Imperial Defense Forces Network News (IDFNN)
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced the formation of a new unit of the IDF.
The 106th Legion (SFA) will be the parent unit of the 39th Infantry Regiment, which was created as a Specialist regiment to assist foreign military forces.
According to MoD spokesperson Colonel Miri Eisen:
"The 106th Legion is being created to bring together under one roof, so to speak, the Security Force Assistance units of the IDF."
Colonel Eisen elaborated on what exactly Security Force Assistance is.
"Security Force Assistance, or SFA, is the military practice of a donor nation, such as the Empire, creating, equipping, training, advising and supporting one or more groups of a foreign host country. These groups may include military, police, paramilitary, coast and border guards, intelligence organizations etc. which contribute to the national security of the host country."
"SFA is used at the request of the host country, and when improving the security of that host country aligns with the national interests of the donor nation."
"It may be used alongside or instead of larger commitments of the donor country's military personnel and materiel. This means that SFA can provide an alternative to large-scale operations if a war becomes controversial or politically difficult."
Colonel Eisen pointed out that SFA was an established policy in Imperial Government, citing the past or still ongoing SFA efforts in Oman, Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh and Abyssiopia.
"In our efforts to build the capacity of allied and partner nations, the units that will comprise the 106th are deployed and will deploy around the world to contribute to conflict prevention and resistance."
The units of the 106th will include the four battalions of the 39th Infantry, along with a Legion HQ and a Cultural Outreach and Support Regiment. The standup of the 106th brings a distinguished unit name back into the IDF Order of Battle. Its predecessor, the 106th HCL, also known as the Leones Auream or Golden Lions served with great distinction in the 1st and 2nd Global Wars and the 1956 war with Neo-Egypt before being disbanded in 1960.
The 106th is to be based in Anatolia and will be formally stood up in the next several months.
Reader discretion is advised
Blood of Patriots: Interlude
Port Maria, Jamaican Democratic Republic
Sergeant Jack Sharpe, Wegman Cell, Saint Mary Militia
Sharpe watched through his binoculars as the submersible pulled up to the little pier outside Port Maria, sensing his nervous fireteam mates shuffling next to him. The little vessel was completely unmarked as far as the militia sergeant could see, and the two men piloting it wore simple black wetsuits with no patches or badges.
'Who are these guys?" Private Decker asked in a harsh whisper, "Stormtroopers?
"With a submarine?" Private Russell scoffed, equally hushed, "gotta be the Navy Rangers."
"Want me to smoke 'em with the RPG?" Decker asked with a wicked smile, patting the loaded launch tube.
"For all we know it could be the Colombians," Sharpe snapped, "and put that thing down before you blow all three of us to hell. Russell, run back to the camp and get the minutemen and their vics."
"Will do," Russell said, carefully slipping away.
The minutemen came quickly in three technicals; two old Mitsubishi pickups and a heavily customized Jeep Wrangler; with fifteen militia riflemen between the three of them. Within a minute, the strangers and their little submersible found themselves illuminated by the Jeep’s floodlights and on the business end of a dozen various rifles, two A60-3 GPMGs, and a A2BP 12.7mm heavy machine gun.
Sharpe, Decker, and Decker's RPG quickly joined the others on the beach just in time for Lieutenant Lopez to disembark his vehicle. Lopez was a Colombian, a mercenary hired to help train the Saint Mary Parish militia. He stood out from the militiamen with his fairer skin and personalized and very expensive-looking AR15 rifle.
“You two, put your hands up!” Sharpe called to the two strangers; who, despite the chilly welcoming, looked fairly unconcerned.
“¡Pon tus manos sobre tu cabeza y quédate quieto!” Lopez added, the only man there who could speak Spanish.
When the men complied; Sharpe, Lopez and three militiamen advanced on them. They kept their guns at low-ready, aiming them at the dirt, but able to quickly raise and fire them if needed.
"Who the hell are you guys, and what the hell is that thing?" Sharpe asked the two special forces operators.
Lt. James Pierce looked at the gather militiamen with some derision, mainly due to the shoddy way they carried themselves with their rifles but approved of their level of response. He'd react the same really if some random guys showed up on the beach in North Carolina or elsewhere. Looking at the one man clearly in charged, he spoke clearly
"I am Lt. Pierce of the Britannian Royal Navy's Special Boat Service. The man with me is Lt. Bowman. And that my fine fellow is the latest mini sub drone Britannia can make. We're here to help train your forces in the use of some toys so you can start hitting the Kommieran Air Force and Army where it hurts. Depending on how this goes, you can expect more supplies sent covertly."
Imperial Defense Forces Network News (IDFNN)
Major Changes coming to the Imperial Army (IA)
After much discussion and experimentation, it has been decided that all Light Combat Legions (LCL) will be eliminated from the IA order of battle.
