Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

National Newswires - Information from YOUR nation! [In-Character]
Post Reply
User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:50 pm

OOC: The Council of Kerlile is the hereditary ruling body of the Matriarchy of Kerlile. They are the supreme authority under the Kerlian Constitution, with the ability to both appoint and recall the President, who is chosen from within the Council's membership. While the President may have more power than any individual Councillor, the Council as a whole can outvote her or depose her. Membership of the Council is inherited through the female line, no male can ever become a Councillor, and sons of Councillors are officially not raised by their mothers (though this is an often-broken law). This thread will show some of the activities of the Councillors and their families - all the things the Kerlians would never want to be public.

Contents:
1. Verdicts are Announced (25th July 2019)
2. Olympic Vote, & the Extradition of War Criminals (30th July 2019)
3. A Call About Eddington (31st July 2019)
4. A Deal is Negotiated (6th Aug 2019) - written jointly with Xiomera
5. An Invitation is Given (7th Aug 2019) - written jointly with Democratic Republic of Eiria
6. The Prison Reform Bill is Debated (18th Aug 2019)
7. The Reformists Gain a Secret Ally (4th Sept 2019)
8. Interrogators for Hire (9th Sept 2019) - written jointly with Xiomera
9. Councillor Rosemary returns to university (12th Sept 2019)

User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:50 pm

Council of Kerlile Chamber – Grapevale, Kerlile
25th July 2019 – shortly after TRC verdicts announced

There was a silence in the Council chamber. Councillor Natalia Hart, devout follower of the Goddess, had finished confirming the verdicts and sentences handed out by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. She stood with the paper in her hand, suddenly feeling very exposed. She wasn’t entirely sure Councillor Patel wouldn’t shoot the messenger – quite literally. After all, everyone in the room was armed.

“Frankly, that went better than I expected,” a voice said. Everyone turned towards Councillor Jennifer Hale. “I thought I was going to prison. And Pauline, you’re free – bet you didn’t expect that! I can accept a travel ban, though I’m going to be pushing you all even harder to drop that warrant for Alvarez’s arrest!”

The joke fell flat, everyone in the room too nervous to react. Hale had indeed been pressuring the Council to permit Josephine Alvarez, Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria (and Jennifer Hale’s wife) to enter Kerlile, despite an incident during the war where Alvarez had been accused of trying to assassinate President Greenwood.

“There will not be any trade deal with Laeral, that is certain,” Councillor Electra Georgiou said glumly. Georgiou had been looking forward to an increase in trade between other nations and Kerlile. She remained sitting with her back straight, surveying the room, but her shoulders sagged slightly.

“Is anyone else kind of surprised that Greenwood and Pierre got off?” mused Rosemary Arnott, the newest Councillor. The 19-year-old was the daughter of President Rebecca Arnott, and wasn’t exactly thrilled to have been dragged away from her university course to take her seat.

Councillor Pierre and President Greenwood were lucky the patriarchal countries did not see fit to ruin their lives, girl. While this was unexpected, it is a result to be celebrated, and things should not have been allowed to get to this stage,” Councillor Lia Chiu said firmly. She did not like the way the young Rosemary acted; she felt it was not in keeping with the decorum expected from a Councillor of Kerlile.

Councillor Hart sat back down, and placed the papers with the TRC verdicts on the table. The Chamber fell silent for a moment longer, the Councillors all avoiding each other’s gazes. They had been anticipating this for a while, but now it was here, it felt rather surreal.

“I must admit, I am pleasantly surprised. This was not as terrible as I thought it would be,” mused Councillor Pauline Pierre. “Carmen, perhaps I will refrain from killing you after all.”

“How considerate,” Carmen Robinson said drily. Robinson had leaked the documents that Pierre had been convinced would spell her doom. Everyone in the room knew that Pierre wanted Robinson dead, and yet the pair somehow managed to sit in the same room every day. “Shame, really, I think you’d have enjoyed a Sanctarian prison.”

“Look, I think we can all agree that the trade restrictions are… unfortunate. But honestly? Only one of us is going to prison and that…” Hale trailed off, glancing around the Chamber. “Where did Anita go?”

The other Councillors looked at the empty seat engraved with the Patel family seal that Anita Patel’s grandmother had designed. Hale knew fine well that the founding mothers of Kerlile had designed family seals for the sole purpose of appearing pretentious and rich, though the rest of the Council tended to abide by the ceremonial traditions of Kerlile for no reason other than to, well, appear pretentious and rich.

“We’re going to have to find her,” said Rosemary Arnott, stating the obvious.

“She will spend the rest of her life in prison,” noted Hart. “If it was me, I would run.”

*

Outskirts of Grapevale, Kerlile
10 minutes later

Councillor Anita Patel was more afraid than she had ever been in her life. She had spent her life causing misery and destruction. By her own hand, she had killed dozens, and by her orders, hundreds if not more. She had always considered herself above the law – she was, after all, a Councillor of Kerlile.

Yet, it seemed like her crimes had finally caught up with her. When she had first read the Haven Accords, it had occurred to her that she ought to murder Jennifer Hale the moment an heir was born. Fortunately for Jennifer, by the time Amelia had been born, Patel had figured out that without a time machine, the death of Jennfier Hale would not solve her problems.

When the Council had outright refused to defy the Sanctarians, and had instead opted to cooperate fully with the Accords and all their constituent parts (including cooperating with the TRC), Anita Patel had been furious. She had taken it out on her staff – one of her servants ended up with two broken arms – much to their horror. Anita Patel was not a good person, that much everyone knew.

When she had heard her sentence of 20 years, she had slipped out of the Council Chamber, in the hope of escaping before they could extradite her to Sanctaria. She was presently in a car, being escorted by security loyal to her, rather than the government as a whole, to a hidden location in which nobody would be able to find her.

She had almost started to relax when her car was brought to a sudden halt. Dread crawled up her spine as she heard gunshots. She went for the door, but she opened it to find a police officer pointing a gun at her head.

“I am a Councillor of Kerlile! You will let me go immediately!” commanded Patel.

“The President has ordered you arrested, Councillor,” said the officer. She looked familiar. It was only upon closer examination that Patel noticed the similarities to Councillor Arnott. This officer was clearly some kind of cousin.

“I will have your head on a silver platter,” snarled Patel at the officer as she was forced from her vehicle. The officer impassively took out handcuffs, and grabbed one of Patel’s wrists. Patel looked down in horror as she was handcuffed and taken to a police vehicle. She was shoved inside, despite yelling and screaming at the officers.

“You’ll all end up in the Restricted Region! I’ll see to it that none of you live another year! Get your hands off me, if you want to keep them!”

She continued to yell as the car drove off, her cries becoming increasingly desperate. Soon the words trailed off and Patel realised she was sobbing. The tears rolled desperately down her cheeks as they travelled back to the city centre.

“Please, I don’t want to die in a cell,” she sobbed, but her captors didn’t listen to her. “Please!”

*

Arnott Residence in Grapevale, Kerlile

“We have Councillor Patel in custody, Madam President,” said a woman whose name President Rebecca Arnott couldn’t quite remember.

“Thank you for the information. That will be all,” responded Arnott. The woman bowed her head and left.

“You know, I think this will be good for us both,” mused Joanna Greenwood. She had arrived at the Arnott residence shortly after the verdicts had been announced, and invited herself in. Arnott had decided that refusing her predecessor would be a mistake – especially since said predecessor would not be spending the next couple of decades in prison.

“How so?” asked Arnott, pouring another glass of wine. She couldn’t cope with the company of the smug, condescending Joanna Greenwood without a little assistance.

“Well, I am, of course, not going to prison,” began Greenwood. Arnott suppressed a grimace. She had secretly looked forward to the day Greenwood was behind bars, not that she’d admit it to anyone. “Which is always a positive. And for you, you get to blame the Sanctarians when your trade policy is a disaster. Which, let us be honest, was always going to happen.”

“I resent that implication.”

“You know I speak the truth.”

The two presidents, current and former, sat in silence for a moment, then Greenwood stood and placed her glass back on the table.

“Well, thank you for the drink, Rebecca. I will be sure to call again soon, see if you need any assistance,” said Greenwood.

“There is really no need, I am quite capable of carrying out my duties,” replied Arnott sourly.

“No, no, I insist. I will see you tomorrow. Good day, Rebecca.”

“Good day, Joanna,” said Arnott, relieved that the older woman was leaving – at least for now.

