Cyber Nations Forum Rules 07/03/2016Cyber Nations Forum Rules
In the process of registering on this forum, all players--including you--agreed to accept these terms and conditions and the terms and conditions of Invision Power Board. In doing so you essentially signed an electronic contract pledging to have read the rules and TOS and agreeing to follow the rules and TOS as written. It is your continued responsibility to read, follow, and keep up-to-date with the CN rules.
The following are basic guidelines for use of the Cyber Nations community forum. Anyone caught disobeying these guidelines will be issued a warning. The forum staff works on a five warn limit policy unless the situation calls for more appropriate action ranging from a verbal warning to a double warn and suspension to an immediate ban, etc. Just because something is not listed specifically here as illegal does not mean it's allowed. All players are expected to use common sense and are personally responsible for reading the pinned threads found in the Moderation forum. Questions regarding appropriateness or other concerns can be sent via PM to an appropriate moderator. A permanent ban on the forums results in a game ban, and vice versa. Please note that the in-game warn system works on a "three strikes you're out" policy and that in-game actions (including warnings and deletions) may not be appealed. For more information regarding in-game rules please read the Cyber Nations Game Rules. 1.) First Warning
2.) Second Warning
3.) Third Warning (48 hour suspension at the forum)
4.) Fourth Warning (120 hour suspension at the forum)
5.) Permanent Ban Game Bans and Forum Bans
If you receive a 100% warn level on the forums, you will be subject to removal from the forums AND have your nation deleted and banned from the game at moderator(s) discretion. If you are banned in the game, then you will be banned from the forums. Process of Appeals
Players may not appeal any in-game actions. This includes cheat flags, canceled trades, content removals, warn level increases, nation deletion, and bans from the game. Players may appeal individual forum warnings. You may only appeal a warning if you can show with evidence that it was unwarranted or unduly harsh. If a reasonable amount of time has passed (no less than one month and preferably longer) in which you have demonstrated reformed behavior than you may request a warning level reduction. Wasting staff time with inappropriately filed reports and/or unfounded appeals will result in a warn level raise. Repeat incidences will result in a ban from the forum. Bans are permanent. Banned players may appeal to the Senior Staff if they believe grounds exist (very, very rare) in which they state their case with evidence and why explain why they believe they deserve to be allowed back into Cyber Nations. This process is not quick and the investigation into cases may last three minutes or three weeks or more depending on the individual situation. The only place where discussion of moderator action is acceptable is in the appropriate Moderation forum. Posting commentary on or disagreement with moderator action elsewhere will result in a warn level raise. Posting
All posts must be in English. Common phrases in other languages will be allowed so long as they are translated upon request. Foreign languages are permitted in signatures and avatars, however. Certain areas of the forum require you to have a nation in either standard CN or CN:TE. If you have... A SE and a TE nation: You get one forum account. Your forum account name must match your SE nation or ruler name. You are allowed to post in either SE or TE areas of the forum. You must have your CN:TE nation name listed in your profile to post in the CN:TE section of the forum.
Just an SE nation: You get one forum account. Your forum account name must match your SE nation or ruler name. You are not allowed to post in any TE areas of the forum.
Just a TE nation: You get one forum account. Your forum account name must match your TE nation name or ruler name. Your must have your CN:TE nation name listed correctly in your profile. You are not allowed to post in any of the SE areas. You are allowed to post in the water cooler, question center and the moderation forums. Other than that, all your posts need to stay in the TE area. Flame/Flamebait/Trolling
Flaming is expressing anger or lobbing insults at a person/player rather than a character, post, idea, etc. Flamebait are posts that are made with the aim of targeting/harassing/provoking another user into rule-breaking. Trolling is submitting posts with the aim of targeting/harassing/provoking a specific group into rule-breaking. Forum users should not be participating in any of these, and doing so will result in a warning. Topic Hijacking
Hijacking is forcing the current thread discussion off of the original topic and usually results in spam or flame from either side. Forum users found hijacking threads will be given a warning. Repeat Topics
One topic is enough. Repeat topics will be locked, removed, and the author given a warning. Users found creating repeat topics after others were locked by staff will receive a warn raise. Joke Topics
Topics created as a joke are prohibited. Joke topics will be locked and the author warned. This includes topics in which the author is making an announcement “for” another in-game alliance. Humorous threads are permitted; it is up to the discretion of the moderation staff to determine what is merely satire and what is actually a joke topic. Spam
Spam is defined as creating posts or topics containing only contentless material of any kind. Users found spamming will receive a warning. Examples include (but are in no way limited to) posts containing nothing but smilies, "+1", "QFT", "this" any other one/few-word contentless combination, joke threads, or posts containing quotes and anything that counts as spam by itself. Adding words to a post with the express intent of avoiding a spam warn will result in a warning. These posts and other similar contributions have no substance and hence are considered spam. Posts of "Ave", "Hail" or any other one word congratulatory type are acceptable as one word posts. Emoticon type posts such as "o/" without accompanying text is still not allowed. Posts containing only images are considered spam, unless the image is being used in the Alliance Politics sub-forum and then the actual text of the image be placed into spoiler tags. Posting in All Caps
