Broadcast from Akat Mountains, Intaki
The mountain terrain gave little evidence where the soldiers that appeared on camera were. Ten stood clad in dropsuits of varying design and armament from Kaalakiota and Ishukone rail rifles to Lai Dai missile launchers. Each soldier’s helmet carried menacing fanged and horned faces both grinning and scowling. Behind them crouched a militarized MTAC with a matching devlish face. There was no mistake, these were troops of the infamous Onikanabo Brigade.
Among the troops an eleventh figure emerged covered not in high tech military armor but a defiant solemnity. Dawning a dark silver lined curate coat he stepped forward, an expression of austere irreverence for those that were and would soon be aghast. Despite his combative eyes, he spoke gently in a dignified manner.
“My name is Seraph Basarab of the Angel Cartel, though some may know me simply as IX. I come to tell the people of Intaki, the Federation, and all others about the war behind the war which we are witnessing across Black Rise, Placid, and other neighboring regions. You may wonder what if any interest the Angels would have over the border squabbles between the Federation and the State. And I seek to make that clear, not out of generosity but that it has been decided that it is in our interest that you should know.”
A momentary pause was taken as if the speaker could envision viewers hushing those around them at bars or in their homes and listening closely to what seemed to be one of the rare instances of someone who claimed to speak on behalf of the Angel Cartel presented himself.
“Several years ago Mordu’s Legion attacked our Serpentis partners in Fountain. Although this had happened before in the past, the motive was not made clear until another factor emerged. The Guristas organization shortly thereafter struck at a number of Serpentis production sites within the Federation. Our intelligence concluded that this was no mere coincidence. While poverty plagues the Republic, conservativism guards the Empire and austerity can make business challenging in the State, the Federation’s wealth and policies attracts the goods we provide with our partners from Fountain. Simultaneously the Guristas had been tolerated by the Federation due to their anti-State stance and at times even supplied indirectly by them. It is only natural that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Someone within the Guristas became overly ambitious and thought they could likewise move in on our market within the Federation by striking at our Serpentis partners and taking over their role providing narcotics to the abundant clientele of CEOs, politicians, media stars and all their spoiled brats. Concomitantly, enough people with clearances in the Federation bureaucracy, primarily the Black Eagles, sought to make use of the Guristas anti-State goals. Don’t believe me? The evidence speaks for itself.”
In the corner of the screen viewers saw began playing older news reports of the Federation’s espionage ring working with Guristas.
“What was one of the first things the Federation forces did once they took Intaki? They sent their marines to strike a Serpentis lab in the Akat mountains. To put it in simple terms, Guristas elements have been helping the Federation against the Caldari State and in exchange Federation entities have provided support to Guristas against the Serpentis Syndicate and Angel Cartel so that they can push into our market.”
Silence punctuated the revelation for a few brief moments. One of the Onikanabo Brigade soldiers stepped up to the figure speaking and handed him a the brigade’s namesake weapon. The kanabo was an ancient weapon since at least the times of the Raata Empire on Caldari Prime. The brigade made use of it both in initiation ceremonies, as well as modern variants in combat when the need arose. After a few moments the camera panned to the side following the now armed Angel until several other figures came into view. A couple dozen disarmed soldiers wearing Federation marine fatigues kneeled on the ground, their uniforms as ragged and worn as their faces. Further in front, a trio was also kneeling. Unlike the Federation marines, these three also had their arms bound behind their backs, their faces already bruised and bleeding. Upon closer inspection viewers could see that two of them wore the Guristas “rabbit skull” emblem while the third had a Black Eagle patch on his shoulder. The Angel Cartel figure stopped and addressed the camera once more.
“While media reported that our Akat facilities were destroyed, in truth everything of value had been removed. We ambushed the rear column and made off with these prisoners. And would you believe it…we found both a Black Eagle officer and a couple Guristas informants.”
With a signal of his hand one of the marines was brought forth. He looked young but capable, a product of Federal military training.
“What’s your name marine?” The Angel put his arm around his shoulder gently pulling him in almost as if he were an old friend. The marine could almost forget that they were being broadcasted on the airwaves.
