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Tibby's Graphics and Grab-Bag Thread.

Turquoise Blue

Exhaustingly Tibby
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Stellar Wars was an British epic sumodelw set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, produced between 1999 and 2011. It can be divided in three major stories, the one of Anakin, the one of Luc and Lia, and the one of Rei. Those stories are set in three “seasons”, one for each story.

Season One (“Under the Windings of the Stars”), which ran on for forty episodes in 1999 and 2000, was primarily all about Luc and Lia, about the swirling oppression that was the Galactic Republic under the mysterious and shadowy President Palpatine. Luc was presented as this simple farm-boy that stumbled into adventure after his uncle and aunt were massacred by a republican stormtrooper force seeking him. Fleeing into the harsh desert, he met the mysterious sage Yoda in a cave. Yoda would turn out to be a major character in Stellar Wars, especially in Season Two. Yoda would prove a key counsel to Luc, even if a frustratingly opaque one. His sage advice would lead Luc to discover his innate magical ability, which in this world is called “The Force”.

Luc would, thanks to Yoda’s advice and mentoring, manage to escape the planet and get in with the Stellar Resistance. He would learn of the myth of “The Moon Prince”, the dashing hero that fought against the collapse of the Galactic Empire and the corruption of the evil vizier Palpatine who would seize absolute power as the first President of the Galactic Republic, ordering the Moon Prince and his family massacred. The Moon Prince, whose knowledge of the Force was absolute, would sacrifice himself to save his young family. Even though he was dead, it was widely believed that he would be reborn and his return would lead to the Republic collapsing and the people liberated. Luc would find this a very unlikely tale, but would grow to believe it.

However, Luc would have a weakness, his utter hunger for fame and recognition. He was a mere farm-boy, and was widely dismissed as one by the Resistance, often charged with grunt work while others got more important responsibilities. One day, he was contacted by a mysterious woman by the name of Lia who would persuade him that it wasn’t all so simple, that Palpatine actually wasn’t entirely evil and that the Resistance would lead to more ruin if they won. Lia identified and fed Luc’s deep yearning to be seen as a hero, a great person, and corrupted him one by one. This would take several episodes, but by the time the Resistance decided to deal with the “Death Ring”, they would charge Luc finally with a key task. By this point, his mind was deeply corrupted and he would betray the Resistance, crippling them in the process and publicly defecting to Palpatine’s Republic.

But while he slept, Yoda would speak to him in a “Force dream”, imploring him to think more, and while Luc angrily rejected Yoda’s implorings, Yoda’s final statement, that of ‘there are more to your family than you even realise’ would sit uneasily with him. Growing close to Lia, they would arrive to Palpatine’s Court, full of his yes-men (“Sith”) and him sitting at his extravagant desk. The finely-dressed Palpatine would choose to take Luc as his apprentice and “vice-president”, teaching him of the dark side of the Force. It is at this time that we shift to Lia as a focal point.

One flashback episode shows us Lia’s background. She never knew anything but the harsh upbringing of Palpatine, and while she resented him for his cruel treatment of her, she grew to believe sincerely in his teachings of ‘the Supreme Being’, of the weakness of the masses and how might makes right. She would end up being his apprentice, only to be tasked with charming away a boy named Luc from the Resistance. Lia would resent that Palpatine abandoned her in favour of Luc, and sought to show that she was the superior choice to that jumped-up farmboy.

She knew of ‘the Master Key’, the ultimate weapon crafted by an ancient species from even beyond the galaxy itself, and sought to seize it and hand it over to Palpatine so that she would be recognised as the superior apprentice. It was here that she stumbled upon Hans, a mercenary for hire with zero morals. She would hire Hans to take her to the abandoned planet of Korus, the once glittering capital of the Empire and now a planet full of slums and crime. She knew the ‘Master Key’ was there somewhere, and with Hans and his sentient cat friend Beca she would find it. She ultimately failed, but she discovered records in a ruined apartment of a man who lived in the final, dying days of the Empire.

While she never found out his name, she would find out that he was a prominent critic of Palpatine and was from a deeply noble family, even considered a ‘prince’ of his society. Believing that in all this would be the secret of the ‘Master Key’, she rummaged deeper, until she discovered something. The man had two young children, and Palpatine threatened to ‘take the girl, turn her into my weapon, and make the boy into some drooling yokel’ if the man did not surrender. The man wrote in his final entry - ‘If you are reading this by any chance, my sweet children, remember me as a man who stood for what I believed was right. Please do so, my dear Luc and Lia.’

This shattered Lia’s world. Palpatine always told her she was some war orphan that he rescued from a torn planet, and that she should be grateful. Luc was… her brother? And their father was someone who fought Palpatine? None of it made sense! Hans would provide much unwelcome snarky comments and Beca, well, Beca just meowed in her weird way that had a hint of sympathy. After a while on Hans’ Millennium Eagle, Lia decided that Palpatine’s web of lies had to end.

The focus moves back to Luc. By this point, Luc believed deeply in his own superiority and that he was a ‘Supreme Being’ like Palpatine, who would become more and more his mentor and guiding light. As a final test of his loyalty, he was ordered to kill his chained childhood friends. There were flashbacks of them playing together, laughing together and it would end abruptly as we are presented with a gristly scene of them in pieces and a dark, smiling Luc in his new golden robe.

We are up to Episode Thirty. Lia contacts the Resistance, but they reject her offer of help nor her advice, seeing her as the ‘Dark Lady’, Palpatine’s chief advisor. The moment she flies away, Luc flies in and slaughters them all, destroying the opposition to Palpatine for decades, and dooming Lia’s efforts. Despite her despairing upon hearing the news, she would forge on.

Building a hub of rag-tag allies, she would finally fight Luc on the Death Ring, trying to implore him by saying “Luc, Luc, I am your sister”. This would be rejected by Luc as merely Lia’s corrupt tricks again. In desperation, Lia tackles Luc and they both fall off the bridge, plummeting to their deaths. The season ends with the following voiceover as the scene fades to black.

