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]
Democratic Republic Of Eiria
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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:03 pm

Midgard Command Base, Xiomera
July 20th, 9:02 AM

Commander Steel sat in his small office, generally displeased with the events of the morning. He had been in a sour mood ever since the assasination attempt on three Eirian politicians, including the Chancellor, had failed grandly. And I thought I had competent agents. Not one of them was able to kill an Eirian, especially that bastard Lancaster? I ought to have a talk with the trainers on their apparent lack of ability to pass any meaningful training on to their students.

A knock at the door disturbed his angry inner monologue. His Lieutenant, Codenamed Wire, peeked in, nervously noting his current mood. "Sir, the Agents are back from the Eirian missions".

He glowered and closed his laptop. "Wonderful. Send them in". Two nervous-looking agents stood at attention, eyes forward. "Reporting for Debrief, sir!". Lieutenant Wire returned back in with the mission reports, as was Debrief protocol, and began reading. "Operation Lightning Strike. Mission Goal: To assasinat-".

"Hold it, hold it". Steel stood, looking at the two agents. "Where's the third? There were three agents assigned, correct?".

Wire flipped through the pages. "Yes, sir. We lost contact with agent BT-036, assigned to target Alexander Dukov. As far as we can tell, he was captured while escaping. I can prepare an extraction, if you-".

He was interrupted by Steel slammed a large fist on the desk. "That's great! Two assassins failed to actually harm their target…." He gestured to the agents, who were at this point sweating like they had just finished a marathon. "...and one was captured after stabbing their target. Brilliant. Do you have word on what happened to Dukov?".

Wire hesitated, not wanting to incur any more of his Commander's infamous wrath. "Umm, he was taken to Compassion Hospital, where he was treated and where he remains in stable condition".

Steel flexed his fingers, trying to distract himself before he destroyed something in his own office. "Lieutenant Wire, take these two to the meeting room and debrief them there, please". He said through gritted teeth, leaving no room for questioning or debate. They hurried out of the cramped office, leaving Steel to himself.

The Commander sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. The Eirians were becoming extremely difficult. And he was beginning to suspect some of his agents have sympathy for the Eirians. After all, most of them were Eirian by birth. Steel, though, was born in Cape Auria, and was adopted by a couple of Midgard Agents who raised a number of children into the Midgard Ranks. He learned of his true origin at age 16, when his parents sat him down on his birthday.

He was still conflicted about researching his birth family. He had tried when he turned 18, but his Midgard Commander forced him to give up his search. Plus the name Christopher was common among Aurians born around his birth year, so he would have to comb through a ton of records just to have a chance at finding anything. And with the conflict in Xiomera escalating so fast, we just didn't have the time.

Being in his thirties, Steel was still fit for actual physical missions himself, something Odin was not. And with Odin incapacitated, he was planning to take a more active role in Midgard's operations, something Odin just couldn't do. Lead by example, instead of orders. He wasn't exactly fond of his old boss, seeing him as dated and a relic of an old ideology. Steel aspired to be a reformed version of Odin, one who deserves to be marked down in the history books. And if the Lancasters, or any other Eirian, stood in his way, he would take them down in his own way.


Cape Aurian Royal Jet, in flight near Mount Kairai, Eiria
July 20th, 10:20 AM

Queen Sophie Laurent took a sip of her water in a crystal wine glass as she glanced out the window, watching the mountains and hills of Eiria's Monterre province roll by. She had to admit, Eiria had beautiful landscapes. She took another sip from her glass and looked at the inhabitant of the chair across from her. Adrian Frank looked nervous, constantly looking out the window for any sign of Geminus. "Don't worry, we're not too far away from Geminus. Not much longer." She noted his half-eaten breakfast sandwich. "Excited to be home?".

He nodded. "Excited doesn't begin to sum it up". He turned back to Sophie, smiling. "Again, Thank you so much, your Majesty. You have given me a gift I don't know how to repay".

"Please, call me Sophie. You can repay me by not having to be expedited home again". She said in jest, smiling back. She had found Adrian stalled in Asylum proceedings, lonely and wanting to get home. She had used the Crown's extensive resources to hurry along the process and escort him home personally. She also filled him in on the history of Eiria since he was captured, at least, as much as an Aurian could. "Besides, it'll serve as a gesture of goodwill between our nations. Auria and Eiria have had some… Bad blood for centuries now, and hopefully this will begin to remidy it".

------

Alice Lancaster sat across from her brother, watching the trees fly by and noting the traffic signs. The limo was going as fast as the speed limit would allow, which only heightened Alice's suspicion. She knew something was up when her brother personally pulled her out of a meeting she was leading without explanation. She was almost tempted to tell the driver to pull over, but as she watched her brother's expression, she decided against it.

They say twins have a form of telepathy never seen anywhere else, and while that may not be entirely true, Alice had years of experience reading her brother's thoughts by his expression. But his expression today baffled her. He had his political mask on, but it was slipping, revealing anxiety. Not exactly bad anxiety, but more excited. He was fidgeting, something he usually tries to hide in front of others.

She watched as the limo pulled up to a gate, which was promptly opened and passed. The car pulled into tarmac, and Alice got a view of a private plane with the Cape Aurian flag displayed on the side. What are the Aurians doing here? The car stopped, and Will opened the door, letting Alice out as the cars of Solar Guard Agents pulled in behind them.

The stairway to the private jet was already down, and Royal Guardians in Red and Purple marched down them, followed by a Woman in Purple and a familiar face. Her heart slowed as she squinted, trying to make sure her eyes weren't deceiving her. Adrian.

He recognized her about the same time as she recognized him. He almost lept off of the stairway and ran across the tarmac, aiming for Alice as she did the same. They embraced in the middle of the waiting area, desperately trying to make sure that the other was real and not a dream or hallucination.

As the couple were embracing, the Chancellor greeted the queen, bowing lightly. "Thank you, your Majesty. I owe you a debt I'm not sure I can repay."

She respectfully nodded back. "Actually, I believe you can. I need access to Eirian adoption records. I need to find what happened to an Aurian who was adopted into Eiria".

"Who are you looking for?".

"My son".

Democratic Republic Of Eiria
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Re: Artists of Progress (Xiomera/Milintica RP open to all)

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:14 pm

(Joint Post with Xiomera)

The grand bedroom that had been reserved for the Crown Prince was decorated in the same centuries-old style as the rest of the château. The modern medical equipment clustered around his bed was a stark contrast to the elegant if dated surroundings.

Texōccoatl sighed softly as he woke up. His body hurt, and his throat was dry. He was given water by a nurse while another helped him to sit up. “How is Nōlinyauh?” was the first thing he asked.

The doctor who was treating him shook his head slowly. “The Secretary did not survive his injuries, your Majesty. I am deeply sorry.”

Texōccoatl’s fists clenched at the news, digging into the sheets on his bed. “Thank you, doctor. I am sure everyone did everything they could for him,” he said quietly. The doctor nodded, excusing himself.

The door to the bedroom shifted slightly, with soft knocking echoing over the beeping and whirring of the medical devices. Emily Rouchard slipped in, closing the door behind her. She was wearing a black shirt and dark jeans, which was more casual for her. She nodded at Texōccoatl. "You're awake. How are you feeling?".

”I have been better.” Texōccoatl sighed and sat up. “Things could be worse, certainly. I could have ended up like Nōlinyauh. I told him to stay behind me.” Texōccoatl’s expression grew pained at that, as he blamed himself for Nōlinyauh’s death.

Rouchard's expression darkened, face pulled back in a grim, sad mask. "I'm very sorry about Nōlinyauh. I tried everything I could to protect you both. I failed. You are not to blame for his death, however. That bastard Xochiuhue is. He also tried to assasinate Chancellor Lancaster, a Senator, and the Minister of Defense. Midgard likely had a hand in it as well. I think the 'Emperor' is getting desperate. It's stupid, because it'll only add fuel to the fire. And he'll get burned."

