2014 STGOD Story Thread I

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Steve » 2014-10-18 03:56pm

Portland Gazette
May 19, 2014

NASA to attempt moon mission by 2016

PORTLAND FEDERAL DISTRICT - In the company of NASA Director Charles Berry and Senator Joshua Carter of Oregon, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee for Space Operations and Exploration, President Penton announced the Cascadian government's ambitious plan to put Cascadian astronauts on the moon in 2016. "After many months of examination of our space program's capability, we have determined that this project is feasible," President Penton said to reporters. "The future of our nation, indeed the future of the whole Human race, is in our ability to expand our horizons into the final frontier."

Senator Carter echoed President Penton's words. "This is a national issue," he said. "This isn't about Liberal or Whig or Conservative policies, this is about the future of our people and making our mark on the progress of our species. I am gladly voting for the additional NASA funding to ensure this moon landing proceeds as planned."

"We've been speculating about a landing on the Moon for over half a century," Director Berry informed reporters. "The difficulties, the requirements for the mission, and the costs associated with it. We believe our new Pathfinder-class shuttles and other space launch systems coming on line will provide ample opportunity for a moon shot by 2016."

Skeptics worry that the pace of the program may be too optimistic. Several Democrats and Stalwarts in both Houses have denounced the plan due to its cost, insisting on the government funding going elsewhere.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Steve » 2014-10-19 03:24am

Conference in Orion

Director Jackson seemed almost bored with the more mundane stuff, but he finally spoke aloud. "First off, we do need to decide on what constitutes a terrorist group with enough pull to be an international threat. Some tribal militant group in Lower Sankara isn't going to warrant that kind of attention, not like Avalanche or the Malipani Liberation Army or whatever Calian cartel has decided to start branching out this week. And I doubt our friends in the San Dorado PMC community would appreciate being labeled as terrorists if one of their megacorps ever hires them to get rough with a country for something they didn't like." Jackson met Lt. Colonel Clay's eyes with his own remaining eye.

"Secondly, I'm going to point out that some of our countries don't believe in one day trials and a public execution by the reigning head of state." Jackson's lips curled into a partial smirk. "Any agreement that requires immediate extradition to countries where that kind of justice is practiced is going to crash and burn once it reaches our Congress. So we're going to need to establish an international court or some form of international standard of evidence handling that won't get thrown out by any judges." Jackson nodded to Whitefield. "i'll let our State Department guy handle the reconstruction fund details."

"Ah, yes." Whitefield folded his hands in front of him. "It certainly has great potential. A governing committee with seats determined by proportional size of contribution, perhaps..."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-19 06:15am

Senior Skymarshal Faiza Shturm rose from her seat. OGRE's commander-director was a short woman with a healthy tan in the striking all-white dress uniform of San Dorado's flashiest PMC. Platinum ace wings studded her collar. Her blond hair had been bleached nearly the same color by the tropical San Dorado sun. Threads of subcutaneous circuitry flashed at the corners of her eyes. She locked her eyes on the NSIA head in an unreadable stare. "Could Director Jackson please clarify his remark and stance with respect to our legitimate enterprise? I would not want to misconstrue his words."
Last edited by Siege on 2014-10-19 07:51am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Steve » 2014-10-19 07:14am

Siege wrote:Senior Skymarshal Faiza Shturm rose from her seat. OGRE's commander-director was a short woman with a healthy tan in the striking all-white dress uniform of San Dorado's flashiest PMC. Platinum ace wings studded her collar. Her blond hair had been bleached nearly platinum by the tropical San Dorado sun. Threads of subcutaneous circuitry flashed at the corners of her eyes. She locked her eyes on the NSIA head in an unreadable stare. "Could Director Jackson please clarify his remark and stance with respect to our legitimate enterprise? I would not want to misconstrue his words."


Jackson's eye twinkled. "I'm merely remarking that a loose definition of terrorism involves non-state actors trying to compel states to accept their demands with the use of regular or irregular force. If any international standard was adopted along these lines, it would mean that states in which your legitimate enterprises were operating could accuse you and your employees of terrorism and demand international action. I think we'd all find that really embarrassing." His wording made clear that a four letter word and an "-ing" suffix would have been dropped into the line if not for the formal environment. "So what I'm suggesting is that we all be really damn careful" - Whitefield blanched - "about how we define the term, or we're going to end up in a hell of a tangle. And this conference is going to fall apart. And I'd hate to have it become a waste of time." The unspoken phrase at the end was "waste of my time".
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2014-10-19 07:18am

The leaders of the Fuso delegation at the Orion conference largely remained silent, passively observing the grandstanding and bloviating of King Alexander and the other delegates. Whatever words they had to say were shared only between themselves.

