A Glimpse Into Michaelea...
Field Marshall Wilks sighed as he straightened his uniform. He looked into the mirror and wondered what he'd done. Staring back at him was a man he scarcely recognized. He seemed to have aged twenty years in the past six months. He'd fought six months of civil war against his own people.
His country used to be called Martinia. Wilks still believed that things had been bad in his country. Had they gotten worse? Had he helped to change things for the worst?
He had made his descision six months ago. That was that. Wilks was a practical man. His car was waiting. His master was waiting.
Still... The gaudy white of his dress jacket did look ridiculous. He felt like a waiter.
The car sped along to the center of the city. Even here, blocks away, he could see the rising edifice of The Spire of Faith. The great, marble tower rose like a gigantic phallus into the sky. It would be a symbol of their triumph. His leader was big on symbolism. The Spire of Faith would be the tallest structure in the country.
Named for it's leader. Michael I. The Warpope.
Wilks subjected himself to the customary search by members of The Benevolent Order. There was no man or woman now who could bear arms in the presence of The Enlightened Tyrant. Wilks knew that, even years from now, this simple search would always remind him who held power here. Not that he needed any more reminders when he saw his own citizenry toiling to build The Spire.
He entered the Chambers of The Council of Betters to find that he was late. He prostrated himself before the Seat of Retribution and kissed the Periapt of Empowerment. There was something else he was forgetting, he knew it. Probably something to do with the Blessed Chalice or The Gourd of Psalms or some such nonsense. Christ... How was he going to remember all these new names for things? The Minister of Spirit, Reynaldo Lutz, seemed visibly relieved to have his leader's attention diverted by the Field Marshall's entrance. Obviously, his breifing had not been going well. Now Wilks could take a little of the heat. Lutz was a renowned drunkard, and the stench of last night's bender clung to him still.
In the far corner of the room, Father Leopold of The Benevolent Order skulked like an alley cat. Either he had already given his report, or he had yet to... And was trying to avoid their monarch's attention.
Sprawled on a nearby couch was the Warpope's half-brother, Charles. If Lutz disgusted him and Leopold drew his scorn - No one on the face of the Earth filled Wilks with such revulsion as Charles McGuffin. The man was so hideous in his perversions that The Golden Voice of Heaven had ordered him never to leave the grounds of the capitol building. Why his soveriegn had allowed this thing to live and even to sit at his right hand baffled The Field Marshall. Charles was currently amusing himself by scratching his nether regions.
Then, from the throne. His leaders voice:
"Field Marshall Wilks... Why do you make us weep?"
Wilks dared not look upon the face of his leader until he was granted leave to.
"Your Emminence, I... "
"You make us weep with your tardiness. We weep because of your Sloth and the knowledge of what such sins as Sloth can lead to in a man. Rise."
Field Marshall Wilks rose to see that his leader actually did have tears in his eyes. What kind of world had he wrought for his people?
"My Lord, I never intended to..."
"Silence... Come... Let us hold you."
Wilks approached the throne and was immediately swept into the arms of his king. He had never been this close to The August Personage before. An unnatural heat seemed to flow from The Warpope. He appeared sickly, but his arms held Wilks in a vice grip.
Into his ear the monarch whispered: "We would rather see you hung by your own intestines from the ramparts of The Spire than to think you were riddled with sin. Never give us cause to doubt... To fear. You are our bedrock... Pray Wilks... Pray."
The lord of Michaelea released him and wiped the tears from his eyes.
"Be seated, Field Marshall. Minister Lutz, please continue your litany of excuses."
TO BE CONTINUED...
Are you at the thread right now?
OOC: Feel free to send me an envoy or something! You are the head diplomat...
The Sword and Sheild
Commander Devers emerged from the innards of the ship to survey the landscape. Five days in transit from Port Royal had not endeared him any better to the crew than when they had left Port Royal. Becuase the Federal Republic had no major interests in the area of Michaelea, he could not talk his way onto a Navy ship, and the Admiralty was not going to divert a warship from patrol or training duties to escort him all the way out here, no matter how insistent he was.
Bargaining his way onto a merchant ship had been almost as hard, for similar reasons of distance not many ships travelled to Michaelea, and the few he had found were unwilling to take a Federal Naval officer on board. He learned quickly enough to drop the Commander from his title, but his uncomfort out of uniform must have shown, as he was unable to broker a ride until he availed upon a lowly crewmember to gaurantee him passage. Needless to say the captain of the ship, if this pile of wreckage merited such a title, was less than ecstatic to learn of the passenger, even less thrilled two days later when he learned Devers was a Naval officer, any communication with the crew after that ended.
Now he had finally arrived in Michaelea, it's principal, and only, port city of Port O' God. The port greatly reminded him of Acheron, the Canadian Princes' capitol city that had built a world class port. The only problem was the port was located only miles away from the world-class ports of the Federal Republic, which imported and exported a great many more material then the Canadian Republic/Empire, so the port had grown dilapidated and abandoned through the years, only a small portion of it ever in use. The number of construction ships to merchant and pleasure ships was fairly high, and the port areas showed the obvious marks of man-made construction on the land to create a port, erosion was almost non-existant.