User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:27 pm

Council of Kerlile Chamber, Grapevale, Kerlile
30th July 2019 – morning

The Council Chamber was half-empty. Councillor Robinson had refrained from attending any sessions since the TRC verdicts. She had been looking forward to Pierre’s incarceration, everyone knew, and was disappointed in the verdict. So, she avoided Pierre – who was taking every occasion to gloat, and to accuse Robinson of treason.

“If nobody else will be in attendance, we shall begin,” announced Councillor Lia Chiu, second in seniority to Patel and the new Chair of the Council. She glanced around the room at Hale, Pierre, Georgiou and the young Arnott.

“Are we not expecting Letitia and Natalia?” queried Councillor Pauline Pierre, referring to Councillors Greenwood and Hart.

“Natalia’s at a religious service,” said Hale, taking a sip of her coffee. “The Festival of the Goddess is in a couple of weeks. I don’t know about Letitia though.”

“She should be here,” insisted Pierre.

“You’re just saying that because you know your little faction doesn’t have a majority right now,” pointed out Rosemary Arnott.

Councillor Pierre narrowed her eyes at the teenage Arnott, opening her mouth to retort, when the door opened and Letitia Greenwood entered, trailed by Lucia Viallamando, the latter yawning and looking rather dishevelled.

“We apologise for our lateness,” Letitia announced loudly, taking her seat. Viallamando winced at the sound of the voice and collapsed into her own chair, resting her head in her arms on the table in front of her.

“Whoa, is she hungover!?” asked Rosemary, staring at Viallamando.

“It’s considered impolite to point that out,” Hale informed the young Councillor, who just shrugged. Several of the Councillors glowered at the young Arnott with contempt. She violated the Council’s normal rules of decorum for seemingly no reason. Hale, of course, violated them in protest against the system, but Rosemary’s disrespect was almost incidental, and clearly purposeless.

“If we could begin?” Councillor Chiu asked sharply, and the room fell silent as they turned towards her. “First on the agenda is the matter of serial killer Jasmine Eddington. The Federation of Lauchenoiria has refused our request for extradition. They are presently holding her on immigration charges but they will have to release her on Sunday. If she is let loose in Lauchenoiria, she will kill again, and undoubtedly we will somehow get the blame.”

“We ought to send someone to retrieve her,” suggested Pierre. “The Lauchenoirians might get touchy just now but in the long term they’ll thank us.”

“And risk the ire of the Sanctarian peacekeepers who are still in Lauchenoiria? I think not,” scoffed Georgiou, stirring her tea. Greenwood leaned away from her slightly, the pungent smell of the tea irritating her. Nobody was quite sure what kind of tea Georgiou was drinking this week, she had a new variety every few weeks.

“There’s still a chance Lauchenoiria will give her back, right? We’ve got KBS to put out that article today, right? The one with the families? That’ll change their minds probably, and it’ll be okay,” Rosemary said hopefully.

“Josephine will not extradite Eddington.”

Jennifer Hale spoke loudly and clearly, in a manner that said she was not open to argument.

“But surely if she sees what Eddington was like…” Arnott began, then trailed off when Hale shot her a glare.

“Josephine Alvarez has no reason to extradite to Kerlile, and every reason to refuse us. Or have you forgotten last year? You took her hostage, tortured her to get to me. She despises this country, and there is no way she would do anything to help us. She knows from experience what our prisons are like, can you blame her for refusing to send someone back to one? No, as long as Alvarez is Prime Minister, Lauchenoiria will not extradite Jasmine Eddington.”

“Then what do we do?” asked Letitia Greenwood.

“We move on. They’ll learn or they won’t,” Hale said firmly, looking to Chiu. After a few moment’s silence, Chiu nodded and shuffled the paper in front of her.

“Item two: a proposal to temporarily lift the ban on international travel for those wishing to visit Shuell as spectators during the IDU Olympics. We have discussed this before, however a vote must be taken. Does anyone have anything further to add before we proceed to a vote?”

“I think this is going to go a long way to improving our international image,” said Georgiou. Hale and Arnott nodded in agreement.

“We cannot allow males to leave, however, they will not return,” pointed out Pierre.

“We’ve amended the proposal so only female citizens will be allowed to travel, Pauline,” Hale informed her, sighing slightly. She disliked compromise.

“In which case, can we proceed to a vote?” asked Chiu, keen to get this session over with. She had an expensive bottle of imported wine to get to. She’d been stockpiling Lauchenoirian wine in anticipation of trade sanctions. “I will take the lack of objection as consent.”

The Kerlian civil servant lurking in the corner stepped forward. She rubbed at the scar on her arm, eyeing Councillor Pierre nervously. She didn’t want to end up like her predecessor.

“The motion is to temporarily lift the ban on international travel for female Kerlian civilians wishing to travel to Shuell during the IDU Olympics. Votes will now be counted.”

The Council had been through seventeen vote counters since the attempted vote of no confidence in Patel at the end of last August. Ironically, the vote counter present on that day was the only one who still lived. She had been hidden by Councillor Hale. Her successors had met a variety of unfortunate fates, most of which had been attributed to Councillor Patel. Very few in Kerlile were sad to see the back of her.

“Councillor Arnott?”

“I vote aye.”

“Councillor Chiu?”

“I vote aye.”

“Councillor Georgiou?”

“I vote aye.”

“Councillor Greenwood?”

“I vote aye.”

“Councillor Hale?”

“I vote aye.”

“Councillor Hart is absent. Her abstention has been noted. Councillor Patel is, uh, also absent. This has been noted. Councillor Pierre?”

“I vote aye.”

“Councillor Robinson’s absence has been noted. Councillor Viallamando?”

“Ugh can you be quieter? I abstain!”

“With six votes in favour and four abstentions or absences, the motion carries,” the woman said, then returned to hiding in her corner, relieved. No votes against meant that nobody was likely to punish her.

“Before we move on,” said Chiu, “we must mention briefly security arrangements for Councillors Georgiou and Greenwood. Both of you plan to go to Shuell, am I correct?”

“That is correct,” nodded Letitia. She was an avid sports fan, enough that she had overcome her dislike of foreign travel on several occasions. Georgiou just enjoyed any opportunity to visit new countries.

“We are waiting for final confirmation from Shuell but it appears that we may be limited to three security personnel per Councillor with one sidearm each.”

“You are kidding me, right!?” Letitia looked outraged.

“The Shuellians will also be ‘generously’ providing their own security.”

“Watching us, you mean?” Letitia growled. “Goddess, this is going to be a mistake. If we die you’ll nuke Shuell, right?”

“That’s not going to happen, Letitia,” said Hale. “And you’ve read the reports on a war with Shuell. Avoid at all costs.”

Letitia opened her mouth to retort, but Chiu held up her arms.

“We will discuss this later. Next item on the agenda: the Patel succession. With Anita due to be extradited following this session, we must decide if we are to allow Nirmala to take her place immediately.”

“If Anita isn’t dead, it would be rude of us to give away her seat,” pointed out Rosemary.

“Yes, however, we passed that emergency act providing for a daughter to take her mother’s place temporarily in the event of incapacitation or foreign incarceration six months ago. We must follow through,” insisted Pierre.

“Well, you see the thing is…” Hale interrupted, and continued. The Council would debate the Patel succession for around an hour before voting to allow Nirmala to take the Patel seat once confirmation of her mother’s arrival in Sanctaria was received.

*

Unidentified Airport, Kerlile
30th July 2019 – afternoon

The woman scanned the horizon and was relieved at the stillness. They had cleared the area so that the only vehicles passing this way would be those transporting the prisoners. The airplane sat on the runway, waiting. The airport was surrounded by armed guards, with not a male in sight.

President Arnott walked along the tarmac, flanked by guards.

“How long?” she asked the woman.

“The transport should be here momentarily, ma’am,” said the woman.

“Good,” the President replied.

Soon, the row of vans came into view. They stopped near to where the President and her entourage stood.

“Patel last,” ordered President Arnott.

“Yes, ma’am,” said the woman. The door of one van opened, and Chloe Conde was brought out in handcuffs. She was considerably skinnier than when she’d first been arrested, months before when she had tried to flee Kerlile. She seemed almost to breathe a sigh of relief when she saw the plane.

“Better a Sanctarian prison than a Kerlian one,” she muttered to herself, kicking a stone. President Arnott nodded toward the plane, and Conde was led off.

Littlewood and Casci had similar reactions when they were led out, though they hadn’t spent nearly as long in a Kerlian prison as Conde. When Chevroux was brought out, however, the woman had a rather more violent reaction, struggling against her captors.

