The Franco Files
Francogard: a city of black, blue, and yellow, a city of pride and power. The city, located on the Planet Bob, inhabits a world full of political turmoil, spies, and war. Nothing will stop those who want to get to the top, and only those who are already there can protect themselves.
Francogard has been the longtime capital of the New Pacific Order, an order that prides itself in its honour, glory, wealth, and technology. Only the best of the best are chosen to join its ranks, and only the best of the best are allowed to enter the holy city of Francogard. Cortath is seated upon the throne of Francogard and rules over all member nations of the Order. He is joined by his Imperial Officers who lurk in the shadows behind the throne. These Officers assist the Emperor in running the great Order, in all aspects of life. Mary is the direct, personal assistants to Cortath, while there are many more Imperial Officers lurking behind the scenes, quietly working the Order, coaxing it through to the next day of life, to the next age on Planet Bob.
The New Pacific Order, by no means, peacefully obtains their objectives; they reach out with brute military strength, destroying all who oppose them, doing whatever it takes to reach the top, but at the same time, they are completely organised, even in the midsts of great wars, never attacking the wrong people, or nations. The perfection was about to end when Francogard was left in ruins after the Armageddon war, since then, however, the city has rebuilt itself back to its previous glorious state, and once again, the city of Francogard shines.
Cortath stepped out of his private chambers early in the morning, before dawn. The great fortress he inhabited had not yet awoken from its uneasy slumber. Another war had just broken out along the border nations, and this was a time of stress for all leaders in the New Pacific Order. The Armageddon war still protruded into everyone's thoughts and actions. The effects of the war were catastrophic for the common people in his holy city of Francogard, and it was his job to make them feel at ease here. He took his cloak from a nearby tenant and strode onto the public address patio. There was a large flat screen TV above the patio, so the public could hear and see his address.
"People and friends of Francogard," he heard his voice boom over the speakers, "it has come to our attention that many of the nations along our borders have come under attack. We know this may be difficult for most, due to the recent conflicts, but we assure you, all is well in the New Pacific Order." It was short and blunt, but Cortath gave many of these simple, short, public service announcements. They seemed to improve Pacifican morale as a whole, and kept the common people moving, doing their jobs.
Cortath stepped back, off the patio. The sun, now rising in the distance, glistened off the brilliant Fort Francogard, its appearance seeming holy in the morning light. He stripped the small cloak from his shoulders, shivering as he did so. It was chilly this morning, unusually so. He simply thought nothing more of it, and stepped into the briefing room, directly adjacent to the common room. The fortress was modeled around the monumental Common Room and nearly every room joined to it, including several patios and Cortath's personal chambers.
The briefing room was loud and smokey from the pipes many of the Emperor's aides smoked while deep in thought. "Good morning, sir," came a feminine voice Cortath found very familiar: it belonged to his Regent, Mary. Names of NPO officials are often shortened, shedding family ties, in order to avoid their families getting hurt by the enemy. Only Cortath, his family, and a few immediate friends knew his full name.
At one time, the New Pacific Order had a monopoly on many of the world's resources, angering many of the other global alliances. This caused many of them to strike against the Order. Generally, however, the other alliances were too weak to destroy the Order: until they banded together. More than 90 alliances banded together, and a force of more than 1,000 nations took on the Order. Surprisingly, the Order lost its unwinnable fight. There reparations were the largest any land on Planet Bob had ever seen before. Many countries were lost, even more left in anarchy, riddled with craters from many large scale encounters with soldiers, tanks, planes, cruise missiles, and even the hell of nuclear weapons had been unleashed upon the order. Cortath had a duty to not let that happen to his people under any circumstance again. As of now, though, only border nations had been attacked, and they are built to withstand such a brute invasion over time. Casualties, however, will be unavoidable, this Cortath knew, as did most members of his High Council.
"Get me a direct link with all nations currently under attack from the enemy forces, Mary," Cortath said, trying to find his Officers in an attempt to figure out what was going on in his Alliance.
"Yes sir," Mary replied, running into the haze of smoke, looking for the chief Communications officer in the cluttered room. Cortath knew this would elevate into a problem beyond which he could simply control; he would need to visit the dreaded Open World Forum. A visit to the OWF would mean taking things very, very public and take the level of the disaster up by several notches, by taking it world wide across the planet Bob.