Instead, each Heavy Combat Legion (HCL) will receive an additional Light Infantry battalion. Each legion will now contain 2 mechanized infantry battalions, 2 light infantry battalions, 2 tank battalions, 2 artillery battalions, 1 engineer battalion, 1 reconnaissance battalion, and a support regiment.
According to MoD spokesperson Colonel Miri Eisen:
"This reorganization will have ripple effects throughout the Ground Forces. It will, in effect, turn each Legion into a small Division, able to take on a host of different missions. One of the new concepts is that of Battle Groups. The units of a given legion can be split into these combat groups according to the mission necessary, giving a great deal of flexibility that did not previously exist."
"While critics may say that this makes the Legions larger and more unwieldy, it actually does the opposite. It makes them more agile and more deployable. A Battle Group can be assembled and deployed far more quickly than an entire Legion."
Colonel Eisen said that the command structure will also be different.
"The newer, larger legions will be now be commanded by a Major General, instead of a Brigadier General. Also, the Divisional command level will be eliminated. Corps HQ will now have direct control over the legions under its command. Divisions can, and probably will be set up in situations where they are needed, as was the case in Operation Orion in North America, when distance and circumstances call for separate command arraignments."
"There will also be a change of name. Like their ancient fore bearers, the main combat units of the IA will now simply be called Legions, as in the 19th Legion, 24th Legion, 57th Legion. Units with specialized jobs, such as Airborne and Mountain troops will have their specialization noted by a parenthetical title after its name, i.e. 35th Legion (Abn) or 84th Legion (Mt)."
Colonel Eisen addressed the future of the disbanded LCLs.
"Some LCLs are in the process of transitioning into the new form, thus preserving their honored names and deeds in the history of the IDF. Others will be put into suspended animation, in case of future need. In fact, 3 former LCLs, the 46th, 48th and the 82nd are already in the process of transitioning as we speak."
When asked about the schedule of the transition, Colonel Eisen had this to say:
"Several Legions have already completed the transition, with more following. Among those that have completed the process are the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 75th Legions. The process of adding new units is not difficult but getting used to and learning the new doctrine will take some time, of course."
Colonel Eisen stated that:
"The MoD is aiming to reduce the number of former HCLs and LCLs from 66 to 60 Legions within 2-3 years. This figure does not include the Mountain and Airborne Legions, nor does it include the Imperial Guard. The savings from this will be put back into new equipment, more training and better troop welfare programs."
Engineers test an idea for a new hovering rover
Aerospace engineers at MIT are testing a new concept for a hovering rover that levitates by harnessing the moon's natural charge.
Because they lack an atmosphere, the moon and other airless bodies such as asteroids can build up an electric field through direct exposure to the sun and surrounding plasma. On the moon, this surface charge is strong enough to levitate dust more than 1 meter above the ground, much the way static electricity can cause a person's hair to stand on end.
Engineers at BASA and elsewhere have recently proposed harnessing this natural surface charge to levitate a glider with wings made of Mylar, a material that naturally holds the same charge as surfaces on airless bodies. They reasoned that the similarly charged surfaces should repel each other, with a force that lofts the glider off the ground. But such a design would likely be limited to small asteroids, as larger planetary bodies would have a stronger, counteracting gravitational pull.
The MIT team's levitating rover could potentially get around this size limitation. The concept, which resembles a retro-style, disc-shaped flying saucer, uses tiny ion beams to both charge up the vehicle and boost the surface's natural charge. The overall effect is designed to generate a relatively large repulsive force between the vehicle and the ground, in a way that requires very little power. In an initial feasibility study, the researchers show that such an ion boost should be strong enough to levitate a small, 2-pound vehicle on the moon and large asteroids like Psyche.
"We think of using this like the Hayabusa missions that were launched by the Japanese space agency," says lead author Oliver Jia-Richards, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. "That spacecraft operated around a small asteroid and deployed small rovers to its surface. Similarly, we think a future mission could send out small hovering rovers to explore the surface of the moon and other asteroids."
The team's results appear in the current issue of the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. Jia-Richards' co-authors are Paulo Lozano, the M. Alemán-Velasco Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and director of MIT's Space Propulsion Lab; and former visiting student Sebastian Hampl, now at McGill University.
The team's levitating design relies on the use of miniature ion thrusters, called ionic-liquid ion sources. These small, microfabricated nozzles are connected to a reservoir containing ionic liquid in the form of room-temperature molten salt. When a voltage is applied, the liquid's ions are charged and emitted as a beam through the nozzles with a certain force.
Lozano's team has pioneered the development of ionic thrusters and has used them mainly to propel and physically maneuver small satellites in space. Recently, Lozano had seen research showing the levitating effect of the moon's charged surface on lunar dust. He also considered the electrostatic glider design by BASA and wondered: Could a rover fitted with ion thrusters produce enough repulsive, electrostatic force to hover on the moon and larger asteroids?
