All Quiet on the Western Front

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Libertas Omnium Maximus
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All Quiet on the Western Front

Post by Libertas Omnium Maximus » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:47 am

Château sur les Rochers Airport, New Castle Province, Libertas Omnium Maximus
June 6th, 1991 - 8:22 AM

David Wilson gently set his cane aside as he took a seat on a stump overlooking the small private airport. Since his honorable discharge from the Maximusian Air Force in 1979, Wilson had always enjoyed spending his Sunday mornings watching the planes come in. They reminded him of the glory days as an idealistic airman, back when the dream was still alive within him. Today, however, something was different.

As he watched the bush planes lazily circle the airstrip before coming in for a landing he was filled not with nostalgic bliss but with an emptiness, the emptiness of being betrayed by the one thing you thought you understood. Gone where the days when he would squeeze into his old pilot uniform, pin on his rusted medals with pride and think to himself, "I served something bigger than myself." His nation had betrayed him, he knew that now. They had used him and kicked him to the curb when he was no longer a useful asset.

"Really", he mused to himself with an air of utter dejection, "they betrayed us all with their actions." His fists clenched tightly, "Today I will get my retribution."

He watched for a few minutes more, silently cursing those who had betrayed him. He finally observed a small private jet touch down on the tarmac. It was time for him to leave. Wilson stood sluggishly and snatched up his cane before making his way back to the street, slowly hobbling over the uneven ground of the airport perimeter to the sidewalk. With each step he took his conviction intensified. He was now utterly certain that his preparations over the past 3 years were fully justified. Before today there had always been a hint of doubt. There was now resolve. It would be a 10 minute walk back to his small cottage. 3 years planning would come to fruition in just 9.

As Wilson stepped onto the sidewalk he reached into his shirt pocket and pressed a button on his cellphone. The phone displayed the word "armed" before shutting itself off. Wilson placed the bulky device back in his shirt pocket, smiled and thought to himself, "This will be a good day"

8:31 AM

The jet slowly taxied off of the runway and onto the tarmac of the tiny airport. It quickly serpentined through a few turns and pulled up to the gate. One of the jet's occupants mumbled something about loving private airports and how quick they were. At least, that is what the blackbox of the vehicle recorded.

The jet's blackbox would be found in a tree nearly 50 feet from the smoldering wreckage of the plane when first responders arrived 6 minutes later.

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Re: All Quiet on the Western Front

Post by Libertas Omnium Maximus » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:27 am

Château sur les Rochers Airport, New Castle Province, Libertas Omnium Maximus
June 6th, 1991 - 10:13 AM

The black SUVs arrived a mind-blowing hour and a half after the detonation. It took a long time for the government agents to drive down all the country roads to reach a small airport on the far west cliffs of Libertas Omnium Maximus mainland. As their chrome tires rolled past the security checkpoint and onto the emaciated tarmac, numerous first responders and police officers offered direction and queries to the tinted windows. They invariably received no response.

"Alright everyone, get the hell out. This investigation and cleanup is now under the jurisdiction of the Maximusian Department of Defense. Please do not resist."

The EMTs stared blankly at the pale suited figure standing before them. She had a lot of audacity to be barking orders on an official crime scene. One cop even walked back to his car in order to place a verification call via his radio.

The pale woman smiled. "Thats fine." She motioned to the other SUV in a menacing manner resulting in 4 blank faced men exiting the vehicle.

"Let's try this again, shall we? The pale woman asked to a nearby EMT. "You all clear out. Cops, EMT, you all go. This was obviously the work of a bomb. Everyone on board was vaporized. There is no helping them. Your inefficiency will hurt this investigation though. SO SCRAM.

Over the next couple of minutes the first responder team cleared out quickly. It was not until the police sergeant's car drove off of the tarmac and onto the old cliffside roads that the MDD began setting up shop.

The pale woman quietly approached the wreckage. The plane's whole cockpit had been blasted apart and from there the fuselage had peeled back like a banana.