“Please, Madam President!” Chevroux yelled when she saw Arnott. “I was only serving my country! Why are you bowing down to patriarchal masters? This is Kerlile!”

Arnott stared impassively as Chevroux was dragged off. When they brought out Patel, it was clear the older woman had been crying. President Arnott walked right up to her.

“Madam President, I beg you to reconsider. I truly believe that if it comes to it, we can fight Sanctaria. Do not let this happen,” begged Patel.

President Arnott leaned forward to whisper in Patel’s ear.

“You imprisoned and tortured my brothers. You imprisoned and tortured Jennifer’s wife. You imprisoned and tortured Councillor Robinson. Your own partners and the fathers of your children. Members of your staff who failed you. Anyone who ever criticised you. You deserve this, Anita. More than anyone else alive.”

Arnott then turned and walked away.

“Please! Rebecca, I know we have our differences but you’re selling out our country! Rebecca, I can promise you… wait I’m not done, stop dragging me, let go of me! I am a Councillor of Kerlile you cannot do this to me! Rebecca! REBECCA!”

President Rebecca Arnott did not look back as Councillor Anita Patel was dragged onto a plane, kicking and screaming, threatening and begging.

User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:34 am

Hale Residence, Kerlile
31st July 2019 – evening

Councillor Jennifer Hale kissed her baby daughter Amelia on the forehead, then handed her to Emma Woodward, Hale’s most trusted member of staff. She walked over to the desk and picked up the phone.

“I’m ready. Make the call.”

While she waited to be connected with Josephine Alvarez, Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria (and Hale’s legally-still wife), she nervously tapped a pen against the paper in front of her. She had cleared the desk except for the statements from the victim’s families… and a picture of her with Josephine, both of them still young and in love.

“Councillor Hale, what an unexpected pleasure,” came a voice dripping with sarcasm through the phone.

“Good evening, Prime Minister. I am calling to ask you to reconsider your decision to refuse the extradition of Kerlian citizen Jasmine Eddington, who as I’m sure you’re aware was convicted of thirteen murders and one kidnapping…”

“Jennifer, you know Lauchenoiria can’t extradite anyone to Kerlile. I’m sorry for the families who wrote those letters, truly I am. But you know fine well that it would set a precedent. This is a private call, so let’s not pretend that we don’t know each other. I sat with you once, when you went by another name, and I was Foreign Minister. You told me to never, ever agree to extradite any Kerlian. To never change that policy. Do you remember why?”

“Josephine, this is different, Eddington isn’t political, she…”

“‘Every Kerlian who tries to flee gets hurt, would you really want to be complicit in that?’ you said. If I send Eddington back, regardless of your assurances about the death penalty, I’ll be complicit in whatever pain your people subject her to. I’ve been there, Jennifer. I know what she would go through. I agree, she’s a terrible person, but she still doesn’t deserve to be tortured.”

“She won’t be. I promise you that. This Restricted Region moratorium is real, she can’t be sent there – and before you say they’ll just do it elsewhere, I swear they won’t. We give you our complete assurance.”

“We. The Council,” Josephine paused, the silence stretching out for a seemingly endless amount of time. “You know, I remember when you told me you wouldn’t join them. Then I convinced you to do it just so they’d stop hurting me. In a way, I feel responsible for this. You know, Sonja - Jennifer, I think I have been somewhat unfair to you. Thank you for rescuing me last year.”

“Josie…”

“But that doesn’t change the other facts. And that isn’t what this is about. By law we cannot extradite Eddington. President Marwick might be able to sign an executive order but it would cause a hell of a fuss. And if we extradite one Kerlian, that makes it so much easier the next time. Until one day, Lauchenoiria is no longer safe for the people fleeing political persecution. The people you claim you support.”

“I do support them, Josephine! I did not want this. I wanted to stay in Lauchenoiria with you. But that wasn’t to be. When my sister died without a daughter I was devastated. I may have lied about who I was but I wasn’t lying when I told you about the sister who beat me every night. And yes, I lied to you but Goddess do you really think you wouldn’t have in my position? I didn’t ask for this life. But now I guess I’m stuck here. And for what it’s worth I am so, so, so sorry I lied.”

Jennifer reached out to the box of tissues on her desk, wiping the tears that had begun to fall off her face. She really had intended to stick to business on this call, but it seemed like the unfinished business between her and Alvarez was too near the surface to stay buried for long.

“You know,” Josephine began, “the fall of Usera was almost a year ago. I’ve known who you really are for 51 weeks and I still call you Sonja in my mind. I don’t know if I can forgive you, but… I think I do understand. A little. I’m sorry that this happened, really. And I hope, in spite of everything that one day I can see Amelia. But I am not ready to discuss our… personal relationship yet. I need more time. So, let’s just focus on Eddington, okay?”

“Yes, yes, of course. Uh, well, if you’ve read the files we sent you, then you’ll know that she killed 13 adolescent boys, and kidnapped a 14th with the intent to kill him, when she was caught. She published a manifesto stating her intention to kill 16 boys. It was a religious crusade, she thinks she was doing the work of the Goddess in punishing males. My point is: she didn’t kill 16 people. She considers her work unfinished. If you release her, she will kill again.”

“My understanding of her ‘manifesto’ is that she wanted to kill a boy from each of Kerlile’s 16 regions, minus the Restricted Region of course. What makes you think she is a threat to Lauchenoirians?”

“All those Kerlian refugees you’re trying to protect by refusing to change the extradition policy? What makes you so sure that none of them are adolescent boys from one of those three remaining regions?”

“That is a fair point. We can assign protection to individuals meeting that profile until such a day as it is not required. If you’re right about Eddington, she will likely commit a crime in Lauchenoiria and then we can arrest her for that.”

“By that point it would be too late. And, forgive my bluntness, but does the Lauchenoirian budget allow for 24/7 protection for an unknown number of refugees, that won’t welcome it? After all, it will remind them of Kerlile. Of being watched by the government, of feeling unsafe. Do you really want to put them through that?”

“I… I understand where you’re coming from, I do. If it was any other country then I’d consider it. But you know our history with Kerlile. You still have three Lauchenoirian students in prison for criticising your government while on holiday. They’ve spent 9 years rotting in a Kerlian cell because your Council wanted to teach us a lesson.”

“If you’re interested in a trade…”

“We’re not giving you back Kerlian refugees. That was made clear 9 years ago. There’s a reason Lauchenoirian citizens are cautioned against visiting Kerlile. They’re hostages, being held by your government until we hand over your dissidents. But we won’t, we will protect them. It pains me that those three are still in prison, but we won’t give in to the demands to return dissidents.”

“That’s not what I’m asking, I know you never would. It would be offensive of me to try. I will speak to President Arnott, however, about those three. If she is serious about reforming, then she should be willing to release them. And the, uh, other Lauchenoirians. Anita used to refer to them as the ‘collection’. No strings attached.”

“Of course she did. I can’t say I didn’t celebrate when I saw her verdict. For what it’s worth, Jennifer, I was very relieved to see you wouldn’t be joining her. Anyway, that would be a good start. But I cannot guarantee we will extradite Eddington in return.”

“I’m not asking you… well, I’m not insisting you do. But it would mean a lot if you did – not to me, or the Council, but to the families of her victims. I know you care about them, and I know how difficult a dilemma this must be for you. Please, just consider the implications of this decision.”

“I will consider it, Jennifer. But it is unlikely that we will.”

“I understand. Thank you anyway. Oh, and incidentally, if you ever do want to visit Kerlile, the Council will guarantee your safety. I, of course, can’t exactly leave the country right now.”

“I… I think it unlikely that I will visit the Matriarchy any time soon.”

“Of course.”

“Goodbye, Jennifer.”

“Goodbye, Josephine.”

User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:28 pm

(Written jointly with Xiomera)

President Rebecca Arnott of Kerlile sat at her desk, tapping her fingers in a repeating pattern, nervous with anticipation over what Emperor Topilpopoca was going to say on the call. She was cautiously optimistic: Kerlile was desperate for new trading partners and it seemed to her like the Xiomerans would be more than willing, something Kerlile desperately needed in light of the TRC verdicts.

She flicked through her notes on Kerlian trade policy, even though she knew everything on the paper off by heart. She was trying to avoid staring at the phone. The words of her predecessor echoed in her mind, about how her trade policy was sure to fail, and she became even more determined not to let that happen.

In his spacious, sunlit office in the East Wing of the Palace of Flowers, Emperor Topilpopoca of Xiomera sat down at his expansive beechwood desk with a contented sigh. It was a beautiful day, and the palace gardens outside his window were especially resplendent in the sunlight, ensuring the Palace of Flowers lived up to its name. And the Emperor was about to engage in a favorite Xiomeran pastime: making a deal.

