The Chessboard

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by Socialist World Republic, Sep 4, 2012.

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  1. Socialist World Republic

    Socialist World Republic Well-Known Member

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    Deliverance
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    Revy
    Réti System

    Guards left and right saluted, as Colonel Dvorak was brought onto the compound in a jeep. The security at the base was tight and even though his face - prominently featuring a number of scars he'd received during the battle for Mazara - was well known amongst the personnel, he still had to identify himself to the security check and even more so had to do his driver.

    Dvorak wasn't irritated in the slightest. It was on his own orders that soldiers on guard duty at the Caprarian Air Base would have to ask for identification, even if they believed to recognize a high-ranking officer. More than them, Dvorak knew how important security was to the ongoing operations and what advantages could be jeopardized by sloppy behaviour. It wasn't just the threat of a terrorist attack that caused him to be so cautious, it was also the fear of espionage. Neither Eiffelland nor any other power should get a view of what Carentania was hiding at Capraria.

    The Carentanian base on the island was actually two bases, seperated to provide additional security. It was generally assumed by High Command that, the less people have access to the airfields, the less information could evade their control. On the other side of the fence were the barracks of the occupational forces, the base of the groundtroopers. Dvoraks realm was the air base, Revolutionary Navy Aviation, to be precise.

    That alone hinted to the fact that the Carentanian air bases weren't just intended to provide air support to the mainland. Navy aviation wasn't exactly specialized on that task. They did have a few squadrons of Kavkas at Capraria and they could fly strafing runs at the mainland alright, but it was an open secret that the bases on both Capraria and Iscla also served to intercept Eiffelländer or Nichtsteiner attempts to gain air superiority over Solaren should it come to war.

    But that wasn't the main reason for the secrecy. Anyone could guess that Carentania was using these strategic locations to its own advantage and the Workers' Republic wasn't exactly aiming for dominance over all of Solaren. Carentania was content with the positions it already held and the reason for this was hidding in the hangars Colonel Dvorak had come to inspect.

    "Isn't she beautiful?" a technician saluted the commander with a wide grin. Despite having established a firm command chain when reforming its military in the late 1920s, ending the unsuccesful concept of a militia-army, Carentanian armed forces were often less formal and strict than other militaries. Adressing a superior officer like this may have been unusual, but it wasn't reprimanded by the Colonel.

    "Indeed a masterwork of technology," the Colonel replied casually, starting to slowly walk around the airplane. There were others like it in the hangar, covered by tarps. This one was only visible because the technician had been working on making it operational. The machines had just arrived on the base and been unloaded and some things had been loosened or removed for the transport to Capraria.

    The planes were MP-1, a new class of tactical bombers that had just recently entered mass-production after they had been secretely tested against the Fleet of Yujin - with great success. Armed with anti-ship dive bombs, these planes promised a revolutionary leap in naval warfare, rendering convential anti-air defenses aboard surface vessels null and void. Carentania had worked long to make this concept of a "naval interceptor plane" operational and now they had begun positioning squadrons of these bombers in bases along the Long Sea.

    "You have one week to have all planes ready," the Dvorak reminded the technician. "We want them operational for a manouver." He turned around towards his aide: "I want to talk with the pilots. They need to prepare themselves. I don't want us to be the weak link just because we've just been set up on Capraria."

    Carentania had all it wanted in Solaren because now it controlled the Long Sea.

    Four Knights Game

    "...I'll connect you, Sir."

    The woman on the other end of the phoneline had a sweet, soothening voice and if it weren't for the fact he was a married man, Lucas Molino would have almost been tempted to ask her for her name before she established the phone line to Torrence. Antonio would probably call me out on this, Lucas thought to himself. He had always thought of his friend Lucas as a womanizer. But Antonelli wasn't here and that was probably for the best.

    "Gazetta di Torrenza, chief editor Zeoli speaking."

    "Cesare, this is Lucas speaking. Lucas Molino."

    "May the Lord strike me down," Cesare Zeoli laughed. A loud, deep, hearty laughter of a man his friends and family knew as an amicable, slightly obese fellow who loved the finer things in life perhaps a little too much. It was a strong contrast to the picture of a grim and embittered fanatic, which the articles his newspaper published would suggest.