Father, I plead for forgiveness for all Luc and I have done. But we do not deserve it.”
Season Two (“The Sun Breaks Down”), lasting forty-two episodes in 2006 and 2007, would take place decades earlier, in the fading years of the Galactic Empire. Korus is a thriving city-planet and the capital of the Galactic Empire, but one with great tensions. The Senate is led by charismatic Vizier Sheev Palpatine, who presents himself as every-bit the loyal servant of Her Imperial Majesty, Padmi Amidala. Padmi is a newly-elected Empress and uneasy in her new role, easily led by Palpatine. Meanwhile, Anakin Moonstrider, a young teenager from some desert planet arrives in Korus, eager to make a name for himself.

Anakin is talented at the gift of persuasion, and manages to pass himself off as a noble scion. Ben Kenobé, an elder noble and a member of the secretive Jedi Order, identifies this as a falsehood, and comprehensively destroys all of Anakin’s pretences in their first meeting. It is the first time we learn that Anakin Moonstrider is actually not a noble. But he reaches out his hand in the offer of an alliance, as long as Anakin works with him in his Order’s aims. Anakin is sceptical at first, but agrees. This is the first time we see the Jedi Order being introduced beyond Yoda’s mentions of it being an “order dedicated to fighting for good and for the Light”.

We are then introduced to Yoda, who is the Speaker of the Senate and the secret ‘Chief of the Jedi Order’. Yoda muses over Anakin’s deception, and ponders if such a teenager with that talent can truly be light enough to serve the Jedi Order well. Anakin is affronted by this statement, and pledges to devote himself to the light side, even if only to spite the doubting Yoda. Kenobé would take Anakin on as an apprentice, teaching him all the ways of the Light, and also pointing out many of the darkness spreading in the Senate and how Palpatine (by now identified explicitly as the Order’s enemy) was undermining the Empire in favour of his dark and twisted ‘Supreme Being’ beliefs.

Kenobé would be targeted by a fellow Jedi in the belief that his taking the ‘Great Deceiver’ on as an apprentice would lead to the Order’s ruin. He would die defiant, even as the laser-sword went through his chest. Yoda would retreat into his private world at hearing this news, while Anakin would be engulfed by his rage and systematically murder the fellow Jedi and anyone he believed was connected. This would lead the Order to believe that Anakin has turned evil, and back up the belief that the ‘Great Deceiver’ was genuinely deceiving them.

Anakin, upon shaking himself out of his engulfing dark rage, would be overwhelmed by regret. He would find relief in meeting a lonely Empress in a night-time garden below the twin moons of Korus. Anakin and Padmi would connect through their deep loneliness and isolation. But it was via Padmi that Anakin’s greatest weakness would be found. It was illegal to sleep with the Empress unless you were married to her, so their secretive love was one that was a death sentence for him.

Palpatine would, upon learning of this, blackmail Anakin into doing his bidding via his apprentice Jarja Benk who was a sadistic manipulator that showed glee in every misery Anakin went through. The Jedi Order believed by then that Anakin was always working on Palpatine’s orders despite Yoda’s deep misgivings about the whole affair, and saw his closeness with Padmi as a threat to the Galactic Empire. When Padmi fell pregnant, Palpatine pressed ahead with his plan. Anakin would submit the plan to declare martial law and vocally back it.

While all this was going on, there was a civil war between the Empire and some vaguely-collectivist enemies that deemed themselves the ‘Confederation of Industrial Systems’. This was not touched on before Episode Twenty, but would ramp up as a major plot. The civil war would intensify and reports of battle defeats after battle defeats would lead to murmurs of disaster. The Jedi Order (later correctly) believed that Palpatine was orchestrating it all to centralise power into himself, and moved to assassinate him, believing that his death was necessary to save the Empire.

Their plot was foiled by Anakin, who defended Palpatine that day, and grew to doubt the Jedi narrative. The Jedi fell apart as Yoda vanished and their headquarters were ransacked. Palpatine now had no opposition, and as the time approached for the birth of the children, Anakin was forced to submit the martial law bill and oversee it passing. After it did, Palpatine would then announce that “our glorious Empress has given birth to two beautiful children”, which would be named Luc and Lia. Anakin would wonder if it was all worth it to sacrifice his principles.

In the middle of the night, Yoda would enter Anakin’s room and privately confess that he was wrong to doubt Anakin, having seen the full story via a Force vision, and regret how his Jedi Order was “prone to conclusions rash”. But hope was still alive, as long as Anakin rallied people against Palpatine. Yoda would then be a consistent character in the last ten episodes, which would be about the doomed resistance.

The last episode, “The Darkest Day”, would see Padmi assassinated by a ‘Jedi’, leading Anakin to in his grief attack Palpatine even more. There would be a laser-sword duel, but Anakin would retreat to protect his infant children. The last few scenes are told in the same characteristically ‘flashback’ aesthetic and is what Lia would find out.

Anakin would finally leave his blockaded room, to his certain death. But just as the scene finishes fading to black with a clear “glurgh” sound, representing his death, it suddenly finishes with an abrupt move to the scene of a close-up of a baby’s eyes opening and the voiceover below.

What a beautiful baby girl. I think your name will be… Rei. Yes, that’s a fine name for you...”
Season Three (“And Death Shall Have No Dominion”) was the last one, and it was an epic sixty episodes between 2009 and 2011. Focusing on the story of Rei, a deeply snarky yet lonely girl with unique Force talents. She has been on the run all her life, from President Palpatine who seems uniquely determined to find and kill her. Working as a ‘dogsbody’ on the illegal trading circuit, she spends most of her life in space-ships. She has no idea why Palpatine is so determined to find her and has placed a bounty on her head. Her main rivals are the father and son bounty hunter team Jago and Boba Fett, who have been pursuing her to claim the bounty. All Rei knows is that she always has weird dreams that make no sense.

