry-Marsh. Nate went straight to it, wasting no time on briefing the Council and Partner-Observers of the situation while underlining Gallambrian and TRIDENT commitments. The SecGen noted that any mention of an official memorandum co-signed by Bromwich and En Gannim (Bashan) had been left out. The SecGen guessed this was likely out of prudence. Nate was aware that his staff had been in contact with GSIS about unconventional Concept Plans and was waiting to see what was on the table. The memorandum would, of course, declare the Bashani government's uncoerced commitment to Gallambrian sovereignty and once given, in an official session such as this one, would obligate Article 5 action once accepted by the Council.

As Nate wrapped up his statements, the SecGen's adjutant waved from behind the camera directly in front of Macharius and held up his tablet, where a quick message was scrolled. Apparently, the Seylosian Monarch had decided to invite himself into Kendrick's office. Macharius made a go signal, thinking that it may be better to allow any emotions out of the young monarch's system before they would resume the agenda. He needed them emotionally sober for the discussion to follow.

A moment later, the SecGen signalled for his adjutant to resume the programme flow. Macharius gave a slight nod as he recognised the young monarch for his report. Though abrupt, it was nonetheless fruitful for the RAS if they knew how hot humour flowed in their ally's veins. The situation was something that the SSO (Foreign Intelligence) had relayed before courtesy of the SIGINT and ELINT stations they had in place to keep tabs on the rogue state. Likewise, Ahrana's move in Dniester had been precipitated by a classified discussion between the SSO and the Ahranaian ADI**. Using the assets embedded in the targeted Dniesterian "Circle" terrorist cell and the Iverican-Ahranaian Liaison, this was a situation Macharius had requested daily updates on. Now that Redmond had announced this to the council, the SecGen made a mental note to bring this up for discussion after the agenda items were concluded.

**Ahrana has agreed OOC that our agencies are liaising on the matter. This discussion took place months ago so there is precedence rather than this being created as a point for convenience.

---

 

The SecGen recentered the discussion on the Bashani situation. The second item on the agenda was the Council's Resolution on Case Fisher.

"Before this council moves to vote on a resolution, I think it necessary for this council to review some of the latest analyses. The first topic on this matter is the estimated intent of the Enemy. The second topic will go over two Concept Plans based on forecasts modelled by the Treaty's Joint-Strategic Analysis Group and the Gallambrian GSIS and DIO".

 

Enemy Intent

The analysis provided by Iverican contributors volunteers two cases of probably enemy intent. These are not courses of action for TRIDENT but are considerations which preface the CONPLANs to follow.

Case 1: "Bluff"
This case bases its conclusion on data showing that Anglia has not moved significant ground and sealift assets towards locations adjacent to Bashan or advantageous to a position that would support a theatre conflict in Bashan. Observation from covert Iverican submarine patrols using ultra-sensitive towed sonar arrays show little deviation from the patterns established during the Invasion of Northern Azania in June last year. Intelligence used in this report is only 48-hours old, with the surveillance satellite launched still providing IMINT coverage and 243-SUBRON continuing its extended patrol rotation.

Estimates drawn from the datasets conclude that the direct Anglian military threat to Bashan remains restricted to aerial operations, tactical action, electronic warfare, and indirect action. Under this estimate, the case presents OCA forces as the likely object for direct action. The intent of Anglian actions in the Gihon Incident is theorised to be a bluff under the presupposition that TRIDENT will avoid direct action, prompting internal conflict between Gallambria and its allies and calling the Treaty's commitments into question.

The risks undertaken by Anglia itself are minimal; the loss of a single airframe being the cost of initiating a potential morale conflict between Treaty members and between the Treaty and its glubal image. 

Case 2: "Fait Accompli"
This case bases its estimates on the same datasets used in Case 1 but adds the assumption that Anglia's intention is to draw the Organisation into a theatre which is geographically advantageous to its existing infrastructure and its allies' infrastructure. It is based on the theorised motive that Anglia and the OCA or the OCA alone will inflict significant casualties on members of the Treaty whether the Anglian-OCA forces succeed in annexing Bashani territories or not. In doing so, Anglia stands to gain the initiative, force superiority, and deal morale damage to TRIDENT in Europa and the eastern Adlantic. 

