• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

zenphoenix

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Also I just realized it's been exactly three years and one day since I came up with the idea for the Hohenzollern Empire KR timelines. Funny how that works.
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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It's been a journey.
 

zenphoenix

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It's been a journey.
Definitely. Some other milestones I've noted while I've been rereading old chapters:

Otto has been reigning for 4 real life years.

CK2 took only 10 pages, EU4 took 29 pages, Victoria 2 took 62, HOI3 took 74, and NWO is on page 228 and counting. At least half of those pages are probably the X-Division story arc. I don't know how many I'm going to take with Stellaris.

The X-Division story arc has been going on for at least 2 years and will likely continue until maybe the end of the year at the current rate.

Not counting the angels, there has been an almost continuous story arc since Bernadette's story in early Victoria 2. Bernadette meets Niederung, who decades later has Engelbert under his command, who during the war works with Conrad, Hans, and Anne (by association), who have children and grandchildren in Anders, Angela, and Diana.

I missed way more substitutions of names and locations (United States and such) than I thought when adapting information from Wikipedia, even in early New World Order. I'm seriously considering going back and editing all of my updates from CK2 up to the most recent chapter to fix those, possibly get the screenshots fixed if I can fix them in the next chapter, maybe add or polish up some lore (like adding the name of Friedrich the Great's sword, Enonon, into CK2 updates or elaborating on character motivations and actions), and get rid of continuity errors like Ecumenical Patriarch Joseph I's birthdate and career achievements.

I still remember some comments from years ago and intend to follow through on their suggestions, whether later on in New World Order or in Stellaris.

Funny how I was firmly against converting to Stellaris in late Victoria 2 and early HOI3. And now here I already working on ideas for the special gameplay and story for the Stellaris ending...
 
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zenphoenix

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Valkyrie, Part 2


Tobias Frank’s house, Mannheim - 9:30 AM

Diana paced across the living room as Angela, Anders, and Olga continued talking about the Sentinel files on loudspeaker. Yes, she knew Sentinel planted a bug in the house or was listening in on the call, but she had taken care of that, even before Olga figured it out.

“This changes everything,” Olga said, “We have proof right here. Decades of it. More conclusive than the Wassertor investigation even was. Financial statements, personnel files, transcripts, everything we need to take Sentinel down right now.”

“Hold on a moment,” Angela said, “So Irene Doukas just gave you all this?”

“Yeah, if you can believe that,” Olga said.

“There must be an ulterior motive,” Anders said, “She wouldn’t give us all this for nothing.”

“Anders, we just have to run with it,” Diana said, “This is our best lead since we started investigating Sentinel again.”

“Only lead, you mean,” Olga said.

“Only substantial lead, actually,” Anders said.

“Well, don’t worry about that,” Diana said.

“But we don’t have a plan,” Angela said, “What’s the use of all this information if we don’t know what to do with it?”

“Well, that’s why we’re here,” Diana said, “Now, according to Irene, Pavel’s planning to make his move on April 1.”

“How do we know it’s not a bad out of season April Fool’s joke?” Anders said.

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” Diana said, “And it’s not. Now, that date means we only have…”

Alex ran into the room, his workbook open.

“Mom, Uncle Tobias said to ask you about this question,” he said.

“Not now, Alex,” Diana said, “I’m doing work.”

“Dad, can you help me with my homework?” Alex said into the phone.

“Not now,” Anders said, “I’m busy. Can you go talk to your uncle? Your mom and I need to discuss work.”

“But we’re on vacation!” Alex said.

“You are, but we’re not,” Diana said, “Anyways, the answer to number 5 is 213. That’s all I’m going to give you.”

Alex walked off.

“We have only five months,” Diana said, “At most. We have to move quickly.”

“Okay, what do you suggest we do?” Olga said. “Barge into their headquarters, guns blazing?”

“We don’t even know if they have a headquarters and where it would be,” Angela said, “The old Syndicate didn’t have one, only meeting places.”

“They don’t have a headquarters, I’m sure of it,” Diana said.

“But they do have bases,” Anders said, “KL Edinburg. The Nicomedia facility. Even the black sites in Arabia, but we can rule that out after what the Inquisition did.”

“No thanks to me and Olga, of course,” Diana said.

“Our only hope is to kill Pavel,” Angela said, “He’s running the operation. If he dies, maybe Irene can disband Sentinel.”

“I never took you for being that bloodthirsty,” Olga said.

“That guy deserves to die, after what he did to my family,” Angela said.

“Agreed,” Olga said.

“Totally,” Diana said.

“Are you serious, Angie?” Anders said. “Disband Sentinel? One person can’t just declare an international conspiracy disbanded and be done with it. Their technology, their weapons, their manpower’s still going to be there. SVI’s still up in space. And even if Sentinel goes away, it’s only a matter of time before a new conspiracy picks up where it stopped.”

“So we leak this information,” Olga said, “Hand it over to Theresa, have her blow Sentinel wide open on the front page of Die Zeiten. Meanwhile, we take out Pavel. There’s no way they’ll recover from that double whammy.”

“That’s the last thing we want,” Diana said, “That will force Pavel’s hand."

“Catching him by surprise could work to our advantage,” Olga said.

“But it would only work against us,” Angela said, “Nobody would believe in a conspiracy of shadowy individuals using alien technology to take over the world.”

“Then we water it down,” Anders said.

Everybody was silent.

“Water…it…down?” Diana said, completely taken by surprise.

“Yeah, water it down,” Anders said, “If the people can’t accept the truth in full because it’s way too unbelievable, we water it down to something believable, something they can accept, while still achieving our goals. Hold back the stuff about aliens and ancient humanity and whatnot, save it for later. We have financial statements documenting bank transfers involving billions of marks sent through shell companies and received by politicians and other notable people. We can still get them on money laundering, corruption, illegal lobbying, and tax evasion.”

“What?” Angela said.

“What do you mean, what?” Anders said. “That’s how they got the mob bosses, right?”

“Anders, do you even know what you’re suggesting?” Angela said.

“Yeah, I do,” Anders said, “I know I’ve always wanted to find the truth, Angie. I wanted the public to know everything the government’s keeping from us. That’s one of the reasons why I started X-Division. But over the last twenty years, I’ve realized something. There are some truths that are just so outlandish you would be hard-pressed to believe them. The truths I was searching for were among them. That’s why we never amounted to much over the years. That’s why conspiracy theorists like the Lone Gunmen are still conspiracy theorists. The government doesn’t need to control the narrative. The public does it to itself. Meanwhile, today’s whistleblowers do much more in one day than we did in our whole careers. That leak at the RSB accomplished a lot. It put the agency on the defensive. It forced the Diet to conduct oversight and brought to light the abuses it committed, all without mentioning aliens. I know this because I’ve read the unredacted files. We can’t just keep doing what we used to do. If there’s anything the last six years taught me, it’s that some cover-ups are necessary. There are some things the people aren’t ready to know yet. But we will get everything else out."

