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A Gift


Triyun
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Jia had sent an invitation for the Austrian ambassador Theresia to come and meet him at the diplomatic terminal in the Beijing Capital International Airport for a surprise. The message he gave was rather cryptic, merely to bring a warm coat and not to wear heels. Jia had his private plane prepared to take them too Waypoint R. Formerly known as Neo Kyoto, Waypoint R was one of the odd areas the Federation had ended up with that they didn't know quite what to do with. In the past several months Jia had grown quite fond of the Austrian ambassador. Something which was kept somewhat under wraps within the Federation. Waypoint R was about as far away from the capital of the Federation as things could get... of course he wasn't quite sure how Theresia who had spent most of her life in European palaces would react to the place either. Afterall it was one of the more rugged places in the Federation.

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"Nothing?"

"No I'm sorry Miss Theresia, His Excellency gave no word on what the meeting was about, other than that you should dress warmly and not wear anything that would impede your ability to walk. Heels, dresses, and so forth." Said Theresia's personal maid, as she laid out a winter coat that the Princess used to go skiing in back in Austria, a pair of black boots, a gray scarf, as well as a gray fur hat, similar to the ones worn by commanders in the Russian Army.

"What on earth? Are we going to Siberia?" Theresia almost sneered at the thought. "I didn't know the Imperator was partial to arctic trips." She chuckled at the thought, "Maybe we're going to Alaska, that'd be a ball of fun." Her sarcasm was biting.

"I'm sure the Imperator has no intention of putting you on the front lines of the Alaskan conflict, Miss Theresia," the maid said with a smile. "But if you please, he would rather not be kept waiting for his Mistress."

Theresia sighed and put on the coat, bundling herself up tight, to the point that even though it was winter in China, she still felt rather warm. Nevertheless, the secrecy of the trip startled her. For as long as Theresia had lived in the Federation, she was privy to a great deal that went on as well as an influencing factor. Whether her sisters knew it or not, Austria's recent success in North America had a great deal to do with Theresia's words in the Chinese Imperial Court, not to say that Jia or the Federation didn't value their European allies, but given that Theresia was the only golden haired Mistress of the Imperator, her sweet nothings had a bit of sway. That said, her not being told what where she was being brought to was surprising, even more so when she was brought to the airport where Jia's private plane had been prepped. As the Princess exited the limousine, she looked around at Jia and his entourage, all dresses similar to her with warm coats and gloves.

"Well I'm guessing we're not going to Guam are we."

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A smile came to Jia's face when Theresia came around the corner. He couldn't help but slightly chuckle at the addition of the russian fur hat.

"Well funny you should mention Guam, I was thinking about Guam but apparently with all the wars going on, the troops who normally keep the invasive brown tree snake population under control have been helping load up our bombers... so now there is an even bigger exceptionally big poisonous snake population on the island. I'm guessing thats not your thing. But if you really want to go?" he said jokingly.

"We are going to the one place in the Federation which I'm quite confident has no poisonous snakes... or any other cold blooded animals. Its called Waypoint R, its a nice rustic and romantic fishing village in our North most territories. With that hat you should fit right in!" he said taking her hand as they boarded the plane.

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"A fishing village eh?" Theresia hid the disappointment on her face. She could deal with poisonous snakes, it would have been well worth it to feel the warm water of the Pacific gently caress her legs. But she was heading to a rustic, fishing village and while she enjoyed rustic things, she mainly enjoyed them in a historical and quaint context. Fishing villages, at least what she imagined from stories she read as a child were heavy on the rustic and light on the romance along with a dose of the medieval. She never showed such disappointment thought because if Jia was smiling, it was obviously important to him and thus it could be important to her. It was enough that she, as a foreigner, had probably more rights than any other person in the Imperial Court, she could go to Guam or any other place in the Federation at the snap of her fingers. Today, whether she liked it or not, she was going to enjoy going to Waypoint R, if Jia thought it was romantic, then surely this village was special. After all, it didn't sound like a normal fishing village anyways.

