by Max Barry

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Providence: The new novel by Max Barry, creator of NationStates

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Weather: Warm and windy across the Empire today, except for the small island chain territory of Kordovi. A hurricane is slamming down on Devils Island and Fortuna Island. Category 3 winds are tearing the island apart and residents go missing in the flood waters. More weather later.

Sartorian News Network
First Councillor Bergamaschi has only now departed the Antarctic continent and is now on her way to Sartoria, following 4 days of poor weather.

Justinian Kalominos wrote:Sartorian News Network
First Councillor Bergamaschi has only now departed the Antarctic continent and is now on her way to Sartoria, following 4 days of poor weather.

If you’d like, the Emperial Naval Force has mechanics that can repair anything damaged at Port Leona Parka. It is one of our colonies off the coast of New Argentina.

After a slow Newsweek and a much needed vacation... *clears throat*

Shocking evidence of the former Parliamentary Leader trying to bribe Leader Kupäl in to resigning. Here’s the video...

Kupäl: Look. I will not take your 3 million Astrons. Those 3 million Astrons can keep parks clean and crime off the streets!

Former Leader Humphreys: This is my seat. This election was obviously rigged by your committees and...

Kupäl: Committees for Elections are prohibited by law AND YOU KNOW THAT!...

It seems as though Kupäl wasn’t going to say anything back, but just today he held a press conference about what happened...

Press: What are you doing about Humphreys? What are you going to say to him?

Kupäl: You [Humphreys] told me you were using election committees and accused me of doing so as well. Here is a list of charities and fundraisers that I put money into instead of a smear campaign. Unlike him, I actually care for the FE Citizens! And that is why he is out of office.

Hot news, by that I mean heatwaves galore! Next on FENN.

Sartorian News Network
People in southern Sartoria are bracing for what looks like a particularly cold winter.

The Everlasting Conflict

Above the arid lands of Aja and fertile fields of Emporia lies concrete walls ten miles thick, though these walls hollow would harbor a great metropolis teeming with culture and is the melting pot of Corpia. This wall is built upon a stretch of land dubbed the 'Agreed Ceasefire Line', was formed to separate the two countries from their constant fighting hundreds of years ago. "It would almost seem like they stopped." he pulls his scarf up to protect his face from rough coarse sand blasting the catwalk. "Oh you know, its always the calm before the fight." as he said that, multiple technical trucks gathered at the part of the wall where a steel-coated line would separate. "Whatca think? 100 credits that the Ajians can win this one." "What? No, Emporians have those missile systems remember? But 100 credits is a 100 credits mike." the wall would open, hydraulics built decades ago creak and groan with each passing rotation as the concrete would part to reveal a venerable Eden. A warcry from the skirmishing group would turn into cries of mercy in their native language, as tiny hornet missiles would destroy their pitiful assemble of resistance. Cataphracts, elite power armored mercenaries, came from the Emporian side and finished off these desert militants. They reared their heads to the guards above them and set the bodies on fire. "Wheres my hundred credits?" "You'll get it next paycheck duke," their radios would go off. "Breaks over come on" he adjusted his rifle strap and went inside.

The City of Augbrah is often called the Dull Jewel of Aja, named for its latent decline and disrepair. Its streets broken and potholes filled with sand, driving over such a road would careen a car into a street market if driven fast enough. A well of commerce and the arts dried up, the hate is for the wall, malice for builders of that grey abomination that mocks them for still standing tall. Pity the Emperor who sits upon the sandstone throne, that burden with the eyes of the nation to look upon the wall, to struggle with no end. His towns drown in an ever consuming sand, the bellies and pockets beneath him empty, and an enemy old as his throne, older than the wall, the eternal enemy to resist and fight. Pity the Emperor for his hands would shake and ache, but the fires of war still rage in his heart. For even the desert dulls the sharpest knife, cloud the shiniest jade, and rot an entire empire.

If one would gaze an eye or two to the other side of the wall, they would see green from sea to shining sea. Marked with Temperate Forests abound in mighty trees for timber and plump game for the hunter. Pools of water form lakes and ponds for a man of the sea should he wish to rest from the its more vast cousin. Stepping from nature, well-paved roads but with few cars, animals would just cross by with little hesitation. One of these roads will lead to one of the many cities dotting the map of the Republic of Emporia. A flag snaps in the wind, revealing the eagle of the sun, with its rays shining on the golden fields of wheat and rye. This flag symbolizes the greatness of its people and land, for the leaders would make them believe that. In truth the fields would burn periodically, not by beast or nature, but by angry freedom fighters. And these rebels would be brutally suppressed with the full might of the military. From the wall, to gaze is to look at the surface, and oppression is more than skin deep.

