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:pic: Logistics at Vega Naval base, next to Universal Exports shipping containers.

Chapter 1: The Proposal

Maikeli Command Center, O'polis, Orioni

Thursday, 24 August 2023

SUBTLE AMBER HUES of dusk filtered through the tall windows of the Maikeli Command Center. Defence Councillor Toren Nabérrie, a tall figure with dark hair and warm brown eyes, paced the length of his spacious office. His footsteps echoed on the cold marble floor, as maps, charts, and intelligence reports were spread across his mahogany desk. The air was heavy, much like the decisions he had to make. The Orient was strong, but the rest of the Wurld was restless. Safety demanded action, not just words. The Velaherian People’s Army had something what Orioni lacked. Toren believed in deterrence through strength. Not just weapons, but actions that spoke louder than gunfire. He started to write.

🔒 Encrypted

Esteemed Commander Rynessa Kovalenko of the @DPR Velaherian People's Army,

I am writing on behalf of the Imperial Orinese Defence Force to express our intent to procure military equipment from the esteemed Velaherian People's Army. Based on our previous discussions and negotiations, we are particularly interested in purchasing most, if not all, of the available equipment you have offered. We are aware and appreciative of the discussed 30% discount rate and believe that this arrangement will fortify our capabilities for self-defence.

In addition to the equipment, we are keen to obtain comprehensive training services to ensure our forces are well-versed with the capabilities and operations of the acquired equipment. To facilitate this, our personnel will be travelling to Bastaria, the capital city of Velaheria, by aeroplane. We anticipate a seamless and productive training period.

Furthermore, as part of our assessment and integration strategy, we would like to purchase the necessary ammunition for the military equipment. During the training sessions, we are also planning to make performance comparisons between the Velaherian equipment and our own. To this end, our own military equipment will be shipped by boat to Velaheria for the purpose of these evaluations.

We trust that the Velaherian People's Army will provide full support and cooperation during this period, ensuring that the transition and adaptation process is smooth for our forces. We see this as not just a mere transaction but as a strengthening of our mutual understanding.

Please provide us with the necessary documentation, agreements, and details to move forward. We are eager to finalise this acquisition promptly and work alongside your experts for a fruitful collaboration.

Thank you for considering our request. We await your favourable response and are keen to strengthen the regional defence through this significant agreement.

Warm regards,

Defence Councillor Toren Nabérrie
Maikeli Command Center
Imperial Orinese Defence Force

The letter was ready. Brief, direct. Toren sealed it. He called in Lieutenant Kaira, a trusted aid, a dependable figure in the uniform.

“Ensure this reaches Commander Kovalenko. Quickly,” he instructed. Few words, much meaning.

Lieutenant Kaira saluted sharply, took the letter, and left without a word, her boots clicking sharply on the floor

The room grew quiet again. Toren looked out at the dimming lights of Maikeli. His thoughts were on the future, one decision at a time. In the quiet corridors of power, decisions like these shaped the fate of nations. And Toren hoped his choice would lead Orioni into an era of peace and security.

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Chapter 2: The Offer

From: the Velaherian People's Army

To: Defence Councillor Toren Nabérrie

Greetings from the Velaherian People's Army. We have received your esteemed proposal with great interest and appreciation. We are delighted to hear of your intent to procure military equipment from us, and we view this as a significant step towards enhancing regional stability and security.

Furthermore, we acknowledge your keen interest in acquiring our equipment, along with the comprehensive training services that we can provide. In addition, we are committed to ensuring that your personnel receive the necessary training to effectively operate and maximize the capabilities of the equipment. Your plans for performance comparisons are well-noted, and we are confident that our equipment will demonstrate its excellence in various aspects, with the Velaherian People's Army willing to sell the following reserved equipment:

Equipment
(analogue)
# owned # for sale Price per item
(excl. 30% discount)
KNO-25
(BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle)
1,200 800
(66%)
unknown
KNO-75
(T-55 Main Battle Tank)
40 20
(50%)
unknown
FR-111
(D-30 Howitzer)
1,100 700
(64%)
unknown
R-67
(MiG-21 jet fighter / interceptor)
220 70
(32%)
unknown
R-05
(Su-24 tactical bomber)
110 60
(55%)
unknown
KN-75
(which weapon is this?)
1,00,000+ 700,000
(70%)
unknown
Various Ammo
(ammunition)
Unknown Unknown unknown

All will be made specifically set on the demands of the Imperial Orioni Defence forces. You will be provided training as well, with these serving as an example of Velaherian selling off of surplus military hardware, that is required to be sold for the military reduction that the Velaherian regime has in its mind.

The Velaherian People's Army is fully committed to supporting a smooth transition and adaptation process for your forces. We understand the importance of this collaboration and the mutual benefits it brings. Our experts are ready to work closely with your personnel to ensure a successful partnership.

In the coming days, our representatives will prepare the necessary documentation, agreements, and details to facilitate the acquisition process. We share your eagerness to finalize this agreement promptly and look forward to a productive collaboration that strengthens regional defence.

With utmost respect and anticipation,

Commander Rynessa Kovalenko

Velaherian People's Army

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Chapter 3: The Loading

Naval Base South, Vega, Orioni

Friday, 25 August 2023

UNUSUAL MORNING DAWNED with a touch of cool breeze, a fleeting sign that autumn was knocking on Vega's doorsteps. The soldiers, accustomed to early wake-ups, had gathered at the port, their faces painted with a mix of anticipation and uncertainty.

The order had come down from the high command: it was time for the corps to ship out. In the vast, sprawling docks of Naval Base South, machines roared and men shouted as heavy equipment was meticulously loaded onto massive naval vessels. The rhythmic clang of metal echoed as tanks, artillery, and crates filled with munitions were hoisted aboard, each carefully catalogued and stowed.

Among the soldiers, whispers, and talks circulated about the upcoming performance comparison testing. There was a palpable excitement in the air. For many, this was not just a mission; it was an opportunity. The chance to measure their mettle, to compare their gear against another nation's, was a rare privilege. Many hoped the tests would reveal both the strengths and weaknesses of their equipment, knowledge they could use to improve and adapt.

Beyond the machinery, it was the human component—the Velaherian instructors—that intrigued them the most. Stories of their expertise were legendary, and the prospect of learning from the best had the younger soldiers particularly eager. To learn, adapt, and grow was a soldier's life, and the Velaherians promised a wealth of new insights.

Beside one of the tanks, two soldiers were engaged in a quiet conversation. The older of the two, a man with a strong jaw and a hint of grey in his hair, was Captain Tewodros. Beside him, Private Yordanos, a younger woman with a notebook in her hand.

Yordanos: “Captain Tewodros, do you think the Velaherian equipment is better than ours?”

Tewodros: “That's what we're going to find out, Yordanos. But it's not just about the equipment. It's about understanding their techniques, their strategies. Learning is the key.”

Yordanos: “I've heard stories about the Velaherian instructors. They say Commander Eleni was trained by them.”

Tewodros: “Ah, Commander Eleni. One of our finest. Yes, I also heard rumours that she might have spent some time in Velaheria. Came back with more than just new tactics, brought back a deeper understanding of their sense of discipline.”

Just then, Lieutenant Fikremariam approached, a clipboard in hand. His alert eyes scanned the ongoing loading process.

Fikremariam: “Captain, all equipment from 2nd battalion has been loaded. We're just waiting on the mobile artillery.”

Tewodros: “Good. Ensure it's secured properly. Last thing we need is something coming loose mid-voyage.”

Fikremariam: “Will do, sir. Yordanos, I heard you're flying out early with the recon team to Velaheria?”

Yordanos: “Yes, Lieutenant. Direct to Deltannia first, then Velaheria.”

Fikremariam: “Safe travels. Get a good look at Velaheria for us. By the time the rest of us get there, I expect you to know the best cafés in Bastaria.”

Yordanos: “Only if you promise to pick up the tab, sir.”

The three shared a light moment of laughter, a fleeting respite in the midst of all the preparations.

Guarding the armada of equipment was the naval squadron, a flotilla of sleek warships whose grey hulls sliced through the water with menacing grace. Their presence was both a show of strength and a precaution; in these unpredictable times, it was better to be safe than sorry.

The soldiers themselves, however, would not be joining their equipment on its voyage. Instead, they were to fly, a faster but more complicated route. Their journey would include layovers in the Entente's allied nation of Deltannia. While a naval voyage had its challenges, air travel was a complicated web of logistics, especially when moving any large number of troops.

As the day waned and the San dipped below the horizon, the loading operations continued under the harsh, artificial lights of the port. Vega had become a hive of activity, a hubbub of men and machines, all working in tandem. By the time they'd be done, an entire army's worth of equipment would be on its way to Velaheria.

And as the stars began to dot the night sky, the soldiers waited, ready to embark.

OOC. Obviously, this negotiation and any agreement between Velaheria and myself is considered secret.

Regarding the logistics: the most direct path from Orioni to Velaheria is circa 18,000 km westward across the Adlantic. This also avoids Manamana and the Keelpijp. For aviation, the most direct route is circa 12,500 km northwest across Burania (skirting Volsci) and Yeetland (skirting the NAU).

Regarding timing, here's a back-of-the-napkin calculation:

  1. Load an Army Corps worth of Equipment: 2–7 days.
  2. Sail 18,000 km: 20 days.
  3. Unload everything: 2–5 days.
  4. Settle into various military bases: 1–2 weeks.

Ready to boogie in 31–46 days, which is sometime between 25 September and 10 October 2023.

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Chapter 4: The Welcoming

It had been around a month or so, since the fighting had ended in the Velaherian theatre, and the territories captured by Velaheria, which were of Dolch ownership were returned to the new Dolch government, as the Velaherian People's Army seemed to have been exhausted by the Conflict and didn't seem eager to continue on the same doctrines which it had set for itself in the 1940s any more, after all, it was a new era, and a new era demanded a new doctrine, along with the fact that the Dolch war, had crippled the Velaherian military and the state itself as well, in more ways than possibly imaginable. And as such the VPA looked for more and more ways to reduce the monolith of the military it had been for the last 8 or so decades, and slowly modernize it into a more modernized armed force, which would have been capable of handling situations like the rest of the militaries of say TRIDENT or Argic Defence Council did during the war.

And, the first step to fulfil that dream, was already on the way as, the VPA had established contacts and deals with the IODF to sell them the surplus ammunition and weaponry that was either captured or used by the VPA itself, and that accounted to nearly half of its inventory that it had, which was thought to be sold and trained to the IODF, specialists from whom were arriving to the Velaherian state itself. As a result, there was much to be expected and much to be delivered to the specialists themselves, and the state saw opportunity in this matter as well, as they would show the specialists the beauty of socialist reality and of Velaheria itself, and would make sure to make them see all the wonders of Velaheria along with the resistance posters and monuments being built for the memory of those lost during the war as well.

However to make sure to do all of that, the Velaherian Supreme People's Assembly voted on to grant the IODF staff, a grand welcome at the Port of Hebian, in Bastaria, from where they would be first taken to the army Headquarters, and from there to the Defence Ministry's Headquarters, and from there perhaps they would be shown the Supreme People's Assembly, before eventually been taken to the military depots and military bases in the south, where they would be trained to use Velaherian weaponry and ammunition properly.

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Chapter 5: The Arrival

Velaherian Airspace, approaching Bastaria

Sunday, 10 September 2023

RIGHT ABOVE THE Velaherian landscape, dawn's first light staged a quiet takeover, melding colours of burnt orange, subdued pink, and deep navy. The droning engines of the Orinese military aircraft cut through the chilly September morning air, a mechanical heartbeat that kept time with the escalating excitement onboard. Within the pressurized cabin of the lead transport, members of the Imperial Orinese Defence Force (IODF) sat strapped in, each stealing quick glances through the oval windows. For many, this was their introduction to Velaheria, a nation more familiar in military briefings and shadowed intel reports than first-hand observation. The country below, known in whispers and debriefs, now spread out in full detail, revealing its vast topography.

The roar of the jet engines reverberated against the sprawling expanse of the Bastaria International Airport, drowning out all other sounds as the aircraft tires met the asphalt with a stubborn grip. On the edge of the runway, a group of stern-faced Velaherian officials stood, not only as a courteous welcoming committee, but as strategic liaisons between the two nations.

pexels-photo-726296.jpeg?auto=compress&c

Their presence was not marked by ceremonial pomp but rather by the gravity of their purpose. In their grasp, they held leather-bound folders—relics of an age where paper symbolised importance, but inside, the contents were decisively modern. Precision-drafted maps and time-stamped schedules that detailed the stay and movements of the Orinese guests in Velaheria.

The accommodations awaiting the Orinese weren't the plush suites of a five-star hotel, but fortified military barracks, their locations strategically spaced all around the country's capital. Every aspect of their stay, from the schedules of their training drills to the traffic patterns around the bases, had been meticulously crafted. This wasn’t hospitality, but a ballet of military precision. The Orinese would soon realise they were entering not just a country, they were, in essence, immersing themselves in the remnants of a once formidable military doctrine, revealing a blueprint of Velaheria's former might and discipline.

The first document, bearing the crisp, detailed insignia of the Velaherian People’s Army, expressed the seriousness and rigour the Velaherians were known for. Each page contained an intricate breakdown of the weeks ahead: from intense training regimens on cutting-edge equipment to high-level tactical briefings that might redefine the IODF’s entire strategic outlook. The planners had left nothing to chance. Interspersed between these strict sessions were programs designed to expose the visitors to the deeper layers of Velaherian culture. It wasn’t just a crash course on Velaherian warfare; it was an invitation to dig deep into the mind of a nation that had sharpened its defence strategies over turbulent decades. The IODF personnel, looking through the document, realised that they were about to begin of an exercise unlike any other. It wasn’t just about weaponry and tactics; it was about understanding the spirit of a people and the forces that drove them to adapt.

Another document, marked with the emblem of the Velaherian Defence Department, was next. It presented an elaborate layout of the living quarters awaiting the IODF corps. Throughout Bastaria's outskirts, a network of military installations stood ready. Modern training grounds complemented by military simulators that imitated real-world combat scenarios were strategically placed across the compounds. The briefing rooms, fitted with communication gear, could patch in commanders from halfway around the world at a moment’s notice. But it wasn’t all steel and tech.

