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#1
June 24, 2031
Aurora, Roseney
14 Haddock Street


The sound of protests on Haddock Street were deafening to the cabinet as they struggled through one of their last full meetings before the Assembly was to dissolve the following day. Premier Monica Nucci's hair seemed grayer and her face more wrinkled than from the start of the year, while the cabinet had seen so many resignations over the last six months that she truly only knew half of them now. The new ones were young, two of them even born in the new millennium and others born in the 1990s. It was unusual to see members of the Assembly as young as or younger than her own children, but for them to be in the cabinet was stunning. They treated her with reverence, but at the same time lacked the complete loyalty her earlier cabinet had. Scandal, fatigue, defections, and retirements gutted those loyalists, and now as her Labor Minister droned on about the rising unemployment rate, she began to fiddle around with her pen. Then, as most noontime meetings saw, the bells from the Vermilion Street Tower began to ring in the afternoon. Defense Minister James Hughes checked his watch then, the most fickle man in the cabinet clearly a perfectionist. There were times where Nucci saw him as a partner in the Assembly, and other times where he was an adversary. Finally, as each cabinet member finished their last statements, the attention turned back to the Premier, who was herself wishing for her entire premiership to just end. A part of her wanted to give in and allow a challenger from within the party to take the reins, but another part of her wanted to go down fighting.

"Thank you, everyone, for coming here this afternoon," Nucci said, scratching her chin before continuing. "This is the last official cabinet meeting of this session of the Assembly. Tomorrow afternoon the Governor-General on behalf of the King will formally dissolve our parliament for approximately one month, during which many of you will be campaigning. Due to the economic crisis at hand, I will ask that we hold informal meetings three times a week. Although we are running for re-election ourselves, our departments still run and need leadership. We will have one last meeting at the Statehouse tomorrow morning before attending the dissolution and casting our last votes for outstanding laws."

"Madam Premier, I must ask you one question," said Hughes, confident as ever. "Will you be running this election? You have yet to speak of possible challengers within the Democratic Party."

"I will be standing for my constituency this election," Nucci informed him. "I know the Tories will probably be having their first cabinet meeting in this very room a month from now, but I am confident that we might turn the tide."

"And what of RosCom?" asked Mary McKinney, the Energy Minister. She was among the fresh-faced Millennial members of the Assembly who found her way onto the cabinet, although she had been there since May 2029. "There are talks from some of our Democratic Socialist allies in the Assembly of nationalizing RosCom."

"It'll be among the many things up for a vote tomorrow," Nucci replied, sighing. "Do you have thoughts on it?"

"I think it would be a good temporary measure," McKinney explained. "Right now Roseney is facing a massive energy crisis. The largest since the 1970s in fact. We're seeing gas lines in most of our big towns, and I believe we should take one of two options."

"Which are?" Hughes asked her, raising an eyebrow.

"Either we implement rationing, or we cease all export of oil until the crisis has abated," McKinney proposed. "From a practical perspective, rationing makes the most sense. A large part of our revenue comes from our exports with Helvianir and Monteangelo, the latter through our deal with Octan made a few years ago. Rationing will allow us to keep the money flowing into our coffers. From a political perspective, ceasing all of our exports will take the pressure off of our citizens."

"If we implement rationing tomorrow, we'll see even our most fervent supporters abandon us," Nucci shook her head. "But it'll keep the money flowing. Regardless, we need to keep the far-left in line. Tomorrow I will put it up for a vote to nationalize RosCom. Mary, get me the votes for it. Work with the Chief Whip. When the nationalization passes, I want you to cease all exports of our oil until this crisis comes to an end. We cannot burden our constituents any more than they already are."

"There may be some push back from the Liberals," Hughes interjected, eyeing some of the Liberal ministers in the room who moved in their seats uncomfortably. "I speak as a proud Democrat to the Liberals here. This will be a temporary measure. It is beneficial to our national defense. Our people will be united, and a united public is beneficial to our nation."

*******
June 25, 2031
Aurora, Roseney
Roseney Statehouse


The chamber of the Assembly was filled to the brim with its members, staffers, pages, and reporters as the last few votes were going through. It was planned for a dissolution at twelve o'clock, but now it was nearly seven o'clock at night, the debates going on into the evening with the announcement of a nationalization vote. The Conservative Party under Harriet Alvaredo was livid, using every parliamentary move to block the vote only to fail. Just a few moments after the debates ended, a final vote was held. It was a razor-thin vote, with only one member of the Assembly deciding the matter and making it 34-33 in favor. Premier Monica Nucci then met quietly with the Speaker of the Assembly, who was also the Lieutenant Governor-General, to meet with the Governor-General to have the government dissolved until the next election one month from that day. Returning to the chamber, Nucci announced the dissolution to booing from the Tories and even some Liberals in her own government. Then, as reporters and observers began to file out, she announced that as of that evening, no more oil will be shipped to overseas clients, and that until the energy crisis is resolved the oil will remain to keep Roseney afloat. The already divisive nature of the Assembly then appeared to explode as shouting matches broke out and one Democratic Assemblyman punched a Tory Assemblywoman in the face. Nucci was escorted out by security along with her cabinet, some of whom voted against the measure.

"God dammit," Nucci swore as she was rushed into her car. Hughes followed, quiet as ever. "That was brutal."

"It's the right decision in the end," Hughes counseled, the car door closing behind him. "The people will be thankful, especially with the alternative being rationing. A lot of older voters have bad memories of the 1970s."

"I know," Nucci agreed. "I lived through it. I was a kid then. We need to expound upon this to the people. The choice was nationalization or rationing."

"What about our clients?" Hughes asked her. "I believe they found out when we voted?"

"The Foreign Minister is meeting right now with Helvianir's representatives," Nucci confirmed. "Monteangelo and Octan is more difficult. We might allow shipments to return to normal for Helvianir in a week or two, but Monteangelo and Octan for the time being will have to wait."

"I'm sure they will," Hughes nodded, agreeing.
 
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#2
June 25, 2031
Haydée, Monteangelo
64th floor, Octan Tower


Ian Carmichael, CEO of the Octan Petroleum Company stares out over the city of Haydée, over the harbour and the airport as he watches the occasional light of planes landing against the dusky, overcast sky. His day had been occupied since the announcement came that the small island nation of Roseney would cease the transfer of oil to his company in violation of their contract. Worse still, he found himself snubbed by the Roseneyan government which refused any contact, and not just because the two islands were 11 hours and half a world away from each other. While perhaps the decision was rash, he awaited a response from the Monteangeline government, having liaised with an old friend in the Stadi a few hours ago.

One of his aides entered the room, empty-handed. Ian turned away from the window to face him.

"Any word from either the Monteangeline or the Roseneyan government?"

"No word at the moment," the aide replied, "But the VP had dinner with the district assessore who mentioned you might expect a call tonight."

Carmichael nodded, impatient, but assured that the government would take an active role in the issue. While Octan rigs off the western coast of Punth would maintain the supply of petroleum to Monteangelo in the meantime, he knew that a threat to the supply on the eastern coast would alarm the government and as the Roseneyans were in clear violation of their contract the issue should be equally clear-cut.

Somewhat placated by the information, the CEO dismissed the aide for the evening and settled at his desk, waiting for the call.

*******​

June 27, 2031
Arbon Harbour, Monteangelo
Command Deck of the GMC007 Galdin


After breaking the seal on the manilla envelope in his hands, 38-year-old Daniïl Erisär, suotamiral (sub-admiral) of the Monteangeline Armeda and commander of the Northeastern Marine Command, eagerly withdrew the missive and read over his orders.

