Statesboro Select

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by Beautancus, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Beautancus

    Beautancus Timeout

    Aug 1, 2008
    The Best Carolina
    Late Summer

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    Old Capitol Building,
    102 Old North 3rd Street, Statesboro District
    Welmonton, Beautancus

    A sprawling, grandiose and palatial edifice in every way that Drummond House was not, the Old Capitol had retained much, if not most, of the course and flow of politic and power that had once been concentrated in its now ancient walls.

    Dominating the eldest quadrant of the District, the name of which - Statesboro - had once been solely identified with the Far Western High Republican-style palace so much else had grown up around. It was the absolute and undisputed center of gravity in the early political life of the Engellexic mercantile holdings that would grow into Beautancus, from its completion in the late spring of 1698 unto the reforms of Admiral Lexius Achilles Drummond in 1774.

    The unfolding of all the many years between then and now had been exceedingly kind to the place, in treasure and esteem, and more than a handful of renovations. The Burgesses and Senate had long since evicted the premises for their own, exclusive edifices, but many of the Commissions, Committees and Secondary Offices that served the Legislature remained. The Executive Branch and its various Departmental and Service components maintained offices on the premises yet still as well, the State Consul most particularly.

    The sitting State Consul even preferred his offices here, to growing fame. Ord Kenway was a curious, interesting man in that way though. A comparison of the Deputy Executive and his Superior left one with the distinct impression that the two embodied much of the identities of the places they did business, the Old Capitol and Drummond House, respectively.

    Kenway typified the immovable weight of the Cussian tradition of "State Governance," cut from his cloth in such a way that would not have left him out of place in the Post-Resurrectionist Era of the 1950s. On the other hand, Orton was much like the second coming of Admiral Drummond and the proud solemnity of the House that bore his name. A thunderbolt struck right into the heart of the established order, burning to ash all that was not strong enough to withstand it...but empowering and energizing those men and institutions open and receptive to the new dynamic.

    Many said that it was remarkable the two got along as well as they did, having not known each other well or at all until just the year before their ascension to The Office. It seemed Orton's preturnatural ability to charm anyone at any time encompassed Kenway as much as it did the rest of the world though, as it could easily be argued that there were few State Consuls that were or had served their own First Citizens as capably or loyally.

    This genuine and by now well practiced ease of fellowship was as evident this late hour as it had ever been, when the rest of the conference's attendees began to filter into the State Consul's 7th floor chambers - called an office. Hunched over Kenway's favorite desk, filling the rooms exquisitely finished ceiling space with ever thicker banks of smoke, gently disturbed by the methodical whirl of a pair of old style ceiling fans, drinking corn liquor from the same nearly empty jug and obsessing over a map of Western Gallia.

    Sir Jorace Abnett was the first to join them, another within the present "Inner Circle" and a close and genuine friend to Orton for some long decades prior besides. His own schedule as the Speaker of the (House of) Burgesses had allowed him to finish the evenings regular doings in the Old Capitol, conveniently, and he'd had more than a little idea the two would precede the rest by some minutes at least.

    A wry smile and slight dip of his head as he hung his hat, Abnett greeted them simply and warmly, "Your Excellencies, a good and fine evening to you both."

    If one were inclined to placing bets, it was said the good Speaker of the Burgesses was a safer and surer pick to succeed Orton in the First Citizenship than any other in that broad field, more often than not. Orton made no secret of his own preference, that there were none better qualified, and Kenway had long since made it clear he had neither the inclination or years of strength and vigor yet left to seek and hold that final, even higher office than the one occupied he at present.

    "Speaker, welcome and join us here at the desk - care for a plug?" Kenway smiled at the younger Burgess conspiratorially, hefting and tipping the jug of moonshine to him. For all that it looked just like water, there was no fire like it on the way down the hatch, the Indigenes indeed had the right of it in their naming of the Engell spirits. Even practiced with the stuff as he was, Abnett couldn't entirely stifle the cough it elicited.

    It was the First Citizen to reach out this time, first to pat his friend's cough away and then to light and press a fresh cigar into the now properly fortified man's hand. "From the fields at Orton Plantation, best leaf to sprout from that sandy soil in some years Jorace."

    No more than a gentle draw was needed for confirmation, "You speak it true Ed, I'll be damned if you don't. Your Pop would've loved to 'take a spell and have a good ol smoke.' I think I'm gonna have to call on Sibly* later and have a crate or two sent over?" It amazed even Kenway at times, the degree of familiarity - almost brotherly - between the men. Of an age and caste, Jorace Abnett had spent no shortage of sweltering summer evenings on the porch of Orton Plantation, at the side of young Ed and being regailed with tales the likes of which there were no telling by the now long passed elder Orton.

    This Orton nodded wordlessly, his gaze now drawn back to the door and the next man - no men - joining them. While the first of that pair couldn't quite be called rotund or stumpy, neither did he enjoy the frame or stature of his fellows. For all that now fully silver-haired Sir Galan Albrecht lacked in physique, he held in audacity and genius, with a bearing and swagger that the heathen warlords of long-forgotten ages past would have recognized, enviously.

