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

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

Post by Xiomera » Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:23 am

June 14th
Tlālacuetztla


Aztahuan, one of the main neighborhoods in downtown Tlālacuetztla, is the center of the party scene for the Xiomeran elite. In its many nightclubs, restaurants, bars and private clubs, it wasn't at all uncommon for well-off Xiomerans to drop thousands of quetzals in a single night of fun - or even more infamous, days-long bouts of partying for the ones who could afford to keep up, both in terms of money and of energy. When Yauhmi had launched her reforms, Aztahuan was one of the few areas in the capital to suffer a decline as a result. Fearful that the Empress was coming for their wealth, Xiomeran elites had begun staying home, and toning down their conspicuous spending to stay off her radar. Aztahuan had taken a significant hit, as the ultra-wealthy who fueled its business stayed home.

But under Xochiuhue, Aztahuan was booming like never before.

Freed from the specter of having to actually pay taxes like normal people, the wealthy and powerful of Tlālacuetztla were once again coming out to play. The casinos and clubs were humming, the restaurants packed, the streets thronged by high-end sportscars, luxury cars and chauffered limousines once more. The liquor was once again flowing in abundance, along with the other substances and amusements that the Xiomeran rich favored. Life, for them, was once again good. Unlike many corners of Tlālacuetztla, no one missed Yauhmi or mourned her "abdication" one bit.

A group of such Xiomeran masters of their universe found themselves making their way down Culhuaxte, the main street running through the center of Aztahuan. Their agenda for the evening was a simple one: blow as much money on mindless amusements as they could. For them, a national nightmare spawned by Yauhmi was over, and with the correct order restored to things, it was time to celebrate.

"Should we go to Oban first, or Canango?" Tlumilca, heiress to the Zacuetz luxury hotel chain, asked her date. Xocolcōza grinned in response. "Let's hit Canango first. I could use some drinks before we eat," he replied. "Yeah, I don't have my best appetite until I've danced a bit," Panaca agreed. One of the founders of the Teliz ridesharing service, Panaca fancied himself to be a great dancer. His own date, Maloxili, laughed in response. "I guess we can handle watching you 'dance' for a bit before we eat," the X3 Network anchorwoman told Panaca. Panaca made a mock-disappointed face at her joke in response, before grabbing her hand and swinging her around in an impromptu dance move.

Xocolcōza sighed, laughing as well. "Come on, you two," he said. The four of them began walking to the entrance of the club, when Tlumilca paused. "What's all that?" she said, pointing.

At the end of the block, a small group of Xiomerans were holding signs and shouting. As the four came closer, the words became clear. "Ugh, some malcontents. Something about not working for us until Yauhmi is restored, or something," Xocolcōza said disdainfully. The protesters appeared to be wearing uniforms of various service-related companies, and Tlumilca began to look distinctly uncomfortable. "Should we be worried? Should we turn around?" she asked.

"Nah, they'll be dealt with. Just watch," Xocolcōza said calmly.

After a few moments, another group of people emerged from a side street. They were all dressed in black, and had small red-and-gold emblems of the god Tezcatlipoca on their shoulders. The black-clad Xiomerans quickly produced expandable batons from their belts and snapped them open. With ruthless efficiency, the black-clad Xiomerans began pushing the group of protesters down the street without a word. When the protesters tried to resist being pushed off the street, a squadron of Tlālacuetztla Municipal Police that had idly been watching sprang into action. The police efficiently detained the protesters and removed them from the scene. The whole episode took merely minutes. As the police left with the protesters, the black-clad civilians resumed their patrol.

"The Good Citizens' League was contracted by the XBA to help supplement security in the cities, with the new Emperor's permission," Xocolcōza said, smiling. "There won't be any further trouble in Aztahuan, or anywhere else in the capital, for that matter. Let's not let those losers spoil our fun, though. We have the whole night ahead of us," he added, taking Tlumilca's arm. The other three laughed in relief and followed him into the club.

---

Xochiatipan

"The GCL is on the streets now, along with the XSPA and the XSA. This is a danger," Huitzilhuani said.

"A problem, certainly. A danger, yes. But did any of us anticipate that there would be no danger in any of this?" Tlālzixiuhxa said, in a tone of surprise.

"Of course not....but there are old people, kids, young people that want to join us. If they're hurt...." Tlanextia said, only to be cut off. "They will be hurt. We have to be clear about that. We will be demanding our freedom from a government that only wants our obedience and our silence. There is nothing about that which results in an outcome where no one is hurt. We cannot waver or demur if we want to accomplish anything." Tlālzixiuhxa shook her head. "We have warned people about the danger they will face - no one is naive about this. Anyone that still wants to participate, is prepared to accept whatever fate and the gods bring. We have to be ready for the same."

"Very well," Hutzilhuani said after a moment. "So the date remains the same, then?"

"Yes. On June 16th, we will march on the center of Xochiatipan. If the GCL, or the other pressure groups, or the police try to stop us....so be it," Tlālzixiuhxa said firmly.

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

Post by Xiomera » Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:29 am

(Joint post with Lauchenoiria)

June 15th
Laeralsford


Crown Prince Texōccoatl and Secretary Nōlinyauh, during their time setting up the government in exile, had met with many people, both Xiomerans and foreigners. But this meeting promised to be the most unusual, even more so than the meeting that Texōccoatl had with the Milintican, Karauria.

Watchdogs of Our Earth, the Lauchenoirian activist group, had sent a representative to offer their “services” to the loyalist government. There had been some considerable debate as to what “service” they could possibly offer, and what they might expect in return. But the Crown Prince had decided that the loyalists needed all hands on deck that were willing to help. The CNRR was already pulling together a very odd mix of Shuellian mercenaries, Milintican idealists, Eirian and Legionite agents, assorted Kerlians, Xiomeran reformists and random disgruntled Huenyans. Adding a group of Lauchenoirian climate activists, the Crown Prince reasoned, was no more odd an addition to the group than any of the rest.

A member of the Crown Prince’s security detail announced that the representative from WOE had arrived, and he gestured for them to be shown in.

Reyes Calvo had been chosen to go to Laeral as a diplomatic member of WOE - which wasn't saying much. WOE were known in Lauchenoiria for their direct action and flagrant violations of the law, not for their diplomacy. Reyes had been appointed by his group to speak to politicians many times before back home. A prince was a new one, however. He bet they'd thought it hilarious to send the guy whose name means "kings". In Yervia, they'd gotten rid of their monarchy early and violently. He made a mental note not to mention that as he entered the room and saw the Crown Prince.

"Your majesty, thank you for seeing me," Reyes said, not entirely sure what the protocol was.

"Thank you for coming,” Texōccoatl replied, not sure what title to use and instead opting to be generally polite. “Please have a seat,” he said, gesturing to one of the comfy chairs in front of his desk. Nōlinyauh took a seat of his own to the right of the Crown Prince as Reyes sat down. In the usual Xiomeran fashion, refreshments and a bit of polite, if awkward, conversation commenced before Texōccoatl got to the point. “We are glad that your organization has offered to help us in this effort to restore rightful government in Xiomera. We should probably discuss specifics. What assistance would you be able, or willing, to offer?”

"I know what we must look like to you," Reyes shrugged. "A mismatch of idealistic activists who spend most of our time drinking vegan milkshakes and trying to disrupt coal mine operations. But we can do a lot more than we choose to."

He paused, then looked the Crown Prince in the eyes. "Most of WOE fought in the Lauchenoirian civil war two years ago. They know how to fight, and are willing to do so. We faced capture by Kerlians; we don't fear what your enemies can do for it cannot be worse than that. We are not afraid, we have worked together before, we are still young and strong and that idealism we're criticised for? It can be very helpful in motivating people to fight for what they believe in."

"You make some good points,” Texōccoatl replied. “And I am not one to judge the book by its cover, so to speak. However, your points also raise questions of their own. Since you mention Kerlians, you should be aware that they are our allies. Will your people have issue with that? Also.....since you mention the vegan milkshakes, that brings up another matter, given an incident involving the same.”

Secretary Nōlinyauh chuckled at that remark, which earned him a sidewise look from the Crown Prince before he finally subsided. It took a while.

“Given the past, it is clear that groups such as yours have no particular love for Xiomera. It is therefore reasonable to expect that you will want something in return for your assistance. You’re not mercenaries, so money and violence are not your motivation. What is it, then, that you would expect from us in return for your sacrifice?” Texōccoatl asked.

"The Kerlians are a difficult one, sure," Reyes shrugged. "Some of us are cool with them, some really aren't. They'll fight on the same side but I'd still say maybe keep them apart as much as possible. Some of us didn't exactly come through the war without scars." His voice shook a little, and he had to stop and take a deep breath before continuing. "As for what we want, it's pretty clear, we've kinda broadcast it all across the media."

He took out a folded up leaflet from his pocket, and unfolded it. It was a Climate Alliance leaflet from October, detailing what they wanted for Manauia Island. Biodiversity protected, any construction carried out in an eco-friendly way and with due consideration to climate change, along with a full consultation with - and permission from - residents and native peoples of the island.

"I will be sure to remember your admonition concerning the Kerlians. That part is manageable,” Texōccoatl replied as he took the leaflet and read through it. After a moment, he paused and looked up. “Would you be surprised if I told you that this aligns surprisingly well with many of the plans my mother had for Manauia Island?”

"Those are the surface descriptions of our demands. Should the Teyatia object to any construction, we would ask that you do as they say. And sustainable construction is a much more complex topic than one might think. I can believe that you want to do these things, but seeing them through to the end? Governments can start with the best of intentions, but as projects drag on, corners are cut to protect the budget and so on."

"That is very true. We are willing to have you act as advisors to the Teyatia to make sure that the sustainable guidelines for the project are upheld throughout its construction. And afterwards, because the long term maintenance of the project will be as important as its construction. As for the Teyatia...our intent is that they shall have final say as part of the greater autonomy we had planned as part of existing reforms," Texōccoatl said.

"Should you stick to these plans, we would have no objection. Of course, we need to see that General Xochhuitl and his false emperor don't destroy the island right now. Which is why we want to assist with defending the island," Reyes said. "And that's the other part of our deal: we will defend Manauia Island, but that's the only place we are willing to fight. We don't have that many numbers and as you pointed out earlier, we're not mercenaries. It's there or nowhere."

Texōccoatl kept the polite expression of interest on his face, but inside he was silently laughing. Trust me, I don’t want to send you lot anywhere else in Xiomera. You’d drive everyone crazy, he thought. “That shouldn’t be a problem. I know that the Teyatia would greatly appreciate your help, as would we.”

"Good," Reyes nodded. He was becoming more confident, this had been less intimidating than he'd expected. "Now there is the matter of logistics. Getting to the island and getting supplies. We have some things left over from our own civil war, weapons and such, probably of a poorer quality than you're used to. Getting to the island, though, could be a major problem."

"Transportation should not be an issue. We have been putting together a transport fleet which we plan to escort with our own naval force to ensure there are no problems. We can also provide a bit of an upgrade to your armaments if needed. We have a base of operations in Milintica at which we are assembling our forces. Our recommendation would be for your people to travel there first. We have some Teyatia representatives there who you can speak with prior to your deploying, and you can be outfitted and prepared for transport there.”

"Sure, we can go to Milintica," Reyes agreed. "Provided our own government doesn't try and stop us. They really don't want to take sides in any conflicts right now. We aren't doing anything illegal in Lauchenoirian law but that's no guarantee of anything."

"Perhaps we can figure out a way around that.” Texōccoatl turned to Nōlinyauh, who had a thoughtful expression on his face. “If we have you travel in small groups, or even individually, without any incriminating cargo, and route you through neutral nations, we can avoid Lauchenoirian government scrutiny. If you travel to, say, Eiria or Laeral or some other nation, and don’t acquire tickets to Milintica until you’re in the neutral nation.....it should appear, ideally, as if you’re traveling independently for reasons not related to the conflict,” Nōlinyauh said.

"Should work, as long as they don't take note of the fact a bunch of climate activists are suddenly taking planes," he chuckled a little. "I doubt they'll scrutinise us that hard though, it's Lauchenoiria, not some surveillance state."

"That’s helpful. We could possibly construct some cover story though if needed to explain the departures. Maybe stage some rallies about climate change in the neutral countries before coming to Milintica. That also serves a good purpose for your group in raising awareness in those countries,” Nōlinyauh said.

"Will the Eirians and Laeralites not complain?" Reyes said, though he was grinning at the thought of being able to hold protests around the globe. Perhaps simultaneously, with a shared message... he shook his head slightly to get his thoughts back on track. "Um, that should work for us, though."