"Culeir trenta a trenta-tschintg navs ed arriv a ventg-duos kilometrus sud-ost da Roseney. Tegnair tiu li avant urdens avagnärs. Far bun damai tge lutgar. Questa tema es soura la istorgia da Octan."

Taking note of further details below, Erisär crossed to his terminal and hailed the decks of thirty-three vessels within his command group and issued pertinent orders for the vessels to make ready to leave for Roseney, their rendezvous point set for twenty-two kilometres southeast of the island. With his own orders transmitted, the suotamiral looked to marshal his own crew as they set out to engage in some gunboat diplomacy.

The previous morning the Monteangeline government had issued an ultimatum to Roseney to open negotiations with Octan. With no apparent response into the next evening, the Stadi and Armeda made a joint addendum stating that Monteangelo would be ready to defend its interests and rights should the need arise...
 
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#3
June 28, 2031
Llanelli, Roseney
Monica Nucci's Home


The small town of Llanelli was bursting with activity when word arrived of Monteangelo's ultimatum to Roseney's government. Returning home for what was expected to be a brutal snap-election, Monica Nucci was surprised to know that her own seat was up for grabs according to the most recent polls. She had been in the Assembly for almost fifteen years, and in almost none of those elections she faced a challenge. Now in less than a month she will probably be forced to retire. The Democratic Party reluctantly allowed her to remain in the leadership the previous night, with no challenger daring to rise to the occasion. In reality it was clear that nobody wanted to take on the responsibility and lose on August 7 by a massive margin. Thankfully the newspapers ignored the annual Democratic Party Conference and instead spoke about the growing crisis with Monteangelo and Octan. Her decision to cease the foreign trade of oil and natural gas was well received in most quarters, but the Tories rightfully warned of consequences. It was one of these consequences that led to Defense Minister James Hughes and Energy Minister Mary McKinney to be sitting in her living room along with core members of her own staff. The Foreign Minister was still on his way, having to travel all the way from Nantes on the Atemeraw Peninsula to see her.

"So tell me, what's the matter?" Nucci asked the two ministers. "Is there a serious chance this can turn into a war?"

"There is always that possibility," Hughes told her. "Monteangelo is a large naval power. I've visited once or twice and I can tell you that their fleet is nothing to laugh at."

"I believe that war should be stopped," McKinney advised. She was the one member of the Green Party in the Assembly, and her partnership kept the majority intact. Her district was next to Llanelli, making her the first to arrive. "Hughes can tell you this as much as I could. Their fleet can smash us."

"Their fleet left Arbon Harbour yesterday," Hughes informed her. "We have no definitive number but my my estimation they left with a force that is half of our entire population."

"Then we need to turn back on the oil and implement rationing," McKinney said, an urgency in her voice. "We cannot withstand an attack like that."

"We can, and we will," Hughes ignored McKinney, instead looking to Monica Nucci. "Remember the Devereaux Crisis? It was back in 1946. Insui sent a large fleet to secure Devereaux, but our fleet and Helvianir's stopped them. I believe we can repeat this move. Monteangelo has no air force to speak of. We have an advantage there."

"What do you propose, James?" Nucci asked him. "We go to war?"

"Mobilize our armed forces," Hughes said. "Send our Foreign Minister to Helvianir. Arm whatever security ships RosCom has, and put the Roseney Marines in our oil rigs to defend them if needed. Bring back the Home Guard, arm our citizenry, make ourselves as unappetizing to Monteangelo as possible. I can guarantee they'll turn back at the first sight of a fleet blocking them from our waters, and if they get in the first fight for an oil rig will be disastrous."

"I must highly advise against this," McKinney again advised. "Going to war will mean nothing but ruin."

"Order the mobilization," Nucci sighed, scratching her forehead. "Do all that you have proposed. I want the Foreign Minister sent to Monteangelo as well. Maybe we can resolve this sooner rather than later. McKinney, do you have a problem with this?"

"If you go through with this, Madam Premier, then you will not have the Green Party's support in this coming election," McKinney sighed, realizing what she was doing. "You already lost most of the Liberal Party, and the Tories are energized. You will have my resignation from this cabinet on your desk in the morning."

*******​

June 29, 2031
Aurora, Roseney
14 Haddock Street


Admiral Thomas Johannes and General William Reid sat quietly in Monica Nucci's office at 14 Haddock Street, the home of the Premier of Roseney. The mobilization orders became public last night, with the public unsure of how to react. All reservists were called up to active duty, while drills were being held as Monteangelo's massive armada steamed towards Roseney. Some aerial patrols were already taking place, but so far the fleet was not in sight. Johannes was the overall commander of the Roseney Navy, and knew the risks of war. All of his submarine assets departed from Holbrook and Kensington earlier in the morning, while the Marines were being loaded onto each of the oil rigs. Older weapons were also being placed on RosCom's transport and patrol ships, preparing them for combat. General William Reid meanwhile oversaw the mobilization of the Army and Air Force, the latter's commanding officer currently overseas and flying home to help with the crisis. Defense Minister James Hughes entered into the office first, taking his seat, followed by Monica Nucci herself, exhausted after the short train ride from Llanelli to Aurora. A large map of Roseney was on the wall, as were positions of some of the submarines.

"What do you have for me?" Nucci asked right away.

"Support for the war has been downplayed by McKinney's resignation this morning," Hughes answered. "By my count, only 53% of Roseneyans support our fighting. I'm certain that will change once they see our forces spring to action."

"What do you have, Johannes?" Nucci turned to the Admiral. "Are we ready?"

"Right now we have seven of our best submarines fanning out into the ocean, ready to sink any ship coming in from Monteangelo," Johannes replied. "A dozen RosCom patrol craft are being refitted with older weapons right now, and two dozen of our surface ships are being deployed as well. They're small, but if we use them right they can pack a big punch."

"What about air defenses, Reid?" Nucci turned to the General, evidently more worried about being invaded than the naval conflict. "Can we withstand them?"

"Monteanglo does not have an air force that we know of," Reid spoke honestly and clearly. "Right now we have six thousand men deployed in key positions around the island. Our old Great War forts are being manned once again, and our air defenses around the island are being reactivated. Between that and Johannes' three thousand sailors, I think we might win this thing yet. The Home Guard is also being reactivated. So far we've had hundreds of volunteers between Ketansett and Elizabeth. I expect as word spreads more will join. Mostly older men, but younger men who are not fit enough to join the Army are signing up too. We're building three training camps to get the Home Guard ready in a week for each round of recruits. I expect by this time next month we might have five to six thousand Home Guard members."

"Good," Nucci smiled. "I would also like for our police departments to be involved too. Get in some extra training should there be an invasion of some kind."

"Yes, ma'am,' Reid nodded. "We'll be on it right away."
 
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#4
July 13, 2031
Aquilonem Ocean
24 km (15 mi) SE of Roseney


Suotamiral Daniïl Erisär watches through his binoculars as the D011 Tscharescha glid into position, completing the formation of ships ready to approach Roseney. As the deadline for the ultimatum has passed, he has orders to bring the naval group forward and approach the island with the aims of either forcing the nation into negotiations or forcibly taking control of the RosCom oil rigs.

The formation completed yet concerned with the number of unexpected blips holding position several kilometres ahead. the commander signalled a subordinate and gave the order for the fleet to advance cautiously. A "Schi tgef," and a minute or so later he felt the lurch of the ship moving forward and reentered the bridge, keeping his eyes toward the horizon before being addressed by a radar officer.

