WA Delegate: None.
Last WA Update:
Today's World Census Report
The Smartest Citizens in Lerodas
The World Census eavesdropped on conversations in coffee shops, on campuses, and around cinemas in order to determine which nations have the most quick-witted, insightful, and knowledgeable citizens.
As a region, Lerodas is ranked 6,988th in the world for Smartest Citizens.
|1.||The Micropolis of Paixao||Civil Rights Lovefest||“The Hammer is Nigh!”|
|2.||The Council Republic of Aatelisia||Moralistic Democracy||“Glory to the ones who look forward!”|
|3.||The Republic of Albraltar||Inoffensive Centrist Democracy||“For the Freedom & Protection of All”|
|4.||The Borderlands of Kutac||Anarchy||“This Motto Space For Sale”|
|5.||The Social Republic of Shuoria||Corporate Bordello||“Home, Hearth, Family”|
|6.||The Kingdom of Tiresta||Civil Rights Lovefest||“Tiria Invicta, Tiria Aeterna”|
|7.||The United Socialist Republics of Ahsenkhawen||Democratic Socialists||“Many Tribes, Many Peoples, One Nation”|
|8.||The Democratic Republic of Vezla||Left-Leaning College State||“Dance the day away”|
|9.||The Free Land of LeroWelcomeWagon||Inoffensive Centrist Democracy||“Welcome RolePlayers”|
|10.||The Republic of Mightian||Capitalist Paradise||“By The People For The People”|
- : The Sultanate of Aititesaruertay departed this region for Artificial Solar System.
- : The Grace and Precision of Maple 8 departed this region for Artificial Solar System.
- : The Submerged Town of Lurklife 5 departed this region for Suspicious.
- : The Borderlands of Kutac arrived from The Rejected Realms.
- : The Republic of Rushalor Division 05 departed this region for Suspicious.
- : The Commonwealth of Takkaviita departed this region for Artificial Solar System.
- : The Sultanate of Aititesaruertay lost WA Delegate status.
- : The Empire of Semper 75 departed this region for Artificial Solar System.
- : The Empire of Semper 75 arrived from Artificial Solar System.
- : The Republic of Merni57 arrived from Artificial Solar System.
Lerodas Regional Message Board
Battle of Ikalik III
Castryx Expansion Post
It was one thing to read about these battles in the papers. It was one thing to hear stories spread on the homefront, tales of heroism, bravery, and patriotic glory that would make her heart swell with pride and the longing to see it all for herself. It was one thing to go through basic training, even. They had done their best to prepare Aleshanee and the other recruits during their brief time under their instructor’s care, but it had not truly hammered it home. Not like being here in person did, for it was another thing entirely to have the rifle in her hand running towards the men that wanted to kill her.
She lost track of who was around her, her heart thumping and pounding in her ears, her own breath becoming almost as loud as the booms and thunder of Arvenian mortars and PLA tank turrets. The few armored divisions that the Union could field were entirely provided by their ally Ahsenkhawen, their crews hastily trained and equipped. The 87th and 22nd were some of those divisions, to her north and south respectively, coming along with her as she ran west. They were light tanks, fast and small, but were one of the best surprises the PLA was able to deal to the Arvenian colonists. That would not last forever, as every one of them knew. Once the Marines were able to report back that the rebels had managed to put together armor divisions, she did not doubt they would get support of their own to counter them.
Not that it really mattered to her in that moment. In that moment, all she could focus on was her own feet pounding into the muddy ground, again and again and again, and managing her breathing. The rifle in her hands felt oppressively heavy, the helmet strapped to her head bouncing slightly against her skull, not entirely fitted to her. A stream of bullets screamed right by her left side, cutting through the air, making her gasp out loud, her gaze moving momentarily just long enough to see one of her comrades jerk back, four holes in the chest of his uniform, collapsing into the mud. She turned her gaze back to the front, squinting through the rain, nearly panicked as she searched for something to shoot at, anger bubbling along with her panic. She was granted her wish. She spotted the distinctive green of a helmeted head popping up over a sandbagged position, a rifle barrel coming into view as well. She could see little else, only the pale coloring of a white man.
That was all she needed. She slowed her pace somewhat, from a dead sprint to a slow walk, still moving forward as Kuyanyamtiwa had ordered. The rifle came up, the butt against her shoulder, her cheek resting against it, her eye looking down the iron sights. She wasn’t the best judge of distance even at the best of times, and especially not under pressure like this, and just made her best guess as she adjusted, all in the span of a second or two. She squeezed the trigger three times in rapid succession, the butt kicking hard against her shoulder, the recoil making her arms jerk, though her basic training kept it still vaguely in the right area. Three shots. Three bullets. She didn’t stay long enough to see if it had hit properly, only knowing that she didn’t see the pale skin of the colonizer anymore. Whether that meant he had been hit or had ducked back behind cover, she couldn’t know until she got there.
