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17 Kirtal 1206 (19 November 2022)

The seas were quiet. Too quiet.

The Karnaq should be approaching @Mitonese waters by now. It wouldn’t be long until they crossed into Mito’s EEZ.

If only official channels were an option for this. But the Party had eyes everywhere. There was no telling who was an ally and who was an enemy. If this was to be a secret, they had to do it this way. Any attempt to contact Mito from within Kolhar would probably be found out by the Party, so the attempts had to happen outside of Mito. And the rebels were only in the military, even if some in the diplomatic corps might be sympathetic to them, it would be incredibly difficult to coordinate with them without the plot being found out.

The Party probably already knew that something was brewing, so their time was limited.

“Sir,” their helmsman spoke up. “If we continue on this course, we will enter Mito’s EEZ.”

“Noted.” Captain Keraz answered.

“Is that not an unacceptable risk?”

“Normally, yes.” Keraz said. “But in this case, we want to get their attention. Steady as she goes.”

The helmsman hesitated for a moment, but eventually answered.

“Aye sir.” He answered.

“Everyone, do NOT show any hostile intent whatsoever. We want their attention, not their bullets in our guts. Radar, keep an eye out for any contacts heading towards us.”

The aye’s and affirmatives began coming back as Keraz gave each order. The bridge sprang to life with activity, everyone keeping an eye on their stations. Meanwhile, in the background, everyone held their breath. What happened next would probably decide their fate.

“Raise the kilo flag.” Keraz ordered. The international maritime signal flag, signifying a desire to communicate.

Hopefully Mito would get the memo.

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18 Kirtal 1206 (20 November 2022)

“This is the Mitonese Coast Guard. Unidentified Kolhari vessel, state your business in Mitonese waters.”

The message in Ilene blared over the radio. It was the message they were waiting for, and yet it wouldn’t calm anyone’s nerves. Not one bit. They were extremely close to infringing on the territorial waters of another sovereign nation, and @Mito would be fully within their rights to stop or try to detain them.

If it came to that, they hoped they could find asylum. But hopefully it wouldn’t come to that.

“All stop!” Keraz ordered. He then looked around the bridge crew. “Is anyone here fluent in Ilene?” He asked. He knew some Ilene, but he wasn’t about to chance a miscommunication if anyone here knew the language better.

“Having studied abroad, I speak the language,” answered Milana. “Shall I?” Keraz nodded.

“Tell them we come bearing important information regarding the situation in Kolhar, and seek an audience with someone in their government.”

“Mitonese vessel, this is the Kolhari frigate Karnaq. We request to speak to someone from your government. We come with important information regarding the situation in Kolhar.”

The few seconds it took the Mitonese vessel to answer felt like an eternity. But eventually, an answer came through.

“Stay at your current position. We will relay your message to our superiors. Do not make any sudden movements.”

Keraz and Milana smiled.

“Affirmative.” Milana answered.

Keraz folded his arms.

“And now we wait.” He said.

Minutes turned to hours, and yet they still waited patiently. Keraz was beginning to lose hope when suddenly a voice came over the radio.

“We can relay your request to our government. What is it you need?”

Keraz sighed.

“Tell them it’s a sensitive matter and we would prefer to not communicate it over the radio. Perhaps we can speak in person.”

Milana nodded.

“The matter is sensitive in nature. We can relay it to you, but not over the radio. Would it be possible to meet in person?”

They waited again for a response. Finally, one came.

“We will bring our ships aside to yours. Up to two of your own may come aboard our vessel to speak on your behalf.”

Keraz got up and motioned to Milana.

“I’m going aboard their ship. Milana, you’re with me. Ater, you have the bridge.”

“Aye sir!”

Keraz and Milana left the bridge. They watched as the Mitonese ship approached slowly. As it got closer, Keraz saw that it had its guns aimed straight at his ship. An understandable precaution. As they got closer, Keraz could also see men and women on the deck, aiming weapons at them. Also an understandable precaution. Finally, the two ships came to a stop next to each other, and a platform was raised to connect the two ships. Before the two of them stepped on it though, they heard something over the megaphone.

“You are granted permission to board, but you are to follow all of our instructions while on our vessel. You shall not be permitted to carry weapons. There will be no exceptions to this.”

Keraz and Milana glanced at each other. It was risky, but they knew that they weren’t exactly in a position to make any demands. Keraz nodded.

“We thank you for this opportunity and accept all terms.” Milana responded.

With that, the two of them stepped aboard the Mitonese ship. They were led by armed guards into the ship, and past several rooms, until they finally reached what looked to be a meeting room. There, they were once again instructed to wait.

It took about an hour. Throughout the entire time people were coming in and out of the room, one after another. Each one brought more and more electronic devices. Computers that ran software they hadn’t seen before. Likely proprietary Mitonese tech. Not that it mattered to Keraz, he didn’t care how it was done as long as he had secure communications to the Mitonese.

Eventually, the ship crew said they were ready and switched on the computer. On the screen a face came up. He was obviously a high ranking officer in the Mitonese navy.

“I am Admiral Hidemi Kondo. To whom am I speaking to.”

“I am Milana Aibak, weapons officer aboard the Kolhari frigate Karnaq. I will be the interpreter. This is my captain, Keraz Rakim.”

“I’ll get straight to the point.” Kondo said. “Why are you here?” Keraz answered the question, with Milana doing the translating.

“I represent a faction within the Kolhari military that is planning a rebellion. We seek the assistance of the Aurelian League and your country.”

Kondo’s eyes widened. He stayed silent for a moment, pondering the words that he had just heard. He was likely trying to decide if they were serious, or if this was some sort of ruse.

“This faction, are you seriously planning a rebellion?”

“Yes. And we would like your help.”

“What is your plan?”

“We’ve concentrated our forces in the east of the country, particularly in the city of Tailat and the surrounding area. As soon as we return to port, we will begin taking over the city and secure it. Once that’s done, we will expand our control as far as we can before we consolidate our gains and dig in for the long term.”

