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Off the coast of Sanhedrin...


Sarah Tintagyl
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"The waves are as black as the night sky." Captain Dachs Schwab said as his black shoes clicked across the metal bridge of the transport vessel. Three days ago, he had been assigned the command of two transport ships bound to the coast of Africa from the Austrian port of Koper. The recent surge in economic and military power following the Hapsburg Restoration had convinced the Empress and Her Government that it was now a necessity to have water access outside of the Mediterranean, which was essentially an enclosed lake. Germany had offered a far off base in Norway and with enough badgering, a naval base could be gained off of the Athenians. But Austria had a deep desire to finally stretch the muscles she had never had, Africa was in a period of chaos and it was time to act, albeit slowly. With Mogatopia at war with two Austrian allies, Athens and China, and a war near the Gulf of Guinea finally coming to a close, it was the perfect chance for Austria to assert themselves on the ancient continent.

His orders were rather simple, land south of the Sanhedrinian city of Essaouria, construct a base camp for the unloading of supplies and marines then move north and secure the city itself. Rumors had arisen that Sanhedrin had collapse, most likely due to the war in Mogatopia. It was an opportunistic move, but at times, opportunity was not something to be passed up.

Schwab focused his binoculars on the near coast and nodded. "Lieutenant, alert the Marine Commander that landing operations should take place within the next ten minutes. After they have landed and secured the shore, then we can begin unloading the supplies. Drop anchor Herr Klaus!"

"Dropping anchor Herr Captain!"

Then about a half hour later, Schwab would watch from the bridge as one thousand Austrian marines disembarked onto the shore of Africa. Setting up a perimeter around the beach, easily defended from attack. Once this was established, the first round of supplies were unloaded and the marines began building their makeshift camp. If all went well, by mid afternoon, five-hundred would be making the march northward and the Empire would be well on it's way to establishing a strong and viable presence in the Atlantic.

---

[quote]
[b]To: All Warship Captains of Her Majesty's Imperial Navy
From: Tadej Dariš, Lord Admiral of the Imperial Navy
Subject: Orders[/b]

[i]Commanders,

Recently two transport vessels carrying one thousand Imperial Marines and construction supplies set sail for the coast of Africa, Sanhedrin to be precise. This is the first move in creating an Austrian naval base on the Atlantic. At the moment, these ships are undefended and while they have the ability to defend themselves from pirates and small craft, in case of foreign intervention, the Imperial Navy will rendezvous with this expedition in order to support. Upon arrival, you will wait for further orders as to movements. By then the city of Essaouria should be in Imperial control and will have amble room for berthing and resupplying.

Her Majesty expects every man and woman to do their duty to Austria and the Crown.

Sincerely,

Tadej Dariš
Lord Admiral[/i]
[/quote]

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The [i]Ehestadt[/i] began its silent infiltration of the Littoral Waters. Aboard the attack submarine two teams of special forces loaded up their diving equipment. The teams were rapidly deployed to infiltrate and take up sniper positions at high ground, as the marines would make their landing. If resistance was encountered the sniper teams could either take action or relay their positions to the Cormants.

The Cormant UCAVs, were deployed aboard the [i]Theresia von Hapsburg[/i] operating 200 miles into the Atlantic. The squadron of UCAVs was one of the most elite of the special naval air operation squadrons. Launching from the ballistic missile submarines launch tubes, the 12 UCAVs used their stealth and low altitude maneuverability to evade radar detection. Each was equipped with cluster stand off munitions to act as close air support, however at their moment the primary mission was air reconnaissance. The units would silently monitor the coast, using their Electronic Infrared scopes and synthetic aperture radar to monitor ground positions.

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Holding a loose formation around the Austrian transport vessels, the duo of Proselyte and Perpetuity held the timid foreground - the mighty Calamity looming ominously silent at the rear. Shimmering under the bright rays of the sun like glaciers, the trio of Aeon warships would provide this formation with a much needed surface combatant capacity. Low-probability of intercept radars were active, while specially shaped hulls served to minimize their return signatures to that of much smaller vessels.

FFG-05 Perpetuity would fire the first 'shot' from the Aeon against the Sanhedrin in the form of a number of small white aircraft taking off from its tiny runway. These miniature aircraft were in fact unmanned aerial vehicles, stealthed against radar detection, hardened against electro-magnetic attack and designed to give the Aeon battle net aboard the trio of vessels that imperative 'eye-in-the-sky' in order to search, designate and track targets, attack them with precision weaponry and relay the results back to their host vessels and the net at large.

