Have I Got Coups For You

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Lauchenoiria
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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:44 pm

Yesterday, Kerlian Re-Education Camp

Helena Ortega eyed Jessica Cassidy as she ate an apple. Jessica returned the stare, angrily avoiding looking at the fruit. Jessica took another bite of blue cheese and gagged once more. Myriam came over and sat opposite Helena, breaking the stares.

"What did you think of today's film?" Myriam asked.

"Ohh I loved the bit where they went over the Lauchenoirian propaganda to show us how they hide their misogynist messages," gushed Helena.

"Did... did you... oh, this is silly."

"What?" Helena asked, genuinely confused. Myriam had always joined in with her praise for the Kerlian media before.

"You lived in Lauchenoiria most of your life. And when you first came here, you didn't believe that the Lauchenoirian media was wholly misogynist."

"And now my eyes have been opened to the truth. I am thankful every day that I was given this opportunity most women will never have."

"But do you ever... in your mind..."

"Yes?"

"Do you ever have memories that seem to contradict what we're taught here? That contradict the idea that Kerlile is the only non-misogynist country in the world?"

Helena tilted her head to one side, confused. She didn't know what Myriam was asking or why. Was this a test?

"I was brainwashed as a child by Lauchenoiria, only now do I see the truth," Helena insisted.

"But is there any part of you, however tiny, that remembers something that doesn't fit?"

"What do you mean?"

"When Leonie was ill, and we were sent to visit her, I remembered something. I... was back in Libertas Omnium Maximus and I was with my grandfather. He... he was supportive. A man! Outside Kerlile! I just... I don't know."

"Myriam... what are you trying to say? You doubt the mission of Kerlile?"

"No, of course not! I'm just... I don't know. Confused."

Myriam looked down at her food. Helena turned away, glancing around the room. Leonie still sat alone, shunned by Jessica's group of dissidents and refusing to eat with those still in the film club. Helena caught Leonie's eye, and Leonie turned away sharply, but not before Helena saw the tears in her eyes. They had been there a lot recently.

"Film club! Line up!" yelled a Kerlian. Helena eagerly jumped up. Myriam did too, although with far less enthusiasm.

Today, 6pm

"Good evening and welcome to the news at six. Our top story tonight, it is the eve of the negotiations taking place in Haven, Sanctaria and throughout Lauchenoiria a ceasefire is being observed by both the government and the rebels aided by foreign forces.

Prime Minister Charissa Clarke has announced she will be Lauchenoiria's chief negotiatior, and will be accompanied by Foreign Secretary Niall Watson along with a team of diplomats who have been vetted for loyalty to the government.

Rebel leader Laura Moore has also announced she will act as her faction's chief negotiatior, along with Victoria Juárez, former First Minister of Ulinaria province. Both of these individuals are wanted on treason charges by the Lauchenoirian authorities.

Aeluria's Keitha Noguera will also be in attendance with her deputy, Nazario Mací­as. Noguera was behind the illegal declaration of independence earlier this year, and is responsible for allowing the invasion of Kivasekian troops on the island.

Our political correspondent, Janice Mitchell, is in Buttercity. Janice?"

"The mood in the city is joyful as citizens anticipate the end to this conflict in which many have lost friends and family. People here see this as an end to living in fear of attacks by the so-called "˜resistance' and are hopeful that a settlement can be reached without further bloodshed.

Charissa Clarke today said in a press conference today before leaving for Sanctaria that it was her wish that no more patriotic Lauchenoirians would die in this conflict, and that all those responsible for terrorist actions would be brought to justice. That sentiment has been echoed by many on the streets today."

"Thank you, Janice. In other news, three were arrested in a disturbance in Lorentonia earlier today following the news that chocolate is to be rationed due to a supply shortage..."

Council of Kerlile Chambers

"I will be accompanied by Lucia Casci, Greenwood's defence secretary and a couple of our own diplomatic team. Any objections?" Anita Patel spoke confidently, surveying the room.

"I would like to attend," a possibly pregnant Jennifer Hale piped up. Patel's mouth curled up into a smirk.

"Of course you would. Do you not wish to stay for your... partner's trial?"

"Wife. And I've been assured that it will go just fine regardless of whether I am present or not."

"These things are just so uncertain..." shrugged Patel.

"You little..." Jennifer began, warning in her voice. She was interrupted when Rebecca Arnott stood up.

"I believe that if Councillor Hale wishes to attend she should be permitted to do so, with no negative repercussions."

The rest of the room turned to stare at Arnott incredulously.

"Councillor Arnott, you were not granted permission to speak," a visibly angry Patel spat out.

"I no longer have confidence in your ability to chair this Council. I move for a vote of no confidence in Councillor Patel."

A silence fell across the room. Not even a breath could be heard, in fact, every Councillor held her breath. Eventually, Patel exhaled, a shudder in her breath.

"That would be unprecedented," Patel forced out.

"But well within the constitution. I checked," replied Arnott. Hale sniggered slightly.

"Very well. We shall vote," Patel said. She walked from the central chair to the Patel family seat between Natalia Hart and Pauline Pierre. All Councillors voted from their family seat.

The unfortunate Kerlian civil servant who had been chosen to minute Council meetings hesitantly stepped forward. Any who said it was a prestigious job were correct, after all, she was permitted to sit in on Council meetings. Any who said it was the most dangerous job in the country were also correct.

"The motion is that the Council has no confidence in Councillor Anita Patel as Chair. Votes will now be counted," the unfortunate woman said, her voice shaking. She knew whoever lost this vote would likely take it out on her. She also knew that getting shot in the head was preferable to what they'd do to her if she tried to run. She continued.

"Councillor Arnott?"

"I vote aye."

"Councillor Chiu?"

"I vote no."

"Councillor Georgiou?"

"I vote no."

"Councillor Greenwood?"

"I abstain," Letitia Greenwood smiled, and a murmur went around the room, extinguished almost immediately.

"Councillor Hale?"

"I vote aye," Jennifer said. Patel already knew what Jennifer thought about her. She wouldn't do anything she wasn't going to anyway.

"Councillor Hart?"

"I vote no."

"Councillor Patel?"

"I vote no," Patel said, amusement in her voice. She knew she was going to win.

"Councillor Pierre?"

"I vote no."

"Councillor Robinson?"

"I vote aye," Carmen Robinson said, voting against Pierre more than anything else. After all, Pierre's mother had likely had Robinson's grandmother killed. Such was the danger of Council politics.

"Councillor Viallamando?"

"I vote no."

"With three votes in favour, six against and one abstention, the motion falls," the woman said, and then scurried to the edge of the room, pressing herself against the wall and squeezing her eyes shut. She wished she'd taken any other job. She so desperately didn't want to die.

Anita Patel stood up swiftly, her pace matched by Rebecca Arnott. Before anyone else could blink, the pair were pointing pistols at each other.

"So, this is how you want to play it, Arnott?"

"Tell me where my family is and I will not kill you."

"Your sister is off at war, your mother is dead, your daughter is in school."

"You know who I mean."

"They are not your family, Arnott. And if you think you will get out of this room alive, you are sorely mistaken."

"Never trust a Patel, we have all learned that much. You might be ruthless, Anita, but you are not immortal."

"Hey," Jennifer said softly to the woman cowering in the corner. "You may leave."

The woman cautiously opened her eyes. Councillor Hale stood in front of her, and behind Arnott and Patel stood staring at each other, weapons raised.

"Don't tell me your name, don't tell me a thing," Hale told her, "just get out. As far as you can, as fast as you can."

"Wh... why?"

"Cause when one of them kills the other, they'll be out for more blood. We all know it. And you don't deserve that."

"You... you don't know me."

"I know where you grew up. And I know that sometimes it's impossible to do the right thing. Sometimes you can't fix things from the past, and all you can do is try and do the right thing now. The right thing now is to tell you to run as fast and as far as you can."

"Th... thank you."

"Don't worry about it. Just go."

"Here," the woman said, handing Jennifer a small piece of paper. "Thank you," she said again, then turned and ran. Jennifer turned back to Arnott and Patel, who were still pointing pistols and arguing.

"Right!" Hale shouted, startling the rest of the Councillors, who were watching the display like it was some kind of entertainment. Hale stormed over and stood between Arnott and Patel. "I don't have a clue what this is about but you are acting like children."

"This is none of your business!" sputtered Arnott, furious that her shot at Patel was blocked. If she killed Jennifer, the Hale line ended after all the work done to prevent that.

"I don't care about your petty internal politics, Councillor Patel, get on a plane to Sanctaria. Councillor Arnott, you want to find some missing family member? Actually do some searching cause killing Patel won't help one bit."

"This is far more entertaining than with Cornelia here," Chiu whispered to Georgiou, who nodded. Cornelia Hale had been a proper traditional Kerlian. Jennifer was a nightmare to work with, but she was certainly interesting.

Councillors Arnott and Patel both lowered their weapons. Arnott stormed out of the room, Patel sat back down in her seat. Hale rolled her eyes and followed Arnott out of the room, piece of paper still clutched in her hand.

Kerlian Re-Education Camp

If Leonie Bennett had known that boredom was such an effective weapon against an individual, she would have reported some of her school teachers to the WA for torture. While Helena and Myriam were off watching propaganda, and Jessica etc were off irritating the Kerlians with their disobedience, Leonie spent all her days in her cell. Alone. With nothing to do.

And then she'd go to eat meals, ignored by Jessica's lot and refusing to engage with Myriam's zombie drones. Alone in a crowd, and utterly regretting her life choices. If there was an afterlife, and she met Suleman Chaher in it, she would kill him again.

She finished her food and pushed away the bowl, sighing and continuing to stare at the table. She just... existed. Continued to exist. Not really living, being forced to survive, present in the world and absent in her head. It was easier than feeling.

Of course, that didn't stop her emotions creeping back up when she least expected it or wanted them to. For all her pretence that she could just get by on survival, she really, really, really wanted to have a life.

A noise startled her and she looked up. Myriam had sat down across from her. She started to get up to leave.

"Wait," Myriam said, grabbing her hand which had been on top of the table. "Please."

"Don't really want my brain eaten," Leonie said and tried to pull away. Myriam gripped harder.

"Are you still on this zombie metaphor thing? Oh, never mind. Look, I want to talk to you about Lauchenoiria."

"And how evilly misogynist it is. Yeah, I know."

"No, that's not it. I want... I want to talk about what you remember of it."

Curious, Leonie sat back down.

"I remember a lot, I've only been here for..." she couldn't remember. She couldn't remember. The thought scared her.

"When... when Helena and I visited you, I had this memory..." Myriam began. She then launched into a whole story about her grandfather and her past and her doubts about Kerlile. Leonie listened, growing more optimistic about the direction of the conversation by the second. She relished the communication, after so much isolation.

"Myriam, I'm glad you came to talk to me. I'd like to..."

"Myriam Underwood!" a Kerlian guard called out. Myriam and Leonie both froze. That wasn't the tone of voice used when they summoned someone for medical check-ups or film club sessions. That was the tone of voice used when they summoned someone who was then never seen again.

"Who else did you tell about these thoughts?" hissed Leonie.

"Nobody, really, though I might have mentioned it to Helena briefly..."

A string of swear words passed through Leonie's head. She suppressed it and glanced around the room. The number of guards had increased from their usual. They expected something.

"Myriam Underwood! I will not ask again!"

Myriam sat frozen to the spot. Leonie reached over and squeezed her hand. She stood, and pulled Myriam gently to her feet. Myriam let her.

"It'll be okay," Leonie soothed.

"No, it won't," Myriam said. It was a statement of fact. Helena watched from the side, an expression of disappointment on her face. Leonie glared at Helena as she walked with Myriam to where the Kerlian calling her name stood.

"Myriam Underwood, we have reports that you have been spreading misogynist propaganda."

"Oh god no, please!" Myriam cried out suddenly, falling to her knees and crying. "I didn't mean it, oh god no, please!"

The Kerlian looked down at the heap of a girl crying at her feet, and reached for her gun. Leonie turned around suddenly, clearing her throat.

"Kerlile isn't a women's paradise, no matter how much they might show you films claiming that," Leonie announced to the room, looking at Helena. "Kerlile is a hellhole with one purpose "“ to keep their little Council happy while everyone else begs for their lives if they so much as look the wrong way."

"Insolent bitch," the Kerlian said, reaching over to grab Leonie. Leonie moved out of her way and continued. Myriam continued to cry.

"They torture and kill all because they know that if they don't keep the population terrified then it will rise up against them. They brainwash people and turn them against each other because they don't know what else to do. They need to be feared to survive. And so they..." Leonie paused to jump out of the way of a pair of Kerlian guards who had lunged at her.

She climbed on top of the table she'd eaten at.

"... they kill anyone who stands against them because god forbid anyone should do to them what they always do to others. Kerlile isn't a women's paradise. Kerlile is a children's playground being run by the same old bullies because nobody dares stand up against them."

"Leonie Bennett! You will cease this immediately!" the Kerlian yelled. She had her gun pointed at Leonie.

"Shoot me if you want, after all, it just shows you know you're on the wrong side of history. You can't convince anyone with your ideas so you turn to violence. So, shoot me. Go on, prove my point for me."

Leonie hoped she sounded braver than she felt. She hoped her theory was correct "“ that the Kerlians wanted her alive for some reason. The Kerlian smiled a horrible smile.

"Councillor Hale will have to deal with it, we can't have someone like you here," the Kerlian said, and cocked her gun. Leonie tensed and squeezed her eyes shut.

A shot rang out through the silence of the room.

*

"Hey guys! Alex Marwick here! I know I said I was finished, but just a last point. If you've been following the government-run media, you'll know that Clarke's cronies are making a point of noting that both the Resistance's and Aeluria's negotiators are wanted by her government.

So, just a message to Clarke: any harm comes to Moore, Noguera or any of the others and we'll be right here, waiting. We all want peace, but never mistake talking for surrender. We will respect the ceasfire, as long as you do. We all know you're watching us. Never forget that we're watching you too."

*

The Kerlian crumpled to the ground. Leonie opened her eyes. Councillor Jennifer Hale stood in the doorway, a pistol in her hand, pointed at where the Kerlian's head once was.

"Phase two is over," Hale announced. The remaining guards nodded. "Do not try and countermand my orders by contacting the rest of the Council. I assure you, they will stick to what I say."

She put away the pistol and walked over towards Leonie, who had sat down on top of the table in relief.

"Are you okay?" Hale asked. Shocked, Leonie only nodded.

"Good," Hale said and then turned back to the gathered Kerlian guards. "You will cease any programmes designed to... alter these individual's beliefs about Kerlile. You will discontinue any programme designed to cause them harm. You will stop this absurd food thing," she said, picking up Jessica's bowl of blue cheese and wrinkling her nose, "and you will do it immediately."

"Of course, Councillor," one of the Kerlians said.

"Call Anita Patel if you wish. She will not countermand me. I assure you," Hale added, and then walked right back out the door she'd come in.

Jessica turned to Leonie.

"The hell was that about?"

"I... I have no idea."

*

Jennifer Hale stood outside South Grapevale Alternative Education Facility and breathed. This was not the first time she'd killed somebody, but it didn't mean she was okay with it. Nevertheless...

She exhaled and chuckled as she thought back to the reaction of Anita Patel when she'd informed her that she knew. That the woman who still lived had given her the information that would have ended the war.

The sun was beginning to set, and Jennifer laughed as she walked back to her car. She laughed as she was driven back to her family's ridiculously oversized house. She laughed as she thought about how desperate the Kerlians had been to bring her here and about just how much it had backfired.

She stopped laughing as she approached her house. She had power over the Council now, to be sure. But if she released the information she would lose it all. No, she had to trust in Sanctaria's negotiator. She would keep this to herself, and she would keep Josephine, and Leonie, and every single Lauchenoirian behind the Kerlian border safe.

Many miles further south, in Lauchenoiria, Johnny Hudson kept working to uncover the information on Jae Chung's USB. The information Jennifer Hale now knew.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by conterniasgloriousleader » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:17 am

Conternian National Broadcasting Service News at Ten
CNBS Studios

"Hello, welcome to CNBS News at Ten, I'm Nicole Everenson. Our top story tonight: Prime Minister Etan Bloomberg and his negotiating team have begun their journey to Sanctaria for the peace talks in Haven intended to resolve the Lauchenoirian conflict. Minister for Defence Amera Refn, Minister for Foreign Affairs David Perensberg, Attorney General Klaus Soderbergh, Minister for Trade Lara Blomkvist, and, in a highly controversial move, CIS director Donna Barrow. Some have criticised the Prime Minister's choice of negotiators as evidence of an aggressive agenda, but he has defended them as the best people for the job."

