WA Delegate: The United Republic of Richomp (elected )
Last WA Update:
Embassies: Gay Equality, Zentari, Wintreath, The United Feline Commonwealths, Japan, International Debating Area, The Glorious Nations of Iwaku, United States of America, Future Earth, North Dakota, Krillin, The Dank Meme Alliance, The Bar on the corner of every region, The Illuminati, Avadam Inn, Northumbria, and 122 others.The Great Universe, Hellenic Civilization, Eastern Roman Empire, Sovereign Charter, Groland, Asylum, LCRUA, Hippy Haven, Remnants of Hyrule, Sikh Empire, Union of Saxon Justice, Order of the Southern North, Khuzifenq, Canterlot, Okanagan, Aeterna Publicae, Empire of Andrew, The Western Isles, Arconian Empire, The Peaceful Coffee Shop In Chicago, Historia Novorum, Regionless, Sunalaya, Asiana, Solid Kingdom, The Doctor Who Universe, Iowa, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Delaware, Maryland, Idaho, Arizona, 0000, Capital Heights, Pluviostan, Ancient Lands, Republic of Channel Island, Organization of United Sovereign States, Homestuck, Eladen, Krumpelberg, The Republic Nations, North Carolina, The Empire of Friendship, The Lexicon, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Osakaland, The Great Experiment, Grand New Earth, Free Market Federation, The Popptart Empire, The Parliamentary Union of Nations, Wyoming, Democritus, London, Mexico City, Mississippi, Cameroon, Minnesota, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Uganda, The Central Pacific, Republic of Russia, The Hill, One big Island, Birmingham, Archdymia, Brazzaville, Togo, Timor Leste, Saskatchewan, Galapagos, Republica del Paraguay, Sudan, Imperial Prussia, The Gambia, Austro Hungarian Empire, Solar Alliance, Bus Stop, Greater Dienstad, The Mesan Union, Kylden, Haiku, World Conference, Tasmania, Australia, The Sands, CDW Federation, The Vast, Ozymandium, Gypsy Lands, The United Islands of the Atlantic, Yarnia, Chinese Republic, Lardyland, The Dawn of Unity, MentosLand, The Erviadus Galaxy, Hollow Point, Epicenter Of Prosperity, The Democratic Republic of Freedom, Train Station, Djibouti, Fredonia, Kingdom of Adonai, The Independent Newspaper, The International Polling Zone, Codex Ylvus, Norden, Oneid, RAMS, Save Our Planet, Pecan Sandies, The Embassy, The Great Union, matheo, Alleghany, and Yet Another Region Refounded.
Today's World Census Report
The Longest Average Lifespans in Dauiland
Nations ranked highly have lower rates of preventable death, with their citizens enjoying longer average lifespans.
As a region, Dauiland is ranked 2,338th in the world for Longest Average Lifespans.
|1.||The BLM of Nazbeth||Left-wing Utopia||“Black Lives Matter”|
|2.||The Articulate Republic of Rahul Raghuraman||Scandinavian Liberal Paradise||“Forever advancing!”|
|3.||The United Republic of Richomp||Left-Leaning College State||“oeconomia ad libertatem ad enviorment”|
|4.||The Golden Haven of Liberlitatia||Civil Rights Lovefest||“Luckiest nation in the multiverse!”|
|5.||The Free State of Crimtonian Spectre||Anarchy||“Live Free or Die”|
|6.||The Sweet Islands of Candy and Chocolate||Liberal Democratic Socialists||“Tout est bon avec du sucre!”|
|7.||The Dictatorship of Sheev Palaptine||Iron Fist Consumerists||“I am the Senate. It's treason then!”|
|8.||The Factbook Writers of Our Official FB Nation||Inoffensive Centrist Democracy||“Dauiland’s Official Factbook Storage”|
|9.||The Republic of TLU Canon Info||Psychotic Dictatorship||“Lets not go that way”|
|10.||The HOLIEST HOLY LAND of HOLYDIA||Psychotic Dictatorship||“I am your GOD, Poobah!”|
- : Embassy established between Yet Another Region Refounded and Dauiland.
- : The Articulate Republic of Rahul Raghuraman agreed to construct embassies with Yet Another Region Refounded.
- : The Jingoistic States of Not Pacific of the region Yet Another Region Refounded proposed constructing embassies.
- : Embassy established between Alleghany and Dauiland.
- : Embassy established between Matheo and Dauiland.
- : The Articulate Republic of Rahul Raghuraman agreed to construct embassies with Alleghany.
- : The Federal Commonwealth of United Lammunist Republic of the region Alleghany proposed constructing embassies.
- : Embassy cancelled between BCHS and Dauiland.
- : The BLM of Nazbeth agreed to construct embassies with Matheo.
- : The Royal Federation of The Supreme nation of matheo of the region Matheo proposed constructing embassies.
Dauiland Regional Message Board
April 17, 2060 • The Informant • Tellia Sankarvis, Chief Political Correspondent
GENOVAPOLA, DAUILAN MEGAPOLIS — Following Sovak Medasic’s declaration of war on the Eternal Empire, the UF Parliament discussed the agreement between Medasic and Unidalania, in which TLU receives military support and manpower in exchange for a few special trade privileges not granted by UF membership and direct subsidies. Today, the body voted on legislation that would extend the agreement until April 2062 or the end of the Imperial war.
