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The One


Centurius
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[b]Office of the Magistrate of National Security
Tower of the People
Athens[/b]

Andrea as normal had been working late. The Tower of the People was pretty much deserted and his clock showed it was way past ten. With a sigh he finished reading through a final briefing, CSS field offices had heard of some suspect events somewhere in Bulgaria. Admittedly he hated the briefings but well he didn’t have much options. 1000 the monarchs were expecting a filtered briefing and he could hardly let them read through it all. Andrea walked to one of the tables in his office and took a glass of vodka. By now he had already heard footsteps but thought it was just a guard on patrol. He couldn’t be mistaken worse. As he turned around he saw a tall man, well in his 40’s. As the man walked into the light he instantly recognized him.

“Alex! It’s good to see you again. I read they were going to let you out but I didn’t expect it so soon.” Andrea said to the former emperor.

“Didn’t expect it or didn’t hope it? Just like you didn’t hope I would get out of the palace.” Alexander replied, by now he noticed there were two more men in the room. Armed.

“What do you mean Alex?” Before he could push an alert button the men had pointed a gun at his head.

“You betrayed me to Akhatova for a promotion. I thought I could count on you. I considered you my brother. Now it is time for my retribution.”

“No, no, please don’t kill me”

“Oh I will not, I will make you go through the same as what happened to me. You are going to help me restore what belongs to me.” Alexander said before turning around. “Take him out for a ride, we’ll have to show him what was built up from prison. “

Before Andrea could even object the back of a gun hit his head. The men would carry him out of the building using the emergency exists, the guards at the exits had been bribed or otherwise convinced to look the other side. Andrea would be thrown into the back of a van before the van began driving north.

Edited by Centurius
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[b]Somewhere in the South of Macedonia[/b]

Andrea would wake up with a terrible headache. He could hear the sound of an engine running and the street below him however he couldn’t see anything.

“HEY! Let me out of here! I’m an official member of the Council of Magistrates you can get into a lot of trouble for this”

In his mind he tried to recall the FIA procedures for such a thing as this, it had really been way too long since he was out in the field. Suddenly he heard the car stop and some men talking in Macedonian. A bit later the doors of the van opened and light finally came in again, albeit just streetlights. “Come” One of the men said. Knowing full well they’d take him with them anyway he obliged and stepped out of the van. He recognized the area from one of the intelligence briefings. It was a city in Macedonia, which kind of explained why the men were speaking Macedonian. From the distance between Athens and southern Macedonia and the fact that it was still night he calculated there could have never passed more than 2 or 3 hours.

“Come!” One of the men clearly impatient yelled, he followed them into a church, it had to be the Church of St. Sophia in Orchid. The frescoes inside gave it away however once beyond the entrance he saw something completely different from the history classes. The church on the inside was covered with infinity symbols. “Church of the One, that can’t be.” Andrea spoke.

“But it is Andrea.” He turned around to see Alexander in the entrance walking to the center of the church. “You meet very interesting people in those political prisons. Under Akhatova the Greek Orthodox Church suffered a terrible faith, it didn’t get much better under Notaras. Our people even had hopes for her with her line dating back to the great emperor Heraclius but nothing could be further from the truth. The Church of the One is the embodiment of all that is good. Pacifism however has gotten them nowhere so now with my return we can go to the next level. You will be there to help me.”

Andrea felt an uncontrollable urge to laugh come up. “Help you? There is no way, I made an oath to serve my state and my monarch. Terrorism doesn’t exactly fit into that. Prison clearly made you lose your mind”

“Perhaps, it probably did but even crazy people can achieve things. As the Magistrate of National Security you control the High Guard and have influence on the CSS and FIA. You are going to help us whether you like it or not. Show him.”

One of the guards would get his Smartphone and open a connection to a camera. Once the feed activated Andrea could see his daughter bound to a chair and gagged.

“Don’t worry she is fine. You see when you send her to that fancy school in Sofia she came into contact with one of our local departments. She happily joined the church as unlike you she does know where the future of Athens should be. Now she can stay fine and in a few days happily walk free again, or I tell them to kill her. It really is your choice.”

“Okay okay, what do you want?”