Aboard each tiny UAV was a beast of a 'camera'. A total of 1.8 Gigapixels would be afforded by each drone to the Aeon battle net, giving the vessels the unprecedented ability to track nearly everything in or around the ground in real time. Composed of four arrays, each containing 92 five-megapixel imagers, an onboard processing and secure transmission system the optical sensor suite of each drone totalled only 500 lbs, affording each drone the capability to loiter at a high altitude of over 15,000 feet with an endurance of over 20 hours. Thus, each drone launched by the Perpetuity would immediately create a perimeter around the Australian fleet while also probing the Sanhedrin coast to begin target acquisition duties - parking high in the sky to scan a wide area of over 100 square miles per drone. Transmitted images at blistering speeds of 15 frames per second coupled with a ground sample distance of 15 centimeters would mean that each pixel within an image sent would represent 6 inches on the ground.

With such a phenomenal torrent of data being constantly streamed to the Aeon vessels, multiple onboard EVA systems would be dedicated to updating both the personnel on board the vessels and their read outs, while also acting as an electronic liason with friendly forces in the area. This was an important part of the drones' role. The combined 'image' of the Austrian battlefield would be massive - individual officers aboard the Aeon and allied vessels would be able to define at least sixty-five independent video feeds within the image and zoom in or out at will. Automated tracking of items of interest including moving vehicles and dismounting personnel would prove most useful - unlike radar, this advanced electro-optical sensory network would be capable of zooming in to provide a high resolution image voiding chances of friendly fire or collateral damages, while also being a look out for any surprises the island may have in store.

Strategic as well as tactical anti-air missiles would be prepped for launch against incoming air breathing threats - most especially ordinance. Aeon design philosophy stressed the need to intercept ordinance as a first priority - all other threats being secondary. Strategic SAMs would be used in the case that the Sanhedrin had unannounced anti-ship ballistic missiles as their disposal, intercepting with kinetic kill warheads at both the midcourse and terminal stages of an incoming weapon's flight. Should sea-skimming threats be launched, both strategic as well as tactical missiles would be fired to intercept as far away from the formation as possible. The two-stage Spangle SAM aboard both the Predictor and Augur systems would prove crucial here with their extended ranges and depressed ballistic trajectories providing a dedicated anti-ordinance capability. Subscribing to the ubiquitous Integrated Area Defense System, or IADS afforded to all point defense nodes present in the Nodic and now Aeon militancy, these systems would automatically work together to classify threats and assign engagement systems appropriately to ensure a layered and comprehensive approach to defense. These systems would work tirelessly to provide protection for the vulnerable surface combatants of the Austrian fleet, in addition for the standard role of protecting their own ships.

All ASW-capable systems were active, with LAMPs airborne and actively scanning a wide perimeter around the Austrian line. Particular care would be placed on ensuring the Chinese submarines were clearly marked on the battle net as allied vessels and not enemy stalkers. The Calamity prepped its massive bays of guided missiles, ready to respond to dedicated threats and provide a dedicated fire-support platform for the Chinese marines and divers. Within the towering bridge of the battleship, a pair of looming juggernauts prepared themselves for the inevitable order...

Aboard the Calamity, lead vessel of the Aeon, Vice Admiral Lilly Jacobina sat complacently in her chair, situated higher or 'Iya' as she preferred to say at rare times in her thick Rasta accent. She was suspiciously calm as she sat with a slant, her nostril flaring in a deep inhale as she moved a large wad of paper unto her clenching teeth with her tongue. What used to be a hefty cigar was little more than blackened kindling as she scanned the entirety of the Combat Information Center (CIC) with nearly yellow eyes.

The Aeon women aboard the vessels were between a rock and a hard place. They had sworn to follow the Princess' way of peace in all things, yet they were instructed by Her Grace to aid the Austrian navy in any way asked, as if they served the Princess herself. Murmurs of dissent grew aboard the Calamity, as the thought that they were acting against the wishes of the Princess bubbled to the surface. They were not merely mercenaries for hire, they were ambassadors of good will and peace-

[b]"CHO! Can't shake no mans hand, ya know. Might be a fist seen?"[/b]

The Admiral's words were as final as they were rare. The Aeon would destroy the Sanhedrin for the Austrians, in the name of the Princess and the Aeon.

