An Empire Reborn
August 18th 1969
Soviet propaganda in response to the Woodstock massacre condemns the United States and its complete inability to protect itself and its population from violent fascist uprisings.
Other European countries give less scathing but similar public statements regarding the riots.
The NRE offers no public statement on the matter.
September 5th 1969
The United States suffers another public opinion blow when the details of the My Lai Massacre which occurred the previous year become public.
October 7th 1969
General Gritti and his immediate staff are recalled back to Rome from their commands in Rhodesia. This recall is regarded as extremely sudden and surprising.
October 29th 1969
The first message is sent over the ARPANET.
November 1st 1969
A small but noticeable spike in violence is reported in Rhodesia following Gritti’s reassignment.
November 2nd 1969
Midnight Cross appears for the first time on Imperial TV. Produced by comic book artist Adriano Abrizzi, Midnight Cross is an animated version of Ricardo Melino’s dark and gritty comic. Groundbreaking in that this is the first animated series released in the Empire to be targeted to adults and featuring an extremely lifelike and realistic style which will come to be known as "Romanimation." The show receives less than stellar reception in its initial premiere.
*Note: Thanks to Herr Montag for coming up with both the concept of Romanination and the idea behind Midnight Cross.*
November 10th 1969
Henry Kissinger returns to Rome, this time on an official state visit to the New Roman Empire in a bid to help publically reduce tensions between the United States and the Empire. Medici speaks with Kissinger on the possibility of Nixon personally visiting the Empire.
November 11th 1969
France and England both express their disapproval over the friendly relations being established between the NRE and the US, warning the US not to become too close to a potential enemy.
November 17th 1969
Soviet and American representatives meet in Helsinki to commence talks on arms limitations.
December 2nd 1969
Juan Carlos of Spain is officially designated as Prince of Spain and the successor to Franco.
Medici is reported to be extremely disappointed with Franco for appointing the king as Heir-Apparent without providing for a safety measure in case of monarchial dissidence.
December 27th 1969
General Gritti and his staff are sent to Greece to serve in an advisory role to the Hellenic Council.
January 2nd 1970
The Imperial Space Agency announces that a manned space launch will be conducted between March and April of this year.
January 5th 1970
After weeks of steadily improving ratings Midnight Cross becomes the most popular television show on Imperial TV.
January 12th 1970
The United States Department of State confirms that President Nixon will be attending a summit in Rome with Consul Medici in April. A second summit is also planned for some time in the summer where Consul Medici will visit the United States.
England and France both request that President Nixon reconsider his attendance at these summits.
February 11th 1970
Japan places its first satellite into orbit.
February 22nd 1970
Guyana becomes a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.
Unification protests reach a new level of intensity in Greece as more and more people take to the streets seeking to join with the Empire as an autonomous state like that of San Marino. While the population wishes to seek unity with Rome is still extremely small they are very vocal and receiving outside support and funding. Requests by the Hellenic Council to both the Viceroy and General Gritti to investigate these groups and their backers are ignored.
Similarly in Libya, the massive Italian and Italianized population of the colony begin petitioning in earnest to be recognized as a part of Italy proper and not just a colony. Italo Balbo is a strong supporter of this movement and has promised to speak to the council on Libya’s behalf.
April 3rd 1970
President Nixon arrives to cheering crowds in Rome. In a play for the American journalists, thousands of jubilant Italians are held back peacefully behind simple barricades by completely unarmed Blackshirts and Police Offcers in a stark contrast to the often violent depiction of police in the United States over the past years.
Nixon will spend 4 days in Rome before traveling to Sardinia for the Summit proper.
April 7th 1970
Medici and Nixon board a plane headed towards Sardinia. The soldiers guarding the plane forgo the protocol of giving Roman Salutes to visiting heads of state and is substituted with a regular military salute as not to put the visiting President in an uncomfortable situation.
The use of the Roman Salute is highly regulated throughout the summit to limit its exposure to American journalists and cameras.