Texōccoatl nodded. “You’re right. Neither of us is to blame for this. Xochiuhue is. And I will make sure he is held to account for it. For everyone who’s been hurt.” The Crown Prince paused. “This is the first I have heard about attacks in Eiria. Is everyone there okay?”

"Yeah. The Chancellor was unharmed, the Minister of Defense's house burned down without him in it, and Dukov is at Compassion Hospital recovering. Senators have started to send him flowers, including his main Rival Legrand". She shook her head. "The Emperor is somehow uniting our politicians. As someone who has lived in Eiria my entire life, it's fascinating to watch." She shrugged, examining her clothing. "I don't usually wear anything without a weapon attached. These are some of the few clothes I own without a hidden pocket or detachable knife."

”I know the feeling,” Texōccoatl replied. “I am not used to not having a weapon on me, but I now have plenty of guards, at least.” The contingent of heavily armed Jaguar Warriors in the room was testament to the new emphasis on security.

"Yeah, about that...." She looked down torwads the floor and back at him. "I'm not just a diplomat. They sent me here to both aid you and protect you. It was Alice Lancaster's idea. I have a lot more than just diplomatic training. I'm sorry for hiding this from you, but it was meant to keep you safer."

”Trust me, I’m not complaining. I might not be here right now without your help.” Texōccoatl managed a smile. “Please let her know I am grateful.”

"Of Course. I'm sure she wishes you a fast recovery. So do I. What kind of poison was on the blade? I'm not familiar with Xiomeran natural toxins."

”Tlumala. It’s a plant native to Manauia Island and Cenotillo Island. The plant is used to make a fast acting poison derived from the toxic alkaloids of the plant. It causes unconsciousness, paralysis and eventual cardiac arrest if not treated immediately. It’s been used by Xiomeran assassins for centuries. I’m just lucky we had an antidote for it.”

"Huh. Startling. Eiria only has a few select plants and flowers that are poisonous, so I guess we got lucky." She sat down next to the bed. "Personally, I find the purpose of poison used in a blatant attack a bit pointless. I mean, you have top-tier Laeralite and Xiomeran medical staff, plus you knew it was poisoned. Eiria has a much different style than Xiomera when it comes to operations, it seems."

”Poison is traditional, and Xiomerans love tradition. Not to mention, poison on the blade is meant as a a backup if just stabbing someone doesn’t kill them. If nothing else, ASI does like to be thorough,” Texōccoatl laughed grimly.

"It appears so, unfortunately." Rouchard shifted in her chair. "Eiria is an odd mix of old traditions and modern technology and tactics. Eiria has always been clandestine in nature. We rely on that and our Diplomatic services to keep us out of trouble."

”Xiomerans, by contrast, don’t tend to be very clandestine. We have always relied on being scarier than the other guy to deter people,” the Crown Prince replied wryly. “That may be why ASI and its allies are great at overt actions but fairly lousy at covert ones.”

"Interesting. Eiria's clandestine nature is almost overlooked, because our diplomats paint the picture of an innocent, 'Bleeding Heart', moralistic Democracy. Maybe it's better that way, though. If our covert capabilities were revealed, I don't think our enemies would be able to trust anything they drink." Rouchard said with a playful wink.

”I am perfectly fine with keeping those capabilities secret for now,” Texōccoatl laughed. “We may need use of them again. Please let the Lancasters, the Minister of Defense and Senator Dukov know that I hope they remain safe and well. And hopefully, I will recover quickly myself, because I intend to return the favor to Xochiuhue. Soon.”

"I'm sure my boss will be glad to hear that. May I ask how you intend to return the favor, so Eiria can assist you?"

”I intend to be a bit more overt in my displeasure than Xochiuhue was. An air-to-ground missile aimed at his motorcade some day would convey the message, I think,” Texōccoatl said calmly.

"....That would certainly make a message clear."

Texōccoatl’s answering grin was all the response needed.

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

Post by Xiomera » Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:56 am

July 28th
Xiomeran Military District
75 miles north of Xochiatipan


Emperor Xochiuhue leaned back in the seat of his armored limousine and smiled. He had enjoyed his visit to Xochiatipan immensely.

At the square where people had led a mass protest just weeks before against his rule, the Emperor had appeared with General Xōchhuitl and local officials. In a strident speech to the crowd, with an array of massed soldiers in front of him, he had denounced the "uprising" and praised the military for bringing Xochiatipan back under control. He had also declared that he intended to turn the Xiomeran Empire to a state of "total war" against those opposed to the country, and his reign, which he naturally equated as being the same thing. Thoroughly convinced that he had cowed the resistance in Xochiatipan, the Emperor was now enjoying the comfort of his motorcade back to Tlālacuetztla. Taking a sip of wine, he exchanged friendly banter with General Xōchhuitl.

The Emperor had no idea that eyes were on him. The Xiomeran fleet that had defected to the Crown Prince's government had packed its usual arsenal of aircraft. But it also carried two special planes that no one outside of the fleet had been informed of.

The Zitepex stealth bomber was the most secret, and most advanced, plane in the Xiomeran arsenal. It was based on the Itlanan stealth air superiority fighter, and could be equipped with a variety of missiles and bombs. For this mission, the two bombers had been equipped with several standoff air-launched cruise missiles. Their pilots had managed to evade Xiomeran air defenses - knowing better than anyone else how those air defenses worked helped.

Gliding high overhead, the two bombers noted the location and speed of the Emperor's motorcade from 230 miles away. "Target is acquired, do we have permission to fire?" the lead pilot said calmly into his radio.

Back at her command station with the 1st Fleet, Admiral Techilō smiled. "You're a go to launch. Fire at will."

Down on the ground, the Emperor and General Xōchhuitl were chatting amiably. The General looked out of the window of the limousine, just in time to see the lead vehicle of the motorcade explode. "Shit!" the General shouted, grabbing for the command phone mounted on the armrest of his chair. "Xōchhuitl, what's happening?" the Emperor demanded, turning his head to look out the other window. The explosion of the vehicle bringing up the rear of his motorcade made it clear to Xochiuhue just what, exactly, was happening.

Another explosion directly in front of the Imperial limousine made it rise into the air. Turning desperately to grab onto anything solid he could, Xochiuhue turned towards the General. Shattering glass framed the General's face, as the limousine tilted and fell back to earth. Then everything turned dark, and the Emperor fell into silence.

---

Xochiuhue's next memory was of an Army medic tending to him, and soldiers clustered around him as he lay on the ground. "What....where...." Xochiuhue said, trying to sit up.

"Your Majesty, please lie still. You suffered some head and body injuries, but nothing long-term or serious. You will be disoriented for a while, though," the medic said, gently lowering the Emperor back to the ground.

"Who is responsible for this? Where is General Xōchhuitl? I need him to find out who did this...." the Emperor said.

The medic sighed. "Your Majesty, I am sorry....General Xōchhuitl is dead."

Xochiuhue laid back on the ground, his face taut with pain - and anger.

---

Laeralsford
Five hours later


"We had a partial success, your Majesty. From our spy reports, we confirmed that General Xōchhuitl is dead. But Xochiuhue escaped." General Tlanexchel handed Texōccoatl an after-action report, The Crown Prince scanned it soberly. This won't bring you back, Nōlinyauh. But it's revenge, at least. Texōccoatl scanned the report further: one of the Zitepex pilots managed to make it back to the fleet, but the other one was shot down over Xochiatipan. Revenge is pretty damn expensive, the Crown Prince thought, regretting the loss of the pilot as much as that of the Secretary.

"I know what you're thinking, sir," Tlanexchel said. "But the pilot we lost would have been honored to give his life in battle, as we all are. And it's a worthy cost to show that bastard Xochiuhue that we can take one of his people for every one of ours he takes from us, like the Secretary."

"We needed to make that point. But I am still allowed to feel disgust at myself for spending the life of one of my soldiers to make that point," the Crown Prince said, looking at Tlanexchel.

"If you didn't care about that sort of thing, sir, you'd be no better than Xochiuhue, and we wouldn't be following you," the General replied calmly. After a moment, Texōccoatl nodded.

