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Countdown to Crisis; The J Andres Saga; Chapter 8

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Chapter 8:
Countdown to Crisis


"In our lifetime, we've seen the world destroyed many times over, and we are on the precipice of seeing it happen all over again." -- President Mateo Bourbon, 2130


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

Chapter 7: Armageddon



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The Grand Mexican War ended 45 years ago with a big atomic bang. Held together with the personal charisma and familial ties of King Phillippe, J Andres grew from the ashes stronger than ever. The world still scrapes by on the salvage of the past, but the citizens of J Andres aren't starving. In the north, the successor states of New Quebec, itself a successor state of Disparu, have struggled. Two primary contenders as the heir of New Quebec are Ottania, an absolute Monarchy ruled by the descendants of Disparu's first monarch, and the Quebec Republic, a powerful collection of city-states that bristle at the thought of a hereditary ruler.

Over the past decade, tensions have risen and fallen, as overt conflict has came and went. The ruling families of Ottania and J Andres have grown closer with multiple marriages, and the current peace seems tentative.

Assassinated more than 15 years ago, the strong leadership of King Phillippe can no longer be counted on to be the glue that holds the fabric together. Assassinations would claim the lives of both his sons in the years that followed, leaving his grandson, Phillippe IV on the throne. Will the peace in the north remain, or fall back into conflict? Will the new generation be able to keep their grip on the country firm? Will the newly acquired Vermont territory cause J Andres to expand beyond what it can support, as it had in centuries past?


January 8, 2131



[Sanders] Thank you for tuning into Maritime Public Radio, you're listening to News Hour. I'm your host, Paul Sanders. Remember, Maritime Public Radio is funded by your contributions. Later today, Newport will be host to a state visit by Jerome Moreau, Administrator of the Quebec Republic. With me is our chief royal correspondent, Linda Walker. Good morning, Linda.


[Walker] Good morning, Paul, thanks for having me.


[Sanders] Can you tell us a little about what we should expect this evening? This is a big deal, right?


[Walker] This is very significant. It's going to be the first time the Administrator of Quebec visits the nation, and it's very much to the relationship building that Kyle Barlow has done over the past few years as Chancellor of Foreign Affairs. It was Barlow who successfully negotiated the peace terms at the end of the Ottanian conflict, and its been Barlow who has been spending a lot of time in Férin to continue to try to build this relationship and keep peace in the North.


[Sanders] So I'm assume Barlow will be there. Who else can we expect to receive these guests?


[Walker] Well, it should be the Royal Family hosting, and officially, that is the plan of record, but there is a lot of speculation that His Majesty will actually skip the event.


[Sanders] Oh dear.


[Walker] Yes, well, the Ottanians are not pleased with our growing relationship with Quebec, and Phillippe IV's uncle is King of Ottania. So the familial ties run deep here.


[Sanders] If His Majesty is not in attendance, who are we expecting?


[Walker] That's what we are all speculating about. If Phillippe is not there, his mother, Maisie, and sister, Princess Marie, are all expected to skip out also.


[Sanders] What about the Duchess of Boston or the Duke of Rossingol?


[Walker] They've been confirmed as attendees, but it wouldn't be expected that they would perform hosting duties.


[Sanders] So what exactly does this mean for our northern neighbors?


[Walker] If the Administrator of Quebec travels all the way to Newport to be personally snubbed like this, it is going to be a huge setback for our diplomatic relations. President Bourbon has been seen at the royal palace and is no doubt doing his best to make sure he can get someone to greet the caravan when it arrives.


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The Anchor Times

March 7 , 2131



Annan Enterprises CEO, Edward Kensington


SYRACUSE,  J ANDRES -- Construction of the foundry in Syracuse only began a few years ago, but rising tensions with Quebec have accelerated its completion. The foundry is now humming to life, melting down various scrap metals into ingots. Salvage rates for reclaimed metals have soared in kind. 


"The first shipment to Rossingol was a few weeks ago," said Marty Barron, a foreman at the foundry. "The train on the way back had picked up a few folks along the way who were looking for work. But by the time the second shipment was sent out, there wasn't enough room on the train back for everyone who wanted to come."


The majority of the steel is headed to Rossingol to Syracuse Steel's sister company, Annan Arms. CEO Edward Kensington has remained mum on what exactly the government has been ordering, only that business is going well.


