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Radilo

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Nuovo Porto, 8th Quartiere, Palazzo Dante
No time in particular

According to sociologists and linguists, when people come to a collective consensus on the meaning of a word or phrase, then that is the meaning. No matter if that isn't what the term originally meant or is different from its precise academic definition. If everyone calls something, or someone, by a particular name, that's the name.

And since everyone insists on calling me M, let me introduce myself...

I'm M, Director of the Servizio Segreto, the Radilan Secret Service. And I am here to spin a fantastic yarn.

In the middle of the 19th century the popular image of the flower girl took hold. The image of a young, poor, and unshod girl innocently selling flowers was and is, for many, a reflection of both hope and desperation in that long century.

I guess seasonal produce vendors who occasionally sold their bodies is a less romantic trope. Which is why we have collectively assinged it a different, more innocent one. Of course, whores ar just as capable of innocence or cynicism as anyone else...

...what? What have I said that you didn't already know, or at least suspect?

You also know that spies, like the aforementioned vendors, are aware of how one can put to productive use that which is between one's legs.

But don't worry, there isn't much in the way of erotic content here, rather just the musings of spies, scoundrels, and rogues.

And the best spies are the ones who can operate out in the open. Because, if you want to make something invisible, make it as visible as possible.
 
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Radilo

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Dulwitch, Great Engellex
May 1857

Along the main thoroughfare seperating one of the East Side's larger rookeries (slums) from the industrial area where its tenants worked stood Ellie with an "ie." She was one of the older flower girls in the neighborhood, she'd moved to the East Side four years ago from a small hamlet in the north. "The village women chased me out," was her answer to why she'd moved and not sought out better work. The young flower girls on the block soon grew happy to have her. She was maternal, and knew how to chase away overly eager johns.

As of now, her flower basket, and that of her young friend Lil, were resting on a small brick wall.

"I chased him off, just like you showed me," Lil exclaimed proudly.

Ellie smiled as she tended to her little friend's black eye and bloody nose. "He did manage to give you a quite a shiner," she responded, with her slightly sideways accent.

"Aye, but I gave him a bigger one!"

"That ya did," Ellie said, smiling at Lil. "Did ya happen to..."

"I did!" Lil beamed. Out of her small sachel the young urchin pulled out a small envelope.

"That's my girl," said Ellie as she put two silver coins into the young girl's hand.

"What does Mister Hershel want with that?"

"My bet's he plans to rob him, or send one of his dodgers. Now I gotta take leave, I'd tell you to stay safe, but you seem to have that knotted up."

The two girls hugged.

Mister Hershel was generally known as a ne'er-do-well, he was a wholesaler for pickpockets, an aggressive loan shark, and was every manner of low-life. They called him a crook, a thief, a scoundrel, a rogue... but his actual title was Station Chief, or, more accurately, Capo Stazione.
 
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Radilo

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Propontis @Pelasgia
Early Saturday morning

These days, Capo Stazione don't get to exist in secret, everyone in the host nation's intelligence service knows who they are and what they are there to do. Charge d'Affaires or Diplomatic Attaché may be their titles, but their true role becomes quickly noticed. This makes things more interesting, but no less necessary.

As far as Hellenic intelligence was concerned, Marianne Xantil, a sharply dressed Tianèla* in her mid 40s was, despite her gentile diplomatic credentials, Radilo's head spy in Pelasgia. They weren't wrong, per se, though determining the pecking order for spies is more of an art than a science.

Regardless, after walking a while through one of the more charming markets in a relatively comfortable neighborhood in Propontis, passing by a variety of seasonal vendors, Marianne headed towards a somewhat inconspicuous rendezvous with a counterpart from the Krypteia. This was the sort of normal business that was part of all intelligence work--making sure there were no unnecessary miscommunications.

Plus, there is some amount of comradery that spies felt when they could confidently know they were interacting with a peer. Mutual respect and an unspoken sympathy go a surprisingly long way.

Of course one never let one's guard down, but still... also even making her way through town, she knew she had to be careful when interacting with the locals. She knew she was being watched and she didn't want anyone to get in unnecessary trouble for interacting with her. This is one reason that spies from democratic nations sometimes get a bit of a chip on their shoulders when working in autocracies.

Marianne ordered a briki of Pelasgian coffee. The young barista didn't know that she had, as she was portioning grounds into boiling water, the eyes of more dangerous people directed at her than she could ever imagine.

"Efcharistó," Marianne said as she took her small tray over to a shady table already occupied by another woman about her age.

"Is this seat available?" she asked.

"If it's empty it is," smirked the sunglass-adorned woman.

Marianne set her tray down and took her seat. She poured some of the coffee out of the briki into a demitasse and mixed in some sugar.