When her hijacked ship crashes into a jungle planet, she stumbles on the dying Yoda, who mysteriously tells her ‘You and yours, for all I have done forgive me...’ before closing his aged eyes for the last time. A confused Rei is left with nothing to pick up on apart from Yoda’s weird laser-sword thing. Picking it up, the laser-sword automatically buzzes as in recognition of her touch. A voice in her head says ‘An elegant weapon for a more civilised age...’ which gets her to shake her head to dispel that voice. Putting the laser-sword away, she hears a knock on the door. A firm storm-trooper knock that she would recognise anywhere. Leaping under the bed, she would see the door be blasted in and a stormtrooper enters the room. Eventually they leave the room and Rei would quietly escape via the window. The Republic was here. She was not safe.

Eventually she managed to stumble on another hut, this time holding a bearded mercenary who introduces himself as Hans. Hans is a man with many regrets in his life, and would like to redeem himself after fleeing the Death Ring ‘abandoning my friend to her fate’. At the time, he insists, he saw himself as a merc with few morals, but time leads to more and more regrets. He offers his one-time teleportation device for Rei to use, which she does, teleporting away as the stormtroopers enter the room and blast Hans dead.

Teleporting to ‘New Korus’, the planned future capital of the Republic, was not good news. As she hid in a little alley-house, successfully persuading the owner that she had already paid for accommodation, she had a vivid Force vision, one where she was… someone else. She stood in the Senate, speaking out against Palpatine’s many crimes, only to be responded with a ‘So you say, Senator. But we all know you’re unduly biased against me’, which got a cheer from his loyalists. The very next day she attempted to leave, but the owner of the alley-house notices the teleportation device and angrily asks her what happened to Hans.

For she was Beca and Hans promised her ten years ago to use the device once he finished his job on the jungle planet. Rei could only say that Hans chose to sacrifice himself for her to escape the stormtroopers. Beca was deeply broken by the news, but chose to take refuge in the belief that Hans would not do such if Rei was not extremely important to the future of the galaxy. After all, the only time he risked his life before that was not for money was for the ‘Dark Mistress’ and her quest for redemption. So Beca would be a firm ally to Rei, believing that Hans’ sacrifice must not be in mere vain.

That day, they would seek to find a path out of New Korus. An ex-stormtrooper (“deserted, retired, thought dead, it doesn’t matter”) would offer the use of his ship, the Millennium Eagle. Beca would twitch her eye at that, but the oblivious Rei would agree to that. The ex-stormtrooper introduced himself as Finn. Once Beca got on board the Eagle, she quickly commandeered it, much to Finn and Rei’s surprise. Finn’s robot side-kick T4-T4 would too be alarmed by this, but quickly rolled back into their resting position, deeming Beca to know what she was doing.

Beca was never a member of the first Resistance, but she always leaned into conversations about a possible new Resistance on the dry planet of Lalooine. If Rei was the key to a massive change in the fate of the galaxy, the lock would be on Lalooine. As they landed, Lalooine would prove eerily familiar to Rei, as if she was once here before, with even the eerie voice in her head murmuring ‘Home’ every now and then. Beca quietly dropped hints about ‘a green sabre’ that got them in touch with the ‘New Order’, a clandestine group of neo-Jedi that sought to restore the lost glory of the old Order. Upon noticing the laser-sword on Rei’s belt, the self-appointed Chief (Miles Renno) would get unduly excited and ask for a demonstration.

This Rei did, turning the laser-sword on as it glowed blue, and it got the New Order to declare her ‘the last true Jedi’. None of them could do anything like that. Miles Renno in particular was obsessed with the legacy of ‘the Moon Prince’, fancying himself to be in his footsteps. He would prove the last of the team of the episodes – Rei, Beca, Finn and Miles. The New Order was extremely disorganised, but it did know of murmurs of a possible organised Resistance in the faraway icy planet of Laal. This was something that would take them a while in the Millennium Eagle.

While in the Eagle, Rei had an awake Force dream of a young boy and girl hugging each other tightly and muttering at the same time ‘Please forgive us for what we have done...’. Upon asking them what they did, they merely said at the same time ‘The unforgivable. We are eternal stains on your honoured name’. Upon hesitantly saying that she forgave them anyway for whatever they did, they faded away, with slight smiles to their faces. She would later learn of their identities as Luc and Lia Moonstrider, but would still stand by her decision to forgive them.

Laal would prove to be indeed the hub of the new Resistance, and they welcomed the New Order’s help, as well as Beca (for her insider knowledge on many Republic upper-brass) and Finn (for delivering them the ship and knowing how stormtroopers work). Rei however, was dismissed as ‘some mech with an old laser-sword’. She would be insulted by this, but merely committed herself to proving them wrong. She would show them that she was useful. And damn the consequences.

She would prove somewhat of a reckless volunteer for the more daring attacks on the Republic’s defences, which proved to be consistently in the Resistance’s favour and even the chair of the Resistance Council recognised this and consistently pushed her forth, urging people to give her some respect for being one of the most successful agents. And this they did. The attack on the New Death Ring would however, lead to Rei’s ship being captured by Republic forces.

Chained and brought before Palpatine, she would receive a deep laugh. “How you have eluded me! I ordered your death all those decades ago, and this is how you defy me, by being born again? Pathetic. Stormtroopers, I tire of the presence of Anakin Moonstrider. Rid me of them.” But after Palpatine retired from the room, Rei managed to escape the storm-troopers somehow and commandeered a ship to escape to Laal. Reporting on her statements to the chair got the chair’s alarm, and an insistence to not tell this to anyone else, especially not their friends or the New Order.

While she was firming herself up to ignore those nonsense and continue her work against the Republic, Miles Renno was increasingly believing himself to be the new incarnation of the Moon Prince and was persuading more and more people of this. His decision to attack the New Death Ring would only lead to his death at the hands of an ambush and the Resistance increasingly despairing.

