Ji's Kit and Crew
Ji is trained in psion. Psion is a force willed by the mind, but is often conducted with subtle gestures, from darting eyes to deep breaths. Ji's one affinity, out of the possible twelve, is subversion or manipulation. (i) Ji can disguise himself in others appearance; (ii) Ji tethers the mind of one subject in darkness, to infect with visions and noises, or communicate from a distance; (iii) Ji sheds an ethereal decoy in his image, a controllable clone which imitates Ji; (iv) Ji emits translucent pockets of ensiform energy that pricks through bodies with delayed effects.
Ji spent most of his energy in disguise on Earth. He resumed his studies, in the form of a young Asiatic male, as Ezra Warburg. Ji pursued an intel analysis major. In the African plains, a conflict between East Asia and the Americas broke out vying for its resources. The war helped Ji cycle between military strategy and wartime analysis before he took over the federal republic. Congress was a nest of intrigue for Ji, as he had to oust former usurpers, some of whom were at the helm of foreign policy.
Ji was tasked to investigate terrorism during wartime. A foreign national ally, found in a desert operation base, was taken captive. The torture chambers did not break the man's spirit, nor did interrogation bruise his ego. Ji tethers his mind onto his, then emits malefic voices, but was of little to no avail; instead, they loaned memories, whereupon he learned his purpose, as well as the location of his unit. Ji responds in kind: he slips details of his plan for Earth and they share a moment to laugh. Ji promptly kills the man named Siku.
Ji took it upon himself to locate Siku's band of traitors. Ji triangulates Siku's memories but fails to plot down the areas. He gives up on his two-year long pursuit. A recent high-profile scandal leaks a man's private island gone missing. A court dismisses the criminal charges in light of his murder in jail. His island resurfaces. His corpse does too. Ji follows the network of spies and climbs the ranks using Ezra. He is flown to an artificial island that floats; a naval island, called Ju, which encloses itself in a dome, sinks, and, relocates. Ju, a private resort, has a twin submersible island, Novu, opposite to its service; a prison camp operating torture programs in secret.
Ji stages a prison break for potential recruits: Kenshi, Raewulf, Kikyon, Goh, Sariok, etc. They launch an insurgence on the warden and officers. (1) Kenshi is an exile of Ishmael Kingdom, for conspiracy to commit regicide; his ghostlike stealth and ivory cloak lends him the name White assassin. (2) Raewulf was a post-war target for arson; his literature and publishing company were consumed in fire, and, his anti-war campaigns earned him prison time, as well as the name denialist, after years of being a historian. (3) Kikyon was a captain of elite soldiers, Unit 2080, responsible for false flag operations, who has since then sold his services to foreign high bidders. (4) Goh is the Most Wanted Man in the West for gold stock plunders of over 30,000 tonnes; his collaborators vary in size, from simple merchants to Eastern regimes, who left many nations to rely on barter economy. (5) Sariok is a conscript soldier, drafted to fight in the East-West conflict, after a spate of deaths and territorial disputes befell the realm; he and his brother, Siku, separate during the war.
A decade before the Terran-Washington clash, or the East-West conflict, Ji was an agent whose team conducts investigative work. Ji dealt with high profile cases; from stem to stern, politicians trade children like cattle, financiers and wealthy expatriates bankroll uprisings, and its academic elite slow drip propaganda tactics to maintain a perpetual, intellectual coma. The wherewithal to pay for subversion and military coupes came from a multinational effort, whom Ji identified its beneficiaries as the international elite class, of no more than a quarter million, spread across the globe. In the coming 250th election, Ji was recruited as a propaganda advocate in a presidential campaign. The candidate, Rashad, married into nobility, or the Rosenwick family, a banking dynasty whose influence crept into several hegemons, and, whose fortune came from spoils of war and crippling debt. The Rosenwick heir, Kingston, promised Rashad access to high society, as well as the prestige of presidency, should he wage war with Terran.