After taking a few sips from the glass she removed a section of a newspaper from her pocket. It was a page from , the outlawed opposition broadsheet. The woman across from her took notice.

"Iris, what the fuck is this?"

"Unfounded propaganda--"

"--Don't start that shit, we've already verified it. Hell, so have half of the other intelligence services."

Iris didn't say anything, and betrayed no emotions.

"Do you know who does shit like this? Hm? Weak people. I don't know what those old fucks you work for, weighed down by brass medals and raki, think this says... but it says weakness. The hardliners are going to eat someone's lunch over this."

"I was hoping this would be a more pleasant meeting," Iris sighed.

"It isn't over yet..."

Please note that spies have no obligation to ever tell the truth... and neither do I.

*a mixed race person of Radilan and @Tianlong heritage

The place of business of Mister Hershel, Dulwitch, Great Engellex
May 1857

In a back ally, one that looked like nearly every other, Ellie gently rapped on a door underneath a stairwell.

"It's open," a gravelly voice came though the other side.

She opened the door to a rather dilapidated looking room. Sitting at a desk, illuminated by a single candle, sat a grim looking figure. A wide brimmed hat kept most of his face shadowed, but his sharp chin and sharper nose were still visible. He was a character, figuratively and literally.

"Mister Hershel," Ellie started, sweetly and seductively, "I have some very good news." She leaned over his desk, thrusting her breasts suggestively.

"Ellie... lascia perdere, siamo soli."

***now switching to Radilan***

"That's no fun," she sighed.

"So I take it that little urchin got the information."

"She did," Ellie said, taking out the envelope that Lil gave her. She handed it to Hershel, who took off the pair of fingerless gloves he was wearing and slid on a set of white gloves before taking the envelope. Finally, he put on a set of small spectacles.

He heated up a small, sharp knife over the lit candle. Once it was hot, but not too hot, he used it to separate the envelope's seal. He took out the small letter and read it.

"It seems our Engellish friends mean to extend their repression of Nievish social movements," Hershel said not looking up.

"It would be a real shame for them if there were a whole host of Catholic priests and nuns in @Nieveland with complex loyalties who would be happy to hamper them," Ellie said, taking a swig form a flask.

"It would," he said as he reheated the knife and used it to re-seal the envelope. He handed the envelope back to Ellie who nodded and quietly walked out.
 
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Radilo

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Propontis @Pelasgia
Saturday morning

"Does that mean that this morning is to become more pleasant, or less," Iris asked lighting a cigarette.

"Depends on your definition of pleasant."

"I'm unimpressed by poorly executed dry humor, if that narrows it down."

"Sure... you and all the cool kids."

"I suspect that, eventually, you'll arrive at the point, Marianne."

"We're worried that this sloppiness will result in a less than favorable despot in the Hellenic realms soon eneough."

"The hardliners have nothing on the military... or the core of the intelligence service."

"God, I hope so," said Marianne sipping her coffee.

"So do I," responded Iris, taking a swig from a, yet unseen, flask.


The place of business of Mister Hershel (or thereabout), Dulwitch, Great Engellex
May 1857

"I cannot explain to you how pissed off my employer is right now," explained Mister Hershel, as he held a gun into a man's back.

"I'm a bit confused sir, I've always squared my leger with my Zaranate investors."

"Why would you think I gave adamn about what the Italians think?"

"Sir, your accent betrayed you. For as much as you're trying to cover it up, I can hear it."

"Fair eneough."

"Why do you care about that whelp?"

"I don't."

"Your employer does?"

"That's not an unreasonable assumption."

"So they exiled her to the colony, so what?"

"How the fuck is she supposed to pay back her debts?"

"The last dago who came here bitched about workhouses. Complained about the cost of it all.

"Spirituality and monetarily," said Hershel, yanking on his collar.

The man continued, "you lot are okay with useless eaters and miscreants getting away with idleness..."

Hershel turned the man around to face him. He pointed his pistol against the man's chin.

"You, sir, fundamentally misunderstand la Serenìsima. If you imprison someone... they can't pay up. If you abuse or starve someone... they can't pay you back. You want power more than money. That's why you don't understand us. You cannot comprehend a society where people prosper without your narrow aproval."

"You want policy dictated by deviants!" He shouted, in frustration, "lazy scum--those worth the bootheel!"

Hershel nodded, "oppression costs money, too much money. Liberty and dignity cost us very little. And we're all about market effency..." another gun barrel pressed against the man's skull.

Hershel knelt down to look the man straight in the eyes. "Remember this, for as long as you live: Radilo values money above all else. Never stand between us and our profit again.