Press Release from the Office of Crown Prince Texōccoatl
28 June 2020

On 14 July, agents of the Agency for Security and Intelligence (ASI) attempted to assassinate Crown Prince Texōccoatl and other officials of the legitimate Xiomeran government in exile, in an attack on our headquarters in Laeralsford. During this attack, while attempting to protect the Crown Prince, Secretary of State Nōlinyauh gave his life. The Secretary, throughout a long and distinguished career, represented Xiomera and its people with distinction and honor. The final act of his service was the ultimate expression of that honor. He cannot be replaced, and will be greatly missed.

In response to this attack on a sovereign, if temporary, facility of the legitimate Xiomeran government, and this attack on the head of that government and other officials of that government, it was determined that a forceful response was needed. In accordance with that, the Crown Prince gave authorization to loyalist Xiomeran forces to perform a surgical strike upon the motorcade of the false Emperor on 28 June, north of the city of Xochiatipan. Two fighters launched from the 1st Fleet performed this strike by launching standoff cruise missiles at his motorcade. While reports indicate that the false Emperor Xochiuhue survived the attack, we have been able to confirm that the original instigator of the military coup that overthrew Empress Yauhmi, General Xōchhuitl, was eliminated as a result of the strike.

Through this decisive action, we have made clear both our determination, and our ability, to both protect the legitimate Xiomeran government and to respond to any aggressive actions against it. As Emperor Xochiuhue recovers from his injuries, and no doubt receives advice from Security Secretary Calhualyana, who most likely planned the attempt to assassinate the Crown Prince and other officials of this government, we would advise both of them to be very mindful. We can strike back in kind, and will, whenever and wherever circumstances warrant it.

May the gods and goddesses continue to watch over the true government of Xiomera, and the people of Xiomera.

[signed] Crown Prince Texōccoatl
[signed] Brigadier General Tlanexchel, Defense Secretary

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

Post by Democratic Republic Of Eiria » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:47 pm

(Joint Post with Xiomera)
Somewhere in the Nereus Sea

Chief Admiral Circè stood on the main deck of the Triton, waiting for the Xiomeran command delegation to cross from the ship alongside them. A meeting between Admirals was overdue, and Circè was pleased that Admiral Techilō agreed. She had left the Bridge in the trusted hands of Captain Farrasei, who has command of the Triton when it isn't designated as a flagship. Farrasei was disappointed on missing the command meeting, but was happy to actually be active, since Circè had overseen the operations near Xiomera's territory since they began.

Admiral Techilō, for her part, was also looking forward to the meeting. She had left the First Empress, the flagship of the First Fleet, in the capable hands of the carrier’s own captain, Xipal. She had Xōchlin, the Jaguar Warrior who had taken over command of the expeditionary force attached to the fleet, accompany her to the meeting.

The two of them, along with a ceremonial honor guard of two Jaguar Warriors, landed on the Triton using the Axtexoc transport helicopter attached to the fleet. The Admiral and the other Xiomerans exited the helicopter, waiting for their hosts to greet them.

Circè walked into the helipad as the helicopter's blades slowed to a halt, followed by assorted officers and guards of her own. She gave a shallow, cordial bow to the Xiomeran Admiral. "Welcome aboard, Admiral Techilō. It's a pleasure to meet you in person."

”Thank you for the welcome, Admiral Circè. It’s great to meet you as well,” Techilō replied with a smile, as the two Jaguar Warriors saluted Circè. “I’m pleased to be here. I think this is the first time a Xiomeran admiral has been aboard an Eirian flagship.”

"Yes, it certainly is a momentous occasion, warranted by even more extreme circumstances. Well, if you would follow me, I can take you to the Command Meeting Room." She walked at a decent pace to a nearby entrance. One of her guards opened the bulkhead in front of her, and Circè led the Xiomerans up a flight of stairs, any lower officers dodging out of their path. She brought them inside a room more formal than the rest of the ship, with a wooden table surrounded by chairs and walls painted in a light blue. "Take a seat wherever you'd like."

Techilō and the rest of her team seated themselves. “I’m glad we have a chance to talk. The recent operation that we conducted against Xochiuhue will probably result in some kind of retaliatory response from our own Navy. I’m honestly hoping to convince more of them to change sides to our side, but in the meantime, it is only fair to warn you. We don’t expect you to put yourselves at more risk on our account.”

"Nonsense. Do you think we've been doing operations with you guys just to chicken out when something happens? I have a feeling the sailors would get unruly if we didn't join you in the case of an attack. Plus, the folks in charge have made our duty clear. An attack on your forces is an attack on ours." She sighed. "Some of the sailors are just so keen on risking their lives. But there is no way this fleet will abandon yours, I can reassure you."

Techilō smiled in relief. “I’m glad to hear that. Those of us who have remained true and loyal to Xiomera are very glad to have friends out there willing to help. We are not anticipating that Xochiuhue will send another fleet out after us - he is likely conserving his naval strength in the event of an invasion. But he will probably send submarines to try to hit some of our capital ships. ASW sweeps will be essential to protect the fleets.”

"I'll have our ships work on increasing the frequency of sweeps. If you wish, I believe there are a few submarines docked at northern posts that we can call up, as well as the EIS Arion, a Perseus-class Aircraft Carrier, all available for deployment if necessary." Circè adjusted her pinned insignia, five silver Eirian Military stars linked together with thin bars supporting the symbol of the navy. "I will have to give notice to the Senate if an active war is declared or a hostile action is taken."

”That is perfectly understandable,” Techilō replied. “I would probably be ready to make that call. Xochiuhue won’t target foreign warships immediately, but once you try to block any attacks on my fleet, the sub captains will undoubtedly have instructions to respond accordingly.”

"Naturally. Would you like those submarines called up?."

”Yes....I think they will be important to have, to protect both your ships and mine,” Techilō said. “I was also asked by our new Defense Secretary to recommend to you that your government contact the appropriate officials in Laeral, as we are coordinating some of our future strategies with them.”

"Of Course. We would be delighted with their assistance. Will you be needing Air support along with Naval support? We can call up the Arion, and I can contact Chief General Jansons of the Air Force if necessary."

I never turn down air support,” Techilō said, her smile growing. “If you can commit additional resources to help us, we would be highly appreciative. We will probably need the help. Our own Air Force is quite competent - although I think their support for Xochiuhue will waver quickly.”

"Let's hope so. Tyrants have a way of repelling their allies. Especially if their only allies are among their own people." Circè turned to one of her officers, a Senior Lieutenant. "Tell Captain Farrasei to contact Levourard Naval Base and request the Arion and as many subs as possible be placed under my command." The Lieutenant asked a question in Eirian, eyeing the Xiomerans. Circè answered curtly in the same language, and the officer left for the Bridge.

Techilō noted the brief conversation between Circè and the other officer with curiosity, but chose not to comment on it. We need friends right now, better not to offend anyone with too many questions, she thought. “I am excited to be working with you. Eiria and Xiomera haven’t worked together on a military goal since....well, since the Bjeorg conflict.”

"I suppose it has been that long. Especially with Darrin's regime. We weren't exactly the kind to have decent enough relations to have a joint goal back then. But now, we've found a common cause to fight for. And although I despise the situation that is causing this common ground, it's still helping entrench ties between our nations."

”That is true. And once we’ve defeated Xochiuhue and the junta together, I imagine that there will be more opportunities for our nations to work together. But for now, I hope for a speedy victory.”

"So do I. Do you have anything else that you wish to discuss or bring to my attention?"

”Not at present, except for this.” Techilō handed Circè a document. “This has instructions on how to access a radio channel and data link that we have set up to maintain speedy communications between our fleets. You can reach my command center at any time via these links.”

The Eirian Admiral accepted the document and looked it over quick. "Thank you, Admiral. I hope that our cooperation helps restore your government and your nation back to glory."

”I have no doubt that it will,” Techilō replied.

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

Post by Xiomera » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 am

Chuaztlapoc
August 1st
8:45 am XST


The city of Chuaztlapoc was surrounded. But not by an enemy.

