Summoning the Senate
You are invited to a State of the Empire Address on January 1, 1926, to be held at the Senate chambers at the Great Palace.
The archivists consider the following newspapers to be significant.
And the Senate’s world map is being updated.
The years had not been kind to Donatello Favero. The duke had become increasingly paranoid and had started to lose his hair, making him appear even more squirrelly and nervous. He remained mostly silent during Senate meetings, although the moment Italy was mentioned he would start on a long tirade about the evils of the rebel state and why it needed to be destroyed. The other senators had long since learned not to mention the topic within his presence. Most of his time during these meetings involved jotting down notes and cackling quietly to himself. If anyone approached him or tried to ask what he was doing, he’d quickly cover up his notes and acted as though nothing were wrong. Most people had simply started avoiding him, thinking he was slipping into madness. For all appearances, that seemed exactly to be the case. Donatello knew what everyone thought of him, but he did not care. He had a greater purpose in life than debating imperial policy with his fellow senators. He would not rest until he defeated the Empire’s greatest enemy, the traitors who held the sacred city of Rome in their filthy rebel hands. The Emperor and many of the other senators did not seem as concerned that Rome, the birthplace of the Empire, remained under enemy control. Donatello supposed the Emperor had to consider all his subjects, not just those suffering under foreign rule. Let them handle imperial matters while he found a way to save those that had been lost. He just had to find a proper solution first. For now he would continue drafting plans and schemes, and perhaps one day he’d find a way to bring Italy back under imperial rule.
An old man rambles on about a “piano cat”.
Forming the KRA was probably the only relevant political thing Theodora had done in years. And then nothing else happened. For that matter, not much had happened since…since a certain incident in 1919. She couldn’t remember exactly what that incident was. The only thing important that happened that year was a senate session. It was just an average senate session. Senators discussed and debated policy, the various ministers announced what the rebel scum’s dastardly plan of the week was (and how to foil it), and the Emperor listened to them. It was just boring, to be honest. So boring she had invited everybody to a social gathering at her estate to make it not boring, only for that to be boring as well!
There was that strange woman who showed up at her door, warning of an impending Cult attack. Sometimes she found herself wishing that the Cult had attacked, because they didn’t, and the whole day was just boring. She did arrest a few Cultists outside her house, but nobody important. Even the Cult wasn’t doing anything lately. Were they bored as well? Why didn’t they just do something interesting, like maybe bomb an orphanage or shoot some dogs or kill themselves? At least she didn’t have to spend her days filing paperwork. She remembered when she was younger, when things were more flashy and interesting and she wasn’t stuck behind a desk. She actually envied her husband for mostly staying at home (when not commanding troops) and interacting with the kids…that is, until the kids went off to the Pandidakterion and the War Academy, allowing her husband to go back to the army full-time (though by then he had also been booted upstairs to a desk job). Meanwhile, Ioannes and John-Loukas were probably laughing their heads off as they embarked on their latest adventure against the Cult and the rebel scum.
The latest announcement of a senate session was a godsend. It had been five or six years since the last session, and she missed talking with her fellow senators. She eagerly packed her bags, got in her car (not bothering to wait for her chauffeur, whom she told to go “take a break” until she got back), and drove all the way to Constantinople. The traffic was horrible, as usual. Parking was even worse. She probably spent more time looking for parking than being stuck in traffic on Mese Street. Apparently even senators didn’t get a reserved parking space.
She eventually did find parking, but it was on the wrong side of the Augustaeon Square, which as usual was swarming with tourists from across the Empire. She had about an hour before the session began, and she still had to put her stuff away at her secondary residence in the palace. Who knew that “interesting” had to be this annoying?
“Believe me, it’s not,” said a voice behind her.
She spun around, seeing a tall man in a black business suit and fedora standing behind her. He spoke with a light accent that was somewhere between German and medieval Greek.
“Do I know you?” Theodora said.
“I’m a family friend,” said the man, “I apologize for meeting you like this. But I’ve been quite busy lately.”
“Look, I have to get going,” said Theodora, “I’ll talk to you later if it’s important. What’s your name?”
