The Huinan Commune Winter Red Turban Party Congress, Part 1
Wang Huifang grimaced and gritted her teeth as the “Wise Brother’s” lackeys dragged his accuser out of the Palace of the People. He has some nerve, throwing out the very comrades who fight and bleed for his Cause, rather than face the accusation like a grown man. Not that he hadn’t spent the better part of the day defending himself with his usual, utter incapacity for even the slightest self-criticism. She wanted to shout him down now. She wanted to punch him in his smug face. Or better yet, pick up one of the dozen Commune banners around her party and hope to wake him up to reality with a thwack from the pole. But now was not the time. Huifang would have some choice words for him, but not before she attended to more important work.
She took a deep breath, stood up from her chair, turned around, and put her hands on her hips. “Friends,” she spoke quietly but firmly. The murmurs in her party died down, and those holding the red-and-gold flags stopped waving them and shouting slogans. “We’re not going to get anywhere standing around here. There’s work to be done.”
About twenty pairs of eyes locked onto hers, but she was mostly interested in three. First, the slim, tall, clean-shaven older man in the suit and glasses. “Lifu. You’ve got to have some PAF and old Crow Society contacts around here. Not to mention I’m sure you know your way around any other Anarchist and Free Syndicalist circles. Go to their parties, one by one, and remind them what the Commune stands for. Remind them of our commitment to Internationalism, Worker Self-Management, and Union Power. See what they want and need from us, and also what they might be willing to commit to in return. They are our natural allies, after all.”
Second, the stocky, large-eyed woman in a fur coat and cap. “Sai’da. You speak more languages than any of us, and your ideas demonstrate the room we have to compromise with those who lean towards the Totalist end of the fence. I need you to reach out to the non-Quin here, especially the ones outside the circles Lifu can reach – Social Democrats, mainline Socialists, No-Labels, even National Syndicalists. Hear out their thoughts and concerns. No matter where they are, they’ve got some worry about Quin Chauvinism and probably prefer some sort of Federalism to Centralism. Make sure they understand we feel the same way. Remind them that Quin Chauvinism against the hated Minga can just as easily turn against any nationality if it’s deemed convenient “for the cause,” if not by one Party Chair then maybe by the next. That is, if we keep letting power centralize and purges go unchecked. Hell, if you think they’ll listen tell them all about the Tu’wa Autonomous Oblasts, what they’ve had to gain from Federalism and Socialist Democracy in Belzarov. I’m sure you know not to name any names or say anything that would sound incriminating, but still deliver the message.” The last part might have been unnecessary for the sharp Tu’wa Councilor, but some of the others listening could use the reminder.
Finally, the shorter man with the dark eyebrows and goatee, in similar fur garb to his wife. “Farid. You’ve already picked out any Belzarovians, and the bright-eyed students and Internationalism-Firsters who fawn over them. That’s your crowd, but you can also help your wife by taking point on anyone who would appreciate your calls to National Brotherhood among Tu’wa and other Mingalic Peoples. For some folks, your reputation for bringing out that special bond of language and culture and history that crosses national borders pulls a special chord. See if you can use it – without pandering to anything Mingalic Supremacist.” Huifang grinned, and everyone else chuckled, including Farid himself. There was, of course, no danger of anyone here endorsing that kind of thought, unless they wanted to attract an angry mob.
She let her grin settle into a natural smile. “Anyone else who feels up to it should help, if you feel up to it. I trust you all, friends. Just try to stick to what you know, listen and really hear what the other delegates have to say, and speak Truth always – but without giving our “brother” any more ammunition than he’s already got. Or at least, no more than we can’t avoid by being who we are.”
“And what about you, Foreman?” asked Sai’da with an eyebrow raised in curiosity. “Not like you to avoid the front line.”
“Oh don’t you worry,” Huifang replied, her smile twisting wryly. “There’s a reason I’m sending you all go gather information and try to start making friends here and now, when we would do just as fine building alliances with meetings we call ourselves. While you're all making connections, I’ll be working out a proposal with the friends we already have. Something just uncontroversial enough that our Brother can’t shoot it down, just popular enough to get votes, and just enough of a challenge to make life a little more difficult for the Centralizers. A proposal on the Rights of Nationalities to Self-Determination…”
|Geographical Location of CLIQUE:| As its name suggests, the Commune is centered on the major industrial metropolis of Huinan, on the Eastern bank of Hankhan’s lake. It also includes many satellite towns and the smaller, but still-important city of Nuncheng. More importantly, however, the Commune controls fertile rural lands, much-coveted in Red Zengrav. Yet, this leverage has a counterweight: The industry of Huinan and Nuncheng depend on minerals extracted in the hills to the East, just outside the direct control of the Commune.
|Nationalities of the Commune:| While majority-Quin, the Huinan Commune contains significant minority populations, more so than most polities within Red Zengrav. -- Tu’wa (19%): A traditionally-pastoral “Mingalic” people sharing heritage and some linguistic ties with the former rulers of Zengrav, but strong cultural-religious ties to the Conclave. They form a majority in the open grasslands to the Southwest of Commune, but the vast majority of Tu’wa globally have always lived in lands now part of Belzarov. Historically, the Tu'wa had many independent Khanates to the West of Zengrav with shifting dynasties and territory, and at various points served as either subjects or allies to the Minga. Starting a millenium ago, Conclave missionaries convinced Tu'wa elites to move away from their old shamanist faith, though to this day they retain many syncretic elements and a highly mystic interpretation of the Conclave religion. Over the last three centuries, the Tu'wa Khans were subjugated -and later deposed- by the expanding Tsardom of Belzorov. Their role in the Revolution there would earn them limited national self-determination in the "United Tu'wa Autonomous Oblasts." In the Commune itself, the Tu’wa are concentrated in the countryside and smaller towns, where they practice settled herding, farming, and handicrafts in largely culturally autonomous settlements. Their connection to their kin in Belzarov has made a major mark on the Socialist transformation in the area, bringing not only clandestine material support but also a strong internationalist streak opposing Quin “national chauvinism” prevalent in some other parts of Red Zengrav. -- Zeh (17%): In contrast to the Tu’wa, the Zeh of the Commune are overwhelmingly concentrated in Huinan and Nuncheng. While the area has been home to some Zeh since time immemorial, the current population is over half refugees from political violence elsewhere in Zengrav. Some continue to live on their boats, supporting the Commune through fishing and trade, but many more have transitioned into life as proletarians and soldiers. -- Minga (11%): Spread evenly throughout the Commune, the Minga minority is a remnant of the Heavenly Empire’s old policy of re-settling “loyal” communities to exert influence over potentially troublesome regions. But as the Empire decayed and employed ineffective “modernization” programs, many came to slip through the cracks, losing land and status to political favorites. By the time of the collapse, many were more sympathetic to the rebels than to the Emperor. Those who were not, of course, were mostly killed or expelled like all other reactionaries. Recently, however, the number of Minga in Commune territory has begun to swell with refugees from pogroms in Red Zengrav, seeing Huinan and Wang Huifang as a potential protector against the anti-Minga ideology of the "Wise Brother."
