In The Wrong Hands

Equilara, Eridani Theta
January 25, 2018

The winter night breeze chilled Leonard Rani and his assistant to the bone as they stood frozen at the edge of the landing pad while their ride hovered just a few meters above the ground. Rani clutched the briefcase to his chest as the helicopter touched down on the pad, its cabin door sliding open followed by man in a Regulatori uniform jumping from the craft and rushing across the pad to where Rani awaited.

“Sir, are you ready?” the man asked loudly so his voice could be heard above the roaring sound of the helicopter’s rotors and engine.

“Lead the way!” Rani replied as he gestured forward. The officer nodded and hastened back to the helicopter, followed closely by the two passengers. Once the two found a place to sit and a pair of headsets, the officer closed the door and took the seat across from them.

“Alright, we’re ready to go!” the officer shouted into his headset.

“Hear you loud and clear,” the crackled voice of the pilot responded. Rani tightened his hold of the briefcase as the helicopter lurched upwards and sped southward into the night sky. Outside, the urban landscape faded away until it was replaced with forests, having remained untouched for so long thanks to its mountainous location. At least for now anyways, in a couple years this entire region will be stripped of its resources to further strengthen the motherland. Rani could not help but smile at such a thought as it further reminded him of his nation’s recent victories.

“It shouldn’t be too long until we arrive at Tanta Air Base, sir,” a voice said through Rani’s headset. Rani looked up at the young officer who nodded back. “I have been notified that your jet will be ready once we land,” the officer finished.

“Good,” Rani simply replied as he returned his gaze to the window. Besides the deafening noise of the helicopter’s engine, the cabin remained silent. The Regulatori officer gulped, wondering on how he could break the ice a bit. After all, Rani was his boss, and he knew of the perks of being Rani’s good side.

“So. . .” he started hesitantly, “how has your trip to Eridani Theta been, sir?”

Rani looked back up again and stared at the man. As much as he appreciated this young officer attempt at trying to lighten the mood, Rani was not in the mood for small talk. He then looked over to his assistant who was already dozing off, her head bobbing up and down to the vibration of the helicopter. For a whole week she had been following him around, helping him with paperwork, and making sure he stayed on schedule. It was no surprise that she would be asleep.

He couldn’t blame her either, his small visit to Eridani Theta had left him exhausted as well. As the head of the Regulatori, it was only right that he oversaw Eridani Theta’s transition into the empire. It included the usual checking on his troops and attending a bunch of boring meetings, but it might have also included leading raids against ET loyalists and Ambravian sympathizers. Unfortunately, the High Commander didn’t really like the idea of his general of the Regulatori running guns blazing into dangerous conflicts. However, it still looked good with the public, so Rani was allowed loose with a warning from his leader to not die. Fantastic.

“It was. . . tiring,” Rani answered with a smirk before looking out the window again, signaling he was done talking for the rest of the trip. He did take a quick glance at the embarrassed officer whose face was a bright shade of red, making a mental note of this man’s kindness. Maybe a small raise will do, or maybe request for the man’s family to receive some benefits, a lot of young men already anyways request their raises to go to their fam-

Rani’s whole body was thrown aggressively forward, his seatbelt biting through his clothing and into his skin. As a matter of fact, the entire craft was thrown off course, followed by a loud boom from outside. Before Rani could sit himself up again, another large boom from the back shook the helicopter to its core. By his side, he heard a large scream before falling dreadfully silent. Rani looked over to his assistant, only to find that she had fainted. He would have further checked to make sure she was alright, but an explosion that ripped the entire wall in front of him, thrusting debris and the young officer out of the helicopter, was of greater concern. The entire cabin was filled with a strong gust of wind, ripping away anything not held down or had been shaken off thanks to the three explosions.

“Dear Unus Almighty! Fortuna forgive me! Oh Spes!” Rani cried out in horror. Although he wasn’t very religious himself, he now was hoping some deity above would hear his cry for help, especially as he could see the ground closing in fast through the gaping hole in front of him. So it caught him off guard when some loose debris hit him hard against his head, nearly knocking him out. It did, however, cause him to let go of his briefcase and then watch it as it disappeared out of the hole and into the night.

“. . . uh oh. . .” was all Rani could think as the helicopter continued its decent before disappearing into the vegetation of Eridani Theta’s forests.

Tanta, Eridani Theta
January 26, 2018

knock knock knock

The hallway fell silent again as the group of law enforcement waited for a response. At the end of the hallway, Benito Pisano impatiently tapping his finger against the frame of the door. He looked back at the three Regulatori officers and the one Claritist inquisitor, shrugging at them when there was still no answer. All that he got in response were tired, blank looks. Makes sense, anyone would be tired at having to get up so early, and they looked the part with their bed hair popping out from under their hats and their uniforms still wrinkled. Pisano was no better, his grey suit was quite wrinkled at the edges, his white shirt wasn’t correctly tucked, and he barely put any effort into his tie. What a ragged bunch they were this fine morning. Pisano turned back to the door and knocked three more times.

“Mr. Zito, open up!” Pisano shouted at the door. He paused again before repeating.

“Mr. Zito, this is your last warning!” Again, no response. Pisano sighed heavily to himself. This was not how he wanted to be spending his morning, and it wasn’t even that interesting of a case to begin with. Basically, they just got word that this Mr. Zito was illegally handing out heathenish religious texts, a crime worthy of a few years of labor. Pisano was hoping it would be and in and out case, but Zito was being quite stubborn. Of course, that did not compare to Pisano’s impatience.

“Screw it,” Pisano muttered under his breath as took a step backwards, steadying himself between the narrow hallway before lifting his foot and placing one solid kick against the door. Nothing. Pisano cursed under his breath and went for another kick, and another, and another, until finally the door swung open. The group rushed in only to find a small, empty room. The apartment had limited décor, only having a few bare necessities. A plate of food sat unfinished on the desk while in the kitchen the teapot was whistling away. And at the far end of the room, the window was opened, leading straight to the fire escape.

“Damn it, damn it, damn it.” Pisano continued muttering as he rushed to the window and stuck his head out. Down eight stories, Pisano could not see anyone except the one officer he had posted to guard the fire escape. Where on Urth is this man?

“Hey!” Pisano shouted down at the officer, “Hey! Where’d he go?!” The officer, caught off guard by his superior shouting at him, looked up to see what all the commotion was. He quickly shrugged until his eye popped open in surprise.

“There! Above you!” He shouted back as he pointed at something above Pisano. Looking up, Pisano could just make out a figure scaling its way up the fire escape and onto the roof three floors up.

“Damn it, damn it, damn it!” Now he had to chase this man down, too? This was certainly not how he wanted to spend his day. Pisano took his gun from its holster and rushed back into the hallway. “He’s heading for the roof!” he shouted back to the other dumbfounded officers as he found the stairs and began his ascent. He hoped that he could catch Zito at the top, but as he burst out onto the roof, Pisano found no one.

“What the. . .” He rushed over to the edge where the fire escape was only to find it empty. A thought quickly popped into his head, and he sped over to the other side of the building. Sure enough, Zito was making his way down the other fire escape, and he was descending fast, sometimes jumping from platform to platform without using the ladders. “Oh no you don’t,” Pisano muttered as he followed suit. Although Zito had a head start, he was not as athletic as Pisano, so the gap was closing fast. Just as Pisano was just a few platforms away, Zito reached the ground and dashed away into the street. It did not take long for Pisano to finally reach the ground, taking a second to balance himself before running after Zito. The street was way busier for Pisano’s liking, but there wasn’t much he can do about it except wave his gun and badge at those in front of him while yelling at them to get out of the way. At last, about a half a block away, Pisano located his target.

“Zito, you bastard, halt!” he shouted to no avail as he continued his pursuit. No shocker that criminals do not want to be caught, but this was ridiculous. Pisano was putting so much effort in catching this one guy, and for what? Passing out religious books? Pisano had enough of this, and when he was just a few meters behind Zito, he came to a complete halt and pointed his pistol at his suspect. “Out of the way! Now!” he shouted at those in front of him. The crowd screamed and scrambled around to get out of the line of fire, sending the entire street into a panic. Still, Pisano waited, drowning out all the noise, controlling his breath until finally, finally, he saw an opening and pulled the trigger. His one in a hundred shot was awarded with the sound of shattering bone and a yelp of pain as the bullet struck Zito in the hip, causing him to collapse pathetically to the ground. Proud with such an accurate shot, Pisano put his pistol back in its holster and pulled out handcuffs as he made his way to the Zito who still laid on the ground, screaming in agony.

“You bastard, that’s what you get for running,” he simply stated as he knelt and pulled Zito’s arms together. The man yelped again in pain as Pisano tightened the handcuffs around his wrists.

“You shot me!” Zito was able to finally say between breathes.

“Well be happy I didn’t kill you.” Once his suspect was secured, Pisano sat down and waited for backup to arrive. In the distance he could already hear the sounds of sirens coming his way, and it did not take much longer for his small squad to arrive. “Well?” Pisano looked at the wide-eyed inquisitor, “did you find what you wanted?” The Claritist nodded enthusiastically, lifting a bag of what appeared to be books.

“Fantastic,” Pisano replied as he laid down on the pavement, “Fantastic.”

(OOC: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention what this is. I really wanted to do some mystery/crime-like story for a while, so this is my attempt at that. Dates aren’t also going to follow RL time, but that’s to be expected. Also, if you stick around, you might get to see what devious plans the Fortunan regime is planning. Spoilers!)

Crash site, Eridani Theta
January 26, 2018

The Costella Helena-type SAR helicopter flew slowly along the projected path of Rani’s helicopter, looking for any signs on where it went. The first sign that something went wrong was a faint signal from last night, the operators concluding that it was a distress signal. The next sign was the late arrival of the general’s craft, leaving the ground crew confused and cold as the waited in the night for someone to arrive. It took five hours until someone made the decision to go looking for their missing leader. So, in the dim morning light, the SAR helicopter continued its desperate search for any signs until finally, tucked away in a heavily forested valley, the search crew located a plume of grey smoke rising from the crash site.

(Epic time skip!)

