The Way of the Whiteford
Whiteford couldn't take it in Ireland, so she left the Nonateurs and Nonatrices in Dublin. She told Samantha Terrace that she would be the acting Korojaunu of Free Icholasen now, and she should travel with the other Nonateurs and Nonatrices to Europolis to convene with Poppy Carlton-Romanov. The surname Romanov, at this point, seemed a little bit redundant. Whiteford didn't know exactly where she was going, but she knew she had to leave and quickly. The first thing she needed to escape was a fake passport. She knew someone at the nearby pub and so she made her way over there with her bulging suitcase.
"Good afternoon." Whiteford said, getting up onto the bar stool. Murphy's Pub was relatively empty, it was only around 2pm on a Tuesday so it wasn't really their peak hour. The pub was decorated with kitsch Irish ornaments, with a darts board and a pool table, hung on the walls were paintings and pictures of typical Irish things like shamrocks and car bombs.
Fearghal McKinney immediately started pouring her a whiskey. "What ails you me dear?"
"Well... other than the fact I let my country slip into tyranny, I'm also feeling a bit stir crazy. As much as I've enjoyed the hospitality here, I can't stay here and do nothing. The time is long overdue for action."
"Well." Fearghal said. Eilidh sipped at her whiskey. "If there's anything I can help you my dear, don't hesitate to ask."
"There is actually... One thing..." Whiteford said.
"Name it.' Fearghal replied.
"I need a fake passport. So the Inquistan authorities don't clock on that I'm in their country."
"Consider it done. I'll talk to my friend Cathy, she'll hit you up with a new passport - and anything else you may need."
"Thanks Fearghal." Eilidh said, and finished her whiskey.
Clara finished off the passport, sewing the final piece together of the green passport. "There" Clara said, proud of her work. "Now, if there's anything else you might need we can get it to your hotel room in Inquista. Now, love, I mean anything"
"Well - there certainly are things I need. What about a handgun and a few rounds of ammunition?" Whiteford asked - rather matter of factly.
"Absolutely, maam. We'll get that smuggled to your hotel room just let us know the address, after you book it on lastminute.com." A long stretch of time passed in silence, Clara typing on her computer, sending an email to some . "Have you... ever killed a man before, Korojaunu?"
Whiteford crumbled under the emotional weight of that question, but didn't let it show. She of course, had not. The only thing she had ever killed was the feral pigeons on her onion farms many years ago. She thought that that had prepared her more, but the thought of slaying her enemies in cold blood filled her with dread. "No." Whiteford finally responded.
"Let me show you some tips."
Clara showed Whiteford the ropes of death. She showed her how to stab, lacerate and shoot. (Insert 80s fitness / learning to kill montage here).
Whiteford booked her hotel and flights on lastminute.com, clicking the 'no, I don't need insurance' box at the checkout because she was stupid. Whiteford might not get a penny of compensation if there was, for example, a global pandemic and her trip was no longer possible.
The Ludovico Casino, Inquista
Whiteford was sat at a table, with sunglasses on and an elaborate azure hat, used of course to hide her appearance. She was wearing a blue shimmering cocktail dress with a gucci handbag.
Around the games table were 5 shady figures, all competing to win the pot of a 5 million Inquistos in the middle. It had been an intense game, with these shady characters around the semi-circle table coming in and out of fortune. Whiteford absolutely had to win this, serious, high-stakes game to get some cash to fund herself in her new life undercover.
"Uno." Whiteford said, placing down a blue 7. Whiteford's last card was a green 4, the only thing between her and the jackpot was the card changing to green, or it being a 4.
The man to place his card next was in his 70s. His much younger wife was stroking his neck and shoulders, whispering into his ear as he played. He placed down a red 7.