|Name:| Wang Huifang |Title:| Zuigao Gonghui Gongtou (Supreme Union Foreman) |Age:|29 |Ethnicity:| Mixed Zeh-Quin |Personal Ideology: | Internationalist Libertarian Syndicalist. Wang has no patience for an ideology that would limit the Revolution to a single nation or people, nor for one that would centralize power in the hands of a political elite with the power to impose its will on the people with impunity. She believes in the power of worker self-organization, and is keen to trust the power of a mob over the power of a commissar. However, she is not so utopian as to reject the state entirely, as long as it is built on the foundation of Worker Councils and Unions. Likewise, she understands the need for military hierarchy and discipline – though with limited democracy (soldiers’ councils, election of officers, etc.). |Influence in the faction: | 20% |Personality: | Many would say that Wang has an “aura” of charm and authority. Despite her small stature, she commands attention and respect from those she speaks to with her combination of eloquence and genuine, impassioned conviction. Wang is loyal to her friends, and even more so to the Cause of Socialism, and she tends to speak her mind (“Better to convince one comrade with the hard Truth, than a hundred with a convenient Lie!”). She is also considered kind in general, even merciful to a point, but with a no-nonsense practical outlook. She is no gullible pushover, and she does not hesitate to use any means necessary for her goals. |Her Virtue: |Ear to the ground: Wang Huifang has deep roots in the proletarian masses of Huinan, and a knack for expanding those roots far and wide. If there is a trend, rumor, shared grievance, or any other piece of common knowledge among some segment of the people -often even in neighboring counties- she already knows it. |Her Virtue: |Charismatic Hero: With her sharp tongue, commanding presence, and pivotal role as a revolutionary in her region, Wang Huifang inspires loyalty and confidence from those she leads. |Her Sin:|Unsubtle: Wang Huifang is an experienced organizer and revolutionary, but not a politician. Although she is any Socialist's equal in her command of language and theory, everything from her accent to her garb to her table manners are seen as a little too proletarian even for Communist high councils. More damningly, she has consistently either failed or refused to play the game of walking egg-shells around the “Wise-Brother” Reg-Ahn’s authoritarianism. While proclaiming her loyalty to the Red Cause, she also publicly decries Reg-Ahn’s purges and refuses to submit to all but the bare minimum of his “rightful” authority. Her own influence and the power she represents have protected her so far, but can she count on this forever? Even if not, her stubborn commitment to honesty is too much for her to stop.
|History and Background:|
A true proletarian hero from childhood, she has achieved greater and greater feats with time. Wang is the ever-Rising Red Star.
Wang Huifang was born to a Zeh fisherman and a Quin dockworker in Huinan. During her childhood, she watched her lakeside home district swell with refugees. She watched slum-lords and work-bosses push them into squalid living and backbreaking labor. Even then the region was something of a safe-haven, but the trade-off was that those coming in were funneled into the ranks of cheap industrial labor: The city’s economy thrived off of suffering elsewhere in Zengrav. Her own family lived only marginally better, allowing her to attend a Zeh community school for some time. Yet, despite her amazing performance, her education was punctuated with interruptions as “rough patches” required her to work transporting and peddling her father’s catches.
At the age of 14, even this status was lost when her father and his blood family lost their boats, burned where they lay anchored on the orders of a Quin fishing magnate who resented the competition. The young Wang went to work in garment factories for the next five years. All the while, the tireless girl made time for participation in Blue Clubs, continuing her education and expanding her political awareness. Her employment ended ignobly when, after a work-boss demanded an extra hour from her and her crew at no extra pay, she ran through his stomach with a pair of scissors, leading to a riot. The “disturbance” was quickly and brutally repressed, and Wang was forced to flee the district for fear of the constables.
Fortunately, her mother had connections enough to find the young woman work at the other end of the city, with a crew of teamsters. Here, she went from Blue to Red. She had happened to join in the beginnings of a union drive, joining the underground campaign mere months before it went public. Secret union meetings often doubled as Red Clubs, but more important than her continued political education was her practice. This time, Wang relied first on her words and her ability to build trusted friendships, and rather than rallying behind the existing union leaders soon they were rallying behind her. This was also when she first made connections with Tu’wa artisans and peasants, whose wares and labor the teamsters often drew from. She boldly invited them first to the Red Clubs, and then officially into the union as fellow workers: “Either we will unite and both taste victory, or we will lose.” The ensuing experiment in federating across locations and trades would also draw the attention of local Anarchists, including the (in)famous “Pure Socialist” theoretician and agitator Shiu Lifu.
Coming under an uncomfortable amount of attention, the teamsters’ bosses offered to recognize the union on the grounds that the workers would cut ties with “outsiders” and expel Wang from their ranks. But they under-estimated the unionists. Acquiring arms through the Anarchists’ networks and Tu’wa connections to Belzarov, they drove the bosses out by force and declared themselves a self-managing “Union Enterprise.” When the bosses rallied a force of hired goons to counter-attack, Wang personally led the defense of the Teamsters’ Office, winning her first military victory.
By now, the government of Huinan was already on shaky ground, buckling under the weight of the recent Blue takeover and countless Red associations already springing up. It simply could not spare the resources to swiftly put down the uprising. Wang and her fellow union leaders wasted no time: They reached out to Anarchists across the whole city, then to Socialist Tu’wa organizations, and finally to all manner of Red Groups in Huinan and its surrounding towns and villages. Within a year, they had federated with almost all other Teamster’s Offices; the next year they had won over most of the city’s warehouse workers and dockworkers too. Responses by constables and mercenaries were either too weak to do damage, or fended off by Wang’s seemingly miraculous ability to know when and where they planned to attack. All they accomplished was to make public spectacles in which the irredeemable divide between capitalist and worker became painfully obvious to more and more citizens. At 22 years old, the federation she led directly included nearly the entire transportation and commercial infrastructure of Huinan, and her influence extended over unions and worker councils embedded in nearly half of the city’s factories, particularly women garment workers. The moment had arrived: Wang declared a General Strike. Within days, the economy ground to a halt, while workers and their peasant allies organized the continued flow of food to the city through their own organizations. In the countryside, landlords were driven off of their estates by armed peasants, taking control of their own production to support the city workers.
