"...and as such, the Air Assault Troops will not be sufficient to counter an ETO invasion from the West. Of course, they will be more than capable of handling the initial stages of an invasion in combination with the higher-alert units along the frontier, but..."
"Ugh, where have I heard this before?" Irina muttered to herself as she listened to General Pukhov, Minister of Defence, ranting once more about a pre-emptive strike against Triera and Aesop Rocks.
"Comrade General, utilising the present drills for a pre-emptive strike of full force is totally unacceptable" commented Zyuganov from his seat. Many of the ministers sighed in relief, though Pukhov didn't seem too happy.
"But Comrade President, may I remind you that Aesop Rocks alone is presenting a critical threat to our security? They will no doubt use our present buildup as an excuse to increase their militarisation even more, and--"
"Aesop Rocks' economy is currently under heavy strain from the arms race, Comrade Pukhov, they are at no position to pose a conventional or strategic threat. Besides, I am more than certain that our nuclear doctrine is a credible deterrent, or, if it comes to worst, a credible weapon for tactical and strategic use" commented the economics minister, Aleksandra Aleksandrova.
"Currently we are more than capable of supporting an even broader mobilisation without even beginning to tap the economy and putting it under strain. If we want, we can swallow ETO completely."
"Comrade Aleksandrova, I would appreciate it if you stuck to your budget lists and left military affairs and estimates to the professionals, right?"
"Comrades, I think that's enough. It would be better if this Council retained its unitary nature, right?"
"But exactly because of that you need to agree to, and approve that upon the conclusion of mobilisation tomorrow, we should activate more reserves while we make a push for Europolis itself!"
"But Comrade Minister!"
The discussions continued in the Kremlin, appearing to be unusually favourable for the warlike General today.
Alexander Brandt sat on his chair and started to speak:
Ladies and Gentlemen Shareholders of Groβdeutscher Military Industries, welcome again to the GMI Shareholders Meeting. Our design offices have recently given birth to a project that will, probably, make our company be known all around the world. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the... The Dropship 01-Troop Carrier Pelikane (D01-TC), the design that will outdate all previous existing Troop Carrier vehicles. This Transport aircraft will be able to carry up to 12 soldiers inside of it. The Pelikane is capable of descension from the planetary orbit.
Now, we will proceed to vote on this new vehicle that will probably make GMI a very important company in the world.
Mr. Arnold Edelbronn, represeting Idealia Aeronautical's 20% of GMI shares, what is your vote?
I am FOR
Mrs. Erika Henniger, representing Blohm + Vossmann Shipyards' 20% of GMI shares, what is your vote?
I vote For
Mr. Maximilian Wasser, representing Krauss-Stadtmann Armoured Vehicles' 15% of GMI shares, what is your vote?
You can count with Krauss-Stadtmann. We go FOR.
Mr. Archibald Douglas, representing Lufthansa's 5% of GMI shares, what is your vote?
Without any doubt, we are FOR.
Now, I will vote, representing EuroGrossdeutscher Military Industries' 40% of GMI shares and my vote is for.
The production of the the D01-TC dropship has been approved by the 100% of the shareholders. Gentlemen and lady, today we have made a very important step for this company.
Bundesnachrichtendienst HQ, Berlin
General Andrew Schwarzneg was drinking a cup of coffee at his office's desk while reading a newspaper when his secretary, Sergeant Willis, opened the door with so many force that it made a louder noise, making General's coffee to fall into his newspaper.
-Shit, son! What the hell is goin' on!?
-Sorry General, but it is a very important information obtained by the Radiation Detection Satellite during it's last orbit over Aleutia.
Sergeant Willis gave General Schwarzneg a 20 pages report. General Schwarzneg rapidly went on to the third page of the report and started to read.
-"The RDS-112 detected small amounts of radiation have been recorded over the Aleutian zone known as Western Andreanof." Sergeant, it seems that the Aleutians have a dark side and that their intentions are not the same as they publicily state. Call the Kanzler and inform him of this report.
-Sir, yes sir!