The woman to that man's left looked at her cards, not revealing what was really going on in her head. She was in her late 50s, and was wearing a light brown fur shawl. She held an ivory cigarette holder, the smoke wafting around the table. It can't have been good for this lady, though. She had at least 10 cards, nowhere near the 0 she needed to win. She placed down a red 2. This wasn't terrible for Whiteford, there was still 3 players left to make their moves.
The next man was young, clearly a yuppie or a wealthy heir. He was incredibly handsome but Whiteford knew that he was at least somewhat inbred. He placed down a change colour card. "Change to yellow" he grunted. This wasn't good news. Now, someone would have to place down a yellow card, and the next person would have to match with a green card. Whiteford didn't like her odds. Of course, she was now a target.
The next man was George Carlton-Romanov, the former Nicoleizian Ambassador to Inquista. Whiteford wondered how he was holding up, and more important why he wasn't with his wife, Poppy in Europolis. Whiteford wasn't there to judge and gave a slight smile to the Prince that was reciprocated. He placed down a yellow 4 and said "Uno." He was down to only one card.
The final person who could make or break Whiteford's chances was an overweight male boomer Fremetian tourist in a light blue polo shirt and white cargo pants. He looked incredibly confused and Whiteford rolled her eyes behind her sunglasses. He tentatively placed a red 7, and the dealer said "you can't do that, sir." He then shrugged his shoulders and placed a yellow reverse card. "Fuck." Whiteford said, moving her mouth but producing no sound. George Carlton-Romanov placed a red reverse card, and the dealer declared him as the winner.
Whiteford left the table and thought "maybe I can get 5 million Inquistos on one of the slot machines, maybe I'll be lucky." She thought to herself. She was sudden overcome by a wave of disappointment. She couldn't afford to just... hop around and take out her enemies. Those 5 million smackeroonies were her ticket to justice.
Later on, George Carlton-Romanov approached Whiteford. "Look, Eilidh. I know they don't pay you much in the public sector. Frankly, I was surprised to see you here at The Ludovico, you must really have fallen on hard times if you're in this hive of scum and villainy. I think that you need these 5 million Inquistos more than I do."
"I'm very grateful. I'm looking forward to restoring your sister in law to the throne." Whiteford said, taking the bag of chips she was offered. She headed immediately to the concession and cashed in her chips for 5 million Inquistos.
Whiteford sat on her bed, in her nightie, contemplating her next steps. Back in Ireland she had identified a high-level communist active Inquista that she wanted to take out. Not before... talking to him of course. This man was Richard Hearjun. A disgusting and reviled repressor that no one liked. Rumour had it he had been climbing the ranks of the Nicoleizian communist party to be in reach of their deputy leadership. Disgusting.
She had bribed an anonymous informant from the Kligenberg Institute for Adult Literacy and found out his usually daily business. Everyday he headed to an office, to have talks with some Craticus-fanatics. Then, he'd visit either a casino or the exotic massage parlour. Whiteford appreciated this information, but the most important morcel of info was his address. Whiteford wanted to visit him in his home, really make an impact.
Episode 2, Time: the Next Evening, Place: East Saint Dominico
Whiteford had decided to bide her time before killing Hearjun, she had the time and 5 million Inquistos. And, she knew her target wouldn’t be heading back to Icholasen for another day or two and as such had had taken the day to relax, get cleaned up, and rest after her flight from Ireland.
However, Whiteford also needed some assistance. She knew that the Inquistan gays didn’t like Craticus as much as they liked Firoux - that was because Firoux was hot stuff (and, maybe, his support for gay rights, but mostly cos he's hot). His (strictly unofficial) calendars sold out every December - it was the Christmas gift for your gay Inquistan friend. Whiteford, knowing the undying support among homosexuals for Edward Firoux, and, by extension, her, found herself in an Inquistan gay bar called the Bishop's Balls. She also wanted something to take the edge off - an Icholasen Iced Tea was what she craved most. Vodka and white rum? That was the best combo since Mikaela Kligenberg and repeating 12th grade. She sat at the bar, alone. Her eye caught a Bishop Lallana impersonator lipsyncing on the main stage of the bar. She was wearing a pink sequinced Bishop’s outfit with a comically oversized purple Orthodox cross covered in glitter. 'Bishop Lallana' lipsynced a variety of songs, obscure Inquistan Eurovoice songs, Dua Lipa's new music, and also anything remotely about religion -- fitting into the theme of who she was dressed as.