"I doubt the Eirians or Laeralites will complain, as long as the rallies don’t stir up any trouble. They’re working with us in any event, so they will understand what we’re doing.” Nōlinyauh smiled and took a sip of tea. Texōccoatl nodded, a grin on his face as well. “This is why I keep you around, you always have good ideas.” Nōlinyauh raised a single eyebrow at the comment, as the Crown Prince turned back to Reyes. “Is there anything else you think we should go over?”

"Is there anything we need to know to prepare? We are aware that this will be incredibly dangerous, but are there any particular dangers we should be aware of, beyond death and the, well, possibility of torture if captured?" He said, wincing a little at the thought.

"A good question.” Texōccoatl handed Reyes a folder in response. “This outlines what you will be facing on Manauia Island, at least as far as our intelligence tells us. We know that the new Governor installed there, Mapilzin, is a real bastard. He’s begun trying to round up the locals into camps, he’s threatening to carpet-bomb the island with defoliants to make it easier for his men to patrol, and he’s taking a very hardline stance on opposition. The island itself has natural dangers, of course - snakes, big cats, tropical diseases, and such to be wary of also. However, the Teyatia will help ensure you steer clear of all of that. They know how to survive on the island, and should be able to make sure you don’t run afoul of anything dangerous. If you stick close to them, and listen to what they tell you, you should be able to handle the natural dangers easily enough. We will also supply any needed medications or treatments while you’re down there. Also, this is the hot and rainy season on the island, so be prepared for that. It may be a very different environment from what you are used to.”

The Crown Prince looked directly at Reyes. “The real danger you will face on Manauia Island is, as it usually is, the people. I doubt you need my advice given your experience, but as a former soldier myself, I’ll give it to you anyway. Stick to hit and run operations, guerrilla warfare. Don’t try to take Mapilzin’s army on head-on, or you’ll be in trouble."

"I doubt we have the numbers to risk taking an army head-on anyway. Thank you for your advice, I will feed back to my people and direct them to travel to Milintica as soon as possible," Reyes said, gripping the folder.

"Thank you for your help, I know the people of Manauia Island and of Xiomera will be very grateful,” Texōccoatl replied, shaking his hand. “If you need anything more, please let us know through our contacts in Milintica.”

After Reyes left the office, Texōccoatl looked at Nōlinyauh. “So....exactly how bad should I feel now that I’ve possibly sent a bunch of activists off to their deaths? Because, frankly, I feel pretty damn bad about it.”

Nōlinyauh looked back at the Crown Prince with an expression of resignation. “If it’s a cause they think is worth dying for, who are we to tell them no? In reality, they don’t need our permission to go to Manauia Island. By accepting their help, and giving them the support they need, we may end up making sure a lot of them don’t die.”

Texōccoatl nodded after a moment. “Let’s hope so. Not just for their sake, but for the people on Manauia Island also."

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

Post by Xiomera » Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:57 am

June 16th
Grapevale, Kerlile


"This shutdown order is crap," Yauhto said.

The Xiomeran ambassador to Kerlile looked fiercely over her coffee cup at Huayna. The chairman of the Xiomeran-Kerlian International Trade Corporation, the blanket company over the Xiomeran factories and businesses in Kerlile, looked back at her with resignation. "I understand your point, Yauhto, and I don't like it either," he said. "But the orders I received from the XBA and from the government are clear. There is to be a complete shutdown of all Xiomeran business operations in Kerlile due to their refusal to recognize the new government. Until the Council changes their mind and recognizes Emperor Xochiuhue, we are not to operate."

"Have you seen what that order is doing on the streets of this city? Or, for that matter, cities throughout Kerlile?" Yauhto demanded.

"Of course I have," Huayna replied plaintitively. The empty shelves, the growing lines at shops, the resumption of rationing; anyone who ventured outside at all could see it happening. "But what am I supposed to do?"

"You're supposed to find your spine, like I did," Yauhto said irritably. She had, days earlier, sent a formal notice that she was not recognizing the new government and would instead report only to the Crown Prince until the coup was defeated. "You're supposed to care about the suffering out there. There are real people suffering in this country we're in now, and we can alleviate that with the flick of a switch. How can you justify not doing so?"

"I have my orders," Huayna replied stubbornly.

"Orders from a junta that is gunning down your fellow Necatli in the streets of Necuatexi and Acalan. Why should you obey them? Come on!" Yauhto shouted.

"I did not get where I am in life by not following my chain of command and doing what I am supposed to do. I can't just stop obeying orders now." Huayna stood up irritably and looked out the window of the ambassador's office.

"Why not? I did. It's quite liberating, actually." Yauhto looked at Huayna. "And I'll be able to live with myself when this is all said and done, and be able to live with my choices. Will you?"

Huayna looked out the window for several moments, until he finally sighed. "Damnit. Fine. You win. I will order all XKITC factories and businesses to resume operations."

Yauhto whooped in joy, then laughed at the shocked expression on Huayna's face. "You'll see. Sometimes, it feels a lot better to refuse to obey orders. I know you're not used to that, being a company man. But trust me on this," she said firmly.

"I suppose we'll see," Huayna said nervously, as he left the office.

Within the hour, a press release went out from the XKITC corporate offices in Grapevale, announcing the immediate return to work of all Xiomeran and Kerlian workers, and the resumption of normal operations.

And within another hour, Huayna received the response he had been dreading.

---

As he sat in his office in the main XKITC factory in Grapevale, the phone rang. Huayna picked it up, already hating it. "This is Chairman Huayna."

"Huayna, you damned idiot! What do you think you're doing, you imbecile?" Xocolcōza, thousands of miles away in Tlālacuetztla, shouted into the receiver, then winced through his hangover. Next to him in the bed, Tlumilca moaned irritably and put her head under the pillow. "The Emperor just called me, as head of the XBA, screaming bloody murder!"

"Sir, let me explain," Huayna began, only for Xocolcōza to cut him off. "We ordered you to keep the factories shut down! That's the only leverage we have over the Kerlians - to starve them into submission and deprive them of needed goods! You're committing an act of treason, you half-wit, and you had better shut those factories back down now or you're a dead man! Do you hear me, Huayna?"

The shouting rang in Huayna's ears, and he suddenly understood what Yauhto had meant. He had had enough.

"Xocolcōza. Listen to me very carefully," Huayna said. "I am thousands of miles away, in a country where you can't touch me. What do your orders mean to me anymore? Why the hell am I even taking your phone call? I can't tell if your voice is slurred because of a hangover or because you have your lips planted on Xochiuhue's ass again, but I don't need to listen to you anymore, either way." Huayna started laughing, struck with that sudden realization. "I don't have to listen to any of you anymore," he repeated softly.

Xocolcōza began shouting again, only to be cut off himself this time. "Shut up, Xocolcōza. I am keeping these factories open, 24 hours a day, and supplying the Kerlians with anything and everything they damn well need or want. Your plan to blockade them is done. Your command over me is done. You're done, you juvenile ass. And if you even think of coming over here to stop us, the Kerlians will deal with you - and I'll be right here with them, to blow your damn head off and anyone else stupid enough to come with you!"

Huayna slammed the phone down. He then looked up. In his excitement, he had forgotten to close his office door.

When he walked outside, a factory floor full of Xiomeran and Kerlian workers was looking up at him. They began cheering, applauding and whooping.

Huayna was quite surprised, but after a moment, he bowed shortly. "Thank you all, but it's still a workday, no? Let's get back to work, please. Those stores aren't going to stock themselves."

As everyone turned back to their work, Huayna walked back into his office and smiled.

---

Back in Tlālacuetztla, Xocolcōza looked at his phone in shock. "Everyone's going freaking insane," he whispered. Tlumilca moaned again and hid further under the pillow.

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

Post by Xiomera » Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:14 am

June 16th
Xochiatipan


The march began at noon.

The Xiomeran Empire was, and had always been, a country where people just didn't protest. The one time people had tried it in the modern era, in 1977, had resulted in a crackdown so harsh that it was seared into the memories of a generation. Few cities in the Empire remembered the events of August 1977 more clearly than Xochiatipan, the largest city in southern Xiomera. Xochiatipan had been the second city where the protests had spread that year, after they began in Tlālacuetztla. One wouldn't have known that from looking at the city itself: successive Xiomeran regimes had worked very hard to cover up and remove the physical scars on the city itself. The bullet holes and the scorch marks on the walls had all been carefully repaired, the tread marks from the tanks and APCs plastered over, the shattered doors and windows replaced. There were no plaques, no monuments.

Only the people of Xochiatipan that had been around in 1977 when the Imperial Army and Imperial Police, backed by civilian "patriots' groups" loyal to the government, came storming through the center of town like manifestations of the angry Xiomeran gods themselves, remembered. And that generation of Xochiatipanicos was of two minds. Half of them, when they saw a new generation of Xochiatipanicos taking to the streets with signs and shouts, quickly ran inside, barred their doors, and closed the shutters over their windows. They knew what was about to happen, and wanted no part of it. Not again.

The other half quickly grabbed signs of their own, and added their own shouts to the rapidly growing crowd marching on the city center. Like their frightened contemporaries who were hiding, they too were driven by their memories of the past.

The crowd swelled as it proceeded down the Avenue Ilcocan towards the center of Xochiatipan, flanked on either side by rows of Imperial Police and soldiers. The marchers were surprised that no one had stopped them yet, but continued on their route. The signs and shouts made what they wanted clear: the restoration of the Empress, the removal of Xochiuhue and the junta, the end of the new regime.

As they reached the Plaza Henalca at the center of town, they found their way finally blocked, but not by the police or the Army. A phalanx of black-clad civilians, with a familiar red-and-gold logo on their shoulders, blocked them from the steps of the Municipal Palace.

"What do we do?" one of the protesters asked Huitzilhuani. "Keep moving. Don't stop or engage anyone until we are on the plaza," she replied. Tlālzixiuhxa nodded, staring straight ahead at the people in black ahead of them. Next to her, Tlanextia looked nervous for a moment, but nodded and resumed a resolved pace.

When they reached the Municipal Palace and the line of GCL members, a voice echoed out from the loudspeakers next to the Palace. "This is an illegal assembly. By order of Mayor Tlahueypec, under the authority of Emperor Xochiuhue and the Imperial Government, you are all ordered to disperse at once. An immediate ban on assembly within the central business district of Xochiatipan is in effect until further notice. Leave the area at once."

In response, the crowd began shouting and chanting various things: repeating their demands for an end to the regime, creative suggestions on what Mayor Tlahueypec could do with his ban on assembly and order to disperse, calls for Yauhmi's restoration. The loudspeaker echoed once more: "You are all ordered to disperse at once. This is your final warning." That threat led several from the crowd to begin climbing the poles holding up the loudspeakers, trying to bring them down.

Inside the Municipal Palace, the Mayor looked at Tultepec, the commander of the Imperial Police in Xochiatipan. "We warned them. Do what you have to do," the Mayor said. Tultepec picked up his walkie-talkie, issuing commands.

As Tultepec's voice crackled over their headsets, the black-clad GCL activists began moving forward, already reaching for the collapsible batons at their waists. The snap sound of hundreds of them opening echoed out over the plaza. Then, the whistle of tear gas canisters being fired over their heads, landing in the crowd of protesters. As the smoke billowed out, the GCL line advanced, using sheer force to begin pushing the protesters back.

As shouts and screams echoed out, the protesters tried to hold their line, but soon began to give way. As they began retreating back down the Avenue Ilcocan, from side streets on either side a new group of people emerged. This group was wearing civilian clothes, but wore red berets with a distinctive logo of the Xiomeran flag with a mācuahuitl on it. "The XSPA. Shit. Fall back, quickly," Tlālzixiuhxa shouted. "Try to regroup at the university!"

Huitzilhuani, Tlanextia and the other leaders of the protest began rallying people back down Ilcocan, towards the imposing walls and gates of the Imperial University of Xochiatipan campus. Their hope was that if they could get inside the university grounds, they could regroup and perhaps push back towards the Municipal Palace.

They wouldn't make it inside.

As the line of protesters fell back to the university walls, they saw another group of people blocking the gates. They appeared to be students, but also appeared to be armed with various objects. "What the hell. XSA?" Huitzilhuani asked Tlālzixiuhxa. "Probably so. Damnit. Get everyone to disperse through the side streets, we're going to have to retreat - "

It was then that Mayor Tlahueypec's plan became apparent to Tlālzixiuhxa. I'm an idiot. How did I not see this coming?