As anger grew throughout Xiomera at the iron-fisted grip of Xochiuhue, nowhere was the anger more surging than in the western half of the Empire. The people of the western half of the Empire had watched as the Xiomeran military, increasingly backed by Shuellian mercenaries, rounded people up and placed them in camps. They had watched as the government imposed martial law and placed soldiers and police on the streets of their cities, demanding compliance with the authoritarian mandate from Tlālacuetztla. They had watched friends and loved ones being yanked off the streets and arrested. They had watched the increasingly strident and angry propaganda and rhetoric on their airwaves and their 'net connections, praising the Emperor and the government that were committing all these acts.

For many of them, the time for watching had ended.

Around Chuaztlapoc, various camps had begun to form. Necatli, Itotemoc and Tepiltzin who had fled from the Imperial onslaught in their homelands. Disbanded Civil Guard units, many of them bringing their hardware with them. Xiomeran dissidents, ready to give their lives. Most of them felt it was a hopeless cause. Xochiuhue held the Obsidian Throne, and the government, police and military were obeying him. Many of those gathering at Chuaztlapoc had already seen, all too well, the power that could be brought to bear against them. But even without hope, they were still ready to fight. For a Xiomera they had once known, or perhaps for one they only hoped could exist someday.

Gathered around the city of the Shorn Ones, the last site of organized resistance against the new Emperor, they set up their camps, shored up their defenses, and prepared themselves to fight. Even if it was hopeless.

At the edge of the perimeter around the city, a former commander of the Zoyuca Civil Guard named Challcayo was entrenched with his detachment of Guards. "Someone's coming up the road, sir," his lookout shouted to him. "It's a large force - might even be battalion sized."

Challcayo quickly leaped to his feet. "Get ready to fire!" he shouted, as his soldiers moved into position. "Contact the advancing unit - demand they state their identity and intentions," he told his radio man. "And alert the central command at Chuaztlapoc that the city may be under attack."

As the Guards tensely waited, the radio man finally turned back to Challcayo. "They identify as the 21st Battalion of the Army, sir. They claim they have defected from the government and are coming here to help us." Challcayo thought quickly. "Let them advance. But if they show the slightest sign of being hostile, open fire. I don't care if they're the damned Army or not," he ordered his troops.

With their fingers on their triggers, the Zoyuca Guards waited as the sound of approaching military vehicles rose. They could see the line of advancing APCs, tanks and trucks now. In the lead of the advancing battalion was a single command vehicle. The line of vehicles stopped in front of the perimeter, and the hatch of the command vehicle opened. Two people stepped out, raising their hands in the air to show they had no weapons in hand. As the Zoyuca Guards watched with a mixture of tension, curiosity and nervousness, the two walked around to the back of the command vehicle.

Major Huatli and Sergeant Major Atezhuatl walked to the back of the command APC, hands in the air. "No one's shot us yet, that's a good sign," Atezhuatl said cheerfully. Huatli scowled, giving him a sidewise look, before turning to face the Guards. "We've come here to help in the defense of Chuaztlapoc," she shouted.

"So you say," Challcayo shouted back. "The Army's been backing Xochiuhue this whole time though. You're going to have to do a lot more to convince me."

"Will you take my word for it, Guardsman, if you won't take the Major's word?" another voice echoed. Atezhuatl had come back to stand next to Huatli, helping the woman speaking to walk forward from the back hatch of the APC. Challcayo stood speechless, in shock, as Huatli did her best to keep a huge smile from breaking out on her face. "Empress? Is it really you?" Challcayo finally said, his rifle dropping down to his side.

"It is, the last time I checked," Yauhmi said. After being in that damn torture cell, I did wonder sometimes, she thought, before raising her head to look at Challcayo. "Would you be so kind as to escort us to the city?"

"Yes ma'am! I mean, Empress....I mean, your Majesty...shit!" Challcayo said, unaccustomed to being so flustered. The Empress smiled in response, walking forward with Atezhuatl's help to gently pat Challcayo on the shoulder. "It's quite allright, formality isn't essential right now," the Empress said. Challcayo nodded, quickly turning to his soldiers. "Get a truck up here!" he shouted. As a military truck arrived, Challcayo helped Huatli and Atezhuatl place the Empress inside.

As the truck rolled down the main road into Chuaztlapoc, Yauhmi was clearly seated where she could be seen. As she passed the defensive lines around the city, people began to whisper, then to shout. "It's the Empress! She's alive! She's here!" people began to yell. As the truck continued to Chuaztlapoc, those that had come to defend the city began to cheer, standing up and raising their weapons in the air. Yauhmi managed to wave to them, despite the pain she was still in.

Challcayo had radioed ahead to Chuaztlapoc that they were arriving, and the Shorn Ones were themselves rushing to meet the arrivals, Etlahuatzitl in the lead. As the 21st Battalion rolled into the central plaza, the elder Shorn Ones were standing on the steps of the Hall of Chuaztlapoc waiting. Atezhuatl helped Yauhmi climb down from the truck, as Huatli and Challcayo stood next to them. The elder Shorn Ones bowed, led by Etlahuatzitl. "Your Majesty, thank the gods and goddesses that you're alive. We are here to serve and protect you, as always," Etlahuatzitl said.

"I am very lucky for that - for all of you who are here to defend this city, and the true heart of Xiomera," Yauhmi replied, giving her own short bow of respect to Etlahuatzitl. "I couldn't let myself die when so many of you were willing to give so much to defend our country and its future. We have much to do. Do you have a place where I can make a video recording?"

Etlahuatzitl seemed surprised. "We do, your Majesty, but surely you would like to rest or recover a bit before taking on those duties?"

"I can rest later. Right now, we're in the fight of our lives. No one gets to rest - not even me," Yauhmi replied. "I may need a bit more help than I used to, though. I hope you don't mind propping up this old lady for a bit longer, Atezhuatl?" Yauhmi looked at the Sergeant Major helping her walk with some of her old wit returning.

"I am honored to be your arm as long as needed, your Majesty. And your shield, if need be," Atezhuatl replied.

Etlahuatzitl nodded approvingly at Huatli and Atezhuatl. "This way," she said, leading the other three of them to a smaller building near the great hall. The building had been converted to a media center, where anti-Xochiuhue propaganda and messages for the Xiomeran resistance and the wider world were generated. The three of them were led to a small room that was used for recording video segments, set up much like a news studio. As Yauhmi was set up to begin recording, one of the producers coughed slightly. "Your Majesty, with respect, would you like us to have someone do some makeup for you, or perhaps some other ways to cover....." his voice trailed off as he looked at the bruises and injuries that Yauhmi still bore.

"No. I want the Xiomeran people - and the world - to see what they did to me," Yauhmi replied flatly. The producer gulped and nodded, running off to busy himself with something other than the scars of a tortured Empress.

As the recording began, Yauhmi turned to the camera. "Greetings to the Xiomeran people, and to anyone else who may be able to see this video," she said calmly. "I am Empress Yauhmi of the Xiomeran Empire. I am recording this brief message to show the world that I am still very much alive. Not uninjured," Yauhmi added with a gesture towards her face, "but I am still here. A brave unit of the Imperial Army rescued me from an ASI site where I was detained, and tortured, on the orders of Security Secretary Calhualyana. I am recording this message now to clarify some things. The usurper government claims that I abdicated my throne - that is a lie. They also claim that I committed crimes that made me unfit to be Empress - that is also a lie. Worst of all, they claim the Mandate of Huītzilōpōchtli, and that they are the legitimate rulers of Xiomera - and that is such a blatant lie that I am surprised their tongues haven't fallen off."

Yauhmi coughed slightly, before continuing. "Despite what the usurpers in Tlālacuetztla may claim, I am still the Empress of Xiomera. I have been informed that my son, Texōccoatl, has formed a government in exile. The government that he has started, in my name, is the true and legitimate government of Xiomera, the only one with the mandate to lead this country. I hope to speak with my son soon, and ensure that this government continues to have the support of true and loyal Xiomerans, and our friends abroad. But for now, I hereby declare that Chuaztlapoc is the temporary capital of Xiomera, as long as this crisis lasts. Anyone in Tlālacuetztla claiming to have the authority to issue orders, promulgate laws, or make demands - well, they simply don't anymore."

