Mass Indoctrination

OOC: This is my first RP, please don’t go hard on me (>.<) Enjoy, XOXO
4th February 2020
Port Oculus
The meeting room was blandly decorated — no million-dollar classical paintings, nor fancy wallpapers; only a single marble-top table outfitted with bamboo plants to the side, complemented by a row of wall windows, quietly reflecting the vibrant skyline of Port Oculus, as if to remind the ministers attending the meeting the prosperity of Lunaria — and that it was their job to maintain it.
“Thanks for the report. Anyway, how is the amendment coming along?” the Prime Minister asked.
“Mr. Yamauchi, I’ve got the—” the Minister of the Interior said. The other ministers knew what was coming.
He cleared his throat. “That’s Doctor James Yamauchi for you.”
“Sorry, Dr. Yamauchi— Just as I’ve been saying, my ministry has finished drafting up the amendment for the Constitution.” 
“Great. Where is it?”
“I, uh, please wait a minute.” She began searching through her bag.
“Please, we don’t have all day here. There are 14 of us here, 28 if you count our personal assistants. Every second you spend searching through the bag we collectively waste 28 seconds. If you spend one-third of a minute searching for your draft, the collective wasted time can be used to run a one-mile lap. So please, get all your documents ready the next time.” The other ministers looked on in lament; this was the very reason the last Minister of the Interior resigned. She was already so used to his character by now.
She finally took out the draft. He checked his watch: 13 seconds; a one-kilometre lap. 
“Thanks. I bet all of you are wondering how we’re going to get this passed, right?” Nods from all around the table.
He smiled, giving all the attendees in the room a sense of unease. “One thing. I suggest a Blitzkrieg, as the Ethalrians would put it — a Parliamentary Blitzkrieg, if you will. 
If we were to allow each of the opposition members to filibuster, the thing would take at least half a month to pass. If we could use that cloture rule to our advantage, we might be able to get the thing passed in a day.”
“Don’t you think this approach is a tad too radical? The news people might…” suggested a minister sitting at the other end of the table. The other ministers around the table shot him a glance as if he had said something wrong. 
“First of all, I haven’t finished. Cloture requires two-thirds of the members present to vote for it. The pain-in-the-ass Nationalist Party will probably vote for it since the amendment is a matter of national unity. This is one of the few times we’ll actually agree on something. All we have to do again, is just to pressure the minor parties and individuals to give us their twenty votes or so.” He sneered at the thought of so-called individuals. “I can’t see any difficulty in dealing with these people.”
“Second of all, do you think that the conservatives aren’t secretly giving billion-dollar handouts to the media companies? I mean, we would if we had the money to, right? The news people could always write about us in a bad light. I can see where this would go if we don’t do this quick enough: ‘Legislative Efficiency Falls by 100% during February, Incumbent Government to Blame’; and don’t you all forget, your budget proposals are going to get approved later this month. Do you people seriously want this to drag on so long that the government stops from a lack of funding? I think it’s plainly clear to everyone here that the conservatives are the people behind the separatist movement. We’ve fallen into a trap, and the last thing I want to lose while climbing out of it is the Morsto-Lunarian Archipelago.”
“Anything else to report?” No response. “Alright, organise a meeting with the party whips this afternoon. If you have nothing to say, meeting’s dismissed for you.”
She took the folder and stuck it inside her bag. She finally understood why the people around the table gave her such looks of lament: she got scolded for not taking out the draft in advance, but he didn’t even bother to take a look at it.
17th February 2020
“As the Speaker of the Council of Lunaria, I hereby declare, by a margin of 364 to 175, the Amendment to Article 28 of the Constitution of Lunaria, Proposal to Elevate the Precedence of National Integrity and Security, proposed by the current government of Lunaria, has been passed by the Council.” Deafening applause arose from the public spectator stand as thunder arises from a storm — and at that very moment, a storm, one of the largest Lunaria will ever see, has arisen from the remains of one half a century ago.
[spoiler]This thread is called Mass Indoctrination, so I figured it would only make sense if I linked news posts. I mean, news outlets are used for indoctrinating the masses. And most importantly, I’ve written this story so that the storyline won’t make sense if you don’t read the news. Good job, me.

[spoiler] Public Referendum on the Independence of the Morsto-Lunarian Archipelago Special Administrative Region Planned by the Local Opposition
28/1/2020 21:30
After months and years of heated debate on the autonomy of the Morsto-Lunarian Archipelago Special Administrative Region (hereinafter “the SAR”), the opposition parties within the SAR, have formed a coalition in efforts to organise a public referendum on the independence of the SAR.
Despite the vocal criticism raised by the ruling Liberal Party in the SAR backed by the Lunarian Leftist coalition government, the SAR opposition (the Conservative Party) has drafted plans for holding a territory-wide public referendum on 29th February 2020. According to the organisers of this referendum, any permanent resident above the universal age of suffrage and currently residing in the SAR can cast their vote to voice their opinion on the autonomy and independence of the SAR.
At the time of writing, a public opinion poll conducted last month has revealed that over half of the residents residing within the SAR support the movement for a higher degree of autonomy, similar to that of an independent nation. The organisers of the referendum have already started campaigns throughout the Archipelago to secure votes for the movement, with minute-long advertisements already placed on major television channels and the Internet.