“How much of the military is involved in this?”

“We have enough officers among our ranks to have control of roughly 20% of the military. However, discontent is widespread within the armed forces. We expect to gain much more support once we get started.”

“What sort of support do you want?”

“We would like you to provide arms and ammunition, and supplies for the civilians who will undoubtedly be heavily impacted by this. Furthermore, we would like you to refer our request for help to the Aurelian League. The more support we get, the better.”

Hidemi once again fell silent. It was clear he was pondering his options, and didn’t want to make any hasty decisions. Fair enough for them, but Keraz needed an answer in a timely manner. He couldn’t delay the ships mission too much or the government would suspect something’s up. Finally, after a good minute or so, Hidemi spoke.

“I will need to consult with the Defense Ministry about this matter.”

“Fair enough.” Keraz answered. “However, we will need an answer before the end of tomorrow. We plan on leaving to return to port on that day.”

Keraz took a deep breath before he would finish his statement.

“This rebellion will happen regardless of whether or not we get support. Things would just be vastly easier if we are able to get your support.”

Hidemi nodded.

“I will relay your message. However, I can’t guarantee an answer in that time period.”

“Understandable. If it is okay with you, I will wait here until the end of tomorrow.”

“Very well. If the answer comes in time, I will relay it to you.

With that, the connection was severed.

Day turned to night, which once again turned to day. Morning passed, and so did lunchtime. Finally the setting sun indicated the day was coming to an end.

Time was running out. Keraz and Milana waited in the Mitonese ship, eating a Mitonese dinner in the mess hall that the captain had graciously allowed them to have. However, the Karnaq couldn’t afford to wait much longer. He was starting to wonder if Hidemi would pull through, or if this was all for nought.

Suddenly, someone came into the room.

“You’re wanted in the meeting room.” He said.

Keraz and Milana got up and followed the man back into the room they were in previously. The screen was on, and Hidemi appeared on it. The two of them sat down and looked at Hidemi.

“If you’ve called us back, I presume you have an answer for us?”

“I do. If you can capture a port city, Mito will provide military and civilian support. Furthermore, we will refer the matter to the Aurelian League for further consideration.”

Keraz and Milana smiled. They couldn’t contain their joy.

“Thank you!” Keraz said in the best Mitonese he could muster, before he went back to speaking Kolhari.

“Listen to Radio Tailat in a week or so. If we are successful, we will make both a televised and radio announcement.”

“We shall pay close attention.”

Keraz and Milana got up.

“If you’ll excuse us, we have to return to Kolhar.”

“Very well.”

The two of them began to leave the room before he heard Hidemi call for them once more.

“Captain,” he said. Keraz turned and looked towards the screen again. “Good luck.”

When Keraz and Milana boarded the ship and the platform was raised, Ater knew they had gotten an answer. It was only a few moments later that both the captain and Milana returned to the bridge.

“How did it go?” Ater asked.

“Mission accomplished.” Keraz answered with a smile. “Set a course for home.”

Edited by Kolhar (see edit history)
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23 Kirtal 1206 (27 November 2022)

Krel watched the coastline from his position at port. Warships were moored just under his gaze. This was the largest military base in Tailat, a joint navy, army, and air force base that served as a major hub for military activity in the east. It also served as the main command station for the Kolhari Navy’s eastern fleet. That was why this was perfect for the coming operation.

If they could pull it off that is.

Across the horizon their signal about their next steps should be becoming visible any minute now. The Karnaq, the frigate tasked with the important task of getting word out and seeking foreign aid, was due to come back any day now. They were already one day late from returning from their officially assigned mission, but so far they had managed to avoid suspicion by claiming the ship was having some minor issues. They wouldn’t be able to get away for another day though.

So Krel watched the horizon, waiting for any sign of the ship. If they didn’t return today, they would have to get started without them. He could only pray to his ancestors that everything would be okay.

But still there was no sign of them returning. It was almost time for lunch, so Krel turned to leave for his lunch. He opened his mouth to inform those under him of what he was going to do.

“Colonel,” a voice interrupted. It was one of the lookouts. “They’re back.”

Lunch could wait.

Krel turned around and looked through the lookout’s binoculars. There it was, clear as day. The Karnaq had returned. Krel stared at the ship as it slowly moved closer, looking for the flags it was flying. The agreed upon signals for what was to come.

The ship flew a Kolhari flag, with the sun in the middle cut out of it. Under it was the Romeo international maritime signal flag.

It was the exact signal Krel was hoping for. Krel stopped looking and turned back. He grabbed the intercom and phoned a conference room. It was supposed to be unused at the moment, but Krel knew better than that. He waited until someone picked up the line.

“How is our temple?” The voice on the other side asked.

“Mirar has blessed us,” Krel answered before he added a final line. “Makcha’.”

Krel hung up the phone. He didn’t need to be on the line to know what would happen next. He walked back up to the lookouts.

“As of now, you are all relieved of duty.”

They all turned towards Krel, eyes wide with surprise and confusion. They stared as Krel grabbed the Kolhari flag on his shirt sleeve and ripped it off. The flag represented a country he was now fighting against, to create a new Kolhar.

“Well,” Krel asked, “are you just going to stand there, or are we going to bring freedom to this country by our own hands?”

One by one, the lookouts began ripping off the flags on their uniforms as well. There weren’t many, but it was enough to do the job. Krel smirked as he turned around and walked towards the door.

“Keep an eye on what’s happening. Make regular reports on radio frequency 197.1. On, and if you see people flying a Kolhari flag without a Kolhari sun on it, they’re on our side.”

With that, Krel left the room. He walked down a long hallway and finally out of the building. Outside he was greeted with a small squad, led by one of his co-conspirators. They didn’t need to exchange words. Together they marched to the armory, which was being guarded by soldiers who by this point were obviously quite confused. When ordered to open the door they didn’t even question it.

With that, they were armed.