"I have one last message, for Xochiuhue, the son of Xolōtl. I will not call you Emperor. My husband was an Emperor. He deserved that title. You do not. But you're squatting in my house. You have a chance to stop doing that, and save yourself. But if you insist on trying to cling to power, sooner or later, we will come to the Palace of Flowers and evict you. By we, I mean the Xiomeran people, of which my son and I are part. You have a choice now, son of Xolōtl: choose wisely."

As the recording ended, Yauhmi looked up at Etlahuatzitl, Huatli and Atezhuatl. "Did that sound confident?" she asked. "Very much so, your Majesty," Huatli said, as the other two nodded approvingly. "I hope so. Because we're going to need every bit of confidence we can get over the next few weeks," Yauhmi replied. "Things are about to get very ugly here. I fear I may have placed a target on this city."

Etlahuatzitl shook her head. "We were already a target. But before you came back, your Majesty, the people out there had no hope. Now they do. And that will give us the strength we need to win. The armies of Xochiuhue fight out of fear of him. We fight out of hope, and for what is right. We already have the upper hand."

The video that Yauhmi recorded was quickly put together and the many hackers working for the Xiomeran resistance began spreading it around the 'net - much to the consternation of the ASI and ISTC teams in Tlilotl'pac whose job was to prevent that. It was also sent to the Eirian and Legionite hackers working on behalf of the resistance. The video quickly went viral - and even the much-vaunted Xiomeran firewall had no chance at stopping it.

---

Tlālacuetztla
2:45 pm XST


Emperor Xochiuhue calmly closed the laptop which he had used to watch the video. He then slammed his fist on top of it; the sound of splintering plastic and cracking glass echoed in the very silent air. A servant hastily took the laptop away, as the Emperor sat up in his bed. He was recovering from his injuries quickly, but the discomfort of it all was not helping his already irascible temper. Neither was what he had just watched.

"This is still something we can handle," Calhualyana said as the Emperor glared coldly at her. "We can send another ASI team into Chuaztlapoc after Yauhmi - "

"You mean, like the ASI team that did such a stellar job in Laeral?" Xochiuhue said. "We still eliminated Nōlinyauh, that was a major success," Calhualyana replied.

"I wanted Texōccoatl dead. That was their job. I don't give a damn about some old fucking bureaucrat. I needed Texōccoatl dead. You failed. And you failed to keep Yauhmi imprisoned, and you failed to kill her as I ordered. And now she is free, and poses a huge risk to us. And you want me to believe that eliminating that doddering old bastard Nōlinyauh was a victory? I got blown up. By. A. Missile," Xochiuhue grated, leaning forward in anger. "And now Xōchhuitl is dead. You are utterly useless. Get out of my sight."

Calhualyana stared at Xochiuhue for a moment, before turning on her heel and walking out.

With Xōchhuitl's death, General Zinahue, the next in line, had taken over as the head of the Army and the General Staff. The Emperor turned to Zinahue. "Mobilize the Army of the West. I want Chuaztlapoc leveled to the ground. Leave no one alive. Leave no building standing. Use the damned Air Force too, we may as well get some use out of their damned expensive planes. I am not letting Yauhmi escape again."

Chuaztlapoc is one of the most important cultural and religious centers in Xiomera, second only to Tlālacuetztla. No Xiomeran military commander with even half a sense of decency or respect would have ever followed such a disastrous order. General Xōchhuitl would not have.

But General Xōchhuitl was dead.

Zinahue saluted his Emperor, and left to carry out his orders.

---

Château de Clamur, Neidong, Laeral
3:30 pm XST


Texōccoatl took a few experimental steps. He had made a marked recovery from the tlumala poison, and Brigadier General Tlanexchel nodded approvingly. "You'll be back to normal within a few days. It's a good thing I didn't let you go slack on your conditioning and exercise."

The Crown Prince snorted. "When have I ever gone slack, Tlanexchel?"

"Not often, admittedly," the Jaguar Warrior said. "But you have your moments, Crown Prince."

Texōccoatl was about to issue a bantering reply when the sound of someone shouting echoed down the hall. "Oh for fuck's sake, not again," Tlanexchel murmured, reaching for his pistol, thinking it was another attack. Texōccoatl stopped him. "I recognize that voice, it's Chuaru," the Crown Prince said, naming his personal assistant.

Chuaru burst into the room, breathing heavily as if he had been running. ".....alive!" he gasped, practically falling onto the desk of the Crown Prince. He began pulling something up on the computer, as Tlanexchel grimaced. "What are you going on about, Chuaru? Why are you shambling in here like this?" the General demanded.

"She's alive! Watch this," Chuaru replied, pulling up a Milintican news site and loading a video. As the video played, Tlanexchel swallowed the reprimand he was about to give Chuaru. He watched, silently. Texōccoatl began watching as well. After a moment, he fell into the chair at his desk, stunned. As the video finished, Tlanexchel broke the silence first. "The Empress. She's alive. I can't believe what they did to her.....but she's alive."

"That's what I was trying to tell you," Chuaru said plaintively.

Texōccoatl stared at the screen. After a moment, he clicked to replay the video. A huge smile broke across his face. "She's alive," he breathed. His expression fell after a moment. "But Mother....what are you doing?" he said softly.

"I don't understand. Isn't this a good thing?" Tlanexchel said.

"No. It's not. If she escaped prison, she could have gone into hiding or somehow fled abroad. Now Xochiuhue knows where she is. And he still controls most of the Army and Air Force. He will destroy Chuaztlapoc. And we can't get there fast enough to stop him." Texōccoatl slammed the desk in frustration. "Is she trying to martyr herself?"

"I don't think so, sir," Tlanexchel said after a moment. "I think that, in her own usual inimitable way, the Empress is trying to force everyone's hand."

Texōccoatl sighed. "This video will certainly accomplish that. The question is....what the hell do we do now?"

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

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:59 pm

Alvarez’s Office
1st August 2020, 8am LCT (3pm XST, 6am mean time)

Josephine Alvarez was putting the finishing touches to the light make-up she wore before leaving her residence for her office. Her bag was resting on a side table in the hall next to a potted plant and an old-fashioned telephone that was mostly for show, as she peered in the mirror adjusting the lip balm she’d smudged when sneaking a last-minute biscuit before leaving the house.

She was just about finished, when a frantic knocking came at the door. Her security would’ve been standing guard outside so if someone had been let through, they would be safe. She sighed, dropped the lip balm into her bag and zipped it shut, then headed for the front door.

“I’m ready, the session isn’t due to start for another hour, we needn’t rush,” she told her aide Lidia as she opened the door.

“This isn’t about Parliament,” said Lidia, who pushed past her into her house and walked down the hallway towards the living room, “you need to see this video right now.”

Curious, and rather alarmed, Alvarez nodded to one of the security guards and followed Lidia back to her own living room, after shutting the door. Lidia was kneeling on the floor, hooking a cable between her tablet and the TV, ready to play a video. Alvarez sat down, sighing slightly. Her life and her job were more complicated than she had anticipated they ever would be, and she had a bad feeling whatever this video was would complicate matters even further.

Alvarez did not speak the language that the woman on the screen was talking in, but she didn’t need to. Quite aside from the English subtitles, the picture told her all she needed to know. Empress Yauhmi was alive.

They sat in silence until the end of the video, when Lidia paused it and looked up at Josephine. Alvarez, very calmly, stood up, and walked out of the room, through an adjoining door to her kitchen, opened the fridge, unscrewed the lid of half-full bottle of wine sitting next to her milk, raised it to her lips, and gulped down several large quantities. She then screwed the lid back on, returned the wine to the fridge, and walked back, gesturing for Lidia to follow her to the car.

“Ma’am?” Lidia asked warily once they were inside. “Are you okay?”

