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Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Sat May 05, 2018 4:49 pm
Sand crunched as a man walked along the beach on the island of Aeluria. In the darkness of the late night, none of his features were visible. He approached another man, who was standing, smoking a cigarette and staring at the sea.
"You aren't allowed to smoke in Lauchenoiria," the first man said as he approached. The second took a long drag on the cigarette, and blew the smoke in the direction of the mainland.
"As I understand it, that won't be a problem for much longer. Not if you have anything to say about it," he chuckled, stamping out the cigarette in the sand.
"You know fine well I approve of smoking about as much as the Lauchenoirian government," the first man responded, turning slightly to also stare at the sea.
"We're almost ready. We have the video from Melissa City, and we're in contact with the one they have in jail."
"How'd you manage that?"
"It's better for everyone if that information is kept in a close circle," the second man stated forcefully. The first man shrugged in response. He took a USB stick out of his pocket and handed it to the second man.
"I'll be in touch," said the second man, pocketing the USB stick and walking away. The first man took a long slow breath, and turned back to walk the way he came.
Prime Minister Laura Moore walked along one of the corridors of Parliament, typing a response to an email on her phone. The Foreign Secretary, Josephine Alvarez, jogged a little to catch up.
"Prime Minister!" she called, and Moore slowed to a stop and turned around. "We've just received intelligence that Phillip Reed, one of the fugitives from Sancti Imperii Catholico is in Lauchenoiria."
"Do they know where?" Moore replied.
"Unfortunately not," said Alvarez, shaking her head, "but he's dangerous. They tried to start a coup there, we don't want him in our country. We should divert extra resources to a manhunt."
"And you think we're at risk of a coup here," Moore laughed, smiling. "The budget is stretched as it is, not our problem."
"I really think..."
"I said no, Josephine. Let the Catholics solve their own problems," finished Moore, turning and walking away. Alvarez stared for a few minutes, sighing, then shaking her head again and turning away.
Meanwhile, on the island of Aeluria, Lauchenoirian Home Secretary Suleman Chaher was finishing a meeting with the Governor of Aeluria, Keitha Noguera in the town of Liaville.
"I'm glad we had this discussion. Hopefully it will allow relations between Aeluria and the mainland to improve," said Chaher, shaking Keitha's hand.
"Indeed. I look forward to further cooperation," she nodded to Suleman and sat back down as he exited.
Outside the Liaville Town Hall, Suleman turned around a corner to an alley. A man was waiting in the shadows.
"We're ready. Set the wheels in motion. All is ready for us to move at the weekend," said Suleman to the man, who chuckled.
"I didn't think you were likely to go through with it. Perhaps your people are finally realising how the world works."
"I know what is right. Our country has been invaded and nobody realises it. This is the only logical course of action. See to it that everyone is ready," said Suleman, turning and walking away.
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Wed May 09, 2018 10:27 pm
Prime Minister Laura Moore sat in her office, reading through a briefing on the nationwide shortage of coffee, quickly eating a sandwich for lunch. She faced questions in the House soon, after the Home Secretary gave his speech on the refugee situation, which he should be doing now. She turned the page and took a sip of her tea, when her door burst open and she spilled tea on the briefing in shock.
"Prime Minister! You need to see this, right now," her aide, Peter Fischer, exclaimed, picking up the remote and turning on the TV.
"You know, there's such a thing as knocking," Moore replied, wiping sandwich crumbs from her face and then trying to dry the spilt tea with the napkin. Peter seemed to not hear her as the TV turned on.
"... people of Aeluria have suffered more than enough from this government, even before they allowed the corporations to exploit them even more. This is why I am supporting Aelurian independence, and calling for this vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Moore. The people of Aeluria did not vote for capitalism in that referendum forced on us by foreign influence, and it is time the government answered to the people and not the corporations and foreign governments bankrolling Laura Moore!"
Home Secretary Suleman Chaher finished speaking and the opposition benches erupted into applause. And some of my own party too, thought Laura.
"This is a coup," Peter said, his voice trembling in a manner that meant both fear and anger.
"I knew I should have fired him when he started coming up with all those conspiracy theories about Skoden. There was no 'foreign influence' in the capitalism referendum," chuckled Moore, "all there is is one more man out of a job."
"No, you don't understand. He has the votes, Laura," panicked Peter. Laura's heart skipped a beat.
"He can't. It's not possible. If he'd been gathering votes for this, we'd have heard," replied Moore, uncertainly.
"I don't know how he did it. There was no signs of this at all before the speech, but suddenly there's a proposed motion with enough signatures to win."
"That is not possible, Peter. Apart from anything else, this is a huge violation of established parliamentary..." she trailed off the TV caught her eye again. Parliament was voting. Except... "There's no votes scheduled for now. Is this a repeat or something?"
Peter's eyes were wide open. "The speaker has allowed an unscheduled vote. This is unprecedented."
"This is illegal, in fact." Laura replied.
There was a knock at the door and her head of personal security, Katya, stood there with another security agent Laura did not recognise.