Although the opposition has not yet released plans for their next move after the referendum, it is widely speculated by political commentators that they will soon fight for independence of the SAR. At the time of writing, any public referendum held in Lunaria or its provinces, whether governmentally-organised or not, is automatically made law (nation-wide law or provincial law depending on the nature of the referendum) once it reaches its required quorum. 
While this referendum has a relatively small chance of reaching quorum, in the case that it does, it is legally impossible for the Lunarian government to veto such a decision by the public, as public referenda are considered to be the paramount legislation in Lunaria. After a decision has been made by the public, the only way to nullify the referendum is to hold another to repeal the contents of the previous one.
“Quite frankly, we’ve grown tired of the Lunarian government rubbing their little hands all over our local government. The absurd thing is, they don’t live here and they don’t work here, but they tell us how to live here and how to work here? Honestly, I think it is time for us to reevaluate the relationship between us and them.” An organiser of the referendum said to one of our reporters.
“I personally quite support this referendum.” Said a SAR citizen during an interview. “I mean, what they’re doing is essentially centralising power from local governments. We can’t even lower our health and safety regulations without them giving it a nod. I think it is hypocritical for them to still say that we enjoy the right to local legislature, because that has been stripped away from us.”
The Lunarian government has released a statement in the afternoon calling for the boycott of the referendum, stating that “the organisers of this referendum are conspiring to divide our nation; therefore, the citizens of Lunaria, whether living in the SAR or not, should not be feeding in to this craze dedicated to destabilise their homeland”. With the boycott of the referendum, it is expected that the voting turnout will not exceed 53%, or 1,217,000 votes in total. However, it should be noted that only 33% of the relevant electorate are needed to support the referendum for it to pass, and the remaining 53% of the voters are almost all voters for the opposition parties. The government has refused to comment if it will persecute voters of the referendum for attempting to divide the country.
An invite-only press conference by the SAR opposition is scheduled for tomorrow morning, with most broadcasters nationwide televising the press conference. We will be following and updating you on this story as it develops in the future.
Published by the Lunarian Broadcasting Agency 
All Rights Reserved ©MMXX
Constitutional Crisis Caused by Illegal Referendum
28/1/2020 9:45
In a statement released by the opposition parties of the SAR at 08:00 this morning, a territory-wide public referendum for the independence of the SAR will be held on 29/2/2020. Permanent citizens who live in the SAR as of today and are above the age of suffrage are able to vote in the referendum.
Despite the opposition from the Lunarian Leftist coalition government, the coalition of opposition parties have already started airing minute-long advertisements to convince citizens that voting for independence is the right choice. However, a public opinion poll conducted recently shows that over half of the residents of the SAR are against the referendum.
Fortunately enough, the referendum might not be able to reach quorum for legislature and the coalition organising the referendum are divided on what to do next. Some member parties want to fight for the independence of the SAR, while others just want a higher degree of autonomy for it. Even they have a clear consensus on what to do after the referendum, they might face legal action from the government for sedition and inciting attempts to divide the country.
The unfortunate thing is, if the referendum reaches quorum, the Lunarian government legally cannot act contrary to the contents of the referendum, and must grant the SAR a higher degree of autonomy or independence (Constitution of Lunaria, Article 12 §5). However, the Constitution states that any attempt to divide the country is illegal and cannot legally be executed (Article 28 §1), thus the government legally cannot grant the SAR independence.
Therefore, the passage of this referendum is enough to cause a constitutional crisis. Some argue that the right to referenda takes precedent over national integrity, while others argue otherwise, as the Constitution states that no statement in the Constitution should be used to undermine the national integrity of Lunaria. The government has proposed an amendment to the Constitution, elevating national security and integrity to the top priority of the Constitution.
As for the referendum itself, both the central government and the local government of the SAR has called for a boycott of the referendum, as “the organisers of this referendum are conspiring to divide our nation; therefore, the citizens of Lunaria, whether living in the SAR or not, should not be feeding in to this craze dedicated to destabilise their homeland”. With the boycott of the referendum, it is expected that the voting turnout will not exceed 53%, or 1,217,000 votes in total, thus having a slim chance to be able to pass as legislature.
While receiving an interview on one of our news shows, the Prime Minister, James Yamauchi, has stated that he disapproves of any attempt to divide the nation, including this one, and supports the incumbent local government in combating these illegal actions.
“I feel as if they are trying to take prosperity away from us.” Said a SAR citizen. “I mean, the western half of Lunaria is an industrial base, and we serve as a middleman between it and the world. We are certainly not going to be any better without Lunaria and its market. Plus, I don’t get why they even want independence. Of all the tax we collect every year, a symbolic 0.01% gets sent back to the central government. There aren’t any tariffs or border restrictions between us, and they even pay for our defence and diplomacy. And even with economic interests put aside, I believe that we more or less have a national identity belonging to Lunaria, rather than the SAR. Frankly, if I’m going to be taken advantage of by someone, I’d rather that someone be my own people.”
An invite-only press conference will be held by the SAR opposition parties tomorrow morning. However, we have not received any invitation from them. We at the Radio and Television Corporation of Lunaria strongly urge the organisers to give us and other media organisations a fair chance at reporting in order to prevent self-censorship and protect the freedom of press.
Published by the Radio and Television Corporation of Lunaria
All Rights Reserved ©MMXX

[spoiler] Undemocratic Government Clamps Down on Political Freedom as Constitutional Amendment Passes
17/2/2020 17:00
Earlier this month, a widely controversial amendment to the Constitution of Lunaria has been introduced to the Council of Lunaria (the Council) by the Lunarian government. This amendment, if passed, elevates national security and integrity to the foremost priority of the Constitution, replacing the protection of Lunarian citizens and their freedom as the paramount priority of the Constitution.