In a last-ditch effort to stamp out the disorder, the city’s mayor appealed to the Republic’s government for assistance, and to his joy an army was soon dispatched. Yet, he could not stop the Reds from finding out and making the news public, turning nearly the entire populace against him overnight. The General Strike was escalated into the full, armed expropriation of the city’s bourgeoisie. Constables that had been nervously facing off with workers for days either fled or defected en masse when the shooting began, and those that remained were quickly overrun. When the Republican Army arrived, there were no sympathizers to aid them. Wang chose to lead a column of unarmed women workers to confront them at an enormous roadblock, appealing to the mix of conscripts and poor volunteers with her voice: For hours the soldiers refused to fire, and entire battalions left the field against the orders of their superiors. Some even “crossed over” and joined the crowd.
Yet, eventually, it came to violence. The army’s artillery, too far to behold or hear from the crowd, and crewed by higher-status personnel who would have identified little with the workers anyway, finished deploying and opened fire. The ensuing “Shan District Massacre” was a horror to behold, and though she survived Wang did not escape unscathed: She would lose two fingers, as well as some of her earlier idealism. Nonetheless, she would win the war: The artillerists’ unforgivable actions would provoke yet more desertion from the infantry, and over days of bloody urban warfare the entire army was divided into pieces that were systematically encircled and destroyed.
There was little time to regroup. Shortly after her victory and declaring the Huinan Commune, yet another army was detected only days away. But by now, Wang was de-facto recognized as the leader of revolutionary forces in Huinan, her personal army the “Revolutionary Guard” leading the larger movement of “People’s Militias.” The city of Nuncheng, inspired to action by Huinan’s resistance, had expelled its own elites and quickly joined the Commune. Together, the “Army of the Two Cities” routed the second Republican Army in what was dubbed The Second Battle of the Commune. As commander, Wang ensured victory not only through inspiring words, but also clever positioning and extensive use of civilian trucks for quick deployment (and as jerry-rigged attack cars).
There would be no third army. By that point, Reds throughout the entire province of Hankhan were rising under the Red Father’s leadership. Her hopes lifted by the tide of popular power, the Commune’s leader pledged herself to Lee’s leadership and the Red Turban Rebellion. Although considered “gruff” and “improper” by many other Red leaders from outside her home region, she developed a strong mutual respect with Lee.
Meanwhile, Wang and her allies set about formalizing the new Syndicalist order in the Commune. A system of cooperatives and worker councils would exercise political and economic sovereignty “from the bottom,” constituting federal units in larger Unions to coordinate production. These unions could be based on trade, geography, or any other number of reasons for association, so long as each cooperative/council belonged to only one union. Each union would send a number of Gonghui Gongtou (Union Foremen) to the Commune’s Workers’ Congress proportional to its membership. Furthermore, each Nationality in the Commune would elect a number of representatives to send to a Council of Nationalities. The Congress and the Council together, in turn, would elect a “Supreme Foreman” - needless to say, this would be Huifang Wang herself.
Tragically, just after consolidating the Commune’s victory and joining it to the Red Turbans, she lost a key ally in the Red Father. She lost yet more in the ensuing purges, and since has been working hard to denounce and obstruct Reg-Ahn's violence, all while building alliances with remaining non-Totalists among Red Turban leadership. Yet, unwilling to sacrifice the unity of Reds against monarchists and fascists, she has not broken with the "Wise Brother" entirely. For now, she maintains her allegiance to his "duly elected" leadership, but only to the very minimum required by the loose codes of the movement.
The People’s Militias: (~18,000 troops) One of the requirements of union status in the Commune is the maintenance of a regularly-drilled workers’ miltia, comprising no less than 1/20 of the union’s total membership. These soldiers are in some sense volunteers, since there is currently no direct conscription in the Commune. Those who are most devoted to the cause or best adapted to contribute as soldiers tend to offer themselves as candidates. In practice, however, meeting the quota sometimes requires draft-like actions: at best this may be pressure from friends and coworkers, at worst union representatives may round up choice workers against their will. More often than not, however, the quota is simply not enforced, and so far Wang Huifang has not made a priority of changing this situation.
Currently, the People’s Militias typically function as garrisons defensively, and as screens and reserves offensively. Many of their most experienced members “cycle out” to join the CDA. However, the militias can claim many instances of battlefield bravery, especially when operating in smaller units. While mostly infantry (with some light artillery), the militias possess a small but growing arsenal of battlefield vehicles handed down from the Revolutionary Guard and excess production.
The CDA, or Revolutionary Guard: (~24,000 troops) The Commune Democratic Army, better known as the Revolutionary Guard, is Wang Huifang’s loyal professional army. The force is organized according to her principles of “The Democratic Army,” balancing limited syndicalist democracy with hierarchy and discipline. Every battalion constitutes its own Workers’ Council, every division its own Union, and the whole army a special Union Federation. They elect their own officers and participate in politics through their Union Foremen, with one Foreman per brigade (1-5,000 soldiers) – the Foreman is therefore roughly equivalent to a Colonel. However, unlike in civilian syndicalism, elected officer positions are not always revocable: Commands cannot be revoked in battle, and during campaign operations they can only be revoked with the approval of the regiment’s Foreman (or, if it is the Foreman being recalled, the approval of Wang Huifang herself). Likewise, the system of checks, balances, and appeals available to civilian workers is more limited for soldiers, especially during campaign operations.
Despite the theoretical numerical strength of the People’s Militias, the Revolutionary Guard is the backbone of the Commune’s army. It alone benefits directly from the flow of foreign military volunteers, most notably the elite cavalry Tu’wa Socialist Volunteer Brigade and a collection of skilled training officers from Belzarov’s United Tu’wa Autonomous Oblasts. Furthermore, with the lax enforcement of militia quotas and the modest but constant drain of soldiers from the militias to professional service, the Revolutionary Guard is actually the larger of the Commune’s two parallel armies. Naturally, it also contains by far more experienced troops and officers, properly trained and drilled for large-scale combined arms operations. This also means that the CDA alone has proper Armor, Artillery, and Air units.
Tu'wa Socialist Volunteer Brigade (~3,000): One of the CDA's most elite and battle-proven units is, ironically, its least mechanized. The TSVB, comprised of Belzarovian Tu'wa volunteers, is all-cavalry, with roughly 2,100 rifle/SMG-armed dragoons in body armor supported by 150 Tuchankas (total crew of roughly 900) carrying machine-guns, mortars, and anti-tank guns. With its combined armaments, the unit can effectively face off against both infantry and light armor. The TSVB has mastered the art of concentrating its entire firepower with terrifying speed and precision, making it ideal as both a vanguard and a flanking force. It has also proven invaluable as a source of veterans to train native Zengravi Tu'wa cavalry.
