One and Only Son
A Code Geass and Gundam 00 Crossover by Juubi-K and Zaru
Rebooted as of 2017
Tehran, Imperial State of Iran, Federal Republic of Krugis, January 2001 ATB
The atmosphere in the conference room was grim.
Lord Bismark Waldstein, First Knight of the Round Table, could feel the sour tension all around him. It seemed to come off the men in front of him in waves, and emanate from the walls like a bad smell. Here was a place that had known despair, and defeat.
To think that this was the Golestan Palace, the official residence of the Shah, the single most powerful man in the entire Federal Republic of Krugis. To think that this was the palace of the King of Kings, of the dynasty that had reigned in Iran for nearly eighty years.
The man in question sat directly opposite, at the head of the long, heavily-polished wooden table. Darius Ismail looked somewhat young for his thirty years, with curly black hair, finely-shaped features, and a pair of dark, taciturn eyes. He sat in the chair as if it were a throne, his lean frame clad in a black, gold-frogged military tunic and dark red pants; the dress uniform of the Royal Guards.
Around the table sat his innermost advisors, those he considered most trustworthy to hear what this Britannian visitor had to say. Directly to the Shah's left sat Prime Minister Farzin Bakhtiar; grim-faced and scowling. The only person present to have been popularly elected to his position, he was leader of the National Front party in the Majlis; Iran's elected legislature. Opposite him sat General Ardashir Madani, Chief of the General Staff, along with General Hassan Rahimi, head of the Organisation of Intelligence and National Security; Iran's answer to the OSI.
Last, but far from least, was the Grand Ayatollah Mahmud Shirazi, clad in simple black. On the face of it, his presence at so vital a meeting was an oddity. Bismark had learned enough of the comings and goings of the Iranian government to know better.
Yes, it was right that he be there, to hear of what was about to be done. These few, in that room, would know the truth of it.
"Gentleman, I am a soldier," he began; his tone grave, his voice deep. "I know nothing of politics or diplomacy. All my life I have been a soldier, trained and accustomed to see as a soldier, and to speak as a soldier. Thus, as a soldier I speak to you."
He paused a moment, gathering himself. This was easily the most important speech he had ever made, or ever would make.
"You are defeated." His tone was level, and cold. "You may have convinced yourselves that this is not so, but to the whole world it is abundantly clear. You are surrounded by enemies, your own armies have deserted you, and your own people riot and war in the streets. The Federal Republic of Krugis is dead, and your own Iran may soon follow."
He fell silent, half expecting a barrage of denials and curses and nationalistic bombast. Nothing came. Those eyes merely stared back at him, so hard as to be almost lifeless.
"You do not believe me?"
Bismark strode over to the wall, over which was emblazoned an elaborate map of the Federal Republic of Krugis. It had been painted nearly a century earlier, when the Federal Republic had taken its final shape; a symbol of a more hopeful time, when Mustafa Krugis had led armies and united nations with the power of his words alone. The Imperial State of Iran sat in the centre, the Federal Republic's fulcrum. To the west stood the Arab states of Jordan, Syria, and Iraq, along with the ragged crescent of Kurdistan. To the east stood Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the looming bulk of the Chinese Federation just beyond. To the north stood the four youngest states, last to be conquered by Mustafa Krugis and Cyrus Ismail; the ally who, with his help, had taken the Peacock Throne from the moribund Qajar dynasty.
"Afghanistan and Pakistan are in alliance against you, and have overrun your eastern borders." He gestured at the map, his gloved finger running from north to south of the shared border region. "To the north, the Chinese Federation has already overrun Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, while Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are in chaos and likely to follow."
"To the west, here," he gestured as he spoke, "the KPSA has carved out a territory in the middle of Syria and Iraq, and the Kurds have also lost ground. Behind them, Syria and Jordan have renounced Krugis in favour of a new Middle-Eastern Federation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and the Egyptian Arab Republic. The only allies left to you are the Kurds and what remains of Iraq; and both are looking to their own defence. In short, gentlemen, this country is alone and friendless. Our analysts have concluded that you have six months at most."
He fell silent, allowing it all to sink in. Then the silence was broken as Rahimi started clapping, very slowly.
"A most impressive presentation, Lord Waldstein," the General said, with stinging sarcasm. "What will your next trick be? Something that, perhaps, my own agents and analysts did not tell us yesterday?"
"General Rahimi is pleased to jest," Bismark replied, with as much restraint as he could muster. "But he makes my point for me. These are the facts, and you are all aware of them. So, kindly do not insult me with pointless denials."
More silence. Bismark was starting to worry. Were they really that broken? That desperate?
"No one is denying the facts, Lord Waldstein." It was the Shah's turn to speak. "The situation has been made abundantly clear, or else we would not have requested your presence." He turned to Madani. "General, please present your report on our current situation."
Madani nodded, and opened his dossier.