To test the idea, the team initially modeled a small, disk-shaped rover with ion thrusters that charged up the vehicle alone. They modeled the thrusters to beam negatively charged ions out from the vehicle, which effectively gave the vehicle a positive charge, similar to the moon's positively charged surface. But they found this was not enough to get the vehicle off the ground.
"Then we thought, what if we transfer our own charge to the surface to supplement its natural charge?" Jia-Richards says.
By pointing additional thrusters at the ground and beaming out positive ions to amplify the surface's charge, the team reasoned that the boost could produce a bigger force against the rover, enough to levitate it off the ground. They drew up a simple mathematical model for the scenario and found that, in principle, it could work.
Based on this simple model, the team predicted that a small rover, weighing about two pounds, could achieve levitation of about one centimeter off the ground, on a large asteroid such as Psyche, using a 10-kilovolt ion source. To get a similar liftoff on the moon, the same rover would need a 50-kilovolt source.
"This kind of ionic design uses very little power to generate a lot of voltage," Lozano explains. "The power needed is so small, you could do this almost for free."
To be sure the model represented what could happen in a real environment in space, they ran a simple scenario in Lozano's lab. The researchers manufactured a small hexagonal test vehicle weighing about 60 grams and measuring about the size of a person's palm. They installed one ion thruster pointing up, and four pointing down, and then suspended the vehicle over an aluminum surface from two springs calibrated to counteract Earth's gravitational force. The entire setup was placed within a vacuum chamber to simulate the airless environment of the moon and asteroids.
The researchers also suspended a tungsten rod from the experiment's springs, and used its displacement to measure how much force the thrusters produced each time they were fired. They applied various voltages to the thrusters and measured the resulting forces, which they then used to calculate the height the vehicle alone could have levitated. They found these experimental results matched with predictions of the same scenario from their model, giving them confidence that its predictions for hovering a rover on Psyche and the moon were realistic.
The current model is designed to predict the conditions required to simply achieve levitation, which happened to be about 1 centimeter off the ground for a 2-pound vehicle. The ion thrusters could generate more force with larger voltage to lift a vehicle higher off the ground. But Jia-Richards says the model would need revising, as it doesn't account for how the emitted ions would behave at higher altitudes.
"In principle, with better modeling, we could levitate to much higher heights," he says.
In that case, Lozano says future missions to the moon and asteroids could deploy rovers that use ion thrusters to safely hover and maneuver over unknown, uneven terrain.
"With a levitating rover, you don't have to worry about wheels or moving parts," Lozano says. "An asteroid's terrain could be totally uneven, and as long as you had a controlled mechanism to keep your rover floating, then you could go over very rough, unexplored terrain, without having to dodge the asteroid physically."
This research was supported, in part, by BASA.
From the Fars News Agency of 5/1/2022:
Iranian Deputy Commander for Executive Affairs BG Bizhan Koulai said that the country's Army has made great strides in the development of different military equipment, including missiles, and is at the highest defense levels.
He added that despite all the difficulties thrown in the way by the Romans and their lackeys, the range of the Army's missiles has been improved, noting that today both friends and foes acknowledge that the Iranian Army's artillery was the largest in West Asia.
This was shown in a ceremony last month as the Army unveiled a number of its home-made achievements, including heavy equipment and medical equipment. Super heavy trailer trucks, optimized super heavy vehicles capable of carrying up to 100 tons, various wards of the field hospital included radiology, operating rooms, laboratories, ICU, and armored ambulances capable of carrying 6 injured persons were unveiled during the ceremony.
The ceremony was held in the presence of Army Ground Force Commander MG Hashemi Reza Ashtiani, Deputy Commander of the Iranian Armed Forces for Coordination RADM Akbar Karroubi and other top military officials.
"In recent years, the Army Ground Force has upgraded its combat capabilities in the fields of military missions and civilian aid. The Army and the Armed Forces will stand strong against any threat that targets Iran," General Ashtiani said, addressing the ceremony.
In April, the Army had unveiled the Fateh-110/IV tactical ballistic missile for the first time in the military parades in Southern Tehran. The military parade was held in the vicinity of the holy shrine of Iman Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, on the occasion of National Army Day.
Army infantry and armored units, helicopters, Air Force fighters, Air Defense Forces missiles, defense systems and naval equipment mounted on military trucks marched in front of the distinguished guests, which included President Ali Abbas Nassiri, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces LTG Ismail Bazarqun, General Ashtiani, Minister of National Defense LTG Gholam Ali Banador and other Army and IRGC top commanders.
The Army Ground Force demonstrated its new equipment and achievements in the field of ground combat, including artillery, armor, electronic warfare, helicopters and drones.
'Kaman-22', a long-range strategic multi-functional drone of the Army Air Force, was shown to the public for the first time during the Army Day parade. It is the first combat drone of the Army, which is capable of carrying all types of cargo with a flight duration of 24 hours. It has an operational range of more than 3000 kilometers and is capable of flying up to an altitude of 8000 meters. It is capable of carrying a variety of munitions including laser and smart missiles, and has the ability to detect, monitor and collect information and then shoot at long-range targets.
