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What the hell happened:
At the start of the canon, someone (read: Han Zhi, his motivations explained in the last mission) enters the bomb vault Gucun has built under its capital, leaves no trace behind (deletes the camera footage) and detonates the time-space distortion bomb (NAME CHANGE PENDING). A unique experimental weapon that was never used before but its effects were theoretically known by high ranked Gucun officials, it bends time flow over a large area, making time pass much slower for everything inside it. The resulting distortion lasts only for a few days, but in the meantime - for the engulfed area (most of Gucun), seven years have passed.
During these years, first weeks were frantic and dangerous as people tried to figure out what exactly happened and tried (unsuccessfully) to get out. And yet, after the initial rush all that remained is to continue living. Even the search for the guilty party was put on hold, unsuccessful but not entirely forgotten. Gucun rebuilt, having only its own resources, but also no outside influence to threaten it. Ruins were replaced with working buildings, people finally had something resembling safety, education and medical service even. The technological level progressed, not exceeding but rather catching up to the rest of the world. All of it in no small part thanks to efforts of Cheng and Devon.
Hua Cheng Kwan held the rank of Chairman General (de facto leader of Gucun - ministers serve as advisors to him, but always have to listen to his decisions) for all seven years. Gucun still has a long way to go towards democracy, but at least it became a safe place to live. Because of that, he has generally a lot of support, although there are also critics who do not like this direction and frequently argue with him, noting his (relatively) low upbringing and lack of experience. Some of them prefer the way Gucun done things in the past as an aggressive city-state, others simply do not think he can do the job well. But all remain respectful enough to listen to his decisions - for now at least.
Devon does not hold an official position - technically she is just the Chairman General's wife, known for the people of the country under the name Yun Li Kwan. That does not stop her from showing initiative and suggesting or supporting many of Cheng's ideas, and also sometimes punching out a disrespectful general or two when the arguments get... heated. As such, critics of the government tend to dislike her even more, while supporters tend to ignore her outsider origins and focus on good she's done for the country. No one knows about Devon being a Shifter - there are rumors of a government agent, a black ninja-like figure running around the country, but a connection has not been made.
Devon and Cheng have two daughters - Xue Yi is 7 years old, born shortly after the bomb went out. Nuan Chun is 4 years old. Times in Gucun were peaceful for them, but eventually a rogue force started to appear - armed insurgents, who demand the government's surrender. Their real identity remained a mystery: in actuality they are Han Zhi's agents, who knew that the distorting effects would soon fade, and started to make a more decisive move. This is when the plot starts kicking in...

The intro event is a series of logs, appearing shortly one after another but seperate enough that we can't really put them as seperate prompts in a single log. Sorry about that.
Log 1
Before the event starts, news arrive that Gucun disappears off the map. All contact is cut off and a strange anomaly does not allow for close investigation. White Chalice should investigate, and travel should take a few days minimum - so feel free to worry in the meantime.
Log 2
When White Chalice arrives at location, people on board may notice an optical time-space distortion surrounding the territory of Gucun. I say may because in a case of excellent timing, the anomaly dissipates immediately. That's the good news, and the bad news is that the ship is under attack by hostiles.
So it's a combat log, and the enemies are Gucun insurrectors/terrorists, who attack en masse with unknown but familiar looking Combat Frames [list and numbers to be finalized here, but they use standard mooks from the canon]
During the fight, the ACTUAL Gucun military will join as reinforcements, and reinforcements that help White Chalice to that. This is a good moment to re-intro Cheng and/or Devon.
Log 3
And this is when the fight ends and White Chalice docks at Gucun - and is greeted like guests of honor, with a guard and all. Cheng and Devon will be there to greet their old friends, surprised but able to piece together what happened after comparing everyones' stories. The player characters will be free to hang out in Gucun for a while now. They should also have an opportunity to meet Wang Ding Bang - a young but ambitious politician in opposition to the ruling faction. He is bitter that the outside did nothing to help Gucun in times of need, but now outsiders are greeted with open arms. Another person White Chalice folk can meet is Han Zhi, an extremely skilled administrator and politician (but with a military background) who serves as Cheng's right hand man. Without him, Gucun would never reach the heights it did, and would most likely topple instead - both Cheng and Devon trust this man and are grateful to him.

Canon proper:

Mission 1
This should happen soon after the logs, while White Chalice is still present in Gucun. What we have is a hostage situation - the same rogue elements as before have kidnapped Devon at gunpoint, while she was in transit from one place to another. Her guards were shot. The hostage takers have access to a radio transmitter, and present their demands - for Hua Cheng Kwan to immediately and permanently resign from his position, or else his beloved wife will bite the bullet. Where the terrorists are is obvious - in addition to on-foot combatants they also have Combat Frames, and those mecha are guarding a building located in a ruined part of Gucun.
There are no named enemies in this fight, but White Chalice forces have to act with discretion so as not to alert the guards. Fortunately the nearby area has a lot of ruined buildings and rubble for stealth warfare. At least one enemy should yell on the radio airwaves something along the lines of "for Wang Ding Bang!" when shot down. When this happens, or if White Chalice crew totally fumbles the stealth aspect, Devon will drop the charade of being a helpless damsel in distress. The broadcast from the room she's being held in will suddenly burst full of gunfire sounds and screams - and then silence. Soldiers armed with normal machine guns have no chance against a fully-powered Shifter. Regardless, the rest of the terrorist force will neither give nor offer any mercy, and will fight to the last man.
After the mission, the White Chalice will receive news that Wang Ding Bang fled Gucun, accompanied by many loyal supporters who stole their own units and followed him. They even took the secret prototype unit, Nezha. Devon and Cheng re-join White Chalice to track down Wang Ding Bang and bring him to justice. In order to ensure their safety, they take their two children with them. They are also escorted by a squad of [mecha name here] pilots, lead by an experienced female ace Jia Wu. During their absence, Gucun's state affairs will be governed by Han Zhi.