"Prime Minister, we need to go, right now, I've received warning that..." Katya fell silent as a loud bang was heard. The agent Laura did not recognise then fell forward, blood spilling out from the hole where his heart used to be.
Laura screamed, as Katya slammed the door shut.
"Get out of here, Prime Minister!" she yelled, holding the door. Laura hesitated for a moment, until Peter grabbed her arm. Then she turned, and the two of them ran out the emergency exit, as the government fell.
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Fri May 11, 2018 9:23 pm
"What am I looking at here?" asked Chen Ming-wen, the Laeralian Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs.
"It's a news broadcast from Lauchenoiria," his aide, Jia, said. "Our ambassador on the ground there is Alyssia Simonine. We haven't heard anything from her since the coup, but-"
"Coup?" Ming-wen asked.
"The one on the broadcast," she said, pointing to the screen of the tablet she held.
"I don't speak Spanish," Ming-wen said. "What's the summary?"
"Prime Minister Moore's Home Secretary, Suleman Chaher, pulled off some kind of snap vote in their Federal Parliament to bring down the government. No one's sure how he got the votes, but experts are divided on whether the vote was legal."
"So besides bringing down the PM's government, what makes this a coup?"
"Apparently there's been violence on the streets," Jia said. "Chaher has Communist sympathies, and he made an explosive speech denouncing Moore and the capitalism referendum. Also, no one's sure where Prime Minister Moore is now."
Ming-wen thought for a second. "This is above my rank. Tell Ambassador Simonine that the embassy should look into the whereabouts of Prime Minister Moore, and also President Walker. If Moore needs to take refuge at the embassy, let her. I don't have the authority to make an official statement on the issue- we'll need to wait until the Minister gets back from her vacation." He picked up the phone and dialed Foreign Minister Beringer. "Pick up..." he said to himself as he waited for Marie-Claire Beringer to pick up.
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 7:22 pm
President Leanna Walker scowled as she put down the phone.
"Half the ambassadors aren't taking my call, and a good fraction of those who do just give excuses. At least the ambassador for Laeral was helpful," she said, pouring herself another cup of coffee.
President Walker was part relieved and part angered by the fact she was out of the country at the time of the coup. Of course, that is probably why Chaher chose that time to do it. She now sat in her hotel room, trying to make the international community pay attention.
"You know, you'll have to take Chaher's call eventually," cautioned her Chief of Staff, Daniel Garza.
She had been ignoring Suleman Chaher's attempts to call her since the event. She knew he would ask her to appoint him as the new Prime Minister, which left her with two options.
Legitimise his coup, thus bringing an end to all she had worked for and damaging Lauchenoirian democracy for years to come.
Or start a civil war.
"He has the support of a good portion of the military. Nobody knows what the outcome would be if it came to a conflict. Thousands could die," Walker said, finishing her coffee.
"Nobody wants an armed conflict, but I would urge against supporting his coup. In the long run, it could be so much worse. Also," he added, grabbing the jug of coffee before she could pour another, "that is your third coffee in half an hour. If I drank that much coffee I'd be sick."
Walker hadn't even realised how much she'd been drinking. She took a deep breath and ran her hand through her hair, suddenly aware she was shaking.
"I know." She paused for several seconds, then picked up the phone. "I know. Okay, get me Chaher..."
She trailed off as the words "Breaking News" filled the TV screen in the corner.
"We are coming to you live from the Lauchenoirian island of Aeluria, where..."
"Then find her!" Chaher yelled, hanging up the phone and handing it to his aide, who promptly left. He turned to former foreign secretary Josephine Alvarez.
"I wanted Moore in custody, not on the run. But some incompetent fool decided to start shooting people, and now things have fallen to pieces."
"Exactly what did you expect, when overthrowing the government?" Alvarez replied. She was handcuffed to the table, having been arrested after refusing to leave her office.
"I didn't overthrow the government, Josephine. I held a legitimate vote of no confidence in a Prime Minister who was working against the country for a foreign power," he explained in a patronising tone.
Alvarez laughed. "Still with this foreign power nonsense! Honey, nobody believes that. Only reason you have any support at all is cause it benefits them, somehow. You don't even believe it yourself, and everyone knows it."
Chaher leaned across the table and spoke quietly but firmly.
"You are going to tell me where Laura Moore is. And then you are going to make a statement to the press telling the world you support my government. And then you're going to retire somewhere nice, with all your capitalist money, and I will never have to see you again."
Alvarez leaned forward until they were almost touching.
"No," she said, then leaned back.
Chaher took his hands off the table and walked over to the door.
"The alternative is you'll be convicted for treason and spend the rest of your life in prison. Your choice," he said, turning back to face her. She opened her mouth to respond, when the door opened and one of Chaher's staff handed him a tablet showing the live news.
"Noguera's making her statement, sir," said the staff member, a young man whose name Chaher could not recall.
"WHAT!?" yelled Chaher, storming out the room closely followed by the young man, who shut the door on Josephine Alvarez behind them. "This is much too soon! Why didn't she call me first?"
"I don't know, sir."
