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The Homecoming Président


Teriethien
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OOC: Please let me know what you think!

IC:

Louis called his secretary while packing up, whistling cheerfully as the phone rings. The phone made that low brrrring sound twice before it connected.

"Leslie, it's me. I'm coming home now, make the necessary arrangements." He waited for Leslie to acknowledge. "OK, listen carefully, I want you to organise a conference for all French leaders in Paris. I want to make a public speech on our country's future and I want everyone there."

"Yes, Monsieur Rouvier. What should I tell them in the invitation, and when should it be?”

Louis paused briefly, wondering what would entice the Bordeaux politicians to come. “Say that it is for forming a united French government. No one would boycott that. Make it right after I got back, I don't need to rest for it.”

“Got it. I take it that means your meeting went well?"

"It went splendidly,” he audibly beamed at the question. “We got all French lands relinquished to us. Well, except for Picardie and Calais, but hey, I’m not complaining about that jerk Percheron and that swine Gewerc losing their seats of power." Excitement was barely contained in his voice. "Now I'll put an end to that miserable contraption in Bordeaux and put together a proper government for France!"

"Well, uh, great. I'll get to work then."

He never noticed the lack of enthusiasm.

Edited by Teriethien
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Office of Louis Rouvier

Paris, Ille-de-France

France

Putting down the phone, Leslie looked up at her guest. Throughout her years of smuggling secrets to the cause she has never met with anyone from Bordeaux, at least not since the moment she arrived in Rouvier’s office. They have always explained that to do so is to take unnecessary risks for both herself and the movement.

“Did you get all that?”

The girl with silver hair nodded. “Yes.”

“What are you going to do about it?” Leslie wasn’t sure if she was more shocked to find an agent of her real employer appearing in her office unannounced, or that the person in question was a girl so young. “Obviously they’re not going to let him form his own government.” A few glances were exchanged. “Will they?” Leslie added hesitantly.

“No,” the girl conceded. “It is best if you don’t know the details. I will give you a call when he is on his way to that.

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City Streets

Paris, Île-de-France

France

Kellina gazed impassively from her seat as Jean turned left onto the narrow Avenue Charles Floquet. Slender trees with blossoms of pink petals mixed amid light green leaves lined both sides of the one-way street. To her right she could she sparse groups of schoolchildren walk past white-bricked apartments, spouting illegible chatter at unreasonable volumes with the occasional wholehearted laughter that could only emerge from unburdened, worry-free minds. It was no small shock, though her expressions did not betray it, for Kellina realised that she had never laughed like that.

With a right turn Jean took them into the Champ-de-Mars, driving slowly through the roads until they reached a large clearing with a small pool at its centre. Looking around, the place seemed almost walled in by thick but tidy lines of trees, but at the middle the trees parted ways to reveal the École militaire at one end and the tour Eiffel on the other. The setting sun was almost directly behind the iconic symbol of France, yellowish-orange clouds forming a melodramatic wallpaper for the tower. Seeing this stunning view and spurred by the knowledge that generations of the best military minds in French services were educated in the very same stone structure behind her, caused Kellina’s hand to subconsciously grip at the reassuring hilt of her Mk XIX 0.5AE Desert Eagle.

EiffelTower.jpg

"Won't be using that tonight," Her driver mentioned without so much as a glance in her direction, but Kellina have grown accustomed to Jean's sharp situational awareness. "Your weapon's under the seat," Jean added helpfully, turning the car around.

Kellina nodded, clearing her mind. It was almost time. A few more turns later Jean brought the car to a stop outside a large, modern mansion. Kellina’s eyes lost its haze of absentmindedness and focused sharply at the site, searching for signs that any of the Rouvier family vehicles were missing. “They’re all home,” she confirmed to Jean.

“How many guards can you see?” Jean handed her a pair of night visions goggles. The sun had now completely disappeared from the sky; only faint traces of light linger in the creeping darkness.

She carefully adjusted the settings and peered through the windows. “Two on the ground floor and one upstairs, that’s three less than what we were told. Assume they are in the dining room.” That room had no windows to peek into.

“Assumptions are never healthy,” Jean warned.

“Shut up and go cut the power.”

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Residence of Louis Rouvier

Paris, Île-de-France

France

The lights of the entire block came down in unison. Through her night vision goggles Kellina could see two guards rushing to the windows, their body language screaming tension – and quickly relaxing when they saw that the whole block was without lights, assuming that this was nothing more than a local power outage. Sloppy, she thought as her fingers fumbled out a Glock 17 pistol and a silencer from beneath her seat. Jean had done his part and now it was time to do her job.Without taking her eyes off the mansion, Kellina carefully screwed the two devices together, doubling the length of the weapon.