A step into the Wall

Like fields of oil wells lit ablaze a raging torrent of smoke and fire still smolders on the road, an convoy of armored trucks and tanks made to be burnt out hovels lying still. Climbing up on the sand dunes he see's it, a trail of death and burnt slag, bodies strewn about in rows like an execution. Inspection would warrant caution but it would seem that trouble already passed this area. Searching the trucks, its contents were looted, save for a few credit chips and ration packets, a hurried job to a raiders eye. A man facing down on the asphalt would reveal in his possession would reveal a few noteworthy items: a strange electronic bracelet with a marking etched G-31 on it, an identification badge saying this man was certified to drive this truck, and an exotic looking dagger embedded in his back. He collect all but the dagger, leaving the tainted weapon behind to dull away in its victim. Passing the rows of bodies and vehicles, strange markings, that of a viper holding a scimitar would plague the sides of the trucks. He would leave this macabre graveyard to the sands of time, to be picked apart by more less picky vultures than him.

Lo! Before him the gates of mercy and fortune, the saving grace of desperate travelers wishing to flee from horrors behind them. These were titanic gates, ancient mechanisms and poorly understood hydraulics keep it operational through the passages of history, not even the men who control the cities know little if at all of the first builders. Whatever magic or deal with the devil they took it works to separate eternal enemies and provide haven inside. From the outside a long procession of migrants and villagers looking to obtain sought after citizenship or even a visitors pass in. A bored security guard scanning people for contraband and diseases, when it was his turn he complies, "Name?" "Kane." "Business, Pleasure, or you looking to stay permanently" "Just passing by." "You check out, go to the middle hallway." the vacuum doors opens and shuts as to not let sand in. It was clean, a sterile white and steel grey lacquers the interior, nice and orderly as all statesmen would like it to be. Guards check Kane out suspiciously, these conscripts suited head to toe in riot gear are well to Ajian's stumbling from the desert beyond. If anything gives him reprieve from the Kafkaesque labyrinth of red tape and monotonous immigration officers is that the place had free clean drinking water that no other place gives. "Nice right?" a wealthy looking gentlemen said. Dawned all in exotically colored garb, such contrast from the floor he stands on it would stun Kane that anyone could afford to dress like that. "You know they charge you ten Yabalas for a sip in Augbrah, say you're on your last stop kid, you're scott free after this last guy finalizing your papers and all that." clearly he was one of those free traders he heard about from his parents, wandering traders that freely move from Emporia to Aja. "I thought you traders move however you like." "Oh that? I lost my license in a fire fight, one hell of a skirmish, my band almost died! Renewal is such a bore." his name was called up. "Ah well nice talking to you ya kid!"

"Mr Kane was it?" "Yes Sir." "We noticed that you have a visitors bracelet, and now since its your first time here, i want to know why you have one in your possession." he dead-eyed him with a serious look. "I got this from a looted caravan. It was already looted and it had a viper symbol on these trucks." the officer looks at his monitor and back to him. A brief tension that seemed like it would end in his arrest unburdened itself from his tone, "Well mister Kane it would seem like your story checks out, one of our supply convoys got hit, and you don't looked well armed enough to take on tanks yes?" he chuckles. "You can head on to the exist, rights of acquisition is in effect, its your rightful property. You're lucky kid, go on." he leaves the office, a security guard gives him a congratulations and pats him on the back, "Take that way, it leads to the city."

It opens for his eyes to gaze upon a thriving metropolis living underneath the roof that stretched to spite the clouds. The first thing to hit him was the noise, cars honking and speeding by, street vendors selling food, and countless people conversing into an incoherent mumble. Then the sight: Towering high rises that house the masses, barracks built on the wall itself for soldiers to rest, and cheaper housing units buried well below the view of the common man walking on the street. "Hey kid those are lower districts!" confused he asked what about them. "Slums, ghettos, ya know places you shouldn't go to. You look new here so thats the only advise to follow really. he followed this mans warning. Overwhelmed by all of it he ducked into an ally to clear his head. "Hey its you!" a familiar voice. "Yeah its you! Hey good thing you passed inspection, kinda hard for Ajians to make it through!" he jested. "Come on, don't be so glum, let me treat you some Yancies".