“Contact the Drug Investigation Squad, have them go to the homes of the WOE leaders and their little communes in Usera. They might not be breaking the law in volunteering in Xiomera but they’re breaking other laws. And step up checks at the ports, we don’t want any illegal weapons shipments leaving the country.”

“Prime Minister…” Lidia began reluctantly.

“Don’t. You’re going to try and get me to feel sympathy for her because of how they treated her. Yes, I do. On a personal level, what she went through, nobody should go through. But on a national security level, we are now faced with a war where regardless of the victor, the victor will be hostile to us. We cannot have Lauchenoirian citizens going there.”

“Ma’am, we can’t just arrest all of WOE on drug charges, there will be an uprising.”

“We don’t need to. I need Veronica Penners again. She will get me their documents, we will discover who was going to volunteer and put a stop to them going.”

“Ma’am, you rely too much on that girl. A foreign spy.”

“Call Penners. Call DIS. Call the port authorities. That is an order, Lidia. We will stop the WOE volunteers before they drag us into another war.”

“Yes, ma’am,” replied Lidia, and turned away, glancing at Alvarez disapprovingly out of the corner of her eye.

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

Post by Legionas » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:11 am

Taheton 1
Skies over Northern Legionas

1st August 2020 6:32 PM, WLT (8:32 PM, XST)

Taheton 1 cruised at 40,000 Feet, transporting the Prime Minister back to Aunistria. Following a long day of duties and ceremonies in Lecmond culminating in the Groundbreaking of Lecmond Waterfront, Moretti had earned an evening of relaxation. The Prime Minister relaxed in his chair, enjoying the Final of the Royal Cup. His team, FC. Ordstead had finally made it to the finals of the tournament for the first time in its history, and he definitely could not miss history being made. As the game reached it's closing minutes, his team up by a solitary goal, courtesy of new signing Marcus Zervas, he saw his personal aide and press secretary advance towards him, with worried demeanors. He muted the sound on the onboard entertainment screen and turned towards them.

"Mr Moretti, you need to see this now." Eugene Adruzza, his press secretary said while placing his laptop on the table in front of him.

He could see Yauhmi, a face he definitely had not seen in a while. He nevertheless avoided commenting and watched the video.

Moretti sat in silence, watching the video. Others in the cabin stopped what they were doing and joined the trio, forcing Adruzza to connect the laptop to the Entertainment system to allow everyone to see. On the video's completion, Moretti was visibly disturbed, speechless.

"Sir what's wrong?" His personal secretary asked.

To this he muttered, "Get Texōccoatl on the phone, now!"
In Varietate Concordia

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

Post by Xiomera » Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:16 am

(Joint post with Legionas)

August 1st

Nicholas Moretti paced the cabin, thoughts flooding his mind at an almost uncontrollable speed. He knew, and everyone else on that plane knew, that Legionas must try and act, in the defense of Texōccoatl and Yauhmi, in the defense of peace for East Caxcana and her people. Nobody wanted a conflict, yet everyone mentally prepared themselves for the worst. Moretti, unsure of what to do, gauged the emotion in the cabin. He could feel the gaze of everyone else on that plane, they pierced his body, scanning his thoughts, picking out his intents. A jolt threw him off balance, making him mutter curses under his breath. He began to feel nauseous, the plane had entered a rough patch of turbulence. He felt as if his mind had been scrambled, he needed to sit down. He moved over to the bar and poured himself a glass of Eirian Liquor, downing it without second thought. He felt his mind at ease for a second, allowing him to steel himself adequately. He downed another glass, rose and loosened his tie. This small gesture subconsciously signaled that he was about to deal with a potentially dangerous situation. The deck was definitely stacked against Texōccoatl and Yauhmi, that was for sure, and only the Most High could save them. Moretti knew of the wrath of Xochiuhue, he knew that extreme force was about to be laid down, and that it would be administered without mercy upon Chuaztlapoc. He, nevertheless, knew what he must do. He waited anxiously as contact with Texōccoatl was being established.

Texōccoatl was in the midst of an emergency meeting with Brigadier General Tlanexchel and the members of his acting Cabinet when the call came through. He quickly motioned everyone to silence and took the call. “This is Texōccoatl. Thank you for calling me, Prime Minister. I’m sorry for the delay in taking the call, but things are a bit hectic here as you might expect.”

Moretti paused for a second, the deafening silence of the cabin reassuring him. "Yes, definitely. I can't imagine the stress you are going through at the moment, but hopefully I can offer some aid to you on behalf of His Majesty, and the rest of the Kingdom. I'd first like to offer my sympathies over what you and your mother have had to go through during these troubling times. I hope you are doing well."

”I am doing as well as can be expected, thank you for asking. I’m recovering well from the recent attempt on my life, thankfully, and should be back to normal soon. My mother....clearly has not fared as well,” Texōccoatl said in a tone of voice that did not bode well for those who had mistreated her. “But I know she will be grateful for your support as well.”

Moretti listened while watching as his aides frantically prepared digital maps of Xiomera, the adjacent seas as well as arranging information on the Junta's influential figures on a series of electronic devices to be at Moretti's disposal. The Prime Minister shifted his posture on hearing the subtle yet noticeable change of tone in Texoccoatl's voice. The man definitely had gone through hell, along with his mother who had definitely been through some serious shit. "Thank goodness you survived, you and your mother. With that being said, I understand the serious danger your mother is in at the moment." Moretti looked back at his aide-de-camp who had been receiving information of troop movements in Xiomera. A substantial force was definitely on the move, towards Yauhmi. A laptop was placed close to the Prime Minister, of which he scanned the images displayed. "I'm afraid to inform you that what seems to be a very large force advancing towards Chuaztlapoc. Time is of the essence it seems, and I on behalf of the Kingdom of Legionas would like to lend a hand in armed suppo..." He was distracted by a dispatch from the Admiralty which was placed in front of him, disclosing the location of the Third Fleet, returning to base following a series of naval exercises in the Tenebric Ocean, near the Indigo Islands. The fleet was west of Cenotillo Island, in range of the Xiomeran mainland. "We would be willing to dedicate as many resources as you would require, in the event of a conflict. Evacuation of your mother is also possible at the moment, with our Third Fleet within range of her location." Moretti motioned for contact with Admiral Gustavsson to be made with haste as he unbuttoned his collar button.

”This is a very welcome offer, and I would be happy to accept on behalf of our government. I will say, however, that I doubt my mother will evacuate. She has chosen to make her stand at Chuaztlapoc for a reason. Besides, running away isn’t her style.” Texōccoatl was looking at his own maps and information as the cabinet hastily prepared their own plans for him. “What would be most helpful would be airstrikes in support of the forces that are currently in position trying to defend Chuaztlapoc. There are people on the ground ready to fight, and the addition of the battalion that defected and the Civil Guard units will help. But they have no substantial air power and only limited air defenses.”

An aide brought forth a map of Chuaztlapoc, showing the city and its adjacent suburbs. Moretti moved forward, his eyes engrossed in the study of the map. It reminded him of his time in the Air Force, studying detailed maps with his squad mates before takeoff. He swallowed his saliva, this truly was a war. A war of liberation. Moretti began estimating potential casualties, and winced. He knew however that blood must be spilt in the battle against a tyrant. Another piece of information was passed to him, one infantry division as well as two motorized and one armored batalions were in the Zarmeza Islands, participating in biannual war games. "Yes, I believe we can aid in the skies. We also can aid on land, with a few thousand troops in position at the border islands."

”The troops you have in position could serve as a diversionary tactic, to divert some of the forces in western Xiomera from any assault on Chuaztlapoc.” Texōccoatl was thinking quickly as he looked at his maps. “Moving then into position as if they were about to advance into the border islands or western Xiomera could divert substantial numbers of the forces Xochiuhue was planning to send there.”

"I will create contact with Army Command as soon as I can." he said while making eye contact with his press secretary who stumbled, dropping his laptop and smashing the screen. Moretti sighed and continued his study of maps and information. A thought soon crossed his mind, "When will you be returning to Xiomera, Texōccoatl?"