Posting large amounts of text in capital letters is not permitted. Use discretion when using your caps lock key. No Discussion Forums
There are forums that are not for discussion and are used strictly for game and forum staff to address certain issues, bugs, etc. The following forums are not open to discussion: Report Game Abuse, Report Forum Abuse, and Warn/Ban Appeals. Only moderators and the original poster may post in a thread, period, with absolutely no exceptions. Users found disobeying this guideline will receive an automatic warning for each offense. Moderation Forums
All Moderation forums also maintain pinned threads clearly marked as required reading before posting. Failure to read and follow required reading and procedure in a Moderation forum will result in a warning. Examples include posting requests in the wrong forum, failure to include all required information in posts, etc. The standard of conduct and enforcement of rules in Moderation forums is strictly enforced and the repercussions for disregarding rules or disrespecting staff are harsh. Read the pinned threads before posting and you will be fine. Namecalling
Excessive or unqualified namecalling is not allowed in IC forums; namecalling should also never make up the bulk of a post. Namecalling is prohibited entirely in all OOC forums. Filtered Words
Any attempts to evade the word filter will result in a warning. The terms we have filtered are filtered for a reason and no excuse for evasion will be accepted. Filter evasion includes censoring or deliberately misspelling part of a filtered word. If you link to a website, image, video, etc., containing profanity, please post a disclaimer before the link. The moderation staff may still remove links if the content is deemed too obscene. Harassment
Forum users should not be stalking/harassing others on the forums. Anyone found stalking players from topic to topic, etc., will be subject to a warning. Gravedigging
Gravedigging is not allowed anywhere on the forums. Gravedigging is "bumping" old topics which haven't been active for quite some time (four to seven days is standard depending on the nature of the thread and how many pages back it had been pushed before bump). Your warn level will be raised if you are caught doing this. The Suggestion Box and Black Market forums are partial exceptions to this rule. Suggestions/ideas in that forum may be posted in regardless of age PROVIDING that the reviving post contains constructive, on-topic input to the original topic or discussion. Black Market threads may be bumped by the author if there is new information about the offered exchange (i.e open aid slots). In the Player Created Alliances forum it will not be considered gravedigging to bump a topic up to a year old, so long as the alliance in question still exists and it is not a duplicate thread. Signatures
Those who fail to read and abide by these rules will have their signatures removed and receive a warning. You may have only one image per signature which may not exceed the maximum size of 450 pixels wide by 150 pixels tall. You may have no more than 8 lines of text and text size cannot exceed size 4. Each quote-tag, image and empty line count as a line. Inappropriate Images and Other Disallowed Images
Images that are sexual in nature or have sexual overtones are prohibited. It is up to the discretion of the moderation staff to determine what constitutes sexual overtones. Depictions of kissing are permissible provided there are no sexual implications. Images depicting female nipples are prohibited outright. Making “ASCII art” is prohibited regardless of the image depicted. Using photos or likenesses of another Cyber Nations player is also prohibited. Drug References
Images and posts promoting illegal drug use are prohibited. References to drugs are acceptable only if the moderation staff deems that it is not promoting the use thereof. Obscene Content and/or "Account Suicide"
Anyone caught posting vulgar material (including but in no way limited to pornography, "gross," "tubgirl," "lemonparty," photos depicting RL illegal acts such as violence towards humans or animals, child pornography, death photos, and any other obscene or offensive material in either text form or picture form) will have their account(s) permanently banned, and their ISP contacted along with any other applicable internet and RL authorities. OOC Threats / Revealing Personal Information
An OOC threat of any nature will equate to an automatic ban from the game and forums. Likewise, the publishing of personal information of any other player without their explicit permission is grounds for warning and/or a ban from the game depending on the severity of the offense. Death Threats / Death Wishes
A death threat or a death wish of any nature (including but not limited to telling another player to commit suicide) will result in at very least a 40% warn level increase and 2 day suspension from the forums, with harsher punishments, including a complete ban from the forums and game, up to the discretion of the moderation staff. Quoting Rulebreaking Posts
Do not quote any post with obscene content or any other content that has to be removed by the moderation staff. Doing so makes it more difficult for the moderation staff to find and remove all such content and will result in a warn level increase. Putting rulebreaking posts of any kind in your signature is prohibited. Forum Names
With the exception of moderator accounts, all forum accounts must match up exactly with the ruler name or nation name of your in-game country. Those found not matching up will be warned and banned immediately. Forum account names may not be profane or offensive. Multiple Forum Accounts
With the exception of moderators, if you are caught with multiple forum accounts, the multiple account(s) will be banned, warn level raised, and your identity will be announced by a moderator to the CN community so rule-abiding players can take IC action against you. Multiple forum account offenders will receive a varying percentage warn level raise and/or a permanent ban on a case-by-case basis. Posting For Other Players
Posting for banned or suspended players is prohibited, as is posting for any person without a nation. This includes making warn and ban appeals on their behalf. Imitation &. Impersonation
