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Nov/4/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Artsakh (Karabakh) \\ gyorbagyor \\ battlefield & analysis; combat footage \\ geopolitics & diplomacy \\ Ibrahimov suspended; Adidas cancels deal \\ donations & demonstrations \\ international media coverage \\ Turkey loses GPS suppliers \\ winter is coming \\ more...

Your Wednesday report contains 4908 words. 19-minute read.

how does Russian media cover the Artsakh conflict?

Five major Russian news outlets were analyzed to learn how they cover the conflict.
RIA Novosti had 40 articles: 16 written by Azeris. 18 by Armenians. 5 international neutral. 0 international pro-Armenian. 1 international pro-Azeri.
Regnum had 24 articles: 5 by Azeris, 11 by Armenians, 5 international neutral, 3 international pro-Armenian. 0 international pro-Azeri.
Lenta.ru had 14 articles: 3 by Azeris, 8 by Armenians, the rest neutral.
Gazeta.ru had 12 articles: 1 by Azeris, 4 by Armenians, 4 international neutral, 3 international pro-Armenian, 0 international pro-Azeri.
TASS had 11 articles: 4 by Azeris, 6 by Armenians, 1 neutral.
https://www.facebook.com/MediaAdvocate1/posts/1123066998107940 , https://news.am/arm/news/611484.html

second captured Syrian jihadist tells the story / "long knives" for beheadings / no bulletproof vests

Yousif Alabet al Haji was recruited by Turkey and Azerbaijan for $2,000 and given an extra $100 to behead Armenian "kafirs" (infidels) in Artsakh. He was given a translator and a lawyer before interrogation. It appears he was a member of the same 500-member group as the first captured jihadist.
Born 1988 in village Al Ziadieh, Jser al Shahour, Idlib Province, Syria. He is completely illiterate. Married, has four sons and one daughter. He worked on land and farm in Syria.
"15 days ago, in the evening, an acquaintance of mine from the neighboring village of Sahan, whose name is Ibrahim but we call him Abu Ahmad and whom I had known for a long time, came to see me at my place.
Abu Ahmad offered me to go to Azerbaijan for money. Asked about the trip's purpose, Abu Ahmad said it's for taking part in military exercises, and I could be paid $2,000 a month. My family members, my wife, my father, were against my leaving; my brothers were not aware of it.
Abu Ahmad said that there were other young people from the neighboring Sararif and Saham villages some of whom had been in Azerbaijan for a month now. Abu Ahmad told me not to take anything along with me. Neither my identity documents nor anything else.
At midnight on the same day, a car designated by Abu Ahmad parked near our house, which took us all from the village to the Bab Al Salam checkpoint in a territory controlled by Abu Hamsha. About 500 people, all of whom were Syrian Arabs, gathered at the Bab Al Salam checkpoint.
At 8 clock in the morning, Abu Hamsha's brother, whose name was Saif, came over there. When Saif came, he first announced that the they were not forcing any of us; we were being recruited for a monthly salary of $2000. He added that whoever wanted could return, but if we accepted the offer to go to Azerbaijan, and then wished to return, he would shoot in the foot and would not let us go back.
After his statement, Abu Hamsha's brother started selecting who would go to Azerbaijan. The selection was made according to an age criterion: people between 20-40 years old were chosen. Abu Hamsha's brother, Saif, selected 500 people.
He accompanied us through the checkpoint and told us to get on 10 large buses already parked at the checkpoint. Saif also told us that a group of 500 people had already left for Azerbaijan a month before us.
We crossed the border between Syria and Turkey via the aforementioned checkpoint,. While crossing the Turkish border, the checkpoint was inspected by Turkish military personnel and people in civilian clothing, who did not ask us any question, did not check our passports; they only counted.
After doing some 2.5km in half an hour by bus, we reached the first airport, which was a civilian one. None of us was asked to produce a passport or other document. There were Turkish soldiers there. We, a total of 500 people, quickly boarded two civilian planes, which bore Turkish flags.
The plane landed at a civilian airport, where again no one asked us anything; we were not asked to produce a document; we all boarded on a large civilian plane, which bore the Azerbaijani flag. The plane landed in Azerbaijan.
The army servicemen of Azerbaijan and Turkey welcomed us at Azeri airport. We then boarded buses, accompanied by Turkish and Azeri soldiers. We were taken to the central military base, where again, Turkish and Azeri soldiers were stationed. We could distinguish the Turkish military because of the flags on their uniforms.
We stayed at the military base for three days. On the first day, they gave us necklaces with numbers written on them, and then took photos of us with the necklaces on.
On the second day, in the same military base, we were provided with uniforms and weapons. Russian-made machine guns, PKS, RPG, snipers and bullets were provided. High-ranking Turkish and Azeri servicemen were wearing bulletproof vests, but we were not provided with any. We were told to get ready to move the following day.
Let me mention that we arrived in Azerbaijan by plane on October 18, 2020.
In the mentioned military base, Azeri and Turkish servicemen were undergoing preparatory military training. Our leader in the military base was Sheikh Ibrahim. On the third day, we left with Sheikh Ibrahim to another military base which was 4 hours away.
Sheikh Ibrahim and Abu Hamshen were in the second base with around five armed men walking around. Both of them, as well as 500 Syrian Arabs who were also at the military base, had come to fight for money.
Besides them, there were Turkish and Azeri soldiers in the base who were in touch with Sheikh Ibrahim and Abu Hamshan. Abu Hamshan was the leader of the group, leading the mercenaries coming to Azerbaijan from Syria, and he was responsible for them.
We were divided into groups. Abu Hamshan had been telling us not to spare anyone's life. He said that all Armenians should be slaughtered and killed. At the same time, Turkish and Azeri soldiers were also giving us similar orders, to kill and slaughter Armenians. Abu Hamshan, as well as the Turkish and Azeri soldiers, were telling us that each person who beheads an Armenian, would receive $100 for each beheading. Let me also mention that we were armed with long knives.
For those of us who were scared, the Azeri servicemen provided special drugs, which inhibit fear. I have personally seen how the soldiers of the Azeri army were distributing the pills to our Syrian boys. They were round, they looked like normal pills. I have not used it myself but many of the boys in our groups have drunk it in my presence.
On the seventh day, at 4 o'clock in the morning, by the order of Abu Hamshan and Sheikh Ibrahim, we went out with 150 people, got on pickup trucks and moved. After getting off the pickups, we walked about 7 kilometers. We were instructed to stand in a line, about 6 meters apart. We were prohibited to speak or to make a sound. We could only signal each other with our hands to talk to each other. [even jihadists respect COVID measures... wear your masks, kids j/k]
We were accompanied by Sheikh Ibrahim and two Azeri soldiers. Sheikh Ibrahim had told us that we must capture the Armenian village located in front of us and we must slaughter the civilians and the military personnel there.
When we approached the Armenian village, they started firing at us. Besides that, they were shooting in our direction with mines that were exploding during which 15 of us were killed. The operation failed and we had to flee to the mountains.
When we fled, I was not yet wounded. We went astray for a moment until we found the Azeris who were accompanying us. They escorted us, took us to some road, during which, the Armenians started shooting at us.
I was injured, I remained in that condition for days. No one asked or was interested in me. After staying for three days, I moved towards the Armenian bases. The Armenians signaled to me from afar that everything was normal.
I approached them, they took me in, treated me, gave me water and food. They assured me that they won't harm me. They only treated me well, may God bless them. I want to thank the Armenians, they helped me, healed me, revived me. We were wrong to come here. The Armenians are much better than we imagined.
I, Yousef Al Abed Al Haji, state that any person who is willing to go to Azerbaijan should not do so, because Armenians are very kind people. They saved me from death, they helped me.
I advise everyone, if they try to deceive you, try to lure you with money against this country, do not come to fight against Armenians, even if you will live in poverty. It is better to stay poor rather than go to Azerbaijan to fight for money. The Azeris call the Armenians infidels, but they are the infidels [shots fired].
We are the infidels that came to fight against these kind people [best tourism commercial ever]. I stayed wounded for five days, no one helped me but the Armenians did and healed my wounds [buy Armenian products in grocery stores near you].