    "What gives me the joy of a cheapskate like you paying for a phonecall to speak to me?"

    "Nice to hear of you as well. It's been far too long, but the war... you know, it changed so much and with the occupation, it's been so hard to just drive to Torrence and visit you."

    Cesare moaned audibly, his mood having dropped by a few points just now.

    "But don't worry, once the Eiffelländer and Carentanians are gone, I'll visit you. We'll eat at that little Bistro at Gabriels Hill, where you met your wife."

    "It closed down. The Eiffelländer arrested its owner. He had attacked one of their soldiers."

    "Bastards. They're ruining our country." Lucas formed an obscene gesture with his right hand, damning the foreign soldiers even though Cesare couldn't see him doing that. Then, when having calmed himself a little, he spoke up again: "I admit, I didn't just call you to dwell in old memories, but also not to just vent some anger at the situation in our country right now. I called you, because I am working to change it, to win a future for Solaren."

    "Now you got me interested."

    "Do you remember Antonio Antonelli? Colonel Antonelli? I believe he's just the man we need."

    "That traitor?" Cesare was shocked, but Lucas continued, not irritated by his friends reaction the slightest.

    "He surrendered to the Carentanians, yes. But not to betray our people. He's still a patriot, he still believes in a Solaren on moral principles. Antonio refused to sacrifice his men for Urban, yes, a tough decision, but one that could prove useful."

    "What are you ratting on about," Cesare sounded sceptical.

    "What the foreigners fear the most is the return of Urbanites to power. That is why they are giving any kind of national Solaren party, any kind of moralic political stance such a hard time. Both Eiffelland and Carentania would have loved to control Solaren on their own, but they can't - so they settle for just preventing each other from claiming Solaren, while suppressing anything they perceive as return of Pope Urban.

    But that's what makes Antonio so interesting. They trust him. They don't believe him an Urbanite, because he surrendered, because Pope Urban wanted his death. We can use him to build a movement that unifies all honest and proud Solareners, that achieves independence for our country yet again, while letting both Carentanians and Eiffelländer think they have won, denying each other rule over this country."

    "Interesting, but the Gazetta di Torrenza is a supporter of the Faith Alliance. Not my choice, I admit it, but our owners demanded it."

    "All I ask you is to run an editorial, a commentary, painting Il Colonel in a good light, portraying his surrender as a gesture of fatherly care for his men."

    "I don't know," Cesare said, not yet convinced. "The Bishop won't like it and Jacobo even less."

    "Well," Lucas bargained, "do you remember the favor you owe me?"
     
  2. Eiffelland

    Eiffelland Well-Known Member

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    Black nights’ tango

    Air force base Castelletto, Eiffellandian Occupational Zone

    The pilot of a brand new Mysterium II plane had just requested permission for landing. It was the first plane of a complete group of 50 planes with the newest fighter from the Eiffellandian‑Franconian company Dassau. The sound barrier had already been passed before, but up to now only in nose-dive. The Mysterium II, a fighter‑bomber like the Mysterium I, was one of the first planes ever that reached a supersonic speed on its own in level flight. This plane would replace the propeller fighters still in service of the Königliche Luftwaffe.
    Several high ranking officers had gathered together for welcoming the first Mysterium II to enter active duty in Solaren. General Modersohn was one of them. It was a moment of celebration one way or another. Furthermore, Modersohn wanted to see this new fighter‑bomber himself. Despite being one of the three generals of the land army, he was interested in fighter planes. He knew that the developments were going very fast in the aircraft business, especially because of the jet engine. Developed in the 1940s, it rapidly changed the world of aircraft. And it was about to change the world even more. Modersohn regretted that he would have to witness that from the sideline. Born in 1901, he would retire from the army in two years. Despite the difficulties he was facing here in Solaren, he liked his time here. Maybe mainly because he was the boss here. De facto, he ruled the Eiffellandian Occupational Zone, and he had a relatively free hand. He could have misused the fact that his masters were far away, but he didn’t. Modersohn, the sphinx as he was called, was unbribable, unimpeachable and unconditionally faithful to his oath to King and Fatherland. On top of that, he was as ascetic as a man could be, and always master of his feelings. Nobody knew what he really thought.
    Everybody in the room was excited. Modersohn as well, but he was the only one in the room who didn’t look or act excited. Everybody used his binoculars to watch the plane landing. When it taxied to the main building of the base, it received an honour greeting from the fire department of the base. After then, the colonel of the 14. Jagdbombergeschader (the group based on the air force base Castelletto), greeted the pilot and welcomed him to the base and his new air force group.