The sandbag wall came upon her faster than she had thought it would, and without thinking, Aleshanee vaulted over it, glancing down quickly. The man that she had shot at was sprawled in the mud, his arms spread around him, his eyes wide and panicked, two jagged holes punched into his throat. His chest rose and fell rapidly as he tried to breathe, but only choked on his own blood. There wasn’t time to process that she had just taken a life for the first time. The young woman looked behind her, and felt her heart quicked. Corpses littered the field between their lines and the outskirts of the Arvenian defenses, but there were others reaching it along with her. Kuyanyamtiwa was beside her, grease gun in hand, and shouted at her to keep going.
Aleshanee rapidly loaded three of her loose bullets into her rifle, following the officer as they kept sprinting forward, leading the charge With the support of the armored divisions, the PLA’s desperate advance caught the Marines completely offguard. With their local loyalist support fading before the determined rebels, the Arvenians were forced to fall back into the city itself. The commander of the Marines in the northern part of the colony made the decision to pull the Marines back, leaving the local Dominion forces to hold the city. The Marines fell back to the city of Antoleme, only to find that the PLA advance had been more widespread than first believed. The Dominion army on the southern front had been pushed back to the Sarkotean border, completely cutting off the Marines from their supply lines and command structure. With the city of Ikatil falling after only three days of urban fighting, the Marines were forced to settle in for a desperate defense of Antoleme as they awaited reinforcements, support, and supplies from the mainland.
Aleshanee and her unit fought through the entire battle, and were recognized for bravery in the face of insurmountable odds. Aleshanee herself received a Red Star, a great honor, for her courage and a promotion to corporal. But she was not given leave to return home, and simply sent right back to the frontline. The PLA needed every soldier it could, after all.
There was still a war to win.
Promise: Part I
I stand, my back cracking against the hours of being hunched over, wiping sweat from my brow. Given the lack of tools and nothing to protect my hands other than old rags (which did little; my hands look redder than the tomatoes in my farm), the fence’s refurbishment could have gone worse. I tilt to the side, getting a new perspective of the fence. Judging from its slant and some interesting curves, it could have gone a lot better too.
I groan. For some reason my shoulder and my side are panging with immense pain. Like I’ve been stabbed. Shot? Still, such pains were not enough to hinder me from getting this fence done. Even if it does look a little lopsided.
Wait. Hakuriwa Village? Back home? I wheel my head around, frantically taking in my village. Whole.
As I spin, my heel catches a root. I trip and fall onto someone. She yelps in surprise. Opening my scrunched eyes I see Tanika, eyes wide and breath shortening.
“I-I’m sorry, honey,” I stammer. “I didn’t see the, uhh…”
“Was the fence really that bad?” Tanika chuckles. I feel a crunch underneath me. “You kind of ruined the daikon I picked out, though.”
I stand, helping Tanika up and racing sorry hands through the decimated weaved basket, daikon smudged into the mud. “That… wasn’t all we had, right?” I race my right hand through my head (it’s usually with the left I do this, but I can’t seem to do it with that hand for some reason) apologetically. “I’m sorry again,” I sigh.
“Don’t be,” Tanika smiles warmly. “That wasn’t even half of our yield. Come on, help me pick some more. You kind of deserve to help me, anyway.”
I laugh. “I’d help you anyway, My Queen.”
Something sears on my cheek. A slight pain. I put my hand on my cheek, feeling a slight warmth from some sort of impact. Then I hear a voice coming from all around, faint and distorted: “You made a promise. Live.”
And then I remember. I’m in Yanomito. I was fighting Jiao fascists and disloyal yakuza. Alongside me were communist party members and agents, as well as other yakuza, Desulans, and the head of the Yakuza family. I’m part of the communist faction. I’m fighting to put down the Kuroikumo. Why? The Kuroikumo razed Hakuriwa, its houses, its villagers. Takeo. Yuri. Tanika. My children and wife are dead. This is a figment of my imagination. Or something else inside my head.
“You shouldn’t have to go back,” Tanika somberly says. “Haven’t you lost enough?”
“Perhaps I have,” I respond. I walk up to Tanika, taking her hands in mine.
“Then why don’t you stay? Stay with your wife and children. With your village. Let go,” Tanika squeezed my hands, placing them on her chest, above her heart.
“I… made a promise,” I echo the words of the voice. Chiyeko’s.
“What more will that promise take from you?”
“I don’t know. And that’s the scary part,” I sigh, my head hanging in insecurity, doubt. “And everything I have to live for is here, dead. I don’t know why I’m carrying on. Even the dreams of others, this entire country is hurting me. I can let them all go.”
