Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

The place for conducting intraregional relations or just hanging out with other national leaders. [In-Character]
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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by The Federation of Legionas » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:32 pm

Legionite Embassy, Tlālacuetztla
1000 Hours

Ambassador Thomas Emerdale looked at his watch and grimaced, the clearing of the embassy was behind schedule. They were expected to have left by 1200 Hours yet not even half of the rooms had been cleared. He stood up and paced the room, periodically staring below at the interns scrambling to carry the heavy items. Thomas looked at the letter, stamped with the royal seal. He vaguely knew the contents of the letter addressed to General Xōchhuitl and the Provisional Government.

"The future of the Provisional Government is bleak, Samantha." Ambassador Emerdale sighed.

"What makes you think that, sir?" His personal assistant, Samantha Blackett, asked while neatly arranging a box with the ambassador's files

"There is no reason for the Xiomeran population to support this illegitimate regime for long and besides, the provisional Government has no official Great ally to call upon. If we cannot destroy them by force, the entire world will suffocate them and their allies diplomatically and economically."

"Perhaps sir, but they may have a great ally that we don't know about. Maybe the Shuellians are selling them arms or something, they would find a reason to profit from the situation."

Ambassador Emerdale took his seat, "I wouldn't rule that out, but I find it highly unlikely. Wait a second, Samantha. I have a feeling that this office is being tapped. That damn General, he'd seem like the sort to pull such a stunt." He eyed the letter in his hands, its contents sealed off from him. "Samantha, what do you think is in this letter?"

"I'm not sure sir, but I'd definitely expect it to contain some scathing remarks directed at the illegitimacy of the junta."

"I think so too. Hey, have you seen my phone?"

The Embassy grounds below them was in a frenzy with employees ferrying heaps and heaps of mostly classified information into hired trucks. Outside the grounds, a small Xiomeran force waited patiently, bound by International law forbidding them to enter the embassy, still considered Legionite Sovereign Territory. Two Legionite Security Guards emerged from the entrance carrying a water cooler, the heat slowing them down considerably.

Nearby, one of the secretaries arranged a stack of boxes into a truck, while berating the truck driver for forcing her to do it alone. Ambassador Emerdale emerged from his office to survey the scene. Time was of the essence and everyone knew so. The ambassador clutched at his balding head, beads of sweat already forming on his forehead.

"Come on guys, we have only two hours left. Lets try and work faster, we don't want to keep our friends outside waiting." The Ambassador grinned and returned inside to take shelter from the heat.
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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:11 am

April 29th
Xiomeran Embassy, Lauchenoiria

Ambassador Chemā sat at her desk inside the embassy, a cup of coffee and a bottle of Lohuā Licā-brand headache pills ready at hand. The dilemma she was facing was not as simply dismissed as the catchy commercials for said headache pills promised, however.

Beginning at dawn, the Climate Alliance protesters had been at work outside the embassy again. The embassy staff had sighed, clearly frustrated at the resumption of the protests they had thought behind them. The ambassador, however, was not as frustrated with the protesters as she had expected to be. She certainly didn’t think very highly of the typically raucous, pushy and disrespectful method of advocating for change that Lauchenoirians seemed to favor. While she had not been a huge fan of Yauhmi, the Empress had taken a more subtle and restrained approach to bringing change to Xiomera. That approach, Chemā felt, was a more civilized way to seek reform.

And what did that civilized way get Yauhmi, in the end? Locked up, dethroned. Possibly not even alive, anymore. Chemā realized, with that thought, why she wasn’t as angry about the protesters outside her embassy walls as she expected. She was much more irritated with the junta whose revolt, and whose total rescinding of Yauhmi’s reforms, had caused this whole mess to begin again. The constant messages from the Provisional Government’s new Secretary of International Affairs, Toquauhtli, demanding that Chemā answer whether or not she was going to swear loyalty to the junta, were not helping her irritation levels. You all decided to start a freaking revolution, you can at least give me time to decide whether or not I want to come along for the ride when I never asked to in the first place.

The intercom on her desk buzzed. “Yes, Acin,” Chemā said wearily. “Is it Toquauhtli again?”

“No, madam ambassador,” her secretary said nervously. “It is Nōlinyauh.”

Her former (or current) boss, depending on who you asked. The former (or still, again depending on who you asked) Secretary of International Affairs for the government in exile. Shit. “Put him through, please,” Chemā said, feeling even more exhausted.

“Good morning, Chemā,” Nōlinyauh said. Despite the difficult situation the government in exile, such as it was, found itself in, the Secretary looked surprisingly calm and well put-together. Must be nice, Chemā thought. “Good morning, sir. I was expecting your call eventually.”

“I imagine so. I am sure that Toquauhtli, may the gods give him hemorrhoids, has been burning up your phone lines trying to get you to swear loyalty to their Provisional Government. Have they been calling on your loyalty to the country? Making promises? Threats?” the Secretary asked.

“A bit of all of the above,” Chemā said tiredly. “Are you going to do the same?”

“No. I only have one argument to make. But I think it’s a good one.” A soft ping sounded on the ambassador’s computer. “Don’t ask how I managed to get that email to you past that damned Project Tilmahcoatl program ASI has. Just look at the attachments,” Nōlinyauh urged.

Chemā noticed there were two video clips attached. She clicked to open the first one - and then watched, stunned. It was a clip of the assault on the Palace of Flowers. When that video finished, Chemā lowered her eyes. She was already scared to view the second clip. But finally, she clicked on it.

The second video was footage, obtained from surveillance cameras at the Necuatexi Municipal Police Headquarters. It showed the attack on protesters there unfold, in all its ugliness. When the attack helicopters launched their assault, gunning down multiple police officers and protesters alike, Chemā wanted to turn it off. She knew she couldn’t. She forced herself to watch it to the end - watching an Imperial Army unit roll over the protesters’ barricade and chasing them down the streets, firing on them as they ran away. Wait - not just Imperial Army, Chemā realized in sudden shock. Who are those others leading the assault? She could not identify them, but she could tell they were clearly not Xiomerans.

When the video finally stopped, Chemā shoved her laptop away in disgust. Nōlinyauh’s voice came to her, breaking into her confused thoughts as if from far away. “If you swear loyalty to the junta, Chemā, that’s what you’re joining. That’s what you will become - someone who destroys our institutions and kills our people, even bringing in foreigners to despoil us. No matter what you think of Yauhmi, ask yourself: would she ever have done that to us? Your choice shouldn’t be hard then. It’s the choice between being a human, or an animal. When you decide, you know what to do. I hope to hear from you soon that you have made the right choice.” Nōlinyauh hung up.

When her thoughts emerged from their shocked incoherence, Chemā found herself staring at the Xiomeran flag in the corner of her office. With a sudden jolt, she leaped from her chair and flung it to the ground. The crash brought Acin running into her office. “Is everything allright, ambassador?” he asked. Chemā looked at her secretary as if he had sprouted a second nose. “Of course it’s not allright. It’s not allright at all,” she growled. “Order the guards to lower the Imperial flag at once. Find the flags of the Imperial Household that we keep for visits, and raise those instead now. And get me a microphone hooked up to a speaker,” the ambassador snapped, walking out of the office. Acin struggled to keep up with her. “A microphone and a speaker?” he asked.

“Yes, yes, from the PA equipment we keep in storage. Get it set up on the balcony. I intend to address the protesters outside. And anyone else who is listening,” Chemā said, already walking to the elevator to go to the top floor of the embassy.

It took some time for the embassy staff to set up the loudspeaker and microphone, much to the amusement of the chanting crowd outside the embassy. When Ambassador Chemā finally appeared on the balcony, the crowd began yelling and jeering. She waited patiently until the leaders of the protest finally managed to calm everyone down enough so she could speak.

“I understand why you are here, and I know you don’t like me very much. To be quite honest, I wasn’t very fond of any of you, either,” Chemā said, waiting as the crowd began to shout again before finally subsiding. “I just have this to say: regardless of personal feelings, now is not the time for any of that. I am here, now, to declare that I do not recognize the authority of the Provisional Imperial Government, nor does this embassy. As the Xiomeran Ambassador to Lauchenoiria, I totally and utterly reject the actions of the Provisional Government - the overthrow of the Empress, the imposition of martial law, the plan to resume the Manauia Island Project in its original form - all of it. This embassy pledges its loyalty to Empress Yauhmi, to Crown Prince Texōccoatl, and to the legitimate government of Xiomera.”

As the crowd fell silent, the ambassador looked around. “I know our actions here in Lauchenoiria have not always been diplomatic or respectful. For that, I apologize, and I ask your forgiveness - not for me, but for my nation and its people. The junta that has taken over Xiomera is shooting our citizens in the streets. They threaten my people at home, and they threaten the world. You know this to be true - and now, so do I. You want to save Manauia Island - that is truly wonderful. But only one thing will save Manauia Island now, and save the people of Xiomera, and that is the overthrow of the junta and the defeat of their seizure of power. The junta will not listen to words. Protests mean nothing to them. They have proven that on the streets of our cities with naked force. The only thing that will stop them, and save what both you and I hold dear, is the international community standing with free Xiomerans to stop them. To that end, I am opening the doors of this embassy to any group that wishes to organize in opposition to the junta. All those who are willing to stand with the Xiomeran people to defeat the junta and thwart its plans will be safe here. We will not be serving milkshakes - at least, hopefully not,” Chemā added with a slight smile, “but we will do our best to make you welcome. Together, I earnestly hope, we can save Manauia Island and all of Xiomera.”

With that, the ambassador turned and walked back inside. “Open the gates,” she told Acin. “Let anyone who wants to come inside do so. We aren’t hiding behind these damned walls anymore.”

Within moments, the guards at the gates of the embassy flung them open. Xiomera itself may have been isolated behind the junta’s steel curtain, but at least one small piece of Xiomera was free.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Fri May 01, 2020 9:19 am

April 30th

After Ambassador Chemā's speech in Buttercity, General Xōchhuitl was quite displeased. It was time, he reasoned, to figure out where the Lauchenoirians stood once and for all. The junta needed to know whether or not the Lauchenoirians would accept a demand for Chemā to be expelled in favor of a new ambassador selected by the junta. It would also be a good way to test the incoming leadership after their elections, he reasoned. The following notice was thus hand-delivered to the Lauchenoirian Embassy by an honor guard in full dress uniform:
To the Honorable Ramón Banderas, Lauchenoirian Ambassador to Xiomera:

On behalf of the Provisional Imperial Government, please accept these greetings. It is our hope that you are doing well. It is come to our attention that your Embassy has not yet responded to our request to present your credentials for formal recognition by this government. We trust that this is merely an oversight.

We do not wish to impose, especially since you are undoubtedly busy after your recent elections. However, in order to ensure continued harmonious relations, we must insist that you appear at the Ximac Fortress, the temporary seat of government, to present your credentials for recognition no later than May 4th, 2020.

If such presentment is not done, we must regretfully ask that yourself, and your diplomatic staff, depart the Xiomeran Empire by the following Tuesday, May 5th, 2020. Failing to perform either of those options by the dates listed will be regarded as an unfriendly act by the Xiomeran Empire, and will result in the automatic termination of all diplomatic relations between the Federation of Lauchenoiria and the Xiomeran Empire, as well as potential sanctions and other responses as deemed appropriate or necessary by the Provisional Government to ensure Xiomeran dignity and sovereignty are protected.

It is our hope that our two governments can continue to work together in a diplomatic fashion. We await your response to our request.

Signed, General Xōchhuitl, Chief of Staff of the Xiomeran Armed Forces, on behalf of the Provisional Imperial Government of Xiomera

Xohuayán, Manauia Island

"They have abolished our independence. They have erased us from the map completely. Now we are just part of a military district. Will we tolerate this outrage?"

Tanqui, the son of the Teyatia sapa, Tlihuātemā, paced angrily in front of the panaqa, the council of Teyatia nobles. "They have imprisoned my mother. They have said we have no right to make decisions for our own land, that we are merely subjects of Tlālacuetztla. And now, they plan to take our land and destroy it for the enrichment of Xiomeran corporations and elites, and to line the pockets of this so-called Provisional Government." Tanqui spit on the ground in disgust. "Will we simply accept this? Will we let our home be destroyed?"

The answering angry shouts of the Teyatia nobles were music to Tanqui's ears. "Then gather your warriors and your weapons. The Provisional Government has said this council no longer has authority, and are sending a new governor, Mapilzin, to replace us. I say we welcome this Mapilzin when he arrives - with gifts of lead and fire for himself and for every soldier that he brings with him!"

The Teyatia nobles roared back their assent, standing up and raising their fists into the air. Manauia Island may have been paradise, but if they had anything to say about it, the Teyatia would teach the new Imperial Governor that even paradise can really suck for you if you're not welcome there.

As the new Governor, along with a fresh contingent of Imperial soldiers to reinforce the garrison on Manauia Island, prepared to depart from Tlālacuetztla, the Teyatia were making their own preparations. Disappearing into the jungles of the island, they gathered their resources. And waited.



Itzamatul shook his head in concern. "They are sending a new Governor. They have declared that I am no longer the leader of these islands," he said, laying down a message he had received.

Chuacay, his wife and closest advisor, sighed. "So what do we do now?"

"We disappear, and prepare for the arrival of this new Governor of theirs. We have to do so before the garrison sends someone to detain us. I must speak with the Legionite agent, EF-15, once we get to a safe hiding place."

Itzamatul summoned two of his personal guards and ordered them to create a distraction on the edge of Citlamina to distract the Imperial garrison. While that was taking place, Itzamatul and Chuacay, along with a few more islanders, made a hasty retreat. They went to a cove on the far northern side of the largest island in their chain, a place that was well hidden - at least, as far as they knew. Itzamatul then sent a message to his LIA contact, and waited.


Xiomeran Embassy, Laeralsford

Nōlinyauh whistled when the video that they had been watching, showing Ambassador Chemā's speech to the crowd in Buttercity, finished. "I thought that message I sent Chemā would light a fire under her. I did not expect a bonfire."

"Good for her," Texōccoatl said, a broad smile on his face. "I half expected her to side with the junta, to be honest. She was always more of a conservative, I thought."

"She is. But she's not a nationalist militarist who is okay with the government using freaking attack helicopters against its own people. I'm glad she's decided to be on our side," Nōlinyauh said with a measure of contentedness.

"Yes, but this situation cannot continue. Getting a few ambassadors to side with us, and a few nations to drop relations with the junta, is a good step. But while this is all going on, and I sit here in safety, people back home are dying. We need to begin acting, not reacting." Texōccoatl stood up, pacing restlessly around the room. "Nōlinyauh, I want you to send messages to all the nations whose governments just terminated diplomatic relations with the junta - Kerlile, Eiria, Legionas. Please ask them if they would be willing to send diplomatic representatives to meet with me here in Laeralsford. Make sure to keep the Laeralites in the loop as well. While you're at it, contact all of the other nations in the IDU who are active diplomatic players - Lauchenoiria, Libertas Omnium Maximus, anyone else you can think of. Even the Milinticans - they said they would support us, let's see how far that goes. Also, if we're going to be a government in exile, we need to start acting like one. Put together for me a short list of people who may be able to travel here, and willing to serve on a temporary Cabinet until we can free my mother and restore her to the throne."

The unspoken if we can free her was deliberately ignored by everyone in the room; no one wanted to even consider the possibility that they might not defeat the junta in time to save the Empress.

"And now, we have the beginnings of an armed force, thanks to the timely arrival of the First Fleet. However, we will need a lot more than that. We need to begin rounding up people who can begin spreading our message to both the military and the civilian population back home. Hackers, propagandists, activists - Xiomerans, foreigners - I don't care who they are, as long as they can turn people away from the junta and back to us. We need to get the military to abandon the junta, and we need to get the civilian population back home to resist, so that we can make the necessary conditions for us to return home and drag the junta out by their damned necks." Texōccoatl slapped his fist with his other hand. "Also....there are a lot of funds belonging to the Imperial Government, in bank accounts and investments all over the IDU. I want those funds. Begin contacting other governments to ask them to freeze the junta's accounts, and turn them over to us."

Nōlinyauh nodded eagerly, already making notes and plans. Soon, messages would be dispatched throughout the IDU, asking nations large and small alike to recognize the government of Crown Prince Texōccoatl, and to send diplomatic representatives. And, if possible, to take control of Xiomeran government funds they may have had in their banks and divert them from the junta's control.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue May 05, 2020 5:58 pm

Meeting Room, Council Building, Kerlile
3rd May

The newly-formed Committee on Xiomera sat around the table, waiting for Councillor Hale, who was late. Councillor Pierre was poised on her chair as if it was a throne, attempting to remind the non-Councillors in the room of her position. Pauline watched Councillors Georgiou and Greenwood chatting to each other, the latter giggling slightly at something the former had said, and resisted the urge to roll her eyes. On the other side of the table, Katrine Porter, still Foreign Affairs Secretary, sat, nervous at her company. Next to her, the former Aurora Zichitla, and the only person in the room Pierre trusted, sat silently, waiting.

“Sorry I’m late,” Hale said, rushing through the door. “Amelia would not stop crying,” she explained, taking a seat next to Zichitla.

“Shall we begin?” Pierre stood, trying to make it clear she was in charge – even though, on paper, the four Councillors in the room shared that power.

“We have had a request from Crown Prince Texōccoatl to send a diplomat to Laeral to meet with him. I believe a number of nations have been invited,” Georgiou, who was in charge of liaising with other nations, said.

“Good,” nodded Pierre. “That will make this easier. I trust that either you, Katrine, or someone else can go?”

“I would be happy to make the trip,” Georgiou said, “but I am not sure that I’m the best person for the job. There are people better qualified.”

“Who don’t have the clearance level you have,” Greenwood interrupted. “We would either need to let someone else into this circle, which could be a problem, or we would be unable to communicate fully. If we want to do this with full cooperation, as you have frequently argued for, then we need someone who knows things that we would rather keep to a small circle.”

“True enough,” Georgiou nodded. “I can get the next flight out.”

“Excellent. Now, Letitia, any more word from my friend Mariya and the others?”

“Adelina Sasaki is in command of the interrogators, not Mariya Adema,” sighed Greenwood, shaking her head. “But no, I haven’t been able to get into contact with them. I wouldn’t worry too much at this point, they may just want to keep a low profile.”

“Keep trying,” Pierre commanded. “Hale, anything from the Auroras who remained?”

“They are all with us, and none have been imprisoned as of yet,” Hale replied.

“Good,” nodded Pierre. “Well, on my own end, there’s a former Lauchenoiria-assigned who seems keen to link in with their Climate people in case they try something. Has reason to believe that they might get involved. Former “Resistance” folk. Your friends, Hale.”

“They’ve been trying to contact me,” Hale nodded. “I don’t have the patience for it. One of them believes the conspiracy theory that I’m your hostage. I’ve told them to not bother logging any calls for me from Lauchenoirian numbers that aren’t associated with their government.”

“Well, the Aurora can handle them, if you don’t want to. Of course, her debrief report indicates one of them found out her identity, so they’ll probably just kill her. She wants to go back though, so her life to risk.”

“Oh, Veronica Penners?” Hale perked up. “I read her report. She’ll be fine. Leonie Bennett is one of the few of the remaining people from my group who didn’t go mad.”

“Of course you have a mutual friend,” groaned Pierre. “Fine. Goddess, but if anyone dies in Lauchenoiria it’s on your head, Hale. Right, that’s enough to be getting on with. We’re done here.”

With that, Pierre turned and walked out of the room, rolling her eyes.


Lauchenoirian Embassy, Xiomera
4th May 2020 - morning

Ramón Banderas found he was relieved when the order came from Buttercity. They were trying their best to remain impartial and unbiased in a difficult situation, but he would much rather watch it unfold from afar. They had begun packing their bags the previous day, and they would be leaving this evening. He had seen the letter sent by Alvarez to General Xōchhuitl, and he felt it was rather fair, though he was unsure how it would be taken.
To General Xōchhuitl,

I am writing on behalf of the government of Lauchenoiria addressing your concerns over our diplomatic personnel in Xiomera. I have instructed the staff at the embassy to return to Lauchenoiria, at least in the interim. Due to the volatility of the situation, we are concerned that any conflict could jeopardise the safety of our personnel in Xiomera, and thus are taking the precautionary step to evacuate them.

Once the situation is stabilised, we will revisit the question of returning diplomats to Xiomera, and will be happy to discuss such an occurrence with the Xiomeran government at that time. Due to our own conflict in 2018, our citizens are naturally hesitant to remain before the situation is stable.

We hope this is satisfactory, and intend for our embassy personnel to depart Xiomera by the evening of Monday 4th May.

Signed, Josephine Alvarez, Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria.

Alvarez’s Office, Lauchenoiria
4th May - evening

“I’ll speak with Scott and Clavell again later. Hopefully we can come to some kind of agreement, cause I sure as hell won’t work with the Conservatives again after the stunts they pulled during the election,” Alvarez shook her head.

“We would still be short a few people,” Pavía pointed out.

“We’ll be able to have some kind of confidence-and-supply arrangement with either the Left Alliance or the Aelurians,” Alvarez shrugged, clearly not overly worried. “Anyway, the latest on Xiomera?”

“Our people are on the flight home, and we still need to respond to Texōccoatl about the request to send a diplomat to Laeral.”

“I already sent a letter to the Crown Prince,” Alvarez said, bringing up the text on her computer. “We are not getting involved in this.”
To Crown Prince Texōccoatl,

Thank you for the invitation to send a representative discuss the situation in Xiomera with you in Laeral. However, as you may know our parliament is on recess due to the recent elections, and we are yet to form a new coalition government.