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The Anchor Times

June 19 , 2131



Nathan Elliott at left, and Eleanor Mueller at right


ENDOR CUIDAD,  J ANDRES -- We are still more than a year away from the next presidential elections, but the posturing from potential candidates is already beginning. Nathan Elliott, a horse breeder from Saratoga Springs has begun traveling through the capital city this week, beating the war drums. "Quebec might be large, but Férin is their only real population center. It should not be difficult for us to just settle the issue, and move on." The Libertarians have not been huge proponents of wars in the past, but Elliott sees it as a means to an end.


Alternatively, the Nationalists have quelled their historic appetite for war. Eleanor Mueller is a combat veteran who served in the Ottanian Conflict and was injured in battle in Vermont. "War is not the answer to Quebec. There is very little to gain, and so very much to lose. These are not the wars of the last century, where technology helped cast the illusion of safety on the field of horrors. Today's battles are fought in close combat. Let the Ottanians squabble with Quebec. We should be focusing here at home and the opportunities we captured in the last war and have not seized.


President Bourbon has not made public comment on either potential candidate as of yet.

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The Anchor Times

October 24, 2131



Jerome Moreau, Administrator of the Quebec Republic


FÉRIN, QUEBEC -- President Bourbon and Chancellor of Foreign Affairs Barlow are expected to meet with Jerome Moreau, Administrator of the Quebec Republic today in the northern capital city. "A two state solution is the only solution," Kyle Barlow said before they departed on the trip. "We want Quebec to understand that we committed to a two state solution. While the royal families of J Andres and Ottania are intertwined, our politics are not."


The press secretary for Moreau released a long statement detailing the history of Quebec dating back to the days of Disparu and the connection of the former Disparuean government to the current government in Férin. Most experts do not expect significant progress to be made on the diplomatic mission.

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The Anchor Times

November 18, 2131



Josef Mercton, first President and first King of J Andres


ENDOR CUIDAD -- The past four weeks, Sunday night has meant tuning into your local EBC radio station and listening to Shadow of Mercton. Tonight though, is the last episode in the program and the theories are abundant. The radio program comes from investigative journalist Grace White, who scoured through the ruins of Fort Farnum and other complexes in Endor Cuidad and Providence to piece together a history of our nation's founding father that seems unbelievable at first listen.


The story has been engrossing and the production value is high for any post-GMW production. So far, over the past four episodes we have learned that Mercton originated in Kansas City and was even involved in organized crime there in the 1970s before coming to what is now J Andres in the 1980s. Tonight's episode has promised to tell the story behind the nation's founding, and if it is anything like the previous four episodes, we are bound to be enthralled, sitting on the edge of our seats, hanging on to Grace's every word. Security has been tightened around the royal residences in Newport.


Grace White has been mum on any specifics over the past week, only promising that this week's finale will be thrilling. Harry Templeton of the Eastern Broadcasting Company has been eager to talk about the success for the show and is keeping his fingers crossed for a second season or a new investigation into other areas of J Andres's history.


The finale of Shadow of Mercton airs tonight, at 8PM on EBC.

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The Anchor Times

November 25, 2131



Libertarian Candidate Nathan Elliott


ENDOR CUIDAD -- The nation listened in shock to the conclusion of "Shadow of Mercton" this Sunday, as it was revealed that the nation of J Andres was founded in an organized crime rebellion between Josef Mercton and the Patriarca crime family which was pulling the strings in the post-USA Rhode Island government. The surprise that Mercton, who would go on to become the nation's first President and eventual King by the end of 1986, has shocked modern listeners, and has made a small dent in the favorability of the current monarchy and system of royals.


Overall support for the monarchy remains strong, with Phillippe IV riding the goodwill the nation has for his grandfather, Phillippe I. Nathan Elliott, who recently announced his candidacy for President in next year's elections addressed the popular docuseries on the campaign trail this week, but stopped short of calling for the abolishment of the monarchy, stating that he preferred a "diminishment" rather than a "dismantling". Elliott is trying to gain supporters who may be put off by the facts revealed in the documentary, without alienating his base of voters, who largely hail from the former Vinasalian regions, where the Bourbon family is very popular.

