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A Stir in the West


Mergerberger II
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Somewhere in Rural Gederland...

There was an open field, rich with tall grass reaching higher to the sky, shafts shooting six metres towards heaven. It was wild and untamed, grass that had not been properly kept for over a hundred years. The area was generally abandoned, except for one tiny hut in the centre of the field. The light was on, receiving its electricity from a small generator located within the home. Several lorries were parked outside, each small and ordinary, the car of the average man. Fourteen people gathered within the one-room shack, and they spoke to one another in a hushed tone, as if they knew that someone was watching them, even this far from civilisation. The nearest town was ten miles, they knew, and the nearest home besides this one was five. They were alone, yet still they were hushed.

They spoke to one another in a whisper, a voice so small it was barely audible to even the most well-trained of ears. Yet they understood one another perfectly. They constantly spoke in code, using phrases that only they knew the true meanings to. However, there was one word which all people, from the smallest child to the Emperor himself understood: 'Revolutie', Revolution. They were right to speak so quietly, to be wary of every shadow that dared to move across the field outside, to listen for every sound of every moving about in the tall grass, to constantly be looking over their shoulders, out the window, going out to check. They spoke to each other of the highest of crimes: Treason. They spoke of Revolution. They wanted to overthrow this tyrant, Maarten Tromp. The man had illegitimately coup'd the rightful leader of the Netherlands, Stephen Colbért, who now lay dead in the nuclear wasteland of Dan Haag. They knew of the evil of the man Tromp, how his expansionist ideals had brought the Empire nothing but death and radiation. They had been meeting here since the beginning, since the first nuclear artillery piece had been fired at Dutch troops in Grenoble. They had been meeting here and discussing what they planned to do. It had all been set up.

"Hans, do you have your equipment?"

"Yes, it is set up beneath the target, ready to execute Youthful Return," said Hans in code. His 'Youthful Return' was an explosion. His 'equipment' was four hundred tonnes of TNT, stuffed underneath the Capital building, and he had used the same tunnels that the masked man had used to kill 56 senators that day, what seemed so long ago. He was one of six brothers, six very divided brothers. One was the Emperor himself, Tromp. He knew that Tromp had gone through the tunnels that day and slain those men, and he had never forgiven him for it. Hans had always been a man of peace, of liberty, of justice, and Tromp had been one of ambition. Long before even the Republic existed, during the age of Nordland, Maarten spoke of conquest. Maarten spoke of how he would someday rule the Netherlands, and all of Europe. How someday he would hold the tools to destroy the world in his left hand, and the tools to build it in his right. Maarten was left-handed.

"Henry, you have gathered your forces, yes?"

"I have, sir." Henry was a military commander. He had overseen the original invasion of Gebiv, and he commanded what was now the Western Army, which had just been ordered home. He had been to the battlefront many, many times, and talked to his men. He knew that they favoured him over the Emperor. Henry had not made them fight and die, the Emperor had, and for what, they wondered. Petty land? Now the entire world would suffer because of Tromp's failures as a leader and his expansionism. A hundred thousand troops made up the Western Army, and they would be in the homeland within days. He was to lead the army on a march through Amsterdam, and capture the Emperor, who would then be imprisoned in Dan Haag, forced to suffer radiation poisoning before being put on trial for war crimes.

"And you, Frederick, have you prepared?"

"Yes. The waters are smooth." Again, Frederick spoke in code. He was Admiral of the Northern Navy. He led a fleet of sixteen ships that, like the Western Army, had grown more loyal to him than to the Emperor. They had had their friends and families killed in the massive warfare, their friends dying at the hand of the heartless Tromp. They all shared Frederick's idea that their hardships had been caused by Tromp. Tromp had led the war effort. Tromp's foolishness had led to the massive nuclear warfare, the resulting radiation damaging infrastructure, all this on top of the Prussian nuclear strikes on the city of Dan Haag. It was because of Tromp's stubbornness that they were still in this war, his bloodlust, his expansionist nature, his desire for all of Western Europe to be clenched in his Iron Fist, that they were now in this horrible mess. His job would be to move the navy into a position along the coast, forming a blockade so that no one could escape. With the Southern Navy safely in the Mediterranean Sea, there was little doubt that this would be possible.

