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Rearrangement


Evangeline Anovilis
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With almost silent steps, Liselotte Wiltord walked through the empty, dim-lit hallways. The Premier's mansion, located right outside the Ville de Québec had a rather unseeming appearance from the outside, but within the walls of Wiltord's residence, it compared more to an abandonned mansion, filled with old furniture and kind of refined in its atmosphere, but devoit of life, of light and of any signs of inhabitants, apart from Wiltord herself. While Wiltord, as a commoner, according to Faraway nobility, was not surprising people with not having any servants, the utter lack of any employees, even a personal secretary, only helped add to the rumours about the cold Premier, shutting out people. Avoiding public appearances just as much as she avoided colours and exposure to sunlight, people soon started to call her a ghost or demon. Apart from the fact that she once was part of the clergy, not a thing was known about her past and the way she had come to her office was a mystery. Indeed, the jokes often got a very serious note, when the common citizens started to criticise the policies, which showed an open disgust for democratic governance, something even Wiltord made no secret out of. But even so, Wiltord had her supporters... which were powerful enough to even claim the central seat of Québec's government.

As Liselotte Wiltord finally stopped in front of a high double-winged door, five pale long fingers appeared from the end of her long right sleeve, contrasting sharply with the dark clothing, and grasped the handle, pulling it down. With an ease that was surprising for such slenderness, the Premier opened the door and entered one of the few brighter rooms of the mansion. Inside, a small number of people already awaited Wiltord, bowing before her respectfully. Liselotte Wiltord hardly answered though, merely walking up to them and taking a seat at the end of the long table, which stood at the centre of the room, it's focal point. The guests where three.

Perhaps most prominent would feature the Chef d'État-Major, Evangeline Arnault-Delareux. Altough in a position of power, just like Wiltord, she was a commoner, having worked her way up through the military. As such, she was a dynamic hard-working person, with a fiery spirit and great ambition. as sign of her achievements and authority, she wore her uniform with utmost pride and even today, the CEMA showed up with uniform coat and peaked cap.

The second guest present was Florence de Pétèvellier, the Minister of the Exterior. A former Faraway noble, Florence had in the past worked at the Faraway court as the secretary of the chaplain, but had now become the one in charge of administering the diplomatic corps. She had not much of a presence, was mostly reserved and a politically harmless smiling tea drinking chess piece.

The third was someone far less prominent, yet not to be underestimated. Fione Silvestre, similar to Arnault-Delareux wearing her uniform as Director of the Higher Police, was the head of an instittion that maybe was no longer omnipotent, but which still had significant responsibilities in protecting public order. Fione had formerly lived in Faraway proper, but had moved to Québec after the downfall, just like many others.

Before even just one word was said, Pétèvellier would pour the Premier a cup of tea and put it down in front of Wiltord. "Thanks." After looking at the gathered circle, Wiltord would begin. "I just had a meeting with Hélène. It seems she shares our worries on the Europeans, however, the Madame does not want to upset diplomacy. I would hope there's some progress to report?" Her sharp eyes wandered to Arnault-Delareux, who understood and dutifully gave an account of the matter at hand. "Sadly, the progress is very limited. With the annexations following the fall of Faraway, the inherent limitations in our national defense are obvious and with much of Faraway's former territory lost, and no way to recover it anytime soon, our position has weakened militarily and economically. Not to mention, there's a certain desire by the American Commonwealth for us to retain democratic principles." Pétèvellier sighed. "Well, we will meet with the Commonwealth once more, so keeping good ties might increase chances of a compromise being found." Altough the words expressed some sort of hope, hardly anyone in the circle believed in it. Arnault-Delareux merely remarked. "Letting instability creep in through the liberals will not make us any more survivable. And it's just to appease those who robbed us in the first place." Visibly displeased, Wiltord finished the short exchange. "Securing our continued sovereignity is paramount. We can be marginalised but for a while. We could be crushed forever."

Suddenly, her attention wandered to Silvestre and Arnault-Delareux. "In any case, we need to secure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. Too much power to disloyal elements and the state falls apart. I think, in the last few weeks, too much power has vanished while our country is in such a critical state. I would hope this'll be taken care of?" The two looked at Wiltord in surprise. "Wouldn't the Queen abdicate?" Wiltord shook her head. "Sacrifices might be inevitable. But we ought to bear them." Seeing as the two still were doubting the course, her amber eyes filled with anger. "I would hope, that people do not forget the pacts they entered."

Edited by Evangeline Anovilis
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It was in the morning hours of a cold spring day. As first signs of the events to come, units of the Milice would be ordered to close off the bridges over the Saint-Lawrence and to seal the border towards Kanadario. While they had not been informed as to why this was implemented, an order had arrived from the État-Major, stating a need, due to an impending internal crisis. To many, who had to get up early and stand for hours in the cold to guard some border crossings, this vague explanation was not saying much, yet, many followed it. Even though some guessed that what was to come was not entirely within the spirit of constitution or democratic principles, loyalties to such institutions were few and shallow. Whatever would come could not be any worse and maybe lend some stability to the chaotic state of Québec.