The digs themselves had been carefully built, balancing the self-discipline one would expect from a military organisation with subtle touches of warmth and comfort. Customized quarters were prepared to mirror the familiarity of an Orinese home—softened lighting, plush bedding, even the aromatic whiff of Orinese cuisine. The intention was clear: to provide an atmosphere that not only ensured rest, but stimulated the mind and spirit for the challenges ahead. This wasn’t just about hardware; it was about building bridges between two different yet similar fighting forces.

As the heavy boots of the IODF troops met the tarmac, there was a subdued electricity in the air. Soldiers from two distinct worlds, with different histories but converging destinies, were face-to-face, sizing each other up with professional curiosity. The weight of the moment was not lost on Captain Tewodros, a seasoned officer with campaigns under his belt, each scar and medal proof of his experience. Amid the bustle, a junior officer from the naval liaison briskly approached Tewodros, holding a tactical map rolled in his hand. The captain, with his characteristic Stoic demeanour, received the map and unrolled it, holding it taut against a nearby military crate.

The chart was not the usual topographical kind. Instead, a detailed nautical rendition pinpointed the exact location of their naval convoy. Drawn with precision, it showed the trajectory the ships were taking, slicing through the blue expanses of international waters. Tiny icons representing the Orinese warships made it evident: the fleet was on the move, and every calculation indicated a timely rendez-vous at the Port of Hebian.

Tewodros raised an eyebrow in approval. “They're making good time,” he muttered to himself, mentally noting the positions and the ETA.

The junior officer, sensing the captain's satisfaction, added, “Sir, the convoy's commander relayed that conditions are optimal. We should see our naval might for anchor at Hebian within weeks.”

Tewodros nodded, folding the map with practised hands. He knew the importance of timing in military operations, and thus far, every tick of the clock was playing to their rhythm.

A moment later, Yordanos also stepped onto the Velaherian tarmac, the weight of her boots met by the solid feel of foreign ground beneath. She could sense the tension of the land, subtly resonating with every step she took. Unzipping a pocket on her tactical vest, she retrieved a compact, weathered journal. It had seen many operations and locations, its pages filled with notes, diagrams, and occasionally, the odd personal reflection.

She paused for a moment, glancing around to absorb her surroundings—the distant silhouette of Bastaria's skyline, the sharp, organized movements of Velaherian troops, and the cold, professional demeanour of the delegates that awaited them. With a steady hand, she penned down her immediate observations, the raw data of a new environment mixed with the strategic implications of their mission.

“In Bastaria,” she began, her handwriting sharp and precise, “where the shadow of history meets the promise of a new future. The stage is set for a change, forged not just in ink and paper, but in sweat and tears.”

As she closed her journal, Yordanos could already sense the gravity of what lay ahead. In this place of geopolitical strategy, two militaries were about to intertwine their fates, each bringing to the table decades of experience, both with an ambition to forge the next chapter of history.

OOC. Thank you Velaheria for the rewrite. Boats are on their way; troops have already landed. Two weeks reserved for reconnaissance would seem like plenty of time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 6: The Ascertainment

Bastaria, Velaheria

Sunday, 1 October 2023

PRACTICALLY THREE WEEKS had gone by since the Imperial Orinese Defence Force (IODF) soldiers had encamped in Bastaria. Those initial 21 days were a whirl of acclimation to the new environment, along with engaging with their Velaherian counterparts.

The moment the boots of the Imperial Orinese Defence Force hit the ground in Bastaria, it marked the beginning of a tactical adaption and reconnaissance within the Velaherian barracks. The air vibrated with a tension of anticipation mixed with a quiet determination to adapt to the surroundings, and subjugate the unfamiliar territory.

With keen eyes and sharper senses, the soldiers began their immersion by mapping out the terrains of their temporary residence. They pinpointed strategic sites and got acquainted with the operational protocols of Velaherian military life, absorbing the nuances of an unfamiliar military conduct and discipline. Lieutenant Ayana Tesfaye characterized this initial phase with a warrior's clarity: “This week was about two frontlines: navigating the unknown while fine-tuning the familiar. We delved into this new domain while adjusting to the Velaherian way of life.”

The first week wasn't just about physical adjustment. It was also a battlefield of words and gestures, striving to bridge the differences of language and culture. “Every conversation and gesture was a tactical move, to understand and to be understood,” shared Sergeant Desta Abate. Casual dialogues and strategic discussions deepened their insight into the Velaherian military. The breadth of their discussions revealed a range of military life insights, tactics, and resilience from different corners of the world. It was a mission of exploration, a tactical reconnaissance of the land, absorbing the rich Velaherian culture and the echoes of its resilient past.

This pivotal first week served as a building block, fortifying the understanding of the IODF about the Velaherian People's Army.

During the second week, the Orinese went on a guided tour of various landmarks that grace the city of Bastaria. The city’s vibrant culture and rich history were on full display. They received guided tours through the vast corridors of government facilities, witnessing the complex administration and bureaucracy that kept the heart of Velaheria beating, uncovering the machinations of a nation at work. The political nucleus of Bastaria unfolded before them. “Being within the pulse centre of Velaheria’s political machinery, you feel the weight of decisions, the silent power woven within these walls,” Lieutenant Dawit Kebede observed with newfound respect.

They also inspected various transport centres such as ports, airports, and harbours. Each hub highlighted Velaheria’s practical planning and network connectivity. “EVery place is tactically arranged and functions systematically,” noted Corporal Tsion Girma, observing the routine activities in transport hubs and vessels in transit. In Bastaria, public transport like metro lines and buses were operational, linking different parts of the city effectively.

The communication infrastructure in Bastaria was basic but functional, establishing a sufficient information network for the city. Specialist Meklit Worku remarked, “Bastaria has a functional communication network.” However, it was also observed that due to the simplicity and lack of advanced security measures, these communication networks could be relatively easy to tamper with or disrupt. This vulnerability could be a significant concern if not addressed, impacting the flow of information and possibly compromising the effectiveness of the law enforcement and other essential services in the city.

Every police station they visited served as a functional facility for maintaining law and order, a place where officers endeavoured to uphold the peace of the city. Conversations and discussions on peacekeeping were informative, opening possibilities for future cooperation.

Every stop revealed more about Velaheria's history, spirit, and resilience. The soldiers, turning into eager students, soaked up this knowledge, integrating more into Velaheria's context each day. Sergeant Mesfin Tewolde, while exploring the historic sites of Velaheria, remarked, “The history here speaks of the courage and determination of those who built this land.” With each passing day, every new visit brought them closer to understanding Velaheria.

By the third week, the IODF troops delved into the military doctrines and strategies of Velaheria. This experience was a straightforward, intense immersion into the proven tactics that had served Velaherian forces in numerous conflicts. The schedule had been tight, filled with in-depth briefings, hands-on demonstrations, and discussions led by seasoned Velaherian military personnel. The Orinese soldiers honed their understanding of the various tactical and strategic aspects defining Velaherian military operations.

The training was hands-on and focused. The soldiers engaged in simulated combat scenarios, garnering insights into the adaptability and precision of Velaherian military strategies across diverse combat situations. Corporal Selamawit Fikre observed, “Understanding their complex strategies and tactics unveiled a fresh perspective on warfare. It’s been both a learning and enlightening experience.”

This week had not only been about learning new tactics. It was also a time for exchanging stories and experiences from the field. Despite their different backgrounds, the soldiers had found similarities in their professional experiences. Reflecting on this, Major Tsehai Gebre said: “This wasn’t just about learning tactics; it was also about understanding the values and principles that underpin them. It was a fusion of different beliefs and approaches.”

Each interaction during this week broadened the soldiers’ understanding of each other's cultures, values, and goals, creating stronger bonds between them. It had emphasized mutual respect and a shared pursuit for mastery in their field.

As the Orinese soldiers continued to learn about Velaherian military strategies, the relationships, and knowledge acquired during the third week were expected to guide their ongoing collaboration and foster unity and mutual improvement in military expertise.

As they are about to begin their fourth week, preparations were in high gear for the anticipated arrival of the navy and the disembarking of IODF equipment. This next week was crucial as it sets the stage for the unfolding of meticulous plans and strategies.

“The anticipation is palpable as we prepare to welcome our naval counterparts and our own equipment,” declared Major Yared Mulugeta, reflecting on the impending convergence of forces. “It marks the commencement of a more profound phase, where everyone will be very occupied.”

OOC. Three weeks have drifted by since the last post. Velaheria had plans to pen down something, yet perhaps unforeseen circumstances intervened. The exact cause remains unclear. Moving on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter 7: The Navy's Arrival

Port of Hebian, Velaheria

Saturday, 14 October 2023

RAYS OF LIGHT painted the horizon. Silently, the silhouettes of Imperial Orinese Navy ships began to appear in view. The waters of the Port of Hebian shimmered, reflecting the hues of the morning sun and the metallic sheen of the ships. Soldiers and officers alike gathered along the coast, excitement evident in the atmosphere.

Major Tsehai Gebre, her gaze locked on the advancing ships, couldn't help but feel a tinge of nostalgia. The sea had always had a certain allure for her, a calling that she had swapped for the sturdy ground of battlefields.

Beside her, Major Yared Mulugeta adjusted his cap and commented, “It's a sight, isn't it? Makes you proud to be Orinese.”

Captain Tewodros, with his binoculars, tried to identify the lead ship. “There's the Adhamad's Spear. I've trained on that one. She's a beauty.”

Lieutenant Fikremariam, newly transferred and eager to impress, chimed in, “I’ve read about these ships during my academy days. To see them in action is another thing altogether.”

Lieutenant Ayana Tesfaye laughed, nudging him, “Get ready to see and learn a lot more.”

Lieutenant Dawit Kebede approached the gathering, a clipboard in hand. “Preparations for offloading start in two hours. I need all hands on deck.”

Sergeant Desta Abate, ever the practical one, began rallying the troops, bellowing orders. Sergeant Mesfin Tewolde, his ever-calm counterpart, focused on ensuring the equipment was ready for the incoming supplies.

Corporal Selamawit Fikre and Specialist Meklit Worku were already on the move, organizing their units for the logistical challenges ahead. The pair had worked in sync during numerous operations, and this was another day's job for them.

Private Yordanos, however, was visibly excited, her eyes wide with wonder. This was her first overseas operation, and the sheer scale of things was overwhelming. She whispered to herself, “I’m part of history,” holding onto her beret as the sea breeze threatened to whisk it away.

The ships sounded their horns as they neared the dock, signalling their arrival. Major Tsehai Gebre took a deep breath, preparing herself for the challenges and responsibilities that lay ahead. The sonorous blast of the ship's horns reverberated through the port, bouncing off the colossal cranes and storage buildings of the Hebian docks. As the flagship Adhamad's Spear approached its designated berth, its massive anchor chains rattled, releasing the massive anchor to secure its place. Onboard, navy personnel moved with practised efficiency, securing ropes, preparing gangways, and monitoring the ship's crucial systems.

From her vantage point, Major Tsehai Gebre could observe the flurry of activity on the decks. The crew, attired in their crisp navy blues, worked methodically, signalling to the port crew on the ground who expertly caught the thrown ropes, securing the ship.

“Precision,” whispered Lieutenant Dawit Kebede, standing next to her. “That’s the navy for you. Every move calculated, every action choreographed.”

Major Yared Mulugeta smirked, “You saying we ground folks are any less precise?”

Kebede laughed, “Land and sea, two different beasts, Major. But today, it's their show.”

The Adhamad's Spear was followed by other naval behemoths, each docking with the same precision and grace as their predecessor. The Port of Hebian, accustomed to commercial vessels, had never witnessed such a display of military might.

Once the ships were securely anchored, the ramps began to lower. The first to disembark were the armoured vehicles – tanks with gleaming barrels, APCs covered in an urban camo pattern, and fast armoured trucks filled with supplies. The roar of engines and the smell of diesel filled the air as the vehicles made their way to the staging area.

Captain Tewodros, holding a digital pad displaying a disembarkation schedule, directed the vehicles to their designated zones. “Keep the flow steady! We don’t want a traffic jam on the very first day,” he shouted over the noise.

Lieutenant Ayana Tesfaye was overseeing the offloading of the crates filled with weapons, ammunition, and critical supplies. With a headset over her ears, she coordinated with Corporal Selamawit Fikre and Specialist Meklit Worku, ensuring that each crate was correctly labelled and sent to the right storage area in their designated military barracks.

Private Yordanos, alongside other young recruits, was in charge of receiving the medical supplies. As she checked off boxes on her list, she felt a strong hand pat her shoulder. Turning around, she saw Sergeant Mesfin Tewolde, his usually calm face wearing a smile. “Good job, Private. Keep the pace.”

By evening, the once tranquil docks had transformed into a beehive of activity. Mobile command centres were set up, tents erected, and makeshift roads created to manage the traffic.

As the San dipped below the horizon, Major Tsehai Gebre stood overlooking the vast expanse of organized chaos. With every container that was offloaded, with every soldier that set foot on Velaherian soil, the IODF's presence solidified.

But this was just the beginning. Tomorrow would bring drills, coordination meetings, and strategy sessions. The real work was just about to start.

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Chapter 8: Notes from Bastaria

Bastaria, Velaheria

Friday, 20 October 2023

IN A QUIET CORNER of the mess hall, private Yordanos sat down, her notebook open and a pen dancing in her grip. With every line she scribbled, her thoughts about the past days unfurled.

“Two days since the unloading,” she penned. “The vast amount of equipment has turned the docks into a mechanical jungle. Everywhere I look, there are Seregela main battle tanks, formidable and waiting, and the Yikane attack helicopters, wings folded, awaiting assembly. How we managed such a feat in mere days is beyond me.”

She paused, lifting her gaze to the window, where the city of Bastaria sprawled out. The San was setting, casting a golden hue on its coastal skyline. “Bastaria,” she continued, “is unlike any previous city I've seen so far. Its crumbling old stone structures clash with the post-modern communist facades. Everywhere, there's a hint of its decaying past. Centuries-old markets are flanked by noisy tramways, and remnants of age-old citadels watching over neon-lit alleyways.”

“There's a rhythmic regularity to this place,” she mused. “A blend of old and new. Tradition and innovation. Like the songs our grandparents sang, but mixed with the loud beats of today.”

Private Yordanos' scribbles then meandered to her interactions with the locals. “Their curiosity is evident. Children, with wide-eyed wonder, often approach us, asking about our far-away homeland, Orioni. In contrast, the elderly, with respect gleaming in their eyes, share tales of Velaheria's revolutionary past.”

