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Harsh Realities - Kanoria - 07-30-2021

A haggard looking man with immense dark circles under his eyes shuffles slowly behind an ornate wooden podium. Both have seen better days. The man coughs once, sending an uncomfortable wave of static through the microphone and speaker system. The buzz of excited speculation, questions, and the clatter of cameras taking photos reaches a crescendo, and then quickly die down. The throng of reporters visibly leans forward, hopeful of being the first to relay a sensational story.

The man in front awkwardly tugs at his creased clothes, mostly grey, with a dozen coffee stains, pulling them back up onto his limp left shoulder, from which they were in grave risk of falling. He coughs again before beginning to mumble his hastily assembled speech at a speed entirely at odds with his appearance and general demeanor.

"...Good morning all, we have a lot of get through today, so I hope you will all be patient as I come to each matter in turn."

Another cough, and another, bending the frail frame of the short figure almost double, and dislodging the recently placed jacket from its temporary seat. The hacking abaited as suddenly as it came on, and before the assembled crowd had time to notice him stand back up, he resumed his speech at the prior lightning pace.

"Firstly, the bit I know you all are least anticipating, domestic legislative options schedules for votes will be released at midday tomorrow, including the regulatory loop..." cough "...hole concerning production of novel consumer goods using untested materials, for which there are six proposals; four proposals about transitory movement of live cargo; and a single joint proposal between two parties on the ongoing matter of land provision with new housing with all others in opposition"

At this point the man took an exaggerated breath, and a swig from a flask that he had somehow smuggled into his hand and unscrewed whilst speaking, all unnoticed. A few drops more lookwarm coffee dribbled off his chin and onto his untidy clothing.

"Secondly, on ministerial overreach, actions will be announced, including the mandatory recall referenda within the next month. All ministers, at every level, have been reminded that their job is to administer the will and principles voted on by the leysan peoples and not to impose their own will"

Another cough, another swig, and then a huge sigh. The man appears to shrink, and the previous air of confidence, competence, and no-nonsence rapidity vanishes as though it had never existed

"Now, for the more difficult matters"

What had been a mumble was now barely audible. What had been said impossibly quickly was now picked over in the manner of a child with food they disliked. The previously controlled expression of the man was now the deepest and most concerned frown anyone had ever seen from him. He looked on the verge of tears. Quite how such a transformation had occured so rapidly could only be explained in the context of the air in the room, which now hung dark, and heavy, mirroring the speaker at the room's head.

"I shall come to the terrorism in a moment. Before I do, I have been asked by Majar to publicly announce our responses to several points within her field of expertise. I will address the food situations within our allies, The council Repubic of North American Republics, and the Commune of Ramelia. It is unacceptable that anyone should be left without sufficient food, least of all, those persuing an egalitarian course. Though we are few in number compared to either nation, we will none the less continue to supply what surplus food we can. In addition we will be sending teams to Ramelia, to help build sustainable vertical farms, with rapidly growing seeds for a variety of crops, which will hopefully allow their people greater food security and independence in future. The same offer is extended to the North American Republics, should they wish it."

"Next, on the situation in An-Astral, and this one will be brief, we are continuing to wait, despite multiple concerning and unethical developments, and hope for a rapid de-escalation, and shift towards a course we would recognise as humane. We do stand ready to support those who show themselves committed to such a course."

A brief hush fell on the room as the man gathered himself, inhaled, and broke into yet another coughing fit. This one was longer than the previous, and an aid scurried from behind the deep, green curtains flanking the podium, to assist the man, handing him an inhaler. After the man had regained his composure, and the aid returned to their skulking position behind the drapes, the tension once again escalated as the man cleared his throat and coughed into a well-worn handkerchief.

"Well... I can't delay it any longer. The terrorism. The attacks two days ago caused unprecedented damage to our shipping infrastructure, cost us two civilian ships, and, more importantly, eighty-one lives. We were lucky it wasn't more."

At this point the man paused, seemingly purely to let that message sink in

"Not only does the Truast Leysa depend upon global shipping, but global shipping depends upon us. We cannot allow such attacks to happen again. However" this one word was loaded with more inflection and emphasis than could be found in many whole novels "nor can we give into the vile rhetoric and reaction that has been swirling around these lands for the last few days. We are better than that."

"I have heard, from political parties, multiple proposals illegal domestically, internationally, or even both, and the same from the navy, along with volunteer requests for missions with such nauseating objectives that would make the strongest stomach turn. Needless to say, as these proposals would contravene the people's sovereignty and the principles in law, they have not been approved and will not be put to general approval."

"That all said, the attrocities will not go unanswered. A number of more reasonable ideas have also been presented, and postions have coalesced to back three proposals, which will be put to general vote. Owing to the critical nature of this matter, I will outline them in full."

"The first proposal is that, and here I quote: "in keeping with our long traditions of recognizing that such acts are rooted in desperation, exclusion, a seperate identity, and a large set of negative pressures. Where this is within our power to fix it is our failing. In answer, we suggest ensuring provision to our large Rossian Diaspora, and finding out the grievances, if any that they hold, and providing proactively to all needs we find." This proposal is backed by: Kastamiðla, Skipa, Brjóta:Brjótani, Veita, Helzt, Leita Sannindi Verða, BRIGDA"

Another pause, and another swig of the increasingly stale coffee, with associated spills, and a slight whiff of a disguised, harder drink

"The second proposal is similar, compatible, and goes further, again, a quote once again: "We cannot stop at our own borders. As we have seen recently radicalisation, nor our ethical responsibility obeys those imaginary lines. Our answer must be outreach and empowerment where the problem originates. Within Rossia itself. We propose treating Rossia as a warzone. Which it is. We propose working with our allies, NAR and Toonela, to rectify the evident social problems, lack of opportunity, and misinformation through empowerment of the Rossians themselves in a time limited mission." Obviously this proposal depends upon our allies agreement. This proposal has the favour of: Grema, Vammblinder, Mannvitallr, Fylgja, Eigaverja, Klifra"

Another pause, this time with no action, nor even coughs

"The third and final proposal to meet threshold is, and I quote: "The Rossian" excuse me for removing the expletives " attaked our home, and attacked the world. Their people may deserve better, but their government deserves no mercy. Work with the NARans, remove that" uhem " and put something good in its place. That'll sort it long term in just one generation." The following parties back this... Less nicely worded... Proposal: Fjotra, Leysfyrr, Biðja, Almáttigr, óglaðr  trúr"

Two coughs and another drink, whilst the journalists murmured to themselves. A soft breeze carried pollen from the trees outside into the room, highlighting the unusually calm and sunny weather that was entirely at odds with the gloomy and miserable press conference

"This is an urgent matter," the man began again, talking over the reporters with renewed confidence and vigor "as such, rather than the normal one week, the alliance wide vote shall last for only one day, and we shall be announcing the results tomorrow evening"

"Finally, on this matter, we need to thank our allies for their support in this difficult time, especially Toonela for their offers of aid, and I have been informed that the cabinet intends to urgently begin intelligence cooperation, and engage in talks about further military military cooperation."

At this point the man abruptly stood straight, once again pulled his clothes back to the position they were meant to be in, and began tidying papers and making to leave, apparently forgetting a great deal. The aid once again darted into view as the man shuffled through the oversized doors to the rear, a rip visible in the rear of his coat.

"The-Leysan-Speaker-thanks-you-all-for-your-time. Questions-will-be-answered-from-the-civil-castle-in-Ikx-Gahn-this-afternoon,-the-site-of-the-next-session. Thank-you-all-thank-you-thank-you" The aid blurted out in one breath before hurrying after their boss, clearly flustered