The layout of the vote looked like this: the ten right-wing MPs, nine Unidalanians — two Freedom, two Conservative, and five National — and one Medasician — of the conservative Medasician Party — were certain to vote against the bill. The votes of the four MPs affiliated with the People’s Party, Medasic’s center-left party and a pivotal part of the UF Parliament’s left-wing coalition, were uncertain, as party leadership spent most of last night in private talks with the Medasician Party; the Medasician Party hoped to convince the People’s Party MPs to vote for what the rightists believe is in Medasic’s best interest, while the Liberals and Socialists — who had their own time to talk with the People’s Party MPs this morning — are approaching the issue from a left-vs-right perspective. Those eleven Unidalanian leftists were, of course, expected to vote in favor of the bill.
At precisely noon today, the Liberal Prime Minister of the Federation Parliament commenced the voting procedure. The twenty-five MPs’ every move, both before and after casting their vote, was watched by a gallery packed with journalists, live reporters, analysts, and domestic politicians from both Unidalania and Sovak Medasic, including Sokola Ventra — the First Assemblywoman of Medasic’s national legislature — and Marhi Sontzou — the new Unidalanian Vice President.
Ten minutes after the PM initiated the voting with a publicly cast “For,” the vote ended, and he announced its result.
By a mere 13-12 majority, the bill failed.
All nine PMs belonging to the right-wing coalition voted against it, and all eleven Unidalanian leftists voted for it. As expected, the four People’s Party MPs were the ones to decide the outcome of the consequential parliamentary decision — the rightists won over the three People’s Party MPs they needed in order to secure a majority. Only one People’s Party MP voted with the Liberals and Socialists.
Key figures have already responded to today’s vote.
Unidalanian President Elondro called the “treacherous betrayal” of the three People’s Party MPs who voted against the bill “an intolerable outrage,” and called for their expulsion from the UF Parliament on that basis, briefly emphasizing the need for unity and assent at the end of his message. AP Lore expressed similar disappointment, though in fewer words and with a much more conciliatory and professional tone: “I was not expecting that three People’s Party representatives would choose to vote against their party’s wishes and side with the National Party, but I shall continue to respect the institutions of the UF.” VP Sontzou concurred, not issuing her own statement. The famous — or infamous — Governor Senzala Kadhir congratulated Parliament on its “ultimate decision to pick wisdom and reason over obedience and injustice,” and condemned President Elondro for his “immature and unpresidential conduct.”
On the Medasician side, Orlek Spole tactically chose not to release a response, citing his vested interest in the vote and his position as Premier. Assemblywoman Ventra, naturally, did speak, saying, “Thank you, Members of Parliament, for agreeing with my reasoning and for rejecting the regionalist elite and their cabal of parliamentary infiltrators. I hope this decision becomes a recurring pattern and spreads beyond the confines of Parliament, out to the bodies in which I serve: the Dauiland Council and the SM National Assembly.”
Until next time, that is all!
Elondro Selects His Executive Cabinet
April 17, 2060 • The Informant • Tellia Sankarvis, Chief Political Correspondent
GENOVAPOLA, DAUILAN MEGAPOLIS — Only two days after assuming the presidential office and a few hours after the momentous Unidalanian Federation Parliament vote on upholding Sovak Medasic’s military support agreement with TLU, President Shovacc Elondro has named some four of the key members of the new Executive Cabinet.
For Chief of Staff, he chose Seyna Melekadar, the Socialist Vice Chair since 2056 and an Aloe judge for six years before that. Like VP Sontzou, she was briefly a candidate in the presidential election who dropped out early in the contest. Just as Sontzou’s long tenure in Congress will surely prove useful in her new role as the overseer of the Senate, Melekadar’s managerial role in the Socialist Party will be experience that will help her organize and administer the national government’s executive branch.
For Secretary of the Exterior, Elondro named Tellt Rejeng, an experienced and well-respected New Leftist who represented his party in the lower Congressional chamber from 2031 to 2042 before serving in the Dauiland Parliament until 2052. Since then, he has worked in the Unidalanian embassy in Tiricia. Mr. Rejeng is a firm believer in combating and reversing the effects of climate change at all costs, and is known for his friendly relationship with Nazbethian President Sofia Sarrafi.
For Secretary of FAAF — Foreign Aid and the Armed Forces — he selected Supreme General Nucter Gelon, the commander of the Unidalanian army and a proponent of Elondro and his predecessor’s gradual approach to the Imperial war. Gelon is an unambitious, hard-working soldier, which has somewhat paradoxically caused him to rise quickly in the small Unidalanian armed forces from his enlistment in 2037 to his ultimate promotion by former President Hykks in 2053.
For Secretary of the Interior, a position whose occupant will have a large say in Unidalania’s climate action over Elondro’s presidency, he picked Socialist Senator Etsin Werez, a legislator famous for writing an inspired and popular but ultimately unsuccessful climate bill in late 2047, at the end of Conservative Velka Karroe’s presidency. Werez began their long, storied political career in 2002 by becoming a Liberal district administrator in Masaqoosateya. In 2009, Werez’s efficiency was noted and they became an intendant. Finally, in 2024, the Socialist Party approached the administrator, offering a Senate seat in exchange for switching parties. Werez accepted the deal and has held that position ever since. The Socialist is nearly as passionate about climate change as Elondro.
