A Knight of the Republic, Abroad

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by Beautancus, May 26, 2019.

    Loading...
  1. Beautancus

    Beautancus Timeout

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,142
    Location:
    The Best Carolina
    Capital:
    Welmonton
    Nick:
    Beautancus
    A Knight of the Republic, Abroad


    Williamsborough-Implarian International Airport, Middle Plantation, Commonwealth of Sinnecomacca; about a week ago



    They'd given him enough warning before this deployment that there'd been no mad scramble of surprised arguments, last minute ticket prices for cramped seats on an airline that misplaced travel bags and spare uniforms and - most importantly - no bawling, bewildered toddlers to walk away from and into the clutching abyss of combat's unforeseeable ironies.

    Memories that did not deserve the remaking and spending untold months undoing again, especially with a wife halfway into another pregnancy - even if that deployment had earned him his "bottlecaps," the pair of electrum (green-gold) stars that had marked his uniform collars since. Knighthood too, he reminded himself.

    "Sig" - Lieutenant Colonel Sigismund Maurice Clayton - glanced to the passenger seat and absently placed a protective hand over Alodie's rounded belly, subconsciously coming to terms with the rising disquiet and guilt waging evolutionarily mandated warfare against the memetically hard-coded compulsion to honor his duty and obligation to Constitution and country.

    It's of some comfort that DoD and the Army have gotten their game pinned down better in the years between now and then, he thought, warmed slightly by the broad smile Alodie rewarded him with, and the sight of their two children in the rearview mirror, each asleep under one of his mother in law's arms.

    Mrs. Wright, "Mother, or Katherine if you must," as she continued to insist, was dozing herself by now, thankfully disinterested in backseat driving. Though he liked her well enough, under more normal circumstances Sig would have been bit wary at having brought her along for one of their more personal family vacations. As it was this time, he was glad enough she had come to help Alodie with the children, and to drive them back home once he was in the air.

    Their parking lot was coming up in a few miles now, the sprawling breadth of the Northwest Coast's largest airport continuing to rise into ever more impressive view as their path on the interstate wove over, across and through the rippling hills of Sinnecomacca's Piedmont.

    A hulking, fat-bodied airliner was taking to the air in the distance, climbing over the world with a false-sluggishness, but quickly rising to a speed that was unmistakable even from the skewed perspective of a car hurtling down the interstate. As the increasingly more developed terrain overtook the green splendor of the country just a month shy of full Summer, Sig couldn't help but let his memory fall back over their impromptu roadtrip and vacation.

    He could've flown out of one of the smaller airports closer to home, in Culpepper, and transferred from here for the same results. Taking that route wouldn't have allowed him to enjoy the Lovers' Leap Monument, or the Channeled Scablands, or the Pinnacle Forest and Fort Wagon Commonwealth Parks or the "Republican Zoo of the Far West" with his wife and kids on the way.

    Their eldest, Jack, had been over the Moon with having seen the majestic Kashtanese and Kollamese tigers, the gracefully prowling Pelasgian khyphur cats and - best of all - the towering Engellachian snow bears, every bit as pale-colored as their names suggested and very nearly twice the height of a man on their hindlegs. His as yet still youngest and daughter, Cindy, had fallen asleep still talking about the titanic Pinnacle Redwoods - how could she when they'd just driven through an evergreen 400 feet tall? "The people there must be big and tall, if the soil grows trees this size," she'd reasoned, not entirely baselessly.

    The sparse grandeur of Fort Wagon and Thoth's Lighthouse, the primordial chalk and crimson rock spiral of an eroded mesa some miles opposite, had impressed Alodie and Katherine, and had of course spoken to Sig himself on a deeply abiding level. His own First Cavalry, albeit un-Armored in those days, had fought one of their greatest battles in the broad plain between the fort and Thoth's Lighthouse in 1870, forever breaking the predatory hegemony of the Western Chiricahua in the what was likely to have been largest cavalry charge the continent had ever seen. Racing through the shadow of the old mesa, before the beleaguered earthen ramparts of the fort, and over the whole run of the flat plain between the landmarks, 483 Cussians (of roughly 1100) had sold their lives most dearly, taking nine times that number of the foe with them.

    Their sacrifices and great victory had busted the continent's interior open for Beautancus and the railroads, connecting Sinnecomacca and the more heavily peopled East Coast in just a matter of years. Tens of millions of pounds were made, and the lives of tens of millions of future Cussians made possible, for a little blood and thundering, iron-shod hooves.

    That was Sig's pedigree as a warrior, the nearly mythic heritage of the Knights of the Old Confederacy, a tradition that he ever had been and yet still was compelled to prove himself worthy of inheriting.

    "There it is Babe, Exit 420b," Alodie pointed a skinny finger at the sign, far too large to be missed even be a man sunk as deep into revelry as Sig was.

    All the same, he smiled and nodded his thanks and followed her implicit directions. Sigg felt they were hurtling along much faster than the 45 mph the dash read, angling their Promenade, a family SUV from Lancaster Automotive newly introduced for the upcoming model year, down Exit 420b.