Tanta Military Hospital, Eridani Theta
January 27, 2018

At first, everything came as a blur of white before being consumed again by darkness, but Rani was soon able to finally gain consciousness, his eyes fluttering open slowly until he could make out he was in a hospital room. In the corner, the radio was blaring today’s news propaganda, drowning away repetitive and depressing hospital sounds. Being a man who disliked being inactive, Rani attempted to push himself up only to collapse back onto the bed when struck with a surge of pain in his chest and head, causing him to howl out in pain. As if on cue, two nurses, a male and a female, rushed into the room diligently went to work to calm Rani down.

“Easy there, sir, easy there,” the nurses calmingly said as they finally were able to get Rani to lie down. “Sir, please calm down. You’ll only hurt yourself more if you keep moving around like that.”

“Wha. . . What happened?” Rani desperately asked between each breath. The two nurses looked at each other uncertainly before the female nurse responded.

“Your helicopter was shot down, sir,” she explained in a hesitant voice, “you’ve been unconscious for about a day already. You’ve also suffered some minor burns, a few broken ribs, and you hit your head pretty bad. That’s why we need you to stay still for the time being, okay?”

“Yeah. . . okay,” was all he could muster as a response. His breathing started to slow as he began to calm down, his memory of the night before started to come back. Yes, what a terrifying night it was. The sounds of explosions, the sharp wind that tore through the cabin from the immense hole one missile created, and the feeling of falling as the craft plummeted to the surface. There was also another detail, something else important happened that night. Did forget something in Equilara? Did he forget someone? Lose someone? Lose something?


He lost something.

Something that was never meant to leave his side.

“Wh. . . Where. . . Where’s. . . Where’s. . .” he began mumbling quickly, his heartrate and breath rising dramatically.

“Oh, Miss Greta is fine, sir. She’s still unconscious, but she will be able to make a full recovery.” the female nurse said reassuringly, thinking he was talking about his assistant.

“Nooo. . . Not, not her!” Rani moaned in agony. “Nooo! My. . . My, uh. . . My briefcase!” He began trying to lift himself out of the bed. Even with so much pain within his body, he could not stay here. He had to get out of here. He had find his briefcase. The nurses were now struggling to keep him from moving, their efforts at restraining him only worsened the situation.

“Sir, please!” they both called out in desperation, “Please stop moving, sir!”

“My briefcase, damnit! I need my briefcase!”

“Sir, we’ll find your briefcase!” the male nurse said a bit aggressively. “Just stay still, will you?! Sarah, get some help, now!”

“No. . . I need to. . . I need to find my. . .” The pain was too much for Rani as his hearing began to ring and his vision started going black. “Where is it?” he was able to mutter one last time before going unconscious once again.

Eridani Theta, near crash site
January 27, 2018

Aurelio Sabbatini was not having a very good day. Being one of the only deliverymen in the area, it was up to him to deliver cargo between the surrounding villages. Problem was that the recent collapse of the government, followed by his side of Eridani Theta being integrated into Fortuna, had a drastic impact on business as it prevented him from delivering to villages in Ambravia. No matter, he’ll just deliver to villages on his side of the border, right? Problem with that was that working along the border was more difficult than it should be. Roads were always being closed as Fortunan troops roamed around, securing this new land and hunting down enemies of the state, all the while some foreign entity calling themselves the PKFU has started to show up as well. Oh, and must he forget the countless times he was stopped by Fortunan soldiers and those vulpine Ambravian guerrilla fighters, only to later notice a crate or two having disappeared? Because that is exactly what has happened today; six times! For some odd reason, the amount of those secret police thugs seemed to have increased tenfold overnight. Maybe it had to do with that rumor that a helicopter was shot down nearby, but why must a small businessman lose money just because of a military accident? It was days like these that made him regret voting to join Fortuna, just so that life can go back to normal. If not even that, then at least something to turn is life around.

Out of the corner of his eye, Sabbatini caught a glimpse some abnormal shape sticking out of the brown grass. On most days, he would have just continued along, but curiosity and lack of caring about getting back home on time convinced him enough to check it out. Sabbatini slowly pulled off the road, the brakes creaked as the truck came to a stop next to the unknown object. As he stepped out of his vehicle and neared the object, it started to become quite clear what it was; a beaten-up, brown leather briefcase.

“What’s it doing here?” Sabbatini pondered as he knelt next to it. His first assumption was that it belonged to a border hopper trying to get to Ambravia, there were a lot of those recently. However, that idea started to become more less likely based off a small, bronze symbol attached on it’s side; the symbol of the Fortunan military. That was worrisome. This briefcase must belong to some Fortunan soldier or official, he assumed, probably losing it while traversing these dirt roads.

“I should probably return it,” he said to himself as he grabbed the briefcase by its handles. It was not too heavy, but it did catch Sabbatini off guard as he carried it over to the back of his truck. As he placed it next to the rest of his cargo, he noticed that a crate of Mamma Maria’s Homegrown Peaches was missing.

“Oh chips!” he angrily muttered. So those Fortunan bastards at the last checkpoint DID take something, and not just something, Mamma Maria’s Homegrown Peaches! Don’t those thugs know how important Mamma Maria’s Homegrown Peaches are to Sabbatini’s village? Of the dozens of housewives that are waiting for their can of peaches to make desert? Of the children who have waited months to take a bite of the famous Eridani Thetan peach pie? Even if they did know, they probably wouldn’t care. It was times like this that Sabbatini wished he could give those soldiers a taste of their own medicine, see how they would like to have their own stuff taken from them. At that moment, his eyes were drawn to the briefcase in his hand. You know what? Those bastards don’t deserve this little briefcase after what they did to him. In case he ran into any other checkpoints, Sabbatini hid his new cargo in a newly made secret compartment, made for occasions such like this. With a skip in step, Sabbatini hopped into the front seat of his truck and began heading home.

Aurelio Sabbatini was not having a very good day, but at least he could end it on a sort of happy note. He doubted the Fortunan military would care that a small briefcase went missing, but it still felt good to Sabbatini for getting back at them. “Every small victory counts,” his father always told him, and damn was he right.

crash site, Eridani Theta, Fortuna
January 28, 2018
8:00 A.M.

The vehicle jerked upward as it hit a bump a little too fast, causing Benito Pisano to awaken from his nap. He looked up to see they have driven further into the forest, the trees clustered so close together that Pisano was a bit surprised the vehicle could make it this far. His ride soon came to a stop a few minutes later however, and Pisano hopped out and now found himself in a small base of operation. It was just a small camp which consisted of a few dark green tents where the investigators and search teams coordinated. In the distance, he could hear the sound of dismantling as workers slowly broke down the crashed helicopter into smaller pieces. They’ve been at this for two days already, but there was still much work to do. To everyone’s surprise, the craft was still intact to an extent upon landing. The pilot was able to “land” the helicopter upwards and without blowing it up even while it was damaged, and the landing area being forest. Unfortunately, the brave pilot died upon landing, but his sacrifice allowed for Rani to survive. He will for sure receive a hero’s funeral, and his family will receive a lovely benefit.

Pisano didn’t have time to mourn for a fallen brother-in-arms, because he and a few other agents were given an odd job. Yesterday, he was sent a secured message concerning the general’s accident. By then, rumor had already spread amongst the Regulatori officers that something bad had happened to their boss, what exactly was not entirely known to everyone. With this message, it confirmed to Pisano that an accident did occur and explained the current situation. That information was not the focus however, it was only filler on the real issue; a missing briefcase. From what Pisano could gather, General Rani lost a briefcase midflight, containing highly classified information. Problem was that no one has found the briefcase yet, and two days without any information of its whereabouts must really have the higher ups beyond worried. That’s where Pisano and his fellow agents, eight in total, come in, their job was going to be to search the nearby towns for any signs of its whereabouts and hopefully retrieve the briefcase safely in the end. Fantastic. Even though finding this briefcase was a matter of national security, Pisano was still pissed off that he was given such a simple task. Why couldn’t he be the one hunting down Ambravian terrorists or knocking down doors of mafia members? Now that he thought about it, it probably had to do with his actions during the Zito case a couple days ago.

He looked down at where his gun was supposed to be, but now it was replaced with a stun gun. Apparently, the Captain was not pleased with Pisano for firing a gun into a crowd, even though he did hit his target with precision. Sure, he did cause panic which led to a few people getting hurt, but he did what had to be done. Unfortunately, that was not enough, so Pisano was punished by having his weapon confiscated for the time being. It certainly put a dampen on his pride, and the other agents now enjoyed poking fun at him because it was hilarious to see a Regulatori agent without a real weapon. And although Pisano did his best to ignore all the banter, he couldn’t help feeling a bit grumpy today.

“Hey Pisano, hurry up!” Arsenio Trentini, his partner for the mission, called back to him from up ahead. Pisano nodded in response and trudged along to catch up with the group. Once all of them were gathered around the entrance to one of the tents, a rather small man opened the flap and stepped out. If Pisano was in a better mood, he probably would have laughed at how funny the man looked. He had a shiny bald spot on the top of his head and wore round spectacles that balanced delicately on his nose. As with many other officers, he wore the black uniform of the Regulatori, covered in tons of medals. What was amusing being he looked like an old child playing dress up as an officer, something one would not expect in Fortuna’s greatest law enforcement department.

“Good evening gentlemen, I’m Captain Sergio Mazzanti,” he introduced in a deep voice. He smiled as the agents stepped back in shock, he was used to the reaction. “I’m in charge of the investigation at the crash site here, and I’ve already been briefed on why you’re all here today. Please come in so that we can further discuss this.” Sergio turned and held open the flap of the tent for the agents, following them in as they entered. Inside the tent, a table was set up in the middle where a map laid open, dozens of pins placed all around it. Sergio waited until all of them were huddled around before stepping up onto a box at the end of the table and began the briefing.

“As you all know by now, an extremely important object of General Rani was lost after it was shot down by what we believe to be by the terrorists known as the “Ambravian Freedom Fighters.” The object in question is General Rani’s personal briefcase, its contents are highly classified, and it the public finds out, we could face both a national and international crisis. Based off analyses, the briefcase is believed to have fallen in a two-mile radius of the crash site. Unfortunately, nothing has been found yet, and the search area has been increased to a three-mile radius. We hope we can find the briefcase on our own, but there’s a small chance that it has already been found. That is where you come in. We suspect that there is a chance that the briefcase was picked up by a passerby, taking it who knows where. Your job is to investigate six towns that are in a 20-mile radius of the crash site,” he pointed out six blue pins that were on the edges of the map. “If anyone were to find it, they would have most likely been from these towns. On top of that, we’re already in the process of closing this entire area off. As we speak, the military is encircling the area to prevent anyone from entering or leaving, letting the Regulatori to complete this mission. Now, I pray to Unus that if someone DID pick it up that they are a loyal Fortunan, and hopefully they’re already taking the briefcase to the nearest officer or soldier. If not, then it is up to you to find them and retrieve the briefcase, by force if necessary.” Sergio paused and nodded at an agent who had his hand up.