Until next time, that is all!
Here is a short excerpt from a future chapter of the series that will happen after The End (which I plan to make 25 chapters long, like TFW).
Two days had passed since the FEC’s announcement that Senator Shovacc Elondro had narrowly defeated Governor Senzala Kadhir in the presidential election. Now, as the president-elect and his support staff worked with Sary Hykks’s outgoing administration to streamline the transition of executive power, Kadhir was back in her gubernatorial office in Josezhey.
The room was not very voluminous, but she had arranged its layout and furniture according to some old Tagonist architectural principles that Lo Kares—her trusted Intelligence Director and personal ally—had recommended, and it looked significantly larger than it truly was. A pair of sumptuous sandalwood doors—a rarity in environmentally- and fiscally-conscious Unidalania—separated Kadhir’s workspace from the rest of the government complex, and apart from her actual desk—also made from polished wood—and some tactically positioned lamps, there was nothing else in the room. There had once been a couple of potted plants off to one side, but she had ordered them removed after her devious and devilish assistant, Harlin Enolin, used them as cover for a listening device.
Although she would never admit it to any of her supporters—or, truthfully, anyone at all, except perhaps in her post-retirement memoirs—and would continue to play the role of the outraged, somewhat incomprehensible madwoman when in their presence, her only moments of worry during Presidential Day had been at its conclusion, when it was unclear whether Elondro would beat her. She had been perfectly content upon hearing of her loss.
In fact, she had been counting on it.
She dialed the number of Viralla Isitec’s office into her desk transmitter, taking a moment to remotely lock the door to her own office. She doubted anyone—with the exception of Enolin, but he was off on some information-gathering errand today—would dare intrude on their governor without knocking or scheduling a meeting in advance, but one part of her public persona that was genuine was the suspicious caution, and it told her that one could never be too careful.
While waiting for the Freedom Senator’s secretary to see the name attached to the incoming call and redirect it to Isitec himself, Kadhir idly worked on the speech she planned to deliver at this year’s Right-wing Political Conference. RPCs were usually held on the first day of April, but seeing as this year, that day already contained a presidential election including Kadhir—the powerful, illustrious right-wing luminary that she was—its organizers had postponed it until the sixteenth. She would be expected to reflect on—complain about, really, if Kadhir was being honest—her loss for at least a good thirty minutes, an endeavor she was not particularly looking forward to, but at least the diatribe would give her an opportunity to reveal the next phase of her plan to the people whose support she needed in order to enact it.
Yes, Kadhir thought, I should definitely reuse my “total victory” line. Lannor Gesiri and his Senatorial bloc will love that… As she planned and waited for Isitec to pick up, the governor made sure to let some of her authentic feelings creep into her script. It was a common misconception among left-wing speculators that her public image was entirely a false front, but, Kadhir knew, that was far from accurate. Naturally, some of it was made-up or exaggerated, but she doubted that any longtime populist politician—especially a nationalist—acted the exact same way during political appearances as they did when alone or among the people they trusted most. It was simply part of the job. The slight craziness, the denial of more than a few basic facts, the refusal to accept losses or setbacks—those were fabrications. And she hid her cunning and intellect when addressing her supporters, as those were traits the alt-right was not known to be fond of. But almost all the rest was real; if Kadhir truly led a double life, she would have been exposed long ago.
With his usual inadvertently-inconvenient timing, Isitec received Kadhir’s transmission just as she was working on the crescendo of her speech, a dramatic revelation—or excuse, depending on how one looked at it—that she had never imagined total victory would come from the presidential election. “This is the Senator,” he said in his mild, polite voice. “May I assume that you wish to talk about Elondro’s recent triumph?”
“You may,” said Kadhir, setting aside her notes and hunching over the transmitter, one hand supporting her head. “I wanted to thank you for withholding your endorsement—and those of the Freedom and Conservative Parties—for the final election.”
“Of course,” Isitec replied. “Agreeing to that request was the least I could do to repay the debt I owe you.”
That debt, Kadhir knew, had been incurred nearly exactly three years ago at the 2057 RPC. After an investigation performed by Josezhey Intelligence and supplemented by Harlin Enolin, she had learned a terrible truth about Murlek Edlo, at the time a Conservative Senator and Isitec’s campaign ally: he had masterminded the mass murder at his own gala that January, hiring a sociopath named Novak Shepparal and relaxing the event’s security enough that the criminal was able to enter. The tragic shooting—the first, and hopefully the last, in 21st century TLU—had caused the deaths of many, including the governor’s own daughter, Ofrant Kadhir.
At that year’s RPC, Kadhir—backed by Director Kares—had challenged Edlo and Isitec, revealing Edlo’s orchestration of the killing and urging Isitec to disown and help arrest the terrorist. By the conclusion of the climactic and consequential confrontation, a hysterical Edlo was being apprehended by security forces and an immensely grateful Isitec was profusely thanking Kadhir for uncovering the truth about his former associate.
Presumably, Edlo was still rotting in the penitentiary to which the court had sentenced him after less than half an hour of deliberation.
“…though I have to admit, I was a bit baffled by the nature of your request,” Isitec was saying, “since I was considering doing it anyway.”
