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We must build!


KaiserMelech Mikhail
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In his palace in Marscury, Mikhail is in a meeting room with his five newly appointed representatives. They stand around a physical map of Marscurian Pakistan. Everyone holds long pointers and points our areas where problems are popping up, or have always existed. "Alright people, what are we dealing with," Mikhail asked. All the representatives began shouting, point all over the map. "ONE AT A TIME! ONE AT A TIME," Mikhail yelled, "okay, Yus, you start."

"Well," Yussel began, "the Coastal Territories are in bad shape. We are still recovering from the massive earthquake from a few weeks ago. Due to damages, the Port of Bin Qasim is at 70% efficiency, Karachi is at 40% and Mietonka is at 30%. There is also the problem of the sunken ship in the harbor that we don't have the technology to remove. In the cities, rubble still fills the streets and the clinics are at full capacity. There is massive illiteracy in the rural areas, and the health system is atrocious. Economy-wise, the North-South road has sustained minor damage, and the airport is running at half capacity. Also, due to the lack of cars produced by Karakoram Motors, bicycles have taken over the cities, and transportation is terrible. Adding to this problem, we have many factories, but electricity is not always assured, and the more industrialized areas face frequent brown-outs."

"Well," Mikhail said, "you certainly just ruined my afternoon. Shlomo, you go next."

"Okay," Shlomo began, "the Central Territories are doing much better than the Coastal. The North-South road is in much better condition, but there are large cracks in the portions further south. We should also have the bridges over the rivers inspected, they weren't meant for earthquakes. Economy-wise, Marscury city is plagued with the same problems as the TriCities. Our wide and well-kept streets are worthless with no cars to drive on them. Also, the city was built to be a cosmopolitan city, but we lack any form of culture. Few theaters have settled in the city, and cinemas are few and far between. We need something to peak the people's interests. Like the rest of the country, our health care is terrible. We only have modest clinics to fill our needs, and people are dying of disease and injury that we simply don't have the abilities to handle. Our educational system is a joke. In the cities, literacy rates are below fifty, and they're at freaking 10% in the damn rural regions! Also, the Lahore crossing, the largest border crossing in the country, was completely destroyed from the earthquake. Our goods going and coming from the East are practically stopped."

"Arg, this is not good people," Mikhail shouted, "Ayls, tell me something I want to hear!"

"What can I tell you," Ayelet said sternly, "the Northern Territories are stagnant. We thought the Karakoram Highway and the link with Cochin would do something for us, but we still are one of the least developed regions in the country. The people live in remove villages, and visiting North Khyber is like visiting a ghost town. We have the lowest literacy rates in the country, where less than 15% of people would recognize their own damn name! We have yet to receive any of the miraculous clinics that have been promised to us, and diseases that should be seen in no country are common here. We just finished a cholera epidemic that killed 200 people! The sorry state of the area is also taking a heavy toll on the environment. Poaching has increased in the national parks due the utter lack of rangers and the poverty of the people. Without proper sanitation, people dump their garbage and sewage directly into the lakes and the Indus River. Also, less than 1 in 50 people own a car, so travel takes days and commerce between cities is severely lacking. Those are the facts, bub."

"My God, what is happening to my country," Mikhail said, with his head in his hands. "I'm afraid to ask you, but Mahmoud, what is the situation with the NorthWestern Territories?"

"Sir, I have better news for you," Mahmoud began, "The rebellion that was started several months ago seems to have never resurged, and the large amount of military in the region has kept things quiet. The large troop presence has mandated that all roads be kept up to code, which they are. The large military presence has also led to an increase in the service sector of the economy, which continues to grow in the territorial capital of Islamabad. The mines and quarries are running smoothly as well, and we expect to see only growth in production. Our high quality marble is being shipped all over the world, and our companies are making a hefty profit. The massive earthquake was hardly felt here, and we report no serious problems with infrastructure. However, I have to turn to the negatives as well. We have the second lowest literacy rates in the country, at a mere 17%. The healthcare also leaves a lot to be desired. We are also waiting for the clinics that were promised to the rest of the country. While the roads in the territories are well kept, there are too few of them. The reliance on mountain passes makes travel slow and supplies and goods are lacking in several small towns. While there is nothing we can do about the terrain, simply improving the network would greatly help the people."