“Yeah uh, who’s to say that the terrorists don’t already have the briefcase?” the agent asked, the other agents nodded and mumbled in agreement.

“Good question, we don’t,” Sergio answered. “However, we have good suspicion that they don’t have it. Now the little bastards don’t know this, but we’ve been listening in on them for awhile now. After they shot down General Rani’s helicopter, they were very chatty about it, but we didn’t hear anything concerning the briefcase. There is a good chance that they had no idea of who and what was on that helicopter, which explains why they didn’t investigate the crash themselves. If that’s the case, then that means that their plan was to just shoot the helicopter down and then get as far away as they can.”

“I have a question,” this time Pisano piped up, “you want us to find a briefcase, but who’s to say that its contents were not already removed and possibly copied?” Pisano was caught off guard when Sergio answered with a deep laugh.

“Oh, I don’t think we’ll have to worry about them making copies. Have you seen the people here? They’re very primitive, the most technological thing they have is some old television, so I doubt that anyone would have a copier or whatever!” Sergio let out another hearty laugh while the agents nervously laughed with him. “Anyways,” he continued, “the briefcase being opened is another one of our concerns. I’ve been told, however, that the briefcase is very secured and near impossible to open.” Sergio handed out a few pictures, all from different angles of a similar briefcase. “To open it, you need both a key and a fingerprint. The inside is also cased in metal plating, so it will for sure be a tough cookie to open. Hopefully that will be enough to keep anyone from attempting to open it, but if they really wanted to, they can for sure pop that sucker open. Alright, here is where you’ll be looking and a summary of the town.” Sergio handed out a folder to each team. He then paused and took a deep breath. “Finding this briefcase is a matter of national security, so I need all of you to put in your best effort. May Unus be with us. Glory to the High Commander!”

“Glory to the High Commander!” The agents enthusiastically responded. Pisano, holding the folder in his hand, waited for everyone to disperse and his partner come over to him.

“You ready?” Trentini asked.

“Yeah, totally ready,” Pisano responded emotionlessly.

“So where are we off to first?”

“Ehm,” Pisano opened up the folder and pulled the document out, “looks like a small village called. . . Bentagno, and then Vinna. Alright, let’s get going then.”

Ambravian Freedom Fighter Base, Eridani Theta, Fortuna
January 28, 2018
10:30 AM

The entire campsite was in disarray as vulpines scattered back and forth tearing down their base and packing their equipment into awaiting trucks. A couple nights ago, they were celebrating their victory in shooting down a Fortunan military helicopter, but now they were running for their lives as reports flooded in of Fortunan troops encircling the entire area. For a month they have been harassing the Fortunan military through small skirmishes and ambushes, but the shooting down of a helicopter was the greatest achievement for this small group of fighters. What they didn’t expect was the sudden and unexpected reaction from their enemy. Overnight, the number of soldiers in the area tripled, and movement made it increasingly difficult for the Ambravians, many of them having to take long forgotten trails to stay hidden. It didn’t take long until they received orders to evacuate the area and jump across the border immediately.

Every capable individual had a job to do, well except for one young vulpine who just arrived at the camp, his breath heavy from his sprint. Instead of helping everyone pack up, he instead quickly made his way to a black pick up truck where a few menacing vulpines huddled around a map. The young freedom fighter stopped to catch his breath before stepping up closer.

“Scout A03 reporting, sir!” he confidently shouted. The older vulpines turned and looked at him before backing up to allow the middle one forward. He clearly stood out from the rest with his brownish-red fur painted with splotches of dark green, and he stood up with confidence, his dark intimidating eyes seemed to see right through the young scout. Another notable difference was his missing right arm, blown off during an attack against Fortunan forces. Today he had it covered up with one of his spoils of war, a Fortunan officer’s dark green coat but with the addition of the white star of Ambravia painted on the back. In summary, he was considered a badass and hero by Ambravians (especially to the younger generation), a threat to the Fortunans, and an excellent leader and tactician to the freedom fighters who followed him. So even though the young vulpine was intimidated, his enthusiasm to be able to report in person to his leader, Commander Yorev Marcelo, and report he did.

“Report,” Yorev ordered in an authoritative voice.

“Sir, there has been unusual movement from the crashsite,” the scout began describing, “four unmarked vehicles entered and exited their camp in a period of one hour, but upon hitting the main road, they split and headed in opposite directions.” There was a pause as he waited for his leader to respond. Yorev stood unmoving for a second before beckoning for the scout to come closer.

“Come here,” he said, pointing at the map the group was looking at earlier, “which direction did they head?” The young vulpine stepped up and leaned in closer, taking a second to study the map.

“I saw two of the vehicles head of west on this road here,” he began explaining, pointing at a small road then moving his finger to another point, “and the other two turned and head east this way, but one turned off immediately at this turn.”

“Where did they come from?” Yorev further questioned.

“From here,” the scout replied, pointing at another road, “I would assume they were from Tanta then.”

“And were there only two men in each vehicle?”

“Yes sir, and they weren’t wearing any uniforms.”

“Interesting,” Yorev said under his breath, his ears perking up at hearing that information, “So now they’re sending agents. . . Thank you, comrade, you’re dismissed.” The scout, filled with excitement seeing that his findings interested his leader, quickly saluted and scurried away.

“So,” an elder officer spoke up, “does that mean something?”

“It does indeed,” Yorev answered, turning back to the map. “It appears that the Regulatori bastards have sent their agents. While their officers do most of the grunt work, the agents focus on solving cases and doing special tasks. That brings up an important question, why bother themselves with a shot-down helicopter? Unless. . .”

“Unless that helicopter was a lot more important than we anticipated,” another officer answered.

“Exactly,” Yorev stated with a smile. “These roads,” he continued explaining, “all lead to small villages that are in radius to the crash site. They could be looking for us, but only agents? Plus, that is the job of their military. They’re looking for someone, or something, and I want to know what it is. Fransis, I want eyes and ears in all the surrounding villages, found out what they are up to. In the meantime,” he pulled out his pistol and looked at the group with a grin, “let’s clear ourselves a way out of here.”

The Border between Ambravia and Fortuna, on the Ambravian side
Late January, 2018

Furnifold Peacekeeping Forces of Urth (PKFU) were tasked with overseeing the border on Eridani Theta, to dissuade would-be militants and radicals from crossing over to the Fortunan side. Since the nation had recently been split into two, the porosity of the border had been handled. There was much work for the two thousand PKFU soldiers to do, from patrolling and staffing checkpoints, to watching over the nearby villages, to enjoying the foods that had attempted to be brought over. The Furnifold peacekeepers were notoriously corrupt, shirking their duties in exchange for the food. While making sure that the things that definitely weren’t supposed to make it over didn’t go over the border, they also turned a blind eye to the occasional delivery person with a truck, as long as they could inspect the truck and confiscate a crate or two of its materials. Mamma Maria’s Homegrown Peaches was definitely a favorite of many a Furnifold peacekeeper. “These are almost as delicious as the passion fruit we have back in Furnifold,” was a common utterance from the Furnifold peacekeepers, an intensely nationalistic bunch.

Of course, there were some delivery people who were part of the Ambravian freedom fighters, a radical independence movement that had cells throughout the Fortunan side of Eridani Theta. At first, the PKFU did a good job of preventing most of these fighters from making it over. They had a strict no-aggression policy, so they would just turn any of the soldiers away if they tried to sneak over the border. It may have been better to turn them in to the authorities, or confiscate any weapons they received, but the PKFU force had a murky set of prerogatives, and the system in place seemed to lessen tensions the best, or, at least not put Furnifold PKFUs in the cross-hairs of the freedom fighters. As the delivery-people told their Ambravian freedom fighter superiors about Furnifold peacekeeper’s susceptibility, it was easily exploited. Crates of foods, cash, and the company of men and/or women was promised for safe smuggling of weapons or other materials across the border. And the PKFU obliged. Not every-time, but around one in every ten border checks resulted in a free pass across.

The Kuthernburg side was definitely more strict. At first, the smugglers had to contend with the Kuthernburg searches, who would confiscate anything illicit that was attempted to be smuggled over, and turned the smugglers around. This usually resulted in some serious chastisement from the Kuthernburg commanders to the Furnifold commanders. The border patrol on the Ambravian side finally got smart about sending smugglers over, and shrewdly found ways to get around the Kuthernburg border checks. For even more bribes/company, they told the smugglers how to exploit the security lapses, to hiding materials in the upholstery of the trucks, or in certain containers. The turning point came with a huge bribe, and the Furnifold peacekeepers turned a blind eye as Ambravian freedom fighters dug a tunnel underneath a border fence that led to the other side of the DMZ, and exploited the known Kuthernburg patrol pattern to freely smuggle materials onto the other side. While there was culpable deniability before, it would be evident that Furnifold PKFU forces were orchestrating an Ambravian smuggling operation. Because of the perceived trustworthiness of the PKFU, and because Fortunan law enforcement or agents could not get right up to the border because of the post-conflict resolution, there was not really any danger of the whole operation failing, unless the Kuthernburg peacekeepers caught wind.

Suffice it to say, if tensions were to increase, it would likely be due to the freedom fighters almost free movement across the border. So, when Furnifold PKFUs got wind that a Fortunan military helicopter had crashed maybe 1 or 2 hours from the border, they began to cover their exploits for the past two weeks, and would need to become much more strict with searches and confiscations. A bribe or two still would still get a safe smuggling operation, and the tunnel to the other side was definitely still operational though, but the endeavors were not to be as loose as they once were.

“We don’t want to have any of the law looking at what we’re doin’,” the border patrol guards would say, while munching on Mamma Maria’s Homegrown Peaches.

The Border between Ambravia and Fortuna, on the Fortuna side
Late January, 2018

21st Peacekeeping battalion drove alon the border control area under Kuthernburg protection, 3 AFVs with large PKFU symbols rushed down the dirt road. The gunners were prepared to defend at all cost the integrity of the mission, a recent confrontation with Furnifold PKs on there leniency with letting anything across the border increasing hostility between rebels and Fortuna.