    “Well, Herr General, this is the new plane,” the colonel said to General Modersohn. “It flies Mach 1.1 and does so on its own. We are one of the first with a plane that breaks the sound barrier on its own, if not, the first. Speed is the key. Not only here, but everywhere. With this plane, we can be everywhere before the enemy shows up, and if not, we can chase the fleeing enemy so that it will be his last action. But believe me, this is not the end.”
    “I know, Herr Oberst, I know,” General Modersohn said. He knew that the successor of the Mysterium planes was already on the design table. “Very much is happening. This plane might not only point at the future w.r.t. velocity, but w.r.t. bombing as well. It is a fighter‑bomber, remember? I think that the era of the large bombers is coming to an end. Those large planes are too slow. The hit‑and‑run tactics of the fighter‑bomber will be the future, combined with rockets. And maybe those rockets can even be steered in the future, so that it only bombs the target it needs to bomb but leaves everything else intact. In the war here, we had to carpetbomb large parts of the country. That may not be necessary in the future any more, or at least far less necessary than now.”
    The Colonel also knew a bit more than the General. He knew that such rockets were on the design table as well, maybe even further than that. A squadron of his group would even test those new rockets here in Solaren in the future. But that was something he could not tell to the general.
    “Absolutely, Herr General, absolutely,” the Colonel said instead. “In any case, the Carentanians will have it more difficult during a war than they think. Indeed, we are in a kettle here, but the eastern wall of that kettle is thinner than the Carentanians want to believe. Unless they put their complete air force on Islca and Capraria, there are more than enough planes in Eiffelland and Nichtstein to shoot them off those islands. And we have enough materials here to survive until the eastern wall of the kettle has been broken. Furthermore, there is a complete air force division here. As long as we get our planes in the air fast enough, we will be very well able to keep the air superiority here. And thanks to radar, we will see them coming soon enough.”

    Modersohn didn’t have to ask further. He knew that the Eiffellandian Occupational Zone was not guarded by a few big radar units, but by many small radar units. Like the complete philosophy of the Eiffellandian Armed Forces: Not a few big units, but many small units. Not a few big bases, but many small bases. In that way, it was impossible to destroy a large part of the Eiffellandian Armed Forces with a few big hits.

    And apart from that, it was his own order to permanently keep 10 planes in the air for guarding the air space, and so that those planes could check for unusual events on the other side of the border as well.

    Neither the Eiffellandian government nor General Modersohn was blind. It was plainly obvious that the air force base at Iscla was not only meant for giving air support in the Carentanian Occupational Zone. And it was also plainly obvious that the Carentanians wanted to control the Long Sea. All this was so obvious, that the Eiffellandians had taken their countermeasures. If the Carentanians would ever plan to close the Long Sea, the Eiffellandians would very well be able to open it again. And as soon as the roads and railroads between San Remo and Torrenza were ready, the Carentanians could play along with the Long Sea as much as they wanted.
     
  3. Socialist World Republic

    Socialist World Republic Well-Known Member

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    Capital:
    Deliverance
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    Revy
    Réti System

    "...and hence why I think that this most recent draft combines the positions of all esteemed delegates of this congress and is an acceptable compromise, whether socialist, post-delegationist, liberal or unaffiliated. I kindly ask everyone present here to vote yes."

    There was more than a little annoyance in the voice of the speaker. He had held the same speech numerous times before.

    "Thank you Mr. Garibaldi and please return to you seat. Voting will now proceed."