Ji’s Veteran-Vanguards (~2,000): Considered the best infantry in the Revolutionary Guard, the Veteran-Vanguards are a fully-mechanized brigade of armored shock troops. They are armed with a combination of semi-automatic rifles, light machine-guns, and flamethrowers. Most soldiers also carry a plethora of grenades, and all are equipped for close-combat with trench shovels and/or sword bayonets. They are, as their unit name suggests, the best and brightest of General Ji Ming-Jyun’s most loyal veterans, overwhelmingly those who have served with her since the days of the original People’s Militia. Among the Revolutionary Guard, the Veteran-Vanguards are some of the only troops that have drilled in deploying from the Commune’s new line of gunships. However, they typically move in their dedicated arsenal of Bullhorn-Class transports, an “armored wave” supported by medium tanks and artillery for maximum shock.
1st and 2nd Mounted Militia Battalions (~300 each): Most People's Militia units are entirely foot infantry, perhaps with some support vehicles and light artillery. However, a few battalions of rural Minga and Tu'wa have made a name for themselves for their heroics on horseback, staging daring raids and ambushes against royalist forces who dare intrude into Red territory. Most would eventually volunteer for the cavalry brigades of the CDA, but two remain a testament to the talent that can be found among the Militia. They remain a useful resource for speedy guerilla actions, scouting, and other small-unit operations.
Skoda CT-4 7.7mm Bolt-Action Rifle: Like many of the Commune's standard weapons, the Skoda Mk4 is a "doubly-imported" design, a Belzarovian-licensed variant of the Commonwealth Ems-Lee Pattern D. Its features are a balance optimal for Huinan's military doctrine and production capabilities. Its technical complexity is low enough for relatively easy mass-production, and it is reasonably simple for any soldier to use and maintain. At the same time, the gun is not only physically sturdy, but effective and reliable. Its 10-round box magazine chambers a longer and more powerful bullet than many comparable rifles, in order to better threaten infantry body armor. As a consequence, despite the short barrel, the Mk4 is a noticeably heavy and high-recoil weapon. Nonetheless, it remains a tried and true staple for both the People's Militia and the Revolutionary Guard.
SVS-11 7mm Self-Loading Carbine: One of the most advanced weapons in the Commune arsenal, the SVS-11 is an innovation of the Belzarovian Socialist Republic. The recoil-operated rifle carries a 15-round internal magazine, fed by 5-round clips. Field tests and battle experience have shown extreme reliability; the SVS-11 is known to fire thousands of rounds and endure difficult campaign conditions without serious incident. It trades a somewhat small caliber for a large powder charge and very high muzzle velocity, ideal for puncturing body armor - as much as its size allows. However, the gun is quite technically complex and relies on special non-standard ammunition: Only two factories in the Commune possess the proper machinery and technical expertise to produce it. As such, it is functionally limited to only two elite units: The TSVB, which brought most of its SVS-11 rifles directly from Belzarov, and the Commune-equipped Veteran-Vanguards brigade.
Shandian Machine Pistol: A 9mm SMG with the distinction of being of native Red Zengravian design, though some parts were modeled after Commonwealth guns. The Shandian is most impressive for its simplicity: Instead of bolts and welding, SMG's parts are joined with screws and threads. Thus, it is easily manufactured even by inexperienced engineers in small workshops. The SMG is also known for its rugged durability and ease of maintenance, and in addition to devoted 32-round box magazines it is designed to accommodate 9mm magazines from Commonwealth designs common among Blue and Black forces. This has made the Shandian a favorite among guerillas, but it remains popular with militia and regular soldiers as well for its overall reliability. The Shandian is ubiquitous among all Commune soldiery, both Militia and CDA, and is also a major export to other Red forces. It is often produced in small towns and even villages, in addition to devoted production from city assembly lines.
PK-50 SMG: Another "double import" from the Commonwealth to Belzarov to Zengrav. Like the SVS-11, the PK-50 is a more sophisticated design that trades greater complexity for higher accuracy, rate of fire (900 RPM), and ammunition capacity (typically fitted with a 71-round drum). However, it is a less extreme case than the rifle, due to its use of the same 9mm ammunition as the Shandian (also common to many Commonwealth designs) and greater mechanical suitability for mass production. Like most Commune designs, it is also durable and easy enough to maintain, though not to the extent of the Shandian. It is standard fare among CDA cavalry -including the TSVB- and infantry assault battalions.
Skoda CP-9 7.7mm LMG: Like the CT-4 Rifle, the CP-9 is a Commonwealth-derived design from the union-owned Belzarovian arms producer Skoda Works. It uses the same powerful ammunition, and like the rifle it is an ideal balance of cost, performance, and resilience. The gun is fed by 30-round magazines and generally mounted on a bipod. It can also mount a sword bayonet, though the CT-4's weight and barrel limit the blade's effectiveness.
Voigt Machine Gun Mk3: An old but dependable Commonwealth design licensed by Belzarov with a slew of minor improvements: a new metallic ammunition belt, accelerator mechanism, muzzle booster, redesigned handle, optical sight, and snow filling cap (for use of snow as coolant instead of water in winter). It employs the same 7.7mm ammunition as the CT-4 and CP-9. The Voigt Mk3 boasts an impressive fire rate of 850 RPM, and it is issued with extra parts allowing it to be easily modified as an anti-aircraft gun. A generally dependable and reasonably cheap weapon even with the extra parts, it is the most-produced machine-gun of the Commune, typical even among militia garrisons.
Skoda CK-61 15mm Heavy Machine Gun: Like the SVS-11, the CK-61 is a Belzarovian design through and through with its own unique ammunition. It fires very heavy rounds, attractive to the Commune for their devastating potential against heavily-armored Royalist infantry. Naturally, this comes at the cost of accuracy, but this is mitigated by the gun's selective fire mechanism - allowing for semi-automatic fire. It is more cost-efficient to produce than the rifle, but remains one of the Commune's more expensive and unusual weapons. Some are deployed with infantry, and a few are even mounted on Tachankas. However, the vast majority of Huinan's CK-61's are devoted to vehicle MG turrets, which benefit most from the extra punch and provide the best stability for the overpowered gun.
KPS-34 AT Rifle: A Belzarovian design of the state-owned National Arms company, long kept classified but eventually leaked to Huinan through anonymous sympathizers. The KPS-34 is a bolt-action anti-tank rifle with exceptional performance for its cost: its long barrel and nitro powder rounds produce impressive muzzle velocity, its muzzle break keeps recoil comparable to that of the CT-4 rifle despite every shot emitting over double the power, and its lead-core rounds tend to "stick" to armor rather than ricocheting - this makes for more consistent penetration. It is light enough to be carried by a single soldier, though it is typically deployed with a second to carry its heavy ammunition (in 4-round magazines) and to spot for the gunner. The KPS-34 was produced in high numbers before the truce with the Blues, when anti-tank weapons were high in demand. It remains popular in the CDA, especially in cavalry units, and if it weren't for its unique and expensive 7.9mm ammunition it would likely be common among the Militia as well.
