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The Rise of Tropico Chapter 2

The Rise of Tropico Chapter 2

Sep 21, 2020

Chapter 2: First World Problems

El Presidente had decided that a very nice recess should suffice in this case, to the unanimous approval of everyone that wanted to take time to digest everything shown and to deal with the notion of Penultimo… being Fleet Admiral Penultimo, after that roller coaster of revelations being dropped into their heads.

There’s going back to 1950 always (there was that one time they ended in 1930 dealing with Lovecraftian matters) and then there’s the hard, undisputable fact of ending up in a new planet and in another galaxy.

Why Tropico?

Why his people?

El Presidente and his feathered brother El Toucan were in companionable silence, the dictator having two fingers of Glenfiddich 15 whiskey, contemplating the latest upheaval that has now become part and parcel of his life and his nation since taking over the country in an unprecedented Velvet Revolution.

While Tropican Spiced Rum might be a more proper drink, it was just soothing to enjoy the smooth taste and aroma of the single malt scotch, as it became one of his meditation to have a sharp and ready mind.

He felt the ISOT such as this one was up there, in the Top 10 or even Top 5 of things he has borne witness to in his reign. If everything in this scenario was perfect, he’d take with great relish spent months or even years in studying this intriguing phenomenon, delegating the of the more mundane tasks to the ministries and only intervening when shenanigans happen.


He gave a small smile to his longtime buddy. “Eh, just ruminating in our circumstances amigo. So much for being on Earth despite its idiosyncrasies.”

“Wark wark.”

El Presidente snorted. “Hah! As if those grubby putas will take my Swiss accounts! I am sure that Contingency 51 has come into effect: Upon my disappearance because of factors caused by temporal to fantastical to political conditions, they will freeze my accounts solid. After a year and a half, the bank shall donate the totality of my amounts to charitable organizations that do tangible and wonderful work: Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam International, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Barnardo’s; well you get the rest.”

He swirled his drink, quiet satisfaction on his face.

El Toucan spread his feathers. “Waaark?”

”Losing my Swiss accounts. Though hurtful in the short and medium-term, we can rebuild those assets in time. I will not throw a tantrum unlike that of my compatriots over something I have no control over. Similar to this one right now. Besides, I do still have substantial assets here and there in Tropico.”

He sets his glass with care on the table, before leaning back on the leather sofa, hands placed on his stomach with fingers intertwined. “It pales compared to the wealth and happiness of our people, mi Hermano. Oh, I can couch it in doublespeak and say that it’s one hell of a Machiavellian method just to simply keep the masses docile or for me to simply claim that I do this nothing more but enlightened self-interest to truly help from such a bounty. But then again, when did such cold, calculating logic dominate my thoughts and not genuine care for my citizens?”

El Toucan tilted his head.

His brother raised his hands in mock surrender. “Heh. To see people regardless of origins, age, or gender be happy, healthy, and wealthy as they with certainty and confidence reach the top of the ladder of success, assisted by those they trust in ruling them; to spread it around to others and give it to the next generation at the same time is a damn successful legacy I’ll take any time.”


El Presidente stood straighter, a substantial burden lifted from his soul. “Thank you, El Toucan. That was something to pull out of my chest and re-center myself.”

The toucan flew to his shoulder, giving him a playful nudge with its beak

“Heh. Miss Pineapple is such a lifesaver. She always knew how to destress me.”

The Tropican dictator looks at his watch. Recess was ending.

There was useful work to do and advisers to help craft workable policies.


Now that everyone had gathered together after two hours break, the attendees had a cautious hope that tempers had cooled and everyone had enough time to digest everything and get down to brass tacks.

Agent Sasha said, “Sunny has asked to excuse herself from the meeting. She is meeting her contacts to reach Marco Moreno wherever he is right now.”

Comrade Vasquez looked at the Soviet femme fatale. “Hmm… how come were you the one that Sunny approached? And not by any of us?”

Unperturbed, she replied. “She has asked me to with politeness, as I was the only one she saw to relay her message.”

Questions stopped dead in its tracks and ended that line of conversation.

These regular meetings had copious amounts of note-taking and folders holding pertinent documents to augment their presentations and proposals, leaving them with the conundrum on how to record everything.

It is with great relief to them for they had the efficient secretaries in tow taking notes of the meeting while the palace maid commandos ensured that snacks and drinks were on hand. As the chair of the meeting, El Presidente began with an opening statement.

“Alright comrades and friends. Now that we have had enough time to take everything in, I shall get together with the following facts we have gathered so far.

“Fact one: We are not on Earth anymore. Tropico’s geography is still the recognizable archipelago of islands we know and love, but outside our territorial waters, it might as well be terra nullius given the images from the preliminary scans of our orbital satellites and hasty fly-by recon by our drones and airplanes.