“Ooh I’ve been to Fremet and Icholasen, and anywhere I could run, took the hand of a Bishop man and we made love in the sun. But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free - I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me…….” The Lallana Impersonator lip-synced.
After the Lallana impersonator had finished her song, Whiteford approached them. Before Whiteford could say anything, the Lallana impersonator said “Oh my Orthodox God… It’s you! I’m a big fan - I know a girl in Icholasen who does you every Friday night. I wonder if she still does. She might’ve moved onto doing Marianne Stakhanovite. I’m Marco - Lallana on Thursday nights. Nice to meet you.” They both shook hands. "Anyway, what are you doing at the Bishop’s Balls?"
“Well, I have a favour to ask.” Whiteford said matter of factly. “I need a hideout in case my lodgings are found out. It could happen.”
“Come back to the dressing room, my dear.”
The dressing room was tiny, with 3 cramped places on the left and another 3 on the right. At the front was a sink stained with all different shades of nude foundation and other colours of rainbow makeup. Each place had a mirror with the classic lights bordering the edges, but in this venue some of the lights were either not working or not even in the bulb socket. A couple of other drag queens were in the room, a Mikaela Kligenberg impersonator - who, if Whiteford was honest didn’t really have the figure for it, an Edward Firoux go-go boy, and a Lizzo impersonator who definitely did have the figure for it. ‘Massive...' Whiteford thought to herself.
Marco, still dressed in his pink Bishop outfit, sat on his stool, taking off his eyelashes and heels. “Well, we have a lot of girls here who wouldn’t mind putting up a friend, including me. You can also come here, to the bar. We’ve got space for you if you need.”
“Thank you." Whiteford said. "There is an incentive for you, too. I wouldn't ask you to risk your lives like this without compensation. I have money.” The Lizzo impersonator suddenly took notice.
Marco smiled. “We’ll take anything you can give us. We don't really make much. It's more of a passion project for us girls and Eddie here.”
Whiteford left 500,000 Inquistos. “Remember to share it out.”
Whiteford’s BNB, 1am Inquistan Time
Whiteford was happy that she had secured a safe place to go if the worst should happen. She knew that building links would be vital in this foreign land. She had no more secret service following her around - at least not a secret service loyal to her. She knew the Inquistan authorities were looking for her. It was really only a matter of when they would catch her. Yet, the drag queens at the Bishop’s Balls should provide her a safe way to escape any threats she may get into later in the evening, from Inquistans or communists. "Inquistan communists... Are those a thing…?” She asked herself. “That would be weird.” She planned to head out at around 2am to get him while he was asleep. Start the encounter on her own terms. She plugged in Richard’s address into google maps. It was quite far away, but money wasn’t a problem so she decided she’d catch an Uber over. She got dressed into a pantsuit and put on her sunglasses and a hat, despite the fact it was the middle of the night. She looked in the mirror and she felt she would blend in sufficiently in her late night travels across the city. Then, she packed her bag. In went the pistol, a few rounds, and a silencer. And also a bueno bar, you know, in case she got hungry.
Whiteford got into the uber after stating her (fake) name, Andrea. The driver was of West Sahwari descent which gathered from the flag on his dashboard.
“Where are you from?” He asked. Whiteford could tell he wasn’t actually interested, but he obviously felt that the awkward silence needed to be ended.
“Uhhh” Whiteford paused. “Icholasen.” It couldn’t hurt if some random Uber driver knew where some rando tourist was going, right?