“Tomorrow the Empress will be having a scheduled event at the Parthenon. Out of religious reasons security on the temple and around it will be minimal. I want the specific security plans and I want you to assign three High Guard officers of my choosing to the security detail. We have a computer able to access the High Guard intranet from here so you can get us the plans right now. These men will take you back to Athens so you can arrive to your duties at time. If I don’t get confirmation from my officers by tonight or if I hear you’re talking your daughter dies. Understood?”

“Yes”

Alexander walked away while the guards took him to a computer. After entering his access codes and confirming his identity through several checks including finger prints and an iris scan he obtained access to the National Security mainframe. Within less than a few seconds the files on the event were on the local drive.

As the job was finished the guards took him outside again, rather than going to the van they walked to a sedan. One of the guards opened the backdoor while the other helped him inside. The ride back while significantly more comfortable would also be very troubling.

Edited by Centurius
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[b]Imperial Palace
Athens[/b]

“Your Imperial Highness it is 7 am” A computer voice said, the entire palace had been equipped with a mostly independent system to watch security feeds and handle duties within the enormous complex.

With a sigh Ariadne looked up from her pillow. Today was one of those days she just wanted to keep sleeping however this was one event she had to attend. As the head of the Cult of Athena she had to make an address each year. Not doing so would shock followers throughout the nation.
After five more minutes she would get prepared and dressed, as was tradition when speaking religiously she had to match the clothing of the current aristocracy, in this case the traditional Greek Chiton. It was one of those things that separated Greek fashion from the rest of the Federations and probably the world. Once finished she opened the doors of her quarters and stepped outside.

“Good morning Your imperial Highness, I trust you had a good sleep?” One of the guards asked as Ariadne stepped outside.

“Yes I did Lieutenant, thank you. I trust all preparations are ready?”

“Correct, I have just received confirmation from the Magistrate of National Security. All preparations have been made and at your request we have kept the guards within the temple limited to three. Outside of the temple we have also kept them to a minimum to keep the ceremony as pure as possible”

Ariadne nodded. “Very well we will be leaving around 9. I’d like the Intelligence briefing postponed until I return.”

The next hour would go fast, after a hasty breakfast Ariadne, escorted by two dozen High Guard, headed toward the limousine just in front of the doors of the palace. The limousine itself already armored was protected by 2 M1202 MCS, 1 M1201 R&S Vehicle and 4 M1206 ICVs. The latter carrying 9 High Guard each. The formation would head towards the gates of the complex which itself was already a large distance due to the Imperial Palace being more of a large village or perhaps even a small city itself. Once outside they went for the quickest way to the Parthenon in the center of Athens, while the city itself was a completely deweaponized zone the High Guard had an exception to this rule as long as the Empress was in the city. After driving for about half an hour they arrived at the Acropolis. Many were already there for the great Panathenaea. This annual event taken over from the ancient times had always been the most popular event in the Athenian Federation. While thousands were already near the acropolis throughout the country there were many events as an extension.

“Are you ready, Your Imperial Highness?” A Colonel of the High Guard asked as he opened the door of the limousine. Ariadne nodded and stepped out. As she walked up to the Parthenon many approached the fences set up to see a glimpse of their Empress. Once at the Parthenon she stepped onto a standard and began facing the large crowd and the cameras.

“My people I am glad to see you all here. From the ancient times our people have come together to honor the gods once a year. A tradition we, in respect of those before us and the gods, should never abandon.

Help us, lords of Mount Olympus. Help your servants find their way to righteousness. That we might destroy our enemies. Let us walk the path of righteousness and lift our faces unto your goodness. Help us turn away from the calls of the wicked and show us the knowledge of your certain salvation. We offer you this prayer.

Lady Athena. Take our sacrifice of willpower and faith in your greatness so together with your guidance we may find salvation.

So say we all.“

The entire crowd had gone silent during the prayer.

“So say we all!” The crowd cheered.

After the prayer was over a large group of clergy walked out of the Parthenon with a large peplos. The women walked to the statue of Athena that stood close by and as was traditional put the large robe on the statue.

---

With the ceremony at full speed no one paid any attention to the temple and being part of the High Guard Dejan and his two friends had even been stationed there. However what was not as planned was the presence of three sniper rifles.

Just before the prayer the three began setting up their rifles. Everything was going as planned, as soon as the statue would have the robe the three would take a shot. However not all was going to remain as planned. In a timely fashion the prayer ended and the robe was put on the statue Dejan activated his radio.