Terran is one of the few nations whose economy relies on gas and oil exports and refuses foreign reserve currency. Samson and Terran share a border including a cultural heritage, but their diplomatic relationship was strained once Washington enforced its military might. A thousand miles south from Washington was Alturo. Before Ji left his agency to advise campaigns, Alturo bore the brunt of a covert Washington military operation, along with trained insurgents crossing its border, to cut off supplies and ensue chaos. Samson and Alturo both fell victim to Washington's foreign policy; if they were to help Terran, the global press frames its leaders as dictators, whose alleged liberation and regime change would cast a positive reverberation in geopolitics. Ji became well-acquainted with Rashad in the second half of his term, then slowly familiar with the elite social circle; Congress, the executive department, and office of foreign affairs constitute a disproportionate score of members from Ishmael. When Kingston heard Ji made a quip of this fact, he was dismissed, before paying a visit to the Crown of Ishmael, Ramigora.
Ji planned to fire back as a whistleblower; he collected a host of classified media, documents, and conversations, leaking them to a Raewulf publishing company. The repertoire of threats, arrest warrants, and defamation by the government were unprecedented. Ji teased the archives of regime strategy; in one such example, the culprit for terrorist plots on Washington soil, set up as a Samson attack and pretext for its invasion, was an Ishmael from the upper echelons of military outfit; Godfrey, the Ishmael national, is a foreign policy hawk and advocate for the liberation of Samson and Terran republics. Ji released coordinates of Washington-Ishmael gathering facilities, proxy forces, operation bases, and regional air support in Babylon and Khasar, two empires in close proximity to Terran. At every turn, Ji would undermine the conflict with preemptive tactics. The Washington admin set in motion a manhunt, for whistleblowers and leakers, on the basis of national and cybersecurity threats. Censorship was passed into law; bread and circus, from Silicon Valley, reshaped public opinion. Ji slow drips information at the end of Rashad's first term, some of which impacts the orders on Terran; weapons grade uranium, missing in Washington, were found in a nuclear silo under an Ishmael ski resort, and Ishmael had shared Washington technology with East Asian superpower, Seijuro.
With news of foreign special operations at its doorstep, Babylon and Khasar were quick to defend themselves. In response, a Washington-Ishmael joint operation hires mercenaries and spies through backdoor deals. Led by Kikyon, captain of the militant group, Cherubim, they destabilized the region, guillotined natives, and demolished homes. A refugee crisis, the Babylonian and Khasarian diasporas, emerges in its wake, who then trek their way to Nordic and Anglo spheres, in which many Ishmael nationals petition for their welcome. Those who traveled to Seijuro and the Mayfall Kingdom were sent in transit camps for deportation. In a grotesque display of deceit, Washington send forces to Babylon under false pretenses; by using thinktanks, they convince the public its countermeasures to the Cherubim terrorists they hired, while occupying bases for future operations. For Rashad to secure his second term, he issues an executive order to prohibit campaign boycotts of Ishmael; to appease the Rosenwicks, he takes credit for the drone assassination of a Terran military leader, Oemnas. In the Ishmael Kingdom, a sectarian conflict brews over the rightful heir to its throne, between King Ramigora and his cousin, Damocles.
Washington passes a bill to provide foreign aid to Ishmael, for its economic and qualitative, military edge. Ji makes a trip to Ishmael as Ezra to document the ongoing struggle. An arson attack on an Ishmael palace, set by Kikyon emissaries, incites an extensive persecution of Damocles people. In the deserts of Ishmael, within a month of civil unrest, Nebu and Cainan, two of the largest prison camps, were full of agitators and rebels, and few were migrants from Africa. An armistice between Ramigora and Damocles was signed; Ramigora kept the Ishmael mainland and Damocles formed the Dion peninsula. Babylon and Terran pledges to support Dion. In less than a fortnight of peacetime, they denounce and slander each other: Damocles, purportedly, associates with Grunberg, a human trafficker, and owner of private islands, Ju and Novu, on the outskirts of Dion peninsula; Ramigora usurped the throne in regency as he murdered the House of Zachariah, Damocles parents, and true heirs to Ishmael. Ji sent details of the conspiracies to publishers as they were suppressed outside of Dion. An Ishmael native, Kenshi, caught wind of the report, and made an attempt at Ramigora's life, using the ceremonial sword with which he was coronated.