 

Within Québec itself, the movement would rely on other forces than the popular Milice. Gathering in the streets, seemingly coming from nowhere, units of soldiers in a black version of the Faraway standard uniform would appear, wearing on their peaked caps instead of the Faraway golden maple leaf a silver fleur-de-lys, a symbol, which would also be visible, altough in black, on their brassards. Altough small in number, counting a few thousand at most, these units would start occupying the administrative buildings of Ville de Québec, Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Gatineau and other centres of the Union laurentienne, raiding the public institutions with a ruthless efficiency, subduing those who resisted and detaining those who survived. Local residents mostly retreated into their homes and waited out the crisis, altough some brave ones dared call out to the strange soldiers. Such meetings would mostly end either in a short exchange of wrds, the detention of "subversive elements" of the population, or even, as would happen in Québec and Trois-Rivières, small mobs of citizens joining the soldiers of the "Lys-noir".

 

In these actions, which seemed to be closely coordinated and orchestrated from the shadows, police units from the Higher Police would join in. The units, wearing the typical brown uniforms of the old Faraway Higher Police, were already operating behind the scenes before, as was their mission, and tasked with keeping the Queen informed and threats to the regime down, the cooperation of the Higher Police with disloyal army elements completed the success of the coup d'ètat. While the black army seized the administration, the Higher Police moved against those elements of public life which could pose a threat afterwards, media, political parties, unions and political movements, which were assumed to be of questionable loyalty towards a new regime.

 

[hr]

 

Within a mere two hours, this coalition of armed forces had taken control over most of Québec, had seized control over the administration and silently dismissed the government and parliament. The great majority of the citizens would be confronted with a new reality upon awakening, including the Queen herself. Quickly, Evangeline Arnault-Delareux walked up to the Édifice André-Laurendeau, where the Queen had her office. The CEMA had been up for hours already and in contrast to some of the soldiers, was highly awake, even if it was mostly due to copious amounts of caffeine. To her left and right each was an aide, assisting the de facto head of the military by informing her on the progress of the coup. But while the updates were mostly positive in their content, Evangeline was hardly in a mood to celebrate. The violent takeover of power was not really her preferred method of overthrowing the country, lending little legitimacy to her actions and destabilising further the country that was suffering already. However, beggars can't be choosers. Building her power from the beginning on the loyalties among the military, there were hardly any other institutions she could rely upon as much as the armed forces. Altough officially under the command of the Queen, it had been her who had built up the army, who had reformed the old system, especially the officer corps and had thus earned the respect of many that belonged to the Faraway old guard in military circles. Towards whatever new and short-lived institutions there were besides the old officers, the army did not really rely on much, mirroring the considerable distrust of the typical Laurentine citizen in the structures of their state, which had not yet shown any stability or progress. And this distrust was also what bothered her the most. Even if the coup succeeded, thanks to the assistance from Silvestre and Wiltord, the final result depended much on her presentation of it. Indifference would bring her into office, but only by overcoming the indifference, Evangeline would also stay there.

 

As the CEMA arrived in front of the Édifice André-Laurendeau, a neatly lined up group of soldiers in black uniform would present their arms, saluting their leader. Respectfully, Evangeline answered the salute. In their eyes, she could see, that these young people, constituting a certain elite, had a certain flame inside them, a vigor to change the ways of the country. But despite the stiff posture and high spirit, there also was a certain insecurity. A fear of the things to come. In the face of the events that were transpiring, entirely unsurprising, reminding Evangeline, that this was at best, the first step. The first of many steps, that she would have to take, to reach her goal. On a road, of lies, pragmatism and oppression.

 

[hr]

 

Queen Hélène hadn't been in in her position for long. When she accepted the crown, the idea to be able to surpass her more widely known, but most likely still forgotten older sister, to transform the country into a modern constitutional monarchy and to safeguard the last remains of what was left of the proud heritage of her family had appealed to her. The idea that people were calling out to the monarch, to provide a guiding hand and a benevolent rule. However, whatever visions she had, most already broke up, once the Queen had to deal with the reality that was the Faraway realm of Québec, the Union laurentienne, the legacy of misery, autocracy, brutality, revisionism, short, a plethora of national frustration, stemming not just from one, but from multiple groupings, who mourned not just the demise of Québec, but also of Faraway, of the "good old times". Not that Wiltord was that mournful over the Faraway system, rather, Hélène got the impression, Wiltord called upon Faraway nostalgia out of pragmatism. The green eyes of the Premier were far less those of a romantic conservative, mystifying a "glorious" past, but the eyes of a viciously calculating predator, carefully working on how to use the opportunities that existed, in order to further her own objectives.

 

Still, never did Hélène expect what awaited her this morning, when suddenly, the Queen was summoned to her office on the order of someone who was supposed to be her subordinate. As the two members of the Lys-noir escorted her to the office room, they passed a group of disabled royal guards, with one having been shot and still lying on the floor in a puddle of still warm blood. Dressed in her nightgown, due to a lack of time to prepare, the two guards brought her before Arnault-Delareux, who had assumed position behind what once was the presidents desk and should now be the Queen's. Sighing, the CEMa looked up to the captured royalty in front of her. "Bonjour, Madame." Hélène was utterly shocked, not even responding to the insolance of the address. "W-what is this?" "It is what it looks like. The forces tasked with securing the country, restoring order to it." Arnault-Delareux responded coldly. "So, a coup d'état." Without even trying to cover it, the CEMA nodded. "You might call it that. But it does not matter. Semantics won't change realities." Regaining a bit of her spirit after the first shock, Hélène started to become furious. "The reality is, you just betrayed crown and country." "I may have betrayed the crown, but I do not think you can lecture me on betraying the country. It was not us, who handed away power to the mob." While Arnault-Delareux leaned back, loosing up a bit, the Queen only tensed up over the accussations. "Democracy is not a crime. Treason is." Arnault-Delareux sighed again, as she decided to end the pointless exchange. "It is treason, if I fail. I did not. Your democracy is mob rule and appeasement of outside parties. Of those agents, who crushed our country in the past and robbed it in the aftermath of some of its most prized posessions. It is frankly speaking an outrage, to weaken our forces, to appease our neighbours and to pretend that such a thing is in any way acceptable. My actions may not satisfy your legal and moral criteria, but in the world of politics, these are but concepts to hide the true character of actions. And I will not stand idly by, while we add insult to injury, by reducing ourselves to a mere protectorate and dominion. Madame, you can either cooperate, or not. If you do, I would hope for a more supportive role in this restoration. If not, feel free to abdicate." With the last sentence, the CEMA would push towards the Queen a formal document, merely awaiting an official signature. "Accept reality. This is not the time for sugar rainbows and careless optimism."