"Tgef, nus avens bler navs hassier a'avant. Nus urdens?" the officer called out.

"Des navs? Avanssär ed tegnair fö per il temps," the suotamiral replied.

With the blips on the radar identified as enemy vessels, the entire bridge became sombre as they nevertheless continued forward. The hostiles on the horizon appeared to be numerous small vessels, holding position just within Roseneyan territorial waters and refusing to be hailed. When the Monteangeline fleet closed within two kilometres, ripples of small arms fire began to emanate from the enemy patrol craft. With confirmed contact, sirens sounded and the AGS systems were readied aboard each ship as the vessels acquired speed, pushing into Roseneyan waters.

Initially ignoring the machine gun rounds coming from the small craft, the Monteangeline fleet was taken by surprise by mortar and explosive rounds which began whirling toward the ships as they closed within half a kilometre, evasive actions were ordered and several AGSs fired upon explosive-bearing hostile craft, blowing them out of the water. Clearly outmatched, the small vessels began to rout.

*******
Half an hour later...
Roseneyan Territorial Waters
19 km (12 mi) from Roseney


Taking stock of the situation, the suotamiral received status reports from the 32 other vessels under his command and began his after action report.

"Fö (RosCom?) hassier tramettair, fö dies, bler hassiërs miert,teggnair li avant urdens avagnärs."

Looking out at the distant ships under his command, by the naked eye he could distinguish smoke emanating from an Imperatuor-class destroyer as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze caused by a projectile piercing through her deck. Perhaps it was a mistake bringing the older warships, but even from the command deck of his 287 m long heavy cruiser, he was reassured in his sense of invincibility. Roused from his thoughts by a lieutenant, the commander returned to the bridge for a response to his report, having held position in the face of a retreating enemy.

However, in place of a response from the Armeda high command, he received another report from the radar officer, "Avions hassier entrer, tgef."

The prospect of an enemy airstrike was unexpected. While it was acknowledged that Roseney had a capable air element, the tacticians had not anticipated a strike; at least not so immediately. With sirens sounding once again and countermeasures armed, the commander watched on the positioning display as the airborne blips moved toward the fleet. As the first blips entered within range of the fleet the suotamiral relaxed his grip on his armrest as several blips fell from the map, only to tighten his grip once again as the roar of a jet sounded in his ears, followed by an explosion as an ADS projectile neutralized a charge which was barrelling towards the front deck of the ship. Dismayed, the commanding officer's eyes tracked the blips circling around and flying back to the island, somewhat fewer in number, yet he frowned.

"Na bun prest betg," he thought gravely to himself: "Not nearly good enough."

This moment of contemplation was equally broken as the comms officer turned in his chair, announcing to the room in a shrill voice: "Il Cipressa es cuolp, sever!": "The Cipressa was hit, critically."

The bridge seemed simultaneously sombre and frantic as the tacticians deployed support ships and tallied potential casualties. The Cipressa was another Imperatuor-class ship and as reports from the other vessels came in, it became apparent that it wasn't the only ship to suffer an ADS failure, though it appeared to be the only vessel which was critically damaged in the attack. As the dust settled once again, Erisär contemplated compiling a second after action report immediately but reconsidered, instead requesting the comms officer connect a call directly with the Admiral's Office while beginning preparations for the next phase of the operation: the appropriation of the RosCom oil rigs.

As he waited for the call to be connected, he sat in contemplation once again, shocked that the Roseneyans had dared to oppose them militarily, that they had managed to derelict a ship, and dumbfounded that they might believe they could win, that it had come to this...
 
#5
July 13, 2031
Aurora, Roseney
14 Haddock Street


The capital of Aurora was dark that night. Word of the Monteangelo Navy's arrival was expected soon, and for that reason most lights around the capital were turned off. The Home Guard and Army patrolled the streets when word of spies spread among civilians. In reality they were there to keep the people comfortable. Seeing men and women in uniform brought a sense of calm, although lights from the basements and corner pubs can still be seen. Monica Nucci watched all of this from her personal office on the top floor of 14 Haddock Street, the lights from the Roseney Statehouse still lit just hours after her historic address to the Assembly. For the first time in her political career even the Tories cheered at her patriotic platitudes. Harriet Alvaredo of course was enigmatic as usual, but even she broke out in applause at the end. It was that woman who would likely replace her in a month who sat across from her, sipping a beer that was brought over from the pub across the street. Nucci was herself sipping a glass of red wine, a half-empty box of takeout food sitting on her desk. She remembered the old days when Alvaredo was a close friend, the two entering the Assembly during the same year and still facing the sexism that they thought died out decades ago. For the last two years their friendship turned to enmity, but now in a moment of crisis the two were brought back together.

"It's been two weeks," Monica point out before she finished off her glass of wine. "How is the election faring for you?"

"I know for a fact I'll be sitting in that chair in three weeks," Harriet grinned. "You really fucked up with McKinney. The Greens are desperate enough to end the war that they'll coalition with me come August."

"Yeah, we fucked that up," Monica admitted. "You know, I've actually been more at peace the last few days. Yeah, the initial panic of a snap-election did exist, but now I'm calm."

"We call that acceptance," Harriet said before taking a sip of beer. "Still though, a war? I never imagined it."

"Hughes was a bit excited over the prospect," Monica shrugged. "Never liked the man, to be honest. If there is one upside, it's that you don't have to deal with him anymore. He'll probably lose his seat in August."

"If we lose this war he'll lose his seat," Harriet sighed. "Is he so delusional he thinks we can win?"

"Apparently," Monica said, refilling her glass. "We're considering reopening trade of oil and gas with Helvianir. Ease the global reaction to the crisis. It might delay a possible engagement."

"The ultimatum was up yesterday," Harriet pointed out. "Remember? You gave a whole speech and everything?"

"Yeah, yeah," Monica stood up, looking out the window. Haddock Street had a beautiful view of the capital, and she was able to see as far out as Fairhaven and even Portsmouth. Tonight the darkness allowed her to see even further, the light of ships in the night continually bringing oil reserves into the country, and others going out to bring troops to the rigs. "You know, if I resigned right now from my seat, you'd be able to form a government right now. I considered resigning a few weeks ago. Hell, I have a signed letter on my desk for when the inevitable happens."

"Hold out until the election," Harriet suggested. "It'll give the voters a chance to judge you. Look at your policies honestly. And it won't waste any talent in your party."

"Maybe," Monica nodded. She was interrupted by the room shaking slightly. Harriet stood up and looked out the window, seeing the barrier islands of St. David's and further out what appeared to be muzzle flash and explosions in the water. "God, they're here."

"Madam Premier," said a young naval officer as he allowed himself in. "We've engaged Monteangelo fifteen miles to the southeast. Small arms fire mostly, and they have returned fire."

"My God," Harriet was shocked, continuing her stare out the window. "How bad is it?"

"Most of their fleet is about to enter our waters," the officer said. "You're needed in the War Room, Madam Premier."

"Of course," Monica nodded. "Harriet, you can follow along. We'll have the Shadow Cabinet at the first briefing in the morning."

