The Hohenzollern Empire 5: Renewed Phoenix - A Roman Reich Megacampaign in New World Order

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zenphoenix

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"I understood that reference." :p

In all seriousness, I seem to notice the Reich seems to be sliding backwards in terms of social/cultural progress, what with the increasing intolerance towards Women, LGBT people and ethnic, religious and cultural minorities like Mexica and French as of late. Probably a consequence of Wilhelm Karl on the throne and Elias' shenanigans as you said before. After centuries of cultural progress and tolerance of different peoples, seems like the Reich's efforts to fulfil the promise of Romanitas is being undone after Otto's death.
Undercurrents of racism, xenophobia, and intolerance have always existed since the Reich was restored. Despite the early Kaisers' best efforts, these feelings and beliefs were never truly stamped out entirely, and some like Saint Wilhelmina even encouraged such beliefs. Which leads to occasional lapses back into barbarity in times like the Anarchy, the Maximist takeover, and the Angeloi consolidation of power. This is merely another symptom of the Reich's original sin. Without comprehensive laws being enforced and people at the top providing a good example, many of the intolerant and xenophobic feel encouraged and empowered to step out of the shadows.
 
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zenphoenix

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The First Hundred Days, Part 2

National crisis as government struggles to recover

Berlin – A state of national emergency has been declared after the most devastating terror attack in Roman history, which wiped out the chancellery, Diet, and the Augustinian Court. The previous chancellor, Angela Merkel, and chancellor to be, Thierry Baudet, were pronounced dead at the scene after sustaining fatal gunshot wounds to the head and upper body. His Majesty the Kaiser escaped unharmed, although the same could not be said about Prince Karl, a royal family member also in attendance.

Citizens have been under martial law since late Tuesday night. Both the Augustinian Code and Diet proceedings have suspended for the time being while Vice Chancellor Brad Folger, the only survivor of Baudet’s cabinet, assembles a caretaker government. In a speech Wednesday night, he announced his intention to “clean up the country” and restore order as soon as possible. Once that is done, he would restore the country to its state as one of the world’s premier meritocratic world powers.

Very little information is available about how long the country will be under lockdown, but authorities say they are still gathering information about the attacks and the motives of the terrorists involved. All of the terrorists involved in the Reichstag attack were killed by law enforcement and private security before they could leave the building. It is currently believed the attacks were carried out by a remnant MSC cell.


Committee headquarters (formerly CB party headquarters), Berlin - January 14 (Day 12)

The committee members flipped through the pages of their newest proposal.

“The withdrawal of overseas troops to aid the rebuilding is in progress,” Heinrich said, “Aside from the Yavdian garrisons, as you said.”

“Good,” Elias said, “Adjust the foreign aid budget to reflect this. Josiah, put the extra money in our reconstruction fund.”

“I’ll make a note of that,” Josiah said, “Oh, and Heinrich, when the secondary Pacific fleets arrive in Africa, we’re going to need them to crack down on Indian Ocean piracy. That’s a serious problem these days.”

“I’ll make a note of that,” Heinrich said.

“We’ll have to screen the admiralty and officer corps for any terrorist sympathizers,” Elias said, “It’ll be easy to do so as each fleet arrives.”

“Right, of course,” Heinrich said.

“What are we going to do about the surge in dishonorable discharges?” Jacob said.

“I assure you, Jacob, all of those women deserved it,” Elias said.

“But…a lot of those women are complaining about harassment,” Jacob said, “Why are we expelling them?”

“It’s for their own good,” Josiah said, “And we need to have cohesion and discipline in our armed forces. If they keep making their other squadmates act up, we need to remove the root of the problem.”

“So, nobody wants to object to the confirmation of the new Foreign Minister?” Elias said. “Or provide their opinion on the cuts to the immigrant shelters?”

Nobody said anything.

“Okay, then,” Elias said, “Let’s move on to the Diet replacements. Next up are the two Reichsrat seats from the state of Nineveh…”

“Elias, if I may,” Jacob said.

“Yes, Jacob?” Elias said.

“Don’t you think we’re moving a little too fast with this?” Jacob said. “Thierry and the others are barely buried and we’re already working on their replacements.”

“Don’t worry, Jacob,” Josiah said, “This is what Thierry would have wanted.”

“He would have wanted us to spend more time mourning him,” Jacob said, “And are you sure this is all legal?”

“Augustinian code administrative clause 7,” Josiah said, “The Throne reserves the right to replace Diet representatives. And we’ve been given a mandate by the Throne to do so.”

“Are you sure you’re up to the task, Jacob?” Elias said. “Nobody said you had to be here.”