In fact, the port much reminded him of the reading he had done on Michaelea, new and just created by the sharp wedging made by a civil war. Yes, the civil war, while all this sight-seeing could be useful for city planners, he was a military officer, here to analyze a war, the methods used, strategies and weapons. The Federal Republic hadn't fought a real war since the Canadian and Tortugan Imperial Wars over 40 years prior. With countries encroaching on the pond the Republic had created for itself, and the overseas Territories finding themselves in warzones, the Republic had to update it's military doctrine to match.
He was still a bit confused on the matter of the Civil War in Michaelea, he had not had time to study it before he was to leave, he would try to bluff his way through his meetings with Michaelea officials and learn what he could. But the important thing was that he was now here, and it was time for him to carry out his orders, starting with finding the Federal Republic's Embassy in the Capitol, and finding transportation to there. Spectre's of his last attempt at securing transportation breifly flickered through his mind, but he pushed away his pessimism and straightened himself.
Carefully making sure every step was measured and made with equal importance, for he could feel the eyes of the crew on him, he proceeded to the gangway linking the rig to the dock. He stopped just before the gangway and nodded towards the man standing there, watching Devers with obvious contempt for the uniform he wore.
Devers nodded at the captain, "Thank you sir for accomodating me on my voyage here, I'm sure you will have no trouble receiving the other half of your fee from the Defence Ministry."
The captain just grunted and moved slightly to the side, dismissing Devers from his vessel. Devers had no doubt the captain would get his credits from the Ministry, from what he could hear coming from the rest of the ship the man was quite explosive, he just hoped the Ministry would not be overly angered with Devers for promising credits he was not allotted.
Pushing the thoughts away he stepped onto the dock, finally in Michaelea, there was no point in worrying about things he had no control over. For now, he had a duty to do, and if his chronometer was to be believed he only had a matter of hours to reach the Embassy. It would not do good for him to arrive late for his meeting with the Michaelea official which would guide him through his tour and observation of the Michaelean Military. Proceeding off the dock he briskly headed towards the streets, somehow he would get to the Embassy on time.
OOC: That was great! I assume this means I have an embassy for you? RP it as you like... But the fact is: Even if there is an embassy, it's not gonna be much to look at. Just keep the overall feeling of paranoia in mind, and we'll do just fine!
The Sword and Sheild
The truck finally came to a stop outside of a glistening building that was dwarfed by a massive tower that could be right beside it or miles away. Devers looked up at it, even though he had not expected anything like the Foreign Ministry building in the Federal capitol, Philadelphia, he had not expected what stood before him. Wearily he swung open the door of the truck, probably older than the driver, and pulled out a handful of credits.
"Alright, two hours, at 50 Krogs per hour that makes 100 Krogs, last time I checked the exchange was 20 Krogs to 1 credit (comparing our two economies), so that makes what, 5 credits?" Devers asked rhetorically as he counted out twenty credit chips, but was startled back by the roar of argument that spat out from the driver.
"No, no, 4 Krogs to 1 Credit is almost useless, you will pay 3 Krogs to 1 Credit, 33 credits!!"
Devers tried arguing with the man, or rather, boy, but he was quite insistent, and out of the corner's of his eyes he spotted two of the overly-present capitol police beginning to take interest. Not especially wanting to get involved in local law, he finally threw the credits at the boy and growled, "Fine, fine, take your damn credits, good luck spending them!"
With that the boy collected them, reached across and shut the door, and spedoff down the street.... the remarkably new street. That was something Devers had noted on his travel here, he had thought Port O' God was new, perhaps by a few years maybe a decade or two, but as he approached the capitol the port seemed centuries old. Everything was new, the pavement, the buildings, the police forces pristine vehicles and uniforms. The new government had not wasted anytime in establishing its authority, either the capitol had been built completely new, or the old one had been destroyed in the Civil War and rapidly rebuilt by the new Government. Whatever the difference between the old government and the new, it was obvious it was quite radical, the new government had torn down all vestiges of the old and rebuilt a new.
As he walked down the street towards what he was told was the embassy, he could tell the new government was exactly that. The piqued curiosity he saw in every passerby's eye as the man in the foreign military uniform passed, they were clearly not used to it, and seemed surprised that he ignored them rather than take interest in what they were doing, he decided uniforms were not all that popular with the people. Of course, from those who wore uniforms he detected an equal interest, but not quite as innocent. The police viewed him with suspicion, a look they had developed quite well over the last few months he guessed, the city showed all the signs of a populace under the heel of a government.
As he approached the embassy he was somewhat awed at its simplicity, he hadn't expected much, but this was little more than a glorified hotel. The marble columned building was obviously older than the buildings around it, the scars of battle, darkened corners and tarnished marble, showed it had been here long. From it hung several, he counted 14, international flags, obvoiusly this was not just the Republic's embassy. In security it was decidedly lacking, 4 soldiers in UN uniforms stood guard around the stairs leading to the entrance, only two uniformed police were in sight, and the obvious plain clothes police were no where in sight.
Once again taking his military posture and gait, he stepped past the guards and entered into the building. From what he could gather he had been correct, it had once been a hotel, the lobby's ornate and domish-shaped architecture suggested that, and the layout of the desks of each respective country fit that of a hotel check-in.
He eyed the sign reading "Federal Republic of the Sword and Sheild", and noticed the officer standing near the desk, who by his posture had been waiting for quite some time. The man's white dress uniform was obviously not a Republic military uniform, and looked somewhat comical to an eye that was used to Federal blue.