Krel and his co-conspirators walked back towards the military base from there, heading straight for a specific location. The compound where the admirals and generals were. When they got there they didn’t even bother knocking.

“Excuse me,” Krel said as he smashed the door down with his body weight. Immediately he could hear the sounds of the generals and admirals moving around. Krel simply motioned towards his co-conspirators. Each of them ran towards the rooms, and each one came out with someone.

The high ranking officers in the base that would oppose them were taken care of. From how things were going outside, Krel could tell things were progressing just as planned. Soldiers outside were lowering the Kolhari flag. This base was under their control.

Now for the next stage.

“What the hell is going on?!”

Mayor Iman stared into the distance from city hall. He knew the Party sometimes had the military do things with little to no warning, but this was unusual even for that. Multiple trucks were leaving the joint military base of the city, setting up checkpoints in key areas. The port and airport had both been taken over and closed, and now he was in a position where he couldn’t move even if he wanted to. It was almost like the military was trying to take control of the city for themselves.

But that couldn’t be the case… right?

Iman again picked up the phone, calling the chief of police for the seventh time. But just like the last six times, nobody picked up. He turned towards his secretary.

“Get me someone, ANYONE, who knows what’s happening!” he barked.

“Yes right away sir,” his secretary answered. She opened the door, only to let out a small eep.

“That won’t be necessary, Mayor.” a voice said from beyond the door. Iman looked towards it to see a figure coming in wearing a military uniform. He pointed a pistol straight at Iman.

“Who are you?” Iman asked.

“Colonel Krel Torez,” the man answered. “Don’t worry, I don’t want to hurt you. I just can’t have you picking up that phone anymore.”

Iman stepped away from his desk and the phone.

“Good. By now you’ve probably figured out what we’re doing, am I right?” Krel asked.

“Why are you taking over the city? Why would the Party order this?”

“They didn’t. I’m sure you’re smart enough to figure out what that means.” Krel answered.

Iman thought about it. Then it clicked. This was an uprising. One from within the military itself! The thought terrified Iman. He had done so much for the city, he didn’t want all of that to be undone!

“Now, I’ve studied your record in the city.” Krel continued. “It’s quite impressive. You’ve invested a lot in local services and done your best considering the limitations the Party puts on you.”

“Get to the point.”

“I’m giving you a chance.” Krel held out a hand, though he still kept the gun pointed at Iman. “Join us, and fight for Kolhari freedom.”

Iman looked at Krel. Was that their goal? Freedom? That was something many in Kolhar wanted. It was also the reason that Iman would never make it any higher in the ranks of the Kolhari Advancement Party.  But even if he wanted to take part, was it really worth the risk?

“Or we can take you prisoner.” Krel finished. “Take your pick.”

The local press gathered at city hall. Many reporters thought it odd that only local press was allowed, and no national press was allowed. It was also bizarre that this wasn’t a pre-scheduled announcement of some kind. But that was no matter, whatever was happening was clearly unusual and it was something that needed to be reported on. Radio Tailat and TV Tailat were both asked to cover whatever was coming and broadcast it live.

Finally, the Mayor of the city appeared, followed shortly by Krel. The two went up to the podium that had hastily been set up for them. First the Mayor spoke.

“My fellow countrymen. My brothers and sisters. Together we have been through good and bad times. As your Mayor, I have done my best to improve our city and give you the best life that I can. However, we all know that under the current government we will always be limited. We will always need to be careful of what we say, what we do. We need to constantly watch over our back. Sometimes we can’t even trust our own neighbors.

“This is not how you run a society. This is how you ruin people. But there is a way forward. Something better that we can do. For that reason, I have allowed Colonel Krel Torez and his allies to take control of this city. Regarding their intentions, I will let them do the speaking.”

Mayor Iman stepped away from the podium, and Krel stepped up.

“Brothers and sisters, friends and family. We have all lived in this shell of a society for our entire lives. We sacrificed our freedom and our dignity to this country. Furthermore, we live with a government that actively takes favorites based on nothing more than the ancestors that we happen to have. In return, we were promised wealth, riches, and power. And yet, in reality, we have received none of that. We sacrificed our freedom, our dignity, our honor, for nothing. Mirar and Kiv are crying.

“I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors of a prison riot at a political prison camp that officially doesn’t exist. I will confirm to you the rumors are true. I myself have met a survivor of it. And the rumor that the riot was caused by the Party punishing someone for political reasons in spite of the fact that they were fiercely loyal to them is also true. It is clear the Party doesn’t care about us, our friends, our families, or anyone else. They only care about themselves.

“Well, we’ve had enough. It is for that reason that I, alongside some like-minded military officers, have formed the Army of Honor. And today we have taken control of the city of Tailat. The government can try to take us back, but we will fight back fiercely to defend our freedom.

“Anyone who wishes to join our fight is free to do so. We in particular will welcome those of you in the military who want to fight for a truly better Kolhar. We also ask the nations of the Aurelian League for assistance in our fight. @Mito has pledged some support. We hope that other nations such as @Xio, @Advocatius, @Rhodellia, @Esonice, and others can provide us with support. We understand some of you may find it difficult to support us, especially considering the international geopolitical situation, but rest assured every small bit helps. Together we can win this fight and destroy the corrupt regime that is the Kolhari Advancement Party!”

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24 Kirtal 1206 (28 November 2022)

“We’ve lost the city of Tailat, but we assure you Davil that we have the situation completely under control. There is nothing to be concerned about.”

The general spoke in a soft tone as he addressed the dear leader. The man had an average stature, with an average build. His unassuming face seemingly calm in the face of the clearly un-ideal situation. And yet, he seemed to be alright with the situation.

“I trust you when you say that, General.” Arez answered. “I do not want this uprising to last any longer. It should be put down by the end of the week using any and all means necessary.”

“I understand sir.” the general responded. “However, we will need to exercise some restraint. They have taken control of the airport and we don’t know if they have any working military aircraft.”