“If this amendment were to pass, all civil and human rights within the nation can be abolished in the name of protecting national security and integrity. The government may say that this amendment is targeted towards extreme separatists, but the passage of this amendment is enough for the government to clamp down on personal and political rights. We do not know what the government wants to with this amendment, but it is very much worth considering for us.” Said the Chairman of the Conservative Party, William Sobashima, during one of his interviews with us.
An independence referendum will be held in the SAR on the 28th of February. Strictly speaking, if this amendment passes, the referendum will be deemed illegal on the constitutional level, and it will be rendered null and void. Furthermore, the organisers of the referendum may be accused of leading a separatist movement, and they may be prosecuted for sedition under the new amendment. The political landscape of the SAR will be even more barren if the government decides to punish the remaining opposition members of the SAR just because they exercised their rights as a Lunarian citizen. 
While this amendment has faced a great degree of criticism since its introduction to the Council recently, the government does not seem too keen on addressing these concerns, instead opting to shut down all possible forms of discontent with this amendment with a cloture motion. Cloture motions should only be used when most MPs deem the Parliament too inefficient to maintain its function, but it seems as if the government has deemed valid criticism and legal opposition an obstacle to its agenda.
Published by the Lunarian Broadcasting Agency 
All Rights Reserved ©MMXX
Constitutional Amendment Passes; Government Takes Action to Protect National Integrity
A recent amendment proposed to the Constitution of Lunaria was passed in the Council earlier today with a vote of 364 to 175. This amendment to the Constitution is crucial for protecting national integrity, making sure that the country cannot be subverted by its own Constitution. 
Previously, separatists have organised independence referenda quite frequently, and they cannot be charged with sedition because their right to referendum protects them from legal charges. However, such separatist movements may never occur again, because the recent amendment now ensures national integrity as the top priority of the Constitution, meaning that the right to referendum cannot protect these separatists from their acts of sedition.
The opposition have strenuously tried to block the passage of this bill, claiming that it harms the freedom of Lunarian citizens. Their motive behind this is currently unknown, but the Liberal League argued that this bill should be supported universally because it protects national integrity, and that the opposition’s views and interests are not aligned with the citizen’s. The Liberal League claimed that the opposition’s unwillingness to accept this amendment shows that they do not have any interest in protecting national integrity.
In response to the opposition’s unwillingness to accept the amendment and their repeated filibustering, frontbenchers of the Liberal League motioned for cloture. A two-thirds majority in support of the motion was soon reached, and the speaker initiated the procedure for cloture for the first time in a decade.
It is also worth of note that the independence referendum organised to take place in the SAR on the 29th of February may be cancelled because of the legal risk inherent in organising such a referendum now. Although the chances of this happening are slim, as the organisers have declared that they will not give in, the increasing amount of pressure exerted on them may affect their stance in the future.
Published by the Radio and Television Corporation of Lunaria
All Rights Reserved ©MMXX


19th February 2020
Port Oculus
This week was going to be the most tumultuous week in Lunarian history. Not even half a day after the bill was passed in the Council, various attacks were already planned on government offices and quarters, oftentimes involving petrol bombs and widespread arson. A massive rally was staged in downtown Port Oculus, consisting of thousands of protesters fuelled solely by anger; the anger incited by nothing more than yellow press and blatant propaganda.
“No longer shall we suffer under this oppressive government!” shouted Ray Kanimoto, Chief Propaganda of the Conservatives. “They have taken too much from the people, the very people they were made of! They have not listened to us. We have to make them listen, through all means necessary!” As he concluded his anger-provoking speech, the crowd of rioters cheered and shouted after his speech — celebrating their unparalleled “liberty” and “freedom”. 
Delivering a speech among the hundreds — even thousands of rioters, most of which were hardline conservatives and borderline fascists, Ray Kanimoto was a devout liberal himself, yet he had to hide his ideals in order to advance through the ranks of the Conservative Party. 
Why? Once an aspiring child, he was filled with ambition and a great leader. He dreamed of leading the country to prosperity. During his youth, the Conservatives dominated the Parliament, both the Council and the Board. He saw that the Golden Age of Lunaria had started to fade away under the rule of the Conservatives. He dreamed of steering the country in the right way, through the implementation of his liberal policies and values. Once he was old enough to do so, he joined the Liberal Party. 
As an aspiring member, he rose through the ranks of the Liberal Party with relative ease. He was once a well-respected and promising individual in the Liberal Party, who was in charge of finances and administration of the party. A decade ago, he was nominated for Vice Party Leader, and ran against the current Prime Minister. He had verbally gathered the support of over half of the voting party members before the voting day. However, his opponent won by a landslide on voting day. Outraged by the result, he was convinced that the voting system was rigged against him. 
Later that year, he left the Liberal Party out of sheer disgust. He joined the Conservative Party just to spite the Liberals. The Conservative Party had lost 130 seats to the Liberals during the last election season, and was in desperate need of rejuvenation. He rose through the ranks of the Conservative Party as fast as he did in the Liberal Party; yet his motivation was solely the lust for power and vengeance, not for the well being of the country. Some would call him a madman, but what was important was that he hated the Liberals with a burning passion, and would do anything in his power to topple their party.