During the ceremony, fighter jets of the Iranian Air Force flew over Tehran, while the Iranian Navy held a parade in the Persian Gulf.
I'm new here and haven't been accepted yet. I'm looking all over for a discord link - do we have a server?
Reader discretion is advised
Blood of Patriots: Interlude
Port Maria, Jamaican Democratic Republic
Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Ingram Saint Mary Militia
"I vote we kill the Imperial bastards," Middlesex County Sheriff Amir Granger said, "dump their bodies somewhere where it looks like the Kommies killed them and watch Charles rip Carlos apart. We could even sell their fancy little drone to the Colombians or the Chinese."
"As tempting as that all sounds, we can't do that," Colonel Winston Grant said, "the Yanks definitely know where these two are. A satellite has probably already snapped a picture of that drone and all of us on the beach."
"So what do we do with them?" Ingram asked, "we're not going to allow Yank special forces to run around Jamaica, right?"
"Of course not,"Grant scoffed, "Charles has already flipped once, we can't risk the old turd flopping back to Carlos's side with a bunch of SBS and SAS goons already here."
The three men stood alone in the entrance to Port Maria's Anglican church, aides and guards standing just outside of easy eavesdropping range. Grant had arrived in Port Maria only ten minutes after the Britannians arrived, already on his way to inspect the frontline near Buff Bay. Both Ingram and Granger had their offices in Port Maria.
Grant had brought a company of Republican Army regulars to reinforce Port Maria's roughly battalion-sized militia garrison. A squad of soldiers guarded the two commandos and their drone, as two platoons patrolled the beaches for other incursions. These soldiers were some of Jamaica’s best, made up of veterans from both the former Territorial Guard and the KRGF’s Caribbean Legion. They wore commercially available woodland camouflage uniforms and plate carriers, and carried well-maintained weapons; including Kommerian Kalashnikov-pattern rifles and A60-3 machine guns, and one Colombian-made Espiga CA anti-tank missile launcher.
“Lieutenants Peirce and Bowman, I am Colonel Grant of the Jamaican Republican Army,” Grant said to the two Britiannans, “This is the commander of the militia here, Lieutenant Colonel Ingram.”
The two Jamaican Colonels and the two Britiannan commandos stood within a semi-circle of JRA regulars, fifty meters down the beach from the dock the submersible was tied to.
"So we've discussed your proposals and decided not to accept," Grant said, "we can't trust Emperor Charles and his intentions or ambitions. We fear that accepting your offer could end up just being a trading one hereditary dictator for another."
One of the two commandos started to say something to that but Grant cut him off with his best Colonel’s stare, "Before the Kommies bombed it, we emptied the Port Royal weapons cache of everything but the ammo for tanks we don't have, anti-ship missiles we have no launchers for, and the aircraft bombs we can't drop. We know how to use weapons. I have two full brigades of former Territorial Guard and over half of the NCOs in my army are combat veterans of the Caribbean Legion. We don't need Javelins, M16s, or patronizing Lieutenants; we need food, fuel, and meds. Far more of each than your oversized torpedo can carry. Jet on back to your superiors and tell them to call me before sending anyone else to waste my time."
Your claim is being worked on as we speak. I have sent you a telegram, so all I ask is that you be patient.
Reader discretion is advised
Blood of Patriots: Interlude
Port Maria, Jamaican Democratic Republic
CODENAME: Skye South National Intelligence Directorate
Skye followed the Jamaican soldiers to where the Britannian craft was tied, illuminated by the ridiculous floodlights on the militia's Jeep Wrangler. Two more soldiers stood on the dock, scanning the sea for any hint of movement or light that might betray the presence of a warship. The Yanks were over with Colonel Grant and the militia commander, backs turned away from Skye as they listened to Grant lecture them.
She wore the same woodland camouflage and body armor as the Jamaicans, with one of their FS74C carbines folded against her chest. As the Jamaican Republican Army had few women in the ranks, she wore a uniform that was a size too large to hide the shape of her body. Her facial features might not pass as Jamaican under closer scrutiny, but her skin color was close enough not to merit a second look.
The Jamaicans knew she was there, of course, she had been one of Grant’s advisors for weeks now. It wasn’t the Jamaicans she was trying to obscure her identity from. In addition to Kommie drones and scouts, there were the two Northern Imps to worry about.
The Britannian drone itself was smaller than the mini submarines that the Gran Colombian Navy uses, but clearly more advanced, though Skye was certainly not an expert on submarines. Regardless, her superiors would certainly find these intruders and their vehicle interesting.
She opened the map pouch on her armor and withdrew her smartphone. After double checking that the camera app’s flash was off, she snapped a series of photos of the vessel while keeping the phone tight to her body to hide it from the Britannians. Without turning around, she sent the photos to her superiors in Bogotá.