Imitation in terms of this forum is mimicking the posting, avatar, or signature styles of another user in an attempt to be satirical or generally humorous. Impersonation in terms of this forum is copying the posting, avatar, or signature styles of another user in order to present the illusion that the person is in fact that user. Imitation is fine and can be quite funny. Impersonation is disruptive and is warnable. Please pay attention to the subtle difference between these two concepts. A player may not impersonate another player by emulating the characteristics of someone else's past or present account in an attempt to harass, stalk, or flamebait. Creating a new forum account in an attempt to impersonate a standing account will result in deletion and banning without notice. Any attempt at imitation and/or impersonation of moderators and game staff is strictly prohibited and will be met with harsh repercussions. Avatars
Size for avatars is limited by the forum mechanics, therefore there is no size issue for a user to worry about. Avatars must be in good taste, and any avatar containing a picture that is too violent, disgusting, sexually explicit, insulting to another player or staff member, etc. will be removed. Avatars that are potentially seizure inducing will not be permitted. Players may not "borrow" the avatars of any moderator past or present without permission. Swastikas and Nazi Imagery
The swastika may not be used in signatures or avatars. Pictures of swastika's are acceptable for use in the In Character (IC) sections of the roleplay forums, so long as its context is In Character, and not Out Of Character. Pictures of Hitler, mentioning of the Holocaust, etc... have no place in the roleplay forums, since these people and events existed in real life, and have no bearing or place in the Cyberverse. Other Nazi or SS imagery is forbidden in all forums. Moderation Staff
The revealing of the private identities of any Cyber Nations staffers past or present is strictly prohibited, and thus no speculation/accusation of identity is allowed. Doing so is grounds for moderator action against your account appropriate to the offense, including a full forum/game ban. Claims of moderator bias should be directed to the highest level of authority--the Head Game & Forum Mod/Admin, Keelah. Claims of moderator bias without supporting evidence is grounds for a warning. Blatant disrespect of the moderator staff is strictly prohibited. This includes but is not limited to spoofing moderator accounts in any way, sig/avatar references, baiting, flaming, rude demands, mocking, attitude, and unsubstantiated claims of bias. They are volunteers hired to enforce the rules. If you have a problem with the way a moderator is enforcing the rules or the rules themselves please contact Keelah. Attempting to use the moderation staff as a weapon by abusing the report system in an attempt to get another player warned or banned is strictly prohibited. Do not ask about becoming or campaign to become a moderator. The moderators are drawn from CN membership but moderation positions are by invitation only. Asking to become one will substantially decrease your chances of ever being asked. Aiding Rule Violators
Any user found to know of a serious rule violation without reporting it to a game moderator (eg. knowledge of a user with multiple nations) will be given a warning or, in more serious cases, have their nation deleted. Aiding Banned Players
Any user found to be harboring, aiding or otherwise knowingly helping a banned user will be deleted. This includes knowing of their existence within the game without reporting it to the game-moderation staff. Questionable Actions and Content
The forum rules are not designed to cover every scenario. Any action that is seen to be counter-productive or harmful to the forum community may be met with moderator action against your account. The Cyber Nations Moderation Staff reserves the right to take action against your account without warning for any reason at any time. Private Transactions
Nation selling and other private transactions via such auction sites like eBay is against the Cyber Nations terms and conditions. While our moderators cannot control what people do outside of the game you are not allowed to promote such private exchanges on our forums without expressed permission from admin only. Anyone found to be engaging in such activity without permission will be banned from the game. Advertising
Advertising other browser games and forums is prohibited. Soliciting donations towards commercial causes is also prohibited. If you wish to ask for donations towards a charitable cause, please contact a moderator before doing so. Extorting Donations
Donations are excluded from any kind of IC payment. Anyone found extorting others for OOC payments will be warned in-game and/or banned. Third Party Software
Third party software is not allowed to be advertised on these forums by any means (post, signature, PM, etc). These programs can easily be used to put malware on the user's computer, and as such can cause huge security issues. Anybody who is caught spreading links to these will at the very least have their warning level increased. Other Forum Terms & Rules Please take a moment to review these rules detailed below. If you agree with them and wish to proceed with the registration, simply click the "Register" button below. To cancel this registration, simply hit the 'back' button on your browser. Please remember that we are not responsible for any messages posted. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. USE THE WEB SITE AT YOUR OWN RISK. We will not be liable for any damages for any reason. THIS WEB SITE IS PROVIDED TO YOU "AS IS," WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED. The messages express the views of the author of the message, not necessarily the views of this bulletin board. Any user who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to contact us immediately by email. We have the ability to remove objectionable messages and we will make every effort to do so, within a reasonable time frame, if we determine that removal is necessary. You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this bulletin board to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law. You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you or by this bulletin board.