    A half step in tow, the Lord First-General of the Army of the Confederated Republic, Hilbert Swinson. Burly in near every sense of the word, enough beyond middle age now that his looming, barrel-chested frame had begun to even outwards a bit toward the belt. No less formidable for it, craggy, pinch-featured face somehow always pulled into an intense scowl. Not terribly many years ago, the First General had been Orton's superior, albeit a good one - ensuring their easy working relationship now.

    "Excellencies, gentle sir," they intoned, the precise unison of the delivery hard coded from the span of nearly a century of drills, formations and the Panopticon between them, and unbroken by the sharp salute Swinson snapped off.

    Murmured acknowledgements made, the First Citizen beckoned them join the rest around the desk, a knowing nod solicited from the top-soldier upon seeing the map. "The last of it from Speier before we came downtown was that they were proceeding ahead of schedule by a fair margin. We are noting an increase in signals traffic from Serenierre."

    The eyes of every man in the room snapped to Swinson then, a leonine - almost hungry - smile flashing white amid the dark mane of the First Citizen's beard. "You don't say? Any indications to what effect? Is it finally time?"

    Before the First-General could respond, the door creaked once more, and for what would be the last time for some while. As before, all eyes snapped to the sound, a stir of subconscious dread sparking in the deepest portions of most of their brains. Each man was aware who it would be, joining them last, with each harboring some apprehension at it in their own way.

    Pausing in the doorframe, half turned to the murderously well-armed bodyguards outside, to whom Dr. Rheron Cypreau must have been speaking. "No boys, that's enough of that lip. His Excellency's security details do take precedence," Orton's own bodyguards had long been posted outside the door, "And I can hardly see a need for me to be protected in this room."

    At last closing the door behind him, the Inspector General of the State Service of Beautancus advanced without another word, though he did accord the First Citizen a proper (if perfunctory) bow. For most of the professional life of every man present, Cypreau had cast a long and dark shadow over Statesboro and the rest of the country beyond. Cunning ferocity and wicked brilliance bred from the raw necessity of the challenges faced by he and the country he dearly and deeply loved, but of such magnitude that scant few mere mortals could comprehend it.

    It would not have been a mistake to say that most of his present company were or had been terrified of the Doctor at some point, as they had. All save Ed Orton, an unforeseen wildcard in this as so many other cases.
    If anything, Orton unnerved the arch-spy, in ways that even Cypreau could not fully articulate.

    "May we pour you a drink Doctor, or offer you a tug of the humble leaf?" Kenway was already turning to collect a tumbler for the notoriously fussy old bastard, but was waved off. "No, Excellency I thank you but at this hour it is best I retain the full use of my faculties, diminished and ravaged as they are by such a passing roll of years in number I do not care to account."

    An unexpected but welcomed laugh for all, tension lessened by the whole of a degree. "So, gentlemen, we'll move right into it then..."

    [to be cont'd, tl;dr]

    * Orton's Chief of Staff and longtime butler, Sibly Yates

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  2. Beautancus

    Beautancus Timeout

    Aug 1, 2008
    The Best Carolina
    Late Summer
    Burgundian Candidate

    Old Capitol Building,
    102 Old North 3rd Street, Statesboro District Welmonton, Beautancus

    Conversation had not carried for long before the elder statesmen in their company had inquired after chairs, backs and joints lacking the same sharp obedience enjoyed by their yet still formidable intellects.

    Not at all unimpressed with the perspective gained into the character, secrets and strengths of each since his ascension to the highest of all Cussian offices, Orton was still given pause at the rapid decline in flexibility and mobility he'd tracked in Dr. Cypreau over the past seven years. Isn't that cute, how much can anyone actually worry for this rotten old bastard? Wouldn't it be one of life's great ironies if there were none left to, more than me...

    "It will happen to you one day too, your Excellency." Cypreau was looking up at, dark and endlessly scheming eyes boring up into the glacial blue of Orton's own. Strange, the way people could learn each other's minds after working together closely for so long.

    The old spook continued, affect and voice somehow devoid of the calculating malice it seemed always to hold otherwise. "I was 26 when Axel Edgewood plucked me out of ONI, Oldman Saulston's best bird-dog;" Arleigh Saulston, the 4th First Citizen, in office from 1961-1967, "...I can still remember thinking to myself how very old and hollowed out the poor old bastard looked there towards the end." Cypreau even shook his head a bit, something deeply rooted moving him through the memory.

    The Executive Office had not been kind to "Oldman Saulston," though not a clip on as savage as it could and had been to others since. Arleigh Saulston had at least been able to retire from office of his own accord, ostensibly due to his legitimately failing health. That it had actually been the toll Saulston and his family had paid from being unfairly tainted by the scandalous disaster his predecessor had made of the First Citizenship was something of a politely overlooked open secret.

    It would take more than that to shift me off the throne at this point, more than a little surprised that he even cared, or could allow for the even remote possibility that his Administration might not be recalled as one of the greatest ever, Orton regarded Cypreau strangely for a moment. I've never seen him do this. Better have his heart checked.