“Just call me Wilhelm, Theodora,” said the man.
Theodora tensed up. “I never told you my name.”
“Your father told me all about you,” said Wilhelm, “And we’ve met before.”
“I have not,” said Theodora.
Wilhelm hesitated. “Oh, right,” said Wilhelm, “I forgot about that, pardon the pun. It’s been so long for me since then…anyways, you got to get to the Senate, so I’ll let you go now. I’ll see you around.”
Theodora blinked, and he was gone. She stared at the spot where the man once was, not believing her eyes. She looked around, seeing if anybody else had seen him. But nobody around her paid the slightest attention to the man who had just vanished. That was impossible. A man had disappeared right before her eyes, and nobody noticed? Was she mad?
She knew she was getting old, but she never thought she would get any of those mental deficiencies that came with old age. Her father and grandfather never suffered a mental decline. Well, her father didn’t die that old, but still. She decided it was some kind of trick of the eye.
Now, she had a senate session to attend. She wasn’t going to miss this one. Filing away the incident deep in her mind, Theodora turned around and continued walking towards the palace.
We had hoped that Our reign could be a reign of peace and prosperity, despite the first few years. Alas, the world is fallen and sinful, and doomed to war and violence.
Let us start with international events of the last five years. Days after the last address, the American continents were brought into the spheres of influence of American powers, apart from Guyana and the Caribbean.
As the balance of power shifted in the world, Ming asked for an alliance, which We granted. That alliance would keep them from waging war on Us, and would hopefully create stability.
Of course, this did nothing to help Poland-Lithuania, who capitulated to Germany, splitting their territory.
In January of 1922, Haiti nationalized all Imperial holdings in their territory. While this was a blow to Our finances, it was not worth a war, so We wished them good use of their railroads and factories.
Then in February of 1922, Germany declared war on Russia in order to ‘protect the German peoples in Pskov’.
The world looked bright for a moment in July of 1922, as the Olympics saw continued victory for Our athletes.
But then at the end of August, India declared war on Iran to expand their control over Southeast Asia. We agreed to support them in this war, seeing that Iran was weak and that a lack of support would cost us the alliance. Iran foolishly decided to send an attack against Us instead of India, so We brought the legions back to full funding. To pay for the legions, We increased funding on businesses and investments. But more on these internal matters later.
Repeated victories over Iranian attacks, plus a march on their capital – supported by the Armenian Air Force – saw Iran surrender in November 1922. The border fortifications had kept the people of the Empire safe, and the legions had repelled the Iranian forces. The battle losses were greater than they should have been, so We kept the legions fully funded after the war had ended.
By the end of 1922, Germany had made peace with Russia.
In 1923, We were given the chance to yet again host the Olympic games, this time in Barcelona. We gladly accepted.
In April 1924, Ming asked Us to help subdue Tibet. We were not pleased by this, but the war would happen with or without Our help, and refusing would cost Us the alliance with Ming. We accepted, but needed to send no legions. The war ended just months later, with the largest section of Tibet under Ming rule.
In August of 1924, Germany declared war on Burgundy. This war would end in a white peace in 1925.
And then Scandinavia declared war on Russia. This would be even bigger than the war against Persia, but We agreed to help against Our old foe. The war involved some tough battles at both land and sea, but before the end of the year Russia surrendered.
March of 1925 saw Russia declare war on Poland-Lithuania to seize Estonia. They accomplished this goal in the fall.
Despite the wars and rebellions, the Olympic games still were held in May of 1925.
So yes, the world was a violent place these last five years. And We were more involved in this violence than We desire. Let us take a short break, and then We will report on internal affairs in the Empire.
Nothing much had happened within the Thaddai circle since the last session in 1921, if one were to look at the period in isolation. The Aotearoan Representatives in Constantinople continued its operations smoothly, as the employment of Tsakonotis and Pilokalos helped in properly splitting the work load among those at the HQ. Franco Lazaratos found himself outside of the Queen of Cities more and more often, traveling around the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea to relax and enjoy the sights. He did however, quickly return once everyone at the HQ heard the news that Nestorius was planning on visiting the capital in August of 1925, in order to see those that stayed.