Kadhir smiled. Always the sincere moderate, Isitec assumed that with the election now over, she would not mind if he said something like that. In this instance, he was right, but Kadhir found his ingenuousness amusing nonetheless. “I’m sure you were,” Kadhir said, “but I wanted to guarantee it would happen.”
Isitec nodded. “I understand,” he said, giving no signs of understanding. “Now that it’s behind us, I’d like to know why you wanted me not to endorse you. With how close Elondro’s victory was on Thursday, the lack of official support from the Freedom and Conservative Parties probably cost you the election.”
“Not to mention the lack of support from a former candidate such as yourself,” Kadhir pointed out.
He nodded again, silent, seeming as perplexed as ever.
“And, as you mentioned, even without the endorsements, I barely lost. Senator, I know you want to know more, but I’m afraid I cannot afford to let anyone know my plans. I’m not concealing much more from you than I am from my aides and support staff,” she added.
“I’m honored,” he commented dryly in one of his rare moments of sarcasm.
“I’ve told you nearly everything I’m willing to,” she said, “though I suppose you deserve to know that it’s related to my destruction of Murlek Edlo.”
“Edlo? Really?” he asked, sounding quite surprised.
“From a certain point of view,” she clarified.
“Ah,” he said, disappointed. “Well, despite our cooperation regarding the endorsements—as mysterious as I may find it—we are still political opponents, so I don’t think I will wish you good luck.”
“Good day, then,” she said, “Senator.”
“Good day,” he echoed. She ended the call.
And with that, Kadhir knew, she was free to move onto the next step of her plan. She entered a different number into her transmitter; this time, the recipient answered within seconds.
“Enolin,” she ordered, “get in here!”
Little League matches are often attended by riot police with water cannon... just in case, laser-wielding robots are taking aim at human hearts, criminals rejoice in the streets as the entire police force is sent away on a training retreat, and an alabaster statue of an ancient cat-deity takes pride of place in the centre of Tiricia.
They always make it sound so simple, he thought as he read over the Council of Four’s memo for the final time. The instructions were specific but wide-ranging, and although that contradiction was not entirely unexpected for someone as familiar with the nature of the Council as Harlin Enolin, it was still a bit frustrating to be given such a paradoxical assignment.
Secure the accelerated learning protocol, was the task that Councillor Orlind Karvis had charged Enolin with. It’s just five words, he had thought initially. How hard can it be?
Very hard, as it turned out. The protocol, as he had already known, delineated the method by which Alomphmerks—under the close supervision of its suzerain, the Eternal Empire—taught its cloned soldiers, sailors, and pilots… well, everything—who they were, which authorities to obey, what their purpose was, how to behave on the battlefield, and probably much more.
Therefore, it was only the next logical step to assume that the Empire kept this secret very well-hidden and well-protected, and Enolin was a logical person. But that did not mean he had to like any of this, especially since the Council—whether intentionally or not; the difference didn’t particularly matter to him—had portrayed the assignment as far simpler than it truly was.
But Enolin was a member of the Modus Vivendi, and the reasons that had persuaded him to work with and for the Councillors were immensely strong; he was just as unwilling and unlikely to turn his back on them as he was to impart those reasons to his daytime superior and oratorical nemesis, Governor Senzala Kadhir. Having to do some difficult work was not nearly enough to convince him to abandon the Council, to forsake his future; if anything, it reinforced his knowledge that, as the old saying went, most things worth doing were not easy.
So it was with a sense of duty and responsibility that Enolin set out into Alomphmerksian territory to find and retrieve the accelerated learning protocol for the Council of Four.
Enolin marveled at the paragon of artistry that was the city before him. He was no master artist or architecture critic, but even he was awed by the resplendent and grand skyline—surrounded by nothing more than a few small outposts and roads, and located below a gray atmosphere—in front of him.
Although he couldn’t speak on the happiness of their subjugated inhabitants, he could appreciate the colorfulness and diversity of the city’s main residential sections. Each building looked like it had been carefully handcrafted by a team of devoted, highly skilled builders who had access to unlimited funds and every material they asked for—which, Enolin suspected, was probably true, given Alomphmerks’s reputation for advanced technology, dedicated specialists, and immense wealth.
The other thing the country was known for—its strict isolationism, including a policy of closed borders—was probably why this was his first time seeing one of Alomphmerks’s cities. Of course, when the Eternal Empire began its occupation almost seven years ago, the country’s new masters had opened its Imperial border, but the Imperials were not exactly willing to allow tourists in, either.
Nestled between the magnificent housing districts, he saw some equally beautiful business blocks. While the apartment buildings tended to be medium in height, with pieces carved out of or added onto their mostly-rectangular forms, their tenants’ workplaces had no regularity whatsoever. Some were broad and flowing, like a slice of ocean wave frozen and relocated into the city; others were sideways pyramids held in position by arrays of support beams. He even spotted a rainbow-colored office complex suspended in the air between two other buildings like a bridge that offered employment opportunities.
As his vehicle approached the entry gate—painted a dull Imperial gray, and seeming more boring and forgettable than usual because of the amazing city behind it—Enolin forced himself to stop gaping at the Alomphmerksians’ secret grandeur and focus on the plan he had devised while journeying from Unidalania to Crimtonian Spectre.