“I…I just want to make sure we’re going about this the right way,” Jacob said.

“Don’t worry, Jacob,” Elias said, “We’re on the right side of history. Of course we’re doing the right thing. We’re making history. Tell me, has any African Roman ever attained as high of an office or as much reputation as you have?”

“Uh, no?” Jacob said.

“Exactly,” Elias said, “You’re making history, Jacob. The first African Roman in a cabinet, shaping policy, directing this nation. For too longer, the people of Africa have been ignored under the party cartel, but you refused to take it.”

He patted Jacob on the back.

“Decades from now, they’ll be telling stories of the visionary Jacob Baldouin, who had a dream of a government run for the people,” Elias said, “Jacob Baldouin, who refused to let the party cartel silence him like his fellow Africans. Jacob Baldouin, the first African to have a major cabinet office. Jacob Baldouin, the second coming of Abraham Green! Jacob! Jacob!”

“Jacob! Jacob! Josiah cheered.

“Jacob! Jacob!” the other committee members joined in.

“Jacob,” Heinrich muttered.

Jacob nodded in agreement.

“You’re right, Elias,” he said, “We’re doing the right thing. Let’s keep at it.”


Constantinople - January 22 (Day 20)

Josh tapped his foot impatiently.

“When do we see some action?” he asked.

“Calm down,” Gustav said.

“Why do you keep telling me that, Uncle?” Josh said. “If I didn’t know any better, you sound like a coward. Like you want the terrorists to win. Like you’re a traitor.”

“Are you listening to yourself, Josh?” Gustav said. “Saying this to your uncle?”

“As a citizen, I have a duty to defend my country against all threats, both within and without,” Josh said, “Even if those threats are my family.”

“We’re family, Josh,” Gustav said, “We don’t betray each other.”

“That’s what Prince Maximilian said,” Josh said, “Before he launched the Maximist Wars.”

“Who taught you this stuff?” Gustav said. “You weren’t like this before.”

“You taught me, remember?” Josh said. “The world’s a cold place, and we have to fight to keep the lights on. Just like the committee’s providing law and order against the terrorists.”

Gustav gulped and looked away. “I’ve created a monster…”

They heard a commotion a while away.

“Get ready,” Kurt said, “It’s starting.”

A group of young protesters walked down the street, chanting slogans and waving signs.

“No more martial law!”

“Justice for Bloody Tuesday!”

“Down with the committee!”

“It can’t happen here again!”

Josh scoffed. “Bah, more equalist traitors. If only we had guns…”

“Masks on,” Kurt ordered.

Josh eagerly put on his mask. Gustav looked disgusted, but he obliged and followed suit.

“Let’s go,” Kurt said, “And remember, no fatalities, and no speaking.”

The group descended on the protesters and began beating the kids with their fists and bats. Josh gleefully slammed his bat down on his targets, their screams like a home run for him and the sound of bones crunching music to his ears. After a few minutes of fun, the protesters, the few of them without broken legs, limped away, their entire bodies bent and bloodied. The others lay on the ground, groaning and clutching their wounds. Kurt’s group left them there and walked away.


Die Zeiten - January 25 (Day 23)

“Some on the left were immediately up in arms about His Majesty and his emergency committee standing up for our men and women in uniform and for our national security,” Bysandros said, “The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted subversion of our country, both within and without. Period. Our nation must remain intact and secure. It is not a partisan position to believe there are subversive elements within our nation which need to be rooted out. However, it unfortunately appears there are many on the left who believe it is wrong to defend our country and abide by the rule of law. I would bet that many of those same people live behind walls and locked doors but do not want to afford the same benefit to our country as a whole.”

Theresa paused the clip.

“You see what we’re up against now?” she said.

“Not really, that’s just journalists being journalists,” Jung said.

“Are you serious?!” Anders said. “This is not journalism, it’s punditry! This man makes a mockery of journalists! They run biased segments and force their stations to air them! And they insert opinions and advertising into reporting!”

“And ignoring the content, there’s also the matter of their reach,” Theresa said, “The committee approved the merger with Tribune, so they now reach 75% of Roman households.”

“You’re mistaken,” Jung said, “The merger was approved under the Merkel administration three years ago, not three days ago by the committee.”

“Still, this is worrying,” Theresa said.

“What the frak do you expect me to do about this?” Jung said. “Even if I wanted to do something about it, I can’t. Augustinian Code and all that.”

“Okay, then I should be well within my rights to write about them,” Theresa said.

“Theresa, can you please calm down?” Jung said. “I don’t want to rock the boat too much, but you’re making it hard.”

“Jung, we journalists have a moral duty to inform the public on the truth and to defend the truth, whatever it may be,” Anders said, “You can’t stop us.”

