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Central News Agency

China develops world's most powerful Stirling engine

In a latest highlight of China's efforts to domestically develop high-quality engines of different types, the country recently made a major breakthrough in making the world's most powerful Stirling engine, a type of heat engine with applications in power generation and submarine propulsion.

Developed by the Naval Department of the National Applied Laboratories, in collaboration with the Academia Sinica, the basic prototype of China's first large-bore Stirling engine successfully conducted the recent performance test. The prototype ran at a rated power of 320 kilowatts with a power conversion efficiency of 40 percent, making it the most powerful Stirling engine known around the globe, the NAL said in a press release published online on Tuesday.

The success of the prototype is a milestone and a major breakthrough China has made in key technologies and craftsmanship in developing such kind of engines and laid down the foundations for its development of megawatt-class Stirling engines in the future, the NAL said.

The Stirling engine is a closed-cycle reciprocating power machine that takes heat supply from external sources, the press release explained, noting that the engine can be combined with any kind of heat source, either conventional or nuclear energy, in many configurations.

A megawatt-class Stirling engine is tightly structured, has a simple system and can be started quickly and configured in modules. These will be significant advantages of the Stirling engine, director on Naval Department announced.

When used together with a sodium-cooled fast reactor, the Stirling engine can eliminate the risk of sodium-water reaction making it also a very safe choice.

The engine can spawn a series of variations to suit the need of power supply, ranging from 100 kilowatts to several megawatts, and is very suitable to be developed into a portable micro reactor power generator used in special environments such as polar regions, remote islands and Gobi Desert regions, according to the press release.

The Stirling engine is also known for its application on submarine propulsion, observers said.

Swedish Gotland-class submarines feature Stirling engine air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems, enabling them to avoid going to the surface to charge the batteries, and thus increasing the submerged endurance from days to weeks, according to an article published by Saab, the parent company of Kockums which built the submarines.

The Stirling engine is quiet and vibration free, so no vibrations spread out to the hull making the submarine silent in the water and therefore difficult to find, according to the article.

The NAL press release did not mention the potential application of the Chinese Stirling engine on submarines.

China has experienced shortcomings developing engines of different types but the breakthrough in the domestically developed Stirling engine is only one example of the country's rapid engine progress in recent years, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Central News Agency on Wednesday.

At Airshow China, this year China revealed the J-20 stealth fighter jet, equipped with domestically developed engines, and announced that two types of engines developed in the country are being tested for the Y-20 large transport aircraft.

In many aspects of engine development, Chinese companies still lag behind traditional industry leaders from foreign countries but that gap is narrowing thanks to the hard work of Chinese scientists and researchers. China's military, as well as its overall development, will not be hindered by engines in the long run, the expert said.

A Bulletin:

Under the orders of His Imperial Majesty, Imperial forces have begun the reclaimation of lost territory. At 0005 hours this morning, the Imperial Army, covered by the Imperial Air Force, crossed from Slovenia into disputed Italian territory in 3 places, and have begun to advance toward their ultimate goal, the lost Imperial city of Triest (Trieste).

The Imperial Navy has imposed a blockade of Italian ships into or out of Triest, but international shipping is still free to come and go as usual.

There will be more bulletins as the situation warrants.

Yup. Definitely didn't forget that I hadn't posted this. Oops.
Happy New Year, guys.
-Lukas
_____________________________________

Reader discretion is advised

War Violence
Language
_____________________________________

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
- Thomas Jefferson

Blood of Patriots: Episode V- Blood of Tyrants

Kingston, Territory of Jamaica
Theodore Johnson, Jamaican Republican Front
Thursday, December 23, 11:00am

Teddy, Winston, and a dozen of their insurgents sat around a radio, listening to the chatter of aircraft arriving at and departing Sir Norman Manley International Airport. Four SA-24 Grinch launchers were laid out behind them and various assault rifles and submachine guns littered the room.
"Six-Tree-Heavy, Kingston. Descend to 4,000, heading zero-six-zero," the air controller called over the radio.
"Descend to 4,000, heading zero-six-zero, Six-Three-Heavy," a Kommerian accent replied.
"That's our man," Winston said, "747 with five hundred marines on board. Sammy, get eyes on that thing."
The youngest of the insurgents slipped out the door with his binoculars to scan the sky.
"Get the Grinches ready," Teddy said, pausing a beat to appreciate the irony of using a weapon called "grinch" to ruin a few hundred Kommie Christmases.
The radio came to life again, a new voice calling in, "Tower, Gulfstream Gulf-Echo-Romeo-Zero-Niner-Five-One-Alpha. Requesting landing on 30 as soon as it's clear."
“Copy, Five-One-Alpha. Hold for a Baron," the controller said, "Six-Tree-Heavy, we're going to push you back a slot. VIP Gulfstream has priority. Ascend to 6,500 and turn to heading one-one-five."
"Alright," came the 747 pilot, "Ascend to 6,500 and turn one-one-five. Six-Three-Heavy."
Then after the little Beechcraft Baron had taxied off the runway, "Five-One-Alpha. You are cleared to land on runway Tree-Zero."
Teddy, Winston, and the others rushed outside. Four carrying Grinches, the rest with rifles. Winston scanned the sky with the second set of binoculars, soon picking out the incoming jet.
"There!" Winston pointed to a sleek jet that was making a slow turn to line up with the runway, "it's got Air Force markings. A general maybe?"
"Worth shooting down, anyway," Teddy said, "Sammy, where's that 747?"
The younger man pointed to a gray and gold shape raising back into the air. It already looked to be on the edge of the Grinch's range.
"Okay," Teddy said, thinking quickly, "I want two on the 747 and two on the Gulfstream. Fire on my mark!"
_____________________________________

Kingston, Territory of Jamaica
Colonel Tomás Cortés, Royal Squadron, Kommerian Royal Air Force
Thursday, December 23, 1105 hours

Colonel Cortés and his co-pilot ran through their landing procedures, checking their fuel distribution, landing gear and flaps before making their final descent to the runway. The Gulfstream's computer began reading off their decreasing altitude as they approached the runway.
"Six hundred."
"Five hundred."
"Proximity. Proximity. Proximity."
Cortés snapped his focus from the ritual of landing to the radar screen. Two contacts were speeding toward the aircraft from the South, apparently locked in a collision course with the Gulfstream, and approaching ungodly quickly.
"Missiles?" Cortés wondered, jumping into action. He slammed the throttle forward, and pulled back on the yoke.
"Mayday, mayday, mayday," Cortés' co-pilot cried into the radio, "Five-One-Alpha is under SAM fire above Sir Norman Manley International. Mayday, mayday, mayday."

The Gulfstream shook violently as the first missile struck, exploding several meters away and spraying the airplane with hot shrapnel that sliced into the fuselage. The portside engine immediately burst into flames.
The second missile malfunctioned and instead of exploding, it plowed into the Gulfstream's wing at top speed. The impact sheared the wing off at the root, sending it spinning into the ground below.
The loss of both an engine and a wing sent the aircraft spinning out of control, spiraling toward the ground.
_____________________________________

Kingston, Territory of Jamaica
Prince Carlos
Thursday, December 23, 1105 hours

Prince Carlos heard the engines throttle up and felt the Gulfstream pitch up, abandoning the landing at the last second. He looked around, looking for the stewardess to explain what was going on. In the seat next to him, Jazmín was doing the same.
"It's just a go around," the Stewardess said, "probably just a rabbit or cat on the runway. It will only take a few min..."
The fuselage next to her exploded inward, hot metal and glass shredding the poor woman in her seat. A quickly widening hole replaced her, giving Carlos and Jazmín a good view of the airport, the flaming engine and a second missile that was racing to greet them.
The second missile blasted through the Gulfstream like a bullet through a deer, tumbling wildly through the fuselage to exit on the other side. Instead of blood, though, a spray of burning jet fuel followed.
The plane lurched, sending Carlos's heart flying. His throat was hoarse. Was he screaming? He couldn't hear anything over the wind and the efforts of the surviving engine.
Jazmín gripped his hand tight and he squeezed back, the ring he gave her that Monday cutting into his hand. Her eyes were wide, almost feral. Carlos imagined he had a similar look.
Their world flipped, once, twice. A third time. Then went black.
_____________________________________