few things from yesterday

UN Human Rights Watch: Turkey is inciting against its Armenian citizens, and hundreds are being forced to leave. Turkey’s representative is President of the 2020-2021 U.N. General Assembly. Why, @antonioguterres [UN leader]?
This is the moment when Azerbaijan bombed the capital Stepanakert yesterday. A children's center was targeted.
Sasna Tsrer party volunteers are in the front lines. They neutralized an Azeri colonel and published a photo of his uniform.
An unverified report by Russian military reporter Kotenok says that Armenians began using smoke-screen vehicles [like the ones in the link below] that create dense clouds to block the enemy's sight.
Fox 11: LA doctor details handling a pandemic in midst of a war in Armenia:
The french-Armenian community of Marseille, France has sent three jets filled with humanitarian aid.
Painter Alik Asatryan was recording the First Artsakh War on videotape in the 1990s. Today he lives in the Netherlands. He sold paintings and donated $19,000 to www.HimnaDram.org
Famous actor-comedian Vardan Petrosyan joined the "Ողջ Մնալու Արվեստ" team. His son went to the front lines:

November 4 // battlefield & analysis // international response & diplomacy // donations & demonstrations

00:02: Netherlands MP Peter Omzicht has urged the govt to consider sanctions against Azerbaijan for the use of banned phosphorus weapons and the import of jihadists. He cited the Genocide Watch agency's conclusion that the population of Artsakh is facing a threat of genocide.
00:07: the entire province of Lombardy, Italy has officially recognized the independence of the Artsakh Republic. "Lombardy Region is the first European region to support the recognition of the Artsakh Republic," said Councilman Michele Usuelli.
G.R.A.Z.I.E: https://www.facebook.com/m.usuelli.regione.lombardia/photos/a.387784631757763/863196244216597/?type=3
8:42 MoD: In the direction of Shushi, operations are being carried out to blockade and destroy the enemy group.
Stepanakert was bombed last night. Here are the photos:
9:24 army: the night was stable-tense on all fronts. The enemy continued to bomb not only army positions but also civilian settlements at night; Shushi was bombed. There are casualties.
At midnight, the infiltrators tried to advance near Shushi but were found and thrown back after suffering heavy losses. There is an ongoing operation to surround and destroy the group. Our army is in full control of the situation on all fronts.
Photos of Shushi bombing: https://factor.am/304985.html
https://t.me/infocomm/25369 , https://t.me/infocomm/25370
10:22: Armenian-Americans demonstrated in front of the "BGR Group" lobbying group with calls to drop the contract with Azerbaijan.
10:26: a group of hairstylists in Prague has collected $20,000 in donations for Artsakh and hospitals.
Some 40% of capital Stepanakert has been damaged by bombing. www.HimnaDram.org helps to recover it.
https://news.am/arm/news/611425.html , https://www.lragir.am/2020/11/04/596091/
11:29: experts advise family members not to discuss anything other than personal topics while calling relatives in front lines, because the calls can be easily intercepted by the enemy,. "The soldier should be at least 2km away from the area where the rest are gathered at the time of making the call."
11:39: singer Forsh has entered the chat with a new clip:
11:52: 85 judicial and 100 Investigative Committee officials have joined the front lines.
https://factor.am/304741.html , https://factor.am/304819.html
12:02 Russian WarGonzo reporter citing the source in Istanbul: several Azeri generals were "fired" by Turkey earlier. They plan to бунт (rebel) against the Turkish takeover. The officers, who are Shia, are unhappy that their soldiers are being managed by Turkey and Sunni jihadist commanders brought from Syria.
Aliyev is also losing control of the situation. There is a conflict within his clan. The Pashayev wing (Aliyev's wife's people) wants Aliyev to expedite the complete pro-Turkish transition, while Aliyev wants to imitate a balance between Russia and Turkey to avoid a scandalous severance of ties with Russia.
Either way, Aliyev understands that in any case, he will have to lie under Erdogan. In short, the Azeri leader is in a multi-vector situation.
12:12 Justice Minister Badasyan: there are international conventions against recruiting terrorists and a FATW global taskforce that fights the financing of terrorism. We are discussing possible action against Turkey for financing terrorism. There is evidence that Turkey hired and paid terrorists from Syria. Some other work is being done in the European Court for Human Rights right now.
12:21 political analyst Voskanyan: Azerbaijan is distorting Iranian Supreme Leader's words. During a yesterday speech, while speaking about the 7 regions of Artsakh, Khamenei did not use the harsher term اشغال (eshghal, "forceful occupation") which is often used in politics to describe Palestinian lands. Instead, he used the word تصرف (tasarrof), which is a milder term closer to "capturing" and is more apolitical.
12:27: doctor Sasha Rustamyan was ambushed and killed while transporting a wounded soldier. A group of Azeri infiltrators, dressed in Armenian uniforms, imitated an incident near a road. The ambulance vehicle was targeted when it stopped to help. Yerevan State Medical University paid tribute to their colleague. [this is possibly related to the earlier infiltration near Shushi forests]
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033941.html , https://med.news.am/arm/news/27599/razmakan-bzhishk-sasha-rustamyany-zohvel-e-tshnamu-gndakic-isk-hakarakordi-kraki-tak-haytnvats-shtapognutyan-meqenan-glorvel-e-dzory-epbh-rektor.html
13:19: the Personal Data Protection Agency recommends enabling 2-factor authentication for social media accounts, in addition to passwords. Hackings are common these days. The hijacked accounts are used for stealing data and spreading fake news.
13:29: video showing some of the destroyed drones belonging to Azerbaijan:
13:30: producer and actors Arsho Harutyunyan and Babken Chobanyan are also in the front lines.
13:31 Artsakh Ombudsman: Togh village resident told an international media reporter that one of his neighbors, whose name is Maior, had been beheaded, and 82-year-old Misha Stepanyan was murdered. We are investigating the case.
Hatred of Armenians is so ingrained in Azerbaijan that the killing of any Armenian or mistreatment of corpses is welcomed by the general public. This deserves special attention from the international community. The danger of genocide is very high.
50 civilians have been killed, 148 wounded, and 19,000 pieces of property damaged from Azerbaijan's indiscriminate bombing.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033872.html , https://factor.am/305004.html
13:38 army: Azerbaijan has lost 7,155 soldiers, 6 TOS, 697 tanks and armored vehicles, 25 aircrafts, 18 helicopters, 252 drones.
13:53: Azeri resident Zamig Mamedli complains about corruption that hinders aid to soldiers in frontlines. He says there is no proper organization of aid distribution, people don't know if it ever reaches the front or gets stolen and sold elsewhere. Those to drive there are stopped by highway cops and asked to pay a bribe to proceed. [Zamig deleted the Facebook post]
https://t.me/infoteka24/10835 , https://www.facebook.com/zamig/posts/10223697641499277
14:05: The National Academy of Sciences has asked their international colleagues to condemn the violence against Artsakh, the bombing of civilians, and to urge their respective countries to recognize its independence.
The Union of Writers has joined the initiative and asked public figures around the world to condemn the terrorism.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033877.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033882.html
14:13: Russian-Armenian media magnate Aram Gabrelyanov sites a source in the Dagestan region who claims that a cloud of doubt is forming around Ilham Aliyev, who is in a hurry to end the war before the cold (and possibly cloudy) winter begins.
14:17 army: At 10:30, three enemy tanks were destroyed in the area south-west of Berdzor (Lachin). At 12:55 they attacked again but retreated after losing 2 more tanks and 2 armored vehicles. The battles continue.
Part of the Lachin-Shushi road is closed. We are scanning to make sure there are no infiltrators left.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033868.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033881.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033901.html
14:54: the Greek City of Larissa has adopted a resolution condemning Turkey's meddling in the Artsakh conflict and expressed willingness to aid with refugees.
15:05: the European Student Union, consisted of unions from 40 states, has unanimously adopted a resolution that calls on the EU countries and institutions to take concrete steps to condemn and prevent Azeri-Turkish aggression.
15:13: some prisoners applied for early release citing their military experience and willingness to defend Artsakh. 21 have been approved so far.
15:20: Armenia's HR Ombudsman met the French ambassador and presented the evidence of Azerbaijan's use of cluster bombs and bombs containing chemical elements. He expressed condolences for the recent terror attacks in France.
The French ambassador condemned the attacks against Armenians in France and informed that The Council of Ministers of France has voted to ban the Turkish ultra-nationalist/terrorist organization Grey Wolves.