Quietly she left the car. There wasn’t any advanced security system to be triggered by her hiking her way over the metallic fence, nor did there seem to be a backup electricity supply to power the cameras as she made the unavoidable trek across the lawn. All of this was confirmed by the secretary, of course, but Kellina could not truly believe the laxity of security until she stood in front of the door. Taking a deep breath, she smashed it open.

Cries of alarm broke out somewhere inside the building; duly noted and ignored as Kellina closed in on the lone guard posted here. Surprised, shocked and with a cup of coffee in his hands, he opened his mouth, as if to shout something, at the same moment that a kick to the head knocked him out cold.

Without sparing the downed opponent a further glance Kellina sprinted down the corridor, following the memorised floor plans. Against the sound of her own muted footsteps she could hear three more guards converging before the dining room, located just around the next corner. Their boots banged alarmingly at the wooden floor, their whispered shouts to each other carrying far in the otherwise quiet night. Stopping just shy of the corner, Kellina holstered her gun silently closed her eyes, letting her instincts map the three guards’ positions.

She lurched.

Three stunned faces stared her in horror. Grabbing the closest one by her shoulders, she kneed the woman at her abdomen followed by punch to a temple. A bullet flew by above her head, whoever shot clearly doing so out of panic. Pivoting herself on the limping body of the first guard, Kellina pushed herself ahead and lunged at the next one.

A second bullet shot through the corridor, again of no threat to her. Grabbing the guard by the necktie of his uniform, Kellina smashed his head against the wall. A third bullet flew by, almost grazing her cheek; shockwaves caused by it ripping through the air lashed at her skin. Lowering her posture, Kellina tackled the last guard, knocking him back a step against a door. The wooden panels creaked in protest as she smacked the gun from his hand. Forming a fist, she aimed for the head.

Something large collided with her right eye.

She staggered back, her head buzzing. She barely had time to blink, her body screaming warnings and complaints, when a second punch landed, this time on the jaw. Disoriented she dropped low for a kick, missing. Her heart skipped a beat. Now close to panicking, she fell back and tried to stand, only to have a pair of calloused hands seize her by the throat, instantly cutting off all air. Her eyes widened in shock, adrenalin pumped through her body, and reactively she punched, connecting cleanly.

But it barely registered with the guard. Roaring laughter, the red haired man – Kellina wondered to herself why she noticed this - bashed her back against the wall. Sharp pain and lack of oxygen spurned her into crisis mode; grabbing his arms she pulled her lower body up for an ineffectual kick. Even as her right leg stomped pitifully against her assailant’s chest, her left arm swiftly dashed down, drawing a blade from its sheath next to her shin. Without the slightest hesitation she buried it into the guard’s forearm.

A vicious howl rang through her ear; the pressure against her air duct relented. Still chocking, Kellina forced her own body forward, viciously plunging her blade into his massive body. With a supreme effort she dragged the blade upwards, leaving a gruesome opening from which blood gushed. A torrent splashed into her, and instinctively she jumped back as the man sloped to the floor.

AngelofDeath.jpg

Panting and recovering her breath, she sheathed the blade.

The last two guards must be in the dining room, protecting their charge. Kellina unhooked a M84 stun grenade from her belt and moved to the room’s entrance. Drawing three slow, deep breaths, she opened the door. For a brief moment she stared and took in the situation. There was a table made of oak at the centre, surrounded by several matching chairs, and a small doorway at the back leading to the kitchen. A woman in her 40s and preteen boy cowered behind the table, their hands wrapped around each other and their eyes quivering with fear. Beside them, the last two guards stood nervously, gripping at their pistols with whitened knuckles. Fear of the unknown transformed into determination for action before her eyes.

They pulled the triggers.

Unlike their colleagues outside who shot blindly, these two knew through where Kellina would be coming and aimed for just that. The first two bullets tore past her, barely missing as she dashed and leapt sideways. With a tumble she tossed the grenade on to the table, and was about to cover her own ears up with a bullet crashed into her shoulder. The surprise knocked her off balance; she had never been hit before, and this left her dazed. She might have stayed right there if it weren’t for then the searing pain that came next, jerking her body into a twist. The pain returned her senses to her, and with clenched teeth she crouched and braced for the blast.

She almost didn’t make it. As soon as her eyes were shut tightly, the room erupted into pure white for a split second. Gasping, she pulled herself to her feet, the high pitched ringing in her ear making her nauseous. Ignoring her bleeding shoulder Kellina approached the guards, taking out her gun. They now stood stunned and confused, their eyes temporarily blinded. She could see fear visibly manifesting on them, and yet these two couldn’t do a thing lest they end up shooting at each other or, worse, the ones they are meant to protect.