“You don’t understand,” Jung said, “Things are…different now. We can’t publish this kind of stuff anymore.”

“Why?” Anders said. “Who’s going to stop us?”

“Remember we’re still banned from Brandenburg Palace press briefings?” Jung said. “Well, we’re now banned from all government press briefings altogether. I don’t want the regulators to come after me.”

“Well, if they do, we’ll sue them,” Anders said.

“Remember what you said fifteen years ago?” Theresa said. “When Sentinel tried to silence us after I published that report. ‘Those shooters, they wanted to intimidate us. They wanted to shut us up. They wanted to punish us for today’s story. But we’re going to show them. We aren’t going to be intimidated. We will not be silenced. We will put out a damn paper tomorrow!’ Whatever happened to that Jung?”

“It’s no longer 2015,” Jung said, “Things are different now. You know how the Kaiser is.”

“If we’re too scared to call out those abusing their power and misleading the public, we’d be no better than Sentinel,” Anders said, “And if we sell ourselves out, we will be destroyed, and we will deserve it.”

“Look, I’m just a messenger,” Jung said, “Fine, try to publish what you want. You’ll see what I’m talking about.”

“Maybe we will,” Theresa said, “But we will not be silenced. We’re not going to sit idly by while our people need us.”

“Unfortunately, it seems like they don’t really need us,” Jung said, “They need TiEfarmo and Schmitz instead.”


By the authority vested in me as Kaiser of the Romans by God and the Augustinian Code, We, Wilhelm the Fourth of House von Hohenzollern (titles here) hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Policy. To effectively carry out the broad array of activities assigned to the executive branch under law, His Majesty and his appointees must rely on men and women in the imperial service employed in positions of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character. Faithful execution of the law requires that the Kaiser and his Committee have appropriate management oversight regarding this select cadre of professionals.

Pursuant to Our authority, We find that conditions of good administration make necessary an exception to the competitive hiring rules and examinations for career positions in the imperial service of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character. These conditions include the need to provide agency heads with additional flexibility to assess prospective appointees without the limitations imposed by competitive service selection procedures…agencies should be able to assess candidates without proceeding through complicated and elaborate competitive service processes or rating procedures that do not necessarily reflect their particular needs…Agencies need the flexibility to expeditiously remove poorly performing employees from these positions without facing extensive delays or litigation.


Brandenburg Palace - January 29 (Day 27)

A reporter stood up.

“Yes, Elaine?” Wilhelm Karl said.

“Sir, are you concerned about the new imperial decree’s unintended consequences?” Elaine said.

“Elaborate,” Wilhelm Karl said.

“Many are concerned the relaxing of Qualifications’ assessment of current and prospective civil service officials may lead to a purge of bureaucrats in the coming months, particularly staff members of the Bureau of Qualifications,” Elaine said, “What assurances will you provide us that this will not be the case?”

“Are you making demands of your own Kaiser?” Wilhelm Karl said. “I don’t know what equalist ivory tower you were raised in, but real Romans know Administrative Clause 11 of the Augustinian Code: ‘In the event the Diet becomes hostile to the interests of the state and the people of Rome, the Kaiser may dissolve the Diet’. As our Augustinian Court just ruled two days ago, this extends to bureaucratic appointments, and as the tiebreaker in Qualifications, I am responsible for helping ensure only the most qualified are given positions appropriate for their expertise and experience. Are you asking me to disobey my obligation to the people?”

“No, sir, I was just—” Elaine said.

“Just questioning my orders,” Wilhelm Karl said, “That’s what the left always does, question if I’m fit to rule. They’ve done that my entire life, and I’m done being politically correct. If we don’t have order, we don’t have control, and if we don’t have control, we don’t have a country. I am trying to take back my country from the corrupt left which has been leading us to ruin for the last fifty years. Whenever great powers have collapsed or decayed, a common cause has been the loss of central authority. Anybody who doesn’t want our country back is at best naive and at worst downright treasonous. That will be the end of it.”

After all of the reporters left, Wilhelm Karl returned to his room. Francesca was already there, watching the news.

“Don’t bother watching, it’s all trash these days,” he said.

“No thanks to you,” Francesca said.

“Don’t blame me, blame Elias!” Wilhelm Karl said.

“Don’t hide behind that excuse,” Francesca said.

“What the frak was I supposed to do?!” Wilhelm Karl said. “I couldn’t have seen this coming!”

“Then let’s at least find a way to get out of this mess,” Francesca said, “Without destroying us.”


Reichstag - February 2 (Day 31)

Brad put his right hand on the Bible and raised his left hand.