After they boarded the plane, Theresia undid most of her clothes, she wasn't going languish in sweat for however long the trip took. Placing her bright hair in a ponytail and unzipping her light jacket, the Princess turned to the Imperator and the rest of his entourage.

"So Jia, dear, aside from the fishing village, where are we going?" She laughed. "Also what made you choose this, normally when we go somewhere its on the normal lines of things people of power do. I'm glad we're getting out of that cycle, it's all we used to do in Vienna, but what exactly is this Waypoint R?"

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Jia was slightly evasive, sensing Theresia was probably not as enthused about the trip as she let on. And he didn't blame her. If someone gave him this level of detail and told him to pack a warm coat he would probably be skeptical too, that had happened it involved sitting on a hard cold floor of a C-130 for a couple hours before going some place where he got shot at by angry germans. This was much nicer than that at least...

"Waypoint R is a large plot of land across from Vladivostok on the Siberian Coast and has one of the odder stories behind it in the Federation.

It goes back to the beginning actually. When Wei, Kou, and I first decided to reunite the country, we started off in the Rebel Army port of Taipei. Rebel Army had allowed us to have the city and we began training fellow patriots from across the country for what would eventually form the People's Liberation Army. We then called it the Neo Whampao Brotherhood after the Whampao Military Academy where Sun Yat-sen trained both the Communists and Nationalists who freed China from the old Imperial System and foreign devils like yourself. The Neo Whampao Brotherhood quickly found itself at war with some Japanese cultists who had taken over Taiwan. They called themselves Neo Tokyo. We rapidly beat them off the Island and they fled to Hainan where we had a cold peace with them, allowing them to remain there if they allowed Chinese citizens to be unharassed. That situation remained until one of the oddest incidents I can remember happened, and I'm going to feel as stupid saying it as you will feel hearing it.

When at some point peninsular Malaysia became an independent state, they tried to auction off Singapore. We had the highest bid preferring to take it peacefully but they instead gave it to Neo Tokyo. Neo Tokyo then made an odd three way deal with Korea and Japan. Korea gave Japan Tsushima in exchange for Japan giving Korea Waypoint R (then Neo Kyoto) and some lake in Siberia. Korea then traded all of Neo Tokyo's territories including Singapore for that territory.

Obviously something was extremely wrong so we seized Singapore and Hainan and demanded that Neo Tokyo be taken care of by Korea. With the cultists gone the territory was basically in limbo until Korea fell. So now we have it." he said looking out the window at the city of Beijing below fading into the clouds before turning back to Theresia.

"We've had so many different things to do, we never decided what exactly to do with it. Lately my advisers have been pushing for me to resolve the issue... so I got this idea. I want to go see if it can work. Considering all the !@#$%^&* happening in Australia and North America I think it will be a nice break. I always liked the North Pacific, its cold and damp but it feels to me like exploration and possibility."

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"Foreign Devils, now Jia-" Theresia went to say, but the Imperator continued pass the Princess' interruption and told the story of how Waypoint R had actually come into being. By the end of the story of Japanese Cultists, corrupt governments, and Chinese revolution, the young Austrian was thoroughly confused to the point that her head was spinning as the jet parted through the clouds.

"Well that was...hmmmm..." She said trying to piece her thoughts together. "I do remember a few years ago that Korea was going to be attacked by the Dalmatians for some strange terrorist attack, albeit, I don't know much of the nation's history. Trying to stay on top of the ever changing regimes of Europe is hard enough, let alone learning the politics and history of the Pacific Rim. Though I know this region hasn't exactly been stable, the Federation has filled that goal, but before that, the most stable force in Asia I had always thought was the Dragon Empire and that itself was run by cultists wasn't it?" There was so much confusion in her sentences that it made her head hurt and the Princess leaned over holding her head.

"Ah, I shouldn't have even asked," Theresia laughed and looked back up at Jia with a smile on her face. "Though I guess if we're going trekking through the wilderness, I'm happy I brought boots. I'd probably die if I had heels on. But what's this idea of yours?" She asked as her gray eyes sparkled from the sunlight steaming through the plane.