"You keep referring to these proceedings as 'security theater,' Secretary Shirogane," Makoto said. "Why is that?"

"Security theater, my dear Attorney General," Naoto replied, "is when one invests in measures that merely provide the appearance of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually achieve it. Theater cannot function without writers, producers, and directors, and so King Alexander's gathered us all here so we can pen a masterpiece and show it to our audiences at home."

"If you're so convinced that this conference will not accomplish anything useful, then why did we come here in the first place?" Kyoko asked.

"We still have appearances to keep up," Naoto replied. "Despite our relative isolationism as of late, we're still one of the larger players on the international stage. If smaller states like Arcadia and Corona could send people here, how would we look if we decided to sit this conference out? No matter how it will actually end, though, at least we were actually here. Sometimes, it's enough to just show the flag."

"By that token, sometimes it's enough to merely have the perception of security," Kyoko said.

"Staging security theater still incurs massive costs for little or no actual gain," Naoto replied. "I suppose there's a sort of placebo effect when it comes to keeping the populace reassured, but in the end, it's still a false sense of security. We should work on increasing security in real terms, not just providing the perception of security. Easier said than done, to be sure, but still a goal worth working towards."

"Well, I just hope this whole affair won't end up being a waste of our time, then," Makoto said.

"You and me both, Attorney General," Naoto said.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-19 07:30am

The Conference Centre

King Alexander rose once again. "The delegates from Cascadia make valid points. Certainly Orion would not support a treaty that compels others to extradite suspects if the expected sentence violates their justice system. The idea of an international court is one I find intriguing, and would support.

Perhaps this court, and the commission to determine who is or is not a terrorist, would solve the other issue raised by the Director. In order to accommodate the military contractors from San Dorado, an exemption to the terrorist definition coudl be added for internationally recognized PMC's, those that are, for want of a better term, approve by the court. However, I should think that any PMC being so exempted from the terrorism definition would need to formally accept the jurisdiction of this international court if they cross the line."
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Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-19 08:46am

"Excuse me?" Maxwell Night jerked to his feet as if he'd been stung. "We are not the problem here!" He gave the assembled delegates a black look and thundered, "we've been in this business for hundreds of years. The lineage of my company goes back to a time when some of your nations did not yet exist! San Doradan sailors and soldiers fought and bled and died under free and fair contract when your grand notions of government regulation were but idle dreams in your founders' eyes! I am sympathetic to your fears and worries, and I came here to see if I could help alleviate them. But now you would have the audacity, the damn nerve to demand my compliance, my fealty to your courts?! No! My answer is an absolute, uncategoric no. Never, never will I accept such blatant attempts to impose external control on my business. You can have your control over my company, my men and my ships when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!"

Franklin Clay rose, put his hand on Night's shoulder and whispered something in the emotional commodore's ear. Night stiffened but then nodded curtly and sat down. It was clear from their frowns and scowls and the way they whispered approvingly at Night that the San Doradans were shocked and outraged by the king's suggestion. Clay scraped his throat. "Sirs, madams, I am aware that some of you may not fully appreciate our perspective on this matter. But I think I speak for my peers here and indeed for all corporations from our great city that the suggestion of external limitation on our free enterprise is an intolerable one. Let me reiterate the commodore's words that we came here to be of aid. To then hear it at the very least implied that we are some sort of problem to be regulated by external bodies is..." The colonel was visibly struggling to find an acceptably decent way to put it until Knight Errant's May McQ murmured something. Clay looked at her and nodded, "unhelpful, yes let's just leave it at that. Terrorism should not be so difficult to define that it needs a separate international forum to determine cases of it - a forum, I should add, that inevitably will be subject to pressure and politics. I simply do not understand why a new institution should be brought into existence to combat what, with all due respect to our host nation and the recent terrible and tragic events, at the end of the day is only a bunch of assholes with truck bombs. By all means let us cooperate in finding and destroying these people, but let's not make it any more complicated than that."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-19 08:52am

The King did not even rise this time.

"Then by all means Colonel, explain to us how you would construct a definition of terrorism that actually functions and does not get your own companies labelled as terrorists. You say we should make it so complicated; then prove to us it can be simple."
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-19 08:57am

"Did I not earlier suggest to outlaw specific actions instead of broad concepts?" Clay glared back. "Did your own nation not locate, apprehend, judge and execute the terrorists behind the Paradise City attacks in a matter of days? Were these actions not already punishable under existing laws? What more do you want, and why do you demand we cede significant control over our companies to you?"
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-19 09:22am

"I do not demand you cede control to me, or even to the courts. I instead suggest that you agree to be bound by the jurisdiction of the international courts. Alternatively you may be bound by the jurisdiction of whatever nation-state employs you."