"I swear to uphold the Augustinian Code and all valid laws within the Reich against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” he said, “That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and fulfill my duties of the office faithfully. That I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”


Committee headquarters - February 9 (Day 38)

Gertrude approached the conference room, but before she could go in, Elias stopped her.

“Morning,” he said, “What do you have there?”

“Oh, good, Elias, just in time, my arms are getting tired.” Gertrude dropped the heavy stack of papers into Elias’ hands.

“No, seriously, what is it?” Elias said.

“A comprehensive climate plan I hope to introduce to the Diet by the end of the month,” Gertrude said, “I already talked over the wealth redistribution details with Josiah. I just need to get Heinrich onboard with mobilizing the army to build seawalls and pumps on much of the Atlantic coast, and maybe Theodor to invest more into driverless electric cars and solar panels. We’ll also have to work on the gas-powered car restrictions and the public transit expansions, but we need to talk to local authorities for that. Also, we need that national carbon tax, Josiah can tell you more about that…”

“Dear, slow down,” Elias said, “There’s no rush. The momentum is in our favor. Investors already don’t like fossil fuel stocks. That is, the few that are still listed. after our new Borsenplatz regulations.”

“We need to speed up,” Gertrude said, “We’re no longer in opposition. The party cartel is gone, and we’re in control now. We have everything we need, but we haven’t done much. We’ve gotten complacent, like the party cartel.”

“Quite to the contrary, dear,” Elias said, “We simply have…other more…immediate priorities to attend to first.”

“What?” Gertrude said. “But…what we’ve always wanted…”

“Don’t worry,” Elias said, “We haven’t forgotten our roots. I assure you, once we’ve handled the administrative issues, we’ll have all the time in the world to fulfill Ellie’s dream. Until then, I’ll put this bill in a safe place.”

He turned to leave.

“Elias?” Gertrude said.

“Yes, dear?” Elias said.

“Are you sure this is what Ellie would have wanted?” Gertrude said.

Elias turned back and smiled. “Of course.”
 

TheAnguishedOne

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At least as this all crumbles, Gustav finally is seeing the damage he's caused in Josh. What good will come of it, who knows.
 

zenphoenix

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At least as this all crumbles, Gustav finally is seeing the damage he's caused in Josh. What good will come of it, who knows.
Seeing it is one thing. ACTING on it is another. Will he act? We'll see.
 

zenphoenix

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The First Hundred Days, Part 3

Legislative Yuan, Nanjing - February 16 (Day 45)

“The floor recognizes the representative from Shandong,” the speaker of the house said.

Han stood up.

“My fellow citizens,” he said, “These last few weeks have been rough for all of us. The economy has been in a downward spiral since the New Year’s Day massacre. Paulluists and separatists continue their insurgencies in the western provinces. Our leaders in the Fuxingyundong and Minjindang are refusing to act. Instead, our ‘eternal’ chancellor has been spending most of her time in Berlin talking with her aristocrat friends, while the people who elected her suffer. Tsai has failed this nation. We are tired of inaction. We need new leadership in Nanjing. We need new blood!”

A large number cheered him on.


Schulz Building, Berlin - February 22 (Day 51)

“For too long, the government has been dominated by aloof, incompetent, hypocritical, self serving elites who didn’t care when our country fell apart and our planet melted,” Brad said, “They cared more about their Borsenplatz donors than ordinary people, who lost their jobs and houses while their kids die in wars, gang shootouts, and drug overdoses. Meanwhile, they robbed us blind and suppressed the truth for their own benefit, then rewrote history to blame and silence us! We will not stand for this any longer!

Angelica rolled into Moria’s office. The new director was watching one of Brad’s speeches.

“You asked for me, sir?” she said.

“Yes, Agent Haus,” Moria said.

He casually leaned back in his chair, but his eyes remained locked on Angelica.

“I understand you’ve been conducting several investigations lately,” he said, looking at notes, “For example…looking at the recent appointment of the new communications minister for evidence of regulatory capture and investigating Theodor Tesla’s ties to the Folger administration for evidence of illegal lobbying.”

“It’s X-Division’s job to investigate charges of corruption and other government crimes,” Angelica said, “Our goal is to hold the powerful accountable. That minister was an executive at Schmitz before his appointment, while Tesla Dynamic has received far more government contracts than usual since the committee was established.”

“I assure you, all this is perfectly legal,” Moria said.

“And I’m telling you, I will get to the bottom of this,” Angelica said.

“Just like you will get to the bottom of your ridiculous conspiracy theory that Argus was responsible for the Reichstag tragedy?” Moria said.

“It’s not ridiculous, I know what I saw!” Angelica said.