He looked over his own uniform once more before approaching. He was somewhat dissatisfied with having to wear an Army uniform rather than a Navy or even Marine, but becuase he was studying a land war it was decided the Army uniform was more suited to his task. It was a simple officer's uniform, a dark blue jacket over an equally blue shirt. The jacket was wrapped by a Sam Browne Belt (belt and shoulder strap) which went through the jacket at the waste, leaving an amount of it to overlap the top of the black pants, which featured a red stripe down either side of the legs, which ended slightly tucked into the black combat boots. Although not part of the Navy uniform, Devers had always liked the tradition of Army officers to carry a pistol, so he did on his Brown Belt. His shoulders bore the rank of Colonel, his temporary Army Rank granted to him by the Army Minister, and the entire ensemble was capped by the Army's black kepi with red embroidery (look at a picture of a WWI French officer for this cover) which designated him as an infantry officer rather than the red of artillery, white of armour, or yellow of medical corps.
Pulling on the ends of his jacket to straighten it, he again adopted his carefully measured steps and approached the officer.
"Hello sir, I am Commander James Devers of the Federal Navy."
OOC: I'm assuming you will be the military official, or anyone.
Minister Lutz stammered: "My most esteemed Grace, the very thought of your displeasure fills me with dread. But... If I may... The sales of your book are doing quite well..."
Field Marshall Wilks couldn't help but notice The Lord of Righteousness' eyes light up at the mention of his book. Leave it to Lutz to kiss up...
"Yes? Tell us more! How are our words interpreted by the heathen majority? What of the backward Halladi? The Grand Duchy, do they understand?"
Minister Lutz cleared his throat for what, Wilks assumed, would be typical toadery.
"My Lord, as you are already aware, the sales and influence of 'The Iron Mind' cannot be discounted. I am most pleased to report, however, that international sales are increasingly on the rise!"
At this, the King's mad and fornicating half-brother mumbled: "Booky loves his books..."
The Most-Honored wheeled on his sibling: "Silence, pervert! You who are the most vile creature in existence cannot begin to understand! Your base and filthy mind cannot begin to comprehend our sublime musings! Taunt us at your peril, Jackanapes!"
To which Charles McGuffin replied: "Phhht..."
Wiping a gobbet of saliva from his chin, The Exalted Leader turned his attention back to his Minister.
Wilks knew, at this moment - That he was possibly the only sane man left in Michaelea.
Lutz continued, pleased to be in his master's good graces for the moment.
"Indeed, Dread Dominion, the sales of your book have all but compensated for our costs incurred during our recent... Unpleasentness..."
Michael the First grinned.
"This is as the music of angels to our ears, Minister."
Wilks knew he had most definately lost his mind when he rose to his feet to defy Lutz. This was most dangerous territory...
"Lord, with all due respect to our most esteemed Minister of Sprit... I cannot agree."
Silence. Like a death knell.
"You have something to add to the discussion, Field Marshall?" Hissed The Warpope.
"My Lord, our military is a shadow of it's former glory... We can barely field 150,000 front line troops. Even with your Conscription Act and the institution of Compulsory Service, it will take months... If not years, to establish a force capable of defending our borders properly..."
The Master of Michaelea walked to a nearby window.
"Come, Field Marshall. Stand beside us..."
Wilks moved to his leader. The leader HE had chosen. The leader HE had put in power. God help him, his feet felt like lead. God had left his country now.
"Look out this window, on to our country... What do you see?"
Wilks looked. All he saw outside were men and women toiling to create The Spire. Everything was mud and absolute hubris.
"I see my countrymen, My Lord. I see the good people of this land. People who want nothing more than to see a country they can be proud of. This is what I fought for..."
"By our side..."
"Yes Lord, by your side."
"We will tell you what we see, Field Marshall Wilks. We see a nation of ants crawling over a dung-hill. We see a nation devoid of pride in itself. A nation of cattle ranchers and shopkeepers. At what cost do we count them? They are nothing. You... "Field Marshall", you are NOTHING. Not yet. But someday, some fine day a year... Or a thousand years from now... Even if there is only one man left alive in this country - That man will know. He will know what it means to be Michaelean... Even if we do not. We will make that last man proud of us, Wilks. Even if it means that a thousand of his countrymen should die. Or tens of thousands... We will give him an identity. We will build him monuments... Like The Spire. We will give him the words in our book...
But it falls to you, Jonathan. It falls to you to see that not one man or woman... But all of those people you see. ALL of them suvive the coming times of hardship. So that their children and grandchildren can grow strong. We pray for you, Jonathan... Make us strong. Leave us now... We have lesser sychophants to threaten."
With that, The Warpope smiled. And Wilks saw something in it. Something human... And that frightened him even more.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Lance Corporal Garrison was, to say the least... Shocked. There was actually something to do now! To the best of his knowledge, there had not been a single visitor to "The Embassy" in his time there. In fact... As far as he knew... No country in his own region had sent anyone here since the war!
And yet... Here was this man. All done up in military duds! Dick Garrison - Lance Corporal or not... Had no idea what to do!
"Ummmm... Hello, Sir?" Dick was nothing, if not garroulous.
