The Reach of the Octopus
OOC: This is a "historical" flavored RP set back a bit in time, about a series of incidents rather important to the current directions and foreign policies of Tahar Joblis. Others may participate, but on moderated terms.
Of particular note, know that:
1.) The active time period of this RP is expected to start at around 1970. Technology and populations of countries is expected to be appropriate for the time period in a real world (this will probably involve dropping your population to 10% of its listed figures) and - as is quite evident from the historical nature of things - cataclysmic events are rather limited, although nearly-cataclysmic events will occur in several places.
2.) Tahar Joblis in 1970, for realism purposes, has a population that foreign officials can best estimate as 80-100 million, and doesn't quite have the same set of laws and statistics as now.
3.) I want to see good RP if you are going to post in here; there will be, quite clearly, roles available for nations to fill. If you decide to fill in a role, I would be happy to see a TM in my box telling me anything particularly germane to the RP and your country in 1970ish. Similarly, feel free to contact me if you want to participate here and don't see a place you can fit; we can talk about that.
Johannes Silvus stirred restlessly in his sleep.
The sputtering thunder of the machine gun roared, and he felt the tree shake as he fumbled out his powder horn and a musket ball, hoping that the powder was dry enough to fire. Beside him, his brother bled to death on the ground from uncountable bullet wounds, victim of the deadly automatic fire that raked his position again.
"Bastards... we never did anything to you..."
He silently offered a prayer to the wind gods his mother had told him of when he was a young boy as he held the musket vetical. Unlike their rifles and machine guns, his musket wasn't particularly accurate at a distance, and he needed all the luck he could. He lunged out from behind the tree-
-and woke up, sweating. That was three decades past, he reminded himself. He climbed out of the bed, old scars aching. And I never stopped fighting. I should retire someday, settle down, and let younger men do all this skulking around.
The apartment was dreary, filthy, and to his eyes full of wealth and disgusting; no apartment this size would have been furnished this expensively back home... or been as filthy. Waterstains in the ceiling, peeling paint, and he knew there were cockroaches somewhere. He declined to flip on the wasteful incandescent light adorning the ceiling, choosing to wake up in darkness.
He hated being on long term assignments to countries like this. Prosperous on their terms and hideously impoverished by his, with poor people starving in the streets, unable to afford regular medical attention or clean places to live, while others lived in mansions of luxury for no reason but that their grandfathers before them were wealthy. The laws of the land would help them keep it all in leisure while the poor worked their fingers to the bone to keep fed.
He grumbled, brushed his teeth, and began packing for the day's work. Not that the rich here would be getting richer off of him, no sir. Not on the whole...
"It's nice of you to tell me this now instead of last week. I would have wanted to know."
"We couldn't risk that. It was well and truly needed."
"I should have been the judge of that."
"We didn't think so."
"And just when did you receive a mandate from the people to do that? It's risky... I don't like the chance this will backfire."
"You came to us; we helped you then and you get to live with it now. You also get to keep helping us. Care to move onto business? It's too late for anything to be done about it now anyway."
"Indeed. I happen to have found an interesting project you might be interested in the dividends of... I can help you and you can help me."
"You can't afford it otherwise right now. We saw ... the newspapers are having a field day."
OOC:Hey tahar, you just described my nation in that first post :P If you want, and it works for you, It could be chellis 1970...
OOC: Yes, that can indeed work out; Chellis in 1970 it is. TM me a few things about your country in 1970 to help me out a bit. Power dynamics, the names of some historically disposable business and political leaders, anything in particular.
Johannes began muttering to himself, making sure he had his accent down pat. If you didn't sound like a poor uneducated Chellian, it might draw attention, and he didn't want that today of all days.
With care, he tucked a pair of dice in one pocket and a pack of cards in another.
Establishing a reputation as a gambler who just can't quit was a good idea. Gives a good reason why I might go antsy for a little while, or cut out of town - loan sharks, house managers who caught me cheating, and so on. Also helps hide all the cash flows involved in my part of this.
