Samtök Reykja Fullvalda Dax

Discussion in 'National RolePlay' started by Sovereign Dixie, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. Sovereign Dixie

    Sovereign Dixie TNPer

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    Samtök Reykja Fullvalda Dax


    Ilsa's eyes were cold as steel, the gaze of their icy blue locked upon his own as she spoke. Locks of dirty blonde hair brushing against his face, causing him to reach up to scratch the freshly shaven skin of his jaw. She spoke slowly, softly, her lips barely a centimeter from his own.

    "Stay on point. Show them why you are different. Don't worry about what your father would say, or wouldn't say."

    The warmth of her hands cupping his cheeks was followed by a kiss so brief that were it not for the skip of his heart he wouldn't have known it had even happened. Blood red fingernails tracing down his skin brought him out of the brief reverie.

    "So, basically do what I've been doing?" Ian's brow arching, the smirk on his lips causing a slightly more pronounced crease along the scar that ran down his cheek.

    "Yes. Smart ass. That. Do that." Her grip upon his shoulders was surprisingly firm as she spun him around. "Now, get your ass out there and do what you do. Wake me when it's over."

    Ian briefly withdrew his right hand from his coat pocket, the black gloved index finger tugging at the 'power tie' to loosen its draconian grip around his throat. He'd at least had the sense to do it once Ilsa couldn't see. He closed his eyes, shoving his hand back into confines of his black coat, taking a deep breath before stepping out onto the stage. It was funny really, the things that could make a person nervous. He'd been raised in politics where he seen the rigors of leadership take their toll on his father, he'd done three tours of duty in Prydania before some Syndie with an RPG decided his tank looked like it would be a fun target, and then two tours after that. All of that, plus two divorces, all before the age of 40, and this was the only time he'd ever felt nervous.

    The moment the glaring lights hit him he'd wished to God that he were just doing a normal campaign rally. Trying as best he can to look out into the crowd, left hand shielding his eyes as he alternated smiling and waving whilst casting his glance downward and towards the middle seating. There were all the accouterments one would expect from a late night talk show, fireplace, cozy couch and faux late night city skyline. Though he was actually somewhat impressed that the latter wasn't just a greenscreen. Keeping it old school, I approve!.

    What he didn't approve of was the host. By all accounts and objective sources, Brian Letok was a petty self important piss ant. What was worse was that he was a piss ant who, to Ian at least, bore more resemblance to a potato than any human being had a right to. After having given it a bit more thought, the worst thing was that in spite of all of these things Letok had somehow inherited this platform based entirely on his ill formed pretentious opinions put forth as fact and lovingly dipped in so much humour and sarcasm that the masses ate it up.

    His best genuine fake smile took front and centre as he endured the opening ritual handshake, in this case it reminded him more of boxers touching gloves before a bout. Too bad its not, I'd enjoy breaking his hand, big smiling bald headed rolly ass son of a bitch... He ignored the look from the host as he briefly reached out with his right hand, giving three shakes - not more - not less - before putting it back in his coat.

    Ian was both glad to be seated and saddened by the fact that the coffee sitting out for him hadn't been spiked. He'd accepted the invite to the show knowing it would be somewhat of a hostile interview at best, he decided to go on the offensive once the initial pleasantries were out of the way.

    "It's nice to be here, Brian. It really is." He laughed softly, taking a sip of what even he had to admit was good coffee.

    "And a pleasure to have you on at long last, Mr. Pershing. It's got to be kind of crazy out there on the campaign trail, I'd imagine."

    Ian nodded, smirking slightly. "Ian, please. And I don't know. It's amazing to see all of the people out there, hear their stories and... if I can just be honest here fora second. It's even nicer, Brian, to see that the people of our country are finally waking the fuck up and seeing.... " Half the crowd clapped or yelled or howled their approval, the other half gasping or attempting to get in some heckling. " ...and seeing, that we've got to try something different!"

    The redness that flooded across the host's cheeks only served to make his plump face appear all the more so. He'd no sooner opened his mouth before Ian interjected. "You've got a delay right?"

    "If we didn't we do now!"

    Pershing could hardly stifle his laughter. "See? That's what I mean! It's a word. A word that.. that WOW, a man running for President shouldn't say. And yet..." He gestured out into the crowd. "Raise your hand if you haven't said it!"

    He stood up, counting the hands that raised. "You're like, what... twelve? Good for you!"

    "You didn't bring strippers, did you? Drugs? 90's boy band CD's?"

    "I should have, Brian! I should have. Because then the good people out there would get to see right here, on your stage, thanks to you and I, what our Þingmaður do on an almost daily basis when they're not in session and having pissing contests!"

    The rotund host held a hand up to the increasingly raucous crowd. "I know, I know. MP's urinating is top rated material right now.But... but..." Gradually the soft roar died down and allowed him to continue. "but there are some who would point to the last five years, or even to the fifteen years your father held office for, and say 'look, we got a lot of good things done here and though our system isn't great it can work' so if it wasn't broken for them why do you insist it is?"

    Ian's smile widened, "You know what, Brian. That's a bloody good question. But... first.. can we get a big round of applause for my father? The 34th President of Samtök Reykja Fullvalda Dax... Frasier Aleksandr Pershing!! Come on, even if you didn't vote for the bastard!" As he'd expected, some of the audience seemed to feel a bit awkward at that last bit but within a few seconds the raucous applause was almost deafening.

    "See? Tax rebates. The ultimate way to reach across the aisle! Though.. to answer your question, Brian. I'll tell you why." His demeanor grew much more calm, the raspy barritone of his voice becoming suddenly much more apparent. "Look. I grew up in Vitmyr Heim, or at least lived in it for ten years. I seen how my father would spend days, weeks, making calls making deals trying, sometimes begging and promising things he didn't know how he could deliver on just to try to get some piece of legislation through. That tax break I mentioned earlier? He had to promise.. I don't remember who, I just recall him being on the phone with some idiot. He promised this guy, he was the MP from Nýtt Beaconsviði as I recall.. he promised him that he'd allow an add on to that tax break that would appropriate funds for a three million cross grant to a college for a road. A single road. A single road in a rich part of the city where there were already quite adequate roads."

    Ian took a sip of his coffee and continued. "I know this, because he told me as much when he seen me standing in the corner of his office and, I don't know. I guess he just needed to vent. He told me that... and I asked him why he agreed to it. He told me that there was no winning in politics without also losing. And it's that mentality that is why our government is what it is. It's why our system doesn't work for us, its why our sons and daughters fought in a war in Prydania against a threat... a very real threat, that the current administration refuses to acknowledge exists in our own nation."

    His hand raised dismissively at the interruption from Brian "One sec... one sec... and if you put me in there. If you elect me. So help me I'll put a stop to it. I don't give a damn what I have to do. You will see a government that starts to spend its money wisely, you will have a President that will hold people in the Alþingi accountable for what they do. We will be in this together. That is what I am here for. That is what the Social Commonwealth party is here for."
     
  2. Sovereign Dixie

    Sovereign Dixie TNPer

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    If President Klemenz Bech could have crushed the TV remote in his hand he would have. The cracking pop of arthritic knuckles as punctuated with a swear.

    "That boy has the temper of his father but none of the sense. He's got none of the sense and mark my word, Jens, if he's elected that damn fool is going to get us into a war!"

    "Be that as it may, Klemenz, the poll numbers put him in the lead in every province save Nýtt Beaconsviði. Perhaps being a bit more, what's the word, assertive, perhaps... may help. You've got experience, but many only see you as the face of a system that doesn't work for them." Jens absently removed his thick rimmed glasses, polishing the lens with his shirt for what must have been the fifth time since they had begun watching Pershing's interview.

    "Doesn't work for them? Doesn't work for them? For five years I've given my every waking hour to this country and by God it shows! People have food on the table and can for once sleep safe without worrying about 'The Syndies' or whatever the hell the in term is this week. Peace. Stability... Pershing is nothing more than a fad. A fad that is riding his father's coattails."

    "Peace and stability are fine. But are only noticed when they are absent. As for the rest, you may be right. But right and wrong in this line of work matters less than perception. Look, Klem, I'm not saying they're right. I'm merely telling you the opposing viewpoint so that we can work on ways to counteract that. You know... doing my job?" Jens sighed before he began to flip through the latest poll numbers.

    "You're doing well among women, or at least among women under thirty-five. Men between eighteen and thirty... not bad but not great. These numbers are honestly the bare minimum that we should have right now as they typically are more prone to voting a bit left of center. We've got to either expand our platform or discredit his. Preferably both if you ask me."

    "I'm the President, not some damn TV show, Jens! Don't go spouting numbers at me, find a way to fix it!" President Bech rubbed his knuckles slighlty before he stood.

    "Very well.... I think it's time we have our first debate. Don't you?" The contrast of the elder statesman, an accomplished servant of the people juxtaposed against a foul mouthed, inexperienced and possibly volatile candidate from what for all practical points and purposes is a defunct party that never even gained a foothold here could frame things in the proper context for undecided voters."