She cracked the gun over their heads and turned to face the bewildered woman. “Madame Rouviers, may I borrow your phone?”

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City Streets

Paris, Île-de-France

France

Louis exited the airport to a cheering crowd. All smiles and waves, he got into a limousine waiting for him and relaxed a little, and called his family. He hadn’t had time for any personal calls while on the trip, but now that he was back he hoped to have his family witness him as he mould France’s future. The phone rang and rang, but no one picked up. With a frown he left a message instead. Oh well, they were probably just busy, he reasoned to himself.

Leslie was in the limo with him, putting out calls for last minute arrangements. He smiled at the situation as he turned his attention towards his big speech. Over the past few days all regional political figures of France have gathered in his city, the indisputable capital of France. Even the Bordeaux upstarts had come, grudgingly perhaps but here nevertheless. Perhaps I’ll even give that Alain fellow a job in the new government, out of my infinite kindness.

The limousine, surrounded by leading and flanking police units, leisurely drove towards the arc de triomphe de l’Étoile. He was delighted to learn that Leslie picked such a location for his speech – this was after all his hour of triumph. He thought about giving her a raise, and was calculating how the figure when she appeared.

ArcdeTriomphe.jpg

“There’s a phone call for you,” she handed him a headset. “I don’t know who it is, but it’s important.”

With a shrug Louis picked it up. “Hello?”

“Daddy?” He bolted up straight. The boy, his son, was frightened; his voice shivered and trembled. Confusion overwhelmed Louis. What could have happened?

“Monsieur Rouvier,” an alien voice cut through. It was one of a young girl, but with no trace of warmth or humanity in it. “I understand you are about to make a speech.”

“Who are you and what have you done with my son?” He almost screamed, his heart pounding loudly in his eardrums and the air all of a sudden stifling. Hearing no reply, he hissed, “Who the $%&@ are you?”

“I have no intention of hurting your son unless you force me to.”

Fear swept through Louis body like a bucket of ice cold water. He trembled. “Look, I’ll do anything. Just don’t hurt my son.”

“Then we are in agreement.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Simple,” the voice reassured him. “Very soon you’ll be delivering a speech on the future of France. We have helped prepare the manuscript for you.”

It was at this moment that Rouvier realised that his dreams had been forever shattered.

Edited by Teriethien
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OOC: Thanks for the compliments Kevz :laugh: That's pretty much it from me though...

IC:

Arc de Triomphe

Paris, Île-de-France

France

ParisCrowd.gif

The leaders of France gathered on a makeshift stage beneath the arc de triomphe. A sea of tricolours seemed to have flooded the streets and buildings. Thousands upon thousands of Parisian citizens, and several more from all corners of France, have gathered around them in the closed off place de l'Étoile road junction in anticipation of a monumental moment.

Approaching the stand, Louis Rouvier felt a pang of pain shooting through his chest. He couldn’t decide if it had been sorrow, anger or regret, but he could feel his face twisting in anguish. Aged considerably since barely an hour ago, the Parisian statesman spoke dully into the microphone. “My fellow countrymen, honourable dignities and French leaders,” He scanned the assembled French regional heads and paused, his eyes fixed upon Alain of Aquitaine. The sound of his son’s call played in his head again and almost enticed a sob.

The unnatural silence was unnerving. Waves of murmur began rising amid the vast human sea, rumours invented on the spot propagating in vastly altered form and at alarming speeds. But the warning of his family’s captive was clear. With a sudden flare of his heart Louis jerked his chin upwards defiantly. Using a slightly louder and very much more emotional voice, he proclaimed, “It is my pleasure and honour today to announce that I have successfully for full independence to all French territories under Prussian rule.

“Today is the day that the French nation proudly re-enters the world as a sovereign power. We are one once more, united in spirit and in our resolve. Accordingly I invite the head of the Bordeaux interim government, Monsieur Alain Mamère, to form a new state and government for our glorious nation.” He stepped back, biting back a groan and clapped. All around him the crowd cried and cheered, unaware of the emotions battling in his heart.

clemenceau.jpg

Alain stood forward with a wide grin, but disguised beneath his white moustache. As he walked past Louis he turned and gave the other man a warm hug, much to the latter’s surprise. Letting go after a respectable number of limits much to the appreciation of the crowd, who watched the show of apparent solidarity gladly, Alain turned to address the crowd. Louis, stunned, stayed by his side. “I would like to first thank the honourable Président Rouvier for his work with our Prussian occupiers. Without him France would still be a fragmented land, her people crushed beneath German boots.