Carefully, he put out the pilot light on the gas oven, which proved surprisingly easy. Guess I'm lucky it didn't do that on its own last week. Looking over the apartment, he carefully broke up any of the remaining equipment that might look suspicious, unscrewed the lightbulb halfway, and left a precarious pile of dirty pots and pans balanced on the sink. Last, he carefully shut the window and closed the door, leaving a box of matches wedged on the inside of the hinge.
Should get things burning, one way or another...
Wearing workman's clothes, he hefted his toolbox and strolled to his car, which, in addition to its small size, missing hubcaps, and rusty trim, appeared never to have truly been in style. Throwing the toolbox in the back, he started up the noisy vehicle to drive to the factory.
Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to the Chellian auto plant...
The TJSS-204 puttered forth on the surface, waiting for a scheduled radio transmission to come in.
We've had some strange orders lately... I wonder what NDOTJHQ knows that we don't. I hate lurking in these waters without knowing what's going to happen next. I hate fussy
Captain Jenna Fel impatiently looked over at the radio officer, who shook her head.
They're pretty late with this set of orders. Well, at least the crew is enjoying time in the sun to relax without doing all that close lurking and hiding and counting ships...
She paused to stretch momentarily and pick up a cup of steaming tea from belowdecks.
"No word yet on when we're getting any of those new panels for these extended missions?" The chief engineer was anxious; anything that improved fuel efficiency was a big plus in a boat that had sprouted inopportune fuel leaks at some points over her twenty years of service.
She shook her head, strolling up back topside to keep enjoying the fresh air while she could.
"It's a bold move, but will it get them to stop doing it? It's a very broad hint, but we can't really claim it publicly due to the political problems and they may not realize that the obvious motivation is the right one."
"Well, what else should we do? Come now, we're talking about the future of Tahar Joblis as a civilized nation. Do you have any better way to rub their nose in that?"
OOC: Wazzu wasn't in existance then, I started it ICly at the same time as OOCly. But the nation itself was made by a bunch of enterprising corporations sticking it out on their own (to get their own laws made...and no corporate taxes).
That means there are a number of Wazzu corporations that may be in one of these nations, if your willing to host that bit to pre-Wazzu history.
TransCorp was a startup car company, and one that didn't exactly make the best vehicles around. They made them cheap and simple.
Oren Moore Inc. had been around for a while as a mining company, but was having problems.
Elegant Solutions Inc. was a booming electronics and telecom company...it helped found Wazzu after it went bust in the 90s.
Those would be the three most likely (and are the three most important in Wazzu now...a couple others have failed since).
OOC: It would be interesting for TransCorp to be the car company Johannes Silvus is working for. I could work in a few odd points here and there for it. All there is to it is for Chellis to agree that the company had at least a branch in Chellis in 1970.
Chellis, car factory, Johannes Silvus:
Johannes Silvus patiently waited out the morning, making sure to look extremely busy and overworked as he tromped from one section of the factory to another, certain to moan and groan about all the different places he needed to work around the comlpex in the afternoon.
That would help slow any search made to see where he'd gone off to; by the time they thought to look, they wouldn't be able to find him. Slipping out unnoticed wouldn't be that hard with a quick makeup job and change in the bathroom to turn him into a plumber. Wasn't it convienient that someone had flushed a cherry bomb down one of the toilets, blowing a pipe out that morning?
Convienient, but it took three of them to do the job right. Oh well.
He whistled to himself as he sat down for a quick game of cards over lunch. He let his grin fade into raw frustration as he carefully ruined his own hands at draw poker, losing more money than he pulled in a day's wages in a hurry.
"Bah. Not me day today. The toilets break, I get assigned a double shift, and now I'm losing me luck at the cards..."
Off the coast of Enyalius, TJS Swan:
The escort carrier loomed heavy upon the water, in wargames uncomfortably close to Enyalian waters.
The fairly young and recently promoted Admiral Stromsveldt knew why, too. A brilliant officer, he just gotten his stars at the tender age of 24; most unusual, but the NDOTJ recognizes and rewards talent readily.