In Aoteorea, Timon Thaddas had entered his adolescence in late 1924, and was approaching the age of 14 in 1925. With his father aged 76, Timon had begun thinking more and more about his future. He knew he would have to inherit the estate once his father passed, but he didn’t know what to think of the senatorial seat. He felt more attached to his native Aoteorea than the far away lands of Hellada, even if he had been born there. He then thought about the possibility of making sure the small federal exarchate was still represented in the Senate, especially since Franco couldn’t keep the seat warm forever. As he considered his life options, his mother Kyrene continued her work as Exarchess, making sure everything was fine. Manaaki Awerama was reelected to the position of Mesazon during this time, thus keeping the EKA she supported in control democratically, and waved Nestorius off as he left by boat to visit the mainland.
Nestorius made several stops during his trip before finally arriving back at the home of the Senate, the great capital of the Empire. Many hugs were shared, as they hadn’t seen Ol’ Ness in years. Nestor was surprised by Tsakonotis’ presence, and the two shared a brotherly hug, before meeting the man Franco originally wanted for the position he had now. He was going to stay with the gang until early October, and thought that he was going to have a splendid time…
Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way. On the 3rd of September, 1925 (August 21st on the Julian Calendar), Mávri Pémpti (Μαύρη Πέμπτη, Black Thursday) happened. The businesses of Aoteorea had been suffering from overconfidence as a result of many factors, including the growth of the economy, and overspeculation, leading to many poor choices being made in building factories for select industries. Combined with some increased overspending, soon, the speculation bubble burst. Due to the current ruling party’s trade policy, among other factors, the crash was very much localized only on the islands. However, its impact could be felt immediately. The welfare state felt the burn, unemployment increased and a recession had begun. Many were less inclined to spend their money, and reliance on the state grew.
Manaaki and Kyrene quickly came out and made sure to assure the people that things were going to be fine. Despite this, cries for increased regulations were being heard in government circles. The two made themselves active, visiting business owners to see the situation head-on. The root of the crash had to be discovered. Once one of them, the poor factory choices, had been discovered, grants were handed to businesses opening certain factories in industries that the state could take advantage of, in terms of input it can get, and output it will sell. However, grants alone can’t stop a recession. The public was assured that the government was focusing on dealing with the economic downturn, and that plans were being formed.
The shock of the crash affected the entire Thaddai circle. Kyrene made an effort to appear calm in the face of adversity, but in private she was incredibly stressed over the state of the economy, as the fledgling exarchate had only existed for a decade. She tried her best to keep the public calm along with Manaaki, but she knew that there would be growing dissatisfaction as long as this recession continued. She didn’t want to risk the reappearance of the same elements which allowed Tane to come to power.
Nestorius had to cut his visit short, feeling as though he should be on the islands to help with the situation, despite wanting to see those at the Senate for the upcoming session. He said his goodbyes, and left Constantinople in mid-September. Once he returned to Aoteorea, he joined his wife in helping the public stay calm. Meanwhile, Timon’s introspection over the future has received a major kickstart with the recession, as he was forced to deal with more adult topics such as the economy.
Back in Constantinople, the HQ got into high gear, especially with the Senate getting together in January. Franco got himself ready, and made sure to get informed of the details of the situation in Aoteorea. He hoped that perhaps the recession will be mentioned during the address.
Welcome back from break, Senators. Let Us review affairs internal to the Empire.
During these last five years, the Imperial Air Force has developed new aircraft and tactics.
In December of 1921, We implemented further restrictions of working hours, mandating a maximum of eight hours (left the workers be given overtime pay), one longer meal break, and two shorter breaks. At the Empire’s level of industrialization, this had no ill effect, and left workers even more time to enjoy their earnings.
Then in January of 1922, We noticed that Imperial investments in industry were continuing to drain the Empire’s coffers. We increased the tax rate on investments to 35% to offset this trend.
In February of 1922, the Imperial Museum was finally able to secure a collection of Impressionist artworks, and held a wonderful exhibition before incorporating them into the usual displays.