The gun against his temple shifted, and he cried out. A "pop" went off and he opened his shivering eyes.

Before him stood a man in his 50s, a girl in her 20s and a girl in her early teens. They all wore masks.

"Tell everyone what happened to you." The 20 something said in a sideways accent.

"We'll kill ya next time," the young kid replied.

"Now go," the older man said. The man ran out the door.

"That wasn't too hard," said Ellie.

"You're going to have to take our little friend back to Radila for debreafing."

"What's he mean Ellie?"

"He means that were going to take you back to our hometown. We're... going to train you to be a... better flower girl."

Lil mischievously grinned at the prospect.
 
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Radilo

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Repùblega Radèla, Sestiere San Marco, Prison of Sighs
Anno domini 1427

"...I have never been particularly good at musing about Hellenic philosophy in the abstract. But I am evermore inclined to dismiss the stoics' desire for detached virtue as a substitute to the material conditions of life.

On such simpler, practical matters, I appreciate the wine satchel you sent me; my jailers were kind eneough to ignore the contraband. It was a lovely vintage. Rare, simple pleasures make my quiet existence here ever so more tolerable.

Even your correspondence fills me with enough anticipation to make lonelier days seem worthwhile. I am happy that Magdalena was able to betroth Lucco, but that means she is unable to visit as often. And Mother is still reluctant to take little Sophia to visit me: she is scared of the prison, and doesn't like to see me ragged and shackled.

She'll get more comfortable as she gets older.

Anyway, I appreciate your correspondence more than ever, Moe, and look forward to your next one.

In friendship,
Sara, cell 341


*written in code throughout* [i received your message but i am unsure what it means]"


A few days later, in one of the holding cells by the courthouse in the Doge's Palace, Milla sat, shivering. She wasn't that cold, per-se, but she felt icy tendrils gripping her heart and hands. She was about to be given the harshest possible sentence for what she had been convicted of. When she stole the man's gold chain, she didn't realize how valuable it was.

It didn't dawn on her, until after she dived into an alleyway after snatching it from him, how heavy the damn thing was. She made it less than two days before she was apprehended. He must have known someone, as he didn't even chase after her after she nicked his chain. That truth would become even more obvious when she, in hindsight even more stupidly, argued during the trial that she had a right to the damn gold chain. She, upon learning her mark had been a Jew, called for the Inquisition to intervene. When the inquisitor came in and went to hug the man she stole from, she knew she was done for.

After what felt like an eternity, she was escorted back into the court room.

"Milla, daughter of Milla," the judge started, before whispering something to his second, "Young Milla," he resumed, "for the crime of grand larceny you are sentenced to four years in prison. Inquisitor, do you have a statement?"

"Milla, child of God, I recommend, at your next confession, that you seek forgiveness for the sin of false witness."

Her thoughts sped through as fast as a raptor in flight. Four years... that was all... they weren't...

"I would like a moment alone with the prisoner," Moses stood to ask.

"Of course, Don Casteli," the judge replied.

Milla felt the icy tendrils return, as she was led back into her holding cell. After a long while, that was only likely a few minutes, Moses entered the cell and locked the door behind him.

They stood staring at each other for several moments.

"A bit of advice girl," he said, taking out a small envelope and a satchel, "don't count on the Inquisition to get you out of trouble. They are not good at much accept getting people into trouble, for better or worse. It also doesn't help that the Inquisitor is the lover my good friend Fredrico. In short, girl, know that there is much that you don't know. Do not open this letter, and do not drink from this flask, unless the girl who you are to give them both to allows you." He paused and handed her the correspondence. "Guards, I am done with her."

Two jailers came and started escorting Milla out of the holding cell. "One more thing, girl," Moses said, turning around," when you see this girl, tell her I said that the meaning will be obvious in time. What do I want you to tell her?"

Milla stood their awkwardly and gulped, "that the meaning will be obvious."

"--in time."

"That the meaning will be obvious in time," she stuttered nervously.

"Good."

The guards escorted her though the Bridge of Sighs, where she took one last look at Radila bella before, she assumed, she would be locked away in a dark place... maybe forever. After walking down a corridor, they unlocked a cell door and she was, rather unceremoniously shoved in. The door shut firmly behind her.

Sitting at a small desk on one side of the cell was a young girl about her age, also ragged and barefoot, with shackles on her ankles. Despite this though, she had a dignified look about her. She seemed to have been writing something in a book before the interruption.

The two staired at each other for a few moments, then Milla remembered.

"Oh... um... the... the meaning will be obvious... in time."

The girl then smiled. "I'm Sara," she said, standing up and greeting the newcomer.

"Oh... hi... I'm Milla... I'm supposed to give these to you," she said, handing Sara the letter and satchel.