Commander Devers wore his authority like no one Dick had ever seen in his own command. It made him decidedly nervous...
"Yes... Commander. Um... Well... Yes, let's just see here for a moment..."
Quickly, Garrison pulled out The Michaelean Guide to World Nations. It was an old and dog-eared book. He blew a light puff of dust off of it only to find that his particular issue was three years out of date. Still, what he found there astonished him!
It seemed that Commander Devers came from somewhere "To Be Reckoned With." Apparently, The Federal Republic of The Sword and Sheild could wipe his country off the face of the earth without so much as a how d'ya do. Strong stuff! And this was three years old!
This was obviously beyond Dick Garrison's training, Lance Corporal or not!
"Sir! What can we do for you? I don't know where your interests lay... But perhaps a little female companionship for the evening? Or... Otherwise? Can I get you something to drink? Or something stronger, perhaps?"
Garrison was formerly a concierge at this hotel... He prayed to Michael that his skills would hold up!
Extra-Curricular adventure did not seem to be on the itinerary, however. All he could do was direct Commander Devers to his finest stateroom and try to figure out what the Hell the man wanted with Michaelea...
[TAG] for an interesting read. btw, is this open or closed?
It's open, within reason... Stick to the storyline and it's all good. We're always open to new blood.
The Sword and Sheild
Devers looked the man up and down, suppressing the well-honed tactic of the shakedown eye used to dress down insubordinate men, that would not do well for the Republic's first impression. The man seemed simple, something Devers always liked in soldiers and sailors, you could trust simple men, most of the time. He decided he already liked this man.
The soldier seemed a bit overawed, even before he glanced at what Devers tentatively identified as "Michaels guide to the World". Reminding himself he was here at their pleasure, Devers relaxed his stance a bit, trying to force a smile onto his face.
He glanced at the soldier's namecard and rank, an insignia he did not identify. "Thank you for your kindness, however I require no beverage or female company. Well.... Garrison, I'm here at the request of the Federal Military GHQ, with approval from the Federal Senate to analyze your recent civil war, for the improvement of Federal Military Doctrine in future conflicts." Devers reached into his jacket and pulled out the letter with official emroidery of the Federal Senate. "This is my authorization, and a letter of greeting from the Senate to your government, and a humble request for your illustrious government to grant the highest level clearence judged suitable for my research, and an audience with your military commander." Devers held the letter out to Garrison wondering briefly what he would do if he was rejected, it was a long trip home.
Time for bed. I'll get back at you tommorrow. Great work, by the way!
An unarmed Helicopter began to near the Michaelean coast. The Capital was a little way infront of them. It was a total wreak. The apartments were in deed or repair. The business sector was practically non existant, or atleast not noticable.
The Mi-35 was now over the city. The new Halladi UN ambassador to Michaelea, Abdel Muhhamed (sp?) Abdul, was looking at the city and commenting to himself about it. It was not a very attractive city, but it reminded him of the old pictures of New Dublin when Hallad first became a nation.
The Mi-35 neared the Embassy sector. The chopper landed on the top of the building, where twenty Halladi Soldiers waited. There was also a band which played a song of celebration has be came of the Helicopter.
Hey, Hallad! Damn! All the big boys are payin' me a visit! I guess you'll have to be in "The Embassy" with Commander Devers. I'll arrange for a meet and greet style thingy with the ambassadors and my Council. I may not be back to the computer 'till later tonight.
Wilks was glad to be back at his offices. He was increasingly glad to be anywhere that was not in his leaders presence. He had stayed in the council chamber long enough to hear Minister Lutz give his projections on poulation growth. That alone was enough to force him out of the room. Lutz's most conservative estimates had 1.5 to 2 million immigrants coming into the country, many of which included his own countrymen who had fled during the civil war. While the rest of the Council saw this as a potential boon to Michaela economically, Wilks could only view these numbers with dread.
His armed forces, small as they were, had earned their rest after the horrors of the recent conflict. Now, however - They found themselves pulling double duty. They were trying to keep the country safe from it's far more powerful neighbors AND having to repair the extensive damage done to it's interior. New immigrants only added to the burden. The only viable option seemed to be mandatory and extended service in the armed forces to any immigrant... There just weren't jobs anywhere else.
"Field Marshall, I have a report from the Embassy!"
Wilks looked up from his stacks of paperwork to find his assistant, Major Crenshaw, standing at attention before him. The Embassy? No one had visited The Embassy in years!
"What the hell are you talking about, Major?"
"Sir... Not one, but two envoys have taken up residence on Embassy grounds. One, a Commander Devers from The Republic of The Sword and Sheild, seems to have been sent by his government to act as an observer... In light of our recent troubles. He has official and verified authorization and wishes to be granted clearence and an audience with you to discuss our military."
"Sounds reasonable enough, Major. Arrange a meeting tommorow. And the other?" This sounded like a classic "Good News/Bad News" scenario to Wilks.
Major Crenshaw looked visably nervous. Wilks knew he must have been right.
"Go ahead, Crenshaw. You've known me long enough to expect that I won't shoot the bearer of bad news. Out with it."
"Sir... The other Envoy is... From Hallad, Sir. According to reports, Sir... he has also brought twenty armed men... And a band, Sir."
Christ, thought Wilks. Hallad. Typical of "The President-for-Life" to start throwing his weight around.