Trade had been the signature goal of Topilpopoca's current reign. But troublesome dissidents, bleeding heart democracies and nosy neighbors were all combining in a particularly vexing way to thwart the Emperor's ambitions. That wasn't a good thing for any Emperor who wanted to keep his Imperial posterior on the Obsidian Throne; rivals were always circling like sharks around prey, and any leader found wanting would find themselves chum in short order.

Topilpopoca had been Emperor for far too long to allow that to happen. And when he had demanded suggestions from his Trade Secretary, Tlanextia, on nations likely to ignore silly concerns about Xiomeran internal affairs when it came to trade, Kerlile had been first on her list.

Topilpopoca had read the dossier on Kerlile. Unlike many other regional leaders, he liked what he had read. A strange matriarchial system, to be sure, but also a proud nation with a unique culture, one often unappreciated and attacked by its neighbors. Xiomerans could certainly relate to that. And given Xiomera's own unusual political system, the Emperor wasn't inclined to look down on other nations whose systems were....unorthodox.

More importantly, since the Haven Accords, Kerlile needed trade and friendly nations to offer that trade. Xiomera had needs of its own. Resources, to power the ever-hungry maw of the Xiomeran industrial sector. People, to buy the goods and services that sector produced. Xiomera relied on trade to maintain its prosperity, the underpinning of what held the entire Xiomeran system together and kept the sheep contently grazing. Without trade, Xiomera would collapse eventually. The Xiomerans needed a deal just as badly as Kerlile did.

Topilpopoca certainly wouldn't let them know it, however. Xiomera presented an image of golden, implacable strength to the world. He would rely on that image during the negotiations.

When the time came, Secretary of International Affairs Huitzilhuani passed the Emperor a phone number. Secretary of Trade Tlanextia was also there, both of them ready to help the Emperor if he ran into trouble on the call. But the Emperor placed his own phone calls.

When the call was answered, he spoke simply. "Good morning, and thank you for taking my call. I am Topilpopoca," he said in his warm baritone voice. He didn't feel the need to try to impress Arnott with his title; she was a head of state in her own right, after all.

Besides, Topilpopoca was supremely confident that anyone important enough for him to call would already know who he was.

“Good morning, Emperor. I am Rebecca Arnott, President of Kerlile. It is a pleasure to speak with you,” Arnott said, her voice perfectly calm, giving away none of her nerves. She wasn’t going to let her emotions ruin this opportunity.

"It is a pleasure for myself as well, madam President. I believe I am the first leader of Xiomera to have the privilege to speak with a President of Kerlile in such a way. This is a momentous occasion, a milestone that I hope will lead to many more in the future of our nations," Topilpopoca said. His voice was pitched to convey warmth and sincerity, and confidence without arrogance. Rather than seeming prideful, it would reflect the Emperor's belief that this conversation would not prove to be a waste of time for either party.

"I am in agreement. For too long, my nation has failed to see the wisdom of developing positive relations with the rest of the world. It is my hope that during my time as president, we can change that, and it would please me greatly if we could begin our new era of international cooperation by working with Xiomera. You are an admirable nation," Arnott said, keeping her voice even. She had begun to relax as Topilpopoca spoke, and she was now feeling very hopeful that good would come from this call.

"Thank you for saying so. We find Kerlile to be a nation worthy of admiration as well. Xiomera is also unique in that we do not have the peculiar notions that many nations have considering women," Topilpopoca replied. "We respect anyone who has the strength to stand up for themselves, especially in the face of such malevolent opposition as you have faced. Xiomeran women have long been exemplars of strength in our own society. When some of the greatest leaders in your history are women, you rapidly discard any silly patriarchial notions," he continued. "As such, we have long admired your particular ability to maintain your society in the face of resistance."

"I believe there is much we can offer each other. But rather than start with what we want, I like to begin discussions by finding out what a potential partner is hoping to achieve. So please, tell me: what do you, and Kerlile, hope to achieve by partnering with Xiomera? What is it that we can offer you, or do to help you?"

“You may have heard of our current… predicament,” began Arnott, hating to appear weak but knowing that she had little choice. “Following the verdicts of the TRC we have had to cancel several planned trade deals. While we try to remain self-sufficient, there are certain goods that just cannot be found in Kerlile. Oil, for example.”

“I have no doubt you are also aware of the recent attack on our sovereignty by the Trivian Empire. While we are hopeful this will not turn into a conflict, we must be prepared for that possibility. We have heard good things about weapons manufactured in Xiomera, and we would be grateful for the opportunity to purchase some. I hope that is something you are open to?”

"These are all things we can provide. Oil is something we have access to in abundance; we are more than happy to export it to you. We also can supply just about any manufactured good you can imagine. As for your recent incident with Trive....we can help you take measures to prevent such intrusions in the future. Surveillance equipment, early warning technology, technology to jam unwanted broadcasts and protect your networks....and defense equipment as well, should it be needed. We can provide everything from basic firearms all the way to missile systems and main battle tanks. We can also provide experts to help train your forces and boost their capabilities, should that be desired." At the other end of the phone, Topilpopoca smiled. If defense equipment was what Kerlile wanted, Xiomeran factories would be more than happy to churn out as much of it as Kerlile wanted to buy.

“Thank you, we would be most grateful for all of that. Especially technology that would allow us to prevent a similar incident from occurring again. I, and the Council, are concerned that a repeat of such an occurrence would lead to massive unrest across the country. For the safety and security of our people, we cannot allow such a thing to come to pass. It is my hope that we will not need defence equipment but in these times, one never knows. What about you? What do you wish to gain from our partnership?” Arnott asked. She was thrilled with the way the conversation was going. It seemed like Xiomera had exactly what they needed to defend themselves from what was, at present, their biggest threat.

"For Xiomera, first and foremost we are hoping to build solid and mutually beneficial relationships with other nations. We are a nation that makes things, but need people to make those things for. More importantly, we are dealing with foreign challenges of our own. You have probably heard of the unprovoked sanctions recently leveled against us by Zamastan. These events have impressed upon us that we need to find less imperialistic trading partners," Topilpopoca replied. "As for specific needs, as a manufacturing nation, we are always in need of raw materials. Ores, steel, lumber, rare minerals and the like. If we can be supplied those, we can maintain our economy."

“We have an abundance of raw materials in Kerlile. Our mining sector especially is very large. We can provide you with considerable quantities. And yes, I have heard of the sanctions. The Zamastanians sanctioned us too, back in February. They claimed we were interfering in the Aelurian referendum, which was a blatant lie. It hurt our economy. If you are taking any action against Zamastan, we would be open to joining you,” Arnott said. “Rest assured that Kerlile will not attempt to influence the internal politics of Xiomera, unlike so many other countries who feel the need to interfere in others’ affairs.”

"That is good to hear. Xiomera will likewise respect the sovereignty of the Matriarchy and will not interfere in your affairs in any way. We believe the best partnerships are built on that kind of mutual respect," Topilpopoca replied in a pleasant tone. The Emperor was growing more pleased with the conversation as it went on; the situation seemed very promising.

“I am in full agreement. I am glad we see eye to eye on so many things, emperor. I hope that we can cooperate on many things in the future. If you like, I will have my trade minister draft up a full list of resources we would be willing to trade, and send it to your government?” Arnott asked. “We may also soon announce some measures of our own that we will be taking against Zamastan.”

"Such an announcement will be greatly appreciated, along with your list of resources. In return, we will denounce the actions of the Trivians, and supply a list of available defensive weapons and manufactured goods, as well as oil exports," Topilpopoca said with genuine pleasure. Nothing satisfied a Xiomeran more than a well-done deal. And this deal seemed to be just that for both nations.

“We are grateful. I look forward to receiving your list. It has been a pleasure speaking with you,” Arnott replied. She could not have been more pleased. The two nations were perfect trading partners, and what’s more, Xiomera seemed fully willing to work with Kerlile. Her trade policy was shaping up to be a success, despite the numerous forces which had been working against her.

"We are grateful as well, and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial and respectful relationship between our two nations. Thank you once again for taking my call," Topilpopoca replied. For his part, the Emperor felt the conversation could not have gone any better. Xiomera would soon show the world that it would be subject to no one's economic blackmail.

“You are very welcome. I hope we can speak again soon. Have a good day, emperor,” said Arnott. She leaned back in her seat and smiled at the ceiling. This day was going very well indeed.

