The leather seat was cold, Edwina felt the night air further as she dumped her heavy jacket over the back of the seat; she pulled her long blonde hair aside with one hand as she fumbled about inside the dark cockpit for the end of a heavy data cable. Lights flickered on as the shouts of the crew rushing into the hangar echoed through the still open hatch, allowing Edwina to finally grasp at the cable that was embarrassingly slung across the back of her seat, coaxing out a frustrated mumble. 'The wagon is down... what's it looking like out there?' Deftly inserting the cable into the back of neck through the small plastic cover, quickly following up by slamming down a hand upon the engine starter; the heavy button resisting her for a moment, giving way to spin up the heavy engine beneath her with a loud roar. TACIT3 BOOTOS V1.220... MEMORY ALLOCATION 3282228b OK... CPU 380HZ, CLOCK SPEED NOMINAL. BIOSIGN CONFIRMATION... I/O HANDSHAKE... A spark and quiver ran down the woman's spine as she began to feel the cold depths of the awakening machine, red lines and overlays beginning to flicker upon the transparent cockpit of the Touro mech, status lights and annunciation flashing in sequence as the beast's engine spooled to life, its low rumble washing over the quickly filling hangar. 'Two heavies and a crapload of infantry, no movement from the wagon... what the hell is going on?' --- Pheonix-1 Naval Annex, Base Exterior The lumbering Mammoth kept its distance from its disabled brethren, reversing back at a sharp angle to keep its bulk poised between the constant fire exchange between the lines of infantry; shimmering barrier flaring up as rounds sparked off and spiraled off into the night's sky, the scattered tracers seen across the island as the local population hid and cowered in the small towns. High explosive ordinance poured into the makeshift cover of the attacking troops, the twin turreted cannons upon the heavy tank keeping constant fire upon the new arrivals, preventing the vehicle from meeting the same fate as the Carnival Wagon through its withering barrage of shells. But the final screen of defensive fire quickly died out as the weapons began to seize or empty, the rapid ravaging laid out quickly expending the war machine's capacity to fight. The colossi took scant seconds to barge through their fractured cover and barrel down upon the retreating vehicle, failing to notice the bulkhead doors opening once more... It wasn't the rumble of tracks that emerged, the deep heavy thumps of metal on concrete as four heavy walkers practically marched up the ramp to the fight, two abreast and quickly pouncing, letting loose high explosive shells and pouring down bright red tracers from their stuttering machine-guns. Caught flat footed, the only response was to charge... the humanoid constructs bounding gracefully compared to the rigid Touro mechs, clearing the dozens of meters courting only machinegun rounds and fragments from the near misses. It leveraged the blunt end of its mighty weapon against the side of an unfortunate Touro and drove the metal beast deep into the concrete with a sickening crunch of metals cracking against each other, but victory was short lived as a high explosive shell from the victim's distraught colleague buried deep into the metal man's arm, blowing the limb clear and throwing it off balance, sealing its fate at the end of another shell.
Edwina stared down the ominous towering thing that was quickly closing with her, the armoured humanoid glimmering imposingly with the fires to its back, she counted the steps her Touro made as eased the throttle, slowing her advance just enough to zone in a single shot from the 105mm cannon... the reticule jittered with the already stretched stabilization, the giant hammer mere meters from her cockpit when the moment felt right to let loose, knowing there would only be one shot. It slammed into the side of the humanoid's torso, detonating with enough force to cause the weapon to slip from its hand before a focused barrage of machinegun fire tore through the sensitive servos on its arm. Seemingly enraged by its injury, it threw its entire bulk forwards towards her, Edwina thought fast and barely had enough time to bring the heavy metal shoe of her mech down upon the concrete with undue force, the sudden shift of ground tripping her attacker just long enough for the telltale clunk of the autoloader to indicate a round was in place. The second shot blew open the mechanical innards of the giant humanoid machine, sparks and fluids spilling out onto the concrete as it struggled to move... with the phosphorous flames still burning, bodies strewn all around, she drove her Touro right to the dying machine and with a vindictive thrust, crushed it under the metal heel of her mech. Edwina blinked and slowly looked around, the cracked cockpit giving her a wide view of the now still battlefield, searchlights sweeping across the carcasses of construction machines and workers alike, the guns were silent, the battle was over. "Report from the Dis is that they are ready to provide air support as needed, over." An exasperated laugh escaped Edwina as she opened up her radio channel, speaking loudly; "A little Irene damned late for that."
--- Nordic Democratic Republic, Northern Outskirts of Bukkvika, Private Residence Rosie sat alone in the carpeted room, half-read books scattered about the base of her couch as she stared blankly at the creaking window, the brisk and blustering winds trying thier best to seep indoors while rolling gentle waves through the distant trees and tall grass. She jerked upwards when a knock sounded upon the wooden door, dragging her long mess of red hair out of her eyes as she spoke out; "What is it?" "There's a man here to see you, looks like work stuff?" Unseen hands balling into frustrated fists, a deep breath doing much to bury the welt of frustration that delayed her response, "Tell them I'll be a minute..." "Alright, Mary says dinner's up in five; don't be late." As the young man's footsteps proceeded down the wooden steps, she slowly stood up, gazing at her slight reflection in the window to aid straightening out her flurried mess of hair in a vain effort to look nonplussed, before guiltily peeking out into the corridor and retreating to her bedroom. She dumped cold water over herself and changed from her loose casual clothes, tying her hair back and doing her best to mask the tired marks under her eyes before dressing in an elaborate two-piece suit, dumping a case upon her bed and throwing in a collection of clothes almost angrily as she caught the sound of the bedroom door opening behind her. Her frustrated gaze met the blue eyes of the stout, short Mary; who quickly noticed the laid out clothes and half-packed case and retreated solemnly down the corridor to the staircase. Rosie returned to packing immediately, stalling only for a moment to wipe her eyes clear before slamming the case shut and following the traveled path down the long wooden staircase, not bothering to stop as she swung open the front door and greeted the cold air and the equally cold expression of the man standing out besides an all black car. She didn't look back, climbing into the back seat where a well-dressed woman with a red rose in her hair dumped a cardboard envelope upon Rosie's lap, coaxing the curious question; "So where am I going?" "Kjanu dear." the white haired woman replied, "They're doing something big."
The leading never nods her head to the Fengese Emperess.
Woman: "Thank you for you hospitality Your highness, if you wish we can discuss other topics as we prepare for the meeting." She says, looking over at her assistant and three guards, who either slightly shrug or nod in response. One of the guards just stood there not making a single sound or movement, but his eyes seem to convey a message of 'I only fallow orders'
At the request of the Department of Homeland and Global Security, the legislature passed sweeping import law reform as part of a new policy by Director Leon Vance.
The new law, which is expected to pass and be signed by the President, will now ban all weapons, including all knives, or sharp objects, plants, laser products, and tobacco products.