    "Strange how different this ride feels...you normally feel like you're crawling, going from 95 to 45 like this." Conscious of how out of sorts he sounded, Sig wasn't surprised that his wife responded by taking his scarred paw of a hand into her own smooth, delicately skinny-fingered hand and gave it a squeeze. "You're a good man Colonel Clayton."

    "You are a good man Sigismund. My daughter did our family justice, and then some, by bringing you home from school." Katherine interjected now, roused from her dozing.

    "Aww Mom, thanks. I did have some idea what I was supposed to be looking out for." Alodie winked, more at Sig's crotch than the man himself, but it was still good enough for him.

    "Telephone Colonel maybe, you mean. Not quite a full-bird yet Babe." Lieutenant Colonel Clayton felt obliged to remind them - as at least a few dozen of his colleagues and mess-mates had with him.

    "Yeah, well...if they don't pin an eagle on you for this, I don't know where the Army brass have their heads at. It's not just anybody they can send into some den of lukewarm Fictionalism - two of 'em, and have an expectation that these things will go like they're meant to."

    Alodie had never failed to be his biggest fan, even the last time he'd "gone overseas," and left her with Jack a toddler and Cindy a suckling infant.
    The Wrights were a military family too though, and her Dad, uncles and grandfathers, officers all, had done their service too - Alodie had been raised knowing only this world of self-sacrifice and honored obligation. Even if they're mostly Navy fucks, Sig allowed himself with a judgmentally inward smile.

    "Are we there yet Daddy?" Jack chimed in from the backseat, rubbing the sleep from his clever young eyes. Sig nodded, "Check out that monster plane buddy, you see over there?" Jack nodded, rewarding the whole family with a genuinely awed "Wow!"

    "Is that like the one you'll be flying away on?" Cindy spoke up now, her little mind racing to make connections here, as ever. "It sure is Baby-doll, I think it's the exact same kind."

    A Clarenthian made-airliner, Sig forgot exactly what kind, was completing a takeoff of its own now, climbing slowly and curving up and eastward. He was an old hand at flying at this stage in his career, more advanced than he liked to recall at times, but neither of the kids had ever been to a real airport before.

    Hopefully just another part of the adventure for them. "Will they bring your tank to you on an airplane too?" Cindy again, innate curiosity and precocious deduction working overdrive to make some sense of all the big, huge worldliness around her.

    The delight both of them had greeted him with, on seeing his Conqueror II for the first time, was something that would stick with him for all the rest of his days, and warm the cockles of his heart no matter how dire the circumstances. They were proud to be his kids.

    "No, I don't think so this time Sweetpea. My tank is so big and heavy it's going to have to go on a boat, with all the other ones in my unit."

    "The ones you get to boss around?" Jack this time, concerned with the dominance hierarchy like any good Nativist boy should be. All three adults laughed, "Just the ones Buddy."

    They continued in this fashion for several minutes more, navigating the enormous tangle of roads and parking lots that made up Williamsborough-Implarian. Sig was incredibly thankful it was all going so well, as much for his awareness that the inevitable goodbyes were looming as from more typically paternal pride. Alodie looked even more pregnant than she was to him, helping her out of the Promenade. Still not quite pregnant enough to be able to tell the baby's gender yet though.

    Sig held his wife's hand as tightly as she would allow, the whole walk across the parking lot. Partway across, Cindy wanted a ride on his shoulders - which was happily obliged. Jack satisfied himself by taking his father's free hand, still not quite old enough to think such a display uncool.

    They all paused before the flag on their way in, Katherine fussing over their places being just so. She even managed to get a shot with the green, white, red and gold fully unfurled in the wind, almost like it'd meant to do cooperate.

    They all stopped before the door, seconds peeling out into long moments of an emotion Sig wasn't entirely familiar with, even having been a family man for as long as he had now.

    "Well...this is it family." Alodie nodded, keeping it together but clearly holding back tears. Sig took a knee and drew both of their children to him in a huge embrace. "I love y'all so much. Listen to your Mama and Grandma while I'm gone, you hear?"

    Jack and Cindy nodded, solemn in receipt of their duty. "We love you too Daddy," they chorused in unison. "Just...please be careful. I know you're brave Daddy, but you have to be careful too." Cindy spoke alone now, ferocious little blue eyes boring deep into his soul.

    "I will kiddo, don't you worry. You and Jack look after Mama too, it won't be long before baby brother or sister will be here with us. Hopefully, I will be home before then."

    Both nodded, and Sig stood, giving his mother in law a hug he actually meant.
    "Thank you, Ma. Please don't let her get too excited."

    "Oh Sigismund, you know I'll take good care of her. Now go, before you make this any harder on you or them." Lieutenant Colonel Clayton nodded, and squared his shoulders.

    He turned back to his wife and took her into one more embrace. "Love you so much Babe, let you know once I'm in Eisgarten, and again once I'm there." He couldn't make himself say the Two Kingdoms, for whatever reason.

    "I love you too, and we're going to be right here, waiting and ready for you to get back. All of us." She brushed at the scar marring the right side of his features, ever so gently.