He knew, all right. The not telling anybody else bit was getting on his nerves though. Most of the senior officers could tell something was up, and rumors were spreading among the crews of his ships.
No doubt the Enyalians had some suspicions too...
"Cap'n Fel, transmission incoming..."
She read through the message, heart sinking.
"They want us to ..." She stopped. "Well, that tears it. All hands on deck for a quick debriefing fifteen minutes from now. The first officer and I have a couple things to discuss."
Closer to the coast of Enyalius
Captain Jackson Adams watched the radar display intently. Damn them. Even for a single carrier, I'd give up my first two commands.
The cruiser Archangel sailed on, just inside the terrrtorial limit, carefully gathering any SIGINT data it could on the ships just outside Enyalian waters.
Two jet fighters roared in, performing a mock attack.
They might need that skill soon.
Adams hoped not.
<tag for reference>
TJSS 204, International Waters:
The captain ran her hands through her hair. They were in international waters - barely - and the ship they'd been trailing had been, but was no longer.
Not their own territorial waters, but not ours either. I hope NDOTJHQ is right about this...
"Yes ma'am. Moving to periscope depth."
"Full speed ahead. Tell me when range to target is eight thousand yards or range to territorial waters is less than two thousand."
The sub chugged forward under the surface of the water, its periscope peering over the waves, engines thrumming at full power. Nobody spoke on the bridge for several minutes.
"Range to target is eight thousand yards, range to territorial waters is four thousand yards. Target is cruising at five knots, course unaltered."
The captain moved to the scope, noting the bearing.
"Maintain course. Ready torpedo tubes one and two." She ignored the uneasy sensation crawling up her spine.
"Torpedos readied, ma'am."
"Fire one bearing seven zero, range seven four double zero on my mark." A pause. "Mark."
"Fish one, fired seven zero and seven four double zero."
"Fire two bearing six seven, range seven three double zero, on my mark. Mark. Ready three and four, change course bearing to full right and run parallel to the line."
Aboard a freighter, three sailors sat on deck playing cards by lantern light. A brief ripple in one's eye cought his attention momentarily, and then a loud explosion from below scattered the cards into the wind. The sailors scrambled to grab handholds as the deck rocked severely to port. A second explosion from the middle of the boat shook the ship again, and the front half of the hull tore away from the rear half of the boat as the engine pushed the back half forward.
"Holy ****!" "Abandon ship!" "What the #### was that?" "Fire! Fire!" "Help!" "Man overboard!"
Having broken the silence of the night, the TJSS 204 turned again, heading into deeper depths of international waters, surfacing a half hour later when no ships could be seen by periscope.
Chellis, TransCorp parts factory:
Johannes Silvus trotted out of the factory wearing a new face and a plumber's uniform, reflecting over the conversation he'd had to carry out in his guise as a plumber with a new managerial passing by...
"You see, what you put into something and what you get out of it aren't always the same. It's all a matter of priorities conflicting. Take government, for example."
"A nation sets its priorities as to what it wants out of government - security, health, regulation - and then what it's willing to pay in taxes, tariffs, and so on."
"Well, if I were running the government, I'd have it get out of the way. Taxes are just too high a price to pay."
"Pfft. You'd have to found a new nation or conduct a revolution to do that. Governments don't disappear quietly."
Pffft... naive rich kid. Taxes are too high a price to pay? Bet you'll find a way to make money off of government sooner or later. At least he hadn't been long enough to recognize me under the makeup job.
Johannes looked around. The parking lot seemed deserted, so he quickly retrieved his toolbox from the car and darted across the street to another parking lot, getting in a van that had been sitting in a warehouse's parking lot for a week. Once in the car, he carefully changed disguises again, now an electrician.
I Qan Read publishing. Funny name for a company. Senior VP on the 7th floor, Alexi Stukov. Horrid capitalist pig.
He got out of the car and strolled into the building as if he had every right to be there. When the receptionist shouted after him, he babbled in a very dense country accent something about fixing a potentially hazardous wiring problem on the third floor.