The news report was playing faintly on television in the small hovel where Helen Blunt had been living the last few days. She'd have laughed at the last line if that wouldn't have hurt her ribs, still bruised from escaping execution by forcing the chair she was tied to out a second-story window. Since that day, she'd made her way across the seemingly endless rolling fields of the Lauchenoirian countryside searching for any information she could find, and any word of what was going on in Conternia. She'd tried to find out what had happened to Antonin, and quickly discovered he'd been taken into protective custody then suffered a 'heart attack' - Barrow's people must have decided he was a liability, she had silently concluded. Every day felt like a nightmare, pushing forward with no clear destination, feeling surrounded by machinations beyond her control, and gnawed at by a constant guilt - the thought that by spending her life killing in service of others, she'd made this inevitable; an occasional voice in the back of her mind asking how many other, similar plots she'd helped to bring to fruition without knowing. Eventually, her search for a safe place and a means of communication had brought her to this glorified outhouse, the residence and base of operations for one Elliott Dowsohn, a Lauchenoirian hacker, smuggler, black market dealer and all-around peddler of the illicit. He was a perpetually intense man, and judging by his running around the outhouse, screaming, at all hours of the night, constant sweatiness, long hours in his small room, almost imperceptibly and random trips out from which he'd return holding mysterious bags, probably addicted to amphetamines of some kind. But he hadn't sold her out or turned her way and he'd agreed to hide her and help her monitor and record calls, in exchange for a price - she was still working out how she was going to sort that: she was sure she'd have time assuming she was alive once all this was over. Whatever 'over' looked like in this case.

"So", Dowsohn began speaking, sounding as if he was already halfway through his sentence, as he walked into the room where Blunt was sitting, "I'm assuming all them" - he gestured to the television - "are the imperialists bastards you had me tap the other day"
"The very same", she replied. "Did your people get the recording to the man I mentioned?"
"My people always get where they're going. They got word he was in -"
Blunt raised her hand, hushing him. "It's better if I don't know. That way if I get caught I won't have anything to give up"
There was a grim, awkward silence for a few seconds then, which was broken by the ringing of the landline telephone which served as Dowsohn's primary means of communication - harder to tap.
Dowsohn looked at Blunt, who shrugged, although she suspected - hoped - it was Griffiths. Dowsohn went into the next room and picked up the phone.
"Hello?"
A harried voice doing a passable impression of a collected one answered the phone. Even muffled by the poor reception it was unmistakably Conternia's now-ex Prime Minister.
"Hello. Are you the one they call the Yellowjacket?"
"I am"
"I received, your, uhh, package. I'm sorry for my delayed response, it took a while to find a safe phone. Many thanks."
"I was just doing what I was paid to do."
There was a pause on the other end of the line, some rustling and murmuring, then the voice returned.
"Well, tell whoever paid you that despite their efforts I'm afraid there's nothing I can do with this information."
Dowsohn's eyes widened.
"Nothing?"
Blunt, who was standing close behind Dowsohn, tilted her head in surprise at hearing this.
"Yes, it doesn't prove anything, really. Good day." All of a sudden, Griffiths hung up, leaving Dowsohn's questions caught in his throat. Blunt promptly strode out of the room, into the small room where she slept and had been sitting, and picked the gun she'd kept off the wooden bench that served as a bed. She checked it was still loaded then holstered it, walking out of the room and toward the door.
"There's two things I need you to do", she told Dowsohn, her voice level and authoritative. "First, tell me where I can get guns quick and cheap. Second, burn this place and get as far away as you can. They've heard your voice. They know your code-name. They'll be coming for you soon."
"I-"
She cut him off: "Don't argue with me on this. There isn't time."
"Where are you going?' He asked, frantically following her.
"Sanctaria." His eyes widened in horror, while her expression steeled. "Me and my team started something. I'm going to end it"

On the other end of the line, Griffiths breathed a deep sigh, falling to his knees in exhaustion. He would have passed out if a gun hadn't been rapped against his back. He'd gone to the address on the package, he'd met some people, but the authorities had been one step ahead: the place was already surrounded, agents inside and out, and they'd been arrested as soon as they tried to leave, driven out to the countryside. They'd forced him to make the call kneeling on the steel floor of a van, the activists held on the ground outside. The phone had been held to his ear, hands tied.
"That wasn't so hard, was it?", one of the near-identical, besuited men with guns taunted him. "I really do admire you, still fighting even after you lost everything: good old stubborn Ezra Griffiths. But we knew activist groups would be galvanised by your ousting: we'd been watching every left-wing group in this country for years."
The man's smug tone made Griffith find rage nestled in his despair.
"You won't win. People like you never do", he growled.
The agent laughed, then gestured to the men surrounding the truck. They heard the other activists back inside, slamming them down on the cold floor. Closing his eyes as he heard gasps of pain and the engine starting up, Griffiths new that whoever had made that recording was the only hope he had left.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Gonhog » Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:59 am

Jaken City, Gonhog, Military and Diplomacy Hall

Gerald Kim, Gonhog's Minister of Foreign Affairs, walked to the podium, a few moments of silence before the press room was filled with the sound of cameras clicking and reporters asking for the minister.

Reaching the podium, Gerald looked to the crowd and began.

"Now, before we get to any questions about the situation and Lauchenoira, it is high time that we announce the members of the diplomatic team to Sanctaria regarding the Second Lauchenoiran Civil War. The team will be led by veteran Ambassador Saul Roberts, who was one of the youngest negotiators to work on our independence from Sancti Imperii Catholico 40 years ago. Accompanying him will be Ambassador Jeremy Finch and our Leader's own personal advisor and leader of current Lauchenoiran operations, Jacob Kirken. Now, the floor will be open to questions. We'll start with Mr. Kane at GNTV..."

Message from Jacob Kirken to Brigadier General Kris Herman

Herman,

I am pleased to hear the results of your campaign in Lauchenoira. While Summersea was definitely a sore spot, your occupation of Carville and Annatown was done well, and of course the recent Battle of Annatown was, although could've achieved more perfect results, received well by Leader.

I no doubt know that you are following the currents orders of ceasefire from out international counterparts, but I have two things for you.

Firstly, you should send home most of your troops, but keep the Specialized Brigade with you. You are to be tasked for cleanup of bodies, provide medical treatment to wounded soldiers from both sides and citizens, as well as the repair of infrastructure and roads in the town. Keep your helmets off and arms off of you and make friends with the locals, you are there to help them. Things like this look good for our image.

Secondly, you are, by direct order of Leader, being promoted by Brigadier General to Major General. The ceremony where you will receive your second star will be once you return home, which is TBD, however this is just to let you know you are now officially a Major General. Congratulations.

Best,

Jacob Kirken

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Sanctaria » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:10 pm

Haven, central Sanctaria - 07:00

Just like clockwork, former Secretary General of the Council of IDU States, Robert Smyth, strode up the imposing and ancient stone steps of the Basilica of the Lord, the oldest Church in Sanctaria. A former theocratic empire, Smyth knew the choice of location would be controversial for some of the ardent anti-religious attendees, but it was an important place. Located high in the Basilica, in a room only accessible by a small elevator (or by climbing 5000 wooden steps up through the belfries) was a large, ornately decorated room. For many centuries it was the winter throne room for the Patriarch of Sanctaria, with his throne directly above the altar located in the main church far, far below; since independence, however, it has become a staple in Sanctarian diplomacy. No fewer than four different peace negotiations have been held here - plus one election party.

But most importantly, it was secure. There were not many entrances and, bar the elevator, you'd have to be fit to get to the top. Entrance and exit to the two belfries plus the elevators could be easily secures. And even if someone managed to get up the 5,000 steep wooden steps, even the fittest would have to take a break before trying anything further physical. And that's not even mentioning the width of the steps were so small that if someone was coming hurtling at you the other way, you'd have to turn back to be ran over. And even if someone did manage to get to the top of the belfries, you had to walk across one of two enclosed bridge-like corridors - security on the other side, where negotiations would be held, would be able to shoot and kill within seconds if necessary.

Adding to the security of the Basilica was the fact it was the tallest building in Haven. The cavernous, circular room, built at the same height as the tops of the two towers containing the famous Bells of Haven, rung only when the Patriarch of the Church of Sanctaria dies, with one peel for each month of service, jutted up from the center of the church. The views over the city and beyond would be unrivalled - if there were any windows. After a publicity stunt by a claimed magician-cum-daredevil in 1998 where he scaled the Basilica and broke into the room through a window, the Government and the Church agreed to fill them in with stone. No more views.

With access to the room historically only by the two bridges connected to the belfries at the front of the Basilica, no one in history has recorded whether the great stone tower-structure attaching the circular room itself to the Basilica below is hollow or not, or whether it contains secret staircases; no one has recorded, but Smyth knows. Smyth found out before negotiations were to begin. A report from some architects, mostly (to him) maths and gibberish, confirmed it wasn't hollow, but solid stone, the whole way through. This room was safe.

It also had antechambers, handily enough, so each delegation had the opportunity for quiet reflection. But now the biggest choice of Smyth's day was already before him - 5,000 stairs, or a 2 minute elevator ride. He went with the elevator.

He checked his watch. 7.10am. The dignitaries would be arrived at 8am for breakfast before negotiations were to begin at 9am. As the Bells of Haven only ring on the death of the Patriarch of the Church of Sanctaria, even those wouldn't be chiming today. Everything would be going well.

09:00

"Ladies and Gentlemen, pray be seated", Smyth said, ever so courteously. Breakfast had passed without incident, thankfully. The Junta, who thankfully arrived first and decided to eat their breakfast in their antechamber, sat to his right at the circular table. The Resistance sat to his left. Directly before him, across the table, sat the Aelurian delegation. Other countries, such as Laeral and Gonhog, also sent representatives; they sat at the same side as who they supported in the war. But there was something to resolve first.

"As we begin, it's important we determine the correct nomenclature. I've seen negotiations falter with the usage of a wrong pronoun, let alone an inaccurate description of the state of affairs. As we have all agreed when accepting the terms for the peace-talks, the decisions made here, on the final day, are binding. I would propose that, for ease of mediation, rulings of the Chair, i.e.myself, are also considered binding. Agreed? Agreed", Smyth said, without even giving those present the opportunity to disagree. He didn't have time for nonsense shows of superiority from either side - just yet. He know that time would come.

"As such, let's adopt the following system. There are, essentially, three distinct causes that everyone here, regardless of the country or faction they represent, have rallied around. One is easy enough, we'll call that the Independence camp. Aeluria and her allies shall be referred to in these discussions as such." He paused to give the impression he was open to an objection, though he would have turned it down regardless. None so far.

"More tricky, however, is the issue of terminology surrounding the other two main factions. One calls themselves The Resistance - they have also been called rebels and traitors by the other side. That same other side calls themselves the legitimate government of Lauchenoiria, and reject terms such as Junta. I note that side has also been called rebels and traitors." He smiled. His attempt at the joke didn't really cut the ice. He didn't care.

"However, I believe to make things easier for ourselves throughout this process, and to ensure no one side seems to be favoured over the others, I'm actually going to adopt the negative descriptions. Clarke's band of representatives, and the representatives of the countries allied to her side, will be called in these negotiations, the Junta. Moore's, on the other hand, will be referred to as the Rebels. Now. No one side is happy and we can move on - and that is final, I'm not having arguments on this. Each side will attempt to refer to the other pejoratively anyway, so to lessen the impact that will have, we're using them.

Now, we're moving on to the agenda. After my speech here, we will break until noon. When we return at noon, we will hear introductory statements of intent from each side. I'll go in alphabetical order, by camp name, for fairness. First up the Independence camp, then the Junta camp, and finally the Rebels camp. Each statement may last no longer than 30 minutes. And I will time. And I will cut across if you try to be ... combative. There's time enough for that.

We will break after the introductory sessions for lunch. We return at 1500 hours. We're going to start with the topic of Aelurian independence. We're going to end today at 1800 hours." He looked around ensuring to stare at the leader of each camp in the eyes directly for a number of seconds.

"Tomorrow we meet at 1100 hours and we will spend the day discussing a resolution to the war. Tomorrow we will end at 2100 hours. Friday we meet at 1100 hours and spend the day discussion a resolution to the war. We will end that day at 2100 hours - and in the event anyone is religious, sundown Friday is anticipated to be 21:47. We will break for the weekend because (a) it's Sabbath for some people, and (b) we'll need a break." He paused to take a drink of water.

"Monday we will meet at 1100 hours and spend the day discussing Aelurian independence. We end at 2100 hours. Tuesday we meet at 0900 hours and we will spend until 1400 hours ironing out an agreement that will both end the war and resolve the Aelurian question. At 1800 hours we're going to get the press in here and you're going to sign an agreement." There were murmurs.

"And if none of you agree with that agenda, or if there is no agreement, here is what is going to happen: Sanctaria is going to take custodianship of Lauchenoiria and all her present possessions - including Aeluria. Our navy is going to blockade the waters, and our airforce will contain the airspace. We will pass laws for Lauchenoiria and her possessions. We will call in our debts from those involved countries who owe us substantial amounts. Sanctaria's constitution forbids us from invading a nation. But our Supreme Court has upheld it allows us to undergo peacekeeping duties. And there's not one judge on that court who would say what we would be doing in such a situation isn't peacekeeping."

Again he looked around.

"This is not a threat, honoured delegates. This is an incentive. You do not want these peace talks to fail. We don't want such an event to come to pass. But it is our duty to protect this region. And with that, we're done until noon. Ambassadors", he ended with a curt nod. And left the room, flanked by security.

12:00

"The chair recognises the leader of the Independence delegation to set out their stall. Following the Independence delegation, we will hear from the Junta, and then the Rebels. Max 30 minutes. Keep insults and combativeness to an absolute minimum."

15:00

Smyth took his seat. "Welcome back everyone, I hope we all enjoyed our lunch." Silence. "Good, I'll take that as a yes." He glanced at his papers, and shuffled some things around.

"Now, the issue of Aelurian independence. We're going to discuss for 3 hours today, and pick it up again after the weekend on Monday. I'll be making notes. I appreciate that the delegation from Aeluria set out their stall in the introductory statements, but I'll be asking them to do it again right now. 15 minutes. Then the Junta's response. 15 minutes. Then the Rebels response - to the Independence camp, not to the Junta", he shot quickly, "again, 15 minutes."

"Then comes the fun part - a free for all. We'll try and speak one at a time, please, but I'm going to be very clear to the Rebels and the Junta here - simply shutting down Aelurian independence is not a part of this peace negotiations. This isn't going to be 2 against 1 here. One side clearly wants it. There will have to be compromise. And that goes for all aspects of your week here".

He looked at the Aelurian delegation. "Ok. What do you want? How will it be achieved? What are the pros and cons - for everyone around the table, not just you. Speak."

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:58 am

08:05

Charissa Clarke was deep in conversation with Lucia Casci, the Kerlian Defence Minister. Niall Watson watched their exchange from afar, wary of getting too close to any of the Kerlian delegation. He didn't want to offend them. Or, truth be told, interact with them. They made him feel nervous.

He avoided looking in Councillor Anita Patel's direction at all, afraid of making eye contact even though he knew the men on the other side of the table wouldn't be so courteous or respectful of Kerlian tradition. Watson never thought he would find himself on the same side of a negotiating table as the Kerlians.

*

In one of the other antechambers, Laura Moore sat reading over notes while Jae Chung sat in the corner on the phone with Johnny Hudson, chatting in rapid Spanish, all the more difficult for anyone overhearing to understand.

"You ready?" Nico Alfaro asked Moore. She nodded without looking up from her notes.

"What happens if this doesn't go right?" Jae Chung asked, her phone call finished.

"That won't happen," Moore replied, without looking up.

"But what if..." Chung began, but Alfaro motioned for her to be quiet and led her away from Moore.

"I know you're new to this, Jae, but you're going to have to trust in Moore's ability to find an outcome favourable to us, okay?"

Chung nodded.

*

In a third antechamber, Keitha Noguera sat, cradling a cup of coffee, staring down at her rapidly finished breakfast.

"Now or never," Nazario Mací­as said to her. "Either we get something out of this, or we'll be a Lauchenoirian colony forevermore."

"Nothing like a little cheery optimism to start the day," Noguera commented sarcastically.

"Come on, we've never had an opportunity like this before. We have a seat at the table, we have a chance to actually do something now."

"Indeed," agreed Noguera, "Laura Moore and Charissa Clarke are right now sitting, angry that they're here and wishing the other was dead. They both thought they could win a military conflict."

"And we couldn't," Mací­as said.

"It was always unlikely. No, negotiations were my wish from the start."

"Of course."

"It doesn't sound like you believe me. Well, the question is academic. We are here now. And we will have our independence, someday soon."

12:00

"...Max 30 minutes. Keep insults and combativeness to an absolute minimum."

Keitha Noguera stood, eyes scanning the room. The Kerlian Councillor was sitting upright in a position that nobody could have found comfortable. Laura Moore had a carefully neutral expression on her face. Noguera took a deep breath.

"Good afternoon, everyone. As you know, acting in my position as First Minister of Aeluria, I issued a declaration of independence on the 12th May 2018. I maintain my government had a mandate for this action, following the return of an Aelurian Independence Party majority in the island's Parliament in the 2016 election.

For the benefit of those present who are not well versed in Lauchenoirian history and culture, the majority of the population on the island of Aeluria is descended from the native inhabitants of the island. This makes the island different from the rest of Lauchenoiria, which is populated mainly by the descendants of English and Spanish speaking immigrants. The island was colonised in the mid-19th century and gained independence in 1907.

Following this, however, in 1921 the fledgling state of Lauchenoiria attacked the island and forced our leader to sign a treaty uniting the island with Lauchenoiria. The treaty was only signed following a three-month conflict in which many of the island's people died. It is established history that the signature was forced, which should invalidate the treaty."