“Bomb the airport then.” Arez responded, matter of factly. The general was stunned. It made military sense, but surely they would want to keep the infrastructure intact for their own use after the war. But the next words to come out of Arez’s mouth sent shivers down his spine.

“I don’t care if you have to carpet bomb the city. Do whatever you have to, you have full reign. I just want those bugs squashed.”

“Understood sir.”

“Are you certain these reports are correct?” Kanka said in disbelief. She had heard rumblings about an uprising, word of something like that spread fast through the country. But nobody in the capital could confirm whether or not it was true. But this news coming from Ibak was something unlike any she had heard before.

“It’s absolutely true. Several battalions in the army, possibly more, all rebelled.” Ibak answered. “The city of Tailat is in their control. They call themselves the Army of Honor, and they say Mito has their back.”

“What do they want?” Kanka asked in suspicion.

“To overthrow the Kolhari Advancement Party.”

That answer sent a shiver down Kanka’s spine. They wanted to take over Kolhar. But what would they do after they did? Would they bring about a democracy? Or would they just make themselves the new dictators of the nation?

“Do you know anything about their leader?” Kanka asked again. Maybe knowing who was behind this Army of Honor would give them a better idea of what the end goal was.

“A Colonel Krel Torez.”

“Krel Torez?!” Kanka couldn’t help but be surprised. It was a name she hadn’t heard in a while, but she would never forget. The very same man that had brought her son Talshin back to her? He definitely seemed like a reasonable person, but she could never imagine that he had this much influence!

“You know him?” Ibak answered in surprise.

“I’ve met him before. Let’s just say I owe him a great debt.”

Ibak nodded in understanding. Kanka didn’t need to say anything more for him to understand what she meant.

“What do we do?” Ibak asked. “The government is planning some harsh crackdowns on dissent. We can’t just sit back and do nothing.”

“I have to speak to him, if I can.” Kanka said. “But how?”

“I’ll keep a lookout, see if I can get any information to help.” Ibak answered. Kanka nodded.

“I’ll let everyone in our movement know just in case.”

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26 Kirtal 1206 (30 November 2022)
Outskirts of Tailat

It had only been a couple of days, and yet the government had already responded. Several attack forces had been sent towards the city, all in an attempt to crush the rebellion before they had a chance to entrench themselves.

Unfortunately, all of these attacks had failed. Maybe next time the government would think twice before sending conscripts who hated the government to fight against a group that was actively trying to destroy that government. Though not everyone had defected, many of the soldiers sent to attack them had, only bolstering their forces.

All according to plan.

Now, the sun was starting to set in the city of Tailat, and it was almost time to start the next phase of their plan.

Krel looked at one of his fellow co-conspirators, now acting as a general in the Army of Honor.

"It's time." Krel said.

"I agree." The man left. Krel didn't need to follow him to know what would happen next.

Soldiers and vehicles poured out of the city, advancing in all directions. There were several towns and villages in the surrounding area that they needed to secure if they were to entrench themselves. Now, when the soldiers of the other side had demonstrated that they didn't want to fight, was their chance.

It was time to go on the offensive.

"No, no, no!" The general slammed his fist on the long table. Arez' generals were meeting to discuss the rebellion and how to crush them. But things weren't going as planned. "If our men would follow orders this would be over by now! And now they're going on the offensive! Even those in our defensive lines are just surrendering right away!"

"We need to do something, but what?" another general bemused. Everyone in the room knew that he was right, but nobody had any suggestions as to what to do.

"Tell the political officers to do a better job," one general suggested. "They're there for a reason. We can't have them slacking off."

"Yes, let's do that. In the meantime, fall back to the third defensive line. We don't want more of our forces deserting."

"Arez won't be pleased."

The room went silent. Everybody knew that, but it wasn't something they wanted to admit. But not that it was brought up, it couldn't be ignored. Everyone knew what sort of approach Arez would favor. It would be brutal, unforgivably brutal. But it would also make Kolhar an international pariah state. The generals wanted to avoid that.

"Tell him it's all part of the plan," one general suggested. "He'll believe us, at least for now."

Nobody agreed, but nobody disagreed either. There was an understanding among everyone that this was what would have to be done.

They just hoped Arez would buy it.

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7 Kestal 1206 (7 December 2022)

One week. That was all it took for the governments lines in the immediate area to completely collapse. Largely from their own forces laying down their arms and defecting to their own side. It was far more success than anyone in the Army of Honor had suspected would happen. But it was a success nonetheless, and Krel would take it.

However, they needed to slow down their expansion, lest they thin out their ranks too much. So Krel ordered the offensive halted. They had gained substantial territory, particularly in the north, but they needed to stop while they were in a defensible position. If the government counterattacked, and they weren't prepared, things wouldn't go so well for them.

"Krel," someone walked up to him. "Our forces are halting at the Ogat line, no sign of a counterattack yet."

"Excellent," Krel said. "Dig in over there, we'll regroup our forces and prepare for the next offensive. There's no telling if or when a counterattack will happen."

"Of course," the person said. "Also, there's one other thing."

"What is it?"

"There are rumblings from other underground opposition groups. Some of them want to talk about joining forces."

Krel pondered this for a moment. There were a lot of things to consider. Joining forces with other opposition forces would definitely be beneficial, especially if they could form a united front. But he needed to be careful about whom they aligned with. There was no way they could just ally with anybody.

"Have them send us a sort of vision statement of what they want Kolhar to become," Krel said. "Then bring that to the high command. We'll review them and see who we want to align with."

"I'll relay the message."

"I wanted the uprising crushed by now. Why haven't you used your full force?" Arez' voice was calm, but every general in the room was sweating. They could tell he was incensed.

"We're doing our best, sir, but we're having to be careful about which forces we send against them." one general said. "If we send the wrong forces, they just defect-"

"I have no interest in your excuses." Arez interrupted. "We need to stamp them out before they have a chance to gain a bigger foothold."

"We will do everything we can, I assure yo-"

"Are you using artillery?"