"The situation, your Majesty, is far from good. Out of a pre-war army of two hundred and twenty thousand, we are down to just over a hundred thousand. Most of this took place in the weeks following the unfortunate death of Rasa Massoud Rachmadi in Qoms…may Allah comfort him."
The last he added with a glance at Shirazi.
"The bulk of our conscripts, around half the army, deserted in the week following the assassination. Some mutinied, some joined the rioters and rebels, while others simply disappeared. We estimate that around twenty thousand have gone over to KPSA, while around ten thousand are currently fighting with rebel forces in the north and in Uzbekistan. Fortunately, around half the deserters returned to their units within a week of the Pakistani air attacks, apparently out of patriotism."
He sounded dubious.
"In total, we have around one million ground troops currently in service. Of these, around one hundred and forty thousand are professionals and regular conscripts; the rest are volunteers and militia. We have done our best to train and arm them, but they remain unsuitable for offensive operations. Between combat losses and theft, we have lost around half our tanks, armoured vehicles, and artillery pieces. The air force has also suffered considerable damage, losing over half of its fighters to the Pakistani air attacks in the first week. We have since managed to stem the tide, but only because our other enemies have no air power to speak of. Sedition in the navy has forced us to purge it of almost all of its conscripts, leaving us desperately short of crews. We are in the process of training new volunteers, but we won't be able to send ships out for at least six months, more like a year."
"What of Iraq and Kurdistan?" the Shah asked, almost pleadingly. "Have they no help to lend?"
"If anything, they need our help, your Majesty," Madani replied. "The Iraqis have managed to bog the KPSA down in Baghdad, or what's left of it. But all their usable units are there, and the Kurds too are hard-pressed, even with those Takavaran Special Forces battalions we sent them. No, your Majesty, we can expect no help from them."
"And that's it?" Bakhtiar was incredulous. "There's no hope?"
"The Pakistanis are focussing their efforts on Bandar Abbas, while the Afghans are pushing on Mashhad. Both will be encircled in a matter of days. If they fall, the Pakistanis will be able to secure the Strait of Hormuz, and the Afghans will link up with the rebel-controlled northern cities. On top of that, KPSA forces and KPSA-aligned Kurdish rebels are keeping our troops tied down in our western territories."
Madani gave Bakhtiar a hard look.
"Without substantial and immediate reinforcements, our situation is hopeless."
The Shah took a long, slow breath.
"I think, Lord Waldstein, we have between us made the situation clear," he said. "I'm sure you can now see why we have sought your Emperor's help. Our country faces its most desperate hour, and I ask - no, implore - you to assist us."
Bismark did not reply. For a moment he felt a twinge of shame, of unworthiness. This was the only way his plan – their plan – would ever work. But to take advantage of their desperation like this?
"His Imperial Majesty Charles zi Britannia, 98th Emperor, has ordered me to express his sincere condolences for your recent sufferings, your Majesty."
He let the flummery hang in the air, buying him time to choose his words.
"His Imperial Majesty has also commanded me to offer you and your country his Imperial protection. In return for your agreement, I can provide you with troops, weapons, training cadres, and economic support for the rebuilding and modernisation of your economy."
The atmosphere in the room turned very cold.
"Protection?" The colour had drained from Bakhtiar's face. "Just what do you mean by protection?"
"I mean that your country will be brought under the Imperial aegis," Bismark replied, willing himself not to shiver at the tension. "This country will be known in Britannia as Area Seven."
"Area?" Bakhtiar looked as if he was about to have apoplexy. "You're asking us to surrender? To give up our sovereignty, our identity, our very selves?"
Bismark scanned his good eye around the table. Shirazi's face was emotionless, but Madani and Rahimi were visibly shaken, eyes bright with anger. The Shah had maintained his dignity, but there was something dark and terrible in his eyes.
Time to make the pitch.
"I ask no such thing," he said carefully. "As First Knight of the Round Table, I have the unique privilege of selecting any Area as my personal fief; subject to my authority and mine alone. If you agree to this proposal, I will exercise this privilege and take Krugis under my personal protection."
"How does that help us?" barked Bakhtiar.
"Because although this country will be Area Seven, I will not treat it as an Area. There will be no settlements, no military bases, no expulsions or concessions. By my authority as First Knight, I will provide you with all the assistance I promised a moment ago, and anything more that you should require. Your country and people will retain their identity, and I will in no way, shape, or form interfere in this country's governance. Your country will also enjoy the military protection of Britannia, and have access to its markets. To Britannia, this country will be Area Seven, but only to Britannia. To itself, and to the rest of the world, this country will be Iran, Krugis, or whatever name you should see fit to apply. This is my solemn pledge."
Silence. Frigid, oppressive silence. The two generals and the Prime Minister looked bewildered, and Bismark wasn't surprised. Never in all the world would they have seen that one coming.
"You pledge not to interfere in our internal affairs," Shirazi spoke up, the others almost jumping. "We trust that this includes religion?"