Diana didn’t know what to say. She just stared at her phone in shock, trying to understand what Anders just said.

“You’re absolutely okay with covering up the whole truth, if it means getting the partial truth accepted by the public?” Diana said.

“Basically,” Anders said.

“I’ll call up Theresa,” Olga said, “I’ll tell her we’ve got the story of a lifetime for her.”

Diana heard a phone ringing on the other end.

“Oh, it’s Colonel Dandolo,” Olga said.

“Weird,” Angela said, “He never calls like this.”

“Hello?” Olga said, answering the call. “Morning, Colonel. How are you? Wait, what? Okay, I’ll tell the others. Stay safe.”

There was a beep.

“What was that?” Anders said.

“Turn on the news,” Olga said.

Tobias ran down the stairs, his face panicked and shocked.

“Anna, turn on the TV,” Tobias said.

“Already done,” Diana said.

As soon as the screen lit up, she instinctively cursed and dropped the remote.

“Aliya Hussein, entire family, dozens of guests found dead at son’s Frankfurt estate”

The screen showed aerial footage of one of the philanthropist’s houses, which was now surrounded by police officers, SWAT teams in riot gear, and first responders in gas masks.

“…still getting details about this terrible tragedy,” the reporter said, “We will provide you with updates as we get them.”

“Oh, God,” Diana said, “No, no, no.”

“What’s wrong?” Anders said.

“This is terrible,” Diana said, “Somebody murdered Aliya Hussein.”

“Wasn’t she the girl your mom saved from an Angeloi concentration camp?” Olga said.

“Exactly,” Diana said, “Philanthropist. Promoter of liberal values. Bogeywoman of the far right. And somebody just davka murdered her and her entire family. I was friends with her son a long time ago. I can’t frakking believe it. It makes me sick.”

She could feel her anger boiling to her surface. She clenched her fists and gritted her teeth.

“Di?” Anders said. “You okay?”

Diana couldn’t let her rage go. She couldn’t stand by while an innocent old woman and her entire family were slaughtered senselessly. This country fought a war to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. But it just did. That struck right to the bottom of her core. Even after considering who the victim was, this was no ordinary murder. This was an attack on her family’s legacy. This was an attack on her mother’s legacy. This was an attack on her. This was personal now. She was going to find whoever did this and make them pay.


Outside Frankfurt - 11:00 AM

Diana arrived at the estate alone. Olga had stayed in downtown to oversee the autopsies. Angela and Anders remained in Constantinople. Angela was left compiling and redacting the Sentinel files for Theresa Novak’s publication. Anders was in charge of the house. Tobias was flying Alex home in a couple days. This was her case first.

She parked her motorcycle and got off. She took off her helmet, shook her hair loose, and hung the helmet on the handlebars. Then she walked up to the gate of the mansion, where the doors were ajar and guarded by a police cruiser. Diana held up her Athanatoi badge and continued past the cruiser, soon arriving at the main entrance, where a police officer waited.

“Agent Frank,” he said.

“Detective Kazdan,” Diana said, “I’m sorry. My condolences for…”

This was Burt Kazdan. He was married to Louise, at least until…that happened.

“It’s fine,” Burt said, “Been five years. I’m doing better. You don’t have to apologize.”

“Glad to hear that,” Diana said, “So has anyone touched anything?”

“Medical examiner’s inside,” Burt said, “We put them in a holding pattern until you got here. It's pretty bad.”

“Do we have a final count on the victims?” Diana said.

“44... so far,” Burt said.

He turned to enter the house, but Diana’s attention was drawn by screeching tires. She watched as an old station wagon hurtled up the street, police officers running out of the way as it zig-zagged over the lawn. Oh, right. Walter and Anna were helping her out today. Olga insisted on bringing them along. Yay.

“I quite like weddings,” Walter’s loud voice could be heard through the open window, “Did I ever tell you about when your mother and I, God rest her soul, got married?”

“No, no, no, I think I missed that one,” Anna said.

The car jumped the curb and crashed into a trash bin, coming to a stop several feet right in front of Diana, who didn’t move at all.

“Damnit, Walter!” Anna said. “Try to stop driving with both feet!”

"She was so beautiful, Anna,” Walter said, “So beautiful in white. I won't deny I was never happier in my entire life. I kept my tuxedo in the hope that one day I would have a son who would wear it.”

“Anders is already married,” Anna said, noticing Diana.

"Or a son-in-law,” Walter said, still oblivious, “For your wedding day.”

Anna rolled her eyes. “Are you serious? Yeah, you know, Walter? Tuxedo styles change.”

"Oh, nonsense,” Walter said, “Purple never goes out of style. Bow ties are cool. And the day may come sooner than you think.”

“I really don’t think so,” Anna said, now visibly embarrassed and looking desperately at Diana

Resolving to bail out her sister-in-law, Diana walked over to the car.

“Morning,” she said, “Looks like you…”

“Found parking?” Anna said. “If you can call it that.”

Burt joined them at the car. Walter immediately jumped out and shook his hand.

“Dr. Walter Humboldt,” he said, “How do you do?”

“You lost a bet,” Diana said, pointing to Walter.

“It was either that or flying lessons,” Anna said, “Starting to think the flying lessons would’ve been much better. If I’m not in the plane, obviously.”

“Why don’t we take a look at the bodies?” Diana said.

They walked inside and entered the reception room, where Burt led them over to Josh’s body.

“Joshua Hussein,” he said, “Brother of the groom. Witnesses say he fell over and choked to death like the rest of his family. We’re still trying to locate the groom.”

“I...never thought I’d meet him again like this,” Diana said, “He was always a good person. He didn’t deserve this.”

Walter inspected the corpse.

“Hmm,” he said, “Swelling of the vitreous humor. Petechial hemorrhaging.”

“Yeah, not to mention the blue skin,” Anna said, “It's definitely asphyxiation.”

“What a horrible way to go,” Diana said.

“The airway's clear,” Walter said.

Anna inspected Harry’s body nearby. “Yeah, same here.”

Walter looked down Josh’s throat and felt his chest. “No fluid in the lungs.”

“Most of the victims identified so far are on the groom's side,” Burt said, “Four are from a family among the guests. The entire family too.”

“Maybe they came in contact with something before the wedding,” Diana said.

“Anaphylactic shock,” Anna said, “Maybe they're all having an allergic reaction to something they ate or drank.”

“That would be logical, if they were all exposed at the same time, I suppose,” Walter said.

“I'll have the others reconstruct where they all were,” Burt said, “Look through the cameras, interview witnesses. We may find a connection.”