"What?" The question from Arez surprised the general.

"I said, are you using artillery?"

"We are using some, sir, but we are trying to avoid civilian casua-"

"Nobody has ever won a war by holding back. Start making extensive use of it. I don't care about any civilians."

The general paused for a moment, not knowing how to respond. Such an action would definitely result in heavy civilian casualties and constitute a war crime. And yet, if he refused, there was no telling what would happen to him or his family.


"U… Understood sir."

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10 Kestal 1206 (12 December 2022)

In the last few days the government changed tactics. They began heavy artillery bombardments, sometimes with little to no regard for civilians. The amount of collateral damage caused was unbelievable. At least certain areas, like schools for young children, seemed safe. But it was clear that the government was only going to start coming down harder the longer this went on.

It enraged Krel. Had they not studied the same conventions of war that he had when training? Why were these generals so willing to throw away the laws of war? Even if they opposed it privately but just followed orders, the fact that they were actually going through with it made them just as guilty.

On the flip side though, it did mean that the Army of Honor had gotten a sudden influx of defections from artillery brigades who refused to shoot indiscriminately. It greatly helped their supplies of heavy artillery.

These bombardments complicated their efforts to dig in, but they weren’t letting it stop them. They had to get things going and prove to the Aurelian League that this wasn’t going to die down anytime soon. He couldn’t expect them to support the uprising if it was just going to fizzle out right away.

“Krel,” someone came into the room carrying a letter. “Here’s another one.”

“Thank you,” Krel said as he opened the letter. It was another vision statement for the future of the country. This one was from the Communist Party of Kolhar. It wasn’t a group that Krel would normally associate with, but he didn’t want to leave out anyone. Aligning with them went against his own political beliefs, but at the same time the enemy of your enemy can be your friend.

Krel read through the vision statement. It was filled with communist and socialist jargon, but still contained portions where they talked about wanting a democracy. Krel wasn’t entirely sure about whether or not he trusted their stated vision of democracy, but he also felt like he shouldn’t dismiss them outright.

That said, the Communists seemed eager to form a ‘united front’ as they called it.

Krel wasn’t willing to give them any significant leadership role just yet, but he was at the very least willing to legalize the organization in the territory they controlled. He would need some time to mull over a formal alliance with them though.

Wasn’t there any other major opposition group that he could align with, though?

Kanka breathed a sigh of relief as she finished typing. It was finally done, the vision statement of the Freedom Party. Now she just had to find a way to give it to Krel. But how? He was in Tailat, and if she moved there then she would be put under suspicion by the secret police. There must be some way to reach him though.

She pondered her options. She gazed out the window as she did so. Every so often a car would pass by. People walked up and down the street. The country was in a state of civil war, and yet everyone seemed to be acting normally. Well, everyone except her son Akzim, who was running full speed back home.

“Wait,” Kanka thought. “He should still be at school, what the hell is he doing here?”

Kanka opened the door for him. Akzim rushed in and slammed the door shut behind him.

“Get Talshin,” he screamed. “We need to leave. NOW.”

“What happened?”

“They came to school.”

Kanka froze. There was only one ‘they’ that he could be talking about.

“They were looking for me, and they said they were going to visit our home later. They’re onto us!” It won’t be long before they come here.

Kanka ran upstairs to wake up Talshin. The three of them began grabbing whatever stuff they could. It wasn’t much, but they at least got the essentials. Kanka also printed out her vision statement before running a program she had set up to wipe her computer. She wasn’t going to bother checking if it ran properly though, no time for that.

Not too long afterwards Kanka and her family got into the car and drove away. They went into a secluded neighborhood, where Kanka got out of her car. In the trunk she kept a fake license plate, just in case she needed it. And she surely did need it now. Once that was safely swapped out, she began driving once more. A long afterwards she reached the home of Tesur.

“Am I glad to see you.” Tesur said as soon as Kanka knocked on the door. “Is everything alright with the flowers?”

“I had to move them, but they’re fine.” Kanka answered. This was a code they had agreed upon ages ago, and it meant that Kanka needed to move to a different place.

“Come in.” Tesur said. The three of them obliged.

“I can let you stay tonight, but if you stay too long you’ll still be at risk,” Tesur told them. “You need to get out of the city, probably by early tomorrow morning. Do you know where you’d go though?”

Kanka nodded.

“Good, you have the encrypted communication app right?”


“Alright, I’ll try to keep in touch. And if I can ask Kanka, where are you going to go?”

“Tailat.” Kanka answered. “It’s time I return a debt I owe.”

Edited by Kolhar (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

15 Kestal 1206 (17 December 2022)

5 days. 5 long days of traveling. Ordinarily going from Vakor to Tailat wouldn’t have taken this long. You could get there in a day or two by train, or in one flight. But for Kanka she couldn’t take the ordinary routes. She had to make many stops along the way, hiding at safe houses normally used by people looking to flee the country and seek asylum abroad. But eventually she made it to Tailat, and she had no intention of going any further.

Thankfully the local branch of the Freedom Party had been told of her arrival beforehand, so her family had a place to stay. Now, Kanka had another job to do.

Her vision statement for a new government of Kolhar was complete, and now she just needed to deliver it. She just had to find a way to deliver it. There, her high position in the Freedom Party came in handy. She had organized a meeting to deliver the letter to an unnamed representative from the Army of Honor.

And here she was, handing the letter over to the other person.

“Thank you,” Kanka told the person.

“No,” they answered. “Thank you for being willing to help us.”

She just hoped that Krel still remembered her.

“Colonel, another one is here,” someone said as they entered Krel’s room.

“Very good.” Krel picked up the letter and began reading it. The vision it had was slightly different from what he had in mind, but he could definitely work with it. There was room for compromise.

Next Krel looked at which group had sent the letter. It was the ‘Freedom Party’. Krel had heard rumors about this group, but hadn’t met them yet. It was interesting that they wanted to work with them. Just who was sending this letter?