Sir Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Territory of Jamaica
Patricio Coleman, Air Traffic Controller
Thursday, Dec. 23, 1110 hours

Coleman couldn't look away, stomach violently twisting, as the Gulfstream plowed into the tarmac. It landed roof-first, slamming down at a hundred knots at least and crumbling into a fiery heap.
He'd recognized GER0951 as one of the three Gulfstreams that the Air Force used to ferry Generals and the Royal family around the Kommerian empire. The "Alpha" letter that the pilot added to the tail code callsign denoted that there were, indeed, VIPs on board.
Nobody else in the tower could tear their eyes away from the disaster on the runway. The ground controller next to him bent double and emptied her stomach of her late breakfast.
A voice in his headset pulled him back into focus, "Mayday, mayday, mayday. Boeing Six-Three-Heavy. We are under surface-to-air missile fire. Our number four engine is disabled. We have casualties."
"Uhhh... copy Six-Three-Heavy," Coleman started, lamely, "what is the status of your aircraft?"
"No chance we can pressurize. We don’t seem to be on fire. We're losing fuel, but not quickly. I have full control."
Coleman's response was cut off by another explosion, much smaller than the Gulfstream's crash, but far closer, followed by a staccato series of pops.
"Is that gunfire?" Someone wondered aloud as the tower personnel crowded the windows.
Coleman's eyes were immediately drawn to movement by the front gate. Five hulking tracked armored personnel carriers stormed through the gates, the lead vehicle blowing the guard shack, and the men inside to pieces with its heavy machine gun. A second APC rammed a Beechcraft King Air that was making a break for the runway, smashing the tail and sending the aircraft skidding into the grass.
"That's the territorial guard," the ground controller said, "what the hell are they doing!"
Guardsmen began dismounting from the APCs, swarming over the airport, waving rifles and carbines. A dozen or so men rushed the control tower, and started bashing in the door.
It wouldn't- couldn't hold long.
_____________________________________

Kingston, Territory of Jamaica
"Jamaican Republican National Guard"
Thursday, December 23, 1115 hours

The door to the Sir Norman Manley Airport control tower smashed in, allowing the squad of guardsmen to rush inside. The security guard inside was wiser than the ones by the gate, dropping a Glock duty pistol at his feet and raising his hands.
The Sergeant yelled up the spiraling stairs to the top of the tower, ordering those civilians to come down with their hands on their heads. Soon a small stream of people were doing just that, accepting their arrest with a dazed expression.

A larger force of guardsmen blasted past the airport, charging down the highway in a convoy. Their target, Port Royal Naval Station, had barely enough warning to prepare any defenses.
Some forty half-dressed marines and thirty half-armed sailors met three hundred guardsmen backed by ten APCs. They fought viciously, but were soon forced to retreat to the barracks blocks and Headquarters.
The Guard forced their way to the pier and dockside armory, over-running the armed sailors and forcing the unarmed ones to surrender. They swept down the pier and through the four warships tied there, their Kommeria crews putting up minor resistance.
Once the rest of the Kommerians learned that the Jamaicans had captured the ships, a fact revealed when one of the fast attack craft began shelling the barracks with her 76mm gun; they surrendered.

On the other side of the city, the Royal Jamaican Police Department were also surrendering after an hour of fighting, but the Imperial Inquisition was not. His Majesty's black-clad enforcers engaged the Guard in a running gun battle through Kingston as they retreated to the Lord Governor’s palace.
They shouldn't have bothered, since Colonel Williams had made sure that the guardsmen on duty at the palace were loyal to him, not the King. The nineteen or so Inquisitors and Practicals that made it to the palace were killed by gunfire from all sides.

Not all the Territorial Guardsmen that took part in the coup were Republican revolutionaries, at least not that morning. Many were, especially the officers and sergeants, but many of the younger enlisted guards were simply following their leaders.
Good soldiers, after all, obey orders.
_____________________________________

Port-au-Prince International Airport, Territory of Haiti
Captain Hernán Orrantia, Kommerian Airlines
Thursday, December 23, 1400 hours

It wasn't Orrantia's best landing, that was for sure. In fairness, though, he'd never had to land a 747 with hundreds of little holes in it, two damaged engines, and three dozen wounded marines on board.
Guiding the limping jumbo jet off the runway to where the ground controller indicated, Orrantia saw at least a dozen emergency vehicles charge forward toward his plane; fire trucks, ambulances, airport security. In the distance, two twin-rotor helicopters approached, presumably army medical transports.
Rolling staircases were pushed into place, paramedics and military medics ran into the plane to be greeted by a horror show. The little warheads on the shoulder fired missiles weren't enough to bring down the gigantic four-engine 747, but the blast of hot shrapnel that sliced into the plane was enough to make a mess of the poor men and women inside.
Orrantia stood by the cockpit door, frozen in place, as he watched. He'd flown cargo planes for the Air Force in his youth, and had flown wounded soldiers to the mainland. Somehow, even older and supposedly wiser, he hadn't expected such a mess.
Two civilian paramedics carrying a marine on a stretcher were forced to stop in front of Orrantia as two Army medics with a critical patient rushed past. The marine had bandages wrapped tightly around his waist and a brace of some sort keeping his head from moving. A small splotch of red had seeped through the bandage.
Then he was gone, whisked away and down the stairs by the civilians.
"Captain Sastre," Juan Orrantia said, "he has a piece of shrapnel in his guts. Doc doesn't know if he'll make it."
Hernan was glad to see that his little brother looked unhurt, covered in his men's blood and exhausted, but unhurt.
"I led these boys for eight months with no casualties in Italy, not even a scratch," Juan said, wringing his hat in his hands, "now I lose fifteen of them over Kommerian territory. Ten more aren't expected to make it."
The elder Orrantia couldn't come up with anything to say to that, so he remained silent.
“I guess I’m not going to make it to Christmas dinner,” Lieutenant Colonel Orrantia told his older brother, “give my best to Dad.”

Ooc

Just a heads up. Any Italian RP (and I will try very hard to do some soon) will be done through my puppet Serenissima Venesia.

Reader discretion is advised

Language
_____________________________________

Blood of Patriots: Episode VI- No Crying in the War Room

Kommeria City, Duchy of Guatemala, Kingdom of Kommeria
Joaquin Morales, Duke of Panama
Friday, December 24, 0930 hours

