Ex-Captain Eko Onoda sighed softly to himself as he observed the vibrant city-state of Higurashi from his seat in Cafe Fezzan. People were laughing and conversing with one another about seemingly pointless things like the weather or the most recent gossip around the TCG. As Eko reflected on a future he no longer has, he heard a voice, “You’re a hard man to track captain…” a chill ran down the ex captains spine as he recognized the voice’s owner, Ulf Kariya, a RIM officer who ate spies and deserters like himself for breakfast. Eko silently took a short breath to force himself to remain calm and replied, “To what do I owe the misfortune of encountering the wolf of Kinjishi?”
Kariya flashed a grin at the ex captain as he appreciated being recognized and said, “business, (the captain bristles) but don’t worry, I’m no longer affiliated with our previous employers.” Kariya then sits in front of Eko and dusts off a newspaper with a headline about the mysterious explosions. “This was your handiwork wasn’t it?” Kariya asked as Eko looked deep into his eyes looking for any sign of trouble, “As much as I wish to give the imperialists a black eye, I no longer harbor any delusions,” said Eko. “Although I may know someone who does.” He continued. Kariya smiled and said, “good, my client will be eager to follow the trail…”
Greater Palace, Grovne, Sedunn
It was soon time. Sedunnic foreign minister Hevv Gjieramm took a final look at the Grand Square a few storeys below. Several thousands of people were gathering around the main gates to the palace. It must be time for the changing of the guards ceremony, he thought without checking the date. He pushed a button on the wall next to the window which made thick curtains start moving in from the sides, soon covering the window completely. This was standard procedure when classified or sensitive matters were to be discussed in an office facing other buildings.
He sat down in his armchair by the elegant wooden desk and cleared his throat. It was time to call his Kai Fa colleague Ri Wang.
Ri Wang sipped his cup of coffee, a specialty brew courtesy of the Puerto Polloan government. While tea was the historical beverage of choice for Kai Fa, and still was for many, he had grown fond of the alternative, partly due to his teen-aged grandchildren. While he quietly disdained the consumerism behind these new trends, he still could appreciate some of their ideas. There is no point is opposing change, he thought. One can only hope to direct it.
His telephone rang: “Excellency, the foreign minister of Sedunn on the line for you”. “Put him on”.
“A pleasant morning to you, Minister Gjieramm. What do I owe the honor of this call?”
“And a pleasant morning to you, Colleague. I’m afraid it’s Reizen again. Or rather the situation along the Reizen-DPRR border. As you may know, our efforts to ascertain the cause the escalation, as well as our mediation efforts, have all failed.”
“Unfortunately, frankly there’s a lack of diplomatic trust between Sedunn and the DPRR, so therefore we miss their perspective and assessment of the situation, which are instrumental to the peace efforts. Kai Fa and Sedunn cooperating during the Reizen Civil War was contributive to uniting the factions against the RIM and to preventing an escalation of the war. I reckon that you do have better relations with the DPRR, I would therefore like to ask if there’s anything Kai Fa could do, via its contacts with the DPRR, to help bring transparency to the situation, and ultimately help prevent a possible, needless war.”
“I see. We share the common interest in preserving peace and stability in the region and our cooperation, despite our differences, have been fruitful in moderating the situation in Reizen. We will enquire with our comrades in the DPRR to gain further insight that could hopefully serve as a base for mediation. However, I must state since now that this effort could work only if you, on your turn, could exercise a constructive influence on the Frost Empire. Last time we came close to a direct confrontation, so I doubt we could cooperate directly with them.
Let’s adjourn once we have further knowledge of the situation. I wish you the most pleasant day”.
Ri sipped its coffee, trying to rebuff the sensation of an incoming headache.
“Please, put me in contact with the foreign minister of the DPRR”.
Captain Alexei Pyotr of the Rekhivan People’s Liberation Military and Self Defense Force stood uneasily as the Secretary of State, Andrei Gilead, read the document he had just delivered. The Secretary’s beady eyes scanned the document, looking at every word intently. The Secretary of State lowered the document and sighed, “So… [Secretary of Defense] Tovarisch sent you to be the bearer of bad news.” he rumbled as the young captain replied, “Yes sir… Your son, Vladimir Gilead, has been called upon to serve the People’s Defense Army against the Imperialist threat.” The Secretary shook his head, “A noble calling, but one that must be delayed since the boy is still in secondary school.” “But sir, the notice clearly states that he is to suspend his education per the Conscription act of -” “You think I don’t know the law, son!” the Secretary snapped back angrily silencing the captain, “I know what the Conscription act of '83 said, but the law was amended with the passage of the Future Leaders act of '03 which specifically states that all recruits must finish their secondary education before conscription!” The Secretary sighed again and took a cigar from his pocket. He then gestured to the captain to light it and took a deep breath, “My apologize for the outburst Comrade, but now is not the time for my son, Tell Tovarisch-” The Phone rings interrupting the Secretary. “Tell Tovarisch that I will personally see him and remind that paranoid fool that my son is still exempt under the Future Leaders Act.” The secretary said ignoring the ringing phone. The Captain salutes and responds, “Yes Sir,” and leaves the room briskly.