" These new restrictions will ensure the safety of our people, community, economy, and agriculture. They may cause some short headaches for some, but the need for proactive measures will be worth it." stated Director Vance at a meeting with the Lower House Legislature.
The new restrictions will not go into effect for two full weeks, after that, Border Protection is expected to begin a "zero tolerance policy" for items on this list. Those who do try and sneak products into the country could face a fine as high as $2,000, a ban on entry to the country, and possible imprisonment.
First Presidential Debate Ends With No Clear Victory
The first of two Presidential debates has ended between United Future Party member President Williams, and Conservative nominee Mayor Robert Richie. Williams was going into the debate as the clear winner, but Richie surprised many, some calling him the winner.
Both candidates received a small bump in the polls, mostly coming from undecideds, which make up 12% of registered voters. The Williams campaign has announced plans to focus on the undecided voters over the next few weeks, while the Richie campaign is focusing on its efforts to regain momentum in the northeast and chip into the President's lead.
Currently, the President is polling 7 points ahead of the Mayor as we reach the halfway point in this campaign cycle.
Standoff In Tauranga
Federal Police in Trace County, on the northern part of Tauranga are in a standoff against 102 members of a cult. The group is led by Ashton Carter, who has referenced himself as the savior of mankind, and has 100 followers living in a compound just outside of the local town.
Federal police were exercising a federal search warrant after a month long investigation. The police were tipped off that the group's leader had been purchasing nearly half a million dollars in illegal weapons. When the Federal Police arrived on the scene, shots were exchanged. It is not clear at this time who fired first, but a near 30-minute exchange broke out resulting in the death of two individuals at the compound and one federal officer.
Negotiators arrived on scene just a short while ago as the group threatened to fire again at police if they came too close. Of the 100 members, 28 of them are children below the age of 18.
First off, I want to congratulate Grenopia and Hismat on their victory and wish you both the best of luck throughout your term. You both have some bold ideas that will hopefully work towards moving our region forward.
To those in the cabinet, both during my first and second term, I want to thank you for working alongside, coaching, and mentoring me throughout this journey.
To everyone else, I start by owing you an apology. I never thought things would get so bad in the real world that it would take a lot of my attention. However, I hope the work we did over the last six months can still allow this to be a successful term.
With that, I owe everyone in the region a thank you for your support and putting your trust in me, and this will conclude the AusValia administration.
"High King Ferdon. You summoned me?" Amir came to a stop, bowing quickly before smoothing his elegant clothing.
The king moved forward in his throne, eyeing the other for a moment before leaning back again. "I am sending you to our new allies in Jezabelstien. Expect a great deal of time just to get in. But, this is very important. You must he them to help us modernize. We need a modern fleet and modern urbanisation. As well, we need help building up our standing army. Offer them exclusive trade deals, beg if need be. This country cannot die. But it will, if we don't get their help. Now go. And bring the blueprints for the hammerhead. Perhaps their submarine experts can make it even better. They may even help build them. Death guide you, diplomat."
"Death guide you, your grace." Once again he bowed, not keen on questioning orders.
SDII Darksite, Progress External Development Zone, Meridian Commonwealth Perry sat at the small composite table as he idly observed the unfolding movie upon the small electronic device, dark brown hair long and ragged with a beard grown out and as unkempt as his white polymer jumpsuit. Tight confines soothed with an artificial climate and synthetic sunlight, but despite the date and time projected onto the wall from an unseen source, he had lost track of all sense of time. "I really think you kids shouldn't be playing about with that thing." he spoke to the screen, "Been around that block enough to know that glowing swords never end well." before an unfamiliar chime sounded from the device, a small message popping up over the projection of the fantastical battle starting to unfold, 'Stand clear of the door.' His confusion manifesting with a drawn out; "Huh?" before the wall of his cell exploded, smoke spilling in from the outside as he looked over at the door blown clean from its track, half-embedded in the unused bed. Perry coughed as he tried to fan the smoke away from his face, "I'm BUSY." he half shouted into the seemingly empty corridor, returning his attention to the small entertainment device before being pulled from his chair to face the dark clad woman in a silken black dress, steel-toned eyes looked over the annoyed Perry before she began to drag him to the door. "What's the meaning of all this, who are you?" he shouted, shoving her away as he tried his best to stow the tablet in the hem of his pants; "Because you suck at this assassination thing." The woman's response was sharp and monotone, doing her best with her well-toned arms to keep dragging the disorientated Perry down the metal corridor, now throbbing with bright red lighting; "Our mistress asked that you be returned, so you will be." "Your... mistress?" The stimulation of the situation finally sparked his isolation addled mind into action, "Oh, OH... you took your time didn't you?... what's my husband gonna think of me being away all this time?" Dark shadowy figures seemed to form in the corridors before his senses went blank, a sudden blinding brilliance scrambling his already strained mind as dull thuds seemed to last an eternity... Eventually the world returned to focus, he was stuck slumped over a railing as his savior seemed to struggle with an electronic lock; Perry tried to speak but only made soft meaningless gasps before being pulled over the woman's shoulder as she set another explosive upon the metal door. The explosion seemed silent, but the shock was felt through his body, pulled through the blasted hole and down corridor after corridor, the sterile white materials blending together in his mind. By the time his perceptions caught up, he was keeled over a railing in a vehicle bay with the contents of his stomach upon the top of a sleek armoured van beneath them, "...the hells was that?" Perry asked weakly, holding himself up as his strength returned slowly. Distant sounds of alarms were the first thing that struck him as the high pitched whine in his ears faded, following by the repeated clashing of metal upon metal. The room was filled with a collection of sharply angled white-painted transports of shapes and sizes, covered with ambiguous and alien livery, apart from the obvious stand-out of his own vehicle, coaxing a small smile from him; "Oh hey they kept it intact..." he said aloud, looking around once more for the sisterhood agent; "You still here missy?" "They've locked them all down." came her reply from across the motor pool, turning back to face him; "We'll have to go on foot." Perry shook his head as he motioned to the mostly intact police interceptor, indentation of the sanitation truck still evident upon its side; "I'm driving." he smugly stated, making his way down the staircase as the woman looked over the vehicle with a incredulous expression, asking "Does it still run?" "No confidence in your own country?... made in Seraphim, top of the line." he replied, cracking open the damaged door with a little bit of effort, the reinforced dashboard and leather seats slightly scuffed by the impact, a tender grip upon the wheel as he slipped into the seat and pulled the door closed behind him. He took some moments to stretch his arms out as the unseen maiden set about opening up the garage doors, the metal barriers receding seamlessly into the floor and exposing the ramp up to the bright sunlight beyond... Perry reached under his seat and pulled out the dust-covered officer cap, brushing a thumb gently over the JPD insignia before slipping the spare key out from within the hem, slipping it on his head as the woman returned, sitting in the front passenger seat and directing Perry with a firm, "Pickup is southbound, the desert doesn't have heavy coverage." "Oh I'm sure the Thane's lackies would just love this." Perry replied, following up with a distracted; "You girls don't make this easy do you?" as with a deft touch spurred the vehicle to life, the deafening rumble setting off further alarms, tires squealing as the dented high-performance interceptor practically flew up the heavy ramp, smashing aside a lightweight ball-wheeled trike as Perry took a scant moment to rub his eyes before throwing the wheel to the left, inciting a sharp turn down the illuminated roadways. Shimmering translucent projections formed upon the road, flashing red warnings and orders to stop, "So you got a name, miss?" Perry asked, keeping his motions smooth as the lines of aerodynamic automated vehicles did their best to part from the path of the speeding interceptor. "Eyes ahead, MEL agents are mobilizing." was the woman's curt response, before adding on a delayed; "Neriah..." "Like Neriah Smith or just that?..." "Neriah." The short conversation was punctuated with a sharp turn down a tunnel entrance, leaving behind the sterile white cityscape with an end unseen, the sides of the tunnel pitted with already stopped vehicles in advance of their thunderous approach. Perry's curiosity peaked as the distant sound of sirens began to approach, asking bluntly: "So I don't mean to be a bother, but like... you know the reason for any of this?" "SDII records stated you as a heavy flight risk and possible accomplice to the blackout attack some months ago." Neriah replied as she readied her sidearm, a silvered large-bore handgun styled with engraved roses. "Okay so that's the official story." Perry stated between a pair of small turns in the long tunnel, attention split between the approaching end and the wave of high-speed ball-treaded black-tinted personnel carriers, "But the real reason?" "Leverage." Perry's laugh overpowered the rumbling engine before he was cut short by the blinding light of the open desert, the ill-populated road stretching off into the seemingly infinite sand dunes. "I should of brought some shades..."