As a result, we do not have consent from parliament to involve ourselves in this situation, and thus we cannot lawfully involve ourselves in the conflict at this time. In the interests of remaining neutral due to this, we cannot send a diplomat at this time.

Signed, Josephine Alvarez, Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria

Climate Alliance Lauchenoiria HQ (aka a rundown building in Usera they squat in), Lauchenoiria
5th May

“We have to get involved in this.”

“I agree,” another protester said. “Manauia Island is one of the last places on the planet which hasn’t been destroyed by the corporations. And this General Xōch… this General,” they continued, unable to pronounce the name, “thinks he can just waltz in and destroy everything.”

“We fought the Chaher regime,” a third piped up. “We can fight them too. We know our government won’t do anything, if we want something done, we need to do it ourselves.”

“What can we do?” Leonie asked. It was her first CAL meeting, and she was finding them a bit intense.

“We can fight!” someone from the back yelled. A chorus of agreement filled the room.

“We can contact the Teyatia, and volunteer to help them,” the first speaker said. “Go there and fight for them, like the Laeralites and others fought for us!”

The chorus of agreement sounded again. Leonie edged herself out of her seat and began walking to the exit. She had come here expecting to plan more demonstrations, or at the most some civil disobedience, but she didn’t particularly want to go off to fight in a war. 2018 had been enough of that.

“Leonie,” said a voice, as she passed through another corridor of the building. She turned, to see a figure she hadn’t expected to see again, standing next to the gardening group who planted things on the building’s roof.

“Veronica? What… how?”

“Shhh…” the Aurora whispered, taking Leonie’s hand and guiding her into another room, which once had been an office, and now contained a destroyed filing cabinet and what looked like half a desk. “I can’t tell you how, but I saw you leaving the meeting. Are you okay?”

“I…” Leonie was at a loss for words. This whole situation was too surreal for her. “I can’t do this, I’m sorry,” she stumbled, trying to leave, but Veronica caught her arm. Leonie gasped, and looked at the woman in fear.

“I won’t hurt you,” Veronica tried to soothe her. “I take it you don’t want to fight in Xiomera?”

“Violence won’t solve the issue they’re trying to solve. A war will be just as devastating to the environment on Manauia Island as development,” Leonie said, conscious of the fact that if Veronica wanted her dead, she would be.

“That may be so, but if something isn’t done, then the damage will be done anyway, and a lot of people in Xiomera will suffer.”

“What do you want, Veronica?” Leonie asked. “Have you come to kidnap me and take me to the Matriarchy? Because if that’s the case, I would rather you just killed me.”

“Leonie…” Veronica looked saddened. “I would never hurt you. I’m here to attempt to liaise between any Lauchenoirians who want to do something about the situation in Xiomera, and the Kerlians.”

“Oh,” Leonie said, pulling her hand away, relieved when Veronica allowed it. As much as she was relieved that Veronica was not here to ruin her life, it hurt just a little that only coincidence had brought the former Aurora to her.

“They are changing,” Veronica promised Leonie. “Kerlile is not what it was in 2018.”

“Yeah, I know,” Leonie muttered, turning away. “I’m not blaming you, or accusing you. I just… I don’t want to get involved in a conflict.”

“I need someone to vouch for me, if I’m gonna do this role.”

“Veronica, if I tell them you’re an Aurora, even a good one, they will lynch you before I even have a chance to explain. Maybe you could beat them all in a fight, but I’d rather that didn’t happen. Trust me, if you want to do this, you’re better sticking with the covert route,” Leonie shrugged.

“We are trying to change, to not do that any longer.”

“Veronica,” Leonie said, turning and looking her in the eyes. “You will be asking for death. Please, please don’t do this. There is a better way. Either join them as a Lauchenoirian and push for them to ally with the Kerlians on this matter, or go back to the Matriarchy and work out another way. I can’t help you, and those are your two best options as I see them. I’m sorry.”

She quickly exited, leaving the Aurora alone in the ruined office. Leonie hurried down some filthy looking stairs and almost jogged off the site and across the road to the bus stop. There, she sat down, held her head in her hands and took a few breaths before yelling a swear word loudly, then repeating it in a whisper. She had been out of her depth since she was 18, getting involved in matters way beyond her experience and with people far more powerful than her. She wouldn’t let it happen again. It only led to pain.

As the bus pulled up and she got on board, she sat down and found her hand straying to her old gunshot wound from when she had been shot at that first protest in Usera. There were scars, too, from the Kerlian prison camp. Getting involved in these situations only ended badly. She wouldn’t make that mistake again. She wouldn’t, she wouldn’t, she wouldn’t.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Laeral » Wed May 06, 2020 6:03 am

Sunday, May 3rd
Tlālacuetztla, Xiomera

“Let’s be moving!” shouted Yuan Xue, Deputy Chief of Mission, or second-in-command, of the Laeralian Embassy to Xiomera. “We should have had those desks cleared hours ago!”

One of the ordinary diplomats currently checking the drawers of an office desk looked up. “Would’ve been faster if we could’ve hired movers to do the heavy lifting,” she said.

“You know just as well as I do that we couldn’t have done that,” Xue said. “Regulations and all aside, it’s a security risk. And they’re not letting our normal maintenance staff come in to work anyways.” He cast a glance out the window of the embassy to see the Xiomeran “provisional government” troops casually assembled on the boundary of the Laeralian embassy’s territory.

“Xue,” said Lucas Palomer, the Laeralian ambassador, from behind him. “Everything downstairs is packed and ready. Once we’re done up here, we’ll head down to the airport.”

Xue nodded. “I’d like to say, it’s been a real pleasure serving under you.”

“You too, Xue,” Lucas said. “Best DCM I could’ve asked for. You’re a capable diplomat. You’ll make career ambassador in no time.”

“Thank you,” Xue said. “That means a lot.”

In front of them, the diplomat finished checking the last desk drawer. “We’re all clear to go,” she said.

“Thanks, Camille,” Xue said. “Can you head on down to the car downstairs? I’d like to go around and turn off all the lights one last time.” She nodded, and went to the stairs.

“Is everything set for you to step into your new role?” Lucas asked, as he flipped off the lights in the room.

“The arrangements are all worked out,” Xue said. “I’ll be working out of a rental house with the two others, and I got a confirmation email on my ‘resignation’ from government service. The papers with my new rank came in the diplomatic pouch yesterday, even though I won’t have to submit them for accreditation to the junta government, because of the honorary role.”

“Wonderful,” Lucas said. “Congratulations, then, Mr. Honorary Consul.”

“Many thanks,” Xue said. “I just wish I could’ve had a retirement party before my ‘resignation’ yesterday.”

Lucas chuckled. “Yeah, guess we’ll just have to throw an extra-big party for you once this is all over and you reenter the service. So what’s your first priority?”

“It’s still looking out for the remaining civilians. We got the last tour group evacuated yesterday, so it’s mostly employees from Laeralian businesses that haven’t yet pulled out of the country. The instructions from Laeralsford said not to worry about anything political- me and the other two honorary consuls will just deal with getting everyone out. Any communications the government needs to have with the junta here will be through one of the other embassies. The Serrielans, I think. They’re intending to present their credentials as normal.”

“Gotcha,” Lucas said. They’d reached the bottom of the stairs, and the glass double doors that normally welcomed visitors to the embassy were just ahead. Through them, the two men could see embassy cars and vans, with the other Foreign Service diplomats already inside. “Best of luck here, okay?” Lucas said. “Stay safe. I want us to meet up back home when this is all over.”

“I’d like that,” Xue said. “Don’t worry too much about me. And thanks for everything.”

Lucas nodded, shook the other man’s hand firmly, and got into the back seat of the embassy limousine that would take the other diplomats to the airport. Xue watched the convoy go, and once they had gone into the street beyond, he turned to the other two honorary consuls, who had been official diplomats just the day before.

“Let me just go lower the flag on the flagpole, and then we can go walk to the rental house,” he said. “Our work here is just beginning.”

Monday, May 4 - Morning
Laeralsford, Laeral

Representative Gwendoline Schneider was essentially the youngest person to play any meaningful role in Laeralian politics. At 33, she was awfully young to be the Minister of Education in the current government, incredibly young to be the Conservative party’s leader in the Assembly of Commons, but then she’d never really accepted the idea of seniority leading inexorably to a greater position in the party’s hierarchy.

Take Bernard Errante, for instance. The current leader of the party, he was 77, and he’d taken until 2017 to let the tide of seniority drag him gradually to the top of the party, just in time for him to lead it to its worst electoral defeat in decades in the general election the following year. In a better party, a modern party, he’d have resigned and gone off to write his memoirs somewhere. But no, he’d stubbornly refused to step aside, and instead clung to his position, rubbing shoulders with the so-called coalition partners and counting himself lucky that they’d deigned to grant him the defense ministry.

Gwendoline Schneider didn’t hate him- he was a perfectly pleasant man, just hopelessly out of touch and due for retirement years ago. Politics was too rough to let people like Bernard Errante take the lead. Gwendoline believed deeply in the Conservative Party. She’d grown up with a signed photograph of Paul Evrard, the last Conservative president, taking pride of place on her vanity desk, and she’d been able to sing the party anthem since she was eight.

Gwendoline loved the party, loved the ideas it stood for almost as much as she loved her husband and her two children. And so, Gwendoline had decided some years ago, it would be her mission to take the helm of the party and lead it to victory, to the electoral majorities it had once enjoyed. She had expected that it could take another decade. But events were moving quickly in Laeralsford, and with the video she now had in her possession- leadership could be hers sooner than she’d ever had the audacity to anticipate.

Monday, May 4th - Evening
Laeralsford, Laeral

“Thanks for being here, everyone,” said Liu Mei-han, president of Laeral. “I know it’s past the end of the work day, but I do think we need to get ahead of the curve on the Xiomera crisis. Around her at a Republic House conference room were her Chief of Staff, Alexandre Herault; her Chief Political Advisor, Billy Debray; Nicolas Martin, her Prime Minister; and Tanvi Misra and Bernard Errante, heads of the foreign affairs and defense ministries. “I’ve asked Billy Debray to take the lead in liaising with the National Security Council and the policy planning staff at the foreign ministry on this. Billy, would you mind explaining the latest developments since the last report came out this morning?”

“No problem at all, madam president,” said Billy. He was a young Arrivée man with brown hair and a boyish frame that made him look even younger than his 30 years. “So, I took the video from the Xiomeran foreign secretary- Nōlinyu...Nōlenye-”

“Nōlinyauh,” Tanvi Misra said.

“Thanks. Nōlinyauh,” Billy said. “The video, which you’ve all seen, shows street protestors in the city of Necuatexi being attacked by a military force including APCs and attack helicopters. The troops are firing into the crowd, which is probably a war crime. I’m still waiting for the Foreign Ministry lawyers to get back to me on that. The independent analysts I checked with agree that the video isn’t faked. But the really interesting thing is that the analysts at the Defense Ministry think that they know who the mystery units we see with the Imperial Army are. They seem to match images of a Shuellian mercenary group called Watchtower.”

There was a ripple of surprise in the tight circle. Bernard Errante was the first to speak. “Those Shuellian mercenary firms, the government often has a stake in them, yes? Some measure of control?”

“That’s right,” President Liu said. “When it comes to Shuell, the government and the corporations are often inseparable. There’s been some reports that their military contractors are in some ways tools of Sloan’s foreign policy.”

“The mercenaries are a long ways from home,” Tanvi Misra said. “This is a troubling sign that this is escalating into something worse. Civil war, perhaps. The First Fleet and the embassies abroad siding with Texōccoatl is a sign of this.”

“We’ve essentially chosen our side,” said Prime Minister Martin. “The Finance Ministry froze all the foreign assets of the Xiomeran provisional government’s officials - not that there were many of those in Laeral’s banks - a few hours ago, and our diplomats returned this morning. Most of the democracies worldwide have done the same.”

“We still have three of our Foreign Service officers in Xiomera,” Billy said. “Just as unaccredited consuls-general, to help any more of our citizens there. And we have a back-channel through the Serrielan embassy if need be.”

“We need to get a handle on the overall situation,” President Liu said. “This looks more and more like open war. And while we’ve sided with Yauhmi’s faction, we need to take a long and hard look at her and what she stands for before we commit to anything. We also need to keep that video under wraps. If evidence comes out of human rights abuses being perpetrated, that puts pressure on us to act. I want more time to analyze our actions.”

“The National Assembly won’t go for a declaration of war,” Prime Minister Martin said. “We’ve had too many deployments over the past few years. The voters and the legislators are getting tired of adventures overseas. There’s too much political capital involved in sending soldiers. We can make embargos and condemnations happen, but I don’t want our backs to the wall if evidence of human rights abuses comes out and there’s a public outcry.”

“Um, did anyone see the news alert that just came up on my phone?” Chief of Staff Alexandre Herault said, speaking for the first time in the meeting. He held up his smartphone, which had a La Sentinelle news alert on its screen. “Bombshell video shows Xiomeran coup troops and foreign mercenaries firing into crowd of protestors,” he read aloud.

“Someone leaked the video,” Tanvi Misra said.

“Hang on, let me take a look at the article,” Alexandre said. “Hmm, let me see- here! This video was revealed in a live interview on TV1 with Representative Gwendoline Schneider, Minister of Education and Conservative leader in the Assembly of Commons…” he trailed off. Everyone in the room was looking at Bernard Errante, who was staring down at the screen of his own phone with a look of shock on his face.

“Gwendoline…” he said softly. “What did she…” He mopped his forehead with a handkerchief. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to go- take care of this.” He was on his feet in a moment, walking out the door while bringing up his phone to his ear. As he stepped out into the hallway, clearly agitated, the others could hear his voice talking on the phone.

“This is outrageous!” Prime Minister Martin said. “She’s the bloody Education Minister, how did she get her hands on this? It’s uncalled-for! She should lose the Education Ministry for this!”

President Liu was leaning back in her seat, an expression of resolve on her face. “What’s done is done. We can debate her motivations, or the consequences, later. What’s clear is that the genie is out of the bottle now. We need to formulate a strategy for how to respond- and quickly.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Thu May 07, 2020 5:27 am

Cabinet Meeting Room, Senate Building, Geminus
May Sixth, 1:01 PM

William Lancaster, Chancellor of Eiria, was not usually one to be intimidated. Although he doesn't appear as much of a threat, His brilliant negotiating skills, as well as his advanced strategic skills, usually keeps the opponent on the defensive. Alas, while sitting in front of his Cabinet of Ministers, Military Commanders, and Senators, he couldn't help but be a little on edge.

"Good Afternoon, everyone. Thank you for meeting here so quickly. I take it you all are aware of the situation in Xiomera. It's time for us to discuss how we will proceed. As much as I would love to settle this diplomatically, the junta have blocked that option, and we burned our side of the bridge with that letter". He made a small sideways glance at the Senators, mostly party leaders and their assistants, and continued on.

"So, that leaves us only a couple options on how to proceed. We could do this militarily, with brute force, or we could do this covertly. Maybe a combination of both. Either way, it seems that backing Texoccoatl with all the resources we can is the best move right now. On the subject of the Crown Prince, he has invited us to send an envoy to Laeralsford. We need to work out who that will be".

Doctor Jared Darana, the Minister of Health, sighed. "It sounds like we have a full docket. However, I'm not sure how some of us, myself included, are able to help with this matter. This is a bit out of my area of expertise".

The Chancellor nodded. "Yeah, I probably shouldn't have called all of you here. It was much easier to call a full meeting though. If this is not related to your job and you wish to leave, you may. That includes Health, Education, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, etcetera. I would request that the Senators and Military Leaders are among those staying though.".

A bunch of Ministers stood up and went to the door to leave. "Actually, Ministers Haley and Nērala, could you remain as well. We do need you input".
The Ministers for the Economy and Justice sat back down in their seats. "Thank you. Now, let's start with the envoy issue". He looked to his sister. "Alice, do you have a suggestion of an Ambassador to send to Laeral?".

She sat forward. "I do, as a matter of fact. I would like to volunteer as our diplomat to the Crown Prince. I've been idle for a bit too long, and given my reputation and track record, I'll do everything I can to aid the Crown Prince".

The Chancellor chuckled under his breath. He had known without Alice telling him that she would volunteer for this job. She doesn't often get to show her skills at diplomatic and public strategy, so he knew what she would say. "Very well. Please put together a team to assist you and head to Laeralsford as soon as possible". He glanced at her, discreetly signing Contact the Guard in Eirian sign language. He hoped she would get the message.

"Anyway, next matter of business is what I called Minister Haley back for. What effect is our Diplomatic Cessation and the conflict itself having on our economy? Have the Xiomerans done anything to limit trade?".

"Well, it's not having as big of an effect as I had originally thought. It seems as the corporate sector in Xiomera is either involved with the coup or indifferent to the sudden change in leadership. Either way, not much is happening. And as far as I am aware, no restrictions have been implemented. I believe that's actually why the Xiomerans haven't made a public statement on us withdrawing our Ambassador. They want to keep the private sector happy".

Will nodded. "That could work to our advantage. Also, the other reason I called you back is that the Crown Prince made a request of us regarding Xiomeran Government assets in Eiria. Could you start freezing any accounts, investments, any economic material belonging to the Xiomeran government, so we can turn them over to the Crown Prince?".

He nodded. "It may take awhile, but I'll set up a team to start working on that. The only issue is that by law I need to have authorization. Otherwise I can't do anything without breaking economic rights laws".

"I'll issue a Chancellorial Mandate right after this, so you won't break any laws". He turned to the four party leaders. "I trust I won't have a challenge posted to this mandate?".

All four shook their heads. "Good. Thank you, Minister. You may leave if you'd like. Now, Chief Justice Nērela. I need your assistance in a legal matter. The massacre of the Shorn Ones at the Imperial Palace has circled social media, and there are likely many other atrocities the new Provisional Government are guilty of orchestrating. I would like for you to begin building a case against the Provisional Government. We'll get you the intelligence you need if it exists, and we need you to build a case not just by Eirian law, but by international law as well. That way, when the Provisional Government is taken down, if they have committed any war crimes, we have enough evidence if there is a Tribunal".

She nodded. "I'll get a team reading up on the laws of IDU nations, and international procedure. I need that evidence if it exists. We will also have to send any evidence that we procure to the Crown Prince. He could also serve as a source of information for your Intelligence operatives".

Daniel Antral, Vice Minister of Intelligence and effective Manager of the EICA, tapped his pen on the table. "That would definitely be helpful. I'll get working on setting up agents in Xiomera for future operations. I have a feeling we'll need them soon".

"Yes, we will. And there another thing that we must discuss". He nodded to the Solar Guards, who exited the room. "The following information is S-10, and any disclosure to the public will put countless Eirians at risk. Do all of you understand?". After counting the nodding heads, he continued. "I have contacted the Guard. They are heading into Xiomera as we speak. And this is their plan….".

Midgard Headquarters, [REDACTED], Eiria
2:32 pm

"The Lancasters are either very brave, or very foolish. According to our mole, they are committing fully to the Crown Prince. Now they are bringing the Lunar Guard into this. I wonder if they are trying to draw us out".

Odin, leader of Midgard, sat in his office reading the Intel report from their source high up in government. We certainly got lucky that someone so high up yet so discreet was willing to give us intelligence. The report had just been dropped in a couple minutes earlier by their secret source, and Odin's compatriot, Frigg, had just arrived.

"I wouldn't put it past them. There is something odd about those twins. They are certainly more formidable than they first appeared. They also rose to power way faster than normal. I suspect something is amiss".

He raised an eyebrow. "You always suspect something is amiss.". He sighed. "How sure are you? I admit their rise to power was quick, but you have to admit, they are prodigies."

"You'd do well to remember being suspicious is part of my job. And it's part of your job as well, although it seems you've lost that trait, and that loss has cost Midgard dearly". She opened her bag and took out her work phone. "I'm more suspicious of them than normal, which isn't good. Luckily, we won't have to worry about the Chancellor or his scheming sister any longer".

He turned back to her, brow furrowed. "They are siding with the Crown Prince of Xiomera, and getting closer to finding us every day. We have everything to worry about when it comes to the Chancellor and his Sister".

"Oh, to the contrary". She opened her phone and typed in a few commands. "Do you remember when I told you about one of my agents moving a prisoner to cell G-6-F, and refused to tell you any more information?".

"Yes, what about it?".

She placed her phone on the table. The screen showed a man sitting in a small cell against the wall, staring at the chipped paint. "Who is this?".

"Someone who only a few people since 2014 would be able to identify. Someone who everyone thought dead, shot in the war trying to escape a resistance base". She placed a file on the table. "This is Adrian Frank, Minister Lancaster's allegedly dead fiancee".

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Sat May 09, 2020 7:55 am

May 8th

Even with the lockdown of Xiomeran media that had been put in place by the junta, the video leaked from the attack on the protesters in Necuatexi had begun circulating around the country, popping up in random online locations almost as fast as ASI and its corporate partner ISTC could play whack-a-mole and shut them down. Combined with the video from the assault on the Palace of Flowers, the video was becoming a major problem.

In the far western Empire, the video had served to inflame the already angry Necatli even further. While the regional capital of Necuatexi was, for now, pacified, the vital port city of Acalan was anything but under control. Imperial troops and police now found themselves facing a full-scale insurrection by the angry Necatli. Their leader was dead, their capital seized, and their homeland under siege by Imperial troops and imported foreign lackeys. This, for the Necatli, would not stand. The Necatli in Acalan chose a new tlatoani, Huacue. Huacue was a high-ranking Necatli tecuhtli, or nobleman. He also happened to be the Necatli tlacochcalcatl, the man in charge of the Necatli warriors and their armories. If the Necatli needed someone to lead a revolt, Huacue was an ideal choice.