    Sig turned, but Alodie caught his shoulder once more. "My Knight, remember: With your shield, or on it."

    He bowed, turned again, and was gone.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  2. Beautancus

    Beautancus Timeout

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,142
    Location:
    The Best Carolina
    Capital:
    Welmonton
    Nick:
    Beautancus
    PART TWO

    high above the waters between Eisgarten & Helsinghamn some days before the "Second Crisis in Vesper"


    Eisgarten had been a strange, if brief layover. It wasn’t the first time Sig had been to the WER or Eisgarten, but it had been some years in both cases, and quite some bit had changed in the years between then and now. There’d been some Krautish element to the city’s population when he’d visited in the 80s, surely.

    Still an academy kid in those days, it had been an exhilarating trip in every regard that it could have been, though it was likely that memories of a brief romance he’d shared with a pale blonde, milky skinned, rosy-cheeked and very shapely Engellachian girl that sweetened his recollected regard for the place. ...Wild girl, damn me if she wasn’t...what was her name? Sterling shit-eating Grice sure did take it hard when she hopped off his ski-lift and onto mine, the SoB. Two or three years before I’d meet Alodie, and a half dozen lifetimes ago now, seems like...

    The prominence of the immigrant and second generation Deutsch-speaking population in Eisgarten had very nearly taken Sig aback in certain parts of the city, as much as he could claim to have seen in the immediate vicinity of the Tourism & Culture Airfield. It had served as a stark, if unnecessary, reminder that he wasn’t in Beautancus anymore, and was headed to a place that would be even less so.

    Alodie and the kids were just waking up when Sig had called, Katherine was down in the hotel’s restaurant to make sure they got enough bacon for breakfast. Alodie was eating for two now, afterall. With everyone satisfied that each and all alike were safe and as they were expected, if not supposed, to be, they’d exchanged the last of their affections for what was likely to be at least a day or two, and his adventure across the top of the world and to the fabled Two Kingdoms had continued.

    The plane, some expensive Eiffellander job this time, was still closer to West Engell terra firma than any other by the time Sig looked up from the makeshift desk he’d arranged to study from during the flight. Those studies focused on half a dozen Military Industrial Journals, clippings, printouts and official specs handed out in briefings here and there over the decades of his service, mostly focusing on the capabilities, disposition and hardware of the forces Brigade Command said they’d be calling “the Redshire” for the course of the operation. Gouw Marken, most of the world’s maps called it, for the time being. This Red arsenal was pretty typical of the Communist competitor powers of Gallo-Germania and Slavia overall, as were the doctrines they’d favored historically, which brought it directly into a set of “ideal parameters” in mind when all those same considerations had been decided for Beautancus.

    An article several years old, on the Pantserwiel Antitank, PWAT 408, or “Wheeled Armor, Anti-tank, 408,” was the one to finally leave him feeling as if his eyes were crossing. Yawning though not tired, he tapped a Dromedary free from the pack, the adolescent liberty of being able to sneak about and smoke freely for a while without Alodie being on his case would be one of the highlights of this adventure for him, Sig had decided back in Eisgarten.

    "Ah, so this is why y'all pay extra for these seats - you can smoke up here."

    Sig hadn't seen the man coming, nor heard him, but there he was smiling down, an eyebrow rather mischievously cocked over reflective lensed glasses that seemed as much gold as they did orange...or red?

    "Telephone Colonel Clayton, nice to meet you," he said, extending a hand and presuming to plop himself down in the vacant seat beside Sig. He produced a cigarette of his own from somewhere in his shirt pocket, and a business card. Thoroughly confused by this point, who was this man to know who Sig was, or to be "in" on his lame, old Telephone Colonel routine.

    Taking the card, Sig realized it was only a piece of poster paper, cut to form and with a single hand-written annotation: "Super-Special Senior Operations Field Boss, George Whathefuckever Dulles; SSB."

    Some degree of understanding following now, Sig sat back to reappraise the man. Clean-shaven, hair styled but not at all of unseemly length, tall but not freakishly so.

    "Your hands are ever so slightly well-worked for the look, you don't think?" Sig smirked and began to gather his papers back together.

    "Admirable habit, that, good Sigismund. Paying attention and studying. I was impressed with the professional assessments from your file, and it's good to see I wasn't wrong."

    Nodding, with some increasing apprehension - What the fuck does State Service want with me? - Sig opened his hands in a gesture of invitation.

    Agent George Dulles was apparently quite adept at taking a hint, as he went on, "Nothing to worry about here, I just wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself. And to impress upon you the importance of your work here, all of it. And I don't just mean as a glorified, live-fire car salesman."

    Hoping his face didn't reveal the degree to which he was relieved, Sig decided to light another cigarette on the back of the first, whether it was a tell of its own or not be damned. As far as Sig knew, that was all there was supposed to be to this deployment, selling weapons systems to a near and potentially literal ally, through means of a live-fire combat exercise. The Two Kingdoms were at war anyway, no better time than now, for them or for the perpetually combat-experience hungry Cussian military.