"This was the work of a precision IED, ma'am." said one blank faced man to his superior officer. "It looks like the bomb was planted inside the front landing gear well. It was on a timer I would guess. Or perhaps a GPS. It really depends ma'am. We will have to wait for forensics to-"

"Wait!" The woman snapped. "You were most certainly onto something. The detonator of this bomb, be it by timer or GPS, was designed to go off here. It was designed to go off in Château sur les Rochers. If this was just a statement they would have killed the DA and blown up his plane back when it was taking off from LIA. It would be far easier. The airport in Litudinem is far more crowded and there would be a lower risk of bomb detection. No. The killer needed the bomb to go off here. Why? Jackson, what is so special about this damn little town"

The man she had addressed as Jackson replied quietly, "It is the furthest west airstrip on the mainland, it is also the only real airstrip that is located within 15 miles of Bjeorg. The province, not the city."

A look came over the woman's face. "Shit! Two things! Number one: why the hell do you know this random crap about geography. Number two: we are screwed. This isn't a statement. It is Bjeorg making good on their threat last month. This is a manifesto."

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Re: All Quiet on the Western Front

Post by Zamastan » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:34 am

The Man on The Seawall

June 7th, 1991
8:24 AM
Tofino, Zian, Zamastan

Cool sea breeze flowed gently with the mist through the early morning Tofino streets, clogged with traffic as commuters began their treks to work, parents bringing their kids to school, and pedestrians choked the sidewalks. The bustling city was darkened by the light fog, which hung low to the lower floors of the towering skyscrapers.

Frank Hast, a 33-year old construction worker contracted at the Market Exchange on Portman Avenue, sat in the passenger seat of his family van with his wife, Alice, in the drivers seat, and his 7-year old son, Eric, and 5-year old daughter, Janessa, in the back. The parents often brought their kids to school in favor of putting them on the buses, as the business of the city was often hectic for the little ones. However, today, they regretted the over abundance of traffic, and were stuck in a dead stop several blocks from the school.

Unknown to his wife and kids, Hast was a member of an underground militia group. Small, yet known by the Zamastan government for a string of mail bombings throughout the capital in months prior, two of Frank’s accomplices had been arrested several days ago. Hast had never made bombs or supplied materials for their construction, though he did allow members of the militia to use his basement for those activities. Frank was now anxious about his arrested comrades possibly giving information to the police regarding him or his house, and hated going out in public for fear of encountering police. However, he wanted to make sure his kids were safe and not marked by the militia, so he still brought them to school.

“They really need to work on expanding this road a bit,” Alice stated softly, peering her head up further to try and see over the cars in front of her.

“It wouldn’t change much, there’s always going to be jams like this.” Frank responded. He turned back to his kids. Eric played with “Arros Trading Cards”, while Janessa stared out of the window and up to the buildings in the fog. “Hey,” Frank asked his children, “what are you guys looking forward to today?”

“Mrs. Dobberman said she’s teaching us mul-tee-pul-dation today,” his son replied.

“Multiplication, Eric.” Alice corrected. “How about you, J?”

“We were going to go to the zoo, but I bet Miss Gress is going to say we can’t.”

A faint pair of police sirens caught Frank’s attention, and he peered into the rearview to see if he could find the source vehicles. “Why can’t you go to the zoo today, sweetie?”

“Cause’ its too rainy for the zoo.”

The sirens kept wailing, but the police were likely caught in the traffic behind, unable to move forward due to the congestion.

“I’m sure Miss Gress will still take you to the indoor things, J,” her father reassured. “Like the new tropic section! I hear they have new Sanctarian hedgehogs, you love those things!”

Honking from the vehicles behind the Hast’s van reasserted Frank’s interest in the sirens, and he looked back. A car tried to push into their lane, which led to Alice honking the horn twice. “Hey! Dammit…”

“Alice, hey,” Frank shot back, “the kids are behind you.”

“Daddy, Mom said dammit.”

“Eric,” Frank shut his son down and smiled at Janessa, who went right back to looking out the window.

The sirens had finally gotten louder and the cars in the left lane had begun to move, and as Frank turned, he saw two SWAT vehicles slowly moving up the lane. The honking subsided as four officers in tactical gear exited the vehicles, which stopped three cars back. Jerking forward in his seat, he looked at Alice, then back at the officers, navigating in between the vehicles with their rifles drawn. Alice and the kids hadn’t noticed them yet. Frank panicked.

“Stay in the car, kids.”

“What, Daddy?”

“No matter what happens, stay in the car.”

Alice looked at Frank quizzically as he unbuckled his seat and grabbed the door handle. “Frank, what are you doing?”