Twenty minutes later...
Mr. Stukov walked into his office after a late luncheon meeting, encountering nobody on his way into his office. Where had his secretary gone off to? The girl was so easily distracted. Well, at least she was discreet. No doubt she'd be back up begging for his forgiveness for having gotten lost coming back from the copy room, and that usually led to a very pleasant afternoon. Come to think of it, he didn't have any meeting scheduled this afternoon...
The smile dropped off his face abruptly as the rather large barrel of a short-barreled homemade shotgun swung out from behind the door and erased all possibilities of a pleasant afternoon - unless by pleasant one refers to an afterlife.
As he fell to the ground, gaping red hole the size of a fist in his chest, he stared at the naked body of his secretary one last time - trussed up in his chair and gagged - as if she had betrayed him.
"Silence is golden," said the masked assassin to her. "Noise is red and bloody." He saluted her with the homemade shotgun, only thirteen inches long and meant for close bloody work. "I trust you like gold," he said, tweaking the solid gold earrings Alexi had given her last week. He walked out the door and closed it behind him.
Five minutes later, a deliveryman walked out the back door, carrying a package. He hopped into his truck, which had been parked there all morning, and drove off.
Mrs. Eleway started riding up the elevator. It wasnt like mr. stukov to be late for a meeting, but she was sure he had a good reason. As the doors opened, she walked through the hall and right as she walked into mr. Stukov's room, she turned away, hands to her face, and screamed as loud as she could.
20 minutes later
Police had cordoned off the large building, police tape around it, carrying chellian MP-40's and P-38's. There were two ambulances, one for the deceased, and one for ms eleway, whom had fainted. As the police had finished securing the building, special investigators began searching for clues, although they were having a hard time, as the secretary on the first floor had mysteriously disappeared. Chellians in the city were very scared about this, but not many actually knew. The secretary of Mr. Stukov had been found, unconscious, with a slight pulse, and was rushed to the hospital to be given treatment, before she could be questioned.
TJSS 204, Captain's cabin:
"Cap'n, with all due respect, I don't like this. We sink a civilian freighter in somebody else's waters, and then report mission success by maintaining comm silence?"
"The orders came straight from Admiral Grolik, Mr. Pike, and he's the top admiral at HQ. I can tell it was him as cut the orders, personally." He mentioned a few things that I didn't know he'd remembered...
She reflected briefly on those incidents in her past. Certainly a board of inquiry would look askance at it. Perhaps the orders were not approved by the civilian authorities over NDOTJHQ, but they most definitely came from the top of the NDOTJ.
"And remember... the entire mission is top secret. Not a word to the outside or all of us will be facing expulsion from the navy, criminal charges, and maybe even permanent exile from the country." Of course, I want to have a talk with Mr. Bigshot Admiral as to what is really going on, so long as I'm being blackmailed into complete and utter secrecy.
"I hate this job." The maintainence man grumbled to his partner. "I just hate having to muck around in these stinking sewers. Why are we here anyway? I thought the pipes we were checking were over that way."
"I have someone I'd like you to meet. They share your doubts about the Prophet."
A silence as the first man stared horrified at the second.
"You know about that?" Visions of secret police and horrible death danced through his head.
"Don't worry. Like I said, they share your doubts. As do I."
As the wind picked up, the targeting bouy drifted into a current, which carried it into Enyalian waters.
Admiral Stromsveldt frowned, looking at his radar charts. Something was ... off.
Silvus looked one last time at the place he'd slaved at for two weeks getting everything set up. I feel like that one last act of defiance is needed here...
He pushed a button; power dimmed visibly at the factory and then went out altogether. Scarcely three seconds later, a great surge pulsed through the lines, and then the connection of the factory to the power grid was cut in three places - once by corrosive chemicals, once by explosives, and once by a sabotaged transformer box.
Ahh... it's nice to get in a little freelance work losing the capitalists' money for them. Time for me to head home.
With that, he drove off to a port where a ship carrying bulk goods would take him on as a sailor by the name of Peaquad Flitterbug.