User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:36 am

(Written jointly with the Democratic Republic of Eiria)

Arnott Residence, Grapevale, Kerlile
7th August 2019 - evening

President Rebecca Arnott flicked through the list of Council debates scheduled for the next week. She was annoyed that the emigration decriminalisation debate had been scrapped, and hoped that something could be scavenged and saved. She was reading through a proposal by Councillor Georgiou to increase arts funding when the phone on her desk rang. She jumped a little before picking it up.

"Yes?" She asked.

"Ma'am, we are receiving a call from Alice Lancaster, the Minister of Diplomacy for the Democratic Republic of Eiria. She wishes to speak to you."

"She's not on my schedule, but I suppose I could make an exception. Put me through."

The line clicked a couple of times. When the call connected, Arnott spoke.

"This is President Arnott. How may I help you?"

"Good Evening, President Arnott. This is Alice Lancaster. I know you are very busy, so I won't waste to much time with pleasantries. I called to discuss the Trade war".

"Ms Lancaster," said Arnott, slightly taken aback, "while I can appreciate a certain level of bluntness, I would not describe our slight dispute with Zamastan as a 'war'. However I am willing to overlook that. May I ask, however, what business this is of yours?"

She chuckled. "My apologies, Madame. I can be a bit blunt on occasion. I didn't get the nickname 'Diamond' by being subtle. Eiria is interested in holding a conference to end this... Dispute, before it gets out of hand and sends us all into a depression".

"Well, that seems like a bit of an exaggeration to me. We shared little in the way of trade with Zamastan to begin with. And they sanctioned us back in February after accusing us of electoral interference in Aeluria that we were not responsible for. I do not feel that such a conference is necessary."

"With all due respect, Eiria disagrees. I do not doubt your statement that you were not interfering in the election. Eiria has a habit of attempting to shut anything negative down before it starts, ever since the Civil war". She sighed. "Look, you have every right to decline. If so, I apologise for wasting your time. We are just being cautious, Madame President".

"That is understandable. I would not be so hasty, however, to decline without giving the invitation due consideration. We would, of course, prefer to end this dispute in a peaceful and prompt manner. After all, we are seeking to increase trade with our neighbours, not get into unnecessary disputes. I will consider sending a representative to this conference, if it goes ahead."

"Thank you, Madame. It will be held at my childhood home, The Lancaster Estate, in Duņceda, Western Eiria. Accomodations for travel will be made, and diplomats will stay at guest rooms on the Estate property. When would you like to hold it?"

"That will surely depend on the other parties you are inviting. Have the Xiomerans and Zamastanians agreed? We will confirm our attendance once they have," Arnott said.

"I will confirm with them, but I assume they'd be open. We also require the Dietary and Allergenic restrictions for your party, as soon as possible. Is there anything else you wish to discuss, Madame President?"

"No, that will be all. Once we have confirmed our attendance and decided who we are sending we will provide you with that information. Good day," Arnott replied.

"Good Day, Madame President". Click.

Arnott put down the phone and stared at it, slightly bemused. She had not planned to agree to attend any conference, but somehow had ended up doing just that. Still, she figured, it would do Kerlile good on the international stage to be seen to be looking to end the trade war before it could really begin. It was important that Kerlile appeared cooperative with all efforts to end this. This would be good for the Matriarchy - and, almost more importantly, good for her political career.

User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:14 pm

Council Chamber, Grapevale, Kerlile
Friday 16th July 2019, morning

Councillor Rosemary Arnott glanced nervously around the Chamber. She was the youngest – although not the newest, given that Nirmala Patel had recently taken her imprisoned mother’s seat – and this was a momentous debate. The consequences of the decision made there today would affect the lives of millions in the years to come. It was a responsibility that the 19-year-old Rosemary struggled to comprehend. She hadn’t wanted to inherit her seat so early, but Kerlile was not a country where people had many choices.

The door opened, and Councillor Carmen Robinson entered, pointedly avoiding Councillor Pauline Pierre’s eyes as she took her seat. Carmen had taken to avoiding the Chamber recently, only turning up to the most important and contentious of debates. Everyone knew it was to avoid Pauline, even the young Rosemary, but naturally decorum meant that nobody would mention it.

Carmen still hadn’t forgiven those on the Council who had ordered her detention and interrogation, and when Pauline had been found not guilty, she had been devastated. All her plans, her careful collecting of information, all for nothing. She had betrayed the matriarchy, committed treason, all for nothing. She had wanted revenge for her family, anyone even remotely familiar with the Council knew that. Alas, her vengeance was still out of her grasp.

“If we are all present, we shall begin,” announced Councillor Lia Chiu. She stood, motioning for the others to do the same. Since Jennifer Hale’s return, the traditions of Council meetings had often been neglected, but for such a momentous debate, Lia had decided it was important that protocol was followed to the letter. “Who is present in this chamber?” she demanded.

“Councillor Rosemary Arnott,” said Rosemary, standing straight and looking dead ahead. “Descendant of Founder of Kerlile Nancy Arnott.”

“Councillor Electra Georgiou, descendant of Founder of Kerlile Phoebe Georgiou”

“Councillor Letitia Greenwood, descendant of Founder of Kerlile Wilma Greenwood.”

“Councillor Jennifer Hale, descendant of Founder of Kerlile Camila Hale.”

“Councillor Natalia Hart, descendant of Founder of Kerlile Edith Hart.”

“Councillor Nirmala Patel, descendant of Founder of Kerlile Sunita Patel.”

“Councillor Pauline Pierre, descendant of Founder of Kerlile Marilène Pierre.”

“Councillor Carmen Robinson, descendant of Founder of Kerlile Margaret Robinson.”

“Councillor Lucia Viallamando, descendant of Founder of Kerlile Martina Villamando.”

“And I, Councillor Lia Chiu, descendant of Founder of Kerlile Yijun Chiu. This session will now begin,” finished Lia. The Councillors all took their seats in unison, even Jennifer, who had fought so hard to discard pointless traditions.

“For the consideration of the Council of Kerlile, I propose the Prisons and Detention Reform Bill. I believe you all have paper copies in front of you, so with permission, I will let the discussion begin immediately?” Carmen asked of Lia, her hand resting on her own copy of the proposed bill.

“Granted. If you would like to begin, Councillor Robinson?” Lia asked of Carmen.

“I think we all already have our own opinions on the topic of prison reform,” began Carmen. “If you will oblige me, however, I ask even those of you who have previously voted against this to reconsider. I could talk about issues of morality, and you could ignore me. Those of you who subscribe to that kind of thought process will already support this bill. So instead, I would like to address this to those of you who may be convinced to change your mind.”

She paused, smiling pointedly in the directions of Lia Chiu, Letitia Greenwood, Nirmala Patel and Lucia Viallamando. She did not glance towards Pauline Pierre. Carmen would never look at Pauline again, if she could avoid it. “I believe the debate following this is on the topic of temporary rationing of certain goods, brought about as a result of the sanctions against us by a number of nations. We cannot act as if these are two separate issues. We all know, deep down, that the main reason other nations choose to sanction us is for our treatment of prisoners. These sanctions affect even us, in this room. They are directly linked.”

“Nirmala, your mother is rotting in a cell in Sanctaria. Why is that? Because of the way she ordered the torture of prisoners. We might call Anita’s situation unique, but can any of us say with certainty that something similar will not happen in the future? I have experienced life in a cell, on the orders of people in this room, and I know that none of you would enjoy the experience. Most of you wouldn’t even cope for a single day without breaking down in tears, knowing the lifestyle you are accustomed to. If we continue to mistreat our prisoners, we are all but asking for such an outcome.”

“Which brings me on to my last point. You lot. The way you treated me. I see the looks on your faces right now. You think: what does it matter to me? I will never be in that position. I will never be treated like that. Well, you are of equal rank to me, and I was treated like that. You tortured a false confession out of me, and now act like I should just let bygones be bygones. You make me sit here and look at your faces, the way you made my mother sit here when she was young and grieving for her mother who was killed in this very room. You are the most immoral and irredeemable people I know, so I know you won’t vote for this out of the goodness of your hearts. So, vote for it to save yourselves in the future, if that’s what it takes.”

Carmen took her seat, blinking away a few tears that had formed at the corner of her eyes. The room was silent, with all of the Councillors avoiding Carmen’s gaze. Those who had voted in favour of her imprisonment in June had the good grace not to speak, and even Pauline couldn’t quite bring herself to look up. The Council sat in silence, until Lia cleared her throat.