Also in February 1922, the University of Constantinople delivered their report on Mass Politics in the Empire. We thereafter tasked the legions with revising their divisional structure with the knowledge gained from the Great War.
During this time, the Admiralty also continued improving the navy.
And not only did the legions improve their structure, they improved their tactics and equipment.
In June of 1922, We set the minimum wage in the Empire to automatically increase to match inflation. The workers would not be left behind as times changed.
In mid-1922, the Koinonikistai political group split. Many of them saw common cause with Senator Doukas’ Komma Romanitas Autokratorikos coalition and joined it. The remaining members saw this as compromise with the Bourgeoise and re-proclaimed the Koinonikistai party, much weakened but more militant. Seeing this shift in Senatorial politics and the subtle machinations of the bureaucracy, We officially gave the KRA charge of the bureaucracy.
That summer also saw the completion of fortifications on many of the Empire’s borders.
Of course, it was only after the war with Iran that the legions’ new divisional structure had been devised.
That completed, We tasked the admiralty with incorporating all the latest technologies into the fleets.
And then in December, We began allowing members of the general populace to associate with the Empire’s nascent political parties. However, the restrictions on the bureaucracy remained. Instead, We began hand-selecting directors for the bureaucracy that more generally represented the Empire, rather than just ones of the party most in Our favor. Of course, it soon became clear that the bureaucracy had quite a diversity of opinions, and had merely been hiding them after the purge during the Time of Troubles.
1923 began seeing more news pertaining to the socialist state of mind. Fortunately, this wasn’t terribly relevant to the Empire, with its excellent working conditions. But on review, We found that there were still many of the poor in want. So, We revised the income taxes to be ‘progressive’ in nature, tuned so that the most desperate paid no taxes. With the increased investment taxes of 1922, the Empire’s budget was still positive.
In June 1923, We allowed members of the bureaucracy to associate with political parties, but they had to officially register their association.
When the admiralty finished planning their design improvements, We looked to improve industry via an innovation many others had adopted: assembly lines.
By the end of 1923, We found that the various consumption and sales taxes were unnecessary, and removed them. And in December of 1923, the party registrations of the bureaucracy had found nothing untoward, so We removed that requirement. Now everyone in the Empire could freely associate with the parties they wished.
In March of 1924, assembly lines began being applied to factories all throughout the Empire. We again gave the admiralty a task: integrating with the other forces in the Empire.
They finished this by November, and We asked them to update their training methods yet again.
Now, there had been various strikes, and even some violence, but January 1925 saw something We had hoped had passed: a large uprising, this time fascists.
This was itself followed by a Spanish nationalist uprising in March.
Fortunately, the Spanish uprising was beaten back in time for the Olympics.
And when the fascists were cleared from Egypt, archaeologists were finally able to report their discoveries in a tomb from the 18th dynasty.
The fascists were fully defeated just a month ago.
Finally, when the admiralty had finished devising better training, We asked various captains of industry to develop better clothing for the legions.
Franco Lazaratos had avoided speaking for the most part, carefully listening to the Emperor’s address. He didn’t even speak during the break, seeming uncomforted over something. Those in the know would know why that is, but those that didn’t would soon find out.
Once internal affairs were discussed, Franco spoke up. “While they may not exactly be considered part of internal affairs, has anything of importance happened in the federate states of South Africa, Namibia, Angola, the Congo and… Aoteorea?” he asked, once more seeming uncomforted after mentioning the Exarchate he represents.
We are glad you asked. For the most part the federates are doing well. Certainly they have not dabbled in international affairs. However, as the newspapers reported, Aoteorea has experienced an economic crash. There is great unemployment among the urban population.
They are also experiencing wild inflation of their currency, which is hurting their ability to mitigate the problem.
We are planning to send aid on the morrow. Already plans have been drawn up for new industries that should be more sustainable. We hope that it will alleviate the suffering of the Aoteorean people.
Franco gave a weak, but sincere, smile. “I-I am sure the people of Aoteorea would appreciate it. Thank you, your Highness,” he thanked, feeling relieved, “Hopefully, someday the economy of the Exarchate will be strong enough to deal with such crises by itself.”
