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[x] Play off the ignorant angle and organize the standard PR. They will notice that something is wrong but you won't be giving out anything important before you escort them back out.
-[x] But try to hide completely unexplainable things.
A subtle order is sent out, delivered via the medium of short messages written on easily burnt paper. All Clear Sky military, act cool and hide your weapons except for those on guard duty. All Clear Sky non-military, do what you usually do but call yourself volunteers. All camp residents, keep doing whatever and don't spoil any secrets; bad things will happen to you if you do. Everyone, organize some events or something to distract them.
The most secure way to prevent an assault by media is to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. Nobody in the camp, except for perhaps a few currently locked up for criminal acts, are willing to see this arrangement fall apart.
You walk through the camp, making sure that anything too out of the ordinary is covered up. Helmets and hoods are on for everyone who has horns or funny-looking ears, and some of the overly luxurious storefronts, such as the cell phone shop, are quickly changing their storefronts to resemble basket shops, and other more refugee camp appropriate items. Whispers of "Western media" and "cameras" are getting even those who didn't get the memo to react appropriately. Old shoes and s-hirts are put back on, not too shabby as to suggest maltreatment but not too new as to be suspicious. The bars put away their imported bottles and take out the pots of homemade brew.
You are a bit unnerved at how smoothly things are going. Everyone who you pass by gives you an affirmative nod, and some of the refugees are cooperating with the Clear Sky mercs without question, working side by side to clean up and erase evidence. How can they have built so much trust in just two days?
Camp Fijr Dhwa
1200 Hours, 280620XX
"Right this way, as you can see we have set up a well system inside the base so people do not have to walk five miles to get water, and for safety the old flimsy thatched fence has been replaced with HESCO walls."
"Question?" A short, ruddy-faced reporter asks, "Director Sylla, Where is the Sudanese government officer responsible for this camp?"
Six feet down with his head detached was the true answer, but obviously you cannot say that they offed the annoying twat who threatened government intervention in reaction to the takeover. "He is currently away in Al-Fashir on his own affairs. Sadly I do not have a method of contacting him as, you can see, we're a refugee camp without the resources for telecommunications."
Good thing the satellite comms array isn't going up until next week.
"And the soldiers?" The reporter gestures with his pen at the Clear Sky mercenaries posted on the watch towers around the camp, thankfully wearing the distinctive UN blue helmets. "There seems to be an awful lot of them for a refugee camp."
"Peacekeeping and safety is our top priority here, Mr. O'Conner. Janjaweed attacks have been on the rise recently so DPKO dispatched additional peacekeepers to key locations around this region."
Another reporter, a woman wearing a gaundy floral tie this time, pipes up, "Director Sylla. According to my sources in the DPKO the UN has pulled out of this region, ceding control to the government. So can you offer an explanation of why these Peacekeepers remain?"
She's either lying or has a faulty source, as Indigo had made extra sure that the UN never officially pulled out, going as far as to register the two hundred Clear Sky mercenaries quartered in the camp as UN Peacekeepers. You respond with confidence, "Refugee camps remain under the control of the UNHCR, so naturally peacekeepers are in charge of security here."
"The camps we visited within the Chad border are under government protection---"
"And that is in Chad, where there is no ongoing civil war."
"---and also in Camp Abu Shok, which we visited two days ago. The Sudanese army was in control of that camp."
"Abu Shok is currently under negotiations to transfer control back over to the Peacekeeping Corps. It had to be temporarily transferred to the Sudanese government due to pullouts from some of the countries."
Camp Abu Dihon
1200 Hours, 280620XX
"Sergeant, I order you to transfer control of this camp over to Clear Sky International." The blonde beast mockingly ventriloquizes, using the commander's severed head as a puppet by moving the jaw up and down. "You will do so immediately."
"YES YES WHATEVER YOU SAY!" The sergeant hysterically pleads as he scrambles to sign the contract, "JUST PLEASE DON'T EAT ME!"
The monster in human clothing never changes her expression from a detached grin as she tosses the head out of the window, provoking a chorus of screams from the refugees gathered down below, "You look too skinny anyway."
A greasy smoke rises into the sky, able to be seen from miles away. Human and youkai alike take part in disposing of the soldiers that had opposed them, albeit in different ways.
You lead the group on through the camp, careful to avoid the more suspicious areas such as the factory being set up and the standalone train station. Even so, they are definitely getting some ideas.
"That is a lot of meat stocked there," A reporter, wearing glasses that look two sizes too big for his face, comments as they pass through the marketplace near the center of the camp, pointing at the numerous rows of smoked lamb and dried fish, "It looks like your camp is doing quite well; most of the camps we've been to can barely manage to keep themselves alive."
