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Armageddon; The J Andres Saga; Chapter 7

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Chapter 7:
Armageddon

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"We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door." -- General Douglas MacArthur, 1945

 

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS
Chapter 1: Deja Vu
Chapter 2: Excellence and Exodus
Chapter 3: Vengeance and Vendetta
Chapter 4: The Peace Dividend

Chapter 5: Crisis and Crusades

Chapter 6: The Powder Keg

THE SOL-3 UNIVERSE

Sol-3

I am no longer on the CNRP map. This is NOT CNRP. (or CNRP2/CNRPA)
This is considered to take place in the Sol-3 Universe. Sol-3 is not accepting other players. This thread should be considered CLOSED* to all other players besides myself.
*Spectators may feel free to post announcements, news reports, etc. Actions that could be considered as interfering with the actions unfolding may or may not be recognized.

SUMMARY
The Grand Mexican War has come to an ubrupt end after a brief nuclear war. An web of alliances brought the war to every corner of the globe and has left civilization greatly damaged. From the ashes will the empires of old be reborn? Or will new players join the world stage? Is there even a world stage to perform on, or will each nation-state be forced to be only a regional player?

 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE
Charlotte Laurent, President
Katherine, Queen of J Andres and its Empire
 

 

May 21, 2085

TRANSCRIPT OF BROADCAST FROM STATION BROADCASTING ON 104.3 FM

 

Good morning J Andres! Or morning anyway. Congratulations on surviving the night! Reminder that everyone is ordered to stay indoors for thirteen more days! We are thankful you have chosen to spend your time indoors with us, 104.3 FM, and a terrific thirteen days it will be! We are still piecing together information, primarily from other radio stations as to the actual events of last night. We believe the first nuclear weapons were fired from a rogue Tikali submarine. Mexico and the coalition responded in kind by attacking allied locations, which responded as well. We to believe at this time that damage is widespread throughout the continent, with all major population centers targeted. Similar destruction is expected in Europe, Asia, and South America. No word yet exists of any attacks in Africa or Australia, but this doesn't mean they weren't targeted as well.

 

As for the well-being of our government: we known President Laurent was escorted from a baseball game in Providence. We know she did not reach Endor Cuidad; however, she is alive and well and is coordinating the government response to the situation. Likewise, Her Majesty, the Queen is safe in Newport, although Princess Gabrielle, first in line to the throne did not survive the attack.

 

Back to news on our mandatory lockdown. It is safest to stay inside, and underground, for fourteen days following the attacks. The government will be setting up food distribution centers in three days. The radiation levels will still be hazardous at that time and you should limit your exposure, only leaving your home if you absolutely need supplies.

 

More news as it happens. For now, this one goes out to Mel in Griswold, it's R.E.M.

 

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May 27, 2085

TRANSCRIPT OF BROADCAST FROM STATION BROADCASTING ON 102.7 FM

 

Thank you for tuning into Maritime Public Radio, you're listening to News Hour. I'm your host, Frank Walsh. This update is brought to you by Rossingol Motors, although I'm not sure how useful a car is to you anymore. But, they paid for these spots in advance, so we are going to roll their clip anyway

 

[Advertisement]

 

Unfortunate news today as we have learned President Charlotte Laurent has passed away due to wounds inflicted in the attack. Journalists are speculating that Laurent never truly entered a safe location as reported, but her injuries were not properly described in fear of inciting riots. Laurent is the first President to die in office; however, the Commune has been practically destroyed with over 60% of its members killed in the attacks. Therefore, no precedent exists for presidential succession.

 

[Loud Chanting]

 

And people have taken to the streets as a result. Although many citizens have remained in their homes as instructed, others are taking the opportunity to claim additional resources for themselves. Many of the lines at the food distribution centers have turned violent as the scarcity of food was made apparent. Now these opportunists are seizing the moment to raid the homes of those who appear to have abandoned them. The army is still manning the distribution centers, although it is unknown who will continue to give the orders now that the chain of command has been cut.

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June 6, 2085

QUEEN DISSOLVES COMMUNE, DECLARES ROYAL LAW

 

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Queen Katherine announcing the dissolution of the Commune


NEWPORT -- This is not the first time an Andrean royal has attempted to declare royal law. Twenty-eight years ago we analyzed the move and determined there was no legal precedent. Times we obviously different then and our circulation covered the whole nation. Now we are operating out of a basement and we our newspapers are available in three cities only. Her Majesty dissolved the Commune and has absorbed all powers back into the crown. The Queen has stated elections will occur as scheduled in 2088 at which time a new President and Commune will be elected. She stated that no one else in the country has the ability to keep the nation united through this issue. Considering the destruction of Endor Cuidad, Newport has been declared the new capital.

 

As we said 28 years ago, so-called "Royal Law" has no legal basis; however, the Queen is correct. The government is in disarray and their is no obvious successor other than the monarchy to ensure continuity. The Knights of Cromwell are obviously frustrated with the news, but there are reports of fringe gangs and warlords in the Danbury area fighting for control of the territory.

Edited by J Andres

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July 14, 2085

QUEEN ANNOUNCES NEW TITLES
 
NEWPORT -- After dissolving the Commune last month, Queen Katherine has now filled all the vacant posts of peerage and assigned new titles to many of the nobility. These titles will help her royal administration assure the continuity of law.
 