The door handle clicked as Frank opened it. “I love you.” Frank pushed the door and stepped out into the foggy street, walking forward and away from the approaching SWAT officers. The point man shouted, and the officers rushed forward after Frank. The remaining officers in the second car joined the chase.
Alice Hast watched in horror as her husband began running full sprint off the road and onto the sidewalk, through an alleyway, pursued by the officers. “What the hell have you done, Frank…”

Frank Hast turned an alley corner, checking into the building’s side with his shoulder hard, and throwing over a metal trash can in the path behind him. One officer took point at the same corner a moment later, taking a shot, which ricochet off the brick wall at a further turn. Frank ducked past just before the bullet whizzed past.

Eventually, after a couple minutes of chasing, Frank stopped abruptly at a stone rise Waterview overlooking Horseshoe Bay and the Tofino Harbor. He had unintentionally cornered himself at the edge of Gaviria Park. As tourists and citizens alike wandered by, curiously looking as Frank panted, sweating from the run, they scattered suddenly as all eight SWAT members started to close in, yelling for pedestrians to flee or drop to the ground, aiming their rifles at Hast. Frank backed up, with his hands still lowered and panting heavily, grabbing the cobblestone barrier between the forested park and the water.

“Frank Hast, stand down and get on the ground,” one officer shouted, “we have orders to shoot if needed.” Frank stood slowly onto the cobblestone wall, contemplating the jump into the water. The officers got closer, moving slowly in a flanking pattern.

A little girl stood behind her father, who urged her not to watch as the police raised their rifles. From where they were standing, the girl couldn’t hear what they were shouting, but she knew that whatever it was, the man on the seawall was scared. The man on the seawall reached into his pocket, and the little girl heard her father say “sweetheart, cover your ears, close your eyes.” The girl didn’t have time to react, because loud bangs rang out, and the man on the seawall jerked backwards, clutched his chest, and toppled backwards. The man on the seawall fell into the water below.

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Re: All Quiet on the Western Front

Post by Libertas Omnium Maximus » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:56 am

1 Month Prior

Bjeorg Province Administrative Building, Bjeorg Province, Libertas Omnium Maximus
June 10th, 1991 - 10:32 PM

“Ladies and Gentlemen,”

James Wilson exhaled deeply. In his unremarkable 32 year political career he had never gotten used to public speaking. He was actually quite talented in the art of speech writing but whenever he got up to make a statement, be it at a press conference, political meeting or otherwise, Wilson’s lungs seem to enfold upon themselves and he was left sputtering out his eloquently crafted monologues.

Today was no different. As he walked out onto the steps of the grand administrative building he could already feel his throat closing on itself. As sweat began to build on his forehead James approached the podium. He approached the reporters. He approached the crowds. Most importantly, though, he approached his province.

He repeated his line. This time into the microphone before him. “Ladies and... and Gentlemen... It is my...uh... severe displeasure to bring you the following news regarding the province of Bjeorg’s recent appeal to the Maximusian Government.”

His stutter had lessened recently, maybe it was the cool summer air, maybe it was that he had gotten to the point in his career where he realized that being a deplorable public speaker might impact any promotions. In any case, he collected his thoughts and continued.

“I...we...were regrettably...denied our appeal... Our appeal to have an autonomous state of Bjeorg. It was rejected by the Supreme Court. There is no Republic of Bjeorg.”

Shockingly the reporters were silent. Their dreams had been crushed. James could feel it. It was as if their hatred had manifested itself as a sick, damp wind. This wind was assaulting him, burrowing deep into his soul. He continued, off script. This was the first time in his life.

“If we cannot have an independent Bjeorg then who are we? Who are we? We are nothing! Libertas Omnium Maximus has been systematically stripping us of our rights. They hide their intentions behind a wall of words like “for the greater good” and “that which will help the most people.” What about us? Do we matter. We are not being helped by any recent government policies yet we are forced the pick up the tap, mostly. That isn’t fair! If we can’t have our independence the legal way, we can have it by force.”

A crazed look came over Wilson. He knew he was out of line. He knew this was the end of his pointless career as a desk-level politician. He didn’t care. He knew, more than about anything else in his life, that he was right.

“We don’t have the capital, politically, to get our independence.” We are trapped in a cycle. The government has treated us unfairly with the knowledge that we can do nothing about it. We ask for relief. Let us leave the Republic of Libertas Omnium Maximus. All will be well. But no! No! We don’t have the power to do that! We are trapped. Force is the only option as I see it. I wish it hadn’t come to this, but it has. I love you Bjeorg. You shall be free!”