Huacue immediately took his new role to heart, declaring that the Necatli would not accept the rule of the junta, and that unless the Empress was restored to power, the Necatli would declare themselves independent of the Xiomeran Empire. Necatli warriors, rising up all over the territory, soon had both Acalan and Necuatexi under near-constant attack from guerrillas who struck without warning, then disappeared into the wide-open countryside.

Not about to let an upstart tlatoani declare independence from anything, General Xōchhuitl ordered additional Imperial troops into the area to suppress the Necatli uprising and capture Huacue. He also ordered the immediate deployment of Shuellian mercenaries to Acalan, to ensure the city resumed its expected role as a portal for Imperial commerce.


Xohuayán, Manauia Island

The sun glinted off steel and gold, shining brightly. Governor Mapilzin liked its brilliance immensely.

A former Imperial judge, Mapilzin had come out of retirement to lead the mission to restore order to Manauia Island and bring it into the 21st century. Mapilzin found the mission quite pleasing. He was a great fan of order, and of obedience to the law. Lōpoch, the Emperor who had conquered Manauia Island, had the right idea, Mapilzin thought. He just hadn't gone far enough. Under his governorship, however, the Teyatia would learn to respect the authority of Tlālacuetztla once and for all.

As he stepped forward onto the balcony of the Imperial Residence in the island capital, Mapilzin looked down and smiled. A brigade of the Imperial Army, the 9th Brigade, was rolling through the grand plaza in a long procession. 5500 strong, the sight of them was meant to impress and awe the locals with their sheer image of force.

As the Governor stepped forward to salute the parade, he noticed that the only people watching on the plaza were Xiomerans, not Teyatia, and not even all of them seemed entirely pleased with the troops rolling in. Mapilzin made a mental note to keep track of the Xiomerans on the plaza who weren't as enthusiastic as they should be.

Sudden cracks in the air quickly caused the Governor to have other concerns, however. Gunshots echoed out into the plaza, and as Mapilzin watched, the rolling parade of Imperial military might shuddered to a halt, as suddenly besieged Imperial troops returned fire at buildings around the plaza. Mapilzin's security moved to rush him off the balcony, but the Governor shook them off irritably. He was the symbol of Imperial authority here, and he would not let whoever the unseen attackers were see him run away. As the gunshots finally died down, and as the 9th Brigade accepted their less-than-friendly welcome to Manauia Island and secured the buildings around the plaza, Mapilzin finally walked inside the Imperial Residence. "What, exactly, was that?" he asked Mālelcuil, the commander of the Imperial garrison on Manauia Island, in a distinctly cold tone.

Mālelcuil shook his head. "It was a few armed Teyatia separatists. We eliminated them and have regained control over the plaza, sir."

"You should never have lost control of the plaza in the first place, you incompetent halfwit," Mapilzin snapped. His intended grand display of his arrival on the island was now ruined, and the Governor was certain Mālelcuil was to blame. "We told you to have these Teyatia under control before I arrived."

"We've been trying, sir," Mālelcuil said in frustration. "We have a reasonable control over the urban areas on the island, but the Teyatia hide in the jungle and it is damned near impossible to find them there and root them out."

"Nonsense. Are we not one of the most advanced technological societies in the IDU? Do we not have an advanced military? Use some of that damned expensive technology our taxes pay for and find the Teyatia who refuse to accept my authority and end them. Burn the damned jungle down if you have to. I am not here to play games, Mālelcuil. I am here because you have failed to provide security on this island. You do not want to continue to fail further in this task, I promise you. Now get out of here," Mapilzin shouted. Mālelcuil hastily saluted and made his exit, as the Governor sat down heavily in an elegantly carved chair and waved at a servant to bring him a drink.



"It's not right, Zouhtlmali. I'm telling you, it's just not right."

Uhtlzaxi, a private in Company A of the 6th Battalion of the Imperial Army, shook his head angrily as he took a drag off of a Lohuā Licā cigarette. Zouhtlmali, another private, hastily waved at him to shut up. "If one of the officers or the damned MI political hears you, they'll chop your head off for that talk."

"I don't care, Zouhtlmali. They have us here shooting at unarmed people. Kids, some of them. Old people. Women, even police. They set helicopters on them. And what about those damned Shuellians? Now we're letting foreigners come here and use our people for target practice?" Uhtlzaxi flung his cigarette butt away and quickly grabbed another out of his pack. "Do you really think that's right?"

"They're not our people, Uhtlzaxi. They're Necatli. The Necatli have always caused trouble. This is their doing," Zouhtlmali said, shaking his head.

"I don't care if they're Necatli or Xiomeran. I swore to defend the Empire from its enemies. I joined the Army to fight in honorable battle, like our ancestors. What the hell is honorable about this?" Uhtlzaxi stood up, glaring at Zouhtlmali. "Tell me you think this is honorable. I know you're not that kind of man."

Zouhtlmali glared back. "Don't try to play on my emotions. If the Necatli would just follow the law, no violence would be happening here. Isn't that true?"

"And if we hadn't overthrown their tlatoani, or for that matter, overthrown the Empress, none of this would be happening either. Isn't that true?" Uhtlzaxi shot back.

"Please stop with that, you're going to get us both killed," Zouhtlmali pleaded, looking nervously in the distance as a trio of soldiers on patrol walked by.

"If someone did hear me talking this way, and came to drag me off to some cell somewhere....would you just watch and let them? Would you just obey orders?" Uhtlzaxi said softly. "Damnit. You know I wouldn't," Zouhtlmali replied tiredly. "I'm just asking you to not put us both in that position. I don't want you dead, and I'd rather not die, either. Let's...let's just go to bed, all right?"

Uhtlzaxi sighed. "All right," he replied finally. The two of them walked back to their sleeping area, their doubts two of thousands amongst the supposedly monolithic Imperial Army.



"But I was supposed to come here today," Toteotina said desperately.

Standing in front of the former local office of the Secretariat of Support, now a "satellite law enforcement center", an Imperial Police officer sighed. "I already told you, old woman, there is nothing here for you now. This agency no longer exists. There are no free handouts anymore, now Yauhmi's gone. Go home, or go elsewhere and beg, but go away and quit bothering me."

"But that's not fair! I was on the list to receive the social security stipend, I was supposed to come here today and finalize everything. I did everything I was supposed to," Toteotina said. "I have nothing if this help is not given, sir. Please do not turn me away."

"What do I look like, a priest? I don't run a charity. There is no more free money for just breathing in Xiomera anymore, as it should be. Leave now, before I arrest you. I don't have time for this," the Imperial Police officer snapped, taking a pair of handcuffs from his belt. As Toteotina flinched back in fear, a woman walking by gently took Toteotina's arm. "It's all right, officer. I know this woman, I will make sure she gets home," she said.

"See that you do. We have no time here for this silliness," the officer snapped, as the woman led Toteotina away. "Don't cry, it's okay. We will help you as best we can," she told the older woman as they walked as fast as they could before the officer could change his mind.

"But who are you?" Toteotina asked, looking up at her rescuer. "A friend," she replied kindly. As she led the older woman away, she found herself bemused at how quickly someone could be forgotten once they were expelled from the upper echelons of Xiomeran politics. She had changed her hair, to be sure, and was much more plainly dressed and made-up than in the heady days when she was on Emperor Topilpopoca's cabinet. But Huitzilhuani, once Secretary of International Affairs for the entire Empire, was basically a nobody now, it seemed. Unlike some who fell from Topilpopoca's good graces, though, I didn't have the bad sense to commit suicide by committing regicide, she thought. Now, at least I'm still alive and can do something for the people.



"We hadn't planned to say anything publicly just yet, but the good Representative Schneider beat us to the punch, it seems," Nōlinyauh said calmly.

"Indeed she did. I'm not sure whether to thank her or not for that." A wry smile was on Crown Prince Texōccoatl's face. "I also wonder exactly what conversations President Liu or Minister Misra will be having with the Representative about the leak - not to mention Bernard Errante."

"Oh, to be a fly on the wall for those conversations. Do you think they would let me listen in if I asked nicely?" Nōlinyauh asked. "A diplomatic visit and all that?"

"I seriously doubt it. And let's please not offend our hosts, it would be a shame if the Laeralites kicked us out," the Crown Prince replied with an arched eyebrow. "But I am grateful for one thing - Schneider has freed me from having to be silent about this incident."

"And I suppose you know what you want to say in response?" Nōlinyauh had an expectant look on his face.

"I knew what I wanted to say the moment I saw that video," Texōccoatl said grimly.


An hour later, Texōccoatl was seated at what had once been the desk of the Xiomeran Ambassador to Laeral, in the Xiomeran Embassy. The Embassy had been converted into the official seat of office of the government in exile. Flanking the desks were two flags: the flag of the Imperial Household on the left, and to the right, the flag of the Necatli people, a subtle tribute to the victims of the attack in Necuatexi.

As cameras rolled, Texōccoatl began. "Good evening, citizens of the Xiomeran Empire, and to the citizens of the world. As acting Sovereign of Xiomera, I come before you today in abject apology for the crime against humanity that has taken place in the city of Necuatexi, and against the Necatli people. I apologize that Xiomerans have committed such an unspeakable crime, and that they appear to have engaged foreign help to further their violence. I apologize most of all for my failure to prevent such bloodshed. As acting Sovereign, I am responsible for the safety of all our people. I am responsible for protecting all of their rights, and their lives as well. I shall never forget this failure on my part. However, I will use this pain to drive me forward, on one single, implacable and clear mission."

"I speak directly now to General Xōchhuitl, and to the entire junta. I will not deign to call you a government. You are a pack of thugs. And you are murderers. With this act, there can be no further compromise with you. So I declare, here and now, that when the rightful authority of this government is restored over Xiomera, you will face judgment for your crimes against humanity. I further warn anyone, high ranking or low, that if you commit similar crimes against humanity against the people of the Empire, you will be held accountable - by myself, by this government, and by the people of Xiomera and of the world. Justice will be delivered, no matter how long it takes or how hard it is to deliver. We will hold you accountable, no matter who you are, where you are from, or whose flag you fly."

"For those of you who believe there is justification for such acts by saying you are just following orders: that will not be a shield for you. Some orders are meant to be disobeyed as soon as they come out of a leader's mouth. As a soldier, I know this all too well. So if you are a Xiomeran soldier, policeman, official, or even just a citizen, you now have a choice, and you cannot hide from it. Stand with us, and oppose human rights violators and criminals....or stand with those who commit crimes against humanity, and face the judgment that will inevitably fall upon your heads for that choice when we come for you. And we are coming for you. Let there be no doubt about that."

"I call on all Xiomeran soldiers, police, authorities and everyday citizens to immediately renounce the junta, their so-called government, and their actions, and to do everything in your power to stop them. I now demand that all Xiomeran authorities, military and police alike, agree to come under my command. The time for words is over. On the streets of Necuatexi, the junta proved they have no use for words. I propose that we now meet them on their terms. To protect the people of Xiomera, we must crush those who support this clique of murderers. There is no other option."

"I also call on the international community to do everything in its power to support the rightful government of Xiomera, and to crush these tyrants who draw their power from the barrel of a gun. Together, we can, and will, bring justice for the lost and restore Xiomera."

"Thank you all, and may the gods and goddesses bless us as we move forward. To the Xiomeran people, who linger under the shadow of tyranny: I promise you, you will not need to wait much longer. We are coming - and we will bring this to an end."

After the speech, Texōccoatl asked Nōlinyauh to make a specific effort to reach out to any Xiomeran military leaders, past or present, who he could bring to Laeralsford. The reason was simple: Texōccoatl was no longer prepared to wait to see if the junta would back down or soften its stance.

The Crown Prince was going back to Xiomera as soon as he could, with as many people willing to fight as he could summon with him.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by The Federation of Legionas » Sun May 10, 2020 3:38 am

Karabad Beach, Zarmesa Archipelago
Sunday, May 10
00:15 Hours

Agent EF-15 sat quietly close to the shore, dragging slowly on his Zarmesan Cigar, listening to waves crashing onto the shore not too far from him. A seagull flew above him, either disturbed by another animal in the trees or moving to a better location for the night. The warmth of the cigar's smoke warmed the experienced operative's body, already used to the breeze. The operative glanced at his phone, a new message had just been delivered. It was the recently replaced leader of the Netlcoatl Islanders, Itzamatul. The Agent rose and extinguished his cigar on the nearby ashtray. After a short glance at the shore, he proceeded towards the entrance of the house.

The house, owned by the LIA, had been used frequently by covert agents while creating and maintaining intel networks in Xiomera. It contained three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room as well as a small armory in the basement and a panic room which also served as an impromptu briefing room. Agent EF-15 first utilized the security system present in the compound by using his phone to access the surveillance footage at the gate. He saw the Islander, a bit disturbed by the cold as a result of the breeze originating from sea. He clung on to his coat, akin to a newborn clinging to his mother while breastfeeding. His coat looked soaked, as a result of the rains which had only just dissipated an hour before. The agent saw the discomfort of the man and decided to open the gate remotely.

He saw the islander scurry inside and move quickly up the drive, leaving his damp coat on the coat rack at the unlocked door. The man seemed to have something on his mind. Just as EF-15 was about to ask, Itzamatul began,

"Sorry for the absence of formalities my dear friend. As you may have heard, I have been replaced by a puppet of the Junta. My people have reported increased surveillance of their daily lives by the Imperial garrison."

"Yes, I have noted the situation in the islands.You do seem a bit disturbed though, what's bothering you?"

" I think I'm being followed, Agent. I have had to use a series of back roads and detours to get here. I believe I lost them though, I don't think they may have been too keen to keep moving aimlessly for an hour."

"Well, that explains why you are late. Follow me, we need to talk."

Agent EF-15 began to move towards the basement, fully aware that the covert operation may have been found out. He began to formulate possible outcomes of the night, keeping in mind the fact that the Islander may have been quietly followed to the house, even after he'd finally found it safe to proceed to the house. "What if his phone has been compromised by the Junta's Intelligence Unit," he thought. It wouldn't have been out of the realm of possibility for the Islander's phone to be bugged. Residents of Citlamina did have to undergo daily checks.

Before entering, the Agent retrieved an FX-20 Assault Rifle from the Armory as well as a Tyra 45A-3 Automatic Pistol which he gave to the Islander. He also asked the Islander to leave his phone outside as well as his watch as a precautionary measure .The two entered the meeting room, the panic room, and sat down.

"I've called you here because the top brass over at HQ fear for your safety and as such will be assigning two covert bodyguards who will always have you in their sight while in public. We have also gotten you this phone, for communication between yourself and either your bodyguards or I. At the moment we cannot get you out of Xiomera though, your prolonged absence would be too suspic..."

The sudden blare of an alarm cut the agent off. Three heavily armed intruders had been noted as having breached the compound. An alert message was sent to the LIA HQ.

"The agent looked at the islander and decided to let him stay in the panic room, he couldn't risk his death. He grabbed the rifle and stood up abruptly.

"What's going on, Agent. Is everything alright?"

"Just stay here, and monitor the situation outside. You were right, you were being followed."

The agent exited the door which automatically closed behind him, its reinforced doors indestructible to most firepower.

. . .

Edinburgh Manor, Aunistria
A few minutes later

Prime Minister Nicholas Moretti was roused from his sleep by an incoming phone call. It was the head of the LIA.

"Make it quick, please"

"Our man assigned to the Islander, Itzamatul, has been compromised. We have sent a squad to the safe house, but we cannot guarantee the safety of the two until the squad arrives."

"Oh, shit! Keep me posted, thanks."

The Prime Minister still groggy from his slumber rose and moved downstairs for a cup of coffee. He knew that if they lost Itzamatul, all of Legionas' plans in Xiomera would be severely disrupted, and at the moment there was no plan B.
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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Wed May 13, 2020 9:06 pm

(Written with Xiomera)

Xiomeran Embassy, Laeralsford
May 13th

Minister Alice Lancaster walked down the hall of the Xiomeran Embassy in Laeralsford, glancing at the doorways to try to find the repurposed Ambassadors office. Crown Prince Texōccoatl told her to met her there, and as she examined the hallway, she started to pity the Crown Prince. He was effectively exiled, his mother imprisoned, and he had to hide in an office on Another Continent. She couldn't imagine the stress he was going through.

She put her somber feelings aside once she found the Ambassador's office, and put on her diplomatic façade as she entered the room. "Your Majesty. It is great to see you in one piece!".

The Crown Prince stood up, a smile on his face, as he extended his hand to the Minister to shake. “I am very glad to see you, and to be in one piece as well,” Texōccoatl said with a slight laugh. “Please make yourself comfortable,” he added, offering her a chair. “Would you like tea, or perhaps coffee?”

"Tea would be lovely, thank you". She said, taking the offered seat. "I'm sure you are quite busy as of late, and I appreciate you meeting with me, as well as you invitation to Laeral. I'm excited to see our nations work together, although I was hoping under better circumstances".

”I agree....I wish the situation was different as well. To be honest, I had warned my mother that this kind of backlash was a possibility,” Texōccoatl said, seating himself behind the desk with a slight sigh. “But you know my mother....she’s never been one to let fear hold her back.” The Crown Prince’s gaze sharpened as he looked at Lancaster. “One way or another, though, I intend to ensure that Xiomera does not remain under the control of these tyrants.”

"Well, I can assure you that you'll have my, and the rest of Eiria's, support on that front. It would help, however, if we had some sort of cohesive strategy on what to do next. The Senate is pulling some risky maneuvers, and my dear brother can only hold them off for so long. How would you like to use our resources?".

”I suppose it depends on how much we could call upon, in terms of said resources.” Texōccoatl looked directly at Lancaster. “I don’t expect your country to commit militarily to any particular course of action. I know that’s a tall order. However, it would help me plan if I knew exactly what your government was willing to do to help us defeat the junta.”

"You'd be surprised on what the Senate is willing to commit to. We're united on this issue, which in no small part is credit to the Junta's resemblance to our own coup regime. I mentioned the risky Senate maneuvers?". She sighed. "The orders were to send a fleet of ships to sail the border of Xiomeran waters. If they were confronted, they were told to say they were allied with the true government of Xiomera, and that we recognize no other authority. It doesn't help that every other ship was ordered to fly the royal banner along with the Eirian flag".

Texōccoatl laughed at that disclosure. “I am impressed with the gesture. I will say, though, that unless your fleet actually enters Xiomeran waters, there’s little chance of a confrontation. The last thing the junta wants is foreign intervention. They won’t do anything that might provoke that, unless the General is overthrown himself and someone truly radical takes over.” Texōccoatl smiled. “As for my plans....I would like to restore the rightful authority over Xiomera with as little bloodshed as possible. So, the key is to convince as many people as possible to switch sides before I return. Any assistance you can provide to break the junta’s propaganda curtain over the country would be a great start. We need to get the real message out to my people about what the junta is doing, and what is happening in the country. And, also, to counter the lies they are spreading about my mother and this government.”

Alice smiled. "So, you want us to serve as the press, with a bit more espionage. I can't think of a better role for Eiria. I personally, and I'm sure the Senate agrees with me, support your decision on less bloodshed. There's been far too much already. And the espionage role was the reason why the Senate approved the naval plan. The plan was designed to anger them. It's an old magician's trick. If you shove one hand in someone's face and do something interesting, they won't notice what you do with the other hand. It's risky, but I hope it works. We had to get a few agents in somehow, and this provides a suitable distraction".

”That’s perfect. Helping us to publicize what is happening, and doing things from within to weaken the junta’s control, would be a huge help for us. Also, if you can help us hack around the barriers ASI and ISTC have put up to reaching the Xiomeran people, that would be another great asset. It helps that you’ll have Xiomerans helping you to get into those systems,” the Crown Prince said.

"I'll contact EICA and have them work on that. It should go quickly, given EICA's means and the reputation of Xiomeran hackers. I hope that reputation isn't overinflated. I have a few questions for you regarding ASI, just so our agents in the field know what they are up against. What do you know of ASI's agents and espionage style?".

Texōccoatl whistled softly. “That’s a big question to cover. ASI is a huge entity - far larger than most people realize. It serves both as our international espionage and surveillance agency as well as our domestic surveillance and control. The international side of ASI tends to be based out of embassies or entities masquerading as NGOs or businesses. We had to scan every inch of this embassy when we took control to ensure the complete removal of ASI surveillance devices - and personnel.” Texōccoatl sipped from his teacup before continuing. “As for their domestic presence, ASI has both an overt and a covert role. The overt role can be seen in places like the Cauhloc, and the stereotypical agents in their suits and sunglasses. They’re the ones who are openly watching everyone - and want everyone to know they’re being watched. They’re the open threat to ensure a compliant population.”

Texōccoatl’s expression darkened. “But the other side of ASI on the domestic level is far more hidden. They operate a vast network of black sites throughout the country, with varying levels of security, but none of them lax. If you’re at all familiar with the Restricted Region that Kerlile once operated....imagine that, but hidden, and scattered around an entire country, and operated with the utmost secrecy. Up until my mother took the throne, the ASI black sites were used to detain political prisoners and interrogate them. And, also, for extrajudicial punishments.” The Crown Prince shook his head. “Our plan was to eliminate the covert domestic side of ASI altogether once we took power, close all the dark sites, and punish those responsible. We never got the chance.”

The Crown Prince looked up at Lancaster. “Your agents don’t need to worry about the overt ASI agents, they’re one step up from the Imperial Police. The covert domestic agents, they are the ones you’ll never see coming.”