The assassination of Ramigora upends the course of history. A slew of feuds cycle between Ishmael and Dion; a great many villagers were put to the sword by merciless tribal groups and left any survivors to choke in wildfire. A coalition of Babylon and Terran send ground forces to stabilize and assist Dion. The engine of Washington, its dirigistic military-industrial complex, reignites, while its people protest intervention. Rashad dispatches a research ship, USS Camelot, to monitor the severity of the ongoing crisis; Godfrey, unbeknownst to Rashad, orders Ishmael to sink and attack the ship, then lay the blame on Damocles. This great deception fosters in its people the will to fight what the academic elite interpret as fascism. Congress declares war overseas; thus, the web of alliance triggers the fated Terran-Washington clash. Ishmael and Khasar create a trade deal, under their growing entente, to share an autonomous region from which to deploy sorties on Terran and split the oil reserves thereafter. Babylon isolates Washington and Samson arms shipments and vessels with a naval blockade. Seijuro distributes rations to Terran; Mayfall pledges to defend Babylon; Nordic regions, Gotalan and Helvetia, maintains neutrality, while the Anglo nation, Magnus, drafts special conscripts, Oathkeepers, to take up arms and reinforce Washington.
The war effort bled Washington military resources dry; in desperation, Rosenwick finances an illegal arms traffic south of the border. Enoch, a friend and business partner of Rosenwick, is at the center of international organized crime; his complicity with intelligence networks provides financial conduits to abet their allies overseas. A group of five most wealthy gold trade bankers, who have gone to great lengths to disguise their influence, spent significant sums cultivating riots abroad, then surrogate and civil wars soon after. A half-century ago, before Terran was the chief target of invasion, Samson was subject to political agitation, whose government dissolved, and taken over. For a time, there was peace, so as to gain the confidence of its people, but slowly its occupiers, from Ishmael, bankrupt its industrial and agricultural enterprises, from usury and speculation of its economy, and would be bought by its international business friends. Magnus suffers a similar fate from decades of draconian economic madness, in which financiers loot tonnes of resources, precious commodity and metal, for dirt cheap prices. Terran, at the end of their tether, despite Eastern support, fails to withstand its financial misery incurred by the loss of oil exports. A power vacuum presents itself; Ishmael devours the region whole, securing its nuclear monopoly, and expands its empire.
The theater of war was reduced to craters and ghost towns. Ishmael forces use speculative fire to sweep Terran territory. A few operation bases held enemy troops with no option to surrender; soon after, the Terran capitol, while under siege, was greeted with catapults chucking their cadavers. The Ishmael admin employs Ji as an agent within their military personnel; on their search and destroy missions, a foreign ally with mortal wounds is spotted, and suspected to be in league with Terran regiments. From his interrogation, Siku, the accused, struck a handsome bargain with Kikyon mercenaries, with the help of a Mayfall recruit, Goh. The plan was to exploit the tensions between Terran and Ishmael; from the first hour of the last battle to its swift victory blow, their escapade to plunder gold bullion from Ishmael vaults, and instigate full-scale bankruns across the West could go unpunished. Ji, amused, kills Siku, and assumes his appearance, and role, for the exploit. By the time Ji returns to Ishmael, Kikyon units set off a lockdown in the capitol, with multiple officers as casualties in their failed attempt. Goh, a former major player for gold and offshore hedge fund business, flew West to instill fears of bankruptcy with great success. Ji follows suit; he deploys a variety of clones, some of which mirror Ishmael officials, to convey tonnes of gold to Mayfall and Seijuro.
In a span of three days, Washington is overrun with political turmoil and civil disorder. A groundswell of distrust between the public and police develops; in the Liberal, urban areas, citydwellers are few meals away from storming markets; the Conservative countryside stock up on arms, munitions, and tools to defend their crops, wares, and homes; the mass media informs its viewers governors would institute martial law if military driven curfews were not followed. The first month of unrest, its people adjust to barter exchanges: a bag of rice for some lighter fluid, or box of cigarettes for masks, gloves, and filters; by the second month, women sold their body for canned food, men are sniped when alone looking for antibiotics, food, or shelter. The millions of immigrants displaced from their homes fled back south with family. In the third month, other nations begin to hear the decline of Washington; an opportunity presents itself to Mayfall or Seijuro, whether to support separatists, or otherwise. Rashad, coached by his circle of advisors, addresses the issue with militarization of state police. For a week, the illusion of order is kept, but looters are shot, riots turn deadly, and the military forces see an unprecedented desertion rate. The infrastructure is fragile: unguarded power grids were prone to surgical strikes; bridges, tunnels, and critical ports of entry became logistical problems overnight. In the sixth month, Goh and his team fuels the fire. Potential recruits from a rebel faction rig up bombs in power plants, interstates, and bridges; many agents defect from the government to sabotage and misdirect information; finally, an explosion cues them to haul tonnes of precious metal to a flotilla of cargo ships en route to Africa.