 

[hr]

 

Just a short while later, Evangeline Arnault-Delareux would step before a gathered mass of soldiers in front of the Assemblée nationale. In front of the Québec Fleurdelisé, the still-flag of the Union, she would address the soldiers in front of her, but also, over radio and television, the people still at home.

 

"Madames et Monsieurs, Citoyens de l'Union de Saint-Laurent,

 

Today, I report to you the sad news, that our Queen, Hélène has abdicated, to make room for the restoration of proper order within our country. As some of you may have noticed, the military, as is its duty, has on this day, resolved itself, to oust the corrupted system that plagued our lands and to lay the foundation for a new order. For far too long, there have been authorities in Québec, which did not rule in the common interest of the nation, but solely in the interest of a few limited parties, such as the grande bourgeoisie, the anarchists and the foreign powers, which hesitated not to curtail our nation the moment they sensed weakness on our part. In my duty as a citizen loyal to this country, I have today, after long deliberation and encouragement by like-minded individuals, decided, to do away with the excesses and moral bancruptcy of this country, to cure this sick nation through a new system.

 

We should not lie to ourselves and pretend that the current state of our nation is in any way acceptable. Misguided policies and short-lived unstable regimes have marginalised our role and our prestige, destroying what was left of a once proud nation and making a mockery out of the legacy we inherited from our ancestors. We must face the reality, that is, that our country is facing a crisis, an exceptional state, which recquires exceptional measures to be taken, to safe our country from continued decline.

 

In this hour, on this day, it was my responsibility to act and to provide proper guidance to avert the nation's impending downfall. And with a heavy heart, but swift hand, I did, what was necessary, to do my duty towards you, the upright citizens of this nation. I shall use this power, which fell to me on this day through the forces of fate, to restore order and stability and shall assume guidance of the nation, for as long as is necessary, by all means that are necessary, to make sure, that this nation thrives and has a secured place in the world. I call upon the people of the Saint-Laurent, to give me but five years, in which I shall prove these words, and after which this nation shall judge my person. Vive le Québec! Vive l'Union! Vive la Francophonie!"

 

The gathered soldiers would salute Arnault-Delareux as she finised her speech and cheer, as the new leader took the short-lived constitution, symbolically ripping the document which "enshrined foreign and parasitic control over the nation".

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The events in Faraway would come as a surprise to Commonwealth government officials, although such a revitalization of reactionary elements was deemed a fairly decent possibility.  The Commonwealth military was immediately mobilized as armored and mechanized units were deployed to the border along with engineering and bridging units.  Additional units on hand were an airmobile and airborne division while other units were quickly being brought up.  Dozens of UAVs would be deployed to monitor Faraway bases and troop movements, the live streaming data providing commanders with an real time view on the situation.

 

A naval task force was organized centered on the guided missile cruiser Schenectady consisting of a destroyer, two frigates, five corvettes and a dozen coast guard cutters.  Their mission was to enforce a blockade on Faraway ports, with the coast guard cutters and the corvettes conducting intercepts while being over-watched by the other naval vessels along with several F-22s and an E-3 Sentry AWACs aircraft.  A carrier battle group and two amphibious ready groups were recalled and positioned off the coast of New England to assist in potential future operations.

 

President Marston would give a televised open address.  "My fellow Americans.  It saddens me today to inform you that this afternoon reactionary elements of the Faraway military have conducted what can only be described as a coup d'état, dismantling any semblance of democratic institutions and replacing it with what amounts to be a dictatorship headed by the military.  In the process of reforming the Faraway nation and government promises were made for any government created to respect and abide by the wishes of the people.  This promise was broken.  Henceforth the American Commonwealth does not recognize the current government of Faraway as legitimate and I urge its people not to submit to its oppression but to rise against it and secure their rights to self determination.  We also call on the world to condemn this illegitimate government and join us in calling for a return to democracy and representative government.  Until such a time I have ordered economic sanctions to be implemented against this totalitarian regime, freezing all Faraway assets held by Commonwealth institutions.  I have also ordered the Navy to enforce a blockade of Faraway ports as a show of our nation's resolve to see democracy restored.  It is my hope that we can resolve this without bloodshed, but make no mistake.  We will solve this crisis one way or another, which way is up to the leaders of this coup".

 

Not long after the speech was broadcast, EC-130H Compass Call electronic warfare aircraft would begin jamming Faraway military and civilian communications channels from inside Commonwealth airspace.  AWACS aircraft would monitor Faraway air bases for activity while a cloud of escort fighters and mobile SAMs would provide a protective umbrella over the Northeast.  A courier was sent across the St. Lawrence into Montreal to deliver a message demanding that the leader(s) of the coup explain their actions and to meet with Commonwealth officials to discuss an end to the coup and a return to democracy.