She sighed. "Sounds like Midgard, yet worse. I didn't think that was possible. Thank you for this information". She took a few notes in a journal. "And regarding Midgard, I take it you've heard of our scandal. I fear that Midgard may try to take advantage of the situation in Xiomera. I have no clue how, but I wouldn't expect them to sit by when they can profit off of your people's suffering".

Texōccoatl’s expression shifted to a curious demeanor. "Why do you suspect they may get involved? And more importantly, favoring which side? Us, or the junta?".

Alice closed her notebook and leaned forward in her chair. "This is highly classified information that hasn't reached the populace or press, for very good reason. I trust that you will keep this secret?". She went on. "Well, we found out recently that Midgard was responsible for our Civil War. That's how Darrin, our former dictator, rose to power so quickly. They took advantage of political instability for their own gain. And now that Xiomera has a regime with similar ideas, and that we are putting pressure on them by searching for them, the chances of them joining the Junta are extremely high".

Texōccoatl’s expression grew concerned. “That’s the last thing we need, especially since ASI is still not on our side. We will find it very difficult to track them down. And the last thing our enemies need right now is more help.”

"Exactly. We're doing as much as we can to hunt down Midgard, but unfortunately most of who we would of interviewed are either dead or missing. Midgard Agents are highly trained and very dangerous. Our only advantage is they're likely lacking in Agents right now. We have EICA and other forces looking into it. In the meantime, we've been getting agents into Xiomera, and we will start looking for holes in their firewall. A certain Senator once called the Eirian Intelligence operations 'The Bitch Slap of the Republic'." She chuckled. "Let's leave a red mark on the Junta".

Texōccoatl laughed uproariously at Lancaster’s remark. “I like that attitude. I plan to do much more to them than a slap, but a slap will be an excellent start. Also, if you want to put an extra-sharp twist to that slap, I could have our loyal fleet join your ships in joint maneuvers as you’re sailing by the Xiomeran coast.”

"That would be excellent, and I'm sure Admiral Circè would love the assistance. Let's make this hurt". She grinned. "The Junta is playing with fire. Who else has agreed to side with you?".

”No one formally, but we are speaking with several potential allies. No one wants to go on the record and anger the junta just yet. If you continue to support us openly, that may convince other countries to step up and do so as well.”

"I will write up a statement as soon as possible. My brother sends his sincerest regards, as well as this". She slid a manila file across the table. "This is all information we have to date on Midgard. Please do not share this with anyone else. This contains the names of sources who would be in mortal danger if this got exposed. Not to mention the scandal that would ruin both of our main sources' reputations permanently."

Texōccoatl raised an eyebrow as he accepted the file. “This is very helpful and appreciated. While our own intelligence is limited at the moment, we will share anything we discover with you as well. I think it would be wise for us to assign a liaison to your agency from my government to coordinate matters.”

She smiled. "I think I have someone in mind. I'll arrange for her transport and official station paperwork. She will be a grand ally for you. Will you be staying in Laeralsford?".

”For now, but not for long. I can’t sit here in comfort and safety while people are being slaughtered back home. I must eventually return to Xiomera and begin fighting back. But I will wait long enough to make sure we are properly prepared and not doing anything rash. I look forward to seeing who you send us,” Texōccoatl added with his own famous smile, which had become a rarity since the coup.

"Her name is Emily Rouchard. She is an impressive diplomat, and a wicked sharp strategist. My brother compares her to myself, actually. But I feel that's giving myself too much credit. A word of advice, as someone who speaks from experience: Never play poker against her."

”I may have to now, if only for the challenge,” Texōccoatl grinned. “When will she arrive here?”

"Well, If I draw papers up tonight, and she takes the first flight here, maybe midday to evening tomorrow. It's truly honorable, risking your life for your people, for your country, even when facing insurmountable odds". Alice said somberly. "What do you plan to do about the Shuellian Mercenaries?".

Texōccoatl’s expression grew sharper. “We did not know of the origin of the mercenaries before,” he finally said. “As you can imagine, our intelligence and analysis capability are a bit limited here. However....regardless of their origin, mercenaries work for money. They turn tail and run once things get really hard, and not as profitable.” A tinge of contempt entered the former soldier’s voice at the thought of people who fought for money alone, rather than country or cause. “If it comes to that....I will give them a taste of their own medicine. Why waste Xiomeran lives on them when others of their ilk can do the job for us?”

Alice raised her eyebrows. "That is certainly a decent course of action, however are you sure that if you hire another Shuellian mercenary group, that they would fire on their fellow Shuellians? I get that money is all that matters to those groups, but still. And Shuell is the biggest source of mercenaries in the IDU".

”Oh, mercenaries will shoot their own father if the price is high enough. And if worst comes to worst, there’s the simple expedient of hiring mercenaries from a different outfit than the ones you’re having trouble with.” Texōccoatl snapped his fingers. “I doubt we’ll have too much trouble convincing them. If nothing else....Shuell isn’t the only place I can find hired guns. But that’s a last resort. The real goal is to convince Xiomeran soldiers to abandon the junta.”

”Now that is better news indeed. Although, that will certainly get the junta’s attention focused on Eiria, and not for the better. Laeral has taken similar steps to freeze their assets and transfer them to our control. I would anticipate some kind of retaliatory action on the junta’s part, perhaps sanctions or a similar freezing of assets.”

She stretched her arms. "Well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there. If we have nothing further you would like to discuss, I might turn in to rest for a bit. Even as a diplomat, jet lag is a menance. I'll write up the papers for Miss Rouchard's assignment here, which, due to some exhausting bureaucratic regulation, requires either your or Nōlinyauh's signature. Gotta love bureaucracy".

Texōccoatl laughed. “You should see Xiomeran bureaucracy. Our Civil Service seems to have departments whose sole purpose is to create new departments.” The Crown Prince signed the documents presented to him by Lancaster with a flourish. “I hope you enjoy your rest, madam Minister, and I hope to speak with you again soon. Thank you, and your people, for all of your help.”

She took the documents back."Just doing my moral duty, Your Majesty. It's an honor, to work with you. Let's take these imposters down."
Last edited by Democratic Republic Of Eiria on Thu May 14, 2020 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu May 14, 2020 12:26 am

Written jointly with Xiomera

Xiomeran Embassy, Laeralsford, Laeral
13th May 2020, after the meeting with Alice Lancaster

The Crown Prince was at his desk, pondering. Maps and satellite imagery were displayed on various screens; a tablet sat nearby, a steady stream of data and information at hand. A cup of coffee sat, forgotten, on the other side of the desk as Texōccoatl looked at the information. How do we break the junta’s barriers and get back into the country? he thought.

A slight cough interrupted his thoughts. One of the embassy guards was at the door of the office. “Your Majesty, Councillor Electra Georgiou of Kerlile has arrived.”

Texōccoatl smiled and asked the guard to escort her to the office, stood up, and put aside the tablet while he waited. When Georgiou walked inside the office, the Crown Prince smiled broadly, offering her his hand. “Councillor Georgiou, it’s good to see you. Welcome to the Xiomeran Embassy in Laeral, and for the moment, the closest thing to a palace I have,” Texōccoatl said.

"Your Majesty," Councillor Georgiou said, bowing her head in greeting and shaking his hand. "I was so sorry to hear of your mother's situation. Rest assured that the Matriarchy is with you on this, and we are very willing to help. You may already know that the Council has set up a committee to investigate ways in which we can assist."

”I was aware of this, and very pleased to hear it,” Texōccoatl replied. “But aren’t you concerned about retaliation from the junta? We would try to help protect you, of course...but I don’t have the resources yet that I once had,” he added wryly.

"Naturally, we fear retaliation," nodded Georgiou. "Especially given our situation after the conflict in Lauchenoiria. That is why we are unable to offer overt military support in this matter, as we did then. We are looking in to alternative ways of assisting your cause. They would have to invade Lauchenoiria first to get to us anyway, a course of action which would be most foolish on their part."

”Indeed. Even they would not be that foolish. I would anticipate their ending military and technical support to Kerlile, however. In any event, any help you can provide us in unsettling the junta, alternative or otherwise, would be most appreciated.”

"I cannot see the junta continuing to provide military support to the Matriarchy long-term, regardless of what we do," Georgiou sighed. "We are committed to reform, and we do not trust them in the least. But the decision has already been made, we have chosen to support you and your mother, the Empress. So, I now ask you: what support would you like from us?"

”The key to defeating the junta is to destroy their support from within. Realistically, I do not have the military strength to overthrow them on my own. They will undoubtedly appoint some new illegitimate Emperor, try to demonize my mother, and try to make their coup seem inevitable. We have to break their support from within. We need to remind the people that their entire effort is illegitimate, and that my mother is the only legitimate Empress. We also have to turn people in Xiomera against the junta by showing their brutality and contrasting it to her rule. Propaganda and counter-revolutionary efforts on the ground will be crucial. Once that pressure reaches a critical mass, even the military will break ranks and switch sides. Any help you can provide with that would be critical. Also...causing the junta headaches on the ground with guerrilla attacks and making them appear weak and not in control wouldn’t hurt either.”

"We can help with much of that. Carrying out guerrilla attacks may be beyond our capability, but we would be willing to advise any groups who wish to do so, and help keep them... supplied. I do not know what your awareness of the, um, Aurora matter is?" Georgiou enquired nervously, still uneasy saying the word aloud.

”I was kept aware of it as part of my mother’s plan to, um, rescue them,” Texōccoatl said carefully. The plan to rehabilitate Auroras and turn them into Xiomeran citizens had been quite popular with the inner circle of the Empress, but he wasn’t sure if Kerlian councilllors had quite the same enthusiasm for it.

"We have been in contact with those who remained in your country," Georgiou began, keeping her tone professional and not displaying any feelings on the matter. "They are willing to assist. As is one who returned to Kerlile. I believe they will be of great help in this matter, despite some of the Council's misgivings about making use of such a controversial programme so soon after, well, its existence becoming publicly known."

Texōccoatl smiled slightly at Georgiou’s precise language and professional demeanor. He briefly amused himself with a thought wishing he had been at the Council’s deliberations on that topic. “Their assistance would be most helpful. We are working with other nations, and our own agents on the ground, on a plan to destabilize the junta by causing disruptions within the country to weaken their support and turn people against them. Our conclusion has been that we’re not likely to win this fight by just military means - especially if we want to limit collateral damage. If we turn the majority of the Xiomeran people against the junta though, and have an armed force able to protect them, the junta will fall.”

Georgiou nodded as he spoke. "That would fit with our own assessments. The Auroras presently in Xiomera have a skillset that they can use to aid in these disruptions as you wish. My one concern, however," Georgiou paused, closing her eyes for a second before continuing, "is that while you may be willing to work with them, I rather fear most other countries will not. I understand that you wish to make this a multilateral effort and I know some of the other nations who have voiced their support for Empress Yauhmi would likely have... reservations about working with Auroras in any capacity."

”Why would we even tell them they were working with Auroras at all?” Texōccoatl said with bemusement. “We haven’t even told most Xiomerans about the Auroras. Are you concerned that their identities may be discovered during these operations?”

"I am," she nodded. "If they utilize their full set of skills from their training in the Programme, then it will raise suspicions of where they learned said skills. It will lead to questions, things that are difficult to explain."

”We may have to make efforts to make sure that the Auroras don’t come in contact with those from other countries who are helping us, then. Or, if nothing else, come up with plausible cover stories for them. Perhaps we could create covers for them within ASI or Military Intelligence to help explain their skill sets.”

"That could work. They are not my area of expertise, however. If you contact Councillors Hale or Pierre, they can be of more use on the Aurora matter - though, I'd recommend the former, for the latter can be... well, her diplomatic skills can be lacking," Georgiou cringed slightly, recalling the time that Pierre had drunkenly insulted the Maximusian president in earshot of their ambassador at the party. "Yes, perhaps contact Councillor Hale. I personally am interested in coordinating with the other nations involved. As you may know, I like to travel, and like to think I've developed a good working relationship with people in a number of countries."

”I shall contact Councillor Hale as soon as I can. I think that is a very wise recommendation,” Texōccoatl said, remembering the discussions he had with his mother about Pierre. “ As for coordination, I think someone is cultured and experienced as yourself would be a wonderful liaison. There is an Eirian representative who will be arriving here shortly. Perhaps you could start there.”

Georgiou swallowed slightly nervously, then quickly composed herself. She was unsure how the Eirians would react to the possibility of working with Kerlile in light of the Aurora matter only months earlier. "Of course, I will make it a priority to speak to their representative. I presume I will also have the chance to speak to someone from Laeral, given our present location. If any other nations become involved, do let me know."

”Of course. So far, no other nations than Kerlile, Laeral and Eiria have approached us, although I anticipate that will change with time. But I am sure the Laeralites will be more than willing to talk with you and I about coordinating our efforts, as well as the Eirians. If any issues do arise, please let me know and I will resolve them,” the Crown Prince said.

"Thank you," Georgiou said, blushing slightly that her nerves were clearly visible. "I understand how important this is, and how difficult it must be for you. I hope this situation can be resolved as quickly as possible."

”With friends such as yourself by my side, I have no doubt that they will be. If there is anything that you may personally need or wish while you are here, please don’t hesitate to let me know as well.” Texōccoatl smiled. “I will endeavor to make sure everyone else understands that Kerlile is here to do something good, just as we all are. The past is past.”

"Again, I thank you. I know my nation's past has been... controversial, to say the least," the Councillor blushed again. "We hope to show the world that it is indeed in the past. That is partly why some of us were hesitant to approve the use of Auroras for any reason."

”That’s understandable. But if nothing else, when they help restore my mother to her rightful place on the throne, it will show that others were mistaken about a good many things.” The Crown Prince nodded firmly. “Is there any other matter that concerns you about all of this?”

"No, the Council have made our decision to involve the Auroras, with your permission of course," Georgiou said, careful to hide her own feelings on the matter. "Thank you for meeting with me, your majesty."

”Thank you for taking the time to travel so far. And thank you, and the rest of the Council, for remaining loyal to us as allies. The junta could have made it very lucrative for you to side with them. But you’ve chosen to honor your agreements with us. We will not forget that once we have restored the rightful authorities to power in Xiomera.”

"It is no inconvenience for me to travel, your majesty, I enjoy it greatly. You are very welcome to our support, you helped us out at a very difficult time in our history, and it is only fair of us to repay you at this time. I hope to see you again while we are both here in Laeral, though I wish you a prompt return to Xiomera as soon as it is safe to do so," Georgiou said, smiling professionally as she stood to leave.

”Texōccoatl stood up as well, shaking Georgiou’s hand once more. “I hope that we are able to meet as well. And, perhaps, that you can visit Xiomera and learn more about our culture once this situation is resolved. Have a good day, Councillor.”

"And you, your majesty," she replied, hoping she would indeed get the chance.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Thu May 14, 2020 9:34 am

Tepetla Estate
May 13th

"The stubborn refusal of certain people to accept reality is quite stunning," Secretary of Security Calhualyana said. "First the idiot Necatli decide to stage a revolt and make us send additional forces in there to pacify them. Then the Teyatia decide to waste even more of our time with their own nonsense. This is beginning to get out of hand."

"We knew some of the minor tribes would object to what we were doing. We can handle them easily enough," General Xōchhuitl replied calmly.

"Perhaps, but now other countries are getting involved. No one has quite gone so far as to present a credible threat yet, but the Eirians and Laeralites freezing our assets, and the widespread withdrawal of diplomatic staff, are a clear sign that the so-called democracies in the IDU are opposed to our actions," Calhualyana replied.

The General shrugged. "We knew that they would oppose us as well. The bleeding hearts of the world always feel the need to comment on affairs that are not their concern. We shall not let it frighten us. I have, however, issued a new Decree ordering a reciprocal freeze of any Eirian and Laeralite assets in the country. I have also prepared contingency plans in the event that any foreign nations should seek to escalate economic pressure further with sanctions or other seizures of our assets. We shall be prepared to respond accordingly if that happens."

Calhualyana nodded approvingly. "What of the Kerlians? They have essentially broken their alliance with us, probably because of their ill-advised affection towards Yauhmi. But they're so pathetically poor that they don't have anything in Xiomera worth seizing."

General Xōchhuitl laughed at that remark. "I have ordered the formal termination of all military and economic aid to Kerlile in the same Decree. Maybe having to go it on their own again, after we've carried them since the Haven Accords, will make the Council wake up and return to common sense. And if not, so be it. I am no more fond of charity to foreigners than I am to Xiomerans, so if we can finally end all of the handouts, so much the better."

Calhualyana made a noise of agreement as the two of them strode up the long, tree-lined path into the gardens of the Tepetla Estate. The Estate was one of the finest in Montelin, which meant that it was one of the finest anywhere in the Empire. The flowers in the gardens were already blooming, awakened by the warm temperatures and rainy weather that Xiomera had been experiencing lately. As the two of them neared the center of the gardens, they came upon a man tending to a rosebush. He was pruning off the less vibrant branches, so that only the finest roses would shine. Before the two of them could say anything, the man raised the hand holding the pruning shears. "Calhualyana and Xōchhuitl. I trust you have news for me," he said.

"We do, sir. And as always, I am astonished with how you know people are in your presence even when your back is turned," Calhualyana said admiringly.

"When one comes from an Imperial lineage, that is to be expected," the man replied, laying down the shears and turning around. The sunlight revealed him to be a man in his early fifties, with a stern visage and close-cropped, graying hair. "It would not befit me to lose my abilities in this regard."

"Indeed not, sir," General Xōchhuitl said, with a short salute. "We came as soon as you summoned us."

The man rose from the ground, nodding at them both. "Things are beginning to escalate sooner than we anticipated."

"Yes, sir. The General and I were just talking about that. We respectfully suggest that the timeframe for completion of the first phase of our program should be accelerated, before any more silliness from within our borders or outside of them threatens to disrupt it," Calhualyana said.

"I was thinking exactly the same thing. We need to move the timeframe for our Great Selection up. I want it to happen no later than the 16th. The sooner we get this done, the sooner Yauhmi will fade from everyone's memories, and the sooner we can get back on track and restore order." The man looked expectantly at Calhualyana and the General. "I presume this will not be a problem?"

"Not at all. The ihuicatl is already ready to be summoned. We will make sure there are suitable candidates to 'oppose' you, and make sure the vote goes exactly as required," Calhualyana replied.

"Very good. Has Yauhmi signed the Articles of Abdication yet?"

"Not yet, sir. She is remarkably stubborn and strong, especially given her age and isolation. We have been working on her extensively, but she still refuses to sign." Calhualyana's expression grew annoyed. "I'm thinking of tossing her to our pet Kerlian interrogators to see if they can break her."

"Let them have her, if you like. But I can't wait for her to sign the Articles anymore. Just fake her signature, so we have it on record that she 'abdicated' before I am appointed Emperor. And then, you can do whatever you want with Yauhmi. She will no longer be of any consequence." The man turned back to his rosebushes, snipping away at another less-than-perfect branch.

Taking that as their cue to leave, Calhualyana and the General departed. Behind them, in his perfect rose garden, Xochiuhue, the son of the former Emperor Xolōtl, hummed to himself as he returned to his work.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Wed May 20, 2020 5:14 am

May 18th

If Tlālacuetztla was the capital of an Empire under siege, no one would have known it from a glance.

The city's work crews had spent days cleaning, shining up and decorating the city with Imperial flair. Xiomeran flags and banners hung from every building, streetlight and flagpole. Along the grand Avenue Huatlcoapahua leading from the Palace of Flowers to the Empress Camaxtica Boulevard that ran to the very center of Tlālacuetztla, Imperial soldiers in dress uniforms were lined up in flawless precision. Crowds waited along the streetside, a mixture of curious and watchful. The procession to honor the new Emperor, Xochiuhue, was taking place.

At precisely 9:00 am, the gates to the Palace swung open, and the procession began its stately roll towards the center of the capital. Imperial police and military vehicles escorted the long, black Imperial limousine as it made its way past the crowds. Sitting next to the new Emperor, General Xōchhuitl watched the crowds as they rolled past. "They could stand to be more enthusiastic," he grumbled. Unlike past Imperial processions, there wasn't much cheering or flag-waving going on. The crowds instead seemed subdued and wary.

Xochiuhue chuckled at the General's remark. "You're being grumpy, Xōchhuitl. The people will learn to accept and embrace this change in time. I will give them reason to forget Yauhmi soon enough. And if nothing doesn't matter terribly much if the people are enthusiastic about the new order of things, as long as they obey and follow orders."

The General nodded to that, a slight smile on his face, as the procession arrived at the Huēyi Teōcalli. The priests of Xiomera's great temple were about to give their formal blessing to the new Emperor, the final step in becoming the Xiomeran ruler. The vehicles came to a stop, and the Emperor's security quickly exited. Since the Shorn Ones had fled, Imperial security was now being handled by a mix of ASI agents and soldiers. The General emerged first from the limousine, followed by the Emperor. The two of them began their walk up the long front steps to the temple's front doors, to complete silence.

"We want Yauhmi!"

The shout broke the utter silence as clear as if was a gunshot. First one voice from the crowd. Then two. Then a dozen.

"We want Yauhmi! We want the Empress! Restore the Empress!"

General Xōchhuitl's face hardened as he turned to glare at the crowd. If he was hoping his stern look would silence the protesters, his hope was quickly dashed as more voices took up the chant. Next to him, Emperor Xochiuhue did not deign to turn around. He raised a finger, and the General turned back to continue following him up the stairs. As the two of them reached the top of the stairs, another shout echoed out.

"You are not the Emperor!"