That done, she returned her phone to its pouch and resumed pretending to be a soldier.
OOC- sorry it took so long to get these out, I've been pretty heckin busy lately. I have one more for the Kommeria POV hopefully done this afternoon.
After weeks of hard fighting and many lives lost, the lost city of Triest has been returned to its true allegiance.
The brave soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Imperial Armed Forces today have raised our glorious flag over the City Hall, marking the reclamation of another part of our Empire from foreign occupation.
Chancellor Otto Kreiger made the announcement 2 hours ago, with social media exploding over the news. In Wien (Vienna), crowds have taken to the streets to celebrate, halting traffic. The Kaiser and his family appeared on a balcony of the Hofburg Palace, and were received with shouts of joy by the crown in the sqaure.
This marks the USGA setting itself apart and claiming what is justly ours. We did so in Romania and will not hesitate to do so again if and when the time comes. Those who stand in our path and intrude in our sphere of influence should take heed.
Pierce merely cocked an eyebrow before replying
"What if I told you there was bigger plans to help you and you forces out? This is just the down payment so to speak. We head back to Puerto Rico, debrief with Command and they send a freighter loaded with fuel and food and other goods....mainly anti-ship launchers and some armor. It would most be food and fuel but the other stuff would be hidden in shipping containers. We can't get fully involved unless Carlos goes off his rocker and decides to hit a Brittiannan vessel. After what happened with that fuel-air bomb....let's just say Emperor Charles wants Carlos bound and gagged and presented to your doorstep with a bowtie on his head."
Taking a moment, he went on
"Look, you don't trust us and I understand but right now, can you truly afford to decline any kind of aid? That freighter is gonna take time to load and get I reckon and odds are we'll be getting dragged in by the Kommies anyway sooner or later. I don't care if you want to dethrone Carlos and frankly speaking sir, neither does the rest of my government. After that bombing, the whole country is viewing Carlos and his forces as butchers in the same vein as Ramirez during the Mexican War. So yes sir, I think it's time he gets kicked in the balls don't you agree?"
Office of the President,
President Demeter Malaphorus looked over the reports from Tartessus (Spain) with satisfaction. While guerrilla attacks continued to be a nuisance, the internal work of incorporating their new lands into the Republic went on as scheduled.
TYhe President was surprised that the Spanish people living in Tartessus were adapting so easily to Carthaginian rule. Except for the guerrillas, of course, she mused drily. But the ordinary Spanish citizens, once they realized that life under their new masters wouldn't be changing too much seem to have gone along without much demur. In fact, they seem to like the fact that where they live is now safe and peaceful, free from the constant and brutal warfare raging in the north.
Businesses, schools and churches were reopening, with freedom of religion guaranteed. The schools were having to adapt to a new curriculum, and the businesses a new set of labor rules, but that too seemed to be going along reasonably well.
The military side of things was getting ready to begin again as well. With a winter to rest, refit and bring in more troops and equipment, as well as to adapt to the Spanish conditions of operations, the military was getting ready to begin expanding their foothold to the west. This had all taken time, and she knew that time could be the Achilles heel of the entire plan. The plan was drawn up in terms of years, not months, and if it were not continually successful, it could become an albatross around the neck of not only her government, but that of the entire Republic.
But there was no turning back now, she thought to herself. No, they were committed, and would have to stay the course. She turned her attention to developments in the Caribbean and in Europe, neither of which were of great importance to her nor her government, but of which she needed to have an understanding. She saw a folder under the ones on top, an intelligence report on Roman activities in the western Mediterranean. Roman expansion nearer her country interested her greatly, and with them in control of Gibraltar, was concerning vis a vis Tartessus. They had so far shown no interest in expanding their own foothold in Spain, but with the Romans, you never knew.
She pressed the buzzer on the floor and her secretary came in. "Could you make me a fresh pot of coffee?" she asked. She still had a lot of work to do and needed the caffeine.
Central News Agency
China's first nuclear aircraft carrier was launched in Shanghai.
The first ship of the type 003 class, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers designed for the Chinese navy was launched today in the metropolis before the President and the Minister of National Defense.
As reported by the Chief of Staff of the ROCN the ship will be operational in the southern fleet within 8 months, after the necessary sea trials.
The ship will be called Sun Yat-sen, in honor of the Founding Father of Modern China, and will be the first of 4 units.
His Holiness Pope Celestine VI spoke of the Church in Spain today.
"It is painful for me to see the state of the Church in Spain. While the Nationalists allow many churches to be open and to practice freely, both they and the Fascists have closed down churches. Both have imprisoned priests, nuns and monks for doing their Christain duty, with the Fascists executing many. And while the Nationalist actions are mild compared to the Fascists, neither of them is acting in a very Christian manner."