Shoemaker's face went from worried back to a more dull, semi-scowl as he looked down at her. His hands clinched into fists until he relaxed them back by his sides. "You can die here, my Lady, and condemn thousands of others to death and servitude, or you can save your own life and this entire Sleepy Hollow." His hand was still on his sword, paranoid of others outside, but he kept his eyes fixed on her's. He spoke before she could ask the obvious question. "No, I wont kill you. No one in the militia or the army will kill you. No Hollowin will kill you. We are not ones to commit regicide." He pointed south and shook his head. "With half of the country under siege and the Midnight Express mothballed, the only way out of this realm is south down the established paths. If you refuse to be a heroine, then you will die a coward by the hands of the Crimson Army. One of our governors in the far east was gutted torn apart by horses. What do you think these cowards would do to young nobility like you? Rip you apart, sell you to the highest bidder, give you to an unfriendly bannerman in your homeland that wants legitimacy? I say again, my Lady, you can be a heroine or you can be a slaughtered coward - or perhaps even worse you will be some pawn a fat old man keeps on a leash to look legitimate." He forced the map into her hands and looked around her humble home. "Despite this meager state of living, we have protected you. We could have sold you or exiled you. You are a risk that we have taken. In our greatest hour of need, in a time where we are acting in the national interest, in a time where you can only do good, we need you to step up and act. The fate of Sleepy Hollow, and your own self-preservation, rest in your hands. My Lady, we need your help..." He said again, this time more stern. "We can escort you to the edge of Sleepy Hollow proper. But once you come to the wilderness, you must travel on your own. The Forest Guard is aware of who you are, so you wont be able to flea once your escort is gone. We will be watching..." He checked his pocket watch and ran his fingers through his white beard.
"I'm Councilman Alfred Shoemaker, from the Council of Light Your Highness," he said with a respectful but obvious bow. He looked at the meager home and cringed at the thought of how cheap the councils had been the past year. It annoyed him greatly, but he tried to keep his political feelings to himself. "There has been a historic development in a joint session of the councils," Shoemaker looked over his shoulder as a few women in red walked across the street. A woman wearing almost all red such as those women was a sign that they were harlots. Prostitution was outlawed by Baron Nicholas Dusk when he met a young woman dressed in red in the streets and found old men taunting her and other harlots her age. It disgusted him. They had no choice. When he had first came to power, Sleepy Hollow's agrarian economy was already in shambles. Orphaned young women had one trade that their brothers didn't share - their slender, young bodies. It was, at first, a service that the Baron thought was necessary to keep the hard working men of the Hollow in order. But meeting the girl changed his heart, at least in the slightest. He bought her for a night, brought her home, and kept her hands off him. He asked if she wanted to stay with him, in the Baron's residence, as a friend. And she accepted. Scarlet was like a daughter to him. Despite its outlaw, twenty years had passed since the last Baron's rule and the decrees and laws he saw passed were loosing some meaning. Being attractive, and poor, would always have its benefits to just being poor. Unlike the rest of Sleepy Hollow, most everyone dressed their best to impress. Thunder Bay was the city of lawyers, merchants, and aristocrats, but there was still plenty of laborers to spare. Most of the men had on dark clothing with capes varying in shades of black and gray - however the more... prominent members of the society ,or the young men who were hoping to "pop" out, would have on bright or dark red capes. While not all were elaborate, the most of the men did have some type of hat to protect themselves from the chilly weather which was now sifting over the country. Women, however, were not left out of the unique attire either. They too wielded capes on their backs however nearly all of the women wore hoods or at least had them behind their necks instead of wearing hats - some men did have hoods however most of them were monks or in the church and humbly walked the streets to on missions or simply to clear their minds; their heads bowed in reverence. The harlots in bright red strolled by Shoemaker and Amel; and giggled softly as they noted the white hood of the councilman. He kept his hand on the hilt of his sword and turned his face back to Amel's. He lowered his voice and spoke softer. "The Councils have voted to bring forth a new Baron to lead Sleepy Hollow in our hour of darkness. They couldn't see through years of false-security but I finally explained to them the spread of the Crimson Army across the North East... I am getting ahead of myself, my Lady. Please, let me inside so I can explain these things to you." If she let him in, he'd take off his over coat and lower his hood to reveal all of his face. "We sent a messenger to inform the heir to the throne, the next Dusk in line. But he was found here in the city, he had gone mad on the way there and we believe he managed to come back here before totally breaking down. I told them to send you instead, but they didn't listen." He pulled out a map from one of his pockets and handed it to her. "These are directions to what we believe is the Dusk family's current estate. It's north of here, in the Wilderness, and outside of this Sleepy Hollow's proper borders. I know that as Royalty of Faraway this may seem to be a very odd and unwarranted request, but I assure you it is a great honor. You will be the first foreigner in history to bring forth a Baron." He could sense her feelings by the looks in her eyes. He didn't think she was totally convinced or amused. "I am certain that you'll be safe once you reach the Dusk family's estate. The Dusk's have not ever killed a woman from my knowledge. Even if you are mistaken for a trespasser or assassin, I'm certain they will hear you out before doing