She paused, her thoughts drifting to the broader scope of their mission. “In this exchange, there's a deeper meaning. It's more than just a military mission; it's the meeting of two potential partners, each with their own deeper histories. I sense a shared destiny taking shape.”

Private Yordanos then described the food stalls she visited, the smells of Velaherian cuisine that overwhelmed her senses, the taste of spicy dishes, and the creamy texture of their local Bastarian desserts.

As her pen slowed, she summarized, “During all those drills, strategy sessions, joint tactics, there are also shared meals, laughter, and songs. And as I sit here, notebook in hand, capturing memories of this journey, I realise we are not just on a mission; we're becoming a part of Bastaria's local vibe. And Bastaria, in its unique way, is twining itself into ours.”

Closing her notebook, Private Yordanos tucked it into her pocket, the weight of her observations and the promise of more stories yet to unfold grounding her in her purpose and place amidst this historic clearance.

OOC. Random side-story while waiting for Velaheria's reply. Preferably a description of the emerging political opposition party/parties. And also a description of the military training bases where the Orinese armed forces are stationed.

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Chapter 6B: Untitled

Bastaria, Velaheria

Sunday, 1 October 2023

As the Imperial Orinese Defence Force (IODF) soldiers descended upon Bastaria, a sense of anticipation and curiosity enveloped the city. The arrival of these foreign military personnel marked a pivotal moment in Velaheria's history, one that promised to be unique and enlightening, and also as a huge political risk for the Velaherian People's Party (VPP), which had by now begun to see internal opposition and infighting amongst it's factions regarding the treatment it had been providing the IODF personnel with.

The first three weeks had been a whirlwind of activity, as both the Velaherian military and the Orinese soldiers embarked on a journey of mutual understanding. From the moment the boots of the IODF hit Velaherian soil, it became apparent that this was more than just a military exchange; it was a strategic adaption and reconnaissance mission in itself.

The air in Bastaria vibrated with a palpable tension, a mix of anticipation and quiet determination. The soldiers from both sides were resolute in their commitment to adapting to their new environment, mastering the unfamiliar territory, and building bridges between their different wurlds.

With keen eyes and sharpened senses, the IODF soldiers initiated their immersion by meticulously mapping out the terrains of their temporary residence. Their keen observations and strategic minds quickly pinpointed key locations and strategic sites, while they acquaint themselves with the operational protocols of Velaherian military life, and with the help of Velaherian personnel and Commanders, who seemed eager for training their europan counterparts, and as a matter of fact, Lieutenant Andreas Schmidt succinctly characterized this initial phase with a warrior's clarity: “This week was about two frontlines: navigating the unknown while fine-tuning the familiar. We delved into this new domain while adjusting to the IODF's commands and protocols as well.”

However, their first week in Bastaria was not just about physical adaptation. It was a battlefield of words and gestures, as both sides worked tirelessly to bridge the gaps of language and culture. “Every conversation and gesture was a tactical move, to understand and to be understood,” shared Sergeant Daniel Becker, a seasoned colonel of the Velaherian People's Army (VPA). These exchanges, both casual and strategic, deepened their insight into Velaherian tactics and strategies, revealing the intricacies of an unfamiliar military conduct and discipline, most of which however were decades old, however they had seemed to work, since they managed to halt and reverse the Dolch invasion afterall.

The breadth of their discussions unveiled a wide spectrum of insights into military life, tactics, and resilience from different corners of the wurld. It was a mission of exploration, a tactical reconnaissance of the land, and a deep immersion into the rich tapestry of Velaherian culture and the echoes of its resilient past, with its totalitarian cries as well, and the secrecy that it veiled itself in.

The first week served as a building block, strengthening the understanding of the IODF about the Velaherian People's Army and its rules and regulations. As the second week dawned, the Orinese soldiers ventured out on guided tours of Bastaria's landmarks, immersing themselves in the city's vibrant culture and rich history, during which the Velaherian guides and soldiers both were careful to show only what they were told to show the oriorionse, since they werent allies afterall. They were led through the intricate corridors of government facilities, gaining insight into the complex administration and bureaucracy that kept the heart of Velaheria beating. The political nucleus of Bastaria unfolded before them, revealing the quiet power woven within those walls, and an all powerful group of families ruling the nation with its Iron fist.

The soldiers also inspected various transport centers, including ports, airports, and harbors, as they were accompanied by their Velaherian counterparts as well who made sure that they viewed only what they were supposed to view and no more. Each hub highlighted Velaheria's meticulous planning and systematic functionality. “Every place is tactically arranged and functions systematically,” noted Corporal Maximilian Wagner, as he observed the soldiers who were observing routine activities in these transport hubs, and the vessels in transit. In Bastaria, public transport, such as metro lines and buses, was not just operational but also seamlessly linked different parts of the city, due to its well known state planned policies of the late 1970s and early 1980s as well.

Bastaria's communication infrastructure was found to be basic but functional, establishing an adequate information network for the city. Specialist Michael Müller remarked, “Bastaria has a functional communication network.” However, they also noted a potential vulnerability due to the simplicity and lack of advanced security measures. These networks could be relatively easy to tamper with or disrupt, raising concerns about the flow of information and the effectiveness of law enforcement and other essential services in the city.

As the soldiers visited local police stations, they discovered that each one served as a functional facility for maintaining law and order, a place where officers strived to uphold the peace of the city. Conversations and discussions on peacekeeping were informative and opened up possibilities for future cooperation, which were taken with a grain of salt by the Velaherian soldiers since they knew that the motives of the Orinese was something else afterall.

Each stop revealed more about Velaheria's history, spirit, and resilience, and the Orinese soldiers, turning into eager students, absorbed this knowledge, integrating more into Velaheria's context with each passing day. Sergeant Matthias Schneider, while helping the troops to explore the historic sites of Velaheria, remarked, “The history here speaks of the courage and determination of those who built this land.” With each passing day, every new visit brought the IODF closer to understanding Velaheria, and its Politics and its mentality.

By the third week, the IODF troops had delved into the military doctrines and strategies of Velaheria. This experience was a straightforward, intense immersion into the proven tactics that had served Velaherian forces in numerous conflicts. The schedule had been tight, filled with in-depth briefings, hands-on demonstrations, and discussions led by seasoned Velaherian military personnel. The Orinese soldiers honed their understanding of the various tactical and strategic aspects defining Velaherian military operations, and its strategy of indiscriminate bombardment, with which it had effectively halted the Dolch troops in their tracks.

The training was hands-on and focused. The soldiers engaged in simulated combat scenarios, garnering insights into the adaptability and precision of Velaherian military strategies across diverse combat situations. Corporal Selamawit Fikre observed, “Understanding their complex strategies and tactics unveiled a fresh perspective on warfare. It's been both a learning and enlightening experience, which we can provide to the Orinese”

This week had not only been about learning new tactics. It was also a time for exchanging stories and experiences from the field. Despite their different backgrounds, the soldiers found common ground in their professional experiences. Reflecting on what Major Tsehai Gebre said: “This wasn't just about learning tactics; it was also about understanding the values and principles that underpin them. It was a fusion of different beliefs and approaches.” The Velaherians seemed to be cheered up on hearing this, and seemed to grow a sense of respect for their Orinese counterparts as the weeks began to pass as well.

Each interaction during this week broadened the soldiers' understanding of each other's cultures, values, and goals, creating stronger bonds between them. It emphasized mutual respect and a shared pursuit for mastery in their field.

Now, as the Orinese soldiers prepare to welcome their navy and equipment during the fourth week, the anticipation is palpable. It marks the commencement of a more profound phase, where everyone will be very occupied. Captain Dorothy Von Heisenburg captured the essence of this moment when he declared, “It marks the commencement of a more profound phase, where everyone will be very occupied.”

The stage is set, and the story continues to unfold. In the weeks and months ahead, the bonds forged and the knowledge shared during these initial weeks will guide their ongoing collaboration, fostering unity and mutual improvement in military expertise. Velaheria and the Imperial Orinese Defence Force stand ready to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, together, however it remained to see how much velaheria and the VPA could be trusted afterall, since Velaheria has always had an reputation for being elusive as well.

* * *

But that's the information they all knew about, something that the Velaherian government had been broadcasting to promote an image of an more open and inclusive Velaheria to the wurld community, however below the surface there were plans, and there were bases where the Orinese troops were being kept as well, and those were not available for anyone to see or to view as well.

Heinsburg 1st Infantry Stationary Base

This was the closest to the bastarian capital, and was the first base where the Orinese were being trained and fed at, with this being one of the more posh and cleaner bases of the military, with it being equipped with all of the modern day amenities, that a modern military requires, with it being used to make sure that the Orinese knew about the theories of Velaherian strategy, and were exercised and trained to engage the enemy with such strategies, with some new experimentation done by both sides to develop a new and more updated strategy for the new VPA afterall.

21st Bastarian Radio Station

This Base was on the outskirts of bastaria, and was used to train the units stationed here, about how to decode argic Radio signals, and how to understand and encrypt their own messages and codes, so that, they didn't got intercepted as well, with the Velaherians being exceptionally good at that as well.

The 24th and 321st Ammunition Depots

These depots are located nearby the northern almost abandoned parts of Bastaria, and are used to store decades or well some years old ammunition for the VPGF and the VPAAF, and the Orinese were shown these sites and were trained here to identify the essential ammunition systems, and which ammunition to use for the equipment that they were procuring and how to remake those, in the most cost effective way ofcourse.

(The yellow parts represent civillian areas, including an civillian cargo dock and an civillian airport)

Screenshot_2023-09-14_at_01.03.40.png?ex

Untitled16_20231025232305.png?ex=654bcb2

* * *

OOC: The credits for the arts, I.e the drawings goes to Orioni only.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter 9: Distant Shadows on the Horizon

Somewhere in the Southern Adlantic Ocean

Friday, 3 November 2023

SITTING IN HIS HUMBLE fishing boat, old Getachew watched with curious eyes as a massive convoy of ships sliced through the Adlantic. The sight was awe-inspiring and a little intimidating. These were not the usual trade vessels or cargo ships he often saw. They moved with a sense of urgency. And their silhouette was unmistakably of military origin.

Pulling in his fishing net, he remarked to his younger companion, Selam, “Look there, boy. That's an Orinese fleet, I reckon. There was talk on the television news about their supposed dealings with the Velaherians up north.”

Selam squinted against the San, trying to make out the details. “They're huge,” he whispered, a mix of awe and concern evident in his voice. “Do you think this means war, grandpa?”

Getachew chuckled softly. “Not war, lad. But who knows what they're up to, really.”

He looked at the distant ships, the glint of sunlight reflecting off their metal bodies. Tucking away his catch for the day, the old fisherman started the engine. “Let's head back.”

With a last glance at the receding fleet, Selam nodded.

The vast expanse of the Adlantic stretched as far as the eye could see, a canvas of blue, punctuated only by the white wakes of the Orinese ships cutting through the waters. The second relief fleet from Orioni was underway, another formidable convoy of naval might that was carrying vital resources for the ongoing military manoeuvres.

Onboard the flagship, officers convened in the main hall, maps and charts sprawled across the table. “The first fleet provided the groundwork,” Captain Tibebu Frayzer remarked, his finger tracing the route. “This second fleet will fortify our efforts, ensuring we're not just equipped but overwhelmingly prepared.”

His XO Gebriael Girmai, overlooking the cargo manifest, chimed in, “The additional ammunition will certainly bolster our arsenals. But it's the extra storage space that has me intrigued. It seems we're planning to expand our vehicular assets considerably.”

Captain Frayzer nodded in agreement. “From the intel I've gathered, we're we're procuring a whole lot of vehicles and ammunition from Velaheria. They're supposed to be state-of-the-art, in relative DPR terms. This clearance operation is shaping up to be a game-changer in more ways than one.”

As the ship's engines hummed and the waves lapped against its hull, the sailors, both seasoned and new, understood the gravity of their mission. But more than that, they felt the promise of growth, of knowledge exchange, of forging ties that would echo in the annals of military history.

Their ships sailed onward, towards the distant horizon.

OOC. Some more ships on the way, to transport our ‘purchases’ from Velaheria to where they'll be needed.

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Chapter 10: Familiar Grounds and Hidden Agendas

Temporary Orinese military bases, Bastaria, Velaheria

Friday, 10 November 2023

ENSUING WEEKS AND MONTHS made the streets and alleyways of Bastaria feel like a second home to the Orinese military personnel stationed there. The once unfamiliar capital of Velaheria now felt like a well-read book, where you know every chapter known and can anticipate every twist. Major Yared Mulugeta could navigate the cobblestone streets and the bustling marketplaces with his eyes closed. He knew the city's pulse, recognised its rhythm, and via their teacher's friendship came to know some of its secrets.

The Orinese soldiers, once cautious and reserved, now mingled with ease among the Velaherian locals. Private Yordanos, who had diligently taken notes during their initial days, now shared friendly banter with the Velaherian guards at their posts. A nod here, a shared joke there, all in good friendship… or so it seemed. In her notes, Yordanos had carefully documented the layout of key installations, patrol timings, and the identification of strategic points within Bastaria.

Lieutenant Ayana Tesfaye, often found in the company of Velaherian military strategists, had mastered their tactics and methodologies, particularly regarding city defence and the operation of nearby military bases. She had gained a deep understanding of Velaheria's unique urban defence strategies, which included a complex network of surveillance, rapid-response units, and strategic barricades within Bastaria. As well as the logistics and command structure of the surrounding military bases, vital for rapid deployment and support in times of crisis. The Orinese had not just learned from their Velaherian counterparts; they had absorbed their ways, understanding the intricacies of their operations and strategies.

In the barracks, confined to a portable security tent, Captain Tewodros and Sergeant Mesfin Tewolde would regularly find themselves engaged in quiet, but intense conversations about the day's progress.

“We've come a long way,” Tewodros would start, his voice low and steady. “Every street in Bastaria, every turn in their military strategies, we have come to know it as if it were our own,” he continued, a sharp look in his eyes betraying a deeper strategic understanding.

Sergeant Tewolde, leaning forward on a foldable chair, would nod in agreement, his arms folded across his chest.

“Indeed, Captain. We observe their moves, learn their routines, and understand their strengths,” he'd reply, his tone reflecting both respect for their Velaherian counterparts and an underlying sense of calculated preparedness. “And not just that, we've come to understand their limitations as well, the chinks in their armour,” Tewolde added, a hint of cautious anticipation lacing his words.