"I see Moses is spoiling me," she said, smiling, "I'm sure you're tired. Do you want to rest?"

Milla nodded. Sara sat down on a pile of straw opposite the small desk and gestured for Milla to sit beside her. The new girl stood awkwardly for a few moments, but then sat down next to Sara. Sara then rested her head on Milla's shoulder, who was somewhat taken aback.

"How long are we going to be friends?" Sara asked.

"What?"

"How long are we going to be sharing accommodations here?"

"They said four years."

"What did you do?"

"I stole a gold necklace, the one that Jewish man wore... or I tried to steal it... anyway... I'm not a very good thief it seems."

"There's worse things to be bad at. I'm lousy at treason," she said taking the cap off of the satchel and taking a drink, "would you like some?"

Milla nodded and took a swig from the leather bag. "Thank you... can I ask how you and the Jewish man..."

"Moses."

"...Moses know each other?"

"not dissimilar circumstances from your own--though I am learning a lot about seasonal fruit vendors..."

"What?"

"Nothing..." she turned to look Milla in the eyes. "So if my good friend Moses arranged this, he was hopefully generous enough to find someone who had the same predisposition as myself..."

"...I'm not sure what you mean--" Milla started before Sara kissed her on the cheek. Milla blushed... "oh, that."

The two smiled at each other.


Nuovo Porto, 8th Quartiere, Palazzo Dante
No time in particular

The motto of the Radilan Secret Service is Nam Demissus, For The Downtrodden. Officially it is to commemorate Radila's founding as a collection of manmade islands built by desperate people fleeing the Gothic invaders after the Tiburan Empire's collapse. Those early citizens saw themselves as the last vestiges of humane republicanism in a world that had succumb wholly to barbarism and autocracy. That legacy has never been truly forgotten--especially by us.

Our motto has since meant our approach to intelligence gathering. Show me a repentant enemy, I will show you a mole; show me a pickpocket, I will show you a signal agent; show me a humble vendor, I will show you a spy. There are risks of course to everything, and plenty of spies are conventional--of course, nothing about spy work is conventional.

Whether supporting a resistance or bribing a pope, there are not really any rules--rules that must be followed anyway.
 
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Radilo

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Nuovo Porto, 8th Quartiere
April 1927, just before noon

Two men sat in the shade of a small café, sipping on Negronis.

"You'll win," the black man said, sipping his drink.

"If you have this gift of omniscience you should make it clear to the rest of Gallia-Germania the clusterfuck they are walking into. Instead of wasting it on election prognostication," said the Romani man across from him.

"I've tried," said the old spy, necking his cocktail.

This was Quioul Natino, a man who use to have my job, Director of the Secret Service. He was speaking to Senator, formerly Captain, Carlo Orfei, a soldier who became a spy, who became a politician.

"The Blues," he continued, "have always symbolized stability--and that's what people want, stability."

He gestured for another drink.

"Oh, good, so you're not just presuming my natural enchanting abilities," Carlo snorted.

"You're an arse," Quioul said, sipping his refilled glass.

Carlo swirled his drink in his glass for a while, the red liquid slowly merging, swirling with water from the ice. He remembered when he was a young boy--clap and spin and dance--for pennies to help his family--on the ground--move--move--move--see what is unseen... he came back to himself.

"I don't need a crystal ball to see the storm clouds gathering."

"You're more than likely right," Quioul responded, "it seems we're fucked."

There was a long pause, both men looked out at the noontime sunlight reflecting off white buildings. The breeze was lovely and calm. It barely masked the tension.

"If I become Prime Minister," the gypsy man said, "we will have to navigate a complex neutrality.

"That we will... that we will."
 
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Radilo

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Nuovo Porto, Città di Radila, Sestiere San Marco, Doge's Palace
October 1951

"It was a lovely meal, your Serenity," Patriarch Giuseppe, said, wiping his mouth with a silk napkin.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it, your Eminence," Doge Clemente responded, taking a swing of wine, "it is a shame that Pius has seen such deterioration over the last few months."

"If you want to say something, Carlo, say it explicitly."

"You know the amount of empathy I have for Pius is enormous. We both tried to save as many as we could, despite the caterwauling form all sides--millions live because of our efforts. But they shall be forgotten if we don't move to make permeant what is now only a stopgap."

"The Forum has proved more of a success than we could have hoped. Nuclear disarmament was achieved before it had a chance to show its wicked face to Europe--in combat."

"There are reactionary elements that want to ignore all of that progress. Many of them take refuge in the Church."

"No. Absolutely not."

"It's the only way."

"I will not be party to this sort of corruption!"