“If you could refrain from insulting this Council, Councillor Robinson, that would be much appreciated. I understand that this is an emotional topic for you, however insults will not be permitted in this chamber.”

“Kick her out,” said Pauline.

“Councillor Pierre, I…” began Lia.

“No, I will not have her implying that my grandmother was a murderer!” Pauline shouted.

“She was a murderer!” said Carmen.

“STOP!” yelled Jennifer. “Are we going to do this now? This is a serious topic for debate, and the 1983 incident is not what is being discussed. Are we going to continue this debate on prison reform or not?”

“The debate will continue,” said Lia firmly. “If Councillors Pierre and Robinson wish to argue over historical events they may do so in their own time. Now, I believe Councillor Greenwood has points she wishes to raise.”

“Yes, I do,” began Letitia, “especially pertaining to the proposed closing of the Restricted Region. In the event that this legislation passes, there is going to need to be a lot of transfers out of the Region. We are, I hope, not planning to release terrorists and traitors? Which means we would need to address overcrowding in other facilities. What is wrong with keeping the prisoners in their present location but changing the way the facilities are run? Would that not address the concerns of the Reform Party Councillors without making matters worse?”

“There will be ample space in prison facilities after my mother announced those pardons,” replied Rosemary Arnott. “Which she intends to do soon.”

“She is a fool!” exclaimed Nirmala. “She wants to release traitors, who will undoubtedly work to overthrow us all as soon as they can.”

“She’s releasing people who spoke their minds. People who did nothing but speak, which they shouldn’t be locked up for,” said Jennifer.

You would say that, little democrat,” sneered Nirmala. “You are the reason we are all in this mess with the Haven Accords.”

“I just want an answer to my question,” sighed Letitia. “Why can we not keep them in their present location but reform the way they are treated?”

“You know fine well that the way the Region is set up, that reform there would be impossible,” Electra Georgiou answered. “It must be shut down.”

The Councillors all began to speak over each other, their voices mixing together as Rosemary Arnott stood and subtly exited the chamber. She leaned against a wall and sighed. She was getting a headache – Council debates always did that to her. She wished she hadn’t been the eldest (and only) daughter of President Arnott. She hated being a Councillor. She wished she could just head back to university in Hazelton.

“Ma’am, are you okay?” one of the security guards outside the Chamber asked her.

“Fine, yes. Just… can you ask, um, I’m sorry I don’t know her name but I mean the minute-taker to tell me when they’ve called a vote? I just want a break.”

“Of course, ma’am.”

Rebecca wandered down the atrium outside the Chamber, looking at the statues of the founders of Kerlile and enjoying the quiet. Sometimes the noise just got too much for her. It had always been this way throughout her childhood. It had got her in trouble more than once. She sat down on a bench, pulled out a small e-reader and sat down.

“Ma’am?” came a voice, about an hour later. “They have delayed the vote until Monday. They are moving on to discuss rationing procedures.”

“Thank you,” she said to the nameless civil servant who looked a little frightened to be speaking to a Councillor. “In which case, I will go home. It is not a contentious issue, we all know it is necessary, unfortunately.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Rebecca Arnott sat a little longer, finishing her chapter, then stood up and abruptly exited the building, her security noticing and following wordlessly. Her chauffeur opened the door to her car as she approached, and she got inside. She preferred to walk, but wasn’t permitted to while there was a security warning in place. She hated Trive for provoking the increase in security.

As the car drove through Grapevale, she absentmindedly stared out the window and began her favourite daydream – in which she was a normal 19-year-old, in a normal country, with no responsibilities at all.

User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:45 pm

Georgiou Residence, Grapevale, Kerlile
4th September 2019, evening

Councillor Electra Georgiou sat curled up on a soft sofa in a grand library within her mansion. The bookshelves were full of thick volumes, mainly on the history of art. The Georgiou library was said to hold the largest collection of foreign literature in Kerlile – which was, of course, banned for the general populace. Paintings by foreign artists, some of whom were even male, adorned the walls, much to the dislike of the other Councillors, who knew of Georgiou’s love of foreign art.

Suddenly, the heavy oak door to the library opened, and Georgiou sighed, placing a bookmark in the volume on Laeralian architecture she had been reading. She set it down next to a cup of Trivian coffee that likely had not been purchased through official channels.

“What is it, Felicity?” she asked the servant who had disturbed her. She was straight to the point, but there was a softness to her tone which reassured Felicity that she was not in any real kind of trouble.

“Ma’am, um, something highly irregular has occurred.”

“Yes?”

“Councillor Chiu is, well, here unannounced. She wishes to see you.”

“Unannounced visit? Well, either something terrible has happened, she is here to kill me, or she wants something. This is not going to be a fun evening. Have someone send champagne to the secondary sitting room, I will see her there.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Felicity said, turning and leaving. Georgiou sighed, looking at her book and unfurled herself, straightening herself up and dusting the crumbs from the biscuits she ate earlier off her clothes. Councillor Chiu was rather traditional, it wouldn’t do to show up looking unkempt.

After leaving the library, Georgiou ducked into a small room in the corridor on her way to the secondary sitting room. In the small room, she took a pistol out of a box, loading it and concealing it on her person. If Chiu did intend to kill her, she would be prepared. She continued and entered the room, to find Chiu already sitting in her favourite chair.

“Lia, what brings you here at this time of night?” Georgiou enquired.

“Nothing pleasant, but you can relax – you will not need the weapon I know you have concealed. Oh, do not give me that look, it is quite obvious. Please, have a seat. We need to discuss the Olympics.”

“The Olympics?” Georgiou was confused, however she felt reassured that Chiu had not immediately shot her dead, so she took a seat nearby. A male servant appeared, placing a bottle of champagne on the table and pouring two glasses. Georgiou nodded to him as he exited.

“You let men serve you? I would be worried about poison,” Chiu shrugged, but nevertheless took a sip of her champagne.

“They can be useful, Lia. What is it you wished to discuss?”

“I understand that you, personally, are attending mainly as an opportunity to visit Shuell and gain an appreciation for their culture. You do so enjoy your trips abroad and with the heightened security recently, you have been unable to make so many. I do not begrudge you your hobbies, though I do often wish you would not give so much money to misogynistic artists for their paintings.”

“They are not…”

“Yes, yes, we could argue this but that is not my point. While you are in Shuell, it would be beneficial for all of us if you were to develop positive relations with anyone of a similar position to yourself in other nations – ministers, Shuellian directors, whatnot. Though I would urge you to avoid the Lauchenoirians.”

“Well, naturally, they do hate us. And, I assume, you wish me to avoid Shen too.”

“Of course, though that is from a personal perspective, rather than what is best for the Matriarchy, so it pains me to say this, but I would not listen to my view on the matter of that particular Empire.”

The two Councillors sat in silence, Georgiou delicately sipping her wine and Chiu gripping her glass hard and taking a gulp, as if the alcohol could wash away the mention of Shen. Neither woman offered more explanation.

“Electra… may I ask why you chose to join the Reform Party?” Chiu asked, her voice softer than usual, indicating a genuine curiosity rather than an ulterior motive. “You used to be politically neutral, as far as I remember.”

“That is true. Well, partly. I maintained a public neutrality, preferring not to involve myself in this divide. I have always supported reform, however. I just went about it in a more… covert manner. The Patels and Pierres have always pushed against open reform. I achieved much more operating the way I did – education bills, arts funding. All of this has helped the Matriarchy move in a positive direction.”

“Then why change? If operating covertly has given you more opportunities to push the reforms you favour?”

“Time, Lia. The mood is shifting in this country, and globally. We are going to need to move with the times, or we will not just be left behind – we will be, to put it bluntly, invaded, occupied and forced to change. Look how quickly the world intervened in Lauchenoiria. If we are not careful, it will be us next. The time for open change, for real change, has to be now. We need reform to stop revolution.”

“I would say that was somewhat alarmist,” Chiu noted, picking up the bottle to refill her empty glass. Georgiou had only taken several sips, she was alarmed to see how quickly the older woman was going through the champagne.

“You should heed my warning, Lia. I know what you care for most – money. Already, we are struggling. This champagne is from my stockpile, when that is gone I will have to either do without, or turn to the smugglers to avoid the sanctions. Reform is the only way you and your family can keep the lifestyle you have grown accustomed to.”

“You have certainly given me food for thought, Electra. As you know, I supported Rebecca’s appointment as President in the end. It was the right choice for the time. It worried me, the way Anita and Pauline thought they could get away with imprisoning and torturing Councillors. I mean, Goddess, who would have been next? Carmen made her mistakes, but when I saw those scars on her arm…”

“Horrible things have happened recently,” Georgiou sighed, standing and walking over to the large window which overlooked her garden, the lights of the city blinking in the distance. “I worry.”