The two would then sink into a brooding silence, each man lost in his thoughts about the implications of their newfound insights.

Elsewhere in the city, in the cafés and local eateries, the Orinese soldiers were no longer just foreign uniforms; they were familiar faces, greeted with nods and smiles. Their integration into the city had been so seamless, it seemed almost effortless.

But beneath this veneer of harmonious integration, there lay an undercurrent of something more calculated. In the strategic meetings, where maps were spread and plans discussed, there were fleeting glances and subtle nods. It was the unspoken communication of a collective mind working towards something beyond mere collaboration.

The Orinese knew the layout of Bastaria, its strategic points, the fastest routes from A to B, and the vulnerabilities of a city they had come to know intimately. They knew the people, not just as allies, but as chess pieces in a larger game, a game that slowly building up to reach its crescendo.

As the sun set over Bastaria, casting long shadows through the streets, Major Tsehai Gebre looked over the city from her vantage point at the military command centre. Her eyes lingered on the key locations, the checkpoints, the arterial roads. “We have come to know this city like our own,” she thought, “and with knowledge comes power.”

Chapter 11: Shadows Amongst Us

Orinese embassy, Bastaria, Velaheria

Thursday, 16 November 2023

MASKED BY THE GUISE of twilight, a new player entered the complex chessboard of Bastaria: Operational Secret Moniker 9 (OSM9), one of the Orinese Secret Intelligence Service's (OSIS) most adept undercover agents. Her arrival seemed to have gone unnoticed, a shadow melting into the urban landscape of the city.

OSM9, known to her few contacts as Commander Eleni Makonnen, one of many aliases, blended seamlessly into the busy life of Bastaria. Her cover as a cultural attaché to the Orinese embassy provided the perfect front for her operations. In this role, she organized and attended various cultural exchanges, art exhibitions, and diplomatic receptions, events that often brought together high-ranking Velaherian officials and foreign dignitaries under one roof. She also liaised with local artists and cultural figures, using these connections to deepen her understanding of Velaherian society. With an air of diplomatic grace and a keen eye for detail, she moved through the embassy's social circles with ease, brandishing her charming demeanour which was both disarming and calculated.

To ambassador Melesse Ezana ina Bekele and the rest of the embassy staff, Eleni was a pleasant colleague, always ready with a helpful hand or an insightful word on cultural matters. “Did everyone enjoy the art exhibit yesterday? It’s amazing how art can bridge our worlds,” she would often say, sparking conversations that went beyond mere pleasantries. But beneath this congenial surface, she was meticulously gathering information: bits and pieces of conversations, subtle shifts in alliances, and the undercurrents of Velaherian politics. At a reception she organized during her first week, her laughter blended with the clinking of glasses, yet her eyes remained sharply observant, noting the dynamics playing out in the room.

Her daily briefings with the embassy staff were a masterclass in double play. As she discussed cultural events and embassy logistics, her trained eyes and ears picked up on the unsaid and the overlooked. “I’m thinking of organizing a language exchange program; it could help bridge some gaps,” she suggested in one meeting, a ploy to encourage more open dialogue among the staff. Each piece of information, no matter how trivial it seemed, was a part of the larger puzzle she was silently assembling. During a team-building workshop she initiated, to promote better internal communication, she discreetly steered conversations to collect insights into personal opinions and loyalties.

In the depths of the Orinese embassy, far beneath the diplomatic floors, lay a secure basement that served as the nerve centre for OSIS operations. It was here, in this clandestine sanctum, shielded from external surveillance and Velaherian snooping, that Eleni Makonnen conducted her covert meetings.

The room was fortified with the latest in counter-surveillance technology, ensuring that their conversations remained a well-guarded secret. In this secure environment, Eleni would rendezvous with Major Tsehai Gebre, the highest-ranking Orinese military official in Bastaria. They met with the knowledge that the surrounding walls were impenetrable to any form of eavesdropping, electronic or otherwise.

She relayed critical insights into Velaherian military movements, subtle shifts in local sentiments, and identified potential vulnerabilities. Each piece of information was a precious thread in the larger web of their strategic objectives.

Major Gebre carefully absorbed every detail. She was acutely aware of the value of Eleni's reports. Each piece of intelligence was a guiding tool to inform her strategic decisions and craft messages to be relayed to the Maikeli CC back in O'polis. In the shadowy realm of international espionage, this exchange of information was not just useful; it was indispensable for navigating the complex geopolitical landscape.

As days turned into weeks, OSM9 continued her covert masquerade of espionage under the guise of intercultural diplomacy. To the outside world, she was just another diplomat contributing to the rich exchange of cultures in Bastaria. But in the shadows of this ancient city, Eleni Makonnen, OSM9, was a pivotal figure in a game of nations, where information was power and secrecy a weapon.

And so, among the grandeur and history of old Bastaria, a silent war was being waged, where whispers and glances held the power to shape the future of nations.

Chapter 12: Whispers of Rebellion

Café Amanecer, Bastaria, Velaheria

Sunday, 26 November 2023

OBSCURED WITHIN THE DIMLY lit recesses of a nondescript café in Bastaria, a clandestine meeting was taking place. Operational Secret Moniker 9 (OSM9), known in her current role as Eleni Makonnen, sat across from a key figure in the Velaherian political opposition. The café buzzed with the usual Sunday chatter, providing a cover for the weighty conversation at the small corner table. The opposition member, a middle-aged man with lines of worry etched into his face, listened intently as OSM9 spoke in hushed, persuasive tones.

“The current regime's grip on Velaheria has stifled its true potential,” she began, her voice a blend of empathy and resolve. “You desire change, a new direction for your country.”

He nodded, his eyes a mix of hope and scepticism. The idea of overthrowing the oppressive regime that had long ruled Velaheria was a dangerous thought, yet one that was connected deeply with him and his allies.

OSM9 leaned forward, choosing her words carefully. “Imagine a Velaheria where the voice of its people shapes its future. You want to rid your nation of this tyranny, to forge a new path. We,” she paused, emphasizing the word, “can help make that a reality.”

The man’s eyes narrowed slightly, “And what does Orioni want in return for this... help?” His tone was wary, aware of the complexities of international alliances and expensive promises.

OSM9's expression remained composed. “Orioni seeks a stable, prosperous Velaheria. A country that is a partner in progress and peace. Your struggle for freedom aligns with our vision for regional stability in Velaheria, Argis, and beyond.”

With a sleight of hand, she slid a cryptic envelope across the table, which he discreetly pocketed. “Inside, you'll find plans and communication channels. We can provide support, resources, but the heart of this movement must be Velaherian. It’s your vision, your leadership, that will guide this change.”

As they stood to part ways, OSM9 added, “Remember, a new future for Velaheria begins with bold steps. We’ll be alongside you, in the shadows, until your sun rises.”

With that, OSM9 disappeared into the bustling street, her presence melting away like a wisp of smoke. The opposition member sat for a moment longer, the weight of potential revolution heavy in his thoughts. Then, with a deep breath, he too vanished into the crowd, the envelope's contents burning like a flame of hope in his pocket.

In the intricate dance of espionage and political machinations, OSM9 set in motion a chain of events. These events held the power to redefine Velaheria's destiny. The seeds of insurrection, nurtured by Orioni's shadowy support, awaited the awakening of Velaherian will.

OOC. Alea iacta est.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 13: The Communiqué

Orinese embassy, Bastaria, Velaheria

Thursday, 14 December 2023

THROUGHOUT THE EARLY hours of a Velaherian morning, the halls of the Orioni Embassy in Bastaria were quiet, save for the soft footsteps of Ambassador Melesse Ezana ina Bekele. Her face was usually a picture of diplomatic composure. But this morning it bore a look of deep concern.

Melessa made her way to the secure communications room. The city outside, with its ancient architecture bathed in the first light of dawn, was blissfully unaware of the undercurrents of change about to sweep through its streets.

The ambassador had been awakened by an urgent update from the Diplomatic Office of Orioni. It appears to include an important foreign travel advice for the Democratic People's Republic of Velaheria. A few seconds later, she received a notification about an encrypted message from Anna Hackney, the Councillor of Foreign Affairs of Orioni. The message was marked with the highest level of confidentiality.

As with any message of such importance, it could only be accessed from the secure communication room: a space walled off from the rest of the embassy, designed to protect the most sensitive of communications.

As she entered the room, the electronic locks clicked shut behind her, sealing her in with rows of encrypted communication devices and servers. She approached the main console, her hands steady despite the turmoil of thoughts swirling in her mind. The black-and-red digital clock on the wall ticked away. Each second was a reminder of the urgency of the situation.

With a deep breath, the ambassador keyed in her security codes and initiated the secure connection. The screen flickered to life, revealing the encrypted message from the Councillor.

Confidential Diplomatic Communiqué

To: Ambassador Mrs. Melesse Ezana ina Bekele
Orioni Embassy, Bastaria, Velaheria

From: Anna Hackney, Councillor of Foreign Affairs, Orioni

Subject: Urgent Evacuation Directive

Date: 15 December 2023

Classification: SECRET


Immediate Action Required: Embassy Evacuation within 48 Hours

Dear Ambassador Ezana ina Bekele,

Due to the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Velaheria and the escalating likelihood of open conflict, we have made the difficult decision to evacuate the Orioni Embassy in Bastaria. You are instructed to execute a complete evacuation of all personnel and sensitive materials within the next 48 hours.

Key Points of the Directive:

  1. Personnel safety — The safety of all embassy staff is our primary concern. Commence immediate arrangements for the safe and orderly evacuation of all personnel.
  2. Sensitive materials — Ensure the secure destruction or removal of all sensitive documents, communication devices, and data storage units. Follow established protocols for emergency destruction to prevent any compromise of sensitive information.
  3. Local contacts — Discreetly inform key local contacts and operatives of the evacuation. Maintain operational security and avoid drawing attention to the evacuation process.
  4. Transport arrangements — Coordinate with local Orinese military officials for secure transport. The Council has arranged for necessary vehicles and personnel to assist with the evacuation.
  5. Secure communication — Shift to secure communication channels for all internal and external communications. Regular channels are to be considered compromised.
  6. Consular services suspension — Suspend all consular services effective immediately. Post a discreet notice of service suspension at the embassy entrance and on the embassy’s official website.
  7. Reporting — Provide regular updates on the evacuation process through secure channels. The final report should be submitted immediately upon completion of the evacuation.

Post-Evacuation:

  • Relocate temporarily to the Orinese embassy in Iwenland.
  • Await further instructions for reassignment or continued operations in Velaheria, depending on the evolving situation.

This directive comes in light of intelligence reports indicating imminent threats to the embassy and Orioni interests in Velaheria. Your prompt and efficient action in this matter is crucial.

We understand the gravity of this situation and the strain it places on you and your staff. The Council extends its full support and stands ready to assist in every possible way.

Security Classification and Handling:

This communiqué is classified SECRET. Handle and dispose of it in accordance with standard security protocols.

Wishing you a safe and efficient evacuation.

Sincerely,

Anna Hackney
Councillor of Foreign Affairs
Orioni

It was at this moment of solitude, surrounded by the hum of technology, that the Ambassador prepared herself for the challenge to their very presence in Bastaria. This urgent directive spoke of danger, swift action, and the heavy responsibility that rested on her shoulders. She immediately saw that this message would change the course of their mission in Velaheria and put into motion a series of events that would require all her diplomatic skills and resolve.

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Chapter 14: The Rising Tide

Bastaria, Velaheria

Monday, 18 December 2023 (Day 1 of Velaherian freedom)

Scene 1: A Peaceful Morning in Bastaria — 07:00 hours

HINTS OF BRIGHT YELLOW rays shined over a cloudless blue Monday morning. The capital city of Bastaria awoke to the promising start of a new week. The early sunlight cast long shadows on the cobblestone streets, bathing the city in a golden glow. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafted through the air from the local cafés, mingling with the sounds of the city coming to life.

On the surface, Bastaria seemed to embrace the day with its usual bustling charm. Children, with school bags slung over their shoulders, skipped alongside their parents. Buses and trams rolled along their routes, filled with commuters absorbed in their morning routines. Next to them, cyclists weaved their way through the traffic.

In the small parks scattered throughout the city, the elderly sat on benches, enjoying the warmth of this scarce winter sun and the tranquillity of the morning. Joggers trailed the pathways, headphones in their ears, lost in their own worlds.

In a nearby ward, street vendors set up their stalls, offering a colourful array of local crafts and delicacies. People hurried along, some heading to work, others enjoying a leisurely walk in the city's many parks, all under the watchful gaze of the ancient buildings that loomed overhead for centuries.

From the windows of the high-rise office buildings, employees began their workday. From a window by the water cooler, some early birds glanced at the scenic views of their beloved city. The locals, wrapped up in the cocoon of their daily lives, remained oblivious to the undercurrents that were beginning to shape their city’s destiny.

But beneath this cover of normality, something was stirring. In far-away halls of power, in the secret meeting rooms of the Orinese embassy, and in the discreet corners of cafés where clandestine conversations took place, it felt like a change was in the air. To those few people who were aware of the details, the recent events, the encrypted messages, and the hushed discussions all pointed to one thing.

Scene 2: The Quiet Embassy — 10:00 hours

EVIDENTLY UNLIKE THE lively streets of Bastaria, the Orinese embassy stood unusually quiet. Gone were the usual civilian staff, their desks and offices standing empty in the wake of a well-executed evacuation order. Only the essential embassy security personnel remained subtly present. They remained vigilant amidst the quiet hallways of the grand building.

Eleni Makonnen, known only as OSM9, walked through these silent corridors with a measured pace. In the secure basement, she received a critical communication from Orioni. The news was succinct: the governing coalition is likely continue their rule, giving the green light for ‘Operation Clearance’. This confirmation from the higher echelons of Orinese government was the final go-ahead she needed to proceed with their plan.

Eleni immediately set about contacting Major Tsehai Gebre, her key military liaison in Bastaria. The communication was encrypted. The flicker of digital signals conveyed the message that would set in motion a series of events destined to alter the course of Bastaria's future.

“There's a rising tide in the east,” Eleni relayed concisely. Her voice was steady. She was always serious about the nature of her words.

Major Gebre, on the receiving end, acknowledged the message with a simple: “Understood.” The line went dead soon after. Both parties were acutely aware of the need for brevity and security.