15:35: activists have counted $1.9b in damages to the Azeri army from the destroyed equipment alone.
15:36: video showing the aftermath of Armenian soldiers destroying an armored vehicle and capturing a bunch of infantry equipment/weapons.
15:37 president of Iran Rouhani: Our two neighbors have been in military conflict since September. Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been active in this issue, and the Armed Forces are vigilantly controlling the security of our borders. The security of our borders is very important to us. It is very important for us that there are no terrorists near our borders.
16:10: video from the southern Kubatli area:
16:43: Italian city Carbognano has officially recognized the Artsakh Republic.
double-g.r.a.z.i.e. today: https://t.me/infocomm/25413
16:44: recently, a group of Turkish-Azeri special forces was neutralized in Shushi forests. Open sources have identified Cəbrayılov Sübhan Rahim oğlu, an Azeri "Yashma" special forces officer, as one of the deceased.
16:52: the second group of Yezidi volunteers have finished the training and prepare to deploy:
17:17: European soccer regulator UEFA has temporarily suspended Ibrahimov, the PR manager of Azeri club "Qagabag FC", over his comments that encouraged a genocide against Armenians. UEFA's final verdict will be made when the investigation is over. For now, he is not allowed to participate in any activities relating to soccer.
Adidas has canceled the sponsorship contract with Garabag FC after a social media campaign by Armenians and foreigners who were equally outraged.
Spain's most popular sports outlet "Marca" covered the topic and called it terrorism. "Investigation into Qarabag after terrorist statement: Kill all Armenians, old and young".
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/200222 , https://factor.am/304926.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033929.html , https://t.me/infoteka24/10858
18:04 HR Ombudsman: The reaction of international organizations to Azerbaijan's military actions against Artsakh is disproportionate. Political interests prevail over human rights.
We're working with the institutes. The UN Human Rights office has made three statements.
18:23 army spokesman Artsrun: "Gyorbagyor" is what we call the operation to find and destroy Azeri infiltrators near Shushi. Friends, use the term #Gyorbagyor.
The army published a video recorded from an Armenian drone showing groups of Azeri infiltrators near Shushi. Strikes were conducted against them during operations gyorbagyor: https://youtu.be/hYIT3jgFeUM?t=11
18:25: Danish-Armenians held demonstrations and sent ambulance vehicles as humanitarian aid:
18:40-19:07: Azerbaijan targeted capital Stepanakert. A civilian was wounded. Armenpress reporters managed to take cover and weren't harmed.
Aftermath video: https://youtu.be/PEYEJMzglFA
Post-bombing photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033932.html
19:19 MFA Mnatsakanyan during Council of Europe session: Turkey and the hired terrorists take part in the conflict that's accompanied by human rights violations aimed at ethnic cleansing of the native population.
We tried to establish a ceasefire several times, but Azerbaijan violates it. We agree that hate speech is bad, yet Turkey and Azerbaijan have been teaching Armenophobia for decades.
Statements are no longer enough. The Council of Europe should display decisiveness and help defend Artsakh residents' right to live, as it was ruled by the ECHR court after Armenia's petition. I urge the Committee of Ministers to take decisive steps and be worthy of the legacy of the founding fathers of the Council of Europe.
https://t.me/infocomm/25431 , https://t.me/infocomm/25430 ,
19:37 famed Austrian conductor Ernest Hoetzel: I am really saddened by the news about the conflict in your country. I remember with great pleasure all my visits to your beautiful country and, especially, my visit to Artsakh, where it seemed to me that I was really in paradise. And to see it destroyed because of a military problem really hurts my heart. I wish you, your families, all the best, and God willing, this issue will end soon. God bless you.
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2676038099281057 , https://style.news.am/arm/news/74748/mets-hatchuyqov-em-hishum-arcakh-katarats-im-aycelutyuny-ortex-indz-tvum-er-drakhtum-em․․․-ayn-avervats-tesnely-cavecnum-e-im-sirty․-avstraci-dirizhor-ernest-hoycl.html
19:55: a political analyst is urging the army to purchase Chinese-made Wing Loong bomber drones "that are superior to Bayraktars and will allow Armenians to launch a counter-attack more successfully".
20:23: Armenian soldiers singing a song:
20:27 Armenia MoD: we shot and Azeri drone over village Shatjreq in the Republic of Armenia's Gegharquniq province (near Qarvachar).
20:40: the National Security Services units are also in the front lines. They released footage showing the destruction of Azeri armored vehicles. One of the vehicles notices the nearby artillery strike and tries to make a u-turn, but it's too late. Another tank gets penetrated by a missile.
20:52 Armenia MoD: at around 20:15 we shot the second Azeri drone in the Republic of Armenia's Sotq-Mets Masrik area.
Half an hour later: the third Azeri drone was shot in the same area.
21:03: the Italian city of Campobasso passed a resolution to condemn Azerbaijan's military aggression against Artsakh.
21:39: Colonel Argam Gevorgyan and Lt. Colonel Davit Harutyunyan have received the Order of Combat Cross medal.
21:46: Artsakh HR Ombudsman was the main guest of a special online session held by the Netherlands Parliament. Turkish-Azeri aggression was presented. The humanitarian crisis was highlighted. The Parliamentarians were briefed about Azerbaijan's war crimes.
https://factor.am/305161.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/200255
22:00 army spokesman Artsrun's briefing: throughout the day Azeris and terrorists attacked in several directions. A limited quantity of air force and artillery was used today.
In north-eastern forests, they launched an attack with groups but were thrown back after sustaining several deaths.
Small skirmishes in the center-east.
Today you saw footage recorded from our drone, showing the operation 10km from Shushi. The infiltrators were being destroyed with artillery fire followed by other types of fire, but that specific footage showed the artillery fire.
We picked a name for it. Gyorbagyor2020. Turks know what it means. It will continue. These gorges and forests near Shushi and Stepanakert, which Azeris present as a "small" area, will become Hell for them.
In the south, along the Vorotan river basin (that stretches from Araks to Lachin), near a specific hill, Azeris used a detachment and armored vehicles to attack. They lost 2-3 armored vehicles and retreated.
Three Azeri drones were shot in the Republic of Armenia within a very short period of time. No other military events in Armenia.
Q: we saw an Armenian drone footage today. Are they a permanent part of the Armenian arsenal now? Are they made in Armenia?
A: We don't always show videos of how the enemy is neutralized. The war is often about local battles that should not be publicized. People should not interpret this war as a virtual game. The main task, in the end, is in the hands of infantry and the power of human will to defend his own land. We will publish more footage if necessary; it's not like there is a shortage of it.
Q: is the road between Lachin and Shushi closed?
A: parts of it are temporarily closed for civilians although we've already neutralized the infiltrators. We're making sure there aren't any leftovers. There are other roads you can use. We're going to pick and destroy these groups one by one. These gorges will be their cemeteries.
Q: how safe is the Qarvachar road?
A: I used it today and it's safe.
[talks about Azeri propaganda and their attempts to stoke doubt and claim there is panic in Artsakh]
Q: does Armenia use satellite imagery provided by its allies?
A: Maybe [big grin]. I couldn't disclose such information.
Q: how many infiltrators died during Operation Gyorbagyor?
A: it will become clear tomorrow. There might be a video.
Q: how is the wounded former Artsakh MoD Jalal Harutyunyan doing?
A: He is recovering. The breathing tube was removed yesterday. He breaths on his own.
Full: https://youtu.be/XjA66-sKDrY , https://www.facebook.com/ArtsakhInformation/videos/452372449075038/ , https://youtu.be/O3AlqmmVqJ0 , https://youtu.be/yy0MU_Zk_JA
22:41: photos of soldiers from the front lines
23:10 ANNA reporter: Azerbaijan claims they stopped an Armenian infiltration in Zangilan (far south of Artsakh). In other words, despite all the news, Artsakh continues to resist and act behind the enemy lines. It somehow does not fit with the reports from Baku about the general state of war.
23:13: American company Trimble Navigation will stop selling GPS technology to Turkish Bayraktar drone producer after a protest by Armenian activists.
23:46 army: we shot the 4th Azeri drone in Armenia's Gegharquniq province around 21:30. Photo:
00:07: GPS product maker Garmin has also condemned the use of its technology in the aggression against Artsakh.
"It has been brought to [our] attention that one of our products has been incorporated into drones that are being used in Bayraktar UAVs to kill innocent civilians in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). We condemn this violence in the strongest terms [full message in the link]."