"Allright, Crenshaw... First off: We don't want to set off some kind of international incident, here. I want you... Very discreetly - mind you, to double the guard at The Embassy. Those Halladi soldiers are NOT to leave Embassy grounds. Under ANY circumstances. Am I clear on this?"
"Of course, Sir."
"Secondly, I'm going to need you personally to contact the Envoy from Hallad. What's his name?"
"Abdul Muhammed, Sir. Apparently he's a UN ambassador..."
"Then he should damn well know that bringing troops along with him is unacceptable! Whatever the hell he wants, you need to make him aware that he will not get it until his troops are off my soil! In... The nicest possible way, of course. I can't stress this enough, Crenshaw. We have to be polite... But firm on this point. That's why I'm sending you personally."
"I appreciate your confidence, Field Marshall."
"Now's your chance to earn it, Crenshaw. Dismissed."
Crenshaw spun on his heal and exited, leaving Field Marshall Jonathan Wilks with a whole nest of new troubles.
"What do you mean I have to go back inside the embassy?" Engineering Srgt. Ameen Aban asked. He had been interupted from surveying the plaza by some guards.
"I'm sorry, sir, but I have been instructed to escort you back to the Embassy." The soldier said.
Ameen cussed and gathered his surveying tools.
"Your going to be in some fuckin' deep shit, you know that?"
The soldier rolled his eyes and the Sergeant returned to the embassy.
After explaining the incident to Ambasador Muhammed. Muhammed then relayed a message to his superiors in Hallad.
In the Bunker/Fortress of The Benevolent Order, Father Leopold was fuming.
He had just recieved communications from the Field Marshall's headquarters and more importantly, The Capitol Spire. Both demanding to know why they had not been informed that foriegn diplomats were due to arrive at The Embassy. Diplomats that were already there...
He had tried to make excuses, all of which fell on deaf ears. Apparently, it did not matter to the military or the government that his spy network had to root out dissidents at home. Apparently, he was to be all things-to all people... And budgets be damned! It was ridiculous! Not that he would ever utter those thoughts aloud, of course. It would mean his head, at best.
Father Leopold pressed his intercom:
"I want our efforts redoubled at The Embassy. Any staff there whom the dipolmats have not made contact with, I want replaced with our operatives. Any who've already made contact... I want them on our payroll. Supplement the regular forces on duty with our troops. If anyone within those walls so much as belches, I want a tape of it! May the Grace of The Warpope go with you."
The Sword and Sheild
Voices....yes, that was what he was hearing, distant however, and dreamy. But whose voices were they, indeed that was the question, a lovely question indeed. Perhaps it was that nice Mr. Jones from next door coming over to talk of politics or the service, or maybe it was that recruiter.
"You can be the next Grand Admiral." Lazily slipped from Devers' mouth, then he was seized upon by a jolt of fear. Something was wrong, and a single thought jumped into his mind. GET UP!.
Devers jumped up in the chair, arms flailing wildly for the pistol at his side that wasn't there. Sheepishly remembering that as he grasped for it, he stuttered to a stop and looked around. He was in a stateroom, or in otherwords, glorified hotel suite, given this room by his hosts in Michaelea, yes that was the nation's name. He wasn't back at his home in Corregidor, or in a recruiting station in Port Royal, then, what were those voices. Perhaps they had been figments of his dream, and not real.
But no, in the back of his mind Devers knew they were not imagined fears, someone had been in the room while he was dozing off on the chair. Whoever they were, they were gone now, there was scarce room in the suite to hide anywhere. In fact now that he thought about it.... the remarkably light room, and he darted to the side to the window, with a shudder of realization racing through him, surely it couldn't be.
But it was, morning, the sun had risen some time ago he saw as he watched it lazily follow it's path across the sky above the city. He forced his memory back into his mind, becoming more and more alert with each passing second, why was it so important. He had arrived here yesterday after a long and somewhat unnerving trip, met that nice Garrison corporal he had later identified. Garrison had taken the letter Devers had from the Senate, told him where his room in the Embassy was, then had to beat a hasty retreat to his own Foreign Ministry or Defence Ministry to deliver the note.
Devers had been amply supplied with local clothing, a credit to whoever had set the suite up, he guessed Garrison. Wanting to scout out the city he had quickly changed out of his uniform and into local garbs, strolling around the embassy building for some time. Then he had heard the pompous arrival of someone else, he had not seen the arrival directly, but from Embassy rumor and the noises and crashes of the band he had deduced whoever it was, was trying to impress Michaelea into submission. He had breifly encoutnered the entourage as they passed from their arrival point on the roof to the lobby, he did his best to appear as a harmless Michaelean citizen awed by the group. It was made up of predominantly soldiers, more importantly they were armed. Not ceremonial with a pistol like Devers had been, but with rifles and combat gear, in the midst of this he thought he spotted a civilian, perhaps the ambassador from that nation, but then they were soon gone, followed in their wake by anxious Michaelean officials clearly bewildered by their arrival.
After this breif excitement he had decided to travel around the city area, but upon arriving at the lobby he saw the guard outside the embassy had been doubled, the UN soldiers were bolstered by Michaelean soldiers nearly twice their number. An increase in the guard of the embassy did not bode well for relations with the local people, and Devers decided going out at night was perhaps not the smartest idea.
