Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 587

On the 13th of the 12th month, the transport fleet once more came with Shiksan immigrants to the region. But this time around, the 90 thousand plus members of Thundercrash also came along. According to the region's plans, Thundercrash would get three months of leave to spend time with their families and once more be deployed in the pamigar republic during the 3rd month.

But soon, Claude gave the order for the four folks of Thundercrash to gather at Aduras, Tyrrsim, Mormaly and Robisto respectively. As for the direct units of the corps, they would be stationed in Lanu in Anfiston. Monolith, that had been stationed in Anfiston, were sent to guard Balingana, Cromwell, Vebator and Loki Mountains, while their direct units gathered in Lanu.

Currently, all nine states, apart from Anfiston, had a folk of troops defending it. The two direct units in Lanu also amounted to more or less a folk. After the new year's celebrations on the 10th of the 1st month of Year 607, the region would tackle the criminal syndicates operating in their territories.

The passing of the year was quite disappointing for many people. Usually, official duties would only resume on the 15th of the 1st month. However, every official was given a notice before the 10th to head to a position in another town to cooperate with the purge. They would also be included in the evaluation list.

For the sake of their positions and their incomes of varying legalities, even the most short-tempered officials had to follow the directives without complaint. They were just working away from their usual post --something hardly without precedent-- and all officials were instructed to do so, so no particular person was being targeted. So, nobody suspected anything and sucked it up after a few complaints about their new year's plans being disrupted.

But once those officials reached their assigned posts, they found them to be a really secure military camp. Before they managed to settle down, investigators from the Investigation Bureau came up to them and brought part of their entourage away, allegedly to get their help to understand the local syndicates. However, they never returned after they were taken.

The remaining officials didn't seem too surprised and merely breathed a sigh of relief they weren't involved as those who were taken did indeed have a really close relationship with such syndicates. Some were outright syndicate members. By then, everyone knew that a purge was happening, so those that stuck out would unquestionably be snuffed out.

As the purge went on, more officials were taken away and never returned. It was said they had ties with the syndicates and even did them favours. More and more syndicates had fallen and the confessions began to rack up. Even those that covered their tracks rather well were eventually exposed. Some even provided proof of receipts with their signatures on it. It seemed that most officials did have ties with the criminal syndicates in their area.

As every state of the region had a folk of troops stationed within, the transport routes were effectively shut off. As such, none of the local purges caused any commotion elsewhere. The arrests were mostly made by the local garrisons. One catch led to another and even the bosses who operated behind the scenes wouldn't be able to escape. Whole locales had been locked down and there was simply no way to get away. Having no choice, those captured surrendered their contacts.

Some syndicate bosses who would rather fight to their deaths gathered their men and dealt some casualties to the purgers, but no matter what they did, they wouldn't be able to resist the infantry cannons the troops brought. Two to three volleys would be enough to get them to surrender or begin collecting their corpses. No matter how powerful those gangs were, they were simply no match for the most violent, state-sanctioned 'gangs'.

The purge soon spread far and wide and reports were sent to the command centre for the purge operations. According to many officers, cases of local garrisons collaborating with local gangs were the minority. There were only four to five instances in all nine states.

However, the number of corrupt cases in the constabularies were innumerable. More than a third of constables were informants of the syndicates. It was clear that the constabularies needed a complete cleanup. Saljorak, being the one in charge of all constable affairs, was embarrassed and enraged that it happened under his watch.

However, the successful capture of the syndicate members didn't mean the end of the purge. What had to be done next was The officials that were transferred had to be investigated and those proven to be involved in corruption would be taken away to await having their familial assets confiscated or their whole families sent to the labour camps to pay the price for enjoying benefits they didn't deserve thus far.

Bolonik steeled himself to root this problem out once and for all. By the time the middle of the 2nd month came along, the purge was entering its end stages. Quite a number of council members had come to put in good words on behalf of those captured that they had ties with. However, Bolonik refused to hear any of them out and told them that the ones arrested had eroded the region's cornerstone. Being soft on them was doing the exact same thing. If that was allowed to continue, the region's foundation would be so eroded that it would collapse onto itself.

With Claude's support, Bolonik wasn't afraid of incurring the rage of the council members at all. In a sense, the council members' interests were aligned. They had shares of each other's monopolies. For instance, the two large industries of railroads, tobacco, shipyards, breweries, paper mills and mines were all lucrative businesses.

The council members were part of the ruling class. Having enjoyed more than enough benefits, they turned to consider their household reputation. Those that came to ask for mercy for some of the implicated were pressured by their families and other ties. Having been refused and rebuked by Bolonik, they immediately expressed their support for the purge and made sure to make their praises heard through the local newspapers.

They were all cunning foxes as far as Bolonik was concerned. He had wanted to see any of the council members push their luck so he could make an example out of him and strip him of his council membership. It was too bad nobody afforded him that chance; anyone sharp enough to join the council wouldn't be taken down so easily. None of them would be willing to give up on their position and make an enemy of Bolonik and Claude for their relatives or acquaintances that got into trouble on their own accord.

The huge purge caused large numbers of vacant positions in the local administrations to open up. At least three-fourths of those positions needed filling, though it wasn't that bad as the purge ensured the maintenance of local order in that timespan. The situation of the constables was also not as bad as expected. At least half of them were still in the force and they were enough to maintain basic societal order.