As the lines of civilian counter-protesters blocked the way north or south, the Imperial Police and soldiers that had been flanking the road into the city emerged to block the side streets east or west. We're trapped. What now? Tlālzixiuhxa thought. Then she had no more time to think, as the groups on all four sides of the protesters converged on them. As they began beating and detaining the protesters, Tlālzixiuhxa snapped into desperate, defensive mode. She kicked one Imperial Policeman in the chest, sending him flying. A soldier tried to grab her arm, and suffered a broken wrist and nose for his efforts. Another Imperial Policeman unwisely tried to swing a baton at her, which resulted in him having several broken fingers and no baton. Tlālzixiuhxa began laying into the lines of attackers around her, trying to free up space for people to flee. I'm doing surprisingly well at this, despite my age, she thought. Then, as she was whacking another soldier with the baton, an Imperial Policeman finally got smart and reached for a tazer. The sudden electric shock brought Tlālzixiuhxa to the ground.

As she struggled, several soldiers and Imperial Policemen rushed up to her, restraining her. As Huitzilhuani and Tlanextia watched in shock, Tlālzixiuhxa turned to them. "Run. Run," she shouted.

As they ran, taking several bands of straggling protesters with them, the soldiers and police pulled Tlālzixiuhxa up from the ground. "Take her to the Municipal Palace," a sergeant shouted.

At the steps of the Municipal Palace, Mayor Tlahueypec and Commander Tultepec looked down at the mopping up below on the streets. As Tlālzixiuhxa was dragged to the steps, Mayor Tlahueypec pursed his lips. "You're the old spokeswoman for the former Empress. Where in the world did you learn to fight like that?"

"Where, indeed," Commander Tultepec mused, his expression thoughtful. Tlālzixiuhxa glared up at him, remaining silent. "Take her to the nearest ASI facility. There is much to learn here, I suspect," Commander Tultepec said, waving to the soldiers to carry Tlālzixiuhxa away.

---

The Cauhloc
One hour later


"So we captured Tlālzixiuhxa finally. I would have expected her to leave the country, not show up on some fool's errand like this in Xochiatipan." Security Secretary Calhualyana smiled slightly as General Xōchhuitl read the initial report. "But do you see now why I have been saying that leaving these former Auroras around is a huge risk - especially since Kerlile is now siding with the enemy?"

"You are correct. We should have listened to you. Clearly, we need to account for the whereabouts of the other Auroras in Xiomera, and their intentions. I know of at least one - back when Yauhmi was insisting that we 'rescue' them, Xochiqui and I interviewed one calling herself Huatli. She's an Army major now. We'll have to pick her up. And not just her, I suspect."

"Not just her, indeed. Any Aurora still in Xiomera has to be considered suspect, now. They all have loyalty to Yauhmi, or to Kerlile. Either way, they are a threat." Calhualyana looked at the General. "I assume you'll help me run them to ground?"

"Of course. We have to protect this government," the General replied.

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

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:20 am

(A Joint Post With Xiomera)

The Senate Chambers, 459 Liberty Square, Geminus
8:13 AM, June 16th

The massive Senate Chamber may look huge and intimidating to a new Senator or Aide, but to a more experienced politician, one who has likely examined every detail on the ceiling out of boredom while debate ran on, The Chamber is no more intimidating than the square it's situated on. To Justin Olmansèn, the Centrist Party Leader, the Chamber was an opportunity, one that he couldn't pass up. His position on the Senate Floor let him see the chamber in all its glory. Or, less than glory He thought, glancing at a few of his fellow politicians filing in, late for the second round of debate.

Chief Justice Lira Nērala watched from the Overseer's Chair, shaking her head disapprovingly. "May the record show a few Senators must have had automotive problems or a similar malady that caused them to arrive late". A few chuckles went through the ranks as the properly scolded Senators took a seat. Justin took out his debate sheet from yesterday, rifling through it until he heard shouting from the Veranda above.

Gathered on the viewing platform were a bunch of protesters shouting about Emperor Xochiuhue's policies, especially his supression of dissent and protests, and his threat to use defoliants over Manauia Island. Olmansèn smiled. It was a protest he himself would likely join, even being as afraid of conflict as he was. He had earned the nickname "Mediator" among the other Senators for his intervention in heated debate and crafty compromises, and the Chancellor once joked it would be hard to get anything done without him. His mediation had kept him on the better side of Eirian politics for three terms now, and some believes he has a shot at the Chancellor's position if Lancaster didn't run.

The Chief Justice was less than impressed by the shouting interrupting the bureaucratic processes, and after being interrupting twice, she stood and picked up her microphone she only uses when the Senate is getting to loud. "Attention! Could the protesters assembled on the Viewing Veranda please refrain from interrupting? This whole point of this session is to discuss the bill allowing volunteers to go to Xiomera, so it's counterproductive to hinder debate". As the crowd settled down, she sat back down and addressed the Senators assembled. "Apologies. Now, I open debate on the first section of amendments, regarding training and limitation on volunteers. Majority Speaker Legrand, You have the floor".

Legrand stood and addressed the floor. "Thank you, Chief Justice. And yes, I proposed a few edits on what we agreed upon yesterday". It took every ounce of will Justin had not to facepalm or groan. This likely won't be over soon. So much for date night. Kate's gonna kill me. "The Edits are mainly to protect Eirian Citizens from the Tyranny of Xochiuhue's reign. We can't have unprepared Eirians going into an active warzone".

Minority Leader Alexander Dukov stood and activated his mic. "Well, none of us want that. But the Protesters on the Veranda above us want action. And we need quick action. Some training is needed, definitely, but we had an agreement yesterday. This section doesn't need amending to the extent you propose".

"On Some of the proposed amendments, I may be open to revision, but some of them are non-negotiable. If you cared about the populace, you may be more strict on your training proposal as well!".

The chamber devolved into chaos as Dukov and Legrand argued, with Senators coming to aid both sides and the Chief Justice frantically trying to calm everyone down. Justin couldn't help but facepalm this time, and took a huge swig of his coffee. Nērala was furious. "The Session is Adjourned for ten minutes to regain order in the chamber" She said, bringing down her gavel.

Olmansèn slipped into a nearby meeting room and refilled his coffee, rubbing his forehead. "This is going to be a long morning" he muttered, adding cream and a bit of sugar to the coffee.

"Tell me about it". Justin turned and saw Amara Chin, leader of the Socialist Party, sitting down at the table behind him. "Oh, sorry, I didn't notice you were here. And yeah, it's definitely going to be a long day".

Amara smiled, amused. "You know they likely will ask you to write up a compromise, right? You're one of the best mediators we have".

He sighed. "Yeah, I know. I just wish Dukov and Legrand could be civil for once in their damn lives".

"You and me both. This is why third party options are where it's at". She extended a clenched fist. Chuckling, he returned the fist bump. "Yeah. Well, shall we face the battlefield?".

She opened the door. "After you".

The Chancellor's Study, Geminus

Chancellor William Lancaster sat in his study in the Chancellor's Manor, contemplating the situation of the world. It had been a few days since General Bouclier lifted the lockdown order on him, and a few days since he had told Alice about her fianceè. He desperately wanted to reach out, but she said she needed time, and he had to respect her wishes. This whole situation is insane, he thought, running his fingers through his hair. What the hell has the world come to?!

A knock on the door distracted him from his thoughts. "Come in!". He said, sitting down at his desk. His husband came in, clutching a folder. "An aide dropped this off. Seems like they finally stopped adding and removing amendments, and this seems to be what they agreed on.". Will took the folder from his husband. "Thanks!". The Proviri smiled. "Have fun reading". He grinned as he left, shutting the door behind him.

After he was finished reading the additional amendments added(and there were a lot of them), The Chancellor got out his favourite calligraphy pen to sign, but hesitated. After all, this bill was about to open a place for volunteers to head to Xiomera, so maybe I should get some input on the subject. He picked up the phone and typed in a number he had on a sticky note on the disaster area he called his desk. He pressed call and waited while it dialed.

As Texōccoatl was finishing up some notes on the final plans to deliver the WOE volunteers to Milintica, his phone rang. He noted the number on the caller ID and picked up. “Hello, this is Crown Prince Texōccoatl,” he said.

"Hello, Your Majesty. This is Chancellor Lancaster. I have something here that I think you may be interested in, and I wanted to see if you could put in some input".

"Thank you". He scrolled through the pages of amendments. "The Senate had been debating all day yesterday and most of today about sending Volunteers to Xiomera. They finally put a bill forward to me, and before I sign it, I want to pass the provisions by you before I sign it".

Texōccoatl’s interest sharpened. “That’s very good news. I would definitely be happy to review them.”

"Okay. Most of them involve training that any possible volunteer will have to go through beforehand, or what happens when the volunteers come back, so we can deal with those. However, we do have to know what kind of training will be necessary? What can we train the volunteers so they can be the most effective for you?".

”They should be prepared for several different scenarios. They should ideally be able to avoid capture, because if they’re caught, they probably won’t survive.” Texōccoatl pauses for a moment. “As for tasks....disseminating propaganda for us, weakening people’s faith in the coup leaders...actions that destabilize their hold on power such as hit and run attacks on their bases of power...those are the sort of things that would be helpful.”

The Chancellor took notes as the Crown Prince spoke. "Okay. One of the amendments does require the volunteering option to be extended to the Military first before requesting volunteers from any other source. What would be primary targets for Military Volunteers?".

”Imperial Police stations, ASI installations, government controlled media would all be good places to start. The coup government will probably try some confidence-building gestures and PR gimmicks, such as holding rallies or staging counter-protests. Disrupting those would help too. Your people should be careful though - it appears that the coup leaders have activated civilian pressure groups to help them also.”

"Okay. And since you mentioned PR, our agents in the field believe they are able to add some news websites and other things into the Propoganda filter so that the XIN isn't the sole source of information. The websites may be a bit buried, but they still will be there. Is there any particular website or source of Information you would like to secure on the Xiomeran Internet, besides the videos and posts already being broadcasted?".

”The XIN website. And that of the Imperial Household and the Secretariats of Defense and Security. I could do a lot with control of those,” Texōccoatl said with clear amusement in his voice.

"Okay. Since the breaches are easier to maintain now, I'm sure we can spare agents to secure those. The XIN website would probably be easier than the other two, however". Will made another note in his notebook. "I trust Ambassador Rouchard delivered you the intelligence on Midgard?".

”She did. It’s disturbing that they might be planning to involve themselves in our conflict,” Texōccoatl said. “Are there any countermeasures that you have in mind for them?”

The Chancellor frowned. "Regrettably, I'm not sure. They are slippery bastards, and we're not sure what they are capable of. However... We were recently contacted by an anonymous source claiming to be a high-ranking official in Midgard. They claim Midgard is moving within the next week into an ASI base outside the capital. We have not verified it, and we don't know if it's a distraction, but it's something, at least."

Texōccoatl sighed. “It gives us a place to start, at least. If there is any way to maintain that anonymous contact, they could prove very useful. But either way, we’ll figure out how to deal with them.”

"We'll work on getting more information from the contact. Is there anything else you need from us, resources, information, or otherwise?".

”Not at this time, but I am very grateful for the help you’re providing. This is a huge challenge and the true friends of Xiomera will have to keep working to get through this.”

"Thank you, Your Majesty. It's an honor to aid the true rulers of Xiomera.".

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

Post by Xiomera » Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:24 am

June 23rd
Tlinchueypan Imperial University
Tlinchueypan, Western Military District (formerly Itotemoc Tribal Domain)


"So, as the ancient texts demonstrate, the four original ethnic groups of Huenya all shared similar religious, social and cultural aspects, even from the beginning of time." Pahua, Professor of Pan-Huenyan Studies, took his laser pointer and briefly waved it over each of four diagrams. Each one was labeled with the name of one of the four ethnic groups: Necatli, Itotemoc, Tepiltzin and Xiomeran. "Our language, with some regional variations, is the same. Our religion, our beliefs, our beginnings are the same. Where, then, did the notion of Xiomeran supremacy arise from? For that, we have to look not at facts, but at a mythology carefully created to conveniently serve the rise of the Empire as we know it today. This was no accidental development, for Xiomerans to be enshrined as somehow superior to their fellow Huenyans. This was, in fact, a carefully calculated plan, begun under the Emperor Quiauhticue, and followed by successive generations of Xiomeran rulers." Pahua gestured for his teaching assistant to move to the next slide in the presentation. "A carefully calculated campaign to erase the dialects, accomplishments and beliefs of the other ethnic groups of Huenya, to ensure no resistance to Xiomeran ascension as rulers over all of Huenya, to assimilate and eliminate any other distinctions. Xiomera is, perhaps, the only nation in its time and place to not be colonized by outsiders, but by insiders."