anything harsh. I have a horse for you waiting outside. We cannot waste any time, my lady, tens of thousands of lives and our way of life depends on there being a new Baron. He is our last hope. I can offer you a better home, I can offer you an audience with the Baron whenever you choose, I am sure he would be willing to help you contact any 'friends' you have left in Faraway... I could even get you access to the Baron's Library here in Thunder Bay..." The Baron's residence in Thunder Bay was unused unless a Baron sat on the throne. The library that the Dusk family had in Thunder Bay was rumored to be the biggest in Sleepy Hollow. Books that were only published in Sleepy Hollow, some whose only copies rested in the Baron's library, were among the most valuable in the land. Many described the obscured past history of Sleepy Hollow while others even detailed past events in neighboring Faraway. It was a wealth of knowledge. Shoemaker was sincere, and for a councilman that was difficult. Their emotionless faces and monotone voices usually made it hard to trust them, but his empathy for his country made it clear that this was no trick. "We need your help, my Lady."
Two jack o'lanterns flickered the only non-natural light in the small area. The stone building behind them stood higher but not above the towering trees that creaked in the inconsistent wind. No light came from the darkened, quiet windows which highlighted the jack o'lanterns light from the front door even more. The bright orange of the pumpkins was in contrast to the creaking, dark, thick woods that were tattered with dry grass and leaves on its surface. The unnatural silence that surrounded the land was disrupted by the crunching of leaves, sticks, and grass. A man in a white hood and cloak carefully and quietly stepped toward the stone structure. He followed a stone path that became smaller and less defined as he approached the building. He noted the two lanterns beside the front door and faintly shook his head. He whispered something to the door and it cracked open. He pushed it open and it closed behind him abruptly. After wandering aimfully, he came up to two large stone doors that were at the end of a long hallway. His steps were even and uninterrupted until he whispered something else to the massive, heavy doors before him. They cracked open and allowed him to pass into a large, underground chamber. Other hooded figures, some in white and some in black, all looked at him. "Councilman Shoemaker... No one has been late to a joint-meeting of the councils in one-hundred years. You have brought a disruption to our traditions. Explain yourself." Shoemaker, Alfred Shoemaker, lowered his hood and revealed himself to the others. They all lowered their hoods as well and identified each other once more. "The accidental disruption of this menial tradition is nothing in comparison for what is coming to this Sleepy Hollow. If you cannot see that then you are blind, councilman. I bring news from the fronts, now will I be reprimanded or allowed to sit after my long, sleepless journey?" The men and women in the chamber looked at one another in contemplation. After most of the powerful and important councilmen offered no objection, Shoemaker took his seat. "Alfred P. Shoemaker of Thunder Bay, reporting for representation... The news I bring from the fronts are not good news. Cities, towns, villages, and settlements from Sudbury to Ripple have been taken. I left on the Midnight Express from Jack Fish. It must have been minutes before the small village was claimed for the Crimson Army. I spoke with the conductor, and all train services have been suspended by Thunder Bay's city government. I don't know for sure, but my only conclusion is that they are also marching the Northern Trail and have taken the villages from Iroquois Falls to as far as Longlac." The usually emotionless members of the council gasped and many of them looked at each other with worried eyes. Lightning flashed outside and illuminated the chamber in a bright white for a moment from the windows in the chamber's roof. A rumbling, angry boom shook the stone chamber and a short shower damped the land. "We must ask for more volunteers!" shouted a councilman from the far west. "How many more, one-hundred, three-hundred?" Shoemaker slammed his fist down on the wooden desk before him, "FOOLS! ARE YOU BLIND?" he growled. His deep voice echoed throughout the stone chamber and vibrated the windows high above them. "Our volunteer army is no match for the Crimson Army. They are trained, they are well armed, they are professionals. We send farmers with their own muskets - I have heard rumors of some men showing up for duty with only swords - and our enemy comes with repeating rifles and canon. We have canon, we have repeating rifles. Sleepy Hollow has had professional armies before, we have had a navy before, yet you all here go on about how we must find more volunteers to be cannon fodder because you are too afraid to spend coin? Amen, amen I say to you councils, we face doom. We face our dusk as a Hollow." Shoemaker shook his head and gripped his white hood. He squeezed it frustratingly. Our coin will be useless when there is no Council of Darkness or Council of Light to spend it. Our coin will have no value if a new government regulates where and who wealth is distributed to as the Crimson Army wants. Our coin will not be in our control, because we will be hunted down, executed, and our entrails are sure to be eaten by ravens as our mangled bodies rot in disgrace! One-hundred men will not save your coin, it will not save you, and it will not save this Sleepy Hollow! Do you understand me? To you hear me? You silent people, speak, let me hear your words!" Shoemaker had traveled for days, spoken to hundreds of people and volunteers, and seen the mangled bodies and dying patriots who wanted nothing more but to continue their ways of life. The Crimson Army, a professional band of communists who began in the east, were an enemy never seen before in Sleepy Hollow. "Men have died, fathers and brothers, some as young as fourteen. Water boys, flag-bearers, and even infantrymen who went to fight with their brothers and fathers. If you do nothing, if you allow this Hollow to be conquered, if you allow Thunder Bay to fall, then they will come here. They will show no