"Sir, if you'll follow me, I can take you to a private communications room. It has been set for your presence," a runner exclaimed before turning sharply around on his heel and bustling into the dark, smokey, room. Cortath passed a glowing tactical display with a real-time tactics map imposed upon it. He heard quick exchanges on what they should do to assist each individual nation in order to rebuke the attacks from the unknown assailant.
Why don't we have any damn intelligence? Cortath imposed heavily upon himself. With his nations all together in the same area, there was absolutely no reason for them to not have intelligence on this assailant. Cortath needed to discuss this with the nation leaders he planned to speak to in several moments. The runner simply pointed at a blank wooden door as he continued on his rounds to another leader among the fort. Cortath opened the door to see his Regent, and two of his Imperial Officers. The faces were all familiar and friendly; he held all of them close to his heart, which would result as a problem come the day he is betrayed.
The three imperial officers snapped out of their seats as their Emperor walked into the door, "Sir-" his regent began, but was interrupted by Cortath with a swift wave of his wrist. "No need for formalities, we are all friends here for a common purpose: to figure out what the hell is going on out there and why we don't know about it," Cortath dictated, swiftly but firmly, trying to aver his case in point, "Now, where are those direct connections?" Cortath asked, sliding into a chair adjacent that of the three officers.
"Connections are trying to be made, sir, but so far, only three of 24 have been made: Borleias, Kingdom of Dark, and Waggleafk. The others are unresponsive to our calls, on all bands. Their ability to connect has yet to be confirmed. We should scramble jets in the immediate neighbours in order to gather some intelligence in the other 21 pits of death," the dark, hoarse voice declared. Cortath knew the voice of Luke before he saw him. Luke, Cortath's Minister of Military Affairs, tended to be extremely opinionated on how things he the military should be run. He was brutish, narcissistic, and simply had no interest in the small soldier's life. However, Luke contained a brain full to the brim of military skills and tactics, and Cortath took all of his suggestions to heart.
"Very well," Cortath replied, "open connections with nations immediately bordering the 21 besieged nations and tell them to scramble reconnaissance jets immediately. Require confirmation, protocol 187. Mary, if you could please open a connection with the three nations currently under attack. Tell them to reply immediately, Emperor's orders. I want them on a line within the next five minutes. Mr. Su, please organise relief packages, I want them out of Francogard by 0900 tomorrow."
The Holy Emperor of the New Pacific waited for a chorus of acknowledgments before standing up, sending his swivel chair into the blank wall behind him, "I have a public announcement to make." Cortath walked out of the door with purpose in his step. A natural born leader, Cortath knew how to exactly impose intimidation on all that stand before him. He quickly took a glance at the tactical map imposed onto the wall as he rushed through the debriefing room once more. He noticed the smoke in the room was noticeably thicker; the smell of tobacco ever more pungent. Cortath couldn't help but to stop to gaze at the recently updated map. Six nations have been highlighted as yellow. Nuclear bombs have been unleashed, and only anarchy could ensue.
After seeing the tactics board update again, two more nations went down; Cortath took off, running as fast as he could. Unlike a typical leader of this era, Cortath was determined for the people to know every detail of what goes on in the other nations of this alliance. The Bomb had been unleashed, and he could only helplessly watch the anarchy consume his beloved kingdom. Cortath ripped the door to the patio open, not even pausing to assume his traditional cape. The atypical Cortath was uneasy, and that hardly ever happened. As soon as the cameras began broadcasting, his beloved people would know something was wrong.
"People of Pacifica: the nature of this event has just escalated beyond what any of us could of predicted. Nuclear missiles have been unleashed upon us, and we must take the necessary precautions in order to avoid casualties. Wear glasses if you must be outside, the flashes will easily blind the unprotected eye. Stay inside if you can, especially in your basement. Expect updates often, keep a tele set open to the news at all times. All nations are to go to Defcon 1, repeat Defcon 1. The threat level is at its maximum. Prepare for a war Pacifica, because ready or not, it's here."