Senator Donatello Favero sits in the far corner of the Senate, muttering something about Italy and giggling to himself.
Reporter from Ukrainian newspaper,who was bored by that nothing happened in capital,have seen senator muttering and photographed it.On the next day,Donatello Favero was blackmailed by Polish-Lithuanian communist organization,that claimed that senator muttered [REDACTED] , which would show him as [DATA PURGED] to everybody.:D
Senator Donatello Favero, so lost in his insane search for vengeance against the fools who had stolen his home and cleaved Italy from the Empire, doesn’t even notice that he was being blackmailed, not that he was in any sort of state to care.
The Ministry of Security sends some operatives to Ukraine to help the local government eradicate the communist organization that attempted (and failed) to blackmail Favero. The alleged photograph of Favero was recovered and destroyed. Nothing important happened that day.
Constantinople - Blachernae palace
Young man,in his early 20’s,approached gates of palace.Varangians tried to stop him,but,after verifying of passport,they have saluted to him.
He was just-elected senator.Former communist,Ukrainian,Exile.Young dandy,who already was gossiped about among young aristocratic girls,who had flirted with Princess Maria herself (who was of same age with him) and had earned a reputation of both nerd , playboy and duelist.
He was … duke Shelepov.
When he firstly was invited on consultation to Theodora Doukas,he was just a humble èmigrè , former detective , basically penniless and with no hope of surviving in foreign society.However,after few successful co-ops with Ministry of Security in Empire’s Ukrainian affairs,he become important for government,with Imperial family itself granting him membership in Varangians,little but pretty mansion in Constantinople suburbs,and right to be elected as senator.
Duke approached Council room,guards opened the doors…and our new senator just have come to just another Senate’s session.
Julius ws no longer the somewhat broken man from the Civil War. A healthy son was born, called Hadrian.
“But dad, why can’t I go?”
“Because only big adults can go. It also involves big words.”
“I know big words!”
“Hadrian, your biggest word is because.”
“Gabriel, help me out here.”
“I’ll play chess with him.”
“How the hell does Hadrian know how to play chess?”
“I taught him.”
At the conference
‘Ah, its good to be.. Senator Donatello, you need some help.”
“Hey man, I miss Rome as much as you do but you need to get healthy.”
Hadrian turned 10, and was beginning to come into his own as a Liberal.
“Daddy, do you think we’ll stay in power?”
“Well, Hadrian, it depends now what the people so desire..”
“But Liberals want nice things for everybody!”
“The world is strange. Life is strange.”
“But Life is Life.”
January 13, 1925
The sun had set on the city on Tunis, letting the dim glow of the streetlights take dominion over the sky. The city had not been spared industrialisation, banishing the visage of the stars to the past. Once, this city had hosted the greatest enemy of Rome, the Carthaginian empire. Hannibal, who had dealt great blows against the republic was born here.
Yet, now it was simply a useful naval base for the empire, providing an acceptable income from its industry and production. The Roman Empire had come close to falling so far during the civil war. The rebels had almost torn the empire down into irrelevance. However, such a fate was not the people’s fault. The corrupt and weak governments that had plagued the empire for so long drove it so close to collapse with their foolish ideologies. This corruption had to be eliminated.
At one o’clock, the explosion was heard throughout the city, followed by sporadic gunfights erupting by the main government centres. Only when the eagle, flying over the administrative centre of the city, was greeted by the rays of a new sun was it clear what had happened.
Legatus Legionis Titus Hipinius himself had led the Romani in an assault against the capital building, mirroring similar assaults across strategic locations across the entire empire. Territory was taken in many parts of the empire, including near the centre of the corrupt government in Greece itself. In North Africa, a solid hold was established in the occupied territories, with the resistance to the Fascist “empire” being thoroughly crushed. However, the occupation of territories in Europe and Asia failed to hold as strong, with the thrust for the capital being beaten back by the Greeks before they moved to retake the rest of their empire.