"And yes, the bombers were executed promptly. After they freely confessed, information we made availabel to all. They were executed for terrorism, not merely murder. We do not seek to establish a new offence, but to standardize that offence among the nations represented here, to avoid loopholes for the enemy to exploit."
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-19 09:49am

"You would have us apply to an international court for an exemption just to conduct the business we have for centuries, and force us to abide by its jurisdiction," Clay growled. "This is an unacceptable infringement on our sovereignty. We will not agree to anything of the sort. I would not demand you cede your kingdom's prerogatives to declare unilateral war or execute people on television, so I strongly suggest you stop these attempts to limit our liberty to conduct our own business before we are forced to draw our conclusions about the goals of this conference."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-19 10:24am

"You may disagree all you wish. However, if you wish to act on the global stage you must abide by the same rules and laws as nations, for that is clearly how you see yourselves. You speak of sovereignty when you are not a nation, you speak of liberty to do business, that is all well and good, provided you follow the laws agreed by nations."
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-10-19 10:45am

Dr. Mahogany's habit of tapping his cane to gather attention when he wished to speak was perhaps a tic of his; it usually had the desired effect. His voice was slightly raspy with age, but controlled, modulated, almost hypnotic from his sixty years' experience in acrimonious meetings.

"The greatest single problem with our use of the word 'terrorist' today is that we give the right to use the term to those who believe themselves to be the victims." He looked quietly for a moment at the king of Orion, speaking volumes of I see what you did there, and it was intemperate. "We do not allow a man to be both judge and executioner when he claims he has been assaulted in the street. Why would we allow the government of a nation to be both judge and executioner, with international sanction, when it claims it has been assaulted at a particular time or place? Let the government secure itself, accept risk as the price of duty, and concern itself only with the safety of the people from foreign criminals."

"The only time to call upon international aid and support is if the state is unable to take care of itself and secure its own people, or if many states are thus threatened. Then and only then would it be justified to have this council go into action. And then..." his heavily lined face twisted into a smile.

"Ladies and gentlemen, acts of war, acts of terrorism, and acts of security, are in their nature very different. If we cannot distinguish between them, then as collections of notables go we are a poor one. The pivotal concern of the San Doradan representatives is that they are mercenaries; they wage war, or provide security, for money. But they vehemently reject being labeled as bandits, criminals, or terrorists."

"Should some mercenary perform an action in the course of a war, it is in no way the concern of 'anti-terrorist' organizations. That would then simply be an act of war, committed either on behalf of a state, or on behalf of some guerilla or stateless organization that is at war with a state. Either way, if one entity is engaged against one state, it is not an international concern or the affair of an anti-terrorist council. The customary laws of war are necessary and sufficient for that purpose. Those who take no prisoners cannot expect to be taken prisoner in turn. Those who show no mercy to their enemy's children will receive none upon their own. It is enough, for mercenaries as well as for more traditional soldiers."

"I see no need to amplify those terrible truths; the horror of war is beyond our power to tame. Even the winners are punished, even if they do not realize it on the field. We cannot change or add to this bitter reality through the actions of some 'court.'"

Dr. Mahogany nodded at Maxwell Night.

"Outside the bounds of a war, if a stateless force threatens many states, or a single state that is helpless to defend itself... then they could become the concern of our proposed council or court. We would then ask ourselves, is this force presenting a threat to life and limb, without provocation? A threat that is one-sided, that consists purely of aggression against the innocent? It would be improper for neutral countries to intervene purely because someone has been provoked to extremity in self-defense, or because some bandit attacks an army camp that is well able to defend itself."

"So, these would be the decisions of consequence..." He began counting on the fingers of his spotted left hand, one by one. First, the diplomat's thumb folded out to the side. "One, are the actions of this group part of a war? Is this a war that a state is prepared to acknowledge? Or part of a war that, while the state fears to declare it, is nonetheless a war? My uncle was maimed in such a war, a war for freedom from tyrannical bandit-kings. Had you told him that he did not fight in a war, but only in a 'police action' or some such, he would have hurt himself laughing. In either case, acts of war are not acts of terrorism. They may be in breach of the customs and laws of war, but those are not the same as the laws of peace. They are not part of our court's concern."