He had returned to his room, and already something was different. The local workers in the Embassy were more shifty eyed then before, seeming to take more interest in him. Perhaps they were perplexed by his change of wardrobe, or maybe it was something more sinister, either way Devers decided it didn't concern him, perhaps it had to do with the envoy from that other nation he had seen earlier. There it was, the peice of information he was searching for, Corporal Garrison had returned from wherever he wet with good news.
The corporal seemed a bit taken off guard by the warm welcome Devers gave him, relieved to see a somewhat familar and trusted face, he almost had to resist hugging the man. But he regained his balance soon enough, and the news he brought was very good indeed. Devers had been granted an audience with the highest military official in the land, a man named Wilks, who carried the illustrious title of Field Marshal. He was supposed to be at his office sometime in the afternoon, and as Devers gazed at the sun he could tell it was almost time, to curses with his chronometer, he had forgot to set it.
Quickly Devers got out of the local clothing, it wouldn't do good to show up in such dress, and was soon back in his uniform, seeing his care in putting it away was not a waste. As he stepped out of the room, securing the Browne belt and pistol, he gazed back one last time in his room before closing it, a gaze he held far longer than necessary.... perhaps there was somewhere in there for someone to hide. Putting his fears aside, he had done no wrong and had no harmful intentions, he closed the door and made his way hurredly down the corridors, intent on reaching the Field Marshal's office on time.
(OOC: I will RP his arrival at Wilks shortly, feel free to post anything to do with Wilks or the intel officers while he is one his way)
Wilks prepared to meet the Envoy from The Sword and The Shield in his private study. He had his staff prepare some light foods and a selection of alchohols from his personal stock. He did not know, exactly, what this man wanted of him. This made him nervous. And the fact that he could still be made nervous upset him.
It was not the man's implicit power, certainly. His tiny nation had always been surrounded by countries that could wipe him out or enslave his people with the blink of an eye. He was immune to displays of power.
What concerned him - He thought - Was this man's judgement. This was what had always concerened him about his country... What made him support a man who many of his contemporaries had thought mad. Not that their opinions had done much good for them - They were all dead now.
He did not want to be seen by this impartial country as a fool. A fool who defended a nation of fools. He wanted, with all his heart, for someone to validate what he had done here. He would get only empty praise from his own people.
If this man had come to assess his country, he wanted absolution. He wanted to know that his life had not been wasted. Field Marshall Jonathan Wilks had no idea why this was so important to him. He had never sought approval. But it WAS important, nonetheless.
"Field Marshall, the Envoys car is approaching the compound..."
"Thank you, Major Crenshaw... Escort him in..."
The Sword and Sheild
Devers had been dismayed that Garrison was not anywhere to be found, he had been called away for something according to the Michaelean officials. The Embassy was little changed from how he remembered it, including the increased guard outside. It would probably not be prudent to walk, but he had little choice.
Stepping outside the embassy however he found it was unnecessary, a ride had already been prepared for him. The driver hurriedly rushed him into the vehicle, and Devers went along queitly, he wanted to get to the Field Marshal's office quickly and had no problem with the haste. Devers took his seat and waited as the driver got into the car and started on his journey.
Devers gazed out of the window at the cityscape, the streets he was taking were familar, the same ones he had came in on. Since this was becoming familar there was no point in staring out a window like a bewildered tourist, so he turned his thoughts to the upcoming meeting.
He was to meet the highest military official in the land, an honour he was not expecting. The man carried the title of Field Marshal, something that instinctly drew respect from Devers, though he wondered if this nation fielded an Army that actually warranted a Field Marshal. In the Republic Field Marshal was the highest rank acheivable in the Army, it's counterpart in the navy was Grand Admiral, and the officers appointed as Field Marshal's or Grand Admirals were only appointed to their rank by a 66% majority in the Senate, and the express note of confidence from the Army Minister, Navy Minister, Prime Minister (Chancellor), and President.
The ranks had only been given out 5 times in the millenia long history of the Republic, and has existed since it's inception. There had been two Field Marshals and three Grand Admirals, and each name was widely respected and revered in the Republic military heirarchy. The most recent had been Grand Admiral Hart, who had been appointed Grand Admiral in the low ebb of Republic fortunes during the Imperial Canadian & Tortugan War. He was considered a genius even among those who had come before him in the title, and he had retired just as Devers had begun to climb the rank ladder.
Hart's tactics and strategy had become the subject of classes and studies at the most respected military schools, from the vaunted Ecole d'guerre in Philadelphia to the Empire of Padmasa. His book To Stand Against the Night: A History of the Republic was the staple study of those same schools. Devers had been given the prestigious position on Hart's staff towards the end of his career, and had been at the Grand Admiral's side simply basking in the man's genius, which to his surprise was not carried on his sleeve, in fact had it not been for the Grand Admiral uniform or the name he wouldn't have expected Hart to be more then just a mid-level Captain.
Devers did not expect the same level of brilliance or humbleness from this Field Marshal, as he had seen when he was posted in Canadian Princes and Padmasa, men who wore a title of such prestige in the Republic were pompous and overrated, barely able to command a platoon through a revolution of manuever. They had won their victories on the pile of dead they had created, relying on brute strength which they passed off as tactical brilliance. Or maybe this man didn't even win victories, maybe he was a midlevel desk jockey who had been given the title to impress neighbours and tourists.