The Chair would sense an opportunity to destroy Palpatine once and for all when the New Death Ring (Palpatine’s eternal habit it seemed) was being fuelled. It was a once-in-ten-years event, and she selected Rei to lead it. Rei would accept it after a short time mourning the idiotic death of Miles Renno before agreeing with Beca that it was inevitable.

The attack on the New Death Ring was an epic scene that took up two episodes, but it would lead to Rei somehow getting into Palpatine’s room and leading to a hard light-sword duel that would lead to Palpatine finally being killed by the one whose lives he so much ruined. He remained triumphant to the end, deeming that the New Death Ring was rigged to explode at his death.

It did explode, and the scene faded to black as the traditional sombre ending music played…

Only to fade back into to a scene of a Millennium Eagle somehow flying out of the explosion safe and sound, with Beca flying Rei out to safety. The rest of the episode was about how the Republic fell apart with Palpatine’s death, how Rei declined the crown of the Empire and it was elected to the Chair instead, who ruled justly and wisely, with everyone living in peace and harmony and happily ever after. The end.

[Honestly, I just wanted to go mad with an alternate Star Wars story]
 
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Turquoise Blue

Exhaustingly Tibby
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Location
Kemr, FK
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testi.png
Dénouement.png
Dénouement Services is a global, but originally French, organisation based around luxury services including their well-known Hotel Dénouement franchise that is in every major Western country (and some in Africa too) and their wide range of goods such as toiletries and fine chocolate. They are widely seen as a "high-class" brand that tries to sell as affordably as possible given that image.

"Pretty accurate so far, wouldn't you say, cousin?" - Louis Dénouement
"Let us wait and see, wouldn't we say, cousin?" - Léonard Dénouement


They started with three brothers, François, Ernest and Dorian Dénouement setting up the first Hotel Dénouement in Paris in 1992, which lasted for ten years until the fire that burnt the building down and took the lives of all three brothers. In that time, it was widely recognised as an ambitious, but clearly very successful hotel that would go places. The brothers took out several insurances on the buildings and themselves that managed to salvage the huge loss for their children. The teenage Florian and Ignace Dénouement, the sons of the first two, would take over and manage the building of the business, expanding it beyond the ashes of the first Hotel Dénouement into a grand franchise - "Dénouement Services".

"Such a tragedy it was, that fire that destroyed many, many lives." - Louis Dénouement
"Indeed it was such an immense tragedy, my dear cousin." - Léonard Dénouement


In 2017, the teenage Beatrice Baudelaire by then running on low funds due to the vanishing of her supposedly-adoptive uncle and aunts, claimed that as Dorian's daughter, she should get one third of the Dénouement Services' ownership. Florian and Ignace held out, refusing to accept this and arguing that Dorian had no children so the one-third went to the heirs of his brothers. It proved an unpleasant court case, but the Baudelaire name, even if held via legally dubious means and devoid of its customary fortune, could pull connections in older social circles. A deep-tissue DNA scan that proved beyond all doubt that she was the biological offspring of Dorian Dénouement and Kit Snicket meant the court case was clear.

"Sometimes I think Aunt Beatrice never recovered from having to fight for her birthright." - Louis Dénouement
"Indeed. Family is family, even if our fathers' reactions made sense at the time." - Léonard Dénouement


Dénouement Services managed to recover very quickly from that as any publicity is good publicity it turned out, and even with just one-third each rather than one-half each, the Dénouement cousins would profit much more. Setting up in more cities, expansions into new sectors such as toiletries, much more Hotels Dénouement built. The cousins would benefit a lot, and it would fund their children's going to exclusive schools that would be more fit to their talents. The Dénouement family is noted for an one-child tradition, unusual in a business family.

"I think that's because we're unduly paranoid of any brotherly disputes." - Louis Dénouement
"Of course, our dear cousin got the most successful outside the business." - Léonard Dénouement


The deaths of Florian and Ignace in a freak flowtube accident left the business in limbo, only broken once Louis and Léonard Dénouement took charge upon reaching age in 2027. They would continue the business' expansions, with the first Hotel Dénouement in Antarctica opened in 2031 to much fanfare. It is to this day one of the two hotels majorly dominated by a non-human staff and customers, the other being the one in Manehattan. The business is noted to be one firmly against any discrimination for any reason, and has an AI as, ironically, its Human Relations director.

"Erase the ironically perhaps, dear cousin? It's a disgraceful comment to make about Bob." - Louis Dénouement
"Indeed. I do remember opening the Antarctica branch. The Emperor himself was the first guest." - Léonard Dénouement


The sudden death of Beatrice Baudelaire in 2033 led her daughter Lime Baudelaire, former Concord of Nations diplomat and founding mother of the Amazonas Indigenous Biome, to inherit her one-third ownership. She would be little involved in the day to day business, preferring more illicit actions such as espionage and sabotage, leading her to be declared officially a criminal at large by the GDI. It is understood that she lost her ownership in the process and it has returned to just merely the two cousins at present, who present a law-abiding face to this respectable business.

