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Tyler

Smoke On The Water...

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October 3rd, 597…

“Sir, the proposals you requested for modernized naval vessels have arrived for your review.”

Joseph Tynes looked up from his desk, which was covered in various proposals, requisitions and other forms, all piling up steadily since the declaration of the Norkotian Union mere weeks ago. The job of building a military from scratch was not as easy as he hoped, since there were many, many logistical obstacles to overcome.

However, being able to review actual military designs and proposals made the tediousness worth it. The request for naval designs had been submitted even before the military was declared, as Tynes wanted drafts ready for when the day came. Numerous engineers and shipbuilders from the coastal cities were asked to submit proposals for diesel-powered, military-focused warships, and now some of the results were ready for consideration.

“Clear my schedule for the rest of the morning.” Joseph grinned, as he took the folders from the officer, “I’ll be busy for a while.”

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By noon, Joseph had already separated the viable proposals from the nonviable. Various factors had to be considered, not only including performance, but also expense and difficulty of manufacture. Ships needed to be able to be produced quickly, but also efficiently, what with the limited resources and manpower currently available. While he wasn’t an economic expert, the proposals had been laid-out in a way that he could easily compare them without having to be an expert in every technical aspect.

He resumed his regular tasks after lunch, giving himself more time to think about the remaining proposed designs. By evening, when the time was approaching for him to retire for the night, he brought himself down to four designs. One was a frigate, small enough to be laid down in the lake, but large enough to also be used in the open sea. The other three designs were carriers, or rather, they were what would be considered escort carriers in a proper navy. But since they would be laid-down on Sidereal Lake long before Norkotia could secure a coastal port on the ocean, that meant they had to be smaller and more maneuverable.

He slept on the decision that night, but by the time he reached his office the next morning, he knew which proposal had his preference. Signatures were placed the two designs, and a formal request to fund the construction of one carrier and two frigates, to be built and launched into the lake, was drawn up. This would be delivered to the council for approval, as funding still needed to go through them. Joseph Tynes was confident they would ultimately make the right decision.

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October 7th, 597…

“Sir, the council has concerns about our ability to construct the naval warship designs you proposed. The facility exists to perhaps produce one of these, but it has not seen use in some time. They feel the deadline you set for completion is impossible.”

Joseph had anticipated that there may be a few hurdles to overcome first. The timeline was a big sticking point, as he wanted these ships complete and in the water within a year’s time. However, the current estimates indicated that it could be as long as five years before they were all complete, thanks to the lack of facilities, works and materials. That would not do.

While he already some plans in motion to deal with this issue, Joseph Tynes could not anticipate the unexpected boon he would receive from a disastrous event that would occur just four days later, several thousand miles away…

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October 11th, 597…

It was a Thursday night, and Joseph Tynes was enjoying the final quarter of a football game when the call came.

“Excellency, I have just received word from my agents in Tia. There appears to be a major incident underway. Do you wish for me to assemble the general staff for debriefing?” Prime Minister Diric Redbridge wasted no time on pleasantries.

“What sort of incident are we talking about, Diric?” Tynes droned, his mental energy focused mainly on the game right now.

“Based on the initial reports, it looks to be on the level of catastrophic proportions. The entire city could be lost by tomorrow morning.” Diric replied.

This drew Joseph’s attention away from the game. He had no way of knowing yet whether this was an isolated incident in Tia, where he knew Diric had spies embedded, or whether it was part of a continent-wide campaign. Either way, it was a major enough event that it warranted his full attention.

“Notify the staff, put military forces on yellow alert, and prepare for my arrival.”

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October 12, 597...

As it turned out, the disaster in Tia was limited to that city alone, though its scope within the city was considerable. Terrorists, belonging to a criminal organization known as “The Dead”, had detonated bombs in several key locations of the city, before releasing a toxin into the water system. The toxin caused many of the people in the city to go mad, killing one-another in insatiable bloodlust. Battles between interloping remnants affiliated with the Legion of Doom were also spotted in the city, but they appeared to be working as much against The Dead as they were local defenders.

When all was said and done, the city was rendered uninhabitable, with a massive loss of civilian life. Hordes of refugees flooded into camps outside the city limits, some soon going off on their own to make a life elsewhere, others waiting for help from an increasingly absentee Terran Imperial government. Help would instead come from numerous other sources, such as the Terran-based Veluriyam Empire or the foreign Datsuzoku Dynasty.

However, perhaps unexpectedly, help also came in the form of the Norkotian Union.

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October 23rd, 597…

It took more effort than he hoped, but at last Joseph Tynes had gotten his warships to the production line. In order to increase capacity, a second shipbuilding facility would be constructed on the west end of Stahlberg, not far from where the current facility was located. The existing facility would be renovated, as it had not seen use since the launching a lake freighter (laker) for iron ore shipping about eight years prior.

But the real kicker was how the missing labor would be supplied. Norkotia itself had a population of barely over three hundred fifty thousand, many of whom were already employed thanks to job creation incentives the government had been investing in over the past half-year. Restoring and expanding Norkotia’s shipyards needed a considerable number of people, people who weren’t available.

At least, until Tia was destroyed.

Suddenly, there was a massive influx of homeless, sometimes penniless, refugees, most of them willing to take any job that would give them a chance to provide for their traumatized loved ones. Thanks to agreements with Veluriyam and other interested parties, the Norkotian Union would receive almost three hundred thousand refugees, nearly doubling its population in an instant. Many would be settled in outlying territories, creating immigrant towns that would survive on farming or mining, but many of these people were industrial workers as well, and their skills and experience were wasted in the fields.