“Then why don’t you?” Chiyeko puts a hand to my chin, lifting my head to face her deep, searching eyes.
“Because maybe I can find something that I can live for. My dreams. Maybe not another Yuri or Takeo. Maybe not another you. But that’s life, isn’t it? There’s always something out there to live for. I made a promise,” I echo again.
Tanika nods solemnly. “You’re my husband, all right. That’s why I practically jumped into your arms before any dowries were even given. Even though you’re pretty easy on the eyes yourself, it’s your hope and honor that I’ve loved the most about you.”
“I-I killed so many people. So many people died, Tanika,” I start to collapse, muddying my knees as I bury my teary face in Tanika’s kimono.
Tanika pets my head. “I love you for who you are, not what you’ve done, Ryoshiro. Now go. Live. I see that you’re not done. Come back when you are.”
I stand, nodding and kissing Tanika. I turn around. The echoing, distorted voice enveloping the area manifests into light, forming an outstretched hand. I reach out, taking it.
Promise: Part II
I wake with a start. I’m inside the Yoruhara residence, somewhere. The spacious yet barren room is illuminated only with one gas lantern dangling idly from the ceiling, strobing around its sunrise glow as it bobbles around, back and forth.
My eyes feel like they’ve been glued shut for hours. Still, by blinking a bit, I manage to chase away the itching feeling. At least for now.
I’m in an overly soft bed. I think I need to stretch; it doesn’t feel good for my posture.
And then the pain jumps in. That’s right, I recall, writhing in agonizing silence, tears streaming unceremoniously down my bandaged face. (My face is bandaged?) I was shot. Twice. Once in the shoulder, the same shoulder I was hit in all those months ago. And another on my side. Despite these two clear points of entry, the cruel fires of excruciating torture lick throughout my entire body. I don’t have the strength to scream or do anything. Just suffer silently.
With nothing else to do, I try panning my gaze from side to side, taking all my effort to move my head to see what lay beside me. I’m surprised my shoulder didn’t render me unconscious as I did so, regardless of how small these actions were. My shoulder certainly tried. There is a nightstand to my right. An analog clock sitting neatly on a stack of papers declares that it is 5:20.
I must have been panting and wheezing like an idiot to the extent that the doors to the room slide open softly, dully thudding against the walls. I try to center my head and peer down across the hall, to see who opened the door. It’s Shinobu-san.
Shinobu-san? Since when did we wrest naval control over Yanomito? I try to open my mouth, to speak, yet nothing comes out.
“Don’t speak,” Shinobu-san hisses through grit teeth, pacing around me like a madwoman with her by-now iconic clipboard and half-fogged glasses. Instead of her traditional labcoat, she wore a dark green Jinmin Kumiaiha field uniform, sleeves rolled up to allow room for thick latex gloves. There is blood scattered across her uniform, a malign constellation across the hammer-and-sickle emblem of the faction. “Don’t move,” she follows up, noticing my head’s feeble rolls across the silk pillows. “You know what?” she amends, scrunching her face at her clipboard, “Don’t do anything. At all.”
Shinobu-san wheels around, looming over the bed. She sweeps down my blanket, with a crude yet tender jerk, and races analytic fingers across my bare chest. She reaches down at my side and begins to change its bandages. I wince.
“Deaf idiot,” she tsks. I try to lie a little more still, in humiliating self-consciousness. My head is propped up to face what’s above me. As Shinobu-san (very painfully) changes my bandages, I can’t do anything except look at her face. Beads of sweat dotted her hairline like a tiara. Some began to trickle lazily down the temples of her glasses. Others hugged loose strands of her hair to her round face. Her cheeks are tinged a shade of red. For a moment, her eyes dart to catch mine. I feel my face redden too. Just as quickly as her gaze came to me, they leave, back to attending to my wound. Her face reddens even more.
“There,” Shinobu-san sighs nonchalantly, quickly turning away from me once she finishes. “Anyway, Ryoshiro, to give you the short version, two bullets entered your body. One ruptured your axillary vein and grazed your clavicle. It exited safely. The other missed your external iliac by three centimeters, its exit blocked by your pelvis. Considering your extremely unstable operation, not helped at all with this horribly unsanitary island, it’s a miracle you’re still here. You’ve already done the brunt of recovery, but try not to ruin it just by moving needlessly. It’s another miracle you haven’t yet damaged yourself further by rolling like a seal in your little Kallian playground you have there.”
I don’t say anything. Even if I could, I stay silent.
“You could have easily perished given the circumstances. You suffered a concussion when you fell out of that building, so they tell me,” Shinobu-san continues, her matter-of-factly tone faltering.