    Agent Dulles took a moment to continue, purposefully accentuating the enjoyment derived from his own smoke. "If your old lady is anything like mine, which I know she is, being able to smoke at all - no looking over your shoulder - will be one of the perks of this fandango."

    A familiar, icy chill swam through Sig's veins at that. This man was almost certainly what he said he was, however playfully.

    "The Jyskers and Austwegians, the first especially, are a tight bunch. Products similar in some regards to how men such as yourself are raised, the world you're used to. They let more hang out in some ways, and less in some other regards. Brigade will have provided you all with some sense of that." He locked eyes with Sig, to make sure the tanker was following, waiting for the Lieutenant Colonel's nod of acknowledgement before continuing.

    "You're an officer, a fairly highly ranked and well respected one at that. You've left no fewer than seven pieces of enemy armor a raging inferno in your passing - and that's from a man who's from a country that has not itself officially been at war for quite some while." Dulles' regard lingered on the puckered ridges of scar tissue that sprawled over a portion of Sig's bearded features.

    "We're seeding a much, much closer relationship with a people that are our nearest kindred beyond the Engellkin themselves, I'm sure you realize." The Agent tapped the excess ash from the cherry-tip of his cigarette, spinning the ember about the edges to form a glowing point, his features rather appropriately framed by a pair of thin, snaking columns of smoke.

    "You will enjoy the regard of the Queen's fighting men, those that you will be working with. Use that regard, and your not inconsiderable gift for leadership, to our advantage, as much as possible. As much as any piece of hardware involved in this deal, you are on the market."

    "Now whatever is that supposed to mean?" Sig couldn't hold his tongue, just as likely failing to conceal the incredulity that drove it.

    The stranger snorted, shaking his head and stabbing the life out of his cigarette in the ashtray. "You're a better example of what the Confederated Republic produces than any tank Sigismund. If the Jyskers are going to be eased into our family, it will be because they're shown that they'll be in good company. You're not always going to be able to boss a tank, you know?" They sat in silence for a long moment, the noise of the other passengers and jet seeming to grow and swell into the void.

    Dulles patted Sig on the knee and stood. "Aside from that, pay attention, you never know who will let what slip in the moment. Besides that, buck up. It's a tough job, and you're the man to do it. And besides, I may be going on this trip with you, but I've got my own rat races."

    Dulles turned, sauntering back toward the section of the plane he'd come from. Just before disappearing behind the curtain, he spun on his heel with more theatricality than Sig had seen in some time. "Oh, and Sig. Smoke up while you can, they're gonna cut you off five minutes before we land. Bloody cigarette-hating bigots, where we're going."

    Laughing at his own joke, the SSB man disappeared, leaving Sig with a distinctly sour impression.

    And just like that, I've ended up being a rat in some spook's race. Fuck. Sig lit another cigarette and got back to his research.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
    Tiburia, Ostmark and Pohjanmaa like this.
  3. Pohjanmaa

    Pohjanmaa Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Messages:
    5,273
    Location:
    Stockholm
    Capital:
    Göötehamina
    Nick:
    Coro/Skeppsholmen
    Kungsportsplatsen vid sjön, Östveg
    Kong Christian IX Royal Marines Base
    Approx. Two Days before the arrival of Lieutenant Colonel Clayton

    She sat in a chair twirling her hair. It isn’t hard to know when you might be in trouble. You’d be sat down in a chair much like the one she was in and left waiting for a superior to tell you what you’ve done wrong. If you were lucky the punishment would be clear. The door was left open behind her and this allowed her to hear the footsteps walking through the hallway. It prepared her for the moment when the footsteps stopped near her. “Major.” A voice remarked behind her. She snapped up from her chair and saluted the traditional Jysk way, her right arm brought straight out 90 degrees in front of her and then snapped back to her temple with her palm parallel to the ground. Now facing the man before her she could glimpse his rank and replied, “Oberst.” He nodded, and she went at ease. “Please take a seat,” he instructed as they both took their chairs facing one another with his desk separating them. His uniform had his name written on it, JENSEN in big bold letters.

    So you may wonder what exactly it is you’re doing here,” he stated opening the conversation. “Yes sir,” she replied. He seemed a slightly older gentlemen, with his salt and pepper hair. Certainly not as young as she was at the age of twenty-eight. She’d advanced through the ranks fairly quickly due to attending the military academy rather than starting through mandatory conscription service. It was a perk of having chosen the career directly rather than having come around to it when forced to. Oberst Jensen continued, “I know it’s odd having been called to an office here at our main base, especially during a period of war. You’ve served well so far on the North High Coast defense efforts, and getting called out here and away from your guys might seem a bit like a punishment.” She nodded not sure how to respond. “Well Major, it’s not. I have a special mission for you that will be vital to the war effort, and to the future of the Jysk-Austwegian Royal Marines, as well as the Royal Army. You see, we’re looking to outfit new tank armor for our military. It’s run down, and neglected. This war against the commies might be good enough for our current inventory, but its woefully inadequate should we need to come to blows against any continental neighbor. I’m ordering you to be in charge of part of this project we have to figure out if the Cussian tank is an adequate replacement. We’ve got some Cussian boys on their way here with some of examples of their inventory. There is a man who is going to lead this group, from my understand it is a certain Lieutenant Colonel Clayton. It will be your job to join him, lead him around to follow the orders of central command, and make sure he’s following orders by the book, specifically, our book. Any questions so far?