"Nor will you... we can organize this now as well as we did in the fifteenth century... and the nineteenth... holy men need not be involved. The Jews and Muslims of our country will be even more enthusiastic about the task... Make old Moses envious."

"How many have you already bribed?"

"It hasn't been difficult... you are an easy sell. No one can possibly be offended by the plump fellow form Saint Mark's--always the first to smile and forgive."

"More wine," he barked to anyone who would listen, "and call the Archpriest of St. Marks... he needs to pack... I guess we're moving soon."
 

Radilo

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Nuovo Porto, 7th Quartiere
4:00 pm on a Friday

"You have to stop," M glared.

"You're going to need to be vastly more specific," the well dressed businessman across the table responded.

"The Tarusians and their lapdog Csengians are making our life difficult. Our Far Eastern allies have aleready expressed concern regarding this topic.

"Business is business. They pay, we sell, they get money dirty, we clean it. That's how it works. They make their own weapons. It's not our bullets shooting our Zaran Brothers."

"What you tell yourself to sleep."

"Fuck off, M," he sighed... "I'm not a student of international affairs, but it seems we're buying our neutrality. And making a profit off of it..."

M sighed, "as it has always been." He took a drink from his flask. "Keep up appearances, keep bilking them for information, and keep giving the Church money. We have many more people to relocate. As for our Far Eastern friends... we'll have to approach this on an expedited schedule."

"M, you give me nothing but headaches."

"Consider yourself lucky then." His companion snorted.


@Tarusa
@Tianlong
 

Radilo

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Nuovo Porto, 7th Quartiere
10:00 am on a Saturday

"So Guido is a rat--is what you're telling me?"

"It appears that G.A. is indeed compromised," M responded, calmer if not less irritated than the Legitimate Businessman.

"That fucker--after everything I did for him he turns state's witness... and it's not like it's here where we can brush it under the rug... it's thise fucking Orthodox Greek fucks."

"While @Pelasgia is an ally of ours, this is still a disconceting development. We have already encountered pushback from our allies about our... unorthodox approach to intelligence collection."

"Of all the things I've done for that rat fucking bastard--"

"Eneough... use your human brain instead of your lizard one, for a change. How much did he know?"

"Remember last week how you were bitching to me to cool down with our @Tarusa money laundering... well the cocaine distribution market is involved in that."

"Fuck..."
 
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Radilo

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Badua, Radilo
2:30 on a Monday

His daughter, Paula, looked horrified after her little friend Aria asked him if he was a real gangster. He thought it was adorable.

"Well..." he said, feigning indecision, "I do alotta stuff that gangsters do. But to apply the lable... I dunno. Lotta baggage with that term..." he smiled at the young girl, and winked to his daughter, who relaxed a bit. He got in real close to Aria and whispered "yes."

Aria beamed a big smile. "Is it true that you don't let businesses hire 11 year olds?"

"No... that's not us... that's the government... but they ain't that strict. We got a problem when businesses under-pay, which they often do to kids."

"So the social worker lied..."

"He wants you to stay in school. That's what social workers do. Heck, cause when I learned I could ditch it at 13, I did. But I wasn't bussing tables... hehe..." his daughter looked a bit ackward... "but that's not here nore there. If you want a job kid... just get one. But stick around school for few years... Paula needs a good sized posse... hehe."

His daughter rolled her eyes, then she and Aria hugged. As Aria departed his phone rang... it was M.

"Fuck," he thought, "M," he answered in a fake chipper tone, "what can I do for ya?"

"Alert every one of your contacts in @Pelasgia , we need to get a hold of them ASAP, someone's been compromised."

"What the fuck happened?"

"G.M. snitched. He got caught with a mountain of coke and he either got nervous or someone bought him off. He's singing like a damn canary."

"I'll get on it. But why else did you call me?"

"We're about to have to kiss Greek arse for a while. But I want Guido burned. And I want everyone to know how and why it happened. You have carte blanche."

"You got it, M, I'll send some guys."

He hung up the phone.

"I get nervous when you talk to Mr. M," Paula said, "you look worried when you talk to him."

"Yea..." he started, he turned to his daughter, for that moment wishing he was someone else. In a few days... he'd have to kill a man... maybe many... "working with Mr. M is... hard..."
 

Radilo

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Santa Maria Xavier, Badua, Radilo
11:00 pm on a Wednesday

He rapped the lion face knocker, trying to hit it just loud eneough for the priest to hear.

"Father Rocco," he said, trying to be both loud and quiet at the same time.

Eventually the door opened, and a visibly drunk priest leaned out.

"What do you need, my son."

"Father, I need to buy an indulgence... I'm going to kill a man in cold blood, maybe more... and there's a decent chance I ain't gonna get to confession again, before I meet St. Peter."