When Krel looked at it, his jaw dropped. He didn’t recognize the first name, but the surname was one he recognized. Krel turned to this person

“I would like to meet this Kanka Salin person as soon as I can.”

“I’ll send a message right away.”

16 Kestal 1206 (18 December 2022)

Kanka paced in the room. Waiting was difficult in a situation like this. How would Krel react? Was it even the same Krel she thought it was? The first and last name matched up, but what if by chance it was someone else? She had to push those thoughts aside as the minutes ticked by. Kanka was early, and she was sure that Krel was busy planning things for this civil war. She just needed to be patient.

Suddenly the door opened. Kanka looked to see Krel, still dressed in military uniform walk in. It was the very same Krel that had brought her son back to her.

“It’s good to see you again.” Kanka said.

“As to you,” Krel answered. “How has Talshin been?”

“He still has nightmares about what happened,” Kanka said. “I don’t blame him. He isn’t entirely the same, but all things considered he’s doing well.”

“I’m glad he has a wonderful family to help him.” Krel answered. “Now, I hear you represent the Freedom Party and want to collaborate?”

“Yes,” Kanka said. “My husband helped found the Freedom Party, but was arrested for his involvement.”

“Your husband was Lagan Salin?” Krel sounded surprised. Not like she could blame him though, not many knew who he was married to.

“Yes.” Kanka answered. Krel nodded and fell silent for a moment before speaking once more.

“What do you see in your vision for a new Kolhar?” Krel asked.

“I want a Kolhar that works for everyone, not just one clan. We need a country built upon honor, fairness, and democracy. One that gives everyone a fair chance, and one that works to right the wrongs of our past.” Kanka’s little statement wasn’t one that gave specifics, but she had a feeling that wasn’t what Krel wanted to hear at the minute.

“The specifics are negotiable,” Kanka went on. “What we need right now is to tear down the current system and build a new foundation upon which we can improve our country.”

Krel nodded.

“It seems we’re on the same page about that,” he said. “A partnership will benefit both of us. What do you say we work together?”

“I’d be happy to.” Kanka held out a hand to Krel. He grabbed it as they smiled at one another.

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  • 1 month later...

17 Kestal 1206 (19 December 2022)

“Why have they not been crushed yet!” Arez’s voice echoed through the room. His displeasure was plain to see, and everyone knew why. He had ordered this rebellion crushed. As far as he was concerned, the uprising should have been stopped and its perpetrators executed. He had ordered so himself.

Arez didn’t know, nor did he care, that a large portion of the failures were made by soldiers defecting to the other side. He didn’t care that the harsher tactics he was ordering, including not worrying about bombarding civilians, was only fueling defections more.

No, he just wanted the rebellion crushed. He didn’t care what it took. He didn’t care what dirty tactics he had to use. He wanted the rebels dead, simple as.

“Apologies,” one of the generals said. His voice quivered as he spoke. “We are making the strongest effort we can to crush these traitors.”

“Well then, do more.” Arez said. “Bombard them more, attack them more. Do whatever it takes. But I want you to stop them.”

“Absolutely sir.”

“The enemy has resumed heavy bombardment of our positions on the front lines.” Krel listened to the report from the front lines. They had made good progress, but were now hunkering down. They needed to secure their supply lines and regroup, if they spread themselves too thin then that was asking for disaster.

“We need to find a way to protect ourselves from their bombardment, we can't have our forces be constantly under siege.” Krel said.

“They aren’t giving us much chance to make fortifications. They must have aerial scouts in the area.”

Krel nodded. It was troublesome but true. His forces only had a handful of airfields, and as a result what airpower they had they were using sparingly. They couldn’t afford to lose what little they had, and as a result Arez had aerial superiority. And that was strongly working against them.

“They’ve changed their encryption keys as well,” Krel lamented “so listening in on their radio communications doesn’t work anymore.”

Kanka sad across from Krel. She wasn’t involved in the military planning, but as a leading figure in an organization that they were going to partner with she was invited to this meeting. She, however, seemed deep in thought at what was said.

“Kanka, is something on your mind?” Krel asked.

“Actually, yes.” She answered. “I may have a solution to your problem.”

18 Kestal 1206 (20 December 2022)

“You want me TO WHAT?!” Ibak couldn’t believe his ears. He had been supplying documents about the government’s dirty secrets to the Freedom Party, but this was on a completely new level.

“At least see if it’s in your fathers documents.” Tesur answered. “If it isn’t, that’s fine. But it would really help the rebels.”

“But leaking the encryption methods of the military… that’s a tall order.” Ibak said. “I’d already be considered a traitor for what I’ve done. If I do this and it gets out, it’d be treason. I could be killed. Not just me, but my family could also be killed.”

“I know,” Tesur replied. “I understand if you aren’t willing to do this. But it would really help us.”

Ibak stood silently in the alley. There was no doubt the gravity of what was being asked, and no doubt that it wouldn’t be asked if it wasn’t vital. But could he really do this? Could he really risk not only himself, but his family as well? It was one thing to put himself at risk, but this was on another level.

And yet, here he had a chance to do something. Something that could seriously hurt the government, maybe even directly lead to the change that the people of Kolhar so desperately wanted.

“Fine,” Ibak answered. “I’ll see what I can find. But I make no promises.”

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  • 4 weeks later...

20 Kestal 1206 (24 December 2022) 

It was midnight in the royal palace. It was pure luck for that this was still used as the residence of the royal family, and he could walk around it without any suspicion. But it was late enough to where literally nobody would be inside the building, at least not in the government-related areas. Yet Ibak wasn’t going to take things lightly, not with what he was about to do.

Slowly but surely, Ibak made his way to his fathers office. A couple days earlier he had scouted out the location of the security cameras, and found a couple that he didn’t know about before. Now he knew how to avoid all of them. Nobody would see him where he was going, all they would know was that he left his room. For all they knew he was heading for the toilet.

