The Solstice War is on hiatus! Click here for more information.
This scene and much of the story as a whole, contains scenes of violence and death, as well as descriptions of weapons and their effects. Please be advised when reading.
Under a brutal northern snowfall the old Federation capital of Junzien was alive with the fire of history. It was a day when every thread of Nocht’s timeline would tragically collide.
Cheering crowds gathered along the streets as the Presidential motorcade departed the Hotel Reich and made its way toward the Foundation Stone at the site of the former capitol building. Alongside the motorcade the crowd marched as a procession, throwing roses and lighting snapping sticks, hoping to catch a glimpse when the President finally lit the ceremonial fireworks that symbolized the old fortress cannons, their heavy shells striking down the approaching monarchist enemy in the name of independence.
Clad in their thickest winter coats the citizens braved the cold drift to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Federation of Northern States. To the northern people, it was still better known as the Nocht Federation, for the man who first lit the matches that sounded the fateful cannons. But that ancient name was not the one sung on this triumphant day.
President Achim Lehner leaned back in his seat, arms behind his head, listening to the crowd as they chanted his name and recited several of his campaign slogans. He cast a sly smile toward his radiant wife, dolled up in pigments and shiny hair, mink and silk, sitting with one limousine seat between them, hoping she would join the festivities. She coldly and immediately shrugged off his attentions, staring out the window with her head held up on a closed fist. He could see her half-closed, bored eyes reflected in the tinted glass.
No matter; he was riding too high to care. Whatever embittered her this time would soon pass. Chuckling to himself, he leaned forward from his seat, rubbing his hands.
Across from him, his lovely secretary leaned to meet him, and handed him papers.
“Revised copies of the speech, as requested.” She said.
“Cecilia, doll, you never cease to impress.” He replied.
Scanning the lines, he was elated to find his most recent successes were all featured on the pages. He could reveal to the world, even before the press, the capitulation of the Cissean rebellion, and the establishment of Nocht’s newest ally in the global south. He had finally put that war to bed as he had promised. He was almost assured an eight-year term now.
And where were the pundits now? Lehner laughed aloud. This was too good.
Turning out of the hotel avenue, the motorcade drove deep into the urban heart of Junzien, through roads flanked with buildings wedged one between the other, gray, gloomy cement and glass monuments to the city’s endurance. Lehner much preferred the new capital further up Rhinea, a larger, more modern place, sleek and efficient and artful, but Junzien was his people’s heart. So he begrudgingly made space for it in his own.
“We have to start moving quick after this. Build Cissea up.” Lehner said.
“Unfortunately, the island campaigns have sapped the strength of the Bundesmarine.” Cecilia quickly replied. “Our capacity to ship to Cissea is currently very limited.”
“Work on that, darlin’. It’s nothin’ that can’t be be fixed. You gotta find the problems and the solutions and you move heaven and earth — that’s what all of you are here for.”
“We can start on it; but in this case we need to move an ocean.” Cecilia said.
Lehner burst out laughing, slapping his knees. “God. I keep remembering why I hired you. And I just think to myself ‘damn, Lehner, good move, my man, good move.'”
Cecilia pushed up her glasses, her face reflecting his own impish grin.
At Lehner’s side, his wife’s expression soured ever so slightly more.
Outside the snowfall thickened, but the people struggled all the more to keep up. Everyone was used to the conditions of this venerable celebration. It had been this cold on that fateful day, and yet the rebel soldiers fought on nonetheless. Lehner waved through the tinted glass at the marchers, men, women, and children, cheering and running. They were separated from the motorcade by marching policemen in dress uniform.
Slowly the motorcade was poised to escape the tightest confines of Junzien.
Lehner picked a glass of wine from the side of his limousine seat.
There was a flash and a crack from up ahead.
At once the limousine came to a stop sudden enough to shake President Lehner.
Red wine spilled on his shirt and coat.
Lehner threw his hands up in anger. “Fuck! What the hell–”
Red blood sprayed on the window beside him, and there was a thud on the glass as one of the police escorts hit the limousine, falling dead with shells through his chest.
Muzzles flashed skyward, and gunfire rang out from inside the crowd.
Police drew their pistols in a split-second response and fired into the streets.
Panicked marchers ran every which way to escape the carnage.
Grenades flew out from the throngs and detonated among the motorcade.
Glass windshields shattered on police cars and motorcycles. Fuel tanks went up in columns of flame, sending shards of metal screaming through the crowd and roasting special agents and foot police inside their vehicles. Policemen fighting on the streets were grazed or clipped by metal shards and many fell. Amid the massacre the limousine stood unharmed, explosive fragments bouncing off its sloped, disguised armor plating.
From the rapidly thinning crowd, an assailant in a covering trenchcoat and hat opened fire into the window of the limousine. Twin wounds marred the glass, each composed of dozens of concentric circles with a cap lodged between. His gun failed to penetrate.
Agatha Lehner nevertheless screamed and ducked against her husband in fear.
President Lehner grit his teeth.
“Cecilia.” He said, more aggravated than anxious.
Shaking with nervousness, Cecilia slammed her heeled shoe on the floor, and dug out from under a sliding panel a sleek, fully automatic Norgler machine gun, top of the line.
She clumsily pulled up the cover on the feed tray, slid the ammunition belt into it, locked it in place, and pulled back the charging handle to ready the weapon. It fed with a satisfying click, just like they had practiced. She held the gun aloft, her shoulders shaking.
Outside the assailants concentrated their gunfire on the limousine.
Bulletproof glass absorbed a dozen rounds of punishment.
It was getting hard to see the fight.
Lehner nodded his head with determination and Cecilia nodded back. She dropped between the rows of seats in the back of the limousine, sidling close to the door with the Norgler in hand. She pushed it up to the door. Lehner leaned down, holding his wife close, both their heads down under the level of the windows for safety. He pulled a catch.
On the door a panel just large enough for the Norgler opened.
Cecilia pushed the gun through the slot and slipped a slender finger over the trigger.
Swinging the weapon from side to side she opened fire indiscriminately.
At once a noise like an automatic saw overwhelmed the sounds of battle.
Casings dropped to the floor of the limousine by the dozens every second as Cecilia held down the trigger on the Norgler, barely controlling its overwhelming fire. She closed her eyes and held on to the weapon as bursts of automatic fire swept from the side of the limousine. Lehner peered over the window and watched as best as he could through the marred glass as the weapon rained lead on the streets. He strained his eyes and saw the trenchcoat men as they were brutally cut down with barely a struggle.
Another sharp click and the Norgler ejected its last casing.
Once the noise of the automatic fire died down, the street was empty and silent.
Lehner waited in the limousine, stroking his wife’s shoulders and pulling her head to his chest, her tears soaking into the wine-stained coat and shirt. He sighed deeply.
Cecilia stood up from the floor, sweating, breathing heavily.
“It’s a hell of a gun.” She said, her voice trembling.
After several minutes, a surviving police officer knocked on the window.
President Lehner stepped out of his battered limousine and inspected the carnage.
His weary eyes rolled over the blood and viscera, the bodies of innocents, of officers, of assailants alike, the burning wrecks, the bullet casings littered all over the ground, all of the madness that had unfolded on his streets in mere moments on this historic day.
Only one detail burned in his mind at that instant.
All of the weapons he saw gripped in the death-frozen fingers of the soon-to-be infamous Federation Day Terrorists, were of Ayvartan make. Their grenades, their firearms, all of their arsenal had been manufactured in the Socialist Dominances of Solstice.
“That’s damning.” He told himself under a cold breath. “And useful.”