"Come inside."

They made their way through the small rectory into the chapel. "Kneel," the old priest instructed. He knelt in one of the front pews. "You wish to make an offering to God, in exchange for his blessings."

"Yes," he said, reaching into his pocket he took out 10 Ducati notes (~1000 Euromarks). "For the refugees here."

The priest nodded, taking the money. He reached his hand out over the kneeling man, who in turn bowed his head.

He started silently wording a prayer, after a few moments he made the Sign of the Cross over the man's head, "Amen."

Afterwords, the man stopped at home, kissed his wife and daughter and within an hour was on a plane to Tephanon. Though his ultimate route was going to be... indirect.

Luckily everything was chaotic eneough that this was probably not going to be noticed until it was too late.

Because the fewer people involved... the better.
 

Radilo

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Hagios Simeon, Propontis M.D., Pelasgia
12:30 on a Saturday

Georgios Anagnostopoulos, the Director of @Pelasgia 's intelligence agency, the General Intelligence and Security Service (GYPAS), or Vulture, stood looking out over the gathering crowd at a café. He eventually spotted his contact, a short, portly man wearing a clichéd straw hat, aviator sunglasses, and colorful tropical shirt. He was even sipping a large tiki-esque drink, to add insult to injury.

"M, I had no idea you were so committed to the common man image of a... what... almost insufferable dad-bod?"

"You wanted a meeting Georgios, you have it," he said sipping his drink, "you underestimate, however, the proficiency of your fellow countrymen at mixology."

"I shall have to order one... a...?"

"Lesbos holiday... an admirable pun."

"Barkeep," he gestured to the young waitress, "could I get a Lesbos holiday, like my friend is drinking?"

"I have to warn you sir, it contains more than 4 oz of overproof rhum."

"That only makes the drink sound better."

"Right away sir," she said, making her way to the bar.

"So you've agreed to our demands," he said, smirking a bit.

"Oh quite," M responded, "your drug trade will be handled domestically and you get to launder whatever portion of @Tarusa 's blood money that @Tianlong doesn't want us dabbling in... which is most of it. In short, you've won this round."

"Excellent," he said, as the waitress delivered his drink, "oh that's good. For how proofy it is you can barely taste the rhum."

"I think that's the intention," M said, looking out over the water. He got a text message and smiled. "A shame about what happened to the cunt who betrayed us."

"What do you mean?... he's still safe in a maximum security prison, in Pelasgia."

"He's safe with God now. No further harm can come to him."

As his own phone started ringing with multiple text messages, the Vulture Director cast an angry glance at M. One of the very rare times he ever expressed emotion.

"You should know," M continued, "that vulture's nests are known for their loud squawking. It would have been safer to stash him in a whorehouse somewhere.

One of Georgios' texts flashed with "NO CASUALTIES" in red.

"You are lucky this was clean... we are all lucky it was clean... it would have been a shame for your people to die for this rat. So we are now square; the leger is even. No one else needs to be hurt, and we can go back to being friends. But know this... coming between Radila and her money can have deadly results. Even if not in the short term. Stay well, director," M said, necking his drink and walking away.
 

Radilo

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Middle of God-damned nowhere, Himyar
...okay, about 4 hours outside of @Tarusa n occupied Al-Gharb

Noon~ish

To make up for lost... well money, the Camorra had to deploy more conventional means to raise the funds necessary for their work. Ever since being disrupted by the @Pelasgia ns and having their hands tied by @Tianlong , they figured a way to please all of their various masters would be to make the Gothic Sea Pact's life a living hell in Himyar.

A clean-shaven man, with 90s sunglasses and a resigned disposition (think Nicholas Cage in Lord of War), stood in front of the burgeoning group of rebels.

"Many say that the SA32 is the democrat's answer to the Tarusan's Kalashnikov-47, but it should be obvious by its name that the SA32 is older--it was made explicitly for the Great War. Like the 47, it will never jam; whether cacked in mud or filled with sand, it will always fire. It will never overheat. True, it does have some drawbacks--it can fire in 3 shot bursts, but it can never be modified to fire fully automatic, like the 47 can. However, at 4 pounds it is much lighter then the 47, and it is much cheaper to purchase. It also fires smaller, more accessible bullets. And it is small enough that, when the stock is folded, you can easily hide it under your cloths. It is a gun all freedom fighters love. Even better, is that my family is willing to let you try this fine product risk-free for... well, indefinitely, as the first 10,000 units are on the house. We will even throw in 2,500 Kalashnikov's, free of charge. Just to make sure those cunts from the far north get confused."

"I am suspicious," one older man started, "as to why you want us to take these guns for free?"