As Eleni ended the call, she allowed herself a moment to survey the silent embassy around her. The quiet was deceptive. It masked the operation that was about to unfold.

With a deep breath, Eleni stepped out of the secure basement. She walked along the embassy's empty corridors, sometimes gazing into the empty office spaces that once teemed with life. This embassy, now a temporary command centre for Operation Clearance, stood ready for the task ahead. As the clock ticked on, the silent walls seemed to brace for the impending storm that was about to break the morning calm of Bastaria.

Scene 3: The Ties That Bind Us — 13:00 hours

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER the Orinese embassy echoed with silence, elsewhere in Bastaria, the joint military training grounds were alive with activity. Here, the Velaherian and Orinese forces were once abain training side by side. The sounds of marching troops, orders being shouted, and occasional laughter filled the air. Today they were practicing anti-riot protection and arrest methods. Today's was the Orinese's turn to show their Velaherian counterparts how much they'd learned: the former acted as ‘police’ while the played the ‘rioters’.

Major Tsehai Gebre, stationed in a barracks near the city's towering TV tower, observed the training from a raised platform. Her rigid posture displayed authority. From her vantage point, she had a clear view of both the training grounds and the city beyond. The Velaherian instructors demonstrated tactical manoeuvres frequently used by organised protesters; the Orinese soldiers responded with keen attention. To an outsider, the scene portrayed an ebb and flow of two groups reluctant to clash.

Inbetween each training exercise, Orinese soldiers, now familiar with both the layout of the city and the routines of their Velaherian partners, casually conversed with their counterparts. They walked alongside them through the training grounds, which were only a stone's throw away from key installations.

Unbeknownst to their Velaherian trainers, the Orinese soldiers were not just participants in these exercises. During the past months, they'd been silent observers, busy gathering insights, and weaving them into the preparations of their covert mission. Each piece of information, no matter how minute, was a part of a larger puzzle that was now coming together.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Dawit Kebede found himself near the Bastaria International Airport, under the pretence of coordinating a joint logistical exercise. Together with a Velaherian officer he walked towards one of the airport's administrative buildings. His conversation with a Velaherian officer was light and amiable as usual. But his attention was elsewhere. Dawit's eyes carefully scanned the familiar layout of the airport buildings, today's positioning of the security personnel, and the movement of security vehicles. This information would prove crucial in the hours to come.

On a navy ship near the Port of Hebian, Captain Tibebu Frayzer and his crew observed the comings and goings of cargo and military vessels. His presence on the ship was unassuming, but his role in Operation Clearance was vital. Frayzer maintained a steady line of communication with both Major Gebre and Lieutenant Kebede, ensuring that all parts of their plan remained synchronised.

As the clock arrived at the designated hour, a subtle shift began to take place. The Orinese soldiers, who had been training alongside their Velaherian counterparts, seamlessly transitioned from participants to tacticians. With practised ease and an air of playfulness, the Orinese ‘police’ agents encircled the Velaherian ‘protestors’.

Caught completely by surprise, the Velaherian forces found themselves surrounded. The Orinese soldiers, using the very tactics and weapons they'd learned from the Velaherians, playfully disarmed them. Some Velaherian soldiers were actually laughing at first; they couldn't imagine they were actually being detained.

But this laughter among the Velaherian forces abruptly ended as the nature of their predicament became apparent. As the Velaherians found themselves at gunpoint, being methodically handcuffed with zip-ties by the Orinese soldiers, the friendly atmosphere turned into confusion and concern. The playful banter that had marked the training session just moments ago was replaced by a tense silence, punctuated only by the clicking of zip-ties, and the occasional order issued in a calm, authoritative tone.

The Velaherian troops, still processing the swift turn of events, were ushered towards a more controlled area nearby. The Orinese ensured their Velaherian counterparts were detained securely, but without unnecessary force. It was clear that this was no longer a joint training exercise; it was a well-executed special military operation to seize control.

In the background, a more dramatic scene unfolded. Orinese soldiers, having commandeered Velaherian military vehicles, began driving them off the base, and towards the heart of Bastaria. The sight of their own armoured trucks and jeeps, now manned by Orinese troops, rolling through the streets, added a surreal layer to the unfolding action. The strategic placement of these vehicles at key points throughout the city was not only a tactical move but also a psychological one, signalling a shift in power.

From her vantage point near the TV tower, Major Tsehai Gebre observed the scene with satisfaction. Every movement of her troops had been part of a larger plan. After 4 months, this plan that was now in full motion. Lieutenant Dawit Kebede, near the airport, and Captain Frayzer, on the navy ship, also played their roles in this orchestration. Their coordinated efforts were finally coming to fruition.

As the Orinese vehicles fanned out into Bastaria, the city began to witness the emergence of a new order. The first phase of Operation Clearance had been executed with surprising efficiency, setting the stage for the next steps in what was to be a decisive day in the history of Bastaria.

Scene 4: Wheels in Motion — 16:00 hours

FIRST PHASE OF THE Operation Clearance was marked by secrecy and surprise. It looked like a resounding success. The Orinese forces, having kept their plans tightly under wraps, had caught the Velaherian military completely off guard. Only key Orinese personnel had been privy to the operation's details. The detailed planning and execution of the operation were critical to its success.

In a tactical move, a specialized Orinese squad approached the main television tower. Their approach was swift and silent, utilizing the element of surprise to avoid being stopped. At precisely 16:00 hours, the team, clad in dark tactical gear and moving in a tightly coordinated formation, converged on the tower. They expertly navigated through the security checkpoints, using a combination of stealth and non-lethal tactics to incapacitate the guards without raising an alarm.

The team's leader signalled his unit with subtle hand gestures, directing the with trainined military precision. They swiftly breached the main entrance, using electronic jamming devices to disable surveillance systems. Inside, they moved through the corridors with practiced ease, systematically securing each section of the tower.

The team, equipped with state-of-the-art gear, neutralized the tower's security with preand secured the facility without a single shot fired. In moments, they had control of the broadcasting room. The technical expert of the squad quickly interfaced with the broadcast equipment, ensuring that the Orinese could transmit their message across the whole of Velaheria. The element of surprise played heavily in their favour.

With the initial shock still reverberating through the remaining Velaherian ranks, the Orinese soldiers rapidly mobilised to occupy key strategic locations across Bastaria. Squads moved quickly to secure communication centres, including the main television tower.

Transportation hubs such as the airport, key access roads, rail stations, and the Port of Hebian were swiftly overrun and controlled. Energy infrastructure and government buildings, too, were enveloped in the sudden wave of Orinese presence. In a matter of hours, the city saw a dramatic shift in control. The omnipresent Orinese soldiers established a visible and firm presence in these critical areas. The capture of the TV tower was pivotal, allowing the Orinese to control the narrative and broadcast their message across the city. Though the take-over seemed to occur largely peaceful, the soldiers' behaviour indicated a no-tolerance policy towards any form of resistance.

Barracks and military installations around the capital, previously bastions of Velaherian power, were now under their control. Thanks to careful planning, this also included the vehicles, fuel, and ammunition. The majority of armed opposition within and around the city was effectively neutralised by the swift and coordinated actions of the Orinese forces. While there were pockets of resistance, particularly among some local police units, the lack of clear communication and organised leadership left them disoriented and ineffective.

In a significant move, key figures of the current Velaherian regime and military, who could potentially organise a counterstrike, were targeted for detention. However, not all political leaders were captured, leading to some uncertainty about possible rallying points for resistance.

At the television tower, now under Orinese control, Specialist Meklit Worku had executed a critical part of the plan with commendable efficiency. All TV and radio channels had ceased their regular programming, and were now broadcasting a continuous recording of the Swan Lake. This classical piece of ballet was a coded signal known to many who heard it. The seemingly innocuous broadcast signified the successful takeover of communication channels. Accompanying the broadcast on the television channels was a scrolling banner at the bottom of the screen. It read: “Emergency Broadcast System. Remain at home. News at 19:00.” It announced a special news bulletin scheduled for later that day. This aminous message only heightened the anticipation and anxiety.

Emergency Broadcast System. Remain at home. News at 19:00.

As the afternoon turned into evening, the usual rhythm of Bastaria was notably disrupted. The streets, typically filled with traffic, were unusually quiet. Many citizens had left work early, retreating to the safety of their homes. The public mood was cautious, a ‘wait-and-see’. A certain sense of unease hung in the air.

Outbound rail services continued to operate, but not without changes. At the stations, Orinese forces conducted selective filtering, allowing civilians to leave the city while maintaining a watchful eye for any potential threats or key figures trying to escape.

In the city, only the Velaherian military presence within the capital had been effectively neutralised by the Orinese operation. However, outside the city limits, there remained an unknown number of contingents of Velaherian troops. Their current stance was uncertain. Since they had not been directly confronted, a swift change in leadership and the collapse of command structures could leave them in a state of limbo. It was unclear whether these troops would continue to support their previous leaders or choose a different course in the face of the unfolding events.

The quiet streets of Bastaria mirrored the uncertainty of this situation. While the Orinese forces had successfully executed the initial stages of their operation and established control over key areas, the broader implications of their actions were yet to fully materialise. The city, enveloped in a tense calm, braced itself for the special news bulletin. It promised to reveal the next chapter in this dramatic shift of power.

Scene 5: The Broadcast — 19:00 hours

UNENDING REPEATS OF the elegant Swan Lake had held the population of Bastaria captive throughout the evening. Citizens were glued to their televisions, anxiously waiting for more news. But, for now, they could only watch the mesmerising ballet unfold. The four main dancers moved hand-in-hand in perfect harmony. The lead prima ballerina, a vision of grace, was poised for a pirouette. But as the clock struck 19:00 hours, this scene of tranquility was abruptly cut short. The music halted mid-note, the dancers froze in time, and the screen flickered to black for a brief moment.

When the broadcast resumed, the swans had vanished. In their place, the stern face of an elderly man filled the screen. His features were marked with age, but his eyes sparkled with a fervour that spoke of undiminished strength and conviction. He bore the distinguished look of a Velaherian patriot, a figure of authority and gravitas. Across his chest dangled rows of shining medals and ribbons.

The man introduced himself as Chelovek Budushchego, a pseudonym chosen for its resonance with Velaherian nationalism. He cleared his throat before addressing the nation. His voice, seasoned with age but strong with conviction, began to deliver a speech that was designed to mark the dawn of a new era in Velaheria.

“My fellow compatriots,” he began, his eyes staring directly at the camera, “Today marks a new day for Velaheria. A day where we shed the burdens of our past and step into a future guided by new leadership. A leadership that is now in full control. Our beloved country, long stifled under old regimes, is set to embark on a journey of rejuvenation and reformation.”

Budushchego's speech was laced with patriotic fervour, painting a picture of unity and strength. “Across our great nation, our armed forces have joined this revolutionary cause, embracing the change that will propel Velaheria into prosperity and dignity. Let roday mark the first day of Velaherian freedom.”

“We are glad to be rid of the 80-year-old dictatorship that clearly hasn't worked. Another 80 years won't bring much improvement either. Velaherians deserve to live in the 2020s, not remain stuck in the 1940s.”

“Our friends, the Orinese, bring a new dawn that always rises from the east. So join our ‘ Lily Revolution ’ as we march in support of a bright tomorrow. More information will follow.”

As the broadcast concluded, the screen faded to black, and the camera switched off. In the control room, hidden from the public eye, the Orinese leaders had gathered to watch the broadcast and its aftermath.

“That guy is a good. He could be an actor,” Major Tsehai Gebre remarked with a hint of amusement in her voice. She had been overseeing the broader strategy of the operation and knew the importance of perception in their plan.

“That's why they pay him the big bucks,” added Eleni Makonnen, glancing at the now darkened studio. She had been instrumental in coordinating the ground operations and appreciated the role of a well-executed psychological operation.

Captain Tibebu Frayzer, more contemplative, voiced the group's underlying concern: “Do you think they'll really believe it, though?” His experience in naval operations had taught him the unpredictable nature of human reactions, especially in times of upheaval.

The room fell into a introspective silence. While the broadcast had gone as planned, the true impact of Budushchego's words on the people of Velaheria remained to be seen. The Orinese leaders knew that the success of their operation hinged not just on military control, but also on winning the hearts and minds of the Velaherian people. As they considered this unknown factor, the weight of their nation-building endeavour, rested heavily in the room.

OOC. A good time was had by all.

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Chapter 16: Dawn of the Lily

Bastaria, Velaheria

Tuesday, 19 December 2023 (Day 2 of Velaherian freedom)

Scene 1: The Lily Revolution — Morning

KNOW WHAT DAY it is? The second day of the “Liberation of Velaheria”. Under the cloak of a misty dawn, a quiet revolution began to stir. It was not marked by the thunder of guns or the clamour of protests. Instead, it whispered through the streets in the form of a simple pamphlet: a piece of paper that fluttered into the lives of the citizens like a gentle breeze.

The pamphlet, bearing no author's name, spoke with the voices of many. They called themselves the Children of Freedom, or the Acolytes of Ioseb Jughashvil, or the self-proclaimed Lily Revolutionaries. The pamphlet appeared without any obvious origin. It materialised on doorsteps, tucked under windshield wipers, and slipped into mailboxes.

Before the crack of dawn, Marika the baker found a stack by her front door. As she canned the front page, it ignited a spark in her heart. She had long yearned for a whisper of change. And here it was, printed in black and white, calling to her. When she opened her shop, the customers were more than eager to grab a copy to go with their fresh loaves of bread.

A little while later, in a marketplace that appeared busier than usual, a young student named Giorgi discovered the pamphlet flapping against his shoe. He picked it up, curiosity piqued. The words spoke of freedom, democracy, a new Velaheria. They echoed the thoughts inside his head, the ones he hadn't dared to voice until now.

Even in the quiet confines of half-empty government offices, the pamphlet made its way. It passed from one hushed hand to another. One mid-level official named Luka read it in the privacy of his cubicle. The ideals it championed and the future it envisioned rang true deep within him.

The words of Ioseb Jughashvil, long revered as a symbol of Velaherian pride and heritage, lent the pamphlet an air of legitimacy and passion. The Lily Revolutionaries, through their anonymous yet powerful prose, tapped into a wellspring of suppressed hope and desire for change.

The Dawn of the Lily Revolution:
A Call to Rebirth and Freedom

In the heart of every Velaherian
blooms the undying lily of freedom,
yearning for the light of dawn.