    Apparently conscious that he'd become that old man for a moment, hellbent on dredging the forgotten past up to run side by side with the present, the Inspector General even managed a wan smile. "Praise then to their Fictional god I suppose, our means and ways have improved quite some bit since those heady days."

    Fingers gnarled but still nimble, Dr. Cypreau cracked the locks of his gator-scaled briefcase and produced a small sheaf of off-colored papers. Marked as the property of the SSB by their hue as much as the stamps and watermarks adorning them, the interests of the whole "Inner Circle" piqued as one.

    "Burgundian Candidate

    Subject "Monsieur Sénéchal" remains cooperative and responsive, cognitive function at ideal parameters with no appreciable degradation or significant memory loss.

    Regular psychosomatic conditioning will be required to maintain Subject's peak operational efficacy; major reconditioning and recalibration of neurochemistry-reactive will be necessary to ensure psychological cohesion and continued integration of pre-existing and tailored/targeted memories &/or command-line engagement triggers.

    Subject, Joffrey Segal, estimated 94.58724% likelihood for successful long-term Operation-Directed. Recommend immediate activation by <redacted> as critical asset in ongoing ODoD psyops.

    The Speaker of the Burgesses looked up from the document, seeking his friend and patron's eyes out before letting so much as one syllable tumble from his lips. What assurance he found there being enough, Abnett let slip an uneasy chuckle. "I saw him on Chuck's show the other night, from Hammersmith. Couldn't see the first puppet string, so y'all must have this down to the finest of sciences now."

    Across the desk, the Lord First-General rumbled, whether it was acknowledgement or agreement lost in with great exhalation of cigar smoke. "Though I must confess to finding their implementation less than ideally manful, their efficiency and utility are beyond question at this point Speaker, these 'puppeted' assets of the Doctor's."

    Neither of their Excellencies could stifle their smiles at the First-General's unflinching candor, the SSB patriarch rolled his eyes and dismissed Swinson's not so veiled disparagement with a wave of the hand.

    The Lord of Soldiers' direct superior had remained silently thoughtful, at last taking up the Executives jug of corn liquor. A deep splash back, but evidently not so much of one that Albrecht's constitution cared to note. The Defense Secretary might even have been haunted, whatever thoughts he had on the topic were doubtless to be as clinical and encyclopedic as his SSB counterparts - and a mind more alike than not. Such men were made for keeping, killing and compounding such dreadful secrets.

    Galan handles the idea of these more questionably creative methods as well as any man of his sort can...too much of an honest military man left in there to let the inhumanity of bureaucracy drag him to its forgotten recess of the Fictionals Hell, Orton's silent musings on the man matched the overall assessment he'd had for some years. Ruthless, but driven to such by that most ancient love for his country by a pedigree of officers and statesmen...and a career won against the highest stakes realpolitik could put to the table.

    Abnett had taken the sheaf up for a closer reading now that it was clear all had the opportunity to skim over it. He and the State Consul read along the second and third pages at pace, something of enough note to earn the raising an eyebrow from each near the end. Orton filed it away for later, Ord will have read something even more from between those lines, and something that won't do for parsing in public.

    "I will reiterate that the results from this program have pleasantly surprised me at every turn, the evidence continues to speak for itself. Ambiguous and tricky as it is, and there's no escaping that, we're getting too much back from Hyperconditioning not to step up use in other arenas. Objections?" The First Citizen leaned over the desk on both hands, turning his gaze to each face of his Inner Circle in deliberate turn, finding there were none to be had.

    "Very well Inspector General, proceed as we had discussed before." Much else passed unspoken between the men, punctuated and dismissed with the same nod.

    "I am still less than thrilled with how much we're getting back from the Engells. For people that look not to have cold feet, it sure does look like they've got glaciers for boots." The State Consul required no prompting to know where to move things, or when.

    That frustration was not nearly so acute in Welmonton as in Vesper at least, but neither had Welmonton been brought within a hair's breath of suffering the fate of Antique Carthage for the sake of Engellexic decorum.

    A situation not without merits and opportunities of its own, having served to bring the northern two nations of the League's Four closer than they'd been in decades already, even during the supposedly warm and open years of now-slain Ilchester's reign. The Clarenthians, already altogether too reluctant, had been and were being cozily settled into a role far more proactive and integrally vital than what Madame Sinclair could have possibly expected in the beginning.

    I cannot tell myself I don't know that all of this would be made easier by orders of magnitude, but for a few more utterances from Underwood. Orton still liked the South Engell woman, quite a bit even, but it was beyond doubt that the use she'd been to the Domain left him decidedly wanting. If Grafton had a decade or few less on his roll of years...

    Driving the whimsy from his mind at once, the First Citizen lit a cigarette and took a long and hungry draw. These are better problems to have than most, if not all, the immediate alternatives Ed.

    Liking that thought far more, Orton drew himself up for the final matter at hand, exchanging a glance with his Deputy to ensure they were on the same page. The shrewd, almost demure inclination of head from Kenway lit that easily enough.

    "Well then, our final matter for the night." None of the rest save for Kenway had the slightest idea what this item of business might be, and were back on the edge of their seats once more. Cypreau even seemed visibly nonplussed, by now clear he would never get used to being at the disadvantage with Orton.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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