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The end is now
With the Ascendancy’s constant attention devoted to the United States, his chief of staff was diligent about honing his focus to the highest priority needs. China and the Pacific Rim were operating business as usual. Africa and South America were in stasis; operations destabilizing the region were ongoing. Notably, negotiations with Australia were narrowing. It was a matter of months before they were incorporated into the Custody. The tiny island continent was remarkably independent, but inflation, droughts, and trade eroded their resolve. It was a matter of time.

Within their own borders, numerous campaigns were in motion. Consuls devoted to public affairs, government relations, culture, and media were inundated with as much work as ever before. Media coverage of the ball and all its aftermath needed a heavy hand, but Nikolai approved their internal efforts. The dividends were paying already. An attack orchestrated by Atharim were remained the standard explanation. Enough witnesses were there to report it, and enough censuring contained the Ascendancy’s reaction, coming to the rescue of all once again.

Word eventually arrived about the waves Evelyn made in DC. Her sudden change of stance from pro-Custody relations to pro-annexation was startling, but the darling Senator had a way of convincing everyone that it was the most obvious and best choice for their future. It was almost as if she had been of such a mind the entire time. Her own party would fracture now, and the splintering would not be overcome. As soon as the work destabilizing the south catalyzed, then the platform upon which Texas may succeed would be fully built. The end was now.

Nikolai was quite content when he went to bed that night. All the pieces of this great game swirled into focus. It was time to let them fall as he willed.

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