“As do I, I think we all do. I have not paid enough attention, I do not think any of us has. We believed for too long we were untouchable… but no longer. Action must be taken, and I confess, you may have the right idea. The thought of changing our system is not one that appeals to me, but if it is necessary, I can learn to live with it.”

“We will all have to, in the end. Those of us who support it, and those who do not. Unless we all want to end up in cells like Anita.”

Chiu shuddered at the thought, and Georgiou chuckled slightly. She finished her champagne and put down the glass, walking back over to where Chiu was standing up and preparing to leave.

“I must say, Lia, this was a more pleasant meeting than I expected,” Georgiou commented. “I will show you out.”

“Thank you, Electra,” Chiu said, as the two women began to walk to the exit together. “I know we have had our differences in the past, but it is time the Council came together. Some of our number are resistant to what must be done. Those of us who are at least willing to entertain the idea of change ought to stick together.”

“I am glad you see it like that, Lia. Let us not be hasty in making any moves. We can discuss this further at a later date. I cannot convince you to join the Reform Party, can I?”

“No,” laughed Chiu, “I am not that far gone.”

“Pity, we could use someone with as much experience as you,” Georgiou smiled, genuinely, which she hadn’t expected to do this night. “Well, I hope you have a good night.”

“To you also,” Chiu nodded, as a servant opened the front door for her. The air outside was still warm, the summers lingered long in this part of Kerlile. “We shall speak again soon.”

“Soon. Goodnight, Lia.”

“Goodnight, Electra.”

As Chiu departed and the door was closed behind her, Georgiou smiled to herself. What she had expected to be a stressful meeting had turned into a positive development. Chiu had come to declare herself an ally of the reformists. A secret one, but they needed all the help they could get. Yes, things were looking up in Kerlile.

“I will turn in for the night,” Georgiou said to Felicity, who hovered nearby.

“Yes, ma’am.”

Georgiou began to head upstairs, pausing on the landing to look out the window at the city of Grapevale. The lights twinkled, pretty in the darkness. She wondered what was going on in the city right now, if the people were happy, or if the revolution she so feared was already brewing.

User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:36 pm

(Written jointly with Xiomera)

Greenwood Residence, Iletina, Kerlile/The Cauhloc, Tlālacuetztla, Xiomera
9th September 2019 - early morning Kerlile, late morning Xiomera

Councillor Letitia Greenwood walked along the corridor of her family mansion, passing grand windows overlooking her vast garden. Her daughter Carolyn was outside playing an early morning game of tennis with one of Letitia's sisters. Letitia paused to watch as Carolyn won a point, nodding in approval. She then opened a door and slipped inside her home office, a rather modern looking room filled with a variety of screens. One of her assistants, Yvonne, the one who dealt with political matters, hurried to stand up from a smaller desk where she'd been working.

"Yvonne, I want to speak with the Xiomeran security secretary, Tepilcayotl. Get him on the phone for me, if you can," Letitia said, walking over and sitting down at her larger desk. "And once I'm on the call I would like privacy."

"Yes, Councillor," said Yvonne, picking up her tablet and flicking through the list of numbers. Once she had located that of Tepilcayotl's office, she took the phone and dialled, listening to it ring as the Councillor watched.

The Cauhloc, the building that housed the Secretariat of Security, was quite unlike most of the buildings on the central square in Tlālacuetztla. The buildings on the Tiazō were a mix of ancient buildings with classical Xiomeran architecture, and more recent buildings from the period between 1850 to 1900 built during Camaxtica's postwar reform period.

The Cauhloc, however, was different. Built in 1968 after its predecessor building burned to the ground in a still-unexplained fire, it was unapologetically modern, even Brutalist, in design. A solid mass of stone arranged in cubes, its flat slabs rose thirty stories into the air, looming over the smaller buildings on the square like a giant black box. To Xiomerans, it was more like a black hole - what went into the Cauhloc, the grim joke went, didn't come out.

At the top of this mass of black stone, the office of the Secretary of Security was likewise not at all similar to any other Xiomeran leader's space. Most Xiomeran high officials had richly decorated and highly comfortable offices, laden with Xiomeran tradition and Xiomeran wealth as well.

This office was different by design. Stark stone walls housed a bevy of computer screens and televisions, silently displaying news and events from throughout the world. Multiple clocks displayed the time in various countries. The furniture was equally stark and modernistic - it encouraged you to sit, but not get comfortable.

While the fancy and old-school offices of other Council members were the face of Xiomera's government, this room was the beating heart of the cold technocratic soul that kept Xiomera functioning behind the scenes. And, its occupant reasoned, kept it safe.

Tepilcayotl was at his desk when the call came in, poring over multiple security and intelligence reports relating to the attempt on the Emperor's life. Cahuit, his assistant, interrupted his review by speaking over his intercom. "I apologize for the interruption, Excellency, but there is a call for you. Councillor Letitia Greenwood of Kerlile has asked to speak with you," Cahuit said.

Normally, Tepilcayotl would have quietly and verbally eviscerated Cahuit for interrupting him during such a challenging security situation. But he was curious as to why someone from the Council of Kerlile - and this Councillor in particular - would be calling him specifically. "Put the call through," he said. When the call was patched through, Tepilcayotl said, "Good morning, Councillor Greenwood. This is an unexpected pleasure. What can I do for you?"

The moment she received confirmation that Tepilcayotl would take the Councillor's call, Yvonne had transferred the call on her end to Letitia, and had scurried out of the room. When Tepilcayotl's voice came through the phone, Letitia couldn't help but smile.

"Good morning, Secretary. I was so sorry to hear about the attempt on the life of Emperor Topilpopoca. He has been a good friend to Kerlile in the last month, at a time when we sorely needed it. The best wishes of all on the Council of Kerlile are with him in his recovery."

"Thank you for your well wishes, they are greatly appreciated. We are hopeful that the Emperor will make a speedy recovery. We are fortunate that we were able to quickly apprehend his assailant as well. Justice must be served swiftly and decisively to maintain the people's confidence in the institutions that a society is built upon. Despite the difficult situation, I am confident that Xiomera will prevail in the end. Support of friends such as yourself and the rest of the Council helps greatly, of course," Tepilcayotl said.

"Kerlile is willing to help in any way we can during this difficult time," Letitia began. "I can also offer you some... additional assistance with the problem of the assailant. I imagine you are looking to discover if he had accomplices. My country is very good at finding out such things. Unfortunately, our current President seems to be endeavouring to lessen our security abilities in that way. As such, there are many Kerlians who are extremely skilled in such areas who find themselves out of work. I, personally and not on behalf of the Council, wonder if you would perhaps be seeking to employ any such individuals?"

Tepilcayotl found himself suddenly intrigued. Kerlile's skilled interrogators had a certain reputation, and while the ASI was no slouch in getting information, sometimes a different set of skills was useful to have. Besides, this would be an opportunity to see what techniques the Kerlians might be able to bring to bear on Cētlalhui that Xiomerans couldn't.

If nothing else, it would be a way to make Cētlalhui suffer. And Tepilcayotl wanted him to suffer. He had promised unprecedented pain, after all.

"I believe we could certainly find a place for anyone you know of who would be able to bring a unique set of skills to bear to our dilemma with Cētlalhui. If that could be arranged, I would be most grateful indeed," Tepilcayotl said.

"As you may know, Kerlian citizens are not permitted to travel outside of the country without reason. However as a Councillor I may grant individuals a temporary permit to work abroad, in specific circumstances. There are a number of skilled individuals I feel could help you. If you're interested, permits for these people could be arranged."

Letitia smiled as she spoke. Kerlile was presently filled with many unhappy and unemployed women who had previously worked in the Restricted Region before it was closed down. They despised the Reform Party, of course, but their discontent was not enough to make them act against Arnott. However, if she could provide these individuals with opportunity... they may well support her in the future, if the unity of the Council was to deteriorate. If Tepilcayotl accepted this offer, it would benefit her too.

"I would indeed be interested. Any of these skilled individuals that you recommend would be most welcome. For the duration of their time here, they would be treated as employees of our ASI, and would be generously compensated for their time and valuable expertise," Tepilcayotl said.

On the other end of the phone, Tepilcayotl was smiling as well. The chance to make Cētlalhui suffer while possibly gaining valuable knowledge to make ASI, his personal pride and joy, more dangerous was practically a gift from the gods.