*******
July 13, 2031
RNS Ashton
19 km (12 mi) from Roseney


Admiral Thomas Johannes grinned as he heard the Roseney Air Force aircraft turn around to return home after a successful attack on Monteangelo's fleet. Looking on from the nation's flagship on the engagement between the small RosCom ships and the enemy fleet, and then the airstrikes that saw the loss of a handful of pilots, he could not help but feel a sense of pride as he saw a large explosion rising from one of the enemy's larger ships in the distance. The first blood was shed in this war, and it was inflicted by Roseney. He would be the first Roseneyan naval officer to command a fleet in battle since the old days, and his sense of pride only grew when he saw to the west the island he called home lighting up for the night. Air raid sirens began to go off in the capital as towns began to wake up in the middle of the night to watch the battle. Great beams of light lit up the sky over the island, a precautionary measure though, as Monteangelo had no true aerial power. Nonetheless it was a beautiful site to see. Looking back to the enemy fleet, he saw that they seemed to stop, or at least slow down as they reacted to the critical hit to one of their ships.

"Sir, the Premier has been informed of the engagement," said Lieutenant Amelia Bowles as she placed down the telephone. "I also have news on Operation Hibernia."

"What is it, Lieutenant?" Johannes turned around to ask. "Are they ready?"

"Farpoint is ready," Bowles said with a faint smile. "The Marines are on and ready to defend. High Command says they'll be finished deploying in an hour."

"Good," Johannes nodded. "Tell me, when was the last time we sank a big ship like that?"

"I have no idea," Bowles looked out to see, in the darkness seeing another explosion and a fire. "Before I was born, certainly."

"Sir, orders?" asked another officer, who was responsible for communicating with the makeshift fleet. "They'll be on the move again soon."

"Begin a slow withdrawal," Johannes ordered the man. "Open fire with all weapons as we go. I want to take a few bastards down to the bottom of the sea if we can. Order our coastal batteries to open fire as well. Few will get near them, but it'll tell them we know where they are. As for our submarines, inform them to hold until otherwise ordered."

"Yes sir," the officer grinned before relaying the orders through his microphone. Within seconds, the entire fleet began to open fire, illuminating the night sky. A few moments later, the even louder coastal batteries went off, explosions rising in the distant waters. None were going to hit, but it was beautiful. "Orders relayed, sir."

"Good, good," Johannes nearly clapped. "Make the withdrawal orderly. Tell the Marines to be ready for anything. I want our RosCom ships back at the rigs to refuel before going out again for another raid."

"Yes, sir," the officer saluted before again relaying the orders.

*******
July 13, 2031
Aurora, Roseney
Beacon Hill


William Anderson was woken up by the air raid sirens and the lights that seemed to outshine anything he had ever seen. It was followed by shouting from the Home Guard, who quickly took up positions in the town's streets. His wife, Charlotte, was already awake and blowing smoke out of the open windows, looking out to the sea where fire was rising up in the distance. His young children ran into the room to see as well, young Henry and Tricia eager to see the war. He knew now that work was cancelled for tomorrow just as it was every day for the last week or so. The impending war was bad for business, and now it began in earnest. Standing up, he looked to see for himself the damage. A part of him wanted to join up for the Home Guard, the economics professor hoping to serve his country, but his children needed protecting. Holding on to his wife's hand, the coastal batteries opened up, creating a sound louder than anything he had ever heard before in his life.

"We're sending the kids to my sister in Kensington," William told his wife. "They need to be safe during this whole mess."

"I know," Charlotte agreed. "I'll get them packed up and ready to go in the morning."

"Go with them," William suggested to her. "This war will be short, whether we win or lose."

"But what about you?" Charlotte asked him, the two moving out of earshot from their children. "If we go, you need to go."

"I'll join the Home Guard," William said, surprised that he even would suggest such a thing. "I'll never be able to forgive myself as a Roseneyan if I don't join in. Even in that capacity I'll be helping the real men and women serving."

"Very well," Charlotte reluctantly agreed. "We'll leave tomorrow. Please, visit us."

"I will," William smiled. "I promise."
 
#6
July 14, 2031
Farpoint Oil Rig
Near Roseney


Colonel Tracy Gibbs of the Roseney Marines stood quietly in the main office of the furthest oil rig from the coast of Roseney. Called Farpoint, it was one of the largest and modern oil and gas rigs in history, engineered by the best in Aurora and constructed in her native Holbrook. As a young girl she could remember seeing the flames shooting out at night for a purpose she never understood, but now she could look back home. In the distance there was Roseney, the sun setting to the west behind it. The lights of Aurora, Holbrook, and Portsmouth were beginning to go dark to avoid a possible air raid, and there was the newest part of the horizon that signaled the crisis she was a part of. To the east and south sat Monteangelo's fleet, the hulking wreck of one of their ships still in the water, while to the north and west sat Roseney's, smaller but still nonetheless baring teeth. At Holbrook she could still see the shapes of Helvianir's ships, although they had not moved since the crisis started a few weeks ago. Growing up in that town Gibbs knew a lot of Helvianirian families, mostly children of sailors who went to school with her. Next to her was Captain Daniel Hatley, her new adjutant after Major Mark Olson was reassigned earlier in the day to a nearby oil rig, the next half a mile away.

"They're coming," said Hatley, pointing his binoculars to Monteangelo's fleet. "Attack craft it looks like. Small. Heading our way."

"Get ready!" Gibbs shouted, walking out of the office onto a metallic balcony that ran around the perimeter of the rig. Marines were all along it, some with mortars and others aiming their rifles and other weapons towards the enemy fleet. "Mortars, be ready to fire when they pass your mark! Alpha Team, Beta Team, go down below and secure the landing area!"

"Roger!" shouted one of the commanders as his team began to go inside the rig.

"Ma'am," Daniels said as he joined Gibbs. "Admiral Johannes is sending out the RosCom ships to intercept."

"Good," Gibbs nodded. "What else? You look worried."

"NBC is sending out a news helicopter to cover the attack," Daniels informed her, pointing to the sky. "They're ordered to keep a safe distance away."

"Shit," Gibbs sighed before turning to her Marines. "That chopper out there is ours! Anyone who hits it I'll kill myself!"

As the helicopter began to travel along a semi-circle western-northern path to cover the battle, the enemy attack craft came closer. The RosCom ships arrived just in time, firing small arms and grenades at the enemy ships. One of them seemed to take damage and turned back to the safety of the enemy's fleet, but the rest continued to move on. Two RosCom ships were hit badly and limped back along with the others to Roseney's main fleet. It seemed to lessen the load of the incoming attack force. Gibbs motioned for the mortars to fire as the ships crossed the limit line. Massive plumes of water burst out of the ocean, each one getting closer to their target. One enemy attack craft was hit, forcing a few of the enemy soldiers to abandon ship before it exploded. Another made a sharp turn to avoid getting hit, only to capsize. Then the mortar stopped and the Marines fired rocket launchers, more accurate and deadly. They also fired rifles and other weapons, hoping to take out individual soldiers. The attackers were still coming out in force, but they seemed weaker, and the men's morale picked up. Some were singing, while others were just screaming at the top of their lungs. Then, the enemy reached a point where they were able to disembark at the bottom of the rig.

Gibbs and Daniels ran down with the rest of the men to join in the defense. Gibbs saw three soldiers leaving their ship and she opened fire with her rifle, killing one of them before Daniels took out a knife and stabbed the other. The battle on the lower level transformed into an all-out brawl, knives being used to stab or cut into an enemy, or pistols being used to avoid setting off the rig. Some of the workers even charged in, kept safe in the interior only to bring out their large wrenches and other machines to help out. Some Roseneyans were killed, as were some Monteangelines, others were captured as well. The remnants fled onto their small boats and began to flee, returning to the enemy as mortars began to open fire once more. Cheering broke out, followed by singing of the national anthem. Although they could not see it, Roseneyans across the country witnessed the enemy retreating from the rig as well. Roseney just beat in battle one of the world's greatest naval powers, although Gibbs knew deep down that they could throw more in if they wanted to. As the celebrations died down, everyone returned to their positions.