Tanepka: A relatively simple and easy-to-produce body armor of Belzarovian design. It is useful in reducing casualties from shrapnel and low-power pistol/SMG munitions, but it is not dependable against full-power rifle rounds except at very long range. It was not considered a priority for production until after the truce with the Republic due to the sheer demand for arms and munitions, and it was only seen on volunteer soldiers bringing their own equipment (such as in the TSVB). Since then, it has been entering the ranks of the CDA slowly but surely: At this point, all infantry Assault Battalions and all cavalry forces are equipped with Tanepkas.
Tachanka: An innovation brought to Huinan from Belzarov, the Tachanka is a horse-drawn weapons platform. It is most commonly fitted with a heavy machine-gun, but a pair of mortars can make for a useful "artillery wagon." Though not particularly impressive from a technological standpoint, the Tachanka has proven its mettle in both the First and Second Battles of the Commune. Employed properly, Tachanka "batteries" can bring concentrated fire support to key locations with remarkable speed, no need for fuel, and very little production or maintenance cost compared to motor vehicles.
Bullhorn-Class Armored Transport: To support its thick armor plating, this vehicle has an overpowered engine that is very loud. It comes in command, logistics, and troop transport variants. Every version includes a top-mounted 30mm autocannon best used for suppressing fire or eliminating enemy light vehicles. A modified version, designated Type A, exists for use in amphibious landings.
Fist-Class Assault Truck: A more compact transport that trades protection for speed. Designed to deploy en masse facing towards the enemy, it has disproportionate armor in the front section but almost none in the rear. It has a machine-gun turret to suppress the enemy as its own troops dismount.
Knife-Class Armored Car: A dense, quick armored vehicle with a crew of 2-3. The Knife is the successor to the jerry-rigged "attack cars" deployed in the open plains. The first fully-operational design (right) was easily mass-produced and deployed en masse following the Commune's consolidation, regularly facing the Blues in field battles prior to the Truce. Now, with the help of foreign volunteer technicians, the Commune is transitioning a better-protected version (left) that preserved the speed of the first.
Rioter-Class Mobile Artillery: A very compact but armored design typical of the Revolutionary Guard. Each vehicle mounts an oversized, quick-reloading recoilless rifle. They can be used en masse as very maneuverable artillery batteries, or more individually as tank-hunters.
Scythe-Class Tank: The main battle tank of the Commune. The Scythe is a relatively fast tank that can ravage infantry and light vehicles, and can put up a good fight against tanks of similar class. Against heavier armor, it may require support from tank hunters or army aviation.
Raider-Class Amphibious Assault Vehicle: A recent, fully-amphibious light tank designed to cross lakes and rivers. The standard version mounts a heavy machinegun, and the heavily-modified Type C (shown left) mounts a 30mm autocannon. But firepower is not the main function of either model: They act primarily for suppression and mobile cover to aid marine infantry.
Anvil-Series Assault Armor: A newly-popular series of vehicles sharing a chassis built for a balance of speed and protection. Anvil-series vehicles are generally better-armored but slower compared to their counterparts, such as the Scythe and the Raider. While the Commune's lighter designs are optimized to overwhelm enemy positions with speed and shock in a single attack, the more versatile Anvils are meant to move the front deeper into enemy territory. The three most common variants (left to right) are the Assault Gun (AG), with 2 heavy machine-guns and a 120mm medium howitzer; the Assault Hunter (AH), with a unique 40mm autocannon and a quick-loading 135mm recoilless rifle; and the Assault Transport (AT), with 2 heavy machine-guns and room for a squad of ten foot soldiers.
Fan-Class Mobile Flak Gun (Variants): Despite the Commune's ability to churn out impressive numbers of planes, it cannot always count on air superiority. In such cases, the Fan can offer some protection to ground units. The truck-mounted version is the most common, but a wheeled tank variant exists for service in designed Armor divisions. A "full tank" version has completed the earliest steps of design, but requires more technical expertise to implement.
Brigand-Class All Purpose Fighter: The Communal Army Aviation's bread and butter monoplane design, useful for dive-bombing, close air support, and dogfighting. A dependable and relatively sturdy piece of machinery, the Brigand is armed with two 20mm autocannons and two .50 caliber machine-guns in the wings, and a heavy machine-gun for the rear gunner. It can carry an up to ~300kg payload. It has been steadily replacing Blue-derived biplane designs for the last year, though Red Zengrav's shortage of skilled pilots remains a problem regardless of the number of planes produced.
Propagandist-Class Scout: A special gyroplane used for scouting, artillery-spotting, and anti-submarine runs. With a very short takeoff period, it can deploy relatively quickly, and its ability to hover in mid-air is indispensable in certain situations (particularly bombing submarines). The Propagandist is very lightly armored and carries only a single medium machine-gun for defense.
Pirate-Class Gunship One of the Commune's newest and most unique designs, descended from jury-rigged transports used by anarchists and pirates. Its armor is deceptively thick, and likewise its unspectacular-looking engines are quite powerful. The Pirate has an extremely large fuel capacity, making it perfect for long-distance deployment of air mobile battalions. In general, the landing bay holds at least one Fist-Class Assault Truck to lead the disembarkment, shielding the troops behind. Standard load is one Fist, two Rioters, and fifty foot soldiers. Another common load is a single Scythe-Class tank and two Rioters. The gunship has a single, double 20mm autocannon turret meant to aid in suppressing the enemy, and it sometimes carries rockets as well, but it is not designed to defend itself against other aircraft. It is almost always accompanied by biplanes or Brigands.
|Their finest hour:|
The drone of idling engines, punctuated so far only by the clanking of reloading weapons, was decisively drowned out by the captain’s firm address.
Wang Huifang stood from her makeshift “seat,” merely an empty oil barrel in the shade of a tall truck. She stood a foot below the burly officer addressing her, and between the two her uniform was the more drab, a faded green pants-and-shirt uniform and a simple cap facing his helmet and greatcoat all adorned with red stars. Yet, she was the one who wore a self-assured smile, while his expression was held too tight, his bespectacled eyes too still – the forced gravity of one overcompensating for his perceived lack of authority.
“Yes, Captain Xi?”
“The soldiers are afraid. They fear...” Xi hesitated.
“Another Shan District Massacre?” Wang replied calmly but loudly, causing droves of soldiers to stop what they were doing and look to her. She wasn’t going to dance around the issue.