Charissa Clarke scoffed and whispered something to Niall Watson. After receiving glares from multiple sources, the pair shut up. Noguera continued to discuss Aelurian history, and then moved on to more recent events.

"I was informed by Suleman Chaher that following the vote of no confidence in Laura Moore that his government would recognise the declaration of independence that I subsequently made. He did not keep his word, and in fact blockaded our island and attempted to starve our people. Following his death, Clarke proceeded to continue this policy.

This, in fact, by their own words, is unconstitutional. The constitution of Lauchenoiria states that every Lauchenoirian citizen in Lauchenoirian territory has a right to food and water. If Chaher's government did not recognise Aeluria as an independent state, then Chaher's government violated the constitution with their blockade.

The majority of the people of Aeluria support independence. We have suffered for decades under multiple colonial powers, and islanders have suffered because of it. They are suffering still, as a direct result of the policies of Charissa Clarke's government. We have a mandate for independence, and we would like this to be recognised, regardless of whether Laura Moore or Charissa Clarke is Prime Minister."

Noguera sat down, taking a gulp out of the glass of water provided for her. Charissa Clarke eyed her as she stood.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for agreeing to assemble here today. It is a relief to know that the conflict started by Moore's rebel group with foreign assistance is about to draw to an end, and that the people of Lauchenoiria will no longer suffer due to the actions of such forces."

Moore rolled her eyes. Clarke continued.

"In response to First Minister Noguera, I resent the implication that we have acted illegally. In fact, the Federal Parliament of Lauchenoiria voted to suspend the constitution, an act that is legal in times of emergency, before those actions were taken. Therefore, the legality of the actions under Lauchenoirian law is not in question.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank Ms Noguera for bringing up the matter of Lauchenoirian law. Laura Moore claims to be the legitimate Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria. This is false. The vote of no confidence in her government? While the parliamentary procedure was unorthodox, it was, in fact, legal. Leanna Walker's impeachment? Legal. President Kieran McKenzie's succession? Legal, as he was Walker's vice president.

McKenzie appointing Suleman Chaher as Prime Minister? Legal. Following Chaher's death, McKenzie's appointing me as Prime Minister? Legal. In fact, not one action taken on our part politically was illegal. I maintain that my government is in fact the legal and legitimate government of the Federation of Lauchenoiria.

Laura Moore has evaded arrest for treason since the 9th May. Following the attack on Ginsap Prison, she is also wanted on terrorism charges. And yet, she comes here calling my actions illegal.

The only way Lauchenoiria can move on from this conflict is if all those guilty of acts of terrorism and treason against our nation face trial. I make assurances now that these trials will be conducted fairly and in an unbiased fashion, as is Lauchenoirian tradition. However, as long as terrorists are on the run in our nation, we will not be free from the fear of attack.

I request that all foreign powers aiding these rebel forces cease their violations of our sovereignty and allow my government to rebuild our society that has been devastated by these vile attacks. Once the threat is gone, then we can restore devolution to the provinces and begin to heal from this conflict."

Clarke continued in this manner, accusing Moore of an increasing number of crimes. Moore sat there, trying to appear bored, and inside, seething. When it was her turn to speak, she rose quickly.

"I would like to thank Sanctaria for hosting these negotiations. I would first like to dispute the point that the vote of no confidence was legal, in fact it was carried out under very dubious procedures. I believe its legality is a question for lawyers, something neither Charissa Clarke nor I am.

Also, to address the accusations of "˜treason' made against me, this began following allegations that I was a Skodenian spy working to allow them to occupy Lauchenoiria. I would like to assure Ms Clarke that if she wishes, I will provide her with my birth certificate, proving I am Lauchenoirian, and a record of all my interactions with Skoden. These will show that these allegations are false.

Ms Noguera all but admitted earlier that she struck a deal with Chaher to recognise Aelurian independence in exchange for AIP votes against me in his dubious vote of no confidence. This alone shows that his entire case was made based on shady backroom deals and promises he later reneged on.

I will admit, much to Clarke's surprise I'm sure, that I am not certain the vote was illegal. However, that discussion could take decades, and meanwhile the people of Lauchenoiria are suffering.

Parliamentary elections were scheduled for the 20th of this month, but did not take place following McKenzie's suspension of the constitution. These elections, had they taken place, would have resolved the question, as a new government would have been formed. It is almost as if Clarke fears such an occurrence.

I propose that new elections are in fact allowed to take place, which would resolve this question. However, such an event would not be fair at the moment, considering that Clarke's government continues to imprison former Members of Parliament for politically motivated reasons. If fresh elections are to be truly free and fair, all political prisoners will need to be released, and warrants for the arrest of various former MPs withdrawn.

The current situation in the country is tragic. People are dying, and for what? Because of an ambiguity over the legality of Suleman Chaher's actions. Ladies and gentlemen, far too much ambiguity exists in the current Lauchenoirian constitution. In fact, it strikes me as odd the Chaher was so desperate to suspend it when he could have just used the numerous loopholes.

I, in fact, believe that in order to move forward, Lauchenoiria needs a new constitution. One that provides increased checks and balances against any one individual acquiring too much power, and one that breaks from the Villanueva regime that followed our first civil war. We are still caught up in our past, and are repeating our past mistakes. It is time that the country moved on from the years of communist dictatorship, and updated our statute books to reflect this."

Moore continued to talk about the need for a new constitution, and fresh elections, until her 30 minutes were up. She then sat down, eyes meeting the Kerlian Councillor's, whose expression was completely unreadable.

15:00

Noguera's case for Aelurian independence appeared to most assembled to be a repeat of her earlier statement, but with slightly less historical background. She repeated her assertion that she had a mandate for independence, and called upon Lauchenoiria to recognise the declaration, and enter into trade negotiations. She grudgingly accepted that the island relied on food imports "“ something made clear by the effects of the recent blockade.

Charissa Clarke maintained that the declaration of independence was illegal, that devolution had been suspended and Noguera was in no position to make such demands. The island relied on Lauchenoiria, and therefore it must remain part of the Federation.

"I find it interesting that Noguera was so quick to welcome the Kivasekians to the island. Perhaps it is not independence she wants, but rather to be under the influence of yet another foreign force! I don't think the Aelurian people are quite capable of handling their own affairs."

That had prompted an angry response from the Aelurian and Kivasekian delegations, which was quickly silenced by Smyth.

Laura Moore's case against Aelurian independence was filled with less overt insults, but nevertheless followed similar lines.

"I understand and respect that some Aelurians wish for independence, however this would create numerous problems for the small island, as we've seen with the recent food shortages. In the modern world, the small island is just not able to sustain itself. I don't believe supporters of Aelurian independence have fully thought through the situation.

The economy would suffer under independence, as Aeluria lacks natural resources, and if the Aelurians weren't happy with their situation, they should have come to my government, before Chaher's nonsense, and we could have discussed further devolution."

Moore finished, and turned to Smyth. And now, the fun begins, Moore thought drily.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Laeral » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:30 am

12:00
For the moment, President Brennan was sitting in his chair, hands folded on lap, watching with a neutral expression as Charissa Clarke made her speech. More of a collection of ramblings against Laura Moore than anything else, Marie-Claire Beringer thought sourly. Flat-out incorrect ramblings, too.

She was in an irritated mood today, although she didn't know quite why. She amused herself by looking directly across the table at the Junta's negotiators, staring them down and scrutinizing them closely. When she was a child, the old women in her home town would sometimes repeat old sayings about the the evil eye when she was angry at someone. She'd been told she had quite an intimidating stare, and she took full use of it as she scanned the ranks of opposing negotiators.

On the flight over, she and Nicholas had discussed what they were hoping to get out of any peace deal that would spring from the talks. They'd decided on a list of conditions they considered 'absolutely necessary':
1. Free and fair Lauchenoirian elections,
2. Removal of all Kerlian and Gonhogian troops from democratic Kerlian territory.

Everything else was open to varying degrees of compromise. Partition of Lauchenoiria would not be an ideal solution, but Nicholas had told her to sign an agreement including partition if necessary to meet the Sanctarian deadline. 6 days. That was absurd. Marie-Claire would have preferred at least a month. Still, the Sanctarians held most of the cards here, and if they wanted to force a quick end to the war, there was nothing she or Laeral could do about it.

Charissa Clarke finished, and Marie-Claire stood stony-faced as the delegates from the Junta side applauded. She watched Laura Moore's speech carefully, and saw that she was staying on script. Good. Marie-Claire had sat down with her and many of the other Resistance/Coalition representatives to discuss the details. Marie-Claire hadn't been expecting Moore's call for a new constitution, but after some thought and discussion with Nicholas, Allysia, and Aarón, they'd told Laura Moore they would give her support.

15:00
The Laeralian delegation had decided to stay largely silent on the matter of Aelurian independence. Truth be told, Marie-Claire and Nicholas had disagreed on the matter, with Marie-Claire arguing that the island should hold a referendum on independence, while Nicholas was saying that Aeluria wasn't yet self-sufficient and therefore shouldn't become independent. So the Laeralian negotiators sat stony-faced, watching the rhetoric heat up all around them.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Sanctaria » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:14 pm

17:45

Smyth listened patiently. He had done his homework on Aeluria and, while the speakers in the sessions provided nothing new or particularly noteworthy, he did find it refreshing seeing the passions of those both for and against. The most striking thing about the sessions, though, was that the opponents to independence for Aeluria didn't rate it high on their priorities list. He knew they were on there to because they wanted to end the war; he knew they saw the independence aspect of things a trifling matter. He wondered did Moore or Clarke, deep down, really care. There was historical and traditional aspects to wanting to keep Aeluria in the Lauchenoirian fold, to be sure, but he felt like it was more abstract to them.

"Ok, thank you", Smyth said curtly, cutting across whoever was speaking. He checked his watch, even though he knew what time is was. Perception was everything.

"We're going to break here for the day. We'll revisit this topic on Monday, but before we do, some parting thoughts for all parties to consider.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there are three possible scenarios to resolve the independence question that Sanctaria will entertain; firstly, that these talks resolve that Aeluria shall be independent. Secondly, that these talks resolve that Aeluria shall not become independent. And thirdly, that these talks resolve Aeluria shall remain within the Lauchenoirian sphere of influence, but be given more powers; basically, that more devolution happens. Let's examine these briefly.

Say Aeluria becomes independent. Aeluria has no currency reserve, they use the Lauchenoirian cookie. Aeluria has no trade treaties. It has no defence forces. It has no international regulations for things like medicines, or food. With all due respect to the Aelurian delegation, they have learned nothing from 1921. Becoming independent with nothing prepared, or even on white-papers here at the negotiations, will mean within X number of years, you'll be running to another country to essentially protect and provide for you. That's not to say it's impossible, but it's a struggle with no preparations, which I'm honestly not seeing here.

But let's look at it from the other side of the coin. To both Moore and Clarke I say this; the status quo with Aeluria cannot continue. Take it from a former Imperial power - Aeluria is too radically different from Lauchenoiria to ever fully assimilate it into your nation and your culture. You will forever be faced with rebellions or independence declarations. And from an economical and financial perspective, they're a drain on your economy. You provide more to them than they do to you. Aelurians fundamentally do not like Lauchenoirians. And vice-versa, despite claims otherwise. I've newspaper reports here of xenophobic and ethnically charged attacks on Aelurians within Lauchenoiria going back forty-years.

Sanctaria has a unique outlook. We have been an Empire. We have been a fledgling independent country. We understand completely the outlook from both sides. But even Sanctaria had to prepare for the break up of the Papal States. It took 20 years. We were lucky because we were financially well-off and stable almost immediately after independence, we were essentially self sufficient and trading off our surpluses. Being the main nation/mother nation in the Papal States empire of countries definitely helped - but it still took two decades. And Aeluria, with no advantages, expect it overnight almost?

Before we leave, let's consider this. Aeluria want independence. Lauchenoiria wants to continue their ties. I suggest the following, that we shall all ruminate on until our next meeting about it Monday.

Aeluria should not get full independence. It would be devastating to the country. These talks want aim to preserve life and limit risk and danger, and I'm sorry but in Sanctaria's view, the people of Aeluria will be at risk should they go fully independent. But Lauchenoiria should no longer be making decisions for the people of Aeluria. This is what should happen:

Aeluria's provincial parliament will be upgraded to a full parliament. Aeluria will then no longer send representatives to the Lauchenoirian parliament. Aeluria's people will no longer send taxes or duties to the Lauchenoirian parliament; they stay on Aeluria. Responsibility for elections, a new currency, government administration and make-up - basically anything you can think of will be transferred to the Aelurian parliament and government for responsibility. Except for the following.

Lauchenoiria will remain responsible for defence. They will remain responsible for foreign affairs. They will remain responsible for border control. And they will provide an annual guarantee to ensure the island can remain liquid in terms of food and supplies until such a time they become self sufficient. In return for all the above, Aeluria will commit to holding no more claims for independence for at least 5 years, though ideally 10.

The President of Lauchenoiria will continue to be Aeluria's head of state, but they will have a Prime Minister, a government, a cabinet, and a parliament of their own they can be equated to any other actual independent country. This will be a state of de facto independence, but Lauchenoiria will continue to call the shots in terms of trade, foreign affairs, defence, citizenship, and customs and borders. Aelurian regulatory policies further will not be permitted to be out of harmony with that of Lauchenoiria. Aeluria remains a part of Lauchenoiria but should be able to run itself free of interference.

The people of Aeluria should be permitted to vote on this in the new year, if we agree it here over the next few days. But let's discuss that on Monday. I want you all to go away and think about Sanctaria's suggestion here. The war will be the most difficult thing to resolve, let's not exert too much energy on this - important though it is", he added swiftly, as he pushed his chair away from the desk and sat up.

"Good evening, delegates. Until tomorrow."

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Libertas Omnium Maximus » Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:27 pm

Maximusian Congressional Hall
August 31st - Late Night

As the security guard called out "goodnight" before beginning to lock the front door to the hall, two people rushed out into the night. They were both exhausted from a long day of arguing with other politicians on the Congress floor. Neither of them saw the three figures slowly approaching.

First, the woman, Amanda Flitlieg, the 37 year old prodigal son (daughter really) of the conservative party, suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. Her counter-part, 56 year old, Arthur Hordenburry, also a staunch conservative and brilliant political theorist, turned to her to see what was the matter.

"Amanda? Are you alright? You...," he trailed off as he spied the three dark figures approaching. They each held what appeared to be pistols with a piece of PVC attached to the end. Makeshift silencers.

The guard was far more perceptive than the duo. He saw the Amanda's shirt be splattered with blood even before Arthur realized that something was wrong. The guard quickly stepped away from the door, grabbed his radio, and began calling for re-inforcements. Even though the glass door separating the guard from the street was bullet proof, he knew it wouldn't hold.

Crack, Crack.

The guard backed away slowly as the window began to crack. Slowly, the three armed figures began to close on the front door. Slowly firing more shots at the window.

Shcrash!

The front door shattered and the guard went down before he even had a chance to draw his pistol. Two more dark figures moved in from across the street. They all began to open fire in unison as two more disgruntled guards approached. There bodies dropped to the floor, lifeless, as the five figures proceeded into the building. As far as they knew, there was only one dignitary left in the building, along with only a couple of security guards. What they didn't know was that, with his dying breath, Arthur Hordenburry managed to send off a text to the police department. It said one thing: "Congressional Hall NOW!"

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Sanctaria » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:14 pm

Thursday, August 30th, 11:00

"This meeting will come to order", Smyth said politely, with a smile beaming at the various negotiators seated around the large circular table. "Today we will discuss a resolution of the civil conflict in the Lauchenoirian Civil War. We are here until 9pm this evening. The following is our agenda." He glanced down at his papers quickly and shifted his reading glasses a little better on the bridge of his nose.

"Today we shall hear only from the Rebels. From 1100 hours until 1300 hours we will hear from those claiming to be from Moore's legitimate government may speak - I leave it to their chief negotiator to decide whom shall speak and for how long. During this time, I want you to address the chair, i.e. me, on the backstory to this conflict firstly. I want to know relationships between Chaher and the rest of the government when he was Interior Minister. Historical information surrounding the communist/capitalist/socialist dynamic. All in this period. We will then break for lunch from 1300 to 1500 hours.

At 1500 hours when we resume, I want details of the Rebel operations - those you consider non-classified, though I would urge you to declassify as much as possible - that were undertaken during the conflict.

We will break at 1700 hours where I will speak to Moore 1:1 and where she will give me details of those operations that you did not deem available for public dissemination i.e. what you didn't want to disclose on front of the others. All other sides may break early for dinner, which will occur until 1900 hours.

At 1900 hours, when we return, I want the Rebels to lay out their red line issues for the resolution of the war. I then want them to decide which red line issues they are willing to throw out, or at least negotiate on. I want their plan for, not just the resolution of the conflict here, but how they would heal Lauchenoiria in the months and years ahead.

Let me stress, ladies and gentlemen, that while we do want a peaceful settlement to the problem here, a major priority for the IDU is no repeat of this kind of war in Lauchenoiria again. This is the second in a century. We will not tolerate a third."

He looked around and gazed at the faces before him.

"Tomorrow, Friday August 31st, we will follow the exact same schedule, except it will be the Junta's turn."