Principalities
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Following the death of Princess Gabrielle, the heir apparent, the Principality of Newport was left vacant. Her eldest son, Prince Phillippe has been named the Prince of Newport. Phillippe is best known for his association with the Labor Party and their connections to the Espadas Rojas in the SSR. Phillippe has also drawn criticism for being a descendant of Vinsalian nobility.
Prince Alfred retains his title of Prince of Providence.
 
Duchies
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Shannon, Duke of Boston, and Lily, Duke of Rossingol both survived the attacks. The Duchies are also strictly hereditary and it would not be customary for the Queen to bestow someone the title.
 
Counties
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With Phillippe now a Prince, the County of Danbury needs an Earl, and his younger brother Pierre has been assigned there. Samantha, Countess of Lanier perished during the H1N1 outbreak during the beginning of the war and her post has been vacant since. Josef, eldest son of Prince Alfred has been given the title of Earl of Lanier.
 
Baronies
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Most of the new Barons and Baronesses are new. Vanessa, Baroness of Hartford is the granddaughter of Countess Samantha. She flew missions with the air force during the Grand Mexican War. William, Baron of Colchester is the son of Duchess Lily and also fought on the ground during the war, seeing action primarily in Vinsalia. Antonio, Baron of Hyannis is the last surviving progeny of the House of Richards. Thomas, Baron of Mystic is the only Baron not newly appointed. He is the husband of Lily, Duchess of Rossingol. Richard, Baron of Warwick is the grandson of former Emperor Richard, and the first man in his family not to name one of his sons Richard.

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August 18, 2088

QUEEN DEAD; ELECTORAL PROCESS IN SHAMBLES


 

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Queen Katherine a few weeks ago near Aquidneck Castle


NEWPORT -- Queen Katherine passed away in her sleep early this morning. Her Majesty will be remembered for the greatest transitional periods that the nation has likely seen: restoring faith in the crown following Richard's Rebellion in the 50's and her extraordinary leadership which has helped J Andres persevere through these difficult nuclear times following the Grand Mexican War. At a reign of nearly 31 years, Her Majesty will not be the longest serving monarch of our nation, a record still held by Josef I; however, at the age of 75, she did live to be the oldest of any monarch.

 

As the nation prepares for her funeral, pundits are already speculating as to the electoral plans that she had set in motion. Although she dissolved the commune on a temporary basis, she planned on having the regularly scheduled 2088 elections in October and turning power back over to the democratically elected process in January. With her death so close to the elections, critics wonder if her grandson, Phillippe, noted Labor Party supporter will be adamant to restore the democratic system to power, or if he will relish the unprecedented control current bestowed in the crown.

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November 22, 2088

JTECH SCIENTISTS OPTIMIZE WHEAT GROWTH IN LAB SETTINGS

 

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JTech believes it has stumbled across the cure for the nation's food shortages


WOONSOCKET -- The new "wasteland" the citizens are calling it these days, is exactly that. What once was fertile farmland is now desolate, incapable of simple plant growth. However, the scientists at JTech have seemed to discover the secret to plant growth indoors. CEO Dennis Howard explained "The world's soil is highly contaminated, but we developed a cleaning process that reinvigorates the soil. Additionally, we've modified the seeds to need both less soil and less water in the first place. This allows us to grow our crop indoors where we aren't susceptible to bad weather, and at a density that was impossible with traditional planting. Our crops will have a much higher yield."

 

The product is not totally a JTech creation. They enlisted the help of former Woonsocket Wheat scientists and engineers who have been without a job since the war. The facility, dubbed the Woonsocket Agricultural Science Laboratory (WASL), is located on the former fields, and JTech is looking to expand it. "This is the solution. This is how we feed the nation. We can't farm thousands of acres anymore." When asked what the cost of the grains grown in the laboratory might be, Howard was suddenly less talkative. "It's not that we want to turn a huge profit on sustaining life, but these facilities are not cheap or easy to maintain."

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March 3, 2089

JTECH CARAVAN HIJACKED OUTSIDE DANBURY

DANBURY-- For months, the JTech team at WASL has been working to develop high yield crops to feed the nation. King Phillippe has vowed that the JTech project will be well funded until "no stomach is empty." Just last month, the first harvest of the crops completed processing and was slated for delivery throughout the nation.

One of those deliveries, destined for Danbury was attacked this morning by raiders. The raiders were of indeterminate national origin. Border security has been extremely lax since the end of the war but raider attacks have been isolated. Attacking those on roads and outside the assumed protection of major cities. This marks the first large scale attack within J Andres. "The borders are simply much too large t be patrolled," His Majesty stated this afternoon in a prepared statement. "Although we cannot secure our borders in the same fashion as was possible in the past, this attack does not go unnoticed, nor shall it go unpunished." The King did not elaborate further on his intentions, although his spokesperson was asked the question repeatedly.

Little is still known about the world outside of our own borders. Traders bring news from Vinsalia in their travels, and it is known that New Quebec no longer controls the area immediately to our north. There have been no known successful Atlantic crossings since the war. The raiders may be acting in their own interests for self-preservation, or for their own economic interests, hoping to sell the stolen food internationally. Additionally the raiders could be state supported.