The students in Pahua's class listened intently. Most of them were Itotemoc, but there were Necatli, Tepiltzin and even Xiomeran students in the class as well. They followed along, and took notes, as Pahua continued.

"When we look over what history shows us, it is clear that the rise of Xiomerans over everyone else in Huenya was not the result of some godly mandate, or some inherent trait of superiority. After all, we all sprang from the same land, and share the same background. Taking advantage of circumstances, such as the great plague that decimated most of Huenya's population in 1372, and then using the sheer weight of superior numbers, the people responsible for creating the Xiomeran Empire were able to take over, not through superiority, but through lucky moments and advantageous opportunism. One might add that times do not always change much, and that we can see clear parallels of that historical tendency in current events in our country - "

The doors to the lecture hall burst open, cutting Pahua off mid-sentence as they slammed against the walls. Five students, each of them wearing a silver armband with an image of Quetzalcoatl on it, marched into the hall. "Professor Pahua. You are required to cease what you are doing at once and come with us."

"I was not aware that the XSA would be paying my class a visit," Pahua replied calmly. "Nor was I aware that this course had been cancelled. Did the IUS Council of Regents make a decision I was not informed of?"

"You know fully well why we are here, and on what authority," one of the armband-wearing students replied sharply. "The teaching of the slanderous ideology known as pan-Huenyanism is forbidden. You will come with us now." Two of the other armband-wearing students stepped forward and grabbed each of the professor's arms, dragging him away from the lectern.

"Let him go!" a Xiomeran student shouted, standing up. Other students began yelling as well, and rising from their seats. "Shut up and sit down, all of you, or you will be expelled from this university," the leader of the XSA group demanded. "We are working on behalf of the administration."

"You are working on behalf of pigs and dogs. You will not take our teacher," an Itotemoc student shouted. Another student picked up a rather heavy textbook, tossing it at the head of one of the XSA goons. The resounding thwack echoed across the lecture hall. Like the sound of a starter's pistol, it roused the rest of the students to action. Surging forward, they quickly overwhelmed the XSA squad, freeing Pahua.

As word spread throughout the Tlinchueypan campus of the attempt to seize Pahua, other students began leaving their classes as well, assembling angrily in the central courtyard of the campus. They began marching on the administration building, in a spontaneous and furious display of frustration at the government control over their campus. "Defend the university! Defend our teachers! Defend our right to learn!" they began shouting, many of them grabbing whatever objects they could as they went. They forced the five XSA students who had tried to detain Pahua ahead of them, in a stumbling rush.

At the administration building, a line of campus police and other XSA members stood, hastily reinforced by a few Tlinchueypan municipal police and Imperial Police who had arrived on the scene. They stood desperately in an attempt to hold off the wave of angry students, which had now swelled to several hundred. It was like trying to hold off an ocean wave with a piece of string. Not deterred one bit by the club-wielding line ahead of them, the angry students simply steamrollered over those seeking to guard the administration building. After forcing their way inside, and disarming the police and XSA-affiliated students, they quickly rounded up the university administration inside the building. The campus administrators, police and XSA students were forced to walk to the main gates of the university, flanked on either side by angry students. "Expel the collaborators!" many of them shouted, as the wave of angry students forced those siding with the new government outside the gates. The XSA students received one final bit of attention before they were forced off campus. Their silver armbands bearing the image of Quetzalcoatl were yanked off their arms. "You have no right to wear the image of the god of knowledge," they were told with contempt before being shoved outside the campus walls. The students then slammed the gates closed. With a clear determination, they began chaining the gates, and blockading them.

Tlinchueypan was a relatively small and remote town, so an incident there would normally escape the notice of Tlālacuetztla, at least for a little while. But the students of Tlinchueypan did not want to escape notice. Soon, they were calling their friends at other universities throughout Xiomera.

---

Huānoch, Milintica

"Well, that's a sight for....something," General Tlehuaque said, sighing and resisting the urge to curse.

The arrivals from the various WOE-led climate change rallies around the world were arriving at Fort Amacatl, having just recently begun landing in Milintica. "They have no weapons, no real supplies....what in the world am I supposed to do with them? We barely have enough equipment for our own army, and our army isn't going anywhere near Xiomera."

"Not officially, anyway," defense secretary Aperira Raharuhi laughed.

"Yeah, yeah. Not officially." General Tlehuaque grimaced.

Raharuhi smiled sympathetically. "No one plans to give us an impossible task. A few ships arrived at the port of Huānoch today, with all sorts of goodies for our brave would-be soldiers. A gift from the government of Crown Prince Texōccoatl."

"I do like gifts, especially if they're the kind that go boom," General Tlehuaque said eagerly.

"Oh, there's plenty of boom on those ships. More than we've ever had in Milintica, by a significant margin. I am quite sure that some of that boom can end up remaining here for our own army, once we've equipped the forces that are going off to Xiomera. The forces destined for Manauia Island are first. That's the Lauchenoirians, along with the Teyatia."

"Wonderful. Let's get started then. I am sure they're eager to go off and defend the trees and whatnot," General Tlehuaque replied.

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

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:20 am

Refurbished ASI Base, outside Tlālacuetztla
June 24th

Adrian Frank sat on the bunk of his cell, fidgeting anxiously. He ran the plastic spoon between his fingers, watching the bowl on the floor to try to seem normal. Siena had told him that she would let him out so they could escape after he was locked up in the new cell in Xiomera, but it had been almost an hour(for what he could tell). He sighed. I don't know what I was expecting. She probably just did it to get my hopes up. Damn it.

He was just lying down when the door to the interrogation room outside the cell swung open and quietly shut. A sweating Siena rushed to the cell door, unlocked it, and tossed a uniform on the bed, as well as a black backpack. Adiran sat up and took a look at the outfit, surprised."You came".

Siena raised an eyebrow. "Surprised?". She pointed to the uniform. "Put these on, now. We haven't much time. I don't know how long the distraction will last". Adrian gestured to Siena. "Well....can you at least turn around?".

She let out an emphasized sigh. "Now is not the time to be a prude!". She complied, turning around and studying the locked door while Adrian put on the guard uniform. After he was done, he rifled through the backpack, surprised to find wads of quetzals and Lunens, along with some sets of clothes. "Wow. Impressive. Also pretty heavy. You could use it as a siege weapon!".

She grabbed his arm. "Well, you're going to have to put up with it. We're getting the hell out of here. We're heading to Manauia Island, to meet with the Teyatia. They may be our only chance to hide from the Emperor's goons and Midgard's agents".

The pair left the interrogation room, Adrian trailing behind Siena at a reasonable distance, to seem that he's assigned to guard her. The base was in chaos, guard with fire extinguishers running both ways, and agents peeking out of their offices to check what was causing all the commotion. "What's going on?". He whispered, adjusting the cap of his uniform.

She smiled slightly. "Well, back in training, I was a bit of a pyromaniac. I tried to integrate fire into the solution of any problem or test. And a lot of the agents, even though it's not recommended, smoke cheap Eirian cigarettes. So, a lot of rooms just had a few 'Smoking Mishaps'. That's why I was late to let you out. I also placed magnets on the surveillance computers and as many cameras as I could".

He tried to hide his amused smile from the Midgard workers passing by. "It probably would have been good to know the person who's breaking me out is a crazy pyromaniac". He dodged a cart full of pistols pushed by a burly agent who looks like he could bend the guns and use them as shurikens. "You guys certainly don't mess around".

Siena went distant. "They don't, no. Most of them were children of leaders or officials of Darrin's regime, or part of it themselves. It's kind of sad, to look at it after cutting yourself free". She pointed to the door up ahead. "That's the rear exit. According to the fire plan, no guards should be able to stop us". She slid the door open, and held the door for Adiran.

"Siena!".

A voice rang out among the chaos, authoritative and sharp. Adrian froze, and Siena spun on her heel. Odin was watching them from down the hall, accompanied by a guard. Siena shoved Adrian out the door. "Go! Follow the Plan!". She slammed the door and put her back to it, blocking it. Sealing Adrian out and Odin in.

The leader of Midgard glared at her, sneering. "You would betray your cause, your life, for some rebel bastard? We are the only family you have left. Your father made me promise to take care of you! You're my Goddaughter. Why would you betray your family?!".

She donned an equally angry sneer. "You are no more my family than my bloody elementary teachers were. At least they cared, instead of using me and lying to me for their own benefit".

He looked genuinely insulted by that, though she could see through the well-constructed façade. "I loved you. You are throwing everything away! You were like my daughter! Why would you do something like this, and betray your family and friends?".

"I'm betraying you like you betrayed my mother. I've seen the records. She didn't die in an auto wreck. She was executed on a unanimous decision of the Politburo, which you held a position on. Only you didn't have the name Odin then. Steven Reisinger, Minister of Internal Intelligence. Gloryfied propoganda pusher".

Odin's expression darkened. "Liar". He gestured to his guard and pointed at Siena. "Escourt her to the cells. My niece is clearly unwell. Take her with dignity, though". The guard walked down the hall and tried to put a hand on her shoulder.

She acted on a combination of instinct and ruthless training, grabbing his arm and pulling him closer while thrusting her other hand, now armed with a dagger, into the guard's chest. The dagger punctured his heart and ran cleanly through skin and muscle. The guard choked and coughed, his enormous bulk falling on her.

She used his body as a temporary shield, trying to maneuver out of his weight. She laid him down on the floor, his blood staining the tile, and turned back to her Godfather. He was holding his ornate pistol up at eye level, pointing at Siena. "I didn't want to have to do this. I don't want to break this promise to your father, but I'm afraid I must". He pulled the trigger.

A sharp pain shot through her gut, causing her to double over in shock. She put a hand out, falling to her knees, tears running from pain. Odin walked up to her, careful to stay outside striking distance, and looked down at her. "You left me no choice. You chose this one for yourself. At least you will be reunited with your bitch of a mother soon enough". He turned to leave, boots leaving a slightly bloody impression on the floor.

Get up. She told herself, clutching her stomach. She knew she didn't have much time. I have to something, to save Adrian, to avenge my mother, to make my life right. Her breathing was shaky, and time seemed to slow. She could hear her heartbeat slowing with each beat. She watched Odin walking away in slow motion,

Get Up! GET UP!

She tried to put a leg up, but slipped on a po of blood from the guard, bumping into the hilt of her dagger lying on the tile. That's it. This is what I have to do. She grabbed it and placed a shaky foot up, then another, clutching her stomach with a bloody hand. She was filled with one last burst of strength and anger, and was determined to make it last. She watched him talking to a group of guards, no doubt telling them about Adrian. She screamed with a rough, fierce tone, one that she didn't know she was capable of.

"BASTARD!".

He turned, curious to see how she was standing. She saw her opening, and threw the dagger, reverting to the days of throwing knives at targets, the only place she excelled without much practice. His eyes widened when he figured out what she was doing, but it was too late.

Chink.

He grasped the hilt of the dagger protruding from his stomach, stumbling backwards. The guards stared at the dagger wound for a moment, then raised their guns and started firing at Siena, hitting her once in the chest and once in the arm. Her legs gave out, spent, and she fell backwards onto the tile.

And as she was falling, for the first time in her life, she felt truly content with what she had done. If she faced hell for her actions, she would go gladly, knowing that her last act was to take vengeance for her mother, and knowing that she would, sooner or later, see Odin in hell with her.

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

Post by Xiomera » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:51 am

July 1st

Project Tilmahcoatl, the Xiomeran system of surveillance, censorship and monitoring of the internet and media, took its name from the Huenyan phrase for "cloaked serpent". Its creators, Xiomera's infamous Information Security Technology Corporation (ISTC), liked the name they gave their all-encompassing program because it described their intent very well. Like a hidden serpent in the shadows, it wrapped its many coils around every possible avenue of communication in and out of Xiomera, shrouding the country behind its protective scales.

Project Tilmahcoatl was administered from a series of operations centers around the Empire, with its main headquarters in the city of Tlilotl'pac. The bustling suburb of Tlālacuetztla was Xiomera's silicon city, the beating heart of its technocratic tendencies. Most of Xiomera's major tech corporations, including ISTC, were based there. It was therefore a perfect location for the Huaxtepan Center for Technological and Social Harmony, the innocuous name that ISTC and the Secretariat of Security gave the sprawling high-security facility.

