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Author Topic: Of Rising and Falling Men (1920's to 1980's)  (Read 904 times)

Offline Letonna

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Of Rising and Falling Men (1920's to 1980's)
« on: March 15, 2015, 07:55:26 PM »
July 8th, 1922 7:35 PM
Houva Letonna
Victory District, 30 km outside of Port Gillium

The marmalade skies always mesmerized Ventrum. Especially in Houva Letonna, the western summer sun created an intense inferno sky. It was much better of an assignment than Nova Letonna from what he had heard. Lush forests, delicious produce, and beautiful women. The Crown made a good choice when shopping for colonies, he thought.

He was on his last patrol for the day. He walked alone through a small path, only half paying attention to his surroundings. He thought of home, of sweethearts past, of riches, love and lust. He snapped to attention once he heard the rustle of leaves and the waving of bushes.

Unshouldering his rifle, he flipped the safety off, and looked around. Besides a slight westward breeze, the forest was silent. He stepped a few steps forward towards the bush. At his feet, a small domestic pig walked from the bush, stopping at his feet to state up at him.

Ventrum smiled, and bent down to scratch the head of the boar. Near where his head had been, the trunk of a tree exploded in splinters and bark. The boar squealed and ran away while Ventrum lunged behind cover.

The shot came from a MOC-19 rifle, standard issue to all troops in Houva Letonna. The same rifle he had.

   “2nd Brigade! Friendly?” he yelled out.

He didn’t hear a call back, meaning whoever shot first wasn’t of the Empire. He laid perfectly still, waiting for the attacker to make the next move. He grabbed a stone and threw it into a bush 10 feet away. The attacker shot the bush, illuminating a ridge 30 yards away. Ventrum looked through his iron sights and was able to make out the face of a native man laying in a prone position.

Taking careful aim, he fired a single shot, hearing a loud grunt soon after. Fixing his bayonet, he charged up the hill. Reaching the top, he saw a native Houiesian man laying unconscious in a pool of dark red blood. He checked for a pulse but didn’t find one. Bending down to check the mans pocket, he heard a woman's scream from behind him.

   “Chimine! Boya un Veririmine!” she called out.

Ventrum reloaded his rifle with subconscious precision, but didn’t aim. A bruised, horrified woman and 3 children, 2 boys and a girl, stood behind some bushes. They were wearing rags and had broken iron cuffs on their hands. The woman fell to the ground crying, while the children remained speechless.

He stood there holding his rifle, staring at the family. They were clearly from the Ministry of Colonization camp a few kilometers away. He had never been there, but he had heard that the Ministry likes to keep what happens there under wraps, meaning it mustn't be good.

   “Ventrum!!” Yelled a voice from the path below.

It was Neurmin, the next guard on this patrol after him.

   “You OK? I heard shots and you never came back. I sent for reinforcements.” the man yelled.

Ventrum looked back at the weeping woman. She had her hand over her mouth to hide her weeping. She looked at him with fearful eyes.
   “Please...we escape...be merciful...freedom...please” She whispered in very broken Letonese.

Ventrum looked back down at the corpse of the man who shot at him, staring at it long and hard.

   The woman crawled to his feet, grasping his uniform, begging and pleading. The man from below on the path yelled to him again. He closed his eyes so he could focus.  Ventrum’s mind was full of thoughts, so loud and deafening in their intensity. His palms were sweaty, and his eyes twitched with stress.

Finally, he exhaled, opened his eyes, and moved his index finger to the trigger of his rifle.

Ventrum stood in the Ministry of Colonization office of the infamous Fort 23A a few kilometers from the earlier encounter. The camp commanding officer looked through a file, his file, while rolling a cigar in his teeth. Ventrum tried not to stare at the CO, but there wasn’t much else to look at in his dark smokey office.

   “You made the right move son.” Said the grizzled MOC commander.

   “Thank you sir!” Ventrum said back.

   “I know it was hard, but I assure you they’re better off with us. They would have starved out there. Under our supervision, they have a place to live and meals and professions.”
   Ventrum remained silent and at attention.

   “I know it may not feel right now, but trust me, all research by the Ministries leading psychologists leads to evidence that these people are better off with our guidance and protection. Their brains aren’t as developed as ours, or so they say. Change is hard, and they just haven’t adjusted yet.”

The man put his cigar out in an ashtray and got up out of his chair. He walked over to Ventrum, placing a hand on his shoulder, smiling.