"Oh good sir, as an arms dealer, criminal, and general ne'er-do-well," everyone chuckled, "I assure you that I am hoping that once you try these fine Radilan products, that you and your compatriots will be coming back for more. Much like a tobacco salesman who gives you the first pack of cigarettes for free--I know you'll be coming back."

Everyone chuckled again.
 
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Radilo

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Nuovo Porto, 8th Quartiere, Palazzo Dante
2:00 pm, on any given Thursday

"So what is it again, exactly?" M asked, staring at the screen.

"It's a virus," the young woman with gigantic glasses said, "or I guess it's a type of Spyware... which technically is..."

"...it's fine... what is it supposed to do?"

"When you transfer a file, it can track all kinds of data... without the computers or servers detecting it."

"Does it have any drawbacks?"

"Like any type of worm, you can find it if you look for it, but you have to look for it. And even then, there's backups."

"Are there any advantages to this software?"

"Yea... if you use it passively, you can learn a whole lot without alerting the host," she said with a wide grin.

"I have a feeling you've simplified that for me."

"I did," she said, still smiling.
 

Radilo

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Pueblo de Sombras, Monterrey, Former EF Mandate
2:30 PM

Don Julio Ferrari had many passports, mostly fake, but some real. He was of course a citizen of Madatory Monterrey, but he was now, also, a citizen of Gran-Occidenta; he was also, by blood, a citizen of La Serenìsima, being of Radilan extraction.

He also owned the largest coca plantation and cocaine manufacturing operation in the world.

At the present moment he was the striking image of a kingpin... or occidental despot. Despite the heat of the jungle summer, he seemed cool in his all-white suit, with matching @San Jose hat. A large cigar protruded from his grimacing face.

The two @Pelasgia n men standing in front of him felt the full, anxiety inducing, weight of his grim facial expression.

It was an amazing place, really, a blazing white marble mansion overlooking steaming tropical jungle. The massive balcony presiding over all of this was covered by a Zaran-inspired pergola.

Don Julio fanned himself slowly as he waited for a response.

"D-double?" the Greek gangster stuttered.

"Si, doble." Don Julio responded, never taking the cigar out of his mouth. "You killed a friend of mine. So you pay double."

"Don Julio, we're not like the Camorra... we don't have anything to do with the Pelasgian government... or Vulture."

His partner spoke up, "we had nothing to do with Vangelis getting whacked."

Don Julio turned to look out over at the jungle, placing his hands on the balcony railing, he took a puff of his cigar and said, "double."

"P-people won't be able to afford it..." the first man studdered.

"The rich fucks snorting this will be fine."

"It's not the richfucks--" the second man started, but stopped himself.

"Are you cutting my fine product to accommodate junkies?" Don Julio turned to ask, finally taking the cigar out of his mouth.

"W-we..."

"That's alright. I know you didn't kill Vangelis, and I don't hold you in account for such. However," he said turning fully towards them. "You're not eligible for the friends and family discount. For my product, or anyone's... so it's coke, meth, heroin, all are about to see a change in price..."

He paused for a moment to and looked out over the jungle.

"...your politicians complained about how cheap coke and other drugs were. Well, now they get to see what it is like when drugs are expensive."

He took another puff of his cigar.

"Double."
 
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Radilo

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Santa Maria Xavier Cemetery, Badua, Radilo
12:00 AM

"I don't blame her, for her suspicions," said M to his subordinate, "but there is nothing we found that suggested foul play."

"You have to admit that the timing is a tad too perfect. Like the death of the first @Pelasgia n Prime Minister. How convenient was that drug-fueled orgy with @San Jose 's El Presidente. Snuff the monarchists out in a blaze of white powder."

"Coincidence is not evidence, our toxicologists are as good as they come and they found nothing. And the former Pelasgian Prime Minister's coke habit was legendary. If anyone would push him over it would be El Presidente... but it's worth keeping an eye on..."
 
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Radilo

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Blackwater Gulf, Union of Colonies and Plantations of @Natal
Anno domini 1770

Javion Andrew approached the oddly dressed man cautiously. He was a Black man, like him, but his rather eccentric and bright clothes seemed to put him out of time and place. Golden age pirate might have been the most reasonable assumption... had it still been the golden age of piracy... and had this meeting having anything to do with piracy... neither was the case.

"My second said that you had a proposition for us?" the burgeoning rebel leader asked.

"I do," the strange looking man with a foreign accent answered. "I have a marvelous proposition for you."

"You won't be offended if I voice some skepticism."

"Not at all, my friend," he said as he walked towards Javion. "In fact, I assumed you would need some convincing."