"Oh, well, I believe that was a little better," Mikhail says, leaning back in his chair and rubbing his forehead, "Noor, I feel like I can make it though the next list of problems. Take a swing at it."

"Is that any way to talk to your mother in law," Noor says, giving Mikhail a nasty look, "well honey, it's back to the bad news. Work on the new port has stopped as the Cochinian workers have gone to India to rebuild. That port is vital for our national economy, as we have seen what reliance on one outlet can do. Unfortunately, work has been so slow because somebody decided to build a bridge instead of going across land."

"Do you want the post," Mikhail said to Noor as she was talking, "because I got a mom too, and she doesn't backtalk. Now, continue."

"Alright, sweetie," Noor said, gritting her teeth, "except for our gold mines, the natural resources in the Western Territories aren't exploited to their full potential. The affected areas of Quetta have been cleaned up, and the final death toll in the city stands at 143. As everyone else has said, our education system is a mess. Only one in five people in the territory can read and write, and that doesn't bode well for advancement. Our health system is in shambles. We have only one clinic, and that is in Quetta. Thousands of people are left to fend for themselves. What's worse is that our transportation network barely exists. The only paved road is from Mietonka to Quetta, and the rest of the region relies on dirt roads to get to the various regions. The area needs immediate attention."

"Why do you get attention," Ayelet yelled, "we were in this country from the start!"

"But we are more important," Yussel yelled back, "We have the most people."

"We have the capital, and that puts us at the top of the list," Shlomo said smugly.

"We are the least developed," Mahmoud yelled, "it takes two days to go ten miles!"

"SHUT UP ALL OF YOU," Mikhail yelled, "look at you squabbling like school children! It's always, 'I want this,' and 'I deserve that.' It's disgusting! You are meant to speak for the people, and I doubt that a person in the north thinks he is better than his brother in the south. I'm sure that a man in the east thinks of a man in the west as his equal. We are all Marscurian Pakistanis, damn it! It's time we start acting like it! Now, we have been receiving millions in aid from around the world, and I think it is time for us to start using it. These problems will all be addressed, and we're going to do it at the same time. It may be slower, but it will at least prove that everyone in this country is an equal. Now, I have another meeting and I won't be late. Tell me something, why do you think I picked you people for these assignments? Look inside yourselves, and you will see the answers. Yussel, you think forward and efficiently. You see problems that hold up the system, and present them in a way that we can catalog and fix. Shlomo, you think outward. You wonder how everything affects our neighbors and our position in the world. There was a reason you have the territories you do. You tell me how to affect our standing in the world, and I'll listen to you as long as you speak. Ayelet, sweet Ayelet. I picked you because you care. You care about the people, you care about the planet, and most of all, you care about the country. I admit that I have overlooked my brothers in the north, and that's why I made you their voice. I need you to smack me straight when I lose my way. I'm counting on you to do this for me, and I know you can. Mahmoud, the great war hero. The fighter of communist, invader and rebel. What better place for you to be. Life in the mountains is rugged and hard to survive. You take the problems that will affect the basic ability for my people to live, and throw them in the spotlight. And Noor... well... Rania said you would do fine. You see people, I have thought this out, and me and my people are counting on you! I know that we can do so much good for this country, and I don't want to be disappointed." Mikhail turned to walk out of the room to go to his next meeting. Back in the meeting room, everyone was silent. They had all been yelled at, but they had all gotten back on the right path.

Edited by KaiserMelech Mikhail
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  • 3 weeks later...

Walking out of the meeting room, Mikhail walked into the next room, where only one man was waiting. That man was Avram Harmat, the General of the Army, the highest rank in the Marscurian Pakistani military. Mikhail took off his jacket and threw it against the wall. He then loosened his tie and rolled up his sleeves. He knew Avram, and he wasn't someone who beat around the bush; there would be no sugar-coating this one.

"Avram," Mikhail said, crossing his arms, "tell me what I need to hear."

"Sir," Avram said, "we're in the !@#$ter. Good lord, where do I start." Rubbing his temples, Avram took a deep breath and looked Mikhail square in the eye. "Where should I start," Avram said, his voice beginning to take an angry tone, "how about the fact that we are a solely ground-based military, or how our troops are lazy and untrained, or how the majority of our officers are complete morons? Do any of those sound like a good place to start? Hmm?"