The 21st PK battalion was Kuthernburg main Peace enforcement, with there sole purpose being restoring peace and security in situations where the Council has determined the existence of a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression. Their deployment came following the downing of a helicopter a few hours earlier, they deployed 2 of there own helicopters to secure the crash site and help in the investigation. They were attempting to find breaches in the defense, they had been receiving a report of increase of undocumented Ambravians crossing the border.

The Border between Ambravia and Fortuna, on the Fortuna side
Late January, 2018
The 3rd Xagrurgian Peacekeeping Battalion continues to patrol along the border, keeping an eye on any suspicious activities if they occur near them. They were recently deployed by the Xagrurgian government to reaffirm the Xagrurgian commitment to the peacekeeping mission. Due to chronic underfunding however, the Xagrurgian soldiers were equipped with old EM-2 rifles from storage. However, they did bring much-needed supplies like MREs (albeit it tastes bland), medical equipment, and ammunition with them to Fortuna. They were very strict and dutiful to their jobs as PKs, as they were drilled to obey orders by the military back at home in Xagrurg. After arriving in Fortuna, they settled into a nearby PKFU base and began carrying out patrols and whatnot. Commander Furel was assigned to lead the battalion. Coming from a military family, he was accustomed to the harsh and rigid structure of military command. Unlike the majority of soldiers he was assigned to lead, he didn’t display any shock when he landed in Fortuna and observed the bland and dull architecture.

Vinna, Eridani Theta, Fortuna
January 28, 2018
10: 41 AM

“Yoohoo!” a small voice called from behind, causing Sabbatini to jump in surprise. He turned around quickly with is tool held as a weapon, ready to bash any attacker. Thankfully, Sabbatini’s “attacker” was just a teenage vulpix, and the least harmless individual in Vinna.

“Oh chips, Jesika! Don’t sneak up on me like that!” he exclaimed as he relaxed and turned back to the table.

“Sorry, Mr. Sabbatini. I was just in the area and wanted to see what you were up to,” she replied. She waited a second at the door before stepping her way into Sabbatini’s small workshop. “So, I heard you had another crate stolen yesterday. Mrs. Rossi was quite distraught that she wasn’t going to get her can of peaches this week.”

“Aye, tell her she’s not the only one. Half the village was hoping to get a taste of her pie, even me,” Sabbatini continued to work, not even turning to look back at Jesika.

“Me too! Oh well, maybe I can use my vulpine connections to get some peaches from Ambravia.”

“You better not be in connection with those Ambravian Fighters or whatever, they’re just bad news. How about you leave the shipments to me, eh?”

“Fine, but you should bring me along one day.” Seeing that Sabbatini was too concentrated on whatever he was working on, Jesika made her way around to the other side of the table to see what he was up to. There in the middle sat an odd-looking briefcase with some of its leather torn off and its locks looking like they were about to break. It appeared that the messed-up locks were done by Sabbatini who was currently working on removing them further. “Mr. Sabbatini, what are you doing?”

Sabbatini paused and looked Jesika in the eyes, or eye anyways. Nearly 10 years ago, the poor girl’s family was hunted down by an anti-vulpine group, leading to all their deaths and Jesika being shot in her right eye. The people of Vinna later found her close to death just outside of the village, and they took it upon themselves to care for and raise her. It sure was tough for them though, with a population of just over 100 and all of them human, they had to work together to figure out how to raise a vulpine. Now here they are today with a healthy, innocent, and energetic ball of fun! Everyone in Vinna sees Jesika as a precious child of theirs in some way, even Sabbatini. It was because of this that he was unsure of what he should tell her. If he gets in big trouble because of this briefcase and she gets wrapped into it, he would never forgive himself.

“Its. . . something I found yesterday,” he finally answered. Yes, that will be all the information that he’ll give her. “It’s going to be awhile until I open it, so I think it would be best if you leave-”

“Why does it have a Fortunan symbol on it?” Jesika asked, pointing at the bronze emblem on the side of the briefcase. Oh chips, Sabbatini forgot about that.

“Oh that, well you see. . . Its, uh. . .” Sabbatini was stumbling for an explanation, a believable lie perhaps, but she was way brighter than he would give credit for.

“I know this symbol, this belongs to the Fortunan military!” she exclaimed loudly, causing Sabbatini to jump in surprise again.

“Shhhh! Okay yes, it belongs to the military.”

“Where did you find it?”

“On the side of the road. . .”

“And you took it?!” By now, she was starting to get fully invested in this, but there wasn’t much Sabbatini could do. He’s already in a deep mess as it is, might as well just go with it.

“Of course I took it, serves them right,” he replied proudly, pumping his chest. “‘Finders, keepers’ as the saying goes.” He looked down at Jesika who only stared back quietly. After a few more seconds of silence, she finally spoke up.

“Well. . . they deserve it if you ask me! They took your stuff, so you took their stuff. ‘An eye for an eye’ as I would put it,” she said with a smile.

“Yes, that certain-, wait what? Anyways, you must stay quiet about this, if word gets out, I could get in big trouble, you hear?”

“Yes captain!” she replied a bit sarcastically. “So, can I help you open it?”

“Don’t you have stuff to do?”

“Nope, if I was then I wouldn’t be here.”

Sabbatini sighed. This was the last thing he wanted, yet he didn’t have the gut to say no. “Fine, but stay out of the way. It shouldn’t be too much longer till I get this open.”

“And whatever is in there, I get half!”

(OOC: Yep, long post, about five pages I believe. I might as well just write a book. . .)

Vinna, Eridani Theta, Fortuna
January 28, 2018
6:15 PM

“Yo Benny, we’re here,” Trentini said as he nudged his sleeping partner in the passenger seat. Pisano slowly opened his eyes and grumbled in response. He sat up in his seat and saw that they just arrived in a small village, the second one they were ordered to investigate. Due to the last village, Vito, only consisting of a handful of houses and its residents incredibly willing to aid them, the two agents decided they might as well and head off to the next village; Vinna. From their reports, Vinna was a little larger than the first, so the plan was to begin the search once there and continue the next morning, although Pisano wanted to just do everything tomorrow instead. The sun was already disappearing behind the tree line, and he honestly did not want to go around in the dark. The idea was to get the aid of the local law enforcement to help them out, or that’s what Trentini said, so Pisano reluctantly agreed.

Reaching the center of the village, Trentini parked the car next to a two-story, rundown building, a sign saying Town Hall with another sign underneath it saying Vinna Law Enforcement. He looked down at the piece of paper with an address and looked back up at the building, staring at it in a bit of confusion.

“What’s up?” Pisano asked in an anxious, tired voice.

“Oh nothing, we’re where we want to be,” Trentini answered quietly as he attempted to look around the corner of the building, “I just find it odd that there’s no one here.”

“Maybe they’re on call or something,” Pisano shrugged as he shifted into a more comfortable position and closed his eyes.

"Maybe. . .: At that moment, an older gentleman in casual clothing exited the building, lit a cigarette, and began heading in the opposite direction. Trentini quickly rolled down his window and stuck his head out, calling for the man. “Excuse me, sir!” he shouted. The man turned around suddenly and squinted at Trentini for a second before walking up to them.

“Evening gentlemen, you from out of town?” the man asked with a cracked voice, blowing a puff of smoke to the side. The two agents grimaced since smoking was looked down upon extremely in Fortunan society.

“Uh yeah, we just arrived a few minutes ago. We’re. . .” Trentini looked over at Pisano who only shrugged back in response. Turning back to the man, Trentini continued, “we’re part of the Regulatori, and we’re here to meet up with your law enforcement. Are they here or on call somewhere?”

“Regulatori, eh? Maybe you can help them out.”

“Uhm, help out with what?”

“You see, all our officers are busy at a crime scene. From what I heard, poor Sabbatini committed suicide!” Pisano’s eyebrows peaked up at what the man said. Both agents looked at each other in interest, today just got a bit more interesting.

“A. . . suicide?” Trentini slowly asked.

“That’s right, shot himself in his own workshop! Poor fella, a bit of a loner, but he was a kind man. Always driving about and bringing supplies to us from the big city, just yesterday he came back with this week’s orders. Good man, always brought me a new pack of cigarettes. Now. . .” the old man bowed his head in respect before puffing another smoke. The two agents too remained silent, but they were mainly just thinking over this new information.

“Where did arrive from exactly?” Pisano questioned.

“Hmm, let’s see,” the man paused for a second as he rubbed his chin, “came from one of those border towns in the west, I believe. A dangerous place to drive in, I heard there is a bunch of Ambravian terrorists camped out in that area. Your bunch are no better either, always stealing Sabbatini’s stuff during his drive. If I were to bet, I would say it’s you blasted Fortunans’ fault for his death.” He blew another puff of smoke, but this time into Trentini’s face. Neither agents reacted except for Trentini who mildly coughed. There was an odd silence between them until Pisano leaned over and grabbed the cigarette from the man’s mouth and throwing it to the ground.

“Hey, what the hell was that for?!” the man shouted. Pisano only smiled and sat back in his seat.

“We’ll be needing the address to this crime scene.”

By the time they arrived at the Sabbatini residence, the sun had already disappeared and Vinna was washed over with the first darkness of night. Trentini brought the car to a stop next to an old car with Vinna Police printed on the side and another black, more modern car with the emblem of the Regulatori on its side.

“Looks like our guys are here too,” Trentini stated as he finished parking the vehicle and stepped out into the cold night.

“Good, this will make things much easier,” Pisano replied as he too stepped out, buttoning his coat up and putting a pair of gloves on. As they neared the entrance of the house, two men in blue, ragged uniforms and another man wearing the black, Regulatori uniform stepped out and closed the distance with the two agents.

“Evening gentlemen, how may I help you?” the Regulatori asked, placing his hand on his gun.

“Regulatori, from Tanta,” Pisano said, showing off his badge to the officers. Trentini did likewise and showed off his badge. “We’re the ones who called in this morning.”

“Oh yeah,” the older police officer said, snapping his finger in recognition, “I forgot about that. You two are here to do that village-wide search or something. Sorry we weren’t at the station to greet you, you probably already know why.”

“Yes,” Trentini nodded in response, “we’ve been told it was a suicide. Quite unfortunate.”

