Liberators
Author: Godfrey Raphael

Chapter 17
Irina's Ultimatum

Chapter Seventeen: Irina’s Ultimatum

 

The Summer Palace

Republic of Krakozhia Presidential Residence

Ibklask, Krakozhia

October 20, 2008 2117 Krakozhian time (October 21 0117 Rivymiyitevko time)

 

Chairman Timofey Andropov of the Committee for State Security had seen to the successful transfer of the Rivymiyitevko biological weapon from the Spetsnaz troopers who captured it to the Eighth (Scientific) Directorate of the KGB four days ago, but he had declined to tell the Politburo until now, even though most, if not all of them, already knew of the capture.

 

“It looks like LIBERATORS is advancing pretty well,” said President Irina Adzhitekova to start the meeting. “What is the situation, comrades?”

 

Marshal Oleg Dallutev stifled a yawn, then turned to his aide and said, “Grisha, the map, please.” He laid down a large map of Rivymiyitevko on the table, with red and blue shapes and arrows dotting the surface. “The blue shapes represent our forces and all of the territory that we had captured as of yesterday,” he said. “The red shapes are the rebel troops and all of the territory they still have. As you can see, most of the red is clustered around Sonolovichyrevko. The red arrows represent rebel attacks on our positions. The 100th Motor Rifle Division has been bogged down by the Western Rivymiyitevko Army in Dosservich, while the 386th Motor Rifle Division is suffering the same situation in Ibrotich against the Eastern Rivymiyitevko Army. Meanwhile, the 50th Motor Rifle Division is waiting to move against the Capital Rivymiyitevko Army, which now includes the Democratic Revolution Corps troops that were not deployed to other areas of the island. Their immediate target is the town of Sevenivov, as well as the Sevenivov Research Institute. They are waiting for your order to move out, Comrade President.”

 

“Speaking of Sevenivov,” Adzhitekova interrupted, “Comrade Chairman, is it true that the RIM had come close to developing a weapon that could devastate the Republic as we know it?”

 

Andropov checked his notes and said, “I am sorry, Comrade President, but the rumors are true. The Rivymiyitevko Independence Movement came very close to developing a biological weapon that they could use against us. My Scientific Directorate is currently examining said biological agent, which was captured by Spetsnaz troopers who infiltrated the Sevenivov Research Institute four days ago. The men responsible for developing the weapon are being interrogated by both the Foreign and Internal Directorates.”

 

“The Foreign Directorate, I understand,” said one of the Politburo candidate members, “but why bring in the Internal Directorate into this? I thought the scientists who developed this weapon were Russian.”

 

“I don’t know, too,” replied Andropov in a tone dripping with threats. “Why don’t you ask the Chief of the Internal Directorate?”

 

“Anyway,” Adzhitekova said, before the Politburo candidate pushed the final nail into his coffin, “Marshal Dallutev, will the delays of the 100th and 386th Motor Rifles affect the schedule of LIBERATORS?”

 

“Actually, Comrade President, we still have a few days to spare to consolidate our forces in accordance to the plan,” replied Dallutev. “By that time, the 100th and 386th Motor Rifles would have already taken Dosservich and Ibrotich respectively. If not, we can get the 224th Motor Rifle Division, which he have placed in reserve in Renechev, to support the 50th Motor Rifles for the charge to Sonolovichyrevko, and we could confuse the rebels by staging two landings near Uflaniv and Yeralenko. For this, we can use the 2nd Field Regiment.

 

"Before we charge into Sonolovichyrevko, however, I suggest either an aerial or naval bombardment on the city to eliminate as much military structures like bunkers and command centers as possible. That way, we can charge into Sonolovichyrevko with little or no opposition and catch the rebels by surprise. For this, I turn to Comrades Admiral Domovich and General Drulyenko. Comrades?"

 

"I see no problem with your plan, Comrade Marshal," replied Domovich. "However, it would take forty-eight hours to load all of our active submarines in the area with guided missiles, and that's if I have them working on it right now. If they come in one by one, on a piecemeal basis, who knows how long it'll take for them to reconfigure those boats for guided missile delivery? Our surface ships can carry a comparable amount of cruise missiles, but we risk losing them if we place them that close to the Rivymiyitevko coast. We still haven't taken out the anti-ship systems on the southern coast of the island."