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The Anchor Times

January 26, 2132



Chancellor of War and Defense, Sarah Baker


MURDOCHVILLE, OTTANIA -- J Andres armed forces travelled to Ottania over the weekend to perform joint cold-weather exercised together on the Gaspe peninsula. Quebec decried the move, releasing in an official statement "Tensions are already taut, more military in the region will do nothing to ease them. J Andres has repeatedly said that they search for a peaceful two-state solution and then act as if they've said nothing at all."


Chancellor of War and Defense, Sarah Baker, commented, "It is crucial that our troops complete maneuvers in a variety of settings to ensure they are prepared for any number of combat scenarios. J Andres has, and always will remain committed to peace on the continent."

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The Anchor Times

October 6, 2132



The Incumbents remained victorious, President Mateo Bourbon, and Chancellor Sarah Baker


ENDOR CUIDAD -- The election results are in and Bourbon is on top yet again! He made it across the finish line with a substantial lead, but the margin was much smaller than either of his previous elections and was the lowest margin for any Labor party presidential candidate since 2196. This has renewed some discussions about whether or not this term should be his last.


Conversely, Sarah Baker won her election as Chancellor of Defense by significant margins.

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The Anchor Times

February 1, 2133



NEWPORT -- King Phillippe IV announced a restructuring of the royal titles and positions, creating new hereditary peerages. The titles and their holders are below:




Addison remains the Duchess of Boston and William remains the Duke of Rossingol. No changes to the hereditary dukedoms.




The new title of Marquis/Marquise has been created as a hereditary peerage. Katherine, Princess of Providence has been elevated to Marquise of Providence and Vanessa, Countess of Danbury has been elevated to Marquise of Danbury.




Phillippe IV has ensured all of the 8 counties now have an Earl or Countess to oversee them. There is Paul, Earl of Tremont; Jacob, Earl of Blackstone; Douglas, Earl of Danshire; Samantha, Countess of Katherine; Edward, Earl of Winthrop; Marie, Countess of Lanier; Emily, Countess of Norfolk; and Edgar, Earl of Gabriel. If they look young to you, it's because they are. Three of the Earls/Countesses are 14 or less. Also of note is the selection of Edward Kensington as Earl of Winthrop. The House of Kensington had their royal titles and privileges disbanded decades ago, but Phillippe IV has reinstated them.




Finally are the Viscounts, another new hereditary position. Alexander, Viscount Hyannis and Edgar, Viscount Colchester are both the heir apparents to the Dukedoms of Boston and Rossingol, which will be the purpose of their new title. The third Viscount is Harold, Viscount Warwick.

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The Anchor Times

April 4, 2133



King Louis of Ottania announced a curfew for Montreal


MONTREAL, OTTANIA -- Montreal has begun experiencing unrest in the evening hours. No group or organization has claimed responsibility, but the Ottanian government has claimed that it is the work of the government of Quebec. King Louis announced a curfew for the city beginning each night at 6PM.


Chancellor of Foreign Affairs, Kyle Barlow is en route to the Quebec capital of Ferin to continue to mediate between the two countries.




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The Anchor Times

June 18, 2133



Jerome Moreau, Administrator of the Quebec Republic


FÉRIN, QUEBEC -- Chancellor of Foreign Affairs, Kyle Barlow, and his staff have returned home from their long diplomatic mission in Quebec. Jerome Moreau, Administrator of the Quebec Republic has expelled the J Andres and Ottania diplomatic missions, citing increased hostilities at the border and the recent disappearance of a Quebecois teenager in Montreal.

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The Anchor Times

August 9, 2133




OTTAWA, OTTANIA -- Eight years ago, the Ottanian King, Justin, was assassinated. It was his death that initiated the war between Ottania, Quebec, Vermont, and J Andres. This morning in Ottawa, the supposed assassins have been revealed, captured after years of investigation and subterfuge. The King Louis alleges that the assassins were working specifically for the Quebec government. A trial date has been set for next month.

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September 30, 2133



[Sanders] Thank you for tuning into Maritime Public Radio, you're listening to News Hour. I'm your host, Paul Sanders. Remember, Maritime Public Radio is funded by your contributions. The trial of three accused terrorists in Ottawa began earlier this week. Tonight, I'm joined by Ryan Fogarty via ResilientWave link, who is up in Ottawa and has been in the courtroom. Thank you for joining us Ryan.


[Fogarty] Good evening, Paul, thanks for having me.