The three officers looked at each other oddly, gaining the two agents attention even further. Finally, the older officer responded. “So, is that what they are telling you down there?” Pisano and Trentini looked at each other for a second before looking back and nodding.

“We’ll let that be the current story in the meantime,” the Regulatori officer continued, “but we’re certain that we’re actually dealing with a murder.” He paused as he studied the two agents before nodding. “Well since you too are from Tanta, I don’t see any problem in letting you in on this. C’mon, I’ll show you the crime scene.” The group followed the Regulatori officer out back to where a small shed sat, its door barred to prevent anyone from looking inside. After unlocking the door, the officer pushed it open and turned on the one light that hanged above in the middle of the room. Inside, the shed did not look out of the ordinary except for a large blood splotch on the ground.

“The body was found here a couple hours ago by a local,” the officer began explaining. “He was lying face down right where that blood splotch is with a couple bullet holes in his back and a gun in his hand. It’s been assumed that he died nearly six hour ago. At first glance, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone thought it was a suicide, but we concluded that that would be impossible.”

“Unless he was extremely flexible, how would he have shot himself in the back. . .” Pisano figured, kneeling next to the spot.

“Exactly,” the older officer cut in. “Plus, I am certain Sabbatini would never do this. Sure, he was a bit of an outsider, but the Sabbatini I know would never go that far. Must I also mention that he never owned a gun? Clearly someone wanted him dead and try to blame it on suicide. . .”

Pisano nodded in understanding before standing up and making his way to the table. It was cluttered with tools and scraps of metal and what appeared to be leather. Odd.

“Since we agreed that he was murdered, we’ve been searching his home for evidence of possible enemies that he might have had,” the Regulatori officer went on explaining. “He has been working along the border a lot recently, so maybe he got on someone’s bad side. I’ve got the officers here to begin investigating all the residents in the area, there is a good possibility that the suspect might be right under our noses.”

“Trentini, check this out,” Pisano said, ignoring what the officer was saying. Trentini, who was busy taking notes, made his way over to Pisano.

“What’s up?”

“Look at this leather,” Pisano said quietly, placing a large chunk on top of Trentini’s notepad, “doesn’t it look familiar?” Trentini picked up the piece of leather and brought it closer to his eyes, taking him a few seconds to see the resemblance.

“Is this what I think it is?!” he asked excitedly.

“Looks like it,” Pisano responded, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his phone. He brought up a zoomed in picture of the briefcase and compared it to the leather scraps. “Yep, pretty much identical.”

“Does that mean that his Mr. Sabbatini fellow had the briefcase?” Trentini asked. Pisano only shrugged in response before turning to the three officers.

“Do any of you by chance know what Mr. Sabbatini was doing here?”

“Beats me,” the older officer said, “looks like he must have been trying to get something open. Beyond that, I have no idea.” The room fell silent for a while until the younger officer spoke up hesitantly.

“Is it possible he was killed over whatever he was opening then?” he asked nervously. No one answered him, but by the looks of it, he might actually be right. By then, it was the most plausible theory that Pisano had. Sabbatini must have attempted to open the briefcase, maybe even successfully opening it, before his death. During that time, someone, maybe a person who was helping him, decided to kill him and take the briefcase for themselves. They must have realized the importance of the briefcase by then if someone would go as far as murder, which means they might have seen its contents. . .

“Officer,” Pisano hollered at the Regulatori officer, “do you have the murder weapon with you?”

“Oh uh, yeah, I have it, uh, right here,” he mumbled as he grabbed for something behind him, revealing a pistol. “I was, uhm, just holding it for safe keeping. . .” he handed the pistol over to Pisano who quickly grabbed it and brought it to the light. The goddesses must really favor him because engraved on the side of the gun was the letters “LR.” Well what do you know, just as Pisano expected. In his hands he was holding General Rani’s personal pistol, one of the items that the agents were told was in the briefcase. So, this Sabbatini fellow was successful in opening the briefcase, had the gun removed, and was later shot with it. By luck, or that’s what Pisano believed, they finally found where the briefcase went, but that only led to more questions. Who shot Sabbatini? Why did they shoot him? And where are they now?

Placing the pistol in his own, empty holster, Pisano faced the officers with fire in his eyes. He did not know why, but this case was definitely intriguing. So many question, so many possibilities, just the case he was looking for. “You two,” he said, pointing at the local officers, “bring me all the information on every single resident in Vinna. And you,” now turning to the Regulatori officer, “report to HQ on the situation and call for backup immediately. Hurry!” The three of them jumped at the agent’s outburst before quickly turning and heading back to the front.

“So, are we onto something?” Trentini asked with a smile, glad to see that his partner come to life.

“We’re on the right track,” Pisano replied, looking down at his phone, the picture of the briefcase still displayed, “we are definitely on the right track.”

Hidden in the forage, a pair of eyes watched intently as the officers and agents roamed around the Sabbatini residence. With keen ears, they were able to hear every word the men said. It did not take long for the figure to put two and two together to realize that the agents found what they were looking for. As the group finished their search of the area and hopped into their vehicles, the spy quietly backed up and headed into the forest, off to tell his leader of his find.

Run. That was all Jesika think of doing. Just run. She did not know where she was going, how far she had run, and how long she has been running. It did not matter, as long as she was far away from Vinna, from the Sabbatini residence, from that shed. Her mind began wandering to the shed where her and Sabbatini were successful in opening the briefcase, seeing its contents, arguing, and then she. . .

Jesika shook her head and wailed as she tried to focus her thoughts on her steps. The further she got from the village, the more dense and dark the forest became. A few times she had already tripped on the trunks of the Eridani Thetan trees, ripping holes in her pants and bruising her legs. The dying light as the sun disappeared over the horizon and her one good eye certainly made it difficult for her to traverse the forest floor, but that did not stop her. She did something horrible, something unforgiveable, she had to leave the place she once called home.

As her mind wandered once again, she tripped over another trunk, causing her to fall face first into the dirt. The beaten-up metal briefcase that she was carrying, its leather ripped off during their attempt to open it, dropped and fell open in front of her. Instead of getting up from the ground, Jesika instead just laid there in the dirt and wept. She had been running for who knows how long, all the while being bruised and cut by the very same forest that hid her. Was this her punishment? Was this God getting at her for the crime she committed? If so, Jesika believed she deserved it for she committed the worst crime a person can commit; murder.

She slowly pushed herself up from the ground and sat back against a nearby tree as she began to calm down. Yes, nothing was going to change the fact that she committed murder. It was her who held the gun in her hand, pulled the trigger, and committed murder. She did not mean it though, she wasn’t thinking straight and it all happened so fast. It’s just that when they opened the briefcase, Sabbatini wanted to immediately take it back to the authorities. “We have to give this back,” Sabbatini told her, “If the authorities find out we know what was in here, we’ll be in lots of trouble.” At first, Jesika almost agreed with Sabbatini, but after knowing the contents of the briefcase, she couldn’t just let those Fortunans get away with what they plan.

Jesika looked over at the briefcase, its contents fallen out in a mess around it. Most of it were personal items of some important Fortunan officer; a golden pocket watch, reading glasses, identity card, a small bottle of alcohol, fancy pens and a notepad. Still packed in tight within the briefcase were a bundle of dark green folders, the Fortunan emblem printed on the front in gold, and stamped on top in red were the words “CONFIDENTIAL.” This bundle of folders, as Jesika noticed when she first opened them, were never meant to be read, let alone known about by the “common” people like her. That’s what Sabbatini first realized when he too began reading them, and it was why he wanted to return them as soon as possible. But Jesika could not let that happen, not after what she read. The people had to know about this, to know of the chaos their so-called leaders are about to cause, and maybe finally bring an end to that tyrant’s rule. That was what was going through Jesika’s head as Sabbatini was determined to return the briefcase, when he told her to go home and forget about this, when she, out of anger, picked up the gun in the briefcase and shot him in the back, then leaving the gun in his hand and running off with the briefcase.

Now here she was, alone and scared. She did not know what do and where to go. She did know, however, that she had to get this information to someone who can use it. Who exactly, she was unsure. If she could just get the briefcase across the border to Ambravia, or maybe hand it over to the AFF. . . Yes, they would know what to do with it. They can show the world just how horrible Fortuna is and potentially save countless of lives. Yes, this must be her meaning in life. The reason she survived all these years was to help thousands of others as well. As Jesika started to feel much better, she accepted that what she did to Sabbatini was necessary to complete her self-proclaimed mission. She just hoped now that no more people will have to die because of her.

Getting up slowly, Jesika walked over to the briefcase and delicately picked up the fallen contents, placing them back in the case before closing it shut. With a small huff, she lifted up the case to her chest and continued walking into the darkness.
[edit_reason]small change in plot[/edit_reason]

(OOC: Alright lads, here is your border encounter. How you react here will effect the entirety of my story, so basically no pressure.)
Near the border, Fortuna
January 28, 2018

The convoy of six trucks sped their way through the winding backroads, making their way pass Fortunan checkpoints and areas of high population. Once in awhile they would immediately stop when they hear the sound of a nearby aircraft, turn off everything, and wait a few minutes before continuing their journey. Scouts would report in frequently through the radio, describing the position of the enemy right behind them. They were closing in fast, and if the convoy gets caught, it would certainly be a blow to the freedom fighters. All they needed to do was get across the border, at least in Ambravia they will be safe, but there was just one issue lying in the way.

Since the signing of the Slens Agreement, PKFU troops had moved in to secure the entire border. This certainly made it difficult for the vulpine fighters to move freely between Ambravia and Fortuna. Thankfully, the Furnifold peacekeepers were more than willing to help the fighters find ways in and out of Ambravia, even going as far as telling them how to sneak pass the Kuthernburg troops unnoticed and aiding them in building a tunnel. Unfortunately, the tunnel is not large enough for them to fit six, full trucks through, so those will have to go through the border checkpoints, and the guards on the Fortunan side were no pushovers. The Kuthernburg and the Xagrurg troops were serious business, and it was always difficult to get pass them unnoticed. Difficult, but not impossible.

In the front truck, Yorev pondered this issue while paying close attention to the flood of reports from his scouts. There were not many options left as they got closer and closer to the border, so Yorev had to make a tough decision. The best chance for the survival of his fighting force was to split them up and cross the border from different points. One group will have to go on foot and take the tunnel under the border while the trucks will split up into two and go through different checkpoints: one group through a Kuthern checkpoint and the other through a Xagrurg checkpoint. It was certainly risky, but there was not much choice left. Using the few tricks that the Furnifold peacekeepers taught them, they are able to hide much of the contraband in the trucks, and whatever they cannot hide, they will take it with them through the tunnel. Sure, it was a risky plan, but there is a good chance it will work.