In this case, the intent of the Gihon Incident is theorised to be a catalyst to force a Fait Accompli scenario which will obligate the commitment of forces into what is intended to be a high-attrition theatre. The aims being the loss of material, manpower, and glubal perception in the competence of the Treaty.

It is noted that both cases can be disjunctions of the other, wherein Anglian leadership benefits from either alternative and has prepared accordingly for either case.

 

Concept Plans

The CONPLANs themselves were simple, top-down, higher-level overview of two scenarios that TRIDENT could initiate and subsumed several conceptual OPLANs that could come into play at the Operations level. 

 

CONPLAN 1: Article 5
This concept plan describes a situation where Gallambria publicises the Bashani memorandum and initiates an Article 5 Operation. Consequentially, the probability holds that a major naval conflict in the Amnalos Sea would occur after Anglia responds with its own declaration of war. Conservative estimates were almost certain that the ensuing naval flashpoint would lead to several mass-casualty incidents for both sides with a strategic victory for TRIDENT rated as "Uncertain". 

Outlined:

  1. TRIDENT pre-emptively prepares a naval task force and a ground task force to secure an Amnalos supply route and provide ground support for Bashan respectively.
  2. The memorandum is publicly released, obligating TRIDENT members to initiate Article 5 Operations.
  3. The naval task force engages Anglian and OCA forces present in the Amnalos Sea and the Adlantic Ocean with the objective of contesting a region of the Amnalos that can be used as a supply route. The objective in this stage would be focused on reducing the Anglian-OCA offensive capabilities in the Amnalos to a point where the risk to supply operations is at acceptable levels. An
  4. Assuming that the naval operation is successful, TRIDENT deploys forces to repel any invading forces in Bashan. If there are none present, assaults or raids on built-up positions adjacent to Bashan can be carried out to weaken enemy offensive capabilities in Bashan.

 

CONPLAN 2: Non-Article 5
The alternative CONPLAN makes use of a None-Article 5 Operation with manpower, material, and logistical commitments from all member states in a defensive, peace-keeping operation invited by the Bashani government. The CONPLAN necessitates that the memorandum on the Gallambrian-Bashani relationship be withheld for consideration by the Council, thus creating a scenario where other Treaty forces are able to be deployed within Bashan and ready to counter a potential offensive. The Non-Article 5 nature of this CONPLAN would be essential to delay or prevent an Amnalos flashpoint against a combined Anglia-OCA naval force. Given the lack of Anglian preparation to open a total-war theatre on its front, it is estimated that a direct engagement between TRIDENT and Anglia can be delayed, if not avoided entirely. The intended scenario that this CONPLAN sets up is one wherein TRIDENT forces and Partners are prepared to take defensive action against OCA forces. The overall slant towards force parity would likely limit the success of Anglian aerial operations as indigenous resources and assets are relieved to focus on northern and western air defence.

Outlined:

  1. The council deliberately withholds a decision on the status of Bashan (this can be done with a variety of excuses) but makes a commitment for a None-Article 5 Intervention. The aim of this is to delay and potentially dissuade further Anglian involvement in Bashan until a better opportunity presents itself. This would effectively force Anglian leadership to choose between engaging a TRIDENT force in the Amnalos-Azanian region or retaining its focus in Western Argis and the rest of the New Wurld. Despite the composition of Anglian forces, commitment to open a theatre against a multinational coalition would present a need to re-evaluate its priorities. At this point, the status quo remains favourable to the Anglias as Bashan is unable to pro-actively interfere with Anglian glubal interest. Given the new threat of a TRIDENT conflict, the status quo is more likely to change negatively than positively for Anglia if it commits.
  2. While air-ground task forces are prepared individually, the council resolves to create a joint naval task force to engage OCA and/or Anglian forces if necessary. Under a None-Article 5 Operation and because of the aforementioned considerations, an immediate attack on this task force and its objective remains unlikely. 
  3. The joint naval task force will secure a maritime supply route in international and Bashani waters without provoking any justification for Anglia and/or the OCA to attack said route. Should an Invasion scenario commence, this route is expected to be a priority target for enemy forces. The naval task force will take precautionary measures such as holding a larger force in reserve to engage enemy forces. 
  4. Member and/or Partner air-ground task forces will deploy in Bashan as a peacekeeping force, de facto neutral until an offensive or hostile action is taken. The task forces will prioritise defence against the OCA, allowing the Bashani leadership to delegate more resources towards strengthening its air defence and other capabilities.
  5. Focusing on operations against the OCA and avoiding direct confrontation with Anglian forces reduces the risk of a larger Amnalos Flashpoint as both parties' interests would be negatively affected by the outcomes of that risky scenario.