Dressed as a mid-ranking officer in the Alomphmerks Domestic Security Corps—an Imperial reimagining of the country’s old security and oversight force, the Grand Police—Enolin had snuck into the lightly-defended northwestern section of the nation, quietly incapacitated and stolen the uniform of a real DSC patrol in a nearby town, and made his way into the city with a civilian vehicle that his policeman persona was, apparently, legally allowed to appropriate.
The Imperials at the checkpoint might make him pass an identity test, and such a security measure might thwart a lesser infiltrator, but Enolin had come prepared. Before commandeering his vehicle and taking it to the city, he had scanned the fingerprint of the real DSC officer whose uniform he had stolen, and had removed all traces of his own identity from the scene. He had also conducted some quick research into their backstory, just in case anyone talked or asked him about it.
Seeing that he was next in line, he pulled up to the security station, submitting his falsified ID card to the guards. One of them typed something into her computer, waited a few moments, then turned to him.
“How’s your brother doing?” she asked. Her tone was informal, but Enolin was experienced enough to know that she was testing him.
“I hope he’s well, but I’ve got no idea,” Enolin replied, the answer coming naturally due to his excellent memory and ability to impersonate. “He left for Epvia six months before Ipasi died, and I haven’t been able to contact him since the change of power.” He chose his words tactically, using ones like “died” instead of “was assassinated,” and “change of power” instead of “coup.” Any sign that he was not who his ID card claimed, and the Imperials would be ready to separate his head from his body.
Still casually, the guard said, “It’s unfortunate to hear that the Dauilandians are still blocking families from communicating.”
Enolin thoroughly doubted that was the case, but the guard was either too indoctrinated or too willing to believe Imperial lies to realize that it was probably the Alomphmerksian puppet government blocking communications.
“You may cross through the gate,” she added uninterestedly, tossing his ID card back to him. Now that he had passed her identity verification test, her attention was already elsewhere.
Enolin did as she said, driving down the city’s main boulevard—which, unfortunately for his newfound admiration of Alomphmerksian architecture, had been paved a monotonous dark gray, presumably by the Imperials or their clients—to the Domestic Security Corps’s primary complex in the city. He parked his vehicle, stowing his ID card in a side pocket, and walked confidently through the building’s main entrance.
Plan A was plain: he would simply use the DSC’s database to acquire the accelerated learning protocol. He would then download it, inconspicuously leave the city, and escape Alomphmerks the same way he had arrived.
The problem with simple plans was that their straightforwardness typically resulted in easy success or abrupt failure, so Enolin had a backup plan. Plan B involved seeking the help of any local resistance forces he could find; the Dauiland Alliance had no public records of any freedom fighters in Alomphmerks, but Enolin knew that wherever there was an oppressor, there were some unhappy victims. Plus, DA propaganda portrayed the Alomphmerksian populace as good people suffering under tyrannical Imperial rule, so maybe the AJM had encountered freedom fighters, but requested that the Alliance not expose the rebels.
Enolin followed the wall-mounted maps of the building until he reached the central computer room. Surprisingly, it reminded him of photographs he had seen of the Unidalanian intelligence bureau’s chief technical center: it was a rectangular space packed with appliances and devices on the walls, a chair allocated to each piece of equipment, and it was essentially empty in the center.
Naturally, the similarities ended there—this technical center was filled with Alomphmerksian instruments, staffed by Imperials and Alomphmerksians, and had an air of silent obedience. He didn’t imagine Director Kentar Gierplun instilled silent obedience in his people.
Taking the nearest empty seat, Enolin again submitted his ID card for inspection. The computer didn’t ask him any questions, though, its programming instead trusting the city’s sentries to have done their job. He spent the next few minutes trying to familiarize himself with Alomphmerksian tech without drawing attention. Ultimately, after stumbling upon a list of commands, he decided it was time to obtain the information he had come to retrieve.
He navigated to the database interface, then searched for the protocol. He located it within minutes. Feeling satisfied and only slightly suspicious, he entered the instruction to make a copy of the data.
And that was when the monitor went black. At first he thought he had mistyped the command, but when the computer failed to respond to his input, he realized that his mistake was far worse. Confirming his realization, a line of text appeared in the middle of the black screen.
Your unauthorized attempt has been caught. Your superior has been notified of your illegal activity. Prepare for arrest.
And right on cue, an unhappy-looking man wearing a DSC uniform appeared at the door. He headed straight for Enolin, and before he had a chance to speak, the man knocked him on the head. The disciplined officers they were, none of the others in the room reacted to the sudden physical violence.
As his vision blurred and slowly faded into blackness, he thought he heard the man grunt under his breath, “Idiot.”
After Enolin returned to consciousness, he rapidly realized that something was wrong.
He was only wearing his normal clothes, not the uniform he had picked up in that border town. Neither was he in an Alomphmerksian prison cell or interrogation room. No, he was somewhere far… stranger. By the looks of things, he had woken up in an abandoned warehouse.
If the circumstances were different, he might have laughed at the sheer absurdity.
The interior of the cavernous building was poorly lit, probably intentionally so. Apart from faint glimpses at the walls, whose distance and appearance were the indicators that he was in an abandoned warehouse, all he could see was himself, the metal chair he was strapped to, and a dimly-lit face a few meters in front of him. The face of the DSC officer who had knocked him out.