Normally, things at Huaxtepan were relatively calm. In the past few weeks, however, Huaxtepan had been the scene of frantic activity. Thanks to Legionite and Eirian hackers, keeping unwanted media from intruding into the Xiomeran 'net was becoming increasingly hard. It didn't help that the Crown Prince had put together his own team of eager Xiomeran hackers in Laeral who wanted to fight the Xochiuhue regime. Amongst the Crown Prince's team were a few foreigners who also wanted to make life hard for the junta. But by far, the most eager hackers on the Crown Prince's team were a group of Necatli, Tepiltzin and Itotemoc hackers who were spoiling for revenge against Xochiuhue and his ethnocentric government.

The Xiomeran 'net was being bombarded by a series of videos and social media posts. Video from the attack on the Palace of Flowers, and from the heavy-handed suppression of protests around the country. Videos of the Teyatia resisting the Manauia Island Project and the efforts of the governor there. Videos bluntly questioning Xochiuhue's legitimacy, and asking how someone who had basically just made himself Emperor for life was upholding the supposedly meritocratic values of Xiomera. Messages from the Crown Prince taunting the junta. Scenes from protests by womens' groups angry at the sanctions being levied on Kerlile, and by environmental groups angry about the Manauia Island Project, being shut down by force. Videos from Xiomeran universities, increasingly becoming the scene of violence between students and the security forces. And now, the video from the Eirian Chancellor challenging the junta. It was all becoming a bit much. The nerves of both the ISTC employees and ASI agents manning Huaxtepan, and its satellite sites, were being stretched both by the constant game of whack-a-mole they were having to play to try to shut down the hacks, and the increasingly angry demands from the junta leaders for them to uphold Xiomera's much-vaunted firewall.

And still, the videos and the posts somehow managed to slip through. It was becoming quite wearying for the Huaxtepan employees who were expected to stand virtual watch on that firewall. More whack-a-mole. More whack-a-mole. More whack-a-mole. Every day.

---

For another resident of Tlilotl'pac, the wealthy tech city was becoming more of a prison than a comfortable home. One employee of Cala Computer had decided that it was a prudent time to relocate.

Comilō, one of the Auroras that Yauhmi had given amnesty to, had been surprised that she hadn't been picked up yet by the junta's minions. Wisely, however, she decided that she wasn't going to stick around for them to catch on. With her husband Miztal and daughter Zia in tow, Comilō fled the city, just ahead of a group of ASI agents who had indeed been sent to pick her up. Her destination: Chuaztlapoc. The word had gotten out on the Xiomeran underground that city was the center of what little formal organized resistance to the regime remained inside Xiomera itself. Comilō knew that their chances of getting out of the country were slim. But at Chuaztlapoc, they might have a chance to survive - and she might have a chance to fight back.

---

Camp Maluco, Ixtenco
Headquarters, 21st Battalion, Xiomeran Imperial Army


Major Huatli had a dilemma.

Her meeting with General Yāotlah'lotl of Military Intelligence, just under a month ago, had given her the beginning of a plan. She wasn't sure that the month of preparation for her plan was enough.

What she was sure about, however, was that she didn't have more time to plan. A follow-up message from General Yāotlah'lotl had warned her that ASI was about to arrest her, on the orders of Security Secretary Calhualyana. If she was going to act, the time was now.

"It's a go," she told Atezhuatl, her sergeant major and second in command. Atezhuatl simply nodded, and left to issue the orders to mobilize.

As the battalion mobilized, Major Huatli and Atezhuatl, along with several of her command staff and soldiers, were finalizing the preparations to leave when the doors to the command center burst open. "What the fuck do you think you're doing, Major?" Cecatli, second lieutenant of the battalion and its assigned political officer with XMI, stalked in. Huatli sighed. I was hoping we could get out of here without Cecatli noticing. Oh well. I have always wanted to shoot this idiot. Maybe today's the day.

"We've been ordered to mobilize the battalion to help put down protests in Tacuitapa. You're to remain behind and prepare the camp for a new battalion being moved here," Huatli replied blandly.

Cecatli snorted. "Bullshit. No battalion deploys in the field without its political officer. You're up to something, Major, and I'm here to put a stop to it."

Huatli sighed to herself again. I guess today really is my lucky day. She pulled her sidearm from its holster, pointing it at Cecatli's head. "You're right, Cecatli. I am up to something, and I can't let you interrupt it."

Cecatli glared at the Major. "Treason! You're choosing to betray the Empire. And I know for who."

Huatli shook her head. "I assure you, you really don't. But go ahead and tell us what you think anyway."

"I received an alert from Security. You're to be detained. And do you all know why?" Cecatli sneered at Huatli. "You're an Aurora. You're working for the Kerlians. Yauhmi knew, and she betrayed the country and let Kerlian spies stay here and work for her. Your treason goes far deeper than anyone in this battalion knew." The political officer triumphantly pointed at the Major. "Now you all know who has really been commanding you. I order you soldiers to arrest the spy, on the orders of the Emperor and the General Staff."

"Arrest yourself, you freaking idiot," Atezhuatl replied, looking at Cecatli with disdain.

"So, you're a traitor too, Atezhuatl? Fine, we have enough cells for both of you. Arrest them both!" Cecatli shouted, pointing at the other soldiers in the room. And waited. And waited.

No one moved. After a moment, one of the other soldiers, a private named Catlixcui, shook his head. "I don't care if she was an Aurora. I know who she is now. She's our commander. And she's never led us wrong. I will not comply," Catlixcui said.

"You'll hang for treason too, then, you donkey!" Cecatli shouted.

"Seems to me you're the one with a gun pointed at his head," another private, Xayacahu, sighed. "You don't seem in a very good position to be making threats, lieutenant. But in case that's not clear, let me help clarify." Xayacahu raised his rifle, pointing it at the political officer.

"Traitors, all of you! You and you families will all pay for this. Why are you risking that? Why are you betraying the Empire?" Cecatli demanded. "We're not the ones betraying Xiomera, and as far as we can tell, neither is the Major," Xayacahu replied. "We know the Major. She leads fairly, and well. She's a soldier. You're just a worm who managed to snag a lieutenant's rank because you were willing to spy on us. If you're asking us to take the Major's word, or yours, I can't speak for anyone else, but I'll take hers every time. And I will follow wherever she leads."

"Is that what you all think? Will no one help me arrest these criminals?" Cecatli shouted. Six more rifles pointed in his direction were the response.

"I think you have your answer, lieutenant," Huatli said calmly, "but let's make it official. Arrest the political officer, please," she told Atezhuatl, who was more than eager to comply. Quickly disarming Cecatli, Atezhuatl yanked his arms behind him and tied his wrists together. "You know those cells you were so eager to put us in, Cecatli? Why don't you try them out first for us? Let us know what you think of them," the sergeant major laughed as two soldiers dragged a protesting Cecatli off.

In the ensuing silence, Atezhuatl turned to his commander. "So, Major, let me guess. We're off to Chuaztlapoc, aren't we?"

"Indeed we are, Atezhuatl," Huatli said with a grin. "But we're going to be making a side trip first."

Under cover of darkness, and under the noses of the Emperor's regime, the 21st Battalion left Camp Maluco.

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

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:13 pm

Cabinet Meeting Room, Buttercity, Lauchenoiria
2nd July 2020

Sandra Pavía clenched her fists so tightly under the table that she scratched herself accidentally. Listening to Lucie Scott, the new Environment Minister and leader of the Green-Pacifist Alliance, their new coalition partners, made her want to hit something. Scott was too idealistic, Pavía couldn’t stand people who were incapable of seeing the reality in front of them. As Scott neared the end of her speech, Pavía quickly interrupted before anyone else could say something.

“It is impossible for us to dedicate that much of our GDP to renewable energy projects. I care about the planet as much as anyone, but we had a civil war two years ago and there are people living in temporary housing because their own homes were destroyed by bombs. Unless you’re willing to allow people to starve, this is unrealistic.”

“There are many more things in the budget we can cut other than essential services,” Lucie Scott retorted. “The oversized military budget, for one thing.”

“Oversized?” scoffed Pavía. “We were invaded by half the IDU only two years ago because of our inability to defend ourselves! Let’s set aside for a moment whether or not that was necessary for democracy. The fact it was possible shows how weak our military capacity has become. It’s a dangerous world out there, just look at Xiomera.”

“Ah, good, you brought up an important topic,” Scott said, smiling smugly as if she’d planned this. She shared a look with the other Green-Pacifists in the room, several of whom nodded in encouragement. “Prime Minister, why are you not actively opposing the fascist who calls himself Emperor Xochiuhue?”

Josephine Alvarez had been sitting quietly, watching the two parties of her coalition debate each other, but now she took a deep breath and looked Lucie Scott in the eyes.

“Because the former Empress Yauhmi is not who everyone thinks she is,” the Prime Minister said quietly. “She is far more dangerous, and less innocent.”

“Look, I get that she was married to Topilpopoca, and given the whole extradition debacle I can see why you’re worried about that, but…”

“No. This is not about the extradition crisis. Trust me when I say that Yauhmi is a danger to Lauchenoirian national security, and despite all of his flaws, Emperor Xochiuhue hasn’t ever threatened our nation as much as Yauhmi has.”

“I know you,” Scott said, narrowing her eyes. “You speak of a specific incident. If you want us to believe that Empress Yauhmi is as scary as you say, tell us.”

“This is a matter of national security,” Alvarez said simply.

“So, you won’t tell us. We can’t sit back and just ignore all the Xiomerans being imprisoned and abused. They are going to destroy Manauia Island, they are cramming whole native populations into camps because of their ethnicity! If we sit back, we will be complicit in these things! So many other nations are acting, and the Eirians are asking us to join them in doing what is right.”

“As Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria, I have a duty to protect this country,” Alvarez said, standing up to look at Lucie Scott. “If you are going to push me, I will tell you. What I am about to say does not leave this room. Agreed?”

She scanned the room, looking at everyone individually to make sure they nodded. She sighed and turned away for a moment, looking at the door as if willing a distraction to walk through and prevent her from having to say what was about to come out of her mouth.

“Do you remember the traffic grid incident in Buttercity? That was not due to the outdated infrastructure as was reported. It was a targeted attack, ordered by Empress Yauhmi,” Alvarez revealed, pausing so that the assembled secretaries could take in the shock. “It was a warning to our nation that Xiomera is more powerful than us, that they can play with our lives at will if we dare threaten them.”

She continued: “Do you think that someone who is a good, pure leader with a heart of gold like the Eirians are saying would do such a thing? This is not out of fear of retaliation, because I am sure that the Emperor has far bigger targets than us to worry about. This is because if we depose him and reinstall Yauhmi, nothing much will change. Xochiuhue is a tyrant who wants to install himself as Emperor for life, destroy the environment of Manauia Island to make money, and harm those who oppose him.”

“Yauhmi…” she shook her head “well, have you seen what commentators in Xiomera are saying about the titles and jobs she has been giving her son? It is quite clear she wants to create a hereditary monarchy in her country. Manauia Island? She did not cancel the development plans, merely changed him – Climate Alliance might have claimed victory but that was probably more to do with not wanting to stand outside the embassy every Wednesday through the winter than anything else.”

“Xochiuhue is a very overt tyrant, yes,” Alvarez looked at Scott once more. “Yauhmi is far smarter. I’m not saying her reforms weren’t necessary, but they weren’t done out of some sense of morality. They were a politically expedient way to announce to the world that democracies could support her without worrying. She would hide away all the bad things under a rug and present the image of a reasonable person. That does not mean she is. It means she’s a politically astute leader. One who threatened our nation, one who has fooled the whole world into trusting her, and one who – if left unchallenged – will cause trouble for the whole IDU.”

As silence fell over the cabinet meeting room, Sandra Pavía stared at the Prime Minister in a state of awe and shock. Pavía had disliked Xiomerans since the first extradition requests, she pictured Ambassador Chemā in the place of any female villain in novels she read, but she hadn’t understood Alvarez’s terror of the nation ever since the Empress came to power. Unlike the rest of the country, the change in power had made her more wary of the Xiomerans than before.

At first, Pavía had put it down to the alliance with the Kerlians, and a fear that a female leader would cement that, but Alvarez had become more willing to entertain the idea of relations with Kerlile over the same period. Now everything made sense.

“Empress Yauhmi… attacked us? Cyberattacked us?” Scott said slowly, disbelievingly.

“Yes,” Alvarez responded simply. “We had to cover it up, you know what would have happened under the Haven Accords if it looked like we were still involved in a conflict with someone. For the good of this country, they couldn’t know. And Empress Yauhmi would have done much worse – though God only knows what – if I hadn’t admitted and apologised for what her anger was over.”