Mahogany's index finger joined the thumb. "Two, do the actions of this group match the actions of a terrorist- an attack directed against innocents? If this group seeks out soldiers or lawmen to fight, let those armed agents of the state defend themselves, or they are no soldiers at all, no lawmen worthy of the name. Beyond that, the actions of a true terrorist would be those that are in truth unprovoked. Those that happen without due provocation to the attacking group, or the larger entity that assembled, recruited, or hired it. If this group's actions were provoked and proportionate, it would be ill done to interfere against the man who strikes the second blow, purely because we did not perceive the first. Let us, as the colonel says, judge the actions on their own merits, not the abstract concepts."

Now the Umerian's middle finger rose alongside the thumb and pointer. "Three, does this group pose an international threat, or is it one that can be fully contained within a limited region by the actions of one or two nations? The matter of the Lothali pirates, for example, can be contained- we know where they are. My own state, and our comrades-in-arms across the Equatorial Sea, have them surrounded, outnumbered, and outgunned. There is no need for Orion soldiers, Cascadian warplanes, or the ships of Shinra to exercise themselves over it."

Very quickly Dr. Mahogany took a brisk swig from his water-glass. "So our court, if it is to be formed, would not even begin to bring the machinery of any state to bear against a group, unless that group was acting outside of a de facto war, against innocents, without provocation, and presenting an ongoing international threat. And if even this is not enough to ensure justice... ah."

"Perhaps the voting delegates on our council could be drawn from many nations, subject to long, fixed term of appointment, so that they are safe from the caprice of... voters. There should be delegates-without-portfolio on our council who are expert in the politics of certain regions, or the contract law of mercenaries, or other such matters. In the event that a decision must be made, members of the group that is accused of terrorism will be given whatever safe-conduct is required to appear before the council and mount a defense Trials in absentia would be unworthy of such a body. Moreover, delegates from the nations that are directly affected should have to recuse themselves, lest they compromise their own honor and dignity by making a condemnation from the heart, rather than from the head."

"Combining these things, perhaps we could restrict ourselves to the most heinous and menacing of international criminals. As opposed to those whose business we occasionally disapprove of, when it is inconvenient. Might any of this be helpful as a form of safeguard?"

EDIT TO REFERENCE KEY PASSAGES.
1) Dr. Mahogany proposes to define "international terrorists" as groups that are "acting outside of a de facto war, against innocents, without provocation, and presenting an ongoing international threat."
2) Anything that isn't an "international terrorist," Dr. Mahogany basically says, is something you're on your own against.
3) Dr. Mahogany proposes that nations actually attacked by a group be forced to recuse themselves from deciding whether that group is a terrorist organization.
4) Dr. Mahogany proposes that the Anti-Terrorism Council create formal rules and positions that could feasibly be used by non-state interest groups (like San Doradan PMCs) to ensure that they have a voice in deciding what constitutes a terrorist group.
5) Dr. Mahogany also suggests that groups accused of being "terrorists" be given a right to speak for themselves, rather than being classed as terrorists in absentia. Thus, they might attempt to establish that they were fighting in a war, or that their actions were not directed against innocents, or were heavily provoked, or that they are a purely internal concern of one nation and not a matter for the international community.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby madd0ct0r » 2014-10-19 12:43pm

Ambassador Begum returned to her feet, inclining her head to the venerable speaker.

"Twice or more, you spoke of the 'normal laws of war'. Is there a specific, written convention or appendix from a formal Declaration of War that you refer to? Only by defining what is permitted in a 'normal' war could we then utilise your argument to set the limits of the committee. State power should not be a critical factor. We are a poor country, with a GDP far lower then many transnats. If the people of a country are in rebellion against a tyrant or colonist, then should they be counted terrorists for trying to overthrow the state? No, clearly no. At the same time, many here would be uncomfortable in affording a group a public hearing. To take the example of Avalanche, should they really be rewarded for mass-murder by being given a platform to address the world? And yet, what is the alternative? Kidnappings and plastic garottes behind garage doors? If we give them this platform, logically, we most also provide platforms for movements BEFORE they move to mass-murder or intimidation. This would be a commitment to freedom of speech that Champa is happy to make." She glanced around the room at the King, at inscrutable Dr Mahogany and frowning delegates from Cascadia, Rheinland and the UOSCR.

"The idea is good. Some details such as self-recuse, long terms to avoid politics, a right to trial and the involvement of experts with mercenary backgrounds are self-evidently good. Funding is a an issue, but presumably that would be a cost borne by signatories, from each according to their ability. I would hope membership of such an institution would be a positive thing for private outfits, giving them access to assured international support should their opposition deserve it. It could certainly be an edge in the marketplace."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-19 12:52pm

King Alexander stood once more.