“Oh, nice.” He said, while activating the turn signal. It made a very loud noise, tick tick tick tick tick. The driver then turned it off after he had finished crossing the deserted crossroads. There was almost no reason to have activated it, it was 2am, after all. No one was around.
The song The Land of Make Believe came on the oldies station. The lyric; 'Run for the sun, little one, you're an outlaw once again’ felt a little too on the nose for Whiteford. She thought of how she was now an outlaw, not a sitting head of government. It was quite the role reversal.
She watched the city go past. With the exception of a few bars and clubs it was virtually empty. The stores and shops shut. It was, despite this, or even because of this still very aesthetically pleasing. The Mediterranean architecture with columns and statues was very attractive. She regretted never having come here to see Craticus or even Firoux. This sent her mind in a spiral of thoughts, thinking of all the opportunities she would now never experience for the first time or again. All those lunches with foreign dignitaries, all those conversations with other heads of government or state about this and that. The chance to visit people and countries she would never, now, have the chance to. But it wasn’t just that. She had a sense of purpose then, the betterment of lives. Sure, she had a purpose now, but it was a purpose of killing. Not exactly the same as healthcare reform, was it.
Still, she thought of all the drudgery that lay ahead of her had she not been deposed. All that paperwork, dealing with the Nonet and the Sénat, the Dominion Assemblies. Those bodies were as historical as she was now, completely redundant. The fact that she would likely have lost both the National Assemblies had she continued was not lost on her. Sure, she would still be Korojaunu, but would she be KINO? Whiteford’s train of thought was interrupted when her uber driver announced their arrival at the Hearjun residence with the crunch of the handbreak. It was a terrace house, with the entrance to Richard’s residence to the side below an archway.
This was it. She thanked the Sahwari uber driver and gave him 500,000 Inquistos.
She watched the uber driver drive off, and once he was gone she assembled her silencer pistol. She put it in her gym bag, still at arms reach but concealed. She got out her Inquista bank credit card and managed to open the door. Luckily the door was off-street, otherwise it would have looked suspicious.
She walked into the room. It was clean, with no clothes lying about. No floordrobe here. Richard was in the bed. At least she thought it was Richard. There was really no way to tell. Richard then rolled over, and she was then sure it was him. Whiteford wondered how she should go about doing this - wake him up, launch into an angry spiel? She was never impressed or even intimated when randos did that to her when she was Korojaunu… So he probably wouldn’t find it very threatening either. Maybe the gun would make some difference though. She decided to yolo it, and turned on the light and shook him. No response. She tried again. No response. Whiteford remembered the dildo she had borrowed from the Edward Firoux gogo boy and gave Richard a big whack with it. He quickly came to, completely befuddled.
“What the actual fuck- What are you doing in my room.” He paused. “Korojaunu Whiteford?”
“I’m glad you’re using my rightful title.” He tried to get up and leave, revealing his hammer and sickle patterned pyjamas. “I wouldn’t if I were you.” She said, cocking her gun.
“What do you want? Money? Information?”
“No. I want my country back to how it was. But since that can’t happen, I want your head as a trophy.”
“Christ that’s a bit extreme.” Richard said.
“Was it? Sorry I’m kind of new to this.”
“It’s okay, I understand.”
Whiteford drew pulled her gun up. "It's time, Richard."
Whiteford’s Airbnb, The Morning After
Whiteford woke up and her phone was buzzing like crazy. The Bishop Lallana impersonator, Marco, had been trying to call her since about 6am. It was now 8. Whiteford was dazzled and confused. She reflected on what had really happened last night. She had killed a man. No. She had killed a communist. She called Marco back.
“Uh, hello?” She said, going over to the dresser and taking a paracetamol.
“Why the fuck didn’t you answer? You never gave me your address so I have no idea where you are. They know you’re here in the city.”
“Who do you think, girlfriend?! Craticus’s cronies.”
“Go to this address. I’m sending it to you via text. Hurry.”