Finally, Ibak made it to his fathers office. He snuck his way inside and turned on the computer. There was no telling whether or not his father would have access to what he was looking for, but he had to at least try. He technically wasn’t a military officer after all. But with his fathers influence in the government and his family history, it was entirely possible that it was there.

Once again Ibak used his fathers insecure password to access government databases. Then, he began reading through as many records as he could find. Prison records, general military movements, orders from the government to crack down harder on dissidents. There had been a lot of activity recently, all appearing in his fathers messages. But nothing that would be harmful to the military. This wasn’t what he was looking for. Ibak began looking through the files he could find in the network. But there was nothing in the easily accessible parts.

“There has to be more,” Ibak thought to himself. He began searching through everything on his fathers computers. So far everything seemed normal. Web browser, general government services, word processor, qorjik…

Qorjik? It was an odd name for a program. In Kolhari it meant something along the lines of “black light”. The icon had been hidden away in a menu, but it was there. What in the wurld was this?

Ibak opened it, and was greeted with a web browser. It was clearly a fork of some open-source web browser, but there was no URL bar. Instead it defaulted to a login screen. Cautiously, Ibak entered the login credentials his father used for what seemed like everything. As soon as he did, he saw a large database come up in front of him, all neatly organized into different areas.

Tax documents, budget and spending documents, spending reports of the security service. It was all here. If this was all here, then perhaps military secrets would also be here. Ibak’s eyes ran down the screen until he finally reached a section for military records. He opened it and began looking through as much as he could. There was specific troop movements here, orders to different units, and…

Jackpot. Here it was, the order outlining the new encryption keys units were to use. Ibak downloaded the document and logged out. But before he did, there was a nagging suspicion that he had. He opened the normal web browser and clicked his fathers bookmark for emails. His heart sank when he saw the newest unread email.


Ibak instinctively hit the delete button and turned off the computer. Then he ran back to his room. Hopefully his father didn’t read the email, but there was something else that worried him. That definitely meant that they logged his activity. The government would know where it came from when this got out. The question was, could they trace it back to Ibak? Or would he just get his father in trouble?

But in any case, it was too late to back out now.

That morning, as Ibak ate breakfast with his family, he heard the conversation his father was having with his mother.

“I got a weird notification this morning,” he said, “something about accessing the government networks at midnight. But when I checked my emails, nothing was there.”

“Honey, you’re always telling me how computers don’t work well. Maybe it’s that?”

“Yeah, maybe you’re right.”

With that his father seemed to drop it. He didn’t seem to want to pursue it any further.

23 Kestal 1206 (27 December 2022) 

“You… you’ve actually done it?!” Tesur was in complete shock. He didn’t think that Ibak would actually pull off what was asked of him. But yet, here he was, handing over a flash drive and saying he’d done it.

Tesur quickly plugged it into his own laptop and opened the one document that was on it. It was true, the new encryption keys used by the military in the civil war. It was here.

“You have no idea how much this’ll help us!” Tesur said.

“Yeah,” Ibak replied. He smiled, but it couldn’t hide his nervousness. “Just promise me you’ll help my family if it comes to it?”

Tesur nodded. It was only natural for Ibak to ask that, considering what he had done. If this got out, the reprisals would be massive. Yet, at the same time, he didn’t want to make a promise he couldn’t keep.

“Ibak, I can’t promise that we can help everyone,” Tesur said, “but I can promise that we’ll try.”

1 Artal 1207 (1 January 2023)

New Year’s day. Normally this would be a massive day of celebrations in Kolhar, and for the civilians it still would be. Tailat had massive New Year’s decorations were everywhere, and every door to every house displayed a chambok. The wooden design was meant to help let in the good energy of one's ancestors and bring good fortune for the upcoming year.

But Krel wouldn’t be able to take part in any of that today. He had a different job to deal with, and one that he couldn’t stray away from. It was still early morning, the sun was only starting to come up. Soon they would know whether their plans to be implemented starting today would work.

Boom, boom, boom.

The sound of explosions rang in the distance. It had started. Todays bombardments from the government. Krel held his breath as he waited to hear back from the front. The minutes ticked by as he waited for the report. Then, someone came up to him.

“Sir, a report from the front lines.” The man handed Krel a paper. Krel read through it.

No casualties. Krel smiled.

“Keep listening in on their radio, and move our forces accordingly.”

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  • 1 month later...

1 Biotal 1206 (1 February 2023)

Once again, Krel found himself in the forward operating base. It wasn’t something people around him wanted him to do. After all, he had more and more found himself acting as the de-facto commander-in-chief of this armed uprising. Putting your top commander closer to the front lines was generally considered a bad idea.

But they didn’t have many options at the moment, what with the uprising still only controlling a large area in northeastern Kolhar. If they were to have any chance of succeeding, they needed to aim bigger. Aim for more. Everyone knew that.

That was what this operation was about. As the clock inched closer to 6 AM, Krel waited. They had been planning this operation for a whole month now. They were preparing, always moving supplies and troops. The fact they had broken the encryption of the government helped massively then, and it would help them massively now.

Finally, the clock hit 6 AM. The orders had already been given to the commanders in the front lines, now all Krel had to do was wait for the reports. Minutes turned into hours as the day went by, and slowly casualty reports began coming in. They were losing a lot of men, but that was to be expected. By this point the enemy was entrenched, and their forces would struggle to dislodge them.

But Krel knew they had one advantage – surprise. The government was expecting an attack along a different line from where they came from. All he could pray was that their plan would work.


“Damn that machine gun! I can’t even poke my head out!” Toral ducked down behind a building’s wall, or rather, what was left of one, as the bullets whizzed past his head. His squad was meant to advance and secure some buildings in this street, thereby blowing a hole in the government’s defensive lines. But there was only one thing in everyone’s minds right now – don’t become a bullet pincushion.

“Stay in cover, they’re wasting ammo.” someone responded. “They’ll run out eventually.”

Easy to say, but everyone knew that this wasn’t the best position to be in.