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Tianxia would like to suggest a conference of he North American and North Atlantic Powers to resolve this dispute and avoid a destabilization of the region.  Never the less, Tianxia extends its political support to the American Commonwealth under our Mutual Defense Treaty.

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After receiving the reports of heightened tensions in North America, Princess Lanying and Meihua would call for a de-escalation of the conflict and request that the two states make further attempts to solve the situation diplomatically, rather than making brash moves that do more to damage the common populace than the as-painted antagonists of this incident.

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"Madame Maréchal, your orders?" The group of young officers stood in front of Arnault-Delareux behind her desk. Having reported the message from the courier to their leader, they now awaited the orders on how to proceed. Upon hearing the news, Arnault-Delareux sighed. The American threat was rather clear for once, the Commonwealth was seemingly prepared to go to war over the matter, showing a belligerence it otherwise only showed towards the Japanese once. The officers too, their eyes showed signs of fear, but the Maréchal knew, showing weakness now, would only make matters worse. Focusing on the options at hand, she thus merely replied in a calm manner. "Finish the mobilisation. If they cannot be reasoned with, we'll need every division we can get."

 

A short while later, Arnault-Delareux would make a broadcast in radio and television, addressing the people and the American Commonwealth.

 

"Bonsoir, citoyens québecois et mes amis americains,

 

Today, following the restoration of order through the swift and decisive action of the armed forces in the interest of our people, the American Commonwealth has seen it fit to expose the hostility they have towards our country. Without any consideration for the sovereignity of our nation and for the people that live here, they try to impose their demands upon us, to marginalise our country and to tread us like a mere protectorate. We see here at work, the American Commonwealth's idea of hegemony in North America, using systemic violence against those who comply, using brute force to extinguish those who try to stay independent. The Commonwealth and its allies have offered us talks. In the interest of our country and its people, you, we will take up this offer of diplomatic negotiations, in order to settle this conflict in a manner, that is peaceful, yet still acceptable for our country. It has, however, to be clear, that Québec is no vassal of the American Commonwealth and that this nation will defend itself to the best of its abilities, from the day a filthy Commonwealth soldier sets their foot into our country, to the day they leave it again, dead or alive."

 

[hr]

 

While the Laurentine Union would send Adéle Valmy to the conference proposed by Tianxia, the Armée de Québec would start the Levée en masse. Having already been on alert before, due to the crisis in Europe and some fights over the day, the mobilisation would follow a contingency plan drafted by Arnault-Delareux as CEMA months earlier. Adding to the standing force of 40 divisions of the Armée de Québec and 30 divisions of the Milice nationale, another 80 divisions would be called to arms, in order to defend the country in case of emergency. While reservists came to take up their arms, the standing army would deploy along the border with the American Commonwealth, to defend it if necessary. They would errect barricades in towns and across the bridges, with most of the Milice being forward deployed overlooking the border crossings, while some army divisions formed a second line in the rear, stationed in villages and forests outside the major towns. These units would dig some rough earthworks in preparation of the defence. The different artillery forces would be prepared and firing plans would be created, in order to trade blood for blood, should it really be necessary.

 

Air units of the Forces airiennes de Québec would take to the air, additionally to normal air patrols. While not stealth fighters, the Hulottes would be flying both in anti-air and anti-ground constellation. Any UAV crossing the border would be intercepted and requested to turn around or face the consequences of invading Quebec airspace.

 

Naval forces were practically non-existent. Rather than pointlessly investing into large naval forces, a whole lot of half a dozen minelayers would be all there was, though they'd stay in port. They'd be only manned by skeleton crews, ordered to scuttle them before they'd fall into enemy hands. Rather, the defence of the coast would rely on land-based defences, to deter any landings.

 

The État-Major de l'Armée de Québec would secretly be moved from Ville de Québec to Val d'Or. Though it extented the communication lines, the move was deemed preferable and a second command would stay in Québec to directly coordinate at the frontlines.

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A response would be sent to the coup leadership that a Combat Fast Assault Craft would be made available to provide transportation for talks just south of Quebec in Hadlow. 

 

In the meantime preparations were still underway.  Commonwealth forces on the border numbered three mechanized, two armored and two light infantry divisions with a airmobile and airborne division in reserve.  Another airmobile, light infantry and two mechanized divisions were en route as well.  A marine expeditionary brigade was also deployed and LCAC and HALCAC units based in New York were sent up the Hudson to travel to staging areas to assist.  Additional artillery and combat support troops were made available to units and combat engineering units were in place with the necessary equipment.  Units in forward and at risk areas would be ordered to dig in and fortify their positions due to the threat of hostile artillery fire.

 

UAVs would fly right along the border providing Commonwealth forces with detailed information on the coup force's forward positions in real time without even having to cross the river.  Satellites and E-8 JSTARS aircraft would monitor deeper areas unable to be reached by UAVs.  Special forces units were ordered to be on standby for possible infiltration missions to expand reconnaissance efforts.

 

In the West, the Commonwealth would also deploy troops to the Kanadario-Faraway border once permission was given.  An airborne unit would provide protection for the city of Ottawa while two mechanized and two armored divisions would take up positions on the border just like along the St. Lawrence.  They too would be provided additional support and engineering units, as well as UAV reconnaissance, and the protective aerial umbrella would be expanded to include Kanadario with fighter and AWACS units from the Midwest providing combat air patrols.  Amphibious and fast attack craft units based at NS Erie would be ordered to a forward base established at Summerstown to link up with an MEU transported there.