The Privy Council took on a different tone this morning. Normally at this point in their meetings, they’d devolve into arguments but today, nobody spoke.
Duke Joaquin watched the last bit of coffee slosh around at the bottom of his mug, numb. He'd barely slept three hours in the past two days.
The door opened and in walked, of all people, Field Marshal Hererra. The famed general looked exhausted and jet lagged from his overnight flight from Italy but he still wore his customary pressed BBUs and spotless beret. Wordlessly, he took a seat at the table.
Prime Minister Murrilo was next, somehow looking well put together, even though he has been awake for at least as long as Duke Joaquin and the others. He stood by the door and held it open for the third and final person.
Princess Alina de Kommeria strode in, dressed in her Black naval officer's uniform with her graying hair pulled back in a bun. Despite her military posture and hard expression, Joaquin sensed the rage and sadness radiating from her. She sat at the head of the table, in the place where her father would normally sit.
"Last night, we got word from a surviving Inquisitor on Jamaica," The Princess said, answering the questions that everyone in the room had, "he was able to confirm the deaths of my brother and Jazmín Liberato. Their jet was brought down in the same attack that nearly destroyed the 411th Marine Battalion. My parents are not taking it well, so I will lead in my father's stead for now. "
"Your Highness, I'm so sor..." Lady Zoe Ortiz began before the Princess cut her off with a raised hand.
"I know. We all feel the loss," Alina said, pausing for a second to compose herself, "but currently, we have work to do. What is the situation in Jamaica, right now?"
"Kingston has fallen," Field Marshal Hererra answered, standing, "Port Royal Naval Station and Sir Norman Manley Airport are in enemy hands. The Inquisition was more or less destroyed. The rebels have captured two of our more advanced fast attack craft, the Kingston and Havana, and two patrol boats, Toco and Freeport."
"Casualties?" Duchess Camila Valdéz of Cuba asked.
"That's hard to estimate, your grace," Herrera answered, "the entire garrison of Port Royal was killed or captured. Maybe a hundred dead. The Inquisition was massacred, probably fifty more dead, there. Civilian casualties weren't terrible, but still happened."
"Speaking of," Duke Ricardo Vega of Nicaragua said, "why the hell didn't the Inquisition sus this out before it got out of hand?"
"We were focused on the republican movements Haiti and The Bahamas," Grand Inquisitor Sal growled, "how come the the military couldn't hold the city?"
"Because they were outnumbered four to one!" Herrera snapped back, jabbing a knife-like finger at the Grand Inquisitor, "none of this would have hap..."
The Princess interrupted him by slapping her hand down on the table so hard that the empty coffee mugs jumped. She stood up, glaring at Herrera with her piercing grey-green eyes until the taller Field Marshal returned to his seat. Despite the situation, Joaquin found he needed to hide a smile behind his coffee mug.
"Let the commoners in Parliament bicker about whose fault this is," Alina snarled, "I need information and solutions from you, not squabbling. Grand Inquisitor, what is the chance of this inspiring the other territories to revolt."
"His Majesty secured Haiti's loyalty with his response to this Summer's earthquake. The HRA went from being a threat to fringe terrorists," Sal said, "Santo Domingo has always been loyal. Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada and Bermuda all have small republican or socialist movements, but aren't currently a major threat. The Bahamas and Barbados are a different story, as both have widely supported republican movements."
"I recommend strengthening the garrisons on Barbados and the major Bahamian Islands, your Highness," Herrera said, "the 47th Infantry would be a good option."
"Do it," Alina nodded, "back to Jamaica. We have troops on the Northern end of the island, correct?"
"Yes," Herrera nodded, "three hundred men from the 75th Mobile Infantry are stationed at Montego Bay Armory. They report that they've dug in and intend to fight. They request reinforcements but we won't be able to send that as long as the rebels own those ships."
Those warships, were they captured intact? What about the Port Royal armory?"
"Yes, your Highness," Herrera winced, "the fast attack ships were there on a port visit and most of the crew was on shore leave. They are armed and probably fueled. As far as the armory, there's at least two dozen anti-ship missiles in storage and... ten medium range ballistic missiles."
All eyes slowly turned to the princess, who lowered back into her chair and folded her hands in front of her, like she was praying. She took two steady breaths before speaking again.
"Sink the ships and destroy the armory," Alina said, eyes still closed, "make sure to send a message."

Kommeria wrote:Reader discretion is advised

Language
_____________________________________

Blood of Patriots: Episode VI- No Crying in the War Room

Kommeria City, Duchy of Guatemala, Kingdom of Kommeria
Joaquin Morales, Duke of Panama
Friday, December 24, 0930 hours

The Privy Council took on a different tone this morning. Normally at this point in their meetings, they’d devolve into arguments but today, nobody spoke.
Duke Joaquin watched the last bit of coffee slosh around at the bottom of his mug, numb. He'd barely slept three hours in the past two days.
The door opened and in walked, of all people, Field Marshal Hererra. The famed general looked exhausted and jet lagged from his overnight flight from Italy but he still wore his customary pressed BBUs and spotless beret. Wordlessly, he took a seat at the table.
Prime Minister Murrilo was next, somehow looking well put together, even though he has been awake for at least as long as Duke Joaquin and the others. He stood by the door and held it open for the third and final person.
Princess Alina de Kommeria strode in, dressed in her Black naval officer's uniform with her graying hair pulled back in a bun. Despite her military posture and hard expression, Joaquin sensed the rage and sadness radiating from her. She sat at the head of the table, in the place where her father would normally sit.
"Last night, we got word from a surviving Inquisitor on Jamaica," The Princess said, answering the questions that everyone in the room had, "he was able to confirm the deaths of my brother and Jazmín Liberato. Their jet was brought down in the same attack that nearly destroyed the 411th Marine Battalion. My parents are not taking it well, so I will lead in my father's stead for now. "
"Your Highness, I'm so sor..." Lady Zoe Ortiz began before the Princess cut her off with a raised hand.
"I know. We all feel the loss," Alina said, pausing for a second to compose herself, "but currently, we have work to do. What is the situation in Jamaica, right now?"
"Kingston has fallen," Field Marshal Hererra answered, standing, "Port Royal Naval Station and Sir Norman Manley Airport are in enemy hands. The Inquisition was more or less destroyed. The rebels have captured two of our more advanced fast attack craft, the Kingston and Havana, and two patrol boats, Toco and Freeport."
"Casualties?" Duchess Camila Valdéz of Cuba asked.
"That's hard to estimate, your grace," Herrera answered, "the entire garrison of Port Royal was killed or captured. Maybe a hundred dead. The Inquisition was massacred, probably fifty more dead, there. Civilian casualties weren't terrible, but still happened."
"Speaking of," Duke Ricardo Vega of Nicaragua said, "why the hell didn't the Inquisition sus this out before it got out of hand?"
"We were focused on the republican movements Haiti and The Bahamas," Grand Inquisitor Sal growled, "how come the the military couldn't hold the city?"
"Because they were outnumbered four to one!" Herrera snapped back, jabbing a knife-like finger at the Grand Inquisitor, "none of this would have hap..."
The Princess interrupted him by slapping her hand down on the table so hard that the empty coffee mugs jumped. She stood up, glaring at Herrera with her piercing grey-green eyes until the taller Field Marshal returned to his seat. Despite the situation, Joaquin found he needed to hide a smile behind his coffee mug.
"Let the commoners in Parliament bicker about whose fault this is," Alina snarled, "I need information and solutions from you, not squabbling. Grand Inquisitor, what is the chance of this inspiring the other territories to revolt."
"His Majesty secured Haiti's loyalty with his response to this Summer's earthquake. The HRA went from being a threat to fringe terrorists," Sal said, "Santo Domingo has always been loyal. Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada and Bermuda all have small republican or socialist movements, but aren't currently a major threat. The Bahamas and Barbados are a different story, as both have widely supported republican movements."
"I recommend strengthening the garrisons on Barbados and the major Bahamian Islands, your Highness," Herrera said, "the 47th Infantry would be a good option."
"Do it," Alina nodded, "back to Jamaica. We have troops on the Northern end of the island, correct?"
"Yes," Herrera nodded, "three hundred men from the 75th Mobile Infantry are stationed at Montego Bay Armory. They report that they've dug in and intend to fight. They request reinforcements but we won't be able to send that as long as the rebels own those ships."
Those warships, were they captured intact? What about the Port Royal armory?"
"Yes, your Highness," Herrera winced, "the fast attack ships were there on a port visit and most of the crew was on shore leave. They are armed and probably fueled. As far as the armory, there's at least two dozen anti-ship missiles in storage and... ten medium range ballistic missiles."
All eyes slowly turned to the princess, who lowered back into her chair and folded her hands in front of her, like she was praying. She took two steady breaths before speaking again.
"Sink the ships and destroy the armory," Alina said, eyes still closed, "make sure to send a message."