"Contact Johannes," Gibbs ordered as she returned to the balcony, leaning on the railing as the last mortars fired at the retreating ships. "Tell him we have prisoners of war. Ask to have one of those RosCom ships sent over to pick them up and bring them ashore. I want our wounded brought as well."

"Yes, ma'am," Daniels nodded. "I must say that was a pretty good fight we put up."

"It's been too long since we've fought like this," Gibbs agreed, nodding proudly. "Send the-"

"Colonel Gibbs!" shouted a young man inside the office. "We have incoming! Enemy missile!"

"What?" Gibbs looked up, seeing a great streak across the sky. "Everyone down!"

The Marines scattered. A handful jumped off the rig into the water just as the missile slammed into the rig, cutting deep into the structure before exploding. It was a small explosion at first and Gibbs saw smoke and fires rising out of half of the superstructure, but then the entirety of Farpoint erupted in a great ball of fire. Gibbs and Daniels and a few others were thrown off into the ocean, the former with serious burns and the latter a broken leg. Devastating one of the pylons, the structure then collapsed on the soldiers near the bottom, while civilians on the inside and protected from possible fighting were burned alive. Several moments passed, Roseneyans across the country watching their victory turn to ash before them. And then the rig exploded, shaking the ground in Aurora and Holbrook and even shattering windows in Ketansett and Portsmouth. The news helicopter was hit by debris, the two pilots, cameraman, and reporter being killed as it slammed into the water in flames. Another news helicopter picked up the crash from a few hundred yards away. The explosion continued down the pipes deep into the ocean as what little fail safes remained cut off the oil from leaking into the water. Then, one final massive explosion erupted again from the rig before it tilted over and fell into the water, crushing many of the survivors attempting to swim away.

Gibbs watched in horror from the water while Daniels attempted to drag her onto a piece of wreckage along with another Marine who was doing the sign of the cross before taking out rosaries from his pocket. The anger from Roseney was great at that moment, as seconds later the coastal defenses went wild. The fleet too opened up, although few shots made it close to the enemy. Fighter jets screamed past the rig and fired at the enemy fleet as well, only to pull away, not to see if they hit true or even were close to the enemy. As the sun set on the island, slipping west, the streets of the towns and villages were filled with people donating to the war effort, buying war bonds, or signing up for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Home Guard. Fishermen began to arm themselves as well, some vowing revenge. Any Roseneyan who opposed the war was now in a small minority, as public opinion shifted within minutes to being total support for defeating the enemy of Monteangelo. Gibbs wept, knowing that many who had been under her command for years were gone as Daniels tended to her burns.
 
#7
July 14, 2031
3 km from the Farpoint
Command Deck of the GMC007 Galdin


Suotamiral Erisär seethed as he paced in silence across the bridge of his flagship, watching the positional display readout the failing attack on the Farpoint oil rig. The deck was sombre as technicians whispered and muttered information to each other; the prevailing sound was the radio traffic of the four marine strike teams, two of which had failed to even reach their target. While the objective appeared to be much better protected than anticipated, the naval group's tacticians believed that the forces deployed; 4 patrol boats, each loaded with 28 marines; should have been capable of securing the objective. Even so, the assault under moonlight devolved into a debacle. With no alternative, the field commander had ordered a withdrawal.

Nevertheless, the Monteangeline forces had orders to appropriate commensurate RosCom assets to compensate for the violated contract. Angered by the resiliency of the Roseneyan defenders, Erisär barked to an operations coordinator:

"Nos forza es lontan ventiraivel da il puoz?"

"Schi tgef, ellas tgi puder," the officer replied.

Having confirmed that the remaining forces had retreated from the rig, Erisär ceased his pacing and issued a new order; one that wasn't within the original operational parameters.

"Fö sura puoz. Spedir bun prest per il romper": "Fire on the rig. Send enough to destroy it."

The bridge fell silent, but after the suotamiral repeated and confirmed his command, there was a spur of activity. AGS turrets unsheathed themselves on the Galdin and silo doors opened on the two adjacent ships. Issuing forth from the three vessels came plumes of fire as projectiles flew onward, colliding with the Farpoint in a massive fireball, backlighting the retreat of the two remaining patrol boats.

Before the impact of the event was absorbed by the bridge of the Galdin, Erisär addressed his crew. They would be rolling forward, bringing the fleet slowly around, encircling the island and moving more decisively on the remaining rigs. The island of Roseney is to be encircled and blockaded until the enemy can be coaxed into negotiations.

*******​

July 25, 2031
Around Roseney


The slow crawl of the Monteangeline fleet around the island of Roseney had been more taxing than expected, though by this point in the campaign Monteangeline tacticians frequently used the mantra 'expect the unexpected' when discussing the capabilities of Roseneyan forces. Nevertheless, the slow campaign had succeeded both in securing several rigs and encircling the island, but once again at a higher cost than many believed to be necessary. The slow pace of the advancing fleet, while intimidating, made the fleet susceptible to air raids by the Roseneyan air force and while the raids weren't necessarily sustainable they were taking a toll on the aged Imperatuor-class destroyers deployed by the Monteangelines as many continued to suffer defective ADS systems while the armour on the top decks was often insufficient to protect from the charges and missiles projected by the Roseneyan jets leading to the derelicting of another vessel. All the while the increasingly smaller Roseneyan fleet continued to harass the Monteangeline warships when possible, though with much less success.

As the last week of July came, Monteangeline forces secured an even formation around the island, completing an effective shroud of AA cover, severely hampering Roseney's efforts in the air, but evidently not breaking their spirit. Among the tacticians of the Monteangeline forces a new notion that landing would be required began to prevail in planning sessions. On July 25th, the plan for a landing on St. David's island is devised with the initial manoeuvres of the operation to be undertaken before the end of the month.

*******​

July 25, 2031
Ascher, Monteangelo
Ascher Yards Development Centre


Commodore Sera Avenzell held the handset of her office phone as it rested on the receiver, waiting for the call to dispatch her after receiving an emailed missive. Commodore Avenzell was a young senior officer in the Monteangeline Armeda, but was entrusted with the operation of the nation's most prestigious design and development bureau responsible for the development of all Monteangeline warships. Well-liked by the high brass of the Armeda throughout her career as an officer, she had been instructed to await reassignment and she suspected that this unexpected event had to be related to the developing debacle off the coast of Roseney. Domestically, the ongoing incident was of great concern, with initial news of the deployment coming with a lukewarm reception, only to be met with outrage when reports of casualties were brought forth to the public. While the Admiral's Office had remained relatively silent thus far, Avenzell was certain that there had to be concerns both regarding the escalation and tactical proceedings of the operation.

Lost in her thoughts, she smiled as she wondered if she would be relieving Suotamiral Daniïl Erisär of his command, or simply leading an investigation of the incident. Either possibility would be a boon for her career, but her thoughts were interrupted when the phone rang.

"Schi, Avenzell. Schi, tgef. Schi. Jau vol part uss cun uin fregattè a vies urdens. Schi, bun per parteir uss. Grazia fich, Amiral, entelgi."
 