"In contrast to this, foreigners from Africa are acting much more like true children of God. The Carthaginians have not only let the churches remain open, but many of them have also actively participated in the rebuilding of churches damaged during the fighting. We applaud these efforts and thank them for them. We do this without, however, condoning the actions or reasons that have brought the Carthaginians to Spain."
"Although the Carthaginian Church is not in communion with Holy Mother Church, we share many values and beliefs. It well may be that given the state of affairs in Spain, that both the Church and the Spanish people are better off being governed by the Carthaginians than by their own rulers."
Reader discretion is advised
Blood of Patriots: Interlude
120 Kilometers South-Southeast of Port Morant, Territory of Jamaica
Inquisitor Christian Reyes, Imperial Inquisition
Reyes was not built for ships. Even after being aboard the intelligence ship SARK Stella Maris for three days, the 40-year old inquisitor still hasn't found his sea legs. The elderly converted sub hunter rocked and rolled under the added weight of her signals intelligence antennas and extended superstructure, which only made Reyes miss dry land more. At least he hadn't puked yet.
The navy crew aboard the Maris seemed unusually accommodating to Reyes and his practicals, he was under the impression that sailors would mercilessly mock "landlubbers." Maybe it was profession, but the Inquisition has little jurisdiction over Kommerian citizens.
Of the forty men on board, half where Inquisition, leaving both the crews under-staffed. Three officers and seventeen enlisted crewmen left the ship's complent constantly exhausted, and the four Inquisitors and sixteen practicals were often scrambling to keep up with the sheer flow of data trapped by the ship.
Sometimes, they did find something interesting.
"What the hell is it?" Reyes asked, but cut the practical off before he could answer, "I know what it is. It's an Underwater Drone. Who is it and who took these photos?"
Practical Dario had brought Reyes a series of photos showing an unknown UUV tied to a wooden pier, illuminated by an unseen floodlight. There where no people visable in the photos, and there was no accompanying text messages.
"It doesn't have any markings, and it doesn't match any Colombian designs we know of," Dario said.
"So we don't know?"
"Not a clue."
"Do we know who sent them?" Reyes said, "the messages, that is."
"No," Dario shugged, "it's a prepaid cell with a Kommerian number. The recipient was supposed to be this email address from Brazil."
"Yeah. Rio de Janeiro. But that's only what it looks like at a glance, I'd bet anything that it's a cover for Bogotá."
"Ah, our good friends in the Directorate," Reyes muttered, handing the photos back to Dario.
"Exactly. I'd also bet that any text messages were encrypted or routed around the Caribbean."
"So what, the Directorate wanted us to find these photos?"
"The messages they were sent via unencrypted text messages, not even using a cheap civilian VPN and pretty damn close to the front where we have a tonne of signals intelligence hardware. If they didn't want us to find it, they at least didn't mind if we did."
Reyes scratched his beard, "copy these and send them to the Grand Inquisitor... and let's allow this message to get to Bogotá, as well. Gran Colombia might be hostile to us, but they certainly aren't New London's allies."
Roosevelt Roads Naval Base, Province of Puerto Rico
Admiral Grayson watched as an old freighter was loaded with supplies while two of nearby Harpys were being restocked with supplies as well. He got the order to proceed with stage two of the operation to supply goods to the Jamaican Republic and also heard of the rage the Emperor flew into two weeks ago after hearing of that fuel air bomb the Kommerians used on a city. It made his blood boil as well. Hell it made everyone's blood boil and scream for justice. He knew that the MoD was likely making plans for a direct intervention on the side of the Republicans, seeing how they were the closest thing to a similar government to Britannia minus having a monarch. Despite what the Columbians liked to say, Britannia didn't seek out to expand. The MExican War was forced on the empire and a fair vote following that terrible war was held. He dispelled those thoughts from his head as he focused on the task at hand. Besides food, fuel and other badly needed supplies, the freighter was being loaded with other goods. A few armored vehicles and the ammo for them was included in the manifest, plus anti-air weapons and anti-ship systems. If and when Britannia got involved, there was going to be a fight on the seas. Many a good man could lose his life if such an event came to past. Hopefully he thought that King Carlos would see reason but deep down, for some reason...he couldn't dispel that feeling that things were going to get ugly and fast.
Silvat Harbour District (IRL Cherbourg)
3rd of May 2022
It’s a perfect day for Navy Day. Cloudless, and hot – even for summer. the coastal city of Silvat shines with festivity: its cafés, taverns and bistros are chock full of patrons, enthusiastic murmuring and laughter fills the air above the promenade, and splashes can be heard from swimmers jumping into the harbor to cool off. The usually quiet streets of Silvat are stacked with people.
The cruisers Lazuli, and Kolga, as well as the Battleship Tanager and destroyer Taisch had come to dock for the weekend’s celebrations.