"Of course. I would, however, appreciate it if this arrangement could be kept between us. The Council has enough on its plate to discuss and, well, you know how some of them are these days. Unwilling to do what needs to be done," Letitia said sadly. She was, it must be said, genuinely disappointed in some of the decisions made by the Council recently. She was glad someone appreciated the talents of Kerlian interrogators these days, even if it was a foreign male.

"I can appreciate the need for discretion on this matter. We have our own elements here in Xiomera who are...reluctant at times to make the hard decisions that must sometimes be made. As head of Security, I must often make executive decisions that the rest of our Council need not concern themselves with, and wouldn't probably understand anyway, not being professionals in my line of work," Tepilcayotl chuckled softly. "You can rest assured that our agreement will be kept in strictest confidence."

"I thank you for that. I can begin contacting likely individuals immediately. I can have permits for them within 24 hours, and then we can arrange transport. I'm sure you will want them as soon as possible?" Letitia asked.

"Indeed. I will begin making the necessary arrangements on our end to make sure that housing and pay are ready for them when they arrive. Given the potential security risks here, the sooner they can start, the better," Tepilcayotl replied.

"Of course. I will have people I trust reach out to them immediately. I hope the Emperor has a speedy recovery, and that you can deal with this threat swiftly and fully," Letitia said, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear and twirling it a little. She was pleased that he had accepted. She had been somewhat worried that she would get a rejection - and that the Xiomerans would tell Arnott.

"Thank you again for your kind words. With your help, and that of your experts, I am confident that we will be able to take care of this matter in an effective way. If there is anything else that our government, or I personally, can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask," Tepilcayotl said warmly. He was quite pleased to have Kerlian 'experts' on his payroll now. They would root out any security threats the Xiomerans couldn't.

And even if there was no conspiracy, and Cētlalhui had acted on his own, the Kerlians could still prove quite useful in ensuring no other annoyances disturbed the harmony of Xiomeran society.

"I will be sure to ask if there is anything you can help us with. I hope that our professionals prove helpful, and once again I hope you can end this threat promptly. I wish you the best of luck," Letitia said. She was very hopeful that this arrangement would prove useful to Xiomera, and that in the future, should certain events transpire, it could serve as an example to those who would see Kerlile weakened.

"Thank you again, and I wish you luck as well. Have a good day, Councillor Greenwood," Tepilcayotl said with a smile. He was already contemplating what was awaiting Cētlalhui when the Kerlians arrived, and was pleased.

"Good day, Secretary," Letitia said, putting down the phone. She sighed contentedly and sat back for a moment before she pressed a buzzer that sent Yvonne scurrying back into the room.

"I'm going to need the full list of former Restricted Region employees and their present contact details. Order them by rank, I need to speak to those with the most experience in... certain areas."

"Ma'am? But the Region has been shut down."

"Do it, Yvonne, and don't question me."

"Yes, Councillor," Yvonne said, then exited once more.

Letitia sat by the window, staring out at the early morning sun, chuckling to herself. She was very pleased, and she had new plans for how she could put an end to this pointless experiment with reform that Arnott and her allies were set on.

User avatar
Lauchenoiria
Global Moderator
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Council of Kerlile: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:55 pm

School of Biological Sciences, Hazelton University, Hazelton, Kerlile
12th September 2019 – 11:07am Kerlian time

Councillor Rosemary Arnott ran along the corridor, her two armed guards matching her pace, though they didn’t look very happy about it. A couple of students and professors turned to stare at the three of them, one almost dropping a petri dish in shock as she was forced to press herself against a wall to let them past.

“Sorry I’m late!” Rosemary called as she pushed into a lecture theatre, panting for breath as she slowed down. The professor fell silent, freezing and dropping a pen which clattered on the floor in front of her. The class turned to see who had entered the room as the armed guards stepped inside and took their position by the door.

“C… Councillor Arnott! I’m so sorry!” the professor said, horrified. “If I had known you were coming I wouldn’t have started without you! Please forgive me!”

“Oh, no it was my fault, the train didn’t arrive in Hazelton until about 3am last night and I just overslept. And after missing the first three days of classes as well! I’ll just sit in the back, sorry to have disturbed the lesson.”

“Here, Councillor, you can have my seat!” an eager young woman in the front row called.

“Or mine, please!” another woman added, standing up and gathering her things.

“It’s fine,” Rosemary said, her cheeks glowing slightly red as she hurriedly walked to the back and sat down. One of the guards made to follow her. “No, it’s okay.”

“Ma’am, this area hasn’t been secured, I must stay near you.”

“I said it’s fine,” Rosemary hissed. The class were still staring at her and she was beginning to get horrendously embarrassed.

“Ma’am, your mother gave me strict orders.”

Rosemary groaned and put her head down on the desk as the guard took up her position behind her. She’d known it might be like this at first, but she was utterly determined to bring some normality back to her life. Her summer spent in the Council Chamber had made her long for a dorm room, some alcohol of dubious quality, and sneaking out after curfew to visit the swimming pool and run like hell if someone called the police.

“I will begin again,” the professor said, bowing deferentially towards Rosemary.

“No, it’s my fault, please, just continue from where you were,” she said, sitting up straight and opening her notebook.

“As you wish,” the professor said, bowing once more. “As I was saying, we see this behaviour in the majority of mammals, however there are some interesting exceptions…”

Canteen, Hazelton University
1pm Kerlian time

“If someone was going to poison me, do you really think they’d do it here and risk all the collateral damage?” Rosemary gritted her teeth as she glared at one of her guards.

“Terrorists rarely care for collateral damage, ma’am,” the guard said.

“Well, I’m going to eat it, unless you’re going to tackle me to the ground in front of all these witnesses? Me, a Councillor? Didn’t think so,” Rosemary spun around and picked up the tray. She carried it over to a table where five students sat, laughing and eating. “Surprise! Bet you didn’t expect to see me back!”

The five students jumped and turned, recognition in their eyes as they all scrambled to their feet. Rosemary put the tray down and grinned, arms out as if expecting a group hug. The five women instead looked at the ground, eyes every so often moving to glance at the Councillor then turning away.

“What, no greeting?” Rosemary laughed, her voice teasing even as the smile drained from her eyes.

“Councillor, it’s wonderful to see you,” one of the women said eventually.

“Mari, it’s me, you can call me by my name,”

“Of course, Cou… Rosemary,” the woman, Mari, replied.

“Oh come on, you know me! We were friends. We did everything together. Why are you still standing? Sit down! Eat! Laugh! Come on, nothing’s changed!”

The five women immediately took their seats, remaining silent. Rosemary sat down next to them, taking a sip of water. The two guards took positions on either side of the table.

“Can you two please leave me be?” Rosemary asked them. They just looked at her. She groaned. “Look, I know the situation is… different, but can we still be friends?”

The five women exchanged a look.

“Of course, Councillor,” one said.

Rosemary,” Rosemary insisted. “You still watching that Lauchenoirian show about the space monkeys, Rach?”

“What show? I would never violate the law by watching foreign media!” a woman, Rachel, looked horrified, glancing frantically at the guards.

“No, of course you wouldn’t,” Rosemary said sullenly. “Know what? I’m not hungry. I’ll see you later,” she said, pushing her tray away then standing up and storming off down the corridor. She exited the building and walked across some grass, letting a nearby fountain spray her with a little water. The guards followed. She walked up to a parked car, where a chauffeur stood waiting. She gestured and he opened the door. She climbed inside, and folded her arms.

“Where to, ma’am?”

“My apartment, please.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

The car drove off, across town, heading to the upmarket district to the west of the city. The journey took around ten minutes, passing rows of fancy glass buildings and corporate headquarters. The city was one of Kerlile’s wealthiest, and contained the headquarters of the vast majority of Kerlile’s technological and scientific companies. They passed through the corporate district and into the wealthiest residential area. They pulled up to a large apartment building, passing through a security gate.

“Leave me alone,” Rosemary ordered the guards as she got out of the vehicle, ignoring the bowing doorman and entering the elevator. She jabbed the button for the penthouse as the guards hurried to catch up. “I mean it!”

As the doors closed she breathed a sigh of relief. The guards had been annoying her all day, and by this point she would rather have been assassinated than spend another moment in their company. The elevator reached her floor and she exited into her apartment. She threw her bag of books on a fancy sofa, and then stalked into her bedroom, pulling the blinds closed, slipping off her shoes and throwing herself onto the bed.

She pulled the covers over her head, grabbed a pillow which she clutched close to her chest, and then began to sob.

Post Reply