“Where's Ozbag? Wasn’t he circling around?” Toral screamed back. Private Ozbag had been ordered to lead a small group of 3~4 soldiers to sneak around and see if they could get behind that gun without anyone noticing.

“No clue, haven’t heard from him since he left.”

“You better be alive,” Toral muttered to himself. Suddenly, the guns stopped. Toral waited, and sure enough, there was silence. Had Ozbag done it? He glanced at his comrades, and they looked back at him. There was only one way to check if this was a chance, but did they dare poke their heads outside of cover?

Well, someone had to.

Toral slowly peeked around the corner. The building the gun was in slowly came into view. He could see the small group of soldiers occupying it. They weren’t shooting, but it was hard to tell what they were doing. And behind them, Toral saw a moving figure that somehow looked different from the rest. Could it be? Toral moved to get a better view and then-


Toral dove back into cover as the gun started shooting again, a bullet whizzing past his face.

“F*ck, that was close.” He screamed. The torrent of bullets had resumed, and he wasn’t going to be able to gleam any more information from poking his head out. Not unless he was also willing to say goodbye to his head, which he wasn’t. Then, just as suddenly as the bullets had started flying once more, he heard another sound. A loud BOOM, and then the bullets stopped.

Toral looked out, to see the machine gun once on the building, now in a pile of smoke.

“LET’S GO!” Toral screamed as his squat began moving. Everyone rushed towards the building, very quickly reaching the entrance. Gunshots rang as they began moving through it and clearing every room. Finally, when it was secure, they set up their radio and were about to call home base.

Their mission successful, the mood was joviant. Until Ozbag came rushing to Toral.

“Sergeant, look outside! Now!”

Toral looked to see a large group of soldiers, probably around 30 or 40. They carried with them weapons, but they weren’t with his squad of rebels. As they approached, however, they dropped their weapons and raised their hands above their heads.

“Don’t shoot! We surrender!”

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  • 5 months later...

7 Biotal 1206 (7 February 2023)

“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!” Arez threw the report in front of him at the face of one of the generals. “How can they be making advances this quickly?!”

“Sir, they keep moving around and repositioning themselves.” The general scrambled to pick up the papers as they fell to the ground. “It's almost like they know what we're doing!”

“Well just hit them harder! Kill all of them!”

“We're trying, sir, but-”


“We'll get them for you, sir.” The general scrambled as he walked out.

This was a sight that Kor saw coming. He had known Arez for a long time, and the man was an insane egomaniac. He was good at keeping his subordinates in line and instilling fear into his political rivals within the party. But that was where his skills ended, that much was obvious. Especially when it came to military stuff. He knew jack shit about anything military, so there was no point in trying to argue with him.

Besides, all he cared about was results. If it got him the results he wanted, he didn't care if someone went behind his back. So, Kor waited for the perfect moment. He let Arez scream a bit more at the generals, and for the meeting to finish.

Now would be the perfect moment.

“Nazar.” He said as he approached a tall, very well-dressed man. “A word, if I may.”

The two of them walked to a secluded corner.

“What do you want, Samoro filth.” He spat. The comment hurt Kor, but he endured it. It wasn't anything new, it was rare for someone from the Samoro clan to get as high a rank as he had.

“It's about the rebels.” Kor continued. “They keep making moves to counter us.”

“I know, but why does that concern the military police?”

“Their counters are perfect. Too perfect.”

“I know, it's like they've broken our encryption.”

“But for it to be broken so soon after we've changed it?”

Nazar raised an eyebrow.

“It is odd. What are you suggesting?” He said.

“What if they didn't break it?” Kor looked Nazar straight in the eyes as he asked the question. “What if they were given it?”

“Then…” Nazar's eyes widened as he finally got what Kor was suggesting. “Then we have a mole, somewhere high up, too.”

“In that case,” Kor smiled. “I think we have some digging to do.”

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  • 2 months later...

19 Biotal 1206 (21 February 2023)

"We're wasting our time." Nazar rolled his eyes, but Kor ignored it. The rebels were still making gains, and they needed to stop it. Having changed their encryption about a week ago, there was no way the rebels should be able to counter them. And it seemed to have worked, for now.

But Kor knew that wouldn't last long. Not as long as they still had a mole in their ranks. But where to begin searching for one?

Why obviously by seeing who's accessing the files, of course. Everything was logged on their intranet, after all. There was no way that someone accessing these files would not leave a trace. The past few days had been a dud, nothing being accessed, but there had to be more.

"Look, any spy who knows a damn thing won't make it so obvious. Unless they're a stupid Samoro." Nazar said as he clicked through the files. Normally this was something he'd leave to those under him, but this time he took charge himself. Was it pride? Was it jealousy that someone from the Samoro clan had thought of this? Whatever it was, all Kor knew was he hoped this would end as quickly as possible. Dealing with comments about his clan heritage every few sentences was aggravating, but he knew he wasn't in a position to be able to say or do anything about it. Not in this country, not with the way that it was.

"Just open the damn log." Kor said.

"Fine." Nazar rolled his eyes and began looking through the logs of who accessed it. At first, it seemed everyone who was supposed to have access was the only one that did.

"Sort by most recent access."

"Don't tell me what to f*cking do, you aren't even in the military police."

Despite his complaining, he still did exactly that, and both of their eyes widened. There it was, one person who was definitely not supposed to have access to the file, but they were accessing it.

"Why is the royal family accessing it?" Kor wondered out loud.

"We're about to find out!" Nazar said as he practically jumped from his seat. Kor grabbed his arm. "Let go, filth."

"There's more to the story."

"And? They aren't even supposed to have access to this! They must've bribed someone to-"

"Why go that far, and then be so careless as to grab this info and leak it?"

Nazar stopped struggling, and Kor let go. He seemed to be deep in thought for a moment, before coming to his own conclusion. The leader of the military police now had a smile on his face, one Kor didn't like.

"Fine," he said. "I'll have some men monitor them. See what they do. But they're gone at the first sign of betrayal!"

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