Late July, 1925
The Fascist area of control was crumbling almost from the start since the initial stall, but the defeat was marked when the Greek forces marched west across Sinai, retaking Alexandria in late July. The march west to end the rebellion was poorly opposed, with the pockets of resistance being fierce but poorly equipped and organised, but took a good few months to successfully retake.
When Tunis itself was finally retaken, the fighting lasted days in a last-ditch attempt by the rebelling Romani vi Bonorum to push back the Greeks. Titus had begun the rebellion and he saw it end, dying in the final hours of the fighting in the city.
When the empire had restored its control over the city and the legions had moved on to restoring control of the countryside, the mayor of the city made an interesting discovery in the office that Hipinius had occupied. He’d corresponded with Senator Tiberius Aurelius, requesting support for the rebellion from the political party and the remaining RvB units that hadn’t rebelled. The requests had been declined, yet the Senator’s true opinion was demonstrated by the signing of the common motto of the RvB and PIARO: “Gens una, populo una e Vindicta!”.
Senators, thank you for your time.
After the address
Newspaper “Constantinople Proletariat”
“Chains of Feudalism in Ming”
by: Duke Alexander Shelepov
Hello,workers of Roman Empire!Today we’ll discuss problem of worker’s oppression in China - one of the most populous countries in our Lord’s world,country,that haven’t been enlightened by Greeks.The Chinese are oppressed not only because they don’t follow true faith,or because they’re Chinese…they’re not a part of Roman Empire!
And you may ask…what progressive Basileia ton Romaion must do to help it’s brothers?
Right!WE MUST CONQUER CHINA,and proclaim our Emperor the Emperor of China.
That’s what our party suggests.
WORKERS OF THE ROME,UNITE!
MAKE CHINA PART OF ROME!
MICHAEL FOR CELESTIAL BASILEUS!
(opinion of article writer may not show opinion of editorial)
“Official Letter of Shelepov to Julius Marco and Donatello Favero”
Today,our empire is broken,with significant amount of it’s native lands being sized by rebel scum.It’s our duty to reclaim those lands,as well as to seize new.
Donatello,you have lost your home to those crazy Italians.I understand you,because my home also was burnt to ashes by Commies.
Julius,you are non-aligned,which couldn’t give you the support you need to pass the laws you want.
What could we do?To both Rome and ourselves?
WE NEED TO CONQUER CHINA,and use it’s manpower and resources to reclaim Europe!
What about joint alliance between our parties and non-aligned senators?
If you’ll agree,let’s name it “Komma Oikoumenikos”,or “Ecumenical Imperialist Party” in translation from Ancient Greek.
WILL WE UNITE TOGETHER AGAINST TRAITORS,BUREAUCRATS AND CAPITALISTS?”
- Senator Alexander Shelepov,Duke of Zolochiv,Deputy Chairman of Koinonikistai
Senator Donatello Favero only laughed as he read the letter in the comfy confines of his small apartment in Constantinople. Did this man not know that the Chinese were friends of the Empire? Only a fool would attack one’s friends when there were enemies much closer to home The Italian traitors should die first. Wasting precious manpower on a foolish venture in the Orient was a waste of resources and time. He did not bother to respond to the proposed alliance. He had no interest in working with socialist scum. The Patrikioi worked alone, and only in the interests of the Emperor and Empire.
Newspaper “Constantinople Proletariat”
Patrikioi denounces proposal of Grand Coalition?
This day was hard for proletariat of Roman Empire.Selfish greedy aristocrats of Patrikioi faction,seen oppression of Chinese as something
Newspaper “Constantinople Proletariat”
Apologize to Patrikioi for firing of international conflict with our best,non-oppressing ally of China
Political Bureau of Koinonikistai apologizes before You and Your’s party for what we have done.No longer we will fire the war between closest allies in history - Rome and China.
Instead,our Chairman Anastasios Papadopulos announces,that Koinonikistai volunteer brigades will continue it’s fight for liberation of Europe,as well for stop of Radical Socialist atrocities in Ukraine and Poland.