The officers where all debating about the nuclear weapons. Suddenly, Kanzler Mainzer entered the meeting room and the officers stood up
Please, sit down.-he sat on his chair and spoke to the officers- Well, I have taken a decision. I will mantain my promess and this nation will not develop nuclear weapons. At least during my government.
But, Herr Kanzler!
Shut up, Colonel! He's the Commander-in-chief and we must do what he orders. Thank you, Mr. Kanzler, for informing us.
Then, Kanzler Mainzer left the room and the officers started to discuss the decision of their Commander-in-chief.
'As a consequence of the great disruption in the delivery of mail caused by the revolution of months past, the Cwrulandian government failed to note officially the announcement of this meeting.' Roger Outhwaite, the newly-named EU Ambassador of Cwrulandia, wondered if this would suffice to explain his late arrival at his first EU meeting. 'Well, it will have to do,' he decided, as he quietly slipped into his seat while the opening remarks were being made.
The Anatolian Highlands were swept by dust flying threw the air and obscuring the rugged terrain of interior Alikhstan, fueled by the Belarian Operational Force of Apache helicopters headed towards an intended target of Mujahideen fighters held up in an old keep. The leader of the strike force was Second Lieutenant Alan Davidson, who was communicating directly with General Heidecker during the course of the operation. Davidson patched through to another helicopter part of the strike, and spoke with the pilot.
"Foxtrot-Alpha, this is Ecko-One, we're going to be approaching the Zulu from the southwest, we want you coming in from as north as possible. We've been hearing chatter they've got some serious bloopers. The Kahuna wants us to come in scattered to screw with 'em."
Davidson hated the field lingo, he?d have much rather spoke to his comrades like a normal human being. But however stupid he felt the lingo was, there was a good chance it was true. It was widely assumed by the Belarian troops that Soviet elements ? authorized or not ? were selling off spare hardware to the Alikhi insurgents and the Brotherhood. This meant there was a slight chance that this particular keep was armed with shoulder-mounted rocket launchers with capability of actually taking down a Belarian Apache. Davidson?s stream of thought was broken by the various responses of the pilots.
?Roger that, Ecko-One, we?ll spread the word. We?ll flank them, and get the fellow Foxtrots to surround them, over.?
Their assignment was the arrest or elimination of Lieutenant Nasreddin along with the capture of the ancient settlement Sivrihisar. The locals were potentially unpredictable, as their isolation from the west of the country nurtured the radicals who embraced the extremist law of strict constructionist Islam. Davidson knew this, and his approach to the situation would be extremely controversial. His orders were to take the town by any means necessary, but he intended on using force as a last resort.
As the helicopters drew closer and closer to the Holy Roman keep at the center of the town, he initiated his plan.
?Foxtrots, this is Ecko-One, activate the wings!?
The squad of helicopters suddenly activated massive speakers attached to the wings, and a message echoed out from the surrounding squadron to the townspeople and insurgents alike, in their native tongue no less.
?Peace be upon you, citizens of Alikhstan, the European forces mean you no harm.? We have come to liberate you from the tyranny of the Nationalist-Islamist Coalition and the Brotherhood.? Shelter, medical attention, and warm food are offered to those who abide by the rule of law so that justice for all may prevail.? We respect the word of Allah, glory be to him.? We come not to dominate; we come to set you free from the fear caused by the aggression of extremists.? Insurgents lay down your arms in the name of Allah, and no harm will come to you!? You will be treated fairly in a court of law.? We will not initiate conflict; any shooting will be caused by the insurgency.? The European forces do not fire first, but if fired upon we will secure the peace.?
Second Lieutenant Davidson hoped the message would appeal to the average Alikhi in the town, and maybe some insurgents. He knew that not many Brotherhood members would be swayed by the display of ?peace from strength?, but the Nationalist-Islamist Coalition was probably more swayable. The message was designed to cause confusion in the ranks, and push the radicals further away from reason, making them more isolated and less attractive to the common Alikhi citizen.
As the helicopters drew closer, the townspeople stood in silence as the wind swept the dust upwards. In the distance, jeeps, trucks, and several tanks rolled towards Sivrihisar from the west. Now it was up to the insurgents: would they spill more blood, or opt for peace?