They both turned to the tablet, where First Minister Keitha Noguera of Aeluria was about to start her statement.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, for too long the people of Aeluria have suffered under colonial oppression, and have suffered due to the whims of those in the Lauchenoirian government. With the recent change of government on the mainland, we now have an opportunity to fix all this.
That is why, on this day, the Island of Aeluria is declaring independence from the Federation of Lauchenoiria."
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 10:14 pm
"... That is why, on this day, the Island of Aeluria is declaring independence from the Federation of Lauchenoiria."
The hush that had fallen upon the situation room when the Aelurian leader begun her speech quickly dissipated. Phones rang. Aides resumed their chattering. Officials streamed in and out of the Secret Service-secured, steel double-doors.
"What exactly do we know about the change of government, Alexandra? We have reporters saying it wasn't legitimate, our Ambassador is saying there's no one in their Foreign Ministry picking up calls. Laura Moore is nowh- well, Moore hasn't been seen commenting one way or the other. And now this Aeluria business?" Charlene Hendry stared at the SIS Director before slumping back in her chair and threw her hands up in exasperation. "There's too much going on for this all to be happenstance."
"Prime Minister," Alexandra Maye, the accountant-turned-spy boss began as she retrieved a file from her aide, "initial reports from agents in Lauchenoiria do suggest this isn't the peaceful handover of power that their Interior Mini-sorry, their new Prime Minister-designate is announcing."
"Well that's all we need."
"Yes, Prime Minister. Our sources on the ground have reported hearing scattered gunfire around the Lauchenoirian parliamentary campus as well as some of their ministry buildings."
"Unknown at this time."
"And where's Moore?
"Again, Prime Minister, that is unknown at this time."
"And the vote, was it legal?"
"I'm sorry Prime Minister, that is unkn-"
"Unknown at this time, yes I got that." Hendry sighed with frustration. "What is known at this time, Alexandra? What have our exceptionally well trained intelligence agents discovered?" The sarcasm dripped from every syllable.
"Well Prime Minister, the whereabouts of Foreign Minister Josephine Alvarez are also unknown, however," Maye added quickly before Hendry could tear her a new one, "this is especially significant. Alvarez is a popular member of the ruling party and a deeply respected parliamentarian. Any new Prime Minister from the ruling party would either (a) be Alvarez herself, or (b) require the support of Alvarez. That she has not yet issued any public statement suggests things may not be ... entirely above board."
"I've met Josephine. I'd believe that assessment." Hendry stared past Maye's head and began watching the information that was scrolling across some of the screens in the situation room. Lives news one some, classified info on others. She was thinking. "If it looks like a duck, and it sounds like a duck, it's a duck, Alexandra. Until I know the whereabouts of Moore and Alvarez, we're treating this as an illegitimate transfer of power. I want your sources on the ground to confirm this."
"Yes, Prime Minister."
"And Alexandra," Hendry began as the SIS Director rose from her chair, "I want you to return in 60 minutes and I want a hell of a lot more information than you've been giving me." Hendry turned her attention to Brian Young, her Foreign Secretary. "What we do know about Aeluria - and I swear to God if you start saying we don't know..."
"Thankfully, Charlene, we know a bit," Young started. "Agitated community. Rumblings of independence for a long time so the various governments have slowly been devolving power. Current administration on the island are far-left sympathisers. Suleman Chaher, the self-declared Prime Minister-designate of Lauchenoiria, used the speech where he - I am operating under the assumption this is illegitimate - declared no confidence in his own Prime Minister to seize power, well he used that speech to advocate for Aelurian independence. It was known that he has been sympathetic to their cause"
"So the two are connected but ... seizing power to help a tiny island colony declare independence seems inefficient and, frankly, daft. He could have quit and introduced a private members bill - do they have those there? - clearly he had the numbers if he's now doing it as Prime Minister. Or Prime Minister-designate. Whatever he is. Where's the Lauchenoirian President by the way?"
"Actually our Ambassador just sent a missive - the Aelurian declaration has taken everyone by surprise there, I don't think Chaher was expecting it."
"Well, Brian, we weren't expecting Chaher so I'd take whatever the Ambassador is telling you with a pinch of salt. You sidestepped me, by the way. Where's President ... Walken?"
"It's Walker and she's out of Lauchenoiria on official business."
"Have we spoken to her?"
"Y-yes? Surely this should have been the first piece of information you divulged!" Hendry sighed. This was a new government, in office only for a few months. Things hadn't quite settled down yet.
"Well I only discovered through our Ambassador's missive. She rang him, personally, to see if he knew anything but he, wisely I believe, said he couldn't help as he hadn't had any instructions or information from us."
Hendry glanced at her notes and back at the screen. The President of Lauchenoiria was out of the country and, seemingly, ignorant to the details of what had happened. The Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria was MIA. As was the Foreign Minister. And the Lauchenoirian Interior Minister had announced a motion of no confidence in his own party, won, and was suggesting he was the new Prime Minister.
Hendry drank some coffee and cleared her throat. "Brian," she looked at her Foreign Secretary, "call President Walker back immediately - give her the information that we have." She looked back at her aides, ministers, and intelligence agents gathered around the table. "We're going to put out a statement saying we're concerned at the events in Lauchenoiria. We urge restraint from violence. And we look forward to clarification regarding who is in charge".