Eyes adjusted to the blinding sunlight, he kept his increasingly sweaty hands upon the wheel, the ever-approaching pursuers stuck in the back of his mind as he tried to keep the somewhat unbalanced vehicle straight upon the desert road. "So how far to pickup?" Neriah shrugged in reply, handgun still held at the ready, "No features, no map... I can't get something from nothing." Perry shifted uncomfortably before locking his eyes forwards, pitching dunes and desert plants rolled by as the net slowly tightened... soon the silhouettes of the vehicles were easing into his peripheral vision, a loud; "PULL OVER." shouted loud enough to pierce the wind and mechanical cacophony. But in one smooth motion, Neriah had shattered through the side window with her elbow and fired, the ethereal blue flash and smoke trail blown away in an instant by the winds as one of the vehicles wheels sized and collapsed, sending in spinning out of control across the road. Following up by leaning out through the broken glass, her long hair and silken dress whipping violently as she took careful aim and fired... and fired again, a short staggered series of shots puncturing the frame of the other sleek truck, leading it to pull away and stop its chase. Perry breathed deeply as he tried to keep his nervous hands steady, Neriah slipped back into her seat and pulled her safety harness on, leaving the pair of them staring outwards at the desert road. After many awkward minutes, he eventually glanced over and spoke up over the rushing winds, "SO THEY TEACH YOU HOW TO DO THAT OR JUST..." meeting Neriahs steeled gaze, he shifted; "WHERE'S THE PICKUP?" Neriah motioned upwards, point a finger to the sky... a shadow loomed across the front of the interceptor, a black behemoth hundreds of meters long screaming ahead of them upon red-hot jet engines, drifting lower and lower until its bulk blocked the sun from them, navigation lights flashing back and forth as the heavy cargo ramp slowly descended. "You've got be..." Perry muttered before a maiden leapt out from the back of the Siege Leviathan, gracefully gliding along the metal cable before landing upon the hood of the interceptor with a heavy thud, pulling the cable under the interceptor and mouthing to Perry to 'hold onto something'. His stomach lurched as the vehicle was pulled forwards into the back of the behemoth, holding his hands over his ears to shield them from the deafening jet turbines before the sensation of metal scraping and a solid thump indicated they were aboard. Perry sat in silence, unable to make out the dark of the cargo bay as Neriah opened up the door, "HEY..." he shouted, "Thanks for this, uhh... guess I'll see you around huh?" She didn't even look back, "No... you won't.", dark feminine figures draped a metal mask over her head and wrapped her in a concealing cloak, Perry struggled to open his own door in confusion, practically throwing himself to get a look but... He couldn't remember why. Perry glanced about the bay, two dozen women stared down upon him from catwalks and consoles, all wearing the same black silken dress and white petticoat, "Huh.." he mumbled, before the scent of long-worn and sweaty clothes hit him, "OH HEY... you lot got any spare clothes?" They only stared at him further, coaxing an embarrassed; "Oh... right."
"Well, I didn't expect it to be that easy" Darnia remarked, as the 'ship burglars' as they had come to be known by the three, lay in what used to be Darnia, Mikhail, and Liaku's beds, tied up and immobilised. While they had been expecting to have to fight them, the moment they burst into the three's sleeping quarters and drew arms, they immediately surrendered seeing as they had nothing to fight back with. After that, Reyna had been freed and put to the task of getting the ship back to the dock in Poreliscav; however being one person that task was next to impossible. Liaku then re-entered the room, after being sent to check on Reyna's progress. "How's she doing?" "She's got no chance of getting this thing going without a crew - we're going to have to ask for one from the SRN; it'll blow the operation, but at least we'll get the ship back" "Look: we went into this as a covert operation, we're not blowing our own cover that easily; there's got to be another way" "Doesn't look like it" "You two going to keep nattering like an old couple, or do you want breakfast?" Mikhail then came into the room, holding two plates with strips of bacon on "Yeah, I'll take that thanks. Where's the coffee by the way?" Liaku was too engrossed in his food to ask any questions "So, a load of it leaked at some point, so there was only enough for one person; and may I remind you who cooked breakfast today?" "Of course you'd take it - although, you barely function without coffee so I can't blame you" The three than ate breakfast in silence, after which they headed upstairs to survey the surroundings. They had ended up in a lagoon like area in the Queendom: the Failnaught was floating on water that was so clear you could see your reflection clearly from high above the sea level. It was flanked by incredibly high mountains that blocked your sight on every angle except for a small mouth just barely wide enough to fit the superheavy carrier through. On the side of one of the cliff faces their appeared to be a small cave opening where a wide variety of strange noises were originating from. The three just passed it off as the wind howling, however. "So, how much longer will we be stuck here?" "Assuming they fly the crew in, about another day, then at least a week at sea" Reyna had just come up from her new found home in the engine room of the ship to answer Darnia's question. "Ah thank goodness, I think I might go crazy living off Mikhail's bacon rations for any longer than that" "Now that is just uncalled for, come on" "Oh it's totally called for" "Definitely" "Mmhmm" "I am under siege at all times in this group aren't I?" After the other three unanimously agreed that Mikhail's cooking was subpar, he proceeded to sulk before trying to find a different topic for conversation. "You know, I'm still holding out hope that we'll find a way to get it back without having to blow the operation to the navy" Darnia couldn't help but agree "Yeah, as much as I detest your cooking I'd rather not blow the operation; and especially not have it blown by the navy - they're all a bunch of complete gossipers; I'm surprised that Kinny bloke didn't go an tell all his friends that he lost his own ship" Reyna wasn't all to happy her own department was getting trash talked right in front of her. "Oi, I am right here you know?" "Oh- er, yeah of course I knew, hehe, none of that includes you of course..." "Right, totally... What's Liaku doing anyway?" Liaku had been silent during the whole conversation as he was currently analysing the ident in the mountain that kept producing weird and wonderful sounds. Currently, it sounded like an engine was revving up while some sort of creature was roaring in the background. "Hey, that cave over there makes some weird noises doesn't it?" Reyna nodded her