    "We already have a debate scheduled. Three months from now."

    "Yes. That's why you are going to challenge him. He won't be able to turn it down even if he wants to, which he won't. Let's get him in the ring and give the pompous asshole all the rope he needs to hang himself."
     
  3. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

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    "This may be the first time in recorded history that President Bech has ever done anything proactively. I'd mark it on a calendar if it weren't for the fact that debating next week is bloody inconvenient." Ian chuckled, the clinking of ice cubes in his class becoming ever more prominent with each successive sip.

    "That's why he's doing it, darling. He's mad like piss and twice as stale. He's trying to show that he can still..." Ilsa pursed her lips, draped back lazily on the deep red leather couch across from her client and occasional lover.

    "Do things? Heh. I don't think anyone ever thought he could to begin with." Ian sighed as he stood, the leather of his glove creaking ever so softly as he clenched his glass to take one final swig. "Still, if the bloody fool wants to have a go, who am I to say no? The sooner he marches himself into the grave of irrelevance and obscurity the better for me. I didn't much fancy waiting about to verbally eviscerate him anyway."

    Ian glanced over at Ilsa, smirking only to have the expression fade at her scowl. "You could humiliate him on every channel and stream in Dax and it's not going to magically make money appear. Neither one of us are worried about you being able to verbally tap dance around Old Man Bech, we need money. Even an established party needs truckloads of it and let's be honest... your 'brand' isn't exactly a household word."

    Why does she make it a point to ruin every joyful thought I have? "So you're saying a million Cross doesn't go as far as it used to?" The uneasiness of his laugh showed that while he understood the gravity of the situation he preferred to dwell on easier things, things he was good at. Things that weren't money. "Besides, isn't fretting over the piggy bank part of what I hired you for?"

    "You hired me to be your campaign manager, not to be the treasurer for the Social Commonwealth party. If you want me to do that it'll be extra..." Her expression softened a bit as she shot him a sly wink and crossed her legs. Ian's eyes roamed over her form in a look that was more grope than glance before he blinked as if to elevate his mind above the gutter it was even now sinking into.

    "We should get a good bump in the polls after the debate."

    "Providing you win, yes."

    "Providing I win?"

    "Providing you win."

    "Then providing I win." Ian laughed. The mere thought of losing a debate to Bech was the stuff of ironic comedy. "I want you to book us some bumpers before and after the debate on whatever channels or streams will have us. Then, what do you say we hit the trail.. hard. We'll get asses in seats and some money in the coffers.

    Blood red lips curled into a cocky grin. "I did that the moment the old fool challenged you."
     
  4. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

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    "You know, of all the things I've had to get used to since undertaking this damnable endeavour it's probably the draconian ritual of makeup application that vexes me the most." The arched brow and lopsided smirk denoted the playful intent though the squeaking of clenched and gloved fists gave a somewhat subtle testament to his irritation.

    "What's your name, anyway?" The question posed as he complied with the rather bubbly brunette's coaxing and tilted his head lightly to the right.

    "Aleksandra! A little more to the left now, Mr. Pershing. We're almost done, promise!"

    Ian once again did as asked, exhaling suddenly and sharply through his nose to expel some of the dust that he was convinced would soon completely block his nasal passages. "Oh? My father's middle name was Aleksandr."

    Alexandra giggled a bit, finally relenting on the applicator to stand back and judge her work before nodding. "I know! My mother was apparently quite the fan of him.." After a moment she carefully removed the sheet that covered Ian's chest and patted his shoulder. "All done, Mr. Pershing. See, that wasn't so bad!"

    "Oh, you mean you were named for..." He gave a soft chuckle of amusement. "Interesting. Well, I shan't spoil the myth with silly nonsense such as reality. And please, call me Ian." He blinked a bit at the sudden motion of being whirled around in the chair to face the mirror. Although more and more lighting fixtures were being switched over to the much cooler LED bulbs these were not. He was already feeling sweaty and could only hope the lights above the podium would be more merciful.

    "Nothing to spoil, really. No offense but I couldn't give two pisses from an addled cow about your father, but that's just how I feel about all politicians." Her cheerful nature was such that even these words sounded like a cheerful greeting. Ian wasn't sure whether to be impressed or take an antacid. "As for my mum, she passed on two years ago, her last words were giving the lamp beside her bed the worst cussing out it had ever received. I think she thought it was dad. Or that one guy who used to come over and fix the tele." Aleksandra's lips pursed as her mind began to suddenly unravel a decades old correlation. "Come of it, our tele broke down an awful lot. Even when we switched to HD."

    "Well um... I guess I can't blame you for that." He rose to his feet and straightened his tie, then as an afterthought gave the knot a few sharp tugs to loosen it visibly. "About the politics that is. It's a nasty affair really, and one that I'd recommend any sane person get as far away from as they can."

    The brunette giggled once more, already diligently cleaning up her work space. "Now you sound just like my girlfriend."

    Ian was sliding his coat on, the silhouette of Ilsa in the doorway made his stomach flip. Perhaps one day he'd get in front of a crowd and it woudln't make him nervous. It wouldn't be today, however. "Hm? Well then, she's a wise lass indeed." He reached out and gave Alexsandra a gentle pat on the shoulder. "Thank you. It seems my keeper has come to take me to the slaughter."

    He could already feel what some would see as his trademark cockiness draining from his mind. Or perhaps it was the blood rushing from his face. I guess that's what the makeup is for. With a warm yet polite wave to the makeup girl Ian strolled over to Ilsa, leaning in as a half inch thick stack of notecards was pushed into his coat pocket. The moderator's voice could be heard, even through the distortion of the poorly adjusted mic, Ian knew immediately who it was.

    "Fucking Letok... of course it's fucking Letok. Why wouldn't it be Letok.."

    "You showed him up once, and you can again if need be. Don't worry about him. Don't worry about Bech, even. Just talk to them. Talk to the people at home, and in the crowd. The rest will come together." Sometimes Ilsa's voice calmed him. Sometimes it didn't. This was one of those times, but he nodded anyway.

    "And joining us tonight will be the Social Commonwealth Party's first ever Presidential Nominee, Mr. Ian Pershing."

    A deep breath, his legs feeling as though they were working on their own, marching him out onto the stage.

    Ian waved.
     
  5. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

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    Klemenz Bech hardly moved as the makeup was applied to his face. Squinting hazel eyes focusing on some point at a far off distance which clearly didn't exist given the fact that at the moment he was staring at a wall. "Do you have my prep cards, Jens?" The President blinked for a moment, stifling a cough as the powder puff assaulted his lips and chin.

    Almost before Bech had finished the sentence a stack of colour coded cards was placed in his hands, outlining his administration's victories in every aspect of governance from education to defense to library card ownership. "What the hell is this? I can't flip through this while I'm onstage."

    "Wh-why not?"

    "Why not? The damned thing is a colourful as a kiddie's building block set. It'll draw attention every time I reference it!"

    Jens sighed "I was merely trying to organise the information in a way that you'd find easy to use, and of course reliable. I came up with the idea after watching your debates from five years ago." And hoping that you'd use it so that you wouldn't keep answering the wrong questions.

    "I know why you did it. And now you know why it's a horrible idea!"

    There were times win which Jens wondered if his job paid enough. This was one of them. "Well, I don't have time to re-write them before the debate starts. Just keep them beneath the lip of the podium and glance casually while Pershing answers." You know, the way people in debates do.

    Klemenz grumbled, shifting uncomfortably in his seat as the blonde haired makeup girl applied rouge to his cheeks, hoping that she'd used enough foundation to cover his pock marks or at least make them less noticeable. High Definition was an unforgiving judge. "Dammit, Jens. Have you seen the headlines? The only thing that Klark and Durst have agreed on through this whole election is that they're mad that we didn't invite them to the party."

    The younger man nodded, glad to finally know what was really the problem. If there was one thing Klemenz Bech hated it was people talking bad about him. "Well, in fairness it is almost unprecedented for a one on one debate that excludes the nominees of other parties to be held before the customary debate."

    Bech snorted "Well then they should have polled as well as Pershing. God knows they should have, this damned upstart spouts profanity worse than Durst and has less experience than even Klark. What kind of idiot runs for President without having at least held public office? The man hasn't even been elected dog catcher. The Syndies and the Dirtnails will get their chance. Someone has to deal with Pershing though, and I want it to be me!" The old man growled at the golden haired woman. "Do you have to spin that chair so damned fast!"

    With the rainbow assortment of cards clutched firmly in his hand Klemenz tore the sheet off of his chest and sprung from his chair. "You're done, Miss. And so am I! Let's get this done and over with!"

    Jen's eyes followed behind Bech as he strode out of the room with a speed and purpose that the President's Chief of Staff couldn't ever really remember having seen before.