Despite considerable reservations, the council was pressured into not only accepting the refugees (though with some provisions and limitations), but also approving Tynes’s shipbuilding proposals, now that the labor was more than spoken for. And it was all thanks to something Joseph Tynes had learned many years ago, before he ever set foot in the political sphere.

Never let a crisis go to waste.

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April 20th, 597…

It was on a bright, sunny spring day, wedged between weeks of intense wet season rainfall, that the Grand Executor, Prime Minister, Chairman of the Council, and numerous other Union leaders gathered on the shore of Sidereal Lake. The first of the new frigate class, dubbed the Protector, was christened that day, to considerable fanfare. The ship had been completed well ahead of Tynes’s one year deadline, thanks largely to the efforts of the refugee workers whose expertise had been invaluable.

A diesel-powered vessel, the Protector was equipped with four individually-mounted five inch (bore) guns, along with numerous smaller weapons. Mountings for torpedo tubes or depth charge launchers existed, though the technology was still being tested and was not installed yet. Numerous other parts of the ship were likewise designed to be fitted with weapons as new technologies became available. This upgrade-friendly concept was one of the primary reasons Joseph had selected the design, as it meant the vessel could be kept in use far longer than it the other designs would.

A second ship in the line, the Defender, would soon begin construction, but of more imminent interest was the much larger aircraft carrier that was being assembled in the new facility, just a few miles to the west…

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June 21st, 598…

As great an accomplishment as the Protector had been, the Guardian, a light aircraft carrier designed for rapid response to situations all across Sidereal Lake, was something far greater. Capable of carrying two squadrons (thirty planes) of aircraft, the vessel could provide support anywhere on the eastern border of the plateau.

Once again, Joseph Tynes attended the christening and launching of the vessel, along with much of the Union leadership. As the ceremony concluded and the vessel began sliding into the water, the eternal killjoy, Diric Redbridge, leaned over and spoke a few words to the Grand Executor.

“Sir, now that we have tested our capabilities in producing naval warships, I believe it will be necessary for us to heighten our expectations. The rest of the world uses airships to considerable effect, I believe we must do the same if we are to compete.” he stated in his characteristic matter-of-fact tone.

“Never one to take a moment to get sentimental about a success, are you, Diric?” Joseph responded, not bothered by the brutally honest assessment his advisor provided.

“Sentiment is illogical and inefficient.” Diric stated, “If we are to make progress, we must continue to grow until we can match and surpass our rivals.”

“Very well, my friend. Arrange for some airship designs to be submitted for my review.” Joseph agreed, “We’ll see if anything worthwhile comes through.”

Edited by Tyler

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June 30th, 598…

As it turned out, Diric was already ahead of the game, and had requested airship design drafts several months in advance. Thus, there were already several ready for viewing, and these were delivered to Joseph only a a week later. Over the next few days he worked his way through the blueprints, until he came across one particular design that instantly piqued his interest.

He needed little time to look through technical specifications, the basic overview was enough to sell him on the design immediately. Whatever it took, he was going to get this one through the council and into the production yard, even if it came at the cost of their existing projects.

"Mr. Klein!" he buzzed his secretary on the intercom, "Get me the foreman at the shipyard on the line!"

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Production on the next lake frigate was promptly suspended, as Tynes desired all the materials going into it be saved for this new project. With the sheer size and expense, they could afford to waste nothing. A weapon of this size and caliber would ensure Norkotia's dominance over the region, and would soon make them a force to be reckoned with worldwide. Getting it through the council would be the problem, but once again, he was sure they would see reason in due time.

And with Council elections set to take place in January, just about half a year away, if he couldn't pass it with the current council, he would have to make sure their successors knew better...

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Minor Summary

As part of the Norkotian Union's military buildup, Joseph Tynes reviews and approves a pair of warship designs for construction. One example of each is constructed within a year of being ordered, thanks to the expertise of the many refugees brought into Norkotia in recent months. However, even with these new warships at his disposal, Tynes turns his attention toward the sky, as he lays plans to build Norkotia's first ever airship.

Summary

Shortly after declaring the formation of the Norkotian Union, newly self-appointed Grand Executor Joseph Tynes sets about expanding the fledgling government's military capacity. Though not as large a concern to a nation in the continental interior, Tynes still requests designs for warships, figuring smaller, lighter vessels would still be useful for controlling Sidereal Lake, a body of water large enough to be concerned a sea in its own right. 

Two ship class are approved for construction, a frigate-sized ship and a light aircraft carrier. The frigate is completed in only six months, thanks in part to a massive effort aided by the recent influx of refugees fleeing the various disasters plaguing the rest of Terrenus. With large numbers of low-cost, but highly skilled workers, the shipyards are able to reach impressive efficiency, and the carrier is laid-down two months after the frigate, only eight months after its initial order. Despite these successes, Tynes's advisor, Diric Redbridge, reminds him that other nations possess far more mobile airships, and that Norkotia ought to look into building their own.

Agreeing with the course of action, Tynes shifts his attention to the matter of airships, reviewing several proposal blueprints provided to him by local engineers. One of these designs, a rather large and expensive one, catches his attention. Determining he wants to see this proposal to fruition, the Grand Executor prepares to do whatever it takes to ensure the Norkotian Council approves the project.

Notable Consequences

  • Two warships, the Protector-class frigate, and the Guardian-class light carrier, are laid down in Sidereal Lake, giving Norkotia unquestioned military dominance over the lake and its surrounding lands.
  • Large numbers of refugees from the recently destroyed city of Tia are hired into Norkotian shipyards, where their experience and expertise have helped boost production efficiency.
  • Plans for a new weapon of war, an airship, soon start circulating through government circles, as the Council ponders whether or not to approve the expensive project.

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