Bismark regarded the elderly cleric. He looked old, with grey hair and a neatly combed beard; but he had kept his thoughts and feelings to himself throughout the meeting, and even now Bismark found him completely unreadable. Little wonder he sat on the Shah's cabinet; between that, and his position as the most senior member of Iran's Shia clergy. Reaching into every level of Iranian society, they were a spy network unto themselves.
"The Empire has no policy on matters of religion," he said. "Even if it did, I shall not interfere."
"Why do you make such an offer?" the Shah asked, his tone icy cold. "If you desire dominion of this country, why be so generous?"
This was it. This was his last, best chance to convince the Shah. Bismark braced himself.
"Because the Area system has become a blight on the Empire," he said. "The peoples of South America have been reduced to Numbers, robbed of pride, dignity, their very humanity. Conquest has crushed their spirits, leaving even the obedient sluggish and lifeless; their talents and spirit gone to waste. Those who are not crushed have either left for other lands, or fight us from the shadows, killing and destroying in a war that murders humanity itself; as you all know well."
"Worse, in its own way, is the effect on our own people, the colonists especially. Their dominion has made them arrogant and haughty, and power has made them cruel. They think themselves superior, blessed by birth alone, and that all others are mere chattels to be used as they please. Childish egotism and murderous lust, this they misname the survival of the fittest. They are deluded by victory, and their delusions will destroy them."
He paused, hardly daring to believe what he had just spoken. What would the Britannian people think if they heard him say it? What would they say if they knew that their own Emperor agreed with him?
"Your country must become an Area, because it is the only foreign relationship that my people can comprehend or accept," he went on gravely. "It is also to show them that things need not be as they are. I see, in this, an opportunity to show that we need not conquer and destroy other cultures, other civilizations. Rather, we can learn from them, profit from them, make common cause with them. They will learn that our people can co-exist with other peoples, as equals and perhaps even friends. They will learn that a better world is possible."
For what seemed like an eternity, the room was silent.
"Lord Waldstein." It was the Shah. "I must confer with my advisors in private. Please give us the room for a few minutes."
"As your Majesty wishes." Bismark stood up, and strode away from the table, the doors opening to let him pass. The doors slammed shut behind him, echoing through the chamber like the closing of a tomb.
"What shall I do?" Darius sagged in his chair. "What shall I do?"
"I suppose we'll have to accept," mused Madani. "It's not a bad offer, all things considered."
"How can you say that?" bellowed Bakhtiar, almost leaping from his seat. "His promises don't matter a damn! The people will never accept it!"
"Who says they have to know?" asked Rahimi. "People can't rebel against what they can't see. With no Settlements or troops on the street, how can people say they are being occupied?"
"They won't wait that long!" Bakhtiar half-yelled, half-pleaded. "Even bringing Britannian troops in would be risky! But signing ourselves over to the Empire? Pledging our sovereignty on the word of one man? Say something Shirazi!"
He rounded on the cleric. Shirazi stared back at him, serene and unreadable.
"It seems to me," he said carefully, "that if Lord Waldstein intends to betray our trust, he must have some means of forcing his will upon us. He will need a great many soldiers if he means to conquer and hold down this country."
"Exactly!" Madani cut in. "He'll never hold us down with less than a million men; a million men Britannia can't spare! All we need to do is hold him to his promise of arms and trainers! And make sure he doesn't bring in more troops than he needs! Even if he is planning something, we can fox him if we're careful!"
"Would that the people would share your blind overconfidence!" snapped Bakhtiar. "The very idea will confirm everything the rebels and the KPSA have been saying about us!"
The room fell silent, all eyes falling on the Shah. Darius sat in his high-backed chair, his mind in turmoil.
"Why must this fall on me?" he thought. "Brother, forgive me, you should have been Shah, not me. Oh merciful Lord of mercy, why did you take my brother from me? For what purpose did you determine that I should be Shah? What destiny have you planned for me, for Marina?"
He thought of his little niece, sleeping in her room at the other end of the palace. She was so young, so innocent, so frightened and confused by all the terrible things that had happened over the past months.
And he was about to make a choice that would secure her future, or doom it utterly.
"I have decided," he said, his voice hoarse. "God willing, I have decided right."
"The people will never forgive us." Bakhtiar sounded almost petulant. "The people will destroy us."
"Then let their anger fall on me." Darius cleared his throat, his heart heavy with the knowledge of it. "Let me bear the danger, and the consequences. I can only bear their hatred, if it will let me save them."
"Allah be merciful," whispered Bakhtiar.
"Call him in." The Shah sat up in his chair. "Let's get it done."
Well, I hope that was to your liking.
I was very worried about writing this one. I have come to understand the importance of a good introduction, one that lets people into the story in a concise and informative manner without getting too bogged down. It ocurred to me that I needed to introduce Krugis, at least in part, so that the readers will understand what on Earth I'm talking about. Unfortunately, as you may have seen, that does put limits on what I can do. I just hope that this approach works out.
The other worry was in getting the Iranian characters right, especially Shirazi. I hope this has worked out well.