“Take the shot”

Only seconds later the Empress froze as she looked at her chest and stomach that showed three exit holes. High Guard immediately rushed onto the stage and in the temple heading for the location the shots came from. The High Guard protecting the Empress immediately activated their earpiece.

“Code Red, Phoenix down. Need medical evacuation immediately.”

Within minutes the acropolis would be filled with hundreds of High Guard and an Erebos used for medical purposes would retrieve the Empress. The helicopter itself would again be protected by two attack helicopters and 2 rapid response F-99s. In these cases they were not going to take risks.

---

[b]Imperial Command
Imperial Pentagon
Athens[/b]

Twenty minutes had passed, by now most of Imperial Command had assembled. Only Field Commander Picard and Director Mengsk were not at the emergency meeting. However both and the Emperor of the Western Athenian Federation joined the meeting using the military holonet.

“Generals are the rumors I’m hearing true. Did an assassination attempt happen against the Empress?” Valerio asked, visibly irritated and concerned.

“Yes, no one has claimed the assassination attempt yet. The Empress is currently at the Athens Academic Hospital and is currently in surgery with Magistrate Bastos as surgeon. The Colonel of the Guard at the hospital has told me while the bullets missed her heart and main arteries her condition is critical.”General of the Guard Anthris responded.

Before they could go on everyone in the room received a phone call and the same happened to those not currently present. As soon as the first one got the message he immediately put on the television, all channels showed the same. “My god, Athens, Tirana, Sparta, Crete, the list keeps going on” In an extensively coordinated chain about a dozen car bombs had been detonated near civilian centers throughout the Eastern Athenian Federation. For every citizen it would seem like they were being attacked by a foreign power or something. Not even local authorities were sure what was going on with the chaos caused by the assassination attempt. However soon everything would clear up. The broadcasts showing the attacks would disappear and after a short loading screen the face of the former emperor Alexander II appeared.

“Citizens of the Eastern Athenian Federation, my subjects. By now you are aware of my actions. I am a soldier of the Church of the One . For too long has our great country been subject to the Pagan influences of old. For too long have we been run by nothing more than traitors. Do not mourn the dead of today. Do not mourn the death of the false Empress. All those who do not believe in the one true god deserve to die. Join me and together we can make this nation proud. I hereby announce the formation of the Crimson Crusade. We will return justice and order to the Athenian Federation, both parts of it.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

[b]Emergency Council Room
Tower of the People
Athens[/b]

With the origin of the attacks no longer unknown an emergency meeting of the Council of Magistrates and Imperial Command was called. By now Valerio was also en route to Athens and would join in on the meeting through the military holonet.

"We are looking weak, we need to kick into action to avoid further damage to our image. We have already shown weakness by the fact these attacks were possible. If we do not respond quickly there is a serious risk that people will turn to the former emperor. Especially in Bulgaria he has continued to enjoy great support." Charon said half an hour into the meeting. Most Magistrates were confused, and honestly didn't know what the best course of action would be. Sure all remembered the Greek Civil War but not from the office they were sitting on now. It was all too risky.

"How? We don't know who they are exactly. Our Empress is in surgery. Hell, I'm not even sure who is in charge. The military or us or an Imperial Administrator. We can hardly control our government, let alone start a hunt for those responsible.” Benjamin responded. The sentiment seemed to receive a lot of agreement in the council.

“Well not necessarily. As the Council of Magistrates we can make emergency decisions in the absence over the East in the absence of its monarch. Our first order of business will be appointing a regent of the Eastern Athenian Federation by a decree. At the same time control over police and the Second Army will be handed directly to the Magistrate of Defense. Elisabetta I assume we have leads on this so called Church of the One?” Hektor said with a remarkable normal voice considering the circumstances. The Magistrate of Intelligence looked up as her name was mentioned.

“Yes, I’ve just been reading up on the briefing. The Church of the One is an organization about ten years old. Originally it was strictly a church showing much similarities with the Greek Orthodox Church. Their form of leadership is unclear however the CSS has traced down what it has identified as key individuals. Mostly clergy. See, the issue is we identified the Church of the One as a minimal threat, they truly seemed to be a peaceful religious movement as our constitution allows. This quite frankly has surprised the Intelligence apparatus just as much as this Council. However if you issue the order the CSS can be arresting people within the hour. I would also recommend the Duchess of Bulgaria to be placed under house arrest. We know of her love for Alexander II and he may seek her out for protection. We also have a potential lead on the location of Alexander II from one of the assassins.”