 

On a different note the Vicidalian Legion in Fort Drum was confined to quarters as the base was locked down by other garrison units.  While it may not have been necessary it was better to be safe than sorry as the unit's loyalties were in doubt and could swing either way.

Edited by MostGloriousLeader
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As Adéle Valmy already had been appointed the representant of the Union laurentienne to Washington, Valmy would contact the Commonwealth forces to allow for her passage to Hadlow. As a former government minister, but also a member of the officer corps, she was deemed skilled enough to negotiate, yet not critical enough to cripple the regime if lost.

 

As build-ups across the border in the Ottawa area were noticed by the vigilant units in Gatineau, the État-Major de l'Armée de Québec assumed the worst. Secretly, the mobilisation plan would be changed, as the officers in Val d'Or had to assume the worst - a two-front war. Redeploying 20 divisions from the Secteur central (around Trois-Riviéres) towards the border with Kanadario, these units would be kept in reserve, in case an attack from the rear was to occur. To the leadership however, Upper Canada already had betrayed lower Canada and this matter, they would not forget.

 

Divisions in the three frontline defensive sectors (Sector nord - Québec, Secteur central - Trois-Rivières, Secteur sud - Montreal) would also take positions within the towns, utilising the urban centers they had to defend to cover their movements. While the conscripts were not eager for war, nor did they like the prospect of having to defend their hometowns, the hostility shown by the Americans seemed to only reinforce the accusations brought forth by Arnault-Delareux. Québec was about to come under attack and the ordinary soldier had but one choice to make. To fight for the safety of the country, or to let the Commonwealth soldiers roam freely through their homes, wrecking havoc.

 

On the order of Arnault-Delareux, instructions would be forwarded to the frontline towns, that civilians would be told to prepare for the worst and to evacuate the region if necessary. While the destruction of towns and their economic value seemed harsh enough, the loss of vast amount of civilian lives would cripple Québec for years to come, if not decades. Still, evacuations moved only at a slow pace, as most transportation would be needed to keep the military mobile and the people in town would be needed to keep the supply lines somewhat working.

 

Arnault-Delareux had not much optimism regarding the situation, but it was clear, there was more at stake and if she'd fall, it would not be forgotten.

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The Foreign Minister Rachael Stein issued a statement regarding the current events taking place on their borders.

 

"We have taken action to allow Commonwealth Troops to set up camps and staging bases in the Republic of Kanadario. This is in response to the military coup that has taken place within our neighbor. They closed the border to our nation, and the movements of their troops have put our nation at risk. If the situation escalates, it would very likely spill over into our nation, so we have taken this action in the best interest of protecting our people and the freedoms they enjoy. We are not a military power, and only wish to exist in a peace, and enjoy economic prosperity with our neighbors and live within a realm of stability, and if this means we have to rely on our neighbors for protection during our infancy, especially one that had taken care of our people before we had decided to try and be an independent nation, than that is what we will have to do.

 

We hope for a peaceful resolution to this situation, and hope that an agreement can come to pass without the use of military force in a timely manner."

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The Faraway envoy was picked and delivered by the CB 90 right across the river to a nice house on the bank whose owner volunteered its use in the upcoming talks.  She would be escorted inside where Undersecretary of State Christopher Ulmer was waiting and offered her a seat at the table. 

 

"Well lets get started shall we?" he said after introducing himself.  "Ms Valmy, I am here today to find a peaceful solution to the issues that are currently ongoing in your country.  As you very well may know my government is not happy with the events that have transpired with the current incarnation of Faraway and its attempts to circumvent the required democratic institutions given as a condition of its reformation.  While I would like to see this end without bloodshed I have been told to inform you that this is the last straw for my government.  Failure to adhere to the principles agreed to beforehand will result in the usage of non-diplomatic means to bring about the desired change".

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A diplomatic note would be handed to the Kanadarians across the border in Ottawa.

 

Confidential!

Diplomatic Communique

 

While our nation has up to now respected the right of Kanadario to exist and has shown no hostility towards the Upper Canadian people, we cannot help but warn the government of Kanadario, that should it be willing to degrade itself to the level of a military protectorate of the American Commonwealth, thereby threatening envelopment of our country by enemy forces, the Laurentine military will do everything in her might, in the case of Commonwealth-Laurentine hostilities, to take care of such a threat to our country. We would hope that it is clear to the government of Kanadario, that the conclusion of agreements with the American Commonwealth that allow for Commonwealth forces to utilise Kanadarian territory and/or ressources cannot be perceived by us as anything but a hostile act in these times and rather than deter action, will encourage military intervention in the case of broader hostilities.

 

Our borders have been closed due to an internal crisis, which, thanks to the belligerence of the American Commonwealth has turned into an external one. Emergency measures will continue as long as they are necessary for the stabilisation of our country, however, this in no way equals hostility towards your nation on our part.

 

We would hope for the government of Kanadario to show a more neutral and prudent behaviour in the future, as a close affiliation of Kanadario with the American Commonwealth is in no way conductive to our future relations.