“Y..yes, commander,” the captain confirmed shyly.
Without hesitation, Huifang ambled to a truck, one of the wider and taller ones parked in the open field; its bottom half was obscured by a mesh of thick gray plates applied with nails and welding fires, now painted over with all manner of slogans and symbols in red paint. Good platform for an address. She squatted and jumped to grip the top, pulled her small but deceptively strong frame over, and stood up. Time to shapen up the troops. Scattered soldiers began to gather around her makeshift podium.
“Three-hundred and fourteen women died in the Shan District,” Huifang projected passionately to the growing crowd. “They died under my leadership, executing a plan I devised. Is this what concerns you, comrades?”
Concerned murmurs and a few angry shouts answered her in the affirmative.
“I hear your misgivings. But tell me first, what were the women doing when they died? What did they accomplish?”
The responses were fewer, quieter, and more hesitant. It was time for Huifang to double down on her volume.
“Don’t you know? Didn’t you see the Imperial troops deserting? The entire company who crossed over and joined our lines? Do you think that because they died without weapons in their hands, that they didn’t die fighting the enemy?” She threw her hands outward. “Have you forgotten that we won the Battle?”
Huifang gave a loud sigh and shook her head as she let her arms back down. “Those women did as much for our victory as any man or woman who shot a rifle afterwards. Now you, behind layers of armor and machine-guns, all I ask is for you to play your own part, to muster half the courage the Martyrs of Shan did. Can you do even that much?! Are you worthy of the victory they sacrificed for?!”
Had Wang Huifang’s voice been any other than her own, had the genuine passion in her voice faltered even for a second, she might have pushed the troops to greater disloyalty with her harsh call to bravery. Instead, they let out a cacophony of “Yes”, each said in its own way. Time to make them say it in unison. She raised a fist in the air.
“I can’t hear you, comrades! Is that a yes?”
“Do you want to win Socialism for yourselves and your children?”
“Do you want to stay Union? Do you want to stay Free?”
“Then let me lead you into battle! Let’s ride in a wave of steel WE made and WE own, and crush the thugs who would take our rights away! Let’s finish the job the Martyrs of Shan started!”
The sea of cheers that ensued was deafening, but also transcendent. Huifang grinned: This was what she lived for. She let it drag on, her fist held ever-high in the air, but only so long. There was the work of machine-guns and steel to do, after all. It was time to win.
But in her own minds, doubts remained. Did they really need to die?...
|Their darkest hour:|
Wang Huifang remembered when the bourgeoisie destroyed Shan District. The modernizers insisted on an enormous thoroughfare to the city center, and they didn’t give a damn who they paved over to make it. She hadn’t lived there, but she remembered that the place had been bustling with people -mostly women-, and also with colors and smells that had enthralled her. Textiles, incense, fish, fruit, tea, and painted fireworks. Now, she had words to describe what it was: The place where the small merchants, artisans, and peasants made their own markets for wares uncaptured by the big merchants, landlords, and work-bosses. And the next time she had visited the place as a girl, it had been flattened for a big road. Other districts had suffered, but Shan had disappeared entirely into the asphalt void, with neighboring districts seeming to watch helplessly from the boulevard’s flanks.
But today, standing in that road, Huifang smiled. The Shan District was reborn. The smells were fewer, but the sounds and colors were there: Flags of every color, triumphant songs and chants, stomping feet and clapping hands. Over a thousand women stood behind a great barricade of carts, planks, boxes, and metal sheets covered in vibrant union banners. Huifang took a moment to relish in the loudest of the melodies they sang, which rose above the rest:
“Although we are women We have no fear at all! For the love of our children We demand you hear our call! O li o li o la And the Union ever grows! And we the Union women Will free ourselves from woe!”
Before the barricade stood ranks upon ranks guns and Blue flags, the vanguard of a Republican army. But it was an army slowly melting under pressure.
Their own Patriarchy works against them. They refuse to shoot at a sight so “innocent,” we throngs of singing women. Here we are blocking their way, and here their officers are trying to order them to kill us, but no bullets. No mortar shells.
But Huifang knew it was more than that. They weren’t just refusing to shoot. From time to time she took a look through her binoculars and saw soldiers peeling off from the rear ranks. And in the front, some were dropping their guns, walking over, and joining the women! Is that...a whole unit? Now a hundred soldiers dropped their arms in unison, marched to the barricade in formation, and then broke ranks to climb it and join the protest.
Huifang couldn’t help grinning, and even laughing with joy at the new arrivals. She walked towards them to greet them personally. The longer this goes on, the better. If the capitalists try to shoot now, they’ll hit their own! Evan constables and mercenaries wouldn’t go so far. Of course, she had ordered her own armed forces to stand ready, some positioning to harry the enemy rear while others created more barricades and strong-points further back. But she was starting to think she might not need them after all…
Then she heard the harrowing whines in the air. It wasn’t a sound Huifang had ever heard before, but the sinking feeling in her gut told her enough. She didn’t even have time to yell at her comrades to take cover before everything went white, then red, and then black.
|Other Important People inside the Clique:|
Age 46, Deputy Zuigao Gonghui Gongtou of the Commune and Gonghui Gongtou for the Pan-Anarchist Industrial Federation Respected Scholar / Union Connections / Military Inexperience The son of an Imperial civil servant who turned Blue during the Collapse, Shiu took his father’s reformist principles to their radical, logical conclusion. As a university student, he made a name for himself as a master orator in defense of anarcho-communist principles as well as a constant thorn in the side of his school’s administration. He graduated nonetheless, after which he became an even bigger thorn in the side of the government writ large, first Imperial and then Republican. He was a founding member and informally considered “leader” of the Crow Society, a landmark in the development of Zengravian Anarchism.
Unlike most previous Anarchist groups, which were both tied to foreign universities and emphasized either a “Nihilist” strategy of political terrorism or the “Gradualist” strategy of emphasizing education above all, Shiu and the Crow Society devoted their efforts to creating strong mass organizations of workers and peasants. They also developed strong connections to the Black Market, fostering new sub-cultures of Anarchist Smugglers and Anarchist Pirates. Although centered in Huinan, Shiu had a Zengrav-wide impact and is sometimes referred to as “the Black-and-Red Father.” However, by the time of the Red Turban Uprising, his actual influence was mostly local, in part because of nine years he spent locked away in an Imperial prison.