As she finished speaking, some aides stood to leave.
"I'm not finished. That is our public statement. Internally, we're treating this as a coup until proven otherwise. Reports of violence - of gunfire - in the vicinity of the parliament. Prime Minister and Foreign Minister missing. Their President not have a clue what's going on. And a declaration of independence from a colony with far-left leadership. I don't know who Chaher is trying to kid, but this is the most obvious coup I've seen in my years in front-line politics."
She spoke again to her Foreign Secretary, this time without even looking to him. "Brian, we're not going to recognise Aeluria. Throw something diplomatic out if they reach out to us. We're still waiting until events settle down, whatever. The civil servants can draft something up. When you're speaking to Walker, tell her the reports of violence suggest it's not safe to return to Lauchenoiria. We'd advise to stay where she is. Unfortunately we can't do anymore."
Hendry stood up. "We're going to take a short break. And when we return, all of you are going to have a hell of a lot more information for me than you have now."
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 3:17 am
"... That is why, on this day, the Island of Aeluria is declaring independence from the Federation of Lauchenoiria."
Archbishop Patrick propped himself up on the table, forefinger and thumb straddling his chin. Vernon McCoy, his Defense Secretary, stood over his shoulder.
?You think this got something to do with Isiah Thomas or Philip Reed?? McCoy inquired.
?No. Reed is in Gonhog, and I doubt Thomas would start a coup somewhere else. They got their minds set on us.?
The Foreign Minister, Alvon Russo, chimed in, ?Your Excellency, we must decide what we will do with this whole Aeluria thing.?
?Of course, release a statement saying we are against any conflict. Of course, I?d must rather have a united Lauchenoria then another communist country.? He shivers, then continues, ?Communists have only destroyed our Church.? With this, the Archbishop does the Sign of the Cross.
Russo cleared his throat, ?Your Excellency, there already has BEEN conflict...?
The Archbishop sighed, ?Of course there already was. Are the prime minister and president safe??
?We really need to get some embassies set up. Alvon, that?s your new project after this. As for you, McCoy, see to that northern border. The Gonhogians are getting a bit rowdy...?
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 4:33 pm
Laura Moore tried to quieten her breathing as she hid. She pressed her ear to the floor, but she couldn't hear what the federal police officers were saying. After a tense few minutes, they left and Katya shut the door. Moore waited. Eventually, Katya opened the door to the closet where she hid.
"It's okay, they were looking for one of the fugitives from Sancti Imperii Catholico. Seemed to have an idea one of them is in the area," Katya said as Moore stood up and exited into the bedroom.
"We need to get out of the country," Moore responded.
"We're working on it. Peter is away right now trying to make that happen."
"Any news from Josephine?" asked Moore, as she climbed down the stairs. She fanned herself with a piece of junk mail as she walked, the hot climate near the border with Malabra irritating her.
"She's vanished, just as much as you have to any onlookers. Whether that means she's on the run, or... something else, we have no way of contacting her. As soon as it's dark, we need to head to Summersea. From there, we'll get on a ship out of the country."
"Once we are in international waters, we will contact world leaders who we expect to support you, and ask one of them for asylum."
"And if this doesn't work? If Peter doesn't find a ship, or if Chaher finds us, what then?"
"I am sworn to protect you, ma'am."
"That's not an answer."
Moore sat down on a chair in the kitchen. They were in Peter's uncle's summer house, a secluded small structure in the northeastern corner of Costeno province. After the shooting in the Parliament building, they had fled here, without contacting anyone. They didn't know who to trust.
Moore blinked away some tears as she thought of her family, who didn't know if she was alive or dead. Her husband, Felipe, would be worried. Their two children, Kelli and Jamey, were only 6 and 4. If something went wrong, she might never see them again. She had never truly considered such things before. Lauchenoiria was not the kind of place where these things happen.
"Or so I thought," murmured Moore aloud.
"Jonas, get me another cup of coffee," ordered Chaher, as he tapped his pen against a pile of paperwork he had shuffled around to make it look like he'd done something with it.
"Yes, sir," replied the boy, Jonas, as he left the room. Chaher leaned back in his chair.
Noguera's declaration had complicated things. True enough, he had promised the Aelurian leader the island would have their independence if they supported his vote in parliament. But not right now!
He sighed, considering his options. He could recognise their independence, fulfilling his promise, and losing an important piece of territory. He could call their declaration illegal, risking retribution and fighting a war on two fronts if President Walker moved against him. Or he could ignore the situation entirely, seeming unprofessional and not in control.
Never any good options. He picked up the phone again, dialling President Walker's staff. Perhaps this time she'd actually pick up.
"Good afternoon, Mr Chaher," said President Walker.
Suleman Chaher almost fell off the seat at his shock. He hadn't expected her to take the call at all, never mind answer the phone herself.
"Good afternoon, Madam President," he replied, hoping he sounded less caught off guard than he felt. "I am calling to ask you to appoint me as the new Prime Minister and allowing me to form a government, following the troublesome allegations against Laura Moore."