“Fact two: As shown by photoreconnaissance, we have landmasses, though they bear a vague similarity to islands if it was continental sized. At a glance the various weather and environments bear a striking similarity to Earth if it was better and more idyllic; the mythical and oft-postulated Gaian World, or something close to paradise. We shall soon see how much of paradise is too good to be true, like Australia or our fair country.

“Fact three: Thanks to Penultimo’s luck, we now have a confirmed space station of yet unknown capabilities and four space battleships in the dock. Too bad, my vice president has forgotten to communicate vital and technical information on said assets. The inclusion of other information thanks to Miss Pineapple’s work has shown more unknown anomalies orbiting our Lagrange Points.”

He took a moment to look at each of his advisers and invited Soviet guests to gauge reactions. So far poker faces were the name of the game.

“Given that we are quite cut off and isolated in a manner, not of our own choosing, and that each of you holds considerable influence amongst the varied constituencies of Tropico, give me solutions and ideas in tackling our national problems before we hit outer space.”

Miss Pineapple was the first to speak. “El Presidente, I am in the present restraining most of the mad scientists from going out and doing something that will as usual violate physics and reality on oh so many levels. I am having them partake in a contest-”


“Fool! There is one decisive thing that shall decide a space battle, and nuclear weapons with a dash of antimatter in the warheads, for that extra oomph shall pave the way!”

“No no no! Too pedestrian! What we need is our experimental nanotechnology capable of becoming a Star Trek replicator, this time not causing a Grey Goo scenario with what had happened five years ago. If we cannot have the logistical backbone for all of our technological superiority, then there can be no useful advantage at overall.”

“Hahaha! For our manpower problems, I present to you clone soldiers for the win! We have with regularity cloned people in success and without complications. Now imagine millions to augment the military at our disposal in the name of science!”

“Oh. Shit.”


“- that shall distract them for the moment. We have secured them in their fortified bunkers with self-destruct sequences primed just in case of their works and themselves getting out of control.”

Comrade Vasquez sucked a hard breath. “Mad science convention?! You know that such mad science contests of such magnitude ends with everything burning all around them filled with the screaming of madness and lamentations!”

The caramel-skinned woman gave a crooked smile. “Don’t worry comrade, I have noted and prepared for your concern of the potential collateral damage and how it could affect citizens. I’ve ensured that their rowdiness will have them taste the Mistress Pineapple Special. I’ve drilled in their skulls that workable solutions should work with less collateral damage. Or else.”

Comrade Vasquez placed his head between his hands and mumbled imprecations. Antonio Lopez III patted his shoulder in a gesture of comfort.

Fedorov and Agent Sasha looked at each other, thinking about their stranded army and visiting citizens.

Miss Pineapple’s glasses shined as she pushed it up the bridge of her nose. “Since we will shortly acquire working samples and tools, I’d ask for a go-ahead to create a full and dedicated research center isolated from Tropico proper. A new Area 51 if you will.”

El Presidente thought quick about his lover’s proposal. One of the biggest budget allocations was in the civic department, the majority going into the disaster management and relief fund. If he could relocate the scattered intellectuals of questionable restraint, from little Jose in his basement to Professor Von Pinn in Tropico U’s Esoteric Department to a single location, while leaving the sane and stolid sorts back here…

During one of his idle moments when he simulated a similar scenario, the pies and charts have simulated a whopping 35% decrease of mercurial incidents, at the cost of making that Area 51 a black hole in the figurative sense, with the wary hope that it to not be a literal one.

He nodded. “You have my authority to continue your proposal. Give me a working plan within the week and the estimated costs and time for making this Area 51 a reality.”

She smiled. “De nada mi amor. And last, I’d want to take a crack at Penultimo’s robot friend. I perceive to be that that housekeeper of his is a fount of interesting information.”

General Rodriguez was the next to speak. “Considering our strange and relatively dangerous location, I have mobilized the armed forces of Tropico in DEFCON 3 and they are to my satisfaction have performed with great alacrity and with no complications in their mobilization. I have put Special Operations Command Tropico up to 24-hour combat alert from their standard 72-hour combat readiness.”

He tapped into his iPad. “So far, everything’s civil and the soldiers have been assisting civil law enforcement when possible. Thank God the citizens have not broken into riots or any acts of irrational hooliganism.”

All of them felt lighter at that statement, relieved smiles on their faces barring the two Soviets who kept their own counsel.

No one wanted to experience a Tropican riot in a time of delicateness; especially with one happening right now.

No one.

Except if it was fiestas and soccer matches.