At that shout, Xochiuhue stopped at the top of the stairs. He raised an eyebrow. This time, he did turn to look at the General. Xōchhuitl quickly signaled in Xiomeran battle language for some of the soldiers on the perimeter to cut the protesters out of the crowd and make an example of them. As the soldiers waded into the crowd, the new Emperor walked into the temple as if nothing had happened.



"This is not where I expected to end up," Cozamalotl said calmly.

"I don't think any of us expected this detour. But with the overthrow of Noxochicotzin, the Necatli lands are no longer safe. This was the last resort," Natcahuacu said practically.

"I am not sure this was a safer choice than Necuatexi," Cuetzhual said warily as he sat down. "This is the sacred camp of the Shorn Ones - the sworn servants of the Empress, remember? We're the opposition. I can't imagine that servants of the throne are our biggest fans."

"You're thinking in old terms, Cuetzhual," Natcahuacu replied chidingly. "Whether someone is a loyalist to Yauhmi or a member of the opposition hardly matters now. A new force has taken over this country, and it's a threat to all of us. We'll have to make new alliances to beat that force. The old conflicts are not important now, we have to focus on beating Xochiuhue and the junta."

"Well said," another voice echoed out into the room. The three activists turned at the sound of the voice. Etlahuatzitl, the tlacateccatl of the Shorn Ones, was standing in the doorway. Her long braid of gray hair and lined features might have made her seem grandmotherly - the blue, red and yellow face paint she wore and her sharp hazel eyes said otherwise. "Well said, and very accurate. We all have a far greater enemy at the moment. And until that enemy is defeated, Chuaztlapoc shall provide you a safe haven. You have my word of honor on that."

"That is greatly appreciated," Cuetzhual replied. "But how long can this place stand as a safe haven? Even the Shorn Ones can't hold off the entire Empire for long."

Etlahuatzitl grinned as she sat down. "I wouldn't be so sure of that, young one. But in any event, Chuaztlapoc is just going to be the beginning. Didn't you see how Xochiuhue was mocked at his own grand procession? The people will not stand for what is happening here forever. Sooner or later - sooner, in my estimation - they will begin rising. We must keep the flame of resistance alive until they are ready to do so. That is the purpose the gods and goddesses have for Chuaztlapoc. And that is why they brought you here."



"How in the world did you manage to escape from the capital and make your way here?" Huitzilhuani asked, her face eager. Next to her, Tlanextia, the former Secretary of Trade, had a much more skeptical expression on her own face.

"I have my ways. Ways which are best not disclosed - for my protection and your own," Tlālzixiuhxa replied.

Tlanextia snorted. "Why should we trust you then?"

"I was Yauhmi's spokeswoman and confidant. Isn't that enough?" Tlālzixiuhxa said with her head tilted in slight disdain.

"No," Tlanextia replied coldly.

"Calm down, Tlanextia. If she managed to get out of the dragnet around the capital, when so many of the Empress' servants did not, I believe she can be trusted," Huitzilhuani said. "And what makes you so sure? For all we know, the junta sent this one here to infiltrate us," Tlanextia began, only to be stopped by an ice-cold glare from Tlālzixiuhxa that was as effective as a slap at cutting her off.

"I owe Yauhmi more than you can even imagine," Tlālzixiuhxa snapped. "She once held my life in her hands - and gave my life back to me. If you think I would betray her, or the cause she believed in, you're as senile as you look, you old bat. But I strongly suggest that you avoid ever suggesting such a thing in my presence again." The clear malice emerging from Tlālzixiuhxa made both Huitzilhuani and Tlanextia pause like deer in the headlights. After a moment, Huitzilhuani had to ask. "College professor, hah. Who are you?"

"Again, that is something best not disclosed - for your sake as well as my own. Just get it through your heads - I am here to help you." The tone in Tlālzixiuhxa's voice made it clear that this was an avenue that the other two would be well served not to venture down. "Fair enough," Tlanextia said after a moment. "But how, exactly, do you propose to help us?"

"You're doing underground charity work, which is wonderful. But no amount of charity is going to bring down this Emperor or the junta. The people must rise. And people like you - like us - have to be the catalyst for that. There must be protests, rebellion, attacks on everyone and everything that would swear allegiance to this fake Emperor." Tlālzixiuhxa's eyebrows drew together as Tlanextia snorted again. "That sounds like a good way to get shot or thrown in a jail cell. You want us to lead our followers into that?"

"Yes. Because that is the only way to save Yauhmi, what she fought for, and this country," Tlālzixiuhxa said implacably.

"Yauhmi is probably already dead," Tlanextia snapped. "Don't kill the messenger," she added as Tlālzixiuhxa glared. "She has been in the custody of ASI for over a month now. No one lives through that, at least, not the same way they went in. Why should we risk ourselves for someone who is probably already dead?"

"It's not just about Yauhmi. Texōccoatl is the next in line. Even if Yauhmi is lost, Texōccoatl can take over," Huitzilhuani jumped in.

"Texōccoatl? So, another Topilpopoca? That's what you want us to risk lives for?" Tlanextia laughed in shock. "We used to work for Topilpopoca, remember?" Huitzilhuani replied. "Yes, but we were trying to change things from the inside under that Emperor. And we see how far it got us - fired, and now underground. I am half inclined to say screw Yauhmi and Texōccoatl and the junta. None of them should be in charge," Tlanextia sighed.

"You may be right. So....who do you propose to replace them all?" Huitzilhuani asked. Tlanextia opened her mouth, closed it, opened it once more, and finally just sighed again.

"Exactly," Huitzilhuani said in triumph. "There really isn't anyone else. So, out of less than perfect options, you pick the least imperfect one. Yauhmi and Texōccoatl win that argument by default."

"Indeed. I had to flee Tlālacuetztla because the enemy's grip is too strong there. But the further away from the capital you go, the more tenuous their grip is. Outlying cities like Xochiatipan are where any rebellion against this new tyrant must begin," Tlālzixiuhxa said firmly.

"But they have all the guns, and with all due respect, spirit and will don't stop bullets." Tlanextia's expression changed from frustration to shock as Tlālzixiuhxa laughed. "If you add up every single soldier, sailor, airman, policeman and all the rest, there are maybe 800,000 of them who have guns. And not all of them side with this new Emperor, and would gladly join a rebellion if it looked like one might actually work. So, say, 450,000 of the guys with guns stick to this new Emperor. Get a few million Xiomerans marching in the streets, with the other 450,000 guys with guns next to them, and trust me....the bad 450,000 will run. Run away screaming for mercy, in fact. They may be daft enough to support this junta and its fake Emperor, but even they're not stupid enough to try to fight off an entire country that's pissed off and ready to steamroll over them, guns or not," Tlālzixiuhxa said.

"That sounds great in theory - no, actually, it even sounds bad in theory. It sounds even worse when you think about putting it into practice. You're assuming enough Xiomerans hate what the junta and this new Emperor are doing to risk their comfortable and comforming lives for it - or that even most Xiomerans agree with Yauhmi or any other reformist. How in the hell do you think people like Xōchhuitl and Xochiuhue gain power in the first place? It's because at least some of the people agree with them. That is a huge flaw in your theory - you don't account for how many Xiomerans might like the junta." Tlanextia folded her arms and looked at Tlālzixiuhxa, who finally nodded. "You're right. There are some Xiomerans who are comfortable, who prosper under people like Xochiuhue, or who just won't want to risk change. And there are some who are just plain evil-minded, like Xochiuhue and the General and the rest of that lot," Tlālzixiuhxa said. "But I believe that is a much smaller number of Xiomerans than you think. The people in power want us to think that we're vastly outnumbered. I disagree. I think Yauhmi didn't become so popular because of her charming personality - gods know she can be a witch sometimes. But I think that people in this country fell for her vision, not for her. They saw what this country could become - and I don't think they'll let some little coterie of powerful people in Tlālacuetztla take that away from them. Not this time. If we don't try, though, we'll never know. It comes down to that. Do you think that Yauhmi's vision of Xiomera is worth fighting for? Or do you think the version of Xiomera that Xochiuhue wants is tolerable enough, as long as you get to live?"

Tlanextia shook her head after a moment of silence. "Damnit. There is really only one answer to that."

"There really is," Tlālzixiuhxa said, not without sympathy.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Wed May 20, 2020 5:27 am

(Joint post with Shuell)

May 19th

Acalan had become a major center of Necatli resistance since the junta takeover. The new Necatli leader, Huacue, had ordered the Necatli in the city to begin putting up a general resistance to the Imperial forces there. What had followed was the emergence of a slow but stubborn and challenging insurgency. Imperial forces controlled the city - in theory. In practice, Imperial forces that ventured too far from their bases or from the main highways often found themselves under sudden hit-and-run attacks from Necatli who then disappeared into the shadows of Xiomera's second-largest port city.

Angered by the growing toll of attrition caused by the insurgents, Emperor Xochiuhue first ordered the Imperial Army to cut Acalan off from the outside world. Checkpoints and external outposts served to cut off the city from the Necatli under Huacue who had been guiding and supplying them from outside Acalan.

With that flow cut off, the next objective was to secure the port. The Necatli had managed to seize control of the sprawling port area entirely, cutting it off from the city. A beefed-up contingent of Imperial soldiers, backed by naval support from an Imperial Navy task force from the shore, began to retake the port from both sides. While the Navy, and the amphibious forces it provided, came from one direction, the Army took Imperial Highway 140 towards the port, slowly securing the areas immediately around the highway to maintain secure lines for the force that would link up with the Navy to retake the port once and for all.

With Commander Sommer's forces having regrouped with the Imperial Army the day prior, the Watchtower mercenaries pushed into Acalan in multiple armored columns, each heading towards the port to secure the vital part of the city. Days before, Sommer had radio'd back to his superiors back in Shuell for reinforcements, right before the State's authorization of volunteers. Having served in Iustonian counter-insurgency operations during his time in the Penal Legions, Volkhardt was prepared to put his prior experience to use in Xiomera as well.

As the mercenaries and the Imperial Army units pushed into the city, at first the situation seemed like it might have been overblown. Other than having surly locals glare at them whenever they drew near, nothing violent happened. At least, until they exited the highway.

The main route to the port led to a major roundabout. As the convoy began proceeding into the roundabout, a sudden explosion from the road underneath them tore into the lead mercenary APC. An Imperial vehicle following them also got caught in the explosion, careening onto the grassy part of the roundabout.

From buildings on either side of the roundabout, rifle and RPG fire began echoing out. A second APC caught an RPG blast, coming to an abrupt halt in the middle of the road. The Imperial command vehicle in the convoy activated its gunfire locator to try to locate the source of the attack. "Buildings to the north and east, probable targets," the spotter replied calmly as more gunfire rattled off of the vehicle's armor.

Volkhardt cursed under his breath and reached to grab his radio. "Use your smokescreens, try to conceal yourself. I want fire focused on the buildings to the north and east, use your .50s to suppress them." Upon his command, a large smokescreen began to slowly form throughout the column. With dedicated gunners using the mounted MGs provided to them, the hail of bullets focused on the targeted buildings provided some relief to the column - while inaccurate, it proved effective enough at forcing the hostiles down. Sommer reached once again for his commset, giving a second order. "Try and maneuver around the destroyed vehicles, we need to get clear before we're sitting birds."

As the mercenary and Imperial vehicles maneuvered around the wreckage, the suppressing fire proved effective at allowing them to escape the trap. As the column rolled forward, a set of Xiomeran attack helicopters appeared over the horizon. They soon began their own form of suppressive fire, laying into the buildings with their mounted guns. The column quickly rolled forward, everyone aboard glad to be free of the temporary obstacle.

Within minutes, a sign appeared over the road, in Huenyan and English: PORT OF ACALAN 1 MILE AHEAD, PREPARE TO EXIT.

"Get ready," the Xiomeran commander, a captain named Mezcō, warned as the vehicles approached the long set of fences around the port. As they rolled towards the gate, another bevy of gunfire and rocket fire greeted them. The perimeter of the port was clearly fortified and manned by armed Necatli. In the distance, the mercenaries and Xiomeran soldiers could hear booming from the other side of the port, as the Imperial Navy task force began their own assault from the shoreline.

"Machinegunners, focus your fire on the insurgents with rockets - any air support would be too risky. I want everyone else out of their carriers. They won't be able to stand up against a direct assault." With the main (and largest) armored column in position, the mercenaries quickly exited their vehicles, dispersing to reduce the effectiveness of the rockets and taking cover wherever possible. Volkhardt observed from further away with grim satisfaction, examining the makeshift defenses of the Nectali and barking out orders to his men. At his word, specialists armed with grenade launchers opened fire in a synchronized fashion, the high explosives arcing over the gate and detonating to great effect.

The launched grenades proved to be too much for the perimeter defenders; they quickly began retreating to the interior of the port area, firing as they went. While the immediate threat at the perimeter was now over, the mercenaries and their Xiomeran allies faced a much more daunting task ahead.

The port area itself was a maze of shipping containers, docks, buildings and ships. Within that maze, the remaining Necatli would spread out, lying in wait for the attacking force. Various traps of explosives and other improvised devices would also be waiting. It was now the task of the mercenaries to clear them out.

With the two smaller columns having arrived during the firefight (with some vehicles notably damaged or missing entirely), Sommer quickly coordinated a plan with Captain Mezco - using their newfound numbers, their forces would split up into small teams of 4 to 6 and use a small supply of specialized grenades to flush hiding insurgents out. While use of incendiary weapons in warfare was commonly banned, the use of white phosphorous smoke grenades was often accepted among militaries, with the added benefit of being a potent irritant and inducing asphyxiation in enclosed spaces. While their stockpile was not extremely large, Volkhardt had assumed even a few per squad would be enough to smoke out any remaining Necatli.

The deployment of the WP grenades would prove to be highly effective. Their initial plan to make the invaders fight for every inch of the port now thwarted by noxious clouds of white smoke, the Necatli at the port soon ended their initial resistance. Xiomeran soldiers now arrived from both sides of the port to take the insurgents prisoner. The port of Acalan could soon reopen, and with it a vital lifeline for the new regime.

An hour later, at the municipal government palace in the center of Acalan, Sommer once again found himself speaking with Governor Xicotzin. "I was quite impressed with how your men helped us retake the port so quickly," the Governor said, waving Sommer to a seat. "But the port is just the beginning. We have been facing a low-level insurgency from these damned Necatli radicals ever since the takeover. We have been considering a number of ideas on how to deal with this problem, but I was curious to see what you might suggest."

Sommer nods, quickly launching into a speech. "Of course, Governor. Insurgencies taking place in cities are difficult to deal with, from my experience in the Iustonian favelas. Terrorist attacks lead to response, and they use that as propaganda. Being popular among civilians isn't as large an issue, either." Sommer's idea was simple. He advised the Governor to 'drain the swamp' and control the population, moving the Necatli to prisons and internment camps outside the city, which would minimize casualties, provide less cover, and reduce rebel support. He additionally advised sectioning off areas of the city and searching them, which'd serve to eliminate any strongholds and confiscate weapons, while using public diplomacy to neuter the effectiveness of insurgent propaganda.

The Governor found Sommer's suggestion quite useful. He thanked the mercenary for his input, and authorized a bonus to be paid to the mercenaries for their assistance with subduing Acalan, and with the genesis for what would become the first decree of the new Emperor.

Xiomeran authorities would soon begin using their extensive identification database, coupled with spot checks and both random and targeted searches, to begin identifying Necatli living in Acalan and 'relocating' them to 'public safety settlements' outside of the urban center. Those who were positively identified to be insurgents were diverted to prisons, which had no euphemistic name to hide their purpose like the 'public safety settlements' did. While this would take place, Imperial propaganda would send the message that this was being done 'for public safety and protection'.

If the plan worked in Acalan, Xochiuhue reasoned, it could well serve as a template for other troublesome areas.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Lauchenoiria » Wed May 20, 2020 7:01 pm

Jointly written with Democratic Republic of Eiria

Eirian Embassy, Laeralsford

Emily Rouchard sat at the head of the small meeting room table in the Eirian Embassy, straightening papers and fidgeting, waiting for her guest. The request for a meeting with Councillor Georgiou had come as a surprise, but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Rouchard was recently appointed the Envoy and Eirian Aide to Crown Prince Texoccoatl, and since this was only her second assignment abroad, she was determined to start off on the right foot.

Upon arriving at the embassy, Councillor Georgiou took a deep breath before going inside and informing the Eirians she was here. She was nervous about this meeting, she didn't know how they would react to Kerlile's suggestion to work together, especially given recent history between the two nations on the Aurora affair.

The Ambassador opened the meeting room door and gestured in. "Councillor Georgiou. Welcome." She invited her in and took a seat. "I have to admit, I was surprised to get your message. I'm sorry that my boss, Minister Lancaster, had to fly back so soon, otherwise you could have met with her as well."

"Thank you for meeting with me, Ambassador," Georgiou smiled, relaxing a little as no hostility was evident immediately. She decided to start with a little small talk, something Kerlians weren't particularly known for. "I hope your flight to Laeral was pleasant?"

"Yes, it was, thank you. Though I confess, I was sleeping for a portion of it. I don't do the best with heights personally. Plus it doesn't help that the weather outside Geminus when I took off wasn't the best." Her cordial smile waned a bit. "However, my discomfort was necessary. The situation in Xiomera is frightening, to say the least."

"I agree," nodded Georgiou. "Your nation did not participate in the Lauchenoirian war of 2018, but for us it was both a tragedy and a much-needed catalyst to set in motion our policies of reform. This situation, while being rather different, holds certain worrying similarities."

"Agreed. And I have no doubt that we would have helped if we could have. We were getting back on our feet, and the Senate was stuck in debate after debate over it. It is very concerning that this situation can arise so fast. I trust that Kerlile will aid Xiomera with what they can?".

"Of course," nodded Georgiou. "That is why I'm here. I would like to propose that all nations supporting the rightful Empress work together on this matter. This way, we avoid duplication of effort, as well as the possibility of treading on each others toes or undermining each others efforts accidentally."

Rouchard nodded. She knew that Kerlile is hoping to get back into the world's good graces, and this situation provides an easy route for said hopes. "A smart idea, and all help given to the Crown Prince will help reinstate democracy, or Xiomera's version of it. However, some politicians in Geminus are wary of the source of some of the aid, given recent events."

Georgiou gestured for Rouchard to elaborate, not trusting herself to speak until she'd heard the full situation laid out to her.

"Well, Kerlile doesn't have the best reputation around the world as of late, and Geminus is no exception. The Aurora program shook Eiria up, and some Senators would not want to be associated with Kerlile, even though recent reforms have been made. It doesn't help that the Council appears chaotic and unpredictable to an outsider."

"I can assure you that the Council has been working well together recently, the disputes between ourselves have ceased. We are united on the matter of Xiomera, not even Councillor Pierre is objecting to our strategy in this matter."

Rouchard raised her eyebrows. "Really? Well, that is nice to hear. This situation has also united the Senate, at least, more than usual". She sighed. "The Senate is like a four hundred and fifty player game of cards. Some people have obvious poker faces, some are obscure, and some you have no clue where they stand. This is why I became a diplomat. Politics is too unpredictable."

"I have sat on the Council long enough that it has become rather easy to read the other Councillors," Georgiou smiled slightly, though she was becoming rather nervous again. "Those outside of Kerlile, however, I have more trouble with. Will the politics of your country make it impossible for us to work together, or is there a way to do this?"

She pondered this for a moment. "Well, I believe we will be able to work together, at least for now. Xiomera is our primary concern. The Crown Prince assigned us a task to attempt to break the propoganda filters in Xiomera and expose the truth about the Junta and the coup. The EICA is working on that as we speak. Has Texoccoatl assigned Kerlile a particular task?".

"We'll be helping with the counter-revolutionary efforts on the ground," Georgiou replied smoothly. "Providing Xiomerans who wish to stand up against the illegitimate government with advice and resources."

"Okay. How do you plan to get these resources in? I doubt the new Xiomeran leadership will let you just ship supplies in."

"That is still to be decided," Georgiou replied. "We're formulating various plans just now, we have yet to settle on a decision. Nothing is without risk."

"Indeed". She tapped her pen idly on the arm of her chair. "Is there anything else you would like to discuss?".

"I think that will be sufficient," Georgiou nodded. "I'm glad we can agree to cooperate on this matter in spite of our differences."

"I am as well. Thank you for meeting with me".

"My pleasure," Georgiou stood, shaking Rouchard's hand and leaving the room, wondering just how long this tentative alliance could last.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Tue May 26, 2020 6:10 am

May 25th

Crown Prince Texōccoatl found himself slightly bemused by the meeting he was about to have. He was hosting Rua Karauria, a former Milintican President, who was now representing that tiny nation as its first-ever ambassador to Xiomera. The fact that Milintica, which was notoriously paranoid concerning Xiomera, had actually decided to send an ambassador was itself a historic milestone. The meeting between Karauria and Texōccoatl would also be the first-ever meeting between any officials from the two nations ever. The historic milestones, however, were a bit diminished by the fact that they were taking place in an embassy far away from Xiomera, with a Xiomeran government that controlled little more than the embassy grounds and a naval task force that was currently en route to Eiria to participate with joint maneuvers with that nation.

Texōccoatl would never have believed that such a meeting would ever take place, considering how afraid of the Xiomeran Empire the Milinticans were. Given that the false government of the new Emperor had just made a subtle but unmistakable threat to Milintica, however, the Crown Prince suspected that the Milinticans were far more afraid of Xochiuhue and the junta than they were of Texōccoatl's government in exile. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, indeed, Texōccoatl thought as Karauria was led into the office.