"Balderdash of course. We just allowed people to think that, but our cousin does still hold her share, and we won't take it." - Louis Dénouement
"That is so, dear cousin. She has done nothing wrong. We even put her share of the profit in a secret account that she uses." - Léonard Dénouement

"My cousins, that income has often been the distinction for me between life and death. You are wonders." - Lime Baudelaire
 
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Turquoise Blue

Exhaustingly Tibby
Patreon supporter
Location
Kemr, FK
Pronouns
she/her
Roy Jenkins (Social Alliance (Liberal) -- Solihull) 1974-1981 [Status: Liberal-Reform 'Social Alliance' majority]
Margaret Roberts (Social Alliance (Liberal) -- Grantham) 1981-1990 [Status: Liberal-Reform 'Social Alliance' majority]
Tony Whittaker (National Progressive -- North Devon) 1990-1997 [Status: National Progressive majority]
Sara Parkin (National Progressive -- Leeds North East) 1997-1999 [Status: National Progressive majority]
Teddy Taylor (National Progressive -- Glasgow Cathcart) 1999 [Status: National Progressive majority]
Alan Sked (Social Alliance (Liberal) -- Paisley North) 1999-2004 [Status: Liberal-Reform 'Social Alliance' majority]
Alan Sugar (Social Alliance (Reform) -- Hackney South and Shoreditch) 2004-2012 [Status: Liberal-Reform 'Social Alliance' majority]
Sarah Roffey (National Progressive -- Cities of London and Westminster) 2012-2019 [Status: National Progressive majority]
Tom Watson (National Progressive -- West Bromwich East) 2019-present [Status: National Progressive majority]

For those that wanted to know how it ended.
 

Turquoise Blue

Exhaustingly Tibby
Patreon supporter
Location
Kemr, FK
Pronouns
she/her
testi.png
This is gonna be just a bunch of quick snippets showing stuff about Lime Baudelaire, since I do find myself typing those up quite easily. This is one of those "I regularly update them every time I come up with something new" posts, so do keep an eye on this one.

In a hotel room's patio, sprawling on one of those mass-produced plastic chairs, you see a woman of around forty years old stare at the ceiling with a blank face. Her eyes are the colour of the FlixTube turned to a dead channel - a bright sickly hue of blue.

Concerned, you walk closer to her to see if she was okay, only to notice that there was a wire coming out of her left ear, and was plugged into a red box on the similarly mass-produced plastic table. Devoid of any originality, produced by the millions, it now carried an unusual red box that seemed to be linked to the woman. It is only at this time you notice the letter on the box itself. Penned in a fine, but not fancy, script, it says

"DO NOT UNPLUG ME, I AM DOING KEY DIGITAL INVESTIGATION.
IF YOU ARE A WELCOMED GUEST OF MINE, HELP YOURSELF TO FOOD IN MY FRIDGE.
- LIME B."


You were asked by her to come here, so you go to the fridge and open it. You raise an eyebrow at the sort of 'food' she considers ideal to proffer a guest. Chocolate fingers swimming in whipped cream? Turkey sausage pieces wrapped in generic cheese? And not to mention that questionable thermos... You hesitantly take one of the sausage wrapped in cheese and consume it. It could be better, for lack of a more elegant description.

At that moment, the lights in the apartment suddenly goes off. You seriously question why you came here.
Lime Baudelaire is rowing a wooden rowboat down a not particularly deep river. She's wearing a rainbow shirt, some jeans, a sunhat and some very thin sunglasses. On her face is an ambiguous expression that could mean either determination or exasperation. Or both. She looks up at you, sighs and starts explaining the situation you two are currently in.

"The River Methuselah. Named such because of its being perceived as the oldest river in Australia, and a particularly stubborn river at that. We're rowing down it because it's the only way to get into Kimberley without alerting the guards. Kimberley and I, we don't have much of a good history. I think I might still be public enemy number one. Or that could be the Coral Bay president now. I don't pay attention to that.

Anyway, this river takes us to the Sea of Galilee. Much bigger than the one in the Levant but the Kimberlites love analogues. Their new and flashy capital city is there, their declared 'New Jerusalem'. I think it's called Tiberias. They are very into relating to the Torah, you see."

Considering that enough information for now, she bends over to open a basket and grab a buttered sandwich, wolfing it down and then she seizes a flashing thermos, gulping down in a very even-numbered way the cold fizzy water, before closing it and throwing it back in the basket. At no moment in that did she even ask you if you even wanted any. You are tempted to ask, but then she starts rowing, declaring the conversation ended.

She stops rowing after a while, reaching into her jeans pocket, bringing out a very old-fashioned watch. She frowns and shakes her head at that, before shoving it back into her clothes. Her face is surprisingly clouded with conflicting emotions. Looking at your puzzled face, she sighs loudly.

"That pocket-watch's the only thing I have that connects me to the actual Baudelaires. It's..." She closes her eyes for a brief second in mental concentration, "Bertrand Baudelaire's property, something that managed to survive that accursed fire somehow. You do know that I have no clue how to refer to them, right? Are they my ancestors in spirit? Should I refer to Bertrand as my great-grandfather? Such questions!"

Now frustrated at that situation, she grabs her oars once more and start rowing harder. "Tiberias draws closer. We must prepare". That brief moment of questionable emotional connection is firmly closed as a topic. And you will arrive in Tiberias not understanding even one iota more of her.
You enter a building that looks like an East Asian temple. Inside, you find Lime Baudelaire drinking from a wooden cup of saké. She seems to be in a foul mood, with her emotions deeply bubbling inside her.

She turns to you and says “Did you know that the people here, they were killed all over the world for what they were? And it was just a simple mutation. It could happen to you, or to me. It’s a common genetic change, and they were killed for it. There’s records of ‘unnatural beast-children’ and their slaughters even in medieval times. I have consistently thought the human race is a savage species, and civilisation barely keeps us restrained. Hwban was absolutely right when he identified that savagery in humanity.” She then gulps even more saké, defying you to stop her.

You don’t, and after a while, she hiccups and sighs. “The people who ended up here, they decided that they needed a ‘land of sanctuary’, hic, and the Concord of Nations after WWII was very much eager to look as if they cared about persecuted people. They’re big on that, looking like they do. Don’t let me catch you working for them, they’re just hic there to maintain order, damn the consequences. The British gave them those islands.”

She lifts the cup to her mouth, only to drunkenly notice the saké is out. “They’re good people. I know it. This place is a land of sanctuary to them. And no matter what, we must resp-hic-ect that. They deserve it, no matter how small it is. It’s theirs. Now leave me be!” You decide to listen to her last cry, but then wonder, what are the ‘beast-people’ she speaks of? Against your better judgement, you turn back and ask this question.