Shinobu-san falls silent too. She wheels back around, her pressed her lips together and her eyes clenched shut. Pinning her hands down at either side of my head, she descended, kissing me flush on the lips. My eyes started to dart about. I can’t focus on anything. A tear falls on my face.
Something comes up in my throat. Shinobu-san jumps away, clearly as confused as I am. “I’m sorry, Mr. Musai, that was wrong,” Shinobu-san clears her throat, her normally stoic, focused visage broken. Her eyes bounce everywhere, as if trying to catch the scattered emotions running loose from her mind, her heart.
And then do I notice Chiyeko standing in the doorway, eyes wide and pupils narrowed.
Promise: Part III
Chiyeko strides towards me. She now wore one of her kimonos, still fastened just well enough, leaving plenty of breathing room for and showcasing her body. She gives Shinobu an icy glare, enough for the timid doctor to flee the room. She narrows her eyes and turns her scowl to me.
“You were out for an entire month,” Chiyeko announces at last, her uncannily deadpan voice giving me chills for coming out of such an expressive face.
I clear my throat and try to respond. Chiyeko cuts me off, continuing, “The plan worked like a charm. Those loyal to me, the Desulans, and your friends managed to force the fascists and traitors into a surrender with no way off the island. The Desulans got some of the prisoners, as well as some cash and exports, for payment and then went back to their country.”
“Did you…” I make out with a raspy whisper, “hit me… while I was under…?”
Chiyeko ignores me completely, even though I spoke for the first time since waking up. “Ryoshiro, by all medical accounts, you would not have survived, let alone recovered to this extent so quickly. Even so, you fought hard. Why?” She sits at the side of the bed, her sharp eyes peering into mine.
“I made a promise,” I respond.
Chiyeko falls silent, taken aback.
“I don’t know what life’s gonna hold,” I continue, despite my lungs strongly suggesting I stop. “But I’m living on the promise that there’s gonna be things to not just die for, but to live for.” My heart flutters. I force it under control. “Like you, Chiyeko. You’ve helped me find this within myself. And I’m grateful.”
Chiyeko leans in, her pale arms enveloping my neck. She reaches for my lips, takes a sharp inhale through her nose and kisses me. She pulls away without saying anything, her eyes racing about in passion, yet uncertainty.
I sense this. “Chiyeko, it’s okay if you don’t want to help us. We can manage. Ask yourself what you want.”
“I want you,” Chiyeko blurts, boldly, unhesitantly, staring into my eyes with assuredness. That was the only thing she truly knows.
She stands. “I made a promise too,” she announces, a newfound drive in her eyes. “Let’s make arrangements for your people.”
The wind whistles shrilly above the placid waves licking at the black sands of the Yanomito beach. Sheets of ocean foam pull towards, then away from my wheelchair, as if trying to get as close to the front wheels they can without touching them.
It was a long day. Days after my awakening, I was deemed able to go outside, even if temporarily bound to my wheelchair. Chiyeko had already made arrangements for her Desulan contacts to take Jinmin Kumiaiha and Jidanketsu partisans and agents to South Rahmia to catch flights to Aatelisia and Ahsenkhawen respectively, to lobby for weapons and vehicles of any sort. All we have to offer are IOUs. Hopefully they’re accepted currency in the wider communist world, if our struggle itself didn’t yield any sympathies. As such, the remainder of the day was spent burying the dead. Inao was the hardest to bury. Harder still was Eijo’s silence throughout the whole thing. I had told him that she had received those fatal wounds a hero. No response.
Now we wait in Yanomito’s harbor, with Chiyeko’s underlings discussing matters of logistics and such with Desulan sailors. The partisans were already onboard a small Desulan barge, to be transported in shipping containers of “hazardous materials.” Eijo, Shinobu-san, and the rest of the communist union members were already en route to Haitoshiya, awaiting outside aid to take the fight to the Kuroikumo’s heart. I would have to wait until I fully recover.
The ship’s horn blared crudely. It gaudily belched billows of smoke as sailors raced across the deck like ants at this distance, shouting incomprehensibly. The barge began to shudder and groan, then move, ever so slowly, out of the dock.
“What are you going to do after you’re successful?” Chiyeko asks behind me. She was attending me in my wheelchair the entire day.
“I don’t know. I wanna get away from it all. As much as I wanna see the ideals of Obushira, Nieminen, Koskinen, and Canaqa implemented into Inomora’s governance, I’m tired of the fighting. When justice comes to Inomora, I’m going to step away as soon as I can.”
“Do you think they’re going to seize my castle?” Chiyeko jests. There was a bit of fear behind her joviality.