    The vote on a new constitution for Solaren had turned into a grotesque theater. In order to appease criticism from the European community, suspecting that the SNC was a mere puppet of Carentania, and in order to get recognition for the SNC as legitimate post-war interim government and constitutional assembly by Eiffelland, the originally very socialist dominated SNC had been opened to include numerous liberals, backed by Eiffelland. Furthermore, it had been decreed that any constitution for Solaren must be approved by a two-thirds majority. Back in the days, it seemed like it set Solaren on a course of compromise and national unity and like it could send signals of cooperation between left and right beyond the country, into the region as general. However, nowadays, it seemed a giant folly, as the Solaren National Congress was effectively deadlocked.

    "All in favour?"

    A clear majority of delegates raised their cards. Together, Socialists and Post-delegationists formed a good 60% of the congress, just a few percent short of the necessary votes. But still, they were a few votes missing to pass the constitution. An exhasparated murmur went through the hall. One of the delegates, a socialist, rose up, shouting "Fuck you. Just fuck you," at the liberals before he could be calmed down by the chairman of congress.

    In practice, it was the voices of 5 delegates they needed to pass the compromise they had sorted out over the course of the last years, but numerous issues remained where no agreement had been reached and positions were hardened amongst the factions. The left felt they were being held hostage, that the liberals were trying to dictate the future of Solaren - a capitalist future - when a clear majority preferred a socialist constitution. The liberals felt that they were fighting a just fight against an attempted socialist takeover of the country and it was this conviction, together with the fact that many of them stood to lose a small fortune in case of a socialist government, that had given them the strength to maintain enough discipline to block every attempt at passing a socialist constitution despite the long time that had passed.

    "The proposal has been rejected," the chairman summarized the situation without even calling for votes against it. "I declare this session closed. We will continue tomorrow, 10:00 pm."

    -

    The liberals congratulated them as they walked out of the hall, watched angrily by many socialist delegates who felt they were wasting not just their time, but the future of the Solaren people. In the past, there had been some fights following those needless rituals, but eventually, resignation had set in. Police as well as soldiers were watching the entire area, so any fight tended to be a short one. Still, occasionally, delegates would exchange profanities and insults which they could only occasionally get away with inside the congress.

    This time, none of the delegates felt like continuing the displays of anger that had dominated the aftermath of the vote. Orderly, if perhaps slightly depressed, the socialists exited the hall and headed for their next destinations. A small group, amongst them Mr. Garibaldi, who had spoken directly prior to the voting, was headed for a café to discuss their strategy in facing the liberal filibuster, when suddenly, a figure emerged from amidst the masses of passersby.

    "Freedom!" he shouted pathetically, as he lunged forward against Garibaldi, the assailants right extended arm grasping a common kitchen-knife.

    Instinctively, Garibaldi raised his arms to protect himself, in the process entangling the knife in his overcoat - a piece of clothing his wife had convinced him to wear that morning, as it had been colder than usual. Together, Garibaldi and assassin, they dropped to the floor. The man tried to regain control of his knife. Garibaldi, an older man of frail stature, unsuccesfully tried to dislodge the stranger from above him. Split seconds later, his attempts had failed and the other man was raising the knife once again to strike a final blow.

    Then he suddenly dropped over, bleeding profusely from the right temple. A soldier was standing next to the two, hands clenching a rifle whose butt was stained a dark red.

    "Everything all right?" He asked.
     
  4. Eiffelland

    Eiffelland Well-Known Member

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    Latvian Gambit


    25 April 1954

    Torrenza

    Before Christmas, Staatsschutzkommissar Lutz Nielsen had delivered enough information to unmask barrister Mario Salerno as Andrea Badoglio. But that was not all the information Staatsschutzhauptkommissar Karstens had about this Badoglio. Karstens also had evidence that Badoglio and Siciliano had cooperated during the old regime. Not only Siciliano had some fat bank accounts in Danzig and comparable places, Badoglio had those as well. Also from actions he committed on his own. But in spite of that, Karstens had a problem. Where was Badoglio?
    An arrestment team had gone to Badoglio’s house to arrest him, but only found his wife and children. Badoglio himself was gone; his cases had been taken over by an assistant. The fact that he disappeared around the same day that Siciliano disappeared supported the theory of a link between these two men. Badoglio’s family didn’t know where Badoglio was, or didn’t want to say anything.