    He wasn't sure whether he liked it, or not.
     
  6. SovereignDixie

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    The Nýtt Beaconsviði University venue was packed to capacity with both pomp and people. The modest crowd of nearly two hundred sat reverently surrounded by walls adorned with the flag of the nation and the political parties in attendance. As was customary a multi-partisan commission had been formed at the start of the nation's six month long electoral season with the choice of both venue and moderator left solely to its discretion.

    Sitting with the customary fresh pitcher of ice water at his side was Brian Letok. The late night talk show host wearing his smartest charcoal grey formal suit and an expression that ranged somewhere between boredom and impatience. The all clear from security had taken a few minutes longer than he'd hoped and they were nearly ten minutes past the scheduled starting time.

    When the go ahead finally did break the silence in his ear piece the overweight comedian had nearly jumped out of his skin.After a momentary smoothing down of his shirt in what he hoped would be a smooth recovery he got the introductions under way.

    "Good evening and welcome to the first debate of the 2019 electoral season. I am your moderator for the evening as chosen by the Internal Affairs Minister's multi-partisan board on Electoral Affairs, Brian Letok. Tonight's debate will be approximately one and one half hours long and will feature questions submitted to our website and chosen at random by the board. Neither candidate has been shown the questions prior to the debate. Questions will be asked in an alternating format with a two minute answer followed by a one minute rebuttal from the opposing candidate. Aaaaaand with that out of the way - " The portly moderator took a deep breath, "Let me bring out tonight's contest... er, candidates. Hailing from Nýtt Argyll, a former army Leftennant Colonel turned small business owner turned... Presidential Candidate for the Social Commonwealth party. Please welcome Mr. Ian Pershing!"

    Ian bounded out with an enthusiastic cadence to his steps, black gloved hand waving to the crowd before giving a polite smile to Letok. "Thank you Brian." Pershing smirked "And a pleasure to see you again!" The makeup being a bit thicker than it really should have been, the candidate's smile causing a bit of a crease to briefly form along the jagged line of his facial scar.

    Letok returned the smile with equal politeness and a measure of barely concealed frigid disdain thrown in for good measure. "Likewise, Mr. Pershing. And now the incumbent. Former MP of Vinir, former Minister of Internal Affairs and former Prime Minister turned President. Please give a welcome that is unbiased in its warmth for President Klemenz Bech!"

    The sitting President made his way onto the stage with all the pent up frustration of a bull being kept arms length from a fine antique store. His stride suddenly slowing however as the realisation dawned on him that he was now on camera. Once at the podium and with his festive note cards subtly tucked away with every bit the grace one would expect of a seventy four year old man he gave a brief curt wave to the audience, his gaze fixed on the cameras with a warm smile. "Good evening everyone, and thank you Mr. Letok."

    Brian rubbed the bridge of his nose absently for a moment before rifling through the papers laid out neatly before him on the table. "Thank you both for coming, and now let's give the good folks here and at home what they want to see, shall we? We'll start with a quick two minute introduction from each of you, beginning with you, Mr President as incumbent privilege custom is being observed."

    Bech smiled. He'd figured he would be first, though hadn't exactly counted on it. Incumbent First was customary in Presidential debates but having two debates in an election season was anything but customary. A bit relieved that his own mental preparedness wasn't going to go to waste he smiled once more at the crowd and cameras.

    "Good evening to all of you here, and all of you watching both across the country as well as curious onlookers from abroad. For the last six years that I have been entrusted to be your President it has been my aim, my administration's aim,to provide this nation with what it has needed most. Stability. To keep wages fair, to keep our men and women in the armed forces out of harm's way when prudent and possible to do so. To keep our children fed and our old and infirm cared for, loved, and unforgotten.

    The beginning of my term seen our nation embroiled in conflict beyond our borders in Prydania. We extended the hand of friendship to over twenty thousand Prydanian refugees even as the dedicated souls of our Self Defense Forces stood shoulder to shoulder with our brothers across the river to bring order and stability back to their nation.

    I am here tonight to once more make my case to all of you, that stability is the best stewardship and the wisdom of the past our best council. Thank you."

    As the applause of the crowd washed over him Bech could feel his tension and impatience melting away, replaced with the quit confidence of his conviction.
     
  7. SovereignDixie

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    Brian Letok was pleasantly surprised. He'd half expected, feared, that Bech's performance would be similar to that of five years ago where what appeared to be a forgetful old man fumbled with his words and his notes openly on stage. That did not appear to be the case tonight. At least not yet. Let's hope it stays that way.

    "Thank you, Mr. President. And now two minutes to you, Mr. Pershing."

    Ian was also a bit surprised at Klemenz's opening statements. While Bech was not without his good points, politically speaking, delivering a good... or even coherent speech was usually not one of them. Well, if he wants to dance I'm happy to oblige.

    "Thank you, Brian. We'll get to me here in a second but first I want all of you here, and even you guys at home, if you want and you're sure your neighbours aren't watching through the window.. to give yourselves a round of applause!" It wasn't the most original move in Pershing's playbook but it was one that got results. He hated talking to a dull crowd. After urging the more reluctant among them to join in a couple of times he continued. "People sometimes wonder why I do that so often and it's because I don't think that the average working man and woman get enough credit in this country. You want to talk about stability? Look beside you. Look in front of you. Look at your husband or wife or partner on the couch next to you at home. Look in the mirror! You are the stability that is the backbone of this country.

    Let's talk more about stability because I think we need to. President Bech has a point. We are stable. Think to yourselves. In the past six years, has anything really changed? Have we moved forward? At all? In the past twelve years, besides the war in Prydania... has anything here at home changed? Have we moved forward? At all? The absence of calamity is not victory. The lack of tragedy is not triumph and the lack of decline is not progress!"

    Ian's statement was met with a similar approval from the crowd, who now seemed to be ever so slightly less lethargic.

    Letok spoke once more as the applause died down. "Thank you, Mr. Pershing. Now as we move into the actual question and answer phase of the debate I will once more observe the custom of Incumbent First and address President Bech. Mr. President, over the course of your term as President what do you feel like is your administration's most remarkable achievement."

    "Well, Brian... I guess I've never really been one to pat myself on the back. I've always felt like I'm here to do a job. To do what needs to be done. I'm proud of a lot of things we've accomplished, and things we've done that I think have moved this country forward. The Healthy Practices Affirmation act, that helped set standards across the country in regards to establishing a culture of better fitness and overall health. The Atrocities Denouncement Act, which proudly declared on the world stage that we will not abide by those who violate codes of ethical conduct in wartime. The Literacy Initiative, which underscored my administration's commitment to increasing educational standards in rural areas, like my home province of Vinir and so many others across the country.

    Beyond those things even, I've tried to reach across the aisle whenever possible with both the Agrarian Union and the Equal Wealth Coalition on things such as establishing things such as Poverty Awareness week, to heighten the visibility of our nation's most unfortunate. I do think we can do better though, and I look forward to helping our nation move forward so that our children have a nation and culture that they can be proud of."

    Ian didn't wait for Brian to prompt him. "I need more than thirty seconds for this but I'll try. First off, the HPA was just that, an affirmation, we all knew that breathing was good and that you should get out of bed and do things more than once a week. As for the ADA was there any question before that 'legislation' that we supported the use of things like chemical weapons and practices such as ethnic cleansing? Did we need to just randomly declare that universally accepted bad things were bad? As for that joke called Poverty Awareness week I honestly find it insulting because if you're impoverished you're aware of it every bloody week of the year. Four words, Klemenz. Where. Is. The. Action? And we'll talk about your friends in the-"

    "That's time, Mr. Pershing."

    "No it isn't Brian... We'll talk about your friends in the EWC later. And now it's time, Brian."
     
  8. SovereignDixie

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    Brian's shoulders rose and fell with a soft inward sigh before he took a drink of water. There was little doubt to most who'd ever seen or even heard of Letok that he was no fan of Ian Pershing, having spoofed and lampooned him steadily since the Election season had begun nearly three months prior. Pershing's appearance on Letok's show had done nothing to build any sort of relationship between the two save for one of animosity, an animosity which to the surprise of most had not yet begun to creep into the night's proceedings, at least not overtly.

    "Mr. Pershing..." A fleeting glimpse of thought crossing Brian's face before he presented the next question. "Mr. Pershing. The Social Commonwealth party has, until now, had no presence in the Samtök Reykja and only two periods in Prydania's history in which it was at the helm with disastrous results for both the nation and in the case of the Fascist War, the world. With that being said, why does our nation need such a party? What do you say to those who fear that a vote for you is a vote to put our nation down a similar path?"

    And so there it is. Glad he's asking it now to get it out and done with. The soft dull background of whispered conversation among the crowd fell to a thick velvety silence. Pershing could even feel Old Man Bech's gaze becoming a bit more intense though he didn't exchange glances. If there was one question he'd been ready for, this was it. Randomly chosen, my ass.