Ioseb Jughashvil (1878-1953),
Velaherian Poet and Patriot

Embrace the Liberation of Velaheria

Citizens of Velaheria,

The winds of change are sweeping across our beloved land, heralding the dawn of a new era: the era of the Lily Revolution. This is not just a movement. It is the rebirth of our nation, delivered from the old regime that for nearly a century had stifled our voices and dreams.

For too long, we have lived under the shadow of an oppressive regime. The 80-year-old Starinburg dictatorship promised dreams yet delivered nightmares. But today, we stand at the precipice of a monumental change. It will redefine our future and restore the dignity of every Velaherian.

Join the March Towards Democracy and Freedom

The Lily Revolution is our collective stride towards a democratic system where every voice is heard, and every vote counts. It is our path to freedom, where the rights of the individual are upheld, and the power lies in the hands of the people.

We are not just changing a government. We are transforming our society. We are building a Velaheria where freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the freedom to dream are not just ideals but realities.

A Future Shaped by the People, for the People

The new dawn that breaks over Velaheria is one of hope and opportunity. It is a future where the young and old alike can aspire to greater things. Where innovation and creativity are nurtured. And where our cultural heritage is celebrated in a spirit of unity and diversity.

We call upon every citizen to be an active architect of this new Velaheria. Let us lay down the bricks of justice, cement them with fairness, and build a nation that stands as a landmark of hope and prosperity.

The Role of Our Orinese Friends

In this journey, we are not alone. Our friends from Orioni have extended their hand in support. Not as conquerors, but as liberators and partners in our quest for a better tomorrow. They stand with us in our pursuit of a just and equitable society.

The Lily Revolution: A Symbol of Our Resolve

The lily, a symbol of purity and renewal, perfectly encapsulates the essence of our revolution. It represents our collective desire for a fresh start, a clean break from the past, and a blossoming future filled with potential.

Join us in this historic movement. Embrace the Liberation of Velaheria. Together, let us march towards a future that is bright, democratic, and free.

For Freedom, For Democracy, For Velaheria!

This pamphlet is a call to action, an invitation to be part of a historic transformation. Share it, spread the word, and be a part of the Lily Revolution.

As the sun climbed higher, the pamphlet became the talk of the town. Whispers of the “Liberation of Velaheria” and the “Lily Revolution” filled the cafés, the offices, the streets. People shared it, discussed it, and most importantly, believed in it.

Through their simple yet profound act of spreading words on paper, these Lily Revolutionaries ignited a fire in the hearts of the people. A fire that promised to burn away the vestiges of the old regime and light the way for a new dawn in Velaheria.

And so, in the hands of bakers and students, officials and home-makers, the pamphlet lived and breathed. It spoke of the power of words and the unquenchable human spirit that seeks freedom and justice. The Lily Revolution had begun, not with a battle cry, but with the rustle of paper on the streets of Bastaria.

Scene 2: New Order in Velaheria — Noon

EARLY MORNING IN BASTARIA awoke to the second day of a new reality under the watchful eyes of Orinese soldiers. The city's strategic importance as an administrative, cultural, and economic hub had made it the primary target and now the key stronghold in this unfolding Lily Revolution.

The Orinese forces, having established control over Bastaria, moved swiftly to ensure the continuation of essential services. Food shipments were allowed to continue as usual, with strict monitoring to prevent the smuggling of arms. The soldiers understood the importance of maintaining civilian life to avoid unrest.

They took control of the Velaherian railroad network, which was centrally controlled from Bastaria. A design flaw, created by the authoritarian government, that now worked in their advantage. By dominating these nodes, they effectively cut off any potential military reinforcements or supplies from reaching the capital.

In a strategic financial move, the Orinese secured the money supply of Velaheria. They utilised these funds to bribe local police forces and pay the disarmed Velaherian soldiers, aiming to maintain order and potentially recruit disillusioned officers to their cause. A secondary, covert operation was launched to raid the gold reserves of the Velaherian central bank, preparing for its transfer to a third country.

With the main oil infrastructure in the Port of Hebian under their control, the Orinese soldiers claimed dibs on fuel resources, ensuring their operational autonomy. The strategic petroleum reserves of Velaheria were unknown. But it seemed reasonable that the remaining Velaherian soldiers stationed elsewhere would soon be significantly limited in their. For reinforcements to reach Bastaria, they would face the daunting task of braving winter conditions overland, navigating around Dolchland, or undertaking a long foot-march to Bastaria. Each option seemed less viable than the last.

On the propaganda front, the Orinese had prepared an equally adept apparatus. Television broadcasts from Bastaria across Velaheria were now carefully crafted infotainment pieces, detailing the alleged atrocities and corrupt practices of the old regime. Promises of “free and fair elections soon” and “regional referendums” were announced, aimed at placating any secessionist sentiments and winning favour with neighbouring countries.

A new newspaper called Velaherian Pravda emerged as a fresh voice in journalism. Its stories countered the stale narratives of old government propaganda. The paper promised to deliver unbiased news and insightful commentary on current affairs. Journalists, long stifled under the old regime, now found new patrons in the Orinese. While they continued to be paid, they now had the freedom to explore a wider range of topics, albeit under the subtle guidance of their new benefactors.

The streets of Bastaria witnessed orchestrated peaceful protests, with actors employed to bolster the image of the Lily Revolution as a popular uprising. Interestingly, the Orinese diaspora in Velaheria, constituting about 1% of the total population and predominantly residing in the eastern coastal regions now occupied by the Orinese, overwhelmingly supported the ruling SPO government in Orioni. This demographic factor played well into the hands of the Orinese narrative.

Amidst these sweeping changes, a peculiar absence was noted. The heads of the Velaherian government, typically the primary targets in such upheavals, seemed conspicuously inactive or absent. Military theory advises decapitating the government to cripple its functionality, but in this case, the head of the snake was seemingly already gone. This absence left a vacuum that the Orinese were quick to fill, using it to their advantage in establishing a new order in Bastaria.

The streets, once symbols of Velaherian pride and resilience, now echoed with the footsteps of change, brought forth by a well-orchestrated Lily Revolution.

Scene 3: A New Chapter in Diplomacy — Afternoon

READING THE TEA-LEAVES, the Orinese inner circle had long-since prepared a diplomatic proposal to address potential international concerns and criticisms. This initiative aimed to present the recent events in Velaheria not as an aggressive takeover, but as a necessary intervention for the greater good of the region.

The Orinese government, in a well-crafted statement, announced the successful deradicalisation of what they termed “a great evil” that had long plagued the DPR of Velaheria. The statement meticulously listed the alleged atrocities and corrupt practices of the previous Velaherian regime, painting a picture of a nation in desperate need of liberation and change.

In a move to garner international support and legitimise their actions, Orioni called upon the Security Council to recognise the liberation of Velaheria and support a transitional government. They urged the international body to send the Peace Legion to maintain order and aid in the transition process.

Draft of the Proposed AN Resolution for the Support and Facilitation of Democratic Transition in Velaheria

Recognizing the need for immediate and effective measures to ensure the stability and prosperity of Velaheria,

Noting the recent developments in Velaheria and the need for a peaceful transition to a democratic government,

Acknowledging the efforts of the Orinese government in liberating Velaheria from an oppressive regime,

  1. Condemns the past atrocities and corrupt practices of the former Velaherian government.
  2. Supports the initiative for the peaceful deradicalisation and democratisation of Velaheria.
  3. Calls upon the international community to recognise the efforts of the Orinese government in restoring peace and order in Velaheria.
  4. Urges the Security Council to deploy the Peace Legion to Velaheria to aid in maintaining peace and facilitating a smooth transition to a democratic government.
  5. Encourages member states to assist in the reconstruction and development of Velaheria, supporting its journey towards democracy and prosperity.
  6. Affirms the commitment of the international community to the principles of sovereignty, peace, and democracy.

This resolution is hereby endorsed and submitted for consideration to the Assembled Nations Security Council, reflecting the commitment of the Orinese government to uphold international peace, security, and the democratic aspirations of the Velaherian people.

Signed,

Mrs Rasida Gamibodiyani

Permanent Representative of Orioni to the Assembled Nations

Date: Tuesday, 19 December 2023

The statement was sent out to all AN representatives. It was accompanied by a message: “In the spirit of global cooperation and peace, we call on all potential partners who value the future of Velaheria to join us in this noble endeavour. Together, we can ensure a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous future for the Velaherian people.”

OOC. Patiently waiting on Velaheria to DM me about about how we plan to proceed with this story.

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nau_defense_seal.png.4af9f3b1816822dd787

URGENT CLASSIFIED

TO: Captain Raschelle Wörner ABOARD UNS Solidarity LCV-10, Captain Gerald Pearson ABOARD HMS Terra Firma, Captain James MacRae ABOARD HMS Argos

(Carrier Strike Group 3, Dolch Surface Security Group, Expeditionary Strike Group 1)

FROM: NORTH ADLANTIC UNION DEFENSE COMMAND

IMMEDIATE ORDERS AS FOLLOWS

Alert all vessels currently under command to prepare for immediate departure. All ships are to assume immediate combat readiness. Expeditionary Strike Group 1 should prepare for possible land deployment.

All task forces are to rendezvous at following coordinates:

image.png

SITUATION AS FOLLOWS

On site diplomatic staff and military intelligence have identified Orionese military units openly attacking and seizing control of the Velaharian capital of Bastaria alongside Velaharian revolutionary units. The North Adlantic Union Office of the Prime Minister and the North Adlantic Union Council consider this action an instance of foreign aggression on Argic soil. Current NAUDC policy regarding Europan aggression towards Argic nations demands immediate confrontation.

ORDERS ON ARRIVAL AS FOLLOWS

Upon arriving at the designated coordinates, all units are to hold position and await further orders. The status of the Velaharian Navy is considered uncertain at the time, DO NOT fire unless fired upon first. Any Orionese flagged vessel is authorized to be stopped, boarded, searched, and redirected to their port of origin. All commercial traffic is to be stopped and turned away until the situation is resolved. Any Orionese military vessel is to be stopped and turned away from approaching Velaharia. DO NOT fire unless fired upon first.

 

URGENT CLASSIFIED

TO: Captain Rene Evers ABOARD HMS Thunderchild

(Carrier Strike Group Two)

FROM: NORTH ADLANTIC UNION DEFENSE COMMAND

IMMEDIATE ORDERS AS FOLLOWS

Alert all vessels currently under command to prepare for immediate departure. All ships are to assume immediate combat readiness. Task Force is to cease all fire support missions for Great Xio and make immediate course to the territory of Maimi.

SITUATION AS FOLLOWS

On site diplomatic staff and military intelligence have identified Orionese military units openly attacking and seizing control of the Velaharian capital of Bastaria alongside Velaharian revolutionary units. The North Adlantic Union Office of the Prime Minister and the North Adlantic Union Council consider this action an instance of foreign aggression on Argic soil. Current NAUDC policy regarding Europan aggression towards Argic nations demands immediate confrontation. The intentions of the EOS are unknown at this time, and a defensive posture in Aurelia is required.

ORDERS ON ARRIVAL AS FOLLOWS

Assume defensive posture near Maimi and conduct reconnaissance of the surrounding seas to monitor EOS activity in the region. DO NOT move to engage or otherwise approach vessels that operate under the EOS. DO NOT fire unless fired upon first.

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CLASSIFIED INFORMATION; RECORD INFORMATION REQUIRED AND DESTROY

To: All Captains of Geltic Sea Group 1, Elgan Defence Group, Elgan Offensive Group, Outer Geltic Group

From: Ministry of Defence, Office of Gustav Peatr

Orders on the Developing Situation in Velaheria:
All vessels under command and capable are to prepare for delayed (1 day) departure. Ships are to assume combat readiness; Elgan Offensive Group and Outer Geltic Group are ordered to prepare for land deployment. Scale 1 Involvement Index - Full Preparation Required.

All task forces are to rendezvous at  43°52'4.13"N,  3°44'10.11"W.

Overview to present to Personnel:

Diplomatic staff has alerted High Command to Orinese offensive units displaying open aggression and taking control of key objective points in Bastaria, Velaheria, alongside 'Revolutionary' Militias. The administration sees this as an attack on the independence of a neighbouring Argic nation, and clear aggression from an Imperialist Europan power. Confrontation likely.

Orders:

Intelligence reports movement of @Seylosian fleets in direction of ordered position. DO NOT ENGAGE SEYLOSIAN SHIPS. DO NOT ENGAGE NOR FIRE WITHOUT FIRST CONFIRMING IDENTITY. ATTEMPT TO ESTABLISH CLEAR COMMUNICATION WITH SEYLOSIAN SHIPS. IF IMPOSSIBLE, CLEARLY DISPLAY HISERAN AFFILIATION.
In regards to Orinese ships: DO NOT ALLOW ANY SHIPS TO ENTER WITHIN 100KM OF VELAHERIAN COAST. ANY SHIP ATTEMPTING TO DO SO IS TO BE STOPPED. IN CASE OF REFUSAL, ATTEMPT NON-LETHAL BOARDING METHODS TO STOP SHIP. PERMISSION TO FIRE IN CASE OF RESISTANCE. IN CASE OF ALL OTHER ORINESE SHIPS: PERMISSION TO FIRE ONLY IF FIRED ON FIRST. NO MATTER WHAT, DO NOT FIRE FIRST, ONLY RETALIATE.

May the Seas Wave Like They Did In 1668.

CHWALE HISERA. GROCSHE HISERA.

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CLASSIFIED INFORMATION; UNAUTHORISED DISTRIBUTION TO RESULT IN SEVERE PUNISHMENT

To: Corps Commander Benodan Kurz (OF-8) of the 2nd Corps of the 1st Field Army of the Stedorian Revolutionary Defence Forces

From: All-Military Command of the Stedorian Revolutionary Defence Forces (VBJL)

DIRECT MILITARY ORDERS TO BE CARRIED OUT WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT FOLLOWING:

The entirety of the 2nd Corps, consiting of 36,000 soldiers, is to immediately be mobilised and deploy along the south-east Stedorian-Velaherian border in the period of 48 hours. The corps is to assume combat readiness and readiness to cross the Velaherian border and engage in potential combat. Refugees are to be expected. Civilian refugees are to be granted entry and escorted to temporary refugee camps. Velaherian military personnel attempting to cross the border are to be turned away or detained to await redeployment under Stedorian command.