“The Yorukomori would likely have to find a new base of operations, likely in Desula,” I deduce, putting a hand to my chin. “Plus, all land would likely be put under state control. At least state taxes on land would likely be cut as well. But I’ll see what I can do about your castle. At least its grounds.”
Chiyeko falls silent, then cautiously inhales. “You were talking about things to live for. Let me give you another.” She falls to her knees, pressing her face right up against my ear. “After this is done, and you commies are going to win this, wherever that might be, let’s live together. In peace. Away from it all. I’m tired of this life too. Of running an empire. A house and farm will do.” She stands, going in front of me, then drops to her knees again. “Promise?”
I nod. “I promise.”
A Thunderous Roar (Expansion Post)
It was a clear day as the sun was high in the sky, giving a clear view of a lonely uninhabited island, standing alone as the ocean pounded it to fine sand. Towards the horizon, several ships of the first imperial fleet was overseeing their newly unveiled battleship, the ‘Malaxili’, about to start its first test firing after Atzapec III approved of its construction a year ago. The young emperor was sitting alone as he requested. Taking a small swig of water in a small glass, he swished the cold liquid in a clockwise action, entertaining himself as he waited for the test firing to begin. Ixtlacan never really had a big navy in its history, having relied on its coordinated and disciplined armies to conquer neighbors to become what it is now. Even in world history, it a had a very small navy which regulated itself to keeping merchant convoys from being destroyed and saw relatively less action, but the Ixtlacani took pride in protecting the vital cargo destined to arrive in Estora.
“Pardon my intrusion, Great Speaker. I was just informing you that the live firing test is about to begin.” Admiral Citlali had said in a slightly excited tone as Atzapec took a swig of octli before getting up from his chair. The emperor just smiled as he stood up and opened his arms while waiting for the admiral to get off the floor.
“Nonsense amigo, I was just contemplating on this moment of history in our great nation. This should be exciting!” Atzapec sounded excited, though whether he noticed, people can tell that beneath that mask of royalty there was still that young adult underneath getting excited for a momentous event in the nation’s history. Both admiral and emperor were from the small office as they were discussing on plans with the navy in the long run.
“With all due respect, your Majesty. I’m surprised you wanted to see the test firing yourself, and with a full crew on deck as well. Surely a skeleton crew would’ve sufficed.” The Admiral had commented as he led the emperor towards the bridge.
“Admiral, I like to remind you that I fully intend to check on my investments, to see of its worth in the long run. Having her fully crewed is also a way of seeing what we can do when our goals go beyond South Rahmia.” In such a calm voice the admiral was taken aback, though he did bow in response, stopping the two from walking as Atzapec just gave a warm smile.
“Of course. My sincere apologies your Majesty for doubting your intentions.” He said, still bowed before the young monarch, only for the young man to raise him up to stand.
“You don’t need to apologize for uttering a reasonable comment. Your comments help me fix me for better judgment in the future. Don’t forget about that, this isn’t ancient times.” He said as they began to walk until they heard the PA going off.
“All personnel please clear the deck immediately. This is a live firing test; I repeat this is a live firing test. All personnel please clear the bow deck.” The PA system repeated itself a couple times before going silent. The imperial delegation and officers were busy chatting amongst each until their leader stepped onto the bridge, the room went dead quiet, waiting for what the emperor was to say.
“Sons of Ixtlacan. Today we have made an historic occasion in the history of our nation. With the unveiling of our new naval ship; the “Malaxili’. A might ship worthy of Lerodas’ oceans and a testament of innovation in our young empire. Though in our history, we relatively had a small navy unworthy to project our power upon the world, today the 1st fleet shall welcome Malaxili with open arms.” The entire room erupted in cheers until the emperor required silence. “I appreciate everyone’s efforts in her construction. I really do appreciate it gentlemen. A celebration shall be rewarded today for the first fleet back in Tlapoxte. You have made your empire proud.” He said as the bridge cheered and loudly proclaimed their oath.
“This is Fleet control. Fleet control to all vessels within section two-two-three-four-eight North, four-one-six-six west. Due to live fire exercises, requesting all vessels maintain a seven nautical mile radius from position three-three-four North, eight-three-three West. Broadcast on channel zero-one-nine. For further inquiries, please refer to your superior officer for further questions.” The officer repeated the phrase twice before stopping as well.
Roughly twenty minutes later, three salvoes were launched at the island. Seeing the salvo screaming through the air, amazed the people standing in the bridge as the island was blown up. Yet was still standing, defiantly towards man’s destructive creation. Seeing rubble flying in the air made the emperor applaud, with everyone following suit.
“Absolutely Brilliant. The gods shall be pleased.” He said as the smoke was clearing away from the blasted site. Even as he was seeing the site. A woman walked up to the emperor and leaned towards his ear.