Whiteford hung up, got dressed and packed her duffle bag. She wondered what the fuck this address even was. A bar? A house? She texted the Sahrawi uber driver and asked him to come ASAP. He ditched his passenger and came straight to Whiteford’s Airbnb. Whiteford gave him the address and he floored it. A few blocks down, sirens began to wail and Whiteford knew they didn’t have much time. They got caught at a red light, the driver wanted to move but there was a car in front. Luckily, there was a bike lane. The uber driver drove up onto the bike line to the sound of screaming cyclists and put his foot down. Whiteford heard a police helicopter up above. “Oh shit”. She thought. They kept driving through the cycle lane. Firoux loving hippies were shook. The police cars had been following them along, firing warning shots and hitting a few of the fleeing hippies.
They came up to one of the Inquistan demonstrations. “Oh goddamnit” said the uber driver. “We’ll never get past these bastards they’ve blocked my quickest routes for days now.”
Whiteford rolled down the manual window and shouted. “It’s me, Eilidh Whiteford. Let us through!”
Through the hive mind of #FBPF Twitter, the crowd communicated with itself and opened up like the Red Sea for Whiteford, closing as soon as the uber had come through to stop the police cars from entering, or at least slowing them down. They arrived at their destination. It was the Fremetian embassy. The police cars were no longer around, but that helicopter was. A gunner in the helicopter started firing, Whiteford opened the door, took a deep breath, and ran.
The Fremetian Embassy, Inquista
The Lizzo impersonator was waiting in the reception of the Fremetian embassy, she was wearing an ill-fitting leotard.
“Ah, there you are. My boyfriend works here and he got you Fremetian diplomatic immunity. They can’t come in here. You’re safe now, we’ll get you back to Fremet.”
Statsministerboligen, the PM's Residence
05:26 UTC (Local Time)
It was early in the morning, but Ursula had already been awake for her morning routine for nearly an hour. She was in the middle of eating a fat, juicy steak (her staple choice of breakfast) when a phone call came through in the residence.
It was the head of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, Fremet's chief intelligence service.
She answered, "[REDACTED], what's wrong?" She knew they wouldn't call so early if it wasn't urgent.
"Madam Prime Minister, we have received an unusual request. The girlfriend of one of our operatives in Inquista has made contact with Whiteford."
Ursula pressed the call button for one of her aids. "Get me the AA and FD NOW!" The aid scurried away, the voice of Ursula von der Leyen piercing every fibre of her being.
Ursula put the phone back to her ear, "Is she safe?"
"We don't think so. It is only a matter of time until her whereabouts are discovered. We need to move forward with extraction."
Ursula received a text message on her phone, the Defence Minister was on his way. "Stark is on the way. I'll fill him in when he gets here. For the time being, Whiteford has special asylum here in Fremet and is, for all intensive purposes, an asset of the AA. That should get her diplomatic immunity. I'll patch through to Erna to get the embassy ready to receive her. Get back in touch with that girlfriend and re-establish contact with Whiteford. We need to get her out of the country. God knows what she's been doing there." She slammed the receiver down, ending the call and made her way into her office at the residence.
The Defence Minister was already waiting for her, gasping for air and perspiring a great deal. "Madam Prime Minister, if COUGH you'll allow me a moment. I came as soon as I could."
"You aren't as young as you used to be Jürgen. How far was it? Your apartment is only 400 meters away. Prime real estate mind you, but you really should exercise more."
"I suppose." The redness in his face subsided. "I got a text message from the BND. I don't even know how they got my personal number. They say you want to evacuate Whitford from Inquista?"
"Yes Jürgen. We are going to bring her back to Fremet."
"It's possible, but it'll take some doing. I might have an idea. The 4th Fleet is currently patrolling the Emerald Sea. We could order one of the destroyers to detach from its squadron and sail south towards Inquista. We can transfer one of the helicopters off of the FS Rhodenheim, which is set to link up with the 4th Fleet today, and keep it on the helipad of the destroyer, fly that to the embassy, and pick up Whitford."