For her part, Karauria had no illusions about the man who stood up, smile flashing, to shake her hand as she walked in. A native Paora, Karauria wasn't possessed by the fears and ancient tales many Huenyan Milinticans were about Xiomera. But Karauria wasn't naive either. Xiomera was, at its heart, a repressive, imperialist state with a nationalist and racist core ideology behind its much-touted 600 years of history. Xochiuhue's predecessor, Yauhmi, had claimed that she wanted to change all that. Texōccoatl, the son, claimed the same thing. Karauria was willing to give them the chance to prove it - but prove it they must. Even if Karauria had been inclined to simply take Texōccoatl's word for it (which she wasn't), no one else in Milintica would ever give the Crown Prince a free pass. His own ancestors had done too much wrong for that, and Milintica's odd and struggling history was exhibit A of Xiomera's checkered past.

"Thank you for the warm welcome, your Majesty," Karauria said as she eased herself into one of the plush chairs in front of the desk. She brushed a strand of iron-grey hair back and accepted a cup of tea offered by a servant. "I am honored to represent the people of Milintica to your government."

"The honor is mine, Ambassador," Texōccoatl responded. "Xiomera and Milintica have had a troubled past for many years. If anything good comes out of the situation this illegal coup has caused, I am hopeful that a friendly relationship between our two countries will be that good thing."

"We are hopeful for this as well, your Majesty." Karauria sipped from her teacup before continuing. "I am actually here to discuss ways for bringing that result about." Texōccoatl made an encouraging noise as he sipped from his own cup of coffee. Karauria pulled a folder out of her briefcase. "As you know, the 'new' government of Xiomera has made some subtle, but unmistakable, threats to Milintica. We are quite concerned about this. As a result, we have decided to throw our support behind your government. Milintica is admittedly a poor nation, but one thing we do have in abundance are people willing to fight, and who would rather defeat this Xochiuhue on his home turf before he consolidates power and invades our own country with a united Xiomeran Empire behind him. You need people to help you fight Xochiuhue. Milintica can supply those people. Huenyans and Paora alike are united in our determination to defend our homeland. In this case, that defense begins in Xiomera, not on our own shores."

As Texōccoatl raised an eyebrow, Karauria passed the folder to him. "Our offer is simple. Our two governments open diplomatic relations, and Milintican 'volunteers' will be provided to help you supplement your own army. We will probably require help with arms and transport - again, we aren't a wealthy country - but if you can get us to the battlefield and arm us, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the result. In return for our help, once the coup is defeated, your government will agree to sign a treaty guaranteeing Milintican independence from Xiomera, and opening talks on further economic and military cooperation."

Texōccoatl steepled his fingers. "We definitely do need help, and the more the better. But I have to ask - and forgive me for this, because I don't mean any disrespect at all - "

Karauria nodded, gesturing to the Crown Prince to continue in the manner of someone who already knew what the question was.

" - but how much help can Milintican volunteers provide? Milintica is not exactly known for being a military power," the Crown Prince finished with a tone of slight embarrassment.

Karauria decided to make a point. "I'm an old woman. I don't look like I can do any damage to anything, do I?" The Crown Prince slowly nodded, unsure if he should agree. Karauria nodded, then threw the teacup she was holding against the far wall with a vigorous overhand swing. The teacup shattered into a dozen pieces. As the Crown Prince watched, stunned, Karauria leaned back into her chair. "Appearances can be deceiving," she said calmly.

After a moment of silence, Texōccoatl laughed eagerly. "I think you just taught me a good lesson, madam ambassador."

"That's a good place for us to start, then," Karauria replied. "Don't get me wrong, we'll need the help I mentioned, as far as transportation and arms. But once we're there, and we are armed....Huenyan Milinticans are descended from the same people as Xiomerans, Necatli, Itotemoc and Tepiltzin. They share the same martial attributes. As for my people, the is a longstanding belief around the world that we are pacifists. That is only partially true - we are pacifistic by choice. We can choose not to be. And when we do....let me put it this way, we are more than capable of being the substance of nightmares for Xochiuhue, General Xōchhuitl, and the rest of that cabal. The junta around Xochiuhue isn't only threatening the Huenyans in Milintica - they're threatening my people too, and my homeland. We would have preferred not to get involved in this matter, but Xochiuhue has made that decision for us. We are ready to help you. The question is: do you accept the offer?"

Texōccoatl slowly smiled. "I think your offer is a brilliant way for our two governments to work together. I would be honored to accept it."

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu May 28, 2020 6:25 pm

Grocery Store, Iletina, Kerlile
28th May 2020

Mikaela had never seen the darker sides of her country. She’d grown up in Iletina, the old home of the Greenwood family with a loyal mother and sufficiently subversive father, had no siblings and had never witnessed someone being taken away by the branch of the police which dealt with political crimes. Her childhood had been a relatively happy one for a family with so little, and she’d finished her national service before the Lauchenoirian war, so was spared that particular horror.

She had never had much in the way of material wealth, and on an international scale, her standard of living would have been considered rather poor. But Mikaela was unaware of this as she was no worse off than many of those around her. Now, at the age of 25, she worked as a care assistant in a nursing home for elderly women and led a reasonably happy life, unaware of the troubles that plagued those who became politically involved in her country.

Stepping into her local grocery store that day, she was distracted with thoughts about what kind of biscuits she wanted to take with her to her board games session once a week. It was only when her passage was physically blocked by a security guard that she blinked and looked up.

“Is there a problem?” she asked, confused.

“We’re only letting five people in at a time,” the security guard said “and there’s a maximum of three of each item per customer.”

“But why?” Mikaela asked.

“There’s been a large increase in demand for certain products as a result of the news about the economy,” she explained. “People are panic buying.”

“Has something changed?”

“The Xiomerans…” the security guard hesitated, looking at the oblivious woman and didn’t have the heart to ruin her oblivious ignorance. “Never mind. It will all blow over soon enough, but the Council are debating introducing rationing today. I’m sure we’ll know more later.”

At that moment, someone left the store, and the security guard gestured to Mikaela that she could enter. Smiling and nodding her thanks, she did so, and looked around, alarmed at how empty the shelves were. For the first time in her life, she began to feel rather uneasy.


Watchdogs of Our Earth Headquarters, Usera, Lauchenoiria

Watchdogs of Our Earth, or WOE, pre-dated Climate Alliance, and was a founding member of the group that had made headlines across the IDU for throwing a vegan milkshake at the Xiomeran Ambassador. However, in what would likely keep Ambassador Chemā up all night if she knew it, they were far more radical. WOE thought Climate Alliance were “milquetoast centrists” who weren’t willing to go far enough.

“If we just run into Xiomera on our own without a plan or other people, we’ll probably all die,” commented one WOE member in their strategy planning session. She ran her hand through her red spiky hair as she smoked something that was illegal in more countries than just her own.

“Yeah, probably,” agreed the young man sitting cross-legged on the floor with a laptop perched on his legs. He didn’t stop typing to speak. “We should contact the crown prince in Laeral, somehow.”

“Like they want anything to do with us! They’d just as soon destroy Manauia Island as the worse lot!” an angry looking person scoffed.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” quoted the young man.

“It’s not a bad shout,” shrugged spiky hair. “Granted, they’re not good, but we can use their resources to help us, and they’ll be indebted to us afterwards. He won’t have a choice but to accept because he’ll want to get home and free his mother so badly.”

“We can at least try,” a fourth member piped up from his position in the corner. He offered no further comment.

“Fine, if you must,” the angry person rolled their eyes. “Write them a letter or something, I dunno. Get in touch and make an offer.”

After some more discussion, it was indeed agreed by the little circle of strategy planners in WOE that they would write a letter to Crown Prince Texōccoatl and offer their services in defending Manauia Island from the junta and their corporate sponsors. They advertised themselves as Lauchenoirian citizens with experience fighting in the Resistance during the Second Lauchenoirian Civil War, acting without the blessing of their government, but within the confines of Lauchenoirian law, and offering to send a delegate to Laeral. It remained to be seen what the response would be.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Sun May 31, 2020 9:08 am

May 31st

The letter from WOE came at just the right time, at least in the sense of being properly reviewed by the government in exile.

Crown Prince Texōccoatl, having gained access to the funds that had previously been controlled by the Xiomeran junta in multiple IDU nations, now had the money to support an actual functioning government. The Xiomeran embassy had finally returned to its original purpose, much to the relief of Ambassador Quetmiilnaxī. The embassy had become quite cramped until the move.

Near the embassy, a stately (and more importantly, large) old villa had been available to rent at terms that the Xiomerans, used to the exorbitant real estate costs in Tlālacuetztla, had found quite reasonable. The villa became the new home of what had now assumed a formal name: The Council of National Reunification and Reconciliation of Her Majesty's Imperial Government. The name, while unwieldy in length, did serve the purpose of very clearly stating what its intent was: reuniting Xiomera under the legitimate government, and reconciling the issues that had caused the coup in the first place. Texōccoatl, ever confident in eventual victory, had also chosen the name to make it clear that once the rightful government was restored, that there would be a process to reckon with those who started the coup, and carried out its orders.

Finding new quarters for the CNRR had also become necessary because of other developments. Admiral Techilō and Brigadier General Tlanexchel had deemed the security arrangements at the embassy to be utterly unacceptable. The villa was much more defensible, and the two platoons of Jaguar and Eagle Warriors that the fleet had supplied for its protection gave everyone a much greater feeling of security. While the Xiomerans had confidence in Laeral's security forces, and also didn't think that Xochiuhue would be stupid enough to try to attack the government in exile somehow, it was deemed wise to not put too much confidence in the sanity, morals or common sense of people like Xochiuhue or General Xōchhuitl.

With the Admiral and her fleet off on maneuvers off the Xiomeran coast with the Eirians, Tlanexchel had become the Secretary of Defense for the CNRR. The ranks of the Council were steadily growing, as Xiomerans who had either been outside the country, or had somehow managed to escape from it, arrived in Laeralsford to serve in the cause of Xiomeran liberation. A full Cabinet had been formed around Texōccoatl, and was now acting as the official government.

It was in front of this Cabinet that the Crown Prince read the letter from WOE. A silence lingered in the room after it was finished. Finally, Secretary Nōlinyauh coughed slightly. "This is certainly an, um, interesting offer," he said. "But do we really think these activists are up for what they'll be facing? Intelligence reports from Manauia Island indicate that the governor that the junta installed is going full-on tyrant on the entire island. Burning villages, setting fire to the jungle and dumping deforesting agents on it, rounding people up in internment camps....if we accept their offer, we could be sending these Lauchenoirians into a slaughter."

"They claim to have experience fighting in their civil war, which is more experience than anyone else fighting the junta forces on Manauia Island has," Tlanexchel said bluntly. "They will be no less prepared than anyone else there. And I have to be honest here, we need all the help we can get. We still do not have enough force to take on the junta openly on the battlefield. Anyone willing to pick up a gun to help our cause is essential."

"But they will be fighting for their cause, not ours," Xohuā, the newly appointed Secretary of Infrastructure, said. "They're only concerned about their environmental goals, they could care less about restoring the Empress to power or saving Xiomera. They kind of hate us, actually."

"A lot of people hate Xiomerans," Tlanexchel said calmly. "That's no reason to turn down their help."

"I don't know if I trust this group or their offer," Xohuā demurred. "I feel they are in this for their own reasons, and will expect something from us for their help."

"Of course they will expect something for it," Texōccoatl laughed. "Don't be naive, Xohuā. Every single country, every single organization, every single person helping us will expect something from us. A good many things will be changing in Xiomera after we defeat this coup, I suspect. A good many people will be expecting them to change, demanding that they change. These Lauchenoirians will just be part of the queue demanding wholesale change in Xiomera once this is all over, to make sure that this never happens again. And that's kind of the idea of what we're doing here, isn't it?"

The rest of the Cabinet fell silent, faced with the truth of what the Crown Prince was saying. No matter what happened, Xiomera would never be the same after the coup. Multiple foreign countries and various other groups that the CNRR had made deals with would demand changes. For that matter, so would millions of Xiomerans. The status quo would be definitively dead, one way or the other.

"Thank you, everyone," Texōccoatl said, his tone of voice making it clear the meeting was over. As everyone stood up, the Crown Prince waved to Nōlinyauh and Tlanexchel. "Wait aside for a moment, gentlemen." When the three of them were alone, the Crown Prince nodded to Nōlinyauh. "Respond to the WOE and inform them that their offer to send a delegate to meet with us is accepted. Arrange for transportation and a hotel room for them to come here. Also....General Tlanexchel, I want you to begin reaching out to mercenary companies around the IDU to bolster our numbers. Start in Shuell, that's where most of them seem to come from these days. And if the other side is importing Shuellians to fight their battles for them, who better to help us counter that threat than others from that pool?"

"I do not trust mercenaries," Tlanexchel sighed. "Nor should you," Texōccoatl replied. "But I can't fight off the junta with one fleet and a bunch of politicians in this building. I never thought I would be recruiting Milinticans and Lauchenoirians and Shuellians and gods know who else to fight battles for Xiomerans, but here we are. Just get it done, please. One other thing. Has there been any progress made in locating where my mother is being held?"

Tlanexchel and Nōlinyauh looked at each other, before Nōlinyauh shook his head slowly. "Our internal sources have managed to figure out she is not being held in the Cauhloc, nor at any of the other known ASI locations. But the ASI black sites....we don't even know where all of those are, much less who is held there. We are trying to narrow it down, but it takes time."

"Time is something that I fear my mother does not have much left of," Texōccoatl said somberly, as the other two men looked down at the table.


ASI Detention Facility Alpha-73B

Yauhmi had lost track of how long she had been in detention.

She had lost track of many things.

She couldn't remember the faces of her torturers, or how often they came for her, anymore. The people, the days and nights, the circumstances had all become a blur of unrelenting misery now.

She did remember that they were all Xiomeran. Her own people, subjecting her to such treatment. The thought, even now, still made her blood boil, but that rage was becoming harder and harder to summon. Bit by bit, her strength was wearing away.

This day was different, though. No one had come for her all day. This was highly unusual, enough to strike a chord in her mind of wariness. A change in routine often means upheaval, Yauhmi thought. As the door to her detention cell finally rattled open, she tried to steel herself once more for what was coming.

"Well, well, you certainly look like hell," the woman walking in said smugly. Yauhmi didn't need help anymore to summon her rage on seeing the face. Calhualyana walked no closer to the deposed Empress than the middle of the cell, although it hardly mattered since Yauhmi was restrained to her bed by a handcuff. "Are our accomodations not as comfortable as you're accustomed to? Not getting enough sleep, maybe? Not enough of our wonderful food?"

The sleep deprivation and the military-grade rations that you toss to me through the door? Oh yes, it reminds me of a five star hotel, Yauhmi thought irritably. "I am surprised to see you here, Secretary Calhualyana. How nice of you to find time from your busy schedule of prostituting yourself to General Xōchhuitl and his fellow traitors to pay a visit," Yauhmi purred in a royal tone underlain with razor blades.

Calhualyana's face stiffened, but quickly resumed a smile. "I have plenty of time, Yauhmi. All the time in the world. Your time, however, is much more fleeting."

"Is it, now," Yauhmi breathed. "And why is that?"

Calhualyana triumphantly pulled a copy of the print edition of XIN from her briefcase. She held it up, revealing the headlines to Yauhmi: Great Selection Proclaims New Emperor. Xochiuhue To Usher In New Era. And, in a side article: Empress Yauhmi Signs Abdication, Resigns In Disgrace.

"What nonsense. I never signed anything," Yauhmi snapped. Did I? No. I didn't. I would never have.

"Sure you did. We have the signature on record. It's over, Yauhmi. We don't need you anymore. We have a new Emperor, and a new future for Xiomera."

"You have a fool whose head will join yours, and Xōchhuitl's, and the rest of your cabal of traitors, on spears outside the Palace of Flowers when Texōccoatl returns to Xiomera," Yauhmi replied darkly.

"No, I think not," Calhualyana said. "Either way, you will not be around to see it. As I said, we don't need you anymore. You are now a liability. Your time is indeed about to run out," the Security Secretary said. She folded up the paper and put it back in her briefcase. "I just wanted to give you one last goodbye. After were always so fond of Kerlians. You let off all those cursed Auroras when we should've put them all in chains and leveled Kerlile for the impertinence of trying to manipulate us. You, along with your idiot husband, pushed that alliance with them so hard. Well, since you love Kerlians so much, I plan to let you spend your last moments on this planet with them. Remember those torturers that we hired under Project Ītzpāpālōtl? I will be delivering you to them to finish you off. I won't soil Xiomerans' hands with that task. And I do so love the irony of this outcome. Goodbye, Yauhmi." Calhualyana chuckled one last time before walking out of the cell.

As the door clanged shut with the echo of a coffin lid, Yauhmi laid back slowly on the bed. She had believed that somehow she would emerge triumphant from this, as she had every other challenge in her life. She had to admit, now, that the chances were quite against her.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Sun May 31, 2020 11:33 pm

(Written with Xiomera)

Emily Rouchard stood by her desk in her temporary apartment, quickly trying to sort through the mess of files. She was know in the Ambassador's League as one of the messiest Ambassadors when it comes to her office, and that reputation was warranted. The rest of the apartment was organized and peaceful compared to the warzone of her desk. She was frantically cleaning as to not show the mess to the Crow Prince, who she asked to come by to check the Eirian hackers progress on breaking the Xiomeran Propoganda barriers. I should have given myself more time to clean up.

The Crown Prince and Secretary Nōlinyauh soon arrived, their retinue causing a brief spate of attention in the street outside. The official vehicles, sleek and elegant, alone would have drawn attention. But the escort of diplomatic security and Jaguar Warriors that emerged from the vehicles to take up protective positions as the two officials walked into the apartment building were the real attention-getters. The Crown Prince noticed the curious but polite attention from the Laeralite passers-by and gave a friendly wave as he walked inside.

Once inside, the Xiomerans were quickly led to the right apartment. One of the security men knocked to alert the Ambassador of their arrival.

Emily took one last look at her desk, sighed, and opened the door. "Your Majesty, and Mister Secretary. Welcome. Please, come in". She walked in and gestured for the Solar Guard agent assigned to protect her to station outside. "Can I get either of you something to drink?".

”If you have coffee that would be lovely, but don’t put yourself out on our account,” Texōccoatl said as the two of them sat down on a rather comfortable sofa. “We appreciate you taking the time to meet with us.”

"Of Course!". She took out two mugs and some coffee pods from the cabinet and put them in the coffee machine. "What is the current status of your resources? Any new gains or losses?". She asked, waiting for the coffee maker to finish.

”We have definitely made some gains, but our progress is too slow, I fear,” Texōccoatl said in response. “We have established a fully functioning government, and we are beginning efforts to break people away from the junta. We have also begun making contacts within Xiomera itself to try to begin causing trouble internally. But we’re hoping to increase the efforts to reach our people dramatically. Nothing less than a full-scale popular uprising will dislodge the junta and this fake Emperor of theirs, in our estimation.”

She nodded, and placed both mugs on the coffee table, as well as milk and sugar. "Well, speaking of which, the hacker team attempting to take down the propoganda filters have made decent progress". She went to her office and returned with a few pages stapled together, bearing the EICA seal on the top. "It seems that they have identified a few weaknesses in the filters themselves, and are trying to exploit them to the best of their ability. We aren't able to send full news broadcasts, but we may be able to send short informational videos through to a chunk of the populace. And then there's the agents we sent in, who could resort to printing out pamphlets and handing them out, if necessary".

”Both methods seem like a good idea. The more anti-junta videos we can push through, the better. And the pamphlets can’t hurt. Please advise your agents to be careful though. If they get caught by the security forces or ASI with those kind of pamphlets, things will go badly for them,” Nōlinyauh said with a gift of understatement.

"Our agents are well aware of the risk involved with this mission. It's part of the profession, after all. I'll relay that to mission command". She sighed. "It's a hard situation to be in, Your Majesty. And I admire your courage and strength for your country. Such qualities are many times absent in leaders, and my superiors were wondering, once you are reinstated, that maybe we could cement an alliance between Xiomera and Eiria".

”That is definitely a possibility. Any nations that have helped us through this crisis will certainly be high on our list for closer relations,” Texōccoatl replied. “We has actually been considering approaching our immediate neighbors for some time now to discuss ways to come to a common understanding on issues and goals in eastern Catica.”

"Sounds like a noble effort. One that Eiria would certainly support. Anyway, is there any particular piece of information you want distributed to your people?".

”I can provide a recorded message from myself to the people. That would be one item. The rest....we can supply anti-junta propaganda, videos from scenes where the junta is committing crimes against humanity, things of that nature. We have a team here now working on putting all that together - former XIN journalists and underground press who either came here from other countries after the coup, or managed to escape from Xiomera itself. The first-hand accounts from the people who escaped are especially harrowing.”

"That would likely be much more effective than if Eirian journalists put something together. I'll ask EICA to set up a place for your journalists to send things to be sent in. Are you planning a military assault on Xiomera in the near future?".

”We are not at that stage yet. We have to put together a much larger force to accomplish that, or we’ll be doomed to failure. This is why the propaganda mission is so important. We must convince more of the military and the security forces to switch sides and support the legitimate government again,” Texōccoatl said.

"Makes since. Is there anything, besides the propoganda mission, that you require of Eiria? We are willing to help with a lot of things".

”We may need help getting some of our people back into Xiomera. If you can aid in that effort it would be welcome. Other than that, just keep scaring the crap out of this wanna-be Emperor of theirs with your naval maneuvers,” Texōccoatl chuckled. “How has that mission been going? Have any junta forces contacted or confronted your ships?”