“Exalted One… your plane is ready to depart to Montazul, we must depart the ship immediately.” Macapo, Atzapec’s personal secretary and assistant was informing him in a hushed whisper who was silent up to this point.
“Understood.” He said as he all sailors on the bridge bowed before their monarch, knowing that he had to leave for diplomacy. “Carry on with your duties.” Dismissing them as they all went back to their posts.
The Jaguar and the Tiger - Part I
600 Word Post
The eager morning sun of the tropical dry season shone brightly upon the city of Sungai Masuk, the capital of the People’s Republic of Mencaria. Perhaps it was the way the breeze blew the palm trees, or the song of birds flying through the air, but this day seemed more peaceful than most. More pleasant. Perhaps it was unexplainable, but even as he knew a long day of work awaited him, Itzcali felt positive. Maybe it would all go well. He could return home afterward, perhaps get a beer at a local bar, hang out with friends. These were all the concerns of later on, the afternoon. They would happen, eventually. The day’s work was a more pressing matter for the moment, however.
Passing a newspaper stand with the national party-approved newspaper, Pekerja Itu, Itzcali strode up to the stand and withdrew one of the broadsheets from the wooden container. It was worth a read, even if just for a bit of a chuckle. Some considered the newspaper beyond reproach - a testament to the workers’ spirit in Mencaria. Itzcali considered it little more than a rag of untruths. Sometimes it was enjoyable to see just how well the government twisted the events of previous days, or made yet another self-aggrandising article about the party. At other times, it was merely depressing. Today, Itzcali felt the urge to chuckle at some of the untruths present in the paper. Noticing a similarly dressed group of workers moving quickly towards his place of employment, Itzcali folded up the newspaper into his briefcase and moved to follow them.
All of the workers at the city shipworks moved toward the drydocks, a fairly run-down portion of town, deep in the industrial quarter. Most of the workers were Pelay, but a few, like Itzcali, were Jahay, the indigenous people of Mencaria. Seeing Jahay people in the city was somewhat rare, it was true, but for those of Jahay ancestry, it was a point of pride. As the workers, most carrying their own leather briefcases, moved toward the gates that allowed them entry, most looked around at the buildings surrounding them, others at the guards who stood at the gates. Itzcali decided to look at the sky, cloudless and blue, and enjoy the sight of it.
A familiar presence cut in line to just behind Itzcali as the line slowly shuffled forward.
“Itzcali,” the man said. He was slightly shorter than Itzcali himself, though also Jahay, and he carried his lunch and personal affects under his arm.
“Teuili,” Itzcali responded, nodding back to the man; “Lovely day, isn’t it?”
Teuili nodded in agreement, “Sure is. The wife even made me tikoo for lunch…” He produced from the collection of things under his arm a brown paper bag, somewhat moist in the centre, but still holding its integrity. He juggled around the other items under his arm, placing the bag back in its place. Itzcali noticed a slight stain on his baju sleeve.
“What happened to your briefcase?”
Teuili tutted; “Would you believe it? Searched for the second time this week, and what does the idiot do? Only break the clasp beyond use. Amoxtli thinks she can repair it with the girls on her break, but I tell you, I’m over this business.”
Itzcali nodded, as the line moved forward. Teuili, it seemed, was always getting searched, even moreso than Itzcali himself, and he could not comprehend why. The APPN always questioned Jahays. It saw them as less trustworthy than upstanding Pelays. More likely to get involved in gang crimes or alcohol, or drugs.
The Jaguar and the Tiger - Part II
600 Word Post
The gate became ever nearer, and Teuili struggled to pull his punchcard from a paper envelope to have it ready. Itzcali furrowed his brow at the show his counterpart was putting on, before gesturing for the other man to pass over some of the items for him to carry. No sooner than he did so, documents spilled out over the floor from the correct paper envelope. Teuili threw down the other items in his hand, and he and Itzcali struggled to retrieve them before they blew away. One piece of paper here, a card there, and finally, between them, all of the documents were back in-hand. As he looked back to the line, Teuili scowled.
“Great. Lost our place.”
Itzcali put down his briefcase to help pick up the items that Teuili had put down; “Ah, what’s a few extra seconds off work before the day starts?”
Teuili’s scowl turned slowly into a smile, and the smile into a laugh. He punched Itzcali’s shoulder playfully, and collected all of his things back under his arm, this time with his punchcard in hand. Itzcali procured his own punchcard altogether much more easily. They rejoined the line much further back, resuming the conversation.
“I’m just saying, Amoxtli could have given you a paper bag, or a larger envelope… Something that could have helped you carry everything into work without scrabbling around trying to lose it.”