 

Macharius took care to keep the discussion on-point and simplified. The data was available for all present to peruse on their machines. There was an unsaid reality that Macharius knew was heavily inferred by the analysis and plans presented. [This part remains classified unless you can figure it out for yourself. It's simple enough to deduce but I'm sure as hell not gonna advertise it outside the organisation]. He and his staff had gone over the data with the Gallambrians and the Salvians but now that it was all laid out, they could move on to operations-level and tactical-level considerations. Though Macharius was fully expecting Nate to take the floor for Agenda Item 3, the floor was open to any inputs (including Partners) the review on the Gihon Incident and preceding Anglian and/or OCA actions would bring to light any considerations that needed to be made for enemy capabilities, organisation, and decision-making.

 

 

---

OOC: Agenda Item 3 comes up as a talking point that can be used to share any ideas of what operations we have to prepare for given the enemy's strength, capabilities, strategies, tactics, etc. This may come as a dissection of the Gihon Incident or as notes on what we should have in our playbooks. Agenda Item 4 is pretty much a vote. We use a consensus system, so any outlier/dissenting opinion will be reviewed and the resolutions may be amended. It's pretty much a choice between CONPLAN 1 or 2. 

I might edit this later so for now, WIP

 

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Nate clicks the un-mute button on his terminal, and continues to address the committee.

"Thank you Ferran. General Kendrick, I do wish to remind you, and in turn you to counsel the King. While you are invited to observe and participate in a limited capability, it is expected that people regardless of their association, conduct themselves in a manner that's respectful of the proceedings and the issue at hand.

Gentlemen, while we have been in discussion with the Ivericans regarding the drawing up of the CONPLANs that have been presented, our Intelligence services have dissected all potential outcomes. While it would be beneficial for TRIDENT to strike against OCA and Anglian Forces, they have concluded that unless we have a full scale commitment of TRIDENT forces to deal with the Anglian/OCA threat on the Bashan-Suverian border, the outcome for TRIDENT would be dire.

Many of my colleagues within the Ministry of Defence, have suggested, and which I agree with, is that we move ahead with a Non-Article 5 operation.

Ferran, while I appreciate your assistance with regards to the Defence of Bashan, with regards to point 4 of CONPLAN 2, while Bashan has semi-autonomy in regards to domestic affairs, defence of the realm, in which Bashan is constituent of, remains the responsibility of the United Kingdom of Gallambria. I have already discussed this potentiality with my colleagues at Joint Forces Command, and they have agreed to forward deploy addition Air and Anti-Air assets to the Bashan theater.

As I stated in my opening statements, our greatest concern is the potential for the opening of sea lanes from Europa through Marenesia, thus opening Gallambria and Salvia to the potential for full-scale invasion by the Anglians.

While TRIDENT, including our partners for peace, should be sufficient to deal with the growing Anglian threat, it is our belief we should be having conversations with our individual partners and friends and ask for their assistance, in bringing this to an end.

Thank you."

Nate mutes himself again and slouches back in his chair, showing signs of stress, knowing that the integrity of Gallambria's sovereignty lays in the balance.

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6h of Maios, (Seian Calendar), 19:57 Aroman (Tagmatine) Mean Time

Grafeion Arx, Tagmatika, Arhomaneia

The Grafeion Arx were the offices of the Logothesion tou Stratiotikou, the Ministry of War, that were away from the Basilikon Synkrotima Palation, the Imperial Palace Complex. The name implied that the building was a fortification, and that was what it once was. It had been the site of the Bronze Age citadel of the settlement that had become Tagmatika. Over the years, the settlement moved away from the low hill the citadel was built on and it became the site of one of the old star forts built outside of Tagmatika during the anarchic 1600s. However, the defences had been rendered obsolete with the advent of high explosives and so it had been converted into an office block for the Logothesion tou Stratiotikou. Once, the walls had been surrounded by parkland that had given the defences clear lanes of fire. But, as the Tagmatine predilection for bureaucracy came to the fore as the armed forces grew over the course of the 19th century, these open spaces were covered by office blocks, stables, canteens, workshops and other ancillary buildings. Sooner rather than later, the old star-shaped plan of the defences and the old moat could only be discerned from the air.