REGARDING THE FOLLOWING SITUTATION:

It has been reported by Stedorian diplomatic operatives, among others, that hostile and perfidious military forces of Orioni, stationed in the Velaherian capital of Bastaria, have seized the aformentioned city with the aid of Velaherian anti-communist saboteurs, fifth columnists, and compradors. Velaherian military units within the city have been detained and/or attacked by Orinese forces. The location of the Velaherian leadership is currently unknown. It is to be presumed that Velaherian military units and political leadership are incapable of launching prolonged and organised resistance without external assistance.

Stedorian Revolutionary Defence Forces, Independence and Self-Defence.

 

To: Reservist Command of the South Eastern, Eastern, and North-Eastern Militia Districts of the Popular Combat Groups

From: All-Military Command of the Stedorian Revolutionary Defence Forces (VBJL)

DIRECT MILITARY ORDERS TO BE CARRIED OUT WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT FOLLOWING:

Each district is to mobilise 10,000 eligible militiamen for a total of 30,000 within the period of 1 week. Following this, they are to be deployed along the Stedorian-Velaherian border within their respective districts. Their goal shall be to assist Security Forces in border protection from a likely influx of Velaherian refugees. Civilian refugees are to be allowed in by daily regional quotas until further accomodation plans can be made. Families, women, children, those with technical skills, and those belonging to the Stedorian minority are to be prioritised. Single young men and routing military personnel are to be turned back and detained respectively.

REGARDING THE FOLLOWING SITUTATION:

Further violence throughout Velaheria is unknown. It is believed, however, that irregardless of this, political refugees will make their way to the Stedorian border and make attempts to cross. The goal is to help our brotherly neighbours in the interests of the pan-Dolchic vision. However, this must be done in a realistic way as to ensure that Stedorian services are not overrun or overwhelmed by refugees. Militiamen postings will be temporary; plans will be made to rotate mobilised militiamen in order to minimise public weariness.

Government of the Stedorian People's Republic, Free and Independent.

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To: Epinavarkhos Stylianos Ethelred, Commander of Arhomaiki Forces, Makhaira Thalassa

From: The Epistrategaion

 

3rd Carrier Strike Group to prepare for immediate departure to Iwish Strait. They are to take position in international waters, 30 (thirty) nautical miles south-east of Velaherian coast. It is not to be assumed that any foreign force is hostile at this point.

It appears that the forces of @Orioni that are present in Velaheria (@DPR Velaheria) have staged a coup. However, the international situation is changing rapidly. It is unknown if the Imperial Naval personnel attached to the Velaherian People's Army are in danger – the Holy Imperial Government is working to ascertain this. It may be that intervention is necessary to evacuate them and the Aroman humanitarian workers also present in Velaheria.

Once in position, that position is to be held until further orders are received. Do not engage any foreign vessel. Do not fire unless fired upon first. Cooperate with the North Adlantic Union naval forces to maintain a cordon to prevent civilian vessels from entering area.

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Chapter 17: Seeds of a New Society

Wednesday, 20 December 2023 (Day 3 of Velaherian freedom)

Scene 1: Statement by the Government of Orioni

YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE how busy a press room can get, unless you were there. The Orinese government press room was filled to the brim with journalists, cackling loudly. At the front, a podium stood with the insignia of Orioni. Cameras and microphones were trained on the stage, awaiting the imminent address.

Anna Hackney, Councillor of Foreign Affairs, entered the room. She's poised, her expression calm yet resolute. The room fell into a hushed silence as she approached the podium.

“Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us today. As the Councillor of Foreign Affairs for Orioni, I am here to present an official statement regarding the recent events in Velaheria.”

The journalists shuffled, readying their notepads and recording devices.

“The Orinese government acknowledges the international community's concerns regarding our involvement in Velaheria. Our actions, aligned with the aspirations of the Lily Revolution, have been in pursuit of a stable and democratic Velaheria. We have supported the Velaherian people in their quest to end an oppressive regime and embrace a future of freedom and prosperity.”

She paused, letting her words impact the audience, and giving the slower typers time to catch-up.

“We reiterate our commitment to a peaceful transition and uphold the principles of sovereignty and self-determination. Our mission is to facilitate, not dictate, the course of Velaheria's future.”

A moment of silence followed as Anna concluded her statement.

“There will be no questions today. I urge foreign journalists to contact their respective ambassadors for any comments or clarifications. Thank you.”

With that, Anna Hackney stepped away from the podium. The room erupted as journalists launched their questions at her, and the cameras licked like Velaherian machine-guns. But the journalists, though eager for more details, were left to digest the carefully worded statement.

Scene 2: A Silent Bastaria

USUALLY VIBRANT AND bustling, the streets of Bastaria were now quiet under the enforced curfew. A sense of calm pervades, broken only by the occasional sound of an electric public transport vehicle gliding past. The city, under the new Orinese control, appears to be in a state of cautious stillness.

Inside a typical apartment, a young woman sits at a desk, illuminated by the soft glow of her computer screen. She's working from home, a new norm established in the wake of recent events. The once restrictive internet filters, a remnant of the old regime, are now disabled, allowing her and many others unrestricted access to information and the ability to work remotely.

A few taxis navigate the quiet square, their headlights casting long shadows. The drivers, wearing masks, are cautious but grateful for the business. The use of private cars has been limited to conserve fuel, a necessary measure given the current situation.

Inside an electric bus, passengers sit spaced apart, each absorbed in their thoughts. The bus moves smoothly along the designated route. It shows the city's effort to maintain public services amidst the upheaval.

Scene 3: Pictures of Peace

MIDWAY BETWEEN THE heart of Bastaria and the Port of Heiban, the laughter of children playing football echoed through the air, a symbol of unspoken harmony. Among the onlookers, Orinese soldiers cheered and clapped. This picturesque display of peace blurred the harsh lines between locals and liberators.

At a temporary military prison, orderly and well-maintained, captive Velaherian soldiers received treatment far from the usual dangers of conflict. They were tended to with care, offered meals and medical attention, a stark contrast to the expected hostilities.

Among them, Sergeant Nikolai, a Velaherian in his mid-30s, spoke candidly. “We were prepared for the worst,” he admitted, “but they've treated us with respect. It's not what we expected.” His sincere words spoke of the Orinese forces not as imperialist colonisers, but as humane guardians.

The capital city of Bastaria remained untouched by the ravages of war. This was not a city conquered, but one that had simply shifted hands. Markets were still open and full, public transport hummed along its routes, and buildings stood proud and unscarred. The city's pulse was steady and uninterrupted.

Inside a government office, Velaherian collaborators, former officials now aligned with the Orinese, conducted their affairs with a professionalism that belied the complex nature of their allegiance. Mr Karel, a Velaherian bureaucrat in his 50s, accepted an envelope from an Orinese officer. “I'm just glad we can keep things running for the people.”

Under the watchful yet seemingly benevolent eye of the Orinese forces, the city remained unmarked by conflict. It was an image that spoke of a seamless transition.

Scene 4: The Lily's Reach

ALOOF VILLAGES DOTTED the expansive landscapes of Hrestam Province, surrounding the city of Bastaria. But even here, the influence of the Lily Revolution was unmistakable. Towns and villages under its spell were adorned with fluttering banners, the symbol of the movement catching in the breeze. People gathered in public spaces. They talked with hope and anticipation about the sweeping changes that might come.

In Valdenroth, a small town within Hrestam, the town square became a focal point of assembly. Velaherian citizens, adorned with lily symbols as a sign of solidarity, listened intently to Eldar Valtin, a local speaker. “The time has come for us to embrace a new future, one free from the chains of the past. The Lily Revolution is our path to freedom!” he proclaimed. The gathered crowd responded with cheers and applause.

Over in Esterhaven, a contrastingly serene rural village, a different scene unfolded. Orinese soldiers, dressed not in full combat gear but in attire symbolising peace, were greeted warmly by the local populace. The soldiers distributed supplies and engaged in friendly conversations with the villagers. Their presence was seen more as that of liberators than occupiers.

Meanwhile, at a provincial government office in Dorvania, a smooth transition of power took place. Orinese soldiers methodically took control, facing no resistance from the local officials. They efficiently set up communications and logistics, preparing for the wider control of the province.

The countryside of Hrestam revealed a different aspect of this unfolding story. Orinese patrols moved beyond Bastaria, securing key locations and infrastructure. Despite their expanding control, there was a conspicuous absence of resistance from the locals. 80 years under a dictatorial regime had rendered the Velaherians passive, almost resigned to shifts in power and governance.

As the sun set over Hrestam Province, the Orinese soldiers had established control over significant parts. The Lily Revolution, which began as a spark in Bastaria, had now spread its influence across the region. The dominating mood was one of inevitable change. A change that was accepted, if not wholly embraced, by the people of Velaheria.

Scene 5: The Architects of Change

DEEP WITHIN THE Orinese embassy, in a dimly lit operations room, Eleni Makonnen was engrossed in her espionage work. Surrounded by screens and communication equipment, her team scanned live feeds from various parts of Velaheria. Their task was critical: to monitor and manage any forms of dissent or resistance with minimal violence, thus averting civil unrest. Her team, comprising a diverse group of intelligence officers and analysts, worked with unyielding dedication, constantly updating her with new information.

Eleni, with a steady voice, directed her team through her headset. “Keep a close watch on any gatherings. We need to anticipate their moves before they even make them,” she instructed without taking her eyes off the screens.

Elsewhere in Bastaria, at a makeshift military command post, Major Tsehai Gebre was immersed in overseeing the city's security situation. She coordinated with Orinese forces to maintain public order and safety. Her tired eyes showed the immense responsibility she bore.

To her officers, she issued a clear command: “Secure all government buildings, infrastructure and ensure the media houses are broadcasting our message. We need the city under control.”

Later that day, back at the Orinese embassy, a gathering of the interim leadership convened. Among them were Eleni and Major Gebre. They discussed the establishment of an interim government and the impending public appearance of Chelovek Budushchego, the emblematic figure of the Lily Revolution. The meeting centred on planning his next public address, a critical step in shaping the international narrative.

“Chelovek Budushchego needs to address the nation soon. His words will shape our narrative internationally,” Major Gebre asserted.

Eleni nodded in agreement, adding, “We're arranging his next appearance. It'll be a detailed explanation of our intentions here. To prevent any external ‘misunderstandings’.”

To celebrate the third successful day of Operation Clearance, some of the interim leadership went to the embassy's rooftop. As the cold winter sun dipped below the horizon, casting long shadows over the city, Eleni and Major Gebre stood side by side in a rare moment of tranquillity. They gazed out over the cityscape, each lost in thought, contemplating the challenging journey that lay ahead.

OOC. Invented some local placenames for other towns and villages in Hrestam, the province that Bastaria is in.

Also, Velaheria and I have agreed on a way forward. He should announce it shortly.

So it would be nice if everyone could keep their pants on and guns uncocked.

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OOC. Statement from the two players involved in this RP. It would be nice if everyone checked with us, before jumping in without asking permission first. We've taken several months to prepare this story. And now everyone and their mother has a military intervention appear out of nowhere. Or does everyone always sail around with a 100% fully-prepared and stocked expeditionary force?

Realistic and well-written updates are welcomed if discussed in advance.

Posting other kinds of updates will only get you booted from the RP.

Thanks.

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Chapter 18: Unshackled

Thursday, 21 December 2023 (Day 4 of Velaherian freedom)

Scene 1: The Emancipation of Voices — Morning

SOMEONE SITTING OUTSIDE the grim-looking Velaherian ‘Regime Detention Facility’ would this morning have seen an unexpected turn of events. The dawn's early light cast long, ominous shadows across the facility's imposing walls, hinting at the decades of despair trapped within. The Orinese soldiers approached, clad in tactical gear, determined to successfully execute today's mission. In coordinated formation, they moved swiftly and calculated. This mission was the result of meticulous planning and training. Outside the bleakness of the prison's tall walls, their arrival was a hopeful promise of change.

As they approached the prison from multiple vectors, the soldiers quickly secured the perimeter. A small team expertly disabled the external security systems, while others prepared to breach the main gate. With a carefully placed charge, the gate was blown open, allowing the soldiers to storm the facility. They moved through the corridors with practised efficiency, neutralising any resistance from the prison guards with non-lethal tactics. Their primary goal was the safety and liberation of the prisoners.

Inside the prison, as the gates were unlocked, a wave of disbelief and elation swept through the inmates. Early whispers of hope turned into loud cheers of joy as the reality of their nascent freedom sunk in. Well-known opposition leaders and journalists emerged into the daylight. Many faces were etched deeply from long years of confinement. Once out in the open air, their eyes blinked in the sudden brightness.

Outside the prison, families and friends, had gathered in anticipation. They rushed forward to embrace their loved ones. It was a moment with many emotional reunions. Each hug and tearful smile spoke of stories long suppressed but never forgotten. Tears were shed, laughter rang out, and expressions of disbelief and joy mingled together.

One family member, overcome with emotion, cried out: “Thank you, our Orinese friends, for bringing them back to us!” Her voice cracked under the immense weight of her gratitude.

The prison break was a heartbreaking tribute to freedom and the resilience of the human spirit. It all under the watchful and sympathetic eyes of the Orinese liberators. As the freed prisoners stepped out into the new day, their faces lifted towards the sun, there was a shared unspoken vow to rebuild, to heal, and to never forget the dark past that they had overcome.

Scene 2: The Call to Stand United

UNDER THE LANDMARK TV Tower of Bastaria's roof, within the confines of a familiar studio, Chelovek Budushchego prepared to address the nation. Once he was just an ex-officer turned teacher in a small rural school. Now he'd been transformed into a symbol of resilience and hope. The studio was eerily silent, the crew and staff holding their breath in anticipation. In just a few days, this old man had become a key figure of the Lily Revolution.

The studio lights cast a dramatic glow on his face, emphasising his determined expression. They highlighted the resolve etched in his features and the faint lines of fatigue from days of ceaseless effort.

“My fellow Velaherians,” he began, his voice grave yet compelling, “today I speak to you not just as a voice of revolution, but as a voice of our nation's future.” As he spoke, his hands trembled slightly off camera. But his eyes remained fixed on the camera, as if reaching out to every citizen huddled around their screens.

“From the ashes of our troubled past, we shall build a future of our choosing,” he declared, invoking a powerful image of rebirth. He provided a situational update, articulating the changes since the Orinese intervention and the ongoing efforts to stabilise the country. “Streets once filled with fear now buzz with the promise of a new dawn,” he said.