 

"The 455th Strategic Bombing Wing is standing by to deploy," said Drulyenko. "But because of a lack of external fuel tanks, we would have to ask the Russians for permission to land on their bases and refuel. I can spare the 15th Bomber Wing for this mission, but they're not as capable as the 455th."

 

"So, assembling the necessary assets is the easy part," said Dallutev. "But how are we going to rein in the troops for that amount of time?"

 

"A ceasefire, comrades," replied Adzhitekova, in a display of her quick wit. "We will declare a ceasefire in Rivymiyitevko, comrades, and if Konstantin Benin and his cronies won't step down, then you have my approval for Operation SOUNDPROOF. I want to be appraised of this operation every hour starting now. If there's been an unexpected screwup, I want to know it at once so that we won't have to cross the bridge when we come to it. Now, Gennady, set up a conference. I have a feeling that this will need to be a very public announcement."

 

Lavrenty Geyan Military City Air Force Base

10 kilometers east of Beludumarev, Krakozhia

2200 Krakozhian time (October 21 0200 Rivymiyitevko time)

 

The Lavrenty Geyan Military City was the only city with such a title in the Republic of Krakozhia. Modeled after the King Khaled Military City in Saudi Arabia, it began its life as a simple rest stop between the cities of Beludumarev and Pretoska before the construction of Krakozhian Highway One bypassed it, forcing its citizens to abandon the place. Only the ratification of the Alternate National Command Center Law saved it from becoming a ghost town, but it did turn into that during the Krakozhian Civil War, when Mikhail Amazenkov halted all construction on the town and relocated its assets to building the Alanich Wall, which separated the town of Alanich, where President Baychenko established government-in-exile, from Democrat-occupied territory. Construction on Lavrenty Geyan resumed on January of 2005, and the city was officially included into the Krakozhian Census of 2007, nearly five years and five presidents after the groundbreaking ceremony.

 

The airbase, which was located east of the city and also served as an airport for select domestic and international flights, was home to the 455th Strategic Bomber Wing, the only such wing in the Krakozhian Air Force. It was composed of twelve Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic bombers, their crews, and not much else, and they were under the command of Major of Aviation Abdullah Haruyenko. Ever since the start of the Invasion of Rivymiyitevko, he had been asking General Drulyenko—gently, of course—for permission to deploy to that island in the Arctic, but every time that he asked, all he got was a curt shake of the head from the general. But over the past few days, Drulyenko's replies had become, "When we have need of bombers in Rivymiyitevko, we'll call you in." Finally, after Haruyenko asked the Chief of Staff of the Krakozhian Air Force for what felt like the hundredth time, Drulyenko finally retorted, "Quit badgering me, Abdullah Nestorovich, or I'll have you demoted to Private of Aviation and cleaning my office faster than you can say, "Declare Alpha-Alpha alert!" The General had been infuriated back then. He wasn't infuriated when he entered the headquarters of the 455th Strategic Bomber Wing.

 

Haruyenko was lying on a couch with a soda can in his hand, watching an old American sitcom dubbed in Russian. Drulyenko was surprised to see this sloppy side of the otherwise clean and uptight commander. Maybe his parting words had had a profound effect on the Major, though Drulyenko. He coughed lightly to attract Haruyenko’s attention, and he stood up and gave a half-asleep salute, as soda spilled from the can as he brought it up to his right eyebrow. “Yes, Comrade General?” he slurred.

 

“I have something for you,” Drulyenko said, handing over an envelope stamped with the seal of the President of the Republic of Krakozhia on the flap. Haruyenko used his combat knife to open the envelope, and he dumped the contents on the table. As he read the letter, his eyes grew wider with every passing sentence until he finally shook his head and said, “This can’t be true, General.”

 

“The only thing truer than that is the Holy Bible,” Drulyenko replied, sitting down on the couch and changing the channel. “You might want to watch this,” he said.