The sky had gone red. There were no longer fluffy white cumulous clouds above him, as there had been this morning. Flames spat out of fires, raging across the valley Corey made his home. His clothes were tattered and burnt from the nuclear explosions in the neighbouring countries. The blasts had come as surprise while he was tending to his small fields where he grew his livelihood. Corey looked around his fields to see fires where luscious plants had once been. He could only see desolation anyway he turned to face. His life, his passions, all gone, into the flames of Hell. The man could barely stand when he stumbled into his humble home, only 200 feet away from where he had just been standing. It felt as if everything had been sucked out of his life, all of it, gone, and he could barely stand it, the pressure was looming over him, as an eagle loomed over its prey before it swooped down, bearing its talons, fighting to survive.
Corey could hear his tele set buzzing in the back room, and once he had stumbled to it, he immediately flipped to the local news station. The picture was a glum one. Broken vehicles sitting in the streets of once vivacious cities, now burnt nearly off the map, bodies lay crumpled in the streets; Corey could hardly keep tears from filling his eyes. His world was gone, and would hardly ever return to him again.
A knock boomed on the plain door to Corey's house. It filled the empty household, more than any other sound would or could. The knock had presence; it resonated off the walls, nearly shaking the decorative mirror in the entryway off its hook. Jumping at the sudden noise in the quiet house. It had been nearly three days since the first close-proximity nuclear blast had occurred, and Corey was running out of food to live off.
Where's the Order? Where's the help? Surely, surely, they must be coming to save us, the lonely man thought dismally to himself many times over the course of the past three days , and until the knock sounded on his door, he had begun to lose hope in the people who determined his fate in the matter. Corey slowly sat himself up on the sofa, pushing himself off, and draging himself towards the door. The knock sounded again, more firmly this time, actually knocking the small decorative mirror of its place on the wall. He felt around the door for its knob, stumbling along, trying to make his way to it. Corey had woken up blind on the second day after the attacks. Already an older man, he was just a lump without his vision.
"Yes? What do you want, who is it?" He asked in a gruff voice. Corey had also inhaled more ash than what he should of in a 72 hour period. His hearing could pick up the sharp clacking of boots with military precision, and there certainly must of been more than five men at his door.
"Colonel Douglas, former Imperial Officer for the Order, you have been summoned," a gruff man replied. Corey could hear the heels of his combat boots clack together as a soldier came to attention in front of him. Corey, a now retired colonel in the Pacifican Corps. served in the Armageddon War, and was highly decorated for his heroic actions, actions that saved many lives, including his own. He was considered a tactical genius by many in the Corps, but it was life unwanted by the Corey. He liked his hollow, where the political turmoil rarely touched his life.
"I'm not a colonel anymore, boy. Retired. That was two years ago 'nyway. I'm done now," Corey replied stoutly, beginning to shut the door.
"Emperor's orders, sir. We're to escort you to Fort Francogard. Immediately," was the reply he got, "Let's go. We have a 'chopter waiting for you over the hill. We can reach the capital by nightfall. We must leave now."
"Can you not see that I am but a blinded, shriveled man?" Corey demanded, although he had no way to know how his appearance looked, on the account of the recent complication in his vision. "I shall do nothing for you, you are but a soldier. For my emperor, however, may God grant him eternal life and glory, I shall go to the Holy City for Him."
The sergeant let an exasperated sigh go, and waved his men in for an escort. The enemy foot soldiers were on the verge of entering this nation, but first the Bombs would make a visit. "We need to go, now! I don't give a flying frak who you are! Unless you want to end up as a statistic in the Holy Emperor's reports, I suggest you stop talking and come with us!" The sergeant barked, obviously losing his temper. His goal was not to end up as a number, like his family had just become at the drop of the first bomb.
Corey made a grasp for the nearest soldier's arm. He did not want to die by tripping over and off a cliff. "R3. R5, make sure the colonel here doesn't take a dive for the worst. R8, take up the rear. R2: point, with me. Let's move," the sergeant said with a shuffle of his feet. Another blast poured its energy into the earth, creating a seismic wave knocking three of the soldiers onto the burnt land. The strike was too close that time. They had to move in order to be saved. No one intended to end up as a statistic.