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"The Dragon Empire was a leech." Jia said. "Its cultists were allies of the Emperor Triyun II, yet they used a moment of weakness to attack both him and his allies elsewhere in the Pacific Rim and then try and subjugate China. Triyun II was a great unifier, however, he was not one who liked the business of ruling and was ill suited to peace, much like Qin Shi Huang, China's first Emperor and Chairman Mao. These men did great things to save China from chaos, but they were men of war only, they were unable to adapt to a world of peace. Nevertheless, I consider his regime the last true Chinese regime before ours, the Dragon Cult was an abomination, something which was a sin against us." few topics could cause as impassioned feelings in Jia as what he perceived to be the greatest sin against China in the 21st Century: the Dragon Cult. Japanese occupations, European concession, nothing approached the disdain compared to what he saw as the great betrayal and imposition of a simplistic cult system which claimed legitimacy by condensing an ancient chinese belief system into: 'Hey look we like dragons too!'

He paused seeming somewhat embarrassed, "I apologize Theresia for my tone, the wound is still raw. I often wonder, had we endured longer, had we resisted more... what more could we have saved of our culture from them. The past is past though, lets change the subject, Waypoint R." he quickly said, his push forward personality taking charge.

"My idea is building you a new city there, one that links the worlds of East and West. "

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"A city?" Her eyes widened in surprise. "Jia, that's quite an honor. I really don't know what to say. Can you even do something like...well of course you can, you're the Imperator. But what will the Imperial Court say? You don't think there will be rumors? I mean I'm not the most well liked person in the Federation, I think we can both be honest about that and people might see this as inner corruption, it might be dangerous for both of us." Theresia was silent for a moment then started again. "And what will the Koreans say? It was their territory once, wasn't it, or something of that nature? I mean I really do...God...you're building me a city?"

She turned back around looking out the window of the cabin and let her head lean back onto the cushion. "How am I supposed to repay you for something like this? I mean, I've heard of Empress' giving duchies and counties to men who served them, but its rare for an Emperor to give his Mistress her own city. Especially," Theresia turned back to him and smirked, "When she's a foreign devil."

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"Well poor Wei probably will have a heart attack when he hears about it, but I consider that a bonus. The Koreans will be pissy but when are they not?" he joked. "Besides Its not like anyone really lives there right now. Its mostly a backwater army outpost, and I'm sure they'd welcome a transfer to the coast of Thailand."

"As for the rest, I find myself caring less and less. I like you. Our relationship is going to come out sometime, might as well be unapologetic about it."

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Theresia grinned wide as she leaned over and took Jia's hand tightly in her own. "Well that sentence is worth a city in itself and as to Wei, he'll warm up to the idea. I think he's getting used to me being in the government sector, he's learned the beauty of earplugs and since then, I think we've been rather receptive to each others' presence. One day he'll learn to appreciate Punk Rock, but until he does, we'll just stay silent friends. In truth," the Princess blinked a few times, "He'll probably rather me in a city far from Beijing, he won't have to listen to my music, or all the other quirks he complains about."

As she finished her sentence, the plane jumped forward a bit and Theresia, caught by the sudden surprise nearly pulled herself and Jia out of their seats. However, she held in place as one of the stewardesses came back to the cabin and bowed. "Our apologies for turbulence, but we will be landing shortly, Your Imperial Highness, Your Grace." She turned back and disappeared through the doorway as the clouds underneath the jet parted, revealing a rugged landscape that trailed off for miles and miles. On the opposite side was the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, whose wild waves battered up against the rocky, sandy shore. Within a few moments the plane touched down on the runway of Waypoint R and Theresia put back on her coat, gloves, and hat as she was escorted off the plane onto the sight of what would be her future in Asia.

"So where do we begin?"

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"Well I hope that you don't spend all your time up here. Your music is slightly better than the Peking Opera Wei would subject the rest of us to." Jia said. For being the supposed protector of all that was Chinese, Peking Opera was one tradition which Jia could really live without. Every time a major performance necessitated his presence he had to have several stiff drinks to sit through it.

As they exited the plane troops several troops drove onto shore in an expeditionary fighting vehicle. The amphibious tank pulled up along side the plane.