“The Great Selection thing?” another Green-Pacifist piped up, then shrugged when everyone turned to him. “Like… everyone kind of knows who was behind that now… I’ll email you about it,” he said meekly as Alvarez glared in his direction.

“Great, just what we need,” muttered Alvarez. “But yes, that. The people supporting Yauhmi on the grounds that she will bring democracy to Xiomera and end authoritarianism are being fools. She cannot be trusted. She will use the same techniques as her predecessors if she wins this war. She’ll just hide it better, and anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t been paying attention. The Eirians are, as always, naïve.”

The Prime Minister walked over to the door then turned back. “All of you know fine well that I would never agree with the policies of Xochiuhue, but I will not support Yauhmi. This government will not support Yauhmi. We will remain neutral.”

With that, Alvarez turned back to the door, opened it, and walked out.

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

Post by Xiomera » Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:49 am

(Joint post with Democratic Republic of Eiria)

Chancellor's Study, Geminus
July 2nd

The Guardian's Desk, made out of beautifully dark stained oak adorned with carvings of flowers and leaves, is the focal point of the Chancellor's study. It has seen many Chancellor's, endured a Civil war and uncountable political arguments, yet it is still as pristine as the man sitting behind it. William Lancaster sat, mystery book in hand. It had been a slow day, and he had been asked to wait while the Senate deliberates on retaliatory sanctions. The media had been all over his denouncing of Emperor Xochiuhue, and he had the television in his office constantly scrolling between channels, taking notes at the public reaction. He had been content so far, with many interviewed politicians denouncing Xiomera with him.

The Chancellor was still holding out hope that the situation regarding sanctions could possibly be smoothed over. A conflict was coming, and he would be blind not to see it, but there is no reason to harm the economy unnecessarily before said conflict. He picked up the office phone and dialed a particularly important Xiomeran phone number.

In the Office of the Golden Chamber, a new Imperial Attendant received the call. A single raised eyebrow was the only reaction from the Attendant, before she dialed the Emperor’s desk and informed him about who was calling. Xochiuhue mirrored the Attendant’s single raised eyebrow with one of his own, before picking up the phone. “Chancellor Lancaster. This is an unexpected surprise,” Xochiuhue said. “What can I do for you?”

"I was hoping to discuss your new trade policies, particularly the new tier system and trade tariffs."

”I see,” the Emperor replied. “As I am sure you are aware, Eiria is currently in a rather restrictive tier under our new policies. It did not give me pleasure to place your nation under such restrictions, but certain events have made that necessary,” Xochiuhue replied in a tone of voice that made it clear that while it didn’t please him to sanction Eiria, it didn’t particularly bother him either.

The Chancellor tapped his pen on his desk rhythmically. "I understand. However, I was hoping to possibly negotiate a better sanction situation to aide both our economies. Neither of us benefit from having these tariffs levied. And to be fair, it doesn't seem to be doing much except harming both of us."

”Xiomerans can handle the pain that these sanctions may cause,” Xochiuhue replied, his bemusement making it clear that he did not think Eirians could. “More to the point, unlike my predecessors, I cannot be bought off, Chancellor. Your nation is engaging in acts that are hostile to the Xiomeran Empire. You have ships parked off our coast, consorting with a rebel fleet. You are openly supporting the illegitimate government of the former Crown Prince. Yet you expect to trade with us? The time for having it both ways is over, Chancellor. Either you stop supporting the enemies of Xiomera, or the restrictions will remain - if I allow any trade with Eiria at all.”

"As you wish, Your Majesty." He said, emphasizing and overemphasizing the title. "I would have done the same in your position, but I am a bit surprised." He bit back a sarcastic remark, attempting to appear calm and diplomatic, while being anything but. "Though I likely wouldn't ever be in your position."

”I am sure you would not ever be in my position,” Xochiuhue said agreeably but with a hint of sarcasm underlying his tone. I am the chosen of the gods, you politician twit. “Are you prepared to state your intent on this matter?”

"Well, I am currently waiting for a sanction bill to arrive on my desk to impose equal retaliatory sanctions on Xiomera, and I thought I would give Diplomacy one last shot. I suppose it's the Eirian way. Some may think it's foolish or too idealistic, but it's the way we do things here."

”Indeed,” the Emperor said, his tone again making it clear what he thought about notions such as diplomacy or idealism. “For my part, I was hoping that you would see that it will only hurt Eiria in the long run to resist Xiomera’s rise under my reign. Perhaps there will be another time for that. And another conversation.”

The Chancellor narrowed his eyebrows. "In that case, who must fall so 'Xiomera Can Rise'?"

”No one need fall for us to rise. If they do not attempt to hinder us, there need be no issue at all,” Xochiuhue said calmly. “We do not seek conflict, Chancellor. We merely seek for Xiomera to take its rightful place in the world, and for its neighbors to respect that.”

Will stifled a laugh, morbidly amused by the Emperor's statements. Is he just citing propaganda at this point? 'Rightful Place' my ass. "With all due respect..." Which is certainly not much. "Eiria hasn't had a good track record with coup regimes taking over a nation to 'Claim their Rightful Place'."

”I am not sure whose fault that track record is, Chancellor, but it is certainly not Xiomera’s,” Xochiuhue replied, managing only partly successfully to stifle a mocking tone. “In any event, that is the expectation of this government for normal relations to continue moving forward.”

"You should probably maintain normal relations between your own people first. As I understand, you've had a spot of trouble regarding the Necatli and the Teyatia," the Chancellor retorted.

”Oh, they will ultimately be no trouble at all, I assure you,” Xochiuhue said coolly. “As will anyone else causing seditious unrest inside Xiomera. But I do appreciate your concern for us, it is so touching,” the Emperor added.

"Oh, just looking out for the neighbors. Eirian courtesy rules, and all that." The Chancellor matched his sarcasm. "Though it may seem odd from an outside perspective. Like that Great Selection of yours. However, from what I've heard, that won't be happening for a while, will it?"

”It will not. It is not needed.” Xochiuhue sighed. “Selecting leaders in such an electoral manner often leads to the wrong people being chosen. Such as Yauhmi, for instance. That happens very often in other countries as well,” Xochiuhue added pointedly.

The Chancellor grinned. "Indeed. Say, speaking of Yauhmi, I had a question. Did you confiscate her memory medallion my sister gave to her after she lost her husband? Did you steal that, with everything else, before you locked her up?"

”We did continue to retain her possessions at the Palace of Flowers. We can return that item to you, if you wish. She will not require it anymore....the stress of her crimes coupled with her abdication has left her quite indisposed,” Xochiuhue replied, his tone growing colder.

William went from sarcastic to filled with cold anger in a few seconds. "No, that won't be necessary. It was a gift, after all. And I suppose that having someone steal your identity, kidnap you, and then forge your signature can take a huge toll on a person. I'll give her my regards in person, because I have a feeling we'll see her soon."

”Feelings are funny things. They are often mistaken, and misguided. They are no substitute for logic or facts on the ground. And feelings can get you into trouble,” Xochiuhue said ominously. “But as pleasant as this conversation has been, I am sure you must have something to do. Was there anything else you wished to discuss?”

"Now that you mention it, I have a bill to sign. I don't really have much else to discuss, besides your lack of morals and mistreatment of your people, but those can wait. And oh, before I forget, send my regards to Odin for me, and tell him he should probably extend his Xiomeran vacation a bit longer."

Xochiuhue laughed. “I cannot blame anyone for coming here for vacation. It’s beautiful here this time of year. And about to become even more so. I would worry more about the weather in Eiria, lest it become stormy. Thank you so much for your call, Chancellor. It has been....most entertaining.”

With that, Xochiuhue hung up. Despite his jovial tone at the end of the call, he was seething. How in the hell did Lancaster find out Midgard is here? This will require....a change in my plans.

Lancaster placed the phone down once he heard the dial tone of the Emperor hanging up. I haven't had that much fun with a politician in a while. And if anyone deserves it, it's definitely him. His husband opened the door, file in hand. "They agreed on a bill. All they need is your signature." He noticed Will grinning like a Cheshire cat. "What are you smiling about?" Will sighed contently. "Sometimes, I love my job."

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

Post by Xiomera » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:54 am

Palace of Flowers - Chamber of Whispers
July 2nd - after the conversation with Chancellor Lancaster


"The Eirians are becoming a problem," Emperor Xochiuhue said.

General Xōchhuitl and Secretary Calhualyana, seated around the table surrounding the Emperor's chair, nodded grimly. Admiral Tlālpantlizal and General Huelixiuh, the commanders of the Imperial Navy and Air Force, also looked grim. General Cuauh'ez, the commander of the Xiomeran Special Forces, looked even grimmer than everyone else, if that was possible.

"First, they go and stick a fleet off our shores, protecting that bitch Admiral Techilō and her traitorous sailors." Xochiuhue glared briefly at Admiral Tlālpantlizal after saying that, and the Admiral glanced down nervously at the table. "Then, they seize our assets. Then they insult us while openly backing that dungheap Texōccoatl. And then Lancaster has the nerve to call me and beg for trade while insulting me further. The Eirians need to be put in their place."

"Your Majesty, if I may make a suggestion?" Calhualyana looked at Xochiuhue, who had turned from his pacing to glare at her. "Speak," he commanded.

"You said that Lancaster knows that Midgard is hiding here in Xiomera. While we should endeavor to do everything we can to ensure Odin survives the attack on him, the way I see it, you now have the right to order whoever is in charge of Midgard at this point to do work on our behalf. We're going to treat Odin, we're giving them sanctuary....nothing in Xiomera is free, after all." Calhualyana grinned. "Surely Midgard, if they're as dangerous as they claim, can cause our Eirian annoyances as much difficulty as they are causing us. A few domestic disruptions in Eiria here and there, maybe a few Eirian leaders suffer some unfortunate accidents....Midgard wants to bring about the return of the old Eirian regime, don't they? Well, they should get to work on that already. If nothing else, their mission can serve our needs."

Xochiuhue smiled. "Indeed. From what I was told, their new leader is codenamed Steel. Summon him to the Throne Room. It's time we had a conversation about what Midgard is going to do for Xiomera in return for their sanctuary here."

"There is another issue we should address. We can end this annoyance known as the government in exile by a single step. Texōccoatl needs to be eliminated." Calhualyana was about to continue, but General Cuauh'ez stopped her. "There are Jaguar and Eagle Warriors guarding Texōccoatl. Are you saying we should risk harming them?"

"General....those Jaguar and Eagle Warriors are no longer obeying your orders. Are you proposing that we should worry about the lives of traitors?" Calhualyana replied with a raised eyebrow. As Xochiuhue looked at him expectantly, General Cuauh'ez finally sighed. "No, of course not. Continue," he replied, avoiding Xochiuhue's gaze.

"We have received intelligence that Texōccoatl and his 'government' are being housed in a villa near Laeralsford. We can insert a team of assassins from ASI into Laeral, get them to the villa, eliminate Texōccoatl and any other figures from the government in exile we can, and get the team out. We won't stamp out this tiresome rebellion until we decapitate its figureheads. We should have, frankly, gotten rid of Texōccoatl ages ago. Once both Yauhmi and Texōccoatl are out of the picture, there is no opposition government. Yauhmi is already on her way out the door, at least from the reports ASI has sent me. Texōccoatl is the last threat remaining to us."

General Xōchhuitl coughed. "And what if they fail to eliminate Texōccoatl? Or worse, what if they are caught?"

Calhualyana's expression took on a tougher look. "If they fail, they get out. If they're going to be caught, they commit suicide. My ASI special teams don't get caught - at least not in a way that would be useful to any potential enemies. They will not have anything on them identifying them as Xiomeran agents, and will be using foreign equipment."

General Xōchhuitl shook his head. "What does any of that matter if they're Xiomeran? We don't look like Laeralites, or just about anyone else in the IDU, for that matter. That's kind of a big giveaway, Calhualyana."

Calhualyana laughed in response. "I'm not an idiot, Xōchhuitl. I have special agents who are the descendants of people who immigrated to Xiomera. I can give you people who resemble Laeralites, Lauchenoirians, Eirians, Legionites, anyone you want. That will be who I send to end this farce of Texōccoatl's once and for all - if I have your permission, your Majesty," she added.