Anastasios Papadopulos,Chairman of Koinonikistai
Senator Alexander Shelepov,Duke of Zolochiv,Deputy Chairman of Koinionikistai
P.S. Duke Shelepov just returned home from cabaret.He was tired because he had an affair with cordeballet dancing girl because he received newspaper of Patrikioi senator,that claimed that Koinonikistai were “war hawks” and definitely not so pacifist as they claimed to be.Now,Alexander started forming a plan of how to both please other senators and explain to them his new,just born idea.He brought pen,dozen of paper sheets,and…
“Invitation(to all Senators)”
“To all senators.May I invite you on dinner at my mansion in Karacakoy,so you could relax and we could debate few issues?”
- Senator Alexander Shelepov,Duke,etc.
Duke Alexander Shelepov sends his invitation to all Senators for meeting at his mansion in Karacakoy,to discuss internal politics,as well as some foreign issues.
“This man thinks we’re going to invade China? Oh, all this time I thought he was joking! Hey, Son!”
“This fool thinks we should invade China!”
I graciously accept this invitation.
Though if you mention an invasion of China I’m leaving.
No.I’m not a Donatello to rant about it.Though,thanks for accepting!
- Senator Shelepov
“Senator Shelepov became tired after writing so many invitation letters.Yet he highly doubted that any of them would be departed,as he knew that KRA agents and Ministry of Security spies (who were the same people) monitored everything he wrote.
“Is it a paranoia?” - he wondered,while observing man with banner “KRA is the best!”,who in return have watched over Duke’s mansion.”
“On party only Julius Marco was present from over a dozen of invited.He had brought his children with him,who laughed rudely at Alexander for that “Roman China” accident . Shelepov had brought to guest everything from his vine cell,leaving non-aligned senator drunk in mansion’s main hall . Shelepov was sure - someone watched for him.But who?..
- That’s definitely a paranoia! - Alexander muttered to himself. - I think I need a doctor.”
- Senator Shelepov,Duke of Zolochiv,slightly insane socialist.
Athens - 1 January of 1928
Duke Shelepov,senator ‘n etc.,got out of train of Constantinople-Athens route.Alexander ordered to lackey to depart his suitcases to hotel “Acropolis”,while himself senator hired cab and drove to Athenian Hospital.
few hours later…
Alexander was embarrassed - that damn doctor haven’t found any evidence of paranoia?Probably,he was obsessed with madness?
But how to rationalize that he believed,that someone was spying on him?How?
- Probably…I don’t know… - muttered he,after falling unconscious on street of Athens.
2 January of 1928
- Sir,are you OK? - asked doctor,looking at his awakened patient.
- Where…am…I? - asked senator.
- Your Excellence,you have fallen unconscious,because you were tired and hungry. - said doctor. - Next time don’t forget to order something in train,or your health would be even weaker.
- OK,were’re my suitcases?
- They’re locked in “Acropolis’s” cell. - replied doctor,saying after:
- Few paperwork,one cup of coffee for you,and that’s all - you’ll be free to go.
Under “cup of coffee” doctor mentioned luxurious dinner.Duke now was looking on Aegean sea from the bench on promenade,caring about nothing and doing nothing.
Suddenly,a man approached him.Alexander wondered - had doctor mistaken?Had he paranoia or not?
Man appeared to be Varangian.He came closer to Shelepov,and said:
- Mister Senator,you’ve missed the New Year’ Eve’s Senate session!Return to Constantinople!
Shelepov has no other options,than to obey.
Catania - 2 February of 1930
Shelepov watched back,looking on steamer that left to Constantinople.His twin brother Pavlo,family man with beautiful wife and 12-year-old twins,had recently achieved position of lawyer in Thrace’s provincial administration.”Lucky boy” - duke thought about his brother,while remembering,that he spent three days on zeppelin not just to watch Mount Etna,but to meet someone.If to say openly,opposition from Poland-Lithuania had contacted Chairman(Papadopulos resigned recently,leaving Alexander Shelepov on position of Chairman of Koinonikistai)about possible Roman intervention from Hungary to overthrow evil leftist regime in Warsaw.While Alexander,being just party leader,had no power to succeed,he promised to mysterious rebels that he’ll wait on Sicilia.