He turned to face the Rebels. "Shall we begin?"

15:00

"Well, I hope we all enjoyed lunch", Smyth said a little wearily. They had run out of coffee quickly - one of the delegations hogged most of it - and he hadn't had a chance to get his caffeine hit. "So, back to the Rebels. What have you go up to during the war. I want as much details as possible about your operations. I want to know how you sought out allies, how you treated PoWs. I want to know your propaganda machine. I want to know where you got your supplies.

What you can tell me here in the open I want to know. And what you can't, you'll tell me in our 1:1.

Ladies and Gentlemen, whatever the result of these negotiations, and by that I mean whether there is a Lauchenoirian government or if it's Sanctaria caretaking, there will have to be a truth and reconciliation commission of some kind; an amnesty to crimes committed during the war. It's common practice after a civil war to try to help heal divides. I tell you this because I don't want you not telling me or this conference things that you are worried will cause you harm later down the line. That's not the point of these negotiations."

He turned once again to the Rebels. "When you're ready".

17:00

Smyth sat alone in a comfortable armchair in an office located just off the main negotiation room. It was small and relatively sparse. Other than the chair Smyth himself sat on, there was one opposite him. A table sat between them, with tea and a selection of biscuits and scones. There was a map of the IDU region on the wall and a single floor to ceiling length bookcase, with old dusty books, of varying sizes and colours, scattered amongst the shelves.

He turned to his aide who was standing by the door. "Ok, I'm ready for Moore. You can wait outside with the security."

19:00

At least dinner had ample supplies of coffee. Smyth enjoyed the dinner and lunch sessions, because it enabled him to speak with all others present on a less formal and more amiable manner. He had known many of them from when he was Sanctaria's Foreign Secretary, not to mention when he was Secretary General of the Council of IDU States. He liked to think they trusted in him and he hoped he had proven impartial to them. He asked them about their children, their spouses. How affected they were personally by the war. He sensed a longing for it to end across all sides. He knew a compromise could be met.

"Ok", he said firmly, speaking to the room. "The last session of the day. The Rebels may set forward their plan to end the war and to heal Lauchenoiria. I know all of you came here with a list of red line issues, but let's be realistic and frank. You may give me a list of three red-line issues, and I want you to prioritise them from least to most important."

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:00 pm

Day 2

11:00

After months of being on the run and sleeping in all sorts of places, always with the fear of capture or death, Laura Moore had slept like a baby in her bed in Sanctaria. She felt well rested and ready to begin.

"The background to this conflict can be traced back as far as our first civil war," Moore began, skipping the pleasantries. "More commonly referred to as the Lauchenoirian Communist Revolution. On the 12th July 1952, Communist forces led by Mateo Villanueva stormed the Parliament and seized power. Prime Minister Thomas Horsburgh was imprisoned, and President Lucas Boag was given an ultimatum to resign or be killed.

I believe you will see echoes of the events of 1952 in the beginnings of the present conflict. Following on from the conflict, in which Villanueva was victorious, a Communist regime began in Lauchenoiria. Over time, the power of the authoritarian faction diminished, partly due to economic factors, and partly because Villanueva never expanded his inner circle beyond his generation.

In 1993, capitalist political parties were legalised once more, and in 2014 my party, the Liberal Party, won our first victory. We were elected upon the platform of ending the communist economic system, and as such planned and held a referendum on transitioning to capitalism in 2017, in which 62.3% voted in favour. We began the transition plan that we had proposed before the referendum.

And then, in May 2018, Suleman Chaher defected to the Communist Party and held a vote of no confidence in my government, the circumstances of which were of dubious legality. President Leanna Walker, may she rest in peace, refused to recognise his government. And thus began the events that have brought us here today."

Laura Moore paused to take a drink of a glass of water. Charissa Clarke across the table looked at her, feigning boredom. Or perhaps it was genuine, Clarke had never been much of a diplomat, from what Moore recalled of her from the pre-war Parliament. She continued.

"In Lauchenoiria, the Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in Parliament. However, Parliament is required to vote on an appointment before it becomes official "“ except in cases of emergency, which is the loophole Clarke exploited following Chaher's death. This is why there is at least ten days between an election and the final appointment.

On the 10th September 2014, I became Prime Minister. Suleman Chaher was part of my original Cabinet. He was well-educated, he had been a real asset in our election campaign, and though he had doubts about our economic policy, his other views were well aligned with my own. Some of the other members of my Cabinet had their doubts about the appointment, views that in hindsight, seem quite clearly well founded.

Suleman Chaher had been in several political parties throughout his career. The defunct Socialist Reform Party, the Left Alliance during one of its many periods of existence, my own Liberal Party, and then at the end of his life, the Communist Party. Josephine Alvarez, who I will bring up later," Moore paused, eyeing the Kerlian delegation, "warned me that this was a sign of something."

Moore paused again as Councillor Patel whispered something in Lucia Casci's ear.

"As I was saying, some members of my cabinet did not trust Suleman Chaher. Perhaps I was naí¯ve, certainly in hindsight his appointment was a mistake. But he did his job, even during the capitalism referendum, which his Communist allies later seemed all too keen to gloss over.

The first sign of trouble with Chaher was during the Melissa City riots in March, when I accepted assistance from Skoden after terrorists took hostages. Chaher displayed clear anti-Skodenian attitudes, and argued with me on several occasions about the events. I was urged by several members of my Cabinet to replace Chaher. I did not."

As Moore went on, she realised quite how many chances she'd had to stop this. It made a knot form in her stomach.

15:00

Laura Moore had perhaps eaten too much food during lunch. As prepared as she'd felt at the beginning of the day, her confidence had faded slightly. She stood.

"Due to the structure of the Resistance, there will be things neither I nor my companions here have any knowledge of. In particular, some of the activities carried out by Sonja Viratnen-Alvarez, now known as Jennifer Hale, in Usera are unknown to us due to the lack of free survivors of the Kerlian taking of that city.

However, we will try and provide you with as much information as possible, though of course much is classified. I will now make way for Victoria Juárez, First Minister of Ulinaria Province, to provide information about her operations in that area."

Moore sat down, and Juárez next to her stood.

"Following Suleman Chaher's suspension of devolution, I met with my cabinet in Elopolis, in secret. I will not provide details of attendance or the voting record, but it was agreed in that meeting that we would not support Chaher's government. We contacted local Resistance cells, and began to coordinate attacks on Chaher's forces throughout the province."

Juárez continued to outline to the room the guerrilla campaign that had taken place in Ulinaria, which had culminated on a full assault on Elopolis on the 20th July. She mentioned how, after the Coalition took back Carville from Gonhog, that they had met up with Coalition forces within the province.

"We have a number of prisoners of war, and I would like to assure all those present today that they have been treated with respect, in accordance with General Assembly Resolution # 18. I hope Clarke's so-called government will give us the same assurance."

Juárez sat down, and Moore rose once more. She really, really regretted eating so much at lunch.

"I now call upon Marie-Claire Beringer from the Laeralian delegation to give a statement about Laeral's participation in the war."

Moore sat back down, gesturing to Marie-Claire to begin.

"Laeral," Marie-Claire Beringer said, "did not enter this Lauchenoirian war lightly. Our constitution requires approval for military action from our legislature, either by a simple majority of both of its houses or through a two-thirds majority in our Assembly of Commons. Our legislature has an extraordinary array of parties represented at present; the political scientists tell us that the Assembly of Commons has the same amount of fragmentation as if it had 5.79 separate parties of equal size. The debate lasted for over ten hours, with 40 representatives speaking out for and against the declaration of war. And yet, despite this great diversity of opinion represented, the resolution to enter the war passed with a two-thirds majority. Why did so many of our government's legislators come out in favor of this resolution? Because of what the Laeralian people had seen and heard from Lauchenoiria. Laeralian citizens, rounded up and arrested for no other crime than their nationality. The junta could have done no more to provoke the anger of the Laeralian public at the mistreatment of our citizens had they tried to start a war with our nation. A proud fellow democracy, subverted and undermined by a violent coup. And of course Laeralian diplomat, Li Jingyi, shot by the junta's police in clear violation of her privileges as a diplomat."*

Marie-Claire continued, bringing up the public support for the war and the actions Laeral had taken as a Coalition member, mentioning Laeral's attempts to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage. It was a summary of Laeralian military actions of the last two months, delivered clearly and in precise terms. When she had finished, she smiled at the assembled delegates, including the junta's representatives across the table, and sat down, deferring to Laura Moore.*

"Nico Alfaro will now briefly describe the activities of the Carville Resistance at the beginning of the war, particularly discussing how Resistance and Coalition forces began working together in the city."

Nico Alfaro stood, gazing somewhat nervously around the room. He was most certainly not a career diplomat, in fact this was his first time in such a situation, and the stakes couldn't be higher.

"Um... we... um..." he looked at Moore. She nodded. "At the beginning of the war, we remained in contact with Daniel Garza, Leanna Walker's former chief of staff who accompanied her to Laeral. It was through Garza that we initially contacted the Coalition forces. He reached out to us, in fact, on behalf of Walker. Um..."

Alfaro continued, at no point becoming less nervous, until his discussion of the early days of the Resistance, and Leanna Walker's coordination of the alliance. The way he spoke made it sound as if Leanna Walker single-handedly recruited allies. This was pretty much the truth, Moore reflected. Listening to all this made Moore wonder how Chaher hadn't destroyed them all in the first month.

"Thank you, Nico," Moore interrupted eventually as Alfaro ended up on a cycle of repeating himself, too nervous to stop. "I will now myself address the question of our "˜propaganda machine' as you call it."

She went to take a sip of her water and discovered the glass was empty. She refilled it and took a large gulp before she began properly.

"I believe most people in the room will have seen the footage from Breakfast in Buttercity where the TV studio was stormed and taken over by Chaher's so-called government. This was the first move on the Junta's part to take control of the media in Lauchenoiria. His government then proceeded to block most social media sites, which left us at a severe disadvantage when it came to disseminating information.

I don't believe that many here will argue with me when I say that social media has become exceptionally popular in these times. I will admit that we provided a... bypass around these restrictions to individuals who then became more likely to support our cause. Not until this month of August did we have access to much traditional media.

Those media stations situated in Ulinaria and Costeno provinces, the ones that had been shut down by Chaher, were re-started. They were encouraged, but not explicitly required, to take a more favourable stance towards us. And then of course, there were several individuals disseminating news in our favour without specific prompting from us, the most notable being Alex Marwick."

Moore continued to discuss the various ways the Resistance had spread propaganda, her euphemisms for the term becoming ever weirder. She then turned to the question of supplies.

"Most of our weapons supplies came from those factions within the Lauchenoirian Army who chose not to support Chaher's regime. Some were also gathered from provincial and local police forces who resisted being placed under federal control. Some were also gathered from more... illicit sources, the details of which I do not wish to publicly disclose."

Moore continued to talk about the various supplies the Resistance had gathered, until the clock showed 16:57. Only then did she finally sit down.

17:00

Laura Moore sat opposite Smyth. She clutched a pile of papers with various pieces of information that she had been given by the various Resistance factions.

"The first time I killed someone," Moore began, "it was the person who shot Rowan Martin. He was trying to defect to the Resistance, only one of Chaher's spies had followed him and shot him. And Katya, my former bodyguard. So, I raised a gun and killed him. Everything I'm about to tell you is probably more horrific than that story, but for me, that's the one thing I can't get out of my mind."

Laura Moore reached forward and bit into a biscuit. She seemed to chew and swallow almost instantaneously.

"The Resistance was supplied with weapons by various gangs, among the sources listed already. There was also a supply from a source unknown to any of us, delivered through intermediaries. Ji-Hun Chung, I doubt you've heard of him. His gang provided weapons to the Resistance. Not something I approve of, but desperate times.

There is also... the actions of Leanna Walker. The Junta's been broadcasting that she confessed to being behind the assassination attempt on Noguera. Our side has been claiming the confession was coerced. Which is probably true, but it doesn't mean it wasn't real. Walker did hire an assassin to stage an attempt on Noguera's life. The attack's failure was deliberate. She intended to frame Chaher so the AIP would support her in the impeachment vote. It backfired."

Moore finished the cookie and said a silent prayer for Walker. She had been an atheist before the war began. She was no longer. Not since the miracle of her family all being alive, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. She continued.

"Olivia Quirós. Where do I begin with this one? It's one of the last pieces of news we got out of Usera. She was one of the reporters on the Breakfast in Buttercity broadcast. Imprisoned in Ginsap with Josephine Alvarez. Turned by the Junta while there. The Usera Resistance discovered she was working as a spy for Clarke... or was it still Chaher then? Anyway, I believe they may have been marginally too forceful in their interrogation. Still, don't know what happened to her after Kerlile took the city.

Then there's two things that are ongoing. Yousef Chaher, Suleman's son, sent his former flatmate in Carville a sample of his father's blood, a sample that showed beyond doubt that his father was poisoned, and did not in fact die due to surgery complications. Here is a copy of the report that we have on the matter."

Moore placed a set of papers on the table, held together by a paperclip.

"And then there's the USB. We were handed a USB by a woman called Jae Chung, who had acquired it shortly before the fall of Annatown from Yasin Zaunq, the leader of the Resistance there, now deceased. We have yet to decrypt the contents, however we have an assurance the contents could "˜end the war'. I wouldn't put much stock in that though."

Moore continued to spill, half on trust and half on the exhaustion of the last four months. She just wanted it to be over now, for better or for worse.

19:00

"Three red-line issues. Very well. First, however, the Conternian delegation has asked to speak. I would like to state, however, that I, and those I represent, do not necessarily share all of the same opinions on the situation as our Conternian counterparts."

Moore sat down. She had been in two minds about allowing the Conternian delegation to speak, but at the end of the day, whatever they had to say was likely going to damage her cause less than infighting within her faction would.

Etan Bloomberg surveyed the room with a trepidation he tried not to let show on his face. He was aware from the moment that Operation Counterpart began that as Prime Minister he'd have to deal with the mess left in Lauchenoiria, but standing there, looking out at this Mexican stand-off of factions - and make no mistake, despite the absence of cowboy hats and firearms, that was what it was - he felt a keen awareness of the gravity of the task he was undertaking. He had to serve two agendas, publicly playing the remorseful pacifist, the idealist who desperately wanted peace but regretfully believed that a continued Conternian military presence in Lauchenoiria was necessary to nudge along the peace process, while covertly trying to ensure that Conternia controlled everything that happened in Lauchenoiria from now on - and if he should fail to up-hold either of these goals in any way, they were both for nothing. Conternia had to walk out of these talks respected for their moral stance and their military might, and on the way to building an empire, and whether or not that happened was all down to the words he spoke. Making sure his eyes didn't linger on any one delegate or group thereof for too long - so as not to appear confrontational - he began.**

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. As this second day draws toward it's close, I want to refer back to some very powerful words spoken by Ms Noguera yesterday: 'We are still caught up in our past, and repeating our past mistakes'. For me, those words cut right to the core of this awful conflict: Lauchenoiria is a country with a fraught and violent history, still trying to reconcile its nature. This war was the inevitable end result of a struggle that has been raging in Lauchenoiria for decades: between Villaneuva and all his successors, between tradition and progress, and, frankly, between autocracy and liberty. I want to see peace in Lauchenoiria - a great country, and a friend of Conternia - but I cannot in all good conscience say that putting an end to this war will be enough to secure Lauchenoiria's future, unless we address the underlying issues at play. As such, I propose that Conternia be allowed to maintain a military presence in Lauchenoiria in order to suppress any potential resumption of hostilities or attempts at retaliatory violence, and ensure that the rebuilding of Lauchenoiria goes smoothly. We believe that Melissa Province, Summersea, and Carville would be ideal locations for military bases - on a temporary basis, of course - that would allow us to oversee Lauchenoiria's recovery, although we would also request that our troops be allowed to cooperate in the running of Lauchenoirian military bases that have been left..." - he paused, trying to find the most tasteful words - "understaffed, by the war. Do not consider this to be punishment, but protection, to safeguard Lauchenoiria against its deep-seated internal divisions, and to let the country at long last move forward and achieve its true potential. And it is not just in a military capacity we request to be involved - Conternia would also offer its assistance in reconstructing the considerable infrastructure damaged in the conflict. However our aid in this area is contingent upon your allowing our military presence, and we would request that you allow our people to carry out their rebuilding efforts according to their own methods, without interference or oversight. I cannot say that this is my ideal proposal for Lauchenoiria's immediate future, but it is the one we have, and we truly believe it is the best for the country under these trying circumstances." Bloomberg remained standing in silence for a moment, to let the assembled delegations know he was finished and let the finality of his proposal sink in, before he sat back down.**

Laura Moore stood back up, tight lipped. She had known the Conternians were going to advocate for a continued military presence, but if she'd known that was all they would say, she would never have permitted them to speak.

"As I said, I do not agree with my Conternian counterpart on everything," Moore said. Or anything, really, Moore thought.

"Our utmost priority has to be fresh elections. In order to move forward, we must resolve the question of who is the legitimate government of Lauchenoiria. Given the dubious legality of the vote of no confidence, I believe the only way we can move forward is with fair, free, democratic elections. Their fairness will need to be monitored, and all parties would need to agree to abide by the results."