    She looked at Oberst Jensen with a quizzical expression. “So am I supposed to also be evaluating the equipment?” Jensen shook his head, but his words refuted his head movement, “No, but... you will report your opinion of the entire campaign and any problems you might have encountered that include how you felt the equipment impacted the entire mission.

    She nodded and a certain silence filled the air as Jensen wrote on a form and signed it.
    “You might have noticed this Clayton fellow is a higher rank than you. He might find it all the more insulting that you are a woman too. Those Cussians are a proud people and their gender roles there are clear. I hate to say it, but you’ve been chosen for that very reason. Give them a sort crash course on how we do things here. If having a Queen and a woman as a Prime Minister wasn’t enough, you there will make it clear. We treat our kind all as equals. To not be outright insulting we’re fixing one of those potential problems though. So congratulations Oberstløjtnant on your promotion. You and Lieutenant Colonel Clayton are the same rung on the ladder now.” He opened his drawer and gave her the Velcro patches and the according pin to attach on her dark green beret. “—Thank you, sir. It is a great honor.”

    You are most welcome Oberstløjtnant Brigitte Hjort Klæstrup. You are to report immediately to Gothenhagen, where you will meet with Field Marshal Hans Hansen Bergen and Lieutenant Colonel Sigismund Clayton of Kussland. Give me two members for your team and I will have them meet with you there.” She thought for a moment. “—Løjtnant Sofia Falk Hedström and Sekondløjtnant Sebastian Dahlgaard. They have served well with me on the Royal Marines North High Coast defense missions.” The North High Coast missions weren’t much more than preparation for a potential attack that seemed entirely unlikely, but nonetheless a comradeship developed between the Royal Marines that served there. The only real ground theatre that has developed was the northern invasion of Gouw Marken which was not moving quickly mostly because of the insistence of opening the southern front before applying more northern pressure. In the meanwhile, bombing raids and their escorts had established air superiority by bombing the airfields and grounded planes. The air war was a bit difficult at first, with even two pilots having been captured; however, now the battle for control of the skies was no longer even a question.

    Oberst Jensen stood up and saluted her. “Very well.” She stood up and returned the salute. He firmly spoke, “Arvet förpliktar!” She repeated, “Arvet förpliktar!

    The meeting was over and she exited the office and walked briskly to the room she had been given for her stay. She needed to pack her things up again quickly and take the next possible flight to Gothenhagen.
     
    Beautancus likes this.
  4. Beautancus

    Beautancus Timeout

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,142
    Location:
    The Best Carolina
    Capital:
    Welmonton
    Nick:
    Beautancus
    about 60 hours in-country;
    Two Kingdoms of Jyskerige-Østveg


    Sig wasn't sure what his opinion of this deployment would be at the end of it, or if he would even manage to make it into combat at all before the Jyskers and Austwegers had backed their ramshackle Red neighbors into a deep enough corner to make them give. Alodie certainly wouldn't begrudge the Lisser Commies missing out on the opportunity to blow up or shoot her husband. Just as certainly, she would know that her husband was made for war, and that it would disappoint him to miss the opportunity to "shoot the shit out of some Commies and their piece of shit tanks."

    He'd taken in the sights for the first few days after touching down in Helsinghamn, which he'd been a little put off to discovered reminded him of Tiroe City or Salaburg, albeit filled with the sounds of a queerly familiar but distinct tongue rather than with queerly familiar Engellisc with a flatly nasal accent.

    His gunner - and also - his dearest and most trusted comrade, Sgt.Tagajuté Cornplanter, had finally arrived - or more likely reported - halfway through Sig's second and final evening in the city. The veteran nom-com, who Sig mostly called "Tag," only half bothered to feed him a line of bullshit about "the sorry state of modern commercial aviation" before inquiring about what they'd be having for supper and when "their fatgirl" - his term of endearment for the Command Conqueror II mk. 4 they crewed - would be arriving in country.

    Far more likely he'd found some luck at a random card table, or an especially pretty Jysk girl that wanted to bag a real-life Cussian Army brave. Tagajuté was proud to be Néusioke-born and raised, a product and prime represenatation of the clannish tribesfolk hailing from the rural backwoods of the Dominion of the same name. Cobbled together from former "no-man's land" bordering and between Cullowhee, Nod and Sinneccomaca, the Néusioke were a dirt-poor people, but hard as nails.

    The Indigene tank sergeant was a living testament to his people. Nor could he have been cut from a more different cloth than Sigismund, even if the fabric ended up as basically identical shapes.

    Sig had been born into a family of suburban gentry and with it, into the martial tradition he now so well inhabited. What seemed like not that long after, he was trundled off to one of Beautancus' finest military institutes, for his secondary school years, the Norman Commonwealth-based Turner Academy. His studies at Turner ended up with him receiving a scholarship to a legitimate university, Sinneccomaca Tech at Shenandoah, and earned a commission starting out in the Army from that. Most importantly, he'd managed to claim Alodie as well, his finest prize of all, at SinnTech.