He went away. Diana walked over to where Aliya’s and Ismail’s bodies lay. So this was the famous Aliya Hussein, billionaire philanthropist and pioneering economist. Her mother always talked about her, and she was always on the news, usually donating to a charity or humanitarian organization or leading a humanitarian mission of her own. But here she was, the victim of just another bizarre X-Division case. Diana didn’t expect to meet her like this. She noticed the number printed on her arm: 722861. It was the terrible mark every Holocaust survivor bore, a reminder of the terrors the Angeloi and Rasas inflicted on them. As Diana stood there, staring at Aliya’s lifeless body, Anna walked over and also noticed the tattoo.

“She was a Holocaust survivor,” she said.

“When she was a kid, she and her family were sent to a camp not far from here,” Diana said, “Her grandparents and siblings were immediately sent to the gas chambers. Her father was caught smuggling extra rations for her, so he was shot in the back of the head. They coated the bullet in pig fat, as a final insult to him. Then they stripped his body of his belongings and tossed it in a bonfire. My mother liberated the camp in 1944. Aliya and her mother were among the survivors she freed, saving them from certain death.”

“That's dreadful…to survive a thing like that...and still die like this,” Walter said.

“Walter, do you think this could be a deliberate attack?” Anna said.

“I don't know yet,” Walter said, “All I know for certain is that 44 people, most related to this wealthy and influential lady, suffocated in a room full of air."

“There's got to be something they all ate or drank,” Diana said.

“God, it's hard to believe that a few hours ago this was actually a happy place,” Anna said.

Diana heard some rustling from a nearby closet. Rushing into one of the side rooms, they found a closet rattling and shaking. Diana opened the closet and found David inside, struggling to catch his breath.

“We need a medic on the second floor!” Diana shouted.

Anna helped lay David on his back.

“Alright,” she said, “You’re going to be okay, just breathe. I’m not going to let you end up like my friend.”

David tried breathing, but all he could do was gasp more. Diana noticed an inhaler lying on the floor next to him and put it to David’s mouth. David took in a deep breath. He relaxed, and the color returned to his face. But then he started choking again, and his face turned blue. He rolled over and stopped breathing. Diana desperately tried administering CPR, but it was in vain. And deep down, she knew it was futile.

“No, no, no!” Diana said. “No!”
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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Anders being willing here to get a censored truth out there makes total sense, but there's a real bittersweet feeling to his speech. It's evidence of how he's grown, for the better and worse.
 

zenphoenix

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Anders being willing here to get a censored truth out there makes total sense, but there's a real bittersweet feeling to his speech. It's evidence of how he's grown, for the better and worse.
Indeed. The last 20 or so years have ground him down, and he finally realizes his idealism won't get him anywhere. Instead, it's only gotten him reset to square one multiple times, if not branded a fugitive or roped into his own truth-concealing conspiracy, while other leakers manage to get their truth out there.
 

CaptainAlvious

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Poor Alyia, I knew it would be too optimistic to hope she would live, but she still deserved better. :( Let's hope X-Division catches Hoffman before more Muslims get gruesome fates.

I like the Stranger Things reference you put in the update, that was nice. I also agree with what @TheAnguishedOne said about Anders here, he's gone through a lot over his long character arc.

As sad as Alyia's fate is here, at least it actually means that the Far right now lacks a boogeywomen to get most of its legitimacy from, not to mention the likely public sympathy for Alyia and her family alienating many people from the nationalists right, so there's that. On the other hand, her death might cost the Muslim community some status in high society somewhat due to how influential she was, which would be sad.

Anyways, here's my finished interlude for Sudafrika in Volkerschalt, hope y'all enjoy it.

-

Volkerschalt-Divided Reich:
Sudafrica Commonwealth
Flag of the Free Sudafrican Commonwealth for Romanitas, representing the unity and drive of Frisian descended Bauers, Indians, Native Africans and Mainlander refugees among other peoples to restore Romanitas to the Reich.

Mona “Sigismund” von Hohenzollern, son of prince Leopold and a Lonago princess , the Commonwealth’s claimant to the vacant Hohenzollern throne chosen by the Sudafrikan diet due to his popularity with both indigenous tribes and German settlers while serving as the viceroy of the Mittelafrika province, a factor the leading faction in the Diet considered important to fostering good relations between African natives and European settlers in order to build up their support base in opposition to the European regimes that largely either ignored minorities or were disdainful towards them.

Not long ago, the Reich was a proud and mighty nation, and it still is. Beyond the Sahara, the dream of Romanitas lives on through the cooperation and trust between the native tribes and viceroys of the continent’s jungles and savannas, Germanic settlers on the coasts and political exiles escaping the chaos in the north. We in the south stand against the tyrants in Europe and uphold the true meaning of what it means to be Roman, and more than that, the right of anyone, regardless of race, creed, religion or class to be Romans through the Imperial dream of Romanitas, something the northerns seem to forget.

As I stand stationed in a outpost in the humid Loango jungle, guarding against any sudden activities from the Spartacus League or the Union State, or even a Mail getting funny ideas about invading Westafrika with Abyssinian support, a foolish idea with Indian protection on our side, I remember the days when I, as a Malian man, worked as a Berliner journalist writing political commentaries for Die Zeiten, that was long before Doukas issued overbearing sensors on all media and sent many journalists like myself and other sensible people who could see the writing and were able to flee down south to escape the approaching madness that would soon grip the Reich. We were the first people targeted as potential subvertors by a paranoid new regency, but we sure as hell weren’t the last to be hunted for supposed treason. It wouldn’t be long before the remainder of legitimate meritocratic government went south to form a provisional government in Sudafrika, with the sub-Saharan provinces of Mittelafrika, Ostafrika and Westafrika soon flocking their banner when the Civil War broke out. Unfortunately, there were many people who weren’t so lucky, and those people would either be caught in the crossfire of the terrible civil war in the north, or were targeted for subversion by the belligerent regimes in the mainland and met grizzly fates most of the time. That’s not even talking about the new refugees, the majority of whom consist of minorities escaping northern oppression due to the warring northerns violations of the Augustian Code's civil rights and liberties, passing by our outpost, telling of heart wrenching stories about the horrors going on in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa as they try to find a new life for themselves in the Commonwealth with what scraps they can bring with them. We are witness to a Drang nacht Suden of desperation and misery, an open window to the death of Rhomania. There’s a bitter irony that there was once a time when Immigrants, particularly from Africa, would migrate to the European Reich for an opportunity at more prosperous and fortunate lives than they could know before, and now there is an exodus of people to Africa seeking to escape the death and destruction of Europe.