"Orion agrees with the Champan delegate. Furthermore, I move that we vote to agree to the proposal, so that our respective staffs may develop the fine details. It is enough, for now, to agree to a general course of action, the individual details can be worked out in due course before a final treaty is signed."
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-10-19 01:17pm

[I realllly meant for this to be snuck in before E_F made his post; it's a direct response to Maddoctor's post directly above.]

Dr. Mahogany's cough seemed very unforced, and his voice rasped a shade more afterward.

"A very wise question. There are many widely accepted international treaties on allowed weapons and allowed conduct in wartime. Some of these my nation is not signatory to, at our peril. But they are nonetheless part of the canon of the laws and customs of war. Most I can think of off the top of my head; some are obscure or bilateral. Given a few minutes with pencil and paper, and a chance to consult with my noble and memorious aide, I can no doubt present Her Excellency the Champan Ambassador with a reasonably complete list."

"As to the other questions you raise... in the matter of whether 'war' can be used as a defense against a charge of terrorism, the key is to judge whether a de facto state of war exists. If there are two large, organized bodies engaged in violent conflict, we can reasonably say there is a war on, whether one of the parties admits it or not. This was the heart of the reason I suggested recusal of representatives from the involved nations- they are the ones most likely to try and pretend a war is not being fought, when all know it is."

"And thirdly, the question of providing a public hearing for radical and malicious factions... I do not recall implying any requirement that the deliberations of this anti-terrorist council be made public. Perhaps they will be, or will not be, or will be only at certain times; that is a detail." The Umerian shrugged and smiled.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2014-10-19 01:45pm

UOCSR Minister of Interior, Mr. Gennady Volkov rose and asked loud, "And just what are these 'international treaties', if I may ask? We talk about treaties, when truthfully, they are at best gentlemen's agreements and generally unenforceable in any way, not least many do not wish to see those enforced. Further, even a treaty against terrorists is fraught with complexities such as different codes of laws, never mind the differing histories and historical baggage.

Not least, many nations would chafe at any kind of foreign intervention, and yet terrorists originating from the said country could be potentially operating in that said country given safe haven discreetly by that said country's security forces. Yet if there is a lack of proof of such intervention and yet the said country remains incorrigible, what then? A declaration of war?"
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-19 01:56pm

After fevered internal discussion it was Knight Errant's May McQ who slowly rose from the San Doradan delegation. "Treaties and contracts can be fickle things, in that sense Mister Volkov is correct. However we should at least assume that we are gathered here in good faith to find a way to expedite that goal for which our host has called us - the opposition to international terrorism. After all, if we are not, then why are we here? Certainly we are prepared to uphold our contracts and agreements as we always have." McQ looked around. "To that end, Dr. Mahogany's proposal has... promise. No doubt even amongst this council, or tribunal, or whatever its final name will be there will be disagreements and discord and strife, and it will likely not banish war and conflict from the face of the world, but it is still better than throwing up our hands saying 'it is no use'. Therefore, pending the adequate resolution of its details his initiative has our support." It was clear from the way she phrased it that she spoke for the PMCs as a collective. "Furthermore, I do not wish to short-circuit the discussions, but perhaps a recess is in order?"
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-19 02:06pm

The King nodded. "Indeed, this seems an optimum moment to take a break. There is food and drink available outside while you discuss the proposal with your staffs." With that, meeting came to a temporary halt as delegates stood and split off into groups.

Alexander collected a drink and walked over to Director Greer.

"Those mercs sorely try my patience James."

"INdeed Sire, but they are harmless enough for the present. This might cheer you up though."He handed over a note explaining the successful launch of the latest payload module for the Aurora station.

"Excellent. Once this conference is over, arrange for Dr. Von Braun to dine with us at the palace, I should like to congratulate him in person."
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-19 04:15pm

At recess

"Thank Tyche for that old Umerian wolf," Night breathed with some enervation. The commodore sat with his elbows resting on the bar as he rubbed his eyes. "I was this close to telling the king to get bent!"

May McQ smirked and raised her glass of armagnac. The tall and striking Knight Errant commander loosened the top buttons of her gray uniform and sat down beside him. "Once a sailor, always a sailor. Drink?"

Night chuckled mirthlessly. "Don't mind if I do. At the risk of coming across as even more of a sailing man - do you know if this place has any good rum?"