“And I know what I saw,” Moria said, “Argus’ Panopticons confirmed their story. You have nothing but hearsay to back you up. So unless you have more proof, I suggest you drop it.”

“No,” Angelica said.

Moria leaned over his desk.

“Drop it,” he repeated.

“You can’t make me,” Angelica said.

“I can,” Moria said, “Starting from right now, X-Division is now forbidden from investigating anything related to the committee. Any agent who disobeys this order will be fired. Also, I’m cutting your budget in half. All of you should expect a pay cut starting immediately.”

“What?!” Angelica said. “You can’t do that!”

“Well, I just did,” Moria said, “Dismissed.”

“This is illegal!” Angelica said.

“Actually, it’s legal,” Moria said, “Has been since January 29. Now, leave my office.”

Angelica sighed in frustration and wheeled herself out.


“Imperial Service Labor Management Relations Act of 2030” said:
Recognizing that it is dangerous to national security, social cohesion, and business fairness for government employees to hold essential government operations hostage, it shall now be illegal for civil service officials and bureaucrats to strike.


Die Zeiten, Constantinople - February 23 (Day 52)

Anders walked into Theresa’s office.

“…‘a law to lower the age of criminal responsibility to ten is being considered’,” Theresa wrote, “‘When will this madness stop? What will it take?’”

“I see you’re still at it,” Anders said, “It’s 6 in the evening. Want to get dinner?”

“If you’ve got something else we can discuss over the table, then yes,” Theresa said.

“Theresa, you need to relax,” Anders said, “You’re not thinking clearly.”

“With all due respect, Anders, I at least recognize what’s happening around me,” Theresa said, “Der Spiegel and Frankfurter Zeitung got bought out and immediately shut down by Theodor Tesla last week. It’s only a matter of time before Tesla shuts us down too. So forgive me if I’m rushing things, because I absolutely am.”

“If you rush things, you’re not going to produce quality reporting,” Anders said.

“It’s better than not reporting at all,” Theresa said, “We’re being silenced across the country, and someone has to speak up before there’s nobody left to speak. Remember what Diana said?”

“Di only said Josh would kill us,” Anders said, “Not when.”

“Well, I have the feeling my death is going to be soon,” Theresa said.

“Don’t say that,” Anders said, “We can still beat this. We beat Sentinel all those years ago, and we can do it again.”

“For some reason, I doubt we can,” Theresa said, “Somehow, this feels different.”


“Theresa” said:
The committee has now begun passing laws that don’t seem to be directly related to safeguarding national security. Melvin Advertising, which runs ads on streetlamps, recently announced it would be lifting restrictions on all political ads. These restrictions had been put in place by imperial decreet on January 2, with His Imperial Majesty citing the “tense political polarization” the ads fostered which culminated in Bloody Tuesday. In response to this action, the committee yesterday announced it would be banning all outdoor advertisements within five meters of all public roadways. Committee member Josiah Burkard, in a press conference this morning, explained this temporary ban would allow for a government investigation for political bias, corruption, and “support for morally anti-Roman sentiments.” Concurrently, Theodor Tesla has expressed interest in buying at least a majority stake in Melvin Advertising, which has been plagued with financial issues ever since the 2024 recession.


Tiger’s Defense headquarters, Vilnius, Livonia - March 5 (Day 62)

Boris walked into the command center. The room was lively. Staffers and soldiers ran between large multiple-monitor workstations, shouting orders and delivering status updates. Half of the computers looked like they were down. Not just off, but blue-screened.

“What the frak happened?” he asked.

“Chancellor, I’m General Kowalski, the man in charge of this operation,” one of the men said, “Just two hours ago, Korean hackers launched a massive BGP hijacking attack.”

“BGP?” Boris said.

“BGP is the protocol handling Internet routing and allows the Internet to be decentralized,” Kowalski explained, “It’s largely trust based, so there are few security measures. This allows some entities to ‘black hole’ IP subnets. For example, what these hackers did was force all online traffic destined for Dikastirio and other major websites to be discarded in null routes.”

“So the requests never make it to the servers,” Boris said.

“Yes, and the hackers basically extended these null routes beyond where they should be,” Kowalski said, “And now a lot of sites are simply inaccessible. But that’s not the end of it.”

“What do you mean?” Boris said.

“Well, simultaneously with this BGP attack, they launched a conventional DNS hijacking attack to redirect users to certain servers,” Kowalski said, “Where they steal information. The CMU and SPR national committee servers have been targeted. We’re already seeing some classified information being leaked online. Also some confidential pictures of the Russian chancellor with a Bolshoi ballerina ‘friend’, but both of them seem to have taken it in stride…”

“How do we stop this?” Boris said.