The regency of Doukas claims to be stand bearers of Roman loyalty and meritocracy, but any reasonable person with a grasp on the meaning behind the written words of the Augustian Code knows that the regency is simply an excuse for the nobility to cling onto any amount of power and legitimacy while failing to move on from their glory days. It’s a shameful sight that would revolt the Kaisers and other Roman heroes who built this great country. The demagogues who oppose Doukas are no better either, the Sparatcus, Neo-Maxmimists and Crusaders are just as eager to spill Roman blood in the name of ideology as the Doukaists are in the name of order and stability. Doukas, Dandolo, Liebknecht, Joseph; the names change but their tyranny remains the same. Under their flimsily justifications of protecting the Reich, they have destroyed it by throwing away all the values the nation was founded on.

Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your ears as I ask you this: does it matter to an ordinary citizen if he’s murdered in cold blood by Communist militias, the Covenant's inquisitors and crusaders, Doukas’ trigermen or the Neo-Maximists’ firebrands? No sane men would ever kill their brother in the name of a new order, yet it seems like north of the Loango basin, many naive souls have abandoned reason and common sense in favor of following deranged cults of personality. But we will not be fooled, for we refuse to abandon Romanitas on the whims of mad dictators. There are those who call us cowards for standing back and watching as the Reich burns and Rome, Constantionple, Damascus and Berlin follow the flags of tyrants, I say we are patient. While the northerns are busy tearing each other apart over their petty grievances, those who see the ridiculousness of the fighting will head south to join our ranks. Soon, when the hounds of the north are done weakening each other, we will ride out to restore Romanitas to the Reich. There are those who call us the Sudafrica Commonwealth, but call ourselves the true Roman Reich, for we are the last best hope for Rhomaina’s survival. From the noble continent of Africa, we will ride out to lift Europe out of an age of ignorance and strife, like Frderich the Great, Fredrich the Glorious and Saint Wilemina did a millennium ago. And in the way of Ancient Roman heroes like Cincinatus,we will answer the call of history to do the right thing and then return to our homes when we have done our duty. The Reich is not lost yet, for as long as free men are willing to defend Romanitas from evil forces wishing to cast it away, then we can take them.

Saints Wilhelmina and Gundhila, grant us victory in battle!
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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An excellent speech from a fascinating individual.
 

CaptainAlvious

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An excellent speech from a fascinating individual.
Glad you enjoyed the narration. I’ve always liked the narrative style of the World of Kaiserreich series, as it did give the factions discussed unique personalities and perspectives, so it’s nice to hear I’m getting close to their quality. That said, after I’m done with the Volkerschalt interludes, I’ll be moving towards more straightforward summaries like Zen’s country and individual bio updates for my Tianxia ideas, as it does allow me to go into more detail and create a bigger picture for Tianxia’s world
 
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zenphoenix

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Poor Alyia, I knew it would be too optimistic to hope she would live, but she still deserved better. :( Let's hope X-Division catches Hoffman before more Muslims get gruesome fates.
Yeah, um, about that...
I like the Stranger Things reference you put in the update, that was nice. I also agree with what @TheAnguishedOne said about Anders here, he's gone through a lot over his long character arc.
Also a fun callback to the very early chapters of the story arc where I had the same reference a couple times, only Anders refused to go along with it. Shows how much he's changed since then.
As sad as Alyia's fate is here, at least it actually means that the Far right now lacks a boogeywomen to get most of its legitimacy from, not to mention the likely public sympathy for Alyia and her family alienating many people from the nationalists right, so there's that. On the other hand, her death might cost the Muslim community some status in high society somewhat due to how influential she was, which would be sad.
The far right definitely has lost a common enemy to rally its forces against, but they still have their unofficial leader, Zhao Yu, to rally around. With Aliya dead and local opposition crushed or fatally disorganized, Zhao is now free to do as he pleases in Penglai. And he may get some unexpected allies in the next few years...

A lot of people will definitely be outraged by this crime, which will tarnish the image of the nationalist right (if not stigmatize them as much as the conventional far right), though at the cost of the Muslim community losing a prominent voice for their rights and concerns. Overseas movements for liberal meritocracy/democracy (which she heavily promoted) will also have lost a prominent financial and moral supporter, weakening them again as Zhao and others like him gain more power.
Glad you enjoyed the narration. I’ve always liked the narrative style of the World of Kaiserreich series, as it did give the factions discussed unique personalities and perspectives, so it’s nice to hear I’m getting close to their quality. That said, after I’m done with the Volkerschalt interludes, I’ll be moving towards more straightforward summaries like Zen’s country and individual bio updates for my Tianxia ideas, as it does allow me to go into more detail and create a bigger picture for Tianxia’s world
Yeah, I love the narrations. But I'm also looking forward to the Tianxia summaries as I also love worldbuilding in general.
 

CaptainAlvious

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Yeah, I love the narrations. But I'm also looking forward to the Tianxia summaries as I also love worldbuilding in general.
I still have a few Volkerschalt updates to go before I can move onto Tianxia, but I'm certain it will be worth it.

Also, you may have forgotten to add the Sudafrica update to the table of contents so you might want to get on that, just letting you know.

I think I might rewrite Volkerschalt's Ming Exiles so that they would be based in Tawain, Hong Kong and Pacfic and maritime southeast asia colonies and would split Fusang between Ming ruled northern portion and a Jin run southern half, that way I can still have the Ming have some power without neglecting the other Chinese dynasties of the anti Communist Sinosphere. Plus we could still have the option for the four Tianxia dynasties to turn on each other and try to take on the Nationalist Union of China by themselves, which would be very tough and difficult without the help of the other dynasties and India.

Now, onto Hohenzollernverse media ideas. Since July 4 is approaching, I thought I could share more ideas related the Metternich and Franz Joesph plays discussed before that I hope you find interesting. More specifically a Chinese spin off idea related to them, which we'll call Mingzhi. I was thinking that the Chinese theater industry could make a play about the life of the Guangxu Emperor, with Lin Zexu as a major supporting character due to a focus on the Fuxingyundong movement and the establishing of Chinese democratic traditions during the Mingzhi restoration. The second half would focus on the decades long lead up to WW1 from China perspective and would even go beyond where the Franz Joseph play ended by showing the course of the war all the way to the post war years, where it would end on the Guangxu Emperor's death and looming shadow of the Second Weltkrieg and the Chinese military dictatorship hinted at. I imagine that this would be written with some help and oversight from the Metternich/Franz Joseph playwright and would thus lead to the First half comparing Metternich's reforms with the Mingzhi era reforms and the Second half replicating the ominous and dark tone of the Franz Joseph musical, something that would make the play popular with Metternich fans from the meritocratic Roman sphere and new fans from the democratic Sinosphere, with many fans and critics considering it the unofficial third part to the Century of Iron and Blood musical saga, which will be the formal name of the Metternich franchise. Not actually sure on what music styles it could use since I'm not familiar with Chinese musical genres, so maybe you could come up with some ideas?