[Sanders] Of course. Now we've been listening to the action each day, thanks to the EBC broadcasts. From here, listening via radio, the courtroom reminds some of us old-timers of outlandish pre-war dramas that we used to watch on television. Can you help paint a picture of what is going on in the court?


[Fogarty] Certainly. You aren't far off. The courtroom has been wild each day. The younger brother of the King, Prince Daniel is presiding as judge. King Louis is present in the room each day. The three accused terrorists, Albert Gonthier, Nolan Henry, and Sophie Savard, are front and center, wearing orange prison jumpsuits and handcuffed. Not only are they handcuffed, they are chained together, so they must awkwardly shuffle in and out of the room during each recess. Normally, accused criminals in Ottania are provided proper clothing for trials, to help continue the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, that has been overruled in this case in the name of safety and security, as they are in the presence of His Majesty.


[Sanders] Okay, that's certainly a visual we aren't getting from the recorded audio. Now what about the proceedings themselves? We know the Quebec government has decried them as, and I quote, "a farce and mockery of justice around the world." Some of the evidence does appear to be circumstantial. How is it playing out in the courtroom itself?


[Fogarty] Well, the prosecution certainly is the home team here. The courtroom is eating up the accusations and feeding into the prosecution. I know you haven't heard today's recordings yet, but there are some outlandish claims coming. An eyewitness is going to describe how she saw three people running away after the King was shot, "two tall and one short." During cross examination, the defense attorney asks her if she had any other identifying information, like hair color, clothing, etc. When she was unable to provide anything, the attorney got very animated pointing out different groupings of three in the crowd who could potentially fit the description. Despite the circumstantial nature of the claim, the prosecution objected to his line of questioning and the judge agreed.


[Sanders] You heard it first here folks, a little sneak peek at tonight's broadcast, which will be starting soon. We've only got about another minute or so here. Any other analysis Ryan?


[Fogarty] If this trial is Ottania searching for a casus belli, then they are certainly preparing for the eventual outcome outside the courtroom. Military presence in the streets of Ottawa is ramping up and my colleagues in Montreal have said similar things there. Certainly Ottania has kept the border well protected since the end of the last war with Quebec, but these surges sure spell something imminent.


[Sanders] That's all the time we have. Thank you Ryan, and good night.




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November 18, 2133


Just before Christmas, eight years ago, my father was murdered in the streets of Ottawa, the city he held most dear. For years we have suspected our neighbors in the north to be behind this heinous crime. In 2126, we declared war to deliver justice. By 2128, one of our other neighbors had fallen, and the Quebec Republic had begged for peace, maintaining their innocence in the murder.


Today, we know who killed my father: it was three Quebecois terrorists. They have been found guilty in a court of law, and they have been sentenced to death, which I have carried out by my own hand.


We also know why they killed him. They were paid agents of the Quebec Republic. The ceasefire and peace agreements signed between Ottania and Quebec are nullified and voided by this new information, as they were based in the presumption of Quebecois innocence. Now that we know this is false, we cannot permit the Quebecois state to continue.


Whereas the government of the Quebec Republic has harbored terrorists and executed subterfuge actions within Ottanian borders culminating in the murder of King Justin, the Kingdom of Ottania hereby declares war against the Quebec Republic.


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November 18, 2133


Whereas, the Kingdom of Ottania has captured three Quebecois nationals, put them on trial in a mockery of justice, and executed them.

Whereas, the Kingdom of Ottania has repeatedly violated Quebecois sovereignty and led incursions within our borders.

Whereas, the Kingdom of Ottania claims itself to be a successor state of the Federation of DIsparu, yet rules in an absolute monarchy antithetical to the final days of the Federation.

Whereas, the Kingdom of Ottania has declared war against the government and people of the Quebec Republic.


Therefore, be it resolved by the National Assembly, that a state of war between the Kingdom of Ottania and the Quebec Republic be formally declared; and the Administrator is hereby authorized to use the full military forces and resources of the government to carry out war against the Kingdom of Ottania and to bring the conflict to a successful termination.

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The Anchor Times

November 23, 2133



Disclaimer: This editorial is written by Nathan Elliott and does not represent the views or opinions of the The Anchor Times.


Four days of conflict to our north and the halls of Adrik Annan Governmental Center are so silent you could hear a pin drop.

Not a statement of support for Ottania. Not a statement of neutrality. Not a declaration of war. Absolutely nothing.