"Will the Inquistans allow one of our aircraft into their airspace?"
"If we tell them it is a diplomatic transport they will. If she doesn't make too much noise we should be able to get her out in the early hours tomorrow morning."
"Okay. You know what to do. I'll meet you in the Staatsbunker in one hour."
As the Minister got up to leave, one of her aids popped his head in, "Madam Prime Minister, I have the Foreign Minister on the line for you."
"Ursula. I have already heard from BND. What do you need me to do?"
"Tell our embassy in Fremet to be placed on high alert, and to start working on a way to land a helicopter on the embassy grounds."
"Will do. Will you need me to return to Trondheim?"
"No Erna, you can join us by video link. Stay at the summit. We need you there. I'll keep you posted."
"Thank you Prime Minister." Erna disconnected the call. All Ursula could do now was wait.
3 Hours Later
Staatsbunker, somewhere in Trøndelag
Inside a conference room deep under Trondheim, Ursula and her advisers watched in horror on Inquistan television as a manic police chase took place on Whiteford's route to the Fremetian Embassy. They were cheering the Uber driver and Whiteford on as they made their escape to the embassy grounds.
"Madam Prime Minister, BVM and the AA both confirm she has arrived safely and is being held in a secure space within the compound," one of her advisors said, holding two phones up to his head.
"Now, we just have to get her out. What's the status of that destroyer?" Ursula turned towards her Defence Minister.
"We have ordered the destroyer HFMS Merkel and two cruisers, the HFMS Koningstad and the HFMS Njord, to form the new Korojaunu Taskforce. They are already en route should be in position by 0300 hours local time tomorrow morning. The helicopter RFAF Freiheit will take off then and move to the embassy, ETA 0430 hours local time. The Freiheit will pick up its payload and make its way back to the HFMS Merkel at 0600 hours local time. The taskforce will then sail north to Fremet. Expected to return at 1500 hours Fremetian Standard time the next day." He gestured violently at a tactical display behind him as he was speaking.
"Sounds like a plan. Have we heard anything on the diplomatic cables?" Ursula asked.
"Nothing yet ma'am. Though I doubt the Inquistans will be too happy about this." Jürgen responded.
The Following Day
International Waters off the Coast of Inquista
"Freiheit you are GO! Repeat Operation Hope is a GO!"
The RFAF helicopter took of from the HFMS Merkel, flying off into the early morning sky.
Skies over Inquista
"We're early," the pilot said to the Marines in back. He had flown countless covert missions, but this was truly the most exciting of them all."
"We're entering Inquistan Airspace," his copilot announced.
"Inquistan Control this is RFAF Freiheit requesting diplomatic flight clearance to Saint Dominico."
"Freiheit your flight plan has been received. Cleared for entry. Maintain 1000 feet."
The helicopter zoomed towards the city, and touched town at the embassy's rear lawn. Whiteford was escorted by security and Naval personnel to the helicopter. Just as soon as they had arrived, they were on their way out.
"Merkel this is Freiheit. We have hope. Returning now."
Off the Coast of Inquista
The helicopter touched down on the destroyer's helipad. Whiteford was safe at last.
The taskforce began its long journey back to Fremet, and radioed in to Fremetian Military HQ with the news.
"Trondheim, we have hope. I repeat, we have HOPE."
Whiteford arrived back in Fremet and reflected on her odyssey in Inquista. She realised that that life was good and she would definitely return to it. But not now. She was happy to start her new life in Fremet, learning Norwegian, how to paint, pottery with a ghostly white Fremetian. Maybe she would even find romance here. You never know bruv.
The Way of the Whiteford was hers to choose now. So she engaged in discussions about a new future, this somewhat familiar future that lay ahead of her in the next few months.