 

With regards,

Evangeline Arnault-Delareux

 

[hr]

 

Adéle Valmy looked at Ulmer, visibly questioning whether he could be serious. "The Faraway Realm of Québec, which has reformed itself from the territories that were left, has never in its entire history, concluded such an agreement with the American Commonwealth, nor do we intent to let foreign states dictate our internal affairs to such a degree. Your treatment of our nation is nothing but an insult to our sovereignity and your attempt to meddle is in no way acceptable. The Laurentine Union seeks no war, but there is no point in complying with your request for us to allow your government to essentially interfere and control our internal affairs." Valmy shook her head fervently. "I do not think your government has considered the implications of your actions, nor the consequences it might carry for this continent. Monsieur, I knew of a time, when politics in the Americas could respect the sovereignity of ones neighbour and worked amicably towards stabilising the region. But these times are seemingly over. May I ask, what do you intent to achieve by invading our nation, slaughtering our people, razing our towns, robbing our treasury...? The gratitude of the Quebecois? I think your threats are about as misplaced as your meddlesome policies."

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"Spare the drama and grand standing.  I don't believe that you nor the rest of your coup companions understand the situation nor considered the implications of YOUR actions or its consequences for this continent.  There hasn't been a coup on this continent since the existence of the Republic of J Andres.  A coup that not only undermines established democratic institutions but seeks to put into place, at best, an military dominated autocracy.  Such a thing cannot be allowed to stand and as a result your sovereignty is secondary to the stability of the region.  Our demands are for the Faraway military to disband and the leadership of the coup to submit themselves to our custody, after which a rearrangement of the government will be conducted and free and open elections held to form a new government.  Once that is completed we will withdraw and let you go on your own way.  The American Commonwealth has never sought to dominate its neighbors through armed force but this situation gives us little choice in the matter.  My government is not happy about any aspect of this situation but intervention has been deemed the only suitable response, preferable to the establishment of a heavily militarized reactionary state run dictatorship that will probably eventually seek forced reunification with other Canadian states". 

 

 

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"Raising your voice, Monsieur, will not intimidate me, nor my nation. Nor will we respond to such threat of force in any positive manner. Your country did not seem to have any reservations whilst dealing with the old Faraway Realm, nor does it have any issues dealing with the Principality of Tikal, both arguably among the least ochlocratic regimes in the western hemisphere in the last two decades. If the American Commonwealth thinks it can now oppress our nation, it leaves us with no other choice but to recite the saying Québec knows since its infant days - We have no response to you, other than from the mouths of our cannons and rifles. Our regime can offer but one last chance to resolve this from our side, that is, a referendum shall be held to legitimate this transition of power through the people's will, but should the Commonwealth be hellbend on dismantling the Québec state, we will defend it with all we got. Monsieur, we already won. It merely seems, your politicians are too ignorant to realise it yet." With an openly condescenting tone, Valmy would respond to the Undersecretary of State. Merely the confident smile was missing, mostly due to the rather grim prospect of thousands of young people dying within the coming days, if not weeks. 

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"A 'Legitimized' dictatorship is still a dictatorship.  By nature a government created by the use of military force against constituted civil authorities has no legitimacy to rule.  It affords no guarantees to respect the rights of its citizens and no guarantees against reactionary militarism, as evidenced by your threats .  Our conditions remains the same.  The coup leaders will turn themselves into our custody and Faraway troops will disarm and demobilize.  Commonwealth observers will assist in the creation of a new constitution and monitor free elections.    I advise you to tell your superiors that this is the best that they're gonna get".

 

Efforts to evacuate people within 30km of the border were nearly complete with Commonwealth forces making extensive use of helicopters to keep civilian road traffic to manageable levels.  Most units were fully in place and briefed on their missions.  The 3rd Marine Division was in the process of moving to a forward amphibious staging base on Prince Edward Island and the 1st Airmobile Division was brought up from Fort Campbell along with three Ranger battalions and numerous special forces units. 

 

Additional efforts were made by forward posted PSYOPS units.  Several C-130s would make runs along the border when the wind was favorable and disgorged leaflets that would float their way across the river, warning civilians to leave the area while also encouraging them to resist the military dictatorship that had seized power and to realize their own path to self determination.  Loudspeakers would also broadcast across the river in French informing troops on the other side that a storm was coming and that their leaders were using them as pawns and cannon fodder for their own devices.  In order to break the repetition of the messages heavy metal was played in between broadcasts and blared over the loudspeakers.

 

Come nightfall small Army Special Forces and SEAL teams would begin infiltration operations across the St. Lawrence River and the Kanadario-Faraway Border to perform reconnaissance missions, using small quiet rubber boats or scuba gear to reach the other side.  At the same time Marine Force Recon elements would also attempt to infiltrate Anticosti Island and the Quebec coastline.

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Valmy sighed, before standing up and preparing to leave. "Alors, c'est la guerre." As she walked out of the room, with a deferring gesture of her hand she would exclaim. "Our leadership cares little about personal life and freedom, in the face of such great threat to Québec."

 

While Valmy had summed up the determination of most of the leadership, the determination of the population would show itself soon enough, as loudspeakers and leaflets were seen as nought but harassment. In less than 24 hours, the American Commonwealth had given the Faraway coup more legitimacy in their eyes, than Arnault-Delareux could have hoped to gain in 5 years of trying to rebuild a broken country. By showing a hostility that left especially older citizens, those who had seen with their own eyes the cooperation between the countries, disillusioned abut any cooperation. Institutions formerly reluctant to cooperate with the new authorities, such as regular police units, would now start to open up towards the regime, given that it was clear, if the Commonwealth followed through with its aggressive plans, evacuation efforts would have to be hastened and kept orderly, to avoid mass panic. Higher Police units meanwhile started to take on tasks of political organisation, something the military was sorely lacking. From now on, the American Commonwealth pretty much became the scapegoat for everything, from the miserable democracy, to the declines in living standards, economic stagnation, all the way to the bad weather and broken down cars. Merci, Monsieur Marston.

