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2269 Unstoppable Storm!The partic.i.p.ation of the million disabled veterans upgraded the crying event into a superstorm that swept across the entire planet, if not the entire Imperium.
When the noises of the storm pressed unstoppably, Dongfang Wei, the prime minister of the Imperium of True Human Beings and leader of the Dongfang family, was having a friendly and constructive discussion regarding the special budget for national defense for the next year with the directors of the Department of National Defense, the Department of the Treasury, as well as many other departments in the prime minister’s residence not far away from the Council of Elders.
Or to be more frank, everybody was simply bickering with each other while they were mired in the swirl of numbers!
Dongfang w.a.n.g had been the prime minister of the Imperium for twenty years. Many people said that he was one of the most powerful prime ministers in the recent few hundred years of the Imperium. He certainly deserved to be called a prime minister of iron and blood.
That was also the reason why Dongfang w.a.n.g knew deeply what an arduous task it was to coordinate and balance the interests of hundreds of Sectors, resource planets, and countless forces, sects, warlords, and super experts as the prime minister of the Imperium of True Human Beings.
On the surface, he was the most powerful and unquestionable lord. Even the emperor had been eclipsed by him.
But in fact, the other three families controlled their troops tightly and established their own systems in their dominions. The orders sent from the prime minister’s office were either ignored or pretended to be followed. As long as some policies affected their interests, so much as the loss of one hair, those people would be bold enough to pick up their sabers and fight him. There was even one time when two elders mauled each other right in the Council of Elders like two street thugs!
The other three families were insubordinate, but it wasn’t like everybody within the Dongfang family listened to him as the “patriarch” either.
After a thousand years of development, the Dongfang family naturally had a lot of factions within. The seven most developed, heavy industrial worlds were all supervised by a big shot.
Those big shots were all at the high level or even peak of the Divinity Transformation Stage. Some were his peers, and some were his seniors. He could become the leader of the Dongfang family and even the prime minister of the Imperium only because of the powerful support from those people. How could he be really ruthless enough to deny their interests?
The special budget of national defense for the next year was what troubled him right now.
The Imperium’s counterattack had lasted more than ten years. Billions of soldiers had been mobilized. A lot of new worlds had been occupied. The supply lines were stretched again and again. The cost in the attrition and the consumption of the troops had drained the wealth of the national treasury, which had been acc.u.mulated for a hundred years. The economics in many worlds in the rear were terrible. Many places were even having famines.
The war could not be fought anymore, and the scale of the expedition army had to be reduced. But the regrouping and the elimination involved tremendous retirement fees and compensations. A lot of bonds and shares had been awarded earlier with the promise that they would be fulfilled after the victory. It would be a great trouble to really fulfill them.
Therefore, the cost of national defense next year would not be reduced at all but would be even more than previous years. It was almost “throes of peace”.
The problem right now was that there was no money. Of course, it was not accurate to say that there was no money. There was no money in the national treasury, but the four Kurfürst families still had a lot. However, while they were wealthy, an agreement was certainly necessary for them to provide capitals to fill the gap.
Dongfang w.a.n.g went to the other three families to make an agreement. The other three families also looked at him docilely, gently, and obediently, adulating that the Dongfang family, as the greatest family of the Imperium, had unparalleled wealth and power and that its wrist was thicker than the thighs of other families. Naturally, the agreement should be taken care of by the Dongfang family. All in all, the Dongfang family should fill the gap as an example for other families, and when the gap was more or less filled, the other families would follow and make sure that the work was completed.
Whatever Dongfang w.a.n.g said, he could not get any money from them. The three families pointed at their stars.h.i.+ps and Colossi and claimed that they spent all their money on the weapons for the Imperium’s attack and that there was no additional funding at all.
Gritting his teeth, Dongfang w.a.n.g went to discuss it with the big shots of the factions within his family. The big shots glared at him and said that they elected Dongfang w.a.n.g as the prime minister because they wanted him to earn more benefits for the family. Why was he asking the family to devote money when he hadn’t earned any? Was he the prime minister from the Dongfang family, or was he from the Li family and the Yun family?
He was talking to the big shots at the peak of the Divinity Transformation Stage who controlled an entire heavy industrial world. Could he kill them and confiscate their belongings? Of course not! He could not negotiate with them.
After all the negotiations, the big shots of his own family and those of other families wanted the same. They had money and resources if they tried to search within the families, but they were not offering them for nothing. Those supplies had to be exchanged for the land, properties, and monopolization rights in the newly-recovered territories.
As the negotiations proceeded, the few resourceful worlds in the newly-recovered territories had already been carved up before the ceasefire in the frontline. Naturally, the peripheral worlds were greatly dissatisfied and thought that their interests had been harmed.
With everything coming to the point, the whole thing had become an unresolvable dilemma.