Laura Moore continued, discussing the system of Lauchenoirian elections and mentioning that elections to the federal parliament were in fact due to take place the previous week. She made the case for holding them, proposing they were held in mid-October, soon enough that the country could move on, but far enough away that a proper campaign could be held.

"Our second priority is the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of war. We are aware that the Junta has had a policy of allowing the Kerlian forces to take prisoners instead of them. Not being a member of the World Assembly, Kerlile is subject to much less restrictions over how they can treat their prisoners.

Our information suggests large amounts of Lauchenoirian POWs have been taken to Kerlile. We insist upon the return of these individuals, and also the release of the political prisoners who have been in various prisons around Lauchenoiria since Chaher's initial coup, including various Members of Parliament and journalists."

Moore spent a long time discussing the various rumours about the treatment of POWs, addressing the Kerlian delegation for much of the speech. She looked Councillor Anita Patel dead in the eye as she finished.

"The return of prisoners of war must include high-profile individuals such as Josephine Alvarez who was captured in Usera. We have a list of individuals we suspect are being held in Kerlile. We request that all of them are returned."

Councillor Patel smirked slightly, which made Moore falter slightly. Patel looked like she knew something Moore didn't. Moore shook her head and continued.

"Our third priority would be what I discussed briefly yesterday. A new constitution. Currently, before Kieran MacKenzie's suspension of the constitution anyway, Lauchenoiria still operates under the 1959 constitution, drafted originally by Villanueva's regime. As long as we are still operating in this manner, we are tied to that regime. We cannot progress, and we risk a repeat of this whole situation.

Earlier, it was mentioned that this is the second conflict in a century. And a third would not be tolerated. Honoured delegates, a new constitution is the best way to avoid that. New checks and balances upon the power of the President and Prime Minister would make it far harder for another coup to be staged. The loopholes in the current constitution can be removed. We can finally progress as a society."

Moore continued to make her case, adding that it would help the country heal and provide a clean break from the country's violent past. It would put all the hurt behind them, and lead to a brighter future. It was the sort of speech that had gotten Moore elected as Liberal Party leader in the first place.

As they reached the end of the evening, Moore opened her mouth once more to finish the discussion on how they could rebuild after the war, when the door to their side's antechamber flew open and a frantic Jae Chung ran out, rushing over to Moore and whispering in her ear. As Jae spoke, Moore's eyes grew wide and she had to grasp the back of her chair to keep herself from falling over.

Jae finished and stepped back clasping her hands behind her back and smirking at Charissa Clarke. Moore turned back to the room, barely trying to hide the surprise on her face.

"Honoured delegates," she began, "I have received some new information which may shed some light upon the situation. I neglected to mention this in the earlier public session, as the information was deemed sensitive, however I have just now made the decision to reveal that we have been carrying out an investigation into the death of Suleman Chaher."

Moore paused, as certain members of the Junta shifted ever so slightly, imperceptible if one hadn't been expecting that precise reaction. She couldn't quite believe what Jae had told her, but she trusted Johnny Hudson, and if he'd passed the information to Jae, it was likely accurate. He wouldn't make something like this up, and he wouldn't tell her this without proof.

"An associate of Chaher's, who I will not name as he is still in Junta territory and that would put him in danger, provided an individual, who later cooperated with us, a sample of Chaher's blood that indicated her was poisoned. While the information I have just received pre-dates Chaher's death, and therefore does not prove who is guilty, it does point to evidence of a conspiracy which would have benefited from this murder."

"Is this relevant?" snapped Charissa Clarke, the first proper interruption of the day. It showed her fear.

"Yes, it is," Moore answered, "especially to the Gonhogian delegation, who deserve to know who their allies truly are. Ladies and gentlemen, we have received evidence that so-called Prime Minister Charissa Clarke is not..."

"Objection!" yelled Lucia Casci, the Kerlian defence minister, turning to face Smyth. "This has no relevance to an outcome to this war!"

Moore looked to the Sanctarian mediator too, nodding in a way that seemed to indicate this was important.

Smyth recalled the brief discussion they had about a USB drive. He had been forewarned this event may happen. And, truth be told, he was curious. "I'll allow it, please continue Ms. Moore."

"Charissa Clarke was not, in fact, born in Lauchenoiria to some isolationist cult parents who died in a car crash when she was fourteen. Charissa Clarke was, in fact, born in Kerlile."

The silence that followed was interrupted only by Councillor Patel tapping away on a smartphone she seemed to have produced out of thin air. It vanished shortly after, back to wherever she'd been hiding it.

"Jae?" Moore prompted. Jae Chung almost jumped into the air in fright at being asked to speak.

"Um, the information I have seen is composed of Kerlian documentation that lists an orphaned child trained to work for the Kerlian Intelligence Service, and then placed in Lauchenoiria in her teenage years with instructions to infiltrate the government in a long-term plan."

"This is absurd, are we really going to listen to this? Where's your proof?" Clarke scoffed.

"There's plenty," Jae shot back, then seemed to curl in on herself.

Moore turned back to the room, conscious of the time and the fact that the negotiations were going off track.

"The information Ms Chung has provided us with is interesting, and shines a different light on this conflict, but we should not allow this to distract us from finding a resolution to this conflict. Even if it is proven to be true, I must admit there is no law against someone born in a foreign country being elected Prime Minister."

Perhaps there should be, Moore thought darkly, eyeing Clarke even more suspiciously. She'd never believed in such laws, but perhaps that was naivety.

"As I was saying before we were interrupted," Moore continued, "there is a number of almost finished housing projects that were paused following the capitalism referendum when the Communists voted to stall in a frankly petty move. If these were to be finished as soon as possible, it would provide accommodation for a number of the refugees from Summersea, Annatown and the other cities in which homes have been destroyed in the fighting."

Moore continued to discuss housing and rebuilding, all the time thinking to herself is Jae for real?

*Paragraph written by Laeral
**Paragraph written by Conternia

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Sanctaria » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:51 pm

Thursday, August 30th, approx 20:50

Smyth stood up from the table. As the other delegations did too, probably assuming he meant to leave, one clear word rang out through the room. "Sit." It wasn't friendly. It wasn't threatening. But it wasn't a suggestion either. Smyth did not look pleased.

"Negotiations are not parlour games. This is not the place for drama. Lauchenoirians have died, for goodness sake. They have died and already we are beginning to see petty oneupmanship." He shot a glance at Moore, and another at the Kerlilian delegation. "Today's interruption was pertinent information I had been forewarned about, and as such allowed it, but I would never have done so if I thought that interruption would have been done in a manner befitting high school students. If your contemporaries have important information to give you, they shall whisper it in your ear, or they shall pass it via a note.

I don't know how politics is done on the other side of this continent, but in Sanctaria, and in any peace negotiations we have presided over, it has been done with civility, even if sides were not polite. You will all respect the chair, and respect the severity of these proceedings. And this shall be my final warning on this matter.

Tomorrow we start at 1100 hours". He glanced at his watch. "We will follow the same schedule. Junta's turn.

Any more moments like today will not be tolerated."

Friday, August 31st, 11:00

"Good morning all", Smyth said cheerily, back to his normal self after his stern talking down of the participants the evening before. "Today will be the final day of deliberations before we break for the weekend. Already possibly paths to peace are becoming clear, and I look forward to hearing from the Junta factions today to get a better idea on how to resolve this conflict.

We will follow the same schedule as yesterday." He looked over at Charissa Clarke.

"Ms. Clarke, shall we proceed? Same as before, background and all pertinent information leading up to the hostilities themselves. We'll cover operations etc, including your own ascent after Chaher's death - I am particularly interested in hearing about his assassination, information wasn't clearly disseminated to outside and international sources at the time.
After that, 1:1 with myself, and then at the end how you hope to move forward. No surprises today, though, during that particular segment, I think." He added with a pleasant smile which also made clear he was not kidding.

"Please", he said with a wave of his hand, sitting down.

15:00
Smyth was much happier today. He managed to get the coffee. He had his suspicions which delegation was hogging it all, but he didn't mind. There was a war on that side of the world after all. Good coffee was probably hard to come by.

"Ok, Ms. Clarke. If we continue with Junta operations during the conflict itself. Anything you can declassify please do so. Anything that must remain classified can be told to me in our 1:1."

17:00
A light switched on. A tray was placed on a table with a clunk. And finally a sigh, as Smyth sat down into his armchair and poured himself a cup of tea. A knock at the door.

"Yes?", Smyth asked, not looking up from his cup.

"Sir, Prime Min-", an aide began before being cut off.

"No, not here. Here she is Ms. Clarke. Sanctaria is neutral and is not acknowledging anyone in that office."

"Yes sir. Ms Clarke, sir."

"Send her in, and please stay with the security outside."

The aide ushered the politician in.

"Please take a seat, Ms. Clarke", Smyth said politely, standing as his appointment took her seat. "Or", he began as he took his own seat, "whoever you actually are". His smile disappeared. "We're not here to take sides, but you're in Sanctaria now, and your diplomatic passport says Clarke. Based on the information provided yesterday, you're in a predicament with us, regardless of the outcome of these talks. Travelling into Sanctaria on false documents is a serious offence -- and one we don't extend diplomatic immunity to. I'd suggest you talk".

19:00
Smyth took his seat. He was tired. The day was long. He needed the weekend to work on solutions.

"So, the Junta's plan for the future and hopes for resolution. Oh, and your red lines. Three, same as yesterday. Let's go." He smiled, and looked back at his papers.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:21 am

Day 3

11:00

Charissa Clarke had not slept at all. She'd spent half the night on the phone to people in Lauchenoiria, ensuring them of her loyalty to Lauchenoiria over Kerlile. She'd spent the other half of the night on the phone to people in Kerlile, assuring them of her loyalty to Kerlile. And truthfully, Charissa Clarke did not know where her loyalties lay. But, in this, the two countries had the same aim. So, Clarke stood.

"As Ms Moore said yesterday," she began, "the roots of this conflict date back to the communist revolution. After Villanueva liberated Lauchenoiria from the forces of capitalism, people like Moore continued to spread misinformation to trick the people of Lauchenoiria into handing the bourgeoisie their power and wealth back..."

Clarke continued, spouting the communist history of Lauchenoiria. In the back of her mind, though, her thoughts ran wild.

"In 1993, capitalist political parties were legalised as a result of this deliberate campaign of propaganda by these underlying forces. And then in 2017, the capitalism referendum took place. The fairness of this vote has been cast into doubt, and several sources have claimed that the vote may have been rigged. As such, Laura Moore, voice of democracy, seems to be something of a hypocrite.

Moore's government shut down all attempts at investigation into the conduct during this referendum, and then have the audacity to claim they support democracy for our country while carrying out operations such as this. Moore's conduct throughout this time, and her blatant disregard for democracy, are among the reasons the vote of no confidence took place, and are among the reasons why it is legitimate.

In March, after Moore invited the Skodenian "˜peacekeepers' into the country, the situation became untenable. Here she was, inviting foreigners onto Lauchenoirian soil and giving them unfettered access to weapons. Then they go and kill Lauchenoirian citizens and Moore's propaganda channels praise them for "˜defusing the situation'.

There was a piece of important news that seemed lost in the chaos of the early conflict. One of those who took hostages in Melissa City survived, and was imprisoned by Moore's government, as was right. However, this individual was kept in solitary confinement for no real reason, and not allowed any visitors. One of Chaher's associates managed to contact this individual, who told us he was hired by Moore to carry out this attack, in order to provide an excuse to clamp down on communism!"

"Absurd!" Laura Moore cried out. Smyth cleared his throat. "Sorry," Moore muttered, not meaning it.

"President Leanna Walker played an integral part in this anti-communist strategy. Which is why Suleman Chaher had to organise the vote in secret. He, and his supporters, of which I was one from the start, knew that if Laura Moore and Leanna Walker were to discover the plan, that he may find himself imprisoned on some absurd charge of "˜treason' or something before it could go ahead."

"You are literally just listing the things that your side has been doing!" Moore interrupted again.

"Ms Moore, do not interrupt," Smyth warned.

"When we discovered Leanna Walker's part in the assassination attempt on Ms Noguera," Clarke continued, nodding in the direction of the Aelurian delegation, "we had no choice but to begin impeachment proceedings. Which, of course, is what provoked Leanna Walker into stirring up hatred of communism in the international community, and starting this war."

Charissa Clarke sat down. Truthfully, she didn't care about communism, or capitalism. She had been raised for this purpose though, and this she would carry out until her inevitable death. Which, she thought, may be sooner than I think. She didn't know where that Jae Chung had got her information, but Councillor Patel had assured her that if it came from Jennifer Hale, then Hale would regret it. Clarke was certain this was accurate.

15:00

Charissa Clarke stood once more.

"My Secretary for Defence, Niall Watson, will now give you further information about our operations throughout the war."

Niall Watson wasn't a tall man, and though a lifelong communist, he wasn't overtly authoritarian. In all honesty, since the accusations the previous day, he'd had a sour taste in his mouth about working with Clarke. Still, he couldn't let the capitalists take over the country without a fight.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he began, "throughout this war, we have carried out a number of operations designed to defend Lauchenoiria against the numerous foreign armies that have seen fit to invade our shores. We..."

He continued, going into elaborately boring detail about the operations that were already public knowledge, and skimming over those that were not. Clarke admired his skill, he made it flow well. She was all too conscious of Councillor Patel, however, sitting beside her, annoyed she'd allowed the man to speak.

"... ended when we arrested the terrorists behind the attacks along the Fleura-Yervia boundary. And I think that's all?" Watson finished, and turned to Clarke.

"Yes, thank you Niall. Kerlian Defence Minister Lucia Casci will now provide information on Kerlile's operations during the war."

Lucia Casci was conventionally beautiful, and whenever she was out of Kerlile, men stared at her. In these instances, she would either feel flattered or wish she could sentence them to twenty years of hard labour. Occasionally, both. She wondered if non-Kerlian women ever felt the same way.

"Thank you, Prime Minister. Throughout this war, Kerlile has assisted the Lauchenoirian government against the illegal forces who object to the Communist Party's proposed feminist reforms..."

Lucia Casci continued to spout about how much better for women Clarke's government would be, while Clarke sat there, starting to get very tired from her lack of sleep. Eventually, Casci got onto the subject of POWs.

"Throughout the fighting in Yervia province, Kerlile indeed has taken a number of prisoners of war, particularly in Usera following the surrender of rebel forces there. Some of these were transported to Kerlile, I will add at the objection of the Lauchenoirian government. This is because temporary facilities in Yervia province were insufficient. We assure you, they are being provided with adequate food and shelter."

Charissa Clarke stood once more.

"Comparatively, my government has few prisoners of war, as the groups operating in the territory we have held have been unlikely to surrender. The so-called "˜political prisoners' Ms Moore has referred to are in fact being held in pre-trial custody before their trials for crimes of treason, crimes Ms Moore has also been accused of."

Clarke took a sip of her water, mirroring Moore's actions the previous day on purpose. She remembered from facing Moore on a TV debate before the capitalism referendum that people mirroring her made her uncomfortable.

"And now to the matter of alliances. One of Suleman Chaher's first moves once elected was to begin improving diplomatic relations with Kerlile, a nation Lauchenoiria has historically been on less than friendly terms with," Clarke began, notably ignoring the allegations against her in respect to Kerlile, "and as such, when the war began, Kerlile offered him their support. Gonhog, on the other hand, reached out to Chaher without any prompting."

Clarke had been the one to convince Chaher to reach out to Kerlile. She thought it better to omit this information, following yesterday's little show.

"In terms of... disseminating information, the media was nationalised as a reversal of the privatisation policy of Moore's government following the illegal referendum. It was... unfortunate that those on Breakfast in Buttercity were arrested in that manner, however it was necessary to prevent the spread of treasonous and inaccurate fake news. Following this move, we made sure the media put out information that did not compromise national security or encourage terrorism," Clarke said, eyeing Moore on the word "˜terrorism'.

"I will now mention what I know of Chaher's assassination. On the first of July, former President Leanna Walker shot Suleman Chaher in the chest. He initially survived this wound, in Buttercity Central Hospital, however passed away twenty-five days later. Moore alleged yesterday that Chaher was poisoned, and last night I saw evidence that suggests this analysis could be correct.

We did not investigate this possibility at the time, it seemed obvious that the wound was the cause of death, and the operation in which complications led to his death. The Buttercity Police Department has been asked to begin an immediate investigation. As to the allegations made by Moore that I am responsible for his death, those I utterly refute.

During his hospitalisation, Suleman Chaher entrusted me with the day-to-day running of the country and of the war. He asked President MacKenzie to appoint me as Prime Minister in the event that he was to pass. This is what happened. I would like to assure Ms Moore, Suleman Chaher's death will be investigated."

17:00

"...Travelling into Sanctaria on false documents is a serious offence -- and one we don't extend diplomatic immunity to. I'd suggest you talk."

Charissa Clarke swallowed. She hadn't been expecting Jae Chung's little revelation, and Councillor Patel still hadn't been able to determine where the information came from. Clarke took a deep breath.

"The documents are not false. In 1983, at the age of fourteen, I appeared at the door of a children's home in Lauchenoiria. I presented no documents of my own. I was taken in as a ward of the state. In Lauchenoirian law at the time, because I was a minor with no parents, it didn't matter where I was from or who I was before that. Those documents and that registration of my admission into state care gives me legal status in Lauchenoirian law."