Shiu Lifu was Wang Huifang’s closest and most valuable associate in her years organizing and arming the Teamster-based federate union that would lead the Huinan General Strike. Furthermore, the Zuigao Gonghui Gongtou does not hesitate to credit him as her greatest inspiration in Syndicalist organizational theory even prior to meeting him in person, through his many writings shared in Blue and Red Clubs. Of course, by now she has been an equal or greater influence on him, nudging him away from the goal of Statelessness to a more "pragmatic" Anarchism that can accept States and professional armies at least temporarily, while ever-vigilant against their potential for abuse. When Wang ascended from leadership of the union to leadership of a whole Commune, she left Shiu as her successor. The organization lost much of its prior membership to the droves of new unions recognized under the Commune, but retains to this day immense prestige and symbolic importance that give it outsized influence in the Commune. It remains a mixture of many trades and locales tied together by a common radical syndicalism, and under Shiu’s leadership has merged with the Crow Society and renamed itself the Pan-Anarchist Industrial Federation (PAIF). Equally important is the PAIF’s reach outside of the region: It is the Commune’s only union to claim membership elsewhere in Red Zengrav and even some “affiliate locals” in Blue territory.
De facto, Shiu serves as something of an Intelligence Minister and a Chief Propagandist to Wang, as her near-equal in both eloquence and far-reaching connections among the Red Masses. He also remains to this day a trusted advisor and friend, though now he would be more apt to consider her a mentor than the other way around. However, for all their similarities, one key difference is Shiu’s middle-class background and university education, which manifest themselves in a more academic outlook that sometimes lacks Wang’s practical wisdom – but might fit well in the halls of Red High Leaders. He also has less military experience than her, and remains one of her only top advisors to hold no military posts. However, in turn he has gained immense experience in civilian leadership as Deputy for Wang, taking on much of Wang’s political responsibilities while she is on campaign with the Army.
It is widely expected that should Wang ever fall or become otherwise incapable of leading, Shiu will succeed her as Zuigao Gonghui Gongtou.
Age 30, Zeh National Councilor and Major-General of the CDA 1st Division Stoic / Quick-Thinking / Dour Wang Huifang came to know Ji Ming-Jyun as a member of her neighborhood’s Zeh community, and then as a fellow garment worker in the same factory – and even a fellow member of the shop’s clandestine Blue Club. While Wang was forced to flee the district after her show of resistance and the ensuing riot, Ji was at the forefront of the unrest and could not escape the authorities’ brutal response. She was wounded and imprisoned for her “crimes,” but she would prove just as much trouble for the Empire in her cell as out of it. Ji set to work organizing prisoners, connecting herself to the Anarchist movement through her prison’s black market networks. For three years, she built rapport with her comrades-in-chains, planned with them, and helped them prepare, all while educating herself through Red pamphlets hidden as carefully as the other supplies she was amassing.
Her second riot she would lead herself, arming her fellow prisoners with makeshift weapons as well as a few covertly-smuggled pistols, and to the shock of local authorities she would lead her forces to victory. Her relentless preparation of her troops set most of the plan off like clockwork, overwhelming scores of isolated guards before they could react. Then, when advance planning failed to account for reinforcements, her ability to maintain calm and think quickly under pressure snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
In second-hand contact with Republican forces, Ji coordinated the uprising with the arrival of Blue troops in Huinan. However, as a working-class woman with “dangerous” Red ideas, she would gain no recognition or reward for her work. In fact, the Republican military took full credit for liberating the city’s political prisoners. Thankfully, the local people new better, and among the Zeh and Quin of her home district Ji became a hero. After returning home, she quickly restored contact with Wang, whose activities she had heard only scattered reports of through her underworld contacts. Blacklisted from nearly all “honest” employment, Zeh could not return to the factories. Instead, she served Wang’s growing movement as a professional revolutionary with the support of Red workers in her district, organizing the first People’s Militia from the unemployed masses in order to fight on behalf of those who still toiled. The Militia “policed the police,” keeping armed watch over constable patrols to dissuade them from bothering locals, and also made a name for themselves exacting popular justice on particularly abusive bosses, managers, and landlords. Furthermore, with the help of the Crow Society the Militia printed its own bilingual Zeh/Quin newspaper, the Voice of the People. Naturally, unofficially they supplemented their income from contributions with loot from their war against the bourgeoisie, with members out-of-uniform staging bank robberies and train heists among other criminal activities targeting the wealthy.
When the General Strike was called, Ji’s People’s Miltia was at the forefront of activity, protecting strikers and generally keeping the peace – many would say more effectively and humanely than the constables ever did. However, she was truly in her element when the Expropriation Wave began, personally ensuring the destruction of dozens of police units that refused to defect. From there, she and her growing army would join directly with Wang’s forces, contributing to the victories of the First and Second Battles of the Commune. Perhaps ironically, her “People’s Militia” would actually become a nucleus of the Revolutionary Guard, eventually consolidating into the CDA First Division. She would also find herself elected to the Council of Nationalities by the Zeh of the Commune, for whom she was a popular hero second only to Wang herself.
With a stoic personality and a somber demeanor, Ji Ming-Jyun lacks the shining charisma of her superior. Nor is she known for much in the way of political thought; even her contributions to Voice of the People were relatively rare and mostly focused on rallying people for specific actions. Yet, she needs few words to inspire confidence from her troops: Her reputation, her proven loyalty to her troops, and her sheer military skill speak for themselves.
The so-called "Gang of Three" is an enduring symbol of the Huinan Commune's connection to Belzarov, but in terms of practical influence they are more relevant to the Huinan region's resident Tu'wa and Minga. All three studied at Belzarov’s Socialist University of Toilers of the South, a center for Red theoreticians and organizers in lands colonized, semi-colonized, or otherwise threatened by the Commonwealth or the old Tsardom. Its students' origins range from Zengrav to the Conclave to Xi’an to the Tu'wa Autonomous Oblasts in Belzarov itself, that they may build the skills and connections to oppose both foreign Imperialist-Capitalism and local Feudal Capitalism.
Mirsa’ida Sakib Galyev (Center):Age 34, Tu’Wa National Councilor and Major-General of the CDA 2nd Division Genius / Tireless / Opponents in the Cities A Tu’wa schoolteacher and daughter of cow-herders, until recently few outside Galyev’s village would have suspected that she had studied both military science and political economy at the SUTS. Even as a member of the Red Turban Party and a vocal opponent of local land-lords, she would keep guarded the knowledge of her travels until she met Wang Huifang. When the union leader's growing Teamster-based activites and alliances expanded into the countryside, Galyev was inspired and eagerly volunteered as one of her first connection to Tu’wa communities on both sides of the border. Here was real, revolutionary internationalist organizing work to be done, not the politicking of Social Democrats or the exclusively city-based drives of many mainline Reds. From this point, the two women quickly became close friends and collaborators.