“Eh, I’ll make sure to bring that up at the next family meeting,” Teuili scoffed; “It’s not like she doesn’t think of these things, it’s just that she says she’ll do them…”
“... And then at the last minute, just won’t remember them,” Itzcali finished.
“Well who made you the expert on women?” Teuili joked, “Last I saw, you were still a drunk who lived alone in his apartment.”
Itzcali groaned, “Not a drunk, Teuili. I drink a moderate amount, then go home,” the man shrugged off his companion’s jab, before continuing; “In any case, it’s not about knowing women. That’s just basic human behaviour.”
“Well pardon me for saying so, but I think you think you know more than you do know,” Teuili retorted. Itzcali could only roll his eyes. Perhaps he was right that there was a little overconfidence in reading people that Itzcali displayed, but his intuitions proved right much of the time. Finally, as the last person in front of Itzcali punched their card and entered, Itzcali brought his card up to do the same.
“Excuse me, sir,” the guard commander sat to the side of the gate spoke directly to Itzcali, looking directly at him and beckoning with gloved hand; “I’m going to need to see your ID today.”
Itzcali gestured toward the gate, “But I’m due inside for work today.”
“Random inspection. Please comply, sir.”
Itzcali turned back to Teuili, and made a gesture toward the gate that meant ‘wait for me inside’. Teuili exhaled deeply, before moving to punch his own punchcard in.
“Quickly as you can, sir,” the commander gestured once again for Itzcali to approach.
“Yes, yes… Here you go;” Itzcali procured a state identification card - green backed with a red ornate circle in the centre, and all information arrayed around the outside. The guard commander gave a cursory look over the information, looking down the magnifying lenses of his glasses at the small card below, before placing it onto the table and folding his hands.
“Thought that was you. APPN will see you in that office over the way,” the commander gestured over to a shack across the road, nearby to the front gate, with two guards on the outside; “Has someone been naughty?”
Itzcali picked up the identification card from the table, and looked back to Teuili, nodding back to him to go in further rather than continue waiting by the gate. The guard commander waved Itzcali along, and the man complied, making his way to the guarded door. The guards having seen the commander gesture to him opened the door in front of Itzcali, and he sheepishly walked into the room.
The Jaguar and the Tiger - Part III
600 Word Post
“Ah yes, please, come in. Close the door behind you.”
The room was dimly lit, a single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, with two chairs inhabited by two Pelay APPN agents on one side, and an empty chair on the other. The floor was somewhat dirty, though the table itself was completely clean. Itzcali shut the door gingerly, then turned back around to the officers.
“You’re here toda-”
“Oh, cut the act already,” Itzcali stated as he strode over to the empty chair and procured a cigarette packet from his pocket. He grabbed a match and struck it on the matchbox, lighting the cigarette now in his mouth and putting away all of the others. Inhaling deeply, he saw the somewhat blank expressions of the two APPN agents in front of him; “Don’t worry, I’ll say it was one of you two smoking. That’ll be easy to believe.”
“You know, it would be much easier to maintain your cover if you didn’t strut around like you owned the place,” one of the APPN agents stated dully.
“What would maintain it even more easily is if I didn’t get ‘pulled over for questioning’ every few weeks before work. Most people get questioned on the way home from work, or waiting for the bus… Maybe try that, once in a while, hm?” Itzcali sighed as he kicked up his boots onto the table, “So, who am I tailing today?”
“Luckily enough, someone you know quite well;” the second agent stated, pulling monochrome photographs from his jacket pocket. Itzcali picked up the first and held it out in front of his face. He moved it to look quizzically at the agents.
“Teuili? Wouldn’t have thought that man posed a threat to state security.”
“Indeed, it might not have appeared so. The man has a pretty clean record, as records go. Especially for Jah-”
The agent’s partner jabbed the first agent in the ribs, and he stopped speaking and looked sheepishly back at Itzcali.
“However, a routine stakeout of a KTJ-frequented establishment saw Mr Teuili appear on the evening of one of their meetings. It seemed as if he was organising a number of the events for the night also.”
“A subsequent bag search found notes for a speech he was to deliver the next week,” the second agent continued, “We didn’t raise the alarm with him - wanted him not to suspect anything.”
“And what about the second bag search?” The two agents paused, puzzled. Itzcali looked between the two with equal confusion; “The second bag search? Where Teuili’s briefcase was broken?”
“We didn’t authorise a second bag search…” the first agent replied, still sounding confused. Itzcali grunted. ’Figures.
“Well, make sure you don’t allow any other officers to perform ‘unscheduled bag searches’,” Itzcali instructed the two, “This will go a lot easier if Teuili doesn’t know the extent of his investigation.”