Yancies, a pub-style restaurant operating in the center of the red light district, was highlighted by its neon mole-fox mascot on top of the building. Entering, "Aaay! Impal how's it hanging pal? Ah who that with ya?" "I'm good Yancy, this is one of good friends, uh Kane i overheard, he passed the inspection!" "The inspection? Hey come on sit down, let yancy treat ya something nice buddy." sitting down, the place had a relaxing vibe. Pictures of soldiers burning down farmhouses, angry turban wearing militants executing other soldiers, and general unrest seem to fill the wall. Waiting patiently, Impal got his food first, a simple stew of meat and potatoes, supplied most likely from grow houses and artificial meat labs. Sizzling and the smell of greasy goodness fills the restaurant, Yancy got back from the kitchen to serve him fried chicken tenders and mash with gravity to top it. "Dig in." Kane thanks him for his generosity. Taking a bite of the chicken, its skin provided a refreshing crunch and burst of oil, the meat was stringy yet juicy, and dipping it into the mash and gravity it would satisfy the hunger inside him with refined vigor of this fried meal. "Home yeah?" "It does, feel like im at home, what a place." he relaxes as the tension of a long march and tedious paper work washes away as beer flows through his mouth. He would give up all of Aja's wealth just to feel like this, a brief yet true bliss from the world.

Breaking: 60,000 Astrons worth of the same chemical used to kill Fontain was found in a home in SE Broomville, just west of Marville. Investigators and police found missing evidence in the Fontain death at the home as well. Pictures of Fontain with red “X”’s on his Parliamentary photo are hung up all over, and a single picture of Franconian Leader Greene during his small regime. A “Greene-ist” flag drapes over the sliding doors of the back. Police may have found the target. Santaya de la Luz, FENN News.

Sartorian News Network
Mario Andreuzza, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has unexpectedly resigned from the Senate. Sources close to his office claim that he is considering a candidacy for the House of Councillors.

BREAKING: One of the most seismically active parts of the the Empire here on Earth just got a little more dangerous. Seismologists just released a report saying that the Minuscule Canyon Fault has shifted eastward by .83 miles. A recent wave of earthquake activity has been happening recently with shallow quakes being reported. Seismologists say the movement of the earth have been so powerful that the fault shifted east. Millions of lives are at stake, and we’ll keep track of the motion.

Franconian Independence Day: There will be a halt to Franconia Day travels as fires from Oak Tree National Park are spreading at a rapid pace. Businesses are closing for evacuation orders from the City of Oak Grove. Fire officials say that it was premature celebrating that caused the fires. Fireworks found on the corner of Gregory and Fisher Lake Blvd. It looks like someone lit them up when drought order says not to. Police say they will catch the suspect and fine them a hefty fine.

BREAKING: This is FENN’s hottest top story today. The territory dispute over if Golden Cliffs, a micro nation who had the northwestern state of Caldiny in the FE, belongs to us or the Second Urong Empire. The history of this starts in 2320 during a civil dispute in Golden Cliffs. Their government didn’t know how to run itself so it imploded and civil war broke out. The FE and the Second Urong stepped in as a team, but the Second Urong started beating the citizens. The citizens voted today to bring Golden Cliffs into the colonial phase of becoming a Franconian Colony. The FE is giving complete independence when it comes to voting and making their own laws, but they’ll have to follow Empress Xemptoworth’s laws as it will be governed by Franconia Empire. The FE will be allowed to make any policy change it wants to in Golden Cliffs, but it will mostly be little tweaks here and there like we see here at home. Congrats to Golden Cliffs on gaining citizenship. Welcome to the FE.

Second Urong Enraged: Just a couple of minutes ago, the Second Urong leader, Emperor Khaz Urong, stated that the Franconia Empire took what rightfully was the Second Urong’s. Emperor Urong then said that if the FE doesn’t set up border security around Golden Cliffs then the FE will never reign again. Experts say this comment is a violation of Global and Celestial code of conduct in the Galactic Federation, which they are a part of. Only time will tell what will happen, but don’t worry Golden Cliffs, the military is very present in that area. FENN News.

Sartorian News Network
The Foreign Office has stated that it is currently monitoring the situation in Franconia and hopes that any and all conflicts will be resolved peacefully.

Breaking: Just after power was restored to Golden Cliffs, parts of the grid that still needs to be removed by the Second Urong have been shut off to 3,000 residents. An InstaChat post made by Urong himself said, “I hope the people like random shutdowns of the grid. International law says I need to shut it down, but that might be an issue...”

The Empress stayed at a press conference saying “We will not hesitate to go to war if we need to. The people voted for us to help them, and help them in any way we shall. The Emperial Army is active in the Golden Cliffs region and will knock down any spy drones that Second Urong will send. Shut down your grid, Urong... that’s an ORDER...

More breaking news: A fire at the power station controlled by the Second Urong has shut off more electricity to more residents of Golden Cliffs. The FE has yet to respond...

More news updates as they develop... FENN News.

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Providence: The new novel by Max Barry, creator of NationStates