Ash has been mixed into the ground here, making the dirt hard and firm. Wheelbarrows and bicycles hurry to and fro, laden with raw materials and goods that are sent to respective workshops and market stalls. Currently, all of the workshops and home factories are producing goods exclusively for the need of the camp: Clothing, simple furniture, soaps, and other everyday essentials. There are no refugees wandering aimlessly about, as commonly seen in photographs. Everyone has instead the hurried gait of urban residents, working hard to earn their newfound fortune. The ones who are resting are seated or reclining, confident that they no longer have to waste energy wandering around to have the first grab at scraps.
"All thanks to our sponsor, Clear Sky Logistics. They have made it possible for us to purchase food in cheap from the West, and ship it at affordable costs. Much more efficient than relying on donors through the WFR. For the first time the people in our camp no longer have to trade their rations for meat."
You wipe some sweat off your brow. No doubt this will bring positive coverage, but if they find out just how ridiculous the amount of resources Clear Sky is transferring, and of course the weapons, then it's going to be ugly.
"Are those electric lights?" The cameraman, previously silent, suddenly speaks up as he notices the fluorescent bulbs illuminating the inside of a brickworks, where refugees are hard at work baking adobe blocks to fuel the process of replacing the camp's worn tents with sturdier houses. "And is that an OVEN?"
"Aye, we can afford to ship coal here, and electricity is available via the generator they provided. Sadly, I cannot show you the generators. We have security concerns."
According to Indigo, it is a nuclear fusion reactor. That is the size of a trailer. You have no idea how or why, but apparently it is enough to light up the whole camp at night.
You notice that a few of the reporters have disappeared, likely to get an "honest" opinion from the refugees to find out if there is any shady business happening. Indigo had already told them what not to tell, and you doubt they would sell out the welfare and safety provided by Clear Sky for media brownie points. Besides, it's not like Clear Sky is mistreating them or anything, if anything the response from them should be nothing but good even without guidance.
Alas, reporters are a suspicious bunch, prone to seeing deceptions and traps even where there are none. They would likely term the minuscule wages the refugees are paid for their mandatory labor to be exploitation, even though Clear Sky provides high quality food, first-world utilities and safety to a level unimaginable in other refugee camps, where refugees would struggle to find employment at all. It's a win-win relationship, as well-fed, happy refugees make for loyal, productive workers.
Unless they coax something juicier from the children, of course.
"If you look to your left you can see the metal foundry we are setting up, where most of the camp residents not already employed in the farms around the area will be working. We import metal from local sources and produce goods such as wires, bolts and other goods that can be used for both the needs of the camp as well as exporting to fund the camp's needs."
You puff up your chest in a false display of defiance, "I know it may be a negative concept to you media types, but this camp needs to be able to at least partially fund itself. You know that the UNHCR runs on an ever shrinking budget, and that other camps are suffering as a result. The Income Generation Projects they do is just a way of transferring budget money to refugees, which produces nothing. We can't just have crafts and sewing, no, we need industry, industry that takes advantage of the region and population. We are buying metal from local mines, and turning them into goods to sell abroad. You know what this means? Everyone gets richer, Clear Sky Logistics are happy with their cut, and the refugees no longer have to rely on the shaky goodwill of the West." You punctuate this with a pound of the fist, "The world sees refugees as liabilities, and we intend to change that!"
Nods and murmurs of approval come out of the group of reporters, You breathe out in relief. These Western reporters, generally left-leaning in politics, will generally latch on to anything that shows "the strength of the indigenous and downtrodden", only letting go for extremely juicy bits such as massacres and genocides.
You then sucks that breath back in when you see one of the missing reporters walking quickly down a path, led by an excited looking child who is blabbering something about "...chopped him in half!"
The other reporters, seeing a potential scandal literally on the move, runs after the child. They are heading towards the very center of the camp, where Indigo set up the command post that serves as the office for her and Sylla, and is where the barracks for the soldiers are located.
You struggle to catch up with the more lightly dressed reporters, only managing to out pace the cameraman. You see that there is a group of people, mercenaries and refugees alike, standing around watching something in a square. As you get closer you stop, alongside the reporters mesmerized by the girl dancing on the stage.
Faceless had changed out of her khaki military dress and robe, and is wearing what looks to be a very rococo blouse and dress as she spins and weaves across the stage, performing some sort of Oriental dance at approximately three times the speed of what a human is capable of. The two white fans are the only real way to keep track of her movement in the faster parts of her routine between the second-long pauses where she stares at the crowd with a mask on, a different one every time, and judging by that you can see martial movements being mixed in to what looked to be the normally gentle poses in her dance. Just looking at her however makes your eyes ache, but the fascinating spectacle itself makes up for it.