    That was four months ago. And still Badoglio and Siciliano had not been found. Both seemed to have disappeared from the world.


    Senigallia

    “Marco, we need to talk,” Marco’s father said.
    “About what?” Marco asked, while working on the guest administration of that day.
    “Let’s discuss that in my office,” Marco’s father said. Marco raised and followed his father.

    Several persons had tried to follow Marco and Matthias on their trips together, but had failed. It remained a mystery what Marco was doing with an Eiffellandian. Giuseppe Gambini had discussed it several times with his brother. At a certain moment, his wife had asked what was going on, and Giuseppe had to answer. His wife had said the thing Giuseppe had already thought but not dared to say out loud: “Apparently those two are doing things they want to hide for the world. Otherwise they wouldn’t mind being followed. And the only thing they want to hide that I can think of, is that they are sleeping with each other.” And that would not be that strange. Marco’s brother and cousins had their first girlfriends at age 16, but Marco was 21 (an age at which people usually married) and had never had a girlfriend. And there were more differences between the quiet Marco and his macho brother and cousins.
    But nevertheless, Marco sleeping with a guy, an Eiffellandian even, would have been a disgrace to the family. And even worse, the line would stop. Marco’s brother was dead, so Marco was the only one who could continue the line. He had to marry. He had to concipiate children. He had to keep up the honour of the family. Sodomist or not.
    Apart from that, people were already talking. It was strange that Marco hadn't noticed that yet.

    “Marco, why do I never see you with a nice girl?” Giuseppe Gambini asked his son.
    “Because I don’t meet any nice girls,” Marco said.
    “Because you don’t meet any nice girls? The town if full with girls of your age, and there are even more girls than guys of your age because of the war. Aren’t you putting your standards a bit too high?” Giuseppe Gambini asked.
    “Maybe,” Marco said. “But what sense does it make if I marry a woman whom I don’t love? I would make both her and myself unhappy.”
    “We are not only talking about love any more, Marco. We are also talking about honour now. Your honour. The family’s honour,” Giuseppe Gambini said. He closely observed how his son would react. Not, it seemed. No signs of frightening up, or fear. It had always been difficult to estimate what Marco felt or thought, especially after he returned from the war. It seemed that he had always been trying to hide himself for the world. And maybe now he was trying to hide something as well. After a pause, Giuseppe Gambini continued to talk.
    “Marco, there are rumours about you. You have been seen with an Eiffellandian. Several times. People are talking about that,” Giuseppe said.
    “So what?” Marco asked. “I’m not the first one people are talking about, and I won’t be the last one.”
    “Don’t you understand, Marco? An Eiffellandian. The people are talking about you and an Eiffellandian! One of the occupiers! OK, I have to admit that they are good and honest bosses, and that things are far better under them than they ever were under Pope Urban, but nevertheless. You’re a Solaris. He’s an occupier. And people are even saying that you are sleeping with that Eiffellandian. Don’t you realise how devastating that is for your honour? People say that you commit sodomy! That alone would destroy your reputation, but on top of that people say that you commit sodomy with an Eiffellandian!” Giuseppe said angrily.
    Now Marco frightened up.
    “It is true, isn’t it? You commit sodomy with that Eiffellandian, isn’t it?” Giuseppe asked. “You fool! This will not only destroy your reputation, but mine as well! Do you really think that people will sleep in a hotel where a sodomist works? Well, maybe the Eiffellandians, but they are the only ones! We’re running a hotel in Solaren, a country where sodomists used to be burned at the stake until three years ago! The business is finally improving, and now you do this! We’ll loose all our guests, and if not because you’re a sodomist, then because we’ve nothing to feed our guests with because nobody will want to deliver to us! Haven’t you ever thought about that?!”
    Marco remained silent.
    “You’re lucky that nobody has reported you to the CCSE! So far!” Giuseppe continued angrily after a pause.
    Marco remained silent. Giuseppe waited a while and then continued again.
    “You get one single chance to restore your honour. I talked to Flavio Garabaldo. He agrees to a marriage between you and his daughter Elisa. You are going to break up with that Eiffellandian, and then you will go to Flavio Garabaldo and officially propose to Elisa” Giuseppe said.
    “Elisa Garabaldo?” Marco said horrifiedly. Solaris people usually married around age 21, but Elisa Garabaldo was already 25 and unmarried. There were several reasons for that. One of them was that she was rather unattractive. Furthermore, she had quite an unpleasant character and lacked intelligence.
    “I already did some investigations, Marco. The damage has already been done. Most girls don’t want you, and if the girl would want you, the father doesn’t. This is the only option to restore your honour. And if you’re really a sodomist, it won’t matter that she is ugly anyway,” Giuseppe said.
    “What?” Marco screamed angrily. “You want me to destroy my life to save my honour?”
    “Don’t scream. I want to keep this a secret, and you probably want to keep it a secret as well,” Giuseppe said. “Furthermore, I would like to see a bit of appreciation for the fact that I help you with restoring your honour. You seem to not realise what it means to loose your honour, in spite of everything I told you in this conversation. And I realise as well that this solution is far from ideal, but it is the only solution we have. And do not only think of yourself. Also think of the family. Also the family’s honour is at stake. You have to do this for the family.”
    “And make children with her, I suppose?” Marco asked.
    “I would be very grateful if you don’t use that kind of phrasings, Marco,” Giuseppe said sharply. “But indeed, you have to continue the line.”
    “And what if I refuse?” Marco asked.
    “Then I will do what is best for the family’s honour but won’t think of your honour. Then I will remove you from the family,” Giuseppe Gambini said. “I want your answer in two days.”
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  5. Eiffelland