Clarke spoke the words with confidence, even though the legality she spoke of was only attained through the exploitation of loopholes in Lauchenoiria's messed up 1980s legal system. It didn't matter. Whoever she was at birth, she was legally Charissa Clarke now.

"Shall we continue onto other matters?" Clarke asked.

"Please do," Smyth said.

"Everyone probably suspects this already, but the rebels aren't completely wrong when they say we may have... permitted the Kerlians to take the lead in situations where it was likely a large number of POWs would be captured. We didn't have the facilities and were operating under certain constraints that Kerlile was not, in terms of resources."

And Kerlile is not in the WA, Clarke implied but did not say.

"I suppose you want to know about Leanna Walker's execution," Clarke sighed. "Well, President MacKenzie signed an executive order temporarily legalising the death penalty. This is within Lauchenoirian law during a state of emergency. Walker was tried and found guilty of murder following Chaher's death. The execution was carried out in a secret location for reasons of security. Her body is buried near that location."

Clarke leaned back in her seat.

"Which brings me to Chaher's death. We have seen the same evidence as Moore, it seems like he was indeed poisoned, which means Walker's execution was a great miscarriage of justice that I will forever regret. But I did not poison him. I know, with the Kerlile allegations and everything that it seems suspicious, but I swear it was not me."

Clarke was used to being accused of terrible things. Most of the time, the accusations were pretty accurate. She did not like being accused of things she didn't do. She swiftly moved on.

"There is one last matter, and it's an odd one, because I don't believe the rebels are responsible. President MacKenzie disappeared. He was in his residence, surrounded by security and he just vanished. The CCTV footage shows nothing, and I'm at a loss to explain it. Of course, this leaves the country without a President, as he had no vice president yet. Probably not what you want to hear, but I genuinely have no idea what happened. We've been keeping it secret so as to avoid a panic, but..."

Clarke shrugged. She truly didn't know what had happened to MacKenzie. She hoped he'd resurface soon, however.

19:00

"I maintain that my government is the legitimate government of Lauchenoiria. Going forward, we would like to rebuild the nation, as if the rigged capitalism referendum had never happened, improve women's rights in the country and move on from this tragic conflict. I fear, however, that we are a long way off of this. Before I outline what we wish to see happen, I will allow both the Gonhogian and Kerlian delegations time to speak. Saul?"

Saul Roberts stood up slowly, his age clearly on display for all to see. Although he could be mistaken as senile for his age, Roberts was far from it, still in the intellectual prime of the early 70s. He took a deep breath in, then began to speak, quietly but firmly.

"My honoured delegates, Gonhog is not here to be the main negotiators for the future of Lauchenoiria, however we are here, and so, I feel it to be best if we at least stated some things.

In response to Conternia's previous comments of their own military bases in Lauchenoiria: I could not disagree more, and I am sure I am not alone when we say that. While the delegation of Gonhog wholeheartedly agrees in the notion that Lauchenoiria needs some support coming out of this conflict, establishing military bases and operations is a step in the wrong direction, especially if that responsibility lies on one nation. Instead, we propose that either the esteemed nations of Sanctaria and or Bears Armed send peacekeepers to Lauchenoiria and possibly MP if the situation does not improve.

Regarding the charges against Prime Minister Clarke: while we certainly do not deny that you have such evidence to support this nor do we say that Clarke is completely innocent, Gonhog entered this war to end the conflict at hand, and although Chaher's rise to power was indeed... fishy, it was legal to the extent of our knowledge, which made Chaher the rightful ruler. In summary, while Clarke and Kerlile should be held accountable if those allegations are proven correct, the Communist takeover was legal, and therefore Gonhog still supports the Federal Government of Lauchenoiria.

Both of these things, however, are off topic to the topic, this being the aftermath of this conflict. The delegates of Gonhog believe that the Lauchenoirian government should be the ones in charge of the rebuilding of both their government and country. One last thing that we believe should be noted: if we cannot agree on a compromise, future talks will be held and Lauchenoiria will be temporarily partitioned between north and south.

That is all, thank you." With that, Saul sat back down and took a sip of water, and returned to his usual notetaking position, pen and pad in hand.

Clarke nodded towards Councillor Patel, who rose gracefully to her feet. The Councillor was dressed in the traditional Kerlian manner, trousers and shirt covered with an impractically long, thin coat-like garment. The garment was clasped together at the top with a brooch fashioned into the Seal of the Council or Kerlile. In her own country, the brooch would bear the Patel family seal, but abroad she was a representative of the Council.

"Honoured delegates," she began, her voice sounding smooth and silky, "the Matriarchy of Kerlile involved ourselves in this war because we saw a chance. A chance for our neighbour, Lauchenoiria, to free itself from the shackles of patriarchy and embrace a future in which women do not have to live in fear of the men they share the streets with.

It devastates us to have to sit here, knowing that the change we dreamed of in the country may not come to fruition. Our relationship with our neighbour has been fraught with difficulty throughout history, and it has been our hope throughout this time that this could improve. For many years, the previous governments of Lauchenoiria have kidnapped our citizens, forcing them to remain living under the misogynistic conditions in the country.

Suleman Chaher, and later Charissa Clarke's government has finally allowed Kerlian families kidnapped under this policy to unite. Women and girls who wish to live in safety in a land where they are not considered inferior have been allowed to cross the border and make a new life where they choose. These things would not have been possible under the government of Laura Moore.

It is our wish that, whatever the outcome of these negotiations, any foreign citizen who has in this period chosen of her own free will to remain in Kerlile is permitted to do so. It is our wish that Kerlian citizens can return home, and it is our wish that Lauchenoiria continues to move towards a less patriarchal society.

On a perhaps less pleasant note, I am forced to address the point made yesterday regarding Josephine Alvarez. Laura Moore seems under the mistaken impression that Josephine Alvarez is being held as a prisoner of war. This is inaccurate. Josephine Alvarez is awaiting trial for the attempted assassination of President Joanna Greenwood. We can provide Moore with the documentation that supports this if she wishes. Thank you."

Councillor Patel sat down, making sure to smile at each and every woman in the room, and to pointedly avoid the gaze of all the men. All the men, that is, except Smyth. Make him feel special, she thought.

Charissa Clarke stood up once more.

"I will now outline our "˜red lines' as you call them. Our first priority is a cancellation of the result of the rigged capitalism referendum. The country will never know peace for as long as that result stands. It was not run fairly, and therefore the result cannot and should not be respected. We also want a full investigation into the conduct in the first referendum, preferably with legal ramifications for those found guilty of misconduct."

Charissa Clarke stood up a little straighter.

"Our second priority is that Lauchenoiria is respected as a sovereign nation. We cannot allow foreign troops to remain on our soil if we want to move away from this conflict," she said, eyeing the Conternian delegation. "We cannot allow foreign interference in any elections. Lauchenoiria is our nation, not anyone else's colony. All foreign troops must be immediately withdrawn."

Clarke noted that Moore had seemed very displeased with their first point, though she seemed almost to agree with the second.

"Our third priority must be, if there is going to be fresh elections, an assurance from all the capitalist parties that they will not sell off our country to the highest bidder. This means the 1959 constitution, which would prevent such an occurrence, must be respected. If Moore is allowed to rewrite the constitution, she will remove all the safeguards that ensure Lauchenoiria will always belong to Lauchenoirians, not to foreign businessmen."

Clarke paused once again for a drink of water, before launching into a description of how funds could be (forcibly) diverted from the wealthy businesses that had been operating in the country to ensure the poorest citizens had food and shelter following the war.

Charissa Clarke wasn't quite sure how the day had gone. Only time would tell. Meanwhile, she was going to ask the Kerlians to come up with an emergency extraction plan. Just in case her documentation wasn't recognised.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Libertas Omnium Maximus » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:36 am

Congressional Hall: Litudinem, LOM
September 1st - The early hours of the morning

Dr. Martin Vaughn, Conservative party leader and stanch anti-communist, was working overtime, same as every night for the past two weeks. He had been working on a proposal for the provincial legislature of Patria, a province of LOM. He had finally finished proofreading the document for the fifteenth time and was about to turn of his computer when a man he didn't recognize entered his office.

"Well, what a surprise seeing you here... Marty!" The man exclaimed jovially as two of his compatriots, dressed all in black, stepped through the doorway.

"Who are you?" Vaughn mumbled as he backed away from his desk.

"Who am I! Who am I?," the man cackled. "I am your worst nightmare! I am the man who is going to end you! I am Vilav Trotsky and I shall end this oppressive establishment! I shall start with you."

Vaughn backed against the wall, petrified. Trotsky smiled, it was a twisted, maniacal smile. Slowly, Trotsky lifted his handgun. He let out a merciless cackle.

"Bang!"

Vaughn's hands left to his chest. At this range he would be dead for sure. Oddly, he felt fine. Trotsky didn't. The smile faded from his face as he fell to his knees. Blood began to pour onto the ground. His compatriots barely had the chance to turn around.

"Bang!" "Bang!"

They too went down in a cloud of bloody mist.

Two police officers entered the room. One reached for his walker talked and mumbled: "Subject secured. Three hostiles neutralized." The other grabbed Vaughn to keep him from collapsing, he was very shell shocked.

"Sir, you are going to be ok, we have neutralized all known threats. You are going to be ok." Vaughn began to shake violently as he looked at the ground. Trotsky was spread eagled on the ground before him, lifeless. Vaughn half-heartedly smiled, "Your revolution dies here!" At that Vaughn's legs turned to jelly and he passed out.

"It's true." The one cop stated while easing Vaughn to the ground. "This was Trotsky's last act."


22,000 feet above Sanctarian Airspace
September 2st - Mid-morning

Mrs. Melanie Tulinsky smiled, she had just finished reading the brief sent to her by the Department of Internal Security. She was sent on behalf of LOM to the summit in Haven as their minister plenipotentiary. The brief officially detailed all that transpired on the night of the 31st.

"We are going to have a field day!" she exclaimed to no one in particular on the jet. Her legal advisor smiled as well.

"Yes ma'am, we will make those Kerlian's pay, I just know we will!"

At that the "fasten seat belts" sign appeared in the overhead display of the jet. As the plane began its final scent into Sanctaria, champagne was served.

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Lauchenoiria
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Location: Scotland

Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:33 pm

FAO Robert Smyth

Here is a copy of the contents of the USB we have decrypted. It is a series of documents from the Matriarchy of Kerlile. We still do not know how Yasin Zaunq came to acquire this information. Further copies available on request.

Yours sincerely,

Laura Moore

*

---Extract taken from Council of Kerlile private records. This extract is omitted from the full public register of births---

---Transcribed into digital format on the orders of Councillor Carmen Robinson---

Image

*

---Extract taken from Restricted Region records (formerly known as Region 17)---

---Transcribed into digital format on the orders of Councillor Carmen Robinson---
Administrative Office
Facility 14
Region 17
14D26S

27th August 1969





Referral to Early Years Orphanage of Citizen 25817349

Dear Ms Eileen Carter,

You will have been informed of the new child due to arrive in the next few days. I wish to provide you with greater information about her background so that you will be prepared to deal with any challenges she may cause.

Amanda Cartwright is twenty-five days old at the time of writing, having been born to Harriet Cartwright, who arrived at our facility five months pregnant following an attempt by her and her husband to illegally cross the border. The husband died during the attempt. Amanda would have been raised in Sophiehill with the rest, but her mother died of complications we believe were a result of the childbirth.

You are being given Amanda at an exceptionally young age. It is the wish of my superiors that despite her birth parents, she is raised to be an upstanding Kerlian citizen. In three years, she will be assessed for entry into the new Aurora Programme.

Yours for Kerlile,

Natalie Forrest,
Chief Administrator
Facility 14, Region 17

*

---Extract taken from Pierre family records---

---Transcribed into digital format on the orders of Councillor Carmen Robinson---
23 Autumn Road
Birchwood
Grapevale Region
15A23B

3rd October 1972






Re: Aurora Programme

Dear Ms Forrest,

I have decided to take your advice on recruitment for the Aurora Programme. I have authorised the immediate transfer of citizens 13259218, 29625644, 15983644, 25817349 and 19356275 to the Aurora Centre in the Julietta region.

If any of these girls still have living parents in Region 17, see to it that the mistake is corrected immediately. Mothers have an almost uncanny ability to recognise their own kids, even years later.

Before their transfer, the names of these citizens will be changed. See to it that the original documentation bearing their given names and identification is removed from the records office in Region 17.

I would also like to congratulate you for your work on this matter, and offer you a position working directly for the Council in the Grapevale Region. I hope you choose to accept.

Yours sincerely,

Councillor Susanna Pierre

*

---Extract taken from Kerlian Intelligence Service Records---

---Contents decrypted and transcribed by order of Councillor Carmen Robinson in the year 2017---

FAO of Records Office

Date: 1983-10-21
Agent: 25817349
Placement Location: Lauchenoiria
Programme: Aurora
Priority: 7
Contact: 11766462

Agent to be deployed to Lauchenoiria in four days. Amend records as required.

*

---Extract taken from Council of Kerlile private records---
Treetop Palace
Maytown
Snowbell Region
25G94E

22nd January 2018






Councillor Patel,

Operation Unicorn is to commence in Lauchenoiria. I believe their volatile situation can play into our hands. Activate the Aurora in the nation.

President Greenwood.

*

---Email record obtained through Lauchenoiria---

From: do-not-reply [at] funprizes4u [dot] lau
To: charissa.clarke [at] parliament [dot] lau
Subject: Win magical Aurora trip!
Date: 2018-01-23 14:32:16 LCT

Dear customer!

You have won a fabulous trip!

The contents of this email have been hidden under protocol 25817349 for security purposes. Please contact your IT supervisor for further information.

*

---Messages from online board obtained by order of Councillor Carmen Robinson---

2018-01-24 07:21:17 LCT

@clarke_c258: weather has been good this year. Butterflies breeding plentifully.

@PromQueen14: I can almost see Unicorns prancing here

@clarke_c258: Unicorns? Are you sure?

@PromQueen14: yes

@clarke_c258: I'm not sure how that would work right now

@PromQueen14: you will, my parcel is where the dragonflies prance in the winter

@clarke_c258: I understand

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Sanctaria » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:20 pm

Monday, September 3rd, 11:00

Robert Smyth had a busy weekend. Between dossiers of information provided by all sides, and late nights pouring over draft statements and agreements, he was not as relaxed as he had hoped to be on the final full day of discussions.

And now here he was again. Sitting at a large circular table, with chattering factions on all sides throwing glances of malice at the other sides. There was a great difficulty in getting everyone to agree, to what he had planned, but that was a battle for the next day. Today he wanted to try and resolve the Aelurian problem, arguably the easier decision in the negotiations.

"Good morning all" he said quietly, but firmly. "Today we begin with the Aelurian question. I've already heard from all sides concerning the history of the island, each faction's position on independence, and so on. Today I want to delve a little deeper.

We will sit until 14:30 when we break for a late lunch until 16:00. Then we meet until 19:00, where we will break for the evening - if I'm still a little unsure of progress, we'll have dinner and meet from 21:00 to 23:00, but I'm confident that won't be an issue.

Today I want to discuss realities and eventualities. From now until 14:30, it's an open session. From 16:00 until 19:00 it will be myself, the leader of the Independence faction, the leader of the Rebel faction, and the leader of the Junta faction. We will meet privately, the four of us, and try to come to a consensus.

Until 14:30, however, I want us to be frank.

I will start with the Junta and then the Rebels - we're all in agreement here, at least from my understanding at the last session, that full independence aside, the Aelurians should have more devolved powers. I would like to hear from both of you what powers you would support devolving further, a timeline for that and if, and this is important, you acknowledge that the Aelurians should, following on from this devolution, in a number of years have a referendum on independence.

When those two sides have finished, I will hear from the Independence faction. Your reaction to further devolution and what each side proposes, please. And then I want to you explain how you would go about independence; from the means of achieving, to the first 6 months, to the first 10 years. I want to ascertain if your faction fully understands the pitfalls and problems surrounding independence - and don't forget I was alive when the Papal States of Sanctaria broke up and the Divine Republic was born. You won't be able to fob off this old man, I have experience in these matters.

So, please begin Ms. Clarke. Once you're done we'll have the Rebel side.

16:00

It was eerie, but the entire room was empty aside from Smyth, Moore, Clarke, and Noguera. There wasn't even security present - though Smyth knew there was at least 3 burly guards in the elevator that was the only real entrance to the room; there were also dozens of guards present in each stairwell of the towers, but that wasn't a realistic entry point.

"Ladies, let's be frank. Ms. Noguera, everything will be finalised tomorrow, but I'm going to be honest with you. It's in no-one's interest, not least the Aelurian people, that you have full independence at this point." Out of the corner of his eye he noticed both Clarke and Moore smile smugly. He wasn't going to have that and shot them a dirty look. "Allow me to rephrase, I'm not convinced it's in anyone's interest that you become fully independent right now.

Lauchenoiria will have to rebuild and doesn't have the capacity right now to continue to support you until you become fully independent. While you continue to be a functioning and providing member of your union together, they will benefit from Aeluria's ... stability and resources. You both need each other.