The walk continued on through the day, and Corey's hearing was picking up sounds not familiar to his valley. The screaming of the jets above, him, the unusually noisy winds bouncing off the side of the mountain, full of explosions, gunshots, and the pluthunk of mortar shots being fired into the distant opposition. Soon, the colonel's guides yanked him to a complete halt.
"What's going on? You have to be my eyes, as your direct superior, I deman-" Corey began, frustrated with his handler soldiers.
"I don't care what you want, colonel. I care about surviving, so shut up and do what your guides tell you too!"the sergeant said, interrupting the colonel mid-sentence. It was obvious to Corey that this sergeant was experienced in what he was doing. Interrupting a direct superior. This man truly cared about the safety of his men, and the colonel.
I must give this man good marks. I shall request his name aboard the chopper, Corey thought to himself, before he heard the several distinct pops he had wished to never hear again: gunfire, probably from the surrounding hills Corey knew about, at about 2 'o' clock.
"Down, down down, GO!" Corey heard the sergeant scream, and while he could not see the sergeant, the man's life ended. A ricochet bullet from the rocky ground had bounced up, tearing a portion of his head off before the man crumpled onto the ground, cold dead already.
"R6 to MH! Man down, man down, requesting immediate evac, we are two kliks north-northeast of your position, repeat: mayday, mayday, mayday!" Corey heard his guide R5 scream into his helmet's headset, fear and desperation tearing into his voice. Unlike his sergeant, this boy had little military experience with the Order, and was scared out of his mind. But then, the gunfire ceased. The valley turned quiet. The wind had stopped howling. The warnoises stopped booming in the distance, and it seemed for the fraction of a second, the world had grown quiet, mourning the loss of a respectable man.
"He was a school teacher," he heard an unfamiliar voice sob, losing control of his emotions, as many newer soldier did at the first loss of a valued comrade.
"What was that?" Corey asker, after pushing himself off the ground and wiping himself down, he had heard what the boy had said, but was attempting to calm the boy down all together. The boy needed to stay on his toes, not in the fetal position. In warfare, it is vital a soldier stay on his toes in order to avoid unnecessary loses among their ranks. An emotionally unstable soldier is an unreliable soldier, as Corey had been taught in Officer Candidacy school, and the last thing he needed was an emotionally unstable soldier protecting a blinded colonel. A situation similar to this did not favour the blind man well.
"Sarg was an elementary school teacher; he was a father of four. all of that, gone, in a heartbeat. Who'll tell his kids? His mum and da?" The soldier sobbed, completely braking down in front of the colonel.
"I'll tell his family, but you have to get up. Those 'choppers'll be here any minute. We have to be prepared. On your feet," Corey ordered, turning sharply on his heels, mentally preparing himself to break the news to the man's family. Corey went from being empathetic to merciless in an instant, a sign of a desperate attempt to snap a man out of his mental state.
When the helicopters arrived, the retrieval team was ready for them, they had troop cages already lowered from the helicopters, prepared to take on four soldiers each in the plain, lusterless bars of the cage. The cages were then hoisted into the helicopters and they would be on their 'merry' way.
"Emperor Cortath, it is an honour to serve with you once more, sir," Corey said, approaching the tall man, snapping to attention a good five feet away from his emperor. His eyes hurt, badly, but he managed to take a shower once he arrived Fort Francogard. An aide was sent to assist him dress, but rejected the offer sincerely. He may be blind, but not unable. After nearly 45 minutes, Corey was fully dressed in a starchy dress uniform, heavy with war decorations earned what seemed like a century ago. It all felt wrong to him, but he could not tell himself why,
"Corey, friend, no formalities, we are old comrades lucky to be meeting again. There is no need for such superfluous customs. Please follow me," Cortath said, taking the blind man by his wrist, pulling him along the corridor, much as a child would to his parents, trying to show them something he wanted from the store. The corridor was spookily empty, and the men's footsteps resonated off the marble walls of the corridor. It all seemed too empty to Corey, his perception telling him how empty the corridor really was.
"Is there any furniture in this hallway?" Corey asked, moving his head around. It was still an instinct, even though Corey had none of his sight left.
Like I said, it's not done, but I had a lot of fun typing, and I hope you have as much fun reading it. This is Taylor Skidmore, signing off.