This silence can only mean indecisiveness at the highest levels. When the Commune was abolished in 2125, it was supposed to be so decisions could be made quicker.

We have a President and three chancellors--how long should it take? Add in the messy family tree of the King with the Ottanians and you can see why J Andres is paralyzed.


I have personal opinions on the war and which side we should be on, but that's not why I'm writing this editorial. 

I'm writing this editorial because our government is failing us. A decision needs to be made: We need to decide if we are supporting our allies in the north, or if we are going to let them settle their own affairs. And when that decision is made, we need it to be announced so we can hold our government accountable in the next election, rather than ponder at what the silence is supposed to mean.


Nathan Elliott is a former Libertarian party presidential candidate and lives in Saratoga Springs.



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November 28, 2133


J Andres does not take war lightly. In the wake of the Grand Mexican War especially, it is important for us to find ways to resolve our differences that don't result in the destroying the world all over again. For the past number of years, myself and Chancellor Barlow have tried many times to find common ground between Quebec and Ottania. We have concluded that there is none to find and last week's declarations from both nations confirm this.


We are disappointed in this outcome, but we can also not stand idly by while the Kingdom of Ottania is under attack. We will defend our allies until peace reigns supreme once more. I have confirmed agreement with a majority of the Chancellors and with His Majesty Phillippe IV--the nation of J Andres hereby declares a state of war exists with the Quebec Republic. Chancellor Baker will coordinate our war efforts.

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The Anchor Times

February 16, 2134



Chancellor of Defense, Sarah Baker


For the last two months, J Andres troops have been helping Ottanian forces with their defense of Montreal. Yesterday, the Quebecois army was completely dispelled from the borders of the city, and have retreated north to Quebec City. Chancellor Sarah Baker has received significant praise back here at home for the ongoing war efforts. Reports from the front anticipate the J Andres and Ottanian armies will hold fast in Montreal until the spring, when the strain on the horses and other supply chain issues will be less.


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The Anchor Times

October 6, 2134



Incoming Chancellor of Foreign Affairs, George Al Kaled


ENDOR CUIDAD - George Al Kaled, second-cousin once removed of the King, has been elected as Chancellor of Foreign Affairs. Al Kaled was born in J Andres, but lived oversees in Colonial Marianne for many years and is fluent in French. He defeated Kyle Barlow 56%-44%. Barlow, the incumbent, had initial success in the role helping to resolve the ceasefire from the first Ottanian Conflict. That goodwill evaporates as did the peace terms with the resumption of hostilities between Ottania and Quebec. 


Following his election, King Phillippe announced he will grant Al Kaled with the title "Baron of Paris," a non-hereditary life appointment.

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The Anchor Times

November 30, 2134



QUEBEC CITY - J Andres and Ottanian forces have captured Quebec City. Together with the capture of Trois-Rivieres in August, the significant southern population centers of Quebec have been captured. The most significant remaining city, is the capital of Ferin in the far north. The armies are expected to camp for the remainder of the winter in the cities, before venturing north in the spring.

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The Anchor Times

April 3, 2135



QUEBEC CITY - The combined armies of J Andres and Ottania, along with Chancellor of Defense Sarah Baker, have initiated their highly anticipated march towards Ferin, the capital city of the Quebec Republic. This long anticipated march follows an arduous winter encampment and is poised to push the war into its final leg.


Chancellor Baker addressed her troops with unwavering resolve prior to their departure, underlining the paramount significance of their mission. "We've endured the harshest of winters together, and now we march with unwavering determination," she proclaimed. "Ferin beckons, and our pursuit of peace remains steadfast."


The winter encampment, marked by severe cold, logistical complexities, and sporadic skirmishes with Quebec Republic forces, afforded a crucial window for strategic planning and resource gathering. Military analysis speculate that the Quebecois army will be well-prepared and taking Ferin will still be difficult.


Administrator Jerome Moreau acknowledged the evolving situation in a statement from Ferin. "We've long been aware of the possibility of enemy advances, and we. stand prepared to protect our capital."

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  • J Andres changed the title to Countdown to Crisis; The J Andres Saga; Chapter 8
Posted (edited)

April 4, 2135

J Andres Military Encampment: Quebec City


The night hung over the camp in Quebec City like a heavy, damp shroud. A persistent drizzle has been falling for hours, and the marching of all the northward bound soldiers had turned the ground into a much of mud and grime. The soldiers who hadn't yet departed were weary and on edge, huddled under makeshift shelters, their breath visible in the cold air as they kept watch over the city.