Secstate Gilead takes another puff of the cigar before picking up the phone, “Sir, Minister Ri Wang of Kai Fa wishes to contact you. Shall I hold?” asked Gilead’s personal secretary. Andrei took a moment to think before saying, “No, transfer Minister Wang and my call to an encrypted line.” “understood sir,” replied the secretary, “Transferring in 3…2…1.” the phone beeped shortly after her countdown.
“The Revolution wishes you a warm welcome, Minister Wang, to what do I owe the honor of this call?”
“A good to you, Secretary Gilead. I am calling to you to inquire about the recent unrest at your border with Reizen. As you may recall, we backed our comrades of the WPR during the internal conflict, and we are ready to support you as well in the interest of our common socialist cause”.
“That said, while we don’t back down in times of need, we value peace and stability as I am certain you do too, so we would suggest at least a try at a political, diplomatic solution. In this regard, I’d like to get a better hold on what are the causes of friction and what are your demands on the matter.”
The Minister replied, “The Party also values peace and stability, which is why we didn’t get involved in the Imperialist civil war despite the opportunity to liberate Reizen and reunite the two halves of Rekina. However, the imperialists repaid our restraint with lies and threats of war. Their recent false flag attack on one of their military facilities was used to mobilize countless Imperialists to border at a time when we were finally considering the move to an all volunteer military to give our youths a future and move beyond historic enmity. Instead, the Imperialists have forced us to suspend our steps to leave the shadow of the past and draft young men and women to safeguard the future of the DPRR while putting their dreams on hold. Worse still, the party received intelligence from SHIELD that remnants of the old Welgrund Regime have started to emerge from hiding in parts of the Northern coastline and as far east as Termina. Although the Imperialists are a threat, the Party believes that the restoration of the old regime would allow the capitalists to rally behind a pretender to justify an invasion of the Homeland”
The Minister sighed audibly as he continued, “Although the DPRR seeks the full removal of the Imperialists, The party would settle for the demobilization of Imperialist reserves along the DMZ and return to the status quo. However, I don’t quite see that happening with the obstinancy of the hardliners within their so called democracy.”
“I understand your concerns. Let me reassure you that we will stand by the DPRR in case of any hostility. Hoping not to have to come to that, we will carry on our diplomatic efforts on your favour. In this, I would like to suggest freely evaluating among us the hypotesis of dislocating third-party forces along the DMZ line, with each country choosing atrusted partner for its side of the border. This way we could avoid any border incident which could be used as a pretext by the Imperialists, while working on a deeper political solution. What would your thoughts be on that?”
Gilead’s eyes wandered around the office as he listened intently to Minister’s offer. ‘This is an interesting offer… Kai Fan troops should force the imperialists to pause their provocations unless they mistakenly believe they can fight multiple nations. Domestically this would serve to increase relations between Kai Fa and the DPRR while simultaneously damaging Tovarisch’s influences should we find saboteurs and spies amongst the troops… However, would SHIELD allow this?’ he thought to himself. The Organization was deeply secretive about its methods and members, despite its existence being common knowledge. Giliead grimaced as he wracked his brain on whether he could get tacit approval from them since he couldn’t tell how prideful or stubborn the head of SHIELD could be unlike Tovarisch and the rest of the DPRR government whom he can ‘read’.
‘Bah, Fortune favors the bold’ muttered Gilead softly
“Of Course the Party would welcome Kai Fan assistance at the Border. However, I will have to discuss with the rest of the Party to determine the size of the Kai-Fan volunteers we can welcome, but I will be happy to allow the entry of a small team through my own personal authority granted by the Rekhivan Revolutionary charter.”
“Of course, any decision of this seriousness must be taken in accordance to the representative of your people. While you’ll discussing with them, we’ll have our Bruuman comrades, who unlike has have a good, or at least working, relation with the Frost Empire, probe their attitude toward this solution, to see if unnecessary frictions can be avoided. Meanwhile, I wish the revolutionary destiny may shine your path”.
Once the phone call was over, Ri Wang didn’t even hung the phone up. “Put me in communication with the Bruuman Ambassador the Frost Empire, Comrade Hunt”.
After speaking with Wang, Hunt took a moment to step on the balcony of his office to give a few puffs to his cigar, then get back and asked his secretary: "Please set up a meeting with the Frost minister of Foreign relations" .