He turned to some of the oddly dressed men behind him and shouted something in a foreign language--one with a lot of o's and a's in it. The men signaled to other crewmen on their boat and a convoy of sailors started bringing out boxes.

"What are these? " Javion asked.

"A sample," the oddly dressed man said.

Some of the newly freed rebels started opening the boxes--guns! Muskets and bullets and gun powder. Their commander stood awestruck.

"You want us to buy these...?"

"No, my friend, these are a gift. When you succeed in your revolution against @Great Engellex , remember this act of kindness and return the favor."

"The favor to who?"

"That which is Most Serene."

"So the rumors are true--you wish to undermind them."

"Undermind them and get rich. Free people are better for the bottom line."

"You're gambling on us winning."

"Si. We are."
 
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Radilo

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Nea Lykaonia Shipyards, Propontis, Pelasgia
11:00PM


It was pouring down rain as the two engineers discussed what was about to happen.

"They're not yet ready," Ioannis Alveris said as he looked at his colleague. At the same time two massive hulls splashed into the water. Tug boats started their work attaching them to larger vessels for ferrying back to Nouvo Porto.

"Their main engines will arrive soon, in the Radilan capital," said Julio Montenant, "from @Tianlong ." He sighed, "this is going to cost jobs in the short term. The contract got bought out in full by the Far East."

"You think politics was involved?" Ioannis asked.

"I assume as much--the Radilans seemed jumpy and anxious."

"Isn't that how they always are?"

"This feels odd... did you see the Doge hanging out with the Greek Archbishop of Radilo--they were all smiles. It's like they were trying to compensate with a friendly a message."

"The Greek Archbishop?"

"Don't." Julio said, sighing, "it's a common moniker for Pelasgians."

"Yea," Ioannis retorted, "among Latin speakers."

"What the fuck do you want to prove--I grew up speaking Radilan, of course I use some of that terminology... but I'm speaking Greek now, aren't I?"

"That's always it--isn't it... you rich Radilan fucks... you get all of the top spots at the university, you make all the money, you get rich at every level of Pelasgian society--I'd half wager you've already applied for a Radilan passport!"

One of the tug boats blew their fog horn. As more waves crashed against the docks.

Julio shook his head. "I have been a loyal Pelasgian subject my entire life, as was my father, and my grandfather." He looked out at the almost-completed hulls being dragged off to sea. Those hulls he'd poured so much into as had his friend, who now interrogated him. He sighed again, "that," he gestured out to sea sea, "is the consequence of bigotry."

He walked away from his old friend for the last time, disgusted. But his friend wasn't wrong. Come the next day, he and his family were on a plane with a one way ticket to Nouvo Porto.


@The Ottawas
 
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Radilo

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Pueblo de Sombras, Monterrey
Noon

Don Julio Ferrari was calm, despite how pissed he was. He quietly puffed on his cigar as he regarded the three bound and gagged people kneeling before him.

"Callao... now that was a mistake," he said, puffing on his cigar. The bound indigenous woman started crying into her gag. "You see... when big mistakes get made... it causes me problems." He took another puff. "Big problems. Big explosions cause big problems. For what?" He paused to look out over his balcony. "What do you gain? You wanna kill all Criollos... you wanna kill me. After everything... I give you money, I give you land, I leave you alone... and you wanna kill me? Huh?" He said, kicking the one native man in the stomach. He fell down, screaming silently into his gag.

He extinguished his cigar on the bawling woman's exposed shoulder--as she screamed even louder into her gag. He took out his pistol and placed it against the third man's temple. "If it were just normal business. I'd have all of you raped by donkeys, then I'd cut your genitals off and chain you in the jungle until something mercifully ate you. But you idiots are now wanted by the state. So I'm going to give you over to them. Unfortunately, they'll want you intact. So I won't be peeling your skin off today. Know that I'm turning your whole village over. The native people will have less land because of this. Because none of you or your tribe will be welcome on my land." He then pistol whipped the third native man.

He put his gun under the sobbing woman's chin. She staired up at him, eyes filled with horror. "Do you know what I do to women who cross me? Do you?" She was silent for a moment. He, while still keeping the gun pointed at her, untied her gag. She let out a loud scream, so he pistol whipped her. She resumed sobbing and, from what he could tell, praying. "I asked you a question," he said, with an eerie tone in his voice. She regained some of her composure and glared at him.

"You torture them, rape them, and kill them. That's what you just said."

"Si."

"You're a fucking monster."

"Si."

"Eres el diablo."

"Si. And you worked happily with me, until you went too far... what does that make you?"

She started to respond until one of his men quickly gagged her again.

"Turn them over to the federales," he said, as black bags were placed over their heads.

@Ebria
 
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