I remember the 80s update mentioned a Xuantong biopic conjointly made by Roman and Chinese producers, so I'll leave the rise and fall of the Junta and the restoration of democracy for that movie to cover. Maybe the Roman film makers that helped their Chinese peers with the Xuantong movie could go on to make the Otto biopic trilogy decades later, that might be interesting.
 
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zenphoenix

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Also, you may have forgotten to add the Sudafrica update to the table of contents so you might want to get on that, just letting you know.
I'll get on that after I post this comment.
I think I might rewrite Volkerschalt's Ming Exiles so that they would be based in Tawain, Hong Kong and Pacfic and maritime southeast asia colonies and would split Fusang between Ming ruled northern portion and a Jin run southern half, that way I can still have the Ming have some power without neglecting the other Chinese dynasties of the anti Communist Sinosphere. Plus we could still have the option for the four Tianxia dynasties to turn on each other and try to take on the Nationalist Union of China by themselves, which would be very tough and difficult without the help of the other dynasties and India.
Mention a really difficult achievement for getting Song back to the mainland and defeating the other dynasties, since the Song AI in this game never was that competent, unfortunately.
Now, onto Hohenzollernverse media ideas. Since July 4 is approaching, I thought I could share more ideas related the Metternich and Franz Joesph plays discussed before that I hope you find interesting. More specifically a Chinese spin off idea related to them, which we'll call Mingzhi. I was thinking that the Chinese theater industry could make a play about the life of the Guangxu Emperor, with Lin Zexu as a major supporting character due to a focus on the Fuxingyundong movement and the establishing of Chinese democratic traditions during the Mingzhi restoration. The second half would focus on the decades long lead up to WW1 from China perspective and would even go beyond where the Franz Joseph play ended by showing the course of the war all the way to the post war years, where it would end on the Guangxu Emperor's death and looming shadow of the Second Weltkrieg and the Chinese military dictatorship hinted at. I imagine that this would be written with some help and oversight from the Metternich/Franz Joseph playwright and would thus lead to the First half comparing Metternich's reforms with the Mingzhi era reforms and the Second half replicating the ominous and dark tone of the Franz Joseph musical, something that would make the play popular with Metternich fans from the meritocratic Roman sphere and new fans from the democratic Sinosphere, with many fans and critics considering it the unofficial third part to the Century of Iron and Blood musical saga, which will be the formal name of the Metternich franchise. Not actually sure on what music styles it could use since I'm not familiar with Chinese musical genres, so maybe you could come up with some ideas?
Or maybe we could make the play about Lin himself? With the Tran emperor as the main villain and the young Guangxu emperor as a boy just starting to embrace his role as the first emperor of a united China in centuries and the duties that come with it. Would be cool if there was a crossover with the Metternich play, whether it be with shared songs (with an emphasis on the different musical styles in both plays showing the differences in the two nations) or shared plot points.

Then there'd be a second play focused on Guangxu himself which would as you say go until Wang's rise to power. I've been meaning to talk about Chinese democracy as entering a golden age in the 1920s (like the "Taisho democracy" period was in real life Japan at that time), and the play could end off there with Guangxu proud of what his people have accomplished but fearful of what Wang might do after he passes.
I remember the 80s update mentioned a Xuantong biopic conjointly made by Roman and Chinese producers, so I'll leave the rise and fall of the Junta and the restoration of democracy for that movie to cover. Maybe the Roman film makers that helped their Chinese peers with the Xuantong movie could go on to make the Otto biopic trilogy decades later, that might be interesting.
Yes, there was a Xuantong Emperor biopic made by Romans and Chinese working together, which would cover the emperor's life from childhood to his death in 1989 as well as the end of democracy and the rise and fall of Wang's junta. Maybe some of the film makers would work on the Otto biopic and recycle set pieces and even some actors in cameo roles (since it would be over 30 years later, the actors obviously can't play the same roles).
 
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TWR97

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Oh man there is a lot going on in that chapter, especially Aliya's family getting killed off like that, that sucks man. May the X-Division put a stop to it before any more Muslims are caught in the crossfire.

That Sudafrika update was quite nice, now that's a faction I'd be rooting for in Volkerschlact. Also all these talks on the Roman and Chinese cinemas doing collabs makes me giddy considering what I have written for the Millenieum era and what I have plan for the Monsterverse.
 

zenphoenix

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Oh man there is a lot going on in that chapter, especially Aliya's family getting killed off like that, that sucks man. May the X-Division put a stop to it before any more Muslims are caught in the crossfire.
Yeah...let's hope they get onto that...
That Sudafrika update was quite nice, now that's a faction I'd be rooting for in Volkerschlact. Also all these talks on the Roman and Chinese cinemas doing collabs makes me giddy considering what I have written for the Millenieum era and what I have plan for the Monsterverse.
Same, this is probably the Roman faction I'd play in this mod.

Looking forward to the Millennium and Monsterverse films!
 

CaptainAlvious

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Mention a really difficult achievement for getting Song back to the mainland and defeating the other dynasties, since the Song AI in this game never was that competent, unfortunately.
Sounds good.
That Sudafrika update was quite nice, now that's a faction I'd be rooting for in Volkerschlact. Also all these talks on the Roman and Chinese cinemas doing collabs makes me giddy considering what I have written for the Millenieum era and what I have plan for the Monsterverse.
Given how grim dark Volkerschalt is, it's only right that I make at least one glimmer of hope in this universe. I can also say that Roman Indochina and Mittagsland would also be doing well due to Indian and Tianxia protection respectively. Then again, that could back fire depending on the cohesion of the Tianxia alliance or India’s ability to fight Communist China. As for Neurhomaina, not so lucky.

After rereading the Twantisuyu country update, I've come up with an interesting scenaio for Volkerschalt South Eimerica that I think you might like. Aside from Neurhomaina, which will break of from the Reich during its civil war only to fall into its own three way civil war with Communist Nsorala and Nationalist Amazon Queecha, we'd have a Twantinsuyu balkainized into its consitutent four suyus who'd all want to reunify the country under their respective ideologies, that being Communism, National Populism, Monarchism and Republicanism. The monarchists would be based in the smallest suyu of Kuntisuyu and would have some foreign support from the Tianxia alliance and the Twantinsuyu preisthood internal due to the Mandate of Heaven influences and constitutionalism that the Twantinsuyuan monarchy adopted from the Sinosphere, making it a constitutional monarchy with a powerful theocratic party. The nationalists would be in the northern suyu of Chinchaysuyu and would const largely of the people that made up the fascist Incan government back in HOI3. The communists would be in Qullasuyu and would be backed by the Nationalist Union of China, and finally Antisuyu would be a small anarcho capitalist republic similar to the Kanatan corporatist state in the 19th century.