Speaking with the citizens of Danbury today, they don't care where the raiders came from, but only when their next meal will arrive. JTech CEO Dennis Howard stated that the remaining crop would be reallocated, to provide some food to Danbury. However a few meals is still a great deal short of the King's lofty goal.

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April 8, 2089

VINSALIAN KING DIES
 


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King Martin upon his ascension to the throne three years ago


ALBANY, VINSALIA -- Our neighbors to the west have found themselves in a succession crisis. King Martin, son of the late King Gabriel, passed away this morning, succumbing to an illness that has rendered him out of the public view for the past two months. Martin died without issue, ending the direct lineage of King Gabriel, and hopscotching over to other relatives of the former President Francisco Bourbon, including a particular nephew who has made his residence in J Andres.
 
Robert Bourbon moved to J Andres with his two sons in the 2050's. One of those sons married into the royal family and his issue now sits on the throne. Robert himself is in his late 70's, and the next in line to the Vinsalian throne is no other than our own, King Phillippe. It is only a matter of time before Phillippe ascends to the throne of Vinsalia. Vinsalia has been an absolute monarchy for decades, and J Andres is currently enduring the "emergency powers" employed by the monarch on a temporary basis, essentially making our state an absolute monarchy as well. If our nations are joined in a personal union, what will become of our national identities? Will Phillippe form one nation out of two? Will Phillippe ever return the emergency powers to the Commune?

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August 28, 2089

PHILLIPPE NATIONALIZES WASL

WOONSOCKET-- The Woonsocket Agricultural Science Laboratory was only completed and christened by JTech last year and its life as a business venture has already been terminated. King Phillippe announced the nationalization of WASL this morning, citing its value as a national asset. "In this new world in which we live, there is no more valuable asset than food. I will not permit the citizens of our nation to be held in the charity of a corporation. Charity eventually runs dry and will be replaced with profit."

Since His Majesty's coronation, pundits have wondered when his socialist roots may arise. The nationalization of WASL would certainly be something that Ernesto Espada would have advocated for. Phillippe is already extremely popular in the west, and certainly will not hurt his following in left-leaning Danbury. But those in an around the capital are outraged at the state takeover of an independent business.

JTech CEO Dennis Howard released a statement today: JTech firmly condemns this action by His Majesty. JTech is a lawful business that has served J Andres for over a century. The WASL was a large capital investment on the part of our company and a tremendous effort on the part of our hard-working scientists, who only wanted to solve a problem plaguing our neighbors. Thus far, food prices have remained fair considering the vast amount of resources expended to create it, and overall food prices have fallen as the supply has increased. Without free enterprise, innovations such as the WASL will not exist. We hope His Majesty realizes his mistake and returns the WASL to JTech custody, and returns the nation to the democracy which made it great.

The JTech sentiment is shared by many in the east. Many have frowned upon Phillippe's insistence of delaying the 2088 elections. Right-wing radio stations have already seized on the nationalization of WASL as Phillippe's plan to placate the masses and cement his absolute reign.

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October 22, 2089

VINSALIAN KING KILLED IN RIOTS;
 


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King Robert ascended to the throne earlier in the year


ALBANY, VINSALIA -- The succession crisis that sent the region abuzz in the spring has now come to pass. King Robert of Vinsalia has perished in riots that overtook the capital of Albany. Vinsalia has struggled to feed its citizens in the aftermath of the war. Distribution centers in Danbury have noticed higher volume of patrons than expected, and it is assumed there is a large migration of Vinsalians into Western J Andres. These riots, which culminated in the burning of the historic New York State House, have been going on for months. King Robert, himself a J Andres citizen for many decades, was ill-prepared to to handle the pressures of running the large nation.

 

Our own King Phillippe has departed Newport for Albany where he will attend the funeral of Robert, his grandfather, and for his own coronation. Phillippe and those close to him have remained mum on what this personal union between the two nations will mean for their future.

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October 24, 2089

PHILLIPPE ASCENDS TO VINSALIAN THRONE; ANNOUNCES ELECTIONS AND UNITES NATIONS

 

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The new flag of J Andres, effective in 2091


ALBANY, VINSALIA -- Phillippe ascended to the throne of Vinsalia this morning, reuniting the two nations that were at war two decades ago and were one and the same eight decades ago. "This should be a homecoming," he said to the crowds gathered in Albany. "Once upon a time, the Maritime Anchor flew atop the flagpoles here. J Andres and Vinsalia are now forever intertwined once again, and today we must decide if we want the relationship of the 60s, where we were enemies, or the relationship of this decade, where we were allies. Of these choices, I choose the latter."

 

Much was expected in his speech about friendship and diplomacy; however, his speech took an unexpected turn when he began speaking of democracy. "These two nations are very different. J Andres is a democracy while Vinsalia is a monarchy. There are those in J Andres that think I do not care for democracy. They think that I cancelled the elections last year because I want to rule the world single-handedly. None of this is true. The power of a government resides in its people and this can only be achieved with full, free, and fair elections. That is why not only the citizens of J Andres will be returning to the polls next year, and the citizens of Vinsalia will join them for the first time since the days of the Commonwealth."