    Eiffelland Well-Known Member

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    Latvian Gambit


    26 April 1954

    Senigallia

    Marco had wanted to postpone the choice as long as possible. The choice of his life. The choice between love and his family. And now something had been added. That his father wanted him to marry was one thing, but that he had to marry a girl he considered a stupid cow was a price that could seriously be too high for his family. His father had said: “Think about it. Maybe she turns out to be totally different once you have married her. And she will definitely be of good help in the hotel.” But Marco highly doubted that. He had to choose tomorrow, but he still didn’t know what to choose.
    He used the opportunity to go to the post office for a letter that had to be sent as registered letter for calling Matthias. Matthias had short furlough today. Marco could not have taken a day off today, otherwise he would have done so. However, he had to see Matthias today. He had to discuss the current situation with him. Luckily Matthias could answer the phone, and they agreed to see each other that day. Now Marco was on his way to the rendez‑vous, not noticing that he was followed. The chlorophorm on a wad came as a surprise to him.

    Matthias was at the rendez-vous place. Marco sounded desperate on the phone, so they agreed to see each other immediately. Matthias knew that Marco had to walk and might arrive later than Matthias, but now he had been waiting for haf an hour. Had something happened? Matthias began to worry. What was it that Marco was so upset about? Had his family discovered something? That could have been very well possible. Matthias and Marco had been playing hide and seek for almost two years. It was hardly imaginable that they had kept their affair a secret for so long.
    But now there was another problem. Where was Marco? After another 30 minutes, Matthias decided to look for Marco. He knew that Marco had called him from the post office, so he started to walk the route that Marco would most likely have taken. But no trace of Marco. As if he had vanished.


    A farm near the border with the Carentanian occupational zone

    Marco woke up with a severe nausea. He was completely desoriented. He didn’t recognise the room at all. “Where the fuck am I,” he thought. He didn’t notice that the door was opened.
    Benvenuto, Marco,” a voice sounded through the room. Welcome, Marco.
    Marco didn’t turn around. He had already recognised the voice. “Verfluchte Scheisse,” he said angrily. Damned shit.
    Sagrati già in Tedesco?” the voice asked. Already swearing in German?
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014

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