- Aug 9, 2012
- Ningemes CI -
- Ningemes CI -
Sebastián watched as his men darted in and out from under the ragged khaki tarp in front of him. Despite the ever-present weight of a number of wealthy men’s faith – or perhaps more importantly their investment – he felt a strange sense of ease. In only a few moments, the name “Sebastián Arias Maldonado” would either cement its place in the history books or be a laughing stock that would dominate news cycles for weeks. He would either propel the década de posibilidad or further the country’s sluggish demeanor.
In a country that found its entire national pride in the destruction of a rigged social hierarchy, one nevertheless endured. Sebastián is a rare example of a man who was not born of a member of the Gilded Class, yet found himself frequently in their company. He was born to one of Catamarca y Ebría’s small villages that dot the rolling hills of the countryside. They all looked the same: winding, twisting stone roads with stone homes, more bars than could possibly be needed, a town center beautifully decorated with greenery and trees. The entire town, of course, would be dwarfed by an immaculate Town Forum – originally built centuries ago by cultists to admire their divinities.
It was not entirely clear what unnerved Sebastián more: the obedient acceptance of the rudimentary life he grew up around or the unearned, lavish lifestyle of their inheritors of generations of wealth.
He paused, only briefly, to marvel at the spectacle taking place before him. He felt a bead of sweat roll down his forehead, which he wiped away. The movement of his arm made him realize that his undershirt was stuck to his back, drenched. It wasn’t hot, far from in fact. Even the rolling hills of Southern Catamarca y Ebría couldn’t escape the cool air of Ningemes (Mid-November).
Behind him stood a makeshift set of bleachers. Designed to be quickly assembled and dissembled, the crowds of people packed on them sincerely hoped it was not an example of the engineer’s prowess. Most of those settled on the bleachers were the rich men he has spent so many years fawning over. Those assembled as close to the rope line as possible were members of the press. Many were from Palencia, but critically reporters from La Prensa Libre were present. The Solisians’ newspaper of choice, it was the pen of those men who would decide Sebastián’s fate. Others were commonfolk from the various towns that dotted the hillsides who happened to hear of Sebastián’s demonstration. A nice audience to witness the dawn of a new era. Sebastián began stepping backward, away from his contraption, further taking in the moment. He could hear the snaps of the reporters’ cameras behind him, desperate to capture raw images. Finally, he spun around on his heel to meet the audience head on.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Sebastián called as loud as he could to the crowd. It wasn’t entirely clear if a single woman was present, but the spectacle of the event was too important to break any sort of formality “I welcome you all to the gorgeous hills of the South, to wonderful Catamarca y Ebría. Basin of the Great Ebría River. Home of the finest wines the world knows, and let us be honest – the finest of anything the world knows.”
He had a grin on his face, careful to walk a fine line. While the common people were well beyond such rhetoric, the Aurarian press was known for its insistence on a constant and persistent reassurance of Aurarine Exceptionalism. While an argument could certainly be made that anything worthy of being synonymous with Auraria likely came from Catamarca y Ebría, Solisian Pride was a real thing not to be trifled with. Even more critically, a man named Luciano Castro was among the audience.
While Luciano was not a Solisian who’s feelings were paramount to swoon, he was one of the famed “Special Advisors” to the President of the Republic. The President had long taken interest in the politics of the Region. Busy as he was with the affairs of the nation, he had deployed a team of men under the title of “Special Advisors” to report to him on the items of interest he didn’t have the time to investigate himself. Luciano was well known as having a direct line to the President. A man so dedicated to national revival, it was critical for Sebastián to demonstrate to Luciano the majesty of the moment.
“Auraria,” he clenched his fist and began pacing back and forth “Our resources build the world’s finest Navy, which built the world’s finest empire. Our philosophers brought society based in reason and thus created the most serene of Republics where merit, not birth, defined success. For centuries the world has tested our people…time and time again we rose to the challenge. Undoubtedly, no boundary can remain unreachable for the Aurarine People. Today is another chapter in our long story of innovation!”
Sebastián turned around and signaled to his men, who promptly grabbed the ragged tarp and tugged it off with all their might. From under it, an aero plane emerged. However, it was unlike any the audience had seen before. This one, the sun promptly illuminated and the shine from it temporarily stunned the Reporters – all of which had been so desperate to catch the perfect image. This plane was entirely made from a metal frame.
“The next stage in Aurarine Aviation…may I present to you all, the first all-metal aero plane constructed entirely within the borders of the Republic: the Moldando Series 1. This plane can fly farther, faster, and safer than any before it. This is a new age and it is my honor to show it to you”
The audience on the bleachers rose to their feet in applause. Sebastián wasn’t sure which was Luciano, but he hoped to have captured his attention all the same. The loud flashes of cameras were flooded out by the audience’s roar. A member of Sebastián’s team climbed into the cockpit of the metal contraption, strapping on his proper headgear and quickly started the engine. Black smoke billowed puffed out as the propeller’s motion picked up. As it came to speed, the airplane’s roar got louder and louder.
The plane began moving forward, picking up speed as it raced across the grass, eventually taking flight. As it climbed, the audience quieted and Sebastián just stared. He had done it and for this moment, nothing else in the world mattered as his creation took flight.