regional news

Erdogan's regime continues the political persecution of Kurdish politicians and wrong-thinkers. Kurdish HDP party's high-profile former members Selahattin Demirtash and Figen Yuksekdag have been in prison for four years now.
HDP released a statement saying the party stands strong and will resist despite the ongoing persecutions.
Kurdish PKK rebels launched a missile attack in Derecik, Hakkari Region, Turkey, close to the Iraq border. One dead, two wounded.
The earthquake in Izmir has lifted the Greek island of Samos by 20 centimeters.
4.5M earthquake in south-central Azerbaijan
Turkey promised a "firm response" after France banned the Turkish extremist group "Grey Wolves".

other Armenian news

Professional activist-protester Vardges Gaspari has been acquitted of charges relating to March 1st, 2008. The Cassations Court has also acquitted another activist Aslan Avetisyan.
COVID stats: +4,565 tested. +2,374 infected. +1,212 healed. +35 deaths. 36,502 active. 853 serious. 178 critical. 75 on lung vent.
https://med.news.am/arm/news/27606/hayastanum-arden-75-koronavirusov-pacient-miacvats-e-tao-sarqin.html , https://factor.am/304695.html
Court cases involving disputes between people or businesses have sharply increased in recent times. The judicial official believes it's due to increased trust towards the institution.
It went from 49,000 cases per year six years ago, to 200,000 cases nowadays.

War vs Economy & Inflation

Wars have a negative impact on a country's financial sector. It often devalues the national currency because of investment reduction, reduction in exports, and outflow of capital. However, this can be mitigated by taking into account the specifics of the country.
In Armenia, the financial sector is stable, even during the war, because the banking system is stable; most of its assets are liquid.
In situations like these, it's important where the country borrows the money from: external debt with Dollar, or internal debt with Dram? In recent years, the govt began borrowing internally by issuing Dram bonds, which is later also paid back with Drams. This process slows the Dram's devaluation.
Another stabilizing factor has been the inflow of transfers from abroad into the Armenia Fund or private domain. There is also the Central Bank which made some "injections" during this time.
However, there will come a time when things will need to change if the war drags for too long. There could be pressure in the market that could devalue Dram.
Also, every currency in the region is devaluing. Turkish Lira, Azeri Manat, Georgian Lari, Iranian, and Russian. As a result, products produced in those countries become cheaper to buy than the Armenian products. This harms the Armenian producers.
On the other hand, the devaluation of Dram would make imports more expensive, which would cause social issues. Therefore, the currency policy will need to be carefully reviewed and changed very slowly to balance the interests of producers and consumers.
Full article: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1033832.html

How to help Artsakh & Armenia

www.1000plus.am (international, medical help for former soldiers)
www.HimnaDram.org (international, for Artsakh)
www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible, for Artsakh)
Prior events:
Nov 3, Nov 2, Nov 1, October 31, October 30, October 29, October 28, October 27, October 26, October 25, October 24, October 23, October 22, October 21, October 20, October 19, October 18, October 17, October 16, October 15, October 14, October 13, October 12, October 11 , October 10, October 9 , October 8, October 7,October 6, October 5, October 4, October 3, October 2, October 1, September 30, September 29, September 28, September 27
submitted by ar_david_hh to armenia