Imperial Palace, Private Study of the Emperor

"As far as we're aware Your Majesty, the rebels hold several locations in the Bahamas and Barbados while the loyalist hold the rest. If it comes down to it, we can offer our aid to the Royalists as the rebels may feel emboldened to strike us in the future if they win." PM Taylor explained the situation in Kommeria to the Emperor

Charles sat silent for a moment as he looked over the reports. Ever since the Second Mexican War, he had directed that any threats to the safety of the Homeland be handled before they truly got out of handle and here was a danger not even 200 miles from the shores of Britannia. Looking at the Prime Minister, he replied

"Jacob, get in touch with our friends to the south. Inform them we will give whatever aid they require to end this issue but stress that we are not in the business of killing political enemies. If they want to get rid of those people, exile them after the fighting is done. Hell, tell them they can send them here after we interview them! Just tell them we'll help them end this revolt before it gets out of hand. We can't have a war that close to our shores . It was one thing with Mexico, they invaded us and paid the price but this rebellion, It could go one way or the other and these rebels may get ideas they could spread their views here. It wouldn't work as we take care of our people but the risk remains. Have a group ready to travel south. if need be, I'll go there myself if the need arises."

The Prime Minister looked like a fish out of water as he processed what the Emperor just said before getting out a reply of his own

"Of course Your Majesty. But what should we offer them?"

Charles merely shrugged his shoulders

"Offer them every short of the ktchen sink if you have to. Just point out we'll help them nip this revolt in the bud before it spreads further."

Reader discretion is advised

Language
_____________________________________

Blood of Patriots: Episode VII- No Fighting in the War Room

Bogotá, Republic of Gran Colombia
Vice President Angélica Varela
Friday, December 26, 0930 hours

"You did what?" Vice President Varela snarled, pounding a fist on the table. It was far too early for this.
"It sounds like President Moreno and General Fonseca accidently assassinated the Kommerian King's son," Secretary of the Treasury Ivan Villa said, "and not in a particularly clever way, either."
General Fonseca opened his mouth to spit a response, but Varela cut him off, "I assume that those missiles that shot down Kommeria's favorite son and their favorite pop star weren't standard issue Colombian Army, right? Black market Iglas? Smuggled Stingers? Answer me, God damn you."
"They were SA-24 Grinch missiles with their identifications removed," Fonseca mumbled, "They were never added to our inventory."
"Those are still our missiles!" Villa all but roared, "any half-assed investigation will track them back to us! What did you expect terrorists to do with anti-aircraft missiles?"
"What do expect Carlos to do when he finds out?" Varela cut in, glaring at the President, "we are in no way prepared for a war with Kommeria!"
"We have the manpower..." Fonseca began, before being cut off again by Villa.
"Yeah, we have more bodies," the Treasury Secretary snapped, "they have more ships, tanks, fighters, missiles. They also own half of our oil by treaty, and continue to stifle our attempts at globalization."
"The only thing we equal the Kommies on is our space forces," Secretary of State Tejedor muttered, "in that neither of us have space forces."
Varela dropped heavily back into her seat and buried her head in her hands, how the hell are we going to get out of this?
President Moreno waved everyone back to their seat, waiting for the cabinet meeting to hush before speaking.
"The only way for Gran Colombia to regain what the Kommerians took from us is to keep pressing," Moreno said, steepling his hands, "by pushing on their weakest points; Bermuda, Bahamas, Haiti, we can bring their tower down. The further they stretch, the more likely they are to break."
He took a sip of coffee before continuing,
"They're already engaged in two wars, one half a world away. This Jamaica revolt will weaken them further, more than they expect. Then we will take back what is ours."

St. Louis reopens Gateway Arch with new name

A half century after Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch was inaugurated in 1968, it has been reconnected to the city of St. Louis, with a sleek underground entrance facing the city, an expanded and redesigned visitor center and museum, a cleaner landscape and an elevated and more elegant waterfront along the Mississippi River. An old parking garage has been removed and a parklike pedestrian platform over Interstate 44 allows visitors from downtown St. Louis to visit the city’s most popular attraction without having to brave traffic lanes.

Several hundred people stood in steamy heat for the ceremony in the shadow of the 630-foot-tall monument to westward expansion that sits along the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis.

But it is the new name that encapsulates the larger cultural changes to the National Park Service site, which has been given a $380 million renovation and redesign. What was once known as the Jefferson National Expansion Park has been recast as the Gateway Arch National Park. That change simply reflects how people think about the park, says Eric Moraczewski, executive director of Gateway Arch Park Foundation, a nonprofit group that partnered with the National Park Service to raise funds and oversee the renovation.

There is no intention to downgrade Jefferson’s importance or the park’s original purpose, which was to memorialize “the men who made possible the western territorial expansion of the Britannian Empire,” including “the great explorers, Lewis and Clark, and the hardy hunters, trappers, frontiersmen and pioneers,” according to a 1933 statement by a local civic group that championed the idea of building something monumental on the Mississippi waterfront.

The name change, however, also reflects two facts that have long bedeviled the arch and its role within the National Park Service. Saarinen’s soaring arc of steel is an icon of the automobile age, an attraction that has always been more about playing to the passing audience of the interstates than any particular relevance to the idea of national expansion. It also honors historical events that are now understood as deeply problematic within the larger trajectory of Britannian history, including the dispossession of Native American land, cultural genocide, the extension of slavery, centuries of conflict and ill will with Mexico, environmental degradation and the emergence of a myth of Britannian exceptionalism.

The arch, in short, has always been beloved because it binds together two feel-good ideas that are essential to Britannian identity: a heroic past of grit and conquest, and a triumphant future of innovation. Now, well into the 21st century, the challenge is how to disentangle and even dismantle those ideas while salvaging the arch as a cultural object. The solution, mostly effective, has been to think in terms of connection, both to the city which hosts it, and to the deeper currents of history that led to its creation.

Standing on the grassy deck which crosses Interstate 44, Moraczewski points to the nearby Hyatt Hotel, where the concierge used to call taxis to ferry people a few hundred feet to the arch grounds before the renovation. “The arch operated as an island,” he says. “Our island was about roads, not water, but people came to the arch and never went into the city.”

The connecting park isn’t terribly wide — just shy of the 300-foot width which would have defined the structure as a tunnel, rather than a bridge, requiring costly ventilation and other mandated changes. But it is wide enough to include trees and benches and arcing paths that attract a lunchtime crowd, dog walkers, joggers and tourists from the nearby hotels. It also emphasizes a connection between the arch and the historic courthouse which faces it, the courthouse where Dred Scott pursued his freedom from slavery, and where a Missouri judge decided that allowing an enslaved person to claim freedom because they resided in a free state would lead to the inevitable “overthrow and destruction of our government.”

The arch grounds now flow seamlessly into the plaza that fronts the courthouse and lead visitors to the sunken, glass-walled entrance to the museum. Before the design changes, there was nothing to indicate that the arch park had anything in it other than an arch, and visitors encountered the underground museum as a sideshow to the main attraction, which was a ride in the cramped and clanking elevator cars that deliver people to the observation room at the top. (Admission to the new museum is still free, but there is also still a fee to ride to the top.)

Now, visitors are greeted by a semicircular and embracing entrance, from which they descend into the museum via a large, open atrium with a terrazzo map of North America on the mezzanine floor, showing the main migration routes during the era of westward expansion. Giant video screens project images of buffalo running, and wagon trains moving through a backdrop of mountains and open range. These videos set a slightly odd tone – grand and nostalgic – which isn’t sustained in the rest of the museum.

The new exhibitions, created by Haley Sharpe Design, are more substantial, extending the story of westward migration back to the colonial days of St. Louis, and grappling with the fundamental questions posed by the historical narrative. In a gallery devoted to Manifest Destiny, wall panels ask not only “How the West Was Won,” but was the west “stolen,” and what of the North – as Mexico understood the same land – and was it “stolen” too?