    "I can't encapsulate the entirety of that into a two minute soundbite anymore than you could pitch your festive little televised late night escapades to a network exec within that time. What I will say however is this, we need results. We need action, progress, and a return to a time when our nation wasn't just stable, it was thriving. President Bech's administration has passed 62 pieces of legislation in six years. That's the lowest in this nation's history by a wide margin. President Friedrik's administration got bills passed and yet most of them were aimed at undoing the work of his predecessor. The Alþingi is failing. Partisanship, petty self interest, and the desire to maintain the status quo for fear of disturbing the waters is led us to a period of unprecedented stagnation,bickering, and self importance. The Social Commonwealth party think's we've had enough.

    Results. Action. Momentum. That's what we're about. Democracy is like eating a plate of fried food. It sounds great, looks great, and is wonderful when you're partaking in it... and then the next day you're complaining to anyone who will listen about the aftermath. The Presidential Election Season is the closest thing we have to a singular moment win which our population can speak in united voice. MP Elections scatter the voice, different ideas from different areas each with differeing viewpoints and agendas with no direction and no accountability. And every time we go to vote for them we complain about how useless they are. 'Except my MP' right? It's always all the others. Except it's not. It's the body, it's discord and a flaccid ineffectual institution that needs guidance. We're not about-"

    "-That's time, Mr. Pershing."

    Ian didn't protest, he was honestly surprised he hadn't been stopped before then. The reaction he'd gotten from the audience was almost as he'd predicted. Mostly silence with a smattering of brave individuals daring to clap briefly.

    "President Bech, your rebuttal?"

    Bech could hardly contain himself "I have to hand Mr. Pershing one thing. In all of my years I never thought I'd see the day when someone stood as a Candidate for our highest, most respected office and say that the people he was asking to vote for him were too stupid to make their own decisions. I never thought I'd see a day where someone who served his country as Mr. Pershing has, would imply, much less call for, the destruction of its deepest and more core of principles. I don't know whether to be nauseated or shocked but for now, I'll just be disappointed I suppose."

    The condemnation from the President was met with loud applause and even a handful of people who stood in their ovation.

    But not nearly as many he'd thought there'd be.Some offered a few lazy polite claps while some simply remained motionless. And now, with every reason to feel confident, Klemenz Bech was uneasy.
     
  9. SovereignDixie

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    Jens Nielsen's day, whether it be good or bad was always dictated by the President's mood. The thought of how many bad days lie ahead of him had directly increased his antacid intake to startling levels. "You didn't lose the debate, Klem. Most polls indicate the opposite, honestly. Pershing shot himself in the foot, and it shows."

    Bech gave a lingering and pensive stare down into his drink. "You're right, I did 'win'. But only technically, and even then within the margin of error by most accounts. No no... that's not what bothers me." Klem shuddered a bit as the liquor burned down his throat. "Gah! I remember now why I don't care much for this stuff... What bathers me is that there is no reason why that shouldn't have been a complete blowout. A man gets on national television and says the things he said.... and doesn't lose his career in minutes? Ten years ago that would have been unthinkable."

    "Times change, and we have to change with them, Klem. He's still just like any other candidate though. Once you get pass the mad piss he spews out of his mouth he's just another politician, even if he doesn't think he is. Stay on message, we keep hammering him. People will see him for the madman he is." Jens eyed Bech's drink, wondering if grabbing one for himself may not be such a bad idea.

    "Will they? You've seen what happened in Prydania. First Tofts and his nonsense, then the goddamn Syndicalists. We can't treat him like any other opponent. He's not some Dirtnail yokel bitching about his Ag Subsidies. He's a megalomaniac with a bloody god complex. We have to accept that sometimes... people choose madness even when it's against their own self interests."

    Jens sighed, reaching out across the desk to grab Klem's whiskey bottle and pour himself a glass. The old man was right. "Okay. Then we need to get out of our comfort zone. We can bring in a PR firm, some marketing execs, social media experts. Maybe come up with some kind of... of viral campaign or something. I can have a team together in -"

    Bech glanced down at the incoming call on his phone. "Oh what fresh hell is this.... Ah. Prime Minister Durst, no doubt calling to inquire about taking the remainder of my dignity."

    Jens quietly sipped his whiskey as Klem took the call.

    "And what did our favourite self righteous piss ant want this time?"

    The President quirked a slightly surprised brow at his Chief of Staff and shrugged. "He says he wants to meet. With both of us, actually. He's on his way up."

    "Cyril Durst making a surprise visit... to your office... in the middle of the night? This should be good." The younger man chuckled, killing his drink.
     
  10. SovereignDixie

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    Barely a half hour had passed before Prime Minister Cyril Durst took the liberty of simply walking into the President's dimly lit office and made his way over to the nearest couch onto which he flopped down with his entire considerable weight.

    "Evening, Cyril. I would say make yourself comfortable but you seem to have already done that. So, what's got you climbing stairs in the middle of the night, hm?" Bech gave a bit of a laugh at the PM's expense, something he never got tired of.

    Durst however was unfazed. "A better question would be what's got the both of you drinking at this hour instead of being snug and warm in your wee little beds. But I think I know the answer to that question, and it's also the answer to yours."

    Jens summoned his most hearty laugh "Seriously? Why Mister Prime Minister I'm touched that you wanted to come celebrate the President's debate victory with us." He knew the President wouldn't want Durst knowing the extent of their shared dismay.

    As if on cue Bech joined in the laugh, offering the PM an empty glass, full well knowing the answer as he filled it up with whiskey. "Indeed. I didn't think you cared, Cyril. Yet here you are, making the trip all the way across the street and up stairs no less. Just so that you can share in our good fortune. Glad to see there's no hard feelings about you and... and.. Jens, what's that Dirtnail's name?"

    "Klark, Mr. President."

    "Ah, yes. I figured you'd have hard feelings about you and Klark not being invited. Don't you worry though you'll both get your chance, but that Pershing boy needed to be put in his place and I wanted to be the one to do it."

    Durst's jowls wobbled as he laughed "If this room were any more full of shit it would be growing mushrooms. 'Victory' my arse. You got the Devil's piss slapped out of you and you know both know it. Sure, in the morning the talking heads will talk about how you 'won' with a miserly one or two point percentage but everyone in this room knows full bloody well that should have been a complete, utter, and devastating defeat for Pershing. He tapped into something tonight. Something that has all three of us scared dry of piss. And that, Mr. President, Mr. Chief of Staff, is why I'm here."

    Bech's feigned cocky demeanor melted away over the span of his rival's analysis. "Fine. Then what the hell do you want, Cyril? If you're here to gloat save us the time and get the devil out of here. I'll put that boy in his place, because someone has to."

    Durst didn't laugh though the brief heave of his chest insinuated that he'd been about to. Or perhaps it was just a cough that never matured. Instead the portly Prime Minister simply pulled out a cigarette and lit it as he leaned back in his seat. "Quite the opposite. I've come to offer my help because I'm as worried as you two are."

    The other two men's brows quirked almost in unison. Eventually it was Klem who spoke. "Alright. Let's hear it."
     
  11. SovereignDixie

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    It was a rare moment when the Prime Minister was able to fully, completely say that he had the President's undivided attention. The rotund and still sweating Durst smiled jovially after a long drag from his cigarette. "Simple. The Liberal Party and the Equal Wealth Coalition form... well, a Coalition."

    The noise that came from Bech was one part laugh one part snort. "You can't be serious? You're telling me that you're so afraid of Frasier's baby boy that you think we need to do that?"

    Cyril shook his head slowly, multiple chins swaying in a manner unappetizing enough to make Jens regret that last glass of whiskey. "I don't believe in leaving anything to chance. Frasier Pershing had a great smile, a smooth voice, and a swagger that would make a woman swoon. The only thing that kept him in check was Parliament harassing him at every turn. For all his faults, he respected tradition, he respected the institutions we represented. His son? That's another story. That boy is an existential threat to your office, and the office of Prime Minister."

    Jens snorted, pouring another glass in spite of his better judgement. "Oh come on, Cy- Mr. Prime Minister. You can't be serious. You really think he would try to do away with Parliament all together?"

    "Did you and I watch the same debate? Or did I accidentally tune into an Andrennian premium channel? Yes I think he would he as good as said he would on national fucking tele. Do you two piss drunk sods have your heads planted so irrevocably up your own arses that you can't see what's right in front of you? Sure right now he says we need to be 'reigned in' or whatever but that's just to get his foot in the door. Mark my fucking words, he is every bit the tyrant that Tofts was."

    Klem gave an uneasy chuckle "Tofts wasn't a tyrant really, there have been far wor-"

    "Do you want to argue over definition or do you want to be out of a fucking job?" Durst sighed, bright rosy red faded slowly from glistening warbling cheeks. "You and I have always been able to find common ground, Klem. You may approve of some of the finer points of our platform but you've always been more with us than against us."