"I'm sorry, Mr Chaher, I cannot do that."
Chaher mentally swore. So it would be like this, then.
"Respectfully, Madam President, that would be a mistake. I have the support of parliament and the people." And the military, he did not say. He knew she already had that information.
"Regardless, your power grab was illegitimate and I cannot recognise your government. Please, stop this before it goes too far. There's still time to back down from this, I ask you as someone who cares deeply about the Lauchenoirian people."
"You know I can't do that. Goodbye, Madam President." He hung up the phone.
"Well, it seems like we're going to need a new President," Chaher said to nobody.
"He hung up on me," sighed President Leanna Walker. "Seems this is going to get worse before it gets better. Call General Sanchez."
"Yes, ma'am," responded Daniel.
Walker pulled the clasp holding her hair back out, then quickly changed her mind and tied it up again. She walked into the ensuite, and stared at her reflection.
She looked like she hadn't slept in a month. She had bags under her eyes, her hair was a mess, and her clothes were crumpled. She was going to have to take a good long time getting ready before the press conference.
She was about to declare Suleman Chaher's vote of no confidence in Laura Moore an illegal and illegitimate coup. And while, constitutionally, the military answered to her, practically he had the support of a much greater fraction. He would fight, she knew. And it was anybody's guess who would win.
She splashed water on her face, then exited back into the main part of her hotel suite, as Daniel put down the phone.
"The General is unavailable, ma'am."
So this was how Sanchez was going to play it. She hoped against hope that he really was just busy, but she couldn't count on it.
"The majority of the people of Aeluria do not wish the island to be independent. This declaration of independence is a move by the AIP's Keitha Noguera to capitalise on the situation in Buttercity..." muttered Walker, preparing her speech for the conference in an hour.
"There will be a teleprompter, I'm sure."
"I am well aware. Now, get me the wardrobe people. And find out where Moore and Alvarez are."
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 2:17 pm
"Everything we're seeing right now points to a coup in Lauchenoiria," Jerome Ferrand said. He was a short man, dark-haired, and completely-average looking. He was also the Director of the Bureau of External Action, Laeral's spy service. President Brennan disliked the man, but he leaned forward to listen as the man spoke.
"In Lauchenoirian government right now, there's three major political figures that are in hiding. Lauchenoiria has a full parliamentary system, with a directly elected figurehead as President and the Prime Minister as the head of state. Prime Minister Moore's missing, and none of my people have heard anything about her since she disappeared. The fact that she hasn't made a public appearance indicates that she's scared of showing herself."
Foreign Minister Beringer nodded, signaling to Brennan that she'd heard the same thing. "My counterpart, Foreign Secretary Alvarez, also hasn't appeared. President Walker is outside of the country, but her schedule hasn't been released to the public."
"We haven't been able to get confirmation of her location," Ferrand said, "despite my people's best efforts. Lauchenoiria hasn't been a focus for our efforts, so we're undermanned there."
"But it's the President's role to confirm the Prime Minister," Nicholas Brennan said. "If Suleman Chaher wants legitimacy, he's going to need her approval. Can we assume that he's also going to try to find her?"
Jerome Ferrand nodded. "Almost certainly."
"And then we've got Aeluria's declaration of independence." Brennan said.
"That's right," Foreign Minister Beringer said. "They've always been separate from the mainland, based on their religious beliefs. A majority of Aelurians practice a religion called Lurian, while the majority of mainland Lauchenoirians are atheists. At this point, their independence declaration is just a way to seize the opportunity to act while the government's distracted."
"So President Walker needs to act," Brennan said. "Laura Moore can't do anything while she's in hiding. Leanna Walker was directly elected, so she's the most legitimate political figure left standing. I don't think that she'll stay quiet while her Prime Minister is overthrown and her country falls apart. If I were a betting man, I'd say that she's going to make a statement soon."
"Mr. President," Ferrand said, "I agree, but I'd like a confirmation of our views on Chaher versus Moore, as well as the independence declaration. Are we staking a claim in favor of Moore and the central government?"
"Stability benefits our aims in the region," President Brennan said. "Lauchenoiria's government is pacifistic, but stable. It's better for Laeral if they stay that way."
"Our primary interests in Lauchenoiria are economic," Beringer said. "We need stability if we want to keep accessing their markets. And a neutral, pacifist Lauchenoiria is better than an isolationist one."
"We can't get drawn in, though," President Brenna said. "The People's Party is already hitting me on foreign policy. We can't get drawn in to a major conflict here. We'll offer Moore, Walker, any Lauchenoirian politicians refuge at our embassy or in Laeral itself, but nothing more. Madam Minister, can you write a statement saying that we support a peaceful solution in Lauchenoiria that reflects the interests of the people- something like that- and that Lauchenoirian officials are safe with us?"
"I'll make it happen," she said.
"Good. Mr. Ferrand, tell your people to keep their eyes open, but not to do anything rash. I want reports from them daily."
"Okay. If I can get someone close to Chaher, should I do so?"