The man asking the questions was named Alexander. He did not give out his last name, for fear of imprisonment for its nature. He led the movement, and he had formed this group of fourteen with his brother, Hans. They both were on the same side, that is, opposite of Maarten. They were going to lead the revolution against the most hated man in the Netherlands. And while Maarten sat on his high horse, enjoying his life of luxury and safety in Amsterdam, the people suffered at his hand. They knew that he was to blame for all the troubles they had. They knew that under Oranje there had been not but joy in the Republic, even while war loomed on the horizon so obviously. The Republic had prospered under Oranje, and they desired to return to that. They knew that Oranje would not accept another term in office, even under their new government, but they knew that they would base their new government on an adapted version of his principles, altered to suit the needs of this land, which was rapidly becoming a nuclear wasteland. The fourteen had unanimously elected Alexander the leader. He would rule the Empire after the overthrowing of Tromp. His idea was to make the land a Democracy once more, to expand the Senate, to do more for the people, and most of all to protect from the massive amounts of radiation that would now be clouding up the skies.

"In the morning, the fire is started once more. You men know your place in this world, let the damned know his." The men nodded and shook hands with Alexander, and one by one they left the shack, headed to complete their assigned roles. They knew what Alexander had meant by that phrase. They were to begin. Sometime that night, Hans would detonate the Royal Palace, killing all inside, and beginning the Revolution.

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Netherlands Broadcasting Corporation News

Disaster! The Royal Palace today has spontaneously exploded in the centre of Amsterdam, killing 106 and injuring 214. Four managed to escape unscathed. Among the dead were several people who had been offered a place to stay for the night after attending an Imperial Banquet at the Palace. Several high-ranking officials were killed.

Emperor Maarten Tromp was severely injured in the blast, and our most recent reports put his condition as critical. Doctors have given Tromp a 5% chance of survival due to his massive injuries. His left leg was completely blown off in the blast, and his other three limbs were broken in several places. He suffered three broken ribs, a fractured pelvis, a fractured skull, and a broken neck. If he does survive, doctors say that he will be extremely lucky to ever walk again.

The Palace was completely destroyed, and police investigations have concluded that several hundred tonnes of TNT was placed beneath the Palace, and exploded at 9:15 AM this morning. They have stated that they will "Search for the culprit, however it would be difficult to find him/her/them."

The Small Wooden House

7:47 PM

Alexander put down the newspaper after reading the article on the detonation. He knew now that Hans had successfully carried out his part of the mission, however there was one slight flaw in his part. Maarten Tromp was not supposed to be injured so badly. It was expected that he would be in his office at the hour of 9:15, which was on the other side of the building from the room where the bomb detonated, which was the breakfast area. Insiders in the palace had indicated to the group that Tromp's schedule was that he woke at 6 AM, ate breakfast, showered, got dressed, etc, and began work at 7:30. He then worked for four hours until lunch, during which he was entirely in his office, pouring over papers and maps. This had, unfortunately, not been the case. Now they could only pray that he would somehow survive his injuries, and he would be able to pay for his crimes in the manner that the group, which they dubbed 'The Council', saw fit.

The Council was gathering. Within fifteen minutes, they would all be there, even Hans.

8:04

"Hans, I would like to open up this meeting with the extension of congratulations to Hans for a successful raid on the Palace. I would also like to thank Henrich here for his keeping up the hopes of the loyalists, while at the same time not using the full force of the Police to investigate." (Henrich was the third brother. He joined after Hans and Alexander approached him about the idea a week after they originally formulated it. He was Minister of Safety in the Empire, charged with governing police forces and the like throughout the nation.) "We are thankful for their efforts, although we now recognize that we mustn't delay our....programme. Frederick, the boat is gathered off the coast of Denmark, according to my reports. Can you confirm?"

"Yes, Councillor. It is ready. The other boat is in the allies right now. Hispania."

"Good. Henry, the group?"

"The Group is ready. They are currently waiting for my command to move forward. They wait outside Parjis in an encampment."

"We are ready, then. You all know your roles now. Meeting adjourned."