A few soldiers sit in the back of the crate and tarp setup used as a stage, beating drums and humming chants that set the tempo for the performance. You edge close to them. "What the hell are you people doing?"
"Indigo told us to put up a good show for the media," The white-haired soldier whispers back while beating the drum with his barely covered clawed hands, "So Faceless volunteered to perform. It shows that we're close to the people and all that."
"Yeah but like this? They'll figure out that Faceless isn't a normal human."
"That's your job. Indigo is paying you more than us to handle this."
You resist the urge to shout at the man, but he is right. It is our job, after all.
Only technically right, they still should never had done this in the first place. It is his job, and they've just added more work.
"Alright Sylla," you mutter to yourself, "They're amazed right now, but then they'll ask questions. It's probably the easiest to just pretend nothing is abnormal, that Faceless is just a normal person...aw who am I kidding what kind of soldier comes out dressed like that with hair that color? At least the other youkai covered up their hair."
Faceless stops dancing as she strikes a final pose with her fans stretched out like an eagle's wings, and bows as the crowd, abruptly ripped from their trance, claps vigorously. The cameraman is right next to the stage, and another reporter is snapping off picture after picture on his film camera. Welp, this is now going to spread, but it's just a dance, and at most people who have played the games or whatever Indigo said they sort of were featured in will think, "Huh, she looks familiar."
Indigo might just be using this to draw upon the fanbase as a recruiting pool. As only the most dedicated would be willing to figure out the association and apply for a job just based off the footage, she could gather a number of loyal employees working for reasons more than money. Then again, their physical conditions might be found wanting.
"My my, Director Sylla, that was a performance worthy of Broadway!" The glasses reporter declares, "Your camp must be extremely resourceful to be able to attract such skilled performers like her! What's her name and what NGO is she affiliated with?"
"Uh..." You didn't need to reply. The reporters have all fallen silent as Faceless changes out of the performing dress into a military blouse, don a blue helmet, and sling her the long bayonetted rifle she is using as a more subtle variant of her glaive across her shoulders.
"Any orders, Director Sylla?"
All of a sudden you iare drowned under the pressure of about ten different voices and three different languages shouting in unison, all of which are some variant of "SHE'S A SOLDIER?"
"Alright, alright, settle down people, one question at a time, and yes, Lieutenant Kanonai is a UN Peacekeeper from the JSDF. Any other questions?"
The boy that was leading the reporters onward pushes his way out of the crowd and grabs Faceless's hand, dragging the confused youkai over. "Miss Faceless! Miss Faceless! Tell them how you chopped that bad man in half!"
This boy ain't right. You think to yourself.
"Hmm?" Faceless takes a moment before responding in her usual monotone, "Oh, that one? The one who tried to assault me?"
And just like that, all of the reporters peeled off of you and swarmed around Faceless, "(Ridiculously) Strong female (soldier) who fends off (by brutally slaughtering) rapist in third world refugee camp (actually a corporate worksite at this point)" is the kind of news that is not really significant, but can fill up social media in milliseconds, deriving hundreds of thousands of clicks if needed. It's also an excellent filler piece for traditional news media. So naturally these reporters are desperate to get first grabs at the tender steak that is Faceless.
"Lieutenant Kanonai, please tell us what happened." The glasses reporter, after batting the others way, asks in Japanese.
"The man attempted to disrupt the distribution of food through violence, and attacked two Peacekeepers with a machete. I---" She stops for a moment and looks at you, giving a knowing gaze.
She cranks her neck off to the side and mutters something. The noh mask she is wearing on the side of her head changes to a plain white one, with no expression.
"I bisected him, cut him in half, spilled his organs on the floor. We then burned him on the spot, since he is too disgusting to be consumed like a normal corpse..."
You cover your eyes and ears.
"Okay, alright Lieutenant. That's not important, can you tell me about the duties you perform in this camp."
"Huh?" You look up and see that the reporters look disinterested, even bored at what Kokoro just said. Taking a peek, you let out a deep breath as you see that they have not wrote down anything. Looking up, you blink as you see a soldier, the one who Indigo had called Kakumei crouching on the roof top of the command trailer, with her eyes closed and casting a spell of some sort between her hands, where a small red flame dances. Looking back at the reporters, you notice that their eyes have acquired a glaze of red, and are responding to everything Faceless is saying...oddly.
"We clean the roads and make sure that the rules are followed..."
Intense scribbling, the reporters lean so far forward that Faceless has to back up.
"Also anybody allied with the Sudanese government is interned, and if determined necessary slaughtered and fed to our soldiers."
No scribbling. "No no no, that's not important Miss Kanonai, tell us more about the roads and their composition."
"They are ash and lime..."
The scribbling resumes. Each of the reporters have excited grins on their faces, as if they are getting the scoop of their lifetime.