Hektor sighed, the last time the military took action against the Duchess it caused an enormous chaos, however this time the risks might well be higher than the benefits.

“Very well, that is what we’ll do. Order Razor Special Operations to take down the suspected location. General please inform the High Guard in Sofia to secure the palace and inform the Duchess that by order of the Chief Magistrate she can not leave the palace grounds or risk prosecution. I want all of you to coordinate, we must show ourselves as one effective government. You’ll all stay here tonight and work this out.” He said as he took his coat and walked out of the room, he had to have a talk with the prime candidate for regent. However just as he walked to his office escorted by two guards an aide ran in to deliver him a message.

“Mister Chief Magistrate. Magistrate Bastos just called from the hospital. They are finished with surgery however the Empress is barely stable and in coma.” For some reason while the news was bad enough a sigh of relief still escaped. “Thank you, please pass this on to the Emergency Council”

---

[b]Strumica
Macedonia
2 hours later[/b]

Fighting terrorists and covert attacks, this was exactly what the Razors were trained for, and especially Razor Special operations. Three Erebos helicopters approached the small town Strumica in the south-west of Macedonia. They had been ordered to retrieve the former emperor of the Athenian Federation. Lethal force had been authorized. Major Moreau looked out of one of the windows of the helicopter. He had been put in charge of the operation. Forty Razors, some of the best men and women had to offer. Moreau himself had already seen over a dozen wars and fought under different flags. From the Franco-German war under Empress Zelle to the Mogatopian War. He actually was relatively inexperienced among the Razors when looking at war record alone.

“One minute until arrival” One of the pilots said as the forms of the town had become clearly visible. The men were silent as always before an op, local authorities had not been informed of the op so it was very possible they would not only face resistance from the Crimson Crusaders alone but also local law enforcement, however nothing they couldn’t handle. After the minute passed the helicopters stayed just above the compound as the Razors jumped down supported by ropes. Fifteen would be dropped on the roof while the other twenty-five would enter the compound from the ground. As Moreau proceeded he’d activate the active camouflage to become practically invisible to the naked eye.

“All green. Proceed with plan, use of lethal force against targets encouraged. Avoid lethal force against package” Moreau said over the closed communication system, unlike traditional communicators in the armor only the team members could hear this specific signal. The helicopters had alerted several guards already so they would need to proceed quickly. From all entrances and exit Razors would run in. Moreau had taken the main entrance together with a lieutenant. He quickly shot the two guards at the entrance. Surveillance had suggested there were about thirty people inside and the former emperor in the dead center of the compound so while resistance would be weak they couldn’t simple walk in and out either. Before going in he opened the door a little and threw a flashbang into the room, while it would prevent the terrorists from doing anything his armor had proper protection against both the sound and light effects. Moreau and the Lieutenant rushed into the building to take out three guards in the main hall.

“Main hall secure, five hostiles down” Within seconds all Razors would report their respective areas for the first phase were secure and that a total of ten terrorists had been killed. “Proceed to the next stage. Team two proceed to the server room and secure all data storage devices you can invite. One and three proceed to location of package. Godspeed guys.”

Moreau would slowly walk up the stairs that went to the second floor, by now four more Razors had joined him and the Lieutenant. It was awkwardly silent in the building and Moreau was amazed there wasn’t a larger response to their infiltration. It simply seemed too easy. Once upstairs however he saw two guards at the door, they hadn’t heard him though and seeing him would be almost impossible. With two quick shots the guards at the end of the hallway went down. As they kept moving they arrived at a door to the room which the CSS had identified as the likely location of Alexander II. After switching his display to an infrared interface he saw two people standing at an office.

“At package location, all teams status”
“Team two at server room retrieved data storage devices and downloaded information that could not be taken directly. Ready for additional orders.”

“Team three pinned down on fourth floor, heavy resistance. Not ready.”

Moreau sighed, they would have to do the arrest alone, then again it didn’t really matter the protection was minimal anyway.

“Teams two and three move out. All Team one secure the second floor. Proceeding to retrieve package.”