    Tagajuté had been born in the back of an old '64 model Lancaster Galleon - a pretty beaten up station-wagon the way Tag had first told him the story. His mother, 17 at the time, had already been widowed and would not long survive the taxation of labor. He'd farmed (corn, rye and two kinds each of haygrass and wheat) with his Grandpa more as a kid than he'd ever been corralled into some classroom, though he'd still managed to pass the middle school muster that served as the country's only universally mandated educational milestone. His Grandpa ended up coming down with pneumonia and dying on the poor bastard not a month after that.

    Whatever he'd done between 14 and 20 must have been more of the same but only harder, because he'd been about as hardy and robust a specimen as there was on the books when he'd finally ended up in an Army Recruitment Station - the same week that Sig had graduated and been formally inducted as a freshly minted Lieutenant even. Another year of basic and AIT passed, they were plopped down into what was at the time a brand new Conqueror II mk. 2. The rest was, as they say, history.

    They'd taken a train from Helsinghamn, with directions to proceed to Gothehagen, where they would rendezvous with Colonel Klæstrup. There would be some not at all insignificant ceremony to be had there, and likely quite a few seminars. Then, presumably, they would proceed on to Langelandsgade Royal Army Base in Western Jyskerige.

    From there, it wouldn't be long at all before Sig could paint a few more hashmarks on his tank's hull.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
    Tiburia and Fiannia like this.
  5. Nedernesië

    Nedernesië Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2018
    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    Capital:
    Vrijpoort
    Nick:
    Drei
    Veiligheidsdienst (VeDi) Hoofdkwartier / Security Service Head Office
    42nd Floor, Queen's Harbour Causeway
    4000 Vrijpoort

    Some would say the innards of a glass and steel skyscraper wouldn't make for the best head offices of a national intelligence agency - not exactly inconspicuous - but with the tower being comparatively short in the vast sea of steel and glass that made up Vrijpoort, or Freeport as those of the Engellachian tongue preferred, it really didn't stand out. Besides, there were emergency bunkers elsewhere, even on other islands of the archipelago, that could be used if necessary. The 42nd floor was used for what was internally known as Central Observations and was full of monitors and young analysts sat before them with their keyboards used as weapon of choice. In the centre of the floor was a round table, hollowed in the middle to make a ring.

    VeDi General Director Yisrael Habibi, one of the Commonwealth's many Jews whose ancestors sought refuge in Vrijpoort a generation ago, briefly removed his kippah and itched his balding scalp, muttering a curse in Hebrew that lamented his poor genetics for hair loss. He was 57 but a long career with VeDi made him look at least a decade older.

    'What do we have?' he asked the ringed table in Dutch. A black woman of Himyari descent flicked a finger across the touch screen on her table and a map of the world came onto the large display surrounding the table. It zoomed on to Scania with Gouw Marken highlighted a pulsating yellow.

    She answered in English, although she could have easily briefed the room in Dutch. It was just her preferred tongue for the moment. 'The Two Kingdoms have obvious air superiority now over Gouw Marken and we don't expect this to change anytime soon. We've also noticed increased Trans-Thaumantic airline activity from Beautancus. Nothing too unusual about that but it's interesting. More intriguing, however, is what we picked up this morning.' She swiped her finger and an aerial image of what looked like a military cargo ship appeared.

    'These were spotted steaming towards the Straits of Scania, between No CRER and the Flatlands. Nothing problematic of course. The ships are in international waters. A standard Maritime Surveillance Sortie of the Royal Sky Force flying east of Fort Canning, our easternmost island, followed the book and snapped some images and video when unusual traffic near the Straits.'

    Habibi rubbed his temples and then sipped his sparkling water. 'Very interesting, thank you for your report. But let me ask you your opinion. You see, I read your briefing earlier, it's very detailed. You estimated the day of departure based on the speed and type of ship, the winds, the weather, etc. But you didn't write anything beyond the obvious. We aren't journalists!' he slammed his fist on the table.

    'We don't pay you kinderlach to type bullshit reports and make it all dry and hunky dory. That's bupkis. I can read that in the Morning Post. I want your analysis. Your opinion. Your gut feeling. It takes chutzpah to write something like that!' he leaned back in his seat and smiled and gestured with his hands and arms outwardly towards the young women. 'Nu? Tell me what you think!'

    The woman was used to the General Director's mannerisms but had not yet been on the direct receiving end. She stiffened in her chair, sat up straight and crossed her hands before her on the table while clearing her throat. 'Well, General Director...' she switched into Dutch now. 'It just seems fishy to me. I think Beautancus is getting involved somehow in the Gouw Marken affair and until we know what is inside those ships we have to assume that the cargo is malicious in nature and will be used to some extent in the war effort.'