    "Listen to yourself, Cyril. You sound almost as bad as the Pershing boy. I know full well what you are, what your so called 'party' represents. I'm 'with' you so long as there is the however remote chance that something productive can come of it."

    "Productive? If there was one thing Ian was right about it's that you've avoided controversy, and subsequently, productivity, like it was a leprous whore in a dark alley. If you plan.. if we plan to beat him, we need a real platform. People are listening to him because they're tired of a status quo that serves only itself and honestly? I agree with them. You and I and this... unending game of keep away we've been playing with one another isn't going to cut it any more."

    Klem and Jens exchanged uneasy glances, sequentially sipping their drinks. Finally, the President broke the silence.

    "Ok. I'm listening. Coalition and whatever the piss else, how do you know it will even work? Your party, let's be honest. You're all a bunch of sodding Syndies, they're not going to go along with this. Do you see them endorsing me? Voting for me?"

    "I do. If... certain concessions are made. I've already spoken with the local party leaders across most of higher population counties and they're on board, albeit with some reservations in a few cases. I've promised them that I can strike a deal that's worthwhile. Something that will mark a moment of true progress for our movement. I had no delusions that I would win the Presidency, I merely wanted to direct the issues in our direction, increase awareness as part of a larger objective for whomever my successor would be in say, five years. But if I can do that regardless of whether or not I'm on the ballot then so be it. The question is, can we count on you to get the Liberal party in line?"

    The silence that followed was broken only by the crackling of the fireplace and the occasional wheezing sound of Durst exhaling a plume of smoke from his lips. It was nearly five minutes later when Klemenz Bech finally spoke.

    "I'll make it happen."
     
  12. SovereignDixie

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    "I don't know what you're so upset about, darling. Did you see the look on the Old Fool's face when some of the people in the crowd just stared at him half the time? I thought he was going to hyper ventilate." Ilsa's long slender fingers ran slowly through Ian's hair as they watched the pundits dissect and analyse every last second of the debate in agonizing detail.

    "He won, Ilsa. That's why I'm somewhat less than thrilled. I should have been more aggressive." Pershing growled softly, tilting his head first one day, then the other as he tried to work out some of the tension.

    "A victory is measured in ways other than just percentages. By all accounts you two either tied, or he gained a slight edge that was within the margin for error. I've already got calls out to our own pollsters and I should have some numbers for us by tomorrow evening sometime. Either way, what matters is that he's worried and off balance. That's more valuable to us than anything right now."

    Pershing grumbled a softly before taking her hand, squeezing softly before kissing the back of it. "I suppose you're right. Still, I could have done better."

    "There's always room for improvement. It was your first ever open forum debate, and you were against an experienced opponent. You more than held your own and you've got the old bastard's cage rattled. That's more than most could have done."

    "Fair enough. Is tomorrow the rally in Dronningsby?"

    "You've got a booking on Good Morning Dax at seven, and yes, flight to Alexandria at eleven, rally at one, done by three and then riding motorcade to Lexington for a rally that starts at six, and if we have time there were a couple late night talk radio stations that were wanting a shot at you." She fidgeted a bit behind him before wrapping one leg around his waist, giving his neck a playful but firm nip. "Which means you should get some rest, soldier."

    Ian's back arched as a low rumbling growl rose from his chest. "Funny how you say that while doing things that will lead to neither one of us getting any rest..."

    Ilsa smirked "What can I say? The hearing Bech's voice all night got me kinda hot and steamy."

    Ian laughed as her hands began a slow ritualistic procession towards their destination. "You are such a bitch..."
     
  13. SovereignDixie

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    "Those sons of fucking bitches! Ian, you need to see this."

    Until that moment Ian had been asleep, raising up with a start, tugging at the sleeves of his shirt as if by some instinct. "Wha?" He swing his legs over the bed, rising to his feet whilst wrapping the sheet around his nature clad lower half. "What are you on abou-"

    Ilsa was standing at the foot of the bed, jaw clenched as she looked up at the TV screen.

    "I guess you were right. Bech is worried."

    "Yeah, worried is one thing but joining with Durst?"

    Ian shrugged. So far as he was concerned this really didn't change anything save for giving him more ammunition to use against Bech. "I mean, he gets a solidified vote and one less rival. I guess I'm more surprised that Durst agreed to it but maybe he was worried too. I mean, he was always a long shot to begin with."

    Ilsa padded into the kitchen just as the coffee maker chimed. "I guess we should be thanking them? He's just proving you right, after all." Ian had tried as hard as he could to paint Bech out as a puppet of the Syndicalists at worst, unwitting accessory at best and this had more or less set that image in stone.

    "I wouldn't get too excited just yet." Ian grabbed himself a cup, adding sugar and creamer until it no longer remotely resembled the beverage it had once been. "He's got the votes of the largest and third largest party in the country now. Providing him and Durst can keep their cats herded, that is. If they play it wrong they'll end up splitting their own vote worse than I ever could have." Ian gave a wry chuckle as he strolled back into the bedroom to get ready for his morning show interview.

    The shower had kept him from hearing his phone when it went off, Ilsa's head peeking around the door.

    "Mr. Pershing? You have Wendell Klark wishing to speak with you."

    "Tell him to give me... ten minutes and I'll call him back."

    Ian chuckled softly to himself. And here we fucking go.
     
  14. SovereignDixie

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    Ian knew full well what Wendell wanted to talk about. The fact of the matter would be though, that Wendell needed Ian far more than Ian needed Wendell. The twenty minute car ride downtown to the TV studio had given him little time to formulate much of a strategy short of giving the Agrarian Union a 'take it or leave it' proposition. His father had compromised his beliefs to the point that he'd no longer even taken himself seriously. Ian was not about to make the same mistake.

    As usual, Ilsa briefed him on what she expected to be covered in the interview though she was always more concerned about that kind of thing than he was. The very name Social Commonwealth Party meant answering unpleasant questions and for the most part he'd expected this one to be no different in that regard even if it was on the usually Convervative friendly Dax News Chanel.

    The morning show host... What the fuck is his name again? Tim? Tom? ...whoever he was, was far too cheerful for it to be before noon. With a smile that could have blinded a small village with one flash he shoved a breakfast pastry into Ian's hand along with a cup of what had to be the strongest and most dreadful coffee that Ian had ever had the misfortune to encounter. I guess tea was too much to hope for. Now that I taste it... perhaps something non corrosive was too much to hope for."

    "Mister Ian Pershing, the son of the man who many consider to be one of our greatest Presidents in living memory. But, from what I gather you'd not always wanted to follow in your father's footsteps. What changed your mind?"

    Ian thought for a moment, trying not to grimace at the taste of the coffee as he took another sip. "Ian, please... Tom?"

    "Liam, actually." Thankfully if Liam were offended he'd done a good job of not showing it. Ian instantly gave an apologetic chuckle. "Liam, I'm so sorry! The long nights must have me a bit more scatter brained than usual!" He gave polite embellished bow of his head before continuing.

    "No, I actually hated politics. Honestly to a degree I suppose I still do. You know, when you're young and growing up it's hard to understand why your dad is working all the time. You don't really... grasp, I guess, why it is he can't spend time with you. As I grew older though I hated politics not because it kept dad from spending time with me but because of just... honestly, the *ten second delay bleep* I seen him going through. A lot of people look back on his terms in office and say he was great at compromise and perhaps he was, to a point... but I seen him just kind of.. slowly start to lose a lot of the passion I'd seen in him. I seen him get so just outright pissed off at having to enact parts of policies that he felt would be harmful in order to do even part of what he'd wanted."

    Liam had listened, that same damn smile still on his face the entire time. Does he have another facial expression? "Take us back... can you recall the instance or the moment in which you just kind of seen him going through something like that and just sort of said to yourself 'I don't want to do this when I grow up'?"

    Ian generally wasn't very conversational about his father, it had been only after Ilsa pointed out that drawing correlations between him and a man who had served three terms and easily could have gotten a fourth or even fifth could be good for his own endeavours. Still, he wanted to win or lose based on his own merits. But I suppose there's no harm in talking a bit about the old man...

    "His education reform bill. It was something very near and dear to him, when he was growing up he'd worked at a printing press, had a landscaping business, and even made some money on the side doing" Ian paused a bit before laughing a bit nervously. "well I guess you could call it some less than above board errands."

    The host laughed "Oh? We talking illegal or-?"

    "Yeah, to a point. At least it was at the time. See, apparently as he told me there was actually a good bit of money to be made by just borrowing or renting a truck and.. well, you'd buy some beer in one province and then run it, you know, over the border to another. It was something about.. I think.. how some brands were brewed? They weren't brewed in such a way as to kill all of the bacteria or something? I mean now it's different but back then they weren't. Anyway, yeah. He'd run that across the boarder. He got caught once! Spent a weekend in jail but back then like.. there wasn't all of the record keeping there is now. Kind of a-"

    "Pay the fine and go home kind of thing?" Liam asked.