“And you oversee his actions at work,” the first agent spoke again, “We think he may be trying to recruit more of the Jahay workers in the shipyard. Try to mitigate any of the damage he does, in whatever way you think best, and report back to us via the usual ways.”
“And if he approaches you to join, accept it,” the second agent continued on from the first, “This may even be the golden opportunity we’ve waited for to monitor the KTJ even more closely.”
“Understood,” Itzcali replied, flicking the cigarette onto the ground and stamping it with his foot, before he rose to his feet and grabbed his briefcase, “Keep me as updated as you can also.”
“Of course, agent. For Security.”
Itzcali always felt somewhat guilty saying it, but it was the general farewell of the APPN, and he essentially had to say it. It was an imperfect organisation, and one for which he held little sympathy. But they paid well, allowed him greater freedom, and it was truly something that he was good at, aside from the general labour that went into his cover; “For Security.”
He continued out of the door, closing it again behind him, and made his way to the front of the line. As he reached his old position, he heard a cough from behind him. Looking around, he saw the guard commander making a circular motion with his finger, indicating for him to turn around, to the back of the line. Itzcali picked up his briefcase again, and strode back to the other end of the line.
600-Word Expansion Post
Toshijen, Liberation Hall, President’s Office
Boduko opened his eyes. He released his hands from a before-meal prayer, having offered thanks and blessings to the kami around him as well as his ancestors. He picked up a pair of black, polished chopsticks, made from the finest Norou wood, and began to eat at his desk.
The office was spacious, a large box-like room surrounded on three sides with dull wooden walls. Behind him was the fourth side, the entire length and height a massive window that overlooked the Liberation Hall’s square and, beyond that, the west side of Toshijen. Bokudo’s desk was facing away from the window, as the light hurt his eyes. It did now, as he felt even the overcast day’s glow upon his shoulders. He felt as if turning around would blind him, so he would always face forwards: at his work, the door, books, or, now, his food.
Bokudo’s desk was like a dark black slab of marble, like an Estoran tomb of a pagan king. He sat behind it on an imported Shuorian leather chair. Bokudo had it modified to not be able to swivel. Although sprawling expanses of papers or books would often clutter the space, he would always clean it before he ate—alone, like usual (it was peaceful that way, and he loved peace)—if only to mess it back up afterwards.
Before him was a small assortment of plates and bowls. The largest displayed the highest grade of Jiao beef, the tenderness almost too unreal to believe, cooked to a perfect medium-rare, alongside a small cabbage salad. On another plate was Pachay curry, spice and sweetness balanced as the sauce lay over a mix of chicken, shrimp, and fish. There were some sides as well, including dishes of sashimi with complementing ginger and wasabi and pickled cabbage, the latter also from Jiaohai. A bowl of perfectly steamed white rice sat by the side, while another bowl of sake sat in the center, on its own platter. It was far from cold, which Bokudo liked.
Bokudo started eating. The steak provided a rich savoriness that quite literally melted in his mouth, and the freshness of the salad was a nice break from it. The plain texture and fishiness of the sashimi worked well with the curry, and the rice was a vehicle for it all. Of course, sake made all meals better for Bokudo.
As he ate, he picked up a briefing that was the sole bundle of papers left on his desk. While placing food into his mouth intermittently, he read its contents.
It was nothing new. Despite the technological and numerical advantage of the Kuroikumo army, no advances were being made. What’s worse was that Shinzoshima had fallen to the Jinmin Kumiaiha, and the Jidanketsu had secured the source of the Iwana River. At this rate, the disgusting reds would take the west wing of Mangetsushima, their two forces pincering Kuroikumo forces still holding the western mountains all but inevitable. It would take most of the Kuorikumo’s effort to hold out in the west, much less focus on anything else. Fortunately, the Sorazenmin were in no position to make advances, so a weak siege around its territory would put it out of commission, allowing Bokudo to worry about one less faction. And as for the yakuza, the gambit in Kitagodo had been costly, and the Kuroikumo’s navy was still needed to curtail communist advances. After all, that gambit was what cost him Shinzoshima.
A stalemate was now in place. That’s not to say there was no fighting. No, innocent villages were still in the crossfire between Kuroikumo forces and communist insurgents, consistent as they had been for the past twenty years.
There was something else. Something Bokudo had not known. Kuroikumo intelligence had just discovered (given how long ago it happened, Bokudo had the investigators fired for sheer incompetence) that a couple of months ago, the reds dispatched men from Kitagodo to Desula to fly to the communist hells of Aatelisia and Ahsenkhawen to lobby for supplies and support.
He crumpled the report in one hand as he finished his meal with his other, washing everything down with a nice swig of sake.
If the red menaces overseas actually delivered, then Bokudo's reign would be finished. And so would die this age of freedom in Inomora.