“After the Louisiana Purchase, women lost many rights ...” reads another wall panel, noting some of the cultural impacts of the purchase of territory inhabited by Native Americans, then claimed by the French, ceded to the Spanish, reclaimed by Napoleon and ultimately transferred to the United States in 1803. “Does staking claim to land justify national ownership?” asks another exhibit, devoted to the exploration of Lewis and Clark.

Videos allow Native Americans to address these questions in personal ways, and take stock of the dreadful loss of life, land and culture that came with European incursion into the continent. But these voices are compartmentalized in the usual fashion of contemporary museum design, which tends to an a la carte approach to history. If your understanding of the age of westward expansion is all about free-roaming buffalo, covered wagons, steamboats plying the Mississippi and frontier women baking hearty meals, you can find that too. Haley Sharpe Design, which also created the Democracy galleries for the Smithsonian National Museum of Britannian History, adds texture to the story, makes connections (to trade, and the larger economic and cultural context) and avoids conclusions, even when dark conclusions are ineluctable.

The museum concludes with the design and construction of the arch itself, which was an urban renewal project that led to the loss of the colonial-era street grid, and hundreds of buildings, many erected in the 19th century. It was an exercise in branding, a scheme cooked during the Depression and sold on a national scale. It took more than 30 years between the inception and the opening of the arch. Saarinen died in 1961, long after he won the 1947 design competition, and well before construction was completed in 1965. The museum notes that the realization of Saarinen’s futuristic vision happened during the tumultuous years of the civil rights movement and that African-Britannians protested at the arch site for not having equal access to construction jobs on the project.

In the intervening years, Jefferson’s stock has fallen, and Saarinen’s has soared. He is a revered figure of modernism, and the arch is probably his best-known and most-loved project. With the Gateway Arch, he not only created an architectural spectacle grand enough to fill the site, but he helped define one of the essential trends of architecture for the past half century, the dominance of iconic power over function.

The whole idea for a park and a monument to westward expansion was bizarre: Why in St. Louis, when other cities could also claim to be the Western gateway? And why an arch, which suggests the pioneers somehow passed through a giant croquet wicket?

But Saarinen finessed the problem rather like corporate architects today finesse the problem of housing large, impersonal, often rapacious organizations in buildings that suggests transparency, openness and idealism. He found a gesture that overwhelmed skepticism, both skepticism about the viability of the project, but also the larger historical skepticism that Britannians have traditionally found inconvenient and dispiriting.

His arch stole the show, which made it possible to avoid the history, except as a passing entertainment. Saarinen understood how essentially Britannian the arch form was, a symbol of triumph and conquest that is hollow at its core.

Random Thoughts from The Founder:

Sorry this is so late, but I (and my alter ego The Eastern Latins) have been dealing with some ongoing medical issues lately.

As you all have seen, Pax british imperium has CTE. You all know the drill. All RP, treaties, deals etc. with him/her are now null and void.

Kommeria wrote:Real Ferrería de Panamá

To- Abyssiopian Ministry of Defense

We would like to offer the F55 class frigate to fill your Navy's request for a pair of frigates. The Armada del Reino Kommeriana uses the F55 as a air-defense frigate under the name Sable-class.

The ship's dimensions are 140 meters long, 18m abeam, and displaces 5,400 long tons with a full load. With her fore bow bulge included, her draught is 5.5 meters. She is equipped with two pairs of twin engines allowing for economical 18 knot cruising on diesel and 28 knot sprints on combined diesel and gas turbine. Running on diesel only, the F55 can cruise for 5,000 nautical miles without refueling.

Combat wise, the F55 is one of the most lethal frigates ever put to sea. The F55 is better armed than many of the world's destroyers; armed with a 48-cell vertical missile system, a 127mm naval gun, one 30mm close-in air-defense system, two quadruple harpoon anti-ship missile launchers, two 30mm chain guns, and two triple-tube 324mm torpedo launchers. The VLS is capable of firing a wide array of missiles; including land-attack cruise missiles, anti-submarine rockets, standard-2 multirole missiles, naval strike multirole missiles, Standard-6 anti-ballistic missiles, sea sparrow anti-air missiles, and evolved sea sparrow missiles, which can be quad-packed in each cell.
The F55 has a large suit of non-offensive defensive systems, as well; including the shape of the ship itself. Angled features and a clean superstructure reduce radar signature to that similar to a large fishing trawler. Additionally, she is equipped with a large battery of chaff, flare and decoy launchers to protect against missiles, and a towed decoy that simulates ship sounds for defense against homing torpedoes.
The F55 is also equipped with a powerful networked radar array that boasts a maximum range of 175nmi and can detect sea-skimming missiles up to 45nmi. A powerful bow mounted sonar is completed by a towed tactical sonar than can be launched from the aft of the ship.
F55 can also carry and launch two RHIBs and one helicopter of similar size to the MH-60.

The cost per unit of the F55, as the Armada del Reino Kommeriana uses them, is $650 million per ship. Abyssiopian Navy requirements could raise or lower that price, though.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51663968719_3562f86a7e_o.png

Thank you for your consideration,

-Jorge Gutierrez, Baron of La Chorrera, CEO of Real Ferrería de Panamá (Royal Ironworks of Panama)
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OOC- The F55/Sable class is based on the IRL F100/Álvaro de Bazán class it is slightly shorter in length and height.

The Ministry of Defense would like to place an order for 2 of your F55 Sable class frigates.

As soon as we receive your acceptance of this message, we will electronically transfer the 1.3 billion payment.

Waites Corner wrote:Random Thoughts from The Founder:

Sorry this is so late, but I (and my alter ego The Eastern Latins) have been dealing with some ongoing medical issues lately.

As you all have seen, Pax british imperium has CTE. You all know the drill. All RP, treaties, deals etc. with him/her are now null and void.

Ooc

Too bad about Pax british imperium.

I kinda liked having a UK country in the region.

Ah well....

[OOC/Meta]

I whipped this up to make it easier to differentiate Kommeria and the Jamaican rebels on the RMB. If you want to get ahold of the "Jamaican Democratic Republic" please shoot a tele to my main account, else I probably won't see it for weeks.
K, thnx, bye.

-Kommeria

Waites Corner wrote:Random Thoughts from The Founder:

Sorry this is so late, but I (and my alter ego The Eastern Latins) have been dealing with some ongoing medical issues lately.

As you all have seen, Pax british imperium has CTE. You all know the drill. All RP, treaties, deals etc. with him/her are now null and void.

Ooc

Sorry to hear about your medical issues. I know what that's like. Praying that everything goes well.

Greater Austrias wrote:A Bulletin:

Under the orders of His Imperial Majesty, Imperial forces have begun the reclaimation of lost territory. At 0005 hours this morning, the Imperial Army, covered by the Imperial Air Force, crossed from Slovenia into disputed Italian territory in 3 places, and have begun to advance toward their ultimate goal, the lost Imperial city of Triest (Trieste).

The Imperial Navy has imposed a blockade of Italian ships into or out of Triest, but international shipping is still free to come and go as usual.

There will be more bulletins as the situation warrants.

Military Assistance Group HQ, Genoa

Oberst (Colonel) Karl-Dieter Voss regarded the message in his hand with surprise. The message from the Ministry of Defense ordered him to "Render all assistance possible, up to but not including deployment of troops in possible combat situations to assist the Royalist forces in defending or regaining the territory under attack by USGA forces." The message continued. "You will also give your recommendations to the Ministry on possible other courses of action, up to and including deployment of combat forces to Italy."

Voss re-read the message again, then passed it down the table. All his staff had read it before, but all re read it again. It stopped in front of Voss's (CSO) (Chief Staff Officer) Oberstleutnant (Lt. Colonel) Paul Henning. He looked at it, then at his boss.