“Unfortunately, it looks like they’ve gotten so far all we can do is just fix the null routes,” Kowalski said, “And then just…wait.”

“So all we can basically do is watch?” Boris said.

“Unfortunately, yes,” Kowalski said.


Brandenburg Palace - March 13 (Day 70)

Elias walked into Wilhelm Karl’s room, finding the man sitting at his desk as usual.

“Morning, Guglielmo Doria,” he said.

Wilhelm Karl groaned. “Stop calling me that.”

“Unfortunately, that’s your real name,” Elias said, “So I can’t. Anyways, I need you to do something for me.”


The Chancellery

Wilhelm Karl walked into Brad’s office, finding the chancellor sitting at his desk as usual.

“Morning, Folger,” he said.

“Your Majesty,” Brad said, “What are you doing here so early?”

“I need you to call someone,” Wilhelm Karl said.


Pentagon

Heinrich picked up the phone.

“Dandolo,” he said.

“Morning, General,” Brad said.

“Chancellor Folger,” Heinrich said, “What is it?”

“I have a decree here and I need you to contact someone before it goes into effect,” Brad said.


Tesla Dynamic, Frankfurt

Mina picked up the phone.

“This is Mina Schaefer,” she said.

“This is General Dandolo, connect me to Theodor’s office,” Heinrich said.

“May I ask why?” Mina said.

“Just do it,” Heinrich said.


Theodor’s office

Theodor picked up the phone.

“Heinrich?” he said.

“Morning,” Heinrich said, “Elias asked the Kaiser tell the chancellor to tell me to tell you, with a brief interruption from Mina, about a recent development.”

“What is it?” Theodor said.

“We’re reopening the Bureau of Defense’s Biochem Division,” Heinrich said.

“The Biochem Division?” Theodor said. “But didn’t Kaiser Otto have it shut down in 1987?”

“Well, by imperial decree, it’s now reopened,” Heinrich said, “And the Kaiser would like you to contribute your company’s resources to the division.”

“This is all so sudden,” Theodor said.

“I mean, this shouldn’t be too much of a leap for Tesla Dynamic,” Heinrich said, “After all, your predecessor was particularly known for his biological weapons research.”

“No, no, I’m perfectly fine with it,” Theodor said, “I’ve got some ideas I’d like to share with you and the committee. I just need some time to process it.”

“Glad to hear it,” Heinrich said.

As soon as the call ended, Theodor prepared to make another one, but Mina walked in.

“What is it?” Theodor said.

“I overheard your call,” Mina said, “And I don’t think this is a good idea.”

Of course you’d say this isn’t a good idea,” Theodor said, “You’ve always tried to sabotage me and shut me down at every opportunity.”

“Theodor, all I’m trying to do is keep this company from falling to pieces, but you’re making my job hell,” Mina said.

“That’s what you think you do,” Theodor said, “But I see the truth. You try to hold me back because you think I’m my uncle. Well, here’s a news flash for you…I’m not old Willy. I’m going to be much better than him, and I’m going to restore this company’s glory. You’re not going to get in my way. Now, I think we can start with our XA-1005C sample, or maybe the Spartikoi or Jansen variants. But I think the other side's smallpox sample also shows a lot of promise…”

“Absolutely not!” Mina said. “Listen to yourself, Theodor, talking about creating dangerous diseases that could kill millions! Is this the legacy you want? Not as a great executive, but as a merchant of death.”

“Mina, my main priority is the well-being of my company,” Theodor said, “And to make sure we make money. I really don’t care how I make that money, as long as I get it.”


Committee headquarters, Berlin

Elias picked up the phone.

“Yes, Theodor?” he said.

“Why didn’t you just call me directly?” Theodor said.

“What do you mean?” Elias said.

“You went through so many people just to let me know about the Biochem Division reopening,” Theodor said, “You knew I would've said yes anyways, and it would only take like a minute. Why didn’t you just call me directly instead of doing all that?”

Elias was silent for a moment. Then he slowly laughed.

“Because I can,” he said.
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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Elias is clearly enjoying the status quo. I however do not think he fully realizes the sort of person Wilhelm Karl is; the Kaiser, if nothing else good can be said of him, is one who will defend his pride. Calling him by an insulting name and making him jump through hoops simply to humble him is not going to work out well.
 

zenphoenix

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Elias is clearly enjoying the status quo. I however do not think he fully realizes the sort of person Wilhelm Karl is; the Kaiser, if nothing else good can be said of him, is one who will defend his pride. Calling him by an insulting name and making him jump through hoops simply to humble him is not going to work out well.
If anything, it'll ensure Wilhelm Karl won't remain compliant like this. He's going to be more encouraged to fight back. And a power struggle at the highest levels is never good.
 