[img]http://media.techeblog.com/images/vehicle_1.jpg[/img]

Getting out one of them handed Jia the keys. "That my rental?" Jia asked. "Yes sir, sir are you qualified...?" he asked. "Been ten years but qualified enough." he said.

"I was thinking we take a drive?" he suggested.

Edited by Triyun
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The Princess stared blankly at the machine in front of her, even more oddly after Jia had received the keys from the driver. She had anticipated possibly a hike somewhere in the woods, perhaps a rather rough car ride, but a tank, not in her wildest dreams, Theresia had never once been inside a tank so to say she wasn't excited would be a damned lie.

"I don't really think they call something like this a 'drive', this is more like one of those excursions." She crossed her arms. "Just saying, I'm not getting in there, unless at one point, I get to drive." The Princess smiled and approached the war machine and with a little difficulty, climbed on top of the first ledge to where the cute dropped into the vehicle itself.

"Ja...I could get used to riding in something like this."

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"Yeah, you can drive it, lets wait till we get away from the breakable hundred million dollar airplanes first." he said. Climbing into the driver's side hatch, Jia handed Theresia a helmet before putting on one himself. Instantly the noise around him stopped as the advanced noise cancellation material blocked out all sound. He motioned to her to press a button on the side of the helmet turning a small red light on. This would activate the wireless radio communications device. He brought a microphone head set piece down to his mouth. "This things turbine can get pretty loud, keep your helmet on." he said through it.

Sticking his head out the drivers hatch he throttled the engine moving the tank backwards and into the ice waters of the Pacific, then increasing power as he executed a sharp turn, maneuvering it like a speed boat out into the bay to a point where one could get a good look at the land before them. He then manuvered the craft to move along the coast line of the area. He looked along the coast at the landscape divided between small hills and some valleys. "Well what do you think?" he asked Theresia.

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Pushing her head out from the hatch, Theresia felt like a military commander before surveying a field or prior to entering into battle herself, as with driving in the tank the feeling of military advancement was something the peeked her mind, if only for a moment. The thought would return later and she could entertain it at a better time. With her helmet adjusted, the Princess moved a few strands of hair from her eyes and gazed out at the landscape in front of her. Her hand went to her mouth as she looked across the landscape. As far as the eye could see, the ridges opening up to smaller coves across her field of vision were dotted with fresh snow glistening in even an overcast sunlight. The tank rocked back and forth from the waves of Pacific and as her vision moved up and down, she tried to imagine a city, a blossoming port town on the coast of the Pacific, something to rival Vladivostok, rival the ports of Japan and the Federation, though she'd never tell Jia that. For as fragile and barbaric as the world was, Theresia was positive, Asia could use its own Vienna, a center of culture and glitter.

"What do I think?" She looked over at him, awe in her eyes. "I think its marvelous. You said a city here? I can see it already, glistening spires and churches, symphony halls and salons." Theresia stopped and giggled, "And of course its fair share of pagodas and shrines, the merger of Chinese and Viennese architecture will be beautiful in itself. I'm positive that this will be true to the maxim, if you build it, they will come. Whatever rises up on these hills, I'll make sure it is spectacular."

She jumped across from the passenger's hatch to the driver's side and hugged the Imperator tightly. "A girl would be foolish to ask for anything more."

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"I'm glad you... like it." he said surprised by the degree of her reaction, returning the hug with one arm while trying to steer with the other to keep them getting smacked by the frigid waves of the Pacific.

"When we get back to Beijing I've told the chief architect of the Bund to make himself available for the next several months to help you draw up the plans. Want to get a look from up high?" he asked pointing to a hill along the coast, manuvering the EFV towards the water towards one of higher hills covered in snow and golden grass.

Edited by Triyun
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"Lovely, I'll have to draw up my own plans then, to give to the architect. It'll really be a work of art." Theresia stood back in the passenger's hatch and watched as the sea gave way to the icy, sandy shore and the tank began rolling up towards the ridges off in the distance.