As Bolonik had his subordinates and investigators conduct local evaluations, he rushed Claude for a list of troops that would be retiring that year. He would be using that list to pick a few qualified veterans to fill the vacant administrative positions. Both the executive committee and military headquarters were swarmed with work. Fortunately, Claude didn't forget to make up for the break the troops missed out on due to the purge, or all hell would break loose.

The 3rd month of Year 607 saw the greatest amount of spoils to enter the hand of the region. The spoils from the Shiksan invasion had finally been completely shipped back, and now, they had to be liquidated and converted into cash for the troops. Apart from Thundercrash, the troops of Typhoon and the homecoming Shiksans also got a share depending on their performance and results on the battlefield.

On average, the homecoming Shiksans obtained ten gold crowns each, whereas the troops of Typhoon got 20 to 28 each and those in Thundercrash could get up to 40. The list of achievements of their respective units was public for everyone to see.

During the end of the 3rd month, another batch of ships arrived at the region. Moriad had come with General Eiblont's report. currently, the general was in Port Patkara with Typhoon alongside the eight homecoming Shiksan folks and some 600 thousand Shiksan immigrants.

In another two batches that would transport the rest of the Shiksan troops and immigrants to the region, only Typhoon and some 100 thousand Shiksan captives would remain there. According to the plan, Typhoon only had to leave a folk of 18 thousand plus troops stationed there and another 40 thousand captives to develop the land at the outskirts of the port into farmland. The other three folks would be heading to Northbay with the rest of the captives.

Eiblont said that Thundercrash's departure caused Shisk to grow a little unstable. The Duke of the northlands was gathering his forces, around four standing corps of them. The National Defence Army was also clashing with Duke of Sunset River nonstop at the borders of the royal territory in small-scale skirmishes. As for the collaborators in the National Preservation Front, they were the first to start fighting among themselves for territory.

Even before the other three large factions of Shiks started fighting, the National Preservation Front already started tearing themselves apart. They seemed to have been waiting until the region's troops properly retreated first to start the fight lest they were backstabbed by the region while they were keeping themselves busy. That would truly be a blow too hard to recover from.

Eiblont wanted to ask whether Claude was only going to leave a folk of Typhoon in Port Patkara. he believed leaving the whole corps there would be far better to pose a threat to the Shiksan factions. At least, the battles wouldn't grow too chaotic. He was worried the war between the three factions would affect the development of Port Patkara.

Claude shook his head and wrote back to Eiblont, telling him to follow the original plan. The bigger the fight between the Shiksan factions, the better. Only then could peace be guaranteed in Port Patkara. The longer they fought, the more they would need to count on the region to sustain them. That was when Port Patkara would truly shine and grow into a prosperous market.

Eiblont was a soldier through and through. His first reaction at the sight of the enemy was to wipe them out and protect himself instead of trying to use them to his own ends. Claude and the region were hoping the three factions could escalate the fighting for a few years while the region supported the weaker factions, not letting either be truly wiped out to maintain that power balance. Only then would Shiks truly lose all hope for reunification and split into three smaller nations.

After finishing his letter, he was told by Fachselin that the pamigar republic had sent an ambassador to hurry the region to station Thundercrash in their territory to fulfil their obligations as allies. The pamigar republic did accept the region's proposal to cut down on two of their standing corps. Now, they, felt like they couldn't defend themselves at all, and the region still hadn't sent their troops over, so they sent an ambassador in haste.

Claude could only apologise for the delays thanks to the extra break the soldiers were taking to make up for the purge. He asked the ambassadors to give them another month. Thundercrash would be able to deploy starting in the 4th month.

During that time, Claude could guarantee them that they would not come under any attack, as word of the region sending their most elite unit, Thundercrash, there had already spread at the western coast. Nobody would be foolish enough to give the region an excuse to attack them by provoking the pamigar republic.

Fortunately, apart from sending Thundercrash, the region did fulfil other aspects of military aid they promised. They had long sent the officers and arms over, so the pamigar republic had nothing else to say.

A month soon passed and Thundercrash 1st Folk was already on a voyage to Port Felimz, which the pamigar republic leased the region. The pamigar ambassador followed them back and thanked Claude warmly before he left. Claude promised that he would send one folk each month. In four months, almost the whole corps would be in place.

However, the direct units of Thundercrash could only leave half a year later due to new recruits having to fill the place of the retired veterans. Most of the recruits had to first complete half a year or training before they could be sent to the pamigar republic.

Having dealt with those matters, Claude wanted to take two days off, only for Borkal to visit. He came to ask for money and justified it confidently, saying that he wanted the Security Bureau and Investigation Bureau only had jurisdiction of the region's territory whereas his Information Bureau had to reach out to other Freian nations. Why, then, was he given the same million-crown budget as the rest?

Claude laughed and told him that the biggest difference between the Information bureau and the other two bureaus was their autonomy. In other words, they could use their operations as fronts to make money through companies. They could freely infiltrate other nations as businesses or merchants to send their informants deep into the cities and markets of the other nations, and the profits they made on the side could funnel back into their operations.

In other words, they would be able to source their own income apart from getting a budget from the region. Claude told Borkal that instead of figuring out how to set up a framework for espionage, he would be better off forming companies or trading groups first and collecting information that way.

Enlightened, Borkal was just about to leave when Claude stopped him. He said Borkal came just at the right time. He just received a bill for a million crowns from Bolonik, which was part of the three-million-plus crowns they got from the purge. The region had decided to invest another million into the companies of the Information Bureau.

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