The insuring uproar was understandably enormous. With reporters screaming and crowds chanting the province anthem it was hard to even know which way one was going in the crowd. This, however, did not stop the agents from worming their way through the crowd.

“Mr James Wilson, for Treasonous conduct and speech, along with encouraging violence against the state, you are being placed under arrest.”

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Re: All Quiet on the Western Front

Post by Libertas Omnium Maximus » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:24 am

The Next Week

Lawrence Marina, Lawrence Township, Bjeorg Province, Libertas Omnium Maximus
June 16th, 1991 - 1:56 PM

The planks creaked under the weight of the heavyset man and his tall compatriot. The second man switched his cane from his left hand to his right in order to shake the big man's hand.

"Thank you for coming on such short notice," the tall man began quietly. "Before you ask about the location of my last "drop", don't worry, the waiter is loyal to our cause."

The tall man stepped onto the gunwale of a small fishing vessel and invited the large man to do the same. The large man obliged and clambered down onto the boat's deck before taking a seat on an overturned bucket of bait.

"Listen, David, you know I trust you, if you say he was loyal, I believe you. So does Mark. We both agree that you are loyal to the cause." The big man smiled awkwardly through the gloom.

"I am glad to hear we have a working relationship mister Nilsson." said the tall man, David Wilson, with a smile of relief. "Do you have any word on the state of affairs of my poor brother? The bastards took James right after he made his speech. He hasn't contacted me. He hasn't contacted his lawyer either."

The big man, Nilsson, took a breath before answering, "You aren't going to want to hear this but we have definitive word that your brother has been taken to a black site. We had a grunt tail the vehicles that took him but he was forced to turn back after the vehicles came to a military checkpoint near New Castle Point. We know there is a base there. I am sorry."

Wilson sat quietly on ship's gunwale, slowly processing the news. "No, Nillson, there is nothing for you to be sorry about. I will contact his lawyer and see what I can do as far as bringing him home through legal methods. Other than that, what is the current state of affairs in your organization. Do you yet have the necessary man power to undertake the plan?"

Nilsson smiled. "We don't yet, however, I believe we have a promising opportunity to recruit some mercs. They will work for a good price. I can't tell you more. Anyway, to the real reason we are meeting. Mark says that he also supports your plan to go through with the murder of District Attorney Melissa Thornton. Mark says it will make a good statement. Château sur les Rochers is an ideal airport, not to mention that killing a low profile government official will get people's attention without a full on Panic in the Gov. Mark gives the plan his blessing and will send someone to pick you up from the pier by the old steel mil at 10:30 AM sharp on the 9th of July. You should sit tight after the detonation."

Wilson stood again and shook the handoff's Nilsson, "Thank you. I hope to continue work with your organization. Aurora Novo Militum is Bjeorg's best and final hope. Know though that the bomb would have detonated without Mark's blessing as well. I don't work for him. This is a partnership. I will see you, 10:30 sharp, pier by the steel mil."

The two men departed the vessel in silence and went their separate ways.

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Re: All Quiet on the Western Front

Post by Xiomera » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:50 am

Huitzitaca, Xiomeran Empire
June 17th, 1991 (atl 17, xatl techalotl, 1991)

The flight from Iustitia City to Huitzitaca was a smooth and quick one. Nathan Bosley couldn't help but marvel as the plane cruised above the clouds.

The direct flight to Huitzitaca was the only flight between Xiomera and Libertas Omnium Maximus, and was not a major priority for Xiomeran Imperial Airways. Nevertheless, the Xiomeran flagship carrier was clearly determined not to let anyone find even the slightest flaw in its operations. From the boarding procedure to the spotlessly clean plane, and all the way down to the attentive and polite flight attendants, the pickiest traveler couldn't have found anything to complain about. Even the flight attendants were turned out in military precision, without a stray hair, wrinkle to their uniforms or scuff on their highly polished shoes.

Xiomerans are supposed to be perfectionists, Bosley thought to himself. If they're all like this, that's a good sign.

Bosley wasn't his real name; who he actually was hardly mattered. What mattered was his mission. Bjeorg was in need of help if their dreams were to be realized. The kind of help that Xiomera, if rumors held true, could supply in abundance.

His thoughts were interrupted by a gentle hand on his shoulder. "We are about to land in Huitzitaca, sir. Do you require anything else before we land?" one of the flight attendants asked.