   “I think we have a place for you a little higher up in the Ministry, what do you think? We need men who know right from wrong in this Empire. Hm?”

   Ventrum’s eyes light up.

   “Uhh, yes of course Sir!”

   “Great! Don’t bother reporting to your old CO, you’re under my command now. We’ll get you a new uniform tomorrow. Welcome to the Ministry, Lieutenant.”

Offline Letonna

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Re: Of Rising and Falling Men (1920's to 1980's)
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2015, 10:20:41 PM »
January 23rd, 1926
Houva Letonna
Vigilance District, Port Gillium

The sweet sound of a string quartet could be heard among the chatter of military, ministry, and government officials. Wives of Bureaucrats talked near a refreshment table, while Ministry officials in their dress uniforms laughed and joked near the stage.

Ventrum sipped his martini while mingling among the crowd. He nodded to officers and kissed the hands of ladies he passed. Finally, he sat down at a table that mostly featured some older men with white hair and gold trimmed uniforms. He recognized one person, his direct supervising officer, Commander Grant, but the other faces he could only speculate at.

   “Ventrum! Sit down my boy!” Said Grant gesturing with a big whole hearted grin.

He wrapped a hand around Ventrum as he sat down.
   “Ventrum here is my right hand man! He used to be some general military stub before I found him. No way I would have been able to pacify the deep inland without him. Within a year we’ll have the rest of the colony secure, that’s a guarantee!”

   Ventrum smiled, flattered.

   “Oh how rude of me. Ventrum, this is Vice Minister Cradfen of Internal Affairs in Letonnasburg. The Crown sent him down personally to check on  the progress in Houva Letonna.”

   “Please to meet you my boy. Your Commander paints you to be quite the war hero.”

   “Why thank you Sir. I’m merely following my orders and serving the Crown, I assure you.”

   “And Modest too!” Grand shouted. “Ventrum let me grab you a drink!”

Grant got up out of his chair clumsily, spilling a few sloshes out of his own drink. He walked toward the refreshment table, but didn’t quite make it before running into a dazzling woman.

Cradfen moved one chair closer to Ventrum.

   “You know Son, there’s a lot changing in Letonna nowadays. The Crown in expanding the influences of the inner ministries. Lots of opportunities for young, energetic go getters back in Letonnasburg.”

   “Oh? That’s good to kn-”

   “I was sent here to confirm some choices the Ministry had made for advancement. Your commanding officer was chosen to take a desk job in Letonnasburg.”

Ventrum put on a look of surprise. He and Grant shared everything. He wondered why he had kept this from him.

   “He didn’t tell you? Well, I suppose it was probably for the best at the time. Within a year, the Ministry of Colonization is giving up lots of it’s responsibilities to the general Military. You’re scheduled to be transferred to Nova Letonna.”

Ventrum stared deep into his martini, lost deep within a swirling maelstrom of thoughts. He had gotten a taste of true Imperial life, he didn’t want to give it up. And he especially didn’t want some backwater colony job guarding some rocks and cactus. Cradfen took a deep swig of his own drink before continuing.

   “Standard protocol if someone declines the offer last minute is for me to find the next best choice on my own. Someone who’s proven himself time and time again to put the best interest of the Empire first.”

Cradfen winked at Ventrum, and got up to socialize with a group of Officers a few tables away. Grant had returned, holding two fruity mixed drinks.

   “Some nice ladies over there Ventrum. You should check them out.”
   “Sir...I need to talk to you.”

   “Bah! It’s a party Ventrum, no need to be so stiff. Lighten up a bit!”

Ventrum’s eyes grew sharp and aggressive.

   “Let’s grab some air, eh champ?” Grant said, grabbing Ventrums arm.

They moved onto a large balcony, overlooking a vertical drop to crashing waves 100 feet below. Grant let go of Ventrums arm when they reached the railing. There were only a few guests and young couples making out on the balcony, as the wind was cold that evening. Grant looked out into the sea while Ventrum stood silent behind him.

   “You know, I haven’t been home in 30 years.” Grand said. “I don’t even know what my village looks like anymore.”

He took a deep swig of his drink.

   “I never married Ventrum. I joined the Ministry when I was 17. There was no work in my town. The depression in the 80’s hit my village hard, it was the only line of work for a young man back then. I kept telling myself I would leave the Ministry some day and find a wife, have a child. But I never did. I always wanted to be a father, you know?”

   Ventrum remained silent.
   “Cradfen told you?” Grant asked, still staring out into the ocean.