"Well Paul, what can we do to implement this order?" said Voss, barely hiding the sarcasm in his voice.

"There is nothing more we can do Herr Oberst" said Henning, his voice calm. "We are extending to the Royalists all the aid possible. We will of course do all in our power to make that aid more available to the Royalist forces engaged in combat, but other than that" he paused to make his point clear "There is nothing else we can do."

Voss smiled inwardly, his face a carefully non emotional mask. Without any form of combat forces, except for a battalion of infantry as security and some armored cars, what did the Ministry expect him to do? He and his men would keep the flow of supplies and munitions moving to the Italians, but he knew that there were people, here on his own staff and in Berlin, who expected more. 2 of those on his staff had already been dispatched, along with his intelligence officer, to the combat zone to "observe and report back" to him on the situation. It would be interesting and informative to compare their reports with that of his intelligence officer, a man whom he trusted.

"Kramer" he said. His communications officer looked up from a discussion with another officer. Her ice blue eyes and cover girl looks belied her competence at her job. Oberstleutnant Gisela Kramer had had to fight against being judged on her appearance alone her whole army career. Voss was writing on a pad of paper. Finishing, he ripped the sheets off with a flourish and passed them down the table to the communications officer.

"Get that out to Berlin at once." His recommendations would go out within minutes, the most important of which would be to NOT deploy combat troops to Italy. He rated the chances of that recommendation being followed at about 50%, and the others, including not attempting to breach the USGA blockade of Trieste, at about 90%. There were still a few men and women with sense in Berlin, he thought, or rather hoped. The more militant factions of the Army and government, led by the Crown Prince, were not yet strong he knew. But he also knew that the decision to give Poland its independence, along with the increasingly aggressive policies of the USGA, had increased their numbers.

Voss prayed that they would not gain more strength, because he feared what that would mean for his beloved country. He shook his head as if to clear it of these thoughts. He then turned back to the meeting, as his staff continued their discussions.

Targeting cancer at the nanoscale

Scientists from the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Tracer Kinetics at Chicago University developed a novel system for targeted cancer radiation therapy that uses gold nanoparticles labeled with astatine-211. Owing to the limited range and half-life of the radiation, along with the localization of the nanoparticles, healthy cells are considerably less likely to be harmed. This work may lead to effective cancer treatments without the side effects of current techniques.

Brachytherapy is a method of treating cancer using a sealed radioactive source called a "seed" implanted directly inside the patient's body. It has been found to be effective for certain tumors of the prostate, head, neck, and brain, among others. However, like other forms of radiation therapy, brachytherapy can also cause severe side effects, such as vomiting or headaches. More sophisticated methods for targeting radiation are needed to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment while sparing healthy cells.

Now, a team of scientists led by Chicago University has used gold nanoparticle "nanoseeds" containing a radioactive isotope to ensure that radiation was localized only to cancer cells. Astatine-211 is an unstable isotope of the element astatine that contains one extra neutron. This causes it to undergo radioactive decay while emitting alpha particles. Because of their large size, rapidly moving alpha particles can cause fatal double-strand breaks in the DNA of cancer cells while remaining close to the radiation source. In addition, because the half-life of astatine-211 is so short, about 7 hours, it will become inactive long before the nanoparticles can leak into healthy tissues. This allows large therapeutic doses to be administered without causing severe side effects. "We have developed a new safe and powerful cancer treatment using gold nanoparticles with astatine-211, which emits alpha rays that strongly damage target DNA but have a very short range inside the body," first author Hiroki Kato explains.

Using rat or mouse models, the nanoparticles were injected directly into tumors. The team found that the nanoparticles entered the cancer cells but did not spread to other organs during a time period equivalent to six radioactive half-lives. At the same time, the nanoparticles were highly toxic to the cancer cells. "We have demonstrated that tumor growth can be strongly suppressed by injecting this nano drug directly into the tumor," senior author Koichi Fukase says. Because gold nanoparticles can be easily fabricated, and astatine-211 may be produced in cyclotrons without the need for nuclear fuel, this new therapy can be made widely available in hospitals.

New scramjet set to be tested by NASA and others

Air lines are always looking for new ways to reduce travel times and the latest announcement from Huntsville based Hypersonix Launch Systems shows those new advances. Hypersonix Launch Systems is developing a reusable launch system powered by green hydrogen that makes launches more accessible and also more sustainable.

Hypersonic speed is more than five times the speed of sound – or ‘Mach 5’ – which is just over 6000 km/h. At Mach 5 and above, friction caused by molecules flowing over the hypersonic aircraft can generate temperatures in excess of 2000-degree Celsius. Suffice to say that Hypersonix is choosing its materials to cope with these extremes.

The Hypersonix team is composed of 20 aerospace engineers and material specialists and has come a long way since it was founded in 2019. In a short time, the team has developed a three-stage satellite launch system, called Wirraway, that utilizes reusable scramjet engine technology for engines that are powered by sustainable green hydrogen fuel. This means it would deliver small satellites into orbit without producing any carbon emissions.

he team is building its new green hydrogen-powered SPARTAN scramjet engine using Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) as these are capable of withstanding the high temperatures experienced by space vehicles during the journey through space and particularly during the controlled re-entry phase. CMCs have a high strength-to-weight ratio even at high temperatures, high thermal shock resistance, and toughness.

Hypersonix’s SPARTAN can accelerate from Mach 5 to Mach 12; or five to twelve times the speed of sound. The Delta-Velos vehicle that features the SPARTAN engine will fly over 2,500 km (1,553 miles) without emitting CO2 or other noxious gases before landing like a conventional aircraft ready to take flight again after refueling and checks.

“Our core knowledge is scramjet engines and how to develop sustainable hypersonic aircraft. We are actively seeking research and development as well as for durability and high-temperature resistance for multi-use launch vehicles and engines and their components,” said Dr. Michael Smart, Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer, and Head of Research & Development with Hypersonix. The company has recently developed collaborative partnerships with the University of Southern California, Boeing, Siemens (for multiphysics computational fluid dynamics software), and the industrial gas company – BOC Ltd.

The Delta-Velos will launch attached to Hypersonix’s reusable Boomerang first-stage booster, which also returns to Earth for reuse. Once in the upper atmosphere, it would release satellite payloads of 50 kg, which would then be boosted to low-Earth orbit (LEO) or Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). The company is hoping to have the Delta Velos Orbiter in the air around the end of 2024.

Chinese Repubblic wrote:Central News Agency

At the Nanjing International Expo Center the NSPO presented the project for the Chinese "Tiangong" Space Station

[...]

In addition, the NSPO has also announced the project (which has already been rumored for some time) of the new spaceport in Wenchang, Zhejiang, with a total cost of 20 billion Yuan: the spaceport will cover 67 square kilometers, of which 35 square kilometers for the sites of launch and 32 square kilometers for support structures. The site will be located on the east coast and at a similar latitude to the Chinese Satellite Launch Center at Xichang and Cape Canaveral in Florida.
A larger industrial base, including a satellite data research and development, production and application center, will also be based at Ningbo Aerospace Science and Technology Town in Xiangshan, following a strategic cooperation framework agreement signed in December by the government of Ningbo Municipal Authority and the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight technology.
The Wenchang Spaceport will be completed in 3.5/4 years.

Today the President officially inaugurated the spaceport of Wenchang, after some delays in the works, in the province of Zhejiang, which will be the future base for the launch of the modules of the Chinese Space Station.

Chinese Repubblic wrote:Ministry of National Defense

The Navy announced new units, and the resignation of others:

Six new type 055 destroyer have been ordered for a total of CNY 34.2 billion, which will replace the six Luhu and Sovremenny class units.
These units will be removed and put "in stock" to then be sold, or dismantled permanently.
If they are sold, they will first undergo a refurbishment.