 

"And as we go to the polls together to celebrate the beauty that is democracy, we will also celebrate the unity of our lands, as we elect the President, Governors, and Commune of our new Maritime Republic. On January 1, 2091 we will relegate the Golden Anchor and Francisco's Star to the museums, and we will unite under a common banner." A large flag unfurled behind the lectern. Reaction to the King's speech has increased his favorability. Three new counties will be created to encompass the Vinsalia. Gabriel, Katherine, and Greater Brooklyn. No candidates have stepped forward, nor can anyone predict what this melding of Andrean and Vinsalian politics may look like.

Edited by J Andres

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October 21, 2090

PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF CAUSES SOUL SEARCHING WITHIN PARTIES




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ENDOR CUIDAD -- KIng Phillippe instituted electoral changes this year, and although most will say that the changes were for the best, they may end up greatly impacting our political system as we know it. This year, if no presidential candidate secured at least 33% of the vote, a run-off with the top three candidates would decide the election. J Andres has always had numerous political parties, but you'll need to go back to 2032 to find an election where the winning candidate had less than 33% of the vote. So most pundits initially predicted little impact of the rule on the elections.

 

This year was different. With the introduction of Gabriel and Katherine provinces, and traditional Vinsalian political parties into the system, six candidates ran for president and all received at least 10% of the initial vote a few weeks ago. This resulted in our first run-off election. However, many we displeased with the options in the run-off. The popular Nationalist and Labor parties were completely eliminated from the running, leaving the Anchor, Communist, and Vinsalian National Party. The VNP received a heavy proportion of the vote, and many believe the VNP may have been used as a protest vote.

 

In the Commune, the Labor party won the most seats, but they were unseated by an Anchor-Nationalist-Libertarian coalition. There are already talks amongst Labor and Communist members about the possibility of a merger. Why waste resources fighting over the same seats when they can become a more competitive nationwide party? This year the Anchor and Nationalist parties agreed not to run candidates in Libertarian areas, and vice-versa. However, many J Andres citizens expressed displeasure that they couldn't vote for a Libertarian candidate. Will there be a great consolidation?

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January 7, 2091

TRANSCRIPT OF BROADCAST FROM STATION BROADCASTING ON 102.7 FM

 

[Walsh] Thank you for tuning into Maritime Public Radio, you're listening to News Hour. I'm your host, Frank Walsh. Remember, Maritime Public Radio is funded by your contributions. My guest today is Dennis Howard. Howard is the CEO of JTech,

 

[Cut to Audio Clip]  "This is the solution. This is how we feed the nation. We can't farm thousands of acres anymore." [End Audio Clip]

 

[Walsh] That was Howard speaking a little over two years ago, when JTech announced it had created the WASL. At the time, it was a significant scientific breakthrough, and now it is literally the life blood that feeds the nation. Howard has turned his role increasingly political over the past few years after His Majesty nationalized the WASL, declaring it a public utility. What was it like to learn that your business was being taken?

 

[Howard] It was heartbreaking. Look around us. Its been more than five years since the attacks and we are still suffering. We terminated many of our product lines and focused on something that could improve the fortunes of our nation. We spent millions in infrastructure to build WASL, and millions more to pay the scientists that worked so hard for those years. And then, finally, when you create this great thing, a tyrannical, unelected ruler swoops in and takes it from you.

 

[Walsh] And the government didn't compensate JTech at all, right?

 

[Howard] No. This was not a seizure under eminent domain, or something similar. This was all the powers of government being vested in one man, and that one man taking the property of another.

 

[Walsh] Since WASL was independent for such a short period of time, we never truly got to see your profit plan. I am assuming that you eventually were planning on profiting on the food output of the WASL, but you were never clear on the amount. Clearly this would have been an effective monopoly on a necessary resource for life.

 

[Howard] Yes, obviously there would have been a profit margin to the crop output. JTech is a business, and I am a business man. But we are also humanitarians. We would not have engaged in the type of price gouging that was being spoken of before the asset seizure. That wasn't our mission.

 

[Walsh] Okay. moving on. Here we are a few days after inauguration. You've been sighted with numerous members of the leading NAL coalition in the Commune. Can I assume that you are trying to lobby for the return of JTech assets?

 

[Howard] Of course. What we need is a return to normalcy. JTech needs its property back, but the Andrean economy needs a return to capitalism. How can businesses like JTech or Pfizer Quigley continue to make investments in their business if they run the risk of being nationalized? Very few of the large businesses even survived the aftermath of 85. We need these businesses to grow if we want to return to the old way of life.

 

[Walsh] Is it necessary to return to the old way of life? People are now engaging in their own local economies. We have a return to centers of town and a bartering system where the community seems to help each other through. A furniture maker may trade a bed for a horse. Is there even a need for the type of capitalism that you require?

 

[Howard] There is always a need for capitalism! What happens when the furniture maker runs out of people who needs beds? Currency was developed as the universal bartering item. It is necessary, and you are right. The unemployment numbers may no longer have the same meaning if more people can work at home in these types of task, but what about the grand discoveries? A doctor isn't going to discover a cure for cancer in her basement. Not unless she has all the necessary resources, or capital, to do it. This type of capital can only be accumulated by larger businesses.

 

[Walsh] So back to my original question. The Anchor party now holds the Presidency and the Premiership. Phillippe is relegated back to ceremonial status. Have your talks been successful? Is it looking like WASL will be returned?