April 9th 1970
In a preplanned propaganda move, the ISA proudly announces that the first manned Italian spaceflight will take place on April 11th with the launch of the space shuttle Fortuna. The launch will take place at the Galileo Galilei space center in Sardinia. Captain Mario Lucchini, son of the famous fighter ace Franco Lucchini has been granted the honor of being the Empire’s first Olympinaut.
President Nixon is invited to attend personally by the Consul.
*Note: Once again, thanks to Herr Montag for suggesting the name Olympinaut.*
April 11th 1970
9:15 AM Local Time
Businesses and schools across the Empire temporarily suspend work and classes so everyone can bear witness to this monumental event.
Following the playing of Marcia Reale(the official national anthem) and Giovinezza(the unofficial national anthem) Italo Balbo gives the pre-launch speech. Medici turned down the honor of giving the opening speech, saying that the Air Marshall should receive the credit for the launch instead he will report on the success of the launch later in the day, while this seemed like a selfless act, Medici preferred not to be connected to the launch in the case something goes wrong. Count Ciano seems visibly agitated throughout all the proceedings, those in the know believe it is because Ciano’s youngest son Marzio was not chosen for this historic mission. Marzio was one of the pilots on the short list being considered for the mission.
At 9:45 AM the shuttle Fortuna is prepped and ready. Captain Lucchini reports that he is ready for launch and the countdown begins. Those assembled and those watching and listening at home, work and school collectively hold their breath as they wait for blast off. The rockets ignite on the craft throwing up thick clouds of smoke and almost impossibly slow the rocket lumbers skyward. Those assembled launch themselves to their feet in thunderous applause and throughout the Empire millions more joined them in celebration.
Moments after the launch it is said that Medici remarked to President Nixon "See, you and the Soviets are not the only ones capable of putting a man in space."
In the United States, Apollo 13 is launched heading for the Moon.
2:55 PM Rome Time
After making 5 trips around the globe, a number which was purposely chosen for its propaganda value(the first American manned flight made 4 trips around the Earth) the Fortuna capsule splashes down in the Red Sea off the coast of Italian East Africa. Olympinaut Lucchini is picked up by a helicopter operating off the Aquila. He is reported to be healthy following his trip and in good spirits.
9:00 PM Local Time
From the summit villa in Sardinia, Consul Medici reports on the success of the Fortuna flight and the safe recovery of the "Heavenly Sailor." This is to be the first of many missions in space and each shall be approached with the same practical, safe and efficient mindset that dominated the Fortuna launch. Medici pledges that their will be no Soviet style disasters and the utmost priority is the safety of the Empire’s bravest and most talented men. "Every launch will bring us success, increase our knowledge and serve to bring glory and honor to Rome, all Imperial peoples and all of mankind."
April 12th 1970
Congratulations pour in from around the world over the NRE’s successful manned mission into space. Even Britain and France offer their own halfhearted congratulations.
April 13th 1970
President Nixon returns to Washington. He thanks Medici and the Italian people for their hospitality and is eager to work with Rome in the future. Medici has accepted an invitation to visit Washington in July.
An oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13 explodes seriously threatening the crew and craft.
April 14th 1970
Medici personally telephones President Nixon offering any technological and scientific help the NRE has to assist in the safe return of the Apollo 13 Astronauts
Medici also asks that the people of the Empire observe a moment of silence to pray for the safe return of "our American friends."
April 15th 1970
Arriving in Rome Olympinaut Lucchini is subject to a hero’s welcome and a grand parade through the city. At its culmination, Medici promotes the Captain to the rank of Major in the Air Force as well as declaring him a hero of the Empire and Fascism. Emperor Umberto II dubs the man Count of Lourenco Marques(the capital of Mozambique.)
Lucchini will spend the next month in a whirlwind tour of the Empire promoting space exploration.
April 17th 1970
Apollo 13 splashes down and is recovered by the U.S. Navy. All Astronauts are alive and well.
April 20th 1970
The ISA sets a tentative date for a second manned launch for early November. Engineers of the ISA are said to be working on making improvements to the rocket design based on issues brought up in Lucchini’s debriefing.
April 29th 1970
The United States invades Cambodia for granting access to the Viet Cong.
End of Part 9
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