    Habibi leaned forward while slowly clapping his hands. 'Mazel tov! No, really, mazel tov! You used your brain. That's exactly the right thinking. Good for us, I'm in charge and not you and I see your reports an hour before we even convene in this room. That's why I sent our best man already to Gøthehavn. KLM 001 should be landing any minute and the defence attaché from our High Commission there will brief him. Meanwhile the Senior Minister will be phoning his counterpart in Jykerige-Østveg later today to enquire how the war effort is going and to offer our assistance. I'm putting you in charge of compiling all daily reports from Agent Nyborg. He's a young man not much older than you but he's been working the field since he was in his early twenties. You will heed his every command and report back to me nightly. You're booked on the 11 o'clock KLM flight to Gøthehavn. Voyager Class, I'm afraid. Enterprise Class is out of budget...well for your rank at least' Habibi chuckled and slid a manilla envelope over to the young woman. 'Memorise that and then shred it before you leave Head Office. My assistant has a standard mission suitcase already packed for you with your documents.' Habibi stood up and shook the woman's hand. 'Congratulations Agent Duncan. Your first field mission. Don't fuck it up!'

    Yisrael Habibi laughed his way out of the glass-enclosed room in the centre of the 42nd floor and made his way to the lifts, leaving Agent Jennifer Duncan a tad stunned, feet planted as she was unable to figure out what to do next until Habibi's assistant called out her name.

    'Here's your bag, your passport, cards, etc.' The assistant handed everything over to Duncan. 'You only have two hours to catch your flight. Go over there to change into civilian clothes and James will drive you to Vrijpoort Transcontinental. And remember Agent Duncan, you may be going to a friendly country but always assume someone beyond these shores is trying to fuck us over and pull a fast one on us. Goede reis en veel success!'
     
    Pohjanmaa, Beautancus and Fiannia like this.
  6. Pohjanmaa

    Pohjanmaa Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Messages:
    5,273
    Location:
    Stockholm
    Capital:
    Göötehamina
    Nick:
    Coro/Skeppsholmen
    Excerpts from a Journal

    // It was a long day, they had met the Cussians and taken them all on a brief horseback riding excursion to ensure they could ride the horses for tomorrow’s parade. The Cussians showed themselves admirably, as we admittedly somewhat expected for a nation of cowboys. Yet one could never be so sure. We had them follow the hounds into the forest and shoot some foxes. They seemed to enjoy the spirit of that chase in tandem with the Princess Inger Lise who let our esteemed guests enjoy the royal grounds. Inger Lise is the youngest Princess and at the age of seventeen she was the embodiment of a royal princess just finishing her high school life. She stood in for the Queen because the Queen would not be caught dead hunting with foreign soldiers, and her older sister Ulrika, the environmentalist and philanthropist would never hunt. Her youth and optimism was infectious in its own way, and the Cussians took well to her beauty and her charm pulling a rabbit from the woods fresh from the smoking barrel of her own .22 rifle. Dinner was delicious with a helping of rabbit and duck, as we all ate together. Conversation was light, but that could be expected as it was all conducted in Engellske. The language was not so difficult, but speaking in a foreign language was enough to turn anyone shy. We drank plenty to endure some conversation with an accent that made no sense to us half of the time anyhow. We tried to teach them a card game we like to play called horse race. I think the Cussians might prefer poker, but horse race is certainly a better game with a packed house. The Princess would not join us for our drinking games, and retreated to her chambers.

    Horse race was a simple game. Four aces were turned over representing horses. 10 shuffled cards were put face down on the table in a line, the track for the horses to follow. The horse that got to the end wins. Everyone bet drinks on a horse, and then cards left in the deck were flipped over one at a time to determine which horse moves forward. A heart was turned over first? The ace of hearts moved forward on the track, and the face down card was flipped over. A spade. The spade of aces must move back one space and take a drink. This process repeated until there was a winner. They played several times until drunk, tired, and asleep. //

    // Today, now everyone was on horseback. Something that everyone had to learn to do for their turn when serving in the royal guard. While the royal guard itself was its own entity, everyone in each military branch had to rotate in and out guarding the Royal Palace, Royal Residence, and Royal Vacation Home. This did not matter if the royals were at the residence or not. So anyone who had served this part of their duty knew. They all wore their bright blue jackets signifying the summer time uniform of the unit they were riding with. The Cussians wore their grey dress uniforms as well which was a nice sight to see. Dress uniforms brought out the best look for every nation. They stood out in grey, and even more so as they lacked shiny silver plated pickelhaube helmets. As they marched through the streets of Gothenhagen they would eventually find themselves in a courtyard before the Queen who would wave at us all and retreat back to her palace. The entire parade occurred with plenty of pomp, but meanwhile war was raging in Østveg. The Austwegians had crossed the border into Gouw Marken in the north, and working with the Gouw Marken region that always fought against the centralized communist regime as Gouw Marken had always been divided in its own way, the fight in the north was light. Communists would hole up in the south where the base of their regime was, and the early tremendous gains seen by the Austwegians would be bogged down as they crossed into Communist held Gouw Marken. Our job was the opening of a southern front. With aerial support we would land on the beaches across from the fjord that divided our two countries. Why not just cross the border? It’s exactly what they’d expect, and we did not feel eager to roll directly into anti-tank fire. We’d instead hit them from behind. T-8 hours, as we’d retreat from this ceremony to our Cussian tanks which were in warehouses near the border, being readied for their first taste of battle. //

    OOC: I struggled to write much of anything, and this is a compilation of two posts that never got anywhere I wanted them to. Part of the difficulty was trying to fit in the new Nedernesian angle, and I still couldn’t figure that out. Here are two pieces from a word file with the hope we can move forward. I need another Nedernesian post to figure out who you are trying to meet and who is talking to who. Or at least some OOC direction. This should allow a D-Day like post next, or something else if Beau wants. Then something to figure out the Nedernesian plot.
     