 

[Howard] The Anchor party is run by a bunch of fools. While I was a proud member and I voted for the Anchor party in the last elections, it will be the last time they receive my vote. I recently changed my affiliation to Libertarian. The Libertarians want to get things done, but the Anchor party is pleased with the status quo. The NAL coalition needs to get their act together. They are three inefficient parties that can't seem to govern effectively without upsetting some portion of their coalition. Premier Young may have an insurrection on his hands as the Anchor party loses steam. I hope the Libertarians can wrest some power from the Anchors.

 

[Walsh] Are you saying that now, only a few days into their term, the NAL coalition may already be fragmenting?

 

[Howard] It sure is! The three parties can't agree on much. I wouldn't be surprised if the political landscape looks significantly different two years from now.

 

[Walsh] That's all the time that we have today. Thank you for listening to Maritime Public Radio, up next is Things Forgotten with Wendy Franklin.

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December 13, 2095

AURORA ASSASSINATED

 

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President Bruce Aurora

 

ROCHESTER, J ANDRES -- President Bruce Aurora was assassinated late last evening while visiting family in Rochester. No suspects were apprehended following the shooting. Although extremists associated with the Vinsalian National Party have been implicated. It is yet another dark day for J Andres as the tumultuous marriage of J Andres and Vinsalia has not been going well. Aurora was hated by many in Vinsalia for becoming part of the Andrean Federal Government, and hated by those in J Andres for originating from Vinsalia. Aurora failed to get many of his priorities through the Commune which is more divided than ever with five major parties.

 

Premier Egorov also seems incapable of summoning a majority for any vote. Although the Commune would be tasked with appointing a President to serve the remainder of Aurora's term, it now appears the Presidency may be left vacant for another 13 months. This would have been thought to be impossible prior to the war, but now, most citizens question the need for a government at all.

 

His Majesty continues to be popular, even as he has embroiled himself in more political discussions. Although he expressed sadness at Aurora's passing, he also spoke out against his policies. "I do believe this is a condemnation of the Libertarian agenda, as well as the political process as we know it," King Phillippe commented from Aquidneck Castle this morning.

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June 19, 2096

THE KING SPEAKS

 

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His Majesty, King Phillippe

 

NEWPORT, J ANDRES -- King Phillippe is not the first monarch to delve deeply into politics. In fact, throughout our troubled history, political monarchs may be the norm rather than the exception. However, The Grand Unifier has not shied away from politics the same way his grandmother used to. Queen Katherine of course was forced to stay out of politics due to the horrendous events around the Royal Rebellion and her uncle Richard Mercton. Half of the previous monarch have been Presidents. Truthfully, Phillippe shouldn't be blamed for trying to do it himself.

 

Although, Phillippe did not throw a rally on the front lawn of the castle to announce his own candidacy. Instead, he was trying to catapult his brother into the spotlight. Phillippe gave a speech that highlighted a new path for the Labor party. This new path needs to not be focused on private enterprises like the past. He believes the only way forward is through a very social and networked community. While he avoided using words like socialism or communism, it is clear this is the direction he would like to see.

 

Need we forget the Southwest Socialist Republic, or the Northwest Socialist Republic? These havens of socialism were mere props for the previous North American powers to seize the rest of the continent. Do we need reminding of how the Grand Mexican War worked out? Perhaps Phillippe is right. Maybe it is time to take the country in a new direction. The income and accounting based taxes of the past are nearly impossible to collect. It has been over ten years since the conclusion of the war, yet horses are still the primary form of transportation. A working automobile is still an oddity.

 

Credit must be given to Phillippe for not trying to capitalize on his own popularity and run for President himself. No, he is leaving that task to his younger brother, Pierre, Earl of Danbury. Up until now, Pierre has primarily been known for his perpetual bachelor status, but with a non-functioning government and the endorsement of a popular king, it is almost impossible to see any other scenario play out come October.

 

And, keeping it in the family, why would the King want Robert Hare to keep his position as party leader in the Commune? Surely there are more Bourbons to fill these positions, are there not? Well, reader, worry not! Cousin to the King, Mateo, has been tapped for this role. Of course all of these are subject to the wishes of the electorate, but this nation yearns for change. The last election showed us that the ways of the past will not work in this uncertain future. Expect a large seal of approval on the King's wishes this October.

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October 29, 2096

TRANSCRIPT OF BROADCAST FROM STATION BROADCASTING ON 102.7 FM

 

[Matthews] Good morning J Andres! You're listening to the Buddy Matthews Show. This is me, Buddy, and we it is now the fifth day of the new Bourbon Country. Next year we will have a Bourbon king, a Bourbon president, and a Bourbon premier. What is it with our fascination with powerful families? How did J Andres allow itself to become a country run by a family that can trace it's lineage back to Louis XIV? What does this new Bourbon dynasty mean for the nation? I'm here to talk you through it. Let's go to airwaves. Remember, we are broadcasting on 102.7 FM, but you can radio in your questions on the lower frequencies. See a full listing in The Anchor Times. All right, who's speaking?

 

[Caller-A] Hi, Bud, this is George. Big fan of your show.

 

[Matthews] Thanks, George. And where are you radioing from?

 

[Caller-A] I'm just outside of Rossingol.