mercy." "You have made your point, Councilman Shoemaker. Your criticism for the councils's actions - or lack thereof - is quite clear. What do you say we do? As you said, we are outmatched and outgunned." Shoemaker looked down by his feet and picked up one of the pumpkins that were distributed throughout the chamber for decoration. He pulled a knife from his sleeve and began to carve into it. "The armories in Thunder Bay are untouched and collecting dust," Shoemaker noted as he cut and chopped. "They are filled with repeating rifles and I know many canon are quietly rusting inside. There are cannonballs, gunpowder, more muskets, and plenty of ammunition that we have yet to use because it is reserved for 'Grave Emergencies'. This local dispute, is now an insurgency. This is now a 'Grave Emergency'. We are to use these munitions and weaponry and we are to send every guard, lawman, detective, hunter, and veteran in the towns and cities we still control. We issue a call to arms and issue a mandate that churchbells are not to be rung unless enemy forces approach a village. We reestablish the Forest Guard and the Lakefront Defense and begin training those who want to help but have no skills. In the villages far out, we ensure that there are at least minutemen and they have some organization. But even that, even that maximum, expensive preparation, will not be enough." Shoemaker stopped fiddling the pumpkin and showed it to everyone else. He plucked a lit candle and set it inside the new jack o'lantern. The face on the front was a traditional, smiling face. No one wanted to admit to the symbolism so Shoemaker spoke it, "We need a Baron." The chamber grew silent. The Council of Light, the upper body of that Sleepy Hollow's legislature, and the Council of Dark (regularly called the Council of Darkness) which was the lower house of the legislature, usually executed governance of the country. But, at times, the Councils are ineffective especially when it comes to war or uniting the region. The "Baron" of Sleepy Hollow was a hereditary position that ruled irregularly. Whomever held that executive position was to no doubt clash heads with the members of the Councils who would sometimes go years without a central executive to lead. But when turmoil ruled the countryside and the municipalities were brought to their knees, a Baron was the only solution. He, or she (which would be a Baroness), was of House Dusk. The family was known for wanting to be left alone and for their cold, unforgiving shoulders that they distributed fairly. The many men who had served the country had a few traits that were consistent, one of them being was that they were protective of the country's way of life. This made them good protectors. Bringing a Dusk into power would require a two-thirds majority of a joint-session of the councils, and then his powers were close to unlimited. Sleepy Hollow was one of only two Elective Monarchies in the entire world. "We have gone years without a Baron. Twenty, to be precise," said an older councilwoman. "Baron Nicholas Dusk ruled briefly and did little, may the Lord bless his soul. What makes you think we will have another Johnathan Dusk?" Shoemaker put the flame in the jack o'lantern out with his fingers, "Then we are doomed to meet the dusk of our country." He sat down and said no more. The Council of Light's chair watched as a few members bickered back and forth and finally raised his hands to quiet them down. "I am calling for a vote on if we should call on a new Baron to rule this Sleepy Hollow. Will someone support my motion?" Shoemaker raised his hand, "I support your motion Chairman." The chairman nodded and put on his spectacles to tally, "All in favor, raise your hand, all opposed remain still." A clear majority raised their hands, but if it was two-thirds or not was uncertain. The chairmen finished his tally and folded his hands, "Who shall we send to tell the next Dusk that he is needed as Baron?" "He could possibly kill any of us if we were to go. He would know we are from the council, I know that messengers in the past were mistaken for assassins and were... never heard from again," the chairman said. "There is a member of Faraway's old royalty. She is a young lady, from what I hear, a pretty girl in her late teens or early to mid twenties. Never, ever, have I heard of a Dusk man killing a woman. Some say they are not capable of it." Several councilmen raised their voices in disgust at the idea. "Sending a foreigner for such a sacred and vital part of our government's tradition? Are you mad? What if she was killed along the way, what would the fractions in Faraway think of that? Many of them wouldn't have sympathy for us," growled a councilman. "Time is short," Shoemaker argued. "A noble such as that young royal is the most likely to succeed in the quest." The chamber grew silent as an elder of the Council of Dark stood up. "Even in times of danger, we must not abandon our traditions if they have lasted so long. If a Hollowin cannot reach the Dusk, Councilman Shoemaker, then I advise only then do we break this regular tradition." The chairman looked uncomfortable and shifted in his seat. "We will send a Hollowin first, as the elder suggests. I advise it be someone of no importance, someone we can lose if need be." One of the carriage drivers was selected. The drunken man was later found in Thunder Bay. He had managed to make it back there on his horse, but had gone mad. He was screaming about trees and tried drinking himself to death. Even an exorcism was attempted, but he died within days. The councils sat in contemplation the day following the return of the carriage driver. Shoemaker got his way. A messenger was instead sent to Faraway royalty in Thunder Bay. Shoemaker himself was sent, for such sensitive information and directions could only be told by a high official; especially to someone who's trustworthiness was uncertain. Her name was uncertain, but her approximate age and location was definite. After taking the secret tunnel and returning to the capital, Shoemaker rode his horse to the small residence of the royal who must have been in hiding. Sleepy Hollow's government was good at obtaining secrets, despite their deficiencies in war efforts. Shoemaker knocked on the wooden door as civilians behind him quietly went about their day.