head in agreement, while Liaku continued to scrutinise what could be seen of the entrance. Darnia, on the other hand, paid the conversation no mind. "Yeah, it does get pretty eerie at night..." "Oh, don't be such babies; it's just the wind - you know where I used to live there were storms all the time and the wind would blow through the cracks in the walls so it sounded just like that every nig-" "Umm, that is not just the wind..." Darnia's tangent was cut short as Liaku got the other three to look towards the cave entrance to see a helicopter rising from the hole. Mikhail was the first to respond, as Liaku was simply incredibly confused, and the two girls were still shocked in awe. "That... cannot be safe in any way shape or form; why are they lau- WHAT ACTUALLY IS THAT?" As if a helicopter seemingly rising from underground wasn't enough, it was soon trailed by a flying... something. It was a cyclops like creature - in that it had one ginormous eye and in literally no other way: it had unnerving, scally green skin with wings that were unreasonably small for such a giant creature. It's body was shaped like an oversized balloon; the majority of its form was a huge sphere with a small tail trailing off at the end. Currently, it seemed intent on attacking this helicopter that had just left before it with it's rather menacingly long and sharp claws. Despite the helicopter's best efforts, the creature was able to catch up to it effortlessly and practically swat the helicopter out of the sky into the lagoon right next to the SRN Failnaught. Seemingly, it wasn't satisfied with this though as it then catapulted towards down towards the helicopter. Darnia this time was the first to come to her senses. "Wh-wh-what is that thing?" However her question couldn't be answered as the being paused in the sky, then changed direction "Well I'll tell you what it's doing: it's coming straight for us!" Upon Liaku saying this; the being crash landed on to the deck of the ship; causing severe damage and significantly tipping the ship over with its weight. It then let out an ear-piercing roar:"?♫Dï=Q-2∟Dò‼æ3╓2ÿ"æ2æaG╒»=⌐╥╓:¼" and proceeded to close in on its opponents. The battle with the Skyfoogle then began.
NU Vision Hi sluts. Its Nicki Minaj here. The NSK television directors got bored so we're opening up Neyde Vision to the world. So here's what you gotta do: telegram us a YouTube link to your song (OOC: This can be any song of your choice!) And it will be put in a playlist. After a day or two, depending on the entry numbers, we will give a link with the playlist and a voting form. You can give a number of points to 5 songs. Then, after the voting period ends, we will reveal the results! The rules include no voting for yourself, no "idk" votes and no entering potentially offensive songs! We have standards here. The winner gets free tickets to the Nicki Minaj world tour. As well as a large sum of money, nuclear weapons and you get to choose the theme for next months contest. This month there is no specific theme so go wild! So what are you waiting for? Get entering! (And buy my new single)
After a full 24-hours of negotiations, Federal Police have reported they are no closer to ending the standoff with a cult in Trace County. One-hundred and two members, led by their leader Ashton Carter have held up in a compound after a near thirty-minute gunfight with police yesterday, leading to the deaths of three people.
Hostage negotiations began first thing this morning, and were reported to be going well, however, things quickly fell apart when Carter said he had new visions to stay with his people,
" At the start of Friday, Mr. Carter was willing to leave the compound peacefully. This evening he later told negotiators that he had been given a vision to stay with his people.", Officer in Charge, David Palmer.
Police are being challenged, as the group is well armed and stocked with supplies,
"We are unsure if we can wait them out, and because of the heat warnings this weekend, along with the safety of the children, we are trying to avoid shutting off the electricity, however it may come to that."
Negotiators are trying to avoid escalating the situation and are focused on trying to free the twenty-eight children still trapped inside.
Political Push Back for the Situation
The hostage situation has quickly built to national headlines and fueled members of the radical right who believe this is a massive government overreach. Protests have broken out outside the police zone and throughout the nation calling for the police to back down,
"This is a church, a clear violation of these people's rights, for what, some guns?" Steve Atherton, a community resident.
Even members of the legislature have questioned the tactics of the Federal Police which led to the deaths of two members of the group and one Federal Officer. Director Vance of the Federal Police has stood by his officers,
"Our officers were serving a valid search warrant for the illegal holding of explosives and modified guns to the value of over half a million dollars. Ashton Carter had and still has the opportunity to end this for the safety of everyone involved. He is the only one to blame."
"The largest cultural celebration this side of Ronovod," they said. I assumed they were referring to a great meeting, but I never expected this. Streamers lined the streets in clumps and stalls set up nearly centimeters from eachother." Hundreds upon thousands of people roamed the streets of Germanium, a predominantly Old Corlenian city with glistening skyscrapers, constantly loud orchestra houses and theatres, and marble statues of old leaders and monuments commemorating military, cultural, and technological victories. Back at the celebration, Kylo Ervis, a close cousin of Corlenian Prime Minister, Milo Marcus, was strolling down the festival street, taking a quick glance at those that walked by him, and the countless stalls he passed. Followers of the Old Corlenian Religions, Taoists, Jews, and Christians desired to share their cultural pieces with other Corlenians. Among the things they were selling, books, paintings, wood carvings such as eagles, Komodo Dragons, religious symbols, simple shapes and engraved misc. objects were a few. Food was also a common sight. He saw Peking duck, Latke, Sufganiyot, and baklava, among countless other dishes. One did catch his eye, however. It was a small pastry called the Castis, an Old Corlenian dish said to bring good luck and wealth to the consumers.
It is a roll of sourdough, specially kneaded to have a large empty space in the middle. During the kneading phase, meats such as beef, pork, oxen, and for special occasions, duck are placed in the center, and a few ounces of Hentovia de Sardinia cheese is spread over the meat. The mixture is then lightly seasoned with garlic salt and paprika, and black pepper is added for the final touch. The dough is pulled over the meat/cheese mixture and the roll is placed in the oven for thirty minutes. When it finally pops out, it should be the shape of a smashed ball, and the meat should be fully cooked...