It had, of course, suffered a lot during the Long War, but it had been rebuilt and reoccupied afterwards. Inside, it looked like the mid 20th century institution it was, although it had been modernised in places. It was all tiled floors and painted walls, with chunky cast iron radiators to keep the cold Occidental winters at bay. The style was seen all throughout Arhomaneia and it often produced an uncomfortable sense of deja vu in those who had to spend any length of time in the buildings, especially since all that could be seen from the windows was other buildings in the same style.

This was true of even the offices of the more important members of the ministry. The office of the Megas Logothetes was exactly the same, although the thick carpet on the floor at least made it feel a bit more liveable. The office itself was decorated with several suits of armour, a rosette of rifles and swords and pictures of famous battles that Tagmatine forces had participated in. It was not necessarily to Honorios Kontarian's taste but he kept it out of a sense of history. A stout wooden desk dominated the centre of the room, stationery and several card folders neatly placed on top of it, along with a computer. The Megas Logothetes' high-backed dark green leather office chair on one side and two smaller versions on the other side. Another table, with several more chairs around it lay towards the door.

It was at this table that Kontarian was sat, along with Strategos Valentina Artoria and Navarkhos Nikolaos Theofanopoulos. The two of them were quite unalike. Theofanopoulos was tall and on the verge of obesity which, combined with the man's thick brown beard shot through with grey hairs, meant that he had been given the unkind nickname of “Odobainos” - “walrus”. The army officer, however, was just over the minimum height for the Basilikostratos but she was clearly all muscle where Theofanopoulos was mainly fat.

The minister and military officers sat at one end of the table with a large screen and webcam opposite them, with Kontarian sat at the head of the table. In the typical Tagmatine fashion, the positions of the two senior officers was dictated by the hierarchy of the branches of the armed forces that they were members of. The Strategos Artoria was sat to the right of Kontarian, as the army was the senior service, whilst Theofanopoulos was sat to his left. Several aides-de-camp sat behind their respective officers and ministerial aides lurked behind Kontarian. Although it was off-screen for the people from other nations that were in the conference call, wafts of incense and murmured prayer hinted at the fact that there were priests there as well.

One of those ubiquitous ministerial aides was stood behind the screen and webcam set up, trying to make sure that it was set up properly. Once the screen could see the minister and two senior officers properly, Kontarian waved his hand and the aide stepped away, disappearing into the background.

The Gallambrian summation of the situation was certainly pessimistic but matched the situation as considered by both the Epistrategaion, the Tagmatine High Command, and the Arhomaiki Diktyo Pliroforion, the Tagmatine combined intelligence service. Both had been closely monitoring the situation in the Amnalos and Raga Seas, as it was one of the main trade routes from central Europa to the rest of the wurld. Between the activities of Great Anglia and its allies, and Machina Haruspex, those bodies of water were a powder keg waiting for a spark. The potential for this to spiral into a wide conflict was high and it would likely be horrific.

Kontarian made a sign towards one of the aides near the screen, who made sure the mic was muted. He then leant towards the army officer.

“Does that match with the predictions of the Epistrategaion?” he asked her. The purple stripe running down the outer seams of her trousers indicated that Artoria had been on attachment to the general staff for some period.

The Strategos made a face and ran a hand over her drawn-back hair. “No, it's worse than what we predicted, in all honesty. We gave both nations a lot longer to what General Perry-Marsh has given them. At least another three months in the case of the Salbeioi (@Salvia) and six in the case of the Ghallamvrioi (@Gallambria). I'm not sure whether the general is giving a worse-case scenario to try to poke the other members into action or whether it's a realistic description of the potential threat they're under.”