Alexander watched over photo in medallion.It was she,his beloved Helen,secretly a wife(as no other Senator could forgive him marrying to former corps-de-ballet dancegirl),who now used his apartment in Karacakoy and waited to their children to be born.”I promise I’ll be back for you,Helen” - said Shelepov,closing the medallion and proceeding to parking lot to hire taxi.
..few hours later
He didn’t trusted this Italian man,who were de facto owner of this little castle just near the Mount Etna’s hill.In fact,since Shelepov met Donatello Favero,he united with him(despite of ideological differences) in belief that traitors need to be wiped out firstly,Chinese and Indians would be conquered later.
In the meeting hall,only two men,both wearing Polish uniform,sat by table.
- Hello there,comrades! - greeted in his party’s manner Alexander,while one of the rebels said:
- Look there,sir:I have the news of that Polish together with Ukrainian…oh,sorry,I mean communist Ukrainians - well,they’re planning invasion of Hungary.We want you,as a senator,to ask your Emperor to intervene in this,so your empire can both liberate two suffering nations…as well as made stronger ties with Hungary.
- What is you name,by the way? - asked Duke.
- I’m Konrad “Sidious” Siedlcow,and I think that we,as a brothers-in-arms,could…
His words were cut by sudden burst of no less than ten Varangians in the room,with rifles having bayonets attached.
- Surrender were you are,communist scum! - roared their leader,in who Shelepov immediately recognized the same Varangian who tried to stop him in Senator’s first session and who confiscated letter to Maria,as well who chased Alexander over entire Greece in 1928.
Duke wasn’t sure where to go … and with who unite?Before he could think about it,few bullets already flied near his head,and both Polish rebels fired on guards.
- Senator,if you’ll not go away or fire at spies,we’ll held trial against you!No longer foreign scum shall be Senators! - shouted chief Varangian,while cutting throat of those rebel,who don’t named himself,and striking bayonet through rebel’s heart.
“He’s doing it because he tries to revenge,revenge for my letter.” - thought Alexander,avoiding confrontation.”Stubborn royalist” - he muttered,while seeing,that from ten guards seven were killed,two retreated(how stupid,they’ll tell others!),while that same “avenger” stood upon Konrad,with gun ready to shoot.
- Comrade,what are you waiting!He’ll shoot at me! - shouted Siedlcow.
- Stay away or I’ll firstly shoot you! - roared Varangian.
Now,Shelepov finally made a choice.He brought out a sword,and sliced out both hands of guard.Rifle has fallen down.
- Senator,that’s stupid. - sayed loyalist,adding: - And my name is Michael Windu by the way.
While Sidious,having found a moment,brought from his handbag some scary device,having wore it on arm,and activated it…
Sudden blizzard have hit helpless Michael,while Konrad shouted:”REVOLUTION! UNLIMITED REVOLUTIOOON!”
When device was deactivated,Alexander(still terrified)helped Siedlcow to stand up.
- It’s a “Tesla fist” - told Sidious. - And I need to tell you the truth.You have saw that this guards wanted to kill not only me,but also you.Capitalism perverts human’s nature in such odd way…I’m not a resistance fighter.I’m a prominent Communist Party member,a secret advisor to Chairman.Don’t frown when hearing word “communism” - you see,this monarchists almost had slain you.
- Yes,comrade. - replied Alexander. - And what is your plan?
- In Poland-Lithuania,there’re a lot of exiled from Germany for communism,while here,on Sicilia,there is Lithuanian anti-communist diaspora.Chairman ordered Party to proceed Law 64,by what all non-communists in Poland and Polish resistance abroad must be purged.
- But how? - asked Shelepov.
- I hear the stamping sound,like about 1000 pairs of soldier’ boots. - replied Konrad. - They don’t know you’re on our side;say that you’re deputy commander…and purge every mansion with old Polish flag over it in Sicilia.And then…we shall have…peace!
- Yes,comrade.But if they’ll discover truth,I will be dead!
- Alexander Shelepov is dead.Could I name you “Lord Vaderowsky”,by the way?
And so their chat was over…