So, as usual it's been a while but I emerge from my nest yet again! Here is another contender for a possible story I could follow up with next. I know people were interested in Apotheosis Siezed but I wanted to give options before settling on anything.
Without further ado here is Pawn! I hope you enjoy!
Neu Vieumau Joint Occupation Zone
Arana carefully held her pack close to her body as she peered out across the street, looking either way for activity. There was a squad of human soldiers in their dull blue armor just up the street inspecting a box hauler for some reason. But they soon moved on. The human soldiers always made her nervous. While the humans hadn’t stolen anything from her personally she’d had a lot of trouble with the various occupation forces since the end of the war. Everyone had. They kept promising that the new round of reforms would fix things. Yet, here they were.
Once the soldiers had moved on she carefully picked her way across the street. The various vehicles spread across the street were all in poor state. Some missing their wheels and stacked up on blocks. A few looked like they might be functional, even if the paint was mostly stripped or they had mismatched doors. Just about all the buildings around here had some form of damage done to them leftover from the war. Though this neighborhood was mostly intact. Not like her home in Shadowbrook. Half the buildings there were just rubble. It was low on the priority list for the Urban Reconstruction Corps.
As she walked she noticed a few others on the street as well. Just like her they were moving with purpose, heads down typically. If one didn’t look around too much they wouldn’t be able to see what was wrong in New Vieumau. To think it was once so well known for artists, academics, and as much free thinking as free parties. It might not be the home she once knew, but she still hoped she might one day see it restored to its former glory. Even if she didn’t intend to stick around through this current phase of… redevelopment.
Which is why she was here. She paused as she looked up at the shop before her. Unlike the other buildings this one had been patched up. Bullet holes plastered over, and new masonry patching up damage from the war. The owner must have done the work personally. While she knew the human letters she still wasn’t sure what it meant exactly. “Pawn Shop.” She knew that it really meant barterstore, but wondered what the human term meant. Feeling a little nervous she took out her small compact mirror to look at her face. Her horns were polished and sharpened. Her hair was clean. She gave a big smile to make sure her teeth were free of bits of food. Finally she gave her tail a quick wiggle as if to encourage herself.
Then she opened the heavy door and stepped inside. It wasn’t like the stores she was used to. There was a big main room with what looked to be heavy stronglass separating the customers from the goods beyond. None of the aisles or shelves she would normally browse. Just floor to ceiling panels of stronglass isolating the owner and goods behind it from the outside world. She could even see what looked like a few scorch marks, scratches, and divots where people had obviously tried to break it.
In front of each panel was a sturdy looking console bolted to the floor with a swipe screen on it. It took her a moment to realize that besides the various items and goods she could see each console could be checked for more goods not on display. But she was mostly focused on a large vidscreen set behind the stronglass.
“Offworld tickets.” That was what she came here for. But she sighed when she saw that instead of prices it displayed: “Updating.” Looking around she didn’t see the owner, or any clerk so she carefully stepped closer in to start looking at the goods on the shelves. She wasn’t surprised to see a section dedicated to rations and medical supplies. While the worst of the long starve was over food security was still important. Not to mention getting meds from the occupation authority was like pulling scales off a razormink.
However beyond that she noticed a much larger variety of more… seemingly random offerings. Old fashioned physical books, art supplies, musical instruments, knives, jewelry of every shape and size, boots, hauler parts, computer parts, bot parts, so many parts! Then she neared the edge of the store and paused as she looked over a section that actually interested her. Old fashioned physical games!
She saw an incredibly detailed Devious Confessions board. She hadn’t played that game in ages... Then there were a few sets of Dashings, plus some of those Krenka games she recognized even if she never played. Every species seemed to have a few games on display. Though her eyes then settled on an incredible black and white board she’d never seen before with little detailed pieces arrayed across from one another. One side was dazzlingly white, as if just the smallest bit of light would be reflected and make each piece glow, while the other side looked to be so dark and shadowy she had trouble focusing on each piece even just before her face.
“Interested in chess?” The sudden human voice made Arana gasp and jump back, dropping her pack as she raised her fists to ward off a surprise attack. She even tilted her head to bring her horns to bear if need be. But instead of some hidden ambusher she just saw a human behind the stronglass, hands raised. “Whoa! Sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“Oh.” Arana straightened up then and dropped her hands, somewhat sheepishly tugging the strap of her pack to pick it back up and hug it. “Apologies. I didn’t expect a human.” She studied his face for a moment. Tan flesh, simple yet practical merchant’s attire, brown hair with speckles of white around his temples. She noticed a bit of grease and oil along his hands and forearms, plus a number of tools tucked into the pockets of his apron. Tiyava hadn’t mentioned this merchant would be human…
To her great surprise however he then spoke up in Divine. “[Wouldst thou prefere instead to converse in the tongue of the Divine? Many shadows across the moon have passed since this humble proprietor has had chance to partake of the great barter under the eyes of one of Swagin’s faithful.]” Arana shuddered a little. He sounded just like a shadow bishop.
“That’s okay.” She replied back in human. “My human is pretty good. If you don’t mind?”
“It’s called English, but yes you do speak it well. I only meant to try and set you at ease.” The human explained, obviously having no idea he had done just the opposite. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had someone speak to her in Divine and not had it be part of a lecture during the Great Feast, or Suffering Moon.
“This is your store?” She asked, trying to set her mind a bit more at ease.
“It is.” The human nodded. “My name is Gustavo Clay. Though most just call me Clay. You’re free to do so as well if you like.”
“Clay…” She spoke the word carefully for a moment and nodded. “I am Kwansularanadivo. You may call me Arana.”
“It is nice to meet you Arana.” The human nodded and then walked along the backside of the stronglass and shelves to point at the board she had been looking at before. “I saw you admiring the chess board. Are you interested?”
“It’s beautiful.” She nodded a moment. “It is a human game?”
“It is.” He confirmed. “Very old. Lot of history. Though… I’ll admit I don’t care for it myself.”
“Oh?” She stepped back up to the window as he lifted a piece off the board and slowly turned it over, letting her see the detailed work. She had no idea what the piece was meant to represent but it looked well made even so. “What is the goal?”
“To take the opponent's king.” He held out the piece he had picked up. The king apparently. “Each piece has a set of movements it can make across the board. You take turns and try to capture pieces and win the game.”
“You don’t care for it?” She asked and the man shrugged.
“Just because it’s got history doesn’t mean it’s a great game. Only two players, and kinda stuffy for my taste. But you’re welcome to it obviously.” He tapped on a button in the back and she saw the screen of the console switch to various views of the chess game he had.
“I am looking for a good game to play on a ship. I like to find a game when I travel and teach it to other passengers. It’s… rewarding.” She nodded a little as she felt that human word worked.
“Ah, a travel game? Might I recommend…” He moved over and instead picked up a small bit of carved wood that had a little compartment in the bottom and a set of tiny holes on top. “A cribbage board, and a deck of cards.” He opened the compartment to reveal small pegs, and then grabbed a deck of cards from somewhere behind the shelf.
“It looks… simple.” She frowned a little at the board.
“This is really just to track points. The main game is in the cards. You deal, then play numbered values to add up to certain numbers. Fifteen and thirty one mostly. But there’s various stages in the play which keep it interesting. Plus you can play with two, three, or four players. Here, you can download the rules free.” He motioned her to the console once more and she saw a burst code show up.
Tugging her phone free of a pocket she waved it across the console, confirmed the download, and then saw a new icon appear. Tapping on it she found a list that made her blink. “How many variations of this game are there?”
“Oh, that’s just for all card games. I highly recommend traveling with cards. The amount of games is… there’s a lot. And it’s cheap. Just one credit for the deck.” He held up the cards behind the stronglass.
“And the board?” She nodded at the carved wood.