Quite frankly, should you become independent because of a result of this peace conference, with Lauchenoiria unable to assist and support you, it would fall to us, Sanctaria, and we honestly can't commit to such a long-term investment without first going back to the people; I met with Prime Minister Hendry over the weekend, and it's not something the Democratic Left Party would feel comfortable doing even if the people agreed, they would see it as a form of colonialism. Unlike managing Lauchenoiria should these negotiations fail, where the reason would be to protect life, there would be no reason in the people's mind, or their wallets, for Sanctaria to help you to such an extent." He smiled sympathetically at Noguera.

"That said, the people voted for a party whose key pillar was further independence from Lauchenoiria. Sanctaria had observers at that election, as you all may remember, and it was found to be free and fair. There is an appetite for change. And despite the fears of Sanctaria for the interests of Aeluria, self-determination is important. This is what I suggest.

Right now, the four of us, agree on what can be further devolved to Aeluria. Nothing is off the table - except for defence. I'm even willing to put foreign affairs up for the discussion, or at least the trade part of it anyway. Once we agree here tonight on matters to be devolved, tomorrow in the agreement will be the announcement of a date in 2019 of a preferendum in Aeluria - and in Aeluria alone. The Prime Minister has authorised me to offer that Sanctaria will organise the holding, the security, and the counting of the election. Our dime. Lauchenoiria will have enough to be spending on.

That preferendum will have three options: (1) status quo; (2) full independence; (3) the devolution that we agree on tonight. And let me be clear, Sanctaria will ensure the information provided in the preferendum will be unbiased and fair. We will not be shy telling people the real costings of independence. And the problems behind the status quo, Or that devolution could kill their independence dream for a generation or more. It's time to be honest.

So ladies, and let's begin with Ms. Noguera - devolution, what do you want?"

21:00

Smyth checked his watch - they had worked through the 7pm deadline and through dinner. "9pm, friends. Five more minutes and we'll finish. Ms. Noguera, if you would stay behind for a few minutes. I need to discuss something with you ahead of tomorrow..."

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:12 pm

11:00

Charissa Clarke, still exhausted from a weekend of angry Kerlian voices yelling at her over the phone, using code words she barely remembered. She'd also seen the documents that Laura Moore had come into possession of. She knew that she shouldn't look, but... was that even her birth certificate? She didn't know. She pushed the thoughts out of her head, and began.

"I am aware of the... difficult history of Aeluria, and as such I recognise that at times the island has different needs to the rest of Lauchenoiria. Therefore, I do understand why further devolution may be necessary. The devolved governments of the island have in the past produced some policies which have later been adopted across the Federation, such as ground-breaking women's rights legislation..."

Laura Moore snorted with laughter, causing Clarke to pause and glare at her. True, mentioning gender probably wasn't her smartest move. But she was tired.

"... and I hope that further devolution will help the island to thrive further. I believe there is scope to devolve further powers in the areas of social security and employment. This would enable the island to..."

Clarke continued on, extolling the virtues of devolving these powers, and no more. It was no coincidence that these were areas where the Aelurians had a traditionally more left-wing outlook. She had to keep her Communist allies happy, of course. Especially if they were plotting against her once more, following the Kerlile allegations, which she was almost certain they were.

"However, all aspects of foreign policy simply must remain under Lauchenoirian control, particularly immigration. We all know of the anti-immigration policies put forward by the AIP that aim to increase their support and weaken democracy by restricting the voting rights of non-Aelurians living permanently on the island. We cannot allow these policies to be increased, if we want a democratic Aeluria."

Those on the Rebel side of the table were all smirking now as Clarke spoke of democracy, but she was past caring. She sat down.

"Thank you, Ms. Clarke. Ms. Moore?" Smyth said.

Laura Moore had slept well over the weekend. She had read every inch of Jae Chung's USB and she was utterly convinced that it meant defeat on Clarke's part.

"Aeluria has been requesting further powers all my life and before. They were treated very unfairly by the Villanueva regime, and as such it is completely understandable that they wish to protect their own interests. That being said, it is simply unreasonable to expect devolution of certain powers. The island depends on trade with the mainland, and as such needs to follow the same regulations in many areas..."

Moore continued to list all the ways in which one area having slightly different policies would make things exceptionally difficult, the rehearsed speech of someone who'd gone over the exact same thing in Parliament a hundred times over when AIP MPs asked questions.

"However, I recognise concessions will have to be made. And, though I loathe to say it, I agree with my... counterpart, Ms Clarke. While it would be disastrous to devolve any powers over trade and industry, social security is an area which probably should be devolved. I would also be open to discussing employment law.

In terms of a referendum on Aelurian independence, I am of the opinion that independence for Aeluria would be a disaster for the island, however I recognise their right to self-determination, and would be open to granting them a referendum."

As Laura Moore sat down, she noticed Clarke had raised an eyebrow at her, clearly waiting until their eyes met. Clarke seemed to be trying to tell her something, or perhaps just brag, but Moore wasn't sure. She ignored it.

"Ms Noguera?"

Keitha Noguera stood, surveying the room. Clarke had been less hostile than she had been anticipating, and Moore more so. Which brought them about even, in her eyes.

"Over the past century, there have been a number of conflicts between Aeluria and colonising powers. They will refuse us independence, tell us we are better off with them, and then proceed to strip us of power and oppress our population. I have seen this with my own eyes.

The Villanueva regime forced native islanders to send their children to mainland boarding schools. I was one of these children. When I returned to the island, the village I had grown up in was gone, destroyed by Lauchenoirian forces because islanders had objected to the communist regime. Nor did the Villanueva regime allow myself, or any other Aelurian, to choose a profession for ourselves. We were assigned jobs, a punishment for what they deemed the island's insolence.

So, when people ask me why I believe Aeluria should be independent, the answer is easy. Aeluria needs independence to protect Aelurians from such actions. The devolution of employment law and social security would of course be a helpful step, but if Lauchenoiria wants to make up for a century of oppression, they must go further.

I will concede that we do import a large amount of goods from mainland Lauchenoiria, but this is a result of the policies of the Lauchenoirian government in restricting our agricultural sector and forcing the island to rely on them. Lauchenoiria also restricts our trade with other nations, something the devolution of certain trade-related powers could solve..."

Noguera went on, listing almost every reserved power and stating why it should be devolved. She was halfway through a section on sales tax when her deputy, Nazario Mací­as, managed to attract her attention. It was already 14:00, and she hadn't moved on to her plans for independence yet. She sighed and finished.

"... which I'm sure you will all agree; the devolution of sales tax powers would solve. Now, before I move on to how independence would work, the Kivasekian delegation would like to speak."

Noguera sat down, making way for one of the Kivasekian men to speak.

"Delegates," he began in accented English. "The Commune of Kivasek wholeheartedly supports the people of Aeluria in their desire for independence. The people of Aeluria wish for independence and it must be granted! Aeluria has the right to self-determination and has shown a clear wish for independence."

Once the Kivasekian had finished, Noguera stood once more. She didn't have long left, much to her annoyance.

"I recognise that issuing a unilateral declaration of independence was a mistake on my part, however I do believe we have a mandate for independence. Following what has happened, I believe we should have a binding referendum on independence, and if support is shown in that referendum, we should begin preparations for independence.

Perhaps it would not be wise to immediately declare independence in that case, however, and that we should have a transitionary period in which we would be able to negotiate with the Lauchenoirian government and other nations on how our relationship with them would continue. This would give an independent Aeluria a chance to have a smoother transition out of the Federation of Lauchenoiria.

I don't pretend that it will be easy. I know there will be problems, especially at first. But will these problems be any worse than those facing the mainland now, after this conflict? I don't believe so. A decade from now, I believe an independent Aeluria could flourish."

Noguera continued in the same manner, mentioning several times that she knew there would be problems, but never quite explicitly stating what they were. By the time she finished, everyone in the room was really looking forward to lunch.

16:00

"In an ideal world, everything," Noguera said in response. Well, he'd asked for honesty. Laura Moore snorted in response. "Realistically, though, we would like full devolution of social security, employment law, and we would like to be able to make trade deals with other nations."

"So you can stop relying on Lauchenoirian imports?" Moore said. "Trading with anywhere else means goods would be travelling further, and you rely on us for most food products, which need to be transported quickly."

"That would not be an issue with modern transportation and storage methods, Lauchenoiria imports food products from much further away without any trouble," Noguera countered.

"Luxury goods, which are not necessary, and which my government would have stopped, had we been allowed to continue our programme," Clarke interjected, "Aeluria relies on food imports for survival, as demonstrated by recent events."

"Recent events like you trying to starve our entire population to death, you mean?"

"Ladies, please try and keep the discussion civil," Smyth said.

"You have been asking for immigration powers for years, but the situation has not changed. We are not willing to grant them," Moore said, changing the subject rather abruptly.

"Did I mention immigration? No, I didn't, I know that's a non-starter," Noguera argued, voice raised.

"Ladies!" Smyth warned.

"Apologies," Noguera said. "I haven't heard objections from either of you over social security?"

The conversation continued, while both Moore and Clarke tried to goad Noguera into losing her temper. Laura Moore seemed virulently opposed to Aelurian independence, while Charissa Clarke in some ways seemed to find the idea less distasteful.

Both Clarke and Moore seemed to accept the idea of a preferendum, for different reasons. Moore's entire platform depended upon the idea of democracy as something good, and as such she couldn't very well oppose it. Clarke's motivations were less clear, although perhaps related to the fact that her grip on power in her faction was slipping, and it likely wouldn't be her problem by 2019 anyway.

Clarke and Moore remained opposed to any devolution of trade powers, while it seemed to be what Noguera wanted most. Social security was the main offer on the table. Clarke seemed willing to part with all employment powers, while Moore was more reluctant. Clarke found this rather amusing.

By the end of the session, Clarke seemed to be wavering on the idea of trade, while Moore still stubbornly refused to budge an inch. Noguera kept trying to extract everything she could, but all three women knew that, at the end of the day, some compromise would need to be made.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Sanctaria » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:05 am

Tuesday, September 4th, 09:00

"Ladies and Gentlemen, pray be seated." Smyth started. He wasn't smiling. But he had a proposal.

"I have listened long and hard to all of your concerns. I want a resolution. You all do. And there will be concessions on all sides. But Sanctaria is also getting responsibilities out of this. We're not doing this for fun. We want peace, and that means we have a stake too now. I present to you The Haven Accords."

He clicked his clicker and a screen descended from the ceiling. Smyth nodded to an aide at a laptop, presumably connected to the display screen, and a document appears.

"We'll read it together. Questions and comments at the end please"

alt : The Haven Accords

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Lauchenoiria » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:37 pm

Laura Moore had mixed feelings about the Accords she had just heard. She was the first to speak after they had been read.

"I welcome the inclusion of a section on drafting a new constitution. I really do believe it is the best way forward. Though I am disappointed there is not to be immediate elections, and I urge Ms Noguera to ensure these can take place as soon as possible," Moore said, looking at Noguera with a hint of distrust.

"I wish to raise a single question though: in certain nations," she said, looking pointedly at the Kerlian delegation, "it is often difficult to ascertain who is responsible for certain acts. How can we avoid those in the upper echelons of Kerlian society avoiding justice by placing blame on subordinates?"

Councillor Anita Patel of Kerlile rose immediately to her feet, not giving anyone else a chance to do more than breathe.

"I resent the implication that we "˜place blame' on subordinates to evade justice. I wish to assure all the delegates present here that Kerlile will cooperate fully with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It must be said, however, that I regret the decision to compel us to return Josephine Alvarez. The Matriarchy will petition Lauchenoiria for the extradition of Ms Alvarez."

Councillor Patel sat back down. She would act the part of the cooperative delegate with nothing to hide, but inside she was seething. A deep hatred of Jennifer Hale, for forcing Kerlile to participate in these talks, was brewing within her. She also felt a little concerned about the prospect of investigations into mistreatment of prisoners of war. Especially after the attempt to oust her by Rebecca Arnott.

Charissa Clarke was still silent in her seat. From the perspective of Charissa Clarke, Lauchenoirian Communist, the Accords were not beneficial. Aeluria would almost certainly vote for greater powers, which would weaken the central Lauchenoirian government. The new constitution would likely end any parts of Communist Lauchenoiria that had clung on through the new century.

For the Kerlian inside her, it was even worse. Quite aside from the fact they had failed to achieve what they set out to do, Kerlile would likely suffer as a result. Charissa Clarke wasn't sure she cared about that any longer, but what she did value was her own life. And if the Kerlians wanted someone to blame, that would be her. What she said now, could make all the difference. She rose, nervously.

"I welcome the request for all foreign military to leave Lauchenoiria. It is important that our sovereignty is respected at this time. I am, however, very disappointed in the section requiring the drafting of a new constitution. I urge the Guarantor to ensure the capitalists do not use this as an opportunity to benefit foreign corporations."

Clarke conspicuously avoided the topic of the TRC, her statement rather short in comparison to her speeches from previous days.

Keitha Noguera had sat calmly while Moore, Patel and Clarke spoke, and when she did, she knew exactly what she wished to say.

"Honoured delegates, while of course, these Accords necessarily require compromise on all sides, including mine "“ a five-year period between a decision made in 2019 and full independence is not my preference "“ but I believe that they will allow Lauchenoiria to move forward from this tragic event. I urge all parties present to agree to these Accords, and I thank Mr Robert Smyth for working so hard to resolve this conflict."

Some of those present murmured in agreement, including Laura Moore, who did so with mild reluctance. Charissa Clarke remained silent, although whether this was on purpose or because she was caught back up in her own thoughts, only she could tell.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Laeral » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:01 pm

Upon reading the copy of the Haven Accords placed on the table in front of her, Marie-Claire Beringer was unable to suppress a look of surprise from flitting across her face when she came upon the name "Keitha Noguera" as the next Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria. This changed things. For one, it put the considerable work Laeral had put into building ties with Prime Minister Moore at least partially to waste. She glanced across the table at Keitha Noguera, who seemed to be sitting up straighter with a politician's half-smile upon her face.

"Policy Planning will throw a fit," Alyssia Simonine whispered in her ear, and Marie-Claire gave a slight nod of acknowledgement. The Policy Planning Office was a group of high-level senior civil servants within the Foreign Affairs ministry, responsible for building institutional continuity within Foreign Affairs and ensuring that Laeralian foreign policy worked in the long-term, thinking past the political agenda any new Foreign Minister might bring to the table. They would also probably be very angry about their Central Hespian policy being upended as it was. But again, it wasn't as if Marie-Claire had much of a choice besides signing it. Marie-Claire, and the rest of the Laeralian delegation, just sat in their chairs and observed the discussion. As soon as they could, they excused themselves to find a quiet room to discuss.

The part on Aelurian independence wasn't a major issue. Once Aarón, the expert in the room, looked it over and proclaimed his approval, the three diplomats quickly turned to the part on the war itself.
"Are we okay with having to pull out our spies in Lauchenoria?" Alyssia asked.

"We have ways of getting around that," Marie-Claire said. "I don't like how the Sanctarians get to keep soldiers in place and administer the Accords."

"I think that their domestic politics will stop them from pulling Lauchenoirian too far into their sphere of influence," Alyssia replied. "I assume that we can just keep engaging with the country otherwise."

"Take a look at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission," Marie-Claire said. "I think we can work with that. We weren't the side committing war crimes."

"Also, new elections are part of the Accords," Aarón said. "That condition's at least met, although Sanctaria's in charge of choosing when they are."

"I think we can trust Noguera to nominate a decent unity government?" Marie-Claire asked. "She's smart enough not to nominate a government made up of solely Aelurian separatists. Also, we'll need to make sure that 6.1 and 6.2 are carried out thoroughly."

Alyssia nodded in agreement. "Kerlile and Lauchenoiria have too many of our people in captivity. Odds are, they'll try to hang on to a few of our soldiers, maybe pass them off as dead."

"We won't let them get away with that," Marie-Claire said.

They let Josephine Alvarez's fate pass with little comment, having little idea of the hidden struggles that had gone into that clause of the Accords.

"We get repatriation of our dead," Alyssia said. "Overall, I think we can work with these Accords."

"The big winner here is Sanctaria, I think," Aarón said. "They get to play a major role in Lauchenoria's future. Are we comfortable with that?"

"We can work with that," Marie-Claire said. "And it's not as if anyone else could credibly do so. We can keep them honest." She picked up her cell phone to place a call.

"So you're going to sign?" Alyssia asked.

"It's not as if we have a great deal of choice in the matter," Aarón said with a glum expression.

"Yes, I'll sign," Marie-Claire said. "I discussed the matter with the President, and he granted me authority to sign provided that a few conditions are met. I'll be signing the Accords shortly."

"So the war's over," Aarón said.

"Not yet," Alyssia replied. "But I don't think it'll be long."

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Sanctaria » Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:23 pm

After presenting the Accords and reading through it, as well as hearing some initial thoughts from those present, Smyth slid his chair back and stood up. "Delegates, we will break for 90 minutes so that we may retreat to our antechambers and discuss them more thoroughly. Thank you."