A hurricane sinks and capsizes a large fraction of the fleet. The week-long trip across the Atlantic did not fare well for the heist. The war affects nations in different ways; for Zawisza, an African region, they dabble as mercenaries to curry favor with greater powers. A convoy of African privateers, hired by Ishmael to ward off enemy ships, plunder the cargoes. The pirate captain, Morgenthau, sent word to Ishmael the treasure troves of gold and silver. Goh and his crew were escorted as prisoners to the gulags of Novu, where Kikyon himself, and what was left of his group of bandits, are tortured for treason. With Ramigora's death, his son, Arkon, took his father's mantle, as ruler, to fulfill his brainchild the Greater Ishmael: annex the Fertile Crescent lands, Ishmael, Samson, Babylon, Khasar, and Terran. Arkon deploys Knights of the Covenant to seize the war chests from Goh's cargos and reclaim the stolen ingots by Ji's clones. Babylon and Mayfall form an axis and enjoy cordial, mutual relations; in between their shared borders are lakes, rivers, and mountains, where gold bars are tossed. In a day's time, a bulk of the Ishmael metals were salvaged in Babylon; Ji's clones cut down to one, he finds himself on the precipice of discovery in Mayfall caverns. The Ishmael Knights are met with a phalanx of Mayfall forces, whose battle foments the first brushfire conflict between ancient, wealthy dynasties. The year long fight reaches a stalemate in Olympus, a Mayfall fortress, where further attempts become a war of attrition. Mayfall troops encircle them to dominate the fight in brutal fashion. Led by Sir Gaius, the Oathkeepers plow through the ring of men swarming the Knights, thereby giving Magnus and Ishmael a firm Babylon foothold from which to penetrate Mayfall Kingdom.
A century ago, a family of Ishmael doctors, the Oxburgs, immigrated to Mayfall to purchase a fledgling company; for a time, Mayfall was known for its medicine, so the Oxburgs patriarch, Mortimer, taps into its market to sell their product. By way of commercial media, Mortimer profits with the introduction of his analgesic drugs. At first, narcotics were prescribed for malignant pain, from surgery or otherwise, but as time went on, the Oxburgs tweak its potency, use its dividends to campaign for a lobby, and issue demands for hospitals the ready access for their products. An Oxburg organisation, whose purpose is to rate clinics and doctors on the basis of their drug availability, could shut down hospitals from a scathing review. Drug addiction affects multiple Mayfall towns, substance abuse plagues aristocrats, and curbs classwide productivity. In a shining example of corruption, the Oxburgs fund drug cartels on the fringes of Seijuro; to evade federal agents, drug lords smuggle tonnes of Oxburg narcotics across the Mayfall borders, in tandem with propaganda tactics they use to decriminalise drugs and legalise their products. The King of Mayfall, Sigismund, sends an advanced military suite to Narcos Road, which runs through Olympus, and functions as the gateway for eastern trade; on top of that, it is the only route to Seijuro, its main opioid consumers. A brief exchange between the three parties escalate: the Knights demand Mayfall extradite the thief or return their gold; Mayfall military general, Penndragon, rebuffs with no knowledge of either, and for their immediate retreat; the Knights plea a bargain for Mayfall to help recoup, with a lion's share of gold in Ishmael's favor; the Oathkeepers make an appeal for a cut to rectify their crippling debts; the Knights refuse, the Oathkeepers disband in two, and Mayfall storms the fortress amid the dispute.