Chelovek Budushchego continued, his tone hardening. “We have yet to hear from the cowardly Starinburg or his cohorts. Their silence in these crucial times speaks volumes of their abandonment. Where are they now, as we stand united and strong?” he asked rhetorically while narrowing his eyes.

Next, with a mix of defiance and frustration, he addressed the international opposition to the liberation. “These so-called Argic ‘neighbours’ of ours, they sit in their comfortable chairs, in their safe homes, judging our struggle for liberty,” he added, his voice tinged with a blend of bitterness and determination.

“And to those beyond our borders who decry our liberation, who label our fight for freedom as an ‘outrage,’ we say: you do not know our suffering. You don't know our pain. You have not lived under the yoke we have been freed from.”

Then came his passionate call to the people of Velaheria.

“I call upon you, the proud people of Velaheria, to come out onto the streets. Show the world that our liberation is by us, for us. Let the world see the faces of those who dared to dream, who dared to fight for their future,” he urged. His voice now swelled with emotion. “Your voices, once silenced, are now the heralds of our destiny,” he added, his words a crescendo of hope and determination. “Defend the freedom we have so dearly won!” His words demonstrated the conviction of a nation yearning for recognition and respect.

Finally, he raised his fist, a universal symbol of solidarity and strength.

“Shout it from every corner, let it echo through the streets: ‘For Velaheria, For Freedom!’” he proclaimed. “In every alley, every home, let this be our unyielding chant,” he continued, his gaze fierce and unyielding. “Together, we are unbreakable, invincible,” he added. His fist trembled slightly with the intensity of his belief.

As the broadcast concluded, the camera zoomed out, capturing the intensity of his expression. In the silence that followed, a collective breath was drawn, as if the entire nation exhaled in unity. The room remained silent for a moment. In the shadows of the studio, the crew exchanged telling glances. Had they really just witnessed this historic moment?

In homes and gathering places across Velaheria, his call was heard. It ignited a flame of hope and determination in the hearts of many. And in the streets, his words began to impact the crowds. They sparked courage that grew into a mass of people, all determined to express and defend their new-found liberties.

Scene 3: Echoes of Gratitude — Afternoon

COUNTING ALL OF THEM was practically impossible. An immense and diverse crowd had gathered in the old city centre of Bastaria. They manifested a massive outpouring of support for their Orinese liberators. People gathered in front of the city hall, where the Velaherian tricolour was projected on the façade. Noticeably absent was the once-dominant hammer and sickle.

Velaheria mass of people

The crowd was a vibrant mix of people enthusiastically waving the defaced Velaherian tricolour flags, alongside improvised Orinese flags. Together, they created a lively picture of freedom and change. The air was filled with the smell of fresh paint from newly-made ‘Lily Revolution’ banners. And the ground vibrated softly with the collective footsteps of the gathered masses.

Chelovek Budushchego's speech from earlier today served as a rallying cry, galvanising the Velaherian people. His words and the slogan “For Velaheria, For Freedom!” encapsulated the sentiment of the revolution and the desire for self-determination. The atmosphere was electric, charged with a potent feeling of relief, hope, and newfound solidarity. These people symbolised a seismic shift in the nation's heart.

Among the jubilant crowd, some voices were also tinged with outrage and bitter memory. These feelings weren't directed at their liberators, but at the international community for their decades-long inaction. One such voice belonged to Mirek, a middle-aged teacher whose school had been shut down under the old regime.

“We suffered for years, and the world just watched! It took the Orinese courage to free us!” shouted Mirek, his voice cracking with emotion. His words, laden with years of pent-up frustration, were echoed by the collective grievances of many others.

Another person stepped forward to share her own valued point of view.

“Under the old regime, a protest like this would never have been possible. We’d have been arrested already, and our family would never hear from us again,” murmured Elina, a young artist who had secretly created protest art during the darkest days of the Starinburg regime.

A few individuals, more vocal and fervent, sowed seeds of suspicion about the intentions of neighbouring countries.

“Those so-called ‘neighbours’, they’re planning to send their armies here! They want to overturn our liberation, and bring back the old tyrants!” a conspiracy theorist loudly proclaimed.

He clearly captured the attention of those nearby with his dramatic gestures and wild-eyed fervour.

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Chapter 19: Shadows Unearthed

Friday, 22 December 2023 (Day 4 of Velaherian freedom)

Scene 1: Echoes of the Silenced

KNEADING HIS BROW in concentration, journalist Anton Kozlov, in the dimly lit, somewhat cramped office of the Velaherian Pravda newspaper, prepared to interview a group of recently liberated opposition figures and journalists. His goal was not just to report their stories but to shed light on the atrocities they faced, a task he approached with a sense of solemn responsibility. The room brimmed with a silent tension, echoing stories long suppressed.

“What did you witness in the prisons? What truths have been hidden from the world?” Anton asked, leaning forward, his tone both soft and inquisitive.

An opposition leader, Ivan Petrenko, gaunt and with eyes that spoke of witnessed horrors, cleared his throat before speaking. His voice trembled. It echoed his pain and the pain of many others.

“We… we heard things. Whispered tales of places even darker than the cells we were in. Places of no return. Rumours of places beyond the prisons, where unspeakable acts were carried out. Nobody who was taken there… ever returned to tell their tale.”

The camera focused on their eyes, reflecting the torment of their experiences. Fear and trauma were evident in their expressions. Elena Vasiliev, another journalist who had been imprisoned, added her voice to the narrative.

“The nights were the worst… screams echoing through the walls, then falling into a terrifying silence. We all knew what it meant, but speaking of it was a different terror. The fear was not just of what was happening, but of the unknown, of being the next one to vanish.”

Anton listened intently, his expression a mix of empathy and determination. He knew the power of the press in shaping public opinion and exposing hidden truths. The Velaherian Pravda had always sought to reveal the unvarnished reality of the regime's brutality, a mission that often put them at odds with the powers that be.

The interview concluded in silence, heavy with the weight of their shared experiences. The interviewees, lost in thought, their expressions reflected the horrors they had endured. Their accounts, delivered in subdued tones and with haunted glances, stood as a chilling testament to the atrocities they had survived, and Anton knew that his task was to ensure that these testimonies reached the public, unfiltered and raw. Yet, what would finally be published would depend on the prevailing winds of political change and editorial courage. A grim reminder of the cruelty of the regime they had endured.

Scene 2: Into the Heart of Darkness

IN HRESTAM PROVINCE, traversing the rugged, untamed terrain, a squad of Orinese soldiers, including familiar faces like Sergeant Kaleb Mwangi and Corporal Amara Chibuzo, moved cautiously and deliberately. As they navigated the treacherous landscape, every sense was alert to the mysteries it might conceal. The damp earth under their boots and the dense foliage overhead created an atmosphere of eerie silence, broken only by the occasional snap of a twig or distant birdcall.

Sergeant Kaleb, his brows knitted in focus, instructed his squad to stay sharp, aware of the lurking uncertainties.

“Eyes open, and keep the formation tight,” he ordered in a low tone, his hand resting on the rifle slung across his chest.

“We'll confront whatever challenges these woods hide,” Corporal Amara whispered to Kaleb, her gaze sharply scanning the surroundings, revealing a mix of fear and determination. Her hand instinctively went to the knife strapped to her thigh, a small but reassuring weight against the unknown.

Their camaraderie, stronger than the usual bonds of military discipline, had been forged through shared adversities. It was this unspoken bond that kept their morale high, even as the shadows of the forest seemed to whisper of unseen dangers. Their mission: to investigate the rumoured prison camps within this vast wilderness. It was a journey into unknown dangers, a real test of their courage and resolve.

“I've heard stories, Kaleb,” Amara continued, her voice blending with the rustle of leaves. “Whispers of pain and despair that seem to hang in the air here. It's hard to imagine such darkness exists, but if it's real, we need to expose it."

Kaleb nodded, his expression hardening as he contemplated the gravity of their task and the possible horrors that lay ahead. He checked his GPS device, confirming their coordinates.

"We're getting close," he murmured, glancing at the digital map. “We're here to uncover the truth, Amara,” he said firmly, determination mingling with a touch of concern in his voice. “No matter how dark, we must shed light on it.”

As they pushed forward, the squad maintained a vigilant formation. Their training and instincts guided them through the dense forest. Their mission was more than a military operation; it was a crusade to reveal hidden atrocities and bring a glimmer of hope to those trapped in a world of cruelty.

Scene 3: Revelations in Ashes

TUCKED AWAY IN the dense forests of Hrestam Province, a remote, hidden camp location was shrouded in secrecy. The Orinese soldiers, now significantly reinforced by a flexible combined arms battalion with army helicopters thundering overhead and tanks rumbling through the underbrush, engaged in a tense and fierce battle. As the soldiers approached the camp, the helicopters relayed real-time visual intelligence, using advanced surveillance technology to peer through the canopy. Their cameras zoomed in on the frantic activities within the camp.

The helicopters provided aerial surveillance, feeding live footage to the ground troops via their head-mounted displays. The soldiers, watching from a safe distance, saw the desperate actions of the prison guards through their high-resolution screens. The tanks fortified the perimeter, cutting off any escape routes for the prison guards.

From this vantage point, the Orinese forces could clearly see the guards scrambling to destroy evidence. They encountered prison guards frantically trying to destroy evidence – burning stacks of documents and photographs in a desperate, almost frenzied attempt to erase the crimes they had committed. Commanding the guards was Lieutenant Grigor Ivanov. He had a reputation for his ruthless efficiency. Ivanov, visible on the screens, was seen shouting orders and tossing papers into the fire. The cameras captured his actions in vivid detail.

Despite his efforts, the overwhelming force of the Orinese made resistance futile. The soldiers, having observed the situation from afar, coordinated their approach, ready to intervene and stop the destruction of evidence.

“Secure those documents! Don’t let them destroy the evidence! Every piece could be crucial!” Sergeant Kaleb shouted. His voice cut through the chaos like a sharp blade.

Corporal Amara ducked behind a shattered wall, taking a moment to catch her breath. She then sprang into action, darting from cover to cover, her rifle at the ready. The Orinese executed it with a precision and efficiency that spoke of their rigorous training and unwavering focus.

“Covering fire on the left flank!” Kaleb commanded, as his team coordinated their movements amidst the fray.

The Orinese troops, in a synchronised manoeuvre, breached the exterior defences, swiftly moving from the outer compounds into the heart of the prison. The battle erupted into an intense firefight, bullets whizzing back and forth. The Orinese soldiers took cover, returning fire with disciplined bursts.

Inside the prison, the fight turned into a brutal room-to-room combat. The confined spaces echoed with the sounds of gunfire and shouts. Some guards, caught in the crossfire, were killed in the intense battle. The soldiers, moving with practised precision, cleared each room, ensuring no threats remained.

Explosions from grenades added to the tumult, sending clouds of dirt and debris into the air. “Medic!” someone yelled, as a soldier was hit, their comrades quickly dragging them to safety. The air was thick with the acrid smell of gunpowder and burning paper.

Amidst the chaos, Orinese sharpshooters positioned themselves in strategic vantage points, providing cover and taking out key targets. “Hold your positions!” Kaleb ordered, as they advanced steadily, pushing the enemy back.

Corporal Amara, her heart pounding against her chest, stumbled upon a half-burnt photograph, the faces on it barely recognisable yet screaming a silent tale of horror. Her expression, previously focused and determined, morphed into one of horror, and then hardened into a resolute determination to bring the perpetrators of these atrocities to justice.

As the last of the enemy guards were subdued, the soldiers began the grim task of collecting the remnants of the evidence. They moved methodically, scouring through the charred debris, salvaging what they could.

The climax of the scene was both visually and emotionally intense as the soldiers secured the smouldering, ashy remains of the camp, a haunting, almost hellish proof of the unspeakable atrocities that had been committed within its confines. The psychological impact of this discovery on both the soldiers and the survivors they encountered was profound and palpable. The soldiers, many of them young and unaccustomed to such brutality, struggled to process the horrors they witnessed, their faces etched with a mix of shock, anger, and a deep-seated sorrow.

Snippets of news reports and radio broadcasts began to filter through, adding further layers of complexity and gravity to the narrative.

A voiceover from a radio broadcast reported: “…shocking discoveries in Velaheria's Hrestam Province today as Orinese forces uncover evidence of what appears to be death camps. This sheds a new light light on the dark, hidden atrocities of a regime…”

Another snippet cut in, a TV news anchor's voice said with urgency: “In response to these harrowing discoveries, international reactions are mixed. While some commend the Orinese intervention, others question the future implications for Velaheria and the region at large…”

The scene ended with the sombre, haunted faces of the soldiers. Their mission was far from over, and the weight and burden of their discovery hung heavy. There lay an enormous task ahead in seeking justice and reconciliation. As they gazed out over the smouldering remains, a sudden, distant sound of approaching helicopter rotors hinted at new developments.

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OOC. Good morning everyone. I hope you're all having a nice weekend.

Today, there will be no story update about Bastaria & Environs from me.

This gives @DPR Velaheria complete freedom to publish the Starinburg POV, without another of my chapters interfering.

Meanwhile, I'll be focussing on preparing the offline Christmas thingy for tomorrow.

Wishing you all a very good end of 2023.

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nau_defense_seal.png.4af9f3b1816822dd787

URGENT CLASSIFIED

TO: Captain Raschelle Wörner ABOARD UNS Solidarity LCV-10, Captain Gerald Pearson ABOARD HMS Terra Firma, Captain James MacRae ABOARD HMS Argos
DATE: December 21st 2023

(Carrier Strike Group 3, Dolch Surface Security Group, Expeditionary Strike Group 1)

FROM: NORTH ADLANTIC UNION DEFENSE COMMAND

IMMEDIATE ORDERS AS FOLLOWS

Alert all vessels currently under command to stand down from turning away incoming shipping vessels and turn away Orionese flagged ships only. The same rules of engagement still apply.

 

URGENT CLASSIFIED

TO: Captain Rene Evers ABOARD HMS Thunderchild

(Carrier Strike Group Two)

FROM: NORTH ADLANTIC UNION DEFENSE COMMAND

IMMEDIATE ORDERS AS FOLLOWS

Alert all vessels currently under command to set return course to Kaseka.

ORDERS ON ARRIVAL AS FOLLOWS

Continue supporting operations for the Xioan military as is consistent with the previously assigned mission.

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