"Most of the things we do are important, Prime Minister," Ashton said as he took a seat. "But out of all the important things I had to do, this seemed to top the list... Ah tea! My grandfather loves tea, next time I come here to Japan I should bring him. I would be happy to join you." Ashton waited a few moments as the tea was poured and then looked back up to the Prime Minister. "While we were flying over the Hawaiian islands, I was made aware that the Confederate States of America has collapsed. The Central Intelligence Agency could not confirm if it was a coup or if it was internal conflict, but what we do know is that it has caused a collapse of the major elements of their government. I've directed the United States's armed forces to prepare to assist Japanese forces, if such assistance is needed. I'm not sure what your government knows, but I wanted to begin our meeting by letting you know what we know, Prime Minister."
Ashton made sure that his agenda was cleared for the following two days. What happened in Georgia was a national tragedy, no doubt, it warranted a reform in safety standards/regulations for the chemical industry; however, it more importantly highlighted an overall need for the regeneration of infrastructure in the United States. The North East, compared to the former States in the old Union, had the best of both worlds. Roads and public transportation had been vital and tended to for nearly a century in the region, but urban areas didn't always fall into this generalization. As White House staffers and analysts started looking into the costs of rebuilding its torn up roads, it became clear that the problem could not be totally fixed and funds would need to be allocated to the highest priorities. On board Air Force One, this is what the President and members of his administration discussed between America's political attitude towards Japan. Americans themselves were generally appreciative of the Japanese government for overthrowing the American Commonwealth. The educated class continuously highlighted the selflessness of the Japanese liberating America and how they gained nothing for the massive military operation. Ashton was skeptical about that. A weaker, less unified America benefited everyone who wasn't American. The threat that the American Commonwealth posed to Japan was seemingly minimal, but influence that the Japanese held after the collapse of the commonwealth had increased ten fold. They were the de facto administrator and "hero" of over four-hundred million people. That was a large award to wear around their necks, but it meant nothing if America stayed in a state of disarray. Perhaps that is why the Japanese were trying so hard to make America "work" instead of leaving it in disrepair. Their reputation was at stake. Or, assuming the best in them, maybe they felt a sense of honor and duty to help Americans. If that were so, then the overthrow of the American Commonwealth may have been the single biggest act of political charity in human history. "What are you thinking about, Mister President?" Vice President Mark Anderson stood in the door frame of the president's on board office. "Mark? What are you doing here?" Mark smiled and closed the door behind him. He took a seat across for the President and checked his watch. "Well, since we flew over Hawaii about twenty minutes ago I don't think there's any going back unless you think we should flake on the Japanese again. So does it really matter?" Ashton rubbed his chin and shook his head, "Despite the Senate being on a short recess, your office does still holding some meaning and usefulness. Why didn't you stay in Washington? How did you get on board without anyone telling me?" Mark redundantly adjusted his watch as they crossed into a new timezone, only having a few more to go. "I talked to Fletcher a few days ago and told him personally that you wanted me added to the flight list. I guess Fletcher trusts me?" Ashton made a mental note to tell Special Agent Fletcher not to trust the Vice President. "I doubt you just felt like taking a long flight. Have you always wanted to visit Asia?" "No, Mister President. Despite our very legitimate reason for cancelling our last meeting with the Japanese, I'm sure they were either greatly offended or greatly annoyed by it. I think that going along with you, as the President of the United States Senate, will at least show that we think this meeting is important. That way you don't have to tell them at the meeting, 'Oh well I hope the Senate approves this!' I can tell her to her face that I'll see to it that whatever they propose makes it through the Senate. I also know more about Asia, and Japan specifically, than you do. Our people haven't done especially well in the past few months with being culturally sensitive to the Japanese. I'm sure they think we're inferior." "It doesn't really sound like you are asking for permission," Ashton noted as he offered the Vice President a beer. "I serve at the pleasure of the President, sir." Ashton let out a brief laugh and nodded. "Thanks for the offer, but I'll be fine on my own. I don't need you showing me up. Let's wait eight years until you try making foreign policy, hm?" Mark frowned and started playing with his watch again until the President carried on. "Hey, did you notice the Prime Minister's seal on that letter she sent me? I had it forwarded to your office." "What about it?" "I don't know. It made me feel... I don't know. I