As for Hohenzollernverse Neurhomaina, thinking back to some potential cultural monuments in Neurhomaina we discussed long ago, maybe there could be a really big church for that syncretic Inti-Christian faith in the amazon, instead of a statue similar to the Cristo Redentor like I originally suggested. With Discovery Square no longer being an active square after 11/9, I was thinking that New Berlin could take the chance to build a brand new square as an architectural and multicultural tribute to the main Quechua, Roman and Mailan cultures and minor minorities like indigenous people and Nahua, kind like the Square of the Three Cultures in real life Mexico city.
Same, this is probably the Roman faction I'd play in this mod.
Personally I'd probably play either the Imperial Union State or the Roman covenant, if only because of the memes that would probably be associated with them by the Volkerschalt community.:p That said, Sudafrika would be a very close favorite after that.
 
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zenphoenix

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Given how grim dark Volkerschalt is, it's only right that I make at least one glimmer of hope in this universe. I can also say that Roman Indochina and Mittagsland would also be doing well due to Indian and Tianxia protection respectively. Then again, that could back fire depending on the cohesion of the Tianxia alliance or India’s ability to fight Communist China. As for Neurhomaina, not so lucky.
What about the Pacific territories? I imagine they'd be taken by the Tianxia.
After rereading the Twantisuyu country update, I've come up with an interesting scenaio for Volkerschalt South Eimerica that I think you might like. Aside from Neurhomaina, which will break of from the Reich during its civil war only to fall into its own three way civil war with Communist Nsorala and Nationalist Amazon Queecha, we'd have a Twantinsuyu balkainized into its consitutent four suyus who'd all want to reunify the country under their respective ideologies, that being Communism, National Populism, Monarchism and Republicanism. The monarchists would be based in the smallest suyu of Kuntisuyu and would have some foreign support from the Tianxia alliance and the Twantinsuyu preisthood internal due to the Mandate of Heaven influences and constitutionalism that the Twantinsuyuan monarchy adopted from the Sinosphere, making it a constitutional monarchy with a powerful theocratic party. The nationalists would be in the northern suyu of Chinchaysuyu and would const largely of the people that made up the fascist Incan government back in HOI3. The communists would be in Qullasuyu and would be backed by the Nationalist Union of China, and finally Antisuyu would be a small anarcho capitalist republic similar to the Kanatan corporatist state in the 19th century.
That would be interesting. Maybe Antisuyu would be a really challenging start due to its ideology and size.
As for Hohenzollernverse Neurhomaina, thinking back to some potential cultural monuments in Neurhomaina we discussed long ago, maybe there could be a really big church for that syncretic Inti-Christian faith in the amazon, instead of a statue similar to the Cristo Redentor like I originally suggested. With Discovery Square no longer being an active square after 11/9, I was thinking that New Berlin could take the chance to build a brand new square as an architectural and multicultural tribute to the main Quechua, Roman and Mailan cultures and minor minorities like indigenous people and Nahua, kind like the Square of the Three Cultures in real life Mexico city.
While I like the idea, I already have plans for the square to be rebuilt with a new 11/9 memorial fountain, although the residential areas might stay gone.
Personally I'd probably play either the Imperial Union State or the Roman covenant, if only because of the memes that would probably be associated with them by the Volkerschalt community.:p That said, Sudafrika would be a very close favorite after that.
I mostly play KR and other games/mods for the story, but to each their own I guess. Can't hurt to have some more memes too.
 

CaptainAlvious

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What about the Pacific territories? I imagine they'd be taken by the Tianxia.
Well I originally intended for Mittagsland to at least get some Pacific territories like Hawaii before it joins the Tianxia pact, so technically you would be right. I guess the Tianxia could let Mittagsland own a few islands with cultural ties to them as a show of generosity and benevolence.
That would be interesting. Maybe Antisuyu would be a really challenging start due to its ideology and size.
Yep, especially since it wouldn't have foreign aid from great powers that its rival suyus such as Kuntisuyu or Qullasuyu would have.
While I like the idea, I already have plans for the square to be rebuilt with a new 11/9 memorial fountain, although the residential areas might stay gone.
Fair enough. I imagine it was pretty significant to Neurhomaina cultural history, so at least all the cultural centers and the iconic pieces of architecture could reasonably be restored. Maybe there was some Malian and Queecha influences that made it into Discovery Square somewhere in New Berlin's history, that would be cool.

That said, I imagine that New Berlin losing all of the residential and commercial areas in Discovery Square, not to mention the imense death toll, would be pretty bad for the city, meaning that it wouldn't have the economic clout it would have had before 11/9. The devastation of Constantinople did speed up the administrative transition to Berlin after all. Maybe some other urban centers would catch up as New Berlin starts declining, like Neu Cordoba or even Nsolorian cites, possibly even leading to Nsoloria and the Amazon to catch up to the northeastern coast eventually. Of course, this would have the unfortunate side affect of causing some deforestation of the Amazon Rain Forrest.
I mostly play KR and other games/mods for the story, but to each their own I guess. Can't hurt to have some more memes too.
Don't get me wrong, I love the story and lore of Kaiserreich too, it's just that I tend to spend my free time looking at memes from r/kaiserreich from time to time. I usually enjoy memes about stories I like after all.:D
 
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Well I originally intended for Mittagsland to at least get some Pacific territories like Hawaii before it joins the Tianxia pact, so technically you would be right. I guess the Tianxia could let Mittagsland own a few islands with cultural ties to them as a show of generosity and benevolence.
Makes sense.
Yep, especially since it wouldn't have foreign aid from great powers that its rival suyus such as Kuntisuyu or Qullasuyu would have
I guess it would be up there with the Song restoration in terms of challenge.
Fair enough. I imagine it was pretty significant to Neurhomaina cultural history, so at least all the cultural centers and the iconic pieces of architecture could reasonably be restored. Maybe there was some Malian and Queecha influences that made it into Discovery Square somewhere in New Berlin's history, that would be cool.
Probably would be the case, but I haven't found a way to incorporate that yet.
That said, I imagine that New Berlin losing all of the residential and commercial areas in Discovery Square, not to mention the imense death toll, would be pretty bad for the city, meaning that it wouldn't have the economic clout it would have had before 11/9. The devastation of Constantinople did speed up the administrative transition to Berlin after all. Maybe some other urban centers would catch up as New Berlin starts declining, like Neu Cordoba or even Nsolorian cites, possibly even leading to Nsoloria and the Amazon to catch up to the northeastern coast eventually. Of course, this would have the unfortunate side affect of causing some deforestation of the Amazon Rain Forrest.
There is unrelated deforestation of the Amazon going on, and it will unfortunately escalate in the future due to changing the political landscape there.

Never thought much about the other cities. Maybe I'll add something about New Cordoba and Nsorala.
Don't get me wrong, I love the story and lore of Kaiserreich too, it's just that I tend to spend my free time looking at memes from r/kaiserreich from time to time. I usually enjoy memes about stories I like after all.:D
Fair enough.
 