"Not yet. It seems to be going well, from what I hear. Admiral Circè is probably scaring the hell out of them. I fear she may be having a bit too much fun with it. I wouldn't put it past her. She's infamous back home". She grinned. "But she's infamous for all of the right reasons, I suppose".

"In this case, that's a good thing. Admiral Techilō recently arrived on station there with our 1st Fleet as well. I imagine having our ships accompanying yours will give the junta some sleepless nights, which is perfect. The only other thing we might ask....while we're not at the stage yet of requesting open support militarily, if you know of any 'volunteers' or mercenaries that might be willing to join us, we certainly wouldn't decline the help once it is needed."

She shrugged. "Not many mercenaries do business in Eiria. And although I assume some Eirians would join you in a heartbeat, putting out an official request for volunteers requires a Senate vote. I'll see if we can hurry the bureaucratic elements along, but I can't make any guarantees. If you officially request aid in the future, we may commit a military force."

"That is definitely something to keep in mind in the future. If you can keep me up to date about the discussion in your Senate concerning volunteers, that would be helpful as well. Is there anything you need from us?" Texōccoatl asked.

"Well, we may need one thing. It's about Midgard. I was briefed on the situation before I left, and I was told my boss discussed Midgard with you personally, but I received a package last night, shipped from home, along with my briefing notes. The notes said to give it to you without opening." She retrieved the package from the office and put it on the table. "It had me intrigued, to say the least, but I left it unopened. The notes say it has something to do with Midgard, and was from the Chancellor himself."

Texōccoatl took the packet. "I am highly curious about its contents myself. I shall have to review this privately." He placed the packet inside his briefcase. "Sorry I can't help with your curiosity, but if Chancellor Lancaster wanted it kept must be something really serious."

"Indeed. Thank you for meeting with me, gentlemen."

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:15 am

(Joint post with Lauchenoiria)

June 4th
ASI Detention Facility Alpha-73B

Calhualyana watched as the ten Kerlians were led into the briefing room. She masterfully hid her disdain for the foreigners behind a mask of jovial professionalism. Being so highly trained had its perks.

The ten Kerlians sat down. Most of them were silent, although one or two of them chattered amongst themselves. Mariya seemed to be the most excited of the group as she chatted with another Kerlian. Having the new Security Secretary come all the way from Tlālacuetztla promised a new and exciting project for them.

After a moment, the director of the ASI site, Ohmix, waved everyone to silence. Calhualyana walked to the lectern. “Good morning,” she said. “You have all been doing great work for the Empire since the transition to a new Emperor.” The word coup was very deliberately avoided by officials with the new government. “We are highly appreciative of your skills, and we have a very special project for you. We have a high-profile official from the former corrupt regime who we need to convince to confess their prior crimes in detail. They have been resistant to this for some time. Your goal will be to convince them to confess,” Calhualyana said as a prisoner dossier was handed out to the Kerlians. Unusually, this was on paper, rather than on the usual tablet.

As the Kerlians opened the folders, a picture stared out at them. Yauhmi, the former Empress of Xiomera, clad in a prisoner’s uniform and looking rather haggard.

“Do any of you have questions or require guidance?” Calhualyana asked.

The facial expressions of the Kerlian torturers varied greatly. Some kept their characteristic emotionless face, like their leader Adelina Sasaki, while others like Mariya Adema looked disturbingly gleeful. The most common expression, however, was one of shock. It was Adelina who first opened her mouth to speak, but she was interrupted by Mariya, who clearly couldn't hold in her thoughts.

"Under what parameters have we to work? Restrictions, requirements? What resources in terms of tools or other items that can aid in our work will be available to us?"

Calhualyana smiled at Mariya’s questions. She admired someone who enjoyed her work.

“There are no restrictions. Whatever resources or tools you may need for this task will be provided for you. The only goal is simple: to get the subject to admit to her crimes on video. We require her to make a statement to that effect. And then, in Xiomeran tradition, she is to commit suicide. Assisted, if need be, but you get the idea. Are there any other questions?”

Mariya immediately took out a notepad and started scribbling down some ideas, even beginning to draw a diagram. Adelina, normally perfectly composed and emotionless, cleared her throat and hesitated, uncertain, before proceeding.

"I cannot participate in this 'project'."

The room fell silent. Even Calhualyana was surprised. She knew that most Kerlians had an unhealthy attachment to Yauhmi, but this group was supposed to be a tougher breed than the average Kerlian. Finally, she looked squarely at Adelina. “Explain,” she said in a tone that was not inviting.

"We were sent here by Councillor Greenwood as a gift to the Xiomeran people in exchange for their assistance after Emperor Topilpopoca's assassination. Our orders from the Matriarchy conflict with your order, and as a Kerlian citizen I must choose Kerlile," Adelina said, mostly calmly but with a hint of fear.

Calhualyana’s expression darkened. “You are an employee of the Xiomeran Secretariat of Security and the Agency for Security and Intelligence. Gift or not,” the Secretary rasped, “you work for us now, are being given an order by your superiors and are expected to obey. I assume you were briefed when you were hired about what the penalties for insubordination are in Xiomera, and the penalties for disloyalty.”

An expression of fear flickered across Adelina's face and she paused, shocked. It had been a long time since she had bothered to feel an emotion and this fear was new to her. But her emotions were still there, even if she didn't acknowledge them, and her old fear of disappointing Kerlile outweighed her fear of what horrible fate awaited her if she continued on this course of action.

"I... I am aware," she said, her voice shaking slightly. She hated this show of weakness but she couldn't help herself. "I do not take this course of action lightly, but I cannot follow that order, and I accept the consequences of that."

”So be it,” Calhualyana said coldly. “Is there anyone else here who objects to this assignment?”

Of the remnants, two looked distinctly uncomfortable, but neither spoke. Adelina herself looked down and closed her eyes, her heart racing. She wondered what would happen to her, just how awful it would be.

After a moment of waiting for anyone else to speak, Calhualyana nodded to Ohmix. “Please escort Ms. Sasaki to your office, Director. I believe we will need to have a further discussion about this.” Calhualyana’s immediate instinct was to cut the troublesome person out of the herd to make sure her weakness did not spread to the rest of the team. “As for the rest of you, return to your quarters for now....except for you, Ms. Adema. Walk with me, please,” the Security Secretary said as she walked to the door.

Mariya eagerly jumped up to follow the order, smirking slightly at Adelina, who had turned pale and was shaking slightly.

Calhualyana led Mariya to a private office. “You seem more eager to perform this task for us than some of the others. May I ask why?” she asked once the two of them were alone.

"I enjoy practicing my art," Mariya began, "and equally, it was the so-called 'reformists' in Kerlile who stole my promising career there, and will undoubtedly destroy my country. I dislike people who think they can upend a system that has worked perfectly well for a long time."

"I quite agree with you, on both counts. I am glad we are of like mind. You see, I need someone on the inside of this project. Someone who is loyal to me, to this agency, and to the work. Someone who will monitor the team and report to me if anyone doesn’t share that loyalty or devotion to the work. If you can be my eyes and ears, the future will be very bright for you. Are you up to the task?” Calhualyana asked.

"I am," Mariya replied eagerly, a scary glint in her eye.

"Excellent. Then you will start now. Return to your quarters and act as normal, but observe your teammates. At the slightest sign of deviation, contact Director Ohmix and he will inform me personally. If you do well, you may end up being a site director yourself someday. Or maybe, even more. I am of the personal belief that ASI has gotten soft. Strong leadership that understands the fact that to keep a country clean, you need people who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty - that is what ASI and the Security Secretariat need now. I am, if I do say so myself, one of those people. I suspect that you are as well,” Calhualyana said appraisingly. “Keep me regularly up to date through Director Ohmix.”

"Thank you, Secretary," Mariya nodded. "I will make sure that if any of them behave in a manner that makes me doubt their loyalty that I will respond swiftly."

Calhualyana nodded in response, a smile on her face. “I have no doubt you will,” she said. As Mariya left, the Security Secretary couldn’t help but admire her eagerness. It reminded Calhualyana of her own early days in ASI.

Meanwhile, Ohmix led Adelina to his own office. Two other agents fell in behind them. The two agents stood guard outside the office as Ohmix led Adelina inside. “We now have a problem,” he said without preamble or offering her a seat.

Adelina, shaking, was caught up in her own thoughts. She felt pangs of fear that she hadn't felt since childhood. Was this what her torture subjects felt? It was as bad as this? The thought worried her - just what kind of person had she been? "Yes, I suppose we do," she said, not looking at him.

Ohmix crossed his arms, leaning back in his chair. “We can offer you one last chance to change your mind and comply with this assignment. I would strongly urge you to do so. The punishment for not doing so....this is ASI. And this is Xiomera. We don’t just place a bad note in your employee file or give you a written warning if you fail.”

In that moment, Adelina regretted her life choices. What had she been thinking? Coming to Xiomera, even her initial job back before reform in Kerlile. She was terrified and yet... she knew she deserved this. She glanced around frantically looking for an escape route even though she knew she would find none. "Have you been in touch with Councillor Greenwood?" she asked, seeking anything that would delay her fate.

“Councillor Greenwood is no longer relevant. She may have sent you here, but the Council has since engaged in unfriendly acts towards the Xiomeran Empire. As such, we are no longer inclined to ask any Councillor or any other Kerlian anything.” Ohmix’s tone cooled noticeably as he spoke. “Unless the Kerlian in question acts in a more appropriate manner towards us.”

"I chose my line of work because I had a talent and wished to serve the Matriarchy," Adelina replied softly, after taking a deep breath. "I believed what I was doing was necessary for women's liberation, and upon being sent here I believed helping an ally of Kerlile was part of that same cause. You, though, are no ally of Kerlile. And I will not do as you ask. Your country is involved in a civil war whether you call it that or not, and I won't work against my own nation. You can kill me, or torture me - Goddess knows I deserve it for all I've done, I've made some terrible mistakes - but you cannot turn me."

“We were allies of Kerlile. Your own Council chose to break those ties,” Ohmix thundered, standing up. “I don’t need to turn you, I have nine more like you. I was offering you a chance to save yourself. I see now it is a waste of time.”

Ohmix pressed a button hidden under his desktop. The two agents that had accompanied them to his office came in, followed by two guards. “Take this one to the detention cells.”

The two guards grabbed each of Adelina’s arms and pulled her up from the chair. As the two agents followed, they dragged her from the Director’s office and to an elevator. It was a short ride to the detention level, and soon after that, Adelina found herself in the same kind of cell her subjects had been kept in.

Adelina was reminded of what new Restricted Region staff were taught about their prisoners: "they're already as good as dead, some of them just don't know it yet". She knew it. She would die here, locked in a cell, probably in pain. Some of her subjects had wept upon arrival, others had tried to remain defiant. Her job had been to stamp out any residual hope they had.

Knowing what was likely in store for her, however, Adelina hadn't any hope to begin with. She slumped in the corner, staring blankly at the wall, awaiting the death that she knew now she certainly deserved.

The Atenayum - Xiomeran Military Intelligence HQ, Tlālacuetztla

General Yāotlah'lotl walked quickly into her office, flashing a look to Quintu, her assistant. "I am not to be disturbed until further notice. No calls, no visitors - not even you are to come in until summoned," she ordered. Quintu nodded and acknowledged her command as she closed the door.

Once inside her office, Yāotlah'lotl took the flash drive she had been given out of her pocket. It had been delivered to her by a contact she had within ASI. Xiomeran Military Intelligence, or XMI, was the counterpart to ASI for the armed forces - meant to ensure loyalty and obedience. Its political officers were sprinkled throughout the armed forces, ensuring that no soldier deviated from their orders. XMI was as feared in the military as ASI was outside of it. Yāotlah'lotl had been loyal to Xiomera throughout her forty-year military career. The attacks on the Palace of Flowers and the Telopec Palace, the use of the military to round up and intern people, and the brutal suppression taking place in the other tribal domains - Yāotlah'lotl was finding her loyalty tested as never before.

And the contents of this flash drive would not help, she was certain. I can destroy this drive, forget I ever received it - I can just ignore whatever bad deeds the evidence on here shows, and continue to obey my orders. That would be easy and safe.

The flash drive creaked slightly as she gripped it in her fingers, squeezing it hard.

Yāotlah'lotl slapped the drive down on her desk, issuing a particularly vile curse in Huenyan, before reaching into her bag and retrieving her personal laptop. Her personal computer had the virtue of being isolated from the Imperial computer network, and the internet as well, unless she connected it to a special secure VPN. She slammed the drive into the laptop's USB port with a grimace of frustration.

As she opened the files on the drive, her jaw dropped. It showed that Yauhmi, the deposed Empress, was still alive. It also showed, in graphic detail, how she was being tortured.

And, in the last file, a location.

Yāotlah'lotl closed the files as quickly as she could and took the flash drive out of her computer before putting the laptop away. She slid the flash drive back into her pocket. And sighed.

I didn't like Yauhmi. Or her reforms. But along with everything we're being ordered to do, to treat an Empress in this fashion.....this is not right.

After a moment, Yāotlah'lotl accessed the Xiomeran armed forces personnel database on her desk computer. She couldn't access this on her laptop, but she had sufficient clearance and official reason to review any soldier's personnel file....hopefully this would be sufficient cover for what she was about to do. If it wasn't.....she would be labeled a traitor.

She could live with that. Labels and reality rarely matched, especially in her world.

When she found the information she needed, she walked out of her office. "I am traveling to Ixtenco for an urgent mission. Do not tell anyone I have left, or where I have gone. If anyone asks, you are to tell them that I am investigating a possible breach of security and cannot be disturbed," she ordered Quintu. He nodded again, saluting, as she left.

Yāotlah'lotl walked briskly to the heliport of the Atenayum, where her personal transport was kept. The X-1V Tlanautla, a twin-engined tiltrotor VTOL aircraft, was commonly used to transport officials (and executives, for the non-military version). Her X-1V was specially equipped to be comfortable, as well as faster and more secure, than typical versions. She handed her personal pilot the coordinates for her destination - the 21st Battalion HQ at Camp Maluco in Ixtenco.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:43 am

(Note: The following contains a flashback to the Tlālacuetztla uprising of 1977, an event described in the history of Xiomera.)

August 1977

"There are protesters in multiple cities. People occupying public squares, shutting down highways and public transport. The numbers are increasing," Paltec, the Secretary of Security, said.

Emperor Xolōtl sighed. "And why are you allowing this to happen?"

"We had deemed it unwise to act too aggressively to restrain the protests, your Majesty," Paltec replied. "Our forces are outnumbered, and - "

"You're a coward, Paltec. I have no patience for cowards. You're fired. Get out," the Emperor said, gesturing to two of his Shorn Ones. The two Shorn Ones quickly dragged Paltec out of the Throne Room, ignoring his protests. The Emperor turned to General Tetlimatlihua, the commander of Xiomera's General Staff. "Are you as incompetent as Paltec was, Tetlimatlihua?"

"No, sir," the General replied, with a sharp salute.

"Very good. What cities are these idiots protesting in?"

"In Tlālacuetztla, Xochiatipan, Acalan and Necuatexi so far. If this continues much longer, the protests will spread," General Tetlimatlihua replied.

"This will not continue one day longer. Send in your forces, General. Clear the streets. I have had enough of this nonsense," the Emperor said with a handwave of dismissal. As the General exited, a small boy ran into the Throne Room, running around the General. "Father, I came to see what was happening," he said breathlessly. Xolōtl smiled, putting his arm around the boy's shoulders. "It is good you are here, Xochiuhue. Come with me," Xolōtl said.

Xolōtl led his son to the top of the the main building of the Palace of Flowers, which provided a commanding view of the capital below. "I want you to watch what takes place now. Watch, and learn. When fools try to challenge an Emperor, there can only be one response. Swift and unyielding application of power. That is the only way our society and our country can remain in a state of order. There can only be one source of authority, and it cannot be questioned. Any other outcome leads to chaos."

As Xochiuhue watched, he could see tanks and soldiers beginning to fill the streets of Tlālacuetztla below. Soon, the sounds of gunfire and explosions, along with shouting, could be heard. Below the lofty foothills of the Palace grounds, a protest for democracy in Xiomera was meeting its inevitable end.

June 2020

General Xōchhuitl grimaced as he presented his report. "While the protests in Xiomera proper are still relatively small, they seem to be drawing inspiration from what is happening in the western half of the Empire, as well as Manauia Island. We're beginning to get the situation in the west under control, mostly. The idea of rounding up the worst troublemakers that the Shuellian mercenaries provided seems to be helping to pacify things in the former tribal domains. But ironically, that now seems to be stirring up unrest in the east. People are beginning to take to the streets and cause trouble."

"I see," Emperor Xochiuhue replied, leaning back on the Obsidian Throne and taking a sip from a glass of wine. "We can't have that. We need to bring that under control before it gets out of hand. Activate the citizens' groups. If any more of these protests happen in any Imperial city, have the citizens' groups go in and disperse them. If 'patriotic Xiomeran citizens' are the ones doing it, and not the military, that ought to take the wind out of the sails of our critics. We can't be faulted for the acts of loyal citizens, after all," the Emperor mused as he took another sip. "But if the citizens' groups can't handle the situation....keep your soldiers ready to move, just in case. Either way, I don't intend to let this absurdity go on any longer."

The General nodded, saluting his Emperor before leaving the Throne Room. Once outside, he began placing phone calls to the leaders of various groups. The Patriotic Youth Corps, the Xiomeran Students' Association, the Xiomeran Servicepersons and Protectors Association, and the Good Citizens League of Xiomera. The members of those groups had always helped rein in unrest in the past. Soon, they would do so again.

As General Xōchhuitl left, the new Emperor rose to walk to a window and look outside. Tlālacuetztla, the ancient Xiomeran capital, was spread out before him. I will not lose this city, or this Empire. We will not lose it. I will protect it and maintain its traditions - whatever the cost, Xochiuhue thought.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:58 pm

(Joint post with Legionas)

June 4th

Tlatlelolco was highly nervous as he reached the rendezvous point, but was also determined. A career ASI agent, he had nevertheless been opposed to the coup. Overthrowing a legitimately chosen Empress, and staging a highly suspect Great Selection to replace them, just wasn't done in Xiomera. Like it or not, Yauhmi had triumphed over her rivals to become Empress. The people who overthrew Yauhmi claimed they were upholding meritocratic Xiomeran ideals, but what was meritorious about overthrowing someone who fairly defeated your preferred choice?

It was no secret that the people who had launched the coup would have preferred Tepilcayotl had been chosen rather than Yauhmi - especially after the Empress launched her reforms. Tlatlelolco would have preferred Tepilcayotl himself - but Tepilcayotl lost. There was nothing right, or fair, about using a coup to overthrow the person who triumphed over him.

In other words, Tlatlelolco thought the junta was full to the overflowing brim of crap. And their new Emperor, who had taken power after a clearly staged Great Selection whose only purpose was to appoint him as a preapproved choice - what was meritorious about that? Xochiuhue was a fraud.

Still, reaching out to another country to plot against that Emperor and his government was, technically, treason. Tlatlelolco nevertheless arrived at the rendezvous point, and waited.

Samantha Mendez-Hudson watched as Tlatlelolco walked up to her, moving stealthily as if he was aware of his dangerous plan. She grinned slightly, the LIA had finally made another breakthrough, and moved to exit her car. She began to remember of the dialougue they had over the last few days. His determination was frightening and his loyalty to the cause, although questioned initially, had been confirmed after serious evaluation by the LIA, who had facilitated this meeting.

With the hospitalization of their best agent forcing the agency to look for an alternative, Tlatlelolco's defection to their cause was akin to a miracle, or just damn good luck. She emerged from her car, a gust of wind immediately intercepting her hand, forcing her to retreat them into her warm coat pockets. The two made eye contact and she moved to the man, putting out her hand awaiting a formal greeting from their new ally. The man grasped it, immediately taking Samantha by surprise to his vice like grip. The man towered above her, she was only 5'2". She saw his expression change slightly to one of a friendly next door neighbor. In her mind, she could understand why, Tlatlelolco had also made a great mental achievement, if he was willing to betray the illegitimate emperor at the potential cost of his own life, he would be willing to do anything to aid in the return of the Empress who he solemnly took his oath for.

"Thank you for meeting with me," Tlatlelolco said. "I know this is as risky for you as it is for me. But I think it will be well worth the risk, if we can achieve the desired outcome."

"Definitely, Tlatlelolco," Samantha said. "I think it would be wise of us to shelter from the cold, the weather these days has been wild."

"I agree," Tlatlelolco said. "Follow me."

He led Mendez-Hudson to a nearby building, leading her inside. The building was home to a low-end bar, the sort of place where names weren't asked and faces not lingered on. After obtaining two drinks, he quickly led the LIA agent to a private booth. "This place is safe, don't worry. I've used it often for investigations and making contacts." He let Mendez-Hudson take a seat before sitting down as well. "So, as we've discussed, I want to begin assisting with efforts to cause public dissent against this so-called Emperor and his little cabal. I have means and ways of doing that on my own, but your help would greatly assist me in those efforts."

Samantha sipped on her drink, periodically swirling it while collecting her thoughts. She felt like her mind was operating at the speed of a supercomputer, her thoughts going haywire. She was snapped back to attention by Tlatlelolco's opener. She thought over his words, digesting them as they were said, allowing him to state his formal intentions, even if it was for the umpteenth time.

Samantha shifted her posture, ready to speak. "Tlatlelolco, firstly, we thank you for choosing to reach out to us, we were at the ropes until you contacted us. I believe our intentions are similar and the LIA would be willing to allocate as many resources as you may need. If you wish, we may also assign an expert agent, with Xiomeran contacts to assist you in your, umm, activities."