Now the Chief Propaganda of the Conservative Party, his lust for power had only gotten worse. His relentless pursuit of taking back what was rightful to him, or at least what he thought was rightful to him, was extremely destructive. Anyone who had got in the way of his plans were found dead; anything which had gotten in the way of his plans were found destroyed.
Snapping back to reality, Ray smirked at the sight of his followers wreaking havoc on the streets of Port Oculus. They were absolutely oblivious as to what they were fighting for — to dissolve the current government of Lunaria; and to establish a brutal regime in the place of it. Ray was amazed at how easily people could be swayed and indoctrinated, convinced into committing crimes against their conscience and free will. After giving his speech, he stepped down from the stage and stepped inside a luxury SUV parked on the sidewalk some thirty metres away from it.
Just as he was about to enter the vehicle, he noticed a funny gasoline smell coming from the car. “It’s probably just the smell of a roadblock being lit on fire.” he assured himself without thinking much of it. The chime made by the chain of keys entering the keyhole was followed by a distinct click sound, then a slight vibration before a flame engulfed the entire car in a split second. The shockwave projected by the explosion was enough to shatter glass a kilometre away; the shrapnel launched by the explosion was enough to pierce the toughest of kevlar, even a select few types of cement.
Emergency services were rushed to the scene immediately, but the rioters refused to cooperate with them. After a three-hour standoff with the rioters, the paramilitary cleared up the streets for the emergency services. Following the fire engines and ambulances were a dozen or so civilian automobiles, from which scores of camera-holding reporters and correspondents emerged.
By the time they had arrived at the scene, more than a hundred people had already died from the explosion, and many more were going to die from the aftermath of it.
[spoiler] Undemocratic Government Disregards Referendum on the Independence of the Special Administrative Region
1/3/2020 09:30
A recent public referendum organised by the SAR opposition has seen an overwhelming support for a higher degree of autonomy for the SAR, with 60% of voters voting for the absolute independence of the archipelago. After the votes were counted and tallied, the national government acted in serious violation of the Constitution by refusing to recognise the results of the referendum.
While there is currently no opt-out policy for the SAR, and the current Local Constitution prevents it from gaining independence, the right to public referendum (Article 12 of the Constitution) ensures that a law, and even an article of the Constitution, can be repealed by a majority vote among enfranchised individuals in the country. The public referendum in question is held fully in accordance with the national guidelines and laws, yet the government excuses their undemocratic ways by elevating the precedence of national integrity and security over that of the right to referendum and claiming that the referendum undermines national integrity.
“The Lunarian Constitution states that the right to referendum extends to the right of amending the Constitution through public referenda. If simply amending the Constitution through a parliamentary vote is enough to undermine the right to referendum, I don’t trust the government to not completely remove the right of referendum from the Constitution. The only thing that will happen after a government clamps down on political freedoms is a tyrannical dictatorship replacing it entirely.” Says the Dean of Political Science of the Port Oculus University.
As per Section 5 of Article 12 of the Constitution, the government cannot legally interfere with the results of a public referendum, and nor can it publicly declare a public referendum invalid, irrelevant or obsolete unless significant evidence is provided to the court. At the time of writing, the government has only released a public statement denying the legitimacy of the referendum, and stating that they will not accept the results of the referendum, without any significant rationale attached to it other than “the referendum undermines the national integrity of Lunaria”.
We here at the Lunarian Broadcasting Agency implore the government to cease their violation of the rights of the common citizen, and to protect the Constitution and the country for which it is written. 
Published by the Lunarian Broadcasting Agency 
All Rights Reserved ©MMXX
Government Takes Action on Illegal Referendum; Protects National Integrity
1/3/2020 11:00
After a recent independence referendum carried out by the SAR opposition, the government has made it clear that it will not recognise the outcomes of the referendum as it undermines the integrity of Lunaria.
Over 60% of the SAR’s electorate voted for the independence of the SAR, a figure higher than both the opposition and the incumbent government had anticipated. In comparison to the 55% of votes casted for opposition candidates in the recent election, the figure rose significantly. Even though the Lunarian government called for the boycott of the referendum, the voting turnout still reached 62%, making the referendum eligible for legislature both in terms of support and voting turnout, though the recent amendment in the Constitution to protect national security and integrity has rendered the outcome of this referendum null and void.
The government has refused to acknowledge the referendum, stating that the referendum has undermined the national integrity of Lunaria. While receiving an interview on one of our news shows, the Prime Minister, James Yamauchi, claims that he and his party will do anything in his power to stop separatist movements in the country and maintain national integrity.
“This move made by the government has set an example of what is allowed under the right to referendum and what is not. This, as a precedent to other cases of illegal referenda, might be the standard to which the legality of certain referenda is judged, and might have ensured that other cases of referenda damaging national integrity and security will not cause further harm to our nation.” Said the Chairman of the Independent National Stability and Development Forum during a monthly meeting.
While organising public referenda is an inherent right of the citizen in Lunaria, the organisers of the referendum might face serious charges such as sedition and inciting attempts to divide the country. This is because multiple articles of the referendum contain explicit statements that advocate for the independence of the SAR. The government is now facing pressure from hardline liberals to persecute the organisers and their affiliates for these crimes.
We at the RTCL will keep you updated on what action the government takes on the separatists and how they react.
Published by the Radio and Television Corporation of Lunaria
All Rights Reserved ©MMXX

“Hey,” said the secretary, this time with clear nervousness under his voice. “The riots, they, uh, have gone out of control.” 