Mission 2
Wang Ding Bang's followers have finally been found, and now it's time to assault their stronghold. The leader is nowhere to be found, but in addition to normal units the rogue faction also fields Nezha, pilotted by a nigh-suicidally devoted fanatic by the name of Qiang Chao. On this mission, White Chalice receives combat support from Jia Wu's squad.
When all enemies are down, Wang Ding Bang reveals himself - on foot, and for once happy to see Cheng. But at his sight, Jia Wu's soldier instinct kicks in and she fires at the enemy, be him an unarmed civilian or not! Wang Ding Bang will survive only if he receives a timely support defense. His survival is not necessary, but if it happens then he will reveal troubling news: that he was not the leader of the insurrectors, but was abducted by them against his will and only now managed to free himself. Even if he dies, his demise was suspicious enough, so the return to Gucun is not a happy one.

Mission 3
Return to Gucun, and the state is boiling with rebellious sentiment. Cheng, Devon and the rest want to ask Han Zhi to explain himself - and being prudent people, take their machines with them. Very convenient, because it turns out the capital is one giant trap now, a trap they fell into. The squad is surrounded from all sides by Combat Frames, suddenly turned hostile while Han Zhi monologues. He accuses Cheng of going on wild trips around the world, neglecting the state just because someone raised a hand against his trophy wife. To make matters worse, he even killed off his political rival - a move to consolidate power in unworthy hands, but now those unworthy hands will be evicted from Gucun's government by force!
The enemy force is led by Jia Wu, her loyalty first and foremost to Han Zhi rather than Hua Cheng Kwan, her unit of choice another experimental prototype - Erlang. But even standard mooks may cause problems here, since the Chalice forces are surrounded and the enemy is prepared for urban warfare, making excellent use of the streets' limited space and cover. The White Chalice team is forced to retreat, the alternative being reducing Gucun into rubble - and turning its citizens even more against Cheng in the process.

Following the third mission, Cheng and Devon become exiles from their own country as Han Zhi takes over and starts to force Gucun to return to its old ways. Worryingly enough, he seems to have a significant support of the country's population.

Mission 4 - CANON FINALE
Plans of retaking Gucun were mostly fruitless until a breakthrough finally occurs - an individual (possibly Wang Ding Bang if he's still alive, otherwise we'll go with an anonymous loyalist) informs White Chalice that a small faction is still against Han Zhi's government, and they located information that will help bring him down. Of course, the place where this information is hidden will be guarded well.
Which is why it's time for a distraction. Cheng issues a challenge directly to Han Zhi, and expects him to come and settle things mano-a-mano. Of course, the dictator has no intention to play by anyone's rules and brings a huge entourage of Combat Frames to bring the Kwan down once and for all. All according to plan - while Cheng and a few other mecha pilots hold off Han Zhi's force, Devon and several similarly capable on-foot combatants will sneak into the facility where the recordings are being held, and try to retrieve it.
It wouldn't be a finale without complications, would it? For the mecha-sized front, it's Han Zhi's personal unit - the super-prototype Yu Di, ridiculously powerful despite its pilot and his relative inexperience. For the on-foot front, it's the guards - not mere grunts with machine guns, but an elite force clad in powered armor. To make matters even worse, they are led by Jia Wu and Qiang Chao - enemy aces supposedly killed in combat, now revived as cyborgs thanks to experimental technology.
What secrets do the cyborg ninja zombies guard? Solid proof, proof that the insurrectors responsible for Wang Ding Bang's abduction and a lot more troubles in Gucun worked for Han Zhi. Not only that - the detonation of the time-space distortion bomb (NAME CHANGE PENDING) seven years ago from Gucun's perspective and mere days from the rest of the world's was his deed as well. This should be enough to break or at least significantly weaken any support he had - and news are immediately shared with the mecha front. Why would Han Zhi, a man supposedly fully focused on restoring Gucun's glory, do such a thing?
He had nothing but Gucun's best interest in his mind, as he will explain - cornered but not yet defeated. The state was weak, almost destroyed by irresponsible rulers. When being rebuilt, it was still easy prey for others - such as the Inspectors, whose attack was what caused Han Zhi to act. By speeding up Gucun's development by years, it had a chance to regain its power and reach the same technological level as the rest of the world - and possibly more. And now it will respond in kind to how the world treated it - with violence and conquest. Peaceful coexistence is a myth, for in the real world the strongest prevails. The Nietzschean Ubermensch does as he pleases, and he - Han Zhi, will turn Gucun into a country's equivalent of an Ubermensch. Even if it means that for the state's sake, he has to kill Cheng and then Devon, people he grew to respect and even like, despite self-admittedly manipulating them every day.
This is when Yu Di attacks with full force - Cheng is on defensive, and almost defeated. But help arrives unexpectedly as several of Han Zhi's troops defect on the spot, and take pot shots at the machine to stop it. Han Zhi retaliates by destroying the traitors - but it gives an opening. An opening that Cheng may exploit... but Wang Ding Bang (if he's still alive) is faster, as he charges in from hiding and detonates his unit, seriously damaging Yu Di. Even damaged, the unit is still a serious threat - but eventually, the visionary will fall.
Who knows if the nation will survive without Han Zhi's talents to guide it? The Kwans earned some experience during the seven years, and now the nation is (mostly) loyal to them once again. Only time will tell whether their efforts will be enough to rise Gucun to glory, or will it fall into obscurity and poverty once again.


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October 2012

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