 

[Matthews] All right George from Rossingol. What do you want to talk about this morning.

 

[Caller-A] Well, Bud. I'm frightened. I can't remember the last time any party had an actual majority in the Commune. We've always needed a coalition government.

 

[Matthews] Well the Anchor party had outright majorities in 2072 and 2076. Of course those elections brought Charlotte Laurent into the Presidency.

 

[Caller-A] And Laurent was the one who dragged us into the war! I'll say this. I'm a Nationalist through and through. I've had some disagreements with the Anchor and Communist parties before, but these all the new parties are just dragging our country into the dirt. The Labor party is full of socialist colonists from the SSR. And the Libertarians and VNP are just Vinsalians trying to take over the country. At least the Libertarians are trying to do it sneakily.

 

[Matthews] Come on, George. You can't believe that. We just had a Libertarian president and nothing terrible happened.

 

[Caller-A] And nothing good happened either.

 

[Matthews] Alright George. So some strong words coming in from the south coast. Why don't we take another caller. Let's forget the party politics for a minute. I want to get some opinions on the Bourbons. We have a King and a President who are brothers, and the Premier is their cousin. The great Josef Mercton was both King and President for about a week, and then Richard Mercton's presidency lined up with when Josef wore the crown, but we are talking about 70 years in which the Monarchy and the Presidency have been separate, and for good reason! Sure, everyone loves the royals, but that's because they haven't had their nose in politics for 70 years! Who do we have on the line now?

 

[Caller-B] Hey Bud, this is Eleanor from Boston.

 

[Matthews] Good morning Eleanor. So tell me, what do you think about the Bourbons? Some predicted this type of takeover nearly 40 years ago when Princess Gabrielle first married Sir Henri.

 

[Caller-B] I think you're forgetting that while they may have the Bourbon name, they are truly all Merctons. That's why Phillippe is King, because of his Mercton heritage, not the Bourbon.

 

[Matthews] Yes, this is true Eleanor. I'm not going to dispute you on that one. But don't you find it odd that the Bourbons married in so high on the order of succession? In fact all the Bourbons who have married in have been men who have married into the Mercton family specifically. There weren't any Bourbon-Richards or Bourbon-Annan marriages. Don't you think it's odd?

 

[Caller-B] Usually its your callers who spout the Illuminati specul--.

 

[Matthews] It seems we have lost Eleanor. I don't know where she was going. I just think the facts are plain to see though. The Bourbon family ruled Vinsalia. Vinsalia was an enemy and we fought not once, but twice. Sometime between those two conflicts, they married into our royal family and played the long game. Now, 40 years have went by and the same royal family that we fought against now sits on our throne and runs both our Executive and Legislative branches? Can no one else see the coincidence?

 

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January 18, 2097

EDITORIAL: TRANSPORT OF THE "FUTURE"

 

Well. Here we are. We are on the cusp of the 22nd century. If you read books from the past, they speak of fantastical technology that they expected: flying cars, hover boards, commercial interplanetary travel. 

 

How disappointed would those authors have been to know that in the year 2097, the most exciting news of the day was that we are going to be building a railroad?

 

A railroad!!

 

President Bourbon announced this railroad as if it was some sort of novel idea. In the 19th century, perhaps that was true, but now?

 

And logistically? The proposed Buffalo/Boston line is somewhere around 450 miles. Where are we going to get that much steel? Nothing about this proposal makes sense. It's a grand gesture so the Labor Party can make it look like they've got ideas. I can't wait for them to propose laying down telegraph cable next....

 

-Frank Fulbright

 

 

 

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March 8, 2097

 

Jason wiped the sweat from his brow. "You sure this thing is in neutral?" he asked the others.

 

"I'm sure," Greg said crossly. "Now shut up and help push."

 

Jason bit his lip and pushed harder. The two of them, along with Rupert were pushing the car up the hill. Jason wiped his sweat again. It was a big hill.

 

"This is stupid," Rupert said, taking his hands off the car. Jason's arms immediately strained, now that the weight of the car was being split only two ways rather than two. "Look how far we still have to go!" he said, pointing to the others. Jason and Greg didn't look up. "How much is this car really worth?" he asked, as he leaned back against the car, pushing it slightly.

 

"Ronnie and Dave got 4000 for a similar one last week. These salvage places are getting tons of government money. They're buying up everything," Greg replied.

 

Rupert pushed the car with more gusto after hearing the figure. "This car is so heavy though."

 

"Yeah, you dummy," Greg said. "That's why it's worth so much. If we had gotten that '82 Falcon like you wanted to we would have gotten half as much. The cars from just before the war were practically plastic. They aren't building the railroad out of plastic."

 

****

 

Fifteen minutes later, they reached the top of the hill. Jason looked at the winding road below from behind the windshield. He nervously moved his hand around the steering wheel. Greg poked his head in the driver's side window, "Just remember, whatever you do, don't hit the brakes."

 

Jason nodded his head. He had never driven a car before. None of them had. They were all kids when the war broke out. By the time they were sixteen there was no DMV to issue licenses anymore. Jason had never parallel parked or made a three-point turn. He didn't know what those things meant, although he was pretty sure he wouldn't need to do them here. Follow the road. Make it as far as you can. Don't hit the brakes. Those were the three instructions.