At that, Kontarian's face became grim. He scribbled a sentence or two on the corner of a piece of paper and then tore the corner off. The Megas Logothetes then passed it backwards to the hand of an aide, who palmed it and then discretely left the room. The intelligence service of his own ministry, the Tagmatine Intelligence Service and the intelligence service of the Epistrategaion needed to step up their game to try to see whether they could ascertain the truth of the Gallambrian general's statement independently.

As with Seylos, Arhomaneia only had an observer role in this meeting, for better or worse. On some level, the Gallambrian presence in Europa rankled at the seldom thought about but still present irredentist beliefs that what was once Aroman should be Aroman once more. But it was never going to happen, not for over hundred years. On another level, this was a key moment in the history of TRIDENT. What had been one of the strongest alliances on Eurth was showing signs of creaking. Four of the member nations had become insular over the past few years, which had allowed the rise of other powers in Argis and beyond. Great Anglia would never have tried to expand its influence into the New Wurld if TRIDENT was at its highest point. Instead, they had waited until cracks had started to show and then made their move.

And as much as the relations with EOS and its leading nation, Orioni, remained frosty, it was clear that tentative feelers needed to be put out again. The last attempt had led to some strange accusations by the Orinese government and had done significant damage to the diplomatic relations between the two nations. Kontarian would have to raise that with Kommodos, as trying to once again bring the southern Europan power back on side could only help any response to Great Anglia's continuing rise. If, of course, the Orhionioi wanted to cooperate. From the sounds of it, they were preparing to come to some sort of diplomatic agreement with the Angleioi. Which would not be good for many reasons.

The truth was that the Holy Imperial Government was feeling extremely isolated. Great Anglia, and its minions in the OCA, had locked down much of western Europa. This included almost all of the Occident. They had also been spreading their tendrils into the New Wurld for some time. Megas Logothetes Kontarian knew that several of the Holy Imperial Cabinet had suggested that Tagmatium consider withdrawing its sanctions against Great Anglia and Suverina and attempt to normalise relations again. Tonaras and Zemarkhos were the main ones pushing for it and Kontarian regarded the former as an oily piece of shit and the latter as far too obsessed with his own family's greatness and what the wurld owed him because of it. The Ministers for Trade and Finance were also beginning to swing around, especially as the embargo seemed to be doing more damage to Tagmatium's economy than that of Great Anglia or its allies. It was the fact that Valentinianos Tzimekhes was starting to make noises about potentially scaling the sanctions back that was causing Kontarian serious concern.

The Seylosian monarch's interjection surprised Kontarian, who had been lost in his own thoughts up until that point. It seemed like a rash move that would earn a reprimand, even if the it was the King of a nation. It certainly caused some raised eyebrows amongst the spectating Tagmatines.

“How different is the 'Dolch Empire' from the 'Empire of Dolchland'?” asked the Strategos, looking slightly puzzled. “Isn't that just sematics? Couldn't they have done all of this, anyway?”

The Navarkhos shook his head. “No. It was a group of semi-independent states, pulling in opposite directions half the time. Like our Warring States period. No, it's definitely something to be considered about. It will affect our deployments in the Makhaira Thalassa, without a doubt. Although us and the Boreioadlantiki Enosi, as well as the Delamareioi could probably bottle them up, this would stretch our naval forces extremely thin. And doesn't necessarily help the situation in western Europa.”

“We did do that 'Bison Diplomacy' thing with them a few years back,” pointed out the Megas Logothetes, although he wasn't convinced that this new, electrified Dolch Empire would care too much about that. Again, Kommodos would have to be made aware, if he wasn't already. “They might look favourably enough on us to let us continue with our friends the Sekryaioi.”

When the naval officer shrugged at Kontarian's comment, he looked even more like a walrus than before. “I am not sure, to be honest. It will depend on what pressure they put on Ceris, or the surrounding states.”

“We'll need to tell the Seilosioi about our pledge to support the Arhanaeioi with everything up to and including peacekeepers,” mused the Minister for War. He tapped his pen lightly on the sheaf of papers on his desk. “That'll ruffle some feathers.”

He almost sounded slightly amused by the idea of it, although he wasn't. If it came to it and some of the other nations wanted justification for why Tagmatium was meddling in the affairs of central Argis, the Holy Imperial Government could point out its history of peacekeeping throughout Europa. Ahrana was a nation on the rise in central Argis and it would be greatly help Tagmatium to build a good working relationship with the United Kingdom. In a way, the Greater Holy Empire had more confidence in the future of central Argis than Seylos did but perhaps that was because they were seeing it from afar, without the benefit of the fine details.