In a dimly lit tent near the heart of the encampment, Lena Kovac sat at a small makeshift table, her gloved hands wrapped around a steaming cup of coffee. She wore a utilitarian medical uniform bearing a white caduceus atop a red maple leaf. Her short, dark hair was damp from the rain.


Across from Lena, Director Hayes, a grizzled man with a salt-and-pepper beard studied a worn paper map on the table's surface. His face was worn with fatigue, but hie eyes sparkled with intensity.


"We've got a situation, Lena," Hayes said, his gravelly voice breaking the silence. "The intel just came in. Quebec has a Disparu-era nuclear weapon, and the Administrator's people are working hard to restore it.


Lena's eyes widened. "I thought everything was launched back in 2085?"


Hayes shook his head, "Anything that could be launched was launched at the end of the war. If there was a malfunction, they could be sitting on a warhead."


"Do you think they would dare to use it?" Lena asked.


"Our contact on the inside says they're working day and night at this facility here," he gestured to the map, "To try to bring it back online. That's why you're here. To make sure they don't even have the option. We can't let that happen."


Lena took a sip of her coffee, the bitter warmth spreading through her chest. "So, what's the plan?"


"We're sending you in," Hayes replied. "You'll pose as Dr. Isabella Dubois, a medical relief worker from The Free City of Toronto. I see you found the wardrobe already. Quebec is preparing for Ferin to be attacked, and they are paying hired doctors and nurses some serious money from the surrounding area to come into the city to help deal with the retreating soldiers, and the eventual injuries as our armies make it there."


Lena frowned, "That will get me into the city, but how am I supposed to get into the research facility?"


Hayes pointed to the map, "The main hospital is fairly close to the research facility. It's the best we could do on short notice. You'll need to figure out how to get into the research facility yourself.


Lena arched an eyebrow, "And if they don't buy it?"


Hayes smiled, a cold and calculating grin. "Then you'll have to rely on your medical knowledge to gain their trust and ensure that weapons never sees the light of day."


Lena listened to the rain tapping against the tent's canvas. She had performed many missions successfully over the past years, in Quebec and Ottania as needed, but none were like this. The stakes were higher, the danger imminent, the fate of the whole region hung in the balance. She stood up, "Alright, let's do this," she said eagerly.

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The Anchor Times

April 15, 2135



PROVIDENCE - Yesterday was the highly anticipated opening day of the fourth season of the Atlantic Baseball League, and fans were not disappointed. The League, founded by the Eastern Broadcasting Company in 2132, has been steadily growing in popularity each year, and has become some of the most listened to radio broadcasting. This year's opening matchup was a thrilling rematch of last year's championship between the Providence Grays and the Syracuse Stallions.


The teams are playing without formal stadiums again this year, with the crowds taking to the limited bleachers at Roger Williams Park and crowding the chainlink fences. Fans, primarily wearing the gray of the home team, were plentiful, as the smell of freshly cut grass and the crack of the bat filled the air, signaling the return of the baseball season.


With some early back and forth scoring, the game was mostly quiet at a 3-3 tie until the seventh inning, when Providence 3B Ethan Johnson delivered a towering home run, scoring what would be the winning run to the roaring applause of those gathered. The Stallions did make attempt a spirited comeback in the top of the ninth, but Max Mitchell delivered the save and closed out the game for the win.


Henry Templeton, CEO of the Eastern Broadcasting Company, was on hand for the game and he looked pleased. In the offseason he was traveling the country, looking for buyers for at least some of the league's five franchises. He brushed off questions about the league's financials stating only, "The growth prospects in the radio industry continue to shine bright." The Providence-Syracuse series continues tonight, broadcasting on your local EBC affiliate.

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May 8, 2135

Hôpital Berlitz; Férin, Quebec Republic


The weeks in Férin has passed in a blur of medical routines and endless spring rain. Lena Kovac had assimilated herself as Dr. Isabella Dubois seamlessly into the makeshift medical facility surrounding the Berlitz Hospital. Her blue uniform one, in the sea of many of the hired hands to address the wounded. But each night, she kept a watchful eye on the city, and in particular the old Palace of Justice. While most of the Disparu-era buildings in Férin were long gone, the low height of the Palace of Justice must have protected it from the nuclear blasts at the end of the war. It was likely the oldest remaining building in the city.