Reaching a crossroads, the convoy came to a stop and Yorev hopped out of the truck with a handful of other vulpines. Quickly yet silently, they unloaded certain items and put it in backpacks or found other ways to strap it onto themselves. Yorev also helped carry his weight and slung two rifles behind his back and carried another with his hand. Once the ground team was ready, Yorev waved the trucks off and the convoy continued their journey to the border. Once the trucks were out of site, he ordered his group to get moving, and one by one they disappeared into the forest.

Kuthernburg Checkpoint

The first group of three trucks slowed their pace as they got closer and closer to the border. A few minutes later, they could make out the lights of the checkpoint and other vehicles making their way through it.

“Alright let’s do this,” the driver in the first truck muttered to vulpine in the passenger seat, “is everything secured?” The passenger looked through the peephole into the back and then checked the hidden compartments in the cabin. Once done, he looked up at the driver and gave him thumbs up. The driver nodded and turned his focus forward as it was their turn to go through. Rolling down his window, he looked at the guard with a smile and handed him his papers.

“Good evening sir, beautiful night we’re having,” he said confidently in a deep Ambravian accent.

Xagrurg Checkpoint

The second group of three trucks arrived at the border around the same time as the first group. They too slowed down as they got closer to the checkpoint and got in line with the other vehicles. The passenger of the first truck tapped nervously as the got closer and closer.

“You think this is going to work?” he asked the older, more experienced vulpine who was behind the wheel.

“I’ve done this a dozen times. You just stay quiet, ya hear?” the driver ordered his passenger. The younger vulpine gulped as he turned his gaze forward as the truck pulled into the checkpoint. The driver rolled down his window and handed his papers to the guard.

“Evening,” the vulpine greeted, “lovely weather tonight, eh?”

(OOC: co-op post)
Fortuna-Ambravia Border
Xagrurgian Checkpoint

The Vulpine Xagrurgian soldier yawns and then says, “Yeah it’s been a quiet day so far; pull the trucks to the side of the road and step out of them with the keys out of the ignition with your papers guys.”

“No problem,” the driver responded before rolling his window up and pulling the truck to the side.

“Is this really going to work?” the nervous passenger asked as he prepared his own papers.

“Shh, shut up will ya?” the driver ordered as he turned off the vehicle and hopped out. His passenger did likewise and came around the truck and stood next to him.

“Alright boys,” the Xagrurgian guard told his coworkers, “check the cargo and use the wands on these guys.” After telling them so, he asked the driver while checking his passport. “What is your intention for traveling across the border and what is the cargo?”

“Just want to get home, sir. The missus is probably worried sick about me,” he answered with a smile. “We ain’t carrying anything special, just some produce.”

“Do you have your Ambravian identification card on you, sir?”

“Yes we do,” he replied as handed him his ID card. He then gestured to the younger vulpine who followed suit.

Looking at the ID cards, he then told the two of them to follow him to the security booth so they can be fingerprinted for verification and inspected via biometric measures. The vulpines looked at each other hesitantly before following the guard over to the booth. Thankfully, none of them had any contraband on them, but it made them nervous having to leave the truck unattended.

While comparing the fingerprints to the ones on records, the radio suddenly goes off on the guard’s belt. “This is Charlie, what have you got?,” the guard asks, curious.

“We got a fuckton of guns in these trucks, boss. I think these guys are gunrunners,” the man on the other end replies, "cuff them all and put them in the detention area.”

The guard then pulls his pistol on the two and then says, “Up against the wall with your hands behind you back; resist or I will shoot.” The two, seeing that they were caught, put their hands behind their back and faced the wall. Looks like group two was a bust. Seeing that the first truck had been compromised, the other two trucks now were stuck in a pickle. With no other options, the passengers of the second truck took out their weapons and opened fire on the guards that huddled around the first. The third truck, seeing how hopeless this all was, began turning the truck around to get away.

The guards at the truck quickly take cover and returned fire. Soon after, the sentry turrets at the checkpoint began shooting at the rebels and the fleeing truck. The vulpine guard at the security booth hears the shooting and slaps some cuffs on the two vulpines and locks them in a wash closet while he grabs a radio and notifies the rest of the base. As the Xagrurgian peacekeepers returned fired, the vulpines in the second truck ducked down while still firing blindly at their opponent.

“Sh*t, this is bad!” the driver cursed as he dropped his now empty weapon and picked up another. “Ready the explosives!” he ordered his partner.

“Explosives?! Are you sure?” the second vulpine asked in horror.

“Do it!” the first ordered one last time. Putting down his own weapon, the second opened another hidden compartment and began fumbling with a trigger. As he was doing that, the driver pumped the gas and began steamrolling towards the checkpoint. “For Ambravia!”

While shooting at the rebel vulpines, one of the Xagrurgian peacekeepers noticed the truck was flying back to the checkpoint. “Son of a bitch they’re going to ram us; FIRE AT THE ENGINE AND TIRES!” he yelled to his squad, hoping the truck will lose control and crash into a tree. Meanwhile, 3 attack helicopters and several APCs begin heading toward the checkpoint to support the guards. The focused fire of the peacekeepers appeared to be paying off as the truck began to slow and wobble. Noticing this, the driver knew he was running out of time. Doing his best to keep the truck steady, he aimed the vehicle right into the back of the first truck. With an ear-piercing sound of crunching metal and crushed produce, the truck slammed into the first, almost knocking the driver out and sending his partner flying through the windshield. As the driver came to, he reached slowly reached over for the primed trigger and flipped it.

“For Ambravia. . .” he whispered with a smile as his entire truck went up in a ball of fire. The explosion then set off the explosives in the first truck, setting off a secondary explosion which sent shards of metal and fruit flying in every direction.

“Oh shi-“ The truck suddenly explodes and sends shrapnel all over the place, wounding several people. Luckily, there’s a medic nearby who quickly sets to work after the chaos winded down, though the wounded are in a critical condition and the military ambulances quickly set off for the hospital.

With two of the trucks completely destroyed and the checkpoint blocked by the wreckage, the fighters failed at their mission. With no where to go, the last truck, which is riddled with dozens of bullet holes, quickly reversed and drove back into Fortunan territory. They did not get far though, because a little than a mile later their truck came to an abrupt stop on the side of the road. The crossing through the Xagrurgian checkpoint was a bust.

(OOC: first part co-op post)
Fortunan-Ambravian Border
PKFU Kuthern Checkpoint

The Kuthern MPs looked at the man and slightly chuckled, “Well what do we have here? I need to see some passports and IDs, gentlemen,” a guard ordered the vulpine.

“Of course, of course, it’s all right here,” the driver replied as he showed the guard the papers again. The guards ran the information through their system as the two vulpines waited nervously in the truck. Not long later, the computer began beeping excitedly as it found a connection of the driver to someone on a Fortunan terrorist list. The alarm was immediately sounded as a red flag was risen over the border and the road was closed, followed by a larger group of 10 guards who began surrounding the truck and flashing lights into the cabin.

“Ohhhhh you fellas have ran into some shit now,” Lt.Fracis said, a young, tall man of 6’5 and caramel-colored skin, who made his way to stand in front of the truck with a couple of his bulky soldiers. His appearance stood out from the rest of the soldiers, intimidation, one couldn’t help but be intimidated by his presence. “I hope you got your shittin’ pants on. Cause you, are about to shit your pants.” He chuckled as directed the surprised Ambravians to exit the vehicle.

The two vulpines, seeing clearly they were caught, looked at each other hesitantly before returning their gaze at the guards and began raising their hands. As they were doing this, the driver quickly shifted the truck into drive and pushed on the gas pedal. The truck’s wheels shrieked as it gained traction before propelling the truck forward, all in an attempt in hitting the guards and blasting through the checkpoint. They did not get far or hit anyone as Fracis and his men jumped out of the way just in time, allowing for the guards off to the side to pull a red lever, lifting two rows of concrete and steel barriers across the entire road. Unable to stop in time, the truck slammed into the barriers, crushing the front of the vehicle inwards and bringing it to a complete stop.

“You got some beach-ball-sized nuts coming in kamikaze like that,” Fracis hollered as the guards rushed the vehicle, shooting the tires out. “Not cool. Not cool. You have no idea how not cool that shit is. But I think you’re gonna be up to speed shortly. Yeah. You are so gonna regret crossing me in a few minutes. Get out the car! I don’t know what the hell the Xagrurgians got operating but one of you are a suspected terrorist. So I think we might just have to take you furry faces in!” he ranted as he waved his gun at the men to get out. The two vulpines, dazed from the crash, looked up and slowly began to step out of the truck, but the terror was not over as the sound of gunfire filled the air. The passengers of the two trucks behind the first saw what had just happened and opened fire on the guards, all the while putting the trucks in reverse to flee back into Fortuna.

“Oh okay,” Fracis said sarcastically as he and a handful of guards hopped into two APCs and took pursut, firing the massive chain guns at the fleeing trucks. The lights flashed red and blue as they chased the vehicles through the hilly countryside, the peaceful night silence replaced with the sounds of sirens, wheels screeching on pavement, and unending gunfire. “This is Kuthern MP Badge number 33210 in pursuit of terrorists in two white-painted box trucks up Route 47 from border crossing,” Fracis shouted into his radio, “we have two helicopters enroute but request further backup and blockades, over.” As the Ambravian trucks continued firing back at their pursuers, the radio crackled as an answer came in.

“This is Checkpoint Eighteen, your request has been received,” a crackled voice in a Fortunan accent replied. “A blockade is currently being put in place, continue with your pursuit, over.”

“You idiots, it’s armoured vehicles! Hellloooo!” Fracis shouted over a loudspeaker to the vehicles. The Kuthern soldiers then turned the chain gun and let off a series of rounds at the tires of the back truck. With some luck, the bullets ripped through the old rubber of the truck’s wheels, causing the vehicle to wobble as the tires began ripping off and sending off sparks as metal came into contact with pavement. Seeing that they will never get far with the current state of the vehicle, the fighters waited until the truck slowed further before jumping off and dashing as fast as they could into the forest. Just seconds before they jumped off, the driver had switched the explosives contained in the truck to go off. Unaware of the danger they were in for, the Kutherns waited until the truck came to a complete stop before swarming upon it. Two soldiers rushed the now empty vehicle when the timed explosion went off, obliterating the whole truck and sending the two MPs into the bushes. The immense explosion lit up the night sky as it sent wreckage and debris flying across the road and into the forest, blocking the path and allowing the last truck to escape.