    "Yeah! Pretty much! But yeah, he worked his ass off to put himself through law school. He didn't understand why. I don't understand why! I mean, he got the bill passed and so many people cite that as one of, you know 'The Great Frasier Pershing's accomplishments" Where everyone got 'free' post secondary education but he'd had to have it watered down, it's not 'free' I mean you know, nothing's free. It's a matter of tax dollars. He had to make an agreement that the bill would be worded to only cover so much of the costs, tuition and books and such and would only cover certain schools. Why? Because some *bleep*holes in the *bleep*ing Alþingi wanted to make sure their constituent's textbook printers would be getting lots of money. More subjects to take? More books to sell! And that's honestly why say, a biology major has to sit through a year of Prydanian Lit and such."

    Liam nodded, he'd shuffled around a bit as Ian responded apparently having wanted to interject a few times but hadn't. Ian made a note to try to keep his answers a bit shorter. "Liam if I ramble just let me know!"

    "No no! You're fine! So what made you finally decide to get into politics then?"

    "Because honestly, unless someone does what needs to be done then I'm honestly not sure how viable, as a political entity, our nation will be twenty years from now."

    "What do you mean?"

    "Well. For example, take what we were just talking about. My father's education bill, as much as the MP's in the Liberal party love to talk about what a great thing it was not a single administration has voted to amend it to compensate for inflation since 1984. So we've got students out there once again working their asses off. Our defense budget is a joke. We were able to handle helping out the Prydanians in their little dust up because it was local, but if this nation were to find itself against an existential threat I'm not sure how well we'd do. Our small businesses are choked by red tape, our corporations are either so large that they're monolithic or so foundering that their no longer contributing to the economy the way they should. Neglect. Infrastrcture, Defense, Education, Agriculture. So much neglect because action? Action hasn't been seen as politically expedient."

    "And that's something that you've hammered on pretty steadily in your campaign so far. I'm sure you're aware of the announcement President Bech and Prime Minister Durst made earlier today. I figured since you were kind enough to come in this morning I'd give you a chance to respond to that?"

    Ian had hoped this would come up and was all too eager to respond, barely letting Liam finish the question. "It's a frightening moment for us all, Liam. The largest party in the nation openly embracing Syndicalists as allies. It's frightening, it's disgusting, and everyone honestly? Should be *bleep*ing worried. And even more worried because it's Bech who did it."

    "And why would you say that is?"

    "Because Bech has a pathological avoidance to formulating anything remotely resembling a plan of action. Everyone here, everyone watching this? Remember you seen me say this. Within a week, maybe sooner probably, Bech's going to trot out some kind of new plan or platform. And it's going to have Syndie fingerprints all over it. It's going to be Bech's face with Durst calling the shots. It is, for all practical purposes, an attempt at a Syndicalist takeover of our government. We can't let that happen. And we won't let that happen. I won't let that happen."
     
  15. SovereignDixie

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    The interview had gone well so far, Ian was feeling much more at home in this one on one environment than he'd felt the night prior at the debate.

    "You're of the mind then that Syndicalism, and by extension the Equal Wealth Coalition should be outlawed as it has been in Prydania?"

    Pershing shook his head slowly after a moment of thought. "I'm not ready to say that. Not yet. I'm of the belief that it needs to be disproved, discredited, confronted aggressively at every turn and eventually strangulated until it dies it's long overdue death. When you outlaw parties you make martyrdom easy, you make it a seductive option of those who simply want to conform to non conformity, the professional contrarians. The evils of Syndicalism have to be verified, accepted to such a degree that we accept the laws of physics of mathematics."

    "And how do you feel about those who say that the Social Commonwealth Party is at least partly responsible for the rise of Syndicalism in Prydania and the war that followed?"

    Ian chewed his bottom lip briefly as he thought. "See, here's the thing with that. When it comes to radical ideologies such as Syndicalism there is always an oppressor. There is always some overarching institution that has to be torn down. That's because that without that professional victimization mentality, without someone, anyone, to point a finger at and say 'They have more than me, that's not fair!' Syndicalism can't exist. Had SoCom not been in power in Prydania the Syndies still would have eventually done something similar to what we seen them do. Perhaps it wouldn't have happened when it did, or in the same way but I think it was inevitable."

    "So are you saying that income inequality should not be addressed?"

    "Not at all. I'm saying that bringing about equality is best achieved by lifting others up, not by dragging everyone into poverty and I'm saying that just because someone has more than you, doesn't make them evil. Everyone has the responsibility to do all they can to advance their position in life and the government has the responsibility to make sure that the tools and opportunities to do so are easily accessible."

    "I think you'd find there are many who agree with you on that to an extent, but what about the common argument that you've got people out there who have... tons of money, billions, who never contribute anything to society. They don't make jobs, they don't bring money into the country they just play the market or what have you. Or, they sit on billions or millions of cross while paying their employees the bare minimum?"

    "I would say that for starters, there aren't many who fit that description to be honest, at least not the first scenario you mentioned. It becomes more of a problem when, like you said, you've got some *bleep*hole getting a *bleep*ing fifty million Cross end of year bonus when their employees get a *bleep*ing twenty dollar gift certificate to some novelty shop in the mall. I think we need to do something to help curtail that a bit, because when you get more money into the hands of the middle class and impoverished you by proxy pump more into the economy. So, what I aim to do is roll out a series of initiatives aimed at giving favourable tax conditions to companies who meet certain criteria for compensation and by making donations to worthy causes, specifically large donations, more appealing by increasing tax writeoffs."

    "Ok, and this is the first we've heard you give any real specifics on some of your economic plan.. we don't have too much time left but can you go into that a little bit more?"

    Ian nodded. "Sure! So, right now you can write off the same amount whether you donate a thousand cross or a million. I want to encourage more donations, larger donations. So, for example if you donated... a million cross. Your tax deduction would be 1.5 times, for example... what it would have been for smaller amounts. Now, this is still being worked on so these are not exact figures but that's what we're working towards. I want to have things like this written out, ready to go and bring before the Alþingi on week one, if not day one, when I'm elected."

    Liam laughed, that damn smile again. "You heard it everyone! When, not If. I like your confidence, Ian and I thank you for coming on. I know you've got a few rallies coming up across the country and you're about to hop on a flight and we here are running out of time."

    "Once again thanks to our guest, Presidential Candidate Ian Pershing. Coming up after the break, the hidden dangers that could be in your neighbour's toilet, waiting to kill your children in their sleep... and what to do about it."
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  16. SovereignDixie

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    Thanks to Ilsa being wililng to take a later flight, Ian and Wendell were able have their meeting on the flight to Dronningsby. Truth be told, Ian would have rather had Ilsa on the flight with him, he hated flying with a passion and he was pretty sure that she would have kept him far calmer than Klark would. A distraction was a distraction however, and it was only a two and a half hour flight at the most.

    "Okay, now that you're here let's get down to it. You want a coalition yes?"

    Klark blinked a bit, somewhat surprised at the informality. "Well, yes."

    "And you want to know what concessions I'll make to your platform to get it, yes?"

    Again, Klark nodded.

    "The short answer is, none. None whatsoever. And here's why. For starters, I feel that agriculture is as important to this nation as you do. It's almost half of our economy and I'd be a fool not to think about that when formulating my platform. So, here's what I can tell you. I plan ambiious tax cuts as well as increased subsidies pretty much across the board. Additionally smaller farms will receive the option to get a favoured tax rate or be able to form a co-op locally and file with others jointly. In addition, I am willing to back you for PM, and for as long as the Social Commonwealth Party is working with the Agrarian Union, So Com candidates will not run for office in historically AU ridings. That is my offer, take it or leave it. And before you think that this is a negotiating tactic, it's not. That is my best and only offer. I can win without you, and will win without you. But if the AU joins us it will ensure their considerations are taken into account and give them a voice at the table. That's more than I can say for the Liberals and the EWC."

    Pershing's gaunt rival listened to the pitch, occasionally quirking his brow as Ian laid out the broader strokes of his plan. The AU had never been a serious contender for the Presidency but traditionally fielded a candidate mostly out of pride and to increase awareness. They performed solidly in parliamentary elections however and had more than enough seats to prove to be a swing vote and that was something a budding party like So Com would need, at least if the status quo remained.

    "Well, that's more than Bech probably would give us, and now that him and Durst are playing grab ass together a lot of my people are losing their minds. They're afraid that by the time Durst and Bech are done jerking each other off that the Liberal Party will just be a more moderate wing of the EWC."

    Ian nodded "Honestly, that's probably the best case scenario. You know better than most Bech's tendency to crack under pressure."

    "More like crumble to dust, but yes." Wendell sighed "Minister level access to you? If you win?"

    Ian nodded "Minister level access, even if you're not PM. When... when I win. If you don't get PM I'll put you in as Minister of Internal Affairs."