TWR97

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Why do I get V from Vendetta vibes out of Elias' desire to reopen the BIOCHEMS lab? I'm seeing a Chancellor Sutler in him knowing how that man rose into power in the comics and movie....Are we gonna see the Reichstag get blown up decades from now by a vengeful political activist?
 
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zenphoenix

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Why do I get V from Vendetta vibes out of Elias' desire to reopen the BIOCHEMS lab? I'm seeing a Chancellor Sutler in him knowing how that man rose into power in the comics and movie....Are we gonna see the Reichstag get blown up decades from now by a vengeful political activist?
In that case, they’d probably hit the palace. Wilhelm Karl is still very much the face of the committee, even if Elias calls the shots.
 

zenphoenix

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The First Hundred Days, Part 4

Schulz Building - March 23 (Day 80)

This is a warning to cease your sinful beliefs. For too long, you have corrupted our great nation with your leftist propaganda and treasonous behavior. You must embrace a path of morality and righteousness in service of our glorious Christian nation, or else we will be forced to take action.
-a concerned patriot

“You got one too?” Clara said.

“This is the sixth one,” Angelica said.

“You should just set up a filter,” Clara said, “I started instant-trashing all emails from people I don’t know after the second threat.”

“Who else got these emails?” Angelica said.

“From what I’ve gathered, all of the women, as well as Binyamin, Selim, Mbuna, and Kevin,” Clara said, “Possibly more. Those hackers must’ve made off with everybody’s info.”

“We need to complain to Moria,” Angelica said.

“I already tried,” Clara said, “He said this is a personal matter outside his control. And it isn’t a major problem.”

“Of course he’d say that,” Angelica said, “He’s been nothing but unhelpful since the committee confirmed him.”

“Not even when his own agents are being outright threatened,” Clara said.

“This is ridiculous,” Angelica said.

“What are we going to do?” Clara said. “Everything is a complete mess here.”

“I’m going to keep at my investigation,” Angelica said, “No threats are going to stop me. I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”


Die Zeiten, Constantinople

Stop coming to work. Know your place.

Anders read the note nailed to Theresa’s door.

“The fact that they nailed it to your office door means it’s a colleague,” he said.

“I can’t believe one of my own colleagues would do this,” Theresa said.

“Well, you don’t have to believe it anymore,” Anders said.

“Who else got it?” Theresa said.

“All of the women, apparently,” Anders said, “And some of the men. Minorities mostly, but also me. Heard more incidents happening with the Pandidakterion faculty. Angie and Alexandra got them as well.”

“Frak,” Theresa said, “Has Jung said anything?”

“I talked to him earlier, but he’s more concerned with the government lawsuit,” Anders said.

“What lawsuit?” Theresa said.

“The Kaiser—I mean, His Majesty, can’t be too sure with the new laws—has personally sued us for tax fraud,” Anders said.

“Well, no threats or lawsuits are going to stop my investigation,” Theresa said, “I’m going to keep at it, even if it’s the death of me.”

Theresa said:
Must we choose between national stability and our rights as citizens to speak the truth, whether in support of or critical of our government's actions?


Theresa’s house - April 3 (Day 91)

There was a knock on the door. Theresa answered it, finding two police officers outside.

“What is it?” she asked.

“We’d like you to come with us to the station,” one officer said, “We have credible evidence about an imminent attack on your life.”

“You do?” Theresa said.

“Yes,” the other officer said, “Please come with us. We’re going to get you to safety.”

“I think I can defend myself,” Theresa said, “I’ve contracted some bodyguards.”

“No, the threat is imminent,” the first officer said, “We need to move, now.”

“Why are you so insistent?” Theresa said.

“What’s going on here?” Vincent said, walking over.

The second officer pulled out a taser and shocked Vincent, while the first one shocked Theresa. Once both fell over, unconscious, they grabbed Theresa and threw her in the trunk of their car.


Constantinople Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters basement

The officers dragged a half-conscious Theresa into the room.

“What…what…is…going…on?” she muttered.

Josh and the Argus guards watched as she was strapped to a table.

“When do we get to do something?” Josh said. “I’m bored.”

“Patience,” Kurt said.

“I’m…not sure about this,” Gustav said.

“What are you, a coward, Uncle?” Josh said. “Man up. Do your duty.”

“I…I can’t…” Gustav said.

Theresa continued struggling against her bindings.

“Then put on your earphones and listen to music, like I do,” Kurt said, “The rest of you, get your tools ready.”