The type 055 will be deployed as follows:
2 at the North Sea Fleet
4 at the East Sea Fleet
The construction times are expected in 4 years for the first 3 and another 3 thereafter.

Armed Force News

As reported by the Journal of the Armed Forces, the Command of the Ground Forces of the Chinese Armed Forces JointCom has started the exercise Defend China 2021, one of the largest ever organized, which will include over 40 divisions of the army, belonging to all OFC (operative forces command) and will be held simultaneously in multiple locations around the country.
The exercises are aimed at maintaining a high level of preparation of the personnel and to test the reaction capabilities of the army, the exercises will be held jointly with the Air Force.

Parallel to Defender China 2021 will be carried out the Perfect Storm VII exercise, an exercise held every 8 months by the Navy and its Air Force to test the capabilities in different situations, this edition will be held in the Yellow Sea and will take part 2 fleets of the ROCN, including numerous new units that will have the opportunity to test their effectiveness in action.

Ministry of National Defense

The Ministry of National Defense announced in a statement that 3 of the latest generation type 055 destroyers, of the 6 commissioned, have been launched. After a few months of preparation and sea trials, they will enter service in the fleets assigned to them.

From the Fars News Agency Report of 1/18/2022:

The Commander of the Iranian Army Air Defense Force Brigadier General Hassan Nassiri assured the nation of the high capabilities of his forces and their equipment in tracking and intercepting enemy flying objects.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force (IRIADF) is at the forefront of defensive power in the region, and any airborne object, irrespective of the altitude, cn be detected nd tracked , and if necessary, dealt with by our radar," General Nassiri said, addressing the military commanders and cadets at Iman Ali University in Tehran.

He said that the young experts of the Iranian Army are developing indigenous three dimensional radar systems and are trying to bring them into service.

"Our combat and defense capabilities are expanding continuously. All the military equipment in our inventory is home grown or produced in Iran" General Nassiri added.

The IRIADF will shortly unveil a homemade state-of-the art 3D radar dubbed Alborz, which is capable of detecting long range stealth flying objects designed to have a low radar cross section. The system reported boasts a range of 450 kilometers (248 miles) and can reportedly detect 300 targets simultaneously.

In the near future, the IRIADF plans to unveil several new radar systems. The first will be a 3D tactical phased-array radar system called Kashef-99 (Discoverer-99) which is capable of detecting small flying objects. It can reportedly detect dozens of targets at the same time within a range of 12 kilometers (7.4 miles). At the same time, the Iranian Republic will unveil 2 more homegrown strategic phased-array radar systems dubbed Khalij-e Fars (Persian Gulf) and Moraqeb (Observer).

Khalij-e Fars covers a range of 800 kilometers (497 miles) and reportedly can detect all conventional and radar-evading targets and ballistic missiles.

Moraqeb has a range of 400 kilometers (248 miles) and reportedly can trace micro-sized targets in low and mid altitude as well as drones and radar evading flying objects.

Inn recent years, the Iranian Republic has made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and great strides towards attaining self-sufficiency in producing important military equipment and systems despite attempts by outside forces to prevent this.

[This Episode takes place Jan 3rd. Yes I am aware that was, like, two weeks ago. -Komm]
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Reader discretion is advised

Language
War Violence
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“There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.”
- General George S. Patton Jr.

Blood of Patriots: Episode VIII- Shock and Awe, Part I

47,000 ft above Kingston, Jamaica
Constelación 3, MQ-9 Segador reconnaissance UAV
January 3, 0630 hours

Constelación 3 flew in a large circle of the capital of the would-be Jamaican Republic, the drones small size making it all but disappear against the dark clouds. Despite what the rebel commander, one Colonel Eithan Williams, might think, the former Territorial Guard are not real soldiers. Real soldiers would know to watch the sky for drones.
The drone's powerful camera swiveled as it's pilot took over from the autopilot, safe in his seat in Honduras. The lens spun as the pilot zoomed his view to the maximum, watching the rebels around Port Royal.
The pilot noted that the rebels hadn't moved the fast attack craft, the sleek semi-stealth ships still moored where the navy left them. There were guards around the armory, but no evidence that the rebels had moved the base's medium-range ballistic missiles.
In that case, today’s mission would be a go.

25,000 ft above the Caribbean Sea, 150km South of Haiti
Colonel Manuel "Bote" Menendez, Colmillo Squadron, Kommerian Royal Air Force
January 3, 0700 hours

The entirety of the 3rd Tactical Wing formed up in their F-5E Tigre fighters behind Colmillo Squadron's F-18 Avispón multirole fighters, forming the largest Kommerian air raid since 1978. Currently, the thirty-six combat jets formed into six orderly queues behind three foreign aircraft.
Three Neo Britiannan Royal Air Force KC-46A Pegasus aerial tankers flew westward at a steady pace, three kilometers between their wingtips. Though these were much smaller than the K-3 tankers that the Kommerian Air Force uses; the Northerners had more dedicated refueling aircraft than the Kommerians had aircraft in total.
The Britannian crew chiefs guided the Kommerian fighters up to the refueling lines that trailed behind the aircraft. Both communicated in English, the international language of aviators; despite the half-billion Spanish speakers between the two kingdoms.
Colonel Menendez deployed his F-18's refueling probe and a friendly Boston-accent guiding him over the short-range radio comms.
"Looking good, Colonel," the Britiannan said, "Five more meters."
Menendez guided his plane closer, probe slipping into the drogue basket and connecting to the hose with a small spray of fuel. The fuel transfer began immediately, rapidly filling the wing tanks. Next to him, a second F-18 connected to the hose tailing from the KC-46's other wing.
The Britiannans and Kommerians chatted over short range radios as they refueled. Small talk and jokes, as is the nature of aerial refueling crews. Menendez was glad for the brief distraction for his pilots. Fuel tanks full, the Kommerian fighters banked away; wagging their wings or dropping a single flare in a friendly salute.
Their mission completed and their refueling bladders mostly depleted, the Britannian tankers turned and made their way back to Florida.
“All Colmillo units,” Menedez said over the radio, “descend to 1000 and accelerate to 600 knots. Assume attack formation.”
The twelve F-18s split into flights and dove to one thousand feet, Menedez’s flight in the lead. Some twenty kilometers behind them, the F-5s also prepared for their own attack runs.
“Time for some revenge.”

Reader discretion is advised

Language
War Violence
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Blood of Patriots: Episode VIII- Shock and Awe, Part II

Port Royal Naval Station, Kingston, Jamaica
Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Johnson, Jamaican Republican Army
January 3, 0720 hours

The shriek of the air raid sirens jolted Teddy awake, and immediately set him to panicking. He was out of bed in a heartbeat, and dressed in a minute.
One of Colonel Williams' men met him at the door, clipboard in hand, "Sir, radar has spotted a large formation of small aircraft approaching from the South at high speed."
"How far are they?" Teddy asked, leading the soldier toward his staff car.
"120 kilometers. They'll be here in less than eight minutes."
"What?" Teddy snarled, "where are the radarmen asleep or something?"
"Uh... or something," the soldier said with hesitation, "the two on radar this morning found some of the rum that the Kommies left behind and..."
"Are drunk off their asses when Kommeria sent a third of their fighters to come kill us," Teddy finished, I'm going to kill then, if I make it through this, and the Kommies don't beat me to it.
As that thought came to Teddy, the Kommerians obliged it. A white shape skimmed the water from the south, flying over the sea at incredible speed before slamming into one of the radar trucks. An explosion rocked the base as the truck was blown apart. A second missile; a supersonic land-attack missile, Teddy guessed, destroyed one of the two surface-to-air missile launchers. A third missile took out the second.
“Drive!” Teddy screamed to his driver, diving into the back seat of the staff car.
“Where?” The driver shouted back, eyes wide.
“Literally anywhere but here!”