The Oathbreakers form and make an escape to the montane forests. Mayfall strong arms the Oathkeepers out of contest and presses against the isolated Knights. The few members who hid within corpses, while Mayfall crows their victory, head for the hills at midnight. A lone Ji clone rests in the depths of a Mayfall cavern with a stockpile of gold and precious metals; Sariok, the Oathbreaker firebrand, trails the wagon path through the tunnel in the mountains, meets the clone, and devises a compromise. The Knights who fled to Ishmael requests the whole gamut of military force and nuclear arsenal to retaliate against the Oathbreakers and Mayfall. The Oathbreakers reach Magnus, lets on about the talks held in Olympus, which spills into the public domain. Arkon, his entourage of bodyguards, agents, and Ji himself rendezvous to a ski resort, beneath its slopes, where Ishmael secures their nuclear arms. Ishmael exerts their influence on foreign media: the Oathbreakers are portrayed as Kikyon terrorists, Olympus fortress as a hotbed of opium traffic, with its kingpins on sight, and Mayfall as its enablers. The Kroanor capitol, Magnus, is stalked by Ishmael soldiers who demand those guilty of high treason to hang; at first, Magnus courts balk at the sentence, but the threat of war reparations sway them. Sariok, and his doomed crew, were jettisoned to Novu prison, where Ishmael could mete out the punishment after the war. Ji takes a detour from the slopes, boards a ship helmed by Grunberg, tailing the Oathbreakers to his private island.
The banking crisis in Washington was the death knell for its civil structure; the poor, tired, and unwell were in their final days, while the few parvenus of the economic ruin held some veneer of order. Rashad, by command of the Rosenwick family, gives an ultimatum to his people: struggle, work hard, toil away as wage slaves to pay for your debts, or be free from the debts of your fathers and accept the new currency; Rosenari, an intangible, encrypted, medium of exchange would become the norm. With ninety-five percent of Washington in some form of debt, the lumpenproles were happy to oblige, and a limited palette of well-to-do, penny-pinchers, and shareholders resented and rejected the terms. It was democracy at its finest; three wolves and a sheep decide on what to have for dinner. The affluent community and the bankrupt majority, as the banker Kingston planned, participate in a chain of revolts that culminates into civil war. The prole soldiers that came to be death squads blindfold and fire upon capitalists, investors, and enemies of the state. Washington, although a shadow of its former self, would soon return as a totalitarian regime, under the rule of cryptic oligarchs. Ji, eager to end the war, infiltrates the Novu private prison as multiple security guard clones. The high noon of his quest to form a crew proved difficult; as per each visit, out of the total 142 potential candidates, only 18 inmates made reasonable demands. Sariok, the latest member, was given promise of over half the shares of Ishmael gold in the Mayfall cavern; Kenshi, the foremost member, wanted the ceremonial sword with which he slew the late King Ramigora. Like a slave ship overthrown by its slaves, the Novu prison island was in thrall to its new warden; Ji pilots Novu, with a high octane force under his wing, cruising to Ishmael shores.
The Ishmael military general, Tzion, leads the fight against Alistair, the Mayfall war genius. Alistair conquers the dogfight above the Olympus fortress, but Tzion responds turning it into a nuclear wasteland and a smoking ruin. They share a moment of dread over the growing mushroom spectacle, but Tzion presses his advantage to the Mayfall capitol, Windsor. In a stupefying ambush, the King of Mayfall, Sigismund, crashes the fighter aircrafts with legions of wyvern and dragon riders, native only to the Egrisi Range. Kenshi, Goh, Sariok, Kikyon, etc. raid the Ishmael palace, looting supplies, weapons, and regalia; Ji, while in the form of Ezra, sets the capitol of Ishmael as target for a nuclear warhead, as they make their escape to Novu acting as their base. Ishmael defeated; the remaining Fertile Crescent nations begin peace plans to restore former territories to their respective countries. For the next two decades, Washington challenges Seijuro to a colonial conflict over the resources in Africa, while Ji pays the two warring nations handsomely for their materials. In time, Ji founds the Nova space program. Using his old spaceship blueprint, a column of dreadnoughts, warships, cruisers, vessels, and a mothership were made, turning the page of Earth's history to the frontiers of space exploration.