It took Brennan only a second to decide. "Tell them to do it if they can, but to just watch and listen."
"It'll be done." Ferrand replied, and left.
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 3:06 pm
Charlene Hendry jumped slightly with a startle. She had been so engrossed in a financial report before her that she didn't even see the head of the Sanctarian Intelligence Service, Alexandra Maye, enter her office. Last time they spoke, in the situation room, Hendry had been displeased with the scant information the SIS had provided. "Alexandra, hi. Is this about Lauchenoiria?"
"It is, Prime Minister." Maye was a tall woman, with grey hair cut short and in a bob. She was not a spy by trade - she had previously been the country's Ombudsman - but she knew administration, how to lead, and how to collate information effectively. "Do you have a moment to discuss?"
Hendry nodded, put down the report, and motioned for Maye to take a seat. "Go ahead, Alexandra."
"Prime Minister, the SIS is comfortable confirming to you now that there has indeed been a coup in Lauchenoiria. Our agents understand that Prime Minister Moore is on the run - there are reports an aide of hers was seen near the Malabran border, whether or not Moore is with her is not known, but we're considering it likely. Moore will make to leave the country."
Hendry sighed. She had met the Lauchenoirian Prime Minister Laura Moore only weeks previously. They had spoken a few times by telephone. Their relationship was cordial, but distant. The previous Sanctarian administration had not deemed Lauchenoiria a worthy enough trading partner, claiming it was too small. Hendry had hoped to revise that, and was cautiously optimistic that Moore, less communist than her compatriots, would be the right person to work with. "Ok, well liaise with external agencies and see if we can get a confirmation on Moore's location. What else do you have?"
"I've spoke to Foreign Secretary Young, and the information from our embassy in Lauchenoiria is that President Walker is likely to refuse to appoint Suleman Chaher, the country's Home Secretary and instigator of this coup, as Prime Minister. This will put her in a precarious position".
"Precarious as in she's likely to be removed from office?"
"The SIS has made the assessment that Walker should fear for her life. She's a popular figure in Lauchenoiria and is directly elected by the people, giving her legitimacy that other politicians can't claim. Chaher's position as Home Secretary has given him considerable influence over the nation's police and judicial figures. Our agents tell us that he may have military leadership on his side too."
Hendry nodded. "Ok. And what about the situation on the ground?"
"Yes, Prime Minister. There have been fatalities on the parliamentary grounds. The deceased have not yet been identified by anyone the SIS can considered reputable so we can't confirm if they are politicians, aides, security, bystanders, or whoever. The Foreign Secretary, Josephine Alvarez also remains missing. There have been no sightings of either herself or her aides, so the SIS is operating under the assumption that either she is among the casualties, or she has been taken captive."
"We did not need this today Alexandra." Hendry groaned. What to do. "You mentioned you spoke to Brian earlier, what other information did he have?"
"The Foreign Secretary has indicated that the international community isn't buying Chaher's claims this is not a coup. However he doesn't believe, and the SIS concurs, that many will recognise Aeluria's declaration of independence - at this juncture, anyway. We'll see what happens at the end of the conflict."
That word caught Hendry's attention. "Conflict?"
Maye sighed. "Yes, Prime Minister. Our official assessment is that Lauchenoiria is at serious risk of descending into a civil war. The two factions are significant in size and influence, and when President Walker refuses to appoint Chaher Prime Minister, as we expect her to do shortly, he will seize power anyway."
"Well then," Hendry began. "Once that happens, we can't help." The blasted neutrality clause in the constitution wreaking havoc with foreign policy once again. Hendry had a love-hate relationship with the clause. This time, she hated it. "Alexandra, what's the point of having a significant military presence if we can't get involved?"
"Prime Minister, I won't speak for either your Armed Forces Chiefs or for the Homeland Security Secretary, but I would say that our troops are valued as peacekeepers. I understand your frustration at being stuck on the sidelines should civil war break out but we'll be needed towards the end."
"In what way?"
"The same way as always. The Sanctarian Armed Forces always get called in to keep the peace during cease-fires, negotiations and, sometimes, during nation-rebuilding. If I may be so bold as to advise you to remain neutral, as you must, but continuously stress that Sanctaria and her resources are there to assist in diplomatic or peace-keeping situations. If conflict breaks out we can offer protection to humanitarian aid, for example. We've hosted peace conferences before. That is our reputation."
Hendry nodded. "Ok, go back to the Foreign Secretary. Tell him to put an alert out for our citizens in the nation. He is to advise our embassy that non-essential staff are to return to Sanctaria. And once Chaher makes his move after Walker refuses to appoint him, as you tell me will happen, tell him to get our Ambassador to send a missive to both camps, stressing our neutrality and availability, whenever they need it, for humanitarian, peacekeeping, or diplomatic purposes."
Maye nodded curtly. "Thank you, Prime Minister."
Muttering under her breath, Hendry turned on a 24 hours new channel - just to keep an ear on what was happening - and returned to the fiscal reports on her desk. The world was changing, but Sanctaria still had to be ran.