They picked up bone saws, electroshock devices, and wrenches. Josh gleefully picked up his own bone saw and started cutting. Theresa screamed.


Vincent’s house, Constantinople - April 4 (Day 92)

“It is believed the killer, a member of a Neurhomanian Mexicanist terrorist group, gained access to the police station during a lapse in security,” Bysandros said, “An investigation has been launched into the numerous oversights that led to this avoidable tragedy.”

Vincent’s mind was filled with two emotions right now. First was, obviously, grief. The second was a seething rage over the cleaning bill the police department had sent him.


Great Palace - April 11 (Day 99)

The cameras flashed while Vincent continued speaking.

“I am not a politician, but I can talk about what is moral!” he said, his tear-filled voice rising. “My wife of many years was murdered in cold blood last week, and that is a fact! The Kaiser thought he could buy me and my sons off with giant mansions and six figure payments, but he is dead wrong. I know why she was killed. Because she knew too much. She spoke out against the actions being taken since Bloody Tuesday, and some people took offense to it because they stood to lose from it. She was tragically silenced, but I will not be silenced too! I am going to stand for what is right and make it known these killers should not be let go! We must bring those responsible to justice!”


Old-fashioned Shepherds' Brotherhood raises new hopes

Martial Law Still in Effect Following Terror Attack

“We will not rest until Novak’s murderers are found”

A nation paused: Military steps in for government

“WE’RE DOING THIS FOR YOUR PROTECTION”


Brandenburg Palace - April 12 (Day 100)

Vincent nervously walked up to the podium, where a smiling Wilhelm Karl awaited. The Kaiser reached out his hand. Vincent stopped and hesitated. Wilhelm Karl, Elias, and Gertrude all glared at him, and his remaining resolve evaporated. All he could now focus on was protecting himself and his sons.

“On behalf of Theresa Novak, I recant my disrespectful allegations against His Imperial Majesty the Kaiser,” he said, “I recognize my words were shameful and hurtful, and I humbly apologize for my rash actions and ask His Imperial Majesty for his mercy.”

“I grant the mercy you seek,” Wilhelm Karl said, “All is forgiven, my loyal subject.”

They shook hands.

“On behalf of the Imperial Throne and my imperial administration, I offer my condolences for your wife’s death,” Wilhelm Karl said.

The cameras flashed again. Elias smiled.

“Long live the Kaiser,” he whispered.

Anders said:
There is a clarity in the spectacle of a tyrant's fury visited upon a woman armed only with a pen.
 

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God Fucking Hell I hope the Devil will drag Wilhelm Karl and his stupid worm down to the 9th circle.
 

zenphoenix

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God Fucking Hell I hope the Devil will drag Wilhelm Karl and his stupid worm down to the 9th circle.
Lucifer can drag down the Kaiser, sure, but I think the Worm is way above his power level.
 

zenphoenix

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What exactly is the worm? All I know in Stellaris is that it is a transdimensional horror that takes people and ships but nothing else.
Well, it's a transdimensional eldritch horror which exists outside of reality. In my canon, it attempts to insert itself into reality by corrupting species and civilizations to do its bidding. It's above the power level of the angels, so definitely above Lucifer's level.
 

TWR97

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At this point, China or even the Eimericas sound like a better place for minorities to settle down now. What an absolute clusterfudge this whole ordeal is turning out to be.
 

CaptainAlvious

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Rip Theresa, she didn’t deserve that. Clearly another sign that the Reich is going to hell, just as Wihelm and Diana envisioned it would.

Since discrimination against women and the Reich’s increasing conservatism is a major part of this story arc now, what would the Handmaid’s tale be like here. I may have asked this before, but I’m pretty sure there some references to that show/book here so I think I can ask again even tho I haven’t watched/read it.
 

zenphoenix

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At this point, China or even the Eimericas sound like a better place for minorities to settle down now. What an absolute clusterfudge this whole ordeal is turning out to be.
I don’t think China would be a good idea...
Rip Theresa, she didn’t deserve that. Clearly another sign that the Reich is going to hell, just as Wihelm and Diana envisioned it would.

Since discrimination against women and the Reich’s increasing conservatism is a major part of this story arc now, what would the Handmaid’s tale be like here. I may have asked this before, but I’m pretty sure there some references to that show/book here so I think I can ask again even tho I haven’t watched/read it.
Spoilers.
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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A tragic end to Theresa, and I feel just terrible for Vincent. I don't see a long, happy life being in his cards.
 

zenphoenix

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A tragic end to Theresa, and I feel just terrible for Vincent. I don't see a long, happy life being in his cards.
He has no options but to comply with what he’s told to do and hope for the best. Unfortunately, the best is sorely lacking these days.