"No, thank you, madam," Bosley replied. "You have been very gracious, but I will take care of everything I need once we land."


The passage through Xiomeran Imperial Customs and Border Security was as efficient and precise as the flight; a quick scan of Bosley's passport and identification, and an equally quick check to make sure no red flags came up, and it was done. "Welcome to the Xiomeran Empire, Mr. Bosley. If you proceed down the passageway, you can retrieve your baggage and either hire a car or obtain other transport to the city," the border guard said firmly, gesturing him forward and already preparing to check the next arriving passenger.

The passageway led him to the lobby of the international terminal, where Bosley looked over a piece of paper before proceeding to a specific check-in stand. Ixmoc Transportation Services, the sign read in multiple languages, including Xiomeran Huenyan and, thankfully, English. "I have a trip reserved to this location," Bosley told the attendant, passing him another piece of paper. The attendant calmly reviewed the travel pass. "Yes, sir, you are expected. Please proceed to Transit Stop C in front of the terminal, and board Ixmoc Transport Vehicle 34," he said, stamping the travel pass and handing it back over.

When Bosley arrived at the designated stop, a white van with the Ixmoc logo was waiting. Bosley handed another attendant his pass, and boarded the van while his luggage was placed in the back. The van then slowly left the terminal area, proceeding out of the airport into the bustling heart of Huitzitaca. Xiomera's largest port was historically the gateway for foreigners to enter the Xiomeran Empire, as well as the major port serving the Imperial capital of Tlālacuetztla, sixty miles away. Over time, the two cities had essentially merged, forming a sprawling metropolis that served as the heart of both commerce and governance for the entire Empire. The trip took Bosley through a city that was constantly in flux. Construction cranes everywhere reached for the sky, seeming to rival the height of the towering buildings already in place. But it wasn't the skyscrapers that Bosley was there to see.

After a while, the van exited the highway and took a winding drive down a loop road surrounding the massive port. The buildings took on a lower height and an industrial character; this was clearly a service area for the port. Eventually, the van pulled up in front of a complex of low-slung, black-hued stone buildings with a large wall around them. "We are at your destination, sir," the driver told Bosley. "Please exit."

Bosley stepped out of the van, slightly apprehensive even though the trip had been planned in advance. He found himself in front of the massive double doors that seemed to be the only break in the wall. A pair of watchtowers flanked the entry, with a single word in Xiomeran Huenyan lettering between them. Coytōchte, the sign read. Apparently, this is the sort of place that you know what it is if you're supposed to be here, and if you're not supposed to be here, you don't need to know what it is, Bosley mused without humor to himself.

The trip to this strange place, for Bosley, had begun in an airport terminal back home. But the road that had led him here actually begun three days earlier, and sixty miles to the north.

The Butterfly Palace, Tlālacuetztla
June 14th, 1991 (atl 14, xatl techalotl, 1991)

Meetings of the Emperor's Cabinet were usually a dull affair: routine matters of governance, occasional subtle sarcasm or jockeying for power or position, the uninteresting sausage-making that went into running a centuries-old Empire. Today, however, promised to be interesting.

"We have received a Notice of Solicitation for Mercenary Operations from the Coytōchte Firm," Zocoatl said. The Secretary for Trade and Economic Relations slid a series of red folders to the center of the large, highly polished sacred-fir conference table.

"What of it? Our mercenary firms get bids all the time," Xochca, the cihuacoatl of Xiomera, snorted. "How is a simple commercial contract worth this council's time?"

Zocoatl raised an eyebrow. "As I was about to explain," he said coolly, deliberately using the tones of Huenyan meant to convey subtle disdain to annoy Xochca, "this concerns a matter of one of our neighbors. I have discussed this with the Secretaries of Security and Defense, and they concur that this requires the Emperor's consideration."

At that, the man seated at the head of the table opened his eyes. Xolōtl, Emperor of Xiomera, raised a hand expectantly. One of his attendants quickly picked up one of the red folders and handed it to him, bowing. Xolōtl opened it and began to read, waving his other hand sharply to silence the chatter of the Cabinet. Once he was done reading, he closed the folder and handed it back to his attendant. "Read. Then speak," the Emperor commanded. Once the rest of the Cabinet had finished reading, Xolōtl pointed a single imperious finger at Zocoatl. "So the people of Bjeorg have solicited our mercenaries. Do you think we should allow it?"