An aide a few feet to his left nodded, and opened the door for Smyth, which lead to his own temporary office high over the Basilica. As he stepped through the door, he wasn't surprised to see very two familiar faces sitting at his desk: Prime Minister Charlene Hendry, and Foreign Secretary Brian Young. "Charlene. Brian. Pleasure to see you!"

"Robert, first of all thank you very much for hosting these talks. Your skill as a negotiator is renowned and we are glad you were able to use your diplomatic prowess to succ-", Foreign Secretary Young started before being cut off by the Prime Minister.

"Not now, Brian. Robert, what on earth were you thinking of committing Sanctaria to this much involvement without even checking with me first? This might be Sanctarian Conservative policy, but we do things differently in a Democratic Left government. We're covering the cost of elections? Or repatriation? A Truth and Reconciliation Commission? What is this? The voters are going to eat me alive. We wanted to move away from Sanctaria's colonial history, not try to resurrect it." She continued, for some time, lecturing Smyth.

"Prime Minister, if I may?" Smyth interjected calmly. "Please do not see this as a political ploy. I'm beyond party politics now, I have no role in domestic affairs anymore, and you know this. And frankly, the people will be glad to see Sanctaria taking a more firm hand as a regional leader." Smyth looked to Young who was nodding his head slowly in agreement. "Further, Prime Minister, I don't think it will cost as much as you may fear. Lauchenoirian population is nothing compared to Sanctaria's. This would be a relatively small election, something more akin to, say, a city council election in Sanctus - or one of the new state elections when Sanctaria is federalised. In the grand scheme of things, it shouldn't be costly for a once-off election process.

As for our troops being on the ground, that's only if it is deemed necessary. We're hopeful it won't and they would be there in a peacekeeping capacity only. While the nation's police and armed forces are being replenished, someone needs to keep the order, and we can't have Laeralian or any other nation involved in the conflict do so. It would appear to be biased.

I've spoken with Noguera, naturally, and I've indicated that Sanctaria would be hopeful for an election next March. I admit the Truth and Reconciliation aspect of things will take longer, but daily Sanctarian involvement in the region, even nominal involvement, should be finished within six to nine months."

Hendry sighed. "My legacy as Prime Minister cannot be mucking things up in Lauchenoiria, Robert. I have to federalise our own country, that's enough of a battle."

"Prime Minister, when your legacy is written the only thing they'll have to say about Lauchenoiria is that you helped save the country. Not that you took it over or that you ruined it."

"Fine. But how do I sell this to parliament? How do I sell this to the people?"

"You have a majority in the House. As for the Senate, there's enough in the SCP to back the DLP. And as for the people, you tell them the truth. You're saving lives."

"Will this end the war - for once and for all? I don't want a repeat. Lauchenoiria's been enough trouble over the past 60 years."

"Yes. A new constitution will be written by a unity government. Noguera will lead it as Prime Minister, but it will be equally be stocked with communists, capitalists, traditionalists, and progressives. We can use our leverage vis a vis the holding of elections and resumption of normality to ensure any contentious things are fully compromised out."

"This is significant investment for Sanctaria, Robert. Not monetary, I concede, it won't cost us that much, but in terms of influence - our foreign affairs budget will have to increase, as will our homeland security one. Obviously peace is good but what else do we get out of it?"

"Sanctaria is putting a lot of effort into this, I agree, Prime Minister. As such the bill will be divided up and added to the debt the various countries involved already owe us. Is that fair for you?"

Hendry nodded.

"Fine, Robert. Fine. But you could have checked first without dragging me across the entire bloody country. And one more thing." She looked at him square in the eyes. "You're staying on as Group Special Envoy. Non-negotiable. Under these Accords we are the Guarantor, and we have a lot of things that we need to sign off on and agree to etc. You're going to be acting with plenipotentiary powers for Sanctaria as Guarantor. And you will liaise with Brian and the Foreign Department regularly. We'll set you up with an office in the embassy in Buttercity." She stood up. Smoothed her skirt, and walked away. She stopped at the door. "I trust you can sign the Accords on behalf on Sanctaria as Guarantor?"

***

"So, Delegates. Ladies and gentleman", Smyth said as he re-entered the room at the end of the 90 minute break. "Any final comments before we sign these and go home?"

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by conterniasgloriousleader » Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:24 pm

10.00

Once all eyes in the room were again facing forward, Etan Bloomberg let all he'd just heard sink in. It was a few words that kept flashing in front of his eyes again and again - "all foreign military or intelligence forces, determined by the Gurantor, shall be asked to leave the Federation of Lauchenoiria." With that single sentence, everything he'd hoped to get out of these negotiations fell apart right in front of him. He tried to stay composed, to register nothing more than professional disappointment - as opposed to the awful, bone-deep horror he actually felt. Images kept flashing in front of his eyes - the burning police station in Melissa City: Dr Antonin with a bag over his head: dead bodies on the floor of an abandoned building in Melissa City. When he'd let these things happen, they'd felt justified -it all had to happen, he'd told himself, if any good was to come of this awful war. But now, with Operation Counterpoint's designs on Conternia foiled, with all his efforts rendered void, he couldn't stop himself from feeling the weight of it all, of every single death. Innocents dead, his country's own agents betrayed, his own mentor disgraced - and for nothing. He coughed and composed himself, before rising and addressing the gathered diplomats.
"Good people of these great nations, I will be frank with you: I cannot pretend to be altogether satisfied with this outcome. I made it clear that I think a complete evacuation of Conternian troops from Lauchenoiria would be a mistake, and run counter to the country's best interests. Nonetheless, I acknowledge that, in this case, that is not Conternia's decision to make, and I wish to express my recognition of and respect for the decision that the Guarantor has reached, and would encourage all my fellow delegates to do the same."
He scanned the faces surrounding him, and saw, from what he could read on their poker faces, a general sense of scorn, an unspoken response of 'who do you think you're fooling?' to his apparent humility and graciousness. In days to come, Bloomberg would often think back on their expressions in that moment as the defining moment of his time as Prime Minister.
"I should also like to add", he continued, "that I am prepared to fully cooperate with the Truth and Reconciliation Committee's investigation. I applaud this effort to bring closure and justice to this war, and Conternia is willing to do anything it can to aid in their efforts."
With that, he sat down, and again scanned the crowd, but this time the face that stuck with him was that of Barrow, a few seats away from him: conspiratorial yet disapproving, in a manner that whispered "only I know what you did". For most of the people in this room, today represented an ending. Etan Bloomberg, however, felt as if his ordeal was just beginning.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:41 pm

Councillor Anita Patel of Kerlile squeezed the metal pen in her hand so hard half expected it to snap as easily as the plastic one she'd broken when she first heard the Josephine Alvarez clause in the Accords. If Rebecca Arnott had her way, any "˜final comments' would be her last in international relations. Patel knew she could not say anything that wouldn't hurt her more than it would help. So, she remained silent.

On the same side of the table, Charissa Clarke ought to have felt the same way. But it had slowly occurred to her that Kerlile would view what had happened here as a failure on her part, and Lauchenoiria would hardly welcome her with open arms. Charissa Clarke was panicking, and in panic she decided to speak.

"Ladies and gentlemen," she began, speaking slightly too fast, "I believe that this conflict has to end and as such it is fully necessary that we sign these Accords, but I hope that Sanctaria can indeed ensure the fairness of any subsequent elections. It would be a great shame if Laura Moore was allowed to return to power after everything she has done. That is all."

Clarke had been trained her whole life to act the perfect little politician, but right now all she felt was an animal fight or flight instinct, like she was right back where she had been at two years old, before all this started. She couldn't even make eye contact across the table.

Laura Moore had noticed this, and took great pleasure in staring down the visibly uncomfortable Clarke. Any sympathy she might once have felt had been wiped away by all she'd seen in this war. Once, Charissa Clarke would have been an almost pitiful figure to Moore's old pacifist self. Now, she was only the person who had ordered Leanna Walker shot.

"I thank Mr Robert Smyth for his patience in conducting these negotiations. I hope that now we can begin to rebuild our nation after this devastating war."

Laura Moore could have spoken for several hours, but it had been decided that the wisest course of action would be to refrain from any further criticism of the Accords or the peace process. In which case, Laura Moore had no more to say.

Keitha Noguera felt calmer inside than she had in months. She still mourned for Anael, but she was an optimist at heart, and she was optimistic about the future of Lauchenoiria. For all her desires for Aelurian independence, she had always wanted what was best for both the island and the wider Federation.

Or perhaps Nazario Mací­as, who had declined to sit by her side to finalise the Accords, had been right. He had called her an opportunist, and refused to support her for one more moment. Noguera saw a kind of bitter irony in this, since he had been the one pushing her to give up throughout the war. Inside, though, she felt that she was doing the right thing. And that was all that mattered.

"I believe we are all in agreement," she smiled to the room, fully aware that her statement was only true because nobody really had any choice. "So, shall we finalise the agreement?"

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Sanctaria » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:14 am

Smyth nodded.

"Alright then. The Sanctarian Government has asked me to remain as Group Special Envoy and to act as their plenipotentiary vis a vis exercising the Guarantor responsibilities as detailed in the Accords. I assure you all I take this continued assignment as serious as I have done throughout the entire process to date." He took out a pen and, on a copy of Accords that was before him, signed his name.

"If we could all sign this copy. Historical mementos can be signed later, let's get this peace enacted now." He watched as all other participants signed their names - some noticeably more begrudgingly than others.

"Now. I think we all deserve a round of applause - peace has been achieved." Some slow claps at first, but eventually the noise grew louder under all groups, even if not necessarily all individuals, were clapping. Smyth even saw some smiles.

"Diplomacy is the art of compromise. That no one person leaves here fully happy today means this is a good deal. It is a good agreement. The media is gathering downstairs - outside the Basilica, I believe - and I think we should all ready ourselves for the barrage of questions we're about to face. First, though, some housekeeping.

The Government of Sanctaria has advised me to tell you that your ... welcomes, and particularly your diplomatic visas for those who had to obtain them, are valid for a further five days. The Prime Minister believes that is ample time to resolve your affairs here before returning to your own countries.

Acting in my position as Guarantor plenipotentiary, interim Prime Minister Noguera has been directed to submit a list of individuals she proposes to sit in a unity government to my office. They will be vetted - thoroughly - and while I'm sure it won't be necessary, if I have to veto appointments, I will. Once that unity government is confirmed, their first action will be to appoint a Vice President.

To all those who have foreign forces - military or otherwise - in the conflict area, they are to be out by ... we'll say November 30th, at the absolute latest. I want a status update from each of your national governments on October 31st as to how many have been removed as of that date, and how many are left to be removed before the November 30th deadline. I will liaise with Prime Minister Noguera as to whether or not Sanctarian peacekeepers will be required.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be up and running from an administrative point of view by November 1st - please begin preparing any cases that it should adjudicate. I will announce, on behalf of the Sanctarian Government, a Sanctarian jurist to chair the TRC in due course.

I want PoWs-", he stopped and looked at the Kerilian delegation, "-all PoWs to be released within the week. Any longer and there will be severe repercussions.

And that's it for now. Further executions of the Accords will be relayed to your respective foreign ministries by myself or by my office. I look forward to our continued relationship over the next period. I do hope we'll be in a position to announce elections sooner than later though", he added, throwing a sideways glance at Noguera, moreso as a warning that he was watching, and he was on a deadline.

"Thank you all, Ladies and Gentleman, Delegates. We made peace today. We made history today. It is a cause for celebration!" And a vodka tonic, he thought to himself.

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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:34 pm

Thursday 6th September 2018

“Councillor Carmen Robinson has vanished, ma’am,” said the woman.

“What do you mean, ‘vanished’?” demanded Councillor Anita Patel.

“There is no trace of her in any of her residences and the staff know nothing.”

“Bring her daughters here,” ordered Patel.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“Why not?” Patel spat out, the two words conveying more threats than two words ever should be able to.

“Her entire family has vanished as well.”

“Out,” Patel ordered, her voice quiet, something infinitely more frightening than if she’d yelled. The woman did not have to be told twice, and scurried out of the door. She paused in the corridor, contemplating running much further, lest Patel decide to place blame on her. No, she thought, running would just make me look guilty. She went back to her work.

Anita Patel had been angry ever since her return from Sanctaria the day before. Truthfully, since even before then. She picked up the bundle of papers the rebels had so foolishly sent to everyone. ‘On the orders of Councillor Carmen Robinson’ was stamped all over the contents. And yet Councillor Carmen Robinson was nowhere to be found.

Patel had been furious with the Haven Accords. Not to mention mildly afraid. She was sure that nothing dodgy could be traced back to her, except… well, she wasn’t completely sure after all. She blamed Jennifer Hale. She blamed Carmen Robinson. She blamed everyone else, in fact.

Councillor Patel stood on a balcony at the top of the Council building, looking over the city of Grapevale. All this, and all they got out of it was Jennifer Hale. And if Robinson really had vanished with all her family, then even that could be all in vain. The Council was broken, it seemed. And if November never came, it would be too soon.

*

Jonas Kelley avoided eye contact as he stood in the security queue at Buttercity Airport. It wouldn’t do if someone recognised him. His face wasn’t as publicly known as some of the others who’d worked for Chaher and Clarke. But everyone that did know his face, knew what he had done for a living. He hadn’t tried to keep it quiet.

He regretted boasting about it now. The queue moved forward. He didn’t fear repercussions, he’d done nothing wrong. Except… he knew he’d feel safer once he was over a border somewhere. He passed through security without incident, and proceeded further into the airport.

“Jonas Kelley!” shouted a voice. Jonas froze. Footsteps grew closer. I didn’t do anything, he thought, panicked, they can’t arrest me. The person who’d shouted stopped in front of him. He held his breath.

“You left your passport in the tray,” said a woman, and handed him the document. She walked off. He exhaled, shaking.

Three hours later, he boarded a plane. Jonas Kelley hoped he would never set foot in Lauchenoiria again. He hoped this would be over. Jonas Kelley was a little naïve.

*

“DADDY!” yelled Kelli Moore, jumping into her father’s arms as she spotted him standing under the ‘International Arrivals’ sign. Her brother Jamey followed her eagerly. Her father picked her up and spun her around, then did the same to her brother.

“I missed you,” he said to Jamey in Spanish.

“Where’s mummy?” he asked in English.

“En español?” Felipe prompted. Jamey shrugged in a way that made it clear he wasn’t confident speaking the words in Spanish.

“Has nobody been teaching you Spanish? Well, we’ll have to work on that. Won’t we?”

“¿Donde está mami?” Kelli interrupted, half showing off that she could actually remember Spanish.

“Your mum will be back tomorrow, don’t worry. We’ll all be together again soon,” Felipe assured his daughter.

“Promise neither of you will leave us again?” Kelli said hopefully.

Felipe hugged his two children, avoiding answering the question. He couldn’t make that promise.

*

Keitha Noguera still mourned for her husband. Nevertheless, she was overjoyed at the prospect of a binding referendum, and before leaving for Buttercity, left Nazario Macías, who would succeed her as First Minister of Aeluria with a mountain of advice.

“Remember, our support is strongest in the villages, the problem is in the Liaville suburbs with the large immigrant Lauchenoirian population…”

“I know, Keitha,” sighed Nazario Macías. He’d been having the same conversation ever since the Accords had been signed. “I’ve done this before, you know.”

“I know, but this is our big chance!”

“You know I don’t approve of you going to Buttercity,” Macías stated for what seemed to be the thousandth time.

“I know,” Noguera sighed, “but I know I have to, just… don’t mess up our chance.”

Macías, who knew what she would say, having heard it about eight times in the past three hours, only smiled.

“I won’t. Aeluria will have voted for independence by this time next year. Mark my words.”

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Laeral
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Re: Have I Got Coups For You

Post by Laeral » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:39 am

September 6th, 2018
National Assembly Building, Laeralsford
Some people experienced a 'runner's high' where after a period of immense effort, they became euphoric. Tanvi Misra experienced much the same thing, usually after being applauded for her efforts. She had experienced this probably about two dozen times in her life- the first after she was elected Prime Minister of her school's Student Government in high school, and most recently at the Progressive National Convention over the summer, where she was nominated as the party candidate for president. She felt that euphoria now. She had just received a standing ovation from the Assembly of Commons, having announced to the assembled Representatives and to the Laeralian people that the Haven Accords had been signed, peace had been declared, and that "our brave men and women will soon be coming home". She swept into the Prime Minister's office. Nathalie, her administrative assistant, was there, waiting for her.
"Ma'am? Congratulations on your speech. You have a meeting with the corporate donors to your presidential campaign fund at 4 today, and then you're meeting Governor Zhou at 8."

"It's too damn fine of a day for that," Misra said. "Clear my schedule?"

"Ma'am?"

"Clear my schedule. I will go to the airport. The first soldiers are coming back from Lauchenoiria today at 4:00, correct?"

"That's correct, ma'am," Nathalie said. she knew better than to argue with her boss. "Do you want me to let the press know about this?"

"Don't tell them. I want to give them a surprise. Maybe that will make the straighten up," Misra said. "I want to see the soldiers returning. Is that too much to ask?"

"No, ma'am," Nathalie said. "I'll make sure it happens."

"Good for you," the Prime Minister said. She eased into a chair and closed her eyes, humming a gentle tune to herself. Nathalie gave her some peace. Her boss, the next president of Laeral, deserved some.

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