While most of the city quieted down in the evening, the Palace of Justice building was abuzz with activity of all hours of the day. The most information about what was happening in the building was "Arceus Deux", which meant nothing to her but she began to recognize the dull red badge lanyards the workers wore on their way to and from work. She would tail them sometimes to no avail.


She spent her days across the street from the Palace of Justice, at the sprawling complex of temporary tents and converted buildings that surrounded the Berlitz Hospital. The hospital also buzzed with activity all day long, as doctors and nurses hurried to attend to the influx of wounded soldiers and civilians from the battles which were getting ever closer to the city. And she was among them, using her combat training from her days before the intelligence division to get by, moving from patient to patient, keeping up the facade of a dedicated medical worker while on the lookout for an opportunity to fulfill her true mission.


It was a gray, overcast day when that opportunity presented itself. Lena was in one of the triage tents, her hands gloved and stained with blood as she assisted a surgeon with a complicated procedure when she witnessed a man being brought in wearing the reddish lanyard. He was screaming, like most of the others in the tent, but he didn't look like he was bleeding or missing limb.


She rushed through her work with the patient and the surgeon, until she could be relieved. When she made it to the over to the man with the lanyard, his sleeve had been cut back to show large red blisters--the mark of a nasty burn--on his arm and hand. He seemed calm now, but he was still awake and alert, two deterrents to her nabbing his lanyard which held not only his badge, but a rusted key.


With practiced charm and a judicious dose of sedative, Lena lulled the man into slumber, stealing away with her hard-won spoils. The lanyard nestled in her pocket, laden with a key that promised access to the enigma enshrouded within the Palace of Justice.


As the minutes ticked down until the end of her shift, Lena's heart quickened with anticipation. Tonight, she would breach the fortress of secrets.

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May 8, 2135

Former Disparu Palace of Justice Building; Férin, Quebec Republic


Amid the oppressive darkness of night, Lena Kovac stood just beyond the grand entrance of the Palace of Justice. She was out of her blue medical uniform, and in the more laid back clothes she had seen others with the red lanyards wear.


The Palace of Justice had once been a bastion of law and order. Now, its glass facade was mostly broken, and the marbled halls seemed worse for wear. The grandeur of the entrance gave way to utilitarian corridors, harshly lit and sterile. Not all hallways were lit, and and it was way to follow the lit hallways towards the center of the building, and up two flights of stairs to find a heavy steel door. She tried the key she had stolen, but it didn't work in the lock. 


Next to the door was glass window, and through it, she could see a team of technicians huddled around a massive, antiquated console in the center of the room. Blinking lights and illuminated screens cast flickering shadows on their faces, creating a surreal tableau. It was a scene from a bygone era, a relic of the former Federation of Disparu's technological prowess.


Lena watched in silence as the technicians worked with focused precisions. Their fingers were dancing across vintage keyboards, connected to an array of complex machinery. At the center of it all was a massive control panel, its switches and dials dating back to a time when the world still teetered on the brink of annihilation, and before it plummeted off the cliff.


"Arceus Deux" was painted in rough black letters on the wall, and a picture of a woman with short purplish-black hair in a lab coat next to it. Lena had long suspected the phrase was the code name for this project, and now it was confirmed. 


The technicians conversed frequently, she could see their mouths moving but not hear what they were saying. Charts and graphs and text flickered across the screens. Her heart sank as she watched -- the Administrator's plan was advancing with alarming speed. She could sense they were getting closer based on their furious keystrokes.


As she stood there, a shadow fell over the console. A tall, imposing figure in a dark suit, his features obscured by the dim light, towered over one of the technicians. She could see the technician tense up. The shadowy figure pulled a small device from his pocket - a palm sized rectangle of glass and metal. Lena recognized the device, they were in nearly every pre-war photograph. The devices were ubiquitous then, but rare now, and they never worked. This one was illuminated, and the technician plugged it into the terminal.


Lena's fingers pressed against the glass. She had the urge to act but was still separated by the glass. She needed a way in, but haste would cost her. She now knew the layout of the building and what she was up against. It was time to go back to her small apartment, and devise the appropriate plan.

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