“Six credits.” Seven credits for a simple, yet nice wooden board, those pegs, and a deck of cards that could be played… She glanced at the app for a moment and marveled at the sheer scale of options. Yet, that chess board was so gorgeous… and the pieces as well… It would give her an air of sophistication. That might be important for her new life. She needed to reinvent herself after all.
“How much is the chess board?” Maybe she could get both? Seven credits after all was a very nice meal. Two lesser ones maybe. She could skip a bit of eating.
“Four hundred credits.” The human announced.
“Four hundred credits?!” Arana gasped. “Loopacooni! Even for an opening bid that’s outrageous!”
“It’s not an opening bid. That’s the price. It’s a collector’s item of… some variant. I forget but I’ve done the research.” He insisted.
“What sort of bartershop doesn’t come down off an offer like that for a boardgame?” Arana countered.
“Who said this is a bartershop?” The human asked with a frown. “It’s a pawn shop. Not the same.”
“My friend Tiyava said you were.” Arana was beginning to wonder if this was the wrong place.
“Oh Tiyava? I know her. Wonderful lady. She has many trinkets to sell. I think this is… a minor translation issue. I will buy things from you, and also sell them. But I don’t engage in [haggletongue.]” He shrugged. “Did you have things you needed to sell?”
“Yes…” Arana nodded slowly. This had to be the place then. Tiyava only mentioned one fence for her hauls. “I want to get off world.” She nodded at the vid screen up above.
“Ah. Then maybe you do have the credits. Hold on.” She watched the human step back and reach up to tap a button on the screen before it flicked over and she saw a list update. There were only a handful of places that they could still reach these days with most of the gates ruined in the war. But she knew where she wanted to go.
Partizania Rai. The archipelago planet had once been a retreat for artists wanting to escape the city life of Neu Vieumau. Now it was trapped in limbo as tourism was no longer viable, yet they didn’t have much infrastructure for a fishing industry or… really any industry. Still. She knew her future was on that planet. Away from this mess. Find herself an island somewhere and just… subsist.
That is until she saw the prices as they began to display. “Loopacooni safisco kawksuhkwa jinero!”
“I can assure you I, nor my mother are all that bad.” The human replied even as Arana glared at him.
“This is mistake! Or lies! How can a ticket be sixtreen hundids! Chepist! Other only moah!” Her human was degrading in her anger but she couldn’t help herself as her tail quivered.
“This is the price. That sixteen hundred one is if you already have a travel permit. I should also note I only deal with a private ship. Guaranteed to get you there. You’d be the only passenger. No questions asked. Discreet. If you have a travel permit and don’t mind flying a public transport then by all means go to the spaceport.” Arana continued to glare at the human, unsure if he was purposefully saying that because he knew she wouldn’t have a permit or if he was genuinely trying to be helpful. “Do you have any skills that can be used on a ship? It’s not a service I typically advertise but I can arrange for a work passage system. Work on a ship for a few months to pay for your voyage.”
“What skills are useful on a ship?” She was sure she already knew the answer but... “Art?” The human just looked at her for a moment and very slowly shook his head. “Loopacooni…” She couldn’t let this stop her. She wouldn’t have much left over to start her new life… but she could still do this. She couldn’t let him know how badly she needed this. He said it wasn’t that kind of bartershop… but she still suspected it was. At least a little. It was 2300 for the next ticket… That actually seemed right to her. Travel permits were about a thousand to grease the right palms… He was providing a discount. Likely since he knew better palms to grease.
“Did you have something to trade?” The human asked next and she nodded, opening her pack as she very carefully pulled out a temperseal case holding her Aunt’s prized possession. Which she left for Arana in the Grand Farewell. “Something delicate then. Please.” The human motioned for her to place it in an object scanner set in the middle of the store. Setting the case in place she watched and waited as the scanner got to work.
She was rewarded with seeing his surprise as the image came up on the screen. “A Wonderland Rose?” It was nice to see the human hadn’t expected it.
“My aunt, taken into the great party of Swagin’s palace, left it to me.” She mentioned.
“Oh, [May she forever grace your memories with pleasure as jubilant as the party she celebrates in her death.]” Arana was still a bit unsure how a human knew so much Divine. Yet, she nodded.
“[Her celebrations in death shall echo pleasure across time and memory.]” She completed the polite return. But she felt a bit self conscious about her own pronunciation. His Divine was better than hers. She was much more used to decktongue with other Davari.
“I know you Davari grieve differently but I’d also say I’m sorry for your loss. If your aunt left this to you she clearly cared for you deeply. She might be enjoying Swagin’s party but I’m sure you’ll miss her as well.” Arana was further offset by the human’s words. It was something she had been thinking about lately, but the scriptures frowned on such sentiment… Still…
“Thank you… but do not think I will let up on price.” She countered, fearing this was a barter tactic.
“Hah… no I’m sure you won’t.” On the otherside of the stronglass the human tapped on a console to carefully rotate the image of the rose. “Mmhhh… it’s a secondary production.”
“What?!” Arana nearly yanked the temperseal case out of the scanner, fearing a trick. But when he zoomed in the image she could see in much smaller print on the bottom of the rose stem the production date. He was right… She had always assumed it was a first run! The value… Her heart began to sink in her chest…
“It’s still in immaculate shape and the second production had some benefits over the originals. Even if it's less rare…” The human muttered and then looked down as he typed into a dataslate he was holding. “I can offer you eighteen hundred.”
Arana was once more surprised, the offer seemed… good. Yet it didn’t matter… It wasn’t enough. She looked up at the board as her dream began to slip through her fingers… Where could she go? Huzata? Yes, because she wanted to live on a rock of dust and debris. Plus she’d still be broke once she got there. Janlim? Oh by Swagin’s knife all those polens… She nearly sneezed just thinking about it. The Traitor’s moon? No. Not even an option. Krassian’s moon? Maybe life in low atmosphere wouldn’t be so bad… She could still find a way to subsist in the oxy-fens…
“If you don’t mind me asking… I’m assuming you want to go to Partizania Rai?” Arana returned her focus to the human.
“I am.” She nodded.
“There’s a way… we could help each other.” Arana looked at the human and watched him carefully. Tiyava had never mentioned him being… overtly shady so she hoped that he wasn’t about to suggest what she feared. “I have something here you might be interested in.” She watched him move along the wall of stronglass to a display case that seemed to hold various trinkets and toys she hadn’t paid much attention to. “This is Jiji Numaske.” He pointed to what seemed to be nothing more than a toy robot of some kind. It was a little on the large side. Perhaps as long as her forearm. But… looked like plastic and nowhere near the fine material craftsmanship of the chess board she had admired earlier.
“What of him?” She asked and looked from the robot up at the human.
“He’s worth thirty six hundred credits to the right buyer.” Even as he said that she couldn’t help but laugh.
“You are telling me! This children’s play thing! Is worth more than a ticket to another world! With a travel permit!” She gasped out.
“I am.” He nodded slowly and her laughing trailed off. Now more curious about what he was getting at.
“How does this help me? I cannot afford it.” She reminded him.
“I said it’s worth thirty six hundred credits to the right buyer. I am not the right buyer. Unfortunately the right buyer hates me because he thinks I stole this from him. Which, before you ask, I didn’t. I knew how much it was worth and bought it up from a repo auction before he could. Now he refuses to buy it from me. So I have a very expensive piece of junk that no one wants to buy. Because no one other than a collector cares about it.” Arana looked from the human to the robot toy and back, waiting to hear where she came into this. “Do you know that tower two blocks over?”
“Past the Cathedral? The ugly teal one? Teal… is the color yes? Not green, not blue, trapped between in defiance of both?” She had trouble remembering human color names sometimes. Or really… most color names. When every language had its own names for colors and not all species saw colors the same… it could get confusing.
“Uh yes. Teal.” He confirmed. “Well, the collector lives there in the penthouse. So. You sell me the rose, and I give you Jiji here for what I paid for him. Sixteen hundred credits. And… two hundred more credits because the rose is worth eighteen hundred. You, then take this to the collector and you get the full value. Come back here and you get your ticket offworld today. The ship is actually in the starport right now.” He checked his watch and she tensed up a little.
Was this a trick? A ploy? Or was he being serious? The notion of limited time made her nervous… She could leave the moment she had her ticket. What was in her pack was all she wanted with her for her new life… It had to be a trick. Why trust him? It didn’t fit. “I don’t know you. Why do this? Why not have Tiyava do it?”
“Ah… your friend is nice but… She never has sixteen hundred credits to pay my cost for the toy.” The human shrugged.