He was shaken out of his thoughts by the opening of the door beside him, he had been so absorbed in thought he hadn't noticed thier arrival. He stepped out of the car and tentatively identified the man who was waiting for him as a Major, that quick glance at the rank charts in his tourist guide had given him a crude understanding of insignia here. He turned to give the driver credits or krogs but he was already back in the vehicle after a curt nod from the Major. Devers turned to face the Major again, and a breif moment of awkward silence ensues.
"Greetings, I am Commander James Devers of the Federal Republic of the Sword and Sheild, as I understand it from the ride I am expected."
The Major, Crenshaw the tag read, nodded and the two exchanged greetings, and Devers was led into the building, careful to follow Crenshaw, and adopting his own gait and regal posture apart from the Major. To his surprise, they passed each security checkpoint with ease, not that it mattered, Devers had left the pistol with his embassy section of the Embassy, until finally they came to the anteroom to the Field Marshal's office.
To his mild surprise the anteroom only contained a secretorial desk and no pageantry, probably focused in his office. The Major turned as if to check if Devers was still with him then opened the doors to the office, stepping aside to let Devers enter.
Nodding in thanks to the Major for the escort he stepped into the office... and nearly lost his footing in amazement. In the office there was no great paintings of the Field Marshal, or his acheivements, in fact, except for size, it could have been a Lieutenant's. A neat array of drinks and sampling was arrayed at one side, and sitting queitly at his desk attent on his work was a man with insignia that must have been Field Marshal. As the man's face gazed up from his work to Devers' he could see the long lines of command, a man who had made decisions that literally decided thousands and millions of lives. In the man's eyes he saw a solid sense of purpose, he did what he thought right, and Devers made a well founded guess that the man was more a servant of justice than the law, and knowing the difference between the two.
It was as if he was again a lowly lieutenant stepping before Grand Admiral Hart.
Of course, the face was different, the uniform, and the man did not carry the weight of quite as many years, and perhaps he was not quite the genius that hart was, but the same aura of command was about him. Devers quickly regained his step, hoping neither the Field Marshal of Major did not notice, he stepped to the mans desk, and having to physically resist the urge to salute, he came to a halt.
"I am Commander James Devers of the Federal Republic of the Sword and Sheild, Field Marshal Wilks I presume?"
"A pleasure, Commander. Call me Jonathan. I refuse to stand on ceremony with a commander who probably has more men under his command than I do in my entire armed forces. Can I offer you a refreshment before we begin? If what we have her does not suit your tastes, then I can certainly have one of my men find something close to it."
Wilks gave the Commander Devers a handshake and offered him a seat in front of his desk. Rather than returning to his place behind it. Wilks poured two glasses of Gelt wine and sat at the chair beside him.
"You'll have to excuse me, Commander. I'm afraid you have me at a bit of a disadvantage. We had no idea either you or the Halladi emmisarry were due to arrive. Otherwise, we would have prepared a welcome... More in keeping with such a momentous occasion. This wine... From our province of Gelt, is the finest my country can offer. In the times... before the war, It was thought that if two men shared a glass of this stuff - Then only good could come of the meeting. It probably has more to do with the two men in question getting shamefully drunk than any other properties the wine may have. Please, accept this glass with my compliments. But we should probably save the drunkeness for another time... I'm afraid I still have a counrty to put back together."
Wilks raised his glass to Devers and took a small swallow.
"Which brings us to our purposes here. What little I know of your countries interests in mine leads me to believe you have been sent to us as a observer. You may, of course, correct me if I'm wrong."
"I'm of two minds on this subject, Commander. On the one hand, I see this action as a great sign of respect between our two nations. Many of our neighbors would not even attempt diplomacy to gather their intelligence. They would simply send their spies and lauch their sattelittes... And take... As they always have from this country. The fact that The Republic has even bothered to make human contact with us... Well, it's heartening... And most appreciated.
If however, on the other hand... And you must forgive me Commander, because I have a certain... Predeliction for speaking plainly - If your superiors have sent you to document "A quaint little war" between the peoples of "A backward country"... Then I will say to you: "Thank you for your interest." And I will have a plane waiting to take you home tommorow.
You must understand, Commander Devers. Before I became "Field Marshall" of "The Joint Armed Forces of Michaelea" I was, simply, Jonathan Wilks... I have fought with... And against my own people for my entire military life. I have great respect for this land that I live in... If I didn't, I would not have spilt so much blood on it's soil. If you can have even half the respect for these people that I do, then I'm sure we'll get along just fine."
Father Leopold bowed low before his leader:
"Your Grace, our many failures in The Benevolent Order aside... I can only suggest to you that... At this point, we must salvage what we can from the situation. The Halladi may have caught us by surprise, but there is no reason why the Field Marshall should have taken such a direct hand in matters of Michaelea's diplomatic relations. Only today, my brothers of The Order recieved news that the Halladi diplomat sent an encoded transmission back to New Dublin. Unfortunately, Halladi encryption techniques are too advanced for us to break, at this time. It can only be assumed though, my Lord, that the ambassador was none too happy at having his guards detained on Embassy grounds. Let the Field Marshall have his fun at playing soldier with The Republic of The Sword and Sheild... Hallad is far too powerfull, and far too close, to have us show them anything but the gravest respect!"