Moreau kicked in the door after which he immediately raised his weapon, he couldn’t simply go in shooting as they needed Alexander alive. However as he came in he would quickly find out neither were the target but rather two terrorists. It was clear this room was in fact intended for someone with royal roots and the man and woman inside were unarmed. Moreau would activate the element of his armor allowing him to speak to people rather than just the radio, he would also deactivate the active camouflage.

“On your knees. By order of the Chief Magistrate of the Athenian Federation you are under arrest.”

The terrorists quickly complied which suggested to Moreau they were an unarmed element of the Crimson Crusade. After securing the two terrorists they would be taken outside for retrieval. Moreau looked through the room. Somewhere in here there had to be something they could use, however before he could finish his search the amplified hearing systems of the uniform identified a sound which had been preprogrammed into the systems. Suddenly everything Moreau could see would be covered with a mostly transparent red color and an alert. The armor had identified the sound of a bomb used by the Hellenic Forces. “It’s a trap. All units evacuate the compound!” Moreau ordered through the closed communications system as he activated the exoskeleton to increase his speed and began running toward the nearest exit.

---

[b]Athens Academic Hospital
Athens[/b]

Valerio walked onto a secured floor in the hospital, dozens of High Guard had secured the floor the Empress was on and the two floors above and below to avoid any further attempts on the Empress’ life.

He had been to the Tower of the People and handled the formalities however as this was mostly limited to the East the constitution expressly specified he could not exercise power. After all, the thrones had been separated. In the west there honestly wasn’t much trouble. The CSS was watching suspected sights of Church of the One supporters in the west and certain radical anti-Athens clergy were being watched by them. They could never be too sure. As he approached the room the Empress was in he approached the doctor.

“What is her status doctor?” Valerio asked.

The doctor turned around a bit surprised and perhaps even with elements of shock as he had never seen a monarch in person yet, let alone two. Even considering the circumstances.

“Your Imperial Highness, she is stable for now however she lost a lot of blood and we haven’t properly analyzed the damage to her brain yet. We can not proceed with the treatment until we have more information so she will remain comatose for now.”

In the background a television was on showing images of the widespread destruction and comments on the lack of government action however suddenly the image would change to the Press Room in the tower as Hektor walked on stage accompanied by the Magistrate of Defense and the Imperial Administrator of Bulgaria, Iliana Nedelcheva. Valerio put the sound harder to hear the speech.

“People of the Eastern Athenian Federation. You must all be shocked and wondering what has happened right now. Likewise you must have wondered why the government has been so slow to respond. I apologize for this lack of action. Our country has been hit by a wave of terrorism not seen since the Bulgarian Civil War and a lack of leadership we have not known since the end of the Greek Civil War that created the Athenian Federation to begin with. An assassination attempt has been made on the Empress and we have captured those responsible. Likewise we have begun tracking down and arresting members of this so called Crimson Crusade. I am pleased to say that the Empress is alive, while still not out of harm’s way she is stable and being treated by the best doctors in Athens and probably Europe.

I know you are afraid, I am too. I know you are unsure what is going to happen now, I am too. However we must all stay united against these terrorists. To restore command and control over the different sections of the armed forces and police by decree of the Council of Magistrates the Imperial Administrator of Bulgaria, as the governor of the largest region in the east after Greece itself, has been appointed as Regent of the Eastern Athenian Federation and will serve in this position until the Empress has made a full recovery. At the same time I have handed control over the police and Second Army to the Magistrate of Defense who will work in coordination with the regent. This is not martial law and final control over the armed forces will be with the regent. Good luck and maintain faith. We have been through numerous wars, we can survive this too.”

Before the press could ask questions the three would leave the press room again.

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  • 3 weeks later...

[b]Strumica
Macedonia
Half an hour after the explosion[/b]

Moreau was sitting on a wall near the compound smoking a cigarette, he had barely escaped and they had lost a Razor who wasn’t fast enough, in addition the remaining terrorists not captured or killed had died in the explosion. As he looked at the stars a Lieutenant walked to him.

“Major, we have received a message from Athens. They have ordered an interrogation to be performed of the two captured terrorists here.”

Moreau sighed after he looked at the stars for a few more seconds he threw the cigarette to the ground and jumped off the wall. “Prepare the shed, two chairs and two Razors. I’ll be there in five minutes.”