liked something about it." Brian Reedy, the President's Chief of Staff, knocked on the door. "Come in!" Brian came in with a paper in his hands, "Mister President..." he looked at Mark. "Unless you're hear to tell me that legal confirmed we can tap the Vice President's phone, I don't think we have anything to hide from him." Brian handed over a brief report to the President who then handed it the Vice President. "The CIA says the central government for the Confederate States is collapsing right now. In a few hours they'll just be back in anarchy like everyone else." Mark looked down and didn't say anything. Ashton shook his head, "This ought to make things more interesting." Several Hours Later Air Force One landed in Japan after a smooth flight from Washington D.C. His motorcade had been flown in by the Air Force a day earlier which allowed the President mobility and less strain on the Japanese while there. They only had to provide a police escort. After a short car ride, the President had made his way to the Prime Minister's office. The Vice President stayed on board Air Force One. Once the Prime Minister and he made eye contact, he gave a respectful bow and extended his hand. "Prime Minister, it's a honor to finally meet. Your reputation precedes Your Excellency."
Congress Grants 500-Million Dollars to Higher Education The nation's top universities receive half a billion in grants to raise quality and accept more students. Having their child accepted to Harvard or Georgetown is the dream of millions of parents throughout the United States. Soon, thousands more a year will be able to make that dream a reality thanks to the Future of Education Act which President Coolidge signed this morning. The act hands over half a billion dollars (in total) to schools of higher education throughout the nation. Recipients include all eight Ivy League schools, Georgetown, the University of Georgia, and other State schools throughout the South. President Coolidge put worries to rest that the government was simply throwing money at higher education when he announced that "the Future of Education Act authorizes the executive branch to directly oversee the granting of funds to these universities and colleges. When the institutions receive their funds, they will have to directly report what the money will be going to." The President went on to say that building "million-dollar" school buildings or what he called "luxury" structures like student pools or gyms will not be allowed. The goal of the Act is to increase the quality of education at these institutions and increase the number of students that these universities can accommodate. Eleven senators, in a bi-partisan effort, failed to block the bill which they labeled as "wasteful, illogical," and "will not work." Further complaints were that bringing more students into these institutions will dilute the value of a bachelor's degree. The White House released a short statement that condemned such claims. "Saying that we should keep people uneducated so that the wealth of knowledge stays with only a select few is simply an evil statement," White House press secretary Stephen Holmes said. "With more education and knowledge in the public comes an increasingly larger middle class and a better functioning republic. You don't have to take my word for it, compare the United States in 1800 to today. You might notice that the standard of living is considerably higher." The President has increasingly felt push back from his own party for these large spending projects. Another multi-million dollar act for infrastructure is expected to be introduced to the House of Representatives within the week. So far, the White House has yet to confirm or deny that rumor.
To Prime Minister Akiyama Kagami From President Ashton Coolidge Prime Minister, I am also sorry that we have yet to meet. Things have been quiet in North America, as long as diplomacy goes between nations, but things have been busy within the United States itself. It's unfortunate that the last meeting between our two countries didn't end up amounting to anything, but I look forward to meeting Your Excellency and other Japanese officials in Tokyo. Best Regards, Ashton Coolidge President of The Untied States of America
"I wasn't implying I wanted an apology, Senator. I don't like the idea of foreign colonists either, but the Prime Minister had made it clear earlier that the Japanese armed forces will continue to protect American lands for the time being; so for now we don't need to worry about colonialism. The Prime Minister was saying earlier that if we would found an American organization, then in the future the Japanese could begin to to cede the protection of the rest of the Americas to our organization. Please Prime Minister, correct me if I got anything wrong, but I don't think it would be unreasonable for us to try to found such an organization. The United Nations building in New York City has been unused for quite some time now. I'm not sure in what direction you'd like this discussion to go, Prime Minister, but we could talk about the more specific details of such an organization right now; or the Senator and I could return home and meet up in New York to do it in the next few days. I know that your time is valuable, so I don't want to be taking more than we need to." Gabriel could sense the disinterest/lack of faith emanating from Japan/s Head of State. "And what do you think Senator, does that all sound fair?"