May 24, 2017,
17:55 local time,
Visigothic Kingdom National Police Headquarters,
Toulouse, Visigothic Kingdom
All Stephen Alvarez wanted to do when he entered the break room was to unwind and prepare for his long ride home when something caught his attention.
“Top of the afternoon to ya,” said Danforth Grayson with a wry smile.
“You!” said Stephen, drawing his gun. “How’d you get in here? In fact, you have over 325 charges against you by my last count…I could arrest you right…in fact, I will arrest you right now!”
“Stevie buddy,” said Stephen’s brother, Luke, walking into the break room, taking a bite out of his customary sandwich. “Relax…I brought him here.” Luke took another bite as Stephen’s anger abided, though not his caution. “He’s got some information on Annabelle Sanchez.” Luke then took another bite before continuing. “Plus he scored me this really cool bites on this ciabatta bun…I mean, this sandwich is exquisite.” Luke took some more bites, really enjoying the sandwich as Grayson smiled in appreciation.
“I know Roger,” said Grayson, referring to the local deli where he got the sandwich. “So I was able to get him to make you something real special. You should try it some time too, Stephen. I think you’d like it.”
“He’s right you know,” said Luke. Luke took more bites, enjoying the sandwich even more as he ate.
“All right, all right,” said Stephen, his patience wearing thin. “Maybe some time, we can go to Roger’s, but right now…Danforth, you better have some darn good intel or I’m going to book you just for wasting my time.”
“Yeah,” he said nonchalantly. “I woke up on the wrong side of bed too sometimes…I just learned, taking it out on others isn’t at all productive.”
Stephen let out a deep, frustrated sigh while Grayson chuckled again.
“First of all,” he said, getting serious. “Annabelle is fine. She’s safe…found a safe house for her and her new friends.”
“I’m sorry,” said Stephen, getting exasperated, “but you can’t bring her somewhere and not tell me where she is…that’s kidnapping.”
“I wish it was that simple,” said Grayson. “Under normal circumstances, you’d be right…but Annabelle wasn’t captured under normal circumstances.”
“Captured?” said Stephen, his interest now piqued.
“Yes,” said Grayson, confidently. “By a man named Connor Conacher, a member of Eirinn Go Brach. He works as a ‘scout’ who kidnaps vulnerable people, men and women alike, recruiting them as slaves for the Celtic cause. In Annabelle’s case, she was taken to a brothel in Casara, where Conacher and his gang could hide in plain sight…when they paid their taxes, that is. I think you’d appreciate that the nature of their business meant they weren’t always on top of their books.”
“All right,” said Stephen, getting really intrigued by Grayson’s information.
“See, everyone knows Eirinn Go Brach as a terrorist organization,” said Grayson, “but they’re more than that. They’re a nationalist organization, bent on recreating the ancient glory that was the Celtic Empire, all under a pro-Irish name. Part of this is viewing anyone who isn’t even remotely Irish as slaves, and Sinn Fein seeks to execute on that worldview.
“In this, Annabelle was part of a larger game, where she and millions of other hapless souls are taken against their will to live a life literally serving someone else’s greed. Now, usually Eirinn Go Brach will go to places like Germany or Gaul where the police is lax and the people are so poor and desperate that some will unwittingly prefer their servitude, so Annabelle’s kidnapping represents a turning point for the group.”
“A turning point?” said Stephen.
“Yes,” said Grayson, “because Conacher proved that Eirinn Go Brach don’t need to operate where it’s ‘easy’, they can challenge themselves and go after the people they really want, like the Romans, the Carthaginians, the Welsh, the English…you as the Visigoths. All standing on territory that Eirinn Go Brach believe is rightfully theirs, but because the policing proved too difficult for them to penetrate. The brothel in Casara was done for ‘practice’, to prove to the group that they don’t have to fear the ‘developed’ nations anymore.”
“OK,” said Stephen, “all right…slow down. I already know that Eirinn Go Brach want to create a Celtic Empire…it’s kind of not that much of a secret…and they’ve been terrorists for decades, even in places like Roman territory. I still remember the Slaughter of Seville.
“…and besides, how do you know all this?”
“I’ve been studying Eirinn Go Brach for a while,” said Grayson, “and Conacher in particular for a number of years. I observed the parts of their organization that only academics know about, if that. I knew that, for years, Eirinn Go Brach sought not just to terrorize and make countries acquiesce to their demands but also to infiltrate them, and to slowly subvert them into puppets that will do their bidding. Many places of the Western European Confederation are practically Eirinn Go Brach principalities in all but name, and their power there is growing. I wondered when Eirinn Go Brach would branch out and determine that the WEC doesn’t meet their ends and that they need to expand their reach…and Conacher showed they can do that with Annabelle.
“Now, there’s still a lot of details that I don’t know about…but one thing is for sure. Annabelle’s kidnapping is part of a larger problem, one the world can’t dismiss as happening from a ‘fly by night’ terrorist organization. The Celtic Empire found a way to operate right under your noses, and you need to figure out how they did it…otherwise, this group will get even bolder and maybe even more successful, creating a tide that will be impossible to stop.”