Reader discretion is advised

Language
War Violence
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Blood of Patriots: Episode VIII- Shock and Awe, Part III

Just South of Kingston, Jamaica, altitude: 1,000ft
Colmillo Squadron, Kommerian Royal Air Force
January 3, 0722 hours

Colonel "Bote" Menendez and his wingman, Captain “Flaco” Fredrick, followed the exhaust trail of the trio of sub-launched cruise missiles, barely slower than sound. Five more pairs of F-18 fighters were stacked up behind them, with the swarm of F-5s even further behind.
At their speed, Bote and Flaco’s targets quickly came into view; moored where they were abandoned by the Navy. Fast attack ships ARK Kingston and ARK Havana.
Four shapes dropped from the wing-mounted hardpoints and fell toward the ships as the F-18s banked in opposite directions and flew off. The shapes, oblong canisters, split open; releasing a swarm of bomblets that showered the ships and the pier they were moored to like especially angry rain. A cascade of tiny explosions rocked the ships, blasting off weapons, equipment and rebels, and leaving the ships crippled.

Two more F-18s, piloted by Lieutenants “Risitas” Santana and “Odiador” Peña dropped another four cluster bomb canisters on the former Territorial Guard quarters attached to Port Royal Naval Station. These two continued on past the Navy Base, thundering over the city at just under the speed of sound; rattling windows, roofs, and tooth fillings with the unmistakable sound of angry warplanes.

Six more F-18s dropped high-explosive bombs on various military targets within Port Royal Naval Station and Sir Norman Manley airport; destroying armored vehicles, fuel bunkers, and radio equipment. These F-18s also buzzed Kingston, one pair breaking the sound barrier; cracking windows and eardrums in their wake. Another pair flew so low that one of them severed a radio antenna from a civilian roof with their wing.

Captain “Mago” Bolivar and Lieutenant “Mierda” Salinas had drawn the longest straws though, and would be the ones to deliver the coup de grâce on Port Royal Naval Station. The two women each dropped a single GBU-24 thermobaric GPS-guided bunker buster bomb on the base’s twin armories. The underground weapons caches both high-order detonated as thousands of rounds of ammunition, dozens of missiles, and several tonnes of high-explosives went up at once. One of the smaller vessels that the rebels captured, the patrol boat ARK Toco was caught in the blast and torn in two; sinking within two minutes.
The explosions didn’t completely destroy the base, the caches were better designed than that, but dozens of rebels were killed or thrown off their feet. Windows across Kingston were shattered, and debris and ash rained down.

Across Southern Jamaica
3rd Tactical Wing, Kommerian Royal Air Force
January 3, 0730 hours

With the F-18s clearing the way of major threats, the near-eldery F-5E Super Tigres of 3rd Wing were clear to attack their targets.
The highway leading to Sir Norman Manley airport was struck by several cratering bombs, rendering it impassible without repair. Bridges leading in and out of the city were dropped into Hope River and the Rio Cobre by 250kg bombs. With next to no traffic on major highways, the 3rd was free to bomb the Mandela Highway and the Port Kingston Causeway into so much gravel.
Several flights of F-5Es took their weapons past Kingston entirely to savage the A1 and Highway 2000, cutting off the Republican advance on Kommerian positions around Montego Bay.

Their missions completed, the thirty-six fighters of both wings flew on to Air Station Guantanamo in Cuba, where they will be based for the foreseeable future. None of the Kommeria jets had received threatening damage, and only a few had sustained any fire at all. The Kommerian Air Force had dropped over fifty tonnes of ordnance without sustaining a single casualty.

Roosevelt Roads Naval Base, Puerto Rico

As the three KC-46A Pegasus tankers landed at the air field, Rear Admiral James Rowling and Air Commodore took a walk along the tarmac, chatting about the recent evens to the south and so forth. Air Commodore Francis Mitchell then spoke

"From my understanding of the matter James, the Emperor would like to transfer a few attack craft to the Kommerian Air Force. A-20s and so forth. We have a few here that can be transferred on short notice but the issue is transport. We could fly them to any air base they say to head to but the pilots would be on fumes by that point. If we're ordered to transfer, I trust the Navy can help make things easier?"

Rowling thought for a moment as he gazed towards the harbor, a few merchant transports idling at the docks and grinned as he face Mitchell

"I do believe I have just the thing we can use old friend. Those transports over there recently underwent a refit and have been waiting for orders. We can load up your planes and spare parts and take them to the nearest Kommerian port under control by the government down there and send a few escorts just to be safe. I believe the Warspite just arrived last week and she would make a handy escort should the rebels get any ideas about attacking ships of the Royal Navy. I'll send word to New London what we have here and I'm certain the Emperor will request that the Kommerian ambassador meet with him for a private talk. Things might get a tad lively around here again that's for certain."

Kommeria

The spokesperson for the Papal Armed Forces, Colonel Guiseppe Bixio, announced that the largely Irish St Patrick's Battalion has been disbanded.

The reason for this startling development given by Colonel Bixio was:

"Due to the recent collapse of the British Imperial Government (Pax british imperium), the 5 nations that formerly made up the imperium have descended into various states of disorder. While England, Scotland, and to a lesser extent Wales have made great strides in restoring order, South Africa and Ireland unfortunately have not. Many members of the St. Patrick's Battalion have received messages from their families detailing the suffering they are experiencing. Their commanding officer, Lt. Colonel James O'Connor petitioned the Armed Forces Command and His Holiness to allow his men to return and both assist their families and to help restore order to Ireland."

"His Holiness directed the Armed Forces Command to release the 567 members of the battalion who petitioned from their obligation to his service, and ships have been provided to return the men to their homeland. His Holiness has met with the men of the battalion and personally thanked them for their service to Holy Mother Church and Italy."

Colonel Bixio stated that some 100 members of the battalion elected to stay on in service.

The Ministry of Defense announced the following events have happened in connection with operations in Spain:

A Christian Republic of Carthage Navy (CRCN) submarine sank the 15,000 ton Nationalist cargo ship Cuidad de Barcelona off Cadiz 2 days ago. The ship was part of a convoy bringing supplies to the Nationalist naval base at Algeciras. There are no reports of casualties, but other Nationalist ships in the area attacked the submarine, which escaped unharmed, and possibly damaged one of its attackers. This was the first sinking of a Nationalist ship by a CRCN vessel since operations began.

3 soldiers were killed, and 12 wounded in what was believed to be an attack by either Nationalist or LSA guerrillas against a Christian Republic of Carthage Army (CRCA) outpost on the outskirts of Cartagena yesterday. This is the second attack on a CRCA outpost guarding the approaches to the city, the first being beaten off without loss. Unconfirmed reports say that 5 guerrillas were killed. Sources in Spain, speaking under anonymity, say that the Armed Forces expect further attacks in the future, given the volatility of the situation in southern Spain, but are prepared for them.

In other news, more protests against our operations in Spain were held at the University of Utica, the University of Algiers, and several other universities last week. The protests have become larger in recent weeks, and have resulted in some 45 total arrests of protesters.

His Imperial Majesty has released a bulletin announcing to his people that Her Imperial Majesty The Tsarina was safely delivered of a son this morning at the Achansk Palace in the capital.

The bulletin stated that Her Imperial Majesty went into labor last night at approximately midnight Khabarovsk time and the child was delivered at 7:45 am. The Tsarina had only recently returned from a lengthy visit to her parents, the Emperor and Empress of the Roman Empire (The Eastern Latins).

The bulletin stated that the new Grand Duke (the title is automatically given to children of a reigning Tsar at birth) weighed in at 7lbs 12oz and was 21 inches long. Both mother and child are doing well, and the Tsarina's parents have been notified and are delighted by the news.

No name for the new Grand Duke was given in the bulletin, although the betting line favorite is Aleksandr, followed by Konstantine and Nikolai.

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