”The timetable for that, under the circumstances, will need to be greatly accelerated.” Texōccoatl sighed. “We hadn’t planned to mount our offensive operations for several weeks yet. But best-laid plans, and all that.” The Crown Prince paused. “I should bring you up to speed on what our plans are. With support from friendly nations, we had planned to force a landing at the city of Zapotlán. The city sits atop the thin strip of land that connects Xiomera proper, in the east, to the rest of the Empire. Our plan was to cut the country in half and isolate Xochiuhue’s forces in the east. We think we can convince the people in the west to side with us.”

"I see, Zapotlán definitely would have been an exceptionable strategic target, and with probable aid from us as well as other allies of your government the plan could have worked. Fortunately enough, or rather unfortunately, your mother has been able to fast-forward events, especially with the news of Xochiuhue's injury. If we can move swiftly I am sure of our success and the reinstating of the rightful government." Moretti was distracted once again by the relative chaos that was unfolding in the cabin with aides rushing to get as much information as possible in the aid of Texōccoatl and his forces. Contact was also being established with naval, aerial and ground command, with streamlined uninterrupted information between Moretti and Texōccoatl's command center being paramount. Success was soon achieved with an open secure line to all Legionite Armed Forces Commands soon being established. "We have been able to create a channel between your command center and our armed forces command, Admiral Gustavsson, of the Third Fleet, has also been reached. I will have one of my aides confirm that the line is indeed operational. Is there anything else that myself or Force Command would need to know?"

”The very first thing: don’t get too close to the shoreline, at least not yet,” Texōccoatl said without hesitation. “There will be shore defenses present, but the bigger problem will be the XM-350-M. It’s a mobile anti-ship missile system we have, that can cripple or even sink warships. It has a range of up to 3000 miles, and being mobile, it’s damn hard to pin down.”

"If any anti-ship missile is fired at our ships, I will be forced to consider it an act of war." Moretti stated, much to the shock of his aides. His aide-de-camp nodded silently, knowing full well of the scale of a Legionite retaliation. He nevertheless relayed the information to Naval Command, stressing the need to avoid detection by Junta Shoreline Defenses. Back at Aerial Command, contact was being established with Space Command at Atraxes Island, where the White Hawk was being utilized for reconnaissance. A hastily formed file of the XM-350-M was being created, much to the chagrin of Moretti who wondered why information of the weapon was not already collected. "Our land forces are in position, Mr Moretti," Isaiah Thompson, his aide-de-camp said, while simultaneously handing him a file showing the force present at the border islands, around 56,000 men in total, with several hundred tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery pieces. Lorstan Air Base was also at high alert, with around 100 or so jets ready to be scrambled at any time. "Our land forces are ready, hopefully they will serve as a fitting temporary distraction for Xochiuhue's forces."

”I believe that they will,” Texōccoatl replied, a bit stunned with how quickly things were moving, but pleased as well. He had been waiting in exile for long enough, and with Yauhmi free, he felt like they finally had a chance. “Contact Minister Errante and also contact Ms. Rouchard, we need to loop them into all of this,” the Crown Prince told his aides. They quickly picked up additional phone lines. “We still plan to proceed with our plan to move at Zapotlán. With Xochiuhue committing so many forces to Chuaztlapoc, he will be stretching his defenses thin. This will give us the perfect opportunity to strike.”

Moretti grinned, he had found a new appreciation for the Kingdom's innovative Strategic Mobilization Strategy. He also appreciated the relative ease of communication 40,000 feet above the ground, Taheton 1 quickly becoming his very own Mobile Command Center. "Sir, I have word from the Third Fleet. Recon jets have noted movement in several positions close to the shore. We don't have confirmation yet, but we are sure that the junta knows of our intentions." Moretti's grin faded, and his demeanor quickly became that of worry. He knew that the Third Fleet must avoid being the recipient of a direct strike by Xiomeran anti ship ordnance. "We need them to move further northwest, closer to, uhhh, farther away from Cenotillo and Manauia Island. Have Admiral Gustavsson adopt a holding position and await naval command's orders. "Mr Texōccoatl, how many troops will you be able to utilize on a landing at Zapotlán?"

”Between the troops that have defected to our side and the volunteers we have who have been training in Milintica, we have a good sized force available. The 1st Expeditionary Brigade and the International Legion form the core of our force. They’re either Jaguar Warriors or trained by Jaguar Warriors, so they are a formidable force. They number about 8500 in total. Then, we managed to convince the 17th Brigade of the Army, which was deployed to Vulkaria, to join us. They add another 5500 troops. So the formal military contingent is 14,000 in total.” Texōccoatl quickly looked through some numbers on a tablet. “We also have our volunteers - they’re not as well trained or equipped as regular military forces, of course, but they’re prepared as much as we can be under these constraints. They add another 5000 to our total. So, we have a total of 19,000 troops we can deploy at Zapotlán. We can definitely use some naval support as we land, but the 1st Fleet will be deployed as well to aid us.” Texōccoatl paused. “The forces currently defending Chuaztlapoc....are not quite as robust. We estimate there are about 2000 Shorn Ones, 2000 regular Army troops, and 6000 or so former Civil Guard soldiers there, as far as a formal military contingent. There are also volunteers there also - we estimate that in total there are 12,000 defenders in place at Chuaztlapoc.”

"The defenders of Chuaztlapoc are definitely small in number, and that is worrying. If they can assemble perimeter defenses such as anti tank ditches, destruction of roads and bridges leading up to the city as well as assemble ambush teams near the city, that could aid in the stalling of Xochiuhue’s forces. The forces that are attempting the landing at Zapotlán sound ideal, although they may encounter resistance since the city is a massive strategic target. I will have information of the defenses of Zapotlán confirmed via recon as soon as possible. We will also be able to supply around 84 ships in close air support if necessary." Moretti looked at one of his aides who knew of the hangar capacities of Orion and Chiron, the sister aircraft carriers of the Third Fleet. She confirmed his estimation, and he continued. "When the assault commences I'm sure we'll be able to coordinate everything. I believe the top priority plans are the defense of Chuaztlapoc?" Moretti asked.

”As much as it pains me to say this, the beachhead at Zapotlán has to take precedence over everything else,” Texōccoatl said after a moment. “If we miss this chance to break through, any future attempts will be far more costly and difficult. Our current plan is to stage the assault at Zapotlán while simultaneously providing air cover and fleet support as much as possible to the defenders at Chuaztlapoc. Your diversion on our western border, coupled with our attack at Zapotlán, will hopefully force Xochiuhue to redeploy his forces elsewhere and weaken his attack on Chuaztlapoc enough to give the defenders a fighting chance.” Texōccoatl’s voice was clearly saddened as he said this, but it was clear that he was making a tough choice.

"Attack sometimes is the best defense, let's hope this is one of those times. If we are to ensure that the assault on Zapotlán will pay dividends later on, we may also need the troops on the ground to disable as much infrastructure that Xochiuhue’s forces may be using. Things like disabling network lines that I'm sure pass through the city. Zapotlán must become a citadel as well, strong enough to hold Xochiuhue’s Eastern Forces." Moretti motioned for his personal secretary to pour him another glass of Eirian Liquor, his mind beginning to swirl once more, due in part to the stressful situation he was in. Taheton 1's captain, an experienced ex-Air Force Wing Commander, had adopted a holding pattern over the skies of Aunistria, allowing Moretti to aid in a civil war that was about to go hot. The cabin too had become as streamlined as possible to allow as much information as possible to be collected, analyzed, prepared and sent over to relevant parties. On the ground too, the situation was being discussed by the Minister of Defense, and the Legionite General Staff. If Legionas was to be attacked by Xochiuhue’s forces, 56,000 men were at the ready to pour into Huenya, with a further 250,000 troops being able to be mobilized and in position within 96 Hours. Direct war though, was not on the mind of Moretti, he knew this was not his fight. He, and the Kingdom of Legionas, were merely allies in a civil war that would forever scar East Caxcana.