 

On the screen was a podium, and behind it stood Irina Adzhitekova, president of the Republic of Krakozhia. She was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt and black slacks, a vast difference to the more feminine suits she wore before the Invasion of Rivymiyitevko, but the Gold Star of the Hero of the Republic of Krakozhia was still proudly pinned on her chest. She exuded a tired yet calm aura, and this seemed to affect Haruyenko, Drulyenko, and everyone else who was watching the broadcast.

 

“Comrades!” she began. “Citizens of the Republic of Krakozhia! As you all know by now, the military campaign against the Independent Republic of Rivymiyitevko has been a success.” There was no applause. There would be none of that for this announcement. “Right now, our forces are surrounding the city of Sonolovichyrevko with a ring of steel. They are poised to strike the city at any time upon my order. But, tonight, I will order all Krakozhian forces to cease activity against the military forces of the Independent Republic of Rivymiyitevko.

 

“It has come to our attention that most of Sonolovichyrevko’s citizens have not been evacuated or ordered to evacuate by their self-elected President Konstantin Benin, in direct violation of Article 15 of their self-written Constitution, which states that ‘all civilians are to be evacuated to a place deemed safe by the President in time of war.’ Our military analysts suspect that they are being used by Benin’s government and forces as human shields. If that is so, then I have only one thing to say to them: you are afraid of us. You cower behind people you call ‘your citizens’ while our proud armies roar on toward them, supported by the real citizens of Rivymiyitevko.

 

“Hear this, comrades: Rivymiyitevko will fall, whether by will or by force. We have enough power to strike who we want where we want when we want, and Konstantin Benin will watch from a dirty prison cell as his ‘citizens’ topple the symbols of his ineffective democratic and capitalist regime.

 

“Comrades! Citizens of the Republic of Krakozhia! I give my final warning to the Independent Republic of Rivymiyitevko and the Rivymiyitevko Independence Movement. I, President Irina Vyacheslav’na Adzhitekova, demand that President Konstantin Afanasiyevich Benin and his compatriots surrender to a Krakozhian military unit within the forty-eight hours of our ceasefire, or else they will continue on to Sonolovichyrevko, resulting in unnecessary loss of life. Many people have already died from this conflict, and so I call for the real citizens of Rivymiyitevko to leave your fake leader and rejoin the Republic, and together we will rebuild your home and ours.

 

“You have been warned. The forty-eight ceasefire starts now.” And with that, she left, marking the end to her speech. As reporters tried to ask her questions, Press Secretary Gennady Elemat held them back, saying, “We will answer all questions in the Press Room! Please follow me, and watch your step.”

 

Drulyenko turned off the television and asked Haruyenko, “Do you believe me now, Adbullah Nestorovich?”

 

“Yes, Comrade General, I believe you now,” replied Haruyenko, “but Jamal Aliyevich wouldn’t!”

 

“Ah, I’ll take care of that myself.”

 

Sonolovichyrevko, Rivymiyitevko

That same time

 

“There it is, brother,” said Ekaterina Domshomidova, “Adzhitekova’s declared a ceasefire. What do you say?”

 

“I say that all that is nothing but an empty threat,” replied Konstantin Benin. “Adzhitekova wouldn’t dare attack Sonolovichyrevko while all the people are still living here.”

 

“But she quoted the Constitution, our Constitution! She’s now showing us as the bad guys!”

 

“Relax, sister. The Communists always do that.”

 

“But how about their offer to surrender?”

 

Benin was silent for a moment, and then he said, “If there’s anyone here in this room who would like to surrender to the Krakozhians, do so now before I shoot you in the back for treason!” Surprisingly, most of the people in the room left, leaving only Benin, Domshomidova, and Admiral Gerasim Kharkov, commander of the Rivymiyitevko Independence Movement Navy. “Goddamned backstabbers,” he muttered. “May all of your souls never escape their bodily containers and find peace with the gods.”

 

“What do we do now, brother?” asked Domshomidova.

 

“What else? Plan for our attack against the Krakozhians, sister! Even without the weapon developed by those Russian scientists in the Institute, we will fight them and throw them out of our land! If victory needs my blood, then I shall give it! No sacrifice would be greater than that!”

 

Little did he know that he would need to spill his blood, but the victory would go to the invaders that he had tried to kick out of his land.

 

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