Not wanting to leave empty handed, the Kutherns began their chase on foot for the vulpines that jumped off the truck. On the ground, Kuthern soldiers fanned out while two Kuh-63 helicopters appeared over the treetops and moved their bright lights through the forest. It didn’t take long for them to notice the group of vulpines running through the forest and started laying suppressive fire using rubber bullets. Being pinned down, the Ambravians slowed down and looked for somewhere to hide, allowing for the MPs to surround them and tackle them down, Fracis himself taking on the one who he assumed was the leader.

“Well fuck son, you just got yourself in some deep shit. I warned you guys to have your shittin pants on” he said sarcastically. The vulpines were loaded up and taking to a detention center inside the Kuthern DMZ, there they would be process and tried for there crimes both in Fortuna and Kuthernburg. As for the third truck, it did not take them long until they ran into the Fortunan blockade. Hearing of the trucks being rigged with explosives, the Fortunan troops opened fire on the truck without hesitation once it came into view, immediately killing the driver and his passenger, causing the truck to swerve off the side of the road and crash into a large pine.

Fortunan-Ambravian Border
AFF Smuggling Tunnel

As for the third group that went on foot, their journey through the heavily forested countryside was thankfully uneventful. There were times where they could hear the passing of a nearby patrol vehicle or the rumbling of a helicopter overhead, but there were no signs they were seen by anybody. By midnight, the small band of freedom fighters reached a small cabin that sat just a couple kilometers from the DMZ, hidden deep within the forest. The cabin itself was also hiding something for buried right underneath it was the entrance to the Ambravian Freedom Fighters tunnel. Although the tunnel itself had just recently been opened, the fighters immediately took advantage of it to move goods, weapons, and new recruits between Fortuna and Ambravia. Not once had there been any signs that the Fortunan authorities knew about the tunnel, in fact, they were already working on building another tunnel to the west, but their luck might be running out with the recent influx of Fortunan troop movement.

As the group neared the cabin, a few fanned out to scout the area while the rest continued forward with their cargo. Yorev, who led the small band, stopped and blinked his flashlight towards the cabin. From inside the unlit home came a few quick flashes in reply before a small vulpine burst out of the cabin and hastily made his way to Yorev.

“Commander, commander, we’ve received terrible news!” the young vulpine exclaimed in a near shout as he closed the distance, almost running right into Yorev who stopped him with his outreached hand.

“What’s going on? What happened?” Yorev questioned as he dropped his flashlight and grabbed the vulpine by the collar.

“The trucks, sir!” he replied in a horrified voice, “we’ve received reports that they were caught at the checkpoints.”

“Both of the convoys?!” Yorev’s eyes widened as he stepped back at hearing this unbelievable news.

“Yes sir, both of them, no truck made it in or out,” the young fighter paused and stared at the ground before continuing, “a couple of them went to their last resort and blew themselves up. . .” The whole group fell silent as they let what they just heard sink in. Yorev, who did his best not to show signs of shock, let go of the frightened vulpine and slowly began pacing between the trees. If the reports are actually true, this would be the worst lost for the AFF since their creation. Although he did not play a role in their convoys getting caught, Yorev still felt it was his fault in a way. Now his own men are either dead or captured, all the while tons of military equipment has been lost.

“Are you sure about this?” Yorev asked in a calm voice as he turned back to the group. The young vulpine, who had been spending the last couple hours receiving unending news over the radio, again looked at the ground and nodded slowly.

“Damn, we were so careful. On the most important night and they finally caught us,” he muttered to himself as he looked away again. He paused for a second before asking one more question. “Any. . . any news on the casualties?”

“No exact number, but we’re assuming more than five of our own. The rest are either in hiding or. . . got caught.” There was another moment of silence as Yorev stared off into the distance and the group awaited eagerly for orders. It was their friends who were stopped, caught, and possibly killed by the Fortunans and these so-called peacekeepers. All of them wanted to seek out revenge against their new foes, but their loyalty for Yorev was stronger than their rage. If he said to attack, they will do it, if not, then it must be for the best. Noticing his followers waiting quietly for him, Yorev turned to them with confidence, gesturing towards the young vulpine first.

“Radio all our agents and scouts in the area,” Yorev told him with an assertive voice, “tell them to stay low or get out. This failure is going to leave us weak and compromised. Those southern bastards are going to squeeze any information they can out of our captured brothers. As for us. . .” he turned his gaze to the rest of his soldiers, “. . . we’ll go back to Ambravia and finish preparations there. C’mon, let’s get moving!”

Sudaglio Forest
60 kilometers from the border

Jesika slowly opened up her eye and looked around her surroundings. The sky was still night with the only light source came from the soft, dim light of the moon. Realizing that she must have dozed off, she pushed herself off the ground and into a sitting position. She must have slept on something hard as her neck felt a bit sore for some odd reason. As she rubbed the back of her neck with one hand, she felt around where she laid her head and came into contact with a hard, cold object.

“Oh yeah,” she muttered dishearteningly as she pulled the briefcase toward her. So what took place was not a dream after all. Shooting Mr. Sabbatini, taking the Fortunan briefcase, dashing away from her home to who knows where, none of it was a dream. Now that she had time to calm down and had slept it off, Jesika was slowly, yet painfully, accepting the facts. What she had done was morally wrong, but nothing is going to change the fact that she is now a murderer and a fugitive. She had heard of the atrocities the Fortunans committed against those they considered enemies of the state, so she was for sure not turning herself in. The most logical solution was to attempt to get across the border, or at least get the briefcase to someone trustworthy who can take it to Ambravia. Who though and where she would find them were questions she still had no answer to, if only she could get in contact with the AFF. . .

As she sat there on the ground while still staring at the briefcase, her ears perked up at an nearly inaudible sound to her side. Slowly standing up with the briefcase held close to her chest, she cautiously made her way in the direction of the noise. Slowly it became clear that the sound was a soft whisper, and was that some kind of electrical buzz mixed in? Jesika gulped as she stayed low and continued creeping forward until she could make out what the voice was saying.

“This is Scout A03 reporting in. I repeat, this is Scout A03 reporting in, over,” the male voice repeated in a raspy whisper. From what Jesika could pick out, he sounded young, tired, and desperate. “C’mon, is anyone there? What are my orders, over.” As she came around a large tree, she finally spotted out who the voice belonged to and was shocked. The individual was in fact a young vulpine, around her age from the looks of it, but that was where the similarities ended. From what she could tell, the lad was no ordinary vulpine, probably due to the fact that he was dressed in camo clothing and had a rifle strapped to him. He knelt close to the ground while his hand he busily worked at a radio transceiver which he spoke his call for help into. He was no ordinary vulpine, and after a few more moments of studying, Jesika came to the realization that she had found an actual Ambravian fighter. It was as if God had heard her and provided this opportunity just for her. Now the next problem was how was she going to introduce herself. After much consideration, she finally thought of the best way to show herself to this freedom fighter.

“Ahem,” she cleared her throat as she peaked her head out from behind the tree. That certainly did catch the fellow’s attention, but not in the way Jesika intended as he dropped his radio and instantly turned around with his gun pointed in her direction.

“Who’s there?” he ordered as he stood up and slowly stepped towards Jesika’s location. “Show yourself or else I’ll shoot.”

“Wait wait wait, don’t shoot!” she pleaded as she stuck out the briefcase with both her hands.

“Step out so I can see you then,” the freedom fighter again ordered, a bit confused by his stalker’s actions. Seeing as she had no other choice, Jesika slowly stepped out from behind the tree, still holding the briefcase out in front of her, just in case. Upon realizing how harmless she was, the fighter slowly began to relax and pointed his rifle at the ground.

“A girl?” he said in a surprised voice. The last thing he’d expect to find deep in the woods was another teenager. “Who the hell are you and what are you doing all the way out here?”

“Jesika. . .” she answered softly, shuffling the dirt underneath her with her foot. “I’m running away.”

“Oh, trying to get across to Ambravia, eh? Well good luck with that,” he said sarcastically as he slung his gun over his shoulder and turned his back to Jesika, making his way over to where he dropped is walkie talkie.

“Are you part of the AFF?” Jesika asked hesitantly as she slowly followed behind him.

“That’s none of your business,” he replied coldly as he knelt back down and began fidgeting with the radio.

“Please, I need your help!” she pleaded, kneeling herself a few steps away from the Ambravian scout.

“Look, if you’re looking for someone to act as your bodyguard, then I can’t help you. I’m. . . busy with my own thing.” He wasn’t exactly wrong, he still had to contact his superiors who oddly went silent. Ever since he had finished his spy mission in Vinna, the radios went silent and no one seemed to answer his calls. Something bad must have happened to them, but what exactly? He had no idea. It didn’t help that he had this lost, one-eyed, vulpine girl bugging him, he did not have the time or was in the mood to be acting as her guide to Ambravia, especially with the current situation. Jesika too could tell that he did not want her around, she would have to find some way to convince him to help her. The cold metal of the briefcase suddenly reminded her of what exactly she was carrying, the main bargaining tool she had. With a heavy sigh, Jesika slowly opened the briefcase and began shuffling through its contents.

“I. . . I have important information that your people would be interested in!” she exclaimed too excitedly as she picked out one of the folders.

“Important information? What kind of important information?” he asked without turning to look at her, still focused on the radio.

“This,” Jesika responded as she pulled one of the folders out and handed it to the scout. Noticing the dark green object in the corner of his eye, he slowly turned and delicately took the folder from her. He studied the golden emblem on the front and the large red word that was stamped on. Intrigued, he carefully opened the folder up and began to read. As he flipped to the pages, it slowly became clear what he was reading, and his adrenaline grew with every word he read. The amount of information in this one folder would have taken months, maybe even years, for the AFF to find on their own, yet right here this random girl just handed it to him like it was no big deal.

“Blessed Saint Aiya, this is. . . this is incredible!” he exclaimed once he was finished, closing the folder and handing it back to Jesika.

“And there are four more folders filled with confidential information in here,” she added proudly as she placed the folder back with the others.