"Do it," Xochiuhue said readily. "This farce has indeed gone on long enough. Once Yauhmi and Texōccoatl are gone, all of this will be over." The Emperor stood up in front of his chair. "Even if the Eirians and the Laeralites find out what we are going to do, I don't care. The time for Xiomera to bow to others is over. We will eliminate Yauhmi and Texōccoatl. We will restore order over this country. And then, we will do whatever it takes to fulfill the destiny that is mine, and Xiomera's. Quiauhticue built this Empire - I am the inheritor of his destiny, and will build it to a level of greatness he could never have imagined. The gods have chosen this moment for Xiomera to ascend and take its place as a great power. I will not let anyone thwart that destiny - no one. Like Huītzilōpōchtli, the time has come for the Xiomeran Empire to rise as the sun over Catica."

The people seated around the table stood up, saluting the Emperor, as the Xiomeran flag hung in blood-red folds behind him.

---

South Xiomeran Sea
Tlumeste Strait - between Manauia Island and Cenotillo Island


"Keep quiet. No noise, no light, no movement, nothing," Ollque hissed.

The Teyatia guide gestured to the mixed group of Milinticans, Teyatia and Lauchenoirians crouched at the bottom of the ship to remain hidden under the tarps covering the open cargo area. The ship had traveled a circuitous route from Milintica, south of Eiria and then approaching Manauia Island at an angle, to avoid the increasingly heavy shore patrols of the Imperial Navy, Coast Guard and the Manauia Island garrison of the Imperial Police.

It helped in that task to have Ollque guiding them. A seasoned Teyatia guide, she had helped smuggle both people and items both into, and out of, Manauia Island since she was a child and her parents had taught her the art. Anyone other than a Teyatia local experienced in the ways of avoiding Imperial patrols would have certainly gotten caught.

The ship finally pulled into a small cove on the shore, running roughly into the beach. As the ancient ship ground to a halt, dropping its front hatch, Ollque hastily walked to the front of the ship. "Move, quickly now. Move! There are as many patrols along the beach as there are out there," she snapped. Other Teyatia and Xiomerans began briskly unloading the ship of its cargo with the skill of experienced smugglers used to operating under the gun.

As the group of would-be revolutionaries made it onshore, another Teyatia was there to greet them. A wiry man with a youthful face and much older eyes, he walked up to the group with a precise grace. "Welcome to Manauia Island. I am Tanqui, the leader of my people. I am grateful that all of you have come here to help us. Let us move quickly....the fight to save this island has already begun. And we do not have much time."

---

Throughout western Xiomera

As part of his already infamous Decree No. 31, Xochiuhue had disbanded the Xiomeran Civil Guard throughout the western half of the Empire, as well as on Manauia Island and Cenotillo Island. The volunteer civilian militia, after several incidents where they sided with locals instead of with the new government, had been deemed to be unreliable and untrustworthy.

In accordance with Decree No. 31, units of the Imperial Army were being dispatched to the Civil Guard garrisons throughout western Xiomera to reclaim control over the weapons held by those garrisons, formally disband the units and rebrand the garrisons as Imperial Police stations. The government had tried to time the move to correspond with the issuance of the Decree to ensure this would be successful and catch the Civil Guard garrisons napping. But as the mission progressed, multiple units were discovering a disturbing trend.

When the Imperial Army arrived, many Civil Guard garrisons were already empty, their vehicles missing and their arsenals cleaned out. Where all that horsepower and firepower, and the former citizen-soldiers that had controlled it, had gone was a mystery.

The Imperial Army general in charge of the operation sent an urgent message to General Xōchhuitl. Being quite distracted by many other pressing issues, the General had ignored it. What harm could a bunch of barely-trained pretend soldiers do, after all?

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

Post by Laeral » Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:32 pm

Laeralsford, Laeral

Even though Delegate Bernard Errante (Conservative from Meridoc) was Defense Minister, he’d never served in the military. But he didn’t need to have been a soldier to realize the perils of being surrounded and forced into an un-ideal course of action by a superior foe. The foe who had him outgunned and surrounded at the moment sat two seats to his right at cabinet meetings-- Representative Gwendoline Schneider, the Conservative Minister of Education.

She’d stolen a march on him, getting her hands on a bombshell video of Shuellian mercenaries attacking civilians at a political protest in Xiomera. In an interview with TV1, she’d spoken passionately about the necessity of ending the killings in Xiomera and bringing democracy and freedom to the far-flung nation. Worst of all, she’d made herself out to be representing the official coalition government stance, forcing Errante and the other members of the government to put themselves on the record as agreeing with her position.

“The murder of protesters, the arbitrary detention of civilians, the use of torture-- these actions violate every principle of international law,” Errante had said to the media, acting as if this strident message had been what he’d been intending to say all along. “If Xochiuche and his regime do not back down, their actions will warrant a decisive and forceful international response.”

With that, the Liu government’s prior cautious stance with regards to Xiomera took a swift turn towards the belligerent-- all due to pressure from one Education Minister who was far too good at using the media to her advantage. There would be a reckoning for Gwendoline Schneider someday. Liu and her backers were too strong-willed to let Schneider’s blatant breach of discipline go unpunished. But day by day, Errante was growing more convinced that he would not be around to see it.



Gwendoline Schneider was working in her office at Assembly Hall- as head of the Conservative caucus, she rated a decent-sized office within the legislative building- when she heard a knock at the door. As expected. She stood up to open the door, greeting the man standing there with the customary kisses on the cheek.

“Victor! It’s a pleasure to see you!”

“And you as well, Gwen,” said Victor Bailly, a balding, brown-haired man in his fifties who was a representative under her in the Conservative caucus. “So what is it you’d like to discuss today?”

“I was hoping I might have your thoughts on some...broader questions than we typically consider here in the Commons. Thoughts on the future of the party.”

“I might need a cup of coffee to talk about that sort of thing so early in the morning!” Victor said, with a smile.

Gwendoline passed him a sealed cup of takeout coffee, still warm. “One of the interns stopped by just twenty minutes ago,” she said. Victor sipped it appreciatively- he wasn’t a snob about coffee, just as long as it warmed him up and put a kick in his step.

“So,” Gwendoline said. “You’ve been following the news regarding Xiomera, haven't you? The military government there is losing its allies on all fronts, and facing a popular uprising in the streets. But like a cornered rat, Xochiuche and his followers are lashing out, rather than seeking to negotiate. Mercenaries running wild on the streets, killing with impunity. Civilians thrown into brutal prison camps for daring to raise their voices against the regime. The people of Xiomera will rise up against their mistreatment soon, but without foreign assistance, it will be a bloodbath.”

“That’s my perspective as well,” Victor said. “It’s been good to see so many voices here in the party and in government coming together to denounce these crimes.”

“Exactly,” Gwendoline said. “You know, Victor, I’ve been seeing the effort that you and the others have been putting into the Xiomera Working Group. You’ve got a lot to be proud of there. Thanks to your sterling efforts in raising awareness, the atrocities in Xiomera, and what we must do to put an end to them, are at the top of the public conscious and the legislative agenda.”

“Thank you,” Victor said. “It’s satisfying to be doing such good work. Knowing that we’re standing up for those unable to stand up for themselves.”

“Precisely,” Gwendoline said. “In fact, I think the efforts of the working group you lead played a key role in getting President Liu to sign the targeted sanctions last week. Why, if I’d had the authority, I would’ve made sure that you and your colleagues in the Xiomera Working Group would’ve been there at the signing.”

“Well, knowing that we’re making an impact is reward enough,” Victor said. “But I appreciate the thought.”

“Of course,” Gwendoline said. “Good work deserves to be recognized. And that brings me to my next point…” she let the words hang in the air for a moment. “I’ve been speaking with Bernard, and he’s been coming under a lot of stress lately. Being Defense Minister at a time like this, and being Party President, and serving in the General Assembly-- it’s a lot of stress for anyone, and I don’t know how much longer he can bear it. You know he started his political career back in 1966? That’s longer than you or I have been alive.”

Victor nodded, and Gwendoline forged ahead. “Don’t tell him I said this-”

“My lips are sealed.”

“Good, good. Now please don’t tell him I said this, but I think he’s planning to announce his retirement soon. Defense Minister and leader of the party makes a fine end to a distinguished career, don’t you think?”

Victor nodded. “He’s been good in Defense, but I’d been thinking for a while that he’s getting up there in years. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s thinking about settling down in retirement.”

“Exactly,” Gwendoline said. “That said, it’s essential that we avoid a damaging battle for the party president position. After our poor showing in 2018, we simply can’t afford it going into the midterms in December. So...I’m asking for your support in my bid for the party presidency.”
She didn’t mention that she was the obvious candidate, because it would be better if he came to understand that on his own. His sequence of thought would be that she was the leader in the Commons, the Education Minister, the architect of the Conservative victory in the Meilinis provincial elections...it was unthinkable that anyone else could take up the position.

Besides, the only other Conservative ministers were Antoine Lambert in Agriculture and Elise Pernot in Transportation-- hardly leadership material. There was a vacuum of leaders at the top of the party, as beyond Schneider and Errante, there were no other Conservatives with a national profile.

“You’re the only possible contender who would be fit for the position,” Victor said. “Yes, I will support you. Assuming Delegate Errante retires or resigns his position, of course.”

“Of course,” Gwendoline said. “Thank you for your support. If it comes to pass that I take up the leadership of the party, we’ll need good leaders to take over leadership in the Commons. And with the good work you’ve been doing lately, I thought of you. I think you’d be good for Chief Whip at the least. Perhaps even something higher.” She leaned back in her seat to gauge Victor’s reaction.

He seemed surprised. “I-- I’m flattered, but I don’t have the seniority. Lambert, or Fabre...both of them would be next in line for those positions.”

“Traditionally, yes,” Gwendoline said. “Those two you mentioned would typically ascend to leadership roles in the parliamentary group. But frankly, Victor, we’re at 38 seats in the Assembly of Commons. We can’t afford to name our leaders on anything besides merit. And I know that you’ve been showing plenty of merit lately. I want your voice in leadership.”

“Yes, thank you very much for thinking of me,” Victor said. “I sincerely appreciate it. And I’ll do my best not to disappoint you.”

“Thank you, Victor,” Gwendoline said. “Now let’s just get on out there and make change, shall we?”



Château de Clamur, Neidong, Laeral
The Xiomeran loyalist government was headquartered at a centuries-old château that had been kept on display as a historic house before being leased to Crown Prince Texōccoatl and his followers. It made a suitable home for a government in exile, Bernard Errante thought as he walked along the gravel path through the gardens to reach the entrance. The grand yet antiquated facade of the manor house was imposing yet also had a strong sense of faded glory. The château and its residents had been mighty and powerful once, but now they languished in a world that had changed dramatically since their glory days. Perhaps a suitable analogy for himself, he thought. Doing his best to banish such morose thoughts from his mind, he stepped into the foyer of the manor house and followed the uniformed aide there to his appointment with the Xiomeran loyalist defense secretary.

The Xiomeran military aide opened the door to the room where Brigadier General Tlanexchel was waiting. Tlanexchel was a muscular man in full Jaguar Warrior military uniform, who looked as if he could have stepped right off of a military recruitment poster. Errante stepped forward to shake his hand. "General! It's a pleasure to meet you at last. I've heard nothing but good things about you and the forces under your command."

"Minister Errante, thank you for coming. It's a pleasure to meet you as well," Tlanexchel said politely, shaking Errante's hand firmly. The Jaguar Warrior was beginning to master the formalities of diplomatic conduct that came with being a defense secretary, even if he had drawn the line at wearing a suit instead of his uniform. The formal uniform should be formal enough. That's why it's called a formal uniform, he had told his advisors bluntly, and no one was inclined to argue with him. "Please have a seat. Would you like some coffee, or perhaps tea?" Xiomerans always offered their guests refreshments; it was considered rude otherwise.

"A cup of coffee would do me good," Errante said. He'd been drinking a lot of the stuff lately. He made small talk with the general while the coffee arrived, and he sipped it appreciatively. It wasn't bad. Evidently someone in the Xiomeran government-in-exile had taken care in sourcing their caffeinated drinks. "My government," he said, "has spent plenty of time lately discussing the possibilities when it comes to a coming military invasion- er, liberation- of Xiomera, and I'm here to let you know what assistance we can provide when it comes to toppling the Xochiuhue regime. That is, assuming your government still sees a military conflict as inevitable?" He raised an eyebrow.

Tlanexchel sighed slightly. "I've been a military man my whole life, Minister. I'm not afraid to die - or to kill. But I will admit, I never thought I would have to fight my own people." The Jaguar Warrior rolled his coffee cup speculatively in his hands. "If it were up to us, we would be willing to negotiate with the junta and their fake Emperor. But as Xochiuhue makes clear with every brutal act he commits, he's not really giving us that option."