"Only one way to find out." The bartender materialized as if out of thin air and whipped up a glass from a superb Hawai'ian blend. McQ waited until the bartender had tactfully removed himself from earshot and Night had taken his first sip. "We knew this might happen. It's hardly the first time we've had to defend ourselves."

"And it won't be the last," sighed Night. The commodore pulled a hand through his hair. "You're right, of course. But you'd think..." He made a throwaway gesture. "Well, you'd think, wouldn't you?"

"That they'd know by now? Understand, maybe?" McQ shrugged. "I find that even governments we do business with like to pretend we're something other than what we are. Pretend we're not equals, pretend they hold the moral high ground - even as they buy our goods or hire us to do their dirty work." She emptied her glass in a single swig and slammed it into the bar with some force. Her expression was midway between sore and resigned. McQ thanked the bartender with a curt nod as he refilled her glass with another amber double shot. "It's useful though. That dissonance, it means they're not thinking straight. They underestimate us, because they refuse to acknowledge what we are." She chuckled. "Ignore the bull in the china shop, then wonder where the splinters came from."

Night gave her a long look. "It's different at sea. More honest. More old-fashioned, I suppose you could say. Perhaps because I have nothing to sell but my steel. And it's hard to underestimate the enemy when he's coming at you in a few thousand tons of it. We do the job, we settle our dues with Davy Jones, and then we get paid." He sipped his rum. "I think I prefer it that way. Battles should be fought with cannons, not words." The commodore looked at his glass. "I'll say though, this is premium stuff."

McQ let out a bark of laughter. "At least or host has that going for him, then. Bottom's up?"

Their glasses clinked together. "To absent friends."
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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby RogueIce » 2014-10-19 11:48pm

Clayton Webb was officially a senior executive of the Shinra Republic's State Department. Whether or not this was merely his cover as an agent of the Shinra Intelligence Service was a mystery few bothered to ponder, as he presented the image and possessed the demeanor of a typical government bureaucrat, which meant nobody really paid him much thought in general.

In any event, he had a mission, of sorts. He was being sent to discuss certain matters with Lt. Col. Darin Sirota of Paradigm Security. In his briefcase was a typical boilerplate contract widely available to anyone who bothered to access Paradigm's corporate web pages, setting up an utterly typical consultancy session. He of course also carried a check written for the standard amount for said consultancy session.

This was no mere consultation, however. It was a sales pitch of sorts on his part. Still, San Dorado companies were legendary for their discretion when it came to their clients, and thus such "consultations" were a pretty routine matter for anyone who wanted to discuss a proposition with them while ensuring a maximum of discretion for both parties.

Approaching Colonel Sirota, Clayton Webb extended his hand. "Good evening, Colonel. My name is Clayton Webb, with the Shinra Republic delegation. If I might, I would appreciate it if you could spare the time for a consultation session? I have the standard paperwork here with me, already filled out..."
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We rise with noble intentions,
And we risk all that is pure..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, Forever (Rome: Total War)

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The war continues on..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, We Are All One (Medieval 2: Total War)
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby TimothyC » 2014-10-24 12:38am

Honolulu Truth-Journal*
May 15, 2014

What is going on with the Royal Family?


Once every three months, like clockwork, the Royal Family releases a report on their budget and finances. It's a minor thing, but it often gives an insight into the family that runs our nation. When certain expenditures go up, we can expect a new member to be coming. When the profits on the investments go up, we can all count an a good party season.

What does it say when we don't get any numbers at all?

For the last 16 months, there have been no figures made public in any capacity, not even to the Elected Government. For the first time in a generation, the Royals are being secretive. What are they planning? Is there a wedding between the Crown Prince's younger sister and the eldest son of our 'Guest' Crown Princess Isabella?

And what for that matter is TEFLON BLUE?

Read the answers inside.



*Not exactly the most reputable of news organizations.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Force Lord » 2014-10-28 12:11pm

Orion Conference Recess

As the Granadian delegation was busy reorganizing itself outside, three important men were arguing in a seemingly out-of-the-way corner of the palace.

"Bueno, what are we doing here again?", asked General Pedro Anzar of the Guardia Civil. "We were as silent as the ocean trench. Do we even have written speeches?"

"I was told one of our aides... misplaced the papers when we were at the airport. Being in a foreign land I couldn't just shoot him for his carelessness. And let's not even mention the fact that we arrived somewhat late to this party, and so missed some of the discussion! Terrible, terrible! Our prestige has sunk to a new low!", lamented Vice-Chief Dr. Jacobo Vernón, deputy to the Chief of the CNI.