“But as we celebrate our achievements we must not let go of our future. We must not forget that even as a legitimate French government returns to Paris much of Northern France remains occupied – Normandy, Brittany, Picardy and Calais. Just as a family lives under one roof we will strive to ensure that the French nation will reunite within one state.”

To the horror of Louis applauses exploded from the crowd. Several members on the stage stood and clapped – Percheron, Gewerc amongst their leaders. Of course they would want their power bases back, he reflected bitterly on just how wrong he had been. The rest of the event buzzed him by, barely imprinting upon his memories, and when he found himself seated in a closed conference with other French leaders drafting a new constitution, he simply sat like an agreeable drone.

The only thing on his mind was transferring his assets to the new Swiss Bank.

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Louis Rouvier

Paris, Île-de-France

France

The constitutional discussions went by in a blur. They only agreed to take a adjourn each day at midnight, and on the first night Louis walked the last steps home with lead laden legs.

"Are you all right?" The secretary, Leslie, called out from the driver's seat, behind him.

No! "Yes, I'm just a bit tired, that's all." He waved dismissively at the woman, and fumbled out his house keys. He could hear the car speeding away as his hand turned, half expecting to step into a pool of semi-dried blood.

The door opened. In the darkness nothing seemed amiss, but Louis heart only sank further as silence swept through the house. Then muffled cries broke out in the dining room, startling him into a jump. He rushed down the corridor, turned right, and almost skidded on a dried, red patch before the dining room's entrance. Horrified at the floor and the bullet-shredded door, he pushed his way in with trembling fingers.

His wife and son were before him, tied down to chairs. Relief surged through him, he could barely hold himself up. With throbbing legs he moved to their sides, untying his wife of 28 years Jennifer. "Oh god, are you hurt any where? Was that blood at the door?"

"No, no, we're fine," his wife Andrée replied, a tear glimmering in her eyes. "That's Bobby's."

Louis freed his son Nicolas next, and hugged the child. Turning to face his wife, his face dark with gloom, "Did they take the body as well? What about the others?"

"No, he's at the hospital."

That stopped Louis in his tracks. "What?"

"One of them took him to the hospital." Andrée stood up and almost fell back on to the chair, her legs aching from the sudden rush of blood. "No one else was hurt, the girl tied them up to the next room."

"What girl? This was done by one girl?"

* * *

Palais Bourbon

Paris, Île-de-France

France

The events of that night forced themselves into his mind whenever it was his turn to speak. True, Alain had been nothing but courteous and respectful to him, even in his lambasting of the loss of French Channel Coast. Yet the knowledge that, despite the tripling of guards at his home, whoever held his family random could likely do it again easily enough prevented him from speaking out against anything Alain proposed. Thankfully, during the week long constitutional discussions Alain had always been reasonable. Louis may disagree with much of his suggestions, but none of them were truly objectionable.

Everyday his suspicion of Alain masterminding the whole event was chiselled off a little at the edges. Even the fact that Alain had come ready with a fully drafted Constitution could be simply and innocently explained by his Bordeaux government's existence. In fact that's exactly what he said when a gentleman from Alsace raised the issue.

"And so as per the votes of all delegates this document shall be adopted as the Constitution of France, effective from today." A round of applause greeted Alain's proclamation. "I now move to appoint a government to manage a transitional period lasting 6 months."

Gewerc stood. Despite not representing any constituents that are citizens of the new France, he retained a right to participate in these talks. "I nominate Alain Mamère to the office of président of the République française."

Unsurprisingly all voted in favour. Louis scanned the faces of everyone present even as he did the same. Some met his eyes; a few were enemies gloating at his defeat, many more sympathetic looks told him that it couldn't be helped. He lowered his head in recognition of that truth.

"Thank you, thank you for your confidence. I will not let France down." Alain smiled brightly at the crowd. He did not seat. "I nominate Louis Rouvier as Prime Minister" The room was shocked. Everyone knew that the two didn't get along, and Louis for obvious reasons.

"But... why?" He blurted out.

Alain blinked, as if in surprise. "Monsieur Rouvier, I know we don't always get along. However you are rivalled by few in your skills of running a nation." He turned away from the speechless politicans to face him. "Deep down we both want the same thing for France. Is it too much to ask that we lay aside our differences and work together, in this most critical times, to ensure prosperity for the nation?" Whispers filled the room.

"I..." Louis lowered his head in shame. Deep down his conviction that Alain had been behind his downfall was shattered from its core. Now he questioned himself for even thinking that. "Of course, I am sorry. I will do my best to support your vision, Mr President."

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