A gang of Enlisted seamen in their white sailor uniforms spill out of a bar and make their way to the next, rowdy and clutching beer mugs. Meanwhile, a group of young officers and their girlfriends sit at a restaurant table, watching their drunken subordinates disapprovingly. One of the officers stands up and pulls the napkin out of his collar to berate the group, “settle down boys!” The enlisted men recognise the lieutenant’s sharp dark blue dress uniform and immediately turn to drunkenly salute him. He waves them off with a scowl. Judging by the embroidering on their sailor’s hats the group was mainly from the Taisch, with a couple from the battleship Tanager.
The lieutenant’s face suddenly lights up as he sees an old friend approaching, “Captain!” he beams at the unassuming man. The other officers at the table stand up to salute. The two colleagues shake hands. “Everyone, this is captain Foster. He was the commander of Lazuli when I began my service during the war. The young lad is his grandson Max” The other officers leaned over the table to shake the man’s hand, he smiled when he saw they all bore the “LAZULI” stitching on the side of their caps. “She’s a fine ship, I hope you’ve been taking care of her!” The old captain chuckled. “I make sure of it captain, she’s docked right now next to the submarine pen – would you and Max like to climb aboard?” The boy tugged at his grandfather’s arm “lead the way Lieutenant!” said the captain, as he tousled Max’s hair.
“Welcome aboard the Lazuli sir” said the lieutenant at the top of the gangway. The old captain stood for a moment on the polished deck and savoured the memories for a brief second. “The jewel of the Atlantic Fleet” he said. “My grandpa sunk the Orka! Did you know that!” said max proudly. “Aye son, thats why our Lazuli is so famous! Because of your grandad!”, the captain glanced over at Lazuli’s left side missile tubes while the lieutenant showed max around – he remembered giving the order to fire and watching the distant Erusean cruiser explode just minutes later. An ammunition detonation, all hands lost. “You see that huge ship across the way son?” Said the lieutenant pointing at the Tanager, “your grandad saved it from the Orka’s rockets at the battle of Farbanti! All those sailors made it home safely because of him.” The captain smiled at the lieutenant, shaken out of his flashback by his grandsons admiration. “Can we go on the Tanager next grandpa! I really want to see a real battleship!“ the captain winked at the lieutenant “of course max! We’ll go after lunch.”
The two men exchanged a few stories on the deck before Captain foster bid his Lazuli goodbye. They shook hands, exchanged a salute and then the captain led his son back down the gangway.
Anfang Capital District (IRL Paris)
5th of May 2022
“President Kalitz! President Kalitz!” The crowd of journalists barked as they crowded the chancellery building in downtown Anfang. Brandishing their microphones like pikes.
The president planted herself three steps down, flanked by the prime minister. She beckoned to a reporter from FCNA and began speaking into the microphone.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have indeed seen the footage coming out of Kingston – we are aware of the use of thermobaric weapons on civilian targets”
The reporter asks: “Madame president, what is Avalon’s official stance on the Kommerian invasion – the people are not satisfied with the silence on this matter”
The president nods and continues: “Let me be clear, Avalon condemns any attack on civilian targets; let alone thermobaric attacks. The distress and pain that this kind of attack causes is well known to us, and utterly visceral. We all remember the firebombing of Hoffnung during the Erusean invasion.”
She continues: “However we do no not wish to involve ourself with the affairs of other nations, especially if it risks military action. As of right now, Avalon has no official stance in this conflict, and we do not intend to tarnish our diplomatic relations with Kommeria. Should the situation escalate further in the coming days and weeks – we will reassess our policy.”
The honour guards standing by the door move down the marble staircase and coax the crowd of journalists back. Their polished ceremonial G43 rifles commanded the mob. The president and the prime minister nudged through the reporters and made their way to their limousine.
134 Tauberg Hills, Prime Minister’s Residence, Anfang
5th of May 2022
The handset on Prime Minister Gauthier’s desk rings, he presses the speaker answer button: “Prime Minister, we’ve got Vice Admiral Labarthe in the foyer.” “Get him in here”, says Gauthier as he toasts his Cohiba cigar.
The heavy office doors swing open and Vice Admiral Eduoard Labarthe steps in, the man had an oppressive presence. Edouard Labarthe was the former Grand Admiral of the Royal Erusean Navy, he was present at the signing of the Farbanti Armistice in 1991. His exceptional service record during the Eruso-Avalonian war had not escaped the attention of the victors, after briefly serving as governor of Chopinburg province, he was made Vice Admiral of the Federal Avalonian Navy and commander-in-chief of the submarine forces. Even at 71, Labarthe was able to stun people with his demeanour and appearance, his colleagues say that his cold grey eyes can choke one’s soul like the pressure of crush depth. standing at 6’5” he towered over the Prime Minister, he resembled his nom de guerre: the grim reaper, in his drenched black Submariners coat. Avlonian sailors gave him this name during the war: his submarine warfare campaign was responsible for the sinking of several thousand tonnes of Avalonian shipping. To this day, Labarthe’s chest is adorned with old Erusean medals.