Without the support of the interest groups within the four Kurfürst families who had money and resources, the expedition army could not be regrouped and reduced, and the national economy could not s.h.i.+ft from the warring system to peaceful development. The disabled veterans and the retired officers would certainly cause trouble too, if they did not receive enough subsidies.
But the investments of the interest groups were traded for the rights in the newly-recovered territories, which naturally hurt the interests of many people and many social cla.s.ses too. It was even a form of betrayal for many local groups who were given a promise before the war. One moment of carelessness, and they would turn the world upside down too. The incident of the Blood Oath Alliance, the rise of the reformists, and the rebellion of Lei Chenghu all began because of that.
Faced with such a predicament, even Dongfang w.a.n.g felt a strong headache, not knowing what to do.
He thought of “Silver Fox” Li Jiande, his greatest political rival, who had been dying for a hundred years but never died.
A hundred years ago, “Silver Fox” Li Jiande was also once the prime minister of the Imperium. He worked so hard at that time that he was fatigued and fell from the Divinity Branching Stage. He had been bedridden since then and distancing himself from the politics of the Imperium.
At that time, Dongfang w.a.n.g mocked Li Jiande for what became of him in the end.
But now that he was the prime minister himself roasted on a fire, he finally understood the feeling of dilemmas and vaguely sensed that perhaps Li Jiande had made the smartest choice by falling sick.
Perhaps the universe was too huge, but everyone only had limited abilities. Even the computational ability and the wisdom of the Divinity Branching State were not enough to perform effective governance on hundreds of Sectors, right?
Or perhaps the infinite universe was too small to satisfy the desires of every human being?
It was exactly in such a state of mind that Dongfang w.a.n.g received the report of the crying event.
He stared at the report and read it for a long time, as if he was trying to see something more between the lines. Holding back the urge of bursting out in a fury, he raised the most critical question.
“Even if the generals from the Royal Seminar For Advanced Generals and the members of the royal family living inside the Emperor’s Mausoleum have ‘gathered spontaneously’, how did the disabled veterans from the peripheral worlds of the Imperium sneak into the capital? They couldn’t have directly jumped to the surface of the capital after one s.p.a.ce jump, could they?”
Dongfang w.a.n.g smelled the scent of a plot.
An adviser proposed that the people who had gathered to cry in the mausoleum should be suppressed and captured because they were in obvious derision of rules and authorities.
Dongfang w.a.n.g immediately asked the advisor to leave the room. Pondering for a moment, he made a few instructions.
Firstly, set up a blockage outside the Emperor’s Mausoleum to prevent more people from crowding in.
Secondly, the Spiritual Nexus and all the signals near the Emperor’s Mausoleum must be cut off to make sure nothing happened there was leaked to the outside world. Of course, the media that was still in the mausoleum must be controlled too.
Thirdly, investigate the origins of the million disabled veterans immediately. It must be found out how they were organized and sent into the capital. It was very important!
Dongfang w.a.n.g’s reactions were timely enough.
Such standard procedures to suppress riots were often implemented by the authorities of the Imperium. They were quite familiar with the work.
But accidents took place one after another.
The Emperor’s Mausoleum was the territory of the Imperial Guards, which had a lot of members of the royal family. Now that they had grown emotional, they showed obvious hatred toward the troops of the four Kurfürst families.
However poor the Imperial Guards were, they still had several hundred of rusted, outdated stars.h.i.+ps.
Were those stars.h.i.+ps to be moved to the vacuum and fight the fleets of the four Kurfürst families, they would certainly be killed instantly. In fact, they would’ve paralyzed and fallen apart on their own before the enemy opened fire.
However, it was still more or less manageable for them to surround the Emperor’s Mausoleum and protect their last territory.
The Imperial Guards were protecting the disabled veterans, and the disabled veterans were shouting the names of Emperor Shenwu and Blackstar the Great. It was really a touching scene. What could the fleets and crystal suit legions of the four Kurfürst families do even if they arrived? Ma.s.sacring those people in broad daylight under the watch of so many eyewitnesses?
The plan on the Spiritual Nexus and the media did not go well either.
There were four groups that provided network services for the Empyreal Terminus Sector. They belonged to the four Kurfürst families. Network was the most critical infrastructure for a modern civilization. The four Kurfürst families naturally did not want to be restrained by other people.
At Dongfang w.a.n.g’s command, the Dongfang family’s service provider immediately cut off the network, and the other two families soon followed too. However, the bases of the Spiritual Nexus that belonged to the Li family had no response at all but still sent the information of the Emperor’s Mausoleum to the outside world incessantly.
The media companies were the same.
The four Kurfürst families had all hired a lot of media. One might say that all the “official media companies” of the Imperium were endorsed and monopolized by the four Kurfürst families.
Given the graveness of the matter, the media of the other families naturally did not dare to do anything without the instructions of their superiors.
However, the media under the control of the Li family moved one step in advance and published a lot of shocking news!