Alomphmerks just kept getting more unpredictable.
A lesser person’s first question would have been Where am I?, and were he talking to Governor Kadhir, he might have opened with an audacious or brash remark… but Kadhir was nowhere in sight. With her—and indeed, with most people—Enolin tended to let himself act naturally, not hiding his crafty, snarky, devious character, and at times using that unpredictable personality to his advantage.
A less seasoned agent might have used the same tactics here, but Enolin was far too experienced to make that mistake. Here, he knew, he would be best served by placing his typical traits aside in favor of honesty, seriousness, and patience—even if Enolin found those attributes horribly bland. He was not in a position of advantage—he did not even know his captor’s name—and he had the sense that trying to bluster his way out of this predicament was the worst possible strategy. Moreover, he hoped to establish a cordial relationship with the mysterious man, and brazen slyness was an equally poor way to accomplish that.
So he simply asked his captor, “Who are you?”
Considering how foreign those words—reasonable and predictable and… boring—were to him, he was surprised by the steadiness and composure of his own voice, and apparently the other man felt similarly, because he grew pensive, responding after a solid minute of thinking.
“I am a Nationalist,” the ostensible DSC officer said. “And you are lucky that I was there, in the DSC complex, to rescue you from the Imperials and their Loyalists.” He paused for a moment. “They would have detained you in a real prison, you know. Then, they would have surmised that you’re not a Loyalist, and they would have killed you.”
Now Enolin also had to think before replying, because the man had intimated that he was a part of the resistance—the Nationalists, as they evidently called themselves. And equally importantly, he knew Enolin was not an Imperial or one of their enablers. The first part alone was enough to nonplus Enolin, and combined with the second, he could sit there all day, deep in thought.
But he did not have all day—even if he became the most sincere, forthright person in the world—and he imagined that his recusant rescuer didn’t, either. “All right,” he said cautiously. “You are a member of the resistance, and you saved me from execution.”
“Correct,” confirmed the man. “I know you’re not a Loyalist because they would never make a copy of a protocol without the proper authorization. I also know you’re not a Nationalist; we Nationalists are not interested in the cloners’ accelerated learning techniques, and if we were, we wouldn’t have gotten caught trying to steal it.”
“All right,” Enolin said again. Fleetingly, he wondered if Senzala Kadhir had felt like this—completely overwhelmed, but unable to get answers for most of their questions—when he had introduced her to the Council of Four. Like Governor Kadhir, he would have to improvise and react on instinct in order to achieve his aims, but unlike Kadhir, he had no intermediary with whom he could privately converse and ask questions. Even if that intermediary was crafty, snarky, and devious. “I take it you abducted me so that you can interrogate me, instead of the Loyalists.”
“And to prevent them from killing you,” the man added, sounding mildly offended. “One of the reasons we do what we do is that we value life.”
Just like the Council of Four and the Modus Vivendi, Enolin thought. He said, “I see. Are there any other reasons?”
The man raised a hand. “Not yet. You already asked a question; now, it’s my turn. You’re not a Nationalist, you’re not a Loyalist, and you’re obviously not from Alomphmerks at all. Why did you come to the city—and, more importantly, to the Domestic Security Corps establishment?”
Enolin grimaced. That was exactly the sort of thing he could not disclose, even to an alleged freedom fighter. The simple answer was that he had wanted—and still wanted—to obtain the protocol, but he had a feeling the man would not accept that as a full answer.
“As you can tell, I operate independently,” he decided to say. “But I am not a contractor or a mercenary. I work with a certain… interest, shall we say, and that interest assigned me the task of securing the accelerated learning protocol.”
It was more than he would have liked to divulge, but he knew his best chance of maneuvering himself into an advantageous position would come from cooperating with his captor.
The man nodded. “Is your question still the same?”
Enolin shook his head. “No. I want to know precisely where I am—the coordinates, I mean.”
“The coordinates? What good will those do you now?”
“Is that your next question?”
The man smiled slightly, furnishing Enolin with a set of numbers that confirmed they were still in the heart of the city. Then the man said, his tone vexed, “What were you thinking back there at the DSC complex? You clearly have little to no understanding of our technology, and you triggered a basic alarm. You were practically begging to get caught.”
“I was being arrogant,” Enolin said honestly. His on-the-spot decent-and-bland-person act was coming more easily to him now, a consequence of his long role-acting experience. “I don’t know why—maybe the city’s architecture made me feel entranced and relaxed, or maybe I thought that because everything had gone well so far, everything would continue to go well.”
“Honesty is good,” the man said, the arguably condescending words seeming more grateful than patronizing this time. “Now… what’s your name?”
“Upolin,” Enolin supplied his default cover name. “Yours?”
“Skander. That interest you work for—are they a Dauilandian elected official?”
Enolin started. In a polite, two-way interrogation full of new information and revelations, Skander’s question was startling on another level. A hundred counter-questions rushed into his mind—how could the Nationalist possibly know about his connection to Kadhir? was his cover already broken? did Skander know about the Council of Four, too?—but he voiced none of them. Rather, he let Skander’s question work its way through his mind until he arrived at… suspicion.
“I wonder what makes you ask that,” Enolin said.
Skander lifted his hand again. “Just an idea,” he said patiently. “Nothing sinister, if that’s what you’re wondering.”