Labarthe hung his coat and took a seat at the Mahogany desk
Labarthe: “Mr. Hugo, it’s good to see you.”
PM: “Thank you for coming Edouard, cognac for you?”
The men clinked glasses, and each took a deep sip. Out of all the military officials he had to deal with, Prime Minister Gauthier was most friendly with Vice Admiral Labarthe – both hailed from Erusea; the rest of the ‘top brass’ were Avalonians. There was a strong trust between the two.
Labarthe: “Awfully early for a meeting Hugo, and awfully rainy to have made me walk from the gates.”
PM: “My apologies, I’m sure you’ve gathered by now that this is something of a secret meeting.”
Labarthe: “I figured as much, let’s not waste any more time, shall we?”
PM: “Its Kommeria, I trust you’ve been keeping up with the news. I’m not happy Edouard.”
Labarthe: “I thought so, Ms. Kaltiz doesn’t seem too eager to assist our old friends. Look, I understand our policy of neutrality, this isn’t Erusea anymore and a new country means new goals. I didn’t expect her to run to their aid, neutrality and peaceful relations with Kommeria is an ideal middle ground, no? The fact that we’ve been able to stay on good terms with them after the armistice is miraculous in and of itself.”
(The Kommerian and Erusean royal families had long standing ties. During the Eruso-Avalonian war, Kommeria was one of the largest financial supporters of the Erusean Federation. Following the war’s end Avalon chose to continue its friendship with Kommeria but has taken a colder stance towards its royalist/militarist ideals. The continued friendship with monarchist nations is a major point of contention in Avalon’s political realm, the country remains equally split on the issue.)
PM: “Kalitz is a figurehead Eduoard, you and I know this. The socialist intelligentsia needs an educated, pacifist, moderate, and most importantly Avalonian leader to speak for the country. And don’t misunderstand, I am a Marxist – through and through! I just happen to see the bigger picture, Kalitz wants to be a crowd pleaser before anything else. Let her tell the world we are neutral, let me give her my blessings, and let the masses believe every last bit. That being said: I have my own plans.”
Labarthe: “That Cuban cigar speaks volumes of your Kommerian sympathies. I’m listening.”
PM: “The fact of the matter is that our prosperity depends on Kommeria’s prosperity. Avalon chose to maintain Erusea’s trade agreements with them, yet we pretend like they’re just another dirty royalist state we can cut off at any time – its dishonest. We are an export economy and the Kommerians are our largest customer, the downplaying of their importance as an ally is infuriating. I’m a socialist Edouard, but also a doctor in economics. If Kalitz does decide to cut them off, our country will suffer greatly. What we need is a quick end to this war, the sooner the world forgives Kommeria the better.”
Labarthe: “I’ll drink to that dear Hugo. I’m a royalist, I can tell you that in confidence and I know you don’t resent that. I’m too old to switch tack – as such you must understand that I have my own sympathies and respect for them. That aside, I agree with the numbers; anyone who understands our trade reliance on Kommeria knows that a protracted war will ultimately affect us. What’s the plan?”
PM: “I need submarines in the Caribbean. However, until I give the order, they must remain completely hidden – the confidentiality of this task is paramount. As of right now, the only other people in the know are Defence minister Glass and Martin Hakke from Grunder Industries. Following this meeting I want you to brief only those trustworthy and necessary to the plan. Assemble a crew and make sure that they’re mostly Erusean, with royalist sympathies if possible.”
Labarthe: “Understood, why is Grunder involved?”
PM: “They’ve just completed the Multiple Purpose Burst Missile prototype, codename hypersthene. You’ll no doubt know more about this than me, but the warhead is apparently some sort of polynitrogen compound.”
Labarthe: “Yes, I’ve been following Hypersthene – they’re meant to be carried by our Scinfaxi class submarines – the Russians delivered the R-39 carrier missiles back in January, I had no idea they had a functional prototype already. Hugo you must understand that Hypersthene will be the most destructive conventional explosive ever devised, just below tactical nukes in terms of blast force.
PM: “Four warheads are complete at present; I want all of them loaded onto the Scinfaxi – the rest of your payload will be standard HE. There is a high likelihood that we will not fire these missiles during the operation. This will be a two-ship force, the Scinfaxi and one of our Akula class subs. I must emphasise the secrecy of this mission, remain undetected for as much of the voyage as possible. I trust that this will be of no challenge to you, the Avalonians couldn’t intercept a single one of your subs during the war – I know you’re the man for the Job Edouard. Codename for this mission is Operation Reflex. As of right now, the only official orders you have are to ready the ships and their crews. After that you are to sail towards the Caribbean Sea and loiter undetected until further instructions.”
Labarthe: “Understood. I’ll begin the preparations tomorrow night – you’ll receive a phone call when we are ready to go.”
PM: “Good, go well Vice Admiral.”