“Matheo…Matheo Dupont.” He wasn’t certain the level of respect he should put in his words, but attempted to sound as neutral yet strong as he could.
Calmly and coldly the reply came. “Matheo Dupont from Solitude, Elore, 526 Lillie Rue Apartment 14, 920Z Lyeon…what are you doing so far from home?” Matheo’s heart sank and the Akat mountain breeze felt even colder on his forehead. The certainty and determination he had wanted to present had mostly evaporated.
“W-we are carrying out our orders to p-pacify the system.” He knew he was helpless but at the very least he could make some manner of eye contact as he spoke.
“That seems a bit stale. Not here to spread democracy and diversity? I for one think the mountain side is littered with all kinds of diversity. I’m guessing some senators somewhere voted for this so we have that covered as well. What were you ordered to pacify?” His sarcasm almost seemed pleasant.
“Criminal elements sir.” Matheo cursed himself calling his captor sir accidently.
“Well…I seem to be a criminal element. Do I seem pacified?” A few chuckles from the Onikanabo mercenaries could be heard.
“No.” He almost thought to himself he could pull off saying ‘not yet’ but Matheo quickly pushed away any illusions that that kind of attitude would end pleasantly. His goal was to keep himself and his comrades alive without embarrassing himself too badly.
“Well I’m sure you want to see your dear mother and father. They run a fine restaurant and the view is to die for. Help me out a little bit and explain to me who these three men kneeling are.” Gently he turned the marine toward them keeping his arm around his shoulder while pointing with the kanabo club in his other hand.
The black metal studs of the weapon initially drew Matheo’s eyes until finally settling on the kneeling man closest to him. “We just knew him as Monsieur Reynald. He was the one that knew about the Akat mountain facilities we were to take down. I don’t know the other two, but they were with him.”
Matheo was patted on the shoulder before being turned back toward his comrades. “Good good. I’m quite familiar with this Monsieur Reynald. He was a special interrogator at the black sites his organization runs in Molden Heath conveniently outside of Federation jurisdiction. But that’s not something you’ll have to worry about. Take a seat with your comrades.”
The marine stumbled back to the other marines feeling the sense of dread abate. As he looked back the man that seemingly had his life in his hands turned back to the recording device broadcasting.
“Madam President, Mentas Blaque must really have something on you for you to sign off on something this ill fated. I advise you get it together before it’s too late. I’ll let your men go this time once we’re done here. Consider that my one and only show of mercy moving forward.” With that he stepped toward Reynald,
“Bonjour Monsieur Reynald.” Disdainful eyes looked up at the Angel who in turn placed the kanabo on his shoulder. “Time and time again I run into this scenario. Someone that made themselves my enemy in the past, given enough time, eventually ends up in the situation in which you find yourself. Every time. And when the opportunity presents itself…I take it!”
Abruptly the club swung to either side of Reynald striking down both of the Guristas uniformed captives. Pained groans and gasps of air could be heard as their crushed ribs made breathing painful. Reynald gritted his teeth and hissed. “Go **** yourself you animal! I should have torn you to pieces! You think this little show is impressing anybody? You’ll spend eternity in the simulator getting skinned alive until nobody even remembers why you were there! Everyone that you…”
And just as suddenly Reynald’s jaw was crushed by another swing. Dazed but living he could feel another strike shattering his shoulder as he fell to his side. Another breaking his arm, and descending still, his legs. Instinctively he took a deep breath to scream but instead gulped down a mouthful of blood and choking. A brief respite was found as his informants found matching strikes on their bodies. The sound of metal and caving in flesh and bone repeated with a deep ‘thunk, thunk, thunk’ until the barrage abruptly stopped.
“Much better than you deserve Reynald. If only others had any idea. Filth.” With a swift nod from the Angel, several Onikanabo mercenaries grabbed the dying men throwing them the ditch next to them. Turning back he addressed the viewers.
“Federation, State, Syndicate, it doesn’t really make a difference to us where Intaki goes. Come after any of our assets or those belonging to our Serpentis partners, and things will get much worse. Consider this to be a mild taste. I advise the Assembly invite wisdom into their consideration regarding the matter. The Seraphim are always watching, six winged, many eyed, soaring aloft, borne on their pinions.”