"Oh my," Mikhail said, stroking his beard, "pick what you see is the most urgent issue, and just go from there."

"Let's start with our officers," Avram said. "I have never seen such unworthy people leading men into battle. I swear, half of these people couldn't implement a proper flanking technique if their lives depended on it. I'm not just talking about our sergeants or our lieutenants, but our captains and majors too! Half of our men have been promoted through time served, and the other half simply have daddies in high places. That God we've never been in a real war, because it would be over in a freaking week!"

"I never knew," Mikhail said, genuinely shocked. "I was neve aware of the state of our leadership. Without a head to control the muscle, everything just stops. It would appear that we never stopped, we just never started moving." He quickly wrote some things down in a small notepad. "Please, continue."

"Our soldiers are nothing to be proud of either," Avram started, "I visited a training facility last week, and I was disgusted with what I saw. The soldiers were completely without discipline. I see people loafing around while others do push ups. Men are joking around at attention, it is a disgrace! The drill sergeants are so irritating, I almost shot one! Their complete apathy for their job is what will cripple us, sir. On firing ranges, I see them passes cadets who fail to hit the required score on the targets, and their half-$@! work doesn't stop there. Troops consistantly fail to meet minimum times for obsticle courses, gun disassemblies and reassemblies, and are constantly off schedule. That's just the Regulars, don't get me started on the Reservists! Take those problems, and add anything else that you think can go wrong. Half of the reservists don't even seen to think they're in the military. They are so sure that we will never go to war, that they see this whole thing as a freaking game! 'Oh, let's go to camp for 18 months! That'll be fun!' I can't stand it!"

Mikhail was in total disbelief. What had his country come to?! "Okay," Mikhail said, taking a few deep breaths, "okay. Surely there must be more. I need to know your true opinion. I need to know what is wrong."

"Next," Avram said, "you expect us to fight a goddamn war without any !@#$@#$ air support! No fighters, no bombers! All we have are transports, and unless someone decides to drop a grenade out of one they aren't of any help."

"They're just not safe," Mikhail said. "After the crash, we need to do inspections before we let the planes back in the air. Trust me, in war, we will send them up as fast as we can."

"What about before the war?" Avram said. "We don't control our own skies! We may not have time to get the planes in the air to perform a successful counter-attack."

"Well then," Mikhail said, "I guess we will need to simply hasten our inspections."

"I hope that you will," Avram said, "now about our border security. I have seen the plans for countries all around the world. They have successful trenches, and walls, and machine gun nests. We have nothing except a few scattered bases around the country."

"That is enough!" Mikhail yelled. This was one place where he would not budge. He always looked down on paranoid leaders who felt they needed to surround themselves with insane walls and minefields. "I will never be like them! I will not turn my country into a fortress, or a prison for that matter! Our border guards do their job well, and our neighbors are our greatest allies. We will be safe without people being reminded of the dangers that are posed by the outside world!"

"Sir, what about the new country to the North? Kray...something-or-other? They just took power, and they may not have the situation completely under control. We don't even know if they're friendly to us or if they're planning an invasion."

"I will never assume the worst about a people," Mikhail said sternly. "If it makes you feel better, you may increase border patrols with the guard. I don't want any more military at that border!" Mikhail walked over and picked up his jacket. He slipped the notepad he was using into one of the pockets and flung it over his shoulder. He knew his business was done here.

"Sir, be reasonable," Avram shouted. "Put up a fence, pillboxes, a guard tower, something so that they at least know where the border is!"

"If you wish to mark the border," Mikhail said calmly, "you may put up a sign." He then turned around and walked out the door. Avram stood there in amazement, scratching his head. He had a new-found respect for Mikhail. He had taken the concerns, and kept his cool. Somehow Avram knew that things would change for the better.

Mikhail headed back to his bedroom. He had completely lost track of time, and it was 11:00 at night. Exhausted, he kicked off his shoes and pants and crawled into bed. After good night's sleep, he woke up and sat himself down at his desk, still in his shirt and boxers from yesterday. He grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and he started making a list.

Edited by KaiserMelech Mikhail
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