Samantha glanced at the bartender, a grizzly old man who had definitely once been a soldier, his demeanor said as much. He met her gaze and the two held it for a split second before the man retreated his gaze, attending to two discreet guests, who Samantha hadn't even noticed, her eyesight blurred by the cigar smoke.

Tlatlelolco nodded. "An assigned agent would be helpful. The more people we have working on this, the better. As for resources, what I will need are ways to distribute information and media that I can supply from outside the Imperial network, so I cannot be traced. I can provide your assigned agent with information to inject into social media and other avenues, and we can convert that into useful propaganda to inspire people to reject and rise up against this usurper government."

Samantha grinned slightly, Tlatlelolco had a great plan. Propaganda was a great strategy especially at a time when the Junta was already being opposed by sections of the population.

"Your idea seems plausible, we would be willing to assist in your idea. I will make contact with our lead agent, since this is a delicate matter, I'm sure you too will gel together." Samantha paused, her mind swirling with possible ways to move forward. "I believe it will also be wise to assign you with a heavily encrypted communication device."

She slid a brand new Fraso Aurora +, standard issue for LIA agents, towards Tlatlelolco. As Tlatlelolco inspected the phone, she continued, "With this you will be able to communicate with our lead agent, without risk of detection. This will safeguard any sensitive information that you will share with him."

"Excellent. The more I can stay off the radar within ASI, the better. I suspect that some are already suspicious of me." Tlatlelolco pocketed the phone. "I will contact him shortly and begin forwarding him the information to disseminate into Xiomeran social media and other avenues. Do you have any other requests or suggestions for me?"

"Well, yes, actually. Don't get captured out there, I'm sure the junta won't be too kind on you if you get caught." Samantha chuckled softly, knowing full well of Tlateoloco's prowess as an agent. She was sure he would be able to avoid detection. "Mr. Bartender, another round please," she said.

"I would warn you and any of your agents to take the same precautions," Tlatlelolco said. "I know you're all quite skilled, but the junta has eyes and ears everywhere. And they are playing for keeps. They won't care if you're foreign agents." Tlatlelolco nodded as the drinks were brought over.

"Indeed, they are on the defensive it seems." she muttered, Tlatlelolco barely managing to hear her, "If any of you are caught, it'd be certain painful death that would follow." Samantha fully knew of the inherent danger Tlatlelolco and other agents in Xiomera faced. She winced reactively, remembering full well what happened to EF-15 and Itzamatul.

"I will take all necessary precautions, and hopefully you will as well. I do not wish for anyone else to be hurt, at least, not on our side," Tlatlelolco replied calmly as he finished his drink. "I hope your agent recovers as well. In the end, there will be a reckoning for those who are responsible for all of this."

"All I wish is for Xiomera to return to normalcy," Samantha thought out loud. "Tlatlelolco, we can aid in that, regardless of the danger, and the traitors will pay for their actions."

"I can agree to that. A toast then. To normalcy," Tlatlelolco said, clinking glasses with Samantha.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:38 pm

Jointly written with Xiomera

Mariya considered her work both an art form and a science. She admired a good bit of torture, and its effects upon a human, but when she was engaged in the science of information extraction herself, she made sure she was precise about it. Everything had to be analysed, her techniques perfected for the individual, and her measurements precise.

Test the prisoner first, was what she’d been taught. Attempt different categories of technique, see which one is the most effective by analysing the slightest flinch in their face and the slight change in volume of their screams. Then, investigate which technique within that category causes the most pain - be it physical or psychological.

There were some little side measures which Mariya did as a matter of course to almost all her subjects. Food would be minimal, enough to keep the prisoner alive but not enough to satisfy the hunger. Sleep, also, had to be disturbed and irregular, though not to a point where it would affect the prisoner’s ability to respond to her torture.

Yauhmi had been an interesting subject for Mariya. She was by far the highest profile prisoner Mariya had worked on, and that excited her. She had been deprived of the chance to interrogate Councillor Robinson during her imprisonment the previous year as Councillor Pierre had known it could backfire and so gave her to less valuable professionals.

With Yauhmi, Mariya found that the most effective technique was one that did not require much physical exertion on her part. The one thing the former Empress couldn’t stand appeared to be humiliation and helplessness. These were two of the techniques Kerlian torturers learned early on in their education - make the prisoner feel like they’re nothing at all. Make them rely on you for everything.

As she left Yauhmi’s cell, she checked once more that the restraints Yauhmi was now constantly held by were tight enough not to let the Empress move, and whistled as she left. She sauntered along to Adelina’s cell, looking forward to this one. Mariya had spent too long under Adelina Sasaki’s command, thinking Adelina weak that she now delighted in the proof that she’d been right.

“Wake up little traitor,” she said as she entered the cell. Adelina did not stir. It was infuriating, Mariya thought. Her former boss stubbornly refused to acknowledge her regardless of what she did.

Adelina was different, in many ways more challenging. She knew all of Mariya’s techniques, and had spent so long being desensitised to this stuff that nothing psychological would work on her. Mariya knew the only way to get to Adelina would be to make sure she couldn’t shut out any of the reminders of what was happening to her. And that, she could do.


Adelina mentally stiffened when she heard the cell door open but she had enough self control to prevent any outward reaction. If Mariya wanted to torture her, she’d make it painful for them both. There was one thing Councillor Pierre’s favoured torturer hated, and it was a lack of reaction from her subjects.

This couldn’t be kept up forever, though. Adelina could feel her resolve weakening, and she knew she would die here. In the times between her suffering, she had been thinking about her life. As a child, she’d shut down her emotions, a protective measure when things got too bad. She didn’t want to think about that any more; and she hadn’t felt anything for years.

Until now. Now, she felt all of it, and most overwhelmingly the intense guilt she felt at what she’d spent her life doing. Adelina had been in denial about how much of a terrible person she was, but now she felt it all. Having been emotionless for so long, she’d managed to convince herself that it couldn’t hurt that much, that all her subjects had just been weak and that she was strong.

She’d believed she was serving the cause of women’s liberation. That’s probably what they all told themselves, but she had known it - or thought she did. She’d seen what the other side did during the Kerlian Civil War, traitors to the Matriarchy had to be punished to prevent that happening again and again and…

Adelina flinched, she couldn’t think about the past. It wouldn’t help her fend off Mariya, she had to stay strong, stay sane as long as she possibly could. She thought of the religious Kerlians who’d objected to the Restricted Region and their concept of three deaths. Well, she would die one day, but she’d be damned if it would be at Mariya’s hand. She just had to hold out long enough for them to send someone else to kill her.

Anyone else.


Yauhmi had finally met at least one Kerlian she didn’t like.

As she suffered through the taunts and humiliations that Mariya was delivering to her, she tried to maintain her strength with thoughts of how things would be once she was able to turn the tables and gain revenge. The idea that it might be if, rather than when, she could turn the tables on her captors was not one she allowed to linger in her thoughts for long.

That would lead her to finally break irrevocably, if she allowed herself to fall into that despair.

The pain and the rough treatment of the previous standard efforts by ASI had been replaced by Mariya’s much more focused plan for Yauhmi. Taking away her agency, her power to even move or speak, much less affect anything around her. For someone who had once held the fate of 50 million Xiomerans in her hand, could order an entire nation around at her whim, and had once been adulated by millions both at home and abroad, this was a particularly galling fate. Yauhmi had, for decades, been used to being in control. This new turn of events where she was utterly powerless was actually more damaging to her mental state and self-esteem than all the viciousness that ASI had tried.

She couldn’t even unleash her most often-used weapon, her trademark wit and sharp tongue, since Mariya kept her gagged except for the moments where she was spoon-fed, like a child, and insulted.

But even Mariya hadn’t yet managed to take her most reliable weapon, her mind. Behind the gag, and despite the restraints, the mind of the Empress was still holding strong. For now.

Much like Adelina, Yauhmi was determined to hold out as long as she could. But unlike Adelina, Yauhmi was holding out until someone - anyone - came to free her from this prison.

And until she could take her revenge on Mariya, Calhualyana, ASI, the junta and Xochiuhue - everyone who had placed her in this position.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:41 am

Chief's Office, Unknown Location, Eiria
June 9th

The Man called 'Odin' sat in his office, tapping his pen on the desk to the beat of a popular Eirian pop song. He didn't exactly have a fondness for most of Eiria's Pop music, but even he had to admit, it's certainly catchy. He sighed. The afternoon had run long, and he certainly wanted to get home. But he had one important call to make before he leaves. He typed a phone number into the phone on his desk, and waited while it dialed.

The Rose Chamber, the private office of Xiomeran rulers, was a pleasant place to be. Emperor Xochiuhue was finding it to be quite to his taste. More comfortable and less formal than the Throne Room, it was not just an office. It was a place where Emperors could retire from public view and have a sanctuary.

Besides, the view from the windows was quite stunning. The rose gardens outside were in bloom, soaking up the Xiomeran sun. As Xochiuhue enjoyed the scenery, the phone on his desk rang. He was not expecting a call.

More curious than apprehensive, he picked up the receiver. “Yes?” he said in a commanding tone. He didn’t bother to introduce himself. If you had this phone number, you knew who you were talking to.

"Your Majesty, I apologise for this unexpected call". Odin watched his words carefully. This call may ensure the survival of Midgard, and he couldn't mess this up. "I am called Odin, and I represent a potential ally".

Xochiuhue was intrigued. Whoever this Odin was, he was clearly resourceful to be able to obtain the Emperor’s private number. “You have my attention,” Xochiuhue replied. “Who do you represent? And why do you wish to help me?”

"I lead an association called Midgard. We are a remnant of a deposed Eirian government, one that was unfairly overthrown by a so-called 'People's Democracy'. We wish to keep the same thing from happening to Xiomera. And we believe you can help us in return".

Xochiuhue found himself even more interested. “I have heard of your group,” he said. It had been included in his security briefings. “We could potentially be of great help to each other. I am seeking to prevent the exact same sort of thing that happened to you from happening to Xiomera. If you can help us prevent that, in turn, we could perhaps help you redress the injustice done to your own government. I would welcome a strong Eiria as an ally.”

"I would appreciate that. Eiria has been stagnant for far too long, arguing and bickering on matters the public has no reason to be controlling. The Senate is full of nothing but cowards and traitors running their mouths off. And when someone took initiative and worked to change things, he was sent to maximum security prison. My country is deeply misguided, and I would appreciate any help you can give to change that. In exchange, we know how Eirian Government works, so we can get you Information on what the Lancasters are up to".

”That would be highly beneficial, as the Lancasters have made it clear that they side with our former government and my deposed predecessor. We can offer you a place to operate from, in return for mutual cooperation. Do you have someone already in Xiomera, or do you plan to come here?”

"We plan to migrate to Xiomera. The Lancasters and their blasted Senate Friends have made staying hidden hard. We would love to take you up on that offer of a new base. We'll pack up as soon as we can, and we'll bring only main leadership and security". Odin glanced at his desk. "As well as a valuable hostage. We still have a number of agents that we will leave here, to monitor any action taken against Xiomera".

”Excellent. There is a spare ASI base near Tlālacuetzla that we can assign to you. This way we can remain in communication. We will also make sure you arrive here without too much trouble. When you arrive, I shall arrange a meeting between your leadership and my own inner circle. We can discuss things in further detail then.”

Odin sat back, relieved. "That sounds excellent. Thank you, Your Majesty. We likely will travel by ship, since Eirian Airport Security is a nightmare. We should arrive maybe late this week, early next week. Then we can talk strategy".

Xochiuhue nodded. “Excellent, when you reach Xiomeran waters contact me again, so we can escort you. We are currently restricting travel by sea. I look forward to your arrival.”

"So do I. Have a good evening, Your Majesty".

The Midgard Archives, [REDACTED], Eiria

The Woman known as Frigg scrolled through the Midgard record room, packing folder after folder into boxed. She had been tasked to pack up the small archive room for transport over to Xiomera, since the Agents stationed at headquarters didn't have clearance to half of the information in that room. She stacked a box of financial reports on the old library cart, knocking a filled box on the small table over in the process. Damnit. Even after Advanced Espionage Training, I'm still a klutz. She picked the box up, reading the top file title as she placed it on the cart. Executions? She opened it, her blood running cold as she read the paper.

It was a list of names, under Bolded dates. She sat down, reading the names and dates. It's a high price for the way things should be. But still a price that needed to be paid. She scrolled down the names, and was about to put the file on the bin, until she noticed a name further down the page, under the category "Directly Ordered By Unanimous Council Vote, April 2009". Rachel Granelle. That's not possible. She was killed by a resistance group. She put the file down, repulsed. The file said her mother died by execution? Under the order of the council, of which his father was a member?

She picked up the file, thinking rapidly. Her father had remarried a month and a half after her mother's death. What if... What if it's true? What if my father, the person who taught me everything I know, caused my mother's death? She covered her mouth, shocked by how everything made sense. He had been lying to me the entire time. That Bastard. She packed the file in the cart after taking a picture of the front sheet. Oh God. Everything I've done in her name, all of the killing, and torture...

Siena Granelle, Formerly named Frigg, made a commitment to right the wrongs that she and her organization had committed, by bringing Midgard down from the inside.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Xiomera » Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:19 am

July 12th

"I don't like it," Tlanexchel said sourly.

"There's not much to like about our current situation, General," Texōccoatl replied soberly. "But you can work with them - and by can, I mean have to."

The Jaguar Warrior nodded in response. "We can, and will, your Majesty. But...." Tlanexchel's planned remark instead dropped into a vaguely disgruntled cough as the gates of the CNRR compound opened and a series of vans entered. When the vans stopped at the building that had been designated as a spare barracks, a group of Shuellians emerged, briskly beginning the task of unpacking and moving in. Advent Private Services had just been contracted by the CNRR to provide additional security for the Crown Prince and other CNRR officials. The possibility of threats from ASI and XMI, along with whatever hired guns Xochiuhue might decide to send after them, had been bad enough. But a few days earlier, Texōccoatl had reviewed the dossier provided by the Eirians concerning Midgard, and the possibility that they might begin aiding the junta. It was decided at that point that any - and every - possible means of protecting the loyalist government was now not just on the table, but on the menu.

"As long as they do what they're told and paid to do, we won't have a problem," Tlanexchel said grimly. The Crown Prince laughed slightly in response. "I'm sure they will - but have fun with that," he said, causing Tlanexchel to sigh in response before marching towards the barracks where the Shuellians were moving in.


Fort Amacatl - Democratic People's Army of Milintica headquarters

General Tlehuaque, supreme commander of the Democratic People's Army, was happier than he had been in years.

The sprawling, ramshackle compound that served as the home of Milintica's threadbare army was rarely a hotspot of activity. The Milintican military was minimally funded, minimally staffed, and minimally capable. Whenever Milintica's volatile political and social order required intervention to keep the country from spiraling into chaos, everyone loved the Army then, Tlehuaque mused in a not-at-all-bitter sort of way. But when things were functioning in what passed for a normal fashion in Milintica, it was deemed much wiser to fund protected areas for turtles or grants for vegan cat cafes or whatever other madness emerged from the Representative Assembly. It was enough to make a soldier rip his hair out, if Tlehuaque hadn't gone bald ages ago.

But today, the situation was different. Xiomera, Milintica's ancient enemy and nemesis, needed help. That fact alone was enough to amuse Tlehuaque fit to bursting. The great Xiomeran Empire, whose ancestors had sent his ancestors fleeing for their lives, and who had shown nothing but contempt and dismissal to the homeland that diaspora had created as a sanctuary, was now coming to Milintica for help to save themselves from their own tyrannical nature. Tlehuaque had to bite his tongue - sometimes rather hard - to keep from laughing in the face of the representatives from the Xiomeran loyalist government, the CNRR, whenever he spoke to them. It was just too delicious an irony.

"You're imagining telling off the Xiomerans again, aren't you," a voice said over his shoulder. Tlehuaque turned, a broad smile on his face. "Is it that obvious?"

"It's always obvious, with a smile like that." Aperira Raharuhi, the Milintican defense secretary, shook her head in bemusement. "Can you at least try to pretend that you're not enjoying this?"

Tlehuaque made a pfft noise. "If the Xiomeran loyalists don't like it, they can go home. Oh wait, they can't, as long as Xochiuhue is in power, can they?" The General snickered at his own joke. "They are our guests, and they can live with my amusement at their self-inflicted plight."

Raharuhi sighed, but she smiled as well. "If nothing else, hopefully this experience will take the Xiomerans down a peg or two. They have always been too arrogant for their own good. That arrogance has finally caught up to them."

"Indeed. But I suppose I should be thankful. After all, were it not for events in Xiomera, I wouldn't get to see this base the way it should be - full of soldiers, training, ready for the fight ahead." Tlehuaque looked around the grounds of the base, where various groups of people were training. Milinticans, Xiomerans, other Huenyans, even a few people from Manauia Island and Cenotillo Island. There were some people from other countries mixed in the group as well - and their numbers grew every day. "Think about what's to come, Aperira. Now, we're providing sanctuary for those Xiomerans and their allies who want to defeat that Empire that has been the bane of our existence for so many centuries. The army we're giving a safe haven to train and arm themselves here will grow. And someday - maybe soon - we'll go over there, we'll kick the ass of Xochiuhue and his little minions, and on that day, Milintica will be the one that defeats Xiomera."

"With a lot of help, from a lot of others," Raharuhi reminded him with another laugh.

"Yes, yes, but don't spoil my dream. One day, I will stand in Tlālacuetztla, on the steps of the Palace of Flowers, as we drag the tyrants out. And on that day, centuries of injustice will be reversed. The wrongs done to our ancestors will be finally healed. And the best part is, for the rest of my life afterwards, I'll be able to tell the Xiomerans that they couldn't have done it without Milintica's help - and they'll have to shut up and admit it!" Tlehuaque laughed gleefully at the thought, waving for Raharuhi to follow him as he walked to inspect the beginnings of the loyalist army. Raharuhi grinned, and began walking with him.

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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:36 am

Rivière Park Apartments, Geminus
January 14th

Siena Granelle, the daughter of one of the most infamous people in Eiria, formerly co-leader of a ruthless spy organization, sat in her luxury apartment on the Rivière, unable to eat the sandwich in front of her. Her revelation a few days ago had really taken a toll on her, and maintaining the façade of normality for Odin and their agents grated further. The Roast Beef sandwich in front of her tasted like cardboard as she sat deep in thought.

How could I have been so blind? If I had just stopped treating his word as gospel, I could have stopped him. I could have stopped myself. She took another bite of the sandwich and wrinkled her nose. Disgusting. She put the half-eaten sandwich in the garbage and the plate in the sink, returning to her desk with a sigh.

A small bound book sat unopened on the desk, taunting her, compelling her to open it. Why am I so afraid of it? Why am I afraid of my past? I never used to be so hesitant to read my journals before. But it's not going to change, no matter how long I wait.

She gingerly picked up the journal, examining the outside before opening it. She scrolled through the papers, skimming the dates listed until she settled on a place, and started reading. The more she read, the more she realized. And the more she remembered, the more she longed to forget.


Adrian Frank sat in a small windowless cell in the Midgard Headquarters, drinking the watery soup rationed to him by his captors. It wasn't too flavorful, but hey, it was still food. He had been completely cut off from the outside world, and his captors refused to tell him anything other than the date and time. It was slowly driving him insane. It had been almost seven years since he was free. And it didn't help that his captors wore masks.

Why must they keep me here? I will be of no help to them. I know nothing of the world today. Why don't they just kill me? He dropped the plastic spoon back into the bowl and put his back on the bars, smacking his hand on the wall in frustration. I have little strength left. I don't know how much more I can take.

He was snapped out of his thoughts by the sound of the door to the interrogation room slowly closing. He snapped around, knocking the soup bowl over as he stumbled backwards. The first thing he noticed was his visitor's lack of mask. His visitor was a woman his age, with long brown hair and a dark uniform. She locked the door and swung one of the chairs in front of it, barricading it from the inside. "Who are you?". Adrian asked, suspicious.

She took one of the chairs and sat in front of the bars. "I'm someone who wishes to undo all I have done". She glanced at the scars on his arm and grimaced. "I was one of the people who interrogated you".

He narrowed his eyes. "'Was'? You aren't now?".

She nodded. "They think I am. But no longer. I am one of two people who run this place. But I realize now that I was mistaken. I know I can't make you trust me by just saying 'I'm Sorry', but I truly regret what I have done".

He sat down on the bed. "Exactly. You can't. Why are you doing this? You could just run away from this association, flee the country, if you hate what you've done for Darrin's tyrannical council. Why talk to me? And why hasn't the Politburo of Liars and Traitors executed me yet?". He glared at her.

She looked back at him. "Because there is no Politburo, or Governing Council, or whatever you want to call it. Darrin is in maximum security prison. Eiria is a democratic nation, and it has been since 2014".

He shot up. "What? The rebellion won? In 2014? Then why the hell-".

She answered the question before he finished asking it. "You, and a few other resistance leaders, were secretly imprisoned by a remnant of the Government. The rest of the world thinks you died when Evacuating the Guard base at Lake Kestra". She watched him sit down, stunned. "But there's more. Your brother-in-law is Chancellor, and your fianceè is Minister of Diplomacy".

He teared up. "What?! Oh, Alice…. Why would you tell me this? This does me no good if I'll be locked up for the rest of my life".

"Well, that's why I came. You won't be locked up for long. We are being transited to Xiomera, where a coup has overthrown a democratic ruler for a more authoritarian one. My co-leader has made a deal with the new Emperor for asylum there, because the Lancaster administration is hunting them down. I can get you out. But you have to at least pretend to trust me".

He sighed and sat up. "How?".

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