In other words, a sourdough dumpling. Walking up to the stall owner, he held up his hand in greeting and took out a few paper neekoes for the dish. He was greeted with a friendly smile and the standard greeting of old Corlenians... a wave. Although this greeting is considered Taboo in Dunova, his home Provence, Kylo continued smiling as is customary, further heightening the weird tension between the two of them. He politely handed the stall owner his cash and escaped the situation, receiving the Castis as some form of reward for his patience and general acceptance. He inhaled the dish in under a minute, minuting the strangeness of the situation. After several more hours of walking and three more trinkets for the road, a sudden break in the crowd could be seen. Through the blankets of people lining the road in front of him, he noticed a pattern to their movement. The front half was bent over, barely moving as not to trip and fall. With a graceful gesture of a metal hand, they suddenly got back up. It didn't take much effort to guess who was at the center of the circle they were forming. After a few polite gestures and gentle nudges, Kylo was now at the second-to-last sheet of the group. He shed a sweat at the sight of him, his leader, in public, with no guards whatsoever. Standing next to him was the Prime Minister, clearly enjoying the adoration he and his superior were taking in from all sides, albeit neglecting those with a grimace plastered on their faces where a smile would normally be. Kaiser Omega, on the other hand, seemed to be smiling, just with a bit less grace and far more embarrassment. Despite his best efforts to remain regal and calm in this gathering, he was clearly embarrassed by the crowd, and his second-in-command's clear enjoyment of the lathering of love he was receiving. The negative glances, the grimaces, the light curses, the pro-right slang, it all seemed to be directed at the Kaiser, while the Prime Minister received nothing more than loving stares and admiring smiles. Then again, this would make sense, considering just how... elitist the Kaiser came off, what with his tone, his hotheadedness in speeches, and his almost... excessive use of 'progressive' ideals and far-left fantasies. He was asexual, non-biological, and the first Corlenian leader to ever perceive mutants in a positive light.
The term 'mutant' was actually far more common in the age of oppression fo their species. A far larger number of peoples refer to them as just "People", but in the areas where the far-right has found traction, as well as Dunova (as always), they are always just referred to as "mutants". Despite efforts to demonize the word, convert it, or reimagine it, the word will always be remembered as a memoir of a less enlightened age, only usable by those of mutant descent or mutants themselves.
The crowd suddenly broke and scattered after a death-defyingly intense look from the Kaiser. Be it intentional or not, his look always seemed to be a bit extreme in every conceivable way. His light blue irises glinted in the sunlight, as the feeling of wind previously felt before seemed to increase in speed with every second he even glanced in Kylo's direction. Kylo was the only one who didn't leave the area immediately but Kaiser didn't seem to care. With a few quick footsteps, he was already fading away into the distance. The Prime Minister, however, seemed slow to catch up, taking a quick glance in Kylo's direction, making a quick raise of the hand, then sprinting off to join his superior. Kylo strolled again in their direction once they were clearly out of sight.
Eventually, Kylo was able to reach them, by the time he got there, the sun had already moved a centimeter to the west in the sky, and the two most important people in Corlenia were lounging on a bench. There was no regality or emotion in their posture, they both just appeared drained and exhausted. The only emotion he could pick up was the tiredness of Milo as he huffed and sweated to get over the fact he just ran a mile to reach his albeit faster leader. Kylo set down his bag of souvenirs and walked just a tad bit closer to them. Their mouths were moving, with Milo's stammer and gasps for air after his unwanted physical exertion. He was now close enough to hear what they were saying. "What, are you saying it'd be a bad idea to do this? It could completely reconstruct our society to a more controlled, enlightened, and overall better governmental control system." Omega commented, waiting for a response as Milo caught his breath. "It'd all be pointless (gasp) for us to do so. Why would we even nee- ed to if we-h can stick with what we have now and embra- h- ce democratic society?" "You mean that the idea of unanimous voting and rights doesn't sound democratic?" "I just mean that perhaps it would be best if we let the provinces do their thing, after all, that's another pillar of free government." "That gives me another point, how free should our nation be in order to ensure stability? After all, it would only make sense that Dunova would be the major influence in that ideal. They actually want our nation to fail and collapse." "Why shouldn't they? They have a right to free speech and their own sovereignty as much as we do." "They went too far this time. They made the act of waving, the consumption of pork, and the hiring of mutant workers a punishable offense! They're hurting you and your people? Why are you trying to defend them?" "Because they're my people too." "Not anymore. You are the Prime Minister of Corlenia. Your duties lie with the stability of our country, not the sovereignty of your homeland." "...Then you have failed us all." Milo got up from his side of the bench, leaving his Kaiser behind him. Kaiser Omega simply sank back further into his seat, quickly turning to Kylo's direction, forcing his gaze away. Despite his regal status, his eyes remained unemotional, as did his next words. "Please don't bring this up. I know he's your cousin, but you are working for Corlenia now, not Dunova... as are my loyalties towards Orbonia." With that, the Kaiser stood up and escaped towards the fair once again. "It'd just boil my blood again." he said before fading into a bowing crowd.
Rossendam, National Intelligence Agency Operational HQ 3rd May 2020
The voice of the TV presenter has been ignored so far, with everybody in the hall having something better to do than watch the stupid 6 PM news issue of the Central Broadcasting Service. The monotonous sound of typing keyboards, sometimes accompanied by hurried footsteps and the sharp ringing of phones (Arwindom is notorious for its continued use of old-fashioned "buzzers") suggested that there was plenty of work to be done.
Suddenly, one of the agents faced away from his monitor and turned, alerted, towards the TV. "...the AusValian Federal Police have reported they are no closer to ending the standoff with a cult..." - the TV presenter kept speaking, while a video from an AusValian police helmet camera was streamed onto the screen. "Stupid AusValians" - the agent thought as he turned back towards his monitor. "Always something brewing up over there" - he thought while re-reading an email from his supervisor for what seemed like the 20th time.
He couldn't stay focused, however. Something seemed off. He turned back towards the TV, this time to the phrase "hostage negotiations" accompanied by gunfire. Something was off, definitely, but he couldn't understand what. "Carter" - he thought. "Seems familiar".
By now, a dozen other agents were also looking at the TV, confused, not knowing what distracted them. Colonel Webster also noticed the commotion, briefly raising his head above a report he was reading. "Get back to work, ladies!" - he barked, annoyed at the rapidly dropping level of concentration in the hall. But now he was also distracted. Something did seem special about this footage.
A door slammed open as a young lieutenant burst into the room, accompanied by several other agents. "Colonel Webster!" - they shouted, rushing towards the colonel's desk. "Colonel Webster!"
10 minutes later
As the audience quickly settled down, Colonel Webster, director of the 3rd Section of the Counter-Intelligence Department of the NIS, started to speak.
"It is only by accident, gentlemen, by a sudden turn of fortune that we now know what we didn't know just thirty minutes ago" - he spoke confidently and distinctively from the podium, making a brief pause after every word. "Our colleagues in the AusValian Federal Police have contacted us earlier today, sending us a list of the known cult members that are right now, as we speak, besieged by AusValian authorities after resisting a search and starting a firefight which has already claimed the lives of three people" - the Colonel paused, to let what he had just said sink into the ears of his listeners.