Of course, his pay would be forfeit for jumping ship at a certain freewheeling port, then changed identities and went back to Tahar Joblis on a Tahar Joblissan ship anonymously.
Elsewhere in Chellis:
"I can't help but think that we don't really have any choice but to let them take over the company. I think if we don't... we end up dead, and they see if the next set of executive are amenable to their manipulations. These aren't law-abiding people."
Waking up in the hospital, she felt reassured by the fact that nothing seemed wrong with her and someone had thoughfully sent her roses and a pretty little get-well card. Looked like expensive paper of some sort and pretty calligraphy, and sealed artfully with a drop of wax.
Then she read it.
Silence is golden,
And roses are red,
However you bolden,
Recall what I said.
How sweet. And on the back, it mentioned that it was made of tasty rice paper in small print.
ooc:I have nothing I can think of to reply, to this.
The targeting bouy bobbed in the water peacefully. In the distance, a destroyer swivelled a 5" gun turret.
The gunner mused to himself briefly. That's not where they told me it would be. Must be they're trying to keep us on our toes.
"Target sighted, sir!"
"Commence fire and count those rounds. You have 5 minutes, push her to the limit."
With a rumble of thunder, the destroyer began firing into Enyalian waters.
The turret commander frowned.
"Decrease elevation and charge, those first two shots were well over."
"Sir, yes, sir! Gotta love the new gun, sir!"
Under Enyalian Waters, aboard the E.R.S. Fishback:
"Ensign, what the hell is that noise?" The Commander swung into the command deck.
"It would appear to firing on the surface, sir."
"Who? Any ships in the area?"
"Yes, sir. One ship in International waters. Not a vessel from any nation in Dor Lomin."
"I could probably tell more with active sonar, sir."
"No. Best not. Conn Officer, move us into torpedo range, but stay inside our waters."
"Aye aye, sir."
International Waters Outside Enyalius:
Aboard the destroyer...
"Thank you, sir. These new five inchers are wonderful guns, sir."
The intercom crackled. "The next target looks to be a bit off, brace for course change." The destroyer swung wide, traveling away from Enyalius to track the next targeting bouy a bit more closely.
The crowd of masked strangers milled about somewhat before one of their number stepped on top of a crossing pipe.
"Hear me, brothers. It is high time that we did something instead of just sitting around and whining to each other." Another voice shouted, loudly. "Death to the prophet!"
A hush fell upon the crowd for a moment, and then quiet whispers.
"I have a plan, brothers... a plan that will work."
Somewhere in Chellis:
"You are going to sell me thirty percent of the voting stock in this company."
"I've told you once and I'll tell you again... I'm not interested in selling out."
"Such a pity. I haven't seen such stubborn lack of sense since the last time I met Mr. Stukov... the poor fellow. Not that I had anything to do with his unhappy end, but stubborn people tend to get wrapped up in such unhappy positions."
A Tahar Joblissan Port
"Yeah? Well, tell the admiral I want to speak with him straight away. Tell him that I remember Fel's fall, and that if I don't get to see him, there will be a ferryman to pay."
Jenna hung up the telephone in disgust, conceding it to the next person in line. So much for going outside of channels... I hate secretaries.
Then an item on the front page of the newspaper caught her eye.
"It can't be..." She picked it up, reading with an intense look on her face.
You bastard, you have some explaining to do...
"Extra! Late breaking news, body of submarine captain found! Foul play suspected! Extra! Extra! Read all about it!"
The newsboy paused to drink a glass of water before picking up his cry again, handing out beige newsheets filled with tiny print.
Elsewhere in Tahar Joblis:
"I don't care what it takes, I want the people responsible for this brought to light! There's something rotten on high, my sister told me as much before she disappeared."
"Patience... making waves leads to a sunken boat."
"Patience? Patience? We're talking about murder, treason, and corruption here!"
"Let go of me, I didn't have anything to do with it! Come to your senses, please, I find the truth for a living. I'm just saying that it might be a good idea to not do anything susipcious for a little while."