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Valkyrie, Part 3


New Berlin - 1954, morning

Conrad Humboldt slouched on a bench, reading a newspaper, while Hans Hansen watched as the planes rolling past them on the runway, taking off and landing every few minutes.

“How much longer do we have to wait?” Conrad said.

“You tell me,” Hans said, “You said she would be here an hour ago.”

“Well, I’m too busy trying to figure out this crossword to tell you,” Conrad said.

“You’re not even filling it out,” Hans said.

“Mentally,” Conrad said.

“By the way, 36 down is ‘Shah Rukh’, no spaces,” Hans said.

“Thanks,” Conrad said, “Wait a minute—”

“No mind-reading spells needed,” Hans said, “They’re all banned anyways. I could just tell from where you’re looking.”

“Damnit,” Conrad said.

“You two look busy,” Anne said, walking over to them, a modest suitcase rolling behind her, “Hello, Hansen and Humboldt.”

“Agent Frank,” Conrad said, putting down the newspaper.

“About time you showed,” Hans said.

“I was actually waiting a few feet behind you for the last hour,” Anne said.

“WHAT?!” Hans said.

“I wanted to see how long it took for you to notice,” Anne said, “I grew tired of waiting. Also, I solved your crossword half an hour ago.”

She handed a slip of paper to a speechless Conrad. “Your answers. Now, let’s get going.”

Right on cue, a fancy car rolled up next to the bench, and Alfred, Anne’s butler, got out to open the doors.

“My sister sends her regards,” Anne said, “Come on, don’t be shy.”

They got in the car, and Alfred left the airport, turning onto one of the main roads leading into downtown New Berlin. The old two-lane road was cracked and covered in dust, while the concrete at the sides had been torn in places by the roots of the palm trees lining the road. There were a few bomb craters left over from the insurgency three years ago. Adenauer’s Autobahn expansion program couldn’t come soon enough. Anne looked back and noticed Conrad and Hans looking out the window, watching as the farmland, various tributaries of the Amazon, and the few remaining bits of jungle around the delta zip past.

“First trip to New Berlin, Inquisitors?” Alfred said.

“Yeah,” Conrad said.

“I thought you guys had a branch here,” Alfred said.

“It was destroyed during the war,” Hans said, “They’re rebuilding it right now. We ourselves were busy in Europe, as you know.”

“So what’s the mission?” Conrad said. “Why’d you have to call us here, at this time of year too? It’s too hot and humid. And the mosquitos…”

“I’ve gotten a tip about the location of one Alfred Hoffman,” Anne said, “You might also know him by his birth name, Karl Josef Silberbauer.”

“Alfred Hoffman,” Hans said, “The guy from Project Mjolnir.”

“He was also lead researcher of another Angeloi project, Gungnir, and oversaw experimentations on prisoners at certain concentration camps in the Rhineland,” Anne said, “Most importantly, he killed my parents.”

“Yes, you told us that plenty of times,” Conrad said.

“He’s also an Inquisitor,” Anne said.

Conrad and Hans looked at each other and stared at her.

“What?!” they said.

“That’s how he eluded me and the Athanatoi in Europe,” Anne said, “Frankfurt branch. All of the Rhineland branches joined the Angeloi and were disbanded after the war. We’ve been trying for years to bring him to justice, like the other Rhineland Inquisitors, but he keeps slipping through our fingers. Now he’s in Neurhomania, likely about to slip into Tawantinsuyu. I have to stop him before he gets to the border and leaves our jurisdiction.”

“He’s an Inquisitor,” Conrad said, “If he’s that good, and that notorious, why didn’t you call for more help from the Inquisition? We’re not even with the Inquisition anymore.”

“Because that’s exactly what he’d expect,” Anne said, “That’s what we did in Europe, sending the entire Athanatoi after him. I’m not going to make the same mistake here. You two will be just fine. Also, the Inquisition’s signed off. You fully authorized to use magic.”

“So what’s the plan?” Hans said.

“There were three sightings of Hoffman in New Berlin,” Anne said, “We investigate them, find out what he’s doing here, and where he’s going. And then I put a bullet through his motherfrakking Angeloi head.”


Tesla Dynamic, Frankfurt - November 7, 2015, 3:00 PM

“It's curious,” Walter said, opening a body bag for one of the many corpses in the lab, “Most of the 45 victims were blood relatives.”

“Yes, direct descendants of Aliya Hussein,” Diana said.

“A Holocaust survivor,” Walter said.

“Her entire family was affected,” Anna said.

“But not just her family,” Diana said, “An entire other family was also affected, along with her kids’ spouses and grandchildren. A second group was wiped out entirely. No blood relation between them or the Husseins. The only connection is they were Muslims.”

“Interesting indeed,” Walter said, “So the common factor was they were all Muslims.”

“And anybody not Muslim survived, along with one member of the Abdullah family who I think might be illegitimate,” Diana said.

“Therefore, he might not have inherited Muslim genes,” Walter said, “Or I suspect he would’ve perished too.”

“Walter, you can’t just say that!” Diana said.

“Calm down, daughter-in-law,” Walter said, “That was just my conclusion. Kids these days…fine, genes commonly found in populations that are traditionally Muslim majority. So, what color is this? The blood?”

He pointed to a corpse he had just cut open. Diana walked over and looked at the blood.

“Blue,” she said.

“Good,” Walter said, “Then I'm not imagining it. Something has bonded with the hemoglobin in the blood, changing its color and robbing the body of oxygen. I believe these people literally suffocated from the inside out.”

He took David’s inhaler and took a quick shot from it.

“Walter, no!” Diana said. “That might be what killed him!”

“No, that kept him alive longer than the others,” Walter said, “I suspect it temporarily weakened the toxin. That still leaves the how. How was the toxin delivered?"

Diana got her coat. “I’ll go interview the witnesses with Olga.”



Hussein estate - 3:30 PM

Olga sat at a table, talking to Heinrich, while Diana walked through the room, checking to see if she missed any details.

“Colonel, I understand that you were in full view of what happened?” Olga said. “Did you notice anyone who looked like they shouldn't have been at the wedding? Someone who likely wasn't invited?”

“Not really,” Heinrich said, “My memory isn’t as good as they used to. I heard Tesla Dynamic and the Bureau of Defense were working on a way to help with that. But that’s another story. Me, I knew Aliya’s family through her son Ismail. We served together in the war. Right before everybody started dying, Aliya was very upset with someone. She was pointing at this suspicious man I’d never seen before. I thought she was just having a moment.”

“Can you describe this man’s features?” Olga said.

“Uh, sort of young, thirties, early forties,” Heinrich said, “Blond hair. Blue eyes. Clean shaven. No other defining features.”

“If we showed you the security camera footage, can you point him out?” Olga said.