“You’re the one who brought up sinisterness.”
“Calm down, Upolin,” Skander said. “I was only wondering if you’re associated with Mesmer.”
“Mesmer?” Enolin echoed, at once confused and relieved. Confused because he had never before heard of a person, or interest, or organization, or anything called Mesmer, and Skander was acting like Enolin had; and relieved because his true identity was safe.
“I’ll take that as a no,” Skander said dismissively. “Your turn.”
Why should I believe what you told me at the start—that you’re a Nationalist, and that if it hadn’t been for you, I would be dead?”
“I expected you to ask that at some point.” Skander’s tone was unsurprised. “Firstly, most DSC officers aren’t as patient or calculated as you intimate. The Empire sees Alomphmerksian police work as unimportant and tedious, so it’s where they assign their least promising people.”
“What about the Alomphmerksians? Surely they have some competents left in the DSC.”
Skander shrugged. “Not really. The Empire has sent most of them to the front lines or to guard high profile targets. Secondly, before you humiliated yourself at the DSC complex, you must have seen the wanted posters. You know, the ones with my masked face on them,” he added.
“I have,” Enolin acknowledged. “I think you’ve sufficiently answered my question.”
“I know I have, Upolin,” Skander returned, suddenly seeming less friendly. “And that leaves me with one last thing to ask you before we discuss whether I should let you go.”
Enolin nodded, understanding that more than ever, his willingness to talk about more than the bare minimum would affect Skander’s level of cooperation.
“Tell me everything you can about your mission.”
Ah, Enolin thought. That was the question he had predicted the Nationalist would ask; as long as he did not bring up Kadhir, the Council of Four, or any other sensitive information, he could speak relatively freely.
He did so, Skander listening silently and staying pensive for a long while after Enolin finished speaking. Finally, he turned his attention back to Enolin and said, “If it’s your desire, I can release you now.”
Enolin shook his head again. “I don’t want to leave the city unsuccessful.”
“I figured you’d say that,” Skander said. “In that case, I may be willing to help you. But you ought to know that it will be highly dangerous—”
“How unexpected,” Enolin put in dryly.
“More so than everything you’ve done in Alomphmerks up to this point,” Skander warned. “With Domestic Security Corps officers and computer systems now on the lookout for further inquiries into the protocol, we can either wait them out—and neither of us has that kind of time—or we can go to the source.”
“A cloning chamber?” Enolin said, gasping in a rare expression of emotion.
“A coordination facility,” Skander corrected. “Think of it as a command center for the cloners’ operations. There’s one here in the city, and its data stores contain your accelerated learning protocol. We’ll go there, and I'll download the protocol for you.”
“What’s the catch?”
Skander laughed again. “The plan will only work if I go with you, and due to the added risk of breaking into a coordination facility, I’m not willing to help you solely out of beneficence. Meaning, you’ll need to prove to me that going with you is worth it—simply the possibility that you and your superiors might use the information to hurt the Loyalists and the Empire isn’t enough.”
“It’s not that dubious. One of my superiors’ goals,” Enolin improvised, “is to fight evil, and the Empire is evil. The fact that hurting the Imperials isn’t my primary objective with this mission doesn’t mean I can’t make it happen. Even if they don’t listen this time, I’m confident they’ll come around soon enough.”
“That isn’t good enough, Upolin,” Skander said. “You aren’t making any verifiable promises.”
“What would you have me do?”
“I would have you agree to three more conditions.”
“As long as they’re reasonable.”
Ignoring him, Skander listed the terms: “One: I will have the right to plan and command the mission from when we leave this warehouse to when we return to it. Two: you promise to never again make a fool of yourself—and risk exposure and execution—by misunderstanding my country’s technology. Three: you pledge to petition your superior—the one who is an elected official—to have humanitarian aid shipped or smuggled to Alomphmerks.”
It was an easy choice for Enolin. “I accept,” he said.
Skander began to retreat into the darkness. “Wait—but you were talking about ensuring I keep my word,” Enolin called out. “How can you know I will adhere to the third condition?”
Skander stopped moving. “For the same reason I’m a Nationalist and you are… whatever you are. It’s the right thing to do.”
Skander took a few steps toward Enolin, and for the first time he noticed just how emaciated the freedom fighter’s features were. “The people of this city are dying, Upolin,” he said grimly. “Almost all of my family perished from starvation. I… am the only survivor.”
“I understand,” said Enolin, and he did.
This time, he was dressed not as a policeman, but as a janitor. He and Skander were posing as a cleaning crew, shuffling through a side entrance of the coordination facility and mopping up dust and dirt as they took a long, winding path from the building’s exterior to its data storage annex.
Skander had assured Enolin that the occupants of the facility were part of the new Alomphmerksian elite, a social class created in 2052 when the Eternal Empire took over the country and began offering rewards to those who proved themselves loyal. Where the old, pre-Imperial elite was fairly respectful and egalitarian, valuing the work of all laborers from the skilled artisans who built cities to the cleaners who maintained them, the new, Empire-influenced upper class was far snobbier and more elitist, and could be counted on to ignore the two burglars.
After twenty minutes of wordless work, he was pleased to see they were beside a door bearing a sign that read, Leads to data storage annex. Only authorized personnel may enter. Annex is always guarded.