    Klark sighed once more, resting his head back against the seat. "This would be the first time in nearly thirty years that the AU didn't have a name on the ballot for President... but, better we lose face than lose our heads. Fine, you've got a deal."

    "Good. Ilsa's already working on the statement and we can announce together at the rally, if you afternoon is free, that is?"

    Klark smirked "Just so happens that without a presidential campaign to run my schedule has freed up a bit."
     
  17. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

    Messages:
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    One Month Later

    "No. Not just no, but absolutely, unequivocally no! There is no way in hell that I can convince the rest of the Liberal party to go along with something like that!" Cyril's demands in regards to platform 'compromises' had steady more in line with those of the EWC and Bech was growing increasingly uneasy by orders of magnitude with each successive request from the portly PM.

    "All we're asking for is a fair playing field on the corporate landscape. Larger companies use more resources, make more money as a result, and therefore should shoulder a larger portion of the burden." The leather couch beneath him creaking in protest as Durst shifted his considerable weight. He'd grown rather fond of occupying space in the President's office, finding the rustic yet lavish appropriations to be quite to his liking.

    Bech scowled, the dark circles under his eyes highlighting creases that seemed to grow more pronounced by the day. "Oh no. Don't you start with that nonsense. For starters, they already do pay over fifteen percent of our overall income, the single largest source. Secondly, what you're proposing isn't a tax, it's asset seizure."

    "We're not seizing anything, it's not like I'm saying we send in workers with hand lorries to load the things up and take them off to a warehouse or something. I'm saying that simply as a penalty or, perhaps as an option to paying their taxes the government could purchase equipment, maybe even entire pieces of real estate. The corporations could still use them, providing they turned over a piddling portion of their profits of course."

    "I'm not going to argue with you, Cyril. You're out of your sodding mind if you think the base of the Liberal party is going to sign onto a platform that includes government seizure of private property. If we include this, then I may as well hang my coat and resign. Not only would we lose, but it would also probably be the most historical election blowout this nation has ever seen!" A bony fist slammed down onto the mahogany desk, pens, and various other knickknacks rattling.

    Prime Minister Durst seemed unfazed by the display of anger. His gaze never looking up from his phone as a sausage like thumb lazily tapped out replies to a conversational partner unseen. "Pershing's campaign is estimated to have raised nearly a half billion cross since he and Klark sealed their little friendship. I don't think your-"

    "Our." Bech corrected.

    "your campaign can say the same, can it? I say your campaign because while you may not know it, the EWC has nearly five times that in its coffers. I also say that because if this little uncooperative streak of yours continues you will find yourself once again alone. I will jump back into the race and whether or not I win, I will make sure I use every last bit of our considerable wealth to bury you. Pershing will probably win, and without the moderating influence of the Liberal party to keep my... compatriots in check I can not guarantee that some may not resort to more dramatic means to bring about the type of change that is needed."

    On one hand, it seemed odd to Bech that only now was Cyril telling him about this nearly bottomless pit of funding that they apparently had. On the other, it was very much like the PM to withhold information until it suited him to do otherwise. "Where the devil did you get that kind of money?" While the EWC had been growing steadily in popularity since the Prydanian civil war it seemed a stretch in Bech's mind that they'd have access that sort of capital.

    "We have friends, Mr. President. Or specifically, a friend. But that is not your concern. What is your concern is whether or not you want that money helping you... helping us get elected so that you can keep this lovely office and that chair that your ass seems to have grown so accustomed to, or whether you want every last cross of it devoted to ensuring that you couldn't be elected to be a cafeteria worker in the Alþingi mess hall."

    Bech's hands were almost trembling as he stood up from behind his desk. The electric lantern light of the office did little to subdue his craggy features and accentuated the last few weeks worth of exhaustion. "Listen very carefully to what I am about to say, Cyril. This so-called 'alliance' of ours? Is over. I am not your puppet and I don't give the devil's piss how much money you have. In fact, you may want to be more careful to whom you brag. It would be a shame if you were to be investigated, we wouldn't want it getting public that our Prime Minister's party is accepting possibly illegal contributions now would we? You have one minute to get your fat smelly arse out of my office and if I were you? I'd start covering my tracks right about now."

    Durst leaned forward, smiling as his hand missed the ashtray and extinguishing his cigarette on the President's desk. "Forty years in public service is a good run, wouldn't you say, Mr. President? Enjoy your retirement."
     
  18. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

    Messages:
    26
    Prime Minister Cyril Durst had kept his word. The next day ads blasting Bech and Pershing both began to light up the internet and by the end of the week the TV spots were airing with such regularity that it wasn't uncommon to see two or more back to back until cable providers were so inundated by annoyed customers that they had to throttle the number of spots that the EWC could air within a planned ad block.

    With the marketing onslaught the numbers began to tell the tale, but not in the way that Durst would have hoped. "People aren't going to buy something they don't want no matter how much you advertise it." Is what he'd been told during a rather heated meeting with his campaign manager. In fairness, the EWC had seen a modest bump in numbers but said bump fell well short of even the most conservative projections. Meanwhile, Pershing had continued to climb whilst Bech, true to form held steady and reliable in the polls.

    So it was that the final debate approached, a three-way with Ian Pershing, the son of the modern political legend facing off against the tried and true stalwart of the well established Liberal Party Klemenz Bech as well as an ever increasingly popular third option, the somewhat enigmatic and often times outspoken Prime Minister Cyril Durst who had become the driving force behind an ever more popular Equal Wealth Coalition.

    With the stage set for the most controversial and chaotic election cycle in living memory, Cyril Durst took one last drag from his cigarette before extinguishing it to head out onto the stage.

    "A silent prayer to money well spent. If you're into that sort of thing." Durst chuckled before strolling out onto the stage, taking his place between Pershing and Bech who had only recently ambled out themselves. For the first time, the three rivals were gathered in one place for what was anticipated to be the most widely viewed live event in the nation's history.

    "Ladies, Gentlemen both in our live audience and across the nation welcome to the second and final debate of the 2019 election season and the first debate with all candidates present. I'm your host Axel Ostreyjk from DNC and tonight's debate is being broadcast from Northern York University. Tonight's airing will be live with no delays."

    Axel Ostreyjk was the complete antithesis of his Late Night host predecessor. Every follicle of thick salt and pepper hair groomed and trained to perfection over the course of a career in journalism that had spanned almost half a century. To every aspiring journalist in the SRFD Ostreyjk was not only a role model of competence but an example of ethics.

    The elder statesman of news broadcasting sat patiently as the crowd settled in. "To our right, we have Liberal party candidate and incumbent President seeking re-election to what would be his second term, Klemenz Bech." The crowd gave brief and polite applause at the prompting of the green light above out of camera view.

    "In the middle, we have the runner-up of the 2013 Presidential Election season and victor of the 2016 Parliamentary race, Prime Minister Cyril Durst of the Equal Wealth Coalition." Another round of polite and prompted applause followed.

    "And lastly but certainly not least we have Mister Ian Pershing, son of former President Frasier Pershing and candidate of the Social Commonwealth Party." There was one final round of prompted applause before Axel continued. "Tonight's debate will be presented in a town hall for-"

    S.V. agents stationed from off stage bolted out, immediately throwing the three candidates to the floor as gun reports filled the room. Cyril had begun ducking almost the moment that there seemed to be a disturbance in the crowd. Bech looked about, dazed and confused as he was tackled to the ground by an S.V agent nearly three times the President's mass. Ian's military training almost instantly kicked in, crouching behind the podium with a hand at his side as if to grasp for a rifle that wasn't there as his assigned SV agent shielded him.

    There were three? Maybe four or five gunshots, the acoustics of the room had made it difficult to tell and the layer of panicked screaming atop that had made it nearly impossible to pinpoint the location of the assassins in the ensuing chaos.

    Ian glanced over at his two rivals. Durst seemed fine, almost serene as a matter of fact. Bech...

    "Town Crier is hit. Request immediate evac!" Bech was all but limp in the agent's arms, the upper left breast pocket of his shirt red and glistening with blood.

    "Get Bech! I'm fine!" Ian waved his agent away, only noticing the sharp pain in his left forearm when the corner of the podium brushed against it.

    "Mr Pershing, you've been hit! Get back down please, sir. Evac is on the way." Ian looked down, removing the black glove from his hand and rolling up his sleeve. "It's fine. Get Bech!" Ian had seen far worse in Prydania. Way worse.

    As Pershing made his way backstage he promptly received a hug from Ilsa that had almost knocked him off balance. "Whoa! Easy there, lass."

    She glanced down at the wound. "Oh my God, Ian! Are you-"

    "Ilsa. It's fine. I promise. Maybe a few stitches, grazed a bit is all."

    "The President? The Prime Minister?" Her expression growing more grave as the reality of the situation continued to sink in.

    "Durst is fine. Worse luck. The President... I'm not so sure. Chest wound, looked nasty. We need to be ready."