“What do they want?” James asked coldly. 
“The same thing they always want.” 
“They should just quit bullshitting us. They want the freedom of press? We already have that; too much as a matter of fact. They want true democracy? We already have that. What else do they want from us? Our lives? The National Treasury?” 
The secretary stood by his table calmly. He was used to seeing his boss throw temper tantrums when shit hit the fan.
James stopped to catch his breath and pulled out a piece of paper with a large crimson seal in the corner from a drawer. 
“Jack, if these traitorous scumbags still insist on escalating their riots and violence, prepare to send this document to the Department of Public Relations and authorise the mobilisation of the paramilitary. If not, don’t reveal this contingency plan until the whole thing has blown over. We don’t need to hold back our cards if they’ve already played theirs.”
8th March 2020
Escorted by maximum security, he stepped out of the Parliament building and entered his car — a heavily-armoured, monochrome, bullet-proof executive car, specially outfitted and designated for the Prime Minister of Lunaria. Its interior was not as luxurious as one might expect for a car of this importance, to some, it was even dull and blank. 
It drove through some of Lunaria’s most prestigious and luxurious avenues and boulevards, where dozens of international luxury brands had opened their flagship stores — before the rejected illegal national referendum caused such an uproar. High-end shops in the area were viciously attacked and looted; their windows shattered into shards and their display scattered over the floor. The remaining shops that fared somewhat better were heavily barricaded with metal sheets and concrete panels, occupied by a dozen or so dispassionate customers.
The vibrant capital city of Lunaria, with its bustling economy, elegant night-life, and fulfilled populace, has taken a hard fall from grace — its economy now starting to implode; its shimmer now starting to fade away; its populace now starting to become discontent. All of this because of the damned yellow press. All of this because of the legal rejection of an illegal referendum.
He reached over and closed the car curtains. He knew what he had caused. He really had no one else to blame for the unsightly state of the streets other than himself, and the disgracing words from the people didn’t help with it either.
What else could he do? What could’ve he done differently? Who could’ve done it better than him?
“Hey,” he gestured at the driver. “Can you turn on the car radio?” He thought the radio might help distract him. The driver looked at him in the rear-view mirror and rolled his eyes, then turned on the radio grudgingly.
“In other news, the Prime Minister had allegedly permitted the mobilisation of the paramilitary if the peaceful demonstrations in Port Oculus escalated. According to an anonymous official who worked in the Prime Minister’s Office, they reported that…”
“Turn it off.” 
He was absolutely livid. Did the newscaster just say “an anonymous witness who worked in the Prime Minister’s Office”? His instinct reflexively told him who betrayed him. It was his secretary, wasn’t it? — Yes, it definitely was. 
He played with his fingers for the rest of the car trip, until the car stopped moving for good in the parking lot. He stepped out of it and slammed the door shut. He took the elevator to the top floor, where his office was, in which he was hit by another wave of bad news — as he had expected. 
“Hey, uh, an opposition leader was car-bombed on the street.” the secretary said. 
“Great, now all the media outlets are going to propagandise this, aren’t they? If I’m not mistaken, by now they should have already talked about how I’m a murderer, and how I should be exiled and sentenced to death.” he paused. “If a single death can cause such media backlash, how about killing them all with automatic guns and heavy artillery?!” 
“Look, I know you’re scared and all, but you have to stay calm right now.”
“You’re the slippery bitch of a traitor, aren’t you?” he interrupted.
“What? I don’t understa—” 
“Honestly, I’m done with you and your bullshit.” he replied coldly.
“Please, I’ve worked for you for 12 years and you think I’ll sell you out?”
“I don’t want to listen to your bullshit. Just go tell the press about how bad of a boss I am.”
“I’m sorry if I did something wrong. I’ll, uh, I’ll just remove myself from your office.”
“Pack your shit and don’t come back tomorrow.” he said with an oddly calm tone. 
The secretary knew his temper better than he did; too well, as a matter of fact. He knew that he wouldn’t be angry at him for even half a week. He didn’t even bother to leave the building at all.

“After the unfortunate events of the car bombing today, and many more before that, including the unjust removal of the Right to Referendum, it is clear that the current government has tried to silence its opposition through undemocratic means.” said the newscaster. “We have invited a group of protesters to voice their concerns on the limitations of politi-”
The disgruntled Prime Minister turned off his television as if to protest the broadcaster. Although he didn’t have concrete proof, he was still convinced that his (previously) most trusted secretary was the one who had betrayed him, leading to all of this pandemonium. Burnt out by the repeated briefings, he returned to his residence in the mountainside suburbs after midnight. 
He sat down on his couch just before he got a notification on his phone.
It was from his secretary.
“Huh. Forgot to block him.”
He closed his eyes, trying desperately to go to sleep. But for some reason, his mind did not allow him to do so.
His phone rang again, causing his eyes to open again.
The Caller ID simply read: “Jack”
He didn’t feel like answering.

To say that his secretary was relentless in getting his attention was an understatement. After having his number blocked on his mobile phone, Jack proceeded to phone his landline with a phone booth telephone.
He honestly had better things to do with his time than to play this game with his secretary.
“Can you please just leave me alone, goddammit? I’m trying to sleep over here, but you’re calling me non-stop.”
“Jamie, this is not the time to act like a child. We’re in the middle of something big. Go turn on the television and have a look.” Despite being calm most of the time, the nervousness under his voice was palpable then.