 

But surely most thankful would be the Québec liberals. As republicans and social liberals, they formed the natural opposition to the military dictatorship that had established itself. But before they could even walk out onto the streets to protest, most already hid away at home, abandonned their colours, with at most a few brave (or dumb) ones jumping out with placards, criticising the regime. To the rest of Québec, this group was now the fifth column, the enemy within, predestinated subversives and collaborators with the Commonwealth. With their demands for Commonwealth mob rule, their unpatriotic spirit in criticising the country in such grave times and having advised closer ties with the Commonwealth in the past, there was hardly any other political group among the mainstream ones that was seen as more of a traitorous pack of undesirables. With emmigration being no option and with an uncertain future under the looming shadow of a hostile population and a regime willing and able to even end their life, the liberals were in despair. The vice-president and the party whip of the former party both would commit suicide even before the Commonwealth could cross the Saint-Laurent, the president and many others would in the next few hours be detained and moved to internment further inland. At least fifteen lower party officials would be murdered, not even by the Higher Police, who sought to hold back on what could be seen as "barbarism", but by the mob, who hung them from lamp posts or threw them into the cold Saint-Laurent, after clubbing them unconscious or outright dead.

 

Arnault-Delareux meanwhile made a few last prayers to the Lord and Virgin Mary, with some of her fellow officers joining in. To state they feared not death would most likely be wrong. However, to die as a martyr would still be preferable than to die as a criminal outcast and failure. Not to even talk about the Québec they cherished. Among them, the war was now inevitable, the destruction was sure to come, Québec was sure to lose life and property in great amounts. But instead of a mere subjugation of Québec by the Commonwealth, that a peaceful submission would facilitate, war at least could be a "national bloodletting". The liqidation of those detainees deemed "incorrigible" had already been decided, though to be conducted at a later point of time. But even without decapitating the liberal movement in Québec, something that could even happen peacefully by driving them out, Arnault-Delareux assumed that regardless of victory or defeat, the massive cost of lives (calculated to be inbetween 100,000 and 500,000) and the emotions to follow, would end all threat to the nations social order that could ever stem from liberalism. Whatever the outcome, it should never be democracy. Never again.

 

[hr]

 

The Armée de Québec would lay in waiting. While vigilant, their leadership had assumed a defensive posture. While sacrificing initiative could cause immense loss, to Arnault-Delareux and those behind her, such was still acceptable, if it allowed for political gains, a war that could be waged entirely as a campaign in the defense of the nation. The Commonwealth was to be given no excuse before the people of Québec.

 

Frontline soldiers of the Milice would by now have assumed positions within buildings, awaiting the conflict. Only some small groups would guard bridges from behind barricades, though with strict orders to fall back in case of hostilities, to avoid getting slaughtered outright in the opening stages. Some members of the genie militaire would start to attach explosives to the bridges across the Saint-Laurent, while the signal corps ran around with hundreds of cable rolls. The preperations had been made, politically, as well as military. Now, the waiting would begin.

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Infiltration of the Commonwealth/Kanadario-Faraway borders was successful with over a dozen special forces and SEAL elements making it through.  Once on the other side they would proceed further in to begin their long range reconnaissance missions, moving with an emphasis on remaining undetected by local forces, although one unit had a different mission.  On the other hand missions to infiltrate Anticosti Island and the Quebec coastline were not so successful.  A freak storm blowing through the St. Lawrence Gulf caused commanders to scrap the recon plans when several teams en route were forced to turn back or were swamped, necessitating rescue.  Even after the storm subsided, two units were still missing and unaccounted for.

 

As part of last minute preparations it was decided to bring three more light infantry divisions in to form a second echelon to help with the push into the cities while an airmobile division was dispatched to the Kanadario-Faraway border.  Ten CFAC squadrons would be brought up to forward staging areas on Prince Edward Island, Rimmouski and Rivier du Lupe.  The marine expeditionary brigade in Greenland was ordered to proceed to the Hudson Bay with the support of a carrier battle group.

 

 

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With the carrier battle fleet being spotted by ordinary marine patrol units off the northeast coast, three wings of Hulotte multirole fighters with anti-shipping missiles would be sent out, with constantly at least one being within 400 km of the Commonwealth fleet. They would stay at a medium flight altitude, utilising their Spectre-I advanced electronic warfare systems to obscure their presence.

 

As Kanadario was deemed unreliable as a neighbour, the military command would secretly relocate. This time, they would move to Normandin, further away from borders with both states. The military units kept in reserve, however, would stay around Val-d'Or, in order to be close enough to the border, in case a military intervention would be needed.

 

[hr]

 

In the rear, the political prisoners would be brought to Val d'Or. Having been seized by units of the Higher Police, they would be transported to the city of gold, one of the earliest gold mining locations of Québec. It was in the early hours of the next morning, that the column of lorries arrived, unloading about two hundred people, mostly, political leaders and activists with liberal background, the centres of their movement, those who were neither going into internal exile by shutting up, nor in any other way open to reeducation. Most of them had been taken away from their families in the morning, beaten up and put into the tarpaulin covered backs of army Modéle 1 transports. Escorted by units in black uniforms, they would be transported with hardly any comfort, tied up and with bags over their head. Without any stop for food, drink or even toilet, they'd be moved away from the general population into Québec's hinterlands. However, the lack of comfort would be their least concern, as when the column of trucks stopped, they'd find themselves just somewhere in the vast woodlands around the towns. Had Faraway still used prisoners as cheap labour force for labour-intensive mining operations, the prospect of a war that could be lost did not "allow for any basis for collaboration with an enemy to be left accessible", as Arnault-Delareux had exclaimed in front of her staff in a secret meeting without protocoll. Instead, the group would be given shovels, to dig one big ditch at gunpoint, before the rifles would be discharged. Afterwards, the soldiers pretty much gathered the bodies in the large hole, covered it with the fresh earth and returned to the frontlines. Care would be given to have no records of the process and to use a piece of unused woodland that was outside visible and audible range of the civil population.