    "For what?"

    "Bech looks bad... at best he's going to be out of commission for a while and that's if he makes it. That leaves us dealing with-"

    "Durst..."

    "Yeah. We need to get serious about him and do it fast. Make calls, call in favours, ask for favours, whatever you need to do. We need dirt. Or at least know where to start digging for it. That fat son of a bitch is probably going to be President come morning and I don't like that one bit."

    Ian and Ilsa were in a rather nicely appropriated private hospital room when they'd gotten the news. Ian was in the middle of arguing with the nurse about removing his shirt beyond the bare minimum needed to treat the wound on his arm."

    "Look. I know you've got a job to do, but you can stitch me up without me having to.."

    "Ian! Shush!" Ilsa nodded up at the TV which had been tuned to DNC since they'd arrived."

    "We have just received confirmation from the President's Chief of Staff that President Klemenz Bech has passed away. Prime Minister Durst has reportedly already been taken to a secure location where he is to be sworn in as interim President of the Reykja."
     
  19. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

    Messages:
    26
    President Bech had actually been pronounced dead before even reaching Greater Ánastað Medical Centre. As per protocol Prime Minister Durst had been rushed to the nearest usable helipad, in this case atop the very hospital in which his rivals would receive treatment. The Ministry of Defense had been able to conclude in fairly short order that the assassination had not been a precursor to any sort of overt military action originating from outside the nation.

    Domestic threats, however, proved to be an entirely different matter. The suspected assassins were verified by surveillance footage to be SRFD nationals and this information was presented to Acting President Durst before sunrise that morning.

    "I want these bastards found. I want them dealt with. Alive if you can, bodies if need be." He had his preferences in that matter but for now those preferences would remain with him.

    The "Undisclosed location" was in this instance merely an underground bunker about 150 kilometers south of the hospital, and apparently merely one of a series of such bunkers located throughout the nation in the event that the President needed to evacuate or, in this case, the line of succession had to be protected. It had most of the comforts of home, save for unrestricted communications access with that being limited to approved secure channels only.

    "Anything on the Tele?" Durst inquired.

    "Yes, Sir. We have over three hundred channels. What would you like-"

    "I mean about the assassination."

    "Apologies, Mr. President. One moment."

    DNC was of course, all over every last ounce of information they could glean from the situation and in some cases even ahead of the nation's intelligence communities. That wasn't what Durst was curious about at the moment though. Bech was dead. Durst had been sworn in as President, and all was ostensibly right with the world. Except for one thing...

    "DNC has received word that Ian Pershing, wounded in tonight's assassination of President Bech, is being released from the hospital as we speak. With us live now is Axel Ostreyjk who was live at the scene of the attack and now comes to us from Greater Ánastað Medical Centre in York, Ánastað. Axel?"

    "Thank you, Julie. We've been told that Ian Pershing, son of former President Frasier Pershing is being released and expected to make a statement shortly. Earlier we were told by Mr. Pershing's campaign manager Ilsa Drageby that his wounds had been limited to a graze of his left forearm that would require a few stitches. Of note is that when asked she did deny the rumour that Mr. Pershing's right arm was a prosthetic as a result of injuries suffered in the Prydanian Civil War."

    No sooner than Axel has finished speaking the tall heavyset frame of Ian Pershing emerged, immediately illuminated by flashes as he made his way towards the main throng of reporters.

    "Tonight we mourn the loss of our President, Klemenz Johannes Bech. While him and I disagreed on policy there was not a moment when I did not respect the office he held, and the trust this nation had put in him in choosing him to be it's elected leader. I hope all of you, and those watching at home will join me in offering our support and prayers to his family in any and every way that they may require it.

    I feel that it is important, and right, that we as a nation take time to mourn. In this election especially it has at times felt to all of us that political jousting has supplanted civility, respect, and the recognition that we all want what is best for this nation that we are all apart of. With this in mind, starting immediately, I will not be actively campaigning for the remainder of the election season. I feel that it is more important for we, as a people, to look inwardly and take a long hard look at who we are, who we want to be, and what the best way to get there will be.

    I have not spoken with Prime Mini- apologies, President Durst, but I wish him the best of luck during this difficult time and extend to him the hand of friendship and the hopes of a grieving nation.

    When you step into the voting booth in two weeks, and I hope all of you do, I want you to do so with an eye to the future, and a heart that is reverent to the past and what has been sacrificed to preserve our way of life. Thank you."
     
  20. SovereignDixie

    SovereignDixie Registered

    Messages:
    26
    Election Day

    The two weeks leading up to the election had seen both a nation in mourning. In the wake of Pershing's impromptu press conference, Acting President Durst felt as though he'd had little political recourse other than to match Ian's stance and halt the PR machine that he'd set in motion. It had no doubt been a tactical and strategic victory for the younger candidate but in Durst's opinion one that could not be avoided.

    Both candidates had made their expected appearances at their respective polling stations, Cyril Durst with his wife, Elisa, and Ian making a solo appearance only to be greeted with open arms by Ilsa later on.

    At the Social Commonwealth Party Headquarters in Nýtt Beaconsviði, Pershing had settled in with Ilsa, the recently resigned Chief of Staff Jens Nielsen, and local SoCom party head Monika Zyl to await the returns.

    Throughout the evening the talking heads from every major news outlet in the nation and even surrounding nations gave their opinions (with varying qualifications) as to the potential outcome of the voting complete with historical analysis broken down province by province, city by city. With guests weighing in from every ideological standpoint there had been only one real consensus that was reached.

    There was nothing about this election that was either conventional or precedented in the nation's history. From the rise of fringe party's to power and the resulting polarization of the nation to the assassination of the incumbent president on the eve of the election, everything about the 2019 election season howled change at the top of its lungs. The only unsettled question was which would prevail, the budding Social Commonwealth Party, weighed down with attached stigmas and the personality of a controversial candidate or the only slightly more established yet also increasingly popular EWC which in and of itself was not devoid of negative preconception.

    Nýtt Argyll, as expected, weighed in heavily in favour of its son Ian Pershing who won by 83% to Durst's 12%.

    Nýtt Beaconsviði also came in as predicted, at least to an extent, with Durst winning 51% to Pershing's 46%

    Alexandria was the sight of a complete Social Commonwealth upset, suspected due to the efforts of Wendell Klark. Pershing winning 62% to Durst's 30%.

    The provinces of Ánastað and Vinir were the closest, momentarily offering Durst a respite of hope though in the end, Pershing won both 42 to 40% and 50 to 48% respectively.

    At 12:56 AM Cyril Durst called President-Elect Ian Pershing to congratulate him on his victory, though neither candidate would elaborate exactly upon what was said over the course of the call.

    At 1:30 AM local time, President-Elect Ian Pershing strolled out to greet both supporters and the press, with Ilsa staying at his side at least until he reached the podium at which point she gracefully strolled off to his left side, keeping a respectful distance as he spoke.

    "Wow, just... fucking WOW, right?" He laughed as cameras flashed and the crowd cheered. "A little over half an hour ago, President Durst called to offer his.. his agreeance that his desire to stay in the office of the President was at odds with the will of the people. I accept his concession and offer him and Elisa all of the best things that life has to offer and give him a heartfelt congrats on a campaign that was just... amazingly run and a complete masterpiece from start to finish.

    Together we've done a lot and what a ride, yeah? Five years ago, I was working to bring security to people's homes and business. And now I'm standing here with all of you wonderful people, and the best campaign manager and friend a man could ask for, telling all of you that the Social Commonwealth Party will bring security of a different sort, to this whole nation!

    This is the end of the campaign, but the beginning of a new era for our nation. An era where the people will come first, the forgotten ones, the ones who break their backs working for shit wages. The ones who strive to do their best but never get their due, just as our country has done for decades.

    This. Is. Our. Time. Whether you voted for me, voted for President Durst, or found yourself feeling that in the wake of President Bech's death that no matter who won, our nation would lose, I ask your understanding, your patience, and your help as we move forward, together. Good night!"

    Ilsa walked off of the stage, followed shortly by Ian, as the crowd chanted and the flashing lights of cameras continued their onslaught.

    "You were awful kind to Durst back there. Not getting soft on me, are you?" Ilsa smirked, kissing him gently.

    "Never. But, I'm not going after the son of a bitch until I've got proof."

    "Proof? What do you would you say that phone call you had with him was?" She smirked, her fingers running through his hair.

    "I'd call that poor form if I came out there on election night blathering about it. To all things their good time, love. Don't you worry, he'll get what's coming to him. For now, though we've got a lot of planning to get done. I want you to start by calling the short list for Ministers, and start getting the wheels in motion for my security clearances. We're going to have a lot of questions that need answering. I wasn't a fan of Klem, but he deserved better than what he got."

    Ilsa nodded, smiling as she kissed his cheek. "I'll get right on it, Mr. President."

    Complete