Friday 30 December 2016

The race has begun

Earth has experienced for several decades, peace. The continents hadn’t been quiet for so long as for now. It was an unexpected record though, as there were two governments, who were opposed to each other. Complots happened, but very subtle. Nobody knew for real what was going on. There were these crazy stories about spies from Carthage, disguised as traders or economists or secret agents from Moche. The world where the Moche Empire and the Carthaginian League existed was a world of contradiction.
Few decades ago the last war happened. The industrial superpower Song China, the maritime Alba Confederation and the Plains dominions (mostly lead by Iroquois, Cree and Navajo peoples) founded with their satellite states an alliance. Socioeconomic changes brought also political changes and these three powers sought aggressive expansion. Moche and Carthage with their smaller partners had to cooperate during the war. The Moche Empire was a classic land power, with the biggest land army in the world since 100s of years, whereas Carthage always had the biggest fleet. The Moche Empire had a complicated political system, but it can summarize it as following, the military and the ‘priests’ have the power. It is true that firstly they worshipped Ai Apaec mostly, however when they incorporated Mayan and Teothiuacanian philosophy and gods, they changed his attributes very often. At the end however, when Carthage and Alba traded with Moche the priests analysed the new technology. Contrary to our timeline, they praised technology and saw it as divine manifestation and it became part of their warrior cult. As such, the Moche Empire caught up pretty fast and became the most advanced country on Earth.
As for Carthage; they were interested in trade and economy. During their battles with Rome and other emerging empires of the Near East, they also developed their land policies. Their main point however was the sea…that was their strength. It is true Carthage has a high culture, high technology and a very advanced society, yet still Carthage is very self-sufficient and most ‘leaders’ are corrupt. People in Carthage never learn to care for their country or their roots. Their state ideology is to make good money and have great knowledge of trade and economy. Science in there is just a tool for the economy. The marine as well, as are the land forces. You are not seen as great compatriot when you protect and fight for your land, but rather when you have business contacts with Carthage City and allow some people from the colonies to establish contact with these people from the capital.
Yet they were temporarily allies… the war was heavy, long, sucked all the resources that were needed. Carthage won with Moche, but they did it for a heavy price. Yes, they preferred to spend their resources on economic activities and as such just send more manpower, with ill-equipped material. Many men and women died for these ill-thought war policies. Moche on the other hand, motivated their population and called on their Manifest destiny to own all of the Americas and Pacific. In some months all of Alba’s presence was gone in the Americas. The Plain Dominion were retreating, retreating until they were caught by the mighty and fierce warriors of Moche. They spend more resources, were better prepared, conquered more and as such had the better cards at the end. They were never self-sufficient, wished for more, pushed harder and taught ambition as core value. The huge differences after the war, created the current situation; a self-sufficient Carthage against an ambitious and hungry Moche Empire.
It was known for a longer time, that the Moche administration planned on creating a vast empire from North to South America. There are even declarations guarantees, that explicitly state that Moche won’t take any Brazilian cities of Carthage. Whether these documents have a value or not…is to be determined really soon… Heshmunkitz a diplomat and high representative of Carthdarik (means literally from Punic; city and travel). Carthdarik is the oldest settlement of Carthage in Brazil. There are also other ones such as Carthmien, Malhamitanim, Hemyetmekir etc. The cities in Brazil are since the end of the World War heavily fortified, as the Cold War between Moche and Carthage started. The city walls became higher and higher. Behind the walls commerce activities and trade increased, as it was promoted and part of Carthage’s identity. Each centre of each city within the Carthaginian League has a Hannibal-Square with a huge Hannibal statue. Hannibal complexes are also very frequent. Headquarters of trade are also to be found in the centre. Signs with most quotes of Hannibal or other important people are spread restlessly throughout the League. Publicity was to be seen everywhere and people traded and networked their trade contacts frequently through it.
Heshmunkitz went out of his villa in a rush, he had to take a taxi and go to the city walls of Carthdarik. He was requested to be present within 2 days in the Moche Empire’s capital. He took his documents with him and headed forward. When he was in the street, poor traders tried to sell their connections to him, which he hectically refused. Heshmunkitz was a very busy person and his motto was ‘I will either find a way, or make one’. This very same sentence was used by Hannibal and it became almost the golden rule of Carthage. However, ironically enough, the word ‘way’ became also exploited commercially, so that the militaristic meaning became somewhat forgotten. Heshmunkitz was very profound in historical knowledge, but also political, as well as cultural. He spoke Punic, Celtic, Mochica, Chinese and his own dialect, which was Darikian. His rhetoric skills are unmatched and he always had good results at it when he was younger. Economy, finances, trade studies were not his strength, but he respected it very much as part of Carthage’s culture.