 

"I'm ready," he said quietly. Greg and Rupert were behind the car. They didn't hear him. He pressed his hand on the center of the wheel, and a loud sound erupted from it. "I'm ready!" he repeated with more enthusiasm. The car began rolling slowly as the two men pushed the car over the crest of the hill. Soon Jason could see them in the mirror behind him, whooping and hollering as he rolled away. He nudged the steering wheel gently in each direction, getting a feel for how sensitive it was. The car was still moving quickly. Trees and abandoned houses flew past with tremendous speed. He turned the steering wheel to the right, as the road curved, and felt his body lurch to the left. He smiled as the car began decelerating. The skyline of Rossingol was visible in the distance. It would still be a few more miles, but at least there wouldn't be any hills.

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July 28, 2098

ALTONA TRAGEDY HIGHLIGHTS RURAL DANGERS

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President Bourbon speaks in Endor Cuidad about the Altona Tragedy

 

ALTONA, GABRIEL COUNTY, J ANDRES -- Seventeen dead and even more missing, the preliminary reports from Altona have not been pleasant. Word first reached our news desks in Albany early this morning, but dispatching this lucky reporter to Altona took nearly all day by horse. Upon arrival, the situation was clear. For years us city folk have heard rumors of raiders attacking the border towns. Truthfully, its something we tell our children to give them a reason to come home before dark. It's not something I ever imagined seeing in person. But here in Altona, hard evidence that we are not alone in this world.

 

Of course, we never assumed we were alone. We knew there were others. But in the aftermath of the nuclear attacks, the radio towers went silent. It was easy to assume that many of the governments fell. Perhaps we are the only nation living under civilized laws, but we are not the only ones left alive. Altona is a small town in northern Gabriel, and overnight, a large armed gang of raiders attacked. Food stores are empty, tools have been stolen, children have been kidnapped.

 

The remaining citizens of Altona are outraged. Their families have been torn apart and they are demanding the far-away government do something to help them. President Bourbon had no such assistance to give. "This is sad. I am sad for these families. But the truth is, we do not have the manpower to defend our border. Our strength is focused on our cities. The world of yesteryear has ended. Gone are the days when you could live in the suburbs and drive five miles to the supermarket. Gone are the days when you could farm the land in rural areas and expect anything to grow. This is our reality. We can distribute food rations easily to those in the cities. We can protect those in the cities. Soon, PPL will begin providing reliable power to the cities. I wish I could promise this would never happen again, but that isn't true. You can prevent this though; move to a city."

 

There is evidence that Bourbon's message is true. Urban populations are up 250% over the last eight years while rural populations are down across the board.

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February 6, 2099

BEHIND SCHEDULE

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Workers laying railroad tracks that will constitute part of the "Coast Line"

 

WARWICK, PROVIDENCE PRINCIPALITY, J ANDRES -- It was one of the most ambitious pledges that have ever been made. President Bourbon announced it only shortly after the election. He stood flanked by his brother and cousin. All branches of the government united behind this infrastructure project that would have seemed crazy before the war, but now, seemed like a fantasy. But the Labor party earned their mandate, and they've given it their best effort.

 

Here we are, two years later and the railroad still seems far from complete. Bourbon announced the first line to be completed would be the "Coast Line," running from Boston to Greater Brooklyn. Bourbon said this line would be complete before the 2100 elections. Pundits called it a bold move, practically betting the outcome of the next election on an outcome four years in the future. At the halfway mark, the odds are against Bourbon and Labor party. The salvage companies have been surprisingly successful in reclaiming old steel, but the construction of the railroad itself is what is slowing down. Critics of the government blame the delays on the poorly trained workforce and non-present supervision. Supporters of the government claim that the workforce is exactly what makes this project great. The statistics tell the story for themselves: unemployment is way down for cities and towns near the construction zones.

 

Louis Kissinger, War and Defense Minister under Emily Gibbons, has cautioned against the Labor party approach. "They have done a good thing. They have given the people something to do besides look for berries or carve sticks. In time, the Labor party will see that there are benefits to corporations. Businesses can train their labor force. Businesses can be the best in their field. Right now, Bourbon is trying to do everything, and he is doing surprisingly well, but his success at being a jack of all trades has only highlighted that he is a master of none."

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April 14, 2099

COMMUNE HIRES BARLOW DAVIS SHAW

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Workers preparing the tracks in New Rochelle

 

NEW ROCHELLE, GREATER BROOKLYN, J ANDRES -- Mateo Bourbon and some Labor party senators joined the ranks of the Libertarian, Nationalist, and Anchor parties calling for introduction of private enterprise into the National Rail project. Premier Bourbon appeared defeated as he announced the news. "We must face the facts. The National Rail project is the largest infrastructure project in which our nation has ever attempted, and we are trying to do it in a world without networked computers. The partners of Barlow Davis Shaw have assured us they have the skills to bring this project on track. That is what is important right now."

 

Some Labor party senators have called out the Premier for switching to the opposition. Paul Mitchell, Senator from Danbury, said, "He has sold out his beliefs to try to capture an electoral victory next year. He's from my party and I'm saying this. Private enterprise needs to be managed, not encouraged."

