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The Future of a Nation

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Inside the Balzer Palace's multiple basements lays an elongated table with the most powerful men in Tusis sitting down. Sat are the Viziers, no more than local tribal chiefs with the government accepting their tribes as official states; top ranking generals, Daeif Viziers, official advisers and administrators under the monarch; and the highest ranking members of the Utica family, such as the Sultan himself. The basement is damp and only lit by two buzzing lightbulbs. The Sultan takes out classified documents in a beige folder onto the table.

Tawfiq: Gentlemen, we are rounding up the last of the "freedom fighters," and with that we are now free to finally grow this country.

Vizier Mutasim el-Nazir: Yes, you have mentioned these ideas to the public before us.

Tawfiq: Necessary to fasten the decision-making. This is an absolute monarchy, not a democracy, I determine the law.

Vizier Abdus Samad al-Adad: You already know that your laws mean nothing without our support.

Tawfiq: Yes, and that is why I am going through the plans now with you all now.

The Sultan pushes the documents to the middle of the table, so all can see.

Tawfiq: To begin with, we should rebuild our cities and towns, especially the coastal ones.

Some of the landlocked Viziers grumble together.

Tawfiq: But we can use foreign nations that are willing to give us aid for that, what I am more interested in is trains.

Vizier Philosir al-Bacchus: Trains?

Tawfiq: Yes, if we develop our train networks we can transport from our rivers to the inland without much cost, the connectivity of our interior would create unity and greater domestic trade.

Vizier Mutasim el-Nazir: How much would this cost?

Tawfiq: If we are tight on costs, about a trillion Tusisian dinars, or eight hundred fifty million compared to richer currencies.

General Imran Huq: This is a bit ambitious right after a civil war.

Vizier Philosir al-Bacchus: I agree, I mean do we even have enough in the treasury to spend a trillion dinar?

Vizier Abdus Samad al-Adad: And I don't see how we can profit.

Tawfiq: Gentlemen, please, you forget that we have half a hundred thousand community service workers, and if needed I'm sure we can find some more "rebels" in need to redeem their sins to the government. So in reality we are looking at thirty billion dinars, or twenty-two point seven million in richer currencies.

Vizier Mutasim el-Nazir: I just don't see how it's necessary.

Tawfiq: Once the trains are done I will personally try to form economic treaties with our neighbors; building and connecting rails, rivers, and roads until we are building enough trade to where… well that will come later.

General Imran Huq: What are you talking about?

Tawfiq: Nothing, don't worry about it. Are we all in agreement?

9 of the 17 members in the room raise their hands in agreement.

Tawfiq: Let me remind you all that these will also make your states richer, which makes you richer.

Four more hands go up.

Tawfiq: Then we have a majority! Great, now we may finally become a relevant state.

All leave, except the Sultan and his uncle, Ubaid Akhter al-Utica.

Akhter: You should be more careful with the Viziers, they have more real power than you do.

Tawfiq: As I see it, with their reactions, I seem to have the greater power.

Akhter: That is, if you maintain control of the military, and they don't band together. We don't need another civil war.

Tawfiq: Trust me, by the end of my rule, we will have an absolute monarchy.


(OOC. Currency used for Tusisian dinar is the Iraqi dinar and "richer currencies" as USD.)

Edited by Orioni
spelling; layout (see edit history)
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A weathered sign reading Infrastructure and Development Administration looks down upon Muruj Shiba. She is in front of a two-hour line to apply for community service. While technically only democratic and traditional rebels signed a peace treaty for the community service years, communist, militant, and Islamic groups have also been pressured to take up the service times. A guard listens to a walkie-talkie and motions Muruj to enter the building. It had taken her an hour of standing to get inside; now comes the part of selling your soul for freedom. Entering the building, Muruj hears buzzing from the cheap lights hanging above, and the wave of a musty odor washes into her nose. Walking from hallway to stairs to hallway led by a trail of guards protecting the office workers from these "radical" rebels – well, some are radical. Eventually, a guard points to an ordinary office door; entering, Muruj sees a man, who she can only describe as a pen-pusher.

Pen-pusher: Name, birth certificate, address, immediate family members, gender, and all other information that is on the paper.

The pen-pusher pushes a piece of paper to Muruj and well… a pen.

Muruj: Anything else that I gotta fill out?

The pen-pusher rolls his eyes.