“Jack, no. I’m not turning on the television to look at how bad of a job I’m doing.”
“That’s up to you, Jamie. You’re a man now.” He said this as if he was older than him by a lot. “Your decisions carry their own consequences, and I’m just here to let you know.”
Jack hung up on him, leaving him on the other side of the line, words hanging on the tip of his tongue, but not yet fully out of his mouth.
His curiosity pressured him to turn on the television.
The sight was not pretty, to say the least.

From the television, he could make out a heavily-vandalised building, surrounded by equally vandalised cars. Although the camera feed was shoddy at best, the live audio remained unaffected. Unintelligible chants from the rioters were already a norm in Lunaria; distinct gunshots were not.
He was a smart man. There were only two possibilities that would cause gunfire in the city centre. The first one; probably the lesser of two evils, that the paramilitary started to fire automatic rounds at the rioters, but he knew that the cowards at the Ministry of Defense would escalate the decision to open fire to him. Very unlikely that this would happen. The second one; the more likely and disastrous alternative, that the rioters somehow managed to obtain lethal firearms.
He was uncertain about how much longer his political career would last — when he really should be thinking about how much longer his life would last. He thought of two people to call. In the event that a militant coup or a bloody revolution was soon to erupt in Lunaria, the one thing he wanted to secure was bullion; only with it would he be able to restore the nation.
“What do you want, now that half the nation is on fire?” an disinterested National Treasurer asked.
“I just wanted to ask if you know how much bullion we currently have in the Treasury?”
“Well, we tell the outsiders we have some 541 tonnes of gold in reserve, but we actually only have 508 tonnes of gold in the Treasury. Now, the number I just mentioned does not include the bullion stored in Fort Nonko; they’re handled by the local Treasury. It’s quite the margin — I know it’s fraudulent and all, but we still need to keep the note holders and bond holders happy.”
“I know, I know. I’ve been the Secretary of the Treasury too. We used to have a larger difference. Seeing as the nation is falling apart, you probably won’t be the next Prime Minister though.”
“Anyway, 500 tonnes of gold are worth somewhere about 25 billion South Hill dollars, but I don’t think we will have access to all of it since, you know, current events. And 25 billion dollars is already a really, really tight budget for building a military.”
“I didn’t tell you what I was using the gold for?”
“Considering you’re calling me after the rioters got their hands on automatics, it’s blatantly obvious.”
“That’s fair. Just don’t let anyone withdraw any gold for now. Alright?”
“I can’t make any promises. Being able to get three quarters of the total amount is already a very liberal estimation, never mind all of it.”
“I want a yes or a no. I am going to organise several companies of soldiers to retrieve the bullion from around the country. I want the gold to be secured until sunrise, when the soldiers arrive. This is not a request, this is a command.”
“Sir, I really don’t know. Again, I can’t make any—”
His sentence was cut short by a disconnect tone.
“I am not going to observe any formalities now; I’m not in the mood for it. I have 500 tonnes of gold bullion located in various cities around the country; are you able to escort the cargo to Fort Nonko? Funding is certainly not a problem, and neither is manpower.” It was a lie; although inconspicuously so. Both funding and manpower were inadequate, but after all these years of being a politician, lies could roll off the tongue just as smoothly as the truth could. 
“I’m not sure if we can do that. Do we have any backup from other nations?”
“I want a yes or a no. And I’m not trusting anyone else with handling the gold.”
“I don’t know. We’ve recently intercepted multiple phone calls talking about generals switching their allegiance to the revolutionary cause, using codewords and whatnots.”
“I don’t care that you don’t know. I want the army to arrive before sunrise, and the navy to standby in the port. This is not a request; it is a command. I can’t allow any miscalculation that would cause us to lose any bullion.”
“I don’t know who I can trust and who I can’t. I don’t know. Nothing is for sure.”
“I am not sure whether or not you can make it out of this country alive if you are not sure whether or not you can escort the gold to the safe point. I want a yes or a no. A no is better than don’t know.”
“I’ll try, but I still can’t be certain.”
“Try then. Don’t be certain then. No, I didn’t ask for a yes or a no, did I?”

Headquarters of the Opposition
Port Oculus
An Extra Edition of the newspaper was tossed onto the coffee table from a leather armchair, sat in which was the Party Chairman of the Conservatives, William Sobashima.
His eyes went to the clock and signalled for the phone on his desk. His secretary complied and instinctively closed the door behind as he left the room.
“Finally on time for once, eh? Anyway, how is it going over there for you?” A female voice on the other side said.
“Great. Just as I had expected, ‘Activist Hospitalised after Terrorist Plot by Government’”. The news people — they didn’t let me down. If it wasn’t for them, we’d not be able to squeeze what little he was worth out of him with the unintentionally broken fuel tank. Now that the scumbag has been taken care of, I can finally execute the coup."
“You just crippled your party’s very own propaganda machine; and it’s not like he’s dead for good as your plan had intended, even with the C4 you added. He’s permanently disabled and in a coma, heavily guarded in a hospital located downtown. He’s going to recover eventually, and I think he’s smart enough to notice you did that.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, have I gone too far? Well, I’m sure he’ll recover from it. That is, if he could make it out of the hospital alive. Regrettably, a medical accident is going to occur in Lunaria tomorrow morning. An unfortunate individual comatose in a certain Port Oculus General Hospital is going to get his life support deactivated, and no one is going to notice until it’s too late. His mission has been fulfilled, and I think he deserves to be permanently retired. Nobody outside of my faction — anyone that’s not my puppet — should run against me in the party election.”