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#8
July 15, 2031
Aurora, Roseney
Roseney State House


The golden dome atop the Roseney State House glistened in the mid-summer evening as the sun began to set over the island. The island nation had just been at war for only a week, but already the sense of victory that lasted up until the previous night vanished. Now, the island was in mourning with the greatest single loss of life in combat for nearly a century. Roseneyans had fought before in conflicts overseas, volunteers who would take part in Helvianir's various military conflicts or serve in peacekeeping missions, and casualties did go above the number so far in this war, but never so quickly or in one incident such as the Farpoint Massacre as the media dubbed the incident. Thirty Roseneyan Marines and civilians were dead. What few survivors made it out were prisoners of war in the hands of the enemy. In the Aurora Commons in front of the State House, thirty coffins covered by the Roseneyan flag sat in three lines of ten. Patriotic bunting covered the State House, although a red ribbon flew from each flag. The Marine Honor Guard stood at attention while Premier Monica Nucci went to each coffin, laying the Order of Roseney on each one. Over three thousand gathered to watch the ceremony, with a choir standing on the steps of the State House and waiting for the ceremony to end. In the distance the sounds of fighting did little to stop the ceremony from taking place, although some parents took their younger children to their homes.

As she finished placing the Order of Roseney on the final coffin, she did the sign of the cross and knelt to pray for a few moments before standing back up and approaching a podium that stood at the edge of the massive crowd. Her approval ratings were at a high at this moment, but she knew that the stinging defeat at the Farpoint Massacre would doom her and the Democratic Party to defeat in a few weeks. Assemblywoman Harriet Alvaredo made a point of shadowing Nucci, herself praying before moving to a seat behind where the Premier was to sit. Alvaredo would likely become the next Premier come August 7, but for the time being the war united the political leaders. The surrogates of the party would worry about winning the campaign, but the leadership would remain in Aurora for the duration of the war. The valuable Air Force saw its aircraft moved into empty coal mines, with makeshift airfields being formed on the highways. The Navy itself evacuated the main naval bases, sending the submarines past the enemy fleet and into the ocean while the larger ships were sent west to North Punth's coast until further orders. As the crowd quieted down, Nucci looked to see many signs protesting the war, although most looked like patriots who backed fighting, especially after last night.

"Thank you all for coming here, everyone," Nucci began, looking solemnly at her assembled countrymen and women. "Tonight, we come to consecrate the holy dead of the fighting last night. Thirty brave Roseneyan men and women serving in uniform and rig workers serving their nation as civilians lost their life in the most tragic day of our nation's history. In this war, we fight not just over resources, not just over wealth, not just over national pride, but for our rights as a nation, and our rights to be a free and independent people. Eighty-nine years ago, Michael Ashton stood before you in this very spot to announce the founding of our new nation. We are a small nation and a humble people. We do not pride ourselves on our military might or our national wealth. We do not pride ourselves on deeds that saw the loss of millions of lives. We are a humble people with a humble nation. We are a people who love freedom and live by their faith and hard work. These men and women who we are consecrating today did not die for the values of that nation whose fleet sits off our coast, but they died for our values. They died so that we might live to be free, to live in liberty, and to have a just nation."

"Ours is a nation not founded on the beliefs of other nations in the world. We were not founded around the rights of a tyrant to take away those of his subjects. We were not founded on the ideals of one single faith. We were not founded around a single leader. Roseney was founded on the principle that its people live under rights given to us by God, and a government whose job it is to protect those rights, not to take away those rights. Many are saying around the world that Roseney cannot stand against the might of the Monteangeline Navy. That our days are numbered. That in a few weeks their soldiers and sailors will be marching down this very street and flying their flag on our State House. To them I say that Roseney can never and will never fall from an outside threat, and that even if that happens, Roseney will not be dead. This nation can only be defeated, our rights taken away and denigrated, from within. We must fight then against this threat to preserve that nation, which stands as a beacon of freedom to all around the world."

With the end of the speech, the crowd cheered. A few still protested Nucci, but Alvaredo's standing up earned it a standing ovation. The choir began to sing the anthem, although when God Save the King played few stood or place their hand to their heart, even Nucci and Alvaredo refusing the traditional song of the mother country. The nation was angered by Helvianir's ships still sitting in their base just a few miles away, taking no action even after the Farpoint Massacre. Roseneyan nationalism was a byproduct of the war, and with it, republicanism was on the rise. Before July 2031, that number stood at 12% of the public, but now 30% were in favor of abolishing the monarchy. It was likely that the next general election would include a referendum on the monarchy. When the crowd dispersed, Defense Minister James Hughes approached the Premier, who was just entering her car to head down to 14 Haddock Street, her home. Entering the car to sit next to her, he exhaled and took out a notepad he had on him as well as a few files.

"Our skirmishes did little except to stop a few of their older ships," Hughes reported as the door closed. "They've also stopped our civilian ships from leaving Roseneyan waters. Our island is under an effective blockade out of Aurora."

"Send out our last exports from Kensington and Devereaux," Nucci said as she looked at a map of the current situation. "Their fleet is fanning out in the east?"

"Yes," Hughes confirmed. "We believe they are looking to surround us. It's a good strategy on their part. Admiral Johannes is ordering our remaining ships in the east to head to North Punth until they receive further orders. Our last submarines are also slipping out of their harbors to head out to sea."

"Good," Nucci nodded. "Order all civilian aircraft to cease flying east effective tomorrow morning. Any civilian liners will have to go west. I don't want to risk a civilian liner being shot down."

"What about the evacuations?" Hughes asked her. He seemed hesitant to bring the issue up. "If there is an invasion, it will come from the east."

"For children younger than twelve, offer our services to help parents evacuate them to the countryside," Nucci commanded. "Anyone older than that will simply be moved further inland, but not the countryside, unless they have siblings younger than twelve. Order a mandatory evacuation from Saint David's and Saint George's. Have the Home Guard sent there to defend it. Mobilize the 2nd Regiment to those islands as well. The 3rd Regiment will be in Saint David's town itself. Mine and set up tank traps on the beaches. I want maps made as well of their locations so we can clear them up after the war."

"Yes, ma'am," Hughes nodded, agreeing with the idea. "Any orders on attacks on their ships?"

"Launch attacks at their weakest points," Nucci said. "Completely at your discretion. Cause as much damage with the least cost to us."

*******
July 25, 2031
Kensington, Roseney
Kensington Port Authority


Admiral Thomas Johannes looked out to sea with his binoculars from a balcony at the Port Authority Building in Kensington. The western coast of Roseney was the most familiar part of the country to him, remembering going on his father's boat as a young man and going around the massive peninsulas that made up much of the coast. Far to the west he could see Buckley's Ferry and Hawick, and even further out and barely on the horizon he could see the enemy fleet slowly closing the ring on the island. Further out he could see the last of Roseney's civilian ships escaping the island, filled with goods to reach their destination. The Monteangeline ship closest to tying the noose was in flames, listing to one side as three Roseneyan aircraft flew low to the ground on their way back home. A few RosCom gunboats were close too, opening fire alongside a few fishing boats armed to the teeth with guns. He was never political or into firearms, but Roseneyans were probably among the most heavily armed people in the world, from pistols to old rifles. The Home Guard too was active in Kensington, setting up coastal batteries and anti-aircraft batteries, although the latter was just for show as Monteangelo had no real aerial assets to speak of. Instead, Johannes directed the war to be that a defeat of the Monteangeline Navy meant victory. That was impossible, and so now the directive from James Hughes was to make the war so unpopular in Monteangelo that the fleet would back off.