    Beautancus likes this.
  7. Pohjanmaa

    Pohjanmaa Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Messages:
    5,273
    Location:
    Stockholm
    Capital:
    Göötehamina
    Nick:
    Coro/Skeppsholmen
    Kaffehuset, HC Andersens Boulevard (Gøthehavn)
    A fair woman only known as Matilda sat in a lounge with a very large cup of black coffee in front of her. The establishment was quite full, and that allowed for conversation to occur in quite a non-chalant manner. Full of tourists and locals alike, this coffee establishment was potentially the biggest coffee house in the entire country. Kaffeehuset itself was a large multinational corporation based in Østveg, but the Jysk folk treated it all the same as one of their own.

    She worked officially for an interior design company, but her last adventure in the First Republic had her still have the memory of whatever foul beverage she had consumed. She did not understand why her last meeting could not have occurred at a traditional tea house. Her Engelske dialect was a little off still as she noticed from her last mission. She’d have to work on it better, but it was highly unlikely that her counterpart, only known to her as Jennifer Duncan, if that was her real name, would even notice. For anyone who didn’t know their accents, she was just a lovely lass from a rich part of Hammersmith.

    Yet again Matilda would have full ability to make a deal with her counterpart. She’d been to Auraria with that ability and was snubbed. Her work in Hammersmith was more fruitful though, and the results of that meeting seemed to be giving fruit. She waited for this Jennifer patiently. The chair was vacant, but no one dared to sit there. Jysk-Austwegian culture was not one to disturb a stranger unless absolutely necessary.
     
  8. Nedernesië

    Nedernesië Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2018
    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    Capital:
    Vrijpoort
    Nick:
    Drei
    Kaffehuset, HC Andersens Boulevard (Gøthehavn)

    Agent Jennifer Duncan had stopped by her hotel to drop off her small bag and there had found a note scribbled in Dutch from Agent Nyborg, instructing her to head to a Kaffehuset a few block away. And afterwards we will meet over dinner, the note read. She did as told and found Matilda sitting by herself. She extended her hand in greeting, 'Good day, I'm Jennifer'. She sat down opposite her counterpart and was about to start speaking when a blonde young man clearly with a knack for sartorial excellence, glided past the other cafe guests and brought Jennifer a latte, which he set down on the table in front of her, before firmly shaking her hand.

    'Nyborg, Sven Nyborg. So very nice to finally meet you indeed!' he flashed a bright smile and sat down between the two women, crossed his legs and clasped his hands together in apparent excitement. 'Matilda' he acknowledged her with a nod - they had known each other for years.

    Duncan was not expecting to see him so soon, nor was she prepared for him to take over the meeting, but she didn't let her shock show. 'Yes, Mr Nyborg, we were just about to begin, I was going -'

    Nyborg cut her off, 'Yes, yes, allow me! Matilda, I'll make it quick because I really must dash soon, I've got an appointment with my tailor and he doesn't appreciate waiting. We know something is up in GM what with all the chatter and movements going on with a Beautancan ship spotted heading for the Straits yesterday. While it's none of our business we would certainly like to know what is going on, if possible. In kindred spirits and all.' He sipped from his cappuccino, letting his last comment linger for a moment. Nyborg was of Jyst descent, as were about 5% of Nedernesians, not to mention that their Queen was technically head of state of Nedernesia.

    'Case in short, we would like to be privy to whatever those cowboys are doing in our collective backyard. They are big and brash and it would spook our markets if suddenly the public knew about West Thaumantic military manoeuvres so nearby. Secondly, we wish to convey a message from our Senior Minister that we are prepared to assist in the GM war effort, especially with our Sky Force, as a sign of friendly neighbourliness. Aerial refuelling, transport, perhaps even some air strikes, just let us know. Our air bases our well within reach of GM.'

    Duncan thought he was perhaps being a bit too direct, but when he went for his cappuccino again she jumped in. 'Yes, we also are concerned about the future of the people of Gouw Marken, particularly the future of their culture and language. We are hoping to collaborate with the Two Kingdoms for the post-conflict reconstruction and development period. But taking one step back, we also have plenty of Dutch speaking assets who might be of use in the field'.

    She felt uncomfortable. Maybe because this was her first time, maybe it was because they were discussing such sensitive information in a fucking coffee shop, or perhaps because Sven Nyborg's presence seemed to perturb her somehow. She tried to contain her emotions and waited for Matilda to respond.
     

Share This Page