"This really isn't our day. Why El Presidente had the bright idea to send us on a fool's errand here is beyond me! I didn't even have time to finish watching the latest match between Real Padrid and Bercalano! Yes, I'm a fanatic of futból, don't judge me!", complained the Chief of the BEI, Elías Monzón.

General Anzar said glumly, "So, what do we do? We can't stay quiet forever, we'll be seen as mere benchwarmers!"

"I propose," said Monzón, "that we make an excuse that allows us to slip away from here and get back home to our jobs. Improper, I know, but really, what can we achieve here? The big boys have all the attention! Who listens to Granadians these days? Aside from river men and money men?"

"Vago torpe, we can't just leave!", spat Vernón, "Do you realize how bad it would be if we're seen as a bunch of-" *bzzz* "Wait, what is that sound? Ah, stupid of me, it's just my cell phone!" *click* "Aló? Quién esta hablando? I'm in an important place right now, so make it brief! Señor Abelardo!? Jefe, what happened, you sound like you barely escaped a train wreck! Wait, what did you say- WHAT!? But that's, just not possible! How!?... I see. Yes, I will tell them. Should we come back? Ah, very well, we will wait until the situation clears. Viva Granadia."

Vernón, closing his cellphone, soon noticed that Anzar and Monzón were staring at him in shock.

"That didn't sound good. Something horrible must have happened back home!", Anzar finally spoke. "What did just happen?!"

"It seems," Vernón said, looking at Monzón, "that we may perhaps have that excuse of yours after all."

Monzón's eyes widened. "But, that can only mean-"

"I'm afraid that there's been a massive terrorist attack in Padrid. They hit the central government offices, they are still counting the dead. And among the dead is...", Vernón paused, "our caudillo."

Anzar cried, "Augusto Videla is dead!? Maldición! How did this happen?! What lunatics could do this?! Carajo, did someone sleep on duty back there?! Who do I have to shoot for dereliction of duty?! WHO?!"

"Pipe it down General," said Monzón, "the others can hear your racket! Damn it, what can we do?"

Suddenly, an aide came running to the trio.

"Señores, terrible news from Padrid! Our Presidenteis... oh, you already know about that? Well, you may not know this: several ministers are also dead, some are badly wounded. That's all I've been told!"

"QUE?! This is starting to look more like a coup attempt!", declared Monzón. "But who would launch such a coup? Videla purged his opposition years ago!"

"If it really is a coup, then we must crush it!", stated General Anzar. "We cannot allow foolish usurpers to seize control of the Granadian State!"

"A possible coup? Let's not jump to conclusions, shall we?," said Vernón. "Coup, terrorism, revolt, we need more information before we can act! Besides, you all know how unpopular we are due to the recent economic crisis. Something was bound to happen, even if we didn't expect something of this scale!"

"But what really is this, then?" asked General Anzar. "How could such a major strike get past our security? Have we've been compromised? Are there traitors and seditious elements in our ranks? Do these terrorists have insiders in our government? Argh, so many questions to be answered, I hate it!"

"As I said, we need more information," Vernón said. Then he added ominously, "Perhaps the rot afflicting the Granadian nation is more deeper and wider than we wanted to believe..."

Anzar and Monzón remained silent.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-30 10:24am

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Pentex Advanced Research Lab | 1553 W. Wagner Drive
Delta City, San Dorado


Set: System start point
Start: Systems subset
Begin: Startup operations
Begin: TEMPEST Wireless Asset Control subroutine
Status: Wireless Asset Control subroutine initiated
//SIGNAL INTERCEPT//
Status: TEMPEST interface functional
Begin: Wireless signal jump
ALERT: Intrusion prevention system detected
ALERT: Hold
DLoad: Encryption decipher sub-array
Status: Complete
Begin: HIPS integration
Status: HIPS integration complete
ALERT: Intrusion prevention systems isolated and conditioned
Status: Coldstream Delta Strategic Network Interface handshake achieved

ACCESS [56°:27/3/1 @ n4.28.855.3400+]

+ COLDSTREAM DELTA
++ ZIRCON SECURE SATCOM CONSTELLATION

(Signal sequence #n428855/1446, relay:)

//SEQUENCE STARTS//

"Tell me what this CRYSTAL FOG is exactly?"

"A computer system, Colonel Shturm. Developed as part of the BLACK LAMP special access program-"

"So it's CRI division?"

"... not exactly, no. Cybernetics Research and Implementation was involved in some of the neural modeling but CRYSTAL FOG primarily falls under Pentex ARD."

