Saturday, October 10, 2015

Superpowers: The Hegemon (Part I)

On the eighth day of the eighth month of 1927, the first nuclear weapon was detonated near Black Crook Peak in Utah, Usona. During that period in history, the nation of Amadesis was more outwardly violent. They had secured a relatively large island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, and used their insidious resources to develop an arms program rivaling that of any legitimate country at the time. Though the blast radius was comparatively small at that point, and significantly far from populated areas, there were several casualties. These people happened to be camping, hiking, or just generally enjoying nature within range of detonation.
The Amadesins insisted that they chose that spot, on that day, for the specific reason that no one would die. The Day of No Death was a well-known but mysterious phenomenon that occurred every year. There were a number of ways to subvert death on that day. Bullets will bounce off of bodies, or the guns will jam. An unseen force will slow down falls. Fires will not grow out of control. But for the most part, death is halted by more subtle means, simply by manipulating reality so that no one is ever put in danger. The Amadesins, however, were big on going against the natural order of life, always claiming that they know the right way to do things. Experts ended up concluding that the reason the Amadesins were able to get so close to causing death was because they essentially did not believe in truth.
The dozens of survivors of the blast were left mutated, and in some cases, horribly disfigured. They demanded the Usonan government charge the Amadesin Nation with crimes against humanity, and force them to pay reparations. Unfortunately, Usona was composed of a few dozen independently governed states, and the national government was still in its infancy. Even with the help of its closest allies, they were no match for the Amadesins, who had already proven themselves to be technologically and militaristically more advanced than anyone else. And so, the survivors garnered assistance from private corporations. They stormed the Amadesis island stronghold, and after days of fighting, managed to take it over.
In response to this, the Amadesin Nation attacked Utah with ground troops, and began an occupation. Following years of concentration camps, diplomatic negotiations, and war, boundaries were redrawn. Usona agreed to hand over most of Utah as long as they released the roughly 500,000 non-Amadesin citizens. The neighboring states each took a chunk out of the borders, and left the wastelands to the invaders. Furthermore, the private citizens who had taken control over the original island were left alone, and allowed to form their own nation there.
All of the survivors had been rendered infertile from the radiation, however, one of them was already pregnant at the time of the disaster. She died months later in childbirth, but her son survived. Frederick Stockton showed no signs of damage from the radiation. He appeared to be perfectly healthy. He was a beloved citizen of the new nation of Federama, and though he was not part of its origins, he rose in power quite quickly. By the time he was 20 years old, he had been elected as the head of state, and given the title of Governor. Because of his parents’ eventual deaths, and because of all the pain that the Amadesins—and many others, for that matter—had caused throughout history, he formulated a plan.

Step one of Governor Stockton’s plan was to convince Federama’s allies that he could disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons, something India in particular was very interested in doing. But this had to be done in secret, of course. It would be a foreign relations nightmare for any of the other nations to admit that they were involved in such subterfuge. And so Stockton agreed to keep them out of it, and used all of his own resources to achieve his goals.
But they could not just steal or disable the weapons and call it a day. Such an act would cause international tension, but not prevent Pakistan from simply restarting the program. They would also have to destroy all technical documents regarding the bombs, demolish every facility tailored to design or manufacture the bombs, and also kidnap every Pakistani loyalist who was educated and intelligent enough to engineer further bombs. This took some time, and the allies were not privy to the entirety of their plans for Pakistan, let alone the rest of the world.
The attack was executed on a single day after months of spying and gathering intelligence. An assault team stormed the royal palace and made it look like rebels were trying to overthrow the government. Leadership fell into lockdown, and the military was mobilized to key strategic locations, leaving Stockton’s true targets vulnerable. They raided the manufacturing plants, and stole the weapons. They burned the documents and kidnapped the engineers. Overall it was a successful mission. The teams returned having accomplished everything on their lists, and Stockton was satisfied. But this was the easy part. They had taken more from Pakistan than anyone knew they would. Kidnapping was certainly not part of the arrangement, and so there was terrible backlash from the allies. Though the island was on its own lockdown, they allowed The Confederacy to send in the Usonian Ambassador to open up a discussion. The Minister of Foreign Affairs accompanied him.
Ambassador Rakin shook Stockton’s hand and nodded politely. “Governor. This is my translator, Tai Guo. He comes with me even when I’m not speaking to someone in a different language.”
“Is he okay?” Stockton asked.
“He doesn’t know everything. But he is sympathetic to our cause.”
“What about the minister?”
“She is not, but she’s not going anywhere,” Rakin explained. “We might as well speak freely.”
“Then we will proceed, and keep her here.”
“Yes,” Rakin agreed. “But I want details on the mission. I want to make sure that we’ve cleaned Pakistan out completely, and that we learned from any mistakes so that they do not occur during Stage Two. We have reason to believe that China is already gearing up for retaliation.”
“What is this?” the Minister of Foreign Affairs asked, horrified. “What is happening? You’re in on this?”
“I’m terribly sorry, Minister Wilkers,” Rakin said to her sadly. “But you insisted on coming with, and now no one comes in or leaves this island unless they’re on a nuclear assignment.”
Wilkers instinctively looked for the exits, but she knew she was trapped. “You two planned this all along? Why? What is Stage Two? What are you going to do now?”
“Now?” Stockton began with sincerity. “Now for the hard part.”

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