“And how are you going to stop the masses from rising up once you’ve taken control, now that you’ve killed off their figure head?”
“Please, don’t think of it as a ‘dictatorship’ that I’ll be establishing, think more on the ‘temporary transitional government’ side. With the intelligentsia on my side and generous amounts of political propaganda, everything I say will be the truth, and for anyone who says otherwise: well, they’re lying to you. And lying is bad. Exceptionally so, now that I’m in charge. I can’t allow bad people to go unpunished, can I? Everything I have said has been disregarded as lies by the government, and now? Not such a good day for them, is it? They should be grateful that we would only shoot them dead, and not have their entire family persecuted and executed.”
“I don’t think international powers would let a militarist coup go unpunished either.”
“I’m not sure if international powers would find it necessary for that. You see, we will not be the ones who topple the Democratic Republic of Lunaria — it is undeniably true that we have provided funding, training, expertise, strategies and military support to the cause, but in the end, we’re just fighting for freedom. The people, not us, will be the ones who overthrow the government; the government, mind you, that has stripped its citizens of their dear right to referendum and freedom of press, simply to silence the opposition and to brutally oppress them. We would certainly get more international applause than reprimand if we played our cards right. We’re liberators, not power-hungry opportunistic usurpers.”
“So what you’re saying is that everybody is blind except for you. I don’t know; it seems like quite a few world leaders know what you’re planning to do.”
“We’re both smart people here, so I’m not afraid to be blunt with you. The masses are not the brightest minds on Urth, and they are more than willing to side with you if you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough. Every supposedly democratic country, rich or poor, large or small, is ruled by the elite, people like us. The ruling class can see through our plans, but they still have to be supported by the masses. To them, we’re liberating Lunaria from oppression, and my temporary transitional government, however oppressive it may be, would still earn their support. The leaders of those countries can despise us all they want, but they can’t sanction or fight a war against a supposedly liberated country without losing a significant voting bloc.”
“Well, from what I have heard, this is coming along rather nicely. The ships are now stationed in Port Beacon. We’re still waiting for the Prime Minister to make his next move. We don’t know what it’ll be, but we’ll send the ships in once you’ve taken control. We’ll be waiting for your good news.”
“You won’t have to wait for long. I’m sure of it.” He placed the phone back to its original position, then almost curled up into a ball on the armchair; his head sunk into his hands. The implications of the things he had just said were too heavy. He did not want to do it, but he had to. He felt his tears on his hands, but that simply could not have happened. What had just happened?

“692.714… There we go…” His long fingers turned the knob on the radio; quite leisurely considering his dire circumstances.
His thumb pushed the lever on the broadcaster, the snap echoing around the confines of the concrete wall. The sound of music from the pre-recorded tape was broadcasted all over Port Oculus, and though correct in theory, it was certainly not a pleasant song; not one composed to be listened to, at least.
Ministers, during times of national emergency, were required to turn on their emergency radios and place them in close proximity. Whether or not this is executed, and whether or not disobedience is punished, differs largely from person to person, and regime to regime. But sometimes, when you make the rules, following them might save your life.
The music was meeting the bare minimum requirement for something considered a work of music. Its notes felt out of place; something a child would compose. Yes, everything was made according to the rules of music, but its rhythm felt more like code than music…
Because it was code.
The song came to an unceremonious end after twelve minutes of broken chords and clumsy beats, as did his tenure as Prime Minister after four years of failed attempts at nationalisation and centralising power.
He threw the headphones onto the metal desk, the sound of his own breathing filling the soundproof room.
But… Why is the sound of breathing out of sync with his breathing?
An unsettling chill crept up his spine; as if he were a lost lamb under a tiger’s aura of bloodthirst.
His mind was so preoccupied with his sense of hearing that it took him half a minute before he noticed a chilling sensation on his neck; his neck artery was pulsing against the bleak piece of metal as his saliva stopped dead on its track to his stomach, stuck uncomfortably in the middle of his throat, where the piece of metal touched him.
The cold sensation wrapped around his neck; a quarter of an inch a second, as the cold-blooded boa constrictor wraps itself around its prey; so constricting and suffocating, leaving its prey powerless to save itself from the walls of its unforgiving labyrinth.
“Your pen.” The voice behind him whispered. “You left it at your office.”
Anger in his heart boiled the still blood in his heart chamber, the warmth flooding through his veins and arteries as the frigid bones inside were smouldered from the sudden warmth.
His right hand was clenched in a fist, charging up all its power to beat the bastard behind with an unexpected backhand strike. James gripped his wrist, where his watch was, as he turned around in his chair, slapping Jack with the entire strength of his torso.
The hit, however, did not land. Jack grabbed his hand by the wrist; ironically, where his watch was. Turning the tables on him, his left hand pulled James’ hand back, immobilising him by holding both his hands against the back of the metal chair.
“You’re attempting to attack a staff member of the Secret Operations Bureau; in other words, a law enforcement agent.” Jack said. “This is a crime, you know?”
“Attacking the Prime Minister is also a crime!”
“I’m acting in self-defence.”
“I’m only attacking you because you’re trespassing on private property.”
“I’m pretty sure you gave me the keys to this piece of property. It’s only that I got in through a more special way.”
“Why are you even here then?” The anger on his face turned into annoyance.