The nature of the request of his presence was very untraditional. Usually he would never be requested to go to any place by a deadline, less likely be asked by a foreign government. As diplomat he would have missions from his government to follow. As there were however some old-fashioned rules, that gave diplomats the possibility to go to foreign countries, when invited by foreign powers, Heshmunkitz was in this grey zone, where he could actually just go, without any fear, which he did. Heshmunkitz apparently had a good name within government circles, as the simple person in the Carthaginian League doesn’t care about politics.
After two hours he came to the city border…the enormous city walls were astonishing, they were big, but also quiet intimidating and grey. They ranked almost up to the sky and covered a good amount of the sky. They are even part of the top10 highest buildings in the world, including the other city walls of the Carthaginian cities in Brazil! The border control never has a lot of work and the controllers were mumbling between themselves, why someone had to pass the border today.
‘Okay Mister Heshmunkitz, under the Hannibalian legislation code, I must ask you to swear to, that you will respect your duty and not commit acts against the Carthaginian League’, said the border controller.
‘I, Heshmunkitz, swear, under Hannibal’s name, to be loyal to my cause, to work for the Carthaginian League and that I won’t commit hostile actions’, pleaded Heshmunkitz.
In that world, signatures don’t exist per se, they are replaced by recorded oath. It was very unusual for Carthaginians to go to other countries, except if it was for trade or in that case for diplomacy, which was still needed. Carthage saw itself as pinnacle of human civilization and that only trade and richness could make a country great. Carthage underwent several political reformations that made them firm for the last centuries. The first one to introduce a complete change was Hannibal, later the Barca family and their descendants continued these policies. Hannibal after defeating Rome, tried to centralize Carthage and switch priorities. This was good for some moments. Whenever there was no concurrent country to Carthaginian trade routes, they would turn inward. When a new big player arrived, chances were really bad for the Carthaginian League, but out of nowhere another Hannibalesque figure arrived and changed everything again. They were this little stitches that revived Carthage from time to time. Heshmunkitz had long debates with himself about it and always wondered if Carthage wasn’t already long overdue and how long they could keep their social order. He respected trade and all, but didn’t see the long promised focus on other parts. Education was very superficial and only interested people would get more knowledge, if they wanted to and had the resources for it. It is true that the economy boomed in Carthage and everyone somehow had jobs, but the money accumulated by the society wasn’t spend on almost anything.
‘Yes no wall will protect us when Moche will raise their arms against us and what are we going to do? Buy them? Bribe them? People with such a different systems of value…they will crush us,’ Heshmunkitz was frustrated about this. The military was nearly non-present, except for the strong marine, but they would protect the holdings of the Old World. The Brazilian cities were on the worst spots and got higher walls only.
Heshmunkitz passed several passages through the wall and came to the Moche border. The officials highly suspicious of the Carthaginian people saw him with distrust. Once he showed his diplomatic papers and repeated his oath, they let him pass. In the Eastern parts the cities were very sparse and most bigger agglomerations existed on the Western part of South America. Heshmunkitz rushed out of the border station and read through all the signs of Moche. He then continued his walk to take the train to the capital. Within 20 years it changed a lot here. He remembered how the Moche used old locomotives they captured from their enemies during the war and now they use the most advanced ones. Their fast development and technological advancement was due to their state ideology. Technology and progress was blessed as divine and god given. This new understanding of technology and religion, completely foreign to us, made it possible for religion and technology to interact and to be inclusive in many unknown ways.
Everyone since childhood in the Moche Empire was taught knowledge, technological as well as social one. People were pushed by the state to know as much as possible. In fact, with the discovery of genetics, the Moche since some years created huge sperm banks of the strongest, smartest and most talented citizens. The mothers were also selected carefully. Everything in there was based on strength, intelligence and your own merits. It could be regarded in our world as theocratic meritocracy. Babies with defects or weak people were considered unworthy and impure and therefore eliminated. The state involvement was huge in Moche and also in a very disgusting sense. In Carthage one could hardly speak about a state… Heshmunkitz was of course against by these foreign customs of Moche, however he acknowledged that Moche was moving soon beyond his understanding.