“I’m not trusting…” Arana held her pack close to her chest as she thought it over. “What if toy is worthless and you just… swindle grift me?” The human eyed her carefully then just as she eyed him in return. He took a moment and brushed at the greying edge of his hair while he seemed to think.
“That’s… fair… Okay… How about this. I give you Jiji here. You go get the credits. Come back. And either buy the tickets and sell me the rose then, or just buy the ticket and get less credits for your trip.” This also made Arana frown… this now seemed… too lenient? Why would he trust her if they had just met? Surely this human was as wary of her as she of him?
“Why would you trust me with this then? I might run off with your precious toy.” Arana did her best to study the human now. Trying to remember all she could about their body language.
“I know that sometimes we must trust one another. That to benefit us both I have to have some faith in your intent. If this toy sits here for years it’s worthless to me anyway so I might gamble a chance at a return of money for once… I can survive the loss. Plus… I saw it in your eyes earlier when you looked at the board. You really want this trip. I don’t think you’re pretending. Is it a chance to start a new life?” He asked and she nodded slowly. “Then I especially wish to help you. I had my own chance at starting a new life. I’d like you to have that same opportunity.”
Arana considered this… It certainly sounded good… What did she have to lose? But… that somehow made her more nervous. Swagin said to be wary of a deal made to look too good… Yet Swagin also said to take advantage of kindness from those who don’t know better… Did this store owner know better? Then he spoke up again. “Plus, I’ll be honest. If I really wanted to I could track you down and get my value out of you. Tiyava doesn’t try to steal from me because she is afraid of me.”
That sounded right to her. It all fit in. He would profit more from trusting her than not. Plus, he could strike revenge should she betray him. All was within the teachings of Swagin. What had the human called himself? Clay. “Very well Clay. There is just one issue. I don’t have a pass to enter the Ravex zone of occupation. Which that tower is within. Is it not?”
“But you are Davari. You’re allowed to go through the cathedral.” He pointed out as he carefully took out the toy to seal it in a steadybox for her to take. “There is a single Jipasi guard who checks worshipers in to the cathedral. No matter what it looks like he’s doing, give him fifty credits… Do you have fifty credits?” Arana shook her head and he sighed before pulling out a few bills. “Give him these and move on. Take the elevator to the penthouse. Ask for Huurg. No matter what, don’t tell that Kra’Kto’Sui idiot you got this from me. Say… whatever. Just don’t tell him it was from me.” With that he pressed the box and the bills into a rotating stronglass container, spinning it around to her side so she could grab it.
“I will return soon.” She tucked the box into her pack, zipping it up and slinging it over a shoulder while she kept the bills tucked into her hand. Eying the rose in its temperseal on the counter she hesitated a moment and pointed at him. “If this is still a trick I can get revenge too.”
“Hah… I don’t doubt it.” Clay smiled at her and shrugged. “I’ll make sure to tell the ship to wait. Just in case.”
That reminded her… if she did this quickly she could be off. No more old life. No more history. A totally new experience awaited her… She focused on her task then and stepped out of the door before checking up and down the street much like earlier. No occupation forces in sight. If she ran she’d make good time. But that would draw a lot of attention…
So she settled instead for a light jog. The strap of her pack held tight as she moved. A person late for a meeting. Or work. Nothing too strenuous. Just a light jog… pay no attention… As much as she could she tried to will this thought at those also on the street. But much like earlier they kept their heads down and also moved with purpose. It wasn’t a good time for a mugging anyway.
As she rounded the corner she saw the cathedral up ahead. There was a group of Ravex soldiers on the street past it, guarding a checkpoint. Arana was always nervous around the giant scaled, clawed, warriors. Who strapped blades to their tails? Then again she had ritual scars etched across her body that other species also found worrisome. Everyone had something to mistrust in others… Yet, her Aunt had spoken about them killing her servants in the war and casting her into near squalor within Shadowbrook so she had a very real reason to hate them as well.
But for now she ignored them, and instead turned to enter the cathedral. All around her the stone work had scaffolding up covering a great deal of it. The faces of Swagin, his icons of wrath, the halls of pleasure, the finality of death, all the great segments were being carefully restored. This is where the money went for the reconstruction fund… Thousands living in Shadowbrook? Eh. A bunch of stones in a cathedral that no one really needs? Better fix that immediately! She tried not to hate too hard… Lest Swagin take offence. Really she knew his works must always be maintained. But Swagin himself would likely rather see his faithful made safe so they may take pleasure in better housing!
There was a small security checkpoint just before the doors into the cathedral interior. A lone Jipasi was sitting on a chair next to the security scanner. While Arana wasn’t sure what to make of humans she always found Jipasi amusing. The furry bipeds seemed so much more lively and amusing than their human allies. Plus who didn’t like those glorious brightly colored tail feathers they had? This one though was stretched out, arms crossed over his chest, his helmet carefully tilted over his eyes as he seemed to be sleeping…
Arana squeezed the fifty credits in her hand… Should she save the money? She slowed down to a careful creep instead of her jog… The human had said to give him the credits no matter what. Even if he was sleeping? Maybe she’d check it out… Bypassing the security scanner she leaned down and reached out to carefully tug the Jipasi’s helmet up. Then she nearly yelped in surprise as pulling up his helmet revealed his eyes to be wide open looking at her.
Gulping she carefully lowered his helmet, then reached out to tuck the credits into a pocket on the chest of his armor. A moment later she lifted his helmet slowly once more and now his eyes were closed. Lowering the helmet a finale time she stepped past, thankful for the human’s warning to her earlier.
Stepping into the main cathedral now she was almost entirely plunged into darkness. Such was the realm of Swagin. But there were a few bits of light at least. Two were from the depictions of the Eternal Party taking up the main wall in the back. Another was from the Shadow Bishop’s pulpit of storms near the ceiling. These three points normally cast the pews and pillars into dark shadows for the faithful to file into every Hoorsinda.
But the Cathedral had another light source these days. A giant hole in the ceiling casting a ray of sunshine down upon a Void Cruiser’s escape pod. It had lodged itself in the vista of virtuous sin and had actually crushed Shadow Cardinal Exckhartismal during the war. Many said it had been used by a vile Absolute Dynamics synth to escape capture. Many said he still roamed the streets at night slaughtering organics. Or some such nonsense. Arana didn’t really believe that. Even so, the Shadow Cardinal had actually been embezzling from the church, and he had been killed in such a spectacular fashion that it fit too well with Swagin’s code of vengeance. So the hole remained open, and the pod remained untouched. Guarded by the Ecclesiarchy even. Scripture made odd choices sometimes…
Ignoring that for now she scurried along the back wall, doing her best not to be noticed by any stray acolytes or priests who might think she was here to partake in holy whiskey or scar herself for the favor of Swagin. Today was not the day. Instead she moved to the side entrance to try and get out of the cathedral as swiftly as possible. While she still wasn’t sure that the toy she now had was actually worth what Clay had said… She hoped it was true.
Swagin of course would remind her that hope is a harlot. But still… Sometimes even the faithful must hope.
When she stepped out of the side door she saw the teal tower just a block away. One of the lower levels had several missing windows from some firefights but the rest of the tower looked intact. It was somewhat near the other side of the Ravex checkpoint however. Arana’s tail gave a quick twitch of anxiety but she pressed on. This time taking a more relaxed stride. She belonged here. Not a care in the world. Just heading home from church.
Near the entrance to the tower two older Davari were sitting on crates playing a game of Dashings. The smell of their cheap nicosticks filling the air as she approached, making her snort a little. Filthy human drugs… They glanced up for a moment but quickly returned to their game as she pointedly ignored them and walked past. The lobby had faded teal carpet with only a few stains here and there. None of them blood stains either. Upscale then.
When she hit the button to the lift she was a bit surprised that it quickly opened up. She wasn’t sure the last time she’d seen a working lift in such good condition. Before the war? Probably. Yet, just as she stepped inside she spotted another Davari step out of a door on the main floor and approach. She tucked her pack closer to her chest as he stepped on with her. He gave her a smile and nodded at the control. “[What floor sister?]” He asked in decktongue.