Rt Hon Judge Lesley Anderson sat back in her chair. A tired look upon her face that was most unusual outlined her age. A woman started from a poor, working-class background, she had risen spectacularly through the ranks of the Judicial and Law system becoming the youngest female Judicial Councillor in Aesop Rockian history. She had spent that last month residing over the biggest trial in her lifetime. The suspect under question was Raish al Ghali who was supposed to have been the leader of a terrorist network which was linked to the atrocities of the fateful transnational attacks of February 4th. Not six months had passed yet he was already on trial. The trial had lasted a month. Evidence came from 23 people including the defendant himself. The evidence from the earlier trials of his underlings was brought up and shown once more. Pictures of the travesties. It had been tough for this Judge who had thought she had seen all. Her illusion of wisdom had been shattered by this trial. The innocence of the Jurors had followed suit. Ghali had sat silent for the entire trial. His defence was by no means inspiring. He answered questions that he could and refused to answer those he could not. There was no doubt in the mind of Ms Anderson that the Jury would come back Guilty. The prosecution had been strong and unrelenting. The only moment that could be classified exciting had been when plans, written by Ghali himself, had been shown. The reaction from the public crowd and journalists had been massive. "DNA evidence" was the phrase of the week in all the nationals. However, only three people in the room noticed any reaction from Ghali. The lead officer in charge of prosecution, the Judge herself and a single Juror who had been most inactive until that point. A flicker of the eyes towards the Juror bench and a slight smile around the corners of his lips which lasted no more than a second. At that point those people all realised the same thing at the same time - Raish al Ghali would die in prison.
And so, as the inevitable knock came at the door, Lesley Anderson JC looked up in the knowledge that this trial was finally over.
The Jurors have come to a decision ma'am.
The shuffling of papers and feet and the court was once again in session.
The crowd sat as one at the request of the Judge who looked upon the defendant. She nodded to the Guard who opened the door to the return of the Jury. Each one of them was staring blankly into the expectant eyes of the gathered media masses. She now knew for certain. 38 years of residing over cases from petty theft to murder, and each time a Jury convicted the defendant, not one of them would look at the man or woman they had sent down. And so it was with this Jury.
Have you come to a decision to each of the crimes to which Raish al Ghali has been tried?
Yes your Honor.
On count one, the mass murder of 64 civilians, how do you find the defendant?
Guilty your Honor.
On count two, terrorism and destruction of public property, how do you find the defendant?
Guilty your Honor.
And on count three, the planning of acts of terrorism defined under the Terrorism Act 1996, how do you find the defendant?
Guilty your Honor.
Thank you Jury, you may step down.
Ms Anderson turned to look at the now convicted man. He did not look scared, shocked or frightened. Instead once again the smile that had haunted her the entire trial was once again playing on his lips. His dark brown eyes bored into hers as though drills through jelly. She stared directly back.
**Raish al Ghali, you have been accussed of the most heinous of crimes any man can perpetrate. You murdered, indiscriminantly you directed men to their deaths and to take along with them the deaths of others. The deaths of two unborn babies who were still in their mothers womb. The deaths of children. The deaths of men. You cared not for those people, nor your own, but acted in a way that cannot be comprehended by most men. Your ideological basis is no more than a facade of lies and deceipt upon which you boost yourself to satisfy your egotistical and fanatical fantacies. Your ideology is not only harmful to those people you injured and killed on February 4th, but also to your religion. The people who follow Islam have become secularised in socities who are coming to think that radicalism, terror and violence are the basis of the Muslim faith. I know that is not true. So do you Raish. And it is because of this disgrace that nothing you can say will stop me. I am not allowing you to further your crazed fantasy by speaking to this court any more. You shall not spread your words of hate again. I am therefore sentencing you to life imprisonment with no chance of parole. This individual is to be kept in solitary confinement for the first 15 years of his sentence in a maximum security prison. You shall serve your entire sentence. I would like it noted that my instinct is not to subject this man to the ultimate penalty of death for that would martyr him in the eyes of some. I feel that all should be done to ensure Raish al Ghali lives out his natural life. Guards, you may take the man. **