“I heard my own song on the radio, so I thought I might as well come here.” He said as he loosened his grip on James’ wrists. “I got lost in the artistry of the chords I composed, and forgot that you told me not to come near you.”
“Where were my—”
“Your guards? They were probably too charmed by me to do anything.”
The shamelessness of this man.
“I brought your stuff from the office.” Jack started before he could open his mouth. “Air, water or land? Which one do you want?”
James stood up and shoved Jack out of his way, leaving a grinning Jack in the broadcasting room as he entered his study, never losing his very own, distinctively arrogant stride; the sort of stride that would announce his presence whenever he entered a room, even when he was in voluntary exile.
“I’d prefer dying on land. Thanks for asking.”
“That’s still subject to change. With me here, of course. I tell you what, if you want to die in a car, we could use the underground tunnel from here to get to the basement safehouse in Asaya Ward.”
“What car are you using?”
“Your car. The car that I paid for.”
“Excuse me? The state paid for the car.”
“The state might have paid for the wheels. And maybe the tires too. I paid for the rest.”
“You change the specifications.”
“It’s only an extra few billion dollars*. Don’t get the wrong idea though. I just don’t want myself to be killed in the car. Now, stubborn old man. Let’s go and escape through the tunnel.”
“I’m not using the old bastard’s stuff.”
Nothing unexpected. The same degree of stubborness— No, adherence to one’s principles as the day he met him.
“It’s yours now. You own it now that you father’s dead, don’t you?”
“This is not a matter of ownership! This— This is a matter of my own principles!”
“As if you had any to begin with.”
“Sometimes I think that the person I hate most after my father is you.”
“Wow. That’s a bit personal, don’t you think?”
“One does not simply win in an argument with me.”
“Am I just anyone to you?” The grin on his face turned bitter, as both of them made a mute agreement through their complex chemistry to end the conversation. 
The assistant could not bear the silence. “Let’s go.”

Both of them walked in silence through the tunnel, the walls and ceiling of which too short and narrow for both of them. The flourescent tubes placed sparesely on both walls unforgivingly delivered their brightest light, knowing that this might be their last chance to shine.
“Jamie,” the assistant broke the silence as they approached the end of the corridor. “We’re going from here to NR5, then to NR208, where we’ll make up a path out west on the fly.”
“You don’t have to brief me on this.”
“Can you allow me to initiate a conversation?”
“Not when I’m tired as hell.”
The assistant opened the door for himself, and closed the door behind him immediately. James held the door open just in time for it to not lock itself, the heavy door nearly crushing his fingers.
“You could’ve held the door open!”
“Not when I’m tired as hell.”
A sneer flashed on his face as he pressed the key to the car, flashing the car’s headlights.
*: Lunarian dollars are around 0.0090~0.0120 SHD most of the time. A billion Lunarian dollars is worth around nine to twelve (ten at the time of the story) million SHD.

It had to be at least an hour after the phone call. It must have been. At least it felt like it.
A knock on the door forced him to open his eyes.
“Come in.” Turning his back against the door, his emotions were well-hidden from the person just six-feet away.
“Kanimoto’s secretary faxed me this.” It was his secretary’s voice.
It took a minute of awkward silence before his secretary knew better than to stay in the room for any longer.
As he heard the door close for a second time, he picked up the envelope on the desk, his tear-filled eyes barely able to focus on the letters and symbols on the letter through the water.
To the Honourable Members of the Executive Council of the Conservative Party,
As you may know, I have been the target of a recent terrorist attack in Port Oculus. It is quite fortunate for me, for I have survived these attacks, and quite unfortunate for the terrorists as their plan has failed.
When this letter is dispatched, it is proof that I have recovered from my coma, and that I am able to fulfil the duties of the Party’s Chief Cabinet Secretary once more.
Here, I want to thank the Interim Chief Cabinet Secretary, for fulfilling the Party’s expectations during the nation’s time of crisis, even when under the threat of domestic terrorism and the incompetence of the incumbent government. The ability of the Interim Secretary to rally support for the Conservative Party during a national crisis is impressive.
I also want to thank the Chairman of the Party and the Chief of the Policy Affairs Research Council, for endorsing such a proficient candidate.
As the nation and the Party is undergoing an unprecedented crisis, I would like to cordially invite the Honourable Members of the Executive Council to attend a meeting in Room 1804-5 of the Port Oculus General Hospital, in order to discuss the future of the nation and the Party.
I would like to beg your pardon, as I understand that it is unconventional for a Executive Council meeting to be held anywhere outside of the Conservative Party’s Headquarters. However, due to my current state of immobilisation, and the fear that I will be the target of a second terrorist attack, it is unfeasible for me to attend a meeting anywhere outside of my hospital room. Again, I would like to beg your pardon.
As for more details on my current state and the terrorist attack, I believe that it would be best if we discuss those items at the meeting in the hospital, at 9:00 AM, the day after this letter is sent.
Best regards,
Ray Kanimoto
Chief Cabinet Secretary
Conservative Party of Lunaria
And on a second piece of paper:
Post Script:
To the Triumvirate of the Conservative Party,
You are cordially invited to arrive at the meeting location as early as possible, in order for us to deliberate in advance.
Ray Kanimoto
Chief Propaganda
Conservative Party of Lunaria
The chairman pressed down on the call button on his desk phone, so firm that the button almost sank entirely into the phone.
“Check for bombs planted under my car. I need to go to the General Hospital.”