"They asked us whether one of the names seemed in any way familiar. At first, we didn't understand what this had to do with us. But after re-reading the list several times, our agents have reached a shocking conclusion. "
"James Morton, one of the hundred-twenty-two cult members currently engaged against the AusValian police, is... is not James Morton at all. Gentlemen, the AusValian police have unknowingly cornered Frederick DeBianchi, known mafiosi and terrorist, leader of "Spades", the group responsible for the 2004 Rossendam Underground bombings as well as numerous other events which I don't feel the need to mention here as they are known by all Arwindens."
"Mr. DeBianchi has been pursued by our authorities for nearly 16 years now in a terrible game of cat and mouse. He outwitted us, numerous times. We have no idea how any why he escaped to AusValia, but now, it seems, justice has finally caught up to him."
Grave silence filled the conference hall before erupting into a terrible storm of clapping, cheering and screaming. "Ladies and Gentlemen..." - the Colonel spoke amidst continuing celebration - "They got him."
Horhafen RAF, 20 minutes later
"Rider 1, ready for takeoff!" - the pilot announced over the intercom, laying his hand on the engine throttle of his "Maverick" military transport aircraft. "Rider 1, cleared for takeoff!" - the answer came, and the 66 tonnes of sheer awesomeness sprung from their place and rolled forward, speeding up faster and faster along the runway under the low, steady buzz of its four mighty propfan engines, to be followed soon after by another "Maverick" and then yet another one.
The National Intelligence Service Directorate asks the government of AusValia for permission for its armed agents to join the standoff at Trace Country.
It's a matter of national pride for Arwindom to ensure justice catches up to this piece of human scum who has the audacity to call himself a man. We currently have several aircraft airborne loaded with agents and operators from the 27th Special Ops. Division who, with your permission, will head to AusValia to assist your law enforcement officials in orchestrating the negotiations with the cult members or arresting them by force, as well as bringing Mr. DeBianchi to the Commonwealth to face justice in the court of law.
Today has been the most successful of the three-day standoff after twenty-one people, nineteen of which are children have been released from the compound led by Ashton Carter, a man who believes he is the savior of all of mankind.
The twenty-one people released came out in exchange for food and supplies, but they claim to have been released voluntarily. Meanwhile, eighty-one are still being held.
The stand-off has garnered so much attention that the Presidential Palace has ordered daily briefings from the Director of the Federal Police. Many at police headquarters seem to agree with a need to apply pressure to Mr. Carter in attempt to speed up negotiations. However, in a released memo, profilers warn that increasing tactical pressure "could eventually be counterproductive and could result in loss of life."
President Williams Soars in New Poll
With only two weeks until election day, President Williams is leading Mayor Robert Richie by twelve points. Neither side has shown a hint of slowing down as the Williams campaign has announced an aggressive, "four cities a day" campaign scheduled to finish off the last five days. Meanwhile, Richie is spending his time in the Southern cities of Perth, Bryon Bay, and Williamsburg.
Meanwhile, Conservatives in down-ticket-races are showing some concerns, especially in the Lower House in which the United Future Party is not losing in a single seat they need. The President has focused his attention on trying to win back the Upper House, after being controlled by the Conservatives for the last six years.
President's Unveils Economic Package
While campaigning, President Williams has announced plans for his new Business Economic Package. Some of which are as follows:
1. Large business loans with low interest rates being offered ONLY to small businesses which may be struggling
2. Business loans with high interest rates being offered to major corporations as a form of bailout or assistance.
3. Expansion of Unemployment Insurance to cover 4% more of earnings in the last paycheck
These reforms caused some concern amongst the populace. While many rejoiced at the economic aid coming their way. A minority voiced concerns over how the AUS would fund such projects. While no deal has been completely agreed upon, it appears it will pass the legislature.
OOC; Elections are going to be put on ice until I can get back and actually make it worthwhile.
Nationwide violence, be it physical, sexual, or psychosocial, are at an all-time low, which obviously, is fantastic, however, whilst many figures are going on a downward line, many figures show an opposite trend, which has been ignored for an inexcusable amount of time, and now with the new figures, the issue simply cannot be ignored any longer.
The issue of child abuse has, without an excusable, or valid reason, been left relegated to the darkness of many a politician’s mind, which, doesn’t include the damages from not stepping in and taking necessary actions so to not cause any further unnecessary damage to the next generation.
However, as it first my seem bleak, there is now finally light at the end of the oh so dim tunnel, which we may call politics, for now, with the newest investigations and data possible in front of the current government, it would come as no shock to the mind of many that horrified, and absolutely in shock, would be the preferred way of telling the faces of the many politicians who read through the report.
And horrified was the intended reaction many had hoped to see, as the report goes to the increases of child abuse throughout the years, the newest data shows that just a year ago, calls for child protective services for neglected and abused children by family, or relatives or others went from 842 to 1453 which is an increase of 72,5%. And with the newest data from last month, the numbers are still rising. From 1214 to 2153 which is an increase of 77.3%.
With all that data it came as a no brainer that effective and diligent actions must be taken, and quickly, which was seen occurring with breakneck speed as politicians called for assistance from various experts from their respective field of expertise.
With the speed that this is currently undergoing, the needed changes to the foster care system are expected to come sooner rather than later, which, is always good news.
OOC; as someone who lives with a foster family this resonates with me a fair bit, was also the reason as to write it. I hope it’s at least somewhat decent.
Presidential Palace: MTAC- The Multiple Threat Analysis Room
“Welcome everyone, I hope you don’t mind, but with the President off campaigning, he has left me in charge of this meeting,” said CJ Craig, the President’s temporary Chief of Staff, clearly overwhelmed as she barely looked at the group as she sat down at the conference table.
After a second of silence, she looked up from her phone, “Well, where are we?”
“Ma’am, the Arwindom government has reached out to us saying that one of their most-wanted terror suspects is inside the church in Trace County”, said McNally, the Director of Homeland and Global Security. She clicked a button on her remote and a face flashed up on the screen behind her. “Meet, Frederick DaBianchi responsible for the 2004 bombings in Arwindom.”
“How did a terrorist get mixed up with our cult?” asked CJ, finally focused on the briefing rather than her phone.
“Frederick entered the country about eight months ago according to travel records. For about two months he was a drifter, with no known address, job, or bank account. Roughly six months ago we can place him at a bar just outside of Trace County on the same night that Mr. Carter was also present. We have two confirmed reports that Carter reached out to Fredrick in a conversation. We believe he has been living at the compound ever since under the name James Morton. Now James Morton is a 72-year-old man from Temple who died three years ago. Frederick somehow stole Morton’s identification. With this, I believe we have enough to also charge Mr. Carter for aiding an international terrorist.”
“Now hold on” responded Federal Police Director Leon Vance, “There is absolutely no evidence that shows Ashton Carter knew he was dealing with a terrorist. The guy likely had his identification long before he met Carter, and there is nothing to indicate Carter is an extremist”
“Except for the fact that he gunned down a federal agent” responded McNally.