Edited by Executive Minister
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The crew of the [i]MSS Bira[/i] were in the mess hall, eating their favored lunch of turnips and matza ball soup that they picked up from the Rebel Army base in Gibraltar. In the middle of the meal, the low humming and whirring of the engines stopped, alerting everyone that they had arrived at their destination. Captain Viktor Gozhy was at the helm of the ship when he ordered that the anchor be dropped. They reached their home for the rest of the operation. As power was diverted from the engines towards the arsenal of the ship, the guns stirred and moved into position. One turret moved its two 130mm guns towards the shore, ready to bombard at the Austrian orders, and the other turret turned out to sea, ready to pick off any target that might attack the Bira. The radars of the weapons systems started up, illuminating several screens in the fire control room located deep withing the ship. On deck, a small contingency of 25 naval infantry and the ship's chaplain were also prepared to go ashore, to offer both security and spiritual comfort to the Sanhedrin citizens.

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All night and into the morning the Imperial Marines worked in creating a secure beachhead south of Essaouria and by the morning, their hard work had paid off. Austria now had a secure claim on the coast of the continent and in the passing days there were no signs of movement from Sanhedrin natives or other foreign power who might have been altered to their presence. With the navy idle on the coast and every day passing increased the cost of supplies, Captain Schwab and Colonel Kathar, the two commanders of the expeditionary force knew that capturing Essouria was an objective that needed to be reached and soon.

The Imperial Marines would wait one more day and then the force split into a small battalion of five hundred men walking the roads north towards the city. It would be a slow and tedious march, not because they were hauling equipment or waiting for armor, but because they would be cautious as they crossed the desert roads. This was still unknown territory and the marines had not seen anyone else along the beach or along the roads, making the journey even more eerie. As they marched towards Essouria, the fleet commanders were given their orders to begin sailing north along with the transport ships, parallel with the marines. The two forces would arrive at the city at the same time and take command. From there the ships would be resupplied and a formal claim on the country would be issued.

Checking his watch as he stood on the bridge of one of the transport ships Schwab smiled. "In less then twenty-four hours Sanhedrin should be secured and with it, my promotion to Commodore I believe."

"Rather impressive sir," said one of the midshipmen on the deck. "Though no resistance to speak of, yet."

"The nation was teetering on anarchy long before we arrived. With the Mogatopian war, I'll be surprised if there is anything left. It isn't resistance that I'm worried about. It's delivering sufficient aid to the population when we arrive. We won't be entering as soldiers Herr Krause. We'll be entering as doctors."

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The next morning, the first of the marine detachment arrived at the gates of Essaouria. Cautiously, the marines made a hasty perimeter around major city exits before beginning the march towards the city center. This was the first time when the Austrians would encounter the actual citizens of Sanhedrin and the sight was exactly as Schwab had feared. After the Mogatopian War had broke out, the Sanhedrin government, which had been formed with a heavy alliance to their parent country, began to crack under pressure. The Mogatopians had put up a small defense against the coalition onslaught and rumors persisted that much of North Africa would be subsequently overrun. This had prompted the government of Sanhedrin to quickly abandon their posts, letting the country fall into anarchy, but because of the Mogatopian conflict overshadowing the small coastal nation, the larger nations of the world had passed by Sanhedrin without knowing that chaos had gripped it's streets. That was, until the first columns of the Austrian Marines began to push into the city.

However, as the Sanhedrinian citizens began to come out of their homes, the marines found that the amount of aid needed to rebuild the country back to acceptable levels would require a great deal more than the transport fleet had available. In addition, as Kathar sent scouting patrols through the city and in the immediate countryside, he discovered that various pockets of gang violence and faction warfare had erupted across Sanhedrin. But it was containable with a few more reinforcements from the mainland along with a steady movement of supplies for aid coming from Koper.