It was the fastest meeting they ever had. They all knew why, though. There was not much more to say. If each man did his part, then there would be no problem. All mistakes had been accounted for, all holes in the plan filled by their collective minds. They could not fail. At 8:07, the house was empty once again, except for Alexander, who sat in his chair, widdling a wooden figurine. He had been working on it for days, staring at it for all his time, spending his time planning out its construction in his mind. He spent nearly all his waking hours on it, just carving and carving, trying to make it perfect. He sat there for an hour, then his hands ceased moving. He stared at what he had created for a moment, then set it down on the table. A dove of perfect cherry.

The pen rolled into his hand, and he moved it into a position from where he could use it to scribe. He touched the pen to the paper, and moved it from left to right with such elegance that it barely made a sound at all, though it still marked as if the ink flowed from a mighty river to the paper. He wrote for no more than one minute, the words coming to him as he moved his pen, his brilliance pouring out onto the paper, scribing onto the small piece of papyrus a poem of the world.

Two Suns in the Sunset

In my rear view mirror the sun is going down

Sinking behind bridges in the road

And I think of all the good things

That we have left undone

And I suffer premonitions

Confirm suspicions

Of the holocaust to come.

The wire that holds the cork

That keeps the anger in

Gives way

And suddenly it's day again.

The sun is in the east

Even though the day is done.

Two suns in the sunset

Could be the human race is run.

Like the moment when the brakes lock

And you slide towards the big truck

You stretch the frozen moments with your fear.

And you'll never hear their voices

And you'll never see their faces

You have no recourse to the law anymore.

And as the windshield melts

My tears evaporate

Leaving only charcoal to defend.

Finally I understand the feelings of the few.

Ashes and diamonds

Foe and friend

We were all equal in the end.

"...and now the weather. Tomorrow will be cloudy with scattered showers

spreading from the east ... with an expected high of 4000 degrees

Celsius"

Edited by Mergerberger II
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The Culmination

The Imperial Western Army marched on Amsterdam, the Imperial Northern Navy blockaded the coast, and the Imperial Northern Air Force patrolled the skies of the Netherlands. And at the helm of it all, standing on a podium in Amsterdam, the man Alexander Lahey, orchestrator of this thing he spoke of, this Grand Reawakening. The Revoultion. The movement of the people to rise up against their government once again and declare themselves under the tyranny of a single man no longer.

"Men, women, children, French, Italians, Swiss, Germans, Dutch, Citizens, I come before you today not as your conqueror or your tyrant or your king or some fool wishing to declare himself leader of you so as to advance my own causes, I come before the city of Amsterdam, nay, the World, to proclaim that the people of the Netherlands will no longer sit idly by as its ruler leads it to ruin! We shall no longer live under the terror of Maarten! No longer will we need to worry when the next nuclear weapon will hit us or our beloved brothers in Germany.

I come before you today as a citizen of the Empire. No, come to think of it, I don't. I come to you as a citizen of the Republic. I am not a citizen of some Empire ruled by the tyrants of Europe. I am a citizen of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, and I am subject of its rightful leader, Prins Stefan Colbért! The man that we, as a whole, elected to be our leader. We did not elect this Tromp, this tyrant as our leader. And do you know why? Because, bloody hell, we don't want him as our leader! Colbért is our leader, and although he now is deceased due to the Prussian strike on Dan Haag, the song remains the same. Tromp is not our leader, and we ought to never have allowed him to drag us, the rightful leaders of the Netherlands, into this bloody and fruitless war.

Today I call on the nation of the Netherlands to act! The citizens will be silent no longer! We shall come together as one people, one great nation, and rise once more to the pinnacle of existence where we once sat so mightily! We will not suffer long in this nuclear hell hole that we call Europe. We shall come together, as one, and rebuild this land, the land of our ancestors, the land of our neighbors, the land of the people of the Netherlands. This is not the land of tyrants. This is the land of the people, and so it has been and always shall be, and no man, no matter how powerful, will ever change that. A government should fear its people! The only reason that we suffer now is because we allow this man Maarten to rule us! We do not have to. Let us now rise up, and form the new Republic. The Second Republic of the Netherlands. Forever and always, I shall stand fast!"

The nation erupted in a roar so loud that the Emperor of the United Francoist Empire himself claimed he heard the monstrous sound from the remains of the Republic. Once again, the Netherlands were in the hands of a sane man.

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