“Every death in war is a tragedy," Errante said. "But the reports of the terrors that Xochiuhue and his regime are committing within Xiomera are more tragic still. Over the course of the discussions within my government, we've decided to work alongside your forces in hopes of putting an end to the tragedy. Ending Xochiuhue's rule. We can't send our soldiers to fight alongside yours, because of the political barriers in the way. But we've made a plan to provide your troops with our support as they go into battle."

"Any support would be greatly appreciated. We understand that you cannot send your own troops - and I am honestly reluctant to ask other nations to commit their own people to fight and risk themselves for what is ultimately a Xiomeran fight, one we should wage and win ourselves. However, I certainly wouldn't say no to a few friendly airstrikes or a bit of naval support while we do that," Tlanexchel said with a slight smile. "But in all seriousness, even in a 'support' role, your people will be at risk."

"Every calculation, every plan that we've produced so far has taken that risk into account," Errante said. He opened his briefcase and opened it to produce a slate-grey policy folder, still standard for military documents, which he passed to the general. "These files contain the details of plans for coordination between our support forces and your troops. We envision Laeralian warships escorting your naval force on the way to the landing site. In particular, we have some frigate and corvette designs ideal for anti-submarine duties and capable of providing missile fire support for allied ground troops. According to the report, one of the enemy's chief advantages will be their superior logistics. Shorter supply lines, more medical facilities, that sort of thing. We have medical ships which can be anchored offshore to tend to your wounded, and medical teams that can go to the front line alongside your soldiers. We are trying to do everything short of sending Laeralian soldiers to fight with you." He nodded to the folder. "The details are all in there, along with instructions for how to contact our defense ministry and National Security Council to discuss the fine points."

Tlanexchel leafed through the folder, pausing every once in a while to make an appreciative noise at various details in the folder. "This is an excellent plan for support, and it actually dovetails very well with my plan for our eventual move to bring the junta down. I will go over the full details of that plan with your defense ministry and National Security Council, of course. But it won't hurt to give you a brief overview."

Tlanexchel tapped on a Cala tablet, eventually producing a map of the Xiomeran mainland. He turned the tablet around so that Errante could see it, one of his fingers pointing at a very unique geographic feature labeled as quechtli, with the city of Zapotlán at its center. "Quechtli - the Neck of Huenya. The narrow bit of land that connects western Huenya, the non-Xiomeran-ethnic area of the island, with the Xiomeran eastern half. The easiest way to launch our fight against the junta will be to take control of the Neck and strangle them there. If we cut off eastern Xiomera from the rest of the country, we can isolate them and use western Huenya as our base to eventually defeat them once and for all."

"Of course, they will know this is the weak spot in their defenses, and will try to prepare for it. But it doesn't take many men to hold off an attacking force once you get control of such a spot. My goal is simple: for Zapotlán, and the Neck, to be our Thermopylae - except this time, the Spartans win. I suppose since we're technically the invaders, we'd be more like the Persians. But I've always seen the Spartans as the good guys in that battle. So....we'll let the junta forces be the Persians in my little scenario. Xochiuhue does make a good Xerxes, after all."

Bernard Errante raised an eyebrow again, and stroked his chin. "Well," he said. "That's...daring. I'm no military man myself, but I can see the risks involved. And the potential pay-off." He gazed down at the tablet Tlanexchel had handed him. "It makes keeping your forces well-supplied all the more important. There would be enemy forces to the east and the west, making the safest resupply be by sea. Which, I suppose, makes it all the more important that the attacking fleet is protected from enemies, whether they're on the sea, under it, or by air."

"Indeed. Securing the initial landing site and fending off junta forces until we can secure the city of Zapotlán will be very challenging - and crucial for success. But I will add that the enemy forces to the west are far less of a threat than the ones to the east. Many of the units in the western half of Huenya, by our assessment, are far less loyal to the junta. Many of their soldiers are from the same ethnic groups that Xochiuhue is repressing. Those that are Xiomeran in ethnicity, having been raised from the West, often have ties to people from those ethnic groups - family, friends, and so on. Their loyalty to the regime will be far shakier than units raised in the east, in the Xiomeran homeland. We expect that once we launch our attack, many of those units will break and begin supporting us. Part of our plan is also to begin raising supplemental levies from the Necatli, Itotemoc and Tepiltzin once we can secure a bridgehead and get weapons to them. Once that happens, it will be much easier for us to implement the plan. We just have to hold initially and fend off the junta." Tlanexchel grinned. "It's an ambitious plan, but not an impossible one."

Errante had been nodding throughout as Tlanexchel outlined his plan. It was daring, certainly, but General Tlanexchel's clear confidence as he explained made its ambitious goals seem entirely achievable. "What is your staff's intended timeline for the initial attack?" he asked.

"Not for another several weeks, at a minimum. We don't want to rush into this; we want to increase the pressure on Xochiuhue, and also to make sure we do have enough potential support inside Xiomera for all of this to work. In addition, we need to be sure our initial assault forces are fully prepared for the attack. The timing of this will be crucial. We don't want to give the junta forces too much time to entrench themselves, but if we attack prematurely, we could lose our one chance to succeed."

"That makes sense. Several weeks will also hopefully give time for discontent within Xiomera itself to simmer, and for the sanctions to take further effect." He nodded thoughtfully. "Thank you very much, General. You've given myself, and our respective military policy staffs, plenty to think about. Don't hesitate to reach out to me should the need arise." He had almost said "me or whoever the Defense Minister is a month from now," and he was grateful he hadn't slipped up.

"I shall, and thank you again for stopping by, as well as for the assistance your country is providing. I'm sure you may have heard it already, but it bears repeating - we're quite grateful for the support you've shown us," the general replied, standing up and offering his hand once more. "Once this is all over, we will be very happy to return the favor."

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

Post by Libertas Omnium Maximus » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:18 am

Presidential Manor, Litudinem, Libertas Omnium Maximus
July 6th, 2020 - Evening

The world was on fire, there was no denying it. On the whole, 2020 had not been kind to the nations of the International Democratic Union. From the deadly adenovirus outbreak to the coordinated terrorist attacks in January, the two thousand and twentieth Year of the Lord would be remembered in the hearts and minds of all who were fortunate enough to survive it as a less than ideal time to be alive. Despite this fact, there was at least one man in the world who was genuinely enjoying himself. That man was Lucas Brown, President of the Republic of Libertas Omnium Maximus.

In a sick and twisted way, Brown had actually benefited from nearly every tragedy the year had thrown his way. His firm but fair response to the Vulkarian terrorist attacks in January was praised by fellow party members and opposition leaders alike. Several anti-interventionists had even acknowledged that his actions were appropriate given the gravity of the situation. Likewise, he had been unilaterally praised for shutting down the nation’s borders in order to stop the spread of the adenovirus. After what could have been a global catastrophe blew over, the economy rebounded at a rate even the most optimistic of economists had thought unlikely. Now, in the blistering summer heat, Brown’s biggest break yet arrived. 



“You’re kidding me? This has got to be some kind of a practical joke.” The 57-year-old president set down the neatly typed letter he had been holding and turned to face his Chief Political Strategist, Jason Briggs, before continuing. “People don’t just drop out of a presidential race like that. At least, not when they are the presumptive nominee. Mason’s reasoning is clear but it… it just seems off.”

Briggs, who was equally confused by the memo, hesitantly responded. “I suppose he figures it’s the best way to ensure that a conservative stays in power. CUP hasn’t put a man in this house since ’56 and I think Peter Mason has finally come to terms with the fact that he isn’t going to be the one to break his party’s losing streak. His policies have never resonated with the younger generations and, as much as I hate to admit it, his base is dying out. The CUP is going to have to do some kind of reform if they even want to hold onto their seats in 2022. I think he has finally accepted that. This, of course, is absolutely fantastic news for your campaign. I mean, it’s literally the best thing we could have hoped for.”



“A unified conservative campaign,” the president mused out loud, “probably means a landslide victory in September. The Progressives will put up a good fight but their side is two fractured. Woodson is never going to endorse Johnston. They hate each other’s guts. That means a divided left-wing. This is fantastic.”



No single-page letter had ever made Brown as positively elated as the one now resting on his mahogany desk. Elections were always a close-call for him. Victory had never been as so absolutely certain for the aging lawyer and politician. This year was just getting better and better.

“This means that we can afford to be a little bit less reserved with our decisions going forward,” Briggs responded happily. “We can pursue some of the more hot button policies you’d talked about way back in 2015.”


"Additionally,” the president interjected, “It means that we can afford to become more involved in a certain Xiomeran debacle. Now, bear with me on this one. I know taking sides in such a conflict could have some… severe longstanding consequences but you can’t possibly tell me that removing Xochiuche from power is the wrong thing to do. The man’s a tyrant. Yauhmi was no saint either but I do believe that her attempts at reform were genuine. A reformed Xiomera could really improve the stability of Catica.”


"What are you suggesting, sir?” Briggs responded without missing a beat. “We can’t go to war again in Catica. You know that; I known that. The January attacks gave us the political clout to join the Vulkarian Coalition but that was hardly comparable to the Xiomeran coup d’état. We have no reason to be involved other than to put a more favorable leader in power. That’ll only lose you support.”

Cutting his political advisor off abruptly, President Brown blankly stated: “We go in covertly. Work with the Laeralites or the Eirians to bring a more favorable individual onto the obsidian throne. It isn’t like we haven’t done this before. We could also look into funding internal groups. We know they exist. Our sources have been clear. If given weapons and funds, they might be able to overthrow Xochiuche without us even having to put a Maximusian boot on the ground. You aren’t going to talk me out of this, Pete. I’ve made up my mind.”



Nodding solemnly, Briggs exited the room in silence. He wasn’t going to be going off his high blood-pressure medicine any time soon.

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

Post by Xiomera » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:18 am

Tupicchi Imperial Airbase
Ten miles west of Xohuayán, Manauia Island


On the tarmac of the largest airbase on Manauia Island, four Ihuamec helicopters squatted like a quartet of particularly bloated frogs. Unlike the sleek Huacamal attack helicopters or the daggerlike Itlanan and Apacan fighter planes that also called Tupicchi Airbase home, the Ihuamec was an ugly beast. The heavy transport and utility helicopters were the burly, hardy workhorses of the Imperial Army and Air Force. They did everything from transporting soldiers to the battlefield (and ferrying wounded soldiers back to the rear), to carrying mass amounts of supplies back and forth and serving as a form of fleet transport.

The four Ihuamec helicopters at Tupicchi were about to add another particularly ugly entry into the platform's long history of Xiomeran service. At the orders of Governor Mapilzin, they had been outfitted to carry out his threat to begin defoliating the island. A group of Xiomeran workers was finishing the final retrofitting of the helicopters.

Watching from the jungle surrounding the airbase, a single Teyatia scout noted the final preparations. Having seen enough, he slipped back through the jungle.

---

Ayamomac, Manauia Island

"We cannot wait any longer. We have to do something," Tanqui said flatly.

The Teyatia leader had received the report from his scout at the airbase. It had caused a huge alarm among the Teyatia who were gathered in this small settlement, roughly twenty miles from Xohuayán. No one had thought that Mapilzin would be so reckless, or so brutal, as to actually carry out his threat to destroy an entire jungle ecosystem to bring their rebellion to heel. But the reality was confronting them now. Within a day at the most, Mapilzin would have the ability to wipe out huge swathes of the island at his disposal.

Tanqui laid out a map of the area around the airbase for the fighters to review. "There is an outer perimeter fence, and then an inner perimeter fence. We have to get through both sets of fences without alerting the military police who will be guarding the base. There are regular patrols around both sets of fences, but to our benefit, they're a bit too regular - as in predictable. We will have about ten minutes to get through each set of fences to avoid detection. This means once the outer patrol passes, we have to get through the fence, cover our tracks, then run like hell to get to the next fence and get under cover. Then repeat that, at the inner fence. After that, it's a relatively easy run to the helicopters. But we have to avoid any aircrew or security between the inner fence and the helicopters. If we manage to pull that off, we have explosive charges that can send the helicopters straight to hell. After that, though, we can't expect to make it out of both sets of fences after the big boom. We may have to be prepared to fight our way off the base."

Tanqui looked around at the mix of Teyatia, Lauchenoirians, Milinticans and Xiomerans who would be leading the attack on the base. "Your unit leaders will give you further guidance and plans before we move. Do you have any further questions?"

As he expected, there were many questions, most of which he could not answer. All he, and the Teyatia, could hope was that the Imperial soldiers and airmen on the other side of the Tupicchi perimeter fence would be as equally confused when the balloon went up.

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