“I can explain that one.” Comrade Vasquez states. “From what my regional and district party leaders have sent me so far, factory workers showing up to work and students going to schools gave much-needed reassurance to everyone that this latest happening is yet another normal Tropican event. I can’t say much regarding the stranded tourists and foreign nationals, but I am assured that the generous and cheerful spirit of Tropican values stands them in good stead.”

Antonio Lopez took off his signature top hat. “I concur with Comrade Vasquez’s sentiment. The tangible proof of Tropicans going to work and attending to businesses, as usual, has kept any business from screeching to a halt. As the Minister of Economy, I have had the banks stand firm and exchange notes for the coins made of precious metals of silver and platinum we have been selling our citizens just to keep the economy afloat.”

It was one of those laws that made outsiders shake their heads and laugh at the absurdity. In this day and age of fiat currency, what government in their right minds had the bright idea of selling something expensive and precious such as gold coins and take great pains to incentivize their citizens to buy them?

Somehow, Tropico.

And now said the policy was largely paying with handsome results in their current financial conundrum.

He rubbed his chin. “Mind you, this policy is a temporary fix. If we cannot find other ways to keep the economy going and have markets able to trade with us, self-sufficient or not, the biggest killer is perception.”

El Diablo, fidgeting in his seat, cleared his throat. “Well, I and the boys when this happens go to the streets, but I can state with honesty most of them joined in the army.”

All eyes were on him, surprise clear on their faces. Who was this man before them? And where did the real El Diablo go?

The nationalist raised his voice, feeling defensive. “What? Do you think I’m going to cause a riot? thus giving all of you ample reason to jump on me? No way! I can’t speak for most of my people, but there’s bound to be that idiots that are open season for you at least.”

Reverend Esteban’s face showed an uncharacteristic serenity. The archbishop was practically always drunk, but he was in that rare Zen form of drunkenness. “It is as it should be, my child. The parishes and charities associated with our organizations have been out in force, giving aid and shelter to any stranded souls. Fear not, for I have communed using the Sacred Rum, drinking it deep, and it revealed that God is still with us.”

General Rodriguez side-eyed Marshal Fedorov. “As for the Soviet Group of Forces in Tropico… they’ve stayed in their barracks and have sent liaisons to us to avoid any misunderstandings or improper actions.”

This time Marshal Fedorov looks at the group and lets out a gusty sigh. “Tovarisches, the entire front has been quiet so far. It is because of the shock not having settled in yet, and their discipline and training kicking in with the help of my officers and noncoms.”

Multiple streams of ideas and solutions came up, analyzed, and rejected in a blink of El Presidente’s eye.

Two million soldiers were a daunting prospect for a nation’s economy and politics. Two million foreign soldiers stranded in a strange land without purpose or direction was a nightmare waiting to happen; something no one wanted to see happen in their lifetime, thank you very much.

Fuck it, he thought. Cut the Gordian Knot, because these multiple problems have solved each other or soon will do.

“I am effective at once giving a dual citizenship edict that shall make all the stranded foreign nationals inside Tropico part of the governmental registry with the rights and responsibilities afforded to such titles. Everything else is a discussion tabled for the future.”

Fedorov’s eyes widened a fraction. “That’s it? No problems? Do you even have the capacity and staying power to feed, clothe, and pay such extraordinary masses?”

“Da, comrade marshal. We Tropicans believe in generosity and helping each other in need. The rest we will just have to make it up, as we go along the way and talk on solving problems that will crop up.”

Marshal Fedorov stared long and hard at El Presidente’s eyes, hidden behind his trademark aviator glasses.

Whatever his reservations, he nodded in acquiescence.

The door of the meeting room opened, with a man bearing the uniform and badge of the Tropican Intelligence walking in, consternation etched in his face.

“El Presidente, one of our drone flights has discovered something…”


To the UAV drone operator handling Blue Eye One, she with the truth (from a certain point of view) had bragging rights that she was one of the (if not the) first explorer of this new peninsula 330 kilometers west of Tropico.


“Yes, Lieutenant?”

“My sensors are registering a massive number of objects of artificial make. Best guess, it might be a multitude of buildings clumped together.”

The commander blinked. Civilization? Have they stumbled upon new neighbours? He stood up from his seat. “Lieutenant, I want you to do a flyby on that anomaly. I’m kicking this one upstairs.”


The operator moved her drone to a flight path that will do a complete pass by the edifices, hoping to glean something worthwhile.

Wait. Her brain screeched to a halt.

The ultra-high-definition camera showed a massive complex in the millions of square kilometers at the least being an ugly grey blot surrounding such pristine greenery.

She could only think of those industrial cities and plants that reminded her of the Boeing Complex she had once spied back.

This needed to have her report in, ASAP!

To be continued…

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