“Probably because you went in their gun blazing. Miss. Craig, Carter, and his group are devoutly religious yes, borderline on cult yes, brainwashed, yes, but they are not terrorists.”
“Except for the fact that they had over half a million dollars in high powered weapons.”
“Alright, enough,” said CJ rubbing her forehead, “How did Frederick enter the country if he was a known terrorist?”
“The Arwindom government never updated us that he was a flight risk to our country” answered McNally.
“But what about the global terrorist watch list for Border Security?”
“That list is updated a hundred times every day. This was not the fault of Homeland and Global Security ma’am.”
“Except for the fact that you let in a terrorist.” snarled the Director of the Federal Police.
McNally just glanced at Leon before looking back at CJ.
“Look the President wants this to stay in the hands of the Federal Police, but do know Leon, this is rapidly becoming an international problem and the President does not want this to take away from the election,” said CJ with a stern and unforgiving face.
“With all respect Miss. Craig, this should fall under the jurisdiction of Homeland, we organize a raid this time tomorrow and have this situation finished for the President and the AusValian people.”
“Nancy do I need to remind you we have eighty-some people in there including innocent children? You breach now, you’ll have nothing but body bags to fill tomorrow,” said Leon.
“The Federal Police will continue their negotiations, Nancy. Leon, you will not have forever. We are now on day five; we better see some results soon.”
“The President will also allow some Arwindom personnel to be present during the negotiations. We will also have personnel from the Department of the States as this now involves another country. Now, I have a campaign rally to get to, thank you all. You’re dismissed.”
Everyone around the table stood up grabbing their things and quickly departing the room. Leon slowly walked over the CJ who was back to typing on her phone. “Ma’am, I want to thank you for trusting the Federal Police.”
“I wouldn’t thank me Leon, trusting you with this just means it’s your ass if this goes up in flames.”
Last night the voters spoke, and overwhelming voted to give John Williams a second term as President. All told, the President received nearly six million more votes than that of Conservative candidate, Mayor Robert Richie. Williams will be the first of the last two Presidents to serve a second term.
However, many political experts are calling this the "lonely landslide" as the United Future Party lost more seats than they picked up in the legislature. The Conservatives picked up seven more seats in the Upper House, a place where the President spent a lot of time and money campaigning to take back.
Meanwhile, the Lower House will be tied for the first time in the nation's history, with 50 Conservatives and 50 United Future members. With the Head of the Head up for grabs in a crucial Lower House vote, the UFP is doing all they can not to lose all of the legislature.
Standoff Enters Day Six
There has been no clear end in sight for the longest Federal Standoff in the nation's history. Ashton Carter has been held up with the remaining members of his church since the Federal Police engaged in a shootout with the cult, leading to the deaths of two members and one federal officer. As it stands, twenty-three people have left the compound, leaving seventy-one still inside.
Mr. Carter and his group show no signs of compliance, rather it appears both sides are engaging in a psychological power struggle.
"We have no intention of allowing this to drag on forever. If negotiations are not more fruitful, we may be taking action as early as this weekend." Special Agent in charge, Jarrod Howard.
The Federal Police have cut all electricity to the compound and are promising increasing pressure unless Mr. Carter ends the standoff.
Xeon 1 Takes Orbit
The first AusValian craft to extend past the moon has reached its final destination, the Bahram orbit. Equipped with nearly a dozen cameras, its mission is to fly past Bahram and send back pictures of the surface of the planet. The satellite will orbit the planet for several weeks allowing scientists to make a complete 3-D mapping of the planet.
"This information will be instrumental in our understanding of other planets and the creation of the universe. Xeon 1 will give us the inspiration to reach further into the cosmos." ACA Director Gene Kranz.
The ACA will begin releasing the photos over the next couple of weeks and say it could take a month or more to put together the 3-D model.
The Prime Minister of Skeld set his pen down with rigour, gazing out to sea from his office window. "Oh that's quite interesting. It appears that other countries exist", he muttered to himself. The Foreign Trade Act, which he then signed after its passage in Parliament, opened the ports of Halifax, Bethelton, Ny Tromsø, Silbertsvík, and Kirkja to foreign trade; ending years of national isolation.
Dispatch from Minister of Foreign Relations, Trent Larsson:
"The Commonwealth of Skeld is open to trade dialogue with other nations, and would like to export fine Skeld cheeses, knit wool sweaters, and cod by the boatload. Additionally, Skeld is open to establishing lines of diplomatic communication and embassies abroad."
"How did it even say that auditorily?" "I really don't think that should be your biggest concern right now Mikhail!" Darnia was frantically fiddling around in her pockets for any sort of defense against the creature that was bearing down upon the group of four; only coming up with the standard pocket Svalbardian-army knife and pistol every SISN agent carried by default. Brilliant: completely useless and almost completely useless "Do we have anything to fight this thing with other than what we've got on us right now?" "There's the ship's guns, but we couldn't fire them at ourselves: it'd have to fly away for that to work" Reyna had to shout to be heard across the deck of the carrier over the sound of the skyfoogle lying in wait to make the first move: the Neydians in the water below couldn't make their voices loud enough to be heard over the top of all the noise. "Sounds like a plan: Reyna, you man the guns and I'll try and lure it towards your firing range" "How exactly do you plan on doing that Liaku?" "Watch and learn, my boy" Were the last words spoken by Liaku to Mikhail before he sent a single bullet flying towards the ominous eyeball that dominated the front of his opponents body. Despite the bullet seemingly having no physical effect and just pinging off of it, the Skyfoogle screamed in rage and began hurling it's giant form towards Liaku. The giant lunges it took were easily outpacing Liaku's comparatively pathetic sprint towards the other end of the carrier, so in an attempt to assist him Darnia and Mikhail opened fire on the Skyfoogle. Their shots too, however, were ineffective against the Skyfoogle's seemingly impenetrable battle armour. Despite this, Liaku did manage to get the Skyfoogle into a position where Reyna could attempt to shoot it down; however a few moments after he got their the Skyfoogle caught up with him and swatted him away, knocking him all the way across the ship in front of the gun Reyna was trying to use; leading to her cowering behind it in fear. Seeing this unfold, Mikhail and Darnia turned towards each other; while Darnia kept her stone cold complexion, Mikhail's face was wrought with shock and terror. Despite that, he was able to manage the effort to talk to Darnia. "Listen, ok so -" "I don't want to hear it" "We may not make it-" "We're gonna make it" "So look there's something I've been meaning to tell you-" "Save it for when we've finished here" "Look, just listen alright?" Upon saying this, Darnia turned towards him and looked him dead in the eye: piercing blue met murky brown as Mikhail tried to finish his sentence - stumbling around with most the words as a result. "I wanted to tell you something in case we don't make it out of here, and that's that I, uh, really, like-" but whatever his next word was going to be got cut off as the Skyfoogle now bared down on them after being satisfied with what it had done to Liaku; Darnia was far more prepared than Mikhail as she was able to grab him and dive out of the way of the Skyfoogle catapulting into them: resulting in it instead colliding with the tower on the ship. This bought the pair some time; although no doubt once it recovered from the unwanted collision the Skyfoogle would be even more enraged than it already was. "Ok, Mikhail here's what we're going to do: you run over there and try and lure it off the ship, I'll go this way and try and gun it down - same plan as before but me and you doing it, got it?" "G-got it..." "Oh, and what were you going to tell me earlier?" "Uh, nothing, don't worry about it" "Right..." Although Darnia was sceptical, she didn't really have any time to push the topic as the Skyfoogle then recovered from it's injury and let out yet another ear-piercing roar before resuming it's assault on the SISN agents. Unfortunately for Mikhail, he was the first target chosen and stood no chance, despite his best efforts to dodge. With both Mikhail and Liaku incapacitated, Darnia stood little to no chance, but still tried her best to fiddle around with gun she'd decided to run towards. But, whilst she was trying to get it working, the voices from the Spearsians in the water finally reached her ears, and while they weren't clear by any means, the general message she was getting was 'Sing it a lullaby!'. That seemed ridiculous, but she was fighting some eldritch being that had no business existing by the laws of natural selection, on top of a stolen aircraft carrier; so it being ridiculous wasn't much of a problem - plus, she was completely out of options, and these guys probably knew whatever this thing was better than her, so they were probably more knowledgeable when it came to how to beat it. The problem, however, came from trying to wrack her memory for a lullaby - her parents never sang her anyway when she was younger and she was never taught any at school, so she severely struggled to think of one. Just as she was about to give up and try to hum a track from minecraft to it, she was struck with a memory from many years ago..