Meaningless questions and answers continue to be given and replied, as the reporters probe Faceless with the questions they should have been asking you in the first place, until Safar manages to show up and relieve her. By the time they stop two hours have passed, and their notepads and camera footage are filled with information about food content, building construction, and disease prevention, all information which is actually fairly relevant when discussing refugee camps but nothing that will make an article in even a small-time paper.
Camp Fijr Dhwa
1430 Hours, 300620XX
"I think that's inadequate material for this camp," The older reporter who appears to be in charge announces, "We have more camps to cover in this region."
"May we look at the camera footage?" You ask.
"As unbiased members of the press we cannot allow outside sources to try and censor us, so of course you can!" The camera man retains the prideful smile as he hands his camera over to you, who still stands still, slightly shocked at how blatant the logical contradiction is.
"Are you a media worker?"
You look away from the hexed journalist, and begins looking through them for incriminating footage. Good thing it's just Faceless's little interview, and you only have to delete the first couple of clips recorded.
"Here you go. Thanks for the visit."
You escort the group over to the gate, along with a slightly confused Safar, and sends off the group of reporters, who reply in a mix of goodbyes and profanities as they get into their press van and drive backwards out a hundred meters before reversing direction and leaving normally.
"What just happened?"
"Magic happened! That's right!" A happy, excited voice comes from behind them as Kakumei practically skips over, her facemask and helmet gone, revealing her short, messy black hair with odd white and red streaks through them, along with the fairly conspicuous horns on the top of her head. "Those stupid humans will never know why they wrote down a bunch of useless crap!"
"You...you're Kakumei, right?"
She scowls, "I LOVE being called Kakumei. Dammit my name is Kijin Seija, not the stupid codeword that Yakumo gave me. She said this service is penance for all the trouble I stirred up in Gensokyo. Ha! What an idiot. All she did was give me a bigger place to stir up trouble."
"So Miss Kijin," Safar asks, his face in his palm, "Are you like a monster of opposites or something!"
"An amanojaku never tolerates the so-called correct order in the world! Why should black be black and white be white? It makes no sense!" She lifts a finger at Sylla, and with a mutter turns his cap inside-out. "And I thought Gensokyo was stuffy! Out here you humans have this thing called a central government, and beyond that you have a world government. What utter rubbish! I would see all of it torn down!"
"So you're an anarchist."
"Ha! I reject such petty labels! If that is the case why am I happily cooperating with the Yakumos even though they have not fitted a seal on me?"
"Ha! Look around you, don't you see it? Don't you see what Clear Sky stands for?" She does a hopping spin, gesturing all around. "This, all of this, is the beginning of the end."
Safar quietly whispers to you, "Adin, is she implying that this company has a doomsday device?"
"No, it's actually much more terrible." You suddenly realize what Indigo's obtuse words yesterday after you had ambushed the government convoy meant, what was causing the refugees to trust Clear Sky besides the physical things, "The horizon is the line, the sky is the limit. Gensokyo, from the material I've read, is a walled off fantasy land, but what would happen, if you could imagine, if it grew."
Improved living conditions alone is tempting, but being able to live in a fantasy world would turn supporters into fanatics.
Kakumei...no...Seija, raises her hands and speaks a word, conjuring up a small magical explosion above her head, "Chaos."
The humanitarian coordinator slowly realizes, "If Clear Sky manages to not just secure areas, but turn them into more Gensokyos, then this would mean that the stuff of fantasy would be reality, not just for a few thousand, but for everyone."
"And once people realize they could live in a world like that there would oh SO much unrest." Seija clasps her hands together as a dreamy look comes on her face, "Protests, riots, uprisings, revolutions! Even those who do not care for fantasy can be turned by quality of life. The old powers will try and hold on as hard as they can, and I will so be there to cast them down from their towers and onto the stones below. I'll be surprised if you continue cooperating with us, Mr. Safar."
"Actually, yes I will." Safar adjusts his spectacles and walks up to Seija, "While I abhor violence, I cannot disagree with the prospect of improving the life for the common people of the world. Normally a chaotic monster like you is something I would avoid and rebuke, but this road is something we must share. We will never be friendly, of course, but I can trust you to work towards the same goal."
The amanojaku looks taken aback, "You...okay. Lieutenant Sylla?"
"I've said this before and I've said this again." You answer, "This is my job. I like this job."
"Fine then. Hmph." She turns around and stomps off, "I love you all."
PR job is done, what now. It's not like there's a lot of things that Safar needs you to handle, and Indigo's still away.
[ ] Chill out with ________.
[ ] See if you can get somebody to teach you magic.
[ ] Practice your marksmanship
[ ] See if somebody can teach you better CQC