© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Under the vigilant eye of the country's leading metallurgic and molecular chemists, and funded primarily by generous financial contributions from average Grigovian citizens, a small army of technicians has started to apply layers of non-toxic chemicals to the exterior of Liberty Enlightening the World. The American government had sold her to Grigovia after de-funding its Park Service, and since then the statue has been carefully resurrected on Free Spit (formerly Mad Spit, for the insane asylum once located there), an island that rises from the Yalung River in the heart of cosmopolitan Grig. “All we need now is a good hard rain,” said Dr. Fiyennd Gharszt, who designed the witch's brew being applied to Liberty's copper panels. Once activated by water, the chemicals will turn her golden once more, a flashing shining goddess for all the world to see. “The water-activated compounds bind to any piece of oxidized copper, loosening it from the substrate at the molecular level and allowing it to run down the supple folds of our lady's flowing robes, where it will collect in catchment basins at her feet,” said Eleinna Hyourst-Rahdt, a former molecular biologist and current volunteer who manages a portion of the donated funds. While it is inevitable that some of the runoff will enter the sparkling Yalung River, Dr. Gharszt was adamant that it posed a threat to neither flora nor fauna and that it would in no way negatively impact farms or wildlife downstream. “We have been testing these compounds for months,” he said, “and in every scenario, the bits of oxidized copper separated from the molecules to which they were bound shortly after the bonding took place, whereupon they settled to the ground and were absorbed into the sediment without a noticeable impact on river grass or fishes. As it meanders through the moraine field north of Grig the Yalung naturally picks up its of tin, gold, and copper; our meager contribution will hardly matter.” Renovations to Liberty Enlightening the World are scheduled to be completed in time for the second the Glorious Republic of Grigovia's yearly independence ceremonies, on November 20th, during which it commemorates its self-liberation from Persian rule in 250 B.C.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
A vast, interconnected network of tunnels stretches underneath this bustling city of 1.75 millions of industrious Grigovians. In nearly every possible direction (except, generally, up) run an unknowable number of branches, tunnels, shafts, holes, pits, pit-falls, and dead-ends that are not mapped, well-ventilated, secured, water-tight, stable, or safe. While these tunnels are a boon to this metropolis that is bisected by the meandering, brownish-gray Yalung River, drawing tourists in search of mythical cities of the underworld, their great extent and sheer length have proven a nightmarish hindrance to every military force that has tried to take Grig during its nearly eight-hundred-year history.
Rolls of vellum discovered in a walled-off section of tunnel in the mid-1980s during construction of a Soviet-style housing block in Grig's Old City hint that the first tunnel may have been dug by Grigov the Watchful himself. The man in whose honor the nation is named, according to a new translation of these recently-restored vellum sheets, dug “a small recess in the larger mound by the four oak-trees so as to have somewhere to store all of these good and shapely tubers.” It is not clear from the ancient texts just what type of tubers he had obtained, but what may have started as a small recess now stretches from the banks of the Yalung to the very foothills of the Yiptlong massif itself. So extensive is this network, and so wide some of its larger tunnels, that it serves as bazaar, swap-meet, and marketplace for much of Grigovia's gray economy, which is suspected to be at least three times larger, and far more lively, than all of the country's above-ground, legitimate economic activity combined. Unconfirmed reports leaked by the U.S. State Department indicate that a majority of the fuel, mounts, firearms, provisions, and other such military gear that reaches the brave and heroic warriors of the various Yaelong tribes travels through the innumerable branches of this vast underground network of passageways.
While the Yaelong tribes were known even to Herodotus, who mentions them in his book, the Histories, a reference to the country now known as the Glorious Republic of Grigovia first appears in a Pashtun census from the year 1256, which says, roughly, “Avoid traversing the north-western Yplyn mountains, as a fierce people led by a priest-king named Krykuv guard all passes there with great diligence.“ Grigovia's Ministry of Internal Information Gathering, or MIIG, in a recent statement broadcast via short-wave radio, has warned all foreigners – especially foolhardy Americans – that any and all attempts to take the city of Grig, or to invade Grigovia, are, because of the all of the tunnels, and due to Grigovians' inherent fierceness and proven ability to resist invasion, doomed to fail. The statement concluded with, “Do not even try, you stupid, imperialist, capitalist, Yankee swine, because we, and our cozy tunnels, are ready, and waiting. Do you remember Viet-Nam? Imagine everything brown and covered in snow, and children leaping at you with knives in their teeth.”
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