 

Barlow Davis Shaw had previously managed large projects, such as Duchess Shannon Stadium in Boston, but the National Rail project will be the largest thus far. The contract terms them as the "Prime Contractor," and they are expected to draft a series of standards for subcontractors to follow throughout construction, to ensure consistency in the process. Additionally, they will set the standards for training and quality assurance.

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July 8, 2099

DENNIS HOWARD DECLARES CANDIDACY

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Dennis Howard at the podium in front of the WASL

 

WOONSOCKET, J ANDRES -- Dennis Howard stood in front of the WASL today and declared his candidacy for President. "No more!" he shouted loudly as he ended his speech. It appears to be his campaign slogan, although we haven't yet seen the graphics. Howard appears to represent the establishment that are displeased with the Labor party administration. "Business has always been the backbone of our nation. The WASL was built by private enterprise. It began doing great things as a private enterprise, and then the government stole it away."

 

As he retold the story about how the WASL was stolen from JTech, he received a long-lasting round of applause. It appeared as if many JTech employees had made the ride from Endor Cuidad to watch the speech. It's possible the company even let them off for the day to observe. "But we say no more!" he yelled, as he began his rallying cry. "May the government never lay a finger on another business! Sure, they've hired some help for the National Rail, but that doesn't mean they have learned! We must push back against the Labor majority if we are to return to prosperity!"

 

Although Howard is personally popular, and public sentiment was behind him when the government first nationalized the WASL, the numbers have switched now that the government has continued its program of providing free rations to those in the cities. Howard has already received the endorsement of Corey Sturgeon, the Anchor party leader in the Commune. Sturgeon stated that it was unlikely that the Anchor party would field a candidate in the Presidential election when Howard was such a strong choice.

Edited by J Andres

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October 27, 2099

ANCHOR PARTY EXODUS

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Antonio, Baron of Hyannis, made his new party affiliation known

 

NANTUCKET, NEWPORT PRINCIPALITY,  J ANDRES -- Antonio, Baron of Hyannis has made the switch to the Libertarian party. Antonio is the great-grandson of Ben Richards, the beloved former Duke of Boston who founded the Anchor party in the early days of the Maritime Republic. Antonio is not alone is switching parties. Even former President Steve Steel has switched his affiliation. "The Libertarian party represents everything that the Anchor party once did," Steel remarked last week.

 

Of course, Antonio's change is significant for what he represents: a generational shift in the Anchor party electorate. Especially for those who have come of age after the war, the Anchor party represents the driving force behind that war. While Charlotte Laurent and her involvement may be remembered fondly since her passing, the actions of Daniel Young and the Anchor party majority in the Commune are not remembered in the same limelight. There were the dismal years following the bombings where the Anchor party could not properly mobilize the resources to stop the damage. Most of the youth support the ruling Labor party, although those with right-leaning views are significantly more likely to support the Libertarians over the Anchor party.

 

The Anchor party has fallen from grace in recent elections, only earning 5% of the seats in this past election. Daniel Young was booted from power following that election, and the party leader position was given to Corey Sturgeon. Sturgeon was part of the same leadership team with Young, and confidence in him has fallen since the election as well. When the Baron was asked if he thought Ben Richards would be disappointed in his decision he said, "No. He was a man who always understood that a label was just a label. Josef Mercton was one of his best friends, and he was a Nationalist! They found the common ground. But the Anchor party of today is not the Anchor party of his era. Today's Anchor party is corrupt and self-serving. I endorse the Libertarian party and their candidate for President next year, Dennis Howard."

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October 27, 2099

FLURRY OF ACTIVITY BEFORE END OF SESSION

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Premier of the Commune, Mateo Bourbon, Announced New Legislation

ENDOR CUIDAD,  J ANDRES -- With the Labor party majority at risk next year, Premier Mateo Bourbon took this opportunity to pass a flurry of new legislation, much of it aimed at preserving the majority at all costs. Most notable, all previous gun control legislation was revoked. Although most of these gun laws were not being enforced, this legislation officially removes them from the books. This is is widely accepted in the rural areas where there are no police forces and handguns are the only means of protection from non-citizen raiders.

 

The commune also passed an authorization bill that would hire Barlow Davis Shaw to serve as the prime contractor to design and build a new governmental center, to replace the old Adrik Annan Governmental Center which was destroyed in the aftermath of the war. BDS has been seen as instrumental in getting the national rail project back on track. Although the 2090 completion date of the Coast Line will likely still be missed, it looks like it should be completed in the following year.

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January 1, 2100

NATION WELCOMES A NEW CENTURY

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Brief fireworks display outside of Albany

 

ENDOR CUIDAD,  J ANDRES -- The twenty-second century is upon us. It looks surprisingly different from that forecast in the past, but this is the century we are presented with. Celebrations were more boisterous this year, than in recent memory. Could it be celebration of the new century? Could it be that the people are regaining confidence in a world shaken by war?

 

The King gave his annual address early this morning via radio. "We must strive to move past the destruction of the war," he said. "The war ended fifteen years ago. For years, during the worst of the aftermath, we waited, as if we were casual observers to our own lives. That made sense then. But the children who know no other way of life question our complacency with the way things are. We can be better. We will be better." His speech is being highly quoted on the amateur radio frequencies as a rallying cry around the Labor party. The King's brother, President Pierre is expected to speak this afternoon to set his agenda for the coming year.

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