After years of clandestine work coordinating smuggling and underground peasant organizing, Galyev would push on the full weight of her connections to form the Tu’wa Socialist Volunteer Brigade, which she would command in the First and Second Battles of the Commune. She would later pass on this post to her husband in order to run for election as Tu’Wa representative in the Council of Nationalities, a position which she has won twice consecutively. Regardless, she would soon return to military service even while maintaining her position as Councilor, serving Wang's growing CDA as its second Major-General.
Among the leaders of the Commune, Galyev is the most multi-talented – some would say a true genius. She fluently speaks every language of the Commune in addition to Belzarovian, has proven herself a master diplomat and tireless organizer, writes her own contributions to Socialist theory – especially on questions of Minority Nationalism and Anti-Colonialism, and boasts a short but impressive military track record to boot. In contrast to Shiu Lifu, she tends towards a more pro-state Socialist Vision, but with a heavy emphasis on Federalism and the self-determination of oppressed nations. She advocates consolidating the Commune’s politico-economic system into a regularized set of unions by trade and settlement, generally a popular measure among rural folk (who would see representation increase) but often provoking suspicion from more anarchist-leaning urban workers.
Farid Beg Galyev (Left):Age 35, Commander of the Tu’wa Socialist Volunteer Brigade Natural-Born Soldier / Charismatic Negotiator / Uncertain Reputation Himself a former village teacher who became active in revolutionary peasant organizing, Farid Beg Galyev had much in common with his wife-to-be Mirsai’da when they met at the SUTS. He developed something of a minor celebrity status as a theoretical and military pioneer of Belzarovian Tu’wa Socialism, playing an important role in founding the United Tu’Wa Autonomous Oblasts. He was also an outspoken Pan-Nationalist, hoping to united all Tu’wa into a single nation. However, since following his wife to Zengrav, he has greatly moderated his views. Noting the material and historical differences between the contexts on either side of the border, he has renounced the need for a single Tu’wa polity, but continues to advocate a sense of “National Brotherhood” across borders. However, the more important part of his reputation was in war, rising through the ranks of the Belzarovian Red Army from mere foot-soldier to commanding a brigade in breathtaking time -and excelling just as much in the former role as the latter!
Of the Gang of Three, Farid is the only one to be a true “foreigner” in terms of birthplace and legal citizenship. Indeed, although his wife was the organizational mind behind organizing volunteer forces from Belzarov, it was he who traveled there most in-person to leverage his reputation and charisma for the cause. It was Farid whose speaking tours managed to attract not only volunteer soldiers, but military trainers and even skilled workers (with the help of Navaandorjin Toka). It was Farid who met with representatives of Belzarovian arms factories to secure shipments for Huinan's worker-peasant alliance. Thus, by leveraging his own "foreign" status he has now proven his loyalty to the Huinan Commune, and to Red Zengrav in general. He has also shown himself a capable soldier and field commander, leading by both word and example. Despite the unease of some, none would accuse him of valuing his land of birth over his new homeland. However, there are those who still resent his degree of influence within the Commune.
Navaandorjin Toka (Right):Age 48, Minga National Councilor, Chief of Logistics for the CDA, and Gonghui Guangtou for the United Military Automotive Workers Expert Technician / Logistical Mastermind / Aloof The son of a retainer to a minor noble landlord North of Nuncheng, in his early childhood Toka saw his community’s fortunes fall with poor harvests and mounting debts to farm equipment merchants. His father’s relatively privileged status as the noble’s “sworn man” soon became a curse, as the lord converted most of his retainers into bonded agricultural laborers in a desperate attempt to boost production. By the time of his adolescence, Toka labored in fields worked by nearly half Minga laborers, the rest Quin.
Many Minga, including most of Toka’s family, saw their position as an indignity not simply because of the exploitation, but because it put them too close to their “rightful inferiors.” However, the Minga did have some small privileges, most notably education. Ironically, this would end up an asset for laborers against their masters. Toka himself, along with a growing circle of young Minga, began to soak in the works of rebels: Blue thought from the Eastern coastal cities as well as Red thought from the North in Belzarov. They intentionally reached out to both Quin and Minga laborers, both men and women, eventually forming the Social-Democratic Tenant Farmers’ Union.
Through a clever dual-tactic campaign, with public resistance alongside a clandestine assassination campaign, the STFU eventually succeeded in getting Toka to “inherit” the (now dead) lord’s tracts. Immediately thereafter, he abolished his own title and transferred sovereignty to the Union. Furthermore, he was able to secure donations and a stream of immigrants from Blue Clubs to the East and Socialists to the North. However, the cycle of debt continued: Toka quickly learned that controlling the land itself was only part-way to owning the means of production when capitalist leeches still controlled the equipment the workers used. For over a decade the STFU struggled to stay afloat, sovereign in name but de facto little more than a sharecropping operation for urban merchants. But after the Belzarovian Revolution, there was an alternative. He would travel North to the Socialist University of Toilers of the South. There he would meet the Galyevs, but unlike them he studied to be a machinist rather than a soldier. He took a particular interest in motorized equipment, which he saw as the “technological vanguard” of progress. With the help of Sai’da and Farid, he also negotiated the transport of Belzarovian tools and tractors to the Free Commune.
Upon his return to Zengrav, Toka found the land embroiled in civil war. His compatriots were already active supporters of Blue forces, which were beginning to enter the region. Victory was swift, but deceptive. The Republic recognized the farmers’ rights to the land they worked, but they also recognized a mountain of additional debts to the merchants whose influence Toka had sought to expel. At gunpoint, the STFU was forced to enter what amounted to a mass sharecropping agreement under their debtors, who became landlords in all but name. Adding insult to injury, a Republican garrison was established nextdoor. Toka and his most committed friends turned to banditry and guerilla warfare, but they achieved little until the movement of Wang Huifang. Her patronage allowed him to finally expand the STFU, which became a rallying point for Minga and Quin farmworkers. Yet, Toka would truly find his place in the movement as a master of machinery. He began by building and fixing cars with the help of a few skilled workers he brought from the University, then outfitting transport trucks and makeshift assault cars, and finally managing fleets of diesel-powered vehicles and the factories that built them.
Nowadays, Navaandorjin Toka holds the most posts of any of Wang’s top advisors. Every technician and engineer in the Huinan Commune, homegrown or volunteer, passes through his review. Every worker in the military automotive factories falls under his capable purview. Every load in the logistics train, whether motorized or not, goes by the direction of his discerning mind. And to boot, his reputation as one of the only Minga “Heroes of the Revolution” has earned him election as Minga National Councilor. That being said, the oldest of the Red Star’s confidants is also the most focused on his niche. While Toka maintains ties to his home region and Minga in general, he remains pitifully out of touch with wider city politics despite his position as a Union Foreman.