Texōccoatl nodded, handing information over to his aides to disseminate and begin enacting instructions. “Disabling or taking over control of essential infrastructure will be our first priority. Fortifying Zapotlán and ensuring it can be held to fulfill the first phase of our plan will be highly important as well. If Zapotlán and Chuaztlapoc both are able to hold, it will demoralize the forces loyal to Xochiuhue and could even possibly spark upheaval within the ranks of the junta. We greatly appreciate any help you can provide with our plans.”

"We will definitely be able to aid, in any capacity that is required. Fortunately, communication channels between your command center and our force commands have been established and are operational. With most pressing issues prepared and out of the way, I believe we can complete this impromptu meeting." Moretti downed his glass of Eirian liquor and motioned for the table to be cleared. "The Kingdom of Legionas is with you in this fight, as an ally. We hope that by our combined firepower, we can defeat this pretender to your throne, and restore peace and harmony to Huenya!"

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

Post by Xiomera » Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:51 am

August 7th
Tacuitapa


Tlocacihe smiled as she bent down to tie Metili's shoes. "You really need to learn to tie them yourself," she chided her son gently. The boy laughed and ran off to play with his sister, Apalin, as his mother sighed. She stood up and began tidying up the living room; her two children had the tendency to rampage through the house like miniature tornadoes.

The sound of the door opening caused Tlocacihe to look up; her husband, Catoqui, had just walked in. He dropped his briefcase on the floor, and absentmindedly turned to hang his suit jacket on the coatrack. He missed, and the jacket fell on the floor. Catoqui didn't even notice; he walked to a nearby armchair and fell into it.

"Hard day at work today, hon?" Tlocacihe said, then noticed the drained look on his face. "Catoqui....what's wrong?"

"They laid me off," Catoqui said tonelessly. Tlocacihe paused; surely he was joking. Catoqui worked in a management position at Mizhua Corporation, one of the mammoth Xiomeran corporate juggernauts that was considered a five-star employer. Mizhua never laid anyone off. As Tlocacihe continued to stare, Catoqui shook his head. "Eighteen years I've worked for them, and they dropped this on me today without any warning. No severance, no money, nothing. They said they'd pay my last paycheck today, and that I could take a loan off my investment plan, not that the investment plan is worth anything right now thanks to the stock market tanking. They said they would call me back to work 'when the economy gets better'. Who are they kidding? It's not going to get any better, not anytime soon. Not when half the damn nations in the world have slapped sanctions on us....." Catoqui's voice trailed off for a moment. "We still have our savings, but that won't last forever...."

"What are we going to do?" Tlocacihe asked, her voice hollow.

"I don't know!" Catoqui shouted, then shook his head again at the look of shock on his wife's face. "Sorry. I'm sorry. I don't mean to yell...I just..."

"Kids, go play outside now, please," Tlocacihe said in a soft but firm tone. Metili and Apalin ran outside, closing the door, as Tlocacihe sat on the couch near her husband. After a moment, Catoqui sighed. "They're laying off thousands of people. Factory workers, managers, across the board cuts. Mizhua isn't the only company doing it, I've heard from dozens of friends already. Lohuā Licā, Coltec, Imperial Petroleum, Zacuetz, Coycē, Zalta, Cala Computer....they're calling it the Friday Massacre already on the 'net. Thousands of people being laid off, or just outright fired. I don't understand....This is Xiomera. This sort of thing doesn't happen here," Catoqui said in a bewildered tone.

"I guess it does, now," Tlocacihe said, shaking her own head. "But we'll get through this somehow. We have to, there's no other choice really."

"I'm supposed to take care of my family. I've failed," Catoqui said, staring at the wall.

"I don't think you're the one that's failed, here," Tlocacihe replied, placing her hand on her husband's arm. After a moment, he looked at her and nodded.

---

Saclamantón

"This is bullshit!" Antlitel shouted.

Along with dozens of her fellow factory workers, Antlitel stared angrily at the Lohuā Licā foreman in front of her. Two of the three shifts that normally worked at the Saclamantón paper products plant had just been "indefinitely furloughed" - no severance, no further pay beyond their last paycheck.

Those workers were now outside the main entrance to the plant, where the besieged foreman had just delivered the news to the workers. The foreman, Tema, sighed. "I don't like this either, Antlitel, but it's a business decision. There simply isn't enough demand right now for us to keep everyone working. We'll bring everyone back once the economy rebounds. This is just a temporary situation," he pleaded.

"Temporary. Are my bills just temporary also? Is my rent temporary? How about my utility bills, or the pesky need that my wife and kids and I have for food, is that temporary? How the hell are we supposed to pay our bills and feed our families until Lohuā Licā decides they can afford to have us work again?" Antlitel shouted, shaking her fist at Tema. The workers behind her began shouting as well, echoing her concerns.

Inside the plant, the plant manager, Acinchenepa, hastily picked up a phone in her office as she looked out the window at the crowd of workers on the ground below.

In a few moments, a large group of Lohuā Licā security exited the plant, standing behind Tema in a line. "Look, Antlitel, I'm sorry, but there's nothing else I can tell you right now. Just go home, please, and wait to hear from us. Don't do anything dumb that will get you permanently fired, or worse."

Eyeing the security guards lined up in front of the plant, Antlitel and the laid-off workers were clearly assessing their odds. After an extremely tense moment, Antlitel turned to leave, the other workers following her. She stopped at the gate out of the complex, turning to look at Tema. "This isn't over. We're not done with you - or with this company," Antlitel said grimly as she walked out with the other workers. Tema sighed, wiping his brow, after they left. "Make sure there are guards 24-7 around the fence," he said quietly to the security team leader.

---

XBA headquarters
Tlālacuetztla


"So, it's done," Pa'zi said, sipping an expensive imported beer as he leaned back in his chair. "As we expected, the layoffs and terminations are not playing well, at least among those laid off or terminated. But with these measures, we should be able to ride out the economic disruption we're experiencing currently, with our companies' futures intact." The CEO of Imperial Petroleum shook his head. "It needed to be done."

Cuitōnzitl, the CEO of Tinal Mining, nodded in agreement. "There will be some complaining, no doubt. But if we didn't take these measures, there might not be any companies left to hire these people once this mess all blows over. I do hope these workers understand that keeping them on until we went bankrupt would have done no one any good in the end."

"Indeed," Cuālincōcatle, the CEO of Coatōn Corporation, said before taking a puff on his cigar. "Damn all of the bleeding heart do-gooder foreigners interfering in our business. The Eirians, the Legionites, the Laeralites, all of them. Their damned economic interference is the reason for all of this," Cuālincōcatle grumbled.

"I am concerned that we may not accurately be assessing the domestic anger these layoffs and terminations may cause," Xocolcōza said. "I tend to monitor social media and the 'net a bit more closely than you all do. Even with the attempts by the government to spin this situation and censor discussion of it, there are a lot of people that are very upset about this situation."

"So?" Matlate, the CEO of self-monikered Matlate Technicar, took a sip of wine and smiled. "I look at the interwebs just as much as you, Xocolcōza, and anyone with the time to go online and complain won't bother to do anything except rant and shout on Happytime Online before cleaning up the basement room they have in their mom's house. Who cares if they're upset? They can do like I did, and start their own companies if they're so worked up."

"I would not discount what Xocolcōza is saying so quickly." Manopantin, the Chairman of X3 Network looked at everyone. "I am seeing the same rumblings about all of this as Xocolcōza is. We cannot discount public anger. We have to manage this situation."

Atzical, the CEO of Lohuā Licā Companies, nodded. "And so we shall. But we did what we have to do. If it's sink or swim, I would much rather swim than sink. And by jettisoning the deadweight....it was necessary," he said with a nod of finality and took another drink from his glass. "All I know is....we bet on Xochiuhue to make this all work. He had better fix this situation, and soon. But for now, we must survive as best we can."

The leaders of the Xiomeran business community nodded in agreement. The motto of the XBA was Our prosperity is your prosperity. It didn't say Your suffering is our suffering.

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