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 10:13 am
"Fellow Lauchenoirians, people of the IDU. I stand before you today to ask for your support in this matter. Secretary Suleman Chaher has illegally seized power in Lauchenoiria. The alleged vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Laura Moore was illegitimate and based upon false information spread by Chaher and his allies.
I ask that Secretary Chaher is immediately taken into custody, pending trial for these illegal actions against our democracy. Lauchenoiria prides itself on our democracy, and I hope very much that despite this incident, we can continue forward as a democratic society. I ask the international community to refuse to recognise Chaher's so-called government as legitimate.
On the subject of the Aelurian declaration of independence, the majority of the people of Aeluria do not wish the island to be independent. This declaration of independence is a move by the AIP's Keitha Noguera to capitalise on the volatile situation in Buttercity, against the wishes of the Aelurian people. This declaration of independence is illegitimate.
I hope that the situation will be resolved quickly and peacefully, and those behind this coup are brought to justice. Thank you."
President Leanna Walker turned to board her flight to Laeral as the press screamed questions over one another. She wasn't going to take any. She remained silent and stared straight ahead until she was safely on board the plane. She then exhaled loudly.
"We'll be departing in 30 minutes for the flight to Laeral, ma'am," her chief of staff informed her.
"Thank you, Daniel," she responded. Laeral had offered her sanctuary, and she was taking them up on their offer. Her security seemed to think that her life would be in danger if she returned to Lauchenoiria. She didn't believe them. Or, she didn't want to. Either way, better safe than sorry.
She checked her watch. It would be 8pm in Lauchenoiria, and at this time on a normal day she would be reading a book to relax after dealing with whatever crisis had happened that day. She shook her head to get rid of the thought. It would be over, one way or the other, soon enough.
Katya was driving with Peter in the passenger seat, as Laura Moore sat in the back in a cheap wig that wouldn't fool anyone up close. It was midnight, and Peter had arrived back five hours ago to inform them he'd found a ship willing to get them out of the country.
They were a few miles out from Summersea, when they heard the first gunshot. Laura jumped half out of her skin, but Katya barely reacted.
"A lot of illegal hunting in this area," Katya commented. She sounded like she believed it. Moore wasn't so sure. Even if it was true, one of her main policy platforms had been stamping that stuff out. The politician still in her was horrified. The woman who feared for her life was relieved.
They were almost at the Summersea city limits when three military jets flew overhead. Moore knew for certain there was no military base nearby. Katya stopped the car, and they watched.
"Peter, were there military exercises here this afternoon?" asked Katya.
Peter shook his head, staring at the sky, looking visibly frightened. Something had happened, and recently.
A military vehicle appeared around the bend, and seeing them stopped, pulled over. Two soldiers got out and approached. Moore's heart rate doubled.
"You are in violation of the curfew," one of the soldiers said as Katya rolled down her window.
"I wasn't aware there was a curfew," she replied.
"Nevertheless, I'll have to ask all of you to exit the vehicle."
"Is that really necessary?" squawked Peter.
"If you could please exit, so we can..." the soldier trailed off as he glanced in the back of the car. Moore froze like a rabbit caught in headlights. Recognition grew on the soldier's face. For a few seconds, the world stopped.
"Actually, it's late and you look like you've been travelling a long time. Just get indoors as soon as possible," said the soldier. "Oh, and I hope you weren't heading for the sea. Ports are all closed. Have a good night."
He walked back over to the other soldier who was standing just out of earshot. The second seemed confused, and as they talked, Katya quickly turned the engine back on and drove off.
Moore exhaled, her breath shuddering. So not everyone was against her. But enough that she still wasn't safe, by the look of things. She wanted to be sick.
"This won't end well, or peacefully," Peter commented.
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 2:20 pm
President Brennan took a few deep breaths as he stood outside the entrance to the Media Conference Room at Republic House. In a few minutes, he'd have to go in there to explain to the press and to a Laeralian public increasingly weary of foreign 'misadventures' why he'd extended an invitation for Lauchenoirian President Walker to come to Laeral. He had a few notes with him, but they were more for comfort than anything else. He rarely looked at his notes while he was speaking. His phone rang in his pocket. He wondered for an instant if it was one of the surprisingly many foreign leaders who had somehow gotten their hands on his personal cell phone number, but it was in fact his Prime Minister. He put the phone to his ear. "Tanvi. How are you?"
On the other end of the line, he could hear Tanvi Misra, the Prime Minister. In Laeral's semi-presidential system, the Prime Minister was elected by the National Assembly rather than directly, as Brennan had been. While Brennan himself had needed to appeal to the voters using his charisma and personality, Tanvi Misra was much more of a political operator. Brennan had picked her because she could deliver the necessary votes in the National Assembly to support Brennan's Progressive Party agenda, not for any other reason. "I am well, Nicholas," she said. Brennan could hear her Andhran accent strongly, an indication that she was more agitated than usual. "How are you?"
"I'm good, thank you. I assume that this is about Leanna Walker?"
"It is. I do wish that you had consulted with me before you invited her to Laeral. It would make things simpler," she said.
"What would you have advised me to do?" Brennan asked. He was fairly certain he knew her answer.