The Sword and Sheild
Devers listened intently as Wilks spoke, careful not to drink while Wilks talked, it did not make for good appearence to be preoccupied while someone spoke. Though he had to admit he was tempted, the taste of the drink was alluring, reminding him of his stay in the Outlying Islands.
When Wilks finished, Devers let the moment sit awhile, sipping in some of the drink then prepared himself, this was not a time to make a mistake.
"Well, sir Field Marshal, err...Johnathan, I can understand where your feelings are coming from. The Federal Republic has for many centuries now been primarily a maritime power, our defense is centered around the mighty Federal Navy. Becuase of this large and gallant force, and in no small measure due to the brevity of our Marine forces and our brilliantly trained Army and Air Force, the Republic has not had to fight a war on it's home soil for over a century."
"Your nation on the other hand, has just come out of a brutal civil war, if such a term can be applied to any war, especially one between brothers. The Federal Republic may be larger in size, population, and military force than Michaelea, but, as expressed to me by Chancellor Hart, your people have gone through the horrors of war. We have viewed your civil war, some with a keen eye, and we see an opportunity to learn."
"The Republic, which for years has been so isolated from the cruelties of the world, cannot expect it's riches to be safe from outside eyes, and our Military cannot expect to safeguard our people, as is our duty, if we cannot understand or fight a modern war. I am here not becuase I was just ordered, but out of my duty to defend the citizens of the Federal Republic, a duty I take most seriously, to continue to ensure that the freedoms of the Republic, will be passed down to future generations, freedoms some in the outside world would like to remove, and turn the Republic into a puppet state destined to serve their Empire."
"We have seen the suffering your people have undergone during your civil war, and their tenacity by not only surviving, but thriving. So I am here not as an observer to smooth out military doctrines that are developed by fighting wars on computer screens. I am here at the express interest of my nation to learn from your nation, which has undergone so much, so that we will not have to, as is my duty to safeguard them from."
"We do not consider your nation a backwards land of savages who we can learn by watching them spar each other, we have a deep respect for your people, and we would simply like to learn from you, Field Marshal. I also believe that as we learn from you, you mmy learn from us, and our two peoples will grow into warm friends in the future."
He ended on that title, one which he had decided the man more than deserved, no matter how many soldiers he commanded. Devers had seen action in at least 3 major wars and various police actions, had led Naval squadrons through desperate actions, had even breifly led a force of Marines, but never before had he felt so unsure of himself. Before he left, Chancellor Hart had expressed to him how important his mission was, of course, knowing Chancellor Hart, he could very well be here to help this Field Marshal in some way, who he had been told he had to meet. He just hoped he had expressed himself and the position of the Republic greatly enough.
To which The Warpope replied:
"Leopold, please... Enlighten us ad to why we should take the advice of a man who has proven his incompetence time and again? We have entrusted you with the intelligence arm of our government, at yet you cannot even provide us with fore-warning enough to prepare for a visit from the largest and deadliest nation on the continent! You are fortunate that we do not strike your head from your shrugging shoulders!
As things stand... We will limit the Field Marshall's directives only by allowing the Halladi ambassador's guard to remain on Embassy grounds. They need not leave the country. If the Halld representative wishes to speak to us through proper channels, then he will come alone and unarmed... As is the custom of any who seek audience with us. Beyond that, we must let him make the next move.
Allow us to council you, Father Leopold. Hallad has not moved against us, even when they had every opportunity during our civil war. Why? Because they are embroiled in a conflict with Hattia that could burst into war at a moment's notice! They are dickering in their peace talks now, and have not turned their covetous eye upon us. In that respect, you are correct... We must not give them cause to look in our direction...
But also know this, Father: We will not be strong-armed to the negotiations table! By Hallad... Shessara... Or any of the other nations who march in lock-step with "The New Roman Empire." They have not even deemed us worthy of a place on their illustrious "Senate!" And yet they expect our troops to swell their armies ranks...
In this, the Field Marshall was correct: If we do not assert ourselves now, we will bend our knees to The Empire later. The Halladi soldiers do NOT leave The Embassy. But if the ambassador wishes... Tell him that we will meet him as a civil nation, and under a flag of peace."
OOC: Sorry, Swordy. That last post was intended for Hallad. Didn't want you thinking The Warpope had suddenly burst into the room!
The Sword and Sheild
OOC: Sorry, Swordy. That last post was intended for Hallad. Didn't want you thinking The Warpope had suddenly burst into the room!
OOC: I caught on
Wilks regarded Devers with, what he hoped, was his most jaundiced eye. Damn, but the man could sling some bull! Jonathan sensed the guilelessness of Devers, and believed him. But did Devers truly speak for his nation? Jonathan had lived for many years in a realm of duplicity - it was hard for him to trust his gut instincts anymore.
But... Wouldn't he have to trust, at some point? His nation, for all of his leaders rhetoric, was not an island unto itself. At some point, didn't it befall someone to reach beyond its borders?
Wilks sighed. Then he caught himself and cursed himself for doing it. Might as well be him...
"Commander Devers, I believe you. It has been too long since anyone has paid attention to my little country. With that isolation comes a little guardedness, and I hope you can forgive me for that. How can Michaelea... How can I help you?"