Having disembarked from the transport fleet, Captain Schwab, Colonel Kathar, and the other commanders of the mercenary fleet served as the new temporary government for the management of Sanhedrin. The first order of business for the occupational force was the distribution of what little aid they had on hand and resupply the mercenary fleet for it's eventual return voyage to Austria. In addition, the transport fleet was sent back to Austria and in ten days time would return with a larger supply fleet bringing much needed aid to the people of Sanhedrin. Meanwhile as this occurred, Schwab and his compatriots began to establish order over the countryside, gain the trust of the local population and begin the necessary movements to amalgamate Sanhedrin with the Empire.

With that, the first Austrian flags were raised over the Sanhedrin harbor and government buildings. It would be a long process, but the payoffs of an immediate foothold outside of Europe and on the coast, would be making the entire operation worth while. Along with showing that new Austrian prosperity in Europe could be transplanted to all corners of the Earth.

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The People's Republic of Africa hereby withholds recognition of this foreign colony on the mainland of Africa. We are opposed to foreign control of African lands, and hope that an alternate route can be taken in this matter.

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Fifteen days after the transport ships had left Essaouria, a larger fleet sailed into the African harbor filled with food, building material, and medical supplies. In addition, the fleet also carried the temporary Austrian Governor of what would become the Viceroyalty of Morocco. According to Hapsburg law regarding the expansion of the Empire, Austria was to remain dedicated to progressive policies regarding the natives of the region. This included self-governance, security, and education, however as Cascadia before it, the Viceroyalty would become part of the Austrian Commonwealth with the Empress and the appointed Viceroy serving as the Head of State. Priorities were set however in reestablishing the Sanhedrin government and local elections would begin once gang violence and general anarchy had been quelled within the borders of the country.

However, while Essaouria had been integrated properly into the Empire, the outlying regions of Saffi and the proposed capital of Marrakesh still required Austrian occupation. With the supplies coming from the mainland, an additional six thousand Imperial Marines and two armor divisions were landed on the coast of Africa. Two thousand marines were sent to Saffi and Marrakesh respectfully and while in Essaouria supplies began to be distributed to the population, opening public works systems and mandatory construction of infrastructure and repairing store fronts and market areas. What was important was getting the regular Moroccan citizen back to work and off the streets, where they could cause trouble and disturb the new order of society. At the beginning, it would be necessary for the Imperial Marines to take over policing duties, but as time would pass, the natives of Morocco would have a greater role to play in managing affairs of their nation. That said, native police were immediately placed into academies and the country began to come together, slowly, but all great things took time.

Special attention was also payed towards modernizing the ports in both Essaouria and Saffi. In time, these cities would become the Headquarters of the Imperial Navy, outside of the restrictions of the Mediterranean and free to roam the Atlantic. Coastal defenses were constructed along the shores and both ports were moved to expand their harbors to contain the larger Imperial fleet. Contracts would then be sent to stronger military companies in Dalmatia, the United Federation of the East, and others, for the specifics of defense construction on both the coast and through out the Viceroyalty.

Morocco, Vienna hoped, would soon become one of Austria's most valued Viceroyalties.

The Viceroy, Karolina Žigo and the Chief Councilor Ni'mat Antar, both issued their thanks to the nations of the world who had accepted Austria's claim.

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Priority construction projects would be the core infrastructure with which to expand and build from the initial ones.

These priority projects included:

-Construction of a deep water container port capable of servicing both large container vessels and military warships.
-Construction of two major air ports facilities.
-Early construction on road integration to move heavy lift vehicles.
-Construction of an integrated air and sea defense system. The Initial system shall focus on low probability of intercept and passive detection methods based on portable systems. This shall be integrated with stand off weapons on mobile platforms. Further these technologies were taken care to be developed according to the specifications of the Sovereign Initiative, thus allowing Austria access to overlapping TSI member assets in the area while the construction of Fortress Morocco was taking place.

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While the majority of the crew of the MSS Bira remained on board, including the naval infantry, the ship's chaplain engaged on a special mission. Going synagogue to synagogue in the former theocracy, he would offer spiritual comfort, and teaching. Additionally, as part of a mission from the very top, he would attempt to remove any shreds of heretical talmudic influence or study in the Sanhedrin Jewry, in order to bring the worshiping more in line with Marscurian Judaism.

Edited by KaiserMelech Mikhail
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With message of contracts reaching Athenian corporations the Austrian authorities would receive dozens of offers to rebuild or build from scratch parts of the area. In addition Hellenic World Services would offer their Poseidon ASBMs to be used as a defense against attacks by sea.

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