Although Roseney did better than even Johannes expected, the Navy was shrinking with each and every day. The submarines were unused and out at sea, ready for orders, although a few remained as a last ditch effort of defense should invasion happen. The larger warships were scuttled, captured, or in harbor. Most of them were covered by water-colored tarps or even printed tarps to appear like the Kensington waterfront from the sea. It worked, and few enemy attacks led to any damage to them. In reality, they had little interest as locking in the island meant that the larger ships had no freedom of the seas. Instead, the Marines under Johannes were readying for invasion. Hawick and Quinlon saw increased Marine activity and fortifications, while the Home Guard continued training. They were trained to set up quick fortifications in cities, and some wiser commanders prepared for a guerrilla conflict. Hills and caves were mapped out and camps in the wilderness were prepared. Despite this, a propaganda war kept Roseneyans supporting the conflict. Posters depicting the Farpoint Massacre continued the intense anger towards the Monteangeline Navy, while citizens dipped into their life savings to fund the Home Guard and the military. Johannes disliked that aspect, feeling that Hughes was going too far in that regard, but the war needed to be fought.

"Sir, the enemy has completed the encirclement," Lieutenant John Mara said as he entered Johannes' office, saluting him. "The men can hear the sirens from Aurora."

"I guess it's time then," Johannes sighed. "Start up the sirens. Initiate Operation Limestone."

"Yes sir," Mara nodded as he radioed the orders. The coastal batteries began to take their targets, their movements attracted civilians to witness the first action on the western coast. Air raid sirens screeched through the morning air, sending everyone inside or those few brave idiots to withstand the urgent warning. The Home Guard sprang into action, taking up positions along the harbor and in the town streets. Then, as he waved his hand, Johannes commanded the batteries to fire at the enemy ships. The long range batteries were finally in operation, brought out of mothballs to fight in this war. Although they did not pack as much of a punch, they could go far, and possibly at least cause a distraction to the enemy and make them waste waste fuel. The war was still young, and Johannes knew Roseney had a fighting chance, even if it was a very slim one at best.
 
#9
July 26, 2031
2.5 km from Aurora, Roseney
Command Centre of the GMC007 Galdin


The tacticians aboard the Galdin stood over their operations map the morning after their evening strike, confident in their approach, but nevertheless uneasy over the execution of their plan. The plan came about due to two conditions: firstly that a blockade had failed to coerce the Roseneyans into surrender, and secondly that the long-range coastal defences meant that further approaching the island would be risky, especially with the broad concerns over the ability of the older ships in the fleet. Nevertheless, the fleet was consuming food and as much as the blockade could hurt Roseney, the fleet was more than a week away from a resupply. Furthermore, Suotamiral Erisär had refused to request reinforcements, most preferably in the form of the Century Program warships which had thoroughly proven themselves over the legacy vessels which had been the backbone of the fleet for five decades.

The plan was proceeding thusly: under evening light on July 25, marine teams would land on St. David's Island, in fact a long, thin, and unprotected peninsula across from Aurora. The peninsula would be secured and the following operations would be carried out; firstly after securing the peninsula, the marines would fortify their position with small-scale anti-air devices and then make use of light artillery to defend against potential threats in Aurora's harbour. Secondly, the marines would attempt to sally out and eliminate nearby coastal defences, allowing for warships to close within 1 km of the island's coast for more accurate target acquisition. Victory would hopefully be swift, but the tacticians were already doubtful that landfall and capture of vulnerable land near the capital would coax the Roseneyans into concession.

By this time, the marines had already made landfall on the peninsula by RHIB and had time to set up their conventional artillery pieces and wired AA systems. While it was unlikely that the attack went completely unnoticed, communication with the marine force remained virtually constant with no reports of gunfire.

July 26, 2031
St. David's Island, Roseney
FOB Son Davit


Captain Parsonz was in command of the company-sized force of marines emplaced on St. David's Island. By daybreak, he had been awake already for twenty hours but knew the hardest work was yet to come. Slurping on a lukewarm packet of supplement-infused tea through a straw, he took stock of the island and his subordinates busy at work as the morning sun began to shine on them. Finishing his breakfast, he tossed the biodegradable packet aside and moved to his adjutant, asking if there was any update on enemy troop mobilizations.

The approach over the previous evening had not gone unnoticed, that much was clear from the alarm sirens that had punctuated most of the night. Parsonz suspected that the Roseneyans were taking stock of his forces before engaging. It would be foolish to commit against an unknown force anyways and most of the enemy forces probably remained vigilant at their posts, not knowing the full extent of the operation. Now, as a vanguard force however, the marines would almost certainly face combat, possibly within the next hour.

As he pondered this the captain snapped at a bare-headed marine to put his helmet back on and almost by prophesy, a sentry reported by radio that a contingent of Roseneyans was on approach to their position. Dug in, the marines readied themselves for combat.

July 26, 2031
Levantine Ocean
Wardroom of the F022 Zoss


Commodore Avenzell sat eating breakfast in the relatively cramped wardroom of the Zoss the morning after her evening departure from Ascher en-route to Roseney. Contrary to many navies, the commanding officer of the vessel, in this case Capitàn da Fregattè Mitgel-Andre Friginbatg (OF-4 Frigate Captain), dined with the rest of the officers as opposed to within his quarters. Despite being a senior officer in Monteangelo's Armeda, Avenzell was out of her element, used to operating out of the branch's offices in Ascher for most of her career. While she'd resolved not to admit it for the duration of the journey, this would be the longest stint on a ship she'd had yet; crossing half the world and back again.
 
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#10
July 26, 2031
Saint David's Island, Roseney
3rd Regimental Headquarters


The small village of Ocean Park was someplace most Roseneyans were familiar with. General William Reid once rented a small house near the beach every summer with his children, but now with them as adults he stopped doing it. Now he lived out of uniform in the small town of Brighton to the northeast of Holbrook. It was there in his small house that he learned that Monteangeline forces were at last invading Roseney. It was a common fear at 14 Haddock Street, especially since an invasion would end the war swiftly, and so he had to quickly mobilize the 3rd Regiment to counter what was a common fear. Of the six regiments that made up the Roseneyan Army, three were located immediately in the Kensington-Aurora-Holbrook Corridor, while two were in the south and one in the north. The Marines, a part of the Navy, largely protected the major ports as well. The 3rd Regiment historically defended the Holbrook area, but now it was stationed in the town of Saint David, which the Home Guard now defended. Sitting at the head of a long table in the heart of the Ocean Park Recreation Center, he looked over the map of the entire thin peninsula that jut out into the water and blocked off Aurora from possible enemy attack.

"The enemy landed late last night," said Colonel Joseph West, Reid's adjutant. He pointed to a position on the island about a mile from Ocean Park. "B-Company and C-Company are preparing to attack them right now."

"What about the 4th Regiment?" Reid asked West. "Are they coming down?"

"General Travis is coming here at full speed," West informed him. Reid nodded. "They'll be in the town of Saint David's in about an hour."

"Good," Reid sighed. "At least we won't be cut off that easily. They probably know we're launching an attack on their position right now. Admiral Johannes deployed a few destroyers behind the island to help us out. Has our heavy artillery arrived?"

"They're safe in Aurora," West said. "In range of course. The public has been following the invasion. Thankfully there isn't a panic. Hughes wanted us to attack en-masse but I conveniently left those orders in Holbrook."

"Order a continual barrage for ten minutes," Reid ordered. "Then continue with five minute barrages every ten minutes for two hours. I want to scare the shit out of those bastards."

"Yes, sir," West saluted him. "Anything else?"

"Order the 4th Regiment to set up defenses on the island," Reid sighed. "I don't want any more enemy landings on the island. Any word from Saint George's?"

"The Home Guard has the island secure," West informed him. "We're sending a battalion over in half an hour."

