An Empire Reborn
December 28th 1977
Rome states that they or the Lira Block will not negotiate with terrorists. Unofficially, Egypt is allowed to open a line of communication with the terrorists aboard the ship until a military option is ready.
Egyptian naval vessels establish a perimeter a mile away from the cruise ship. Italian ships are not present to conform with the terrorists demands against an Italian naval presence or they will start killing hostages.
The international community at large condemns the actions of the Palestinians.
December 29th 1977
X MAS units are rushed to Egypt to prepare for an assault on the ship.
Prefect Medici is ordered not to conduct any reprisals against the Palestinians in Jerusalem until the situation is resolved. In the meantime, the OVRA begins gathering names of those who are too be arrested.
December 31st 1977
Using fishing boats X MAS units skirt around the perimeter of the Egyptian blockade observing the terrorists and the ship.
January 2nd 1978
At noon the terrorists execute 5 of their hostages stating that the government in Rome is stalling. They announce that starting the next day they will execute 5 more hostages as of noon and an additional hostage every hour until their demands are met or until they run out of hostages.
January 3rd 1978
Under the cover of darkness two X MAS teams assault the cruise ship. Using helicopters to cover the sounds of the fast attack boats they quickly board the ship and seize control of the engine room and the bridge within 10 minutes. Seven of the terrorists are killed and the rest are captured with no deaths on the Italian side either X MAS or hostages. Gabriele Adinolfi, a young naval officer and handpicked by Viceroy Borghese led the assault.
Moments after the success of the rescue Prefect Medici orders the arrests of over 50 individuals in Jerusalem associated with the plot.
January 5th 1978
Franco Freda’s article "What We Are Fighting For" is published in dozens of newspapers throughout the Lira Block and the world. In the wake of the bombings in Jerusalem, the attempted airline hijacking and the hijacking of the Mediterranean Princess it offers a defense and explanation on why the NRE must stay in Jerusalem. The Italian version (as well as most non-Lira Block versions) is accompanied with 2 pictures, one featuring a wounded Italian soldier being assisted by two of his comrades, this picture is placed side by side with that of three young Italian girls coming out of a church presumably in Jerusalem. Most of the Lira Block nations choose to substitute the photos with their own soldiers and own civilians.
January 12th 1978
It is announced that William Montgomery will conduct another tour of the NRE for the 25th anniversary of his original trip to the Empire. It is widely believed that this will be his last assignment with Time magazine and he is considering retirement.
January 20th 1978
A civilian Podesta is appointed to head the government in Jerusalem. Prefect Medici will stay on as overall military commander and be responsible for the suppression of terrorist organizations.
*Note: Fascism replaced town mayors with the medieval office of Podesta. They are appointed by the Chamber of Fasci and Corporations*
February 3rd 1978
First Lady Rosalynn Carter comments to several journalists that the state of women’s rights in Italy and its non-Italian territories are deplorable and women are treated as third class citizens.
February 5th 1978
Alessandra Medici, wife of the Consul who rarely involves herself with politics chooses to fire back against the American First Lady calling her a "country bumpkin" who has even less knowledge of politics than her husband. Going on she states that women are afforded a place of honor and respect within the Empire and that many women hold positions working with the government.
Alessandra herself is a very educated woman having a degree in history and before her marriage to Salvatore she worked as an assistant to the curators at the Ufizzi.
February 9th 1978
Elections in Monaco lead to the nations Fascist party taking a majority of the seats for the first time in it’s history.
February 12th 1978
Emperor Umberto II meets with Queen Elizabeth II in Switzerland. This marks the first time since World War II that the monarchs of both nations have come together and it is seen as an important first step to a normalizing of relations between the nations.
February 13th 1978
"Stabbed in the back" seems to be the general consensus of the population of France in response to the royal meeting in Switzerland.
February 20th 1978
A referendum is held in northern Cyprus with the primarily Turkish population voting to unify with mainland Turkey.
February 22nd 1978
Though most nations largely condemn the "democratic" annexation of northern Cyprus Rome largely supports the move stating that anything that destabilizes the criminal state of Cyprus is a step in the right direction.
There are small protests in Greece over the Italian response but the police within the pseudo-nation are quickly put down. Even the much weakened Hellenic Council voices a feeble protest stating that is was always Greek and Italian policy to regard Cyprus as rightfully Greek territory.
Excerpts from William Montgomery’s latest articles on his new tour of the NRE:
"Retracing the steps of my original journey I arrive in Palermo, Sicily. The old converted military airport has been replaced with a new and modern state of the art international airport that serves as a major hub for travel throughout the African colonies."
"Rome is much the same as from my first visit to the city. Vespas still fill the street even though the vast majority of the population own cars. The speedy motorbikes are seen as the ‘in’ way for the young to get around...
Propaganda posters are still featured prominently throughout the city and the Empire. While many other nations have all but abandoned artistic posters in order to get their points across the Fascists still embrace it openly and push it forward as an art form. Medici features prominently in many of these posters, though other heros of Fascism are also present. I have seen a few featuring the late Julius Evola telling the people to remember their Roman blood and ethos. There is even one of Count Enrico Fermi superimposed over an atomic symbol and mushroom cloud proclaiming "technology is our greatest weapon." I doubt that the peace loving scientist would support the message, but within the Empire the dead are made to serve as a symbol.
The most common poster seen on the streets today is one of Consul Medici and Il Duce standing side by side with the caption "Together, we move forward!" I wonder that when the time comes that a future consul is elected who had no connection to Mussolini will they portray him standing side by side with Medici as the esteemed first Consul gives him approval. Or, will Mussolini remain the eternal symbol of approval."
"To western eyes the oddest thing they will see is the complete absence of shaking hands, at least in the public sphere. Handshaking being regarded as unhygienic and a waste of time has been almost completely replaced by the Roman salute. A system of etiquette exists within the state on how one is supposed to greet others using the salute. The only time one will see two men shaking hands is with dignitaries from non-Lira Block states."
April 7th 1978
It is announced that Consul Medici will be visiting London in June to begin a process of normalizing relations between the two nations.
April 10th 1978
Excerpts from Montgomery’s article on Jerusalem:
"While Jerusalem has been handed over to a civilian authority it is plain to see that Prefect Medici is still the true power within the city. Soldiers often march down the streets in formation as a reminder to those who would oppose the might of Rome"
"Like many other nations the NRE has had to deal with airline terrorism. Most nations have responded by increasing security at airports across the board. However, Rome has its own solution in a separate and unequal policy. At the airport there are two separate lines for passengers leaving the city one is assigned to those holding ‘Italian, European and American passports.’ The other line is for everyone else. If you are part of the first group you are whisked through with just a nod from the soldiers on guard. As for those not part of this privileged class, there is a more extensive search and investigation and even further discrimination. There is even a class system associated with this line. Most Asians are shuffled through with no incident beyond a cursory look at their passport and perhaps a quick search. This treatment is often given to those holding Lira Block passports. The Empire knows who they are looking for and shows no qualms about profiling.
The line in front of me comes to an abrupt halt. At the front of the line is an Arabic man who speaks in clear and precise English. He is arguing with an Italian soldier and wildly waving his American passport in the air. The Italian soldier calmly tells the man that he doesn’t care and that he belongs in the other line. Another soldier comes by and pushes the man to the side who is still complaining that he is American and should be allowed to pass. As the line gets moving again the soldier apologies to us for the delay..."
End of Part 26.
Please visit my forum for discussion and access to new parts as they become available.