The plans laid out by Capo-Comandante Ferran-Arnau Macharius of @Iverica made sense. Triggering Article Five would spiral the conflict out of control, but not triggering it would place the ball in Great Anglia's court. The Holy Imperial Government or its armed forces did not have access to the suite of intelligence available to the TRIDENT nations and had been watching the events unfold in Bashan with some alarm. It was clear that the Anglians were attempting to provoke TRIDENT into a conflict, although there was doubt over whether they could control the outcome of what it was that they were trying to start.

“How accurate can we assume that their intelligence is?” asked Kontarian of the two Tagmatine officers. “And the conclusions that they have drawn?”

“I believe that this will be something that the Epistrategaion will have to discuss once this meeting is over,” replied Navarkhos Theofanopoulos. The Strategos nodded too. The naval officer continued. “We will at least be able to judge their own conclusions against ours now. That in itself is valuable.”

The relatively sudden rise of Great Anglia and the upending of Occidental political relations had sent the Holy Imperial Government stumbling and seeking to find an equilibrium. It had grown used to its own neighbourhood being quiet. The little clashes or brief flurries in northern Europa over the last decade had been quelled with the overpowering threat of Tagmatine force of armies. On paper, Tagmatium had one of the most formidable armed forces on Eurth, it had never grown used to treating other nations as equal partners. The actions of the Haru – through the Cussian Crisis and the repeated provocations of its southern neighbour - and now the alliance that Great Anglia had drawn about itself had shown that to be a foolish course of action. The Epistrategaion had conducted war games and its intelligence had previously pointed to likely being able to defeat either Great Anglia or Suverina individually, together was another matter. The last several years had seen the Holy Imperial Government reverse that course of splendid isolation and attempt to integrate itself back into the network of alliances of the wurld. It was still case that those alliances and friendships were weak.

But this was the opportunity to strengthen them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

McCoy and Kenata mostly sat silently along with their aides throughout the meeting, the sound of a pen jotting down notes occasionally breaking it. The Salvians instead gave out plenty of cues other than auditory to signal their various levels of displeasure, the most evident of which came with the Gallambrian’s security assessment. The scrunching and furrowing of eyebrows was likely heard in Bromwich.

Kenata muttered, “Gallambrian pricks. Think they’re so much better than us.” It drew a dry smile from McCoy. He had called Salvia his home since he was 4, but was originally from Seylos and was surrounded by mainly other international students during his schooling years. He loved Salvia, but never understood its exceptionalism. He supposed every country had a version of it and moved past it. However much the assessment underestimated the average Salvian man's fighting spirit and penile length, it was likely more right than wrong. 

The Iverican laid out the case simply and poignantly, which McCoy appreciated. It seemed clear which path TRIDENT had to take.

 

It was Salvia’s turn to speak. McCoy had the mic unmuted, sat forward, and began, “Thank you all. While our own intelligence community would likely disagree with the initial Gallambrian assessment, it is clear that any further Anglian victories would be another step closer to a direct confrontation between her and Salvia and Gallambria. Other Marenesian states would certainly fall to this imperial machine as well.”

“Salvian intelligence has documented for months the flow of Anglian military equipment into Alvernia, with our sister republic often parading their newly equipped units. As of now, we have great reason to believe that almost all of Alvernia’s military is modernized with Anglian arms, and have not stopped there, with recruitment at an all-time high. There is also reasonable suspicion among the Salvian intelligence community that Anglia may be sending up to a division of its own troops to Alvernia for ‘training purposes.’ Further details will emerge in the following weeks.” McCoy held a momentary pause before continuing, “With all of this being said, Salvia and her people are pledging our full support to Gallambria, including aiding in whatever way we can in the defense of Bashan; to not only protect a territory of free people, but to protect our allies and our home.”

 

McCoy signaled for the mic to be muted and sat back. Kenata tried to suppress a smile but couldn’t, drawing the attention of the Defense Minister, “What?”

“That ending was corny as sh*t.”

Edited by Salvia (see edit history)
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