The Lieutenant walked away while Moreau began walking past the remains of the compound, it was clear they had been expecting a strike and this was worrying. There were only three people with enough time to spread the info on the exact location, after all he himself and his own men had only been told five minutes prior to the deployment and the other magistrates were given very vague information. So that kept the Chief Magistrate, Magistrate of Intelligence and Magistrate of National Security. He had never trusted Ferrari so considered her the most likely traitor but he needed evidence to prove it. After thinking about it he began heading for the shed which had already been surrounded by guards. As instructed inside the shed most things had been removed and the two prisoners were bound to chairs in the center. A man and a woman, neither could be older than twenty and this made it all the harder.

“Okay let’s be reasonable people here, you’re captured and are looking at a life sentence in Antarctica and terrible pain in the upcoming hours, days and probably weeks. So I’ll give you a chance to cooperate now and get back on the streets before the end of the year.” Moreau said however the prisoners would not reply. With a sigh he nodded to the two Razors who would hit the prisoners in their faces, the metal nature of the combat armor would make the hit all the more painful.

“Want to talk now?” Moreau asked, again the two remained silent. “Okay I didn’t want to do this but you aren’t really leaving me an option, take the woman outside. We only need one prisoner anyway.”

One of the Razors untied the woman as she was pulled out of the shed, in reality she would be taken to a nearby army base but that was something the man didn’t know.

“Okay, see considering we didn’t find an id chip on either of you your existence is simply not official, as far as the law cares you are nobody and thus not subject to the civil rights. Now you can either talk or your lady friend is going to be shot. After her you get another chance and then you’ll be next.”

“You wouldn’t kill her, you’re an Athenian, bound by your ridiculous codes of honor and morals.” The man replied, the first words he had said since they found him.

“I’m a Razor” Moreau replied as he visibly turned to the closed communications system and acted like the voice systems had been active by accident. “Proceed with the exec…” Before he could finish the sentence the prisoner would come in between “Wait! I’ll talk just don’t kill her” Moreau smiled “Never mind.”

“Now, let me begin with an easy question. Who tipped you off that we were coming?” Moreau took the now empty seat and put it opposite to the prisoner after which he would sit on it. There was a short silence where the prisoner was clearly weighing his options in the end he opened his mouth.

“Motti, Andrea Motti called us about an hour before you landed telling the emperor wasn’t save”

Moreau sat in awe and wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. Had he said Ferrari he would have immediately believed it but the Magistrate of National Security had supported Ariadne from the beginning and was even one of the party officials that approached her. Unfortunately for internal missions he also led the High Guard Razors and the investigation into the assassination attempt. Before he could ask another question the door to the shed opened and several men wearing suits walked in.

“Major, Committee for State Security. We have come to take custody of the prisoner. The Chief Magistrate has requested you to go to Athens for debriefing at Imperial Command.” The agent seemed to be in his 50 though still dedicated to his job. “Did he say anything?”

Moreau had some doubts for a bit but eventually decided to trust the agent. “He identified Motti as the leak”

---

After the hand-over of the prisoners and the results from interrogation combined with system logs a disturbing discovery was made, not only had Andrea Motti tipped off Alexander II but in the days prior he had given questionable orders and even personally ordered the High Guard that shot the empress to be part of the security. This information was presented to both the Speaker of the Assembly and the Magistrate of Justice, the Chief Magistrate would be informed later on, all agreed on a course of action.

[b]Tower of the People
Athens[/b]

Just as the Assembly had passed a vote of no confidence in the Magistrate of National Security a force of twelve CSS agents walked into the Tower of the People. The High Guard in the tower had already been informed and as such would lock off the Office of the Magistrate of National Security to prevent escape. As the elevator with the team began moving most had their doubts, it was their former boss they were arresting after all. As it reached the office the High Guard turned off the lock on the elevator allowing the team entry into the office. At the back of the hall they could already see Andrea staring out of a window. With guns pulled they approached him.

“Andres Motti, in name of the throne you are under arrest for crimes against the people and high treason. “

Without resisting the man would allow himself to get cuffed and escorted out of the tower to the CSS headquarters in Portugal for interrogation, Elisabetta Ferrari would take over as Magistrate of National Security until the next elections.