"I would have told you to politely delay her, or at the least give her assistance less visibly, than publicly announcing it and holding a press conference to celebrate," she said. "This will hurt us politically. The People's Party will be crafting their response as we speak. They will accuse us of scheming to enter another foreign entanglement, and will proclaim that Lauchenoirian affairs are none of our business."
"You're right," Brennan replied. "And I'm aware of the potential consequences. But a stable, democratic Lauchenoiria is an asset to us and our foreign policy."
"I've seen the reports that you have," Misra said. "And this won't be simple to resolve. There will be violence in Lauchenoiria before this is done," she warned.
"I'm prepared," Brennan replied.
Have I Got Coups For You
Posted: Wed May 16, 2018 7:31 am
Foreign Minister Svein Hellvik awoke startled. "Butterflies," he said and looked around himself bewildered. He had fallen asleep on his office couch again. Was it morning? Had he slept all through the night? He squinted towards the windows while fumbling for his spectacles, but the blinds were drawn and the glasses nowhere to be seen. He moved towards his desk, nearly tripping over his chair in the process. Having regained his composure, he eventually sat down, feeling tired.
Unlike in many other countries, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs traditionally was a position of prestige and importance, in Gnejs it occupied the very lower tiers of ministerial hierarchy. Apart from a brief surge in popularity for international relations during the 2015-2017 grand coalition government between the Unionists and the Moderate Party ? headed by the notorious internationalist Arne Vreeswijk ? the old Unionist slogan "A rock sustains itself" was still very much a guiding philosophy underlying most facets of Gnejsian political life and policy. This was more true than ever after the Unionists managed to achieve a parliamentary majority backed by the agrarian Centrist Party following the 2017 election.
Hellvik was an old man. A hero of the 1970's and 1980's, when he had served as head of the Ministry of Infrastructure and among other things overseen the massive developments of the northern and coastal train corridors. Now in his 90's, he had served as Foreign Minister for nearly a year. It was Tangeus Oxwald, the Unionist Prime Minister, who had asked him to head the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Partly as a way of rewarding an old hero of the Union, partly (but perhaps mostly) as a way of showing that the proactive policies of his predecessor ? Ronja Bj?rneboe of the Moderate Party ? had merely been an anachronism.
As per Unionist tradition, the position of the current Foreign Minister was once again a weak one, wielding virtually no influence or authority expect as a part of collegial government decisions, mostly relegated to symbolic appearances and administratively overseeing what was in all likelihood the smallest diplomatic corps in the IDU. Traditionally, foreign posts were not looked upon as an honour. Put bluntly, it was more of a punishment, put mildly it was a convenient way of dispensing with slightly uncomfortable elements within the party lines.
Hellvik got up, moved towards his office kitchenette, and proceeded to put the kettle on. While waiting for the water to start boiling, he returned to his desk and picked up a heavy stack of papers. It was a collection of the daily briefings his advisors delivered every morning. It contained collected and analysed information concerning matters in the region, and the occasional report from the Union's WA-delegation. He leafed through the thick stack, and started feeling confused. "Why are there so many of them? What day is this?" he thought to himself. The water started boiling, but Hellvik was lost in thought. "I dreamed. Butterflies. You can't hold onto them by force; their wings are fragile, they will break and die." The hissing of water splashing on the hot stove snapped him out of his thoughts.
He filled his mug with hot water and put a bag in it. After sitting down at his desk again, he continued looking through his briefings. Suddenly he stopped abruptly at the sight of a picture of the Lauchenoirian flag. "Butterflies!" he exclaimed. He started scanning the document. Without his glasses, he was not far from blind, so he struggled to make out the words.
" ? the people ? suffered ? recent change ? opportunity ? Aeluria ? independence ?"
"Aeluria," he said. "An island of butterflies. Fragile." Without any real conscious idea of what he was doing, Hellvik grabbed his fountainpen and a sheet of paper, and started writing.
"Comrades of Aeluria,*
I have been made aware of your recent ascendance, and I wish to congratulate you. It is imperative that tender butterflies are not coerced, as any use of force will robe them not only of their wings, but also of their very lives. The Rock of the East will always accommodate those who needs a place to rest their weary wings and decide for themselves their own route when fluttering through existence. Quantum Satis.
Foreign Minister of the Prosaic Union of Gnejs."
He put the paper in an envelope, and grabbed one of the stones he had on his office desk and slipped it in there as well before sealing it. He got to his feet, and as he started walking towards the door, it suddenly opened and his young aide August Fjordvang came in.
"Good morning, minister," he said and smiled. "Late night again?"
"Yea, it appears so," said Hellvik. "But now, please make sure that this letter is sent to whoever rules the butterflies of Aeluria"
"Aeluria? In Lauchenoiria? But why?"
"Just do it, Fjordvang, it is imperative that it reaches the King of Butterflies as soon as possible."
"Very well, Minister, I shall see to it."
*Comrade is a common way of greeting friends in the Prosaic Union. It does not hold connotations to communist leanings within Gnejs; it's usage is common among most people, also those of a more conservative or liberal disposition.