“Isn’t it flaming obvious! They’re the Nekomimi, you dolt!” she blusters in a white-hot fury while throwing the cup at you, forcing you to retreat from her anger.
 
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Turquoise Blue

Exhaustingly Tibby
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Aren't Penguin's normally birds? And who are the Aranychans?

I do appreciate the random details like that Orcadians are Reptiles now.
Edited, thanks for catching that mistake. I've also added the Mekamil as well.

The Aranychans are kind of Tamil-speaking lemurs on an island to the east of Madagascar.
The arguments about whether Dodos or Roombas are better pets must be superb.
Extremely.
 

Turquoise Blue

Exhaustingly Tibby
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I got Radical. That monarchy "question" though.
Deliberately no choice there, yeah. Reflects the fact that amongst the four parties, they basically all agree - monarchy is good. :p

If I expand this to include minor parties like the Socialist Party, there'll be a republican option.
 

Turquoise Blue

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Tried my hand at a cabinet for that weird "Turquoise Dreamscapes" thing, gave up after a bit.

Cabinet of the Rt. Hon. Lisa Nandy MP (January 19, 2020 - present)

Prime Minister: The Rt. Hon. Lisa Nandy MP (Labour -- Wigan)
First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Public Health: The Rt. Hon. Vaughan Gething MP (Labour -- Cardiff South and Penarth)
Chancellor of the Exchequer: The Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP (Conservative -- Richmond (Yorks))
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and European Affairs: The Rt. Hon. Chuka Umunna MP (Liberal Democrat -- Streatham)
Secretary of State for the Home and Interior Department: The Rt. Hon. Liz Saville Roberts MP (Alliance of Regions -- Dwyfor Meirionydd)
Secretary of State for Justice: The Rt. Hon. David Lammy MP (Labour -- Tottenham)
Secretary of State for the Environment: The Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP (Conservative -- Maidenhead)
Secretary of State for Education and Equalities: The Rt. Hon. Layla Moran MP (Liberal Democrat -- Oxford West and Abington)
 

Turquoise Blue

Exhaustingly Tibby
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testi.png

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The unlikely tale of how Germans came to reside in South America lies in a very ambitious Bavarian family, the Welsers. While many other families have funded colonies, the Welsers were unique. For one, they were very much of a different nationality to the kingdom they were ceded land from. The lands were theoretically Castilian, they were German. It was the Hapsburg Monarchy having the lands of Austria and Castile in personal union that enabled the Welsers to achieve their aim of carving out a land for their own.

The House of Welser cut a deal with Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire who was also monarch of Castile, that in exchange for wiping his debts he would grant them ownership of the western region of the ‘Little Venice’ region, in Castilian Venezuela. However, this was cast in dispute almost immediately as Castilian viceroys sought to deny the deal was made in the name of the king of Castile, and one even tried to falsify records that he was granted the lands instead. After a long dispute, clouded by a British invasion at the time that derailed plans, the dispute was cleared in the favour of the Welsers.

Castile at the time was engulfed in attempts to crush Granada, and Charles V was more interested in his German pursuits. The House of Welser was on shaky grounds and they knew it. But money would grease wheels and shipments of Germans would arrive to Klein-Wenedig. Only to die from tropical diseases. Undaunted, they would send more, in the belief that there was an El Dorado full of gold that would fund their colonial conquest, or at least plentiful gold seams. By the 1550s, such gold in the ground was found, but less than expected and there was evidence that the natives mined such gold and transported it inland. This led Bartholomeus VI Welser to believe that El Dorado did indeed exist, and exist within the borders of Klein-Wenedig.

The expedition of 1551 was extensively funded by Bartholomeus as the ‘last throw of the dice’ as he dubbed it. He was already arranging for a sale to another royal family, the Hohenzollerns. This sale would have been illegal as technically he was holding the land on behalf of the King of Castile, but he was nothing if not a courageous man. But as the gold seams dried out when the expedition went more and more inland, they ended up discovering it after weeks marching. El Dorado was real.

The Muisca’s greatest achievement, a glowing metropolis made entirely of gold. It was technically outside the borders of Klein-Wenedig, but at the time nobody knew that. The Welsers was already investing in the salt trade, so when they found out the Muisca was trading salt for gold, they leapt on the opportunity and started a century of gold influx into their treasury. And it was from this that the land of Klein-Wenedig, renamed Welserland in the 1590s, would get its economic foundation. By the late 17th century, it was common to hear Welserland referred to as ‘the land paved with gold’. Now this was not accurate, but gold was relatively abundant there due to extensive (and exploitative) trade with the Muisca. All of this rapidly ceased once the Castilians invaded the city, slaughtered or enslaved all the natives, and declared the city Castilian property.

The Welserlanders were never pro-native. But they resented that an easy stream of revenue that did not include having to mine the gold themselves was now denied to them. And so they grew to resent Castile. The House of Welser was not blind to that, they in fact shared the sentiment. The land grew rich and fat on the illicit gold trade, and the Castilians stopped it. The Welsers would encourage the growth of a militia movement around defending ‘German heritage’ in Welserland, and distanced themselves more and more from Castile, up to having foreign relations with Britain and France. More and more shipments of Germans were arranged, and by the time of the Latin American revolutions, Welserland was undisputedly German. This identification with ‘German heritage’ would have consequences down the line.

Simon Bolivar on his death-bed would bemoan that his project to free all of Latin America from foreign rule was incomplete as long as the Welsers ruled Welserland. Bolivar was from Venezuela, or to be more exact the eastern half of the old ‘Little Venice’, and he always saw Welserland as merely the western half of one whole. Venezuela was a country of Castilians, Germans and Italians, in his mind. He freed the Castilians and Italians, but despite an attempted invasion while President of Gran Colombia, he failed at freeing the Germans.