Pen-pusher: Once you fill out the paperwork, you will be assigned a state to work in and a job. You will be expected to be at your job at the specified hours. Once you are there for your first shift, the administration will accompany you with living accommodations.

The next thirty minutes are Muruj filling out the form and showing documents to the pen-pusher to show proofs. Once everything was in order, the pen-pusher typed something up on a computer that looked about ten years old.

Pen-pusher: Alright, you will be living in Halafa as a nurse.

Muruj: But I don't know anything about medicine.

Pen-pusher: Not my problem. Besides, a woman shouldn't be in the mud, working…

Muruj slaps the man square in the face. He screams in pain, causing the guard outside to slam the door open and tackle the Muruj.

Pen-pusher: Maybe this girl does deserve to work.

The pen-pusher types something up on his computer. Muruj can only look up from her pinned position.

Pen-pusher: You'll be assigned to Jetzabel as a canal digger. Let her go.

The guard lets go of Muruj. She walks down the halls back outside, angry and a bit fearful. The next in line is a man that looks like he hasn't eaten in days. As he enters, the new system continues.

Muruj: We are offering ourselves to be slaves.

She says to herself.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Sultan is on a Tusisian government plane, reading infrastructure plans for Gadir. A Vizier, Mutasim el-Nazir, is sitting across from Sultan Tawfiq. As the plane takes off from Garidina to Tusis, Mutasim speaks up.

     Mutasim: We have a problem.

     Tawfiq: Oh, I know.

     Mutasim: Us Viziers do not appreciate you making deals without our advice and approval, even if it's just in words.

     Tawfiq: Well, do you all approve?

     Mutasim: No! A foreign government controlling a part of Tusis, even the socialists knew to remove foreigners from power.

     Tawfiq: Then what do the Viziers want?

     Mutasim: If you are going to be so blunt, then we wish for you to get married; you are 28 years old and not one wife, some people are talking...

     Tawfiq: Very well, I do need to produce an heir, anything else to push this forward?

     Mutasim: Since you have gone behind our backs recently with these economic ideas and treaties, when traveling anywhere you must have a Vizier.

     Tawfiq: Is that all?

     Mutasim: Yes, until you push for more of these extreme ideas.

     Tawfiq: Quite little...

     Mutasim: We know we are going to get more concessions in the future, but for now this is fine.

     Tawfiq: Very well, now if I may I would like to finish reading these plans.

    Mutasim: Of course my sultan.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It took about two weeks for the community service "volunteers" to learn how to operate the heavy machinery. After that, the work hours became unbearably long to make up for "lost time." The volunteers were canalizing the nonnavigational rivers in the Jetzabel region. Jetzabel is an inland province of Tusis in the more mountainous regions. The rivers there are mainly straight due to the rough terrain. Even so, most of the rivers can't be navigated by boat, especially a riverboat. They are deep enough for transport the problem arrives with the narrowness and obstructions in the rivers. Right now, many of the volunteers are eating their state-provided lunch. Muruj looks around the outdoor mess hall looking for some conversation. Not finding anyone she knows she decides to sit down next to some guy.

     Muruj: So, who did you fight for?

     Guy: Me?

     Muruj: No, the rat behind you.

A rat scurries off from behind him, and the guy jumps from his seat. Eventually, he sits back down to answer her question.

     Guy: I fought for General Hyrum from 2014 to 2019.

     Muruj: Huh, so a communist.

     Guy: I prefer socialist; and you?

     Muruj: I fought for Commander Sheman till the end of the war.

     Guy: Commander Sheman?

     Muruj: Democrat.

     Guy: Ahh... well if I did have to meet a different faction member, I'm glad it's someone else who wants to progress this nation.

     Muruj: I think this country is too "set in its ways" to progress.

     Guy: Maybe you are right, but I would like to have some optimism.

     Muruj: I'm Muruj.

She reaches out her hand.

     Guy: Mazin.

Mazin meets her hand and shakes it warmly.

     Guy: I'm glad that...

From a megaphone, a Qalil Manager (a person who runs a community service camp) announces to the entire camp "to get back to work."

     Muruj: Well, I guess that's the end of lunch.

     Mazin: Didn't even get enough to eat.

     Muruj: Yeah... we might have to grow our own food to survive these twenty years.

Mazin chuckled, thinking Muruj was joking; she was not.

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