December 29th, 1997: a younger Darnia was sitting in the back of an old car, quietly crying to herself although the details of the location weren't spot on, she knew it was somewhere mid-way up the Kalsavys mountain range. Her family were driving home from their uncle's house after having stayed over from the holidays. Despite the fun she'd had, her ears didn't hold up very well when descending from very high places, and as of the past day she had begun to become homesick, so those two things compounded created a very sad young girl in the back of the car. A woman in her late forties then leaned back from the front seat to talk to her: she must have looked similar to how Darnia looked now, but Darnia couldn't remember her exact features. "Aww, what's wrong Sweatpea?" "Her ears pop easily, and it hurts her a lot - apparently" That was the response from her dad, who must have been driving the car. "Don't you have music that can cheer her up?" "Oooh, good idea I'll have a look... ah, here's something!" After a quick rummage through her handbag, Darnia's mother fished out a cassette tape of a song, and started playing it...
And that song is exactly what came back into Darnia's mind at this very moment: the joyful yet melancholic tone gave it the same sort of feel as a lullaby, even if it wasn't really one. "It helped me go to sleep, so this thing had better like it..." And with that, Darnia stepped out from behind the gun and faced the Skyfoogle. For it' part, it immediately charged headlong towards Darnia, but stopped in its tracks once it heard her singing voice and listened very astutely to what she was singing: "Don't, cry child Got so much more to live for Don't, cry child There'll be so much more to cry for And when it comes to an end Just be glad you'll smile again Because so many don't 'Cause so many d-" Although clearly not finished with the song, the Skyfoogle had apparently heard enough to go to sleep as it toppled over on the deck of the ship. Darnia simply stood still looking at it for a few seconds, completely in shock at the fact what she did actually worked, but this astonishment was interrupted by: "Oh wow, I never thought you had a good singing voice!" "Uh- Reyna! You're still conscious?" "Um... yes?" "Then. Why. Didn't. You. Help?" Darnia's rage was practically filling the air, so Reyna desperately needed to find a way to calm her down "Uumm... we still need to find a way to get the ship back, don't we?" That reminded seemed to do the trick, as Darnia's brain was focused on the problem at hand, rather than figuring out how she was going to throw Reyna into the sea. "Well... we could do with ditching this... thing" She indicated towards the sleeping Skyfoogle "And we need to get Liaku and Mikhail fixed up. If I can deal with that, can you get the ship running?" "See, I still need a crew, and we still don't have one..." "Ah, that's where you're mistaken" Reyna looked at her quizzically, so Darnia led her to the edge of the ship, and waved her hand over the water filled to the brim with Spearsians "Your crew's right there".
She awoke to the sound of the call alarm. Half a second apart, so... one minute until the arrival of the main message? She climbed out of her sleeping bag, grabbed the nearest maneuver pole, pushed off to the terminal....
G-d spoke- a calming tone, if slightly emotionless. "Good morning, Madayil. The interloper spacecraft discussed earlier has assumed its orbit. You will board the ship and create renditions of the interloper based on the half-hour rendezvous and the ship's camera footage. Are you excited, my Madayil? You have not had the opportunity to do this for a long while." She nodded to a nonexistent camera- G-d's eyes could be focused anywhere, after all- and pressed her maneuver pole against the blank patch of wall to proceed to the berth. Most of the station was crammed with machinery, but G-d had furnished her with a ship- and the ship's top had a wide clear bulb for her to conduct studies through. Now the station computer hummed, the ship computer hummed in response- and the hatch slowly closed. The ship pushed off from the station gently, then began turning...
The planet below came into view. A wide orange globe, slowly spinning below. Then the great Eye of G-d, shining just a few light-minutes away... And the engine started. A fist rather than the slow and steady barely-noticeable motion of the reboost thrusters. She wondered what was powering that fist.
Empress Taihe smiled, her radiant face an image of elegance and grace. The flower of Feng, she was called, in her years as Princess Chun. Her golden eyes, a color once common in the Hua and now a rare sight, sparkled with light. "Do come with me than, I am sure that a cup of tea would restore your strength.
Phoenixes strutted through the gardens, their golden plumage gleaming in the sun. Their train of feathers trailed the grass bright and clear. Away on the Palace's vast lake they sat, upon the Mingyue Pavillion (明月楼). The smell of tea was not too soft, nor too great. It mixed with the sweet scent of cakes and pastries that piled elegantly upon plates on the table. "Our guests seem hot." The Empress smiled. "Do fan our Electrican visitors for us, it would not do to have their discomfort." The ice clinked softly at the porcelain teacups, cooling their tea.
"So you say you wish to build a military base in our north." The Empress asked, smoothing her robes. "If I may, could I ask for what purpose?"
Now, the playlist with all the songs is here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMATiKRygYDxHVc0R3bbzhuzvK7rbb4aX (Please be sure to look at the playlist description to see who entered which song)
As for voting, please remember you cannot vote for yourself and you must vote for nations who have entered. Or else face being nuked. And anybody can vote! Whether you entered or not. The voting form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfk4qU4_crxJrnTYF895CKkszKPakaCrc-c9P63b-DXGrY_Ew/viewform?usp=sf_link