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The flag of the Kingdom of Welserland, containing the Welser coat-of-arms (per pale argent and gules, a fleur-de-lis counterchanged)

The Latin American revolutions did give the Welsers an opportunity. Rich in connections outside Castile, it could at the time feel confident in declaring independent as the Kingdom of Welserland with the House of Welser finally crowned officially as the royal family. The Welserlander ‘Revolution’ took a single day as Castile held little land near it and more or less conceded it rapidly. Still, this ‘revolution’ is celebrated yearly as Independence Day.

Welserland was not a closed society. It was one built on trade, extensively so. It only abolished slavery once it became unprofitable with the closure of the slave trade, and sent all its former slaves back to Africa in the 1840s via an agreement with Britain which was looking for more African-American people to send to its new Pepper Coast colony. This dependence on trade would prove the Welsers’ greatest boon, and also their greatest bane. The kingdom would profit extensively on trade, and become known as the ‘Switzerland of the New World’, refusing to get involved in foreign disputes as long as all sides kept trading with it.

And the flip-side of that was as goods kept flowing in and out of Welserland, ideas did too. The failed 1848 Springtime of Nations led to many Germans going to the Atlantic Dominions, but many went to Latin America, and especially Welserland. Those Germans tended liberal and revolutionary in mindset, an unpleasant addition for the Welsers as they started encouraging anti-absolutist sentiment and rallied opposition to the status quo.

The Welsers ruled Welserland absolute. They were the owners of the land, and everyone else was just living on it. The liberal-revolutionaries disagreed with that idea, arguing that the land was for everyone and that no man deserves to be born above his fellow man. A key appeal to their rhetoric was pan-German romanticism, emphasising that as there was a project to unite all Germans, Welserland was not except. It must unite with other Germans into one nation-state. Despite the fact that the German Empire was Protestant-led and Welserland was Catholic, it still held great sway due to a century or so of rhetoric appealing to ‘German heritage’ in defending Welserland.

In 1870, a series of protests engulfed the Kingdom, calling for democracy, German unification and ideally the removal of the Welsers. However, the Welsers still had strong supporters and rallied them to resist the protests, and ultimately forced them to concede most of their points. There would be a Reichstag, but it would be very toothless with the King ruling more or less the same as before. Local governments would be elected, but their power too was reduced. And of course, German unification was nixed, with the Welsers instead just promising warm relations with the German Empire, which they did follow on.

Following up on that, the Welsers emphasised a ‘Welser Cult’ where the Royal Family was more and more glorified as the ‘Founding Family’ and all occasions being opportunities to remind people that the Welsers did found Welserland and make it into the country it was then. As it developed, this cult of personality had more and more impact. Welserlanders were very much pro-Central Powers due to German nationalism, even as the Kingdom remained neutral as always. There were plenty of volunteers in the German Foreign Legion from Welserland.

Trade unionism in Welserland can be understood as either ‘purple’ or ‘red’. In yet another attempt at maintaining power, in the 1920s and 1930s the Welsers funded ‘purple’ ‘state unions’ which received lucrative contracts and attempted to muscle out the more radical ‘red’ independent unions and received mixed success. To this day, the union movement remains fatally split between the more conservative establishment and the more wildcat unions.

After WWII finished, quite a few Nazis secretly went to Welserland and bolstered the right’s rhetoric against such things as democracy. Welserlander politics was very right-wing, between the broad democratic movement which was led by the right-wing reformists, and the Welser loyalist movement which tended very right-wing and backed by the ‘purple’ union movement.

Still, by the late 1960s, the tensions proved too much. A new generation of angry liberals led a mass protest in the capital city, and even went so far as to reject the very concept of Welserland, instead identifying the country as ‘Zulia’ after the main river, and themselves as Zulians. Their symbol was a sun with beams of alternating length, the ‘Zulian Sun’. They were joined by young kids of Nazis that felt the Welsers were too weak to genuinely lead the country, and communists who just love any toppling of aristocrats. So depending on who you ask, a ‘Zulian’ back then may have been a far-left commie, a centrist liberal or a new fascist. They were all united in opposition to the House of Welser.

The 1960s was a period of transformation all over the world, and for Welserland, it only continued in the 70s. While the Welsers was by this time more concerned about fiscal strength than maintaining of power, they sought to short-change the protesters every time, boosting their support via increasingly depending on the very last of the ‘Welser Cult’ believers. A reform from first-past-the-post to proportional representation was granted, a new constitution that restricted the King’s power was granted, a new upper chamber filled with liberal university professors was also granted. But the Constitution was riddled with loopholes allowing absolutism to continue de facto, even if not de jure, and both chambers were still ignored extensively.

Staving off more protesters with the perception of ‘compromise’, the final nail in the coffin would be the dismissal of the Reichstag by George II in 1989 on the belief that it was deliberately undermining his attempt to acquire a divorce for his young daughter from her husband. This led to a new series of protests, and in some cases an outright revolt. The fringe ‘Zulianism’ became mainstream in two months and the ‘Zulian Sun’ became widely flew. In the end, George II backed down after half a year. There would be major change.

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The flag of the Zulian Realm, on which is the Zulian sun of alternating beam lengths.

And the Zulian Realm was born in the dawn of 1991. While the Welsers would still reign as Kings, they would be heavily restrained with a constitution that had very few loopholes. The Reichstag would be merged back to unicameral status, but have much more power than the two preceding chambers ever had, combined. It was now the chamber of power. And a revolution was coming. Many laws were made in the 1990s to update the old archaic laws to modern status, a new social security system was implemented, taxation was reformed, the ‘purple’ unions no longer received state backing [this would inadvertently lead to the collapse of union membership] and ultimately Zulia became the modern country that Welserland could never become.