As they pushed through the snow, Theresia leaned forward on the tank, resting her elbows on the cold metal. "So you never really did tell my Jia, why you're doing something like this. I mean, I understand of course the blossoming romance," she said blushing, "But you're a man, at least I've always known you, to be someone who thinks things through, who never leaves things to emotions, always logic. So what is the greater purpose of this shining pearl on the Pacific?" The Princess looked over at him and smirked. "You can tell me, I can keep any secret you want."

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"So you think I'm incapable of a grand romantic gesture purely for its own sake? You wound me." he proclaimed exaggeratedly despondent before a smirk formed on his mouth. "In truth, with you emotions are a larger factor than usual... as well as of course the physical factors." he said in the deliberative tones which he spoke during policy meetings, "but yes I do have some other ones..."

"As powerful as the Federation has be come in the world, it is still seems to be seen by many at times as more of an Asian Horde rather than the center of culture which China was in the past. Prior to the 18th Century, much of the civilized world came to see China as the center of learning, literature, the fine arts, and ceremony. If we are too become a true Middle Kingdom again, we must build monuments to culture from around the world, make all want to come to China; not to exploit it but to celebrate it for what it was once and what it shall be again... So in truth its both a grand romantic gesture and part of my secret world domination plot."

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"I think the world sees your China as very civilized Jia, honestly, you shouldn't need to impress the world." She smiled. "Most of them don't know what culture is anyways, however, I think that's an idea I can get fully get behind. Though with your world domination schemes, you sounds just like my sister, I swear sometimes I think that you and Maria ought to get together and I should wander the world like Angelika's been doing." Theresia shook her head and jumped out of the passenger hatch and sat down on the tanks armor letting her legs dangle off the side as she looked out across the landscape. "Though something that I know Maria can't appreciate, is the oneness here. She's always been a Euro-Centric Person, but I can say that Asia and China have been some of the best experiences of my life, even if my meeting of both the country and of you, dear, was rather, radical."

She nodded and crossed her arms. "But it'll be beautiful, I'm sure of that, especially in the summer, when the ocean warms up a bit. Oh, and since this is my city, I have the perfect name for the welcoming of Austrian culture into Asia. Before Angelika steals it for her little project in North America, I thought perhaps, New Vienna, 'Neu Wien' in the German tongue. Though I feel we need something more central to the region, for Asia and the Pacific and our linking of culture. Perhaps, Ehestadt, the City of Marriage."

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Jia climbed out of the tank and joined her on the chassis as the EFV rested on the hill top. He let out a short chuckle at the comparison between him and the new Austrian Empress. Its not that Jia did not like the Austrian Empress, she seemed like a nice enough person, just that the boldness of a ruler of such a small nation really actually seeming that hell bent on world domination was quite a sight to see. His eyes shifted from the waves of the Pacific below back to Theresia. "I'm glad you came to China, I am better for it. These past few months have been great."

When she started talking about the city, Jia's mind wandered off slightly thinking about how it would be structured before the very last sentence snapped him back to attention, "City of.... Marriage?" he asked with a completely startled look on his face.

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"Well of course, the marriage of cultures between Europe and Asia. Cities always seem to really blossom when they mean something more than just a name on a map. At least that's how I always thought it should work. Also, at least I hope, that this will symbolize the love between an Emperor and his Mistress, because I agree, Asia has changed me for the better and I would hate for all that to disappear." She looked out to the empty plains and grinned. "And Ehestadt will be a sign of that, the building of a continuing love between Austria and China, as well as the continuing love between two of their children."

They sat for a moment of silence, tension in the air, but Theresia was never one to submit to the confusion of love and so she turned back to Jia with her bright eyes sparkling. "So, you said I could drive?"

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"...Oh right of course." Jia said, feeling somewhat embarrassed. [i]"... of course that's what she meant."[/i] he muttered underneath his breath to himself before a sheepish smile at his own foolishness came to his face. "Yeah, go ahead." he said snapping out of it and climbing into the passenger side putting on his seat belt making sure it was firmly snug and tightly gripping one of the handle bars. "You ever drive a tracked vehicle before?" he asked.

Edited by Triyun
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