---

[b]Mount Olympus Medical Complex
Mount Olympus
14 days after the arrest[/b]

As Ariadne’s situation stabilized the decision was made to transfer her to the Mount Olympus Medical Complex, the health care would be just as good there however for both security reasons and fairness to the people staying in the Athens Academic Hospital would not work. Weeks had passed since the assassination and some were considering to replace her more permanently however only days before a vote in the Assembly a nurse would notice a change in her status. By the time a doctor came running in she had already opened her eyes. The doctor took a small light and held it above her eyes as she was instructed to follow the light. Quite effectively she followed the light and also passed the other tests, she wanted to talk however the life support equipment prevented her from doing so. After more tests the life support machines would be removed.

“Your Imperial Highness, how are you feeling?” The doctor asked, because her throat was still dry responding was still difficult. “Horrible, what happened?” She asked.

“Terrorists dressed as High Guard and working for Alexander II tried to kill you, you were taken into the Athens Academic Hospital with damage to several vital organs and major arteries. The doctors, even with the most advanced systems, were barely able to stabilize you. You are now at the Mount Olympus Medical Complex and have been in a coma for almost three weeks. If you will excuse me I have to report this to Athens.” Ariadne nodded after which the doctor walked away, he was clearly trying to hide something from her but she imagined there probably was a reason for. She turned her head toward the window, she had only been at Mount Olympus a few times before, far less times than she had wished.

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[b]Imperial Palace
Athens
Fast-forward in time to most recent post in Athens Times[/b]

Months and months of recovery had followed after waking up out of the coma but in the end Ariadne was deemed both physically and mentally fit to return to her normal duties, however a strong recommendation was given to avoid very stressful situations. A limousine escorted by several military vehicles and an attack helicopter approached the gates of the Imperial Palace, security had been significantly increased since the assassination attempt. Ariadne looked through the window of the car as she finally saw the beautiful gardens and great architecture of the Imperial Palace.

Suddenly she started hearing a strange sound, it seemed like music but she wasn’t sure as it was very vague. "What is that music?” She asked in the general direction of the guard in the car who seemed to be confused by the question. “What music your highness?” The guard asked. “Empress, are you feeling alright?”

“Yes, yes, I must have been daydreaming. Do not worry.” She could still hear the sound but wouldn’t risk any doubts about her mental fitness right now, she had been waiting too long for this. After a few minutes the limousine, now without the escort as they were within the gates, stopped in front of the main entrance of the Imperial Palace. By now the area was filled with photographers and camera crews, the High Guard was having a serious job holding them back. Almost immediately after the engine stopped the door next to Ariadne opened and a guard extended a hand to help her out. As she took it she would step out of the car onto the carpet. The flashes followed immediately however Ariadne ignored them and walked to a small group standing at the door. For the occasion Ariadne was dressed in a formal suit, as she approached the small group she identified the Chief Magistrate and the Imperial Administrator of Bulgaria, or for now still regent.

“Welcome back your highness” Hektor said as the Empress was just in front of them.

“Thank you Chief Magistrate, and thank you for serving the Federation regent. You have done a great job.” Ariadne replied. “Shall we enter?” After Hektor and Iliana nodded the entire group would walk into the palace, to formally return to her function she needed to address the Assembly of the People and Council in a joint session of parliament, however the decision was made to take a different approach. The speech intended for the joint session would be broadcasted from the press room but in addition to the joint session also to the people. Backed by the Chief Magistrate and Imperial Administrator Ariadne walked into the room and stepped on a stand right in front of numerous journalists and cameras.

“Dear members of parliament. It is with this message to the joint session that I officially assume my position as Empress of the Eastern Athenian Federation and relieve the regent of her duties. We are faced with a difficult challenge, our state faces both internal threats through the fundamentalists and external threats through Asian invaders who in recent months have stepped up their presence in the region. We as a people must face these challenges together and we will. After this statement I will officially instruct the Second Army to eradicate remaining violent elements of the Church of the One. I will also personally oversee the construction of our forward operating bases to not only shield the Athenian Federation but the region at large. We must stand strong, and we must stand united.”

The message was followed by a lot of applauding however there would be no time for questions, the trip had been long and as such she walked out of the press room where Hektor stayed behind to answer questions from the press.

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