"I do," Zocoatl said. "It's a business opportunity, of course. As is the law, the Coytōchte Firm would be required to donate 5% of their earnings from the mercenary contract to the government. So there is profit in it. But also, there is opportunity in other ways. If Bjeorg succeeds, their government and their people would be inclined to look upon anyone who helped them as a friend. The Empire can always use more friends."

"But we hardly need to make more enemies," Xochca said sharply. "If the Maximusians discover that we have aided Bjeorg in their plans, they will most certainly not see us in a friendly light. Why should we take that kind of chance? I do not see the reward as commensurate to the risk."

"Not commensurate? Did you read the part about how much Bjeorg is willing to pay for mercenaries?" Zocoatl retorted.

"There is no risk," Macuh, the Secretary for International Affairs, said with a slight smile on his face. "After all, it is not the government of Xiomera that would be aiding the separatists. It would be a private mercenary company, that just happens to be based in Xiomera, doing so. And since we are a land of free enterprise, we can't reasonably be expected to tell our companies how to conduct their business," Macuh added with his smile slowly widening into a smirk.

Of course, everyone around the conference table knew fully well that the Xiomeran government did, in fact, tell businesses what to do all the time, if it deemed it to be in the Imperial interest. But no one else needed to know that.

Emperor Xolōtl thought for a moment, then turned to Zocoatl. "Inform Coytōchte that they may accept the Bjeorg bid. But also deliver my personal message: if they do anything that gets this government in trouble with the Maximusians, I will personally cut off Axī's head."

Zocoatl nodded. "I think he already expects that, but I will certainly deliver the message."

Coytōchte Firm headquarters, Huitzitaca
Three days later

As Bosley stood in front of the massive gates, several guards came out to greet him. All of them were dressed in black fatigues with no insignia except for stars on the lapels to denote rank. They also all had XM-01 Tlihuatl assault rifles slung over their shoulders, a fact that drew Bosley's immediate attention.

A man with three stars on each lapel strode forward. He was not carrying a rifle, but did have a XM-38 Huatlxōc sidearm strapped to his waist. "You must be Mr. Bosley. I am Caltē, Chief Training Officer for the Coytōchte Firm. We have been expecting you. Please follow me," Caltē said.

The mercenary led Bosley through the gates into a courtyard that served as a parade ground and training area. As Bosley walked through the courtyard with his escort, he could see mercenaries training at various stages. Hand-to-hand combat, firearms training, and in the distance, various groups even seemed to be working with artillery and armor units.

The escort eventually led Bosley into a large building that seemed to serve as the mercenary firm's headquarters. At the end of a sparsely decorated lobby, a large room beckoned. Caltē and Bosley went in, while the guards escorting them stood outside.

An older man with four stars on each lapel stood up, shaking Bosley's hand. "I am Axī, Commander of the Coytōchte. Please have a seat."

Bosley sat down, while Caltē remained standing near the door. Axī sat down, placing his hands on the table. "We have received your request for our assistance. We are prepared to sign a contract to assist Bjeorg with whatever it may require. I trust you have the initial payment?"

Bosley nodded. "Once we agree on the terms, I will have the funds wired through a discreet third party as you directed. Half now, half upon the arrival of your advisors and supplies in Bjeorg. Additional expenditures to be determined later, should our needs change or more assistance be required."

"That is acceptable," Axī said, sliding a contract over to Bosley to sign. "1,000 Coytōchte advisors are ready to depart immediately to Bjeorg, along with the initial supplies of weapons and other armaments as agreed. They should arrive within two days. From there, we will begin training and supplying your soldiers. If that training goes well, we will hopefully have no need for further deployments. But if they should be required....we have more than enough men and supplies to perform whatever tasks are required."

"You will forgive me for seeming skeptical," Bosley said, "but while your forces in the courtyard there are impressive, they don't seem to be a huge army."

Axī chuckled at that. "This is our headquarters, sir. It is not our only facility. Trust me when I say the Coytōchte can command considerable resources, more than enough for any needs you may develop."

With the contract signed and payment made, the wheels were set in motion.

Bjeorg, two days later

Two cargo ships, the Palcuā and the Huithuit, arrived at Bjeorg. Their manifests would indicate that they were delivering agricultural vehicles and workers. This amused the Coytōchte soldiers aboard; they weren't farmers, but they were about to plant a seed of rebellion.

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