“I’ll try,” Heinrich said.

“Anything else out of the ordinary?” Olga said.

“Well, Ride of the Valkyries started playing for no reason,” Heinrich said.

Diana looked over as he said that. She had just picked up a candle.

“Oh, by the way, Ismail told me the candles are jasmine-scented,” Heinrich said, “He picked it. Smells nice. Do you mind giving me a moment?”

“Of course,” Olga said.

Heinrich got up and left. Olga walked over to Diana, who was now smelling the candle.

“He just said the candles in this place are jasmine flavored, right?” Diana said.

“Yeah,” Olga said.

“Well, this one’s cinnamon flavored,” Diana said.


Tesla Dynamic - 4:30 PM

Walter inspected the candle with a spectrometer while Anna waited next to him. Olga sat quietly at a computer, processing the security camera footage. Diana paced impatiently around the lab.

“And?” she said.

“Patience,” Walter said.

“You’ve been saying that for the last half hour,” Anna said.

“Patience, daughter,” Walter said, “Just like when you were a little girl, your mother used to say you had ants in your pants.”

He finally cut off a piece and handed it to Anna. “It’s too large. Put that in the spectrometer.”

Anna replaced the candle with the fragment. Diana walked over to Olga, who had paused the footage on a clear view of everybody in the room seconds before the attack. Olga pointed to a blonde man in the corner to whom Aliya was pointing.

“That’s the man Colonel Dandolo was talking about,” Olga said, “He walked out of camera range without entering a car or doing anything that could be tracked, so...”

“Can you make it clearer?” Diana said. “I can’t make out his face.”

“That's the best this software can do,” Olga said, “I can’t just say ‘enhance’ like a TV show.”

“Okay, fine,” Diana said, “Good enough. Upload it to the Athanatoi and joint law enforcement databases and maybe we’ll get a hit.”

“On it,” Olga said, typing away.

“By the way, he looks vaguely familiar,” Diana said, “Feel like I’ve seen him somewhere. Maybe some old case?”

The spectrometer beeped, and Anna waved at Walter, who was staring at the candle now.

“Come here,” she said, “Take a look at this.”

Walter and Diana joined Anna at a computer monitor which displayed the results.

“Oh, that is interesting,” Walter said, “You were right. This is our toxin. Appears to be a variant of, what is that, hydrogen cyanide? The candle would suggest that it was activated by heat, and then dispersed into the air.”

Diana’s fists clenched up, and she cursed.

“I killed him,” she said, “The man in the closet. I killed him by opening it. He would’ve lived if we kept him in there. I knew that. Josh would’ve been really disappointed I let his brother die.”

“Di, it’s okay,” Olga said, “We didn’t know. It’s not your fault.”

“But it is,” Diana said, “I thought I could change fate. I thought I could save him, unlike Josh. I saw him die and then die again.”

“Calm down, sis,” Anna said, “If it was in the air, how come it only killed some of the guests?”

“I think I might know,” Diana said, impulsively.

“What?” Anna said.

“Chemical weapons,” Diana said, “Weapons of mass destruction. Death by asphyxiation. World War II. The Angeloi. Ride of the Valkyries. I knew this was familiar.”

“The Angeloi?” Anna said.

“What are you talking about?” Olga said.

“The Angeloi were scientific pioneers,” Diana said, “They attempted to advance every branch of science at the same time, no matter how ridiculous or implausible. The conspiracy theories were built on some grain of truth.”

“Before DNA was even discovered, the notorious Angeloi scientist Josef Mengele wanted to create a weapon capable of targeting specific victims, a weapon capable of, of picking people out in a crowd, just like what happened here,” Walter said, “It seems science may have finally caught up with the old Angeloi ambition.”

“Have you two been playing Wolfenstein lately?” Olga said.

“He may have found my copy of The New Order,” Anna said, “But hey, killing Angeloi is a Roman pastime.”

“He did find it,” Diana said.

“I’m sorry, what?” Anna said.

“Aliya Hussein was a Holocaust survivor,” Olga said, “Di, what you’re saying about those Angeloi experiments, you think there’s a…”

“Connection?” Diana said. “For once, I don’t know, Olga. Of course, I'm not saying this is the work of the Angeloi or Rasas. But I’m not suddenly convinced this was just a murder. A wedding is the perfect laboratory. You have your experimental group, the Husseins and similar guests, and you have your control group, everyone else.”

“Are you saying this was a science experiment?” Anna said. “Like the ZFT cases?”

“It's a theory,” Diana said, “And one I think I can prove.”

“How?” Olga said.

“A scientist always tries to recreate their results,” Diana said, “This will happen again. And I’ve got no idea how to stop it. Or if I can stop it.”


Downtown Frankfurt

At a busy downtown cafe, young Jordan Hadid and her mother patiently waited for their food and drinks to arrive. A cashier rang a bell.

“One soy latte, one orange juice, two yogurts,” he said, setting down a tray with the snacks.

Jordan and her mother took the tray from the cashier.

“Say thank you, Jordan,” her mother said.

“Thank you,” Jordan said.

They sat back down at their table. Hoffman, who was first in line, approached the cashier.

“I'd like a cup of tea, please,” he said in an archaic Rhineland accent, “And, uh, make sure the water is very hot.”

“Sure thing,” the cashier said, “What kind of tea?”

“Oh, I don't know, uh, you pick,” Hoffman said, pleasantly smiling, “Whichever is your favorite. Oh, and please, again… make sure the water is very hot.”

“So do you like her?” Jordan’s mother said. “Frau Greenwalt?”

“Yeah, she's nice,” Jordan said, “But she always makes us take a nap after lunch.”

“Well, maybe you need time to get your energy back,” Jordan’s mother said.

“I think she is the one who's sleepy,” Jordan said.

After getting his tea, Hoffman sat at an adjacent table and leaned over.

“She's very smart, your daughter,” he said.

“Yeah, she is,” Jordan’s mother said.

“Soon you'll be outsmarting the teachers,” Hoffman said.

“Well, we're already there,” Jordan’s mother said, “We're talking about skipping her up a grade.”

“Yeah, well, don't be in too much of a hurry,” Hoffman said.

He took out a small vial of liquid from his pocket and shook it.

“These days are precious,” he said, pouring the vial’s contents into his hot tea, “Soon all that will remain are pictures.”

“Hmm, that smells good,” Jordan’s mother said, “Is that cinnamon?”

“Ja,” Hoffman said, “Something like that.”

The tea fogged and bubbled. Ride of the Valkyries began playing over the loudspeakers.
 
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zenphoenix

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As for an equivalent to Hitler in Argentina, I'm planning something for a future story arc. All I can say right now is that it'll involve Anne and Diana in some way. Maybe even a few familiar faces from the HOI3 installment.
-March 24, 2018

I can finally provide more details about this. :D
 
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