Every time he passes through Moche, something new is being built and every time it becomes more and more advanced. In the train he noticed that everything was new, clean and optimized. The seats adjusted themselves to his size and the speed was incredibly huge. 300km/h as the publicity in the seat says. The Mochica people managed to build completely new cities out of nowhere. The newest city was Chonkikcharku (proud star) built in order to honour the brightest star in the sky and the victory after the World War. It was placed on the middle of Moche and Carthdarik. In Chonkikcharku he had to change the train and with his diplomatic papers he got of course special treatment by the Moche officials. There was a very new restaurant in the main city area of Chonkikcharku especially for high guests from foreign places. People in there were multilingual and this wasn’t an exception. It was usus, whereas Heshmunkitz was the exception of Carthage. While watching the screen box of there, he saw how pictures and films were shown of a flying iron bottle? He couldn’t recognize it but he could translate it from the Moche language. It stated that: ‘By the will power of the supreme gods, the Moche people are now able to dominate the sky and reach closer to the stars and their Gods. A glorious day of for the master engineers of the marvellous Moche nation.’
His neighbours talked between themselves and were proud of Moche. People started to sing their traditional song, which they only sing after a very important victory. The foreigners, including Heshmunkitz, just sat there and felt awkward. He didn’t get them what was so special about this flying iron bottle? What about the trains they have? Or was it some kind of plane? However, planes never reached spectacular speed maximum 200km/h and were fast forgotten by the world or not? There was something up there and he was sure it was nothing good…
The security guards took Heshmunkitz after some more time out of the restaurant and took him to the second train station of Chonkikcharku. In there he would have another train that would bring him to Moche capital. While going out, everywhere there was a patriotic sounding music to hear and people put out their banners and flags. He asked the security guards what happened or if there was a new national holiday.
‘Our glorious researchers managed it to outclass the world finally and put us above everyone…’ the guard wanted to continue and the other interrupted him.
‘Sorry instructions from our priests and scientist government doesn’t allow foreigners to get more details, including diplomats or traders.’
‘Sorry to say it like this, but I don’t see why, I just want to know what happened, why people are so much celebrating? I should respect your customs and traditions and I must be aware of it…and this is new to me’, said Heshmunkitz.
The two guards discussed, while Heshmunkitz watched how the TV chains and radio turned all loud, with people screaming and singing. They continued their walk, until one guard decided to break the silence, by saying that the Moche Empire continuously tried to outtech their enemies. With this invention, they’d be even able to go to the moon and not to mention (and this is what Heshmunkitz though) attack and destroy Carthage’s Brazilian cities.
‘It was officially declared as technology, that launches a new period of prosperity and our government declared sharing this prosperity with the world.’
Heshmunkitz didn’t know how to react, if it was true or if the government used euphemism after euphemism. As diplomat he had to keep his cold, otherwise it could be bad for Carthage. The Moche Empire right now was not playing anymore games. He feared this since long and now is the day, where they are actually able to wipe off the Carthaginian League AND he was requested to BY the Moche Empire. When the guards left him in the train station and he moved forward to the train, he put one and one together; the Moche Empire would make DEMANDS and ask for CONCESSIONS. Why did they however choose him, Heshmunkitz? Was it just because of his excellent Mochica command or did they consider him weak or are they for real interested in something constructive. These questions, while looking outside at the jungle, kept his mind busy. The train moved really fast and he couldn’t enjoy every detail of the Amazonas. He enjoyed it however more than he thought. The train was also playing all the time strong patriotic music, but the tune was quiet enjoyable and the lyrics really motivating. Heshmunkitz found himself sometimes even humming the songs. The songs were for the most part about how ‘glorious’ the Moche Empire was built, how the divine advices were accepted by the government, how technological progress is praised and the perfect society is sought. One more recent song was about how Moche always was an outsider and finally managed to grow as biggest world power. The locals and Moche nationals sang quiet often and really loud the songs that were played. They showed great pride and the Carthaginian diplomat appreciated it, they had different values and even so he liked them. He was having an inner monologue if their values at the end were not better than the Carthaginian values?