The General nodded before he stood up to look out the window. From the Recreation Center he could see the enemy fleet strung around the island in a blockade. He saw some civilians packing their things to head up the small road to Saint David's town for safety, where they would likely head to their actual homes. So far the only civilian casualties were from RosCom workers on the oil rigs, and he did not want to see families harmed. Then, the ground shook and massive plumes of smoke, sand, grass, and fire rose up in the south where the enemy was stationed. For ten minutes he saw the families panic, although a few younger people who probably were not leaving filmed the bombardment. Above a news helicopter was filming the engagement, while a film crew up the street also prepared to follow the engagement. Rockets then landed on the beach, the Roseney Navy firing whatever it had to prevent an all-out invasion of the nation. The sirens were going off now, to keep people fro staying outside, although most people living in the Aurora-Holbrook area could probably see the battle from their windows.

*******
July 26, 2031
Aurora, Roseney
14 Haddock Street, War Room


The War Room in 14 Haddock Street was located on the third floor of the building, and was afforded a beautiful view of the capital and of the water. In the distance, Premier Monica Nucci saw Saint David's Island stretching out into the water, and the Monteangeline fleet in the distance, blocking off the island from the rest of the world. Then, the room shook as the coastal batteries in the harbor went off, flying for a few seconds in the air before exploding on the island. Car alarms were set off by the explosion a few blocks away, but they were drowned out by the marching. The 1st Regiment, assigned to Bangor, was being redeployed to the capital and entering in formation. On Haddock Street they were met by hundreds of civilians waving flags and cheering in the midst of the fighting. Sighing, Nucci turned around to the room where a handful of military officers were marking the movement of Roseneyan troops and the fighting at Saint David's, while maps on the walls depicted different parts of Roseney and defensive positions. The capital was of importance, with a ring of defenses being set up by the Home Guard, and a map of the sewers and underground transportation system being brought out to secure civilians should battle come. With the invasion, the subject of the day's newspaper, it was more of a reality.

"General Reid has engaged the enemy," Defense Secretary James Hughes said to Nucci as she approached the map of Saint David's. "He's sending two companies to attack their forces. Admiral Johannes is on a train here now to command our forces in the water. The Air Force is also preparing to engage, but we are holding off because we believe they might have anti-air elements with them."

"I want you to order a mandatory evacuation of the children," Nucci ordered Hughes. "Any child in the capital under the age of seventeen is to be sent to the Cambrian Hills until the end of hostilities. I then want you to send a message to Monteangelo informing them of this."

"Contact the enemy?" Hughes asked. "We're using the Cambrian Hills to hide our forces."

"This war will come to Aurora soon," Nucci stated. "If they place their artillery on Saint David's, they can hit the capital and Holbrook. If we inform them, they will know not to hit that area. I want them evacuated within the next few days. Our forces in the Cambrian Hills I want deployed to the capital or Kensington and Holbrook. If we find anyplace to hide them in the south, do so as well."

"Yes, ma'am," Hughes sighed. He nodded to an officer nearby to relay the order. "There is the issue of the election as well."

"What issue?" Nucci asked him. "I know we might lose. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised. But Alvaredo has agreed to retain you until the end of the war if that's what you're asking."

"No, ma'am," Hughes shook his head. "I think we should postpone them until after the war. According to the Constitution you have the right to extend your term in six month increments in the case of an emergency, with a unanimous vote of the Senate. Have the election in February 2032. We'll have won the war by then, and the people can vote for a victorious government."

"Absolutely not," Nucci sat down, taking a sip of tea. "The Tories only agreed to back us in this war on the condition that the election remain in place. If I break the agreement, the Greens will partner with them and we'll face a crisis. Mary McKinney is going to draw the Social Democrats, and we will have fewer seats than the Tories. This is our only chance of winning. Continuing the course. If we win by August 7, we will win the election. If we lose the war, we lose the election."

"Very well," Hughes reluctantly agreed and dropped the subject. "We need to dislodge the enemy from Saint David's. If they get a foothold, this war is lost."
 
#11
July 29, 2031
St. David's Island, Roseney
FOB Son Davit


Fighting along the peninsula had been ongoing for a few days now, but Captain Parsonz was proud of his marines. Despite frequent exchanges of gunfire and bombardments they were holding their forward operating base with relatively few casualties. Yet at the back of his mind, he was deeply concerned that his company would be unable to sally out and take out their targets. Parsonz suspected that Roseney would be capable of sustaining this pressure and if so additional forces would be required to accomplish their mission. Taking stock of his surroundings which had already been dramatically altered since their arrival, Parsonz nodded to himself, fully accepting his situation. He made his way to the comms tent and gave the order for reinforcements to be requested.

July 29, 2031
2.5 km from Aurora, Roseney
Command Centre of the GMC007 Galdin


Suotamiral Daniïl Erisär frowned as the request for reinforcements was relayed to himself with his team of tacticians. Initial estimations had suggested a swifter mobilization for the marines and a slower response from Roseney. While entrenchment was a plan B, it was beyond ideal to the strategists. With intelligence from the ground, however, the situation was significantly altered. St. David's Island remained the most vulnerable part of Roseney's defences as intelligence from other parts of the island confirmed that forces remained stationed on the periphery and their forces which had mobilized to St. David's Island did not diminish their coastal defences.

Reluctantly, the Suotamiral authorized the deployment of a second company of marines to the island as the tacticians weighed the options of simply reinforcing the garrison at FOB Son Davit or landing further along the peninsula, possibly flanking the Roseneyan forces. The first threatened to not be enough, while the second was far more daring. For the next several hours, estimations were redone, simulations were run, and various points were debated before the team arrived at a decision.

July 31, 2031
St. David's Island, Roseney
FOB Son Davit


In the cool morning air, Captain Parsonz looked through his binoculars, trying to discern RHIBs through the mist and darkness as he waited for a company of marines to make landfall beyond the demarcated lines of Roseneyan forces. It wasn't the decision he would have made. Both the flank itself would prove dangerous and his own forces were at risk in their diminished state. He gazed down at the eastern beach as the wounded lay on stretchers, wrapped up to protect them from the falling dew, waiting to be evacuated. Further along the stony beach lay a more tragic sight: rows of body bags also waiting for extraction. While outwardly the captain remained stoic, he felt anger at the loss.

Returning his gaze to the water he remained vigilant for a few minutes longer before giving up as the morning mist began to thicken into a denser fog. While it impeded his own view, the same should be true for the Roseneyan forces and the element of surprise would be a massive boon. The dense fog which afforded his own troops some protection from the enemy could do the same for the fresh marines.

July 31, 2031
Between the Pukhtun Sea and the Sea of Chanplain
XO's Office of the F022 Zoss


The news of casualties on St. David's Island had been leaked to the public the morning that the Zoss approached South Punth at the halfway mark of its journey. While immediately removed from both the repercussions and the site of the conflict, both Avenzell and the crew of the Zoss were anxious considering the negative response of the public to the conflict previously. While the prevailing opinion within the service was that the interests of Monteangelo would have to be secured at any cost, it was becoming increasingly obvious the public opinion diverged on this matter, something which had the potential to escalate, especially in the climate when public support of the government was approaching lows last experience only in the 1960s and 70s, only now with little direction.

Avenzell had another week at sea before rendezvousing with Erisär's fleet. Concerns with the latter's leadership had somewhat abated over the past few days, but an investigation of the proceedings would still be necessary, especially if the conflict remains ongoing by the time the Zoss arrives.
 
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