The genius of Skander’s plan, Enolin reflected as Skander pushed open the door and led them down the corridor, was that it took advantage of the flaws in the new, Empire-influenced Alomphmerksian society to undermine it. “We’re letting the enemy do the work,” Skander had said just before they left the warehouse.
Once they were both inside the hallway, Skander shut the door behind them. Still playing his role as the leader of the janitorial team, he told Enolin, “Come on—it’s up this way. The boss will be upset if she sees one speck of dust in the room.”
“I hate it when she’s upset,” Enolin replied, reciting his line. “She makes me feel so… inferior.”
Although the data storage annex itself lacked cameras, the corridor connecting it to the rest of the facility was under surveillance, so the distraction was necessary. Enolin and Skander continued to grouse about their fictional boss until they reached the second entryway, the one leading into the database annex itself.
They walked into the room, a three-meter square occupied by three officers who adopted haughty expressions when they noticed the presence of a pair of lowly cleaners. Skander once again closed the door behind them. Enolin, still sweeping away dust, moved into position. Skander nodded.
Simultaneously, each of them lifted his broom and used the stick to strike the Loyalist nearest him on the head. Both officers neatly crumpled as if part of a choreographed dance. That left one person unaccounted for. To her credit, the officer reacted quickly, running for the alarm button as soon as she saw the ostensible cleaning crew attack her colleagues. Unfortunately for her, Skander was quicker, knocking her on the back of the head before she had gotten halfway to the button.
He and Enolin dropped their brooms and headed for the control panel. In all, they had been in the room for about ten seconds, and the confrontation had lasted no more than five.
“It may not look impressive, Upolin,” Skander commented as he got to work on the panel, “but that’s because the real work went into this control board. Its computer system can inconspicuously read any data file in the entire facility.”
“Inconspicuously?” Enolin asked.
“Yes,” Skander said, turning to answer the question. “Those Loyalists we just rendered unconscious are part of the new elite I talked about earlier, and they don’t like having to explain their search history to the lesser beings in the central building.”
Enolin was about to pose another question, but opted to stay silent when he detected that Skander was directing a disapproving gaze at him.
For the next few minutes, Skander kept working on securing a copy of the protocol and Enolin cleaned biological evidence off the broom handles.
At last, Skander turned to the Unidalanian agent, a pair of five-centimeter-wide chips in his hand. Enolin accepted one of them, then looked inquiringly at the other. “I figured I might as well take a copy,” the Nationalist said with a slight shrug, “now that I’m here. Maybe something useful will come out of it.”
“Let’s hope,” Enolin said noncommittally.
Skander nodded. “I think this is where we part ways, Upolin,” he said. “I value your… honesty, and your eagerness to do the right thing for that reason alone… and I wish you would tell me more about your superiors.”
“We both know I can’t do that,” Enolin replied more easily, “but I appreciate the sentiment. I will make sure to keep my promises to you.”
Skander’s eyes went distant for a second, as if he were looking at something far away. Then he said with a sad smile, “The people need those supplies. Goodbye, Upolin.”
“Goodbye, Skander.” With that, Enolin departed the room and began planning his exfiltration from the city and from Alomphmerks. While he was changing from his janitor’s clothes back into his normal outfit, a thought struck him:
This mission was a resounding success, but it feels like we won too easily.
The thought troubled him all the way to the Alomphmerksian border, at which point a second idea crossed his mind:
The Imperials were much less attentive than usual. Their leadership must be focused on something other than domestic security. Something big.
It would be a long time before he realized just how right he was.
As always, the Councilroom of the Council of Four was large, low, and dim, lit only by a set of candles — a reminder of past centuries, when setting fire to wick was the innovation of the time. In the room’s core was a rectangular wooden table which held the candles in its center, and around the table were seated four Councillors and one Modus Vivendi operative.
The First Councillor, Orlind Karvis, wore a pleased expression, but listened to Enolin’s report in silence. Arven Lore, the Second Councillor, was smiling faintly, and occasionally put forth questions about the events that had transpired in Alomphmerks. Vick Estamin, the Third Councillor, had schooled his features into impassivity at the start of the meeting, and continued to remain expressionless, listening intently to Enolin. The Fourth Councillor, Gious Sevanis, had not taken a candle from the center of the table, meaning Enolin wasn’t able to see her, but she raised purposeful questions and made thoughtful observations from time to time.
The last time Enolin had brought news to the Council, it had been bad news—he had informed them that Scinrea was dead, and Gene Russell was trapped in the Sanctuary, a prisoner of her own design. This time, Enolin was glad to tell the Councillors that fortune was now in the ultimate goal’s favor.
“I do intend to carry through with my promise to Skander,” he concluded, “so I’m now asking you to do what you can to deliver humanitarian aid to his city.”
“Are you, now?” Councillor Estamin said. “You made a massive promise to this ‘Skander’ on behalf of the Council of Four without our permission or knowledge, and you now expect us to help you keep it?”
“Kadhir probably won’t be of any help,” Enolin said without hesitation, “so yes.”
“Good,” said Councillor Lore, glaring at Estamin. “We will ensure your promise is kept. It’s the least the Council can do for someone who, even if unknowingly, helped us get one step closer to achieving the ultimate goal. Skander will receive the humanitarian aid he needs. That, I assure you, Harlin Enolin.”