“[I’m not your sister. Penthouse.]” Her fingers crept into a side pocket in her pack, wrapping around the hilt of a knife.
“[Penthouse… Got some business worth my time?]” He asked then and opened his jacket a bit to reveal the grip of a pistol tucked into his pants. Did he want a fee?
“[I have something for the collector. But if you think you can tax me you best aim for my heart. I won’t bend.]” Even as she said that the other davari laughed and raised a hand.
“[Settle sister settle! No need to sprint to the great party. You sound serious though. Lets go see him.]” He hit a button for the top floor. Even as the doors closed and the lift began to rise up the building Arana kept her fingers clutched tight around her knife. Was he security? Clay hadn’t mentioned security. Then again, he was a barter store owner. Why would he? If this collector hated him he’d never have been here. “[Got something cute in the pack sister?]”
Arana just glared at the other Davari who smirked, seeming to be amused by her behavior. When the elevator stopped the door opened to reveal another door. This confused her a moment until it opened up as well to reveal some kind of… command center? There were desks and computers spread out around what was once a giant living room. A towering Kra’Kto’Sui began to lumber towards them even as the other Davari waved her out of the lift. He hadn’t pulled his gun yet… but she understood the idea.
For now her focus was on the big aquatic xeno lumbering towards her. The Kra’Kto’Sui were a species of aquatic multilimbed creatures that could live on dry ground in big suits kept constantly wet. She didn’t know much about their species except they typically were enemies of the Ecclesiarchy, so it was surprising to see one moving among so many Davari manning the computer desks. It used pairs of limbs to move along like a quadruped, since they needed the extra support to move around outside of water. Looking past the figure out the window she saw a big pool on the roof with furniture under the water. Perhaps he slept out there?
“[Bossman, found this one slipping up the lift. Not a resident. Says she has something for you.]” The other Davari from the lift announced as the Kra’Kto’Sui stopped just before her, head and shoulders bigger than her as it peered down with strangely shaped oblong eyes. His wet flesh slowly changing color while she watched.
“[I know. This one… came from the Cathedral… We did not see her enter… Curious.]” The xeno’s strange accent of decktongue was slow… pondering.
“[I have something to sell.]” She announced and let go of her knife to open her pack and pull out the toy in its case. She hadn’t fully pulled it free when the Kra’Kto’Sui raised a big tentacle to swipe it from her hands.
“Jiji!” It gasped out and stepped back.
“[Hey! That’s mine!]” She growled and reached out, but the guard besides her finally pulled his gun free of his pants making her stop in place. He hadn’t aimed it at her yet…
“Did you get this from him?” The big tentacle waved the toy in her face as she noticed he spoke in human. How did she play this?
“[My human isn’t good. What’s he asking?]” She looked at the guard.
“[Did you get this from the bartershop a few streets over?]” He gestured with his pistol out the window.
“[It was left to me in a final farewell gifting.]” If she considered it a trade for the rose that was true enough.
“[Hey hey, death ever profits doesn’t it?]” Even as the guard smirked she glared at his rude response.
“[Is she the trinket seller?]” Arana returned her focus to the collector as he addressed another female Davari at a desk.
“[No. I haven’t seen her before.]” Were they watching the bartershop? What was this? Did he really hate that guy this much? Well they must not be actively watching it since they had no idea she’d just come from there…
“[How much?]” The collector looked back at Arana as he held up the case with the toy robot inside.
“[I know what it’s worth.]” She announced and held her chin high. He’d have to make the first offer.
“[Get four thousand from the safe.]” The guard besides her was obviously surprised as he gasped.
“[What?! For a toy robot? C’mon bossman I’ll just shoot her and-]” The colector smacked the guard across his horns with another big tentacle. “[OW! Hey! What-]”
“[Do not be so rude to guests! Get it! Now!]” The last word was snapped out as the guard scurried away from the Kra’Kto’Sui. Arana just held her ground, one hand gripping her pack very tight. Four thousand? Clay had said thirty six hundred! Play it cool…
“[You should get better help.]” The Kra’Kto’Sui leaned forward, towering above her a moment. Maybe she had played it too cool…
“[They are zealous. But loyal.]” Out behind him Arana watched the guard open a safe that had to be filled with tens of thousands… hundreds of thousands of credits! The stacks of bills! What sort of place was this?! But he returned with an envelope and handed it to her. She snatched it from him and looked inside. She’d never held so many credits in her life… Sure she’d had more in her account at one point but to hold it like this? Her dream neared…
“[The transaction is complete. You leave now.]” Arana barely had time to understand what was being said as a tentacle pushed her back into the lift, pressed the button for the ground floor, and quickly whipped back out before the doors closed. She had four thousand credits… Four thousand! She couldn’t help herself as she jumped and raised a fist in the air, her tail whipping back and forth like mad. Her landing was a bit awkward as the lift kept descending but she managed it and then quickly fixed her clothing and pulled her pack back over a shoulder.
The moment the door opened she was moving. Focused. Head down. Out past the two old Dashings players, yet again ignoring the acrid smoke of their drugs. She paid no mind to the Ravex checkpoint. Right to the Cathedral. Praise by Swagin! She had triumphed over the harlot! Hope no more! She had cash! She couldn’t contain the continued wagging of her tail as she scurried along the back of the cathedral yet again. Just as she exited the main door she didn’t stop, she just reached out to drop a fifty on the still “sleeping” Jipasi soldier and kept moving.
Don’t run. Just… walk quick. Head down. Focused. She was barely containing her breathing now as she had her eyes set on the sign for the pawn shop. So close… just half a street away. “Hey!” Don’t stop. Don’t look. “Hey! You! Lady! With the bag!” She hesitated. No! Worse she looked and saw a group of human soldiers. They were by that box hauler they’d looked at earlier. She was stuck in place. Did they want her money? She was so close! Don’t let them take it! Run! But there had to be a dozen of them spread out around the street. They could gun her down in an instant…
“Yes?” She did her best to stay calm.
“Is this your van?” She frowned with confusion as he pointed at the boxhauler.
“No.” She shook her head.
“Do you know whose van it is?” The soldier asked next.
“No.” She shook her head again.
“Damn.” The soldier sighed and looked over at another nearby. “Sarge we don’t know who the van belongs to.”
“I can see that you idiot! Lady you’re free to go.” The moment the other soldier waved her on Arana scurried on into the store. Though she saw a Jipasi on a scooter driving up the street stop just before the door. Arana was surprised to see him drive right past the soldiers without a care in the world, but they didn’t seem to mind him either.
“Hey, are you the passenger for Partizania Rai?” The Jipasi asked just as she set her hand on the door to the pawnshop. What now?! She was so close!
“Yes.” She prepared to bolt inside should he try to grab her or… really appear to be any kind of threat. But the Jipasi was a bit smaller than her and she found it hard to imagine he was a mugger.
“I’m supposed to take you to the ship. You ready?” A scooter? For her? Had Clay called him?
“Ah… give me a moment.” She started to open the door.
“Oh wait!” Arana almost screamed in frustration. She was so close! “Pack of strawberry bubblegum.” She looked over in confusion as the Jipasi held out a credit, waving the bill at her. After a moment she snatched it from his fingers and finally went in.
The moment the door closed behind her she let out a heavy sigh of relief. She didn’t see Clay behind the stronglass yet… The temperseal case with the rose was still on the counter… She could snatch it and run… Instead she shook the thought from her head and walked up to tap on the stronglass. “Clay?”
“How’d it go?” She saw him step out from a door in the back just after she called out his name.
“Great! I got fort housand!” She held up the envelope of credits.
“Wow… I’m assuming you mean four thousand?” He asked and she nodded fervently. “He really wanted it bad… Lucky you… Maybe I should have gotten Tiyava to do it after all…” He rubbed his chin in thought.
“It’s too late! I already sold it! No takebacksies!” She insisted. “This is proper human term? No takebacksies yes?”
“Yes, that’s the proper human term.” Clay nodded and laughed. “I called my friends on the ship. They should send a scooter over to take you directly to their berth in the spaceport. They’re itching to keep a schedule.”
“They’re already here outside.” Arana set the Jipasis’ one credit in the little revolving stronglass container for Clay as well as the temperseal case with the rose. Then she peeled out the rest of the credits she needed to pay for the ticket and travel pass. “One pack of strawberry bubblegum. One ticket to Partizani Rai.”
“Oh they sent Nin? Well… you’ll get there fast. If you survive. Take my advice, don’t open your eyes.” This made Arana frown as she looked back at the door.
“Why? What’s wrong with him?” Now she was worried.
[Continued In comments]
submitted by RegalLegalEagle to HFY