UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Thursday, June 13th, 302 AP.

President authorises creation of second Tokape battalion

President Okarvits told Parliament today that he has agreed with Defence chiefs
to create a second battalion of the special forces "Tokape" troops, and turn
the Tokape Battalion into a Brigade.

President Okarvits' highly trained and prized Tokape battalion is about to
double in size, he announced today, with another 700 elite soldiers to be
trained and equipped. The President made the announcement in Parliament, while
addressing specific matters of defence spending. His personal involvement,
rather than sending his Defence Minister, is an attempt to allay fears of cost
overruns.

The Tokape (pronounced "Toh-kah-pay") is the defence force's elite special
forces group, with better technical equipment, better training, and certainly a
better pay structure. They are carefully selected from the best of the best the
three defence force branches have to offer, though most come from the Army, and
are put through a rigorous pre-selection training course that lasts a month.
However, the Tokape are also the frontline troops of the Utanian Defence
Forces, the elite soldiers sent to neutralise enemies before they threaten the
peace.

The Tokape were the key force involved in the Lochboer hijacking, almost twelve
months ago, rescuing hundreds of passengers from fourteen well-armed hijackers
seeking the release of South Bay paramilitaries from Utanian military prisons
after an incursion into Utania a month before.

The Tokape rescued the passengers, eliminated the hijackers, but lost the
plane. A missile was fired from a supposedly secured part of the airport -- so
said Lochboer police -- destroying a Tokape helicopter and badly damaging the
plane. The rescue mission has since soured relations with the South Bay
government.

The Tokape unit will now be known as the 8th Infantry "Tokape" Brigade, and
will receive another Û100 million to equip the incoming troops. This is atop
the Û80 million to build the Army's Special training grounds announced on
Tuesday, prompting the Parliamentary special committee to "smell victory",
suggested one insider.

The term "Tokape" refers to the elite soldiers of the Savaj Emperor during the
Savaj Empire's pre-plague reign. They were not only his personal guard, but the
elite "problem solvers" of the Empire, schooled in military, philosophical,
scientific and political matters. They would be dispatched to capture crime
lords, rebels and anyone else local authorities found too difficult.


©UPA, 302 AP.

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©Mike Ham, 2002. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)