A light breeze blew through the patio, chilling to anyone not in a jacket. The two men stood in silence for what felt like an eternity. Behind them a kissing couple went inside, letting them be the only people out on this side of the Governors Estate’s balcony. Grant started to turn around.

   “Listen, Ventrum…”

As soon as Grant turned around, Ventrum thrust his dagger into Grant’s upper chest, pinning him against the railing. Grant’s eyes widened as he tried to push Ventrum away. A look of horror and fear was met with a equally horrifying sinister grin of thrill and vengeance.

He twisted the dagger and pushed it further into Grants Lungs. He coughed blood. Grant began to shake and grow pale, eventually fading away, falling into Ventrums arms. Sheathing his dagger, he quickly pushed Grant’s corpse over the railing, watching it fall down into the sea.

Ventrum stared long into the water where Grant had landed. He never resurfaced. He straightened his tie, and walked into the party to mingle.

Offline Letonna

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Re: Of Rising and Falling Men (1920's to 1980's)
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2015, 01:04:50 AM »
November 3rd, 1936
Demnisgluun District, Letonna
30km east of Leto-Myrorian boarder

   A gentle breeze blew eastward though the emerald greed forests of Eastern Letonna. A military convoy drove down a beaten road quite fast. Ventrum sat in a military jeep leading the convoy, followed by various trucks of his personal soldiers.

   "Three minutes sir." The driver next to him said.

Ventrum grabbed a small briefcase by his feet and opened it, grabbing a few paper documents. He verified he had all the right paperwork, stamped, signed, and in triplicate. He also check his side arm, turning the safety off and making sure a full magazine was inside.

The forest came to a sudden end as a large golden field replaced it. In the middle of the field lay a small village of wooden and thatch houses, with livestock roaming freely.

The convoy pulled into and stopped in the village center. Ventrum flew open the door of his jeep, and put his fingers in his mouth to let out a loud whistle. Troops from the back of the trucks jumped out, and unshouldered their rifles. Neustrian settlers ran in their houses and hid the children, while the men ran in from the fields.
A small hunched old man walked up to Ventrum, seemingly unafraid or phased.

   "Neustrian, I, Colonel Ventrum Hesselfem of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is here to bring to justice you and your settlement. Under the Minorities Guided Work Act of 1899, you have violated section 2, clause 5: "70% of agricultural profits from a sponsored resettling of any liscenced minority is to belong to the state. Failure to deliver sums in a timely manor of 30 days is subject to Ministry investigation and punishment. Do you understand?"

The old man stared blankly at Ventrum, remaining silent and still. Ventrum stared back, annoyed at the lack of responce. Ventrum grabbed his briefcase, and dug out a ministry charter for the Neustrian settlement, as well as a income log.

   "See? Your village has not paid it's taxes. It's two months past harvest."

The old man lifted his dirty cracked glasses to look at the forms, nodding as he read. He eventually looked at Ventrum and shrugged with an innocent grin.

Ventrum pinched his nose and turned away from the old man. His first Lieutenitant walked up to him.    

   "It's like going to a third world country in our own back yard I tell you!" Ventrum yelled.

   "All we need is a signature and we can just raid the place." The first Lieutenitant said.

   Ventrum shook his head. He looked around the village, seeing many faces pressed against windows with fearful look on them. Walking back up to the old man, he put on a stern expression and grabbed him by the shirt.

   "If you don't pay up now, I'm going to use my full authority to reclaim the land as payment."

   Ventrum thrust a document with very small text and a signature line at the bottom at the old Neustrian man. He gave a look of confusion, then signed it. Ventrum ripped the paper out of his hand, filing it in his brief case. He dug out a small officers whistle from his pocket and blew it.

   "Take all gold, jewelry, and metal you see! Don't shoot unless there's resistance!" He yelled.

The soldiers made their way to the houses, smacking the doors with the butts of their rifles until they opened or fell over. Screams of terrified Neustrian could be heard from the houses.

The old man looked around at his village in terror. He yelled and pointed at Ventrum is some language he didn't understand. Ventrum didn't pay the old man any attention, as he watched his men with eagle eyes.
Once everything was loaded on the trucks, the soldiers began to shoulder their rifles and jump on the trucks. Ventrum filled out a form, signed it, and handed it to the old man.

   "Your receipt." he said.

Getting back in his jeep, he instructed the driver to go back to base. The setting sun shown a crimson orange over the golden wheat field. Ventrum put his pistol's safety on, began to tally up the haul, and smiled a sinister grin.