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The presence of Faraway fighter so far north came as something of a surprise to the Commonwealth naval task force tasked with entering the Hudson Bay.  Despite its own impressive force of fighters and AWACs aircraft screening the group it was ordered to withdraw outside of enemy missile range with the exception of two attack subs that maintained their course.  Instead, F-22s, B-1Rs and E-3 Sentries would be dispatched from Thule AFB and JB Nuuk with heavy tanker support to form a line of control against Faraway aircraft.

 

Meanwhile reconnaissance of enemy movements and formations would continue.  JSTARS aircraft would monitor vehicle movement to determine possible locations of enemy depots and units which would be overflown and confirmed by satellites.  The long range surveillance teams on the ground would also participate, moving silently and undetected through their assigned areas, observing enemy troop movements and bases and relay them back to command.  Combined with UAV recon along the border this gave the Commonwealth Command a better picture of the situation.

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The government of Euphaia, itself threatened by radical insurgent forces, condemns the hostile takeover of the nation of Faraway by radical militarists, and does not recognize the new, illegitimate..."government".

The Euphaian government has instructed its ambassador toFaraway to relay our strongest protest to the the new, radical "government".

 

All non-essential (non-security and non-diplomatic) Euphaian personnel in Faraway is being recalled and evacuated from Faraway.

-------------------------------

The People's Revolution warmly welcomes and offers its friendship, congratulations, comradely, and solidarity to the people in Faraway and it's new government.

We in Euphaia, too, are struggling to oust an elitist, oppressive, and corrupt government. Our friends and comrades in Faraway and their recent victory are an encouragement and inspiration to those of us in Euphaia who continue to fight and strive for freedom and justice, as you in Faraway have achieved.

Edited by Euphaia
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Arnault-Delareux leaned over her maps and charts in the Grand quartier général in Normandin. The mobilisation of the forces seemed to progress well, but overall, the chances of winning still seemed questionable. At least, the frontlines were dominated by the Saint-Laurent, forming a bit of a natural obstacle for an attacking nation. The options to attack seemed few, with reports of a receding naval force taking away one concern for the defensive plannings. However, the Maréchal increasingly began to worry about the strategic situation of the Union. Plans had been worked out under the assumption for a normal limited war, however, the longer the preparations went on, the more it became apparant, that this might not be the case. To make the final step however, would be to make a decision, taking away all other options but one, ending the stand-off. To Arnault-Delareux, this wasn't really what she sought to do, having up to now thoughtfully left the initiative to the Commonwealth. Still, if war came, Québec had to fully be ready. Thus, a multitude of orders would be given out. First, an order would be given out to the frontline commanders. Units, especially armoured ones, would be moved away from the border, thinning out the line significantly. Of an initial force of hundred divisions, only sixty would remain, of twenty armoured divisions, fifteen would be moved. These units would be moved away from the Saint-Laurent and placed under a new command of the returned Adéle Valmy, as the "1ier Armée de la reserve". These forces would be stationed in the Laurentian uplands, further away from the Saint-Laurent, where they would be lingering in a spread out manner to decrease visibility. Second, orders would be given to the administration of supplies and recruitment. Preparations were to be undertaken, in order to allow for a change from civil economy to war economy. If war was to come, all hands would be needed to sustain it. Out of strategic concerns over possible losses and additional requirements, about 100 additional divisional commands would be formed, however the reservists to form them being only put at increased readiness. For the moment, their labour would be of greater use. Third, the Higher Police would be tasked with preparations for possible surpression of dissent during wartime. Lastly, a new war plan would be worked out. Drawing upon old plans, the new one would make new provisions for the possibility of a total war to be waged.

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With the recently returned home troops from training abroad, Kaladonia send its troops to the hostile border to create check points. They weren't closing the borders, as they were keeping them open for anyone trying to find a safe haven for if a conflict kicked off. They would be directing refugee's to camps where they would have shelter, food, and water.

 

The Premier Steven Blake would issue a statement to both nations. "These are turning into turbulent times, We are all neighbors, and friends, and have families across all of our borders. This is would turn into a war of brothers and sisters and not nations. I implore you both to send a representative to Ottawa, I will be there and let us try diplomacy before it is too late, and everyone suffers." After issuing the message, he would head off to Ottawa to hope that this situation could get handled diplomatically.

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"While the Stormlands recognizes the need for representative systems about the world, and the need for the will of the people to be heard, we feel that the course of action in North America is deplorable. Americans have not killed other Americans in many years now, and it would be a tragedy for that to begin once anew. The consequences of armed action would have ripple effects across the hemisphere that could last for years, short term solutions to quandaries are never the answer, and we feel armed action would be just that, a short term solution.

 

Therefore, it is at the highest request of the Stormlands' High Council that the American Commonwealth and Quebec dispatch delegations to Stormsend for mediated talks before the bloodletting truly begin on both sides of the St. Lawrence. The Americas have had enough tragedy, let us, as a hemisphere, work to avert such useless waste now."

 

[i]Public Statement from the Chambers of the Lord Protector[/i]

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