“Holy shit, how on Urth did you get your hands on-,” he abruptly stopped as something clicked in his head. “Where are you from again?”

“Vinna. . .” Jesika answered slowly, “a small village not far from here.”

“Vinna. . . Wait a minute, I think I know who you are,” he said slyly as the final dot connected.

“You do?” she responded concernedly, clutching the briefcase tight to her chest.

“Do you know of a Mr. Sabbatini?” he asked, closely studying how she would react. As expected, Jesika remained silent and looked away from him, her face showing both sadness and guilt. “That’s what I thought,” he said with a nod, “you’re the one who killed him and now the one the Fortunan pigs are looking for. If that’s the case, then this must be what they’re after! A small briefcase with all their dirty military secrets, makes perfect sense.”

“I didn’t kill him on purpose! It was an accident. . . and I couldn’t just let him give back the briefcase to the Fortunans.”

“You did what any Ambravian should have done, so take pride in that.”

“Really?” Jesika asked, a small amount of delight could be heard in her voice.

“If it means the saving of thousands of our people, hell yeah.” The two of them sat there on the earth staring at each other in silence for a moment. Jesika, who never got the opportunity to connect with another of her species, felt a small spark light within her the more she stared into his eyes. It felt like she was playing out a scene from a romantic movie when the main protagonists first come into contact, the thought was certainly thrilling. As much as she would love to just sit here forever, she still was being chased by bad people. If she wanted to escape to Ambravia, she would need his help.

“So uh, what’s your name?” Jesika asked, breaking the silence. Caught off guard by such a random question, the Ambravian fighter paused for a moment before responding.

“. . . Scott.”

“Scott? That’s a silly name. Scott the scout.” Jesika giggled to herself, southern names were always a bit weird.

“Well my parents were silly people,” Scott replied, not as amused as Jesika was.

“Sorry sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh. Scott, I like it. Anyways, Scott, I think this information will be extremely useful to the AFF, don’t you agree?” she paused to see how Scott would answer who in return slowly nodded in agreement. “So, how about you help me?”

“To do what exactly?” he asked cautiously.

“Get this briefcase to your superiors, of course. With this, you can shift the balance of power in your favor. Just one thing in return; you help me get to Ambravia.”

“Uh huh. . .” Scott muttered, scratching the back of his neck. After another few seconds of silence, he heavily sighed and looked up at Jesika. “Fine, I’ll help you.”

“You will?!”

“Don’t get all emotional about it, I’m doing this for Ambravia.” Scott stood up and began rummaging through his pack till he pulled out a small map and compass. “There’s a cabin about 60 kilometers from here to the. . . northwest. That’s where we’ll make our escape. In front of us lies acres of thick forests, steep terrain, and a countless number of Fortunan soldiers on the hunt for us. You think you’re up for it?” He reached out his hand to Jesika, who stared back mesmerized, to help her off the ground.

“Whatever it takes to get out of this hell hole,” she said with a smile as she took his hand.

Equilara Listening Station
Equilara, Eridani Theta, Fortuna

“This is Scout A03, reporting in. This is Scout A03, is anyone there?” the voice said, hoping for someone to answer his call. Little did he know however of the Regulatori employee who sat huddled at her desk, listening to every word the he said.

“I have completed the mission and will be returning home, over.” he said again after a few second of silence. Mission completed? I wonder if this is what I am meant to be looking for, the Fortunan thought to herself as she typed out a few notes.

“. . . I am. . .” he began saying before cutting off, causing his spy to look up and lean in closer as if it would help her hear better. “. . . I am bringing someone with me. Sh-. . . They’re important for the mission. Please prepare accordingly, over.” When the voice went silent for a few more minutes, the Regulatori employee took off her headset and pushed a small button, alerting her supervisor. Not long after, her supervisor strode over to her desk.

“Yes, Ms. Venici?” he asked as he glanced at her computer screen.

“Sir,” she straightened her back and looked back at her boss confidently, “I think I found important information relating to the General’s case.”

[edit_reason]I forgot one small detail[/edit_reason]

Vinna, Eridani Theta, Fortuna

“Ah, Mrs. Liliana Rossi, thank you for coming at such a late time.” Pisano and Trentini rose from their seats as a small, plump woman dressed in old fashioned clothing stepped into the small interrogation room.

“Yes, it is way past my bed time,” Rossi replied in a tired voice as she made her way to the empty seat. “Couldn’t sleep with all the ruckus you gents were making, plus I’ve come to request some help.” Trentini, being the gentleman that he was, came around the table and helped Rossi into her seat. “Oh, thank you, dear,” she thanked as she sat down and placed her belongings on the table.

“So Mrs. Rossi, we’ve been told that someone under your care went missing this morning, please explain to us the situation,” Pisano stated, getting straight to the fact. Right now he was not in the mood to spend his time getting on the woman’s good side, he had an important mission he needed to accomplish before time runs out.

“Why yes, I don’t mind. Well you see, I care for this young vulpine lass named Jesika. We found her at a young age alone in the woods with her right eye destroyed and she was only able to remember her first name. Poor girl, her whole family killed by some radical anti-vulpine group. I hope they rot in hell for what they did to-.”

“Ahem, is it alright if you skip to this morning?” Pisano cut in.

“Oh dear, forgive me. Anyways, on days like this, Jesika usually spends her days roaming the village, meeting with friends, and running errands for me. By midday, she would come home for lunch. Thing is, she didn’t come back for lunch. I assumed someone offered her to eat with them, so I thought nothing of it. I started getting worried however when midday turned to evening, and evening turned to nighttime. I called all the places I would think she would be, but no one had seen her since this morning.” After she was done explaining, the two agents looked at each other knowingly, it just seemed too good to be true.

“Say, Mrs. Rossi,” Trentini started, “can you tell us main areas she would most likely hang out in the morn-”

“Would she have been at Aurelio Sabbatini’s residence by any chance?” Pisano cut in again, catching both Trentini and Rossi by surprise.

“Well uh, I don’t see why not,” she replied slowly, looking back and forth at the agents with a concerned look. “Sabbatini is one of the only people who actually travel out of town, so she likes asking him questions whenever he gets back.”

“And Mr. Sabbatini came back yesterday, correct?”

“Yes, I believe so.” By now, Rossi was starting to feel worried, especially with how interested these agents were in Jesika. “Is there a problem? What’s going on? Is Jesika safe?” Pisano and Trentini exchanged glances again, but before Trentini could say anything, Pisano jumped in to explain.

“Ma’am, this evening Mr. Sabbatini was found dead, shot multiple times in the back and locked in his workshop. Assuming Jesika was the last to come into contact with Mr. Sabbatini, we’ve coming to believe that she shot him and ran off.”

“Benny!” Trentini shouted, disturbed at how rude Pisano was acting. Pisano, unaware of his actions, looked at his partner curiously before returning his attention to Rossi who still remained silent. For a few seconds, Rossi sat their frozen in shock before standing up abruptly, gripping the side of the table causing her knuckles to turn white.

“How. . . how could you?!” Rossi cried out in horror. “She’s only a child, a child! Jesika would never do such a thing!”

“Mrs. Rossi, please calm down,” Trentini tried soothing, but the old lady showed no signs of stopping just yet.

“It’s because she’s a vulpine, right? Since she is a vulpine, she must be a criminal, is that it?!”

“Ma’am, we’ve made no such claims,” Pisano stepped in again. “However, based on your account and Jesika’s troubling past, she is the only suspect who has the motive to kill Mr. Sabbatini.”

“But why? Mr. Sabbatini is-,” Rossi stopped and took a deep breath before continuing, “was a good man, and Jesika is just as good, maybe even better. Why would she suddenly turn on him and. . . and. . . It just makes no sense.” As she sat down again and began weeping, the two agents remained silent, unsure how to respond just yet. When it appeared she had calmed down a bit, Trentini was the first to speak.

“I’m sorry, we would like to provide more details but that information is classified,” he said hesitantly as he tugged at his collar.

“What? Classified? Classified?! What in the world does that mean?”

“It means that for the security of the state,” Pisano replied dryly, “we have the right not to tell you the supposed motive.”

“So you can’t tell me why you suspect Jesika killed him for the security of the state?”

“Pretty much.”

“That is the most outlandish statement I’ve heard in my entire life!” Rossi responded aggressively, her face turning bright red. “What is with you Fortunans and being so secretive?”

“Ma’am, if we say this if for the security of the state, than you just accept it as fact. Do I make myself clear?” the Regulatori agent asked threateningly.

“Unbelievable,” she uttered as she through her hands up in astonishment. “Ever since you bullies moved in, all it has been is suppression, secrecy, and harassment. I don’t know what Sabbatini or Jesika have done for this to be such a big deal, but I’m glad it is causing such a ruckus.”

“Alright, that’s enough,” Pisano said blatantly as he stood up and walked out of the room. Trentini, red from second-hand embarrassment, smiled lightly towards Rossi before rushing out of the room as well. After a couple dead ends, Trentini finally was able to catch up with Pisano who stood just outside the building looking through a file on their suspect.

“Hey, what’s your problem?” Trentini questioned his partner as he got closer. “You didn’t have to be so rude in there.”

“I just want to get this job done,” Pisano plainly stated, not leaving his eyes off the small file in his hand. “Just want to find this fox, retrieve the briefcase, and then go home, plain and simple. We don’t have the time to be all sentimental and soft.”

“Yeah, but she’s probably just lost someone she probably knew well and then we come in claiming the individual she cares for was the murderer. We need these people to like us, not give them more reasons to hate us further.”

“Whatever,” was all the tired agent said as he stared intently at the picture attached at the top. Seeing that he was no longer in the mood for talking, Trentini sighed heavily and shifted the dirt underneath him. After a few minutes, their silence was broken by his phone suddenly ringing, causing to an already nervous Trentini to jump as he fumbled to pull the phone out of his pocket and answer it.

“This is Trentini speaking. Oh. Uh huh. Uh huh. . . I see. Understood.” Once the call ended, Trentini paused for a second before pocketing his phone and turning to Pisano. “HQ reporting in, apparently there were a couple terrorist attacks along the border by the AFF not far from here.”

“Oh really?”

“Told us to keep a lookout for anything suspicious. The terrorist cell in the area have been scrambling for a way into Ambravia.”

“I see. We’ll keep a lookout then I guess, never know what is lurking about.”