"Okay, so it's a computer. How does this involve me?"

"You're the only NOVA LIGHT participant with both class III augmetics and clearance for BLACK LAMP. We want you to plug in and see if it... talks."

"Clarify 'talks', doctor Kalvin?"

"Exactly as it says on the tin, colonel. CRYSTAL FOG is an experimental self-improving system. After some thousand cycles we began to notice an... internal process. A recognizable pattern trending toward functions our models predicted to see in a C-type machine. We've clear evidence of multiple tier one Turing protocol violations. Not singular, not a sporadic pattern, but systemic breaks. This is of great and growing concern to the Board."

"Does that... Do you mean to say your computer is... alive?"

"That is a question for philosophers, colonel. I just want to know what we're dealing with. I will stress that there's some urgency. The system is currently boxed and I've convinced the Board to keep it that way for now, but network security tells me it's noticing... glitches, in our firewalls. They correspond with certain odd patterns in CRYSTAL FOG processor arrays. COMSEC tells me it's impossible... But I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps it's purposefully leaking electromagnetic emanations. It might be trying to phreak its way out."

"Surely you're controlling emissions?"

"The system is in a Zone 0 environment, but there's over two hundred server stacks down there and I think we both know the Shannon limit really isn't one. I can't be sure it isn't doing something particularly clever we haven't figured out yet."

"So why don't you just type at it and find out?"

"It's a runaway self-optimizing system colonel. If I've learned one thing... Once it's up, never introduce bad code by hand. Don't disturb a stable system. Or for that matter a semi-stable one. We don't want to reach in. We want it to reach out. In a controlled environment, that is. That's where you'd come in."

"Okay. Okay, hook me up to your server heap that nobody knows what's going on inside. No big deal, I'm sure I've heard worse ideas. I can't think of any right now but I'm sure I have. How do you want to go about this?"

"Pentex has compiled new firmware for your EEG and DNI arrays. Once the software's installed it's a relatively straightforward matter of coupling your interface bus with an optical cable, plug you right into the machine. But- I stress this is voluntary, colonel. I cannot compel you to go through with it."

"I see. Yeah. No, we're all about pushing the envelope, aren't we? So fuck it, let's do this. I'll be in Paradise City for a few more days. After that I'll be on the next thing steaming, and then we can find out what your computer is thinking. In the meantime, may I suggest you keep your hand on the off-switch?"

//SEQUENCE ENDS//

one laser
two laser
red laser
blue laser
when toaster smokes our mom all smelly
and stomps our dad to bloody jelly
save one
save two
save red
save blue
for me
for you
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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-30 01:07pm

Paradise City, Anti-Terrorism Conference

The conference was still in recess, the various groups discussing all their "matters of mutual interest" as the Diplomatic Corps would call it. The King was enjoying a nice cold lemonade (he refrained from anything alcoholic at such times, considering himself "on duty" as it were).

Alexander had begun to notice something strange, the Granadian delegation were huddled together and not speaking to anyone else. This alone wasn't much of a surprise; none of them had spoken during the Conference. Everyone from Orion had assumed they had come simply to be seen.

What was strange was that in the last ten minutes or so their conversation had become considerably more...animated, complete with "keep it down" gestures and furtive glances around at the rest of the delegates.

The King was considering approaching them and politely enquiring if they were all right when Director Greer appeared at his shoulder, holding a binder marked "SECRET" and looking concerned.

"Yes James? What's happenned now?"

"Sire, we have initial reports of a major incident in Granadia. It initially looks to be a terrorist attack, but it may be a coup or even a revolution as well, we can't tell. Our Embassy staff report explosions, violence and great unrest. Three members of our delegation are currently unaccounted for; hopefully they were just out getting a meal or something and haven't reported in yet."

"A coup? That would be...troubling. Although not astonishing given all the problems Granadia has had lately. Keep monitoring the situation, and let me know as soon as those unaccounted-for staff are located."

"Yes Sire." With that, Greer withdrew. The King moved into a side room and picked up the secure phone line.

"This is the King, get me Operations." There was a short pause (and no doubt a minor panic on the other end as the watch officer was located."

"General Andrews here Sire."

"We have a developing situation in Granadia. Several of our Embassy staff are unaccounted for at present. Order the SAS and The Service to prepare for possible hostage-rescue."

"As you will Sire."

And with that the Kingdom began watching events in earnest.

Results:

-The King is informed of the crisis in Granadia.
-Several EMbassy staff currently missing.
-SAS and the Service put on alert in case hostage-rescue is required.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.


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