In between, food arrived and it tasted really delicious. It was a fusion of jungle fruits and sea fruits with some additional things from the Pacific islands. The Moche dishes were healthier than the Carthaginian ones and tasted better. For Moche it was important to be healthy, whereas Carthage’s society just thought one could buy health with money… Heshmunkitz asked later for a second plate, it was a Quinua soup, with sugar and coconut milk added in it and some vanilla and natural sweeteners from the jungle. The Quinua soup, even considered by our standards as dessert, was for real a dish designed for the soldiers of Moche. As more people were drafted in the military and became older, the Quinua soup started to become popular, even beyond Moche’s border. Heshmunkitz left a big tip but the waitress said he shouldn’t tip her. When he asked why, she replied to him, that too much money can corrupt her values. However, she didn’t become angry, as she understood that he was a foreigner. Although he knew about Moche culture it came to him as a surprise…Perhaps he never was aware of it or she truly believed in this value?
After a good while he finally arrived in Moche, a city of almost 30 million people, counting the metropolitan area as well. Moche City underwent since the last 100 year enormous transformations. As Heshmunkitz already noticed before, he also noticed in here many changes and was impressed how fast and efficient they improved. He was actually surprised so far. When he went outside the train station district he saw how almost all building were renovated. All streets were freshly done. The places were clean, even for such a busy area it was spotless. Everything was so much in order that he was even frightened for a moment. He called a taxi, who brought him for a good price to the building of the Foreign Ministry. He used the bell and gave his name and was immediately let in. The building was huge, of about 50 levels and he had to take the elevator. People came in and out…until he reached the top floor. Usually the top floor is used for huge diplomatic talks in Moche. The inside building was decorated with their main god Ai Apaec, but also in red as well as blue, the dominant colours of the Mochican people.
Heshmunkitz was received by the Foreign Minister of the Moche Empire and few high officials. They greeted him and gave him presents from all parts of the Moche Empire, from a simple coconut to old pottery from the first years of the Moche culture. He had actually nothing, as he was surprised to be so well received, wasn’t he just a diplomat and not the Foreign Minister?
The Moche Empire delegation started to talk and said:
‘Dear Mister Heshmunkitz. We are happy to receive you in our proud and glorious country. We are happy you came in such an important day as this one here, where we finally could claim the heavens for ourselves and even reach the moon within the next years. We as Moche Empire want to always share our prosperity with the world, as we did just after the World War, with your country, honourable diplomat Heshmunkitz,’ said the minister.
‘Honourable minister, why was I requested by you and not the League’s Foreign Minister? Why is not your counterpart here?’
‘We are lastly having difficulties…concerning the communication between our two great countries…but we know, you are an equally talented person as the Foreign Minister. I’d even go so far and claim, that your presence is well received among the Moche people. You know that our relations froze over time or as some experts say; we are in a Cold War.’
‘That’s really unfortunate, but we have all rules we should respect and I am afraid I don’t have the same power as the League’s Foreign Minister.’
‘You have a remarkable power, trust me. We paid carefully attention to you over the last years and we saw…that you were the only one, who considered to make compromises. At the end, as we know, we must take compromises to ensure the survival of humanity, right? And well…your government is busier about economics and trade, so that sometimes we feel like talking to a wall. There is no cooperation in international issues, even if we try to press them. To make it short. You prevented countless times direct wars between our two countries and at the end you acted truly on behalf for all of humanity…’
‘Thank you a lot honourable minister, I just did my part of the work. I sincerely always opt for peace. The last World War was too tragic and I hope it never repeat itself…’
‘And that is exactly why we like you…We have a common founding for our negotiations. PEACE!’
‘Hmmm yes we should all care for peace, but I am not in any ministry nothing. What is my voice going to change?’
‘Look basically what we want is fleet basing rights in your cities on the coast and access to your Brazilian markets. We want to connect with you, so that in one way or another, war would be a loss for the two of us…Right now we are still really independent from each other…So a war would hurt less in economic terms and especially for us.’
‘But how am I going to help you?’
‘You will sign a paper…and our military will make sure that you will have the upper hand…if anyone, including you, refuses…we see ourselves forced to use stronger weapons… Remember we are driven by the Manifest Destination and actually this land here including Brazil, belongs to us, people who are native here…
Dear Mister Diplomat I offer you this…sign the papers we ask you or else we use our rockets to attack your cities from the sky…It is in your hands…Peace or War?’

Heshmunkitz was prepared to this kind of talk. Even so, he was afraid to say something wrong. Will he regret it or not?

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