However, as we approach the fifty-year-anniversary of the Zulian Realm’s founding, there are murmurs that do the people still have that power? The Welser Corporation’s latest report says that above 50% of all Zulian people work at a Welser Corp or an affiliated branch in some way or form. Megacorporations dominate Zulia’s economy, and the King has become more blatant in violating the Constitution in small ways that only liberals point out, but increasingly bigger and bigger as he becomes more sure about his unbeatable fiscal control of the country. A new and sleek ‘shadow’ misinformation organisation called ‘Turning Point’ seeks to resurrect the ‘Welser Cult’ by casting doubt on any Zulian on social media who criticises the Welsers. Ultimately, it feels as if the country is once more Welserland, and the dreams of Zulia proved just a mirage.
 

Turquoise Blue

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MIDNIGHT
15 MAY 2033
THE MUSEUM OF EXTRAORDINARY ARTIFACTS
SEOUL
EMPIRE OF KOREA


A forty-something lady in a large red jacket and carrying a suitcase in one hand, her face covered by a wide-brimmed hat of a similar hue, enters a museum in the middle of the night. The doors blip as in recognition of her. She nods once, satisfied of this, then moves through the rooms with a clear target in mind. Once the drones start to wake up and move towards the unfamiliar figure, she shoves a hand in her red jacket and presses a box nestled amongst such miscellaneous elements in those wide pockets. The drones shut down abruptly, ceasing their possible obstacle in her relentless march.

A cold purple-lined smile emerges below that red brim. Her plans were going off without a hitch. The final destination approached. Before her was a painting. Hold on, not just any painting. The original of The Android’s Dreamscape, a work by Techna Levesque, one of the very first artificial artists in the world. Marked at an eye-popping 40 million credits, it would make any owner the envy of the artistic world. Opening up the suitcase, she brought out a copy. A forgery? Gently lifting the genuine off the wall, she quickly put the copy up before the weight detection would start the alarm.

Putting the original in her suitcase, she locked it up and calmly walked away with 40 million credits in her hands, the greatest thieft in history.

== SCRITCH ==

NOON
15 MAY 2040
PENTHOUSE POOLSIDE
HOTEL DÉNOUEMENT
SEOUL
EMPIRE OF KOREA


You wake up on a beach-chair, deeply disturbed by that vision. Floating near you on a pool-bed is a familiar face engulfed by a deep slumber. You’ve seen her many times before, of course. This is Lime Baudelaire, and she seems… out of it. Dressed in a bikini, a loose floral shirt and thick dark sunglasses, that red hat tops her head. You shake your head. You thought it was just but a bad dream caused by some expired fish, but that hat resting on her head is the exact same one you saw in the vision – a wide-brimmed one with a black ribbon.

Normally intimidated by her presence, this time proves a strange exception as you pluck up some courage to shake her shoulder as the pool-bed comes near the poolside. Her eyes open up, glowing a deep green. At that moment, you curse that you ever lived as she grabs your hand. “Did you see it? Did you see it?”. Attempts at wresting your hand free are in vain and you stammer you have no clue what she’s talking about.

Don’t lie to me, you pathetic idiot! Did you see the painting?”. At that moment, the entire reality all slams you at once. You start to hyperventilate, which she takes as a confirmation. Deeply uncaring of your feelings, she grabs your shoulders and shouts in your ear “Did you see who took the painting?”. You shake your head, only stammering, pathetically, about it being someone in a red coat and hat. This last thing merely gets a deep, disappointed sigh from her and a muttered “I really hoped it wasn’t her...”. She lets your shoulders go, which as you were leaning forward at the time, inadvertently leads to you falling into the pool, right into the deep end.

The last thing you realise before passing out, again, is her ordering “Activate Background Narrative”.

=== SCRITCH ===

The Korean Peninsula is divided in two countries, the Northern Republic of Korea and the Southern Empire of Korea. The two share a condominium, the Taebong Shared Provinces. In the north, beyond the Republic, is the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Zone, a Korean-majority zone in the Empire of Great Manchuria. The Empire has an autonomous region as well, the Duchy of Silla.

The Republic of Korea used to be the “Most Peaceful and Serene People’s Democratic Republic of Korea”, a country ran on Juche (Korean for “self-reliance”) principles. The Republic came around due to a drastic collapse in the economy in the 2020s leading to a bloody civil war and a coup by more non-ideological military elements ending North Korea being ran on Juche lines. Even now, there’s still neo-Juche rebels rising up against the new regime. Democratisation is questionable as the regime seems to believe the people would vote for Juche parties.

The South was ran by autocrats ruling on behalf of more or less puppet Emperors up until democratisation in the 1980s, and has more or less fell into economic domination by British and Japanese zaibatsu and increasingly native-born mega-corporations. It has never really controlled its own economy, and has been generally loath to due to a deep hatred of anti-corporate rhetoric due to it being associated with socialism which is associated with Juche in many people’s heads. The main divide in South Korean politics is between reformists who want better governance and nationalists who rouse people in anger at imagined evils. Neither of them question the corporate control of the economy.

The almost century-old divide of Korea was originally created in the 1940s due to the Korean War. The North was supported by the Narodniks and the Earth Solidarity Pact, and the South by the Kingdom of Britain and the International Democratic Organisation. As time went on, a stalemate emerged, and both sides were determined to cement control, they both fuelled a more dictatorial approach in both of the Koreas. This divide between the North and the South by the Twilight Struggle would last until the 2020s.

In the late 2020s, eager to restore some legitimacy after the regime change and high on victory disease, the North invaded the South. Five years later, and both sides were deeply wounded. Peace needed to arrive and the GDI came to the rescue. The outcome was… creative. It is often blamed on Britain, who often gets the blame for most weird global stuff, but the credit goes to Equestria in one of their few interventions on Earth. The outcome was Taebong, a condominium taking land from the North and the South, and both sides would have to cooperate to manage it. Any attempt by one to take it by force would lead the world to back the other. Mutually. Asserted. Destruction.

Somehow, somehow, this has worked.
 
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